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Bell shines amid the gloom

Dec 3 (CI) In the 2005 Ashes, word slipped out that England's organisers had booked their open-top bus parade a full week in advance, and the ECB were rightly accused of hubris. Nobody, however, has bothered to level the same charges at the committeemen at the Asgiriya in Kandy. Muttiah Muralitharan's face is everywhere at the moment - on one billboard he's posing with the number 709, on another he's already being congratulated for reclaiming his crown. No-one has doubted his destiny in this match - least of all, it seems, England's batsmen. more..

It's anyone's game - Bayliss

Dec 3 (CI) Trevor Bayliss, Sri Lanka's coach, has termed the first Test between Sri Lanka and England an evenly-poised affair at the end of the second day and said that either of the teams can win the contest if they play well from now till the end of the match. "We obviously didn't have a great day yesterday. But I thought we fought hard and got ourselves back into the game today," Bayliss said. more..

Sri Lanka's Iranian financed refinery may take five years: official

Dec 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's plans to double its refinery capacity, which were dealt a severe blow after politicians fixed fuel prices last August, would take off with Iranian help in 2008, officials said. The government of Iran would first fund and conduct a feasibility study and give a loan with a ten year pay-back to fund the expansion which will see the refinery capacity boosted to 100,000 barrels a day from the current 50,000. more..

Sri Lanka's green tourist destination ambitions threatened by pollution

Dec 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka was ranked a greener destination in a recent international rating but its aim to draw tourists by positioning the island as carbon neutral is threatened unless it acts immediately to curb pollution. Sri Lanka was given an overall position of 66 out of 141 countries, after considering the social and environmental factors of the country by the World Economic Forum this year. more..

Hundreds of Tamils detained, says report

Dec 3 (Hindu) The Sri Lanka military on Sunday claimed that at least 60 cadres of the LTTE and six soldiers were killed and dozens of others injured in pitched battles between the forces and the Tigers in the north on Saturday. There was no word from the Tigers on the Forward Defence Line battles. The Tigers have been maintaining complete silence since the November 27 “Hero’s Day” speech of their leader, Velupillai Prabakaran. more..

‘The Right of Life of Tamils threatened in the South of Sri Lanka,’ condemn Tamil leaders

Dec 3 (AT) Combing operation to evacuate Tamils from Sri Lanka’s capital city of Colombo and from other towns in the South and Central provinces continued even yesterday. According to unconfirmed reports, already 1500 Tamils are rounded up, arrested and held incommunicado. But police in the city and elsewhere are tight lipped and refused to give details of arrest. However, out of the total arrest, 400 Tamils are at present languishing in Boosa Detention Centre and more..

Hubert at the wheel —Irfan Husain

Dec 3 (DT) And so it grinds on, this civil war that has claimed over 70,000 lives over the last 25 years. Government forces attack in the north using planes and artillery. The Tamil Tigers respond with mines, suicide bombers and ambushes. Another day, another bomb-blast. Or two, to be accurate. When I arrived in Colombo early last Thursday, I was informed by Hubert, my portly driver, that two explosions set off by the Tamil Tigers had inflicted many casualties in the city. more..

Kenya humble hot Sri Lanka A

Dec 3 (SG) Kenyans celebrated after their national team put up spirited fight to beat Sri Lank ‘A’ by two wickets and ensure their survival in the ongoing One Day Tri-Series at the Nairobi Gymkhana club. After losing all their last three matches against India ‘A’, Kenya found their act right against a relatively tough Sri Lanka, who stopped India on Wednesday. They won the match by 195 runs for 8 yesterday. more..

Sri Lankan ceramic firms mull firewood as alternative energy source

Dec 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's ceramics industry has been advised to consider cheaper and alternative forms of energy in order to reduce the high cost of power which has increased with soaring oil prices. Prema Cooray, secretary general of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, said studies show that firewood can be used as an economical fuel that can be a substitute for petroleum. The chamber was working on alternative energy sources with Dutch funding, more..

Lonely Pirabakaran?

Dec 3 (ISL) The latest picture of Pirabakaran reflects the stress and unhealthy physical conditions in his appearance. Gone are the days when smart looking Pirabakaran was affectionately called the ‘Thamby’ (younger brother). Compared to two years ago, his physical appearance has deteriorated and he has aged a lot. He shows signs of serious cholesterol problems. Some say he got diabetic and kidney conditions as well. more..

