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Java Sri Lanka 2009 in January

Dec 8 (GDI) The National Software Exhibition and Conference, Java Sri Lanka 2009, will be held at the BMICH on 6th, 17th and 18th of January 2009 in collaboration with Sun Microsystems USA. This exhibition is organized toward fulfilling the requirements of Millennium Development Goals (MDG). MDG is the International Development Framework based on the Millennium Declaration signed by all the Heads of States at the United Nations Millennium Summit - 2000 in New York. more..

Kerawalapitiya power plant commissioned tomorrow

Dec 8 (GDI) The newly constructed 300 megawatt Kerawalapitiya Thermal Power Plant will be ceremoniously commissioned tomorrow (09) by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The power plant, built at a cost of US $ 300 million, will commence operations by generating 200 megawatts this year and will expand to 300 megawatts within a year. The price of a unit of electric produce by this plant is estimated to be 20 rupees. more..

SCOPP Chief responds to questions posed by FLICT

Dec 8 (PISL) At the Partner Day arranged by partners of the Facilitating Local Initiatives for Conflict Transformation (FLICT) project of German Technical Cooperation, a number of questions were put to the Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat regarding the Peace Process as well as mechanisms whereby Non-Governmental Organizations could contribute to Peace. The dialogue was connected with discussions the Peace Secretariat had had with FLICT about how it could most efficaciously fulfil its mandate. more..

In photos: 'Sri Lanka Fashion'

Dec 8 (M&C) A Sri Lankan model displays creations designed by Purnima Abeyrathne on the catwalk at Hotel Hilton in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 07 December 2008. With the festive season in full swing, apparel designers are kept busy preparing shows like these. more..

Sri Lankan surgeon in Australia being investigated

Dec 8 (ABC) The Royal Hobart Hospital has confirmed concerns have been raised about the clinical competence of one of its overseas-trained surgeons. Dr Nandalal Gunaratne has been working at the Royal since last September. Originally from Sri Lanka, Dr Gunaratne also worked in Canada before being registered by the Tasmanian Medical Council as a urology consultant and taking up position at the Royal. more..

Freedom of expression under siege says Prof. Fernando

Dec 8 (LD) "The predicament of freedom of expression today in Sri Lanka is partly due to the silence and apathy of media organizations regarding the more substantive issues relating to media freedom and its entrenchment in the political and economic realities," says Prof. Lucksiri Fernando in a socio political study done on the arrest and detention of journalist J.S. Tissainayagam. more..

Bus fares to increase in WP

Dec 8 (LD) The Western Province Road Transport Authority, the Transport Ministry and the Private Bus Owners Association are reportedly in talks to raise bus fares in the province. Sources at the Transport Ministry says that this bus fare hike is a result of an agreement between officials and the PBOA. Presenting Budget 2009, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that bus fares would be slashed by 25 per cent. more..

Seniors as deputy & assistant leaders of UNP

Dec 8 (LD) The UNP is to appoint persons for the restored deputy leader and assistant leader positions at the party's Working Committee meeting today (Dec. 08th), an official of the Opposition Leader's office told 'Lanka Dissent'. The official said a majority of UNP WC members has requested the party leadership to appoint seniors member for the two posts in order to avoid an internal split. more..

2 PCs to be dissolved tonight

Dec 8 (LD) The Central and Wayamba Provincial Councils are to be dissolved from midnight today, a senior official of the Presidential Secretariat told 'Lanka Dissent'. The President has also decided to dissolve the Western PC during the campaigning for polls for the two provinces, he added. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has inquired the chief ministers and the governors of the Western, Central, Uva, Sabaragamuwa and Southern Provinces about their opinion on dissolving these provincial councils, more..

No threat of cyclone but heavy rains

Dec 8 (SAMN) The threat of a cyclone hitting Sri Lanka has now subsided with the atmosphere turning into a low pressure zone, the Meteorological Department said Sunday adding that the depression in the southwest Bay of Bengal was now weakening to a low pressure storm. However, it did not rule out the possibility of cyclonic conditions redeveloping in the area and warned the possibility for heavy rain and windy conditions in several parts of the Island still persist. more..

