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Sri Lanka researchers told of dangers of romanticism

Dec 12 (LBO) Researchers in Sri Lanka and elsewhere should not be guided by romanticism but approach an issue with an open mind and be prepared to change traditional ideas if their findings suggest otherwise, a top economist has said. "There are certain qualities and prerequisites which a researcher engaged in scientific inquiry should possess," W A Wijewardene, deputy governor of Sri Lanka's central bank said. more..

Community credit reduces risk for poorest

Dec 12 (IFRC) In the years since the tsunami struck, most of the affected families along Sri Lanka’s coastline have received some form of help to rebuild their homes and restore their livelihoods. But it is not uncommon to find that humanitarian assistance programmes have failed to bring lasting benefits to some of the poorest and most marginalized families. One of the key obstacles has been gaining access to loans and financial services via the commercial banking sector. more..

BBC World Service and Sunday Leader newspaper censored

Dec 12 (RSF) Reporters Without Borders deplores the latest cases of government censorship of international and local news media. In the past few days, the BBC World Service has been jammed by the state-owned Sri Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation (SLBC) and one of the country’s most outspoken newspapers, the Sunday Leader, has been forbidden to refer to the president’s brother. "We are worried by the increase in direct and indirect censorship in Sri Lanka," more..

Scientists foresee giant earthquakes off Sumatra

Dec 12 (NPR) Scientists who have been studying earthquakes in the eastern Indian Ocean say they've got new evidence that a huge earthquake could strike there in the next few decades, and perhaps create a giant tsunami. In 2004, a magnitude 9.1 quake struck along the Sunda trench, a fault that runs parallel to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Within the next several hours, a tsunami swept across the Indian Ocean and killed some 225,000 people. more..

Heavy casualties as Sri Lanka takes more Tiger territory

Dec 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka's military has captured another key town from Tamil Tiger guerrillas in the north following heavy fighting that left scores dead and wounded on both sides, officials said Friday. Security forces took control of Terumarikandi, about eight kilometres south of Kilinochchi, the political capital of the LTTE. Earlier, the army said it had taken Kokkavil, Olumadu and Pooneryn, all towns previously held by the rebels. more..

Political solution could weaken LTTE significantly: US

Dec 12 (IANS) Even as Sri Lankan troops are engaged in a battle with the Tamil Tiger rebels in the northern region of the island nation, a US diplomat has said that a political solution to the prolonged conflict now 'could significantly weaken' the rebels. US Ambassador Robert Blake Thursday stressed the need 'for a political solution and improvement in human rights to help end the conflict and achieve national reconciliation'. more..

Lanka to provide assistance to single parent families

Dec 13 (ZN) The Sri Lankan government has decided to provide financial assistance to single parents in the country by way of grant for self employment. In accordance to an idea mooted by Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda, 37 families selected from 15 Divisional Secretariat Divisions in five districts were granted Rs 10,000 (Sri Lankan rupees) for commencement of self employment ventures. more..

Wije Dias addresses university students on global economic crisis

Dec 13 (wsws) Socialist Equality Party (SEP) general secretary Wije Dias delivered a public lecture at Colombo University on December 3 entitled "The inherent crisis of capitalism and the socialist alternative". It was the first public lecture on socialist politics at the university in the past four years. Vinivida Pravada Kavaya (Transparent Thesis Circle), a student group at the university, invited Dias to give the lecture. more..

Mural portrays Sri Lanka’s denial of human rights to Tamils

Dec 13 (GL) On 10 December, marking 60 years from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as the world celebrated Human Rights Day, the Sri Lankan state continued its denial of basic human rights to the Tamils of north-east Sri Lanka. On the very same day Tamil and non-Tamil Australian youth gathered at Circular Quay, Sydney to paint a colossal mural measuring 15 metres long, as part of the “Remember; Restore; Respect... Tamil Human Rights Campaign” more..

'No good or bad terrorists'

Dec 13 (GDI) Reiterating his Sri Lankan counterpart President Mahinda Rajapaksa's observations on terrorism, Indian Premier Manmohan Singh asserted that "the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy is no longer acceptable", adding there should be "no double standards in the global fight against terrorism as there are no good or bad terrorists", replying to the security debate at the Lok Sabha, in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attack. more..

