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UN Secretary General Report to Security Council on Sri Lanka situation comes hard on LTTE

Jan 13 (AT) The United Nations Secretary General’s Special Report on the conflict situation and child recruitment in Sri Lanka submitted to the Security Council on 11 January was highly critical of the manner in which the separatist Tamil Tigers conduct itself violating all basic norms of human rights, its refusal to completely cease recruitment and use of children for combat and more..

A tribute to Dr. Alec Robertson

Jan 13 (TW) The fourth anniversary of the demise of a well known Dhamma preacher was on the 31st December 2006. Born of Christian parents, his father was the Station Master at the Dodanduwa Railway Station, where he had the opportunity of visiting the Dodanduwa Hermitage built by Ven Maha Thera Nynatilloka of German Nationality. more..

Horrors of the “undeclared war”

Jan 13 (TW) The inconsiderate use of the suffering of civilians caused by the atrocious actions of both sides in the ‘undeclared war’ for propaganda is damaging their own aims as well as the prospects of achieving peace. Misleadingly, the military campaign is said to be defensive actions against the ruthless enemy. more..

Civilians in Vaakarai face death and starvation

Jan 13 (TW) The exodus of Tamil civilians from the Koralaipattru north division in Batticaloa district seems to have peaked. The outflow of Internally displaced persons has dropped drastically over the past few days. Access to the Vaakarai region continues to be restricted by the Government even as sporadic artillery fire is exchanged with the LTTE. more..

Displaced Tamils face difficulties in B’caloa

Jan 13 (TW) The Eastern Tamil majority district of Batticaloa is faced with an unfolding tragedy.The intensifying of hostilities between the Government and the LTTE is leading to more deaths, destruction and displacement. The devastation has led to a major humanitarian crisis. The district in its entirety undergoes difficulties due to war and oppressive measures enacted by the state. more..

Muslim - Tamil friction due to Karuna faction

Jan 13 (TW) Friction with Muslims is on the rise in Batticaloa due to some acts by the LTTE Karuna breakaway faction known as the Tamil Makkal viduthalai Puligal. These problems surfaced after the TMVP got into the Internal Displaced Persons (IDP) re-settlement activity. TMVP cadres have now engaged in relief work in some areas with official sanction. They are being used to check and monitor the activity of some NGO’s and INGO’s. more..

Why blame others for our own faults?

Jan 13 (TW) Blaming others for the mistakes of our Sinhalese and Tamil leaders has become a feature of our post-independence political culture. This practice is keeping the conflict-ridden island-nation in a permanent state of turmoil. The gullibility of the masses was exploited by the elitist few for their own advantage and glory. Scaring them of invented dangers that would deprive their collective and individual rights and freedom was their modus operandi. more..

Why Mahinda is turning govt into an elephant orphanage

Jan 13 (TW) Two important events took place last week. One was the release to the All party Representative Conference (APRC) by its chairman Prof Tissa Vitharana of a comprehensive report on recommendations on Constitutional reform. The other was an endorsement by cabinet of a decision by President Mahinda Raapakse to encourage and accept MP”s crossing over to Government ranks from the chief opposition UNP. more..

The expatriate poet

Jan 13 (TW) Even an ordinary conversation with Indran Amirthanayagam sounds like poetry. One can’t help but listen enraptured as, speaking in prose, he rejects the idea of assigning ethnic labels to literature. “I think it would be an error to define writing as Tamil or Sinhalese or Moor or whatever the category is,” he says. “One shouldn’t look at the writing, and what it says, through such lenses. It just does not advance an understanding of the writing.” more..

"Remember I'm a good fighter"- Mangala

Jan 13 (LeN) Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ports and Civil aviation Mangala Samaraweera has reminded all those concerned that he is a good fighter. He had stated this when several ministers and ambassadors questioned him regarding the appointment of Doctor Palitha Kohona as the Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. more..

Karuna demands more security in East

Jan 13 (SAMN) The Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal, the political arm of the Karuna faction sought full government security for its political offices in the East in the face of frequent attacks by the LTTE. The TMVP officials and representatives from Muslim federations in Batticaloa and Colombo met over the past three days to ease tensions that had arisen between the two sides over a land dispute in the Muslim dominated Kattankudy. more..

Development drive in 4,000 villages

Jan 13 (SAMN) More than 4,000 villages islandwide have been identified for accelerated development under the Government's Gama Neguma programme for this year, Samurdhi and Poverty Alleviation Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said yesterday. Briefing the media on her Ministry's plans for 2007, Wanniarachchi said development projects under Gama Neguma will be implemented in partnership with the Samurdhi Movement at village level. more..

