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Missing infant found in Paduka

Dec 24 (AT) The infant who was kidnapped in the Kalubovila Hospital several days ago was found from a house in Thalpathpitiya in Padukka this morning. The Police Spokesman DIG Jayantha Wickremarathne disclosed that the woman who is suspected to be the kidnapper of the baby was also arrested. The Kohuwala police raided the house on information received by the Officer in Charge of the Police station. The suspected arrested woman will be subjected to an identification parade. more..

LTTE prevents opening up of A-9 road – Rajiv Wijesingha

Dec 24 (AT) In a rejoinder, Rajiv Wijesingha, Secretary General of Sri Lanka’s Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process has revealed, because in the North, and in particular at Muhumalai, the LTTE has continued with planned attacks on Government forces, regularly causing death and injury and It was precisely for that reason that the government is unable to open the A-9 road there. more..

'Lankan position on Chinese Sovereignty and territorial integrity will not change'

Dec 24 (GDI) Sri Lanka will provide unswerving support to preserve the one-China policy which supports all efforts by the Chinese Government to safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, said the Minister of Foreign Affaires Rohitha Bogollagama. Minister Bogollagama stated this addressing the opening ceremony of the Sri Lanka Consulate in Shanghai, China. more..

Sri Lankans for Japanese service sector

Dec 24 (GDI) Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau together with the Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training will be launching a programme to send Sri Lankan youth to the Japanese service sector as trainees. This programme is an outcome of the discussions between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Japanese Government during his recent visit to Japan. There are about 13 institutes in Sri Lanka which send Sri Lankans as trainee employers to Japan. more..

Extra Security for Colombo during festive season

Dec 24 (GDI) A special security programme has been planned to ensure extra safety of the public visiting Colombo during this festive season. Police Spokesman DIG Jayantha Wickramaratne speaking to the media said that the public can call and inform of any unattended suspicious items or individuals on 118 to the Police Emergency Calling Unit. He also disclosed to media that the Police Department has deployed a considerable number of police officers around the clock, more..

Civilians flee Wanni fearing LTTE intimidation

Dec 24 (GDI) Sources from North inform that families from the district of Kilinochchi, yet to be liberated by the security forces, are braving their way into liberated areas in Mannar. Accordingly yesterday (23) morning 12 civilians reached Pallemunai, Mannar seeking the protection of security forces from continuous LTTE intimidation. The Tamil civilians were forced to leave their traditional lands at Mulungavil, south of Poonareyn, fearing LTTE reprisal attacks, sources said. more..

Electoral reforms in the offing

Dec 24 (GDI) Election Commissioner Dayananda Dassanayake is of the view that there is a need to amend the Parliamentary Election Act No.1 of 1981. The amendment which was carried in 1988 has been found insufficient to meet present day requirements and demands. Political parties that contest Presidential, Parliamentary, Provincial Councils and Local Government Polls will have to obtain a minimum percentage of votes and elect a minimum number of representatives to be eligible for registration as a political party. more..

37 scholarships for Lankans under Colombo Plan

Dec 24 (GDI) Thirty seven scholarships have been granted to Sri Lanka in the year 2007 under the Colombo Plan programme. These scholarships have been awarded in fields such as drug advisory, environment, private sector development and public administration to meet the capacity development needs of Sri Lanka. Three Sri Lankans were given long-term postgraduate scholarships in the fields of rural development, agriculture and civil engineering. more..

LTTE abuse of Tamils and the Truth

Dec 24 (PISL) The attention of the Peace Secretariat was recently drawn to a statement by the LTTE Spokesperson for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs regarding Jaffna civilians and the transport of Sri Lanka military to and from Jaffna. The writer, Ms N Selvy, and the Development Spokesperson to whom she had initially sent the statement, Mr V Bavan, are – especially the latter - amongst the brighter sparks in the LTTE. more..

Major floods in five districts

Dec 24 (SAMN) Torrential rains during the weekend have caused a disaster situation in five districts - Ampara, Matale, Anurdhapura, Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa displacing several thousand families and fully destroying or partly damaging hundreds of houses. Authorities in the affected areas were on high alert Sunday with the Met Department predicting more heavy showers during the next 24 hours. more..

