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Sri Lanka exports grow, trade deficit wides

Jan 11 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's export earnings recorded significant growth in November 2006 but the economy suffered a widening trade gap, the central bank said Wednesday in a statement. The bank said that exports grew by 24.3 percent to 623 million U.S. dollars in November in a turn around from October's negative growth. more..

Conflict in Sri Lanka

Jan 11 (CC) LTTE runs legal and illegal businesses, extract money from Tamils throughout the world, and uses this money to fund terrorism, and to keep the flame of an artificially magnified conflict burning - Raj Gonsalkorale. Sri Lanka is not unique in the world in having unresolved business relating to civil disorder, military engagements with terrorists and some ethnic disharmony amongst its people. more..

Independent voices being silenced in Sri Lanka

Jan 11 (RW) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned about the steady erosion of press freedom in Sri Lanka, following reports of the media being denied access to war zones, incidents of self-censorship and intimidation, and news journalists were forced to flee the country out of fear for their safety. more..

The "invisible people" - At the mercy of nature

Jan 11 (RW) A few clothes hang on fences; toys are seen floating on murky brown coloured water; pillows clog the drains and people, already shouldered with life's burdens, slowly and determinedly clean their mud stained wooden shacks, in a rhythmic and experienced manner. These are the 'invisible people' of Mabola and Wellampitiya (towns just north of Colombo), daily wage workers living on the brink of poverty, who once again have been exposed to the harsh realities of an Indian Monsoon. more..

SB accuses govt for attack on rally

Jan 11 (SAMN) UNP Parliamentarian S. B. Dissanayake alleged the Government of attacking the Eksath Janatha Rally in Nugegoda on Tuesday evening. Addressing a media conference Mr. Dissanayake said “a minister such as Dr. Mervyn Silva could not have led those attacks if he did not have the blessings of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.” more..

CBK-UNF battle delays response to LTTE

Jan 11 (SAMN) The UNF wants to end the ongoing power struggle with President Chandrika Kumaratunga before responding to the LTTE’s disputed proposals on the setting up of an Interim Self-Governing Authority. The proposals were made in late October. "There is no purpose in replying now," a key minister told The Island at the UNP’s 49th national convention on Saturday. more..

COPE to summon Gotabhaya and Jayasundera

Jan 11 (SAMN) With BOI Chairman Lakshman R. Watawala failing to provide convincing answers on the source of investment for ‘Mihin Air’, the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) in Parliament is to summon its directors Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Finance Ministry Secretary P.B. Jayasundara to be questioned on this matter. more..

Rajitha ridicules CBK over Manirasakulam

Jan 11 (SAMN) Recalling the President Chandrika Kumaratunga led protests against an LTTE camp set up at Manirasakulam in May this year, Lands Minister Rajitha Senaratne said Tigers continued to operate from Manirasakulam despite the president being the Defence Minister. He ridiculed the President’s silence on the LTTE base. more..

JVP demands release of protestors

Jan 11 (SAMN) JVP trade union wing leader K.D. Lal Kantha yesterday threatened the President to face the consequences if he did not release Sri Lanka Transport Board employees who were arrested while engaged in a peaceful picket on Tuesday by this afternoon. more..

Sri Lankan march to protest against Hussein’s execution

Jan 11 (wsws) Thousands marched in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo last Friday to protest against the execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and to express their opposition to the continuing US occupation of Iraq. The demonstration was part of an international wave of revulsion over Hussein’s hanging on December 30 and the manner in which it was carried out. more..

Supreme Court setting policy of SL Government- Kiriyella

Jan 11 (TN) "Tamils did not demand a separate state in 1956. They only demanded their language rights but we denied their rights then. The Sri Lankan governments since independence in 1948 have not seriously attempted to solving this problem," Laxman Kiriyella, the UNP parliamentarian for Kandy district, said in Parliament Wednesday, speaking on the present state of affairs in the Northeast, more..

Sri Lanka tourism slump in December, authorities pin hopes on India and Middle East

Jan 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's leisure industry closed 2006 a neck ahead of the previous year, but the troubled island saw a sharp downturn December, as internal strife intensified and travel advisories kept visitors away. Sri Lanka has lured 559,603 visitors last year up 1.9 percent from 549,308 but fell far short of the 600,000 target set by the island's tourist promotion agency, more..

Government plans to build phosphate plant to bring down costs of imports

Jan 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka government plans to build a new phosphate fertilizer plant in a bid to cut imports, a senior government minister said. The new plant will be in Thalawa in the Anuradhapura district, Information Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said. Sri Lanka has one of the richest deposits of rock phosphate in the world in nearby Eppawala area. more..

