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Sri Lanka to drop ethnic origin reference
Thursday, 30 August 2007 - 11:50 PM SL Time

Sri Lanka has decided to exclude references like nationality, ethnic origin, religion and language in all future registration of households by the police.

The decision follows a directive by the Human Rights Ministry on representations by civil society groups which had raised objections against some of the details sought by the police.

A statement by the Disaster Management and Human Rights Ministry said here on Wednesday that henceforth, the only information required to be furnished will be confined to the chief occupant`s name, identity number and address, names and ages of family members together with their identity numbers and relationship to the chief occupant.

The new directive is an attempt to ensure that there would be a uniform system of registration throughout the country.
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British visa section may move out
Thursday, 30 August 2007 - 6:21 AM SL Time

The British High Commission in Colombo has decided to close down its visa section soon and applications for visas will be diverted to its mission in Chennai, the Daily Mirror learns.

However, the High Commission in Colombo would only say there was an ongoing review in this regard.

`Once the review is finished and agreed the High Commission will announce the development,` High Commission Spokesman John Culley told the Daily Mirror yesterday.

He declined to give more details but said he hoped an announcement could be made by next month. `I cannot guarantee it, it may be by September,` he said.

Meanwhile, a diplomatic source told the Daily Mirror yesterday that the all local visa related matters would be handled by a private company named Visa Facilitation Service (VFS) at Duplication Road in Colombo, which handles visa operations for several other countries as well.
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STF finds hiding child cadres in Ampara
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 - 9:42 PM SL Time

The STF in Ampara yesterday found eight LTTE child cadres hiding in bushes in the area where, the previous night the LTTE claimed, they, together with several other child soldiers were to be handed over to the UNICEF.

As was reported in the Daily Mirror yesterday, the UNICEF said it had no knowledge of any handover of child soldiers by the LTTE in Ampara and with the revelations following the youth at risk, suspicion had been further raised that the lives of the children had been put at risk by the Tigers on the previous night. Reiterating that they had no knowledge of such a handover in Ampara, UNICEF spokesman Gordon Weiss stressed that a large scale

handover of that nature would, in any event, be considered unsafe. Taking into account the latest incident the UNICEF spokesman emphasized the need for both the LTTE and the government to work out a mechanism for the safe return of child soldiers. `It is not safe to march a group of children accompanied by armed forces through an area where there is fighting,` he said.
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Most Recent News Discussions
Sri Lanka to drop ethnic origin reference (84)

British visa section may move out (375)

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`Restore` Iqbal Athas` security (43)

Sri Lanka: Country`s Tourism on Down Hill (10)

STF finds hiding child cadres in Ampara (158)

Thomians dilute Royal glory (8622)

Caught in a devil`s nightmare (3)

Lanka, India deal to make film on Buddha`s life (3)

LTTE recruitment prevented Vanni students sitting AL exam (15)

Lankan identity instead of race or religion (14)

Pinwatte killings: Suspect killed in police shoot-out (5)

SLMM concerned over Gotabhaya`s comments (471)

Dances with Tigers (13)

Musings on a railway strike (6)

Aussie embassy alert exposes major racket in false financial statements (5)

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STF ambushes released underage youth en route to parents - LTTE
Tuesday, 28 August 2007 - 9:04 PM SL Time
Fourteen underage youths, 9 boys and 5 girls, who were being taken to be handed over to their parents in Amparai district by the political division of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) and the members of the Child Protection Authority (CPA), dispatched from Vanni to ensure the release, were ambushed by the Special Task Force (STF) commandos at Thaa`ndiyadi in Amparai district Monday around 6:00 p.m. The underage youths were being taken to a civilian populated area in accordance with an arrangement for handover reached between the LTTE and the UN children`s agency, UNICEF, LTTE District Political Head of Ampaa`rai, P. Kavaiyarasan told TamilNet.
Two of the boys have managed to return to an LTTE base after the ambush. However, the fate of the other twelve, 7 boys and 5 girls, is not known, Mr. Kaviyarasan said.
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SLMM concerned over Gotabhaya`s comments
Tuesday, 28 August 2007 - 8:38 AM SL Time
The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM ) has noted that recent statements made by the parties to the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) ? the government and the LTTE - undermine the good intentions or violate the spirit of the agreement.

The SLMM concerns follow the comments made over the weekend by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who had said the government would make a military push for the Wanni despite President Mahinda Rajapaksa seemingly saying on numerous occasions the doors for peace negotiations with the LTTE were still open.
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LTTE received British expertise in Northern Ireland
Monday, 27 August 2007 - 9:13 AM SL Time

The recent chance arrest of an LTTE cadre at a police roadblock in Trincomalee has revealed the existence of a previously unknown British link.

