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Democratic Tamil parties urge TNA to join Government

Jan 7 (GDI) Democratic Tamil leaders belonging to political parties representing the north, east and the central hill country have urged the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to join the government for establishment of peace. They welcomed President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Independence Day call to the TNA to join the Government to establish peace. more..

Sri Lankan players given green light to play in England

Jan 7 (CI) Sri Lankan cricket authorities have agreed to release their star players for the forthcoming English domestic season, a top official said on Wednesday. K Mathivanan, secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committee, said the latest request to play abroad had come from Kumar Sangakkara, set to represent Warwickshire. more..

Jayawardene exudes confidence ahead of series opener

Jan 7 (CI) Ever since Sri Lanka lost 6-1 to India in October-November 2005, there has been talk of revenge when a Sri Lankan captain has addressed the press in India. It happened in the Champions Trophy, and it happened again ahead of the first one-day international at Kolkata, coming, of course, from the media rather than from the Sri Lankans themselves. more..

Eden Gardens awaits a cracker

Jan 7 (CI) So much has transpired since a one-day international was last played at the Eden Gardens and yet so little has changed. When India played South Africa here in November 2005 Sourav Ganguly was out of the one-day team and the crowds got right behind Graeme Smith and his men, creating an embarrassing situation where the Indians were booed in their own backyard. more..

Govt. will mobilise all resources to end terrorism - Foreign Minister

Jan 7 (PISL) Government will mobilise all its resources to bring to an end all acts of terrorism while evolving a political solution for the North East issue, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told the Colombo based Diplomatic Corps and the UN Agencies yesterday. The Minister said Government will be able to present a political solution that is currently being worked out to all stakeholders within a short period of time. more..

Cops plan party for politico

Jan 7 (LNP) Seven Officers in Charge of different police stations in the Western Province (North) Range have organized a `Tamasha`, on the February 10, to entertain a highly influential ruling party Minister in order to seek his assistance to have the transfer of a senior police officer cancelled. Each of the seven OIC`s has been told by the senior officer on transfer to provide five bottles of whisky and a variety of bites for the booze party more..

President blasts Ports Min., Treasury Secretaries

Jan 7 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapakse yesterday blasted the Ports Ministry Secretary and Treasury Secretary for delaying to send documents pertaining to the proposed Hambantota harbour, political sources said yesterday. Sources told The Island that President was furious when he learnt that relevant documents with regard to the Hambantota port had been delayed on a number of occasions and no attempt had been made to send the documents to China. more..

Weerawila Airport would put birds to flight

Jan 7 (LNP) The proposed second international airport, in the southern part of the country, Weeravila will have a definite impact on migratory birds that visit one of the best wetlands in the country, the Bundala Sanctuary. Environment lawyer Jagath Gunawardena said that the Bundala sanctuary will definitely be affected. more..

LTTE might take battle to the political front

Jan 7 (LNP) The LTTE says it is preparing for the final war. We thought Prabhakaran had already launched it by throwing down the gauntlet at Mavilaru in keeping with his pledge in his heroes` day speech in November, 2005 to plunge the country back into war. The outfit has reportedly stepped up conscription and fund raising for that purpose. more..

Govt. divided over seating arrangements

Jan 7 (SAMN) Parliament had to suspend sessions Tuesday morning to hold an urgent party leaders meeting to resolve the dispute that arose regarding the new seating arrangements with party leaders and senior government rankers protesting against them being relegated to the back rows. Amidst protests by Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and Minister Dinesh Gunawardena that seniors have been allocated second row seats to accommodate defectors, more..

Mystery over 8 missing persons

Jan 7 (SAMN) The military Tuesday claimed the three Sinhalese persons arrested by the Army on Monday night confessed that they had received arms training from the LTTE in Kilinochchi and revealed details of arms hidden at several places in Colombo and suburbs. Military Spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe said that these persons had allegedly been tasked to carry out several major missions including assassinations of VIPs and explosions in the Colombo city. more..

