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The emerging significance of the environment: In international relations

Dec 6 (AT) It gives me great joy and pride to be here to felicitate the Hon. Champika Ranawaka, again, on his election as the Chair of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention on the Ozone Layer. He richly deserves it, not only because of his extensive familiarity with the subject, but also because of his zeal, determination and commitment to work for the betterment of the environment. more..

President visits Blue Mosque in historic visit to Turkey

Dec 6 (MG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa concluded his state visit to Turkey today after a successful official visit including a visit to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul yesterday. Several agreements concerning bilateral relations were signed between the two countries. President left for Ankara, Turkey late Monday on a historic visit to Turkey, the first by a Sri Lankan Head of State at the invitation of the President of Turkey. more..

SLBC journalists harassed: UNP prevent them covering annual conference

Dec 6 (AT) The United National Party which claims to champion media freedom has begun to shows its original ugly face of harassing journalists. The recent episode was the barring of journalists from the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation from covering the 53rd annual convention of the UNP, presently underway at Dehiwela Urban Council grounds, chaired by party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

'We are introducing Ayurveda to the world'

Dec 6 (GDI) While 52 Ayurvedic hospitals have been set up island wide under the ‘Hela Veda Gedera Programme’, concrete steps have been taken to popularize this native medicinal system in other coutries, Minister of Indigenous Medicine, Tissa Karalliyadda told Parliament. Contributing to the budget debate, he said that an impetus has been given to the local production of herbs used on Ayurvedic medicines by imposing a tax on all imported herbs that can be cultivated locally. more..

'The UNP has two policies on the war'

Dec 6 (GDI) MP, NFF, Piyasiri Wijenayake said in Parliament that the UNP appears to have two positions on the humanitarian effort to liberate the Wanni from the grip of terrorists and called upon that party to clarify its position. “Ravi Karunanayake said today that the effort has not been successful. However, yesterday, Lakshman Seneviratne, participating in the debate on the Defence budget, said that the current strategy should be pursued to a successful conclusion. more..

Over 30,000 Vehicles tested for emission levels

Dec 6 (LNP) More than 30,000 vehicles in the Western Province had been put though the Vehicle Emission Testing (VET) Programme which is a prerequisite to obtain revenue licences. The VET is being carried out at 20 centres in the Western Province, Air Resource Management Centre (AirMac) of the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry said. An Environment Manager of the AirMac told The Island yesterday that the response was very encouraging and more..

Troops make steady progress

Dec 6 (SAMN) The Sri Lankan military on Friday announced the capture of two more LTTE “strongholds” in the Kilinochchi district. The Defence Ministry said troops had struck “a huge blow on the gates of the LTTE run mono ethnic Wanni hellhole” by reaching Kanakarayankulam on Friday morning. “Troops extending their forward boundaries across the A-9 road have reached the former LTTE stronghold in a swift eastward thrust. more..

UNP rises against alleged corruption

Dec 6 (SAMN) The UNP Friday handed over a motion against the government in Parliament for what it termed as alleged widespread corruption and fraud in the country. The party has requested the motion to be placed on the Order Paper. Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera handed over the motion to Acting Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Kitulgoda during the committee stage debate of the budget. more..

Elephant Dung wins Green Business Award

Dec 6 (SAMN) Ellie Pooh won Co-op America's 2008 Green Business Leader Award for making 100 per cent handmade journals, stationery, office supplies and various grades of paper made partially from Sri Lankan elephant dung. The award was presented at the Green Business Conference in San Francisco on November 13, 2008 by the 2007 Green Business Leader Award winner, Organic Valley. Awarded since 2003, the Green Business Leader Award recognises more..

Of Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera

Dec 6 (LG) When I heard that Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera was to be feted on his 80th birthday, I felt that as a dental surgeon I should not let the occasion pass by without some reflections from us, the professional dental surgeons. I believe very few know that he is a highly qualified dental surgeon; it is perhaps his very professionalism that makes him make little, or often no reference to his professional career. more..

Journalist Joe Ariyarathnam passes away

Dec 6 (SAMN) Senior Journalist Joe Ariyarathnam passed away on Friday. Joe was one of the senior most journalists reporting from Jaffna and other parts of the Northeast and worked for the Associated Press (AP) and Reuters as their correspondent in Jaffna. He was also associated with Star TV (Hong Kong), Al Jazeera and CNN. Joe was always helpful to his colleagues who travelled for reporting the conflict and was liked by all. more..

