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Defence Secretary visits Eastern Province Military camps

Feb 19 (LNP) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited military camps in the Eastern Province on Saturday. The main aim of the visit was to convey President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s gratitude to the soldiers who excelled in the battles in Mavil Aru, Sampur and Vakarai. The Defence Secretary, accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshall Donald Perera, Army Commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka and more..

Z-score today

Feb 19 (LNP) The University Grants Commission will today release the minimum Z-scores for admission to Universities based on the GCE Advanced Level examination of 2006. The UGC has planned to increase the student intake to universities. A total of 245,694 candidates had faced the GCE Advanced Level Examination 2006, from May 22 to June 15, 2006 at 1,811 exam centers, island wide. more..

Dispute over sale of luxury residencies

Feb 19 (LNP) A dispute has arisen between Keels Holdings and Crestcat Residencies Condominium Property Management body over the sale of two building units of luxury Crescat Residencies in Galle Road Kollupitiya. Keels Holdings claim that the Crestcat Residencies is owned by them and the 17 member Crescat Residencies Condominium Property Management body has prevented Keels Holding`s agents from entering into the Crestcat Residencies. more..

Letting the cat out of the bag

Feb 19 (LNP) Ousted Minister Sripathy Suriyaarachhi has pooh-poohed the government`s military campaign in the Eastern Province as an exercise in futility simply because the LTTE withdrew, when the army moved in. The real war, he has said, should be fought in the North. He appears to believe that all these months the security forces have been playing marbles in the East, just for the fun of it! more..

Online petition to PM

Feb 19 (SAMN) International rights group Amnesty International has called for an end to the impunity on the spate of disappearances and has setup an online petition addressed to Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake calling on the government to take urgent steps to curb the trend. Several cases of abductions or “disappearances" have been reported from several parts of the country, more..

Bus bomb attack on Jaffna base thwarted

Feb 19 (SAMN) LTTE plans to mount a massive bus bomb attack on a major security forces base in the Jaffna Peninsula has come to light following the recovery of high explosives in Tirunelveli. According to an LTTE suspect under interrogation, they had received a directive to drive an explosives-laden bus into the high security zone and detonate it. more..

SLMPC discusses difficulties of Muslims

Feb 19 (SAMN) The Muslim Peace Secretariat of Sri Lanka (SLMPC) charged that the government was not very keen in solving the problems of Muslims, and said that though a Muslim representative participated in the peace process, no progress has been made, as far as Muslims are concerned. more..

APRC wants JVP, UNP participation

Feb 19 (SAMN) The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) has requested the JVP once again to participate in its future meetings to make an inclusive approach for the resolution of the national question. APRC Chairman Minister Tissa Vitarana met JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe and requested him to ensure their participation in the future meetings. more..

Value added touch for minerals

Feb 19 (DN) The Ministry of Environment has decided to depart from the lengthy practice of exporting the country's mineral resources as raw material and instead go for the value added product. Environment Minister Champika Ranawaka said yesterday that a number of minerals, including phosphate, silicon and iron ore, currently exported as raw material, would be stopped in keeping with the new plan. more..

SLT invests on ICoRN laboratory at the Peradeniya University

Feb 19 (DN) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), took a step into the future by establishing an innovative Information and Communication Research Network (ICoRN) Laboratory at one of Sri Lanka's prestigious academic institutions, the University of Peradeniya recently. The broad vision of this project is to provide a platform for researchers from a wide variety of disciplines to come together to undertake research and development activities. more..

Power will be devolved to regions -Tissa Vitarana

Feb 19 (DM) Ethnic and National Integration Minister D.E.W Gunasekera speaking at the Galle district conference of the Socialist People’s Front held at the sports pavilion of the Galle Municipal Council declared that unless and until the problem of Tamils in this country are solved, organizations like the LTTE will keep rising. more..

Sinharaja fire due to prevailing dry weather conditions: Forestry Chief

Feb 19 (DM) After the fire which had broke out in several areas in Ratnapura, including areas bordering the Sinharaja forest reserve, all leave for officers attached to the Department of Forest Conservation, has been cancelled with immediate effect. The officers were requested to take leave from district officers and deputy officers. more..

Lanka three-wheeler ban challenged in apex court

Feb 19 (HT) The Sri Lankan cabinet's decision to ban the import of two-stroke engined three-wheelers by 2008, and their spare parts by 2011, because they are "polluting", has been challenged in the Supreme Court through a Fundamental Rights petition filed by the All-Island Three Wheeler Drivers' Welfare Association and its President, Lalith Vithanage. more..

