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Sri Lankan construction firms eye Gulf building boom

Nov 16 (LBO) A Sri Lankan construction industry trade mission to the Middle East has managed to secure work in the booming Arabian Gulf construction industry, officials said. The visit to Qatar and Dubai by members of the Chamber of Construction Industries (CCI) was arranged in an effort to export local construction skills and exploit opportunities in the oil-rich region. "Every member of the Sri Lankan trade mission has obtained business leads which should be converted to confirmed orders," more..

Sri Lanka police summon lawmakers ahead of budget vote

Nov 16 (LBO) Sri Lankan police questioned an opposition lawmaker and summoned two others Friday, drawing protests from the opposition leader, in the latest twist in political wrangling days ahead of a crucial vote on the government's budget. United National Party (UNP) Parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake, a businessman who was a former trade minister, was questioned by the police criminal investigation department Friday morning. more..

Crazy Doctor’s Innocent Victim

Nov 16 (LG) Thousands of garments factory workers, both men and women, staged a massive demonstrate on a Katana yesterday protecting against the killing of one of their colleagues ,22 years old Chhmail Kumari Disanayake, on Monday (12 November). The workers, belonging to the Free Trade Zone factories in Katunayake, marched from the funeral par lour at Katana, Negombo, where the remain of Chamila lie, towards Negombo holding placards and shouting slogan. more..

JVP urges government to come up with positive economic measures to safeguard the country

Nov 16 (AT) Janatha Vimukthi Perumuna, the second biggest opposition party in Sri Lanka has indicated its willingness to support the government to defeat terrorism in the country, but said that they are not in a position to support the government’s budget - 2008. The government must have a solution for the people and not take steps to please the terrorists, said Somawansa Amerasinghe, Leader of the JVP, more..

National govt. after budget?

Nov 16 (LD) In view of the country’s prevailing situation, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has agreed to form a national government and act according to a national plan until elections in 2010, for the resolution of the ethnic issue and other burning problems, sources say. The president has given his consent to the concept of a national government that was mooted by former commanders of the armed forces yesterday (Nov. 16th), according to the sources. more..

Top SLFP group meets Arjuna & Dilan

Nov 16 (LD) Several SLFP top figures had reportedly met Justice Minister Dilan Perera yesterday (November 15th) at his residence to convince him not to join the opposition after his resignation from the SLFP Central Committee. According to sources, Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle too, had attended this visit and the Justice Minister was informed that the President has suggested a cabinet ministerial portfolio for him. more..

Nov. 19 will decide nation’s fate – Tissa Attanayake

Nov 16 (LD) The Jathika Sabha declared today that November 19th would be a crucial date that will decide the fate of the nation, and not just a victory or defeat of Budget 2008. “On this day, people will come to know as to whether the JVP acts true to its claim that the party truly represents their interests,” UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told a media briefing organized by the Jathika Sabha in Colombo today (Nov. 16th). more..

Sripathi queries Dilan’s future in govt. with Rathnatileke & Rajitha

Nov 16 (LD) Chief Coordinator of the SLFP Mahajana Wing Sripathi Sooriyarachchi urged Minister Dilan Perera to take an immediate decision regarding his future with the government. Mahinda Rathnatileke crossed over and sat in the government benches, and not in the SLFP Centre Committee, Sooriyarachchi pointed out. Perera resigned from the committee to protest the government’s welcoming of Rathnatileke into its fold, more..

FM welcomes TRO asset freeze; Wimal calls for local ban

Nov 16 (LD) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has extended commendations from the government and parliament to the United States for freezing the assets of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO). “It has now been proven that the TRO had raised funds to buy arms for the LTTE. It had used the money collected in the name of the tsunami to buy arms,” Bogollagama told parliament during the budget debate today (Nov. 16th). more..

JVP MP alleges attempt to inactivate COPE

Nov 16 (LD) JVP Parliamentarian Piyasiri Wijenayake alleged in Parliament today that there is an attempt to inactivate the Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE). “Officials of the Lankaputhra Development Bank were asked to submit certain bank documents for the perusal of COPE at its last meeting. However, certain members, who are MPs, interfered and told them not to do so. They cannot interfere in that manner,” more..

