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'Shell attacks' on Mullaitivu hospital

Dec 16 (BBC) Two wards of the Mullaitivu government hospital were damaged after heavy shell attacks on Monday, officials said. Medical Officer (MO) at Mullaitivu hospital, Dr. S Shanmugarajah told BBC Sandeshaya that resident patients were removed from the hospital as a precautionary measure. Patients were transferred to Pudukudiyiruppu hospital and staff have also left due to security reasons, he said. more..

Sri Lanka advises pilgrims to India to take polio vaccine

Dec 16 (IANS) Health Ministry has advised India bound pilgrims to take the polio vaccine before leaving, following reports of a polio epidemic in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states, reports here said Tuesday. A large number of Sri Lankan Buddhists make pilgrimage to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh where many Buddhist places of worship are located. 'There is a possibility that the dreaded disease could be spread in Sri Lanka through pilgrims returning, if they did not take precautionary measures,' more..

How LTTE mistreats trapped Wanni civilians

Dec 16 (TC) Sri Lanka's separatist Tamil Tigers are subjecting ethnic Tamils in their northern stronghold, the Vanni, to forced recruitment, abusive forced labor, and restrictions on movement that place their lives at risk, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 17-page report, "Trapped and Mistreated: LTTE Abuses against Civilians in the Vanni," details how the LTTE are brutally abusing the Tamil population in areas under their control. more..

Pakistan eye Sri Lanka as India tour prospects dim

Dec 17 (Reuters) Pakistan are considering a home series against Sri Lanka if India cancel their test tour in the wake of last month's militant attacks in Mumbai. A senior Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said on Tuesday it was still waiting for a final answer from India on the fate of the tour scheduled to start on Jan. 4. "We still would like India to fulfil their commitment under the future tours programme. Until we don't get a final answer from them we will wait," more..

Cancel O/L maths paper - CTU

Dec 17 (LD) Chairman of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union, Joseph Stalin yesterday (Dec. 15th) called for the cancellation of the mathematics question paper at the G.C.E. Ordinary Level examination. In a statement, the CTU chairman requested a fresh paper for the subject. Noting the maths paper on Dec. 13th 2008 was set under the new syllabus for secondary students that was implemented through a ministry circular issued on 2006, more..

Nurses return to work

Dec 17 (GDI) Nurses who refused to administer chemotherapy and struck work have returned for duty at the National Cancer Institute, Maharagama. The Ministry of Health said nurses have been reporting for duty from yesterday (15) consequent to the ministry granting them their demands, which includes a 3,000 rupee risk allowance, special training in cancer treatment and providing necessary equipment. more..

Minister accuses DIG of illegal acts

Dec 17 (BBC) Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne has appealed to the chief of police to take action against a senior police officer accused of being involved in illegal gem mining. He made the accusation against Deputy Inspector General (Sabaragamuwa), Upali Hewage, at the Ratnapura District Co-ordinating Committee meeting. He said DIG Hewage has intervened to get a man, who was arrested after a tip off, released. more..

Heavy fighting kills 145 in Sri Lanka: military

Dec 17 (AFP) Intense fighting in northern Sri Lanka on Tuesday left at least 25 government troops and 120 Tamil Tigers dead in the ongoing battle for the rebels' political capital, a military spokesman said. Security forces carried out simultaneous attacks against Tamil Tiger strong points near the town of Kilinochchi and also on the Jaffna peninsula, military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara said. more..

Rebel in the family

Dec 16 (NP) Vinothini Rajendran's 11th-floor apartment is decorated with plastic flowers, a poster of Lord Krishna and framed photos of the little brother she left behind in Sri Lanka. It has been years since she saw him. He never writes or calls, but she accepts that is just the way it is when your brother is Velupillai Prabhakaran, one of the world's most notorious guerrilla leaders. more..

Church helps cyclone victims on war-torn peninsula in the North

Dec 17 (UCAN) Officials of Caritas Jaffna say emergency shelters are the most urgent need of people whose homes were recently lost to Cyclone Nisha, leaving tens of thousands displaced in northern Sri Lanka. Father Christopher George Jayakumar, director of Caritas Jaffna, locally called the Human Development Centre (HUDEC), told UCA News that the Nov. 25-26 cyclone has created a dire need for tarpaulin sheets and polythene because many people lost their homes and much of the north remains flooded. more..

