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A government teetering on the brink

Nov 28 (ML) Even as the spotlight focuses on the December 14 budget vote, the government has hit the panic button with increased and frenzied military operations in the north. The government hopes ‘operation buget’ would not only deflect from its economic failures but also stoke the mindset of the extremist southerner in a bid to avert defeat at the third reading. The air force on Sunday (25) air raided a key LTTE satellite station and more..

Leader fire spreads to parliament

Nov 28 (ML) Prolific American author Upton Sinclair in one of his best known quotes claimed: "Fascism is Capitalism plus Murder." While we do not assume that Sinclair was a prophet and prophesied what the Sri Lankan state would become with capitalism being liberally mingled with all forms of attack on the Fourth Estate including that of murder, it is easily concluded that this island once renowned for its democratic values has hit an all time low today. more..

High risk, high security zones of impunity

Nov 28 (ML) There is an argument for renaming High Security Zones, High Risk Zones or indeed High Impunity Zones. Areas are designated HSZs because of the individuals and installations located within them requiring special security measures. Consequently, the security of these high security zones, in turn, are expected to be of the highest order. Whenever their special status is breached it is a cause for serious concern. more..

TRO, UNICEF and due process

Nov 28 (ML) Much has been said recently of the ban of TRO in the US and subsequent announcement of a ban in Sri Lanka. A further casualty has been UNICEF. We attempt to bring together some pieces. I/NGOs are registered by the GoSL under the Voluntary Social Services Act. TRO became one, it so registered in 2002. It became a key actor in a tripartite relationship as determined through the peace talks held following the CFA. more..

Govt. boasts of high revenue but Sri Lanka gets a beating in global tax rankings

Nov 28 (BL) The Treasury and agencies under it may take pride in high revenue collection, but Sri Lanka has got a bad rating over its taxation regime according to a recent study done by the World Bank Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Judging by the massive revenue effort envisaged in the Budget 2008 – a whopping Rs. 150 billion extra to a total of Rs. 750.7 billion (a high 18% of GDP), the ratings are unlikely to improve next year as well. more..

Military mans hospitals while workers strike

Nov 28 (BL) The military was brought into man activities at hospitals around the country after minor workers launched a strike yesterday. The Army and Air Force were brought in by the authorities to carry out duties at hospitals, which led to a smooth operation despite the strike launched by thousands of striking hospital workers across some 20 hospitals around the country. more..

The JVP and Tamil militancy

Nov 28 (BL) Tamil leaders and youth were frustrated when UNP Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake told Federal Party leader S.J.V. Chelvanayakam in September 1968 of his inability to implement the agreement, especially, the arrangement to devolve power to the regional councils, he signed with him in 1965, due to strong opposition from Sinhala Buddhists and the Buddhists clergy. more..

Blunder that belittled a beleaguered nation

Nov 28 (BL) The last thing any patriotic Sri Lankan, irrespective of party affiliations, race or religion, would want is to have its representatives becoming the laughing stock at international fora. Though a small country, the island nation has produced many illustrious Sri Lankans who have done their motherland proud by achievements at the highest international levels. The names of Shirley Amerasinghe, Jayantha Dhanapala and Christy Weeramantry among a host of others come to mind. more..

Going forward to genuine democracy or slipping backwards to dictatorship?

Nov 28 (FI) When fifteen high-ranking former commanders of the armed forces have to meet the President to discuss the grave military and political situation in the country, we can only conclude that the country is facing a crisis of political leadership. According to a news report, ‘The former service chiefs made it clear to the President that their move was completely non-partisan, and that they were only worried that even after facing a challenge from terrorism for 30 years, more..

Internally displaced persons from Northern province in Puttlam

Nov 28 (TC) Puttlam district is situated on the coastal belt of North Western Province of Sri Lanka. Its total population is 8,14,000. Sinhala population is 5,85,000, Muslim population is 1,49,000, and Tamil population is 80,000. There are currently 75,000 Internally Displaced Persons from Northern Province in Puttlam. These statistics are from a survey carried out by the District Secretariat of Puttlam. more..

