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India is among the largest investors in Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (IANS) India has emerged as one of the largest foreign investors in Sri Lanka, with a commitment of over $200 million since 2000. There are signs $364 million will be added to this soon, if some prestigious projects fructify. The Lanka Indian Oil Corp (LIOC), which is a wholly owned subsidiary of IOC, is the largest Indian investor, having pumped in Sri Lankan Rs.7.57 billion ($74.2 million). LIOC is among the top 10 foreign investors in the island. more..

Sethusamudram Has Security Implications: Coast Guard

Feb 1 (NP) The controversial Sethusamudram shipping canal project has 'security implications' and these have been 'conveyed' to the government, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) chief said Thursday. 'There are security implications because of the closeness of the India-Sri Lanka maritime boundary,' Vice Admiral Rusi Contractor told reporters here ahead of the 31st anniversary of the ICG. more..

Sri Lanka maiden sovereign bond wins award

Feb 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka's 500 million dollar maiden sovereign bond, issued last October soon after the sub-prime bubble broke, has bagged a top award from an international financial publication. Finance Asia named Sri Lanka's issuance the best sovereign bond as it was pulled off amid difficult circumstances. The bond was lead-managed by Barclays Capital, J P Morgan and HSBC. more..

Cricinfo awards for Sangakkara, Gilchrist

Feb 1 (CI) Three Indians, two Sri Lankans and an Australian have been named as the winners in the inaugural Cricinfo Awards, which recognise the outstanding batting and bowling performances in all three forms of the game during 2007. Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's No. 3, takes the Test batting prize for his 192 against Australia in Hobart. "I have always thought that he is a class player, and he proved that on the tour of Australia. His 192 in the second Test was a magnificent innings," more..

Three years after tsunami, Sri Lanka rebuilds amid worsening war

Feb 1 (ACT) Three years ago, Susantha Jayalath survived the tsunami that swept across the Indian Ocean and devastated the coast of Sri Lanka. He lost his fishing boat and nets, but within weeks he sold his wife's jewelry to make the down payment on a new boat. Then a war got in the way of earning a living, and life for Jayalath remains stalled long after the waves receded. Jayalath's struggles reflect larger challenges that Sri Lanka has faced in the three years since the December 26, 2004, more..

Army staff officer deposits bail for Nishantha Gajanayake

Feb 1 (LD) Nishantha Gajanayake, who has been arrested on the charge of having masterminded a spate of abductions, extortions and killings, was released on bail today (Jan. 31st). The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s court granted bail to Gajanayake on January 18th. Today, Staff Officer of the Army Medical Corps W.H. Manjula and his wife deposited the Rs. 50,000 cash bail and the two Rs. 2.5 million sureties on behalf of the accused. more..

AG consents to free woman arrested along with Parameswary

Feb 1 (LD) Susanthi Thambirasa, who has been arrested on the charge of being a LTTE suicide bomber, will be freed with consent from the Attorney General, State Counsel Gihan Gunatilake informed the Court of Appeal today (Jan. 31st). The State Counsel was making submissions when Gowrie Shankar Thavarasa, the lawyer appearing on behalf of the accused, filed a habeas corpus, calling for the producing of her client before the court. more..

Justice Minister & his Secretary at loggerheads

Feb 1 (LD) Differences between Justice Minister Dilan Perera and his Secretary Suhada Gamlath have worsened to such levels that the two trade words in the open, Ministry sources say. The latest incident also involves M. Somasundaran, the Private Secretary to the Minister, in which he had ordered Gamlath out of his office after a heated verbal exchange around 2.30 this afternoon (Jan. 31st). more..

Fear in Sri Lanka - one woman's view

Feb 1 (BBC) Mannar in north-western Sri Lanka has seen some of the worst of the fighting between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels in recent months. Meanwhile life for the residents of this coastal district has become almost intolerable. A woman who lives in Mannar and who prefers to remain anonymous told the BBC News website about the brutality surrounding her. "Mannar is a terrible place now. This is what happened to me just the other night. I was visiting a church for a night service. more..

Iran Pledges Support for Construction of Industrial Park in Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (FNA) A visiting Iranian delegation said in a meeting with Sri Lanka's Minister of Urban and Sacred Area Development Dinesh Gunawardene on Wednesday that Tehran would assist Colombo in constructing industrial parks. The Sri Lankan minister has held extensive discussions with the Iranian delegates who are in Sri Lanka participating in the Iran Trade Exhibition at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Conventional Centre, Ceylon Daily News reported. more..

