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Congress leaders demand Thirumavalavan's arrest

Dec 22 (IANS) Central Ministers E.V.K.S. Elangovan and G.K. Vasan Sunday demanded the arrest of ally VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan following attacks on Congress workers at the party's state headquarters here. 'For his unprincipled support of the banned LTTE and allowing his party faithfuls to attack Congress workers, Thirumavalavan should be immediately arrested,' Elangovan told reporters in Erode, a textile city 350 km southwest of here. more..

Advani urged to bring about truce in Sri Lanka

Dec 22 (IANS) Indian opposition leader L.K. Advani was Sunday urged to bring about a truce in Sri Lanka by a Tamil MP from the island nation. M.K. Shivaji Lingam of the TNA quoted Advani as telling him here that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would raise the issue in parliament. 'We will also take up the matter with the prime minister (Manmohan Singh),' Advani reportedly said, adding that India would never let down the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka. more..

'Open up news websites in European languages'

Dec 22 (AT) Sri Lankan parliamentary delegation which recently visited Germany and Sweden claimed that they were able to clear lot of misconceptions about Sri Lanka that was in the midst of German and Swedish Parliamentarians. The delegation also told the parliamentarians from both countries, the positive measures taken by the Sri Lanka Government to bring about sustainable peace in the country. more..

The extent of private sector involvement in reducing poverty

Dec 22 (AT) Kalpitiya has been known as a rich fishing area, but the land that was earlier abandoned as baron and sandy unsuitable for agriculture, though there were some plantations of chllies and mostly tobacco. Some 20 years ago some brave and determined farmers defied the belief that the land in Kalpitiya could not be cultivated and started cultivating vegetable onions and later on with large plantations of bananas and papaya. more..

Boosting terrorism to defend 'democracy'

Dec 22 (AT) What should be the primary objective of an agreement between the radio broadcasting services of two countries on the matter of news and other programs? Undoubtedly it is to introduce the culture, language, religion, politics and other relevant subjects of one country to the listeners of the other. In fact this was the basis on which the BBC Sinhala Service, Sandeshaya, was launched in the post-World War II years. more..

Check Judiciary - out stepping

Dec 22 (AT) It is time the Rajapaksa government meets the challenge thrown up by the apex court's verdicts which undermine the basic features of a democracy Sri Lanka cherishes. The issue is not who's - Executive, Legislature or Judiciary - superior but how to ensure a proper separation of powers according to the law of the land. No one, neither Executive and Legislature nor the Judiciary is above the law; more..

Couple of questions to Satheesan Kumaaran

Dec 22 (LG) The article “Is the LTTE on its death bed?”,19 Dec 2008,appeared in Sri Lanka Guardian raises few questions that only the author of the article can answer. The primary question is that are you redelivering Prbhakaran’s hero’s’ day speech in the written format because the speech did not make any impact at the time of delivery as it was drowned in the media pandemonium of Mumbai attacks? more..

HRW Report “ Trapped & Mistreated”

Dec 22 (LG) Human Rights Watch latest 17 page reports titled “Trapped and Mistreated” (as per extract reproduced by print media) shows at last they now see LTTE terrorist outfit in its true colors. It is pleased to learn that HRW has at last made some Endeavour to see the LTTE’s human rights violation in its true perspective. If one peruses HRW’s previous Media Releases or reports, there was tendency of showing complacency on LTTE’s gross human rights violation but more..

A gift of love manifests many folds

Dec 22 (LG) Past midnight and with a flight to catch from Winnipeg to Vancouver at 9 30 AM and then onwards to Colombo via Singapore, Jebo and Harini called it a day having ensured all travel matters were in order. The children quite excited about this journey, reluctantly went to bed two hours earlier. Prem had done his first degree in bioscience and Priya completed her high school with excellent grades. more..

Return of the APRC To provide an Acceptable package?

Dec 22 (LG) The Colombo Government's reiteration of its position on ceasefire apart, peaceniks in and on Sri Lanka need not despair. Reports of a year-end conclusion of work by the APRC and the near-simultaneous appeal of some Church denominations for a Christmas-New Year ceasefire could help if they took their ceasefire call to and through a logical next step. more..

