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'Govt. doesn’t do what it preaches'

Jan 21 (LT) The government and those who act as its mouthpieces that say war is the foremost issue in the country are going ahead with election campaigns giving it preference over all other issues says Information Secretary of the JVP Vijithe Herath. Speaking at a media meeting held in Colombo today to apprise the media and the people regarding the present situation of the North-Western and Central PC elections Mr. Herath said, more..

Medical facilities for Mullaitivu's displaced

Jan 21 (GDI) Medical facilities have been provided to displaced civilians in welfare centers and persons living in the uncleared areas of Mullaitivu, said Secretary to the Health Ministry Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage. He has visited welfare centers and hospitals in Vavuniya with a team of officials from Colombo recently. He further added that in case of the health sector, these were provided with manpower, drugs and equipment to meet any need of the displaced.

Sinhala cinema celebrates 62 years

Jan 21 (GDI) The 62nd anniversary celebration of the Sinhala cinema in Sri Lanka will be held at the Cinema Hall, State Film Corporation today (21). It will be inaugurated with religious observances of all faiths at 4 p.m. the same day. Religious ceremonies here will be conducted to bestow merits on those late artists and also on those living artistes and people who have made unique contributions to local cinema in the past and present. more..

Displaced Tamils, Muslims will be resettled

Jan 21 (GDI) The displaced Tamil and Muslim people in the North will be resettled in their original locations when the mission against LTTE terrorists end, Minister of Plantation Industries D.M. Jayaratne mentioned, speaking at the laying of a foundation stone for a three storied building complex at Illawathura Rahumaniya Muslim College, Gampola. "Most of these people are now living in Colombo and suburbs. more..

'Govt. has more to conceal than reveal in the war'

Jan 21 (LG) UNP MP. Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena speaking to the media at the UNP media unit today (20 Jan) , said the President is putting up cut outs at all public places displaying his face more than those of the Forces in the military victories. Besides, after promising 85 % pension benefits to the Forces in the Mahinda Chintana is only giving 70 % benefits. more..

Validity of challenged

Jan 21 (SAMN) The constitutional validity of the registration of persons via the website of the Ministry of Public Security, Law and Order has been challenged. A petition by the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) challenging the process was put before the Supreme Court. However the Court directed that the petition be first put before the Citizens Committee set up to look into the grievances relating to the registration of people from the North and East, more..

Environment website launched

Jan 21 (SAMN) The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources recently launched its website to create awareness among the public on environmental issues. The main aim of the Ministry in introducing this website is to provide as well as receive feedback on serious environmental issues from the public. The website is expected to create an interest among the public with regard to environmental matters. more..

Salaries of teachers to increase

Jan 21 (SAMN) Salaries of teachers will be increased under the guidance of the Ministry of Education and the court ruling based on materials submitted by the representatives of the Teachers' Unions in the case number SCFR 282/2008. These salary adjustments are to made in keeping with the circular 6/2006 which will be released by the Public Administration Ministry. This particular circular has been finalised with the concurrence of more..

Govt’s best wishes to Obama

Jan 21 (SAMN) The Sri Lankan government conveyed its best wishes to Barack Obama on his being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told Parliament Tuesday. "Best wishes of the people and the government of Sri Lanka go to the new US President Barack Obama whose inauguration is today," he said. "I also make use of this occasion to thank the outgoing US President George Bush for his unstinted support to fight terrorism. more..

Situation Report (Jan 21th) - SL Army

Jan 21 (SLA) Tiger Infiltrators’ Pistol & Ammunition Uncovered: NAVAL troops operating in ILLANGATHURAI area in TRINCOMALEE recovered one pistol, twenty rounds of .22 ammunition, twenty rounds of 9 mm ammunition and two micro cassettes in a search operation, conducted in the area around 1.15 p.m. on Tuesday. Bomb Explosion Kills Two & Injures Ten: A BOMB fixed to a bicycle, kept at the patrol shed in front of the BATTICALOA Police station exploded around 7.30 a.m. today killing two personnel and injuring ten more. more..

