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Prof. Muhammad Yunus lauds Sri Lanka’s progress

Nov 2 (LP) “Despite the conflict in the country, Sri Lanka has gained in certain areas more than many other nation in the region.” Prof. Muhammad Yunus speaks exclusively to business magazine LMD. The November issue of pioneering business magazine LMD features Nobel laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus on its cover, as he SWOTs Sri Lanka in an exclusive interview. Amidst the country’s many problems, Yunus dissects the true potential of Sri Lanka and he goes as far as to say that “Sri Lanka is a very successful country.” more..

Unemployed graduates in bitter face-off with police

Nov 2 (LD) Over a thousand unemployed graduates staged a protest demonstration in front of the Colombo Fort Railway Station today (Nov. 01st) demanding employment as promised by the government in 2006 and to reserve the necessary funds from the budget for 2008. The protesting graduates were confronted by the police near Hilton Hotel while marching towards the Finance ministry to hand over a petition. more..

Six or eight UNPers to government after budget

Nov 2 (LeN) Construction and Engineering Services Minister Rajitha Senarathna says that the the government panel of Ministers will be strengthened by six or eight numbers more after the budget is presented. In response to a question posed by 'Lanka-e-News', Senarathna revealed this at a press briefing held today (01) by the UNP Democratic Group to clarify the current political situation. more..

UNP emphasizes importance of a political solution

Nov 2 (LD) “Countries that encountered ethnic conflicts such as the one in Sri Lanka have solved differences through extensive power devolution. There is not a single country that has brought about a resolution through war”, says UNP National Organizer S.B. Dissanayake. Speaking to the media today (November 01st), Dissanayake said that the Mahinda Rajapaksa government should set a power devolution plan in motion, rather than wage a war. more..

'False accusations will not deter Govt.’s efforts to eradicate terrorism'

Nov 2 (GDI) Minister of Mass Media and Information Anura Priyadarshna Yapa alleged that the UNP is trying to obtain petty political advantages by misleading the public by undermining the victories of the security forces. He said that it is a fabricated lie of the UNP that the Government was taking cover behind the war. Minister Yapa stated this at the media briefing held today (06) at the Government Information Department to announce cabinet decisions. more..

Malinga aims to bowl faster

Nov 2 (CI) Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan fast bowler, has said he would like to bowl faster than he did on his last tour to Australia. I have more pace now than last time we played here. I think maybe I can get around 140kph now. I want more pace," Malinga told AFP. "All fast bowlers like to do the bouncer and everything. I am the same. We are going to be very attacking." more..

Sri Lanka lures Indian retail investors into debt market

Nov 2 (IE) Indian investors, planning to invest overseas, have the option of investing in the Sri Lankan debt market as it has recently opened the treasury bills (TBs) market to foreign retail investors. Sri Lanka's central bank governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said here on Wednesday that in late January Sri Lanka offered up to 5% of the total TBs worth $400 million, to foreign investors. more..

Clashes 'kill many' in Sri Lanka

Nov 2 (BBC) Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels have fought fierce battles in the north of the island with the loss of many lives, the two sides say. About 30 soldiers and rebels are reported to have died. Both sides say the other suffered heavy casualties. There is no independent confirmation. Military jets also pounded a suspected rebel training base in the north-east. Fighting between troops and the rebels, who want autonomy in the north and east, has worsened in recent months. more..

UNP 'will support devolution'

Nov 2 (BBC) The main opposition in Sri Lanka, United National Party (UNP) say that it will extend their support if the government stops the war and comes out with a proposal for devolution of power. UNP National Organiser, S B Dissanayake told journalists on Thursday that neither party can win the war. Despite of LTTE’s aim for a separate state, such ambitions will not be backed by international support S B Dissanayake added. more..

Marks & Spencer expands in Sri Lanka

Nov 2 (FP) Head of International Operations of Marks & Spencer UK on a brief visit to the Country last week had extensive talks with representatives of Global Park and RJV International to finalise the next phase of their logistics operations in Sri Lanka. Marks & Spencer (M&S) with an annual turnover of over Sterling Pounds 8 billion (US $ 16 billion) is a UK based retail giant with over 400 stores located throughout the UK and 150 stores worldwide including over 130 Franchise businesses operating in 35 countries. more..

