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Powerful bulb caused Kandy library fire

Feb 25 (SO) The Special Investigating Unit of the Kandy police probing the fire that gutted the D. S. Senanayake Library's auditorium causing extensive damage have found that a powerful electrical bulb installed near a screen had caused the fire, Chief Inspector, Gurusinghe told the "Sunday Observer." He said the fire was caused due to the negligence of the young man who installed a bulb near a screen. more..

CID thrown open; top officers moved out

Feb 25 (ST) What is easily the Police Department's most coveted arm, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), is undergoing a complete purge. Officers at the higher echelons are all being moved out after a new decision that they should also serve in operational or war-torn areas. Until now, the CID has remained a closed unit and its senior officers were never transferred. more..

Ex-foreign minister warned India may join in imposing embargoes

Feb 25 (ST) The then Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera warned President Mahinda Rajapaksa that India may join western powers to bring international strictures and even embargoes on Sri Lanka. The warning came in a letter Mr. Samaraweera sent on December 13, last year, almost a month before he was sacked. Copies of this letter were released to the media together with a letter he wrote to Sri SLFP General Secretary, Maithripala Sirisena, countering charges levelled against him. more..

Media victories, military victories and realities

Feb 25 (ST) Unlike in the movies where coming attractions are heavily advertised, it is just the opposite when it comes to the military. Secrecy becomes the key element for safety and success of troops. The fundamental precept is not to alert the enemy. Not to warn them that tons of bombs would fall from the sky during air raids or fierce attacks would be thrust upon them when ground troops begin their assault. Not to rush them to be prepared. more..

President gets list of 22 'Mangala' men

Feb 25 (ST) Even if President Mahinda Rajapaksa had not tasked him as "peace envoy," Plantation Industries Minister, D.M. Jayaratne chose to meet his one time cabinet colleague Mangala Samaraweera to learn what had gone wrong. Urban Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardene and Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana had already patched up differences between the President and re-appointed National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike. more..

UAE, Lanka discuss postal ties

Feb 25 (TA) The UAE and Sri Lanka have discussed potential areas of co-operation in the postal field. The Sri Lankan Minister for Posts and Telecommunications, Rauff Hakeem, who was on a transit visit to Dubai, met an Emirates Post delegation led by Abdullah Al Fan, assistant director-general, development and marketing, who briefed the minister on Emirates Post's development strategy and identified areas of possible co-operation, more..

India's tour to SL to be finalised at ICC meet soon

Feb 25 (CI) Sri Lanka's three-match ODI series against India scheduled for June will be finalised at the ICC board director's meeting at Cape Town early next month where representatives of all countries including India will be present. The Sri Lankan board's secretary K Mathivanan, who will represent Sri Lanka at the meeting, said he had got positive responses from both India and South Africa to postpone the Afro-Asian series scheduled for June to accommodate the Sri Lankan fixtures. more..

Bras push up Sri Lanka's lingerie hopes

Feb 25 (AFP) For some engineers in this Sri Lankan industrial town, making women happy is their main job -- they design sexy bras which are comfortable too. Ranil Vitarana is one of hundreds of Sri Lankans developing exotic undergarments for top international brands including Victoria's Secret, Marks and Spencer and Triumph -- making Sri Lanka a global hot spot for lingerie. more..

Intelligence failure in detecting smuggling of arms: CPI(M)

Feb 25 (ZN) CPI(M) today blamed intelligence agencies for "having failed to detect" the smuggling of explosive materials from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka, and asked the state police to be more vigilant. "It is a failure of the intelligence, apparently", party state secretary N Varadarajan said here today. Police department should be more vigilant and focused in preventing the recurrence of such incidents, he added. more..

China to back Sri Lanka`s fight against LTTE

Feb 25 (ZN) The Chinese leadership will reassure Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse that Beijing firmly backs the island nation's fight against terrorism and efforts to maintain territorial integrity, diplomatic sources said here today. "China will express full support for Sri Lankan government's efforts for the unity, territorial integrity and national reconciliation," diplomats said ahead of Rajapakse's state visit to China from February 26 to March 4. more..

