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The Mervyn’s saga continues…

Jan 6 (NS) The government, in a bid to hunt down the staff of the Rupavahini Corporation, has appointed a public officer to seize the employees who produced the Mervyn Silva’s ‘Mock Drama’ videos which had been distributed to other T.V. stations. The officer who holds the rank of Divisional Secretary, had also been asked to find out the persons who had distributed those videos to the other TV stations. more..

Maheswaran was a wealthy ship operator

Jan 6 (Island) Thiyagarajah Maheswaran who lost his life to an assassin’s bullet in a Kochchikade Hindu kovil of New Year’s day was a wealthy ship operator ferrying supplies to the Jaffna peninsula in a fleet of four vessels, well informed sources said yesterday. "In fact his fleet was bigger than that of the Ceylon Shipping Corporation that is now left with only the Lanka Muditha and Lanka Mahapola," this source said. more..

Ceasefire dies with Maheswaran

Jan 6 (Island) The government started the New Year with egg on its face and blood on its hands. The Mervyn Silva incident on Dec. 28 and the assassination of Maheswaran on Jan. 1 have left the president with much to ponder about. Rajapaksa heard of MP Maheswaran’s death as he was preparing to attend the customary New Year get together with his staff at the presidential secretariat. He immediately phoned the IGP and discussed the situation. more..

Shipping Corporation bosses lavishly serve themselves

Jan 6 (Island) The Ports and Shipping Ministry is expected to stamp down on a controversial attempt by A.L.S. Hameed, chairman of the loss-making Ceylon Shipping Corporation and its executive director, Mayantha Dissanayake, to increase their monthly salaries. Both, like many others serving ministries, corporations, boards and other state institutions in various capacities, are political appointees. Minister Chamal Rajapaksa is expected to inquire into the alleged attempt. more..

"Do not hit me, I am from the PSD", in Mervyn Silva video - Mangala

Jan 6 (Island) "Do not hit me,I am from the PSD",says a voice in the video recording of the recent Mervyn Silva fracas at Rupavahini Corporation,SLFP(M) leader Mangala Samaraweera revealed. "Listen carefully to that video and you will hear the said words." Samaraweera,said it was obvious from where Minister Mervyn Silva got his orders to storm the Rupavahini Corporation on the 27 th of last month and have its News Director T.M.Chandrasekera assaulted. more..

Maheswaran: The chilling message

Jan 6 (ST) Just six hours after the New Year had dawned, a Tamil parliamentarian, a dissenting voice, fell victim to a cold-blooded murder in the sacred precincts of a Hindu Kovil in Kochchikade. A day later, Tiger guerrillas exploded a claymore mine, barely 100 metres from an Army detachment and in the proximity of the Air Force headquarters. That day, i.e. Wednesday, Jan. 2, the Government abrogated the Ceasefire Agreement of February 22, 2002. more..

Dead-letter buried: Where do we go from here?

Jan 6 (ST) At last Wednesday's cabinet meeting chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, ministers had cleared all items on the agenda for that day. Before the meeting ended, the last was the customary "any other business." It was then that Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake proposed that the Ceasefire Agreement of February 2002 be abrogated. Not one Minister present expressed any objection. It was approved unanimously with no lengthy discussion. more..

Hopes and expectations in the New Year

Jan 6 (ST) When writing a column on the 1st of January one is bound to look at the brighter side of national life and the economy and hope for bright expectations in the New Year. Let us all hope that the turn of events during the year would be favourable and that the economy would begin a new and higher trajectory of growth and development. What are then the fundamental aspirations and expectations that we could have to achieve it? more..

Maheswaran killing: Assassin’s condition stable

Jan 6 (ST) The gunman allegedly involved in the slaying of UNP Parliamentarian Thiyagaraja Maheswaran was transferred from hospital to the custody of the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) yesterday, but investigators say they are yet to establish any links between the assassin and the LTTE, though the police chief and some ministers have alleged such links. The suspect identified as Johnson Collin Vasanthan Valentine from Gurunagar in Jaffna was taken to the CCD from hospital as his condition was now stable, more..

Sri Lanka president's peace advisor quits as truce ends

Jan 6 (AFP) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's top advisor on the peace process quit, after the government scrapped an Oslo-brokered truce with Tamil Tiger rebels. Jayantha Dhanapala, a diplomat and former candidate for the post of UN secretary general who was appointed as peace advisor in December 2005, said he was quitting for "personal reasons," in a statement released by his office. more..

