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Battle mania and after

Dec 9 (ISL) The “Jana Rala” (People’s Wave) organisers went about negating the euphoria over the short lived Thoppigala capture. They drowned it with the promise of a new political culture that develops mother Lanka instead of a brothers’ gang-ho. Ranil – Mangala National Congress called for a massive protest against the Rajapaksa “foursome” just seven days after, with a march to Hyde Park that stretched for five and a half kilometres and took six hours and something to wind up, saying the war is not all in life. more..

Attrition, Maneuvers and Phrrhic War

Dec 9 (ISL) The Sri Lanka Military has significantly altered its tactics of conventional war against the LTTE. The Army seems to have changed its decision to march large columns of men into Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu, Mannar (LTTE controlled) and Pooneryn. The LTTE’s strength was defence in depth. This strategy is to yield space, buy time, attack logistics, weaken by forcing Army to spread-out and to ensure that the longer the advance, the more the resistance. more..

Top Sea Tiger held in Chennai

Dec 9 (LG) The city police in Chennai arrested a Sea Tiger along with his accomplices when they were allegedly in the process of sending a boat to Sri Lanka to be used to smuggle essential commodities from India. According to a press release issued by the State police on Sunday, Chennai city Q Branch, Crime wing police were engaged in routine surveillance on Saturday at the Chennai international airport. more..

Gratitude of the Nation:SLN at 57th

Dec 9 (LG) Sri Lanka Navy, which emerged victorious in the last year as never before in the battle against the terrorism, commemorates its 57th anniversary today, heralding its past achievements and progress, giving more weigh up to the religious rituals of all the faiths, in order to invoke blessings to those who made the supreme sacrifice, their limbs and liberty in the battle for the sake of the nation and for the honour of the navy. more..

Major LTTE fund raising event in London announced

Dec 9 (LG) The LTTE front White Pigeon which succeeded the activities of the now defunct UK charity Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) is holding a major fund raising event on 12 January 2007. The fund raising programme titled ‘Mega Musical Festival -2008’ has been organised at the 10,000 seating capacity Alexandra Palace in early January 2008. Some Tamil Nadu cinema stars and musicians costing over £30,000 are expected to perform at the event. more..

Vaughan critical of Pietersen decision

Dec 9 (CI) Michael Vaughan says the third umpire should have been consulted over the controversial catch that ended Kevin Pietersen's innings on the opening day of the second Test in Colombo. Pietersen edged his fifth delivery low to slip where Chamara Silva dived to his left and parried the ball up behind him allowing Kumar Sangakkara to hold the rebound. There was no doubt about Sangakkara's catch, but the problems arose around Silva's initial take with replays showing the ball may have been grounded. more..

Police disperse ‘Sathyagraha’ of Sabaragamuwa students

Dec 9 (LT) Students of Sabaragamuwa University who carried out a continuous protest campaign for 27 days opposite University Grants Commission demanding solutions for various issues they are confronted with were removed from the site by the police. The police have also arrested three students for participating in the ‘Sathyagraha’ campaign disregarding a directive given by the courts. more..

Challenges facing today - Justice Christopher Weeramantry elucidates

Dec 9 (AT) In his acceptance speech Christopher Weeramantry said that peace Education to all levels of the public from schoolchildren right up to the judiciary. He pointed out that there is a vast amount of unawareness of the work of the great peace philosophers of the past, of the peace movements and of the peace conferences. When this knowledge is more generally available there will be a great increase in peace-related activity on the part of the general public. more..

No Sri Lanka eco clearance for Booker Tate project yet

Dec 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka has not given environmental clearance for a controversial sugar project yet and its first application for approval has been rejected, a top official said. A cane cultivation project in Bibile, in the Uva province of Sri Lanka, has drawn heavy fire from environmental activists and academics who warn that the venture would go the same way as earlier failed cane projects in the island. more..

15,000 deprived of livelihood in Paduvaankarai

Dec 9 (TN) Half of the affected agriculture-dependent families in Batticaloa district are from Paduvaankarai region, where the major cultivable land of the district, is situated. Forced to flee their paddy fields, standing ripe and ready for harvest, the families who returned under the Government of Sri Lanka's (GoSL) resettlement, could only witness the remains of the properties and livestock that had been looted by the Sri Lankan forces. more..

