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Govt. attempts to remove TNA’s Elavendran from MP post

Dec 14 (LD) The government is making moves to nullify the parliamentary seat of TNA’s M.K. Elavendran. The basis for this claim is that he had left the country and stayed overseas without informing Parliament, in the event of which he could be removed in accordance with constitutional provisions. However, a TNA parliamentarian said Elavendran had returned to the island in October and also notified Parliament about his foreign trip. more..

Police should release arrested persons within 7-days - CJ

Dec 14 (LD) Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva has ordered that a person arrested by the police should be freed within a seven-day period and that any further detention should be done after obtaining permission from the court. Taking up a fundamental rights petition filed by the CWC against the recent mass arrests of Tamil Nationals, the CJ also ordered today that such persons should be detained in prisons, and not at police stations. more..

JHU bhikku MP goes missing from hospital

Dec 14 (LD) JHU parliamentarian Ven. Udawatte Nanda Thera has gone missing from the Colombo hospital where he was receiving treatment to a sudden illness, according to reports. Ven. Nanda Thera was transferred from Apollo Hospital last night (Dec. 13th) to the Nawaloka Hospital by a group including JHU leader Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera. more..

Minster of foreign Affaires, Rohitha Bogollagama clarifies the position....

Dec 14 (GDI) The British High Commissioner, Mr. Dominic Chilcott, was summoned this morning (13th) 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. Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona drew attention to the High Commissioner’s comment, “I am not saying that the political aspiration for Eelam is illegitimate” and expressed the Government’s deep concern. more..

Government to strengthen marine pollution laws

Dec 14 (GDI) The Government plans to tighten laws to prevent marine pollution, according to Ranjith Kularatne, Chairman, Marine Pollution Prevention Authority (MPPA). Accordingly, the Marine Pollution Prevention Act No. 59 of 1981 will be amended shortly, he said. More than 20 more regulations will be included to strengthen its powers and impose enhanced punishment for those who pollute the ocean. more..

Parliament tense as Govt., Opposition play numbers game

Dec 14 (GDI) With the crucial third reading of the budget coming up for vote at 5.00 pm today, movers and shakers in both the Government and the Opposition were reported to be busy, trying to work out the arithmetic of passing and defeating the budget respectively. The numbers fever got intense after SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem crossed over to the opposition benches on Wednesday, along with three others. more..

Sri Lanka to extend trade ties with Belgium

Dec 14 (GDI) Sri Lanka plans to extend trade ties with Belgium through enhancing investments, according to Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion during discussions held with Jean M. Deboutte, Ambassador of the Royal Kingdom of Belgium, at his ministry. During the discussion, the ambassador stated that Belgium was agreeable to support trade and investment in Sri Lanka. more..

Ministry to establish a National healthcare volunteer force

Dec 14 (GDI) A National Healthcare Volunteer Force (NHVF) will be established by the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition with the aim of deploying the same at state healthcare institutions when health employees launch unfair and destructive trade union actions. This action will be taken under the directives of the Minister of Health and Nutrition Nimal Siripala De Silva who has instructed officials to enlist citizens who volunteer to fill the gap created by striking health employees. more..

Dominick Chilcott recants following Govt. censure of 'Eelam' comments

Dec 14 (GDI) Outgoing British High Commissioner, Mr. Dominic Chilcott, well-known for high-handed posturing on separatism did an about-turn on comments made during his Dudley Senanayake Commemoration Lecture where he clearly implied that 'the political aspirations for Eelam' was legitimate. Chilcott categorically confirmed that the UK does not support in any way the establishment of a separate State in Sri Lanka and stated that neither did he do so personally. more..

Warwickshire sign Jayasuriya for Twenty20s

Dec 14 (CI) Warwickshire have signed Sanath Jayasuriya to play in next year's Twenty20 Cup. Jayasuriya, 38, retired from Test cricket earlier this month but will continue to play ODI and Twenty20 games for Sri Lanka. "Sanath has vast experience in all forms of cricket but especially the one-day format," said Ashley Giles, the county's director of cricket. "He'll be a great man for the younger members of our squad to learn from and his knowledge of the game will be crucial in the Twenty20 format of the game. more..

