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Will Sri Lanka sign treaty against disappearances?

Feb 8 (LNP) A new international treaty outlawing enforced disappearances and upholding the right of victims to know the truth about the circumstances and fate of those disappeared was officially opened for signature at a ceremony in Paris on Tuesday and Rights Groups will be hoping Sri Lanka becomes one of the signatories. more..

Dr. JJ on adults only programme

Feb 8 (LNP) A new television programme, especially focusing adult psychological and sexual behaviour, on medical education conducted by Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana, a veteran medical educationist, will be telecast on the TNL television network weekly on Thursdays at 10.30 p.m. starting from 8th February 2007. The TNL Vaidya Hamuwa conducted by Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana is the first medical educational television programmme in Sri Lanka. more..

Claim of holding hostages a hoax

Feb 8 (LNP) The Sea Tigers are believed to have successfully withdrawn following the recent attack on the merchant vessel `City of Liverpool` after deceiving the military into believing that they had taken several persons hostage. The Island learns that immediately after the attack Sea Tigers had radioed a message to their headquarters claiming that they managed to take the crew and a squad of navy personnel deployed onboard the stricken vessel. more..

New FM vows to change Sri Lanka`s perception among Int`l community

Feb 8 (LNP) Sri Lankas new Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday, vowed to change the perception of Sri Lanka among the international community and introduce new technology to promote, investment, trade, export and economic development, through the Foreign Ministry. `I strongly believe that we must be realistic and change with the times as lessons of the past have shown that greater changes made all the difference`, more..

Bid to ferry Tamil refugees, two held

Feb 8 (CO) Two fishermen were arrested near Dhanushkodi when they were trying to ferry Sri Lankan refugees back to Talaimannar. Police said Karnan (20) and Kalidass (21) were to ferry four refugees, including a child, who were arrested and interrogated at Mukuntharayar check-post. Two agents who accompanied them were also arrested. more..

President can’t make peace work: UNP

Feb 8 (SAMN) UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament yesterday President Mahinda Rajapaksa wanted to jettison the MOU signed with the UNP, because he did not have the ability to come up with proposals to resolve the national question. Speaking during the emergency debate in the House, Mr. Kiriella said he would fearlessly say that the President did not have the strength to submit proposals to resolve the national question. more..

JVP hits out at Speaker

Feb 8 (SAMN) JVP MP K.D. Lal Kantha criticised Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara in Parliament Wednesday alleging he had failed to take action against certain corrupt officials in Parliament. Speaking during the emergency debate, Mr. Lal Kantha said he raised the matter during the previous Budget debate as well. He said the Speaker at that time requested him to come up with relevant documentary evidence to prove his allegations. more..

'Clean Hands' to combat corruption

Feb 8 (SAMN) As part of the Government’s strategy to combat bribery, corruption, waste and irregularities, the Ministry of Public Administration formulating the constitution and code of euthenics for a voluntary programme named "Clean Hands" to be launched shortly , Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs, D. Dissanayake, the brains behind the operation said yesterday. more..

US envoy for action against corrupt NGOs

Feb 8 (SAMN) United States Ambassador Robert O Blake yesterday gave an assurance that the US Government will fully co-operate with the Sri Lankan Government to punish any American funded non governmental organisations(NGOs) supporting the LTTE. Addressing the Joint International Community and Government on NGO activities in Sri Lanka in Colombo, Blake added: more..

Mohan Samaranayake subjected to undue pressure: Weerawansa

Feb 8 (DN) JVP Parliamentarian and Publicity Secretary Wimal Weerawansa making a special statement in Parliament yesterday said it is common knowledge that the press officer attached to the UN Office in Colombo Mohan Samaranayake who is a senior and renowned journalist has been subjected to undue pressure today. more..

CID tells Magistrate: Nine more involved in VAT scam

Feb 8 (DN) The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) probing the massive VAT racket at the Inland Revenue Department yesterday told Colombo Fort Magistrate and Additional District Judge Namal Balalle that they are looking for nine more leading businessmen who are alleged to have been involved in the huge rip-off. more..

