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Donor threats may not stop war

Feb 5 (THT) Will the Sri Lankan government forego recent military gains in Tamil rebel-held areas of the island and heed the advice of donors to resume dialogue with the LTTE? At the two-day donor review that ended last Tuesday, President Mahinda Rajapakse was emphatic that the country did not want donor funding with strings attached. But then pledges of $4.5 billion over the next two years are hard to argue and the government is keen to show that its military campaign has support. more..

Lankan Expats Celebrate National Day

Feb 5 (AN) Sri Lankan nationals celebrated their country’s 59th Independence Day anniversary in a grand manner yesterday beginning with ceremonial functions at the embassy in Riyadh and the consulate general in Jeddah. In Riyadh, the island’s Ambassador A.M.J. Sadiq hoisted his country’s national flag before a representative community gathering comprising expatriates from all walks of life. more..

Sri Lanka cricketers bank on 'X factor' to beat India

Feb 5 (AFP) Sri Lanka will rely on unpredictable fast bowler Lasith Malinga to rattle India in the one-day series starting this week, vice-captain Kumar Sangakkara said on Monday. The 23-year-old Malinga has claimed 71 wickets in 21 Tests and scalped 37 victims in 25 one-dayers with his unusual round-arm slinging action that batsmen find difficult to read. more..

Americans who solved separatist question by war tell us to devolve power! - S.L. Gunasekera

Feb 5 (LT) The American Ambassador in Sri Lanka had said that there should be devolution of power in Sri Lanka to solve the national question. However, when such a question of separatism occurred in the USA then president Abraham Lincoln solved the question through a military maneuver said Mr. S.L. Gunasekera, PC, convener of Manel Mal Movement (MMM) and wanted to know what would be the response of American Ambassador in Sri Lanka Robert O. Blake. more..

We need a new alliance! – Mangala Samaraweera

Feb 5 (LT) We do not need alliances of those who quit for portfolios, for power and as minds of those change said Ports and Aviation Minister Mangala Samarweera. He said the need of the hour is a broad alliance that could address the issues confronted by our nation yesterday(04). “There should be an end to politics of opportunism and cross over dramas. What we need today is soul-searching – to see where we went wrong as a nation and correct those mistakes” he said. more..

“Rathnalakdiva” publication handed over to President

Feb 5 (GDI) The “Rathnalakdiva” publication which was established marking the 59th Independence Day was handed over to the President Mahinda Rajapaksha yesterday evening at the Temple Trees. This publication is an output of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Sri Lanka. This newspaper, which will be published in all four languages, Sinhala, English, Tamil and Arabic is arranged to be published once in every month. more..

Third port put-up in Jaffna peninsula to support the heavy work load

Feb 5 (GDI) The Mailaddi harbour of the Jaffna peninsula, which was destructed by the Tsunami disaster in 2004, is restored back to operation as the third harbour supporting the tight scheduled transactions of the Point Pedro and the Kankasanthurai ports. The port is in operation since 2 February, last week. more..

LTTE assassinates another public servant, humanitarian activist in Jaffna

Feb 5 (GDI) The chairman of the Multi-purpose Cooperative Society in Jaffna- Mr. Sangarapillai Thambipillai was assassinated by the LTTE terrorists in Ariyala- Jaffna. Mr. Thambipille 64, who was a senior citizen of Jaffna and a retired Engineer, was engaged in assisting the government’s humanitarian supply activities to Jaffna civilians. more..

Prisoners given freedom on Independence Day

Feb 5 (GDI) A group of the 1,989 Sri Lankan prisoners who were pardoned walked freely in Colombo yesterday, the 04th of February 2007. These prisoners who were serving minor offenses were released to mark the country's 59th Independence Day celebrations. Accordingly, a larger proportion of prisoners from the Walikada Prison have been released. Apart from that, prisoners from Bogambara and Anuradhapura Prisons have also been released. more..

President highlights the Mega development projects in progress

Feb 5 (GDI) President, Mahinda Rajapaksa announced on Sunday that the 500 MW power coal fired power project to be set up in collaboration with the National Thermal Power Project (NTPC) of India would be located in Sampur, in eastern Sri Lanka liberated by the Sri Lankan forces from the LTTE in September last. President referred to this venture in his Independence Day speech. more..

‘Deyata Kirula’ exhibition open for two more days

Feb 5 (GDI) The mega national development and educational exhibition ‘Deyata Kirula-Rata Dinana Heta Dinata’ opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall on Sunday (04), is extended up to February 9 in response to the large crowd poured in the first day itself. more..

Stand united to achieve the noble objectives of the Sri Lankan nation- President

Feb 5 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the Government had painstakingly reached a common understanding among all political parties and other forces and strived to establish a new political order that would work towards the nation’s well-being, regardless of the existing disparities among them. "The positive result is that a new political thinking had already emerged," he said more..

