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Parliament harasses women, says Sumedha

Dec 5 (LNP) Minister of Child Development and Women Empowerment, Sumeda Jayasena got an opportunity to present her petition to the Public Petitions Committee of Parliament yesterday after her last week`s complaint that Parliament, too, harassed women members. She said that when she wanted to present her petition, the Parliament office had sent a letter to an address at which she had not resided for over one year. more..

Terrorists until proved innocent?

Dec 5 (LNP) A democratic government burdened with a protracted war against terrorism always has its work cut out. In this country, the government in power operates in a multi-ethnic environment unlike its enemy, the LTTE, which has, through a process of systematic ethnic cleansing, created a mono ethnic enclave where democracy is a thing of the past and infiltration could be kept at a bare minimum. more..

Skeletons of abducted cattle herders found from Thissa

Dec 5 (LeN) The remnants believed to be of three cattle herders of Yodhakandiya who were abducted on October 30 at Thambaraweva, Banduweva were found near the Koraweva reservoir in Yala Wildlife Park yesterday. Police media spokesman DIG Jayantha Wickramarathna said that the three skeletons were handed over to Karapitiya hospital for a DNA test. Police sources said that the relatives of the disappeared persons have identified the sarong and the pair of slippers found with the skeletons. more..

Katharagama Thanjanagar village was attacked to revenge Yala LTTE attack

Dec 5 (LeN) The residents of Katharagama area said to 'LankaeNews' that the gang that attacked the Thanjanagar Tamil village in Katharagama immediately after Thalgasmankada Army detachment was attacked by the LTTE was a Sinhala youth gang that lost livelihood due to the collapse of tourism. Several villagers of Thanjanagar were injured and their property was damaged in the attack. more..

CPC budget passed by wafer thin margin

Dec 5 (SAMN) The budget of the Central Provincial Council was passed by 3 votes Tuesday with UNP and JVP voting against it. According to Provincial Council sources 29 members including the SLFP, SLMC and five CWC members voted for the budget while 26 voted against it. However one member of the Up Country People’s Front was not present at the voting time. JVP CPC Councilors Group Leader Samansiri Fernando said they voted against it because it was prepared to fulfill vested interests of ruling party members. more..

Amendments to Orphanages Ordinance

Dec 5 (SAMN) The Department of Probation and Child Care Services is planning to set up about 300 children's councils in the Divisional Secretariats around the island before June next year. These children's councils are expected to encourage child participation with regard to their lives, work and education. They will be providing consultations and awareness programmes regarding child rights and how they can participate to improve their lives. more..

Tough laws to govern school vans

Dec 5 (SAMN) The government is to introduce stringent regulations to govern school van drivers. Discussions regarding this matter are currently taking place between the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), the Transport Ministry and other relevant government institutions. NCPA Media Officer, Dimuthu Galapaththi said they have been receiving several complains of abuse of children whist travelling in school vans, and most often the driver has been identified as the perpetrator. more..

'Barmy Army' to save tourism

Dec 5 (SAMN) The Hilton Colombo is getting ready to offer cricket-crazy fans a different concept. Catering to both the local and English visitors, the hotel will have a ‘Cricket Fest’ at the Sports Centre car park which will include the screening of cricket matches as per a schedule on a giant screen. Commenting on this latest bout of festivity from the Hilton amidst the season to be jolly, more..

Forces help hospitals run smoothly

Dec 5 (DN) The Health Ministry yesterday took steps to deploy Security Forces personnel at hospitals following the strike action by a number of health unions which disregarded a court order. The unions are protesting against the introduction of the fingerprint time attendance system for all cadres except doctors and nurses at Government hospitals. Although the health services were affected to some extent, most hospitals catered to the maximum possible number of patients. more..

Army committed to respect Human Rights - Commander

Dec 5 (DN) The Sri Lanka Army being a professional Army is committed to respect Human Rights and the fundamental freedoms of every citizen of Sri Lanka irrespective of ethnicity or Religion, Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said yesterday. "It is the responsibility of every member of the Sri Lanka Army to guarantee the protection of each and every law abiding citizen of Sri Lanka and ensure that no violation of fundamental rights takes place on this soil," Fonseka said. more..

