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Mano Ganeshan decided to flee the country following death threats

Dec 29 (LD) Convener of the Civil Monitoring Committee and the Leader of the Western People’s Front Mano Ganeshan told “Lanka Dissent” shortly that he has decided to go abroad, on learning that the government is clearly attempting to endanger his life by minimizing his security. Intelligence sources in the VIP Security Unit informed the WPF Leader that his security was reduced from 10 MSD guards to eight from Dec. 18th, paying no heed to the death threats he is receiving. more..

Total elimination of terrorism in 2008 - PM

Dec 29 (GDI) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka asserted that the country can anticipate to dedicate and celebrate 2008 as the yaer in which terrorists will be comprehensively defeated and totally eliminated. The Prime Minister, yesteday said that terrorists who are now confined only to a limited area are destined to be totally wiped out in the coming year. He added that the Government had shifted its policies from the norm to develop the village instead of limiting development only to the Western Province. more..

Ship building and reconstruction records tremendous boom

Dec 29 (GDI) Reconstruction and building of large scale ships and other maritime vessels inside the Colombo Port have recorded a tremendous increase during the first 11 months of the year, it is reported. Colombo Dockyard Limited (CDL), which had repaired 125 numbers of various vessels during the corresponding period in 2006 has upped this number by 22 in 2007, marking a 25.6% increase. more..

SLRC staff fear Govt. witch-hunt

Dec 29 (SAMN) Sri Lankan authorities are accused of trying to victimise television journalists instead of punishing Minister Mervyn Silva who entered the State owned Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) premises on Thursday and threatened its news director, subsequently ending up being held hostage by the staff. Dozens of journalists working for the state media and media rights groups held a demonstration outside the station Friday expressing fears that there would be a witch-hunt and mass sackings following Thursday's rioting. more..

US, Russian training for armed forces

Dec 29 (SAMN) Instructors from the United States Marine Corp, and the Ukrainian and Russian Air Force are scheduled to arrive in the country to conduct a series of separate training sessions for the Sri Lankan forces, a top defence official said Friday. He said the team of US Marine Corp will arrive soon to train the Sri Lanka Army Special Forces and the Special Boat Squadron of the Sri Lanka Navy. “These teams will be here as part of a military cooperation between Sri Lanka and these countries,” the official said. more..

CMC Complaints Centre from Jan 1

Dec 29 (SAMN) On the instructions of the Municipal Commissioner Dr. Jayantha Liyanage, the Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) will open a Complaints Centre at the Municipal Office Complex at Deans Road, Maradana with effect from January 1. Chief Medical Officer of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said the Centre will accept complaints on Environmental Health and Sanitation issues more..

Sivalingam hits back at JHU MP

Dec 29 (SAMN) President of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress and Deputy Minister of Estate Infrastructure Development, Muthu Sivalingam has condemned the speech made by Parliamentarian Ven. Ellawala Medananda thera of the JHU during the votes of the Ministry of Finance. The thera had said that the Indian labour force brought to this country by the British has become an unwanted burden on Sri Lanka. more..

Air Force destroys LTTE’s global centre

Dec 29 (DN) Sri Lanka Air Force fighter jets yesterday pounded and destroyed the LTTE’s coordinating centre for international activities located at Vishvamadu in Kilinochchi. The air attack was carried out around 12.30 p.m. “The target was identified through a series of ground and air surveillance conducted over a long period,” Air Force sources said. Meanwhile, intelligence sources said that the details of the targets had been obtained from real-time ground information received through reliable sources. more..

Govt bound to ensure expatriate workers’ protection - President

Dec 29 (DN) The Government is bound to ensure the protection and well-being of the expatriate community, one of the major foreign exchange earners, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President in a message to mark the annual convention of the Middle East Expatriate Workers’ Association at the Viharamahadevi Openair Theatre, said Welfare Officers in Sri Lankan Embassies should look into Lankan expatriate workers’ grievances. more..

Doctor in stitches, 'Kudu' Nuwan remanded

Dec 29 (Island) Labour Minister Mervyn Silva’s goon who assaulted the News Director of Rupavahini Corporation on Thursday, was yesterday remanded till January 11 by the Colombo Magistrate. The Minister himself had five sutures inserted in his scalp and forehead on injuries inflicted during his rampage. Police are seeking the assistance of photo journalists, who were present at the scene of Thursday’s rumpus, to identify the persons involved in the fracas. more..

