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60,000 hectares of farmlands to be irrigated in NCP

Nov 13 (DN) The Government has launched a large-scale irrigation project in the North Central Province to irrigate 60,000 hectares of farmlands along the banks of Huruluwewa canal in Anuradhapura whose water course will be extended up to the Padaviya Divisional Region. The Ministry of Nation Building and Estate Development will allocate Rs. 10 million for the project, sources at the Nation Building Ministry said. more..

50 estate hospitals under Health Ministry

Nov 13 (DN) The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has made arrangements to take over another 50 estate hospitals by next year. The ministry has already taken over 20 estate hospitals to upgrade health facilities of the estate community, a Ministry spokesman said. He said under a special Cabinet decision, 20 estate hospitals in Nuwara Eliya, Matale, Badulla, Ratnapura and Kegalle districts have already been taken over by the ministry and 50 more will be taken over by next year. more..

Future UNP leader from the south -- Lokuge

Nov 13 (DM) UNP Democratic Group member Gamini Lokuge told Parliament yesterday that a new UNP leader would soon emerge from the South -- possibly from Hambantota district. Mr. Lokuge said the party needed leader with a clear programme of work. He said there were able people with potential in the party and they would rise within the party soon. Responding to queries by UNP MPs present, he said there were a number of potential leaders within the party. more..

Massive car importing racket busted

Nov 13 (DM) A massive reconditioned car importing racket that has deprived the government coffers of customs duty running into several billions of rupees was busted yesterday. Investigations carried out by Customs officials up to yesterday have detected 143 cheques worth more than Rs. 180 million sent through an international courier service to a car importing agency in Kotte. Explaining the modus operandi of the racketeers, Asst. Customs Superintendent Sanath Fernando said all vehicles imported by the agency were under valued. more..

Sri Lanka state TV to sponsor cricket

Nov 13 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's state television Rupavahini will sponsor the country's cricket tournaments for the next five years, a sports official said on Monday. Samantha Algama, the media manager of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said that Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) has come forward to sponsor the main tournaments of the SLC with 50 million rupees ($ 440,000) for five years. Algama said the SLRC will give live telecast to the tournament in addition to its financial support. more..

5 rebels killed in new Sri Lanka fighting as troops overrun bunkers, military says

Nov 13 (AP) Troops overran two Tamil Tiger rebel bunkers in northern Sri Lanka and beat back insurgents who attempted to breach a defense line on Tuesday, killing five rebels, the military said. Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said the soldiers pushed into guerrilla-held territory from the Muhamalai defense line in Jaffna peninsula and attacked the bunkers, leaving three rebels dead. more..

Plea to probe Lankan field commanders in Haiti sex scandal

Nov 13 (HT) Local field commanders should bear primary responsibility for the sex scandal involving the Sri Lankan contingent in the UN Peace Keeping Force in Haiti, a leading military analyst has said. "Before blaming the boys, the hierarchy in the Sri Lankan forces serving in Haiti should be asked to explain," retired Air Chief Marshal Harry Goonetilleke told Hindustan Times on Tuesday. more..

Sri Lanka dollar bond money being used to pay debts

Nov 13 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has used part of the proceeds of its $500 million sovereign bond for debt repayment but will reissue securities as and when needed for infrastructure projects, government officials said on Tuesday. The government had used 20 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($181.1 million) out of its $500 million debut sovereign bond to settle outstanding government debts which had been borrowed for the same infrastructure projects which the dollar bond is to fund. more..

'Negotiated political settlement must include credible devolution of power'

Nov 14 (FI) I am deeply grateful to the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies for inviting me to deliver this lecture. In particular, I thank Mrs. Kadirgamar who prevailed upon me to find a date for this lecture amidst my rather chaotic schedule. Her persuasion, persistence and patience, I am told, are well known. I am sure that many of you who know her better will agree with me when I say that her qualities can move mountains. more..

Sri Lanka shines as the host country at Colmar International Tourism Fair 2007 in France

Nov 14 (GDI) Sri Lanka charmed thousands of visitors to the 23rd annual International Tourism Fair in Colmar, France with a striking blend of tradition, culture, tea and curry. Rhythm of Kandian dances, aroma of mouth-watering spices and reverberations of the loud, but fascinating drum beats kept the top French tour operators and visitors spell bound at the popular fair held last week at the scenic town of Colmar in the eastern France. more..

