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SC decision on petrol price may compel Treasury Sec to resign

Dec 18 (LD) The Cabinet decision this evening (Dec 17) not to reduce the price of petrol to LKR 100/- per litre with effect from midnight today (Dec 17) as directed by the Supreme Court on the basis it did not receive the official Supreme Court decision, has compelled the Treasury Secretary, Mr. Sumith Abeysinghe to tender his resignation tomorrow (Dec 18), speculates Cabinet sources. more..

Committee to probe maths paper

Dec 18 (SAMN) Education Minister Susil Premajayantha who paid urgent attention to the problem relating to the Ordinary Level Mathematics II question paper has appointed a Special Committee to probe the matter and submit its recommendations regarding suitable remedial action. The Committee will submit its recommendations as to what action should be taken to prevent any injustice to students who sat this paper and the Ministry would take its decision on the matter accordingly. more..

Tamil parties form broad alliance

Dec 18 (SAMN) A broad alliance of Tamil political parties, sans the TNA, has been formed with the intention of addressing the concerns of the Tamil community in the country, Leader of the PLOTE D. Siddarthan said. The parties that have so far agreed to be part of the alliance is EPRLF and Leader of the TULF V. Anandasangaree who has been appointed the General Secretary of the alliance. more..

APRC holds extra sessions

Dec 18 (SAMN) "As military operations in the North gather momentum, the APRC now meets twice a week to hold discussions on core issues on devolution of power and the speedy expeditions process of framing a political solution to the ethnic conflict. APRC Chairman, Prof. Tissa Vitharana said political parties have moved on to more contentious issues with regard to devolution of power after reaching a consensus on 90 percent of the moderate issues. more..

No bird flu threat

Dec 18 (DN) Bird flu (Avian Influenza - H5N1) has not been reported in Sri Lanka so far. Howeve, health authorities did not rule out the risk factors of the epidemic that has affected neighbouring countries such as India, Pakistan, China, Indonesia and Thailand. The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has taken precautions and is ready with the drugs, medical equipment and facilities to keep patients separately during treatment, more..

'UNP, JVP will learn good lesson at PC Polls'

Dec 18 (DN) Health Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva yesterday said the people will teach a good lesson to the UNP, Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya and the JVP at the upcoming Provincial Council Elections in the Central and North Western provinces. The Minister at a press briefing in Colombo said UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will record his 15th defeat at this election and the UNP will have to suffer a serious set back since its founding in the early 1940s. more..

Firefire at Lucky Plaza brought under control

Dec 18 (DM) A fire that erupted in Lucky Plaza building at Kollupitiya in Colombo this morning (Dec. 18th) has now been brought under control. The blaze on the second floor of the building injured no one, as nearly 400 people had been evacuated by firefighters and police. The extent of the damage and the cause for the fire are yet to be determined. more..

Mohan Peiris sworn in as AG

Dec 18 (LD) President's Counsel Mohan Peiris was sworn in as the Attorney General before President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning (Dec. 18th). After the retirement of C.R. de Silva, the President appointed Priyasath Depp, as acting AG. A legal advisor to the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Peiris is also a former solicitor general. He is an old boy of St. Joseph's College, Colombo.

SC orders UDA allow Waters Edge to continue under new management

Dec 18 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Chairman of the Urban Development authority to allow the Waters Edge Banquet and Conference Facility be continued under a new Management Committee, chaired by Dr. P. Ramanujan. The employees will continue to serve under this Management Committee. Uditha Egalahewa appeared for the employees who had appealed to the Court stating that their employment was at risk, when more..

'Some NGOs embark on unethical conversion of Buddhists'

Dec 18 (Island) The economic stability of the Buddhists in Sri Lanka was weakened after the introduction of the open economy. Taking advantage of the poverty among the people some Non-government Organisations (NGOs) had embarked on unethical conversion of the Buddhists to the Christian faith, observed Venerable Professor Bellanwila Wimalaratana Thera, Vice-Chancellor, University of Sri Jayawardenapura more..