Mahela revisited, and the king of draws

Dec 14 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara's stunning batting display in the last year has taken the spotlight off another Sri Lankan batsman whose performances have been only slightly less spectacular. For a while now, critics have been raving about Mahela Jayawardene's skill and silken elegance, even naming him Aravinda de Silva's successor in the line-up, and of late those claims haven't seemed so far-fetched. more..

Grant citizenship to ‘Lankan’ foreigners

Dec 14 (SAMN) The JVP in Parliament Thursday urged the government to give the people of Sri Lankan origin living abroad dual citizenship in Sri Lanka free of charge. JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said this would encourage Sri Lankans living abroad to invest in the country. The MP said there were many Sri Lankans abroad who did not have the Sri Lankan citizenship. They include about 900,000 Sri Lankan Tamils, who want to invest in the country. more..

Fiscal management at stake, warns UNP

Dec 14 (SAMN) The UNP Thursday charged that the country’s fiscal management was at stake today due to the absence of a Finance Minister responsible to parliament which is the supreme body overseeing public finances. Addressing Parliament during the committee stage debate on the budget UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara said parliamentarians had been virtually reduced to non entities with the President holding the Finance Ministry portfolio. more..

Allegations against Tiran in House

Dec 14 (SAMN) Chief Government Whip Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle Thursday told Parliament that the Bribery Commission should be moved to investigate the circumstances under which Rs. 125 million was graThe Minister was responding to an oral question raised by the JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake. The MP said the houses in question have been constructed in the uncleared areas. The contract for the construction of these houses has been given through Tiran Alles to a person who has close links with the LTTE. more..

Budget D-Day today

Dec 14 (SAMN) The final vote on the budget will be taken in Parliament at 5.00pm today, with the opposition expressing confidence about toppling the government, and the government saying it is stable. The vote is likely to head towards a photo finish, given that four SLMC members have joined forces with the opposition and the CWC too is planning to make a crucial move. more..

President Chief Guest at Dartmouth passing out parade

Dec 14 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Chief Guest at the passing out parade of the new batch officers of the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth last morning. The President attended the event at the invitation of Britain’s Naval Chief Admiral Jonathan Band. President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa were accorded a warm welcome with all the formal trappings unique to the occasion, when they arrived at Dartmouth in Devon. more..

Govt majority intact - Media Minister Anura Yapa

Dec 14 (DN) Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa yesterday reiterated that the Government still has a clear majority in Parliament to defeat the ‘unseen hand’ striving to resuscitate the weakened LTTE at this crucial juncture. Minister Yapa was of the firm view that at a decisive period when the LTTE was on the verge of being completely annihilated militarily, certain politicians were engaged in political manoeuvres to permit ‘breathing space’ to the LTTE. more..

JVP blasts Government’s silence on Chilcott’s critcism

Dec 14 (Island) JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Wimal Weerawansa yesterday said the Government must be sent to a deaf and blind school for keeping mum on the criticism leveled by British High Commissioner Dominic Chilcott. Making a special statement in the House he deplored the speech delivered by the British Diplomat at the Dudley Senanayake memorial oration on December 10. more..

Govt. gives in to Sagara VV students

Dec 14 (Island) The government Tuesday (11) gave in to the long standing demand of the students of National Institute of Fisheries and Nautical Engineering (Sagara Vishva Vidyalaya) to be affiliated to the Sri Jayawardenapura University. A ministerial committee which handled the issue has finalized the transfer of the properties belonging to the Sagara Vishva Vidyalaya to the Sri Jayawardenapura University. more..

Prisoners leave prison undercover

Dec 14 (DM) Welikada prison’s special police bureau has reported to the Police Headquarters that prisoners serving terms for drug trafficking and other offences were regularly leaving the prisons in the nights in connivance with certain prison officials and were believed to be planning to harm the Presiding judge of the Special High Court in the Welikada prison. The report said the convict in the former High Court judge Sarath Ambepitiya murder case now in death row was also among the wrong-doers. more..

India allows SL to question Sea Tiger suspect

Dec 14 (DM) Indian defence authorities have given permission to Sri Lankan authorities to interrogate a recently arrested senior Sea Tiger in Chennai. Two more rebel suspects have also been taken into custody on Wednesday in Chennai by the Indian police, a top defence official said. Accordingly, two officers from the Sri Lankan State Intelligence Service (SIS) will travel to Chennai to interrogate 34 year-old Jayakumar alias Gowrishankar, who was arrested by the Indian police on December 9. more..