“Steps will be taken soon for democracy” -UNP

Dec 3 (LG) Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of the UNP and of Opposition at the ‘Janahamuwa’ meeting of the people while collecting signatures for the public impeachment of the Rajapakse Keerthi Abeywickrema Ground, Arangala village, Deniyaya electorate, Matara told the large gathering, very soon UNP will take measures to establish a Democracy that will be a solace and comfort for the now starving and suffering people of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka stocks slip on telco sell-offs

Dec 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka stocks closed 1.2 percent lower with index heavy-weight Dialog Telekom losing closing a rupee lower on the first trading day in December extending a trend that saw the market dip more than three percent over the past month, dealer said. Dealers say the market has so far been relatively resilient considering recent terror bombings in Colombo. However liquidity has contracted. Dialog Telekom announced aggressive price cuts last week. more..

Seven Sri Lankan Tamils detained

Dec 3 (Hindu) The Pallikaranai police have detained seven Sri Lankan Tamils on charges of possessing forged passport, travel documents, Immigration seals and a huge amount of cash. Police said that they had got a tip-off about suspicious activities by a group of men in Sithalapakkam village near Tambaram. A police team knocked at the door of a house, which was bolted from inside. Armed policemen asked the men to surrender and then they emerged out of the house. more..

Peugeot sent to Kandy to be gifted to Murali returned on President’s order

Dec 3 (LD) “Anyone can congratulate Muralitharan for setting a world record. The Peugeot Company has sent a car to Kandy as a gift for Murali. But, it has now been brought back to Colombo. Aston Martins were imported for sons of certain leaders. But, they are now trying to stop this gift to Murali,” UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake charges. Attanayake was speaking after Parliament congratulated the off-spinner for claiming the highest number of Test wickets today. more..

TNA’s Sivajilingam claims plot to kill him

Dec 3 (LD) TNA parliamentarian K. Sivajilingam raised a point of privilege in Parliament today (Dec. 03rd), claming that he had been searched by a group from the Air force while getting ready to leave for the day’s sessions. The MP said that despite his request that he was getting late, the sailors had searched him. “Therefore, I allowed them to search everyone. Later, I came to know that a claymore had been discovered from my garden,” more..

UPF distressed as party supporting govt. - Radhakrishnan

Dec 3 (LD) Deputy Minister P. Radhakrishnan of the Upcountry People’s Front says that a majority of the persons who were arrested during recent search operations are residents of upcountry plantation areas. Speaking in Parliament today he said that the UPF is facing immense discomfort and pressure as a party that supports the government. Radhakrishnan requested the government to investigate the detainees and release them as soon as possible. more..

If felt outsiders, plantation people will turn to LTTE – Anura Kumara

Dec 3 (LD) JVP parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake wants the military authorities to take security measures after carefully considering all their pros and cons. “Security measures should be taken. However, maximum consideration should be exercised. If people in plantation areas fell that they are treated like outsiders, they too, will most probably turn to the LTTE,” Dissanayake told Parliament today (Dec. 03rd). more..

Health employees to launch an Island wide strike

Dec 3 (LT) Health Service Trade Union Federation has decided to strike work in the whole Island on Tuesday and Wednesday to force the government to immediately suspend the use of finger print machine to mark attendance and to start making over time payments that has been suspended. The co-convener commenting in this regard said that Health employees launched agitations now and again demanding solutions to these problems and recently called a token strike in 19 hospitals, but more..

Tata sells 5000 mini trucks in Sri Lanka

Dec 3 (PTI) Tata Motors on Monday said it has sold 5000 vehicles of its Tata Ace mini-truck in Sri Lanka. "The demand for the sub-one tonne mini truck developed by the Tata's had picked up ever since the vehicle was launched last year with sales touching 5,000 vehicles in November," Diesel & Motor Engineering PLC (DIMO) which is the sole distributor for Tata vehicles in Sri Lanka said in a statement. more..

Lanka: LTTE suicide bomber kills self

Dec 3 (PTI) A suspected LTTE suicide bomber blew himself up when troops surrounded him in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula, where two Tamil Tiger rebels and a soldier were killed in separate incidents, the army said in Colombo on Monday. The LTTE rebels were killed when they tried to breach the security forces' defence line at Muhamalai in Jaffna on Sunday evening, the media centre for national security said. more..

