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Railway carriage order a huge muddle?

Dec 7 (SAMN) The furore over the recently imported 100 train compartments valued at a whopping Rs.2.5 billion chugged to another twist Saturday, with the revelation that they could not be used for up-country travel. In what could be a shocking disclosure of public funds being mismanaged, the ACRGEU charge that none of the 100 train compartments can be used for travel in hill regions, as they cannot break on steep inclines. more..

Massive foreign liquor racket bared

Dec 7 (SO) A massive racket running into several millions of rupees was bared following the detection of a large haul of expensive foreign liquor and cartons of foreign cigarettes at a two-storied house in Borella when the Central Anti Vice Striking Force (CAVSF) raided the premises on Friday. The liquor and the cigarettes have been valued at Rs. 7 lakhs. Police took in for questioning a wealthy businessman, the main occupant of the household for running an illicit liquor outlet. more..

Sutta Pitakaya simplified in Sinhala

Dec 7 (SO) The language the Buddha preached the Dhamma was in Pali, which was originated from `Shuddha Magadhi Bhasha’ (the language used in Magadha, the most powerful province in India during the Buddha’s time). People found it convenient to understand His preaching since it was the language used by a vast division of the common people in Dambadiva (India). The Buddha’s word which was spread on unimpaired and fully intact, by His disciples (monks) for generations with the word of mouth, later submitted into written form. more..

'Do not be misled by bogus developers'

Dec 7 (SO) "Apartment buyers should be careful when entering into agreements with bogus condominium property developers" said the Chairman of the Condominium Management Authority (CMA), Abdul Kalam. The chairman said that in the recent past, people were very cautious when buying property because they would pay their lawyers heavily to check on the authencity of the land title deeds and even go to the extent of bargaining for a good price. more..

UNP says “enough”

Dec 7 (NS) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe invited Minister Karu Jayasuriya and other members who left the party as well as the other parties, to unite with the UNP in order to defeat what he termed the corrupt government of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Speaking at the 53rd party convention held in Dehiwala yesterday, Wickremesinghe said that it was high time to put a full stop to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s policies as he and his siblings had done nothing good except more..

UNP rebellion set to erupt

Dec 7 (NS) The UNP rebellion looks set to erupt once more, with the long anticipated reforms due to be ratified by the party convention, being called into question once more. Crucial among the reforms is the creation of the Deputy Leader and Assistant Leader positions. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe did away with the Deputy Leader position after his former second in command, Karu Jayasuriya joined the ranks of the Government in 2007. more..

Kohona Dismisses reports about rocky relations with Bogollagama

Dec 7 (NS) Foreign Ministry Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona, according to all reports, is under siege from within. He however, dismisses reports about there being any rift with his Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, and there being attempts to oust him. This former Australian diplomat and former Head of the UN Treaty Division is certainly not holding this post for financial benefit, having held top international posts for more than 25 years, and insists it is to serve his country. more..

Reluctance to show ID cards by hospital staff in N&E irks GMOA

Dec 7 (NS) Government Medical officers’ Association (GMOA) condemns the errant behaviour of the staff of the hospitals in the north and east, towards the security officials who are asked to check the hospital staff prior to their entry to the hospitals. GMOA Spokesman Dr. Upul Gunasekara told The Nation that they should respect and co-operate with the security arrangements which were being implemented for their own safety. more..

Eastern violence seen as decreasing after TMVP Satyagraha

Dec 7 (Island) The recent spate of violence in the Batticaloa district which claimed some 20 lives, is on the decrease following the launching of a mass Satyagraha campaign in Batticaloa town early last week, headed by Batticaloa mayoress Sivageetha Prabhakaran, informed sources said. ‘It is obvious that the hidden hand behind the violence is now choosing to restrain itself, fearing that it would be identified, in the face of the popular pressure that has been launched in the form of the Satyagraha’, more..

Petrol shortage hits motorists after price reduction

Dec 7 (Island) A shortage of petrol was experienced in Colombo and the suburbs yesterday following the reduction of prices by twenty rupees per litre last Friday. The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) however assured that there were sufficient enough stocks in hand and that they would ensure that fresh supplies are delivered to filling stations without delay. more..

