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Sri Lankan, Afghanistan cyclists leave for home

Dec 1 (APP) Teams of Sri Lankan and Afghanistan left for home on Sunday after taking part in the 14th Tour de Pakistan International that ended on Friday. A nine-member Sri Lankan cycling team left for home via Karachi and after two-day stay in Karachi it will leave for Sri Lanka, team manager Nilandtha Fernando told APP at Peshawar International Airport. While the Afghanistan team left to Afghanistan through Pak-Afghan border Turkhum. more..

Deep Penetration Unit Commander Jayasinghe killed by LTTE

Dec 1 (TC) The sri Lankan army’s special force unit that operates deep inside territory controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) received a crucial setback last week when its commander Major. Lalith Jayasinghe was killed by the tigers in the Oddusuddan area of the Wanni northern mainland. The unit specialises in infiltrating tiger – controlled territory clandestinely and launching attacks on important LTTE officials. more..

Zimbabwe throw it away again to gift Sri Lanka whitewash

Dec 1 (CI) Sri Lanka completed a series whitewash over Zimbabwe with a 19-run victory in the fifth and final ODI at Harare Sports Club, but, not for the first time in the last week, Zimbabwe threw away a gilt-edged chance of winning within sight of the finishing line. Given a little more experience and common sense, Zimbabwe could actually have won two, if not three, of the matches, but when you average only 128 an innings, it is always going to be an uphill battle. more..

Oil minister still in office: report

Dec 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka's petroleum ministry has not yet been taken over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, following a court order by the Supreme Court, a media report said Sunday. The Sunday Times newspaper, quoting petroleum minister A H M Fowzie said he had not received any instructions from the country's president. The Supreme Court as part of interim relief granted on two public interest petitions ordered the ministry to be taken over by the president saying Fowzie had failed to supervise the chairman of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Ashantha de Mel. more..

Desperate Tigers seek refuge in Buddhism

Dec 1 (LG) The saying ‘devil quoting scriptures’ came true when the LTTE leader in his annual speech mentioned about Buddhist preaching. Although Buddhism teaches non-violence, to the extent I know as a non-Buddhist, it doesn’t require its followers to surrender. On the contrary, it allows its practitioners to invoke their thinking power to apprehend what is right and what is wrong in a given situation. more..

Unravelling a murder from Tangalla to Oslo

Dec 1 (LG) As author Weerasinghe says, the main story line of the politico-cultural scenario of this book is "very much genuine" though he has given us fictional characters, These remarks in his Prologue, were penned in Oslo in March 1993, and at that time he had begun to realize that "a motley collection of Western nations had decided to underwrite the Jaffna Tamil terrorists’ ultimate objective... the disembodiment of Sri Lanka." more..

Wanted: A new Tamil leader for Peace in Sri Lanka

Dec 1 (LG) What no Tamil thought would happen in Jaffna is now shocking the world: the Tamils are carrying the Sri Lankan flag and hailing the victory of the Sri Lankan forces in Pooneryn. We may not like it and say Sri Lankan Government propaganda. But even if one Tamil in Jaffna is voting with his/her feet, carrying the Sri Lankan flag, then who are we to say “NO”? This is a clear signal for the Tamils in the Diaspora to wake up and take notice of the responses of our desperate people. more..

Tea sector crisis: An objective view

Dec 1 (LG) The Sri Lanka tea sector has been enjoying increased prices across the board for all teas from January 2007 up to July 2008, a period of almost 18 months. This was due to several reasons, both global and local. Among the important reasons are (a) drop in production in some competing countries due either to political and/or adverse weather conditions, (b) increased buying power, especially in the Middle East and Russia/CIS regions due to oil price escalations, more..

CPC plays while the consumer pays

Dec 1 (LG) Everyone is clamouring for a drastic reduction of fuel price in this country, consequent to the dramatic drop in crude prices world wide. The current price is about US$ 58 per bbl. Every country has positively responded with substantial price reductions except Sri Lanka. Let us examine as to why the Sri Lankan government which always claimed that domestic prices will go up and down with World Market prices is now reluctant or unable to bring down prices to substantially low levels as was prevalent last year. more..

