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Diplomats in crisis meeting with President

Dec 14 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has invited officials of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service Association (SLFSA) to see him tomorrow to settle a major row that has broken out between the country's career diplomats and Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on what they call " an infiltration of the foreign service cadre by outsiders". more..

Sri Lankans in Gulf to benefit from depreciation of rupee

Dec 15 (TP) Sri Lankan migrant workers residing in Qatar and entire Gulf will benefit as Colombo has decided to allow a “gradual depreciation” of the rupee. The country’s central bank will allow a “gradual depreciation” of the rupee as it has dipped against the US dollar and recovered. It’s a timely move says Sri Lankan national in Qatar. The central bank has allowed a gradual depreciation of the rupee after the rupee dipped to 111.30/60 levels and more..

Sri Lanka tops in petrol price in South Asia

Dec 15 (IANS) Although the global petroleum costs have dropped by $100 a barrel, Sri Lanka's retail price of petrol remains the highest in South Asia, a media report said Sunday. This is despite the fact that the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has slashed the price of (90 octane) petrol by Rs.35 per litre in the past two months. With last week's reduction of Rs.20 a litre, the petrol price in Sri Lanka is now Rs.122 in contrast to Rs.100 in India, Rs.80 in Pakistan, Rs.95 in Bhutan, more..

LTTE 'suicide boat' recovered after fierce gun-battle

Dec 15 (IANS) Sri Lankan ground troops operating in the coastal forest district of Mullaitivu fought fierce gunbattles with Tamil Tiger rebels and recovered a 'suicide boat' during a subsequent search, the military said here Sunday. The military authorities said that a fierce gunbattle broke at Kumulamunai in the rebel heartland of Mullaitivu Saturday and lasted nearly two hours, and the rebels suffered 'heavy damages' during the confrontation. more..

163,000 IDPs in Mulaitivu - GA

Dec 15 (BBC) The senior government official in Mulativu says that over 163,000 people are reported to be displaced in Mulaitivu as a result of intensifying fighting. Mulaitivu Government Agent (GA) Emilda Sukumar told BBC Sandeshaya that nearly 8000 people are fleeing towards LTTE-held Pudukudiyiruppu from Saturday. Shell attacks have recommenced in and around Mulaitivu town on Saturday, she added. more..

'Ask Election Comm. about assets declarations received'

Dec 15 (LD) "Well done. This is timely. All may not be practical, but we must give it a go. My fullest support is there." said MP Colombo district, Ravi Karunanayake, responding to the appeal made by the Platform for Democracy to have respectable candidates at forthcoming elections. "Get more publicity given to this." Mr. Karunanayake responded in his e-mail sent to PD. more..

PCB to invite Sri Lanka if India pulls out

Dec 15 (IANS) Pakistani cricket officials are mulling inviting Sri Lanka for Tests and One-day Internationals next month in case India pull out of the home series. Sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) told IANS that senior Board officials are seriously considering keeping Sri Lanka on stand-by, if India stayed away from Pakistan in the wake of last month's Mumbai terror attack. more..

'Govt supply food and necessities to people in areas under the control of the LTTE'

Dec 15 (AT) Foreign Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama has said that reports of a scarcity of food and essential items in the Wanni are far from true. On the contrary, despite prevailing adverse weather conditions and obstacles placed by LTTE, the Government has ensured that there is an uninterrupted supply of food and basic necessities to the civilians in the un-cleared areas of the Wanni, who are caught up in the current conflict. more..

Govt and LTTE show callous disregard for civilian life and lives

Dec 15 (TC) The people of Sri Lanka have plenty on their minds these days. With military clashes between the government and the Tamil Tigers proceeding apace and major floods destroying thousands of homes and displacing tens of thousands of people, many of whose lives already had beenÿdisrupted by the ongoing fighting, Sri Lankans can hardly focus on an economic catastrophe the likes of which we have not seen in the last one hundred years. more..

SLBC Chief responds to BBC antics

Dec 15 (AT) "BBC thinks that Sri Lanka is still a British colony." This was SLBC Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe's response to a complaint by BBC's South-East Asia Regional Head saying that the SLBC had violated the agreement with his organization by jamming the broadcast of LTTE 'Sun God' Prabhakaran's so-called Heroes Day speech, last month. Samarasinghe said that he preferred to violate an agreement rather than betray his country. more..

