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Anura under ‘house-arrest’?

Dec 30 (SAMN) Former National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike will take a three month break from politics, going abroad and deciding on his future thereafter. Speaking from his official residence at Visumpaya (former Acland House) Saturday Bandaranaike said he will spend his time watching films and generally taking a break. Presidential Security guards have blocked the ex-Minister from seeing the public as he is held under virtual house-arrest at the official bungalow. more..

No paper trail of Karuna’s passport

Dec 30 (LB) Documentation and letters leading to the granting of a diplomatic passport to Karuna Amman - and his subsequent flight to the UK - have “disappeared” from Sri Lankan files, authoritative sources said last week. This includes a completed passport application form that was forwarded to the Department of Emigration and Immigration with a request from the Presidential Secretariat that Karuna be granted a diplomatic passport under the name of Kokila Dushmantha Gunawardena. more..

Susanthika demands 32 lakhs for Olympic training

Dec 30 (LB) Sri Lanka’s female athletic sensation Susanthika Jayasinghe has demanded a whopping Rs.3.2 millions as expenditure for her months long training in the United States in the run-up to next year’s Beijing Olympics. Jayasinghe completed a successful track season in 2007 where she added a World Championships bronze to the World Championships silver she won 10 years back in Athens and the Olympic bronze that came seven years ago in Sydney. more..

Dr Mervyn livens up the week

Dec 30 (LB) As is the general trend, the final week of the year started out rather meekly... politically speaking. There was nothing hot. Many leading politicians were abroad, presumably recovering from the intense activity that had preceded the budget vote. This status quo changed dramatically on Thursday, thanks to Minister Dr Mervyn Silva -who took it upon himself to catapult into the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and get one of his thugs to slap around News Director T.M.G Chandrasekera. more..

Drunk politician, (not Mervyn) terrorises wedding

Dec 30 (LB) Another bout of political terror was unleashed at a wedding at the Horizon Reception Hall by thugs of a Local Government SLFP politician, Rohitha at Weligampitiya, Ja-Ela last week. Rohitha has arrived at the Horizon hotel after consuming liquor around 12.30 p.m last week when a wedding reception was about to end. When the guests were about to take out their vehicles from the hotel premises, a group of men with weapons and clubs locked the gate and detained and checked all the guests to find out “who assaulted their politician." more..

'Outlaw LTTE: Let's go for fresh start'

Dec 30 (SO) The post of Defence Secretary has never been such a hot seat until former Army Colonel Gotabhaya Rajapaksa assumed duties two years ago. Ever since, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa has given an able leadership to the Security Forces. His first hand experience in the battle front has enabled him to be a tower of strength behind the recent military success. In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Observer, the Defence Secretary evaluates the recent military success in the Government's drive against terrorism. more..

Brave new world

Dec 30 (SO) Here on the beach at Beruwela, in outward appearances the last day of 2007 is like any other day of the year; there is no pause in the waves embracing the sand, no breathless moment of silence to note the end of another twelve months. Yet, no man or woman selling their wares on the beach has quite the same thoughts today, that they have on other days. Today they look forward to 2008 with renewed hope. more..

Radio messages to warn of natural disasters

Dec 30 (SO) Three years after the tsunami, a natural disaster satellite alert system is now ready to help warn last-mile rural villages on natural disaster emergencies. The Addressable Radio for Emergency Alert (AREA) is a digital satellite device that uses simple radio technology, delivering messages to save lives. LIRNEasia (Learning Initiatives on Reforms for Network Economics) is a research-based organization that has collaborated with World-Space USA. more..

Housing loans worth 18 million from NHDA

Dec 30 (SO) National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) has issued loans worth over Rs. 18 million to the needy families to put up decent houses under the Gama Neguma program in Kandy District last year, an official said at the NHDA. For this year (2007) applicant's monthly income should be less than Rs.20,000. Under "Gama Naguma" the Kandy district NHDA has targeted to issue loans to 390 applicants. more..

Grave concerns over proposed loan for CEB

Dec 30 (NS) Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne has solicited a US$500 million loan from an unknown entity, claiming to salvage the CEB from its present impasse. This move could push the country down a precipice of international financial terrorism, The Nation learns. The Minster had informed the cabinet of ministers that the authorised agent, The North Face Limited, had proposed this long-term loan at 2% simple interest per annum, payable at the end of five years, along with the capital. more..