Tsunami hit Sri Lanka to get new library from mayor's fundraising

Feb 19 (C24) A SCHOOL in a tsunami-ravaged area of Sri Lanka is to get a brand new library thanks to a mayor's fundraising appeal. Shums Central College in Maruthamunai was one of 15 schools on Sri Lanka's east coast to be completely destroyed by the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. The school was originally only 65 metres inland but has now been relocated two kilometres away. more..

Pakistan DM to visit Sri Lanka amid reports of bad quality arms supply

Feb 19 (KUNA) With an eye to corner a major share of Sri Lanka's military imports primarily aimed at countering the Tamil rebels, a high-level Pakistani team led by Defence Secretary Tariq Waseem Ghazi will visit the island nation Monday. The visit comes in the wake of claims on bad quality arms received by Sri Lankan forces from Pakistan, news agencies reported Friday from capital Colombo. more..

Lankans show class in motorsport too

Feb 19 (NT) Sri Lankan drivers held sway in the Meco Motorsports - Kari Motor Speedway Race Meet 2007 held at Chettipalayam near here yesterday. Rohan De Silva and his son-in-law Dinesh Jayawardene clinched the two sprint races to begin the new motor racing season on a bright note. The Lankans stole the show as some of the promising Indian drivers had no answer to the speed and skills of the visitors. more..

Lankan refugee influx continues, touches 20,000 mark

Feb 19 (UNI) The number of refugees from Sri Lanka in the wake of rising hostilities between the military and the LTTE there had touched the 20,000 mark with the arrival of 38 more refugees here on Monday morning. The total number of refugees, who had come to the state since January last year, touched the 20,000 mark, official sources said. more..

Newsprint shortage adds to curbs on media

Feb 19 (OW) Residents of the embattled northern Sri Lankan town of Jaffna who get to see the ‘Uthayan’ newspaper often get a copy that is thumb-worn and soiled from having passed through the hands of many avid readers. Every single copy of this Tamil-language daily published in Jaffna, where the demand and the thirst for news has soared in the past year, is read by more people per copy than the average in most countries. more..

Saudi Arabia behead Sri Lankans by the sword

Feb 19 (AFP) Four Sri Lankans convicted of armed robbery were beheaded by the sword in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on Monday, the interior ministry said. Victor Gorea, Ranjith De Silva, Santhosh Kumar and Sharmila Sangeeth Kumar were executed for robbing a number of businesses at gunpoint, the ministry said in a statement published by the official SPA news agency. more..

Jaffna University reopens after six months

Feb 19 (AP) The University of Jaffna, which was forced to close in August due to resurgent fighting between Sri Lanka's military and separatist rebels in the area, reopened Monday. Vice Chancellor R. Kumaravadivel declared the university on the northeast peninsula open after a brief ceremony to honor Krishnan Kamalathas - a 24-year-old university student who was gunned down by unidentified assailants in Jaffna a day earlier. more..

Hatton National Banks profits up 26% on revenues of Rs 23.2 billion

Feb 20 (LBO) Hatton National Bank group profits rose 26 percent in 2006, with revenue growing by 27.5 percent and assets reaching 206 billion rupees, the bank said Monday. Group net profit after tax and minority interest grew to 2.2 billion rupees from 1.7 billion while revenue grew to 23.2 billion from 18.2 billion. more..

Sri Lankan sentenced to a prison term also beheaded by Saudi authorities?

Feb 20 (LBO) Saudi Arabia has beheaded four Sri Lankans by sword, bringing an abrupt end to a three year struggle by rights organizations and the prisoners themselves for clemency. Meanwhile, initial reports coming from the desert kingdom suggested that one of the prisoners who were earlier told that he was on a 15-year sentence may also have been executed. more..

Ceylinco insurance reports 15.3 billion premium income on 19.5% growth

Feb 20 (LBO) Ceylinco Insurance Company said Monday its premium income had grown 19.5 percent to 15.3 billion rupees in 2006. General Insurance premiums had grown 19 percent 9.6 billion rupees and while its life division had earned 5.7 rupees, which the company said was the highest in the country. The company’s life fund had grown 21 per cent to 14.4 billion rupees by end-2006. more..

Disturbing statement by Govt Minister prompts urgent call for clarification

Feb 20 (LeN) Free Media Movement strongly condemn the statement Champika Ranawaka, Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, advocating the brutal suppression of democratic dissent, even through extra-judicial ways and means. The Minister, in a statement made to the 'Ravaya' newspaper on the 18th February 2007 stated (translation from Sinhala maintains the invective of the original): more..

UNP and TNA to appoint representatives to Colombo based Civil Monitoring Committee

Feb 20 (AT) The UNP leader Ranil Wickramasigha agreed to nominate his party’s representative to the Civil Monitoring Committee, which was formed by the human rights defenders and legislators. Parliamentarian and leader of the Western People’s Front Mano Ganesan told the media that R. Sambandan, leader of the TNA, a proxy political party of the LTTE, has also shown his interest to appoint his representative for this committee. more..

