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Karuna office gutted in Akkaraipattu

Dec 27 (SAMN) A Karuna political office was gutted in Akkaraipattu, Ampara Wednesday, sources in the area said. They added however that there were no casualties as a result of the incident. When contacted, Azad Maulana, spokesman for the Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (TMVP), confirmed that an incident had occurred at Akkaraipattu but that further details had not yet been received. more..

Devaraj elected Chairman of GOPIO

Dec 27 (SAMN) Mr. P P Devaraj, former state Minister for Hindu Religious Affairs was elected Chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin at its 9th conference held recently in Kuala Lumpur. Mr. Devaraj, a leading politician of the Sri Lanka Tamil Community of Indian origin, is a strong advocate of the concept of power-sharing with non-territorial minorities such as upcountry Tamils and Muslims in Sri Lanka. more..

Govt. focuses on co-op development

Dec 27 (SAMN) Trade, Marketing Development, Consumer Affairs and Co-operatives Minister Bandula Gunawardene said the budget 2008 focuses on the development of co-operative sector in the country. The Minister was speaking at the opening of a three storeyed building of Attanagalla MPCS at Nittambuwa recently. The Minister said the victory of the budget 2008 given an impetus to the Government to continue its development activities. more..

CB conducts first ‘Expectations Survey'

Dec 27 (SAMN) The Central Bank has embarked on an ‘Expectations Survey’ for the first time in Sri Lanka to determine the individual and the corporate sector’s sentiments on the economy and the cost of living in the coming year. Central Bank Statistics Department Assistant Director Yasith Weerasinghe told the Daily Mirror FT that the survey would be conducted on individuals in over 1000 private sector companies and over 200 companies which are listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange. more..

Tsunami victims remembered in Batticaloa, Ampaa’rai districts

Dec 27 (TN) Black and white flags were flown and a general shut down was observed Wednesday in the districts of Batticaloa and Ampaa’rai marking the third-year remembrance of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami which had killed thousands of people besides devastating the entire coastal areas. Tsunami affected persons who still remain homeless staged a protest demonstration in front of Kalmunai Regional Secretariat and handed over an appeal to the Regional Secretary. more..

Shanmugalingan appointed new Vice-Chancellor of Jaffna University

Dec 27 (TN) Prof. Nagalingam Shanmugalingan assumed duties as the new Vice-Chancellor of Jaffna University Wednesday on being appointed for the post by University Grants Commission (UGC). The new Vice-Chancellor took part in prayers offered at the Parameswara Saiva temple located in Jaffna university environs along with several deans, lecturers, staff and hundreds of undergraduates, sources in Jaffna said. more..

Yahoo Photos

Dec 28 (AFP) Sri Lankan Labour Minister Mervin Silva tries to close the door of his vehicle. Sri Lanka sent a crack commando unit to the state-run television station to rescue a government minister seized by journalists for allegedly assaulting a colleague. more..

80% tsunami affected schools reconstructed -Education Minister

Dec 27 (DN) When the country marks the third year of the tsunami the Government has been able to reconstruct 80 per cent of schools damaged as the result of tsunami said Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha. Under this project the Government has allocated Rs. 10,659.28 million. There were 183 partly or fully damaged schools according to the School Development Progress Report released on December 15. more..

Avoid chemicals, smoking, drinking for healthy nation - Health Minister

Dec 27 (DN) Chemicals used in agriculture and alcohol and cigarettes cause heavy damage to the national effort to build a healthy nation, Health and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. Thousands of people are suffering from various diseases due to this. The Government wants to restrict the excessive use of chemicals and stop smoking and alcoholism to create national well-being, he added. more..

World Vision offices in Sri Lanka attacked

Dec 27 (MNN) Sri Lankan police confirm reports of an unidentified assailant who lobbed a hand grenade at World Vision's Sri Lanka office in Batticaloa on December 21 at around 7:30 pm. According to WV staff, the resulting explosion damaged three vehicles and the office building, but thankfully, none of the staff was injured because no one was in the office at the time. Police are investigating the attack, but so far, they have no motive, suspects or arrests. more..

Close shave for 200 Indian fishermen

Dec 27 (PTI) About 200 Indian fishermen have returned home safely after getting a timely alert from Navy near the Palk Straits where Sri Lankan Navy and LTTE were engaged in a pitched battle using heavy weaponry. The large group of fishermen on 40 boats left Rameswaram on Wednesday for fishing into the Palk Straits, the waters located between India and the island nation, but went close to a raging sea-battle between the Lankan navy and Tamil Tigers between Kachathivu and Nedunthivu. more..

