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Three killed, 80 injured in Sri Lanka road mishaps

Dec 21 (Xinhua) At least three people were killed and 80 others injured in road accidents in different parts of Sri Lanka during the last 24 hours, police said Friday. Two people were killed when a privately owned passenger vehicle went down to a 20-meter precipice at Takawakelle-Nawalapitiya road in the central hill district of Kandy at around 7:15 p.m. on Thursday. Forty passengers were injured in the incident and they have been rushed to hospitals in Nawalapitiya, about 114 km northeast of Colombo. more..

UNP for more power to Parliament

Dec 21 (SAMN) The Constitution should give more power and responsibilities to Parliament and Cabinet so that the President would work in collaboration with the Cabinet. This was among the constitutional amendments proposed by the UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Thursday. Presenting his proposals to a group of academics and members of the Maha Sangha at the Opposition Leader‘s Office, he said there was a view among the people that decisions are made bypassing the Parliament. more..

TMVP forced non combatants to carry arms

Dec 21 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) claims that it has received reports of the TMVP forcing civilians to carry arms in some areas of Ampara on at least two occasions. In its latest weekly monitoring report, covering the period December 10-16, the monitoring mission said that on December 11 two men (ages 19 and 20) and one boy (age 17) were abducted, reportedly by the TMVP, in Thirukoil, in Ampara. more..

Govt. denies critical report on media

Dec 21 (SAMN) The government Thursday denied a Geneva-based report alleging that seven journalists were killed in Sri Lanka this year, while claiming that only one journalist was killed according to its reports. Media Minister Anura Priyadharsana Yapa told journalists that by issuing such biased reports, some elements were trying to tarnish the image of the country internationally. more..

Go for the sharks, forget the sprats: IG

Dec 21 (SAMN) Police Chief Victor Perera yesterday urged law enforcement authorities to hunt for big time racketeers and criminals rather than those involved in petty offences such as possessing two bottles of illicit liquor or a packet of kansa (marijuana). Most of the big time racketeers, hardcore criminals, drug barons and underworld kingpins have escaped the long arm of the law and are operating with impunity while the petty criminals go behind bars, he said. more..

Sri Lanka way ahead in Tsunami recovery

Dec 21 (DN) Sri Lanka has achieved 80 per cent success in Tsunami rebuilding ahead of other countries affected by the Boxing Day catastrophe. “In contrast to the other Tsunami devastated countries, the Sri Lankan Government has performed a tremendous job in its relief, re-habilitation and re-settlement process, with an overall 80 per cent success,” Cabinet Spokesman Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. more..

Bodies of two infants found in sea

Dec 21 (DN) The bodies of two female infants were found by fishermen in the sea off Ratmalana yesterday.The discovery was made about 150 metres from the 57th Garden Block settlement near Bellangala in Ratmalana. The first body was detected around 8.30 a.m. and the other around 5.30 p.m. Fishermen reported the discovery to Mount Lavinia Police. Police said it was certain that the infants were thrown into the sea as soon as they were given birth since the umbilical cords of both infants were crudely mutilated. more..

CEB workers on black flag campaign

Dec 21 (Island) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna backed Lanka Viduli Sevaka Sangamaya yesterday said Ceylon Electricity Board trade unions were compelled to show their displeasure by hoisting black flags in front every CEB branch offices from this week. LVSS Convenor Ranjan Jayalal told The Island that they would continue this campaign for a month as a mark of protest against false promises. "And after this we will continue from where we stopped our series of protest campaigns on October 17." more..

Black listing of truant contractors proposed

Dec 21 (Island) A Cabinet Proposal will be presented shortly to blacklist contractors who have not delivered the goods according to the scheduled time framework. "The Ministry of Health is contemplating action against the contractors who have failed to complete their work within the agreed schedules. This was in the back drop of complaints from a number of hospitals that contractors had completed only half the work," more..

SLFP (M) meets ex-service chiefs

Dec 21 (DM) The ex-service commanders who met President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe recently, yesterday held talks with the SLFP (M) and reiterated the need for all concerned to work in unison to find a political solution to the North-East conflict. At yesterday’s meeting, the ex-service chiefs pointed out that the country was at crossroads in the economic, social and international fronts, and therefore called for political unity in overcoming these challenges. more..