`Possible hideouts' of LTTE functionary, accomplices raided

Feb 20 (Hindu) In an effort to arrest Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam functionary Kannan, who is believed to have masterminded the smuggling of improvised explosive device (IED) components to Sri Lanka, and another accused K. Mutheeswaran and his accomplices, the police on Monday raided `possible hideouts' in several villages, particularly Irumeni, along the Rameswaram coast. more..

Ceasefire means war in Sri Lanka

Feb 20 (KT) THERE is very little to celebrate on Thursday February 22, when we mark the fifth anniversary of the ceasefire agreement signed between the government and the LTTE. Sri Lanka would probably go into history or find a place in Ripley’s Believe It or Not as the country where ceasefire means full-scale war. The parties to the document signed on February 22, 2002, continue to kill each other, yet they say they are adhering to the ceasefire agreement. more..

India must involve, not intervene in Sri Lanka

Feb 20 (Hindu) India should formulate its own policy on involvement, and not intervention, in Sri Lankan affairs, N.N. Jha, former ambassador to Sri Lanka and Nepal, said on Monday. As for a military solution to the ethnic problem, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa may be tempted to "go in for the kill," but India should advise him against it, he said at a discussion on `India and its neighbours' organised by the Observer Research Foundation-Chennai chapter. more..

'Invoking History' - an intellectual Bad Habit: A Response to Professor Laksiri Fernando

Feb 20 (AT) I read Professor Fernando's response (18.02.2007) to my article published in the Asian Tribune (15.02.2007) with a great deal of interest thinking that he was beginning a critical dialogue based on 'correct interpretation' of what I wrote. However, as I proceeded to read his response, it became clear that he has not yet recovered from the intellectual bowel syndrome (IBS) that many other federalists on the Sri Lankan conflict also suffer. more..

Pakistan’s military assistance endangers regional security­ -TNA

Feb 20 (TN) TNA parliamentarians Mavai Senathirajah of Jaffna district and Thurairatnasingham of Trincomalle district speaking to media on Monday condemned Pakistan’s offer to provide military assistance to Government of Sri Lanka. The MPs made the comment when asked about the announcement of arms purchase from Pakistan by Rohitha Bogallama, Minister of foreign affairs on Sunday. more..

Sri Lanka shares slip under 3,000 on cash calls and mobile worries

Feb 20 (LBO) Share market slipped below the 3,000 mark Tuesday with cash calls siphoned liquidity and index driver Dialog Telekom losing ground dealers said. Dialog Telekom slipped 50 cents at 27.50 despite reporting a 44 percent gain in profits. With mobile penetration already high analysts say historic growth rates may be difficult to achieve, and intense competition may be eating away Dialog's market share. more..

Window for rural Sri Lanka opened by Microsoft's Vista

Feb 20 (LBO) Microsoft's new Vista operating system, which comes with built in Sinhala language capability would open a high technology window for rural Sri Lankans, officials said. "The main objective of having Sinhala language in our own operating system is to enable people to interact with the computer," says Imran Vilcassim, a Microsoft technology specialist. more..

I’m always with Security Forces! – Sripathy Suriyarachchi

Feb 20 (LT) He was always with Security Forces, appreciates their heroic deeds, respects them and would always represent their interests said former minister Sripathy Suriyarachchi. Answering our inquiry, Mr. Suriyarachchi said the government tried to pin tiger label on him and Mr. Mangala Samaraweera saying they didn’t vote for emergency regulations. more..

Reveal truth regarding agreement between GoSL & tigers! - UNP

Feb 20 (LT) The UNP would challenge the Government in Parliament today (20th) to reveal the truth over allegations of a secret agreement between the Government and the LTTE, raised by former non-Cabinet Minister Sripathi Suriyarachchi said Mr.Joseph Michael Perera, Chief Opposition Whip. Mr. Suriyarachchi had alleged that the government had a secret pact with the tiger terrorists. more..

Anti- Ragging Bill will be strengthen

Feb 20 (GDI) Higher Education Minister Prof. Wishwa Warnapala stressed the need for implementing regulations relating to the Anti-Ragging Bill, which was passed in Parliament several years back. In the recent past the ragging in universities has increased to an unacceptable limit. As a fact many students have left the university studies and some times even committed suicide. more..

‘We don’t need cowards; all should be heroes of our motherland’ – Navy Commander

Feb 20 (GDI) The extravagant, glorious and highly impressive passing out of the new recruits at the ‘Nipuna’ Sri Lanka Navy Training base at Boossa in Galle came to a lull as darkness emerged; yet R.D. Ranmenike was still staring at the empty ground where her grandson and his colleagues became great sailors and performed their ceiling capabilities. more..

