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One thousand Tamils arrested in South

Dec 2 (TN) Sri Lankan armed forces have arrrested more than one thousand Tamil men and women in a wide scale cordon and search operations within the last 24 hours in Colombo and other districts in South. Many of the arrested in Colombo were taken to Boosa detention centre. The parents of around 100 arrested Tamils from Kottahena tried to march to Temple Trees from Galle Face Saturday evening with UNP parliamentarian T. Maheswaran and Upcountry Peoples Front parliamentarian P. Radhakrishnan, but more..

'We have not lost heart' - Sangakkara

Dec 2 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara, who top-scored for Sri Lanka with a fluent 92, said his team had not lost heart after being bowled out for 188 by England on the first day of the first Test in Kandy. Matthew Hoggard's opening spell left Sri Lanka struggling at 42 for 5, before Sangakkara and Prasanna Jayawardene combined to produce the best partnership of the innings - 106 off 131 balls - to rescue the side. more..

Free media or his master’s voice?

Dec 2 (LR) The free media movement and various INGO right organizations have been issuing press releases and statements against government’s intervene in preventing broadcast of Piribaharan’s birthday speech on BBC Sandeshaya Sinhala program. Sri Lankan armed forces have engaged in full scale battle against the LTTE terrorists in the North and they are at the verge of the overall win after so much of sacrifice and commitment. more..

IMF warns Sri Lanka of impending foreign debt crisis

Dec 2 (AFP) Sri Lanka plans to raise more money from overseas investors, officials said despite the International Monetary Fund warning that the island could be heading for a foreign debt crisis. Sri Lanka's Central Bank said Sunday it had lifted the ceiling on foreign holdings of government rupee bonds, allowing overseas investors to buy into more than 500 million dollars worth of new debt. more..

Building Fires

Dec 2 (AT) The Tiger thrives on catastrophes. His dream would be another Black July. The LTTE has always gained nourishment from the blood of Tamils. Sinhala mobs on rampage, that abiding nightmare of every Tamil man, woman and child, is the stuff of which Tiger dreams are made. If Sinhalese don the barbarian mantle again, the necessary conditions will be created for an internationally propelled ‘solution’ a la East Timor, Montenegro or Kosovo. more..

Iran to meet 70% of Sri Lanka oil need

Dec 2 (ISNA) Talking about the achievements gained during Sri Lankan president's visit to Tehran, the Finance Ministry Secretary P.B. Jayasundera said that Iran is to supply 70 percent of his country's oil requirements. Speaking to Sri Lanka's national newspaper, Jayasundera said that during the president's visit to Tehran they could secure 7-month credit facilities to import oil from Iran. more..

Vehicle toxic gas emission to end next year

Dec 2 (AT) As a result of a citizen going to the Supreme Court in 1998, to get an assurance to breath fresh air the initiative to alleviate the air pollution was set in motion by the authorities and after nearly 10 long years, things appear to be moving to put a stop to vehicle emissions as the government has awarded the task to two private companies – CleanCo Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and Laugfs Eco Sri (Pvt) Ltd to test and issue emission certificates and they are expected to commence work in April next year. more..

Magic Muttiah Muralitharan as tricky as ever

Dec 2 (TMG) The people of Kandy, his hill country home town, love Muttiah Muralitharan as one of their own. I still remember the thousands that spilled onto the street to celebrate his return from the Oval in 1998 where he ran amok with an incredible 16 wickets in the match. This time, though, they are waiting, hoping, praying for a world record of 709 Test wickets. I was 13 when I first met him. I am also from Kandy but played for a rival school - Murali played for St Antony's College while I was at Trinity College. more..

Rounding-up, arrest and incarceration of Innocent Tamils in Colombo, a prelude to ethnic cleansing

Dec 2 (AT) In Colombo, Tamils were yesterday rounded up, arrested, incarcerated, and held incommunicado. A desperate move by the Sri Lanka government for second time this year, imposing collective punishment on the Tamils as whole, an unwise move to stem the twin attack let loose by the terrorists on 28 November. Arresting and holding more than one thousand Sri Lankan Tamils – men, women and children yesterday in Colombo, is alleged to be a highly condemnable act which amounts to unleashing ethnic cleansing. more..

