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U.S. ambassador reiterate U.S. Government’s commitment to counter terrorism

Feb 9 (GDI) The United States ambassador to Sri Lanka- Mr. Robert O’Blake reiterated the U.S. Government’s commitment to counter terrorism. He highlighted this at a meeting held with the newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs- Rohitha Bogollagama today. Several other Ambassadors were also present at this cordial meeting. more..

Dedicate to safeguard strength and heritage of the party - President

Feb 9 (GDI) The newly appointed organizers should dedicate themselves to strengthen the party, which is a people’s party, by prioritizing party interests over individual interests, President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed addressing the newly appointed Electoral and District Organizers of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). more..

Sri Lanka looks at novel ways to safeguard refugee health

Feb 9 (LBO) Large numbers of refugees in Sri Lanka are at increased risk of insect borne diseases and failing health, with officials looking for new and novel ways to fight off infection. The number of Sri Lanka’s internally displaced people (IDP) has gone up by 2.8 percent between April 2006 and the end of January this year, to just over 206,000 people, United Nations reports show. more..

Alan Rock proposes targeted measures to UN working group against LTTE

Feb 9 (AT) Ambassador Allan Rock, Special Adviser on Sri Lanka to Radhika Coomaraswamy- the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict has recommend that the Working Group propose to the Security Council that it should consider targeted measures against LTTE to address its continuing failure or refusal to stop recruiting and deploying children. more..

More than 300 Asians stranded in a freight ship drifting on the high seas

Feb 9 (AT) A freight ship carrying at least 400 possible illegal immigrants, majority of who are believed to be Asians is stranded off the waters of the West African nation of Mauritania, reports said. The ship named “Marine 1” started its troubles, the reports said when its engines broke down near Senegal on February 2 and now it has been towed by the Spanish Coast Guard Vessel near the coast of Mauritania the reports added. more..

Make internet a LTTE terror free zone

Feb 9 (AT) Internet giant ‘YouTube’ has been invaded by LTTE propaganda videos. ‘YouTube’ who has just done a deal with Google for $1.65 Billion seems to be providing free services to a Banned terrorist group. ‘YouTube’ is the latest American company to welcome with open arms a terrorist group responsible for the murder of a Sri Lankan head of state and an ex Indian head of state, more..

Prabhakaran is to run away from Sri Lanka - Rabukwella

Feb 9 (LNP) In the wake of the heavy defeat to the LTTE terrorism in the North-East Sector LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is to run away from Sri Lanka, Foreign Employment Promotion and welfare Minister, National Security spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said when he called on the Mahanayake Theros of Malwatte and Asgiriya yesterday (08). more..

Nine-member gang obtained Rs.1.1 mn advance from LTTE

Feb 9 (LNP) The nine-member southern gang that spied and also transported explosives and arms for the LTTE had obtained Rs 1.1 million as an advance payment, police investigations have revealed. Government spokesman Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told yesterday`s cabinet press briefing in Colombo that initial police investigations have found that the gang including a journalist had begun working for the LTTE a few months back. more..

Passport office to be cleaned up

Feb 9 (LNP) Some members of the staff attached to the Department of Immigration and Emigration discriminate against Tamils when they apply for passports. Stern action would be taken against them, Controller of Immigration and Emigration P. B. Abeykoon said. He said that all complaints made to the department would be duly investigated and a special procedure to handle passports alterations had been adopted more..

Media freedom and rule of law must coexist

Feb 9 (LNP) There is a furore over the arrest of some journalists. They have been taken in, the Defence Ministry says, because of their alleged links with the LTTE. Three of them, the Defence Spokesman says, have confessed that they have been trained by the LTTE to use firearms and explosives, presumably for high profile assassinations. more..

D-Day for SL at UN Security Council

Feb 9 (SAMN) Today is D-Day for Sri Lanka at the UN as the highly controversial report on Sri Lanka, by Allan Rock, Special Advisor to the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict will be presented to the working group of the Security Council. The report, based on Rock’s 10-day mission to Sri Lanka last year accused both the LTTE and Karuna faction of involvement in child abduction and recruitment. more..

