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Journalists protest press burning amidst anger and frustration

Nov 24 (HA) "We will fight for media freedom till we fall", "We do not want another commission to investigate the attacks on journalists and media houses", "Our journey will continue despite threats". Journalists shouted slogans while showing anger and frustration. The protest was held on November 23rd 2007 in front of the Fort Railway Station at 12.30pm. Civil society activists, human rights activists and women rights activists joined the protest. more..

Sri Lankan researcher questions MDGs, notes backward trends

nOV 24 (LBO) A Sri Lankan researcher has questioned the importance of Millennium Development Goals (MDG) saying they did not reveal reasons for poverty and that some showed an alarming trend in the wrong direction. Priyanthi Fernando, executive director, Centre for Poverty Analysis, said MDGs and other economic indicators were good for making comparisons and targeting. "But I've always been a bit uncomfortable with MDGs," more..

Pakistan lauds Sri Lanka's opposition to Commonwealth suspension

nOV 24 (Xinhua) Pakistan Friday welcomed Sri Lanka's stand which opposed Islamabad's suspension from the Commonwealth. Sri Lanka and Malaysia objected to the Commonwealth's decision to suspend emergency-ruled Pakistan, according to reports. "The government of Pakistan appreciates the decision of the government of Sri Lanka to disassociate itself from the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG)'s decision to suspend Pakistan from the councils of the Commonwealth," more..

Withdraw sound pollution act or we’ll vote against budget! – Muslim ministers warn Govt.

Nov 24 (LT) If the sound pollution act that prevents the use of public address systems at night is not withdrawn all Muslim ministers would vote against the 3rd reading of the 3rd budget of the Mahinda Rajapakse government scheduled to be held on the 14th says Minister of Export Development Cegu Isadeen. He said this participating at a protest campaign held at Jumma Mosque at Maradana, Colombo against the laws enforced preventing the use of public address systems at night. more..

'Communication mishap caused Sri Lanka to vote for removal of Pakistan from Commonwealth'

Nov 24 (LT) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama voted for the proposal to temporarily remove Pakistan from the Commonwealth due to a communication defect says Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Baila. Mr. Baila said this in response to a statement made by UNP Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella in Parliament today. Mr. Kiriella said Foreign Minister Bogollagama had voted for the proposal to remove Pakistan from the Commonwealth and the government need to make a statement. more..

'Parliament now comprises only two `Parties`- one concerned with masses, the other with self-gain at nation`s pain'

Nov 24 (ISL) Lakshman Kiriella, UNP Parliamentarian addressing the Media at the UNP Media Unit today (22Nov) said that the Parliament after the Budget, now comprises two factions: one faction concerned about the people and the country; the other aligned with the Govt. to grab selfish benefits betraying the people and the country in line with the Rajapakse Bros. self nourishing policies. more..

Norochchole to tide over the power crisis

Nov 24 (LG) The Government of Sri Lanka is considering the possibility of accelerating the Norochchole Coal- Power Project, which is expected to add another 300 Mega Watts to the national grid. This is a move to meet the emerging power crisis. The contract for same was signed by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the National Machinery Export Cooperation of China in March 2006. more..

SIS tails JVP leaders

Nov 24 (LD) With the JVP voting against the Budget 2008 at its second reading on November 19th, investigations against several JVP leaders have been triggered, reliable reports say. Reports further say that the Presidential Secretariat has ordered the State Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Special Branch of the Police to start investigations on the JVP General Secretary, Tilvin Silva, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake and another JVP activist known as Kumara Gunaratnam. more..

UNP declines proposals for Natl. govt.

Nov 24 (LD) The UNP rejected Minister Mahinda Wijesekera’s invitation to form a national government today. Speaking at a media briefing in Kirulapone yesterday, Minister Wijesekera said that the President wants the UNP Democratic Group to convince the UNP on the necessity for a national government, or else to take the party’s power into their hands. Accordingly, he openly invited the UNP to join the government’s efforts to form a national government. more..

Two tales of a city named Jaffna

Nov 24 (Fri) The Norwegians are coming, the Prime Minister goes to Jaffna and hopes rise again about the end to our communal blood-letting. The peace forces are on the march, the doves take to the skies and the hawks uncertainly scan the horizon. In the corridors of the mass media the men and women come and go not talking like T.S. Eliot’s women about Michael Angelo, but about Anton Balasingham who in an earlier incarnation as A.B. Stanislaus had been such a quiet young man when he was at the ‘Virakesari’ and the British High Commission. more..