Both Sinhalese and Tamils put in trouble in the massive cordon and search; ordered to arrest then investigate

Dec 2 (LeN) Not only Tamils but Sinhalese also are in utmost difficulty due to the search operation now undergoing in Colombo and suburbs. Official figures of arrests have not been released but our sources said that the number of arrests were over than 1000. Tamils have been arrested due to being the residents of north and east and a large number of Indian origin Tamils have also been taken into custody. more..

An Evolution of the Meaning of Terrorism with reference to the LTTE – A case for thought

Dec 2 (ISL) The LTTE came forward publicly announcing that they were responsible for the “Blowing up of the Avro 748 Aircraft” at Ratmalana Air port on the 7th of September 1978. The central committee of the LTTE issued a statement in London claiming sole responsibility for the attack. It was Prabakaran, who wanted to compare his movements with the IRA and the PLO and to bring the Tamil struggle to the forefront of the international community by blowing up an aircraft. more..

APRC on Kota Udda (on the rock)

Dec 2 (LG) No one now speaks about All Party Representative Committee (APRC) which was formed by the President Rajapakse upon his election just over two years ago to prepare a political framework to end the conflict in Sri Lanka. APRC received all the publicity that the government was sincere in finding a political resolution by reaching an acceptable political resolution for all the people in Sri Lanka. more..

Rajapaksa entrapped: Military Prepares to Liquidate LTTE

Dec 2 (LG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, finds himself entrapped. As he completed two years in office on 19 November, the first and foremost of his achievements was the heightened alienation of Tamil citizens from the Sri Lankan state. His hawkish brothers and the increasingly confident defence forces on one side and the Sinhala chauvinist, JVP, with whose support he won the presidential race and the JHU of the Buddhist monks on the other are egging him on to go for the decapitation of the LTTE supreme, Velupillai Pirapaharan. more..

War for Peace then and now against Terrorism

Dec 2 (TC) What’s next? What will be the future of the Tamils in Sri Lanka? Is the government really serious about seeking a just political solution based on sharing power with the ethnic minorities? Will weakening or even destroying the LTTE result in the changes to the governing system needed for national integration and unity to enable all ethnic communities to coexist in a peaceful, secure and promising environment? more..

Sri Lanka are caught out by retirements

Dec 2 (TO) AMID all the fuss over Muttiah Muralitharan’s impending wicket- taking world record it would be easy to overlook the crisis that is looming in Sri Lankan cricket. A golden generation of players 'a generation that swept the island to a sensational victory at the 1996 World Cup' are about to take their leave, and nobody is sure who will take their place. Sanath Jayasuriya, the man who did the most to revolutionise modern one-day batting and thereby paved the way for Twenty20 cricket, is expected to announce his retirement from Test cricket more..

Sri Lankan Muslim party under pressure on budget vote

Dec 2 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), an ally in the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse, has come under pressure from its membership not to support the government in the key vote to take place Dec 14, party officials said Sunday. 'A majority of our executive committee members feel that we should abstain from voting,' said a party official who wanted to remain unnamed. more..

LTTE goes totally underground

Dec 2 (SAMN) The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has gone underground, vacating its offices, including its peace secretariat and cutting off communication with most of the rest of the world. Reports reaching from the Wanni reveal that the once busy Tiger political office and its peace secretariat have been virtually vacated. Repeated attempts to contact LTTE military spokesman, Marshal alias Irasiah Ilanthirayan failed. more..

Govt's foreign policy duplicitous: Anura

Dec 2 (SAMN) National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike has in a scathing written attack on the government’s foreign policy called it duplicitous, absurd, one of the most irresponsible and despicable foreign policies ever practised in this country and refused to participate in a discussion to formulate strategy. In a letter dated November 29 addressed to Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona, the Minister has also taken a swipe at President Mahinda Rajapaksa by innuendo, stating more..

Budget vote: Minister’s call irks Govt

Dec 2 (SAMN) Non Cabinet Minister Cegu Isadean’s call to all Muslim parliamentarians to boycott the third reading of the Budget scheduled for December 14 has ticked off many sections of the government, including top ministers, informed sources said. Several ministers had taken serious note of Isadean’s appeal, which was unprecedented, coming from a government member who is also a minister. more..

Email crooks drag CB into lottery scam

Dec 2 (SAMN) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka is conducting an investigation into the circulation of a fraudulent email claiming that the Central Bank is giving recipients a lottery prize of US $1 million. The Central Bank issued a media statement to various newspapers early this week warning recipients not to respond to this email and began an investigation into account numbers and various details provided in the email. more..

