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Last Update @ Monday, February 2, 2009, 05:01 pm SL Time

TOP - STORIES
* ICRC appeals to both warring parties for restraint as artillery attacks on Sri Lanka hospital kill 9 people

Feb 02 (CP) Colombo- The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) in Sri Lanka today appealed to both warring parties to exercise restraint and spare medical facilities as a hospital in Tamil Tiger rebel controlled area came under artillery attack three times killing nine people and injuring 20 others.

ICRC spokesperson Ms. Sarasi Wijeratne said Puthukkudyiruppu Hospital in the Mullaitivu district was directly hit twice in the afternoon and again in the night. "Nine people were killed and 20 others injured as the kitchen, the church and the children's ward of the hospital were hit by the shelling," Ms. Wijeratne said.


* Sri Lanka Co-Opts Rebels in Peace Bid

Feb 02 (WSJ) BATTICALOA, Sri Lanka- One of this island nation's best hopes for ending its long civil war is a former Tamil Tiger child soldier, barely 5 feet tall, with the nom de guerre of Pillayan, an endearment meaning "baby."

Pillayan is now 33 years old and no longer a rebel. Instead of fighting for a separate state for Sri Lanka's Tamil minority, as the Tamil Tigers have done for a quarter-century, Pillayan is now the chief minister of the country's Eastern Province, backed by the central government. That makes him a critical piece in its strategy to extinguish one of the world's longest-running separatist rebellions and replace it with moderate minority politicians who have local support.

POLITICS - GENERAL
* Yal Dewi train once again limited to Medawachchiya
Feb 02 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka Railway Department has decided to limit the Vavuniya bound "Yal Dewi" train once again to Medawachchiya, border city of the North Central Province. Railway Department said they have taken this decision as the northern rail track ending at Kankasanthurai in Jaffna peninsula is currently undergoing repairs.

* SLMC may go it alone at WPC polls
Feb 02 (DM) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) which is contesting the Central and Wayamba Provincial Council elections on the UNP ticket is likely to go it alone at the Western Provincial Council election, the party’s general secretary Hassan Ali said yesterday.

* WPC gets Rs. 1,744 m for development
Feb 02 (DN) The Government has allocated Rs. 1,744 million for development activities in the Western Province covering Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts under the Gama Neguma program this year.

* Anti-corruption plans gather dust
Feb 02 (SAMN) COLOMBO- While two costly anti-corruption plans are gathering dust, the government and the United Nations Development Porgramme (UNDP) is set to launch another project to tackle waste, corruption and irregularities in the public sector.

* Berlin unimpressed by SL 'threats'
Feb 02 (SAMN) COLOMBO- Berlin made it clear on Sunday that it was unimpressed by "threats" from Sri Lanka's top defence official to expel Germany's ambassador and other foreigners seen as supportive of the LTTE. "Possible misunderstandings should be resolved through dialogue, not through threats," a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry in Berlin said.

* Analysis: Sri Lanka's media faces growing pressure
Feb 02 (CNN) Journalists in Sri Lanka have come under a growing number of attacks and intimidation, with some fleeing the country or losing their lives, media analysts and rights groups say. While Sri Lankan authorities have denied any government involvement, the cases have prompted international criticism

* Large demonstration in India against Sri Lankan war
Feb 02 (WSWS) Around 20,000 people took part in an eight-hour funeral march in the southern Indian city of Chennai on Saturday for K. Muthukumar—a young Tamil who set himself alight in front of the city's central government office complex last Thursday in protest against the communal war in neighbouring Sri Lanka.

* Tamil Nadu govt should be ashamed of itself
Feb 02 (Mid Day) The LTTE has been branded a terrorist organisation by nations all over the world, including India. Fighting terror: Sri Lankan soldiers in the town of Mullaittivu that they recaptured from the LTTE. The current operation by the Sri Lankan government is the culmination of a long drawn action against terrorism. The final push should see the elimination of LTTE and its misguided leadership.

* Safety of civilians top priority for government: Sri Lankan envoy
Feb 01 (Peninsula) DOHA- Sri Lankan government is doing everything possible to ensure the safety and security of civilians caught within the northern embattled area in the island nation, the country’s mission here said yesterday. “The government of Sri Lanka has declared a zero civilian causality policy and the civilian safety is the main concern of the government. But unfortunately the Tamil Tiger rebels are using civilians as human shields,” Ambassador Vijaya Padukkage (pictured), told The Peninsula yesterday.

* Sri Lanka Opposition writes to Election Commissioner
Feb 01 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka main opposition United National Party (UNP) urged the Election Commissioner to immediately close the Presidential offices currently opened for the upcoming provincial council election in North Western and Central provinces.

