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Pietersen: England will focus on cricket

Nov 30 (CI) Kevin Pietersen says England's cricketers will stay focussed on their tour of Sri Lanka despite two bomb attacks in the capital, Colombo, on Wednesday. Team officials will continue to monitor the situation, in consultation with the British High Commission, but at present there is no threat to the itinerary, which begins with the first Test in Kandy on Saturday. "It definitely caused concern, but we've got to concentrate on the cricket," said Pietersen, more..

France strongly condemns Sri Lanka bomb blast

Nov 30 (KUNA) France strongly condemned Thursday the bomb blast that killed 18 people in Sri Lanka Wednesday and urged the combatants there to seek a political solution to the conflict. "France firmly condemns the attack which yesterday caused the deaths of eighteen people," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Pascale Andreani said in a press statement. France "expresses its entire solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka and sends its sincere condolences to the families and dear ones of the victims, as well as to the Sri Lankan authorities," the official added. more..

Sri Lanka cenbank rejects T-bond auction bids

Nov 30 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank said on Thursday that it had rejected all bids in the auction of two-year treasury bonds for the third time in a row, as investors demanded high interest rates. "The rates are higher than what is warranted, given the current macro-economic situation," a central bank official told Reuters soon after the bids were rejected at Thursday's auction of 750 million rupee worth of two-year treasury bonds. more..

Sri Lanka says to bomb Tigers till "terrorism" ends

Nov 30 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will continue to attack Tamil Tiger rebel positions until Tiger "terrorism" is completely defeated, the prime minister told parliament on Thursday, a day after two separate explosions rocked the capital Colombo. The blasts killed 21 people, including two victims who died in hospital on Thursday and a suicide bomber. Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake told parliament the government was able to weaken the Tamil Tiger rebels and will continue to attack them. more..

Sri Lankan charity president responds to story

Nov 30 (CTN) As president of an organization (TRO) in the news lately, ("U.S. says Sri Lankan Charity with Maryland Offices Funds Terrorists," Nov. 17 Times-News, Page 1A). I wish to clarify some issues to your readers. TRO-USA is a charitable organization registered in the U.S.A. and legally independent of TRO Sri Lanka and other TRO organizations in other countries. All money collected by TRO-USA has been used only for relief work in Sri Lanka, except for Katrina. relief contributions in U.S.A. more..

Sri Lanka should print less money and budget better: IMF

Nov 30 (LBO) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has asked Sri Lanka to print less money and have better budgets to prevent balance of payments problems and high inflation, after its annual discussions with the island. IMF's executive board assessing Sri Lanka in the annual Article IV consultations with the island said recent "impressive growth" was good, but it was achieved by money printing, which in turn had destabilized the economy and put pressure on the rupee. more..

Sri Lanka: “it’s like pre-ceasefire days”

Nov 30 (Hindu) Alarmed at the escalation of civilian casualties in the island nation, the SLMM on Thursday said the violence witnessed now was similar to what was seen prior to the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) in 2002. Separately, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on his return from a state visit to Iran, condemned Wednesday’s killings in Colombo and called for greater attention of the international community to these attacks that “demonstrate the true nature and unchanging ways of terrorists and terrorism.” more..

HUSSAIN: Touring Sri Lanka is tougher than playing in Australia

Nov 30 (TIL) Give me the choice of a tour to Australia or Sri Lanka and I would take Australia every day of the week. It's not that the cricket is any easier in Australia, just that Sri Lanka is such a difficult place to play. You just had to listen to Matthew Hoggard this week to appreciate the extent of the task which is facing England when they begin their three-Test series in Kandy tomorrow. more..

No hiding from the hype

Nov 30 (CI) Until today, Muttiah Muralitharan was a peripheral presence on England's tour of Sri Lanka. He popped up briefly at the Nondescripts ground on Sunday to grab a sneak preview of his opponents, but by and large he's been keeping a low profile, recovering from a tough tour to Australia and leaving others to speculate about the unique challenge that he poses. But there's no hiding from the hype any longer. more..

Pietersen: Murali is the real spin king, not Warne

Nov 30 (TIL) While the world of cricket is bitterly divided between those who will toast Muttiah Muralitharan's impending world record and those who will once more dismiss him as a fraud, Kevin Pietersen knows which side he is on. The England batsman is a pretty good judge of a bowler and he put his friendship with Shane Warne on hold yesterday to state that the Sri Lankan is a more threatening opponent than the Australian master spinner. more..

