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Malta boat tragedy twelfth anniversary commemorated in Colombo

Dec 29 (LG) The twelfth anniversary of the Malta Boat Tragedy was commemorated at the Ramanathan Hindu Ladies College Hall, Bambalapitiya, Sri Lanka on the 25th December, 2008. Mr. Balwant Singh Khere, the Chairman of the Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, Mr. Gurvinda Singh, Mr. Kuldeep Singh from India and Mr. M..K.P.Chandralal, Chairman, Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission (Sri Lankan Chapter) among others attended this meeting. more..

NCP backs move to embarrass porn stars

Dec 29 (SAMN) Amidst a simmering dispute over a move by the police to publish photographs of young men and women appearing in pornographic films, National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) Chief Jagath Wellawatte Sudnay sided with law enforcement authorities and said the Bureau for the Prevention of Abuse of Children and Women should be allowed to identify pornographic stars. more..

Christian priest opens Buddhist shrine

Dec 29 (SAMN) The Southern Province Lands, Irrigation, Agriculture and Animal Production Minister Hemal Gunasekara invited the Rev. Dr. J.S.K. Herath of Christ Church (in the Matara Fort) to open a Buddhist shrine at a Housing Scheme in Nepewala, Matara. After the opening ceremony, the provincial minister said in his address: “My wish to provide a shrine in the Housing Scheme to mark my birthday was fulfilled in 20 days with the people’s cooperation. more..

Industrial zone for Jaffna soon

Dec 29 (SAMN) Major General G. A. Chandrasiri, Commander Security Forces (SAFFNA) said the Army was looking at the possibilities of opening up an industrial zone in the Peninsula."Once the roads to Jaffna are cleared we will be able to establish an industrial park with the governments assistance," he said. Major General Chandrasiri said the roads are expected to be cleared early next year. more..

‘PC polls aimed at defeating terrorism’

Dec 29 (SAMN) The Provincial Council Elections are aimed at strengthening sovereignty, defeating terrorism and establishing development, Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. He was addressing several meetings held at four electorates in Kurunegala district. The government has appointed the Health Minister as Chief Organiser in Kurunegala district. more..

STF, LTTE clash in B'caloa

Dec 29 (LD) Police Special Task Force (STF) personnel have sprung an ambush in Black Bridge area at Chenkalady, Batticaloa, killing four LTTE members last morning, the defense ministry website reports. Four bodies of slain LTTE members and 2 T-56 assault riffles were found during the subsequent search operations conducted, it adds. Meanwhile, the 'TamilNet' website, citing police sources reports that one STF member was killed and three sustained serious injuries when more..

CPC to take over Treasury-owned filling stations

Dec 29 (LD) Petroleum Minister A.H.M. Fowzie has assured CPC union leaders that a cabinet paper would be presented tomorrow for the takeover of 107 filling stations presently functioning under the Treasury. The assurance came when the two sides met for discussions yesterday, spokesman of CPC Combined Trade Union D.J. Rajakaruna told 'Lanka Dissent.' Ministry secretary W.B. Ganegala, additional secretary Kanthi Wijetunga and MP K.D. Lal Kantha also attended the meeting. more..

'Joined govt. to complete war victories'

Dec 29 (LD) Leader of the National Freedom Front Wimal Weerawansa says his party has joined the government with the intention of realizing the fullest meaning of the mandate gained by the president in 2005, by completing the battlefront victories next year. He was speaking at Temple Trees yesterday, where the NFF and the UPFA signed a memorandum of understanding. more..

Terrorism needs military solution - Kabir Hashim

Dec 29 (LD) The UNP is of the firm stance that terrorism needs a military solution although it calls for a political solution for the innocent Tamil people, said party MP for Kegalle Kabir Hashim. He told a public rally at Mawanella town yesterday that military victories were impossible without economic strength. Now, the economy has collapsed due to the failed economic management, wastage and corruption of the present regime, the MP said. more..

UNP takes to streets Jan. 07 to demand justice for public

Dec 29 (LD) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says combined political action in the form of a series of protests will be launched from Colombo on January 07th to demand respect for the fundamental rights of the people. "The Supreme Court has suspended payments to private banks under the hedging deal. This month alone, the payment should have been Rs. five billion. The Rajapaksa regime that followed that SC ruling, had so far no implemented the other order for the reduction of fuel prices," he said. more..