Suspects taken in for questioning will be cleared and released soon

Dec 3 (GDI) Chief Government Whip and Minister for Highways and Road Development Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, announced in Parliament today (03rd) that those who were detained by police on the first and second of December subsequent to the bomb blast in Nugegoda would be released after questioning. The minister was responding to questions raised about the Tamil community in Parliament. “The Government has to take certain steps in the interest of National Security,” he explained and more..

State Engineering Corporation to construct Rs. 25 million Housing Project in Qatar

Dec 3 (GDI) Sri Lanka State Engineering Corporation has been granted a project worth Rs.25 million to construct houses in Qatar. This was revealed by the Minister of Construction and Engineering Services, Dr Rajitha Senaratne, addressing the parliament today (03rd). Minister further stated that this would be the largest ever project carried out in a foreign nation by a Sri Lankan state organization. more..

President Congratulates Murali

Dec 3 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa offered his congratulations Muttiah Muralidharan on breaking Shane Warne’s record for the highest number of test wickets. In his message to Muralitharan, the President said: “Congratulations to you on establishing the new record for the highest number of wickets taken in Test Cricket. Your achievement makes Sri Lanka proud and brings new glory to Sri Lankan Cricket. more..

Sri Lankabhimanya conferred to two eminent Lankans

Dec 3 (GDI) The highest award bestowed in Sri Lanka namely, the ‘Sri Lankabhimanya’ Award was conferred to former Supreme Court judge Dr. C.G. Weeramantry and Dr. A.T. Ariyarathne on Saturday. President Mahinda Rajapaksa conferred the Sri Lankabhimanya, which is considered the country's highest honour at a ceremony held at the Presidential Secretariat. Supreme Court judge Dr. Weeramantry is a Judge of the UN International Judiciary and was its Deputy Chairman and a recipient of Alternative Nobel Prize. more..

HR issues to be dealt by local structure

Dec 3 (GDI) Human Rights Minister, Mahinda Samarasinghe, briefing regional groups and the UN High Commissioner Louise Arbour in Geneva, ruled out a fully fledged OHCHR field presence in Sri Lanka. The minister however reiterated the government’s openness to cooperate with UN agencies on human rights issues. He pointed out that unhindered access was provided to UN officials who visited Sri Lanka on fact-finding missions recently and more..

Report on Mannar Field Mission

Dec 3 (TC) A team from the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre, International Movement Against Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) and Law and Society Trust (LST) visited Mannar District from October 6-7 2007 to assess the humanitarian situation in Mannar. The team spoke to local actors and international agencies involved in humanitarian and human rights issues in the district, and more..

The Murali story in numbers

Dec 3 (CI) Fittingly, it was the doosra that brought him the world record. When Paul Collingwood played down the wrong line to lose his middle-and-off stumps, Muttiah Muralitharan took over from Shane Warne as the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket, in 29 fewer Tests than it had taken Warne to get to 708. The feature of Muralitharan's career, which has already spanned more than 15 years, has been his phenomenal consistency. more..

Jayasuriya announces retirement from Tests

Dec 3 (CI) Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya has announced that the Kandy Test against England would be his last, ending hours of speculation after the Sunday Times reported that the Sri Lankan selectors gave him the option of playing a farewell Test and then quitting rather than being dropped. "I will be retiring from Tests after this match," Jayasuriya confirmed to a television channel covering the series. "I wanted to end my Test career in Sri Lanka, particularly in Kandy. I will continue playing one-day internationals." more..

Murali sparks delirium in Kandy

Dec 3 (CI) He was made to wait, longer than he or any of his legions of admirers could ever have imagined, but in end, the inevitable could not be postponed indefinitely. Muttiah Muralitharan, with a snake of a delivery that slithered past Paul Collingwood's half-formed defences and into the middle and off stumps, reclaimed his world record to spark scenes of delirium in his home town of Kandy. more..

Monk implicated in a child rape and murder case

Dec 3 (LNP) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) has cracked the recent mysterious death of six-year-old Kasmira Sugandi at a day care centre at Naiwala, Veyangoda. The NCPA stepped in after local law enforcement officers failed to make progress despite compelling evidence against the chief incumbent of a neighbouring temple. A source close to the investigation claimed that a determined effort was made by interested parties to shield the suspects. more..