Undergraduate scholarships for studying in India

Dec 21 (DM) The High Commission of India in Colombo has announced the offer of 40 scholarships for Sri Lankan Nationals under the "Scheme of Scholarship for Nationals of Sri Lanka" for undergraduate courses in various Indian Universities, during the forthcoming session of 2008 – 2009. High Commission of India selects meritorious young Sri Lankan nationals for these scholarships, in consultation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, of the Government of Sri Lanka, for more..

India, Lanka to co-produce Sinhala film

Dec 21 (PTI) In a bid to boost ties further between the two countries, National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka has entered into an agreement with India's Gemini Film Corporation to co-produce a Sinhala film, Sanda Diya Salu. "This is a historic occasion and Sri Lanka would immensely benefit from the move as it creates a platform to gain from India's expertise in the film industry," Minister of Cultural Affairs Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said more..

War crimes inquiry into Tamil rebel living in UK

Dec 21 (Times) A Sri Lankan guerrilla leader living in London is being investigated for possible war crimes charges, The Times has learnt. Karuna Amman, who has been implicated in atrocities over two decades, entered Britain on a diplomatic passport. The Crown Prosecution Service is looking into whether there is sufficient evidence to bring him to trial under international laws on war crimes, torture and hostage-taking. more..

Tsunami Recovery in Sri Lanka: Three Years After

Dec 21 (WB) The World Bank’s support to Sri Lanka after the tsunami of December 26, 2004, was to mitigate the immediate suffering; assist people to regain their livelihoods; restore basic services to the affected population; and initiate the recovery and reconstruction process. Total World Bank Commitment: US$150 million - Owner-Driven Housing Program: US$65 million - Livelihood Support: US$34 million - Roads: US$33 million - Health: US$8 million more..

Forget peace talks: Sri Lanka militant-turned-minister

Dec 21 (Reuters) Holding talks with the Tamil Tigers' shadowy leader would be a blunder and there will be no peace unless he is killed, Sri Lankan militant-turned-minister Douglas Devananda has warned. Social Services and Welfare Minister Devananda, a minority Tamil vehemently opposed to the Tigers, says he has escaped more than a dozen assassination attempts. The last was on Nov. 28, when a female bomber officials say was sent by Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran made her way into his ministry in central Colombo. more..

Emirates in spat with Sri Lanka govt over airline management

Dec 21 (AFP) Dubai-based airline Emirates said Friday it was standing by the chief executive it had appointed to run Sri Lanka’s national carrier, just days after the island revoked his work permit. “Peter Hill will remain CEO of SriLankan until the contract expires in March 2008,” Emirates, which owns 43.6 percent of the company and has the right to manage the airline for 10-years up to next March, said in a statement. more..

Tamil warlord entered UK on forged passport

Dec 21 (GU) Sri Lanka's high commissioner has been called to the Foreign Office to explain how a Tamil paramilitary leader - detained on suspicion of immigration offences and being investigated for possible war crimes - entered Britain on a forged diplomatic passport. The case of Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, better known as Colonel Karuna, has turned into a complex political embarrassment since his arrest by police and immigration officials in London last month more..

LTTE trying to smuggle out injured Prabhakaran: report

Dec 21 (PTI) The LTTE is trying to sneak its leader Velupillai Prabhakaran out of Sri Lanka for treatment abroad following severe injuries he is said to have sustained in an air raid last month, a government-owned newspaper claimed today. The "Daily News" also claimed 116 of the 200 guards protecting the LTTE Supremo had died in the recent attack by the Sri Lankan Air Force, in which Prabhakaran was said to have been injured. more..

Asian Tribune news/feature writer awarded diplomatic job

Dec 22 (LG) In a surprising move the Government of Sri Lanka has appointed the regular contributor to the pro-government Asian Tribune web news paper Walter Jayawardena an official Minister/Counsellor (Information) at the Sri Lankan High Commission in the UK. The Asian Tribune editor K T Rajasingam came under media scrutiny over his involvement with the President Rajapakse to implement a government run massive project costing over million US dollars to carryout campaign work against the anti-government forces and the LTTE. more..

Frustration abound among tsunami victims of Sri Lanka

Dec 22 (OW) The giant Buddha statue at Pereliya gazes out to sea. The noise of the waves slapping the shoreline is broken only occasionally by the sound of passing vehicles on the nearby highway. The village, 90 km south of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, has returned to its former anonymity after the December 26, 2004 tsunami when giant waves crashed ashore and the international media flowed in right behind. more..