Lanka in shocking child porn scandal

Feb 9 (SAMN) Child pornographic material emanating from Sri Lanka is on the rise, according to Austrian officials who busted a child pornography ring in the world. A Reuters report said 2,361 suspects in 77 countries had paid for Internet videos showing children being subjected to “the worst kind of sexual abuse”. Officials said on Wednesday 607 of the suspects were in the United States, 466 in Germany, 114 in France and 23 in Austria. more..

Rajapaksa warns party saboteurs

Feb 9 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa Thursday vowed to defeat groups that attempted to de-stabilize the SLFP and said he was neither S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike nor Sirimavo Bandaranaike nor Chandrika Kumaratunga but could easily be ‘Medamulane Mahinda Rajapaksa’ if he wanted to, at any given time. President Rajapaksa gave this warning during a ceremony to give appointment letters to 27 new district and electorate SLFP organizers. more..

Thousands of complaints against police

Feb 9 (SAMN) The National Police Commission (NPC) opened a can of worms Thursday when it said that while thousands of complaints had been received against police personnel, from the rank of Constable to that of a Deputy Inspector General, only 73 indictments were filed in 2005 for offences such as an illicit affair with a married woman, assault, sexual harassment, attempted looting using firearms, forceful taking of money, rape and murder. more..

Felix responds to Anura: Politics not a bed of roses

Feb 9 (DN) Fisheries Minister Felix Perera yesterday questioned the need for a Parliament statement by National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike over an issue of anonymous telephone calls received by him. The Minister said he has faced numerous hardships being a politician and almost everyone of them had been subject to such threatening calls at one time or another. more..

Probe into film company which defamed Lanka

Feb 9 (DN) The Department of Inland Revenue has netted a film producer who makes huge profits by producing documentary films which misleads the public on the North-East conflict and creates a negative image of Sri Lanka. Commissioner General of Inland Revenue A. A. Wijepala told the Daily News that they raided this film production company on Wednesday in Pelawatta as it has not been paying income tax. more..

Reformists describe themselves as democratic front of UNP

Feb 9 (DM) The UNP MPs who crossed over to the Government recently said yesterday they were still part of the party and had no intention of leaving it. Calling themselves the democratic faction of the UNP, the three dissidents who are now ministers - R.A.D. Sirisena, Hemakumara Nanayakkara and Rajitha Senaratne - insisted they would not give up the portfolios that were awarded by the Government and return to the UNP before the deadline given by Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

UNP for mass agitation against Govt policies: Ranil

Feb 9 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe vowed yesterday to launch a mass campaign to ensure the protection of the people’s civic rights and democracy in the country. “The prospect of restoring peace is necessary, the fundamental human rights of the people is being violated daily. Meanwhile, living costs are soaring, therefore, time has come for the UNP to articulate loud and clear, the voice of the people,” more..

Pro-LTTE Lankan party ropes in TN film industry

Feb 9 (HT) The pro-LTTE TNA has roped in the Chennai film industry to increase awareness of the Sri Lankan Tamil problem among the people of Tamil Nadu, and to collect money for the rehabilitation of Tamil refugees in Sri Lanka. Three TNA MPs, MK Sivajilingam, S Ariyanethiran and S Pathmanathan, met leading figures of the Tamil Nadu film industry at the Nadigar Sangam (Actors' Guild) in Chennai on February 6. more..

Sri Lanka town shuts down to mourns slain Hindu priest

Feb 9 (AFP) A town in Sri Lanka's embattled east shut down as a sign of respect for a Hindu priest gunned down four days after he welcomed President Mahinda Rajapakse to a former guerrilla stronghold. Military officials said shops closed and transport was halted in Valachchenai on Friday to mourn Selliah Parameswar, who was dragged out of his house and killed late Wednesday by a group of unidentified gunmen. more..

