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Sri Lanka rates up as liquidity tightens; CB bill stock Rs151bn

Jan 17 (LBO) Overnight money rates spiked in Sri Lanka's inter bank market and bond rates picked up amid tighter liquidity and the monetary authority opened its 12.00 percent liquidity facility. Overnight call rates which were around 13.00/50 percent levels spiked to 16.00/50 as the inter bank market was short on a net basis. On Thursday the banking system was short by 1.9 billion rupees, a reversal of the net excess levels seen earlier. more..

Golden Key auditor remanded by judge

Jan 17 (LG) The Golden Key Credit Card Co auditor was remanded on Friday by the Mount Lavinia Chief Magistrate while all the directors in the company, including Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala, were ordered to give statements to the CID by next Tuesday. S. Nallenthuwan, the company’s 78-year-old auditor, was remanded till January 30 for allegedly forging the books of the company which crashed recently when depositors agitated to return their money. more..

Centre asked to take steps to stop fighting in Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Friday asked the Centre to initiate steps for an amicable solution to stop the Sri Lankan military's offensive in northern parts of the island. "It is better to wait for a few more days for the Centre's decision on stopping the genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils...," Karunanidhi said in a statement here. Referring to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's assurance to him on deputing External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to Colombo, more..

Money, not war will hurt Sri Lanka tourism in '09

Jan 17 (Reuters) The world financial crisis will cut 2009 tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka to their lowest level in seven years, potentially stripping gains expected as a 25-year war nears an end, tourism officials said on Friday. Tourism is the Indian Ocean island nation's fourth-biggest source of foreign exchange after garments, remittances, and tea, and is an industry that has stayed alive during a war with Tamil Tiger separatists that started in 1983. more..

More civilians fleeing fighting

Jan 17 (IRIN) The residents of Mullaithivu, deep in the conflict-affected areas known as the Vanni, in the north, have witnessed an escalation of clashes between government troops and cadres from the LTTE in the past year. Since April 2008, the conflict has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. According to UN statistics, as many as 230,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) remain trapped in areas east of Mullaithivu town, unable to flee to safety. more..

Indo-Lanka accord is key to political solution: Sri Lanka

Jan 17 (IANS) Appreciating the continued 'understanding of India on issues of mutual concern', Sri Lanka said Friday that the 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka accord is still the key to seeking a political solution to the island's ethnic conflict. Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama made the remarks during a meeting with visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon here Friday. more..

India announces more aid for Sri Lanka's war-hit civilians

Jan 17 (IANS) Coinciding with the visit of Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, India Friday announced a second set of humanitarian aid for the war-affected civilians in Sri Lanka's north. The Indian high commission said in a brief statement that India would 'continue to work with Sri Lanka in meeting the humanitarian needs of the civilian population' in the country's north. more..

A disturbing and growing McCarthyism in Sri Lanka?

Jan 17 (GV) The yardstick which President Mahinda Rajapaksa and many in his government used often to illustrate the “unbridled” freedom the media in this country was the publication of “The Sunday Leader“, a fiercely anti-government newspaper. The President has remarked many times that despite the constant personal attacks on him as well as his government in that newspaper, a clear indication of his commitment to a free media was that the newspaper continued to publish what it did without any interference. more..

'Experience in finals won us the game'

Jan 17 (CI) Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara believes Sri Lanka's experience of playing in finals proved decisive as they managed a narrow two-wicket win against Bangladesh in the final of the Tri-Nation Tournament. "It is tough on them [Bangladesh] especially after trying so hard," he said, "but it was not to be. I guess our experience in finals won us the game." Having shot out Bangladesh for 152, Sri Lanka were tottering at 6 for 5 at one stage during the run-chase, but more..

Sirasa attack inside job - Gotabhaya

Jan 17 (BBC) The attack on Sirasa media station was proved to be an 'inside job', Sri Lankan government has said. Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has told a state media station that investigations have conclusively revealed that the attack on Sirasa was carried out by Sirasa station itself. An armed group of nearly 15 people destroyed equipment and set fire to the MTV-MBC station early morning on 06 January. more..