Sri Lanka confident of retaining favoured EU market access

Nov 2 (LBO) Tariff preferences available under European Union market access concessions are a 'blank cheque' for Sri Lankan exporters to penetrate sophisticated markets, trade officials said. Director of Commerce Kulatunga Perera said the EU's Generalised System of Preferences Plus scheme will be reviewed in 2008 and that he was confident Sri Lanka will past muster on the key criteria of labour rights and economic vulnerabilities. more..

Updates from Mannar

Nov 2 (ISL) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers from the 57th division moved ahead of their defense lines in Mannar to capture a might fought after rebel defense line north west of Giant tank in a pre dawn offensive today. Army's infantry formations backed by the commando regiment and Sri Lanka artillery, were able to overrun the LTTE bunker line today morning amidst heavy resistance. more..

Federalism one country; militarism two countries

Nov 2 (FI) It is worthless to debate words rather than issues: The seed of Federalism was planted in the North and East as far back as 1926. None other than the Oxford-educated SWRD Bandaranaike was once invited by the Tamil Youth Congress to address them. The subject he chose on that occasion was, “Federalism as the only solution to the political problems”. This was, in fact, his response to the British Government when it handed its reins over to the Sri Lankan politicians with these words: “Divide and Rule”. more..

Why are Muslim ministers betraying Muslim interests in North-East?

Nov 2 (TC) There are 24 Muslim Members of Parliament, out of 225 in total. Eighteen of them hold ministerial portfolios. Every single Muslim political party SLMC, ACMC, NUA, NMC, DUA is in the government. Yet, ordinary Muslims in the north and east continue to suffer despite the parties relying primarily on votes from the East and the North. And all these ministers do nothing much to help. In fact, they assist a Sinhala racist government. more..

In defence of the Church of Ceylon, aka the Anglican Church

Nov 2 (AT) The prestigious "Asian Tribune's" Forum Member SRH Hoole takes issue with my article, Sri Lanka's Anglican Church adopts Liberation Theology, Bishop shows symbolic solidarity with Kilinocchi, which warrants a few comments from me. I won't trace the history and politics of the British Isles which led to the formation of the Church of the Anglos – the Anglican Church – except to say that it was essentially a political statement by the then English royals. more..

Lanka inviting Qatari, global energy firms to bid for 3 blocks

Nov 2 (GT) Sri Lanka has invited Qatari as well as international energy companies to participate in the bid for oil exploration in three offshore blocks in the country’s northwest. Sri Lanka’s Minister of Petroleum, A H M Fowzie said the tender would be closed in January and the bid would be awarded sometime in 2008. A recent study commissioned by Sri Lanka and initiated by an Australian firm revealed the country had oil reserves in excess of 1bn barrels. more..

Lanka seeks more tourist inflow from Pakistan

Nov 2 (ET) The Sri Lankan tourism industry, which has been reeling under a severe impact of the ongoing LTTE conflict, is now looking at friendly neighbours like Pakistan to give a boost to the ailing sector. The tourism sector, which already has promotional schemes for Indian tourists, is now working on measures to bring in a greater number of visitors from Pakistan and other countries. more..

Catholics called to take stand on killings, forego Christmas celebrations

Nov 2 (UCAN) Some priests are calling on Catholics to boycott Christmas celebrations in Sri Lanka unless the war and related killings and disappearances end. "Stop all the Christmas celebrations. No Christmas cards, no lights, no decorations, no new clothes. Nothing. We can do that, can't we?" Father M. Selvaratnam asked during a meeting at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) on Oct. 26 in Colombo. more..

Religious leaders welcome new Ratnapura Bishop

Nov 2 (UCAN) Buddhist and Hindu leaders have called on Sri Lanka's newest Catholic bishop to safeguard ethnic and religious harmony among people in his southern diocese. "Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims of this area have always lived like members of one family. Let this brotherhood be a continuation of the prevailing cooperation and solidarity in this area," Venerable Yatiyantota Upali Thero told people at St. Mary's Church in Yatiyantota, more..

Lanka seeks Qatar help in rebuilding mosques

Nov 2 (GT) SRI Lanka has sought Qatar’s help in rebuilding some 62 mosques that have either been totally or partially damaged in the 2004 Tsunami. Sri Lanka’s Minister for Petroleum A H M Fowzie yesterday met HE the Minister of Awkaf and Religious Affairs Faisal bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud and sought Qatar’s help in reconstructing the mosques across the island nation. “Our estimate is that we require about SR200mn to reconstruct these mosques,” he said. more..

