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A lifeline from Verugal for water-starved tsunami survivors

Dec 30 (LG) Thamipillai Thirugnanasaundram was at sea, when the tsunami waves raced towards his home at Verugal Muhathuvaram in Trincomalee. “The waves carried me ashore. I was unconscious for about six to seven hours,” he explained. When he eventually regained consciousness, he went in search of his family. After many hours of searching, he was able to locate his wife and children at a temporary shelter in Poomarathady. more..

How Muslims settled in Sri Lanka

Dec 30 (PSM) The east-west trade between Asia and Europe came into the hands of the Muslims when trading nations such as Persia went over to Islam. The Muslim traders used the monsoon for sailing in the Indian Ocean. The last stop to wait for the change of monsoon was Sri Lanka. On leaving the Malabar Coast, the next landmark they looked out for was Adams Peak. Sri Lanka therefore became a permanent base of operations for the Muslim trader. more..

International Buddhist Center improved to encourage religious tourism

Dec 30 (GDI) Steps have been taken to improve the conditions of International Buddhist Centre located at Piliyandala. The BOI-International Buddhist Center is a large-scale project to showcase Buddhism and its contribution to society in a single and dedicated location. It will seek to attract investments in Buddhism related projects and thus become a magnet for Buddhists all around the world as well as those who have an interest in the philosophy of Buddhism. more..

RDA undertakes upgrading of Melsiripura – Koholanwela road

Dec 30 (GDI) Thirty kilometers of the Melsiripura-Koholanwela road will be upgraded with Road Development Authority undertaking the task, the Ministry of Highways & Road Development sources said. This project is mainly aimed at facilitating the transportation needs of the investors reaching Nalanda Industrial village in Matale District from Colombo. The road running via Pallepola consists of two strips connecting Kurunegala and Matale districts. more..

'Essential goods at lower rates during festive season'

Dec 30 (GDI) "Arrangements have been made to provide essential goods to the general public at affordable prices during the festival season", Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Bandula Gunawardena said. The consumers can obtain their requirements at wholesale or retail prices from special economic centres and can make their purchases from the cooperatives or CWE sales outlets and from Cope and Mini Cope -City centres. more..

UPFA and UNP name Chief Ministerial candidates

Dec 30 (LP) Candidates for the post of the Chief Minister of the Central and North Western provincial councils have been nominated by the UPFA and UNP. Accordingly the former chief ministers of the Central and North Western provincial councils from the UPFA will contest as the candidates for the election. The Chief Minister candidate for the central provincial council will be former Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake and more..

Future Minds of Jaffna Launch of the Industrial and Educational Exhibition

Dec 30 (PISL) A delegation from the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process attended the opening, on Saturday December 27th, of the Future Minds Of Jaffna Industrial and Educational Exhibition organised in Jaffna by the Security Forces, with the assistance of the Secretariat. Secretary General, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, was accompanied by Director Operations, Brigadier Piyal Abeysekera, and Director Economic Affairs, Rohantha Athukorale. more..

Sri Lanka urged to release findings

Dec 30 (SAMN) The Sri Lankan government has been urged to release its findings of the Malta tragedy where 289 persons including 70 Sri Lankans drowned in the Malta-Sicily channel in 1996. The 12th anniversary of the Malta boat tragedy was commemorated last week. According to media reports from Malta an Indian delegation had briefed Sri Lanka on the human tragedy, which occurred in the Malta-Sicily Channel on December 25 1996. more..

NFF wants LTTE banned

Dec 30 (SAMN) The National Freedom Front Monday called for the banning of the LTTE and called into question a comment made by Tiger Leader Velupillai Prabahakaran that the Central Government of India had changed its stance and was ready to support them. NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa said the party was concerned about the comment made by the LTTE leader in an interview with an English weekly. more..

Know your maths, Ranil tells Mahinda

Dec 30 (SAMN) Those who claim that nine million petrol users, works out to four per cent of the population, obviously do not know basic mathematics, Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said Monday. He said around nine million people including motor cyclists, three wheel taxi drivers and middle class people commute using petrol vehicles, but irresponsible statements by various spokesman for the government indicates their poor knowledge of mathematics. more..

