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4 years later, tsunami victim rebuilds his life

Dec 26 (AP) Every morning and evening, Velmurugu Kangasuriyam gathers his 2 1/2 year-old daughter and his wife and confronts the wreckage of his former life. His wife, Thaya, lights an oil lamp on the mantle of a dark, bare concrete room. Kangasuriyam presses his hands together and closes his eyes. Little Theresa follows in imitation. For a long minute his new family stands in silent prayer. more..

'Tsunami recovery hampered by lack of accountability'

Dec 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tsunami recovery efforts were hampered by lack of effective institutions, the International Development Association (IDA), part of the World Bank group said. "Reconstruction needs strong and accountable institutions," it said in a statement. "Sri Lanka's tsunami reconstruction was hampered from time to time by the dearth of effective institutions, especially at the central government level to undertake the huge task of reconstruction." more..

Tsunami Disaster: A wake-up call to all Sri Lankans

Dec 26 (LG) The Tsunami disaster of 26th December 2004 is perhaps the worst natural disaster ever to befall our Island nation. Disasters like this compel us to reflect on and stake stock of things. It could even have a cathartic effect on our lives, and the future of our nation. Let us reflect on life before the Tsunami- perhaps going as far back as February 4th 1948 (Independence Day). more..

How the TNA & the LTTE shamelessly render their "piraattanai" to Indian Politicians!

Dec 26 (LG) Mr. Thondaman Sr. was the leader of the Indian Tamils who were brought here virtually as slaves of the British. Their job was to work in the hill-country lands expropriated from the Kandyan peasants who were driven out into the forests of the Uva to slowly perish. Mr. Thondaman agitated tirelessly and relentlessly for the rights of his people. However, when ever he was in India he spoke as a Ceylonese (i.e., as a Sri Lankan). more..

When will Ranil Wickremesinghe find his compass?

Dec 26 (LG) From time to time Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Leader of the Opposition, has been signaling that he is keen on moving closer to the heart of the nation which is a prime requirement if he has any intention of regaining power. After a series of failed policies --from his disastrous Ceasefire Agreement to bullock cart (“juck-muck”) and car (“toot-toot”) demonstrations – he has signaled at various times that he is more..

New building complex for Management Faculty, Jaffna University

Dec 26 (GDI) The University of Jaffna is to be expanded with a new building complex for its Management Studies and Commerce Faculty at a cost of Rs. 400 million. It will provide enhanced facilities to both students and the staff. These programmes are currently being carried out sharing facilities with the Faculty of Arts due to lack of space. The Faculty, established in 1999, consists of 800 students and 40 academic staff. more..

'No food shortage in Wanni'

Dec 26 (GDI) “There was no food shortage in the Wanni and Jaffna and the Government is getting the fullest cooperation of all key actors including the WFP and ICRC in the endeavor to provide supplies to the civilians”, Essentials Services Commissioner S.B. Divarathne said. The Government yesterday re-assured that humanitarian assistance to civilians living in non-liberated areas of WVanni would continue un-interrupted, despite difficulties more..

'Future Minds of Jaffna' from Dec 27-29

Dec 26 (GDI) An industrial and education exhibition on the theme "Future Minds of Jaffna" will be held at the Jaffna Wembadi Girls College and Jaffna Central College from December 27 to 29. The exhibition, the brainchild of Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major Gen. G.A. Chandrasiri, is intended to open doors of opportunity to youth of the North deprived for long under the cloud of the conflict, and more..

"Tsunami Train" back on track on anniversary of tragedy

Dec 26 (GDI) Commemorating the fourth anniversary of Sri Lanka's unprecedented tragedy of the deadly Tsunami, the Railway Department launched the repaired engine of the train that was struck in Peraliya by the tsunami in 2004, today (26). The historical first journey of the engine commenced at approximately 6.30 am today (26) from the Fort Railway station in the presence of Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma. more..

'Haritha Lanka' to be implemented in 2009

Dec 26 (GDI) The Environment and Natural Resources Ministry will be carried out Haritha Lanka (Green Sri Lanka) programme in 2009, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said. According to the Minister, 'Haritha Lanka' is a program for improving the biodiversity of the country. Programs like Haritha Lanka are aimed at protecting Sri Lanka and contribute to the global effort to protect environment, he noted. more..

