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Detonators: police looking into LTTE link

Dec 13 (Hindu) The Kerala Police are probing whether a consignment of industrial grade detonators recovered from a bus stand here was meant to be supplied to the LTTE in Sri Lanka. According to police sources, Najeeb, who surrendered in connection with the case, had confessed to investigators that he had sold the detonators to Biji alias Vijayakumar of Madurai, who the police suspect to be involved in a racket that supplies detonators to Tamil Tigers. more..

Men in army uniforms robs Jewelry shop in Wellawatte

Dec 13 (LNP) A group of armed men clad in Army uniforms robbed cash and gold jewelry valued over Rs. 3 million from a jewelry shop at Wellawatte, a suburb in Colombo yesterday afternoon. According to the police the group had entered the shop pretending to be army soldiers and told the shop owner that the shop need to be searched. They had then threatened the shop employees showing T-56 riffles and collected the money and Jewelry and fled the scene, police said. more..

Funds, technical expertise worth Yen 2,000 m for Lanka

Dec 13 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa ended his four-day official visit to Japan on a high note, securing both financial assistance and technical expertise worth nearly Yen 2,000 million. The most notable happening on the final day of his visit yesterday was a significant agreement with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). JBIC Governor Koji Tanami met President Rajapaksa at the Imperial Hotel before Sri Lanka and JBIC signed the agreement more..

Opposition move not justified: Thera

Dec 13 (SAMN) The Opposition’s attempt to destabilise the Government using the annual budget vote is not justified at a time when the defeat of terrorism was within site, Ven. Galagama Sri Aththadassi Thera of the Malwatta Chapter said Wednesday. With the Government laying a firm foundation to solve the North and East conflict and President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s efforts to get international support for the country’s development, the timing of the Opposition move was not in the best interest of the country, the Thera added. more..

Unskilled women should send abroad: JVP

Dec 13 (SAMN) The JVP warned in Parliament Wednesday that 50% of the country’s population would be in the aged group by 2050, and called on the government to make plans to meet the contingency. JVP MP Sujatha Alahakoon, joining the committee stage of the budget in the House yesterday, said Sri Lanka’s aging population was increasing rapidly. She said the aging population would increase to 12.3% in four years time compared to present figure of 9%. more..

'School curricula should be modernised'

Dec 13 (SAMN) The school curricula should be changed with the times and modernised until it meets the present demands and goals, Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha said. The Government has focused its attention on converting the school curriculum into a new stage which would cater to the national and international educational requirements while the students would be able to fit in with present day trends in the education sector. more..

Integrity award winners felicitated

Dec 13 (SAMN) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) commemorated, for the 4th consecutive year, UN International Anti-Corruption Day at Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall. The Chief Guest at the event was Dr. Kiran Bedi; a crystal clear illustration of integrity. Justice Amir Ismail: Chairperson of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption was the Honoured Guest. more..

New Nugegoda Courts Complex opens

Dec 13 (DN) Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva PC yesterday opened the newly built Nugegoda Courts Complex in the presence of a distinguished gathering including the Senior and Junior members of the Nugegoda Bar Association. The Chief Justice said that just because of lawyers, got a new luxury building for the courts, they should not charge exorbitant fees from innocent litigants. Lawyers' prime duty should be to charge a nominal fee from innocent litigants. more..

'No restrictions to carry out Haj activities'

Dec 13 (DN) The Muslim community will be allowed to carry out their religious activities without any restrictions during the Haj festival and there will be no restrictions whatsoever to perform their religious activities. A circular has already been issued to all police stations in this regard. Minister Rambukwella said that under the relevant act there are no restrictions on practising any religious activity. There will be no restrictions not only during the Haj but all other days, he added. more..

New Colombo Consumers’ Price Index – more realistic

Dec 13 (Island) Consumer Price Indices ought to capture the general price level of all consumption goods and services available in a country. However, since it is difficult to measure prices of all consumption goods and services, the methodology of estimating such Consumer Price Indices involves choosing a representative consumer, enumerating his or her consumption habits, recording prices of goods and services consumed by the representative consumer and updating the consumer habits, periodically. more..

SLMC divided over quitting govt.

Dec 13 (Island) A growing anxiety among Eastern Province Muslims over land disputes, allegedly caused by a section of the government trying to deny their right to cultivate and in some instances taking over their land, forced SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem to quit the government, well informed sources said. Hakeem had no option but to leave in protest. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to visit the Eastern Province amidst rising tension caused by land disputes, the sources said. more..