Minister assures transparency in - oil exploration

Nov 14 (GDI) The Minister of Petroleum and Petroleum Resources Development, A.H.M. Fowzie, stated in Parliament today (13) that all financial matters relating to exploration of petroleum will be directly supervised by the Treasury. He further stated that the process of exploration is not in any way handled by an American Company, as has been alleged and speculated. more..

Confession of an Ex- Black Sea Tiger in the LTTE (Part -01)

Nov 14 (LG) He was a killer machine. He served as a normal Tiger cadre as well as a Black Sea Tiger. While on a suicide operation he was injured in a clash with the Navy; the injury saved his life. Fortunately he caned escape the life after sea confrontation. His real identity cannot be revealed for obvious reasons. Q.When and where are you born? A.I was born in February 02nd 1978 at Valachchenei, Batticaloa. more..

Confession of an Ex- Black Sea Tiger in the LTTE (Part -02)

Nov 14 (LG) Q.Why did you decide to become a Black Sea Tiger? A.When I finished my military training, I took part in many military operations as a cadre. Meanwhile I thought if we want to win this war we should be give our lives. I thought of becoming a hero of our land and our people by giving my life. I planned to join with the Black Sea Tigers because during this time the Sea Tigers were winning more operations than the land forces in the LTTE. And I can swim very well. more..

Boats caught in Sri Lankan waters to lose license

Nov 14 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu government has warned that licenses of fishing boats caught in Sri Lankan waters more than three times will be cancelled. State Fisheries Secretary Leena Nair told reporters here that a fine was already in place for such violations and that the international maritime boundary was clearly demarcated between the two countries. She was answering questions on allegations from Sri Lankan authorities that Indians were fishing in the island nation's waters. more..

Red Alert at Colombo port amidst LTTE raid fears

Nov 14 (ZN) Sri Lankan forces have been put on alert following reports of a possible LTTE attack on the Colombo port, the economic life line of the island country. "We have got information that LTTE could try to enter the Colombo port in a look-alike of a police vehicle," defence spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara told agencies today. All vehicles, including military and police vehicles, entering the Colombo port will have to get special permission from more..

Pak-Sri Lanka need to expand bilateral trade volume

Nov 14 (APP) High Commissioner of Sri Lanka Dr W. B. Dorakumbura has underlined the need to explore more avenues for expanding trade volume between Pakistan and his country. He was talking to Vice president FPCCI, Mohammad Farooq Dadabhoy and Zubair Tufail at Federation House here Tuesday. He said that Sri Lanka products including rubber products, coconut oil, tea and spices were enjoying strong presence in Pakistani market. more..

Sri Lanka urges Commonwealth to give more time to Pakistan for full restoration of democracy

Nov 14 (MoD) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has expressed satisfaction on the outcome of the Extraordinary Meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) convened by Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon, on Monday to primarily decide on the "developments in Pakistan", on the eve of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to be held in Kampala, Uganda on 21 November 2007. more..

A Buddhist view on ban on use of speakers in the night

Nov 14 (LR) With the supreme courts order banning the use of speakers in night (between 10.00 p.m. to 6.00 a.m.), there is buzz in the society especially in the religious sphere. Noise is today recognized as a serious personal and environmental pollutant troubling everyone to some extent. It causes deafness, stress, and irritation, breeds resentment, saps energy, and inevitably lowers efficiency. more..

Civilians hurt at Madhu church

Nov 14 (BBC) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) authorities have rejected accusations by Catholic priests of launching artilery attacks towards Madhu church. The priest in charge of the shrine, Rev. Emiliyas Pillai, said the SLA launched attacks towards the area despite repeated pledges to keep the area as a "peace zone". Denying any military involvement SLA spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakakara accused the Tamil Tigers. more..

UNP MP wants PM & 3 ministers to resign over Karuna issue

Nov 14 (LD) Moving an adjournment motion in Parliament today (Nov. 13th), UNP MP John Amaratunga charged that Karuna Amman had been sent to Britain on a diplomatic passport issued to Kokila Dusumanna Gunawardena, who is said to be the head of the Wildlife Conservation Department. Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman had been a very close associate of terrorist leader Prabhakaran and is responsible for massive genocide, Amaratunga told the House. more..

