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Govt to popularise local products among consumers

Feb 27 (DN) The Government is to implement a plan to encourage consumers to buy local products to develop the economy under the Mahinda Chinthana 10-year Development Plan of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. This was revealed by President's Senior Advisor, Basil Rajapaksa at a meeting held at the President's Secretariat yesterday to discuss an effective economic programme focused on local products. more..

Navy denies involvement

Feb 27 (DM) Sri Lanka navy yesterday denied allegations, that Lankan navy personnel opened fire at a group of fishermen off Kottaipattinam coastal village in Tamil Nadu, injuring one. “It’s just a false report as we do not have any authority to operate in Indian Waters,” Navy Spokesman D.K.P. Dassanayake said. more..

Yahoo Photos

Feb 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa (L) and China's President Hu Jintao listen to Sri Lanka's national anthem during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing February 27, 2007. more..

Three wheelers petition: Committee to review decision

Feb 27 (DM) When the fundamental rights violation petition challenging the purported Cabinet decision to ban the importation of two-stroke three-wheelers as well as its spare-parts came up before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, Deputy Solicitor General informed court that a committee had been appointed to review the above decision. more..

Jayalalitha slammes Karunanidhi

Feb 27 (BBC) The former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has strongly criticised the State government for not taking adequate measures to prevent arms smuugling to Sri Lanka's militants. In a statement issued to the media, the former CM and the head of AIADMK, Jayalalithaa, has described current Chef Minister as "inept". more..

Jaya's demand a political gimmick: MK

Feb 27 (CO) Terming as false and absurd AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa's statement demanding dismissal of his government over the issue of smuggling of arms to Sri Lankan militants, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today said it was a political gimmick to keep the party cadres with her. Under compulsion to keep her cadre with the party, she was coming out with statements demanding the dismissal of DMK government besides making predictions that AIADMK would come back to power, he claimed in a statement here. more..

Akram tips Sri Lanka to claim CWC

Feb 27 (ZN) Former Pakistani captain Wasim Akram has said Sri Lanka were the dark horses in the ensuing World Cup and tipped them to claim the title at the Caribbean. "They have some extremely talented players and in my book they can upset anyone to win the title," Akram said of the 1996 edition titleholders. The former tear away bowler said Pakistan`s strength was its middle order that had a lot of experience behind it and was "one of the best in the world". more..

Sri Lanka, China seal deals as president visits

Feb 27 (Reuters) Sri Lanka and China signed a series of cooperation agreements on Tuesday during a visit by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse marking 50 years of diplomatic relations. The eight agreements included a memorandum of understanding on investment promotion and a memorandum on the donation of eye corneas from Sri Lanka, but there were no details as to how much the deals were worth. more..

'Disturbing' comments from Lankan government, even as one more scribe disappears

Feb 27 (IT) Following reports of the disappearance of another journalist, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed its growing concern over the worsening situation in Sri Lanka, particularly in view of the 'disturbing statements on the state of the media' by the government. more..

EU condemns helicopter attack in Sri Lanka

Feb 27 (AP) The European Union condemned Tuesday's attack on a diplomatic helicopter by Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka, calling on both sides to halt the violence and return to negotiations. The U.S. and Italian ambassadors to Sri Lanka were lightly injured when their helicopters were targeted by mortars. The Foreign Ministry in Germany, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said the bloc "emphatically calls on both sides to immediately halt the violence" in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka bombs Tamil hideout after attack on ambassadors

Feb 27 (DPA) Sri Lanka's air force bombed suspected Tamil rebel targets in the Batticaloa district hours after a group of ambassadors to Sri Lanka were attacked Tuesday in a mortar firing on an air field, according to the military and Minister of Human Rights and Natural Disaster Management Mahinda Samarasinghe. more..