Pakistan donates 1.5 million rupees worth to the families of Air Force war heroes

Dec 3 (LNP) Pakistan government donated a set of high speed sewing machines worth of 1.5 million rupees to the Sri Lanka Air Force Seva Vanitha Unit yesterday. Pakistan Ambassador, Vice-Marshal Shehzad Aslam Chaudhry handed over the donation to Air Force Commander, Air Marshal Roshan Gunathilake at the Air Force Headquarters in Colombo. The sewing machines are intended to be used for a garment factory that is to be established in near future for the unemployed widows of the war heroes of Air Force. more..

Fishermen are free to engage in their vocation

Dec 3 (LNP) The Fisheries Minister opined that a third of the two thirds of the sea has been added to the fisheries sector and fishermen are now able to engage in their profession sans any differences. The Minister was speaking at opening of the reconstructed Galle Fisheries Harbour. The Ceylon Fisheries Harbour Corporation carried out the reconstruction work, which was severely impacted by the tsunami. more..

High threat from terrorism in Lanka: UK

Dec 3 (LNP) The British government notes there is a high threat from terrorism in Sri Lanka in the wake of the twin bombings in Nugegoda and Colombo last week in which some 20 civilians were killed and several others sustained injuries. In a reviewed and reissued travel advice on Sri Lanka following the incidents last week, the British Foreign Office notes that attacks in Sri Lanka could be indiscriminate, and have occurred in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. more..

LTTE extortions on the rise

Dec 3 (SAMN) The LTTE is said to be extorting huge sums of money from civilians in the government controlled Jaffna peninsula even as foreign governments continue to choke the funding channels for the rebels on their soil, well informed sources said. Despite the heavy military presence in the peninsula, LTTE agents are believed to be carrying out the extortion from shop owners and civilians with family members residing overseas, warning of dire consequences if the demands are not met. more..

Pressure on Batti IDPs to return: SLMM

Dec 3 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) said thousands of displaced civilians from areas West of Batticaloa were being pressurised to return to their original homes despite their unwillingness to do so owing to security and other concerns. In its latest weekly security assessment report, SLMM also noted recent events in the district had forced former IDPs to leave their homes once again and seek refuge elsewhere. more..

JHU-UNP Benz battle ends

Dec 3 (SAMN) The controversy over a Mercedes Benz belonging to the JHU forcibly held by the UNP has been amicably settled with the super luxury vehicle bearing KH 1715 recently being returned to the JHU. Well informed sources said that the businessman who, the JHU claimed, had paid for the vehicle registered under the name of JHU leader Ven. Ellawela Medhananda thero last April took delivery of the vehicle. more..

UNP opposition to HSBC loan justified

Dec 3 (SAMN) The UNP Sunday said that the party’s opposition to the country’s growing dependence on USD-denominated short term commercial debt had been justified by the recent IMF warning. "This is what we have exactly said and warned the country of," UNP MP Ravi Karunanayaka said. The Colombo District organiser said that the UNP did all it could to block the USD 500 million loan the government obtained from a consortium of banks including the HSBC. more..

CID takes over Nugegoda blast probe

Dec 3 (DN) The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has taken over investigations into the Nugegoda bomb blast near a shopping complex last Wednesday. The Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) is assisting the CID to conduct the investigations. A special CID team deployed by CID DIG D.W. Prathapasinghe questioned several persons including shopowners in the vicinity and recorded their statements. more..

UNP defending interests of LTTE - Trade Minister

Dec 3 (DN) When our troops freed the East the UNP launched ‘Jana Rala Meheyuma’ calling upon the people ‘the country is finished, come forward’ (rata ivarai - perata warew). It was not Sri Lanka but Prabhakaran’s Eelam that was over. That shows that UNP was defending the interests of the LTTE but not those of Sri Lankans, said the Minister of Trade and Commerce and Co-operatives Bandula Gunawardhana. more..

UNESCO chief condemns bombing of rebel radio station

Dec 3 (UN) The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today condemned a deadly attack on a radio station run by the rebel Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan army planes struck the Voice of Tigers radio station near Kilinochchi in the north of the country on the afternoon of 27 November, killing five of the station's staff and reportedly more than five other people, according to a news release from UNESCO. more..

Editorial: LTTE supremo’s plaint

Dec 3 (Hindu) The proof, if any were required, of the complete isolation of the LTTE from the modern world came in bold letters in the 2007 ‘Hero’s Day Statement’ of its Pol Potist leader, Velupillai Prabakaran. It is an extraordinary confession of political frustration. The 2,700-word speech is a litany of grievances against everyone under the sun — except the talented military leader who has brought such cruelty, suffering, and uncer tainty to his own people and of course their compatriots belonging to other ethnic communities in the island. more..

