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Sri Lanka refugee community students to sit for G.C.E. O/L exam in Chennai

Dec 8 (AT) The Sri Lankan G. C. E. Ordinary Level Examination for displaced Sri Lankan students from the refugee community in Tamil Nadu, will be held in Chennai from 10th to 20th December, 2007 with the assistance of the Government of Tamil Nadu. This examination, which is conducted by the Department of Examinations of Sri Lanka for the second consecutive year in Chennai, which is the only foreign city to hold this examination so far, more..

President felicitates Sri Lankan cricketers

Dec 8 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa felicitated Muttiah Muralitharan and Sanath Jayasuriya for their achievements in cricket and contribution to cricket in Sri Lanka at a tea party held at Temple Trees today (December 07, 2007). Also honored were Chaminda Vaas who completed 100 Tests and Kumar Sangakkara for his recent record of scoring 150 runs in four consecutive Test matches. more..

Resurgence of anti-LTTE Sri Lankan Diaspora In the U.S. to Combat Tamil Tiger Misinformation Campaigns

Dec 8 (AT) When a United States Congressman is told that Sri Lanka’s ‘Sinhalese Army’ is killing Tamils in the north who are fighting for equality, justice and human rights, and when the point is reiterated over and over again in the same tone, language and emphasis, the congressman consumes it and takes it with him to the Capitol Hill in Washington. more..

UNESCO Director General skillfully avoided apology and retraction

Dec 8 (AT) Director-General of UNESCO Koïchiro Matsuura has skillfully avoided the issue of retraction and apology for condemning the Sri Lanka Government for bombing and killing journalists of the Voice of Tigers radio located in Kilinochchi, on 27 November. He has ingeniously distracted the main issue by his strong condemnation of terrorism. It is now obvious that the status quo of his previous condemnation still remain unaltered and valid despite efforts by more..

Murali receives much talked-about Peugeot car from president

Dec 8 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa gifted the much-talked about Peugeot car to record breaking Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan at a felicitation ceremony at Temple Trees yesterday. The eight-million rupee car was taken to the Asgiriya International Stadium in Kandy to be presented to the off-spinner upon his becoming the highest wicket taker in Test cricket. However, it was brought back to Colombo on a presidential order. more..

Doctor was dragging a cardboard, with a woman lying on it – eyewitness

Dec 8 (LD) “The doctor was dragging a cardboard on the floor. I saw a woman lying on it. When I asked him, “Sir, what is it?”, he sheepishly went on dragging the cardboard,” according to a cleaning service employee at the Negombo Base Hospital who was an eyewitness to the suspicious death of a patient on November 12th. Dissanayake Mudiyanselage Chamila Dissanayake, an employee of a garment factory, had died after falling from the 6th floor of the hospital building. more..

2 arrested health trade unionists granted bail

Dec 8 (LD) Two health sector trade unionists who were arrested for violating a court order were granted bail yesterday. Maligakanda Magistrate Sunil Abeysinghe released the duo on Rs. 100,000 sureties each and ordered them to support the police investigations and not to threaten the complainants. The Maradana Police arrested the two for intimidating health workers who reported for duty in spite of a strike action called by health sector trade unions, but was prohibited earlier by the Colombo District Court through an injunction. more..

Karuna-Pillayan factions clash again

Dec 8 (LD) The latest clash that broke out between the Karuna and Pillayan Factions in Batticaloa yesterday left two senior loyalists of Karuna Amman dead, sources in the east say. The Pillayan Faction, led by Karuna’s rival successor in the east identified as Era, overran the TMVP office at Ariyampathi in the morning and seized nine enemy supporters. Around noon, a group from the rival faction staged a surprise attack on the intruders. more..

Several shops gutted in fire at Kamburupitiya town

Dec 8 (LD) A filling station and several shops in the Kamburupitiya town in Matara were gutted in a fire today, reports say. The blaze erupted in the filling station this afternoon, which late spread to the adjoining buildings. Firefighters, joined by Air Force personnel, have been able to prevent the fire from spreading further, according to the reports. The cause of the fire is not known, while the extent of damage is yet to be estimated.

UNP to initiate dialogue on its good governance proposals

Dec 8 (LD) The United National Party has decided to initiate a dialogue with all political parties and people’s representatives in connection with party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposals for good governance. Beginning on December 10th, the discourse will aim to reach consensus on these suggestions, the UNP said, after which a future regime by the party will adopt the legal and other background requirements for the implementation stage. more..