LTTE event: Tamil stars face music

Dec 14 (NIP) A bevy of South Indian film personalities might be heading for controversy after their names were included in a fund-raiser in London that Sri Lankan reports allege is in aid of Tamil Tigers. An article carried by the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry website has alleged that the organiser of the event, White Pigeon, is an LTTE front organization. In an interview earlier this year to the Washington Post Radio, the Sri Lankan Ambassador in Washington had alleged that White Pigeon was another avatar of a psuedo Tamil charity called Tamil Rehabilitation Organization more..

Report: North Korea may have aided Hezbollah and Tamil Tigers

Dec 14 (VOA) A report prepared for U.S. lawmakers says North Korea may have provided arms and training to terrorist organizations in Lebanon and Sri Lanka. The Congressional Research Service report, obtained by the Reuters and Yonhap news agencies Wednesday, casts doubt on what it says is the long-standing U.S. view that North Korea halted such activities in 1987. CRS cited French and South Korean sources alleging North Korea has provided more recent support for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. more..

Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger suspects on trial in Australia

Dec 14 (LBO) Three Australians of Sri Lankan Tamil origin are to stand trial in Australia's Supreme Court for engaging in terrorism related offences there, Sri Lanka's foreign ministry said. On Friday afternoon, a Magistrates Court in Melbourne committed the three, Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, Sivarajah Yathavan and Arumugam Rajeevan, to stand trial in the Supreme Court of Australia. more..

Man jailed 27 years for murdering his in-laws

Dec 14 (AAP) A MELBOURNE man has been sentenced to 27 years' jail for the murder of his parents-in-law. Sarath Laksham Hettiarachchi killed Sammy and Iranganie Perera at his Hallam home, southeast of Melbourne, on March 7 last year by stabbing them to death. He must serve a minimum of 22 years. Supreme Court Justice Betty King said Hettiarachchi, 47, had carried out the killings in a "savage and agitated manner" and shown no remorse. more..

Lanka hopeful of two visits by Manmohan Singh next year

Dec 14 (PTI) Applauding India's "tremendous" contribution to SAARC under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sri Lanka on Friday said it was hoping that the Indian leader will make "two visits" to the country next year. "We are hopeful of two visits by Indian Prime Minister to Sri Lanka in 2008. One in the capacity as the SAARC Chair as the 15th SAARC summit is being held in Colombo next year and the other for bilateral relations. We hope obviously that it will be under two different roles," more..

Anura Bandaranaike defects to opposition ahead of crucial vote

Dec 14 (LBO) National heritage minister, Anura Bandaranaike, crossed over to the opposition benches in parliament a few minutes ago, just an hour ahead of a crucial budget vote in the house. Bandaranaike's defection weakens the ruling coalition's already wafer thin majority in parliament. Bandaranaike is the brother of former president Chandrika Kumaratunga. He was sacked in February by President Mahinda Rajapakse along with two other ruling party lawmakers. more..

Tamils and Muslims worst affected in country's human rights crisis

Dec 14 (MR) One year since the Sri Lankan government promulgated tough anti-terror laws the country’s human rights situation has hit a new low, resulting in serious violations against ethnic Tamil and Muslim minorities, Minority Rights Group International says in a new briefing paper. “The anti-terrorism laws fed into the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka that has resulted in hundreds of killings, abductions and disappearances, mostly of ethnic Tamils and some Muslims,” more..

Sri Lanka clashes with diplomats over rights demands

Dec 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka's militaristic government said Friday it had hauled in the envoys of countries calling for UN human rights monitoring of the island's increasingly dirty war with Tamil separatists. The foreign ministry in Colombo said it had conveyed its "serious concern" that Sri Lanka, which has categorically rejected the presence of foreign monitors, was being subjected to toughening international criticism. more..

Sri Lanka govt wins crucial budget vote

Dec 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government Friday won a crucial vote in parliament on its 2008 budget, despite a last minute crossover of a cabinet minister, removing uncertainty that had plagued the country for weeks. The turning point was the abstention of the 38 member Marxist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) who voted against a previous reading of the budget. The government won the budget with 114 votes for, 67 against and 38 abstaining. more..

