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Sri Lanka to get more U.S. support if human rights improve

Jan 21 (LBO) The United States has said Sri Lanka could get more support in its war against Tamil Tiger terrorism if the island improves its human rights record. A U.S embassy statement said the two countries discussed co-operation against Tamil Tiger terrorism during a visit by Admiral Robert F. Willard, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, in January 17-18. more..

Sri Lanka too risky, Russian tourists told

Jan 21 (LBO) Russia's Foreign Ministry has issued a recommendation to Russian citizens to refrain from trips to Sri Lanka in the wake of growing terrorist activity by the Tamil Tigers. "This organization has noticeably stepped up its terrorist activity of late," a source at the Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass news agency. "There've been four terrorist acts in succession and they carried away many human lives. more..

Jayawardene defends Bandara's exclusion

Jan 21 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, has stood by the selectors' decision to leave out legspinner Malinga Bandara from Sri Lanka's 15-man squad for the CB Series in Australia while selecting six fast bowlers. The omission of Bandara, who took 14 wickets from nine matches in Sri Lanka's campaign in the 2005-06 tri-series in Australia, has become a talking point in Sri Lanka, but more..

Karu Jayasuriya lashes out at politicization for preventing development

Jan 21 (AT) It is shameful that Sri Lanka has been unable to achieve desired progress and development, even after 60 years of Independence and the retardation could be attributed to petty politics that has been prevalent in Sri Lanka said Karu Jayasuriya, Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs, at the Key Person’s Forum conducted by the Small and Medium Enterprise Developers (SMED), more..

The CFA that was anything but a Ceasefire

Jan 21 (AT) The ‘Cease Fire Agreement’ entered in to between the Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and the LTTE on February 2002 officially ended on the 16th January 2007. It is not often that a Government of a sovereign state enters in to a Ceasefire Agreement with a rebel outfit fighting for a separate state within its own territory, because such action could be interpreted as official recognition of the rebels and what they stand for catapulting them in to international acceptance. more..

India released three fishing vessels belongs to Sri Lankan fishermen

Jan 21 (AT) The Government of India yesterday, released three Sri Lankan fishing vessels which were apprehended in 2006 and 2007 by the India authorities on allegations of entering Indian territorial waters illegally and for poaching. Two Sri Lanka fishing vessel Pramoda Putha I and Pramoda Putha II were apprehended by Indian authorities on 10th August 2006, with ten crew members for illegally entering Indian waters for fishing. more..

CCC castigates a minister's attack on Rupawahini as despicable conduct

Jan 21 (AT) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce views with concern the regular reports on threats on media personnel, who figured in bringing to the attention of the public, the recent despicable conduct of a Minister of the Government (with a track record of such conduct) at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. CCC indicated that they appreciate the attitude of media personnel and more..

Foreign monitors for local polls

Jan 21 (BBC) International election monitors will be called onto monitor the local polls in Batticaloa district, election monitors in Sri Lanka say. Executive director of PAFFEREL, Kingsley Rodrigo, told BBC Sandeshaya that 48 foreign activists are currently in the island working with the Non Violent Peace Force (NVPF). The NVPF activists will monitor the local polls on the election day, he added. more..

Communalistic forces gained from CFA abrogation – CPSL

Jan 21 (LD) The Communist Party of Sri Lanka is of the view that the communalistic forces in the ethnic divide and not the government had gained from the abrogation of the ceasefire agreement. The decision to withdraw from the CFA should have been a political one, taken after considering various issues, including the pros and cons of the agreement, the overall political scenario and the resolution of the ethnic conflict, the CPSL says. more..

Day when patriotic masses close UNO offices is not far away - PNM

Jan 21 (LD) No international organization can challenge the Sri Lankan government’s right to eliminate a terrorist organization, the Patriotic National Movement says. ”Louise Arbour and her kind should understand this. If they don’t comprehend this of their own, …the day the patriotic masses in this country take action to close all offices that belong to various organizations of the UNO would be not very far away,” says the PNM. more..

India confesses assisting SLN operations - Ravaya

Jan 21 (LD) For the first time in recent years, the Indian Navy chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta has disclosed its active role in sea operations conducted against the LTTE, reports the ‘Ravaya’. Speaking to the media in Delhi on Jan. 16th, Mehta has said that "We support by checking our activities on their coast and their activities on ours. In this way, we help ourselves by helping them." more..

