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Sri Lanka plans new probe of abductions; invites international observers

Nov 5 (AP) The Sri Lankan government said Sunday it is launching a new probe into a spate of disappearances that Tamil Tiger rebels and a rights group say were the work of pro-government forces amid a resurgence of fighting in a brutal separatist war. The government appointed a retired judge in September to conduct an earlier investigation, but the judge has yet to submit his report. more..

Sri Lanka toll nears 3,300 killed in 11 months despite truce: military

Nov 5 (AFP) Nearly 3,300 people have died in Sri Lanka since fighting between Tamil Tiger rebels and troops flared in December, shattering a 2002 truce, defence ministry figures released showed. After the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse came to power in November last year, 860 security personnel and 549 civilians were killed between December 1 to October 25, the defence ministry said on Sunday. more..

Iran-Sri Lanka’s trade exchange hits $50m

Nov 5 (MNA) Excluding Iran’s tea imports from Sri Lanka, the non-oil trade exchanges between the two nations is relatively limited at present. It stands at around $30 million, noted here on Sunday, Iranian Minister of Industries and Mines Alireza Tahmasbi. However, the trade volume – tea included - hits over $50 million, noted the official during a meeting for signing Iran-Sri Lanka technical cooperation agreement. more..

Predictions of doom after Sri Lanka talks fail

Nov 5 (AFP) Sri Lanka's military and Tamil Tiger rebels are again accusing each other of gearing up for war after peace talks collapsed in Switzerland, with analysts saying an upsurge in violence is inevitable. The government and the rebel LTTE failed a week ago to buy time for another round of negotiations despite intense foreign pressure to keep their Norwegian-brokered initiative alive. more..

Lankan Expatriates Vow To Work Against Terrorism

Nov 5 (MoD) More than twenty five Sri Lankan organizations in United Kingdom have formed an organization to Campaign for Peace and Unity in Sri Lanka (CPUSL).Sri Lanka's High Commissioner in UK (Mrs.) Kshenuka Senewirathne, convenor of this organization requested CPUSL's members to formulate a pro-active Media strategy to deal with LTTE's disinformation and propaganda campaign. more..

A9 closure a 'CFA violation'

Nov 5 (BBC) The international truce monitors say Sri Lanka government has violated the truce by continues air attacks on rebel-held territory and the closure of A9 highroad. The SLMM said the monitors don’t even have to visit the places of attacks to rule that air attacks were against the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA). Refusing to re-open the strategically important Kandy-Jaffna highroad is also a blatant violation, the SLMM said. more..

Tamils facing death due to starvation: Sri Lankan MP

Nov 5 (ZN) With prices of essential food commodities sky-rocketing in Tamil settlements in Sri Lanka due to the ethnic crisis, Sri Lankan Tamils are facing a serious crisis of death due to starvation, Sri Lankan Tamil MP Shivajilingam said on Sunday. Speaking to reporters here, he alleged that in addition to being subject to extra-judicial killings and kidnappings, Tamils were being deprived of basic amenities and food. more..

PMK calls for boycott of Lankan President's visit

Nov 5 (PTI) Condemning the "merciless killing" of Tamils in Sri Lanka, PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss today called for a boycott of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's proposed visit to India on November 17. "Sri Lankan forces have been continuously bombarding Tamil settlements and have blocked all arterial roads leading to Jaffna, leaving thousands of Tamils stranded in their homes. more..

Australia score emphatic victory

Nov 6 (CI) Having started off like a runaway train, West Indies ran out of steam, and after a couple of early hiccups and a rain delay that lasted more than two hours, Australia sauntered to their first Champions Trophy triumph. When it came to the crunch, with a major trophy at stake, Australia's greater experience and quality came to the fore, with the bowlers showing immense resolve after being subjected to an early shellacking. more..