From Sethu to Selvan: Love and Hate Drama

Nov 24 (Fri) It was just a few weeks before the death of LTTE’s political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan, the scholarly Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanithi was embroiled in the controversy of Sethu Samuthram project in the waters of Palk Straits. The Sethu Samuthram canal project was worked out in order to pave way for the shipping via the Straits which is expected to cut down the duration of sailing between the West and the East. more..

Glorious days with Ajith Samaranayake

Nov 24 (Fri) My good friend for nearly three decades, the affable Ajith Samaranayake is no more. Much was written about this great and brave journalist during the past three days following his untimely demise last Wednesday. A week before his death (exactly) the previous Wednesday was the last time I met him at the Sunday Observer Sports Desk. We met twice on that day. I shall come to those details later in this tribute. more..

Murali will break world record in Kandy Test: Jayawardene

Nov 24 (PTI) Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene is confident that off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan will surpass Shane Warne's world record for highest number of Test wickets during the forthcoming series against England. "He (Murali) will break the record in the first Test itself," Jayawardene said ahead of the series opener against England starting at Kandy next Saturday. more..

Mega Water Supply and Sanitation project to East

Nov 24 (GDI) Local Government and Provincial Councils Ministry has made arrangements to implement a mega development water supply and sanitation project in the East with the financial assistance of the World Vision Lanka (WVL) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). According to the WVL, the organization will provide Rs.600 for the implementation of this three year Project focusing on the provision of water, sanitation, hygiene and solid waste management to these areas. more..

P.G.B. Kalugalla is no more

Nov 24 (GDI) P. B. G. Kalugalle breathed his last at the age of 87 years on November 21. Kalugalle held responsible ministries both under Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike and Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike creating an unparalelled record in all portfolios he held both under those renowned executive Prime Ministers, creating vast avenues of employment opportunities for all sections of the communities equally. more..

National Language Training Institute to help implement language policy

Nov 24 (GDI) The Constitutional Affairs and National Integration Ministry has taken steps to establish a National Language Training Institute. According to ministry sources, the new institute will become fully functional once the renovation of the building in Agalawatte where it is to be established is complete. The Ministry has appointed a Management Board and an Advisory Board to the institute with N. Bambarawanage as the Chairman of the Institute. more..

Ambassador Blake emphasizes the need for education on HIV/AIDS

Nov 24 (GDI) Addressing the Sri Lankan Business federation recently on HIV/AIDS the Ambassador of the United States of America, Robert O’ Blake said that HIV/AIDS has had a profoundly negative social and economic impact on countries in every part of the world, including America. He emphasized the necessity in commitment in educating commercial sector employees on HIV/AIDS. more..

State of Tamil Nadu - A safe haven for LTTE terrorists?

Nov 24 (GDI) It is reported that activities of the LTTE is increasing in the State of Tamil Nadu. The main Opposition in the State of Tamil Nadu Anna Dravida Munnetra Kalagam and the Tamil Nadu Congress party have warned that the State was increasingly becoming a safe haven for the LTTE in recent days. The AIADMK Secretary Pannerselvan in a statement has condemned that the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kalagam party of Chief Minister M. Karunanithi was ignorant of the LTTE activities in the State. more..

Situation Report

Nov 24 (GDI) In a search operations conducted in Batticoloa on Information given by some residents there, Police were able to recover a 35 Kg claymore mine concealed in the woods. This had been discovered on the Narakamulla, Karadiyanaru road yesterday (23) around 11 a.m., Media Center for National Security reports. The Army Bomb Disposal Squad defused the mine. more..

President opposes Pakistan suspension from commonwealth

Nov 24 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has expressed the strong objections of Sri Lanka at the decision taken to suspend Pakistan from Commonwealth membership at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala, Uganda earlier yesterday. President Rajapaksa expressed Sri Lanka’s position when President Yoweri Museveni, who is the Chairman of the CHOGM, asked for the views of Heads of Governments on the decision taken by the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) more..

