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Friend or foe: Police probe alleged threat to Bandaranaike

Feb 11 (ST) At least two of the callers who spoke to parliamentarian Anura Bandaranaike during times he alleged he received abusive calls were his friends, Police said yesterday. Senior Superintendent Sarath Lugoda, Director of the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) that is conducting the investigation told The Sunday Times detectives had spoken to the two callers. He said they were still investigating the other calls Mr. Bandaranaike received. more..

Political crisis deepens

Feb 11 (ST) Most Sri Lankans woke up yesterday to hear the surprise, if not the shocking news - President Mahinda Rajapaksa had sacked three of his Ministers - Mangala Samaraweera (Ports and Aviation), Anura Bandaranaike (National Heritage) and Sripathi Sooriyaratchchi (Port Development - Non Cabinet rank). Within hours after letters were sent withdrawing their portfolios, the security details assigned to them were withdrawn. more..

SLFP endorses sacking of ministers

Feb 11 (ST) The All Island Executive Committee of the SLFP last night unanimously endorsed President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to sack Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Anura Bandaranaike and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi. The members agreed their conduct was a serious breach of discipline, a Minister present at the meeting said. The decision came after SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena read out four instances where the trio had breached party discipline. more..

Sri Lanka too good for England

Feb 11 (CI) Sri Lanka beat England by 102 runs in the final of the Malaysian Under-19 tri-series at the Kinrara Oval. Sri Lanka were in trouble after being put in by England, sliding to 84 for 4 before Nisham Mazahir (44) and Roshane Silva (57) added 57 for the fifth wicket and then Roshane and pace bowler Thisara Perera (48) 73 for the seventh wicket. They finished on 266. more..

Tourism Act by next month

Feb 11 (ST) A crucial piece of legislation in tourism, held up for nearly two years will finally see the light of day following changes at the helm of the Ministry of Tourism, renewing hopes of the industry stakeholders. Ministry officials confirmed that the new Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda will finalise the decision to bring in the new Tourism Act by next month, following discussions with some stakeholders earlier this week. more..

Sri Lanka military: 2 Tamil Tiger rebels killed in clashes with army

Feb 11 (AP) Sri Lankan troops clashed with separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, leaving two of the guerrillas dead in the country's volatile north, the military said Sunday. The Tigers attacked army troops on a foot patrol Saturday in Welioya, about 255 kilometers (160 miles) northeast of the capital, Colombo, said senior Defense Ministry official Lt. Col. Upali Rajapakse. more..

President leaves on a foreign tour in domestic political rift

Feb 11 (Xinhua) President Mahinda Rajapakse on Sunday started a 3-day tour to the Maldivian Islands amidst an internal political rift. The Sri Lankan President is expected to hold talks with his Maldivian counterpart, Abdul Gayoom, the Colombo foreign ministry said. Rajapakse on Friday sacked Anura Bandaranaike, Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Suriyarachchi from ministerial positions, in a controversial move. more..

Sangakkara powers Sri Lanka to thrilling win

Feb 11 (CI) A fighting century from Kumar Sangakkara set it up but it was an outstanding spell of death bowling and brilliant catching under pressure that enabled Sri Lanka to pull off a tense five-run win in a Rajkot heart-stopper. Needing 23 in 4.3 overs, with five wickets in hand, India looked set to wrap it up but they were thwarted at the finish line by a team that simply refused to give in. more..

Combinations will be crucial

Feb 11 (CI) Sri Lanka gave ample warning of just how dangerous a one-day team they are, and the importance of proper combinations, by pulling off a tightly-fought but superbly executed win over India. They had an experienced batsman in Kumar Sangakkara batting long, a canny spinner in Sanath Jayasuriya keeping things tight, and an out-and-out quick bowler in Lasith Malinga blasting out wickets. more..