Seruwila a World Heritage Site?

Jan 7 (SAMN) Sri Lanka has requested the Paris based UNESCO main office to declare Seruwila, a famous Buddhist site in the Trincomalee District, as a World Heritage site. UNESCO has registered the request made by Sri Lanka and is expected to send its experts for an independent evaluation of the site shortly, before granting approval. more..

LTTE dismisses President’s message

Jan 7 (SAMN) The LTTE Tuesday dismissed President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statement on the achievement of peace at the Independence Day celebrations and stated that it was of no importance to the organisation. LTTE Military Spokesperson I. Illanthirayan said the speech made by the President did not contain any substance and was of no importance to the Tigers. more..

Sri Lanka state petroleum utility to hedge diesel imports with option collar

Jan 7 (LBO) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation will hedge up to a quarter of its diesel imports using options, with the first contract to be signed in a matter of days, officials said Tuesday. Ceypetco wanted to cap the diesel import price at around 70 dollars a barrel, but the price had already moved up to 72 dollars. "If we had gone for this about ten days ago, we will have saved about 5 dollars a barrel," more..

Probe into rail signal sabotage

Jan 7 (DN) The Transport Ministry has drawn special attention to the damage caused to the railway signal system yesterday and on Monday at two points close to Colombo by some unidentified persons. A Transport Ministry release said the damage caused to the system at the 10.5 mile post between Ratmalana and Angulana on Monday afternoon was rectified by the Railway Department, the same night. more..

Natural resources deteriorate due to our irresponsibility

Jan 7 (DN) Over 300 plants were planted in the Tree Planting Campaign organised by The National Council for Economic Development (NCED) in collaboration with the United Nations on February 4. This was launched in line with the United Nations Millenium Development Goal (MDG) of ensuring environmental sustainability. "The tree planting campaign was conducted in St. Sebastian College, Kandana, Kibulapitiya Maha Vidyalaya and Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya, Colombo. more..

Anura says caller threatened to hang him

Jan 7 (DM) Minister Anura Bandaranaike yesterday complained that he was threatened by an anonymous caller. Mr. Bandaranike said the calls he himself answered were from the ‘same source’ and according to the caller he was to be hung in Attanagalle and Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Matara. “Neither the UNP nor the LTTE would want to kill me. I believe this is the work of the government,” Mr. Bandaranaike said. more..

JHU warns government to be on its toes

Jan 7 (DM) The JHU yesterday sent warning signals to the government, stating that the party would not hesitate to cross over to the opposition once again if the government works against the mandate it received in 2005. JHU Parliamentary Group Leader, Ven Athureliye Ratana Thera, told Parliament yesterday, that there is nothing to stop them from crossing over to opposition, if the government works against the people’s mandate. more..

Over 1500 Marian devotees flock to Tewatte to ask for peace

Jan 7 (AN) Devotees of Mary from across Sri Lanka celebrated the national feast of Independence on 4 February last at the Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka in Tewatte. More than 1500 pilgrims went to the Marian shrine where they prayed for peace in the country. Leaders of the Catholic community urged the faithful to “clean their hearts and minds to listen to the voice of God, only then will he be able to listen to us too”. more..

SLA restrictions cause hardship to Jaffna travellers

Jan 7 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) announced Tuesday that persons wishing to travel out of Jaffna peninsula cannot stay overnight to queue for ship tickets in areas near the Jaffna Sinhala Maha Vidyalayam where the tickets are issued, sources in Jaffna said. Meanwhile, Jaffna Government Agent (GA) Mr. K. Ganesh informed Tuesday that registering the names of those wishing to travel in the ship from Kankesanthurai to Trincomalee at the District Secretariat has been temporarily suspended. more..

