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President’s powers bar to MPs doing their duty – Ranil

Jan 26 (Island) Some of the constitutional provisions that spell out the powers and actions of the President need to be re-examined, taking into consideration the detrimental effects it has for the well being of the country, as there were no checks or limitations on these powers, UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He was addressing a workshop for members of six professional groups affiliated to the UNP at the party headquarters Sirikotha recently. more..

Three teams probe K’gollewa killings

Jan 26 (Island) The Anuradhapura DIG, K. P. P. Pathirana, yesterday assigned three special police teams to probe Thursday’s discovery of 16 unidentified bodies, in two shallow graves, at Kiriketuwewa on the Kebitiogollewa – Horowpathana Road on Thursday. The partially decomposed bodies, believed to have been buried a few days ago, were all of males, below 40 years of age. Initial investigations had revealed the men had been shot dead at point blank range after their hands were tied behind their backs. more..

AI concerned over safety of Uthayan staff

Jan 26 (DM) The London-based Amnesty International (AI) which raised concerns over the safety of staff attached to the Uthayan newspaper in Jaffna, had appealed to the authorities to immediately provide adequate levels of police protection. According to AI at around 10.45 a.m. on January 6, the Uthayan newspaper office received a threatening telephone call demanding the newspaper to stop its production immediately. more..

Witness was not allowed to face identification parade

Jan 26 (DM) A witness in the Maheswaran assassination case told court that he was threatened by two unidentified persons not to present himself at the identification parade yesterday. At the identification parade held before the Additional Magistrate, Ms. Kumari Abeyratne yesterday, the prosecution witness, Gananadan Nithyanandan of Badulla failed to identify Johnson Collin Valentine, the suspect in the killing of UNP Parliamentarian, T. Maheswaran more..

It's back to the Australian dressing room for Sri Lanka after a hard day's play

Jan 26 (SMH) SRI LANKA'S coach Trevor Bayliss will encourage his players to head into the Australian dressing room during the three-nation one-day series to avoid a repeat of the race row that marred the Sydney Test. The Sri Lankans began their preparation for the series at the SCG nets yesterday and will tune up with a match against Bankstown today. more..

Rebels killed in N Sri Lanka as election candidate reported missing

Jan 26 (Xinhua) At least 17 Tamil Tiger rebels have been killed in separate clashes Friday in northern Sri Lanka, defense officials said Saturday. Clashes erupted in Kilali in the northern Jaffna peninsula and elsewhere in the northern provinces of Vavuniya and Mannar. Only two soldiers were injured in the clashes, officials added. Meanwhile, a candidate in the election for the Municipal Council in the eastern Batticaloa district has been reported missing since Friday night, the police at Kathankudy, 410 km east of here, said Saturday. more..

TN Fishermen begin indefinite strike

Jan 26 (PTI) Demanding the release of 12 fishermen detained by the Sri Lankan Navy,fishermen from this island began their indefinite boycott of the seas Saturday. A Fishermen's Association member N J Bose said the 12 fishermen had been lodged in Jaffna prison and it was the duty of the Indian government to get them released. They were arrested on January 22 for allegedly entering the island nation's territorial waters near Kachathivu. more..

Sri Lankan jets bomb Tamil rebels' naval headquarters, military says

Jan 26 (AP) Sri Lankan air force jets bombed the Tamil Tiger rebels' naval headquarters Saturday while the group's sea wing leaders were holding a meeting there, the military said. Pilots confirmed hitting the base near Puthukudiyiruppu village in rebel-held Mullaitivu district but did not provide any details about any damage, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said. The base was bombed because officials had received information that the sea wing leaders were meeting there, more..

Defence chief calls for ban on Tamil Tigers

Jan 26 (AFP) Sri Lanka's defence secretary has called for a ban on the Tamil Tigers and said the ongoing military campaign was aimed at destroying the rebels' top leaders, a report said. Rajapakse, who is President Mahinda Rajapakse's younger brother, said the military had started a campaign to capture rebel-held areas in the island's north, after securing the east last year. "We have started our thrust from all sides, from Jaffna, Mannar, Vavuniya and Weli Oya. It is done in a systematic manner. We don't plan to stop," more..