'Conspiracy behind evading the directive by judiciary'

Dec 22 (LT) The government has not taken any measures to give the benefit of the falling fuel prices in the world market to the general public. However, according to the directive by the Supreme Court, Indian Oil Company (LIOC) has reduced the price of petrol to Rs.100/- As the cabinet has not given permission for the Petroleum Corporation to reduce the prices of fuel it sells petrol at Rs.122/- a liter. more..

Federal proposals sans ‘federal’!

Dec 22 (LT) It has been reported that All Party Summit has decided to present a set of proposals as the final political solution without naming the nature of the state as unitary or federal. According to weekend newspapers the proposals have been formulated changing the system of devolution of powers and abolishing the concurrent list. Also, the powers that had been included in the concurrent list have been transferred to provincial councils. more..

JVP to start election campaign on 1st January

Dec 22 (LT) The propaganda campaign of the JVP for the North Eastern and Central PC elections will commence on the1st January, 2009 says its leader of the group of Parliamentarians Anura Dissanayake. Speaking to ‘Lankatruth’ Mr. Dissanayake said the nominations committee headed by the Information Secretary of the party Vijithe Herath has already submitted its recommendations to the Political Bureau and the lists would be finalized within the next few days. more..

Farmers in Wayamba to get high-quality seed for cash crops

Dec 22 (GDI) The Agriculture Department of the North Western Provincial Council has taken steps to produce high-quality seeds of cash crops which are to be distributed among the farming community at the beginning of next year. Three nurseries producing high quality seed varieties and plants will be set up at the Galgamuwa, Panduwasnuwara and Nikaweratiya Govt. farms more..

Freshwater fishing expands horizons for Hambantota fishermen

Dec 22 (GDI) Freshwater fish breeding has received a new lease of life with the commencement of the Api Wawamu Rata Nagamu programme. The freshwater fish breeding project in Walawe left bank development project has achieved tremendous success and has proved to be a boon to the freshwater fishermen. Eleven tanks on the bank of the Walawe have been brought under the programme and a large number of fingerlings have been released to these tanks. more..

Fish breeders to Orissa for training

Dec 22 (GDI) Twenty one fish breeders selected from seven districts left for the "Bubar Theswar" Institute of Orissa State, India for a ten-day training course on freshwater fish breeding industry. According to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources sources, the programme will include training in breeding of fresh water fishes, pond management, production of fish fingerlings, fish harvesting and marketing and controlling fish diseases. more..

‘Production Villages’ to be set up island-wide

Dec 22 (GDI) The Ministry of Rural Industries and Self Employment Promotion has taken steps to set up ‘Production Villages’ island-wide, the Minister of Rural Industries and Self Employment Promotion S. B. Navinna said. Accordingly, the Ministry has set up five cut foliage cultivation villages in Wariyapola, Imiyangoda, Mamunuwa, Walpola, Mahakeliya and Katupotha in the Wariyapola electorate. more..

‘Transit Centres’ for passengers stranded in Colombo during the night

Dec 22 (GDI) The ministry of Transport has taken measures to construct transit centers for passengers stranded in Colombo during the nights on a special directive by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It was revealed in a recent survey carried out by the Colombo University, that about 125 passengers who travel to Colombo by public transport get stranded in the Colombo city each week. more..

Good time to depreciate Sri Lankan rupee, but consult the people

Dec 22 (LNP) A senior economist warned that Sri Lanka s economy could face a catastrophe as the global financial crisis unfolds, compounding problems already caused by macroeconomic conditions. Not wanting to be named, he said the only option out was for the government to implement and fast-track development projects, develop the country s human resources and manage the devaluation of the rupee in consultation with the people. more..

CEB workers warn of Christmas blackout

Dec 22 (SAMN) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) workers Sunday warned of a blackout during Christmas, if their bonus, which had been cut, is not restored by Wednesday. CEB United Trade Union Front Steering Committee Member and Sri Lanka CEB Workers Union General Secretary Ranjan Jayalal said they would go for an all out strike, if the government continued to turn a deaf ear to their request. more..

