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To tap electricity from sea waves

Dec 20 (AT) Professors of the Uppsala University demonstrated how electricity could be generated from the rolling sea waves to the visiting Sri Lankan parliamentary delegation. The visiting parliamentary delegation from Sri Lanka, Ministers Dilan Perera, Rohitha Abeygunwardhana, Duminda Dissanayake and also parliamentarian Laith Dissanayake, paid a visit to the Uppsala University yesterday, which is located at 100 Km North from Stockholm. more..

Sea Tiger leaders killed: Colombo

Dec 20 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan military on Friday claimed that two LTTE Sea Tiger leaders were killed when helicopter gunships attacked an LTTE boat movement. The Defence Ministry said Suhandini and Siran were killed in the attack in Kilaly lagoon area. One boat was destroyed while several others sustained damages. Separately, the Ministry said troops had breached the LTTE-built earth bund following heavy confrontations in the general area Nivil. more..

US Ambassador Blake congratulates ACE award finalist Virtusa- Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (USE) At a lunch hosted in honor of Virtusa, Ambassador Robert Blake congratulated Keith Modder, Managing Director of Asian Operations, Madu Ratnayake, General Manager Virtusa-Sri Lanka, and the entire Virtusa-Sri Lanka team for being selected as a finalist for the U.S. Secretary of State's 2008 Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE). more..

96 Lankan refugee families get houses

Dec 20 (Hindu) Of the 208 families living in the Naaranammalpuram Sri Lankan refugee camp, 96 families, which are living in a 150-year-old dingy godown, have got houses. The houses were constructed by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) at a cost of Rs. 1.15 crore on 8.50 hectare land near Gangaikondan, close to the Tirunelveli–Madurai National Highway. The decision to construct permanent shelters for these families was taken when more..

Churches frustrated by government rejection of truce

Dec 20 (ENI) Church leaders in Sri Lanka say they are disappointed by the government rejecting their call for a Christmas truce in the country's continuing civil war. "This is really frustrating," Anglican Bishop Kumara Illangasinghe told Ecumenical News International on December 19 from his diocesan office at Kurunagale in central Sri Lanka after the government turned down the church demand. more..

War in Wanni: Why the Tigers are down but not out

Dec 20 (DM) In writing about the ongoing war in the Wanni northern mainland, I have been regularly emphasising a salient point that goes against the view propagated by upper echelons of the power structure and dominant sections of society. According to this viewpoint, the LTTE faces imminent destruction and the war would be over very soon. While subscribing to the opinion that the armed forces are indeed on the ascendant my take on the LTTE has been different. more..

Sail is up in Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (TOI) Like most old countries that retain a dash of mystique, Sri Lanka too has a quaint greeting style: men and women, girls and boys, solemnly bow their heads, join hands in namaste and smile: Ayubowan. No, they are not saying hello, good morning or welcome in Sinhalese; they are simply wishing a longer life for you. This is not a new phenomenon though, not a fear-induced byproduct of the terror that has ravaged them for 25 years. more..

A Reply to Somini Sengupta of the New York Times

Dec 20 (LG) This is to put into a correct perspective, the information given by Ms.Somini Sengupta, in a report she had published in the New York Times website of the 5 December,2008, on "Sri Lankan Army is Pushing for End to 25-Year War Against the Tamil Rebels", which gives a wrong interpretation to what actually is taking place in Sri Lanka, and discredits the government and the Government Forces. more..

Wanni an Army Graveyard

Dec 20 (LG) The Government is trying to push it elite troops around the Kilinochchi, but it is far from reached, and is in setback losing its well trained troops in continuing to fight mostly decisive battles in many fronts. While the army amidst some heavy fighting in last week it is now raising a new fighting division (Task Force V) to put into battle in the coming days. It will be the army’s eighth division entering the battle during the Wanni operation. more..

In the land of Parliaments, the Chief Justice became the "Sun God"

Dec 20 (LG) Sri Lanka is twice blessed. It has two Parliaments, one of the President and the other of the Chief Justice. The Parliament of the Chief Justice is by far the more powerful. It has no Parliamentarians, and controls the Parliament of the President, making him a people's lame duck President. The Parliament of the Chief Justice cannot be controlled even if its decisions are not always beneficial. more..