Karuna Group claims to have released all child soldiers

Dec 2 (SL) The Karuna Group has released 22 underage recruits in the last month after Pillayan took over the leadership, Group Spokesperson Azad Moulana claimed but the SLMM said there were more minors in their custody according to reports. He said they were between the ages of 15 and 18 and had been released in stages to their parents/guardians and to UNICEF, he said. "The last three were released last week in Trincomalee," Moulana said. more..

Stage set for bloody war as Govt. battles to survive budget vote

Dec 2 (SL) The stage was last week set for a bloody Christmas and gory New Year with both the government and the Liberation Tigers bracing themselves for a no holds barred battle even as the opposition moved to change that equation by defeating the final reading of the budget on December 14. That the government is vulnerable on the political front there is no gainsaying, with the JVP making it public they will once again vote against the budget on December 14, thereby more..

A foreign policy nightmare that haunts the President

Dec 2 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapakse’s foreign policy is picaresque at best. Almost sycophantic in its adulation of failed states and indignant in its defiance of stable nations, the present regime also tends from time to time to inform its judgment on religious lines. This is despite the fact that except for a few nations including Sri Lanka most nations are secular in nature. more..

Douglas the hero as emotions run high

Dec 2 (SL) There are many a daily reminder in different forms of the ongoing conflict in the northeast, but EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda remains one living reminder. A fortunate man who survived some 11-assassination attempts, one would say that he is the cat that has more than nine lives. However, Wednesday morning’s parliament schedule went haywire when TNA’s Mavai Senathiraja seeking to make an urgent statement about the bombing of the Voice of Tigers (VOT) was strongly opposed by the government and JVP legislators. more..

To hell with a ‘National Government’!

Dec 2 (LM) Ameasly 20 MPs attended the UNP Parliamentary Group meeting in Parliament on Monday. Seeing the poor attendance, Ranil Wickremasinghe insisted angrily that Parliamentarians must act more responsibly than this. “All Parliamentarians must actively participate in party work and Parliamentary work,” he chastised. “That’s the only way to go forward.” He instructed Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera to ensure that all MPs hereafter get involved in party activities. more..

Sri Lankans involved in shooting incident in Iraq to be deported

Dec 2 (LB) Twenty one Sri Lankans who were arrested over the involvement in the the shooting incident in central Baghdad will be deported from Iraq, L.K Ruhunage, Deputy General Manager, for Foreign affairs of the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau told LAKBIMAnEWS. The Sri Lankans were among a group of foreign security guards who were initially arrested by Iraqi police after they drove on the wrong track of a Baghdad highway, allegedly randomly shooting commuters. more..

National Government psyche

Dec 2 (LB) Our chieftains are blithering again about a National Government. Strictly speaking, this is not news - because there is a National Government founded every year. In the sky, way up high. Like a pie. You see, a National Government is very much like a suppository. It is cheap. It can be easily inserted into the Sri Lankan psyche where, just moments later, it brings instant relief to a multitude of painful symptoms. (Does not cure the ailment, but it covers the symptoms). more..

Politico behind jellyfish export racket

Dec 2 (LB) Unlawful trading of indigenous biodiversity by multinational entrepreneurs, often backed by certain politicians has been exposed by Customs sleuths. Customs officials have uncovered a racket to export a unique sea fish by a gang of unscrupulous businessmen aided and abetted by a leading local politician. The politician is reported to have threatened Customs authorities demanding the release of the seized consignment of jellyfish. more..

Lanka, India trade to hit $ 5 billion by 2010

Dec 2 (SO) Trade between Sri Lanka and India has reached US$ 2.5 billion after signing the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and Sri Lanka and we are confident that it will reach US$ 5 billion by 2010, said Mission Leader and Member Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Chairman and Managing Director, Somany Ceramics Ltd, Shreekat Somany. Addressing the media in Colombo, he said that much more can be done to improve the trade and investment environment between the two countries. more..

Biggest vehicle import fraud busted

Dec 2 (SO) The Customs Department's inquiry into the car import racket has revealed that millions of rupees in taxes were deprived to the government by the mastermind behind it. The car exporter, a Sri Lankan living in Japan with dual visas had obtained the value of the cars from the buyers, while the LCs were opened for the undervalued prices, of the cars. Assistant Customs Superintendent - Post Clearance and Audit Section, Sarath Fernando said that the practice has been continuing for several years. more..