2 of 19 injured serious after army truck road mishap

Dec 8 (LD) Two persons are in critical condition after yesterday’s (Dec. 07th) road accident involving in an army truck that was carrying soldiers for a search operation at the Udawalawe National Park, according to the Sevanagala Police. The driver, who is in serious condition along with a soldier, had failed to control the speeding vehicle, which then skidded off the road and crashed into a roadside tree on the Embilipitiya-Sevanagala road last morning. more..

President to leave for Japan tomorrow

Dec 8 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa and several leading ministers and officials are due to leave for Japan tomorrow (Dec. 09th) on an official visit, according to sources at the Presidential Secretariat. The visit is being undertaken at the invitation of the newly-appointed Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda to strengthen bilateral relations in the political, economic, social, cultural and religious fields. more..

Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Minister replies High Commissioner Louise Arbour

Dec 8 (GDI) In a letter dated December 5th, Sri Lanka’s Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe has re-stated Sri Lanka’s rejection of UN Human Rights High Commissioner Louise Arbour’s call for a fully fledged OHCHR presence in the country and reiterated the alternative proposal of the Government. “I have reiterated the consolidated position of the Government in relation to the establishment of an Office of the High Commissioner for more..

Sri Lanka to export SUVs to India

Dec 8 (PTI) Sri Lankan car company Micro Cars Ltd will export locally assembled South Korean Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) SsangYong Kyron to India from next year. "There is a demand for quality SUVs in India," Micro Cars Managing Director Lawrence Perera told reporters here. The company has already sent test vehicles to India and received "very good" response, he said, adding Micro Cars would export its locally assembled Kyron SUVs to India from next year. more..

Minister halts the Rs. 4.4 billion agreement reached by Chairman and the Super Son

Dec 8 (LeN) Minister of Sports Gamini Lokuge suspended an agreement signed by Sri Lanka Cricket Interim Committee Chairman Jayantha Dharmadasa to grant the broadcasting rights of Sri Lanka national team's test and ODI matches to 'Taj TV' of Dubai. The Minister said to 'Lanka-e-News' that the agreement was not transparent and he was not made aware on it prior to signing. He said that he had sought legal action in this regard and informed Sri Lanka Cricket to suspend the agreement. more..

Matt Prior column

Dec 8 (BBC) While the first Test against Sri Lanka in Kandy was ultimately disappointing, I can honestly say the mood in the England camp remains buoyant. It goes without saying that we didn't want to go one down in the series, but there is a huge amount the team can take away from the way we performed and, with two Tests left, we can still come away with a series win. In Kandy, we dominated the opening couple of days and went agonisingly close to saving the match so, more..

Countrywide blackout due to defective valve

Dec 8 (LNP) The countrywide blackout experienced between 5.00 a.m. and 6.00 a.m. yesterday was due to a technical problem at the Kelantissa Combined Power Plant, a senior engineer of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) said. He told The Island that it was the first time that the entire country had experienced a blackout due to a technical problem. Power was restored within one hour, but, the cause of the technical problem was identified only around 9.00 a.m. more..

`In times of war, the law falls silent` ? Not always

Dec 8 (LNP) Checkpoints in the city disappeared following Monday`s Supreme Court ruling. The public who had to undergo untold hardships at those places must be heaving a sigh of relief. But, many seem to worry about the fallout of the withdrawal of the checkpoints at a time the LTTE is stepping up infiltration with a view to wreaking havoc in the city and other civilian centres. The learned judges know best when it comes to the law. more..

Govt. credibility dented by delay: CoI

Dec 8 (LNP) The Chairman of the Commission inquiring into major cases of human rights violations said Friday the delay in introducing the amendments to enable the smooth functioning of the Commission had dented the government’s credibility with even the international community expressing similar concerns. The eight-member Commission of Inquiry (CoI) headed by Justice Nissanka Udalagama was appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on November 3 last year mainly more..

JVP reveals inefficiency, corruption

Dec 8 (SAMN) Staggering disclosures on discrepancies and malpractices regarding the transport sector were made by the JVP in Parliament Fridaycharging that the total loss incurred in the sector as a result of inefficiencies, corruption and waste was Rs 500 million while the government denied the allegations and assured an efficient service to the public. JVP MP Piyasiri Wijenayake who participated in the committee stage of the Budget in the House yesterday charged that more..

