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Air Force bombs Tamil Tiger satellite information centre in Killinochchi

Nov 25 (AT) The Tamil Tigers facing severe losses in the north was hit this morning (25th November) with bombs targeting its key satellite communications and coordinating centre at Dharmapuram, north east of Killinochchi. At 7.20 a.m. Air Force jets pounded this satellite communications centre based on intelligence gathered from inside Vanni. This attack coming on the eve of Prabhakaran's annual speech will be a deadly blow to the LTTE propaganda machine. more..

Minutes that spilled the beans on Karuna

Nov 25 (LG) Further to our expose titled Plot to get rid of Karuna was hatched at a presidential suite in Geneva and under the sub heading 'Asian Tribune editor spills the beans in letter to Presidential Advisor' in The Sunday Leader issue of November 11, we reproduce below the unedited minutes of the meeting sent to Presidential Advisor Sunimal Fernando on October 24 under confidential cover by Asian Tribune Editor K.T. Rajasingham. more..

Rude awakening

Nov 25 (CI) Sri Lanka have claimed themselves to be better international travellers outside the subcontinent in recent times. There has been justification for this claim, too, with Test wins in both England and New Zealand during 2006. However, sadly, there remains a severe travel warning for Australian tours: Sri Lanka have progressed significantly during the past two years, but they remain a long way off the standard required to take on the world champions on their turf. more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksha meets a number of leaders of the Common wealth

Nov 25 (GDI) Sri Lanka made use of the opportunity available to her to meet a number of leaders that had gathered in Uganda. President Rajapaksha met the Prime Minister of India Mon Mohan Singh on the 24th October at Monyonyo Resort at kampala ,Uganda where the leaders were accommodated. The two leaders discussed areas of common interest of political, Economic, Social matters relating to the two countries. more..

National Language Training Institute to help implement language policy

Nov 25 (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..

New twist to deep south killings: six Sinhalese arrested

Nov 25 (LNP) Investigations into the recent spate of killings in the deep south, initially blamed on the LTTE, have taken a new twist with the arrest of six Sinhalese including an army deserter and a civilian employed by the army. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that four suspects were arrested Saturday morning on information elicited from two persons including the deserter arrested after they made an abortive bid to kill two farmers-M.M.K.Piyasena and Alvin Singho Wednesday night. more..

Govt. awaits APRC proposals to seek political solution

Nov 25 (LNP) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama asserted that the Government is awaiting the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) proposals which have now entered its final phase, to seek a sustainable and negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict. Bogollagama made this assertion in Kampala on Thursday, when he met United Kingdom`s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs David Miliban on more..

Three more DIG field promotions to fill top North-East vacancies

Nov 25 (LNP) Three more field promotions as Deputy Inspector Generals of Police (DIGs) have been approved by the National Police Commission (NPC) on the recommendation of IGP Victor Perera. SSPs Rienzie Perera, (Director, Administration, Police Headquarters), Prasanna Nanayakkara, (Commandant, Field Force Headquarters) and Edison Gunatilleka, (Mt. Lavinia Division), are expected to take over duties as DIGs in charge of the Ampara, Batticaloa and Puttalam Ranges, more..

Hold Bogollagama to account

Nov 25 (LNP) Nobody would object if Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama chooses to daub egg on his own face. But doing that on the face of the country, as he did in going along with the consensus in a Commonwealth foreign minister`s conclave now on in Kampala, the Ugandan capital, that Pakistan be suspended from that club of former British colonies is totally unacceptable. The government, shown up by its minister`s action, as an ingrate to a country we are deeply beholden, has more..

UN warns of eroding relationship

Nov 25 (SAMN) The United Nations has warned that the fresh controversy surrounding UNCEF and the meal pack saga can damage the generally excellent working relationship between the UN and Sri Lanka. The United Nations Office of the Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator for Sri Lanka in a statement disclosed that the consignments of Meals Ready-to-Eat (MREs), which was initially cleared by Sri Lanka Customs in early August, but more..

Govt. under fire over Leader fire

Nov 25 (SAMN) Media organisations and media rights groups Saturday mounted pressure on the government to expedite inquiries into the attack on the Sunday Leader and Irudina printing press in Ratmalana close to a high security zone as police failed to make a breakthrough in their investigations. Following a strong public protest from journalists, several international organisations including the Commonwealth Press Union (CPU) have called the government to take immediate action to more..

