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APRC 'approves' 13 amendment

Jan 22 (BBC) The political parties that attended the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) unanimously agreed for a political solution, a member of the APRC said. Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, who represented UNP Democratic Wing, said the body agreed that the 13 amendment for the constitution as the best solution. Even the Sinhala nationalist JHU agreed to establish separate Provincial Councils (PC) for the north and the east, he said. more..

Urgent need to create safer working conditions for fishermen

Jan 22 (AN) The government of Sri Lanka cannot provide sufficient safety protection to fishermen. In cases of emergency its interventions are inadequate and when the worst happens the authorities neither help nor compensate victims’ families, this according to World Forum for Fisher People (WFFP) and the National Fisheries Solidarity (NAFSO). more..

No military solution - India and UK

Jan 22 (BBC) The prime ministers of India and the United Kingdom agreed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka. In a joint statement issued on the final day of the UK prime minister Gordon Browns visit to India, he and the indian premier Manmohan Singh urged the Sri Lankan government to "put forward a credible devolution package as a key contribution to finding a political settlement". more..

Tigers violating all known conventions in warfare, says public

Jan 22 (CP) More than 40 innocent civilians have been killed during the first half of this month. The LTTE has begun targeting the civilian population due to the accelerated war effort in the North of the country by the security forces. The increasing attacks on civilians are a worrying trend. The Government states that the terrorist organization is attempting to shift focus from its military losses in the North and more..

Stray dogs: To kill or not to kill

Jan 22 (CP) Dogs that have homes and are properly taken care of are indeed "man’s best friends". But when they are disowned, starve and survive by eating rubbish, they revert, as if by instinct, to their wild ways by forming packs and chasing behind vehicles and children. When they do this for survival, they are branded as strays. In Sri Lanka 15%-20% of the 2.3 million canine population is considered strays. more..

Violence by para-military groups, claim Muslims

Jan 22 (CP) The Federation of Kattankudy Mosques and Muslim Institutions (FKMMI) have appealed to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the government, with copies to all security forces and political party heads and the media, for enhanced protection of the Muslims in the Eastern Province. The group claims that para-military groups are intimidating them and that the Muslim population is undergoing severe hardships before and after the abrogation of the ceasefire. more..

Deputy Minister takes it all

Jan 22 (CP) In a petition to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 27 December, over 700 taxi drivers and travel counter operators have accused the Deputy Minister of Airport and Aviation Sarath Kumara Gunaratna of using political clout to gain a monopoly over the airport travel counters. The petitioners say that the bids to operate the travel counters at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) - the country’s only international airport have been awarded fraudulently to a company owned by him. more..

Sri Lanka favourite place for Indian BPO majors

Jan 22 (TOI) As Indian ITes players spread their wings and open global centres, Sri Lanka is fast emerging as a favourite destination for many vendors. Big BPO players including third party vendors and captives are now discovering the benefits of opening shop in the island country. While WNS and the captive player HDPI (offshore captive of HSBC) set up their centres in Sri Lanka way back in 2004, others are moving there by and by. more..

Mulligatawny or pho, immigrants bring heart-warming soups to a chillier climate

Jan 22 (CP) She wasn't necessarily noted for her cooking skills while growing up in Sri Lanka, but Esther Joseph's move to Canada in 1995 changed all that. With the discovery of the cold winters and her fondness for hearty soups (her favourite growing up was oxtail), she soon got the hang of making them, lots of them, from beef barley to kale and potato. Like so many enterprising immigrants, Joseph, 42 and single, was eager to start a business in her adopted country. more..

'Civilians Are the Ones Who Will Suffer'

Jan 22 (SO) The cease-fire in Sri Lanka officially came to an end last week, but violence has been flaring for months. SPIEGEL spoke with Norwegian peace negotiator Jon Hanssen-Bauer about monitoring the country's collapse and Sri Lanka's bleak future. SPIEGEL: Sri Lanka has withdrawn from the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) negotiated with the help of Oslo in 2002 between Colombo and the separatist LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka to hold second line-up on legislator slaying

Jan 22 (Xinhua) A Sri Lankan court on Monday allowed the police to conduct a second line-up of the suspect held in connection with the slaying of a Tamil minority legislator. Thiagarajah Maheswaran, a legislator of the main opposition UNP was gunned down on Jan. 1 inside a Tamil religious temple in north Colombo. The lawyers representing the late legislator's family were not happy with the first line-up where the witnesses failed to identify the suspect being held. more..

