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President assures Sir Arthur Clarke to make 'lasting peace in the country a reality'

Dec 17 (AT) Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse assured that he will make it a reality that “a lasting pace in Sri Lanka.” “I assure you Sir Arthur that my administration will do all within its power to seek to make a reality of one of your three wishes “a lasting pace in Sri Lanka” said President Mahinda Rajapakse at a felicitation ceremony to honor Sir Arthur C Clarke yesterday in Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka has no alternative but to print money: minister

Dec 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka has no alternative but to print money because the government cannot move into a framework of limiting expenditure, a senior minister has said. Speaking to the British Broadcasting Service's Sinhala language Sandeshaya program, consumer affairs minister Bandula Gunewardene said it had become necessary to print money because the government had recruited 250,000 persons and defence expenditure was increasing. more..

Who paid for President’s private entourage to the UK

Dec 17 (LG) The President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse went on an unofficial visit to the United Kingdom to attend a function at the Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth where his son Yoshitha who had completed one year’s training. Asked whether the visit of President Rajapaksa and his entourage to Britain was an official one, the spokesman said it was a private affair (Sunday Times 16/12 Sri Lanka). more..

Prabha’s war games have destroyed the Tamil people

Dec 17 (LG) The comments by various people show how foolishly we tamils, continue to glorify violence, suicide and terror. All this began with G.G. Ponnambalam attacking the sinhalese in a virulent speech in1939, resulting in the first Sinhala-Tamil riot.After the war SJV and others used every chance to gore the government instead of building bridges. They spurned the left leaders who stood for parity and preferred to hob-nob with their Colombo-7 capitalist leaders. more..

The Second JVP Insurgency (Part IV)

Dec 17 (LG) THE Presidential election of December 1988 was undoubtedly the most violent election in the history of Sri Lanka. The JVP, having failed in its attempt to obtain simultaneous Parliamentary and Presidential elections, broke off its negotiations with the SLFP led Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA was the umbrella organisation formed by the SLFP and its allies to contest the Presidential election of 1988) and declared the 19th December election to be an unpatriotic exercise. more..

England are on the back foot

Dec 17 (CI) Looking back at the series so far, at Kandy we had a tough first innings followed by a great fightback, whereas at the SSC we did a holding job to keep England down to 351 and then followed that up with a wonderful first-innings batting display. Mahela Jayawardene and Michael Vandort dominated. In fact, most of our batsmen got on top of the England bowling and it stayed that way for most of the match. more..

Sri Lanka declares no-fly zones

Dec 17 (KT) In a bid to counter the threat posed by the air wing of the LTTE, the government has promulgated flight-restriction zones in the air space of Sri Lanka. New regulations published in a government gazette notification declare the entire air space over Sri Lanka’s territory and the territorial waters as an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ). The regulations also spell out no-fly zones and flight-restriction zones over military, strategic, economic and religious places. more..

Thugs of Lotteries Board destroy decorations at UNP convention; damage a bus

Dec 17 (LeN) The Chairman of Gampaha Municipal Council Mannapperuma complained to the Police that a group of thugs destroyed the decorations of the 52nd conference of the United National Party held at Gampaha Municipal Grounds today. He mentioned that when he arrived the scene following an information around 1.00 AM, a group of thugs arrived in two vehicles belonged to Development Lottery were destroying the decorations. more..

Innocent civilians harassed fircing to admit the responsibility of killings at Ranminithenna

Dec 17 (LeN) The relatives of the arrested persons under suspicion for killings in Ranminithenna area say that the suspects are being intimidated severely to assume the responsibility of the murders. These youths were taken into custody on November 21. The wife of suspect W. P. Ajith said to 'Lanka-e-News' he had been severely beaten on December 14 and now he could not walk due to swollen legs. more..

Another Red Cross Volunteer Killed in Jaffna

Dec 17 (LG) A volunteer of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society found dead after he was abducted by a group of unidentified gunmen on Friday,amids UN staff union is due to advice their 13000 strong staff members to avoid assignments in Sri Lanka, this week. Sooriyakanthi Thavarajah (40) who received "Best Volunteer" award from the SLRCS for the contribution he made during the tsunami tragedy, found dead yesterday in Jaffna, International Committee of Red Cross announced today. more..