Military says no debacle

Dec 18 (DM) The military yesterday refuted LTTE claims that the Army had suffered another ‘debacle’ in its latest push to capture the Kilinochchi town and also asserted that a time frame to accomplish the mission cannot be specified. Military Spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told the Daily Mirror that although the Army had suffered casualties in Tuesday’s battle the numbers were far less than that suffered by the LTTE. more..

A Response to TamilNet by Ambassador Blake

Dec 18 (USE) I was disappointed to read on TamilNet criticism of the US Government's programmes to help stabilise and develop Eastern Sri Lanka. Since there is no mechanism to respond to TamilNet, I thought I would use the Embassy's blog to respond to some of the incorrect assertions in the TamilNet article. First, a TNA MP asserts in the TamilNet article that Washington's purpose in our programmes for the east is to, "help Colombo make majoritarian inroads into the east." more..

Magistrate grants bail to OIC, remands nine suspects

Dec 18 (DM) Colombo Chief Magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi while granting bail yesterday to the OIC of the Western Province Special Investigations Unit, remanded two Police officers and seven other suspects till December 18 for being members of an unlawful assembly, committing robbery, and for attempting to extort money from the complainant. The suspects had demanded Rs. one million from a Tamil businessman to release him from the police custody. more..

Sri Lankan bishops call for Christmas truce

Dec 18 (IANS) The Catholic and Anglican bishops of Sri Lanka have urged the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels to declare a truce during Christmas and the New Year to ensure a peaceful atmosphere in the island. Describing Christmas as 'the world festival of peace', the bishops from Colombo and the embattled northern region requested both sides that there should be no fighting during this period. 'It is this spirit of Christmas that compels us as Christian leaders of the country to urge the more..

Sri Lanka claims capture of rebel fortifications

Dec 18 (AP) Sri Lankan forces captured critical Tamil Tiger fortifications protecting the rebels' de facto capital amid days of heavy clashes in the north. The seizure of the northwestern section of a 17-kilometer-long earth berm and ditch barrier around Kilinochchi could help clear the way for a final assault on the town and force the rebels to seek refuge in the rapidly shrinking area under their control in the northeast. more..

Cabinet heats up over CJ rulings

Dec 18 (LD) The President and several ministers, at a meeting of the cabinet last night, had strongly criticised the ruling by the chief justice at the Supreme Court for bringing down the price of petrol to Rs. 100 per litre. The President has reportedly told his ministers that they should even be prepared to go to prison for violating the SC order, the implementation of which, he said, would give a bad precedence. more..

Montreal's Tamil community instigates awareness campaign

Dec 19 (Hour) Montreal's Tamil community wants to raise awareness about the worsening conflict in Sri Lanka as well as protect Tamil refugee applicants in Canada who face deportation back to a war zone.In recent months, the Sri Lankan military has heightened aerial bombardments and military actions in areas home to the separatist Tamil Tigers, vowing to flush them out by 2008. "Recently there has been a rise in human rights violations against the Tamil community in Sri Lanka," more..

Visit of 'strategic partners'

Dec 19 (TN) The Defence Advisers/Attaches of seven countries, USA, UK, Japan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Maldives were taken on a one day tour to Vanni by the Colombo government. Suffering from heavy military debacles and facing serious economic crisis by being adjudged as an untrustworthy economic risk, the Colombo government is badly in need of parading strategic partners and abettors to attract means and justification for its genocidal war before time runs out, more..

Desiccated coconut exporters say facing closure with duty hike

Dec 19 (LBO) Exporters of desiccated coconut said a recent government hike in edible oil import duty could put them out of business as prices of raw nuts will remain high, making their exports uncompetitive. The government raised import duty on edible oil by changing it from a 28 percent rate to a specific levy of 40 rupees a kilo earlier this month, which would amount to an effective duty of 61.5 percent with imported oil at 65,000 rupees a metric tonne. more..

Sri Lanka to allow rice imports despite bumper harvest

Dec 19 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government says it plans to allow rice imports despite a record high paddy harvest in the last season. Suranjana Vidyaratne, Director General of the Department of Statistics said the bumper harvest came from a 100 percent increase in output in key rice growing areas compared with the year before. These areas were the north-central Anuradhapura and Kurunegala districts, as well as the eastern Batticaloa district. more..

