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Sri Lankan Tamil MPs to visit India on December 10

Dec 2 (Hindu) All the 22 ethnic Tamil MPs of Sri Lanka will be visiting India on December 10 to exert pressure on New Delhi to prevail upon Colombo to stop the military action against Tamils in Sri Lanka. TNA MP M.K. Shivaji Lingam told presspersons here on Monday that the Rajapaksa Government had violated the human rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka by targeting civilian population, schools and hospitals in north and eastern parts of the country. more..

Film poses new questions about journalist's murder

Dec 2 (IPS) A BBC documentary on Sri Lankan journalist and actor Richard de Zoysa poses fresh questions about his brutal murder, 19 years ago, by highlighting little-known facts about his links to a revolutionary group involved in two bloody insurgencies, but is now the country's third largest political force. De Zoysa, forcibly taken away by a pro-government death squad on Feb.18, 1990 from his Colombo home, more..

Opposition to take cabinet, central bank to task over oil hedge

Dec 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka' main opposition UNP says the cabinet of ministers and the central bank is also responsible for a hedging deal that has gone wrong, and would use parliamentary powers to take them to task. Last Friday court ordered the chairman of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Ashantha de Mel to be removed, and also recommended that the president take over the petroleum ministry over hedging losses. more..

Sri Lanka gets temporary reprieve on EU trade scheme

Dec 2 (Reuters) A trade scheme that boosted Sri Lanka's top export, garments, will remain in place while the European bloc completes a human rights probe that could lead to withdrawal of concessionary terms, Sri Lanka said on Tuesday. The European bloc since July has repeatedly warned it may not renew the scheme at the end of the year because of human rights abuses stemming from Sri Lanka's civil war with the separatist LTTE. more..

11 pc growth by Ajith Cabraal, a donkey at Derby - Ranil

Dec 3 (LD) Appointing Ajith Nivard Cabraal as governor of Central Bank to ensure an 11 per cent economic growth under Mahinda Chinthana is like "putting a donkey to win the Derby," said opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Mr. Wickremesinghe made the remark while speaking in Parliament. He also wanted the government to make a statement regarding the appointment of Maj. Gen. Asoka Thoradeniya as chairman of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. more..

Besieged Madhu church restored to glory: Lanka Prez to Pope

Dec 3 (ZN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured Pope Benedict XVI that the famous 400-year-old Madhu Catholic Church, which suffered damages in the war with LTTE, has been restored to its original glory. The visiting Lankan President met the Pope in the Vatican City on Monday and appraised him about current developments in Sri Lanka. He said the church has been cleared of the Tamil Tiger rebels who had besieged it and restored, making it possible for the faithful to pray there. more..

Blow to demining efforts in Sri Lanka: NPA pulls out

Dec 3 (TN) "We have given up," said the General Secretary of the Norwegian Peoples Aid, Petter Eide, on the organisations decision to pull out from Sri Lanka. Stating that the NPA was blackmailed and harassed by the Sri Lankan authorities, he said: "We don't want to be there [in Sri Lanka]. We have decided to pull out because the authorities have made our work impossible," reported NTB, Norway's leading news agency on Monday. more..

Labour unrest hits Sri Lankan-managed Maldivian resort

Dec 3 (LBO) Over 100 people attached to Sri Lankan Aitken Spence Group's Meedhuparu Island resort in the Maldives, have struck work demanding better working conditions, joining colleagues in three other resorts, reports said. The strike, which began over the weekend, is initiated by Maldivian employees who want the management to implement the newly minted Employment Act in full. more..

Interview with JVP leader Somawansa Amarsinghe

Dec 3 (RFI) “The continuing government military gains in the north of the Sri Lanka could lead to early elections,” Somawansa Amarsinghe, the leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) or People’s Liberation Front, a left-wing nationalist party told RFI. Amarsinghe's party was a member of the victorious coalition, along with President Mahinda Rajapakse's party in the 2004 election, but is no longer in the government. more..