Jailed Karuna implicates Sri Lankan government

Jan 26 (IANS) The controversial breakaway Tamil Tiger leader 'Colonel' Karuna, who has been found guilty of being in Britain on a false Sri Lankan diplomatic passport, has implicated the Sri Lankan government. Karuna, whose real name is Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, Friday told the Isleworth Crown Court in West London that the Sri Lankan government's defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, had 'arranged everything' for him to travel to Britain on a diplomatic passport, the BBC reported. more..

Tamil Tigers must compromise for peace: envoy

Jan 26 (AFP) Sri Lanka said Friday it could not return to the negotiating table with the Tamil Tigers unless there was a guarantee from the rebels that they would not walk away from the talks. The LTTE must also be prepared to compromise on its demand for a separate state in Sri Lanka's north and east, said the country's US envoy, Bernard Goonetilleke. The LTTE wants "to establish a separate state by hook or by crook," he said at a forum in Washington. more..

Starving monks of Matale rock cave temple who wrote down the Pali Canon

Jan 26 (SLW) It is not an exageration to say that without the Pali canon, existance of the Theravada sect of Buddhism would be doubtful. The Pali Canon is widely considered by scholars to be the oldest extant set of documents that is closest to the word of the historical Buddha. The canon was transmitted orally for nearly 5 centuries until it was finally written down in Matale Alu vihara, in 100 BC during the time of King Vattagamini. more..

Life in Vanni Then and Now

Jan 27 (SLW) Life in Vanni is both a bed of Roses and Thorns. It all depends to a great extent on how one perceives things. For example, if one were to miss watching the TV and other related facilities due to the lack of electricity and if one were to get terrified at the thundering noise of the Kfir bombers and the frequent fall of artillery shells, then life becomes a Bed of Thorns. more..

Media Rights Groups Condemn Abuse

Jan 27 (SLW) We, the five media major media organisations in Sri Lanka are shocked and appalled by the knife attack on journalist Lal Hemantha Mawalage on 25th night at Athurigiriya, a suburb of Colombo. He was on his way home around 11.00pm when he was attacked by two men on motor bicycle who lay in wait for him. He received severe cut injuries in his right arm, was admitted to Ward 72 of the Colombo general hospital and had to be surgically operated on 26th morning. more..

Master: Thank you for the music

Jan 27 (LG) If Dr. Lester James Peries is the Father of Sri Lankan cinema, Dr. Premasiri Khemadasa should be named as the 'Father' of local film music. This in fact would be a fitting tribute to Premasiri Khemadasa better known as 'Master Khemadasa' who turned 71 last Friday, January 25. Still very much active with making music for teledramas, films and even 'opera' the one and only man who was dared experiment and create the world renowned style of musical expression from this part of the world. more..

Political Solution : Empty Gesture and No Takers

Jan 27 (LG) Air Force bunker-busters may hopefully get Prabhakaran if they have not got him already. But P dead or alive is not really the problem. It is the repeated failure of the south to offer to the Tamil community a feasible political solution to its civic and human rights issues that is in fact the besetting problem. In this context P is no more than a megalomaniac claiming the Tamil community as his exclusive turf. more..

The Way of the Mirage

Jan 27 (LG) The regime has great expectations: a short, sharp war; a decisive victory; administrative decentralisation in devolutionary garb as a political solution to the ethnic problem; economic maladies abating with the reduction in defence expenditure. And all of this to happen before the year is out! It is natural for the Rajapakses to be infatuated with such a beguiling scenario. more..