'Mihin getting more than army'

Dec 22 (SAMN) Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe charged Sunday the government had allocated Rs.6,000 million to re launch Mihin Lanka while only Rs.5,610 million had been allocated as capital expenditure for the army to purchase weapons and strengthen the security forces. “This is surprising. What we are saying is that the allocation of six billion rupees for the grounded Mihin Lanka of the Brothers and company can be easily done away with. more..

LTTE yet to respond to Bishops’ plea

Dec 22 (SAMN) Although the government had firmly said ‘no’ to call for cease fire during the festive season by Catholic and Anglican bishops of Sri Lanka without laying down of arms, the LTTE has yet to give its reaction. “Although the government has said ‘No’, the LTTE has not given any response whatsoever to the Catholic Church. This is an initiative by Anglican Bishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera and he has not yet informed us whether he has got any response,” more..

Number of political parties reaches 62

Dec 22 (SAMN) Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dissanayake has decided to extend the closing date for postal voting applications for December (31) and called for a crucial meeting with all the Chief Returning Officers and Assistant Commissioners of Elections to discuss matters pertaining to the election to the Central and the North Western Provincial Councils. Nominations are scheduled to commence next Wednesday (24). more..

Accusations of civilian deaths still very low

Dec 22 (PISL) The Peace Secretariat wrote an article a couple of months ago giving details of incidents in which the Air Force had been accused of causing the deaths of ordinary people, in order to demonstrate the precautions being taken in such operations. But talk of mass killings has persisted. The Government is even accused in some quarters of committing genocide against the Tamil people, which is simply ridiculous. more..

Media minister predicts economic crisis in 2009 - Ravaya

Dec 22 (LD) Minister of Media, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has told a group of trade union activists that there are signs that Sri Lanka would be plunged into a severe economic crisis by April 2009, 'Ravaya' reports. The minister has made the above observation at a meeting with trade union representatives of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation held at the Ministry of Mass Media on Dec. 18th, it adds. more..

AG orders release of detainees without charges

Dec 22 (LD) The newly appointed Attorney General, Mohan Peiris today has reportedly informed the IGP to release suspects detained under the Prevention of Terrorist Act and Emergency Regulations, if there is no adequate evidence to file charges against them. Sources at the AG's Department say that Mr. Peiris has also said that state counsels and Police Department should intervene in order to expedite investigations into suspects against whom there is enough evidence. more..

Govt. double crossing while pretending to be patriots - CW

Dec 22 (LD) The government is attempting to instill false precedents into the minds of people while conducting themselves as traitors, National Organiser of 'Corruption Watch', Rohana Gamage said. Speaking at a media briefing held in Rajagiriya yesterday, the 'Corruption Watch' organizer further said that those who portray themselves as patriots have devastated the country's economy by swindling Rs. 3700 million for 'Mihin Air', more..

'Consensus in the South' for broad public power

Dec 22 (LD) The 'Surakimu Sri Lanka' program was initiated by opposition leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe and leader of the SLFP 'Mahajana' Wing at the Sanath Jayasuriya ground yesterday. Marking the beginning of an opposition political alliance, leader of the UNP - Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress - Rauff Hakeem, Leader of the Western Peoples' Front - Mano Ganeshan and leader of the United Socialist Party more..

Exports increased by 6% up to October - Prof. G.L. Peiris

Dec 22 (DN) Exports from Sri Lanka had increased by six per cent up to last October while all imports had come down by 10 per cent, which in turn, had resulted in an increase of income for the people and a corresponding decrease in expenditure, Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof. G.L. Peiris citing Central Bank reports. He was speaking at a meeting at the Export Development Board (EDB). more..

'Public servants must help eradicate waste, corruption'

Dec 22 (DN) All public servants should get together to eradicate waste and corruption. There is no sustainable solution for the problem other than this, said Home Minister Chandrasiri Gadjadheera. He was speaking at the Diploma Awards ceremony of the officers of Sri Lanka Administrative Services held recently at the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration. more..