Sri Lankan FM slams "deliberate" attack on foreign diplomats

Feb 27 (AFP) Sri Lanka's foreign minister condemned an artillery attack Tuesday by Tamil Tiger rebels that wounded the German, Italian and US ambassadors, labelling it a deliberate strike against the diplomats. "The government of Sri Lanka condemns this attack by the LTTE in the strongest terms," Rohitha Bogollagama, who is accompanying President Mahinda Rajapakse on a week-long visit to China, said in a statement. more..

US, Italian envoys hurt in Lanka rebel attack

Feb 27 (HT) The US and Italian ambassadors in Sri Lanka, Robert Blake and Pio Mariani, received shrapnel wounds when the LTTE fired mortar shells at the ground in which their helicopter landed in the eastern town of Batticaloa on Tuesday. Ravinatha Aryasinha, Director General of Communications at the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was in the chopper, told Hindustan Times over phone, that most people had got down from the helicopter when two mortar bombs exploded somewhere in the vicinity. more..

Yahoo Photos

Feb 27 (AFP) (L-R) German ambassador Juergen Weerth, Italian ambassador Pio Mariani (C) and the head of the European Union in Sri Lanka Julian Wilson (R) walk away from a military helicopter in Colombo. The ambassadors of Germany, Italy and the United States were injured in a Tamil rebel artillery attack that also wounded a dozen others. more..

Ambassadors hurt in east Sri Lanka by rebel shells

Feb 27 (Reuters) The Italian and U.S. ambassadors to Sri Lanka were slightly hurt on Tuesday when Tamil Tiger rebels shelled a delegation of diplomats led by the island's human rights minister to the restive east, officials said. Hospital officials in the eastern district of Batticaloa said Italian Ambassador Pio Mariani had a small piece of shrapnel lodged in his head outside his skull, but that it was a minor wound. more..

U.S., Italian envoys hurt in Sri Lanka

Feb 27 (AP) The U.S. and Italian ambassadors to Sri Lanka were wounded when their helicopters came under fire Tuesday from ethnic Tamil rebels who said they mistook them for a military target. U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake and his Italian counterpart Pio Mariani had just landed in the eastern city of Batticaloa when several mortars exploded near their aircraft, said Sri Lankan government minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, who was traveling with the diplomats. more..

Diplomats injured in shelling, Sri Lanka retaliates with air strikes

Feb 27 (AFP) The ambassadors of Germany, Italy and the United States were injured in Sri Lanka on Tuesday in a Tamil rebel artillery attack that also wounded a dozen others, the government said. The Sri Lankan military retaliated with air attacks against suspected positions of the LTTE in Batticaloa district, military officials said. more..

No more junk food in school cafeteria

Feb 28 (GDI) Ministry of Education paying special attention over the food sold at the school canteens issues a directive prohibiting food and beverages like frizzy drinks, soft drinks, instant food items containing high fat, high sugar concentrations or salt and sticky toffees to be sold at school canteens. Ministry advises the school canteen owners to be more concerned in selling fruits, fresh milk, rice, green gram, gram and other products rich in nutritional value. more..

Sri Lanka's rubber trade follows tea in slamming government over mis-use of industry funds

Feb 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's rubber trade has cried foul against government moves to deny them cash collected from the industry for its own development, less than a month after the tea traders protested against the mis-use of an industry fund. The industry has now been officially informed that re-planting and rain guarding of trees carried out on the promise of receiving cost supplements from an industry fund built through an export cess, would not be paid. more..

Sri Lanka Fighting Traps Thousands in Jaffna

Feb 28 (NPR)Thousands of people trying to leave Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula are trapped by ethnic conflict. The peninsula is held by the Sri Lankan government. The territory just to the south is in the hands of Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Roadside bomb kills teacher in northern Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (AFP) A teacher was killed and another wounded Tuesday in a bomb attack blamed on government forces inside rebel-held territory in northern Sri Lanka, a Tamil Tiger spokeswoman said. They said a military team carried out the attack after infiltrating the area of Mannar where the rebels dominate. A ‘long-range patrol unit of the army carried out the Claymore mine attack that killed the teacher and another education officer who were travelling on a motorcycle,’ more..

