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New Year accidents on the decrease

Jan 2 (DM) A total of 435 accident casualties were reported during the New Year celebrations in the city and its outskirts yesterday. National hospital media spokesperson Pushpa de Soyza told the Daily Mirror the majority of accidents were due to brawls, haphazard driving and lighting of crackers although the number of accidents caused by unsafe lighting of crackers was only 11 this year. more..

Research centre on herbal plants opened

Jan 2 (DM) By making use of the experience gained through the research studies on herbal plants, covering a period of nearly two decades, a research centre on herbal plants has been established by the Agriculture Faculty of the Ruhunu University. Nearly one million five hundred thousand rupees (Rs. 1,500,000/-) and a valuable seedings was made available by the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine for this project. more..

Rajapaksa voted Sri Lankan of the Year

Jan 2 (HT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been voted "Sri Lankan of the Year" by the readers of the state-owned Daily News, the most widely circulated English language paper in the island country. A report on this published on New Year's Day, did not give any figures, but insiders told Hindustan Times that Rajapaksa got about 80% of the votes sent by post, e-mail and fax by readers of both the print and the web editions. more..

LTTE issues its own 'National' identity cards

Jan 2 (HT) As the first act of defiance in 2007, the LTTE on New Year's Day started issuing its own "Tamil Eelam National Identity Cards" in areas of Sri Lanka which it controls. The LTTE's Peace Secretariat said that the first "Tamil Eelam National Identity Card" was received by the supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran at a ceremony somewhere in the North East. more..

Army major 'helped Tamil Tigers'

Jan 2 (BBC) The Sri Lankan military says an army major is to be court martialled on charges of passing information to Tamil Tiger rebels. If convicted of treason, the officer faces the death penalty. Two other officers - a major and a captain - are being investigated by civilian police on similar charges. Military spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said all three were accused of handing classified information to the rebels for money. more..

3 Sri Lankan military officers to face court-martial for allegedly aiding rebels

Jan 2 (AP) Three Sri Lankan military officers have been taken into custody and will face a court-martial for helping separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday. Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe, the military's spokesman, said the officers — two majors and a captain — will stand trial for allegedly passing information to Tamil rebels on the movements of government and military officials and potential targets in the capital, Colombo. more..

Sri Lankan air force says it bombs Tamil Tiger base; rebels say 14 civilians killed

Jan 2 (AP) Sri Lanka's air force said it bombed a rebel Tamil Tiger naval base in the country's northwest on Tuesday, but a guerrilla spokesman said the air raid killed 14 civilians, including six children, in a fishing village. There was no way to independently verify the countering claims. more..

Sri Lanka Tigers say air raids kill 14

Jan 2 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels said that 14 people, including six children, were killed in government air strikes in the northwest of the island on Tuesday, but the military denied it had hit civilians. Four fighter jets dropped bombs in Mannar, destroying dozens of houses in a Tamil fishing village, the LTTE said. more..

Sri Lanka air raid kills at least 15 civilians: rebels

Jan 2 (AFP) At least 15 civilians were killed and dozens more wounded when Sri Lankan air force jets "carpet bombed" territory held by the Tamil Tigers, a pro-rebel website reported. said the government raid in Sri Lanka's north against the coastal hamlet of Padahuthurai, near Mannar, left only five out of 25 homes standing. more..

Minister Keheliya Blasts SLMM

Jan 2 (LeN) The Government defence spokesperson minister Keheliya Rambukwella questions about the future path of the Sri Lanka monitoring mission. At a media briefing held in Colombo this morning (02) he said the mission head of the SLMM has called back the employees of 11 of the SLMM officers, to Colombo recently, that were operating in the conflict zones. more..

LTTE Posses 3 Single Engine Helicopters

Jan 2 (LeN) The government defense spokesperson minister Keheliya Rambukwella warns, of a possible air strike on the Parliament or the Presidents house, based on the information received by the security forces about 3 single engine helicopters said to be in the possession of the LTTE. more..

Spending money of the labourers for "MIHIN AIR" is unjust - UNP

Jan 2 (LeN) The United National Party says the cabinet decision to spend ETF to inaugurate the new air line "Mihin Air" is unjust. At a media briefing held in Colombo this morning (2) UNP Spokesperson Parliamentarian Gayantha Karunathilake stated that it is risky to use the money of the innocent labourers for projects and calls on the government to halt the use of it and present a complete estimate to the parliament to obtain necessary allocations. more..

Self-employment schemes attract jobless

Jan 2 (ANN) Self-employment projects seem to be attracting a large number of jobless young men and women across the country and some small-scale projects such as cottage industries, cranecraft industries, ornamental fish and flower industries have blossomed into potential money spinners. These projects are more independent than public and private sectors employment opportunities, more..

Battling corruption: Here’s a way!