Bobby Jindal joins call to Bush on Lanka

Feb 11 (HT) Bobby Jindal, US Congressman of Indian origin, is among 38 Congressmen who have asked President George W Bush to send a special envoy to Sri Lanka to bring peace to that country, torn by war and violence for more than two decades now. "It is time for the United States to provide global leadership to help advance peace for the people of Sri Lanka. The citizens of Sri Lanka have endured violence and civil war for too long. more..

Mahinda sees threat from LTTE-backed dissidents, says report

Feb 11 (HT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered a high-level police inquiry into an alleged conspiracy by some ruling party politicians to cause 'physical harm' to him, The Sunday Times reports. Addressing the All-Island Executive Committee of the ruling SLFP in Colombo on Saturday, Rajapaksa had declared that there was a conspiracy to assassinate him with the help of the LTTE, more..

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayaka forewarns of an impending crisis in the government leading to its collapse

Feb 11 (AT) Partly infuriated by the exit of 18 parliamentarians from his party and partly elated by the fact that the entry of the those parliamentarians in to the government has caused the events of things that led to the sacking of three SLFP ministers the General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayaka said the government has been hoisted by its own petard. more..

Anura 'dug his own grave'

Feb 11 (BBC) The three ministers sacked on Friday by the President conspired against the government, a senior minister said. The General Secretary of the ruling SLFP, Maithreepala Sirisena, said sacked ministers have been trying to undermine the government. Ministers Anura Bandaranaike, Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyaarachchiwere sacked by President Rajapaksa on Friday. more..

Traffic Chaos As Lanka President Visits

Feb 11 (MN) Male’s pedestrians, motorcyclists and drivers have been in traffic chaos today as the Sri Lankan president begins a state visit under ultra-high security. Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived at Hulhule International Airport at around 9:30am this morning, flanked by bodyguards. He was given a 21 gun salute and welcomed by President Gayoom, his wife, and his government. more..

Differentiate journalism and unionism from terrorism

Feb 12 (AT) It is reported that the Sri Lankan security forces have arrested three Sinhalese men in Colombo. They have been identified as journalists attached to a trade union paper (not a known national newspaper). There is strong evidence proving their links to the LTTE and they were nabbed with a haul of arms and ammunition in their possession. more..

Jaffna media situation grim

Feb 12 (AT) The media situation in Jaffna peninsula is grim. Severe logistical constraints and the fear of reprisal have crippled journalism and the media in the region, a report says. The report on reports that the situation of the media and journalism in Jaffna deteriorated considerably in 2006. more..

SriLankan Airlines reports carrying 67% of arrivals into Colombo

Feb 12 (TB) SriLankan Airlines reported figures for 2006 which showed that the national airline still dominating the domestic market in Sri Lanka, carrying 67% of all passengers into Colombo for the year. Bandaranaike International Airport hosts approximately 20 other airlines, but collectively they carried 59,363 of the total 181,092 inbound passengers into the country in 2006 – the rest were all carried by SriLankan Airlines. more..

Mangala returns-Large crowds gathered to welcome

Feb 12 (LeN) Minister Mangala Samaraweera who was out of the country when his ministries were taken over returned to the island at around 5:30 this evening, where large crowds were gathered to welcome him. Over 5,000 people had gathered out side the Bandaranaike international airport and riot police had been deployed to control them. more..

Ousted Ministers mull next move

Feb 12 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday left on a two-day official visit to the Maldives even as Mangala Samaraweera, one of the three ousted Ministers from the Cabinet on Friday, returned home from a foreign trip to a robust reception by his supporters. Mr. Rajapaksa's aides said the President was confident of containing the damage potential of the rebels within the SLFP. more..

Sri Lanka shares peep above 3,000 point mark

Feb 12 (LBO) The Colombo Stock Exchange’s main index topped the 3000 mark in early trading Monday, driven by gains in highly capitalized telecom stocks dealers said. The index was driven up from Friday’s close of 2,973.57 with Sri Lanka Telecom shares trading as high as 35.75, up 2.25 rupees. SLT posted the 160 percent surge in profits in the last quarter. more..

