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More UNPers to crossover

Feb 18 (SAMN) There is no likelihood of an early general election now but between four to six more UNP parliamentarians will be joining the government in the next two weeks and already some of them have met President Mahinda Rajapakse, Minister for Nation Building S. M. Chandrasena said Saturday. He said the majority of the government will be over 125 when the new group of dissident UNP MPs join it. more..

US closely monitoring SL kidnappings

Feb 18 (SAMN) The US government is closely monitoring human rights violations in Sri Lankan but is yet to decide on appointing a special envoy for the Sri Lankan conflict. The US government has decided to take a close look on killings, disappearances, abductions and kidnappings in Sri Lanka through diplomatic channels, sources said. more..

Sri Lankan Drug Smuggler Jailed

Feb 18 (MN) A Sri Lankan man who smuggled over two grams of cannabis into the country has been jailed for life. The Criminal Court passed the life sentence on Rathnayaka Mudiyanselaga Jayasintha on February 8, the Attorney General’s website says. He had smuggled the cannabis leaves wrapped in tissue and jammed into a cigarette packet. more..

Malta funds tele-centres for Sri Lanka villagers

Feb 18 (ToM) The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka has successfully established three Multipurpose Community Tele-centres (MCTs) in tsunami-affected coastal areas of southern Sri Lanka, with funds donated by the government of Malta, through the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO). more..

“Untouchables” look for overseas jobs

Feb 18 (SAMN) The people of Kanatholuwa are looking for jobs and income generating methods to climb out of poverty but centuries of tradition and beliefs are standing in the way. Generating jobs for the people of Kanatholuwa, a hamlet in the interior of the Kurunegala district, has been more difficult than in an ordinary village. This is a Rodiya village. more..

Probe into elephant polo episode

Feb 18 (SO) The Galle police have launched an investigation into the incident where an elephant went berserk and smashed up a vehicle parked near the Samanala Park and also caused injuries to two persons during the 6th annual Elephant Polo- Tournament held in Galle on Thursday. The two who sustained injuries were admitted to hospital, who were later identified as the mahout and a foreign player riding on the back of the elephant. more..

All-Island Essay competition for teenagers

Feb 18 (SO) All schoolchildren in the age group of 15-19 years could participate in the annual All Island Essay competition on 'Drug abuse and HIV/AIDS', conducted by the Lions Clubs international - District 306 A 2 assisted by Sri Lanka Anti-Narcotics Associations (SLANA). The contest is being conducted for the 15th consecutive year, organising Committee Chairman Lion S. Ramachandran MJF said. more..

Power shock at Kerawalapitiya

Feb 18 (NS) Several engineers attached to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) have warned the government that the proposed Kerawalapitiya Power Plant, if constructed and operated will incur the country a staggering loss of Rs. 77 million a day. A confidential document with details of how the government will incur heavy losses due to this has already been submitted to Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy. more..

TNA condemns threats against Tamil journalists

Feb 18 (TN) "We condemn in the strongest terms the killing of the President of Tamil News and Information Centre (TNIC) Mr. Gananathan the very next day an indirect threat to his life was made in the Sri Lanka National Radio on the 31st of January," said a communique issued by Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians Friday in Colombo. more..

Mail service to Jaffna breaks down

Feb 18 (TN) Mail services between Jaffna peninsula and other parts of Sri Lanka are disrupted since January 14, according to residents in Jaffna. More than six hundred mailbags and 5537 bags of parcels including food items have been lying in the Trincomalee main post office for the past 30 days waiting to be transported to Jaffna by sea, postal sources said. more..

Education in peril

Feb 18 (TN) More than 7% of school-aged children in Jaffna, amounting to 10201 students, dropped out of schools in 2006, most of the dropouts occurring following the fresh outbreak of violence from 11 August 2006, say education officials in Jaffna. The schools in the district that boasted highest literacy rates 3 decades ago, and produced nearly 40% of the medical and engineering freshmen, now are gripped with fear of student abductions, more..

Anura wilts while Mangala fires on

Feb 18 (NS) The curtain rose on the Bandaranaike circus this week with the chief protagonist Anura Bandaranaike deciding to join the Rajapaksa bandwagon without so much as a murmur. It was a display of how fickle the Sri Lankan political arena is. In any case the swift shifting of alliances by Anura Bandaranaike was not a surprise to many who know his nature and his maverick ways. more..

Sinhala and Tamil are compulsory for public servants

Feb 18 (NS) All new recruits to the public service should have working knowledge in both Sinhala and Tamil and are required to undergo a language proficiency test in the future, according to new regulations to come into effect shortly. The circular in this regard is to be issued by the Public Administration Ministry within the coming week, The Nation learns. more..