The Jorker in the pack!

Dec 20 (LG) Army commander Sarath Fonseka has dismissed Tamil Nadu politicians as being a bunch of political jokers. This missive has stuck a raw nerve of these politicians. Chief Minister M Karunanidhi expressed his displeasure of the ‘jokers’ affair in such a manner; "Leaders criticising one another in Tamil Nadu are different, but we cannot accept someone from outside the country saying such things about our leaders,” more..

Developments in the Study of Buddhist Art

Dec 20 (UCLA) More than 10 guest professors from across the country joined UCLA faculty for a two-day conference on recent scholarship in the study of Buddhist art. Donald McCallum, host and UCLA art history professor, greeted guests at the UCLA Faculty Center early Friday morning to start off a full day of public lectures held on Nov. 21, 2008. In introductory remarks McCallum recalled a time when scholars in Buddhist religious studies and art history were very separate. more..

Navy destroys LTTE Logistics vessel

Dec 20 (MoD) Sri Lanka Navy destroyed a medium-size LTTE logistics vessel carrying a large quantity of war like materials seventy (70) Nautical Miles North-east of Mullaithivu during the early hours today (20th December 2008). The Navy also intercepted a cluster of LTTE boats and destroyed four enemy attack craft, which were abortively attempting to support the enemy logistics vessel, in a separate confrontation off Mullaithivu. more..

Temporary truce call by five bishops is most timely

Dec 20 (TC) It has been a distressing week in Sri Lanka. The war not only dragged on but hundreds of our young men (and perhaps women) have lost their lives. The numbers maimed or injured reportedly runs into thousands. The heavy casualties are from both sides to the conflict. On the economic front, the ordinary people are facing increasing hardships, not just by mismanagement at home but due to a looming global recession caused by mismanagement by those in authority in the world’s largest economic power. more..

Ten British MP's spoke on Tamil plight during adjournment debate

Dec 20 (FI) 10 Members of Parliament from all three main political parties representing the people of the United Kingdom, without exception spoke in favour of Tamils, in the allocated 14 minutes during the adjournment debate on Dec 18th secured by the Hon Andrew Pelling MP for Croydon Central. The fact that many MPs turned up for this debate especially being the final item at the end of parliamentary session before the Christmas recess was itself commended by MPs, more..

Post-Traumatic stress disorder spreads among soldiers serving in Norh-East

Dec 20 (TC) AS the government's war against the LTTE enters the bloodiest phase in the country's history, our research has found that the costly war of attrition is irreparably scarring an entire generation of Sri Lanka's youth. A draft copy of a study circulated for peer review by Dr. Rohan M. Jayatunge and army psychiatrists provides some insights into the trauma that soldiers faced after combat before 2008, a year in which over 1,200 soldiers have been killed from just six divisions. more..

Karu casts the die

Dec 20 (MN) Last week the long awaited crossover of Karu Jayasuriya finally took place. This column had been reporting for some weeks now on the developments in this regard. Hence what was surprising was not Jayasuriya’s crossover, but the fact that he went alone. That came as a surprise even to the present columnist. There were others in the UNP(D) group who were disgruntled and given that fact, we fully expected at least two or three to follow him. more..

Petrol Pricing

Dec 20 (GV) Minister Bandula Gunawardene appeared on V and implicitly commenting on the Supreme Court decision perhaps made a point that all taxes are made by Parliament. Not quite since the Minister of fiancé can gazette orders under the Revenue Protection Act if my memory is right. True they have to be tabled in Parliament thereafter. The question at issue is not a change in taxes. more..

Ramalingam Chandrasekar meets Mahathir Mohamed

Dec 20 (LT) Mr. Ramalingam Chandrasekar, Deputy Chairman of Committees in Parliament and Member of Parliament of the JVP has met former Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr. Mahathir Mohamed. The meeting has taken place at Dr. Mahathir Mohamed’s office in 84th floor of Twin towers in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia on the 18th of this month. At the discussions Mr. Chandrasekar has apprised the former Malaysian Prime Minister regarding more..

