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Govt condemns Gampaha attack on UNPers

Dec 18 (Island) The attack on two buses carrying UNP supporters returning after the party’s annual convention at Gampaha on Sunday should be condemned and action taken against those responsible as such incidents of violence cannot be tolerated at a time when the armed forces were conducting anti-terrorist operations in the North, Government Defence Spokesman and Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion Keheliya Rambukwella told The Island yesterday (17). more..

ICEU writes to Chamal protesting delay in promised pay rise to airports’ staff

Dec 18 (Island) The Inter Company Employees Union has written to the Minister of Ports and Aviation Chamal Rajapaksa protesting against the failure of the Airport and Aviation Service Authority to give an increase of salary to its employees at the Katunayake and the other internal airports and those employed in the aviation communication centres despite a number of representations made to the Authority and the Minister. more..

Hakeem gets I scream, you scream treatment

Dec 18 (DM) Just weeks after Public Accounts Committee Chairman and SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem – who on Thursday crossed over from the government to the opposition – called for the suspension of the Inland Revenue Chief, the IRD yesterday raided the popular Kollupitiya Carnival Ice Cream parlour owned by Mr. Hakeem’s wife. A team led by a Deputy Commissioner visited the business premises around 10 am and checked the files in Shahnaz Hakeem’s office. more..

Low standard of eating houses in Colombo

Dec 18 (DM) Over 1000 hotels in the Colombo city has been found to be of low standard this year, the Public Health Department of Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) said yesterday. The CMC had filed action against over 500 hotels this year and some of them have been fined. Over 448 hotels have been taken to courts by November this year while the cases on the remaining hotels have been filed during the month of December. more..

Military Solution Exacerbates Ethnic Conflict

Dec 18 (LeN) The attention of the country in the past week was riveted upon the crucial budget vote in Parliament. A defeat of the budget would have led to a period of uncertainty, and even to the downfall of the government. The government's victory in the vote will undoubtedly shape the course of events in the short term. The role played by the Sinhalese nationalist JVP, which reversed its previous stance of voting against the budget and abstained on this occasion was decisive. more..

'Rosemead Palace now a tavern' says Maithri

Dec 18 (LeN) The Rosemead Palace that inherited three Prime Ministers to this country has now become a tavern making him to feel so bad, says SLFP General Secretary and Minister Maithripala Sirisena. Addressing the gathering after the declared opening of the Peasant Service Centre at Arachchikattuwa, the Minister said that the value of a building depends on the work of its residents. more..

Sri Lankans blame rising cost of living on war, economic mismanagement: poll

Dec 18 (LR) Most Sinhalese, Up-country Tamils and Muslims blamed the country’s civil war for the rising cost of living, a poll conducted by a public policy research and advocacy group has shown. Within the Tamil community, 38.7 percent felt bad economic management by the government was to blame, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) said Monday. The CPA collects the data periodically to compile its Peace Confidence Index which tries to gauge the people’s mood on the country’s politics. more..

Weerawansa defended the corrupt regime going against the Central Committee decision -Mangala

Dec 18 (LeN) SLFP - People's Wing (SLFP-PW) convener Mangala Samaraweera said at a special press conference today (17) that the JVP made the people desperate by defending the current corrupt regime. He said that the JVP parliamentary group unheeded even the party Central Committee decision. General Secretary Tilvin Silva emphasized through their propaganda radio V FM twice on December 14 that the JVP did not need to defend the Government. more..

Late Harmison burst gives England edge

Dec 18 (CI) Three years after tragedy struck Galle, Test cricket returned to the International Stadium. A late burst from Steve Harmison meant England ended a truncated opening day, cut short by the two-hour delayed start and then bad light, with their noses in front. Kumar Sangakkara was again threatening a major contribution, but England made the most of a short period after tea as Harmison steamed in and struck twice to leave the pressure on Mahela Jayawardene. more..

Sri Lanka says more than 30,000 homeless after floods

Dec 18 (AFP) Heavy monsoon showers have driven more than 30,000 people from their homes in eastern Sri Lanka, authorities said, and delayed the start of a key cricket match with the visiting England team. Incessant weekend rains made some roads impassable, while rice fields were flooded, the national disaster management centre said. Worst hit was the eastern district of Ampara. more..