United States to work together with Sri Lanka to improve human rights record

Dec 5 (SLE) I would like to thank General Fonseka for his kind invitation to be here today, for the honor of being your chief guest, and for the opportunity to speak on a subject that is of great importance to us all. I note that General Fonseka has spoken of the need of every commander to commit himself personally to the respect of the basic human rights of every individual, even when carrying out his difficult and often dangerous duties. I could not agree more. more..

Country not producing sufficient coconuts says Minister

Dec 5 (DM) The country still produces only 2,900 million nuts out of its annual requirement of 4,000 million nuts, Coconut Development Minister Salinda Disanayake said yesterday speaking during the committee stage debate on the Plantation Ministry in Parliament. The Minister said 70 percent of the country’s annual production is meant for domestic consumption and the remaining percentage for industrial purposes. more..

Kiriella says CWC forgetting people

Dec 5 (DM) The UNP in Parliament yesterday charged that the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) had betrayed its voters in return for ministerial perks and privileges, and urged the party to abide by the people’s mandate. UNP Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella said the CWC, which was voted into Parliament on the UNP ticket, had forgotten the estate workers who face untold suffering and harassment and chosen instead to seek personal benefits from the present administration. more..

Sri Lanka beat the light to secure victory

Dec 5 (CI) It took more sweat and toil than Sri Lanka might have envisaged, but they eventually wrapped up an 88-run victory in the first Test at Kandy about 20 minutes before bad light would have come to England's rescue. A defiant stand of 109 in 44 overs between Ian Bell and Matt Prior gave England hope of survival after a poor morning session, however in fitting style Muttiah Muralitharan removed both with wicked deliveries to ensure a match that start with him as centre of attention ended with him the hero. more..

LTTE asked to end suicide politics, killings

Dec 5 (IANS) A Sri Lankan Tamil activist group has urged Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran to renounce the 'politics of suicide and political killings' to get on to the path of a negotiated end to the ethnic conflict. In a trenchant criticism of the LTTE, the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum (SLDF) has accused the Tigers of heaping misery on the island's Tamil community. more..

Fighting kills 29 Tamil rebels, 7 soldiers in northern Sri Lanka

Dec 5 (AP) Soldiers battled Tamil Tiger rebels across the jungles of northern Sri Lanka on Wednesday in a wave of violence that killed 29 rebels and seven soldiers, the military said. The attacks came amid a sharp increase in fighting in recent weeks in the volatile north, where the Tamil Tigers control a de facto state. Senior military officials have called for a full-scale offensive to destroy the separatist group after more than two decades of warfare. more..

England undone by straight-faced Murali

Dec 6 (CI) As the final session of a gripping Test match unfolded, Michael Vaughan allowed his thoughts to drift back to the last time England were in Kandy. Then, as now, a great escape had been in the offing, as England ground agonisingly towards sunset, the only thing that could spare them from their Muralitharan-induced fate. They managed it on that occasion, inching across the line with three wickets still in hand. more..

'We need to press this advantage' - Jayawardene

Dec 6 (CI) Patience, Mahela Jayawardene said, was the key to Sri Lanka winning the first Test against England at Kandy and going 1-up in the three-Test series. Jayawardene said that his team knew that despite getting the early breakthroughs in the morning they would come up against tough situations. "We had to be very patient and wait for the opportunities. With the second new ball the opportunities came along. more..

Kerala, a new LTTE base

Dec 6 (LG) The Centre's worst fears have come true - the LTTE has spread its wings to India. LTTE Chief V Prabhakaran has sprung another surprise shifting the banned outfit's operations to the Kerala coast. Instead of depending on Tamil Nadu for logistic support, his fighters are now zeroing in on the less-patrolled Kerala coast. Reliable has learnt that attempts are being made to use Kerala for smuggling arms, ammunition and even drugs. more..

SLDF Condemns Prabha’s Dream for Eeelam

Dec 6 (LG) As Sri Lanka is plunged into war yet again, and civilians face yet another humanitarian crisis, Prabhakaran's annual Heroes Day speech warrants closer attention. It reveals his continued commitment to a suicidal politics that will serve only the interests of the LTTE, even as it decimates the Tamil community, and confirms him to be one of the individuals most responsible for the failure of peace negotiations and for the repeated return to a war of attrition that is all too familiar to the civilians in the North and East. more..

Maestro Amaradeva: The Golden voice is 80

Dec 6 (BBC) Many Many years ago a little boy with curly hair was carried on the shoulders of his friends for wining them a gold medal for singing in a inter -school competition. The lads of Koralawella were singing praise for little Albert for the fame he had bought them and the sea side village of Koralawella, Moratuwa, little knowing that in the years to come he would entice the nation with his melodious voice. more..