Disparity in condemning attacks on civilian targets, counterproductive - TNA MPs in Oslo

Dec 9 (TN) "The recent condemnations on the attacks of civilian targets in Sri Lanka came only after witnessing attacks on a civilian target in the South. There was no condemnation by the International Community when Mannaar Coordinator of an International NGO, Rev. Fr. Nicholaspillai Pakiyaranjith, was slain in a Claymore attack in Vanni by the Sri Lankan DPU team. Why did the IC fail in condemning the indiscriminate air-attacks on civilian targets in Vanni?," more..

Lanka rejects UN monitors again

Dec 9 (SAMN) The government Saturday rejected fresh calls by the United Nations and leading human rights organisations to set up UN field operations with a strong mandate to monitor the human rights situation. The call came ahead of the sixth sessions of the Human Rights Council in Geneva next week and coincides with Human Rights Day Monday. UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour made the appeal along with the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the London-based Amnesty International (AI). more..

Police powers for NE interim councils

Dec 9 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is likely to announce the full implementation of the provisions on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution shortly. Highly placed sources said the President is poised to do this before the scheduled visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Singh is expected to attend Sri Lanka’s diamond jubilee of independence on February 4 next year as chief guest. An invitation has already been extended to him in this connection. more..

Cast iron case against arms procurers

Dec 9 (SAMN) Sri Lanka has been able to produce irrefutable evidence to prove a direct link between the LTTE and three Australian Tamils under investigation for providing critical support to carry out high profile attacks including the sinking of a Fast Attack Craft (FAC P 418) off Vettilaikerni in May last year. The FAC, part of the force deployed to protect a ship carrying 700 off duty personnel to their bases in the Jaffna peninsula went down after an explosive-laden stealth craft powered by four 250 horsepower outboard motors (OBMs) rammed it. more..

National carrier to crash-land

Dec 9 (SAMN) The Government is planning to hand over SriLankan airlines back to its Emirates management after a piecemeal adjustment of the agreement, despite wide ranging allegations that the agreement is not in favour of the government which still holds 60 percent ownership of the national carrier.The ten-year lease which granted the management of SriLankan airlines to the Dubai-based Emirates Airline will expire in March next year. more..

Tyronne calls for new UNP leadership

Dec 9 (SO) The former UNP stalwart and ex Foreign Minister, Tyronne Fernando has called for a new leadership for the UNP and said that Ranil Wickremesinghe with his series of defeats in the past would not be a suitable party leader or a leader to lead the country. The following is the statement by senior Advisor and former Foreign Minister, Tyronne Fernando on Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Businessman held in controversial Benz car deal

Dec 9 (SO) Hemantha Nishantha (33), the businessman who was the alleged owner of the controversial Benz car was taken in for questioning by sleuths of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at a safe house at Kiribathgoda on Thursday. He was absconding for some time following the alleged Benz car deal involving several politicians. CID sleuths were on his trail when they found that he was allegedly involved in the killing of his first wife over a dispute. more..

Programs to uplift welfare activities for prison inmates

Dec 9 (SO) The Ministry of Social Services and Social Welfare has launched a series of programs to uplift the welfare activities and psycho-social levels of the families of prison inmates serving long term sentences. Ten sewing machines were donated to selected families of the prison inmates who are facing the death sentence. Assistance was provided to six families of prison inmates at a ceremony at the Welikada prison under the patronage of Minister of Justice and Law Reforms Dilan Perera. more..

End of the tragedy

Dec 9 (SO) Two months ago the Seeduwa police launched a manhunt following the brutal killing of Mrs Tilaka Batuwanthudawe Mendis, a retired teacher whose body was found inside her kitchen with her neck slashed with a sharp cutting instrument. The police were baffled when they visited the scene and found they could not figure out the motive for killing a respected school teacher. Could it be the work of some drug addict who desperately needed money to keep his drug habits alive? more..

President to Japan with 70-strong delegation

Dec 9 (LB) President Mahinda Rajapaksa left on a State visit to Japan yesterday with a 70 strong official delegation that included dancers and musicians who will take part in welcoming ceremonies for the President. Also accompanying him were around 60 members of a business delegation who were paying their own way. According to authoritative sources, the “official” number of the President’s delegation is around 50. more..

Tiger tactics?