'Govt. not conducting the inquiry with sincerity on case of disappearances'

Dec 17 (LG) The bishop of war-plagued Jaffna has complained to media about the lack of sincerity evidenced by government authorities in searching for a Tamil priest missing for more than a year. Father Thiruchchelvan Nihal Jim Brown of St. Philip Neri Church in Allaipiddy and his assistant Wenceslaus Vinces Vimalathas, a father of five, disappeared Aug. 20, 2006, in Jaffna, on the peninsula at Sri Lanka's northern tip, 400 kilometers north of Colombo. more..

'Govt. Ready to Face Any Situation- PM

Dec 17 (LG) Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ratnasiri Wickramanayake stated that the vote on the third reading of the Budget -2008 was a crucial moment for the country. He said that the main opposition was anticipating a significant political upheaval but the Government had been ready to face any situation. The Prime Minister made these remarks at the handing over ceremony of the newly constructed self- contained houses to the 'recipients' at the Hampton Village in Ahangama on Saturday (15). more..

Both government and the UNP lose in the budget fray – JVP

Dec 17 (LT) JVP leader Mr. Somawansa Amarasinghe says that the government narrowly escaped defeat in the vote vote at the third reading of the budget and the UNP suffered a bitter loss. JVP leader expressed these views at a media briefing held in Colombo yesterday. In further comments Mr. Amarasinghe said that this is a red notice to the government. JVP leader also pointed out that UNP has proved to be an impotent party with no strategies and they have been reduced to signing petitions and distributing leaflets in fairs. more..

All parties in Parliament agree to citizenship being granted to Sri Lanka refugees in Tamilnadu

Dec 17 (LT) Parliamentary select committee chairmen on Thamilnadu refugees, JVP parliamentarian Mr. Ramalingam Chandrasekar says that all political parties have agreed to citizenship being granted to all those who are entitled to citizenship in Sri Lanka but are now housed in refugee camps in Tamilnadu without Sri Lankan citizenship. He said this at a special press conference held in parliament recently. more..

Mahela's favourite venue

Dec 17 (CI) If the weather clears up sufficiently and stays that way over the next five days, Sri Lanka will fancy their chances of wrapping up a 2-0 series verdict in Galle, which is hosting a Test for the first time since the tsunami completed destroyed the ground nearly three years ago. In the 11 Tests played here, Sri Lanka have won six and lost just two, the last defeat coming against Australia in 2004. more..

'Terrorism no longer one country’s problem'

Dec 17 (GDI) In today's world context if terrorism exists in one nation it inevitably becomes a problem transcending borders becoming an overwhelming security challenge for the whole region said Jaliya Wickramasuriya, the Sri Lanka Consul General in Los Angeles, addressing the World Affairs Council of Orange County in Southern California. "In a world that is increasingly growing smaller because of rapid globalization, security challenges need to be viewed in a global perspective, rather than regional, because of the profound effect of global inter-dependence" more..

Japan to grant US$ 400 million for Liquefied Nitrogen Gas (LNG) system

Dec 17 (GDI) The Government of Japan will be providing a grant of US$ 400 million for the establishment of the Liquefied Nitrogen Gas (LNG) system, according to the Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy, M. M. C. Ferdinando. This grant will be a part of the total cost of US$ 610 million needed to establish the system. Ferdinando stated that the Japanese Government has extended its support to upgrade the LNG system and more..

Ministry to extend internship to two years

Dec 17 (GDI) The Ministry of Health will be taking steps to extend the one-year internship of doctors to two years on the recommendation of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). According to the Minister of Health, Nimal Siripala De Silva, this action would be taken as the SLMC has pointed out that one year training is insufficient to cover different aspects of medicine required to be completed by doctors. more..

BOC expands operations in India and UK

Dec 17 (GDI) Bank of Ceylon (BoC) will be expanding its operations in India and United Kingdom with the aim is of attracting more foreign investment particularly for the capital markets in Sri Lanka, Gamini Wickremasinghe, Chairman, BoC said. Accordingly, the BoC will introduce new products and financial instruments to South Indian customers through the bank's Chennai branch after fulfilling the adequacy requirement of Indian authorities. more..

President assures lasting peace to Sri Lanka

Dec 17 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaska speaking at a felicitation for Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who was celebrating his 90 th birthday, stated that his Government will take every step to bring Sir Clarke's wish of lasting peace to the nation. The felicitation ceremony was held at the Central Bank Auditorium in Colombo yesterday (16). "In his remarks today too, Sir Arthur displayed the same love for this country, as he listed among his three wishes, his desire 'to see lasting peace in Sri Lanka as soon as possible'. more..

