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Sri Lanka notches up US$ 600 mn foreign investment in 2006

Jan 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka has notched up a record 600 million dollars in foreign direct investment last year, government said Monday, led by telecom and apparel. The record inflows are over the 287 million dollars of last year, Rohitha Bogollagama, industries and investment promotion minister said. more..

President attends the religious ceremonies at sacred Katharagama

Jan 1 (GDI) The President sought blessings of the triple gem for the New Year at the sacred and historical ‘Kiri Vehera’ in Katharagama today (01). Buddhist monks headed by the Chief High Priest of Kiri Vehera Ven. Aluthwewa Soratha thero recited “Pirith” to bless the President. President Rajapaksa also participated at the special religious ceremony held at the Katharagama temple. more..

5000 casual workers get permanency

Jan 1 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday handed letters of permanent appointment to 5000 casual employees from the Road Development Authority (RDA). These five thousand employees have served at the Road Development Authority (RDA) for more than 15 years on casual and temporary basis. more..

Sri Lanka always respected the freedom of the Press says Media Minister

Jan 1 (GDI) Mass Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said that the country has always respected freedom of the press and would work to protect it. It is the responsibility of the Ministry to work for the development of democracy. “The tradition of free media was in existence even before independence. The media reporting of incidence like Bresgirdle episode are examples,” Minister Yapa added. more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is Daily News Sri Lankan of the Year 2006

Jan 1 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Daily News Sri Lankan of the Year 2006. Sameera R voted for President Rajapaksa: "For his courageous effort to bring peace to the country, on one hand by building political unity and on the other hand leading the fight with the world's most ruthless terrorist unit." more..

Mega projects to develop Trinco

Jan 1 (GDI) Trincomelee district will have mega projects of reputed foreign investors worth US $ 400 with the beginning of this year, the Minister for Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Rohitha Bogollagama said after his recent visit to Trincomalee. He also stated that both Prima Lanka Limited - the Singapore based company and Japan's Mitsui Cement Co. are making major investments this year expanding their projects. more..

President yearns for new era of trust

Jan 1 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his New Year message expressed the hope for a sustainable peace that would open the doors to a new era of trust and understanding among all people of Sri Lanka enabling them to move forward to solve their political and social problems. The President stated: "At the dawn of a New Year it is customary to make new resolutions, renew our commitments and look forward to the future with good expectations. more..

TULF slams North East de-merger

Jan 1 (BBC) Leader of the Tamil united Liberation Front (TULF) has strongly protested the timing of the de-merger of Sri Lanka's north and east. V Anandasangaree, said it was an untimely decision taken by the government despite India's objections and while people in the east are fleeing the fighting. "The government can hold a referendum after finding a peaceful solution and refugees return home," he told BBC Sinhala. more..

Eastern Governor seeks resources

Jan 1 (BBC) The first governor of the Eastern province of Sri Lanka has sought more assistance from the Central government to establish the newly de-merged province. The Governor is not provided with enough financial assistance and resources to establish the new Provincial authority, Rear Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama told BBC Sandeshaya. more..

Ten killed in Sri Lanka

Jan 1 (BBC) Seven civilians including two women have been shot dead by unidentified gunmen in eastern Sri Lanka. Four people died in Ampara district, and three in Batticaloa district. Some of the civilians were said to be from the ethnic Sinhalese majority and some were Tamils. Police in Ampara and the relatives of the victims accused Tamil Tigers of carrying out the attacks. more..

Merger of the north and east provinces ended yesterday: Tiger violence the main cause

Jan 1 (AT) The temporary merger of the north and east provinces, which lasted 16 years, ended yesterday. Rear Admiral Mohan Wijeyawickrema, who was earlier the Governor of the merged Northeast Provincial Council, began his new duties as the Governor of the Eastern Province on January 1, 2007. Rear Admiral Mohan Wijeyawickrema told the Asian Tribune that the unanimous verdict of the Supreme Court delivered on 16th October last year made the demerger inevitable. more..

Douglas Devananda proposed ferry service as alternative to A-9 road controlled by Tigers

Jan 1 (AT) Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare has proposed the opening up a ferry service between Kurikadduwan in Kayts and Pesalai in Talaimannar to ferry passengers and to transport agricultural products of Jaffna farmers to the South. Minister Douglas Devananda who is also the Secretary General of the EPDP told the Asian Tribune that Kurikadduwan to Pesalai by ferry would be just a four hour journey. more..

Lanka condemns execution of Saddam

Jan 1 (LeN) The Sri Lanka Government yesterday expressed dismay over former President Saddam Hussein's execution which was carried out on Eid-uladha Haji festival day, one of the holiest days in the Islamic calendar, foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in a statement. "While regretting this unfortunate turn of events we fervently hope this will not affect negatively, the process of restoring peace and normalcy in Iraq," the minister said.