Sri Lanka looks to India for IT outsourcing

Dec 27 (IHD) Sri Lanka has invited a series of Indian IT outsourcing firms to invest in the nation in order to gain a "competitive edge", according to new reports. Indian IT firms ITES and BPO have both been encouraged to outsource their projects in Sri Lanka, as the nation says it has a "wide talent pool of trained personnel available" at lower costs. Sri Lanka's minister for export, development and international trade Mr G L Peiris made the claims at a conference in Chennai. more..

Sri Lanka ethnic crisis, a lesson for India: experts

Dec 27 (PTI) The Sri Lankan ethnic crisis should be taken as a lesson by the South Asian countries, and particularly India, feel experts. "Politicians should not create sectarian identity among people, which ultimately tears the country," according to S D Muni, an expert on Sri Lanka. He was speaking at a function to mark the launch of a book, 'Sri Lanka: A land in search of itself', authored by Mohan K Tikku, a journalist, here on Wednesday. more..

Four more UNPers leapfrog into Govt. – Mano

Dec 27 (Island) Four more UNP parliamentarians will crossover to the Government when Parliament resumes for the New Year 2008, in support of the stance taken by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to solve the country’s major problem the war on terrorism, Minister of Investment Promotion Mano Wijerathne told The Island yesterday (26). "Changing governments and visiting weekly fairs to sign various petitions will not stop terrorism which has already ruined our country during the past two and half decades. more..

Asgiriya Chapter expels two monks

Dec 27 (Island) The Venerable Mahanayake Thero of Asgiriya, Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha in a statement issued yesterday 26, said that two members of the Supreme Council of the Asgiriya chapter (Karaka Maha Sangha Sabha of the Asgiriya Chapter - were expelled from the Supreme Council. All privileges granted to the two monks as members of the Sangha of the chapter were withdrawn, he said. more..

Devananda gives set of proposals to Prelate

Dec 27 (DM) EPDP leader and Minister Douglas Devananda yesterday said that there is no possibility of finding a lasting solution to the national problem as long as LTTE leader Prabhakaran is alive. Handing over a memorandum containing a set of proposals aimed at resolving the national crisis to Ven. Udugama Sri Buddharakkhita, Mahanayake Thera of Asgiriya Chapter, Mr. Devananda said: “Prabhakaran will never entertain the idea of establishing democratic rule in the North, because more..

Harris Hulugalle passes away

Dec 27 (DM) Former Chairman of The Times of Ceylon, Harris Hulugalle passed away last Saturday at the age of 77. He served as a director of the Associate Newspapers of Ceylon Limited. He was the son of Herbert Hulugalle, a respected long serving editor of the Ceylon Daily News in the D.R. Wijeywardene era. Harris Hulugalle was the founder of the Sunday Leader newspaper. Mr. Hulugalle founded Multipacks Limited, which later published the Sunday Leader newspaper. more..

CHALLENGES 2007-2008: Sri Lanka's Tinderbox Set to Go

Dec 27 (IPS) Three years after the Indian Ocean tsunami left over 32, 000 Sri Lankans dead and 500,000 survivors homeless, this island country stands on the brink of another disaster -- this time manmade and in the shape of an all-out war between Tamil separatist rebels and the country’s armed forces. Since December 2005 skirmishes and battles have been escalating between government forces and the LTTE, ignoring a ceasefire brokered by Norway five years ago. more..

Sri Lankan military says its jets have destroyed Tamil rebel base in embattled north

Dec 27 (AP) Sri Lankan air force jets destroyed a Tamil Tiger naval base in the country's north Thursday, a day after a fierce sea battle and a wave of infantry attacks killed at least 66 rebels and 14 troops, the military said. Separately, a bomb blast blamed on the rebels killed four civilians in the north, the military said. There were no immediate details on casualties from the airstrike, more..

LTTE sneaking into Tamilnadu?

Dec 27 (NT) Former Congress Legislature Party leader S R Balasubramoniyan has pressed the alarm button by stating that there is a possibility of LTTE sneaking into Tamilnadu under the guise of refugees. Speaking to reporters the Congress leader said that with the LTTE losing ground in Lanka and the worsening situation had forced scores of extremists to head towards Tamilnadu as refugees. more..