Sri Lankan leader in peace offer

Feb 9 (BBC) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse says the door is still open for talks with Tamil Tiger rebels, even though he described them as terrorists. In recent months, Sri Lanka's armed forces have driven the rebels from much of the east of the country. Sri Lanka has been sliding towards all out war, despite a 2002 ceasefire. more..

Three ministers sacked

Feb 9 (BBC) Three senior ministers of Sri Lanka cabinet were sacked on Friday, state television reported. Senior ministers Anura Bandaraike, Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooryaarachchi were removed their portfolios. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has tekne over the Ports, Aviation and National Heritage portfolios, a spokesman at the Presidential Secretariat said. more..

Mahinda 'ruining' Sri Lanka

Feb 10 (BBC) The President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has to take full responsibility of his actions, former Minister Anura Bandaranaike said. The former National Heritage minister and two other ministers, Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyaarachchi were sacked by President Rajapaksa on Friday. "It is better to be out from the cabinet and independent rather than to be a prty to a hellish government," former minister Bandaranaike told BBC Sandeshaya. more..

Peace with LTTE was a mistake: Rajapakse

Feb 10 (AFP) Conceding that the peace pact with the Tamil Tigers was a mistake, Sri Lanka said it expects India to be "more sensitive" and lend "more support" to solve the conflict in the island nation. "Today we realise we have made a mistake. Through the peace pact, we have demarcated areas called LTTE-controlled areas, and they have taken the rights of the people through this pact," Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa told BBC News. more..

Sri Lanka president sacks three ministers

Feb 10 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president sacked three ministers, including the former foreign minister, amid growing dissension within the newly-elected 54-member cabinet, officials said. President Mahinda Rajapakse dismissed former foreign minster Mangala Samaraweera, who is now Ports Minister, National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike and non-cabinet Ports Minister Sripathi Sooriarachchi. more..

LTTE urged to lay down arms

Feb 10 (BBC) Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapakse, says the door is still open to negotiations with the Tamil Tiger rebels. Describing the LTTE as terrorists, President Rajapakse said the Tigers should lay down their arms and begin talks with Sri Lanka's government. In an exclusive interview with the BBC, he said the the military would not hesitate to take action in self-defence, if they continue to fight. more..

‘LTTE usurped Lankan Tamils’ identity’

Feb 10 (TS) From being a hardcore militant involved for long in a blood-stained armed struggle in pursuit of an honourable solution to the ethnic Tamil issue to becoming part of the establishment as a minister favouring a peaceful solution within a united Sri Lanka, it has been a dramatic, incredible journey for Mr Douglas Devananda. Dressed in a white dhoti and a long, flowing garment resembling a kurta, he barely looks a politician. “This is the Sri Lankan national dress,” he explains. more..

The Rajapaksa strategy: Will it become a double edged sword or is it the beginning of a new political era?

Feb 10 (AT) The dawning of the 59th anniversary of Sri Lankan independence could see a watershed in Sri Lankan politics. After many years of single party governments and coalitions, it appears that President Rajapakse has taken Sri Lanka to a new dimension in governance with a large number of UNP dissidents, several Tamil political parties and the leading Muslim political party joining hands to form what is a national government in all but name. more..

Is the love hate relationship between Mahinda and Anura entering into its final stages now?

Feb 10 (AT) In an obvious reference to his estranged cabinet colleague Anura Bandaranaike President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the ruling SLFP is not a heritage of few individuals but of the people. He made the statement at a function held at his official residence, Temple Trees, to hand over letters of appointment to newly selected electoral organizers of the SLFP of which he is the President. more..

Fading Stars turn to blasphemous slander and scuttlebutt for survival

Feb 10 (AT) 6th of February news reports carried an article highlighting Vickramabahu Karunarathna denigrating Sri Lanka yet again in public. Whilst visiting the United Kingdom, Karunarathna was speaking at a forum on Sri Lanka’s 59th year of independence, curiously organised by alleged LTTE sympathetic fronts Tamil Information Centre, Tamil Community Forum, and a local organisation in East London. more..

