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Murder of Maheshwaran is act of fascist force! – JVP

Jan 1 (LT) The murder of Parliamentarian T. Maheshwaran is a conspiracy of a fascist force that does not tolerate democracy states Information Secretary of the JVP Wimal Weerawansa. He said this condemning the murder of Parliamentarian T. Maheshwaran and one of his security men at Kotahena in Colombo this morning. Mr. Weerawansa said, “We were sorrowed by the news of the murder of fellow Parliamentarian Maheshwaran. We see this murder as a conspiracy of a fascist force that does not endure democracy.” more..

Sri Lankan Buddhist monk 'honoured'

Jan 1 (BBC) A Sri Lankan Buddhist monk in the United Kingdom has been honoured by the British Government. The chief incumbent of the Birmingham Buddhist Maha Vihara, Ven. Dr. Witharandeniye Kassapa is being honourably felicitated with the Order of British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth –ll. Ven. Kassapa who is a respected dhamma teacher had palyed an important role in providing "humanitarian assistance" and "Dharmaprachara" in the UK and the outside world. more..

'Prabhakaran's call for the Tamils of the world to fight for a separate Eelam is dangerous for more reaons than one'

Jan 1 (LG) Journalist and Political Analyst with a deep insight into Sri Lankan affairs, N. Sathiya Moorthy is at present the Director of the Chennai Chapter of the Observer Research Foundation, an Indian policy think-tank headquartered in New Delhi. In an interview with Sri Lanka Guardian, Sathiya Moorthy shares his views on a range of issues relating to the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka, with particularly those impacting on the ethnic issue. more..

Will New Year give new hope for the beleaguered people of Sri Lanka?

Jan 1 (LG) With lungs full of air and gigantic yawns Sri Lankan’s will enter the 2008 shortly. When peaceful countries in the world are merry making, in Sri Lanka, only few will be cheerful and celebrating at the expense of those who have lost all hope. Year 2007 has given all the signs that the emerging 2008 is not going to be an easy one. War drums are beating loudly and the guns, war planes and gun ships are well placed to pound. more..

Dengue control a success in city

Jan 1 (CP) The Colombo City area recorded a significant decrease in the number of dengue fever patients in 2007 compared to 2006. Dengue is essentially an urban disease and has been endemic in the city for the last 45 years. The disease gradually spreads to other areas in the country. Last year the Public Health Department had a target of having less than 500 patients in the city. While the number of patients decreased in most parts of the country, Colombo did much better by having only 376 patients - an unprecedented 56% decrease. more..

Jumbo Cabinet is creation of electoral system: DEW

Jan 1 (CP) Minister of Constitutional Affairs and National Integration D.E.W. Gunasekara said this government was unstable because it didn’t have a clear majority in Parliament. He said even after the 1994 elections Chandrika Kumaratunga ran the government with a one member majority. The Communist Party veteran added that even if a general election was held today, it would again produce an unstable government and MPs would be crossing over from here to there, which would lead to more corruption. more..

The other side of Sanath Jayasuriya

Jan 1 (CP) It was with a sense of sadness that I read the news reports of Sanath Jayasuriya retiring from Cricket. But all good things must come to an end. Many of us know Sanath as an aggressive sportsman with a humble mind. But I see Sanath as a very intelligent and humane person. During 2001-2002 in spite of the many responsibilities he had in the game, he took the time to engage himself in AIDS prevention work in Sri Lanka. more..

Lankan politics: A parody of political pretense

Jan 1 (CP) After almost 60 years of unbridled, even criminal mismanagement of the country, it is high time the electorate wakes up and takes stock. Everything is disintegrating before our eyes. Standards have fallen to an all-time low. Honesty is a virtue practiced only by fools. Decency and universal values no longer guide those who are supposed to lead us. more..

Conflicting reports emerges from Vanni – What is happening over there?

Jan 1 (AT) Vanni is shrouded with mystery. What is happening over there? We only get conflicting reports, but unable to authoritatively even confirm or deny those news reports appearing in the Sri Government news media. Vanni is a jungle terrain consisting of Kilinochchi, Mullaithievu and a half of Mannar districts. This region is under the control of the LTTE. According to Vanni sources LTTE Leader Prabhakaran is holed up somewhere in this region. more..