'Arresting Sri Lanka’s brain drain debacle not a possibility now'

Dec 7 (Island) The continuing brain drain debacle has plagued Sri Lanka and its arrest does not now seem a possibility, said Dr. Saman Kelegama addressing a group of trade unionists and professionals in Colombo last week. India too had to face similar debilitation and at one time they lost their brain power when they selected the option of emigration to the United States. This was routine till President George Bush (Senior), introduced laws that more..

Karunanidhi continues with pressure tactics

Dec 7 (ST) Battered by the public agitation over Pakistan-based Lakshar-e-Tayyiba's devastating 26-11 attack on Mumbai, the dilemma for the Congress government in New Delhi seems to be growing from the proportions of a political storm to one that of a cyclone. The string of security lapses that enabled ten armed youth to cause mayhem, leaves some 200 killed and 300 more injured, in India's bustling commercial capital and has led to public outrage not to mention indignation worldwide. more..

'LTTE has been cornered and has no place to run'

Dec 7 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday called for continued vigilance and greater security consciousness amongst the public as the security forces made the final push to wipe out the LTTE and liberate the entire North. He said that as the terrorists are hell-bent on infiltrating the South, especially Colombo to create mayhem, people should exercise utmost caution and be extra vigilant at all times. more..

Troops make further gains in march to Kilinochchi

Dec 7 (ST) One of the misfortunes of the intelligence community worldwide is how their reported failures reach the public domain in large measure than their successes. There are many occasions when timely warnings have prevented assassinations, attacks and other catastrophe. However, in a service where the hallmark is secrecy, not all the instances become public knowledge. There was an exception in Sri Lanka barely two weeks ago. more..

Major battle in Foreign Service

Dec 7 (ST) The Sri Lanka Foreign Service Officers Association is up in arms against posting of what it says is the alarming number of political appointees to several diplomatic missions traditionally meant for career service officers. The officers have complained to Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama that 60 per cent of present postings as heads of missions were political appointees leaving only the rest for professional career officers. more..

Top priority by Bribery Com. to Waters Edge deal

Dec 7 (ST) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption will give 'top priority' to the Waters Edge land deal, its Director Neville Guruge said this week after handing over a sealed envelope to the Supreme Court this week following a Court directive to pursue the matter further. Mr. Guruge told The Sunday Times that it is planned to gather evidence relating to the case before questioning former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and others more..

SAARC nations should fight terrorism unitedly: Sri Lanka

Dec 7 (PTI) Asking India, Pakistan and other SAARC nations to fight terrorism unitedly, in the backdrop of the Mumbai terror attacks, Sri Lanka has said the grouping should work as a family to meet the challenges that threaten security and peaceful co-existence. "Our eight nations in South Asia that form the SAARC family must work together with firm resolve to meet the common challenges, especially those that threaten our security, peaceful co-existence and progress in the region," more..

Pranab’s mission should be to end war in Sri Lanka, says Ramadoss

Dec 7 (Hindu) External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s mission to Sri Lanka should be to immediately end the war and enable the displaced people to return, Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S. Ramadoss said on Saturday. Addressing a press conference at Thailapuram near here, he said people of the State hoped that Mr. Mukherjee would bring good tidings of cessation of hostilities and resettlement of the Eelam Tamils. more..

Sri Lanka seeks India help to 'finish' LTTE faster

Dec 7 (PTI) Assuring India that innocent Tamils are not being harmed in the ongoing conflict with the LTTE, Sri Lankan Army Chief Sarath Fonseka has sought help from New Delhi in island nation's bid to "finish" the Tiger rebels faster. He said the plight of the displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka was India's concern and that Colombo did it utmost to ensure that innocent Tamils are not harmed. more..

'New Delhi won't listen to political jokers in Tamil Nadu'

Dec 7 (PTI) Warning that the LTTE's separate state ideology is a "threat" to India, the Sri Lankan Army chief says he is confident that New Delhi would not listen to "political jokers" in Tamil Nadu to force Colombo to broker a ceasefire with the Tiger rebels. The Indian Government would never influence Sri Lanka to restore the ceasefire with the LTTE and it would not listen to the "political jokers" of Tamil Nadu whose more..

Sri Lanka troops in 'kissing distance' of Tiger HQ: military

Dec 7 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops have killed scores of Tamil Tiger rebels in the past few days and are within "kissing distance" of their political capital, the defence ministry said Sunday. Forces were moving towards the key town of Kilinochchi and inflicting high casualties on the LTTE, the ministry said. "Troops are now positioned in kissing distances to the outer defence lines of the LTTE's administrative heartland and main garrison township," it said. more..