Govt: CFA not perfect

Nov 6 (BBC) The Sri Lanka government says the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) signed with the Tamil Tigers is not a perfect document. Defence affairs spokesperson Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the government cannot implement “100 percent CFA” by threatening the national security. “The CFA is not a perfect document. There may be some good clauses in the CFA but there are also flawed ones,” he told more..

LETTER FROM LONDON: Monsoon in Colombo

Nov 6 (DT) Altogether, there are 36 national holidays on the Sri Lankan calendar. Given this wonderfully relaxed attitude towards work, I am not holding my breath, waiting for our house near Tangalle to be finished. It will be a minor miracle if the contractor manages to hand it over to us next year. more..

Sri Lanka’s Human, Minority Rights and National Question will have closer scrutiny in Democratic-Controlled US Congress

Nov 6 (AT) The American voters will go to polls to elect the entire 435 members of the House of Representatives, one third of the 100-member Senate and thousands of constitutional positions throughout the nation at a time the Republican-controlled White House and the Republican-dominated Congress have received the lowest approval ratings from the American people to face a nation-wide electoral debacle. more..

Iranian Minister pledges to resolve Sri Lankan tea import problems

Nov 6 (AT) Iranian Minister Masoud Mir-Kazemi here on Saturday pledged to resolve the problems related to the import of tea from Sri Lanka. Iranian News Agency IRNA reported that Iranian Miniser had discussion with the visiting Sri Lankan Minister of Trade, Commerce, Consumer Affairs and Market Development Jeyaraj Fernandopulle. more..

Chandrika Kumaratunge holding discussion with Indian leaders on her political re-entry

Nov 6 (AT) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga is currently involved in talks with Indian leaders in New Delhi to decide 'with finality' of her re-entry to active politics, reported yesterday a popular Sri Lankan Sinhala language daily in Colombo. Once she decides to do so, she will commence her campaigning from her former party's-SLFP's -main power base, the Attanagalla Electorate, more..

India agrees to supply relief goods

Nov 6 (Hindu) India has agreed to a recent request by the Sri Lanka Government for supply of relief goods to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the north and east. According to sources in the Sri Lankan Government, the request was made following a humanitarian crisis, particularly in the Jaffna peninsula, after closure of the A-9 highway on August 11. more..

Maharaja Group ties up with Norwegian drilling company for oil exploration

Nov 06 (LBO) The Maharaja Group on Monday signed a deal with Norwegian based oil drilling firm Aker Kvaerner, for future involvment in oil and gas exploration in Sri Lanka. The two companies signed a Letter of Intent to float a joint venture company that will offer services for deep water drilling in Sri Lanka, when the opportunity arises. more..

Sri Lanka introduces laws to pay local artists royalties

Nov 06 (LBO) Sri Lanka Monday announced measures to charge a royalty fee on the commercial use of local artists’ creations and penalties for violators, in a bid to tighten the misuse of copyright laws. Mooted by the national Intellectual Property Office or NIPO and the Collective Societies of Sri Lanka, the law sets a fee structure on how artists such as lyricists, musicians and singers, should be paid, whenever their creations are used for a public performance. more..

Sri Lanka’s Asiri Hospitals extends reach to Matara

Nov 06 (LBO) Asiri Hospitals Ltd, currently at the centre of a takeover battle, announced plans on Monday to invest and develop a hospital in Matara. "The Company has entered into an agreement with Central Dispensary & Nursing Home Ltd, Matara to lease the premise for a period of 20-years," Asiri Hospital's Company Secretary, Secretaries & Registrars Ltd said. more..

Maldives-Lanka undersea-link could be first leg of trans-Indian Ocean cable to Africa

Nov 06 (LBO) An undersea optical fibre cable between Sri Lanka and the Maldive Islands could be the first leg of a trans-Indian Ocean cable system that would link Africa with the Far East, officials said. A 20 million dollar joint venture with Sri Lanka Telecom and Dhiraagu Telecom of Maldives, the 850 kilometre cable is due to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2007. more..