Salary anomalies report out Jan. 1

Dec 29 (Island) The National Salaries and Cadre Commission will release the report on salary anomalies and its recommendations on principals and teachers on January 1, Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said on Thursday. Earlier last week five teachers' trade unions threatened to resort to trade union action at the beginning of the new school term in January. Teacher trade unions demanded that their salary anomalies must be sorted out by December 31, 2007. more..

Mervyn a pawn in Thursday’s drama: Kiriella

Dec 29 (DM) The main opposition UNP charged yesterday that Thursday’s rumpus at Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation was not an isolated incident but part of a plot to attack its news director and several others believed to be close associates of SLFP (M) leader Mangala Samaraweera. UNP front-liner Lakshman Kiriella said the Minister was only a mere pawn in this high noon drama. more..

Top NGO in alleged rates fraud

Dec 29 (DM) A top local Non Governmental Organisation headed by a well-known personality is involved in an alleged rates fraud where he has avoided paying rates and taxes to the Council; the Colombo Municipal Council was informed on Thursday. Senior Municipal Councillor Milton Liyanage told the CMC sessions that this NGO paid only Rs 12 as rates and taxes on a 20-perch block of land valued at more than Rs 200,000 a perch. more..

Pre-dawn attacks kill 2 Tamil rebels one soldier, military says

Dec 29 (AP) Separate pre-dawn clashes in Sri Lanka's embattled north Saturday left two Tamil Tiger rebels and a soldier killed, military said. Sri Lankan soldiers launched an attack on a rebel bunker in the northern Muhamalai region early Saturday killing two insurgents, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. The bunker that lay ahead of a defense line that separates government and rebel-held territories was destroyed and the soldiers suffered no casualties, Nanayakkara said. more..

On the ground and in the water, tracing a giant wave’s path

Dec 29 (NYT) Next to the office of Harindra Joseph S. Fernando at Arizona State University is a 107-foot-long wave tank that can mimic oceanic motions. “This tank is one of the most wonderful pieces of equipment I have,” said Dr. Fernando, 52, the director of the Environmental Fluid Dynamics Program at Arizona State. “It’s amazing.” After a tsunami swept across the Indian Ocean in 2004 and killed an estimated 300,000 people in Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, Dr. Fernando used his amazing piece of equipment to determine why the wave was so lethal. more..

Troops pull out coffins from LTTE underground store

Dec 29 (PTI) Security forces have recovered 23 coffins from the LTTE underground store as five tiger rebels and two soldiers were killed in clashes in northern Sri Lanka. At Vilattiklam in Northern Vavuniya, one soldier was killed in clashes, the army said. Troops found 23 coffins stored underground by the LTTE during a search in the general area of Inkiriyamadu in Eastern Batticaloa on Friday.

Sri Lanka defence secretary calls for formal end to truce

Dec 29 (AFP) Sri Lanka's defence secretary said the government should formally pull out of a ceasefire with Tamil Tiger rebels amid escalating fighting in the island, a state-run daily reported. A 2002 Norwegian-brokered truce began to unravel in December 2005 and both sides have blamed each other for the mounting violence which has claimed over 6,000 lives since then, according to government figures. more..

DK to protest PM Lanka visit

Dec 30 (CO) Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) president K Veeramani has said his party would stage a demonstration here on December 31 to protest against the proposed visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Sri Lanka to take part in the island government's independence day celebrations, scheduled for January 4. Talking to newspersons here, he said the demonstration was to appeal to the Centre that neither the Prime Minister nor anyone on behalf of the Centre should visit Sri Lanka to take part in its independence day celebrations. more..

Sri Lanka: The year in review

Dec 30 (GV) The year 2007 in Sri Lanka began with little hope for a revival of the peace process, and therefore also for constitutional reform, and it ends with similar prospects on either of these issues in 2008. The military conflict has intensified between the government and the LTTE, with either side now seemingly committed to, for the want of a better phrase, a fight unto the death. more..

A Fresh Solution to the National Question

Dec 30 (GV) A few days back, a big poster published by one called Kosgoda Gnanaseeha Thero of Pahingamuwa Gangarama temple could be seen pasted in some places in Kandy area. Its headline was “Solution to the National Question in Sri Lanka- Evict Three Million Aliens”. It was so descriptive that it looked like a whole chapter of a handbook of patriotism than a normal poster. Therefore, only certain sections are quoted here, as would be necessary to understand its basic tenets. more..