Sri Lanka defeat England U19

Feb 8 (ECB) Sri Lanka edged out England’s Under 19's by two wickets in the last group match of the tri-series before the two sides meet in the final on Saturday. The Sri Lankans chased down England’s target of 242 with 14 balls to spare in Kuala Lumpur to gain revenge for their 14-run defeat last Friday. England made a poor start when Karl Brown was out without scoring from the third ball of the match more..

Govt. not against NGO’s

Feb 8 (DM) The Sri Lankan Government, together with the country’s major bilateral donors, came out strongly yesterday in support of the work being done by Non-Governmental Organisations, with the Government asserting that it is not the time for a witch hunt against NGOs. Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe told newsmen in Colombo that their work should not be stifled as they have played an important contributory role in the country’s development agenda. more..

Govt will not be held hostage by TUs: Nimal

Feb 8 (DM) Leader of the House and Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, in Parliament yesterday vowed not to allow Trade Unions to hold Ministers and innocent patients hostage for narrow gains. Speaking during the Emergency debate, Mr. de Silva noted that they are now even compelled to deal with an issue of a trade union instigated brawl between a doctor and a minor staffer. more..

Pakistan shows readiness to provide rolling stock to sri Lanka

Feb 8 (APP) Pakistan on Thursday expressed its readiness to provide rolling stock for the Sri Lankan Railways. In line with discussing the modalities, a meeting between Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Minister of Investment Sri Lanka Dr Sarath Amunugama was held in the Railways Ministry here. Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that Pakistan Railways was ready to provide rolling stock and technical assistance to sri Lanka railways more..

Sri Lanka's largest mobile operator to widen access to satellite pay TV

Feb 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's largest mobile operator, Dialog Telekom which helped make mobile phones a ubiquitous device in the country, says it wants to do the same to the digital pay TV industry. "If I were to trace back ten years, we took that device that was considered a luxury - a digital cellular phone - and we took it to every corner of the country," more..

Govt. Probes Alleged Karuna Abductions

Feb 8 (SLA) THE GOVERNMENT yesterday (07) assured full priority to investigate claims made by the SLMM and the Batticaloa police that cadres loyal to the Karuna faction were involved in abducting displaced civilians from the East even as the group led by Karuna Amman refuted the allegations levelled against it and blamed the LTTE instead. more..

Lankan three-wheeler owners battle for survival

Feb 8 (HT) Owners of over 300,000 three-wheelers in Sri Lanka, mostly made by India's Bajaj Auto, are in a spot since the government announced that two-stroke three wheelers would have to go off the roads by 2008. To minimise pollution, the government wants only four-stroke vehicles to be imported from 2008, and has asked owners of two-stroke vehicles to convert them to four-stroke ones. more..

Rebels accuse Sri Lanka troops of 89 civilian deaths in January

Feb 8 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels accused Sri Lankan security forces of killing 89 civilians last month in the island's embattled northeast. The LTTE said in a statement that 89 people were killed and another 90 "disappeared" in January, and blamed it on the security forces, a charge denied by the military. "Among the dead were seven children killed in a single bombing incident on January 2," the LTTE said in a statement. more..

'Govt has the right to protect the national security'

Feb 8 (GDI) Referring to the recent arrest of three people including two journalists on accusation of having links with the LTTE, Government Spokesman Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that if any citizen, irrespective of profession, ever try to act threatening the sovereignty and national security the Government has the right to take decisive appropriate action as its duty. more..

Rain interrupts Jayasuriya blaze

Feb 8 (CI) Only the Kolkata rain could ruin Sanath Jayasuriya's parade as Sri Lanka made a strong start to the one-day series against India at the Eden Gardens. Having been sent in to bat by Rahul Dravid, Sri Lanka had made 102 for 3 from 18.2 overs when a heavy drizzle forced the players off. Jayasuriya had raced to 63 from just 61 balls, and only a fine spell from Munaf Patel prevented it from being all one-way traffic. more..

