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Malaysia pledges support for Colombo-Kandy highway project

Nov 26 (GDI) Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia, assured President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Malaysia's fullest assistance to Sri Lanka for the construction of the Colombo-Kandy 'Super Highway' on Saturday (24 th). 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..

Mahinda Rajapakse arrived in Tehran

Nov 26 (AT) President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse arrived in Tehran Monday leading a high-ranking political- economic delegation. The Lankan President was welcomed at Mehrabad International Airport by Commerce Minister Massoud Mir-Kazemi. An official welcoming ceremony is expected and would be held for President Rajapakse by his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad within coming hours. more..

Sri Lanka port to build cargo village as business booms

Nov 26 (LBO) Colombo port plans to build a dedicated cargo village to cater to rapidly increasing volumes of containers, a senior port official said. "We're running short of space," declared Nihal Keppetipola, a master mariner who is now the additional managing director of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). The SLPA has prepared a land use master plan for the port in order to optimise use of available land in the face of booming cargo volumes and physical constraints, he said. more..

Sri Lanka's axis of evil and occupation currency: fuss-budget

Nov 26 (LBO) It is now becoming increasingly evident that if the poor of this country are to be saved, the axis of evil that is formed by the central bank, the Treasury and state banks that had made the rupee a virtual occupational currency, has to be broken. The Central Bank has taken a small step in the right direction by restricting access to the discount window. But that is just a minor improvement, in the face of the deadly currency that the Sri Lanka rupee has now become. more..

Bradman’s Bribe to the LTTE?

Nov 26 (PISL) When Prof Uyangoda’s criticism of the government Peace Secretariat was brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago, my initial reaction was surprise. I have known him as a balanced intellectual, slow to blame let alone hurl invective; not the Prince Hamlet of the peace industry but more an attendant lord perhaps, as he was during President Kumaratunga’s peace negotiations in Jaffna, kindly and avuncular. more..

NTPC's project in Sri Lanka may begin early next year

Nov 26 (PTI) The $500 million thermal power project of Indian power behemoth NTPC Ltd at Trincomalee in Sri Lanka is expected to begin early next year. "The work on the 500 MW project is expected to begin early next year and the site for the project will be decided at the earliest," Sri Lankan Minister of Power and Energy W D J Seneviratne said. The project had run into rough weather following the selection of site for setting up the power plant in Eastern Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka offers to hold CHOGM-2011

Nov 26 (LNP) Sri Lanka`s offer to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government-2011 (CHOGM-2011) Summit in Sri Lanka has been noted with optimism at the CHOGM-2007 which ended in Kampala yesterday. At the closing sessions of the Summit, President Mahinda Rajapaksa making the offer, pointed out that Sri Lanka, a leading and long-standing member of the Commonwealth, did possess the pre-requisites and the necessary infrastructure to host a summit of the calibre of the CHOGM and more..

Threats will not change TNA policy - Sampanthan

Nov 26 (LNP) TNA Leader R. Sampanthan said the threats and intimidation against the TNA parliamentarians by a para military organization were aimed at stopping the exercise of legitimate rights and privileges of the TNA members of the Eastern Province. The Son-in-Law of Batticaloa District TNA member T. Kanagasabai was abducted by the para military group and he was threatened that the Son-in-Law would be killed if Kanagasabai voted against the second reading of the Budget 2008 on November 19. more..

Lanka owes an apology to Pakistani people

Nov 26 (LNP) The Rajapaksa government, true to form, first got wires crossed over the suspension of Pakistan from the Commonwealth and then regained sanity and stood by that friendly nation. It is heartening that in spite of initial bungling, Sri Lanka has at last shown that it is not devoid of gratitude by opposing the suspension tooth and nail. Sri Lanka is not short of friends but those fine-weather friends turn away at the first sign of things turning foul. more..

Parties at sea over Nat. Govt. move

Nov 26 (SAMN) Amidst fresh moves towards the formation of a national government in the event of the fall of the present government, the main opposition parties Sunday rejected any such notion while the government said it was ready to accommodate parties of all hues. Senior advisor to the President and National List MP, Basil Rajapaksa said the incumbent administration was almost a national government since it had the support of all political parties except the JVP and the TNA. more..