IDPs fleeing to LTTE areas - GA

Dec 13 (BBC) Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the rebel-held areas are facing severe difficulties as hostilities have commenced after the floods, a senior government official said. Emilda Sukumar, the Government Agent for Mulativu district, told BBC Sandeshaya that many IDPs are fleeing towards the LTTE controlled territory despite repeated appeals by the government. The Government Agent spoke to the BBC from Vavunia after returning from a tour in Mulativu. more..

Establish commissions 'before polls'

Dec 13 (BBC) The main opposition in Sri Lanka has called on the government to establish independent commissions prior to conducting further elections. A United National Party (UNP),MP, was commenting on the government’s challenge for the opposition to win the upcoming provincial council elections. The elections for the Central and North Western Provincial Councils (PCs) are to be held in February, next year. more..

CIMA suspends its Sri Lanka Divisional Council

Dec 13 (CIMA) The decision has been taken today to suspend the Sri Lanka Divisional Council with immediate effect. This was decided collectively by the CIMA Council, the Institute's governing body, after considering the recommendation of an independent review. A consultative body of at least three members in Sri Lanka is to be appointed by the President and other Honorary Officers of CIMA to advise on the affairs of the Sri Lanka Division during the suspension period. more..

A.R. Rahman wins Golden Globe nomination

Dec 13 (TC) India’s music composer maestro Alla Rakha Rahman (AR Rahman) became the first Thamizhian to be nominated for a prestigious golden globe award. AR Rahman won a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score for his music in British director Danny Boyle's uplifting underdog tale "Slumdog Millionaire". Earlier this week, "Slumdog Millionaire" won two awards from more..

Sri Lanka - Change we must

Dec 13 (TC) Change, is the slogan of the early 21st century. Adverse climate changes, the failure of poorly regulated free market economies, ill effects of unbridled consumerism, the scourge of poverty and genocide, rampant abuse of human rights, wide disparities in standards of governance and the pressures on ever shrinking natural resources, are forcing the world to seek changes to the way we live and conduct our affairs. more..

Covert efforts underway to win reprieve for Sivajilingam

Dec 13 (TC) Frantic, behind the scenes efforts are currently on in India to gain a reprieve for Sri Lankan Tamil Parliamentarian MK Sivajilingam and enable him to stay on in India without having to depart or be deported to Sri Lanka. While some Tamil Nadu politicians regarded as being aligned or sympathetic to the LTTE are promoting a move to make Sivajilingam seek political asylum in India formally other influential Tamil Nadu leaders are more..

Warrior of the Street – Prof. Gamini Hattotuwegama

Dec 13 (LP) Prof. Gamini Hattotuwegama’s contribution for the field of street drama has been for more than three decades. He has been the guru of a number of versatile and talented actors today. ‘Veediye Satankaruwa’ (Warrior of the Street) a street drama festival was held at the Sudarshi Hall under the patronage of the Socialists Arts Society to honor Prof. Hattotuwegama. Specialising in English he got his Bachelors degree from the University of Peradeniya in 1963. more..

'Karu who speaks of an economic crisis voted in support of the budget'

Dec 13 (LeN) Karu Jayasuriya who crossed over to the opposition recently has not explained the economic crisis that he said and he has also approved the government economic policy through voting in support of the budget, says Minister of Media and Information Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. The Minister made this statement in response to a query posed by a journalist at the cabinet press briefing more..

Karunanidhi is not a Tamilian, says Swamy

Dec 13 (EB) Janata Party president Dr Subramanian Swamy on Thursday remarked that Chief Minister Karunanidhi made the “ridiculous comments on AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa to hide the fact that he himself is not a Tamil at all and, in fact, had migrated from Andhra Pradesh." He said Karunanidhi had made himself look ridiculous by criticizing the AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa for not condemning the Sri Lankan Army chief Sarath Fonseka for calling Tamil Nadu political leaders Vaiko and P Nedumaran as "jokers". more..