East in a state of siege due to escalating violence

Dec 3 (TC) One day in the Liberated East: on 25th November, 18 people were killed within 24 hours in Batticaloa District alone. Following a claymore mine attack which killed two Sri Lankan military personnel in Eruvil, 3 members from the same family were killed (grandmother, father and a son) in the village. In Kaluthawali, a village close to Eruvil four members from another family were shot dead (young parents with their two kids). more..

Push for Mullaitivu to escalate

Dec 3 (DW) The Sri Lanka Army who are virtually swimming in flooded low-lying areas in the north, yesterday decided to capture the A-9 Road from Kokavil up to Mankulam.The A-9 is relatively untouched by the floods in some parts, unlike low-level byroads in the interior. Until yesterday, the SLA was careful to leave the A-9 untouched to entice civilian movements. The decision was made to recapture the A-9 in Kokavil after facing a dearth of plyable routes. more..

Watchdogs slam opposition leader

Dec 3 (BBC) Media watchdogs in Sri Lanka have condemned threats to Daily Mirror by the leader of the opposition. President of SLWJA Sananth Balasuriya told BBC Sandeshaya that opposition leader, Ranil Wickramasinghe, should withdraw his threatening remarks against the English language daily. The Five Media Collective has criticised Mr. Wickramsinghe's remarks, in a press conference, on Daily Mirror's editor and deputy editor on Monday. more..

Sri Lanka says military seizes rebel-held village

Dec 3 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers seized a rebel-held village, destroyed four guerrilla bunkers and captured another in separate clashes in the island's northeast, the military said Tuesday. The rebels holding Periyakulam village in Mullaitivu district initially resisted but eventually fled under the attack by Sri Lankan forces. Casualty details were not immediately available, Nanayakkara said. more..

Housemaids face the 'Gulf' between hope and despair

Dec 3 (WFS) Shanti Murugaya, 19, was excited about becoming an earning member of her family. She had always dreamt of being the breadwinner so that her ailing father wouldn't have to work. However, Shanti's father was anxious: he had heard harrowing tales of Sri Lankan women who had gone to the Middle East to work as housemaids. Yet, as Shanti was adamant, he relented on the condition that she would call home once a week. more..

Christians join media, political groups in protest over proposed broadcasting regulations

Dec 3 (UCAN) Christians who have joined media and opposition politicians in protesting a controversial government broadcasting regulation are relieved the Supreme Court has stayed implementation. Minister of Media and Information Anura Priyadharshana Yapa told Parliament on Nov. 27, "Following the guidance of the Supreme Court, we are ready to talk about this license issue with the relevant (parties)." more..

Sri Lanka says military seizes rebel-held village

Dec 3 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers seized a rebel-held village, destroyed four guerrilla bunkers and captured another in separate clashes in the island's northeast, the military said Tuesday. The rebels holding Periyakulam village in Mullaitivu district initially resisted but eventually fled under the attack by Sri Lankan forces. Casualty details were not immediately available, Nanayakkara said. more..

'India will try for a political solution in Sri Lanka'

Dec 3 (Hindu) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India would do everything possible to find a political solution to the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue in view of their sufferings due to the ongoing fight between the armed forces and the LTTE. He gave this assurance on Tuesday to an all-party delegation of MPs from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, belonging to both the Houses of Parliament, more..

Indian PM to discuss ceasefire with Mahinda

Dec 3 (ML) Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has agreed to convey to President Mahinda Rajapakse a call by 39 Central Government MPs from South India for a ceasefire in India. The delegation of MPs representing the government led by newly appointed Home Minister, P. Chidambaram had made representations to the Indian Prime Minister, it is learnt. Informed sources told The Morning Leader that the delegation had stated to the Indian Prime Minister that more..

ICICI Bank withholds US$ 25mn loan

Dec 3 (ML) ICICI Bank (ICICIB) has delayed releasing a US$ 25 million loan requested by the government after Friday’s Supreme Court judgment, a top Central Bank (CB) source speaking on grounds of anonymity told The Morning Leader. International lenders harbour fears that consequent to the SC interim injunction that prevented the state run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) from honouring its hedging contracts, that it may be a precursor to stop similar payments by the government. more..