An ungainly blob in lawless landscape

Dec 30 (NS) When dog bites man, it is not news but when man bites dog it is news, they say. If so, why did Employment Minister Dr. Hewakoparage Mervyn Silva make news last week? The maverick politician stormed the offices of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation on Thursday and allegedly assaulted the Director of News after which he was virtually held hostage by angry staff of the Corporation before he was compelled to make a delayed retreat under police protection. more..

Vijitha Herath claims JVP ideology cannot be destroyed

Dec 30 (NS) Despite intense speculation to the contrary, JVP front-liner Vijitha Herath vehemently denies any kind of fissures within the Marxist party in a wide ranging interview with The Nation this week. Q: The Indian Prime Minister has said that he will attend the 2008 Independence Day celebrations only if a proposal to solve the ethnic conflict is presented to the President, by the APRC. What do you feel about that demand? more..

Minister blocks implementation of 13th Amendment

Dec 30 (NS) A top government minister appears to be blocking government moves to implement the 13th Amendment, The Nation learns. The minister, a senior Tamil politician, has voiced his disapproval against President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to appoint seasoned former Parliamentarian V. Anandasangaree to head the Northern Council. “The Tamil minister has objected to the appointment and has instead demanded that he be given control of the council once it is established,” sources said. more..

75% Ministers without sufficient work – Hakeem

Dec 30 (Island) Seventy five percent of the Ministers are without sufficient work, says SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem who recently broke ranks with the government. He said that interference from the "top" had resulted in most Ministers being reduced to mere figure heads. Complaining of "fever" while in the hot seat, a smiling Hakeem said that it has subsided "only now." When asked whether his motive in crossing over to the opposition was to topple the government, he said the SLMC had no such plans. more..

Matara, Mangala, Mahanama and Mervyn

Dec 30 (Island) The Mervyn Silva episode provided some light relief last week. What happened to him at the Rupavahini Corporation, was long overdue. It’s only those at a government owned media organization who could have shown Silva where to get off. Had that happened at a private media institution, it would immediately have become a Government vs Opposition kind of contest. Despite the frequent bad press created by Mervyn Silva and his son, Malaka, president Mahinda Rajapaksa did little or nothing to put a stop to it. more..

SLMC awaits formal complaint against suspect doctor

Dec 30 (Island) The Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) yesterday said that it could not initiate disciplinary action against Dr. Indika Sudarshan Balage under investigation for the alleged killing of a garment factory girl at the Negombo base hospital as it could not move against the suspect without a formal complaint. Dr. H.H.R. Samarasinghe, President of the Council emphasized that "we must receive a complaint from a magistrate, head of a department or the public with supporting documents’’ to proceed in the matter. more..

The supreme skill - winning over the Tamils – to defeat the LTTE

Dec 30 (Island) What is it that keeps the LTTE fighting despite completely losing its hold on the east and its eastern commander and cadres due to respectively the unrelenting actions of the defense forces and mass desertion by its eastern cadres while being restricted to just 5% of its claimed land? Add to this that the western international community (IC), amongst whom one million Tamils live, declared them terrorists, froze their bank accounts and began prosecuting their ‘collectors’. more..

Berghof chief asked to leave

Dec 30 (ST) Hot on the heels of SriLankan Airlines CEO Peter Hill being sent packing, the head of the controversial Swiss and German funded NGO, the Berghof Foundation for Conflict Studies, had been asked to leave Sri Lanka by tomorrow, an immigration official said. He said Berghof director Norbert Ropers had been given about 20 days notice that his visa would not be renewed on security grounds. more..

Mahinda-JVP remarriage on the cards

Dec 30 (ST) As a New Year dawns tomorrow, the many challenges facing Sri Lanka in the coming days, weeks and months seem clearly defined. The most important among them, no doubt, is the escalating undeclared Eelam War IV and a political settlement to the ethnic conflict. President Mahinda Rajapaksa spelt out what portends last Wednesday. He vowed at a janahamuwa that followed the formal opening of the new Mahanama bridge in Matara that he would fight terrorism to the end. more..

2008 Year of War, ban on LTTE likely

Dec 30 (ST) Despite the customary lull during the Christmas season, an intelligence warning last Monday sounded a note of caution. It said the Sea Tigers were planning to attack Dvora fast attack craft (FACs) of the Navy in the North in the next day or two. There had been considerable radio traffic as preparations had got under way for this purpose. Christmas day passed without any major incident. more..