Lands in ancient and medieval Sri Lanka

Dec 13 (LG) Land ownership, property rights, and tenancy regulations in ancient and medieval Sri Lanka differed from those in modern Sri Lanka. It was more complex and varied. The gradation between ownership and tenancy were so subtle that it is sometimes difficult to know exactly where to draw the line between the two. Historians have had great difficulty researching into land ownership and proprietor ship because the terminology is not clear. more..

Sri Lanka in Human Rights

Dec 13 (LG) The Human Rights Council Geneva held a Commemorative session on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) today (12th December 2008) at the Palais des Nations of the United Nations Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland. In the morning, the commemorative session was opened by Mr. Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, President of the Human Rights Council. more..

What is wrong in calling a spade a spade?

Dec 13 (LG) Tamil Nadu Chief Karunanidhi has got outraged for calling some Tamil Nadu politicians who work in hand in glove with the LTTE including Vaiko and Nadumaran a set of “Jokers” by Army Chief Lt. General Sarath Fonseka and wants an apology from the Sri Lankan Government as it’s a derogatory statement on TN politicians. What’s wrong in calling a spade a spade? more..

Terrorist acts in countries that nurture terrorists

Dec 13 (LG) The world condemned the terrorist mayhem committed by a terrorist outfit called ‘Deccan Mujahideen’ in Mumbai. Sri Lanka Government also joined the band wagon in condemning it and had no qualms as a decent Government who cherishes peaceful coexistence so much. It’s true our sympathies are with the innocent people killed in this terrorist act. India during late Indira Gandhi’s rule nurtured and trained the LTTE to more..

Reason to condemn Lt. Gen. Fonseka

Dec 13 (LG) As an Army General who plans for a combat mission definitely will know what the enemy stands for, his strength, weakness, ability, capability, cadre’s strength, firepower, ammunition stocks and supply, supply routes, reinforcement, so on and so forth. To win a war and to defeat an enemy a proper planning is the most necessary one. Without a proper plan no army in the world can win a battle. more..

'For peace to dawn, the aspirations of the Tamil people should be respected'

Dec 13 (LG) “It is necessary for Sri Lankan civil society joining hands with the Tamil Nadu activists to form a greater South Asian solidarity for the struggle against the Sinhala state and to uphold democratic principles” said Dr. Nimalka Fernando. Dr. Nimalka Fernando is a lawyer and a human rights activist who advocates for the Tamils’ just right to self determination in the island of Sri Lanka. more..

Politicians and the media: a mirroring demanding self-reflection

Dec 13 (GDI) Malinda Seneviratne comments on the recent spat between Ranil Wickremesinghe and the media. Ranil Wickremesinghe is upset. Understandable. He's taken quite a few punches, some between his eyes, and no one can really blame him for being a little hazy. He is not focusing and therefore his counter punches are missing their target by a mile. He is embarrassing himself. more..

Torrential rains in southern region

Dec 13 (GDI) Torrential rains were reported from Matara, Galle, Hiniduma, Kukuleganga and Kalutara causing flash floods in a number of areas in these districts yesterday. According to reports 118mm rain was recorded at Kukuleganga, 100 at Hiniduma and 83 at Galle on Thursday. The Department of Meteorology warns the public of scattered thunder showers during the next few days too in the Northern, Eastern, Uva, Central, Sabaragamuwa and Western Provinces and Galle and Matara Districts. more..

Sri Lanka join hands with ILO to promote youth employment

Dec 13 (LP) Sri Lanka and the International Labour Organization (ILO) join hands to promote youth employment. With a youth unemployment rate at 22 percent in Sri Lanka, youth are a vulnerable in the labour market. New project funded by the government of Japan seeks to promote employment especially for young rural youth living in plantations and surrounding villages. Speaking at the launch of the ILO project yesterday, more..

Boost for local textile industry

Dec 13 (LP) The Provincial Textiles Industries Ministry will uplift the local textile industry in the Matale district. In the first stage Kiula, Ukuwela and Uda Weragama villages have been selected. A few women in these areas are engaged in this industry as a side income. Under the programme the necessary equipment and raw material will be provided for them to continue their business as a major source of income. more..

A flag day to commemorate National Artists

Dec 13 (LP) Cultural Affairs Department has organized a flag day to commemorate the Artist’s Day falling on 15th December. The income from sale of flags will be debited to the National Artist’s Fund at the Public Trustee Department. This fund will support the aged artists who have done a great service in the local arts field. Form 15th December 2008 to 15th February 2009 the flags will be sold at Divisional Secretariats. more..