'We're taking Bangladesh tour very seriously'

Dec 8 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, has said the upcoming Test and ODI series in Bangladesh will be taken "very seriously" given the lack of international cricket for his team. "We are approaching this series very seriously. Bangladesh has come a long way especially in the last six months," he told the Sunday Times. "In addition we do not have any international cricket for about four to five months after this series, thus more..

India must review its policy towards neighbors: Sri Lankan Media

Dec 8 (RT) Sri Lankan media while condemning the terrorist act in Mumbai has urged Indian government to review its policy toward its neighboring countries in the region. The local media through editorials, articles and comments, emphasized the need that India should cooperate with countries like Pakistan and Sri Lanka in their fight against terrorism. more..

Lankans want Colombo to reject India’s suggestions

Dec 8 (EB) Sri Lanka should reject any suggestion by India that it slow down or stop the war against the LTTE in north Sri Lanka, said The Island daily in a front page editorial on the proposed visit of the Indian Minister of External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee to Colombo, apparently to discuss a ceasefire. “If Mukherjee is rushing here with a strong message, as Karunanidhi has told the media, Colombo will have no alternative but to reject it lock, stock and barrel,” more..

Sri Lankan tuk-tuk drivers learn to be life savers

Dec 8 (LBO) Often blamed for road accidents, but first on the scene to ferry victims of accidents or bomb blasts, Sri Lanka's errant tuk tuk drivers are learning first aid skills to save lives. Drivers of the tiny auto-rickshaw taxis, commonly called "autos", "trishaws", or "three-wheelers" are being taught pre-hospital care to prevent disabilities, before formal medical help arrives. more..

42 Sri Lankan fishermen detained off Chennai

Dec 8 (IANS) At least 42 Sri Lankan fishermen operating in Indian waters were detained in a northern seafront suburb, the police said on Sunday. Apprehended late on Saturday night in eight boats by Coast Guard personnel, the fishermen allegedly without valid identities would be quizzed by the Joint Interrogation Committee comprising officials from the Coast Guard, navy and the collectorate to assess threat perceptions, police sources said. more..

Snap polls on Feb 18 yet undecided

Dec 8 (LD) President is being advised by his closest confidantes to dissolve parliament this Tuesday and hold general elections on February 18, while a strong lobby has stopped that decision, say insiders. Some senior SLFP ministers and the UNP defectors don't see the situation favourable for a general election, say the same informed sources. The JHU leadership and a few who are very close to the defense establishment have argued that war achievements have divided the UNP openly with more..

CMs 'agree' to dissolving PCs

Dec 8 (BBC) Chief Ministers (CMs) in Sri Lanka have given their consent to dissolve some Provincial Councils (PCs), a Chief Minister said. Uva province CM Vijithamuni Soyza told BBC Sandeshaya that the CMs and Governors met Mr. Rajapaksa to discuss future provincial council and parliamentary elections. "We agreed that PCs can be dissolved where the necessity arises," he said. A Governer can dissolve a PC on the advice of the CM. more..

Fidel’s Ethics of Violence, by Dayan Jayatilleka

Dec 8 (FI) Re-defining the terms of a moral ideal of rebel resistance: How to master revolutionary violence? questions the Sri Lankan academic Dayan Jayatilleka in his latest book. It is by practicing a strict code of ethics, the way the 'Maximum Leader' did, proving that the limits imposed on legitimate violence help avoid terror and extreme violence and that those limits help gain popular support. more..

Tamil MP 'prevented' leaving country

Dec 8 (BBC) A Tamil parliamentarian says he was prevented leaving Sri Lanka by the police at the Colombo’s international airport. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP P Ariyanethran told BBC Sandeshaya that he went to the airport on Sunday morning to travel to India for medical treatment. At the airport, he said, he was informed by the immigration officials that he will not be allowed to leave the country. more..

Chilaw Marians move to top after rain-hit third round

Dec 8 (CI) Bad weather continued to play havoc with the Premier league tournament forcing all ten matches scheduled for the weekend in Tier A and B to end in draws. Not a ball was bowled on the second day in eight of the matches and rain curtailed play in the remaining games. However four clubs managed to obtain first-innings points and the most impressive of those matches was Colombo CC's against Army Sports Club at the Colombo cricket ground. more..