Nobel prize nominee praises SL surgeons

Dec 30 (SAMN) Sri Lanka's medical fraternity and heart surgeons in particular received a warm compliment from the visiting world renowned US Cardiac Surgeon, Dr. Jeremy R Torstveit, who claimed Sri Lanka was on par with the best in the world when it came to open heart surgery on children. The two time Nobel Peace prize nominee, appointed Honorary Consul by the Government, in recognition of his efforts to help Sri Lanka to combat heart diseases, attributed the success, more..

Sri Lankan theatre is not political: dramatist

Dec 30 (Hindu) Political issues have hardly been portrayed in Sri Lankan theatre despite the island nation being politically active, dramatist Lalitha Sarachchandra has said. She was interacting with delegates to the International Theatre Festival of Kerala here on Monday. “Government controls over theatre are minimal in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, mainstream theatre in the island nation is non-political, she said. more..

A shimmering ray of hope

Dec 30 (Hindu) Mayuran sits at a computer in the crowded thatched-roofed office in Egmore, analysing data on recent arrivals of Sri Lankan refugees. The 23-year-old is a volunteer at OfERR — Organisation for Eelam Refugees Rehabilitation, which helps Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu. “I work in the Advocacy Unit, assisting the organisation’s founder S.C. Chandrahasan,” he says. He also updates their website, coordinates meetings among the four Tamil Nadu OfERR offices, more..

Poisonous gas seeping from mine kills three

Dec 30 (LT) Three people working in a mine in Neelagama area at Palmadulla were killed when poisonous gas seeped in. Two others were admitted to hospital in a serious condition. The miners who had been unable to breathe when poisonous gas seeped in had fallen to the bottom of the 55 feet deep mine. Three of them had died when they were about to be taken to hospital and the other two are given emergency treatment

PC polls More join the fray

Dec 30 (DN) With two days to go for the close of nominations for the Provincial Council polls, two political parties and four independent groups handed over nominations by noon yesterday. In the Kandy district, the National Development Front handed over it’s nominations with five independent groups placing deposits. In Matale, three independent groups made deposits. In Nuwaraeliya, one independent group submitted nominations, with eight others placing deposits. more..

Setback for estate sector women

Dec 30 (DN) Women in the plantation sector who played a prominent leadership role during the colonial era have suffered a setback in recent times said S. Ramanathan, General Secretary, Lanka Estate Workers Union (LEWU). Ramanathan said that those who criticise the Collective Agreement entered with the Plantation companies had failed to seek increments for workers via any other channels in the given period. more..

CEB reforms Bill gets Cabinet nod

Dec 30 (Island) The Sri Lanka Electricity Bill to introduce regulatory reforms, had received Cabinet sanction and was ready for presentation in parliament. The regulatory and structural reforms of the power sector had been de- linked, senior Power and Energy Ministry sources said. Regulatory reforms would address the implementation of lower cost generating plants and adoption of an open competitive and transparent power plant dispatch program in 2009 and to upgrade the management information systems. more..

'UNP ready to welcome people’s verdict'

Dec 30 (Island) United National Party Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya said his party would contest the Central and North Western Provincial Council elections and was ready to welcome the verdict of the people. After calling on the prelates of the Malwatta and Asgiriya Viharayas with other party high rankers, Jayasuriya told the media that the UNP had throughout stressed the need to wipe out terrorism from Sri Lanka. more..

Bleak prospects for ending conflict

Dec 30 (DM) In this land famous for politicians signing pacts, agreements and MoUs and then tearing, abrogating or reneging on them, another MoU, described as historic by some and decried as a betrayal by others, was signed at an auspicious moment amid religious blessings. The same scenario was enacted at the signing of similar agreements in the past too although they soon collapsed defying the expected effect of auspicious times and religious invocation. more..

Take tough action against Maths paper mess: UNP

Dec 30 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday urged the government to take stern action against the education officials who set the controversial Maths question paper II. The party is expected to call for an adjournment debate on the issue when Parliament meets on January 6. UNP Kurunegala district parliamentarian Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told journalists that the party would look into the possibility of taking legal action against those responsible for the crisis. more..