Prabhakaran's bunker is as big as a village

Dec 22 (IANS) Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran lives more than 40 feet under ground in a massive, well provided, and seemingly impenetrable bunker complex hewn from rocks in the middle of a thick jungle in northeast Sri Lanka. Adele Balasingham, the Australian-born wife of the late Anton Balasingham, ideologue of the LTTE, describes Prabhakaran's office-cum-residence in the Alampil jungles, in her book The Will to Freedom. more..

Eminent persons group complains of “persistent disregard”

Dec 22 (Hindu) The IIGEP has complained that the Sri Lanka government’s “persistent disregard” over its observations and recommendations on the functioning of the Presidential Commission on human rights violations tends to render its continued role irrelevant. In a statement on the conduct of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (COI) into Serious Violations of Human Rights, set up by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the IIGEP made a strong case to the Commission and the government to take immediate steps for implementing corrective action. more..

Sri Lanka insurers may escape sweeping downgrades over govt. move: Fitch

Dec 22 (LBO) Fitch Ratings says Sri Lankan insurance firms may avoid sweeping downgrades after the government partially rolled back plans to force firms to re-insure with the state. Sri Lanka only has a 'BB-' below-investment-grade or 'junk bond' credit rating compared to better rated re-insurers that covered the risks of top insurers in the island. "When plans for the fund were first announced in the November 2006 budget, Fitch was concerned that they would reduce the credit quality of Sri Lankan primary insurers," more..

Bawa’s Legacy

Dec 22 (LG) Geoffrey Bawa is well known in his native Sri Lanka and in design circles, but wider fame has eluded the architect who died in 2003 at the age of 84. Part of the reason is that the building style Bawa pioneered — melding Asian and global design traditions in a way that suited the requirements of monsoon climates — has become ubiquitous. Verandahs, water features, local craftwork, lush landscaping: today these kinds of elements are taken for granted in resorts, spas and villas all over the region, more..

Christmas hopes from Jaffna

Dec 23 (TC) As the bells toll around the globe, getting ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, a rare event of sharing experience in Jaffna was initiated by two individuals who visited Jaffna recently. “Christmas hopes from Jaffna” was initiated by Ruki Fernando and Angelica Chandrasekaran. It was held on December 21st 2007 at the Centre for Society and Religion in Maradana. more..

Tamil Nationalism and the Sinhalese: The political logjam

Dec 23 (TC) A few years ago, Hector Abhayavardhana delivered the Handy Perinpanayagam Memorial Lecture on the topic: “Tamil Nationalism and the Sinhalese”. Having earlier described the disenfranchisement of Tamil plantation workers as the original sin of Sri Lanka’s postcolonial disintegration, Hector, in the Perinpanayagam Lecture, regretted that the Sinhalese and Tamil leaders of that time did not try hard enough to resolve their political differences despite their social camaraderie as members of a common middle class. more..

Succession Stakes in LTTE: After Praba Who?

Dec 23 (TC) “After Nehru Who”? This was the multi - crore question going around Indian political circles in the late fifties and early sixties of the last century. Jawarhalal Nehru who was Indian Prime Minister since Independence from the British strode the political arena like a colossus! It was unimaginable then to conceive of a time when Nehru would be no more. It was even harder to think of a worthy successor to this giant among Indian leaders of that era. more..

Great Heroes Day Speech 2007: Rhetoric and Reality-2

Dec 23 (FI) True to form, LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakharan is harshly critical of the Indian role in Sri Lankan Tamil affairs. He is however extremely economical with the truth while criticising India. Apart from being unwilling or unable to understand India’s compulsions , the tiger supremo also omits the negative contribution of the LTTE towards this sad state of affairs. As stated before in the previous instalment of this article, there is no denying that Indian involvement in Sri Lanka was motivated by its own enlightened self-interest. more..

Stop punishing Tamils collectively for LTTE misdeeds

Dec 23 (TC) Colombo’s Angilican Bishop Rt. Revd. Duleep de Chickera said in a statement yesterday that something sinister was going on in Jaffna and that itappeared some authorities were trying to punish the Tamil People collectively for the misdeeds of the LTTE. He further urged the Government to turn the current negative trends around and ensure the rights, safety and welfare of all Sri Lankan citizens of Jaffna. more..

Sri Lanka offers Buddha statue, ‘dhamma’ bell to State

Dec 23 (Hindu) Sri Lanka has offered a life-size granite Buddha statue and a holy ‘dhamma’ bell in bronze to the State for installation at the Buddha ‘Vanam’, a tourism project being developed on 270 acres near Nagarjunasagar at a cost of Rs 16 crore. The Sri Lankan “gifts” will add to the spiritual status of the project. The offer was made by Mahindra Yapa Abey Wardana, Sri Lanka’s Minister for Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, during discussions with State Information and more..