Dilshan replaces Mubarak for final Test

Dec 15 (CI) Sri Lanka have made two changes to their line-up for the final Test against England, bringing middle-order batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan and uncapped fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara into their 13-man squad. Dilshan makes a comeback after being dropped from the squad for the tour to Australia in November. He replaces Jehan Mubarak, who scored only 18 runs in the first two Tests against England. Welegedara comes in for Dilhara Fernando, who is nursing an injury. more..

Life as it is Infections galore

Dec 15 (Fri) Recently I had to go to Matara on some work but refused to budge until I was told categorically, and on sound advice, that the terrible sore producing flies, or whatever, were not prevalent in Matara. We saw a news item on the MTV channel that said the Karapitiya hospital was full of patients with this dread affliction. Well, the Matara mosquitoes were jet black, large and widely prevalent so much so that sitting out in the verandahs of the hotel rooms, enjoying the greenery around, was near impossible. more..

Invasive alien aquatic species of Sri Lanka

Dec 15 (Fri) The invasive alien aquatic species of Sri Lanka have almost all been imported to the island for recreational purposes, without realising the threats posed by such species. In the Colonial era, the British, who are inordinately fond of angling, imported fingerlings of Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) from their country and released them to mountain streams in and around Nuwara Eliya, their “Little England”. more..

CJ, Jaffna and human rights

Dec 15 (Fri) Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva made mind provoking observations with regard to the country’s human rights situation and the warring conditions when he addressed an event to mark the International Human Rights Day on Monday. Unlike his predecessors the Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva faces the daunting task of dealing with the issues that come before him and his other brother judges at Hulftsdorp and other court houses throughout the country at large. more..

Stop this nonsense!

Dec 15 (Fri) Once again the university students caused inconvenience to the general public on Monday. This time they came from Sabaragamuwa. We have seen many such protests in the recent past inspired and backed by the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF). It is an obvious fact as to who politically backs them in all those protests. On Monday they converged opposite the University Grants Commission (UGC) in their numbers. They later attempted to break through the barriers put up for security measures. more..

5 members abstained at budget vote

Dec 15 (LD) Five members abstained at the vote on the third reading of Budget 2008 today (Dec. 14th). National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike was absent at the House during the ballot. TNA’s M.K. Elavendran, K. Tangeswari and S. Jeyanandamoorthi whose relatives and the private secretary were abducted a few days ago, as well as P. Ariyanethran were also not present. The budget was supported by 114 members from the SLFP, the JHU, the CWC and the UPF. more..

We can change stance when situation calls for it – JVP

Dec 15 (LD) “The JVP is a party that could change its stances when the shifting situations call for it. We will use our vote today against the parasites and conspirators,” JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa said. Weerawansa made a special statement to the House today (Dec. 14th), taking up the full time allocation of JVP MPs. “We declared our stance at the last moment. We were successful on November 19th. We will do that today as well. The JVP is not a party that buries its principles. more..

Muralitharan toes line in Sri Lanka riven by war

Dec 15 (TMG) Waking up to yesterday's newspapers must have been gratifying for the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa. His publicity campaign could not have gone better. It was a coup of the nicest kind. There on the front pages was a photograph of the president shaking the hand of the man of the moment, Muttiah Muralitharan, and presenting the world record-holder with the key to a new Peugeot car. more..

Miffed at envoy's remarks, Sri Lanka to complain to London

Dec 15 (IANS) Sri Lanka will soon convey to the British Foreign Office its "strong displeasure" about certain remarks of British High Commissioner Dominic Chilcott which seemed to legitimise the Tamil Tigers' struggle for an independent "Eelam" in the north and east of the island. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama announced this in parliament Friday after a government minister and a leading member of the opposition condemned the envoy for "interfering" in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. more..

From Colombo to Galle

Dec 15 (BBC) After the thrilling first Test in Kandy it was a real shame the second game at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo was a rather disappointing affair. At least, from an England point of view, the hard-earned draw means the series is still alive when the third Test gets underway here in Galle on Tuesday. The Colombo Test may not live too long in the memory - but it was not short of talking points in the Test Match Special commentary box. more..

