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Glass company opens Rs. 3.7 b new facility

Dec 11 (DN) The Ceylon Glass Company PLC (CGC) opened its new glass bottle manufacturing facility in Horana yesterday. The total investment of the new facility is Rs. 3.7 billion. The company will increase its production capacity to cater to the local and international market. Speaking at the opening ceremony CEO of CGC, Sanjay Tiwari said they will have five manufacturing lines for the new plant. more..

If deadline for rectification of salary anomalies not met: ‘First school term will be crippled’

Dec 11 (Island) Teacher Trade Unionists are threatening to cripple the first term in government schools unless the Education Ministry and National Salaries and Cadre Commission meet the December 31st deadline for rectification of long standing salary anomalies. The new school term is scheduled to commence on January 02 and three teacher trade unions have decided to not to report for work from that day, more..

Is the ‘Alternative Govt’ any different?

Dec 11 (Island) Alright, say this SLFP (PA) Govt is corrupt, guilty of financial mismanagement, not keeping its promises, not quite able to control the escalation of the COL, allowing defence mishaps to occur, etc etc. So Some say we need to replace it with another. Agreed. Those who are shouting hoarse that they be allowed to form a Govt., should themselves be free of the defects they allege against the SLFP Govt. and not have been guilty of such defects when they were in power. more..

Aussie Govt. to resolve Lankan refugee issue

Dec 11 (DM) The asylum claims of Sri Lankan refugees being detained in the remote island of Nauru would be resolved soon, the new Australian government under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told AFP yesterday. Its new Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the government had begun winding up the strongly criticised ‘Pacific Solution’. under which refugees were sent to the remote island to await the processing of their cases. more..

Rs.1.2 billion goes out of country as medical students fees -- Rajitha

Dec 11 (DM) Minister Rajitha Senaratne informed Parliament yesterday that millions of rupees went out of the country when students left the country to study medicine abroad. Dr. Senaratne, who participated in the committee stage of the budget in the House yesterday, said Rs 1.2 billion went out of the country in the form of fees for local medical students studying abroad. “This is equal to the sum spent to set up the Medical Faculty in Peradeniya,” he said. more..

Jayawardene masterclass puts Sri Lanka on top

Dec 11 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene made England toil with a magnificent 167, his 20th century in Tests, remaining unbeaten at stumps on the third day as Sri Lanka grafted their way into a dominant position at Colombo. Already trailing 1-0 in the series, and with a flat pitch showing prodigious turn, England are facing a huge uphill battle - and Muttiah Muralitharan looms large. It was the sort of day which sides touring the subcontinent most dread: searing heat; more..

Sixty houses gutted in major fire in Colombo

Dec 11 (Xinhua) About 60 shanty houses were gutted in a major fire that broke out early Tuesday in a crowded residential area in this capital city of Sri Lanka. The fire broke out at north Colombo's Mahawatta area around 12:30 p.m. local time and it spread out fast, the police said. Initial investigations showed that a kerosene oil lamp used in one of the small dwellings that toppled had caused the fire. more..

Five arrested for attempting to smuggle beedis to Sri Lanka

Dec 11 (PTI) Five persons were arrested for attempting to smuggle beedi bundles to Sri Lanka at nearby Muthupettai in the wee hours of today, police said. Police seized the beedi bundles and a van and two high-speed bikes, all worth Rs four lakh. However, a boat in which the five were to load the beedi bundles sped away under the cover of darkness. Three cellphones were also seized from the arrested and more..

Sri Lankan government must talk to Tamils: Keith Vaz

Dec 11 (IANS) Keith Vaz was criticised by the Sri Lankan High Commission in London for being in violation of British anti-terrorism laws after the rally attended by 10,000 Tamils Nov. 27 heard a speech by Velupillai Prabhakaran, chief of the banned LTTE, broadcast live from his hideout in Sri Lanka. Two other ruling Labour party MPs, Joan Ryan and Virendra Sharma, spoke at the rally and a message from Simon Hughes, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, was read out. more..

Sri Lankan parliamentarians can be bought, says British envoy

Dec 11 (LBO) Britain's envoy in Sri Lanka has mocked the practice of a parliamentary committee to probe corruption dominated by government ministers, saying many lawmakers have been given positions to buy their loyalty. "It must be the only oversight committee in the world that consists mainly of ministers," British High Commissioner Dominick Chilcott said, referring to Sri Lanka's parliamentary committee to investigate corruption. more..