What we can expect in Sri Lanka in 2008

Dec 30 (GV) It is impossible to prophesise political developments in Sri Lanka with any degree of accuracy. For starters, there is little that is logical about party politics and nothing that is principled. From the pathological condition of politicking for short-term and personal gain to random acts of terrorism and responses that change individual and communal fortunes overnight, Sri Lanka’s incredibly frustrating socio-political developments bedevils easy explanation or projections into the future. more..

Tamil Tigers deny Sri Lanka army claim of 20 rebels killed in fierce territorial battle

Dec 30 (AP) Sri Lankan troops captured territory in the Tamil rebels' de-facto state in the north Saturday after a fierce clash killed at least 20 guerrillas, the military said. Soldiers pushed into rebel-held territory and seized part of Parappakandal village in northern Mannar district, a defense official said on condition of anonymity, citing government policy. more..

Emirates puts Govt. to the sword

Dec 30 (SL) In what is expected to become one of the ugliest spats in the airline industry, Emirates last week sent a hard hitting letter to the Presidential Secretariat calling on the Government of Sri Lanka to immediately reinstate to SriLankan Airlines CEO Peter Hill, his residential status and work permit. The letter sent by the law firm F.J. and G. De Saram's following the expulsion of Hill, was sent to several persons including more..

Government takes wing for the happy holidays

Dec 30 (SL) While the country stares at a bleak new year with escalating prices and a war at everyone's door step, many of those at the helm of affairs, true to style spent the holiday season away from home while some even opting to herald the new year from a different land. Austerity and leading by example may sound good from political platforms, but come festive season, Sri Lankan political leaders oozing with 'patriotism' flee their motherland as if the devils are chasing behind them and comfort is found only in some foreign land. more..

CBK queries fate of Rs. 2,500 mn tsunami funds left in Central Bank

Dec 30 (SL) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has called on the government to explain the fate that befell a sum of Rs. 2,500 million received by the country as tsunami aid that was in an account at the Central Bank under a presidential account. Kumaratunga's query came in the backdrop of a statement made by the World Bank that about 15,000 families are still without permanent houses, three years after the tsunami. The tsunami waves hit the island in December 2004 during Kumaratunga's tenure in office. more..

Winning the propaganda war and the Govt.'s politics of survival

Dec 30 (SL) While fierce battles raged in the north last week between the security forces and the LTTE leaving in its wake death and destruction, President Mahinda Rajapakse was busy wrestling with his political options given the unstable political and economic conditions confronting the government following the bruising budget confrontation in parliament that reduced the UPFA administration to a minority. more..

Sri Lanka central bank's regulatory independence compromised: IMF

Dec 30 (LBO) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised doubts about the independence of Sri Lanka's central bank and its ability to regulate banks fairly due to the presence of a Treasury representative which creates a conflict of interest. "…the Monetary Board’s independence could be potentially constrained by the presence of the Secretary of the Treasury who acts as shareholder of the two largest banks," the IMF said in a recent assessment of the island's financial system stability. more..

Divisive politics and the elusive peace

Dec 30 (TC) The narrow political aims of the parties competing for power and the divisive ways it is sought and exercised are responsible for the intractable problems confronting Sri Lanka. Not only the armed struggle of the LTTE for a separate Tamil state in the plural society but also the power struggle within the Sinhala polity is depriving peace and normality to the vast majority of the people who are not involved in either struggle. more..

2008: Year of Pyrrhic victory or Political maturity

Dec 30 (FI) In terms of numbers and resources, the phrase, Pyrrhic victory meaning a short-lived victory that is undone by its costs and casualties - applies more to the LTTE than the Government of Sri Lanka. In that sense, it is the LTTE that is now paying the price for the Pyrrhic battle glories that it achieved in the past. But a comprehensive military victory for the government that is being declared as the goal for 2008 may well prove to be Pyrrhic in terms of the total political, economic and social costs, for the island as a whole and for a long time. more..

Jaffna has now become a “prison, propped up by a military government”

Dec 30 (TC) In an interview with AsiaNews, the OMI provincial superior in Sri Lanka, Fr S.M. Selvaratnam, recounts the dramatic situation of the Tamils in the northern part of the country: the widespread culture of war, the paralysis of education, the impossibility even of crossing the street without the permission of the army, the absence of an authority to guarantee the rights of citizens. more..

