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“I am no one’s rubber seal” – Anandasangaree

Jan 27 (NS) With speculation rife of an ongoing tug-o-war between several senior politicians for the top slot in the proposed Northern Interim Council, seasoned politician V. Anandasangaree, tipped to be appointed to the position, yesterday declared that he will not be anyone’s mere ‘rubber seal’. Tamil United Liberation Front Leader and former MP from the north Anandasangaree told The Nation that there were many issues he had to consider before taking up the position. more..

A mountain of labour produced an APRC mouse!

Jan 27 (NS) After much hype and more hyperbole, the proposals of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) were unveiled last week, as they were handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, ostensibly for implementation ‘with immediate effect.’ The process itself involved 63 sittings over a year and a half and fourteen political parties at its conclusion - there being more at the inception with some of them opting out at various stages. more..

UK wrong, I never helped Karuna -Gotabhaya

Jan 27 (LB) Defence Secretary Gota-bhaya Rajapakse yesterday denied allegations that he helped former Eastern Tiger Commander Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna to obtain a fraudulent diplomatic passport. The powerful Defence Secretary is embroiled in a controversy after British prosecutors said on Friday that he had assisted Karuna to obtain the passport. “I haven’t helped him (Karuna). It is wrong for the British Judiciary to make public these claims without verification,” he said. more..

UNP chickens out of Eastern polls

Jan 27 (LB) The UNP politburo convened on Wednesday to discuss whether the party would contest the Eastern polls. General Secretary Tissa Attanayake informed the UNP about his recent discussion with Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake and also described the prevailing situation in the East. Opinion was divided in the party over whether the UNP should field candidates for the election. S B Dissanayake, Ravi Karunanayake, Jayalath Jayawardena and Lakshman Kiriella were among those who felt the party should contest. more..

“Won’t come back with Mago Digo Die” -Geetha

Jan 27 (LB) “I am desperate to act,” stresses award-winning actress Geetha Kumarasinghe. “I am dying to act! — I want to act! — But I don’t get the correct role,” complains this diva of the Sinhala Cinema. In 2005, Geetha bagged the President’s Award for Best Actress for her unforgettable performance in Ran Diya Dahara. Since then it’s been a while and she is waiting to be cast in a Sinhala film. “This is so unfair. It’s been three years and I am yet to find a proper character with a good script,” she complains. more..

How media jumped the gun and killed Prabhakaran

Jan 27 (LB) On Wednesday morning, a fleet of fighter jets from the No 10 fighter jet squadron took off the Katunayake Air Force Base. Their mission was to bomb an LTTE base known as X-Ray Base located in Kalmadukulam. At around 11.15 am, fighter jets, which included three MIG 27 Ground Attack Craft and three Kfir interceptors, bombed the camp on a low flying mission. The six aircraft dropped 24 bombs. Thereafter, they carried out another sortie in the evening. more..

Arming supporters not the way to go says JVP

Jan 27 (Island) While welcoming the decision to issue weapons to people living in villages vulnerable to LTTE attacks, the JVP has urged the government to be cautious in arming people. Moneragala District MP Padma Udaya Shantha Gunasekera felt that the arming of villagers on the basis of loyalty to ruling party politicians could cause serious problems. He warned that security measures that were being implemented to meet the LTTE challenge could further aggravate the problem. more..

1987 Revisited

Jan 27 (Island) The All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) unveiled their proposals last week thus marking another milestone in what seems to a futile quest for a solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict. The question that we have to ask ourselves is why every solution that comes up seems to revolve around the 13th amendment to the constitution? The present writer was at a seminar some months ago, where Professor Johann Galtung, one of the world’s foremost peaceniks, said that in his view the ideal solution would be the 13th amendment plus-plus and ISGA minus-minus. more..

Unfinished business after the CFA

Jan 27 (Island) With the CFA behind us, there remains the task of mopping up its detritus, rethinking some of the knee-jerk solutions being re-advocated, and correcting fundamental flaws in our search for a solution. This is necessary in order to avoid kicking the ball into our own goal. Proscribing the LTTE The LTTE was proscribed in 1998 after their attack on the Dalada Maligawa. The proscription was removed in 2002, not because they had ceased to be terrorists (the only ground warranting de- banning), but more..

Diplomats select Sri Lanka for their vacation

Jan 27 (Island) Nine VIP's based in Singapore were on holiday in Sri Lanka last week. A Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) spokesperson said that the VIPs arrived in Sri Lanka to be pleasantly surprised by the country's rich cultural diversity and went back promising to come again. The nine-member group included the US Ambassador Patricia Herbold, Russian Ambassador Andrey Rozhakov, Ambassador for Peru, Jose Arturo Montoya Stuva and head of BT Global Services Kristin Paulson. more..

