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No sign of Sri Lankan journalist Eknaligoda one month on

Feb 25 (CPJ) One month after the disappearance of her husband Prageeth Ekneligoda, the journalist’s wife, Sandhya Eknaligoda, told CPJ that she has not been able to get police or other government officials to actively investigate the case. “I have written to the president and have not gotten a response,” Eknaligoda said today. Our children want their father back, and we have not gotten a single word about where he is.” more..

Wimal’s ‘Garu Kathanayaka Thumani’ presented to President Rajapaksa

Feb 25 (IL) ‘Garu Kathanayaka Thumani’, a book that includes all the speeches delivered in the parliament by Mr Wimal Weerawansa MP was presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa this afternoon on 24th February. The new book and a web site for Jathika Nidahas Peramuna (JNF)- National Freedom Front (NFF) was launched at the Temple Trees and more..

Australian PM’s Special Rep meets President Rajapaksa

Feb 25 (IL) Mr. John McCarthy, Special Representative for Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia paid a courtesy call on President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on 24th February. Mr McCarthy was accompanied with Ms.Kathy Kay Klugman, High Commissioner of Australia in Sri Lanka at the occasion. more..

Restored library in Sri Lanka signals hope for Tamil minority

Feb 25 (CSM) Decades of civil strife have left their mark on Jaffna, the heartland of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority. Bombed-out buildings are a reminder of the fierce battles waged over the historic city. The most potent symbol of the struggle, and the uneasy peace since fighting ended last May, is Jaffna’s public library, which was torched in 1981 by an anti-Tamil mob. more..

Sri Lanka travel advisory lifted by Saudi Arabia

Feb 25 (AN) Saudi Arabia has lifted its travel ban on citizens visiting Sri Lanka after the country managed to resolve years of bloody conflict. The Kingdom issued the ban in February 2008 after fighting between government forces and insurgents escalated in Sri Lanka, particularly in the north and east of the country. In May last year, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said his troops had managed to defeat the LTTE. more..

Ohio convert: Family reconciliation not possible

Feb 25 (AP) A teenage runaway who fled Ohio with the alleged help of Christian pastors, claiming she'd be harmed for converting from Islam to Christianity, says a reconciliation with her Muslim parents is no longer possible. Efforts by Ohio and Florida courts to reunify Rifqa Bary with her family have failed and she continues to fear being hurt by her parents, according to a court filing by Bary's attorneys. more..

EMDR – An Effective Mode of Psychotherapy

Feb 25 (LG) Psychological trauma affected the humankind since dawn of history. A countless number of people suffered from natural and man made disasters. For centuries, there were no methods to heal the suffering. People lived with their traumatic memories and believed that the time would heal them. Some could get away with their suffering when the time passed by, but others could not. more..

Children Begin a New Life

Tamil Tiger defeat could lead to bombings here, report says

Feb 25 (NP) Canadian security officials are concerned that last year's defeat of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels could trigger attacks like the 1985 Air India bombings, says a new report. The International Crisis Group study quotes unnamed Canadian law enforcement officials saying that supporters of the LTTE might resort to terrorism. "While there are no signals yet that the rump LTTE is planning a terrorist act, more..

64,000 MT fish production target set for 2013

Feb 25 (GDI) Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Felix Perera said the ministry has set a target of over 64,000 MT of fish production by year 2013. He said when President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Fisheries Minister he launched the National Aquatic Resources Development project to increase the fish production. He has now taken steps to reach the set target in fish production. more..

Namal Rajapaksa adopts novel approach to politics

Feb 25 (GDI) Hambantota District Freedom Alliance candidate Namal Rajapaksa has urged his supporters to refrain from organizing processions on the final day of handing over of nominations. “Staging demonstrations or processions will hinder the day to day activities of the people of the area. Preventing such activities will be a massive strength for the conduct of a peaceful poll. more..

Media Minister condemns Blake’s statement

Feb 25 (GDI) Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said the Government was taking action against General Sarath Fonseka according to the law of the country. He said that Sri Lanka is capable of handling these issues in accordance with the law of the land. He pointed out that it was up to the Sri Lankan authorities to decide whether the General should be tried in a Military Court or Civil Court. more..

Hate-politics of the opposition propels their own downfall

Feb 25 (GDI) Minister of Construction and Engineering Services Rajitha Senarathne said that the opposition is now facing consequences for committing the sin of engaging in opportunistic politics without thinking of the country first. He pointed out the UNP and JVP came to a single platform at the presidential election without any agreement in their political ideologies. Their foundation was simply based on hatred. more..

'We still continue to enjoy GSP+ concessions'

Feb 25 (GDI) The Government will continue to engage with European Commission to retain GSP+ concessions within certain parameters determined by Sri Lanka and EC has agreed to discuss further on its impending termination, Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said. "We have six months more from February 15 before it lapses and until then we will be benefiting from the GSP + facility. more..