Jan 2 (ANN) It is not prudent to swallow everything that foreign powers dish out hook, line and sinker, especially when it comes from those who have a history of peddling a hidden agenda. The global rich have for their developing counterparts the same love that the fox has for the pullets. Hence, the need for the poor countries to be on their guard and look the gift horses not only in the mouth but in the belly as well. more..

Sri Lanka flirts with raising retail fuel prices by as much as 5%

Jan 2 (LBO) Gasoline prices are likely to go up by 5-percent in Sri Lanka, the state-run fuel retailer warned Tuesday, as global oil prices hit 60 dollars a barrel. Petrol at the pump now costs 92.00 rupees a litre, and Ceylon Petroleum Corp. Chairman Asantha de Mel said they are looking at a 5.00 rupee hike "within the next few days". more..

A new school means new hope in tsunami-stricken Hambantota

Jan 2 (UNICEF) The wave of destruction that swept through Hambantota – a town known for its fishing industry on Sri Lanka’s south coast – is still visible two years later. On the seafront you can find buildings with smashed walls and exposed brickwork, or the crushed prow of a boat stuck into the earth at a bizarre angle. more..

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Jan 3 (TW) After a seemingly endless series of events that made all decent Sri Lankans hang their heads in shame, there is at last something to make us feel proud of our country. The majority report of the panel set up to advise the All Party Representative Committee is impressive not only in its thoroughness and professionalism, but also in its ability to suggest creative solutions to the problems that have plagued us for so long. more..

Aerial attack on Padahuthurai, a crime against humanity - Bishop

Jan 3 (TN) The Bishop of Mannar Diocese, Rt Rev Rayappu Joseph, who visited Padahuthurai hamlet, which was completely destroyed by indiscriminate aerial bombardment by the Sri Lanka Air Force Tuesday morning, has condemned the bombardment and said the attack had destroyed the settlement of the Internally Displaced persons. There was no military installation of the LTTE in the area, the Bishop told media. more..

Prices soar as stocks dwindle in Jaffna

Jan 3 (TN) Prices of essentials such as fuel, food, medicine and other agricultural products have sky-rocketed in the Jaffna peninsula as remaining stocks have dwindled, despite assurances given by Maj. Gen. Chandarasiri Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Commander for Jaffna, to the Government Agent (GA) Jaffna Saturday at a meeting held in Kankesanthurai that there is sufficient stock of food and fuel, more..

Jaffna education hit by A9 closure

Jan 3 (TN) Scarcity of text books, writing implements, exercise books, and shortage of school uniform materials marked the dismal predicament of Jaffna students on the first school day as schools gates opened after New Year 2007, Tuesday, civil society sources in Jaffna said. Unlike their counterparts in the rest of Sri Lanka, students in Jaffna have been deprived of educational supplies due to closure of A9 highway by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA). more..

Serve the nation with honour and dignity - President

Jan 3 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged the new Inland Revenue Department graduand tax assessor appointees to keep their head up and serve the nation with honour and dignity sans being trapped in scandals and corrupt practices, detrimental to the country's development. Addressing the ceremony at Temple Trees yesterday, in which 257 Graduands of village origin were presented with permanent appointment letters under the "Yovun Diriya" programme, more..

Sports Minister must resign

Jan 3 (ANN) The recently concluded Asian Sports Festival in Doha became an utter fiasco for Sri Lanka due to the mismanagement by the Sports Minister who personally approved the large list of 165 competitors from Sri Lanka and a list of 135 officials who did nothing but wasting the hard earned taxpayers money. more..

Sri Lanka to withdraw 'exchange control' measure in March

Jan 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka will withdraw from March 31, a controversial cash deposit requirement aimed at limiting imports, which drew censure from the International Monetary Fund as an exchange control measure, a top official said. A 50 percent margin requirement was imposed on a set of goods defined as 'luxury' by bureaucrats in October last year, as the Sri Lanka rupee came under heavy pressure from excessive money printing by the Central Bank. more..

Survey shows majority of Sri Lanka’s teachers lack computer literacy

Jan 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's ministry of education says more than 60 percent of the teachers in Sri Lanka lack computer and English literacy skills that are needed in a modern teaching environment. The Ministry of Education says a new government survey shows that only a third of the teachers or (32.5 percent) in Sri Lanka are computer literate. more..

Safeguard civilian life - UN

Jan 3 (BBC) The United Nations calls upon the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE for the protection of civilians and uphold international human rights and human right law. The United Nations expressing concerns over civilian deaths during aerial bombardments on Tuesday calls once more for cessation of hostilities between the two parties and resumption of the peace process. more..