Sri Lanka to see extra $486 mln inflow from T-bonds

Dec 15 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will see an additional $486 million inflow through the central bank's decision to increase foreign investment in rupee denominated treasury bonds, central bank data showed on Friday. However, currency dealers said the decision will hit exporters and increase the trade deficit in short term. "If all bonds are bought by foreigners in near future, the rupee might fall down to 105 per dollar, which will not be attractive to exports," more..

Budget vote lost 'because of JVP'

Dec 15 (BBC) The main opposition in Sri Lanka has accused President Rajapaksa's political ally, JVP, of playing a double game at the budget vote. The UNP says however says it has not goven up the hope to topple the government. UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake, said many other senior members from the ruling SLFP were about to cross over had the momentum was with the opposition. "We in the UNP played our role. Now the country knows that only UNP represents the general public in Sri Lanka," more..

Sri Lanka applauds India's "tremendous" contribution to SAARC

Dec 15 (IRNA) Applauding India's "tremendous" contribution to SAARC under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sri Lanka has said it was hoping that the Indian leader will make "two visits" to the country next year. "We are hopeful of two visits by Indian Prime Minister to Sri Lanka in 2008. One in the capacity as the SAARC Chair as the 15th SAARC summit which will be held in Colombo next year and the other for bilateral relations. more..

Western Union to tap USD 4 billion remittances market in Sri Lanka

Dec 15 (PTI) After making deep inroads into India, the Western Union is expanding its money transfer operations in Sri Lanka to tap inflow potential in the Island country that is estimated to touch 4 billion dollars in 2008. "We see an opportunity to grow in Sri Lanka," the Country Director of Western Union for India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives, Ratheesh Kumar said here yesterday. more..

My experiences in Jaffna-Summer 2007

Dec 15 (TC) I would like to share with you my experiences of Jaffna from a Tamil point of view. I am sure what I have to say could be matched by equally harrowing stories from other parts of North and East such as the Vanni, Mannar, Sampoor, Vaharai etc, and perhaps from the South by Sinhalese and Muslims who have also suffered pain and loss. During the three months I spent in Jaffna recently, I met with many ordinary people. more..

Don't hold your breath for the start of the Third Test

Dec 15 (DM) The climax to England's tour was in jeopardy last night after monsoon-like rains hit the rebuilt Galle Stadium just 72 hours before Michael Vaughan's team are due to contest the third and final Test. Groundstaff were already racing to complete the stadium in time for its first international match since the tsunami devastated southern Sri Lanka three years ago, but their efforts were all but ruined as unseasonal rain lashed down for much of Thursday and yesterday morning. more..

New owners build dream houses in Sri Lanka

Dec 15 (IFRC) The tsunami that hit Sri Lanka three years ago was indiscriminate in its impact – people from all backgrounds were equally affected. But while the tsunami’s impact knew no boundaries, for organizations like the Red Cross Red Crescent, building back required careful consideration. People with very different needs and expectations required houses with very different uses and functions. It was evident very early on that no one method would fit all. more..

Anglican church mural depicts communal harmony, draws crowds

Dec 15 (UCAN) A mural displaying Jesus' first miracle, turning water into wine at a marriage in Cana, has been drawing crowds to an Anglican cathedral in Colombo. People of different religions have been flocking to the Cathedral of Christ the Living Saviour to view the mural, which was painted by a Buddhist artist using local cultural and ethnic influences. "Look here," said Pavithra Jesuthasan, 21, pointing to the mural. more..

Ayub unable to prevent Sri Lanka levelling series

Dec 15 (CI) Sri Lanka squared the five-match Under-19 one-day series with a 14-run victory over Bangladesh in the second ODI at Bogra. As the Sri Lankans had done on Wednesday, Bangladesh fielded on winning the toss and the decision seemed to pay off as Sri Lanka limped to 165. It could have been worse, as they were 15 for 3 at one stage, with Rubel Hossain blasting through the top order. more..

Southern Sri Lanka also feeling effects of conflict

Dec 15 (AN) As I sat down to think about writing this blog post, I felt reluctant to touch on the security situation in Sri Lanka - as you might have expected - because I felt enough seemed to have been said about it already. I reflected on a conversation I'd had with an old friend of mine who called from the United States to find out "whether I was ok?", since she'd heard the situation in Sri Lanka was really bad. more..