ABC Media Network Chairman found guilty for contempt of court

Nov 2 (LeN) Supreme Court of Sri Lanka today ordered to nullify the broadcasting license of the ABC Media Network on the basis that the Chairman of the company compiled incorrect information to mislead the Supreme Court. The Chairman Reno Silva who was found guilty of contempt of court was released on Rs. 250,000 cash bail and ordered to cite causes not to punish him before November 26 through an affidavit. more..

Some Ministers remembering not only the President's mother but also grandmother -SB

Nov 2 (LeN) "India is unhappy over not solving the north and east problem. Financial institutes reject concessionary loans and only commercial credits are granted to this country. United Nations has serious allegations against government. If sanctions are imposed, the garment industry will collapse within 24 hours. We are at a terrible risk, says United National Party (UNP) National Organizer S.B. Disanayaka. more..

Sri Lanka to get British expertise to enhance shopping experience

Nov 2 (LBO) A Sri Lankan media management and marketing services company, has tied up with a UK firm to offer retail design and research to optimize revenues, officials said. Vanguard Management Services has tied up with Shopworks, a UK consultancy which has worked with retailers like Tesco, Carrefour, Wal-Mart as well as top brands such as Coca Cola, Apple, Epson and Motorola. more..

Sri Lankan motor trade lobbies against used car imports

Nov 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka's motor trade is lobbying the government to discourage used car imports and change import duty to make brand new vehicles more affordable. The Ceylon Motor Traders' Association (CMTA) says the government has still not responded to repeated proposals to restructure vehicle tax regulations and introduce a method of obtaining motor traders' opinion on taxes. more..

ICL still part of Atapattu's plans

Nov 2 (CI) Marvan Atapattu, who should be a certainty for the first Test, accepted an invitation from Sri Lanka's sports minister to tour Australia only after checking his diary to make sure the trip didn't interrupt his plans for November. Atapattu has been approached by the Indian Cricket League (ICL) and if the unofficial tournament had been on track for the start of this month it is likely Atapattu would be in India instead of making polished runs in Brisbane. more..

Sri Lanka's bowlers fight back after top-order failure

Nov 2 (CI) Sri Lanka's batsmen missed a crucial opportunity to adjust to the Queensland conditions ahead of next week's Test and were knocked down on the first day of the tour game by Ashley Noffke. The tourists received an early taste of what the Gabba would be like next week and their top order failed to cope with the tricky bounce and early movement from an attack led by Noffke's 5 for 36 and supported by Mitchell Johnson, Andy Bichel and Michael Kasprowicz. more..

Media Minister commends the responsible behaviour of the Media

Nov 2 (GDI) “The good conduct of the media influenced the Government to withdraw the intended Gazette notification that was issued following the airing of false and irresponsible information about a terrorist attack by sections of the media withdrawn on October 31,” said the Minister of Media and Information Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. Minister Yapa said that “The Government carefully studied the conduct of the media in the recent past before taking this decision.” more..

9th University Games Festival, today at Kelaniya

Nov 2 (GDI) More than 5,000 participants from 13 universities will take part in the 9th University Games Festival, starting today at University of Kelaniya. Around 28 events under 19 different categories of sports and the events will be held at 10 different places, including the University of Kelaniya, Sugathadasa Stadium, and the sports grounds of the National Youth Centre. more..

India agrees to export rice to Lanka

Nov 2 (TOI) Acceding to the request of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, India has agreed to export 6,000 metric tons of rice to the island nation, which is reeling under high inflation due to spiralling food prices. The contracted stock of ponni samba rice, which was held back in Tutocorin and Chennai harbours after New Delhi imposed restrictions on export of rice, is expected in Sri Lanka by next week, private traders said adding it is expected to have a softening impact on prices in that country. more..

Summary of the Cabinet Decisions

Nov 2 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted approval a memorandum submitted by the Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Co-operatives and Consumer Services, Bandula Gunawardena, to import 5,000 MT of Wheat Flour in the first month to initiate an import programme and increase this up to 20,000 MT per month subsequently at US$ 378.00 PMT. The import cost per kilogram would come to Rs. 45.64 and it is expected that this move would help stabilize wheat flour prices and bring much needed relief to the consumer. more..