Pak President Mush expresses their deep gratitude to Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (LG) President Pervez Musharraf on Thursday welcoming Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama who is on a two day visit to Pakistan, expressed Pakistan’s deep gratitude to Sri Lanka for the principled position adopted at the Commonwealth. The President said he was particularly grateful to Minister Bogollagama, who had strongly argued against Pakistan’s suspension from the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG). more..

Four phases of Tamil racism and two faces of UNP

Feb 1 (LG) Tamil racism in Sri Lanka has entered the fourth phase with the formation of the so called Tamil National Alliance (TNA). As we said last week in these columns the Tamil Hindu Vellala leadership of Tamil racism is no more and now we have the phenomenon of Tamil Christian (Catholic) Karaivar leadership of LTTE, the sole representative of the Tamils as declared by the TNA. The TNA has only one policy in effect. Do what the LTTE tells them. more..

Sri Lankan Embassador to Italy writes to Vatican's newspaper

Feb 1 (IL) I wish to make reference to the articles that have appeared in your esteemed newspaper, on 11th, 12th and 18th January, concerning the present situation in Sri Lanka. Though the State of Vatican does not come under my jurisdiction and as the paper is published by the Vatican, I did not have the opportunity to read it. Yet, a very respected and senior Catholic Priest brought these matters to my attention and I thought it was my bounden duty to clarify certain matters in the said news items, so that more..

Sri Lanka says UAE firms to build refinery

Feb 1 (LBO) Two UAE petroleum firms have won Sri Lankan government approval to build the island's second refinery with an investment of 1.2 billion dollars, a senior minister said. Trans Asia Gas International LLC and Star Petro Energy LLC of the UAE plan to build a 100,000 barrels-per-day refinery in the southern town of Hambantota, minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told reporters. more..

The long journey towards real freedom

Feb 1 (TC) This year we celebrate 60 years of independence from British colonial rule. Our history as an independent people was interrupted and suppressed at the beginning of the sixteenth century with the invasion by the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch and the British. There is yet to be an apology from the former colonial powers, for the violence and exploitation to the economy and cultures of countries like ours. more..

“whose side are they on?”

Feb 1 (SLW) Recently Dr. Norbert Ropers, the Director of the Berghof Foundation had been asked to leave Sri Lanka by the Sri Lankan Government as he failed to attend before the parliamentary commission. The Berghof Foundation is funded mainly by Germany in order to promote good governance in Sri Lanka. Whenever there were any allegations against the BF, the BF’s defence was that it was not an INGO and that it operated in Sri Lanka under its MOU with the Sri Lankan Government. more..

LTTE is a curse to Sri lanka – SLA Major replies to “Thought from a Tamil Diaspora”

Feb 1 (SLW) After I read an article titled ' Thought from a Tamil Diaspora' I felt writing this message to that lady. first of all I must introduce myself. I am a Major of Sri Lanka Army presently serving in Jaffna. I read her letter with interest, respect and with an open mind. At the outset i must say that she only highlighted the Tamils side of the story with some enmity with all Sinhalese. more..

Japan Denies Reports of Aid Cut to Sri Lanka

Feb 1 (LG) “In a telephone conversation with Foreign Secretary Kohona, Ambassador Akashi, the Japanese peace envoy, vehemently denied that Japan was reconsidering its aid policy, vis-ŕ-vis, Sri Lanka,” according to statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo. “He confirmed that the aid policy remained unchanged. Japan, he said, was very encouraged by the APRC proposals and was looking forward further developments,” the statement added. more..

Jayalalithaa clashed with her rivals in the legislature on LTTE issue

Feb 1 (LG) Alleging that the State was becoming a base of the LTTE besides turning into a sanctury of arms Jayalalithaa accused the government of not being able to protect even leaders of friendly parties and referred to the attack on Tamilnadu Congress Committee president M Krishnaswamy. Speaking on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address on the conculding day of the current session, Jayalalithaa said the address of the Governor was like a curtain raiser to the policies and programmes of a government. more..

Solutions based on 13th Amendment – Have we taken for a ride?

