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Karuna in Kirulapone?

Feb 21 (LNP) The residents of Andarawatta in Kirulapone in fear of indirect threat from the LTTE are to take legal action against the proposed sale of a luxury house in the neighbourhood to the Karuna faction. According to the residents a two storey luxury house in the Andarawatta area is to be sold to the Karuna group. The house had been recently renovated and upgraded with tall parapet walls and more..

Lanka ahead in key health indicators

Feb 21 (SAMN) Sri Lanka ranks 137 out of 282 countries and territories in the mortality rate of children under five years, according to the recently released UNICEF report, The State Of The World’s Children 2007. The estimated figures in the report are for 2005 and the under-five mortality rate is a critical indicator of the well being of children in Sri Lanka. more..

UNP to suspend participation in APRC

Feb 21 (SAMN) The UNP Political Affairs Committee decided Tuesday to suspend its participation in the All Party Representative Committee meetings for three weeks because the government is yet to submit its proposals for the resolution of the national question. The decision is in the backdrop of attempts made by Committee Chairman, Prof. Tissa Vitharana, to get UNP participation in future meetings, more..

Apple growing under study

Feb 21 (SAMN) As the Agriculture Department has identified that apples could be successfully grown in the hill country, research is being carried out evaluate the commercial viability of the crop, a department spokesman said. The source said that the British introduced the fruit to Sri Lanka in the 18th century and there was an attempt to re-introduce it in 1950 as well. more..

Economic building part of peace: Ranil

Feb 21 (SAMN) Addressing the third business for peace forum on maintaining the balance of peace building and economic development the way forward the guest speaker Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Tuesday said “economic building is part of peace” The forum which based on the key note address of the opposition leader followed by panel discussion with the panellists, more..

Sahanaya celebrates Silver Jubilee this year

Feb 21 (DN) Sahanaya, an Non-governmental Organisation involved in promoting mental health, celebrates its Silver Jubilee this year. The theme of the celebration is `Healthy Mind - Fulfilled Life’. The Silver Jubilee celebrations will commence on February 27 at the centre under the patronage of Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva at 5.00 pm. An exhibition depicting the ‘Past, Present and Future’ of Sahanaya will be held at the centre on February 27 and 28 from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. more..

Essential goods prices slashed

Feb 21 (DN) Prices of essential commodities have decreased substantially with the signing of the price stability agreement between the Government and essential commodity importers in the Pettah Market for the first time. The Pettah Wholesale Importers Association’s Vice President A. Devapiran said most essential items are now priced around 15 per cent lower. more..

First Provincial Court of Appeal in Kandy

Feb 21 (DM) In an attempt to ease the backlog of over 15,000 Appeals in Colombo, the first Provincial High Court to hear Civil Appeals will be opened today at the Courts complex in Getambe, Kandy, at 2 pm, by the Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva. “The main aim of decentralizing the powers of the Court of Appeal is to prevent delays in law, which had become a major problem in the Sri Lankan Judicial system,” more..

SLFP serves the people, not pastes posters: Nimal

Feb 21 (DM) “Some elements are now scheming to oust President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government. But they will never succeed in their attempts,” said Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva.“Certain reactionaries are reportedly conspiring to topple the Government. But missiles they aim at us will end up as damp squibs,” the minister said. more..

Spiritual leader Amma to visit Sri Lanka Friday

Feb 21 (IANS) Spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi, popularly known as 'Amma', has accepted an invitation from Sri Lankan President Mahendra Rajapakshe to visit the country and hand over the keys of the houses that her mutt built for the tsunami victims there. A statement issued by the Mutt Wednesday said the function would take place at the Presidential Palace in Colombo Friday. more..

Major haul of aluminium ingots

Feb 21 (NIP) In a major development in the probe into LTTE links operating from Southern parts of the state, the Rameswaram police on Monday night seized aluminium ingots (mass of metal cast in a convenient form for shaping) weighing at least 2,000 kg from a metal melting unit near Bethaniyapuram here. Karmegham (40), the owner of the unit, was arrested and two others were detained for questioning in connection with the incident. more..

