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New technology to boost postal sector

Nov 19 (SO) The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication has planned to introduce Japanese technology to ensure a speedy and efficient service in the postal sector. Deputy Post Master General, R.P.D Gamini said, a Japanese organisation 'Mitzubishi' and 'Ravo' international organisation in Philippines will be providing technical assistance to uplift the standards of the postal sector. more..

LTTE's `nationalism narrow'

Nov 19 (Hindu) "Narrow nationalism is the main problem of the LTTE," Prachanda said when asked if he had any advice for the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government on the direction towards a peace agreement in the island nation. Mr. Prachanda revealed that the CPN (M) had sent a delegation to learn from the Sri Lankan situation, but had found that the LTTE had little political ideology in it. more..

Devolution beyond CBK package

Nov 19 (NS) A set of proposals envisaging internal self determination, widespread devolution of power and electoral reforms which would be a basis for the government’s final solution to the North-East conflict will be finalised by a group of experts within the next few weeks, Government sources said. These proposals put forward by the Experts’ Panel of the All Party Conference (APC) will be handed over to the Representative Committee of the APC shortly. more..

Co-Chairs to save CFA from Washington

Nov 19 (NS) The entire nation awaits the outcome of the Co-Chairs’ deliberations scheduled for Tuesday, November 21, in Washington. Tuesday’s meeting in Washington is expected to be a crucial one in the backdrop of the escalating violence between the Sri Lanka troops and the LTTE. It is too premature to guess what is in store for Sri Lanka by the Co-Chairs but what could be expected is pressure from the Co-Chairs on the Government and the LTTE to recommence direct talks. more..

Karu hits back at those resisting reforms

Nov 19 (NS) UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya in a strongly worded statement yesterday hit back at the Ranil Wickremesinghe loyalists in the UNP who were resisting reforms to the party constitution. “There are those who are of the view that the powers of the leader should remain intact and that no changes are necessary in the party structure either. more..

President remains strong despite hiccups

Nov 19 (NS) Exactly a year ago the backwoods politician from the deep south Mahinda Rajapaksa ascended the pinnacle of Sri Lankan politics when he took oaths as the fifth Executive President of the country before Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva. Most people are divided over his ascendancy to the country’s leadership. more..

International opinion against arms supply to Lanka urged

Nov 19 (NIP) MDMK general secretary Vaiko has demanded the Indian Government to create an international opinion against the supply of lethal hardwares to Sri Lanka. Talking to reporters here, he wanted the Centre not to extend any type of training to the Lankan pilots on Indian soil, as they would use the skill to bomb the Tamil population in Sri Lanka. more..

Death threats to popular Sri Lanka TV presenter

Nov 19 (PTI) A popular Tamil television presenter here has received a death threat after he hosted a talk show discussing the assassination of a Tamil legislator, a media rights group said today. Shakthi TV presenter J. Sri Ranga who is currently in India said that the police informed him of the death threat against him, but it was not clear from where the threat originated. more..

Weekend violence kills 35 in Sri Lanka

Nov 19 (AFP) At least 35 people have died in weekend sea, air and land battles between Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels and security forces, according to claims by both sides. The Sri Lankan navy said it killed at least 15 Tiger guerrillas after sinking three craft off the island's northwest coast on Saturday. Helicopter gunships and supersonic jets also bombed rebel boats, the navy said. more..

India unlikely to join Sri Lanka's co-chairs

Nov 19 (IANS) As global players overseeing Sri Lanka's peace process prepare to meet again, it is unlikely that India will formally join them even as the conflict slowly turns as intractable as the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. And despite demands and pressures from various quarters, there are also no indications that New Delhi has any immediate plans to increase its profile in an armed confrontation that shows no signs of ending. more..

