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Women to the fore in making ‘Home Garden’ a success- Dr. Amunugama

Nov 6 (GDI) The Government’s aim is to increase the incomes and improve the living standards of the rural masses through rural and agricultural development, Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion, Dr. Sarath Amunugama said yesterday (5th). The Minister, addressing a meeting to mark the distribution of agricultural materials under the Jathika Saviya - Maga Neguma Home Garden Promotion Programme in Kandy, more..

Parliamentarians face LTTE threat, warns PM

Nov 6 (KT) With the Tamil Tigers vowing to seek revenge for the killing of their political leader S.P. Thamilselvan, President Mahinda Rajapakse has warned his brothers, ministers and ruling party members to be extra vigilant about their security, a newspaper reported yesterday. The Colmobo-based Daily Mirror on its front page said President Rajapakse at a meeting of ruling party parliamentarians on Sunday said that the Tigers would especially try to target him or his brothers more..

News agencies to boycott Australia-Sri Lanka Test

Nov 6 (Reuters) Three leading international news agencies are set to boycott this week's first cricket Test match between Australia and Sri Lanka after organisers demanded payment for the right to distribute photographs from the event. The row is the second major rights dispute to hit international sports organisers in two months following a high-profile clash in the build-up to the rugby World Cup. more..

Large part of tsunami funds misappropriated by LTTE

Nov 6 (LNP) Walking the streets of Colombo, one can easily bump into the anti-car bomb barriers, steel barricades with razor-sharp barbed wire, watchtowers with armed police, roadblocks, and on and on. Why the Sri Lankan Government and defence agencies have to come up with such stringent security measures is understandable. Even those who have not followed the long battle between the Government and the LTTE can quickly sense the tension that grips this nation. more..

Possible out break of Dengue this month

Nov 6 (SAMN) The Ministry of Health Care and Nutrition is concerned about a possible outbreak of Dengue Fever, with reports indicating a sharp increase of the disease in Colombo, Gampaha, Kandy, Matara, Jaffna, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Anuradhapura and Kegalle districts. Deputy Director, Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health Care and Nutrition Dr. Prabha Palihawadana said Monday, that 376 of Dengue were reported from Colombo during the past two months as opposed to 84 cases in April and May. more..

TNA missing to mourn?

Nov 6 (SAMN) The TNA MPs were conspicuous by their absence in parliament Monday amid speculation they were being forced to mourn the death of LTTE political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan whose funeral took place in Kilinochchi. Most of them had kept their mobile phones switched off during the day. Parliament met at a special session to pass regulations relating to custom’s duties on imports and exports under the free trade agreement between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. more..

Govt. didn’t know

Nov 6 (SAMN) Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara asserted Monday that they were not aware of Thamilselvan’s presence on the day of the attack but only of the gathering of several LTTE leaders. Meanwhile Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the government considers the action taken by the Air Force to attack the rebel leaders justifiable, rejecting LTTE’s accusation of killing its political head they call their “Peace Dove”. more..

Jeyaraj wants budget sessions reduced

Nov 6 (SAMN) There was no agreement among party leaders regarding Monday’s proposal by the government to cut down the budget sessions due to security reasons. The party leaders met in the Parliamentary Complex yesterday to discuss matters pertaining to the budget, which is to be presented to the House Wednesday by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as Finance Minister. more..

Former President's entitlements: Order reserved for Nov. 9

Nov 6 (DN) The Court of Appeal yesterday reserved the order on the issuance of the notice to the respondents in the Writ application filed by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga challenging the trimming of her benefits, for November 9. The Bench comprised Justice K. Sripavan and Justice Rohini Perera. President's Counsel Romesh de Silva for the former President submitted that the number of vehicles entitled to the petitioner was equal to that of a Cabinet Minister and the respondents could not limit it to two vehicles which was in violation of her rights. more..

Deepavali sans alcohol in plantations

Nov 6 (DN) The children's clubs functioning under the Plantation Rural Education Development Organisation (PREDO) adopting the concept of the President's alcohol prevention programme have decided to launch an advocacy programme titled 'Let us vow to celebrate Deepavali on November 8 devoid of alcohol'. This was stated by Master Satyaraj president of the PREDO Children's Club Consortium when he explained the details of the advocacy programme initiated by the Children's Clubs meeting of the consortium held in Hatton. more..