Defence Ministry-CB in ambitious housing project for forces personnel

Nov 30 (ML) The Ministry of Defence and the Central Bank have embarked on an ambitious project titled "Api Wenuwen Api," (Be Together For All) to build 50,000 houses and apartments for the armed forces personnel at a remarkably low price phased over a period of five years. Ten thousands houses will be built per year. The target collection for the project is approximately Rs 15 billion. more..

Belgium Funds Local Sea Sand Mining Project

Nov 30 (AT) The Government of Sri Lanka, local private sector and the international partners have agreed to enter the sea sand mining business to end environmental problems and reduce sand prices in the country. The proposed sea sand mining and washing project in Muthurajawela will reduce current sand prices and provide over 500 employment opportunities, specially for the Western Province and the rest of the country. more..

Kandy's green top could be sweet for England

Nov 30 (TI) It took Europeans more than 300 years to conquer the kingdom of Kandy, but there is nowhere in Sri Lanka where the hosts' cricketers are more vulnerable. The cooler climate of the hill country and the more seamer-friendly pitch make the venue the most comfortable and accommodating for touring teams, and tomorrow's first Test here offers England a wonderful opportunity to grab the initiative in the three-Test series. more..

Speech by Upali Cooray, at the inaugural meeting of Canadians for Peace

Nov 30 (FI) Dear Comrades and friends, Let me, first of all, thank the organisers Canadian for Peace for inviting me to address this meeting and needless to say that I feel, as a member of the Committee for Democracy and Justice (CDJ) in Sri Lanka honoured by your invitation. The CDJ was formed in London in the latter part of 1988 to campaign against the human rights violations in Sri Lanka under the Premadasa regime and has continued to campaign for human rights violations regardless of who has been in power. more..

The rebel with the smile

Nov 30 (HM) It was one in the afternoon on 2 November 2007 – All Soul’s Day, the day of the dead – when the news of the death of Suppaiah Paramu ‘S P’ Thamilselvan, the leader of the LTTE’s political wing, began to filter into Colombo, the rest of Sri Lanka and abroad. Nobody could believe it. Journalists double-checked their sources and conferred with their colleagues. Radio stations aired the breaking news, and offered regular updates. more..

Speech by Hon. Bob Rae, at the inaugural meeting of Canadians for Peace

Nov 30 (TC) I want to thank the alliance and the new organization very much for inviting me to join you today. I must start by saying I don’t bring any magic solutions. I’m going to do two things in my talk, first, give a public account on my full personal experience in Sri Lanka, and then to perhaps try and point out some things the Government of Canada could do. I hope by the end of it you realize that I won’t make everyone happy, and I won’t make anyone completely happy. more..

Sri Lanka inflation rockets 4.4-pct in November

Nov 30 (LBO) Consumer prices in Colombo's capital jumped 4.4 percent in November keeping 12-month inflation at a record 19.6 percent for the second month running, the government's statistics office said. The Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) gained 253.2 percent to move to 5976.2 index points. The moving average of the index, which averaged over 24 months, also remained at 17.7 percent, the Department of Census and Statistics said. more..

Sri Lanka in new push on agriculture

Nov 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka is getting 360 million dollars in concessionary aid from Iran to build a multipurpose irrigation project that will generate 100 MegaWatts of electricity and divert water to irrigate the south of the country, officials said. The Uma Oya project with cost a total of 450 million dollars, Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundera said Friday. The US dollar loan from Iran will come with a 5-year grace period and a 10-year pay back. more..

Sri Lanka warned of impending foreign debt crisis by IMF

Nov 30 (LBO) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that Sri Lanka may be heading towards a foreign debt crisis unless the island changed its recent habit of borrowing commercial dollars to bridge high budget deficits. IMF's executive directors in an assessment after the international monetary watchdog completed its annual Article IV consultations with the island said there was a significant risk of 'public debt distress', an euphemism for sovereign default. more..

'Govt. has turned the clock back on all development programs'

Nov 30 (LG) Renuka Herath, UNP Parliamentarian addressing a Media conference at the UNP Media Unit today (29 Nov) while condemning the LTTE brutal attack on civilians, insisted that the Govt. is duty bound to give security to the people. This Govt. has turned the clock back on all the development and progress of the country made during the UNP regimes in the past. She said, the prices of goods skyrocketing , imposing tax burdens on the people, more..