Plans for first heart transplant in Sri Lanka

Dec 6 (DN) Apollo Hospital, Colombo is making arrangements to get some procedural matters cleared to do the first heart transplant in Sri Lanka on a seriously affected heart patient. The operation will be carried out by Consultant Cardiothorasic surgeon Dr. Sujeeth H. Savarna FRCS. Dr. Savarna who returned from UK recently and took over the Apollo’s heart surgery programme told the Daily News that he had participated in over 200 heart transplants in the UK and more..

Rs. 750 m Cancer Unit opens tomorrow

Dec 6 (DN) Sri Lankans will be able to obtain the latest cancer treatment available, the Linear accelerator Treatment System free of charge from the Maharagama Cancer Hospital from tomorrow. President Mahinda Rajapaksa will ceremonially open the Unit. "The new Rs. 750 million Cancer Unit will help cancer patients who are now treated with radio therapy and Cobalt machines and are sometimes prone to tissue damage. more..

Govt to comply with UN anti-corruption charter

Dec 6 (Island) The government is to revise the country’s legal framework, to comply with the United Nations anti corruption charter. Media Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said that the revision which has been approved by the Cabinet of ministers, would include strengthening operational capacities of the Commission of Investigation into Allegations of Bribery and Corruption, strengthening relevant institutions and creating awareness among public servants and the general public on related issues. more..

The wrong ear was right

Dec 6 (Island) Charges that surgeons who operated on a child’s right ear when they should have operated the left were proved wrong during an investigation carried out by the Health Ministry. Ministry investigations revealed that ENT surgeons of the Nagoda Hospital had taken the correct decision by operating the right ear of the child as the left one was infected. more..

Pakistan newspaper reveals LTTE-India links

Dec 6 (DM) A Pakistan newspaper, the Daily Mail, has disclosed how India had allegedly trained the LTTE at one time adding that the concept of suicide squads was introduced in South Asia for the first time by the Indian intelligence agency RAW when it trained the Tmil separatists groups of Sri Lanka to start militant secessionist movement based on terrorism in Sri Lanka’s Jaffna peninsula. more..

Minister rejects crisis in A’pura hospital

Dec 6 (DM) The ACGMOA yesterday drew the attention of health authorities about the sad situation of the Anuradhapura General Hospital – the main North-Central province hospital which also serves as a war hospital. ACGMOA President Dr. Gishanta Dassanayaka writing to the Secretary said the Anuradhapura hospital was in debt of about Rs. 700 million and unable to pay the bills required for the day to day running of the hospital. more..

Chinese compartments unsuitable for upcountry line

Dec 6 (LD) The train compartments recently imported from China with the mediation of Transport Minister Dallas Alahapperuma are unsuitable for upcountry rail tracks, engineers have found during test runs. 'Corruption Watch' spokesman, attorney Shiral Laktilake said that suspecting a massive underhand deal in this import, railway workers have requested Mahinda Rajapaksa to conduct an inquiry. more..

UNP convention adopts forming broad political alliance

Dec 6 (LD) Empowering the party leadership to discuss forming a broad opposition alliance is one of the several proposals that have been unanimously adopted by the 53rd annual convention of the UNP, presently underway at Dehiwela Urban Council grounds, chaired by party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. The Working Committee of the UNP has earlier approved the draft proposal. more..

'Call me Bin Laden but I would oppose their racism'

Dec 6 (LD) The leader of the opposition, addressing a representation of Muslim leaders at the parliamentary complex yesterday said the DM editor Champika Liyanarachchi and Sunday Divayina Editor Gamini Sumanasekera are responsible for instigating hatred against other communities. He said the JHU and its Minister Champika Ranawaka are creating further divisions in society and they are behind most hate campaign against Muslims in Colombo, backed by these news paper editors. more..

'No death certificates for dead soldiers'

Dec 6 (LD) UNP general secretary Tissa Attanayake has alleged that most families are not informed of the deaths of soldiers who lay down their lives in the northern battlefield. Speaking at the recent 'Defence Watch' media briefing, he also said that parents are told that their sons 'have disappeared' in an attempt to avoid paying compensation. After complaints by some parents, inquiries from colleagues have confirmed the deaths of these soldiers, but more..