Graduate employees demand proper salary placement

Nov 28 (LD) Field and office-based graduate employees in the state sector who come under the MN5 salary scale staged a protest demonstration opposite the Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry in Colombo today. The graduates protested against the government and the Salaries Commission, claiming that their basic salary of Rs. 19,000 that was promised through the 2006/06 Salaries Circular have been pruned and that they are not receiving pay raises. more..

Attempt to slash fertilizer subsidy

Nov 28 (LD) The government is attempting to curtail the fertilizer subsidy by limiting it to paddy fields that produce more than 100 bushels per acre. Speaking to the media today (Nov. 28th), Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna MP S.K. Subasinghe said that the government has already issued a circular that will reduce the fertilizer subsidy from the present 165-kilos per acre. The subsidy would be reduced to 107 kilos if the harvest is less than 80 bushels, he charged. more..

Pro-LTTE statements won’t be allowed in House - Weerawansa

Nov 28 (LD) “Parliamentarian Mavai Senadhiraja is trying to imply that civilians had been killed due to the air raid on Voice of Tigers radio. The statement he is attempting to make will have words like ‘Eelam’ and ‘motherland’ that propagate a division of the country. Therefore, it will be a pro-LTTE statement. That cannot be allowed. Statements that violate the constitution cannot be allowed. As parliamentarians, we are duty-bound to prevent them,” more..

Air Force trainer mistakenly drops bomb

Nov 28 (LD) A Sri Lanka Air Force training aircraft mistakenly dropped a bomb into a private property at Kirimetiyana in Wennappuwa, reports say. The incident occurred around 3.30 p.m. yesterday. The bomb landed in the garden of one Prasad Sampath who lives at School Lane. Police say that the bomb was mistakenly dropped by an S-7 model trainer and that the bomb did not go off, averting a major disaster. more..

Transformer blown up in Matale

Nov 28 (LD) An unidentified group has blown up a transformer near the handloom textile factory at Kalalpitiya in Matale. Police say that investigations have revealed that the transformer had been blasted at around 3.15 am yesterday. Police have also discovered a wire, which lead from the transformer into the nearby jungle area. A senior Police officer said that he believed this to be the work of the LTTE cadres who have infiltrated the upcountry plantation areas. more..

Jayalath questions progress in Raviraj & Parajarasingham murder probes

Nov 28 (LD) UNP MP Jayalath Jayawardena charged in Parliament today (Nov. 27th) that the present regime was repressing the media. He questioned the government as to who was responsible for the arson attack on Leader Publications printing house. Speaking further, Jayawardena wanted to know the progress being made in investigations into the murders of MPs Nadaraja Raviraj and Joseph Pararajasingham. more..

After Pakistan, it may be our turn – JVP MP

Nov 28 (LD) JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake warned today that Sri Lanka was in a worse situation than Pakistan internationally. Speaking during the committee stage budget debate in Parliament, he said that it would soon be Sri Lanka’s turn. He also urged the government not to politicize the Foreign Service. The competitive examination to recruit personnel to the service had not been conducted in four years, he said, adding that the even related gazette notification had several mistakes. more..

Iran President to visit SL in 2008

Nov 28 (GDI) At a press briefing held this afternoon in Colombo, Minister of Media, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana announced that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Iran had been very successful. He was awarded a grand reception and many areas of interest between the two countries were cordially discussed. Following these discussions a joint communiqué was issued by the two leaders. more..

Govt Condemns attack on Leader Press

Nov 28 (GDI) Minister for Media Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana speaking on behalf of the Government this afternoon at a press briefing said that allegations made by some members of the opposition that the Government was involved in the recent destruction caused to the office of the Leader publications was entirely false. The Minster said that the Government vehemently condemns the attack and more..

'Parliament will not be dissolved, unless the President so decides'

Nov 28 (GDI) Chief Government Whip and Minister of Highways & Road Development, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle stressed that a General Election will be held only if the President of Sri Lanka so decides. According to the Constitution, President can do so after one year in office. Whatever comments and forcasts are made by the members of the opposition, the President will act on his own initiative and constitutionally. more..