Steady progress at Wanni fronts

Dec 29 (MoD) Steady battle progress was reported at the Wanni battlefronts at Kilinochchi and Mullaittiuvu on Sunday (Dec 28) as security forces are now engaged in the final battles for the LTTE's remaining major garrison townships. Fighting was reported in the outskirts of Paranthan, Kilinochchi and Mullaittiuvu, with the multi-pronged military advances made dismantling remaining LTTE resistances in the areas. more..

Origins and trajectory of LTTE terrorism

Dec 29 (DN) The LTTE’s genesis could be traced to 1974 when Velupillai Prabhakaran formed the Tamil New Tigers (TNT), at a time many other Tamil youth groups also took to arms. However following Indian mediation in 1987 and the agreement of the Indo- Sri Lanka Accord which granted significant powers to the Tamil speaking areas of Sri Lanka, while all other terrorist groups joined the political mainstream, the LTTE stubbornly persisted with its terrorist tactics demanding more..

NSB to expand Middle East presence

Dec 29 (DN) National Savings Bank (NSB) is to appoint more representatives for Middle East to facilitate foreign remittances of Sri Lankan migrant workers in the region. Senior Deputy General Manager of NSB S.D.N Perera told Daily News Business that the bank is expecting to appoint representatives in Oman, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. “At the moment we have few representatives in this region. We have representatives in Italy and Korea too,” he said. more..

Minister promises cars for employees while 3000 SLTB buses lie idle!

Dec 29 (Island) Transport Minister Dallas Alahapperuma yesterday said that about 3000 buses were parked at SLTB regional depots for want of minor repairs. Addressing a press conference at the BMICH yesterday, the minister promised to repair them soon and introduce a voluntary retirement scheme to get rid of surplus labour. He also promised to crackdown on those who made money on the purchase of spare parts at the expense of the taxpayer. more..

Douglas slams TNA over propaganda campaign against forces

Dec 29 (Island) The leader of the EPDP said the TNA was spinning fabricated tales about the genocide of Tamils by the security forces of Jaffna. "They are spinning fabricated tales about the situation in Jaffna for narrow political gains," he told journalists on Saturday. He alledged that the TNA was proxy to the LTTE who won seats through stuffed ballot boxes. more..

Seylan Bank reassures customers

Dec 29 (DM) Following the Founder Chairman Deshamanya Dr. Lalith Kotelawela’s press release of Saturday December 27, 2008, we would like to make the following clarifications to the General Public and our valued customers of Seylan Bank, as we have received inquiries in this regard. What has been stated in the press release is that our Founder Chairman and Ceylinco Group have decided to divest Seylan Bank shares owned by Ceylinco Group so as to raise funds to honour the dues to Golden Key credit card holders. more..

Mendis joins Sri Lanka squad

Dec 29 (Reuters) Ajantha Mendis joined the squad in Bangladesh Monday after a quick recovery from an ankle injury that was expected to keep him out of the test series. Mendis, 23, suffered severe soft tissue damage in his right ankle during a domestic game early this month and was replaced by left-arm spinner Rangana Herath for the two-test series. "My ankle is alright now as I am feeling no pain," more..

President to participate at SLTB golden jubilee

Dec 29 (DM) The golden jubilee of the SLTB will be held tomorrow on a grand scale at the BMICH with the participation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The highlight of the celebration will be the felicitation of SLTB employees who had served exceptionally well for the country’s main transport utility. Transport Minister Dulles Alahapperuma said the national transport system and the SLTB in particular was in transformation after several decades of neglect. more..

Ceylinco Insurance says no control of Golden Key

Dec 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Ceylinco Insurance says its board has not been given control of Golden Key Credit Card Company, a troubled Ceylinco group firm that could not repay its customers earlier this month. Ceylinco Insurance said in a stock exchange filing that "the control of Golden Key Credit Card Company and its subsidiaries have not been handed over to the board of directors of Ceylinco Insurance PLC". more..

Vanishing men

Dec 29 (TW) When our white van stopped in the Muslim hamlet of Saintha Maruthu in Batticaloa district on the night of November 23, residents viewed us with fear. So my friend from the locality introduced me to them, "She is a journalist from Chennai." For the Tamils in Sri Lanka, a white van is terror on four wheels. "White vans have been used to abduct people, especially young Tamil men," my friend told me. more..