Ashraful takes contest into fifth day

Dec 30 (CI) Set an improbable 521 to win, Bangladesh's batsmen put up a fight led by captain Mohammad Ashraful. An unbroken 74-run stand between Ashraful and Shakib Al Hasan ensured the hosts finished at 254 for 5, a creditable performance given the poor run Bangladesh have had with the bat in recent times. Achieving the remaining 267 will be a miraculous task, but Bangladesh can take heart if they manage to stretch Sri Lanka on the final day. more..

Sri Lanka port dredges entrance

Dec 30 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has completed dredging of the northern entrance to Colombo port, senior SLPA officials said. The entrance has been kept closed for years because of the possibility of attack by Tamil Tiger rebels. It was scheduled to have been re-opened this Thursday but this has been put off after fresh reports of Tamil Tiger threats against the port, officials said. more..

Seylan Bank trade halt removed

Dec 30 (LBO) Seylan Bank trade halt was removed at 12.45 pm Tuesday following clearance from the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Seylan Bank shares opened trading Tuesday at 19.50 rupees, up 3.75 rupees from the previous close on December 24. Their was no trading on December 29, 2008 due to the trade halt. The trade halt was removed following a letter submitted by the bank confirming more..

Six weeks to go

Dec 30 (SP) The navy blockade continues unbroken, despite desperate LTTE attempts to ship weapons and munitions in. There are only a few bits of coastline where the LTTE can land stuff, so it's easier for the navy to catch the smuggling attempts. The fighting around the LTTE capital of Kilinochchi is apparently attracting the best fighters the LTTE has left. That's because some army units have been hit with well prepared and led counterattacks. more..

Sri Lankan navy warn fishermen not to fish near Katchathivu

Dec 30 (CO) Indian fishermen from this island had to beat a hasty retreat from Katchativu where they were fishing late last night after Sri Lankan navalmen reportedly warned them that they would open fire if they continued fishing near the area. The naval personnel came in eight gas powered boats at aroud midnight and warned them of dire consequences if they continued to fish in their territory, fishermen said. more..

Sri Lanka plans to hold polls in war-ravaged north in 2009

Dec 30 (ZN) Sri Lanka plans to hold elections in the war-ravaged Tamil dominated north in 2009 after flushing out the LTTE from their strongholds and rehabilitating the displaced people, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said. "We want to hold elections in northern Sri Lanka (Wanni) during 2009 after settling the displaced people," Rajapaksa said while talking to a group of Indian journalists here last night. more..

Forget the 'unfortunate' past: President tells people of Jaffna

Dec 30 (IANS) Vowing that his government would restore 'all that was lost due to terrorism', President Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked the people of the northern Jaffna peninsula that it was time to forget 'the unfortunate developments of the past'. President made these remarks Monday night while addressing the people of Jaffna via satellite transmission on the occasion of an 'educational and industrial exhibition' more..

Pakistan trying to make ends meet for Sri Lanka series

Dec 31 (IANS) Pakistan is willing to pay Sri Lanka up to $1.5 million to play a hastly arranged series here in January-February. According to sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Pakistan is unlikely to generate any substantial profits from the series that was lined up after India decided to pull out of its tour of Pakistan over last month's terror attacks in Mumbai. more..

Kilinochchi will not fall, says Prabhakaran

Dec 31 (PTI) Ruling out the possibility of any sudden fall of its last bastions of Killinochchi and Mulaitivu, LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran has said that his group still had thousands of fighters and was also working to "rebuild" relationship with India. Saying that the Tigers still had "many thousands" of armed cadres intact, Prabhakaran contested claims of the Sri Lankan forces that they were poised to capture the rebel strongholds. more..

Commercial Bank offers online retirement fund payments

Dec 31 (LBO) Commercial Bank said it has extended its 'Paymaster' online payment facility to handle Employees' Trust Fund (ETF) retirement benefit fund payments. The web-enabled Paymaster enables monthly contributions and surcharges and upload of monthly member contribution details for the convenience of employers, the bank said in a statement. This eliminates manual filling of ‘Form 11 Returns’. more..

