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Effigies of Lankan President, General burnt by MDMK

Dec 9 (Hindu) The Tirunelveli Junction police arrested 16 cadres of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam here on Monday for burning the effigies of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and his Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka. Led by party Tirunelveli city district secretary K.M.A. Nizam, the cadres raised slogans against Mr. Rajapakse and Lt. Gen. Fonseka and burned their effigies. more..

Sri Lanka ready for 50th Cuban revolution anniversary

Dec 9 (PL) Solidarity groups formed by women, trade unions and political forces constituted the National Organizing Committee for the celebration of activities for the 50th anniversary of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in Sri Lanka in 2009. The first activity will be a meeting on January 9, in which different topics of the Cuban reality in these 50 years of revolution will be discussed, together with their impact in the whole world. more..

'JVP will never support any UNP campaign to grab power'

Dec 9 (LT) The JVP will never support any campaign carried out by the UNP to come to power says the Leader of the group of Parliamentarians of the JVP Anura Dissanayake. Mr. Dissanayake said this answering a question posed by a journalist at a media meeting held yesterday as to what would be the response of the JVP to the no-confidence motion put forward by the UNP. Mr. Dissanayake said the present government is responsible for massive frauds such as more..

An exhibition revealing traditional values in Galle

Dec 9 (LP) ‘Galu Samaya 2008’ is organized to develop the lives of the people in South with the war in North ending and to tell the world of the unity. It would be held from 23rd to 27th December around Galle town, Fort and beach. There would be exhibition outlets both traditional and modern. Accordingly various exhibitions and a cultural parade which would include elephant and horses are planned to be held. more..

Sri Lanka expressed serious concern over workers held halve-starved by US military contractor in Iraq

Dec 9 (AT) Government has expressed deep concern over the plight of Sri Lankan workers languishing in Iraq. These workers are being employed by a US Military contractor and held against their wishes, halve-starved and under despicable conditions in warehouses and tents in Baghdad. Minister Keheliya Rambukawella told that it was deplorable and condemnable that Sri Lankans being held in such pitiable conditions by a US military contractor in Iraq. more..

Defeating the result and the cause of war - Role of the mass movement

Dec 9 (GV) About a week ago, Dilan Perera, the Minister of Justice happened to say something of a timely need - that there should be a political solution with some form of devolution of power if we are to defeat the cause of the North and East conflict and it can be done only by the politicians. He stressed that only politicians can ensure sustainability of the military victories of the Army. more..

Down the guns immediately and bring relief to the needy

Dec 9 (LG) Districts of Northern and Eastern Provinces and regions in Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and Puttalam, according to meteorological authorities will continue to experience increased torrential rainfall with stormy winds and more ravaging floods. The grim prediction is portentous, menacing and extremely worrying. There are thousands out there in the open crying for help and this is being hampered severely primarily due to the civil war situation. more..

'Govt. has spent millions on Presidential Commissions'

Dec 9 (DM) The government has spent millions of rupees on the Presidential Commissions appointed for various tasks, with the highest amount of Rs.69 million being spent on the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into alleged violations of human rights chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge C.V. Udalagama. Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardena revealed this information in parliament in reply to an oral question by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake. more..

Questions on Life and Death

Dec 9 (LG) Questions on the process of rebirth, modern diseases, euthanasia and vivisection by Dr Myint Swe are answered by the renowned Burmese meditation master and scholar, the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw. Q. According to the Buddha’s teaching of "Vayadhamma sankara appamadena sampadetha" all kammic formations end in dissolution. Matter perishes and so does the mind. This fact is undeniable. more..

Task force to monitor NGOs, INGOs

Dec 9 (SAMN) The parliamentary Select committee on NGOs and INGO’s yesterday submitted its interim report to the House with the request that the government appoints a special presidential task force to monitor their operations in Sri Lanka. PSC chairman Vijitha Herath presented the report and emphasized that the task force should monitor the operations until the existing laws dealing with NGO and INGO activities were amended with necessary teeth to take legal action against any errant organization. more..

