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New fingerprint machines for Health Ministry

Dec 6 (GDI) New fingerprint machines will be introduced to sign in and out to all hospitals in the country from next year. According to the Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition, Nimal Siripala de Silva this method is currently being carried out as a pilot project. “Finger scanning machines were installed at 14 healthcare institutions as a pilot project, on the instructions of the Ministry of Public Administration. more..

safe return of 1000 families in Trincomalee

Dec 6 (FDS) Following a request from the Ministry of Nation Building and Real Estate, the FSD has deployed its manual and mechanical clearance teams on an emergency clearance task in the Echelampattu area in Trincomalee District. The aim of the task is the safe return of more than 1,000 families, displaced by the recent conflict between Government security forces and the LTTE. Since June 2007, FSD teams have cleared more than 2.6 million squares metres, more..

Sri Lanka keen to import rice and cement from Pakistan

Dec 6 (UP) Sri Lanka has expressed keen interest to import 350 metric tonnes of rice at the rate of $340 per tonne besides 2,500 metric tonnes of cement on immediate basis. Visiting Sri Lankan Minister for Trade, Marketing Development and Consumer Affairs, Bandula Gunawardhanthe expressed its country's keenness in import of the aforesaid commodities from Pakistan at a meeting with the officials of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) on Tuesday. more..

Doors still open for LTTE to return to peace talks

Dec 6 (Dawn) Sri Lanka would prolong slapping a ban on the LTTE, giving the rebels a chance to return to the negotiating table, a senior minister said as the government battled heavy criticism leveled against mass arrests of Tamils in a recent security sweep in Colombo. “If a ban on the LTTE is imposed now it would hurt chances of future peace talks,” Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle told reporters addressing a press briefing in Colombo. more..

Ajantha Silva Flies To Pakistan

Dec 6 (LNP) Air Force Spokesman Group Captain Ajantha Silva, who is also the Staff Officer to the Air Force Commander, has been appointed as the Defence Attaché of the Sri Lanka High Commission in Pakistan with effect from December 15. Group Captain Silva served as the Spokesman and the Staff Officer of the Air Force under two Commanders' Air Force Commander Donald Perera and the current Commander Roshan Goonetilake. more..

Towards a new trade union culture

Dec 6 (LNP) Sri Lanka`s health indices are often on par with those of the developed world. This is an envious record for a Third World country. Sri Lanka`s superb performance in the health sphere can be attributed to a superior healthcare system run by the Government. All Sri Lankan Governments have developed this free healthcare system which affords everyone an opportunity to seek medical treatment at no cost. Budget 2008 has also given priority to the development of the health sector. more..

'journalist death, accident or murder'

Dec 6 (SAMN) The Meerigama correspondent of Lankadeepa newspaper found dead on Tuesday night in a mysterious train accident is now suspected by police to be a murder. The victim Pradeep Kadadhekawatta (28) a resident of Meerigama had recently joined as a provincial correspondent of the Lankadeepa newspaper. He was returning home on Tuesday night from the Lankadeepa editorial in Colombo after delivering a news item, when his body with external injuries was found dumped near the Rajadahana Railway Station around 10.00 p.m. more..

Why no ban on LTTE: UNP

Dec 6 (SAMN) The UNP Wednesday queried in Parliament as to why the Government was reluctant to ban the LTTE despite urging foreign nations to do so in their respective countries. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake posed this question to the Government during cross talk triggered by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama condemning UNESCO which had criticized the Air Force attack on the ‘Voice of Tigers’ radio station in Kilinochchi. more..

Govt for vibrant free media: Yapa

Dec 6 (SAMN) The Government is committed to a vibrant free media culture, Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told Parliament Wednesday. Addressing Parliament during the committee stage debate on the votes of the Media Ministry, Minister Yapa said the Government has ensured the right of the freedom of expression of media institutions and media personnel. more..

Forty two detainees released

Dec 6 (SAMN) Forty two Tamils who were detained during last Sunday’s search operations were released by the Colombo Chief Magistrate Mohamed Macky Wednesday. Beginning with the arrests made in the Colombo South Police division, the detainees were released after the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) informed court that they were not involved in any terrorist activities. The police first produced 17 Tamils from upcountry areas, comprising nine males and eight females. more..

