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National schools face the axe

Jan 18 (NS) The Commission appointed to form a new Education Bill disclosed that scrapping national schools is being discussed under their proposals to reform the prevailing education system. Chairman of the Commission preparing the new Education Bill for general education, Dr. G.B. Gunawardena said that the main reason for introducing a new bill was due to the prevailing Act (1939 No. 31) being too outmoded. more..

SLAF has flown 1,345 missions in Eelam War IV

Jan 18 (Island) The SLAF has conducted a staggering 1,345 missions since the LTTE triggered the Eelam War IV in June 2006. Of them, 1,256 targets had been taken by jets and the rest by helicopter gunships. The missions included operations conducted by the Katunayake-based jet squadrons, including the No. 5 established in last year in response to the threat posed by LTTE aircraft and helicopter gunships. more..

Three LTTE suspects escape from A’pura jail

Jan 18 (Island) Three LTTE suspects escaped from the Anuradhapura prison early yesterday, police said. They had surreptitious cut the bars of their cells and fled by scaling the wall using bed sheets tied together, under cover of darkness, police officials said. Residents of Kokkavil and Vavuniya, the three suspects, Ganesh Moorthy Prabhakaran, Muruges and Bayasidel, were being held for possessing bombs, collecting money for the LTTE and drug peddling. more..

Chief Magistrate orders to fix date to repay depositors

Jan 18 (Island) Mt. Lavinia Chief Magistrate and Additional District Judge Harsha Setunge directed that a date be fixed this week itself in consultation with the Attorney General to work out the modalities for the repayment of deposits of the collapsed Golden Key Credit Card Company. He said that Ananda Kasthuriarachi and Anil Perera, counsel who are representing the interests of depositors, should also be included in the process of working out a re-payment plan. more..

Don’t forget the displaced

Jan 18 (Island) As the military operations in Mullaitivu gather accelerated pace, the condition of displaced civilians in the district is, very understandably, becoming an issue of great concern. Incoming authentic reports indicate shrinking physical space and increasing hardships for these hapless persons, literally and figuratively caught in the cross-fire. more..

Mahinda R in the eye of a storm

Jan 18 (ST) The media-friendly alleged 'Reporter' of yesteryear became the bete noir 'Rapier' of media freedom this week. It was most unfortunate for President Mahinda Rajapaksa that he, of all politicians, should have his effigy burnt and stand accused of suppressing media freedom in Sri Lanka. He was a great friend of journalists, both while in Opposition and in Government. more..

20% devaluation or IMF bailout

Jan 18 (ST) Sri Lankan economists say devaluation or a bailout package from the IMF is inevitable to head off a foreign exchange crisis where reserves have fallen to little more than six weeks of imports but the Central Bank is adamant that it has its own strategies to tackle the situation. The current reserves position is similar to 1975-76 during the controlled economy of the Sirima Bandaranaike regime, when however there weren’t much imports, more..

Germans retaliate to summoning of envoy

Jan 18 (ST) Sri Lanka's Ambassador to Germany, T.B. Maduwegedara, was summoned by the Foreign Office in Berlin on Friday, twenty four hours after his counterpart in Sri Lanka, Jurgen Weerth, was summoned to the Foreign Office in Colombo over his conduct at the funeral of Lasantha Wickrematunge. Ambassador Weerth had spoken at the funeral in his capacity as the dean of the Diplomatic Corp. in Sri Lanka, and had consulted other Colombo-based diplomats before he spoke. more..

'Prabhakaran may have fled Sri Lanka'

Jan 18 (Reuters) The elusive leader of the Tamil Tigers may have already fled Sri Lanka with the army charging fast toward the separatist rebels' final strongholds, Sri Lanka's army commmander said. Lieutenant-General Sarath Fonseka, commanding the most successful army offensive in the history of one of Asia's longest-running wars, also predicted victory in a matter of months as the Tigers' resistance was weaker than expected. more..

CID hunts for MTV news chief

Jan 18 (ST) The CID has detailed a special team to track down and record a statement from MTV Channel One News Director Chevan Daniel, CID chief M.G.W.M. Muthubanda told The Sunday Times.However, he declined to give the reasons for CID detailing a team, but other police sources said that it was regarding an interview Mr. Daniel had given to the CNN regarding the January 6 attack on the MTV/MBC station. more..

