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Siding With Self Interest or With The People

Nov 27 (LeN) It is becoming increasingly clear that the government's efforts to impose a military solution on the LTTE in the north and east are having implications in the rest of the country. This is not only in terms of the economic costs of war that has led inflation to new heights and led to a slow down in infrastructure development. The implications of the military solution in the north and east are being felt in considerable measure in the loss of democratic freedoms and more..

Sri Lanka getting hooked on debt, economists say

Nov 27 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government is becoming addicted to debt and putting at risk the country's future, private sector economists said. "We're on a slippery slope of debt," says Harsha de Silva, an economist at the LIRNEasia think tank. "If it continues the country is going to crash land. The economy will not be sustainable." The government's total outstanding debt had increased by two-thirds in the past five years alone and it resorts to printing money when it cannot borrow anymore. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines increases India flights to 100

Nov 27 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines announced Tuesday it now operates one hundred flights a week to India with the addition of another weekly flight to its existing services to Trichy. "SriLankan is making a conscious effort to serve smaller cities in India, where travellers do not have access to international air travel as most other airlines are intent on serving the large cities," more..

Sri Lankan national line seeks more ships

Nov 27 (LBO) Ceylon Shipping Corporation plans to buy two cargo ships using an Iranian credit line to be negotiated during Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's current visit there. The ships are required to keep the northern Jaffna peninsula supplied with essential goods as the land route is controlled by the Tamil Tigers. Presently, Jaffna is supplied by a small fleet of cargo vessels, some chartered by the Commissioner General of Essential Services and others operated by the private sector. more..

President’s Secretary to be axed

Nov 27 (LD) Unhappy with the performance of his Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has reportedly decided to remove him from the job and give him a diplomatic posting abroad, reliable sources say. The President has found Weeratunga inefficient and failed in keeping proper coordination between the Presidential Secretariat and various government ministries, the sources told ‘Lanka Dissent.’ more..

Port employees allege chairman in 4 m USD bribery deal

Nov 27 (LD) Concerned employees of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority have petitioned Ports and Aviation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa to investigate several allegations against SLPA Chairman Saliya Wickramasuriya and Consultant Scott Wilson regarding the Colombo Port Expansion Project. They are especially calling for a probe into a 04 million US Dollar bribe sought by the SLPA Chairman. more..

Group clad in black staged Mahavilachchiya attack - survivor

Nov 27 (LD) A group clad in black gunned down four paddy farmers at Mahavilachchiya village in Anuradhapura yesterday (Nov. 26th), a survivor says. A couple, identified as L. Hemapala (54) and P.S. Leelawathie (49), and two men, H.M. Ekanayake (57) and R.M. Punchi Banda (55) were shot dead by unidentified gunmen at a paddy field bordering the Wilpattu National Park around 7.30 am. Police believe that the LTTE is responsible for the murders. more..

UNICEF’s green channel facility demoted to red

Nov 27 (LD) The government has decided to demote the ‘green channel facility’ given to UNICEF for goods importation to ‘red’ with immediate effect. Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama made the announcement in Parliament today (Nov. 27th) while responding to a question by JVP MP Wimal Weerawansa. Joining the committee stage budget debate, Weerawansa alleged that UNICEF had used the ‘green channel facility’ to import the controversial ‘ready to eat’ food consignment. more..

Kiriella accuses FM of misleading House

Nov 27 (LD) UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella has accused Foreign Miniser Rohitha Bogollagama of misleading Parliament. “The Foreign Minister supported the suspension of Pakistan from the Commonwealth at its ministerial meeting. Now, he is saying that he did not,” Kiriella said. He was responding to a statement by Bogollagama during the debate on the votes of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Parliament today (Nov. 27th). more..

Tigers celebrate heros day to buttress myth of "A Tamil homeland"

Nov 27 (SLE) A recent program on Sri Lanka in ‘Unreported World’ by Britain’s Channel 4, which focused on the current situation in the conflict areas, interviewed Sri Lanka Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, as part of the program, on November 9, 2007. The following is an excerpt from the interview: Presenter: Commander, in areas in the east, which are fully liberated now by the army, how is it not possible to stop whoever these mysterious unidentified gun men? more..