Galle Test set to be a poignant affair

Nov 24 (BBC) In Colombo on Thursday, we attended the official launch of the Test series, which gets underway in Kandy next week. One of the main talking points was whether the newly rebuilt Galle International Stadium was going to be ready in time to stage the third and final Test on 18 December. And Sri Lanka Cricket's chief executive, the former Test player Duleep Mendis, was in no doubt. more..

Brigadier arrested over wife`s killing

Nov 24 (LNP) Police yesterday arrested Brigadier Chandana Rupasinghe, of the Puttalam Army Camp in connection with the death of his wife, who succumbed to gun shot injuries, at the National Hospital in the early hours of yesterday. Thejangani Rupasinghe, the 37-year-old wife of the Brigadier had been shot in the head. Hospital sources said the Brigadier himself had admitted his wife to the Accident Service at dawn. more..

In-law killer lost sibling contact

Nov 24 (HS) A MAN who murdered his wife's parents had led a lonely life isolated from his family in Sri Lanka, a court heard yesterday. Sarath Hettiarachchi, 47, would be an old man by the time he was released from jail after being found guilty by a jury of the stabbing murders of Sammy and Iranganie Perera, both 76. The Supreme Court heard Hettiarachchi attacked the couple in his Hallam home on March 7 last year after they complained about his treatment of their daughter. more..

Sri Lanka: ‘Gently Weeps’

Nov 24 (CC) The seeds of war were sown in Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, no sooner Britain gave independence in 1948. Since then, until the 1980s, a serial of race riots were unleashed on Tamils killing scores, plundering wealth, raping their wives and daughters and burning down their cultural sites. 1958 saw a full blown pogrom against the Tamils. Many a thousands were slaughtered and burnt alive. Then in 1983, the mother of all pogroms occurred. more..

Only 4% women represented in Parliament

Nov 24 (SAMN) Women represent about 53 per cent of Sri Lanka’s total population and about 90 per cent of them can read and write. Their abour contribution is 67 per cent. But still women’s representation in the Sri Lankan Parliament is only four per cent, W.M.S. Wijekoon, Media Coordinator to the Minister of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment said, adding that Minister Jayasena had pointed out that women’s representation in the Sri Lankan Parliament has been increased only by 2.7 per cent from 1947 to 2004, which is a very unsatisfactory increase. more..

Govt. takes on burgeoning CoL

Nov 24 (SAMN) The cost of living committee appointed by the government has taken urgent measures to stabilise the prices of food items amidst periodic increase in market prices. Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardene said the government in an attempt to stabilise the price hike of essential commodities such as rice, coconut, coconut oil and big onions has taken several measures to ease the burden on the local consumer during this holiday season. more..

TNA under threat on next budget vote

Nov 24 (SAMN) The TNA said Friday that opposition MPs were on the threat of being abducted in the run-up to the final vote on the budget to be taken up on December 14, under present developments. TNA leader R.Sampanthan told a news conference in the Parliament complex that threat on his MPs were still continuing and when culprits had the confidence of the arm of law not reaching them, the situation could even get worse. more..

Probe on children handed over by TMVP

Nov 24 (SAMN) A police investigation is currently underway to determine whether the three children handed over by the TMVP to the UNICEF last week were involved in military or political activities and whether they were abducted or forcibly recruited. Police spokesman Jayantha Wickramaratne Friday confirmed that the TMVP handed over three children -- one aged 16 and two others aged 17 to the UNICEF office in Trincomalee on November 15. They were earlier reported as missing. more..

The intelligence agencies said, Don't worry about the LTTE, they are our boys, they will not fight us

Nov 24 (CL) J N Dixit was India's high commissioner to Sri Lanka from 1985 to 1989. He played a major role in drafting the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord in 1987, and the subsequent induction of the Indian Peace Keeping Force to implement it. Days after Indian troops arrived on the island, the LTTE started what it was best at: guerrilla attacks in the jungles and shanty towns of north-east Lanka. more..

Navy foils LTTE attack on Pesalai

Nov 24 (DN) The Navy foiled an attempt by a cluster of LTTE boats to target a police station in Pesalai yesterday morning, killing over 17 Tiger cadres and injuring many others, Navy spokesman Commander D.P.K. Dassanayake said. Six LTTE boats deployed from Vedithaltivu mingling with fishing boats launched an attack targeting the Pesalai police station yesterday around 8.15 am. “Naval troops from the ground and sea successfully repulsed the sea Tigers Medium Caliber attack towards the Pesalai police station. more..