Critical northern crossing point under pressure

Dec 6 (IRIN) The Omanthai crossing point 190km north of the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, is the only gateway currently open between areas controlled by the Sri Lankan government and those controlled by the LTTE, and traffic through this key transit point falls off sharply each time the security situation deteriorates. For example, in the aftermath of two Colombo bombs on 28 November that killed 21 civilians, security was quickly tightened throughout the island. more..

Bus bombing kills 15 in Sri Lanka: police

Dec 6 (AFP) At least 15 passengers were killed and 38 wounded Wednesday in a roadside bomb attack on a crowded bus carrying civilians in Sri Lanka's north-central region, police said.Security forces rushed to the area following the attack carried out by suspected Tamil Tiger rebels under the cover of darkness, a police official in the area said by telephone. "We have 15 passengers killed and at least another 38 have been taken to hospital," more..

Tamils' trial stalls as translator stumbles

Dec 6 (TA) ONE of Sri Lanka's most senior solicitors was forced to intervene in a Melbourne terrorism hearing yesterday after an interpreter arranged by the commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions provided "totally inaccurate" evidence to a court. Sri Lankan Deputy Solicitor-General Yasantha Kodagoda told the Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday he could not remain silent after the testimony of a Sri Lankan naval commander was incorrectly translated. more..

Checking out of heartbreak hotel can only help my back

Dec 6 (TO) You’ve just lost a Test match, you’ve got a bad back and you’re a bit down in the dumps, so what comes next? A 3½ hour coach journey from Kandy to Colombo on my favourite Sri Lankan roads. Readers of my last column may remember that I wasn’t too enamoured by the coach trip on the outward leg of this journey last week, so I was wondering what the effects of another long haul would be on my aching back. more..

Jayasuriya’s technique reflected the way cricket had changed

Dec 6 (TT) When Sanath Jayasuriya announced his retirement from Test cricket in the course of the first Test against England, the way he signed off was nicely representative of his extraordinary career. He failed in the first innings with the bat, then hit a quick 70 in the second innings. As a bonus in the second innings Jayasuriya took a wicket with his slow left armers. more..

People paying lakhs to face Murali

Dec 6 (AFP) An online auction for a chance to bat against Muttiah Muralitharan, the world's highest wicket taker in Test cricket, is seeing a rush of bids running into lakhs. Seeking to be the one to face ten deliveries from the ace bowler, a bidder offered this evening to pay Rs two lakh (over USD 5,100). The bids started yesterday on online auction portal e-bay's Indian domain ebay.Co.In. more..

The Suicide Bombers since Captain Miller

Dec 6 (AT) After many escapades with life before, EPDP boss Douglas Devananda on 28th November escapes from yet another Tiger suicide bomber, who exploded herself at his Ministry in Colombo. How many more suicide bombers were there before Vagamanan Sujatha from Vavuniya ? The mass production of suicide bombers in the Wanni is something that irks many including me. How is it possible to develop the sacrificial psyche in the minds of these Tamil youth who turn up in Colombo, more..

Eelam 4 continues with heavy casualties

Dec 6 (ISL) Heavy casualties were reported when suspected LTTE rebels set off a claymore mine targeting a civilian transport near Abhimanapura today evening. According to latest reports 15 civilians have been killed and further 23 have been injured in the incident. As of now, no military casualties are reported. The Ceylon Transportation Board (CTB) owned bus which was hit, had 50 passengers on board (all civilians) when the incident occurred. more..

Army accused of committing human rights violations in the East

Dec 6 (LG) News reaching from eastern province confirms two serious incidences of human rights violations have been committed by the army on 5 December 2007. Sources confirm both these violations were well planned and carried out by the army. A leading businessman Mr Kanesappa was shot and killed by four army personnel’s who went on motorcycles to his house in Kaluvankerni at about 2.30am. They forcefully entered the house and shot him at point bank range. more..

Sri Lanka rupee zooms amidst record exporter selling

Dec 6 (LBO) The Sri Lanka rupee extended gains against the greenback Thursday as panicky exporters sold dollars fearing more 'carry trade' style activity from hedge funds, dealers said, after authorities relaxed foreign investor limits on local bonds. Sri Lanka government securities offer attractive rates of around 19.00 percent a year for macro hedge funds that arbitrage across economies by borrowing from low interest countries and buying high-yield bonds in countries with tighter monetary policy. more..

