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LIC Lanka breaks into virgin pension market

Feb 16 (LBO) Life Insurance Corporation Lanka is breaking into the untapped pension market in the country offering a long-term product that pays an annuity. "There is a large ageing population in the country," LIC Lanka General Manager S S Mathiapanan said. "The joint family system in our culture is breaking down, children are in different countries, making a pension important." more..

Germany introduces the AutoCAD Software to technical colleges in Sri Lanka

Feb 16 (AT) Amparai Hardy Technical College students introduced the AutoCAD Edu 2007, to the public at the recently held “Dayata Kirula” - the educational and development exhibition at Colombo’s Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference hall. This AutoCAD Edu 2007 software was provided by the Rehabilitation and Modernization of Technical and Vocational Training Institutes project (REVO), more..

Small scale Banana farmers affect due to poverty, lack of financial resources

Feb 16 (AT) A recently concluded survey on local banana cultivation shows, small scale farmers are affected due to their poverty, lack of proper price structure, lack of irrigation land holdings, drought power and lack of regular financial flow. A team of scientists attached to the Open University of Sri Lanka completed this survey. They said specially banana farmers in the Hambantota district face these barriers. more..

Mahinda Rajapske wanted signal posts only! – Tilvin Silva

Feb 16 (LT) President Mahinda Rajapakse wanted only signal posts that would raise their hands for anything says Mr. Tilvin Silva, General Secretary of the JVP. The President took in 18 Parliamentarians from the UNP to get this done said Mr. Silva. Mr. Tilvin Silva said this addressing a massive rally held at Nugegoda today. The rally was held under the theme “Here’s people’s power to defend people’s mandate!” more..

LTTE boat was on its way to Lanka, say TN police

Feb 16 (IE) Even as Tamil Nadu geared up to tighten security along its coast in the wake of seizure of a LTTE boat with explosives and five men on it, including a ‘Sea Tiger,’ Director General of Police D Mukherjee was at pains to clarify that the boat was headed for Sri Lanka and had no plans for a ‘mission’ in Tamil Nadu. more..

LTTE appoints Human Rights spokesperson

Feb 16 (TN) LTTE Friday appointed a spokesperson for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. Ms. N. Selvy, who earlier served as a Peace Secretariat official has been appointed to the post, LTTE officials in Kilinochchi said. "The humanitarian situation in the areas of Tamil homeland under the occupation of Sri Lankan forces is deteriorating. Our leadership has therefore appointed a spokesperson to bring the issues to the focus of humanitarian agencies and the media," more..

Journalist reported missing in Jaffna

Feb 16 (TN) A journalist working for two Tamil dailies, Thinakural and Valampuri, as correspondent of Vadamaradchi region, is reported missing since Thursday night, according to a complaint lodged with Nelliyady police by the journalist's family. The journalist, Subramaniam Ramachandran, 37, a father of two, was last seen at his private tuition centre Thursday evening. more..

Police arrests three Tamil teachers in Nuwara Eliya

Feb 16 (TN) Special police team of CID has arrested three Tamil teachers in Ragala in Nuwara Eliya district in the central province Wednesday night, and has taken them to Colombo Thursday for interrogation, upcountry sources said. Police said the three were arrested on information from one of the three Sinhala journalists, arrested earlier in Colombo, on charges of having received arms training from Liberation Tigers. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines running out of cargo space at Colombo airport

Feb 16 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines says it is running out of cargo space Colombo's international airport, while a newly-built facility lies empty over a rent dispute. The flag carrier broke records for the fifth-year running in 2006 lifting 167,289 metric tonnes of cargo, a 4.48 percent rise over a year earlier, SriLankan said in a release. more..

LTTE terror funded through Indian stock markets

Feb 16 (GDI) India has seen terrorist groups, including the LTTE, manipulating its stock markets, including the benchmark Mumbai bourse to raise funds, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan has said. "Isolated instances of terrorist outfits manipulating the stock market to raise funds for their operations have been reported," Narayanan said at a security policy conference in Munich on Sunday. more..