Bus services on damaged roads suspended

Jan 13 (SAMN) Avissawella Depot of the Ceylon Transport Board, (CTB) has decided to suspend bus services on all damaged roads where immediate repairs are needed. The Depot Superintendent B. M. L. Upali said several routes were not fit to operate buses." If we operate on these roads heavy damage will be caused to buses" he said adding that he had decided to suspend services on such routes until the roads are repaired. more..

2006: a healthy year for economy

Jan 13 (SAMN) Year 2006 was a healthy year for the Sri Lankan economy, Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara told a press briefing at the Finance and Planning Ministry Friday. The briefing was to highlight the issues that will be discussed at the Sri Lanka Development Conference 2007 to be held in Galle with the participation of 50 countries. more..

Mob attacks Sri Lankan antiwar rally

Jan 13 (wsws) A mob led by deputy labour minister Mervyn Silva attacked and broke up an antiwar rally in Sri Lanka on Tuesday. The incident is one more indication of the government’s determination to crack down on any opposition to its escalating war against the LTTE. The meeting in the Colombo suburb of Nugegoda was organised by the recently formed United People’s Movement (UPM) to protest against the war, state repression and rising prices. more..

The country’s first National Theatre School opens today

Jan 13 (SLBC) The country’s first National Theatre School opens today. It is a joint venture of the Open University of Sri Lanka and the tower hall foundation. The school will be declared open by the chairman of the foundation Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake at the foundation headquarters in Colombo 7. more..

Woman pays back help by working in Sri Lanka

Jan 13 (SG) In the days following the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, the world rushed to help. Two years later, the world is still helping. Providing some of that aid is Winnie Romeril of Prattsburgh. Romeril, 39, a paramedic for Rural/Metro Medical Services, is working in Sri Lanka with the American Red Cross. more..

03 new Ministry Secretaries appointed

Jan 13 (ITN) President Mahinda Rajapakse handed over the letters of appointment to the new Secretaries at Temple Trees today. Dr. Palitha Kohona is the new Foreign Secretary. Director General of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources G. Piyasena is the new Fisheries Ministry Secretary. more..

Sharvananda funeral today in Sydney

Jan 13 (DN) Former Chief Justice Desamanya Suppiah Sharvananda passed away at the age of 83 in Sydney, Australia on Wednesday. Sharvananda was the first Tamil to be appointed as the Chief Justice in 1984 and served in that position for four years until his retirement in 1988. He was born in Kayts, Jaffna on February 22, 1923. His father was a Village Headman. more..

Corruption a heavy burden on economy - COPE Chief

Jan 13 (DN) While striving to find a solution for the national problem, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is also burdened with averting the disastrous impact of public sector fraud and corruption on the national economy, Parliamentarian Wijedasa Rajapaksa said yesterday. more..

Food items fit for animal fodder imported

Jan 13 (DM) Certain companies registered with the BOI have imported low quality food items such as green grams, wheat seeds, maize and lentils which are used as animal food in other countries. The Committee of Public Enterprises (COPE) in Parliament had detected these food items released to the market for human consumption causing a major blow to local producers in areas such as Anuradhapura. more..

Prime Minister speaks at emergency debate

Jan 13 (DM) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, informed Parliament recently that 59 Army and police personnel had been killed during the last month due to the escalation of violence. The house met yesterday for the first time in the New Year, and the emergency regulations were taken up for debate. more..

Plea to exploit India's dilemmas before SAARC

Jan 13 (HT) A leading Sri Lankan strategic analyst has urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to clear the East of the LTTE militarily and finalise a blueprint for a political solution of the ethnic conflict before the SAARC summit in New Delhi on April 3. Analyst Dayan Jayatilleka has said that Sri Lanka should make use of the dilemmas, which India is facing as the summit's host, to secure its military and political objectives, untrammelled by fears of a pro-LTTE Indian intervention. more..

Thousands of Sri Lankans trek to safety for evacuation after landslides kill 17

Jan 13 (AP) Air force helicopters on Saturday evacuated dozens of people injured during landslides in Sri Lanka's central tea growing region that left 17 dead and others missing, officials said. Thousands of other people, some wailing at the loss of their homes and an uncertain future, waited on higher ground to be air lifted to safety after the local administration asked residents to leave. more..

Sri Lanka deploys troops as floods kill 16

Jan 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka's military has been called out to help relief operations in the island's flood-hit regions where at least 16 people have been killed, the National Disaster Management Centre said. Military helicopters were deployed to send food for marooned people in the central and and southern regions, which were flooded by heavy monsoon rains that also caused mudslides. more..

Yahoo Photos

Jan 13 (AP) Landslide survivors evacuate Padiyapalalla, Saturday, Jan. 13. Air force helicopters on Saturday evacuated dozens of people injured during landslides in Sri Lanka's central tea growing region that left at least 17 dead and others feared trapped, officials said. more..