* President addresses Muslims in Sri Lanka's hill country
Feb 01 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa this evening addressed the Muslim people of the Central Province at the President's House in Kandy. The meeting was organized by the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Faizer Mustapha.

* We can't vanquish the 13th amendment, says Sri Lanka government
Feb 01 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka government today said that it couldn't go for a power sharing solution for the country's ethnic issue vanquishing the 13th amendment of the constitution.

* Postal voting in Sri Lanka PC polls to begin tomorrow
Feb 01 (CP) Colombo- Casting of postal votes for the upcoming Central and North Western provincial council election is to commence tomorrow, the Election Secretariat said. According to the schedule postal voting is to end on 3rd of February.

* Sri Lanka government urges EU to proscribe TRO
Feb 01 (CP) Colombo- Sri Lanka government has urged the European Union to proscribe all the front line organizations supporting the LTTE. Speaking to the media at the Bandaranaike International Airport after a successful European tour Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that he has submitted this appeal to the European Union during his tour.

* Hartal for Lankan Tamils 'illegal'
Feb 01 (BBC) The government of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has declared that a 'total strike' (Hartal) call in support of the demand for cease-fire in Sri Lanka illegal. Some political parties and Tamil nationalist organisations have banded together to form the Lankan Tamil Protection Movement and given a call for total strike on 04 February.

* Food aid from Germany for North IDPs
Feb 01 (DGISL) The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development has decided to grant funds amounting to Rs. 300 million towards urgent food deliveries for the benefit of the Internally Displaced people (IDPs) in the North.

* Indian Tamils demand end to Sri Lanka's war
Feb 01 (AFP) CHENNAI– India's large Tamil population is demanding that New Delhi ensure the safety of 250,000 of their brethren boxed into the battle zone in Sri Lanka's north. Protesters have poured into the streets in Tamil Nadu state, home to 62 million Indian Tamils, in the past week to call for a ceasefire in the conflict and assurances about the safety of their fellow Tamils in the island nation.

* Lanka threatens to kick out aid agencies, diplomats: Report
Feb 01 (HT) Sri Lanka's top defence official has threatened to expel aid agencies, diplomats and foreign journalists seen as supportive of Tamil rebels cornered by troops in the island's north, a report said on Sunday.

More : POLITICS - GENERAL
* Sri Lanka: Christians demand humanitarian access in conflict (01 - CT)
* Karunanidhi flays attempts to politicise youth's suicide for Tamil cause (01 - TOI)
* Opposition calls for TN bandh on feb 4, another youth immolates self (01 - HT)
* Boost for East (01 - DGISL)
* Sri Lanka threatens to expel Swiss ambassador (01 - SwissInfo)
* Island of lost souls (01 - HT)
More More . . .

SPORTS
* Dhoni and Co eye series win as Sri Lanka looks to hit back
Feb 02 (PTI) Colombo- Bolstered by two consecutive victories, a confident India will aim to wrap up the five-match series when they take on Sri Lanka in the third cricket one-dayer here tomorrow. Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men have been on target in the first two matches but the Indian captain would be taking no chance under floodlights after India just about managed a close 15-run win in a nail-biting day-night affair at the Premadasa Stadium on Saturday.

* Sri Lanka expected to host Champions Trophy
Feb 02 (Cricinfo) Sri Lanka is the ICC's preferred venue for the Champions Trophy after it removed the tournament, which is scheduled for September and October, from Pakistan during its meeting in Perth. The safety and security situation in Pakistan was considered too risky and Haroon Lorgat, the ICC's chief executive, expected a decision on the new host would be confirmed "shortly".

* India recall Balaji for Sri Lanka series
Feb 02 (AFP) NEW DELHI– Seamer Lakshmipathy Balaji was on Monday drafted into the Indian team for the rest of the Sri Lanka tour, marking the bowler's return to international cricket after nearly four years. Balaji, 27, will replace seamer Munaf Patel, who is suffering from a groin injury, for the remaining three one-day matches and a Twenty20 international, the Indian cricket board said in a statement.

* Champions Trophy moved to Sri Lanka
Feb 01 (WA today) AUSTRALIA will be able to defend its Champions Trophy title in Sri Lanka later this year following a decision by the International Cricket Council to shift it from Pakistan after it had been postponed for the past year.

* Mendis form not a worry, says Jayawardene
Feb 01 (AFP) COLOMBO— Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said Sunday that spinner Ajantha Mendis would come back strongly after getting just two wickets in as many matches against India in the ongoing one-day series. "We cannot ask a 23-year-old to pick four wickets in every game. I am sure Ajantha will bounce back. It is not a huge concern for me," said the Sri Lankan skipper, whose team trail 2-0 in the five-match series.