Billions lost due to health workers’ mismanagement

Dec 6 (DN) The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has lost billions of rupees due to the malpractices of 1,600 health management assistants, a Ministry spokesman said. The management assistants had not calculated over time accurately on many occasions. They had not charged payments due from contractors for delayed constructions and not sent documents to persons or institutions on time which has caused a severe financial loss to the Ministry, more..

Toppling Government no remedy in present situation - Liberal Party

Dec 6 (DN) Though the budget for 2008 presented in Parliament is not satisfactory. Toppling this Government is no answer to the ongoing crisis, Kamal Nissanka Leader, Liberal Party told the media. He said the Opposition cannot be regarded as a meaningful opposition as they have not criticised the budget meaningfully and in a proficient manner. The Liberal Party states it opposes the tax policy of the Government and it feels that they have no remedial measures to control rising inflation. more..

People exposed to LTTE attacks while President gets maximum protection – Karunathillake

Dec 6 (Island) The President and his huge cabinet of ministers continue to strengthen their security at the tax payers expense while the masses are exposed to LTTE attacks,UNP spokesperson Gayantha Karunathillake,MP said yesterday. Addressing a new conference in Colombo,he said that it is the man on the street who has to pay the price for blunders committed by the political and security establishments. more..

OPA demands govt. not to squander funds on foreign consultants

Dec 6 (Island) Welcoming the recent decision to impose a tax on the earnings of foreign consultants, the Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka has urged the government to review the entire process of such consultancies. OPA President Elmore M. Perera yesterday emphasized that foreign consultants should be engaged only if locals couldn’t handle a particular job. Interested parties shouldn’t be allowed to manipulate the process for their benefits, he said, more..

Health workers call off strike

Dec 6 (DM) The islandwide strike launched by the three health unions was called off yesterday after a meeting with Health Ministry secretary, Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage, said Saman Ratnapriya, president of the All Ceylon Health Services Trade Union Alliance. He urged all health workers who participated in the strike to report for duty from today.The ministry secretary had agreed to provide satisfactory solutions to the demands of the trade unions. more..

Private resort in Marawila attacked

Dec 6 (DM) A private sports resort in Marawila was set on fire by an unknown gang early last morning, the management told the Daily Mirror yesterday claiming that it was the second such attack within the past one week forcing it to shut down operations. Aquarius Sports Resort chairman Dr. Dietmar Doering said that around 15 -20 men stormed the premises on Tuesday at the time a few German and American guests were inside, damaged property and set fire to the place. more..

Sangakkara knocks Ponting off top spot in Test batsmen

Dec 6 (ANI) Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara on Thursday displaced Australia's Ricky Ponting at the top of the ICC Test batsmen rankings, becoming the first Sri Lanka player to top the coveted list following yet another stellar performance for his country. The 30-year-old scored 92 and 152 in the first Test against England at Kandy this week to make sure Sri Lanka went ahead in the series and in the process he knocked off Ponting. more..

Government calls for destruction of Tamil Tigers in wake of deadly bus bombing

Dec 6 (AP) The Sri Lankan government called Thursday for the destruction of the Tamil Tiger separatist group following a wave of deadly bomb attacks that have killed dozens of civilians. In the latest attack, a roadside bomb tore through a crowded passenger bus as it traveled along a heavily guarded road near rebel-held territory in northern Sri Lanka on Wednesday night, killing 16 people and wounding 22 others, officials said. more..

Sri Lanka fears more attacks on civilians

Dec 6 (AFP) Sri Lanka warned of more Tamil Tiger attacks against civilians Thursday, a day after the guerrillas were accused of setting off a road side bomb blast that killed 16 bus passengers. Media Minister Anura Yapa said Wednesday night's bombing of a crowded civilian bus in the north-central region of the island was the work of the LTTE. "We believe that the LTTE is a desperate organisation and will try this type of ruthless attacks against civilians," more..

Sri Lanka warns rebels after bus attack kills 16

Dec 6 (Reuters) Sri Lanka vowed to destroy Tamil Tiger rebel strongholds on Thursday and warned of more rebel attacks on civilians, a day after a roadside blast killed 16 people on a civilian bus in the island's north. Cabinet spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said the rebel attack in the north central district of Anuradhapura on Tuesday night showed the Tigers must be desperate. more..

France strongly condemns latest attack in Sri Lanka

Dec 7(KUNA) The French government on Thursday condemned "with the greatest firmness" the attack yesterday in central Sri Lanka that killed eighteen people and wounded a number of others. France "expresses its entire solidarity with the Sri Lankan people and transmits its sincerest condolences to the families of the victims," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Pascale Andreani said in a statement. more..