Ranil charges Pillayan abducted TNA MPs’ relatives

Dec 13 (DM) The UNP said in Parliament yesterday the Government had given a slap on the face of Japan by abducting relatives of three TNA MPs despite giving certain assurances to that country regarding the situation in this country. UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that nowhere in the world, were relatives of Parliamentarians abducted just before a vote. Mr. Wickremesinghe said this had taken place at a time when President Mahinda Rajapaksa was holding talks with the Japanese Prime Minister and giving him certain assurances. more..

Abduction story a lie- TVMP

Dec 13 (DM) Denying charges levelled against the TMVP of abducting relatives of three TNA Parliamentarians in Batticaloa, a TMVP spokesman said the whole story was a mere fabrication created by the TNA to avoid the wrath of the LTTE in the event the TNA voted in favour of the Budget this Friday. TMVP spokesman Azad Maulana said: “We strongly reject charges that we abducted TNA Parliamentarians’ relatives and threatened them to vote in favour of the Budget. more..

Ranatunga set to head Sri Lanka Cricket

Dec 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka's World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga is tipped to head the country's cricket administration. Ranatunga, 44, who is a ruling party legislator, could take over as early as Friday when parliament meets for a crucial vote on President Mahinda Rajapakse's budget for 2008. Ranatunga was regarded as one of the disgruntled legislators who wanted to oppose the budget at the first vote on November 19, but was persuaded by his father, a senior member of the ruling party, to vote in favour of it. more..

Rain helps England ease to safety

Dec 13 (CI) England eased to safety on the fifth and final afternoon at Colombo, thanks to a trio of half-centuries from Michael Vaughan, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, a sensible fourth-wicket stand of 46 between Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood, and a tea-time deluge that wrote off a potentially tricky final session. With grey clouds lurking all day, the draw had always been the odds-on result, but until the rains finally came, England could not rest easy. more..

16 rebels, one police officer killed in violence in the north

Dec 13 (AP) Sri Lankan army troops waged a series of attacks against Tamil separatists in the volatile north, killing 14 rebels, while a police officer was killed by a land mine, the military said Thursday. In other violence, two Tamil Tiger fighters hiding in the ceiling of a house in the government-controlled Jaffna peninsula blew themselves up as soldiers searched the building Thursday morning, the military said. The rebels were killed instantly and six occupants of the house were injured. more..

Sri Lankan Army Aims to Force Rebels to Talks, Rajapaksa Says

Dec 13 (BN) Sri Lanka's military offensives against the LTTE are aimed at trying to force the rebels to come to peace talks, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. The operations in the east and north in recent months are trying to put pressure on the Tamil Tigers as well as freeing civilians from "the clutches of LTTE terror," Rajapaksa told Sri Lankan businessmen during a visit this week to Japan, according to a report on the army's Web site. more..

Warring sides in Sri Lanka give competing versions of fighting

Dec 13 (AP) The two versions of the battle that raged through the dense jungles of northern Sri Lanka were mirror images. The government said it drove back a rebel assault Tuesday that left 20 guerrillas and three soldiers dead; the rebels said they fended off an attack by the military that killed 20 soldiers and three rebels. The contradictory versions of the fighting underscored the near impossibility of getting accurate information on more..

JVP indicates willingness to change its stand on Budget

Dec 13 (LNP) In the aftermath of the SLMC crossover to the Opposition yesterday, the 36-member strong JVP announced that it might change its present stand on the government budget, should the situation demand that. `We don`t think there is still any need for changing our position, but after taking into consideration all the developments in the run up to the crucial vote, we will make a final decision` JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Wimal Weerawansa told The Island. more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

Dec 14 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by Higher Education Minister Hon. Prof. W.A. Wiswa Warnapala on awarding the construction contract for constructing a para-clinical building for the Faculty of Medical and Allied Sciences of Rajarata University at the cost of Rs. 330 million. According to the academic programme of MBBS degree course, the 2nd year students should follow the Para-Clinical study program in 2008. more..