Military victory unlikely to produce lasting solution - British Minister

Feb 12 (TN) "A military victory for one side is very unlikely to produce a lasting political solution," says British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Dr Kim Howells, who is visiting Sri Lanka Monday to assess the impact of recent fighting on the civilian population and will hold a series of meetings with the Sri Lankan government, diplomatic and civil society representatives in Colombo. more..

Food shortage looms in Jaffna peninsula

Feb 12 (TN) The supply of essential food items has once again reached low levels in the north prompting K.Ganesh, Government Agent (GA) of Jaffna to announce new measures to deal with the situation to avert a serious crisis. At a special meeting held on Sunday at the Jaffna secretariat the GA issued instructions to the secretaries of the various regions to formulate plans regarding distribution of food items to the public in their administrative areas based on the availability of the various food items. more..

“Killing of Hindu priest exposes the barbaric nature of the LTTE ” - Army Commander

Feb 12 (GDI) Following the brutal assassination of the Head priest of the Pulliar Hindu Temple at Sandiveli in Batticaloa, by the LTTE terrorists, who garlanded President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his recent visit to Vakarai, Sri Lanka Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka warned that this incident could lead LTTE to face severe punishment. more..

President Rajapaksa calls for greater heights in Sri Lanka-Maldives relations

Feb 12 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa called for constant evolution of bilateral relations between the Maldives and Sri Lanka. “From now on, we need to take our bilateral relations to greater heights to ensure development of our economies and to generate prosperity. Let us continue with vigour and earnest effort at this special occasion to work together to achieve common goals. more..

Easy access for Sri Lankan fisherman to international waters

Feb 12 (GDI) Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Felix Perera held discussions with the Maldivian Minister of Fisheries, Agriculture and Marine Resources, Abdulla Kamaludeen in Male this morning. Sri Lankan minister appealed to his Maldivian counterpart for active cooperation to settle the issue Sri Lankan fisherman face in entering international waters through the narrow sea strip demarcating the Maldivian and Sri Lankan sea boundaries. more..

95 families in Batticoloa district receive compensation

Feb 12 (GDI) 95 families victimized in terrorist’s attacks in the district of Batticoloa were granted with compensations under the directions of Minister of Resettlement Risath Bathiyutheen today. Accordingly a total sum of Rs. 1,050,000 was allocated for this compensation scheme. Handing over of compensation will take place at Ottamawad Pradeshiya Sabha in Batticoloa. more..

Navy destroy a Sea tiger Boat, in a retaliatory attack

Feb 12 (GDI) The Navy destroyed a sea tiger boat and captured another in a retaliatory attack in the seas off Poduwakattu in Trincomalee this morning (12). The sea tiger boats had been sailing close to the Poduwakattu coast towards the south when the Navy detected them. Upon detection the sea tiger boats had opened fire targeting naval craft patrolling in the area compelling the Navy to retaliate. more..

Sacking Mangala & Sripathy is beginning of cracking down on patriotic forces! - JVP

Feb 12 (LT) The JVP says stripping portfolios of Mangala & Sripathy is opposing individuals and organizations that brought victory to President. A communiqué issued by the Political Bureau of the JVP states stripping of ministerial portfolios of Messrs. Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathy Suriyarachchi is unjustified as they did yeoman service to bring victory to Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

Sripathy complains to Police

Feb 12 (LT) Former Minister Sripathy Suriyarachchi has made a complaint to Borella Police regarding a report published in an English daily that he had made a statement to the effect that “the head of the government would be smashed.” The newspaper had published that he had repeated the statement to Minister Mervin Silva and Ven. Ahuraliye Ratana Thera said Mr. Suriyarachchi saying that he had never made such a statement. more..

Latest Report of Disappearances, Abductions, Killings in South

Feb 12 (LeN) Civil Monitoring Ccmmission had release the latest report of Extra Judicial Killings, Abductions and Disappearances in South. This list is up dated last February 07th, 2007. 12 Killed, 49 Abducted-Disappeared, 14 Abducted-Released. Acts of Disappearances, Abductions, Killings and Extortions occurred outside North and East, ( capitol city Colombo, Suburbs, other areas in the south). more..