Nominations deadline is noon tomorrow

Feb 25 (GDI) Elections Secretariat says accepting nominations for the forthcoming general election will end at 12.00 noon tomorrow. United Peoples Freedom Alliance has handed over their nominations for Gampaha, Hambantota, Galle, Matale and Polonnaruwa districts. 17 recognised political parties and 28 independent groups have handed over their nomination so far. Special security measures are in place near district returning officers secretariats. more..

Message of the President on the Meelad-un-Nabi festival

Feb 25 (GDI) I am pleased to send this message of greetings to the followers of Islam in Sri Lanka, as they join their brethren in faith the world over, to celebrate Meelad-un-Nabi, the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammed. This is an occasion for Muslims to reflect upon the teachings of the Holy Prophet that laid emphasis on Peace and Harmony and the embodiment of all that is noble, encompassing kindness, selflessness and charity among other values seen in the life of the Holy Prophet. more..

Sri Lankan shooters shine at the shooting competition in Kuwait

Feb 25 (IL) A 09-member Sri Lankan Police Shooting Team comprised of some of the best shooters from Sri Lanka participated at the First World Police Shooting Championship (FWPSC) which was held in the Olympic Shooting Range in Kuwait from 15th - 22nd February. The Sri Lankan team was among the 39 international teams that participated in the tournament from countries around the world. more..

Harsha De Silva, new coach for Sri Lanka women’s national team

Feb 25 (LP) Former Josephian and versatile coach Harsha De Silva have been chosen to take over the national women’s squad. According to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) the Sri Lankan women’s national team will be taking part in the upcoming T20 World Cup to be staged on Caribbean soil in April 2010. Harsha is an Australian Cricket accredited level 111 coach and a prestigious member of cricket coaches’ forum in Australia. more..

Special security zones around District secretariats

Feb 25 (LP) Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissnayaka has informed all District Returning Officers to declare the District Secretariats as special Security Zones. Accordingly the secretariats will be declared special security zones tomorrow as it is the final day for handing nominations for the upcoming General Election scheduled to be held on the 08th of April. Approach roads to the District Secretariat will also be closed due to security reasons while more..

Shibly Aziz won the Bar Association Presidency

Feb 25 (LNW) Former Attorney General of Sri Lanka Mr. Shibly Aziz PC who contested for the post of president of the Bar Assocaition has won the election by more than 450 majority votes defeating Mr. Palitha Kumarasinghe PC who received direct support from the government. It was significant that Mr. Aziz won the election from both Colombo an Outstation Bar Associations and in Colombo alone he recieved 295 majority votes. more..

‘Lame’ to combat the scourge of dengue

Feb 25 (LP) Sri Lanka like many other countries fell victim to the scourge of dengue. The year 2009 was considered an ‘epidemic” year with 35000 infected and treated while 342 deaths have been reported. More recently in January 2010, 4589 cases were reported with 35 deaths while in the last two weeks of February 1572 cases have been reported with 07 lives claimed by the fatal sting. more..

8 more aides of General released without charges

Feb 25 (LT) Eight more aides of General Sarath Fonseka who were arrested by the CID on conspiracy charges soon after the conclusion of the Presidential Election and were detained have been released without any charges against them by the Colombo Chief Magistrate today. Among the group that was arrested from the office of the Common Candidate at Royal Avenue are retired Army officers and several civilians. more..

De-mining goes on smoothly

Feb 25 (MoD) Military Spokesman Major General Prasad Samarasinghe said the Army is now engaged in mine clearing operations along the A-9 Road from Paranthan to Elephant Pass and to Muhamalai. They also cover certain other areas in the North-Thunukkai, Manthivu, Oddusudan and Kokkavil. "Around 1,000 troops engaged in the de-mining operation have cleared approximately 200sq km in the Jaffna, Killinochchi, Mullaitivu and Mannar districts using 29 de-mining machines. more..

The Politics of Representation

'Govt. obstructing citizens' fundamental rights'

Feb 25 (UNP) A strong protest was staged in front of the Sri Jayawardena University yesterday by students of the University against the Govt.’s actions to restrict their practicing of their legitimate fundamental rights. A member of the students Union, Ven. Mawanelle Kavinda Thero said, a number of students had been threatened while some others had been removed from the University for demanding their legitimate rights. more..

'Only Ranil can replace Idi Amin regime and people’s despair with hopes'

Feb 25 (UNP) SLFP (M) wing Leader Mangala Samaraweera said, Gen. Fonseka is as important as is indispensable for SL politics. But, it is my conviction that if this brutal Rajapakse regime which is giving grave signals that it can be more cruel than the Idi Amin rule of Uganda, it is only the UNF and its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who can replace this ruthless lawless regime and people’s despair with hopes. more..

Kerawalapitiya complete

Feb 25 (DN) Opening another chapter in the country’s power generation sphere, the second and final stage of multi-fuel combined cycle power plant at Kerawalapitiya will be commissioned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa today. This will provide an additional 100 mega watts of power to the national grid. The first stage of project was commissioned in December 2008 augmenting the national grid by 200 mw. more..

