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Mother used 8 year old son to steal jewellery

Dec 4 (Island) A shocking case of an eight year old boy who was allegedly employed by his mother to steal from jewellery shops came to light at the Mt.Lavinia Magistrate’s court. The boy who was produced before Magistrate Ayeshani Jayasena in connection with the theft of gold jewellery to the value of Rs. 520,000 was ordered to be handed over to the custody of the Sucharithodaya Children’s Home. more..

Conflict has disrupted agriculture in the East - TNA

Dec 4 (Island) At the Committee Stage budget debate of the ministries of Irrigation and Water Management, Land and Land Development, Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services and Livestock Development on Monday Kurunegala District (JVP) member Namal Karunaratne said paddy farmers have suffered in several ways after the introduction of the wholesale paddy purchase system where the rice millers bought only a large stock of paddy at low prices. more..

JVP: several ministers have not paid their rest house bills

Dec 4 (DM) The JVP charged in Parliament yesterday, that several ministers had not paid their bills after dining in several rest houses across the country. JVP MP Lakshman Nipunarachchi, who participated in the committee stage of the Budget in the House yesterday, said that the outstanding bills of these ministers and their secretaries had amounted to millions. He said Rs. 1.3 million had been written off by these rest houses as bad debts. more..

JVP draws attention to problem of kidney failure

Dec 4 (DM) The issue of chronic renal failure, found mainly in the dry zone, came to the attention of Parliament yesterday when the JVP requested the government to arrest this ‘dangerous trend’ on the grounds that 65 people had died of it in the Padavi Sripura Division alone, in the recent past.The House debated the problem as an adjournment motion by JVP MP Jayantha Wijesekara that people suffering from renal failure had increased in the area coming under the Padavi Sripura Divisional Secretary. more..

Sangakkara century sets up victory chance

Dec 4 (CI) After Muttiah Muralitharan enjoyed his record-breaking moment yesterday it was the turn of Kumar Sangakkara to do the rewriting as Sri Lanka finally exerted their home advantage on the fourth day at Kandy. Sangakkara's graceful 152 made him the first player to reach 150 in four consecutive Tests to set England 350 for victory. That, too, would be a record, and the most remarkable of the match, especially after Alastair Cook fell before the close. more..

Amnesty International condemns mass arrests

Dec 4 (AI) Amnesty International condemns the mass arrests of more than 1000 Tamils by the Sri Lankan police, allegedly in response to the suicide bombings carried out in Colombo on 28 November 2007, for which the government has blamed the LTTE. Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the arrests have been made on arbitrary and discriminatory grounds using sweeping powers granted by the emergency regulations. more..

Sri Lanka to blame for 700 deaths in Jaffna: rights group

Dec 4 (IANS) Sri Lankan security forces are to blame for the murder of 700 civilians in Jaffna, a rights body said Tuesday, holding both Colombo and the Tamil Tigers accountable for the island nation's misery. The University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR) also said in its latest report that 'war-like ideologies' were leading the Sri Lankan government as well as the LTTE to a destructive future. more..

Slow Strangulation of Jaffna

Dec 4 (UTHR) 10th December is Human Rights Day, celebrated the world over to rekindle the sprit of the UDHR. Apart from civil society and UN bodies, the Government too, though wedded to war as the all-encompassing issue of governance, would cynically make noble professions. These would have no meaning when its energies are consumed by the ethnic war driven by narrow nationalism. Its inevitable debasement of humanity and human dignity would further exacerbate the humanitarian crisis. more..

Govt says it will free innocent Tamils detained in Colombo security sweep

Dec 4 (AP) Sri Lankan authorities have begun releasing some of the hundreds of minority Tamils arrested in recent days in a security crackdown following two deadly bombings, officials said Tuesday. Ethnic Tamil politicians have complained that more than 2,000 Tamils were rounded up by security forces in Colombo and its suburbs after last Wednesday's bombings, which killed 20 people and were blamed on the Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

Activists denounce mass arrests of Tamils in Sri Lanka

Dec 4 (AFP) Sri Lankan rights groups Tuesday slammed the government arrest of nearly 2,200 minority ethnic Tamils after Tamil Tiger rebels were held responsible for two bomb attacks last week. The Free Media Movement, a press rights group, and the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), a private think-tank, said they were considering legal action against the authorities for the weekend mass arrests. more..

