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Sri Lankans to donate blood

Feb 22 (TP) To mark the 59th Independence Day of Sri Lanka, which was on February 4, the Sri Lankan Coordinating Committee (SLCC) will organise a blood donation camp at the embassy premises tomorrow. The camp will start at 8am, said committee president Lenny Cramer. The HMC mobile blood bank unit will receive blood from donors. The donors have been requested to bring their original Qatari ID card, or driving licence or copy of their passport for registration. more..

JHU tells JVP: CFA already dead, meaningless to demand abrogation

Feb 22 (TN) The ceasefire agreement (CFA) signed by Ranil Wickremasinghe, the then Prime Minister and Velupillai Pirapaharan, leader of the LTTE five years ago on 22 February 2002 had already dead with the capture of Mavilaru by the Sri Lankan security forces last year. "Hence there is no point in demanding the government to abrogate the CFA,"said Venerable Omalpe Sobitha Thera, general secretary of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU). more..

Why Rajapakse sibling is acting as FM, asks UNP parliamentarian

Feb 22 (TN) Ravi Karunanayake, UNP Member of Parliament for Colombo District, addressing the parliament on Wednesday over a motion of adjournment concerning the responsibilities of the Government, said that since the assumption of power by President Mahinda Rajapakse at least 3800 people have been killed, parliamentary sources said. He also questioned why Basil Rajapakse, presidential advisor and brother of the President is assuming Foreign Minister's functions. more..

Opposition chief raps errant members

Feb 22 (SAMN) Lack of interest among MPs to attend meetings of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) took centre stage in the parliamentary debate Wednesday with the UNP urging such members to resign from these committees. The political parties debated the COPE report presented to parliament recently, exposing fraud and corruption prevalent in various government institutions. more..

JVP to lead protest against CFA

Feb 22 (SAMN) The JVP will take to the streets today calling for the immediate abrogation of the cease fire agreement that is non-existent according to the JHU. A number of national organizations will stage a protest today in Colombo demanding the abrogation of the Oslo arranged Ceasefire Agreement, entered into between the Sri Lanka government and the LTTE on February 22, 2002. The main rally will be held at the Hyde Park. more..

President to China with jumbo delegation

Feb 22 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapakse will undertake a state visit to China on Sunday in the company of a jumbo delegation. The Morning Leader learns at least 10 ministers will accompany the President to China in addition to a large number of officials. The ministers who are to accompany the President will include Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, more..

CMC to launch mega housing scheme

Feb 22 (SAMN) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) will build 159 houses for the less privileged within the city limits. Colombo Mayor Uvais Mohomed Imithiyas at a press conference last Tuesday said he would give facelift to the CMC with the cooperation of all employees and members. Negotiations are under way to get Urban Development Ministry approval for the project. more..

Govt. targets record Rs. 700 b revenue

Feb 22 (DN) The Government expects to earn a record revenue of Rs. 700 billion this year, Parliament was told yesterday. Making a special statement in the House, Finance and Government Revenue Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said the Government was able to fulfil the 2006 revenue target of Rs. 484 billion last year. In 2005 it was Rs. 380 billion and in 2004, Rs. 311.5 billion. Thus there had been a progressive increase in Government revenue, he said. more..

Decision to ban importation of two - stroke Trishaws to be revised

Feb 22 (DN) The decision to ban the importation of two-stroke three wheelers and parts would be revised, the Attorney General informed the Supreme Court yesterday. Deputy Solicitor General Bimba Thilakarathne Jayasinghe for respondents, Central Environment Authority and Cabinet of Ministers informed court that a committee had been appointed to review the Cabinet decision on the importation of the two stroke three wheelers and spare parts in future and that its report would be expected soon. more..

Corrupt MPs operate freely: JVP

Feb 22 (DM) The JVP charged in Parliament yesterday that those involved in large-scale malpractices disclosed by the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) are being allowed to operate freely. JVP MP Piyasiri Wijenayake participating in the Adjournment Debate on COPE yesterday said that it is the duty of the Government to punish those behind these malpractices, no matter under which regime they took place. more..

