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Mangala, Sripathy file HR petition

Feb 23 (LNP) Sacked ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathy Suriyaarachchi yesterday sought the intervention of the Human Rights Commission to order the Defence Secretary and Police Chief to restore their personal security to full strength. In their petitions, the former ministers said the government had reduced their security to just two personnel and also withdrawn the vehicles since February 9, thus exposing them to possible terrorist attacks. more..

Yes, Mr. Ambassador but

Feb 23 (LNP) US Ambassador Robert O Blake Jr says Sri Lanka has got an important opportunity to achieve peace and urges her to seize time by the forelock. `If a credible power sharing proposal emerges from the APRC, Sri Lanka has in President Mahinda Rajapakse a strong leader who can use his very considerable political skills and the trust that his supporters repose in him to help fashion the southern consensus that has eluded previous governments,` more..

Statement soon

Feb 23 (LNP) The Government said yesterday it would announce its current stance on the Ceasefire Agreement soon. `Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake will make an announcement in this regard very soon,` Cabinet Spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said urging the media not to listen to any rumours in this regard. He said currently the Foreign Ministry and the Defence Ministry are discussing the matter before releasing the statement of the Government. more..

JVP vows to oust Govt.

Feb 23 (SAMN) The JVP Thursday warned that if the Government was not willing to abrogate the ceasefire agreement, it would act to oust the Government and bring in a new administration that would abrogate the agreement. Addressing a crowded public rally organised by the federation of national organisations in Colombo, JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Wimal Weerawansa said some people were taking the CFA lightly and claiming it was only a dead letter. more..

SCOPP says CFA still intact

Feb 23 (SAMN) The government peace secretariat (SCOPP) Thursday reiterated that the Ceasefire Agreement signed in 2002 under the Ranil Wickremesinghe regime would remain valid until it was terminated as stipulated in the agreement facilitated by the Norwegians. The government peace secretariat in a statement said the CFA would terminate only upon 14-days notice of termination given by either party - the government or the LTTE. more..

Remove Karu, Milinda from Cabinet: JVP

Feb 23 (SAMN) The JVP Thursday called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to remove Ministers Milinda Moragoda and Karu Jayasuriya from the Cabinet, as they were responsible for several malpractices disclosed in the COPE report. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake participating in the Government debate on the COPE report in Parliament yesterday said that four serious frauds which the COPE has come across have taken place within the ministries which were under Moragoda and Jayasuriya. more..

Now its Garbage power

Feb 23 (SAMN) In a bid to meet the challenge of a future energy crisis, the Colombo Renewable Energy company and Wellawatta Sugar company have decided to assist the Government in generating electricity through bio-gas. The Energy Ministry will construct a bio-gas electricity generation plant in Muthurajawela shortly. more..

Ayurvedic doctors face axe if found guilty of complaints

Feb 23 (DN) Ayurvedic doctors' registration will be cancelled or their service suspended if complaints against them are proved factual following an inquiry, Registrar, Ayurvedic Medical Council, Dr. Danister Perera said. Addressing a press briefing at the Sri Lanka Press Institute, yesterday, the Registrar said steps have already been taken against registered Ayurvedic doctors involved in wrongful acts. more..

NMAT urges politicians not to hamper victory march against LTTE

Feb 23 (DN) The National Movement Against Terrorism (NMAT) yesterday appealed to all political parties and politicians not to cause any action that could harm the government's on going operations to free the country of LTTE terrorism on account of their political differences with President Rajapaksa and his government. more..

Alleged Parliamentary violation NGO to face disciplinary action

Feb 23 (DM) The Parliamentary Select Committee on NGOs yesterday decided to take disciplinary action against ZOA, an NGO for the alleged violation of Parliamentary privileges by publishing a newspaper advertisement based on facts discussed at its previous meeting. Committee Chairman and JVP MP Vijitha Herath told the Daily Mirror yesterday that they also summoned this NGO last time to be questioned regarding the alleged malpractices done by them. more..