Sri Lankan visitors to USA to give all finger prints

Dec 7 (LBO) Visa applicants to the United States will have to give prints of all ten fingers from next week, the US embassy in Colombo said. The embassy said the procedure, which was required by US Departments of State and Homeland Security, would be implemented world-wide from December 10. The US started to collect two prints from forefingers in 2004. "Fingerprints will be collected electronically on the day of interview," the embassy said. more..

'Security in Anuradhapura weakened since the home guards were sent to Hambanthota'

Dec 7 (LeN) Anuradhapura district UNP MP P. Harrison says that the war heroes say that the Government is seeking political mileage from their sacrifices. He said that at a media briefing held today (06) that injured soldiers told this to him when he went to visit them at Anuradhapura hospital a week ago. The MP said that the Government did not heed to the requests of the innocent civilians of Kebithigollewa, Padaviya, Horowpothana and Ethawetunaweva areas to provide them security. more..

Archbishop of Colombo: with the coming of Advent we prepare for the beginning of a new life

Dec 7 (AN) “The time has come to begin new life!” This was the opening statement by the Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo to the priests, religious and lay people in his long Advent letter. The message was clear: let the birth of Jesus be an opportunity for a renewed commitment to “put an end to the crimes of our society: the first being war”. The Bishop urged the community, first of all, to not close its eyes on the reality of the country: more..

England reiterate commitment to go ahead with tour

Dec 7 (CI) England have reiterated their commitment to their current tour of Sri Lanka and will continue as planned with Sunday's second Test despite another terrorist attack in the north of the country. According to Sri Lankan authorities, at least 15 people were killed and 38 injured when a Tamil Tiger landmine detonated beneath a crowded bus one and a half hours away from Anuradhapura, 165 miles north of Colombo. more..

Sri Lankans snap up two hundred Chinese cars in two weeks

Dec 7 (LR) Sri Lankans have snapped up two thirds of a fleet of new Chinese car within two weeks of them hitting the local market, a car company official said Thursday. Two hundred of the 300 Chinese Foton vehicles introduced to Sri Lanka have been sold, said Nihal Fernando, an official at Indra Traders, the local agent for Foton. China’s Foton manufactures trucks, luxury buses, cars, and coaster buses, which are marketed by the local agent as ideal for Sri Lankan road conditions and as more economical than other vehicles in the market. more..

Sri Lanka debt service pressures could lead to higher interest rates: Central Bank

Dec 7 (LR) Repaying money the government has borrowed from the public could lead to higher interest rates in the future, the Central Bank warned on Thursday. But the market regulator hopes to attenuate this pressure by issuing paper with longer maturities, it said in its annual assessment of the country’s financial stability. The bank also acknowledged that the country’s large fiscal deficits and higher imported energy and food prices fuelled inflation. more..

Lankan asylum seekers detained in Nauru must be settled in Australia

Dec 7 (TC) Close the detention centre in Nauru and resolve the claims of the detainees there to demonstrate the new Government’s commitment to international conventions on the treatment of asylum seekers, says a Sri Lankan expatriate group in Melbourne. People for Human Rights & Racial Equality (PHRRE) has specifically called for the settlement in Australia of 72 Sri Lankan asylum seekers in Nauru whose claims for refugee status were accepted by the Immigration Department in September this year but more..

Paul Newman's blog: Testing times in Sri Lanka

Dec 7 (DM) What a Test match. What a wonderful game of cricket and such a shame that England fell desperately short of earning the draw that they really did deserve, even if their top order batting left them short of the winning position they should have achieved in the first Test. This was Test cricket at its very best. This is what makes it so great. I guess the slowness of the pitch negated its ranking as one of the very best Test matches but more..

Burning bright

Dec 7 (TE) THE annual speech by Velupillai Prabhakaran, chieftain of the LTTE, to mark “Heroes' Day” on November 27th is anxiously awaited by Sri Lankans. The elusive separatist leader often uses it to reveal his macabre or heroic plans for the coming months. This year, however, there were no prizes for guessing his intentions. Both the Tigers, fighting for a Tamil homeland (“eelam”), and the hawkish government in Colombo had already made their positions plain: the 24-year-old war, more..