Ghouls stalk Sigiriya water gardens again

Dec 1 (LG) The Water Gardens of Sigiriya are once again being stalked by ghouls who want to make this unique landscape - a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO - into a gaudy night carnival. This stunning manifestation of nature's beauty, left to itself for centuries after its ancient monarchs and monks departed, retained its unique features until discovered by the British who in their good sense left it basically untouched for future generations to take in its natural splendours. more..

International community must not ignore Sri Lankan crisis

Dec 1 (TMG) It is one of the underreported stories of the day: A quarter of a million Sri Lankans - which is almost the equivalent of the population of Bradford -- have been forced from their homes and are trapped in the Wanni region in the north east of the country, the last Tamil Tigers stronghold. The Tigers using them as a buffer against advancing government forces. Many of these people have been driven from their homes several times already, including after the Boxing Day Tsunami. more..

International media, human rights watchdogs lopsided - Jaffna MP

Dec 1 (TN) "The Colombo government is embarked upon a killing spree of children and women in refugee camps who are already victims of war, displacement, cyclone and floods. This act of 'state terrorism' is in what way less deplorable than the Mumbai killings, for failing to attract condemnation and action from the International Community," asks Padmini Sithamparanathan, Tamil National Alliance MP for Jaffna. more..

US development aims integrating East with Sinhala provinces

Dec 1 (TN) Based on their firm conviction that development disparity is the root cause of the conflict in Sri Lanka, the United States Embassy in Sri Lanka is busy in recent times in promoting a number ‘development’ programmes, especially in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, funded by USAID. Launching a new programme, Connecting Regional Economies (CORE) two months ago, the US aim ‘at the provincial and community level’ is to ‘focus on improving supply chain and more..

More killings in Batticaloa

Dec 1 (BBC) A civilian was shot dead in the eastern Sri Lankan town of Batticaloa hours after a massive search operation by the police. Illayathambi Kurukulasingham, 39, was shot dead on Saturday night at his home in Kaluwanchikudy, police said. Police imposed curfew in the district from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm on Saturday and nearly 12,000 people were searched aimed at stopping the widespread killings in the east. more..

SLBC 'censorship' condemned

Dec 1 (BBC) The Five Media Collective in Sri Lanka has condemned the censorship imposed by Sri Lanka authorities on BBC Sinhala and Tamil programmes on 27 November. State-run SLBC has censored the sections of BBC Sinhala and Tamil service programmes as LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's "Hero's Day" speech was on air. The authorities have also censored the Defence Watch press conference conducted by dissident ruling party MP, Mangala Samaraweera that provides information on the ongoing war. more..

NTPC, Sri Lankan partner disagree over payment guarantee

Dec 1 (LM) Differences have arisen between India’s largest power generation company NTPC Ltd and Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Electricity Board, or CEB, over payment of security and sovereign guarantee on a proposed 500MW joint venture coal-based thermal power plant in Sri Lanka. The project has been planned as an equal venture with the CEB, involving an investment of $500 million (Rs2,490 crore). more..

Impediments in the way of devolving power to the periphery

Dec 1 (FI) It is necessary for one at the very outset, to unfailingly take full cognizance of the multi-faceted aspects of the problem of devolution of the power of governance to whatever unit decided on by the Centre, as the geographical unit exercising such devolved authority. Such a close study would enable one to have an overview of the full magnitude of the problems of devolution, as well as more..

With the LTTE eventually eliminated who will represent the Tamils?

Dec 1 (FI) There was scarcely any surprise when the pro-LTTE Tamilnet website of Sri Lanka accorded the pride of place in its news items on November 12 to the unanimous resolution adopted by the Tamil Nadu Assembly earlier, calling for a ceasefire in the island nation. Fighting a last-ditch battle for survival, the Tigers and their supporters clutched at the Assembly resolution as one possible key to an eventual Indian intervention to save them from the relentless Sri Lankan military onslaught. more..

Citizens screened in Batticaloa

Dec 1 (Hindu) In a massive combing operation across Batticaloa district, Sri Lanka’s security forces screened close to 12,000 citizens and detained 123 for suspected links with the LTTE. The search operation, for which Batticaloa town was placed under curfew from 12 hours on Saturday, is the first of its kind since the military succeeded in ousting the LTTE from the east in 2007. It has taken place in the wake of an alarming rise in killings and abductions in recent days. more..

