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International Terrorism and Asymmetric Warfare

Feb 17 (AT) I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak before this distinguished audience on an issue that is of direct relevance to India’s security. I propose to address the issue of financing of terrorism in the context of a sustained and multi-pronged combat against international terrorism. International terrorism is recognized today as one of the gravest scourges facing mankind. more..

British Foreign Office Minister completes visit to Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (TW) Visiting British Minister Kim Howells left Sri Lanka on 16 February at the end of a two day visit. He visited the conflict and tsunami affected Ampara district on 14 February and met community leaders, representatives of the Special Task Force and NGOs. He also visited an IDP camp in the coastal town of Karaithivu and saw a British Government funded project, which brings children from all ethnic communities together through art. more..

Step up naval surveillance in common waters: Colombo

Feb 17 (Hindu) Concerned over the large-scale resumption of smuggling of arms and ammunition by the LTTE from India, the Sri Lanka Government has sought heightened naval surveillance in the common waters between the two countries. According to officials here, the stepped-up activities of the LTTE on Indian soil was one of the major issues that figured in the discussions the new Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama had in New Delhi during his first visit a few days ago. more..

Tamil Tigers must honor agreement with Muslims to resettle them with security

Feb 17 (AT) Rauff Hakeem, Minister of Post and Telecommunications, and the Leader of the SLMC said in an interview with the Asian Tribune that the LTTE should not refuse to respect the agreement it has with the SLMC in resettling the displaced Muslims who were driven out of Jaffna by the LTTE cadres. Referring to the SLMC-LTTE meeting held on April 13, 2002 in Killinochchi he said it was a "milestone". more..

United States’ Dismal Human Rights Record has Influenced to Disregard: Rights Violations by Third World Nations like Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (AT) In less than three weeks, the United States Department of State is scheduled to release its Annual Country Reports on Human Rights mandated by the Foreign Assistance Act for the benefit of both branches of the Congress. The United States, in fact, sits on judgment of about 180-odd countries of their human rights practices for the year 2006 as it had done in previous years. more..

Douglas, Sangaree and 13th Amendment “Plus”

Feb 17 (TW) I recently saw on TV an interview given by the President to the BBC’s new correspondent in Colombo. He reiterated that “I will give them a political solution”. What was frightening in that interview was the fact that to Mahinda “Tamils and tigers” were co - terminous. He was boasting that he was sending medicine, fuel, food etc to the tigers but in reality those are being sent to the Tamil people. more..

Mahinda and his political solution for the Sri Lankan Tamils

Feb 17 (TW) In recent times President Mahendra Percy Rajapakse has gone on record frequently saying “I will give them a political solution”. He is of course referring to the Sri Lankan Tamils as “them” though very often in practice those Tamil people are equated with the LTTE and treated as such. What could be this “solution” President Mahinda says “I will give them”? more..

The unraveling of Chinthana alliances

Feb 17 (TW) The electoral alliances Mahinda Rajapakse forged to win the presidency are unraveling faster than expected. The relationship with the JHU and the commitment to the unitary state apart, the key personalities associated with the Rajapakse presidential campaign — Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi — having been sacked from their ministerial positions are now reportedly to join the throng of complainants to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) on account of inadequate security. more..

JVP bound by UPFA manifesto to pursue a political solution - Mangala

Feb 17 (LNP) Ex-Minister Mangala Samaraweera`s demand that the JVP, which is openly opposing a political solution, be brought back to the government fold, at a time when the government has promised to unveil its solution shortly, has disturbed the devolution lobby in the government, The Island learns. more..

Army officers deplore Sripathi`s comments

Feb 17 (LNP) The Security Forces yesterday questioned whether they had unearthed the biggest weapons haul belonging to the LTTE from a `desert` as mentioned by former Minister Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi, belittling their achievements in the East. Speaking to the Daily News on the condition of anonymity, some high ranking Army officials said it was ridiculous to hear such statements from a former Minister who spoke in a completely different tone in the past. more..