The 29-year-old suspect Kalimuttu Vinodkumar had been among 12 LTTE cadres sent on a three-month training programme Northern Ireland shortly after the Norwegian arranged CFA came into operation in February 2002. The course had been conducted by foreign instructors with the help of Tamil translators.

The Norwegians are believed to have arranged the visit with the knowledge of the then UNP-led UNF government. The British Government proscribed the LTTE in March 2001. The LTTE undertook a series of overseas visits to promote its cause during the first years of the CFA.
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Security Security Forum 

`Restore` Iqbal Athas` security
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 - 8:34 AM SL Time
Media watchdogs in Sri Lanka have called upon the authorities to restore the security of Sunday Times journalist Iqbal Athas.
In a letter to the Defence Secretary, Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) has reminded him that the Defence columnists life is in danger as a result of authorities removing his security last week.

In his weekly columns Athas has exclusively revealed details of the purchase of MiG-27 fighter jets by Sri Lanka authorities from Ukraine.
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Killed Over Land
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 - 8:33 AM SL Time
A long standing land dispute between two families led to the death of a 41-year-old businessman identified as M. A. Mohamed Hussain of Makuluwa in Galle.

He was stabbed to death on Sunday (26).

Police said that a man named Chandima alias Chuti Malli had surrendered to the police in connection with the killing. The knife used in the killing was found.

Acting OIC Crimes, Galle Police J. S. Ariyaratne said the suspect was to be produced before the Galle Magistrate yesterday (28).

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Pinwatte Killings: Suspect Killed I..
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 - 8:33 AM SL Time
A man suspected to be involved in Sunday`s gruesome killing of the five young men at Dikbedda in Panadura died in a police shoot-out early yesterday, police said.

Wadduwa Inspector Nimal Karunaratna said the suspect known as Gayan of Trackwatta (24) a resident of Dibbedda had allegedly attempted to hurl a hand grenade at the police who accompanied him to recover the murder weapon.

The suspect had reportedly led the five-member gang that shot and brutally hacked to death the five youth, all below 22 years, including two brothers of one family when they were returning from a funereal.

`We were able to arrest the main suspect at Ingiriya. When questioned he revealed how he planned and carried out the dastardly crime with the help of four others. He asked us to accompany him to Morawinna to recover the `Manna knife` which was used to hack the victims to death. When the police party reached the scene he grabbed a hand grenade and attempted to hurl it at the police and we shot him in self defence,` Inspector Karunaratna claimed.
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Politics Political News Forum 

Lankan identity instead of race or religion
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 - 8:36 AM SL Time
Responding positively to representations made by civil society groups, the Human Rights Ministry announced yesterday, the government had decided not to obtain details of national or ethnic origin, religion or language when police compile householders lists for registration.

Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe has directed Police Chief Victor Perera to issue a new circular to OICs of all police stations in the country detailing the new procedures to be followed.

The new information required will be the chief occupant`s name, identity card and address, the names and ages of family members, their relationship to the chief occupant and their identity card numbers.

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LTTE recruitment prevented Vanni students sitting AL exam
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 - 8:35 AM SL Time

EPDP Leader and Minister of social Services Douglas Devananda, who condemned the actions of the LTTE, said that as a result of LTTE`s forcible conscription of 60,000 children through the propaganda one child from a house only 7 to 8 per cent of the registered students in the Vanni were able to sit the Advanced Level exam this year.

He said he has reliable reports that the LTTE leader was considering increasing the demand to two children from each household when makes his Matyrs Day speech on November 26, 2007.

That was why He was considering to relocate on alternate lands the 2000 or more families who had been displaced from Ariyalai in the Jaffna Town due to the area being declared a High security Zone. The displaced living in temororary abodes in the coastal areas of Navalady, Maniam Thottam etc. could be prone to pressure and attacks by the LTTE in the future. As they were sandwiched between the two parties to the conflict the security Forces and the LTTE.
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Militant Wahabism beats other Islamic fundamentalists in Sri Lanka
Tuesday, 28 August 2007 - 8:54 AM SL Time
Wahhabism is a new politico-religious movement that is sweeping the Eastern province of Sri Lanka with more than 50 Muslim fundamentalist organizations supporting it and helping in propagating the movement throughout the Island.