Govt. rejects LTTE propaganda on Illuppaikadavai air strikes

Jan 3 (LeN) The government completly rejects the false information spread by the LTTE on the air strikes carried out by the Air Force on a sea tiger base in Illuppaikadavai, north of Mannar in the morning hours yesterday (02) The government believes that the LTTE is attempting to mislead the International community. The sea tiger base at Illuppaikadavai was a well-identified target, which was under constant observation by the Air Force. more..

Army traitors face death penalty

Jan 3 (LNP) The government yesterday urged the media to act with responsibility and avoid divulging information which could threaten national security even as an army Major who is facing a military court martial for alleged treason may face the death penalty. Already three army officers have been taken to custody for allegedly providing information to the LTTE in return for large sums of money, more..

Prostitute confirms Gotabhaya`s attacker not Muslim

Jan 3 (LNP) Police investigating the assassination attempt on Defence Secretary Colonel (retd) Gotabhaya Rajapakse had confirmed the assassin`s ethnic group with the help of a prostitute. Police had interviewed her after their link had transpired during the investigation. Although she had not been aware of her customer`s deadly mission in Colombo, she had disputed his claim of being a Muslim, as he had not been circumcised, more..

JVP hoist with its own petard

Jan 3 (LNP) Political predictions and weather forecasts have one thing in common. More often than not, they go wrong. Some months ago, we happened to comment on a New Zealand politician who naively went by a prediction based on a Gallup poll that his contender didnhave a cat in hell`s chance of winning. So, he vowed to run across the city fully naked if his rival ever won. more..

Jaffna next, Army Chief tells Mahanayakes

Jan 3 (LNP) Army Commander Sarath Fonseka yesterday vowed to totally liberate the North soon after his force rescued the eastern region from the LTTE. The Army Chief said action would be taken to eradicate terrorism totally in the East within the next two to three months. `After eradicating the Tigers from the East, full strength would be used to rescue the North,` the Army Commander said. more..

UNP calls for amendments to ER

Jan 3 (SAMN) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe charging that the newly introduced Emergency Regulations (ER) are drafted in unduly broad language presenting a real danger to the citizens has in writing called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to amend several provisions before they are presented to parliament for approval next week. more..

Farah III: No talks with LTTE

Jan 3 (SAMN) The Government said Tuesday it was not ready to negotiate with the LTTE to seek the release of the Jordanian vessel ‘Farah lll’ which remained in rebel custody in Mullaitivu but warned it would take appropriate action at the appropriate time. According to sources the appropriate action may include either removing the ship by force or leaving it in LTTE custody. more..

Teachers fail at English, IT knowledge

Jan 3 (SAMN) A recent survey conducted by the Census and Statistics Department and the Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka has revealed that two thirds of Sri Lanka's school teachers lack basic computer literacy and are are unable to perform simple tasks using a computer. while 54% of school teachers cannot read and understand documents written in English. The results of the survey have reportedly shocked education authorities and policymakers. more..

More UNPers to join Govt.?

Jan 3 (SAMN) A senior minister said Tuesday that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was expecting at least 20 UNPers to join the Government and accept portfolios. Government frontliner and Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said the President had invited the UNPers to join the Government despite the MoU signed between two parties. The minister said the MoU signed between the SLFP and the UNP did not prevent UNP cross overs. more..

School principals amongst alleged bribe solicitors

Jan 3 (DM) In a shocking revelation, the Bribery Commission received about 50 complaints against school principals soliciting bribes to admit new students countrywide during the year 2006, while 115 government servants had also been apprehended for similar offences. These complaints had been sent by people, especially parents from various parts of the country, against principals of different grades of government schools as well as private. more..

Ministry to classify schools as primary or secondary

Jan 3 (DM) The Education Ministry will classify schools only as primary and secondary ones leaving out the concept of national schools. Minister Susil Premajayantha told journalists yesterday they would be able to sort out matters pertaining to the teacher transfers between national and provincial schools while eliminating the scramble to have their children admitted to popular schools after this decision is implemented. more..

Sri Lankan church workers express frustration over tsunami rebuilding

Jan 3 (TC) Church workers have expressed frustration over the disarray of tsunami reconstruction in northern and eastern Sri Lanka due to the ethnic war ravaging the country. While Caritas Sri Lanka has been able to proceed in its reconstruction programs in the south, "reports from the north and east are very frustrating," said Duncan MacLaren, secretary-general of Caritas Internationalis. more..

Sri Lankan gov't denies killing civilians in air raids

Jan 3 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday denied Tamil Tiger rebels' claim that a civilian settlement in the country's north was bombed in the air raids conducted by the Air Force on Tuesday, saying the target was a sea tiger base. "The government completely rejects the false information spread by the LTTE on the air strikes carried out by the Air Force on a sea tiger base in Illuppaikadavai, north of Mannar in the morning hours yesterday," more..