Hindu priest gunned down in eastern Sri Lanka, military blames Tamil rebels

Feb 8 (AP) Gunmen killed an ethnic Tamil Hindu priest who had welcomed Sri Lanka's president to a strife-torn village after the military drove out Tamil Tiger rebels, the Defense Ministry said Thursday. Selliah Parameswar, 61, was eating dinner Wednesday night with his wife and three children when he was called out of his house in eastern Batticaloa district by two people and shot dead, more..

Priest killed for garlanding Rajapaksa

Feb 8 (HT) The LTTE on Wednesday killed a Hindu priest who had garlanded President Mahinda Rajapaksa when the latter visited Vaharai, a Tamil town in Eastern Sri Lanka which the armed forces had captured from the rebels recently. Army spokesman Brig Prasad Samarasinghe told Hindustan Times that the priest, Selliah Parameswara Gurukkal (61) of the Sandiveli Ganesh temple in Batticaloa district, was shot dead by the LTTE for garlanding the President. more..

Rescued sex worker 'an inspiration'

Feb 9 (TS) For many young people, Cheryl Perera is a hero in her own right. At the age of 17, she traveled to Sri Lanka and saw for herself the horrors of children exploited by sex tourists. Now, as the founder of OneChild, the only youth-run non-profit organization fighting this issue, she works every day to prevent the horrors that she saw in Sri Lanka from happening to more children. more..

Sri Lankan expat accused of murder

Feb 9 (TP) A Sri Lankan expatriate accused of murder of an Asian colleague was produced before the Upper Criminal Court here yesterday. The accused was working as an operator of a concrete mixer in a construction company. He was charged with killing his colleague intentionally by operating the mixer while the latter was inside. more..

Automated electoral Register system launched

Feb 9 (GDI) The Department of Elections has successfully converted the manual operating system used in registering voters in to an automated form. The official launch of this event was held at the Department premises today with the participation of the Commissioner of Elections Mr. Dayananda Dissanayake. Up to now three electoral registers have been already computerised and initiative steps were taken to computerize 19 other electoral registers. more..

Country on the path of progress – SLFP General Secretary

Feb 9 (GDI) “With in the short period of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 14 months governing, the government has achieved successes in many aspects. The victory in Sampur and Vakarai as a result of the humanitarian missions led by the security forces, and lifting the country’s economical growth rate up to 7% and also the Government’s ten years development Programme are the most significant achievements of the development process.” more..

Construction of the International Buddhist Centre

Feb 9 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Minister of Religious Affairs and Moral Upliftment, for the construction of an International Buddhist Centre. This Centre will be established with the scope of acting as an Asian centre for propagation of the Theravada Buddhist philosophy overseas, more..

Guinness Records may consider Sri Lanka Cabinet record

Feb 9 (LBO) Guinness World Records could start a new record category on jumbo sized cabinets of ministers if a formal request is made, a Guinness official said. Sri Lanka's cabinet expanded to 54 ministers last Thursday, compounding logistical problems for parliamentary staff and government officials who are struggling to find them a big enough meeting rooms, office space and official vehicles. more..

'Some are trying to hang us on the same seats which we won for them'- Anura

Feb 9 (LeN) Making a special statement in parliament today minister of national heritage Anura Bandaranaike said if not for the 21,000 votes that he got from Athanagalla and the 17,000 votes which Mangala Samaraweera got from Matara there would have been a second count in the last presidential election. Speaking regarding the threats he has received Bandaranaike said "some are trying to hang us on the positions which we got them". more..

The jungle law in FE Bureau

Feb 9 (LeN) When it has been made compulsory for those recruiting agencies to get approval from the relevant embassies to recruit unskilled migrant workers, the foreign employment bureau has granted approval for two recruiting agencies to go ahead, contradicting to the law. According to act number 22.60.02 of the foreign employment bureau approval should be obtained from the relevant embassies to transfer unskilled labour to those countries. more..