Book explores separatist conflict in Sri Lanka

Dec 19 (GU) In her latest book, “The Separatist Conflict in Sri Lanka: Terrorism, Ethnicity, Political Economy” (Routledge 2009), Georgetown University government professor Asoka Bandarage provides a detailed and historical analysis of the evolution of Sri Lanka’s civil conflict over efforts to establish separate states in its northern and eastern provinces. The conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the secessionist LTTE is more..

USAID and AmeriCares provide safe water to Ampara communities

Dec 19 (USE) The USAID and the international relief organization AmeriCares today marked the completion of the Pottuvil/Ulla Water Treatment Plant and Ulla Supply System, to give the residents of these coastal villages safe and clean water for the first time since the tsunami. “With the introduction of advanced water treatment technology and equipment, the new system can provide 4,000 liters per minute of clean water, more..

Barriers for the equal education in the North

Dec 19 (MoD) The advancing troops of Kilinochchi have reached to the Technical college for Higher education which was affiliated to the University of Jaffna built by the ministry of Education and Higher education with the aim of educational upliftment of the Tamil students in Kilinochchi, Mulathivu, and Poonarin. The technical college consisted of a well equipped auditorium, hostel, and laboratories with the extent of 100 acres which can accommodate more than 5000 students. more..

7-yr RI for soldier over abduction

Dec 19 (LD) An Army corporal has been sentenced to a seven-year rigorous imprisonment for having abducted and detained a Tamil man in Trincomalee more than 18 years ago. The solider, Rathnamala Mudiyanselage Sarath Jayasinghe, was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs. 10,000. He had been attached to Keseltuduwa Army Camp at the time of the incident. He has been found guilty of having abducted and detained J.S. Thewarasa Sharma in June 1990. more..

Attempt to make LIOC fuel distribution monopoly

Dec 19 (LD) The government is attempting to sell shares of Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminal Ltd. (CPSTL) to Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC), after the termination of the agreement that has formed the company, trade unions allege. Such a step will create an fuel distribution monopoly and endanger national security, D.J. Rajakaruna, spokesman of CPC Employees Union, told 'Lanka Dissent.' more..

Disappointed PCB turns to Sri Lanka

Dec 19 (CI) The PCB has moved on swiftly from the cancellation of India's tour, making an official request to Sri Lanka to visit in India's place while expressing its disappointment at the Indian board's decision. The BCCI said today that it had received a letter from the government stating that under the current scenario a tour to Pakistan was not feasible, referring to the deterioration in relations between the two countries after the Mumbai attacks. more..

Plight of Sri Lanka's war widows

Dec 19 (BBC) "My husband was a fisherman. About three years ago, when he returned from a fishing trip, somebody checked his identity card and shot him dead," says Jeyarulai Puwanendran, weeping. The single mother, 23, is a resident of Kiran, Batticaloa. "I have a four-year-old daughter. I don't get help from the government or anybody else. My parents are the ones who look after me and my daughter. My father is a labourer. They have six other children apart from me," she says. more..

Rise in rat fever among farmers causes concern

Dec 19 (IRIN) Health authorities in Sri Lanka are concerned about a spike in the number of reported cases of Leptospirosis, known as rat fever, among farmers and are redoubling efforts to halt the spread of the potentially fatal disease. Rice farmers, usually males between the age of 20 and 60, are the most vulnerable and are being provided with a free prophylactic antibiotic by the government. more..

Shrinking lair

Dec 19 (FL) ON December 9, at a function to mark the inauguration of a power plant, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa promised to unveil a “new dawn” soon in the north where the island nation’s military is engaged in fierce battles with the LTTE. A day before, on the eve of Id-ul-Alha, Rajapaksa asserted that the day was not far off when the Muslims from the north could return to their homeland. more..

Neighbourly gesture

Dec 19 (FL) AT 11.30 p.m. on June 2, 1987, relations between India and Sri Lanka reached their nadir. The Indian government led by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi took the unprecedented step of despatching humanitarian assistance to the neighbouring country without its consent. The action was prompted by the decision of the Sri Lankan government under J.R. Jayawardene to impose an economic blockade on the Jaffna peninsula and more..