Swarm of bees briefly halt Sri Lanka-England cricket test

Dec 5 (AP) A swarm of bees briefly halted play in the cricket test between Sri Lanka and England on Tuesday when they flew across Asgiriya Stadium, forcing the players to all lie motionless on the ground. The bees were first spotted by Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf, who laid down on the field during the fourth day of the first test between the countries. The players soon followed, with both teams remaining on the ground for several minutes until the bees moved on. more..

Post-tsunami situation in Sri Lanka “shameful”

Dec 5 (AN) Almost three years on from the tsunami, fishermen and their families still live in makeshift tents in Sri Lanka as rebuilding and economic recovery is delayed. That is the warning launched by the fourth assembly of the World Forum of Fisher People (WFFP) held between November 29 and December 3rd in Kochchikade, north of Colombo. In 68, delegates from fishing communities throughout the world visited villages hit by the tsunami and expressed their “concern” for the living conditions of survivors. more..

Sri Lanka new price index shows 19.3-pct inflation

Dec 5 (LBO) A new index to measure inflation in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, showed that prices had risen by 19.3 percent in the past 12 months, a tad lower than the 19.6 percent measured by the existing index. The government's statistics office which computes price indices says the Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) was not a "true measure" of inflation because its base is counted on the consumption pattern of a working class household 50 years ago. more..

Over come fear psychosis, the need of the hour

Dec 5 (LR) The primary goal of terrorism is to inflict psychological injury and physical injury is a byproduct of the delivery method. Terrorist attacks aims at creating social, economical, political and psychological problems among the general public resulting social disorganization and public disturbance in society. The genuine war against LTTE terrorism started on 26 July, 2006 by opening the sluice gates of the Mavil Oya (Mavil Aru) reservoir which has been forcibly closed by LTTE more..

Policewomen urged to use maternal instincts in dealing with child labor, trafficking

Dec 5 (UCAN) Children packing fish with ice or laying out the catch to dry are common sights along the coast of Chilaw diocese. Parents in this Catholic-majority area see child labor as a way to cope with poverty, even if it means a bleak future for the children, who typically have to work long hours under bad conditions. Sri Lanka's child-labor and related child-trafficking problems were the focus of a Nov. 7 workshop in Chilaw town, for newly recruited female police officers. more..

Sangakkara senses greatness in his grasp

Dec 5 (CI) There have been two concurrent Test matches taking place at Kandy this week. The first has been a struggle for batsmen on both sides, with the wicket providing assistance for the seamers and bite for Muttiah Muralitharan. The second has been a batting soliloquy from Kumar Sangakkara, who has treated England's attack as if they were the 15-year-old classmates he used to flog across the Asgiriya during his days as a pupil at Trinity College. more..

Soldier and Tigers injured in Yala

Dec 5 (BBC) Military authorities in Sri Lanka say four Tamil Tigers and a soldier were injured in a clash in Yala animal sanctuary on Tuesday. Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told BBC Sandeshaya that the soldiers return to their camp with the injured soldier after the first clash. There have been escalating attacks in the south in and around the sanctuary in recent weeks. more..

A Govt. hit by the panic syndrome

Dec 5 (ML) Even as political parties across the spectrum reacted with anger over the arbitrary arrests of more than 2000 Tamils residents in Colombo following the twin bomb blasts in the city last week, President Mahinda Rajapakse's road to budget victory is becoming increasingly steep. The massive crackdown reminiscent of the eviction of over 300 Tamils from Colombo lodges in June this year left human rights organisations aghast while the moves were roundly condemned by the JVP, UNP, TNA and Western People's Front. more..

'Corruption has exceeded tolerable levels'

Dec 5 (ML) Chairman, Committee on Public Enterprise (COPE) Wijedasa Rajapakshe who last week was chosen as LMD's Sri Lankan of the Year 2007, said every citizen in the country should fight against corruption in the country. In an interview with The Morning Leader Rajapakshe said that corruption had exceeded the tolerable level. "Of course there are instances where people elect politicians knowing that they are corrupt. more..

Anura resigns from FACC

Dec 5 (ML) National Heritage Minister Anura Bandaranaike yesterday resigned from the parliamentary Consultative Committee on Foreign Affairs over disagreement with the government's foreign policy. Bandaranaike in a letter to Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara informed of his decision. In a hard hitting letter to Secretary, Foreign Ministry Palitha Kohona last week, Bandaranaike blasted the government's foreign policy terming it duplicitous and the most irresponsible and despicable policy followed by the Administration. more..