Three million pilgrims to perform Haj this year

Dec 3 (ML) She spent nine weeks in isolation in a classroom alone except for a teaching assistant and working from notes which she was instructed to copy. The school canteen was barred to her and so were its corridors whenever they were being used by other pupils. She was not allowed to join her friends in the playground and had to be accompanied by a teacher when she went to the toilet. more..

Rivals come together to condemn killings

Dec 3 (ML) Both the LTTE and the TMVP last week condemned the civilian killings in Batticaloa. This is one of those rare occasions where the two parties, generally at loggerheads, agreed on something. Civilians once again in the east were terrorised last week after a series of killings in Batticaloa by ‘unidentified gunmen.’ This sudden killing spree created tension in all parts of Batticaloa resulting in the police imposing curfew last Saturday. more..

Prabha prepares ground for Tamil Eelam

Dec 3 (BL) Several interpretations have been given to LTTE Leader Velupillai Pirapaharan’s Thursday Maveerar oration. They reflected the viewpoint of non-Tamils. It is my duty, as someone presenting the Tamil point of view, to keep my readers informed about the assessment and reactions of the Tamil people. First, I will place the speech in its context. It was addressed to “My beloved people of Tamil Eelam.” more..

TNA will not join APRC-Sampanthan

Dec 3 (BL) Main Tamil constituent of the Sri Lankan Parliament- the TNA will not join the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) as it has lost its direction to find a final solution to the country’s decade old ethnic conflict. “Although the APRC initially offered hope it has now lost its credibility. It engaged in rather constructive activity, until proposals were formulated by the multi-ethnic expert panel,” more..

Lankan-Turkish cooperation against terror hailed

Dec 3 (BL) The Turkish President yesterday welcomed Turkish-Sri Lankan cooperation against terrorism. Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul said that Turkey welcomed the cooperation of the two countries in the fight against terrorism. “Turkey is pleased with the cooperation of Turkey and Sri Lanka, two countries that have suffered much from terrorism, in the international fight against terrorism,” more..

Hedging deal a daylight robbery!

Dec 3 (BL) The controversial hedging deal of the Government owned and managed-Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is widely being frowned as a “daylight robbery” by both the Opposition as well as industry experts compromising national economic and public interest. Experts said that though the Cabinet in January 2007 approved hedging as a strategy in principle by the CPC, the state utility hadn’t got clearance from Cabinet, nor a Technical Evaluation Committee the 8 specific contracts and their risk profiles. more..

Pope to Sri Lankan President: Only dialogue leads to lasting solution

Dec 3 (UCAN) The only way to bring a "just and lasting political solution" to Sri Lanka's 25-year conflict is through dialogue and negotiation, Pope Benedict XVI told visiting President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Dec. 1. The pope also emphasized the need to provide food and other basic needs to the population trapped by the war in the island's northern part. The president and pope met privately for 15 minutes in the papal library. more..

Lanka minister calls for investing in homeland

Dec 3 (GT) Sri Lanka’s visiting Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Dr Sarath Amunugama urged his compatriots in Qatar to look at possibility of investing in the home country. The minister was addressing a meeting at Marriott. Organised by the Sri Lankan Coordinating Committee, the meeting was also attended by the Sri Lankan business community in Qatar. He discussed the problems faced by the business community in running businesses in this country. more..

Sri Lanka coconut industries hit by nut shortfall

Dec 3 (LBO) Sri Lankan coconut-based industries have been badly affected by the decreasing supply of nuts because of low yields and poor prices, plantations industries minister D M Jayaratne said. The estimated average coconut production varies between 2,500 - 2,750 million nuts a year and is not enough to feed various industries based on the crop, he told the opening of the Asia Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) ministerial meeting in Colombo. more..

Opposition Leader Highlights School Uniform Dispute

Dec 3 (MG) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe had shown video pictures exposing the school administration forcing the Muslim girls to remove their Fardah at their schools to the ambassadors of the European countries. He had shown these video pictures to the ambassadors at the meeting held in the residence of the opposition leader last week. Meanwhile the opposition leader when addressing the parliament said that more..

Terrorists’ communication centre in Negomo!

