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Blast shows change in LTTE tactics

Nov 29 (Hindu) The military on Wednesday claimed on the basis of initial investigations that the physically challenged woman who blew herself up inside the office of Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda had hidden the explosive device in the upper portion of her clothing. “Initial investigations into the incident show that LTTE had set the explosives around the woman’s breast, deviating from their usual tactic of placing explosive in the lower abdominal areas of ‘suicide’ girls,” said the Ministry. more..

Sri Lanka inflation probably quickened to highest in 10 months

Nov 29 (BN) Sri Lanka's consumer prices probably rose the most in 10 months in November, presenting a challenge to the central bank which wants to control inflation without threatening economic growth. Consumer prices in the capital Colombo increased 19.8 percent from a year earlier, after gaining 19.6 percent in October, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts in a Bloomberg News survey. more..

Ban Ki-moon condemns suicide attacks in Sri Lanka

Nov 29 (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced outrage at today’s twin suicide attacks in the Sri Lankan capital, which have killed or wounded dozens of people, and yesterday’s aerial assault on a United Nations aid office in the far north of the troubled country. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban condemned the attacks in Colombo, which occurred outside the Ministry of Social Services building and in the Nugegoda district, and offered his condolences to the families and friends of the victims. more..

Amnesty International condemns civilian killings

Nov 29 (AI) Amnesty International today condemns the indiscriminate killing of at least 17 civilians and the wounding of more than 30 civilians by two suicide bombers believed to be members of the LTTE. "The LTTE must stop any direct or indiscriminate attacks on civilians. They are forbidden under international humanitarian law and are never acceptable," said Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International, more..

Catholic youth run blood drive for war victims

Nov 29 (UCAN) A bread roll and a sweet cup of coffee were waiting for the young priest when he got up from the bed by a hospital van in front of St. Joseph's Cathedral. The 11th annual blood drive run by the Anuradhapura cathedral's Catholic Youth Association had produced its first pint of blood. This year's drive was held on Nov. 18. Anuradhapura is an ancient capital and holy city in Sri Lankan Buddhism, but today it serves as a frontline base in the government's war against Tamil rebels. more..

Malaysian Indians look at LTTE

Nov 29 (DNA) Angry ethnic Indians who marched in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday to protest race-based discrimination in Malaysia carried portraits of Mahatma Gandhi as a symbol of their non-violent struggle. “But if their genuine grievances continue to be ignored, (Sri Lankan Tamil Tigers leader) Velupillai Prabakaran could soon replace Gandhi as their inspiration,” warns P. Ramasamy, former professor of history at University Kebangsaan Malaysia. more..

Arrests fuel worries about LTTE in Tamil Nadu

Nov 29 (IANS) The arrests of a Tamil Tiger and four others in Tamil Nadu have fuelled worries that the Sri Lankan rebels may again be getting active in the sprawling Indian state. Police say that the five were apprehended in recent days on charges of transporting explosives and fuel to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) across the narrow sea dividing Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka says Colombo bombings may be start of rebel campaign

Nov 29 (BN) Sri Lanka said two attacks that killed 18 people in the capital, Colombo, yesterday may be the start of a bombing campaign by the LTTE in response to rebel military defeats. "The LTTE has targeted innocent civilians who have no involvement in the ongoing military operations," Jayantha Wickremarathna, a police spokesman, said late yesterday in Colombo. "In the midst of repeated defeats and setbacks on the battle field, LTTE attacks against civilians could intensify in the coming weeks." more..

Statement on the Escalation of Violent Attacks in Sri Lanka

Nov 29 (CNC) The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, issued the following statement regarding the escalation of violent attacks in Sri Lanka: “Canada strongly condemns the escalation of violence in Sri Lanka and, in particular, the killing of civilians, whether targeted or accidental. Our sincere sympathies are with the families and friends of the victims, irrespective of their ethnicity. more..

Sri Lanka planters slam political meddling in wages

Nov 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's large tea plantations have slammed state interference in wages that saw unions effectively egged onto breaking a legal wage deal and plantations firms forced into a new agreement. The Planters Association (PA), an industry body representing tea farms said the companies "were literally forced to accept the government directive" and the industry has been "put into jeopardy by the knee-jerk decision thrust on them." more..