PNM calls for ban of LTTE & its supporters

Nov 16 (LD) The Patriotic National Movement (PNM) is urging the government to ban the LTTE and all political groups helping it and media institutions that publish articles supportive of the Tigers. Such a decision should be taken immediately, without allowing anyone to ridicule any further the security forces that sacrifice their personnel for the country, PNM Chairman Gunadasa Amarasekara said in a statement. more..

“LTTE is behind all attempts to defeat budget”- President

Nov 16 (LD) “It is the LTTE that is behind all attempts to defeat the budget and the government. It is now conspiring to make that happen,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa says. Speaking at a function at Temple Trees to hand over appointment letters to graduates trained under the Tharuna Aruna program yesterday (November 15th), the President said that Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe could not defeat the budget. more..

CID breaches opposition MPs’ rights, Ranil alleges

Nov 16 (LD) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has called for safeguards to ensure privileges of all opposition parliamentarians, including the right to attend Parliamentary sessions. “Three UNP MPs have been notified to appear before the CID, without citing any reason. They are Ravi Karunanayake, Vajira Abeygunawardena and another MP. We oppose CID notifying them to appear before it during the ongoing budget debate,” Wickremesinghe told more..

News agencies end Sri Lanka- Australia cricket coverage boycott

Nov 16 (AFP) Global news agencies ended a boycott of Australian cricket Friday after striking an agreement with the sport's governing body that allows their photographers and reporters to cover matches. The agencies will immediately begin coverage of the second Test against Sri Lanka, which started in Hobart on Friday, in which Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has the chance to overtake Shane Warne's Test wicket world record. more..

British Government extends its hand of friendship to Sri Lanka

Nov 16 (GDI) The British Government through its Export Credit guarantee Department has supported the extending of a credit package of Sterling Pounds 50 Million (Rs.11.5 Billion)for the reconstruction of bridges in Sri Lanka. The Two Loan Agreements were with HSBC Bank UK and Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. Mr.Sumith Abeysinghe signed the agreement on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka and more..

2088 graduates into Govt. service

Nov 16 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the Budget is a victory of the ordinary citizens of this country and pointed out that trying todefeat the Budget is a clear attempt to strengthen the goals of the terrorists. President Rajapaksa said that conspirators are trying every possible way to fulfil their petty selfish expectations by defeating the Budget. However President reiterated that opposition would not be able to defeat the budget. more..

SL establishes Diplomatic relations with Eritrea, (Africa)

Nov 16 (GDI) The Government of Sri Lanka and the Eritrean Government established formal diplomatic relations. An agreement to this effect was signed by the ambassadors of both countries in Cairo yesterday (15). Accordingly, on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka, the ambassador for Sri Lanka in Cairo Mr. I. Ansar and on behalf of the Government of State of Eritrea, Mr. Fassil Ghebresellassie Tekle, ambassador of the State of Eritrea in Cairo signed the Agreement. more..

Bayliss calls for more discipline from bowlers

Nov 16 (CI) Trevor Bayliss, the Sri Lanka coach, called on his fast bowlers to be more disciplined after they took another hammering at the hands of Australia on the first day of the second Test at the Bellerive Oval. Sri Lanka could capture only three wickets as the formidable Australian batting line-up rattled up 329 for 3, with two of their top-order batsmen, Phil Jaques and Michael Hussey, scoring their second consecutive hundreds in the series. more..

Staying the same

Nov 16 (CI) Complaints over the past week have centred on the predictability of Test cricket and the dominance of Australia. More evidence to support the argument came on the first day in Hobart when Sri Lanka missed crucial chances, Dilhara Fernando performed poorly while a better bowler was 12th man, Phil Jaques' century propelled the home team to an enviable position and the Michael Hussey phenomenon powered on. But despite the repetition of events from Brisbane, the play was compelling. more..

Wijedasa Rajapakshe a slur on COPE - Rajitha

Nov 16 (LNP) Construction and Engineering Services Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday MP Wijedasa Rajapakshe could not morally remain as the Chairman of the Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE) as he has been fined for violating the Inland Revenue Act. Addressing the Media convened by the UNP-D group at the Seth Sevana yesterday, Senaratne also queried as to how such an individual could remain as a President`s Counsel. more..

