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Sri Lankan navy destroys Tamil rebel boat, at least 8 rebels killed

Feb 12 (AP) Sri Lanka's navy destroyed a separatist rebel boat during a pre-dawn clash on Monday, killing at least eight insurgents off the country's east coast, as air force fighter planes bombed a rebel-held area in the north, the military said. The sea clash broke out after the navy spotted two suspicious boats in a restricted area off the coast of the eastern town of Pulmoddai, about 225 kilometers (140 miles) northeast of the capital Colombo, more..

Bid for truce in Mahinda's party

Feb 12 (HT) Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) insiders and interested persons outside the party are trying hard to bring about a truce between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the three dissidents he had ejected from his Council of Ministers last week creating a major political crisis. Reports suggest that Rajapaksa and the dissidents are themselves considering a patch up. more..

Sri Lanka says sinks rebel boat killing 10 Tigers

Feb 12 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Navy destroyed a suspected Tamil Tiger boat and damaged another off the island's northeast coast before dawn on Monday killing around 10 rebels, officials said. The rebel boat sank around 40 km (25 miles) north of the strategic northeastern harbor of Trincomalee, and sailors found what they believe to be the remains of a slain suicide bomber in the damaged boat. more..

50 million Rs fraud in CPC

Feb 12 (LeN) The Ceylon Petroleum Cooperation has lost over 50 million rupees due to an organized conspiracy in the CPC's distribution centre in Muthurajawela. This was revealed when a trade union of the company formulated a petition regarding the matter. Accordingly it had been carried out since February 2004 after altering the computer system. more..

Slow over-rate costs Sri Lanka

Feb 12 (CI) Sri Lanka have been fined for a slow over-rate during their five-run win over India in the second ODI at Rajkot on Sunday. Match referee Alan Hurst imposed the fines after Mahela Jayawardene's side was ruled to be two overs short of their target at the scheduled finish of the India innings when time allowances were taken into consideration. more..

Tea traders slam authorities over mis-use of industry funds

Feb 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea traders have called for an overhaul of the way levies from exports are used, charging that monies are either subsidizing state agencies stuffed with political appointees, or being witheld from the industry. The Colombo Tea Traders’ Association (CTTA) says it has long been concerned that the funds collected from tea exports, in the form of a cess levy, which should be ploughed back to develop the industry are being mis-used. more..

Sri Lanka seeks investment protection agreement with Maldives

Feb 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka wants an investment protection agreement with the Maldive Islands, visiting Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse said, while calling for expansion of bi-lateral trade and joint action on tourism. Sri Lanka's top business conglomerates, such as John Keells and Aitken Spence have been investing heavily in resorts in the Maldives. more..

Sri Lanka: A Novel Boost for Tourism Industry

Feb 13 (AT) The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has committed a sum of US $ 275,000 to develop sustainable livelihood opportunities through increased tourism in Sri Lanka. Twenty five coastal zones, affected by the 2004 tsunami have been designated for the Greenbelt Redevelopment of Tourism Infrastructure Project. This UNDP funded project is a collaborative effort involving the UN World Tourism Organization, the Ministry of Tourism and the Sri Lanka Tourist Board. more..

Kosgoda villagers felicitated tsunami affected small scale entrepreneur

Feb 13 (AT) Government legislators, business community and Kosgoda villagers felicitated a small scale entrepreneur Chamli de Soyza, who won best Sri Lankan National Entrepreneur of the year 2005 award in Sri Lanka. It was awarded by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce Industry of Sri Lanka [FCCISL] at their annual awards ceremony held in Colombo. more..

Disaster Research Ethics – A Luxury or a Necessity for Developing Countries?

Feb 13 (AT) Sri Lanka, along with many other south and Southeast Asian countries has had the unfortunate experience of facing disasters of various types. Natural disasters like tsunami, floods, earthquakes, droughts and landslides create havoc in many Asian regions regularly while man made disasters such as terrorist attacks and bombings also devastate the populations and create instability throughout Asia. more..

