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Nirmala attempts to take Chandrika before an investigation commission

Jan 5 (LeN) A supreme court investigating committee is to be appointed to look into the alleged malpractices said have taken place during the regime of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Deputy Education Minister Nirmala Kothalawala has already sent a letter to the President setting the background for this step to be taken. more..

2 agriculture officers killed in LTTE controlled area explosion

Jan 5 (LeN) Two agriculture officers have been killed and another three have been injured in the LTTE controlled Nadunkerni area when a double cab belonging to the agriculture department caught a claymore bomb at around 8:10 this morning (5). Speaking to LeN an officer of the Vavuniya agriculture department said the victims had been serving in the department's agriculture promoting division. more..

President proposes Foreign Ministry to Siripala while Mangala visits Dalada

Jan 5 (LeN) The LeN is being reported of a proposal made by President Mahinda Rajapakse to the Minister of Health and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva to take over the Foreign Affairs Ministry. According to information available the suggestion has been made on the 2nd of this month. However Minister de Silva has not delivered a satisfactory answer to the President saying that he is keen on carrying out the duties of the current Ministries under his purview. more..

SLMC urges President to 'act fast'

Jan 5 (AT) The country's predominant Muslim party, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) is urging President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government to immediately convene an All Party Conference to discuss the recently released expert panel reports. SLMC Secretary General M.T. Hasan Ali told the "Asian Tribune" that it was also high time that the government responds to the reports, which included a majority, minority and two separate solo reports. more..

Government to resettle displaced families in new villages

Jan 5 (AT) Displaced families in refugee camps in the North and East will be resettled in new villages before the end of this year under a special resettlement program implemented by the government. The resettlement program will be launched in Mannar, Mulaitiv, Kilinochchi, Vauniya and Jaffna Districts and will be coordinated by the District Secretaries. more..

Will Indian coal go cold in Sri Lanka?

Jan 5 (AT) The proposed 500 MW Trincomalee coal power plant, a joint initiative by the Indian and Sri Lankan governments, faced its very first stumbling block about the site's actual location, amidst misleading reports that the Indian government had decided to pull out from the project just days after it was sealed. The Memorandum of Agreement for the project was sealed on December 29, 2006. more..

Tamil MP promises sugar and ships cement to Jaffna

Jan 5 (AT) The only Tamil MP in the UNP, T. Maheswaram, was given permission by the government to ship sugar to Jaffna. Instead he had shipped 2,000 metric tons of cement. This has caused a stir in Jaffna which is urgently in need for food essentials. At a time when Bishop of Jaffna. Rev. Thomas Soundranayagam, is crying to high heaven about the lack of food, the Tamil MP, Maheswaran, has brought two shipments of cement. more..

India corp to drill gas, oil in Sri Lanka

Jan 5 (ANN) 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. more..

Mahinda wants more money’: Who doesn’t?

Jan 5 (ANN) President Mahinda Rajapakse has urged the taxmen to rake in more revenue so that he could take development to the grassroots. He is in an unenviable position. On the one hand, he has to make do with limited funds to implement development projects and, on the other, he has to prosecute a war which is a drain on the exchequer. He has had to increase defence expenditure by 45 per cent. more..

Scotland Yard probe on Raviraj killing begins

Jan 5 (PISL) The much awaited Scotland Yard probe into the killing of TNA MP Nadarajah Raviraj begins today following the arrival last afternoon of a team of experts. Local officials involved with the investigations said the Scotland Yard team comprises a ballistics expert, forensic science expert and three specialised investigators. more..

Food for Jaffna from Chennai traders

Jan 5 (PISL) A ship carrying nearly 3,000 metric tonnes of essential food items from Chennai, India was to reach Jaffna last evening and is expected to be distributed to the people through the Jaffna District Secretariat this morning. Meanwhile, an Indian High Commission spokesperson in Colombo said the move to transport supplies to Jaffna by sea was a venture initiated by several traders in Chennai and the Indian government had no hand in it. more..

Controversy surrounds release of convicted killer

Jan 5 (LNP) Would it be possible to release a person sentenced to death on a general amnesty granted by the President? Although it seems implausible, a convict had his death sentence converted to a term of life imprisonment and then secured freedom after being behind bars for just six years. This had transpired at the ongoing narcotics case before Panadura High Court Judge Mrs. Malini Gunaratne. more..

Petrol up by Rs. 5

Jan 5 (LNP) Petrol prices were increased by Rs. 5.00 with effect from midnight last night, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) announced. Accordingly the price of a litre of Octane 90 petrol will be Rs. 97.00 while a litre of Octane 95 petrol will be Rs. 100.00 The CPC said it was forced to increase the price of petrol owing to rising world oil prices. more..