Laugfs chief promises petrol at Rs. 100

Dec 22 (Island) Chairman of LAUGFS Holdings Ltd W. K.H. Wegapitiya yesterday said that he would make available petrol at all his sheds at Rs 100 per litre from midnight yesterday. Wegapitiya gave this pledge last afternoon after The Island pointed out the absurdity in Wegapitiya’s failure to implement the Supreme Court directive despite his being one of the petitioners to move the Supreme Court against the infamous oil hedging deal with a view to bringing down the price of petrol. more..

'Solution lies in the internal self-determination of the Tamil people in areas of historic habitation'

Dec 22 (TC) TNA Leader R. Sampanthan expresses his views on the situation in the Wanni, the rumblings in Tamil Nadu and the role of the minority communities in Sri Lanka on the eve of another delegation of the TNA is planning to leave for India to address the concerns on the situation in the Island: Q: A broad alliance of Tamil political parties, minus the TNA, more..

400 job agencies on the mat

Dec 22 (Island) The Sri Lankan Bureau of Foreign Employment has served notice on over 400 bogus foreign employment agencies this year. The Bureau has already initiated legal action against about one hundred agencies. The SLBFE said that raids were conducted on four more bogus foreign employment agencies in Colombo and the provinces. One of the raided agencies situated in Kurunegala had deceived a large group of persons promising them overseas employment. more..

Submit asset and liability statement: CAFÉ

Dec 22 (DM) Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CAFÉ) which was in the process of making initial plans to monitor the upcoming provincial council election was to make a strong agitation to make the candidates declare their asset and liability statement as required by the law. CAFÉ Spokesman Keerthi Thennakoon told Daily Mirror that it would request the leaders of all political parties to get their candidates to submit an asset and liability statement. more..

Sri Lanka Cinnamon Industry in Deep Crisis

Dec 22 (DM) Global financial crisis has affected the cinnamon industry drastically due to fall in international selling prices by between Rs. 350-400. According Spice Council before the coming into affect of the global financial crisis Cinnamon producers were used to get a good price between Rs.850-900 per kilogram for fine grades cinnamon but now it has come down to a level of Rs.500-525 per kg. more..

Rajapaksa set to send strong message

Dec 22 (EB) In a Christmas message, President Mahinda Rajapaksa may send a strong signal by preparing the grounds to ban the LTTE. Authoritative political sources said the President will soon ask the LTTE to lay down arms or face proscription. A debate has raged within the Government as to when a ban should be proclaimed, and whether it was required since existing laws are appropriate for the government to deal with the LTTE. more..

Tamil Tigers vow to keep fighting

Dec 22 (BBC) Tamil Tiger rebels have said they will continue to fight even if they lose their political headquarters town of Kilinochchi. There has been fierce fighting as the army tries to capture Kilinochchi. The head of the rebels' political wing told the BBC he rejected the government's offer of talks if the Tigers disarmed first. The Tigers say they killed 75 soldiers in the latest clashes. The army has put its losses at 12 dead and 12 missing. more..

Astrology holds sway over Sri Lanka

Dec 22 (BBC) People in many countries believe in astrology, but horoscopes have a particularly enthusiastic following in Sri Lanka. Many consult astrologers when choosing marriage partners, on when to start new jobs, or even to find out the auspicious time to leave their house in the morning. And politicians are said to be heavily influenced by the stars too. At a wedding hall in Colombo, a bride and groom are sitting on a stage brightly decorated with paintings of Hindu gods. more..

Jaffna citizens protest against LTTE, govt to send food aid

Dec 22 (ZN) Thousands of people staged a march in Jaffna to protest against the "atrocities" of the LTTE in the war ravaged area as the government planned to send essential supplies to the embattled northern Sri Lanka. "Tamil civilians in Jaffna staged a massive protest yesterday against atrocities committed against them by the LTTE", a defence ministry report said, adding, over 16000 civilians marched peacefully from Kaithadi to Chawakachcheri displaying banners and placards with slogans against the LTTE. more..

Sri Lanka steps up air raids after fierce weekend clashes

Dec 22 (IANS) Sri Lanka Monday stepped up air raids targeting suspected Tamil Tiger positions following fierce weekend clashes that left scores of combatants killed on both sides in the embattled north. The defence ministry said the air force carried out 'successive sorties' since 6.30 a.m. on targets in Kilinochchi and Mullaittivu districts, the last of territory held by the LTTE. more..