Sri Lankan films to feature at Mumbai Film Festival

Jan 21 (GDI) Sri Lanka will be represented at the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) in the Documentary and Short Films section, it is learned. One hundred and twenty films are scheduled to be screened at the film festival. The festival will be held from February 3rd to 9th. According to the Director of the MIFF, Kuldeep Sinha, 44 films will be in the competition category in the International Section, nine in the special screening. more..

President pays last respects to victims of LTTE massacre

Jan 21 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid his last respects those who fell victim to attacks on civilians carried out by the LTTE. The President flew to the deep South of the country to pay his last respects and console the families of the victims. The LTTE shot dead ten innocent unarmed civilians in Thanamalvila, presumably as a tactic to divert the attention of the security forces currently besieging the LTTE leadership in the Wanni. more..

B.O.I approves construction of educational zone at Henegama

Jan 21 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Board of Investment has taken measures in the recent years to encourage educational projects and accordingly it has taken constructive steps to invest in educational projects by establishing well furnished educational zones island-wide to meet the global demand. As the initial step a new educational zone is to be established at Henegama citing advanced information in in an 122 acres plot of land. more..

President welcomes India's stand on terrorism

Jan 21 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, lauding India's strong strang against terrorism said that bilateral relations between the two countries have been growing from strength to strength and that Sri Lanka maintains regular interaction with India on the LTTE and related matters. The President was speaking to a group of foreign journalists during a Pongal function on Saturday (19). more..

Karuna pleads guilty, faces jail in UK

Jan 21 (LNP) Breakaway LTTE `eastern commander` Karuna alias Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan has pleaded guilty to breaching British immigration laws and will be sentenced by a Crown Court on Friday. He faces a jail term of up to 24 months and/or a fine. Karuna, who was produced before Magistrates Derek Price and Geoff Edwards at the Uxbridge Courts on December 24, pleaded guilty to a charge of violating the UK ID Card Act of 2006. The sentencing is to take place at the Isleworth Crown Court. more..

Colombo North clean-up to meet security challenges

Jan 21 (LNP) A huge clean-up programme was inaugurated in the Colombo North area yesterday initiated by the officer in charge of the Modera Police, CI Prasad Siriwardane. Over 500 volunteers participated in this clean-up programme which covered all the roads and by-lanes in the Bloemendhal, Modera and Matttakuliya areas. All roads and lanes were cleaned of debris and other garbage in order to provide easy identification of any suspicious articles. more..

Dulles freezes Rs 6 billion SLTB fund pending audit

Jan 21 (LNP) Transport Minister Dulles Alahapperuma said that timely detection of a massive-scam in the Private Provident Fund (PPF) of the SLTB prevented a financial catastrophe. `Had I turned a blind eye to what he called the mega rip-off, the account would have been zero in few years,` he said, emphasizing that the retiring workers would have to go empty handed. He placed the number of workers likely to be affected at 1,600. more..

From Eelam to Tanamalwila

Jan 21 (LNP) What has gone wrong with the LTTE? It has had to revert to the tactics it employed at the very inception of its terror campaign. During the last few days, we have heard of an LTTE group snuffing out innocent lives in some parts of the Moneragala District. Trapped in the Wanni, Prabhakaran may be trying to cause the military to be spread thin by causing trouble in the southern parts of the country. But, how long can the LTTE sustain such operations? more..

Sri Lankan Nation, are we ready for the challenge?

Jan 21 (LR) As we all expected LTTE terrorists have unleashed the final round of terror in the Sri Lankan society. LTTE is no longer a strong military out fit with own rule, autonomy and territory rather it is now consisted of isolated and frustrated carders without any direction or vision. In the recent past, the LTTE terrorists have lost quite a number of their top ranked leaders ranging from those affiliated to military operations to intelligence. more..

What Can We Expect from the APRC?

Jan 21 (GV) The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) is supposed submit its report to the President on January 23. When the APRC together with the expert committee began its deliberations, many people including myself were optimistic and saw it as a ‘glimmer of hope’. However, glimmer of hope began to fade away with the submission of the SLFP proposals in response to Tissa Vitharana Report (TVR). more..