Dec 3 (LG) A clandestine communication centre that provided international communication facilities to tiger terrorists and was maintained by tiger terrorist organization has been discovered when a special raid was carried out by Negombo Police yesterday (2nd). Three Tamil nationals who maintained the centre were arrested and a stock of communication equipment has been seized by the police. more..

Diplomat, Late C Gunasingham

Dec 3 (LG) 'He had been to Singapore in the late 50s/early 60s and thought it was a country with no future' 'WHEN he served in London in the High Commission (1975-1978), there was some jealousy that as a Tamil from a minority community, he continued to hold high positions in choice postings. A vicious and false rumour started to spread that he was a sympathiser of the Tamil Tiger movement. more..

Wars for peace: Despairs and hopes

Dec 3 (LG) There is a poignant episode in Mahabarata, where Karuna laid on a bed of arrows stitched to every cell of his body yet, he remained alive because of the Karma due to his giving and sacrifice. Knowing only by providing him with that last opportunity for an act of sacrifice Karuna will die, Krishna, the incarnation of moksa itself, was forced to beg for that from Karuna. more..

The real picture of Sri Lanka`s beggar world

Dec 3 (LNP) A social survey has revealed that 90% of the beggar population of Colombo city does not expect any benefit from state or any other organization. The survey carried out by an independent body exposes amazing facts. 50% of the beggars are against granting houses or lands to them. 84% are against somebody providing them an employment. 90% are against social benefits and the majority of them like to remain as beggars. more..

UNP to seek stay order

Dec 3 (SAMN) While the Western, Central and Southern Provincial Council are likely to be dissolved next Tuesday according to informed sources, the main opposition UNP is gearing to obtain a court stay order preventing the government from dissolving the Western Provincial Council. According to reliable sources the respective governors of these provinces have been asked to cancel their overseas trips and be prepared to announce the dissolution. more..

Hans LMD’s ‘Sri Lankan of the Year’

Dec 3 (SAMN) Group Chief Executive Officer Dialog Telekom, Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya, has been nominated as LMD’s ‘Sri Lankan Of The Year’ (SLOTY) for 2008. “The main reason for nominating Dr. Wijayasuriya for this award is because he has placed Sri Lanka on the map of corporate boardrooms in the region,” a spokesperson for LMD’s publisher Media Services said. more..

Project to free Colombo from floods

Dec 3 (SAMN) Kelani River is the fourth longest river in the country, and is an important inland waterbody in Colombo. It is a source waterbody, servicing a number of power generation projects and water supply schemes. Elaborating on the rationale behind the project, Urban Development and Sacred Area Development Ministry Secretary Dr. P. Ramanujam said, “Kelani River is fairly tapped by many power generating and water supply schemes, but has the potential of being developed further. more..

Disastrous performance by Ministry

Dec 3 (SAMN) The government has not utilised nearly Rs. 200 million allocated by the Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Ministry for 17 districts for this year, according to its performance report for 2008. The Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Ministry, according to the performance report, was allocated Rs. 338.7 million for 17 districts and had only spent 40% of the allocated amount. more..

Major boost for teaching English

Dec 3 (DN) The first batch of English teachers who have undergone the ‘Communicative English’ scholarship programme in India returned to the country last week. This is an initiative of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to arm the younger generation with the knowledge of English and Information Technology (IT) needed to cater to the requirements of the local and international job market. The batch consisted of 40 English teachers who had been selected under provincial basis. more..

Electronic electricity meters introduced

Dec 3 (DN) Sri Lanka should opt for electronic domestic electricity meters, Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Senevirathne said. He was speaking at a ceremony to hand over the first consignment of locally manufactured domestic electricity meters to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) by Anteleco Electricity Metering Company Pvt Ltd. He said Sri Lanka was behind Bangladesh in using electronic meters which are more accurate and reliable. more..

'SLTB will increase its fleet to 5500 buses next year'

Dec 3 (Island) Minister of Transport Dallas Alahapperuma yesterday said the UNP governments since 1977 had directed the SLTB and the Railway departments on the road to gradual destruction so that both enterprises could be sold to the private sector. First the SLTB was broken up into regional units then cluster bus companies and still later it was to be sold for spare parts by a bankrupt businessman Ravi Wettasinghe who had no experience in running a single public transport bus. more..