London based LTTE front organizations intensifying extortions in the city and in India

Jan 22 (AT) Emboldened by the political support forthcoming from British politicians, front organizations of the LTTE in London have started extorting funds for terrorist activities in Sri Lanka, not only from the British capital, but also from Tamil Nadu. London based terrorist fund raisers were trying to extort money from the new mayor of Tirupur, a town of the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu located near Coimbatore, more..

Batticaloa Elections Cannot be Stopped: Supreme Court

Jan 22 (AT) Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Justices Nihal Jayasinghe and Saleem Marsoof of the Supreme Court ruled that elections are a part of democracy and hence, the Court cannot stop Local bodies’ elections in Batticoloa. Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva noted that the Court could not interfere with the democratic process. He added that the Court could however assist the petitioner in their security concerns. more..

Remand prisoner is found hanged

Jan 22 (BBC) A prisoner awaiting trial has been found dead in his cell, the Prison Service has said. Siumpalan Sathiyan, 29, a Sri Lankan national, was discovered hanging in his cell at Wormwood Scrubs prison in west London early on Sunday. Prison officers tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at 0435 GMT. Mr Sathiyan had been remanded on a charge of making a false instrument. A Prison Service spokesman said an investigation would be carried out. more..

Col Charles’s Death: Media Coverage & Strategic Implications

Jan 22 (LG) On January 6, 2008 Tamilnet reported the death of LTTE's "Head of Military Intelligence" Col Shanmuganathan Ravishankar alias Charles (43) in what was described as a "random Claymore attack by Sri Lanka Army Deep Penetration Unit in Pa'l'lamadu in Mannaar". The report said lieutenants Sivapalan Sreetharan alias Sukanthan from Jeyapuram; Pararajasingham Suthan alias Veeramaravan from Mallaavi; and more..

Stranger Maximum of JVP

Jan 22 (LG) Thanks to the proportional representation system, the JVP is in parliament few days ago and able to criticise all those who are not in agreement with their policies. Their political power is dependent on the poverty of the poor and chaos in administration as a result of an unstable government. When a stable government is in power, the JVP is seen shouting slogans and holding placards at Lipton Circus, places of work and the universities, protesting against imaginary ‘problems’ and demanding ‘justice.’ more..

The day the govt would be sent home is not far away if the govt is getting ready to introduce devolution proposals -JVP

Jan 22 (LT) Propaganda Secretary of the JVP, Mr. Wimal Weerawansa says that if the government is getting ready to introduce devolution proposals for the Northern and Eastern provinces in betrayal of the victories gained by the brave security forces and sacrifice made by the people of the country and challenging the unitary status of the country, the day the government would be expelled in unison with the progressive forces of the country will not be far a way. more..

'Time to Tame Pro- LTTE Karunandhi’s Government'

Jan 22 (LG) A General Secretary of AIADMK, Miss J. Jayalalithaa on Tuesday said the DMK government headed by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had lost control over the law and order situation in Tamilnadu. Reiterating her demand that the Centre should immediately dismiss the Tamilnadu government, Jayalalithaa said, in a statement, that the LTTE men had been having a free run following the Chief Minister’s eulogy over the death of their leader Tamilselvan. more..

"Nandimithra Brigade" to be expanded as civilian killings in border villages increase

Jan 22 (LR) It has only been a week since several civilians in Thanamalvila village were brutally killed by the LTTE. The same guerilla attack team which exploded a cilivian transport killing 27 are suspected to be behind the attacks. The authorities are worried by the fact that this LTTE unit is still at large in the area. They are now forced hunt down the tiger team in the vast jungle terrain and to take precautionary measures against future attacks at the same time. more..

Chief justice calls for regional e-commerce law application

Jan 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka and other Asia-Pacific nations must work out common procedures to apply laws so that electronic crimes do not proliferate, the island's top judicial officer said. Sri Lanka has already enacted a law against computer crimes according to UNCITRAL specified models but laws have to be enforced effectively to combat abuse of electronic transactions which were legalized at the same time by another piece of legislation. more..

