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Three mobile phones detected in Naufer`s cell

Feb 10 (LNP) Prisons authorities yesterday detected three mobile phones in the cell occupied by Mohamed Naufer, convicted of the murder of Justice Sarath Ambepitiya. Commissioner General of Prisons Maj. Gen. Vajira Wijegoonawardene confirmed the incident and said an investigation was underway to ascertain who was using these phones. more..

Child Soldier In Action On LTTE Website

Feb 10 (SLA) THE LTTE WEBSITE has published an exclusive picture of an LTTE child soldier holding a submachine gun in its frontline war effort. is a LTTE front website which publishes exclusive terror pictures on a daily basis. Whilst international outcry on engaging child soldiers in warfare is reaching momentum, the LTTE is not concerned about international concerns. more..

What happened to tsunami aid from Venezuela? - JVP MP Vijitha Herath

Feb 10 (LNP) JVP MP Vijitha Herath yesterday wanted to know what the government had done with the US dollars 6.2 million it had received from Venezuela as tsunami assistance. He said the money was collected by the people of Venezuela, with President Hugo Chavez launching the fund raiser and sent to Sri Lanka in mid July 2005 during former President Chandrika Kumaratunga`s term of government. more..

Musings on a bang

Feb 10 (LNP) Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle has burnt a gasket over what is being described as police harassment. A policeman escorting a VIP, a furious Fernandopulle has said, stopped his vehicle and threateningly banged on it, ordering him to stop and make way for the VIP concerned, on Tuesday. Sri Lankan ministers being an omnipotent breed, over whose heads not even a crow is supposed to fly, Mr. Fernandopulle`s consternation is understandable. `Who on earth dares block my path?` he may have thought. more..

Minister says third party killed Raviraj

Feb 10 (SAMN) Minister Tissa Vitharana dropped a bombshell in Parliament Friday when he accused a third party of slaying Jaffna parliamentarian, Nadarajah Raviraj. Speaking during the vote of condolence, Prof. Vitharana said this third party sold arms and ammunition to promote war and violence meant more profits for it. more..

JVP to hound Ministers

Feb 10 (SAMN) The JVP parliamentary group has decided to keep an eye on the activities of the government. Criticising the jumbo-sized Cabinet, the JVP said it would monitor the actions of all Ministers for efficiency and deficiency. JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe has, at a special meeting of the parliamentary group, held at the JVP headquarters on Thursday, asked his group to submit their reports to him on a monthly basis, party sources said. more..

Where have they all gone?

Feb 10 (SAMN) The UNP and JVP Friday expressed their disgust at the absence of Government ministers to answer oral questions -- a regular feature in Parliament. The issue was raised by JVP parliamentary group leader Wimal Weerawansa after Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said he was unable to answer a supplementary question raised by MP Sunil Handunnetti regarding the recruitment of employees to the Central Bank Finance Intelligence Unit. more..

UNP controlled by novices: Navin

Feb 10 (SAMN) Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Navin Dissanayake said the UNP today "is controlled and manipulated by political novices". Responding to a letter sent by UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, he said the UNP "today has become under the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe, a party without hope, belief or any progress of action to bring the party to power. more..

All must strengthen President's hands - Asgiriya Chief Prelate

Feb 10 (DN) SLFP stalwarts should take the lead in strengthening the President's hands at this crucial time when many UNP heavyweights have joined the Government, Most Ven.Udugama Sri Buddharakhkhitha Maha Nayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter said yesterday. The Most. Ven. Maha Nayake Thera said it was lamentable that certain prominent SLFPers were trying to create dissension in the party ranks and the Government at a time when the country has stepped into the correct track for a prosperous future. more..

Lanka elected to UN Commission on Population and Development

Feb 10 (DN) Sri Lanka was elected to the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) for a four year term beginning April 2007 by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations in New York recently. The Commission, representing Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Western Europe and others and Latin American and Caribbean has 47 members, a Foreign Ministry release said. more..