In Pictures at Trincomalee: Marking the 60th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Dec 15 (TC) Human Rights Day and 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec 10th was marked in Trincomalee by The Centre for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (CPPHR). CPPHR's vision is "To build the society on a solid foundation of human dignity; respect where justice is never denied or delayed, equality acknowledged and equal opportunity afforded, rights of everyone is recognized". more..

"Don't you know politics, Karu"? was how Mahinda Rajapakse scolded Karu

Dec 15 (TC) The return of UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya back into the party fold was the focal point in the local political scene last week. Jayasuriya, along with 16 other UNP members joined the government early 2007, claiming to support the President's war effort to liberate the country from the clutches of Tiger terrorists. Many believe that if not for the 17 UNP defectors, the Mahinda Rajapakse administration may have fallen some time ago. more..

A humble appeal to our Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh

Dec 15 (MN) There are many instances in the World history where well educated and matured Prime Ministers and Presidents of various countries have made wrong decisions and serious blunders, knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or by an oversight, causing significant downfall and irreversible damages to those countries. India has now reached a similar critical stage. more..

Fein: Genocide charges against Sri Lanka officials ready

Dec 15 (TN) Bruce Fein, a former U.S. Deputy Associate Attorney General and currently Counsel for a U.S. Tamil Group said in an interview this week that a 400+ page model indictment charging Sri Lanka officials for genocide against Tamils will be ready to be submitted to the U.S. Justice Department first week of January. He added that the document describes the motivational context, catalogues crimes, more..

Prices of essential goods, vegetables skyrocket in Jaffna

Dec 15 (TN) Prices of essential food items like rice, sugar and vegetables have hit an all time high in Jaffna peninsula due to the destruction caused by the recent rains, floods and cyclone 'Nisha'. Stocks of sugar have completely depleted in government stores, and the NGOs in Jaffna peninsula have requested Jaffna Government Agent to take immediate action to bring down the price of essential food items artificially held high by private importers, more..

Jaffna Bishop meets IDPs in Vanni

Dec 15 (TN) Rt. Rev. Thomas Saundaranayagam, Bishop of Jaffna, was on a mission visit to Vanni 9 December where he met thousands of people displaced due to war offensives and floods sharing their grief and offering consolation to them, in various places in Vanni, according to Jaffna Bishop’s secretary. The Bishop stayed in Vanni meeting the IDPs in their temporary refugee camps and returned to Colombo Saturday. more..

EROS former Parliamentarian Passes Away

Dec 15 (SN) Former Member of Parliament from Trincomalee, Sri Lanka and member of the Eelam Revelutionary Organization of Students (EROS) Mr. Sivapragasam Ratnarajah passed away on last Thursday. He was born on 25.03.1952 and a graduate from the Colombo University. Mr. Sivapragasam Ratnarajah, contested the election from Trincomalee constituency after the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement and more..

Sri Lanka rupee pressured as IMF praises Hong Kong currency board

Dec 15 (LBO) The International Monetary Fund has praised the robust 'hard peg' (currency board) of Hong Kong with the US dollar even as Sri Lanka rupee's 'soft peg' is under severe pressure from central bank liquidity injections. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has maintained a fixed exchange rate system or currency board with the US dollar at 7.80 Hong Kong dollars since 1983, achieving low inflation, high economic growth and economic stability for its citizens. more..

Democratisation & Demilitarisation

Dec 15 (LG) The declaration by Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanasethurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan that his ruling TMVP cadres would be laying down arms before long is welcome. Even more welcome would be proof that the promise is being kept – as more than a promise. It reflects the evolving situation on the ground, and at the same time provides pointers to the possibilities for the North, where more..

Exhumed Whale skeleton to be exhibited in Marine Museum

Dec 15 (LP) The skeletal remains of a huge whale is now being re-set as an exhibit of the Marine Museum in the Galle Fort. The carcass of the whale belonging to the Broods Whale species was washed ashore ten years ago and buried in the beach. The skeleton was exhumed with extreme care under the supervision of conservators. A team of specialists are now restructuring the skeleton as an exhibit. more..