* AP Photo
Sri Lankan batsman Thilina Kandambi bats during the second one-day international cricket match of the five match series between India and Sri Lanka in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009.

More : SPORTS
* Tales of Missile and a Hearing from Lanka (02 - C360)
* Dancing in the isles: India's tour to Sri Lanka (01 - TOI)
More More . . . goto Top of the page
BREAKING NEWS
*Rebroadcasting center of India Sun TV in Sri Lanka attacked :: Vavuniya: An unidentified person has thrown a hand grenade last night at the re- rebroadcasting center of the South Indian Sun TV located at Vairavapuliyankulam in Vavuniya.
[Sunday, February 1, 2009, 10:02 pm SL Time]
*Another group of fleeing civilians reached to safety :: Vavuniya: A total of 116 civilians including 48 children in several different groups safely reached the government controlled areas this evening, the military said.
[Sunday, February 1, 2009, 10:01 pm SL Time]

NEWS - HIGHLIGHTS
* Heavy fighting erupts in northern Sri Lanka, Air Force raids LTTE targets
Feb 02 (CP) Colombo- Day-long fighting erupted between the Sri Lankan army troops operating in the Wanni region and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) yesterday as troops came under heavy artillery attack from Tigers, the military said today. Fighting between the troops of the 59 Division and LTTE rebels in the general area west of the Nanthikandal lagoon in Mullaitivu ensued...

* Security tightened in Sri Lanka capital for Independence Day
Feb 01 (CP) Colombo- Security in Sri Lanka capital Colombo has been tightened as the nation is preparing to celebrate its 61st Independence Day and showcase the 'Dayata Kirula' exhibition. The Independence Day celebrations are to be held at the Galle Face Green under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 4th of February.

* Major Opposition supporter Thilanga Sumathipala joins government at ruling party public rally
Feb 01 (CP) Kandy- Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed a massive public rally this evening in Hanguranketha, Kandy in support of the ruling party candidates of the upcoming Central Province Council polls.

CURRENT DEFENSE NEWS [SL Army]
*Prabhakaran’s Luxurious Flat & Shirt Found :: MULLAITTIVU: A TWO-ACRE plot of land that houses a luxurious two-storeyed residential quarter, believed to have been used by none other than PRABHAKARAN himself was completely brought under the control of 58 Division troops as of late Sunday (1) evening, giving one more shock to the troops.
[Monday, February 2, 2009, 05:01 pm SL Time]

SECURITY - SITUATION
* A lorry used to transport LTTE suicide kits found from a police officer's house premises in Eastern Sri Lanka
Feb 02 (CP) Trincomalee- Sri Lanka Police have seized a lorry used to transport LTTE suicide kits from a house premises which belongs to a high ranking police officer in Trincomalee, the police said. According to the Trincomalee Police the lorry was sized on information revealed by an interrogation of two LTTE cadres arrested earlier in Trincomalee.

* Attempt to blast Iranamadu tank bund thwarted
Feb 02 (DGISL) The 571 Brigade has thwarted an LTTE attempt to blast the Iranamadu tank bund. Army headquarters said that 17 GR (Gajaba Regiment) troops commanded by Major Senaka Kumarawansa last Thursday had recovered three powerful bombs weighing about 25 kg each with floating devices and three detonators.

* Largest cache of weapons recovered: Military
Feb 02 (DM) The largest haul of weapons to be recovered so far was made from a Black Tiger camp complex in Vishvamadu east at Mullaitivu on Saturday during the on-going Wanni operation, the military said. The camp consisting of rooms for training, administration and logistics was located by the 58-division troops of the six-Gemunu Watch when they launched a surprise attack on the complex, the army headquarters said.

* MR renews call for LTTE to surrender
Feb 02 (SAMN) COLOMBO- President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sunday renewed his call for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to surrender and warned they faced the grave danger of being captured by the Government Armed Forces as no one will be able to stop their forward march.

* Lankan army deploys bicycle patrols to police Jaffna
Feb 02 (PTI) Jaffna- Sri Lankan troops are employing innovative methods to police this city, which is the face of the Tamil culture on the island nation, with soldiers armed with highly-sophisticated weapons going on cycle patrols. Cycles give the troops quick mobility to reach any troubled spot in the crowded streets within minutes where as the armoured cars or other combat vehicles would take time.

* 96 civilians flee from LTTE: seek protection with security forces
Feb 02 (MOD) Despite LTTE fastening grip on the thousands of civilians entrapped in the outskirts of Mullaittivu, many have made their way towards the liberated regions under security forces seeking safety during the past few days. The latest reported was when 96 civilians from the non-liberated areas made their way in two groups towards the Omanthai Entry/Exit point on Sunday (Feb 1).