Sri Lanka port gets new Evergreen service

Dec 31 (LBO) Evergreen Line has said it has introduced a new feeder service with Singapore-based Sea Consortium linking Sri Lanka's Colombo port with ports in India and Pakistan. A statement from the shipping line, operated by Taiwan's Evergreen Marine Corporation, said the Arabian Express Service (ASX) offers a weekly rotation. The ships on the ASX will call at Colombo, Kandla, Mundra, Karachi, Nhava Sheva, and sail back to Colombo. more..

Seylan Bank up sharply on takeover expectations

Dec 31 (LBO) Sri Lankan stocks continued to weaken Tuesday but Seylan Bank shares shot up almost 29 percent on anticipation of a takeover after it was placed under a state-owned bank when depositors began withdrawing funds. The All Share Price Index eased 0.79 percent (11.85 points) to 1,484.53 while the Milanka lost 1.50 percent (24.51 points) to end at 1,612.03. Turnover was 97 million rupees. more..

Sri Lanka has to expedite power devolution: Mukherjee

Dec 31 (PTI) Expressing disappointment over the slow implementation of devolution package in Sri Lanka, Indiaon Tuesday asked Colombo to expedite the process as it voiced concern over the humanitarian situation in the island due to the war between the army and LTTE. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee also said no decision has been taken on when he would travel to Colombo as has been demanded by parties in Tamil Nadu, including DMK. more..

Army makes inroads into Kilinochchi amid LTTE resistance

Dec 31 (PTI) Sri Lankan Army encountered stiff resistance from the LTTE during their onward march towards Tamil Tigres' headquarters of Kilinochchi in the embattled northern region, even as the rebels suffered losses in clashes with security forces. "Both the LTTE militants and the troops sustained damages in a confrontation in the Nalanawakulam east area of Kilinochchi yesterday," the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said. more..

Presidential salvo

Dec 31 (FL) THE ultimatum issued to the LTTE by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the afternoon of December 22 was proof enough that the situation in battle-scarred Sri Lanka could get only worse as 2009 dawns. In a speech to a mixed gathering at the Presidential Palace, Rajapaksa asked the Tigers to allow people trapped in the war zone to cross into safe areas by January 1 or face a ban with all “its consequences”. more..

'No ICC decision' in Pakistan tour

Dec 31 (BBC) The international body governing world cricket says that it has no decision to take on Sri Lanka’s proposed tour to Pakistan. A spokesman for the International Cricket Council (ICC) told BBC Sinhala service that the decision on safety and security ‘remains the responsibility of the touring side’. Sri Lankan government has officially endorsed the tour to Pakistan, which was agreed after India pulled out of the tour on the advice of the Indian government. more..

Sri Lanka want to shorten Pakistan tour

Dec 31 (CI) Pakistan's already troubled quest to organise some international cricket has run into further obstacles after it emerged that Sri Lanka's players would like to push forward the tour in order to get some rest. If agreed, however, there might emerge a likely clash with Pakistan's ODI tour to Bangladesh, currently scheduled for early March. Sri Lanka were inked in as replacements for India, who pulled out after the recent deterioration in relations between Pakistan and India. more..

'We need only two wickets'

Dec 31 (CI) Bangladesh, led by their captain Mohammad Ashraful, may have extended the first Test against Sri Lanka to the fifth day in Mirpur, but the visitors are confident of wrapping up a win on Wednesday. Boosted by Ashraful's half-century, Bangladesh closed the day at 254 for 5 chasing an improbable 521. Although the past month has seen India and South Africa pull off record chases, more..

Sri Lanka gives incentives to tea, rubber sectors

Dec 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government has moved to protect and revive the tea and rubber industries with a host of incentives announced in a wide-ranging economic stimulus package. Government ministers told a news conference the stimulus package, effective from January 1, 2009, is meant to reduce production costs, prevent job losses, maintain manufacturing and exports at current levels, and retain the island's export competitiveness. more..

Sri Lanka announces 'stimulus package' to maintain growth

Dec 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka has announced a 'stimulus package' valued at 16 billion rupees to maintain growth at an optimistic 6.0 to 6.5 percent in 2009, with cuts in energy prices and incentives for exporters. "We have been able to maintain a growth rate of 6.0 percent or above in the past five years and we want to sustain that growth trajectory," investment promotion minister Sarath Amunugama told reporters. more..