Thugs of Mervin Assault SLRC News Director

Dec 27 (LT) Minister Mervin Silva has rampaged in to the Sri lanka Rupawahini Corporation today morning at about 10.00am and manhandled the News Director accusing him and using abusive words as the SLRC has not telecasted the speech made at the ceremoneous inaugaration of Matara Bridge. TMJ Chandrasekara, the Director(news) has been victimised for the ministers' and his personnel guards' assault. more..

Rupavahini staff lays siege to Mervyn Silva

Dec 27 (LD) Staff of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation has cornered Labour Minister Mervyn Silva into a small room and laid siege after he assaulted SLRC News Director T.M.G. Chandrasekara this morning (Dec. 27th). Enraged staff has also switched off the air-conditioner of the room to bring him out. They are staging a demonstration demanding an apology and for his arrest. more..

Sri Lanka tested satellite disaster warning system to be used in India

Dec 28 (LBO) A digital satellite radio disaster alert system that can be remotely activated which was field tested in Sri Lanka is now ready for use in the region to give early warning of tsunamis, officials said. The Addressable Radio for Emergency Alert (AREA) system can send disaster alerts within seconds of its transmission by government authorities and also has the advantage of activating a siren. more..

UN Expert emphasizes sustainable and durable solutions for IDPs

Dec 28 (UN) "Sri Lanka, with the crucial support of the international community, has not only rehabilitated the majority of victims of the 2004 tsunami, but also made considerable efforts to assist those displaced since the escalation of hostilities in 2006. Indeed, the majority of the more than 220,000 persons who had to flee their homes in the Eastern Province between April 2006 and March 2007 have returned, been provided with transitional shelter, and are beginning to regain their former lives. more..

WSWS speaks to workers and youth about Keerthi Balasuriya

Dec 29 (wsws) WSWS correspondents spoke with a number of people attending the recent public meeting held by the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Students for Social Equality (ISSE) in Sri Lanka to mark twenty years since the death of Keerthi Balasuriya. Keerthi was general secretary of the Revolutionary Communist League (RCL), the forerunner of the SEP, from its founding until his sudden death from a massive heart attack on December 18, 1987. more..

Govt. 'trying to punish' journalists

Dec 29 (BBC) Sri Lankan authorities are accused of trying to victimise television journalists instead of punishing minister Mervyn Silva. Organisations representing journalists, trade unions and civil society organisations demonstrated in front of SLRC protesting the government moves. Police CID action to seize video tapes of the incident in which minister silva was assaulted by the SLRC workers is a clear indication that the government is trying to victimise journalists, they said. more..

'Conspiracy' to grab farmers' land

Dec 29 (BBC) Sri Lankan authorities are accused of trying to cover up the truth behind the killing of civilians in the south. Association of Parents of those Arrested in Ranminithenna (APAR) said a powerful political hand is using militant group to kick them out from their agricultural lands. Six civilians in Ranminithenna are kept under Detention Orders (DO) after an attack on Sri Lanka Army (SLA) camp in Thalgasmankada. At least five farmers were found killed in the area after the attack. more..

Police report 'unacceptable'

Dec 29 (BBC) The Judiciary in Sri Lanka has expressed dissatisfaction over police investigations into an alleged attack on journalists by minister Mervyn Silva. Chief Magistrate in Colombo, Mackie Mohamed, warned the police to be more serious in their approach while investigating an incident that was "witnessed by the whole country". Labour minister Dr. Mervyn Silva and his aides are accused of assaulting the news director of SLRC at the SLRC premises. more..

Animal Welfare Bill gazetted

Dec 29 (AT) The Animal Welfare Bill has been gazetted as a Private Member's bill on the initiative of Ven. Athureliye Ratana Thero, Member of Parliament. The Bill will next be placed on the Order Paper of Parliament, and thereafter will be referred to the respective Minister or to the Deputy Minister who is concerned with the subject of the Bill, for his report on the suitability of the proposed legislation. more..

Elango, the new Head of the Tamileelam Police

Dec 29 (AT) K.Elango has been appointed as the Inspector General of Police to the areas under the control of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Vanni. He succeeds P. Nadeson, who was appointed as the Head of the Political Division of the LTTE after the death of S.P.Tamilselvan who succumbed to the aerial bombardment by the Sri Lanka Air Force on 02 November. more..