Sinhala/Tamil News alerts through Mobitel

Nov 27 (GDI) For the first time in Sri Lanka’s mobile services history, customers are now provided with Sinhala and Tamil SMS alerts on their Mobitel connections. Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel; the National Mobile Service Provider in collaboration with Lankapuvath; officially launched the service today (27) in Colombo. “The combination of the technology we provide and of their reliability in the gathering and the dissemination of news goes a long way in ensuring the success of this service.” more..

Couple arrested for planning to assassinate Minister Devananda

Nov 27 (GDI) A special Police team arrested a man and a woman of the LTTE terrorist group planning the assassination of the Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, Douglas Devananda. They had been living in Dehiwala for nearly eight months posing as a couple running an agency for foreign employment. Investigations revealed that this couple had received military training at a LTTE camp in Pudukudiirappu. more..

Pilgrim tourism to receive boost

Nov 27 (GDI) Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda metwith the Ministry Advisory Committee of Buddhist priests seeking advice on the possibility of promoting pilgrim tourism locally and internationally. The committee report on meditation centres was discussed at the meeting and the Maha Sangha pointed out that while there are several meditation centers in the country a rating system for these must be developed. more..

Japan pledges further development aid to Sri Lanka

Nov 27 (GDI) Prof Hideki Esho, Coordinator, Country-by-Country Assistance Programme to Sri Lanka said that Japan would on no account hold back on development aid to Sri Lanka even though the conflict placed road blocks to progress. Prof Hideki observed that Sri Lanka had its economic fundamentals firmly in place and appreciated the fact that despite all the constraint faced by the country, it still remained the best economic performer among South Asian countries. more..

'No suppression of media'

Nov 27 (GDI) The Government has no intention to suppress or intimidate the free media, Mass Media and Information Minister, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told Parliament yesterday. The minister was responding to an adjournment motion moved by Ravi Karunanayake (UNP) regarding the arson attack on the Sunday Leader Press in Ratmalana. The minister, while condemning vehemently the attack, said that the government is sparing no pains to investigate the incident and bring to justice the perpetrators. more..

Arrested Over Killing Of Daughter

Nov 27 (LNP) The Avissawela Police arrested 45-year-old Nimal Ranasinghe of Dulagalakanda, Maniyangama on suspicion over the death of his eight-year-old daughter Nirmala Ranasinghe, whose body was recovered from a two-foot deep pit near his house The girl has been killed a month ago. On a tip off given by villagers to the Eheliyagoda Police the message was conveyed to the Avissawella Police who immediately arrested the suspect. more..

Govt. still unable to catch Leader press attackers

Nov 27 (LNP) Moving an adjournment motion in Parliament yesterday, UNP Colombo District member Ravi Karunanayake said the Sunday Leader newspaper printing press had been set on fire by some hooligans but the government which professed the freedom of press has not been able to catch the culprits though five days had elapsed since the incident. `The freedom of the press is being suppressed by the government and newspapers and journalists are under threat. more..

Why `Bellboys` got cold feet in South

Nov 27 (LNP) The speed at which events are unfolding on the political front is amazing. We keep moving from issue to issue as fast as parliamentarians shift allegiance. Even the so-called seasoned political commentators on the ball may find it difficult to juggle with all the issues as and when they crop up without dropping one or two. It is natural that the recent Southern Provincial Council (SPC) budget vote came to pass without a stir. more..

Lankans in Iraq: Human trafficking?

Nov 27 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) said Monday an investigation would be launched to determine whether the 21 Sri Lankans re-arrested in Iraq on Sunday, were victims of a human trafficking racket. “The Sri Lankan Government had prohibited people being sent to Iraq since 2003. It’s most likely these people were taken to Iraq by road through Kuwait. more..

Solve grade 1 admission crisis: UNP

Nov 27 (SAMN) The main opposition UNP called for the setting up of a Parliamentary Select Committee to resolve the crisis in admitting children to Grade One, in parliament Monday. UNP MP for Moneragala District, Ranjith Maddumabandara, who participated in the committee stage of the budget in the House yesterday said such a Select Committee was essential as the process of admitting children to schools had come to a standstill at a time when the next school year’s was about to begin in January. more..

Which minister is doing what

Nov 27 (SAMN) UNP MP Mahinda Ratnatileke boasted soon after he crossed over to the government that he did not join the government to become a minister. Alas! It did not take even a week for him to be sworn as a minister. It brings the number of ministers in the Rajapaksa government to 108. All SLFPers, except Arjuna Ranatunga and Nirupama Rajapaksa are either Ministers or Deputy Ministers in the UPFA government. more..

