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Kerala verifying reports on Mathivathani

Jan 30 (LG) The State Government in Kerala on Tuesday said that it was verifying reports on Mathivathani a wife of LTTE chief Parabhakarn had taken shelter in the state following escalation of fighting between LTTE and Sri Lankan Army in the island nation. "Government did not have any official information about the whereabouts of Prabhakaran and his family and it is looking into the reports in this regard", state Home Minister Kodiyari Balakrishnan told reporters here today. more..

Interim Administration for Merged North-East Must be Set-up First

Jan 30 (FI) This article was originally written by the author in 2001 under the title ‘Sri Lanka - The Way Forward’ and circulated in Colombo and Trincomalee. The article draws on authors own experience of implementing the 13th Amendment as Head of the Research Division of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat of the North East Provincial Council and how it cold be made a basis for resolving the so called ethnic problem. more..

JVP 'planned to kill' MP

Jan 30 (BBC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa's close political ally is accused of threatening party dissidents with death. A senior leader of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), Sunil Handunnetti, MP, is under house arrest by the party after he tried to fled the country, his close associate said. Sampath Dimuthu Ketipeaarachchi told BBC Sandehaya that the parliamentarian is reduced to 'a parrot' who just repeat what the JVP orders. more..

Taking the masses for asses

Jan 30 (ML) Just days after President Mahinda Rajapakse, speaking in support of the war effort told Indian media there would be peace in one year, his brother, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya, in an interview with the Sinhala media on Sunday said it was wrong to confine the military offensive to a time frame. Gotabhaya’s comments also came a few weeks after army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka was quoted in the government media as saying he expected to kill 3000 LTTE cadres by August. more..

The Year of the Rat has begun

Jan 30 (ML) The APRC has behaved as feared. It has delivered for the regime and not for the country. Clearly Professor Vitharana could not hold out — encomiums about his persistence notwithstanding. He obliged his president and produced the Interim Report of the APRC 18 months after it was convened. The Majority Report and the Vitharana Report are all history — His Excellency demanded and determined and hey presto, they produced a mouse, heralding in, in our inimitable way, the Chinese Year of the Rat, no doubt. more..

Price hike in the offing for train travel

Jan 30 (ML) Discussions are underway between the Sri Lanka Railways and the Transport Ministry to increase railway fares following the price increase in the cost of fuel. The last time that Sri Lanka Railways increased their fares was in August 1, 2005 stated an official at the department. "There is a long procedure when railway fares are to be changed, especially because this is a public service," explained the official. more..

Political solution Vs. Military solution

Jan 30 (AT) Could somebody please explain this great debate Sri Lanka has imposed upon itself as to whether the solution to the LTTE has to be military or political? One school of thought tends to believe that a ‘military solution’ is necessary to take care of the LTTE while the other school of thought advocates a ‘political solution’. Well, there is separatist terrorism, in different degrees of intensity, in nearly about t 100 countries of the UN’s 191 member states, but no other country seems to be embroiled in such divisive thinking as we Sri Lankan are! more..

Premier Sri Lankan Travel Magazine, ''Sri Lankan Heritage" presented to Minister of Tourism

Jan 30 (AT) Sumudu Kanishka Basnayake, Creative Director officially presented the first copy of the “Sri Lankan Heritage" Sri Lanka's Premier Travel Magazine to Milinda Moragoda, Minister of Tourism. The Editor of Sri Lankan Heritage is Dr Jayananda Weerasingha. This travel magazine contains a wide range of articles covering different parts of Sri Lankan Tourism and Travel sector including "Roomassala, Paradise of the Western province, Born Free, The pride of the south and Human Carriages in the City Centres of Colombo. more..

LTTE to demonstrate in front of British Prime Ministers residence on the Independence Day of Sri Lanka

Jan 30 (AT) Activists of the LTTE, a banned terrorist organization in the United Kingdom, will hold an anti-Sri Lanka demonstration in front of the official residence of the British Prime Minister on the Sri Lankan Independence Day. Scheduled to be held February 4th, the day Sri Lankans will be celebrating their 60th anniversary of independence from more than one hundred years of British colonial rule, the Tamil Tiger activists will be demonstrating under the banner of their well known front, The Tamil Youth Organization (TYO). more..

Confusion over school bus blast

Jan 30 (BL) Confusion reigned last night over the alleged blast of a claymore mine by special troops in LTTE controlled area, killing 18, including 11 children travelling in a bus, which the military denied of any involvement. However, the government is looking at enforcing special military protection to schools in and around Colombo, as a security measure, if hostilities between security forces and the LTTE takes a turn for the worse, sources claimed yesterday. more..