Matt Prior column

Dec 17 (BBC) It does not seem all that long ago we arrived in Sri Lanka back in November, but here we are already approaching the third and final Test of the series. Of course we approached it like we do every series - looking to emerge victorious - but to come away from here with a win in the final game and a 1-1 series draw would be absolutely massive. Make no mistake, Sri Lanka is one of, if not the, hardest place to come and play cricket and it would be huge if we could tie things up this week. more..

Report on Activities of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process

Dec 17 (PISL) Two representatives of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process formed part of the Sri Lankan delegation to the Sixth Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. Prof Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary General, and Shirani Goonetilleke, Legal Director, along with Shavindra Fernando, Deputy Solicitor General, and G K D Amarawardena, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights, joined staff of the Mission in Geneva to contribute to the proceedings. more..

TNA to appoint Muslim as MP

Dec 17 (LD) The TNA is to appoint a Muslim in place of M.K. Elavendran who lost his parliamentary seat after being continually absent at the House. The government removed Elavendran for leaving the country and staying overseas for more than three months without informing Parliament. Noting that the TNA is an alliance that represents all Tamil-speaking people, a party senior said that the appointment of a Muslim national in Elavendran’s place would prove the party’s commitment to that particular community as well. more..

Taj TV deal is clear, insists SLC

Dec 17 (LNP) Sri Lanka Cricket in an unsigned letter dated December 11th referring to our report last week headlined `Dharmadasa signs dubious television deal without interim committee`s knowledge` said, `Reference to the aforementioned article appeared in the sports section of the Sunday Island Newspaper on 9th December, 2007 under the above heading, which said article was written by Mr. Rex Clementine, we like to emphasize that the matters reported in your newspaper under the said article are blatantly incorrect and false. more..

LTTE funding: Full picture not known

Dec 17 (SAMN) The government is still unable to accurately assess the total amount of overseas funds received by the LTTE since the Oslo-arranged CFA came into operation in February 2002. Despite attacking the UN and other INGOs/NGOs, including Save the Children Sri Lanka, the government has not investigated the transfer of large funds to the LTTE. Authoritative sources pointed out the funds were in USD and would have been utilised to acquire arms, ammunition and equipment. more..

Govt. abusing military victories: JVP

Dec 17 (SAMN) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Sunday accused the government of politicising military victories and charged that it used military operations to gain political benefits during the budget period. JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe addressing the media in Colombo urged the government to prove its genuineness in carrying out military operations if possible by granting what his party demanded before the second reading vote of the budget. more..

UNP, JVP to expose corruption

Dec 17 (SAMN) Both UNP and the JVP are to take up issues on malpractices and corruption in several local bodies during the next sessions of the Western Provincial Council (WPC) scheduled for tomorrow.Provincial councilors of both parties are to raise oral questions from the Chief Minister Reginald Cooray on these matters. JVP Councillor Was Gunawardene is to raise a question on alleged felling of trees in an estate owned by the Kalutara Pradeshiya Sabha and removing the timber from the estate premises by force on December 4. more..

Ampara office of SLMC MP torched

Dec 17 (SAMN) The Ampara office of SLMC MP Faizal Cassim who crossed over to the opposition last week was set on fire by unidentified persons Sunday. A spokesman from his residence said the office had been burnt hours before he left on a Haj pilgrimage to Mecca Sunday morning. According to Batticaloa Police no one has been injured in the fire but it has caused extensive damages to the office. Propaganda material of the SLMC had been destroyed, the police said. more..

New laws to curb human cargo

Dec 17 (DN) Sri Lankan authorities are planning to tighten the screws on human trafficking and illegal migrants with new laws and the possible revision of the 1985 Act on Foreign Employment. Information Technology is to play a major role in the efforts with a comprehensive data base system connecting relevant departments, in a bid to foil abusers from exploiting the loopholes in the existing system. more..

Amplify and celebrate Tamil voices of moderation

Dec 17 (DN) Report no. 28 brought out by the University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna), UTHR, just ahead of the Human Rights Day on Dec 10, is an eye-opener not just for the graphic account of the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils but also for the tone of moderation. In a world increasingly sought to be painted in black and white, those concerned about the plight of our brethren yonder have been forced either into supporting the violent acts of the LTTE or into staying silent seemingly indifferent to the issue. more..