Military says 13 rebels, 2 soldiers killed in Sri Lanka fighting; rebels say 5 troops dead

Dec 18 (AP) Fighting between troops and Tamil separatists in Sri Lanka's volatile north killed 13 rebels and two soldiers, the military said Tuesday. The rebels said they killed five soldiers. The two sides, who have been fighting for more than two decades, routinely give differing casualty tolls in the battles ravaging northern Sri Lanka. Independent confirmation is unavailable because of security restrictions on the conflict zone. more..

M K Narayanan lauds Tamil Nadu for checking LTTE threat

Dec 19 (ANI) National Security Advisor M K Narayanan has lauded the efforts of the Tamil Nadu State Government for the way in which it dealt with the threat posed by the LTTE activities in the state. Narayanan gave a clean chit to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and the Drvaida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party in tackling the LTTE threat. "We are always careful about LTTE's activities in Tamil Nadu or anywhere else in India. I think Tamil Nadu has dealt with the Naxalite (Maoist rebellion) problem much better than rest of India," more..

A sudden, indiscriminate crackdown on Tamils in Colombo leaves the govt’s credibility in shreds

Dec 19 (FL) PERIODICALLY, opposition parties in Sri Lanka hurl the incredible charge at the Mahinda Rajapaksa government that it has entered into a secret pact with the LTTE. This is despite the fact that the government forces and the Tigers have been engaged in an intense, undeclared war for over a year now. Amazingly, the government lends credibility to the allegation with its senseless and inexplicable actions, or non-actions, from time to time. more..

IMF urges Sri Lanka to set up compulsory deposit insurance scheme

Dec 19 (LR) The IMF has urged Sri Lanka to set up a compulsory insurance scheme to protect investor deposits if a financial institution goes bankrupt. Sri Lankan depositors at present run the risk of losing their money when they open accounts with banks or invest in finance companies. “The existing voluntary scheme is not used, and the fact that the one bank to have failed in the past few decades had been bailed out at the behest of the government has created an expectation of a blanket guarantee,” more..

Twenty years since the death of Keerthi Balasuriya

Dec 19 (wsws) It is with profound respect and a continuing sense of loss that the International Committee of the Fourth International marks today the 20th anniversary of the sudden and terribly premature death of Keerthi Balasuriya. Even after the passage of so many years, for all those who knew and worked with Comrade Keerthi the sense of political and personal loss remains acute. more..

5 Sri Lanka journalists, among 64 dead covering news in 2007

Dec 19 (TW) A media watchdog group said Monday that 64 journalists in 17 countries have died while covering the news in 2007 — the deadliest year in more than a decade. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in an annual report that Iraq led the list for the fifth year in a row, with 31 dead — one fewer than a year ago. Somalia was second with seven dead in 2007, and Pakistan and Sri Lanka each recorded five deaths. more..

Significant number of urban Tamils back Rajapksa's policy: Poll

Dec 19 (PTI) Contrary to popular beliefs, a significant segment of Tamilians living in urban Sri Lanka has endorsed President Mahinda Rajapaksa's policy to deal with LTTE and maintain law and order, according to an opinion poll. Twenty-one per cent of the non-upcountry Tamils and 42 per cent of the Muslim community, the main minority ethnic groups, are satisfied with the law and order situation in the island country, the opinion poll by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), an autonomous body, reveals. more..

Norway and Britain: Mistakes of Peace Making in Sri Lanka

Dec 19 (TC) I am not sure how and why Norway got involved in the Sri Lankan conflict. However, I have read in a couple of academic articles that peacemaking in internal conflicts is a cornerstone of the foreign policy of the Royal Norwegian Government. It has been involved in several peacemaking exercises in Guatemala, Palestine, Sri Lanka and Sudan, inter alia. However, none seem to have borne fruit in a durable manner, except perhaps Guatemala. more..

Bayliss surprised by Galle pitch

Dec 19 (CI) Sri Lanka's coach, Trevor Bayliss, has expressed surprise at the way the Galle wicket played, after his team scored 147 for 4 on a rain-delayed opening day which was curtailed to 55 overs. "We would have bowled first as well. What we were surprised about is [that] the wicket probably didn't do as much as both teams thought it might. It certainly swung around as we thought it would due to the humidity this morning, but it has flattened out fairly quickly," Bayliss said. more..

Sri Lanka 'dangerous' for media

Dec 19 (BBC) Sri Lanka is the third dangerous country in the world for the journalists, an international media watchdog said. Geneva based Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) says seven journalists killed in the island nation as violence between the government forces and the LTTE escalated. Only for journalists were killed and less journalists were harrassed in the previous year, a statement issued by the PEC said. more..