Lankan militants use islets near Palk Strait as transit point

Feb 25 (ZN) Sri Lankan militants use the islets near Palk Strait as transit and communication point for smuggling of explosives from Tamil Nadu, as per the confession made by the three militants, recently arrested off Kodiakarai coast, to interrogating officials. The police and coastguard officials who for the first time conducted a mid-sea interrogation, found that the militants had used different islets for taking rest and escaping from being noticed by the Coastguard and the Sri Lankan Navy, more..

Sri Lanka`s exports to India slow down

Feb 25 (ZN) Sri Lanka's exports to India slipped to Rs 50.8 billion in 2006 from Rs 56.2 billion the previous year due to a spat over shipments of Vanaspati, spices and copper. "There was a drop in exports to India last year due to problems with Vanaspati and even copper exports," said Subhashini Abeysinghe, economist attached to the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. more..

Sri Lankan troops kill 2 Tamil rebels in clash, military says

Feb 25 (AP) Sri Lankan troops killed two Tamil Tiger rebels in a clash on the northern Jaffna peninsula, the Defense Ministry said Sunday. "They fired at our checkpoint," said Lt. Col. Upali Rajapakse, a senior officer at the military's information center. He said three soldiers were wounded in the incident, which occurred late Saturday. more..

Sri Lankan students 'feared kidnap, murder'

Feb 25 (Age) THE 83 Sri Lankan asylum seekers whose boat was intercepted last week are mostly young students who fled Sri Lanka in fear that they would be kidnapped or murdered, it has been claimed. All are under 30 and nearly all are Tamils and the rest are Muslims, Sri Lankan community sources say. It is believed that most of the Sri Lankans, who are being held on Christmas Island, are seeking asylum. more..

Last rites read over peace process in Sri Lanka

Feb 25 (AFP) As thousands flee for their lives amid heavy weekend artillery fire in northern and eastern Sri Lanka, analysts say the government, Tamil rebels and Norway are clinging to a truce that is dead. The Oslo-backed peace process suffered yet another blow last week when the rebels vowed to resume their campaign for independence and statehood, scrapping a 2002 pledge to agree to a federal solution to end decades of ethnic conflict. more..

Military: Sri Lankan troops capture 3 Tamil Tiger bases in northeast

Feb 25 (AP) Troops have captured three Tamil Tiger rebel bases in northeastern Sri Lanka, forcing the insurgents to flee into the jungles, the Defense Ministry said Saturday. "The military had to carry out the operation as the terrorists were targeting our camps in the area and risking supply lines," said military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe. more..

Sri Lanka troops take more rebel bases after fresh offensive

Feb 25 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops seized at least four bases from Tamil Tiger strongholds in the northeast in the past week, the defence ministry said, in fighting that has forced thousands to flee. The ministry said troops, backed by artillery and multi-barrel rocket launchers, captured four bases of the LTTE in the Trincomalee district following the offensive launched on Thursday. more..

"Isura FM" taken over by Politicians???

Feb 26 (LeN) "Isura" radio station has been sold spontaneously. According the reports that LeN has received a fraction of the government which is attempting to revolutionize its path has taken over the particular radio station. Accordingly "Isura" had been sold for 150 million rupees. Former president Chandrika Kumaratunga also had certain connections with the radio station and at the time it was sold President's counsel D.P. Mendis. more..

Brother in law of SSP Colombo crimes division Sarath Lugoda has gone missing

Feb 26 (LeN) Missing Raja Pulendun is married to a sister of the SSP and he is originally from Batticaloa. Is also the owner of "Millennium Colour Lab" in Borella. The victim had left the office with his manager and had dropped him in his house in Krulapona. Then Pulendun had been coming to his house in Kohuwala Via Balapokuna Mawatha. more..

"Abrogate CFA": President challenged

Feb 26 (BBC) The main opposition in Sri Lanka has challenged the head of the state to abrogate the truce entered with the rebels if it threatens to divide the country. The UNP accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa of being vague on the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) signed with the Tamil Tigers. "The President has the power to abrogate the CFA and go for a new agreement. Why doesn't he do that?" UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake, questioned in a UNP gathering in Polonnaruwa. more..