Wholesale price hike of essential goods today

Feb 23 (DM) The Essential Food Commodities Importers and Traders Association decided to increase the prices of essential goods from today. The Association said that since they could not get a reasonable duty reduction as mentioned in the agreement with the Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Marketing Development Ministry, the wholesale prices per kilo of Big Onions, Red Onions, Dry Chillies and Potatoes are to be increased from today to Rs.70, Rs.150, Rs. 45 and Rs. 50 respectively. more..

Youths to remain in congested prison in Jaffna

Feb 23 (TN) Jaffna district Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Commander Maj. Gen. Chandrasiri informed that due to lack of security arrangements, the Rehabilitation Centre at Tellipalai cannot be reopened to accommodate the 40 youths placed under the protective custody in the Jaffna prison, legal sources in Jaffna said. The SLA commander was responding to the application filed by Jaffna police Thursday more..

Sri Lanka issues World Cup stamps

Feb 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Friday issued two commemorative World Cup stamps in a bid to boost its cricketers ahead of the tournament starting in the Caribbean next month. “What we are trying to do is to encourage the players. We don’t want to put any undue burdens, but just to show the players that the entire nation is behind them,” Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge said. more..

LTTE to resume war for secession

Feb 23 (HT) In a landmark statement issued on Thursday, the LTTE said that it was being "compelled" to resume its fight for an independent "Tamil Eelam" and that the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA), which it entered into with the Sri Lankan government five years ago, had already given "Tamil Eelam" de facto domestic and international recognition. more..

Karunanidhi warns political leaders against nexus with LTTE

Feb 23 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today warned that stern action would be taken against leaders of political parties if they were found to have nexus with the LTTE. The CM's warning comes at the backdrop of reports that the banned outfit is smuggling arms and ammunition from the state. Writing in the DMK's official organ 'Murasoli', he said strict instructions had been issued not to show any lenience to these leaders if their nexus with the LTTE was established. more..

Lanka to offer oil blocks to India, China without bidding

Feb 23 (ZN) Sri Lanka plans to allocate an oil block each to India and China without the usual bidding process and will soon invite international bids for the remaining blocks, a senior official said here. "Our plan is to allocate two blocs -- one bloc to India and one to China - without going through the bidding process," Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary, Palitha Kohona said. more..

Asylum seekers 'may have sabotaged boat'

Feb 23 (ABC) Federal Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews says 85 asylum seekers currently on board an Australian navy ship may have sabotaged their own fishing boat. An Australian Navy ship rescued the men from the Indian Ocean on Wednesday. Mr Andrews says the crew from HMAS Success found the boat drifting in the Indonesian Ocean. He says the sailors were able to repair the wooden boat but again found the men in trouble a short time later. more..

Sri Lankan military finds 2 large bombs on northern peninsula

Feb 23 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers found two large bombs planted in an underground drain on the northern Jaffna peninsula that Tamil rebels planned to use against government troops, the military said Friday. The 15-kilogram (33-pound) bombs were hidden in a drain under a road in the small town of Manthuvil, along with a detonator and a remote control, military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe said. more..

LTTE reviving bases in India

Feb 23 (Times) A week after the seizure of an LTTE boat laden with explosives by the Coast Guard in Tamil Nadu, the 5 persons arrested on-board have given vital information to the investigators, including the shocking revelation that their target was a port or harbour in north Sri Lanka. From November 2006, there has been a spurt of arrests in India. more..

Sri Lanka government gains support of Buddhist monks

Feb 23 (AP) With full-scale war blossoming once more in a country beset by a quarter century of ethnic conflict, an ever more assertive government has found a sturdy ally in what might seem an unexpected source: hard-line Buddhist monks. The monks have long been active in Sri Lanka's deeply polarized politics, but for the first time they have joined the governing coalition with their own political party. more..