Galle Fisheries Harbour is reconstructed with Japanese Assistance

Dec 3 (Island) The Government of Japan provided financial assistance worth of 706 million Japanese yen (approximately Rs. 708 million) to the Government of Sri Lanka in order to reconstruct the Galle Fisheries Habour under the Non-Project Grant Aid for rehabilitation and reconstruction of Tsunami affected areas. The harbor was officially opened on 1st December 2007 with the participation Kiyoshi Araki, the Ambassador of Japan. more..

14-year-old murder mystery solved

Dec 3 (Island) Acting on a recent statement by a 26-year-old woman who had witnessed a killing ,14 years ago at Nelumkulama in the Anuradhapura police division, the Special Investigation Unit of the North Central province have arrested two suspects. Police produced the suspects Dissanayaka Mudiyanselage Thilakaratne (60) identified as the chief suspect and Kalubandage Gamini Wijebandara (37) before Anuradhapura Magistrate and Additional District Judge and they were remanded till December 10th. more..

Cattle slaughtering has reached dangerous levels: JHU

Dec 3 (DM) The JHU Parliamentary Group leader Ven Athureliye Ratana Thera informed Parliament last week that the slaughtering of cattle in the country had reached dangerous levels. Ven Thera who spoke during the committee stage of the Budget in the House said over 100,000 cattle are slaughtered annually in Sri Lanka. He said there were 1.3 million ordinary cattle and 5.4 million buffaloes in the country in 1982, but the total number of cattle population has declined by 114,000 by the year 2000. more..

Govt., UNP differ in opinions on agriculture policy

Dec 3 (DM) The government and UNP were of different opinions on the agriculture policy in Parliament last week with subject minister Maithripala Sirisena stressing the need to develop the sector for Sri Lanka to be self- sufficient, while the main opposition placed emphasis more on the need to develop the industrial and service sectors. Minister Sirisena said that plans are now in place to stop the import of 23 food crops that can be grown in Sri Lankan by 2010 more..

Sri Lanka build lead on Murali's record day

Dec 3 (CI) Given the twists and turns witnessed at Kandy over the last three days it would be foolish to predict the outcome of this Test, but Sri Lanka fought back impressively to wipe out England's hard-earned 93-run lead and they hold the advantage of bowling last. Muttiah Muralitharan's hunt for his 709th wicket ended midway through a frustrating morning when he bowled Paul Collingwood, more..

Tough stand taken on Sri Lanka

Dec 3 (NP) He lives on a suburban street in Ajax in a two-storey brick house with a double garage and fruit trees in the garden. The quiet neighbourhood east of Toronto is worlds away from the civil war Raja Kasturiarachchi left behind when he moved to Canada after retiring from the Sri Lankan National Police. But if he came to Canada to escape the past, he hasn't. The Canada Border Services Agency says it intends to deport Mr. Kasturiarachchi because he was complicit in war crimes. more..

Sri Lankan troops defuse package bomb believed aimed at air force chief

Dec 3 (AP) Sri Lankan forces defused a package bomb hidden in the garden of a heavily guarded Colombo apartment building filled with lawmakers' homes Monday, preventing another attack just days after two bombings killed 20 people, the military said. The 1.2 kilogram (2.7 pound) explosive — discovered by a resident — was presumed to be an assassination attempt by Tamil Tiger rebels on the air force chief, Air Marshall Roshan Goonetilleke, whose house is located nearby, more..

Muralitharan breaks test wicket record, passing Warne

Dec 3 (AP) Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan broke former Australian legspinner Shane Warne's record for test wickets Monday, reaching 709 against England. Muralitharan, playing in his 116th test, reached the milestone when he bowled England's Paul Collingwood for 45 during the third day of play at Asgiriya Stadium. Muralitharan had a frustrating first spell, bowling nine overs without success and conceding 19 runs. more..

President instructs Police to release detainees without charges

Dec 4 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the police to release persons detained during recent search operations, if there are no charges against them. President has stated this during a discussion held at the Temple Trees this morning (03rd) The discussion was also participated by Ceylon Worker’ Congress Leader Minister Arumugam Thondaman. The President also underlined the necessity of the public supporting the security forces in their attempts to strengthen security. more..