Vaas says he is fit for both Tests and ODIs

Jan 17 (ZN) Chaminda Vaas might be out of ODI cricket`s scheme of things, but the 35-year-old Sri Lankan, the country`s most successful pace bowler, says he is fit enough and ready to contribute in any format of the game. Currently ignored by the Sri Lankan selectors for the ODI squad, Vaas who was part of the Test side against Bangladesh, said he is very much in the scheme of things for the one-dayers and that the selectors are just trying out options ahead of the World Cup. more..

Prabha appeals to diaspora While Tigers prepare for 'Final Battle'

Jan 17 (DM) The old saying “All roads lead to Rome” is one that had its roots in the period when the ancient Roman Empire was at its zenith. The new saying currently in vogue in Sri Lanka seems to be “All roads lead to Mullaitivu”. Several fighting elements of the Sri Lankan army have either moved in or are moving into the North-eastern district of Mullaitivu. In a related move, particular formations of the armed forces are targeting Mullaitivu town. more..

20 Sri Lankan pilgrims held at Sabarimala

Jan 17 (Hindu) Twenty pilgrims from Sri Lanka, two of them women, were arrested by the Sannidhanam police from Malikappuram at Sabarimala on Friday for not carrying valid travel documents. Sannidhanam Sub-Inspector S. Nandakumar said they would be produced before the Judicial First Class Magistrate’s Court at Ranni on Saturday. He said they formed part of a 28-member group from Jaffna and eight of them carried valid travel documents with them. more..

Security for Sri Lankan Airlines office in India

Jan 17 (Hindu) Armed police have been posted at the Sri Lankan Airlines office at A.T.T. Colony in the city in the wake of protests to condemn the military action in the island nation. A round-the-clock vigil was being maintained at the commercial complex in which the airlines’ office was located. The city police said the security had been provided in view of apprehensions that the heightened tension in Sri Lanka would result in the targeting of Sri Lankan establishments here. more..

Déjà Vu all over again!

Jan 17 (LG) Only a fool, it is said makes the same mistake twice. So chalk President Mahinda Rajapakse up as a fool for mangling Sri Lanka again. In Sri Lanka, and around the globe, the military action has thus far been portrayed as a success. The domestic standing of the key politicians and military players, particularly Mahinda Rajapakse’s, is at an all time high, like he is the putative savior of Sri Lanka – with people dancing in the streets, more..

'Menon’s visit an important development'

Jan 17 (Hindu) Describing as “an important development,” the visit of the Foreign Secretary Shivasankar Menon to Sri Lanka, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Friday said that it would be better to wait for a few days to find out if the Sri Lankan government would stop its murderous attack on Tamils. His statement came in the wake of the fast-unto-death being observed by VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan, demanding a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka calls for TV, radio sponsorship bids for Indian series

Jan 17 (IANS) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Friday called for bids for international television, radio and other sponsorship rights for the upcoming five one-day series against India, to begin later this month. 'Sri Lanka Cricket is pleased to invite offers from International TV Broadcasters for securing television, radio, mobile, internet and sponsorship rights for the forthcoming Indian Tour of Sri Lanka commencing on 28th January, more..

Battle for hearts and minds is the last hurdle

Jan 17 (Gulf) After months of heavy fighting, the Sri Lankan government forces took control of Kilinochchi on January 2. Kilinochchi is the politico-administrative capital of the LTTE which is fighting a ruthless war to establish a separate state for Tamils in the north and east of Sri Lanka. This was a remarkable achievement by the armed forces. Only little more than a month ago, LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran claimed, "the government's claim of taking control over Kilinochchi was a daydream". more..

Military victories and Sri Lankan Tamils

Jan 17 (Gulf) Sri Lankan society has long been polarised along political party and ethnic lines, so too has the Tamil community, which has been split along ideological lines into sects. In politics there are elements from extreme pro-government groups to extreme pro-LTTE groups, with many in between. It is not clear whether the majority of Tamils are happy about the repeated military victories of the government troops, especially the capture of the strategic Killinochchi and more..