The JVP's split personality

Dec 23 (LG) There are two not dissimilar forces at work in this country leading it on to destruction. Pirapaharan and his men in the north and Somawansa Amarasinghe and his men in the south. The surest sign the LTTE neither wanted peace nor a negotiated settlement within a united Sri Lanka was the role it played in electing a hawkish government set on a military solution. more..

Meditation & Medicine

Dec 23 (LG) In the Western world of today there is a famous expression: “Living in the present moment” They also say: “In the here & in the now!” Most of the people who use these expressions do not know their origin. They come from the Satipatthana Sutta. In Sanskrit there is the word: KSHANA, the shortest possible moment. Life is a sum of KSHANAS. Past is gone & future has not yet come. The only moment that exists is the PRESENT. more..

An Open Challenge to the JVP

Dec 23 (ISL) It is an opportune moment to offer an open challenge to the extremist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s (JVP) on a matter that underscores its very existence in the Sri Lankan politics. A party that embodies two important words ‘Janatha’ (Peoples) and ‘Vimukthi’ (Liberation) to give the meaning it is a party of the people does everything to bring suffering to the very same people it claims to depend on. more..

Fighting continues in Mannar, Vavuniya, Jaffna and Weli Oya fronts

Dec 23 (ISL) Even though the Cease fire agreement signed between the GOSL (Government of Sri Lanka) and LTTE in 2002 continues to hold on paper, undeclared 4th Eelam war has been raging across four different battlefronts in the northern province. During the past week, more than 30 LTTE cadres have been killed in a number of firefights along the forward defense lines. The army too has suffered casualties in these confrontations with 5 soldiers killed and a further 14 injured. more..

Emirates braces for worst in Sri Lanka air talks

Dec 23 (LBO) Emirates Airlines, managing shareholder of SriLankan Airlines, has indicated that it is preparing for a possible breakdown in contract renewal talks over an ongoing row where its top manager has been ordered out of the island. The chief executive officer of Sri Lankan airlines, Peter Hill, an Emirates appointee has to leave Sri Lanka by December 26, after his resident visa was revoked by the island's investment promotion agency. more..

Confusing Times

Dec 23 (AT) For the JVP this is the ‘best of times and the worst of times’, a time of unprecedented opportunity and of insurmountable dilemma. A future full of promise and of danger beckons to the JVP as it stands at a crucial crossroad. The way the JVP turns, the choices it opts for and the ones it rejects will have a bearing not only on its own fate and the fates of the regime and the UNP but also on the future trajectory of Sri Lanka. more..

Unesco has no mandate to comment on its war, says Sri Lanka

Dec 23 (IANS) The Sri Lankan government has asked Unesco not to comment on the war on terror taking place in the island, because it does not have the mandate to do so. In a letter to Unesco's Director General, Koichiro Matsuura, dated Dec 21, Sri Lanka's ambassador to Unesco, Chitranganee Wagiswara said: 'The conflict in Sri Lanka is a complex political issue on which Unesco does not have either the competence nor the mandate to express views.' more..

The General and his necessary evils

Dec 23 (GV) Mahinda Rajapakse has won another decisive battle. At the last Presidential election, the LTTE, for reasons unknown, boycotted the election while the Marxist voices of the JVP waged a heavy pro-Rajapakse campaign. This JVP-LTTE combination turned up trumps for Rajapakse once again during Friday’s “Battle of the Budget”. While the LTTE played the role of the devil to be defeated, the JVP, cabinet ministers and those who voted in favour of the budget the victory hailed it one small step towards vanquishing the LTTE. more..

Sri Lankan refugees desperate plea to Rudd

Dec 23 (SMH) They are the remnants of the Howard government's much maligned Pacific Solution - 74 Sri Lankan refugees in limbo, waiting to begin new lives in Australia. In his bid for government, Kevin Rudd committed to closing the detention centre on Nauru, the tiny island state that was enlisted by Australia to process boat people in the wake of the 2001 Tampa crisis. more..

Michael Vaughan: Sri Lanka better throughout

Dec 23 (TMG) England captain Michael Vaughan has said his side were always second best to the hosts in the 1-0 series defeat and accepted there was plenty of room for improvement if they were to find success in New Zealand. Rain brought an early finish and allowed the tourists to save the third and final Test in Galle, closing 167 runs behind in their second innings on 251 for six. more..