Sri Lanka's Information War: Part II

Dec 19 (WPR) No one understands the importance of Sri Lanka's information war quite like N. Vithyatharan, an editor whose two Tamil-language newspapers -- one in the northern peninsula of Jaffna, the other in Colombo -- are "continuously targeted by pro-government forces." Vithyatharan is a small man with a listing walk that suggests heavy burdens. During a visit to his Colombo office, he related how in May 2006, on the night before international press freedom day, more..

Chief Justice to be impeached?

Dec 19 (LD) Top government ministers are considering impeaching Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva for his having overstepped judicial powers and disrupting the government in its war effort, a senior government minister told 'Lanka Dissent.' At last night's (Dec. 17th) cabinet meeting, minister Nimal Siripala de Silva had explained the possibility of moving an impeachment against the CJ. more..

Terror, recession put tourism in the doldrums

Dec 19 (IPS) With the sun glistening on waves that gently lap its clean sandy beaches and coral reefs, Hikkaduwa is the perfect tourist paradise. But there is one thing missing --tourists. Arrivals have been poor and the first ten months of the year recorded a nine percent drop as compared to 2007. Hotel owners and managers mainly blame the country’s tense security situation for the poor showing by an industry that brought in 300 million US dollars in 2007 and more..

Petrol prices not changed for second day

Dec 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka's cabinet of ministers had not revised oil prices after meeting for a second time, with a court decision to cut prices still to be officially conveyed, an official said. The director of government information, Anusha Pelpita said an official decision on oil has not been received as of 8.00 pm Thursday. The cabinet is expected to meet again on the issue, he said. Supreme Court directed the government to reduce petrol prices to 100 rupees a litre from 122, by midnight, Wednesday. more..

Bodies exchanged as fighting continues

Dec 19 (BBC) The International Committee of the Red Cross in Sri Lanka says it's handed over to the Sri Lankan army the bodies of twenty-five of their soldiers. Tamil Tiger rebels said the soldiers were killed over the past two days in clashes near the northern town of Kilinochchi. A spokesman for the ICRC said they had also handed over to the Tigers a body of a rebel killed in the fighting. more..

Govt on path to dictatorship! – JVP

Dec 19 (LT) Political analysts state the government, making various excuses, is attempting to evade the directive given by the Supreme Court to reduce the price of petrol to Rs.100/- per liter. The cabinet which met yesterday and today to take a decision regarding he directive issued by the Supreme Court has decided not to take a decision until the Supreme Court decision is officially forwarded to the cabinet. more..

'Oil resources have been sold to India for a pittance'

Dec 19 (LT) The oil resources, the biggest wealth this country possesses, has been already sold to India by this government for a pittance said Mr. Anura Dissanayake. Addressing the 10th Annual Convention of the Inter Companies Trade Union held at New Town Hall in Colombo yesterday (17th) Mr. Dissanayake said our dollar reserves have dwindled. We have dollar reserves only for three weeks. more..

Rajiva Wijesinha ready to debate “Gotabhaya Sarath Genocide” issue

Dec 19 (TC) Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Sri Lanka’s peace secretariat secretary – general and secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights , has announced his willingness to engage in public debate with US lawyer Bruce Fein over the “Genocide” issue. Bruce Fein in his capacity as counsel for the US based “Tamils against genocide” group has prepared a 400 + page model indictment against more..

A Sri Lanka parliamentary delegation to dispell misinformation campaign

Dec 19 (AT) A Sri Lankan parliamentary delegation which arrived in the Swedish capital clarified the current situation prevailing in the country, steps taken by the government to restore peace and order and also of the war to evict the terrorists from the country. They dispelled the misinformation campaign ceaselessly carried on by the Tamil Tiger supporters in Sweden as well as in the other European capitals. more..

Not only SAARC, but Commonwealth too must strike against terrorism

Dec 19 (AT) The Asian Tribune has editorially urged Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa to call a meeting of the South Asian regional organization to discuss the critical issue of terrorism. The Tribune’s appeal is directed at the President Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka is the current chairman of the SAARC which it assumed at the summit meeting held in Colombo last August. more..