Heavy fines on ATA violators

Dec 9 (SAMN) Rs. 79.8 million has been collected as fines from Alcohol and Tobacco Act (ATA) violators this year, a Health Ministry release said. Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala during a discussion to review the progress made under the Mathata Thitha programme in keeping with the Alcohol and Tobacco Act implementation 2008 at the Ministry recently, said the Act was implemented to minimise the use of alcohol and tobacco in the country. more..

‘Mercs Mihintale’ comes home!

Dec 9 (SAMN) Merchant Vessel "Mercs Mihintale" arrived in Colombo port on 19th November 2008, after a 4 year international charter. The vessel, built in Brazil in 1983, is a multipurpose ship of 12,835 tdwt. She comes to her home-port to carry out repairs and class-renewal at the Colombo Dockyard Limited. It is the first time the vessel arrived in Sri Lanka after her charter with Safmarine. more..

Lanka will face a BOP issue: ADB

Dec 9 (SAMN) Sri Lanka’s financial sector will not have a major impact from the global financial recession but will have a balance of payment problem with the reduction of imports and exports, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director, Richard Vokes said. “Due to the huge drop in oil prices it will positively impact on the Sri Lankan economy but is likely to affect Middle-Eastern inward remittances due to the downward trend in oil prices of those countries, more..

'Computer most essential sector in education'

Dec 9 (DN) “Today computer has become the most essential sector in education. A few years ago, the link in education was between the teacher and the students. But today it has grown to a partnership of teachers students, past students associations and school administrators. But most important role is played by the computer” said G.S.P. Wijsekara Deputy Provincial Director of Education (Planning). more..

Ceramics industry wants relief

Dec 9 (DN) Several economists have suggested that the rupee should be allowed to depreciate to save exports including the ceramic sector, Chairman Managing Director, Dankotuwa Porcelain, Sunil Wijesinha said. Speaking at an event on the impact of current exchange rates energy, prices and GSP plus on the ceramic industry’ in Colombo yesterday he said a forced depreciation later would be too late. more..

Witness Monk under threat

Dec 9 (Island) Chief Incumbent of the Mihintale Raja Maha Viharaya Ven. Walawahengunuwewe Dharmakeerthi told the media that since giving evidence in the case in which a group of people attacked the Anuradhapura UNP Organiser Dr. Johnpulle’s residence and caused extensive damage to properties, he was unable to move out of the Viharaya and was under constant threat by unknown persons. more..

Cancer treatment machine costs Rs 150 m a year to maintain

Dec 9 (Island) A highly sophisticated Linear Accelerator Machine has been installed by the Health Ministry at the Maharagama Cancer hospital. Under the Central Government financial allocations, Rs 750 million has been spent on the purchase and installation of the machine and the cost of the annual maintenance is around Rs.150 million, the Health Ministry said. Healthcare Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told The Island that more..

Awareness through diplomatic missions against LTTE – Bogollagama

Dec 9 (DM) Foreign Ministry has commenced an awareness campaign through diplomatic missions against the LTTE which includes screening videos on violence and abuse committed by the Tigers. Based on educating people at a state administrative level, this propaganda is implemented to educate the people about the cruelty of terrorist groups such as the LTTE, Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama said. more..

For healthy lifestyle, Sri Lanka takes cue from Vedas

Dec 9 (IANS) Sri Lanka is now turning to the Vedas for lifestyle lessons as the ancient Indian scriptures contain nuggets of wisdom that can help prevent diseases like diabetes and heart attack. 'The Vedas facilitate a conducive background for healthy lifestyles and good dietary habits. We are taking a cue from it to boost our health sector,' Sri Lankan Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told IANS. more..

Sri Lanka Navy celebrates its 58th Anniversary

Dec 9 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy celebrates its 58th Anniversary today the 09th of December 2008 with a wide array of religious and social functions conducted to mark the historical occasion. Many naval ceremonies are scheduled to be held in keeping with the traditions and customs of the Navy. Sri Lanka Navy has evolved into the present prestigious status as a pioneering, brave and successful maritime force observing the standard naval protocols and more..

