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Govt. didn’t have cakewalk to budget win

Nov 20 (LD) The government did not have a cakewalk to the passage of Budget 2008, which it finally secured with a 16-vote majority this evening (Nov. 19th) after much political haggling. The result read 118 votes in favour and 102 opposed, with two abstentions and absentees each. Members from the SLFP, the SLMC, the CWC, the UPF and the JHU voted ‘yes’ for budget proposals for next year. SLFP strongman Anura Bandaranaike stressed that he supported the budget only in consideration of his late parents, who had been mentors of the party. more..

Opposition legislators 'intimidated'

Nov 20 (BBC) Opposition parties accused the government of intimidating parliamentarians in the wake of a crucial parliamentary vote. President Rajapaksa's government on Monday received parliamentary approval for the 2008 budget proposals. Parliamentary group leader of TNA, R Sambandhan, accused the government of threatening his party's legislators. Son-in-law of Batticaloa district MP, T Kanagasabai was abducted on Sunday by an armed group while police officers provided security to his residence, more..

Impeachment against Govt. launched by UNP -5 lakhs signatures on the cards!

Nov 20 (ISL) Ranil Wickremesinghe, UNP and Opposition Leader at the launching of the campaign against Govt. at Aturugiriya on 18th Nov.said that they propose to collect five lakhs signatures in the petition to impeach the Rajapakse Bros. Govt. He invited all to participate in this campaign aimed at saving the masses from the endless hardships and sufferings imposed by the Rajapakse regime while placing his signature at 10.42 a.m. yesterday at Aturugiriya. more..

Catholics call for return of statues to vandalized church

Nov 20 (UCAN) Catholics say police have done little to arrest the culprits and recover statues following the ransacking of their hill plantation church in late October. Jesuit Father Winston Rosairo, the priest in charge of St. Fatima Church, said he had lodged a complaint at the police station at Kahawatte but has heard no news. The church is on the Kiribathgolla rubber estate in Kahawatte. Ratnapura diocese covers the area 100 kilometers southeast of Colombo. more..

Fate of JVP in the aftermath of budget 2007

Nov 20 (LR) After all the hustle and bustle, as commonly expected government managed to win the budget getting 118 votes in support while only 102 votes for the opposition. JVP was actively involved in fueling the budget saga sending mixed signals to both the government and the opposition and at the last moment they voted against it probably knowing the fact that it is never going to be defeated. more..

Anandasangaree urges Leaders and people of Tamil Nadu to demonstrate against Prabaharan

Nov 20 (AT) In an emotive appeal V. Anandasangaree has urged the Leaders and the People of Tamil Nadu to demonstrate against Mr. Prabaharan demanding him to cry halt to his meaningless war. He had pointed out that Tamil Nadu not to make a historical blunder by supporting the LTTE. Anandasangaree, President of the TULF told categorically the counter productiveness of the support presently extended by Tamil Nadu and its Leaders to solve the ethnic problem. more..

Sri Lanka – The business of ‘Peace’

Nov 20 (AT) Gehan Perera, the Director General of the ‘National Peace Council’(NGO) condemned the killing of S.P. Tamilselvan through his newspaper columns and his e mail circulars stating that the ‘killing of leaders will not solve the problem’. The way he phrases his condemnations it appears to the average reader that his reasoning is magnanimous and he has a large heart. more..

What happened to Karuna, really ?

Nov 20 (GV) Today, Karuna Amman is in the police custody of British authorities, charged with entering Britain on a forged passport. As reported in last week’s Sunday Leader, this forged passport used by Karuna had been issued under a name Kokila Gunawardana by the Department of Emigration and Immigration in Colombo. This is not a normal passport that we civilians usually use but a diplomatic one especially issued to diplomats, high-ranking government officials, more..

(Mis)-apportioning the Public Money

Nov 20 (GV) The government has tabled the Appropriation Bill for the fiscal year 2008 in the Parliament on October 10th. This short note is intended to highlight the apportioning (or rather mis-apportioning) of the public expenditure for year 2008. The overall public expenditure will increase by 15% to LKR.925 billion in 2008 from LKR.805 billion earmarked for 2007. Similarly, the defence expenditure would increase by 19% to LKR.166.5 billion (USD.1.5 billion) more..