Kadirgamar; the late national hero remembered

Feb 5 (GDI) The late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar who was a true Sri Lankan who stood for the unity of all communities was remembered yesterday, the National Day, by unveiling his statue. The statue whish is situated in the Liberty Plaza roundabout in the heart of the capital, was unveiled by the Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, PC. more..

Anura, Mangala, Ranil & Wimal absent at N'Day

Feb 5 (LeN) Parades demonstrating military power vied with displays symbolising the pride of the country's great cultural heritage at the 59th National Day celebrations held yesterday. Ceremonies began with a guard of honour by the three forces commanded by Major S.P. Aluvihare of the Gajaba Regiment. It was followed by a parade of the three forces and police commanded by Major General U.B.T. Fernando. more..

A ceremony that elicited the true meaning of freedom

Feb 5 (PISL) National Flags fluttered proudly at Galle Face Green as the 59th anniversary of Independence dawned yesterday. The colourful National Day celebration marking Sri Lanka’s liberation from foreign domination was held at Galle Face yesterday, with President Mahinda Rajapaksa participating as the Chief Guest. The arrival of President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa was heralded by the blowing of trumpets by the Sri Lanka Army. more..

To talk or not to talk

Feb 5 (MoD) President Mahinda Rajapakse's tour of Vakarai on Saturday, even before dust had settled on the battlefield, has had a far more devastating impact on the LTTE than the military onslaught that drove away hundreds of battle-hardened Tiger cadres who had ruled that township for over ten years. Although many will doubt the wisdom of a presidential visit to the war torn areas at this particular juncture, it has more..

Lanka for pluralistic society: Consul

Feb 5 (NIP) Sri Lanka is committed to a pluralistic society, where all communities can live in peace and harmony, P M Amza, Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner in Southern India, said here on Sunday. Addressing a function organised by the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission on the occasion of the 59th anniversary of Sri Lankan Independence, Amza said that India, being Sri Lanka’s nearest neighbour, had been supportive of the Island Government’s efforts to resolve the ethnic crisis in his country. more..

What is the Sri Lankan military up to in Vaharai

Feb 5 (LNP) According to the Sri Lankan military two of its men were injured during mine clearance, one in Kathiraveli and another one in Vaharai and both men were admitted to hospital today. Where did these mines come from? LTTE did not lay any mines inside the Vaharai area. There was only a few hours between the time when civilians fled Vaharai area and LTTE pulled back from Vaharai. more..

Grandeur and notable absentees

Feb 5 (LNP) Parades demonstrating military power vied with displays symbolising the pride of the country`s great cultural heritage at the 59th National Day celebrations held yesterday. Ceremonies began with a guard of honour by the three forces commanded by Major S.P. Aluvihare of the Gajaba Regiment. It was followed by a parade of the three forces and police commanded by Major General U.B.T. Fernando. more..

UNP proposals similar to mine: Vitarana

Feb 5 (SAMN) In the backdrop of the government and the UNP locking horns over the crossovers, the APRC Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitarana said the latter’s proposals for resolving the national question were more or less similar to those he submitted earlier. UNP MP and veteran lawyer K.N. Choksy submitted the party’s proposals to the APRC last month emphasising devolution of power as the basis to resolve the national question. more..

JVP disturbed over Govt. allegations

Feb 5 (SAMN) The JVP will distribute two million handbills starting from today, to educate the public about the repercussions of recent alignments. The party’s politburo which met on February 1, took this decision, as certain government ministers were holding the JVP responsible, for forcing the government to go for such alignments. more..

Ancient citadel declared a sacred area

Feb 5 (SAMN) Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena commenced the restoration programme of the historical Yapahuwa Raja Maha Viharaya on the “Navam” full-moon day of (February 01) following the declaration of the temple surrounding as a sacred area by a Special Gazette Notification. more..

CNCI issues warning plastic ban

Feb 5 (SAMN) The Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) has warned against ill-informed attempts by state officials to ban manufacture and use of products of over 20 microns plastics. The Government has banned the manufacture, sale and use of any type of plastic film whose thickness is less than 20 microns. This legislation came into force from 1st January 2007. more..

Ramayana engraved on wooden sheets

Feb 5 (ANI) O.P.Khushwah, an artist in Bhopal, is making a unique attempt to engrave the Hindu epic Ramayana on wooden sheets, which he believes can last over 1,000 years. Originally written by poet Valmiki, Ramayana narrates the story of Lord Rama and presents sages through allegory. Kushwah, 55, has prepared 1,075 wooden sheets for his attempt, which is believed to be first-of-its-kind. more..