Batticaloa elections: Colombo's rehearsal for paramilitary politics

Jan 1 (TN) In the backdrop of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government announcing local government elections in the Batticaloa district, three Tamil paramilitary-cum-political parties, the EPDP, PLOTE, EPRLF (Naba wing) and the yet-to-be-registered TMVP of Pillayan's group revealed that they had reached an agreement to form an electoral alliance after a meeting summoned at the Batticaloa office of the EPDP Saturday. more..

UNOPS suspends post tsunami school reconstruction projects in Jaffna

Jan 1 (TN) The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) suspended its construction works in two schools in Vaveddiththu'rai (VVT) in Vadamaraadchi that were affected by Tsunami, due to the prevailing unstable condition in Jaffna peninsula besides encountering difficulties in procuring construction materials for its school building projects, education officials in Vadamaraadchi said. more..

LTTE ordered several INGOs to leave Vanni

Jan 1 (AT) Reports reaching Colombo reveals that LTTE has ordered some of INGO"s located on Kilinochi and Mulathivu to vacate. It is said that LTTE believes that vital information's are leaked to Sri Lanka Air Force by INGO"s located in Kilinochi. Intelligence reports and information provided by civilians in the area confirm that the misery brought upon the Tamil community by the LTTE living in the Visvamadhu area in Wanni has made them physically retaliate against them. more..

Solidarity for Unity in Diversity

Jan 1 (AT) Solidarity in a country is at its height when cultural values of diverse communities in society are shared and reciprocated. Stemming from politics it may be construed as a dictatorship from the top to bind a group of people together-comparable to containing a heap of sand with separable grains intact. It can also arise from a societal psyche to act altruistically for the common good in recognition of each others’ human dignity-comparable to water contained in an invisible bond. more..

'Minister's thugs' assault VFM team

Jan 1 (BBC) Labour minister Mervyn Silva's supporters are accused of assaulting media workers in Kiribathgoda on Sunday night. VFM News Manager Pradeep Anura Kumara told BBC Sandeshaya that a group led by minister's official assaulted VFM workers who were pasting posters to mark radio station's anniversary. "It has been confirmed that the group was led by Minister Mervyn Silva's co-ordinating Secretary Amal," he said. more..

'Discipline' minister Mervyn Silva

Jan 1 (BBC) Media watchdogs in Sri Lanka have called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to take disciplinary action against Minister Mervyn Silva.The Free Media Movement (FMM) says the Minister Silva's behaviour at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) is a "prima facie cause for summary dismissal". Labour minister Dr. Mervyn Silva and his aides are accused of assaulting SLRC news director, TMG Chandrasekara, at the SLRC premises. more..

UNP calls for strengthened security to its leader at airport

Jan 1 (LD) The UNP has called for strengthened security at the airport to its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who is due to return home from an overseas visit tomorrow (Dec. 02nd). The request was made in writing today to the Defence Secretary, the IGP and the Chairman of the Airport and Aviation Services Limited, party General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told the media. The personal bodyguards of the opposition leader are no longer permitted to go near the aircraft and cover him, Attanayake said. more..

Maheswaran was provided security after assessment – Defence Spokesman

Jan 1 (LD) The firearm used in the murder of UNP MP T. Maheswaran has been found to be a micro pistol and the suspected assassin is presently under treatment at the ICU of the Colombo National Hospital, Defence Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said. The alleged killer is a resident of Jaffna, Rambukwella told the media this afternoon. “Normally, micro pistols are used by the LTTE,” he pointed out, adding that this particular killing too, would be used in political platform just like in the past. more..

UNP condemns Maheswaran killing

Jan 1 (LD) The United National Party has condemned the murder of party parliamentarian T. Maheswaran. In a special statement, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that a parliamentarian who criticized the government democratically had been assassinated. He charged that the government slashed Maheswaran’s security even when state intelligence had established that there were threats to his life. more..

SLMC’s Rajabdeen to fill Maheswaran’s vacancy

Jan 1 (LD) Shafeek Rajabdeen of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress will fill the parliamentary seat that fell vacant following the murder of T. Maheswaran of the United National Party. Rajabdeen is a former provincial councilor and leader of the SLMC Colombo district team at the 2004 General Election. This is a fulfillment of a pact that was agreed upon between the two parties in the run up to the election. more..

“Govt. responsible for my life”, Maheswaran in final TV interview

Jan 1 (LD) “My life is increasingly at risk after the reduction of my security from 18 personnel to only one. Even state intelligence has established that there are threats to me. Therefore, the government should take full responsibility,” UNP MP T. Maheswaran told the media just three days prior to his murder. Participating in “Minnel” talk-show of Shakthi TV on December 30th, he had spoken at length on threats to his person. more..