"I can be a harsh mahinda"- President

Feb 9 (LeN) Addressing a ceremony at the temple trees this morning the president said people should not leave the party no matter what hard ships they go through. He also said they should also not form rival groups within the party. The function was organized to handover appointment to new a group of party organizers. A specialty is that son of Gamini Dissanayake getting the appointment as the Sri Lanka freedom party organizer for central Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka 'not worried' by US peace envoy call

Feb 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka Thursday said it was not 'unduly worried' over a proposal to US President George W. Bush by American lawmakers to appoint a special envoy to help bring peace to the embattled Indian Ocean island. Sri Lanka cabinet spokesman and Media Minister Anura Yapa said Colombo believed the US would continue to support its fight to neutralise Tamil Tiger rebels who have been banned in the US since 1997. more..

Tigers deny killing Hindu priest

Feb 9 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels denied killing a Hindu priest who welcomed President Mahinda Rajapakse to a former guerrilla bastion, as three more people were killed elsewhere. Sri Lankan officials had blamed the rebels for the death of Selliah Parameswar, who was dragged out of his house in Batticaloa district and killed late Wednesday by a group of unidentified gunmen. more..

Bottled water ………..

Feb 9 (AT) Bottled water is now popular among locally and internationally, but local researchers said a number of cases have reported on uncontrolled bogus filling of unhygienic water in to the bottles. “When you buy a bottled water you must inspect expiry date, quality certification, seal of bottle, absence of inner material and outer cleanliness, trade name and source of water, more..

Rebels 2007: Impact

Feb 9 (AT) Who benefits from the crossing of the opposition MP’s to the Government? Obviously, themselves but the political ramifications it has set in motion will reverberate in the coming years. They have disarranged and disturbed the political scene to an extent that the added numerical strength to the government could turn to straw if events overtake the mathematical calculations. more..

First anniversary of SL Buddhist Mission to Germany

Feb 9 (AT) This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the first Sri Lankan Buddhist Mission to Germany. The German Dharmaduta Society is planning to commemorate the anniversary (1957 - 2007) in a fitting manner in both Colombo and Berlin in June. The first SL Buddhist Mission to Germany was led by the late Asoka Weeraratne who established the German Dharmadutha Society in 1952. He later entered Buddhist order as the Venerable Meetirigala Dhammanisanthi. more..

Tensions within SLFP come to the fore

Feb 9 (Hindu) Trouble is brewing within the ruling SLFP after the recent shuffle of Ministers. The move by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to induct defectors from the Opposition, leading to a jumbo Council of Ministers of 108, has been a cause of consternation within his party. The simmering tensions among the top brass of the party came to fore in Parliament on Thursday when Anura Bandaranaike, Minister for National Heritage charged that there were "forces within the Government," surrounding Mr. Rajapaksa conspiring against the Bandaranaike family. more..

Tamil Tigers change modus operandi to remove label of being terrorists

Feb 9 (SLE) On February 5, 2007, Sri Lanka’s security forces arrested three Sinhalese men, two of them former journalists, the other, a computer graphics designer, on charges of collaboration with the LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers, who have held Sri Lanka to ransom through terrorism for nearly three decades. more..

Sri Lanka's president seems as mindless as any bomber

Feb 9 (GU) The roadblock was unexpected. Driving to Colombo along Sri Lanka's south-west coast, we were forced on to a sidestreet by police in Hikkaduwa, one of the island's main tourist centres. There must have been a multiple crash, we assumed, as the detour along narrow village lanes took us past rice paddies shimmering in the afternoon sun. Back on the coast road, fleets of ambulances racing south seemed to confirm our suspicions. more..