Minister Keheliya survived: 'expelling illegitimate'

Nov 06 (AT) The Supreme Court decides that the measures taken by the UNP to remove Minister Keheliya Rambukwella from the party is illegal. A three member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Sarath N Silva was unanimous in its final verdict today on the petition filed by Mr. Keheliya Rambukwella - Minister of Policy Development and Implementation, submitted during early September this year. more..

Moves to curb spread of Chickengunya fever

Nov 06 (LeN) Nearly 2000 cases of suspected Chickengunya fever have been reported from around the country with one death, the Health Ministry said yesterday. More than 1100 cases have been reported from Kalmunai and Mannar alone while some cases were reported from Colombo but the exact figure was not known. However 40 inmates of the law College hostel were reported to be infected with the fever. more..

Lancashire re-sign Muralitharan for 2007

Nov 06 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan, the Sri Lankan off-spinner, will return to Lancashire as their second overseas player for the 2007 season. He has signed a one-year deal for the county he debuted with in 1999. Lancashire cricket manager Mike Watkinson said: "Murali is one of the leading players in world cricket and we're delighted that he will join up with us in 2007. His availability will of course work around his Sri Lanka commitments but more..

Thripitakaya to be published in Sinhala

Nov 06 (GDI) The department of Buddhist Affairs has taken measures to publish the Sinhala translation of Thripitakaya in a simplified form to mark the “2550th Buddha Jayanthi”. The Thripitakaya was translated to Sinhala from Pali by the then government in connection with the 2500 “Buddha Jayanthi”. The Department of Buddhist affairs say that it has taken measures to publish the Thripitakaya in a simplified form to enable the Sinhala Buddhists to understand it. more..

Government welcomes constructive criticism - President

Nov 06 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa who attended a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the construction of a new dagoba at the Keppetiyawa Sri Punyawardenarama Raja Maha Viharaya, Weeraketiya yesterday said that his Government was prepared to take constructive criticism with good spirit. "We are willing to listen to the advice of the Maha Sangha, the intellectuals, the experts and the elders. more..

Samurdhi grant to be raised by 50 per cent

Nov 06 (GDI) The Government will increase the Samurdhi allowance by 50 per cent in 113 Divisional Secretariat Divisions. In addition, Samurdhi students bursaries will also be raised by 50 per cent. Details in this connection were revealed at a progress review meeting of the Poverty Alleviation Ministry at Temple Trees presided over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Excess paddy for export

Nov 06 (GDI) The chance of exporting excess paddy out of the local harvest is a great victory achieved under the agro-economy in this country. It can be concluded that our economy based on agriculture has achieved an unprecedented success during the past year. The ability to export our excess paddy produce is ample testimony to the correctness of our agro-economic policy. more..

Boost for Lanka-China ties - Media Minister

Nov 06 (GDI) At the invitation of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, a Government Diplomatic Delegation including SLFP General Secretary Minister Maitripala Sirisena and Assistant Secretary Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa made an official tour of Beijing, China from October 19 to 28. more..

Myanmar agrees to establish direct trade links with Sri Lanka

Nov 06 (Xinhua) Myanmar has agreed with Sri Lanka to establish direct air and sea links to effectively boost their bilateral trade ties, the local weekly Myanmar Times reported Monday. Currently, trade between Myanmar and Sri Lanka is transacted through Singapore. Sri Lanka mainly imports forestry products and beans and pulses from Myanmar via brokers in Singapore and the country has expressed interest in also importing Myanmar gems more..

Establish democratic institutions in North & East! -JVP

Nov 06 (LP) Establish democratic institutions of elected representatives in the North and the East and by doing so take measures to dispel instability in those regions says the JVP in a letter to the President. In the letter signed by Mr. Tilvin Silva, General Secretary on behalf of the Political Bureau of the JVP, it is stated that “the merge of the Northern and Eastern Districts by Indo-Sri Lanka pact in 1987 on more..