Advanced mine triggering ‘tools’ of Chinese origin seized

Dec 17 (Island) The navy is yet to identify the contents of 15 cans recovered from Sea Tigers after a confrontation about five nautical miles north of Talaimannar in the second week of October. Initially security forces believed that the 20 litre cans contained hydraulic oil but subsequent inquires proved that assessment wrong. Security forces believe that there were two different brands, both of Indian origin manufactured in facilities in Chennai and Mumbai. more..

Officials found guilty of contempt of court released

Dec 17 (Island) Releasing two senior Child Protection officials convicted of contempt of court, Anuradhapura District Magistrate Sumudhu Premachandra Friday said that he could have given them prison terms. The Magistrate found Ms Wasanthi Ratnapala, Child Protection and Probation Commissioner of the North Central Province and Ms Indrani Hettiarachchi, Chief Probation Officer of the province guilty of not carrying out a court directive. more..

Three TNA MPs’ relatives released

Dec 17 (DM) The relatives of three TNA MPs who were abducted by an armed group, had been released on Saturday night, a day after the crucial budget which the government won by a majority of 47 votes. The TNA charged in Parliament last week there was a government hand involved in this abduction case. Abductors had demanded that these three MPs namely P. Ariyanethran, S. Jeyanandamurthi and Thangeswari Kathiraman, should refrain from voting during the budget. more..

Government is not capable of completing full term: Lalkantha

Dec 17 (DM) Despite its rescue act to save the government at the third reading of the budget last Friday the JVP predicted that the Mahinda Rajapaksa government will compel itself to dissolve Parliament and call for a general election before mid 2008. “Under mounting public anger and extreme displeasure the already unstable government will not be able to stand and would be compelled to go for an election. I doubt whether even Mr. Thondaman will be here to save the government by that time,” more..

England set for battle in refurbished Galle

Dec 17 (CI) It's been a desperately near-run thing but Galle's reconstructed stadium will be fit to host Tuesday's third and final Test between England and Sri Lanka. Two days of sunshine, including a swelteringly hot final day of practice, have dried up all the puddles in the outfield and baked the muddy banks to a golden brown finish. It's not perfect but, given everything that this ground has been through in the past three years, it will do very nicely indeed. more..

Red Cross condemns murder of Sri Lanka Red Cross volunteer

Dec 17 (ICRC) Sooriyakanthy Thavarajah (43) worked for the Jaffna branch of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS). He was abducted by unidentified gunmen from his home in Kalviwan Kadu, Jaffna, in the presence of his family. His body was found on 16 December at Kaithady. Mr Thavarajah had been an active member of the Red Cross for many years and served as chairman of the Point Pedro Division for the past three years. more..

Sri Lanka hit hard by lack of night fighting capability

Dec 17 (IANS) Sri Lanka's air force is now able to raid Tiger-held areas in the island's north and return to base safely, but even now it is unable to counter rebel air raids at night because it lacks the capability to do so. The Sri Lanka Air Force's (SLAF) ability to pound areas controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is in sharp contest with the past when the Tigers would down air force planes with air missiles. more..

Ethnic divide marks attitude to Sri Lanka war

Dec 17 (IANS) Sri Lankans are divided on ethnic lines on President Mahinda Rajapaksa's war against the LTTE, a survey conducted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) shows. Interviews with 1,600 Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Indian origin Tamils conducted in eight of the nine provinces in November revealed that 87.3 percent of Sinhalese - the majority community - were 'satisfied' with the way the government was waging the war. more..

Tamil leaders ask India to help end Sri Lanka conflict

Dec 17 (IANS) Leaders of three Sri Lankan Tamil political parties who are to visit India from Wednesday are urging New Delhi to "do something" to help bring about a solution to their country's unending ethnic conflict. D. Sitharthan, T. Sritharan and V. Anandasangaree plan to spend about a week here meeting government officials, ministers, MPs, political leaders and other opinion makers to give their perspective of the situation in the island nation. more..

Rajapakse's nationalistic foreign policy pays dividends

Dec 17 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's foreign policy based on an aggressive display of nationalism appears to be paying off. In the two years Rajapakse has been in power, the government has taken on the UN and the West and has rapped multilateral bodies on the knuckles for being soft on the Tamil Tigers. It has also demonstrated closeness to China and Pakistan regardless of how India, the only neighbour, may view it. more..

Red Cross worker slain; fighting in the north kills 20 rebels, military says

Dec 17 (AP) A local Red Cross worker was dragged from his home by gunmen in the volatile Jaffna peninsula and found slain two days later, the latest aid worker killed in Sri Lanka's resurgent civil war, Red Cross officials said Monday. At least 30 humanitarian workers have been killed since early 2006, when fighting between the government and Tamil rebels flared, according to the United Nations. The worst incident was the still unsolved execution-style killing of 17 Action Against Hunger workers in eastern Sri Lanka last year. more..

