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Mukherjee will not visit SL

Dec 16 (LD) Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will not visit Sri Lanka to negotiate a ceasefire, diplomatic sources say, despite talks of such a possibility making rounds in Tamil Nadu recently. Leaving alone talks on a truce, there is no need for Mr. Mukherjee to come to Colombo at present, according to New Delhi authorities. President Mahinda Rajapkasa has reiterated to military officials that the "victorious battle would not be reversed for any reason." more..

'Hidden hand in cricket broadcasting deal'

Dec 16 (LD) The renegotiation of the broadcasting deal between Sri Lanka Cricket and Taj TV has a hidden hand, alleged former Test captain and 'Development Watch' member Hashan Tilakaratne. At a time when a three-member committee appointed by the sports minister has found deal to be without transparency, he has tasked a four-member panel to renegotiate it, Mr. Tilakaratne told a media briefing titled "Sri Lanka Cricket & Taj TV agreement & future of cricket" more..

Intervene in maths paper issue, JVP tells govt.

Dec 16 (LD) The JVP calls for immediate government intervention to prevent injustice to students who sat for the controversial mathematics paper at the GCE Ordinary Level examination under the new syllabus. In a statement, the party said authorities have shown their irresponsibility by having messed up the question paper of the mandatory mathematics subject at a very crucial exam that decides the future stream of education. more..

'Ranil saved leadership with Karu's return'

Dec 16 (LD) Karu Jayasuriya's return to the UNP is a political strategy of Ranil Wickremesinghe to smooth over the threat on his leadership, says JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. "Though some define this as a result of a conspiracy by western countries, Ranil Wickremesinghe, who saw S.B. Dissanayake and Sajitha Premadasa as a challenge to his leadership, overcame that threat by handing over the post of deputy leader to Mr. Jayasuriya, who was a lost figure in the government," he added. more..

Caritas celebrates 40 years of helping victims of war, disasters

Dec 16 (UCAN) Caritas Sri Lanka is marking 40 years of service this year, and its director says helping civil-war victims has been the toughest part. Father Damian Fernando, national director of Caritas, which is known in the country as the Social and Economic Development Centre (SEDEC), told UCA News that ongoing war has marked its service in 25 of the past 40 years. He pointed this out during a Dec. 2-3 trade fair held to commemorate the anniversary. more..

Yal Devi resumes service to Vavuniya after 10 months

Dec 16 (GDI) The Yal Devi train service which earlier went only up to Medawachchiya will continue to Vavuniya beginning today, Operating Supervisor, Sri Lanka Railways, Vijaya Samarasinghe told There will be a train leaving the Fort Railway Station at 5.45 am. This train is scheduled to reach Vavuniya at 12.10 pm. There will be a return train leaving Vavuniya at 1.00 pm. It is scheduled to reach Colombo Fort at 10.00 pm. more..

Jaffna Central College to get swimming pool

Dec 16 (GDI) With the intention of helping groom local swimmers in Jaffna, Major General G.A Chandrasiri, Commander Security Forces Headquarters, Jaffna (SFHQ-J) has arranged to get a fully-equipped swimming pool for Jaffna Central College with the support extended by the 'Tharunyata Hetak' project, spearheaded by Mr.Namal Rajapaksa. The corner-stone for the construction of this huge swimming pool which will cost Rs. 20 million was laid on November 13, 2008 more..

Sri Lanka central bank disputes S&P credit downgrade

Dec 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank has disputed a sovereign credit downgrade by Standard & Poors to 'B' from 'B+' saying it done without "proper assessment". The Central Bank also said some comments in a media statement issued by the rating agency were "factually incorrect, logically untenable and grossly misleading." The central bank had issued a similar statement when Sri Lanka's on an earlier downgrade. more..

Sri Lanka court proposes petrol price formula

Dec 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Supreme Court said the island's taxation of petroleum products was irrational and asked the Treasury not to tax petrol more than 100 percent of cost and margins. Chief Justice Sarath Silva who went through information submitted by Treasury Secretary Sumith Abeysinghe, rejected suggestions that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation was incurring losses on the sale of diesel or petrol. more..