Dolphins appear in Galle sea

Jan 5 (LNP) Two dolphins were seen swimming around in the sea off the coast of the Galle harbour last week, which attracted large crowds. They came closer to the shore when chased by a large number of other fishes. Seeing the predicament faced by the two dolphins, two naval ratings on board a vessel from the Southern Naval Base on patrol-duty guided the `duo` to the deep sea, ensuring safety to them. more..

Road Map for monetary and financial sector policies in 2007 and beyond

Jan 5 (LNP) Following are excerpts of the speech delivered by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal addressing the top brass in the business world on monetary and financial sector policies for 2007 and beyond at the launch of `Financial System Stability Review 2006`. more..

Amid violence, food from India reaches Jaffna

Jan 5 (IANS) A total of 3,500 tonnes of food bought in India have arrived in Sri Lanka's scarcity-hit Jaffna peninsula, and a minister said Friday that more shipments were expected in the coming weeks. Bought by Colombo in Tamil Nadu, the varied food items sailed from Chennai midnight Wednesday and reached the port of Point Pedro in Jaffna before midnight Thursday, Sri Lankan minister Douglas Devananda said. more..

NGOs not following accepted norms: PSC

Jan 5 (SAMN) The Parliamentary Select Committee on NGOs has opened an office at the BMICH to record complaints against the activities of some humanitarian agencies operating in the country. Committee Chairman and JVP MP Vijitha Herath told the Daily Mirror yesterday they started this office with five officials on December 14, last year, and people are now able to lodge complaints against any such activities in their respective areas. more..

New laws to expand leasing business

Jan 5 (SAMN) The proposed amendments to the existing finance leasing regulations are expected to enable strongly capitalised leasing companies to broaden their funding sources and to expand their operations. The Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal said recently that the new laws under the Finance Leasing Act would allow leasing companies to mobilise funds from the public through the issue of debt instruments. more..

Colombo VC won’t give into U’grads

Jan 5 (SAMN) Colombo University Vice Chancellor Professor Tilak Hettiarachchi said that the university administration would not give into the students who were demanding the reinstatement of five undergrads, suspended on grounds of violation of the disciplinary code. The university administration had decided to suspend the undergraduates, who were found guilty of damaging university property, only after a proper investigation based on factual evidence. more..

Polythene: Grace period for consumers

Jan 5 (SAMN) The Government has decided to give a grace period of three months to the public to stop the use of polythene products below 20 microns including 'sili sili' bags, lunch sheets and grocery bags. Environment and Natural Resources Minister Maitripala Sirisena told a media conference Thursday that the concession will be provided in view of the widespread use of the banned material by the average Sri Lankan consumer. more..

Sri Lanka seeks public views to issue personalized stamps

Jan 5 (LBO) Postal Department is expanding its high value stamp range with a 200 rupee issue later this year and is also seeking public views to issue personalised stamps for private entities. Stamp values currently vary from 50 cents and to 1,000 rupees. "For persons or companies who want commemorative stamps, we hope to bring in a process to issue private stamps," more..

Sri Lanka settles score with Lanka IOC

Jan 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka Friday inked a 5.16 billion rupee (47.8 million dollar) agreement with Indian fuel retailer Lanka IOC Ltd. to settle a long standing subsidy payment. A unit of Fortune 500 Indian Oil Corp., Lanka IOC will get 700 million rupees in cash and 4.46 billion rupees worth of two-year government bonds. more..

America will try to internationalise ethnic conflict- DEW

Jan 5 (GLN) Constitutional Affairs Minster D. E. W. Gunasekera yesterday warned that America having interfered in Iraq could try to internationalise Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict as well. Gunasekera, was speaking at a press conference attended by all political parties in Colombo,to condemn the hanging of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. more..

National Hospital performed 1,117 open heart surgeries

Jan 5 (DN) The Colombo National Hospital performed 1,117 open heart surgeries last year making a significant increase in the number of heart surgeries performed at the hospital and cutting down the number of patients in the waiting list, the Hospital's Director, Dr. Hector Weerasinghe told the Daily News yesterday. more..

'Estate workers should thank President for fair and just settlement'

Jan 5 (DN) A Senior Attorney-At-Law A. P. Kanapathipillay, the President of the United Plantation Workers' Union (C.P.) addressing a meeting at Nuwara Eliya to explain the present wage structure applicable to the plantation workers applauded the estate workers struggle staged in relation to their increase in the wages. more..

Pakistan HC clarifies ‘defective arms’ report

Jan 5 (DM) Reference the news story headlined ‘Pakistanis allegedly supplying defective arms - report’, which appeared on page one of the Daily Mirror on December 29, 2006, the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo in a statement denied the report. The Pakistan High Commission said that excellence in quality, reliability and affordability have long been the hallmarks of Pakistani defence products and added that its defence related industries meet most of the requirements of her armed forces indigenously. more..