Sri Lanka says no truce ahead of future peace talks

Dec 11 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's government is unwilling to observe a truce ahead of any peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said on Tuesday. There would be no point when previous ceasefires had been heavily breached by the rebels, the minister told a Tokyo news conference. "We're always maintaining our position that we are ready to talk with the LTTE ... if they wish to indulge in a more reasonable approach," Bogollagama said. more..

Kaluwitharana fears Lanka running out of talent

Dec 12 (PTI) Former Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Romesh Kaluwitharana fears his country is heading for a cricket talent drought and has called for developing a strong second string team. His observation comes soon after similar apprehensions were expressed by former captain Arjuna Ranatunga. "There could be a possible scarcity of players in the next three or four years after players like Chaminda Vaas and Muralitharan retire", more..

Sri Lanka maid's "forced confession" may still be used in death penalty appeal: AHRC

Dec 12 (LR) An Asian human rights body expressed concern Tuesday that an allegedly coerced confession by a Sri Lankan domestic worker sentenced to death for murder in Saudi Arabia may still be used against her in an appeal of the verdict to a higher court. Teenager Rizana Nafeek, accused of murdering a four-month old baby while working in a Saudi Arabian home, was sentenced to death by Saudi Arabia’s Dawadani court even though she protested her innocence. more..

England handed reality check

Dec 12 (CI) England arrived in Sri Lanka last month fuelled with optimism. They were a young and buoyant squad, returning to the scene of a memorable and hugely satisfying one-day series win, and by and large they were unburdened by the scars of the team's most recent overseas expeditions. And yet, in a single baking hot day in Colombo, England were taught a harsh lesson about the realities of cricket on the subcontinent. more..

Alcohol, tobacco and narcotics removed from new Sri Lanka inflation index

Dec 12 (LR) Sri Lankans consume 33 litres of alcohol and 300 cigarettes per capita each year despite ever increasing government taxes. But what they spend on alcohol, cigarettes and narcotics will not be factored into the new index used by the government to measure inflation, data released by the statistics department has shown. “Including these items which are heavily taxed distorts the resulting measure of consumer inflation,” more..

Jaffna: Tears, blood and terror

Dec 12 (GV) Few weeks before I went to Jaffna, Jehan Perera of the National Peace Council had visited Jaffna and captured the powerful testimony of one airline passenger saying “the only thing we can do is cry”. After my own visit to Jaffna, I wonder whether all I, other people in the rest of the country and the world can do is cry with people of Jaffna. Or whether some even care to cry. more..

National parliament will be formed – Ranil Wickremesinghe

Dec 12 (LD) Leader of the Jathika Sabha and the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe proposes the formation of a national parliament. “As the Jathika Sabha, we are calling for a national parliament. But, we are not calling for a national government,” he told the ‘Janarala’ protest rally in Mount Lavinia today (Dec. 11th). Addressing the large gathering present, Wickremesinghe said, “The national parliament being proposed by the Jathika Sabha will establish people’s supremacy. more..

Military says 32 rebels, five soldiers killed in Sri Lankan fighting

Dec 12 (AP) A series of fierce gunbattles Tuesday between government troops and Tamil separatists along the front lines of the war raging cross northern Sri Lanka killed 32 rebels and five soldiers, the military said. The battles came amid a major escalation in fighting in the northern jungles in recent weeks. Senior government officials say they aim to capture rebel-held territory and crush the Tamil Tigers in a bid to end more than two decades of warfare on the Indian Ocean island. more..

Jayawardene's records set up Sri Lanka

Dec 12 (CI) The third day at the SSC couldn't have gone much better for Mahela Jayawardene. His unbeaten 167 led Sri Lanka to a 28-run lead over England with six wickets remaining and in the process he became his country's leading run scorer and set a new milestone for a single batsman at a Test venue, pushing Graham Gooch's Lord's record into second place. However, in typical Jayawardene manner it was the team position that was more satisfying to him than the personal success. more..

Govt's day of reckoning

Dec 12 (ML) With President Mahinda Rajapakse set to face his most challenging political moment on Friday, last week has been dismally reminiscent of his frenzied deal cutting during the run up to the presidential election of November 2005. While minority parties and individuals predictably engage in big time negotiations with the shaky presidency, resulting in numerous proposals for the purported benefit of their respective constituencies, more..