Industrial Finance expands to Anuradhapura

Feb 13 (AT) Industrial Finance Limited recently opened a fully fledged branch office in Anuradhapura as part of its expansion drive in its 45th anniversary year. A key city in the North Central Province, Anuradhapura is widely considered an economic hub with agriculture booming in the area. more..

SLFP was protected not by Anura or Chandrika but Sirisena and Mahinda! - Maithripala Sirisena

Feb 13 (LT) When the SLFP split into three it was not Anura Bandaranayke or Chandrika Bandaranayke who protected the party but innocent villagers like Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapakse said Secretary General of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena. He said this participating at a meeting held at Polonnaruwa yesterday (11th). more..

Despite skirmishes the government is strong! – Nimal Siripala de Silva

Feb 13 (LT) Despite having disputes and confrontations all political parties were brought to one front to form a strong government and it is a sort of a ‘National Government’ says Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva. He points out that the government with 120 Parliamentarians represents all communities. Hence, it is not a SLFP government says Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva. more..

Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission to regroup

Feb 13 (NP) The Nordic Monitoring Mission in Sri Lanka (SLMM) has been temporarily withdrawn to the capital Colombo, to regroup, after its Swedish, Finnish and Danish members will be withdrawn at the end of August. The withdrawal is the result of a demand by the LTTE that all monitors from EU member countries be withdrawn by September 1st. The demand came after the EU included the LTTE on its list of terrorist organizations. more..

On celebrating Independence sans freedom and privacy

Feb 13 (TW) The government of Sri Lanka celebrated the 59th anniversary of Independence of the country, sans the masses participation. It is ironic that the majority of citizens felt there was nothing to celebrate, as we have lost the freedom and privacy we once enjoyed. Today, the masses are subject to so much inconvenience and hardship in the guise of security, due to politicians pursuing their own egos. more..

Sri Lanka's benchmark stock index close above 3000 points

Feb 13 (LBO) The main stock index of Sri Lanka shares closed above 3000 points Tuesday, the Colombo Stock Exchange said. "The All Share Price Index, the benchmark index of the CSE, which was introduced in 1985, surpassed the 3,000 level for the first time today," the CSE said. "The index closed the day at 3,016.4 points, recording a growth of 22.6 points (0.8 percent) for the day and 294.1 points (10.8 percent) for the year 2007 to date." more..

Sri Lanka exports slow in 2006; remittances and borrowings bridge the gap

Feb 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports growth slowed to 8.4 percent in 2006 from 10.2 percent, while imports grew by 15.7 percent, widening the trade balance by a third to 3.3 billion US dollars, the Central Bank said Tuesday. But worker remittances of 2.3 billion dollars and government foreign borrowings of 1.1 billion dollars had helped bridged the deficit creating an overall balance of payments surplus of 193 million dollars and official reserves of 2.5 billion dollars. more..

Sri Lanka to hold fuel prices steady with tax cut on petrol

Feb 13 (LBO) Ceylon Petroleum Corporation will hold fuel prices steady this month with the help of a tax cut on petrol, a top official said. The CPC is expecting a 5 rupee temporary lifting of excise duty on a litre of petrol, CPC Chairman Ashantha de Mel said. The CPC would have made a loss of 3 rupees a litre on petrol, if the tax was not lifted, on their current costs, he said. more..

President’s Male Tour ends successfully

Feb 13 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s state visit to Maldives will end today (13). The visit gave an opportunity to enhance the bilateral relations and cordiality between the two nations. The Government of Maldives pledged to contribute with their maximum support to the Sri Lankan Government to combat terrorism and to establish sustainable peace in the country. more..

British FM to visit Sri Lanka today to reinforce UK support for negotiated settlement

Feb 13 (GDI) Dr Kim Howells, the British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, will visit Sri Lanka from 13-15 February. The main purpose of Dr Howells visit to Sri Lanka is to assess the impact of recent fighting on the civilian population and to reinforce the United Kingdom’s strong support for a negotiated settlement to the conflict. more..