Relief agencies review presence in Wanni

Dec 5 (ML) Security concerns are mounting for relief agencies working in LTTE controlled Wanni following last week's bombing of the Voice of Tigers office and escalating violence, agencies said. Already one agency among the 21 working in the region, FORUT has suspended work after the November 27 air attack, and others may be forced to scale down work especially in Mullaitivu. "Following aerial attacks on a local radio station on November 27, FORUT suspended all field operations in the Wanni. more..

Colombo bishop deplores civilian massacres

Dec 5 (ENS) A recent spate of civilian massacres in Sri Lanka has been heavily criticized by Colombo Bishop Duleep de Chickera as "perhaps the most depraved expression of our inhumanity." "No one has the right to take the life of another. Those responsible must one day be held accountable," de Chickera said in a November 30 statement after two days of fighting in Sri Lanka's civil war claimed as many as as 49 civilian lives and injured 60 more. more..

Sri Lanka registers “strong protest” over UNESCO Director General’s and demands “retraction”

Dec 5 (AT) The Government of Sri Lanka has registered its “strong protest” at the recent statement made by the Director General of UNESCO Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, in which he has “condemned” the air strike on the Voice of Tigers (VoT) radio station, which has been described as a “civilian” radio station. Sri Lanka has demanded the retraction of the Director General’s statement. more..

Dar Al Sharq launches Lankadeepa Weekly

Dec 5 (TP) Lankadeepa Weekly, Qatar’s first Sinhala-language newspaper launched by Dar Al Sharq, publishers of The Peninsula and Al Sharq dailies, has hit the stands. “Lankadeepa’s launch reaffirms Dar Al Sharq’s commitment to provide information on various subjects to a cross section of readers in Qatar,” said Abdul Latif Al Mahmoud, the General Manager of Dar Al Sharq. more..

Govt. goes for quick fix

Dec 5 (BL) For what is perceived as a political move, the Government is under flack for launching new consumer price index that attempts to show lower inflation in the country. The New Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI(N)) released yesterday revealed that annual average change in inflation is a low 15.4% in November while the old CCPI Index released on Monday showed the change at 17.7%. Analysts said the revised figure shows a 10% decline. more..

Biz-politics nexus too close for comfort says survey

Dec 5 (BL) More than three-quarters of respondents to the latest monthly island-wide opinion poll conducted by TNS Lanka for LMD say the business community is guilty of supporting corrupt politicians – “not a view that is likely to sit well with our corporate leaders,” says leading business magazine LMD, in its forthcoming December edition. And half the respondents assert that business people should not fund politicians, more..

Murali in Parliament

Dec 5 (BL) Sri Lankan spin wizard Mutthiah Muralitharan will be invited to Parliament to be congratulated by all the parliamentarians in the near future, revealed Speaker W.J.M Lokubandara yesterday. He made this statement in response to JVP MP Wimal Weerawansa’s request that MPs should be given the chance to meet the spin bowler who recently became the highest wicket-taker in Test Cricket. more..

Civilians feel the heat as Govt forces and LTTE lock horns

Dec 5 (BL) Last Wednesday’s senseless carnage in Nugegoda must be condemned by any right thinking person. An attack that deliberately targets civilians-- whether in LTTE-controlled areas (like the alleged killing of school children in Kilinochchi) or in the rest of the country-- by any person, group or the State must be condemned. Even though it did not claim responsibility, the LTTE is strongly suspected of planning and executing that horrendous act of destruction at a dress boutique in a busy crowded town. more..

Open letter to the Govt on the recent arrests and detentions

Dec 5 (TC) As civil society organizations committed to uphold the equality and dignity of all Sri Lankans, we are deeply concerned about the mass arrests and detentions of Tamils in the first three days of December 2007. The most recent figures available to us for this three day period show that over two thousand people have been arrested and detained. The levels of harassment and intimidation as well as of arbitrary arrest and detention, more..

CPA protests over Tamil civilian arrests crisis

Dec 5 (TC) The Centre for Policy Alternatives has protested over the mass scale arrests of Tamil civilians in the name of national security. The letter dated De3c 3rd 2007 is reproduced below: We write with concern, to request you to take immediate steps to remedy and reverse the alarming developments outlined herein, to protect the rights and freedoms of innocent Tamil civilians who are being prejudiced by certain steps being taken on the basis of investigations into terrorist activities in the city of Colombo. more..