TNL Double Standards on Animal Slaughtering In Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (TC) What on earth was the purpose of the TNL program on “animal slaughtering” on Wednesday 26 December 2007 night? This question becomes more relevant especially because it was televised at a time when the country is bleeding due to the devastating ethnic war which has brought nothing but misery to people from every community though politicians, their side kicks and other merchants of death flourish on this human misery. more..

SSP posted to oversee police operations in Moneragala

Jan 22 (LD) SSP of Mount Lavinia Edison Gunatilake (Gaddafi) has been posted with immediate effect to oversee all police operations to ensure the safety of threatened villages in Moneragala, top level police sources said. This presidential directive has come together with an order to IGP Victor Perera to provide necessary facilities to SSP Gunatilake. The senior police officer is already in Moneragala, and two ASPs have been released to assist him, according to the sources. more..

JHU vehemently opposes APRC proposals

Jan 22 (LD) Members of the All Party Representative Committee have failed to reach final consensus on its proposals for the resolution of the national conflict, political sources said. After its failure to reach common ground on crucial issues at a meeting yesterday (Jan.21st), the President has summoned all political parties represented in the APRC for a special discussion at 4.30 pm today, the sources said. more..

Govt. should use emergency laws to curb commodity prices - JVP

Jan 22 (LD) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna is urging the government to use the emergency regulations to curb the skyrocketing commodity prices. The present regime is burdening the public as a way out of the crisis it is facing, JVP Secretary Tilvyn Silva told the media in Colombo today. The government raises local oil prices without any hesitation whenever the world market prices go up, but ignores the interests of the public if the prices decrease, he charged. more..

All CTB depots to be networked soon

Jan 22 (GDI) Steps have been taken by the Transport Ministry to computerize all deports belonging to the Central Transport Board as part of the effort to improve management efficiency. The technological assistance for this project is being provided by the Moratuwa University, sources said. Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Deputy Transport Minister has said that the pilot project in this regard has already been launched in Gampaha District depots. more..

"Corruption as well as terrorism has to be wiped out" -- President

Jan 22 (GDI) While terrorism has no doubt been one of the main obstacles to progress in the past twenty five years and while there is no doubt that it should be wiped out from the face of this earth, it is no less important to combat and eliminate corruption if we are to develop, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa today. The President was speaking at a ceremony to hand over letters of appointment to 116 assistant customs superintendents and 99 excise inspectors at the Presidential Secretariat this morning. more..

Galle Face Green open to public from March

Jan 22 (GDI) Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa has instructed officials to expedite work at the Galle Face Green in order to open the popular recreational area to the general public from March. Rajapaksa inspected the common amenities at Galle Face Green on Thursday and instructed authorities to look into shortcomings and take corrective action.

No end to the Lanka violence in sight

Jan 22 (KT) WITH the ceasefire agreement no more in place, the war is spreading to areas outside the north as last week’s events in the southern district of Moneragala show. The cost of living is rising to unbearable limits with people being shocked by regular hikes in prices of essential items. Governance is in a mess with nepotism at its worst. Diplomacy is in tatters and shows no signs of prudence. more..

Collector: do not cross territorial boundary

Jan 22 (Hindu) Fishermen in Nagapattinam district have been warned that stern action will be taken against them if they cross the territorial boundary and fishing in the Sri Lankan waters while venturing into the sea, according to Tenkasi S. Jawahar, Collector. He said that fishermen in all the coastal villages had been instructed not to cross the territorial boundary and avoid the action against them by the Sri Lankan navy in the midsea. more..

Blackout due to `current transformer` explosion

Jan 22 (LNP) The power failure experienced between 5.55 a.m. and 7.00 a.m. yesterday was due to the explosion of an instrument called `Current transformer`, a high volt device, at the grid sub station in Kolonnawa, a senior Engineer of the Ceylon Electricity Board said yesterday. He told The Island the cause of the explosion was due to an internal failure in the equipment itself and he termed it normal. The explosion is similar to the noise emitted by an exploding bomb. more..

