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LTTE uses Indian Fishermen as shield

Nov 16 (GDI) “The LTTE forcibly take fuel, capture our boats and destroy our fishing nets even well within Indian waters. They won’t let us engage in our livelihoods peacefully,” Sekar, 45, a fisherman from Rameshwaram, told the security personnel after he was rescued by the Army on last 14th in the seas off Kalpitiya. more..

Rural village focused projects for 1st Year of Presidency

Nov 16 (GDI) The 327 new projects will be implemented to uplift the infrastructure facilities including highways and irrigation schemes in rural villages. This comes under a joint project of the Presidential Secretariat and the Ministry of Rural Lively Hood Development. It has been launched under the "Gama Neguma" programme under the theme of "Deyata Kirula: Rata Dinana Heta". more..

Budget to spur on infrastructure development

Nov 16 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will present his second Budget to Parliament this afternoon. The Budget, which is the second of its kind by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Government, will mainly focus on infrastructure development, provincial development and social welfare while promoting local and foreign investment. which would be growth-oriented with a medium to long development emphasis, more..

The Tobacco and Alcohol Act effective next month

Nov 16 (GDI) The Tobacco and Alcohol Act will come into effect from 1st of December. It is a cabinet approved Act presented by the Minister of Health and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva. A gazette notification on the Act will be issued on December 1, 2006 and it will come into force on same day. Producing and distributing of alcohol in places without approval will also be prohibited under this Act. more..

A solution to the voluntary service teachers’ issue

Nov 16 (GDI) The Government has decided to recruit the voluntary service teachers, as assistant teachers to the teaching service as a solution to the crisis of their long lasting problem. The voluntary service teachers, whose statistics have been provided by the Provincial Counsils in accordance with the Teaching Service Minute, will be recruited to the posts of Assistant Teachers. more..

President will visit India as Chief guest of Asian Mayors Conference

Nov 16 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be participating as Chief Guest of the three-day Asian Mayors Conference which will be held at Dehradun in India from November 26th. President Rajapaksa is expected to brief the mayors about the challenge of urban development in Asian countries like Sri Lanka. The President will meet with senior Indian political leaders in New Delhi before returning to Colombo. more..

Govt to promote labour management

Nov 16 (GDI) Government has will be taking steps to promote the labour management cooperation at the enterprise level. According to the Minister of Labour Relations and Foreign Employment Athauda Senevirathne, a separate unit has been set up in the Department of Labour to facilitate the promotion of labour management cooperation and social dialogue. more..

Govt waiting for Rock’s evidence

Nov 16 (GDI) The Government is waiting for a report from the Ambassador Allan Rock, Special Advisor to the UN special representative for Children in Armed conflicts, on the alleged accusation on the Government for supporting the recruitment of children for the Karuna Fraction. “We are not trying to clean ourselves or others, but we are waiting for Mr. Allan Rock’s evidence reports on this allegation to carry on further investigations to find the truth,” more..

Athugala appointed Rupavahini Chairman

Nov 16 (LeN) Dr. Ariyaratne Athugala has been appointed the chairman of the Rupavahini Corporation. This appointment was made by minister of Mass Media Anura Priyadharshana Yapa with effect from 15th Nov. He has worked as the head of the department of Mass Media of the Kelaniya University. more..

North Zone lift Duleep Trophy

Nov 16 (CI) Malinda Warnapura's battling hundred came in a lost cause as North Zone clinched the Duleep Trophy with an eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka A at the Eden Gardens. Warnapura was unbeaten on 149 in a total of 426, but a target of 87 was too easy for North, who won in 18.1 overs with Aakash Chopra backing his first-innings hundred with an unbeaten 51. more..

Double standards

Nov 16 (PISL) The assassination of TNA MP Nadaraja Raviraj in Borella on Friday sent shockwaves around the country. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government swiftly condemned the killing and sought the assistance of Scotland Yard for a comprehensive probe. The killers remain elusive as this is written but Police are working on several leads. There is still no credible evidence linking any group to this gruesome killing. more..

Govt. asks LTTE to put forward alternative to A9

Nov 16 (PISL) The government yesterday told the LTTE to put forward an alternative to the A9 route after the rebels last week turned down the government’s proposal to use the Sangupitty crossing point at Pooneryn for civilian movement to Jaffna. Government defense spokesman Keheliya Rambukwelle told the Daily Mirror as the immediate opening of the Muhamalai crossing point on the A9 was not possible owing to security concerns the government was ready to consider an alternative from the rebels. more..

Norway welcome UK peace initiative

Nov 16 (PISL) Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Hans Brattskar Tuesday left for Oslo after meeting the visiting Chairman of the British Intelligence and Security Committee, Paul Murphy, on a three-day mission here, to see how Britain could support the Norwegian-led peace process. The LTTE quit the peace process in April 2003 during Ranil Wickremesinghe’s tenure as the Prime Minister. more..