Rajapakse agrees to make ‘province’ unit of devolution

Dec 24 (IANS) In a significant move that could help bridge the ethnic divide in Sri Lanka and lead to a lasting political settlement of the Tamil question, President Mahinda Rajapakse has agreed to make the “province” the unit of devolution instead of the “district”, as proposed by his own SLFP earlier. “The president has agreed to make the province the unit of devolution,” moderate Tamil leader and government minister K N Douglas Devananda told foreign correspondents in an interaction recently. more..

SSC clinch Premier Limited Over Tournament

Dec 24 (CI) Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) claimed a thrilling six-run win over Moors Sports Club to win the Tier A section of the Premier Limited Over Tournament, Sri Lanka's main List A event. Moors, initially chasing 244 to win from 48 overs, were reduced to 46 for 3 after a fine spell from Shalika Karunanayake. Wicketkeeper-batsman Dasun Randuka and veteran Anil Rideegammanagedera added 75 runs for the fourth wicket to steady the chase. more..

England cricketers fined over slow over rate in Sri Lanka

Dec 24 (BT) England cricket captain Michael Vaughan has been fined 40% of his match fee for his team's slow over rate during the final Test against Sri Lanka. The tourists failed in their bid for victory in the match in Galle last week, with the drawn result meaning the series was lost 1-0. The team were also four overs short of the bowling amount they should have delivered in the field, and match referee Jeff Crowe has now imposed fines. more..

Ola Leaf manuscripts sold to foreigners

Dec 24 (SAMN) The Mahanayake of the Malwatta Chapter most Venerable Tibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera said the valuable and historic Ola Leaf manuscripts have been sold to foreigners and is sad to state that some members of the Sangha have also sold Ola Leaf manuscripts to foreigners for money. He said teaching the Sangha and the members of the public the importance of Ola Leaf manuscripts and also how to prepare them is a step forward for the propagation of Buddhism. more..

Sri Lanka: Rebirth of an Ancient Port City

Dec 24 (WB) Galle in the southwest of Sri Lanka is one of the most interesting Southern towns. Three years after the tsunami it now shows no sign of the devastation of the tsunami. Its natural harbor brought it into prominence. Tales from travelers, whose sailing vessels drifted into this natural harbor after storms, gave it a place in history and records show that it was in use two millenniums ago. more..

Probationary Govt. not possible: JVP

Dec 24 (SAMN) The JVP Sunday ruled out the possibility of a probationary government under the present political circumstances in the country, citing it as an outdated concept now. In an interview, JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe noted this when asked whether they would go for a probationary government with the present regime if the dissolution of Parliament was likely. Amarasinghe said that a probationary government would not be a reality given the present status of this government and they could not expect it to change its stand even in the future. more..

Gama Neguma on poverty reduction drive

Dec 24 (SAMN) Under the Gama Neguma programme, the Government has initiated a programme to reduce poverty by helping the poor to increase their income, said Rural Industries and Self-Employment Promotion Minister S.B. Navinna at Kotawehera in the Nikaweratiya electorate recently. He was addressing a meeting after laying the foundation stone for a pottery industrial centre at Kotawehera in Nikaweratiya. more..

Troops in strategic move to break Tiger resistance

Dec 24 (DN) Troops on the Wanni battle front made a strategic move during the past 48 hours capturing the Uyilankulam LTTE checkpoint and part of Thampanai, forcing Tiger cadres to flee their defences in the face of advancing troops, the Military said yesterday. Troops operating under Task Force -1 in Mannar took the improved weather condition in the Mannar area on Saturday to launch a major assault on the Uyilankulam LTTE entry - exit point and captured 10 Tiger bunkers and the ICRC checkpoint at the LTTE’s end. more..

Condensed version of Thripitaka handed over to PM

Dec 24 (DN) The Conference of Mahasangha on Drafting Condensed Versions of the Thripitaka from original Pali Buddhist canons to Sinhala, handed over their work of simplified Sinhala Thripitaka editions, to Prime Minster Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka on Saturday. The President of the Sangha Conference on preparing the texts and the Mahanayaka of Dharma Raskshitha Maha Nikaya, Most Ven. Weligama Gnanarathana Thera handed over the editions to Prime Minister Wickremanayaka at the Prime Minister's Office. more..