Scotland Yard for further tests in Sri Lanka assassination probe

Jan 13 (AFP) British detectives have removed "exhibits" for forensic tests to try to identify the assassins of a Sri Lankan Tamil legislator, the British High Commission (embassy) here said. A team from Scotland Yard spent 10 days in Sri Lanka advising local police probing the killing two months ago of legislator Nadarajah Raviraj, the embassy said in a statement on Saturday. more..

Motherland full of orphans

Jan 14 (TW) An objective study of the happenings in Sri Lanka today based on what is being presented by the media and the true stories behind news items is making it clear to at least some of us Sri Lankans that Colombo is fast losing the support of the minorities. The test of any society is the manner in which that community of human beings treats the minorities in their midst. more..

Thai Pongal

Jan 14 (MJ) Pongal is an ancient festival of the Tamils living in South India and Sri Lanka. It is not known exactly when the Tamils began celebrating the festival, but some historians identify it with the Thai Niradal, believed to have been celebrated during the Sangam Age (200 B.C. to 300 A.D). Pongal, a traditional Tamilian food item that has found a place on the menu of Indian restaurants across the globe, is perhaps the only dish to have lent its name to a festival and got eternal fame! more..

Visiting Wilpattu with Prince Philip

Jan 14 (SS) The dawn of a New Year seems to bring a flood of memories into our minds; particularly of those we have loved who are no longer with us. We all feel nostalgic and sentimental at this time about people, events and places which have left an indelible imprint in our lives. I thank God for my parents who gave me so much in many ways, which was perhaps not appreciated as much as it should have been in those halcyon days of my somewhat rebellious youth. more..

Ridee Reyak - ending the year with a flop

Jan 14 (SS) Munchee Samaga Ridee Reyak 4 - the star-studded musical extravaganza held at the Sugathadasa Stadium a fortnight ago was at best be described as a laughing stock replete with numerous gaffes. The Sunday Standard takes exception to the fact that the show drew huge crowds to the venue. But our grouse lies primarily not with the response received from fans but with the choice of certain artistes to parade around in colourful attire akin to 18-year-old school girls. more..

'Sri Lanka needs definite political process and vigorous international Public diplomacy to defeat Tamil Tigers'

Jan 14 (AT) Devoid of any fresh proposals to lead the way to break the impasse in the serious national dialogue that could help to address the National Question, the one year old Rajapaksa administration has simultaneously failed to undertake an international public diplomacy campaign to match and defeat Tamil Tiger misinformation and propaganda that have found direct links to the policy makers of leading western nations. more..

Waiting in the Wings

Jan 14 (AT) Appearances might belie it, but Ranil Wickremesinghe is currently sitting pretty, as the sole possible leader of the UNP. He has, with the generous help of President Rajapakse, warded off the danger of inner-party rebellion and neutralized the Karu Jayasuriya factor (in much the same way he neutralised the Sirisena Cooray factor with the help of Chandrika Bandaranaike). Political circles are abuzz with stories about the imminent cross-over of a number of UNP parliamentarians. more..

Sri Lanka's police most corrupt?

Jan 14 (AT) The Commission to investigate allegations of bribery or corruption has so far netted-in 91 public officials for the first ten months of last year. According to the commission's statistics the police department tops the list with a reported 35 arrests being made by the commission for this year, out of a total of 91 arrests which included several top officials from ministries and public institutions. more..

Court issues conditional injunction to stop work on a luxury housing complex

Jan 14 (AT) A luxury housing project in the Ja-Ela area that has so far constructed around 100 houses out of a proposed total of 500 houses, was halted by an injunction issued by the Kanuwana Additional Magistrate, Ms Aruni Attigala, subsequent to an inquiry in Court on a petition filed by a group of people affected by the construction of the housing scheme. more..

Parliamentary Committee exposed massive frauds amounting of Rs.150 billion

Jan 14 (AT) Sri Lanka’s Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) exposed a massive frauds, corruptions and money scandals detected in the midst of state intuitions which led to the loss of Sri Lankan Rupees 150 billion to the state exchequer. The activities of high officials in 26 state institutions, where massive financial losses were recorded due to fraud, corruption and malpractices, came recently under microscopic scrutiny of the Parliamentary Committee. more..

Under the shadow of Lakegala

Jan 14 (AT) Their customs rituals, and beliefs directly reflect the dictates of their environment. The physical, economic and social characteristics of the environment appear to have fashioned their way of life. The isolation from the rest of the world and its inaccessibility, I think, are mainly responsible for its identity and the continuity of some of the unique ancient Sinhala customs and rituals. more..