Tiger leaders in fear of Karuna attacks

Nov 16 (LNP) All LTTE leaders in Wanni have taken special personal security precautions following reports that Karuna cadres could infiltrate and cause harm. Bodyguards have been increased for all area leaders and their cadres have been alerted to look for any strangers. In the event of any stranger being sighted in Wanni they would be arrested and interrogated. more..

Taming Militants: Lessons from Sri Lanka

Nov 16 (LNP) SOME countries learn from their mistakes, some don`t. Sri Lanka belongs to the latter category. The sufferings of the Tamils, a minority, and the privations of the Sinhalese, the majority, should have made the country realise that both have to live together and that violence will not solve any problem. Still, the Sri Lankan government has bombed some areas in the northern parts where the Tamils live. more..

Security heightened as LTTE stalks VIPs

Nov 16 (LNP) The LTTE is said to be targeting top government politicians in Colombo before its heroes` day commemoration on November 27, according to government intelligence sources. Ministers have been advised to curtail their movements in the city owing to the threat while security has also been tightened in and around Colombo, the intelligence sources said. more..

Collegues vow to carry on policies of slain MP

Nov 16 (LNP) Speaking in the presence of large number of civilians gathered in Jaffna on Wednesday to pay their last respects to Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Late Raviraj Nadaraj, fellow parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran accused an armed group linked to Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) as directly responsible for the killing of Raviraj,sources in Jaffna said. more..

Navy seeks ICRC help to free 4 sailors

Nov 16 (SAMN) The Navy has sought the assistance of the ICRC and ceasefire monitors to secure the release of four sailors captured by the LTTE during last week’s fierce sea battle off Nagarkovil in Jaffna. A senior naval officer said the Navy had asked the government peace secretariat to make the request to the ICRC and the SLMM to get the four sailors released. more..

UNP seeks legal opinion on proposals

Nov 16 (SAMN) The UNP Wednesday decided to seek legal opinion on the controversial proposals for political reforms to be presented at the convention on November 19.There had been much wrangling between the two factions in the party after political reforms were proposed to the party by former Minister S B Dissanayake. Following several rounds of talks, the Working Committee also approved these proposals recently. more..

Estate TUs to get tough on salary demand

Nov 16 (SAMN) Minister and Ceylon Workers’ Congress leader Arumugam Thondaman’s estate trade unions would intensify their campaign to force plantation companies to increase the daily wage of workers from the present Rs. 195 to Rs. 295. Mr. Thondaman told a news conference yesterday his efforts to get an increment for estate workers through dialogue had failed as the plantation companies were not agreeable to his proposals. more..

Proper police-public relations vital

Nov 16 (SAMN) Mere investigating into unlawful acts and taking legal action against the offenders is insufficient to maintain law and order, a proper Police-Public relations is necessary to meet that end, said the Minister of Media and Informations Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. He was speaking at the summing up session of the sports festival in Kuliyapitiya Police Division. more..

Warning to residents of landslide-prone areas

Nov 16 (DN) As heavy rains continued to thrash the central parts of the country, the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) yesterday warned people living in landslide prone areas in the Ratnapura, Kandy and Kegalle districts to take necessary precautions. "We have identified a number of areas in three districts where a high risk of landslides exist. more..

Vaiko to stage fast in Delhi

Nov 16 (NT) Marumalarchi Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) general secretary Vaiko will take up a fast along with his party members at New Delhi on 27 November in a bid to condemn the brutal killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka. In a high-level party meeting held today, various resolutions were passed, and one of the them included the fast by Vaiko on 27 November, the day when the Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapakse is expected to visit India. more..

Clinton seeks political reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Nov 16 (HT) Noting that escalating violence in Sri Lanka has hindered tsunami recovery efforts, former United States President Bill Clinton has sought political reconciliation in the island nation. Clinton stressed the need for continued efforts to make communities less vulnerable from any such disaster in the future and rebuild houses destroyed when the tsunami hit several countries. more..

India to raise concerns of Tamils to Sri Lanka

Nov 16 (PTI) Expressing concern over the recent developments in Sri Lanka and the Tamils' plight there, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he will convey India's concern to the Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse in an appropriate fashion during the latter's visit to the country. more..

Asia holds back from Sri Lanka's oil hedging lead

Nov 16 (Reuters) Jump into a murky pool of options contracts under the tutelage of foreign banks, or hike state-controlled retail prices if oil futures spike again and risk the wrath of voters used to cheap energy? That is the question facing many Asian governments as they try to budget for an increasingly volatile energy future. more..