Singh declines Sri Lanka's invitation, says he's too busy

Jan 6 (IANS) India has officially told Sri Lanka that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is unable to accept the invitation to attend the island's 60th independence day celebrations Feb 4, because of prior commitments. 'We were told that the prime minister's schedule did not permit him to be in Sri Lanka on Feb 4,' Ravinatha Ariyasinha, director general of communications in the Sri Lankan foreign office, said Sunday. more..

Sri Lanka says kills Tiger military intelligence head

Jan 6 (AP) The Tamil Tigers' military intelligence chief was among 34 rebels killed in heavy fighting in northern Sri Lanka on Saturday, the military and a pro-Tiger Web site said, amid signs the 25-year civil war was escalating. Colonel Charles was killed in clashes in the northwestern district of Mannar, where fierce fighting has been focused for months, the military said on Sunday. more..

Fresh Sri Lanka clashes as truce monitors begin pullout

Jan 6 (AFP) Heavy fighting raged Sunday in northern Sri Lanka where Tamil Tiger rebels said they lost a key leader, as Norwegian-led monitors began pulling out before the formal end of a tattered truce. The defence ministry said at least 36 guerrillas were killed and a soldier wounded in fighting since Saturday along the de facto border marking rebel-held territory. Among the men killed was a top Tamil Tiger intelligence official, the ministry said, more..

Sri Lanka scrapped peace deal donors to meet this week: report

Jan 7 (LBO) Top donors to Sri Lanka who funded the island alongside a recently scrapped peace deal with the Tamil Tigers may meet this week to review their future course of action, a media report said. "It is likely that the Co-chairs would participate in a teleconference to review the situation that could emerge after January 16, when the abrogation becomes effective," the Nation newspaper said. more..

LTTE warns of escalation, to 'demonstrate' military strength

Jan 7 (PTI) Unfazed by the recent reverses, the Tamil Tigers today hinted an escalation in their military offensive against the Sri Lankan government even as they accused India and other countries of being "indecisive" in taking a stand on the ethnic strife in the island country. "Only the demonstration of military strength by the Tigers can bring clarity to the situation and get them (the international community) to correctly relate their interests and assertively engage in the crisis," more..

Emirates exits Sri Lanka deal

Jan 7 (B24) Emirates is to cancel a 10-year contract with SriLankan Airlines, and is considering selling its 43.6% stake in the company for $150m, the Dubai carrier said today. Emirates will continue to manage the airline’s operations until the end of the contract on March 31, it said in a statement. “Emirates has notified the Government of Sri Lanka that it will not be renewing the Shareholder's Agreement which expires on 31st March 2008,” more..

The Eviction of Muslims in 1990 and exodus of Tamils in 1995 from Jaffna

Jan 7 (FI) As Sri Lanka continues to teeter on the edge of all-out war between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan state, it is hard but necessary to believe that the country does not need to endlessly repeat the same cycle of events. Roads within the war-zone areas of the north, and even more so the east, have once again been crowded with thousands of shelter-seeking Tamils and Muslims-continually pushed this way and that by warring parties. more..

Sri Lankan curbs cause severe coconut shortage

Jan 7 (Gulf) A voluntary restriction by Sri Lanka on exports of coconuts has led to an acute shortage in the UAE market. This has led to rationing of coconuts by supermarkets and hypermarkets in the UAE with prices expected to go up in the next two weeks. "The restrictions temporarily put in place to cater to the country's domestic need. "The price of coconuts in Sri Lanka has gone up. The crop produce is once in two months. more..

New pay scale for Sri Lankan maids comes into effect

Jan 7 (Gulf) The new pay scale for Sri Lankan domestic helpers has come into effect, said a senior Sri Lankan mission official. Under the new pay scale it is mandatory for a Sri Lankan housemaid to be paid Dh825 a month. Previously they were paid Dh600. "We have signed 35 to 40 contracts under the new pay scale," said S.A. Zain, the Lankan Labour and Welfare Officer at the consulate in Dubai. more..