Central Bank union demands retraction of threats against SEP

Nov 29 (wsws) The executive committee of the Central Bank Employees Union (CBEU) in Sri Lanka passed a resolution on November 12 demanding that the leadership of the Sri Lanka Central Bank Employees Union (SLCBEU) withdraw its threat against CBEU president K.B. Mavikumbura and treasurer M.W. Piyaratna. Mavikumbura is a long-time member of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and Piyaratna is a close SEP sympathiser. more..

Terrorism, Violence, and Reconciliation

Nov 29 (FI) Over thirty years ago I flew standby from Belfast to London - and the plane made an emergency landing in Manchester. All passengers were taken to a hangar and interviewed at length by the Central Intelligence Branch of Scotland Yard. We were told at that time that a bomb had been found on board. Many years later I read an account of this incident in a book on the history of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. more..

Pirabakaran! It is too late

Nov 29 (ISL) I thought of responding to Pirabakaran’s Hero’s Day speech in a very simple way. The main theme of his speech was his condemnation of the international community for taking a partisan stand in favour of the Sri Lankan government and an appeal to the Tamil Diaspora to support his organisation to extend the war further. Sixty years of Sinhala dominated anti-Tamil flavoured post independence and the past three decades old warfare and the terror regime prevailing in Sri Lanka has caused considerable harm to the Tamil people. more..

Sri Lanka needs spectacular fiscal gains to reach revised budget: economist

Nov 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state revenues have to grow twice as fast in the last quarter and expenses growth has to plunge to single digits for revised budget targets for 2007 to be reached, a private sector economist said. According to disclosures under Sri Lanka's fiscal responsibility law revenue up to September 2007 was 406 billion rupees compared with 335 billion in the same period for 2006. But it has to reach 605 billion by end December. more..

Sri Lanka leech nets barefoot Briton a windfall: report

Nov 29 (LBO) A former tourism student had won an award of 4,795 pounds sterling because a Sri Lankan leech bit him on a jungle walk in the tropical island, a British newspaper reported. Britain's Times newspaper said in its online edition that James Sheridan was bitten during a barefoot walk in a Sri Lankan jungle in 2001. He had sued the school, Swansea Institute of Higher Education, at a court in Cardiff for not warning him about leeches. more..

A challenge, not a relief

Nov 29 (CI) It is a huge matter of pride that we perform as well as we can against England, especially after the Australian tour, considering that we are now playing in favourable conditions. We need to work on our shortcomings, and the best way to bounce back from the disappointment of that tour is to win Test matches. You can talk for however long you want, but at the end of the day you have to perform out in the middle. more..

Health Ministry gearing up defence

Nov 29 (LD) The Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition has called for an immediate meeting with defence officials, police and some NGO representation to discuss ways and means of facing any extension of the ongoing strike in the health sector on the fingerprint issue. The letter that had gone out calling for this emergency meeting for tomorrow, 30th Friday, has been copied to the Defence Secretary, Army Commander, Navy Commander, IGP and to the three NGOs Sarvodaya, SL Red Cross and St. John's Ambulance Service. more..

Wimal Weerawansa calls for immediate ban of LTTE

Nov 29 (LD) JVP Propaganda Secretary Wimal Weerawansa has called for the immediate ban of the LTTE in Sri Lanka. “The bomb blast in Nugegoda claimed many lives including those of several schoolchildren. Are we going to allow the LTTE to function as an officially permitted organization any further?” Weerawansa asked Parliament today. He also charged that certain media had given publicity to Prabharakan’s Heroes Day speech, giving diplomatic status to the Tiger leader. more..

“I’m not afraid of LTTE threats” – Douglas Devananda

Nov 29 (LD) “I am not afraid of threats by the LTTE and I will continue to work for the people who are threatened by the LTTE”, said EPDP leader and Minister Douglas Devananda. Joining the committee stage budget debate in Parliament today, he commented on the failed LTTE attempt to assassinate him amid much desk banging and cheers. Although the LTTE dreams of killing me by sending suicide bombers, the truth never dies, MP Devananda said. more..

COPA chief calls for suspension of Inland Revenue chief

Nov 29 (LD) Minister Rauff Hakeem submitted the first report of the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) as its chairman to Parliament today and called for the suspension of the Commissioner of Inland Revenue as a temporary measure. Hakeem also urged the government to conduct an independent and impartial inquiry into the massive VAT fraud in the Inland Revenue Department. The COPA chairman blamed the bureaucracy for the swindle, and noted that long years of service at the same place without any promotion tends officials to resort to corruption. more..