National Defence Fund loses interest

Nov 27 (SAMN) The National Defence Fund (NDF) had lost revenue running into over six million rupees due to investment of its monies in fixed deposits in 2005 instead of treasury bills which carried a higher interest rate. The disclosure had been made in the Auditor General’s report on the NDF for 2005, which was submitted to Parliament. According to the report, the Fund had invested Rs. 49 million in fixed deposits which offered only nine percent of interest despite treasury bills carrying an interest rate of 10.48 percent. more..

Sri Lankan English dictionary launch today

Nov 27 (DN) The first dictionary of Sri Lankan English will be launched today at the British Council auditorium. Compiled by Michael Meyler, a British national resident in Sri Lanka, this is the first ever comprehensive dictionary that records the way that English is spoken in the country. It includes over 2,500 words and phrases from day-to-day conversations, Sri Lankan newspapers and creative writing in English. more..

The role of the railway under Eastern Resurgence

Nov 27 (DN) Under the Negenahira Udanaya (Eastern Resurgence) the Government has proposed a mega development programme covering all aspects to bring relief to the people of all ethnic groups in the East. Improvements to the road network is a vital factor in the development programme. A-11 road from Maradankadawala to Valachchenai with a 300 by 10.4 mtr new bridge spanning Mahaweli at Manampitiya. A-6 road from Habarana to Trincomalee. more..

Minister wants anti-ragging bill enforced

Nov 27 (DM) Minister of Higher Education Professor Vishva Waranapala stressed the need for enforcing the Anti-Ragging Bill in Parliament yesterday to stop ragging which has become a serious issue. Speaking during the Committee stage of the Budget in the House yesterday Mr. Waranapala said many parents of university students had written to him requesting him to ban ragging in universities. more..

“Politicians must give priority to the country” says Karu

Nov 27 (DM) If the attempts by certain destructive elements to topple the government at the Budget debate were successful at a time when the backbone of terrorism had been conclusively broken, the country would have been in a precarious position by now, Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Karu Jayasuriya said over the weekend at an event in Matara.“Politicians must give priority to the country over their personal requirements. more..

England secure warm-up win

Nov 27 (CI) Kevin Pietersen produced his first half-century of the tour and Alastair Cook continued his recent good form, as England wrapped up a morale-boosting victory over the Sri Lanka Board President's XI at Colombo. The pair combined in a third-wicket stand of 55, making 59 and 58 respectively, before Owais Shah and Matt Prior sealed the victory with a flurry of boundaries shortly after tea. more..

I had to speak out: Atapattu

Nov 27 (IE) It showed during his captaincy - a quiet demeanour ahead of a strong personality. Marvan Atapattu likes to live life on his terms and he made that amply clear last week, announcing his retirement from international cricket in close conjunction with a scathing attack on the sport's administration in Sri Lanka. Now under contract with the Indian Cricket League (ICL), a chance to remain "with cricket", the 37-year-old says his stormy exit was not out of any personal frustration or anger. more..

UN objects to impounding of food packets by Sri Lanka Customs

Nov 27 (PTI) Taking exception to the seizure by Sri Lankan Customs of some food packets brought by it into the country, the United Nations has cautioned that such incidents could obstruct its developmental work in the island nation. The UN was reacting to concerns raised in Sri Lankan Parliament on the ready-to-eat meal packets imported into the country by the UNICEF and impounded by the Customs. more..

War hits Sri Lanka tourism arrivals

Nov 27 (AFP) Sri Lanka said Tuesday that tourist arrivals had fallen sharply amid the tropical island's intensifying ethnic conflict. Tourist arrivals had dropped 20 percent over the 10 months to October to 387,790 compared with the same period last year, Sri Lanka Tourism said. October's arrivals were 4.6 percent lower at 37,011 compared with the same month in 2006. Overall earnings for the industry fell 16 percent over the nine months to September compared with the same period a year earlier. more..

Sri Lanka military kills 13 with mine - rebels

Nov 27 (Reuters) Thirteen civilians were killed by a Sri Lankan military mine in rebel-held Killinochchi on Tuesday, the Tamil Tigers said, hours before the rebel leadership is due to issue its annual policy statement. The military denied the charge. The blast in rebel-held Kilinochchi is the latest claimed action in intensified fighting between government forces and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels. more..