Italy seeks ‘clarifications’ on Sri Lanka attack

Feb 28 (AFP) Italy sought urgent clarifications on Tuesday from Sri Lanka over an incident in which the Italian, German and US ambassadors were wounded in an artillery attack by Tamil Tiger rebels. Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema said in a statement he was ‘relieved’ that Pio Marini, the Italian ambassdor to Sri Lanka since August 2005, had suffered only ‘light wounds’. more..

Sri Lanka to host 85th Textile Institute world conference

Feb 28 (JS) Sri Lanka will, for the first time, play host to the Textile Institute’s international conference from 1-3 March at the Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo. The global membership of the UK-based Textile Institute covers all sectors and disciplines in textiles, clothing and footwear and the 85th world conference is expected to bring together industry experts from around the world. more..

Murali expects pitch assistance

Feb 28 (ECB) Sri Lanka bowler Muttiah Muralitharan is expecting the West Indian pitches to favour the spinners at the World Cup. Muralitharan, a spinner himself, is second in the list of all-time wicket-takers in one-day internationals - only Pakistan’s Wasim Akram has more more scalps in the shorter version of the game. And the 34-year-old is hoping for plenty of assistance from the tracks in the Caribbean. more..

Sri Lanka overhauls legal system to clear 10-year backlog of cases

Feb 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka will allow hearing of appeal cases to be decentralized to its provincial courts, to clear a ten-year backlog of cases, officials said Monday. There is a backlog of appeal cases from 1995, with Sri Lanka having only three courts in its court of appeal to handle all cases that came its way. more..

Why do they threaten us ? - 'Maubima' Editors

Feb 28 (LeN) On the orders of the Defense Secretary, Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Mr. Dushyantha Basnayake, a Director of Standard Newspapers (Pvt.) Limited, and the Publisher of 'Maubima' and 'Sunday Standard' newspapers, was arrested at around 10PM on 26 February by the Terrorist Investigations Division (TID). The arrest took place at the offices of CBE (Pvt.) Limited., where Mr. Basnayake is the Managing Director. more..

Ranil questions silence of Rajapakse brothers on deal with LTTE

Feb 28 (ML) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday charged that the agreement reached between President Mahinda Rajapakse and the LTTE during the last presidential election had a direct impact on the final outcome of the election as it prevented people from voting in the north and east. Wickremesinghe also questioned as to why the Rajapakse brothers were silent amidst allegations leveled against them of entering into a secret pact with the LTTE during the last presidential election. more..

Govt.’s reality check as the war rains down from the east

Feb 28 (ML) Just one day after US Ambassador Robert O’ Blake warned there was no military solution to the conflict the diplomat and several of his colleagues narrowly escaped a mortar attack that left at least nine people injured. The Ambassador was traveling to Batticaloa as part of a joint assessment team which included amongst others the German Ambassador Juergen Weerth, Italian Ambassador Pio Mariani and the Minister for Human Rights and Disaster Management, Mahinda Samarasinghe. more..

Military Solution? Learn From The Past

Feb 28 (ML) On Monday, President Mahinda Rajapakse and his over 100-strong entourage were savouring the delights of the heavenly Kingdom in Beijing while strengthening Sino-Sri Lanka bonds of friendship apparently confident that the war torn east was now at peace and ready for reconstruction and development. But a group of Western diplomats who landed in Batticaloa on Monday morning found that things were contrary to expectations. more..

President's agreement with JHU null and void claims UNP

Feb 28 (ML) The UNP yesterday charged that the President's agreement with the JHU before the election was now invalid as he had also entered into an agreement with the LTTE and also accused the government of remaining silent on many allegations leveled against it. UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella accused the government, which was also known as 'Rajapakse Brothers and Limited' of keeping silent without responding to the serious allegations leveled against it during the past three weeks. more..