Housing project for Northern Province

Jan 21 (MoD) The National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) will launch an accelerated housing development programme to provide 1,000 houses expeditiously to needy families in Northern Province during this year. Housing and Common Amenities Minister Ferial Ashraff has given instructions to the NHDA to implement this accelerated housing development programme under the programme to be launched by more..

Troops poised for final battle

Jan 21 (DN) The Security Forces in the final phase of the battle with the LTTE, had speedy progress yesterday with all Army Divisions advancing from South to North direction reached closer to Paranthan – Mullaitivu A-35 road confining the LTTE into a limited area in the North of A-35 road. ”The LTTE has also come under immense pressure as troops of the 58 and 57 Divisions are also poised to enter into a decisive phase of the battle in Vishvamadu with more..

Justice Mark Fernando dies

Jan 21 (DN) Former Supreme court Judge Mark Fernando and one time acting Chief Justice passed away yesterday. He was 67. Justice Fernando decided to prematurely relinquish his judicial office in 2003. Following the footsteps of his father H.N.G. Fernando who was a former Chief Justice, he obtained the LLB degree from the University of Peradeniya and was later qualified as an advocate of the Supreme Court. more..

Speaker to inform House today on fate of No-faith motion

Jan 21 (Island) Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara yesterday said he would inform the House today whether the UNP sponsored No-faith motion against the Government had lapsed or not. Answering a query raised by opposition MPs as to why the motion had been omitted from the Order Book, the Speaker said that he had consulted the Secretary General of Parliament in this regard and would give a detailed statement today. more..

Artillery attack on Puthukudiyirippu hospital: Govt rejects BBC report

Jan 21 (Island) Dismissing a recent BBC report on heavy loss of life due to an artillery attack on the Puthukudiyirippu (PTK) hospital, the government yesterday emphasized that there hadn’t been a single death at any hospital in the LTTE-held area due to military action. Health Secretary Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage warned that had the medical staff of PTK hospital given false information to the media, they would be severely dealt with. more..

Govt. says tigers now fighting in civilian garb

Jan 21 (DM) The government said yesterday LTTE cadres were now fighting in civilian garb and therefore any claims of civilian casualties in LTTE areas should be looked at with caution. It denied a recent foreign media report that 18 civilians had been killed during military confrontations in the north, and said the journalists had been misled into believing that the bodies were those of civilians as most cadres fought in the guise of civilians. more..

CMC vehicle issue takes new turn

Jan 21 (DM) Amid moves to cut perks of Colombo Mayor Mohamed U. Emitiyaz and his Deputy S. Rajendran, a request as been forwarded to the Local Government Commissioner by Mr. Rajendran appealing that he be allowed to use official drivers and a back-up vehicle due to death threats. Municipal Commissioner Badhrani Jayawardene told Daily Mirror she had asked the Local Government Commissioner to seek the Attorney General’s advice on continuing the perks to the Mayor and his Deputy. more..

Central bank targets diaspora, currency swaps

Jan 21 (LBO) Central bank says it will persevere with its quantity targeting regime this year but also use other instruments if needed. It is also negotiating currency swaps with other central banks to have greater access to foreign currency. A weakening economic outlook at home and global economic troubles has made it costlier for the country to seek commercial loans, and the Central Bank which runs the government's debt office is chasing diaspora funds. more..

Sri Lanka's 'War on Terror'

Jan 21 (WSJ) Your editorial on Sri Lanka's war on terror, "Defeating Terrorists," (Jan. 16) makes cogent points about the Tamil Tigers' practices during the 25-year-long Sri Lankan war. However, it fails to mention unprosecuted extrajudicial killings; the January 9 murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge, Editor-in-Chief of the Sunday Leader; the attacks on other journalists accused of disloyalty to the war effort; and the fate of perhaps 250,000 civilians caught in the crossfire without safe passage granted by either side. more..

Global media rights groups condemn 'culture of impunity and indifference'

Jan 21 (RSF) The International Press Freedom Mission today condemned a "culture of impunity and indifference" over killings and attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka. Since the beginning of the New Year, both the killing of a senior editor and the attack on the facilities of a popular independent TV channel have led to a total paralysis of the media community. Launching a new report, "Media Under Fire: Press Freedom Lockdown in Sri Lanka", more..