Sri Lankan troops opened fire on students -- monitors

Nov 19 (Reuters) Nordic truce monitors said on Sunday Sri Lankan troops opened fire on a group of agriculture students at close range in the island's north on Saturday, killing five, after a deadly rebel ambush on government forces. A military spokesman said ground troops told him the civilians were killed in crossfire after a Tamil Tiger blast in the northern district of Vavuniya killed five soldiers on Saturday, and that police were investigating. more..

Sri Lankan military, Tamil rebels exchange mortars, gunfire in the volatile east

Nov 19 (AP) Tamil Tiger separatists launched a pre-dawn attack on a military post in eastern Sri Lanka Sunday, triggering a fierce battle that left two soldiers wounded, the military said. The bodies of two ethnic Tamils abducted in Sri Lanka's besieged northern Jaffna peninsula, meanwhile, were found Saturday with severe knife wounds, pro-Tamil web site TamilNet said Sunday. more..

My govt will not bow down to pressures from any quarter, says President

Nov 19 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that his government has stood by the electoral pledges given to the people under Mahinda Chintanaya to every letter and coma. He said that his government will not be afraid to face the challenge of terrorism and it has been proved beyond doubt during the first year of Presidency. more..

‘We fully support Rock’s statements’- Helen

Nov 19 (NS) The SLMM spokesperson Helen Olafsdottir, says the Mission fully supports the statement made by Ambassador Allan Rock, Special Advisor to the UN Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, accusing Government troops of recruiting child soldiers for the Karuna faction. She says the SLMM brought these matters up with the Sri Lankan Government and reported this to the facilitator but unfortunately, these activities still continue. more..

Sri Lanka begins work on second international airport

Nov 19 (AFP) President Sunday marked his first year in office by launching work on a new international airport to handle the giant Airbus A380 airliner and pledging a major new port.Pr ident Mahinda Rajapakse laid the foundation stone for a 125-million-dollar, 4,000-metre (13,200-feet) upgrade to a small airport at Weerawila, which is to become an international terminal by November 2009. more..

Violence mars Sri Lankan president's first year

Nov 19 (AFP) President Mahinda Rajapakse came to power promising a new approach to peace. But as he marks the end of his first year in office Sunday, the country continues to be wracked by violence, pushing its defence budget to a record high. When he ran for the presidency, Rajapakse was widely regarded as a hardliner and dubbed the "war candidate" by Tamil rebels. more..

Applying the logic of Maavil Aru to the closure of A-9

Nov 20 (TW) Just so we do not forget, the current spate of violence began with the LTTE’s decision to shut the sluice on the Maavil Aru waters in August. The government responded with aerial attacks citing humanitarian reasons, as the LTTE’s action deprived the downstream farmers and their families of water for drinking, washing and cultivation. more..

Anandasangaree and the UNESCO Award

Nov 20 (TW) Veteran Tamil politician Veerasingham Anandasangaree was honoured last Thursday in Paris with the UNESCO Madanjeet Singh award for tolerance and non - violence. The 73 year old TULF president was descrobed as ” An indefatigable advocate of democracy and peaceful conflict resolution, he has contributed to raising awareness of the Tamil cause in a spirit of dialogue, while seeking to promote non-violent solutions to Sri Lanka and opposing terrorism. ” by UNESCO. more..

Dissidents boycott UNP convention

Nov 20 (BBC) Sri Lanka’s main opposition has commenced party convention in the capital, Colombo, in the absence of a group of senior leaders. 17 parliamentarians including deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya and National Organiser SB Dissanayake have boycotted the convention. The group is protesting party leadership’s decision not to put forward amendments agreed to the constitution with the dissident group last week. more..

Tigers fear anger of starving cadres

Nov 20 (AT) Fearing that the rising anger of the starving Tamil Tiger cadres in Vaharai might hit the Tiger high command desperate attempts are being made by the hierarchy in Killinochchi to force the Sri Lanka Government to send lorry loads of food and other essential commodities to the areas controlled by them. Along with the LTTE cadres there are 12,000 Tamil families, more than 80 percent of which are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the villages around Mavilaru, and from Sampur, Muthur and Kiliveddi. more..