STF security for Karuna faction

Nov 6 (DM) The STF was yesterday deployed to provide tight security for the Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (Karuna faction) which is in the process of being registered as a political party to contest future elections in the eastern province. According to sources STF armored vehicles were seen surrounding TMVP political offices in Batticaloa yesterday after its members came under a grenade attack on Sunday by suspected LTTE cadres, killing one and injuring seven. more..

Country losing millions on duty free permits

Nov 6 (DM) The country has lost nearly 20 million rupees as revenue due to duty free concessions given for the import of vehicles, according to a random check carried out by the parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts (PAC). Quoting PAC reports, UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara yesterday said the government had issued duty free concessions for the import of 19,319 vehicles during the past few years. more..

Rajapakse's proposed visit to Iran draws US ire

Nov 6 (PTI) The proposed visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse to Iran this month, the dates of which have been kept confidential so far, has drawn the ire of the US which recently imposed unilateral sanctions on Tehran over its controversial nuclear programme. The US has "made representations" to the government of Sri Lanka to reconsider the visit of the President (Rajapakse) to Iran later this month, the 'Colombo Post' reported on Tuesday. more..

Indian IT co to invest $1 million in Sri Lanka

Nov 6 (PTI) India-based data services provider ValueFirst will invest $1 million in the next 18 months to expand its presence in Sri Lanka, which it sees as a potential destination. "We propose to invest $ 1 million in the next 18 months in the Island country as we see major potential to expand in this growing market, ValueFirst CEO Srinand Sridharan told reporters on Tuesday at the launch of its services in Emerald Nation. more..

'Tamil blood is flowing in my veins also'

Nov 6 (PTI) Reacting sharply to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's remark that he condoled the death of LTTE leader S P Tamilchelvan in his capacity as a Tamil, AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa on Tuesday said she too had Tamil spirit and "Tamil blood is flowing in her veins" as well. "I know what he meant when he made that remark. He has apparently referred to my birth in Mysore. Though I was born in Mysore, I was born in a Tamil family and Tamil blood is flowing in my veins." more..

Liberal MPs atten vigil for slain Tamil Tiger

Nov 6 (NP) Thousands of people, including several local MPs, huddled together last night in the rain to honour the assassinated political head of the Tamil Tigers, a group outlawed by Canada as a terrorist organization. S.P. Thamilselvan, political head and chief negotiator for the LTTE, was killed on Friday morning in a bombing raid by the Sri Lankan Air Force. Organizers of the vigil had expected more than 10,000 community members from the Greater Toronto Area, home to the largest Sri Lankan Tamil population outside of South Asia. more..

Sri Lanka journalists protest suppression of media

Nov 6 (DPA) Journalists in Sri Lanka staged a protest in the capital Tuesday against what they said were government attempts to suppress the media through intimidation and harassment. Placard-carrying and slogan-chanting journalists, backed by human rights groups, trade unionist and civic organisations, staged the protest outside the main railway station in Colombo at lunch time, calling on the government to ensure that media freedom is protected. more..

Lankan troops in Haiti accused of visiting prostitutes, not rape

Nov 6 (HT) A section of Sri Lankan troops in the UN Peace Keeping Force in Haiti, who were sent back to their country last week following allegations of sexual misconduct, were not accused of rape, as generally assumed here. The allegation was that they had used the services of sex workers, some of whom were minors, The Island daily revealed on Tuesday. more..

With new budget, Sri Lanka counts cost of war

Nov 6 (AFP) Sri Lanka is expected to unveil its biggest ever war budget this week, as a government military campaign to crush the Tamil Tiger rebels takes a heavy toll on the island's balance sheet. The government plans to increase defence spending by 20 percent to a record 1.45 billion dollars in 2008, raising fears of higher corporate taxes and further cuts in development projects, officials and analysts said. more..

Resting on laurels

Nov 7 (FL) NOVEMBER 19 marks the second anniversary of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure in office. The presidential race in 2005 was closely fought and controversial, with Rajapaksa beating his sole rival Ranil Wickremesinghe of the UNP by a few thousand votes. Vexed by the violence and the unending uncertainty, people of the majority Sinhalese community voted Rajapaksa to power in the hope that he would carry out his promise of an early resolution of the 25-year ethnic conflict. more..