Editorial: Discourse in desperation

Dec 1 (Hindu) The characterisation of LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabakaran’s 2008 message as ‘Great Heroes Day’ speech is full of irony. The 3,283-word statement was made public on the evening of November 27, twenty hours after the start of the horrific fidayeen terror in Mumbai. In stark contrast to the response of the rest of the world, the ‘Great Heroes Day’ speech makes no reference to the Pakistan-origin terrorist strike at India’s financial capita l. more..

'Sri Lanka faces a daunting task in the midst of a global financial crisis'

Dec 1 (AT) Despite the undoubted uncertainty in the financial sector, Sri Lankla Government is committed to pursuing its policy goals of achieving economic and social progress, with special emphasis on bridging regional disparities through rural livelihood and infrastructure development. Rural development remains a priority for the government. more..

Bangalore Tamil Sangam wants ceasefire declared in Sri Lanka

Dec 1 (Hindu) Expressing concern over the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka following the military action in the Tamil-dominated areas, the Bangalore Tamil Sangam has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to exert pressure on the Sri Lankan Government to immediately declare a ceasefire. To express its moral support to the Sri Lankan Tamils, the Bangalore Tamil Sangam on Sunday held a special meeting in which nearly 500 members, including more..

Sri Lankan student attacked by Malaysian youth, dies

Dec 1 (TW) A Sri Lankan student attacked by Malaysian youth, passed away from his injuries at the Surdan Hospital in Suban on Nov 30th, 40 kilometers from the capital Kuala Lumpur, Tamil daily Virakesari said. Sri Sarangan, a student of Nottingham University Engineering faculty, in Malaysia was rushed to the Surdan Hospital in a critical condition after being attacked by Malaysian youths targeting ‘Indian students’ three days ago. more..

BBC Radio Play: The Last Time I Saw Richard

Dec 1 (TC) Drama documentary about the life and death of the Sri Lankan journalist and TV newsreader Richard de Zoysa, who was abducted and killed in February 1990. Set in the preceding years, when the Sri Lankan government was undertaking a bloody crackdown of the ultra-Marxist JVP organisation with which de Zoysa was suspected to be allied, this drama is based on interviews with those who knew and worked with him. more..

Indian subcontinent may lose 2011 World Cup: Report

Dec 1 (PTI) Continuous terror attacks in the sub-continent has cast a shadow over the 2011 Cricket World Cup to be jointly hosted by India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh with the International Cricket Council contemplating of keeping a stand-by venue for the mega-event. According to a report in 'The Daily Telegraph', the ICC is expected to discuss the issue in its Executive Council meeting in South Africa next week. more..

Today is World AIDS Day

Dec 1 (GDI) Today is the World AIDS Day, a day especially set aside for awareness creation on what is arguably the world's deadliest disease. This is also an occasion to remember the victims of AIDS and to educate the general public on the causes of the disease as well as methods of prevention. The World AIDS Day also focuses on generating a more understanding and sympathetic society regarding victims. more..

Train fares slashed

Dec 1 (GDI) Train fares will be reduced from today (December 1st), in keeping with the government's policy of passing the benefit of fuel price reductions to the commuters. Long distance train commuters will benefit most from the fare reductions, since they don't apply to fares below Rs. 15.00. Third class fare from Colombo Fort to Gampaha will be reduced from Rs. 30 to Rs. 25, the fare from Colombo to Kalutara will come down from Rs. 45 to Rs. 40, more..

GCE O/L: Final set of admission cards posted today

Dec 1 (GDI) The last set of admission cards for those who are to sit the G C E Ordinary Level examination will be posted today, a spokesperson to the Ministry of education told,lk today (01). The O/L exam will begin on the 8th of December. The examination will be held in 4733 examination centers island-wide. Approximately 5,360,905 candidates will be sitting for the examination under both new and old syllabuses. more..

Secondary occupation of land belonging to displaced Muslims of the Northern Province

Dec 1 (MG) Muslim presence in the North dates back to eighth century. According to historians forefathers of present Muslims were present in the North of Sri Lanka as far back as the eight century. Mannar and Jaffna are two places recorded in history. Muslims have been engaged in Trade and other vocation in the Jaffna area. They were settled in number of streets and those streets had Muslim names. more..