‘Podi hamuduruwo’ appeals to Prabha

Dec 30 (ST) Hunupitiya Gangaramaya Nayaka Thera, Ven. Galaboda Gnanissara Thera has invited the LTTE and its leadership to eschew the terrorist cause and to look ahead for the greater good of the Tamil people and all the people of Sri Lanka. In a special statement, the Thera said that the Sri Lankan Government has offered to devolve power to the provinces and appoint persons of the Tamil community to important posts in Government, but no Sri Lankan government can concede Eelam and hence more..

5 rebels, 1 soldier killed in mortar and gunfire battles in northern Sri Lanka

Dec 30 (AP) Soldiers and Tamil Tiger rebels traded mortar and small arms fire across embattled northern Sri Lanka, killing five guerrillas and a soldier, the military said Sunday. Troops and Tamil Tigers fought a gunbattle Saturday along the front lines in the village of Killali on the Jaffna peninsula, leaving three insurgents dead, said a defense ministry official. The battle wounded five soldiers and three rebels, more..

Ranatunga to take over as Sri Lanka Cricket chief

Dec 30 (AFP) Sri Lanka's World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga is to be formally appointed as head of the cricket administration next week, officials said. "His appointment is confirmed and he should take over next week as chairman of the cricket interim committee," a senior presidential official, who did not want to be named, told AFP. The 44-year-old, currently a government legislator, became a legendary figure after leading Sri Lanka to their lone Cup triumph in 1996. more..

India a major factor in Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa

Dec 30 (IANS) India is 'a major factor' in any resolution of the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict and Sri Lankans must realise this, says Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Asked about India's role in finding a solution to the dragging conflict, Rajapaksa told the state-run Sunday Observer: 'India is a major factor and we have recognised it from the very beginning. 'Lots of people talk about the international community but we believe that India is the major factor in our problem. more..

Sri Lanka's warring parties say heavy battles in north

Dec 30 (AFP) Sri Lanka's troops and Tamil rebels were locked in fierce fighting in the island's north, the two sides said as the top military chief vowed to kill 3,000 guerrillas by June. Both the military and the Tiger guerrillas claimed to have inflicted heavy losses against the other in the latest weekend fighting along the de facto border separating the mini state run by the Tigers. The defence ministry said troops killed at least 33 members of the LTTE and wounded another 38 in the latest battles in the district of Mannar. more..

Sri Lanka rebel chief could be dead in 6 months - army

Dec 30 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's army chief said the leader of the country's Tamil Tiger rebels could be dead within six months and the military's aim is to kill 10 rebels a day, a newspaper report said on Sunday. Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka was quoted by the state-run weekend paper Sunday Observer as saying the security forces have occupied Tamil Tiger forward defence lines and surrounded the northern rebel held Wanni rebel base. more..

War certain in Sri Lanka but outcome uncertain

Dec 30 (IANS) Most Sri Lankans believe that 2008 will be a year of war but predictions of the outcome vary. With both the government and the Tamil Tigers preparing to take on one another in the island's north, some believe the rebels will be defeated and lasting peace will dawn. Yet others foresee a prolonged, low intensity war of attrition with no victor. 'Full-scale war is on the cards in the north after the monsoon ends in mid-January. Both sides are preparing for it,' more..

Hilary Clinton gives terrorists a boost

Dec 31 (AT) According to Ms Hilary Clinton frontrunner in the US Presidential election there are obviously good and bad terrorists, just as over the years the West has persisted in the view that there are ‘our’ terrorists and ‘your’ terrorists. This has enabled `Sri Lankan Tamil supporters of the LTTE to carry on huge criminal and illegal operations in the US, Canada, Britain and other EU countries the Nordic countries and Australia. more..

Sangakkara benefits from Ponting's and Kallis' failures to regain top slot of LG ICC Player Rankings

Dec 31 (ICC) Kumar Sangakkara has returned to the top of the LG ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen for the second time in three weeks after Australia’s Ricky Ponting and South Africa’s Jacques Kallis suffered rare batting failures in the Melbourne and Port Elizabeth Tests respectively. Ponting had entered the Boxing Day Test leading second-placed Kallis by one ratings point and third-placed Sangakkara by three. more..

Where are Sri Lanka's aboriginals, the Veddas?

Dec 31 (PTI) As the ethnic war in pearl of theIndian ocean rages between the Sinhalas and the Tamils theundisputed original settlers of Sri Lanka- the Veddas- havealmost disappeared from the country says a new book. "Practically unseen, they became the stuff of folklore-and tended to be remembered as elf likecreaturesw whoexisted in half-legend and half-reality. Knosn as 'Yakshas' insome Sinhalese accounts, a mystical mask is imposed on theiraboriginal identity," more..