Aid groups express concern over paramilitary presence in east

Feb 10 (DM) The humanitarian community has expressed serious concerns over the presence of paramilitary groups in the east with a leading German charity organization GTZ temporarily suspending its operations in Batticaloa after two of its offices were looted by armed men. Meanwhile, the SLMM says abductions still continue in Batticaloa and also noted in its latest weekly report that 16 children and 7 adults were reported missing in the district last week and raised suspicion of Karuna and LTTE involvement. more..

Deputy Indian envoy’s car hijack suspects killed

Feb 10 (DM) Two members of the underworld, said to have high jacked the official car of the Deputy Indian High Commissioner and involved in taking ransom worth millions of rupees, were killed yesterday at Muddaragama in the Mirigama forest behind the iron work shop. The victims were accomplices of Moratuwa Saman, K.P. Nadeeka, Nishjan Kularatne (24) alias Muktha alias Podi Malli and M.P. Priyantha Abnura Kumara (33) alias Batu Anura. more..

Grand Gangaramaya

Feb 10 (TS) Colombo’s biggest Buddhist temple, Gangaramaya, is a major tourist attraction due to its stunning interiors and history. One of its main draws is a relic bone said to belong to the Buddha. On the way to Gangaramaya, all tours stop at Beira Lake, Colombo’s largest freshwater lake, which has on its shore a little temple that looks out of place in Sri Lanka. more..

A’Sangaree Asks Govt if it Still Wants to Talk to LTTE

Feb 10 (SLA) TULF LEADER V. ANANDASANGAREE yesterday, condemning the LTTE killing of the high Priest of Santiveli Pillaiyar Temple S. P. Kurukkal, queried whether the Government and the international community still wanted to invite the terrorists for talks. "In all seriousness I ask His Excellency the President whether it is with these irresponsible men (LTTE) that he wants to have talks and hand over the future of Tamil community to them. more..

Ouster may trigger political crisis in Sri Lanka

Feb 10 (Hindu) Friday's ouster of three senior Sri Lankan Cabinet Ministers by President Mahinda Rajapaksa is bound to lead to a political crisis, say political and diplomatic observers. The sacked Ministers — Mangala Samaraweera, Anura Bandaranaike and Sripathi Suriyarachchi — were not immediately available for comment. more..

Statue of Our Lady of Lourdes sheds tears of blood in Jaffna

Feb 10 (AN) In Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka, in the heart of civil war between the rebels and the national army, a statue of Our Lady of Lourdes has shed tears of blood. The statue in a house near a road leading to Jaffna hospital was immediately transferred to the closest church of St John the Baptist. A crowd of people gathered to venerate the statue. AsiaNews learned the news from Caritas in Jaffna (HUDEC). more..

Sri Lankan camp upbeat ahead of second ODI

Feb 10 (ZN) The Sri Lankan camp believes it has the momentum on its side from the rained out opening one-dayer in Kolkata and is upbeat about pulling the rug from under India's feet in the second tie here tomorrow. "Obviously it was a very brief outing, but we thought we were holding a very strong position in the game with (Sanath) Jayasuriya's 60-plus not out," coach Tom Moody said on the eve of the match. more..

Why Mahinda sacked his top ministers

Feb 10 (HT) By sacking top line ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Anura Bandaranaike and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi on Friday, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sent out a clear warning that he will not tolerate the formation of any group in the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which owes allegiance to his main rival, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

Sri Lankan president sees Indian role in conflict resolution

Feb 10 (AFP) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse has urged neighbouring India to play a more active role in solving the tropical island's ethnic conflict, a report said. "With the prevailing situation, India should be more sensitive," the Press Trust of India news agency quoted Rajapakse as telling the BBC on Friday. more..

'We are going into this match with confidence' - Moody

Feb 11 (CI) Rain might have ruined their party in Kolkata but Sri Lanka believe they were setting themselves up for a good score when the first match ground to a premature halt and are upbeat ahead of the second one-day international. Speaking to the media on Saturday, Tom Moody, the coach, said, "Obviously it was a very brief outing, but we thought we were holding a very strong position in the game with [Sanath] Jayasuriya's 60-plus not out. more..