'Moves to sabotage forward march of security forces'

Dec 26 (GDI) “Political opponents underestimate the victories of the security forces and conspire to sabotage their operations against the LTTE”, the Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. During his recent visit to the Peradeniya Teaching hospital, he visited the wards where injured security forces personnel were being treated. He noted that the Health Ministry had reserved 950 beds exclusively for injured military personnel in the main hospitals network. more..

No housing still for 21,000 tsunami homeless families

Dec 26 (LD) With the Asian tsunami disaster marks its fourth anniversary today, an observation report by the United Nations says nearly 21,000 Sri Lankan families still remain without permanent housing, 'Ravaya' reports. It says only 99,414 houses, as against a requirement of 120,389 houses, have been built in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara. more..

No voting right for 71,000 estate people - CaFFE

Dec 26 (LD) CaFFE is calling for an accelerated programme to issue national identity cards for the estate community in time for the polls for central province. Failure to do so will deny around 20 per cent of eligible voters in the province to exercise their franchise at the election. A survey by CaFFE has found that a considerable number of the estate community does not possess any form of identification. more..

'Allowing profits for foreign company, a traitorous act'

Dec 26 (LD) A government that loves its people never allows them to be cheated by a private company, 'Corruption Watch' spokesman attorney Shiral Laktilake says, noting that it is a traitorous act to pressurize a foreign-based supplier to earn profits by selling fuel at high prices. He says, "A government is duty bound to mediate and relieve the people when the private sector raises its prices. more..

'650 post Tsunami houses short for Ampara district'

Dec 26 (MG) "Tsunami victims in Ampara district are still short of nearly 650 houses when 5th anniversary of the Tsunami is reaching on 26th December. Main problem in this coastal belt was shortage of usable and buildable land. The govt. was forced to to reduce the buffer zone on account of this. Lot of funds was spent on filling and reclaiming the marshy lands. Many people in Colombo do not know the suffering of these Tsunami victims and they simply say that this district has surplus post Tsunami houses", more..

Yapa to lead Govt. polls campaign in NWP

Dec 26 (SAMN) Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa is likely to quit his portfolio shortly to contest the forthcoming Wayamba PC polls. The Kurunegala District MP is believed to have accepted the challenging task amidst strong opposition to former Chief Minister Athula Wijesinghe being named the ruling coalition’s chief ministerial candidate. Political sources said had the government re-named Wijesinghe as more..

SL wins three handicrafts awards

Dec 26 (SAMN) Sri Lanka won three awards at the South Asia UNESCO award for excellence in handicrafts, in which Karma Yangchen, a mother of three and owner of a handicraft shop in Bhutan won the main award. Karma had submitted a shawl among 13 other handicraft items of Bhutanese origin. The award recognises quality products that combine innovation in design, beauty and traditional skills. more..

MR meets NFF leaders to discuss MoU

Dec 26 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told the National Freedom Front (NFF) leaders Thursday that had the JVP supported the Government after the Presidential Election, he could have cut down the Cabinet to the proper size. The President had a meeting with NFF leaders Wimal Weerawansa, Nandana Gunatilake, Kamal Desapriya and Piyasiri Wijenayake regarding the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two parties. more..

‘SL only country to treat injured enemy’

Dec 26 (SAMN) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake said that Sri Lanka is the only country that provides medicine to cure the injured enemy. The Premier was speaking at a ceremony to receive medical equipment donated by a group of Sri Lankans living in Australia, to be distributed to rural hospitals in Sri Lanka. “Doctors and medical equipment required by the Kilinochchi hospital are provided by the Government and majority of the services is enjoyed by the LTTE. more..

Rupee overvaluation hurting apparel orders, jobs

Dec 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s apparel exporters could win back 15 percent of orders now lost due to an overvalued rupee caused by high domestic inflation, if there was a realistic exchange rate, an industry official said. The Sri Lanka rupee has fallen against the US dollar in December after the Central Bank eased intervention after it lost almost a third of its foreign reserves. On Tuesday the rupee traded around112.80 from 108.00 to the dollar three months ago. more..