Mega power project to provide electricity to Ratnapura

Feb 16 (GDI) The Government will soon implement a mega power project at a cost of Rs.5000 million to provide electricity to every household in the Ratnapura District, Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne disclosed. The Senevigama Housing Scheme in the Veligepola Divisional Secretariat Division of the Rakwana Electorate, Ratnapura District, built at Rs.2.5 million under the Jana Sevana Housing Programme more..

Delivery of parcels to Jaffna to be expedited

Feb 16 (GDI) The Postal Department has made arrangements to distribute Jaffna mail and parcels stuck in Trincomalee. Steps are being taken following the advice of the Essential Services Commissioner. Nearly 9,000 letters and parcels due to be sent to Jaffna are stuck in Trincomalee. more..

Summery of the Cabinet decisions- 15.02.2007

Feb 16 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by Hon. Felix Perera, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to establish a joint venture between Ceynor Foundation Ltd and Allied Agro Industries of Bangladesh to manufacture fibre glass fishing boats required for the Bangladesh fishing industry. more..

Prices of the essential goods stabalised

Feb 16 (GDI) Government will be introducing a new ceiling price for the essential goods for the coming two months. This was disclosed to the media today. Accordingly under the 14th sentence of the Consumer Protection Act Government has entered in to protocols with the venders of essential goods to introduce news stable ceiling price for the coming two months and this will be extended eventually. more..

Mangala’s Accusations are baseless – Minister Anura Priyadarshana

Feb 16 (LT) What is said at the Media briefing by the SLFP parliamentarians Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi is baseless, Media minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa says. Minister Yapa addressing the media representatives at the weekly briefing on cabinet decisions yesterday stated that even accusations made after expulsion from cabinet, Minister Samaraweera never came up with them at the cabinet meetings of the Executive Council of the SLFP. more..

Subramanian Swamy asks Manmohan Singh to dismiss Karunanidhi Government

Feb 16 (AT) Dr. Subramanian Swamy, who heads his own Janata Party and is known as one –man demolition army, has asked the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to dismiss Karunanidhi government, claiming that the DMK regime in Tamil Nadu has made the state a safe haven for LTTE cadres. In a statement, reacting to the huge haul of weapons off Tamil Nadu coast over the past couple of days, more..

Couple Attempt to Flee With SR250,000

Feb 16 (AN) Immigration officials said a couple from Sri Lanka attempted to flee the country with SR250,000 stolen from their employer by turning themselves into the Passport Department as illegal residents in hopes of being deported with their bounty, the daily Al-Watan reported yesterday. more..

Pakistan, Sri Lanka to strengthen cooperation in economy, defence, trade

Feb 16 (KUNA) Pakistan and Sri Lanka Friday agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in the fields of defense, commerce and trade, tourism and gemology. The foreign ministers from the two countries here held talks on wide-ranging bilateral as well as regional issues. The two sides agreed to collaborate closely in the fight against terrorism and hold a review meeting to boost their bilateral trade and economic cooperation through the Free Trade Agreement. more..

Karuna dismisses Sripathi`s warning

Feb 16 (LNP) Karuna Amman said he was not concerned about his life but at the same time did not believe the Government has any plans to assassinate him as alleged by former Minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi at a news conference yesterday. Karuna spokesman Azad Maulana quoted his leader as saying there was absolutely no reason for the Government to assassinate him as such a move would have detrimental consequences for the Government both at home and in the international arena. more..

Govt. gives highest priority to human rights issues - Keheliya

Feb 16 (LNP) Defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday said the commission appointed by government, to report on human rights issues on which there has been a big hue and cry has commenced studying the assassination of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamr, the killing of 17 aid workers in Muttur and the massacre of Muslims who were fleeing from Muttur to Kantalai, on facts submitted by the Attorney Generals Department. more..