Rebels abduct 16 children from orphanage

Dec 29 (DPA) Tamil rebels abducted 16 children from a Catholic orphanage in northern Sri Lanka to be enlisted in their movement as fighters, the defence ministry said Monday, citing witnesses. The children were taken away from the Dharmapuram orphanage in Kilinochchi, 320 km north of the capital, after holding two Roman Catholic priests at gunpoint Friday, the ministry said. It said the Tamil rebels demanded the priest release all children above the age of 12. more..

Year 2008 saw LTTE being pushed to the corner

Dec 29 (PTI) The year 2008 saw the LTTE being pushed to the corner virtually by the Sri Lankan Army in the nearly three decades-old ethnic war even as India walked a tightrope on addressing the concerns of displaced civilian Tamils in the island's embattled northern region. The year began with the Sri Lankan Government abrogating the 2002 ceasefire and launching an all-out offensive against the LTTE in its strongholds of northern region inflicting heavy damages on the rebels. more..

Seylan Bank brought under Bank of Ceylon

Dec 29 (LBO) Seylan Bank's board of directors has been dissolved by the monetary board of the Central Bank and its operations brought under state-run Bank of Ceylon, the regulator said. The Central Bank said it was "discontinuing the services" of the board of Seylan Bank but retaining the current chief executive officer and employees. Seylan Bank will be open for usual business with customers from December 30, it said. more..

A man does what has to be done

Dec 30 (TS) I have yet to meet John Vethanayagam. He is a busy man. He gets up at 5 a.m., grabs the bus, works all day and well into the night, comes home late to a darkened house and goes to sleep; and when the alarm goes off a few hours later, he does it again. Three reasons. Their names are Bavani, Premini and Sharmini Kumarakulasingham; they are his nieces from Sri Lanka. They have just arrived in Canada. more..

Laugfs Gas profit over Rs. 1,000 per cylinder - DW

Dec 30 (LD) Laugfs Gas sells a 12.5 kg domestic gas cylinder at Rs. 1,679 sold to them by Ceylon Petroleum Corporation for only Rs. 468, says Asanka Mahagedaragama of 'Development Watch'. He said that Laugfs Gas earns a profit of over Rs. 1,000 from a gas cylinder. He questioned whether the government, which claims that reducing gas prices would affect funds needed for war, is using the profits acquired by Laugfs Gas for the war. more..

B.H. Perera's charge file goes missing from SLC

Dec 30 (LD) A file that contains documents pertaining to 64 charges against B.H. Perera alias 'Podi Sir', a manager at Sri Lanka Cricket, has gone mission, reports say. The file had disappeared yesterday (Dec. 28) from the room of SLC's lawyer and human resources manager. Despite the accusations against him, B.H. Perera has become the unofficial advisor to the Sports Ministry Secretary, the cricket governing body's temporary administrator. more..

JVP in major protest to demand fuel price reduction

Dec 30 (LD) Thousands attended a JVP-staged march and demonstration in Colombo this afternoon (Dec. 29th) to demand the government respects the Supreme Court ruling and reduces the petrol price immediately. The protestors began their march from Hyde Park at 3.45 pm and held their agitation at Lipton Circus. More than 5,000 people, including JVP strongmen Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Vijitha Herath, K.D. Lalkantha, Lakshman Nipunarachchi and trade unionists participated. more..

How India has been influencing Sri Lanka at multiple levels

Dec 30 (FI) When we refer to the interaction of India and Sri Lanka in whatever field, we assume that India and Sri Lanka are two separate countries, but there was a time in the distant past when India and Sri Lanka were a single land mass. Even today after the land mass has split, the distance between India and Sri Lanka is only 22 miles. That is the full distance of the Palk Strait. more..

Sri Lanka army bodies handed over

Dec 30 (BBC) Tamil Tiger rebels have handed over the bodies of 17 Sri Lankan army soldiers to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC acts as an intermediary and facilitates the exchange of bodies between the two sides. The hand-over came as both sides say they have inflicted heavy casualties on each other in the north of the island. The rebels say they are successfully defending the strategically important town of Kilinochchi. more..