Kandy Library fire: Books intact

Feb 5 (DN) Not a single book at the D.S. Senanayake library in Kandy has been burnt and the entire library is intact despite the sudden fire that completely destroyed of the library auditorium on Friday night, Mayor L.D. Aluvihare told the Daily News. One person was killed and another five sustained injuries and were admitted to hospital as the old building of the D.S. Senanayake library caught fire on Friday night. more..

Handicraft centre opened at BIA

Feb 5 (DN) Housing and Common Amenities Minister Ferial Ashraff ceremonially opened the handicraft exhibition centre “Beyond the Tsunami” at Bandaranaike International Airport recently. The handicrafts made by the tsunami victims will be displayed at the Centre. The Housing and Common Amenities Ministry and the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) jointly established this exhibition centre. more..

Reformists welcome sans portfolios: UNP

Feb 5 (DM) Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday the reformists who crossed over were welcome to the UNP fold provided they gave up their ministerial port folios. Claiming that those who had left the party in the past have rejoined it within a short time, he predicted that 17 MPs who accepted portfolios would return soon. more..

Gampaha district road in bad state of disrepair

Feb 5 (DM) The recent torrential rains which led to flooding is reported to have caused contamination of wells in the Gampaha District. UNP member of the Western Provincial Council U. George Perera, told the Daily Mirror that wells in Seeduwa, Peliyagoda and Hendala had been contaminated due to floods which inundated the area recently. Mr. Perera said he would be raising the issue at the next sessions of the council. more..

Ethnic violence kills two in Sri Lanka

Feb 5 (AFP) Two people were killed and five others injured in ethnic violence in Sri Lanka, a day after the president invited Tiger rebel proxies to join his government, the defence ministry said. Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels hit an army camp in the island's restive northern town of Vavuniya, killing a soldier and injuring three others, the ministry said on Monday. more..

Conference aims to help child soldiers

Feb 5 (AP) An international conference aimed at preventing the recruitment of child soldiers around the world and returning them to normal society opened Monday. A quarter of a million children bear arms in conflicts worldwide. French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said the situation "really is a crime against humanity ... it has to be stopped." more..

TNA rejects Rajapaksa's call to help fight LTTE

Feb 5 (HT) The pro-LTTE TNA on Monday rejected President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Independence Day call to join his campaign against the LTTE and help liberate the Tamil people from terrorism. "If he was serious about seeking our cooperation in solving the Tamil problem, he should have, in the first place, invited us to the All Party Conference on the issue. But he had kept us out of it!" K Thurairatnasingham, TNA MP from Trincomalee told Hindustan Times. more..

Sri Lanka police seize over 90 car number plates, sparking fears of car bombs

Feb 5 (AP) Sri Lankan police seized 91 vehicle number plates from a train in a Tamil-majority northeastern town, the military said Monday, sparking some concern in the capital that Tamil rebels could be planning a car bomb attack. Military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe, however, said it was still unclear exactly where the plates were being taken or what their intended use was. more..

Guarantee our safety: Vakarai IDPs

Feb 5 (BBC) Refugees who fled the former LTTE-stronghold, Vakarai, have urged the Sri Lankan authorities to guarantee their safety before returning home. The eastern Sri Lankan town was captured by the Sri Lanka security forces in early January. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and armed forces commanders made a surprise visit to Vakarai and other captured areas on Saturday. more..

Sri Lanka’s tax department tries to rope in larger numbers of taxpayers

Feb 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s tax office is moving towards increasing the number of taxpayers to five percent of the total population, a top official said. “At present, only about two percent of the population in Sri Lanka are income tax payers,” Commissioner General of Inland Revenue said at a workshop organized by the news website and the Kalutara Chamber of Commerce. more..

Jayasuriya brushes aside retirement talks

Feb 5 (PTI) Flamboyant Sri Lanka batsman Sanath Jayasuriya on Monday brushed aside talks of any immediate retirement plans after the World Cup and said he was working hard on his fitness and enjoying the game. "I am enjoying the game and working hard on the physical aspect of my game. I am working hard on my fitness. I am planning to play in the World Cup and in another One-day tournament after that," more..

Australian won't become Tamil Tigers' spokeswoman

Feb 5 (TA) ADELE Balasingham, the Australian widow of a senior leader of the Tamil Tigers terrorist group, has announced that she will not replace her husband within the organisation. "There's absolutely no truth in the story that I am to assume my husband's role in the LTTE (the Tamil Tigers)," she said in an email to The Australian, which was her first comment on persistent reports that she was to be the new international "voice" of the Tigers. more..