Sri Lanka gets Indian credit to upgrade railways

Dec 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka plans to rehabilitate a tsunami-hit coastal railway line at a cost of 167.4 million dollar using an Indian credit line, a minister said. The proposed project that extends the railway line beyond Matara, a town in the southern tip of the island, will be completed within three years, information minister Anura Yapa said. Two Indian state firms, RITES Ltd, and IRCON Ltd, have given the nod by Sri Lanka's cabinet of ministers to supply equipment and undertake the project in partnership with Sri Lanka Railways. more..

Sri Lanka inflation caused by govt. credit, not private sector: IMF

Dec 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka's inflation is strongly linked to government credit, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a report released this week, clearing the private sector of blame for rapidly rising prices. IMF said bank credit to the private sector has accelerated in Sri Lanka in recent years, but the relationship to inflation is weak. The monetary watchdog said inflation appeared to be "synchronized with public credit developments than with private sector credit." more..

“Ban LTTE & call off CFA to prove your patriotism” – Wimal Weerawansa

Dec 6 (LD) “Why is the ceasefire agreement not called off? Invalidate the ceasefire agreement and prove the patriotism you claim to have above ours,” said JVP propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa today. Joining the debate to extend the state of emergency by a further month, Weerawansa charged that the government remembers patriotism only when the budget gets near, like a patient who, weakened by illness, remembers the Rathana Sutra. more..

Terrorism cannot be eliminated by war – Lakshman Seneviratne

Dec 6 (LD) UNP Parliamentarian Lakshman Seneviratne has ruled out an elimination of terrorism through military means. “What has this government done to win over the Tamil people? Can they be won by search operations or mass arrests?” he asked. Joining the emergency debate in parliament today Seneviratne questioned the government as to why it did not tore up the ceasefire agreement after blaming it for the present situation in the country. more..

2 soldiers, 1 policeman & 1 journalist among 16 killed in K’gollewa

Dec 6 (LD) The claymore blast that targeted a passenger bus at Abhimanapura in Kebithigollewa, Anuradhapura claimed the lives of 16 persons including two soldiers, one policeman and the correspondent of a national newspaper, Prime Minister Rathnasiri Wickremanayake said. In parliament today, moving the motion to extend the state of emergency by a further month, Wickremanayake charged that the LTTE was trying to destabilize the south. more..

“Correct false news report or be sued” – Lakshman Kiriella

Dec 6 (LD) Kandy District parliamentarian of the United National Party Lakshman Kiriella says that an incorrect news item broadcast by Rupavahini Corporation on November 01st has tarnished his reputation. In a letter to the Chairman of Rupavahini Corporation, the UNP MP has demanded a correction. Otherwise, he will file a case demanding Rs. 500 million as compensation. The full text of his letter is as follows: more..

Vienna Convention cannot be tampered with – FM

Dec 6 (LD) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has responded to an accusation by JVP’s Wimal Weerawansa of his ministry’s inaction to prevent the misuse of diplomatic immunity by foreign nationals. Bogollagama said the Police could make submissions through a ‘B’ report regarding the issue raised by Weerawansa. Earlier in the day, the JVP Propaganda Secretary called for an investigation into an incident in which the son of the USAID representative in Sri Lanka had used diplomatic immunity to evade arrest after being caught with narcotic drugs. more..

USAID head’s son claimed diplomatic immunity to evade arrest – Wimal Weerawansa

Dec 6 (LD) JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa has called for an investigation into an incident in which the son of the USAID representative in Sri Lanka had used diplomatic immunity to evade arrest after being caught with narcotic drugs. “The Welikada Police had caught the son of USAID head Rebecca with heroin. He had told the police not to arrest him, since he was the son of so and so, and that it would be a breach of diplomatic immunity,” more..

Jayasuriya thanks his fans

Dec 6 (LD) Sanath Jayasuriya has thanked his fans for their support during his dazzling Test career that spanned over 110 games. Jayasuriya, who played his final Test against England that ended with victory for Sri Lanka, said, “People gave a lot of support to me and to my game. It was the same even yesterday (Dec. 05th) at Asgiriya. I will never forget that Test match,” he said. more..

