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India must ask LTTE to stop pursuing separate state

Nov 14 (FI) The Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram delivering the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Oration is reported to have said that neither side in the Sri Lanka conflict could prevail over the other through conflict, and peace must be forged at the negotiating table. Responding to a question from the audience as to what there was to negotiate as the LTTE was uncompromisingly and irrevocably committed to establishing a separate state having sacrificed 17,000 young lives for the cause, more..

Desperate LTTE resorts to terror tactics – Military Spokesman

Nov 14 (GDI) “There were heavy losses to the LTTE in their attacks against the Sri Lankan Forces in Jaffna, Muhamalai and Mannar,” mentioned Military Spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara. Yesterday (13th) a defender jeep was attacked by the LTTE cadres resulting in a counter attack by the security forces at Palampiddi, Mannar, leaving four LTTE cadres dead, in which attack an LTTE leader by the name of Kulavan Annan was also killed. more..

Minister regrets bias in reporting HR violations

Nov 14 (GDI) Defence Spokesman Kehelya Rambukwella addressing the media today in Colombo, remarked that it is a matter of regret that there is some bias in reporting human rights violations in Sri Lanka. Bringing up the issue of double standards, he referred to the photograph of a child soldier present at the funeral of the late S.P. Thamilselvan, former head of the LTTE’s ‘political wing’. more..

'Budget a fillip for indigenous economy'

Nov 14 (GDI) Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Minister of Information and Media, joining the budget debate said that Budget 2008 was part of the six year plan of the Mahinda Chintliana programme. This budget will take the country's economy in the correct direction, he said. The minister also said, "our intention is to promote the indigenous economy." "I would like to say that we have presented this budget when the entire world is facing a economic crisis. more..

Steps to wean country of powdered milk dependency

Nov 14 (GDI) Minister of Livestock Development, R.M.C.B. Ratnayake said that his Ministry has taken steps to save Rs. 15,000 million which is spent on 60,000 mt. tonnes of milk powder imports annually. The Minister explained that In comparison to other countries Sri Lankans consume a high percentage of powdered milk, which indicates a significant deviation from the traditional way of meeting the milk requirements of a family. more..

Athauda explains Govt. position to German Tamils

Nov 14 (LNP) Labour Relations and Man Power Minister Athauda Seneviratne had apprised a group of Sri Lankan Tamils domiciled in Frankfurt, of the government`s stand on the ethnic conflict. The Minister met the Tamil group at Hotel Ramadah in Frankfurt recently. Explaining the reasons for intensifying attacks on the LTTE, Seneviratne said the Tigers were not interested in negotiations. more..

Programme launched to save revenue spent on fuel

Nov 14 (LNP) Sri Lanka will be able to save Rs.One billion annually if it could reduce fuel consumption by one per cent by controlling emissions (unburned fuel), according to Motor Traffic Department sources. In this connection, a long-awaited unique `Emission Testing Programme`(ETP) was launched yesterday at the BMICH with the participation of Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Champika Ranawaka, more..

Flying Tigers trigger Sri Lanka alert

Nov 14 (SAMN) Sri Lanka switched off electricity in the capital Colombo early this morning amid fears that Tamil Tiger rebels were flying their light aircraft for a possible attack, officials said. The power supply was cut off before dawn for nearly half an hour as the country's air defence systems spotted two unidentified aircraft, believed to be those of Tamil Tiger rebels, headed towards the south of the island. more..

Mihin Air back to the fore at COPE

Nov 14 (SAMN) A document reportedly containing details of how the government owned Lankaputhra Bank invested its assets in ‘Mihin Air’ was submitted to the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) in the Parliament complex Tuesday, amidst reported protests by UPFA National list MPs Basil Rakapaksa and Mervyn Silva. An internal audit of the Lankaputhra Bank, compiled by the Central Bank, was presented to COPE, and more..

Unauthorised construction on beach

Nov 14 (SAMN) A hotel is being constructed on the Mount Lavinia beach without the approval of the Coast Conservation Department (CCD). Informed sources said that despite a letter written by the Colombo G/A to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to stop construction work, the hotel is being built due to the pressure by the Tourism Ministry. Under the newly amended CCD Act beach areas cannot be used to construct buildings. more..

Doctor raped and pushed patient to death

Nov 14 (DN) A 22-year-old woman chloroformed, raped and pushed from the fourth floor of the Negombo Hospital on Monday evening succumed to her injuries at the Ragama Hospital, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. An MBBS doctor serving at the Negombo hospital has been taken into custody by Negombo police in connection with the incident, the spokesman said. He said the chloroform found in the doctor's room and his quarters have been sealed for judicial medical investigations. more..