G.L. Peiris, Jayantha Dhanapala and ‘R2P’

Dec 5 (FI) I offer the following comments as a citizen of our deeply troubled country with the caveat that my places of work be not held responsible in any way for them. I was present at an event held on the 15th of November organised by the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, The United Nations Country Office in Sri Lanka and the UNDP Regional Office for Asia to mark the UN Day that fell on 24 October. more..

Tun-Sinhale-The Best Devolution Model for Sri Lanka

Dec 5 (FI) Today we are passing through one of the most critical periods in the history of this island nation. Political treachery and conspiracies, naivetes and stupidity and administrative bungling over the past few decades have already made this Paradise Island a land of abject poverty and uncertainty. Added to this legacy of miserable postcolonial governance today we are wedged between a terrorist war waged by a misguided minority group of Tamils on the one hand more..

The Genesis of a Suicide Bomber: Who is feeding the Tigers?

Dec 5 (TC) On 27 November, Kilinochchi was the venue for the annual Great Heroes’ Day event, at which LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran paid tribute to the ‘martyrs’ he himself had sent to their deaths. Much of his speech was a tirade against the international community, which he accused of turning against the LTTE, thus indirectly paying tribute to the efficacy of the pro-democracy and human rights campaigns of Tamil activists and Lakshman Kadirgamar, and more..

Sri Lanka treasuries yields up

Dec 5 (LBO) Yields on Sri Lanka government treasury bills rose sharply on Wednesday with the benchmark 3-month bills gaining 86 basis points to 18.03 percent, the government's debt office said. One year yields rose 89 basis points to 19.96 percent and six months bills gained 94 basis points to 18.79 percent at the auction. The government offered 13.8 billion rupees worth treasury bills but accepted 10.8 billion from the market and retired the balance at today's auction. more..

Sri Lanka's Murali put in the dock by Aussie media

Dec 5 (LBO) Australia's Herald Sun newspaper has launched a poll on whether Sri Lanka's star bowler, Muttiah Muralitharan who this week became the world's highest Test wicket taker, is a chucker or not. The paper has announced a poll asking 'Is Murali's action legal?'. "A lot has been said and a lot has been written about Muttiah Muralidaran's action," the paper said. "Some critics say he chucks, others say his bowling action is legal and some aren't quite sure. So what do you think?," the Herald Sun asked readers. more..

Sri Lankan military conducts massive anti-Tamil sweep through Colombo

Dec 5 (wsws) The Sri Lankan government unleashed the largest-ever cordon-and-search operation in Colombo on Sunday, detaining hundreds of people, mainly Tamils, and heightening communal tensions throughout the country. The immediate pretext for the operation was to “flush out” Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) fighters blamed for last week’s bomb blasts in Colombo and nearby Nugegoda. more..

Massive protest against trade union curtailments

Dec 5 (LD) The August Four Trade Union Movement organized a protest campaign in front of the Health Ministry in Colombo today to protest the suppression of workers through court orders and to call for a common mechanism to implement the fingerprinting attendance procedure in the health sector. Participating in the demonstration were members of the Ceylon Teachers Union, the Railway Trade Unions Federation, the Postal and Telecommunication Officers Trade Union, the FTZ Trade Unions Front, more..

Another call for removal of Inland Revenue & Treasury heads

Dec 5 (LD) UNP parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekara has called for the removal of the Commissioner General of Inland Revenue and the Treasury Secretary in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee on Public Accounts. Wrongdoers cited in the COPA report should be punished irrespective of their social positions, Jaysekara told Parliament today. “The government says that all the discrepancies mentioned in the report had been committed during the UNP regime. We are saying that it does not matter. more..

Banning LTTE will prevent peace talks – Chief Govt. Whip

Dec 5 (LD) Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle has ruled out proscribing the LTTE, noting that a ban would prevent any peace negotiations in the future. “There have been various suggestions and several proposals for banning the LTTE. However, the government does not intend to proscribe the LTTE. It can be done at any time. But, the government cannot negotiate with a banned organization. That will prevent any future peace talks,” he told the media in Colombo yesterday. more..

The Jayasuriya journey in numbers

Dec 5 (CI) For a player who batted with an abandon which suggested he cared little for numbers, the 78 runs Sanath Jayasuriya's scored in his last Test innings helped him achieve an important statistical milestone - it ensured he finished his career with an average of more than 40. Going into that knock, Jayasuriya's average had dropped to 39.86, the first time in nearly six years that it had slipped below 40 (click here for his cumulative career averages). more..