A 50 % increase in the Yala season rice production

Dec 20 (LP) The Census and Statistics Department said that rice production has increased by 50% in the Yala season. Last year the rice production showed a decrease of 3.9while this year’s progress in the production shows a development of the agriculture sector. Accordingly rice production has increased from 55.5 million bushels to 83.5 million bushels. The amount of paddy fields which went under cultivation was increased by 60% and more..

Sri Lanka deadlier than Afghanistan: Time Magazine

Dec 20 (LNP) Time Magazine Online in a recent special report states that judging by the death toll the Sri Lankan conflict is deadlier than the war in Afghanistan in the year 2008. In its special Top 10 Underreported News Stories of 2008 , Time reports following the Sri Lankan government pulling out from the 2002 ceasefire in January this year, the war has claimed more lives than the US-led war in Afghanistan during the same period. more..

Let saner counsel prevail!

Dec 20 (LNP) Petrol consumers have been left high and dry. They expected petrol at cheaper rates in keeping with Wednesday`s Supreme Court order but they did not get any fuel even at the prevailing prices. For, the Cabinet refused to decide whether to effect the recommended price reduction, or not, on the grounds that the Supreme Court order concerned had not been intimated to it and that it needed to peruse it. more..

'Minister Jagath Pushpakumara is behind white van abductions'

Dec 20 (LeN) Government coalition party Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) MP Omalpe Sobhitha Thero says that Minister of Nation Building Jagath Pushpakumara is behind the abdution of people of Kovulara in Udawalawa reservoir area. He further charges that the Minister is behind the robbing of cattle from the cattle orphanage in the area. more..

Intervention sought for a Buddhist Novice sexually abused by a monk

Dec 20 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you regarding the sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated upon an 11-year-old Buddhist novice by the head of the temple where he stays. Although the person responsible had already been charged and arrested, there are concerns that pressure may be put upon the victim unless the police ensures that they have effectively investigated the case to hold the person to account. more..

Torture victim continuously denied examination and medical treatment in detention

Dec 20 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you that a man, who had to endure a court trial over false charges laid on him for assaulting policemen two years ago, has been continuously deprived of medical examination and treatment while in detention. The policemen tortured him in custody after they arrested him again in May 2008. Sometime in July 2006 there was a clash between policemen and some youth of Ambakotte. more..

The Interim Report of the Parliamentary Committee on NGOs is flawed

Dec 20 (AHRC) The purported aim of the committee and its report is to prevent the abuse of funds by NGOs, a very laudable aim. If this be the actual aim there is a very easy and simple solution which is to improve the law, and the implementation of the law, relating to bribery and corruption in Sri Lanka. If there is such a huge hole in the net for catching anyone engaged in the abuse of funds that should reach the public, it is not possible to catch anyone with such a net. more..

LeT, LTTE deadly blend rears head

Dec 20 (EB) The Indian mission here has drawn New Delhi’s attention to the possibility of terrorists entering India via the sea off Tamil Nadu. This “nightmare scenario” has emerged after the recent attack on Mumbai. Diplomatic sources say several factors make access to India via Sri Lanka attractive to terrorists. Firstly, the LTTE nexus with the smuggling via fishing boats from Tamil Nadu. more..

Govt. sole authority on tax: Minister

Dec 20 (SAMN) The government said Friday the authority to decide on financial matters was vested solely with the Cabinet and Parliament. The statement comes in the wake of a stand off between the executive and the judiciary, following a Supreme Court order on petrol prices. Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardana said a government functioned on funds collected through taxation and that it was an exclusive right of a government to administer the country and carry out welfare activities. more..

Tissa’s bail decision postponed

Dec 20 (SAMN) The Colombo High Court Friday postponed the decision on the bail application of senior journalist J.S. Tissainayagam for January 13, 2009. The application sought permission to file a bail application in the Supreme Court. They were earlier denied bail by the High Court. However, the State Counsel objected to this request. Tissainayagam and two others were arrested in March this year and have been held in detention since then. more..

Tourism affected “marginally”

Dec 20 (SAMN) Even though the tourism industry of Sri Lanka is marginally affected by the global trends, the industry is looking very positive according to the Deputy Tourism Minister Faiszer Mustapaha. The Deputy Minister said that the months of November and December are looking very positive even though the present global trends have contributed to a marginal drop in tourism. more..