Sri Lankan court releases 40 ethnic Tamils on bail

Feb 21 (AP) A northern Sri Lankan court released on bail 40 ethnic Tamils, days after they were detained for trespassing during curfew hours, a magistrate said Wednesday. Magistrate Sarojini Ilankoven said she released all the suspects arrested from different places in Tamil-majority northern Jaffna peninsula. At least 170 Tamil men have been detained by police since Sunday, more..

Sri Lanka says finds rebel grenades, cyanide at church

Feb 21 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops have found Tamil Tiger rebel grenades, cyanide capsules and communications equipment in a Catholic church in the island's besieged far northern Jaffna peninsula, the military said on Wednesday. The find comes amid a rash of suspected rebel ambushes and bomb attacks against the military in the peninsula, which is cut off from the rest of Sri Lanka by LTTE lines. more..

Roadside blast in eastern Sri Lanka kills 3, military says

Feb 21 (AP) A roadside blast in eastern Sri Lanka killed a policeman and two civilians on Wednesday, the military said. The bomb, fixed to a parked bicycle, exploded near a police vehicle in Oddamavadi town in Batticaloa district, military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said. Samarasinghe said 10 civilians and four police were wounded in the blast which he blamed on separatist Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Sri Lanka marks truce anniversary, conflict rages on

Feb 21 (AFP) Sri Lankan government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels mark the fifth anniversary of their Norwegian-brokered truce this week but the fighting rages on, with nearly 4,000 people killed in the past year. The ceasefire, signed separately by the Tamil Tiger chieftain and Sri Lanka's then premier, came into effect on February 23, 2002. more..

Norway calls for fresh commitment to Sri Lankan truce

Feb 21 (AFP) Norway Wednesday called for a fresh commitment from Sri Lanka's warring parties to maintain its peace brokering efforts on the eve of the fifth anniversary of a truce that now holds only on paper. Norway's ambassador here, Hans Brattskar, said neither Colombo nor the Tiger rebels had abrogated the truce that was arranged and put in place by Oslo from February 23, 2002. more..

Lanka's ceasefire pact is in tatters

Feb 21 (HT) The fifth anniversary of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE on February 22, will go unobserved because the CFA had ceased to exist, de facto, a long time ago. "The anniversary is no big deal," said Foreign Secretary Dr Palitha Kohona. In the past five years, what Sri Lanka has seen is an undeclared, diffuse and low intensity war, with interludes of very heavy fighting, mixed with assassinations and other terrorist actions. more..

Sri Lanka urges India to stop Tamil rebels' alleged gun running

Feb 21 (AP) India should do more to prevent Sri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tiger rebels smuggling guns and explosives across the narrow strait that separates the two countries, a Sri Lankan official said Wednesday. The Sri Lankan government has repeatedly called on India to take action to stop the alleged gun running. It says it has credible evidence that Indian fishing boats are being used by the rebels to smuggle weapons to the island nation. more..

A Priest's Death in Sri Lanka

Feb 22 (NPR) In the last six months alone, extra-judicial executions, suicide bombings and fighting have claimed many hundreds of lives in Sri Lanka. The death of a Hindu Tamil priest underlines the sheer viciousness of the conflict. more..

Defence ministry website misrepresents FMM's position on three abducted journalists

Feb 22 (IFEX) We wish to bring to your attention a news story on the website on the Free Media Movement that is factually incorrect and grossly misleading. We also seek to remind you that we first informed you of this news story, seeking urgent redress, on 12th Feb 2007 by phone. The FMM categorically rebukes the news story by Mr. Walter Jayawardana at the following URL more..

Military receives the first tip off from Bishop of Jaffna

Feb 22 (LeN) Military spokesperson brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe says that security forces are currently resettling several families, those who fled from Vakarai, in Marnkerni. According to him over 16,000 have fled to government controlled areas after clashes erupted in Vakarai. He said that all of them will be resettled once de-mining activates are concluded. more..