Minister Jayasuriya to start mobile offices

Feb 18 (NS) Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs Karu Jayasuriya plans to hold mobile offices of the state services periodically to attend to people’s problems by going to their doorstep, similar to the Presidential Mobile Services carried on by former President Ranasinghe Premadasa. Officials of all ministries and departments and statutory bodies will participate at these mobile offices along with the provincial and district officials. more..

SLFP southern councillors rally behind Mangala

Feb 18 (ST) SLFP local councillors in two key southern districts, Galle and Matara, have rejected a move to endorse President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to sack Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi. Instead, they adopted a resolution yesterday calling upon President Rajapaksa to re-appoint Mr. Samaraweera and Mr. Sooriyarachchi as ministers and hand them back their portfolios. more..

Clown Prince in Valentine circus

Feb 18 (ST) It happened on Valentine's Day adding a romantic twist to the otherwise cut-throat national politics that is becoming murkier by the day. Anura Bandaranaike, the son of two Prime Ministers and brother of a one-time President, walked into "Temple Trees" last Wednesday morning. With tears flowing from his chubby cheeks, he clasped the hand of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and quavered as he apologized. more..

LTTE digging in for big battle in Jaffna

Feb 18 (ST) It happened when the National Security Council was in session in Colombo last Wednesday — the first since President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned to Sri Lanka after his three-day official visit to the Maldives. Tiger guerrillas directed a barrage of 130 mm artillery fire at the Army's 53 Division Headquarters in Kodikamam north. more..

Too many doctors by 2009: Minister

Feb 18 (ST) The government will give appointments in the state service to about 800 newly passed out medical graduates on Tuesday, but the Health Minister warned last night that this practice of automatic recruitment of doctors would come to an end in 2009. The current deficit of 1,800 MBBS-qualified doctors and 600 specialists in the state service would easily be filled within two years, despite a yearly drain of 200 to 300 doctors to other countries. more..

TN: Sri Lankan refugees rescued

Feb 18 (PTI) A total of 16 Sri Lankan refugees arrived at Dhanushkodi today after spending three days in a sand dune in hip-deep waters, officials said. They were brought to the shore by a Coast Guard hovercraft after being spotted by a helicopter on the second sand dune in the Palk Straits, they said. The refugees told reporters they were dropped at the sand dune by illegal ferry operators from Sri Lanka. more..

Rebel mortar fire injures civilians in Sri Lanka's northeast

Feb 18 (Xinhua) At least 3 civilians including a child were injured when the Tamil Tiger rebels fired mortars at a northeastern village, defense officials said Sunday. The LTTE fired mortars landed at Ethavatunuwewa village in Welioya, a northeastern border village around 2 a.m local time Sunday (2030 GMT). Officials said the mortar landed on a bunker housing civilians located close to a military detachment. more..

Indian Govt alive to LTTE threat, coast guard gear ups to hit back

Feb 18 (HT) The huge cache of arms, including plastic explosives and suicide jackets, recovered from a suspected LTTE boat last week off the Tamil Nadu coast in Park Bay has triggered concern about such illegal activities thriving in the Indian Ocean. The government has decided to deploy more assets and strengthen surveillance in the 1,800 nautical mile zone this side of the Sri Lankan maritime boundary to more..

Lanka war set to shift to North

Feb 18 (HT) The fifth anniversary of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE falls on February 22. But the coming week may well see the beginning of a fresh round of intense fighting. Indications are that the focus will shift from the Eastern coast to the Jaffna peninsula in the North. Indeed, fighting in the North may have begun already. more..

Britain quizzes Sri Lanka on meeting aid conditions

Feb 18 (Reuters) Britain has asked the Sri Lankan government for assurances that it was fulfilling human rights and defence spending conditions to ensure the flow of millions of pounds in aid, the British embassy said on Sunday. The British query comes as both the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels ignore repeated pleas from the international community to halt a new chapter of a two decade civil war more..

Parliament to meet amid political tension

Feb 19 (TN) Sri Lanka's parliament is to meet Tuesday again amid political tension in the ruling UPFA government created by the sacking of three ministers by President Mahinda Rajapakse. Parliament met last time amid tension created by the defection of eighteen parliamentarians from the main opposition United National Party (UNP) to government side, sources said. more..

British Government will not de-proscribe the LTTE - British High Commission

Feb 19 (AT) British Government is not interested in de-proscribing the LTTE. A press release issued by the British High Commission in Colombo clarified the position of the British Government. The Tamil Tigers was banned in London on March 2001. Though the ban against the Tigers continues to remain on hold, observers are of the opinion that LTTE continues with the collection of funds and other activities despite the ban than prior to it was banned. more..