War, poverty cause high rates of mental illness in Sri Lanka

Dec 9 (wsws) A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report and a survey conducted by the country's health ministry reveal a high incidence of mental illness in Sri Lanka. Both reports identify the main causes as the island's protracted civil war combined with poor socio-economic conditions—that is, poverty, unemployment, poor nutrition and a lack of basic services. more..

'Eastern Muslims & Tamils still left out'

Dec 9 (LD) "The idea of development such as building roads and rebuilding tanks are critical for the rehabilitation and development of the East. There are other ambitious plans of constructing factories, coal power stations and highways. But where the local people fit into this program of 'Negenahira Navodaya' is still open to question." notes a report issued by the "Coalition of Muslims and Tamils for Peace and Co-existence" (CMTPC). more..

Mohan Peiris to be appointed AG

Dec 9 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will appoint President's Counsel Mohan Peiris as the attorney general, a senior official at the Ministry of Justice told 'Lanka Dissent.' Mr. Peiris is presently legal advisor to the Ministry of Defence. After the retirement of C.R. de Silva, the President appointed Priyasath Depp, PC, as acting AG. The appointment of Mr. Peiris has to be effected by the Constitutional Council under the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, as interpreted by constitutional experts. more..

Private firm gets powers for driving license issuance

Dec 9 (LD) Employees of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles say that forged driving licenses could be made more common in the future after the Transport Ministry has given all powers of issuing the new driving license from 2009 to a private company. In a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, they pointed out that several persons in this firm would have the sole rights to issue the new driving license, confining the RMV staff to mere data entry operators. more..

New platform for PC elections with 30 p.c. women

Dec 9 (LD) A democratic platform is to campaign for 30 per cent women candidates at the forthcoming provincial council elections and wants that minimum representation in nomination lists of all parties, learns 'Lanka Dissent.' A spokeswoman who didn't want her name out this soon, said they have already started discussions in the two districts Kandy and Kurunegala and should have a strong lobby in Matale and Puttlam too. more..

UNP suspends disciplinary action against Karu

Dec 9 (LD) The United National Party has decided to immediately suspend disciplinary inquiries against the MPs led by Karu Jayasuriya who will rejoin the party, announced UNP assistant secretary Sagala Ratnayake. The decision follows a recommendation by the party's Working Committee to the Disciplinary Committee. The UNP is also discussing similarly abandoning disciplinary action against other MPs who will rejoin the party, said Mr. Ratnayake. more..

Sri Lanka exporters hit by unsustainable currency peg

Dec 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s share in international markets for high value ceramic products is fast declining due to an overvalued exchange rate, inflation and uncompetitive energy prices, industrialists have said. "Today we are having an artificial price for our rupee," Bandula Perera, managing director of Rajarata Tiles, told a forum organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. more..

'Karu's return proved us correct'

Dec 9 (LD) Claiming the return of Karu Jayasuriya and others to the UNP was the result of an internal struggle for party reforms by a group including himself, party MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena said he was happy the rightness and reasonableness of their effort have now proved correct. Dr. Jayawardena said their continuous struggle for the party's security and the victory of its supporters without abandoning them even after the group led by Mr. Jayasuriya had left them, was now a success. more..

Five killed as Sri Lanka troops close in on rebel town

Dec 9 (AFP) At least five Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in fresh fighting in northern Sri Lanka where security forces are closing in on the rebels' political capital, the defence ministry said Tuesday. Clashes took place across several fronts on Monday, inflicting "maximum damages" on the rebels, the ministry said, without saying if its own troops suffered casualties. The five rebels were killed in the district of Mullaittivu, which borders Kilinochchi, more..

Sri Lanka must suspend diplomatic relations with "terror state" Pakistan

Dec 10 (TC) The murder and mayhem unleashed by Lashkar–e–Toiba (LET) terrorists in Mumbai, commercial capital of India has been strongly condemned by all civilised countries of this world. Our able president his excellency honourable Mahinda Rajapakse is one of first heads of state to criticise horrible terrorist act and convey sympathy and support to India and her people. more..

'Fighting terror to preserve human rights'

Dec 9 (PTI) Maintaining that Sri Lanka stood for preservation of human rights, President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said it was necessary to link this fundamental freedom with elimination of terrorism, a menace that was shaking the foundations of civilised society with a "barbaric force". In a message to mark 60 years of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Rajapaksa, whose country has often been accused of violating rights while fighting Tamil rebels, said more..