O/L exam in Chennai for Lankan refugee students

Dec 2 (SO) Arrangements have been made to conduct the O/L examination in Chennai for Sri Lankan refugee students who left the north due to the war conditions. The O/L examination will be conducted at the Chennai Christian College on December 9, the same day the students in Sri Lanka will sit for their O/Ls. One hundred and five Tamil students will sit the O/L examination for the second time this month. more..

Security guards mix up priorities

Dec 2 (SO) The LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran unleashed yet another blood thirst act on Wednesday, exactly 24 hours after his so-called 'annual speech' in which he manifested his clear desperation over his shattered dream of Tamil Eelam, claiming the lives of another set of innocent civilians. The parcel bomb which was kept at the parcel counter of the "No Limit" fashion store in Nugegoda went off exactly at 5.55 pm on Wednesday, leaving another book of lessons for the general public have been under constant threat of LTTE terror for the past three decades. more..

Buses run dry

Dec 2 (NS) Private bus owners appear to be bearing the brunt of the back-to-back bomb blasts fallout, with the Private Bus Owners’ Association (PBOA) claiming that profits have reduced by nearly 40% since Wednesday’s bomb blasts, owing to the reduced number of commuters. The fear psychosis prevailing in the country, especially and in and around Colombo, has led to many fearing to leave their homes even for seasonal shopping, sources noted. more..

Bomb blasts ‘winning war’ boast

Dec 2 (NS) When last week began, the focus was on what LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran would say next, anticipating a policy statement from the terrorist supremo. When the week ended however, all eyes were still on Prabhakaran, but mostly concerned with what he would do next. The reason was simple. Two deadly blasts, in Colombo and Nugegoda, and within a few hours of each other, had brought the brutal reality of the Tiger campaign home: the terrorists needed to succeed only once to create mayhem, more..

Former COPE Chairman now UNP’s broker

Dec 2 (NS) COPE Chairman, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe who crossed over to the opposition on the eve of the second reading of the budget last month, has now assumed the role of MP broker for the main opposition UNP, it is learnt. Rajapakshe recently brokered Hussein Bhaila, leaving it up to former UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema to seal the deal. A journalist telephoned Samarawickrema to inform him that Bhaila would meet him at a residence near Alfred House Gardens at an appointed hour. more..

Rs. 150 billion scam at Nation Building Ministry

Dec 2 (NS) The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has received reports of 40 state institutions with discrepancies amounting to a whopping Rs. 150 billion. The sum misappropriated is said to be one third of the national income. National Development Bank, National Lotteries Board, Lankaputhra Bank, Mihin Lanka, Samurdhi Authority, RADA and several other institutes under the Nation Building Ministry are involved in the irregularities. more..

Shortcomings in basic police training surface

Dec 2 (SI) Wednesday’s bomb blast at Nugegoda during the evening rush hour has revealed glaring shortcomings in basic police training. Despite the increased threat posed by the LTTE, particularly after the killing of Tamilselvan, the police appeared to have been ignorant of the danger. A security official acknowledged that at least the loss of life could have been avoided had the policeman who was called by the management of the fashion store after the detection of a suspicious parcel acted prudently. more..

UNP accuses government of buying loyalty

Dec 2 (SI) The government has sharply increased the fuel allocation to ministers, deputies, governors, secretaries to ministries, provincial ministers and secretaries to provincial ministries. The decision taken before the vote on the second reading of the Budget on November 19 was part of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s strategy to appease the ruling coalition members, Dayasiri Jayasekera, MP, told The Sunday Island. more..

Satan despondent

Dec 2 (SI) Some UNP politicians seem quite upbeat about the possibility of being able to defeat the government on December 14. This time, the SLMC is going to crossover, they say. Some of these politicians have even been going around looking for places to locate their campaign offices and cutouts in the event of an election. But the question is why would those who did not crossover on the vote to the second reading, would want to do so at the third reading? more..

Colombo – Garden City or Billboard Jungle

Dec 2 (SI) There was a time when we enjoyed the small forest of huge hand-painted cinema posters at Maradana. It was an ever-changing exhibition of public kitsch. If this was a billboard jungle, it was confined to a single street junction in a Colombo which still remained a green city, with an urban core of tree-lined avenues and the rich foliage of house gardens. The most beautiful remaining parts of the former ‘garden city of Asia’ were areas like Cinnamon Gardens and Havelock Town. more..