Tamil Diaspora celebrates LTTE ‘Heroes day’

Nov 29 (LD) South African Tamils commemorated the LTTE Heroes Day on November 27th. The event was organized by The Tamil Coordinating Committee and was held at in Durban. Delivering the keynote address, P. Nedumaran, Tamil National Movement leader from Tamil Nadu called on the global Tamil community to rally behind the Tamil cause for the "dawn of Tamil Eelam as a free state". Video clips of LTTE leader Prabhakaran’s Heroes Day address were played to the audience. more..

The Second JVP Insurgency (Part One)

Nov 29 (LG) Almost immediately after the conclusive defeat of the Second JVP Insurgency (with the killing of the top JVP/DJV leaders in November 1989), the rewriting of history began. Attempts were made to romanticise that brutal conflict by depicting the JVP as a group of angry but innocent and idealistic young men and women who became the victims of a bloodthirsty, despotic regime. Instead of the threat it was to the democratic system, the JVP was hailed as the pre-eminent defender of freedom and of human rights. more..

On the plight of our workers in the Middle East

Nov 29 (LG) The Hindu’s Colombo representative Muralidhar Reddy has in a penetratingly incisive feature – given below - on the plight of our women most of them, frightfully young, reflects the shame of Sri Lanka. The Government of Sri Lanka extremely heavy on its ministerial composition seems unmoved; even worse is unable to understand the shameful state to which the country has been condemned. more..

SL and Czech Republic hold talks for bilateral relationships

Nov 29 (GDI) Sri Lanka and Czech Republic have successfully concluded their first official bilateral consultations in Prague on 12 November 2007, with the two sides agreeing on a number of aspects aimed at further enhancement of Sri Lanka - Czech relations. According to the Minsitry of Foreign Affaires, the Sri Lanka delegation to the talks was led by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Dr. Palitha T. B. Kohona, who was accompanied by the Sri Lanka’s Ambassador accredited to the Czech Republic Aruni Wijewardene. more..

Awareness campaigns for school children on HIV prevention

Nov 29 (GDI) Sri Lanka will be holding a series of awareness campaigns in schools to create awareness among school children on the prevention of HIV/ AIDS. This was revealed at a media awareness conference held today in Colombo, at the Sri Lanka HIV Center. The main cause of spreading of HIV/AIDS in Sri Lanka is the unprotected sexual exposures and as a prevention of that it is highly important to create awareness among the community to prevent the disease. more..

More women among the injured

Nov 29 (GDI) In the bomb blast at the heart of Nugegoda town last evening (28) 17 were pronounced dead and 37 injured. According to the Director of the Kalubowila Hospital, Dr. W.J. Gunawardena 17 were dead on admission. Among them were seven women, six men and the others were unrecognizable due to burns. Of the 37 injured five were in a critical condition and transferred to the National Hospital. Among them were two teenage school girls and one has succumbed to her injuries while the other is still in a critical condition. more..

Launch of Southern Chambers Access to Finance and Advisory Services Program

Nov 29 (GDI) With the objective of strengthening the access and quality of services provided to small and medium scale businesses by banks and other supporting institutions an innovative development program was launched in Hambantota on the 27th of November 2007. The initiative which is titled “Southern Chambers Access to Finance and Advisory Services Program” is funded by the Royal Norwegian Government and implemented by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group. more..

“LTTE doing last bid as terrorists”- Defence Spokesman Rambukwella

Nov 29 (GDI) Condemning the cowardly attacks in Narahenpita and Nugegoda which claimed over 20 lives, Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that yesterday’s explosions perpetrated by the LTTE was a clear indication that LTTE terrorism has reached its last stage. “The two bomb incidents signify a plea by the terrorists in the face of their splintering image before the international community and the Tamil public at large,” said Rambukwella. more..

Sri Lanka and Iran condemned terrorism as a phenomenon and called for the creation of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East

Nov 29 (AT) Sri Lanka and Iran condemned terrorism as a phenomenon, which is increasingly threatening our world and stressed the need for international cooperation to deal with the root causes of this problem. In a joint statement released at the end of the visit of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse, upon the invitation of D. Mohmoud Ahmadi Nejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, both leaders discussed the current important regional and international developments and more..

JVP urges Govt. to officially abrogate CFA

Nov 29 (LNP) The JVP yesterday called upon the Government to abrogate the ceasefire agreement which is non-existent according to the LTTE. `LTTE leader Prabhakaran in his Heroes` day speech accused the Government of paving the way for the collapse of the ceasefire by withdrawing unilaterally. In other words, he says he too is not bound by the agreement, which is non-existent. So, we demand the Government to declare it null and void officially,' more..