Dec 9 (LB) Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe met the police last week to inquire into the arrests and detentions of Tamil people in the city. He learnt that the Kotahena police had detained 11 male and one female suspect. The Kotahena OIC told the Minister about an incident concerning the female suspect. “When we took her into custody, she told us not to arrest her because she knew the President,” he said. “We asked her how that was. more..

“We called off union action only after demands were met” - HSTUJF Convenor

Dec 9 (LB) The two-day trade union action of Health Ministry minor workers was called-off after the President, ordered the payment of overtime payment and attendance bonus, disregarding attendance. As a result of this trade union action, OPD treatment and pre- planned operations were postponed, according to Health Ministry sources. In order to minimize inconveniences to the public, security forces personnel were mobilized to replace the striking workers. more..

Bureau to nab racketeers employing underaged children

Dec 9 (LB) The Bureau of Women and Childcare has launched an islandwide series of raids to nab racketeers who engage underaged children in odd jobs like begging, labourers, cracker manufacturing and in the sale of textiles, Christmas trees and Christmas cards during the current festive season. Children below the age of 13 years are reckoned as underaged. It has been observed that the school vacation that coincides with the festive season has often been misused by unscrupulous adults to make quick money. more..

Move over Prabha. Take a bow Murali

Dec 9 (NS) The incidental fact that champion spinner and new world record holder Muttiah Muralitharan is a Tamil, is not the only thing in common he has with the leader of the LTTE. If Prabhakaran evokes emotions of hatred with some intensity, Murali has succeeded in inducing sentiments of unity and national pride with the same passion. The off-spinner’s road to stardom was littered with trials and tribulations. more..

Govt. fast-tracks to appease JVP ahead of crucial Budget vote

Dec 9 (NS) Sri Lanka is heading for yet another week of political turmoil, with the government and the opposition braving for the third reading of the Budget scheduled for Friday, December 14. At this juncture, the point to ponder is how some of the political parties manoeuvered to vote for the Defence Budget last week. The JVP, which opposed the second reading of the third Budget of the Rajapaksa administration, however, voted with the government in this instance, drawing the attention of the entire country. more..

Who authorised FM’s son to issue official statements?

Dec 9 (NS) Controversial Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama made yet another bureaucratic blunder by permitting his son Dhakshitha to issue an ‘official statement’ with regard to the SAARC Council of Ministers, which concluded on Friday in New Delhi. The move, dubbed as callous disregard for normal ethical practice, occurred on Friday evening when Dhakshitha, an unofficial ‘adviser’ to Minister Bogollagama who accompanied his father to India, issued a statement from his very own personal email address on the conclusion of the SAARC meeting. more..

AP to investigate fairnessof Sri Lankan conflict coverage

Dec 9 (NS) International newswire Associated Press (AP) has agreed to investigate the fairness of its coverage on the Sri Lankan conflict. The assurance was given following months of protests by the Consortium of Sri Lankan Expatriates, who highlighted the biased reporting by AP with regard to the April bomb blast in Vavuniya, which killed eight persons. The consortium met a top official of the newswire, John Daniszewski, on December 7 in New York. more..

Waiting for a ‘Green Christmas’

Dec 9 (Island) The Saturday before last, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had been in the Deniyaya electorate collecting signatures for the ‘people’s impeachment’ against the government. He had personally visited around seventy houses in the village of Keerthigama. The UNP leader has put his best foot forward during the past one year and has been personally involved in grassroots work. more..

Can the LTTE make a shift of political strategy?

Dec 9 (Island) On several previous occasions the LTTE has shown the sheer tenacity and ingenuity needed to overcome military adversity and claw its way back to a position of strength. Hence, I concur with the majority of international and many local commentators who insist there can be no military solution; the pendulum today swings the way of the government’s forces, in the coming months it may swing the other way. more..

Editorial: Striking the right balance

Dec 9 (Island) Predictably, the judgment of the Supreme Court on the checkpoints has provoked a national debate. There are, no doubt, many pros and cons to this issue and we’ve been hearing them all of last week. The No Limit bomb at Nugegoda, followed hard on its heels by the Kebetigollewa atrocity supported the argument that those responsible for ensuring the security of ordinary people must be given a free hand to do what they believe in good faith to be necessary for the greater good of the community. more..