Kalabhushana awards ceremony today

Dec 15 (LP) Kalabhushana, the national awards ceremony organized annually will be held today at the John de Silva Theatre at 02.30 pm. The Department of Cultural Affairs will be organizing the event where over 148 Sinhala, Tamil and Muslims artists will be awarded for their achievements. The Chief Guest for the ceremony will be Minister of Cultural Affairs Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. 88 Artists Island wide, 40 Tamil artists and 20 Muslim artists and more..

Malayalee actresses dominate Tamil Cinema

Dec 15 (TC) They have had temples built in their honour, love letters written in blood. On Kollywood’s film sets, the hero may be the next neta-in-waiting, but it’s the heroine (aka "the love interest") who gets the box-office pulse all aflutter. And for a while now, there’s been a new buzz going. Apparently Punjabi season is out, the new wave has a distinct Kerala flavour to it. Yes, yesterday's dowdy ducklings have on the sly bloomed into swans. more..

The real Tamil Eelam as experienced by Tamils in LTTE areas

Dec 15 (DW) Pro-LTTE websites are running the LTTE's desperate propaganda campaign to the maximum. The most recent and blatant of lies was the so-called killing of 120 SLA and driving them back to a place some Tiger sites identified as 'Malayalapuram'. We received many emails and comments asking us about this so-called fight that took place west of Kilinochchi. These reports are completely false. more..

Catechists coach Hindus as well as Catholics for national exams

Dec 15 (UCAN) Catechists in a largely Hindu parish in the capital have organized coaching for students preparing to take secondary school exams in Hinduism as well as Christianity. The Catechetical Association of Our Lady of Sorrow Church conducted a one-day program on Nov. 30 at nearby St. Anthony's Boys' School. It aimed to help students get ready for their General Education Certificate Ordinary, or O-level, exams in English, Hinduism and Christianity. more..

Indians; We are free to tell you!

Dec 15 (LG) Some say successive Sri Lankan governments have been too polite not to accuse India of breeding Tamil terrorists on Indian soil to destabilise Sri Lanka. The truth is that the SL governments have been powerless to go against the might of massive India. India failed to understand the real reason for such quiet of the little neighbour. Emboldened by the cowardice of the little Sri Lankans it kept on committing unprecedented crimes against Sri Lanka’s people, more..

BOI website records almost 8 million hits in 2008

Dec 15 (BOI) Since the Internet became a popular medium of information slightly more than a decade ago, it has emerged as a major promotional tool for investment promotion agencies worldwide. In April 2008, the BOI launched the “Invest Sri Lanka” initiative to develop a new investor friendly environment. When the new initiative was launched, the BOI website formally known as was renamed more..

Sri Lanka ICT innovations strike gold at APICTA

Dec 15 (AT) Sri Lanka won 5 awards at the Asia Pacific Information Communication Technology Alliances (APICTA) Annual Competition and Awards 2008 at the awarding ceremony held in Jakarta, Indonesia on 15th November, bringing great honor to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka stood the test of not only the highest caliber of the contestants placed before this prestigious international competition, but also proved the excellent judging and selection process as more..

BOI signs agreements for eight new projects worth USD 43 million

Dec 15 (BOI) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval for eight new projects representing a total worth of USD 43.71 million. Board members Mr. Eshana de Silva and Mr. Upali Samaraweera signed the agreements and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registrations to the investors. Peoples Leasing Property Development Limited signed an agreement to set up a mixed development project located in Colombo 8. more..

All set for power devolution - APRC chief

Dec 15 (LD) Political parties in the All Party Representative Committee have agreed to implement devolution of power, committee Chairman, Professor Tissa Vitharana told 'Lanka Dissent'. Discussions on how to devolve power from the central government to other administrative institutions have already begun, he added. As part of these deliberations, the nature of devolving basic powers have been enlisted, he further said. more..

Tamil-speaking people have historic grievances - Dallas

Dec 15 (LD) Minister of Transport Dallas Alahapperuma says the grievances of Tamil-speaking people since olden times need an immediate political solution. He was speaking at a meeting in Matara town on December 13th. The minister added that no one could reject the claim that there are injustices common to the Tamil speaking people.