Civilian cost of a humanitarian operation

Dec 7 (GV) “We were not poor, we had our own house, we earned a reasonable income to feed ourselves and our children, but now, we have been forced to be poor and depend on others to feed our children and ourselves, and have no place to stay, our village is occupied by the Sri Lankan armed forces” was the comment of one women who was amongst the thousands forced to vacate their homes and livelihoods by Sri Lankan armed forces in their quest to seek control of land. more..

Tamil unity and a solution

Dec 7 (Fri) There appears an urgent need to affirm the national character in our society. It is time that we recognise and identify ourselves as people of one country. The world must recognise us as Sri Lankans, and not by our ethnicity. If we act as Sri Lankans, then we could defend the unity and the integrity of this island nation, which has a vibrant democracy. It is our bounden duty, as Sri Lankans, to uphold the foundation and programmes of democracy to achieve the noble objective of building a national character. more..

Weerawansa bowls `underarm’ to Murali

Dec 7 (Fri) The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa while praising the highest number of test wickets captured by Muthiah Muralitharan said there were even youngsters in Killinochchi, and if they were freed from that region ,more and more achievements could be expected from them like what Murali has done to Lankan cricket. Weerawansa made these comments in Parliament on Monday. more..

Sri Lanka power fails island wide

Dec 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's national power system failed shortly before dawn Friday, plunging the island in darkness as a thermal generator tripped out of the grid, officials said. A combined cycle thermal power plant at Sri Lanka's state-owned Ceylon Electricity Board's (CEB) Kelanitissa thermal generation complex had tripped at 4.48 am local time setting off chain reaction that shut down the national power system. more..

Sri Lanka Mobitel invests $200 mln in network upgrade

Dec 7 (Reuters) The wireless arm of leading fixed-line telephone operator Sri Lanka Telecom said on Wednesday it hopes to hike its subscriber base by 17 percent by early next year after investing $200 million to upgrade networks. Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sri Lanka Telecom, said the investment would enable it to provide superfast 3.5G data services, and China's Huawei Technologies had been awarded a contract. more..

Sri Lanka to celebrate 90th birthday of 'Space Guru' Arthur C. Clarke

Dec 7 (AT) A former astronaut from United States is expected to participate on 16th December, in the 90th birthday celebrations of Arthur C. Clarke, one of the grand masters of science fiction.Asian Tribune learns that Sri Lanka Government is making arrangements to celebrate the 90th Birthday of Aurthur C.Clarke on a grand scale. It is reported that Ministry of Foreign Affaires is making all the arrangements and the celeberation is expected to be held under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

A three judges bench s Shariah court at Dawadami to review Rizana’s case

Dec 7 (AT) The teenaged Sri Lanka housemaid Rizana Nafeek’s case is to be taken up by a three judges bench Shariah court at Dawadami, to review the court’s earlier decision of beheading. Hussain Bhaila, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs told Asian Tribune that already Dawadami High Court went through the appeal filed by lawyers retained on behalf of Rizana and instructed the Shariah court at Dawadami to review its earlier sentence, condemning Rizana to death by beheading. more..

Malaysian Indians: a disadvantaged community

Dec 7 (FI) The unprecedented November 2007 demonstration by Malaysian Indians before the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, under the sponsorship of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), has brought into sharp focus the pathetic situation in which the Indian community finds itself today. Hindraf, a coalition of 30 non-governmental organisations, is committed to the preservation and promotion of Hindu identity in Malaysia. more..

Sensational Sangakkara, and Sami's unwanted record

Dec 7 (CI) The year 2007 has been one Kumar Sangakkara won't forget in a hurry. His first innings of the year brought him a mere six runs, but since then it's been a massive deluge - 200*, 222*, 57, 192, 92, and 152. The two double-hundreds came against relatively weak bowling attacks - Bangladesh were at the receiving end on both occasions - but since then, stronger oppositions have also failed to staunch the runs against him. more..

'Two bunkers 30 meters away from the place the claymore was set off'

Dec 7 (LeN) Magistrate Shivantha Manchanayaka conducted the magisterial investigations on the deaths occurred due to setting off claymore bombs targeting a passenger bus at Abhimanapura in Kebithigollewa in Anuradhapura district on December 05. Meanwhile an officer of the special investigation team now in the area said that their attention was on how the attack was planned while there were two home guard bunkers 30 meters away from both sides. more..

Gota and Govt. boasts of war efforts in N-E unaware that it is spreading to the South and into their own midst! - John A.