Govt. defends allocation for President

Feb 22 (DM) The Government told Parliament yesterday it was a futile and silly attempt for some elements to make allegations that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was allocated 60% of the State’s expenditure announced in the budget. Non-Cabinet Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said in a statement to the House that the President had brought a number of ministries such as Public Security, Defence, Law and Order, Finance and Plan Implementation and Nation Building under his purview since more..

Young girl caught up in Sri Lanka conflict tells her story

Feb 22 (WVI) 'Away from the noise of the aircraft' The story of an Internally Displaced girl in Sri Lanka... "If I ever get a chance, I will go back to Muttur just to bring Meena." Nishadini, aged 10, says while she looks at me and smiles. We are in a camp for displaced people in Sri Lanka's north-east Batticaloa. I watch her straighten her dress, the joy and hope that flushes her face in stark contrast to the scars war has left in her life. more..

Soaring inflation worries Lankans

Feb 22 (HT) While war clouds loom large over the horizon in the Tamil-speaking North and East, an unprecedented 20.5 per cent inflation is threatening to push Sri Lankans in the other parts of the country below the poverty line. Currently, Sri Lanka has the highest rate of inflation in South Asia. In 2006, money supply had expanded by 21 per cent due to the easy availability of credit and the printing of money. more..

Sri Lanka at best ever for World Cup: de Silva

Feb 22 (AFP) Former batting great Aravinda de Silva believes the current Sri Lankan side go into the World Cup with better chances of winning the title than their champion 1996 team. "I honestly feel this side have a better chance than we had in 1996. When you compare the eras, I feel this team have got a better combination. We didn't have experience in 1996, but this team have," de Silva told AFP. more..

Sri Lanka bankers to hold walk-out over pensions - Union

Feb 22 (Reuters) Most Sri Lankan bank employees will stage a walk-out on Thursday to demand pensions for state bank workers, union and bank staff said, meaning trade on the foreign exchange market will be disrupted. Bank staff, including foreign exchange traders at local and some foreign banks, will walk out at 3:15 p.m. (0945 GMT), the Ceylon Bank Employees Union said. Foreign exchange trade normally ends at 4:30 p.m. more..

Civil war, suffering: Sri Lanka urged to save truce

Feb 22 (Reuters) Air raids, roadside blasts, suicide bombings, land and sea battles and thousands killed. So much for the 2002 ceasefire between Sri Lanka's army and the Tamil Tigers. The tattered pact turned five years old on Thursday, with the foes ignoring repeated calls by the international community to halt a new stage of the two-decade civil war, and analysts fearing the bloodshed will only get worse. more..

85 Sri Lankan asylum seekers intercepted by Australian navy

Feb 22 (AP) An Australian navy ship picked up 85 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who were traveling by boat towards a remote Australian territory in the Indian Ocean, the government said Thursday. The asylum seekers, all men, were invited on to the fuel tanker 80 kilometers (50 miles) off Christmas Island on Tuesday because their boat was not seaworthy, Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said in a statement. more..

Norway offers help to revive Sri Lanka peace bid

Feb 22 (AFP) Norway's top peace broker in Sri Lanka, Erik Solheim, Thursday offered to go the extra mile to revive the stalled process on the eve of the fifth anniversary of a moribund truce. Solheim, who is also Norway's international development minister, expressed the hope that Sri Lanka's government and the LTTE, would recognise the need to implement the truce. more..

Thousands flee from Sri Lanka offensive: rebels

Feb 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka launched attacks against Tiger rebels as the guerrillas said thousands of civilians in the north fled their homes on fears of an upsurge of fighting in the region. Troops in Trincomalee attacked suspected Tiger positions and residents reported hearing shelling throughout he day. The reports came on the eve of the fifth anniversary of a truce that is holding only on paper. more..

Sri Lankan monks demand end to cease-fire with Tamil rebels

Feb 22 (AP) Some 8,000 hardline Buddhist monks and lay supporters paraded through the Sri Lankan capital Thursday, demanding the government scrap a five-year-old cease-fire with Tamil rebels — a deal that now exists only on paper after months of deadly battles. "Respect people's mandate, abrogate pact immediately," read a placard carried by a protester. "Agreement of betrayal is five-years-old," read another. more..