PC system focused on ‘A New Sri Lanka’

Dec 1 (SAMN) The Governor of the Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, in his opening address at the 11th Governor's Conference said that for over two decades, the Provincial Council system has been nutured for the betterment of the people in this country. He further said that the main focus of the ‘Mahinda Chintana’ is for a clean administration and economic stability. The idea is also for a united country under the theme ‘A New Sri Lanka’ and to more..

Do not politicise military victories

Dec 1 (LG) When closely observing the present political situation in the country, it clearly indicates an election that could be held at a moment's notice at the whim of the government. The government appears to be continuing the war to strengthen its election propaganda campaign since it wants to establish a strong government at the next general election. The government inquired about its popularity at the last provincial council election when troops were advancing towards Kilinochchi town. more..

The Attack on Mumbai: The Tragedy of Moral Bankruptcy in Politics

Dec 1 (LG) In one of his most brilliant analyses of the seemingly complex relationship between politics and morality, Immanuel Kant argued that if the art of politics is to be perfected it should be laced with morality. If morality and politics are incompatible in a single command, then these two are really in conflict. “But if these two qualities ought always to be united, more..

50 HIV positive babies in Sri Lanka

Dec 1 (LNP) Around 50 babies are among the 40,000 HIV positive persons found in Sri Lanka, and 31 of them - all aged below six years - have reached the full blown AIDS stage, said Dr. Ajith Karawita of the National STD/AIDS Control Program Sri Lanka. All these babies have contracted HIV at birth from their mothers, he said. Sri Lanka found its first HIV positive person in 1987, and since then, 182 have died of AIDS. more..

Highest rainfall in 9 decades in Jaffna

Dec 1 (SAMN) The rains during the past few days which claimed 11 lives, nine in the North and two in the South, was the highest rainfall recorded in Jaffna since 1918 the Meteorology Department said Sunday. Met Department Chairman Chaminda de Silva said Jaffna had received 520.1 millimetres of rain last week, with Wednesday’s reading of 389.8 millimetres, being the highest in nine decades. more..

One million houses story a myth

Dec 1 (SAMN) The claim that a million houses were built during the period of President Ranasinghe Premadasa was not based on facts as official records in the Ministry of Housing showed that during 16 years from 1977, only 718,000 houses had been built, Minister of Housing Geethanjana Gunwadena told Parliament. The Minister was responding to a speech made by UNP Hambantota District member Sajith Premadasa, who said one million houses had been built during the period after 1977, under the leadership of his father, the late R. Premadasa. more..

Army deserters flee Panagoda camp

Dec 1 (SAMN) A joint search operation was underway to capture three army deserters, who escaped from the Panagoda army detention centre late on Saturday night, army sources said Sunday. Military Spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said initially seven deserters, who were arrested and under detention at the centre within the Panagoda army complex, had attempted to escape from the centre. However, troops at the security points managed to capture four of them after firing in the air. more..

Italy recognises danger posed by terrorists - Envoy

Dec 1 (DN) Italy recognised the dangerous potential of terrorists by arresting those with alleged links to the Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Italy, Hemantha Warnakulasuriya told Adnkronos International (AKI). In an interview with AKI in Rome, Warnakulasuriya, said the Italian government had taken the lead in Europe in clamping down on anyone who tried to extort money from the Sri Lankan community to support the Tigers. more..

'National Policy to fight diabetes'

Dec 1 (DN) Sri Lanka has formulated a National Policy for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) based on a national plan to address different issues, Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. Developing countries are facing an unavoidable epidemiological transition towards an epidemic of NCDs like diabetes, Minister de Silva said. As predicted by the WHO, the growing trend of NCDs particularly in the low income countries will account for two third of all death globally in the next 25 years. more..

'Non communicable diseases on the rise'

Dec 1 (Island) Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva pledged as the Chairman of the Executive Board of the World Health Assembly, to persuade all member countries to make the prevention of diabetes a top priority. Developing countries like Sri Lanka were faced with a very high incidence of non communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases and malignancies. more..

TMVP suspends APRC participation

Dec 1 (DM) The TMVP has decided to suspend its participation in the meetings of the APRC scheduled for today and tomorrow as a mark of protest over the recent killing spree of civilians in the East. TMVP General Secretary E. Kailesvararajah told the APRC in writing yesterday the security situation was deteriorating in the East. He said his party had a responsibility as a democratic political entity to ensure the normalcy for the East before participating in evolving a political solution to the national question. more..

