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Anton Balasingham is in critical health condition

Nov 22 (AT) Anton Balasingham, the self-styled ideologue of the LTTE is suffering from serious health condition and said to be very critical. It is said that a type of cancer has spread all over in his vital organs and according to medical sources it cannot be medically cured. Reports reveal that Balasingham 68 years old, was suffering from diabetes, coronary conditions and has also a transplanted kidney donated by a LTTE cadre due to chronic conditions of his kidney. more..

Co-Chairs Group lauds India's 'responsible role'

Nov 22 (IANS) The Co-Chairs Group on Sri Lanka has praised India's 'responsible role' in the peace process and asked both Colombo and the LTTE to return to the negotiation table to end the upsurge in violence and human rights violations in the country. The Co-Chairs of the 2003 Tokyo Donors' Conference on Sri Lanka - Japan, Norway, the European Union and the US - expressed alarm at the rising level of violence in Sri Lanka and condemned both sides for recent violations of the 2002 ceasefire agreement. more..

Sri Lanka bombs Tiger territory, says donors misled

Nov 22 (Reuters) Sri Lankan air force jets bombed Tamil Tiger territory for a second day on Wednesday, as the government accused Nordic truce monitors and a U.N. envoy of misleading financial donors about military truce violations. The military said fighter jets hit two rebel naval bases in the northwestern district of Mannar, while the LTTE said the army was shelling a planned humanitarian aid route to thousands of displaced in their territory in the east. more..

Sri Lankan government unfazed by donor condemnation

Nov 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka's government was undeterred in its battle against Tamil Tigers, despite heavy criticism dished out to the warring parties after a key international donor meeting. On Tuesday major donors engaged in efforts to end Sri Lanka's civil war condemned the government and Tamil rebels alike for human rights abuses and systematic violations of a 2002 ceasefire. more..

FMM mourns the passing away of Ajith Samaranayake

Nov 23 (TW) The passing away of Ajith Samaranayake a leading journalist of Sri Lanka and a founding member of the Free Media Movement (FMM), saddens us. Ajith was a long time activist for media freedom in Sri Lanka . He held the post of chief editor in number of newspapers including The Island and The Sunday Observer. more..

You speak of shortages and why block food supplies - Keheliya

Nov 23 (LeN) The LTTE which speaks of the humanitarian questions and food shortages tries to block when the government tries to send essential food supplies and medicines said Minister Rambukwella speaking at the press briefing at the Information Ministry this afternoon. While admitting that there is a food shortage in Jaffna the minister said the LTTE has objected to the idea of opening of an alternate road to Jaffna. more..

We will not endorse Prof. Tissa's Views - Ven. Omalpe

Nov 23 (LeN) In a communique issued by the Jathika Hela Urumaya on the statement made by Minister Tissa Vitharana that all party representative committee have agreed to a final solution with maximum devolution of power, states that any devolution of power or decentralizing of power should conform to Mahinda Chintana. more..

8000 mines around Vakarai

Nov 23 (LeN) During the last four weeks the LTTE has buried more than 8000 anti personnel mines around Vakarai. This they have done to prevent the people of Vakarai crossing over to government controlled areas. At a media conference held today at the information ministry the military media spokesman said 2352 people belonging to 462 families have crossed over to government controlled areas and they are housed in camps at Valachchnai. more..

You speak of shortages and why block food supplies - Keheliya

Nov 23 (LeN) The LTTE which speaks of the humanitarian questions and food shortages tries to block when the government tries to send essential food supplies and medicines said Minister Rambukwella speaking at the press briefing at the Information Ministry this afternoon. While admitting that there is a food shortage in Jaffna the minister said the LTTE has objected to the idea of opening of an alternate road to Jaffna. more..

Use negotiations to end Lanka bloodshed: Karunanidhi

Nov 23 (ANI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Karunanidhi has said that only negotiations can end the bloodshed in strife torn Sri Lanka. Addressing a press conference at the State Secretariat here on Wednesday, Karunanidhi said the Sri Lankan Government should work towards creating an atmosphere of peace and stop its ethnic genocide. more..