Under the Sahadow of Lakegala : Their festivals and entertainments

Feb 11 (AT) This village celebrates two main annual festivals, the Sinhala New Year and the Vesak. New year is a cultural celebration and the Vesak is a religious festivity.The Sinhala New Year is held in the month of April as it is done in all other parts of the Island. They follow the same auspicious times as given in the almanac but there are slight local variations in customs and practices. During the month of April the entire environment takes a festive mood. more..

Momentum continues in the Stock Market

Feb 11 (AT) In their weekly review the HNB Stockbrokers indicated that the positive momentum which started off last week continued through this week, even amid trading being shortened due to a special CSE holiday which fell on Monday. Activity improved in the market on healthy volumes this week, as both indices gained for the week. more..

Tamil MP sent kin to Canada

Feb 11 (TS) The wife and children of a senior Sri Lankan lawmaker are seeking refugee status in Canada following death threats that were made against the politician in Colombo, community members say. Suresh Premachandran, 47, is one of 22 MPs of the T. His wife, Gopilakumari PremachaNAndran, and their three children aged 4, 8 and 12 have been living quietly in Scarborough even though their cases were flagged for further investigation by Canadian security officers, more..

SLFP to discuss ouster fallout

Feb 11 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa summoned an emergency meeting of the working committee of the SLFP, main constituent of the UPFA, on Saturday to take stock of the situation arising out of the Friday ouster of three senior Ministers. The trio — Anura Bandaranaike, Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi — are expected to meet here on Sunday to decide their future course of action. more..

President strips security from three sacked ministers

Feb 11 (AFP) Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse on Saturday withdrew the security detail from three ministers sacked a day earlier, following dissension within the newly appointed jumbo cabinet. The government announced in a statement the decision to strip the three men of security but did not comment on the move. more..

World Record Drama- Mahinda Chinthana cabinet

Feb 11 (LeN) Mahinda Chinthana has kept a world record in having the largest cabinet. The below is a comparison between the cabinets of some countries and that of Sri Lanka. Canada- 31 ministers for 37 million people, India- 20 ministers for 1000 million people, Russia- 25 ministers for 150 million people, Malaysia- 23 ministers for 25 million people, Bangladesh- 22 ministers for 150 million people, America- 15 ministers for 274 million people, Pakistan- 13 ministers for 130 million people, Sri Lanka- 108 ministers for 19 million people. more..

Mangala and Chandrika to meet in India

Feb 11 (LeN) Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, who's ministry was taken off yesterday by the president, will be meeting the former president Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga tomorrow in India. Mr. Samaraweera was abroad when he was taken off from his ministry and he departure to Singapore today morning. According to a statement received at her office in Colombo, Mrs. Kumaratunga has gone to New Delhi today afternoon upon a special invitation by the Indian government as the chief guest to the 'Rotary Goodwill Summit'. more..

Heroic Mission that Failed

Feb 11 (LeN) The Sri Lanka government claims that three youth abducted by the state forces have confessed that they have got training and weapons from the LTTE. Obviously we cannot accept the authenticity of these reports where the illegitimate actions of the government are evident. However, we cannot over rule any tendency among Sinhala youth to join the liberation struggle of the Tamil people. more..

"Government in a crisis" say UNP and JVP

Feb 11 (BBC) General Secretary of the United National Party (UNP) Tissa Attanayake says sacking of three senior ministers from the cabinet by the president is a clear reflection of the internal conflict of the government. Attanayake says that president having signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the UNP to work towards establishing good governess has unilaterally breached it. more..

A native son, whose vision embraced the world

Feb 11 (TW) A successful businessman should have a photographic memory, uncommon common sense, an ability to learn fast, make quick decisions and luck. This was Phillip Upali Wijewardene, the founder of Upali Group of Companies. After graduating in economics from the University of Cambridge, Wijewardene returned to Sri Lanka to join Unilever, where he worked for two years. more..