JVP, SLFP oppose new vehicles for Mayor

Nov 26 (SAMN) The sessions of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is expected to turn stormy today when the JVP and some of the ruling SLFP members are to oppose a proposal to purchase new vehicles for the Mayor, Mohamed U. Emitiyaz and Deputy Mayor, S. Rajendran. JVP Member, Hemantha Kumara Weerakoon said the party would oppose the move as it was a crime to purchase expensive vehicles given the council's financial constraints which, had set a poser even to paying overtime to the workers. more..

Senior lecturer’s death, homicide

Nov 26 (SAMN) Ending rumours on the apparent mysterious death of Jaffna University Senior Lecturer Ponniah Makinen, Colombo City Coroner Edward Ahangama Sunday declared the death a homicide. Ahangama releasing the verdict over the death of lecturer Makinen, said the lecturer has been strangled do death. The dead body of Ponniah was found by the Bambalapitiya police on the Bambalapitya Kinross shores on October 7. more..

Minister to return acquired land

Nov 26 (SAMN) A Cabinet Minister who had allegedly acquired a land in front of Isipathana College Colombo had decided to hand it back to the school after the JVP had revealed all the details of the acquisition, JVP Member of the Colombo Municipal Council said Sunday. JVP Member of the CMC Hemantha Kumara Weerakoon said he had accompanied some members of the Old Boys’ Association of the school to meet the Local Government Commissioner of the Western Provincial Council who had informed them that the acquisition has been illegal. more..

Rs. 700 million to boost North Western health

Nov 26 (DN) The Wayamba Provincial Council’s Health, Indigenous Medicine, Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry has allocated Rs. 700 million to upgrade the health sector and supply infrastructure facilities in the Wayamba Province, Provincial Minister Health, Indigenous Medicine, Sports and Youth Affairs Neranjan Wickramasinghe said. He was addressing a Jana Hamuwa after laying the foundation stone for a new fully equipped children’s ward at the Dambadeniya hospital. more..

People friendly administration for East

Nov 26 (DN) The Government contemplates establishing a people’s friendly administration system in the cleared Eastern Province, Public Administration Minister and UNP democratic group’s leader Karu Jayasuriya said. Minister Jayasuriya was addressing the public at Matara at a ceremony held at the Matara Rahula College grounds to launch a Public Service programme (Janatha Sathkara Seva). more..

SLMC to think again on budget vote

Nov 26 (DM) The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will review the decision on budget vote, after consulting the party’s Politburo and the Working Committee again, General Secretary, Hassan Ali said yesterday. While dismissing speculation that the SLMC would be part of a design to topple the government, Mr. Ali said the party was expecting the government to work out viable solutions to address the grievances of the Muslim community, particularly those in the East. more..

Presidential intervention sought in paddy issue

Nov 26 (DM) The JVP has sought presidential intervention to look into the paddy marketing issue in Polonnaruwa, alleging two powerful government ministers-cum mill owners are running a monopoly in the industry. JVP MP for the district S.K. Subasinghe told the Daily Mirror yesterday that paddy stocks purchased by the ‘Agricultural Marketing Authority’ are being issued to these two mill owners at Rs. 19.50 per kilo, which he referred to as a total injustice to small-scale mill owners. more..

Sri Lanka human rights record hurts greater market access to US

Nov 26 (LBO) Increasing killings in Sri Lanka, abductions for ransom, refugees and human rights violations related to escalating fighting are threatening to derail apparel industry attempts to get preferential duty for exports to the U.S. After negations for a U.S free trade agreement (FTA) collapsed three years ago, apparel exporters, half of whose buyers are in America, started lobbying for preferential tariffs and quota free access because more..

‘Garments without Guilt’ in Europe

Nov 26 (F2F) Sri Lanka Apparel launched its “Garments without Guilt” initiative in Europe recently at the Fatex Fair held in Paris. The Garments without Guilt initiative focuses on ethical manufacture and sustainable development assuring the industry’s commitment to ethical working conditions, free of child labour, free of forced labour, free of discrimination and free of sweatshop practices. more..

Murali better than Warne, says Ranatunga

Nov 26 (PTI) Former Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga insists that Mutthiah Muralitharan is a better spin bowler than Australian legend Shane Warne as the off-spinner often took wickets without much assistance from other bowlers. Ranatunga said the fact that Muralitharan had reached 700 Test wickets playing lesser number of matches than that of Warne stood proof to the Lankan's superiority. more..