Retaliating is not enough: JVP

Dec 8 (SAMN) The Political Committee of the JVP, in a strongly worded statement issued Friday, said the Government’s retaliation, whenever the LTTE targets civilians, is just not enough to defeat the Tigers. It wanted the Government to ban the LTTE immediately and abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement. The CFA only restricts the Government from launching an all out war to defeat the LTTE militarily and politically, more..

'Cant' be punitive on mere PAC charge'

Dec 8 (SAMN) Finance and State Revenue Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, said Friday that a public official could not be interdicted or sent on compulsory leave just because serious charges had been levelled against him even by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in Parliamet. Asked as to why any disciplinary action had not been taken against the Commissioner General, Inland Revenue after the startling allegations were made against him by the PAC, the minister commented: “The government cannot do that as nothing has been proven against him”. more..

Highest allocation for transport sector

Dec 8 (DN) Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said yesterday Budget 2008 for the first time in history has allocated 1.34 per cent from the Gross Domestic Production (GDP) to develop the transport sector. The Minister speaking at the Committee Stage debate on his Ministry, said during the UNP’s two year regime, their budget had not allocated even 0.5 per cent from the GDP to develop the transport sector. more..

National Policy on Highways for Cabinet approval soon

Dec 8 (DN) Government Chief Whip and Highways and Road Development Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle told Parliament yesterday that Defence authorities have been compelled to remove roadblocks on an order by the Supreme Court and the Government or the Highways Ministry should not be blamed in this regard. He said it was not a decision taken by the Government to remove security checkpoints. more..

Court wants list of detainees by Dec. 10

Dec 8 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday advised the Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando to prepare a list of the Tamil citizens, of the Western Province, who were arrested and detained in connection with the Nugegoda bomb blast last week. The list has to be ready by December 10, 2007. The petitioners, the Ceylon Workers’ Congress and the Centre for Policy Alternatives, were granted leave to proceed in the fundamental rights violation application. more..

Two naval engineers in bribery net

Dec 8 (Island) Two Naval engineers attached to the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Department, were yesterday nabbed by officers of the Bribery Commission allegedly in the act of accepting a Rs.100,000 bribe from a person who had applied for a boat yard permit. The Bribery Commission’s Investigations Director SSP Neville Guruge told The Island that the two engineers had allegedly accepted Rs.100,000 from the complainant, who hailed from Weligama, outside their Maligawatte office and proceeded to a bank in Grandpass to deposit the money. more..

MR appoints committee to probe alleged undervaluation

Dec 8 (DM) “The Evaluation Department undervalues properties to be demolished to make way for the road construction, and therefore President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed a special committee for this to probe this alleged undervaluation”, Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said in Parliament yesterday. Mr. Fernandopulle was responding to UNP MP Dayasiriri Jayasekara who had raised concerns about shortcomings in constructing the proposed express ways in the country during the committee stage debate on the Highways Ministry. more..

Political mud on highways

Dec 8 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday accused the government of discriminating against opposition members of local government bodies in the matter of allocating funds for various projects under the ‘Maga Neguma’ programme. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told parliament the government had awarded contracts to people handpicked by government members, totally sidelining opposition members. more..

Lanka to give citizenship to 28,500 refugees

Dec 8 (NIP) As many as 28,500 `plantation Tamils’ of Sri Lanka, who have been living as refugees in Tamil Nadu, will be given Sri Lankan citizenship soon. These persons, who were treated as `stateless’ people in Lanka, came to India as refugees prior to 1990 due to the ethnic conflict in the island nation. “Our government’s efforts to grant citizenship to these 28,500 people living in India, were already placed before Parliamentary Select Committee,” said Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner P M Amza here on Friday. more..

Sri Lanka says 25 dead in clashes amid calls for UN rights mission

Dec 8 (AFP) International groups called for a UN human rights monitoring mission in Sri Lanka on Saturday as fresh clashes between troops and Tamil Tiger rebels left at least 25 dead, the government said. Fighting across Sri Lanka's northern frontier left 24 rebels dead and injured 18 during 24 hours ending early Saturday, the defence ministry said, placing their own losses at one soldier killed and two injured. more..