Military says 4 soldiers killed in Tamil rebel fire in eastern Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (AP) Separatist Tamil Tiger rebels attacked a military camp in eastern Sri Lanka, killing at least four government soldiers, the Defense Ministry said Sunday. "They (rebels) targeted our camp in Mankerni with artillery fire late Saturday and we lost four soldiers," military spokesman, Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe, said. more..

India and Sri Lanka’s National Problem

Jan 14 (TW) The recent meeting in New Delhi between the Indian Prime Minister and TNA MPs has led to a great deal of speculation among Sri Lankan pundits. The Indian Government’s rejection for a similar meeting some months ago had led to opposing speculations at that time. It is not difficult to see the pattern here. The government and the LTTE spokespeople tend to welcome only India’s statements and signals that are favourable to their respective benefactors. more..

Reflecting those momentous times

Jan 14 (Hindu) Sri Lanka witnessed momentous political events through the 1970s and 1980s. The island-nation also saw several developments on the Tamil literary scene during the period. The publication of the Tamil journal Kumaran was one such development. It was launched in 1971 but folded up in 1983 when the Sri Lankan ethnic crisis struck. more..

South Africa likely to tour Sri Lanka later this year

Jan 14 (CI) South Africa are likely to visit Sri Lanka later this year to make up for abandoning the tri-series (Unitech Cup) with India and Sri Lanka in August last year. South Africa decided not to go ahead with the Unitech Cup after a bomb went off next to their hotel in Colombo shortly before their match against Sri Lanka. more..

MPs pocket millions from retrospective pay hike

Jan 14 (LNP) Parliament has paid millions of rupees in arrears to MPs and former MPs in keeping with the recent parliamentary resolution to increase by over 100 per cent remunerations of the President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MPs, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the Deputy Chairman of the Committees. The salary increase is effective from January 1, 2006. more..

Much needed development work from SLC

Jan 14 (LNP) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) last week revealed a national level development programme for the game`s Under-15 and 17 levels. As an initial step, a national coach will be appointed soon for national Under-15 and 17 pools. The coaches will be given a lucrative salary worth over Rs.50 000. And, under the present infrastructure development programme of SLC, the University of Moratuwa ground is to be refurbished shortly. more..

Corruption at dizzy heights, says COPE

Jan 14 (LNP) The Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE) disclosed to Parliament yesterday corruption and malpractice had risen to dizzy heights in 26 state institutions including the Bank of Ceylon, the Ceylon Electricity Board, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the National Water Supply and Drainage Board. Presenting the report to the House, COPE Chairman Wijeyadasa Rajapakse said Bank of Ceylon a Foreign Employee A.R. Bernard who was said to be a banking specialist had received Rs. 127 million as his pay for four years. more..

Worst landslides in years

Jan 14 (SAMN) In the aftermath of the worst landslides in some 15 years, the Army and Police backed by air support mounted a major search operation in the Walapane, Hanguranketa and Maturata areas Saturday, where at least 18 were killed, 15 missing and some 1, 500 houses destroyed. After three attempts on Friday to reach the affected areas by air failed due to the thick mist, the Air Force went through to rescue and airlift more than 20 of the injured people to the Kandy General Hospital. more..

President shuns Vitharana recommendation

Jan 14 (SAMN) Ongoing efforts to kick start the Oslo-led peace process has suffered another setback with President Mahinda Rajapaksa finding fault with Minister Tissa Vitharana’s recommendations to facilitate a negotiated settlement to the ethnic crisis. A furious president is believed to have said he would not allow any course of action which would weaken the State. more..

MoU in danger of collapse

Jan 14 (SAMN) Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between his party and the ruling SLFP is in danger of being annulled if President Mahinda Rajapaksa enrolls a group of UNP cross-overs into his Government. This comes in the wake of the Cabinet decision for the Government to accept cross-overs from the UNP, and UNP MPs confirming that they were now on the verge of joining the Government. more..

Italy defends EU ban on LTTE

Jan 14 (SAMN) The Italian Government has defended the European Union ban on the LTTE, but has called the Government to re-open the negotiations as soon as possible. The visiting Italian State Minister for Foreign Affairs Gianni Vernetti told journalists before ending his visit on Friday that the ban was justified since the LTTE was continuing its terrorist activities. more..

SLMC, Govt. MoU in the offing?

Jan 14 (SAMN) The SLMC is expected to enter into a working arrangement with the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government shortly, party sources said. Both the government and the SLMC are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) within a week or two. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has already appointed a two- member committee to hold discussions with the SLMC. more..

Karaokes to come under close scrutiny

Jan 14 (SO) Several Karaoke restaurants in the Colombo city, in suburbs and elsewhere in the country will come under the scrutiny of the police with the amendment to section 360 of the Penal Code being passed in Parliament. A Korean proprietor of the exclusive restaurant was produced in Court and remanded pending further investigations. more..