EDB's 'Ran Ridee Jewellery Show' at Crescat Boulevard

Dec 13 (LP) The sixth "Ran Ridee jewellery show" a glamorous event of Sri Lanka's gem and jewellery industry will be held from December 15 between 17 from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. at the Crescat Boulevard Colombo. This annual event organised by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board in association with the National Gem and Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka will showcase exquisite jewellery collection modern and traditional, done by skilled craftsmen of the southern and central provinces more..

'People need respectable candidates to vote'

Dec 13 (LD) "In fact as political leaders you have to take total responsibility for the candidates the people elect, as the people have no alternative but to choose from the nomination list that you submit for elections." wrote Platform for Democracy, addressing a letter to all political party leaders. The Platform for Democracy, a grouping of concerned citizens including Prof. Jayantha Seneviratne, Anoja Weerasinghe, Anoma Rajakaruna and Ravi Jayawardne among others, more..

'Govt. would be toppled if it goes for ceasefire'

Dec 13 (LD) Parliamentarian of the JVP, K.D. Lal Kantha says that they would take the public and the security force personnel to the streets and take steps to topple the government if it goes for a ceasefire. He said that a ceasefire would not be necessary until the last bunker shielding Prabhakaran would become his grave. He further said that a ceasefire would be unnecessary even if the LTTE decides to disarm or not. more..

Gota says 'Sorry' to India

Dec 13 (LD) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has apologised to India, reports NDTV, after Sri Lankan Army Chief called some Tamil Nadu politicians like Vaiko "jokers" and accused them of getting money from the LTTE. Sri Lankan Army Chief General Fonseka had called Vaiko and a few other Tamilnadu politicians "jokers" for demanding a ceasefire with the LTTE. He also alleged that Vaiko and Tamil Nationalist leader Nedumaran were on the LTTE's pay list. more..

NGOs haven't done anything in East - Army Chief

Dec 13 (LD) NGOs and INGOs have done nothing in the East region as well as the area west of the A-9 road, the 'Divaina' reports today (Dec. 13th), citing the Army Commander, Lieutenant General, Sarath Fonseka. In addition, no development has taken place in the areas recently retaken from the LTTE, the news report by security columnist of the 'Divaina', Keerthi Warnakulasooriya further says, citing the Army Chief. more..

Cancer Hospital nurses' strike continues

Dec 13 (LD) The nurses of the National Cancer Institute, Maharagama are boycotting chemotherapy administration from Dec. 10th as a mark of protest against the lack of proper training and protective gear. Nurses charge that though the Health Ministry has issued a statement that the risk allowance of the medical staff would be increased to Rs. 3,000, a circular on the matter is still pending. more..

Military ops. should continue - UNP Chairman

Dec 13 (LD) Military operations should continue to eradicate terrorism while searching for a political solution, the newly appointed Chairman of the UNP, Gamini Jayawickreme Perera said. Speaking at a media briefing held after religious observances at the Temple of the Tooth yesterday, the party chairman said that the many UNP leaders were killed by the LTTE and the party maintained the stance that the outfit should be defeated militarily. more..

Devolution: APRC reaches consensus

Dec 13 (SAMN) After nearly three years of talks, the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) Friday reached a consensus with regard to power devolution between the Centre and the nine provinces. APRC Chairman, Minister Tissa Vitharana said the Committee was now in the process of drafting a document for perusal by the main opposition UNP for inputs, after which it would be presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

New offensive divisions ready

Dec 13 (SAMN) Troops operating on the Wanni front are speedily approaching the perimeters of two Tiger strongholds- Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu - amidst stiff resistance from the LTTE, Military sources said Friday, adding that the Army headquarters was making arrangements to open more battle fronts in the Wanni liberation operation to exert more pressure on the LTTE, now trapped within 800 square kilometres territory. more..

Probe on killings, abductions in East

Dec 13 (SAMN) Special police teams have been deployed to investigate the incidents of killings and abductions that had taken place in the Eastern province, police said Friday. The province which was liberated from Tiger-control last year, has during the past few weeks seen a spate of abductions and killings, most of which remain unresolved though some have been blamed on the LTTE. more..