Sri Lanka: giving war a chance

Feb 9 (OD) The war in Sri Lanka continues. In January 2007, 154 people (101 of them civilians) were killed, prime minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake told the parliament in Colombo on 8 February. But as Sri Lanka burns, its politicians are fiddling. The country's recent parliamentary twists and turns have given the term "horse-trading" a new meaning. As of 29 January 2007, Sri Lanka's cabinet now has eighty ministers and deputy ministers. more..

Remembering Neelan Tiruchelvam

Feb 9 (TW) If the design of the person(s) who masterminded the suicide bombing of Neelan on July 29, 1999 had not taken place, Neelan would have celebrated his 63rd birthday on January 31, this year. However, we did celebrate his birthday. The celebration was in the form of what was aesthetically close to the life of Neelan, a concert. more..

Compensation and resettlement of IDPs soon

Feb 9 (AT) Resettlement of the estimated 75,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) of Vaharai has been speeded up by M.S.S. Ameer Ali, Minister of Disaster Relief Services, after the recent visit of President Mahinda Rajapakse. Ameer Ali told the Asian Tribune that the plans are to resettle in first phase 13,000 IDPs from Vaharai and 30,000 from Mutur and Sampur. But immdiate steps will be taken to resettle IDPs from eight Grama Servaka Divisions in the Vaharai. more..

Sri Lankan Independence Day: a celebration of war and militarism

Feb 9 (wsws) President Mahinda Rajapakse used the annual ceremony to mark the country’s Independence Day on February 4 to make clear that his government was intent on escalating its deeply unpopular civil war against the LTTE. While paying lip service to the need for “peace,” he declared his intention to carry out the “liberation of Tamils”—in other words, the seizure of all territory currently held by the LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka cricket chief questioned over share scam

Feb 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka's securities watchdog Friday questioned the country's cricket chief Jayantha Dharmadasa over the alleged manipulation of share prices. Dharmadasa, who heads Sri Lanka Cricket, his son and seven others are being charged by the securities regulator for illegally boosting the share price of Nawaloka Hospitals, in which they hold a majority stake. more..

Food ship from India to reach Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsular next week

Feb 9 (LBO) A ship carrying essential foodstuff from India is due to reach the Jaffna peninsular next week, an official said. The first ship had brought of 3,200 tonnes of essential foods and this ship would have 1,000 tonnes of rice, 500 tonnes of sugar among its cargo, Nalin Fernando, chairman of the state-owned Co-operative Wholesale Establishment (CWE) said. more..

Sri Lanka's alternative energy sector to come under new agency

Feb 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka will set up an agency to administer the renewable energy sector in Sri Lanka and also establish a fund to support newer forms of energy, a senior minister said. Sri Lanka's cabinet of ministers had approved the setting up of Sustainable Energy Authority, but the draft law would have to be presented to parliament, Information Minister Anura Yapa said. more..

Iran grants US $ 500 million aids for development projects

Feb 9 (GDI) "Government of Iran has granted US $ 500 millions for the development process of Sri Lanka," said Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Dr. Sarath Amunugama at a meeting held with Benham Behrouz, Ambassador for Iran and other high ranked officials. The Minister further said that the Government of Iran has always maintained a close and mutual relationship with Sri Lanka when the country was under going complicated situations. more..

‘Jet Liner’ continues passenger transport

Feb 9 (GDI) More than thousand people reached Trincomalee from the Northern peninsula on Thursday (08), to get to their destinations in the Southern parts of the island. The Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) passenger vessel ‘Jet Liner’ transported 1000 civilians to Trincomalee from Kankasanthurai and the vessel ‘Green Ocean’ transported another 350 people. Among the passengers many were students. more..

‘National Drug Policy’ will be introduced to ensure a fast and easy medical service

Feb 9 (GDI) With the objective of providing high quality drugs to the public effectively and at a low price, the Health Care and Nutrition Ministry is in the process of formulating a National Drug Policy under the guidance of Health Care and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva. Rs.11, 000 million has allocated from the previous budget to purchase drugs. more..