UNHCR distributes aid to more than 2,000 host families in Jaffna Pensinula

Feb 6 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency has distributed packages of non-food items to more than 2,000 host families in northern Sri Lanka's Jaffna Peninsula despite interruptions to this relief programme launched last November. UNHCR has been concerned about the plight of internally displaced people – IDPs – in the peninsula since August, when thousands of people fled their homes to escape renewed fighting between government forces and the LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka skipped by California pension fund second year

Feb 6 (LBO) The California Public Employee's Retirement System (CalPERS), the biggest U.S. pension fund, has left Sri Lanka out as a place to invest for the second year running, in its annual review of 27 nations. Sri Lanka scored 1.9 out of a minimum of 2.0 for 2007, falling from 1.8 last year, according to a study conducted by Wilshire Consulting for CalPERS and posted on the Sacramento-based fund's website. more..

Sri Lanka to recruit more postmen, print all stamps locally

Feb 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka is boosting is postal service with thousands of new postmen, the country's outgoing posts minister said. Former posts and telecommunications minister D M Jayaratne, who was replaced in a recent cabinet re-shuffle, said Sri Lanka post had received state approval to recruit 5,000 postmen and 4,000 substitutes. more..

Tamils seek 'Indian intervention'

Feb 6 (BBC) Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in UK have strongly criticising the role played by the international community in finding peace in the island nation. They urged the regional power to play a more constructive role in solving the national question. The Tamil Youth Organisation on Monday staged a protest in front of Indian High Commission in London urging Indian authorities to 'exert pressure' on Sri Lanka government to stop the war. more..

Calls for witness protection

Feb 6 (BBC) A Paris based charity has called on Sri Lanka government to establish a witness protection programme to increase the efficiency of investigations of human rights abuses. Action Against Hunger (AAH), whose workers were killed in Muttur in August last year, says the lack of protection for witnesses is an impediment for the murder investigation. more..

Business community of the Kaduwela area assists senior citizens

Feb 6 (AT) For the first time in the history of the Kaduwela area business community, civil servants and other regional business organizations of the Kaduwela Divisional Secretariat Division will honor three prestigious senior citizens who voluntarily serve the people. more..

Jaffna-wide schools boycott enters second week

Feb 6 (TN) The boycott organized by Vadamaradchy Tamil Students union throughout Jaffna peninsula entered its second week on Monday, with no information received about the whereabouts of the two students abducted in Vadamaradchy three weeks ago. Most students in Jaffna district responded to the call by the Students Union to boycott school activities until the abducted students are released. more..

Phone service to Jaffna reactivated

Feb 6 (TN) More than 6,000 telephone land-line connections to the Jaffna peninsula and to Vanni which had been severed for more than a week began functioning from 5:00 p.m Monday, sources from Jaffna said. Calls from Jaffna peninsula to Kilinochchi using 228 area-code also resumed functioning. Civil society sources in Jaffna said the authorities suspended services as a security measure during the Independence day celebrations. more..

Commotion over seat allocation in Parliament

Feb 6 (TN) Commotion prevailed in the Sri Lankan parliament when it resumed its sittings on Tuesday morning over the allocation of seats to ministers after the major reshuffle following new political alignment with dissident group of parliamentarians, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), all monks' political party. more..

Ranil: SLFP-UNP pact over, dark times ahead

Feb 6 (TN) Addressing the new session of Parliament, leader of the opposition United National Party (UNP), Ranil Wickremsinghe, slammed President Mahinda Rajapakse for accepting the cross over of 19 UNP lawmakers to government ranks. Mr. Wickremsinghe said the move had led to the “dissolution” of the Memorandum of Understanding between the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the UNP. more..

3 Sinhala leftist journalists, activists abducted

Feb 6 (TN) A former journalist with the leftist Hiru paper, Lalith Seneviratne, was abducted at his home Monday night. Meanwhile, a trade union activist and the editor of the monthly Akuna (Thunder), Sisira Kumara, was reported missing from his work at an electrical workshop and another activist Nihal Serasinghe, who worked with the monthly was also feared abducted almost simultaneously. more..

Tiger attack attempt thwarted in Trinco

Feb 6 (GDI) A LTTE plan of attack against the Sri Lankan troops consolidating Government control over the area was foiled, jointly by the Air Force and the Army, this morning in the Eastern part of the island. Based on intelligence information received, Sri Lankan Air Force carried out an air strike by MI24 attack helicopters in Kadawana, Trincomalee on a terrorist gathering in the area sketching to initiate an attack on troops, more..

"We share similar aspirations for lasting peace,"- Pakistani President

Feb 6 (GDI) "Pakistan and Sri Lanka as partners in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) share similar aspirations for lasting peace and prosperity in the South Asian region," said the Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf in his message for the National Day of Sri Lanka. more..

Global communities discuss ‘Child Soldier Recruitment’

Feb 6 (GDI) Representatives of over 50 countries including Sri Lanka met in France for a two day conference, on February 4 and 5 to look at ways to obtain the release of children from military service and rehabilitate more than 250,000 child soldiers all over the world. This conference was organized by the UNICEF and France's Foreign Ministry. more..