Milk powder down by Rs. 50.00/kg

Dec 16 (GDI) The Government has decided to reduce the prices of milk powder form today (15) as a relief measure to consumers, The Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Bandula Gunawardena said at a media conference held at the Colombo today (15). Accordingly, the prices of a 400g pack of milk powder will be reduced by Rs. 15 and 1kg pack of milk powder will be reduced by Rs.50 with effect from December 15. more..

3 abducted, teacher reported missing, in Jaffna peninsula

Dec 16 (TN) Unidentified armed men arriving in a white van abducted three persons including a student from their houses during curfew hours in three separate incidents in Thenmaraadchi, two Friday and the third Saturday, according to complaints lodged with Human Rights Commission (HRC) Jaffna by the abductees’ family members. Meanwhile, the wife of a teacher from Vadamaraadchi has reported her husband missing since 8 December with HRC Jaffna office. more..

Liberated fear

Dec 16 (LG) Life in Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka, which was 'liberated' from the LTTE by the army in 2007, is no better. Caught between the factionalism of Tamizh Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP), which rules the province, and shootouts, the people of Batticaloa live in constant fear. "Liberation has meant nothing to us. We cannot walk around freely. We live in fear of being abducted or killed," said Batticaloa resident Neelakantan. more..

"Hela Urumaya", "Ilat-Urimai", is this Sinhala or Tamil?

Dec 16 (LG) The word "Urumaya" in sinhala, and "Urimai" in Tamil have essentially the same meaning. It is also used in the name of a Sinhala-Buddhist political party known as "Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU). A number of writers, perhaps with political motives, have hastened to claim that the even the word "urumaya" is a word of Tamil origin. Is it really the case? This author, not being a member of any political party, would like to make a purely etymological evaluation of the matter. more..

Cuba, Sri Lanka Strengthen Economic Coop

Dec 16 (PL) Cuba and Sri Lanka inaugurated the first Session of the Intergovernmental Joint Commission for Economic and Scientific-Technique Collaboration, scheduled to session for two days to strengthen bilateral relations. First Deputy Minister for Foreign Investment and Economic Collaboration Ripoll Diaz, heading Cuban delegation, recalled that this encounter takes place in the middle of a delicate international situation. more..

National Science & Technology Awards 2008

Dec 16 (AT) "At present advanced technology is being used only on 1.5% of the products being exported from Sri Lanka whereas other countries use more than 30%." Minister Professor Tissa Vitarana said so participating at the National Science and Technology Awards 2008 ceremony held at the Presidential Secretariat recently. The awards ceremony offered awards to those who have excelled in 3 criterion, namely for more..

Whither Sri Lanka Norway Friendship

Dec 16 (AT) As far as I know Arne Fjortoft, the affable Norwegian was the first to establish practical links of friendship with Sri Lanka. After arriving in Sri Lanka in 1967 he went to Karainagar in Jaffna and established the “CEYNOR” project to help a so called untouchable Tamil community there who were engaged in fishing. With funds from a temperance movement in Norway he successfully started a boat building factory and shrimp processing unit. more..

Sri Lanka CIMA says student and member services continues

Dec 16 (LBO) The Sri Lanka unit of UK-based Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) said its local branch will not be shut and services to students and members would continue, following the suspension of its local council. "The branch will not be closed," the Colombo unit said in a statement. "The only development is that the Sri Lanka Divisional Council, which consisted of elected members been suspended." more..

Sri Lanka oil distributor told to give bigger dealer commissions

Dec 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) was instructed to consider a bigger commission to its dealers, by the island's Supreme Court, as part of directions issued on a new pricing formula.CPC's newly appointed chairman, Asoka Thoradeniya was ins tructed to discuss the issue with Laugfs, a distributor that went to court over oil derivatives that subsequently went against the utility. more..

Missing maid’s family want search to continue

Dec 16 (TS) K. Thanarajah, the employer of the Sri Lankan maid missing since the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide on Dec 6, has been providing updates to her husband and three children, who are located at a mountain village 110km from Colombo. “I don’t want to be the person who tells them that she is not alive until the police tell me that first,” Thanarajah said. He said that the maid’s family found it difficult to accept that the police had stopped the search as they believed that they had the resources to continue. more..