* Red Cross Seeks Restraint in Sri Lanka; Hospital Hit
Feb 02 (Bloomberg) The International Committee of the Red Cross appealed for restraint between Sri Lanka’s army and Tamil Tiger rebels after a hospital in the north was hit by artillery shells for the second time in recent weeks.

* People of Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula stage massive protest against LTTE
Feb 01 (CP) Jaffna- For the second time in recent past the people of Jaffna peninsula staged a massive protest campaign today against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). According to the sources in Jaffna nearly 3,000 civilians took part in the protest campaign organized by the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) led by Minister Douglas Dewananda.

* Truce period ends, civilians are still held up in northern Sri Lanka
Feb 01 (CP) Colombo- The 48-hour truce period Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa offered to the LTTE to allow stranded civilians to move into safe areas expired Saturday night but the rebels continue to hold the people ignoring the ultimatum."LTTE terrorists violating the objective of the safe area, moved heavy artillery batteries and mortar guns over civilians endangering their safety also attempting to draw civilian casualties in a military retaliation," the Defence Ministry said.

* Demining of Northern Sri Lanka city Mullaitivu commenced
Feb 01, Colombo: Sri Lanka government has commenced the demining process in some areas of the recently liberated Mullaitivu district, the military said. The army has started the demining in Mullaitivu to create a suitable background for the security forces to use the main routes of the district for travel.

* Sri Lanka: Vanni hospital shelled
Feb 01 (ICRC) Colombo / Geneva– Puthukkudiyiruppu Hospital in the northern Vanni region was shelled this afternoon, killing at least two people and injuring at least five others. The compound sustained two direct hits. "We're shocked that the hospital was hit, and this for the second time in recent weeks," said Paul Castella, head of the Colombo delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). "Wounded and sick people, medical personnel and medical facilities are all protected by international humanitarian law. Under no circumstance may they be directly attacked."

* Another group of fleeing civilians reached to safety
Feb 01 (CP) Vavuniya- A total of 116 civilians including 48 children in several different groups safely reached the government controlled areas this evening, the military said. According to the sources there were 31 women among the civilians who reached Vavuniya from the rebel held areas in Mullaitivu and its suburbs.

* Rebroadcasting center of India Sun TV in Sri Lanka attacked
Feb 01 (CP) Vavuniya- An unidentified person has thrown a hand grenade last night at the re- rebroadcasting center of the South Indian Sun TV located at Vairavapuliyankulam in Vavuniya.

* Army 58 Division Scores string of battlefield victories against LTTE - Visuamadu
Feb 01 (MOD) Sri Lanka Army 58 Division soldiers yesterday (Jan 31) scored a string of victories against the LTTE terrorists in the Visuamadu area with a loaded collection of battlefield trophies.

* Is LTTE's new global wing chief wanted by Interpol?
Feb 01 (IANS) NEW DELHI- Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, facing the worst ever crisis, have formed a new global front to possibly resume peace parleys. But is its first head the same man who is sought by India and the Interpol? Websites sympathetic to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) identified the chief of the newly set up Department of International Relations as Selvarasa Pathmanathan .

* Video: Sri Lankan army closes in on Tamil Tigers - 1 Feb 09 AlJazeeraEnglish
Feb 01 (You Tube) Lanka's government says its troops will resume their offensive against Tamil Tigers.

* Sri Lankan protest is peaceful
Feb 01 (BBC) A demonstration which drew 50,000 people to central London to call for an end to violence in Sri Lanka passed without incident, police have said. Metropolitan police said the protest against Sri Lankan military action in the north of the Indian Ocean nation resulted in just one arrest.

* S Lanka army to 'free' civilians
Feb 01 (BBC) The Sri Lankan military has said it will move to "liberate" thousands of civilians in Tamil Tiger rebel areas. The announcement came after the expiry of a 48-hour government truce for civilians to leave the combat zone.

* Sri Lankan president renews call for rebels to surrender
Feb 01 (Xinhua) COLOMBO- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Sunday renewed his call for Tamil Tiger rebels to surrender, the state radio announced here on Sunday. The Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation said Rajapakse told a political rally on Sunday at the central town of Hanguranketha that all facilities would be made available for Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres who want to surrender to government troops.

More : SECURITY-DEFENSE
* Sri Lanka hospital shelling kills 2 in north -ICRC (02 - Reuters)
* Sri Lankan hospital hit by shelling, 9 killed (02 - AP)
* Deadly strike on S Lanka hospital (02 - BBC)
* Over 7 Killed by Shelling at a Sri Lanka Hospital (01 - NYT)
* LTTE failed to abide by 48-hour deadline: Sri Lanka (01 - HT)
More More . . .