SAFTA - is Sri Lanka losing out?

Feb 17 (LNP) South Asia is in the period of transition, there is a need to implement effective economic, political, social and legal structures to support sustained growth. The countries that lead this change will become the new tigers in South Asia just like Taiwan and Vietnam in South Asia. Vietnam has even got entry to the WTO. more..

Musings on Mangala`s `Ten Commandments`

Feb 17 (LNP) Ex-Minister Mangala Samaraweera has lashed out at President Mahinda Rajapakse. He has issued, so to speak, Ten Commandments to the latter. Mangala says if the President did as he said in his much hyped epistle to him, he would consider `coming back.` The 17-page letter, which he has released to the media in keeping with the SLFP tradition according to which SLFP leaders communicate with one another through the media sheds some light on the causative factors of the internal strife of the SLFP. more..

Bhikkus to begin fast in protest

Feb 17 (SAMN) The National Bhikkhu Front (NBF) which evoked no response from its continuous Satyagraha (sit in) is planning to commence a protest fast to press its demand for the abrogation of the ceasefire agreement before it completes its fifth year on February 22. "Our Sathyagraha campaign has entered its sixth day today. We expected President Rajapaksa to take an action immediately after returning from the Maldives. more..

JVP’s two-track strategy in focus

Feb 17 (SAMN) The JVP is in a quandary over its political strategy as it seeks to exploit the downgrading of SLFP stalwart parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera’s status in the ruling coalition. Although the JVP strongly backs Samaraweera’s fight back, they sharply differ on a workable plan to bring the LTTE back to the negotiating table which is believed to be the crux of the political crisis with a multitude of implications. more..

Major search ops in Colombo, Kandy

Feb 17 (SAMN) Thousands of commuters and motorists were caught up in major traffic snarl as the police and army launched a major search operation in Colombo Friday afternoon following a bomb scare. All entry and exit points to the city were searched during the three-hour operation that started around 3.00 pm. The surprise search resulted in a massive traffic jam with large numbers of office workers also seen stranded in bus stands. more..

SLFP Matara meeting postponed?

Feb 17 (SAMN) While the SLFP is launching district campaigns today and Sunday to educate party activists of the latest political developments, ousted Minister Mangala Samaraweera has protested that he had not been invited for today’s Matara district meeting despite being the party’s district leader. In a letter to SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena, Samaraweera has requested that the Matara meeting be postponed to February 24 or more..

North-East to get 126 doctors

Feb 17 (DN) The Health Care and Nutrition Ministry has recruited 126 doctors for North and East hospitals under Health Care and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva's direction. This is the highest recorded number of doctors to be sent to the North and East hospitals at once and the highest number of doctors to be recruited at once in history, Ministry sources said. more..

Mahanayake thera lauds President's decision

Feb 17 (DN) The Chief Prelate of the Malwatta Chapter, Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayake Thera, lauded the President's decision to entrust the Nation Building portfolio with Minister S.M. Chandrasena who understands the suffering of the poor. The Mahanayake Thera expressed these sentiments when Minister Chandrasena, called on the Mahanayake thera and more..

JVP demands committee to determine size of cabinet

Feb 17 (DM) The JVP is likely to propose the setting up of a Parliamentary Select Committee to determine a fixed number of Cabinet ministers for the country in keeping with the desired development goals, population, production capacity and other relevant factors. According to the new proposal, a number of Cabinet ministers will remain in their same capacity despite a change of government. more..

East under oppression: Bishop calls for urgent action

Feb 17 (DM) Colombo’s Anglican Bishop Duleep de Chickera said yesterday the situation facing the people of the East was desperate and the government needed to take urgent action. “A new oppression emerges as the liberation of the east is announced, and the government cannot continue to ignore or avoid its responsibility any longer,” the Bishop said in a statement. more..