The inside story of Kampala chaos

Dec 2 (ST) The controversial 'Pakistan issue' spilled over to Sri Lanka's Parliament this week when Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama came and defended the country's performance at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala, Uganda. Last week in this column, we reported how President Mahinda Rajapaksa went ballistics when he heard that Bogollagama and the Foreign Office officials there had blundered by allowing the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), more..

Travel ban on Wanni civilians

Dec 2 (ST) The Government has barred the movement of civilians from the uncleared Wanni region, except for a few essential cases in a fresh attempt to prevent Tiger guerrillas from infiltrating the south and causing destruction. Civilians from the Wanni will be allowed to leave only for medical treatment, appointments with government departments or any official business. Brigadier Udaya Nanaykkara confirming the travel restrictions said the measure had been taken due to security reasons including the prevention of infiltration of LTTE cadres to the south. more..

Ready to pay extra tax for garbage

Dec 2 (ST) Many ‘desperate’ residents in the Colombo district and the immediate suburbs are prepared to pay an extra tax to remove their garbage on time and from their doorstep, a survey by The Sunday Times FT on the garbage crisis shows. More than 65 percent agreed to the payment of an extra tax if this would solve their garbage problem. The survey covered a cross section of office workers, students, academics, professionals, businessmen, housewives, etc. more..

All banks told to double-check dubious deals

Dec 2 (ST) Both private and state banks have been warned by the Central Bank to keep an eye on persons withdrawing large sums of money or receiving large deposits from overseas, banking sources said. Accordingly, some of the private banks in Colombo have put up notices that under existing banking regulations, they would have to keep the Central Bank informed about large withdrawals or deposits. more..

Muralitharan on the brink of history

Dec 2 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan moved level with Shane Warne on 708 wickets as he bowled Sri Lanka back into the first Test at Kandy. He claimed the first four England batsmen to fall on the second day as they lost 5 for 78 and drew level with Warne when he removed Ravi Bopara. But he was forced to wait for his crowning moment as rain, which had threatened during the morning, moved across the ground and wiped out the final three hours of play. more..

'Pak acknowledges Lanka's reservation over C'Wealth decision'

Dec 2 (PTI) Pakistan has dismissed reports suggesting that it was concerned over Sri Lanka's stance on its suspension from the 53-nation Commonwealth, saying that it fully acknowledged the island nation's reservations over the international body's decision. A report in a section of the press here suggesting Pakistan High Commissioner Shahzad A Chaudhry's concern on Sri Lanka's stance on the issue when the sensitive matter was being deliberated in Parliament here on November 27 was incorrect, Islamabad's mission said in a statement. more..

Sri Lanka cease-fire monitors alarmed by rise in civilian casualties

Dec 2 (AP) Sri Lanka's cease-fire monitors expressed deep concern that civilian casualties in the country's civil war have returned to the level set before a truce was signed five years ago, as the military reported Sunday that 24 rebels and three soldiers had died in new fighting in the north. The Nordic cease-fire monitoring team said 49 civilians had been killed and 60 injured in violence from Nov. 25 to 28, referring to two bomb attacks in the capital and aerial and ground attacks in rebel-held areas. more..

Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula – an inside look

Dec 2 (AFP) The air force pilot takes no chances landing on the Jaffna peninsula, the northern tip of Sri Lanka held by the government but cut off from the south by Tamil Tiger rebel territory. Descending fast from over the Indian Ocean, the Russian-made transport plane banks hard, its wing almost clipping the jungle canopy below. Flares pump out the back to fool any heat-seeking missile. more..

Sri Lanka says weekend clashes kill 52, security tightened

Dec 2 (AFP) At least 52 combatants were killed and 25 wounded in fresh fighting between security forces and Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka's embattled north during the weekend, the defence ministry said Sunday. With the upsurge in clashes along the de facto frontlines separating the mini-state held by the guerrillas, the military stepped up the already tight security in the capital, police said. more..

Bishop deplores innocent casualties in Sri Lanka conflict

Dec 3 (RI) THE Anglican Bishop of Colombo, Duleep de Chickera (pictured), has deplored the latest targeting of innocent civilians in Sri Lanka's prolonged ethnic conflict. "The recent spate of civilian massacres has demonstrated the extent to which today's perpetrators of violence are prepared to go to achieve their objectives," Bishop Chickera said in a 30 November statement. more..