The plight of civilians

Dec 12 (ML) A rather plaintive speech by the LTTE supremo, more indiscriminate killings of civilians in the north and in the south, mass arrests and detentions of Tamils in Colombo and its environs following the Nugegoda bomb, yet another attempt on the life of Douglas Devananda and continuing military action in the north, delineate the tragic situation of our country of intensifying and protracted conflict. The powers that be have decided that this is the way it will and should be. more..

Blood sport in a corral

Dec 12 (ML) The fact of motorcycle safari killings and the political leadership in total denial are symbolic of the utter debasement of the rights and dignity of ordinary citizens. Citizens caught in random searches are often treated as criminals. When a family member goes out the rest are in dire anxiety. Children are not sent to the playground. Those going out take a child or family member hoping that it would deter soldiers holding them back on suspicion or that if one is detained on the way the other would communicate it. more..

Govt. raises loan from HSBC to fund Kerawalapitiya

Dec 12 (ML) The government has raised some funds for the Kerawalapitiya combined cycle plant through the HSBC independent of the recently raised high interest US $ 500 million loan, it was revealed in Parliament yesterday. This revelation came in the backdrop of earlier government claims that part of the recently raised loan went towards the said project. more..

Budget balloons to win more MPs

Dec 12 (BL) The government is engaged in a marathon session of negotiations with five opposition parliamentarians in an attempt to secure victory at Friday’s crucial Budget vote. Minister of Construction and Engineering Services Rajitha Senaratne told The Bottom Line that negotiations were based on bringing these MPs to the government fold in the event government members decide to vote against the budget by joining the opposition on Friday. more..

JHU charges JVP in helping minority parties

Dec 12 (BL) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) yesterday charged that the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) was helping minority parties to achieve their racist demands in their dealings with the government. JHU spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe told The Bottom Line that as the JVP is not supporting the government and the budget, the party is letting the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) make demands from the government to support the budget. more..

Hakeem quits government

Dec 12 (BL) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has decided to quit the government, putting Friday’s crucial budget vote in further balance. SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem told The Bottom Line that the decision was taken to preserve dignity and to respect the wishes of the Muslim community. The decision is sequel to a crucial high command meeting which was held last evening. All six SLMC members in parliament are expected to crossover to the opposition today. more..

TNA MPs warned to abstain on budget vote, relatives abducted

Dec 12 (TN) Paramilitary Pillayan Group on Tuesday abducted the brother of Batticaloa district TNA MP P. Ariyanethran, P. Sriskandaseya, 54, secretary of TNA MP K. Thangeswari, Ira Nagalingam and the son-in-law of TNA MP S. Jeyanandamoorthy's sister, Arunasalam Sivapalan, 28. The paramilitary has warned the family members of the three abducted victims that the TNA MPs should refrain from voting against the Budget, if they wished to see them live on Saturday. more..

UN human rights monitoring urgently needed to resuscitate criminal investigations

Dec 12 (ISL) The Asian Human Rights Commission strongly supports the call for a human rights monitoring mission by the United Nations as a measure to resuscitate the severely damaged criminal investigation capacity of the Sri Lankan policing system. The state, as the sovereign, owes an obligation to investigate into all crimes irrespective as to whether these are done by organised criminal gangs, terrorists or state agencies themselves. more..

Cunning Patriotism in Sri Lanka

Dec 12 (LG) A complaint was lodged with the Bribery and Corruption Commissioner yesterday (11 Dec) against Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera , the leader of the Patriotic National Movement over a land two acres in extent at Kaduwela ,purchased purportedly for a religious Institution., but, has been surreptitiously converted to a private Institution.-a private limited liability Company. more..

LTTE leader makes desperate appeal to “world powers”

Dec 12 (wsws) The annual “Heroes Day” speech of Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the LTTE, was another sign of the organisation’s political bankruptcy and deepening crisis. Its central thrust was a desperate appeal to the same international powers that have been backing the Sri Lankan government’s renewed war to destroy the LTTE. The speech was delivered on November 27 amid ongoing Sri Lankan military operations against the LTTE’s northern strongholds. more..