Sunday Leader gagged

Dec 6 (LD) The Mt. Lavinia magistrate yesterday allowed an ex-parte application by the Defence Secretary and stopped Leader Publications from publishing anything referring to the Defence Secretary till 18th December this year. Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who was present at the Mt. Lavinia courts for his application, told courts that Sunday Leader has been publishing extremely defamatory articles about him and thus requested courts to stop such publications in the future. more..

Sri Lanka rebels 'in fierce fight'

Dec 6 (BBC) Sri Lanka says there have been heavy clashes between its forces and the Tamil Tigers in a battle to take the key rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi. The defence ministry says the latest fighting began before dawn, with the Tamil Tigers launching a counter-attack on troops. But the military says it drove them off with artillery and rocket launchers, and inflicted heavy casualties. The Tigers have not commented and there are no independent accounts. more..

Part of rebel-held highway seized

Dec 6 (AP) Sri Lanka's military captured a rebel-held village Saturday, bringing half of a main highway leading to the rebels' de facto capital of Kilinochchi under government control, the military said. Soldiers took control of Kanagarayankulam village, creating a link with other government-captured villages and putting 30 miles of rebel-held highway under military control. About 30 miles of the highway remain in rebel hands. more..

Notorious Track Record of Rajapakse Regime In Governance

Dec 7 (TC) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe will under his own name submit a motion of no confidence against the government on December 8th citing primarily the controversial hedging deal. The government has run into a storm of controversy over the hedging deal which will cost the state over US $ 400 million in losses. The deal had led to infighting in the government with some ministers blaming more..

'Manmohan Singh has same mindset like Mahinda Rajaakse about Sri Lankan Tamils'

Dec 7 (TC) The Tamil Nadu General Secretary of the Communist Party of India, D. Pandian says the unity of India will be at stake if the Congress Party Government does not address the Tamil issue in Sri Lanka and ensure a ceasefire. In an interview with The Sunday Leader, Pandian could not give an assurance the LTTE Leader Velupillai Pirapaharan will agree to a negotiated settlement within a united Sri Lanka but more..

Is political solution possible without strategy on dealing with LTTE?

Dec 7 (TC) The much awaited Mahavir Speech of the Warlord of the Wanni, Velupillai Pirapaharan, had no surprises and turned out to be the continuation of the Dialogue of the Deaf between the LTTE and its opponents in the south. For months on end, the Mahavir of the south, Mahinda Rajapakse, has been accentuating on a new tune - (changed his rhythmaya - rhythm): 'Sinhalese and Tamils are brothers; this war is not against the Tamils; more..

German Chancellor's intervention sought to safeguard Tamil children in Germany

Dec 7 (AT) To intervene in the abuse of Tamil children in Germany by the LTTE and pro-LTTE organizations has been sought. In an urgent appeal to Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, the Society For Peace, Unity and Human Tights in Sri Lanka has requested her to interfere and immediately to put a halt to the abuse of Tamil Children and also from being exploited by the Tamil Tigers in Germany. more..

Revisiting ‘The War on Terror’, Post-Mumbai

Dec 7 (AT) So on which side of the 'War on Terror' does Pakistan stand? Pakistan has been a consistent ally of Sri Lanka in her struggle against Tiger terrorism. The same Pakistan is supposed to have sheltered the men who masterminded and carried out the Mumbai attack. Lashkar-e-Taiba (The Army of the Pure) was a creation of Pakistan’s powerful Inter Service Intelligence (ISI), to be a proxy in the Kashmir conflict. more..

Another Bogol boy for top post

Dec 7 (LG) The Foreign Service is in virtual turmoil over the proposed appointment of a non-career diplomat to one of the most politically crucial posts in overseas missions - the deputy permanent representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations. The post, more recently with ambassadorial rank, has traditionally been held by career diplomats, including Ben Fonseka, Elmo Seneviratne, Nihal Rodrigo, Janaka Nakkawitta, Elmo Joseph, more..