European peace monitors say huge escalation in violence, 4,000 dead

Feb 23 (AP) European cease-fire monitors said Friday nearly 4,000 people were killed in Sri Lanka in the past 15 months, compared to 130 deaths in previous three years since a 2002 truce, and emphasized the importance that government and the Tamil Tiger rebels to adhere to the cease-fire. "Nearly 4,000 people have lost their lives in incidents connected to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka during the past 15 months," the SLMM said more..

World shares blame for Sri Lanka war, says Tigers

Feb 23 (Reuters) The international community shares the blame for Sri Lanka's renewed civil war, the Tamil Tigers have charged, accusing them of bias and inaction they say has left a ceasefire pact meaningless and fostered conflict. The Tigers and Sri Lankan government have repeatedly ignored calls by the international community to halt the conflict, which has killed an estimated 4,000 people in the past 15 months alone, and analysts expect it to escalate. more..

Sri Lanka rebels say truce dead, monitors leave embattled region

Feb 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka truce monitors pulled out of an embattled northern region where thousands of civilians were on the run fearing a fresh military offensive, as Tiger rebels said the ceasefire was all but dead. The local employees of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) were no longer at their posts in Vavuniya -- gateway to the Tamil north of the island -- after withdrawing Thursday, spokesman Thorfinnur Omarsson said. more..

Sri Lanka in waiting game for market access to Europe

Feb 24 (LBO) Sri Lankan exporters will have to wait longer for deeper concessions on exports to Europe, with the benefits – initially expected this year, still mired in paperwork. Sri Lanka is the only South Asian country to get duty free access into Europe for about 7200 products, under the European Union’s Generalised System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) scheme. more..

Norwegian Truce Dead - All Sides Agree

Feb 24 (IPS) Five years after the Sri Lankan government signed a Norway-brokered ceasefire agreement (CFA) with Tamil separatist rebels, all actors are now agreed that the document now remains solely on paper. On Thursday, the fifth anniversary of the CFA, Erik Solheim, the Norwegian diplomat most closely associated with the pact, said his country would do its best to salvage it provided the LTTE and the government are ready. more..

"I will work towards developing the ambassador service to cater towards the needs of foreign employers"

Feb 24 (GDI) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama pledged to develop the Sri Lanka ambassador service in to a people friendly, committed service which goes in par with the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’. Minister Bogollagama stated this today while addressing the staff of the Consular Council, in an inspection tour. more..

Sri Lanka expresses concern about executions of its citizens in Saudi Arabia

Feb 24 (AP) Sri Lanka on Friday raised concerns with Saudi Arabian officials about the recent public execution of four Sri Lankans, including the beheading of a person sentenced to 15 years in jail, the foreign ministry said. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told Sultan Al Dakhel, the Saudi charge d'affaires in Colombo that there is a "widespread concern in Sri Lanka with regard to the carrying out of these executions," the ministry said in a statement. more..

Kalam says Lanka was told at 'high political levels' to work for a negotiated settlement of the ethnic issue

Feb 24 (AT) Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam has told lawmakers as they assembled here for a three month long gruelling budget session here on Friday that Delhi stands committed to the line that Sri Lanka should find a negotiated political settlement for the ethnic issue in the island nation. The settlement should be acceptable to all sections of the country, he said. more..

Sri Lanka Faces Grave Threat of Resumption of Tamil Tiger Fund Raising on US soil, a Result of US Court Decision

Feb 24 (AT) Addressing the diplomats late last year in Capital city of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa faulted the overseas diplomatic corps that it has done very little or nothing to convince Sri Lanka’s concerns to policy makers and those who influence policy makers in their respective host countries. more..

Film Review: Sinhala film director falls flat on the Tamil road to propaganda

Feb 24 (AT) It is with great expectations that I went to Dharmasena Pathiraja’s latest film, In search of a Road, screened at the Union Theatre, Monash University, Melbourne. Since there was hardly any literature available about the film, I gathered from what I heard that it was a docu-drama about A-9 Road – the main road that links the north to the south. more..