Atapattu announces his retirement

Nov 20 (CI) Marvan Atapattu, one of Sri Lanka's finest batsmen, has finished his eventful tour of Australia by ending his international career. Atapattu announced his retirement in a letter to Duleep Mendis, the Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive, before lunch on the final day of the second Test in Hobart. He was due to face a hearing on his return to Sri Lanka for his outburst during the opening match in Brisbane when he said the Sri Lankan selectors were "muppets headed by a joker". more..

Australia win despite Sangakkara's 192

Nov 20 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara's 192 was the big difference between the scripts in Brisbane and Hobart but Sri Lanka were denied a fairytale ending as Brett Lee grabbed four wickets and Australia secured a 2-0 series victory with their 14th consecutive Test win. Despite a collapse early in the morning when Sri Lanka lost 5 for 25, Sangakkara gave Australia a few nervous moments with an audacious assault that only ended with an unfortunate umpiring call shortly before lunch. more..

No fresh projects with TRO, say NGOs

Nov 20 (CP) Several Non-Governmental Organisations say they would not enter into new projects with the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO). The United States this month froze the US-held assets of the TRO charging that the charitable organisation had “acted as a front to facilitate fundraising and procurement for the LTTE.” On September 4, 2006 Central Bank of Sri Lanka filed a petition in the High Court of Colombo to “freeze” all Sri Lanka based bank accounts of the TRO for investigations. more..

LTTE’s access to Western decision makers an attraction to other terror groups - Kohona

Nov 20 (CP) Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona warns that methods adopted by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eeelam (LTTE) could very easily provide inspiration to other terrorist groups around the world and LTTE’s access to funding through its international network, its access to Western decision makers and its sophistication must be an attraction to other terrorist groups. more..

P.B’s seat turns hotter

Nov 20 (CP) Mounting allegations of gross financial mismanagement of public funds coupled with increasing pressure from policy makers and professionals have seriously threatened Dr. P.B. Jayasundera’s future as the Treasury Secretary. Dr. Jayasundera came under a scathing attack last week by professionals representing financial and legal bodies who criticized his role as Secretary and his failure to live up to public expectations. more..

Needs, aspirations of ethnically cleansed Northern Muslims

Nov 20 (CP) In October 2007, a month long campaign to "restore the rights of the ethnically cleansed Northern Muslims" was launched. In pursuance of this, a team of researchers set up a fact finding mission to investigate the current conditions, future needs and aspirations of displaced Muslims, living mainly in Puttalam district, and to highlight the above in order to find durable solutions to this problem. more..

Professionals fail to speak against dangerous situations: Ravi

Nov 20 (CP) Ranil Wickremesinghe is young, has a greater time span and is not something which needs to be looked at, at this particular moment, says Ravi Karunanayake in this interview to THE COLOMBO POST, while adding that after Ranil succeeds in bringing peace and prosperity to this nation, he wishes to be a very active and senior member in the team. Excerpts from the interview: more..

President has to safeguard the country

Nov 20 (CP) Explaining the transformation of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party from a once strong to today’s ‘weak’ entity, Minister of Science and Technology Prof. Tissa Vitarana said the Sinhalese who supported the LSSP deserted the Party and went to the SLFP. The LSSP had support in Tamil areas, but because of the reaction to the ‘Sinhala only as official language’ issue in the Tamil areas, the Tamils had wanted their own ethnic parties and deserted the LSSP. more..

Should we remain enemies?

Nov 20 (CP) Increased prevalence of terrorism and political violence in the contemporary world has led to many initiatives in recent years aimed at removing the scourge. Military efforts to secure peace have been deployed, with better informed justification in some cases than in others. Yet, group violence through systematic instigation is not exclusively, nor primarily, a military challenge. more..

Central bank promises vigilance over liquidity as inflation rages

Nov 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank said it is countering a liquidity shock to the monetary system from a dollar bond issue, though policy rates frozen at 12.0 percent remained negative compared to raging 19.6 percent inflation. A sudden conversion of 500 million dollars worth state borrowings in late October drove up money supply with excess liquidity to more than 10 percent over the central bank's reserve money targets from October 24. more..