The politics of hate and harm

Feb 28 (TW) Most readers in Colombo would have seen the posters of the National Movement Against Terrorism (NMAT) calling for the peace, media and leftist ‘Tigers’ to be identified and destroyed. This columnist was asked to comment on the poster by a newspaper and he along with other colleagues condemned the message conveyed by it. Following this our photographs appeared on the organisation’s website with an English translation of the poster. more..

Will the Tigers' Strike Backfire?

Feb 28 (Strafor) The LTTE fired on Sri Lankan military helicopters carrying seven foreign diplomats, including the U.S. and Italian ambassadors, in Sri Lanka's Eastern Province on Feb. 27. The Sri Lankan government accused the Tigers of targeting civilians, though the Tigers have said they did not know the foreign diplomats were present. more..

Mahinda "in pact" with LTTE -Ranil

Feb 28 (BBC) The leader of the opposition in Sri Lanka has accused the President of entering into a 'secret deal' with the Tamil Tigers to win the presidential elections. Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe said the result of the election was affected as LTTE forced Tamils in the north and east to boycott the election. more..

Condemning rebel attack in Sri Lanka, Ban Ki-moon calls for end to violence

Feb 28 (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today condemned an attack by separatist rebels in Sri Lanka which injured senior aid officials, including one from the United Nations, and urged both sides in the conflict to halt the bloodshed and resume talks. Mr. Ban’s statement came in reaction to the shelling by the LTTE of a helicopter airfield in Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka, where 12 people, including the UN Resident Coordinator and other members more..

Firing at fishermen: Karunanidhi's plea

Feb 28 (Hindu) Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to "impress upon the Sri Lankan Government to instruct their Navy to desist from opening fire" on Tamil Nadu fishermen. In a letter, a copy of which was released here, Mr. Karunanidhi said the fishermen, "who solely depend on this profession for their living," were under "tremendous distress" and put to "hardship" in the past 10 days because of firing by the Sri Lankan Navy. more..

Reports show 150 more Sri Lankans coming

Feb 28 (AAP) A group of 150 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers is awaiting a boat to smuggle them to Australia, sources claim. Fairfax newspapers quote sources in Melbourne's and Sydney's Sri Lankan communities as saying the Sri Lankans are all men under 25, mostly of Tamil descent and are claiming they are escaping persecution at home. more..

Hong Kong’s Star TV funds school reconstruction in tsunami-affected Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (UNICEF) Arunodaya Vidyalaya School in this town on the eastern coast of Sri Lanka was completely destroyed by the Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004. Now, more than two years later, the school will be rebuilt thanks to a contribution of $550,000 from the Hong Kong Star TV station through the Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF. more..

Sri Lanka says asylum seekers not fleeing persecution

Feb 28 (ABC) A Sri Lankan Minister says the 83 asylum seekers being held on Christmas Island are not fleeing persecution. Australia is considering whether to process them on Christmas Island, Nauru or in Indonesia. Sri Lankan Health Care Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva says the men should be sent home, where he guarantees they will not be persecuted. He says he knows little about them but he is certain they are economic refugees. more..

Sri Lanka point-to-point inflation eases, but still at 10-year highs

Feb 28 (LBO) Consumer prices in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo fell 1.3 percent in the month of February easing 12-month inflation to 19.2 percent from 20.5 percent a month ago, the government statistics office said. The Colombo Consumer Price Index, the most widely watched index in the country, fell to 5116 points from 5184 points in January. more..

Sri Lanka shares close steady in a day of global turmoil

Feb 28 (LBO) Colombo stocks closed marginally lower after bucking a global trend to open higher Wednesday morning. Index heavy-weight Sri Lanka telecom Sri Lanka Telecom traded over 3.7 million shares up 1.50 rupees to close at 42.75. Dialog Telekom traded four million shares flat at 27.75 rupees. Dealers had expected selling pressure on telecoms which are foreign investor favourites, but selling pressure was muted. more..