800 new doctors will be recruited

Feb 13 (GDI) The Ministry of Health Care and Nutrition has take steps to recruit 800 new doctors by 15th February under the directions of the Health Care and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. 5,000 Medical Laboratory Technicians will also be recruited shortly while 2,200 midwives have already been recruited and are undergoing training. A total of 11,000 nurses are also undergoing training. more..

Our victory today will benefit children of tomorrow

Feb 13 (GDI) The speech delivered by President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the Sri Lankan community in the Maldives on February 12, 2007: Dear Ministers, Officers, Friends, I consider this tour to Maldives as significant event for both our countries. Relationship between Sri Lanka and Maldives runs back to a history of thousands of years. more..

President pledges to solve problems of the Sri Lankans in Maldives

Feb 13 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksha pledged to take steps to solve the problems of the Sri Lankans living in Maldives. President Rajapaksha stated this yesterday addressing the Sri Lankans living in Maldives.It is recorded more than 7500 Sri Lankans are residing in Maldives. These Sri Lankans yesterday conducted a special tea party for the President at the ‘Fhashana Malan’. more..

Sri Lankan society rejects attempts to sabotage Govt's progress - Media Minister

Feb 13 (GDI) Sri Lankan society wholeheartedly support the path of progress selected by the government of President Rajapaksa and they overwhelmingly reject any sabotage attempts by a few people with narrow selfish political agendas. President’s bold decision to take over the portfolios of three ministers was to defeat the attempts made to sabotage the Government's progressive journey to end the war and achieve prosperity. more..

Owners demand protection to cargo vessels

Feb 13 (TN) The owners of cargo ships leased to the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to transport of essential food items from Trincomalee harbour to Point Pedro have requested Commissioner of Essential Services assurance of protection by security forces, sources said. Safety of vessels in northern water has become a contentious issue after the attack on “City of Liverpool" at Point Pedro Harbour on 21 January. more..

Acting Minister visits the harbour

Feb 13 (LeN) The president had appointed Deputy Minister of Aviation Sarath Kumara Gunaratne as the acting minister of Ports before the head of state left for Maldives on the 2nd. However Gunaratne had this morning paid a visit to the Harbour and also held a meeting with the officials there. Speaking to them the acting minister had said that he was unaware whether the president would appoint him for the post permanently, but that he came to the port to have a good rapport with the employees. more..

UNP Municipal Councilor shot dead

Feb 13 (LeN) UNP member of the Dehiwala- Mount Lavinia municipal council Ariyaratne Silva has been shot dead this morning. He was murdered near the 'Kamkaru Sevana' on Athidiya road in Dehiwala by three people who had arrived on a motor bike. Mount Lavinia police said the murderers had sued a T 56 firearm to conduct the murder. more..

Tiran Allas thrown out of the Airport

Feb 13 (LeN) Tiran Allas who was the chairman of the airport and air services company that came under the purview of Mangala Samaraweera has been removed from his post. The deputy chairman of the company Chandima Rasaputhra has been appointed to replace Tiran. Allas was criticized during the last Executive Committee meeting of the SLFP while Central Party members of the party also asked the head of state to strip Tiran from his posts. more..

Why do we hold Western culture superior to our own?

Feb 13 (KT) VALENTINE’S Day on February 14 does not remind many of us in Sri Lanka that we are blindly following whatever that comes from West. The “West is best” appears to be the motto of many youngsters for whom the struggle against colonialism is just a history lesson in the school syllabus. Making the maximum of this day, which was among the horrible side-effects of the open-economic system, are the commercial establishments. more..

Devolution group strong in Government! – Dilan Perera

Feb 13 (LT) With the cross over of Parliamentarians from the UNP including Messrs. G.L.Peiris, Milinda Moragoda and Rajithe Senaratne the lobby for devolution in the government has been strengthened says non-cabinet Minister of Justice Dilan Perera. After assuming duties in his ministry Mr. Perera visited Badulla prison where he addressed a gathering. more..