'Continuing trend' towards stifling free media

Nov 26 (AN) “The continuing trend to silence independent media has already reached dangerous proportions,” said Duleep De Chickera, Anglican bishop of Colombo, following the latest arson attack on November 21 against the offices of Leaders Publications which publishes English-language papers like Sunday Leader and Morning Leader as well as Sinhala-paper Irudina Sinhala. “The well planned and executed arson attack on the Sunday Leader Press came as a shock to the nation. more..

Hoggard and Bopara star amid injuries

Nov 26 (CI) Matthew Hoggard demonstrated his imperturbability in the face of a bowling crisis, while Ravi Bopara rose to the occasion with both bat and - less expectedly - the new ball, as England's cricketers turned their fortunes upside down on a frenetic second day at the Nondescripts Cricket Club in Colombo. At the tea break, England were bracing themselves for embarrassment. Their batting had imploded for 134, more..

Washington's quiet but effective new geostrategic lever: economic warfare

Nov 26 (WT) In its dying months, the Bush Administration has waked up and smelled the coffee of globalization: not the well flogged arguments over free trade, the flight of industrial jobs versus low cost imports, not even the torturous dispute over “a level playing field”. But even the not always real world inhabitants at Foggy Bottom have discovered that globalization cuts both ways. more..

Tamil group says it will defy ban, continue work in Lanka

Nov 26 (PTI) Despite a ban imposed by Sri Lankan government, the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation, a charity group considered to be a front of the Tiger rebels, has vowed to continue its work in the island nation. "TRO has been working for the war-affected people from 1985 and was not a Sri Lanka government-registered NGO until 2002. We will continue our work as we have for over 22 years in areas not under government control," more..

Sri Lankan school under rebels' attack in north

Nov 26 (Xinhua) Two teachers and five students were injured when a village school was attacked by artillery fire of Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka's northern Mannar district on Monday, said the military. The Army said in a statement that the LTTE fired a few rounds of artillery towards the Pullaiaradiirakkam village around 1:20 p.m. (0750 GMT), with four rounds falling on the village school. Two lady teachers and five students were injured due to LTTE artillery fire, said the statement, more..

Rebels suspected of killing 4 farmers in Sri Lanka; 5 rebels killed in clashes

Nov 26 (AP) Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels fatally shot four ethnic Sinhalese rice farmers in their paddies in northern Sri Lanka on Monday, while soldiers killed five insurgents in separate gunbattles, the military said. The gunshot-riddled bodies of the farmers, three men and a woman, were discovered near the farming village of Mahavilachchiya in the Anuradhapura district just south of rebel-controlled territory in the north, more..

Sri Lanka Tamil Tiger chief to rally for war: observers

Nov 26 (AFP) The leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers will give his annual policy speech from a jungle hideout this week, with observers predicting a rallying call to arms as the island slides back into all-out war. The reclusive Velupillai Prabhakaran will be speaking at the end of a difficult year for his separatist guerrillas, who were ejected from the east in July and lost their political chief in an air raid earlier this month. more..

Land acquisition 'hilarious' - CJ

Nov 26 (BBC) The Supreme Court in Sri Lanka has described acquiring a land far away from the sea to provide housing for tsunami-affected fishermen. Chief Justice Sarath Silva said Land Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga has exceeded his authority by acquiring a 33-acre land in Kiriwaththuduwa, Homagama. The Supreme Court annulled the Gazette notification that announced the acquisition and ordered minister to pay legal fees to the petitioner, Royal Ceramic Company. more..

Ahmadinejad: All regional countries want a powerful Sri Lanka

Nov 26 (IRNA) President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that all countries in the region wish to see a developed and powerful Sri Lanka. Ahmadinejad made the remark in a ceremony held to officially welcome his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapkse in Tehran. Ahmadinejad voiced support for stability, independence and unity in Sri Lanka and said this would benefit the countries of the region. more..

Ahmadinejad Meets Sri Lankan Counterpart

Nov 26 (FARS) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa here on Monday, said Tehran believes that Sri Lanka's progress and mightiness would serve interests of regional countries. During the meeting, Ahmadinejad noted the two countries' historical and cultural commonalities, and reminded that Iran and Sri Lanka enjoy intact economic and cultural potentials for the further expansion of mutual ties. more..