Sri Lanka pension funds should be better regulated: IMF

Dec 29 (LBO) The International Monetary Fund has criticised delays in reforming Sri Lankan state sector pension schemes and urged government to regulate private pension funds. It also urged the government to allow large pension funds to expand their private securities portfolio in order to develop the securities market, and make them more independent to generate adequate returns for members. more..

Sri Lanka may be able to avoid money printing if deficit is lower in 2008: minister

Dec 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka can manage without printing money for next year if the government keeps to the budget deficit of around 7.5 to 8 percent of the domestic product, a senior minister said. The 2008 budget was designed to maintain the deficit at 7.5 percent but if anything unpredictable takes place, expenditure might increase, says Bandula Gunawardene, the consumer affairs minister. more..

India does not favour unitary system in Sri Lanka

Dec 29 (IANS) India has told a group of Tamil politicians from Sri Lanka that it hopes Colombo will not go for a unitary system of governance when it unveils a power sharing formula to end the ethnic conflict. National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan told the delegation here Thursday that India had repeatedly told Sri Lankan leaders that it was vital to grant substantial autonomy to the island's Tamil areas, informed sources told IANS. more..

Sri Lanka aims to reduce poverty by 2010

Dec 29 (IE) Sri Lanka has targeted to reduce poverty by 25 per cent and provide drinking water to 80 per cent of the population by 2010, under its Action Plan on the SAARC Social Charter. "The government has the political will and commitment to reach these goals despite the views of cynics", Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka said in his address at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Affairs and Strategic Studies yesterday. more..

Lanka condemns Bhutto's killing

Dec 29 (IE) Sri Lanka has strongly condemned the "brutal assassination" of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and highlighted the need to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. "The Government of Sri Lanka condemns in the strongest terms the brutal attack last evening on the life of Benazir Bhutto, a South Asian leader who successfully stood up for democracy," a Foreign Ministry statement said on Friday. more..

Chief magistrate orders arrest of all suspects in Mervyn Silva episode

Dec 29 (LD) Colombo Chief Magistrate Mackey Mohamed severely reprimanded the police when a case pertaining to the assault of the Rupavahini News Director by Labour Minister Mervyn Silva and his henchmen came up before him today (Dec. 28th). Taking up the complaint by the affected party, T.M.G. Chandrasekara of SLRC, to the Cinnamon Gardens Police, the Chief Magistrate told the police to “arrest all those responsible irrespective of their positions before the people begin throwing stones at the police and the judiciary.” more..

Arjuna’s impending advent spells doom for many at SLC

Dec 29 (LD) The positions of 15 employees of Sri Lanka Cricket, including several top officials, are at stake due to the impending appointment of Arjuna Ranatunga as Chairman of its Interim Committee in fulfillment of a pledge for supporting Budget 2008, reports say. They include Duleep Mendis, Upali Seneviratne, Priyantha Algama, L. Peiris, Shibly Latiff, Bandula Warnapura, Premasara Epasinghe, Samantha Algama, Vajira Wijewardana, Sidath Fernando, Dunstan Kollurage, K. Mathivanan, Chintaka Jayanath and Basil Perera. more..

President angry over Rupavahini’s showing of Mervyn Silva episode

Dec 29 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is reportedly angered over the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation’s coverage on the violent behaviour of Minister Mervyn Silva every five minutes, has reprimanded top SLRC officials including CEO Karunarathne Paranawithana and Director-General Sisira Kothalawala. The President has demanded to know as to what they had been doing until the minister became a hostage in the SLRC chairman’s room and as to who authorized the telecast of the unfolding scenes. more..

Police let thugs of Mervyn Silva escape

Dec 29 (LD) Police has let scot-free between 10 to 12 well-known underworld thugs who accompanied Minister Mervyn Silva and stormed the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation yesterday (Dec.27th). Police has reportedly taken no effort to arrest these henchmen, who sought the refuge of the SLRC chairman’s room from the enraged SLRC staff. Police have reportedly confirmed the presence of the underworld figures Lal Peiris alias ‘Kudu Lal’ who is a councilor at the Colombo Municipal Council, gangster ‘Pas Chuti’ of Wellampitiya who more..

President sacks Peter Hill at a stroke but decides to retain the thuggish minister until inquiry findings

Dec 29 (ISL) The President’s dubious conduct of dismissing the Sri Lankan Airline CEO Peter Hill by canceling his work permit for not facilitating his entourage to the UK with his 35 odd bandwagon to attend a private function of his son is now compared with the action he had taken to retain his thuggish Minister of Labour Mervyn Silva until his inquiry findings are known. more..