Despair in the air

Nov 7 (FL) IT was the proverbial calm before the storm. For nearly four months before the October 22 pre-dawn ground and aerial attack on the Anuradhapura airbase in the North Central Province by the LTTE, the silence from the LTTE side was deafening. Every single political, diplomatic and military observer of Sri Lanka was puzzled by the ‘paralysis’ that had gripped the LTTE, particularly when the military was marching over it left, right and centre. However, everyone knew that the lull would not last long. more..

Refugee fears for those who 'disappeared'

Nov 7 (MK) A Tamil refugee battling to be allowed to stay in Britain fears more than 20 of her countrymen who were staying in the city have been arrested and deported. Thacarajah Suta is one of an estimated 750 Tamils in Milton Keynes who have fled the war in Sri Lanka over the past nine years. The 32-year-old former student is now desperately worried about her own fate, as the situation in Sri Lanka worsens and the Home Office tightens restrictions on her. more..

Indian fishermen came out from jaws of death: Official

Nov 7 (PTI) The 97 Indian fishermen who returned home after being released by Sri Lankan authorities virtually came out of the jaws of death as they had strayed into the LTTE area, which is vulnerable to attacks by the Lankan Navy, a top official said. “You can say they virtually came out of the jaws of death as the 97 fisherman in the trawlers had almost reached the East of Vettilaikerni waters south of the sensitive Point Pedro where we suspect LTTE movement and can fire,” more..

`We feel that peace died with him'

Nov 7 (TS) White-clad children danced in the pouring rain, opposition MPs demanded a "meaningful" reaction from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and, his body racked by sobs, S.P. Ravi shared his grief over the death of a political leader who was also his younger brother. S.P. Thamilchelvan, second-in-command and chief negotiator of the LTTE, the guerrilla group fighting for a Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka, was killed Friday by a Sri Lankan military air strike that reportedly took out half a dozen top Tiger leaders. more..

Sri Lanka says rupee will appreciate and interest rates will fall

Nov 7 (LBO) The Sri Lankan rupee would appreciate to 110 to the US dollar and interest rates and inflation would fall further, Treasury Secretary P B Jayansundera said Tuesday. His comments come as the tiny island's monetary system was overwhelmed by a 500 million dollar injection and the central bank struggled to sterilize a record 30 billion rupee excess liquidity, raising fears of further inflation. more..

400 LTTE militants killed since Oct: Lanka Govt

Nov 7 (ZN) As many as 400 LTTE militants have been killed in encounters with government forces since last month, largely due to information provided by civilian inhabitants in embattled northern Sri Lanka, an official said here today. While 349 tiger rebels were gunned down during October, as many as 51 LTTE militants have been killed this month, defence spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said. more..

Student sues college after being attacked by blood-sucking leeches

Nov 7 (DM) A tourism student has sued his college for being attacked by blood-sucking leeches on a field trip through dangerous jungle. James Sheridan told how his party was taken to the Sri Lankan rainforest - but made to walk barefoot because it is holy ground for the native villagers. Mr Sheridan, 50, claimed he and other terrified tourism students were covered in the black leeches on two jungle treks. more..

High yields from coconut this year

Nov 7 (FP) The income from coconut and coconut products export has increased by 33 per cent compared to last year according to Coconut Development Authority. The income from exports last year was Rs. 13,894 million and this year it has recorded an income of Rs. 18,500 million. Assistant Director Marketing and Development (CDA), V. Balakrishnan said the conducive market environment and shortfall of production in other countries had been the main reasons for this positive situation. more..

Govt smuggled Karuna to London on forged DPL passport

Nov 7 (ML) Damning evidence has surfaced that the Government smuggled LTTE renegade commander Karuna to Great Britain on a forged diplomatic passport. An investigation by The Morning Leader revealed that the forged diplomatic passport was issued by the Immigration Department on the orders of higher authorities in the name of Kokila Gunawardena on August 30, 2007. more..

The thrust is on accountability and transparency

Nov 7 (ML) As President Mahinda Rajapakse as Finance Minister presents his third budget today, a Sri Lankan anti corruption initiative has called for the enactment of a Public Finance Accountability Act to enable fiscal regulations to be part of the country’s law and these regulations to be binding on all persons elected or appointed who carry out financial transactions in the public service. more..