Nightingales Fly off to California

Nov 28 (GDI) Ministry of Health Care and Nutrition will be sending one thousand trained nurses to California annually from this year. Under the agreement to be signed in due course, 1,000 Sri Lankan nurses will get the opportunity to serve in Californian hospitals annually. Each batch will serve in California for two years. United Kingdom, United States, China, Italy, Australia and Canada have also demanded for Sri Lankan nurses. more..

Nagenahira Udanaya- Development of Amparai

Nov 28 (GDI) Amparai saw its district development only under the UPFA Government. There are so many Ministers from Ampara District in this Government, said Minister of Housing and Common Amenities, Ferial Ashraff at the ceremony held in connection with the laying of the foundation stone for the office of the Assistance Director of Agriculture at Addalachenai to be build at a cost of Rs. 13 million from the NECORD project. more..

Dayan Jayatilleka chairs 300th Session of ILO

Nov 28 (PISL) The 300th Session of the Governing Body of the International Labour Office (ILO) was held from November 1-15, 2007, under the chairmanship of Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva. The session held wide-ranging discussions among its government, employer and worker members on basic labour rights in Myanmar, Belarus and other countries as well as more..

Minister Douglas Devananda: More detail emerges on the suicide attack

Nov 28 (AT) More detail now emerges on the attempt to kill EPDP Secretary General and Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda. According to EPDP online news source, “The fascist LTTE have once again attempted to take the life Minister Douglas Devananda using another female suicide bomber. This the 2nd suicide bomb attacks by the LTTE on a public day in Colombo on Douglas Devananda, using a woman in both instances.” more..

Exploiting humanity for terrorism by LTTE

Nov 28 (LR) Mr. Douglas Devananda is the Social Services and Social Welfare minister and Piribaharan’s choice to send a disabled woman suffering from Polio clearly shows the inhuman nature of his thinking. Douglas Devananda is the only Tamil political leader elected to parliament in the North who did not give into iron fist of fascism of LTTE terrorist leader Piribaharan. All the other Tamil MP’s from North have given into LTTE and working as LTTE terrorist proxy tails in Sri Lankan politics. more..

Lanka 99th in HDI

Nov 28 (SAMN) Sri Lanka has been ranked 99 out of 177 in the human development index (HDI) of the Human Development Report released in Brazil Tuesday. Since 1990 the Human Development Report has published the human development index (HDI) which looks beyond GDP to a broader definition of well-being. The HDI for Sri Lanka is 0.743 Out of the 156 countries with both HDI and GDI values; eighty-seven countries have a better ratio than Sri Lanka's. more..

'Outsiders working in foreign missions'

Nov 28 (SAMN) The UNP Tuesday charged that 70 percent of vacancies in Sri Lankan missions in foreign countries had been filled with outsiders, overlooking qualified persons in the Foreign Service. Party frontliner Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament that a person called Wickramasuriya, a close relation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa had been appointed as the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia, mainly to workout the MiG deal with Ukraine. more..

VAT exemption for “identified” projects

Nov 28 (SAMN) Several large scale development projects identified by the Government are to be exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT) according to the 2008 budget proposals. Deputy Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya speaking to the Daily Financial Times said that these particular projects include a number of large-scale foreign-funded development projects and several other projects such as the Norochcholai coal power plant and Hambantota port project etc. more..

APRC activities continuing: Vitharana

Nov 28 (SAMN) All Party Representative Committee (APRC) Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitharana said yesterday that the Committee activities were continuing as usual in spite of the current "tug-of-war" situation. He said committee activities would temporarily be stopped because they were unable to get Hansard reporters to record the proceedings. "It is difficult to get Hansard reporters because of the Parliamentary proceedings," Prof Vitharana said. more..

Govt's aim to weaken Tigers - Gotabhaya

Nov 28 (DN) The Government's aim is to weaken the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. "Our objective is to weaken them. We have to defeat them militarily, we have to control Wanni," he told AFP in an interview at the Defence Ministry. "It is possible. We just have to squeeze them. Then a political solution becomes possible," the Defence Secretary said, more..

Invest in Sri Lanka, President tells Iranians

Nov 28 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa called upon Iranian Investors to invest in Sri Lanka sans fear and with full confidence and assured them of definite success of their investment. He also urged the media of the two countries to assist in this venture. President Rajapaksa made this assurance to a high-level delegation of leading and high-level Iranian Investors and businessmen who attended the Business and Investment Forum at more..