'Two killed' in Sri Lanka blast

Jan 21 (BBC) Officials in Sri Lanka say at least two people, including a policeman, have been killed in a bomb attack in the eastern town of Batticaloa. A police spokesman told the BBC that the bomb was planted on a bicycle parked close to the main police station in the town centre. Six civilians, including three school children, were among the injured. The authorities blamed Tamil Tiger rebels for the incident. There has been no reaction from the rebels. more..

'Resolve Sri Lanka conflict peacefully'

Jan 21 (IANS) India is for a peaceful resolution of the raging conflict in Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala said here Wednesday. 'The government of India has always maintained that war is not a solution to the problem of Sri Lankan Tamils,' Barnala said in an address marking the start of the winter session of the state assembly. 'Appropriate alternative measures like dialogue should be initiated to establish peace to protect (the ethnic minority's) right to life ... and liberty,' more..

Bourse plunges 5 pct on profit-taking

Jan 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's bourse plummeted 4.98 percent on Wednesday after hitting an over two-month high, when retail investors booked profits by selling bluechips that surged on a potential end to the country's 25-year war. The rupee closed flat on a state bank's intervention. The Colombo All-Share index .CSE plunged 90.14 points to 1720.13, from its highest close since Nov. 11. It surged around 18 percent in the previous six sessions. more..

LTTE brought in experts from outside to set up its Air Force

Jan 21 (PTI) LTTE brought in aeronautical engineers and other experts from outside to set up its own Air Force and lay down seven air strips for the fighters acquired by the outfit, a top minister said. Declaring that tracing out the remnants of the Air Tigers was Sri Lankan forces' top priority, the Agriculture Development Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara said that though six LTTE airstrips in Iranamadu and adjoining areas had been captured, there was still no trace of LTTE jets. more..

'US not for missile base in Trincomalee'

Jan 21 (IANS) Sri Lanka has said that the US has 'no intention of stationing its missiles' in the eastern port city of Trincomalee. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has denied allegations that the recent visit by a high-level US Pacific Fleet Command delegation to the eastern province was linked to a possible missile deployment. more..

Sri Lanka stops Tiger plane from escaping

Jan 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's navy forced a fleeing Tamil Tiger plane to turn back in barrages of anti-aircraft fire amid growing speculation over the whereabouts of the separatist group's elusive leader, military sources said on Wednesday. With a military onslaught shrinking the territory held by Tigers by the day, one of the biggest questions remaining is where leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran is hiding and how he might try to escape Sri Lanka. more..

Thoughts on violence against and the future of independent media in Sri Lanka by Dinidu de Alwis

Jan 22 (GV) Dinidu de Alwis, a well known and well read blogger and journalist in Sri Lanka shares some thoughts on the future of independent media in Sri Lanka and the significant challenges it faces today. For more videos in Sinhala and English, click on the Violence against and the future of independent media in Sri Lanka playlist on the Vikalpa YouTube video channel. more..

Media watch: To write or not to write the truth

Jan 22 (GV) I once asked the following question, not from anyone in particular of course: Why don’t pens, pencils and paper go on strike decrying journalists who will not write the truth?” I might have added the new tech instruments employed by writers such as word processors, printers, diskettes, thumb-drives etc., but that would not have added much to the issue. Truth of course is a strange creature for its authenticity is not easily tested more..

From the ‘sole representative’ to the ‘sole alternative’: Justice for, and within the Tamil Community

Jan 22 (GV) With the position of spokesperson for, and sole representative of the Tamil community set to become vacant upon the projected defeat of the LTTE, one would hope that space would be created for the emergence of democratic, plural and dissenting Tamil voices within the community and the polity at large. However, the vacuum is most likely to be filled by Tamil politico-armed groups battling each other to more..

Displaced priests, nuns in battle zone appeal to United Nations to stop the fighting

Jan 22 (UCAN) Catholic clergy and Religious, fearing a "great human tragedy" in northern Sri Lanka, have asked U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to call on their government to stop the war and put an end to the suffering of civilians. In a letter titled "SOS - Agonizing Cry of the People of Vanni," Father James Pathinathar called for U.N. intervention on behalf of civilians trapped in the government military offensive against Tamil rebels in the Vanni jungle region, more..