'Development drive after end to cruel war'

Nov 14 (DN) The humanitarian operations conducted by the Security Forces under the direction of the President who is the Commander-in-Chief will end the cruel war which dogged the country for over two decades and lead the path to a vigorous development drive throughout the country, said Agriculture, Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara. Minister Nanayakkara was addressing the gathering after inaugurating a Wap Magul ceremony at the Buttala Yudaganawa paddy tract under the Wellassa Udanaya development programme. more..

UNP to withdraw its support for Reginald Cooray

Nov 14 (DM) The Western Provincial Council is likely to face a crisis with the crossing over of UNP member Duminda Silva to the government, as the party is contemplating the withdrawal of its support for Chief Minister Reginald Cooray. The Counci’s Opposition Leader, Kithsiri Kahatapitiya, told the Daily Mirror that his party would be compelled to rethink its political strategy in the WPC with the crossing over of Mr. Silva. more..

Ranil files objections

Nov 14 (DM) Filing objections against a civil suit filed against the agreement signed between the UNP and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Mahajana Wing), UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday stated that Minister P. Dayaratne had filed the application in betrayal of the party for his personal gain. In his objections, Mr. Wickremesinghe stated that Minister Dayaratne had betrayed the party and was misusing state powers as Minister of Plan Implementation. more..

Sri Lanka wildlife park no go zone for Britons

Nov 14 (LBO) Britain has advised its citizens not to travel to the popular Yala wildlife park in southern Sri Lanka after a spate of killings and explosions suspected to have been carried out by Tamil Tiger guerrillas. "We advise against all travel to Yala National Park," a travel advisory issued by Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth office said. "Additionally, you should exercise caution and seek the advice of your tour operator or the local authorities before travelling to areas adjacent to Yala National Park." more..

Sri Lankan lawmaker demands dismissal of ministers, top bureaucrats

Nov 14 (LBO) A Sri Lankan government lawmaker who crossed over to the opposition benches Wednesday is demanding the dismissal of cabinet ministers and bureaucrats against whom a parliamentary committee headed by him made allegations of corruption. Parliamentarian Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa said that he has set seven conditions for the government to meet in return for his support for a crucial vote on the 2008 budget next week. more..

Editorial: Violence drags on in Sri Lanka

Nov 14 (BG) ONE OF THE world's most vicious and intractable conflicts has produced a spike in violence in recent days. After a bloody clash last week in the north of Sri Lanka between government forces and the rebel fighters known as the Tamil Tigers, the government boasted of killing 60 Tigers, while the Tigers claimed to have repulsed an attack by helicopter gunships, killing more than two dozen Sri Lankan troops. more..

53 civilians killed in 'extrajudicial killings' in October, rights group says

Nov 14 (AP) Fifty-three Sri Lankan civilians died last month in extrajudicial killings, mostly in the island's violence-wracked north and east, a human rights group said Tuesday. The Asian Human Rights Commission said it had received information from reliable sources about the extrajudicial killings during October. "Even though several cases of extrajudicial killings and disappearances have been continuously reported since last year, none of those responsible have been investigated or prosecuted," more..

Military ambush and gunfire kill 5 rebels in northern Sri Lanka, official says

Nov 14 (AP) Soldiers ambushed Tamil rebels with a roadside bomb in northern Sri Lanka, killing four fighters, the military said Wednesday. Army troops set off the blast targeting a car carrying Tamil Tigers in a rebel-controlled area of northern Mannar district Tuesday evening. Separately, soldiers shot and killed an insurgent Wednesday who attempted to hurl a hand grenade at an army foot patrol in northern Jaffna peninsula. more..

Sri Lankan maids face abuse in Gulf: rights group

Nov 14 (Reuters) Gulf Arab governments, including those of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, are failing to curb serious abuses faced by Sri Lankan maids in their countries, a U.S.-based rights group said on Wednesday. "Governments in the Gulf expose Sri Lankan domestic workers to abuse by refusing to guarantee a weekly rest day, limits to the workday freedom of movement and other rights that most workers take for granted," more..

JVP give six-day ultimatum to Govt.