Sri Lankan seamen institute gears to meet demand for crews

Dec 14 (LBO) A seamen training institute run by Sri Lanka's Mercantile Shipping Company launched a new lifeboat replacing that damaged by the tsunami, as it prepares to meet booming worldwide demand for crew. The lifeboat christening ceremony was held at the Mercantile Seamen Training Institute in the historic port town of Galle. The institute received a new set of equipment, including two totally enclosed lifeboats to replace the open lifeboats used previously. more..

Govt. announces readiness for general election

Dec 14 (LD) The government officially announced today (Dec. 13th) that it was prepared to go for a general election to gain a public mandate for a strong government in the event of the present regime becoming instable. Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena announced the decision at the weekly cabinet news briefing at the Government Information Department. “There are many alternatives. But, the government prefers to go for polls and secure a strong mandate,” he said. more..

Chilcott meddled in internal affairs at memorial lecture – Wimal Weerawansa

Dec 14 (LD) JVP MP Wimal Weerawansa has castigated British High Commissioner Dominick Chilcott for his remarks during the Dudley Senanayake Memorial Lecture on December 10th. Speaking in parliament today (Dec. 13th), Weerawansa claimed that the top British diplomat had used the memorial lecture to launch a verbal attack against the country on its internal politics. more..

Sri Lanka counters British broadside, envoy summoned

Dec 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka has expressed displeasure at outspoken remarks by Britain's envoy on national politics, the Foreign Ministry said Thursday, but it remained silent on charges that politicians were corrupt. "The British High Commissioner, Dominic Chilcott, was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to express the deep displeasure of the Government of Sri Lanka at some of the comments made by him at a recent public gathering," a ministry statement said. more..

Jayawardene blames England for dull draw

Dec 14 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene says he was surprised at England's approach towards the match, adding that the tourists need to display more enterprise to win a Test in Sri Lanka. England, trailing Sri Lanka by 197 runs after the first innings, finished on 250 for 3 in their second before rain washed out the final session of the match. "We were definitely pushing for a victory to seal the series. We were disappointed [with] the way England batted in the first innings on this pitch, scoring 351 runs in five sessions," more..

EU concerned on kidnappings

Dec 14 (BBC) The European Union has expressed concern over reports that relatives of three Tamil parliamentarians have been kidnapped. In a statement, the European Union condemned the abductions and called for the release of the hostages. On Wednesday, a member of parliament for the Tamil national Alliance, Suresh Premachandran, said relatives of three of his parliamentary colleagues had been abducted in three different incidents in the North. more..

Sri Lankan army warns against LTTE 'ice-cream vendors'

Dec 14 (PTI) The Sri Lankan army on Thursday cautioned against possibility of explosions by tiger rebels posing as ice-cream vendors while 18 rebels were killed in clashes in embattled north of the island nation. A police officer also lost his life in a mine explosion this morning in northern Vavuniya, it said. "Terrorists have now resorted to new tactics like posing as ice-cream vendors to transport explosives", more..

Green Apple Environmental Award to Brandix

Dec 14 (F2F) Sri Lanka’s apparel sector powerhouse Brandix has brought honour to the country by winning Gold at the prestigious International Green Apple Environmental Awards presented at Britain’s House of Commons in November. Conferred by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental endeavours and initiatives around the world, more..

England cricketers team up with World Food Programme to bowl out hunger

Dec 14 (RW) The fight to end child hunger will take centre stage at the Galle Cricket Ground on Saturday 15 December when senior members of the England cricket team turn out to raise awareness about the plight of the hundreds of millions of children around the world who know what it is like to go hungry. England captain, Michael Vaughan, and batsmen Alastair Cook and Keven Pietersen will be joined by England coach, Peter Moores at an event that is being staged as part of more..

Sir Arthur C. Clarke's 90th Birthday Message

Dec 14 (SR) Fellow Earthlings, Sixty two years ago Arthur C. Clarke of the British Interplanetary Society sent a letter to the editor titled Peacetime Uses for V2 which was published in the 1945 February issue of the Wireless World magazine suggesting the use of Geostationary Satellites for the instant global communications. Quoting, "I would like to close by mentioning a possibility of the more remote future--perhaps half a century ahead. more..

First blood to Bangladesh

Dec 14 (CI) Bangladesh edged a 13-run win over Sri Lanka in the first of five Under-19 ODIs at Bogra. It was a victory that underlined the form shown in their 3-2 win over Pakistan earlier in the month. Sri Lanka's decision to bowl was immediately vindicated when Denuwan Fernando trapped Rony Talukder leg-before with the first ball, but wicketkeeper-batsman Mithun Ali then took charge, hitting two sixes in his 58. more..