"Oppressed Tamil community faced with multifaceted struggle"

Dec 7 (LG) "Attacks by the Sri Lanka military, floods and its flow on effects, blockade at Omnathai, threats of epidemics that could easily be controlled if there is no blockade, loss of cultivation and livestock and the list goes on. These are some of the multifaceted struggles that the Tamil community is bravely facing," the political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said in a statement. more..

Moral Responsibility And Our Politicians

Dec 7 (LG) Sri Lankans have a penchant for attempting to learn lessons from global events for themselves. The election of Barack Obama as the American president had those supporting ‘majoritarian’ rule in a democracy pointing out that Obama though a member of a minority had accepted the rights and values of the majority while those who believe in the ‘minoritarian’ concept pointed out how the majority had accepted a member of a minority group as president. more..

Minorities find admission to Grade One difficult

Dec 7 (LG) Parents in minority groups cannot even begin to dream of the day that one of their children could, like Obama, be elected to the highest office in the land. We therefore, most earnestly request the Mahanayakes to give the nation a historic new direction to secure equal treatment for all of Sri Lanka’s citizens. In Sri Lanka the minorities find it very difficult even to get their children selected to decent schools. So where is the equal treatment? more..

'They went, saw and returned'

Dec 7 (TN) The meeting of the representation from Tamil Nadu led by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi with the Prime Minister of India on Thursday failed to achieve its basic objective of convincing the Indian government to take a stand against Colombo’s war on Tamils, revealed journalistic circles in Chennai. The silent listening of the Indian Establishment may have several meanings. Perhaps Dr. Manmohan Singh is not the authority to respond on this particular matter. more..

North East to experience heavy rains, strong winds

Dec 7 (TN) Low depression above the Indian ocean about 350 km off Trincomalee town would pass through between Trincomalee and Mullaitivu Sunday morning between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., warned Meteorological Department. Meteorological Department official, S.Wasanthakumar told media in Colombo that the districts Mullaitivu, Killinochchi, Trincomalee, Vavuniya, Ampaarai, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa will experience heavy rains and strong winds. more..

Supreme Court takes AG to task as the Tiger deal returns to haunt Govt.

Dec 7 (SL) Attempting to subvert the course of justice in relentless pursuit of a past political dissident comes easy to the common or garden regime. And last Thursday it was yet again the intervention of the Supreme Court that prevented such a pass as the apex court observed it was the duty of the court to grant relief to persons who are subjected to harassment. We said before that the Supreme Court now seemed to be the most effective opposition to a toxic government and more..

Govt's election dilemma and the Indian ceasefire factor

Dec 7 (SL) While President Mahinda Rajapakse is expected this week to decide the government's election agenda in the face of mounting economic problems, the stage was being set internationally to pressure the government into a ceasefire at a time the opposition has come out publicly opposing such a move. For a President contemplating a general election, the developing economic and political scenarios from the oil hedging disaster to the crisis in the east are nightmares which more..

Central Bank culpable in hedging scam

Dec 7 (SL) Amidst an unfolding picture of high stakes and relentless business interests and despite attempts to restrict blame for the disastrous oil hedging scam to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation Chairman Asantha De Mel and to Petroleum Minister A.H.M. Fowzie an investigation by The Sunday Leader reveals that almost every top official in government including the BOI Chairman Dhammika Perera, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal, Treasury officials and the entire cabinet were well aware of more..

How ministers live at public expense

Dec 7 (SL) The glare of publicity the ministers began receiving due to the repeated oral questions raised in parliament on the official residences, house rents, who pays the electricity and water bills and more importantly the amounts paid for by the state appear to be causing much ministerial discontent at present. In fact, Chief Government Whip, Dinesh Gunawardena dubbed the persistently questioning JVP Parliamentarian, Ranaweera Pathirana as "commissioner of rented premises" in parliament just last week. more..

UN furious over rules for staff

Dec 7 (LB) Sri Lanka has contravened its obligations under several UN conventions in issuing new, restrictive visa regulations to the staff of the United Nations and its specialised agencies, the legal counsel of the United Nations headquarters in New York has held. In a strong note addressed to Sri Lanka’s permanent representative to the UN in New York, Patricia O’Brien says some of the regulations in the foreign ministry document titled more..