Anura Priyadharshana Yapa replies Ravi Karunanayake

Dec 17 (GDI) Following the Supreme Court determination with respect to a pricing formula for fuel, UNP Member of Parliament, Ravi Karunanayake offered some comments to the media on the decision itself and other related and unrelated matters. We all respect the judiciary and its decisions; there is no argument on this. It is noteworthy here that Mr. Karunanayake has conveniently forgotten to mention that more..

Anton Balasingham’s death anniversary observed

Dec 17 (TW) Second death anniversary of Anton Balsingham, theoretician and chief negotiator of LTTE was observed in several parts of the Jaffna peninsula, according to a report on Virakesari, on Dec 16, 2008. Events in memory of Anton Balasingham were held at the Jaffna University and several private educational institutions. Posters paying tribute to him appeared in several places including Thenmaradchi areas of Sarasalai, Madduvil and in Vadamaradchi areas of Nelliyadi and Point Pedro. more..

'Early adjustment the key to success'

Dec 17 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene has said the greatest challenge facing Sri Lanka in Bangladesh is to try to adjust to the conditions and the pitches as quickly as possible. "The home team will always try to make use of home advantage - the conditions, the pitches and spectator support," said Jayawardene. "The challenge facing any touring side is to try to adjust to them as quickly as possible and get an early advantage over the home side." more..

CID withdraws TNA MPs cases

Dec 17 (ML) The CID yesterday withdrew its applications to impound the passports of three TNA MPs. The CID filed two applications on December 5, at the Colombo Magistrate Court to issue notice on TNA MPs S. Jeyanandamurthy, P. Ariyanenthiran and S. Kajendran and to impound their passports. The CID withdrew the applications when the matter was taken up before Colombo Chief Magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi. more..

UNP gets three cheers as human rights dog the LTTE

Dec 17 (ML) As President Mahinda Rajapakse and his government face judicial censure for the disastrous oil hedging agreements that will hit the economy with over US$ 489 million in losses, Sri Lanka’s credit rating last week plunged to five levels below investment grade as Standard & Poor’s downgraded the country further citing mounting public debt and political and security concerns. more..

SB cleared to run for chief minister

Dec 17 (ML) The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday issued a stay order on the Elections Commissioner (EC) Dayananda Dissanayake from keeping out UNP National Organiser S.B. Dissanayake’s name from the electoral register. The stay order will be in force till April 1, 2009. With yesterday’s stay order Dissanayake is now free to contest for the Chief Ministerial (CM) post for the Central Province (CP). more..

CWC, NFF with Govt., SLMC, DPF with UNP

Dec 17 (ML) The Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) and the National Freedom Front (NFF) will contest in alliance with the UPFA at the North Western and Central Provincial Council elections while the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the Democratic People’s Front (DPF) of Mano Ganesan will field candidates on the UNP list, The Morning Leader learns. The JVP and Minister P. Chandrasekeran’s Up Country Peoples Front will contest on their own tickets, more..

Sri Lanka, LTTE claim upper hand on battlefield

Dec 17 (Hindu) In a day of heavy fighting in Kilinochchi, the military and LTTE gave conflicting versions on the outcome of the confrontations and the casualty figures. The Defence Ministry claimed at least 120 LTTE cadre were killed and 250 injured west of Paranthan, Admapan and Iranamadu, along the Kilinochchi battlefront. The pro-LTTE TamilNet website, however, claimed more than 40 soldiers were killed and more..

How long can political war help postpone economic crisis?

Dec 17 (TC) In any democratic country, the Annual Budget of the Government is, by and large, a political economic document rather than purely economic, as most economists would like it to be. Hence, economic rationality and economic prudence gives way to political opportunism and manoeuvring. The Government of Sri Lanka’s Budget for 2009 presented to the Parliament on 06th November 2008 is no exception to this. more..

Prabakharan's sister knows that Army wont be able to catch her brother

Dec 17 (TC) This may be simple, yet a very effective piece of public relations exercise. Whoever pulled this interview off should be congratulated! The inclusion of stunningly beautiful picture of Arjuna – the consummate archer at his moment of peak performance – riding into battle at Kurushetra with Lord Krishna, no less, as his Saarathi (charioteer) captures the exuberance of his skill as depicted in Bagvad Gita, is very appropriate to the moment. more..