Latest report reveals that Wahhabism, headquartered in Kattankudy, has raced ahead and taken control of the Jihadist and Al Fatah groups in Sri Lanka under their wings. This new brand of radical Islamic fundamentalism imported and planted in the midst of peace-loving Muslims of Sri Lanka, mostly through the lavish inflow of Saudi Riyal pumped into this war-torn country has overtaken other Islamic competitors by threats, intimidation and coercion.

The latest victim of Wahabism is `Colonel` Lateef in Oddamavadi. In the early part of August, Colonel Lateef was gun down by the prominent Wahabists militant `Police` Faiz in Oddamavadi. Earlier in July Wahabists gun down Siddique who left Wahabism and joined Sufism.
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Business / Economy News Business News Forum 

Lanka, India deal to make film on Buddha`s life
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 - 8:39 AM SL Time
An historical epic is to be filmed about the life and teachings of The Buddha, a South Asian production team said.

`The message of the movie gives answers to global crises of conflict and environmental problems,` Navin Gooneratne, the chairman of the Light of Asia Foundation, told reporters.

`We will recreate the city of Kapilavastu where The Buddha was born. Hopefully it will not merely be a film site but a permanent attraction for tourists,` Gooneratne said.

The film, Siddharta Gautama Buddha, is a venture between the foundation, which is based in Colombo and India`s Beyond Dreams Entertainment. Veteran Indian director Shyam Benegal will direct the movie.

`The life of Siddhartha is full of excitement and few people realise that. One needs to look at all these aspects because His journey has been so thrilling,` Benegal said.
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Etihad enters into code sharing agreement with SriLankan Airlines
Tuesday, 28 August 2007 - 8:51 AM SL Time
Etihad Airways which is due to suspend its flights to Colombo from September 15, has entered into a code sharing agreement with SriLankan Airlines.

Even though Etihad is to suspend flying to Sri Lanka it has not fully deviated from Sri Lanka, said Regional General Manager, Asia Pacific, Etihad, Charles Phelps - Penry.

Despite an initial reduction of seating capacity out of Colombo on the Colombo - Abu Dubai route, due to the Etihad suspension, a joint marketing will enhance the destination as well as Sri Lanka, said Head of Worldwide Sales, Sri Lankan Airlines, Manoj Gunawardena.

Sri Lankan Airline daily flights to Abu Dhabi will accommodate traffic from Etihad`s three flights a week service to and from Colombo.

According to the code sharing arrangement, the Sri Lankan Airlines flights will include the Etihad flight references in addition to its own. The joint marketing of Colombo as a destination by both Sri Lankan Airlines and Etihad Airways will strengthen the position of Sri Lanka, added Gunawardena.
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Lanka can reach 80% connectivity before 5-10 year timeframe - expert
Tuesday, 28 August 2007 - 8:49 AM SL Time
Sri Lanka has the potential to reach 80% connectivity well before the required time frame with the right broadband access in place.

`The United States has an 80% connectivity percentage while Sri Lanka only has 10% but given the right solutions and infrastructure Sri Lanka is able to achieve high percentage of connectivity in a time frame of 5 to 10 years,` said the President of Technology Networking International, Dr. Zoran Miljanic.

He made this observation at the runner up to the 1st South Asia Broadband communications Congress and Expo which is to be held on September 4-6th at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel. According to Dr. Miljanic, who is spearheading the conference that will stage two workshops and showcase over 40 presentations presented by speakers from all over the world.
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Editorial News Editorial News Forum 

Musings on a railway strike
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 - 8:37 AM SL Time

Rathu Sahodarayas must be nursing their derriere after Monday`s pratfall. If they sought to flex muscles through a railway strike, they had egg on their face in the end. It came a cropper! That is the price a political party has to pay for being cocky. The UNP trade union arm, which could have helped cripple the railway if it had joined forces with the strikers, let the JVP union which called the strike, stew in its own juice. Why? The JVP had not heeded the call by the Mangala-Ranil combine to join the Jana Rala protest campaign. It was tit for tat, as UNP strongman and MP Ravi Karunanayake told this newspaper.