Ellalan Force -- Tamil Tiger killer squad -- operating in France threatens veteran journalist S. Kuhanathan in Paris

Feb 19 (AT) Ellalan Padai, the killer sqaud of the Tamil Tigers targeting civilians in the North East of Sri Lanka in the name of weeding out anti-social elements, has emerged for the first time in France. Their presence is made known through pamphlets either pasted or distributed in the Tamil shops and business establishments located in Paris 18- Marcadet-Poissonniers, and Paris 10 - La-Chappele. more..

Share market on a buoyant mood while breaches 3000-point barrier

Feb 19 (AT) The HNB Stockbrokers in their weekly review indicated that the market started off on a buoyant mood, however activity dampened during the latter part amid profit taking this week. A political commotion with the President taking over the ministries of several ministers left the market unscathed this week, as investors seemed to ignore the political developments and instead seemed focused on corporate earnings. more..

Sri Lankan experts serving in Ruwanda to set up small scale hydro power plants

Feb 19 (AT) Sri Lankan electrical Engineers and hydro power generation consultants are now serving in Ruwanda to promote and set up a number of small scale hydro power plants. Sri Lankan Professor and leading entrepreneur in Small hydro power generation Dr.Nisantha Nanayakkara who regularly visits Ruwandan sites and provide consultations from pre-feasibility studies to more..

North’s news starved readers need urgent saline treatment

Feb 19 (TW) The news items of the severe dearth of news paper print in the North reminds me of the good old Tamil saying which likens ‘a man, fallen from a tree being butted to death by a bull’.Since August 11 last year, the day hostilities erupted in the North, circulation of all Colombo based newspapers came to a stand-still with the closure of the A9 Road indefinitely. more..

Appreciation: Justice Sharvananda

Feb 19 (MJ) Justice Sharvananda,who was the first Sri Lankan Tamil to adorn the prestigious position of a Chief Justice, passed away in Australia last month. Justice Sharvananda was living in retirement in Australia after emigrating there. Justice Sharvananda,who was born in Kayts, had his primary education at St. Anthony’s College-Kayts and later at Jaffna Hindu College. He obtained his bachelor’s Degree in Arts and Law from the University of London. more..

Ad Hominem

Feb 19 (TN) Allan Rock, Special Representative for United Nations Committee on Children and Armed Conflict, came under scathing personal attack in Sri Lanka Government controlled media for his report implicating Colombo for complicity in child recruitment. Ad hominem, a fundamental fallacy much detested in the field of rhetoric, and legal and scientific debate, more..

Fire destroys four houses, vehicle in Mannar

Feb 19 (TN) Houses of four fisher families were gutted by fire and a two million rupee valued vehicle used for transporting fish was also destroyed completely in a fire Monday morning around 11.30 a.m. at Vankalaipaddu in Mannar district, sources said. The fire started in one house in a house and spread to the other properties before residents of Vankalaipaddu were able to extinguish the fire, sources said. more..

Remove Tissa Vitarane from cabinet- JVP

Feb 19 (TN) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), marxist, extreme Sinhala nationalist party, said Minister Tissa Vitarane who advocates devolution of power contrary to the provisions in the "Mahinda Chinthanaya" should be removed from the cabinet first if Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse is sincere in preserving law and order, media sources in Colombo said. more..

Sri Lanka exports to India drops for the first time on trade wars

Feb 19 (LBO) For the first time in a decade, Sri Lanka’s exports to India dropped last year, following trade disputes over the island’s duty free access into India for vegetable oil, spices and copper. Sri Lanka and India have duty free or preferential access into each other’s markets for over 4000 goods, under the Indo-Lanka Free Trade deal, in effect since 2000. more..

Sri Lanka’s Dialog Telekom’s net profits up 44%

Feb 19 (LBO) Dialog Telekom, Sri Lanka’s largest cellular phone operator, Monday posted a 44 percent rise in net profits for the 12 months to December, and said it plans to cover 100 percent of the island by end 2007. A unit of Telekom Malaysia, Dialog Telekom, reported a 10.12 billion rupee group net profit, while revenues climbed 42 percent to 25.68 billion rupees, over the same period 2005. more..

European Union must be vigilant

Feb 19 (ISL) The news published in the independent Tamil media confirms disturbing development in the LTTE activities. The European Union proscribed the LTTE in May 2006. The proscription has impacted on the LTTE considerably. Since the proscription, LTTE had made amends to its activities and is taking avenues through passive sources to carry on with its activities. more..

D.M. to broker reconciliation between president & sacked ministers

Feb 19 (LT) Mr.D.M. Jayaratne said he was meeting sacked ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathy Suriyarachchi with the blessings of President Mahinda Rajapakse to bring about reconciliation. The political crisis within the SLFP has worsened during the weekend due to the sacking of the ministers and party seniors have expressed their dismay that the rift was having adverse affect on the grassroots support base of the party. more..