Govt. reverts to the unlucky 13th

Jan 27 (ST) A patient suffering from mild ulcer was given a drug. It did not cure him. His condition became worse and turned into cancer. Twenty-one years later, the same patient is administered the same old drug. Is this reasonable? The 76-year-old Veerasingham Anandasangaree, leader of the moderate TULF, raised the question from President Mahinda Rajapaksa last Tuesday. The occasion was a hurriedly summoned meeting of members of the All-Party Representative Committee (APRC) at Temple Trees. more..

Pressure mounts on LTTE: Tell the truth now

Jan 27 (ST) The truth, they say, is the first casualty of war. In more than two decades of the separatist war in Sri Lanka, this axiom has been proved right many a time. If one were to add up the casualty figures put out by Government officials since inception, it would have wiped out the population of Jaffna twice over. There would be no one left. On the other hand, if all the casualty figures for the Security Forces, given by the LTTE are added up, a sizeable segment of the Security Forces would have been wiped out. That is not true either. more..

CJ puts brakes on illegal speed limits

Jan 27 (ST) Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva on Friday ordered Police to pull down all illegal sign boards of speed limits put up on main roads as hapless motorists were being forced to either face prosecution or pay bribes to the police to get away. The Chief Justice delivering a judgment in a Fundamental Rights case noted there were different sign boards giving various speed limits though the speed limit in the city should be 56 Kmph and 72 Kmph outside the city. Therefore all boards which were against the laws should be removed. more..

Baby racket in three major hospitals

Jan 27 (ST) Three state-run maternity hospitals are the focus of a CID investigation into what may be a massive baby smuggling racket as detectives discover false birth certificates that have been issued recently. Investigations have revealed that a child born on April 21, 2005 and another born on January 6, 2005 had birth certificates which bore the same number -- No. 4101 -- and the give-away link seems to be the bold seal on both. more..

'Air defence system preventing LTTE to launch aerial attack'

Jan 27 (PTI) Revamping of Sri Lanka's air defence system has prevented the LTTE's air wing to launch aerial attacks as in the past, the Air Force chief has said. Questioning the outfit's so-called air wing, Roshan Gunathilake said the outfit hardly has an air force worth its name. "They (LTTE) have two or three aircrafts. I don't know whether you could call that an air force. They have not flown for a very longtime. We will wait and see," more..

The Enemy Within

Jan 27 (SP) The LTTE is taking a beating. Dozens of weapons storage sites have been captured by the military. These include boats that provided floating ammo dumps (some holding up to a thousand tons of munitions and supplies), able to move along the north coast to where they were needed. But the air force and navy have figured out how to spot these, and long range army patrols have found ammo dumps and camps deep inside enemy controlled territory. more..

'Only effective devolution proposal will challenge LTTE chief'

Jan 27 (PTI) Asserting that nothing short of an effective devolution proposal will challenge LTTE Supremo V Prabhakaran, a pro-LTTE political party chief has said the Sri Lankan government should come with a reasonable offer that meets the aspirations of Tamils. On being told that some southern political parties feel that Prabhakaran is insincere, the Parliamentary Group Leader of the TNA, R Sampanthan said the government must provide a reasonable proposal to end the 25 year-old ethnic conflict in the Island nation. more..

'Relatives' fail to identify bodies

Jan 27 (BBC) Relatives of the missing people have failed to identify the bodies found dumped in a remote jungle in Anuradhapura. Two women and three men from Murunkan and Vavuniya have arrived in Anuradhapura with two representatives of Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph. The Director of the Anuradhapura hoispital, Dr, Sarath Weerabandara, told journalist Athula Bandara that six bodies are thought to be dumped at least two weeks ago and other ten bodies may have been dumped about a week ago. more..

India pats devolution package to make Sri Lanka do more

Jan 27 (IANS) India's surprise decision to hail a truncated Sri Lankan devolution package is aimed at slowly pushing Colombo on to the path of power sharing to end decades of ethnic conflict. Most Tamils in Sri Lanka have been taken aback by New Delhi's pat for the package that was unveiled this week in Colombo recommending full implementation of the 13th amendment of the constitution of 1987. more..