Kilinochchi: The kiss of death

Dec 19 (OI) So said the disinformation warriors of Lt.Gen.Sarath Fonseka, the Sri Lankan Army Commander, more than a week ago. It has been a long and fatal kiss--more for the Army than for the LTTE. It has been a long kiss of death for the young hastily-trained Sinhalese recruits to the Sri Lankan Army who were rushed to the battle front by the General in his keenness to keep his promise of "In Kilinochchi before the New Year". more..

Hard or soft line?: Govt in two minds about how to deal with Chief Justice

Dec 19 (TC) The Sri Lankan government headed by President Mahinda Rajapakse is caught in two minds about fashioning an effective response to the “unconventional” approach to Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva. The govt is extremely troubled and embarrassed by the Chief Justice who is flagrantly “invading” areas pertaining to the executive and legislature and issuing controversial verdicts. more..

Northern fighting at a standstill due to heavy rains

Dec 19 (TC) There was virtually no fighting on the Northern warfront on Thursday December 18th due to heavy and incessant rains in most parts of the Northern province. Despite expectations that heavy fighting would continue for the third successive day in the Kilinochchi. Paranthan sector, there was practically no fighting because of the weather. Torrential rains resulted in flash floods and also many bunkers and trenches getting waterlogged. more..

“Suriya Sinha” awards presented by Mawbima Lanka foundation

Dec 19 (MN) Suriya Sinha” Awards, an annual awards ceremony of the Mawbima Lanka Foundation was held at the BMICH last morning (18). The event saw 46 Sri Lankan home grown corporates being awarded brand names while 300 were presented with Suriya Sinha Award. ITN and Lakhanda Radio were honoured for their media role on innovations. The website was also launched. more..

Is the LTTE on its death bed?

Dec 19 (IL) The LTTE leader in his annual Heroes' Day statement on 27 November 2008 moderated his usual tenor, refraining from throwing strong words at the Sri Lankan armed forces as the Sri Lankan military claims to win victories in the LTTE strong-hold, Vanni. Rather than issue a spiteful statement, Pirapaharan focussed mostly on calling the international community and India to lift their ban on the LTTE and to more..

Sri Lanka looking for alternative sources of foreign cash: Central Bank

Dec 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka is looking for alternative sources of foreign funding the central bank said, as global financial market remained in turmoil and risk premiums high despite unprecedented rate cuts by reserve currency central banks. The Central Bank says a major part of speculative capital that came into the government securities market had gone out of the country. "The government is also exploring ways of raising external finances from alternative sources," more..

Heavy fighting in battle for Kilinochchi

Dec 19 (wsws) Fierce fighting has continued this week as the Sri Lankan army presses its attack on the northern town of Kilinochchi, the administrative headquarters of the separatist LTTE, in the Wanni region. Hundreds are likely dead and wounded as LTTE fighters resist at least four army divisions that have been flung into the battle. Independent reporters are barred from the frontlines by both sides, which routinely exaggerate their successes on the battlefield. more..

Transport minister Dullas Alahaperuma and the "late" train from Nanu-Oya

Dec 19 (TC) It was the late evening of Saturday the 14th, December. I was a passenger in the Colombo bound intercity train from Nanu Oya. When it reached Ihalakotte, a small station situated between Kadugannawa and Kadigamuwa, the train was stopped by the control room to give way to a Kandy bound train, which should have reached this station in a matter of 17 minutes, but it never came. more..

Tamil Nationalist Poet Thevathasan passes away in U.S.

Dec 19 (TN) Mr. Thevathasan Antony, a Tamil nationalist, poet, and humanist affectionately known as “Maampazham Swamy” passed away in New Jersey, USA on December 14. An advocate for peace who highlighted Sri Lanka's rights violations of Tamils in the NorthEast succumbed to a sudden stroke at the age of 63. Mr. Thevathasan started his public life as a Catholic priest in Northern Sri Lanka. more..

'Petrol, diesel, kerosene consumed by well to do people'

Dec 19 (LeN) Pointing out that petrol, diesel and kerosene is used by affluent people and trishaws are used by a small minority, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) leader Ellawala Medhananda Thero says that raising fuel price is not so unfair. The monk further stated that the government could utilize the income from petroleum taxes etc. to cover the massive expenses for the war against terrorism and to develop the devastated areas. more..