'Promotion of welfare of South Asians'

Dec 8 (SAMN) The main objective of SAARC is the promotion of the welfare of the people of South Asia as a whole and the improvement of the quality of their lives, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. The President in a message on the occasion of the Commemoration of SAARC Charter Day which fall today said: “Today, we in South Asia commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the day on which seven nations of South Asia came together in 1985 to sign a Charter establishing the SAARC. more..

SLMC still open for discussion

Dec 8 (SAMN) The SLMC said Sunday it was still open for discussions with the government. SLMC Deputy General Secretary Nizam Kariyappar, responding to a call by the Sri Lanka Muslim Ulamas Party, a political movement of Muslim clergy, said the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress must publicise the conditions and demands it had put forward for joining the government. "So far, we have not received an invitation. On the contrary, the UNP has been invited to discussions." more..

Karu at cross roads

Dec 8 (LNP) Public Administration Minister Karu Jayasuriya has reportedly told a meeting of the UNP dissidents who crossed over to the government that he was severely reprimanded by a VVIP, and as such was left with two options either to re join the UNP or give up politics altogether. All the dissidents except Minister G.L. Peiris attended the meeting called by Minister Jayasuriya and held at the parliamentary complex. more..

Recount of NCP votes

Dec 8 (SAMN) Sequel to an order by the supreme court, on a recount of the preferential votes polled by the 24 candidates of the UPFA, it has been found that the votes of 11 candidates including North Central Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake have increased, while those of the other 13 candidates have decreased. The discrepancy will not adversely affect the appointments of the councillors of the North Central Provincial Council said the Election Commissioner’s Department. more..

SLBFE emblem used to dupe job seekers

Dec 8 (DN) An organised gang has used forged documents with the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) emblem to swindle millions of rupees from more than 60 people with the promise of lucrative employment and training opportunities in Japan. These con men had duped prospective applicants with a forged letter asking them to come for a pre-departure Japanese language course which runs as a precursor to a three year training stint in Japan. more..

'Large quantities of sand deposits found in North and East'

Dec 8 (DN) Sand deposits have been found in large quantities in areas cleared by the Security Forces in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, said Environment and Natural Resources Minister Champika Ranawaka. He said they expect to dredge the sand and release it for public use next year. The deposits have not been used for as many as hundred years contributing to floods in other ares in its vicinity, he said. more..

We will not return – UNP dissidents

Dec 8 (Island) UNP dissident members who joined the Government rejected Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s open invitation to return to the party in the event of a general election. "We left the party since there was no democracy and the situation has not improved. There is no need to go back," Sports and Public Recreation Minister Gamini Lokuge said. "I left the UNP with no intention of returning," he said. more..

Killinochchi has not been captured; LTTE has 15,000 cadres left — Ranil

Dec 8 (Island) Despite government claims, Killinochchi has not been captured and news filtering in from the North indicates that the LTTE has about 15,000 cadres left, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Addressing the UNP’s 53rd annual convention at the S. de S. Jayasinghe grounds in Dehiwela on Saturday, he said that in the absence of the independent media’s access to war torn areas, the government was making high sounding claims. more..

Medical marvel for cancer patients

Dec 8 (DM) The world’s latest cancer treatment equipment identified as the ‘Linear Accelerator’ costing Rs.760 million was yesterday commissioned by the Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva at the Maharagama Cancer Institute (MCI), Cancer Hospital authorities said. MCI director Dr. Kanishka Karunaratna said the high-tech machinery, that replaced the Cobalt machine earlier used for cancer treatment, was the first of its kind to be installed in South Asian region. more..

Private sector participation to develop railways’ service

Dec 8 (DM) Transport Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said he would not hesitate to obtain the assistance of the private sector to make the Sri Lanka Railways an efficient and productive state asset that fulfills the aspirations of the public and commuters in particular, if the Railway Department hierarchy continues to fail to deliver. He emphasized that obtaining the management and administrative know how of the private sector will not in anyway amount to privatization of the Railway Service. more..