Sri Lanka to use local messaging system for government debt deals

Jan 11 (LBO) Primary dealers have welcomed a Central Bank decision to use a locally developed messaging system to transact small deals in the government debt market which will cut costs and make it cheaper to service small clients. Primary dealers would be allowed to use local messaging through the wide area network connecting them to the Central Bank instead of the international SWIFT system for transactions below two million rupees, starting next month. more..

Sri Lanka's monkeys, the island's latest draw card for foreign travellers

Jan 11 (LBO) Scouting treetops for purple-faced leaf monkeys or on the trail of the shy loris at nightfall, Sri Lanka's rich primate life could become a draw card for foreign travellers with a taste for the wild. The tiny island off the tip of India is home to at least five species of monkeys – the Hanuman Langur with its special roots in Indian mythology, the endemic purple-faced leaf monkey and the toques to the shy nocturnal Loris. more..

Economic Council holds its first session

Jan 11 (GDI) The first meeting of the Economic council of Sri Lanka was held yesterday evening at the Temple Trees. President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed the Economic Council to get advice on economic affairs and to involve the plan implementation process directly. Implementing a long term development project in par with the President’s ‘Mahinda Chinthana’. more..


Jan 11 (GDI) The Cabinet of Ministers has appointed a Cabinet Sub-Committee for the settlement of industrial disputes. The Sub-Committee is chaired by Hon. Rathnasiri Wickremanayake, Prime Minister and the other members of the Sub-Committee are Hon. Athauda Senevirathne, Minister of Labour Relations & Foreign Employment, Hon. John Seneviratne, Minister of Power and Energy, more..

Elite cops continues rescuing east from Tiger stronghold

Jan 11 (GDI) The Police Special Task Force (STF) has taken the control of another key camp of the LTTE in the east. This morning (11) the STF took over the control of the “Janak’ camp situated west of the earlier captured ‘Stanley camp” in Kanchikudichcharu in the Ampara district, Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) says. more..

A sweeter future for the sugar industry

Jan 11 (GDI) The Ministry of Plantation Industry is in the process of upgrading the sugar production in the country. This aims to increase the production rate up to 50% of the total consumption within the next fifteen years, Cabinet Spokesman Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said at the weekly media conference to announcing the Cabinet decisions. more..

10,000 New Teaching Appointments

Jan 11 (GDI) The Government will be recruiting 10,779 new teachers to fill in the vacancies in rural areas. Ministry of Education has decided to take this step as a solution to the scarcity of teachers in the rural areas. Minister of Education, Susil Premajayantha, said that these teachers would be recruited within the first quarter of this year. more..

"If UNP MPs are willing to join with us, we are ready to take them in": Cabinet Spokesman

Jan 11 (GDI) "If the UNP’s Parliamentarians are willing to join with the Government, we are ready to take them in," said the Cabinet Spokesman, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa addressing the media today at the weekly cabinet press briefing. He added that it is for the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to decide whether to appoint those cross over UNP MPs to the Cabinet of Ministers or not. more..

Children of war heroes get scholarships

Jan 11 (GDI) With the objective of uplifting the educational facilities and the morale of children of heroes of the three Armed Forces and the Police Force who sacrificed their lives in the service of the nation - "Deyata Kirula - Viru Daru Kirana" scholarship programme was launched by the government. more..

Sri Lanka’s first exclusive Textile Processing Zone in progress

Jan 11 (GDI) Work on Sri Lanka’s first dedicated Textile Processing Zone – the MAS Fabric Park is currently in progress at the former Thulhiriya Textile Factory. The MAS Group will be investing 25 million dollars to develop this 175 acre zone at Thulhiriya. The total investment of the project will reach approximately US$ 100 million and will generate over 3000 employment opportunities over the next three years. more..

New commission starts investigations on allegations of HR violations

Jan 11 (GDI) The Commission of Inquiry to probe into the recent allegations of human rights violations has begun its hearing of evidence. Any person or organization who wished to give oral evidence before the commission, should inform the Secretary of the Commission before the 31st of this month. The eight-member Commission is headed by former Supreme Court Judge Nissanka Udulagama. more..

No more street campaigns for the trade unions

Jan 11 (GDI) The Cabinet of Ministers yesterday (10) appointed a new Cabinet Sub Committee to settle industrial disputes. The Sub Committee will inquire in to the grievances and problems the trade unions bringing forward in support of the working people of the country. This Sub Committee is chaired by Premier Rathnasiri Wickramanayake and more..