Whither Sri Lanka - once the pearl of the orient?

Feb 26 (TW) This country was once described as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. Even President Lee Kwan Yu of Singapore who visited this country, years ago after we got independence had visions of developing his country to the status of Sri Lanka. That was the development of Sri Lanka then. Now 59 years after Independence we have been gradually sliding down and down over the years and now stand at the brink of a ‘Failed State.’ more..

Sri Lanka Christians Fear Future As Fighting Intensifies

Feb 26 (BNL) Christians in Sri Lanka were attending church services Sunday, February 25, amid fears they will increasingly become targets as the country moves towards renewed civil war five years after a Norway-brokered ceasefire. This week's 5th anniversary of that document was overshadowed by reports that those who signed it -- Sri Lanka’s government and the separatist Tamil rebels of the LTTE group -- no longer believe in the agreement. more..

Lankan Navy fires at fishing boat, 1 hurt

Feb 26 (NIP) A firing exercise on Indian fishermen, who were at the sea off Kottaipattinam in Pudukkottai district, by the Sri Lankan Navy on Saturday, caused severe injuries to one of them. According to reports, the fishermen had set out to the sea from Kottaipattinam fishing base on Saturday in more than 100 motor boats. more..

India donates second warship to Sri Lanka

Feb 26 (TN) India is to grant the Sri Lanka Navy another ocean-going warship as part of greater cooperation between the two countries, media reports in Colombo said Sunday. The Nation newspaper said India “will either grant or lease a coast guard vessel” to the Sri Lanka Navy. The former Indian Coast Guard vessel, ‘Varaha’, is similar to the Offshore Patrol craft (OPC) which India provided in 2000 and which is now the flagship of the SLN, the paper said. more..

Sri Lankan government finances Tigers by buying their Tamil TV programs

Feb 26 (AT) Sri Lanka’s National Television station Rupavahini buys Tamil programs from the extensive global network of Tiger TV organizations. Rupavahini operates two networks: Rupavahini (Channel 1) primarily in Sinhalese, and Channel Eye (Channel 2) primarily in Tamil and English. One of the main sources that produce TV programs for Tigers is in Tamil Nadu. more..

Sri Lanka tries to impress China, bigtime

Feb 26 (AT) Sri Lanka will be trying to impress China 'big time' when President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrives in Beijing today with 'one of the biggest ever delegations' that Sri Lanka has sent-100 officials and 40 business personalities including 15 government Ministers. What remains to be confirmed is whether this is another world's first in the aftermath of Colombo's recent record of creating the worlds biggest cabinet. more..

Paddy husk could be used as a fuel –Scientists

Feb 26 (AT) A recent survey carried out by a group of Scientists attached to the Rice Processing Research and Development Centre and the Resource Management Associate Ltd say that an average of 50 percent of paddy husk produced by the Rice Mills, use husk as their fuel for steam generation. Paddy husk is a major by-product of the rice milling industry and at present around 540,000 metric tons of husk is produced annually. more..

Sri Lanka hits back at tendentious article in British press

Feb 26 (AT) In a hard-hitting riposte to The Guardian newspaper which referred to President Mahinda Rajapakse as "mindless" as a terrorist bomber, Sri Lanka's envoy here has accused it of "grave factual inaccuracies and general bias." Referring to a comment piece by foreign correspondent Jonathan Steele on February 9, High Commissioner Kshenuka Senewiratne's reply published only on Saturday, almost three weeks after the offending article, more..

Sluggish share market attributed to profit taking

Feb 26 (AT) The HNB Stockbrokers in their weekly market review indicated that overall, the market remained sluggish this week, except for Thursday, which saw indices picking up moderately. The dampening in the market could mainly be attributed to profit taking. With the market on average retaining an upward trend from the start of this year, a market correction due to profit taking remains a healthy sign. more..

Jaffna faces shortage of critical medicines

Feb 26 (TN) Jaffna Teaching Hospital, Manthikai Government hospital in Point Pedro and other hospitals in Jaffna district are unable to perform surgeries as stocks of saline drip and other essential medicines have depleted, medical sources in Jaffna said. Government supplies of medicines earmarked for the first quarter of year 2007 has not been shipped from Colombo to Jaffna, hospital sources said. more..