Spectators hurt as stand roof blows off

Dec 5 (CI) At least four England supporters suffered minor injuries on the final day of the first Test at Kandy, when the corrugated-iron roof of their stand blew off in high winds and landed on the seats below. According to eye-witnesses, one male supporter was taken to hospital with a gash to his chest, while three others suffered minor cuts and bruises. "To be honest, I'm feeling nervous sitting here," said Steve Lindley, an England fan out here for all three Tests, who was hit in the small of the back by the falling sheets of iron. more..

Protest against media suppression on World HR Day

Dec 5 (LD) Convener of the Free Media Movement Sunanda Deshapriya says that a massive protest demonstration and march will be staged on World Human rights Day on December 10th against the state suppression of the media. At a press briefing held at the Sri Lanka Press Institute in Colombo yesterday, he said that the protest would be held with the participation of five media organizations, trade unions, democratic forces and civil society organizations. more..

Court orders release of Malaka Silva’s passport

Dec 5 (LD) The Colombo High Court yesterday ordered the Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Court and the Controller of Immigration and Emigration to release the passport of Malaka Silva, who is out on bail on the charge of attacking and injuring a patron at a Colombo nightclub. High Court Judge Deepali Wijesundara considered a motion submitted by Malaka, the son of Labour Minister Mervyn Silva, requesting the court’s permission to travel to England to more..

Foreign Minister Says ....

Dec 5 (GDI) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has said, Sri Lanka will not permit any international organizations to be a vehicle for the LTTE by justifying its modes of operation in various forms and manifestations. Such action when committed by any international organization will not be tolerated and the Foreign Ministry will exercise all means at its command to ensure that such statements are retracted or corrections made by the relevant agencies and authorities in the international arena. more..

President instruct to restore Vauvniya Train

Dec 5 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed to restore the passenger train services to Vauvniya. He has made this directive following a discussion with the TULF Leader V.Anandasangaree yesterday (04th) at temple trees. During the discussions the President has assured the TULF Leader that every possible step will be taken to ensure the security of the ordinary citizens. more..

Of Polos, Manioc Leaves and Rumours

Dec 5 (GDI) Minister of Health and Nutrition, Nimal Siripala De Silva stated in parliament yesterday (04th) that rumours are afloat in the country that the Government has enforced a ban on the sale of polos (tender jack fruit) which is in high demand both in rural and urban areas as a delicious dish, leaves of the manioc plant again a tasty leafy green, common vegetable and Kurumba (young coconut) a refreshing drink in high demand. more..

Ban on use of Loud Speakers to be relaxed

Dec 5 (GDI) The Supreme Court recently issued an interim order to curb noise emission. This order was made in terms of Article 126 (4) of the Constitution. This would limit the use of amplifiers, loudspeakers or other sources of sound emission that do not fall within Section 80 of the Police Ordinance. However, permits could be issued for special religious functions or events after 10 p.m. ascertaining the views of the residents in the vicinity. more..

Government introduces simplified admission procedure for children of Security Personnel

Dec 5 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed the authorities to simplify the procedure adopted in admitting children of Security Forces personnel on active duty in operational areas to Year One classes in schools throughout the country. Meanwhile, Minister of Media Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said earlier Security Forces personnel had to submit a letter from the Defence Secretary to obtain 10 points for admitting their children to Grade One classes. more..

SLA forces Vanni patients to switch ambulances in Oamanthai

Dec 5 (LNP) recent Claymore attack carried out by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) at Mudkompan, Pooneryn, that seriously injured the driver of the Mu`langkaavil hospital ambulance has resulted in the SLA introducing new regulations limiting the transport of patients by ambulance from Vanni only up to Omanthai. Meanwhile, the injured driver has been admitted to Kilinochchi hospital for further treatment. more..

Only 100 still in custody - Police

Dec 5 (LNP) Of nearly two thousand Tamil youth arrested during the last few days, most except for around a hundred, have been released. The others still in detention are and questioned, DIG Colombo Nimal Mediwaka said. `They may have their national identity cards or some other form of identification. But, the arrests were made to ascertain further information about them,` Mediwaka said. He said the woman suicide cadre, who last Wednesday went to Minister Douglas Devananda`s office, too had a national identity card. more..