Free Tamil civilians or face ban, Rajapaksa warns LTTE

Dec 22 (IANS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa Monday threatened to outlaw the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist group if it did not allow Tamils living in its control to move to government-held areas. Rajapaksa, who is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and the defence minister, made the statement while addressing officials, groups of clergy, professionals and several others here. more..

More civilians leave Wanni; 60 reach Govt. controlled areas

Dec 23 (GDI) A total of 60 civilians including 24 males and 36 females from the non-liberated areas of Mullaittivu District arrived at Tanduwan general area, 4km Northwest of Nedunkerni today (Dec 22) morning, defence sources said. The escapees told security forces that thousands of others are desperately seeking ways of leaving areas currently controlled by the LTTE. more..

CPC workers protest demanding CPSTL stakes

Dec 23 (LD) Workers of the Ceylon Petroleum Cooperation (CPC) held a protest in front of the main office of the CPC in Kolonnawa today (Dec. 22nd), against the appointment of a new Chairman to the Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminal Ltd. (CPSTL). The protestors also demanded the transfer of CPSTL shares as well as 107 filling stations owned by the Treasury to the CPC, as promised before Jan. 01st 2009. more..

Shares at 4-yr low on deteriorating sentiment

Dec 23 (Reuters) Shares fell 1.11 percent on Monday to a four-year closing low on worsening investor sentiment, after the revelation of a credit card scam at an affiliate of one of the country's biggest conglomerates. The rupee fell 0.13 percent to a new 14-month low on importer demand for greenback, dealers said. The Colombo All-Share index .CSE fell 16.97 points to 1509.79, its lowest close since Jan. 3, 2005. more..

Hope without Progress

Dec 23 (LG) The meaning of politics can be mentioned as the art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation, and the administration and control of its internal and external affairs. Is politics really nothing more than power relations, competing interests and claims for recognition, conflicting assertions of "simple" truths? is the debate put forward by eminent contributors to the political science. more..

UNP doesn’t want to sabotage war - Ranil

Dec 23 (LD) “We in the UNP highly appreciate the commitment of the heroic soldiers in the battlefront. There is no question about that. The war offensive should be under the charge of qualified and trained senior officers. We oppose the waging of the war for political agendas,” said UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. “We strongly oppose if the Army is cheated and not given the funds needed for ambulances, aircraft and other facilities. We do not want to sabotage the war,” more..

Sri Lanka port authority to build new head office

Dec 23 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) said it plans to build a new head office to house its offices now scattered throughout Colombo port and will not buy a hotel as planned previously. The SLPA will build its own head office building outside Colombo port to house all its offices in one location, its chairman Priyath Wickrama said. He said this would cut down congestion inside the port by reducing the number of people entering it as well as make it more convenient for customers. more..

Palestinian Tourists to Sri Lanka Grounded

Dec 23 (AT) Leading tour operators in Palestine are a disappointed lot due to the difficulties they face in sending tourist groups to Sri Lanka as the flights from Amman to Colombo are always full. Finding flight space for large groups is almost impossibility. So far only two big groups had been to Sri Lanka this year even though the demand is very high. With the opening of the Representative Office of Sri Lanka in Palestine there was wide publicity for Sri Lanka in Palestinian media and more..

BCB XI clueless against Herath

Dec 23 (CI) After ruling out play on the first day fog and bad light allowed only 53.1 overs on the second, but that was more than sufficient for the Sri Lankan spinners to roll over a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI for 88 in Savar. The wrecker-in-chief surprisingly was not Muttiah Muralitharan but left-arm spinner, Rangana Herath, who was included in the touring party after Ajantha Mendis was ruled out with an ankle injury. more..

'One-man-show of Rajapaksas'

Dec 23 (LD) “I relinquished my ministerial position because I was not allowed to exercise my powers. I was the only minister without a secretary. Then, how could the work be done? The appointment of ministers is a hoax,” said MP, President’s Counsel Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha in an interview. He also said, “Not only for me, it is also the same for the 109 ministers who are still there. more..