Sri Lanka among top eight countries undergoing genocidal conflict

Dec 10 (TC) Genocide and other mass atrocities are underway or risk breaking out in at least 33 countries, says a new comprehensive watch list slated for release on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations prevention of genocide convention. The list by the New York-based Genocide Prevention Project for the first time combines the findings of five leading independent watch lists to create a "watch list of watch lists." more..

Champika, Wimal, if true patriots, should oppose corruption - CW

Dec 10 (LD) Persons like Champika Ranawaka and Wimal Weerawansa should oppose rampant corruption if they are true patriots, said 'Corruption Watch' legal coordinator, attorney Ravi Jayawardena. He was speaking at a media briefing to mark World Anti-Corruption Day at Rajagiriya. Also speaking here, CW national organizer Rohana Gamage said, "Corruption Watch does not have colour or party differences and its main enemy is corruption. more..

President says, doesn't have powers of a magistrate

Dec 10 (LD) Executive presidency has today become a position with less powers than a lower court magistrate, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. The government will respect the judiciary, even if continues to give verdicts that brings the government into inconvenience, the President told the opening of the Kerawalapitiya Thermal Power Plant (Dec. 09th). He said, "The support of the people is needed to overthrow governments. The support of terrorists cannot do that. more..

Sri Lanka 'joker' jibe angers India

Dec 10 (BBC) The Indian government has protested to Sri Lanka over a statement by the Sri Lankan army commander who described some Indian politicians as "jokers". In an interview with a state-run newspaper, Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka said that the Indian government would not listen to Tamil Nadu "jokers". The Indian state of Tamil Nadu has a population of about 65 million people. It is overwhelmingly made up of Tamils, many of whom are sympathetic towards the Tamil Tiger rebels of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka regrets army chief's 'jokers' remark: India

Dec 10 (TOI) With Sri Lanka army chief Sarath Fonseka's derogatory remarks against Tamil Nadu politicians sparking outrage, India on Tuesday said that Colombo had expressed regrets and promised to look into the issue. "Our high commissioner in Colombo took up the issue strongly with the Sri Lankan defence secretary," external affairs ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash told reporters. The defence secretary is Gothabaya Rajapaksa, brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Sanath Jayasuriya: Sri Lanka's humble cricketing hero

Dec 10 (CNN) Growing up in a small Sri Lankan fishing town, cricket changed Sanath Jayasuriya's life. But his association with the game and humanitarian work has also helped transform the lives of many others. "Without cricket I would have a small job in my home town. My mother is happy to say my name," he told CNN. His mother's pride in his success has an extra poignancy as more..

'Export Village concept ensures highest price for farmers'

Dec 10 (FP) The Export Village concept was launched to secure the highest possible prices for farmers cultivating fruits and vegetables for export and such prices would be offered direct to the farmer by the exporters, said Exports Development and International Trade Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris at a meeting at the Galle Divisional Secretariat. The meeting was held to award certificates to trainees of the 'Master Tailors' programme sponsored by more..

Editor of Lankan daily fired over 'joker' remarks

Dec 10 (PTI) The editor of a state-run newspaper in Sri Lanka was sacked on Tuesday after it carried derogatory remarks by the Sri Lankan army chief against some Tamil Nadu politicians sympathetic to the Tamil cause in the ethnic strife-torn island nation. Dinesh Weerawansa, the editor of the Sunday Observer, has been replaced on Monday by Jayatilake De Silva, sources said today. De Silva is a former editor of the paper. more..

53 Sri Lankan fishermen arrested, 10 boats seized

Dec 10 (PTI) Nearly 53 Sri Lankan fishermen who had strayed into Indian waters off Chennai coast in the last two days have been arrested and ten boats seized from them, the police said. According to police, 42 fishermen were arrested and eight boats recovered on Sunday, while 11 fishermen and two boats were detained on Monday night by the Coast Guard, following which they were handed over to the police and later lodged in the Puzhal jail near here. more..