Church condemns attack on innocent civilians as cease-fire ends

Jan 21 (UCAN) The Catholic Church has renewed its appeal for peace as it expressed concern over a deadly blast that ripped into a village bus just hours before the formal ending of a cease-fire between rebels and the government. Bishop Winston Fernando of Badulla issued a statement to media on Jan. 17, the day after the bus tragedy and at least two other attacks in his southeastern diocese, an area that has experienced relatively little violence from the civil war that began in 1983. more..

2 held trying to smuggle ball bearings for LTTE

Jan 21 (NIP) The Q Branch police on Sunday arrested two more persons in connection with smuggling of ball bearings, reportedly used by the LTTE to make explosives, to Sri Lanka. Following the trail of cellphone contacts of Nathan, arrested recently in the same case, Q Branch sleuths on Sunday intercepted Selvaraj, working in a sweet stall in Mumbai for the last 25 years, and seized small packets of ball bearingss he had bought as samples. more..

Tough action against rumour mongers

Jan 21 (SAMN) The government Sunday warned the public not to fall prey to malicious rumours regarding national security, spread to destabilise the country and reverse military victories gained by the Security Forces. Rumour mongers were at work, playing on the patience of the public with the ulterior motive of creating communal backlashes in the South and warned that the government would not hesitate to take strong action under Section (28) of the Emergency Regulations to punish the culprits. more..

Govt. to proscribe LTTE this week?

Jan 21 (SAMN) With the LTTE continuing its wave of attacks on civilian targets the government would this week give serious consideration to slapping a ban on the LTTE, a top government Minister said Sunday, adding that the move might come as soon as the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) report was handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

SLMC to maintain Muslims identity

Jan 21 (SAMN) The SLMC is to increase its international presence and talk of the issues faced by the Muslims in Sri Lanka today especially in the North and the East through the avenue created by the obtaining affiliation of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). The MCB is reported to be a leading Muslim organisation in UK which is an umbrella body of over 500 national, regional and local organizations and runs mosques, charities and schools. more..

Wadigamangawa to cross or not to cross

Jan 21 (SAMN) Opposition Leader of North Western Provincial Council Asoka Wadigamangawa said Sunday he had not had any offer from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to take over the Ministry of Nation Building which had fallen vacant with the demise of Minister D. M. Dassanayake who was killed in a claymore mine explosion recently. Wadigamangawa saod some members of the SLFP has requested him to join the party but the President had still not approached him as an English weekly reported Sunday. more..

Red alert over Tigers in Tamil Nadu

Jan 21 (DN) A red alert has been sounded over the LTTE in India, particularly Tamil Nadu, following a warning from the Interpol, days after US intelligence agency FBI listed the Tigers as the most “dangerous outfit and deadly extremist group in the world”. “This is not just because of the FBI statement. We have realised that the LTTE infiltration has increased, at least by three times, in the region. more..

Few Sinhalese supporting terrorists - Premier

Jan 21 (DN) There are a few Sinhalese among LTTEers betraying the country, said Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka at Horana. Premier Wickramanayaka said: “A few Sinhalese have joined hands with the LTTE terrorists in betraying our country and the people for money. I warn them to refrain from such activities.” Premier Wickramanayaka express those sentiments following the opening of a new Police Station, at Horana on Friday. more..

Tigers lose more ground on Mannar front

Jan 21 (Island) The army made further progress on the Mannar front over the weekend as the LTTE continued to retreat in the face of stepped-up attacks. Army headquarters said that troops evicted LTTE cadres from a heavily fortified bunker line about 500 meters south of Adampan Tank Sunday morning. "Defenders abandoned their position after a brief fight," a senior army spokesman said. Troops recovered two two LTTE bodies (female) and two T 56 assault rifles. more..

Tigers planned to abduct Perumal at his eldest daughter’s wedding in Rajasthan

Jan 21 (Island) The arrest of a Tamil Tiger operative on charges of planning the abduction from India of former NE Chief Minister Varatharajah Perumal is the first time the rebels have gone this far since the 1991 killing of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. According to home ministry sources, the likely kidnapping of Perumal could have taken place when his eldest daughter was to get married next month in Rajasthan, where he had lived under protection in Ajmer city before moving closer to the Indian capital. more..