‘Know your HR and seek protection’

Dec 13 (SAMN) The laws although are adequate to protect human rights, however the people must be aware of the rights they have so that they could seek protection. Additional Solicitor General, Palitha Fernando said at the International Human Rights Day Celebrations on in the Protection of Human Rights in Sri Lanka. "Press censorship could be exercised during the war for security purposes. But only within the framework of the law of the land," he said. more..

Lankans to benefit from Australian Scholarship Programme

Dec 13 (DN) A number of Sri Lankan professionals have been awarded prestigious Australian Leadership Award (ALA) Scholarships. This will help strengthen regional leadership and build partnerships in the Asia-Pacific. Acting High Commissioner for Australia, Sophia McIntyre, announced that six Sri Lankan professionals had been awarded the scholarships for PhDs and Masters Degrees in Australia. more..

Medical advice to Sri Pada pilgrims

Dec 13 (DN) The Sri Pada pilgrim began yesterday and to prevent medical problems, several precautions have been recommended for pilgrims. Senior consultant cardiologist Dr. D.P. Atukorale said as hypothermia (excessive cooling of the body) is a common problem faced by pilgrims, they should carry adequate clothing especially waterproof overgarments and reserve garments which should be carried in a plastic bag. more..

US limits military aid to nations using child soldiers

Dec 13 (HRW) Under legislation adopted by the US Congress on December 10, 2008, governments involved in the use of children as soldiers may no longer be eligible for US military assistance, Human Rights Watch said today. The legislation, passed unanimously by both the Senate and the House, could affect six countries currently receiving US military training, financing, and other defense-related assistance: Afghanistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Uganda. more..

No Muslims in UNP Working Committee

Dec 13 (Island) Former Minister and Presidential Advisor A. H. M. Azwer said that supporters of the UNP have expressed concern over the failure of party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to appoint a single Muslim to its working committee. Azwer, former veteran UNPer said that this is how Ranil Wickremesinghe shows gratitude to Muslims who have contributed in a big way to the party. He recalled that when the late J. R. Jayewardene was the President he appointed Dr M. C. M. Kaleel as the Chairman of the party and more..

Death threats prevent action against land grabbers

Dec 13 (Island) An order to local authorities not to give legal ownership to those have had encroached on state lands cannot be implemented because of death threats to the heads of respective local government authorities from politically powerful persons and underworld elements. Chairman of SLRDC Karunasena Hettiarachchi yesterday confirmed that he had been raising objections with local authorities during monthly meetings and more..

IPL cricketers undervalued - Thilanga

Dec 13 (LD) Claiming that the sponsorship package for local premier league tournament is only Rs. 2.5 million, former President of Sri Lanka Cricket Thilanga Sumathipala says he does not approve of the undervaluing of players in that manner. He was speaking at a media briefing organized by Mascom and Munchee Biscuits on the under 19 school cricket tournament, at Great Wall of China restaurant in Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka dependent on foreign assistance for technology: Minister

Dec 13 (DM) Sri Lanka, which was home to space visionary Dr. Arthur C. Clarke for much of his adult life, remains dependent on benefits from cooperation with other nations and international organizations with access to more developed technologies in its pursuit of applied solutions that enable the country to face the many developmental challenges faced by the nation, Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said. more..

Russians in custody for running brothel

Dec 13 (DM) A group of Russians including three women were taken into custody in Mt. Lavinia on suspicion of running a brothel house under the guise of a BOI operation. The suspects were arrested by the Anti Corruption unit led by IP Sisira Kumara. The suspects were produced before the Chief Magistrate and District Judge Harsha Sethunga. The judge who ordered the suspects released on a cash bail of seventy five thousand rupees and two personal bails of one million rupees each. more..

Sri Lanka seeks to develop vein quartz deposit

Dec 13 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government has called for proposals from investors to develop a vein quartz deposit in the island's south with the aim of making value-added products. Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) officials said the deposit at Mahagama, near the town of Embilipitiya in the southern Moneragala district, is not being exploited at present. They said they were seeking proposals from manufacturers as well as more..