SAARC legal experts to meet in Colombo: Pranab

Dec 9 (Hindu) As the first step towards setting up a SAARC security network, legal experts from the eight member-countries will meet in Colombo to finalise the text of a mutual legal assistance agreement, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here on Friday. Talking to journalists after a meeting of the SAARC Council of Ministers, Mr. Mukherjee discounted suggestions of discord over the agreement that was aimed at “tackling criminals and checking undesirable activity.” more..

Inaugural meeting Pakistan Sri Lanka parliamentarians body held

Dec 9 (UP) Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ratnasiri Wickramanayake and Speaker of Sri Lanka parliament W.J.M Lokubandara were unanimously elected President and Patron of the Sri Lanka -Pakistan parliamentarians Friendship Association at the inaugural meeting of the Association held at the Parliament building in Colombo. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Minister of Media & Information, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Minister of Highways and M. Muzammil, Member of Parliament were elected Vice Presidents of the Association. more..

Aggressive England look to square Sri Lanka series

Dec 9 (AFP) England coach Peter Moores wants his team to be streetwise and aggressive as the tourists bid for a series-levelling win in the second Test against Sri Lanka starting on Sunday. England lost the first Test in Kandy by 88 runs despite holding a first innings lead of 93 runs and failed to bat out an extra 30 minutes on the final day that could have drawn the match. more..

Jayawardene puts faith in young charges

Dec 9 (CI) Sri Lanka has the rare honour of going into a Test match with the world's best batsman and best bowler in their ranks, as they prepare to take on England in the second Test at the SSC on Sunday. Kumar Sangakkara made history during the first Test at Kandy, when he became the first batsman to make scores in excess of 150 in four consecutive Tests. His innings of 92 and 152 were the single biggest differences between the two teams, although it was Muttiah Muralitharan who claimed most of the plaudits, more..

The Lankan Tigers have little support now

Dec 9 (OI) In the innocence of the '80s, Tamil Nadu had a penchant for forming human chains to show its solidarity with the Sri Lankan Tamil cause. The LTTE, at the forefront of the liberation war in Jaffna, northern Sri Lanka, had the backing of every political party in the state. Fallen and living LTTE leaders were celebrated as revolutionary icons. Not anymore. Cut to 2007 and the killing of Thamilchelvan, one of the top three leaders of the rebel organisation, last fortnight. more..

Political hooliganism that devastated Doering

Dec 9 (SL) Dietmar Doering (PhD) is a learned man. A lecturer in political and social sciences back home in Germany, he is an academic admired in his own land and in Sri Lanka too. So much so that he was awarded a doctorate by none other than First Lady Shiranthi Rajapakse herself, in November 2006. But there are still things that happen in Sri Lanka that Dr. Dietmar Doering cannot understand. more..

Govt. on a razor's edge and the threat of international blacklisting

Dec 9 (SL) While the government sat on a razor's edge last week with the outcome of the final vote on the budget scheduled for December 14 tantalisingly poised, the human rights noose was also being tightened internationally with security forces personnel reduced to pariah status and the administration itself facing growing isolation. For a long time now, it was the LTTE that was on the backfoot internationally over human rights abuse but more..

Budget heading for photo finish

Dec 9 (SL) The final vote on the budget scheduled for December 14 is expected to be a photo finish with both the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and the Ceylon Workers' Congress expected to decide how they would vote early this week. The government won the second reading registering 118 votes while the opposition registered 102 votes. The UNP, JVP and the TNA have already announced they will vote against the budget on December 14. more..

Chinese connection that has gone off the rails

Dec 9 (SL) The procedure followed by the railway authorities to purchase engines and carriages to meet urgent railway needs has come into question with one Chinese bidder's credentials being referred to the Permanent Commission Investigating into Allegations of Bribery and Corruption for inquiry. With railway enthusiasts questioning the prudence in approving the purchase of three brand new locomotives on behalf of Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Limited (CPSTL), more..

Row over UK's Labour Party MPs support to LTTE

Dec 9 (TOI) A row has broken out over the attendance of three of Britain's governing Labour Party MPs, including the high-profile Goan-origin Keith Vaz and Ealing Southall's new representative Virendra Sharma, at a several-thousand-strong expatriate Tamil event to pay their respects to those who died in the "Tamil liberation struggle". The Sri Lankan High Commission here has protested at Vaz's attendance, describing it as an act that shows he is "partisan to a proscribed terrorist group". more..