Vaas believes Sri Lanka can recapture World Cup

Feb 23 (Reuters) Veteran pace bowler Chaminda Vaas believes Sri Lanka have a great chance of repeating their 1996 World Cup triumph at the 2007 tournament in the Caribbean over the next two months. "The current side is in the same mould as the outfit that won under Arjuna Ranatunga and we are peaking at the right time," he told reporters before the team left for the West Indies. more..

Sri Lanka consulate meet Indian expats invitation side in farewell

Feb 23 (KT) The Sri Lanka Consulate sponsored the Sri Lanka Business Council will meet an Indian invitation team in what promises to be an exciting festival cricket clash at the Darjeeling Club on Friday starting 1.30pm. The Indian team comprises many fabulous cricketers of yesteryear, led by the mercurial allrounder Mohamed Lokhandwala. more..

Jayasuriya remains Sri Lanka's most potent weapon

Feb 23 (Reuters) Sanath Jayasuriya may be a balding, 37-years-old and about to play in his fifth World Cup, but he remains Sri Lanka's most valuable asset in the Caribbean. The flamboyant left-handed opener starts the tournament in the form of his life after plundering scoring five centuries and plundering 1,153 runs at an average of 48.04 last year. more..

Nuncio in Sri Lanka: a forgotten country at war

Feb 23 (AN) On the fifth anniversary of the signing of a ceasefire between the Colombo government and the LTTE, peace is very far from Sri Lanka. Yesterday in Batticaloa, in the east of the island, an attack on a police patrol killed three people, including an officer, and injured 16. The Catholic Church frequently draws attention to the tragedy of the people, which however does not seem to touch the international community in the same way as the tsunami catastrophe. more..

Sri Lanka gives assistance to poultry farmers

Feb 23 (WP) The Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council (PC) will soon take steps to encourage the poultry farmers in both Kegalle and Ratnapura districts by providing the necessary facilities. The Minister of Agrarian Services and Lands of Sabaragamuwa PC, Ranjith Soysa, pointed out that the prices of eggs and poultry products have risen in proportion to the decreased production of eggs and poultry products. more..

Sri Lanka wants to interrogate LTTE suspects held by India

Feb 23 (PTI) Sri Lanka has asked India to allow its officials to interrogate LTTE suspects held by the Tamil Nadu authorities. Sri Lanka has made the request to question the men who were arrested mid-sea last week, officials said here today. On February 13, a boat belonging to the Sea Tigers, the 'naval wing' of the LTTE, was seized by the Indian Coast Guard. more..

Group attacks Saudi over Sri Lankan executions

Feb 23 (Reuters) An international rights group said on Thursday that four Sri Lankans beheaded in Saudi Arabia this week for armed robbery suffered a sham trial and that two of the men may not have known they were sentenced to death. The bodies of the four men, beheaded by the sword in a public square in Riyadh on Monday, were displayed on wooden crosses for over an hour as a deterrent, amid fears of an increase in organised crime among expatriates. more..

Sangakkara brings all-round qualities to Sri Lanka team

Feb 23 (Reuters) Kumar Sangakkara is Sri Lanka's leading all rounder, a student of law with a passion for literature, their best batsman and an inspirational wicketkeeper. The 29-year-old is in the prime of his career and he holds a key responsibility batting at number four, the old batting position of Aravinda de Silva. more..

Sri Lanka's first closed-end mutual fund to sell on tax-efficiency

Feb 23 (LBO) A tax-efficient closed-end fixed income mutual fund launched by National Asset Management (NAMAL) is already attracting commitments from the corporate sector, officials said. The NAMAL Flexi Income Fund will invest mostly in better yielding corporate bonds and asset -backed securities which pay a premium over the risk free rate, NAMAL's Ian Ferdinandas said. more..


Feb 23 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by Dullas Alahapperuma as the Minister of Transport for the procurement of 100 numbers of Passenger Carriages from M/s. China National Machinery Import & Export Corporation (CMC) at a total FOB price of US $ 22,105,200.00 inclusive of all the improvements in the current specifications of all the Sri Lanka Railways. more..