Sri Lankan army 'corners rebels'

Jan 18 (BBC) The Sri Lankan army says it has cornered Tamil Tiger rebels in the northeast of the country. Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka said rebel resistance was crumbling fast and that they could only escape by sea as they were surrounded on three sides. His claims cannot be independently verified and there has been no response from the Tamil Tigers. A day earlier the rebels said they killed 51 soldiers - a claim denied by the army. more..

Sri Lankan army surrounds Tamil Tigers

Jan 18 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops have almost completely cornered the Tamil Tigers in their northeastern jungle base and the rebels' leader may already have fled the island, the army chief said. Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka said his forces had surrounded the district of Mullaittivu, the last town held by the LTTE, and hoped to totally overrun the area in the coming weeks. "We have surrounded them from all sides and more..

Sri Lanka army seizes camp, says rebels boxed in

Jan 18 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers captured a Tamil Tiger rebel camp and a factory in the war-ravaged north as government forces closed in on the beleaguered rebels, pushing them into a shrinking enclave, the military said Sunday. A defense ministry statement said soldiers seized "a highly fortified camp" in the village of Maruthampuvel in the rebels' last stronghold of Mullaittivu on Saturday. more..

India urges Sri Lanka for early political settlement

Jan 18 (PTI) India has made it clear that Sri Lanka needed to move expeditiously towards a peacefully negotiated political settlement to the decades-old ethnic conflict in the island nation to ensure that all communities, including the Tamils, live in peace and with dignity. Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, during the discussions he had with the Sri Lankan leaders as part of his two-day visit here, welcomed the Island nation's commitment for a devolution package in the embattled north. more..

Only 1000 LTTE fighters left: Fonseka

Jan 18 (PTI) Claiming that the LTTE only had 1,000 well-trained fighters left, the Sri Lankan Army Chief has asserted that the military offensive against the rebels would end soon as the Tamil Tigers were now "boxed" into a small jungle area in Mullaittivu district. While refusing to hazard a guess on the time frame for liberating the entire Northern Sri Lanka from the rebels, Army Chief Sarath Fonseka said he had been given another one year extension beginning January 2009 and more..

Who is a Sinhalese or Tamil?

Jan 19 (LG) Ever since I read reports that all citizens of this country will be compelled to register themselves in terms of 'ethnicity' there has been a rising rebellion inside me. I have no qualms about declaring my race. In fact I have been called a "Sinhala Pirapaharan" by no less than R. Sampanthan of the TNA at a function during the time I used to blast Pirapaharan and the LTTE in editorials and columns I was writing at that time. more..

Devaluation, IMF or crisis

Jan 19 (LG) Not many people in the country – the man-on-the-street for example - would realize the seriousness of Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves which is at precariously low levels to sustain an economy that is import-dependant. In fact, according to an economist who earlier worked for an international lending agency, the level of reserves which is at around 1.5 months of imports or thereabout is the lowest in many years and more..

'We need to be consistent with our batting'

Jan 19 (CI) It isn't quite protocol, but nobody could blame Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, for being at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport to greet the arrival of Sri Lanka on Sunday morning. Pakistan needs international cricket like humans need water, and given that Mahela Jayawardene's men were the first team of standing to visit Pakistan for a bilateral series since September 2007, more..

Tigers go back to basics – Chilawatte is only the beginning

Jan 19 (LG) The LTTE’s military panel has finally come to terms with the fact that their conventional tactics have so far failed. The LTTE had tried to thwart the SLA’s advance by building L – shaped bunds and moats, these ineffective tactics were last used in WW1 and medieval times. The LTTE now being advised by unnamed military strategists have gone back to fighting the SLA with asymmetrical warfare (unconventional tactics). more..

SLC to close bids for India series on January 19

Jan 19 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will close its invitation for bids for next month's bilateral series against India at 11 am on January 19. The board is eyeing bids up to US$ 12 million from international broadcasters to secure the rights for five ODIs and one Twenty20 international to be played from January 28 to February 10. Ten Sports has been SLC's television broadcasters for the past six years, more..