Sri Lanka 3-month treasury yields up sharply amidst cash crunch

Dec 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's 3-month Treasury bill yields soared by 115 basis points to 20.14 percent in one of the biggest one day gains ever, at Wednesday's auction, though 6 and 12 month yields were steady, dealers said. The six month average yield was 19.99 percent and the 12-month yield was 19.96 percent, the public debt office, which is part of the Central Bank, said in a statement Wednesday. more..

Italy grants a further Euro 7 million for post-tsunami recovery activities

Dec 19 (GDI) Italy, the first European nation responded to the post tsunami reconstruction activities in Sri Lanka, has pledged to grant another Euro 7 million for the second phase of the same. This decision of the Italian Government was announced by the Director General of Italy’s Civil Protection Department, Dr. Guido Bertolaso to the Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Rome, Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, during a discussion held recently. more..

India,Lanka hold talks on security

Dec 19 (CO) India and Sri Lanka have decided to enhance coordination on major issues concerning security with special emphasis on the maritime boundary of the two countries. This was decided during talks between a high-level Indian defence delegation and Sri Lankan Army Chief Sanath Foneska, according to sources. The two sides also discussed the security situation in the island nation. more..

Karunanidhi is directly supporting the LTTE: Jaya

Dec 19 (PTI) Accusing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi of directly supporting the LTTE, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Jayalalithaa on Tuesday asked the Centre to take stern action against him for having 'facilitated the release' of an LTTE supporter, arrested on the charge of supplying boats to the banned outfit, on bail. She said following a tip-off from central agencies, one Vanniyarasu, belonging to ruling DMK's ally Viduthalai Chiruthaigal, was arrested by police. more..

Lanka faces international curbs for poor rights record

Dec 19 (IANS) Sri Lanka may be heading towards serious difficulties, with the US Congress proposing stringent conditions for arms aid to it, and a key international human rights body downgrading its national rights organization after citing major lapses. According to reports from Washington, the US Congress has stipulated that the Secretary of State will have to certify that the Sri Lankan government has taken certain specified steps towards ensuring human rights in the war-torn country before military aid is given. more..

Church plea for political solution to Sri Lanka crisis

Dec 19 (RI) CHURCH groups in Sri Lanka have united to issue a plea for a political solution to the conflict that has claimed more than 70,000 lives on the strife-torn island. The call from the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka comes as fresh fighting in the north claimed the lives of 13 rebels and two government soldiers. And it was reported that the body of a Red Cross worker who was abducted last Friday was found on Sunday. more..

Military says rebels bombed train in eastern Sri Lanka

Dec 19 (AP) Suspected rebels detonated a bomb near a mail train in eastern Sri Lanka on Tuesday evening, the military said. There were no immediate reports of casualties, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. The attack took place about 8:30 p.m. near Kantale railway station, outside the eastern city of Trincomalee, when a claymore mine detonated near the train's engine, he said. more..

Despite criticism, global capitalism is yet to reject Mahinda regime

Dec 19 (FI) Rakshaka of Lakbimanews says “it is clear that the Rajapaksa administration is getting a certain type of tacit international support for its war on the LTTE. But today’s international community does not treat bad governments the way they used to-by censure. What they do now is execute regime change”. This is an interesting statement. But the problem is to ascertain what one assumes to be the international community. more..

US Envoy says genuine devolution of power will greater say to all communities

Dec 19 (FI) Robert Blake Jr, the US ambassador to Sri Lanka stated in Colombo that genuine devolution from the national level to the province,district and local levels would provide all of Sri Lanka’s communities with a greater say . He also emphasised the importance of the on going APRC process. Ambassador Blake made these remarks at a book launch ceremony of Sri Lanka Economic Association’ held on Dec 18th . The text of the US envooy’s address is reproduced below. more..

Govt's agony after the ecstasy

Dec 19 (ML) Even as floods displaced nearly 30,000 people in the east at the weekend, a jolted government last week emerged from the budget vote politically scarred and reduced to a minority in parliament. Down to 114 seats of which three are those of members sitting in opposition, the ruling party as articulated by Basil Rajapakse himself had never been so nervous depending totally on the JVP to rescue it from disaster. more..