Minister Rambukwella gives dodgy answer

Nov 29 (LNP) The Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare is housed at the World Trade Centre on a monthly rent of Rs. 1.6 million, Subject Minister Keheliya Rambukwella informed Parliament yesterday. Responding to an oral question in the House, Minister Rambukwella said his Ministry office was housed on the 18th floor in the East Tower of the World Trade Centre, leased from Overseas Realty (Ceylon) Ltd., on a monthly rent of Rs. 1.6 million, with the lease set to expire in 2010. more..

The Big Tiger lets the cat out of the bag

Nov 29 (LNP) The Tiger chief has spoken. Unlike his previous speeches full of sabre-rattling, threats, warnings and vivisection, Tuesday`s one was not a roar but a whine punctuated by feeble growls here and there. Overall, it was a passionate entreaty to the international community begging for its help vis-à-vis the increasing alienation of the LTTE internationally. The not-so-eagerly-awaited speech begins with a lament. more..

'President to resolve national issue'

Nov 29 (SAMN) Japan firmly believes President Mahinda Rajapaksa will provide strong leadership to resolve the country's national problem with the full backing of the majority of his countrymen, Shinsuke Shimizu, Director Southwest Asia Division said. He said Japan upholds Sri Lanka's right to defend itself against terrorism while at the same time seeking avenue for a peaceful resolution of the present conflict. more..

Basil asks public to be extra vigilant

Nov 29 (SAMN) The government Wednesday requested the people to be extra vigilant over possible terrorist attacks, adding that terrorists could strike at any moment. National list MP and president’s adviser, Basil Rajapaksa, told the ‘Daily Mirror’ at the Parliament Complex yesterday that no security system was ‘a hundred percent terrorist-proof’. Mr. Rajapaksa was commenting on the failed suicide bomb attack targeting EPDP Leader and minister, Douglas Devananda, Wednesday. more..

Karuna Group wants proof of violations

Nov 29 (SAMN) The Karuna Group said it would take ‘necessary action’ if an official complaint was made to the TMVP Colombo office on the activities of armed cadres in the east. TMVP spokesperson Azath Moulana said that the party would take immediate action if a complaint was made to the TMVP office in Colombo with proof. The UN this week had raised concerns over the activities of armed cadres in Ampara and had stated that groups including the TMVP continued with harassments, civilian intimidation and extortions. more..

Wage hikes brew storms in estates

Nov 29 (SAMN) Sri Lanka’s traditional export backbone - the tea industry’s ability to sustain itself and re-invest for future development and growth has come into question following a recent government-directed wage increase for plantation workers after their leadership unilaterally abrogated the collective agreement entered into only last year. The plantation companies, which were literally forced to accept the government directive when more..

Eviction of lodgers case: CJ urges settlement

Nov 29 (DN) The counsel in the rights applications against the eviction of Tamils from lodges yesterday moved for time to consider a settlement. The rights cases were taken before the Supreme Court for hearing. The court accordingly granted time till March 14, 2008 to consider a settlement. The court suggested the settlement. Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, PC, in view of the interim order and the apology extended by the Prime Minister to the persons who had been evicted suggested that the counsel consider a settlement. more..

No country can progress if people are divided - Minister Amunugama

Nov 29 (DN) National unity is an essential prerequisite to develop the country on a sound economic foundation. No country or nation can achieve progress if its people are divided on political or other petty lines, said Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama. Dr. Amunugama was addressing a meeting after commissioning a newly installed fountain complex in the Kandy Bogambara Lake on Saturday. more..

Western Province schools closed

Nov 29 (DM) Schools will be closed in the Western Province today and tomorrow given the volatile security situation created by yesterday’s two bomb attacks in Colombo. Education Ministry Secretary Ariyaratne Hewage told the Daily Mirror last evening that this decision would affect the ongoing year-end tests at schools, but time tables would be rescheduled later. “We will announce the rescheduled time tables later,” he said.

Security clampdown in SLanka capital after deadly blasts: police

Nov 29 (AFP) Sri Lankan forces threw a security blanket over the capital Colombo on Thursday and appealed for extra public vigilance a day after twin bomb attacks left 19 people dead and 45 injured, police said. "There is a general security alert across Colombo," police spokesman Jayantha Wickremaratna said. Officials have blamed the bombs on Tamil Tiger rebels, saying they were targeting civilians in revenge for military defeats. more..