Descriptions of the Nondescripts

Nov 27 (CI) I jumped in my tuk-tuk this morning and asked the driver to take me to "Nondescripts Cricket Club", the venue for England's second warm-up match. I might as well have asked him to take me to Grace Road, because he looked decidedly nonplussed. I tried again, a little more phonetically - still no joy, and the clock was ticking. So I changed tack. "NCC?" I enquired. He roared with laughter, pumped his engine into life, and hurtled off at a canter. more..

LTTE Elements in Upcountry with Police Patronage

Nov 27 (LG) A shocking report of increased LTTE activity under police protection was heard while we visited the Upcountry area a few days ago. Our visit covered Haton, Badulla, Bandarawela, Nuwaraeliya, Ragala, and Udapussellawa. The story is the same everywhere. This is an area of Sri Lanka where Tamils preponderate and maintain close friendship with the Sinhalese majority of the Country. more..

Oh! To be a journalist

Nov 27 (CP) One of the basic requirements to be a journalist is to be always on the alert. Listening to the radio news bulletins every half hour, reading reels of newsprint and magazines, and watching television and browsing the internet till eye balls go hexagonal, in search of some suitable, hard news worthy of reporting. Sri Lankan journalists’ task is an entirely different kettle of fish as he has to view and review material which are only morally, socially and politically suitable to an orthodox readership. more..

Sri Lankan president: We support Iran's peaceful nuclear program

Nov 27 (IRNA) Visiting Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse, in a meeting with Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki here Monday, said his country supports Iran's inalienable right to use nuclear energy. -According to Foreign Ministry Media Department report on Monday, in the meeting, Mottaki presented a report on the latest situation of Iran's peaceful nuclear program, active cooperation with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and (IAEA Chief) ElBaradei's report to the IAEA Governing Council. more..

Understanding follows heated words among Catholic students at human values meeting

Nov 27 (UCAN) Tamil and Sinhalese students had emotional discussions and arguments, but gained insights about each other's perspectives during a Church-run workshop aimed at increasing their understanding of the problems Sri Lanka faces. About 70 Catholic students from around the country attended the workshop, "Catholic Students' Response to the Breakdown of Human Values," held Oct. 26-28 at Monte Fano, a Benedictine retreat house in Ampitiya, more..

JVP and Anandasangaree must take correct political path

Nov 27 (FI) One way to explore the ‘meaning of life’ is to observe it as a continuous process of conflict resolution. Just likes waves in the ocean hitting the shore one after the other, we are engaged, on a daily-hourly-minute basis, in a decision-making process between at least two alternative choices. Just think of Prof. Sarachchandra’s drama, Maname. The princess faced a genuine conflict, if we look at it from a modern-day perspective. more..

GL to do what Bogollagama couldn’t?

Nov 27 (CP) Speculation is rife in both government and diplomatic circles that Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof. G.L. Peiris may be appointed as the Foreign Minister and Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama given the ministry of Export Development. Prof. Peiris has already earned the respect of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his handling of international affairs, having sent the Minister to Washington DC, UK, Switzerland, Canada, Russia and Ukraine on special missions. more..

National Road Master Plan on rough terrain

Nov 27 (CP) Although, the government’s 10 year National Road Master Plan promises vast improvement of the country’s transport infrastructure, it could face a multiplicity of challenges along the way towards implementation. While the authorities have failed to reduce the increasing traffic congestion in major cities and to ensure road safety growing cost of construction and raising funds have impeded efforts to improve the road network. more..

Long arm of the law getting longer?

Nov 27 (CP) What can we do when the very institutions that are meant to protect the public turn against them? What does the public feel when the officers of the law take the law unto their own hands? Recently a family of four in Negombo claimed that they had been mercilessly beaten by the Police after filing a complaint against an officer to the Bribery Commission. Are these officers of the law trying to cover up their misdeeds by bullying the public into compliance? more..

Media under fire: Journalists unite

Nov 27 (CP) The media has come under fire again in Sri Lanka with the pre-dawn attack on The Sunday Leader press in Mount Lavinia. Whoever carried out these attacks are cowards! As Shakespeare said, "Cowards die many times before their death," and they surely would. However, this is not the first time that the media in Sri Lanka has come under fire. These attacks continue at will and are instigated by politicians, political henchmen and political goons, who cannot stomach criticism against their wrongdoings. more..