Feb 1 (LG) The so-called All Party Representative Committee (or quite rightly called Fourteen Party Representative Committee), in its interim report, has recommended strengthening the 13th amendment made to the constitution and is expected to provide maximum devolution to the Northern and Eastern Provinces in due course. As per Section 1.1 of the report, the devolution proposals are yet to come and implementation of those proposals will require amendment of the present Constitution, and more..

From Sokkas to Lokkas in Our Society ?

Feb 1 (LG) It is in the nature of democracy that the majority rules at anytime. That should not mean that the minorities are ignored or their views not taken into account. All citizens are equal before the law. However, a minotiry party should not be allowed to extert undue influence in key areas of policy making and governance with a view to depriving the majority of its legitimate rights. I refer to the undue influence of the LSSP (Lanka Sama Samaja Party) and the CP (Communist Party) on our life over the years. more..

President Expected to Invite Opposition Leader for Talks on 13th Amendment

Feb 1 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapakse is expected to invite Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe for talks about the 13th Amendment to the constitution which is at the center of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) recommendations. 13th Amendment to the 1978 Constitution was enacted following the Indo Sri Lanka Agreement of July 1987. It resulted in the setting up of Provincial Councils throughout Sri Lanka and it would devolve power to the Provinces under the unitary Constitution. more..

I will give my head if Gotabaya proves his 'LTTE' allegations against me says Mano Ganesan

Feb 1 (LeN) I bet my head if Gotabaya Rajapakse proves any of his 'LTTE link' allegations against me. He has got his facts, if any mixed-up. It is because he is speaking out of vengeance. The Vengeance is over our Civil Monitoring Commission's human rights campaign against abductions, extortions and extra-judicial killings and also reflection of the government's anger that I did not follow the 'silence for perk' paths of ministers Thondaman and Chandrasekaran more..

Soldiers' salaries not paid fully, says UNP

Feb 1 (LeN) UNP accuses that the Government that has given prominence to war is not paying the full salary of the newly recruited soldiers. Addressing a press briefing held today in the Opposition Leader's official residence this morning (31), UNP Kegalle district MP Kabir Hasheem said that the reason behind was the financial crisis of the state. Stating that the Government has not still paid the Samurdhi allowance of December, he enquired how this low-income group people keep their family fires burning in the current context of inflation. more..

Distinguish BP100 truck from explosives truck - UNICEF

Feb 1 (LD) UNICEF says that a truck stopped on January 26th in Medawachchiya containing therapeutic food known as BP 100 must be distinguished from the other vehicle reported to have been stopped two days later in Thekkawatta carrying explosives. The UNICEF said in a press release that the truck supplying BP 100 for severely malnourished children left the Ministry of Nation Building and Development warehouse in Vavuniya on Jan. 26th at the request of more..

Was ‘Kala Pola’ a success?

Feb 1 (LD) After a year-long silence, ‘Kala Pola’ (Art Fair) was held in the Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo on Jan. 20th. The event, which was hitherto held by the roadside in the vicinity of the Art Gallery, was shoved into the Park in consideration of the security of VIPs. Therefore, organizers were compelled to share one stall, usually used for floral exhibitions, between two exhibitors. The small narrow space in between was far inadequate for the display of creative work and to accommodate the visiting public. more..

Gajanayake cleared of 2 extortion charges

Feb 1 (LD) The Attorney General today informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court that he did not object to the acquittal of Nishantha Gajanayake of two counts of abduction and extortion. Gajanayake was arrested on the charge of having masterminded a spate of abductions, extortions and killings. After today’s submission by the AG through CID - Gajanayake and other suspecs Manjula De Silva, Samaranayake and Dharmapriya - were cleared of all charges against them. more..

Maheswaran killing suspect’s blood matches with stains in pistol

Feb 1 (LD) A DNA test has found that a blood sample taken from the main suspect in the murder of parliamentarian Thiagaraja Maheswaran matches with the bloodstains in a pistol found from the murder scene. Colombo Additional Magistrate Ravindra Premaratne announced this today (Feb. 01st), in response to a question by President’s Counsel M.L.M. Ameen who looks after the interests of the slain MP’s family. more..

University dons' service vital for national development - President

Feb 1 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa stressed the importance of obtaining the valued services of the University Academics in the development of the national economy. At a meeting with University Lecturers' Unions at Temple Trees yesterday, President Rajapaksa pointed out the importance of obtaining the knowledge and advice of the academics in formulating national policies, especially in national economic development. more..