Sri Lanka to import rice from Pakistan

Dec 17 (PO) The Sri Lankan government has decided to import 10,000 metric tonnes of rice,to counter a shortfall in the local market.Pakistan, India, Burma and Thailand have been named as the countries from which the required quantity of rice would be bought,government sources said. The decision was taken during a food security meeting presided over by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo this evening. more..

Reporters Without Borders - exposing their Borders

Dec 17 (MN) Reporters Without Borders have taken umbrage at the Sri Lanka government’s action in blocking out the BBC Sinhala service “Sandeshaya” programme rebroadcast by SLBC. The Sri Lankan Diaspora welcomes this move by the Sri Lanka Government and the SLBC. This has been a long time coming. The BBC Sinhala service, on many an occasion gave the impression that it was no more than another propaganda arm of the LTTE from the time Vasantha Rajah hijacked the programme. more..

Sri Lanka growth expected to slow in last quarter

Dec 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's economic expansion is likely to slow in the last quarter as an external slowdown hits demand for its products, resulting in year-end growth of around 6.0 percent, officials said. In the third quarter the economy expanded by 6.3 percent, the government's statistics office said, helped by high agricultural output, amid record prices. "The global turmoil only began to affect us in the last two weeks of the third quarter, so the effects are not fully felt in this quarter," more..

Declining affordability may hit mobile growth in Lanka: Nokia

Dec 17 (UNI) The adverse macroeconomic situation in Sri Lanka will constrain the growth of mobile services, which have recorded a phenomenal growth of 25 per cent last year, Nokia Emerging Asia General Manager Prem Chand said. "The mobile growth seen during the last few years will slow down possibly next year due to the question of affordability," Mr Chand said on the sidelines of the Nokia World 2008 in Barcelona, Spain. more..

JVP meets Gen. Sec. of Democratic Workers’ Party of South Korea

Dec 17 (LT) Parliamentarian Sunil Handunneththi, Member of the Central Committee of the JVP, has met Cho Soo Yeon, General Secretary of the Democratic Workers’ Party of South Korea at their party head office in Seoul and has held discussions to have close relations between the two parties say reports. The South Korean Democratic Workers’ Party has five members representing the party in South Korean Parliament, more..

'Had I been with the SLFP, I would have headed the government today'

Dec 17 (LG) The tumultuous S B Dissanayake Episode reflects the chaotic nature of Sri Lankan politics ever since S W R D Bandaranaike compromised with the country’s racial and religious bigots and the Federal Party of the Tamils that talked about a Tamil Kingdom –Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi – did not help either and flowed into the TULF and gave birth to the world’s most brutal terrorist force, the LTTE. more..

Representatives of UN meet Minister Devananda

Dec 17 (LG) The representatives of UN organizations in Sri Lanka met with Mr. Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare and Chairman of Northern Province Special Task Committee at his Ministerial office on the 10th of December 2008 at the invitation of the Minister. The devastation caused in the peninsula due to the cyclonic winds and the floods, was the main topic of discussion at the meeting. more..

President issues threat against Supreme Court judges

Dec 17 (wsws) In an extraordinary outburst last week, President Mahinda Rajapakse lashed out at the country's Supreme Court, accusing it of undermining his powers, and issued a barely disguised threat that the judges could find themselves the target of violent thugs. Speaking at a public meeting on December 9, Rajapakse bemoaned the fact that a series of Supreme Council decisions had reduced the status of the president to "less than that of a magistrate". more..

Examinations Dept moves to resolve problem of O/L Maths paper

Dec 17 (GDI) Clarifying the position of the Department of Examination with regard to the new syllabus Mathematics II question paper of the ongoing GCE O/L examination, the Department said that the answer scripts will be scrutinized. The Ministry stated that the Commissioner General of Examinations who was notified on this issue had informed the Ministry that instructions relating to the evaluation of answer papers would be given according to more..

National Vocational Qualification system to be introduced

Dec 17 (GDI) The Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission has taken steps to introduce a National Vocational Qualification system (NVQ) consisting of seven levels in collaboration with all Government technical education and vocational training institutes and skills development project presently under the Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training, the President to the Sri Lanka Vocational Training Authority, M.T.W Ponnamperuma said more..