Ranil Wickremesinghe protégé Tissa Attanayaka threatens dire consequences for those who went to courts against his leader

Nov 20 (AT) The United National Party’s handpicked General Secretary and protégé of the leader Tissa Attanayaka threatened severe consequences for the senior members of the party who sought the fail judicial intervention to stop today’s annual convention of the party. more..

Jaffna Bishop says Govt `Blind' to Jaffna Aid Crisis

Nov 20 (Bloomberg) Sri Lanka's government is "blind" to the plight of 600,000 people in Jaffna facing food shortages because road links have been cut since August, the bishop of the region said in an appeal to international aid donors. The government "appears to be blind" to the difficulties and won't open the main A9 road link to the peninsula, the Right Reverend Thomas Savundaranayagam said yesterday in a letter, according to the TamilNet Web site. more..

A9 highway linking Jaffna being opened

Nov 20 (Hindu) On the eve of the Co-Chairs of Sri Lanka conference in Washington, the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government late on Sunday night ordered opening of the A 9 highway that links rest of the country to the Jaffna peninsula for transportation of essential commodities. A 9 has been closed since August 11 after major clashes between the Sri Lanka military and the LTTE. more..

Rajapaksa urged to rush relief to Vaharai

Nov 20 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa celebrated his first year in office on Sunday by laying the foundation for a new international airport in his hometown district of Hambantota, even as the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), a pro-LTTE organisation, appealed to him to ensure essential supplies to displaced people in the eastern Vaharai region. more..

Sri Lanka rupee dips to another new low; shares close weaker

Nov 20 (LBO) The rupee dipped to a new low of 109.40 against the dollar early Monday, while shares also closed weaker. The rupee strengthened later to 108.70 with state banks intervening to prop it up, dealers said. The rupee had been under pressure from the second quarter as the government stepped up borrowings from the Central Bank, while a two year overvaluation stemming widening inflation differentials also weighed the currency down. more..

Sri Lanka concludes ADB deal to up funding for Southern highway

Nov 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka has concluded talks with the Asian Development Bank for an additional 90 million dollars to expand the country’s Southern expressway, Treasury Secretary PB Jayasundera said Monday. The 300 million dollar highway will connect Matara in Sri Lanka’s rural Southern region with the capital city Colombo in the Western province. more..

LTTE told my teenage daughter I will be chopped to death - Prof. Hoole

Nov 20 (GDI) Ratnajeevan Hoole, still officially the Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University told Triangle, the newspaper of the Drexel University at Philaelphia Pennsylvania in the United States how he and his family received death threats from the LTTE under which he had to to flee his native country, Sri Lanka. more..

Jaffna will get full day electricity supply - Minister Douglas Devananda

Nov 20 (GDI) "The Government is taking all the possible measures to provide 24 hours electricity supply to the Jaffna district," stated the Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, Douglas Dewananda. The current electricity system in Jaffna only provides electricity in the evenings till 10.00 in the night and the Government has been able to extend it until 12.00 midnight since last 18th of November. more..

Victimised civilians going back home

Nov 20 (GDI) Civilians trapped in areas out of their native places in the Eastern parts, due to the ongoing clashes in Vakarai area were able to return to their homes during the last two to three days. Today forty one (41) people, including nine children, twenty-nine women and three men, went back to the LTTE controlled and around twenty one refused to go back. more..

UN urges Tamil diaspora to hold LTTE accountable for the violations

Nov 20 (GDI) United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, called on the international Tamil diaspora to hold the LTTE accountable for its abuses of human rights. “LTTE has been black listed by the UN Security Council for its recruitment of Children, its humans rights record has been one of the major reasons it has been banned or proscribed in many parts of the world. more..