Military operations in progress; 19 LTTE terrorists killed in yesterday's attacks

Feb 1 (GDI) Military reports reveal that security forces have continued their limited military operations at northern and Wanni defences inflicting heavy damages to the LTTE terrorists yesterday, January 30. According to the reports 19 LTTE terrorists were killed many others injured during the clashes erupted Killaly, Muhamalai, Vavuniya, Mannar and Weli-Oya fronts throughout the day. In the Muhamalai front, two LTTE terrorists were gunned down by the army snipers in two separate incidents one took place at 11.00 a.m and 2.00 p.m. yesterday. more..

Fresh milk for school children under new programme

Feb 1 (GDI) The Government has embarked on a flagship project of providing fresh milk and milk based products to schoolchildren in a bid to improve the nutritional levels while providing the best price for farmers’ milk. These are major priorities in the Mahinda Chinthana. Minister Bandula Gunawardana told the Daily News that under this project, necessary measures have been taken to set up Milk Super Centers in schools which would be managed by the School Co-operative Societies (SCS). more..

China to build National Heritage Museum

Feb 1 (GDI) The Chinese Government has stepped in to build a National Heritage Museum in addition to several other initiatives as part of its commitment to the cause of cultural exchanges between the two countries. A MoU was signed between the two countries to this effect, in the presence of Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka, with Cultural Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene and the Chinese delegation headed G. Yang signing on behalf of their countries. more..

Relief for consumers through rice imports

Feb 1 (GDI) In a bid to arrest the rising price of rice which is hurting the consumer, the Government has decided to provide ponni samba rice from India at a stipulated lowest price of Rs. 52 per kilo to Co-operatives islandwide with immediate effect. Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Services Minister Bandula Gunawardana took released 60,000kg of ponni samba to 60 co-operatives through the Food Commissioner Department (FCD) in Narahenpita. more..

Pakistan appreciates Sri Lank’s support

Feb 1 (GDI) Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf welcoming Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama who is on a two-day visit to Pakistan, expressed his country’s deep gratitude to Sri Lanka for the principled position adopted at the Commonwealth. The President said he was grateful to Minister Bogollagama, who had strongly argued against Pakistan’s suspension from the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG). more..

Govt's development plans will strengthen the indigenous economy

Feb 1 (GDI) The development programme set in motion clearly showed that the Government is with great foresight strengthening the indigenous economy by increasing indigenous production as a substitute to imports, said the Minister of Enterprise Development and InvestmentPromotion Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama. Minister Amunugama stated this addressing a meeting at his political office at Nugawela, Kandy recently. more..

Cabinet Committee to study APRC proposals

Feb 1 (GDI) The Cabinet has appointed a committee to seek ways and means of implementing the APRC proposals, Media and Information Minister and Cabinet Spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa addressing the weekly Cabinet press briefing at the Government Information Department Auditorium said yesterday. “The committee comprising all party leaders in the Cabinet and associated with the APRC, will discuss how the 13th Amendment could be implemented in relation to the APRC proposals. more..

New Police emergency hotline 0115 – 71 71 71 for Colombo

Feb 1 (GDI) The public can now reach the Police emergency unit through a new additional hotline 0115-717171 reserved for Police Stations in Colombo and also through the existing numbers of 118 and 119. Considering the fact that existing Police emergency numbers 118, and 119 are busy and the increasing of public necessity to contact the Police stations, the new police emergency hotline and the emergency number for each police station in Colombo city were introduced yesterday (31). more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

Feb 1 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning received cabinet approval for the memorandum submitted outlining steps that should be followed in recommending tender awards relating to procurements giving priority in securing the national interest. Accordingly the Technical Evaluation Committees are required to submit to Procurement Committees all material and information that may be relevant among other factors, more..

Fishermen cautioned against trespassing into Sri Lankan waters

Feb 1 (Hindu) The Coastal Security Police authorities have cautioned the fishermen of Pudukottai district not to trespass in to the Sri Lankan waters to ensure safety of their lives and property. They have also appealed to the fishermen to be in possession of the identity cards issued by the Fisheries Department, while venturing into the sea. The Deputy Superintendent of Police Pattukottai, S. Amsavalli, said that the fishermen should exercise vigil in fishing within the Indian borders. more..