Yuvraj powers India to series win

Feb 17 (CI) A ballistic 33-ball half-century by Robin Uthappa set the tone for the run-chase before an assured middle-order partnership between Yuvraj Singh and Sourav Ganguly steered India home to a memorable 2-1 series win ahead of their departure for the World Cup in eleven days' time. It rounded off a couple of fine series for India, with the back-to-back triumphs allowing them to put behind the nightmare they'd endured during the one-day leg of the South African tour. more..

'We played some poor cricket today' - Jayawardene

Feb 17 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene had no excuses after a shoddy performance with both bat and ball that cost Sri Lanka the chance to win a bilateral series in India for the first time. With the exception of Chamara Silva, no other batsman crossed 28, and the Indians overhauled the 260-run target with ridiculous ease as the shadows started to spread across the lush green outfield. more..

Security Forces join hands with Hindu civilians in ‘Maha Shivarathree’

Feb 17 (GDI) The Security Forces and the Police yesterday joined their hands with thousands of Hindu devotees in celebrating the Hindu religious festival "Maha Shivarathree" in the North and East yesterday. This joyous function was held under a concept of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, along with the support of the Security Forces, Police, residents and the Seth Saviya Foundation. more..

Pakistani PM wows to develop Lanka- Pakistan ties for peace and prosperity

Feb 17 (GDI) "The ties between Pakistan and Sri Lanka have developed to a partnership for peace, progress and prosperity," asserted the Pakistani Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz yesterday when Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama called on him. In his discussion with the Pakistani Prime Minister, Mr. Bogollagama extended to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and the Government of Pakistan, more..

British Minister leaves after successful visit to SL

Feb 17 (GDI) Visiting British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Kim Howells left Sri Lanka yesterday after the completion of a successful two day visit in Sri Lanka. Mr. Howells visited the conflict and tsunami affected Ampara district on 14 February and met community leaders, representatives of the Special Task Force and Non Governmental Organisations (NGO). more..

Military: Sri Lanka roadside bomb kills civilian, wounds 5 soldiers

Feb 17 (AP) A roadside bomb killed a civilian and wounded five soldiers in northern Sri Lanka on Saturday, while the army found assault rifles in an eastern village captured from Tamil Tiger rebels last month, the military said. The rebels were suspected in the bomb targeting a bus transporting soldiers in the northern, Tamil-majority city of Jaffna, the government's national security media center said. more..

Sri Lanka's political destiny of planets and men

Feb 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's is supposedly a vibrant democracy with its political destiny decided by a population that got universal suffrage in 1931, but the island's leaders seem to believe their future is controlled by sublime forces of the occult. Sri Lanka's former foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera newly-sacked from the government, is said to have a 'powerful' horoscope or astrological chart, which may have played a part in his estrangement with the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Fleeing Sri Lanka's turmoil, a group of men find themselves trapped in Iraq

Feb 17 (AP) In Sri Lanka's war-torn north and east, where killings happen every day and work is nearly nonexistent, it doesn't take much to entice a man to leave. So when an employment agency offered a steady paycheck for laboring amid Dubai's soaring glass and steel towers, 17 young Sri Lankan men paid their fee to the job brokers - $2,000, a small fortune on this tropical island - and signed up. more..

Sri Lanka U-19 players need more cricket - Coach

Feb 18 (CI) Sri Lanka Under-19 have completed a successful tour of Malaysia where they beat England in the final of a tri-nation tournament on February 11. The U-19 coach Roger Wijesuriya, however, has said that winning is not everything and he wants to groom his protégés to play for the national team. "I am happy we won the U-19 tri-series in Malaysia but for me it doesn't stop with winning. We need to keep on improving our game so that we can be on par with countries like England and India," more..