Electricity for 78% of households - Power Minister

Nov 24 (DN) The Government has already provided electricity to 78 per cent of the country making the pledge given by the Mahinda Chinthana to provide electricity to all a reality. Speaking at the Committee Stage debate on his Ministry, Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said the Government has already taken a series of measures to increase the country’s power generation with the objective of providing electricity to the balance 22 per cent. more..

Lanka in pickle and puzzle over Pakistan

Nov 24 (DM) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama found himself in a diplomatically embarrassing position after the Cabinet yesterday decided to contradict his views expressed over Sri Lanka’s stand on Pakistan’s suspension from the Commonwealth. The Cabinet, at a special meeting agreed on a resolution which stated that Sri Lanka was against Pakistan’s suspension from the Commonwealth thus contradicting the stand taken earlier by Minister Bogollagama at the Commonwealth meeting in Uganda. more..

EPDP proposes N-E interim administration

Nov 24 (DM) The EPDP has proposed the setting up of an Interim Administration for the North and East as the way forward to resolve the ethnic conflict, stressing that the more the power between the communities is devolved the more they would be united. EPDP leader Dauglas Devananda, in a statement said it could be felt by all communities that a permanent solution to the Tamil speaking people would neither lead to separation nor endanger the rights of another community. more..

Tamil leader to address 'Tamil Eelam' meet in Durban

Nov 24 (IANS) Octogenarian Tamil nationalist leader Pazha Nedumaran will attend a function next week in Durban, South Africa, to commemorate the 'fallen heroes of Tamil Eelam'. Nedumaran will be a guest of the Tamil Coordinating Committee of South Africa (TCCSA) and other Tamil organisations in Durban and Johannesburg, the organisers of the event said in a release here. more..

A friend of the regime

Nov 24 (GV) The first Rajapakse I knew, closely related to the current President, was from over ten years ago, in a different country at a time when the Executive of the day had begun a “war for peace” campaign that was also sold as the only way in which peace could be achieved and soon. We were both undergraduate students in the same University though in different colleges. more..

Madhu Shrine Shelling Shatters 'Peace Zone' Promise

Nov 24 (UCAN) Artillery fire has hit the popular Madhu Marian shrine in northern Sri Lanka despite the government's verbal promise to maintain the popular pilgrim center as a "peace zone." On Nov. 13, three shells fell in the Our Lady of Madhu shrine compound in Madhu, 220 kilometers north of Colombo. The explosions killed a 4-year-old boy and injured a 76-year-old woman. They also damaged the shrine's doors and the walkway leading to them. more..

Tamil Tigers honour fallen cadres

Nov 24 (AFP) Tamil Tiger rebels have begun commemorating nearly 20,000 of their men and women killed fighting for an independent homeland, the guerrillas said Saturday. The LTTE announced their losses since the first guerrilla fatality at the hands of government forces nearly 25 years ago as they marked their "Heroes' Week." The commemoration ends Tuesday with an annual policy statement by Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

Fighting kills 17 rebels in north, Blast kills 2 policemen in east

Nov 24 (AP) A series of clashes between soldiers and Tamil Tigers across Sri Lanka's embattled north left 17 insurgents dead, while a roadside bomb killed two policemen in the east, the military said Saturday. Army troops and insurgents exchanged small arms fire across the de facto border that separates government- and rebel-held territories in northern Mannar district Friday, leaving 12 rebels dead, more..

Murugeysen Tiruchelvam: Strategist-Statesman of the Federal Party

Nov 25 (TC) The past week witnessed the birth and death anniversaries of Murugeysen Tiruchelvam the eminent Queens Counsel who played a prominent role in the politics of this Country during the sixties of the last century. The former Solicitor-General, Senator, Local Government minister and political strategist of the Federal Party was born on November 19th 1907. He passed away on November 23rd 1976. more..

What will the LTTE leader say on great Heroes Day?

Nov 25 (TC) In recent times the most important event for the LTTE has been its annual “Maaveerar Naal” or Great Heroes Day held each year on November 27th . Various observances are held in Sri Lanka and abroad to commemorate the tiger cadres who have died for the Tamil cause. “Puligalin Thaagam Thamil Eelath Thaayagam” (Thirst of the tigers is for a Tamil Eelam homeland) is the motto of the LTTE. more..