Deputy Foreign Minister rejects charges in Karuna passport issue

Nov 14 (LD) Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila has rejected accusation leveled against the government over the alleged issuance of a diplomatic passport to Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman. UNP MP John Amaratunga made the charge while moving an adjournment motion to Parliament today (Nov. 13th). There is no report to the effect that a diplomatic passport had been issued to a person by the name Kokila Dusumanna Gunawardena. more..

4 demands, 6 day deadline from JVP leader to support budget

Nov 14 (LD) Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila has rejected accusation Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe has demanded the government to fulfill four conditions if his party is to support Budget 2008. Amarasinghe gave a six-day deadline for the government to meet these demands, while delivering the keynote lecture at a function to remember the JVP’s November Heroes at the National Youth Services Council auditorium in Maharagama today (Nov. 13th). more..

JVP threatens crippling strikes

Nov 14 (ML) JVP front liner and trade union leader K D Lalkantha threatened to launch a series of crippling strikes if the government fails to grant an immediate and adequate salary increase to both the public and private sector employees. Speaking during the Second Reading of the budget yesterday, Lalkantha told parliament that the government ministers were in the habit of blaming everything on the world market and using it as an excuse to explain its inability to introduce some price control. more..

A nation delicately poised

Nov 14 (ML) Conspiracy theories notwithstanding, following the killing of LTTE Political Head S.P. Tamilselvan, President Mahinda Rajapakse has now to confront a multi faced monster. The knee jerk reaction of Tamil Nadu was reflected in Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s eulogy. "You had the strength of meeting the opposition with a smiling face. You had the strength of the Himalayas at a very young age and was moulded by Balasingham. Selva where have you gone," more..

In search of a favourable balance of power

Nov 14 (ML) Against the backdrop of continuing human rights violations, the culture of impunity in respect of them, spiraling cost of living and protracted yet intensifying conflict, the LTTE attack on the air force base at Saliyapura, the killing of Tamilchelvam the LTTE chief negotiator and head of its political wing and the budget, frame the political context into the new year. more..

Editor to sue Asian Tribune

Nov 14 (ML) The editor of The Morning Leader Sonali Samarasinghe has in letters of demand to the editor and Publisher of Asian Tribune claimed damages to the tune of Rs 500 million for a defamatory reference to her on its website of Monday, November 12. The defamatory reference to The Morning Leader editor followed an exclusive article published in The Sunday Leader issue of November 11 under her by line where the role of Asian Tribune editor KT Rajasingham in the Karuna issue was exposed with documentary evidence. more..

Fall of Rajapaksa Govt. will strengthen the LTTE – Karu Jayasuriya

Nov 14 (MB) The fall of President Rajapaksa’s Government would mean the strengthening of the LTTE. This cannot be allowed at any cost. So we of the Democratic United National Party decided to support the government and strengthen the hands of President Rajapaksa, Home Affairs and Public Administration Minister Karu Jayasuriya said at a meeting of the United national Party's Democratic Group in Kandy on Sunday. more..

'Lankan Govt sincere on negotiated settlement'

Nov 14 (MB) The Sri Lankan Government's overall sincerity towards a negotiated settlement should not be doubted, states N. Manoharan , a senior fellow of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi stated in an article published in the Indian Express yesterday., Manoharan said President Mahinda Rajapaksa wants to weaken the LTTE as much as possible while pursuing peace talks. more..

Terrorism: A challenge to democratic societies

Nov 14 (AT) Tamil Tigers collect $20 – 30 million a month from the Tamil diaspora – Dr. Palitha Kohona, Foreign Secretary, Sri Lanka Dr. Palitha Kohona, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka told the Institute of International Relations, Prague, that the LTTE is alleged to be collecting in the region of US$ 20 – 30 million every month. “Jane’s International says that this funding goes mostly to procure weapons which are transported to Sri Lanka in a fleet of ships owned by LTTE front entities. more..

Electricia will roam on Sri Lanka roads

Nov 14 (AT) A China made four seater electric car - Electricia - will roam on local roads within this year. Ecowheels Private Ltd, an associate company of Weightech has made arrangements to import this Plug and Run , No Fuel Car. Mr.Nissanka Ediriwira , Chairman of Ecowheels says the Ministry of Environment has shown a green light to provide concessions and the company hopes to display this 'City Commuter Car at the Ceylon Motor Show which is to be held on the 30 th of this month at the BMICH, Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka Test proves to be a turn off

Nov 14 (CI) Cricket Australia has denied charges of complacency after the first Test of the summer attracted disappointing crowds and TV viewing figures. Although last year's comparable Test was the opening one in the Ashes, the drop of 40.7% in viewers was more than expected. An average audience of 625,000 watched the Sri Lanka Test compared to more than a million for the England match. more..