Is President a master craftsman to procure 128 subjects? – UNP queries

Feb 13 (LT) Is President a master craftsman (A vishvakarma) to procure 128 subjects in 98 institutions that come under three ministries asks Parliamentarian Gayanthe Karunatilleke, spokesman of the UNP. In a press release Mr. Karunatilleke states government’s claim that subjects of ministries have been allocated on a scientific basis is a joke. more..

Joint effort to combat terrorism

Feb 13 (PISL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom laid the groundwork for an MoU to facilitate bilateral cooperation in combatting terrorism, yesterday. The leaders of the two countries expressed the need for enhanced cooperation in countering terrorism through intelligence sharing and other means during extensive bilateral discussions in Male yesterday. more..

No end in sight

Feb 13 (FL) A HUMANITARIAN crisis of gigantic proportions looms in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. As the battle between the country's military and the LTTE intensifies with each passing day, the worst affected are the ordinary citizens. According to the estimates of the United Nations agencies engaged in the island-nation, nearly 213,000 people have been displaced since the fighting escalated in April last year. more..

Graveyard of pacts

Feb 13 (FL) WITH a 108-member Council of Ministers in a Parliament of 225 members, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has created a dubious world record. On January 28, the island-nation of less than 20 million people qualified for entry into the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest Ministry in the world. more..

Pathan, Sreesanth, Kumble ruled out of third ODI

Feb 13 (CI) Now that both India and Sri Lanka have announced their 15-member squads for the World Cup, the third one-dayer at Goa on Wednesday will provide a sneak preview about their respective strategies. India, as they have been doing over the last six games - four against West Indies and two against Sri Lanka - will continue to ask questions of themselves. more..

Mangala in secret talks with JVP

Feb 13 (LNP) Amidst indications from President Rajapaksa that a patch up would be possible with the ousted ministers, former Minister Mangala Samaraweera held secret talks with the JVP in a bid to strike a political deal with it, hours after he flew back from Singapore. Sources close to Mr. Samaraweera said former Agriculture Minister and JVP strongman, Anura Kumara Dissanayake called on Mr. Samaraweera around 8 pm and the meeting went on well past midnight. more..

Unauthorised houses

Feb 13 (LNP) Colombo is now full of unauthorized housing units and business premises without the approval of the Urban Development Authority or the Colombo Municipal Council. The Island observed many such premises along a housing complex bordering Bloemendhal Road Kotahena during the last few weeks. These ad hoc constructions block roads, drains cause obstruction to the movement of pedestrians and vehicles that pass the roads on either side of the flats. more..

Sathasivam complains of assassination plot

Feb 13 (LNP) Former Parliamentarian and General Secretary of Ceylon Workers Alliance S. Sathasivam yesterday lodged a complaint with the Nuwara Eliya Police that he was on several occasions informed over the telephone, by an unidentified person, that he was to be killed and that the conspirators were in consultation with an underworld gang to carry out the killing for a fee of Rs 3 million. more..

Mangala refuses to hand over vehicle

Feb 13 (LNP) Though messages have been sent to the three ousted ministers to return their ministerial vehicles, Minister Mangala Samaraweera has reportedly insisted he would not part with his vehicle. It is learnt that he had said this to a team of security persons from the Ports Ministry when they came to take his vehicle away. more..

Sacked ministers to complain to HRC

Feb 13 (SAMN) The three recently sacked ministers will lodge complaint with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) this week against the denial of adequate security. After President Mahinda Rajapaksa sacked Ministers Anura Bandaranaike, Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi from office, the special ministerial security provided for them was removed. more..