Mahathma Gandhi's granddaughter in Sri Lanka to broker peace

Dec 12 (LeN) World Religious Conference General Secretary Dr. William F. Windley and Deputy Secretary Kiyoichi Sugitho said at a press conference this morning (11) at Colombo that Japan' Special Peace Envoy for Sri Lanka Yasushi Akashi would arrive in the island yesterday and fly to Jaffna tomorrow morning. The delegation of world religious leaders that tour in Jaffna includes Sri Lankan religious leaders, Buddhist monks of Japan and Kampuchea, Hindu and Muslim clerics of India and Pakistan, Christian clergy of Norway and Western countries. more..

Indian influence on Sri Lankan music significant: envoy

Dec 12 (Hindu) There is a significant Indian influence on Sri Lanka’s music and art, Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner P.M. Amza said here on Tuesday. He was inaugurating the second day’s session of the International Festival of Fine Arts at Madras University. Tracing the evolution of Sri Lanka’s various art forms, he said one of the significant links was the introduction of veena to the island nation and art forms such as natakam (the drama). more..

Sri Lanka sees UK tourism recovery

Dec 12 (TM) Sri Lanka expects to attract almost 100,000 UK visitors this year, with more than 70% booking through travel agents. This compares with 88,000 UK travellers in 2006 and follows the Sri Lankan Tourism Promotional Bureau receiving £1 million from UK travel companies in marketing support and joint agreements to rebuild inbound tourism following the Tsunami nearly three years ago which devastated parts of the country. more..

Explosive taste from tiny slice of Sri Lanka

Dec 12 (TS) It's the little restaurant with big taste. Outside, it's dressed in garish neon signs. Inside, there's but a single table. Good thing, because otherwise there would be no room for the customers who flock to Gasa Restaurant. They haul home brown paper sacks, Styrofoam containers and aluminum-wrapped platters of food that's explosive in the mouth, but makes little dent in the wallet. more..

'Sri Lanka is as Flexible as it is Firm, It is as Firm as it is Flexible'

Dec 12 (PISL) Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative and Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka in responding to the statement by Ms. Louise Arbour UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the second day of the Resumed Sixth Session of the Human Rights Council, said “our negotiations with the OHCHR and international bodies will always be informed by a determination that national institutions and national processes shall be supplemented and supported by international assistance, but more..

An Expanded Version of the Sri Lankan Reply to Concerns Raised in the Debate

Dec 12 (PISL) An expanded version of the Sri Lankan reply by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process to concerns raised in the debate at the United Nations Human Rights Council following the report of Ms Louise Arbour, High Commissioner for Human Rights. Sri Lanka welcomes the interventions of so many countries and organizations, which suggest a deep concern for the welfare of the citizens of Sri Lanka. more..

TNA leader asks government for clean, candid and honest proposal

Dec 12 (FI) “Government of Sri Lanka is wrong in thinking that, it can solve the issue by flushing out the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam from Vanni. The Tamil question remains unresolved. Peace would only come if the Tamil question is resolved in a way, which is acceptable to all” said R. Sampanthan MP, the leader of Tamil National Alliance. He addressed a gathering of foreign correspondents in Colombo on December 10th at Galle Face Hotel. more..

Sri Lanka Govt response to UN Human Rights Commissioner

Dec 12 (TC) “Thank you, Mr. President, Madam High Commissioner. At the outset, I wish to associate myself fully and deeply with the sentiment of solidarity that you Mr. President extended to our colleague, Ambassador Idriss Jazairy, on the occasion of the terrorist attacks taking place in his county. That tragic incident brings forth the context in which the discussion on human rights in Sri Lanka takes place. more..

Louise Arbour on Sri Lanka at UN Human Rights Council

Dec 12 (TC) As it has been the practice at the resumption of the Council’s sessions, I welcome the opportunity to share with you some information about activities undertaken since last September. I will briefly describe my missions to Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Ireland, and Brazil, as well as touch upon human rights situations and themes that have engaged OHCHR and should command the attention of the international community as a whole. more..

“One can not draw a line between a suspect and an innocent unless properly investigated”

Dec 12 (GDI) Defence Spokesman and Minister for Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Keheliya Rambukwella stated that war is very unpleasant; in fact it is the bitterest thing in the world. There were times when we have had to even pocket our pride in order to avert a war and almost plead for a non war situation but LTTE leader took advantage of such situations and continued to resort to his terrorist course of action. more..