HR violations of LTTE against Tamils surpass all bounds

Jan 1 (PISL) Leader of the London-based Tamil Democratic Congress R. Jayadevan has called into question the contents of a petition made to the British Government by two Labour Party MPs in favour of lifting the ban on the LTTE in Britain. In return he has called on the MPs Messrs Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnel to use their good offices to secure the release of hundreds of Tamils held prisoners under appalling circumstances in unknown secretive, underground camps by the LTTE. more..

Public wants 2007 to be Year of Peace

Jan 1 (PISL) Senior citizens, professionals and the public in general yesterday expressed in unison their fervent hope that the new year would banish all ills that plague the country ushering an era of peace and prosperity for its people. E.R.Thiruselvam, a retired teacher from Jaffna said the people of Jaffna were suffering without a permanent peace in their areas and that the hopes for a permanent solution to the ethnic crisis were shattered with the renewed clashes between the security forces and the LTTE. more..

SLMM to curtail role

Jan 1 (PISL) The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission yesterday said it would curtail its monitoring activities for a “short period” as it re-groups and reconsiders its operations in the wake of continuing hostilities between the government troops and the LTTE. All SLMM district offices will remain open during the workshop early this month but the monitoring activities will be reduced though not completely suspended, an SLMM spokesperson told more..

Karuna plans major attack on LTTE Thoppigala camp

Jan 1 (LNP) A senior member of the Karuna Group told The Island yesterday that his group is waiting to launch another major attack on the LTTE`s Vanni faction camp in Thoppigala and to bring it under their power. He said that a special unit of 700 men had completed their training targeting the attack on the Thoppigala camp. more..

Three Karuna cadres killed

Jan 1 (LNP) Bodies of three Karuna group loyalists were found, in a jungle near Kumburuwella in Kiran, by the Valachchenai police yesterday. They were identified as Myuran (27) of Sevanapitiya of Mutugala, Navasinghama Puhanesawaran (24) and Weerasingham Sinduran (25) of Kiran. Two of them were employers of an insurance company while the other was a student of the Jaffna University, police said. more..

Two Provincial Councils for North & East!

Jan 1 (LNP) North and Eastern Provincial Councils will begin separate administration with the dawn of New Year today (01). Accordingly, Rear Admiral Mohan Wijeyawickrema, a retired naval officer has been appointed as the Governor for Eastern Province . He will act as the Governor for Northern Province as well. Funds from the budget for the New Year have been allocated separately for the two provinces. more..

De-merger creates education problems

Jan 1 (LNP) The de-merger of the northern and eastern provinces has created problems in the education sector due to the shortage in education officials in the area, an education official said. A top provincial education official told the Daily Mirror yesterday they had a shortage of qualified education officials in the Sri Lanka Education Administrative Service, and now the problem would be aggravated. more..

Roadblocks for anti-corruption plan

Jan 1 (SAMN) At least a section of the officialdom is resisting some of the crucial suggestions by the UNDP to strengthen Sri Lanka’s efforts to battle waste, mismanagement and unbridled corruption. Sources privy to the UNDP plan accused officials of opposing the plan. Some are sceptical about the proposed changes which envisaged far reaching amendments to the Bribery Act and the Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption Act Number 19 of 1994. more..

No solution within unitary state: TNA

Jan 1 (SAMN) The TNA Sunday said there could be no solution to the Sri Lankan problem as long as India continued to stress on the country’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, TNA leader R Sampanthan said told reporters in Chennai. "There cannot be a solution within the unitary framework of Sri Lanka. Its unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty can be respected only in the context of due political space and status to Tamils living in the island," he said. more..

Private sector wants to join Committee

Jan 1 (SAMN) The private sector lauded President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s recent decision to establish an economic affairs committee to watch over the economy. The committee is expected to play an important role in stabilising the economy this year. The private sector expressed concern on the absence of their representation in the committee which recently met under the leadership of the President. more..

Cuba reaffirms support for SL

Jan 1 (SAMN) Enna Viant Valdes, Ambassador for the Republic of Cuba on the occasion of 48th anniversary of the Triumph of Cuban Revolution welcomed the opportunity of extending to the Sri Lankan people and Government, Cuba’s warm congratulations and renew her resolution to continue working in order to further enhance the friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries and leaders Fidel Castro and Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Consumer Courts to be set up this year

Jan 1 (DN) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) plans to set up Consumer Courts this year to enact legislation to protect consumers from unfair trade practices. CAA Chairman Sarath Wijesinghe told the Daily News that the CAA was also able to collect Rs.11 million as fines from errant traders. The major aim of the court is to promote fair trading with the objective of protecting consumers. more..