Sri Lanka Army Corners Rebels

Jan 17 (WSJ) Sri Lankan armed forces have surrounded a shrinking number of Tamil Tiger rebels in the northeastern part of the country in a bid to crush the separatist movement and end Asia's longest-running civil war. On Thursday, the army built on recent advances, taking control of a makeshift airstrip used by Tamil Tiger aircraft in recent bombing raids. The military also captured a village about 12 miles from the remaining rebel stronghold Mullaittivu, more..

Muralitharan better than Mendis: Sehwag

Jan 17 (Hindu) Like his batting, Virender Sehwag is always clear in his mind. So when he claims he has sorted out Sri Lankan ‘mystery bowler’ Ajantha Mendis, one can expect the cricket world to take notice of this dashing batsman’s claims. With most of the famed Indian batting line-up floundering against the spinner in the Asia Cup as well as the Test series in Sri Lanka last year, Sehwag’s assertion gives moral support to his colleagues as more..

TN lawyers threaten strike on Lanka Tamils issue

Jan 17 (TOI) The Tamil Nadu Advocates Association (TNAA) has threatened to launch an indefinite boycott of court proceedings if the Centre continued to ignore the sufferings of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Making it clear that the protest was directed neither at the state government nor the Centre, the TNAA president S Prabakaran said here on Friday that lawyers are determined to highlight the plight of Tamils in the island nation. more..

Lasantha Wickrematunge - Sri Lanka's hero editor

Jan 17 (Times) Just a few hours after Lasantha Wickrematunge was shot dead in a busy Colombo street last week his elder brother, Lal, rushed to the pioneering journalist's home. Lasantha, the editor of Sri Lanka's The Sunday Leader newspaper, had warned Lal a few days earlier that the Government would try to kill him, and told him about a cupboard containing all his sensitive documents. more..

Indian Foreign Secretary commends Sri Lanka in combating terrorism

Jan 17 (AT) Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon expressed lavishly his appreciation for the proactive role played by Sri Lanka both multilaterally and in the regional context in combating terrorism, and extended the unstinted support of the Indian government in this exercise. He emphasised that concerted and collective international action is needed in combating the scourge of trans-national terror. more..

Commander warns against LTTE infiltrating attempts

Jan 17 (RW) With the final phase of the menace of terrorism, now reaching its doom, owing to the string of humiliating LTTE defeats in the hands of heroic Wanni troops, Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka Friday (16) morning undertook one more trip to meet his ground commanders and assess security developments in Wanni. more..

UN Demands LTTE to Free Tamils

Jan 17 (AT) The United Nations is increasingly concerned for the well-being of tens of thousands of civilians caught up in the conflict raging in the northern Vanni area of Sri Lanka. "As fighting surrounds the areas towards which families have been displaced, and with few choices about where to move, they are increasingly susceptible to harm due to the fighting." Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes said in a statement. more..

Prabakaran no more in Vanni

Jan 17 (AT) Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabakaran has fled the country. He is now remote controlling the war from outside Sri Lanka. As LTTE leader has deserted his cadres and ran away for his and his family’s safety, at present the moral of the Tiger cadres are very low. Sri Lankan Army source told Asian Tribune that Tigers will be routed completely within March 2009. When Asian Tribune contacted Army source in the ground in Vanni, more..

If you write you'll be killed

Jan 17 (Guardian) Lasantha Wickrematunge thought and talked a lot about his own death. He had known for a decade that his career as Sri Lanka's most provocative independent journalist would ultimately prove fatal. He made precise preparations for the end. In public, he appeared sanguine. When Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, called him in a fury last year, screaming that he would be killed if he continued to speak out, he laughed it off. more..

Protest held in Oaddamaavadi against Israeli action

Jan 17 (TW) A demonstration condemning the Israeli assault on Gaza was held today after Friday Jumma prayers in Oaddamaavadi, in Batticaloa district. Special prayers for the well being of the people of Palestine were also held in mosques in Eastern Sri Lanka, Colombo based premier Tamil daily Virakesari reported. The demonstrators gathered in front of their mosques and marched to the grounds near Oaddamaavadi bridge. more..