Tamil Politics II-The roots of LTTE’s Militarism and Political Culture

Nov 25 (TC) As I argued last week J.R. Jayewardene helped put the Tiger in the saddle and let it ride the Tamils, but there were other factors that were crucial for the rise of the LTTE. My point though is that things could have turned out differently and for the better if Mr. Jayewardene had had the foresight to include the provisions of the 13th Amendment of 1988 in the 1978 Constitution itself. more..

20,000 Tamil youths killed in the battle for a separate state in the last 25 years

Nov 25 (AT) A low keyed Heroes week celebrations have already commenced in Vanni since 22 November. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam are remembering nearly 20,000 of their cadres killed in the battle for a separate state in the last 25 years for the ethnic minority Tamils in the island nation. However, reports revealed that that even people in Vanni are not enthusiastic enough in participating in the celebrations. more..

A State of Hara-kiri

Nov 25 (AT) It is not illogical to assume that a power-wielder in the Rajapakse regime was responsible for the torching of the Sunday Leader press. This despicable attack reveals the true nature of the administration – its repressive intent and its fatal inanity. It not only foretells the anti-democratic purpose of the regime but also demonstrates the Rajapakses’ propensity for counterproductive measures which undermine their own interests as well as those of the country they rule. more..

Atapattu: 'Players demoralised by the present system'

Nov 25 (CI) Marvan Atapattu retired from international cricket at the end of Sri Lanka's Test series in Australia. A technically correct batsman, he finished his Test career with an average just below 40 and was instrumental in the team's revival after he took over as captain in 2004. However, a back injury in 2006 saw him increasingly sidelined, and losing the captaincy to Mahela Jayawardene. more..

LTTE suffering heavy losses, says Colombo

Nov 25 (Hindu) At least 57 cadres of the LTTE and three soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army were killed in fierce fighting along the Forward Defence Lines (FDLs) in the north in the last three days, the military claimed on Saturday. A report by the Defence Ministry maintained that the LTTE continues to suffer “heavy losses”’ as the security forces’ hold in the northern region is getting stronger. more..

Big interview - Lasith Malinga

Nov 25 (GU) Muttiah Muralitharan is, to the outsider, the paramount star of Sri Lankan cricket, a world-beating bowler who is about to recapture the record for the most wickets in Test history. But the spinner is a one-off. It is another bowler with a unique action, Lasith Malinga, who is the future of cricket in his country. Not because we are going to see a new generation of shock-headed, side-arm slingers from the island, but because his success has dealt a telling blow to the class system that bedevilled the sport there. more..

Sri Lanka wants to expand trade, investments with Malaysia - Abdullah

Nov 25 (Bernama) In an effort to further strengthen bilateral relations with Malaysia, Sri Lanka wants to expand two-way trade and investment links with Malaysia, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today. The Prime Minister said Colombo's intention was conveyed to him in a bilateral meeting with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) here. more..

Sri Lanka's Galle harbor an underwater treasure trove, archaeologists say

Nov 25 (LBO) Archaeologists working on a Dutch colonial era shipwreck in Sri Lanka's southern Galle port say 12 more wrecks lie submerged, awaiting excavation and cataloging as historical treasure. "There are 27 sites which contain 12 shipwrecks in the Galle port," Rasika Muthucumarana, archeologist from the maritime archeology unit in Galle, told LBO. more..

Media freedom faces serious danger: Bishop

Nov 25 (ISL) Condemning the attack on the Sunday Leader press as a brazen criminal act, Colombo’s Anglican Bishop the Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera in a hard-hitting statement yesterday warned that the continuing trend to silence the independent media had reached dangerous proportions. The Bishop said: “The well planned and executed arson attack on the Sunday Leader Press came as a shock to the nation. more..

Sri Lankan total death claim will not move

Nov 25 (ISL) Almost three decades old killing spree in Sri Lanka is progressing without any mitigation and with daily count of deaths of combatants and civilian population. The daily deaths for the past three years are finding it hard to be included in the aggregate static number of deaths claimed for the past five years. For the past five years the aggregate number of deaths in the war claimed by the media is a static 70,000. more..