Normalcy to return to Vaharai soon– Minister

Jan 7 (TN) Vaharai Regional secretariat and Vaharai regional council presently relocated to Valaichenai will begin functioning at their original locations beginning Wednesday. Displaced civilians from the nine Grama Sevaka divisions will be resettled within the next four weeks, Mr.M.S.S.Amir Ali, Minister for Disaster Management and Rehabilitation announced in a meeting held at Ottamvady regional secretariat building, more..

Eastern LTTE cadre desertion on the rise

Jan 7 (RW) "I ran away from the LTTE 15 days after I was abducted but I couldn't run very far. They caught me and beat me severely. It was Pahulmaran, the camp's training master who hit me. He tied me to a tree for three days as a punishment for trying to escape", revealed a16 year old cadre, the youngest of the five who surrendered to the STF camp in Sangaman Kanda in Ampara on 15th January 2007. more..

Over 150 killed in a month's violence in Sri Lanka

Jan 7 (Xinhua) Over 150 people were killed in violence over the last one month's period in Sri Lanka's restive north and east zones, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake told parliament on Wednesday. Speaking in the monthly parliamentary debate to extend the state of emergency by a further month, Wickramanayake said that some 53 troops and 101 civilians were killed in the escalation of violence. more..

Sri Lankan-born novelist in row over literary festival

Jan 7 (AFP) One of Asia's most prestigious book expos, the Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival held next month, has found itself at the centre of a saga worthy of one of its featured novels. With accusations of racism swirling around its board of directors, the sacking of its charismatic frontman and writers taking sides, the row has convulsed Asia's normally sedate literary scene. more..

Chandrika's visit to India may be politically significant

Jan 7 (HT) Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga is to visit India shortly, according to her Secretary, P Dissanayake. He told Hindustan Times on Wednesday, that she had been invited to visit New Delhi by "the government and other organisations". Dissanayake refused to reveal the purpose of the visit or the organisations which had invited her. more..

Police arrest 2 journalists, graphic designer who allegedly helped rebels

Jan 7 (AP) Police have arrested two journalists and a graphic designer for helping ethnic Tamil rebels in their campaign for an independent homeland, the government said Wednesday. "Three people including those two journalists were arrested and they have confessed that they carried out attacks" after receiving training from the rebels, more..

Sri Lanka asked to free detained journalists

Jan 7 (AFP) International media rights groups have demanded the release of three Sri Lankan journalists who went missing earlier this week in the capital Colombo. The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urged President Mahinda Rajapakse to give "unequivocal orders for three journalists and trade union activists, kidnapped in Colombo on Monday, to be found and released unharmed." more..

Chinese, Sri Lankan leaders exchange congratulations on 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties

Jan 8 (ED) Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa today exchanged congratulations on the "Year of China-Sri Lanka Friendship" which also marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. more..

Pakistan and Sri-Lanka can help each other in promotion of investment, trade and economic cooperation

Jan 8 (APP) Pakistan and Sri-Lanka can mutually help each other in promotion of investment, trade and enhancing economic cooperation between the two countries. “There exist vast opportunities for investors of both the countries for exploiting the situation by enhancing mutual cooperation in the region”, Sri-Lankan Minister for Enterprise Development & Investment Promotion Dr. Sarath Amunugama said more..

Latest report on ICRC activities in the field

Jan 8 (RW) On 13 December the first of some 30,000 internally displaced people sheltering near the Vakarai hospital began moving south towards Batticaloa, either on foot or in vehicles such as tractors and trucks. The last group of 5,000 left the area on 19 January. Many of these people, physically and mentally exhausted, were able to bring with them little more than the clothes on their backs and are in need of temporary shelter, water, sanitation, food and basic household items. more..

Professor Leitner lightens the Lankan Patriots

Jan 8 (G2L) In a memorial auditorium devoted to war veterans at the crossing of two main freeways in City of Los Angeles, California USA, a section of the expatriate community of southern California commemorated the independence of their native country, Sri Lanka. The location of the celebration was ironic considering the country being at the crossroads, of super highway to progress (according to latest world Bank reports) and an abominable high way of a terror campaign of separatism. more..