Is the country's path clear!!!

Feb 22 (LeN) This poster which shows the President who is the commander of the country being surrounded by several soldiers and it seems to be requesting the government to continue its path towards war. It now appears to be that the word "Peace" in Sri Lanka has become a banned word. If some one talks about peace either he is labeled as a terrorist or some one who assist terrorists. more..

Sri Lankan missing from Lebanon war found dead

Feb 22 (AFP) The body of a Sri Lankan housemaid, missing since Israeli missiles struck the building where she worked during last summer’s war in Lebanon, was found Wednesday, police said. The body of the 35-year-old woman, whose name was not given, was found on the seventh floor of the building in the southern port city of Tyre. more..

Fewer Sri Lankans work abroad due to war, better pay at home

Feb 22 (AFP) War in the Middle East and equal paying jobs at home led to a sharp drop in Sri Lankans working abroad in 2006 as maids, clerks and professionals opted to stay put, an official said Wednesday. The number of Sri Lankans who left for jobs abroad, mainly to the Middle East, dropped 13 percent in 2006 to 201,143 from 231,290 a year earlier, more..

Church helps people come to terms with interreligious marriage

Feb 22 (UCAN) Priyanthi Nirmala is waiting for the right man. In a society where people usually marry in their late teens or early 20s, the 32-year-old Catholic woman is relatively old. "I can't find a Catholic partner, as there are few Catholics here," said Nirmala, from Talawa's St. Jude's Church in Anuradhapura, an area where nine out of 10 people are Buddhists. "Most parents worry about finding a Catholic partner for their children in this area." more..

Colombo Katunayake Expressway to take off

Feb 22 (AT) France's giant conglomerate , Vinci, the integrated concession construction group, specialized in financing, designing, building and operation of major infrastructure projects all over the world, have signed a Contractual Framework Agreement CFA) the Ministry of Highways of the Government of Sri Lanka to commence construction activities of the Colombo Katunayake Expressway in May 2007. more..

Pressure makes you do well: Murli

Feb 22 (ZN) Muttiah Muralitharan believes that Sri Lanka may go into the coming World Cup in the Caribbean as strong contenders but the 1996 victorious team from the island nation was a better side than the current one. "Some experts are tipping us to surprise a few at the World Cup and maybe even win it. I think we have a good chance but I still believe the Sri Lanka team of 1996 was better," more..

Tamil Nadu and LTTE menace

Feb 22 (Hindu) The LTTE, a designated terrorist organisation, is banned in India. Nevertheless, a deeply worrying mix of political collusion, official complacency, mercenary considerations, and corruption has enabled it to exploit Tamil Nadu both as a source of supply and a base of operations. The chain of seizures by the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, and the State police over the past three months points strongly to the LTTE's use of Tamil Nadu coastal locations, more..

Sangakkara set to shine in double role

Feb 22 (IT) Kumar Sangakkara, training as a lawyer, is Sri Lanka's answer to Adam Gilchrist. His current form, however, shows he is even better than the blaster from Down Under. There are very few players currently playing international cricket who boast of as fabulous a record as the left-handed dasher in both the longer and limited version of the game. more..

No end in sight to Sri Lanka conflict

Feb 22 (BBC) Vijaraja Lakshumi takes pride in her son's appearance. Every day she dresses him for school in a crisp white shirt, even though they live in a sun-blasted, dusty camp in eastern Sri Lanka. Sumeshan is five years old, born as the ceasefire between the government and the Tamil Tigers was signed. He should have been growing up in a country at peace - instead he's a displaced person in Sri Lanka's continuing war. more..

Anura and Deputy Speaker of Parliament are to be sworn in today as ministers

Feb 22 (AT) Anura Bandaranaike is expected to be sworn in as the Minister of National Heritage with Cabinet status today. He is also expected to be made Special Presidential Advisor of International Relations, a position that would take him around the world capitals. Furthermore, according to political sources, it is learnt that along with Anura Bandaranaike the present Deputy Speaker Geethanjana Gunawardena is expected to be also sworn in today as State Minister without cabinet status. more..