Sir Arthur C Clarke: A life-long public intellectual

Dec 16 (GV) Arthur C Clarke, whose 91st birth anniversary falls on 16 December 2008, once opened an essay on science and society with this pun on Newton’s Third Law of motion. He was empathising with politicians and the public who get confused when scientific opinion becomes divided or polarised. Clarke was a rare expert who always tried to reconcile rational analysis with the real world’s limits of the possible. more..

Karuna:Prabhakaran at “his last gasp” in Kilinochchi

Dec 16 (PTI) Tamil Tigers and their supremo V Prabhakaran are at their “last gasp,” facing imminent defeat at Kilinochchi as the Sri Lankan army is on the verge of overrunning LTTE’s defacto capital, former top LTTE commander Karuna Amman has said. In an interview to state owned ITN, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman, once the second in command in the LTTE, said the rebel leader was about to be “punished for his insensate crimes”. more..

Higher Education and Poverty Alleviation

Dec 16 (LG) Higher Education and Poverty Alleviation directly involves the universities and the community. This topic is more relevant to the people of Rajarata, which is a major agricultural area of the country, where a majority of the rural people whose livelihood is agriculture. My focus will be on the SAARC countries which include Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. more..

A beautiful cultural revolution has begun in the west

Dec 16 (LG) Indian music and dance traditions, classical, folk and popular are taking rapid roots among the young people of the west, especially from the universities, who are seeking a new hope for humanity. It appears the fears expressed by philosopher and historian Dr Arnold Toynbee has been taken seriously by our younger folks in the west. Reacting to the impact of western civilization globally, he said that more..

JVP sends reminder to Secretary General of UPFA

Dec 16 (LT) General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva has sent a reminder to the Secretary General of the UPFA Minister Susil Premajayanthe regarding the removal of 11 Parliamentarians including Mr. Wimal Weerawansa from the UPFA and the Parliament. In the letter Mr. Silva has indicated that the relevant Parliamentarians have been removed from the membership of the JVP and according to the constitution of the UPFA they should be removed from the UPFA and the Parliament as well. more..

'India deserve praise for their commitment to combat terrorism'

Dec 16 (GDI) Commending the positive stand of the Government of India in combating terrorism, the Minister of Media, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that the Indian Prime Minister and his Government deserve praise from the Sri Lankan Government for the stand taken on terrorism. He observed that the Indian Prime Minister has made a clear statement stressing the importance of uniting to combat terrorism. more..

Civilians continue to flee LTTE-held areas

Dec 16 (GDI) Eighteen civilians belonging to six families reached Government controlled areas seeking protection of the security forces at Omanthai yesterday (15). The group said that they have been held captive by the LTTE terrorists for several months. The group included 11 men, 3 women, 3 boys and a girl who were reportedly from Oddusudan, Keridamadu and Mannakandal localities at Mullattivu district. more..

Children’s Cultural Centre built by NRC opens in Batticaloa

Dec 16 (LP) The first Children’s Cultural Centre in the Panichenkerny area in Batticaloa was declared open recently. The facility was built by the Norwegian Refugee Council at a cost of Rs.4.6 million with funding received from the Norwegian Guide and Scout Association and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry. The Centre has a children’s playground equipped with mat slide, swings, merry-go-round, seesaw, pyramid and other recreational activity. more..

BOI signs an agreement with Southern Spars International

Dec 16 (BOI) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval to Southern Spars International (Private) Limited. On behalf of the BOI Mr. Dhammika Perera, Chairman signed the agreement. Mr. Lawrence MacDonald, Director of Southern Spars Group Partnership signed the agreement on behalf of the company. The US $ 1.8 million project will manufacture and export EC6 Rigging (Cables), Carbon Fibre Battens, Carbon Fibre Masts and more..

Vasu writes to President on defence web intimidations

Dec 16 (LD) Presidential Adviser and former MP, Attorney at Law Vasudewa Nanayakkara has written to the President, himself a lawyer that the official website of the Defence Ministry has published an intimidating report on lawyers who appear for persons suspected of terrorist activities. "The Report has singled out the Tamil Lawyers who filed cases. more..