Galle Road uniflow scheme a success - Police

Jan 1 (DN) The uniflow traffic system introduced for the Galle Road and the Duplication Road on the final day of 2006 is operating successfully, Police said yesterday. Motorists are cooperating with the Police to make it a success, they said. This is the second stage of the uniflow plan for Colombo, with Reid Avenue and Thurstan Road already having one-way systems. more..

Cultural sites in crisis

Jan 1 (DM) The Central Cultural Fund is in a financial crisis and is forced to seek public assistance to carry out conservation work, a top CCF official said. He attributed it to the drop in tourist arrivals in 2006. The cultural tourism is the major source of income for the Fund to maintain its conservation sites such as Jethawanaramaya, Abhayagiriya, Sigiriya and Galle Fort which have also been declared as world heritage sites. more..

Hi-tech IDs for LTTE-held NE

Jan 1 (DM) The Civil Administration in LTTE administered regions in the NorthEast has launched Tamileelam National Registry of Persons from yesterday, the Tamilnet website reported. The programme was inaugurated by the Tamil Eelam Department of Registration of Persons Commissioner S Jeyenthiran, by issuing the first national identity card to LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. more..

At least eight killed in Sri Lanka violence

Dec 1 (AFP) Three members of Sri Lanka's security forces and at least five civilians have died in fresh violence on the island. Officials said the LTTE had targeted a military vehicle in Navalady in the northern state of Jaffna during the early hours of New Year's Day, killing one soldier and injuring four. more..

LTTE accelerates harassments to civil groups in the absence of SLMM

Jan 2 (GDI) Recall of the officers attached to seven offices of the Sri Lankan truce monitors’ from the conflict affected areas of the country, has provided a encouraging environment for the LTTE to accelerate their child recruitments in those areas, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella – Government Defence Spokesperson said quoting the information from military intelligence sources. more..

10,000 people still forcibly held by Tigers in Vakarai

Jan 2 (GDI) Another 8000 to 10,000 civilians are waiting to find their way to government control areas, Military Spokesman Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe said today at a media briefing held in Colombo. Most of these people are elders and ailing. In the meantime, the flowing of displaced people from LTTE held areas to cleared areas is still continuing. more..

"Harassment to journalists should be zero"

Jan 2 (GDI) The importance of all media personals keeping the interests of national security utmost while carrying out their duties responsibly in publishing news articles was brought to the notice of journalists by the government Defense Spokesmen, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella at a press conference held today at Media Center for National Security. more..

Tiger bases continuously attacking SL troops neutralized

Jan 2 (GDI) Air Force Kfir jets carried out air strikes on an identified sea tiger base in Illuppaikadavai in north of Mannar in the northwestern coastal belt, this morning. The sea tiger base in Illuppaikadavai was a well-identified target, which was under constant monitoring by the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF), Air Force spokesmen Group Captain Ajantha Silva said at a press conference held in Colombo this morning. more..

Scotland Yard detains two LTTE suspects

Jan 2 (GDI) Briton’s Scotland Yard detectives have detained two LTTE suspects who had been carrying out a large-scale extortion racket, which led to the death of a Tamil shopkeeper in London. It is believed that supporters of LTTE terrorists were responsible for the killing of Tamil shopkeeper, 44-year-old Subramaniyam Sivakumar. more..

Consumer Courts in line with the tax courts

Jan 2 (GDI) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) plans to set up Consumer Courts this year to enact legislation to protect consumers from unfair trade practices. CAA Chairman Sarath Wijesinghe told the Government Official website that the major aim of the court is to promote fair trading with the objective of protecting consumers. more..

"Importance of understanding between communities"

Jan 2 (GDI) To serve our motherland in a more productive manner, understanding the importance of developing good rapport with all communities, and the necessity of rooting out terrorism to achieve our ultimate goal of ensuring a nation where everybody could live in peace and harmony after granting every citizen of his/her human rights was highlighted by the Army Commander Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka. more..

17 hospitals to be upgraded

Jan 2 (GDI) Seventeen Base Hospitals including Mannar, Kalmunai North, Point Pedro and Thellippalai will be upgraded shortly on a decision taken by Health Care and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, a ministry spokesman said. These hospitals are to be upgraded to cater to the increasing demand for specialised care services among the under privileged sections of the society. more..

Be vigilant of sleeper LTTE cadres

Jan 2 (GDI) Defence Authorities request the public to be more vigilant about sleeper LTTE cadres living outside the North and East preparing for major attacks targeting sensitive economic or military centres in the South specially in the Western province. A senior Defence Ministry official told they have observed that public vigilance has lessened to a certain extent during the past few months specially during the festive season. more..