Kerawalapitiya power plant could overcome 2008 power crises`

Feb 16 (LNP) As Sri Lanka will face an acute energy crisis in 2008, the government has formulated a plan to expedite the construction of Kerawalapitiya power plant, which would generate 300 MW of electricity, Power and Energy Minister W.D.J.Seneviratne said. The Minister told The Island Sri Lanka would have to face a challenge in 2008-2009 and a power and energy crisis would arise and in case the country failed to supply required electricity requirements. more..

Port Customs goes high tech

Feb 16 (LNP) Two high tech scanning machines were commissioned by the Sri Lanka Customs yesterday at the Colombo Port premises by the Director General Customs Sarath Jayatilleke. Earlier there were allegations that the two machines imported at a cost of US dollars 15 million were not operational. Jayatilleke said the machines could analyse images inside containers and such images and all other relevant information could be stored for rescrutinisation even at a latter stage. more..

JVP hits at Mahinda, defends Mangala

Feb 16 (SAMN) The JVP Thursday hit out at President Mahinda Rajapaksa accusing him of taking real conspirators against him into the Government while sacking real friends who laboured to bring him to power. Referring to a remark made by a Government Minister that the JVP did not have a right to talk about internal matters of the Government, JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said the government was not a property of the SLFP or any other person. more..

LTTE links: Police arrest 12 more

Feb 16 (SAMN) The arrest of the three men who had direct links with the LTTE almost a week ago has led to the arrest of 12 more suspects from the same group who have undergone training from the Tigers in Kilinochchi, police sources said. The suspects are now being interrogated by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) which is confident that a few others who are linked to this Southern subversive group will be in their net soon. more..

Govt. to Opp. crossover shortly: UNP

Feb 16 (SAMN) The UNP claimed Thursday that several government MPs would cross over to the opposition shortly. UNP Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella told a press conference that several government MPs are currently having discussions with the party and would join the opposition shortly. “There will be more political dramas in the coming days and it is interesting to see what the government would do ,” more..

Grade 1 admissions: HRC to investigate

Feb 16 (SAMN) The Human Rights Commission is investigating nearly 120 cases of complaints made by parents about corruption, discrimination and deprivation of human rights in admission of children to schools from the beginning of this year a senior legal officer handling the investigations for the HRC told said Thursday. Majority of these complaints were against the principals of the National Schools in Colombo and a number of leading outstations schools, he said. more..

‘No civil war in Sri Lanka’ - President

Feb 16 (DN) “There is no civil war in Sri Lanka. What we have is an internal conflict and the current military actions are a defensive operation against the terrorist offensive actions launched by the LTTE. The civilian population both among the Sinhalese and Tamils is not involved in this armed conflict. Therefore, there is no question of a civil war,” said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in an interview with the influential Tamil Nadu publication ‘Tamilan Express’, relating the situation in Sri Lanka. more..

Minister to ban Teak exports

Feb 16 (DN) Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka has drawn his attention towards imposing a ban on the export of Teak. The Minister has found that Teak which is a valuable resource is being exported by certain parties including the State Timber Corporation saying there is excess production. more..

Govt. seeks UN planes for civilian and cargo transport to Jaffna

Feb 16 (DM) The Government is to seek UN assistance for cargo aircraft to transport essential supplies as well as civilians to and from Jaffna, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told the Daily Mirror yesterday following a visit to Jaffna. Mr. Samarasinghe said that it would help ease the shortfall in food stocks in the peninsula which remained cut off from the rest of the country with the closure of the A9 highway. more..

Send newsprint to N-E urgently, newspaper publishers urge Govt.

Feb 16 (DM) The Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka yesterday expressed deep concern over the plight of its members, who are newspaper publishers serving the North and East of the country. In a statement the Society said information poverty or the failure to make available credible and balanced news to the people of the North and East could have dangerous consequences. more..