Muslim organisations to meet MR

Nov 25 (SAMN) Leading Muslim organisations, including theologians and trustees, passed four resolutions last week during a special meeting held at the Grand Mosque in Colombo with regard to the recent sound ban, cattle transportation and slaughter. The organisations have also decided to seek a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa upon his return to the country to appeal to him to intervene in the issues. more..

Another jumbo delegation for Japan

Nov 25 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s delegation to Japan next month has already topped the 200 mark, and looks set to overshadow the 260 member delegation that travelled to Beijing last year, informed sources said. Rajapaksa will embark on an official working visit to Japan on December 8 and will return to Colombo on December 11, according to the Foreign Ministry. The business delegation which will accompany the President will include business tycoons Harry Jayewardene and Lalith Kotelawela, it is learnt. more..

“National Govt.” UNP renagades tell President

Nov 25 (LB) As the main Opposition UNP is strongly lobbying for the support of the minority political parties, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has mooted the idea of a national government. The President is reported to be backed by the breakaway UNP faction, the UNP democratic group, which last week offered to campaign for Ranil Wickremesinghe’s appointment as the Prime Minister in a future national government. more..

To love Pakistan or not to love Pakistan?

Nov 25 (LB) The latest diplomatic faux pas of the government confirms what this newspaper has been saying all along. It’s more than clear. The Foreign Ministry does not know its elbow from...erm, it’s posterior. When the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers resolved to suspend Pakistan from the Commonwealth, the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister said ‘Aye.’ Less than forty eight hours later, Sri Lanka is distancing itself from this censure, and more..

Pre budget abduction saga of TNA MP Kanagasabai’s son-in-law

Nov 25 (LB) History repeats itself is a truism, but in this instance it is more glaring than anywhere else. This time around it is the history of political abductions that has made a dreadful return. In 1993, on the eve of a crucial vote in the Southern provincial council, where the then ruling party, the UNP, hung onto power by a slim margin, the UNP orchestrated and abducted an Opposition MP, Mr Fransicu, and held him incommunicado unill the vote was over. more..

No monk should contest future elections — Ven Uduwe Dhammaloka

Nov 25 (LB) Ven.Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera vehemently rejected the allegation that he was bribed to vote for the budget. He rejects the charge that he has become a “political football". Excerpts: Ln: Why have you become a political football of two major political parties? V.UD: It is wrong to accuse me in that way. I am not a member of any political party. I once supported UNP Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe at the last election and did it as a favour. But I am not a member of the UNP. more..

Rohitha in hot water

Nov 25 (NS) The government’s confusion over the position taken by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama agreeing with the majority to suspend Pakistan from the Commonwealth was further compounded at the emergency cabinet meeting held on Friday. Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle announced that the cabinet collectively decided the previous week that Sri Lanka should stand against any decision by the Commonwealth of Nations to suspend Pakistan. more..

Fishy wind power deal reaches new heights

Nov 25 (NS) The cabinet of ministers appears to have been misled by parties with vested interests over a controversial wind power deal that has been awarded to an Indian energy company which will come up in Puttalam. The Nation reliably learns that the cabinet has granted approval for the controversial 50 MW wind power plant project to Enercon India Power Development Limited, despite a 10-member project committee comprising the CEB, BOI, CEA and the National Planning Department rejecting the Indian company. more..

Defeating Budget: a vain boast

Nov 25 (NS) Ending weeks of speculation, second guessing and sordid drama, the government ensured the passage of the second reading of the Budget last week, avoiding a potential political nightmare that could have had serious repercussions. The final majority the government achieved was quite comfortable, but a few questions remain in the aftermath of the vote, while both President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the government as well as the opposition take collective stock of the political fallout. more..

Government, UNP lock horns

Nov 25 (NS) The government managed to overcome the obstacles laid by the opposition with ease at the second reading of the third Budget of the Rajapaksa administration. Though it appears to be a comfortable victory for the government, an in-depth analysis will show that the government is dangling from a straw. The main opposition UNP was optimistic along with the vociferous members of the SLFP (M) that they could make the difference at the third reading of the Budget. more..