Allegations of “excessive money printing” baseless and false says CB

Jan 30 (BL) Central Bank last week rejected allegations of “excessive money printing” as baseless and false. In a statement the Bank said its attention has been drawn to a few mischievous and /or erroneous reports where allegations have been made that the Central Bank has resorted to “wide scale money printing” to finance the fiscal deficit of the Government. It is likely that such allegations have been made deliberately to generate negative sentiment within the economy and more..

‘Sri Lanka: What a wonderful world’ says World Marketing Association Chief

Jan 30 (BL) Asia’s topmost and one of the world renowned marketing gurus on Saturday lifted the spirits of marketing community when he suggested that Sri Lanka has the characteristics to position itself as offering the globe a spiritual experience akin to the famous song What a Wonderful World. Indonesian Hermawan KartaJaya, who is the President of the World Marketing Association, shared this idea at the Asian Business Forum in Colombo organised by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM). more..

UL headhunting: Expats welcome!

Jan 30 (BL) Contrary to assertion that the Mahinda Chinthana Government could run the national carrier with locals, SriLankan Airlines last week advertised two key positions Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) and said it welcomes applications from qualified foreigners. Aviation industry experts, as well as the staff, are not against hiring qualified and experienced non-nationals to the key positions, but analysts said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his henchmen appeared to be anti foreign. more..

Trade union alliance, the beacon to the suffering working masses

Jan 30 (SLW) There was no publicity nor recognition from the press for the trade union conference held at the CMU hall on August 25, 2007. The newly formed National Trade Union Alliance called this conference of selected activists of work places. It was basically a workshop, on the issue of Global capitalism and the Tamil national problem. Leading elements of the workplaces are to be made aware of not only the terrible ill effects of so- called development programmes of multinational companies, but more..

The relevance of Mahatma Gandhi today

Jan 30 (LG) Sixty years after his death a portion of Gandhiji's ashes, stashed away by Madalsa and Shriman Narayan, the daughter and son-in-law of Jamnalal Bajaj, will be immersed at Chowpati Beach in Mumbai. Although I will be thousands of miles away in the United States the memories of 60 years ago will be refreshed and the day will be as poignant as January 30, 1948. In 1969 when the world celebrated Gandhiji's 100th birth anniversary many of us who had lived in Sewagram Ashram, Wardha, with Gandhiji were invited for a reunion. more..

Sri Lanka: Three players and three strategic errors

Jan 30 (LG) The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord (ISLA) in 1987 was the culmination of a tripartite political process between India, Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers in finding a resolution to the ethnic conflict rooted in the conflicting demand of Tamil statehood and Sinhalese nationhood. 1983, the watershed year, was marked by anti-Tamil riots and 300,000 refugees fleeing to Tamil Nadu. This kick-started a series of political dialogues in Thimpu, Delhi, Bangalore and Colombo. more..

A ninth white elephant?

Jan 30 (LG) The 13th Amendment to the Constitution [forced down our throats by the Indian Government] was an unmitigated disaster which resulted in the creation of Eight `White Elephants’ called `Provincial Councils’ and a proliferation of political functionaries in the form of Provincial Ministers, Members of Provincial Councils and their `hangers on’ which drained the public purse of colossal amounts of funds which ought to have been used for the benefit of the People and not for the benefit of such functionaries. more..

Impending LTTE activity in and outside the Country

Jan 30 (LG) Source close to Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam reveals the LTTE dares that they are moving in Sinhala dominated areas planning to take hostage School Children to pressure to government and stop the war against the LTTE as soon as possible. “Hundreds of LTTE hard core cadres moving in Colombo and other Sinhala dominant areas for future attacks”, the source told the Sri Lanka Guardian. more..

Media interest in Karuna’s case

Jan 30 (LG) The leader of the Tamil Makkal Veduthalai Puligal (TMVP) Vinayamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna appeared before the Isleworth Crown Court for sentencing on Thursday 24, January 2008. Sri Lankan and the UK national media showed interest in reporting the case. News appeared in the UK national media about the likely sentencing at the hearing. United Kingdom immigration laws and rules on asylum became very stringent few years ago. more..