Weekly Political Roundup

Nov 23 (SS) President Rajapaksa whose attention was focused on the presentation of his Government's Second Budget did not get even a little respite last week. The assassination of Raviraj and the problems arising out of it occupied centre stage. 'Just one week passed after I became the President Joseph Pararajasingham was killed. Just one week before I completed a year in office, Raviraj was killed. more..

Businesses urged to change mindset on waste management

Nov 23 (SS) Three experts shed light on a socially conscious approach to sustainable growth and profitability to a gathering of small and medium enterprise business leaders at a seminar titled 'Living Business' organised by HSBC. The theme for the inaugural seminar was 'The Hidden Path to Profit' and the chief guest was Dr. Ranee Jayamaha, deputy governor, Central Bank. more..

Scams - why blame others?

Nov 23 (SS) Every now and then we hear of scams and about how people lost millions. We blame the businessmen who conduct these scams. We blame the government, the treasury, the police for not taking any preventive measures and for the failure to catch the culprits. We blame the banks for not warning the customers. In reality, if we get caught in these scams and lose money we have to blame only ourselves. more..

Take - it - away, guys!!

Nov 23 (SS) Sri Lankans are very fluent in English, so much so in fact that they put their British counterparts to shame. If you do not agree with me just take a look around at the myriads of billboards and signboards dotting the landscape around the country. Of approximately a hundred boards, ninety nine will be in English although the majority in our country speak Sinhalese. more..

Court to decide fate of film on Rajiv killing

Nov 23 (IANS) A Tamil film about the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, held up by certification authorities for 13 years after it was made, may at last see the light of day, thanks to the Madras High Court. Come Thursday and a bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice AP Shah and judge K Chandru would see Kutrapathirikai (Chargesheet) to decide whether it is appropriate for public screening. more..

Sri Lanka conflict to dominate Rajapakse's India visit

Nov 23 (IANS) India and Sri Lanka are expected to have a free and frank exchange on the ethnic conflict when President Mahinda Rajapakse arrives here at the weekend on his second trip in a year amid unending violence in the island. Rajapakse is scheduled to open an international conference of mayors at Dehradun in Uttaranchal during a five-day journey that will include a private leg and discussions with Indian leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. more..

Sri Lanka parliament approves 2007 government budget

Nov 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's parliament on Wednesday approved the government's 2007 budget, which boosts spending next year on long-neglected infrastructure and on defence amid renewed civil war with Tamil Tiger rebels. Parliamentarians voted 133 in favour to 18 against to pass the budget bill, which President Mahinda Rajapakse presented to parliament on Thursday, lawmakers said. more..

LTTE denies hand in Rajiv assassination

Nov 23 (NDTV) In an exclusive interview to NDTV the political wing head of the LTTE claimed that the LTTE had nothing to do with the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. He demanded that the case should be further investigated and also the banned organisation is now seeking Indian support. Are these signs of weakness or of a growing realisation that without Indian support Tamils in Sri Lanka will never be able to find a lasting solution? more..

What is Ram without Ravana?

Nov 23 (AFP) The Ravana raj seems to be making a come back. In a recent development, people claiming themselves to be descendents of Ravana are building a temple dedicated to the demon king in Jodhpur. And interestingly, it is coming up in a Hindu heartland where Lord Ram is devoutly revered by all. This will be the first such temple in north India. The town is considered to be Mandodari, Ravana’s wife’s native place. more..

Next budget in Tamil Eelam: TNA

Nov 23 (DM) TNA Parliamentarian M.K. Eelaventhan told Parliament yesterday they would attend the next budget speech in Trincomalee, the capital of Tamil Eelam. Speaking during the budget debate yesterday, Mr. Eelaventhan said this was the last budget they would be participating in this House, and they were on the verge of forming a separate state now. more..