Arrested journalists confess

Jan 8 (LeN) The Government Defense Spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella says that the three journalists who were arrested by the forces on Monday had visited the LTTE controlled areas and even had been involved in smuggling arms to Colombo and suburbs. At a media briefing held in Colombo this morning he said these information was revealed to the media considering the protests staged in this regard in parliament and by the railway services employers. more..

'Sirasa' blamed for airing Anura's statement

Jan 8 (LeN) Government Defense Spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told the media today that a special investigation is currently underway regarding the alleged threats on Minister Anura Bandaranaike. Rambukwella said the OIC of Bandaranaike's security troops had informed the IGP in writing about the threats and that a statement will also be recorded from the Minister regarding the incident. more..

Anura, Mangala and Sripathy not in house to vote for extension of emergency law

Jan 8 (LeN) Over 18 parliamentarians of the government including Ministers Anura Bandaranaike, Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathy Suriarachchi were not present in the house when the election for the for the extension of emergency law was called up in parliament this morning. 122 voted for the extension while 17 votes were caste against. more..

Sri Lankan Tamils take refuge

Jan 8 (NIP) As many as 10 refugees reached Kottaipattinam coast in Pudukkottai district on Tuesday morning. A number of refugees are found arriving at the Rameswaram and Pudukkottai coastal areas. A group of refugees led by Prabhakaran (33) of Jaffna Maanipai veedhi along with his wife, sons and daughters and neighbours reached Kottaipattinam coastal area in the wee hours of Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka gets Microsoft help to upgrade local IT literacy and skills

Feb 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to get help from global Information Technology company Microsoft, to revamp local IT literacy skills, currently ranked lower than other South Asian countries. Director of public sector programs for Microsoft, Vincent Quah says, the ICT literacy level among Sri Lanka’s population is around 10 to 15 percent compared to higher levels in the rest of South Asia. more..

Prabhakaran making secret arrangements to flee the country --- Col Karuna

Feb 8 (AT) In an exclusive interview with the "Asian Tribune," V. Muralithiran, (nom de guerre Colonel Karuna) leader of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal, said their intelligence reports have confirmed that Velupillai Prabhakaran is now making secret preparations to flee to another country, possibly S. Africa. more..

Tamil Tigers kill Hindu priest for garlanding President Rajapakse

Feb 8 (AT) The Tamil Hindu priest who garlanded President Mahinda Rajapakse during his recent visit to Vakarai ,was shot dead by the Tamil Tigers, said the Daily News this morning. According to the Defence Ministry report: Selliah Kurukkal Parameshwaran, the Chief Poosari of the Santhiveli Pilleyar Kovil, Batticaloa who garlanded President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his recent visit to Vakarai was shot dead by three LTTE gunmen just outside his residence on Wednesday night. more..

SL government plans to setup a monitoring mechanism to solve complaints on NGOs

Feb 8 (AT) The government of Sri Lanka says INGOs and NGO support humanitarian works in Sri Lanka and help the masses to end their problems. Minister Mahindha Samarasingha said the INGOs and NGOs work under any type of situation and their service is commendable. However minister said a number of allegations were arose in recent past against some NGOs working in conflict areas. more..

Govt looses Rs. 489 Million on wasted fuel and wasting 2 hrs a day due to traffic jam

Feb 8 (AT) In a letter addressed to the President of Sri Lanka , Liberal Party of Sri Lanka has pointed out that the country losses nearly Rs. 489 billion annually due to a person unnecessarily wasting around 2 hours per day due to traffic jam and the wastage of nearly 5 liters of fuel over and above the estimated consumption. more..

Diminishing hopes in Sri Lanka?