President condoles the death of Hindu temple High Priest killed by the LTTE

Feb 10 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa sent Message of Condolence bereaved family of the Parameshwara Kurukkal, High Priest of Shanthiveli Pillayar Kovil, Batticaloa, who was assassinated by the gunmen belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on 07 February. Parmeshwara Kurukkal garlanded the President when he visited Vaharai on 03 February, to meet civilians freed from LTTE control and thank the security forces for liberating the East. more..

Assisting Development In Sri Lanka

Feb 10 (VoA) U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake says the United States “remains deeply committed to continue our assistance to Sri Lanka to enhance economic development, help recover from the [2004] tsunami, and work with Sri Lanka on a durable solution to the ethnic conflict that has held back progress” for more than two decades. more..

Sri Lanka’s botched tsunami reconstruction efforts are aggravating political violence

Feb 10 (NW) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse was jubilant. With good reason. His army had just recaptured Vakarai, a northeastern city controlled by the separatist Tamil Tigers for more than a decade. It was a welcome victory for Rajapakse, given that the latest escalation of violence between the government and the rebels has claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people in the past year—and that the 150 fatalities of the last month have made it one of the deadliest since the 2002 ceasefire. more..

Many troops killed in attack: TamilNet

Feb 10 (Hindu) The TamilNet has claimed that several soldiers have been killed in a claymore attack on their bus along Palaly Road, near the Urelu army camp on Thursday night. "The Palaly military command has not released official details on the attack," it said. As per TamilNet, the army has been moving ammunitions and soldiers towards the Forward Defence Lines (FDLs) in Nagarkovil and Thenmaradchy under the cover of darkness during the past several days. more..

UNP decides to boycott APRC

Feb 10 (TN) The main opposition United National Party (UNP) has decided not to participate in the future deliberations of the All Parties Representatives Committee (APRC). This APRC has been appointed by the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse last year to work out a common programme reaching consensus among southern political parties to find a political solution to the Tamil national question through peaceful means. more..

Rajapakse sacks dissenting SLFP ministers

Feb 10 (TN) Shortly after rumblings of discontent amongst the ranks of the ruling SLFP over the recent admission of opposition MPS into his mammoth cabinet, President Mahinda Rajapakse sacked three of the most vocal dissenters on Friday, Presidential Secretariat officials said. SLFP stalwarts Anura Bandaranaike, Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Suriyarachchi were stripped of their portfolios Friday more..

Bridge the gap and future will not be so gloomy

Feb 10 (GDI) While the LTTE kidnapped eighteen year old Thilovan and Devadasan from Karuwankerni in Batticaloa yesterday afternoon (09) as the Media Centre for National Security informed, seventeen year old Sashikumar from the same area was fortunate to come and enjoy a visit to Colombo on the same day during the same time with the safety and care of the Sri Lankan Army. more..

More than hundred children from East visit ‘Deyata Kirula’

Feb 10 (GDI) special group of hundred and more children from the East especially from Vakarai, Batticaloa, Mankerni areas came to visit and witness the ‘Deyata Kirula’ – the national mega exhibition of the country, yesterday (09). These children, who are currently staying with their kith and kin in 48 welfare camps in Batticaloa district, reached Colombo yesterday (09) evening to enjoy the grand finale of the mega show more..

Deyata Kirula ends with treasured memories

Feb 10 (GDI) Deyata Kirula-Heta Dinanna Ratata" Educational and Development Exhibition ended yesterday with leaving heap of treasured memories in the hearts of Sri Lankan citizens. The exhibition has given the public an opportunity to have a clear picture of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's vision to develop the country within the next 10 years. more..

Rambukkan Oya irrigation Project to be commenced

Feb 10 (GDI) The construction work of Rambukkan Oya irrigation project, which is the largest irrigation project second to Galoya project in the district of Ampara will commence under the guidance of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the 12th of this month. This will be a large scale development project to uplift the infrastructure in the area. more..