Allan Rock exposes Govt - Karuna group nexus to UN working group

Feb 16 (TW) Who is the “suddha” or white man that our pseudo - patriotic hawks love to hate the most? Earlier it was Norwegian special peace envoy Erik Solheim. In recent times it was the Canadian Allan Rock who became prime target. The Former Canadian cabinet minister and ex - ambassador to the UN aroused majoritarian ire after his ten day fact - finding mission to Sri Lanka last November. more..

UW clears Tamil group

Feb 16 (TR) The University of Waterloo will keep closer tabs on self-employed students working overseas after a student on a co-op job placement in Sri Lanka was later accused of supporting the Tamil Tigers. University officials released their summary yesterday of a review of co-op placements and a financial audit of the Waterloo Tamil Students Association that concluded the campus organization did not raise funds for terrorists. more..

Navy 'recovers claymore bearings'

Feb 16 (BBC) The Sri Lankan navy says that it has recovered more than a million steel ball bearings - used in claymore mines - after a skirmish at sea. The navy says that two Tamil Tiger boats were destroyed in the clash off the north-west coast. A spokesman said he believed they had foiled an attempt by the rebels to smuggle the ball bearings into the country to be used in attacks. more..

Sri Lanka war planes bomb rebel targets

Feb 16 (AFP) Sri Lanka's air force bombed suspected Tamil Tiger rebel targets in the northern Jaffna peninsula, the defence ministry said. War planes pounded the towns of Sorampattu and Palai, destroying mortar positions, the statement said on Friday. But the pro-rebel said the military targeted civilian settlements in the north in land and aerial attacks. more..

Sri Lanka says sinks two rebel Tiger boats, 4 dead

Feb 16 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's navy destroyed two suspected Tamil Tiger boats off the island's northwest coast on Friday, killing four fighters, a military official said. Navy patrol boats sank the two small boats near a series of small islands off the coastal district of Puttalam, and said divers recovered bomb-making equipment they were carrying. more..

Reuters Video

Feb 16 (Reuters) An angry elephant takes to destroying a vehicle at an annual elephant polo event in Sri Lanka. A four-tonne elephant threw off his mahout and American rider as the island's sixth annual elephant polo tournament got under way, rampaging off the pitch and crushing the Spanish team's minibus with his head. more..

MK Narayanan's disclosure a blessing: SL

Feb 16 (HT) Sri Lanka is happy that India's National Security Advisor MK Narayanan has drawn the world's attention to the possibility of terrorist groups like the LTTE misusing the stock market and other legitimate investment facilities to fund their subversive activities. "The disclosure is a blessing to the whole world," Sri Lanka's Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told Hindustan Times here on Friday. more..

Sri Lanka navy says it destroys 2 Tamil Tiger boats carrying bomb materials

Feb 16 (AP) Sri Lanka's navy said it destroyed two Tamil Tiger rebel boats Friday as the craft were hauling hundreds of thousands of steel balls often used in bombs. Navy spokesman commander D.K.P. Dassanayake said divers retrieved 28 bags filled with hundreds of thousands of steel balls from the sunken boats. Such balls are used in roadside bombs — a favored weapon of the Tigers, more..

Series set for rampaging decider

Feb 16 (CI) Sometime this morning, while driving along the Chennai-Kolkata highway to make his way to the quite magnificent stadium on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam, Rahul Dravid might have been reminded of the Caribbean island of St Lucia. The thought might not have occurred with regard to the World Cup - India's first aim, as Dravid himself has admitted, is to get to the semi-final, with St Lucia one of the possible venues - but because of how similar the ACA-VDCA Stadium is to the Beausejour in Gros Islet. more..

Those in the executive committee are pimps- SLFP Western Provincial Councilors

Feb 16 (LeN) The decision taken by the president to remove minister Samaraweera and Sripathy from their ministerial portfolios is causing a dispute in the Sri Lanka freedom party. A meeting had been organized under the patronage of the of Party's general secretary Maithripala Sirisena for the Western Provincial Councilors at the Temple Trees. more..