Rock calls for action on LTTE, Karuna

Feb 11 (TW) UN Special Representative Allan Rock has called for targeted sanctions against the LTTE and the Karuna faction and requested the government to hold an impartial inquiry into allegations of government troop complicity in underage recruitment. He made these observations in a report submitted to the UN Security Council Working Committee on Children in Armed Conflict in New York on February 9. more..

Radhika Coomaraswamy & Allan Rock urges Security Council Working Group to recommend targeted sanctions against LTTE

Feb 11 (AT) Radhika Coomaraswamy the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and her Special Adviser on Sri Lanka Ambassador Allan Rock appealed to the UN Security Council Working Group to impose targeted sanctions against LTTE. Ambassador Rock also highlighted that going by UNICEF estimates, since 2001, the LTTE appeared to have recruited over 18,000 children as combatants. more..

The Second Front

Feb 11 (AT) It is a declaration of war. Ministers Anura Bandaranaike, Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathy Sooriarachchi were beginning to function as a group of dissidents within the government and Mr Rajapakse has responded with a pre-emptive strike of disproportionate force. The dismissed ministers will probably limit themselves to verbal barrages against the President (and his coterie) for now, reserving their counterattack for a more favourable time. more..

Sri Lanka players rewarded for results

Feb 11 (CI) The impressive efforts of the Sri Lanka team over the past 12 months has paid rich dividends with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) prepared to offer the national players a 40 percent pay hike for the next year. For the next 12 months from March 1, 2007 the top Sri Lankan cricketer is due to receive in the region of US$100,000 (approx. Rs. 10 million) per annum while the lowest category player will receive US$10,000 (approx. Rs. one million). more..

Fish industry specialists to Sri Lanka

Feb 11 (IR) A team of three specialists from the The United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme in Iceland and the University of Akureyri is traveling to Sri Lanka this month. The team will visit the Icelandic International Development Agency in Sri Lanka to estimate the need for a course on the procedure of organizing projects and project management at Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Fisheries, as Morgunbladid reports. more..

Lanka’s LTTE problem

Feb 11 (KT) IT’S appreciable that Sri Lankan President Rajapakse is showing a sense of realism in dealing with the Tamil Tigers. There, hence, is a semblance of hope that Sri Lanka’s present line of action vis-ŕ-vis the LTTE will bear fruit in the long run, if not in the immediate future. Simply put, the president’s is a ‘carrot and stick’ policy, that is making a positive difference to the situation. more..

Sri Thyagaraja Aradhana - Carnatic Music Festival

Feb 11 (TW) Carnatic Music Festival to celebrate the genius of Sri Thyagarajah was held at the Indian Cultural Centre in Colombo on January 19th 2007 at dusk. Thyagaraja Aradhana was held for the first time in Sri Lanka. The 160th annual Sri Thyagaraja Aradhana celebrations were held in Thiruvaiyaru on 8th January, 2007. Musicians from all over the state gathered and, sat before the Saint’s Samadhi on the banks of river Cauvery, sang “Pancharatna Kritis” and paid homage to him. more..

Peace is now much closer to SL than any other time- US anti terror expert says

Feb 11 (G2L) The prospect for peace in Sri Lanka is in a better track today than ever before said Dr. Peter Leitner, President Counter Terrorism Research Center and Professor National Center for Bio Defense of the George Mason University. He was delivering the keynote address of Sri Lanka’s 59th Independence Day celebrations organized by the Sri Lanka Patriots at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles California. more..

Catholic Bishops of North and East condemn killing of Hindu priest

Feb 11 (GDI) The Catholic Bishops in the North and East have vehemently condemned the killing of the Hindu priest Selliah Parameswaram Kurukkal by the LTTE at his home in Batticaloa last week. The Catholic Bishop of the Eastern region the Rt. Rev. Dr. Kingsley Swamipillai has said that the assassination of innocent Hindu clergyman Selliah Parameswara Kurukkal could be considered a peak form of barbarism. more..