Yala National Park to reopen today

Jan 1 (LD) The Yala National Park is to be reopened in parts after its closure in mid-October following an LTTE attack on an army detachment stationed within its boundaries. Block One of the park was due to be opened for visitors today (Jan 01st). According to the Ministry of Environment, other blocks will be reopened after completion of maintenance work and end of the rainy season. more..

EPDP killers assassinate six civilians a day in Jaffna where jungle law prevails -Maheshwaran

Jan 1 (LeN) UNP MP T. Maheswaran says that a group of assassins brought from Colombo kills six civilians each day in Jaffna. Making a statement to 'Lanka-e-News' on abductions, killings and the shortage of essential food items in Jaffna, MP Maheswaran says that the killers are sent from Colombo for one-month service term and they are stationed in EPDP camps guarded by Sri Lanka Army. Maheswaran says that the teams are changed time to time to hide their identity. more..

President orders full and impartial inquiry in to the death of MP T.Maheshwaran

Jan 1 (GDI) Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwalle said that the President was greatly moved and saddened by the sudden death of UNP Parliamentarian T.Maheshwaran and that the President had ordered a full and impartial inquiry into the incident leading to his death this morning. Minister Rambukwalle said so addressing a media briefing this afternoon in Colombo. Though an opposition MP he was a friend of the president and the Minister himself. more..

Drugs to be prescribed by generic name from today

Jan 1 (GDI) Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition has banned the issuing of prescriptions in the relevant trade names of drugs and made it compulsory to use generic names from today. According to the Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala De Silva, a circular in this regard has been issued to all Government hospitals and those who violate the Private Medical Ordinance are to be punished. more..

'Cuba firmly committed to strengthening relations with Lanka'

Jan 1 (GDI) "We are firmly dedicated to build up and strengthen the friendly relations between the two countries and our respective leaders Fidel Castro and Mahinda Rajapaksa" said the Cuban Ambassador Enna Viant Valdes. "It is indeed a pleasure, on behalf of my Government, people of Cuba and my own, to send our best wishes, good health and prosperity to our great leaders, President Fidel Castro Ruz and Mahinda Rajapaksa and our respective people on the occasion of the 50th year anniversary of Cuban Revolution," she said. more..

New Year message of the President

Jan 1 (GDI) The dawn of a New Year is a time for new expectations and resolutions. We hope changes that would occur in this New Year will have a favourable impact on the lives of all our people. There is the expectation that we would come closer to overcoming the main problems that face us as a nation. Our foremost wish this New Year is success in the efforts to defeat terrorism in all its forms, bringing more freedom and democracy to all Sri Lankans; and beginning new processes for the sharing of power within a single, undivided country, assuring equality to all. more..

Chance to shine

Jan 1 (CI) The retirements of Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu have left a huge void to be filled, because players of that ability don't come along everyday. It's years of hard work that moulds careers like theirs. When you look at the contribution of a player, the number of runs or wickets or catches they take on the field is only one part of what they bring to the side. Their individuality, their perspective, their personality, their thought processes, and how they interact with the others in the dressing room has a huge influence on what happens on the field. more..

Govt Servants to start work after reciting Pledge

Jan 1 (DN) All public servants will start work today for the New Year at 8.30 a.m. after reciting the Public Service Pledge. This programme, implemented on a concept of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, will also include the hoisting of the National Flag and reciting the national Anthem at all public institutions. The pledge: "I am a servant of the people. I am committed to serve the public. I am dedicated to propel my country towards prosperity and uplift the living conditions of my fellow citizens. I will follow all rules to this end with diligence." more..

'Govt to uplift living standards of urban poor'

Jan 1 (DN) Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardane said that the Government is committed to uplift the living standards of the urban poor community under the Mahinda Chinthana national programme. He described the Opposition's attempt to defeat the budget vote as a conspiracy to ensure the victory of the LTTE. Minister Gunawardena said his Ministry has made a significant contribution towards achieving the goal of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to provide a housing unit for every citizen in the country. more..

Mervyn`s sidekick wants probe

Jan 1 (LNP) An inquiry should be instituted to find out how the camera crews of the other TV channels were able to video the incident involving minister Mervin Silva at the Rupavahini Corporation last week, Colombo Municipal Council Member Lal Peiris told The Island yesterday (31). He said Minister Silva had gone to the Rupavahini Corporation to discuss why the speech he made at Matara on the previous day was not telecast in the news bulletin of the Rupavahini channel. more..