EDB calls local investors to move with Indian market

Nov 20 (GDI) The Export Development Board invites local investors to join the Sri Lanka Trade Center (SLTC) in Chennai, India. There are few vacant stalls are available for Sri Lankan entrepreneurs at the center to increase the opportunities in the Indian market. Recently India has agreed allow an increase in the number of Sri Lankan stalls at the Centre from 17 to 25. more..

Vaharai children eat roast fish to quench hunger

Nov 20 (TN) Faced with severe shortage of food and driven close to starvation, children in besieged Vaharai area in the LTTE controlled Batticaloa district, have started eating locally caught fish, after roasting them, in open fire under unhygenic conditions, Mr. Moorthy, the coordinator for Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) for Vaharai area said Sunday. more..

Sri Lanka can win the World Cup - Dharmasena

Nov 20 (CI) Kumar Dharmasena, who has decided to end his 17-year first-class career at the age of 35 to become a full-time umpire, is of the opinion that the present Sri Lankan side under Mahela Jayawardene has all the ingredients to emerge victorious in the World Cup in the West Indies next year. He was a key member of Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup winning team. more..

Govt. to open A-9 on humanitarian grounds

Nov 20 (PISL) The government announced yesterday that it was ready to re-open the Muhamalai gateway to facilitate the transport of urgently needed supplies to the Jaffna peninsula. President Mahinda Rajapakse decided to re-open the gateway after consulting the security forces top brass, a statement said. A spokesman for the President’s Office expressed belief that the international community would support the effort. more..

North–East issue cannot be solved by war! – Ranil

Nov 20 (LT) War would never solve the North-East crisis and a solution could be achieved only through discussion said Leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremasinghe. Addressing the 51st Convention of the party. Mr. Wickremasinghe said the present Government too has accepted it. After the consultation committee of All Party Conference forwards its report, the two main parties of the country would compile proposals to solve national question and they would be presented to the tiger organization said Mr.Wickremasinghe. more..

Apollo may pick majority stake in Lanka hospitals

Nov 20 (LNP) Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd (AHEL), which sold its entire stake of 33.22 per cent in Lanka Hospitals Corporation Ltd. (LHCL) to Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC), may pick up a sizeable stake in LHCL again. Unlike earlier, SLIC, which bought out Apollo in LHCL two months ago for Rs 63.80 crore, is now willing to offer substantial stake (even as a leading partner) at a negotiated price, said SLIC Chairman Harry Jayawardhane. more..

Samurdhi deposits top Rs.17 billion

Nov 20 (LNP) The Samurdhi Bank Societies have made remarkable progress in alleviating poverty, recording total deposits amounting to Rs.17,419 million by end September this year. Samurdhi Bank societies under several loan schemes have already disbursed Rs.24,757 million worth credit facilities among Samurdhi beneficiary families from 1996 to September this year to overcome their socio-economic hardships, more..

When singing becomes a crime

Nov 20 (LNP) Many a person has blown a gasket over the appointment of popular singer Karunaratne Divulgane as the North Central Province Governor. They demand to know whether President Mahinda Rajapakse couldn`t find anyone else for that post. Most appointments that politicians make are questionable and the consternation of the public is understandable. But should the appointment of Divulgane be condemned on similar grounds' more..

Darsha, Sugath pull out

Nov 20 (LNP) The Sri Lanka athletic squad bound for the Asian Games suffered a major setback on Saturday when veteran sprinters Sugath Tillekeratne and Damayanthi Darsha pulled out from the 45-nation event due to injury. The Asian Games will be held in Doha, Qatar, from December 1-15. Both Tillekeratne and Darsha, who dominated the Asian track in men`s and women`s 400m during the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, were due to team up with the national squad later this month. more..

LTTE demands A 9 Road opened for all purposes: Rejects govt’s plan to open the road to send only food convoys

Nov 20 (AT) LTTE rejects President Mahinda Rajapaksa comimg forward to open the A-9 Highway to Jaffna to transport food to the 500,000 Jaffna civilians. The spokesman for the LTTE, Daya Master in statement to the news agencies said the government’s plan to send one-off aid convoys to the Jaffna peninsula is not acceptable and the LTTE wanted the A-9 be kept opened permanently instead. more..