Int'l schools are against education act

Dec 16 (LD) The chairman of a committee appointed to recommend a new education act says international schools functioning in the country are illegal and that they have not been registered with the Education Ministry. Dr. A.J. Gunawardena, the committee head, says the now existent act penned in 1961 makes it the state's responsibility to provide an education to the age group of five to 14 years. more..

Will LTTE lay down arms if UN supervises?

Dec 16 (LD) There is a reading in a certain section of the government hierarchy that any further military pressure on LTTE to get them for discussions, may push the LTTE to ask for UN intervention to "lay down arms" to enter into negotiations, learns "Lanka Dissent". With President Rajapaksa repeating his willingness to sit for discussions with the LTTE if they lay down arms, the possibility of LTTE also putting forward a condition that they would only lay down arms, if more..

S.B. gets one hurdle cleared from SC

Dec 16 (LD) National Organiser of the UNP who petitioned the Supreme Court praying that his omission from the voter's register by the Commissioner of Elections be ruled null and void, was given the opportunity to include himself as a voter, by the Supreme Court. The three member bench of the Supreme Court, today issued a stay order against the Election Commissioner's decision to exclude Mr. Dissanayake's name from the electoral register. more..

LTTE Billboards on A-9 Say It All

Dec 16 (SLA) TWO huge LTTE billboards, just found in the deep north of KANAKARAYANKULAM at the side of the A-9 JAFFNA-KANDY Highway say it all. “Join the Tigers and let not thriving stems wither,” the poetic diction on the hoarding depicting three lovely kids, announced. The other one with heavily armed LTTE uniform-clad youngsters calls upon people to be awakened to join the LTTE to win over any cyclone-like challenge. more..

SC stays operation of ER amendment

Dec 16 (SAMN) The Supreme Court Monday stayed the operation of the purported amendment to the Emergency Regulations which allowed the Executive to detain a person for one and half years in police custody. The Bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Justices K. Sripavan and P. A. Rathnayake also directed that those detainees brought back to the Police Stations from the fiscal custody were entitled to apply for bail and more..

Book on Diversity of SL Wildlife

Dec 16 (SAMN) Naturalist and the foremost authority on Sri Lankan elephants Jayantha Jayewardene last week released his latest book titled `The Diversity of Sri Lankan Wildlife’.It covers a wide range of subjects. The book is lucidly written enabling even those who have no idea of our wildlife to get a thorough knowledge on the subject. The book also records the wide personal experiences of the author.It can be used for reference on these subjects as well. more..

Wijesekera says he won’t leave Govt.

Dec 16 (SAMN) Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mahinda Wijesekara Monday said that he would ask for a new ministry from President Mahinda Rajapaksa unless Postal workers cooperate with him to make the Postal Department a profit making venture. He said he has no option other than asking for a new ministry unless the Postal Department workers, trade unions and ministry officials help make the department a profit making one. more..

D-day today for UNP D-group

Dec 16 (SAMN) The UNP dissident group is to meet today to decide whether its members should obtain SLFP membership or continue to remain in the government as a separate political entity. The original group of 17 members -- now reduced to 16 after former Minister Karu Jayasuriya rejoined the mainstream UNP -- are to meet at the residence of UNP –D group leader Minister M.H. Mohamed to discuss in depth how they should function in the future. more..

Constitute CC before elections - Karu

Dec 16 (Island) The UNP’s Deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya yesterday called on the government to constitute the Constitutional Council, before anymore elections were held. Jayasuriya said that polls had been announced for the North Western and Central Provincial Councils and there was also the likelihood of three more Provincial Council Elections and a parliamentary poll being held in 2009. more..

National Action Plan on youth employment introduced

Dec 16 (DN) The Government introduced its National Action Plan on youth employment yesterday. The Ministry of Labour has developed the Action Plan under the aegis of the World Bank and the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The youth employment projects will be launched in the Ratnapura and Kegalle districts under the National Plan. The Government of Japan will fund these projects. more..

Project to revive Galle's ancient glory

Dec 16 (DN) A city beautification project will be implemented centering Galle city, fortress and the seashore to yield maximum economic benefits while mitigating sea erosion. The Coast Conservation Department's (CCD) proposed plan to construct a new beach road on the shore line between Mahamodara Light House Hotel and the Galle Fortress was discussed in detail at the Galle Governor's auditorium recently. more..