Casinos in Sri Lanka could be controlled by organized crime, warns IMF

Jan 22 (LNP) The legality of Sri Lanka`s casinos is uncertain and the lack of supervision could open them to be controlled by criminals, quoting the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Lankapage website said. It said: The lack of regulation also made it difficult to implement anti-money laundering measures on casinos the IMF said. `The legal status of casinos is not clear in Sri Lanka,` it said in a new report on the country`s financial regulations mechanisms to fight money laundering and terrorist financing. more..

Clamour to join NDF in Monaragala

Jan 22 (SAMN) A large number of young men and women, in Buttala and Thanamalvila, are volunteering to join the National Defence Force in the Monaragala District, determined to provide security to the civilians of the villages and assist in tracking down the LTTE cadres who had blown up a bus and killed many unarmed civilians in the villages close to jungles in the district, DIG Uva Province H. N. B. Ambanwala said. more..

JVP now collects recyclable items

Jan 22 (SAMN) Political parties seem to be opting for innovative ways to strengthen their funds with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna now going in for collecting recyclable items. JVP Colombo District Organiser Sunil Handunnetti said they were collecting items like plastic, polythene, used bottles, papers and old iron at centres established in every electorate. “We are not engaged in the recycling process but only engaged in collecting them. more..

Revival of Co-ops to bring down CoL

Jan 22 (SAMN) Provincial Council Ministers of Cooperatives believe that the cost of living could be lowered within the next six months as new incentives have been included in the Budget 2008 to revive the cooperative sector. The ministers who met in Ratnapura last week to discuss the development of the cooperatives in the provinces cooperatives said that they could now begin to provide the public with essentials at reasonable prices. more..

Pesticide poisoning: 65 in hospital

Jan 22 (SAMN) Sixty five persons, among them children, were hospitalised after drinking contaminated water on the Despard Estate, Nanu Oya in Nuwara Eliya on Sunday. The victims are residents of Upper Block of the estate. Some of the victims had been vomiting while other complained of severe stomach pain, the police said. Residents of the areas said a group of workers who sprayed insecticides on potato and vegetable cultivations had washed their equipment in a nearby waterway contaminating water downstream. more..

'Violence against mental health patients should be prevented'

Jan 22 (DN) The Mental Health Practice and Research Training Course and a series of workshops was inaugurated yesterday at the Institute of Psychiatry, Angoda Teaching Hospital. The training course and the workshops will end on January 26. Deputy Director General, Health Services, Dr. Dula de Silva was the chief guest at the inauguration ceremony. Duncan Pedersen, MD, MPH, said this programme is aimed at reducing the burden and preventing extreme violence experienced by mental health patients. more..

Italy to help rebuild disaster prone areas

Jan 22 (DN) The Italian Government will provide a Rs. 750 million Aid package to Sri Lanka to rebuild and develop areas which have been prone to natural and man-made disasters and to improve technical efficiency of the disaster management process. The Italians have agreed to help Sri Lanka in their disaster management efforts. This is after the recent visit of Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe. more..

Undergrads sabotage certficate presentation ceremony

Jan 22 (Island) Undergraduates instigated by the Students Council of the Ruhuna University, sabotaged a scheduled certificate presentation ceremony last Saturday, claiming it was a threat to free education system. The university administration has scheduled to present certificates for those who had completed the Information Technology Course conducted by the Computer Science Department of the university. more..

AG Dept. can only bark, not bite : New Auditor Gen.

Jan 22 (Island) The duty of the Government Auditor General’s Department is to probe the accounts of state institutions and report its findings to the Public Accounts Committee. The Auditor General's Department has no authority to reprimand or punish anyone, newly appointed Auditor General S. Swarnajothi told the media on Saturday (19) in Kandy. Mr. Swarnajothi called on the most Venerable Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Mahanayake Thero of the Malwatte Chapter after paying homage to the sacred to the Sri Dalada Maligawa. more..

LTTE kills three policemen in Thanamalwila

Jan 22 (DM) At least three policemen were shot dead at Kitulkotte, Alimankada in Thanamalwila last night when a group of LTTE cadres attacked a police post there, police said. Military Spokesman, Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told the Daily Mirror the LTTE gang had suddenly launched the attack on the police post killing the policemen who were on duty. “One Sub Inspector and two police constables were killed on the spot due to the confrontation,” Mr. Nanayakkara said. more..