Duplicity of the free-media and human rights champions

Feb 24 (AT) President Rajapaksa had to appoint a Commission of Inquiries followed by an International Committee to probe on alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka to counteract the pressure put on by the so-called human rights groups and, according to the media reports, these committees are to be effective since this month. more..

Saudi envoy summoned by Sri Lanka foreign minister over crucifixion; government still in the dark

Feb 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's foreign minister has summoned the Saudi envoy in Colombo over the beheading and 'crucifixion' of four Sri Lankans, including a man who was told he was serving a prison term, the foreign affairs ministry said Friday. Four Sri Lankans Victor Corea, Ranjith Silva, Sanath Pushpakumara and Sharmila Sangeeth Kumara were executed by the sword in Riyadh on February 19, and reported to have been tied to wooden beams or 'crucified' and more..

Jakarta solution for Sri Lankan boat people

Feb 24 (TW) Australia has held secret talks with officials in Jakarta that could result in an even more radical version of John Howard’s Pacific Solution — sending 85 Sri Lankan asylum seekers home via Indonesia in possible breach of international refugee conventions. The plan would mean the asylum seekers, who were intercepted by the navy near Christmas Island, would be returned to a country that is not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention. more..

Tamil Nadu CM gives Tiger warning

Feb 24 (BBC) The chief minister of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu has warned that stern action will be taken against people linked to Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers. He said the warning applied to political leaders and individuals. The Tamil Tigers are banned in India, which designated them as terrorists after the murder of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. He was killed by the Tamil Tigers in a suicide bombing while electioneering 15 years ago in Tamil Nadu. more..

"Government will not overlook national interest" -Karunanidhi

Feb 24 (Hindu) Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Friday made it clear that the Tamil Nadu Government would not overlook the national interest and security issues even as it appealed to the Government of India to protect Sri Lankan Tamils. Replying to a set of questions, he said none should be under the illusion that the State Government would intervene in the Sri Lankan [Tamils] issue neglecting the national interest and defence of the country or ignoring the steps taken by the Centre to safeguard them. more..

Twelve marine police posts to check smuggling proposed

Feb 24 (PTI) In the wake of the seizure of arms and explosives being smuggled to Sri Lanka and stepped up LTTE activities in Indian waters, Tamil Nadu is increasing coastal security by setting up 12 marine police stations, the first facilities of this kind in the country. The Centre has given its nod for establishing the marine police stations to safeguard the state's vast coastal belts, more..

TNA appeals to international community to back Tamil self-determination

Feb 24 (TN) Sri Lanka’s ongoing military campaign leaves Tamils with no option but to seek self-determination and self-rule, the country’s largest Tamil party said Friday. In a statement to mark the fifth anniversary of the Ceasefire Agreement between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government, the TNA called on the international community to recognise the Tamil struggle pointing out that in the past five years, “the Sri Lankan government has utterly failed to alleviate the sufferings of the Tamil people. more..

The first garbage driven thermal power plant to be set up soon

Feb 24 (GDI) First thermal power plant using garbage as the fuel source will launch in Muthurajawela in Colombo. This thermal power plant extended in twenty five acres and hopes to add 32 megawatts to the national grid. The construction is estimated to cost Rs.10 billion. The Ministry of Power and Energy has made arrangements to issue the Letter of Intent for the commencing of the above project. more..

Thirteen new BOI projects worth 15M; 12,000 job opportunities

Feb 24 (GDI) The Ministry of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion approves and grants thirteen new investment projects which involve a total investment of nearly Rs.15, 000 million. These thirteen new investment projects have been selected out of fifteen proposals received by the ministry through the Board of Investments (BOI) from January 29 to February 09. more..

Special programme to protect fishermen from terrorist threats

Feb 24 (GDI) Government is to launch new infallible identity cards to the fishermen in order to safeguard them from the LTTE threats, which is currently affecting badly to this populace as the terrorists misuse the fishing trade to smuggle in weaponry to the island. These identification cards will be produced by using modern technology and avoiding the making of duplicates, will be issued to fishermen within the next few days. more..