Govt. revenue from Casinos increase rapidly

Dec 1 (DM) Government revenue collection from the Casino clubs in terms of Betting and Gaming Levy has seen a rapid increase from Rs.56 million in 2003 to Rs282 million in 2006 according to information provided to Parliament last week. Information was revealed to the House by Deputy Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya in response to a question by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake in this regard. The government had accumulated Rs.77 million in 2004 and Rs.196 million in 2005. more..

'Electricity at Rs. 14 per unit not possible'

Dec 1 (Island) Ceylon Electricity Board senior engineers reject a recent claim by West Coast Project Managing Director U. D. Jayawardena that the Kerawalapitiya combined cycle power plant to be commissioned could provide electricity costing Rs. 14 per unit from the first week of December. "If a unit of electricity is to be supplied at Rs. 14, the new plant has to be able to purchase a litre of furnace oil at Rs. 34 or less," a senior engineer said. more..

The most civilized counter-terrorism offensive in the world

Dec 1 (PISL) The last few weeks have seen a great burst of criticism of the Sri Lankan government, orchestrated by the LTTE and its surrogates in East and West, led in the West by the usual suspects. The main thrust of this criticism is to hold the Government back in the current offensive it is conducting against the LTTE. What amounts to the Western auxiliary force of the LTTE launched a two pronged attack in the last couple of weeks. more..

Batticaloa: New homes fuel small business boom

Dec 1 (IFRC) In June 2007, S.S Mahan wasn’t very optimistic about the future. The 26–year-old had just returned to his home in the village of Uriyankaddu, which lies on the Vaharai peninsula in Sri Lanka’s north eastern district of Batticaloa. Five months earlier, Mahan and his family had fled the area as government forces battled to reclaim the area from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). more..

Wijeya Newspapers to establish disciplinary code

Dec 1 (LD) After all the controversy over Presidential tea parties, awards, FMM statements, blacking out news and political biases, the Wijeya Newspaper (WNL) management is said to have decided to establish a disciplinary code for their editors and journalists. Last week Mangala Samaraweera MP and spokesman of 'Defense Watch' accused the DM editor of political bias and blacking out news at a news briefing. more..

Journalist beaten by Eravur police

Dec 1 (LD) FMM is outraged that police officers of the Eravur police beat journalists Mohamed Hussein with batons just because he happened to be covering the dawn to dusk curfew in Batticaloa on 29th November declared without any prior notice, says a statement by Free Media Movement. This assault and harassment of journalist Hussein is not only a violation of Freedom of expression rights but also a violation of basic human rights says the statement further. more..

Surgery done to wrong ear of child

Dec 1 (LD) A young girl admitted to Nagoda Hospital in Kalutara for surgery on her left ear has been operated on her right ear instead. Lodging a complaint with Kalutara South Police on Nov. 28th, the child's mother, Thabrew Wijewardena has said that her daughter has become deaf in both ears now due to the negligence of doctors. The child, Hirudini Peiris aged 3-years and one months, had been admitted to the hospital on Nov. 27th after being diagnosed with an ailment in her left ear. more..

'Rajapaksa regime to devolve powers as India says'

Dec 1 (LD) Alleging a secret pact between the Sri Lankan and Indian governments, JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe has accused the Rajapaksa regime of eliminating terrorism through war, but consolidating separatism through the constitution. Mr. Amarasinghe claimed a three-member committee had been appointed, purportedly for the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. more..

Sri Lanka's 'white van syndrome'

Dec 1 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government claims to be on the verge of delivering a knockout blow to the Tamil Tigers. But in its pursuit of victory, has the government lost the chance of lasting peace? In 2006, an internationally brokered ceasefire between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE broke down. Since then the government has been determined to win the civil war that began 25 years ago and has cost well over 70,000 lives. more..

President calls for global action to fight terrorism

Dec 1 (AKI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the Mumbai terrorist attacks should remind everyone about the risk of terrorism and the need for international cooperation to stop it. Rajapaksa spoke to Adnkronos International (AKI) during an unofficial visit to the Italian capital Rome where he was to meet Pope Benedict XVI on Monday. "It is an eye opener to everybody in the international community because it targeted foreigners especially Americans, British and Israelis," Rajapaksa said. more..