Postal strike called off

Nov 28 (DM) The strike launched by the postal trade unions on Monday was called off Tuesday midnight. Convenor of the Joint Postal Trade Unions V. Vivekanandalingam said that the strike was abandoned following talks yesterday with the secretary of the Post and Telecommunication Ministry W.M. Jayasena. Vivekanandalingam claimed that the trade union action was based on three demands including the appointment of a permanent Post Master General and more..

Government spends Rs. 13 million on ministry rental

Nov 28 (DM) Government spends Rs 1.1 million a month as rental for the newly created Ministry of Special Projects housed in the West Tower of World Trade Centre. Subject Minister Mahinda Wijesekara revealed this in the House while responding to an oral question by JVP MP for the Anuradhapura district Ranaweera Pathirana. Mr. Pathirana queried why such a large sum like Rs. 13 million is being spent on rental for this Ministry annually. more..

India to take up with Sri Lanka matter regarding fishermen's arrest

Nov 28 (UNI) The government today asserted that it would take up with Sri Lanka the matter regarding arrests and harassment of Indian fishermen who strayed into high seas close to Lankan maritime borders and said everything would be done to assuage their grievances. Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said in Rajya Sabha during Zero Hour that the government had taken note of the issue with serious concern. more..

ADB Extends $80M Assistance for Sri Lanka's Education Sector

Nov 28 (ADB) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing $80 million to improve secondary and tertiary education in Sri Lanka to equip the nation’s young work force with the skills necessary to meet expanding and evolving labor market needs. The assistance will be provided in the form of a $65 million loan and a $15 million grant to support the Education for Knowledge Society Project. The government is contributing $25.3 million to the project. more..

Sri Lanka borrows $1.5 bln from Iran for infrastructure

Nov 28 (Reuters) Sri Lanka has borrowed $1.5 billion from Iran to fund infrastructure projects, including an expansion of the island's only oil refinery, officials said on Wednesday. The funds will also be used to finance housing, power and irrigation projects. The $1.5 billion loan was signed in Tehran, where a Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa held talks with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. more..

“Groundless” allegations could threaten aid work - UN official

Nov 28 (IRIN) “Groundless public accusations can seriously compromise our ability to carry out humanitarian and development work and are also putting the safety and security of UN staff and non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners at risk,” Neil Buhne, the UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Sri Lanka, said in a recent statement released by the UN Inter Agency Standing Committee (ISAC) country team. more..

Sri Lankan suicide bomber kills one in attack on government minister

Nov 28 (AP) A handicapped suicide bomber sent by Tamil Tiger rebels to assassinate a Cabinet minister blew herself up at Sri Lanka's social services ministry in the heart of Colombo early Wednesday, killing a government employee, the military said. The blast came hours after the rebels' top leader blamed the government for a recent escalation of fighting in the more than two-decade-old civil war more..

Sri Lanka bomb attack kills 16 in capital

Nov 28 (LBO) At least 16 people were killed and 37 wounded in a bomb blast in a crowded shopping district in a suburb south of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo Wednesday evening, police and hospital officials said. The attack, which the Defence Ministry said was carried out by the Tamil Tigers, occurred outside the 'No Limit' clothing store in Nugegoda, setting vehicles and buildings on fire and causing a severe traffic jam. more..

Bomb kills 16 near Sri Lankan capital

Nov 29 (AP) A bomb exploded Wednesday evening near the entrance to a popular department store in a busy Colombo suburb, killing 16 people and wounding 37 in a rare attack on civilians that the military blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels. The blast occurred just outside the four-story No Limits store in Nugegoda as commuters crowded a nearby bus stop during the evening rush hour, officials said. "We know that the attack bears all the hallmarks of the LTTE," more..

The responsibility of people at the eleventh hour of LTTE terrorism

Nov 29 (LR) LTTE’s military mechanism is no longer effective and SL Navy has completely frozen arms supply from the sea and Wanni jungle is completely encircled by elite commandoes of the SL army. The long range brigade of SL Army has already sneak into the den of the Piribaharan. As defense secretary Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa clearly mentioned, Piribaharan recently celebrated his last birthday of his life in a deep hole in the Wanni jungle. more..