Let there be life after featherbed bore

Dec 14 (CI) In the end, the rain was a mercy. In theory a miracle was still possible, with England's lead only slender, but no-one truly believed it was possible, not even Muttiah Muralitharan. His genius as a bowler is unquestioned, but it was his duel role as a soothsayer that was the most notable aspect of his performance in this match. He predicted a dull draw as early as the second evening, and sure enough, events didn't deviate one iota from his vision. more..

Uncertainties in the Minds of the International Community

Dec 14 (TM) The leader of the LTTE, in his Great Heroes' Day (Maaveerar) speech, broadcast from an unknown location in northern Sri Lanka on November 27, 2007, put much more weight than on previous occasions on the need for Tamils around the world to rally in solidarity with the Sri Lankan Tamils if negotiations with the Sri Lankan government break down and war results. Such solidarity may very well determine the eventual destiny of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. more..

JVP, Marxism and Country

Dec 14 (LR) Yesterday Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakim crossed over to opposition with three other followers. This will be good news for LTTE leader Prabakaran who is striving to catch even a straw at this dismal juncture in erosion of his terrorist movement. Government has been successful in all fronts of the fight against terrorism and now the war is at very last stage where hunting of terrorist leaders has started. more..

Hakeem explains why SLMC quit government

Dec 14 (FI) “The Government is actively giving patronage to the armed groups in the East, and allowing them to act with impunity. Many Muslim civilians have gone missing in several months” said Rauff Hakeem, the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. The leader of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Rauff Hakeem met the journalists in Colombo at “Thaarusalaam”-party headquarters on Thursday after crossing over to the Opposition in Parliament on Wednesday. more..

“No” to UN Human Rights Office but “Yes” to Expanded UN Role in Sri Lanka

Dec 14 (TC) In a highly critical speech to the Human Rights Council on Tuesday [Dec. 11] the High Commissioner Louise Arbour, highlighted Sri Lanka’s failure to address a raft of human rights abuses. She is pushing to set up a UN human rights office on the island a move that Sri Lanka has categorically rejected, as explains Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka to Carole Vann and Claire Doole of Infosud. more..

I/NGOs: Mea Culpa…Your Culpa….or Our Culpa?

Dec 14 (GV) Nearly three years have passed since the devastation of Boxing Day 2004. Those three years should have sufficed for grief to transform into resolve, for shock to become measured response and for altruism to become tangible benefit. It is impossible to quantify, despite the diverse and often varied reports available, how much has been done, and by whom. more..

Tons of LTTE’s money to topple Rajapakse’s Government

Dec 14 (AT) Tamil Tigers and the UNP are working very hard to topple Mahinda Rakjapakse’s Government today at the voting, that would take place at the end of the third reading of the budget. Huge amount of LTTE’s money is in circulation to entice the MP’s to vote against the Government. It said that Prabakaran could not defeat the Government militarily and he takes this voting in the parliament today as God’s sent opportunity to bring an end to Rajapakse’s Government by voting down the Government in the Parliament. more..

LTTE to end underage recruitment by the end of this year

Dec 14 (AT) By the end of 2007, there will not be any underage children in the Tamil Tigers armed formation. This was disclosed to the newly appointed head of UNICEF-Sri Lanka, Philippe Duamelle, who visited yesterday to Kilinochchi and met the Head of LTTE Political Wing, B Nadeson, at the LTTE Political Head Quarters. Nadeson has informed the Head of the UNICEF that by the end of this year, LTTE will announce that there are no more under-18 persons in the organization and more..

Fierce Fighting. More on the way

Dec 14 (ISL) 32 LTTE cadres were killed in fierce fighting in Mannar north (general area Adampan) and Vavuniya on the 11th and 12th of this month. Further fierce fighting occurred in the Jaffna FDL resulting in the death of an estimated 10 LTTE cadres. One LTTE mortar launching pad was destroyed in Mannar. The majority of the LTTE killed in Mannar are from the Charles Anthony Brigade. The Army lost 3 men from the 58 Division. more..

Few LTTE Camps Located in Tamil Nadu – Swamy

Dec 14 (LG) Well known political party in Tamil Nadu , the Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy has said the DMK- led government in Tamilnadu should be dismissed and President’s rule be imposed in order to ensure that the State does not become another Kashmir. In a statement in Chennai on Thursday, Swamy said AIADMK general secretary Jayalalitha’s statement that the ‘DMK government is aiding the LTTE’ was true. more..