Pension Chief’s right to stop extra payment, recover 1.5 million from plaintiff upheld

Dec 24 (Island) In a landmark judgment, the Appeal Court has ruled that former Secretary General of Parliament Sam Wijesinha has no right to draw two pensions. Wijesinha sought court intervention after Pensions Chief K. A. Thilakaratne stopped payment of the first pension after the Colombo Divisional Secretariat detected what Thilakaratne called unlawful payment. This came to light when the Divisional Secretariat was in the process of rectifying pension anomalies. more..

Don’t pollute Sri Pada, prelate requests pilgrims

Dec 24 (Island) This year’s Siripada pilgrimage commenced yesterday with the Unduwap Poya Day. On the first day itself over ten thousand devotees commenced the climbing Siripada, OIC of Maskeliya Police Station, K.S. Pathirana told The Island. A procession marking the commencement of the pilgrimage season which would last until next April, started from the Galpotthawala Sri Sumana Saman Devram Vihara in Ratnapura around 6.15 am on Saturday and proceeded along Ginigathena-Hatton road upto Nallathanniya. more..

Cabinet reshuffle soon

Dec 24 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is considering a cabinet reshuffle early next year in order to introduce a district development ministerial system and also prune down the ‘jumbo cabinet’ amidst growing pressure both from the opposition and certain sections of the government, a top government official said. According to the proposed system 25 Development Ministers would be appointed to each district outside their own electorates and would directly report to the President. more..

Ceylon Petroleum Corporation unions blazing for strike

Dec 24 (DM) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) trade unions are threatening to stage a countrywide strike in the first week of January citing government’s failure in meeting their demands. The demands include handing over of one third of CPC shares and 107 filling stations now with the Treasury back to the CPC. The unions say otherwise these will go into the hands of the Indian Oil Corporation. more..

Sri Lanka goes for local polls in troubled east

Dec 24 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government on Monday announced its plans to hold local council elections in the island's troubled Eastern Province. "Today I have issued the gazette notification which will allow the Commissioner of Elections to hold elections for nine local councils in the Eastern Province," Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, the minister of Local Government told Xinhua. more..

PM Koirala backs Sri Lanka's war against LTTE

Dec 24 (NN) While Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala struggles to keep the fragile peace process alive in his home country by calling violent armed groups here for talks, he seems to be supportive of his neighboring country's fight against armed groups. Sri Lankan Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, who recently visited Nepal on a World Health Organization's invitation, has said Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala backed Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's decision to retaliate against LTTE terror during his meeting with him in Kathmandu. more..

Sri Lanka may keep benchmark rate at highest level in Asia

Dec 24 (BN) Sri Lanka's central bank will probably keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at the highest level in Asia in a bid to contain inflation without threatening economic growth. Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Nivard Cabraal will leave the repurchase rate at 10.5 percent for a 10th straight meeting, according to nine of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. more..

Mixed fortunes at large post-tsunami housing project

Dec 24 (IRIN) There is no lack of ceremonial plaques at Siribopura, Sri Lanka’s largest tsunami housing site, 240km south of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. The over 1,500 houses on the 240-hectare site - funded by donors - are a mixture of the good and the bad: some are well kept and others are coming off their foundations. There are new houses, some still sturdy, while others are falling down. more..

Sri Lanka says weekend war death toll tops 40

Dec 24 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops killed 41 Tamil Tiger fighters in a series of weekend clashes in the island's civil war-ravaged north, while three soldiers were also killed, the military said on Monday. Eleven rebels were killed in fighting in the northern districts of Vavuniya and Jaffna on Sunday, while another eight were killed in the northwestern district of Mannar. Those clashes came, in turn, after soldiers killed 22 rebels, destroyed several bunkers and captured an insurgent base in a series of exchanges on Saturday and Sunday. more..

Military says 21 more combatants killed as fighting rages across northern Sri Lanka

Dec 24 (AP) Soldiers and Tamil separatists fought gunbattles across embattled northern Sri Lanka, leaving 19 insurgents and two soldiers dead, the military said Monday. Troops killed 10 Tamil Tiger rebels in confrontations in three villages in the Vavuniya district on Sunday, just south of rebel-held territory, a defense ministry official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak the media. One soldier was also killed. more..

Post-tsunami recovery a success for most but not all

Dec 24 (IRIN) Sri Lanka poured millions of dollars in foreign aid into tsunami relief since December 2004, but three years later, some survivors still languish in welfare shelters while others live in new settlements lacking basic facilities. Government spokesman and Information Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said on 20 December that Sri Lanka had forged ahead in tsunami rebuilding. more..