Ship expected to bring Jaffna mail from Trincomalee

Feb 26 (TN) A part of the backlog of ordinary letters to Jaffna lying in Trincomalee Main Post Office is expected to arrive in Jaffna Monday by ship, Jaffna Postal sources said. Besides thousands of mail bags accumulating in Trincomalee, 5000 parcels, many containing medicines and food, destined for addresses in Jaffna district are also lying undelivered. more..

Lanka central bank chief offers training for local bankers

Feb 26 (DS) The policy guidelines of Bangladesh Bank to ensure corporate management in the country's banking sector are not working well in the absence of adequate knowledge of directors and senior bankers. When the issue was raised and expressed concern by Bangladesh Bank Deputy Governor Nazrul Huda at a discussion here yesterday, Sri Lanka's Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, who was present at the meeting, readily offered training facilities saying they have the institution and expertise. more..

Sri Lankan asylum-seekers stuck in legal limbo

Feb 26 (HS) A BOATLOAD of asylum-seekers from Sri Lanka at the centre of a political storm played a game of backyard cricket on Christmas Island yesterday as Australian officials debated whether to send them back to Indonesia. Dozens of public servants and almost a tonne of food were brought in to cope with the arrival on Saturday of 83 Sri Lankans and two Indonesians, who were ferried ashore in navy lifejackets after four days aboard HMAS Success. more..

Sri Lankan actress not attending Oscars

Feb 26 (LR) Sri Lankan child-actress Sarala Kariyawasam will not attend the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, where the movie ‘Water’ she starred in received a nomination for the best foreign film. Earlier there was much expectation in Sri Lanka that Sarala would make history when she attended the Oscars, but she hasn’t received an invitation, the Sri Lanka Reporter has learned. more..

Plea to open Lanka embassy

Feb 26 (GDN) A RENEWED call has gone out to open a Sri Lankan diplomatic mission in Bahrain. Officials from the Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) say they deal with an increasing number of cases involving women from Sri Lanka. Action committee head Marietta Dias said that limited resources mean volunteers are struggling to cope with the scale of the problem and may not be able to take on future cases. more..

Mutuvalla And Sinhapura: Sri Lankan Villages On The Edge

Feb 26 (CC) We arrived at the village of Mutavalla in the late morning of the 5th of February, and we were shown to a clay hut. There were many people, mainly women, waiting for us; they thought we were an NGO coming to dole out money or give out rations. They had desperate eyes and wanted to talk about their problems. One of their biggest problems is that they are on the border with Tamil Elam: on the border of the LTTE controlled north. more..

Eastern Tamils oppose merger of Universities

Feb 26 (TN) The initiative of the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, 'Myown' Mustafa to amalgamate the Eastern University of Sri Lanka (EUSL) with the Muslim-dominated South Eastern University, faces stiff resistance from Tamils and Muslims living Batticaloa district, sources in Batticaloa said. Mr. Mustafa expressed his willingness to merge both the universities together in a high level meeting more..

A landmark in Sino-Lanka ties

Feb 26 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will begin a five-day State visit to China today, heralding a new era of China-Sri Lanka friendship as the two countries celebrate the golden jubilee of diplomatic ties. Both countries have declared 2007 as the China-Sri Lanka Friendship year. President Mahinda Rajapaksa was due to arrive in Beijing this morning along with the Sri Lankan delegation more..

The government is committed to safety and democratic rights of the people, President

Feb 26 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the government is totally committed to the safety and democratic rights of all the people including those who live in the north and east. He said that the government is determined to find a lasting political solution to the north east issue and all necessary steps were being taken to achieve that objective. The ceasefire agreement is irrelevant in this endeavour, he said. more..

Sri Lanka's plunder of the asset less and working classes to end?

Feb 26 (LBO) The plunder of the poor and the working classes that began in April 2004 is now beginning to end with money printing slowing, but those in the fringes will continue to suffer as the Central Bank tries to soft-land the economy. With Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal now apparently batting on the side of the have-nots Sri Lanka's poor has got a fighting chance, but whether they sink further or swim will depend on how much fiscal support he will get from the treasury and politicians. more..