TMVP Must Genuine

Dec 14 (LG) A shocking news has surfaced that the TMVP, an Eastern Sri Lanka based politico-military movement has abducted three relatives of a Member of Parliament belonging to the pro-LTTE TNA. According to the latest news, the police have started an investigation. The police have approached the TMVP to investigate further. Recalling a Sinhala proverb: ‘Horage Ammagen Pena Ahanawa Wage’ (i.e., inquiring about the thief from his mother), how can the police investigate these crimes when they are embedded in the crime. more..

JVP Suffering From Irrecoverable Sickness

Dec 14 (LG) The JVP Wimal Weerawanse has once again let loose his usual paranoiac attack on the fair minded opinion maker about Sri Lanka. The British High Commissioner Dominic Chilcott during the Dudley Senanayake Memorial Lecture on December 10th gave a much matured analysis about Sri Lanka and its political predicament. Speaking in parliament the infamous castigator of the JVP had taken exception to the High Commissioners comment that: ‘Had he been alive today, Dudley Senanayake would be disturbed at the many allegations being made these days about corruption in politics. more..

Space prophet yearns for aliens and peace for Sri Lanka

Dec 14 (LBO) Celebrated science fiction writer and space prophet Arthur C. Clarke yearns to see aliens and peace in his adopted home in Sri Lanka, a video statement released ahead of his 90th birthday said. Clarke is widely known for his 1945 proposal to put up geostationary communications satellites – an orbiting relay station that moves at the same rate as the earth so that it appears to be stationary from the ground – of which now there are more than 300 going around in 'Clarke' orbits. more..

Sri Lanka October trade gap widens, 10-month deficit still down

Dec 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's trade deficit for the first ten months of 2007 narrowed 3.7 percent to 2,846 million US dollars period, though the gap in October widened, the Central Bank said Friday. Total export earnings during January-October 2007 totalled 6,286 million dollars, following a growth of 13.1 per cent from the same period last year. Total spending on imports during the period was 9,132.4 million dollars, up 7.3 per cent over that of the corresponding period in 2006. more..

Every measure to defeat budget until last moment - Sripathi

Dec 14 (LD) Chief Coordinator of the SLFP Mahajana Wing and Gampaha district parliamentarian Sripathi Sooriyarachchi says every possible measure will be taken until the last moment to defeat Budget 2008. Speaking in parliament today, Sooriyarachchi also said, “Strong action will be taken under a regime by ours against drug dealers.” Labour Minister Mervyn Silva got up and strongly objected to the MP’s remark and tried to shout him down. more..

Main suspect in drug case swallows liquid at court

Dec 14 (LD) The main suspect in a drug dealing case swallowed a liquid and fainted in the docks when the Colombo High Court was about to deliver the verdict. The suspect, Mohammed Shiyam, was hospitalized, before Judge Upali Abeyratne sentenced the second accused Upali Abeygunawardena to death, and sent the third, Murushima Shiyam, who is the wife of the main suspect, to life imprisonment. more..

SLC in a muddle over Galle stadium

Dec 14 (LD) The Galle Municipal Council has decided not to extend the lease of the Galle International Cricket stadium to Sri Lanka Cricket. The GMC, being the owners of the stadium, leased the land for 30 years to SLC in 1998, on the basis that the contract should be extended every 10 years. However, the councilors have rejected a request for the extension of the contract that expires on March 19th 2008. more..

UNP (A) Group asks President to appoint Karu as PM

Dec 14 (LD) The UNP Alternative Group has requested that the post of Prime Minister be given to Minister Karu Jayasuriya, in return for getting five UNP MPs crossover to the government at the crucial vote on Budget 2008 today. The Group has intimated this request to the President through UPFA MP Basil Rajapaksa. This came to light at the Parliamentary Complex yesterday during a chat a group of JVP MPs had with Minister Bandula Gunawardena. more..

President says he will not dance to tunes of minority parties

Dec 14 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has told his close political associates that he was no longer prepared to dance to the tunes of minority political parties. The president had made this remark by telephone from London to Basil and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Maithripala Sirisena and Dallas Alahappeura who met last night to discuss the present political crisis. more..