Aid workers’ killing: Suspect rifles to be checked

Nov 29 (DM) The CID was ordered yesterday to send to the Government Analyst for further investigation, the T-56 rifles of the home guards who were serving in Mutur police station when the 17 aid workers were killed. This order was issued by Anuradhapura Magistrate and additional district judge Wasantha Jinadasa when the case on the killing around December 4, 2006 of 17 aid workers of the French NGO called Action against Hunger was called. more..

29 Sri Lankans arrested after explosion

Nov 29 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan police said Thursday some 29 people had been arrested following Wednesday evening's blast in Colombo that killed 19 people and injured about 40 others. Police officials said these arrests were made from a series of search operations around the Colombo eastern suburb of Nugegoda where the blast occurred. Police have traced a parcel bomb put inside a popular department store at Nugegoda for the explosion and blamed the rebel LTTE for the attack. more..

Sri Lankan minister says LTTE will keep targeting him

Nov 29 (IANS) A Sri Lankan Tamil cabinet minister who has survived yet another assassination attempt says the Tamil Tigers will keep trying to kill him as 'I am a political threat' to them. Douglas Devananda, 50, who Wednesday escaped in Colombo a fourth major bid to kill him, says the LTTE considers him an arch foe in the Tamil political landscape. 'They will not stop trying to kill me. They think I am a political threat (to the Tigers),' Devananda said in a telephonic interview more..

Security tightened in Sri Lankan capital after deadly bombing; 7 rebels killed in fighting

Nov 29 (AP) Sri Lankan forces killed seven ethnic Tamil rebels in new fighting Thursday as the government closed schools in Colombo and security forces scoured neighborhoods around the capital in the wake of two deadly bomb attacks. The blasts Wednesday, blamed on the Tamil Tigers, killed a total of 18 people and sent a wave of fear throughout the country's main city that the rebels had changed their tactics and were now targeting civilians. more..

Sri Lanka estates ride high on tea, palm oil

Nov 30 (LBO) Sri Lankan plantations companies with low grown teas and oil palm are reaping the benefits of record prices for these crops which should ensure good profits in the near term, analysts said. They attributed the current interest among investors in plantation stocks to the potential of low grown tea and palm oil along with the longer term prospects of rubber, demand for which is also strong. more..

Sri Lanka terror blasts condemned by EU

Nov 30 (LBO) The European Union Thursday said it condemns the terrorist attacks in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo in which at least 18 people were killed. But an EU statement released by the British High Commission it did not name the perpetrators of the attacks whom the island government has identified as the Tamil Tigers. The two attacks, one by a disabled female Tiger suicide bomber, and the other caused by a parcel bomb left at a clothing store, wounded at least 37 people on Wednesday. more..

Sri Lanka to raise milch cows on grazing land freed from Tigers

Nov 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka is trying to make use of grazing lands freed from the grip of Tamil Tiger rebels in the island's east to increase domestic fresh milk production. The initiative would help meet domestic demand and reduce imports at a time when global milk prices have doubled owing to shortages. The government has raised the price of milk it buys from farmers and wants to improve collection, said A O Kodituwakku, additional secretary of the Ministry of Livestock Development. more..

Summary of the Cabinet Decisions

Nov 30 (GDI) The Cabinet has granted its approval to a Memorandum submitted by Cultural Affairs Minister Hon. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana on the construction of SAARC Cultural Centre. A decision was taken by the Heads of SAARC countries at their meeting held in Colombo in July 1998 to establish a Cultural Centre in the SAARC Region for the enhancement and enrichment of cultural activities within the region. more..

Police ordered to arrest suspects in daycare centre death

Nov 30 (LD) The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court today (Nov. 29th) ordered the police to arrest all suspects in the mysterious death of 8-year-old Kashmira Sugandhi at a daycare centre run by a temple at Naivala, Veyangoda and to produce them before the court before December 06th. Chief Magistrate Nackey Mohamed considered a report filed by the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) in which it was claimed that the girl had been brutally tortured prior to her death. more..

SC grants journalist Wamanan to leave to proceed with FR petition

Nov 30 (LD) The Supreme Court today (Nov. 29th) granted leave to proceed with a fundamental rights petition filed by ‘The Sunday Leader’ journalist Arthur Wamanan against his arbitrary arrest and detention. Wamanan filed the petition on November 22nd, claiming that his arrest and detention without a valid reason had violated of his fundamental rights and breached the constitutional right to engage in a profession freely and independently. more..