Political package: More powers for PCs

Jan 22 (DM) The All Party Representative Committee which was set up to work out a solution to Sri Lanka’s longstanding ethnic conflict is said to be ready with its proposals for the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution with full powers devolved to provincial councils. Minister Rajitha Senaratne told a news conference yesterday the APRC would also propose the holding of elections in the Eastern province and the setting up of an interim council in the North until elections are held there. more..

Twelve fishermen held by Lankan Navy

Jan 22 (PTI) As many as 12 Indian fishermen were on Tuesday arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly entering the country's territorial waters near Kachathivu, state fisheries department officials said. The fishermen were later remanded to police custody by the Judicial Magistrate at Oorkaval near Kangesanthurai in the island nation, the officials said. Three boats used by the fishermen were also seized by the Navy. more..

31 rebels, 4 soldiers, 3 policemen killed as fighting rages in Sri Lanka's north

Jan 22 (AP) Sri Lankan officials said Tuesday that 16 rebels and two soldiers were killed in clashes raging across the country's north, bringing the death toll in a day of fierce fighting to 38. Army troops fought a daylong battle Monday in the Vavuniya district, just south of the rebels' de facto state in the north, killing eleven insurgents, a defense ministry official said. more..

Buddhist Monks Battle Tobacco, Alcohol Lobbies

Jan 22 (IPS) Sri Lanka’s Buddhist monks see their fight against tobacco and alcohol abuse as more urgent than the war that the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse is prosecuting against Tamil separatist rebels. "At least 50,000 people have died due to the (Tamil separatist) conflict in the past 25 years. But, every year about 40,000 die in Sri Lanka due to illnesses from alcohol and tobacco use," observed Hadigalle Wimalasara Thera, more..

Tamil rebels to be left out of Sri Lanka's latest peace move

Jan 22 (DPA) President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared Tuesday that he will leave Tamil separatist rebels out of his government's latest effort to resolve the country's ethnic conflict, while continuing the fight against 'terrorism.' Rajapaksa, speaking to local newspaper editors and foreign correspondents based in Colombo, said his latest political proposals on devolution of powers are expected to focus on moderate Tamils and not on the rebels of the LTTE, more..

No immediate ban on LTTE, says Rajapaksa

Jan 22 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Tuesday said that he was not contemplating an immediate ban on the LTTE even though it has continued its orgy of violence, killing innocent civilians. 'You don't have to ban them. If necessary, we will, but not now,' Rajapaksa told a media conference here. However, the government would continue to examine the need for a ban. 'I'll have to look into it. We'll wait and see,' he said. more..

India has realised danger from LTTE, says Rajapaksa

Jan 22 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that India and the US are supporting the war against 'Tamil Tiger terrorism' because they themselves feel threatened by the Tigers. 'India now realises that it could be the next target of the LTTE. And I am told that the LTTE has taken a contract to motivate Al Qaeda cadres to become suicide bombers,' Rajapaksa told IANS on the sidelines of a press conference here Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka pours forces into south after rebel attacks

Jan 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka Tuesday poured thousands more security forces into the Sinhalese-dominated south on Tuesday after a string of Tamil rebel attacks left 37 civilians and three police dead, officials said. In fresh violence, suspected rebels shot dead a police officer and two constables on Monday night near the southern township of Thanamalvila, police officials said. They had been deployed to the area to protect civilians from guerrilla attacks. more..

Sri Lanka president "doesn't believe in military solution"

Jan 22 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's ethnic troubles shouldn't be solved through military means, but the government will not seek a political solution as long as Tamil Tiger rebels engage in terrorism, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Tuesday. "There has to be a political solution," Rajapaksa told a news briefing, his first remarks to the media since the government last week formally scrapped a 6-year truce with LTTE. more..

Jet, Kingfisher mull stake in Sri Lankan Airlines

Jan 23 (IANS) Naresh Goyal-controlled Jet Airways and Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines are among a host of carriers looking at acquiring a 43.6 percent stake in Sri Lankan Airlines, aviation industry officials said. The two carriers will be looking at buying the stake presently held by Emirates Airlines in the Sri Lankan carrier once their 10-year shareholder pact expires April 1, the officials added. more..