JHU claims attempts made to bribe its members

Nov 16 (LNP) The Jatika Hela Urumaya yesterday said it could not be bribed to join the Opposition in Parliament. Its leader, Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Nayaka Thera said the LTTE had channelled funds through the UNP to offer bribes to members of the JHU to cross the floor of the House and join the opposition, but the JHU would stand by its policy of supporting the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is trying to defeat the LTTE terrorists. more..

Eelam and Indian Security: Averting a Catastrophe

Nov 16 (LNP) The isolation of the LTTE and active assistance for a military option against it by the International Community, may lead the LTTE and the people backing it with no option other than facing the situation. The repercussions are sure to threaten Indian security for a long time to come. The major responsibility lies with the governments concerned in avoiding a catastrophe to the already suffering masses of Sri Lanka. more..

UN sees little progress in Govt HR probe

Nov 16 (SAMN) United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said that little progress has been made by the Government-established Commission of Inquiry (COI) set up by President Mahinda Rajapaksa last year to investigate serious human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. In his report to the UN General Assembly, the UN Chief called for greater protection of civilians affected by conflict in several countries and more..

Govt. to go in for further debt

Nov 16 (SAMN) The government is likely to go into further debt while engaged in an attempt to save the country from a skyrocketing inflationary status. This was evident when the government proposed to obtain an indemnity amounting to US$ 10 million to set up a state trade wholesale establishment announced during the presentation of the Budget 2008 in Parliament last week. more..

Maiden Lanka Film Festival in Beijing

Nov 16 (SAMN) For the first time in the local film history the National Film Corporation with the Chinese Film Bureau and the Embassy of Sri Lanka have organized a Sri Lanka Film Festival in Beijing as part of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of China - Sri Lanka Diplomatic Relations. The launching of a Sri Lanka Film Festival in China was first floated during the state visit of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa to China in February this year, more..

SLFP for better ties with its alliance

Nov 16 (SAMN) The SLFP parliamentary group has decided to improve the party’s relationship with its alliance partners when working at grass roots level. The special group meeting was held on Wednesday night, hot on the heels of the cross over of its National List MP Wijedasa Rajapakshe to the opposition. SLFP MP Basil Rajapaksa said Thursday President Mahinda Rajapaksa emphasized the need to work closely with its alliance partners at this hour. more..

Daylight robbery at Supreme Court complex

Nov 16 (DN) A man got away with Rs. three and half lakhs from two Police officers after having duped them by engineering a fake vehicle transaction at the Supreme Court complex yesterday. According to security officers of the Superior Court Complex at Hulftsdorp the two men were accompanied to the complex by a person posing as a vehicle broker who claimed that a van belonging to a senior court official was being sold cheap. more..

Conspiracy to topple Govt with LTTE help - Rajitha

Nov 16 (DN) The UNP Democratic Group is firmly behind the Government and will leave no room to see it being toppled through the defeat of the budget, Construction and Engineering Service Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday. Senaratne noted that the three Armed Forces had achieved an unprecedented victory against the LTTE. The LTTE never faced such a debacle in the conflict’s history. Under no Government before had such a victory been achieved, he said. more..

15000 jobs for graduates, a false promise:Union

Nov 16 (DM) The Combined Association of Unemployed Graduates alleged that the government had given a false promise by assuring 15000 job opportunities for them next year. Speaking at a media briefing on Thursday, the convenor of the association Sujith Kuruwita said that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa-led government had made a false promise in the budget for 2008 and in the Mahinda Chinthanaya policy programme. more..

Lankans brave CoL by upgrading lifestyle

Nov 16 (DM) Sri Lankans are upgrading their lifestyle with new technology unhindered by the escalating cost of living, according to consumer goods world market leader Sony. Addressing the media at the launch of the latest range of LCD TV technology Sony Regional Market Development Division Head and General Manager Vincent Yip along with Sony Singapore Managing Director Takeo Kobayashi maintained that Sri Lanka has “a lot of potential” as a growing market in the Asian region. more..