A New Year Resolution

Jan 1 (LNP) One year has given way to another and the world is poised for a journey into the unknown. While wishing our readers a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year, we dwell on something that, we reckon, warrants a comment in the public interest. The biggest challenge the country is faced with is said to be battling terrorism. The government promises us that in a few months we will be able to put the war behind us. Whether that promise will be honoured or reneged on remains to be seen. more..

Parties claim Polls office not prepared

Jan 1 (SAMN) Political Parties have expressed that despite the government’s announcement that fresh nominations would be received between January 14 and 21 for the oft postponed Elections to nine local bodies in the Batticaloa District, no arrangements had been made, up to Monday by the Elections Secretariat to prepare for it. A spokesperson said that they had received no intimation from the Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dissanayake’s office either in writing or verbally. more..

CPC unions, teachers threaten strike

Jan 1 (SAMN) 2008 is already being slated as a year of strikes with several public sector trade unions threatening strike action during the course of this month, if their demands are not met. Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) unions which earlier threatened to stage a countrywide strike in the first week of January citing government’s failure to meet their demands, Monday extended their ultimatum till January 15. more..

Key political victims of terror attacks in Sri Lanka

Jan 1 (IANS) Terrorism has claimed the lives of several prominent politicians in Sri Lanka. These include a head of state and government, cabinet ministers, MPs and mayors. Most victims have been Tamils. It all began July 27, 1975 when the Mayor of Jaffna, Alfred Duraiappah, was shot dead in front of a Hindu temple. Among the young men who carried out the killing was Velupillai Prabhakaran, who founded the LTTE the next year. more..

The government of Sri Lanka; Challenges for 2008

Jan 1 (LR) The year 2007 marked one of the politically vibrant years in Sri Lankan history. In the past year, while the war against terrorism being the main success for the country, other different politico-social-economic aspects had its ups and downs. The government not only successfully weather the political storms initiated by UNP and its backing international agents which is later orchestrated by JVP, but also lead the war against terrorism in successful manner. more..

Maheswaran killing, disturbing erosion of democracy- FMM

Jan 1 (TN) The Free Media Movement (FMM), a Colombo-based media watchdog, in a press release issued Tuesday, strongly condemned the assassination of UNP MP T. Maheswaran, and said the murder adds to the "incredible number of political killings and the suppression of those who seek to bring to light gross human rights abuses," in Sri Lanka, and FMM is "mindful that the Sri Lankan Police have been unable and unwilling to bring the killers of other high profile political figures." more..

Four arrested for body-check on woman

Jan 1 (SAMN) A store owner and three salesmen were arrested on charges of sexual abuse after a body check was carried out on a female customer in a shop at Avissawella, police said. They said the woman had been taken into a small room, stripped and body-checked for explosives after the metal detector used at the store sounded an alarm. In her complaint to the police the woman said she was stripped in the presence of her two young children and there were no female security personnel or saleswomen in the room at the time. more..

APRC to cancel proposed study tour

Jan 1 (SAMN) The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) tasked with the formulation of a power devolution package Monday decided to cancel its proposed study tour to North Ireland The APRC is expected to submit the interim report with recommendations for constitutional changes aimed at resolving the North-East conflict. Earlier the Committee members had planned a visit to North Ireland to study its system of power devolution. more..

Devananda denies blocking 13th amendment

Jan 1 (Island) EPDP Leader, Minister Douglas Devananda, yesterday denied reports that he had blocked the Government’s move to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution by protesting against President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to appoint former parliamentarian and Leader of the TULF V. Anandasangari as the chief Administrator of the Northern Province. "On the contrary it was I who proposed to the President that due to the APRC’s arriving at a final solution being delayed, more..

New Divisions, ‘Mech Infantry’ bolster fighting capability

Jan 1 (Island) The army is in the process of building three infantry divisions as critical changes in deployment of ground forces are being effected to facilitate the ongoing ground operations in the northern theatre of operations. Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s decision to set up three new infantry divisions since the outbreak of major ground battles in August 2006 had signalled a significant expansion of the army which has now gained the overall upper hand in the northern theatre of operations. more..

Top govt. official’s firm to take over SLRC security

Jan 1 (DM) The security at state television Rupavahini is to be handed over to a private security firm owned by a top government Ministry Secretary, as the earlier private security firm had been removed following last week’s incident involving Minister Mervyn Silva. Defence sources said Crown Security Services Ltd, which was providing security to the SLRC, had been asked to withdraw on Sunday evening claiming that they had not carried out their duties in a proper manner during the incident involving Minister Silva. more..