Sri Lankan starves to death in north, first on record

Nov 16 (Reuters) An odd-job man has starved to death in Sri Lanka's war-torn north, officials said on Thursday, the first such death since state records began in 1991. But officials said the death of Muthiah Chandrapala, 50, was not linked with food shortages in the northern Jaffna peninsula due to renewed civil war. more..

British official discusses Sri Lanka's peace process with Tamil separatists

Nov 16 (AP) A former British Cabinet minister closely associated with the Northern Ireland peace process drew parallels with that conflict and the separatist insurgency that has plagued Sri Lanka for over two decades, the British embassy said Thursday. Paul Murphy, who held talks with Tamil Tiger rebel leaders in their northern rebel stronghold on Thursday, also more..

Tamil rebels use Indian boats to smuggle weapons into Sri Lanka, government says

Nov 16 (AP) The Sri Lankan government said Thursday it has "credible evidence" that fishing boats from neighboring India are being used by Tamil Tiger rebels to smuggle weapons into the island nation. "We now have credible evidence (that) fishing trawlers registered in India are being used by the Tigers," government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told a news conference. more..

President asks Tigers to resume talks

Nov 16 (AFP) President invited Tamil Tiger rebels to resume stalled peace talks and end the escalating violence which has claimed more than 3,300 lives since he came to power a year ago. President Mahinda Rajapakse asked the LTTE to resume negotiations during his speech to parliament on the 2007 budget which sees a 45 percent increase in the country's defence spending next year. more..

President asks rebels to surrender weapons while envoy meets insurgents

Nov 16 (AP) President on Thursday asked separatist Tamil Tiger rebels to surrender weapons and help end decades of bloodshed in the island nation, as a British envoy met with the insurgents to salvage a tenuous cease-fire. In a speech to Parliament, President Mahinda Rajapakse asked the rebels to "give up violence altogether, surrender arms ... and work toward promoting peace democracy and development in the interest of building a new Sri Lanka." more..

British leader's prescription for Lanka

Nov 16 (HT) Paul Murphy, a former British cabinet minister now on a peace mission in Sri Lanka, has said that it is important for parties in the conflict to always keep open lines communication with each other. Speaking in the LTTE-held town of Kilinochchi after meeting the LTTE's political leadership on Thursday, Murphy said: "We urge parties to keep the lines of communication open." more..

Puritans in SLRC fear adolescence

Nov 17 (LeN) The Director of the Rupavahini Educational programme Ms. Anoma Wattaladeniya has been sent on compulsory leave with effect from 15th November (yesterday). The reason behind this action was supposed to be Ms.Wattaladeniya granting permission to telecast a programme called "Udavena Vasnthaya"(the dawning of Spring) which was quite popular among parents adolescents and the educated. more..

$10 visa fee slapped on incoming tourists, milk-food and vehicle import taxes increased

Nov 17 (AT) Incoming tourists to Sri Lanka should pay a new $ 10 visa fee while the Sri Lanka Harbour and Airport Development Tax has also been increased by the Budget 2007 announced today by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his budget speech being delivered at this moment in Sri Lanka Parliament. more..

Sri Lanka slaps higher duties on imported shoes

Nov 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's leather and shoe industry is to be exempt from import taxes on raw materials and machinery, while imported shoes are to be slapped with higher duties. All materials imported for the processing and manufacture of leather and leather related products is to be exempt from import duty and Value Added Tax, Mahinda Rajapakse, Sri Lanka's President and finance minister, said Thursday. more..

Budget reduces passport fees for locals, raises fees for foreign visitors

Nov 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka is imposing a 10 dollar fee on tourists visiting the island, while locals opting to travel abroad will pay less when they apply for a passport. Sri Lankan will pay 1,000 rupees less or 2,500 rupees hereafter to get a new passport, President Mahinda Rajapakse who is also the country's finance minister said during the 2007 budget speech Thursday. more..

New tax benefits and reduction for bank deposits and retiring employees

Nov 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka to halve the surcharge on individual deposits and hopes to increase the tax free threshold for retiring employees as well as remove tax on capital gains and benefits. President and Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapakse told Parliament the taxable interest level will be raised from 108,000 to 300,000 rupees and the ten percent surcharge will be reduced to five percent if total income is between 300,000 and 600,000 rupees. more..

Local gem, jewellery trade get tax friendly budget

Nov 17 (LBO) Local jewellers have got a host of tax reductions in the country's budget proposals for next year, as well as restrictions on jewellery imports. The Port and Airport Development levy on gems, jewellery and gold is to be removed and the Value Added Tax on jewellery reduced from 20 percent to five percent. more..