Sri Lankan Army Advances in Jaffna After Rebel Commander Killed

Jan 7 (BN) Sri Lanka's army advanced in the northern Jaffna Peninsula as the military targeted bases held by the LTTE and killed the group's head of military intelligence. Soldiers have built new sentry posts on main roads in Jaffna since the government ended its 2002 cease-fire with the LTTE last week, TamilNet reported on its Web site, citing unidentified security officials in Jaffna. more..

Singapore Changi Airport officially welcomes Mihin Lanka

Jan 7 (IA) The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) held a ceremony to officially welcome Mihin Lanka, an airline from Sri Lanka, to operate at Singapore Changi Airport. Mihin Lanka is the second international carrier from Sri Lanka to mount flights to Singapore. The state-owned airline first began operating six weekly flights between Singapore and Colombo on 24 September 2007 with Airbus 321 aircraft. more..

Man & Ego

Jan 7 (LG) Ego is the root cause of many problems in the world. Politicians are mainly victims of their Egocentric behaviour. Iraq is a tragic example of egocentrism. President Bush wanted to invade this country purely because of his big Ego. Very simple things become complicated because of Ego. The stronger the Ego is, the greater the fear too! In Buddhism there are three kinds of complexes: 1. Inferiority complex 2. Superiority complex 3. Equality complex more..

Rajapakse’s Conciliatory Politics

Jan 7 (LG) An impressive turnout, a couple of hundreds or more, was seen at the high-pitch demonstration in Chennai on Monday by the friends of the LTTE demanding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reject the invitation from Sri Lanka to participate in the National Day celebration at Colombo on February 4, the 60th anniversary of its independence. Their fiery speeches accusing the Mahinda Rajapaksa government of genocide of the Tamils were punctuated by even louder slogans beseeching the PM to refrain from travelling to Colombo, as more..

Discrimination against Tamils

Jan 7 (LG) Although it is more than 20 years since Tamil was made an official language, a Tamil who addresses a communication to the government in Tamil does not receive a reply in Tamil, which is his birth right. This month I received a printed copy of a life certificate in Sinhala and English but not in Tamil, to be perfected and returned to the Divisional Secretariat which pays my pension. more..

Wells around Navinna- Maharagama dumping site contaminate with Heavy toxic metals

Jan 7 (LR) Dumping of metal products as municipal solid waste has become a serious problem around Navinna area as the some heavy metals such as chromium, cadmium and lead have leached to the groundwater table with toxic concentrations. Large number of residents in the area consumes well water for their daily need of drinking and cooking. Hence daily exposure of the heavy metals may lead to chronic or long term toxicities says more..

Colombo removing witnesses to impending carnage- Gajendrakumar

Jan 7 (TN) Colombo abrogated the CFA to remove the presence of the SLMM which was instrumental in exposing rights violations by all sides. "Government will want to rid the Northeast of any witnesses of the carnage that it intends to unveil on the Tamil people in the name of safeguarding the Sovereignty of the State," said Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam in an interview to TamilNet this week. more..

198 Tamil youths arrested in cordon, search in Colombo

Jan 7 (TN) 198 Tamil youths were arrested in Colombo and suburbs during a large scale cordon and search operation conducted by the Sri Lanka armed forces Sunday, Senior Inspector General of Police M.K.Ilangakone said. The arrested included several young women. Although civil society sources speculated that more than 300 Tamil civilians were arrested during this operation, the police claimed that only 198 were arrested. more..

Jaffna GSs released after interrogation in Colombo

Jan 7 (TN) Eleven Grama Sevaka (GS) Village Officers, from GS divisions in Vadamaraadchi, Thenmaraadchi, Valikaamam and the islets in Jaffna peninsula, flown to Colombo on New Year Day to Police Crime Branch (PCB) Interrogation centre ‘Fourth Floor’ by PCB officials, returned to Jaffna Sunday morning after being interrogated by Crime Branch officials in Colombo, sources in Jaffna said. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines less attractive without catering, ground handling

Jan 7 (LBO) Sri Lankan Airlines is not an attractive opportunity for potential investors unless it comes with ground handling and catering, as airline operations alone were not very profitable, analysts said. The Bloomberg newswire quoting presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga said a committee may be set up to look into options after the Emirates' "unilateral decision" to exit the airline. more..