Buddhist monks protest against the 5th anniversary of the CFA

Feb 12 (LeN) Sri Lankan Buddhist monk activists of National Bhikku Front stage a fast in Colombo, 12 February 2007 to protest against the fifth anniversary of the cease - fire agreement signed 22 February 2002 between Sri Lanka government and the LTTE. More than 60,000 people have died in the 35-year-old ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, where the LTTE is fighting for a separate state for minority Tamils. more..

Vaas and Murali return for World Cup

Feb 12 (CI) Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan returned to the fray as Sri Lanka retained the bulk of their 15-man squad currently touring India, for the World Cup. Upul Chandana and Nuwan Zoysa, the men who replaced the the rested duo, were the only ones not included for the trip to the West Indies. Russel Arnold, recently recalled to the side, will vie for a middle-order spot with Marvan Atapattu, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chamara Silva. more..

Sri Lanka's private sector battles foreign competition of a different kind in Bundala

Feb 12 (LBO) In the deep south of Sri Lanka, native vegetation at a fragile wetland nature reserve is being chocked-out by an implacable foreign invasion. The Bundala national park, designated a globally valuable resource under the Ramsar convention on wetlands, covers 3698 hectares of scrub jungle and water bodies bordering the coast in the southern Hambantota district of the island. more..

Mahanayake Thera tells Govt. members to unite

Feb 12 (LNP) Malwatte Chapter Mahanayake the Most Venerable Thibbotuwawe Sumangala Thera yesterday insisted that the members of the government should leave behind their differences for the sake of country`s unity and territorial integrity. The Mahanayake Thera had said this when Plantation Industries Minister D.M. Jayaratne called on him at the Malwatte Maha Viharaya yesterday. more..

Navy strike it rich

Feb 12 (LNP) The Navy on Saturday arrested three Tamils, one a Canadian passport holder, in two dinghies, with a large sum of money in their possession, in Pesalai, Mannar, while two Tigers were reportedly killed in fresh clashes with the military in Welioya on Saturday. `One suspect had in his possession US$ 451, Pounds Sterling 800, Canadian$ 1,050 and LKR 24,320` a senior military official said. more..

No one above law: Keheliya

Feb 12 (LNP) Commenting on the possibility of conspiracy charges being levelled against the sacked Ministers, Defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told the Daily Mirror yesterday `No one is above the law. It can be X, Y or Z. Anyone found to be involved in an act which is a threat to national security will be dealt with severely under the law`. more..

India`s Sethu Canal Project - have the Gods struck?

Feb 12 (LNP) Swami Omkararananda head of Chidbavananda Ashram of Vedapuri filed suit in court claiming that the Adam`s Bridge should be preserved as a monument of archeological and religious value. The bridge has been built by Lord Rama to reach Sri Lanka with his simian to fight Ravana and retrieve his wife Seetha. As such the bridge is revered by Hindu`s all over the world according to the Swami. more..

TULF leader writes to Prelates

Feb 12 (SAMN) TULF President V. Anandasangaree called on the Maha Sangha and all religious leaders to prevail on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to come with a proposal to resolve the national question based on the Mahinda Chintana which is based on natural justice. "I hope his proposal for a lasting solution will bring back peace to our suffering masses after a period of a half a century," he said more..

President briefed on swastika ban

Feb 12 (SAMN) The Religious Affairs Ministry has handed over a report to the President on the proposed ban by the European Union of the swastika, suggesting action to prevent its implementation. Ministry Secretary P. Kodituwakku said the report details how the symbol has been used in Sri Lanka since ancient days by both Buddhists and Hindus, the importance of the symbol to both religions and the impact of the ban on them. more..

Youth in estates opt out of the estates

Feb 12 (SAMN) The stigma associated with workers on plantation estates has sent most educated youth from such backgrounds reeling towards unskilled or semi-skilled jobs outside of this sector, a World Bank report stated. This could explain why urban migration may not resulting immediate welfare improvements for households. more..