'Our town is a graveyard'

Nov 20 (GU) Human rights are in crisis in Sri Lanka as civilians continue to be caught in the crossfire of civil war. Both the government and the Tamil Tigers have been blamed for spates of killings and abductions, while mass displacement is creating a climate of fear in the east and north of the country. Jonathan Gorvett, a freelance journalist covering the conflict from Colombo, describes a visit to Trincomalee, a town ravaged by race riots. more..

Thileepan statue destroyed in Nalloor, Jaffna

Nov 20 (TN) A gang of unidentified men went on rampage Sunday night, during the curfew hours, demolishing the statue of Lt. Col. Thileepan (Rasiah Parthipan) located behind the historic Nalloor Kanthaswamy Koayil on Point Pedro Nalloor road, sources in Jaffna said. The memorial erected in 1988 was completely destroyed by Sri Lankan Army (SLA) when the SLA moved in to occupy Jaffna in 1996. more..

The Black Tigers

Nov 20 (LG) Unique in the field of special operations are the "Black Tigers" of the separatist LTTE rebels in Sri Lanka. A force of about two dozen of these commandos raided the heavily guarded Anuradhapura air base, 170 kilometers north of the capital, on October 22nd, killing 14 air force personnel, and destroying eight aircraft (two MI-24 helicopter gunships, one Beechcraft 200 HISAR naval reconnaissance aircraft, three PT-6 trainers, one K-8 trainer and one Mi-17 transport helicopter). more..

New Book on Conflict in Sri Lanka

Nov 20 (LG) The contributions in this edited volume examine the issues relating to the stalled peace process in Sri Lanka, which was initiated after the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) of February 22, 2002 between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. The papers look at the ground realities, the intentions and capabilities of the players and suggest alternative frameworks for restarting the peace process. more..

LTTE fund raising event in London

Nov 20 (LG) A fund raising event of the LTTE took place at Shree Kanaga Durgai Amman Temple in the Northwest London on November 17,2007. Attended by supporters of the LTTE, the event received big publicity in the LTTE media. The publicity material for the event said: ‘distinguished, illustrious Eelam Tamil's poet, Puthuvai Ratnathurai's CD release in English held on Saturday the 17th of November 2007.’ more..

JVP too will be labeled as Tiger associates, says Gayantha

Nov 20 (LeN) UNP media spokesman Gayantha Karunathilaka said at a press briefing held at the Opposition Leader's office today that the most unstable present Government's only savior was Prabakaran. He said that the Government behaved shamefully at the budget removing the security of the TNA MPs, abducting the son-in-law of MP K. Kanagasabesan to force him not to vote against budget, attempting to terrify UNP MP Sagala Rathnayaka by sending Army to his house and more..

Government will be finished on December 14 -Mangala

Nov 20 (LeN) SLFP's Wing Convener Mangala Samaraweera vows the Government will definitely be toppled at the third reading of the budget as a large number of Government MPs will vote in opposition to the budget on that day. At a press briefing held in Colombo today Samaraweera said that despite all attempts to show massive victory by several Government heads, the second reading vote showed that the actual margin between the Government and the opposition was seven votes. more..

'Those who criticize defence expenditure, did nothing towards peace'

Nov 20 (GDI) Speaking in the Parliament yesterday (19) at the Budget debate the leader of the EPDP also the Minister of Social Welfare, Douglas Devananda said that the ultimate goal to the crisis is the political freedom which can be achieved through a mechanism of power devolution. Clarifying the perception that the war expenditure has gone up, Minister Devananda said that those who are criticizing the defence expenditure has done nothing towards a peaceful solution to the country. more..

Chamila’s Tale? – Suspected Doctor accused with similar cases

Nov 20 (GDI) A paper in circulation locally in the Negombo area ‘Meepura’ had revealed that the suspected doctor for the death of Chamila has made similar advances on a patient a few months ago and had been assaulted by her boy friend. But the couple had not brought it to light due to embarrassment. Director of the Negombo Hospital Board, Dr. Anton Tissera speaking to the Government official news website said that as no formal complaint had been made on that occasion no action could be taken. more..