Colombo reports advances into LTTE areas

Dec 8 (Hindu) The military on Sunday claimed to be advancing on multi-fronts into parts under LTTE control in Kilinochchi and Mullathivu districts. In the most upbeat statement on the status of the current phase of hostilities the Defence Ministry said here, “Pushing an end to the 30-year-odd terrorist cause and the most prolonged, single handed counter terrorist campaign in South Asia, Sri Lankan security forces are advancing in multi-fronts with 7 offensive divisions.” more..

Sri Lankan couple seek help from Indian doctors for child’s operation

Dec 8 (Hindu) Until a few days ago, Sri Lankan tea estate worker Siva Sathyaseelan was worried about treating his daughter’s cleft lip. His problem was that in Sri Lanka the doctors said they would be able to operate on his daughter only after two years. “I visited all the hospitals in the country and the doctors said it would take them at least two years, as a result of which I lost hope,” Mr. Siva Sathyaseelan said. more..

Musician Mervyn Perera no more

Dec 8 (BBC) Tributes have been pouring in for veteran musician Mervyn Perera who passed away at the age of 68 on Sunday. Speaking to BBC Sandeshaya Visharada Victor Rathnayake said both Mervyn Perera and he were better known as violinist when they embarked on their musical careers. "Sujatha Attanayake, Amarasiri Peiris, Sanath Nandasiri, Sarath Dasanayake, Vincent Premasiri, Amitha Vedisinghe and I studied music with late Mervyn Perera," he said. more..

Hero’s Progress

Dec 8 (MN) In November 2002, Tamil Tiger chief in an interview with a Tamil Nadu magazine said “ I have seen many Prime Ministers, Defence Ministers, Presidents and Defence Chiefs of Sri Lanka, but, all of them had seen only one Prabahakaran.” Prabahakaran was in a position to boast as one President donated him millions to purchase arms while a Defence Secretary presented him with state of the art Desert Eagle pistol and another Prime Minister handed over a tax free high frequency tele communication equipment. more..

Companies, NGOs warned to re-register

Dec 8 (LG) Several leading NGOs including the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) and top companies are in danger of being liquidated and losing all their assets to the State if they do not comply with terms of the new Companies Act No.7 of 2007 pertaining to re-registration. According to the Act, any registered entity is in default of seeking re-registration and allotment of a new number by May 2, 2008 unless more..

Budget 2009: Political war dividend or economic crisis differed?

Dec 8 (LG) In any democratic country, the annual budget of the government is, by and large, a political economic document rather than purely economic, as most economists would like it to be. Hence, economic rationality and economic prudence gives way to political oportunism and manoeuvring. The government’s budget for 2009 presented to the Parliament last month is no exception to this. more..

Harry J says Stassen directors trying to control him

Dec 8 (LG) Businessman Harry Jayawardene is accusing two directors in his companies of 'seeking the assistance of the Court to achieve their illegal objective of oppressing the majority shareholder.' Mr. Jayawardene filed these objections in the Commercial High Court on Thursday in response to a case filed by Mr. R.K. Obeysekere and Mr. Zaki Alif in November 2008, challenging the authority of Mr. Jayawardene to more..

Cheran vs Cheran – (A reply to Professor R. Cheran)

Dec 8 (LG) It is normal for Prof. R. Cheran to dismiss that he is not a LTTE adviser; because if he admit that it would be the end of his carrier in Canadian soil. So there is no point of arguing about in his rejection of LTTE position. We also do not want to dismantle someone’s carrier as that is not our business. Our business is attacking terrorist ideology. In that case we are happy that at least now he rejects LTTE ideology. more..

Retrogressive policies of reactionary racists

Dec 8 (LG) Campaign for People’s Solutions to Food Crisis (CPSF) has started a many sided campaign to change the disastrous policies of successive governments. In the past it was the habit of the radical movements to pin the label of reaction on the UNP, but today the SLFP and the racist parties in its alliance have turned out to be equal or more retrogressive in socio economics policies. One point that many have raised is the importance of the small holder in relation to food production. more..