Sri Lanka court orders speedy release of detainees

Jan 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's supreme court Monday directed the defence authorities to consider releasing without delay people detained and held without charge during security operations and do future searches with minimum harassment to the public. The directive came in response to a lawsuit by the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), a minority Tamil political party and labour union, court officials said. more..

Sri Lanka should fund sustainable agri changes instead of subsidies: think tank

Jan 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government should divert funds from agriculture subsidies to improving market linkages of rural farmers on the lines of successful models built by firms like Hayleys and MAS Tropical Food Processors, a new study said. The island has much potential to develop its spices sector mainly consisting of over 200,000 small farmers using pro-poor agribusiness models to revive smallholder spice cultivation, the Institute of Policy Studies said. more..

Peace Secretariat Regrets Historical Statement of Nordic Ministers

Jan 7 (PISL) The Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process regrets very much the recent statement of five Nordic Foreign Ministers regarding the decision of the Sri Lankan government to terminate the Ceasefire Agreement signed in 2002. Whilst we must assume it was delivered in good faith, such a pronouncement that is replete with misconceptions can only contribute to the polarization that some of those concerned with the Sri Lankan situation are anxious to promote. more..

Devananda accuses ‘Minnel’ for Maheswaran killing

Jan 7 (LD) EPDP leader and Minister Douglas Devananda has accused ‘Minnel’ Programme hosted by J. Sri Ranga for Shakthi TV of having prepared the groundwork for the murder of UNP MP T. Maheswaran. According to Devananda, he had also written to IGP Victor Perera, saying “Sri Ranga is working for the LTTE” and “stage-managed this show (on Dec. 30th) for the subsequent murder and Sri Ranga connived and conspired to eliminate Mr. Maheswaran, along with the perpetrators.” more..

JVP decides against contesting east polls

Jan 7 (LD) The politburo of the JVP has decided not to contest the forthcoming polls for nine local government bodies in Batticaloa district in the east. In a statement today (Jan. 07th), the JVP noted that “many political parties, including itself, had not been able to actively participate in democratic politics or to manage a regular dialogue with the people of these local bodies as they had been victims of the fascist hand of armed separatists for a long time.” more..

SC orders no search of private residences from 9pm to 9am

Jan 7 (LD) The Supreme Court ordered the Defence Secretary today (Jan. 07th) to refrain from conducting searches of private residences between 9.00 pm and 9.00 am, except in an emergency or due to a justifiable reason. A bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and Justices Shirani Thilakawardena and Raja Fernando gave the order after reconsidering a petition that questioned the legality of permanent roadblocks in Colombo city. more..

Police tries to forcibly enter Working Journalist Assn. Secretary’s home

Jan 7 (LD) A group claiming to be from the police had tried to make a forced entry into the house of Secretary of the Working Journalists Association Poddala Jayantha in the early hours of this morning (Jan. 07th). The group had come to Jayantha’s home at Weniwelkola in Kahatuduwa in a jeep (GC-0306) and van (253-2008), both marked ‘Police.’ The wife of the journalist had answered to a tap on the door at around 3.00 am. more..

Dejected Mahinda Wijesekara applies for Malaysia stay

Jan 7 (LD) Minister of Special Projects Mahinda Wijesekara is among several local politicians who have applied for a stay in Malaysia under Kuala Lumpur’s “Malaysia, My Second Home Programme,” sources say. Wijesekara is reportedly dejected by the present political situation in Sri Lanka. Several other top politicians are also interested in securing a long stay in Malaysia under this programme, according to the sources. more..

Nordic monitors, India & others concerned about CFA termination

Jan 7 (LD) Nordic monitors, India and several other countries have expressed serious concern about the Sri Lankan government decision to terminate the Ceasefire Agreement signed with the LTTE. Nordic monitors – Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland – said in a joint statement that the withdrawal of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission would mean the end of an important mechanism that protected civilians and gave a voice to the victims and their families. more..

Govt. move to handover 500 acres near Wilpattu Park opposed

Jan 7 (LD) A reported attempt by the government to handover 500 acres of land near Wilpattu National Park has met with stiff opposition from area residents. The people of Katupottawa village, located on the borders of the national park and the Anuradhapura district, staged a protest yesterday against the decision. The village is part of the area that will be handed over to a leading non-governmental organization, according to reports. more..