Anura claims Lanka heading towards failed state

Nov 23 (DM) Sri Lanka is fast heading towards the status of a ‘failed nation’, Tourism Minister Anura Bandaranaike said in Parliament yesterday. Speaking during the fifth day of the Budget debate, Mr. Bandaranaike said it was the stark reality whatever anyone might say. He said all of them shared a blame for it with not a few leading politicians on both sides of the divide. more..

Well Said Mr President! I would like to add few more things for consideration

Nov 23 (AT) Of all the news items that appeared in the local press last week on the subject of governance in Sri Lanka the following two attributed to the Sri Lankan President, I think, should draw the attention of all those who are concerned with domestic politics as well as the foreign policy of Sri Lanka. These two statements, I think marks a land mark in the evolution of the political history of this Island nation. more..

Evangelical Alliance Sri Lanka Urges Government to Protect Religious Freedom

Nov 23 (CT) The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) has urged the country’s government and law enforcement agencies to uphold for every citizen the right to freely practice the religion of their choice, without any harassment, a statement released yesterday said. Officials of the NCEASL said in the statement that they were “alarmed at the manner in which unruly elements used violence and force against minority Christians engaging in prayer and worship.” more..

Lankan pepper quantity capped

Nov 23 (AFP) The Centre has imposed quantity restrictions on import of pepper from Sri Lanka under free trade agreement. The total import of pepper under Indo-Sri Lanka free trade agreement would be restricted to 2,500 tonnes per annum, from April 1 to March 31, a Spice Board release said. The quantum of import of pepper for the current year would be arrived at by deducting the import of this item already made by Sri Lanka under the agreement Till November 21, the date of issue of the order, it said. more..

Sri Lanka's Central Bank Expects 8% Growth Next Year

Nov 23 (Bloomberg) Sri Lanka's economy is unlikely to be derailed by escalating violence on the South Asian island, according to the central bank, with an expected expansion of 8 percent in 2007 the fastest pace in almost 30 years. "We can make 8 percent" growth next year on rising investment and construction, Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said in an interview in Singapore. more..

Lankan Tamils seek Indian intervention

Nov 23 (NDTV) Tamils in Sri Lanka call themselves the forgotten people, because their umbilical cord with Indian Tamils snapped after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. The Jaffna Tamils say the assassination was the Tigers' biggest blunder, which led to their being dropped off the Tamil map. But they stop short of attacking the LTTE, their sole protection in times of ethnic cleansing. more..

HIV: “Sri Lanka is a low prevalent country, but at high risk”

Nov 23 (TW) The global AIDS epidemic continues to grow, unfortunately and there is concerning evidence that some countries are seeing a resurgence in new HIV infection rates, which were previously stable or declining. However declines in infection rates are also being observed in some countries, as well as positive trends in young people’s sexual behaviours. more..

Be patient please, Sri Lanka to tell India

Nov 23 (IANS) In the face of persistent Indian calls to devolve autonomy to the Tamils, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse arrives here this weekend with a polite request not to rush him into a political settlement. The president is also expected to tell the Indian political leadership that if and when Colombo agrees to a negotiated settlement, it will not just be with the LTTE but involve other Tamils as well. more..

Rebels kill 3 govt security guards, wound 5 soldiers in separate attacks: military

Nov 23 (AP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels raided a security camp in northern Sri Lanka early Thursday, killing three government security guards, while five soldiers were wounded in separate attacks, the military said. The assailants entered the camp at Kabithigollewa around 2:30 a.m., killing the security men, known as "home guards" — pro-government civilian residents who have weapons training and help security forces, more..

Cabinet Decisions

Nov 23 (GDI) Establishment of a new Department by the name of Department of Civil Security in order to discharge a the functions performed by former Home Guard Service Project which was functioning under the Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order has been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. The Cabinet Memorandum was presented by H E the President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Defence Minister. more..