Tax men hunting clubs, parties for high spenders

Feb 10 (GDI) The Department of Inland Revenue is hunting for high spenders to widen its tax net. Commissioner General of Inland Revenue A.A. Wijepala said there are life-style magazines in the country, which highlight personal parties of some high spenders. The Department of Inland Revenue is hunting for high spenders to widen its tax net. more..

What is a Bomb

Feb 10 (GDI) Basically anything in our surrounding can be converted into a bomb. The only characteristic it requires is a space, which could even be provided by a thick book. A bomb need not be big to create a huge explosion. Just as frighteningly, the bomb could be triggered to explode by simple actions such as: # Moving # Raising # Pulling # Activating it – for example by switching on a radio or a light switch more..

Rapid growth in Sri Lanka-China Business Ties

Feb 10 (GDI) Trade links between Sri Lanka and China have shown rapid growth over the years. According to Mr.Shamil Mendis the President of the Sri Lanka-China Business Council and Director of Delmege Forsyth, this would help gain more economic benefits to Sri Lanka. He added that the Council would continue to promote trade in many ways. more..

President speaks of the rights of the Tamils and the flawed Ceasefire Agreement

Feb 10 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he is determined to revert back the democratic rights of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka which were robbed of them by an agreement that was basically flawed. He was speaking about Sri Lanka’s controversial Ceasefire Agreement brokered by Norway that would be five years old on February 22 2007. more..

A Ballet of Bullets and Ballots

Feb 10 (TW) A thought-experiment: if a tree falls in a forest upon deaf ears, did it make a sound? If children are abducted in Batticaloa without witnesses, was there LTTE/Karuna recruitment? If shells rain in Jaffna without media coverage, did anyone die? Relapsing from post-2007 to pre-2002, momentarily embracing a path to Eelam IV over Geneva III, in coming weeks the parties may find themselves between a (Alan) Rock and a hard line, as more..

Whither the ‘Eelam’ project?

Feb 10 (TW) The ‘Eelam’ project in the form perceived by many with its objective as the creation of a separate Tamil state in North-East Sri Lanka under the supreme control of the LTTE developed after the Thimpu talks in 1985. This was the only time when all Tamil militant groups (LTTE, TELO, EPRLF and PLOTE) and the then main political party, the TULF joined in the struggle for gaining the rights deprived by the majoritarian rule inherent in Sri Lanka’s Constitution. more..

Why are legal pundits silent about the crossovers?

Feb 10 (TW) As a product of the Peradeniya School of Political Science, I am of the opinion that we have a Constitution which is the 1978 one. According to that and as spelt out by a former Peradeniya Don and one of the architects of the 1978 Constitution in his work, the De Gaulle of Asia, A.J. Wilson, it is the sovereign people of Sri Lanka who form the electorate. more..

Sri Lankan airlines flies into uncertainty with Emirates deal in mid-air

Feb 10 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines' strategic decision-making has been hit by uncertainty over a management deal between its two main shareholders, a top official said. SriLankan is majority owned by the government of Sri Lanka, but its management was given to Emirates when the Dubai based airline bought a 40 percent stake in 1998. more..

One eye on the World Cup

Feb 10 (CI) After the non-match at the Eden Gardens got this series off to the wettest possible start, both teams are hoping that there isn't a repeat when they clash in the second game on Sunday. Saturday was overcast and cool, and talk of rain in nearby Bhuj did not calm the nerves at the Madhavrao Scindia Cricket Ground in Rajkot. It rarely ever rains in Rajkot at this time of the year, but then again, that was the case in Kolkata as well. more..

Gotabhaya briefs Indian Def. Secy

Feb 10 (LNP) Defence Secretary Colonel (retd) Gotabhaya Rajapakse Thursday briefed Indian Defence Minister A. K. Anthony on the ongoing efforts to weaken the LTTE`s military capability as the SLAF stepped up pressure on enemy bases in the Vanni region. The SLAF campaign has entered a new phase with Israeli-built Kfirs, a modern multi-role fighter aircraft with a formidable weapons system going flat out against targets in the Vanni. more..