Jaffna residents face long-term power cut

Dec 31 (TN) Electricity to Jaffna peninsula supplied by the private firm Agrico through Sri Lanka Electricity Board (SLEB) may stop completely or be affected seriously as the contract of Agrico terminates Monday. The Chinese firm Euro Asia which was to take over the electricity supply from January has advanced no preparatory work to takeover the responsibility, SLEB sources in Jaffna said. more..

Govt carts away Chandrika's office

Dec 31 (IANS) The year is ending on a sombre note for former president Chandrika Kumratunga. All office equipment in her fortified house has been carted away by government workers following a Supreme Court ruling that former presidents were not entitled to residence and office at government expense. The court's ruling had come way back in May, but the government issued an eviction notice only on Sep 30, significantly, after Kumaratunga had failed to invite President Mahinda Rajapaksa or his family for the grand reception she had held to celebrate the marriage of her daughter Yashodhara, more..

LTTE attempting to set up base in TN, says Jayalalithaa

Dec 31 (PTI) AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa on Monday said that the security situation in Tamil Nadu was turning out to be 'alarming' as "the LTTE is now attempting to establish a base" for its operations in the state due to its military setback in Sri Lanka. There was an 'alarming situation' in the state, where all political parties except the AIADMK were "prepared to roll out a red carpet" for the banned organisation, she told reporters here at the party headquarters. more..

Tigers showcase for public viewing the bombed Voice of Tiger building

Dec 31 (AT) As another propaganda ploy, LTTE has begun showcasing bombed and damaged buildings for public viewing in Vanni. Without destruction there is no benefit. Those who have willpower to convert the destruction into benefit only would emerge victorious said V.Balakumar, a top leader of the Tiger hierarchy. Voice of Tigers Radio building located in Kilinochchi, which was hit by Sri Lanka Air Force aerial bombing on 27 November and severely damaged has been opened up for public viewing on Saturday. more..

Rajapakse government turns to new directions, gets good dividends

Dec 31 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapakse of Sri Lanka beseiged from many sides is unfazed. He has taken a bold and independent stance and is shifting away from old benefactors and in important financial partnerships is looking to Asia and West Asia. He is on the firing line of former colonizers, neo colonialists, media and multilateral bodies, sections of the UN, NGOs and INGOS, donors of aid, human rights watchers, advocates of peace talks, immediate political solutions, good governance, transparency and humanitarian issues. more..

Issue of granting citizenship to 28,500 Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu to be completed soon

Dec 31 (AT) A consensus is expected to be reached during the next Parliamentary Select Committee meeting schedule for January 2008, on the issue of granting citizenship to persons who are in the refugee camps for Sri Lankans in Tamil Nadu, South India. Reports revealed that in the refugee camps for Sri Lankans, situated in Tamil Nadu, there are at present nearly 28,500 persons, who though entitled to their Sri Lankan citizenship, have not so far been granted such status. more..

The challenges we meet

Dec 31 (AT) Now we are on the threshold of the year 2008. Moment by moment and day by day time and the opportunity swiftly pass and move on. Once Benjamine Franklin said “You may be delay but time will not” This is a very important fact to reflect upon and we should use the precious time for our benefit and that of others too. Mostly each of us has our own agenda and list of work which to be done and fulfilled as member in our human family. more..

To Jaffna and Back

Dec 31 (GV) I write these events not as a criticism of any party or person but as an appeal to those concerned, to end the suffering of the people of Sri Lanka. I write under the encouragement of my friends and associates. Their words of support and concern tell me that there is still hope, despite the feeling of hopelessness concerning our collective inability to safeguard our lives and rights or effect a positive change in the lives of people who are no different from me but who come from a different part of the country. more..

Protestant, Catholic leaders urge national reconciliation in Christmas messages

Dec 31 (UCAN) Sri Lankan Protestant and Catholic leaders have issued Christmas messages highlighting the importance of fostering national reconciliation and forging a lasting peace on the war-weary island. Bishop Duleep de Chickera, Anglican bishop of Colombo, a top Protestant leader, expressed his hopes for communal reconciliation. For this to happen, grievances have to be "addressed and healed, and hostile relationships restored, through repentance and forgiveness," he wrote. more..

Sri Lankan cloves to be dearer on shortfall

Dec 31 (LBO) Sri Lankan cloves growers are seen benefiting from an expected rise in prices owing to a shortfall in production in the island and elsewhere and rising demand, trade officials said. Cloves production in India, the main buyer of the Sri Lankan spice, is also down and unable to meet the required demand. This is expected to keep Indian demand buoyant, said Sarada De Silva, immediate past chairman of the Spice Council, more..