House to be prorogued : Basil

Jan 21 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was expected to prorogue Parliament soon, the Asian Tribune website quoted Senior Presidential Adviser, Basil Rajapaksa as saying. Speaking about the prorogation of Parliament he said there would be a short prorogation expected soon and it was a prerogative of the President to announce the date. So far Parliament had been in session continuously and never prorogued. more..

CMC without money to replace man-hole covers

Jan 21 (DM) Residents and motorists express dismay at the scant disregard by the Colombo Municipal Council authorities in replacing missing manhole covers along some of the busiest roads in Colombo which pose a danger while being a noise hazard as well. A resident down Dickman’s Road complained that a manhole cover had gone missing at the Dickman’s Road-Havelock road junction for about a month and the CMC had covered the place with a metal sheet instead of replacing it with a proper cover. more..

'Norwegian truce provided window of prosperity'

Jan 21 (IPS) While the Norway-brokered ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil separatist militants finally failed, last week, it did provide a six-year window of prosperity to this island nation torn by a festering ethnic conflict. Chandra Jayaratne, a well-known business leader said regional disparities have been a major issue with the western region, where Colombo is located, accounting for close to 50 percent of the economy -- estimated to be worth 28 billion dollars. more..

Global concern over maritime security cripples LTTE

Jan 21 (IANS) Heightened global and regional cooperation to increase maritime security is adversely affecting the fighting capabilities of the LTTE on sea and land, military experts say. 'In naval terms, detection is more difficult than destruction and therefore, there is growing international cooperation for detection through arrangements like the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) programme in the Asia-Pacific region,' more..

Attacks Continue On Journalists In Sri Lanka

Jan 21 (IFJ) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is angered by the attack of US journalist and correspondent for Sinhala language TV channel SIRASA, U.S.A. Bandara, on January 16, by a Sri Lankan politician. The Free Media Movement (FMM), an IFJ affiliate, reports that Mr Bandara was threatened a ruling party politician and a village officer at around 7:00am while covering the aftermath of an explosion on a bus in south-west Sri Lanka in Okkampitiya of Monaragala district, more..

Will war lead to peace in Sri Lanka?

Jan 21 (Hindu) Sri Lanka’s phoney peace is over. By abrogating the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the Sri Lankan government has finally proclaimed what has been a reality for two years — the effective end of the ceasefire brokered by the Norwegians six years ago. The Sinhala-dominated government and the Tamil Tigers have decided that war is not only inevitable but also required, before any fresh political process can emerge. more..

Sri Lanka says independence celebrations on despite bloodshed

Jan 21 (AFP) Sri Lanka will hold large-scale civilian and military independence day celebrations in the capital despite fears of Tamil rebel attacks and a sharp escalation in fighting, officials said Sunday. Security will be increased further for the 60th Freedom Day celebrations on February 4, with 4,100 extra troops bolstering thousands of police and soldiers already deployed here, public administration minister Karu Jayasuriya said. more..

Sri Lanka says rebel commander killed near Jaffna

Jan 21 (BN) Sri Lanka's military said soldiers killed a commander of the LTTE as the army fought on three fronts in the north, the last region where the Tamil Tigers have bases. The LTTE commander was killed in Thendamarachchi, south of Jaffna, yesterday, the army said on its Web site without giving the person's name. Troops advanced on rebel positions during clashes yesterday in the districts of Mannar, Vavuniya and Welioya, more..

Heavy fighting in Sri Lanka's Jaffna as military claims 48 killed

Jan 21 (AFP) Fierce fighting erupted in northern Sri Lanka as government forces mounted a fresh push into territory held by Tiger rebels and said 48 people were killed in new clashes. Security forces launched a pre-dawn assault against a defence line of the LTTE in the Jaffna peninsula and smashed at least two dozen guerrilla bunkers, the defence ministry said. It said 15 rebels were killed and more than 30 wounded while the military suffered two soldiers dead and nine wounded. more..