50 imported drugs substandard

Dec 15 (LD) Around 50 varieties of drugs that have been imported to the country this year are without the proper standards, alleged Dr. Jayantha Bandara, secretary of Prof. Senaka Bibile Commemorative Association. As a result, there has especially been a higher than normal prevalence of rat fever. According to Dr. Bandara, 90 per cent of patients who had sought treatment at hospital had been prescribed with these drugs. more..

Compensation of dead sailor not received

Dec 15 (LD) A father charges that compensation or a pension for his dead son who was a sailor in the Navy has not been paid. In a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the father - D.M. Wijeratna has questioned whether this was the manner in which war heroes were treated. Due to an illness, D.M. Aruna Jayantha Dissanayake, had died on March 10th 2006 while on leave, at home at Ambagolla in Bibile. more..

AG advice sought against Ravi Wettasinghe

Dec 15 (LD) The CID has informed the Colombo Chief Magistrate that they have sought the advice of the Attorney General against Ravi Wettasinghe in connection with the swindling of money in a bus repair deal. Wettasinghe is being charged of fraudulently obtaining an advance of nearly Rs. 23 million for repairing buses of the SLTB without doing the job properly. When Colombo Chief Magistrate, Ravindra Premaratne took up the matter, more..

Army reaches Mullaitivu outskirts

Dec 15 (SAMN) While the focus was on the bloody battles waged by the 57 Division and Task Force I (TF I) to regain the Kilinochchi-Paranthan stretch of the A9, the army on the eastern flank reached the outskirts of Mullaitivu over the weekend, military officials said, adding that the LTTE now faced direct threats on both Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, the last of its strongholds on the Vanni front. more..

SL calls for a GSDB to replace WB

Dec 15 (SAMN) President of Parties to Vienna Convention and Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Champika Ranawaka addressing the UN Climate Conference being held in Poznan, Poland, called for a replacement of the World Bank with a Global Sustainable Development Bank (GSDB) to “put the human race on the right track”. “We have come a long way since 1945, the year World Bank was set up. The battle lines have completely changed,” he said, more..

JVP blames EU for going soft on LTTE

Dec 15 (SAMN) JVP Parliamentary group leader Vijitha Herath said Sunday they regret that several EU countries have not yet paid sufficient attention to arrest the operations of those organisations who act for and act on behalf of the LTTE in their countries. Herath said it was the duty of these countries to arrest LTTE fronts such as the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) under UN conventions on terrorism. more..

Govt. to reshuffle Ministry Secys.

Dec 15 (SAMN) The government is to go for a reshuffling of Ministry Secretaries very soon with the post falling vacant at several ministries, political sources said. A top government Minister who wished to be anonymous said Sunday t there were still acting secretaries overseeing work at the Ministries such as Irrigation, Supplementary Crops Development and Science and Technology. more..

Sri Lanka rupee trades without intervention

Dec 15 (LBO) The Sri Lanka rupee traded around 111.45/55 levels after dipping lower to 111.50/60 Monday, while overnight rates edged lower on excess liquidity, dealers said. The rupee closed at 111.30/45 levels Thursday with no intervention and there was no intervention in early trading Monday, dealers said. Overnight call rate rates dropped from 18.00/50 levels to 15.00/16.00 levels amidst excess liquidity in the market. more..

Fein’s moral confusion as HRW returns to reality

Dec 15 (PISL) Tamilnet announced that its latest angel of light, Bruce Fein, ‘Counsel for a US Tamil Group’ as he is described, had prepared a 400+ page model indictment against Sri Lankan officials for genocide against Tamils. In the course of his interview with TamilNet Mr Fein claimed that the New York-based Genocide Prevention Project has included Sri Lanka as one of the eight "red alert" countries where more..

Special school evaluation process from next year

Dec 15 (DN) The Ministry of Education has decided to introduce a special school evaluation process which is to be carried out from next year (2009). This would be introduced in schools throughout the country with the intention of improving the quality of both learning and teaching inside the classroom. The objectives of the project are to have a common valuation process for teaching and learning at all schools, more..