A face lift for migrant workers

Nov 20 (GDI) Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare, Keheliya Rambukwella held a special news briefing in Parliament today (20) to explain the objectives of the Select Committee of Parliament appointed to look in to the difficulties which Sri Lankan migrant workers have to face. Members to this committee were appointed by the Hon. Speaker representing all factions in Parliament. more..

President for Commonwealth Leaders meeting today

Nov 20 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is scheduled to leave the island today to participate at the 2007 Meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) from November 23 to 25 in Kampala, Uganda, President's Media sources said. A total of 52 Heads of Government, almost one third of the world's leaders, including Prime Ministers, Presidents and monarchs have indicated their participation in this CHOGM summit. more..

Budget 2008, postmortem

Nov 20 (GDI) Voting on the Budget-2008 ended in a victory for President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Government. The opinion of the political parties that supported the Government was that this victory was not only a victory for politicians but also all patriotic citizens who are determined firstly to rid the country of terrorism and secondly gear the country towards a progressive economy. more..

Jayawardene: 'We had more to offer than this'

Nov 20 (CI) Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene expressed disappointment after his team lost both matches of the two-Test series against Australia. "We had a bit more to offer than this as a team. We had a lot of talented guys in the group and unfortunately we couldn't get all that talent together in a couple of games. That was the most disappointing factor for us," Jayawardene said at the end of the second Test, which his team lost by 96 runs. more..

Unrewarded brilliance

Nov 20 (CI) Whenever Sri Lankans look back to 2007 they will always wonder what would have happened if Kumar Sangakkara did not tear his hamstring in the tour game in Adelaide. The injury was relatively minor, but the effect on the tourists was deadly. As Sangakkara finished the two-Test series by treating the Australian bowlers like he would in the final ten overs of a one-day game, it was irritating to think of the difference he could have made if he was fit for Brisbane. more..

Tharanga makes England toil in warm-up

Nov 20 (CI) England's bowlers continued to toil for wickets on the first afternoon of their opening warm-up match at the Colombo Cricket Club, as the Sri Lanka opener Upul Tharanga staked his claim for inclusion in the first Test at Kandy, following this morning's retirement of Marvan Atapattu. By the time bad light closed in during the final session, Tharanga was 94 not out, with eight fours and a straight six down the ground, and his fellow international, Chamara Kapugedera, was alongside him, unbeaten on 48. more..

Koertzen says sorry to Kumar

Nov 20 (CI) Rudi Koertzen apologised to Kumar Sangakkara for the mistake that prevented the batsman from reaching a seventh double-century and extinguished the slim chance Sri Lanka had of levelling the series in Hobart. Sangakkara, who swept to 192 in a brutal and beautiful innings, missed a pull shot off Stuart Clark and was hit on the shoulder and helmet before the ball floated towards Ricky Ponting at second slip. more..

Sri Lanka to appoint town planners to all local bodies

Nov 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka has decided to appoint professional town planners to all local government bodies in a move that will speed up approvals and reduce corruption, officials said. The number of town planners in these bodies today is woefully inadequate, resulting in delays in getting approvals for building permits and payment of bribes by the public trying to cut red tape, they said. more..

Presidential Commission on Human Rights- extended

Nov 20 (GDI) The period of the eight member commission appointed by the Presented in 2006 to look in to the various foams of Human Rights violations has been extended by an year until 2nd November 2008. This commission comprising eminent persons to look in to various violations of HR and personal assassination has to continue it’s investigations in to unfinished tasks. more..

There's more to democracy than meets the eye!

Nov 20 (KT) DEMOCRACY is better than dictatorship. But can one say that a democracy that is racist to the core is better than a dictatorship that is non-racist? The type of democracy that the apartheid regime of South Africa practised from 1948 to 1994 and the one practised by Israel since its illegitimate inception in 1948 have made this hallowed political concept a big sham. more..

Budget-2008: We will vote against even on the third reading – JVP Leader

Nov 20 (AT) The leader of JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe says that his party will vote against the Budget even on its third reading scheduled for December 14. "We will maintain the same stand of yesterday's second reading. But we will observe political developments in the next few weeks" Mr. Amarasinghe said speaking to the press today. Yesterday's Budget debate and voting has been one of the most closely watched one ever in the Sri Lanka's 225 members Parliament. more..