Karuna's Predicament

Dec 29 (ISL) Ever since Col.Karuna leaving the LTTE, he has become a focal point in the news relating to human rights and political development in Sri Lanka. Col.Karuna’s breakaway from the LTTE was a major breakthrough for all those who opposed the LTTE and wanted his role to negate the LTTE altogether. When Karuna left the LTTE, the Tamil Tiger media and campaign went on the massive onslaught against him portraying him as a crook, thief, womaniser etc., and this campaign laid the foundation for the turn of events for Karuna later. more..

Why Tamils are struggling for Tamil Eelam?

Dec 29 (LG) Tamils are the original inhabitants of Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka. This is the story of the Tamil people in the second half of the last century. In 1948, the very year that the British handed over the Ceylon Government to the Sinhalese majority on a platter without any safeguards for minorities, the Sinhalese-dominated government passed a law rendering half the Ceylon Tamil population stateless in the land of their birth. more..

China hands over tsunami projects to Sri Lanka

Dec 29 (Xinhua) Three fishery harbors affected by the 2004 tsunami and reconstructed by the Chinese government were handed over to the Sri Lankan government on Friday. In a simple ceremony held in Colombo, Chinese Ambassador Ye Dabo said he was very happy to see the completion of reconstruction of the Panadura, Beruwela and Kudawela fishery harbors located in Sri Lanka's western and southern coasts. more..

Fate of Mervin Silva, a politician, thug and a clown

Dec 29 (LR) December 27th mark historic day in Sri lankan politics and media freedom. The incident involved with minister Mervin Silva in the premises of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation is sending strong signals to both political and judiciary circles in the country that people of this country is not satisfied and no longer willing to tolerate their inability to curb violence unleashed by politicians in the society. more..

JVP will oppose attempt to bring federal proposals

Dec 29 (LT) The JVP has decided to oppose any attempt to bring federal proposals as a solution for the national question said a spokesman for the party. The political Bureau of the JVP had met during the last weekend and has taken the decision to defeat all attempts to bring in federal proposals. However, Dr. Tissa Vitharana, Chairman of All Party Representative Committee (APRC) had told the media that a devolution package would be presented within two months. more..

UNP wants action against Mervin

Dec 29 (ISL) We urge the President, as the highest in the hierarchy of the country to take stern and deterrent action against Minister Dr. Mervyn Silva over his unruly and lawless conduct by assaulting the News Director of Rupavahini Corporation. While bitterly condemning this action, we strongly insist that Mervyn Silva be arrested immediately, and he be relinquished of his portfolio. more..

President's office officials clean up Chandrika's office

Dec 29 (LeN) A group of officials of the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (27) removed the tables, chairs, computers, other accessories and the files of the former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga's office situated in the former President's official residence. Several vehicles given to the use of the former President Kumarathunga were also taken away. more..

LTTE & Karuna Faction Still recruiting child soldiers – Ban Ki-moon

Dec 29 (LG) The LTTE and a breakaway group known as the Tamil Makkal Viduthali Pulikal (TMVP)/Karuna faction continue to abduct children to fight as soldiers in the bloody conflict in Sri Lanka, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a new report made public yesterday. Covering the period from 1 November 2006 to 14 September 2007, the 20-page report noted that “both parties have failed to cease the abduction, recruitment and use of children.” more..

Mervyn's bodyguard, a double murder suspect

Dec 29 (LT) The person taken into custody by the Cinnamon Gardens police for assaulting the News Director of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation in the company of Minister Mervyn Silva has now been identified as a suspect in a double murder case who had recently been released on bail. The suspect, in plain clothes with a tinted hair style, is now identified as Nuwan alias “Kudu Nuwan,” a close ally of “Kudu Lal” who was earlier convicted on narcotics charges and is a close associate of Minister Mervyn Silva. more..

CID goes to SLRC in search of Mervyn’s attackers

Dec 29 (LD) A group of senior CID officers has entered the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and is currently conducting investigations from the SLRC Chairman’s room, reports say. Under the orders of the President, the CID is investigating to discover the attackers of Labour Minister Mervyn Silva and to produce them before the law immediately. SLRC Director General, Sisira Kothalawala took steps to send all videos that were taped and broadcasted in relation to incidents following the attack on the SLRC News Director to the Presidential Secretariat on the same day. more..