Lankan Maid Dies Aboard Flight Home

Jan 30 (AN) A Sri Lankan maid who left the Kingdom on Saturday morning on Saudi Arabian Airlines flight SV784 died en route to Colombo. The woman, Letchumi Devi Rasiah, 30, was returning home on an exit visa after spending one year and 10 months in the Kingdom. The cabin crew gave medical aid when Letchumi developed chest pain two hours after the aircraft left Riyadh. An airline official in Colombo said that the entire crew had done its best to save the woman. more..

Horror in the afternoon

Jan 30 (TN) While attempts by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) to breach Tiger Defense Lines to advance into LTTE territory have become daily occurrences in Mannaar-Madu theater of battle, civilians have become the silent casualties bearing the brunt of SLA rage. Hundreds of families have been displaced and live in refugee camps, and many have been traumatized by injuries and deaths to family members due to aerial attacks, SLA mortar fire, and claymore attacks by SLA's Deep Penetration Units (DPUs). more..

Fighting escalates in Nagarkovil

Jan 30 (SLW) Heavy fighting broke out between the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and LTTE when the former launched a fresh limited operation targeting LTTE assets on the Nagarkovil forward defense line, today (30th) dawn. Soldiers of the army's 53rd division and 55th division moved ahead of their positions at around 12.00AM to launch a surprise attack on several LTTE bunkers on the front line. Their advance was backed by artillery fire and armored vehicles including T-55 main battle tanks (MBT). more..

Unscrambling the political egg, Rajapaksa style

Jan 30 (AT) Life is all about choices and politics therefore is also about choices. President Rajapaksa has an opportunity now to exercise some choices. But he is not the only one who has some options available to choose from. While Rajapaksa as the incumbent President and the head of the current government is the key person who has greater responsibility than others who should unscramble the political egg, others can do it too, especially those who have been scrambling the political egg and making total mess of it for a long time. more..

Is Democracy Ready for Sri Lanka?

Jan 30 (FI) After 60 years of freedom from the Europeans Sri Lanka is fasts becoming an un-democratic and non-democratic country. When the current President, Mr.Mahinda Rajapaksa proclaims that negotiations will be held with the LTTE after they have been defeated in the war, I came to the conclusion that Sri Lanka is not ready for freedom and democracy. Once one party is defeated there is no negotiation, the vindicated accepts whatever crumbs thrown by the victor. more..

The real APRC report must be presented to Public by February 4th

Jan 30 (FI) What a fiasco! We were promised the long-awaited APRC proposals would be released on January 23rd, and what did we get? The 13th Amendment was taken out of the corner where it had been mouldering for twenty years; the cobwebs were dusted off, and it was presented to us as the solution to our problems, despite the fact that it failed in the North-East because it did not ensure meaningful devolution (apart from the fact that the LTTE scuttled it), and was unpopular even among the Sinhalese in the South! more..

January 30th 1948: The Day “Mahatma” Gandhi Was Assassinated

Jan 30 (TC) As I was playing truant and was very poor in my Tamil, I left St. Peter’s College Bambalapitiya where I was a student from 1937 and joined Jaffna College, Vaddukoddai on January 17, 1948. Jaffna College which was my father’s alma mater was founded by American missionaries in 1822. Two weeks after I joined the college as an outstation boarder, Alagan Kadirgamar who was the secretary of the college Young Men’s Christian Association asked me to be in charge of its radio as he was going home to Chavakachcheri for the weekend. more..

Karuna: The Tragedy of a Rebel (Part I)

Jan 30 (LG) Albrecht Wenzel von Wallenstein was the most pre-eminent general of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II during the Thirty Years War. The hero of Catholic Europe, he saved the Imperial army from disaster, imposing defeat after defeat on the Protestant forces. Eventually, tired of the continuous internecine bloodletting in the name of religion, Wallenstein rebelled against the Emperor, with peace and religious tolerance as his rallying cries, and began secret negotiations with his erstwhile enemies, the protestant princes of Europe. more..

Sri Lanka union veteran bemoans muted voice of workers and lost freedoms

Jan 30 (LBO) A veteran Sri Lankan trade unionist says the voice of the working class is now muted and people are battling to survive as prices are rising and terrorism is spreading to all corners of the land. "This is a great misfortune to the country. If there is no voice for the working class then there is no democracy," Bala Tampoe, general secretary of the Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers' Union (CMU) said. more..

Is Minister Rambukwella a sales rep of Seylan Bank

Jan 30 (LeN) The staff of the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau enquires if Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Keheliya Rambukwella is working part time as a sales representative of the Seylan Bank. They enquire why the Minister permitted setting up of a branch of Seylan Bank in the basement of the head office of the Foreign Employment Bureau in Baththaramulla while three state banks i.e. Bank of Ceylon, People's Bank and National Savings Bank are already there. more..