EROS Requests Additional Secretary from Govt. In Preparation for the LG Poll

Jan 27 (LG) The Eelavar Democratic Front (EDF), the political wing of the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation (EROS) have written to the IGP, Ministry of Defence and President Mahinda Rajapakse urging the Government to allocate additional security for all members of EROS in Sri Lanka especially their candidates who are to contest in the elections. more..

Govt. Must Disarm the TMVP before the Election

Jan 27 (LG) The President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse had remarked recently that no one other than the police or military were authorised to carry weapons which is rather ironic because he has failed to disarm the terrorist Karuna/Pillaiyan Group (TMVP) who are no different to the LTTE in the East and has allowed them to have a free ride intimidating memebrs of the public, abducting innocent civilians for ransom including foreigners visiting the East and also killing a number of innocent civilians and members of other poltical groups. more..

Hanky panky over highway project

Jan 27 (SL) Road Development Authority officials are fuming over attempts by an official close to Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle to allegedly manipulate a multi million dollar extension to an existing contract. If allowed, the government would be forced to pay out millions of dollars in enhanced rates amounting to approximately US$30-40 million despite the fact that the original contractual terms remain fundamentally intact and no changes are made to the scope or design thereof. more..

The political fraud behind APRC

Jan 27 (SL) After labouring for 63 sessions, over 250 hours and spending millions of tax payers' rupees, the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) and President Mahinda Rajapakse last week delivered an ant in what is nothing short of a massive political fraud perpetrated on both the Sri Lankan people and the international community. And here's why. It was President Rajapakse who in his Mahinda Chinthana and thereafter, more..

Sex, lies and dirty deals that have rocked the JVP

Jan 27 (SL) The simmering discontent in the JVP especially among its senior most members over the party's "unprincipled" policies has now reached boiling point with the Marxists' involvement in underhand deals, links to casino kings and intimidatory tactics all set to play out in public. Several cases involving the party allegedly receiving financial support from casino owners and from business establishments, accepting bribes, threatening and intimidating certain members of the JVP itself for raising these issues within the party, more..

Where have all the assassins gone?

Jan 27 (SL) In the history of assassination politics in Sri Lanka, it is not just the frequency of the gory murders alone that had helped create an appalling record but also the absence of credible investigations leading to the apprehension of criminals. The criminality in the country has experienced a steep increase since the war broke out in 1983 which by now has paved the way for a culture of impunity to take root, with offenders of all levels going unpunished. more..

More Sri Lankan women faces jail terms and death sentence in Saudi Arabia

Jan 27 (AT) Two Sri Lankan migrant workers including a Muslim woman and her husband, a migrant worker from India, have been sentenced to death in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Along with them five more Sri Lanka migrant workers, the list includes two Sri Lankan women, were sentenced to 5 years imprisonment with 500 lashes each. The High Court of Jeddah confirmed its sentence delivered on 11 June 2007 and handed over the written verdict to the accused persons on 20 January 2008. more..

LTTE Commemorates "Col" Kittu and nine others tomorrow

Jan 27 (AT) Defying British laws on terrorism and the ban on the LTTE, the Tigers are planning to commemorate the death anniversary of "Col" Kittu and nine others who died in mid-sea when they blew themselves up when confronted by the Indian navy several years ago. Sathasivam Krishnakumar, known as Col Kittu was a senior commander of the LTTE and one time Jaffna commander. The 14th death anniversary is scheduled to be commemorated tomorrow at 5pm at the Waltham Forest Theatre in Walthamstow in east London. more..

Sri Lanka’s APRC: Hijacked by the Trotskyites !

Jan 27 (AT) It is indeed an irony that when the nation expects the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC) to formulate a balanced and acceptable solution to the vexed problem in our country and APRC, at this crucial juncture is headed by Tissa Vitharana, a Trotskyite. Trotskyism in Sri Lanka has a drawn out history of being anti Sinhala and worst, anti Bandaranaike. more..