Two million benefitted by tsunami projects

Dec 26 (DN) Four years after the tsunami, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Sri Lanka (IFRC) together with the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) has completed 223 tsunami recovery projects across the country, benefiting nearly two million people, a release said. According to the IFRC's Four Year Progress Report, the most significant achievement has been in the area of permanent housing. more..

Road renovation drive gets underway

Dec 26 (DN) Repairing of countrywide main roads damaged due to recent heavy rains has been commenced by the Road Development Authority (RDA) on a directive of Highways Minister T.B. Ekanayaka. The Government has allocated Rs. 300 million for the project. According to a senior RDA official, nearly 60 per cent of main roads as well as highways need urgent repairs following the last month's rains and floods experienced in many parts of the country. more..

Pottu Amman sidelined

Dec 26 (DM) LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran removed his Intelligence Unit chief Shanmugalingam Sivashanker, better known as Pottu Amman from that position for his continued failure to fulfill tasks including the attempted move to assassinate Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, intelligence sources said. With the removal of Pottu Amman, Rutnam Master who was in-charge of Prabhakaran’s personal security and more..

Energy Ministry to stick to its target

Dec 26 (Island) The Ministry of Power and Energy said it would stick to the task of targeting 10 per cent (500 MW) of grid energy from Non Conventional Renewable Energy (NCRE) sources by 2015. A CEB spokesman said that 2009 is certainly going to be a decisive year especially with regard to renewable energy sources and the Ministry would go all out to encourage such projects. To date, nearly 144.392 MW of NCRE has been added to the system from more..

SLBFE recalls 200 workers from Kuwait

Dec 26 (Island) The SLBFE said it had recalled over 200 Sri Lankans working for a janitorial service in Kuwait after the employers failed to pay the promised salary. The Janitorial Service recruited the workers promising to pay sixty Kuwait dinars each, but paid only 40, Chairman of the Bureau Kingsley Ranawaka said. The Company owning the janitorial service had signed an agreement with the Sri Lankan agency through which the workers had been sent. more..

Silver bells for Christmas stamps

Dec 26 (DM) In 1980, the first Sri Lankan Christmas stamps were issued by the Philatelic Bureau of the Department of Posts Sri Lanka. This was the result of years of negotiations and perseverance by Rev. Fr. Noel Elmo Perera himself an enthusiastic stamp collector who later become the Bishop of Galle and the Archbishop of Colombo the most Rev. Dr. Oswald Gomis, at that time the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Colombo and in charge of Christian Cultural Affairs. more..

Sri Lanka's Pakistan tour cleared - report

Dec 26 (CI) President Mahinda Rajapakse has cleared the national team's tour of Pakistan next month, AFP has reported. The series had been confirmed by the Pakistan board last week but its status became uncertain after the interim board was dissolved on Tuesday by the country's sports minister. Foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama announced the decision to go ahead after talks with President Mahinda Rajapakse; more..

Shakib strikes leave SL in trouble

Dec 26 (CI) Shakib Al Hasan took three wickets, including the prized ones of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, to rattle Sri Lanka on the first day in Mirpur. A two-hour start delay due to fog was followed by a period of domination by Sri Lanka, Michael Vandort and Sangakkara taking them to 119 for 1, before Shakib triggered a collapse. Sri Lanka, who opted to bat, lost five wickets for 52 runs to hand Bangladesh the first day's honours. more..

Sri Lanka takes key Tiger town after Christmas Day battles

Dec 26 (AFP) Government forces on Friday wrested control of a strategic town after heavy fighting with Tamil Tiger rebels that left at least 40 people dead, the defence ministry said. Security forces entered the town of Mulliyawalai near Mullaittivu, the main military headquarters of the LTTE, the defence ministry said. "Troops are now engaged in a fierce gun battle with the LTTE in the area," more..

Sri Lanka's ignored war

Dec 26 (BG) ASIA'S longest civil war is building to a violent crescendo. In the island nation of Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese-majority government should be pressed to accept a cease-fire, to permit a political settlement. Government forces are besieging the rebel Tamil Tigers in the north of the country. Since abandoning a ceasefire in 2006 and a Norwegian-sponsored peace process earlier this year, more..