Sri Lanka exchange rate defence seen as unsustainable

Dec 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government cannot afford to defend the rupee peg against the dollar at unsustainable levels, a senior aid agency official said the same day authorities let the rupee move down marginally against the US dollar. Asian Development Bank's Sri Lanka country director Richard Vokes said the island's foreign exchange reserves now cover less than three months of imports. more..

Govt wins 2009 budget vote

Dec 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government Friday won a crucial vote in parliament on its budget for 2009 with a majority of 42 votes, a parliamentary reporter said. The government managed to win 126 votes in favour of its budget with 84 against in an assembly made up of 225 members. The main opposition UNP, leftwing JVP, TNA, SLMC, and another small party voted against the budget. Several government parliamentarians were absent. more..

UNP move no-confidence motion over derivative losses

Dec 8 (LBO) The UNP has put forward a no-confidence motion against the government Monday on the eve of a budget vote, involving an exotic derivative deal that brought hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to a state-run oil firm. The UNP has handed over the motion to the parliamentary general secretary. Nimal Siripala de Silva, a senior minister had proposed that a party leaders meeting be called at 1.30 pm to reach agreement on debating the issue on the same day. more..

'Battle for Sri Lanka rebel HQ picks up'

Dec 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military said on Monday soldiers had resumed attacks on the outskirts of the rebel LTTE self-declared capital of Kilinochchi. The battle for Kilinochchi has picked up pace in recent days after monsoon rains slowed a multi-pronged assault that had been energised by the army's Oct. 15 capture of the entire western coast for the first time since 1993. "Troops in Kilinochchi are targeting the town and they are in the vicinity of the town," more..

Oil hedging deal turning into billion-dollar scam

Dec 8 (IPS) As global oil prices dive, the Sri Lankan government finds itself saddled with a complicated oil hedging deal with two foreign banks that could cost the country close on one billion US dollars and has brought charges of high corruption upon state officials. Banking sources said the foreign banks involved, CitiBank and Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), are trying to restructure the hedging transactions with the government to minimize losses to the state. more..

Sri Lanka passes budget with record defence spending

Dec 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's parliament approved a budget on Monday pledging record spending next year on the war with the Tamil Tigers, while troops resumed attacks on the edge of the rebels' headquarters town of Kilinochchi. And in a sign President Mahinda Rajapaksa will use the greatest military success by any government so far in the 25-year war to test the electoral waters, the government said it would dissolve provincial councils shortly to clear the way for polls. more..

Poets lend voice to Lankan cause

Dec 9 (TOI) The Marina had some unusual visitors on Sunday. Over a hundred poets from across the state had gathered, under a makeshift tent near the Gandhi Statue, to protest against the war in Sri Lanka and the killing of Tamils there. Curious passers-by heard resonant, emotional poems filled with the imagery of the war and the "ethnic cleansing of innocent Tamils." Well-known writer Ramesh of the erstwhile Prem-Ramesh duo called for a separate state for Tamils, to be carved out of Sri Lanka. more..

Search on for Sri Lankan woman

Dec 9 (AO) Search and rescue resumed late last night at the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide site after police received reports that a Sri Lankan woman was missing, said Selangor Chief Police Officer Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar. He said that the woman was believed to have been with veterinarian Dr N. Yogeswari who was among the four who died on Saturday when the landslide hit the homes of sleeping residents early in the morning. more..

'It is Ranil who inflames Muslim extremism'

Dec 9 (LD) Secretary of the JHU Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera alleges the very same leaders, who had made Prabhakaran a powerful terrorist leader through peace talks, are today inflaming another form of extremist terrorism. His remark, in a statement, came in response to a claim by opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe that the JHU was harassing Muslims and inciting communalism. more..

Tamil Tiger links with Islamist terrorist groups

Dec 9 (TC) The LTTE is known to have an active presence in several informal sectors such as credit card cloning, money laundering and human smuggling in Europe and North America. However, the LTTE has emerged as a formidable force and influence within the informal arms market and such has attracted collaborative arrangements with other terrorist groups. The LTTE has developed close relationships with several Islamist groups operating in such networks in a mutually beneficial manner. more..