Sri Lanka says sinks rebel boats on truce anniversary

Feb 23 Reuters) Sri Lanka said its navy sank two suspected Tamil Tiger boats, killing nine rebels on Thursday, on the fifth anniversary of a largely ignored ceasefire. Since the 2002 truce to halt fighting between the Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lankan forces, there have been air raids, suicide bombings, roadside blasts, land and sea battles and thousands killed. more..

Official LTTE press release: Ceasefire Agreement completes its fifth year

Feb 23 (TW) On February 22, 2002, the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), entered into the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) with facilitation by the Royal Norwegian Government. Five years have passed since the signing of this historic agreement by the leader of the LTTE, Vellupillai Pirapaharan, and the then Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremasinghe. more..

Ceasefire on paper;fighting continues

Feb 23 (BBC) The ceasefire agreement between Sri Lanka's government and the Tamil Tigers was signed five years ago this week. It is still in place, on paper at least, but the country has been sliding back towards war. More than three and a half thousand people were killed last year, according to an official count. Officially, Sri Lanka's ceasefire still holds. But on the ground, the fighting continues. more..

Sinhalese man breaking into Lanka naval base shot dead

Feb 23 (AT) A Sinhalese man was shot dead by navy guards on February 19 for his suspicious "breaking in" to the Kalpitiya Navy Base, the Sinahala language newspaper "Lankadeepa" reported on February 21. He was carrying a Sri Lanka National ID with the name K.P Chandrapala, as resident of Galle. Navy guards noticed him surreptitiously sneaking into the naval base through the barbed wire fence at 10.00 at night. They ordered him to surrender. more..

Dialog TV Wins Exclusive Satellite TV Rights For ICC Cricket World Cup

Feb 23 (AT) Dialog Satellite TV announced today that it had secured exclusive Satellite TV Telecast rights for the ICC Cricket World Cup which will take place in the West Indies in March. Dialog TV will be the only satellite TV station in Sri Lanka to telecast this years’ most anticipated sports event, the Cricket World Cup. The channel to tune in to is Sony SET Max, which is available only on Dialog TV. more..

Subramanian Swamy voices concern over LTTE killer squads 'hibernating' on TN coastline

Feb 23 (AT) Dr. Subramanian Swamy, president of Janata Party has voiced concern over reports about LTTE killer squads 'hibernating' in the backwaters of Tamil Nadu coastline. In a statement circulated to the media from his Chennai office, Dr Swamy demanded action against the Tamil Nadu government of DMK's Muthavel Karunanidhi alleging that DMK is 'a camouflaged political front' of the LTTE in Tamil Nadu. more..

Fate of asylum seekers still uncertain

Feb 23 (ABC) Prime Minister John Howard says a group of 85 asylum seekers intercepted near Christmas Island, off Western Australia, will not be allowed on the mainland.The men were picked up by the navy supply ship HMAS Success and are believed to be from Sri Lanka. Mr Howard has told Southern Cross Radio that the Federal Government is considering sending the men to Nauru. more..

Sir Cliff Richard Rocks Sri Lanka

Feb 23 (LE) The pop legend, Sir Cliff Richard will rock Sri Lanka on Friday 23rd February when he performs his first ever concert in Colombo at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre (SLECC)The concert will be part of Cliff Richard's "Here and Now" World Tour. Cliff in Concert in Colombo is a presentation of Gold FM in collaboration with DK Promotions. more..

Tiger rebels to resume 'freedom struggle'

Feb 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels announced a resumption of their "freedom struggle" after declaring that a truce arranged by peace broker Norway had collapsed. The Tigers said the truce, which came into effect five years ago on Friday, was now virtually non-existent and warned that Colombo's military drive against them would only add to the "bloodstained pages of the island's history." more..

Sri Lanka raises key interest rate to curb inflation

Feb 23 (BB) Central bank increased its benchmark interest rate for the fifth time since June after inflation climbed to a 10-year high. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka raised its repurchase rate by a half point to 10.5 percent, the Colombo-based bank said in a statement today. Four of nine analysts in a Bloomberg News survey expected the increase. Four predicted a quarter of a percentage point rise and one forecast no change. more..