Parliament to be prorogued tonight

Dec 19 (ML) President Mahinda Rajapakse is expected to prorogue Parliament tonight according to top Government sources. The order proroguing parliament is also to set January 8 as the date for reconvening the House. With the prorogation of parliament, the Committees on Public Enterprises and Public Accounts will cease to function and new committee will be appointed. The Morning Leader learns the Government will seek to replace MPs Wijedasa Rajapakse and Rauf Hakeem with new Chairmen for the two watchdog committees. more..

Budget aftermath

Dec 19 (ML) With the conclusion of the budget vote and its successful passage, one thing is abundantly clear - the Rajapakse regime is stuck with the war, and it has to bring it to a successful conclusion. This is the only plank on which the regime attracts support in sufficient numbers to keep it in power. Any mishaps on this front could be fatal, robbing it of crucial JVP support in the legislature and in the country at large. more..

Karuna spills the beans in Britain claims UNP

Dec 19 (ML) The UNP yesterday claimed that LTTE renegade leader Karuna Amman had revealed to the British authorities the exact ground situation prevailing in the east, which was totally different to that projected by the Government. UNP parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella said Karuna had revealed the accurate details of the ground situation in the eastern province to the British authorities and that it ran counter to government's claims adding the details revealed would give the government a bad image internationally. more..

Sri Lankans to protest in front of UNESCO in Paris

Dec 19 (AT) Sri Lankans in France will gather in front of the UNESCO headquarters on Wednesday to protest against the statement made by UNESCO Chief Koichiro Matsuura condemning the air strike on LTTE radio station, Voice of Tigers. The demonstration has been organized by the French Committee of the JVP in coordination with Sri Lankans in Paris. A spokesman for JVP Committee in Paris said that a protest letter would be handed over to Koichiro Matsuura, Director General of the UNESCO DG or to his representative. more..

Mahinda wants Hill removed

Dec 19 (BL) An angry President Mahinda Rajapaksa wants Emirates appointed SriLankan Airlines CEO Peter Hill removed over the fiasco of not being allowed to fly back to Colombo from London via the national carrier. Sources said that the reason for President’s wrath is that Hill had reportedly indicated that there were two SriLankan Airlines flights from London but at the last moment had said there weren’t any seats available for the Sri Lankan President to fly back home. more..

Bogollagama off to China just to open a consulate

Dec 19 (BL) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama is scheduled to leave for China today to ceremonially open the Sri Lanka Consulate in Shanghai. The Minister’s visit will conclude on December 21. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, during his State visit to China, announced that a Consulate would be set up in Shanghai in order to enhance the economic ties between the two countries. The two countries have maintained a healthy relationship. more..

CEB’s fuel shocker

Dec 19 (BL) Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) will have to spend a whopping Rs. 100 billion (US $ one billion) on fuel to power its diesel generated power plants next year, CEB Chairman Udaya Sri Kariyawasam disclosed yesterday. Incidentally, the sum amounts to almost one third of Sri Lanka’s total foreign currency earnings per annum. “The CEB alone uses 30% of the fuel of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. We consume 4.3 million litres of fuel a day, more..

LTTE lynchpin KP free

Dec 19 (BL) Corrupt Thai military generals have interfered and released the LTTE chief of procurement, Shanmugam Kumaran Tharmalingham alias Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP), from Thai custody. A Thai source revealed that LTTE agents in Thailand had bribed the military generals US$ 1 million. KP was arrested by a junior officer of the Thai police on September 10, this year. A military general was shocked to hear of the arrest and informed the Thai police not to inform the media but, the officer responsible for the arrest, had already informed a Bangkok Post journalist. more..

Sri Lanka power utility looks for savings, amidst political bungling

Dec 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state power utility is launching a public campaign to conserve power as it is faced with rising energy costs and politically controlled tariffs that are driving it towards record losses, officials said. Years of political interference, which delayed the construction of coal plants, has meant that the Ceylon Electricity Board is now loaded with expensive liquid petroleum plants which generate more than 60 percent of its energy. more..

Colombo withdraws security, Mano Ganesan fears for his life

Dec 19 (TN) Mano Ganesan, founder of Civil Monitoring Commission (CMC) and a Rights award winner from the U.S. Government, in a press release issued Wednesday said that Sri Lanka Government has withdrawn eight of the ten Security personnel, and that he fears Sri Lanka Government is creating a climate for getting him assassinated. Pointing out that the official organ of the ruling SLFP, has described him "as an arms supplier to the LTTE, drug trafficker and collaborator with the under world criminals," Ganesan said, more..