Govt.’s Jekyll and Hyde affliction

Nov 7 (ML) Conspiracy theories notwithstanding, following the killing of LTTE Political Head S.P. Tamilselvan, President Mahinda Rajapakse has now to confront a multi faced monster. The knee jerk reaction of Tamil Nadu was reflected in Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s eulogy. "You had the strength of meeting the opposition with a smiling face. You had the strength of the Himalayas at a very young age and was moulded by Balasingham. more..

Three civilians hacked to death in Tissa

Nov 7 (ML) Bodies of three civilians hacked to death by unidentified assailants were recovered by police in the jungles off Yoda Weva, Tissamaharama. The police were yet to determine the killers. The three bodies were recovered in the Reedithanna area by villagers around 6.30 am who informed the security authorities. Another villager was later injured in anti-personnel mine explosion later in the day, the Media Center for National Security said. more..

Child soldier next to Tamilselvan’s coffin speaks loud and clear

Nov 7 (AT) Tigers were caught red handed when they published the photo of a ten-year-old girl in a military uniform just next to Tamilselvan’s coffin, being carried by Tiger cadres in Vanni. The photo appeared in a pro-Tiger website that gave an account of Tamilselvan's funeral. A local English daily (The Island) reproduced it on Page One yesterday (06). The paper also mentioned that the embarrassed Tiger website later cropped the photo to hide the truth. more..

SLA denies LTTE allegations

Nov 7 (BBC) Sri Lanka Army spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara says that he is not able to response to LTTE allegations on human rights violations saying "these are always exaggerated and distorted". The LTTE on Tuesday said that 43 Tamil civilians were killed and 51 disappeared in the month of October 2007. "Jaffna continues to be the worst city for both killing and disappearances. Batticaloa saw a sharp increase in the number of disappearances in the month of October", LTTE said in a statement. more..

Veteran Sri Lankan diplomat offers advice to Lebanon

Nov 7 (DS) "I am an Asian, and I am proud that this place is part of Asia," Sri Lankan diplomat Jayantha Dhanapala told the The Daily Star in an interview in Baabda on Tuesday. A former ambassador to Switzerland and the United States and United Nations undersecretary general for disarmament from 1998-2003, Dhanapala is in Lebanon for two weeks on a private visit. more..

Whale washed ashore in Sri Lankan capital

Nov 7 (Xinhua) A massive whale washed ashore and died off the coast of Sri Lankan capital Colombo Tuesday morning. Witnesses said the whale was still alive when it was found near the beach in the Wellawatte district of Colombo about 10 a.m. (0430 GMT), but the huge mammal died quickly. Experts say the whale, about eight meters in length, might have been seriously wounded at sea before it was washed ashore. more..

Tamil Tigers trying to influence politicians: CSIS report

Nov 7 (NP) The Tamil Tigers have been waging an intensive "propaganda campaign" in Canada to win the backing of politicians, says a newly declassified intelligence report. The Sri Lankan guerrilla group has "spent considerable effort and resources in Canada and elsewhere" on a lobbying and advocacy campaign, the "secret" report says. "The main targets of the campaign in Canada have been the expatriate Tamil population, politicians and the general public," more..

UNP deals multiple blows to JVP double deals

Nov 7 (ISL) UNP Gen. Secretary Tissa Attanayake and National Organiser S.B.Dissanayake defended their decisions to vote with the SLFP led coalition administrations in the Western, Sabaragamwa and North Central Provincial Councils which foiled a JVP attempt to defeat the budget proposals of those Councils. Dissanayake emphasized that the JVP was trying to play ‘ball’ with the Councils appointing their own ‘men’ replacing, for instance, Western Province Chief Minister Reginald Cooray. more..

Sri Lanka seeks budget balance between subsidies and development

Nov 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka is seeking a balance between subsidies and development in a budget for 2008 to be presented today, as officials said planned capital spending had been sacrificed in 2007. "We are at a time when we need to present long-term answers to the problems of the country," deputy finance minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told reporters in Colombo. more..

Karuna to meet his Waterloo soon?