WB not happy with Samurdhi

Feb 12 (SAMN) Despite a long history of publicly funded targeted welfare programmes, most such current programmes including Samurdhi are well below potential in protecting the consumption of the beneficiaries. This was revealed in a World Bank Dissemination Workshop held last week where World Bank report titled “Sri Lanka Poverty Assessment” was presented. more..

Al-Qaeda follows LTTE text book on terror faithfully

Feb 12 (AT) Glen Jenvey a specialist on international terrorism has drawn the copycat terror tactics of Al Qaeda borrowed from the textbooks of LTTE – a banned terrorist organization by the international community. In an analysis of the lead given by the LTTE for other terrorists organizations to follow he has highlighted LTTE as the mastermind that sets the pattern for organization like Al Qaeda to pursue global terrorism. more..

Sri Lankan state crackdown in Left wing activists and Independent media

Feb 12 (IM) The Sri Lankan state under President Mahindra Rajapakse is trying to destroy the Sri Lankan working class movement - the only movement that has the capability of bringing peace to Sri Lanka. As the war against the LTTE has intensified, Rajapakse has reintroduced the notorious ‘Prevention and Prohibition of Terrorist Activities’ bill – a bill that allows for the indefinite detention of suspects without trial. more..

UW professor heads to Sri Lanka

Feb 12 (BH) University of Wisconsin-Superior professor Judy Dwyer will help implement Sri Lanka’s first university-based social work program this year. According to the UW-Superior Sociology Department, Dwyer is currently in Colombo, Sri Lanka, developing the program in cooperation with faculty at the University of Kelaniya. more..

I will take necessary steps to protect SLFP - President

Feb 12 (DN) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party since its inception had to face conspiracies but whatever the nature of the conspiracy, I am prepared to take the necessary steps to prevent the destruction of the party and protect it, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President gave his assurance when he addressed the SLFP Executive Committee Meeting held at Temple Trees on Saturday. more..

PM inaugurates Rambukkan Oya project today

Feb 12 (DN) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake will inaugurate construction work on the Rambukkan Oya reservoir project in Pollebedda in the Maha Oya Divisional Secretariat Division in Ampara at 10 a.m. today. The Rambukkan Oya project is estimated to cost Rs. 2,500 million. Of this Rs.1,175 million will be spent on Engineering works and Rs. 750 million on infrastructure facilities for people in the area. more..

President – Mangala, Anura, Sripathi patch up ongoing

Feb 12 (DM) A group of ministers, businessmen and mutual friends of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the three ministers sacked on Friday, are working to bring about a reconciliation between the two estranged parties, a close confidant of the President told Daily Mirror from Male yesterday. “On the President’s side, there still is room. No decision is irreversible. If the right chords are struck, there is a very good chance of a patch up” said this official. more..

Fishermen face severe problems under new restrictions

Feb 12 (DM) A large group of fisher families in Modara have had to face grave problems and are fighting for their survival, due to fishing in the stretch from Modara to Dehiwela being restricted over security concerns. About 360 such fisher families on the Modara coastal belt have been affected with the restriction imposed on fishing and their plight has worsened, after the government failed to grant the promised compensation at the due time. more..

WITNESS - Getting used to life with no working limbs

Feb 12 (Reuters) Five months after a minibus smash on the eastern front of the Sri Lankan civil war broke my neck and left me completely paralysed, the condition has long since lost its novelty value. Since September, I have been unable to perform most of life's most basic functions. I need to be fed, washed, dressed and turned frequently in bed to avoid pressure sores. more..

Military Gains In Sri Lanka No Cause For Euphoria

Feb 12 (PRI) Donor countries have pledged another $4.5 billion by way of aid to Sri Lanka, but have frowned upon the Mahindra Rajapaksa Government's pursuit of only military strategy against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and inadequate focus on a negotiated political settlement. The Norwegian-brokered cease-fire is as good as dead, though neither side has formally abrogated it. more..