President to visit China

Feb 20 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will pay a state visit to China this month to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and China runs back to a history of many centuries initiated with the arrival of Pahiyan, a Buddhist monk who laid the foundation to this long term relationship between the two countries. more..

Jaffna Campus reopens; LTTE kills a student creating unwanted havoc

Feb 20 (GDI) With the reopening of the Jaffna University on Monday (19), LTTE killed twenty five year-old Krishan Kamaladas, a student of Jaffna University, in the morning hours on Sunday the 18 February, creating chaos among the students and civilians aiming to disrupt the normalcy prevailing in the peninsula, Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) states. more..

Boost for Civil Security service

Feb 20 (GDI) The Civil Security Department (CSD), formerly known as the Homeguard Service, will be strengthened and fully geared to combat terrorism. The CSD will deploy fully trained and well-equipped civil security personnel in villages and jungles shortly. more..

Mangala, Anura, Sripathy not participate Gotabhaya's briefing

Feb 20 (LeN) Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, yesterday briefed the SLFP Parliamentary group, about the ongoing military operations in the Eastern province and assured them that all procurements of weapons for the forces were carried out through a state company, thus free of any corruption or irregularities. more..

Court prevents suspension of UNP reformists

Feb 20 (LeN) The Colombo District court yesterday issued an enjoining order preventing Opposition UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe from suspending the UNP reformists who joined the government recently from the working committee. In their petitions, former Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya, Rajitha Senaratne, P. Dayaratne, Milinda Moragoda, more..

Another arm stocks recovered from east

Feb 20 (LeN) Security forces recovered a large stock of weapons and ammunition including a set of maps left behind by the LTTE in Ichchalanpattu, in the east, the Military said. "Troops on a search operation recovered 78 maps, two radio antennas, 126 video cassettes, 92 LTTE booklets and a telephone antenna from a hideout," the military spokesman said. more..

UNP, TNA members nominated to CMC

Feb 20 (LeN) The UNP and the TNA named their representatives to the Civil Monitoring Committee (CMC) on Abductions, Disappearances, Extortions and Extrajudicial killings formed by several minority parties including the Democratic Left Front, the New Left Front, Western People's Alliance and the United Socialist Party. more..

Democratisation, demilitarisation and consensus vital for a Sri Lakan solution - Minister Champika Ranawake

Feb 20 (AT) Champika Ranawake, Minister Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, said that external solutions to the internal problems of Sri Lanka have not worked. Any solution must have the consensual support of all communities. Democratization, demilitarization and a broad consensus are essential to solve the crisis facing the nation, he said. more..

Uncle seeks release of niece abducted by LTTE

Feb 20 (TW) The maternal uncle of a twenty - seven year old woman abducted by the LTTE is seeking International assistance in securing the safe release of his niece from her captors. Gajan Kanagarajah of Sri Lankan origin who is now a Canadian citizen based in Mississauga has written an open letter outlining the circumstances about how his niece Pathmaseeli Kanagarajah was forcibly removed from her home in Kilinochchi by tiger cadres on February 9th. more..

Rumour sparks exodus from Lankan town

Feb 20 (Dawn) An exodus from the northern district of Vavuniya has begun following a rumour that Tigers will launch a major offensive after Feb 22, the date when the Norway-facilitated truce between the Mahinda Rajapakse Rajapakse government with the Tamil Tiger rebels is completing five years. Sources said civilians had started leaving the region fearing a full-scale war in the area. more..

Some politicians trying to give LTTE breathing space-Seneviratne

Feb 20 (LNP) Power and Energy Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne said while the government was dauntlessly trying to defeat Prabhakaran`s barbaric terrorism, some politicians had conspired against the government in order to destabilize it and hinder its actions against terrorism. Minister Seneviratne said those who conspire against the government are supporting LTTE terrorism. more..

Fate of Mahinda Chinthnaya

Feb 20 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power using three different and somewhat contradictory campaigns. Firstly, it was the chauvinist campaign led by the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and the JVP. They explained that the victory of Mahinda will be the end of the peace agreement .There will be a real war against the LTTE. more..

President ready to talk with Mangala, Sripathi

Feb 20 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reportedly told his confidants that he is prepared to talk with ousted Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriayarachchi provided they withdraw statements, that the President said `grossly distorted the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and undermined national security`. more..

Highest birth rate recorded from Embilipitiya

Feb 20 (LNP) The highest birth rate in Sri Lanka has been reported from Embilipitiya in the Sabaragamuwa province, a Health Ministry spokesman said. He said the average birth rate of Embilipitiya was only 100 per month in the nineties but it has rapidly increased by 5 per cent after 2000. The improvement of healthcare facilities has attributed this situation. The number of births occurred during the last month in Embilipitiya was 500. more..