Sri Lankan parliament session interrupted over truce agreement

Feb 23 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's parliament session was interrupted by 10 minutes on Thursday as an opposition group demanded a statement from the government on the fifth anniversary of the Norwegian backed truce agreement with the Tamil Tiger rebels. Wimal Weerawansa, the leader of the JVP told parliament that February 2002 accord with the LTTE was a betrayal of the island's sovereignty and the truce agreement had conferred diplomatic status on the LTTE. more..

Conflict related killings in Sri Lanka exacerbated in the last 15 months

Feb 23 (AT) Nearly 4000 people have lost their lives during the past 15 months, while in contrast there were less than 130 deaths related to the conflict were recorded. Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, Nordic countries truce monitors in a statement emphasized that in the pursuit of a negotiated solution to the conflict, the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE signed a Ceasefire Agreement on 22 February 2002. more..

Sri Lanka to raise 300 million dollars from bond sales in 2007

Feb 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka Friday announced plans to raise 100 million dollars by selling development bonds to foreign investors, while a drive to sell rupee bonds to overseas buyers has netted in 31.75 million dollars to date, the public debt office said. Bulk of the funds will be used to bridge the country's 2007 budget deficit – which is short of around 400 million dollars – as the public purse is straining under the pressure of a 35-year old ethnic conflict. more..

LTTE abductions unveiled

Feb 23 (GDI) A Tamil descent Canadian citizen, named Gajan Kanagaraj has exposed for the first time, the latest terror tactics adopted by the Tamil Tigers to abduct Tamil civilians which includes the abductions of the unmarried girls. He is now appealing to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and the Norwegian Embassy to intervene to get his niece released from the clutches of Tamil Tigers. more..

LTTE disrupting the lifestyle of common people in north

Feb 23 (GDI) The indiscriminate violence unleashed by LTTE disrupts day to day activities of the Tamil people. A LTTE grenade attack on a military target, instead hit a tuition class injuring the tutor and five students at Yalai junction in Jaffna on Wednesday (21) around 4.10 p.m. The terrorists have hurled the hand grenade targetting troops and due to the attack two school girls and three boys were injured and they were immediately evacuated to the Jaffna hospital. more..

Ramanna Nikaya to ordain 1,000 new Samaneras

Feb 23 (GDI) One thousand male children will be ordained as Samanera monks in the Ramanna Nikaya under Government patronage to mark the 2550 Sambuddha Jayanthiya. This was announced by Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardane at a media briefing. Ramanna Nikaya Maha Lekakadhikari Most Ven. Prof. Waragoda Pemarathana Thera said this programme will be commenced in March at the Ruwanweliseya in Anuradhapura. more..

Govt targets US$ 1 b tourism revenue

Feb 23 (GDI) The Government is to embark on an aggressive tourism promotional drive aimed at achieving a US$ 1 billion earnings target within the next two to three years while opening employment avenues in the leisure sector. The Cabinet has given approval to defer the implementation of the proposed US$ 10 Visa fee from foreign passport holders till August 31 this year while bringing the electricity rate for hotels on par with other industries for the same period. more..

Tamil Tigers Blamed of Humanitarian and Human Rights Situation in Sri Lanka

Feb 23 (AT) “In their quest for a mono-ethnic one party separate state for a fraction of Sri Lanka’s Tamil population living in the north and east, the LTTE, over the years, has employed the strategy of creating humanitarian situations in these areas to further their political agenda and to win international sympathy for their cause,” says Sri Lanka ambassador in Washington Bernard Goonetilleke more..

Forty Tamil gangs in London says YouTubed award-winning TV documentary

Feb 23 (AT) A Sky One TV's award winning TV documentary video grab posted on YouTube reveals that there are no less than 40 Tamil gangs in London. They mostly assault or even torture their victims, who are other Tamils living in London. They use swords, axes and even fishtails on their victims. The documentary says that these Tamil gangs are a result of Tamil refugee flow to London due to the civil war in Sri Lanka. more..

SLMM closes Vavuniya office

Feb 23 (TN) SLMM has closed its offices in Vavuniya Thursday, and has recalled the employees at the Vavuniya office to outstations citing security reasons, sources in Vavuniya said. Additional information on SLMM's sudden action is not available. Meanwhile, Vavuniya Police said that they were not informed of SLMM's decision to close the office. Police sources added that the SLMM temporarily closed their offices two months earlier also, but returned after a few days. more..