Five year plan to boost local cashew cultivation

Dec 17 (GDI) The Ministry of Supplimentary Plantation Crops Development has initiated a five year project to boost local cashew cultivation with the objective of positioning Sri Lanka among the ten top most countries in the world that cultivate cashew. At the initial stage the project will be launched in the District of Anuradhapura in an already selected land area of 10,000 acres of which 3000 have already been cultivated. more..

CaFFE reminds PC candidates to comply with the Assets and Liabilities Act

Dec 17 (LP) All political parties and independent groups are requested by the Campaign for Fair and Free Elections (CaFFE) not to nominate candidates who fail to comply with the Assets and Liabilities Act for the forthcoming Wayamba and Central Provincial Council elections. The CaFFE states that it is the duty of the Elections Commissioner to obtain a statement on Assets and Liabilities of each candidate and more..

Towards a nation of maths-haters and ignoramuses

Dec 17 (LNP) Our education pundits seem to be oblivious to this simple truth. Instead of preparing children to make complicated things in life simple with the wonderful tool called mathematics, teachers have turned it into a fearful monster of sorts, the mere mention of which is enough to make many a child shiver and hide under his or her desk. Therefore mathematics, which Einstein extolled as the poetry of logical ideas, has unfortunately become one of the most hated subjects in schools. more..

No one seems to want Sri Lanka cricket team

Dec 17 (LNP) Marketability of the Sri Lanka Cricket team has suffered irreparable damage at the hands of continuing political meddling which has now reached comical proportions, as the team s financial potential hit an unprecedented low on Monday when it came to light that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had failed to attract a single bidder either as the Sri Lanka team sponsor or the clothing sponsor, when bids for the fresh year were closed. more..

Lankan community pitches in for injured soldiers back home

Dec 17 (TP) Sri Lankan Ambassador Vijaya Padukkage has handed over a consignment of 38 boxes containing essential items to be distributed to injured soldiers in Sri Lanka, to Al Mana Freight Services. The articles were donated by the Sri Lankan community in Qatar to the Sri Lankan Coordinating Committee (SLCC). Imthiyas Samsudeen, General Manager, Al Mana Freight Services, said the consignment will be shipped out of Doha on December 20. more..

Army breach last defence

Dec 17 (SAMN) Troops of the 57 Division and the Task Force - I operating in the Kilinochchi and Paranthan fronts yesterday breached the heavily fortified LTTE earthbund, the last obstacle before entry to Kilinochchi, from five locations regaining a near 5 km stretch under the control of the Forces causing heavy damage to the LTTE, Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told the Daily News. more..

More forests destroyed

Dec 17 (SAMN) The destruction caused to State owned forests has become a common occurrence in certain places in the Kegalle district and according to information the most affected forests conservations are in Aranayake and Deraniyagala constituencies. Villagers in the Aranayake area said that criminal gangs are operating timber business in the Aranayake area. These businessmen buy trees from home gardens below the actual value and more..

ER suspects, maximum detention 90 days

Dec 17 (SAMN) The Supreme Court Monday ordered the authorities to produce suspects detained under Emergency Regulations before a Magistrate within 90 days. The suspects could then move for bail and if bail is refused the suspect should be sent to fiscal custody. The Supreme Court also refused an application to detain a suspect taken into custody for one and half years (18 months). more..

Korea helps dispose garbage

Dec 17 (SAMN) A Sanitary Garbage Retainer will be constructed for the first time in Sri Lanka at Waga in Avissawella electorate. This project is undertaken by the Central Environmental Authority and the National Garbage Management Programme with the financial assistance coming from the South Korean Government. This huge project, once implemented, will solve the garbage problem faced by the local Government Authorities, more..

Mervyn promises he will not harass journalists

Dec 17 (LD) Labour Minister Mervyn Silva has given an undertaking to the Supreme Court that he will refrain from harassing or disrupting the duties of media personnel in the future. His promise came today (Dec. 17th) when the SC took up a fundamental rights petition filed by a camera journalist of MTV Channel (Pvt.) Ltd. The petitioner claimed the minister had prevented him from carrying out his duties at the opening of the Kelaniya flyover. more..