Warning Bells for 2008

Dec 30 (AT) While the world was in a state of shock over the brutal assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Sri Lankans across every divide celebrated the richly deserved come-uppance of Minister Mervyn de Silva. Most Sri Lankans would have been deeply affected by the tragic fate of Ms. Bhutto. But the sight of Minister Silva, that marauder par excellence, being manhandled by the usually docile and politically correct employees of the state owned Rupavahini Corporation was a sight too rare to be bested by any happening, however horrendously momentous. more..

Courage Overcomes A Determined Hill

Dec 30 (ACN) Think you have problems? Peter Hill, CEO Sri Lankan Airlines is spending this holiday season as an airline boss in exile when Government of Sri Lanka cancelled his work/residence visa. The beef against Mr. Hill appears to be some trumped up charges of failing to accommodate the President of the country and his entourage (35 in total) on a fully booked SriLankan line flight from LHR to CMB. more..

Lanka Names New Envoy to Kingdom

Dec 30 (AN) An eminent Colombo-based lawyer has been appointed as Sri Lanka’s new ambassador to the Kingdom. Abdul Ajeed Mohamed Marleen, who has been in active practice for the past 36 years, will succeed A.M.J. Sadiq, who wrapped up his tenure prematurely, within two years, following a recall from the Foreign Ministry. Marleen was bestowed with the post of President’s Counsel in 2001, an honor conferred on outstanding legal men. more..

The east is bright – only Ranil is bleak

Dec 30 (AT) The road to the east was rugged. Going over the ubiquitous pot-holes we – Canadian, American and Australian expatriates guided by knowledgeable locals – felt as if we were ancient mariners rocking and tossing in choppy seas rather than modern travelers riding on a flat earthly surface. To make matters worse the rains came down in buckets. Intermittently, the clouds cleared and the sun would burst in all its bright splendor. more..

Pictures of 2007 from

Dec 30 (TW) In publishing the annual best ‘Photos of 2007’ of The Christian Science Monitor, the revered International Newspaper says the editors reviewed their image archives for the following, among other factors: - Composition or content? - Art or urgency? - Does the image speak to the human heart? Above all the Monitor has another important measure; does the image live up to the Monitor’s mission, more..

Local Napoleon Mervin Silva meets his Waterloo Rupavahini

Dec 30 (ISL) There was pandemonium and high drama erupted at noon yesterday when the controversial Minister Mervyn Silva – the self proclaimed descendant of Dutugemunu – was held hostage by enraged staff of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. The real-life and highly charged episode ended after more than two hours of talks with Mr. Silva having to apologise for his actions. more..

Diplomacy of Reward and Retribution

Dec 30 (ISL) Ali Zahir Moulana always maintained a clandestine relationship with the LTTE during his political career in Sri Lanka. One of the Muslim body guards of Ali Zahir Moulana was an ex LTTE member, who deserted the LTTE following the LTTE massacre of the Muslims in Eravur in August 1990. He stood with Ali Zahir until Ali Zahir fled Sri Lanka. Ali Zahir Moulana fled Sri Lanka and relocated to the USA where he was reported to have sought asylum for fear of being pursued by the LTTE and more..

Four Tamils arrested with false passports

Dec 30 (LG) Four men from Sri Lanka, claiming to be asylum seekers, launched an injunction Thursday against the Lt. Governor on Philipsburg the capital of Dutch St. Maarten in a bid to obtain their freedom. The four men were arrested at Princess Juliana International Airport on November 24 because they were travelling with false passports. The men came from England and France and were attempting to travel to Canada via Guadeloupe and St. Maarten. more..

‘Victor’ of Sri Lankan music

Dec 30 (LG) Pop, reggae, rock and hippop and what not. Different music cultures have come and gone making no impression in the hearts nor ears of their audiences. Yet even after more than four decades a voice and songs so dear to our ears and hearts remain victoriously unchanged. The legendary Victor Ratnayake has recorded and rerecorded his soothing songs and his audience has not changed but become even more attached to him. more..

An epitome of humanity : Tribute to Asoka Peiris

Dec 30 (LG) “By whom would you like to be remembered most?” (Smiling) “I would like to be remembered first by God as ‘Asoka Peiris, His servant.’ Secondly, I would like to be remembered by my family as a good husband and a father. Finally, by my friends as a good human being” I feel that the final words Asoka Peiris spoke to me in an interview I had with him a few weeks back, stand even truer today. more..

What is wrong with the President?