Surrey in a corner of Sri Lanka

Dec 9 (BBC) When you are walking in a tiny village an hour south of Colombo, you don't expect to find roads named after the likes of Alec Stewart and Graham Thorpe. But if you listen to our coverage of the second Test you'll be able to find out why these England stars and TMS summarisers find themselves on signposts in such an unusual location. The village is called Magonna an area about a mile inland from the sea which until fairly recently was mainly bush land. more..

Karaithivu Journal: Learning to live amidst hardships

Dec 9 (TC) Tsunami claimed 35,322 lives in Sri Lanka. There were 21, 441 persons injured; and orphaned 1,500 children according to a statement issued by the Secretariat for Co-ordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) in April 2007. The statement further stated that, over 500,000 people were displaced and many more indirectly affected. Around 100,000 houses were damaged or destroyed and over 150,000 people lost their homes 2/3 rds of the country's coast line was ravaged. more..

Great Heroes Day Speech: Rhetoric and reality-I

Dec 9 (FI) Robert Browning’s My Last Duchess was a poem I read decades ago as a schoolboy. In the self-righteous narrative about his wife’s beautiful portrait, the Duke recites a litany of woes against her. Complaining loudly, he paints himself as the aggrieved party and places his dead wife in the dock. At one point we realise that he had ordered her execution. Though the Duke tries to justify his action, it is he who stands condemned as the guilty one in the eyes of the reader. more..

Government humiliates Tamils in deliberate move

Dec 9 (FI) Tamil people living in Colombo, suburbs and several outstation areas underwent a humiliating ordeal last week. In what seemed a Lankan variation of a Western cattle roundup, more than 3,000 Tamils were rounded up and herded into various places of detention over a three-day period. Their inalienable human rights were callously violated and human dignity shattered. more..

Radhika & Jayantha promotes the anti-Sri Lankan R2P

Dec 9 (AT) After plugging Jaffna-centric politics from its inception, after mobilizing the international network of NGOs to pressure the Government of Sri Lanka to bow down to the will of the mono-ethnic extremism of the north, after reinforcing ethnic prejudices and exacerbating the ethnic enmities through imported ideological concepts of the West, the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) is now focusing aggressively on its new agenda of pushing the controversial Right to Protect (R2P). more..

Sri Lankan Justice Christopher Weeramantry a recipient of Right Livelihood Prize

Dec 9 (AT) The Right Livelihood prize, the so-called 'alternative Nobel prizes', was awarded on Friday evening at Swedish Parliament in Stockholm to peace and environmental activists from Sri Lanka, Kenya, Canada and Bangladesh. One recipient of the two million Swedish kronor ($310,000) prize is Sri Lankan Christopher Weeramantry, a former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice. more..

The Rajapakse Strategy

Dec 9 (AT) When the Tsunami struck on the 26th December 2004, Sri Lanka’s then President Chandrika Kumaratunge was out of the country on a private visit, effectively rendering the country’s normally inept authorities leaderless and floundering in the face of a catastrophe of horrific proportions. Even by 10am/12noon on that fateful Boxing day, the authorities were largely unable to establish contact with the affected areas due to the break down of electronic communication as well as the access roads to these areas being blocked and filled with debris. more..

The Tiger and the Other Tamils

Dec 9 (AT) The Tiger watched our immoderate, irrational reaction to the Nugegoda blast - the mass arrests of Tamils in Colombo on no other evidence than their ethnicity and place of origin. And the Tiger struck again in Kebithigollawa, killing sixteen civilians. Kebithigollawa happened not only because the Tiger is barbaric. Kebithigollawa happened also because, post-Nugegoda, we demonstrated our willingness to harass and antagonise thousands of Tamil civilians in response to any LTTE attack on a Southern target. more..

Even in their citadel Sri Lanka may have chink in the armour

Dec 9 (GU) The international cricket programme sends the head spinning like a Muttiah Muralitharan doosra. Only a week ago England were embarking on a Test series and now here they are in Colombo in anticipation of tomorrow's second match at the Sinhalese Sports Club, which may well decide matters. There is hardly time to assess casualties or reflect on the last match before the next. more..

Nandana to form JVP breakaway party

Dec 9 (LeN) A new JVP faction is currently in the making under the leadership of former JVP presidential candidate and senior party member Nandana Gunathilleke. It is now learnt that this new JVP faction would be formed under Gunathilleke after the vote on the third reading of the budget on December 14. Formation of the new party is expected to take place as soon as December 15. more..