Sri Lanka says floods displace 175,000

Dec 24 (Reuters) Flash flooding in east and central Sri Lanka has forced 175,000 people from their homes, with many seeking refuge in makeshift welfare centers in schools and temples, officials said on Monday. Heavy rains on Sunday and Monday caused a reservoir to burst its banks in the eastern district of Batticaloa, where more than 40,000 families comprising around 150,000 people were displaced, said Ramya Siriwansa, deputy director of emergency operations at the National Disaster Management Centre. more..

Parish charity shop completes first year of service to the poor

Dec 25 (UCAN) On a Sunday morning just a few weeks before Christmas, Fathima Jebanesan found herself milling around a Church-run charity shop. The 43-year-old domestic worker told UCA News her husband had lost his job, but the festive Christmas mood of her two sons prompted to visit the shop on Dec. 9 "and I wanted to give the boys new outfits and footwear." Jebanesan had only 1,200 rupees (US$12) to spend, but she could still buy shirts, trousers, saris and footwear for her four-member family at the charity shop of more..

Lanka seeks to raise pineapple export to Pak

Dec 25 (PTI) Seeking to increase its fruit exports, the Sri Lankan Government has undertaken a marketing campaign to sell pineapples to Pakistan. Pineapples in Sri Lanka are grown in an area of over 4,750 hectares producing over 35,000 tons a year. The fruit is grown on a large scale in the country as it has a ready demand in the international market. Fruits and nuts constitute less than one per cent of Sri Lanka's total exports, official data shows. more..

Lankan hospital group signs MOU with Indian major

Dec 25 (PTI) A leading private hospital group here has tied up with a premier Indian healthcare provider to facilitate state-of-the-art medical services in the Island nation. The Asiri Group of Hospitals has signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with India's Manipal Health Systems with an aim to strengthen and raise the healthcare standards in the country. The MoU aims to enhance the existing expertise and super-specialities of Asiri Hospitals. more..

War effort must be supported by politics and diplomacy

Dec 25 (TC) We are about to step into 2008, the 60th year of Sri Lanka’s Independence. It shows every sign of being a decisive year. Indeed it must be made so. Sixty years after independence is the right historical and psychological moment to resolve the major problem facing Sri Lanka. That is the reunification of this small island. Sri Lanka's natural borders must be its political boundaries. Its armed forces must enjoy the sole monopoly of violence throughout its territory. more..

The call to compassionate inclusivity

Dec 25 (FI) Christmas, the festival that celebrates the birth of Christ has been largely misunderstood over the years. Today it mostly suggests festivity and self-indulgence with some peripheral sharing and giving. This popular emphasis does little to change people and relationships for the better, and is limited to a few days known as the “season”. The essence of the Christmas story is that God becomes a human and reconciles estranged humans, more..

Labour MP lands in LTTE soup

Dec 25 (HT) Asian-origin Labour MP Keith Vaz has gotten himself into an embarrassing investigation by anti-terrorism police, after the Sri Lankan high commissioner, Kshenuka Senewiratne, wrote to prime minister Gordon Brown to express her "serious concerns" at Vaz's presence at a rally here in support of the Tamil Tigers. Vaz, who heads an all-party Home Affairs Select committee that scrutinises all anti-terrorism legislation, is said to be under pressure, to explain his decision to speak at the rally last month. more..

Battles in Sri Lanka’s north intensify

Dec 25 (Hindu) The Sri Lanka military on Monday claimed to have captured six more bunkers of the LTTE and killed 28 Tiger cadres in the continuing battles along the Forward Defence Lines (FDLs) in the north. The military said two soldiers died in the confrontations. In the last three days, the forces have claimed to have captured 16 bunkers of the Tigers including the entry-exit point to Madhu Church. However, the LTTE has neither confirmed nor denied the claims. more..

Examining a post-Prabakaran scenario

Dec 25 (Hindu) For many years in Sri Lanka’s politico-military landscape, the LTTE have been the predators, preying on members of the government, the security establishment, the administrative apparatus, non-LTTE politicians, and so on. A remarkable reversal in recent times has seen the predator becoming prey. Carefully coordinated action by the Sri Lankan security forces has seen the Tigers being targeted at many different levels. more..