Ranil - a welcome change

Dec 8 (LG) Ranil has always been the perfect gentleman to the tip of his fingers up to now. That is why he could not rebuke former President Chandrika Kumaratunga when she unceremoniously dumped him from his post sometime back. That is why he could not speak against all the atrocities committed by the politicians - on his side and the other side. He was too good to be a Sri Lankan politician where politics means ungentlemanly behaviour more..

DMK, India and Sri Lanka's fight against LTTE

Dec 8 (AT) India is on the verge of flexing its muscles on Sri Lanka subsequent to the shenanigans of Tamil Nadu political leaders who otherwise are working on an agenda on a separate state in Sri Lanka and to safeguard Velupillai Prabhakaran and his outfit from facing a humiliating defeat in the hands of war weary Sri Lankan forces. India has decided to send its foreign Minister Pranab Mukerjee to urge the Sri Lanka Government to end its fight against terrorism in Sri Lanka. more..

Federation is not Eelam says N.K.Choksy

Dec 8 (FI) Senior constitutional lawyer and UNP parliamentarian K.N. Choksy yesterday told parliament that he advocated a system similar to a ‘federation of States’ to resolve the longstanding national question in Sri Lanka. “A federation is not Eelam. Neither will it result in a division of the country. The Centre will be in sole control of the armed services, the police, sea and airports. Revenue from income tax, customs and excise duties and stamps will be collected by the Centre. more..

Security officers were at the road block when Raghu was assassinated

Dec 8 (LeN) Eastern Provincial Council Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan says that only a few persons were aware that his slain private secretary Raghu was on the way to Athurugiriya where he met his death. He said to a weekend newspaper that not only a few persons knew that he was going to Athurugiriya but also LTTE was totally unaware of it. Immediately after visiting the scene of crime, he said that the killing of Raghu was not an LTTE act. more..

'No one should be allowed to come beyond the airport to discuss a ceasefire'

Dec 8 (LT) Indian official, politician or a minister should not be allowed to come beyond the Airport to discuss a ceasefire says Leader of the group of Parliamentarians of the JVP Anura Dissanayake. He said there is no harm in having bilateral discussions on cultural, religious or economical affairs but there was no necessity to discuss a ceasefire. more..

'JVP will vote against the wasteful budget'

Dec 8 (LT) The JVP will vote against the budget proposals when the vote for the thied reading of the budget is taken up today says Leader of the Parliamentary group of the JVP Anura Kumara Dissanayake. He said the budget has no proposals for short term or long term solutions for economic crises and it has allocated Rs.6000 million for ‘Mihin Air’ which has already wasted Rs.3600 million. more..

Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman

Dec 8 (LG) Modern Indian history will record Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman as the greatest villains for the murder of India’s much loved son Rajiv Gandhi. Sri Lankan historians, at least some, may record the murder of Rajiv with philosophical sarcasm accompanied by a warning about the obvious - “do not say it stings when you have placed a snake inside your Kurtha”. Indira Gandhi made the blunder by nurturing Tamil terrorism within the Indian soil and Rajiv followed her initiative. more..

Winning Kilinochchi is not winning the Tamils

Dec 8 (LG) This was true at a time when barbaric aerial bombings of civilian targets including schools, hospitals and refugee camps and internally displaced people running for their lives and cluster bombings by a state that should provide protection to those whom they claim to be their own people, were not known. It is now just a romantic illusion. Castro with 3000 rebels brought the repressive regime of Batista backed by 80,000 strong army to its knees. more..

New diplomatic appointments to Sri Lankan Missions abroad

Dec 8 (GDI) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced the nomination of ambassadors to five countries, namely Japan, Lebanon, Brazil, Nepal and Myanmar, among other diplomatic appointments that have been made recently. Three senior career diplomats belonging to the Sri Lanka Foreign Service have been selected for posting to Japan, Lebanon and Brazil, while a senior civil servant and a veteran broadcaster have been designated for Nepal and Myanmar respectively. more..

'More jobs for nurses overseas shortly'

Dec 8 (GDI) The Government will arrange new job opportunities for Sri Lankan nurses in Libya, Abudabi and Oman, the Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition Nimal Siripala de Silva said. The Ministry of Healthcare and nutrition has recruited 15,000 nurses during the past three years and also accepted five thousand nurses to follow the newly introduced nurses' diploma course. Measures have already been taken to commence a BSc degree programmes for the nurses, more..