SOUTH ASIA - REGIONAL
* Parliamentary committee: India encroaches Nepali land
Feb 02 (Xinhua) KATHMANDU- A Nepali parliamentary committee, which had inspected the country's eastern region, has concluded that India has encroached Nepal's territory at various points, local media reported on Monday. After inspecting the border region for two days, Parliamentary Committee for International Relations and Human Rights (PCIRHR) said Sunday that India had encroached Nepali land under various pretexts in the eastern boarder, eKantipur.com reported.

* Senior UN official abducted, driver killed in Pakistan
Feb 02 (IANS) Quetta- A senior official of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was kidnapped Monday by some unidentified gunmen in southwestern Pakistan. The police said the kidnappers opened fire on the car of the UNHCR chief of Balochistan, John Solecki, as soon as he left the home for office, The News reported.

* With more Bangladeshis overstaying, India considers tightening rules
Feb 02 (IANS) New Delhi- With some 25,000 Bangladeshis staying beyond the visit period stamped on their Indian visas every year, there are moves to enforce stricter norms while granting such travel permits, with bank guarantees acting as possible deterrents.

* India not doing much for its UN top post nominee
Feb 01 (TOI) NEW DELHI- Bizarre it may seem, but India is virtually allowing its official nominee for the presidency of an UN arm, International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD), to suffer a defeat.

More : REGIONAL
* Outcry in Nepal over parading of naked boys in Terai (31 - IANS)
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FINANCE
* We could produce highest paddy yields – Minister Hemakumara
Feb 02 (DGISL) The need for doubling the paddy yield in the country within the next few years by using improved high yielding varieties of rice coupled with advanced production and protection technologies was stressed by Agriculture Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara at the opening ceremony of the new Rice Technology Training Centre at the Rice Research and Development Institute, Bathalagoda recently.

* CCC Launch of SL-Africa Middle East Business Council
Feb 02 (DM) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) recently launched the Sri Lanka- Africa and Middle East Business Council with the objectives of promoting and expansion of bilateral trade, investment, joint ventures, services and tourism between Sri Lanka Africa and Middle East Regions.

* Pelwatte Dairy launches Rs. 450 million IPO
Feb 02 (DN) Pelwatte Dairy Industries PLC, a subsidiary of Pelwatte Sugar Industries PLC will launch a Rs. 450 million Initial Public Offer this month where Rs. 450 million shares will be offered at Rs. 1 each.

* Citibank not budging on hedging
Feb 01 (ST) Citibank has gone to an international arbitration tribunal for the enforcement of the hedging contracts with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), The Sunday Times learns. Citibank is reported to have filed action prior to this week’s Supreme Court ruling to vacate all its interim orders on the hedging agreements with the CPC.

More:FINANCE
* Derivatives to develop efficient financial system (01 - SO)
More More . . .

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About Sri Lanka ::-
Introduction to Sri Lanka ::-

Sri Lanka is a beautiful island paradise in the Indian Ocean with white sandy beaches lush greenery, exciting adventures, amazing wildlife, cascading waterfalls and a rich heritage. The island of Sri Lanka is roughly pear-shaped. The total area of Sri Lanka is 65,610 sq km. Sri Lanka’s coastline is about 1,340 km (about 833 mi) around.

The people in Sri Lanka are warm and friendly. Sri Lankans are known for hospitality in all over the world. People in Sri Lanka ethnically fall into four main categories. The population of Sri Lanka is about 20 million. Sri Lanka has a tropical climate. Sri Lanka has a democratic government. Sri Lanka is mainly an agricultural country. Colombo is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948. Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Sri Lanka became a plantation economy, famous for its production and export of cinnamon, rubber and Ceylon tea, which remains a trademark national export. By 1996 plantation crops made up only 20% of export, and further declined to 16.8% in 2005 (compared with 93% in 1970), while textiles and garments have reached 63%. The GDP grew at an average annual rate of 5.5% during the early 1990s, until a drought and a deteriorating security situation lowered growth to 3.8% in 1996. The economy rebounded in 1997-2000, with average growth of 5.3%.

Sri Lanka, with an income per head of $1,350, still lags behind some of its neighbors including Maldives and Mauritius but is ahead of its giant neighbor India. Its economy grew by an average of 5% during the 1990s during the 'War for Peace' era. According to the Sri Lankan central bank statistics, the economy was estimated to have grown by 7% last year, although inflation had reached 20%.

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