General hospital conducted 1007 heart surgeries in year 2006

Feb 19 (GDI) Sri Lanka’s main hospital, the National Hospital in Colombo, conducted 1007 heart surgeries in 2006. The dedication of all staff members including doctors and nurses has led to this great and satisfactory achievement despite some shortages of facilities, doctors, nurses and other staff. The hospital also conducted around 100 surgeries in January this year. more..

FM completes successful mission in Pakistan

Feb 19 (GDI) “Pakistani government has pledged to extend their fullest support for Sir Lankan Government’s all actions against terrorism,” said the Foreign minister after the completion of his successful tour in Pakistan. According to Minister Bogollagama, this pledged was given by the Pakistani Prime Minister and other authorities. more..

‘SAARC Car Rally’ to develop regional cooperation

Feb 19 (GDI) South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Car Rally- 2007, which will touch all the member-nations, will be flagged off from Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh, on 15th March. Thirty cars carrying the representatives of seven SAARC Countries--Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will travel more than 8,200km in SAARC countries for 31 days. more..

SL Government has every right to fight terrorism

Feb 19 (GDI) Three senate members of the United States Government have asserted that the Sri Lankan Government has every right to fight against the growing menace of terrorism. Senator Edward Kennedy, Senator John Kelly and Senator Chriswood Emmer have stated this opinion to the Sri Lankan Government in a joint letter. more..

Lankans held for arms smuggling in Tamil Nadu

Feb 19 (GDI) The Special Narcotics Cell of the Indian Customs arrests a 50 year-old Sri Lankan named Balan on Sunday (18), the Indian daily ‘The Hindu’ reports. Primary investigations have revealed that he was one of the key players of smuggling in the region and one of the coordinators of the arms network in Tamil Nadu, the news report further states. more..

LTTE activists campaigning to gain support from British parliamentarians

Feb 19 (GDI) According to LTTE circles a determined effort is made by its campaigners to obtain signatures from British parliamentarians criticising Sri Lankan government handling the present crisis in the island. Already two left wing parliamentarians have signed the petition and the campaigners are experiencing difficulties as others approached are not willing to put forward their names. more..

British Govt remains committed to assist Sri Lanka

Feb 19 (GDI) United Kingdom said that the British debt relief programme for Sri Lanka following the tsunami was in no way linked to a possible de-proscription of the LTTE by London. The British High Commission issuing a press release noted that British Minister Dr.Kim Howells made it clear that during his visit to Sri Lanka that the British Government is not considering de-proscribing the LTTE. more..

Address by Justice Nissanka Udalagama, Chairman of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry

Feb 19 (PISL) It gives me great pleasure to address you today, at this inaugural meeting as the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry appointed by the President in terms of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, to investigate and inquire into alleged serious violations of Human Rights occurring in Sri Lanka since 1st August 2005, including in particular 15 incidents stipulated in the Presidential Warrant. more..

President should correct his mistakes - Weerawansa

Feb 19 (LeN) JVP Parliamentary Group leader Wimal Weerawansa yesterday asked why the President does not take action to rectify the 'mistake' he himself admitted, by abolishing the Ceasefire Agreement before it completed five years this Thursday. Mr. Weerawansa who is also the General Secretary of the Patriotic National Movement (PNM) yesterday joined the sathyagraha launched by the National Bhikkhu Front demanding the Government withdraw from the ceasefire agreement. more..

Mud poster campaign begins - Sripathi

Feb 19 (LeN) Ousted Minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi alleged yesterday there was a government-sponsored poster campaign, to be launched from Colombo to Kataragama last night, to sling mud at them. Issuing a media communique, Sooriyarachchi said some elements had resorted to such heinous acts due to the public upsurge against the ouster of Mangala Samaraweera and himself. more..

Asitha's film on Iraq wins BAFTA award

Feb 19 (LeN) "Do Not Erase", a film written, produced and directed by Asitha Ameresekere last week won a BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Arts) award in the Best Short Film category. Prior to being nominated for this prestigious award, the film was accepted by nine film festivals including Hamburg, Edinburgh , Cologne, Toronto, Vancouver and Rotterdam. more..

Stranded Sri Lankan refugees rescued

Feb 19 (Hindu) It was an ordeal journey for 86 refugees who were abandoned at different islets of the Indian waters by illegal boat operators of Sri Lanka. Though a non-governmental organisation (NGO) and the Coast Guard on Sunday rescued them after nearly four days of their landing on the islets, many of them suffered from dehydration and uneasiness. more..

Sri Lanka look to deliver huge surprise at World Cup

Feb 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka will be keen to maintain their recently-acquired reputation of doing consistently well away from home when they begin their World Cup campaign in the Caribbean. None of the three other sub-continent sides can match an impressive record of Mahela Jayawardene's Sri Lankans, who won more than 50 percent of their one-day internationals in 2006. more..