'My dream is to be president'

Dec 7 (LB) At the last minute you have decided to contest the position of UNP deputy leader. What made you to take this decision? I did not make this decision at the last minute, right from the start the UNP and the people expected me to contest this post. This proposal was not tabled by me. It was proposed by other members of the party. They have even tried to oust the leader. I will contest for the position of deputy leader, that’s not a problem. more..

SLC to lose USD 3 million if Taj TV deal materialise

Dec 7 (LB) Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge and Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) Interim Committee Chairman Arjuna Ranatunga recently emerged as strange bedfellows but LAKBIMAnEWS reliably learns that they are working together to controversially grant Sri Lanka Cricket’s match telecasting rights to the Dubai based Taj TV rather than going for a fresh bidding process. In a recent meeting with Lokuge, Taj TV’s CEO Chris McDonald has proposed an additional amount of USD 2 million to be paid to the SLC. more..

Chief Minister Berty Premalal to be ousted

Dec 7 (LB) UPFA members of the North Central Province are planning to oust Berty Premalal Dissanayake from his post as chief minister. They also want to inform the President that disciplinary action should be taken against him. This comes in the wake of several complaints that votes at the recent provincial council election were rigged. Meanwhile, it is expected that a firm decision will be taken after the recount yesterday on the preferential votes. more..

'Ranil needs not to unite people but to make more divisions'

Dec 7 (LeN) UNP trade union leader and Kurunegala district MP Johnston Fernando said to Lanka-e-News that the UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe invited the dissident leader Karu jayasuriya to rejoin the party not honestly but only to solve the party internal crisis. He made this observation in response to Lanka-e-News when we asked his ideas about the UNP leader’s invitation to the dissidents, as a leader struggling inside the party for a restructure to be eligible for coming to power. more..

The ruling dynasty taking over the treasury whilst the security forces capture Kilinochchi

Dec 7 (LeN) UNP leader Ranil Wickramasighe made a request from the dissident ex-deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya and the group of dissident MPs to rejoin the party to build up the country. Addressing the 53rd congress of the UNP held at Jayasinghe esplanade, Dehiwala today (06), the UNP leader said that UNP alone could not build the country and the leaders like Mangala Samaraweera, Rauf Hakeem and Mano Ganeshan should be summoned for it. more..

Progress in all areas

Dec 7 (DW) Around 25 LTTE cadres were killed when a team of about 100 cadres launched a counter attack at Adampan last morning. 2 soldiers were also killed in the fighting. The attack was anticipated following intelligence warnings (please see last report). Small teams of soldiers are usually positioned ahead of the Army's existing FDL and artillery, including MBRL units are kept on standby at night in case of an enemy counter attack. more..

Govt. preparing for snap polls

Dec 7 (SAMN) Amidst opposition moves to bring a ‘no faith’ motion in Parliament and the government confident of winning the third reading of the Budget Monday, speculation is rife that President Mahinda Rajapaksa will dissolve Parliament Tuesday and call for a snap general election shortly thereafter. Well informed political sources citing the expected Budget victory and the continuous military victories in the North, believe the President will dissolve Parliament midnight Tuesday as more..

Cyclone to hit N & E in next 24 hours

Dec 7 (SAMN) A tropical cyclone originating in the Bay of Bengal is expected to hit the North and East of the country over the next 24 hours, a Meteorology Department official said. “On Saturday morning the depression was 400 kilometres east of Batticaloa, , but by evening it had intensified and moved forward and was 350km away,” Meteorological Department deputy director S. R. Jayasekera said cautioning that this was a ‘high-risk situation.’ more..

SLMC ready to join any political force

Dec 7 (SAMN) SLMC with its five parliamentarians representing the Eastern province would form a political affiliation with `any political force’ that is willing to fulfil some of its pre-conditions, party General Secretary Hasan Ali MP said. Outlining their pre-conditions, he said that they want a separate administrative district carved out of the Kalmunai, Sammanthurai and Pottuvil areas which consist of four electorates where Tamil-speaking minorities were living pre-dominantly. more..

'Mihin Air will bounce back'

Dec 7 (SO) While the dramatic decision by the Supreme Court against the oil hedging deal is making the heart beat high of those who have had a hand in the deal, the Minister of Ports and Aviation and Irrigation and Water Management Chamal Rajapaksa said that the banks and top officials of the Ministry of Petroleum who had recommended to go for the deal should mainly be held responsible for signing the illegal deal. more..