Keheliya to capture Prabakaran by February 07

Dec 30 (LeN) Media Spokesman for National Security, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella hopes to capture LTTE leader Prabakaran who is now running from bunker to bunker for life before February 07. Addressing a meeting held in upcountry, the Minister said that Prabakaran would be brought to court soon. The D-day he marked is the day the elections for the Central and Northwestern Provincial Council elections are held. more..

Paranthan in striking distance: Colombo

Dec 30 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan military on Monday claimed “steady battle progress” at Kilinochchi and Mullathivu on the Wanni battlefront amid multiple aerial raids on “identified” LTTE targets. The Defence Ministry said here security forces were engaged in the “final battles” for the LTTE’s remaining major garrison townships. Fighting was reported on the outskirts of Paranthan, Kilinochchi and Mullathivu. more..

Jaffna Bishop hails Centre’s gesture

Dec 30 (Hindu) Efforts by the Centre and Tamil Nadu government to provide relief to civilians caught in the military conflict in Sri Lanka has earned appreciation from a respected religious leader who toured relief camps and other areas where fighting is raging between the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and LTTE. In a letter to the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, more..

Nadesan denies Lakbima News interviewing LTTE leader

Dec 30 (TW) B. Nadesan, Chief of LTTE political wing has said no exclusive interview ever took place between the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and Lakbima News. Lakbima News is published in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. Lakbima News in its edition dated Dec 28th said, “Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader Velupillai Prabhakaran gave the interview exclusively to LAKBIMAnEWS via e mail.” more..

Sri Lankan players seek clarification for Pak tour

Dec 30 (DNA) Despite the clearance by the foreign ministry, the Sri Lanka players, now playing a Test series in Bangaldesh, are still not mentally ready for the forthcoming Pakistan tour, it is learnt. “The players have sought certain clarifications regarding the security arrangements to be placed in Pakistan”, Greame Labrooy, the president of the Sri Lanka Cricketers’ Assocation said from Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka calls upon concerned parties to end violence in the Gaza Strip

Dec 30 (AT) The Government of Sri Lanka has expressed its deep concerned over the fast escalating violence in the Gaza Strip, which has led to much bloodshed. This has resulted in increased tension in the region. In a press release, Sri Lanka has called upon all parties concerned to end the violence, to ensure a conducive climate for the re-commencement of negotiations to find a lasting solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. more..

Medical items urgently needed for SL troops

Dec 30 (AT) The Ranaviru Fund - set up for the purpose of helping disabled Sri Lankan military personnel and familes of troops killed in action - is appealing for funds to purchase Defibrillator with built-in Cardiac Monitor & Recorder. Blood Warmer and 1000 socket gel liners. The socket gel liners are for the Ranaviru Sevana, Ragama and the other items are for the Army Hospital, Colombo. more..

Secretary Defence Addresses Troops in East

Dec 30 (MoD) When there are only three days to pass the year 2008 during which Security Forces recorded remarkable victories against the LTTE, secretary defence Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera went to Welikanda in a bid to wish the troops in the east courage and strength to continue their service to the motherland in the oncoming new year. more..

ISI-Lashkar operations with CPM help

Dec 30 (Organiser) With Kerala yet to recover from the shock of Terror Export of 300-odd Malayali Muslim youth to Kashmir and PoK and their training at Lashkar and Hizbul camps, comes the chilling report of ISI-LeT links with LTTE and their possible next targets—Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The entire coastal areas of Kerala and Tamil Nadu are under the control of Muslims, as Hindu fishermen have been systematically eliminated. more..

LTTE agent caught in India, more arrests likely

Dec 30 (IANS) A Sri Lankan Tamil man trying to smuggle communication equipment to the Tamil Tigers has been arrested in India. Informed sources said Monday that more arrests are likely. The Tamil Nadu Police 'Q Branch' - which deals with insurgent groups - took into custody Amir Antony Paranthaman, 32, in Chennai Saturday night, leading to the seizure of satellite telephones and global positioning systems (GPS) sent from Switzerland. more..

Sixth mobile player to Lanka

Dec 30 (BOI) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval to a new mobile (GSM) and fixed (SCDMA) telecommunications network provider. Mr. Dhammika Perera signed the agreement on behalf of the BOI and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registration to Mr. B.A.C. Abeywardena, Director of RTEC Mobile Lanka. FDI, which has been successfully attracted by the BOI has played a major role in the development and modernization of Sri Lanka’s telecommunication. more..