Dec 7 (ISL) John Amaratunge, UNP Parliamentarian addressing a Media meeting at the UNP Media Unit made special mention of the present insecurity, instability, rising crime wave, corruption and fear psychosis gripping the country, not to mention the burdens and hardships faced by the people because of the senseless and ruthless power greed of this Rajapakse Family regime unheeding the country’s progress and people’s interests. more..


Dec 7 (LG) Regarding the issue of the use of bulletproof vehicles the UNICEF Country Representative informed that only one vehicle fitted with bullet proof plates is available in Batticaloa. This is to ensure the safety of its staff from explosions. My Ministry informed UNICEF that fixing a bullet proof plates to a vehicle without approval from the Ministry and Motor Traffic Department is a breach of the relevant regulations. more..

Tamil Political Parties Condemns Claymore Blast in Anuradhapura

Dec 7 (LG) “We very strongly condemn the brutal act of the LTTE, for causing the death of 15 innocent civilians and seriously injuring 28 others by a claymore mine attack at Abimanapura targeting a passenger bus plying from Anuradhapura to Padavia on 05-12-2007. It is under -stood that a number of the injured admitted to the Anuradhapura hospital are in a serious condition. more..

'Indo-Lanka relations presently seem to be moving on an even keel'

Dec 7 (LG) “I do not agree with LTTE’s claim to be the sole champion of Tamil interests in Sri Lanka,” R. Swaminathan , President & DG of the International Institute of Security and Safety Management (New Delhi); and a Trustee of the Catalyst Trust (Chennai), said an exclusive interview with Sri Lanka Guardian. Mr. R. Swaminathan spoke his mind clearly on Sri Lanka’s crisis and Indin opition also current political and military developments in South Asia nightmare more..

Tharanga replaces retired Jayasuriya

Dec 7 (CI) Upul Tharanga will replace the retired Sanath Jayasuriya in Sri Lanka's side for the second Test against England, at the SSC in Colombo, which starts on Sunday. He is the only change to the squad, meaning Jehan Mubarak keeps his place despite two failures in Kandy. Tharanga last played a Test against Bangladesh in July before being dropped for the series in Australia following a string of low scores in all forms of the game. more..

Practice makes perfect

Dec 7 (CI) The first Test at Kandy was a special match. Once we heard Sanath Jayasuriya was retiring, it was always going to be an emotional occasion. Also, Muttiah Muralitharan reached 709 wickets, and Chaminda Vaas was playing his 100thTest. There was fantastic spirit in the team, and we had a lot to play for. The match lived up to the occasion. We came back from 45 for 4, came out of a 93-run deficit, and won it at the end, which was just fantastic. more..

Terrorism on last legs: Colombo

Dec 7 (Hindu) A day after the bus explosion in Anuradhapura district in the North Central Province in which 16 civilians were killed and 23 others injured, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake told Parliament that the country is at a critical juncture now that “terrorism is on its last legs and, therefore, the LTTE is showing increasing signs of desperation”. Mr. Wickramanayake urged everyone to join hands with the government “at this important moment to wipe out terrorism” from the island. more..

Winning Hearts Through Sports

Dec 7 (PISL) The Jaffna peninsular has produced outstanding sportsmen and sportswomen over the years. St. John’s, St. Patrick’s, Tellipalai Union, Manipay Hindu and the Jaffna College among others, have stood out in producing both scholars and excellent sportsmen; who in their adulthood rendered an immense service to the country in their chosen fields. Unfortunately, terrorism changed this trend and the overall terrain in the peninsular. more..

Ravi wants MP's allocation upped to 0.05 pc of GDP

Dec 7 (LD) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake is seeking an increase in the annual budgetary allocation to a parliamentarian. Noting that the present allocation was inadequate to serve the area an MP represents, Karunanayake told Parliament today that the sum “should be increased to 0.05 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.” However, Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle replied that the request could not be fulfilled. more..

Opposition does questioning as well as answering in House

Dec 7 (LD) When sittings resumed in parliament today, JVP MP Sujatha Alahakoon raised several questions with regard to the Matale Water Supply Scheme that was completed in 1982. She wanted to know the number of consumers and the length of the pipeline of the scheme, when the Water Board took it over from the Matale Municipal Council on January 08, 2001. Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle responded by saying that he wanted three weeks to find the relevant information. more..