Govt. ready to take on development challenge – President Rajapaksa

Jan 7 (GDI) "Today we face the challenge of developing the country. To meet this task we have to utilize new technology and increase production. We have set off on this arduous journey," said President Mahinda Rajapaksa participating in the inaugural ceremony of the Bataatha Agro-Technical Gardens in Hambantota today (07). On this occasion a well planned vegetable garden and medicinal herb garden were declared opened by the President. more..

Views on abrogation of CFA

Jan 7 (GDI) Many parties have expressed appreciation on the Government’s decision to annul the Cease Fire Agreement.nA statement issued by the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna said, the abrogation of the Ceasefire Agreement proves the independence and the sovereignty of Sri Lanka as a unitary state. The statement signed by to MEP leader and Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said the MEP was against it from the very inception of the agreement. more..

Rs 100 million gone to the dogs of Sri Lanka

Jan 7 (LNP) The government intends to spend a staggering Rs. 100 million to control the growing stray dog population through a countrywide vaccination and sterilization programme. The project got underway last week. The initial programme will be implemented around hospitals and healthcare institutions with plans to cover the other places subsequently. Health Ministry last year reported 730,000 cases of dog bites, approximately 2,000 bites per day. more..

Top doc opposes finger print register prescribes attitudinal change

Jan 7 (LNP) The public administration system that is in operation is rigid. However, there is no proper implementation of the existing system. The best way to tackle this problem is to effect changes to it, Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Nihal Abeysinghe told The Island yesterday. Political interference, he said, had had a detrimental impact on the public administration system rendering it inefficient and ineffectual. more..

Of those troubled friends of Lanka

Jan 7 (LNP) India has announced that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will not grace Sri Lanka`s 60th Independence Day celebrations on Feb. 04. `Scheduling difficulties` and the Prime Minister`s health have been given as the reasons. However, it is being speculated in the diplomatic circles, as we reported yesterday, that the Indian government`s decision could have something to do with issues like the delay on the part of the Sri Lankan government to propose a political solution to the conflict. more..

Arjuna plans display a clear bold vision

Jan 7 (LNP) It is a fusty of cliché but even the allegory of how a new broom sweeps clean has its uses. Well, Yahaluweni, as long as the new broom doesn`t sweep old debris under the carpet and allow it to become forgotten. That is always a real danger. The International Cricket Council did that with the early warnings of the match-fixing malpractice in the 1990s and look how that blew up and left rotten egg on the ICC`s image. more..

EDEX 2008 to fulfill the Skills Gap

Jan 7 (GDI) EDEX 2008 will be fulfilling “Skills Gap” between the applicants and the industry’s requirements through bridging industry leaders and students. The EDEX 2008 exhibition will feature over 130 local educational institutions and has representation by over 350 foreign universities. Over 100,000 visitors are expected to participate in this year’s exhibition. The EDEX exhibition will be held from January 18 – 20, 2008 at the BMICH. more..

New IT park at Malabe

Jan 7 (GDI) A new IT park will be established in Malabe under the joint collaboration of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) and Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT). This IT Park will be equipped with all modern facilities and services for promoting Information Technology, IT Enabled Services, Business Process Outsourcing and other knowledge based industries in the country. more..

"Knowledge City" at Henagama

Jan 7 (GDI) Board of Investment (BOI) will be establishing a ‘Knowledge City” with the aim of promoting education in Sri Lanka. The city will be established at Henagama on a land of 122 acres. This new institute will be equipped with the latest facilities and services. The institute will focus on teaching information technology and other knowledge based education. In addition, the institute will provide opportunities and facilities for carrying out cutting edge research and development activities. more..

Ministry signs agreement to recruit 1,000 nurses to California

Jan 7 (GDI) Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition have signed an agreement with the Californian Government to recruit 1,000 Sri Lankan nurses to Californian hospitals by the end of this year. The Sir Lankan delegation was represented by the Director General Health Services Dr. Ajith Mendis and Deputy Director General Nursing Service Bietrice Samaranayake last month. more..

Civilians condemn LTTE action

Jan 7 (SAMN) Vanni civilians organised by United Tamil Organisation has put up posters in protest against LTTE’s removal of local and foreign aid workers who served in the Vanni area. The posters said the LTTE had ordered the exit of the aid workers since their work in Mullaithivu area was a hindrance to its activities. According to the organisation the LTTE suspects the aid workers had colluded with the government troops and they act as informants of the troops. more..