'Safe zone' in Sri Lanka conflict

Jan 22 (BBC) The Sri Lankan military says it has designated a safe zone for civilians as it pushes ahead with its offensive against Tamil Tigers in the north-east. Military spokesman Brig Udaya Nanayakkara said advancing troops would not fire into a 32 sq km buffer zone. "We have already air dropped leaflets to let local people know, and are also passing on the message via the International Red Cross," he said. more..

Nine Journalists killed since 2006 - Dinesh

Jan 22 (BBC) Nine journalists were killed in Sri Lanka in the last two years, the chief government whip told the parliament on Wednesday. Chief whip Dinesh Gunawardhane was replying to a question raised by the opposition. "Since January 2006, Nine journalists were killed, twenty seven were physically assaulted and five were abducted," said the minister. He also said that, while four of the abducted journalists were later found, investigations and judicial procedures are being carried out about the rest of the incidents. more..

Dilshan and Muralitharan lead 129-run rout

Jan 22 (CI) Sri Lanka levelled the series 1-1 with a crushing win, thanks to a convincing all-round performance in Karachi. Tillakaratne Dilshan hit a sparkling half-century to take Sri Lanka to a strong total, before Nuwan Kulasekara and Muttiah Muralitharan shot out the hosts cheaply. Salman Butt and Shoaib Malik resisted with a 108-run partnership, but Muralitharan removed Malik to trigger a stunning collapse. more..

The bankrupt middleclass

Jan 22 (LG) The Sri Lankan middleclass, especially the English speaking among them have lost the leadership that they had in opinion making in the country. That task is also being gradually grabbed by some politicians and others with definite nationalistic political leanings. The middleclass had been hiding their political leanings and pretending to present a so called balanced view. more..

Nasty politics in the posthumous letter of Lasantha

Jan 22 (LG) Three revelations have taken the gloss off Lasantha Wickrematunge’s last will and testament, written in the form of a letter accusing the Mahinda Rajapakse administration of killing him. First is the report in the London Times (January 17, 2009) which quotes Lal, the elder brother of Lasantha, as saying that “30-40 per cent was written by the staff” who worked on the draft of the letter which he discovered hidden in a safe after the death of Lasantha. more..

Oluwatada wedune (Hit the head) said the President

Jan 22 (LG) The grieving wife and co-journalist of the murdered Editor-in-Chief Lasantha Wickramatunga has published an article (19/1/2009) in the very same newspaper touching on some compelling issues on the death of her husband and the sham investigations currently undertaken to prevaricate justice on the murder. The article ‘Murder most foul and the government running scared’ deals with very serious issues. more..

Contemplating Sri Lanka post-Prabhakaran

Jan 22 (NP) It seems only a matter of time before Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war is over, with the Tigers ‘de facto capital of Kilinochi held by government troops and the whereabouts of their chief, Velupillai Prabhakaran unknown. But the end game is attracting little attention except on the island itself and in neighbouring India, often accused of covertly aiding the rebels, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). more..

Sri Lanka apparel industry may lose 30-40,000 jobs

Jan 22 (LBO) About 30-40,000 people employed in Sri Lanka's apparel export industry may lose their jobs this year owing to a slow down in orders because of recession in key markets, a senior official said. Ajith Dias, chairman, Joint Apparel Association Forum, said the industry is also facing a brain drain with the loss of middle level management people to other countries with garments industries. more..

Continuing conflict sparks UN concern over fate of children

Jan 22 (UN) A senior United Nations official today expressed concern over the fate of thousands of children caught up in the conflict in Sri Lanka pitting Government forces against the separatist LTTE. Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, said in a press release that she is worried about children who are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and child combatants used by the LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka-based Burmese Media Website Attacked

Jan 22 (AM) The website of Ashin Mettacara ( came under attack on Tuesday and early Wednesday. The site was unavailable for several hours. The hacker was trying to shut down the site from the internet, but the attack was only changing the index files again and again. At the same time, the four other websites including People Media Voice were also hacked similar attack to the Ashin Mettacara. The attack lasted about 6 hours. more..