Devananda accuses Tigers of thwarting Geneva talks

Nov 06 (PISL) Talks between the government of Sri Lanka and the Tigers should necessarily be taken forward to a successful completion for the dawning of an honourable peace in this land of ours. This had been the sincere hope and wish, of every well meaning person who wished this country well, said EPDP Leader and Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda yesterday. more..

Food distribution bottleneck eases in North

Nov 06 (PISL) As the Indian Government is actively working on the modalities to provide relief assistance to the Jaffna peninsula following the Sri Lanka Government's request the "bottleneck" situation in the north for the past three months has now greatly eased with regard to the distribution of food and other essential commodities, defence sources said. more..

Navy recovers 120mm mortar bombs from LTTE vessel

Nov 06 (PISL) The LTTE had made an abortive attempt to smuggle in a consignment of mortar bombs immediately after the collapse of Oslo-arranged Geneva II confab. This came to light following a confrontation between the Navy and Sea Tigers in Gulf of Mannar. The detection had been made as the LTTE logistical craft crossed the sand banks from south to north a couple of nautical miles off the Indian waters. more..

EU Presidency pursuing resolution against Lanka?

Nov 06 (LNP) The EU presidency is bent on pursuing a resolution against what it described as the poor human rights record in Sri Lanka on or before the next UN Human Rights Council session on November 27 unless the government makes substantive progress into the latest inquiries on the spate of abductions and killings of civilians in Colombo and the north and east, more..

A step in the right direction!

Nov 06 (LNP) The government is scheduled to announce an eight-member commission to probe fifteen cases of abductions, disappearances and extra-judicial killings that occurred after August 2005, according to The Sunday Island. The incidents are said to include the Lakshman Kadirgamar killing; the hanging of a family of five in Mannar; the Pesalai incident where civilians were shot inside a church; more..

Anti-LTTE US Lankans in bid to unseat pro-LTTE Congressman

Nov 06 (LNP) Anti LTTE Sri Lankans in the United States has launched a campaign to unseat pro-LTTE Congressman Danny K. Davis, the Democratic Congressman from Illinois, who visited the LTTE`s Political Headquarters in Kilinochchi and met LTTE leaders in April 2005, at the next week`s general election. more..

CBK due back after Nov. 15

Nov 06 (SAMN) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga who created a diplomatic faux pas having arrived earlier than the scheduled time is likely to come back on November 15 after her visit to Pakistan. On her arrival to the country last week, the VIP lounge at the Bandaranaike International Airport was not ready to receive her as she had arrived earlie than expected. more..

Jani summoned before DC

Nov 06 (SAMN) Lankan sprinter Jani Chathurangi who has been found guilty of using the performance enhancing drug Norandrosterone has been summoned to appear before the SAG Disciplinary Committee (DC) on Monday. However, it is very unlikely that Chathurangi who was seeking medical treatment in the aftermath of the SAG medical committee ruling would be present at the hearing. more..

Ranil seeks meeting with President

Nov 06 (SAMN) Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has sought a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaska this week to further discuss finer points of the MOU signed between the SLFP and the UNP and the outcome of the Geneva talks. The discussions are likely to focus on the modalities of the committee tasked with monitoring the agreement and the role the UNP would play in the All Party Conference (APC) more..

Abductions: Govt. loyalists responsible

Nov 06 (SAMN) The Committee for the Investigation of the Disappeared said in a media release Sun day that according to evidence they had gathered, armed groups loyal to the Government were responsible for abductions including those who were taken for ransom. It said that the movement had to build pressure both locally and internationally to change the undemocratic activities and the find those who have disappeared. more..

No approval granted for private Medical College - Education Ministry

Nov 06 (DN) The Ministry of Education points out that it has not granted official approval to any institute to start a Private Medical College. The Ministry of Education inquired into this matter after hearing that a private education institute was granted permission by the Board of Investments to start a Educational Institute in the Piliyandala area to forward the students to face the examinations of a Medical Faculty of a certain University in Tanzania. more..