Abductions in Colombo rise once again

Jan 11 (LeN) The number of Tamil businessmen and youth being abducted from Colombo is seeing an increase since this week and four have gone missing in two days. One of them is a 36 year old resident of Kotahena. He is a trader at the st. john's fish market and while he was returning from a restaurant a group of armed men that had arrived in a van had abducted him at around 5.30 pm last Sunday (5). more..

Thinakkural Journalist threatened by Minister Fowzie

Jan 11 (LeN) The FMM is concerned over reports it has received that Minister for Transport A.H.M. Fowzie threatened journalist M.A.M Nilam over coverage related to the minister and his son. This incident took place after a press conference on 9th January (Tuesday) at the minister's office, in front of other journalists. more..

Kerawalapitiya Power Plant to meet growing electricity demand

Jan 11 (LNP) The construction of the Sri Lanka`s largest thermal multi-fuel operated combined power plant will begin in the middle of the year in Kerawalapitiya as scheduled. Construction work is expected to be completed in 2008 and the Energy Ministry hopes to commence operations in 2009. more..

Police probe Briton`s attack on car

Jan 11 (LNP) The Mirihana police are investigating a case where a British Passport holder named Roshan Kishoon had damaged a vehicle belonging to a Sri Lankan after a brawl between the two parties. This incident took place a week ago and the police summoned both parties, involved in the brawl and settled the matter. more..

Letting the world know what we have to offer

Jan 11 (DN) The Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) has released a multimedia DVD containing brief television commercials, films on nature, culture and adventure, documentary and sights and sounds of the tourist destinations of Sri Lanka. The DVD's aim is to help promote tourism in the country, the SLTB said yesterday. more..

I will protect country even from within a bunker - President

Jan 11 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared on Tuesday that he was committed to protect the country without dividing it. "To this end, I am prepared to live in or even under a bunker. Protecting the nation from the threat of separatism is my responsibility as the President and the Commander-in-Chief," President Rajapaksa asserted during a meeting in Colombo. more..

Chickungunya flu in Sri Lanka delays exam results

Jan 11 (AFP) An outbreak of mosquito-borne "Chickungunya" flu has brought down workers across Sri Lanka, even delaying the grading of university entrance examination results, officials said. Many teachers were reported off sick with the debilitating flu, which lasts up to two weeks and causes serious joint pains. more..

India's support for SL's integrity absolute

Jan 11 (HT) India's support for the preservation of Sri Lanka's territorial integrity is absolute and is not linked to any particular solution to the Tamil question, a top source in the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi told Hindustan Times. more..

Israel to assist Sri Lanka improve emergency medicine

Jan 11 (IT) Israel has recently launched a long range plan to train the health authorities in Sri Lanka in the areas of trauma and emergency medicine. The project is being led by MASHAV, the Center for International Development and Cooperation in the Foreign Ministry, and in conjunction with the JOINT (American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee), and is considered a flagship project. more..

Violence hits Sri Lanka tourism hopes

Jan 11 (AFP) Sri Lanka's hopes of attracting 600,000 tourists last year were dashed as fighting between troops and Tiger rebels discouraged foreign holiday makers from visiting the island, officials said. Adverse travel warnings from Western governments also kept away would-be holidaymakers, officials said, noting that 559,603 tourists visited the island last year, down from an expected 600,000. more..

Military: Rebel base overrun in eastern Sri Lanka, 4 Tamil guerrillas killed

Jan 11 (AP) Anti-terrorist commandos captured a Tamil Tiger rebel base and seven smaller camps around it Thursday in eastern Sri Lanka, killing at least four guerrillas, the military said Thursday. At least two government commandoes were wounded in the operation to seize the "terrorist base" in Ampara district, said military spokesman Brig. Prasad Samarasinghe. more..

Sri Lanka troops take Tiger base after killing four

Jan 11 (AFP) Elite police commandos captured a key Tamil Tiger base after killing four guerrillas in a confrontation in eastern Sri Lanka, the defence ministry said. The police Special Task Force commandos took the base known as "Janaka" in the district of Ampara, the ministry said, adding that four members of the LTTE were killed. more..

Sri Lanka probes aid groups for suspected rebel links

Jan 11 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is investigating a number of foreign and local aid groups it suspects may be helping Tamil Tiger rebels, and may banish a Dutch organisation from the island, a top defence official said on Thursday. The military said this week it had found equipment belonging to Netherlands-based ZOA Refugee Care at a rebel base overrun by the military in the eastern district of Ampara. more..