17 years of Northern Muslim exodus

Nov 2 (FRI) It was seventeen years ago the Muslims from the North were forcibly evacuated by the LTTE, after the IPKF withdrawal from the North and East in 1989. The Muslims in the Jaffna Peninsula were living mainly within the Jaffna Municipal limits and in the district of Chavakachcheri. They were also scattered around in small numbers in various parts of other areas in the region. more..

Anuradhapura attack and media agendas

Nov 2 (FRI) Has the world ever heard of an endless war where anti-government rebels are constantly victorious and the State is always losing almost every battle? Well, there can be no such conflict anywhere, because the State will be forced to surrender before long. But in Sri Lanka the sections of the local and foreign media and some `peaceniks’ have created such a mythical war which has now almost reached its 25th year here in this island. more..

Patients visited hospitals 40mn times in 2006

Nov 2 (LNP) The total number of patients seeking treatment in hospitals in Sri Lanka annually is double the total population of the country. This was revealed by the advisor to the World Bank Health Development Programme Professor Nimal Kasthuriarachi at the Sabaragamuwa Health Service office in Ratnapura. The Health Ministry, in collaboration with provincial ministries of health, is organizing meetings in all provinces in order to obtain the opinion, more..

Karu J. will be UNP leader after budget - Rajitha

Nov 2 (LNP) The UNP (D) Group yesterday predicted a power change within the UNP after the forthcoming budget, with another batch of six to eight prominent MPs already in line to join either UNP(D) or the Government directly. Holding that a victory the UNP (D) was a victory for the UNP, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said there would be an exodus from the UNP and added they (D-group) would grab power within the party after the budget, with heir apparent to the UNP Minister Karu Jayasuriya installed as leader. more..

HSBC Head International in Colombo

Nov 2 (LNP) Mr Paul Leech, Head of International, HSBC visited Sri Lanka from the October 30-31 to discuss the strategic direction of the bank for the coming term. During his visit, he met with the Deputy Governor of Central Bank, Dr Mrs Ranee Jayamaha, to review the nature of the banking industry in Sri Lanka at present. He was also met by the Functional Heads of HSBC, who made their presentations to him on the current position of the organisation and he had the opportunity of examining the areas of growth in each field. more..

Towards a paedophiles` paradise

Nov 2 (LNP) A paedophile nabbed in Kandy recently with a fourteen-year-old boy, who was drunk at the time of the raid, has been enlarged on bail. The dispensation of justice is a matter best left to the learned judges. Suffice it to say that justice must not only be done but it must also be seen to be done. It was only the other day that a minister pleaded guilty to fraud, which is a criminal offence and walked away after settling the State cost! more..

Cross talk on Budget crossovers

Nov 2 (SAMN) With conflicting claims and counter claims over who will vote for whom on the Budget this month, the focus Thursday was on the divided UNP where the two groups made different claims. UNP National Organiwser S.B. Dissanayake said at an opportune time, the UNP would win back the 17 dissidents who crossed over to the government. He said the dissidents were not happy with their present lot and were therefore likely to rejoin the UNP when the time was ripe, more..

Tigers say Sri Lanka army offensive beaten back

Nov 2 (AFP) Tamil Tiger guerrillas on Friday said they had beaten back two attacks by government forces in northern Sri Lanka with the loss of seven of their own fighters. The rebel LTTE said there were two attempts by government forces to break into territory they hold and both were thwarted. In the heaviest fighting along the Wanni sector, the Tigers said they estimated military losses at 25 killed and 60 wounded on Thursday, but the military placed their losses at two killed and 12 wounded. more..

COI mandate ending, IIGEP concerned

Nov 2 (SAMN) With the Commission of Inquiry (COI) mandate expiring today, the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) is awaiting word from President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the future of the group’s term of office, informed sources said. Meanwhile the IIGEP -- which has so far issued at least three statements criticising the COI’s effectiveness – continues to maintain unchanged its views on the COI while hoping to continue until the President feels the IIGEP is not needed anymore. more..

10 million phone users by year end

Nov 2 (SAMN) Over 50 per cent of the Sri Lankan population would be connected either by mobile or fixed lines by year end. Director General, Telecom Regulatory Commission Kanchana Ratwatte said mobile subscribers have passed the seven million mark. In addition, there are over 2.3 million fixed line customers including CDMA users. "We expect both these subscriber numbers to increase and the total customer base would pass the 10 million mark by the end of this year," he said. more..