Nov 14 (SAMN) JVP Tuesday put forward four demands, including the abolition of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA), to be met within six days, for the party to support the government on the Budget. In addition to scrapping the CFA, the party also demanded the dissolution of the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), blocking of UN inference in the affairs of the country in the name of probes into cases of human rights violations and the ensuring of national security. more..

Flying Tigers trigger Sri Lanka alert

Nov 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka blacked out its capital early Wednesday and activated air defences over fears Tamil Tiger rebels were flying their light aircraft in for an attack, officials said. The power supply was cut off before dawn for nearly half an hour while anti-aircraft guns opened up further north after ground troops said they had spotted suspected rebel planes, the officials said. "The electricity in Colombo was shut down as part of the air raid alert," more..

Sri Lankan govt hit by defection ahead of key budget vote

Nov 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka's ruling party suffered a defection to the opposition ahead of a make-or-break vote on the national budget slated for next week, officials said. The defection does not pose an immediate danger to the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse. The ruling party still has seven seats more than the combined opposition in the 225-member assembly. However, a defeat of the national budget for 2008 when it is put to the vote on Monday could lead to a snap election. more..

Murali's action unlikely to be tested in a match

Nov 15 (CI) A Test-match trial of Muttiah Muralitharan's action, as suggested by Shane Warne, seems unlikely with the news the ICC will not have the technology for such tests for at least two years. Warne said it would give Muralitharan and the cricketing world "peace of mind" to have Muralitharan's bowling style assessed in match conditions. However, Muralitharan was unconvinced that further analysis was necessary. more..

News agencies to extend boycott

Nov 15 (CI) The world's top three global news agencies are set to continue their boycott of Australian cricket coverage through the Hobart Test, which begins on Friday. Agence France-Presse, Reuters and Associated Press did not cover the first Test between Australia and Sri Lanka in Brisbane due to a dispute with Cricket Australia. Reuters reported that there had been a breakdown in negotiations, which would mean a likely continuation of the standoff during the second Test. more..

LTTE Must Reconcile with India for the sake of SL.Tamils

Nov 15 (TC) I firmly believe that reconciliation with India is more important than finding a solution to the current conflict India. Unless India underwrites any political agreement preferably in collaboration with the Co-chairs of the Sri Lankan peace process, I do not think this brutal conflict can be effectively brought to an end. It has always been my unshakable belief that we need the support of India to find a negotiated political solution to this conflict and implement the power sharing agreement. more..

Alienation of Tamils from the Sri Lankan State Continues

Nov 15 (FI) Amidst repots of heavy fighting in the Northern Province, the government and the LTTE appear to be in the act of moving towards a big showdown. President Rajapaksa, his advisors, and defence officials as well as the government media are quite open about the military’s readiness to launch an all-out offensive in the North very soon. They have also begun to express a surprising degree of confidence about winning the war, and even neutralizing the entire LTTE leadership. more..

Sri Lanka trade deficit widens in September; 9-month deficit still down

Nov 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's trade deficit widened in September to 281 million from 199 million a year ago, but the gap for the first nine months of the year was still 7.5 percent lower than last year. Exports grew 19.2 percent to 724.6 million in September with imports also rising 24.9 percent. Agricultural exports grew by 35.0 per cent with tea surging 39.9 percent on price and volume growth. Apparel exports grew 7.2 percent to 291.6 million dollars more..

Sri Lanka apparel makers design a way up the value chain

Nov 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's apparel makers are making inroads into design, collaborating closely with international brands to becoming an integral link in the supply chain of a fashionably evolving global industry. Sri Lanka's top apparel makers stepped into the design stage of garments about five years ago, but are now getting deeper into the process. The MAS group which makes lingerie and sportswear for some of the top global brands more..

JVP did not put forward preconditions – Anura Kumara Dissanayake

Nov 15 (LD) JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe had not put forward any preconditions for the party to support Budget 2008, party MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake says. Amarasinghe, in his November Heroes commemoration speech yesterday, had not said that the JVP would definitely vote yes if ‘such demands’ are fulfilled, Dissanayake told Mangala Samaraweera, Sripathi Sooriyarachchi, Tissa Attanayake and other opposition MPs in Parliament Lobby today (Nov. 14th). more..

Traders to import 300 tons of pepper from Sri Lanka

Nov 15 (PTI) Indian traders have contracted 300 tons of pepper import from Sri Lanka, an exporter said here on Wednesday. As agreed upon the traders would receive 300 tons of pepper to meet their domestic requirement, a senior official of an exporting firm of the Island country said. India has been importing duty free pepper from Sri Lanka from March 18, 2003, when import stood at 6,200 tons annually. more..