LTTE loses 19,887 cadres in 25 years

Nov 25 (SO) The LTTE has lost 19,887 cadres including S.P. Thamilselvan in the past twenty-five years according to the list of dead cadres released last week. The list is released by the organisation annually in November, according to reports from Killinochchi. The list of dead cadres released during the outfit's so-called 'Martyrs' week' in November coincides with the birthday of LTTE leader V. Prabakaran on November 26. more..

Money laundering - CID to peruse private bank account

Nov 25 (SO) The Colombo Fort Magistrate and Additional District Judge Namal Bandara Balalle allowing an application by the Criminal Investigation Department probing a violation of the Money Laundering Act directed the CID to peruse an account of a private bank where US Dollars 3 million had been deposited and to submit a comprehensive report to court on the next date, December 7. more..

More opposition MPs to join Govt.

Nov 25 (SO) A group of Opposition members are due to join the government. They will act at the correct time - Minister of Vocational and Technical Training, Piyasena Gamage said. The development programs of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government will continue. The next budget reading would be passed with a larger majority. The Minister told the Sunday Observer that a systematic vocational and technical training scheme has been implemented successfully which has won international recognition. more..

Military in a dilemma

Nov 25 (SO) Protecting the territory under the Security Forces control in the Jaffna peninsula is a challenging one. They have to throw a cordon around two fronts in their endeavour one to provide a better security network for more than 40,000 Security Forces personnel and the other for the nearly a 500,000 civilian population in the peninsula. They have to tackle both external and internal threats in their attempts to ensure a better security situation in the peninsula and at the same time confronting various allegations levelled against them locally and internationally. more..

Cyclone months are here again

Nov 25 (ST) November and December have been noted as the most vulnerable months for cyclones in Sri Lanka with the threat becoming greater after Cyclone ‘Sidr’ hit Bangladesh and cyclonic conditions taking place east of Vietnam. Meteorology Department Deputy Director S.H. Kariyawasam said since 1881 more cyclones have affected Sri Lanka during November and December, compared to other months. more..

D-Day on December 14

Nov 25 (ST) In a sense, both the Government and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) emerged victorious last Monday during the vote on the second reading of the budget. By clearing the first hurdle over the Budget vote for its survival, the Government showed it was retaining its majority no matter what hype was being created about its downfall. Now, it would have to do so again on December 14 when the final voting (3rd reading of the Budget) after the Committee stage of the debate is concluded. more..

Stop trying to topple us: Basil tells UNP

Nov 25 (ST) Basil Rajapaksa, National List MP and advisor on political affairs to President Mahinda Rajapaksa says it’s time for the UNP-led opposition to accept the defeat they suffered in Parliament on November 19 and allow the Government to carry forward its programme at least till the next Budget. In an interview with The Sunday Times Mr. Rajapaksa also said the President is serious about fighting corruption and has taken more measures than all presidents in the past to fight the menace. more..

Politics of terror in devil's playground

Nov 25 (ST) Last week this column highlighted UPFA parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa hinting that TNA's Suresh Premachandran security could not be guaranteed when travelling in the East, if he supported the LTTE. On Sunday afternoon the son-in-law of T. Kanagasabai, MP, (TNA-Batticaloa District) was abducted, reportedly by the Pillaiyan Group. This was followed by security being withdrawn from the homes of two other eastern province TNA parliamentarians. more..

Amnesty for Lankan army deserters, over 1,500 report for duty

Nov 25 (PTI) Over 1,500 Sri Lankan army deserters have rejoined duty after being offered a general amnesty, boosting the military's fight against Tamil rebels. "The deserters who do not have any criminal record were offered amnesty and given time between November 12-25 to re-join," Defence spokesman, Udaya Nanayakkara, said. He said over 1,500 army deserters have already joined duty and the number of such personnel could cross 1,600 before the deadline ending on Sunday. more..

Jayasuriya to retire from Test cricket?

Nov 25 (PTI) Veteran Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya is contemplating retirement from Test cricket, a report said here on Sunday. The 38-year-old, considered one of the most explosive batsmen of modern cricket, is planning to make the announcement during the first Test match England at Kandy next Saturday, 'The Sunday Times' reported, quoting a "very senior member of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC)". more..