President tried to talk on telephone but Chief Justice refused to answer

Dec 30 (TC) A major contributory factor to the prevailing conflict between the Sri Lankan executive and judiciary is the egoistic clash on a personal level between President Mahinda Rajapakse and Chief Justice Sarath Silva. The issue has become highly personalised and the President in particular is treating the matter as a personal affront to him. more..

A president's counsel and several lawyers blamed...

Dec 30 (AHRC) The Sri Lankan government's Ministry of Defence website published the following caption with a photograph of a President's Counsel, Romesh de Silva PC. President's Counsel Romesh de Silva, Mr. M A Sumanthiran, Mr. Viran Korea, Ms. Lilanthi De Silva and Chamaine Gunarathne are the team of lawyers who regularly appear for the detainees charged with terrorist activity. more..

Human Rights Commission issues summons on Gota, Sarath and Lalith

Dec 30 (TC) The Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (SLHRC) has accepted that there are valid grounds to inquire further into a complaint by UNP Colombo district Parliamentarian Dr. Jayalath Jayawardane that his fundamental rights were violated by an order of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse. Dr. Jayalath has alleged that he was physically removed from the Our Lady of the Rosary Church at Madhu while he was meditating by the army because of an order by Gotabhaya. more..

Douglas decrees that National Anthem be sung in Tamil in Jaffna

Dec 30 (TC) Social services minister and EPDP secretary – general Douglas Devananda has given instructions that the Sri Lankan national anthem should be sung in the Tamil language as well as in Sinhala during official functions held in Jaffna. Earlier “Sri Lanka Matha” was sung only in Sinhala. The minister has stated that the national anthem should be sung in Tamil also in areas where the Tamil speaking people are in a majority. more..

Tigers say 2009 will not be "Year of Trimph" but "Year of Destruction" for Army

Dec 30 (TC) The LTTE have responded to President Mahinda Rajapakse ‘s challenge by declaring the forthcoming 2009 as the year of destruction or “Azhivu”. Senior LTTE military commander speaking at a ceremonial function in Puthukkudiyiruppu announced in the presence of LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran that the next year would be a year where the armed forces would undergo great destruction. more..

Tea industry hopes for better prices in January

Dec 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea market is expected to recover somewhat early next year with a long break in the Colombo auctions and production shortfalls in other origins keeping demand buoyant, officials said. "We expect better sales from January," said Tea Board chairman Lalith Hettiarachchi. He said the break in the Colombo sales for about three weeks because of holidays means buyers would be starved of tea and demand should be strong at the first sale of 2009 in January 6-7. more..

Award Winning Citizen Journalism - Looking back at 2008

Dec 30 (GV) Over the course of 2008, Groundviews published over 250 compelling contributions from ordinary Sri Lankans, award winning poets and authors, renowned academics, diplomats, civil servants, leading civil society activists and others. Sri Lanka’s first citizen journalism website and operating without any donor funding, content from Groundviews is consistently republished in mainstream media, academic journals, books, more..

Seylan bank gets new directors: report

Dec 30 (LBO) Three new directors has been appointed to Sri Lanka's Seylan Bank, which was put under the control of a state bank by the monetary board, a media report said. Experienced banker E Narangoda, who was earlier at state-run National Savings Bank had been appointed chairman, The Island newspaper said. Lalith Withana and Neomal Gunawardena have been appointed directors with two vacancies yet to be filled, the report said. more..

How I survived the tsunami

Dec 30 (LG) It was my grandfather’s fourth year remembrance held at our family home in Galle. My father left the day before to attend to some errands. We left on the 26th . It was just like any other day. I got up at six. My mother kept yelling that we would be late. So my brother, mother and I left home only having had our morning tea. There wasn’t much traffic as it was a poya day. With my brother’s speedy precision driving we were making up lost time fast. more..

'All that you lost due to terror will be restored'

Dec 30 (GDI) “All that was lost to you due to terrorism will be restored. It will not be long before your brothers and sisters who are trapped in areas such as Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu can be happy. That is when, just like the New Dawn in the East, there will be the New Spring in the North,” said President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message to the people of Jaffna in connection with more..