British Charity Commission confirm TRO involvement with the LTTE

Nov 30 (LG) A report published (in August 2007) by the Charity Commission in the United Kingdom titled ‘The Home Office & HM Treasury’s Review of safeguards to protect the charitable sector (England and Wales) from terrorist abuse and the Charity Commission’s response to the consultation’ has made reference on the closure of Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation in the UK. more..

Now you do speak Sinhala officially in London Hounslow

Nov 30 (LG) The London Borough of Hounslow has recognized the Sinhala language as a community language since the 29th October 2007. According to Mr. Sikander Malik, Head of Community Languages (Translation And Interpreting Service), now anyone from the Sri Lankan community who lives in The London Borough of Hounslow who needs to access any Council services will be provided with an appropriate interpreter free of charge as required by the relevant Department. more..

For A Tamil Eelam.....

Nov 30 (ISL) We wish to examine the concept of Tamil Eelam within the hypothesis that it will eventually exist in Sri Lanka for the purpose of testing the hypothesis of Eelam in practical terms. Three issues that can potentially delimit this hypothesis are presented below. The proposed Tamil Ealam of the LTTE will be analysed through its existing as well as future system of governance, economy and the security dilemma. We wish to have an informed conversation regarding these ideas with all parties visiting DefenceWire. more..

U.S. Government Condemns Cycle of Escalating Violence

Nov 30 (USE) The Government of the United States strongly condemns the deadly attacks on civilians that occurred in a shopping mall and a government office on November 28 in Colombo and on a bus carrying schoolchildren on November 27 near Kilinochochi. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families. Incidents such as these will lead to further loss of life, destruction, and suffering for the people of Sri Lanka. more..

7 months jail for 6 Sri Lankans

Nov 30 (Hindu) Chief Judicial Magistrate Raju on Thursday sentenced six Sri Lankans to seven months imprisonment for intruding into Indian territorial waters without valid documents. According to the prosecution, Selvakumar, Robin, Aruldasan, Boniboss, Ravikumar and Arul of Vanni and nearby areas were arrested on April 11 near Tuticorin off the Gulf of Mannar. They were charged under the Indian Passport Act. more..

The Secretary General’s Letter to Mr. Jon-Hanssen Bauer

Nov 30 (PISL) I attach a self-explanatory letter that I have sent the current Head of the SLMM. I hope that you too will take this issue seriously, and make it clear that the Special Envoy too dissociates himself from the unsupported allegations of Gen Henricsson, if indeed no evidence is forthcoming for his ruling. I believe this is the more necessary in that it seems to me that Gen Henricsson in effect destroyed, in the short term at least, prospects for peace in the approach he took up last August. more..

'The savagery initiated by New Bandaranaike now backlashing' says Bahu

Nov 30 (LeN) New Left Front leader Dr. Wickramabahu Karunarathna says that the savagery initiated by New Bandaranaike who is wearing a blood soaked shawl round his neck is backfiring. He made these observations to Lanka-e-News commenting on the escalation of violence and the stagnation of the process of finding a solution to the ethnic problem. He says, "As we have already said the war erupted as a result of suppressing Tamils instead of granting their rights. more..

'Action will be taken unless the Inland Revenue Commissioner sent home' -Hakeem

Nov 30 (LeN) The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Minister of Posts and Telecommunicatio Rauf Hakeem says that the VAT fraud calculated as Rs. 3.6 billion by the Auditor General can be double that amount. Addressing a press briefing held at the parliamentary complex today (29) after the interim report of the PAC was presented to the parliament, the Minister said that Inland Revenue Commissioner A.A. Wijepala is is directly involved in this fraud and more..

“Will the pact with Emiratesbe extended?” – Vijitha Herath

Nov 30 (LD) JVP parliamentarian Vijitha Herath says that SriLankan Airlines is compelled to lease the very same aircraft that were sold after signing an agreement with Emirates Airlines in 1998. Exposing this in Parliament today, Herath questioned as to whether this pact detrimental to the country will be extended. Responding to the question, Deputy Minister of Aviation Services Sarath Kumara Gunaratne said that a committee appointed to probe this agreement would recommend the necessary remedial measures. more..