Corporate offices seriously damaged

Dec 20 (SAMN) The fire which broke out on Thursday at the Lucky Plaza residential complex and shopping mall had caused “serious damage” to several corporate offices located on the premises according to the Officer-in-Charge of Colombo’s Fire Brigade. The OIC of the city’s fire service, Pallage Dumindurathna noted that the inferno broke out on the second floor of the complex, at the office of Kobian Technologies (Pvt) Ltd. more..

Tax changes affect FY 2009

Dec 20 (DN) Effecting changes or fiddling with taxes designed and imposed in the recently passed budget in Parliament by a comfortable majority would badly affect the Fiscal Year 2009, Economists and academics warned yesterday. They pointed out that all financial powers of the State and the Executive were wrested with Parliament. Even the annual budgetary allocation for the vote on the President too had to be approved by Parliament. more..

IDs go hi-tech

Dec 20 (DN) The Department for Registration of Persons is to go hi-tech and issue National Identity Cards with computer printed data from next year. The programme which is in keeping with the Mahinda Chinthana concept of introducing modern technology to all Government Departments to ensure an efficient and fruitful service to the public. This scheme is implemented under the personal supervision of Commissioner General A.G. Dharmadasa more..

Army Sergeant detects bomb in bus

Dec 20 (Island) The timely detection of a bomb with its detonator by an Army Sergeant in a Kurunegala bound bus saved the lives of nearly 100 passengers, including Army personnel yesterday evening, Army sources said. The passenger bus started from Maharagama had just passed the Army cantonment in Panagoda when an Army Sergeant in the bus saw a well-dressed person suddenly moving suspiciously towards the rear of the bus carrying a brand new brief case. more..

State advertising to be channelled through Selacine Television Institute

Dec 20 (Island) In future all state advertising will have to be channelled through Selacine Television Institute, Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. He said a Memorandum submitted by him to make mandatory all advertisements and publicity programmes of Ministries, Government Departments and Institutions, produced by private sector advertising agencies and production houses, to be scheduled through Selacine Television Institute. more..

Plans for power service at Madhu Church

Dec 20 (DM) A service of thanksgiving is to be held at the church of Our Lady of Madhu at Mannar in January to mark the resumption of an uninterrupted supply of electricity to the church, church authorities said yesterday. They said several ministers were expected to attend the service but permission had not been sought from the Mannar Bishop who is the custodian of the church for the ceremony but it was expected that permission would be granted for the purpose. more..

Minister Lokuge slams cheerless cricket board

Dec 20 (DM) An angry Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge slammed his interim committee running the affairs of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and said that he ordered them to immediately stop the planned termination of contracts of 16 SLC employees. “I gave them specific instructions before I left for an overseas tour, not to proceed with their decision to stop renewing the contracts of those employees. I wanted them to wait till I come back. more..

'Sri Lanka inflation falling faster than expected'

Dec 20 (LBO) Inflation is falling faster than expected, the Central Bank said, as a global collapse in commodities washed into the country and the country's money growth was also kept in check. Central bank targets the monetary base, which is expected to influence growth in other monetary aggregates, as a means to keep inflation in check. Analysts have warned that the practice is fraught with conflicts, because a de facto dollar peg is also in place. more..

Milestones in Lankan army’s campaign

Dec 20 (EB) As 2008 draws to a close, the Sri Lankan army has regained a considerable amount of territory from the Tamil Tiger rebels in west and east Wanni, and is banging at the gates of the Tiger political capital of Kilinochchi. The first significant achievement of the government forces, was the capture of the politically and religiously important Madu Church complex in the north western district of Mannar. more..

Sri Lanka says navy destroys rebel ship; 20 killed

Dec 20 (AP) Sri Lanka's navy sank a Tamil Tiger rebel ship and four smaller attack boats in a battle that killed 20 guerrillas off the northeastern coast early Saturday. The naval attack came amid a sharp escalation in the 25-year-old civil war between government forces and the ethnic Tamil rebels. Government troops in recent months have made dramatic progress in fighting the rebels in the north, seizing a series of guerrilla bases and swaths of territory. more..