Govt.-importers at loggerheads over food imports

Jan 1 (DM) Private importers yesterday warned they would stop the import of essential food items if the government tried to import them through a state- owned company with duty concessions. Hemaka Fernando, the Media Secretary to the Essential Food Commodities Importers and Traders Association told journalists there should be a ‘level playing field’ for all, and the government should not grant tax and duty concessions for one particular sector. more..

S.Lanka's 2007 reserve money target met, says cenbank

Jan 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka largely achieved its reserve money target for 2007 with the help of tight monetary policy, the central bank said. Reserve money at the end of December totalled 264.5 billion rupees against a target of 267.6 billion rupees, the bank said in a statement on Tuesday. Reserve money is the central bank's main barometer in deciding monetary policy and it had hoped that keeping it within target would help slow money supply growth and inflation. more..

India to change Lanka policy if Tigers wither

Jan 1 (HT) More and more reports emanating from Sri Lanka are suggesting that Vellupillai Prabhakaran, head of the LTTE, is injured and dying, or even dead. If these are correct, India can step into the peace process in Sri Lanka directly, a senior Indian diplomat said. Without its founder leader, the LTTE cannot survive, the diplomat added. With the LTTE out of the way, India would have no problems stepping in directly to try and resolve the island nation’s ethnic crisis. more..

Sri Lanka opposition lawmaker assassinated in capital

Jan 1 (AP) An opposition lawmaker was assassinated at a New Year's religious service in Sri Lanka's capital Tuesday. The legislator's party blamed the government for recently reducing his security detail. A gunman opened fire at ethnic Tamil lawmaker Thyagaraja Maheswaran of the opposition UNP at a Hindu temple in Colombo. Maheswaran was killed two days after he appeared in a private television interview and blamed government paramilitary troops for a spate of abductions, extortion schemes and unexplained killings in government-controlled northern Jaffna peninsula. more..

Slow Burn in Sri Lanka War

Jan 2 (TC) The Sri Lanka security forces’ strategy of “Hastening Slowly” at last appears to be yielding handsome dividends in the Eelam War-4. They made two serious breaches in the LTTE defences in their sustained operations in the north during the month. The well fortified LTTE defences dominating the Vavuniya- Omanthai route from the west, and the Vavniya-Mannar axis from the north were at last penetrated. They have been offering stiff resistance to repeated efforts of the security forces for over four months now. more..

Sri Lanka arrests alleged assassin of opposition lawmaker: defence ministry

Jan 2 (LBO) Sri Lankan police have arrested a suspected gunman alleged to have shot dead a Tamil parliamentarian at a Hindu temple in the capital Colombo Tuesday, the defence ministry said. The suspected gunman had been wounded when a bodyguard of assassinated lawmaker T Maheshwaran returned fire during the attack. It quoted police as saying the suspect was under police guard at the main hospital in Colombo and that the alleged gunman was a resident of Gurunagar in the northern Jaffna peninsula. more..

Sri Lanka military say killed 25 Tamil Tiger rebels

Jan 2 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops have killed 25 Tamil Tiger rebels and three soldiers have died in the fighting in the north of the country, the military said on Tuesday, as the long-running civil war flares again. Clashes in the northern Jaffna peninsula, northern district of Vavuniya and northern Welioya area were the latest engagements in the renewed civil war which has brought near daily air raids, bombings and land and sea battles. more..

Govt. 'responsible' for killing MP

Jan 2 (BBC) Sri Lanka's parliamentarians from the ruling coalition and the opposition have accused the government of being responsible for killing Tamil MP, T Maheswaran. Colombo District UNP legislator T Maheswaran, has been shot dead at a Hindu temple in the capital, Colombo. Maheswaran, a former minister and an outspoken critic of government's policy towards minority Tamils, was clinically dead when he was taken to the hospital, authorities told the BBC. more..

India’s duty towards persons of Indian origin in Sri Lanka

Jan 2 (TW) Minister Arumugam Thondaman was in a dilemma recently following a tornado lashing the shores of beautiful Lanka causing the arrest and detention of many members of the minority communities, particularly persons of Indian origin. He chose legal action to obtain redress for the affected people. As the people concerned were affected by the actions of the executive, he could have sought governmental intervention. Perhaps he sought same and miserably failed. more..