TNA condemns Colombo blasts

Nov 29 (BBC) Sri Lanka's major political party representing the Tamil minority has strongly condemned the bomb blasts in the capital, Colombo. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian Chandrakanth Chandranehru told BBC Sandeshaya that the party does not condone any attack on the civilians. "I myself would have been caught had I was there at the time of the blast," the MP whose parliamentarian father's assassination is still unresolved said. more..

Police check points 'inefficient'

Nov 29 (BBC) Police check points in and around the capital inefficient in preventing terrorist attacks, Sri Lanka's Supreme Court said. Chief Justice Sarath Silva told the open court that police road blocks should be technically enhanced if they are to be useful at all. He recalled that a Tamil Tiger suspect recently arrested in Negombo has told the police that he passed through 12 police check points. more..

Nugegoda Bombing: Brutality had so hardened in their hearts that the LTTE will never reform themselves – Sangaree

Nov 29 (AT) Brutality had so hardened in their hearts that the LTTE will never reform themselves, says V.Anandasangaree who condemned the brutal attack on the innocent civilians at the Nugegoda junction by the LTTE, by exploding a bomb which caused the death of 17 people and injured over thirty five others. “While condemning this cruel act,” Anandasangaree, President of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) in a press release said, more..

First imported four seater Electric car on SL roads

Nov 29 (AT) Local leading inventor and the Chancellor of the University of Moratuwa Dr.Ray Wijewardana says that he had never used petrol shed during the past few years due to the non use of fossil fuel car.Dr.Wijewardana uses electric operated car -Reva - an Indian motor car and said he spends only a few cents to charge his car and complete his day to day transport needs. Speaking after the launching of new Electric Car Electtrica on Tuesday. more..

Kandy-man Murali set to scale the summit

Nov 29 (AFP) Muttiah Muralitharan returns to his home town to become Test cricket's most successful bowler, a feat Australia denied him but England are unlikely to prevent. The spin wizard, 35, begins Sri Lanka's first Test against Michael Vaughan's men at the Asgiriya stadium here from Saturday needing five wickets to surpass retired Australian Shane Warne's world mark of 708. Not even the Englishmen doubt Muralitharan will surpass Warne during the series, most likely at Kandy itself, more..

England continue tour despite bomb blasts

Nov 29 (CI) England's tour of Sri Lanka will continue as planned despite two bomb attacks in the capital, Colombo, on Wednesday, a spokesman told Cricinfo. However, the spokesman added that team officials would continue to monitor the situation, in consultation with the British High Commission. The England squad is currently in Kandy, away from the scene of the explosions, which took place within ten hours of each other in the heart of the city, killing at least 16 people. more..

Prabhakaran shows his dejection by Heroes Day speech – Wimal Weerawansa

Nov 29 (LD) JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa says that Velupillai Prabhakaran had delivered his Heroes Day speech in a voice of a person who is dejected and pleading for outside help to escape his painful and evil fate. Weerawansa made a special statement to Parliament today (Nov. 28th) regarding the LTTE leader’s speech yesterday. Prabhakaran is so much depressed that his birthday gifts had come in the way of a mortar attack on Pillayaradi Tamil School in Mannar that injured both teachers and more..

Endangered species too need to help each other

Nov 29 (ISL) Those who leapfrog aren’t doing it for free according to Weerawansa in parliament, who wanted a bill board up in front to announce the daily price of each of them, for the public to know the value of the representatives they’ve elected. But the JVP is also not without leapfrogging members, reports the media. An awfully regimented party they are, no one would expect a crawling group of JVP members to leapfrog to the government. more..

Govt. should be wary that it cannot continue with oppressive and repressive policies - Dr. Jayalath J.

Nov 29 (ISL) Dr. Jayalath Jayawardene, UNP Parliamentarian addressing the Media conference today (28Nov) at the UNP Media unit blasted the Rajapakse Bros. Govt. for the total disregard and deliberate attempts made by it to destroy the fundamental rights and human rights guaranteed in the constitution. He also said Sri Lanka has never known Media freedom and its personnel being intimidated and killed as with this regime. more..