V.Ramaraj back with London based Tamil Broadcasting Corporation

Feb 22 (AT) In a statement released to the press Ramaraj pointed out, that while he was in the protest rally Chelliam Kulasekeram alias Kulam, Switzerland’s chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, came with the Swiss police and one of the two miscreant who tried to disturb the protest rally, “pointed out me to the police as I was the person responsible for threat and intimidation, which lead to my arrest by the Police of Switzerland.” more..

Resettlement of the displaced persons from Vaharai and Trincomalee in full swing

Feb 22 (AT) Government is making speedy arrangement to resettle the displaced people in Vaharai as well as in Trincomalee. Ameer Ali Sihabdeen, Minister of Disaster Relief Services told the "Asian Tribune" that there are 7432 families consisting of 26, 212 displaced persons from Trincomalee and about 4,400 families of 16,650 displaced persons from Vaharai are now living in numerous camps all over the Batticaloa district. more..

FTAs with Sri Lanka and China: Pakistan failed to take advantage of FTAs

Feb 22 (DT) Pakistan has not been able to take the desired advantage from the two Free Trade Agreements with Sri Lanka and China. Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Majyd Aziz stated this while presiding over the inaugural meeting of the KCCI Special Committee on Regional Economic Affairs. On the contrary, both these countries have substantially increased their exports to Pakistan. more..

Sri Lanka architects say local buildings need to be efficient and economical

Feb 22 (LBO) Following the rapid spread of urbanization in Sri Lanka, local architects say more efficient and economical design methods must be adopted. “In the field of architecture in Sri Lanka, there has not been any serious deliberation on sustainability,” says Chandana Edirisuriya, Vice President Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA). more..

India, Sri Lanka boost steps to stop Tamil Tiger arms smuggling

Feb 22 (BB) India and Sri Lanka are boosting controls to stop the rebel LTTE smuggling weapons from India's Tamil Nadu state, the Sri Lankan government said. The authorities in Tamil Nadu are creating new coastal checkpoints and police posts and two days ago seized aluminum bars being smuggled to northern Sri Lanka as raw material for weapons, Keheliya Rambukwella, Defense Ministry spokesman, said yesterday in Colombo, more..

Sri Lanka notches 6% growth in clothing shipments to overseas buyers

Feb 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's clothing shipments to key overseas buyers gained six percent for the 12 months to December last year, amidst stiff competition and falling prices, a key industrial body said Thursday. The island shipped 2,910.8 million dollars worth of ready made garments from Jan-Dec last year, as against 2,746.0 million dollars recorded in the same period 2005, more..

Sri Lanka to revamp consumer price index as inflation soars

Feb 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka said Thursday it plans to rejig its consumer price index basket to reflect changed food and lifestyle trends as inflation based on a decades-old range of items crossed 20 percent in January. The Colombo Consumer Price Index has attracted widespread criticism because it is based on a formula better suited to consumer goods used in the 1950s, more..

The Consensus within the Sinhalese Parties Is Still Eluding - EROS

Feb 22 (ISL) In a press release today Nesan Thirunesan a.k.a EROS Nesan Shankar Raji (the son of the late Shankar Raji of EROS) stated that it was in the opinion of EROS members and its newly formed executive committee members that the one basic ingredient for a lasting peaceful solution in Sri Lanka is that the majority Sinhalese community should come forward with a consensus as to what it could justifiably offer to satisfy the needs and aspirations of the Tamil community of Sri Lanka. more..

Investment Minister promises to extend a large number of BOI zones

Feb 22 (GDI) "I will request the government to help us extend a large number of BOI zones so that an investor as he comes in, can come and see where the lands are available," stated the Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion, Dr Sarath Amunugama. Minister Amunugama stated this recently addressing the staff of the Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka. more..