S.B. knocked out, despite pleading for apology

Feb 16 (LeN) An executive committee member of the UNP told 'LeN' that S.B. Dissanayake has now become isolated in the party after the rest of the MP's crossed over to the government. According to him Dissanayake had come under strong criticism during the party's executive committee meeting. The executive committee had started to blame him when he had said that the party did not do certain things as promised with regards to the restructuring of the party. more..

Rebels accuse Sri Lanka troops of 39 civilian deaths

Feb 16 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels accused Sri Lankan security forces of killing 39 civilians and blamed them for the disappearance of 39 others in the last two weeks. The Tamil Tigers said the killings and abductions had occurred during government military attacks in the island's embattled northeast and elsewhere. more..

Free Trade Agreement with India working 'vibrantly' well

Feb 17 (PTI) Hoping that improved relations between India and Pakistan would "supersede" bilateral issues to make SAARC and the South Asian Free Trade Area successful, Sri Lanka today said its free trade agreement with India worked "vibrantly" well. "Sri Lanka is today a country that is experiencing a very vibrant FTA with India, started off another FTA with Pakistan," more..

Capacity Building to boost private sector ICT

Feb 17 (AT) The ICT Capacity Building Programme (ICBP), a US $ 5.2 million initiative to provide a short term boost to private sector ICT firms, is to launch several categories of grants, to encourage innovation in the ICT industry, by providing part subsidies for innovative ICT projects. The Programme is implemented by the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) and the initiative intends to provide a short term boost to private sector ICT firms. more..

Fulcrum round which political protagonists should polarize

Feb 17 (AT) When several other countries that started together with Sri Lanka have solved or are solving similar problems such as ethnicity and religion, why have we not solved ours, even with our glorious and supposedly peaceful past? Was freedom granted to us too abruptly after 500 years of subjugation and are we still trying to get used to it?: should the lions have been gradually released as in the style of the lion cub in the novel--Born Free? more..

'Ready for a new day' Microsoft Sri Lanka unveils a new world of work culture

Feb 17 (AT) Sri Lanka ushered in Windows Vista,Microsoft 2007 Office System and Microsoft Exchange Serve 2007 - the biggest launching the software industry in the recent history. This historic launch which took place at the BMICH, Colombo is the Microft's latest version of its flagship operating system, opening windows to hither to untapped vistas of opportunity and productivity, ease of use, security, stability and connectedness. more..

The LTTE brought all this upon themselves-Tissa Vitharana

Feb 17 (TW) Professor Tissa Vitarana, whose name is synonymous with the hitherto elusive quest for a constitutional framework that would satisfy both the LTTE and the Sinhalese, speaks to C. A. Chandraprema on the accusations leveled at him by the JVP, and the bona fides of President Rajapakse on the question of actually desiring a negotiated settlement to the ethnic conflict. more..

Is India fighting Rajapakse’s war?

Feb 17 (TS) The days of IPKF atrocities on Tamils appear to be back on the government agenda. A sign of its growing involvement in the internal war in Sri Lanka was betrayed by the Indian forces. On Wednesday, the Indian Coast Guard captured and pulled an LTTE Sea Tigers’ boat from Sri Lankan water and towed it to Chennai. more..

Attempt to adopt proposal justifying removal of Mangala & Sripathy withdrawn

Feb 17 (LT) An attempt to adopt a proposal justifying the removal of Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathy Suriyarachchi from their ministerial portfolios had to be withdrawn reveal sources close to Temple Trees. This attempt was made at a meeting held at Temple Trees today, participated by SLFP Parliamentarians, members of Provincial councils and local councils from Gampaha District and chaired by party Secretary General Maithripala Sirisena. more..

Sri Lanka hopes for spark from South Asian motor rally

Feb 17 (LBO) The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the largest regional group in the world by population, is to kick off a rally to spark interest in member country hotspots and tourist attractions. “The rally is to set off in Dhaka in Bangladesh and will take the ground routes through Bhutan, Nepal and via India to Pakistan,” Richard De Zoysa President Sri Lanka Automobile Sports Association said on Thursday. more..