Basil & Piyasiri Wijenayake clash at COPE meeting

Nov 15 (LD) President’s brother Basil Rajapaksa and JVP MP Piyasiri Wijenayake clashed at yesterday’s meeting of the Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) over Lankaputra Development Bank, reports say. Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa chaired the meeting in the absence of its chairman Wijayadasa Rajapakse. Trouble began after Wijenayake asked a director of the bank who was present there, to table its On Sight Supervision Report that has contained Central Bank remarks critical of its Chairman Vaas Gunawardena, for COPE perusal. more..

Govt. robs fishermen of their hard-earned money

Nov 15 (LD) The present government is shamelessly robbing fishermen of their hard-earned money on the pretext of war expenditure, a fisheries union leader alleges. “Fishermen venture out to sea despite all harassment and adverse laws and make some money with great difficulty,” President of the All Ceylon Fisheries Union Aruna Roshantha told the media in Colombo today (Nov. 14th). more..

2 jailors to be prosecuted over detainee death

Nov 15 (LD) The Supreme Court has ordered the state to pay Rs. 500,000 as compensation to the wife of Mudalige Cecil Perves Perera, who died while in prison custody upon his arrest on the charge of creating panic by giving a phone call about the presence of a bomb at a school in Ratnapura more than a year ago. A bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and Justices Shiranee Tilakawardena and Andrew Somawansa took up a fundamental rights petition filed by Chitra Perera Amarasinghe today (Nov. 14th). more..

Warne to get the silent treatment

Nov 15 (Age) AN IRATE Muthiah Muralidaran has branded Shane Warne a "miserable man" and vowed not to talk to him at the unveiling of the Warne-Muralidaran Trophy in Hobart today. Muralidaran is furious over Warne's recent call for the Sri Lankan's controversial bowling action to be re-tested. Warne believes the International Cricket Council should devise a method to test the elbow flexion of bowlers during matches, as opposed to the current practice of laboratory testing. more..

Arjuna 'to vote against' budget

Nov 15 (BBC) Sri Lanka's cricket star parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga says he will vote against the government's budget proposals. Ranatunga who steered Sri Lankan cricket team to the World Cup glory in 1996 later won a parliamentary seat contesting from the ruling SLFP. "I will inform the President that I will not be able to vote for the budget proposals unless some changes made," he told BBC Sandeshaya. more..

IOB planning to double business in Sri Lanka

Nov 15 (PTI) Public sector lender Indian Overseas Bank plans to double its business in Sri lanka, a top official of the bank said here on Wednesday. The bank has recently touched the $33 billion business mark in its global operations. "Our global operations have touched Rs 1,29,628 crore (33 billion US dollars) and we are now targeting to double the business in Sri Lanka," IOB country head A Muthukumar told PTI here. more..

Unicef worried about staff safety in Sri Lanka

Nov 15 (DPA) A UN agency operating in Sri Lanka Wednesday expressed concern over the safety of its staff after a Marxist politician accused the organisation of funding Tamil rebels and said such allegations would compromise its ability to serve. The Unicef, which has projects both in government-controlled areas and rebel-controlled areas in the country, has been accused by Wimal Weerawansa, leader of the JVP, of allegedly providing Rs.100 million to LTTE through an organisation known to be closely working with the rebels. more..

'No proper planning or program for suffering people in South'

Nov 15 (LG) Sajith Premadasa, UNP Hambantota District member of Parliament addressing a Media briefing today (14 Nov) at the UNP Media Unit clearly brought home to the audience the untold hardships and acute sufferings of the Hambantota, Tissamaharama and Lunumahavihara residents owing to LTTE attacks and killings. He said, though the Forces are trying to do their best, there is no proper planning or program in this direction because of the negligence and indifference of those Govt. and more..

Karunanidhi's eulogy for dead LTTE leader raises questions of propriety

Nov 15 (TOI) It is said that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. For a large number of Sri Lankan Tamils, S P Thamilchelvan, an LTTE leader who was killed recently, is a freedom fighter. But what if he is eulogised thus in India where LTTE is a banned outfit? Chief minister M Karunanidhi started it when he wrote an elegy for Thamilchelvan. Vaiko, a former MP and an open ally of LTTE, and a few others tried to take out a march in support of the Tigers on Monday, more..