Sri Lanka vows to kill Tamil Tiger leader

Nov 27 (AFP) Sri Lanka's government has marked the birthday of Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran with a vow to kill him. The island's powerful defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, said Colombo now had the upper hand in the long-running conflict, with the elusive guerrilla chief limited in both his movements and ability to score strategic victories. Earlier this month the political head of the LTTE, S.P. Thamilselvan, was killed in what the government said was a precision air strike on the north and not a mere lucky hit. more..

Iran to build power plant in Sri Lanka

Nov 27 (IRNA) Iran will build a 150-megawatt electricity power plant in Sri Lanka, the deputy of Iran's Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) has declared. Parviz Rezayi, the Deputy of the TPO in the Commercial Affairs of the Asia-Pacific region, said that the "expansion of bilateral ties requires enhancing cooperation especially in the field of exporting technical and engineering services," IRNA reported. more..

Next step of imperialists is to bring western military forces to Sri Lanka! – Gunadasa Amarasekera

Nov 27 (LT) Imperialists, who have decided to establish a human rights office in Sri Lanka, have come to the zenith of their invasion and their next attempt would be to bring down a foreign ‘peace’ keeping force said Dr. Gunadasa Amaraskera, President of Patriotic National Movement (PNM). Their attempt is to fractionalize Sri Lanka he pointed out. more..

Primary section should be separated from National Schools – Nimal Siripala De Silva

Nov 27 (LT) Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva says that primary section should be separated from National Schools. He said this in parliament yesterday when the budget allocations for the ministers of education, higher education and vocational training were taken up for debate in the third reading of the budget. The minister pointed out that this move will prevent the intervention of the old Boys Associations in the admission of children to grade one in National Schools. more..

Indian Congressmen burn Prabhakaran in effigy

Nov 27 (LG) Tension prevailed at the office of the Tiruchy Urban District Congress Committee (TDCC) here on Monday as a group of partymen staged a demonstration demanding the arrest of MDMK general secretary Vaiko for extending support to the LTTE, a banned outfit, and burnt LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran in effigy to register their protest. A section of Congressmen, who assembled in front of Arunachala Mandram, the party’s urban district office, staged a demonstration and raised slogans against those extending support to the LTTE. more..

“Everything depends on the situation in our homeland” – V. Prabhakaran in 1984

Nov 27 (LG) LTTE leader Interviews with Anita Pratap: Sunday Magazine, India 11-17 March 1984. Full Text of the Interview: Q: What made you opt out of a conventional system and spearhead a liberation movement which you knew would be outlawed? A: The democratic parliamentary system, or what you refer to as the conventional political system in Sri Lanka, has always tried to impose the will of the majority on the minority. more..

Prabakaran to call for all out war, while Sri Lanka is on the offensive

Nov 27 (AT) The situation in Vanni continues to remain tense as Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse declared that the Government forces are after Prabakaran – “We are after him. We are specifically targeting their leadership." Gotabhaya Rajapakse pointed out that Colombo now had the upper hand in the long-running conflict, with the elusive guerrilla chief limited in both his movements and ability to score strategic victories. more..

Attack on Sunday Leader - Press freedom in a lawless country

Nov 27 (ISL) The attack on the printing press of the Sunday Leader as well as the very manner in which the attack was carried out, comes as no surprise to anyone who has observed the ease with which any form of violence can be perpetrated in present day Sri Lanka. The strategy of this violence is now very much like the tricks one might use in a computer game. It is easy to kill, easy to burn and easy to escape. more..

TULF leader wants Ranil to form a national govt.

Nov 27 (ISL) Hon. Mahinda Wijesegara, M.P and Minister at a press meet last Thursday 22nd had revealed that His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa the President, had asked him to convey to you, his offer to from a National Government with your party and with you as Prime Minister. Please permit me to make my observations on the proposed offer of the President. At the very outset I wish to say that you have a moral duty to accept this offer in the greater interest of the country and its people. more..

Kumara Rupasinghe sent me to a foreign country says an LTTE media man

Nov 27 (ISL) In mid 2002, I received an invitation from Dr. Kumar Rupesinghe for a conflict resolution workshop in Habarana, Sri Lanka. That was when I was working as an editor for ‘Thamil Alai’ newspaper, which was published from Kokkatichicholai, Batticaloa. I came to know that some Muslim leaders were also invited to the workshop. Back then we strongly believed that Dr. Rupesinghe was an agent of a foreign intelligence agency and more..