Foreigners fire on fishermen in Sri Lanka, wounding one

Feb 1 (LNP) A fisherman sustained minor injuries on Wednesday morning when foreigners sailing in two yachts, 30 nautical miles South west of Great Basses in Kirinda, fired at a group of fisherman who approached the yachts, ignoring the warnings given by the foreigners not to come near. `One of the bullets had struck the victims arm Navy Spokesman Commander D. K. P. Dassanayake said. more..

Instead of punishing Mervyn, SLRC workers being harassed - JVP

Feb 1 (LNP) Though SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena and other senior Ministers promised to take disciplinary action against Minister Mervyn Silva, who along with some thugs entered the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and assaulted the News Director, so far nothing positive has happened. Instead, investigations were being made to victimise the workers of the Rupavahini Corporation, JVP trade union leader, Parliamentarian K. D. Lalkantha told The Island yesterday (31). more..

Mannar bishop denies LTTE presence in church

Feb 1 (LNP) Mannar Bishop, Rev Rayappu Joseph, said yesterday that he had strictly ordered the LTTE not to enter the Madhu Church premises for any purpose. We have strictly told the LTTE to leave the church alone as it is a religious place, he said. Dismissing the claim made by Minister Keheliya Rambukwella that the LTTE was moving about freely in the church premises, the bishop said there had been no armed LTTE cadres in the vicinity during the past few days, after strict orders were issued by him. more..

Sri Lankans Asked To Work from home to save energy

Feb 1 (LNP) Harsha Wickramasinghe, Deputy Director General of the Sustainable Energy Authority, called for `changes in lifestyle` Wednesday to help keep energy demands sustainable. He suggested the reinvention of home-working in a `virtual office`, to cut out energy consumption from transport and office blocks. Both transportation and office blocks consume large amounts of energy daily, particularly in hotter countries where air-conditioning is essential. more..

Action against ex-military top brass?

Feb 1 (SAMN) Stiff action is likely to be taken against former high ranking military officials who had been involved in a series of controversial procurement of arms, according to a report submitted by a Presidential Commission this week. The Commission which probed arms procurement by the three armed forces from 2000 to 2005, handed over its report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday. It found evidence of military officials being involved in a series of illegal arms procurement directly or indirectly. more..

Nurses defy Court order, continue strike

Feb 1 (SAMN) Over 500 nurses of the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital defied a Court order given on Wednesday and continued with their strike Thursday. Thirty two nurses appeared as respondents in the case filed by Peradeniya Police and Kandy Chief Magistrate Sumudu Premachandra ordered them to report for duty immediately. President of the Nurses Union Ven. Murutthettuwe Ananada Thera Thursday said that the 32 nurses who appeared in the Court on Wednesday had reported for work while the rest of the nurses continued with their strike. more..

UNP compares Lanka with Zimbabwe

Feb 1 (SAMN) The main opposition UNP Thursday charged that the government’s decision to do away with the existing Consumer Price Index was a bid to hide the truth about the sky rocketing prices of goods. UNP parliamentarian Kabir Hashim told a news conference the government was hiding the truth just like Zimbabwe which also discarded all its price indexes to hide the country’s increasing inflation rate. more..

Bodies may be disappeared persons: TNA

Feb 1 (SAMN) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has expressed its deep concern over the 16 bodies which were exhumed by the police in Kebetigollawa recently stating these may be the bodies of those who had disappeared recently. In a letter addressed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa Thursday, TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah had called on him to arrange an investigation by a commission of international level to bring the offenders to book. more..

Many clients from Sri Lanka for India’s kidney racket

Feb 1 (DN) The illegal kidney racket unearthed from Gurgaon and Moradabad shows how the human organs business in India has never been busted successfully. Instead, it continues to show up in new sites, often with old hands circulating through smarter operations. As the motives and modus operandi remain the same, a look at sensational clampdowns in the recent past in Chennai, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh reveal how the dark ring operates with police cover and impunity as predators in impoverished and desperate communities. more..


Feb 1 (DN) The Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) has stood by the policy and commitment to protect the unitary State of Sri Lanka to defeat terrorism and separatism and restore democracy to the people of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, said a communique by the MEP to media. It said: It was in accordance with this mandated pledge, the MEP participated in APRC talks. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was passed amid heavy opposition and acrimonious debate. more..