Sri Lanka A squad to be named after seniors return

Feb 18 (CI) The Sri Lanka A team for next month's series against Bangladesh A will be named after the national team returns from the tour of India. Chandika Hathurusingha, the coach of the A team, said the inputs of Mahela Jayawardene and Tom Moody will also be taken before naming around 18-20 players. He also indicated that the selectors were looking to pick a squad not only for the Bangladesh series but also for the rest of the year. more..

Xerox to capture 300 percent market share in Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (AT) Andrew Horn, Managing Director South Asia Region, Xerox outlining the Xerox local expansion plans said that they look forward to increase their market share in Sri Lanka by as much as 300 percent. He was speaking at a media conference held at the Hilton Hotel, Colombo. He said that printing industry could be improved with modern technology, in Sri Lanka, more..

Preying on Children

Feb 18 (AT) Despite its significance it is a story that went largely unreported and unnoticed in Sri Lanka – the Tigers have flatly rejected a UN demand to increase their minimum recruitment age to 18. The LTTE’s insolent response to the UN comes at a moment when the Security Council’s Special Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict is considering the imposition of targeted measures against the LTTE for persisting in child conscription. more..

‘Invoking History’ - an Intellectual Bad Habit: A Response to Dr. Siri Gamage

Feb 18 (AT) In early January, I had to rush to the Emergency Department of the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, twice at mid night, with a severe right renal colic. Both times only large doses of morphine could pacify my pain. Even after several tests done, the house doctor at the first time could not find a plausible reason for my pain. more..

Anura to be sworn in today? Disciplinary action against the other two ex ministers

Feb 18 (AT) One of the three dissident former ministers who were removed from their ministerial portfolios is to be sworn in again as minister while the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party is considering seriously to take disciplinary actions against the other two. According to reliable sources, Anura Bandaranaike is to be sworn in again as a minister with cabinet status today. more..

NGO scams to run a parallel state with foreign aid

Feb 18 (AT) Recently the Western diplomats stood up together to defend the NGOs. Obviously, they felt that the NGOs, who were their local partners in directing the domestic agenda of the host country, were under attack. It was a rare display of public solidarity which confirms the symbiotic relationship between NGOs and Western embassies. more..

Reviving the Moribund Concept of the Merger: A Betrayal of the National Interest

Feb 18 (AT) There have been in recent weeks somewhat forlorn attempts to revive the idea of a merged political unit, comprising the Northern and Eastern Provinces, for the ostensible purpose of vesting the elected representatives of this territory with autonomous powers of government. This move is currently sponsored by more..

Record arms haul in Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (Hindu) One civilian was killed and six other persons were wounded when suspected Tamil Tigers set off a fragmentation mine in north Sri Lanka even as the military claimed that the haul of weapons in the eastern operation is the largest in the 25-year history of the conflict. The blast was aimed at an army bus carrying troops in the town of Jaffna. more..

Play active role to defuse situation in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh: CPI (M)

Feb 18 (Hindu) The Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau on Saturday said the Government should play an active role in defusing the situation in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as developments in these two countries could have repercussions in India. While welcoming recent foreign policy initiatives taken by the Government, the CPI (M) expressed concern over the prevailing situation in these two neighbouring countries. more..

Former umpire wants wheelchair-friendly stadiums

Feb 18 (CI) Dr Ajith Perera, a former Sri Lankan umpire, has started an an 'Enabling Environments for Everyone' campaign to make sporting venues in Sri Lanka accessible to handicapped or disabled people. His campaign ties up with the government declaring 2007 as a "Year of Accessibility' and Perera - a paraplegic since a car accident in 1992, days before he was due to make his umpiring debut - is determined that something tangible is done to make public places accessible to wheelchair users. more..

British debt relief to Sri Lanka held back over human rights and defence spending

Feb 18 (LBO) Britain is holding back millions in debt relief to Sri Lanka over human rights, rising defence spending and ongoing hostilities, within months of Germany halting new aid to the country. In 2005, Britain has agreed to pay 41 million sterling pounds or nine billion rupees to Sri Lanka from 2005-2015, in annual instalments of four million sterling pounds or 88 million rupees the British High Commission said Sunday. more..