Hunger strike by transgender to show solidarity with Sri Lankan Tamils

Dec 9 (ANI) For the first time, instead of raising voices for their own issues, hoards of transgender gathered here today to served a hunger strike to show solidarity with the ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka. Almost all transgender associations in Tamil Nadu participated in the protest to voice their concern over the alleged atrocities on ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka. more..

Global crisis likely to hit poor hard

Dec 9 (IRIN) Wanduramba, a rural Sri Lankan village 130km south of Colombo, is about as far as one can get from the frenzy of the global financial markets. But as the international economic crisis worsens, this village in the lush tea plantations of Galle District will feel the impact. The credit crunch could have a telling effect on three of Sri Lanka's top foreign revenue earners in 2007 - foreign remittances (US$2.7 billion), tea exports ($1 billion) and tourism ($300 million), more..

Anti-corruption moves commended

Dec 9 (BBC) Corruption watchdogs in Sri Lanka have commended the government’s decision to implement UN anti-corruption measures. Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) says the Cabinet of Ministers have decided to implement UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) on the eve of UN Anti-Corruption Day. The UNCAC was ratified by Sri Lanka four years ago, TISL said in a statement. more..

'Less development funds for 2009'

Dec 9 (LD) Calling Budget 2009 a hoax and one that had allocated more for the luxury of the Rajapaksas, 'Development Watch' spokesman Nanda Muruttettuwegama said it will pump less money than the present year for development activities. He said capital expenditure for development has been curtailed, with reduced allocations for the 26 ministries. "The crucial Health Ministry has received only 41 per cent, or less than half of the funds it received in 2008. more..

Govt opposes no-confidence motion on derivative losses

Dec 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's ruling party has opposed an opposition attempt to move a no-confidence motion on an oil hedging deal saying it related to matters in court and the country's president was named. The main opposition United National Party said documents submitted to parliament were separate from those in court and the president's name was only mentioned in connection with naming the current administration. more..

Sri Lanka bourse to halt trading if market drops 5%

Dec 9 (LBO) The Colombo Stock Exchange has said it has decided to halt trading temporarily on the Colombo bourse if the liquid Milanka Price Index drops five percent within the day from the previous market day's close. The new rule becomes effective on January 2, 2009, a stock exchange spokesman said. The decision was taken by the Board of Directors of the CSE at a meeting held on November 20, 2008, a statement on the CSE website said. more..

Ask Lankan minister to say sorry for calling us jokers: Vaiko to Centre

Dec 9 (PTI) Sharply reacting to alleged remarks by Sri Lankan Army Chief Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka, describing Tamil Nadu politicans as 'jokers', MDMK leader Vaiko has asked the Centre to summon the island's foreign minister and seek an unconditional apology. Speaking to reporters in the Madras High Court complex, he said that the Lt General's statement was humiliating and insulting to the people of the state. more..

Karu UNP deputy leader

Dec 9 (BBC) The main opposition in Sri Lanka has appointed a senior government minister as its deputy leader. UNP has decided to appoint Karu Jayasuriya as the deputy leader of the party. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told BBC Sandeshaya that party Working Committee unanimously approved the appointment. Minister Jayasuriya, a former UNP deputy leader, is currently the leader of the UNP dissident group. more..

German Tamil stabbed outside Sri Lankan Exhibition in Frankfurt

Dec 9 (TN) A 38-year-old German Tamil, who visited the exhibition conducted by the Sri Lankan consulate in the city of Frankfurt in Germany was stabbed allegedly by Sinhala thugs deployed by the Consulate Sunday evening. The victim, Krishnan Sinnathamby, a father of two, was seriously wounded in his hand and was operated at the City Hospital Frankfurt-Höchst Sunday night. more..

SLA permits opening of temples inside Point Pedro HSZ

Dec 9 (TN) Doors of two Saiva temples located inside Point Pedro High Security Zone (HSZ) were opened for prayers and rituals again after being closed for more than two years, civil society sources in Jaffna said. Koddadi Siththivinaayagar Temple and Koadduvaasal Chandiga Parameswary Temple were closed for poojas and prayers from August 2006 when hostilities broke out between Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and Liberation Tigers. more..

Sapumal Kumaraya and Puran Appu - Later avatars of Prince Aba?