Solution to Lanka crisis a must

Nov 15 (CC) Having embarked on a campaign to crush the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam militarily, the Mahinda Rajapakse Government is showing no inclination towards arriving at a political solution to the ethnic crisis menacing Sri Lanka, whether the government succeeds in defeating the rebels completely and eliminating them from the scene remains to be seen. But, if past experience is any guide, the LTTE still retains the capacity to hold on to the heavily-defended areas in the Northern Province, more..

Sri Lanka face tough selection calls

Nov 15 (CI) Before Sri Lanka start their final campaign to win a Test in Australia with their golden generation they must first make a couple of crucial decisions over the make-up of their team. After being thrashed by an innings and 40 runs in the opening match in Brisbane, the tourists face a restructure in an all-or-nothing attempt to beat the hosts. A few things fall in Sri Lanka's favour: the pitch should spin as the match wears on, the conditions are unlikely to aid swing and the surface does not offer the extra bounce that caused problems at the Gabba. more..

Was the Death of Thamil Chelvam a Feast or a Funeral to the South?

Nov 15 (GV) Last week Thamil Chelvam’s death was celebrated in the South by lighting firecrackers. About one and a half decade ago, the SLFP supporters in the South did the same on the tragic death of President Premadasa. Then, the assassins of President Premadasa were from the same stock of the person assassinated now. Yet, the common perception of the South at that time amounted to a sort of implicit gratitude towards the perpetrators of the crime, more..

Race to restore Galle to full glory

Nov 15 (TMG) Miraculously, they seem to be getting it together. Only a couple of months ago, the ground on which Sri Lanka entertain England in the third Test next month reminded me of the horse-drawn section of the National Ploughing Championships after two Suffolk Punches had done their work. If Monty Panesar could not extract bite from a rough as deep as his forearm, I thought, he might as well take up kabaddi. His opposite number, Muttiah Muralitharan, would not so much be unplayable as invisible. more..

Saudi, Lankan Officials Dismiss HRW Report on Maid Abuse

Nov 15 (AN) Sri Lankan housemaids are subject to serious abuses, including violence, harassment and exploitation in Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) charged yesterday. Saudi and Sri Lankan officials swiftly dismissed the charges. In a 131-page report HRW said the domestic helpers typically labor for 16 to 21 hours a day, without rest breaks or days off, for extremely low wages of 15 to 30 US cents an hour. more..

British Govt will not revoke LTTE ban - FM

Nov 15 (MoD) Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday told Parliament that the British Government has pledged they have no intention whatsoever to remove the ban imposed on the LTTE. "During my meeting with the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Lord Malloch Brown reiterated that the British Government will not lift the ban imposed on the LTTE," he said. more..

Warne and Murali deny rift

Nov 15 (HS) The world's two greatest spin bowlers Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralidaran strongly denied on Thursday there is any rift between them despite the Sri Lankan off spinner having referred to the Australia leg spinner in a newspaper article as 'a miserable, sad man.' The only two players in cricket history to have taken more than 700 Test wickets were together in Hobart on Thursday to unveil the new Warne-Muralidaran trophy, more..

Budget 2008 from a Political Economy Perspective

Nov 15 (AT) There was a significant statement by President Mahinda Rajapakse which highlighted the political economy approach of the budget 2008. “I invite all to join hands to generate an economic growth in excess of 7.5 percent during 2008,” he said in his budget speech. To my reckoning this is the first time that Finance Minister of Sri Lanka, and in this case the Head of State himself, invited the people of the state or country to join hands to achieve the most significant developmental goal of economic growth. more..

Samadhi Buddha Statue Under Construction in the US

Nov 15 (AT) The New Jersey Buddhist Vihara has inaugurated the construction of a 25-foot Samadhi Buddha Statue that will be sculpted by Venerable Imbulavitiye Medananda Thero who has already sculpted numerous Buddha statues in Sri Lanka. The high seated Buddha Statue will be enthroned on a 5ft high lotus pedestal and will be modeled on the statue of the Buddha in deep meditation as seen in the Maha Meyuna gardens in Anuradhapura, the ancient 4th century BC capital city of Sri Lanka. more..

Tiger Human Shields Revisited

Nov 15 (AT) When going through certain images issued by the tigers, I was lucky enough to get hold of an image that took the attention straight away. Even though Vakarai has been rescued by Security Forces months ago, it is still important to get the message of what exactly the tigers did to the innocent Tamil civilians who lived under terror grip for a long time. This image quite rightly exposes the cruelty of Prabha and his men. more..