Colombo plans to handover Cement Factory in Jaffna to Indian firm

Jan 22 (TN) The management of the Kaangkeasanthu'rai (KKS) Cement Factory located in the High Security Zone, 17 km northeast of Jaffna city, is to be handed over to the India's Birla Corporation Limited, according to Sri Lanka's Minister of Construction and Engineering Services Rajitha Senaratne. A team of officials of the Birla Corporation Limited, one of the biggest cement production companies is expected to arrive in Colombo on February 4, on the Sri Lankan Independence Day, to hold talks with SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

GOSL to unveil monument for Indian soldiers

Jan 22 (TN) A monument to soldiers of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) who lost their lives, while serving under the Indo-Sri Lanka peace accord in North East of Sri Lanka, is to be opened on February 4, Sri Lanka's Independence day, sources in Colombo said. The monument is located near the Sri Lanka Parliament Complex. Several Indian Military officials have previously made statements to the Indian media of the indifference Sri Lanka had shown towards casualties India suffered during the peace keeping operation. more..

Extortion of money from Tamils in Colombo on the increase

Jan 22 (TN) Extortion of money from affluent Tamils residing in Wellawatte, Bambalapitya and Dehiwala in Colombo has been on the increase in recent days, according to media reports. Gangs posing as police officers and CID personnel have been waylaying Tamils walking along roads in evening in these areas threatening them with death if not yielded to their demands. These gangs also operate in buses run by government and when Tamil passengers get down they follow them and corner them at lonely spots, harass them and demand money. more..

Youth shot and killed inside Jaffna University

Jan 22 (TN) Unidentified armed men in civil clothes chased a young man trying to escape them into Jaffna University and shot him dead inside the campus Monday around 10:30 a.m. The killers had chased the youth passing the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) sentry troops who remained passive at their sentry post behind the University campus, residents in the area said. The youth, in an attempt of escape the killers in civil clothes, had run into the university campus at the point where the water tank is located. more..

Sri Lankans to face strong team in tour match

Jan 22 (CI) Cameron White will captain the Prime Minister's XI for the second consecutive season as they take on the touring Sri Lankans in Canberra next Wednesday. Sri Lanka are returning to Australia for the CB Series and will warm up with a one-day clash against a strong PM's XI that features four players with international experience. White can use the match to press for a return to the Australia ODI line-up after being overlooked for the World Cup last year. more..

Cops seek custody of LTTE operatives

Jan 22 (NT) In a follow-up to the arrest of eight LTTE cadres including Nathan alias Suruli in Tamilnadu, the sleuths of State Intelligence wing have filed a petition at Alandur court today seeking one week police custody for interrogating the arrested. And the petition is likely to be taken up for hearing on Tuesday. It may be noted that Thambidurai Parameswaran who had been working with LTTE’s intelligence section infiltrated into India via Rameswaram last February and later moved to Chennai. more..

Prudence Necessary in Sri Lanka for Peace and Prosperity

Jan 22 (TC) I ponder and pondered. How to solve this circle of violence in Sri Lanka? History tell us that most problems were solved by one party to the conflict becomes the victor and the other party becomes the vindicated. To solve the problem in Sri Lanka we need a strong force, which can respect human rights. That will be hard to find. Foreign powers are reluctant to get involved unless they see some opportunity for them. more..

Mahinda has reduced APRC to a parliamentary Select Committee

Jan 22 (FI) Mahinda Rajapakse, soon after he became president convened all political parties represented in the Parliament to a conference. It is called the All Party Conference (APC). His stated ‘mantra’ at the first meeting was to discuss and develop a set of new political proposals addressing what is referred as the ethnic problem or the Tamil problem. more..

13th amendment, the problem today not the solution

Jan 22 (FI) After going through series of elaborate and far reaching discussions on united state of regions, federalism, internal self determination etc., etc., we have come back to the 13 th amendment. This is nothing more than one step forward and ten steps back! True, it was a step forward 20 years ago, when not even parity of languages considered seriously. more..

Eradicate terrorism 'very soon'

Jan 22 (BBC) The President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has vowed to wipe out terrorism from the country 'as soon as possible'. The President has make the remarks as he attended the funerals of the civilians recently killed in the south. Director of the Presidential Media Unit, Sudath Silva, told BBC Sandeshaya that the relatives of those killed and the villagers gathered appealed Mr. Rajapaksa to take measures to eradicate terrorism. more..