Congress uneasy over Karunanidhi's inaction against separatists

Dec 26 (IANS) Congress party leaders in Tamil Nadu say they are uneasy over Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi not taking any action against separatist elements in the state, especially after their party headquarters came under attack from supporters of common ally Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK). 'We are uneasy over the chief minister's continued inaction against fissiparous elements trying vainly to garner support for the banned Tamil Tigers,' more..

Caritas helps plantation workers obtain vital documents

Dec 27 (UCAN) Illiteracy and fear of bureaucracy have proved real hurdles for Take Kanesh. The unemployed 21-year-old Hindu Tamil stood with his father, mother and brother in a crowded local government hall hoping to get a document that could change his life, and that should have been his all along. As Kanesh explained to UCA News, his parents had failed to obtain for him something that most take for granted -- a birth certificate. more..

Achievement 2008, Challenge 2009

Dec 27 (TC) Sri Lanka closes out its 60th year of Independence, though in the strictest sense it lasts till the beginning of next February when we celebrate our 61st Independence Day. It is a moment to take stock. Due to all the wrong turnings we took and the right ones we did not at and since our Independence six decades ago, we have spent a quarter century commemorating our independence in conditions of a separatist civil war. more..

How LTTE rebels swindle the world

Dec 27 (AT) Without any hesitation the LTTE can be branded as a terrorist organization and also all their action leads to believe that they are an unjustifiable, indiscriminate, ruthless, callous, brutal and merciless gang of organized annihilators. It's not so long ago FBI reported that "LTTE is the most ruthless and efficient terrorist group in the world". This statement of FBI depicts that the LTTE is even superior to Al Qaeda. more..

Snake Bites: 1000 Deaths a year mostly preventable

Dec 27 (AT) It has been reported in the Island of Wednesday 24th December 2008 that there are on the average 1,000 deaths a year due to snake bites in Sri Lanka second only to India and 33,000 who survive every year. It did not say how they survive and it therefore has to be assumed that it is through treatment at rural government hospitals. The report said that researchers at Peradeniya and Gampola hospitals and more..

Tamil civilian detention and aid restrictions

Dec 27 (AT) The Sri Lankan government should stop arbitrarily detaining civilians fleeing fighting in the northern Vanni region and urgently allow humanitarian agencies to return to provide desperately needed aid, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released December 23. The 49-page report, "Besieged, Displaced, and Detained: The Plight of Civilians in Sri Lanka's Vanni Region," documents more..

'Mulliyawalai township captured'

Dec 27 (Hindu) The military on Friday claimed to have captured Mulliyawalai Township located along the A-34 Oddusudan-Mullathivu main road and killed several LTTE cadre after hours of heavy fighting. The Defence Ministry said here soldiers captured an LTTE communication tower located north of Mulliyawalai. “Three fortified overhead bunkers constructed in defence of the tower with a height of 40 ft showed its significance to the LTTE in maintaining communication between their bases”. more..

VCK demands recognition for Tamil Eelam

Dec 27 (TOI) A conference organised by the pro-LTTE Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) on Friday demanded that India and other governments in the world recognise the struggle of Tamils in Sri Lanka for a separate state. In a resolution passed at the Tamil Eelam Recognition Conference' organised by the VCK, the party said India should recognise the Tamil Eelam' struggle, and there was no need for any further talks or agreements to be signed. more..

Veteran actress Malini Fonseka was felicitated by President

Dec 27 (AT) Queen of the Sri Lanka Sinhala Cinema and recipient of the Golden Peacock Award at the 99th International Film Festival of India held in Goa, veteran actress Malini Fonseka was felicitated by the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa at a colorful Ceremony at Presidential Secretariat, Colombo on Tuesday the 24th December. more..

Tsunami-damaged reefs making recovery

Dec 27 (AP) Indonesia's coral reefs damaged by the 2004 tsunami are making a quick recovery, helped by natural colonisation and a drop in illegal fishing, scientists have found. Surveys taken shortly after the December 26 disaster showed up to a third of reefs were damaged and experts predicted it would take a decade to fully recover. Their examination of 60 sites on 800 kilometres of coast along the province of Aceh showed the reefs were bouncing back. more..