Peace with Sri Lanka govt impossible: Tamil Tiger chief

Nov 27 (AFP) The leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels declared in an annual speech Tuesday that peace with the island's "genocidal" government was impossible. In a furious attack on the island's Sinhalese majority, Velupillai Prabhakaran accused the south of "trying to destroy the Tamil nation" and threatened "serious consequences" for the armed forces. "It is unleashing unthinkable violence against another people. It only desires to find a solution to the Tamil question through military might and oppression," more..

Air Force bombs VOT building

Nov 27 (BBC) Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka say their main radio station is flattened by a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) bombing raid. The bomb raid occurred as the station prepared to broadcast LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's annual speech, the LTTE said. 'Many civilian employees' of the Voice of Tigers (VOT) radio station were killed in the attack, according to the Tamil Tigers. The Sri Lanka military confirmed that Air force launched an attack on a radio station at 1630 (SLT) on Tuesday. more..

Manmohan Singh expected to visit Sri Lanka in Feb

Nov 28 (PTI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to be the chief guest at the 60th anniversary celebrations of Sri Lanka's independence in February next year. "The Sri Lankan government had extended an invitation to the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and he has accepted it," a senior Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry official said. "He will visit Sri Lanka on 4th of February," the official said. more..

Sri Lanka's captain fantastic

Nov 28 (BBC) Sri Lanka have had their fair share of strong men as skippers, domineering characters with presences as large as their waistlines. Current incumbent Mahela Jayawardene is another man of considerable stature - but this has little to do with his physique or an attitude. One of the game's more thoughtful and softly-spoken protagonists, the 30-year-old has earned rave reviews since taking over following Marvan Atapattu's back injury in March 2006. more..

LIOC wants Sri Lankan Govt. to revise diesel prices

Nov 28 (PTI) Lankan Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) has asked the government here to revise diesel prices to protect the company against incurring a loss of nearly US$ 5 million in December due to high global crude oil prices. "We supply 30 million litres of diesel in Sri Lanka every month, and will lose Rs 18 (Sri Lankan Rupees) per litre from next month if the government does not revise the prices upwards," LIOC Managing Director, K Ramakrishnan, said. more..

TN: LTTE activist arrested

Nov 28 (PTI) An LTTE activist wanted in connection with various cases of procuring and smuggling explosives, drugs and fuel, for the banned outfit has been detained, police said on Tuesday. Sateeswaran (31), regarded as the kingpin in LTTE's procurement wing, was arrested here when he was attempting to escape to Sri Lanka on Monday, they said. The activist from Killinochi in Sri Lanka had earlier tried to smuggle 50 bags of explosive substances including Pottasium Chlorate and Sulphur, more..

Umpire Koertzen out of Sri Lanka-England series

Nov 28 (AFP) Umpire Rudi Koertzen, who angered Sri Lankans this month for wrongly giving Kumar Sangakkara out on 192, has been withdrawn from the England Tests, officials said on Tuesday. South African Koertzen, 58, was due to stand in the three-Test series between Sri Lanka and England starting in Kandy on Saturday, but officials said the International Cricket Council (ICC) had replaced him. more..

Fair Trade Labels Ensure Returns For Farmers

Nov 28 (IPS) Organic farmers in this hilly, central region of Sri Lanka are convinced that they have a simple fair trade model that could be replicated in other parts of the world. "What we have created is the most sustainable model of fair trade and organic food in the world,’’ insists Sarath Ranaweera, founder of the Small Organic Farmers Association (SOFA), speaking with IPS. more..

Supreme Leader: Freedom-seekers support Palestinian nation

Nov 28 (IRNA) Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said here Tuesday that the freedom seekers and those with awakened conscience always support the Palestinian nation. The Supreme Leader made the remark in a meeting with visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Tuesday. Referring to support of the Sri Lankan government for the Palestinian nation, the Supreme Leader said the supporters of the Zionist regime have taken various measures to trample upon the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people such as more..