Govt. politicians get 125% fuel allowance hike

Nov 30 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered a 125 per cent increase in the fuel allowance granted to government ministers, deputy ministers, secretaries of ministries and provincial governors, ministers and secretaries. The order comes in circular no: CSA/P1/40 of 09th November 2007. Accordingly, a minister residing within the Western Province (WP) will see his fuel allowance increased from Rs. 75,000 to Rs. 175,000, or to 1,000 litres of petrol. more..

Attack on Leader Press, a threat to democracy - Vasudeva

Nov 30 (LD) The arson attack on Leader Publications printing press, which publishes ‘The Sunday Leader’ and ‘Irudina’ newspapers, represents a dangerous threat to democracy and media freedom, says Democratic Left Front Leader Vasudeva Nanayakkara. In a press release he said: “During the term of the present government several instances of killings, abductions and harassment of media persons had been reported widely.” more..

LTTE woman suicide bomber identified

Nov 30 (Sify) The woman suicide bomber of the LTTE, who blew herself up outside the office of a Sri Lankan Minister and senior Tamil leader in a failed bid to assassinate him, has been identified. "We have recovered the National Identity Card from near her body which gives her name as Veganam Sujata, born in 1983 in Pulliyankulam Vavuniya," northern Sri Lanka, Mass Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told reporters on Thursday. more..

“LTTE Leader’s duplicity exposed,”- Minister Rambukwella

Nov 30 (GDI) “In his annual message LTTE leader Prabhakeran seems to admit that he is isolated locally and internationally and appeals for support from the Tamil people,” said the Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella, addressing the media today (30th). This year his deliverance is virtually a plea and not a hero’s day message, he also talks of democracy and solution for the ethnic crisis in the All Party Conference. more..

Special Awards for two eminent Sri Lankans

Nov 30 (GDI) The highest award bestowed in Sri Lanka namely, the ‘Sri Lankabhimanya’ Award will be granted to former Supreme Court judge Dr. C.G.Weeramanthri and Dr. A.T. Ariyarathne tomorrow (01st) of December. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will ceremoniously present the awards at Temple Trees. This ‘Sri Lankabhimanya’ Award can be bestowed only on five eminent living Sri Lankans at one at the same time. more..

Government compensates the families affected in Nugegoda blast

Nov 30 (GDI) The Government has taken steps to compensate the families of the victims of the Wednesday’s Nugegoda bomb blast. Accordingly, the Government yesterday paid Rs. 100,000 as compensation to each family of the deceased in Wednesday's Nugegoda bomb blast and Rs. 50,000 to each injured person. Minister Rishard Bathiyutheen and Rohitha Abegunawardana and President's Senior Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, more..

Japan Grants agricultural machinery worth 330 million

Nov 30 (GDI) The Government of Japan has provided agricultural machinery worth 330 million Japanese yen (approximately rs.330 million) to the Government of Sri Lanka for socio-economic development of the country under the scheme of “Grant Assistance for Under-Privileged farmers” also known as 2KR. The 2KR project was initiated in 1977 by the Japanese Government. more..

Japan pledges its fullest support for Sri Lanka’s negotiated settlement

Nov 30 (GDI) Japanese Special Envoy to Sri Lanka Yashushi Akashi, in an interview with a Sri Lankan daily, has expressed Japan’s fullest support in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s stand that the ultimate solution to Sri Lanka's national problem lay in a negotiated political settlement. "The President has been saying he is in favour of negotiations and has expressed his belief that the ultimate solution is a political settlement through negotiations. I believe him,” said Mr. Akashi. more..

Water Board rejects rumors on poison in tap water

Nov 30 (GDI) The National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) rejected the rumors that have been spreading in Colombo area that the drinking water has been poisoned. The NWSDB also requested form its Colombo area consumers not to be aroused by that kind of false rumors because the water distributed through the NWSDB is continuously purified and tested before they are distributed, and there for there is not any kind of danger in consuming the pipe borne water.

Pictorial: Embedded in Silavaththurai

Nov 30 (TC) Silavaththurai was in the news locally and internationally in August-September 2007. I was one of the first few journalists who were on an embedded tour with the Sri Lankan Army to Silavaththurai in September 2007. We went to Naanaattan by van, from Naanaattaan to Arippu by Unicorn, crossed Arippu lagoon by boat and then finally from Arippu to Silavaththuari by tractor. We walked through jungles to witness the former territory controlled by the LTTE. more..