Fighting threatens Sri Lankan civilians

Jan 22 (CSM) Government forces in Sri Lanka say they are closing in on the last redoubt of the Tamil Tigers, which appear on the verge of defeat after 26 years of war. In recent weeks, troops have captured towns and strategic roads in the disputed north and blockaded sea lanes, boxing the insurgents into a shrinking area. But as the military advances rapidly, human rights groups and humanitarian agencies have raised the alarm over the fate of some 230,000 civilians trapped by more..

Nimbus begins hard-selling India-Lanka series

Jan 22 (ET) Harish Thawani-promoted Nimbus Sports International, which won the commercial and worldwide television broadcast rights for the upcoming India-Sri Lanka series on Wednesday, has begun hard-selling the series in a challenging market. Nimbus is learnt to have paid Rs 45 crore for the rights, and the telecast of the five one-dayers and a T20 game will be on Neo Cricket. "We hope our key advertisers from the two abandoned India-England one-dayers will continue with us." more..

Nugegoda Flyover work done

Jan 22 (MN) President Rajapakse undertook a sudden inspection of construction of the Nugegoda flyover, due to be declared open on Friday. The work on the pre-fabricated flyover commenced in October last year. The President arrived at the Nugegoda Junction at around 6 o’clock last morning sans prior notice and inspected work on the bridge and future development work. He was joined by Ministers T.B. Ekanayake and Susil Premajayanth, more..

Army provides opportunities for children of the Eastern Province

Jan 22 (PISL) Despite the military operations underway in the North and the need to keep the hard won peace in the East, the Sri Lankan Army often finds time for other activities of benefit to the people. These include everything from sports festivals and cultural shows to 210109trade fairs and industrial exhibitions. One regular programme includes the organisation of trips to Colombo for schoolchildren from the East. more..

Rubber industry to overcome the global crisis situation

Jan 22 (GDI) The Government proposed to make available to exporters of rubber products an incentive of Rs. 20 per 1 Kg which will be purchased at a farmgate rate of Rs. 150 per killo, Member of Parliament Basil Rajapaksa said at the special conference held at the presidential secretarial yesterday. It is envisaged that this Rs. 20 passed down to the rubber grower and more..

Mysterious death of a Sri Lankan expatriate worker in Korea

Jan 22 (LeN) Our Korean sources said that a Sri Lankan expatriate factory worker in Thegu city, Korea, was found dead in his lodging in a suspicious manner. The deceased person is a youth named Dinesh, a resident of Thalawa, Anuradhapura. Sources said that the death was due to strangling according to the inquest. Three others who were in the same lodging with the deceased have been arrested and recorded statements. more..

India should give optional citizenship rights to Sri Lankan Tamils

Jan 22 (AT) Whether Sri Lanka likes it or not India remains a menacing presence in the South Asian region. With just 22miles separating the two nations from the Palk Strait, history will tell that relations have never been without traces of discontent on either side. The situation presently has been made precarious by South Indian politicians who are using Sri Lanka as a pedestal to advance their political campaigns and more..

Some strategic security implications of Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (AT) The visit of Indian Foreign Secretary, Shiv Shankar Menon, to Sri Lanka was said to be "routine in nature". Such description is typical diplomat-speak and if 'true nature' is to be obtained, one needs to analyse the visit in the context of present and future geopolitical configurations and their implications for Sri Lanka subsequent to the now imminent eradication of LTTE terrorism. more..

A new chancery building in Chennai

Jan 22 (AT) The foundation laying ceremony for the new chancery of the Sri Lanka Deputy High Commission in Chennai was held today, on 21st January 2009 in Nungambakkam, a posh locality in Chennai. The land for the proposed building was purchased in the year 2000, the building of the chancery became a reality following the guidance given by Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka and on the instructions of Rohitha Bogollagama, Minister of Foreign Affairs. more..

Buddhism advocates the purification of the mind but it is not spiritual extremism

Jan 22 (LG) “It is not easy to see such large numbers of Buddhists congregated, even in my mother land in Sri Lanka. Dr. Ambedkkhar is undoubtedly a Bodhisatta, and a leader, having a vision for the future, and he exercised great skill and wisdom. He was born into the low caste, created by ancient Brahmins. Being a renowned scholar in law and politics, he renounced his life of luxury to work for the down trodden. more..