Who is responsible for weakening the LTTE

Dec 19 (ISL) News reports give undue credit to the President of Sri Lanka as solely responsible for creating a situation for defeating the LTTE in the near future. The government machinery and the Tamil hating JVP and JHU are euphoric that defeat of the LTTE in the hands of the government forces is not far in sight. A dissection to find the contributory factors causing the present predicament of the LTTE will reveal many important players effectively playing their due role that has helped the GOSL to falsely claim the undue credit. more..

Attacks against Provincial Media point to larger malaise in Sri Lanka

Dec 19 (ISL) It has been reported to the FMM that three provincial correspondents were prevented form reporting an incident related to abuse of power by government officials. This incident took place at the Divisional Secretariat of Dimbulagala in the Polonnaruwa district on 12th December 2007. Journalists Nimal Jayarathana of Lakbima daily, J.K Jayakody of Divaina daily and Wijerathna Podibabdara of Sirasa TV were harassed and more..

Border villages in Monaragala district threatened by LTTE activity

Dec 19 (ISL) It is now a well known fact that a group of LTTE cadres managed to infiltrate into Yala sanctuary after their bases in Vakarai region fell to the SLA's Special Forces. Although warnings of their presence in the region had been issued by both civilian and Military intelligence sources for a while, real countermeasures began only after the LTTE raid on Thalgasmankada Army camp. more..

'JVP & Govt. Playing with People of Sri Lanka'

Dec 19 (LG) Gayantha Karunatillake, UNP Parliamentarian addressing a Media briefing at the UNP Media Unit today emphasized that the United National Party has always stood by its policies and principles under every circumstance unlike the Govt. and the JVP , which have no capacity to do what they say and vice versa. The JVP’s conducted and of the Govt. at the final reading of the budget clearly brought home to the people their hypocrisy and self centred political games. more..

President Rajapakse’s Iran visit a huge success

Dec 19 (LG) The visit of President Mahinda Rajapakse to Iran from November 26-29, was summed up by President Rajapakse himself when he stated “I got all that I wanted from Iran, I don’t need HSBC bonds” As far as the Islamic Republic of Iran was concerned a vital statement from our President in a meeting with Iranian Foreign minister Manoucherhr Mottaki in Tehran on Monday 26 said that Sri Lanka supported Iran’s inalienable right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purpose. more..

Sri Lanka Government told to end the war and come up with a political solution

Dec 19 (AT) Sri Lanka Government has been told to end waging war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and start a political dialogue to bring about a political solution. In case the Government cannot bring an end to the war totally, then it should at least, while being engaged in a military confrontation, must come forward to simultaneously start formulating a political structure based on a political power sharing concept. more..

EU requests JVP not to accuse UNICEF

Dec 19 (LT) European Union has requested the JVP not to consider charges against organization affiliated to united Nation such as UNICEF as final conclusions until investigations prove facts. A European Union delegation headed by the south asian region chief Mr. Robert Even made this request when they met JVP leader on 17th Dec. The delegation comprised seven EU representatives. In response to their request, JVP leader said that they raised the matter in parliament based on very reliable information. more..

Sri Lankan industrialists demand protection

Dec 19 (LBO) Sri Lankan industrialists and leftwing politicians have called for protection as an opening economy that is integrating with the world threatens to give cheaper goods to consumers and put them out of business. However, Commerce Department officials said the opening up of the economy in recent years had given the country greater access to world markets and helped attract more investments, the benefits of which reach more people. more..

Sri Lanka economy expands 7.0 pct in third quarter

Dec 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economy has expanded 7.0 percent in the third quarter up from 6.4 percent in the second quarter, putting the country on track to clock up 6.7 percent growth in 2007, officials said. However, growth slackened from the 7.7 percent for the same quarter in 2006 with a downturn in tourism, a drought in the north western province which hit agriculture and higher thermal generation of power, taking their toll. more..

Selectors’ double-standards on Dilshan

Dec 19 (LD) National selectors should be blamed for their double standards after the country lost an opportunity to obtain the services of Thilakaratne Dilshan during the recent tour of Australia, cricket experts say. Dilshan last played a Test in July before being recalled to the team for the third Test against England now being played in Galle, where he scored valuable 84 runs. In that previous game against Bangladesh, he scored 96 runs inclusive of a half century. more..