Nov 7 (BL) Leading international human rights groups are gathering vital evidence in an effort to try Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, known as Colonel Karuna Amman, for war crimes. The groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are in the process of assembling evidence to see whether they can trigger a prosecution of the former Tamil Tiger leader. Karuna fled to London, following an internal coup which ousted him from his TMVP. more..

Poultry woes to hit Minister Ranawaka

Nov 7 (BL) Poultry farmers are up in arms against a recent rule imposed by Environment and Natural Resources Minister Champika Ranawaka. The situation is likely to lead to a scarcity of all poultry products, especially in and around Colombo. Ranawaka recently imposed a fresh rule declaring that only poultry which is slaughtered can enter the city and suburbs. more..

Who ‘ratted’ on Thamilselvan?

Nov 7 (BL) How did Sri Lankan Intelligence pinpoint the LTTE’s second in command S.P. Thamilselvan’s exact location? Who leaked this highly sensitive information the to Sri Lanka Directorate of Military Intelligence? Have they infiltrated the LTTE? Are there any double agents within the organisation? After the demise of Thamilselvan, are there enemies within the LTTE? more..

Lanka languishes low in ‘Best for Logistics’ global list; Even Sudan is higher

Nov 7 (BL) For years the strategic geographic location of Sri Lanka has been excessively spoken about but the sorry state of not having done anything dynamic in a global or regional context is well illustrated as per the first ever international ranking of logistics supremacy. Sri Lanka, which politicians love to describe as the ‘hub’ of South Asia, is languishing at number 92 in a global list of 150. more..

“Adopt multi-pronged strategy against terrorism”

Nov 7 (Hindu) The Sri Lanka military announced on Tuesday that three civilians of Thambarawava village in the south of the country were hacked to death by unknown assailants on Monday night and their bodies were found by the villagers the next morning. A statement by the Media Centre for National Security said here that another civilian in the same area was seriously injured in a possible anti-personnel mine explosion. more..

Terror suspect awaits extradition hearing

Nov 7 (MN) A 30-year-old Malton man charged in connection with a North American network that police allege provided weapons to a terrorist group in Sri Lanka will appear in court next week to have an extradition hearing date set. Ramanan Mylvaganam will appear before a Superior Court judge Nov. 16 in Brampton. Mylvaganam was arrested by the RCMP on Aug. 22, 2006 at his Derry Rd. E. apartment. He was granted bail one month later. more..

U.S., India must help Sri Lanka end war, Center says

Nov 7 (BN) Sri Lanka will slide into civil war unless countries such as the U.S. and neighboring India take over from Norway as peace mediators, said Rohan Gunaratna, head of a Singapore-based research center. "Norway has outlived its usefulness as a mediator and facilitator," said Gunaratna of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research. more..

Sri Lanka eyes around 7 pct budget deficit in 2008

Nov 7 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is eyeing a budget deficit of around seven percent of GDP in 2008, a top Treasury official said on Tuesday, just 18 hours before the budget is presented to parliament. "It will be probably around seven percent, because development expenditure is high," Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, secretary to the Treasury and Ministry of Finance told Reuters after a pre-budget news conference in Colombo. more..

Omanthai Entry/Exit point reopened

Nov 7 (LD) The Omanthai Entry/Exit point, was opened for the public yesterday (November 06th) around 3.00 p.m. after being closed temporarily due to a LTTE artillery attack. Though officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross vacated the checkpoint soon after the attack, they have reassumed duties after both the government and the LTTE gave another security guarantee. more..

Minster Dilan slams DLB Chairman at COPE meeting

Nov 7 (LD) The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) convened yesterday and was presided by Minster Dilan Perera following the absence of the COPE chief Wijayadasa Rajapakse. Yesterday, Officers as well as the Development Lotteries Board Chairman, Sarana Gunawardena were summoned before the COPE. Minister Perera had started inquiring into each and every detail reported to the committee, only to find the permanent representative of the Finance Ministry absent. more..

Judiciary informed of damage at A’pura airbase

Nov 7 (LD) Anuradhapura police headquarters told the Anuradhapura Magistrate yesterday (November 06th) that the recent LTTE attack on the Anuradhapura air base left ten aircrafts destroyed and 16 damaged. He added that the buildings and machinery had been extensively damaged. Police requested Magistrate Wasantha Jinadasa to order the air base Commanding Officer to submit an estimate of the damage. more..