Sri Lankan minister calls for formation of national gov't

Nov 25 (Xinhua) A senior minister of the Sri Lankan government said Sunday that a national government with the participation of all political forces is needed to solve the problems faced by the island country. D. M. Jayaratne, minister of Plantation Industries, told the VFM radio that "we all must get together and try to solve the problems faced by the country." Jayaratne said that the present government headed by President Mahinda Rajapakse has not been able to solve the ethnic and the economic problems faced by Sri Lanka. more..

Air force destroys Tamil Tigers' satellite communications center

Nov 25 (AP) Sri Lankan fighter jets bombed and destroyed a satellite communications center run by Tamil Tiger rebels in their northern stronghold Sunday, an air force spokesman said. The rebels said that the air raid killed three civilians, and that three others died in a bomb blast. Air force spokesman Group Capt. Ajantha Silva said the communications center, in a village near the rebels' de facto capital of Kilinochchi, was used to communicate and coordinate with rebel agents overseas. more..

Champika and Hela Urumaya, The Real Winners of Budget Vote

Nov 26 (FI) The defeat of the Opposition in the budget debate will strengthen the war mongering section within the government. The real victor of this non-battle is the Hela Urumaya’s ideological leader, Champika Ranawaka. In spite of the wavering position of the JVP, Champika went ahead with the campaign for the continuation of the war. His argument was that economic factors and social reforms are secondary to the struggle against Tamil aggression. more..

“Great heroes’ day” speech of Piribaharan and Psychological aspect of Terrorism

Nov 26 (LR) Tiger terrorist leader Piribaharan is to deliver his so called “Great heroes’ day” or ‘Maaveerar Naal’ address in 27 th of November which is his birthday. In the south, his media and political agents are busy setting due mentality for his address. In the past, Piribaharan’s address used to be the high note after intensifying terror attacks by the LTTE carders. more..

Politics with Death Body of Tamilchelavan

Nov 26 (LG) Does the average Tamil still feel worked up because his brethren in the emerald isle across the Gulf of Mannar are far from achieving their goal of a homeland? The recent killng of LTTE leader SP Tamilchelvan is a good barometer to judge whether the LTTE cause is as dear to Tamils here as when they opened up their hearts 20 years ago after fleeing Tamils landed at Rameshwar and then spread further inland. more..

Military denies targetting civilians

Nov 26 (BBC) Sri Lankan military has denied targetting civilians in an air attack on Kilinochchi. Reports from Kilinochchi said four civilians died and six more injured from the air attack. An eye witness told BBC Tamil service that attack took place around 7.30 a.m. "First came a reconnaissance plane, followed by a Kfir jet” an eyewitness said. “There were eight bombs and they exploded in my neighbour’s house, three of the victims are my relatives.” more..

Women 'suffer from both parties'

Nov 26 (BBC) Militarisation of the society and availability of fire arms have increased the use of violence against women says the International Organisation against all Forms of Racism (IOAAFR). The women activists who convene to the Sri Lanka Foundation to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, observed two minutes silenced to remember the women who died from violence. more..

Minister's attention drawn on Tamil rights violations

Nov 26 (AT) The private sector commanding 80 percent of the GDP and 35 percent of the investments is a force to be reckoned with and they should be more forceful in their representations in the peace process, said Dew Gunasekera General Secretary, Sri Lanka Communist Party and Minister of Constitutional Affairs and National Integration. He was speaking on ‘Maintaining the Balance of Peace Building and Economic Growth: the SLCP Standpoint’ at the more..

Swiss media highlighted mismanagement of the state run development institutions during the tsunami period in Sri Lanka

Nov 26 (AT) Mr.Max Seelhofer, who served as Chief Delegate of the Swiss Red Cross in Sri Lanka between 2005 says between December 2006 and April 2007, some important Swiss media reported about the mismanagement of the state run Swiss Development Agency (SDC), the Swiss Red Cross (SRC) and the Swiss Interchurch Aid (HEKS) and in particular four rather long articles in the Zurich based weekly publication "Weltwoche" (World Week) more..

Vital blow to LTTE: Colombo

Nov 26 (Hindu) Two days ahead of the so-called “Hero’s Day” speech of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran, the Air Force on Sunday claimed to have destroyed a “strategic” communication centre in Kilinochchi district. The Defence Ministry claimed that the LTTE had been coordinating its “international terrorist activities” from the place. However, the LTTE disputed the claim and alleged that the Air Force bombed a civilian settlement in Tharmapuram killing three civilians and injuring seven others. more..