Dec 30 (LG) Everything has been told about Mervyn Silva, an underworld goon rose to the level as Labour Minister due to His Master’s reciprocal gift for some hidden services. Under corporate management, Mervyn Silva’s conduct is culpable of instant dismissal from his post. He then has the right to appeal and put his case to plead his innocence. Invasion of Mervyn Silva into the Rupavahini TV station and his violent behaviour surmount to summary dismissal, not only as Minister and also loosing his parliamentary membership. more..

Great victory for Media says Rupavahini staff - Aftermath Mervyn's Drama

Dec 30 (LG) Ever since the Rajapakse Govt. came to power, media freedom erosion, intimidation and killing of journalists reached such dizzy heights that even Int. Media Institutions could not idly watch the dismal breakdown in law and order in the country, therefore, had to step in and warn the Govt. against such lawlessness which it was fostering in the country. more..

The Second JVP Insurgency (Part VI)

Dec 30 (LG) There is a picture of Daya Pathirana in death, the first casualty of the Second JVP Insurgency and the JVP first victim; the leader of the ISU of the University of Colombo is shown lying on his back at the murder scene, stripped to his underwear, his eyes staring unseeingly, the mark of the murderers’ blade visible around his neck, a thin red ring. That picture is symbolic of the senseless bloodletting that was the Second JVP Insurgency, its brutality, its indiscriminate nature and its inability to tolerate or compromise. more..

Enter the Russians in Sri Lanka scenario

Dec 30 (LeN) A high-level Russian military delegation led by Colonel General Vladimir Moltenskoy visited Sri Lanka for the first time in the history last week against Norway involvement in Srilanka. They met Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Army Commander Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka and Air Force Commander, Roshan Goonathilake and discussed military cooperation. They visited several major military installations also in the island. more..

Govt. ignores information on Indonesian ship and Delft attack

Dec 30 (LeN) A foreign intelligence service accuses the Government that it ignored the information provided two days before the fight in Delft Sea and the suspicious ship in Arugam Bay Sea on December 26. The Government security forces suffered immensely due to this ignorance. The intelligence service informed to a DIG of the Presidential security and another DIG of SIS on December 24 that LTTE was preparing to transport a top official or a shipment of arms. more..

Organized gang behind abductions of infants from hospitals

Dec 30 (LT) National Child Protection Authority says that there is an organized gang behind the abductions of infants from hospitals. Commenting on this the chairman of the National Child Protection Authority, Mr. Jagath Wellawaththa says that abductions of infants reported from Kalubowila, Badhulla and Minuwangoda government hospitals had similarities in the manner they war carried out. more..

Aravinda to assist U-19 squad

Dec 30 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has sought the services of Aravinda de Silva, the former Sri Lanka batsman, to help Under-19 players prepare for next year's World Cup in Malaysia. de Silva, 42, said he was prepared to help any cricketer who needed his help. "When Sri Lanka Cricket sought my services I was glad to oblige them." He will meet the squad on January 2 and assist them till February 9, before they depart for Malaysia. more..

Emirates insists reinstate Hill

Dec 30 (SAMN) The air battle rages on with Emirates sending letters to Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera and BOI Chairman Dhammika Perera demanding that SriLankan Airlines CEO Peter Hill be reinstated after the government arbitrarily cancelled his work permit last week. The letter which was sent through the law firm F.J. and G. De Saram’s stated that the expulsion of Hill was unlawful and violated the terms of the shareholder agreement between Emirates and the government of Sri Lanka. more..

Wanni is surrounded on all prongs

Dec 30 (SAMN) The Security Forces are occupying the LTTE's Forward Defence Lines (FDLs) and have surrounded the Wanni LTTE bases from all directions, Army Chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka said Saturday, adding that the LTTE could not prevent losing their remaining 3000 cadres and there is no assurance that the LTTE Leader V. Prabhakaran would survive for the next six months. Gen. Fonseka said the Sri Lankan Air Force would attack all the LTTE bases and the armed forces were confident of wiping out the LTTE, more..

SLFP divided on how to deal with Mervin

Dec 30 (SAMN) The SLFP is sharply divided over action against National List MP Mervin Silva who now faces the prospect of being produced in the Colombo Magistrate’s Court over last Thursday’s raid on Rupavahini where he was roughly dealt with. While a section of the SLFP wants Silva to be prosecuted for leading an attack on a public institution, an influential section has disagreed, informed sources said. more..