Troops of 59 Div further extend their defences; 2 LTTE bodies found

Dec 16 (MOD) Troops of 59 Division advancing towards LTTE's major bastion in northeastern coastal border, Mullaittivu, had several confrontations with LTTE terrorists yesterday, 15 December. Troops are further extending own defence line while consolidating newly gained grounds. Troops of a military formation under 59 Division have confronted with LTTE terrorists in few occasions in general area Kumulamunei last afternoon. more..

'Huge demand for SL vegetables in global market'

Dec 16 (Island) ‘Ruhunu Expo-Gamen Lowata’ Export Trade Exhibition, which was organized by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) and the Ministry of Export Development and International Trade was held on the 13th and 14th of December 2008 at the Tzu-Chi National School Siribopura, Hambantota. ‘Ruhunu Expo-Gamen Lowata’ was a platform for producers in Ruhuna to offer possibilities to the global market for their products, more..

Video cassette with footage of crime scene in Mutur lost

Dec 16 (DM) The special Police team investigating into the killing of the ACF workers had not taken into custody two vital video cassettes containing footage of the crime scene before the bodies were removed and as a result of this one of the video cassettes has gone missing, head of the special investigating team accepted yesterday, testifying at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to investigate and more..

Schools can’t demand donations for admission: Ministry

Dec 16 (DM) The Education Ministry said yesterday that the only fees a school could demand from a student at the time of admission were school development fees and welfare fees. “In case a school principal demands donations for the school development society, then parents can either inform the Ministry, or complain to the Bribery Commission,” Education Ministry media secretary Jayaweera Delpagoda said. more..

Breakaway Tamil Tiger faction to stop child recruitment

Dec 16 (IRIN) A breakaway faction of the Tamil Tigers is to stop underage recruitments completely, the group's leader told IRIN. Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan, leader of the TMVP, which broke away from the Tamil Tigers in 2004, said it signed the action plan with the government and UNICEF on 1 December, with a three-month deadline for ensuring that all underage recruits in the TMVP are demobilised. more..

Sri Lanka rupee slides to 14-month lows

Dec 16 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee fell to its lowest level in more than a year on Tuesday as the central bank refrained from intervening and allowed a gradual depreciation in the currency. Central bank officials confirmed it had not intervened in the market in the last three trading sessions and has allowed gradual depreciation of the rupee in the last five trading days. The central bank is seen letting the currency fall gradually to ease pressure on rapidly shrinking foreign exchange reserves. more..

Send Pranab immediately to Sri Lanka: DMK to Centre

Dec 16 (PTI) Stepping up pressure on the Centre, the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu today said External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee should be sent immediately to Colombo as ‘promised’ by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to make all efforts to arrange for a ceasefire between the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE. A resolution adopted at the high-level committee meeting of the party said that Mukherjee should immediately visit Sri Lanka more..

'Sri Lanka economy expands 6.3 pct in third quarter'

Dec 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economy expanded 6.3 percent in the third quarter of 2008 over the same quarter the previous year, and against 7.0 in the second quarter of this year, the governments statistics office said. Services grew by 5.5 percent, industry 5.6 percent and agriculture by 12.4 percent, statistics director Suranjana Vidyaratne said. Vidyaratne said Sri Lanka's economy was not much affected by global turmoil as more..

Sri Lankan Airlines drops flights to some Indian cities

Dec 16 (LBO) Sri Lankan Airlines is dropping flights to Calicut, Cochin, Coimbatore and Hyderabad, from January 15, but increasing flights to more popular destinations including, Maldives, the airline said. The airline said the suspension of services to the four Indian cities will not affect the country’s tourism or export industry. Flights to Male has been increased, supporting the fruits and vegetables export industry. more..

Trawlers off Kochi selling diesel to LTTE agents

Dec 16 (LB) As the war between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Army is escalating, reports have surfaced about fishing trawlers off Kochi coast making the best out of the war by selling diesel to the LTTE agents at the mid sea for exorbitant rates. With the war assuming huge proportion, the LTTE has been left with no other choice but to aggressively scout for fuel to power their defence and supply vehicles. more..