Students plea to repair roads, reschedule bus

Dec 15 (DN) Students of Grades 6, 7, 8 and 9 of Talawa Navodya Maha Vidyalaya have requested the authorities to intervene and effect repairs to the Talawa Andarawewa Road, Talawa School Lane, Talawa Main Bus Stand and revising the time table of Talawa Pahala Talawa SLTB bus. The students said we travel to Talawa Maha Vidyalaya from Pahala Talawa, Helambawewa and Hanguranketha settlement 8km away. more..

Teacher union, students cry foul over GCE O/L Maths II Exams

Dec 15 (Island) Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union said that students sitting for the GCE O/L 2008 (new curriculum) had been severely distressed by the complexity of Maths II paper. Mahinda Jayasinghe, General Secretary of the union told The Island that two questions on the Maths II based on the old syllabus had been included in the Maths II answered by students on the new syllabus. more..

Public sector gives poor response to people of Jaffna

Dec 15 (Island) The public sector has given a poor response to the initiative taken by the Security Forces of Jaffna to uplift the lives of the people. Future Minds of Jaffna is an educational and industrial exhibition to be held in Jaffna at the end of the month and last week a delegation comprising corporate personalities and journalists visited Jaffna where they were briefed on security and other matters with regards to the exhibition. more..

SLMC, UNP to talk on PC polls

Dec 15 (DM) The SLMC will start talks with the UNP shortly to reach an understanding on the number of its members to be accommodated under the elephant symbol for the proposed elections to the North-Western and Central Provincial Councils. Party Leade, Rauff Hakeem told Daily Mirror yesterday he consulted his party’s district central committees in Puttalam and Kurunegala to discuss the ‘mode of contesting’ the elections. more..

New faces to top slots in TMVP

Dec 15 (DM) TMVP leader MP Vinayagamurthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman said yesterday that he would appoint new faces to the party’s top positions this week replacing the persons who were presently holding them. Mr. Muralitharan told Daily Mirror that most of his senior members such as Jeyam, Markan, Bharathi and Mangalam Master had not been given their due places in the present constitution of the party. more..

Sri Lanka credit rating cut to B by S&P

Dec 15 (BN) Sri Lanka’s credit rating was cut to five levels below investment grade by Standard & Poor’s, citing mounting public debt and political and security concerns. The nation’s long-term foreign currency rating was lowered by one notch to B from B+, S&P said in a statement today. The new rating places the country on par with Burkina Faso and Cameroon. Moody’s Investors Service does not have a rating for Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka troops claim taking another village from Tiger rebels

Dec 15 (AFP) Sri Lankan security forces captured another key village from Tamil Tiger rebels on Monday after heavy fighting as the air force kept up bombing more guerrilla targets, the defence ministry said. Troops took control of the village of Ampakamam after hours of heavy fighting, the ministry said, adding that the area had been used by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as an administrative hub. more..

Tamil Tigers hold civilians in war zone- rights group

Dec 15 (Reuters) Under unrelenting military pressure, Sri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tigers have increasingly subjugated Tamils with forced military service or labour and kept them trapped in the war zone, Human Rights Watch said on Monday. In a new report based on eyewitness accounts from Tamils in the northern war zone and from aid workers, the rights watchdog said the LTTE "treatment of the very people they say they are fighting for is getting worse". more..

Joker is no joke

Dec 16 (TW) Joker is a description that no one with self-respect will accept with a laugh, unless it is a person whose profession is joking. Politicians particularly get riled when they are dismissed as jokers, lacking any seriousness. The outburst of Sri Lanka's army chief Sarath Fonseka, calling Tamil Nadu politicians Vaiko and P. Nedumaran "political jokers whose survival depends on the LTTE", has evoked strong reactions. more..

'Govt. has no moral right to oppose Mukherjee visit '

Dec 16 (LD) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has criticised objections being raised by the government to a visit by the Indian External Affairs Minister. "It was the President who had invited Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to visit this country. After extending an invitation, the government has no moral right to oppose the visit by Mr. Mukherjee. Government affiliate parties too, have no such right," he said. more..