Lankan troops set to take Periya Paranthan

Dec 31 (EB) Overcoming stiff resistance from the LTTE, Task Force I of the Sri Lankan army was on Monday poised to take the village of Periya Paranthan, four kilometres from the garrison town of Paranthan in north Sri Lanka. The capture of Periya Paranthan is expected to pave the way for the take over of Paranthan town itself. From Paranthan, the Sri Lankan army could either go northwards to capture Elephant Pass or come head south to take Kilinochchi, more..

MR’s economic woes and the fall out of regional tension

Dec 31 (ML) For President Mahinda Rajapakse whose government has yet again fallen into the deadline trap by vowing to take back Killinochchi by February, the year ahead given rising tensions between the two South Asian giants will prove increasingly hard. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella last week said the government would be able to capture LTTE Leader Velupillai Pirapaharan and the remaining LTTE controlled areas in the Killinochchi District in the Wanni by February 7, 2009, and more..

Defence Ministry reveals ‘shocking manoeuvres’ planned against LTTE

Dec 31 (ML) The Defence Ministry yesterday revealed it has shifted operations from Kilinochchi to Mulaithivu as part of strategy and added that it was in the process of making a ‘shocking manoeuvre,’ dragging the LTTE closer to defeat. The shift in focus was revealed in the Defence Ministry website Last week Minister Keheliya Rambukwella claimed the march to Kilinochchi was slow because of a high concentration of civilians in the area. more..

UNP accuses Govt. politicos of extorting money

Dec 31 (ML) The UNP yesterday accused the government of extorting money from the business community for its provincial council election campaign. UNP Provincial Council candidate for the Matale District and brother of Local Government and Provincial Council Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, Asoka Bandara Tennakoon addressing a media briefing yesterday accused the government of suppressing the business community in the Matale District and more..

Govt. denies LTTE charge of child recruitment

Dec 31 (ML) The LTTE has made public an identity card of a soldier killed in battle and alleged that he was a child soldier, a charge hotly denied by the military. The LTTE posted photographs of an identity card said to be of a child recruit of the Sri Lanka Army on several websites last Sunday, claiming that the soldier was killed during the battle in Mulaithivu on Saturday (27). more..

What would the New Year bring?

Dec 31 (BL) I wish to stick to tradition and wish you, my dear readers, a happy and prosperous New Year. Let me hasten to add that I am not that optimistic. I foresee the intensification of the Wanni war and the deterioration of the economic woes of the people. The reasoning behind my pessimism is obvious. President Mahinda Rajapaksa and LTTE Chief Velupillai Pirapaharan have vowed to continue the fight. more..

Govt responsible for financial crisis in the country -JVP

Dec 31 (LT) The breakdown of Golden Key Credit Card Company indicates that there is a serious threat to the economy of Sri Lanka states the JVP. MP Anura Dissanayake said the situation is a breakdown of the financial sphere of the country and emphasized that the President, as the minister of finance, should immediately make a statement regarding the situation of the employees and depositors after the taking over of Seylan Bank. more..

Mihin Air in flight of hope

Dec 31 (BL) The controversial Mihin Lanka airline takes to the skies tomorrow with the new 186 seater Boeing 737 aircraft making its first journey to the busy hub of Dubai at 1800 hours. “We have a tentative confirmation of 100 passengers,” Mihin Lanka Coordinator to the Chairman, Gamini Abeywardena told The Bottom Line yesterday. “This may change according to the issue of visas. At this point we have 40 tentative bookings depending on the issue of visas to the U.A.E.” more..

Parties call for better balancing act in 2009 from Govt

Dec 31 (BL) With the dawn of the New Year, political parties expressed the desire for the government to concentrate on the economic front and balance it with the war effort. The UNP called for the people to fight the tides of corruption and join them in convincing the government to balance the war effort with the economic crisis insisting that winning the war cannot solve the economic problems that the people are grappling with. more..

Govt. gets generous

Dec 31 (BL) The Government yesterday gave a hamper of goodies to the people and crucial economic sectors on the eve of the New Year that would also see key provincial polls. The stimulus, relief or goodies package, which ever the way one might describe will cost the Government Rs. 16 billion but the 2009 Budget deficit target of 6.5% of GDP has been promised to be kept intact with a reduction in unnecessary expenses of the Government including more..