Single-minded Jayawardene remains focussed

Nov 30 (CI) Sri Lanka's captain, Mahela Jayawardene, insists that his side will not be distracted by talk of records and impending retirements, as the first Test against England prepares to get underway in Kandy on Saturday morning. All week long, speculation has been brewing in the Sri Lankan press about the imminent departures of two stalwarts of the side, Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas, who has been selected to play in his 100th Test. more..

LTTE`s true nature revealed - President, PM

Nov 30 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday unequivocally condemned Wednesday`s twin LTTE bombings in Narahenpita and Nugegoda. `The suicide killer attack targeting the Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare Douglas Devananda and the attack at the Nugegoda junction clearly targeting innocent civilians, calls for the greater attention of the international community to these attacks that demonstrate the true nature and unchanging ways of terrorists and terrorism,` more..

GBV Forum keeps mum on LTTE women bombers

Nov 30 (LNP) Tuesday`s suicide attack on EPDP leader and Minister Douglas Devananda, by a woman suicide cadre, coincided with the highly publicized UN Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. A 16-day programme to urge protection for women got underway last Sunday with Ena Singh, chairperson of Gender-Based Violence Forum (GBV), calling for support for an international campaign to eliminate violence against women. more..

Bandula has changed after joining Rajapaksa govt. - Ravi

Nov 30 (LNP) The Committee Stage budget debate on the Ministries of Trade, Marketing, Cooperatives and Consumer Services and Export Development and International Trade was held in Parliament yesterday (28). Opening the debate for the Opposition, Colombo District UNP member Ravi Karunanayake said Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardhana who had contributed much to the debates and governance when he was a member of the UNP, had now changed his policies by joining the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government. more..

Security clampdown as death toll rises

Nov 30 (SAMN) 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..

Billions in VAT frauds: PAC

Nov 30 (SAMN) The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Thursday made a startling revelation that the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) had entertained VAT declarations from two bogus companies in 2004, and that the individual taxable supplies declared in the two documents amounted to Rs. 1,324.4 billion which constituted 73.5 percent of GDP for that year. The committee noted that these two bogus firms had received the highest quantum of fraudulent VAT refunds, out of the 20 companies named in the VAT fraud. more..

New stamp on passports

Nov 30 (SAMN) The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE) will use, beginning Saturday, a new ‘stamp’, indicating the registration fee paid with special security codes, when registering prospective migrant workers. SLBFE Chairman Kingsley Ranawake said this new ‘stamp’ would be pasted on the passports of migrant workers when they are registered prior to their departure. “The new ‘stamp’ is introduced to prevent the registration entry on the passport being forged. more..

Devananda pushes for political solution

Nov 30 (SAMN) EPDP leader and Minister Douglas Devananda Thursday urged the MPs to support his proposals for a north eastern Interim Arrangement aimed at safeguarding the rights of the Tamil people. Addressing the House after another failed attempt on his life, Devananda said he hoped the Sri Lankan and the Indian Government’s would accept the EPDP proposals and urged the parliamentarians to support the idea. more..

Five million illegal cigarettes destroyed

Nov 30 (DN) The Customs destroyed five million illegal cigarettes worth Rs. 102 million at the Customs warehouse yesterday. The cigarettes were seized during the last three months by the sea and air customs officials. Customs officers seized five million cigarettes in 25,000 cartons illegally imported from the Middle East, Deputy Director of Customs and Head of RTF Mali Piyasena said. "This was one of the biggest cigarette hauls eized, he said. more..

Support Forces, Police to fight terrorism - DIG

Nov 30 (DN) Colombo District DIG Nimal Mediwaka said yesterday the public must support the security measures being carried out by Police and three Armed Forces. He said public who providing information will be rewarded. Action will be taken against police officers who do not heed information provided by civilians about suspicious parcels or persons, he said. The public should be vigilant when they find suspicious parcels or vehicles. more..

Mahawilachchiya: A ‘special security zone’

Nov 30 (DM) In the aftermath killing of four civilians in Mahawilachchiya, the government is to declare the area, as a ‘special security zone’ and will also set up a new army complex in Wilpattu, a defence official said. He said a 30 kilometre long special security fence would be erected separating the Wilpattu jungles from villages connecting Sadamal Eliya, Dunumadalawa, Elapattawewa, Kadurupitiya and Ittikulam, in order to prevent illegal infiltration into the areas. more..