Fernandopulle to be sued for contempt of court

Jan 30 (LeN) A group of senior lawyers are planning to sue against Minister of Highways Jeyaraj Fernandopulle for contempt of court. In an interview with 'Isira' radio, Minister Fernandopulle criticized a Supreme Court ruling to remove unnecessary roadblocks. He said that Diyawanna (legislature) is there to pass laws and Aluthkade (Judiciary) cannot pass laws but can only define them. He further stated that the Supreme Court ruling was a contract of Tamil Tigers. more..

8 bodyguards & backup vehicle for Ganeshan?

Jan 30 (LD) The Court of Appeal today (Jan. 30th) decided that reducing the security of Western People’s Front leader Mano Ganeshan was arbitrary and unreasonable. Taking up a petition filed by Ganeshan, the CA ordered the Attorney-General to look into the possibility of increasing the number of bodyguards for the MP to eight and providing him with a backup vehicle. The AG was ordered to report back on February 07th. more..

Colombo roads closed for soldiers rehearsing for Independence Day

Jan 30 (LD) Authorities are keeping several roads leading upto Galle Face closed for the convenience of soldiers who rehearse at the Green for the 60th Independence Day celebrations on February 04th, but to the chagrin of other road users. According to our reporter in the area, roads in the vicinity experience heavy traffic congestion during afternoons these days. The road closures are due to security reasons, reports say, and will continue till February 04th. more..

Firearms for Wasgomuwa villagers

Jan 30 (LD) Police are looking into the possibility of arming the people living in the vicinity of the Wasgomuwa National Park in the northcentral province following the finding of two bodies at a tourist bungalow there yesterday (Jan. 29th). Police Spokesman Senior DIG N.K. Illangakoon confirmed that these villagers would most probably be given firearms, as had been done following a spate of killings in Thanamalwila and Buttala in Moneragala recently. more..

Bail granted for Sripathi

Jan 30 (LD) Chief Coordinator of the Jathika Sabha and former minister Sripathi Sooriyarachchi, who faces a murder charge and four other charges, has been granted bail by the Polonnaruwa High Court Judge Manilal Waidyatillake. The indictments filed against Sooriyarachchi by the state counsel were taken up today (Jan. 30th). Sooriyarachchi was released on a cash bail of Rs. 30,000 and two personal bonds of Rs. 100,000 each. more..

LTTE & TMVP continue to recruit children – UN Chief

Jan 30 (LD) The LTTE and breakaway Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal continue to abduct children to fight as soldiers in the conflict in Sri Lanka, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report to the Security Council. Covering the period from November 2006 to September 2007, the 20-page report noted that “both parties have failed to cease the abduction, recruitment and use of children.” more..

Flexibility and equity underpin SL-India FTA

Jan 30 (GDI) Minister of Export Development and International Trade, Prof. G L Peiris commenting on the Free Trade Agreement between Sri Lanka and India said that it consists of the flexibilities and equity underpinning its provisions which has been reflected clearly in the implementation of the agreement. Minister Peiris stated this addressing a special session on trade between the two countries, organized as part of the Partnership Summit 2008 held under the auspices of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). more..

Minister denies military involvement in the sacred area of Madhu

Jan 30 (GDI) Defence Spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella stated that the bomb blast in Periya Madhu had nothing to do with operations engaged in by the security forces. It was baseless to accuse the forces when the incident occurred in a no-war zone and moreover a sacred area in Mannar, he said. The security forces operate with great respect to the church and the religious area and in fact the Army has avoided the area even though it is relatively easier to clear, the minister said. more..

Maintain cordial relations with public, President tells Police

Jan 30 (GDI) Police officers should maintain cordial relations with the public when discharging their duties and should also be strict and impartial when dealing with them, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa, during a discussion relating to public security held recently at the President's House, Kandy. It was decided to streamline the duties of the Police when dealing with the public and emphasis was made on curtailing the tide of crimes. Allegations against the Police were also discussed. more..

Report Child Abuse to hotline 1929

Jan 30 (GDI) Children, parents and the public can report child exploitation incidents such as child abuse, child labour and information about vulnerable children to the telephone number 1929. President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched this new service 'Child Helpline' (1929) yesterday (29) by forwarding the first call. With the intention of preventing child abuse, misusing of children and to build up a coordinating line in order to provide guidance to those children facing various types of problems, more..