Four Sri Lankan workers beheaded in Saudi Arabia

Feb 26 (wsws) Last Monday the Saudi Arabian government beheaded four Sri Lankan migrant workers—Sanath Pushpakumara, E.J.Victor Corea, Ranjith De Silva and Sangeeth Kumara—despite years of protest from international human rights organisations and the victims’ pleas for clemency. The beheading brought the number of people executed in Saudi Arabia this year to at least 17, compared to 38 for all of 2006. more..

Hoax bomb call causes panic at Vavuniya banks

Feb 26 (TN) Hoax caller warning of bombs placed inside premises of the Peoples Bank and Bank of Ceylon branches in Vavuniya town at 9:45 a.m. Monday caused panic among the staff and customers as they vacated the buildings, sources in Vavuniya said. Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers and Police cordoned off the area and searched the buildings. No bombs were found inside the bank buildings. more..

Navy seize a load of suspicious stuff sneaked out from Colombo

Feb 26 (GDI) The Navy on duty at a road block in Mannar on Mannar-Thalaimannar main road detained a lorry carrying a large stock of items used for repairing fiberglass boats and a number of other high tech equipment during the past weekend. Navy believes that these items most probably heading towards the Sea Tigers based in Vedithalathiwu area and its vicinity. more..

Making communication more convenient to the needy

Feb 26 (GDI) Sri Lankan Government paying special attention on establishing easy-reach telecommunication facilities is to launch a special programme providing the disabled persons with telephone connections. This was revealed at the progress evaluation conference-2006 of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) held at Temple Trees headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

President arrives in Beijing

Feb 26 (GDI) The Sri Lankan delegate team headed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who left the island to China early this morning arrived in Beijing at 6.30 a.m. in local time, officials of the President’s Media unit report from Beijing. The President and the delegates were cordially welcomed by Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Tshuwei Tian Kai. more..

A Letter to Hon. Dr. Kim Howells

Feb 26 (PISL) I am a Canadian citizen of Sri Lankan origin who followed the media record of your recent trip to Sri Lanka. I find your comments both before and after the visit somewhat troubling, even though you claimed that you travelled there in the capacity of a friend seeking to be helpful in the search for a peaceful solution. more..

Nervous parents watch University of Jaffna opening doors to students

Feb 26 (AT) University of Jaffna, which opened on February 19, 2007 after it was closed on August 11, 2006, is returning to normalcy. 2006 have commenced since from 22 February and reports reveal that relative calm prevails. According to the Acting Vice Chancelor of the University, Prof. R.Kumaravadive, students boycotted the lectures after learning that Krishnar Kamalathas (24) a final year student of the Art faculty, was killed in the morning of 18th at Iyathalai, Varany in the Chavakachcheri area. more..

Tourism under Trust

Feb 26 (SAMN) A Tourism Trust is to established in a bid to ensure the development of the industry is enhanced until the new Tourism Act is promulgated, a top official said. The government will be setting up a Tourism Trust to administer the Tourism Development Fund until the new Act is promulgated, Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) acting Chairman George Michael said, noting it would be represented by three members from the industry, the Treasury, the SLTB and the Tourism Ministry. more..

War based on political agendas: Sripathi

Feb 26 (SAMN) Ousted Minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi Sunday vowed he would never accept a portfolio under President Mahinda Rajapaksa and said there was no point in the President imposing conditions for his return. However he said, he and Mangala Samaraweera would continue to be SLFP MPs. President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the two ousted ministers should apologise to the security forces for their statements on the military movements in the East, if the two wished to be back in the Cabinet. more..

De Silva, GMOA on collision course

Feb 26 (SAMN) Healthcare Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and the GMOA are on a collision course over the recent post intern appointments given to 790 doctors. The Minister said that the appointments would be given early next month. The process would start on March 1, he said dismissing the objections raised by the powerful trade union organization. The GMOA recently objected to the appointment list. It wanted the ministry to suspend the list pending a reshuffle. more..