UNESCO responds to govt.’s protest over VoT raid condemnation

Dec 6 (LD) A top UNESCO official has responded to the Sri Lankan government’s protest after the UN body’s Executive Director Koichiro Matsuura’s condemned the Air Force air raid on Voice of Tigers radio in Kilinochchi. Director, International Programme of Development Communication, Wijayananda Jayaweera, told BBC that Matsuura’s statement was made based upon a principal that journalists are usually civilians. more..

SCOPP Secretary General respond to UTHR

Dec 6 (PISL) I read with interest the account, in today’s Morning Leader, of your most recent report. Though I may disagree with some of the points you make, let me take this opportunity to reiterate my admiration for your work in general, and your principled stand in the past despite threats to lives and livelihood by the LTTE. There is one factual inaccuracy in the report which I should try to correct, since it concerns someone else. more..

Inspiring a generation of cricketers

Dec 6 (CI) Sri Lanka's captain and vice-captain, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, paid tribute to their team-mate and former leader, Sanath Jayasuriya, who bowed out of Test cricket at the age of 38 following his side's 88-run win over England in the first Test in Kandy. After weeks of speculation in the local media, Jayasuriya made his announcement after scoring 78 in Sri Lanka's second innings to help put his side on course for victory. more..

The great entertainer

Dec 6 (CI) Sanath Jayasuriya's second retirement from Test cricket attracted much less fanfare than the first did, some 18 months ago. It was also far happier: on that occasion he started the match silently fuming with the selectors for pushing him out. It all ended with a dropped catch, a painfully dislocated thumb, and a heavy defeat to Pakistan. He was not ready to walk away back then and it was a bitterly sad and unjust end to a great servant of Sri Lankan cricket. more..

Summary of the Cabinet decisions

Dec 6 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is also the Minister of Finance and Planning on the Presidential Visit to Iran. During the visit it was possible to finalize assistance from the Government of Iran for several areas of importance to Sri Lanka’s economic development. They include credit facility for crude oil, long-term financial assistance for the implementation of Uma Oya Multi-purpose Development Project. more..

Compensation to the bereaved families and the injured at Kebithigollawa blast

Dec 6 (GDI) Referring to the bomb blast in Kebithigollawa yesterday, Minsietr of Indigenous Medicine Tissa Karaligyadda mentioned that 15 bodies of those who succumbed to the blast were sent to Anuradhapura to be buried at state expense. The Government, while expressing its sympathy, Minister said that a sum of Rs.100, 000 would be paid to the families of the dead and a sum of Rs. 15,000 per person injured in the blast. more..

Murali and team to be feted by President

Dec 6 (GDI) World record holder Muttiah Muralidaran who over shadowed Australia’s Shane Warne will be felicitated by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a special reception to be held at Temple Trees tomorrow (7). The President will present a special memento to mark the historic feat of Muralitharan, who on Monday became the world’s highest ever wicket taker in Test cricket. The Lankan team and Sri Lanka Cricket officials will be hosted to a tea party at the Temple Trees tomorrow evening. more..

2,000 job opportunities in hotel sector in Canada and Middle East

Dec 6 (GDI) Two thousand new job opportunities for Sri Lankans are to be provided in hotel companies in the Middle East and Canada, said the Deputy Minister of Tourism Faizer Mustapha. At a recent press briefing held at the Ministry, the Deputy Minister of Tourism stated that Sri Lanka must not restrict its overseas employees to domestic servants and laborers. He said that it is always advantageous to send employees to jobs that give US$ 2,000-3,000 per month than those giving lesser monthly salaries like US$ 200. more..

SLMC says no plans to stoop to the level of conspirators

Dec 6 (GDI) SLMC denies rumours regarding an about-turn of their party at the budget vote on December 14th. General Secretary of the party Mr. Hassen Ali stated that they had already received positive signals from the Government regarding their grievances and would be meeting the President shortly to sort out matters. Mr.Ali has stated that SLMC is does not have any plans to join those who conspire to fish in troubled waters and added more..

Government sets standards for sale of Cement

Dec 6 (GDI) In order to meet the shortage of cement for the construction of private and commercial buildings the necessity has arisen for imports of the product. To protect the consumer from substandered products, the Government has implemented the following clauses of the Consumer Affairs Authority Act, No. 09 of 2003 Direction under Section 12 (1) The Consumer Affairs Authority Acting under the powers vested in it by Section 12(1) of the Consumer Affairs Authority Act, more..