Is this Prabhakaran's bunker?

Jan 19 (TimesNow) As Sri Lankan Army closes in on the only remaining bastion of LTTE tigers, defence sources have released pictures of what is now being touted as Prabhakaran's hideout. Pictures suggest that the LTTE chief, Veluppillai Prabhakaran was living in an expensively built underground bunker in the Dharmapuram area, a border town between Killinochchi and Mullaitheevi. The bunker had been built inside a civilian settlement, more..

We are not scared of Mendis, says Misbah

Jan 19 (IANS) Pakistan vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq made it clear Sunday that their batsmen are not intimidated by Sri Lanka's freak spinner Ajantha Mendis. Speaking ahead of a three-match ODI series against Sri Lanka, Misbah hailed Mendis as a very good bowler but was quick to add that his team was prepared to face him. 'None of our players is scared of Mendis,' Misbah told reporters more..

Reflecting role of LSSP in Sri Lankan political drama

Jan 19 (FI) A. J. Wilson, the Political Scientist, credited N. M. Perera and the LSSP with three landmark achievements in Sri Lankan politics: being the single most reason that forced Britain to free Sri Lanka and transfer power in 1948; founding the trade union movement that proved to be the bulwark of parliamentary democracy as long as it lasted; and postponing the day of reckoning for national unity by the principled opposition to Sinhala Only in 1956. more..

Indian Police threaten violent protesters in Tamil Nadu of stern action

Jan 19 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu police Sunday warned violent protesters of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) of stringent action, including detention under the National Security Act and shoot-at-sight orders, if they continued to damage public property to protest the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils. “Those damaging government properties will booked under the NSA. Officers have been instructed to open fire if needed to prevent miscreants setting fire to buses. more..

Civilians will arrive 'within days'

Jan 19 (BBC) All the civilians in LTTE-held areas in the north are expected to arrive in the government territory within the next 2-3 days, Eastern Province Chief Minister said. Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pillayan) said that Sri Lanka troops have already reported to have already entered Pudukudiyiruppu. He made the remarks while launching a programme to collect aid for the use of IDPs in the war zone in Mullaitivu, more..

Centre will take steps to safeguard Sri Lankan Tamils: TNCC

Jan 19 (CO) Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon's visit to Colombo was part of the preparations for the proposed visit of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to hold talks with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on solving the ethnic issue in the island, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President K V Thankgabalu said today. "There are some formalities before the meeting of External Affairs and the President of Sri Lanka could take place and Menon's visit was to make arrangements for that," more..

Send team to Sri Lanka: CPI

Jan 19 (Hindu) India should send a four-member team to Sri Lanka to find out the “real ground situation” in that country as conflicting views were being articulated by political parties in Tamil Nadu, said CPI State secretary D. Pandian on Sunday. Talking to reporters at the party headquarters, he said his party was ready to campaign against the LTTE if the allegation of the AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa that the outfit was using Tamils as shield in the war was proved right. more..

Thirumavalavan calls off fast

Jan 19 (Hindu) Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) leader Thol. Thirumavalavan called off his fast, accepting PMK leader S.Ramadoss’ suggestion for “an indefinite bandh till a ceasefire is announced in Sri Lanka,” even as over a 100 VCK cadres were held across the State for damaging buses. Nine of them have been booked under the National Security Act for burning buses. Mr.Thirumavalavan began his protest on January 15. more..

Jayalalithaa right on LTTE: Swamy

Jan 19 (Hindu) Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on Sunday said AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa was “perfectly right in pointing out that it is the LTTE that is an obstacle to the Tamils of Sri Lanka getting their due political and human rights.” In a statement, he said: “She had correctly said [at a press meet in Chennai on Saturday] that the LTTE was using the Tamil civilian population as hostage and shield against the advancing Sri Lanka army. more..