The tragedy at mahavilachchiya E-Village

Nov 28 (LR) Mahavilachchiya is a village in Anuradhapura, 245 km from Colombo which is surrounded by Vilpattu National Park from three sides and the children of Mahavilachchiya with Founder Mr Nandasiri Wanninayaka CEO of Horizon Lanka Foundation (HLF) are trying their best to make Mahavilachchiya a Model eVillage. The village of Mahavilachchiya got Internet connections before the village got telephone connections thanks to Mesh technology, a project, donated by UNDP. more..

SriLankan Airlines aims for new deal with Emirates: official

Nov 28 (AFP) SriLankan Airlines wants a new management contract to be signed soon with Dubai-owned Emirates, chief executive Peter Hill said Tuesday, forecasting a "tough" year for the island's carrier. The Colombo government is holding another meeting on January 8 with Emirates to discuss the renewal of the 10-year management contract of SriLankan Airlines that runs out next March, an airline official said. more..

Sri Lanka rebel chief slams international community

Nov 28 (Reuters) Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran on Tuesday accused the international community of failing his rebel group and said they were partly to blame for Sri Lanka's killing of a top aide in an air force bombing raid. Prabhakaran said he had no hope of a political settlement with the Sri Lankan government, and exhorted the entire Tamil-speaking world to back the rebels' fight for an independent state in the north and east of the island. more..

RSF: Bombing Tiger Radio a ‘War Crime’

Nov 28 (TW) Sri Lanka military air strike today on the Voice of Tigers, the radio station of the Tamil Tiger rebels in the north of the country, was a “war crime,” Reporters Without Borders said. Three of the station’s staff, who had not been given any warning, and six other civilians were killed in the bombardment by air force jets. “Voice of Tigers is a propaganda radio operated by the LTTE rebels, but the rules of war are clear - military bombardment and bombing must be limited to strictly military targets,” more..

People acclaim Church-run health center in War-torn Jaffna

Nov 28 (UCAN) At a simple ceremony, Catholic priests and well-wishers paid tribute to a Church-run health center that has stayed open through more than two decades of war. On Nov. 18, Bishop Thomas Savundaranayagam of Jaffna joined 70 priests, 50 nuns and more than 80 laypeople in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Holy Cross Health Centre on the waterfront in Jaffna. On the occasion, the bishop inaugurated a new, larger labor room and infant care center. more..

Sri Lanka: A paradise poisoned

Nov 28 (AT) This book is the product of a seventeen year project since 1987, devoted to understanding linkages between deadly conflict, terrorism and development, by viewing them through the lens of Sri Lanka’s post-independence history, from 1948 through 1988. The reference to Paradise is to the Sri Lanka of remarkable stability and promise in the early years of independence in 1948 with extra-ordinarily good pre-conditions for a peaceful development scenario. more..

Ego & Man

Nov 28 (AT) Ego is the root cause of many problems in the world. Politicians are mainly victims of their Egocentric behaviour. Iraq is a tragic example of egocentrism. President Bush wanted to invade this country purely because of his big Ego. Very simple things become complicated because of Ego. The stronger the Ego is, the greater the fear too! In Buddhism there are three kinds of complexes: 1. Inferiority complex 2. Superiority complex 3. Equality complex more..

Annual Hero’s Day Speech - The full text of the official translation

Nov 28 (AT) The leader of the LTTE, V Pirapaharan, in his annual Heroes' Day statement put a heavy responsibility on the shoulders of the international community for the breakdown of the peace process. He said that the involvement of the international community to resolve the Tamil national question has been unhelpful and added that their failure to condemn unambiguously the military path of the current regime has created the present situation in the island. more..

Prabakaran faults world on support to Colombo

Nov 28 (Hindu) Making a strong appeal to the international community to “change its approach” to the Sri Lankan government, LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran on Tuesday claimed that the world today is “making the same mistake” India made vis-À-vis Colombo several years ago. In his “Annual Hero’s Day Speech” telecast and broadcast from the jungles of the LTTE-controlled Kilinochchi district, Mr. Prabakaran complained that the “partisan and unjust conduct” of the international community “severely undermined confidence of Tamil people”. more..

Monk offered 'prime land for free'

Nov 28 (BBC) A leading Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka is accused of using his political influence to make personal gains. United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Sarath Ranawaka accused the government of illegally offering a supreme land near the capital to Elle Gunawansa thero. A piece of land worth millions of rupees was offered to the thero free of charge, the Kalutara district parliamentarian told journalists in Colombo. more..