10 Tamils abducted in 5 days in Colombo, Puttalam

Jan 12 (TN) Eight Tamils have been abuducted in Colombo and two in Puttalam within the last five days. The abductors had released one of the victims after keeping him blindfolded for a full day. Nine of the victims are still reported missing, Civil Monitoring Commission reported Friday. The fate of Professor S. Raveendranath, the Vice Chancellor of Eastern University, abucted in Colombo's High Security area, is not known for almost a month since December 15. more..

Army use 'a differnt language'- Keheliya

Jan 12 (BBC) Defence affairs spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella says government has no intention to launch an offensive to capture areas under LTTE. He said the clashes are merely "retaliatory" in reaction to Tiger attacks. Recently, the Army commander Lt.General Sarath Fonseka, had openly stated the intentions of the security forces to drive the Tamil Tigers from the North and the East. more..

Salary increases irrational

Jan 12 (BBC) A fundamental case has been filed demanding the supreme court to make parliament's decision to increase salaries of ministers and members of parliament null and void. Seven major trade unions in their petition have named 230 people as defendents including prime minister,225 mps and secretary to the ministry of finance. more..

'Journalists threatned' in Sri Lanka

Jan 12 (BBC) The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed concerns about the deteriorating situation of media freedom in Sri Lanka. In a statment IFJ says it is deeply concerned about the steady erosion of press freedom in Sri Lanka, following reports of the media being denied access to war zones, incidents of self-censorship and intimidation, and news journalists were forced to flee the country out of fear for their safety. more..

Stock prices hit lifetime high in early trade

Jan 12 (LBO) Share prices hit record highs in early trade Friday, lifted by buying interest in telecoms and talks of a possible crossover by opposition legislators to strengthen President Mahinda Rajapakse's hand in parliament, traders said. Colombo's All Share Price index was up 39.03 points or 1.41 percent to 2,805.54, while the liquid Milanka Price Index jumped 67.94 points or 1.78 percent to 3,865.23, during mid day trading. more..

Full Text of Vitharana Proposals to All Party Forum

Jan 12 (TW) The eagerly awaited ‘confidential’ report of Science and Technology Minister Tissa Vitharana to the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) on Monday has jettisoned the unitary state concept and proposed the state to be ‘The Republic of Sri Lanka’ and to be described in the constitution as ‘one free, sovereign and independent state.’ more..

SCOOP chief appointed as Foreign Secretary

Jan 12 (GDI) Peace Secretariat chief, Dr. Palitha Kohona will take over the post of Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Kohona is replacing the position of Mr. H.M.G.S. Palihakkara who retired. Dr. Kohona is presently the Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) and also holds the post of Special Advisor to the President on the Peace Process. more..

"Government will stick to people’s mandate" – GOSL Chief Peace negotiator

Jan 12 (GDI) "The government would not work against the people’s mandate in finding a solution to the national question," said Government Chief Negotiator in the Peace Process Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, yesterday at the Parliament. more..

Spiritual leader of Bohra Community to visit Sri Lanka

Jan 12 (GDI) Spiritual and temporal leader of the world wide Bohra community, His Holiness Dr. Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Saheb (TUS) will visit Sri Lanka to participate in the Moharram, the Islam New Year celebrations. According to the governing body of Bohra community in Sri Lanka, Anjuman E Saifi (Sri Lanka) Trust, the visit of their leader will lay a great significance to our country and the Bohra community in Sri Lanka hence, more..

Sea Tiger boats flee after firing at Navy vessels

Jan 12 (GDI) This morning, three LTTE Sea Tiger boats have fired at Navy crafts on patrol duty and have fled the scene in the seas off Silavathurai in Mannar – in the northwestern direction of the island. As the Navy reports state the naval crafts on patrol duty observed three suspiciously moving boats towards south, very close to the coast. more..

Amnesty period for Army deserters

Jan 12 (GDI) Government has declared another amnesty period for Army deserters from January 20 to January 31of this year, Sri Lanka Army Headquarters stated in a media release. Accordingly the Army personnel who deserted the service after December 31, 2003 are requested to take this opportunity and re-join to the service by reporting for duty at their respective Regiment Centres. more..

Technical College facilitating internally displaced youth in Puttalam

Jan 2 (GDI) A new Technical College will be built to facilitate the youth of the internally displaced communities living in the Puttalam district, Ministry of Resettlement reveals. Resettlement Minister Rishard Bathurdeen said the Cabinet of Ministers had approved the project and that the Ministry had appointed a special committee to carry out this project funded by foreign aids. more..