Last year, the JVP learnt a bitter lesson from the government, which didn`t agree to its conditions for forging an electoral alliance for the Local Government Polls. The JVP demanded too much and the government decided to go it alone. So did the JVP?only to face disastrous consequences. The problem with the JVP is that it is a poor learner with a massive ego. It never realises that it can neither capture state power on its own nor become the main Opposition in its own right. It has to ride either of the two main parties piggyback or remain what it is?a poor third force.
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Dances with Tigers
Tuesday, 28 August 2007 - 8:55 AM SL Time
This country is perennially under pressure to respect the rule of law. The international community never misses an opportunity to remind Sri Lankan governments of this democratic obligation on their part. Whenever a breach of law occurs here, alarms go off in London, New York and Paris. The government gets inundated with warnings. This kind of reaction from the democratic world may be anathema to those at the levers of power here but it is, no doubt, salutary. Governments, as ex-President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga declared the other day, cannot act like terrorists. How true! Nor should governments, she should have added, give in to or sleep with terrorists!

How do the countries which rightly bring pressure to bear on this country to uphold the rule of law conduct themselves? A recent confession by an LTTE cadre has revealed that Britain, which is in the forefront of a campaign to protect democracy here, does not respect her anti-terror laws. He has said he underwent training in Northern Ireland as a member of the `Eelam police` immediately after the CFA came into being.
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School admissions: Time for grasping the nettle
Monday, 27 August 2007 - 9:21 AM SL Time
The entire education system is in crisis. Universities are on the boil they remain more closed than open. Their products are not fit for the job market and have to be employed virtually on charity basis in the state sector which is bursting at the seams. GCE (A/L) paper marking has come to a standstill with teachers holding students to ransom in a bid to win their demands. Only 17,000 out of about 117,000 who qualify for higher education annually gain university admission as universities are not equipped to accommodate all of them. Nearly one third of students who sit the GCE (O/L) examination are said to drop out. Private tuition has come to prop up state-run schools thus making a mockery of free education. Atop all these, Grade One school admissions, too, have become problematic.

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Sports News Sports News Forum 

England defeat India to take 2-1 series lead
Wednesday, 29 August 2007 - 8:40 AM SL Time
England made short work of a long India tail at Edgbaston on Monday to win the third one-day international by 42 runs and take a 2-1 lead in the seven-match series.

India, chasing 282 to win, matched the required strike rate when their specialist batsmen were at the crease but the lower order were unable to maintain the momentum.

After reaching 190 for four, the visitors collapsed to 239 all out from 48.1 overs in reply to England`s 281 for eight.

England`s innings was anchored by Warwickshire`s Ian Bell, who struck 79 off 89 balls with two sixes on his home ground. It was his third consecutive ODI score in excess of 50.

The home team got away to a fine start, racing to 76 in 14 overs after Rahul Dravid had won the toss and decided to field on a fine, sunny morning.
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Caught in a devil`s nightmare
Tuesday, 28 August 2007 - 8:57 AM SL Time
Unlike herself, Susanthika Jayasinghe broke down in bitter anguish after her shock disqualification in the second round of the 100 metres at the world athletics championships but vowed to make up for her failure in the 200 metres here at the Nagai stadium yesterday.

Usually a bubbly character, and able to hide her emotions, Jayasinghe confessed that she was aiming to pull off something special in the event and was still finding it hard to believe she had actually taken a false start.

`It is difficult to come to terms with what happened. It is a bad nightmare I want to put it behind me`, said the champion Sri Lankan sprinter the only athlete from the island nation to qualify for the world`s highest level athletics event.

However Jayasinghe has little time to erase the bad memories of that steamy Sunday night at the Nagai stadium as she has just two days to recover before tomorrow`s women`s 200 metres first round which is scheduled for 7.10 in the morning Sri Lanka time.
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Indian league little threat to world game
Monday, 27 August 2007 - 9:46 AM SL Time

During the the schism brought about by Kerry Packer`s hijacking of world cricket in the late 1970s, one statement from Ray Steele, the treasurer of the Australian Cricket Board, was enough to know that the game was up. At the same time that Packer was in the process of spending A$25 million setting up and televising World Series Cricket, Steele announced that he had not been able to sell the commercial television rights for Australia`s 1977-78 international season. The subsequent revelation that he had negotiated a $1,000 increase, from $9,000 to $10,000, for the rights to the domestic limited-overs competition was greeted with great joy by the board members. These dinosaurs were about to suffer extinction.

Packer`s name has cropped up again this week in relation to the ZEE TV-backed Indian Cricket League, which a short time ago announced the names of 50 cricketers who have blown a huge raspberry to their respective cricket boards by joining the league. Javed Miandad urged the Pakistan Cricket Board to take a more conciliatory line than their Indian counterparts by not banning those Pakistan cricketers who had joined up because the ICL had the `potential to be like the Packer series and snowball into something big`. The general consensus is that the ICL represents a serious threat.
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