Red alert sounded along Tamil Nadu coast

Feb 22 (Hindu) Intelligence experts estimate that 15 suicide mission boats of the LTTE are `hibernating' in the waters between India and Sri Lanka. They are of the opinion that these are not aimed at India; the LTTE, perhaps, hopes a repeat of the Kattunayake airport strike, this time at a major seaport. For, the Sea Tigers are under growing pressure from the Sri Lankan Navy. more..

"One photograph can express what is said in thousand words,"- Consultant Director S. Senadhira

Feb 22 (GDI) Photography is not only an art form but a strong communication medium which can, at a glance, express something that cannot be said in thousand words," stated the Consultant Director of the Department of Government Information, Sugeeswara Senadhira. Mr. Senadhira stated this attending the opening ceremony of the island wide photographic competition organized more..

UNICEF praises Sri Lanka

Feb 22 (GDI) United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in their annual report ‘State of the World’s Children 2007’ has praised Sri Lanka for it’s successful control over many epidemics in respect of several health indicators and social indicators. According to the report, Sri Lanka’s successful role in controlling dire epidemics and HIV/AIDS. more..

Speaker asks JVP MPs not to initiate terrorism in parliament

Feb 22 (LeN) Speaker of the house W.J.M. Lokubandara requested the JVP MP's this morning not to initiate terrorism in parliament. The Speaker made this request when the JVP parliamentarians staged a protest in the well of the house demanding the CFA be torn away. This was not all, JVP Trincomalee District MP Jayantha Wijesekara ran away from the entrance on the side of the Opposition MP's carrying the Maize which made the speaker of the house adjourn the session for 10 minutes from 10.10 am. more..

Anura protects Sri Lanka's national heritage again

Feb 22 (LeN) Sri Lanka's sacked national heritage minister Anura Bandaranaike was re-appointed to his former post at the auspicious time of 11.51 this morning at temple trees before the President. Governor of the Western Province Alevi Maulana and Minister Dinesh Gunawardena who initiated the settlement with between the President and Anura was also present at the occasion. more..

Eric Solheim praises his own tail

Feb 22 (AT) Erik Solheim, the Norwegian go-between who brokered the Ceasefire Agreement five years ago (February 22, 2002), has hailed it as "a tremendously positive development for Sri Lanka." On the one hand, he talks of the "silencing of guns (that) stopped the bloodshed" and, on the other, he states that "One killing was followed by another, and the violence escalated.." more..

AI calls on Saudi Arabia to stop all executions

Feb 22 (LNP) The Government is attempting to bring down the bodies of the four Sri Lankans who were executed in Saudi Arabia while measures will also be taken to educate foreign job seekers on the domestic laws of countries where they hope to work. Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said compensation would be given to the families of those executed but more..

Demand for abrogating CFA: Attempt to kill the brain-dead

Feb 22 (LNP) The National Bhikku Front (NBF) has given the government twenty four hours to abrogate the CFA. Else, they are going to stage a hunger strike, they have said. The NBF demand evokes memories of the fate that befell the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam pact, which the late Prime Minister Bandaranaike had to tear up under pressure from Buddhist monks. more..

Parliament jokes and Montessori theories

Feb 22 (LNP) Ex-Minister Anura Bandaranaike, after being fired from the UPFA Cabinet, told the press that he was happy to have left a Carnival of Clowns. Buffoonery of politicians appears to be fairly well known. Sometime ago, a film called Parliament Jokes became quite popular. Some politicians have become not only jokers but jokes as well. The problem with political `jokes` is, cynics say, that they get elected. How true! more..

D.M. talks to Mangala and Sripathi

Feb 22 (LNP) Plantation Industries Minister D.M. Jayaratne yesterday in Parliament held talks with ousted ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi to bring about a reconciliation between the two ex-ministers and President Mahinda Rajapaksa, government sources said. The sources said the two former ministers had informed Minister Jayaratne that they were not sure of the real reasons behind their sacking and had expressed views on their present stand on the matter. more..