Sri Lanka to import 75,000 tons rice from India

Nov 16 (PTI) Sri Lanka has contracted to import 75,000 metric tons of non-basmati rice from India to meet its immediate requirement. "We have contracted import of 75,000 tons of superfine non-basmati Pooni rice and we have been told to complete the shipment by December by exporters in India," Essential Food Importers Association President S P Swamy said. more..

Sri Lanka suffer a Jaques and Hussey rerun

Nov 16 (CI) The first day in Hobart gave Sri Lanka flashbacks of Brisbane as Phil Jaques and Michael Hussey each scored their second consecutive century and Australia went to stumps at 3 for 329. Hussey was in danger of spending a night in the 90s but he relieved the pressure in the final over by pulling Farveez Maharoof expertly through midwicket for four to bring up his hundred from 169 balls. more..

U.S.Treasury says Toronto non-profit funds Tigers

Nov 16 (NP) The United States froze the assets of a Canadian non-profit group yesterday, accusing it of being part of a worldwide network that covertly supports violence by Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers rebels. The Tamils Rehabilitation Organization office in Toronto was placed on the U.S. Treasury's list of "specially designated nationals," along with branches in the United States, Sri Lanka and 15 other countries. more..

Air force jets pound rebel boatyard after clashes kill 7 guerrillas, military says

Nov 16 (AP) Air force fighter jets bombed a Tamil Tiger rebel boatyard in northern Sri Lanka while clashes between soldiers and the guerrillas killed seven rebels, a defense department official said Friday. The air force targeted the boatyard in Iranaimadu, close to the rebels' de facto capital, Kilinochchi Friday morning, the defense official said on condition of anonymity, citing government regulations. more..

International community must expand role in Sri Lanka, says book

Nov 16 (IANS) The international community is the best bet to bring peace to Sri Lanka but it needs to sharply expand its role by becoming the mediator between the Tamil Tigers and Colombo, an Indian scholar says in a new book. P. Sahadevan of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) here, however, contends that the global actors have failed to understand the LTTE, one of the most fanatic insurgent groups in the world. more..

Foreign Minister hails US decision to freeze TRO assets

Nov 17 (GDI) Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rohitha Bogollagama making a special announcement in parliament today (16) said that the Government of Sri Lanka is obliged to the decision taken by the Government of United States to freeze the U.S. held assets of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO). He said that the TRO is mainly accused for facilitating the LTTE with procurement operations. more..

Sri Lanka top state bank in debenture issue

Nov 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-owned Bank of Ceylon (BOC), the main commercial banker to the government, is planning to raise six billion rupees in debt next year to beef up regulatory capital, a top official said. “At the rate we are growing the loan book we will have a two billion rupee capital deficit to bridge next year,” Gamini Wickramasinghe, chairman, Bank of Ceylon (BOC) said. more..

LTTE collects $ 30 million a month, says Lanka

Nov 17 (HT) The Sri Lankan government said on Friday that the LTTE had been collecting up to $30 million a month from Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates across the globe. Praising the US Treasury for freezing the assets of the LTTE front – Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told parliament that Sri Lanka could now expect a "significant decline" in the collections of the LTTE world wide which ranged from $ 20 million to $30 million per month. more..

Atapattu considers Sydney relocation

Nov 17 (SMH) OUTSPOKEN Sri Lankan batsman Marvan Atapattu is considering retiring from international cricket after the Hobart Test and relocating to Sydney to play grade cricket with the St George club. The Herald has learned that Atapattu held discussions with St George representatives between the first and second Tests regarding a possible move to Sydney. Should all go to plan, the former Sri Lankan captain would arrive in Sydney before Christmas and more..

US urges Tamil Tigers to renounce violence, negotiate permanent peace

Nov 17 (AP) A senior U.S. official urged the Tamil Tigers to renounce terrorism and negotiate a permanent peace with the Sri Lankan government after Washington launched another crackdown on funding for the rebels. U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake said growing international efforts to cut off money flowing to the rebels would make it increasingly difficult for the Tigers "to import arms and other things to carry on their armed struggle." more..

‘Story-telling’American Ambassador

Nov 17 (Fri) The Public Diplomacy Division of the American Embassy organised a “Story-telling-Hour at the American Centre in Colombo recently, in an attempt to encourage the reading and writing in English among local school children. The Chief Invitee, the American Ambassador in Sri Lanka Robert O’Blake sat on a stool to read few stories to primary and secondary students from selected schools. more..