Construction industry to get tax benefits and charged new cess

Nov 17 (LBO) The government is giving tax benefits to the domestic construction industry in Sri Lanka to help them undertake large projects such as building flyover and townships. "The government has faith in the local construction industry, as a result we have given them the opportunity to Design Build and Transfer (DBT) flyover in Colombo and also develop small townships of 10,000 houses," President Rajapakse told Parliament. more..

Sri Lanka offers cheap credit for small and medium entrepreneurs

Nov 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka is offering a 13.295 billion rupee credit line on concessionary terms to develop small and medium scale industries, President Mahinda Rajapakse said Thursday. He said over 100,000 such industries will be eligible to tap the funding line with interest payments spread between 6.5 percent to 14.0 percent. more..

Unit Trusts gets tax benefits; new tax to force dividend payments by corporates

Nov 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government has introduced a controversial new tax to encourage dividends payment of listed companies, while giving incentives for the unit trust industry. Firms that do not distribute dividends would be subject to a penal withholding tax, according to new proposals released in the 2007 budget. more..

Sri Lanka gives tax incentives to develop shipping industry

Nov 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to give a range of tax incentives and relaxed foreign borrowing restrictions to boost shipping and allied maritime activity, as part of budget proposals announced Thursday. "Sri Lanka is an island nation which is active in international trade, and we want develop shipping, and shipping service activities as an important economic activity," more..

Sri Lanka rescue Indian fisherman

Nov 17 (PTI) Sri Lanka today said, it has rescued an Indian fisherman from the clutches of Tamil Tigers and claimed it pointed to evidence that fishing boats from India were being captured by the rebels to smuggle weapons and explosives into the island nation. A statement posted by the Defence Ministry on its website quoted defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella as saying that the Indian Government, more..

'Don't fall prey to LTTE misinformation'

Nov 17 (Hindu) Sri Lankan High Commissioner C.R. Jayasinghe on Thursday said the LTTE was spreading misinformation globally to hide the reality that the violence in Sri Lanka was solely instigated by it. Responding to a memorandum sent by the All-India Bar Association to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday seeking the Indian Government's intervention to stop ethnic killings on the island, the High Commissioner and Counsellor A. Saj U Mendis met AIBA chairman Adish Aggarwala and vice-chairman S. Prabakaran here. more..

"Centre despatching essential commodities to Sri Lanka"

Nov 17 (Hindu) The Centre was despatching essential commodities to Sri Lanka taking into consideration the situation in the northern and eastern parts of the island nation, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a letter to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. The letter, dated November 11 and released to the press by the State Government on Thursday, said 5,200 tonnes of rice, 1,500 tonnes of sugar and 300 tonnes of milk powder would form part of the humanitarian assistance from India. more..

"Sri Lanka peace process needs to be inclusive"

Nov 17 (Hindu) The former British Minister, Paul Murphy, here to share his experiences of peace building in Northern Ireland, said here on Thursday that it was important to keep all lines of communication open. This was the case even during the worst times of conflict in Northern Ireland. He said the Sri Lankan peace process "needs to be inclusive," and cover human rights and humanitarian assistance, as also language issues and constitutional affairs. more..

Sri Lanka plans 9.1 percent budget deficit in 2007

Nov 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka is expecting a 9.1 percent budget deficit in 2007, with the revised budget deficit for 2006 being estimated at 8.7 percent of GDP. The revised deficit is lower than the budgeted 9.1 percent. The undershoot came from capital expenditure falling sharply enough from budgeted figures, to overcompensate for a rise in current expenditure. more..

Child Recruitment on the radar again: will anything change because of it?

Nov 17 (TW) The issue of child recruitment appears hot hot on the radar in Sri Lankan politics again with Allan Rock’s statement which suggested that the government forces in the East worked with the Karuna (TMVP) faction to recruit under-aged children. While I welcome this statement finally, even though Sri Lanka based activists have been saying just this now for over 2 years, more..

Colombo self-employed appeal to lift vehicle parking ban

Nov 17 (LN) Federation of Self Employed, a combine of Three Wheeler Drivers Union, Lorry Drivers Union and Pavement Hawkers Union of the Colombo city called on the government to allow them to carry out their businesses in the city without hindrance. Slogan-shouting activists of the Federation who held a demonstration at Hyde Park yesterday said that they have been out of business by being forced to vacate the streets by the Defence authorities. more..

Indian link in LTTE arms smuggling operation?

Nov 17 (PISL) A series of confrontations between the Sri Lanka Navy and Sea Tigers in the Gulf of Mannar this year points to the possibility of Sea Tigers using Indian waters for the transfer of arms, ammunition and equipment. There had been five confrontations and one detection since January this year. Of them, two had been made south of Mannar, an authoritative security official said. more..