High Court receives power of trial from Court of Appeal

Nov 23 (GDI) The government has taken a major step to reduce the long delay in hearing of appeals at the Court of Appeal. The amendment to reform the District High Court System was approved by the Parliament without a debate this morning. Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva, The Leader of the House said that the amendment is aimed at strengthening the judicial system and setup the background to remove delays in the judiciary appeal system. more..

Government continues development process despite conflict

Nov 23 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he would never allow disrupting the country’s development process in the face of North and East conflict. He disclosed that instructions have been issued to relevant authorities to complete the development projects as soon as possible. President was speaking at a meeting of Samurdhi - agriculture representatives at the Temple Trees in Colombo. more..

Human Rights course for Ground Commanders

Nov 23 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Army that has implemented a number of special measures to prevent violations of human rights by the Army after introducing special training sessions on Human Rights (HR) and International Humanitarian Law (IHL) for all ranks in the Army. One more symposium on HR and IHL, meant for Ground Commanders of the Army, Navy and Air Force is scheduled to take place shortly in Colombo. more..

Nicholas Burns confirms US hard line on Tamil Tigers

Nov 23 (AT) The United States’ policy toward the crisis in Sri Lanka was clearly laid down by U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns as never done before by his government expressing total contempt of the Tamil Tigers, while espousing a hard line policy on them, and interpreting the politico-military efforts now undertaken by Sri Lanka as an attempt to secure the nation’s territorial integrity at the press briefing following the Co-Chair session on Tuesday, November 21. more..

No food shortage for Prabhakaran’s birthday celebrations

Nov 23 (AT) While the Tiger propaganda machine, backed by the Church and the NGOs, is screaming about the starving Tamil people in the north, the Tiger hierarchy is making elaborate and lavish preparations to celebrate the 52nd birthday of Velupillai Prabhakaran on November 26. Parades, feasts and ‘thamashas are on the card to celebrate his birthday. more..

Tigers in disarray in the east

Nov 23 (AT) Local residents in the east are expecting the Sri Lankan Army to walk into Vaharai -- the last LTTE’s stronghold of the Trincomalee region despite holding more than 30,000 Internally Displaced People as human shield and placing nearly 8,000 landmines around Vaharai. Soosaipillai Joseph Anthonydas, alias Colonel Sornam, who is the Special Tiger Commander of the Trincomalee region, withdrew to Vaharai after the defeat at Sampur. more..

Tamilselvan once again swear that LTTE did not have anything to do with Rajiv Gandhi killing

Nov 23 (AT) Once again the head of the political section of the LTTE S. P. Tamilselvan denied his group had anything at all to do with the Rajiv Gandhi assassination in an exclusive interview with the Privately owned Television channel NDTV of New Delhi. About many months ago, Anton Balasingham expressed his regret over the killing through the same TV channel but only few hours later LTTE spokesman Daya Master denied any involvement of his group in the assassination of the former Indian Prime Minister. more..

Cynical agenda behind LTTE A-9 demand

Nov 23 (PISL) The LTTE's refusal to allow the food convoy to Jaffna via Muahamalai clearly manifests the cynical agenda behind their demand for the re-opening of the A-9 at Muhamalai, Government Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. Minister said the Government has not moved from its earlier stance on the closure of Muhamalai entry exit point despite its decision to open the checkpoint as a once-only measure. more..

Tigers greatly responsible for violence - US

Nov 23 (PISL) At the conclusion of the two-day Co-Chairs meeting in Washington, US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said his country views the Tigers as "greatly responsible" for the recent bloodshed. Burns noted that the United States believes the Tigers are a terror organisation responsible for innocent deaths, and the Government has a right to maintain its territorial integrity. more..

Committee to regularise food in Jaffna

Nov 23 (PISL) Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda, has taken steps to set up Consumer Protection Committees in the Jaffna district to ensure proper distribution of food items and other essential commodities whilst safeguarding their quality, standard subjected to reasonable prices. more..