S. P. Thamilselvan

Nov 14 (TO) S.P. Thamilselvan, nicknamed Cobra because of his habit of wobbling his head and freezing his face into a disconcertingly fixed smile, looked more like a white-collar worker than the terrorist he was, and only a pronounced limp, the product of battle injuries, suggested that there was another side to this outwardly affable man. Thamilselvan was the de facto second-in-command of the LTTE, one of the world's deadliest and richest terrorist organisations thanks to donations and clandestine worldwide business interests. more..

JVP, Basil clash over confidential bank report

Nov 14 (BL) Tensions ran high when Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa along with several other government members refused to give the Lankaputhra Bank report to JVP MP Piyasiri Wijenayake during the Committee on Public Enterprises meeting held in Parliament yesterday. An angry Wijenayake had then lashed out at Rajapaksa saying that he was in the COPE merely to sweep the government’s shady dealings under the carpet. more..

D-Day on Monday for UNP, government

Nov 14 (BL) Sri Lanka is faced with a unique political conundrum. On the one hand, we have a government that is grossly unpopular with the masses for mismanagement on every sphere; while on the other, the main opposition or ‘alternative government’ looks to be in dire straits. The latest crossover over, a controversial UNP Provincial Councillor, is an ominous harbinger of things to come if the UNP is unable to defeat the government’s Budget next Monday. As for the government, survival is the name of the game – at any cost. more..

Forex blunder fuels foreign debt by Rs. 76 b

Nov 14 (BL) The volatility as well as mishandling of the foreign exchange market has caused a major blow to the country with an increase of a massive Rs. 76 billion in external debt, according to Central Bank sources. There was a significant rise in foreign debt during the first eight months of 2007 and the Bank said it was mainly due to the depreciation of the rupee against major foreign currencies. more..

Senathirajah goes to court over Mavidapuram land issue

Nov 14 (BL) The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Defence Ministry to commence security checks to ascertain the eligibility of persons who claim ownership of properties in the High Security Zone (HSZ) of Mavidapuram. The court also ordered the GA of Mavidapuram to accept the application from persons who claim ownership of properties in the HSZ. The Bench made these orders sequel to a Fundamental Rights Application filed by MP Mavai S. Senathirajah of Jaffna District. more..

Sri Lankan coastal towns threatened by rising sea level

Nov 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's coastal settlements are at risk of rising sea levels caused by global warming while those in the central hills face landslide threats, a top official said. "If the water level rises Sri Lanka's entire coastal belt is facing possible destruction," said Lakshman Jayasekara, director general, National Physical Planning Department. "We're also now known to be in an earthquake zone, neither of which is good news," more..

JVP fooling people saying the budget is a still birth

Nov 14 (LeN) UNP media spokesman Gayantha Karunathilaka says that the JVP's criticism on the budget resembling it to a still birth and a kandyan Saree clad to a prostitute has become fooling people since they are undecided on whether to vote or not the budget. At a media briefing held at the Opposition Leader's office he pointed out that the loaf of bread that was Rs. 10 in UNP time is Rs. 35, a liter of kerosene that was Rs. 19 is Rs. 69, more..

‘Upgrade Human Rights Compliance of Sri Lanka Military’

Nov 14 (TW) The National Peace Council of Sri lanka has welcomed actions taken by the Government of Sri Lanka in investigating the conduct of expelled Sri Lankan Peace Keepers in Haiti. It has also pointed out to the reports of misconduct by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces within North and East of Sri Lanka. “There have been long standing and consistent reports of human rights violations, including sexual abuse, emanating from the north and east, more..

Kumar Sangakkara optimistic of playing second Test

Nov 14 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lankan vice-captain, is optimistic that he will be fit enough to make it to the final XI for the second Test against Australia, which starts in Hobart on November 16. "I feel quite good, my rehab has gone well and I have started running almost at full pace and hopefully I'll be able to sustain it for five days," Sangakkara said after undergoing a fitness test with physio Tommy Simsek, the report of which is due on Thursday. more..