Feb 8 (DS) If viewed against the current aggressive posture of Colombo and the LTTE's obstinacy to resurrect the peace dialogue, Sri Lanka's three-decade-old ethnic conflict seems to be heading towards further escalation in the coming days. Factually speaking, both the LTTE and President Rajapakse's government are simultaneously facing serious internal, political and administrative problems that are pushing the two sides to go for a showdown to defuse their internal issues. more..

Sri Lanka wants grow oil-bearing jatropha plants for bio-diesel

Feb 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka is studying the feasibility of growing a new oil-bearing plant in marginal state land to make bio-diesel with private sector partners, an official said. The Strategic Enterprise Management Agency (SEMA) which is tasked with turning around more than a dozen state entities says several organizations coming under its purview have land which can be used to grow the jatropha plant. more..

Reforms slash poverty in Sri Lanka's western province, bad policies worsen it elsewhere

Feb 8 (LBO) Economic reforms has slashed poverty in Sri Lanka's western province while backward policies that kept agriculture stagnant in rural areas were trapping people in poverty, researchers have found. Poverty in the western province fell from 19 to 11 percent between 1991 and 2002, with the region growing at twice or three times the rate of other provinces, which were largely based on agriculture. more..

Open tendering will worsen Sri Lanka gas monopoly: Laugfs

Feb 8 (LBO) A decision by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation to tender its liquid petroleum gas output in the open market will re-create an absolute monopoly, Sri Lanka's second gas retailer has said. CPC which produces about 10 percent of the country's annual L P gas requirements now sells its production to Laugfs Lanka, for retail distribution. more..

"Unity created through ‘Dayata Kirula’...

Feb 8 (GDI) Unity created through ‘Dayata Kirula’ exhibition is the base for our media to be the pioneer in South Asia by projecting a media culture of active cooperation," said the Minister of Mass Media and Information, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. Minister Yapa stated this attending the inauguration ceremony of the fifth day of the ‘Dayata Kirula- Rata Dinana Heta Dinata’ exhibition as the ‘Media Day’. more..

Development programmes launched in facilities in Vakarai

Feb 8 (GDI) Approximately three weeks after liberating the Vakarai area from the Tiger clutches, Government Officials gathered in the East to discuss the development programmes and the resettlement of currently displaced people by LTTE terrorist activities. On Tuesday (06) group of senior civil and military officials met at Valaichennai District Secretariat office in Ottamavadi, more..

Police recovers more weaponry of the Sinhalese terrorist suspects

Feb 8 (GDI) Sri Lanka Police found another stock of weapons in connection with the three Sinhalese who were arrested on last Monday (05) accused of a secret plot for terror acts with the facilitation of the LTTE. In a search operation conducted by the Dematagoda Police, security personnel have recovered a 9 mm pistol with two magazines and 35 live rounds, Three Rambo knifes, two rounds of T 56 ammunition, more..

Los Angeles expatriate artists dance in joy of their motherland's 59 year old independence

Feb 8 (G2L) The official independence Day Celebration of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in Los Angeles which was celebrating the 59th anniversary of the island nation’s receipt of freedom from Britain was turned into a lively cultural pageant by Southern California’s expatriate young artists who danced in joy in front of hundreds of invited guests and the consular diplomatic corps of the great metropolis. more..

Amnesty ends for army deserters in Lanka

Feb 8 (Dawn) With Sri Lanka’s staggering ceasefire just two weeks away from completing five years, the government military ended a general amnesty for army deserters and stepped up its recruitment drive amidst claims by the Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe that Sri Lanka had lost a golden opportunity for peace. more..

Pakistan, Sri Lanka enjoy excellent ties, says Shaukat

Feb 8 (IN) Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Wednesday said Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy excellent relations, hold identical views on a number of regional and international issues and have stood by each other in critical times. Talking to Dr Sarath Amunugama, Minister for Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion of Sri Lanka, who called on him here, the prime minister stressed the need to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries more..