JVP activists targeted by UPFA & NFF

Jan 19 (LT) The activists of the JVP engaged in campaigns for the forthcoming PC election have been attacked by marauders of the UPFA and NFF. Three JVP activists in Nuwaraeliya have been attacked by a group of thugs of UPFA candidate for Central PC election O. Nimal Piyatissa who is contesting from NFF states the JVP. About 30 supporters of Nimal Piyatissa have broken into the residence of a JVP activist Roshan Indika, assaulted him, more..

Did Dutugemunu make pickle out of Elara’s corpse, ask joint opposition

Jan 19 (LeN) The infuriated Defense Secretary’s statement that Sirasa set itself on fire displayed who the culprits were, said the Sri Lanka Freedom Party - People’s Wing leader Mangala Samaraweera yesterday (17) addressing a special press briefing of the joint opposition. The press conference was summoned to protest the killing of journalists and attacking media institutes, urging the government to take action against culprits. more..

US Army in Trinco

Jan 19 (LT) The group of US Pacific Command that arrived in Sri Lanka is engaged in various activities centered on Trincomalee say reports. The group commanded by Mag. Gen. Thomas L. Conant includes Director regarding South Asian countries and defense advisor regarding Sri Lanka and Maldives in the US Embassy in Colombo Lt. Commander Lawrence Smith. The intention of this US group’s visit to Sri Lanka is said to be resettlement of the displaced and reconstruction work in the East. more..

Price of Thieves of Journalism in Sri Lanka

Jan 19 (LG) The Free Media Movement (FMM)set up in 1991 by a group of journalists and freedom of expression activists is been shaken to its foundation by allegations of financial fraud and mismanagement. For over a decade the FMM functioned as an activist organisation on a voluntary basis with no full time paid employees or even an office. Its annual income was entirely from the Rs.100 membership fee. more..

Convocation of SE University today

Jan 19 (PSM) “The regional universities should develop their own strategies to attract students from all geographic locations and ethnic groups and retain them. The course structures introduced in such universities should meet the current need of the industry and also to meet the job opportunities, especially paying attention to lifelong learning with core and optional competencies”, said Prof. M.T.M. Jiffry, Vice Chairman of the UGC today more..

LTTE’s exclusive territorial claim shattered by resolve of Rajapaksa govt

Jan 19 (LG) A disciplined and motivated armed force backed to the hilt President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s assertion that the military assault was on the ruthless Tigers and not the Tamil people. With that the Rajapaksa government easily debunked the EELAM strategy vigorously pushed by Prabhakaran for over two decades, amidst incessant propaganda blitz by the Tamilnet. The battle-ready forces did the rest. more..

Thirumavalavan's Great Farce

Jan 19 (LG) We reproduce here a news feature from Tamilnet about the Great Farce performed by the ace LTTE supporter Thol Thirimavalavan, Right from the beginning it was known that this was a Great Farce and he was dancing for the Canadian dollars he gets paid from the LTTE Diaspora. While this farce is now over, we await how Vaiko is going to live up to his threat of invading Sri Lanka with his forces. more..

Sri Lankan ambassador presents Tamil language children's books

Jan 19 (LG) Mr. T. B .Maduwegedara, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Germany and Switzerland, responded to a request made to him by the representatives of Tamil organizations during his last visit to Switzerland by presenting Tamil language children's books to the children of the Diaspora at a special function organized for the occasion at the Vatter Business Centre in Bern on 16 January 2009. more..

Computers and mobile facilities for Grama Niladaries

Jan 19 (GDI) The Government has decided to provide computes and mobile phone facilities to Grama Niladaris to streamline rural administration, Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs and Deputy Finance Dr. Sarath Amunugama said at the opening ceremony of the newly constructed building for the Harispattuwa, Kandy Divisional Secretariat. Minister Dr. Amunugama said that the greatest challenge today before the Government is to restore civil administration in the North. more..

Eastern Province gets 26 new buses

Jan 19 (GDI) The Government has provided 26 new buses for six depots in the Eastern Province as the passenger transport service in the Eastern Province has been streamlined by the Government after the entire province was liberated by the Armed Forces. The service was started to fulfill transport requirements of people who have undergone hardships due to LTTE terrorism for the past 20 years, Sri Lanka Transport Board sources said.