Saved at the eleventh hour

Nov 23 (LNP) A Sri Lankan expatriate in Kuwait convicted in a murder case was to be executed by hanging on Tuesday. However, thanks to the prompt intervention by Sri Lanka`s ambassador in Kuwait S.A.C.M. Zulyle, a postponement of the execution was granted by His Holiness Emir of Kuwait at the eleventh hour, Sri Lanka`s Embassy in Kuwait said. The impending hanging of K.G.S. Ruwankumara was announced only on November 19. more..

UN agencies renew request for access

Nov 23 (SAMN) The ICRC and the UN have renewed their request from the Government to gain access to Vaharai warning the longer they remain barred, the plight of 30,000 civilians would only worsen.The ICRC has not gained access to Vaharai since November 9 and several attempts made in the last week have been futile due to military activity in the area between the Government and the LTTE. more..

NTB launches 'Nations Factors'

Nov 23 (SAMN) Nations Trust Bank (NTB) recently launched their factoring arm, the latest addition to their wide range of products by introducing, 'Nations Factors'. The addition of Nations Factors to its product portfolio strengthens the Bank's position as a comprehensive financial service provider and allows Nations Trust Bank to provide customised financial product options to their widening customer base. more..

Bishop de Chickera on A9 road

Nov 23 (SN) Anglican Bishop of Colombo Duleep De Chickera yesterday hailed the government’s decision to open the A9 road and urged the LTTE to facilitate the move. “It will be tragic if the initiative is bureaucratically delayed or politically jeopardised,” he said in a statement. He said Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts have been deprived and isolated for too long hence the decision to open the A9 is welcomed and appreciated. more..

Tigers lay mines to stop civilians fleeing Vakarai – ex Tiger cadre

Nov 23 (RW) The LTTE has planted thousands of Anti Personnel mines in and around Vakarai to block civilians leaving the area; a surrendered LTTE cadre (name withheld fearing reprisals) revealed to the security forces. According to the LTTE cadre, around 11000 mines had been planted by the LTTE in Pannichchankerni, Ichchalanpattu, Kaddamuruvikulam, Pattiadi and Kirimichchi areas. more..

Somawathi Chaitya provided electricity

Nov 23 (SAMN) On the directions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa the Power and Energy Ministry has provided the Somawathi Chaitya with electricity. According to Media Secretary, Power and Energy Ministry, Harsha Abeykone the project will cost approximately Rs. 18 million. "For the initial stages of the project Rs. 5 million has been approved by the Power and Energy Ministry. more..

Security for TNA MPs ensured: Speaker

Nov 23 (DN) All measures have been taken to ensure the security of TNA MPs from the Eastern Province following reported threats to their lives, Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara told Parliament yesterday. He said President Mahinda Rajapaksa had also been apprised of the situation and had instructed the authorities to ensure the safety and protection of TNA MPs. more..

LTTE refuses to guarantee safety of food convoy

Nov 23 (Dawn) The Tamil Tiger guerillas on Wednesday rejected a government request for a guarantee that a convoy of essential items to be sent to the northern Jaffna peninsula by road would be allowed to pass safely through northern rebel controlled territory. The rebels instead demand that the A9 highway, the only road linking the north with the South, be opened permanently and not just as a ‘one time measure’ as announced by President Mahinda Rajapakse on Sunday. more..

SLFP, UNP MoU challenged in court

Nov 23 (TN) An Sri Lankan citizen has filed an application in Sri Lanka's Supreme Court challenging the legality of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP). The MoU has been signed by the two parties to solve identified issues giving top priority to the ethnic conflict. more..

Foreign envoys meet IDPs, medical, fisheries officials in Jaffna

Nov 23 (TN) Dr. C. Kathiravetpillai, Medical Officer at the Manthikai Base Hospital in Point. Pedro, Vadamaradchi raised the current acute shortage of essential food provisions, medical supplies and the malnutrition and starvation in the Jaffna peninsula caused by the closure A9 land route, with the Foreign envoys of Switzerland, Australia and United Kingdom when they visited the hospital Wednesday, sources in Point Pedro said. more..