Tamil Tigers ban sales of rival Tamil paper in Paris

Jan 2 (GDI) On 10 December 2006, Parithi, Head of the Tamil Tigers in Paris, France, ordered all the Tamil shop keepers not to import or sell the popular Tamil weekly, “Thina Murasu” - a paper published in Colombo by EPDP led by Douglas Devananda. Following this order, several readers of “Thina Murasu,” in Paris have decided to lodge complaints against the shop keepers in the La Chapelle area of Paris 10, who have suddenly stopped selling the weekly to them. more..

Blossoming again

Jan 2 (CI) Inflation may be spiralling upwards, the Sri Lankan rupee might plunging in value, war clouds are clinging to the horizon, but at least there is something to cheer as the New Year dawns: the Sri Lankan cricket team's return to good health. After an inconsistent 2005, the senior team has rebounded with fresh purpose and growing confidence. It has not been an unblemished year by any means, but the prospects for the future are looking far brighter than they did 12 months ago. more..

NZ scamper home in low-scorer

Jan 2 (CI) New Zealand survived a tense period immediately after lunch, during which they nearly threw away their tight grip on the match, to clinch a four-wicket victory in the third one-day international at Christchurch. Sri Lanka, put into bat on an overcast, rain-interrupted morning, paid the price for a woeful batting display as they were bowled out for 112 in just 35.2 overs. more..

Saddam’s end evokes anger and sadness in Sri Lanka

Jan 2 (KT) WHEN the advisors of former US President Franklin D Roosevelt discussed the human rights situation in Nicaragua under the pro-American dictator Anastasio Somoza, Roosevelt is reported to have said, “Somoza may be a son of a b----, but he’s our son of a b----.” A friend who called me on Saturday morning moments after the former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was hanged said that Saddam Hussein was certainly an SoB, but he is still “our SoB”. more..

A decisive year

Jan 2 (PISL) All indications are that the New Year that we have stepped into is going to be a decisive one. The task before the country’s political leadership today is to carefully review the events of last year and make a determined effort to carry forward whatever good that was accomplished last year and to abandon or revise whatever decisions and actions that would now seem unwise and damaging to national interests. more..

North-East demerger activates

Jan 2 (PISL) The administrative operations of the newly de-merged Northern and Eastern provinces started yesterday with the dawn of the new year in separate offices in Trincomalee town, a top government official said. Eastern Governor Mohan Wijeyawickrema, who is also the acting Governor for Northern Province, told the Daily Mirror last evening the offices functioned smoothly. more..

Cultural sites in crisis

Jan 2 (SAMN) The Central Cultural Fund (CCF) is in a financial crisis and is forced to seek public assistance to carry out conservation work, a top CCF official said. He attributed it to the drop in tourist arrivals in 2006. The cultural tourism is the major source of income for the Fund to maintain its conservation sites such as Jethawanaramaya, Abhayagiriya, Sigiriya and Galle Fort which have also been declared as world heritage sites. more..

JVP wants May Day in April

Jan 2 (SAMN) The JVP-led All Ceylon Trade Union Federation (ACTUF) Monday urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to officially announce the advancing of International Workers’ Day to April 30 as Vesak Poya falls on May Day this year. JVP trade union wing leader K.D. Lal Kantha said since Vesak Poya Day coincides with May Day this year they would not be able to hold any rallies or processions. more..

PSC waiting for UNP proposals on reforms

Jan 2 (SAMN) The Chairman of the Parlimentary Select Committee (PSC) on Electoral Reforms, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, said Monday he hoped that UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe would, after he returns from Tanzania, sit down to working out a proposal that would be acceptable to all parties in the Parliament. more..

CEB TUs claim students ‘Terrorists’

Jan 2 (SAMN) The CEB Trade Union Alliance Monday warned that they would take stern action against students who are residing in buildings belonging to the Samanalawewa Power Plant, if they fail to vacate them immediately. The Alliance charged that university officials are encouraging the students to engage in unlawful acts. more..

Natural rubber price volatility, a growing concern

Jan 2 (DN) Violent fluctuations in the prices of Natural Rubber (NR) has now become a regular phenomena. Galloping prices have always been followed by turnarounds as expected in a free market economy. NR has been going through a period of widely fluctuating market in the recent past, from as high as Rs. 400 (U$4) per kg, down to about Rs. 180 (U$1.8) per kg which however, is still remunerative to growers but is the biggest challenge to the consumers. more..

INGO personnel seeking diplomatic status, a disturbing news

Jan 2 (DN) The Sri Lanka United National Association of Canada in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa has opposed the Berghoff Foundation, an INGO, or any other NGO personnel being given diplomatic recognition however benevolent they may appear to be. more..