Upper Kotmale Hydropower Project completes 1st stage; work continues

Feb 24 (GDI) The first stage of the Upper Kotmale Project (UKHP), the infrastructure development process, has successfully completed and construction work of the underground tunnel will commence in March this year with the financial assistance of the Government of Japan under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

President’s China visit to expedite Hambantota port project

Feb 24 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s forthcoming visit to China would ensure the speedy implementation of the long awaited Hambantota Port development project. Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B Jayasundera told the media that the President’s visit next week will secure the required technical and financial assistance for the proposed project which is expected to be completed in 2011. more..

Foreign exposure for traffic cops

Feb 24 (GDI) Traffic policemen will be given foreign exposure to further their knowledge and uplift their skills, IGP Victor Perera said. Speaking at the passing out of the 11th and 12th Junior Traffic Management Course at the Police Headquarters on Thursday, IGP Perera commended the services of Traffic Police personnel working under trying conditions, breathing dust and vehicle exhaust fumes and braving the elements without concern to their health. more..

Ranatunga turns Sri Lankans into world-beaters

Feb 24 (AFP) Sri Lanka had always been a talented side often giving the impression of being too soft on the field until captain Arjuna Ranatunga changed it all with his aggressive approach to win the 1996 World Cup. They always had skilful individuals, but as a team they achieved worldwide fame only under Ranatunga who taught his players to have faith in their ability and never to be overawed by the opposition. more..

Peace deal between Lanka govt, Tamil Tigers collapses

Feb 24 (KT) Confirming the worst fears of Sri Lankans who oppose the ceasefire agreement, the Tamil Tigers have said that the deal has granted de facto recognition to the existence of Tamil Eelam, their separate state, but it indicated that the door for peace was not fully closed. In a hard-hitting statement issued to mark the fifth anniversary of the ceasefire agreement, the LTTE said the marginalisation of the agreement by the government had compelled them to resume their freedom struggle. more..

Sri Lanka Embassy to look into 20 complaints

Feb 24 (BT) Officials from the Sri Lankan Embassy will commence investigation into 20 complaints filed by relatives of workers based in the Kingdom. These complaints were lodged at the Foreign Office Bureau in Sri Lanka. S. M. J. B. Subasinghe, the second secretary from the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Kuwait, told the Tribune yesterday, that “Some families in Sri Lanka have not heard from their sisters and relatives who live in Bahrain. more..

Sri Lanka is committed to peaceful negotiations

Feb 24 (GU) Jonathan Steele's assessment of the situation in Sri Lanka in your Comment column (February 9) contained grave factual inaccuracies and general bias. His attempts to rationalise the LTTE's attacks on civilian buses by suggesting that "this was their answer to an escalating military campaign" seems a justification of the methods used by a terrorist organisation banned in the UK and European Union. more..

Tamil Nadu police launch door-to-door verification of over 100,000 Lankan refugees

Feb 24 (LNP) The Tamil Nadu police has launched a state-wide door-to-door verification of nearly one hundred thousand Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in the southern Indian state. Reports reaching here from state capital Chennai have quoted unidentified `highly placed sources` as saying that the massive, census-like, exercise is being carried out by the Q branch with the help of the police all over the state. more..

Two Sri Lankan undergrads leave for internship at Microsoft Research

Feb 24 (LNP) Two Sri Lankan undergraduates will begin internships at the Microsoft Research Laboratory in India this month. This is the first such occasion that Sri Lankan university students would have the opportunity of entering one of the four Microsoft global labs which are the breeding grounds for technologies that help define and redefine the computing experience for millions of people for decades to come. more..

‘LTTE planning massive attack’

Feb 24 (SAMN) The Government had information that the LTTE, which had suffered severe casualties and defeat at the hands of the Armed Forces, will try to mount a massive attack on some very vital targets in Colombo or elsewhere in the South in the near future. The attack on the Colombo Port, using fishing boats, could not be dismissed as a solitary incident, Minister of Fisheries Felix Perera told Parliament Friday. more..