Sri Lanka military: death toll in a day of fighting rises to 40

Jan 27 (AP) Fierce clashes between troops and separatist Tamil Tiger rebels left 12 insurgents and a soldier dead in northern Sri Lanka, lifting the death toll from a day of fighting to 40, the military said Sunday. The latest battles were reported in northeastern Welioya village, where nine rebels were killed in two separate incidents Saturday, a defense official said on condition of anonymity citing government rules. more..

Sangakkara tribute to the man who inspired his career

Jan 28 (SMH) ADAM GILCHRIST's impact on cricket was so profound he changed the way the game is played, according to Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara. Admitting that he was inspired by the Australian, Sangakkara said Gilchrist had forced wicketkeepers to become as reliable in front of as behind the stumps. "He pioneered the wicketkeeper-batsman role. He put pressure on a lot of other sides to come up with the quality he was producing," Sangakkara told the Herald yesterday. more..

'Punish' threatening ministers

Jan 28 (BBC) International media watchdogs have urged Sri Lankan President to take immediate actions to punish the culprits who attacked journalist Lal Hemantha Mawalage. Paris based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said President Mahinda Rajapaksa has failed to take any punitive action against ministers who are accused of threatening media. "This attack is very disturbing because we know that minister Mervyn Silva has a lot of accusations because of what happened last December," more..

TNA legislator to 'resettle Muslims'

Jan 28 (BBC) The resettlement of forcefully evicted Muslims from Jaffna will be his first priority says the newly appointed Muslim MP of the TNA. Speaking to BBC Tamil Service, Rajeem Mohammed Imam, said he has accepted the post because he sees this as an opportunity to resettle the displaced Muslims from Jaffna. Thousands of Muslims were evicted from the north on the orders of LTTE in 1990. Majority of displaced Muslims are still living on refugee camps in Puttalam. more..

How to win the War & Elections

Jan 28 (LG) Velupillai Pirapaharan, Suriya Theivam (Sun God), self proclaimed leader and sole representative of the 60 million Tamil people stretching from Guyana, Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, African countries like South Africa, Mauritius, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia right down to Fiji in the Pacific was in a furious mood. Enna Potoo? he asked addressing his intelligence chief, Pottu Amman; 'Why are these Sinhalese Madayans killing me so frequently? more..

Lankan Politician & Journalists turned back for ‘LTTE links’ from Chennai

Jan 28 (LG) The immigration authorities at Chennai international airport turned back a senior Sri Lankan political leader on Thursday night on suspicion that he might have LTTE links. Middle-aged Nityanandan Indrakumar had to take the flight back to Colombo after failing to convince the immigration officers that he had nothing to do with the Tamil Tigers and was, in fact, the secretary-general of the TELO, a recognised political party in Sri Lanka with four MPs in Parliament. more..

Constructive proposals

Jan 28 (Hindu) All except extremists and opportunists in the Tamil and Sinhala camps will welcome the interim steps recommended by the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) to move forward the process of earnestly implementing the devolution and official language provisions of the Sri Lankan Constitution. This measured political intervention helps put things in perspective in the post-ceasefire period — by reminding everyone that there can be no military solution to the island nation’s ethnic conflict. more..

Sri Lanka Alert – a new think tank to promote peace and national interests

Jan 28 (AT) A group of leading professionals have joined to set up Sri Lanka Alert – an independent think tank with a commitment to preserve the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka and protect the interests of the Nation.. Unlike other NGOs living off foreign funds Sri Lanka Alert is a self-financing body with no links to foreign agencies. more..

Sri Lanka's first Natural Mineral Water by Pership out in the market

Jan 28 (AT) Pership Integrated Solutions, a company involved in shipping and airlines business as their core activates has now ventured to diversify into drinking water business. They have become the first in Sri Lanka to market manufactured Natural Mineral Water and it is branded as “Silver Springs”. With the claim of being the only Natural Mineral Water manufactured in Sri Lanka, Silver Springs has long held a responsibility towards the consumer, more..

Coup attempt that nearly ignited a religious war

Jan 28 (AT) Lest we forget January 27 marked an important mile stone in Sri Lanka's national revival campaign that continued after February 4, 1948. It was the crushing in 1962 of the military and police officers coup. In its wake was born the Bauddha Jaathika Balavegaya or the BJB (Buddhist National Force) led by L.H. Mettananda. The coup was an eye-opener to the island's Buddhist majority which realized that a non-Buddhist minority still wielded real power in the country, more..