No joy ride for doggy passenger

Feb 25 (DN) A dog which tried to hitch a free ride in a bus belonging to the Kandy South Depot of the Mahanuwara Bus Company Limited was unceremoniously bundled out of the bus by the conductor recently. The incident happened in the bus No. KS 76-63-4114 plying on the Kandy-Watapuluwa bus route. The bus started on its journey around 4 p.m. and after proceeding a kilometre to Mawilmada town passengers informed the bus crew that there was a dog under a seat. more..

Getting the illusive two-thirds

Feb 25 (DN) When J R Jayewardene swept the political board in 1977 under the old Westminster style electoral system defeating the then SLFP led Government everyone was expecting miracles to occur. Jayewardene, a political giant from the UNP changed the Constitution in 1978 and established the executive presidency as opposed to the ceremonial presidency by acquiring inconceivable executive powers. more..

'Gampaha to be made hub of activity, knowledge'

Feb 25 (DN) UPFA Gampaha District Group Leader at the upcoming General Election, Basil Rajapaksa assured that the Gampaha District would be made a centre of active services and knowledge. Speaking at a series of meetings with professionals who included teachers, lawyers and scholars on Tuesday, Basil Rajapaksa said that under the Mahinda Chinthanaya Idiri Dekma program, plans are under way to make Sri Lanka a hub of more..

‘State sector flouting election laws’

Feb 25 (Island) The Elections Department has received several complaints on recruitment, transfers and promotions in the State sector despite the Elections Commissioner imposing a ban on such activities until the completion of the forthcoming parliamentary elections, Elections Department sources said. Parliamentary elections were announced on February 9 and are scheduled to be held on April 8. more..

Stroke Units for Govt. hospitals

Feb 25 (Island) The Health Ministry has agreed to help the National Stroke Association (NSA) to set up ‘Stroke Units’ in major government hospitals. NSA Chairman, Dr. Padma Gunaratne said yesterday (24) that among the causes of death in the country, strokes ranked third. A majority of stroke patients in the country suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure. However, the number of deaths could not be estimated because more..

Miliband – the colonial cousin who never leaves SL in peace

Feb 25 (DM) Chances are there that David Miliband had agreed to make the opening speech of the Global Tamil Forum way before the Conservative shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox made his recent trip to Sri Lanka. The burgeoning ties between Fox and Sri Lanka certainly would not be to the liking of the young External Affairs minister anyhow. more..

Bishops meet President seeking Fonseka release

Feb 25 (Island) A press release from the Catholic Bishops Conference of Sri Lanka, states that a delegation of the Catholic Bishops Conference comprising Bishop Vianney Fernando of Kandy, Archbishop Malcom Ranjith of Colombo and Bishop Harold Anthony Perera of Kurunegala (Chairman, National Catholic Commission for Justice, Peace and Human Development) met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on Sunday February 14. more..

Editorial: To vote or not to vote

Feb 25 (LNP) SLFP dissident, ex-MP and former Sri Lanka Cricket skipper Arjuna Ranatunge has said he is watching whether the politicians responsible for corrupt deals exposed in Wijedasa Rajapakshe`s COPE reports will get nominations for the April election. Most of those politicians are now with the UPFA. Arjuna seems to believe that they are not eligible to hold public office. Many a right thinking person will agree with him on that score. more..

Mangala’s party gets 7 slots

Feb 25 (DM) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Mahajana Wing) yesterday said they have nominated seven candidates from their party to contest the upcoming general election under the elephant symbol. Former Opposition MP Mangala Samaraweera, representing the SLFP (M) said although they wished to nominate more of their members to the UNF list they had nominated those who could get elected. more..

Move to close Puttalam- Mannar Road

Feb 25 (PSM) Environmental organisations convened a press meeting on Tuesday to express their concern over the Puttalam – Mannar road opened for public just before the presidential election. A few environmental organisations wanted this road opened by Namal Rajapakse the son of President Mahinda Rajapakse just before the presidential election to be closed immediately as it is causing a threat to the environment. more..

UNF parties jostle for slots

Feb 25 (DM) The tussle amongst three Tamil constituent parties of the UNF for slots has delayed the finalization of the nomination list for the general election from the Nuwara-Eliya District. UNP sources said the Democratic People’s Front led by Mano Ganesan, the Ceylon Workers Alliance (CWA) of S. Sathasivam and the National Workers Union (NWU) of V. Digambaram had applied pressure on the UNF leadership asking for more slots. more..

Academics join Jaffna poll race

Feb 25 (Island) A university professor and two school principals are among TNA candidates contesting the upcoming parliamentary elections from the Jaffna district, sources said yesterday. The TNA yesterday handed over its nomination papers for Jaffna, Vanni, Trincomalee and Digamadulla districts, said ex-party MP Suresh Premachandran. He and Mavai Senathirajah are the only Jaffna district TNA members from the previous parliament to be included in the Jaffna list. more..

Keeping Democracy on the agenda