Intention of Government to distribute resources evenly–Prof. G. L. Peiris

Dec 9 (Island) 'The Government intends to channel economic-dividends and other resources away from areas that have been enjoying such benefits, to other parts of the country where such inputs are needed most', Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade said at a meeting held at the Kandy office of the Export Development Board to inaugurate a Chamber of Exporters of the Central Province and to distribute business promotion funds among export-oriented businessmen. more..

Minority parties engage in major budget politics

Dec 9 (ST) With five days to go for the decisive final vote on the budget and vote patterns swinging both ways, three key minority parties appear to be making use of the situation of the crisis by putting forward various demands to the government. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) General Secretary Hassen Ali said the party had put forward several demands to the government before taking a decision on how to vote when the third reading of the budget is taken up on Friday. more..

Battle of Budget: Flashpoint Friday

Dec 9 (ST) Four days from now the answer to the all-important question on almost everyone's lip -- whether the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government would survive the third reading of the Budget vote or the Opposition's hope of turning tables turns to ash -- will unravel. That is when MPs cast their final vote on Friday. The near conclusion of a lengthy Committee stage of the budget where the different Ministries were debated but ever so briefly, sets a new political backdrop. more..

After Test match, Galle Stadium to be bowled out

Dec 9 (ST) The newly-built pavilions of the Galle International Cricket Stadium are to be demolished after the upcoming Test match between Sri Lanka and England as the buildings were constructed in violation of laws, Urban Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said yesterday. The Urban Development Authority is to demolish a section of the Galle stadium as the buildings were constructed in violation of an ordinance under which the area is declared as part of the Galle Heritage City. more..

Mega rights issue from Apollo

Dec 9 (ST) Apollo Hospitals Colombo, which last year changed ownership and management to Sri Lanka Insurance (SLI) from the Indian hospital group, wants to raise a billion rupees from a rights issue this month to take care of rising debt which is also over a billion rupees. The company, which has retained some of its Indian staff after last year’s takeover developments and has now attracted more Sri Lankan medical professionals, said it was issuing 67 million shares to retire debt which is taking its toll on profits. more..

England lose momentum after strong start

Dec 9 (CI) Sri Lanka took 4 for 91 in the final session to give them the advantage on the first day against England in Colombo. The home side's fortunes swung dramatically in their favour during the final half-hour of the day when Lasith Malinga ended Alastair Cook's impressive stonewalling on 81 before ripping out Ravi Bopara's middle stump. The day was not without controversy, however, with yet more fuel to feed that interminable debate over the use of technology in cricket. more..

Court Begins Rizana Retrial

Dec 9 (AN) A three-member court, headed by Dawadmi High Court chief judge Abdullah Abdul Aziz Al-Rosaimi, yesterday reviewed the case of the Sri Lankan housemaid who has been sentenced to death for killing a four-month-old infant in her care. The retrial began when the Court of Cassation instructed the high court to review its decisions following an appeal by Kateb Al-Shammary, the attorney for Rizana Nafeek. The woman was convicted of murdering the infant on June 16 and the appeal was filed on July 15. more..

Streaker halts play in England-Sri Lanka Test

Dec 9 (AFP) A male streaker ran on the field on the opening day of the second cricket Test between England and Sri Lanka on Sunday, forcing play to be halted for three minutes. The unidentified man, part of the nearly 3,000-strong band of travelling England supporters, sprinted from the stand next to the Press Box just as Muttiah Muralitharan was about to bowl to Paul Collingwood. more..

16 Tamil Tiger rebels killed in fighting in northern Sri Lanka, military says

Dec 9 (AP) Soldiers and Tamil Tiger rebels exchanged mortar and gunfire in northern Sri Lanka, leaving 16 rebels dead, the military said Sunday. Soldiers repelled a rebel mortar attack Saturday, killing 10 guerrillas in Periyathampanai village in the district of Vavuniya, just south of rebel-held territory, a defense ministry official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. Two soldiers were injured, he said. more..

Lanka to finalise devolution package before Singh's visit

Dec 9 (PTI) Pressed by India, Sri Lanka is likely to finalise a "power devolution" package to end the 25-year-old ethnic conflict before the planned visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the island nation in February, a media report said here today. "President Mahinda Rajapaksa is likely to announce the full implementation of the provisions on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution shortly," the Nation said in its front page story. more..