The challenge of defeating the political wing of LTTE separatism

Jan 28 (LR) Until 1997, there have been number of people ruling our country whereas it was one supreme self appointed leader in the enemy side in the North. The leaders in the south had many issues to tackle, but Piripaharan had one mission and it is to defend their Ealam territory by military means. When it comes to elections, people in the south were divided in different political ideologies and their focus was often diverted from the core burning issue of terrorism by those who strategically manipulating the media. more..

Maestro Murali: Spin Wizard of Sri Lanka

Jan 28 (TC) A nation’s history is embellished by the names of its illustrious sons and daughters ‘its ingenious inventors, chivalrous discoverers, statesmen, painters, scholars, entrepreneurs, patriots, artistes, sportsmen and the whole gamut of professionals. The latest addition to this impressive galaxy is none other than Muttaiah Muralitharan, the spin-wizard or just ‘Murali’, as he is popularly called, who has made Mother Lanka proud by breaking the world-record for the number of wickets, more..

APRC proposals will not resolve issues of Tamil masses! – JVP

Jan 28 (LT) Bringing in devolution proposals to hoist up separatism, casting away ‘Mahinda Chinthana,’ is the end of this government emphasizes the JVP. JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe speaking at a media discussion held yesterday in Colombo said what the government has put forward is a set of proposals that go beyond the proposals that were rejected by patriotic masses including the SLFP in 1987. more..

Understanding Political Future of UNP

Jan 28 (SLW) The UNP held its 52nd annual convention on December 16, just two days after their budget debacle. As could be expected, the convention was hardly an exuberant affair, coming so soon after yet another ‘defeat’. Normally, the budget is supposed to be yet another bill passed in parliament and not a contest between the government and the opposition. But thanks to the `topple the government’ effort and the psy-ops launched by the UNP, it became an election-like contest and even the results were announced in election style. more..

Buddha's revolutionary step of rejecting Brahaministic restrictions on women

Jan 28 (SLW) The document on feminism that I circulated recently apparently has become a centre for controversy. It was not meant for that. The document was an out come of a discussion we had in the OUSL when I was assisting as a consultant in the engineering faculty. I was interested in the effect of human social activity on the development of technology. We discussed the reproduction of human as a process of production. more..

No holds barred in Sri Lanka

Jan 28 (LG) No longer bound by the constraints of a ceasefire agreement or truce monitors, the Sri Lankan government is preparing to launch an all-out war against the LTTE in the coming weeks. Over the past two years, both the government and the LTTE have repeatedly violated the truce. While the government brazenly resorted to aerial bombing of Tamil areas and grabbed territory designated under the ceasefire agreement as Tiger territory, the LTTE carried out suicide attacks, often killing civilians. more..

'This Regime Has No Rights to Celebrate Independence'

Jan 28 (LG) A General Secretary of the UNP, a Mian opposition in Sri Lanka, Tissa Attanayake, addressing the Media on today (28 Jan) lamented that this Govt. is trying to celebrate Sri Lanka’s 60 years of independence on the 4th of Feb 2008 after defeating every purpose for which independence was achieved by the Father of the Nation, Late D.S. Senanayake, the first Prime Minister and Leader of the UNP in1948. No Govt. has ever turned the clock back on all the progress and development of this country as did this dismal and despotic Rajapakse Govt., he added. more..

Sri Lanka’s Underwater Defence Systems- Killing two birds with a single stone?

Jan 28 (LG) The news paper reports on 23rd January 2008 about the installation of the “Underwater defence systems” in Sri Lankan waters is indeed an interesting phase in the fight against the Sea tigers soon after the abrogation of the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA). As reported in the press, Sri Lankan authorities/Navy have informed their counterparts about the measures to safeguard their interests as well as to prevent large-scale movement of the Sea tigers who are starved of essentials. more..

Gota turns villain with the power of his brother

Jan 28 (LeN) "MP Maheswaran had business engagements with LTTE and finally got killed by them. The investigations and DNA tests have definitely proved it. If the suspect was not caught, theat killing could also go to the account of the Government," says Defense Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse in an interview with Lankadeepa newspaper on 27 January. Mano Ganeshan also need no security since he has links with LTTE. Only two Tamil leaders are spared. They are Ananda Sangaree and Douglas Devananda. We have to protect them somehow," he says. more..

Sri Lanka risks credit downgrade from US fallout: S&P

Jan 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka is at risk of a credit downgrade from a recession in the United States, especially if domestic policies become more expansionary, the ratings agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) said. Sri Lanka has a B+ rating with a 'stable' outlook. "Sri Lanka would face the global slowdown from a relatively weak position, with large current account deficits…and an increasing foreign currency debt service burden as its borrowing mix changes to include more commercial external debt," more..