Sri Lankan journalists awarded diplomas

Dec 18 (Hindu) Journalists from Sri Lanka, who recently completed a six-month training programme, received their diplomas and special awards from Union Minister for Textiles E.V.K.S. Elangovan and Sri Lanka Deputy High Commissioner P.M. Amza at a function here on Saturday. Denmark-based International Media Support (IMS) and Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) had selected 20 Tamil journalists for training at SRM University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. more..

Buddhist, Muslim and Catholic orphans united at Christmas

Dec 18 (AN) They were orphaned by the tsunami, by the civil war or by their parents. They are Buddhist, Catholic Muslim but they all express the same emotion:” This Christmas we feel loved, we no longer feel alone”. It is the merit of the Sisters of Perpetual Succour who run an orphanage in Lunuwila, Chilaw diocese – north of Colombo. December 9th last the religious organised an evening of Christmas hymns and a Nativity play. more..

Tamil bishop dissatisfied with police efforts to find priest

Dec 18 (UCAN) The bishop of war-plagued Jaffna has complained to media about the lack of sincerity evidenced by government authorities in searching for a Tamil priest missing for more than a year. Father Thiruchchelvan Nihal Jim Brown of St. Philip Neri Church in Allaipiddy and his assistant Wenceslaus Vinces Vimalathas, a father of five, disappeared Aug. 20, 2006, in Jaffna, on the peninsula at Sri Lanka's northern tip, 400 kilometers north of Colombo. more..

Court calls for treatment reports of girl who died at daycare centre

Dec 18 (LD) Colombo Additional Magistrate Ajith Anawaratne today(Dec 17th) ordered that reports pertaining to all medical treatment given to an 8-year-old girl who died after being allegedly tortured to death at a daycare centre, be submitted to the court. Accordingly, doctors at the Gampaha Base Hospital, the Lady Ridgeway Hospital and the Colombo National Hospital who treated Kashmira Sugandhi were told to present their report by December 24th. more..

Drug convict now in contempt of court

Dec 18 (LD) The man who was convicted of drug dealing and sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court today (Dec. 17th) is also facing the charge of contempt of court. Mohammed Shiyam swallowed a liquid and fainted in the docks when the court was about to deliver the verdict last week. Colombo High Court Judge Upali Abeyratne lodged a complaint with the Keselwatte Police against Shiyam regarding his liquid-swallowing and fainting act. more..

Sri Lanka tourism to lure Indians on a legendary trail

Dec 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka plans to attract more Indian tourists next year on the trail of a legendary tale where an Indian prince was said to have come to the island to rescue his kidnapped wife, officials said. Sri Lanka's Tourism Promotion Bureau says Sri Lanka has 34 sites related to the ancient epic of 'Ramayana'. "In India sometimes elections are won on the Ramayana platform and it is a huge thing," Renton De Alwis chairman of tourism promotion bureau told reporters. more..

US Visa fees for Sri Lankans up 30-pct

Dec 18 (LBO) Visa fees for Sri Lankans traveling to the United States has increased from 100 US dollars to 131 US dollar, the US embassy in Colombo said. Applicants who have paid the 100 dollar fee before January 01 would be processed until January 31, but if the interview is after that date, the difference of 31 dollars must be paid. Effective January 1, 2008, the application fee for a U.S. non-immigrant visa will increase from $100 to $131. more..

A blogger, innocence and terrorism

Dec 18 (LR) Blogging has been popular in cyberspace in recent past. People blog on various topics and voice there opinions on various issues, politics, culture, music etc… However it is heart breaking to see if a blogger has to post on fateful issue related to his/her own life or family. In Sri Lanka only 2.2 % of people have access to internet which is also highly concentrated in capital Colombo and other suburbs. more..

MP's killing: Minister's son released

Dec 18 (BBC) The judiciary in Sri Lanka has released four suspects including a son of a minister on charges of murdering a parliamentarian and a policeman. Ratnapura magistrate and additional District Judge MMM Nihal released the suspects on the instructions of Attorney General (AG). Released suspects; Viraj Ratnathilake, Pujitha Saman Kumara, IK Kularatne, Nimal Dayawansa and seven others were accused of killing ruling party legislator Nalanda Ellawala on or around 11 February 1997. more..