Tamil candidates seek admission through CA

Jan 5 (DM) Ten Tamil candidates for the Law College entrance examination, filed Writ Application before the Court of Appeal, to permit them to enter the Law College for 2007 or, stay the registering of the selected students for this year. The Petitioner students have complained that the Council of Legal Education had issued faulty course book last year, just as in the year 2005, which resulted in bringing down the cut-out mark to 60. more..

More rocket shells found in Tamil Nadu

Jan 5 (PTI) Fifty live rocket shells were netted by fishermen from the Palk Straits in waters off the Tamil Nadu coast in the past 15 days, police said today. The Israeli and German-made shells, packed in wooden boxes, were believed to have been abandoned by Sri Lankan militants, they said. "The shells could have been jettisoned by militants while being transported to Sri Lanka after they were spotted by some Coast Guard officials," a police official said. more..

Violence hit Sri Lanka; air force bombs Tamil rebel base; 3 killed in separate incidents

Jan 5 (AP) Sri Lanka's military on Friday launched its third airstrike this week on Tamil rebel naval bases as three people were killed in separate incidents amid an ongoing cycle of violence, the military and a rebel official said. The latest violence claimed the lives of a police officer and two Tamil agricultural officials. more..

Sri Lanka's Muslims protest Saddam Hussein hanging

Jan 5 (AP) Nearly 1,000 Sri Lankan Muslims protested opposite the United States Embassy after Friday prayers to denounce the hanging of Saddam Hussein. The protesters came out of a mosque in capital Colombo after Friday prayers and marched toward the embassy carrying images of U.S. President George W. Bush and beating them with poles and shoes. They also burned U.S flags. more..

Lankan forces strike LTTE-held area

Jan 5 (HT) In a significant development in the last few days, Sri Lankan forces and their Tamil auxiliaries had been striking deep into LTTE-held territories in the North-East of the island, including an area believed to be hosting the main communication base of the Tiger chieftain, Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

Sri Lanka jets destroy rebel navy base

Jan 5 (AFP) Sri Lankan air force jets staged a fourth straight day of raids against Tamil Tiger positions in the north of the island, a military spokesman said. Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said a dawn raid by Israeli-built Kfir jets completely destroyed a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) base at Wilawattai in the rebel-held Mullaitivu district. more..

Five killed in Sri Lanka bus blast

Jan 5 (AFP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels have set off a powerful explosion aboard a bus, killing at least five people and wounding 50 others near Sri Lankan capital Colombo, the defence ministry said. A bomb ripped through the passenger bus as it travelled between Nittambuwa and Giriulla during the evening rush hour on the Colombo-Kandy highway. more..

Sri Lanka unleashes verbal tirade against President Bush for hanging Saddam

Jan 6 (AT) Thousands of Sri Lankans took to the street in Colombo on Friday afternoon to condemn the execution of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The protestors mainly consisting Muslims also unleashed a verbal tirade against United States president George W. Bush. The protest march which also resulted in heavy traffic around the city began soon after Jummah prayers from the Maradana mosque. more..

India's soft option not working in Sri Lanka -- ENDLF

Jan 6 (AT) G Gnanasekaran, President, Eelam National Democratic Liberation Front (ENDLF), has appealed to the Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, to intervene directly and immediately in the Sri Lankan crisis. He argues that the Norweigna-brokered ceasefre agreement is now defunct and the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government are engaged in an undeclared war. more..

Good bye polythene and two-stroke three wheelers

Jan 6 (AT) While giving a grace period of three-months for people to say 'good bye' to polythene, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources will be also planned to be tough on the importation of two-stroke three-wheelers to bring down the air pollution and also harmful effect on human health. Using polythene has become very popular in Sri Lanka during the past two decades and the 'magical' wrapper replaced the traditional eco-friendly wrappers fast. more..

Dr.Sirimal Premakumara wins Chandrasena Memorial Award

Jan 6 (AT) A senior Research Officer Dr.Sirimal Premakumara who serves at the Industrial Technology Institute [ITI] has been awarded prestigious Professor Chandrasena Memorial Award 2006 for his exceptional research contribution to the field of organic chemistry, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Bioactivity studies. Dr.Premakumara was a product of University of Colombo and he was a keen sportsman during his schooldays. more..

Curfew imposed after bomb blast

Jan 6 (BBC) Police have imposed curfew around the north western Sri Lankan town of Nittambuwa after a bomb blast in a private bus killed at least six people. At least 30 people have sustained injuries. The curfew has been imposed in Attanagalle, Watupitiwala and Nittambuwa until 6am SLT on Saturday. There were about 80 civilians on board at the time of the attack, which took place during the evening rush-hour. more..