Labour's Pro–LTTE Keith Vaz is no stranger to trouble

Dec 23 (LG) Keith Vaz has been dogged by controversy almost from day one of his political career. Once regarded as one of Labour's rising stars, Mr Vaz did indeed begin to scale the ministerial heights - but trouble was never far behind. A solicitor, Mr Vaz, 51, was elected to parliament in 1987 as MP for Leicester East. He was promoted to the front bench five years later as junior environment spokesman. more..

JHU Boiling Over With Internal Trouble

Dec 23 (LG) The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) is boiling over with internal trouble after it was discovered that it is a member of the JHU who has given the name of Kokila Gunawardena presently domiciled in Europe and a frontline activist of the Sinhala Veera Vidhana (SVV), to be used in the fake passport to Col. Karuna Amman after a dispute with Kokila. SVV is an affiliate of the JHU. more..

12 Sri Lankan Tamil Persons seek Govt. Protection

Dec 23 (LG) Twelve Sri Lankan Tamil persons sought refugee at the Fishing Marshalling Point jointly manned by the Sri Lanka Navy and the Police in Pallemunai, Mannar today (23rd December 2007) around 7.30 a.m., according to Sri Lanbka Navy sources. “The highly exhausted group arriving in a “Wallam” (a locally made fishing craft) had been shabbily dressed and showed the signs of acute starvation for they failed to speak with the naval personnel who rushed to the scene to give them assistance. more..

Stop punishing Tamils collectively for LTTE misdeeds

Dec 23 (LG) Colombo’s Angilican Bishop Rt. Revd. Duleep de Chickera said in a statement yesterday that something sinister was going on in Jaffna and that itappeared some authorities were trying to punish the Tamil People collectively for the misdeeds of the LTTE. He further urged the Government to turn the current negative trends around and ensure the rights, safety and welfare of all Sri Lankan citizens of Jaffna. more..

Major roads inundated, houses destroyed, thousands of acres of paddy field under water

Dec 23 (AT) The local meteorologist say rainy weather will continue over the next few days. They forecast rain in the Northern, North-central, Eastern, Uva, Southern and Central provinces. The public is cautioned regarding landslides that could occur in several areas of the Galle district. The number of displaced due to heavy showers experienced over several days is around ten thousand families. more..

‘Hastening Slowly’ : Perspectives on Politics and Prabhakaran in Sri Lanka

Dec 23 (AT) The recent success of President Rajapaksa in cruising his budget proposals with a combination of carrot, stick, muscle power, rhetoric and backroom deals (ultimately they always come to light in Sri Lanka) through a divided house has underlined his strategy of 'hastening slowly.' This phrase, an oxymoron (a rhetorical figure of speech in which contradictory terms are used together), aptly describes not only the budget process but also the happenings in Sri Lanka, more..

Sri Lanka mapped from space for tsunami re-building

Dec 23 (LBO) A mapping programme using satellite pictures will help Sri Lanka's government do better planning and rebuilding in the tsunami-hit eastern and southern provinces, officials said. The French-funded Geographical Information System (GIS) project using high resolution satellite imagery costs almost a billion rupees. The detailed digital maps that can be prepared will also help local authorities in their work and eventually be available to the public, more..

Sri Lanka's cinnamon farmers seek divine help to spice up trade

Dec 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka at the weekend revived an ancient ritual of offering the first cinnamon harvest to the gods, three years after a devastating tsunami wiped out centuries-old plantations here. In a pageant involving traditional dancers and elephants, farmers resplendent in white walked three kilometres (two miles) in bright sunshine, carrying 90 kilos (41 pounds) of their precious virgin harvest to a shrine. more..

Import of cloves from Sri Lanka to become dearer

Dec 23 (PTI) Imports of cloves could become costlier for India during 2008, as its main supplier Sri Lanka is likely to suffer a decline in output on account of adverse weather conditions. Cloves production in Sri Lanka is estimated at around 2,000 tonnes during next year as against the earlier forecast of about 5,000 tonnes due to adverse weather conditions and other factors. more..

A massive pension fraud exposed!

Dec 23 (LT) It has been reported that the Pensions Department has been able to expose a large scale fraud that had been carried out in a devious way. The fraud had been carried out by a clerk of Mirigama Divisional Secretariat and a clerk of the pension department of the same institution. They had opened 11 fictitious files and 11 fake bank accounts to carry out their fraud. The twosome had carried out the fraud for more than five years and defrauded more than Rs.6 million during the period. more..