JVP to agitate against any kind of solution to the ethnic problem

Dec 25 (LeN) Intelligence sections have informed the Government that the JVP was preparing to launch mass agitations country wide, similar to the 1989-90 period against any kind of solution proposed to the ethnic problem. The intelligence reports have pointed out that the protests of the university students and the upcoming strike series by the JVP trade unions are precursors of the move. more..

Archbishop Oswald Gomis castigated those who became inhuman and lost the regard for human life and values

Dec 25 (AT) At a midnight Christmas mass, Archbishop Oswald Gomis said, Once again we celebrate Christmas at the time when the dark clouds of war are enveloping our country. He added, “As we sing and rejoice in some parts of the country there is bitter suffering and agony in others. Apart from the war there are other factors that disturb the normalcy of life and even threaten the life of citizens. more..

Send your Christmas greetings by signing the online petition for UN human rights monitoring

Dec 25 (ISL) On the 10th December 2007 Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in an official report to the UN Human Rights Council mentioned her efforts to assist Sri Lanka by way of sending a human rights monitoring mission. Just a few days later the Asian Human Rights Commission launched an online petition addressed to the president of Sri Lanka on this same issue. more..

Send your Christmas greetings by signing the online petition for UN human rights monitoring

Dec 25 (LG) With more than 4,000 deaths in 2007, Sri Lanka continues to be one of the most violent theatres of conflict in the world. Worse, the conflict can be expected to become the more intractable over the coming year. In 2007, the security forces continued to gain immense military victories and appear to have cornered the LTTE, so much so that the outfit, once controlling a large swathe of land in the Eastern Province and ruling the Northern Province, more..

Two Tamils and French journalists arrested in Galle

Dec 25 (LG) At least two Tamil persons and another two French journalists have been arrested in south for filming a detention camp without permission, sources in police said Tuesday. The police at Ratgama, said that the two French men belonging to "France 24 TV" were arrested Monday evening for filming the area surrounding the Boossa detention camp. Another two Tamil persons comes from Jaffna were involved with them. more..

The Second JVP Insurgency (Part V)

Dec 25 (LG) The end as well as the beginning of the Second JVP Insurgency is shrouded in well constructed and maintained myths. Contrary to received wisdom the state did not want a military solution to the JVP problem. It was not intent on drowning the insurgency in blood. Both the Jayewardene and Premadasa governments endeavoured to effect a compromise solution to the JVP crisis. more..

Unregistered Employees On Tea Plantations

Dec 25 (LG) The shortage of workers prevalent on all estates due to the workers abandoning work on plantations and seeking other employment for reasons such as low wages and capricious conduct of managements and disrespect shown towards them. Because of this the managements get the work done on the estate, employing so called casual workers on very low wages. Casual workers are called unregistered employees, casual and temporary employees. more..

Communication in Tamil

Dec 25 (LG) After thirty years of making Tamil an official Language, communication between the government and the Tamils in Tamil is almost nil. This month I received a printed copy of the Life Certificate to be perfected and returned to the Divisional Secretariat which pays my pension, in Sinhala and English but not in Tamil. Last year too the Secretariat sent the form in Sinhala and English only. I complained about it through the press. more..

Remembering Christmas in good-old-Jaffna

Dec 25 (CP) Christmas in Jaffna was celebrated with religious fervour in the ‘50s and ‘60s. It was heralded by the combined carol service of all Christian schools, towards the end of November each year. A choir from each school sang a special anthem in English or Tamil and the congregation too had carols to sing. It was very largely attended and was held at the Jaffna Town Hall, one day for school children and the next for the general public. more..

The rulers and the ruled

Dec 25 (CP) The events of 14th December, 2007 during the final vote on the budget in the Sri Lankan Parliament can at best be described as the nadir in our post-independence history. Is there any room for matters to get any worse? Everything that is wrong with us as a nation was displayed at its worst for the whole world to see during the budget debate and its culmination. However, did we smell the nauseating rot as badly as those outside our island did? more..

Three years on, no proof yet

Dec 25 (CP) International agencies and the government have failed to provide any proof regarding the proper utilization of aid and donations they received even after three years of the tsunami which killed 40,000 people in Sri Lanka and displaced nearly 2.5 million. Ordinary people and organizations all over the world contributed generously after the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 shocked the world. It was the worst human disaster in Sri Lankan history. more..