Journalists in Jaffna ordered to assemble before Douglas

Dec 27 (TC) Media personnel working in Jaffna district have been ordered to assemble before Social Services Minister and Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) leader Douglas Devananda for a special meeting at 3 pm on Saturday December 27th 2008. An “invitation” has been sent out to all media personnel in Jaffna to attend a conference organized by the ministry at the office located on 373 Stanley road, Jaffna. more..

EPDP imposes "Mahindapuram" name on housing scheme

Dec 27 (TC) A new housing scheme in the outskirts of Jaffna city is to be officially named “Mahindapuram” in honour of President Mahinda Rajapakse. As a prelude to this move all recipients of houses through the particular housing project were ordered by the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) to place signatures on a mass petition demanding that the scheme be named Mahindapuram after President Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

Coastal areas from Nayaaru to Nilaweli to be declared a security - economic zone

Dec 27 (TC) The Government has drawn up elaborate plans to intensively excavate mineral resources acailable in the coastal areas of northern Trincomalee district and Southern Mullaitheevu district. The vast resources available in these lands from the South of Naayaaru lagoon in Mullaitheevu to north of Nilaweli in Trincomalee district were not tapped extensively in the past due to the on going war and the dominance exerted by the LTTE in the region. more..

S.T.F. Kills two siblings of LTTE cadres in Batticaloa on Christmas Day

Dec 27 (TC) Members of the elite Special Task Force (STF) in Batticaloa district have on Christmas day (Dec 25th) killed siblings of a past as well as present member of the LTTE. The killings are regarded as part of an on going cycle of murders where members of the STF, military intelligence and cadres loyal to Vinayagamurthy Muralitharan alias “Col” Karuna have been engaged on a killing spree targeting civilians with alleged LTTE connections. more..

Army delivers upper cut and hook to LTTE on Boxing Day

Dec 27 (TC) The Sri Lankan armed forces have delivered two decisive punches to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on Boxing Day. In what could be termed a left hook in boxing parlance soldiers of 59 division smashed through tiger defences in the Kodalikallu area and entered the strategically located Mulliyawlai town on the Mankulam – Mullaitheevu road known as A – 34 highway. more..

JVP names chief ministerial candidates

Dec 27 (LT) The JVP has named the two chief ministerial candidates for the forthcoming elections to North East and Central Provincial Councils. Mr. Nimal Herath, Member of North East Provincial Council for that ouncil and Mr. Samansiri Fernando, the Leader of the group of JVP Members of Central PC for that PC have been named as the chief ministerial candidates for the two PC elections. more..

Resolving Sri Lanka's conflict

Dec 27 (VOA) At a recent meeting of members of Sri Lanka's business community, U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Robert Blake said three themes go to the heart of U.S. policy toward Sri Lanka –- post-conflict reconciliation requires a political solution and improvement in human rights for all; new directions in U.S. partnership with Sri Lanka; and how the U.S. and Sri Lanka can weather the current financial crisis. more..

Restoring healthcare to tsunami-affected communities in Sri Lanka

Dec 27 (UNICEF) For the first time since the waves of the tsunami destroyed her home and her family’s livelihood, T. Lafara is celebrating a new addition to her family. She cradles a newborn girl in her arms, as she drifts back and forth in the yard outside her home. This is now her third child – one she’s been waiting years to have, until her family could sort out its living arrangements in the wake of the disaster. more..

The battle for Kilinochchi continues

Dec 27 (wsws) As the Sri Lankan military continues its offensive to capture Kilinochchi, in the northern Wanni district, the death toll on both sides has risen sharply. The army has concentrated two divisions around Kilinochchi, the administrative centre of the separatist LTTE, but its attacks were driven back last week. No independent reports are available and both sides routinely exaggerate casualty figures. more..

LTTE human element saves Srilankan Army new recruit’s life

Dec 27 (LG) He could have breath his last in few minutes or would have tucked with other dead bodies of his colleagues. Founded among eight dead bodies, he was sustaining serious injuries in the neck and the arm, had the luck to live thanks to the humanitarian nature of a LTTE cadre, who is fighting a battle to push back thousands of SLA still suffer for the sake of a Mahinda regime’s political dream to have a single majority. more..