Camouflage material sold to black market

Dec 17 (LD) Camouflage uniform material issued only to the security forces has been sold from the wholesale stores of the main 'Salusala' office to a businesswoman, a trade unionist at the institution, with affiliations to the SLFP, told Lanka Dissent'. Noting that this move could be a threat to national security, the trade unionist said that the transaction has taken place with a businesswoman named Priyangani Dissanayake for Rs. 59,537. more..

Ticket machines only after ending fare anomalies

Dec 17 (LD) Private bus owners are accusing the Western Province Road Transport Authority of distorting its promise in the court to eliminate anomalies in bus fares before making ticket machines mandatory. President of the Lanka Bus Owners Association Gamunu Wijeratne made the charge. Despite measures by the National Transport Commission to eliminate these inconsistencies, transport authorities in Western Province are avoiding any action, he said. more..

TNA MPs violated constitution - AG observes

Dec 17 (LD) The Attorney General has observed that four TNA MPs had violated the constitution of the Sri Lankan Republic through their remarks at a Pongu Thamil event in Europe and Australia. The CID's ASP Senaka Kumarasinghe and OIC of special investigations T.B. Pilapitiya, making a submission of the AG's observation to the Colombo Magistrate's Court yesterday, also said they have been advised to obtain statements from the defendents. more..

300 top govt. official face bribery charges

Dec 17 (LD) Around 300 case files on assets and bribery charges against high-ranking administrative, police and military officials are piled up at the Bribery Commission, said attorney Shiral Laktilake, spokesman of 'Corruption Watch.' The commission is also probing more than 30 top government politicians who are accused of amassing millions of personal wealth by improper means and misusing state property. Among them are four ministers, two chief ministers and a deputy mayor, more..

2009 a year of revolutions - JVP leader

Dec 17 (LD) The year 2009 would be made a year of revolution, leader of the JVP, Somawansa Amarasinghe says. Speaking at the JVP's Matara district convention held at the old Dutch building in Nupe, he said that the upcoming year would see, the people, who are keeping silent at present, raising their voice in a big way. 'The security forces are at war. Around 2,000 lives of security forces personnel have been lost and many fold more are left disabled." more..

Economy losing its steam

Dec 17 (BL) The economy appears to have lost steam with officials yesterday confirming that growth in the third quarter though at 6.3% was the lowest in recent years while full year forecast of near 6% would be lowest in four years. The Department of Census and Statistics said that the economic performance “is encouraging” for the third quarter of 2008 with 6.3% compared to a growth of 7.0 percent for the same quarter of the last year. more..

Common factors that Karu J and Sivajilingam share

Dec 17 (BL) Karu Jayasuriya and Sivajilingam are in the news. They have several common factors. They are honest. They are corruption free. They love their race and religion. But they are in the news for different reasons. I met Jayasuriya about 15 years ago when he was the President of the National Chamber of Commerce. He invited me to edit and upgrade the monthly magazine Ceylon Commerce, which the Chamber published. more..

Political appointments to diplomatic postings challenged

Dec 17 (BL) The continuous political appointments to Sri Lanka’s diplomatic missions abroad have been challenged in the Supreme Court. Former career diplomat Kalyananda Godage yesterday filed a Fundamental Rights Application seeking to establish a competent and eligible Foreign Diplomatic Service devoid of politicisation. FR case No. 590/2008 was filed yesterday as a piece of public interest litigation, with more..

UNP wants Premajayanth ousted

Dec 17 (BL) United National Party (UNP) yesterday called for the removal of Education Minister Susil Premajayanth charging that he was not capable of maintaining the education system without causing any problems. Speaking at a press briefing, UNP Parliamentarian Akila Viraj Kariyawasam questioned the ability of the incumbent Education Minister to resolve the problems faced by the sector at present. more..

Three killed, 45 injured in bus crash

Dec 17 (DN) Three persons were killed and forty five persons wounded when three buses collided at Podderamulla in Wadduwa yesterday morning, Police Media Spokesman, SSP Ranjith Gunesekera told the Daily News. The deceased were identified as K. Kapilasena of Alwis Town Hendala, Chikamani Aluthgama (44) and Nevindra Aluthgama (15) residents of Pragathi Mawatha, Veyangoda. The wounded were despatched to various hospitals in the area. more..