Child Protection Authority unit to probe abuse

Feb 11 (GDI) A special unit under the Child Protection Authority will be set up to probe cases of child abuse, robberies and rape cases, Chairperson, Child Protection Authority Padma Wetthewe states. "Under the authority, we do care for them together with the Department of Probation and Child Care. We also take legal action when necessary," Ms. Wetthewe said. more..

Alleged plot to harm President

Feb 11 (SAMN) Barely 24 hours after the sacking of three Ministers, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered a top-level Police inquiry into what is being described as an alleged conspiracy to cause physical harm to him. The move, highly-placed Government sources said Saturday night, centred on a number of issues. Main among them, statements by a Government politician that the head of Government would be finished in three months. more..

Anura to claim Premiership?

Feb 11 (SAMN) In a dramatic turn of events, ousted Minister Anura Bandaranaike is likely to stake a claim for the Premiership, informed political sources said. It is likely that the UNP, TNA and JVP will reach some kind of understanding with dissenting members of the government, to muster the support of 113 members to send a petition to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, claiming the premiership for Bandaranaike. more..

JHU sell car permits to raise funds

Feb 11 (SAMN) The seven monk MPs of the Jathika Hela Urumaya sold their luxury car permits recently at Rs.5 million each and donated the proceeds amounting to Rs.35 million to the party coffers. Party sources said three of the monks who had no private means of transport to attend to their work were later provided with three vehicles purchased by the party for about Rs.2 million each. more..

UNP wants referendum on ethnic conflict

Feb 11 (SAMN) The UNP, taking what is seen as its toughest stance in recent years said that any solution to the ethnic conflict has to go before the people at a referendum. Having vowed to take the battle to the government, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said the SLFP should first submit its long overdue proposals on resolving the ethnic conflict to the All Party Representative Committee. more..

Police Commission gets more powers

Feb 11 (SO) The National Police Commission (NPC) has been given more teeth to tackle problems in the Police Department. A notification to this effect was published in the Government Gazette. The Chairman NPC, Neville Piyadigama said that the rules of procedure regarding public complaints against police officers have been incorporated for the first time in a gazette notification approved by the Legal Draughtsman and the Attorney General. more..

Ministers sacked for failing to honour collective responsibility

Feb 11 (SO) Failure to honour the collective Cabinet responsibility by the former Ministers Anura Bandaranaike, Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi forced President Mahinda Rajapaksa to sack them, a highly placed government source told the Sunday Observer. The immediate reason for the President's decision was the boycott of the vote on the extension of Emergency Regulations when it was taken up in Parliament on Wednesday. more..

President takes it all

Feb 11 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the custodian of 90 statutory bodies coming under the purview of the four ministries he heads while some Cabinet Ministers have only two or three department under them. The government gazette issued on January 29 lists the Samurdhi Authority, the Southern Development Authority and the Thousand Tanks project too under the President. more..

Implosion looms large in the blue camp too

Feb 11 (NS) Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidential election victory has been compared to S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s historic triumph in 1956, in that he rallied together diverse nationalist and left-of-centre forces to forge an unlikely victory. However, in the context of the SLFP, Rajapaksa’s victory is best compared to that of Ranasinghe Premadasa’s win in 1989. more..

Ban on filling storm water retention areas next week

Feb 11 (NS) The Ministry of Urban Development will next week gazette areas it has identified as sensitive storm water retention areas in the Colombo Metropolitan and suburban areas as part of its emergency measures to minimize flooding due to rainstorms. Once the areas have been gazetted the government will take steps to remove the filling and development done on such land and declare them as preserved areas. more..

Target: LTTE leadership

Feb 11 (NS) Exactly a month back on January 11 to be precise, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon recommended that “targeted measures be undertaken against LTTE political and military leadership” for violation of children’s rights. This report will surely be used as a licence for the Sri Lanka Government to permit the military that has almost routed the Tigers in the East to take on the LTTE military leadership in the North, which we shall discuss in great detail in this column. more..