Prisoners call off protest

Feb 28 (TN) The Tamil political prisoners at Magazine Prison, Colombo, who started a fast-to-death campaign on 21 February demanding their release, called off their action temporarily on Monday following assurances given by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarians to assist them, sources in Colombo said. more..

A suspicious arms cargo ship destroyed in Southern seas

Feb 28 (GDI) This morning Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) detected a seventy five meters long ship without a flag, name or any identification mark, moving towards North 185 nautical miles away in the seas off Dondra Point, in Matara, in the deep southern part of the island, Navy sources said. The Navy patrol crafts on detection had inquired the ship of its identification and the information received, checked at the Naval Headquarters, found to be false. more..

Top level business assembly at Beijing

Feb 28 (GDI) A high ranked assembly of the China- Sri Lanka businessmen was held at Beijing this morning. The assembly was chaired by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It is reported that the assembly was attended by more than 200 macro businessmen from China and 70 Sri Lankan businessmen who are currently visiting China. more..

Scarlett skips Oscars to see aid work projects in India, Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (AFP) Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson won praise from British-based international aid agency Oxfam Tuesday for missing the Oscars to tour their projects in India and Sri Lanka. "By supporting Oxfam, Scarlett is taking a stand alongside millions of people globally who are working to overcome poverty," said the charity's executive director Jeremy Hobbs. more..

LTTE attack on the delegation well planned – Military spokesman

Feb 28 (GDI) Considering the targeting and the timing tactics taken by the LTTE for the mortar attack on the delegation on Tuesday (27) at Batticaloa, Military Spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe says that the Military can not agree that the LTTE’s target was a mistake. Denying the false fabrications leveled by the LTTE, Brigadier Samarasinghe said, “The targeting was 100% accurate. more..

China and Lanka enters in to 8 MoUs

Feb 28 (GDI) Sri Lanka and China yesterday entered in to eight key Memorandums of Understanding for c lose cooperation in several areas which are important to both nations. Subsequent to the bilateral discussions between the two countries, ministers and representatives of the Sino-Lanka delegations signed the agreements in front of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chinese President Hu Jintao. more..

We will not interfere in any probe on COPE charges - Gamini Lokuge

Feb 28 (GDI) “If there are any allegations made through the COPE on us, we would not interfere with the investigations,” stated the Minister of Sports, Gamini Lokuge today, briefing the media over the allegations on the United National Party (UNP) dissident group that they joined the Government to dissolve the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE). more..

Tigers knew that the American ambassador and other diplomats were coming to discuss resettlement issues - Col. Karuna

Feb 28 (AT) In a scathing attack, Colonel Karuna, Leader of the TMVP blamed Velupillai Prabakaran and his outfit LTTE for firing mortar shells at the Western diplomats -- American Ambassador Robert O Blake, German Ambassador Juregun Weerth, and the Italian Ambassador Pio Mariani -- who had come to assess the progres made in re-settlement of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) more..

Sri Lanka captain keen to change horror script

Feb 28 (AFP) Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene goes to the World Cup in the Caribbean hoping to erase bitter memories of the previous tournament. The 2003 World Cup in South Africa ended in a nightmare for Jayawardene, who scored just 21 runs in nine matches. His form was so poor that he did not once reach double figures. more..

LTTE contacts embassies, claims `criminal negligence` by Govt.

Feb 28 (LNP) The LTTE peace secretariat was yesterday in the process of contacting foreign embassies in Colombo to express regret over the injuries caused by a mortar attack to a group of foreign dignitaries who were on a visit to Batticaloa. Speaking to the Daily Mirror LTTE military wing spokesman Irasiah Illentheriyan claimed that the Batticaloa airspace was used only for military purposes and not civilian traffic and thus blamed the government for `criminal negligence.` more..