Tamils in Sri Lankan capital pay price of Tiger bombs

Dec 9 (AFP) Minority Tamils in Sri Lanka's capital are running a gauntlet of arrest and intimidation as fighting escalates between government troops and Tiger rebels, community members and rights groups say. Harassed at security checkpoints and arbitrarily arrested from their homes and workplaces, Colombo's Tamil's are being subjected to what human rights groups have described as "collective punishment." more..

Why Kumar is thriving in solo role

Dec 10 (SM) One down with two to play - it's not impossible but it's now going to take a monumental effort from England to bounce back to win the series. With a first innings lead of nearly 90 in Kandy, England had a great opportunity to ram home the advantage. Unfortunately Sri Lanka, led by the outstanding batting of Kumar Sangakkara, fought back brilliantly to clinch victory. more..

Palmyra breaks only when something is rotten within

Dec 10 (TC) It’ s a great honour and pleasure to be invited to speak at this felicitation of human rights defenders, and I would like to thank the organizers for giving me this opportunity. I have been asked to talk about Rajan Hoole and Kopalasingham Sritharan of University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) (UTHR(J)), who received the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders this year. more..

Tamil Politics III: Kinship, caste and the Diaspora in Tamil nationalism

Dec 10 (TC) In my earlier articles I traced the trajectory of Tamil political leadership from the old elites, through a difficult transition, to the phenomenon that is the LTTE, and recounted the specific contributions of the Sri Lankan State and governments to these developments in Tamil politics. I have also traced the roots of LTTE militarism and pointed out its paradoxical outcomes. more..

Sri Lankans to taste natural orange pulp as a fruit juice drink

Dec 10 (AT) Coca-Cola at a function held at Colombo Hilton launched “Minute Maid”, the world’s leading juice and juice drink brand in Sri Lanka. For the launch of this orange drink to the Sri Lankan market Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd invested US $ 5 million. This orange juice drink offers an unmatched taste due to the presence of real ‘orange pulp.' more..

SL cricketers to be featured in U.S. charity event

Dec 10 (AT) Helping Hands – a non-profit organization working for the welfare of destitute and orphaned children worldwide – will hold a benefit dinner dance to celebrate the New Year. The grand event will feature internationally renowned Sri Lankan cricketers, Chaminda Vass and Sanath Jayasooriya. The function will be held at Plano Center , 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway on Saturday, January 5, 2008 from 7.00 p.m. to 12 midnight. more..

'Sitting here in the magnificent Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo...'

Dec 10 (DM) Sitting here in the magnificent Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo, I can't help feeling that England have missed a great chance here to take control of this second Test. Yes, they were victims of two controversial umpiring decisions by Daryl Harper - lovely guy, possibly the worst on the elite panel - and the freakish dismissal of Michael Vaughan, but sides batting second usually make big scores at the SSC and unless Paul Collingwood plays the innings of his life tomorrow then I fear the worst. more..

Concerns over Cattle Population

Dec 10 (GV) In 1982 the cattle population in Sri Lanka had been 6.7 million, Athuraliye Rathana Thero has said while participating in budget debate in the Parliament. Out of this, normal cattle had constituted 1.3-million while the rest were buffaloes. But by 2000, this cattle population had decreased by 114000, Thero had sadly pointed out. It is not clear whether his sadness is caused because the cattle population is being dwindled as an economic resource or because he is upholding the cattle’s right to life as a supreme principle. more..

Doha Bank signs e-remittance pact with Sri Lanka’s HNB

Dec 10 (GT) DOHA Bank signed an agreement with Hatton National Bank (HNB) of Sri Lanka for online electronic funds transfer from Doha to Sri Lanka. Both the banks also agreed to generate local business for each other targeting mainly non-resident Sri Lankans in Qatar. The agreement was signed at a function held yesterday at Doha Bank, by its CEO, R Seetharaman, and Jayantha Perera, senior deputy general manager - International Business Development, of HNB. more..

Cook's patience keeps England on track

Dec 10 (CI) It's not entirely Kevin Pietersen's fault, but such is his profile and "look-at-me" persona, he seems to hog the limelight on a 24/7 basis. The umpiring furore on the first day at Colombo was just the latest in a long line of incidents in which, unwittingly or otherwise, he has been the central personality. However, the irony is that, on this occasion, the real travesty occurred at the other end of the pitch. more..