Christian leaders seek interfaith cooperation for peace efforts

Jan 17 (CT) More than 300 leaders and members of various faith communities are proclaiming a message of peace and reconciliation and calling all churches across denominations to also take the message to the world. "Radical peacemaking is usually associated with one segment of the Christian community: the Historic Peace Churches," the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, more..

Biggest LTTE mistake which brought curses upon the Tamil community

Jan 17 (TC) Since my entry into Parliament in April of 2008, I have always maintained that I am an opponent of war. I would like to start with what Henry Ford said in his writings, “My Life and Work.” It states, I quote: “My opposition to war is not based upon pacifist or non-resistant principles. It may be that the present state of civilization is such that certain international questions cannot be discussed; it may be that they have to be fought out. more..

'Those who killed Lasantha were cowardly Barbarians'

Jan 17 (TC) I have a particular problem with the murder of journalists, especially editors of newspapers. The Editor’s Guild and Publishers Society of Sri Lanka annually host an awards ceremony at which the final presentation of the evening, the pinnacle prize (distinguished by a different hue from the others), is for Journalist of the Year. That award is named after my father, Mervyn de Silva. It was not donated by me or any member of his family. more..

Only voices of sanity are those who continue to cry out in pain

Jan 17 (TC) One of the salient features of the Buddha’s forty-five year ministry was a rational approach in his teachings and in his own search for truth. In his wandering mission, he once arrived in the Kingdom of Kosala where the learned Kalama people lived. The Kalamas sat at his feet and asked him, "Venerable Sir, many religious teachers come to our place from time to time and expound their respective doctrines in detail. more..

SLMC wants deadline for devolution package

Jan 17 (LG) The SLMC yesterday told visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon there should be a specific directive by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to conclude the APRC deliberations and present its report on a credible power devolution package. An SLMC delegation led by party leader Rauff Hakeem and its APRC representative Nizam Kariapper met Mr. Menon in Colombo and briefed him on the present situation more..

British Deputy HC meets Devananda in Jaffna

Jan 17 (LG) Mr. Mark Gooding, the Deputy High Commissioner in Sri Lanka met at a discussion Mr. Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare and Chairman of Special Task Committee Northern Province at his Ministerial premises on the last 13th. At the discussion held, the Minister placed before the visiting Deputy High Commissioner the prevailing situation in the Northern Province, the necessities of people and the problems and difficulties faced by them. more..

Defeat Indian attempt to safeguard terrorism -JVP

Jan 17 (LT) Commenting on the visit to Sri Lanka by Indian Foreign Secretary Shiva Shankar Menon and Defense Secretary Vijay Singh the JVP in a press release states the Indian mediation at a time Sri Lanka has been gaining victories over separatist terrorism and the ruthless terrorists have been restricted to the Mullaithivu jungle is suspicious. The JVP states India has no right for such mediation and more..

Details of President-Menon meeting hushed

Jan 17 (LT) The details agreed upon at the discussion held today between President Mahinda Rajapakse and Indian Foreign Secretary Shiwa Shankar Menon has not been revealed by any media. However, reliable sources say ways and means of implementing the 13th amendment completely was discussed. The 13th amendment was promulgated due to pressure from India in 1987 but no government could implement it fully due to opposition from all quarters. more..

Those who destroyed Co-ops now cry for price reduction - President

Jan 17 (GDI) The people who had destroyed the cooperative sector were now holding demonstrating and going to Courts demanding the reduction in prices of consumer goods and petrol, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said at the cooperative sector awards ceremony. The same people who demanded price reduction of consumer goods seemed to have forgotten that they ruined Sathosa (Cooperative Wholesale Establishment) by selling it to the private sector, more..

Awareness programmes for Lankan domestic workers

Jan 17 (GDI) The Sri Lanka High Commission in Singapore organized an awareness programme for about 60 expatriate Sri Lankan female domestic workers in Singapore last week a media release issued by the High Commission said. It was the first time that such a programme had been held to assist the expatriate Sri Lankan workers in Singapore. The objective of this programme was to inform the workers of the rights and privileges entitled to them and more..