Mortar fire, clashes in northern Sri Lanka kill nine rebels and two soldiers

Dec 31 (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels fired mortars on territory recently lost to government troops and fought three other battles, in violence that killed a total of nine insurgents and two soldiers, the military said Monday. Troops stationed in Parappaankandal village in northern Mannar district came under a rebel mortar attack Sunday, killing one soldier and wounding four others, a defense official said on condition of anonymity, citing government rules. more..

Former shotgun terrorists say today’s machinegun terrorists you are terrorists

Dec 31 (ISL) The JVP carried out two major terror campaigns in Sri Lanka i.e. one in 1971 and the other during 1987-1992. It is worth comparing the summary information of JVP terrorism during 1987-1992 with the brutal LTTE and considerable similarities in their terror campaign can be easily assessed. Both JVP and the LTTE killed untold number of civilians for being informants, government supporters, educationalists and politicians to take exclusive control of the civil society by violent means. more..

Sri Lankan Economy - A Topic that has been Masqueraded by the Civil War

Dec 31 (ISL) The Sri Lankan economy is at an appalling state. The inflation is around 24.3%. This high rate came despite the fact that the price of oil in the international market has eased off somewhat in the recent weeks. Lanka Business Online reported: “Some economists had been warning that Sri Lanka's inflation would continue to rise despite falling oil prices because of excessive money printing to finance the budget deficit. more..

A New Year is dawning amidst the sound of guns –Devananda

Dec 31 (LG) “There is not even the slightest reflection of revelry and happiness in the faces of our people, we imperceptibly, though pass on to yet another New Year on the horizon to be dawned, with hope of content and happiness,”according to the New Messege by Douglas Devananda a Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare. “The New Year that is dawning is expected to bring with it a change for better in our lives. But more..

Results of President’s Visited to Japan

Dec 31 (LG) Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka was on a State visit to Japan and he participated at a Business and Investment Forum as well. H.E. was in Japan from 08th to 11th December 2007. A highly successful and productive Business and Investment Forum was held at the Imperial Hotel to project and accentuate Sri Lanka’s favourable investment environment as well as a destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Joint Ventures. more..

Family Background of Prabhakaran, Leader of the LTTE

Dec 31 (LG) Valvettithurai was one of the important Northern ports during the period of the Jaffna and even before. It served as a bridge between northern of the Sri Lanka and the port of Kodikkarai in Thamil Nadu. The people of Valvettithurai are brave sailors who traveled the stormy seas and amassed great wealth through trade. This sea-port has earned an indelible fame in the annals of Sri Lanka. more..

Buddhism & Science

Dec 31 (LG) Today I purposely chose a Buddhist teaching & a scientific teaching which are really parallel. Before moving into the topic I would like to share that in this hemisphere there is a growing interest in Buddhism observed among the general population. Some years ago two prestigious magazines Le Nouvel Observateur & La Psychologie conducted an opinion poll on Buddhism in France. The conclusion is astounding! more..

CEO of SLT signs another fraud agreement?

Dec 31 (LeN) The Chief Executive Officer of SLT expects to Sign an agreement on 1st January 2008 with the chairman of Sri Lanka Mahajana Development Foundation(SLMDF) Mr Jagth Chandra Irrugalbandara who is also a Representative Samurdi Director of Presidents Office. If the past history is taken to consideration the CEO has a very poor track record in signing agreements like Sigiri Card, Elctro Tex, Billing Computers and etc, which money in billions has gone down the drain still not recovered. more..

Mervin unchanged despite the beating

Dec 31 (LeN) Minister Mervin Silva who received a beating from the state owned Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) staff recently says that he, as a Minister personally attempted to look into the malpractices of the SLRC since the subject Minister did not heed to the repeated complains on them. He says that he did not assault the News Director T.M.G. Chandrasekara. He says he went to the office of the Chairman since the News Director went out of his room while the Minister was making the Complain. more..

US Tamil group to take Gota, Basil and Fonseka to courts

Dec 31 (LeN) A United States based organisation called 'Tamils for Justice' has launched a massive fundraising project to de-proscribe the LTTE and to bring to justice the three US citizens holding power in Sri Lanka for allegedly committing gross violations of humanitarian laws, and crimes against Tamils. According to 'Tamils for Justice,' President Mahinda Rajapaksa's two brothers, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Presidential Advisor and Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa and Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka are clearly subjected to US law and more..