President vows not to allow country to be divided

Nov 06 (SN) “Our government has drawn plans to implement development projects through out the country including the North and the east. The development activities should be distributed equally among all people making no distinction of their race, religion, or caste” said President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a ceremony held to lay the foundation stone for a new Chaithya at Keppetiyawa Rajamaha Viharaya at Weeraketiya yesterday. more..

A mysterious aircraft detected in Mannar Sky

Nov 06 (MoD) A mysterious aircraft was detected by the Air Force radars flying in the Mannar sky yesterday. The police source who had observed the presence of the suspicious aircraft informed the matter to Sri Lanka Air Force authorities around 5p.m. Sri Lanka Air Force Radars located at in Vavuniya also reported the detection. The Air Force authorities conducting further investigation to the matter. more..

Will the MoU bring about a more ethical political culture?

Nov 06 (LP) People are talking about the MoU between the UNP and the SLFP bringing about a new political culture. But a new culture cannot be produced by a mere signing of a document in a country where even oaths to uphold the Constitution are violated without the slightest qualm. Remember the ‘Adisthana Poojawa’ which was staged by the two party leaders after the tsunami. more..

Internet to rural Mahavilachchiya using mesh technology

Nov 06 (NP) A historical event took place today at Horizon Lanka at Mahavilachchiya yesterday. The first ever mesh network was declared open by Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, the Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka and the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Regulatory Committee. more..

Do not extend military assistance to Sri Lanka, says MDMK

Nov 06 (PTI) The MDMK today requested the Centre not to extend any military assistance to Sri Lanka, saying it would be used against Tamils in the island nation and urged that the Government to stop the 'military onslaught' against the Tamils there. MDMK Chief Vaiko, in a letter to Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, said Tamils in Tamil Nadu and all over the world were 'terribly' concerned about the safety, security and normal life of the Tamil population in the island. more..

War no excuse for intimidation

Nov 06 (TS) Sri B. Sri-Skanda-Rajah grossly mischaracterizes Human Rights Watch's report on the use of intimidation and extortion by the Tamil Tigers against members of the Tamil diaspora by claiming that our research was based on 12 interviews with "known agents of the Sri Lankan paramilitary" and those with personal grudges against the LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka's Jayasuriya, Sangakkara in Bangladesh clash

Nov 06 (Reuters) Sri Lanka batsman Sanath Jayasuriya arrived in Bangladesh on Monday to play against his international team mate Kumar Sangakkara in a domestic competition. Jayasuriya will play for Acme Laboratories while wicketkeeper Sangakkara turns out for Beximco Group in the final of the Corporate Cricket League in Dhaka on Tuesday. more..

Pro-LTTE Tamil party seeks Indian aid

Nov 06 (HT) Sri Lanka's dominant Tamil political party is seeking humanitarian assistance from India in the form of essential food supplies to offset serious shortages in parts of the island's northeast. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which supports the LTTE, has made the request to the Indian high commission in Colombo, said one of TNA's 22 MPs, MK Shivaji Lingam. more..

Tamil officers removed from SL President's security detail

Nov 06 (TN) Twenty Tamil Sri Lanka police security officers accompanying Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse to a public function at Veerahetiya, an upcountry town, Sunday were sent back to their stations on suspicion raised on the bonafides of the officers by the Veerahetiya Sinhala residents, sources from Hatton said. more..

Sri Lanka ranked 84 corrupt nation: Transparency International

Nov 06 (AFP) Haiti, Myanmar and Iraq are perceived as the most corrupt countries in the world while Finland is seen as the cleanest, a respected global graft watchdog reported Monday. Transparency International (TI) said in its annual Corruption Perceptions Index covering 163 countries that some of the world's poorest nations were also the most sleaze-ridden, undermining international development efforts. more..