Theatrics of Canada’s ‘snow’ Tigers

Nov 17 (Fri) In a strong letter to Canada’s Liberal Party Leader Stephane Dion and the party’s Deputy Leader Michael Ignatieff, a Sri Lankan-born former card-carrying party member Asoka Weerasinghe has well and truly exposed how the ‘liberals’ have been promoting the LTTE cause with a sinister objective: Polarising the ethnic divide of the Sri Lankan-Canadian community further to feather their own nests. more..

Chandrika must spell out the reality!

Nov 17 (Fri) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has expressed patriotism when she addressed the ‘Universal Forum of Culture’ in Mexico this week. She has called upon the Government of Sri Lanka to come up with an alternative to terrorism and the demand for a separate state. She had also reiterated the need to defeat terrorism. In the form of expression, these sentiments look quite patriotic as she had also proposed that effective power sharing was the only option to resolve the crisis. more..

Colombo-Kandy: From footpath to expressway

Nov 17 (Fri) In 1972, Ceylon Observer Features Editor Eustace Rulach satirised Sri Lanka’s road and transport system in an article titled, `Tourist Ceylon in the year 2072.’ It is about a group of foreigners travelling from Colombo by tourist coach to the Katunayake airport. Two hours later, the tired and shaken passengers clamber off the coaches. more..

Arrests 'proved' TRO - LTTE link

Nov 17 (BBC) Recent arrests made in the United States proved clear links between the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) and the LTTE, authorities say. The US treasury on Wednesday announced freezing of TRO funds. "The US government has concluded that in the US the TRO has raised funds on behalf of the LTTE through a network of individual representatives," US ambassador in Sri Lanka, Robert O' Blake told journalists. more..

Failure to meet international human rights standards can jeopardise economy - NPC

Nov 17 (ISL) In recent months, Sri Lanka has been at the centre of controversy regarding International Human Rights conditions. While the government has attempted to downplay the importance of human rights principles, there could be adverse international consequences to the country from such a policy. In particular, one of the negative fallouts could be the loss of significant concessions from the European Union due to Sri Lanka’s non-implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). more..

Meditation & Medicine

Nov 17 (AT) In the Western world of today there is a famous expression: “Living in the present moment” They also say: “Here & now!” Most of the people who use these expressions do not know their origin. They come from the Satipatthana Sutta. In Sanskrit there is the word: Kshana, the shortest possible moment. Life is a sum of Kshanas. Past is gone & future has not yet come. The only moment that exists is the Present. Therefore we should live in the present moment. more..

A requiem by Karuna: The death of sub-regionalism?

Nov 17 (GV) Vakarai division, largely jungle tracts crisscrossed with 14 or so villages and little hamlets, situated along the northern border of Batticaloa District. The people of Vakarai are engaged in subsistence farming and fishing, with a small element of those who are traditionally hunter-gatherers. It was somewhere in December 1995; I was in the middle of conducting a meeting at a village called Paalchenai, in Vakarai, when suddenly a visibly distraught man from the same area burst into our meeting with a tiny transistor in his hand. more..

I was not visited by a pink elephant

Nov 17 (GV) Yesterday, the front pages of several English papers the Daily Mirror and the Daily News amongst them carried an intriguing news flash: “British will not de-ban LTTE”, and “British government will not revoke LTTE ban”. Readers all over Sri Lanka could be pardoned for scratching their heads, furrowing their brows, and saying “Eh?” It is often joked that only strange stories get selected for news: “dog bites man, not news; man bites dog, news”. more..

Of Ambushes and Things

Nov 17 (LG) A small unit of the Sri Lanka Army's elite Special Forces were infiltrating LTTE controlled Madu sector on information obtained from credible sources last Tuesday. Their mission was to eliminate the LTTE's special commander 'Col.' Jeyam who was placed in charge of Mannar to reorganize LTTE defenses against Army attacks in recent months. Jeyam was touring the area along with the Mannar Sea Tiger Leader Lakshman when the Special Forces unit from the 1st Special Forces Regiment infiltrated the area. more..