'Arab women lured by Sri Lanka's precious stones'

Dec 21 (AME) Arab travellers to the tropical island of Sri Lanka are showing a keen interest in the country's precious stones according to research conducted by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau's Middle (SLTPB) East office. Heba Al Ghais Al Mansoori, Middle East Director of SLTPB, said: 'Arab visitors surveyed by our offices, particularly female visitors confirmed one of their primary reasons for visiting the country was to shop for precious stones.' more..

'Where can we see wild turtle hatchlings?'

Dec 21 (TI) Q. Our family would love to see turtle hatchlings in the wild. Do you have any idea of how far and when we would have to travel to be guaranteed to see them? We don't want there to be only "a good chance" of seeing them. L Baxter, via email. A. Witnessing the emergence of turtle hatchlings is one of nature's great treats. However, hatching takes place at different times depending on location. more..

British Architect drowned on Sri Lanka holiday

Dec 21 (EADT) A LEADING architect's family watched in horror as the 45-year-old drowned while swimming in the sea in Sri Lanka, an inquest heard. Richard Buckley, 45, from Thornham Parva, near Eye, had gone on a two-week holiday to the country in October with his wife and three children. But an inquest was told yesterday how it ended in tragedy when he apparently got into difficulty as he snorkelled. more..

'Tigers are the leading force of the Tamils'

Dec 21 (LG) Mr.P.Nadesan, the Political Bureu Chief of LTTE is a long time member of the Liberation Tigers Movement and one who has participated on behalf of the Tamils in the peace talks with the Sri Lankan Government. He is also the person who organized the Tamil Elam Police Force and functioned as its chief until 2007 November. more..

Sinhala couple seek asylum

Dec 21 (Hindu) Arrival of Sinhala refugees from the Talaimannar coast in Sri Lanka to Dhanushkodi in the southern coast of Tamil Nadu is a rare phenomenon. Sharuha Bilkani (18) and Dushra Chandana, Sinhalese hailing from Colombo, landed at Arichamunai on Friday night with the hope of starting a new life in a new environment. Though their arrival is termed first of its kind by officials who have been dealing with the Sri Lankan refugees for the last 10 years, it has generated curiosity among refugees and officials. more..

SriLankan Airlines office attacked in Coimbatore

Dec 21 (Hindu) Miscreants riding two-wheelers hurled stones at the SriLankan Airlines office on LIC Road in ATT Colony here, damaging glass panes on Friday night. Following a complaint, the Race Course Police registered a case. On Saturday morning, Congress activists staged a blockade on Avanashi Road at Uppilipalayam condemning the pro-LTTE speeches by director Seeman and Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) leader Kolathur Mani. more..

Sri Lankan woman held

Dec 21 (PTI) A Sri Lankan woman has been arrested at the Chennai airport for allegedly smuggling gold worth Rs 13 lakhs. According to a release from Dr D K Srinivas, Additional Commissioner of Customs, Airport, the officials searched the 44 year-old woman on suspicion on Friday and found out that she had worn undeclared "crude" gold chain and bangles, and concealed some gold underneath her sleeves. more..

Lanka Sama Samaja Party, 73 not out

Dec 21 (LG) The Lanka Sama Samaja Party, the first Lankan political party was founded on December 18, 1935, by Philip Gunawardena, Dr. N. M. Perera, Dr. Colvin R. de Silva, Leslie Gunawardena, Dr. S. A. Wickrekmasinghe and Edmond Samarakkody, united in their staunch opposition to the British colonial administration. They were joined by Doric de Souza, Bernard de Soysa, S. C. C. Antonipillai, V. Karalasingham, more..

Illuminating Sigiriya and blinding our cultural heritage

Dec 21 (LG) A project that was to be put in place under the Ranil Wickremesinghe government was withdrawn on account of the strong protest made by a concerned Sri Lankan public, including the Venerable Mahanayaka Thero of Pidurangala Viharaya in the vicinity of Sigiriya, former heads of the Archaeological Survey of Sri Lanka, environmentalists and many others. more..

PC poll rigging via police

Dec 21 (LB) Top senior Ministers have hatched a plot to rig the forthcoming Central and Wayamba Provincial council elections. The modus operandi has already begun and hardworking police officers in the two provinces will be transferred out, while officers who are more politically inclined to the UPFA were to be sent in their place. In addition, two senior officers in charge of the two provinces and OICs of many police stations in the two provinces are also to be transferred in the coming days. more..