Dec 9 (LG) The use of the name "Aba" in Anthony Jackson's movie on the life and times of King Pandukabhaya has been a matter of extensive discussion. A number of writers had erroneously argued that "ABA" is a name of Hebrew origin. In a previous article we pointed out that "Aba" is a name which goes back to the bedrock of Indic culture, and that it has metamorphasized into many distinct but closely related forms. more..

The JVP: A Lankan Political Tragedy

Dec 9 (LG) The JVP emerged in the Lankan political landscape in the mid 1960s as a result of a split that took place in the then most radical of all mainstream left formations, the Maoist Communist Party of Ceylon, led by the veteran trade unionist, N. Shanmugathasan. The JVP was founded by the charismatic youth leader of the Maoist Communist Party of Ceylon, Patabandige Don Nandasiri (Rohana) Wijeweera with a handful of youthful followers against the politics of class collaboration and more..

The Conquest Of Bread

Dec 9 (LG) In any conflict the innocent victims are civilians. Inevitably, they suffer enormous losses and undergo unbearable trauma and carry for generations psycho-physical scars. Furthermore, civilians often get caught, right in the middle of a grand scheme of huff and puff called propaganda. Sri Lanka's A-9 highway connects the Capital Colombo to the North through Tiger territory. more..

It's not about 'Unitary' or 'Federal'

Dec 9 (LG) Sri Lankan Transport Minister Dulles Alahapperuma's announcement that the next SAARC ministerial meeting would discuss a railway link connecting the island-nation with the Indian neighbour should be welcome by all. As the Minister points out, it would open up Sri Lanka not only to the larger Indian market for goods and services, connectivity of the kind, which should also include a land-bridge, would be an opening to the entire Eurasian landmass and nations. more..

Call for ‘more serious intervention’, Indian solutions and realities

Dec 9 (LG) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said India would do everything possible to find a political solution to the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue in view of their sufferings due to the ongoing fight between the armed forces and the LTTE, according to a news report appeared in The Hindu dated 03 December 2008. As per the news item, he gave this assurance on to an all-party delegation of MPs from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, belonging to both the Houses of Parliament, more..

UNP Leader Exposes His True Colours

Dec 9 (AT) How patriotic is the UNP under the leadership of Ranil Wickramasinghe has been exposed to the maximum today when they handed over a "No Confidence Motion" against the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse. To those who are still holding onto his bandwagon, overthrowing the government in the hope that they can come back to power, is more an illusion than a day dream. more..

My view on SAARC

Dec 9 (LG) It gives me great pleasure to extend greetings on the twenty-third anniversary of the signing of the Charter by which the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established. Our collective resolve over the years since the signature of the Charter has ensured considerable progress in realizing several of its important objectives. more..

Election din is the swan song of the Rajapakse regime, says S.B.

Dec 9 (LeN) United National Party (UNP) national organizer S.B. Disanayaka says that the swan song of the Rajapakse regime is heard underneath the din over elections in Provincial Councils, parliament, Colombo, Kandy and etc. Disanayaka accused the government for robbing the JVP national list seat to bring Karuna Amman to the parliament and killing Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan's private secretary to appease Karuna. more..

Focus shifts to Mullathivu: Colombo

Dec 9 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan military on Monday claimed that three “senior LTTE cadres” who fought for the outfit for more than a decade have surrendered to Army. The Defence Ministry said here the three LTTE cadre aged between 25-30 years showed themselves up to soldiers operating in the Pooneryn area and laid down their weapons. “The surrendered have told the Army that thousands more LTTE cadres are waiting for an opportunity to abandon the terrorist outfit,” more..

Karunanidhi slams Sri Lankan army chief’s reported remark

Dec 9 (Hindu) Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said it was condemnable if Sri Lankan army Chief Sarath Fonseka had described a couple of Tamil Nadu politicians as “political jokers.” “The leaders in Tamil Nadu can criticise one another. But we can never allow a person from another country criticising our leaders,” he told reporters at the secretariat. Asked about PMK leader S. Ramadoss’ demand that he bring Mr. Fonseka’s comments to the notice of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, more..