Lankan student commended for winning Holcim sustainable construction award

Dec 3 (Island) A Sri Lankan architecture student, who won first prize in Holcims Sustainable Construction "Next Generation’ Europe competition in Madrid was commended during last week’s awards ceremony for the Asia Pacific Region, in New Delhi. Semini Samarasinghe, from Kandy, who studies architecture in the United Kingdom,was invited by the Holcim Foundation to participate in the New Delhi ceremony. more..

No food for book lovers

Dec 3 (DM) The Colombo Public Library canteen has been closed for more than two weeks causing much hardship to thousands of visitors to the library and its staff, a senior Colombo Municipality official said. He said students who came to the library early in the morning seeking slots in the study hall and those who come to borrow or return books depend on the canteen for tea or a mid-day meal were the worst affected. more..

Future UNP Govt. won’t honour UPFA commercial agreements

Dec 3 (DM) Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said a future UNP government would not honour commercial agreements entered into by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government due to the slur on the country’s reputation caused by the fraudulent oil hedging agreement. He told the media conference on Monday the controversial oil hedging blunder had caused a massive loss in foreign exchange that Sri Lanka, which was in the midst of an economic crisis could ill afford. more..

Cabinet approved hedging deal - Fowzie

Dec 3 (LD) Petroleum Minister A.H.M. Fowzie has distanced himself from the concept of hedging, telling Parliament today (Dec. 03rd) that it was a the brainchild of Central Bank governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal. Making a special statement to the House, Minister Fowzie said the hedging deal was signed on a recommendation by a committee that reviewed the proposal submitted to the cabinet by the CB governor himself. more..

'President entirely to blame for hedging deal'

Dec 3 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is entirely to blame for the hedging deal, despite attempts by the government to defend itself and the President by trying to pass on the blame to Minister A.H.M. Fowzie and former chairman of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Asantha de Mel, said leader of United Socialist Party Sirithunga Jayasuriya. Mr. Jayasuriya was speaking at a seminar titled "Socio-Political Reality of Hedging" organized by 'Corruption Watch'. more..

12,000 soldiers died during Mahinda rule - Range Bandara

Dec 3 (LD) Twelve thousand soldiers have died in war during the three-year rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa, while a similar number has become maimed in the same period, said UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara. At least 8,000 young women have become widowed, as most of these dead are between 19 and 27 years of age, he told a media briefing at the Opposition Leader's Office in Colombo today (Dec. 03rd). more..

'Corruption Watch' to challenge driving license

Dec 3 (LD) 'Corruption Watch' has decided to go to the court and challenge the new driving license to be introduced, which it slammed as the 'most corrupt deal in recent history.' Its national organizer Rohana Gamage said the government, in violation of all norms, was going to award the tender for the printing of this driving license to an African firm. He was speaking at a seminar titled "Socio-Political Reality of Hedging" more..

Mahindananda accused of assaulting House employee

Dec 3 (LD) Deputy Government Whip Mahindananda Aluthgamage stands accused of having assaulted a Parliament employee over a microphone malfunction when he rose up to address the House today. UNP's Dayasiri Jayasekara brought the matter to the attention of the Speaker. Responding, Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara said he was duty bound to safeguard privileges of Parliament staff, and that ruling or opposition party members had no right to threaten them. more..

Sri Lanka jailed journalist nominated for award, faces lengthy prison term

Dec 3 (LBO) An imprisoned Sri Lankan journalist, who faces a lengthy jail term for expressing his views, if convicted, has been nominated for a media freedom award by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF). RSF said in a statement that J S Tissainayagam is one of six journalists from different countries to be nominated for the award for "journalists who through their work, their principled stand or their attitude have displayed support for freedom of information." more..

Sri Lanka says 3 rebels killed in fighting

Dec 3 (AP) Sri Lankan troops killed three ethnic Tamil rebels in separate clashes as they continued their campaign to capture two main rebel strongholds, the military said Wednesday. Soldiers fought a series of battles Tuesday with the Tamil Tigers who are trying to defend their de facto capital Kilinochchi. Troops later found the body of a dead insurgent, the military said in a statement. more..