Ranil, Karu in joint show today

Dec 10 (ML) Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Karu Jayasuriya resigned from his portfolio yesterday and will today formally accept the post of deputy leader of the UNP at a press conference with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at Sirikotha. The press conference, which will be held at 11 a.m. will be addressed by both Jayasuriya and Wickremesinghe, where they will spell out the future steps they intend to take to face the political challenges ahead. more..

Opposition gets set for battle as Lanka gets the Red Alert on genocide

Dec 10 (ML) Even as the world commemorates Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60 years ago today, Sri Lanka is struck another deadly blow by international bodies, as the New York based Genocide Prevention Project released a damning new report to mark the occasion. The report lists Sri Lanka among top eight Red Alert regions including Darfur, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia as engaged in genocidal conflict. more..

UNP to file contempt of court charges on Lalith

Dec 10 (ML) The UNP is to file contempt of court charges in the Supreme Court against President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga and two other top officials of the state, The Morning Leader learns. The two other officials against whom contempt charges are to be filed are Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake and the Attorney General. The contempt charges are to be filed on the basis of President Mahinda Rajapakse announcing provincial council elections for more..

Karu states his case

Dec 10 (ML) Public Administration Minister Karu Jayasuriya resigned his cabinet post yesterday and also quit the UPFA administration of which he was a vital member for two years. Jayasuriya who will hold a joint press conference with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today issued a special statement yesterday explaining his reasons for doing so, citing especially that the country was faced with economic peril to which only the UNP was able to find answers. more..

Rajapaksa: will launch new spring in the north

Dec 10 (Hindu) As Sri Lanka’s military made further advances into the LTTE-held territory in the north, President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday claimed the government, “in addition to the new dawn in the east, is ready to launch the new spring in the north.” At a ceremony here, Mr. Rajapaksa claimed the government has taken steps to free the people in the north, who “have been under the yoke of terror for so many years,” and the government would launch development programmes. more..

A poorer Lanka next year?

Dec 10 (BL) Midst worsening global crisis the World Bank yesterday signalled what could be the lowest in a decade of economic growth of 4% for Sri Lanka next year though Government officials remain more optimistic. Releasing its latest assessment via a report titled “Global Economic Prospects 2009: Commodities at the Crossroads” the World Bank projected a 4% GDP growth for Sri Lanka, down from 6.3% in 2008. more..

Tamils skeptical about Mukherjee visit

Dec 10 (BL) Tamils are skeptical about the outcome of Indian Foreign Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s forthcoming visit to Colombo. Their doubt stems from the detailed accounts of the December 4 meeting Tamil Nadu political party leaders led by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The reports quoted three of the party leaders- Thol. Thirumavalavan of the Viduthlai Chiruthaikal, Vijaya D, Rajendar of Iladchiya D.M.K. and more..

Majority for war – survey

Dec 10 (BL) The majority of respondents to a recent island-wide opinion poll conducted by TNS Lanka believe that military action is the only solution to the ethnic conflict, reports pioneering magazine LMD, in its December edition out last week. LMD writes: “As the brave men and women of our armed forces march towards Kilinochchi, and thousands of innocent lives are caught in the crossfire, many of us who are far removed from the theatre of war have very strong views more..

Champions of the honest in a country fraught with corruption

Dec 10 (BL) An investigative journalist and a fair minded government school teacher were declared champions of the anti-corruption movement by Transparency International Sri Lanka yesterday at a function held to commemorate Anti-Corruption Day at BMICH. Along with journalist Thusitha Pitigala and teacher cum unionist Priyantha Fernando, a special mention award was given to the Officer-In-Charge of the Potuhera Police Station, Deshabandu Senaratne. more..

Sri Lanka's 'Somalia conditions'

Dec 10 (BBC) A UN official in a rebel-held area of northern Sri Lanka has said that conditions for displaced people there are "as basic as in Somalia". John Campbell, from the World Food Programme (WFP), told the BBC Sinhala service that conditions were "as basic as can be" and "much less than ideal". Mr Campbell was speaking from the rebel-held village of Dharmapuram. The area is close to recent heavy fighting between Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan army. more..