UPFA Govt. has no clear direction in its foreign policy -JVP

Nov 26 (LT) In a media release the JVP states that UPFA government has no clear directions in its foreign policy and it is the reason that foreign Minister Rohithe Bogollagama supported the suspension of Pakistan from the Commonwealth. It says the government is inconsistent with national and international issues and “as country vehemently opposing foreign intervention in her internal affairs, Sri Lanka is required to be cautious before taking decisions regarding events in other countries.” more..

Panesar mops up after Tharanga 50

Nov 26 (CI) Steve Harmison's new back injury cast a shadow over what was otherwise an encouraging day's labour for England's bowlers, as Matthew Hoggard and Monty Panesar warmed up for the first Test with three wickets apiece. By the close of the first day at the Nondescripts Cricket Club, the Sri Lanka Board President's XI had slipped to 298 for 9, having at one stage been well placed on 287 for 5. more..

UNICEF has given bullet proof vehicles to tigers! – Wimal Weerawansa

Nov 26 (LT) Jennifer Taylor, permanent representative of UNICEF and its heads have taken steps to make available bullet proof vehicles to tiger terrorist said JVP Parliamentarian and the Leader of its parliamentary group Wimal Weerawansa making a special statement in Parliament today. He said US$12,375 has been used by UNICEF to fix bullet proof shields to several vehicles but those vehicles were not with UNICEF at present. more..

No political appointments in education administration – Education Minister

Nov 26 (LD) Education Minister Susil Premajayantha has claimed that not a single political appointment has been made to the education administration service. According to him, 475 persons selected to the service following a competitive examination will be posted to provincial service by the Public Services Commission. Premajayantha was answering a question raised by UNP member Ranjith Madduma Bandara, while winding up the debate on the votes of his ministry in Parliament today (Nov. 26th). more..

Undergrads struggle when their problems not addressed – JVP MP

Nov 26 (LD) JVP member Vijitha Herath told Parliament today (Nov. 26th) that university students resort to struggles, only after authorities fail them by not resolving their grievances through discussion. He also claimed that the Colombo University charges Rs. 200 from each student staying in its hotels who owns a mobile phone. The government has been unable to prevent the collapse of universities, which are today relying on taxes for its funding. more..

Country is having almost a national govt. – Basil Rajapaksa

Nov 26 (LD) Ruling party parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa has downplayed the idea of a national government, claiming that the present regime itself is almost one of that kind. The Mahinda Rajapaksa administration was having the support of all parties represented in Parliament, except the JVP and the TNA, the UPFA MP noted. The senior presidential advisor, however, hinted that the government was ready to accommodate members of these two parties as well as the UNP, if they are willing to cooperate. more..

Prabhakaran's annual speech will be delivered from a deeper hole in the ground

Nov 26 (AT) Velupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the internationally banned LTTE, celebrates his 53rd birthday today. This aging leader's birthday will be celebrated in Vanni and by his loyalists in the Tamil diaspora abroad. According to reports, yesterday he lit the oil lamp in an undisclosed destination in Vanni to mark the commencement of the three day official 'Heroes Day Celebrations'. more..

Sri Lanka a safe destination –Advisor to British PM

Nov 26 (GDI) Sri Lanka is one of the safest destinations for tourists and the security situation in the country has been exaggerated overseas by false propaganda, Chairman of the Faith Task Force, UK, Anthony Bailey said in an interview with the Daily News. Bailey, an advisor to the British Prime Minister, was spending his honeymoon in Sri Lanka and had traveled to the South, Dambulla, Sigiriya and Nuwara Eliya over a period of ten days. more..

Commonwealth leaders united on the need to combat terrorism

Nov 26 (GDI) Heads of Government conferring during the CHOGM in Kampala, Uganda, reaffirmed their strong condemnation of terrorist acts in all their forms and manifestations and recognised that terrorism continues to present a serious challenge to international peace and security. Badawi gave this assurance when he met President Rajapaksa at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala. The talks focused on bilateral relationship between Sri Lanka and Malaysia. more..