Editor Sonali threatens to sue Asian Tribune exposing corruption in Leader papers

Nov 14 (AT) In a blatant move to prevent the Asian Tribune from exposing the backdoor political deals cut by the Editor of the Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunga, to get Ms. Sonali Samarasinghe, a journalist working for him, appointed as Minister to the Sri Lankan High Commission in Australia, she has issued a threat to sue the Asia Tribune. The Asian Tribune ran the first installment exposing the background to the culture of corruption prevailing in the Sri Lankan media. more..

What is in store for the Tamils?

Nov 14 (LG) The question that arises in the mind of everyone who sincerely and proudly considers himself a Tamil is — what's next? Will this race continue to be a distinct race in Sri Lanka or will history soon record that there was a race called Tamils in this beautiful island? It should be stressed emphatically at the outset that the writer does not belong to any party or group but is only concerned about the present precarious situation of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. more..

Tigers Want Residents around SF Establishments to Move Out

Nov 14 (LG) According to the Military sources, LTTE or their agents, mingling with ordinary Mannar-based peace-loving people with carefully orchestrated plans have begun to infuse a wave of fear-psychosis among civilians in the area by ordering them to vacate their homesteads before 27th November 2007 or face LTTE consequences. “The LTTE’s machination in this regard was brought to the fore when terrorist elements distributed a leaflet among households in the area asking civilians, more..

'Govt. can agree to JVP demands for the budget and stop duping the moderates and the world'

Nov 14 (LeN) JVP leader has put forwarded four demands to support the government on the budget. Accordingly the government can now abolish the APRC and scrap the remains of CFA. This will help the whole world to know where this government stands in the all important issue of 'peace and political solution'. I also wish to ask the JVP leader what they intend to do if the government fails to meet their demands? more..

President summons SLFP organizers for crisis talks

Nov 14 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is summoning all SLFP electoral organizers to Temple Trees on November 16th for crisis talks on how to protect his government in light of the fast dwindling support, reports say. The meeting comes in the wake of reliable information that a considerable number of ruling party MPs are going to crossover to the opposition and the JVP putting forward four preconditions to support Budget 2008. more..

President to dissolve govt. if JVP opposes budget

Nov 14 (LD) The President has decided to dissolve the government and go for a general election if the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna decides to vote against Budget 2008, sources at the Presidential Secretariat say. Minister Dallas Alahapperuma has informed the JVP of the decision by the President, who has reportedly become very much concerned after the party put forward four conditions if it is to support the budget. more..

Ex-commanders of armed forces to propose national govt. to president

Nov 14 (LD) Former commanders of the three armed forces are due to meet the President at Temple Trees at 6.30 pm tomorrow (Nov. 15th) and propose the formation of a national government under his leadership and with support from opposition parties. Presidential Security Advisor Major General M.B. Fernando is said to be the key organizer of this meeting, which will be followed by a dinner hosted by the President. more..

JVP remembers 18th anniversary of November Heroes

Nov 14 (LD) The JVP yesterday remembered its leader Rohana Wijeweera and other party activists who were murdered by the then UNP regime in the period between 1988 and 1989. The 18th year remembrance of November Heroes was marked at a function in Maharagama. JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, Secretary Tilvyn Silva, Parliamentary Group Leader and Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa and MPs Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Vijitha Herath placed red roses before the memorial at the National Youth Services Council premises. more..

9 govt. MPs to crossover. on Nov. 19, says Jathika Sabha

Nov 14 (LD) Nine government MPs have pledged to oppose Budget 2008 when a vote on its Second Reading is taken in Parliament on November 19th, Jathika Sabha sources say. Three of them are said to be those who have crossed over from the UNP. A top official of Jathika Sabha told ‘Lanka Dissent’ that the aim is to reduce the number of government parliamentarians from the current 116 to 107 and turn the balance of power in Parliament in favour of the opposition. more..

Wijayadasa Rajapakse crosses over: 7 demands to support budget

Nov 14 (LD) SLFP Parliamentarian and Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprise Wijayadasa Rajapakse sat with the opposition in the House this morning. Before doing that, he made a special statement, in which he submitted seven requests for both the government and the opposition to consider. Foremost among them is that all cabinet ministers, the Treasury Secretary and the Commissioner of Inland Revenue who are accused of corruption in COPE reports should tender their resignations. more..