Agriculture or services for Sri Lanka's future?

Jan 28 (LBO) At a conference organized by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing, an interesting question came from the audience: what would be the most globally competitive sectors of the Sri Lanka economy in ten years? The top sector that most of the panellists agreed on was agriculture, though one panellist did raise the flag for services after mouthing the usual platitudes about agriculture. more..

Abducted UPFA candidate in B’caloa freed

Jan 28 (LD) Election-related violated is reportedly on the increase in the eastern Batticaloa, where arrangements are being made to hold elections for nine local government bodies on March 10th. The latest incidents include the abduction and attack on two UPFA candidates. One of them, Sankaradas Sivanandadas, has been freed a day after he was abducted on January 25th. Abducted from his house by gunmen who arrived in a white van, he was subsequently found at Eravur around 9.30 pm on January 26th. more..

Multi Million Dollar modernization project for Colombo port

Jan 28 (GDI) A multi million dollar modernization plan will be launched by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority with the aim of promoting Colombo Port as the Asia's best. This includes setting up a dry port at Bloemendhal Road, purchasing new gantry cranes and four transfer cranes, putting the existing land space at the Colombo Port for optimum use and setting up a new long term master plan. more..

Govt.'s IDP resettlement program commended

Jan 28 (GDI) The Government's efforts to resettle internally displaced persons have won praise from the international community, according to Foreign Ministry sources. The UN High Commission for Refugees and the World Food Programme have commended the Government for instituting a voluntary process implemented according to international standards, sources said. In the Eastern Province alone, over 108,000 IDPs have already returned to their homes since March 2007, more..

A new think tank on national-interest launched by leading professionals

Jan 28 (GDI) A group of eminent professionals have come together to set up a think tank committed to preserving the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka and to protect the interests of the nation. 'Sri Lanka Alert' is not going to be another NGO, according to a news release issued by the organization, with the management intent on creating a self-financing body with no links to foreign agencies. more..

Negative Criticisms of the APRC Proposals

Jan 28 (PISL) There has been much discussion recently regarding the proposals of the APRC which the Government has decided to implement. Much of this is based on ignorance and illogicality, and is symptomatic of a general tendency to look at matters in a negative frame of mind. The proposal is based on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, and it is claimed that from the inception this was deemed inadequate by the Tamil people. This is nonsense. more..

JVP rejects solution to Sri Lanka based on Indian model

Jan 28 (LNP) The JVP yesterday rejected APRC call for a series of measures to achieve maximum and effective devolution of powers to the provinces in the short term. JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said that Minister Tissa Vitarana`s so called APRC was no APRC at all. How could they categorise it as an all party committee when the JVP and the UNP weren`t represented. The TNA which recognised the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamil speaking people, too, boycotted the committee. more..

What was left of LTTE in the East battles it out as pressure mounts on Vanni front

Jan 28 (LNP) As offensive action on the Vanni front nears a critical stage with the army making significant progress, the need to neutralise the remaining LTTE units operating in the Eastern theatre has increased. The LTTE struggling to thwart army advance on its Vanni strongholds, now threatenig Vidathalthivu, north of Mannar is incresingly trying to destabilise the East and the adjoining Moneragala district. more..

TNA wants Japan to twist Sri Lanka`s arm

Jan 28 (LNP) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is planning to make representations to the Japanese government as part of its efforts to pressure President Mahinda Rajapaksa to suspend ongoing military operations. A delegation of TNA parliamentarians would shortly visit Tokyo, well informed sources said. Although the visit had been delayed, the TNA would go ahead with it soon, the sources said. more..

Guns, guns and more guns in Sri Lanka

Jan 28 (LNP) Terror strikes in Moneragala have given an impetus to the proliferation of small arms in the country. An already unwieldy problem has been compounded. Given the sheer magnitude of the task that the security forces and the police are saddled with, the knee-jerk reaction of the government was to distribute arms among the villagers vulnerable to terror attacks besides deploying the army, the STF and the police to comb the jungles in a bid to hunt down a small group of LTTE killers. more..

Int’l community’s myth exploded: Army

Jan 28 (SAMN) Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said the myth believed by the International Community that the LTTE cannot be defeated has now been exploded. “Prabhakaran’s dream of ‘Eelam’ based on the East is over with his leaders eliminated. Prabhakaran is on the run and the facade built around him has collapsed,” Fonseka said in an interview with the State owned television Independent Television Network (ITN). more..