Sri Lankans to be allowed to see their own credit reports

Feb 18 (LBO) Sri Lankan borrowers would be allowed to ask for their own credit reports and request changes if they are not correct, from the country's central credit information centre, an official said. Sri Lanka Credit Information Bureau (CRIB) originally, an agency sponsored by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka will also have its governing law changed to allow the monetary authority to sell down its stake, more..

Jaffna situation improves: varsity reopens tomorrow

Feb 18 (GDI) The situation in Jaffna has improved to a great extent with the University of Jaffna due to be opened tomorrow, reports from Jaffna said. Minister of Disaster Management Mahinda Samarasinghe visited Jaffna accompanied by a high-powered UN delegation on Wednesday. The University of Jaffna will be re-opened tomorrow, after six months since it was closed in August last year. more..

British FM snubs TNA

Feb 18 (GDI) TULF leader V. Ananthasangaree and the leader of the PLOTE T. Siththarthan met with the visiting British Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Minister Kim Howell while on an official visit to the island. Ananthasangaree said, he and Siththarthan had briefed the British Minister on 'what they knew about the present situation in the North-East (NE)'. more..

Vakarai resettlement begins in a fortnight

Feb 18 (GDI) The resettlement in Vakarai is set to begin in a fortnight. Seventy-five percent of displaced people will be resettled under the first phase of the resettlement drive. Accordingly, people are expected to return to 13 of the 16 GS divisions in Vakarai, Kathiraveli and Verugal at the end of this month. De-mining activities in these areas are now in progress. more..

Pakistan eyes larger share of SL`s arms market

Feb 18 (LNP) With an eye to corner a major share of Sri Lanka`s military imports primarily aimed at countering the LTTE, a high-level Pakistani team led by Defence Secretary Tariq Waseem Ghazi will visit the island nation on Monday. The visit comes in the wake of reports of alleged sleaze and bad quality arms received by Sri Lankan forces from Pakistan. more..

Cabinet house full: Extra ministers get Rs. 100,000 for rent

Feb 18 (LNP) All Cabinet, non-Cabinet and Deputy Ministers who do not have official residences in Colombo have been asked to find themselves accommodation for a monthly rent not exceeding Rs100,000. The ministers have been informed by a circular that rent allowance amounting to Rs100,000 would be paid to them for their accommodation in Colombo as the existing official residences for ministers have all been given. more..

Mahinda, Mangala and Anura

Feb 18 (LNP) It used to be said that Sir. John Kotelawela talked first and thought later. That description better suits Mr. Anura Bandaranaike who will later this week return to what he was pleased to describe as a "carnival of clowns." Sir. John certainly was a man of character with a fund of common sense and practical ability although he could sometimes wrong foot himself by shooting his mouth off. more..

Jani Chathurangi suspended

Feb 18 (LNP) Controversial Sprinter Jani Chathurangi was yesterday provisionally suspended from all national and international events, as the Athletics Association of Sri Lanka headed for a fresh trial on the sprinter accused of doping. Jani ignored her promise to submit her decision in writing by last evening and requested for time until Friday (today) morning to do so. more..

Reconstruction expedited in liberated East

Feb 18 (PISL) The government has taken steps to expedite rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure facilities at a cost of Rs 1,200 million in the liberated areas in the Eastern province, the Batticaloa District Civil Works Coordinating Secretary B. Perera told the Sunday Observer. Vakarai, a remote village had no electricity in the past and providing electricity to Vakarai is now in progress. more..

Mangala wants action on COPE findings

Feb 18 (SAMN) Former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera's recent call for speedy action on the findings and recommendations of Parliamentary Watchdog Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has been welcomed by politicians, officials and the general public. But there is no clear indication yet on whether the government will take the road of following up the COPE report. more..