Sri Lankan Army commander is the best in the world, says India

Jan 17 (LP) The Indian Defence Secretary R. K Narayan had stated that the world’s best Army Commander is the Sri Lankan Army Commander. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa revealed this attending an interview with state television recently. The Secretary also said that in his visit to Indonesia, the Indonesian Defence Minister and Defence Secretary both praised the Sri Lankan Army on their historical victories. more..

Dr Amunugama takes oaths as Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning

Jan 17 (LP) Dr Sarath Amunugama took oaths as Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning in addition to Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs today (17). Minister Amunugama took oaths before the President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Kandy. Secretary to the President, Mr Lalith Weerathunga was also present on the occasion.

Rs. 2.8 million worth gift of wrist watches to the bigwigs from Kuwaiti insurer

Jan 17 (LeN) ‘Al Hakook International’, a company that has no recognition as an insurance company, has been given the contract of insuring the Sri Lankan employees entering in Kuwait. Al Hakook has also been provided with office space in Sri Lankan embassy premises in Kuwait. When enquired about the appropriateness of the deal, the Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bahila said that the office space was granted under an agreement between Sri Lanka Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare and the company. more..

'Indo-Lanka relations reaching zenith'

Jan 17 (LNP) India's relations with Sri Lanka have reached an unprecedented level of depth and quality today , observed Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon at his meeting with Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on Friday, during his two-day visit to the island. The Foreign Secretary further observed that it is during difficult times that the true quality of a friendship becomes most evident, more..

Govt. tightens screws on NGOs, INGOS

Jan 17 (SAMN) Plans are in place for a programme to regularise and monitor the disbursement of funds to Non Government Organisations (NGOs) in an effort to make their contribution to Sri Lanka’s development more vibrant and systematic, a senior official of the Plan Implementation Ministry said Friday. Ministry Secretary Dhara S Wijayatilake warned NGOs which did not cooperate would be reported to more..

Railway unions threaten TU action

Jan 17 (SAMN) The OPPTRE that represents 95% of the 17,000 workforce of the Sri Lanka Railways are up in arms against the administration of General Manager Railways, Lalithasiri Gunaruwan. The convener of the OPPTRE, Sumathipala Manawadu writing to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the deterioration of the rail service under the present administration said management had failed to address any issue in the Railway Department. more..

Indian expertise to upgrade COPE

Jan 17 (SAMN) The Sri Lankan parliament has sought Indian Lok Sabha expertise to develop the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) under a World Bank funded project. The WB has provided US$494,000 to develop these committees as part of its programme on good governance. Plans were afoot to develop and streamline the operations of these two vital committees and enhance the efficiency of the parliamentarians in the committees. more..

Defeating terrorists

Jan 17 (DN) This week, the Army said it had captured the last piece of the northern Jaffna Peninsula, one of the few remaining strongholds of the LTTE, a terrorist organization that has waged a 26-year civil war that’s claimed tens of thousands of lives, including those of a Sri Lankan President and an Indian Prime Minister. That’s a huge turnaround from only three years ago, when the Tigers effectively controlled the bulk of the Northern and Eastern Provinces and were perpetrating suicide bombings in the country’s capital, Colombo. more..

Health Ministry to sue doctors staying abroad

Jan 17 (DN) The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry will take legal action against 100 Sri Lankan doctors who are still abroad after completing their scholarship periods. Sources said there are several Sri Lankan doctors who stay back in foreign countries without returning to Sri Lanka after completing their scholarship period. They stay back and earn money serving in foreign countries. more..

Bogus degrees no longer cheap

Jan 17 (Island) The Higher Education Ministry yesterday directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to take legal action against private degree awarding institutes not approved by the UGC or an Act of Parliament. The Ministry has also consulted the Attorney General’s Department to amend the University Act to increase the current fine of Rs. 250 to Rs. 250,000 for such offences. more..

JHU wants Govt to expose culprits

Jan 17 (SAMN) The JHU has called upon the government to expose those behind the attack on Sirasa media complex and the murder of senior journalist Lasantha Wickremetunga stating that this holds the key to unveil those national and international forces attempting to bring the Government into disrepute. JHU Legal Advisor Udaya Gammanpila said the government is at the helm of its popularity and respect for what it has done to defeat terrorism. more..