It was to prevent communal clashes: Yapa

Nov 2 (SAMN) The government said Thursday the revoked censorship regulations were introduced in order to avert possible inter-communal clashes in the country; but it was unable to explain how the reportage of weapons procurements and future military operations could lead to communal violence. “Our purpose was to prevent any communal clashes resulting from the publication of sensitive military matters, as there are several communities living in the country,” more..

Ranil asked to file objections

Nov 2 (DN) Colombo District Judge Sisira Ratnayake yesterday ordered UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to file objections on November 6 against issuing an order to submit the alleged MoU agreement he entered into with Sri Lanka Freedom Party Mahajana Wing convenor Mangala Samaraweera on July 19, 2007 as it was needed for the continuation of the case. The Court also fixed December 3 for hearing of the case. more..

New engines for fuel transport

Nov 2 (DN) The Government has taken steps to purchase three railway engines through the Institute of Ceylon Petroleum Stores Terminal Limited (CPSTL) and hand these over to the Department of Railways to streamline fuel transport. Addressing the weekly press briefing, Information and Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said Cabinet has granted approval for the memorandum submitted by Transport Minister Dullas Allahapperuma. more..

SCF refutes allegations of funding LTTE

Nov 2 (DM) Save the Children Fund yesterday refuted allegations that it had provided funds to the LTTE and said that a contract with the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) alleged to be linked to the LTTE came to an end in August last year, at which point the TRO had completed and accounted for all its projects except completing the construction of 36 pre schools. The NGO says that a contract signed with the TRO expired after it was reported that their bank accounts were frozen by the Central Bank and more..

Iqbal Athas case: submissions for AG

Nov 2 (DM) At the conclusion of the submissions for the Attorney General in the appeal against the judgment in the case of criminal trespass and intimidation of journalist Iqbal Athas, the Deputy Solicitor General informed the Appeal court that the punishment meted out to the convicted Air Force officials was ‘manifestly inadequate’ and stated that the maximum punishment should be imposed on them. more..

Tamil Tiger political chief killed in Sri Lanka strike: rebels

Nov 2 (AFP) The political head and chief peace negotiator of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers was killed in a government air strike, the guerrillas announced. S.P. Thamilselvan, 40, the public face of the LTTE died with five others in an attack by the Sri Lankan air force on rebel-held territory, they said. The defence ministry said it had targeted a venue where rebel leaders were meeting but gave no further details. more..

Thamilchelvan killed in SLAF air attack

Nov 2 (AP) A Sri Lankan airstrike pounded a meeting of top rebel leaders early Friday, killing the head of the Tamil Tigers' political wing and five others in an attack seen as a major victory for the government in its long fight with the guerrillas. The killing of S.P. Tamilselvan, assumed by many to be the secretive group's second in command, was certain to badly damage the rebels' morale nearly two weeks after they stunned the government with a devastating attack on an air base. more..

Nation should pay tribute to heroes who proved that tiger terrorism could be defeated! – JVP

Nov 3 (LT) Carrying out the aerial attack on the tiger base where Thamilselvan, the head of the political wing of the tiger organization and several other leaders of the tiger organization were killed and also destroying the base where these leaders meet regularly, amply prove, yet again, that Sri Lankan Security Forces have the ability to defeat separatist tiger terrorism states the JVP and adds that the whole Nation should pay tribute to those heroes. more..

121 more petrol sheds to be sold to IOC?

Nov 3 (LT) 121 of the new petrol sheds to be opened are to be handed over to Indian Oil Company (IOC) on a decision by Minister of Petroleum and Petroleum development A.H.M. Fouzy complains United Trade Union of Petroleum Corporation. The union would take stern trade union action if the minister doesn’t withdraw his decision to hand over petrol sheds to the Indian company said Mr. D.J. Rajakaruna, convener of the union. more..

Police use tear gas to stop graduates

Nov 3 (BBC) Police used tear gas and water cannons to attack hundreds of unemployed graduates who attempted to march to the Finance Ministry on Thursday. The protesters were demanding the government to deliver on promises the President had given them. Ten graduates were injured as the result of the incident, and one admitted to the National Hospital with head injuries. more..