'Peace, freedom and democracy to the Tamil people of the North'

Jan 19 (GDI) “Our Security Forces are not only engaged in freeing the territory held by terrorists, but they are also engaged in a humanitarian mission. Their mission is to free the people in the areas under LTTE domination and re-instate peace, freedom and democracy to the Tamil people of the North having succeeded in the East” president Mahinda Rajapakse said at the Inaugural ceremony of more..

Scholarships for university students

Jan 19 (GDI) The Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan has volunteered to offer 20 scholarships to university students following courses in management and finance, management studies and commerce subjects. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the University Grants Commission and Mitsubishi Corporation in the presence of the Higher Education Minister Prof. Wiswa Warnapala at the Ministry. more..

Suspected Tamil rebels attack civilians in Sri Lanka

Jan 19 (IANS) At least two civilians were hacked to death, three injured and four more remain missing after Tamil rebels carried out an attack in the southern part of the country, a military spokesman said. The group of civilians had entered the woods as they tended their cattle in the Maligawila, Monragala, area, 360 kilometres south-east of the capital, Sunday when they were attacked, the Defence Ministry said. more..

Sri Lankan ICL players can play in domestic matches

Jan 19 (ANI) Sri Lankan players contracted with the ICL can continue to play the domestic matches, according to Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge. "We have decided to continue with our earlier decision and to allow these players to play at the domestic level. However, they are banned to play at the national level," he said. Thus Sri Lanka's new interim committee chairman S. Liyanagama has not overturned the decision taken by Arjuna Ranatunga, who came under heavy criticism when he revoked ban on ICL players, more..

Don't believe everything a terrorist group fighting for its life tells you

Jan 19 (PISL) Al Jazeera, once seen as a welcome antidote to Western news coverage that always had just a Western perspective on the world, now manage to disappoint time and again. Its strategy on the Sri Lankan conflict appears simple: it gives a call to the LTTE, and then propagates whatever it is told. The letter below was submitted in response to an article posted on the Al Jazeera website. more..

A racket of importing labour for the Southern Highway construction

Jan 19 (LP) The residents in the construction area of Dodamgoda to kurudugahahathakma have complained of a racket of importing workers for the construction work which is taking place in the Southern highway. More than 400 employees have been brought to Sri Lanka in order work in the Southern Highway Project. When there are sufficient unemployed skilled workers in the country, there is no need to import workers from Nepal, Thailand or Indonesia says the public. more..

Foreign Ministry Celebrates Thaipongal

Jan 19 (LP) Thaipongal Festival was celebrated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the second consecutive year on Thursday 15th January in a dignified manner. The ceremony commenced with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hussein A. Bhaila and selected invitees attended. The religious rituals (Poojas) were performed by Priests from the Easwara Kurukkal of the Dehiwela Vishnu Kovil. more..

Army facilitates new sea route to Jaffna

Jan 19 (SAMN) With the army taking the upper hand in the Northern theatres after the liberation of two overland supply routes to the Jaffna peninsula, the government is now in a position to terminate a costly naval operation to move supplies, security forces and civilians to the peninsula. Authoritative sources said the naval operation involved about ten cargo and passenger ships including Jetliner, Lanka Muditha, SLNS Shakthi, 543 and Green Ocean. more..

'Govt. didn’t make war a beggar’s wound'

Jan 19 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa Sunday said the present government had been extremely successful in its war effort against LTTE terrorism as it did not make the military operations into a ‘beggar’s wound’ like previous regimes. Addressing the first presidential propaganda rally for the forthcoming Central and North-western Provincial Council polls in Dambulla, the President said the day would not be far when the security forces would push Prabhakaran and more..

'No move to devalue rupee'

Jan 19 (SAMN) Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said Sunday there was no move to devalue the rupee and the government was in the process of negotiating ‘swap loans’ with other Central Banks to meet the country’s short-term requirements. He said there was also no need to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at this moment. more..

Higher Education to compete globally

Jan 19 (SAMN) Minister of Higher Education has decided to make use of all the resources available to him to develop the higher education sector in Sri Lanka to compete effectively and successfully with other middle income countries in the global knowledge based economy. Minister was accompanied by senior officials of the Ministry and education experts during his visits to India and Germany and more..