Floods threatening the country

Nov 20 (LH) Floods are threatening several areas as water levels of many reservoirs and tanks rise. The Irrigation Department took the initiative to open sluice gates. The Maha Oya in Kegalla has reached the spill level. Alawwa, Wariyagoda and Thulhiriya are impacted. The Irrigation Department said 08 sluice gates of the Rajangana Reservoir have been opened. The water level of Kalawewa is rising rapidly. more..

"Tamils need real autonomy!" - Former Indian High Commissioner

Nov 20 (SN) Sri Lanka, earlier known as Ceylon, won its independence from British rule in 1948. Since then, the Tamil minority in the country has faced discrimination by the Sinhalese majority. To understand the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, one has to realize that there are two categories of Tamils in that country, "Ceylon Tamils" (also referred to as "Jaffna Tamils") and "Indian Tamils." more..

One fourth of Lankans diabetic

Nov 20 (SAMN) Around 4.7 million, both adult and children are suffering from diabetes, according to a research conducted by medical experts recently. Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said Type 2 diabetes, prevalent among the adult population in other countries, had spread alarmingly among Sri Lankan children and more..

Karuna courts Sinhala community

Nov 20 (SAMN) President TMVP Karuna Amman making a statement Sunday requested support and encouragement from the Sinhala community and parties, for their future journey in democratic mainstream and to seek great political solution for its people. “We who have joined the democratic mainstream are acting with commitment in order to establish a new chapter by getting our people a great political solution through democracy and more..

APRC proposes widespread devolution

Nov 20 (SAMN) A set of proposals envisaging internal self determination, widespread devolution of power and electoral reforms as a basis for the Government’s final solution to the North-East conflict will be finalised by a group of experts within the next few weeks, Government sources said. These proposals put forward by the Experts’ Panel of the All Party Conference (APC) will be handed over to the Representative Committee of the APC shortly. more..

Tamils in Australia want embargo on SL

Nov 20 (SAMN) The expatriate Tamils in Australia have decided to request the Australian Government to cease all forms of aid to Sri Lanka until the economic embargo imposed on the Jaffna peninsula is lifted. Chairman of Consortium of Tamil Associations P. Senthooran in Victoria in an emailed press release said they resolved the Australian Government be requested to press the Government of Sri Lanka to reopen the land route to Jaffna, more..

It’s time the government abrogates the CFA

Nov 20 (ISL) In an interview that appeared in today’s “Fiercely Independent” The Nation on Sunday, Wilson Gnanadass betrayed his strong pro-LTTE sentiments when he asked a Norwegian member of the unashamedly LTTE-supportive SLMM the following question during the course of his interview of Helen Olafsdottir: “In the north, not only the Karuna group but also EPDP cadres are freely roaming with arms and there are confirmed reports that the Government is helping them financially and otherwise. more..

Dreams of D.S. and Bandaranike to become a reality

Nov 20 (LeN) President Rajapakse speaking at rally in Weerawila yesterday (19) said that he will not allow any force, any invader or any terrorist to divide this land. The President uttered these words at a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the second International Airport which will cost Rupees 7000 million at Weerawila. more..

Co-Chairs divided?

Nov 20 (LeN) The diplomatic sources in Colombo have speculated a devision among the co-chairs meeting in Washinton today over present situation in North East. It is said that while America and Japan hold one view, European Union and Norway hold different views. While European Union and Norway insists that both parties should suspend hostilities, American and Japanese hold opposite views. more..

Work on LNG power plant underway

Nov 20 (SAMN) The Power and Energy Ministry has planned to inaugurate the construction work on the proposed Iranian-funded Light Natural Gas (LNG) Power Plant at Mirissa late next year. “LGN is a source of cheap power. Iran has undertaken to provide the necessary technology and expertise to set up the proposed plant,” the Ministry said. more..