Tsunami Recovery Skewed by Sectarian Strife

Jan 3 (IPS) Mohideen Ajeemal is determined to put the dark days of the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami, which claimed two of his children, behind him. "I am looking forward, not behind," he told IPS as he sat in the rebuilt premises of his fish wholesale business on the Kalmunai beach in eastern Sri Lanka. "I am happy, life is almost normal and things are moving on. Business is not perfect but it is catching up." more..

Tamil Tigers warn of 'serious repercussions' after air force bombing raid kill 16 Tamils

Jan 3 (AP) The Tamil rebels on Wednesday warned the Sri Lankan government that it could face "serious repercussions" after an air force raid allegedly killed 16 Tamils a day before, including eight children. The air force said it had targeted a base operated by the Sea Tigers, the rebel naval wing, in the northwest and has denied targeting civilians. more..

Sri Lankan jets in fresh air strikes on Tigers

Jan 3 (AFP) Sri Lankan government jets conducted fresh raids against Tamil Tiger positions in the east of the island, defence officials said. The latest air raids targetted a LTTE heavy arms depot near Verugal in eastern Batticaloa district, a spokesman for the National Security Media Center said on Wednesday. The strike came a day after a raid in the north which the rebels said killed 15 civilians and wounded 25. more..

Lankan army hopes to clear East by March

Jan 3 (HT) The Sri Lankan Army hopes to drive the LTTE out of the Eastern districts by February or March, and thereafter make a bid to chase the rebels away from the Northern districts also. The independent Daily Mirror on Wednesday quoted the Army Chief Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka as saying in Kandy that the East would be totally rid of the LTTE in two or three months. more..

U.N. urges end to Sri Lanka fighting after deaths

Jan 3 (Reuters) The United Nations has urged the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tiger rebels to stop fighting and protect civilian lives after it said 14 people were killed in air strikes by government forces, the latest civilian deaths. Tuesday's raid in Mannar district in the northwest of the island has become the latest flashpoint in the fighting between the military and the LTTE, despite a 2002 ceasefire. more..

New element in Lanka's ethnic conflict

Jan 4 (CC) The LTTE have found a new patron saint in Pakistan's ISI, who is willing to go that extra mile to offer state patronage and safe passage to the Tigers, in return for sharing its expertise in precision bombings, and 'human' bombs. It is a 'made for each other' enterprise of mutual admiration besides necessity; long time LTTE watchers and counter terrorism experts say. more..

Vaiko creates friction between Delhi and Chennai

Jan 4 (AT) Deliberately or by accident, Gopalaswamy, Vaiko to his friends and the faithful, has pitted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's UPA against Muthavel Karunanidhi's DMK. It is no secret that DMK which is running a minority government in Chennai with the outside support of Congress, Left parties, and some local regional parties is against Singh and his Congress party entertaining Vaiko in Delhi. more..

killing of TNA MP Raviraj: Scotland Yard detectives to arrive today in Sri Lanka

Jan 4 (AT) Four detectives from Britain's Scotland Yard are scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka today (Thursday) to assist local police in carrying out investigations into the killing of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian Nadarajah Raviraj. The detectives' arrival comes nearly two months after the slaying. more..

India’s oil and gas Company to start oil exploration activities in Bay of Mannar soon

Jan 4 (AT) India’s state owned Oil and Gas Corporation Videsh Ltd. has announced that it will explore for oil and gas in Sri Lanka’s Mannar basin very soon. The ONGC Videsh Ltd said the company’s own experience in India’s Kaveri basin would help them to explore oil and gas in the neighboring Sri Lanka. It has been speculated by geologists that the same Kaveri oil deposit string also runs beneath Sri Lanka’s Mannar bay. more..

UNIDO constructs a Dendro power Station in Meemure

Jan 4 (AT) The United Nations Industrial Development Program [UNIDO] and the electricity authorities just completed their test electricity generation at the Sri Lanka's first UN sponsored Dendro Electricity Generation Plant , at Meemure, Udadumbara to provide electricity to over 100 traditional families in the remote hamlet. more..

Outstation undergrads demand safe travel to Jaffna

Jan 4 (TN) The special meeting, presided by the Jaffna University Acting Vice Chancellor Prof. K. Kumaravadivelu and attended by faculty heads and lecturers held Wednesday at Jaffna campus to explore ways to provide safe travel arrangements to the outstation students back to Jaffna, when the Jaffna University reopens January 22, ended without inconclusively, according to University sources. more..

Its time for President Mahinda Rajapakse

Jan 4 (ANN) The announcement that salaries and allowances of the president, prime minister, ministers and members of parliament are going to be increased twofold, outraged many ordinary people who are struggling to survive. While state media hype projects ‘Mahinda Chinthanaya’ as beneficial, the reality is that the high cost of gas, electricity, water, and all consumer essentials have rendered the philosophy null and void. more..