Conflict will tarnish image: Britain

Feb 13 (SAMN) Britain warned that the conflict, if it continues, will corrode the quality of its democracy, tarnish Sri Lanka’s image internationally and hold back the country’s development. British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dr Kim Howells who is to undertake a visit to Sri Lanka today says the British government has no greater wish for Sri Lanka than that it should find a peaceful solution to its conflict. more..

UNP to join force with JVP, TNA?

Feb 13 (SAMN) The UNP is to team up with other opposition parties in Parliament on certain issues in the future, party General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said yesterday. Mr. Attanayake said the UNP would join force with other parties to voice against corruption, human rights violations, the soaring cost of living and the abductions of persons. more..

Anura puts off Media briefing

Feb 13 (SAMN) SLFP Parliamentarian Anura Bandaranaike, put off a press conference, scheduled to be held yesterday. The media briefing is likely to take place on February 14 or 15. Earlier, an angry Bandaranaike called a press conference at the Cinnamon Grand to explain his stand on President Mahinda Rajapakse`s decsision to strip him of his Cabinet portfolio. more..

No need for a General Election - Healthcare Minister

Feb 13 (DN) The country today has a National Government consisting of several parties. It is strong to tackle any problem and as such there is no need for any General Election said Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. The Minister was speaking at the opening of two new bridges across Loggal Oya at Meegolla and Ekiriya under the Uva-Wellassa Development project, which cost Rs. 120 million. more..

JHU fully behind Govt - Champika

Feb 13 (DN) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) had assured its total support to the Government since it did not want to destabilise the administration paving the way for the LTTE to take advantage of the situation. JHU policymaker and Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Champika Ranawaka vowed to back President Rajapaksa's Government since they know only too well of the LTTE's tactics of taking advantage whenever there was political instability. more..

The ongoing trouble in paradise

Feb 13 (GU) The racism of the Sinhala majority and of the government has led to pogroms against Tamils and their supporters. Last year at least 2,000 were killed, including Tamil MP Nadaraja Raviraj. Despite calling for a renewal of the peace process, Britain continues to back the Mahinda government, including by training its armed forces. Horror at Tamil Tiger actions should not be used to deny the rights of Tamils. more..

Explosives seized off Rameswaram coast

Feb 13 (PTI) A boat carrying about 100 kilograms of explosives that could be used in making land and sea mines has been seized by the Indian Navy off Rameswaram coast. The seizure included IED (Improvised Explosive Device), fuse wire, steel clips, remote control equipment, steel washers and aluminium plates, worth several lakhs of rupees, police said. Two persons on board have been arrested in this connection. more..

Seven kids among 21 refugees in fresh influx

Feb 13 (NIP) A batch of 21 refugees including seven children wended their way to Indian shores on Sunday when they landed at Muthukuda coast falling under Meemisal police range in Pudukkottai district. There is a heavy influx of refugees of late from Neduntheevu and Poonkudi theevu, facilitated by the ferry service to coastal areas of Pudukkottai district. more..

Eight Countries Give Arms to LTTE – US Anti- Terror Expert

Feb 13 (SLA) DR. PETER LEITNER, President Counter Terrorism Research Center and Professor National Center for Bio Defense of the George Mason University identified eight major sources from which the LTTE procures arms and explosives. According to him the following are the sources for LTTE’s arms consignments. 1. Explosives, weapons and other supplies have come from the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, 2. Bulgaria (SA14, LAW), 3. Ukraine (50 tons of TNT and 10 tons of RDX), 4. Cyprus (RPGS),5. Cambodia (small arms), 6. Thailand (small arms), 7. Burma (small arms), 8. Croatia (32,400 mortars) more..

Solar power brings light to the lives of tsunami survivors

Feb 13 (AN) Thousands of families have benefited from the installation 1,234 solar light systems across Sri Lanka. The project is a joint effort between World Vision and Light Up The World Foundation (LUTW). Families living in remote areas, fishermen, and people displaced by the tsunami and civil war have all benefited. "The LUTW and World Vision partnership is one of our most innovative responses to the tsunami. more..