JVP campaigns against escalating prices

Jan 30 (LT) A series of campaigns against the escalating prices of essential commodities is being carried out by the JVP throughout the island. Several campaigns, with the participation of large crowds, were held in Colombo, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Hambatota, Ampara and several other principal towns. The JVP points out that the government burdens the masses by allowing prices of essential commodities to go up to accommodate a colossal cabinet, carry out large scale frauds and ignoring corruption that take place. more..

PAFFREL seeks Presidential intervention

Jan 30 (SAMN) A leading election monitoring group is to urge President Mahinda Rajapaksa to summon a meeting with representatives of political parties contesting the upcoming local government election in Batticaloa and direct them to extend their cooperation to hold a free and fair poll. The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) will also make an appeal to Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake on this matter, its Chairman Kingsley Rodrigo said Tuesday. more..

Govt. unveils decade of progress

Jan 30 (SAMN) While embarking on a mega development drive to uplift the North and East, the government has also stepped up efforts in the rest of the country with several new initiatives in line with its 10 year development plan. Accordingly a new fishery harbour at a cost of Rs. 7,900 million is to be established in Dickwella, which is expected to propagate development in this sector. Ministry sources said the proposed harbour to be located in a 13 hectare land would be equipped with all modern technology according to international standards. more..

Conditions unbearable: ME workers return

Jan 30 (SAMN) A large number of expatriate Sri Lankans are returning as they have found their working conditions unbearable, Manager Sri Lanka Bureau of Employment, Airport Unit, M. A.Srilal Perera said adding that during the 48 hours, ending Monday, 94 had returned from the Middle East as they were unable to bear the conditions under which they were employed. The returnees, 53 males and 41 females, had faced numerous problems. more..

Measures to curb plastic use

Jan 30 (SAMN) Special awareness programmes on how to minimise plastic waste will be held in the Central and Southern Provinces during the next few months according to the Central Environmental Authority (CEA). Project Director, CEA, Rizwi Majid said emphasis would be placed on the Central Province during the Avurudu season due to the large numbers of both foreign and local visitors during the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. more..

New A/L subject from next year

Jan 30 (DN) The Education Ministry will introduce 'Information and Communication Technology' as a subject for Advanced Level from next year. At the first phase of this programme, an Education College will be established to educate teachers on information and communication technology, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said. Information and Communication technology is taught at schools and has also introduced as an alterative subject at the GCE Ordinary Level Examination from last year.

President reviews Hambantota development plan

Jan 30 (DN) A discussion to review the progress on the development projects commenced under the Hambantota District Development Plan was held at Temple Trees under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday. During the discussion, special attention was focused on the “Greater Hambantota” development plan, a media release issued by the Presidential Media Unit said. The project plan also consists of 113,200 hectares of land area located beyond Hambantota city by covering Kirindi Oya, Walawe Ganga and Thanamalvila areas. more..

LTTE artillery attack does not deter normal flights – SLAF

Jan 30 (Island) Despite Monday morning’s LTTE artillery attack, on the Palaly Air Base, targeting the aircraft flying the Defence Secretary, Army Commander and Chief of Defence Staff, compelling it to return to base, both, civilian and military aircraft, resumed normal services from that afternoon itself, Air Force spokesman Wing Commander Andy Wijesuriya said. The shells missed the Air Base. more..

Striking nurses resort to sabotage

Jan 30 (Island) The trade union action by the nurses attached to the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital has taken a new turn. The nurses are resorting to sabotage, hospital sources allege. The nurses, who were not in uniform, had entered the intensive care unit, removed life supporting oxygen masks from patients and cut-off the telephone connection, the sources alleged. Police investigations were carried out yesterday and mothers of patients have given evidence against the nurses involved. more..

ABC to resume operations?

Jan 30 (DM) The case involving ABC Radio will be taken up for hearing today amidst strong speculation the network which operates five channels - SUN FM, GOLD FM, HIRU FM and SHAA FM - will resume operations soon. The Daily Mirror learns the staff at the private network have been told by the management that ABC Radio will be back on air as early as next month although a specific date has not been mentioned nor are there reports of an out of court settlement in the offing. more..

Hi-tech embarkation cards soon

Jan 30 (DM) New computerized embarkation and disembarkation cards conforming to international standards will replace the current cards from Friday, the Department of Immigration and Emigration said yesterday. Immigration and Emigration Controller General P.B.Abeykoon said the cards used now had been in use from the time of the British rule. He said the printing of thousands of cards cost a large sum to the department and there was a problem in storing them for future references. more..