Capital punishment to be reactivated

Nov 20 (SAMN) A Cabinet memorandum requesting the reactivation of capital punishment on criminals for crimes against children and women will be presented by Child Development and Women's Empowerment Minister Sumedha G. Jayasena. This is being done on demands by the public and religious leaders, W.M.S. Wijekoon, Media Coordinator to the Minister said adding that at the moment the death penalty exists but the President has to approve it prior to implementation. more..

Rauff says SLMC MPs not commodities

Nov 20 (SAMN) SLMC Leader and Post and Telecommunications Minister Rauff Hakeem said in Parliament yesterday that the SLMC MPs would not become commodities with price tags. He made this point on the final day of the debate on the second reading of the Budget in the House. The minister said the SLMC was a party with principles and that was the reason which led him to disclose the party’s decision at the Government group meeting on Sunday, more..

PC to probe Athukorale's death

Nov 20 (SAMN) Chief Government whip Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle told Parliament Monday that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to appoint a special Presidential Commission (PC) to investigate the sudden death of former UNP General Secretary and Ratnapura District MP Gamini Athukorale. President Rajapaksa has made this decision paying special attention towards the statement made by Ratnapura District UNP MP Thalatha Athukorale regarding more..

TU action may disrupt work in hospitals

Nov 20 (SAMN) Administrative and office functions in state hospitals in all parts of the country are likely to be crippled today as the Health Management Assistants (Clerical Staff) stage a token strike demanding that their annual transfers be stopped immediately. They also want the transfer of the Health Service Trade Union Alliance president to Batticaloa cancelled immediately. more..

No moves to withdraw MPs' security

Nov 20 (DN) Chief Government Whip Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle yesterday told Parliament that the Government has not taken any move to withdraw or reduce the security provided to MPs. The Minister was responding to a privilege matter raised by the TNA Group Leader R. Sampanthan on the withdrawal of security provided to three Batticaloa district TNA MPs - Thangeshwari, Ariyanethran and Kanagasabai. more..

Chinese aid for Southern Province

Nov 20 (DN) The Datang International Power Generation Company, Ltd., China has agreed to construct a 300 MW generating coal power plant in the Southern Province. A delegation of high ranking officials from the Datang Power Group Company has expressed their willingness to construct the power plant recently at a meeting with Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Sarath Amunugama. more..

Govt. jubilant, UNP says wait and see

Nov 20 (DM) Commenting on yesterday’s victory at the vote on the second reading of the budget, senior presidential advisor and parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa said it was a vote for the territorial integrity, democracy and economic policies of the government. “This victory has sent a clear message to the LTTE and the international NGOs that dollars cannot defeat this government,” a jubilant Rajapaksa said. more..

No joint naval exercise with Pak: Sri Lankan official

Nov 20 (PTI) Sri Lanka on Tuesday said two Pakistani warships docked in the capital's port were on a "goodwill" visit and there were no plans to conduct joint military exercises between navies of the two countries. When asked whether the two warships -- Shahjahan and Nasar -- currently docked in the Colombo port will take part in a joint naval exercise with the country's navy, a senior official said as of now, Sri Lanka conducts joint exercises only with the US and India. more..

Govt. paying towering rents

Nov 20 (DM) The government spends Rs. 7.4 billion annually on rentals for privately owned buildings where ministries are housed, parliament was informed yesterday. During oral questions JVP MP Ranaweera Pathirana queried as to why the government spent such a massive sum of money despite the availability of so many state buildings. “This amount is an unbearable burden to the government,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka inequality on the rise despite growth: UNDP

Nov 20 (LBO) Inequality is on the rise in Sri Lanka despite the island making much progress in economic development, an international expert said. Overall progress in Sri Lanka has been concentrated in the western province and hides wide regional income disparities, said Neil Buhne, UN Resident Coordinator, Sri Lanka. There were pockets of acute poverty in the central and southern provinces, more..

Soldiers attack Tamil rebel bunkers in northern Sri Lanka, killing 5 rebels

Nov 20 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers attacked separatist Tamil Tiger rebel bunkers along front lines in the country's north Tuesday, killing five guerrillas, the military said. The early morning attack also destroyed two rebel bunkers in the village of Kilali, along the frontier between government- and rebel-controlled territory, said a defense ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity more..