The Kew Gardens of Sri Lanka

Jan 6 (TO) ON THE director’s desk at Peradeniya Botanic Garden is a souvenir snow dome that, when shaken, sends a shower of plastic flakes over a model of the Palm House at Kew. It’s a reminder that the seeds for this prime Sri Lankan tourist attraction were sown far from tropical climes, in chilly west London. During colonial times the British Government sought potentially lucrative crops and experimented by procuring seeds abroad, growing them into seedlings at Kew Gardens, then dispatching them to offshoot enterprises in the colonies. more..

Travel news: Sri Lanka: safe or not?

Jan 6 (IN) Travellers to Sri Lanka who compare advice from the British and Australian governments will see a sharp and confusing difference. The UK Foreign Office warns only against travel to the north and east of the Indian Ocean island - areas rarely visited by tourists. But Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs says the whole country is dangerous: more..

Indonesia captures Sri Lankan wanted in US for arms smuggling

Jan 7 (AFP) Indonesian police have captured a Sri Lankan wanted in the United States for allegedly smuggling arms for use in terrorist attacks in New York, police said Friday. Pratheepan Thavarajah, 32, was arrested on Thursday at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta just as he was boarding a flight to Kuala Lumpur, national police spokesman Anton Bahrul Alam told reporters. more..

Jaffna students threaten protests

Jan 7 (TN) The Tamil Students Federation, Jaffna district branch, in a press communique issued in Jaffna Friday, warned that continuing arrests and attacks on students by Sri Lankan Forces will lead to their taking action to disrupt civil administration in Jaffna peninsula, sources in Jaffna said. The representatives of the Federation handed over the communiqe to the local media offices and explained the reasons for their action. more..

Needed perspective on the execution of Saddam Hussein

Jan 7 (TW) The execution of Saddam Hussein has received world-wide attention. In Sri Lanka many political pundits and party spokesmen have criticized Saddam’s execution. The media is reporting allegations such as the United States invaded Iraq for oil; the execution was a warning for other leaders to bow to the United States; President George H.W. Bush presided over UN sanctions that killed thousands of Iraqi children, and that the United States executed Saddam Hussein. more..

GL bound for Singapore, misses flight

Jan 7 (WS) Jayasundera's magic and country's economy President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed an Economic Council on the 26th last to decide on and implement such decisions with regard to the country's economy. The President is a sharp politician who is adept at doing what he wants when he wants. The appointment of the Economic Council was to give marching orders to Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P. B. Jayasundera, those at the Finance Ministry say. more..

Chikungunya rages

Jan 7 (WS) The raging Chikungunya epidemic has affected more than 110,000 victims in the country this year, the head of the Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry Dr. Pabha Palihawadana said. The reason for the increase is the depth of the mosquito population, due to the negligence by the authorities as well as the society in controlling it. The recent heavy rains have been helpful with a regular supply of water to these breeding areas. more..

Monthly rent bonanza for Ministers

Jan 7 (WS) The Government has decided to rent houses for Ministers and Deputy Ministers not provided official bungalows, upto a limit of Rs. 100,000 per month, deducting only Rs. 1000 from their monthly salaries. Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry Secretary D. Dissanayake has informed about this by a Circular to all Secretaries of Ministries. more..

Estate workers remain the poorest community

Jan 7 (WS) Plantation workers remain the poorest community in Sri Lanka, with no marked change in their socio-economic condition. This is in spite of the fact that they are represented by major trade union-cum-political parties that have been championing their cause for several decades, government's development projects aiming at uplifting their socio-economic condition, creation of special ministry portfolios and NGO activities. They more..

Geraldine - Finalist in Pride of Australia award

Jan 7 (WS) Sri Lankan-born Geraldine Ellawala was chosen as one of the finalists for second Herald Sun and Sunday Herald Sun Pride of Australia awards recently. The popular awards organized by two of Australia's most famous newspapers attracted 800 nominees. The ten medal categories were Bravery, Courage, Young Aussie, Community Spirit, Role Model, Mateship, Environment, Fair Go, Peace and True Blue Lifetime. more..

Don’t allow NGOs in security camps! - Govt.

Jan 7 (LT) The Government has issued a directive to all officers in charge of security camps not to allow any volunteer organizations to enter the camps. The Government has taken this decision as various organizations and NGOs that depend on foreign money had gone into the security camps in the past to lecture the soldiers on peace. more..

UNP Leadership trying to oust seniors through restructuring! – Mahinda Wijesekera

Jan 7 (LT) The party leadership, professing that party is being restructuring, is attempting to oust a group of senior party leaders says UNP Parliamentarian Mahinda Wijesekera. He said this when ‘Lankatruth’ inquired about the news item that had been published in the media revealing that the leadership was trying to keep out a group of senior party men from the Executive Committee of the party. more..