'Recognizing abilities of the disabled will enhance opportunity to enhance their talents'

Dec 12 (GDI) Importance of recognizing the abilities to enhance the talents of the disabled persons was stressed o by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his message to mark 'International Day of the Disabled' held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute recently. President pointed out that the enhanced talents of the disabled will help them contribute as equal citizens to the development of the country. more..


Dec 12 (GDI) Kalabooshana Award Ceremony annually organized by the Department of Cultural Affiars will be conducted at the John de Silva Memorial Hall, Colombo 07 on December 15 at 2.30 p.m under the patronage of Minister of Cultural Affairs, Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. This time, artistes above 60 years who have professionally contributed for literature, arts and cultural field will be honoured at this occasion. more..

Massive allocation for Eastern Province development

Dec 12 (GDI) Rs. 8,000million has been allocated from Budget 2008 to develop the Eastern Province. This is in addition to the Rs. 2,100 million allocated by the Ministry of Nation Building for this purpose. Rs. 8,000 million will be invested to develop the Ampara, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Mullaitivu districts which have 50 divisional secretariat areas including 1208 rural villages with a total land area of 11514 square km. more..

After LTTE air strikes in Lanka, IAF tests defence in South

Dec 12 (IE) In the first military exercise in south India after the LTTE carried out aerial strikes in Sri Lanka, the Indian Air Force (IAF) practiced scenarios to protect commercial targets against attacks by "non-state actors" in the region. The week long war games - codenamed Dakshin Prahar - tested India's capabilities to protect "high value" assets like oil tankers, nuclear installations and ports against air raids. more..

GCE O/L commences in Jaffna amidst heavy security

Dec 12 (LNP) The 2007 G.C.E. Ordinary Level Examination commenced in the Jaffna peninsula yesterday at 174 centers across with the assistance of the Security Forces. Military sources said that security and normalcy have been ensured by the Army, Navy and the Police thereby creating a conducive environment for students to take the examination without any disturbance. Prior to the commencement of the examination, Zonal Directors of Education met with the Army, Navy and Police officials in Jaffna to more..

Ceylinco boss seeks to quash Monetary Board regulation

Dec 12 (LNP) Dr. Lalith Kotelawala and the Seylan Bank have filed a writ application in the Court of Appeal, seeking to quash the `Mandatory Code Corporate for Governance` issued by the Monetary Board of Sri Lanka in respect of the licensing of private banks. The petition said that the Code Corporate was imposed in October, 2007 and is to be effective from January 2008. more..

Coronation of a different monster?

Dec 12 (LNP) Monday`s protest by the Karuna Group (TMVP) in Batticaloa against the LTTE and the TNA could be considered an attempt to deal a psychological blow to the LTTE, which fears an imminent military onslaught in the Wanni. Karuna`s deputy Pilleyan, who is leading the TMVP at present, has described the rally as a success. But, his detractors pooh-pooh his claim saying he resorted to coercion to bring people for the protest. more..

A dozen hardcore Tigers in police net

Dec 12 (SAMN) Twelve of the over 2000 Tamils arrested in Colombo and its suburbs in December 1 and 2 in one of the largest security crackdown are confirmed hardcore LTTE terrorists, Deputy Inspector General of Police D. W. Prathapasinghe said Tuesday. The 12 suspects are being held under detention orders and the CID feels that continued interrogation could help them to delve deep into the modus operandi of the LTTE in the city and suburbs. more..

Only a regulation not a ban says PM

Dec 12 (SAMN) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake says there is only a court regulation on the use of loudspeakers after 10pm and there was no ban imposed by the government adding that the Environment Ministry had only prepared conditions in this regard following a Court order. The Premier also claimed that though there were paper advertisements asking the public to provide their ideas in this regard before implementing the regulation there had been no response from the public. more..

TMVP to expand political activities

Dec 12 (SAMN) The TMVP has sent two teams to Sampur and Thopur to assess the situation in the areas in order to open its offices. TMVP media Spokesperson, Azad Moulana said the two teams were still in Sampur and Thopur and would get back to the TMVP with the ground situation in the area, soon. "We still have not heard anything from them. However, we will be having discussions with the groups as soon as they return," Moulana said, more..