Role of religion in Peace Building

Jan 27 (AT) There has been turmoil in the Sri Lankan nation for decades past: what may be the basic reason; is it that the majority in the country tries to make this a Sinhala Buddhist Nation? Buddhism came to Sri Lanka from India and some of the then inhabitants took to Buddhism, indeed a pristine philosophy; and now Sinhala Buddhists are a majority in the country! more..

The Lankan Tragicomedy

Jan 27 (AT) In Sri Lanka surreal is normal. Last week, the APRC ceremoniously presented President Rajapakse with a ‘consensus’ document advocating the full implementation of the 13th Amendment. The week before the President had given the APRC a document advocating the full implementation of the 13th Amendment, with instructions to present it back to him as that long suffering body’s own recommendation. The APRC acquiesced. more..

Addressing the nations of Sri Lanka

Jan 27 (GV) The ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has been locked in an impasse for decades, with severe consequences of affliction and economic impoverishment across the board on all sides of the warring groups. Any effort today to work out a viable modus vivendi [as distinct from the utopian notion of “solution” must begin with fundamentals. Let me set out my position in point form. more..

Caught Between Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Jan 27 (FI) Sri Lanka is all set to implement the 13th Amendment of the Constitution in full as recommended by the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) “as a prelude to the APRC proposals.” This is what the APRC has recommended to President Rajapaksa in its interim proposal (given in appendix below). And the President wanted it to do so and it has done it. Driving the devolution ghost is as simple as that, it seems. more..

Ensuring that APRC is Part of the Solution

Jan 27 (SLW) The events of the past three weeks of the New Year have given an indication of the potential for savagery in the intensified war with the LTTE. At Buttala, the hapless victims of the bus bomb that killed 27 and injured over 60 others had been sprayed with gunfire by their attackers. The massacre of civilians in the remote rural countryside of the south evoked memories of earlier phases of the war. more..

Opportunity to Revive the Constitutional Council and Ensure Good Governance

Jan 27 (SLW) Today the ravages of the ethnic conflict are taking centre stage in the country, and the absence of good governance in general is marked. In this context, the agreement among the three relevant smaller political parties, the JVP, TNA and JHU, to fill the vacancy in the Constitutional Council is a positive development. The Organization of Professional Associations had recently recommended the retired Auditor General Mr S C Mayadunne as the nominee since he has general acceptance among the public as well as the large majority of parliamentarians. more..

Privatisation & Loyalty in the War on Terror

Jan 27 (SLW) A recent post by Indi on the correctness of allowing people with foreign interests to hold high military office got me thinking about the whole private military contract business. Coincidentally, I had just finished reading The Road to Hell by Brian Geddes, a British mercenary (or private military contractor as they are now called) in Iraq.Indi’s post basically pointed out that the SL Army commander, Gen Sarath Fonseka, the Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapakse, and more..

“Still cleared” East now adjoining “to be cleared” Uva

Jan 27 (SLW) All that was in Uva Province and not in the “cleared” Eastern province. East still remains cleared of tiger terrorists and nominations were accepted for Local Government elections last week, despite the “Pillayan” factor. Hakeem nevertheless feels this chap could be an extremely savage disruptor of elections. Hisbullah, a former Minister and a strongman of the SLMC in Batticaloa was manhandled by a Minister’s gang led by Pillayan cadres, as claimed by Hisbullah himself, but no arrests made though. more..

Will there be a third JVP uprising?

Jan 27 (SLW) The Government hastily removed the ill- fated health services department circular. It appeared like a bomb blast, disturbing the entire worker population and it disappeared before one could say ‘why?’ It was undoubtedly a threat posed to organised workers in general, as it challenged the right to strike and protest. It clearly amounted to a violation of rights guaranteed under labour regulations and several international agreements signed by respective governments. more..

Health official pressurizing police to release ‘high protein’ food stock!

Jan 27 (LT) A senior female official of the Health Ministry is pressurizing Medawachchiya police to release the ‘high protein’ food that was apprehended last evening while being transported to Killinochchi in a container vehicle belonging to World Food Programme of the UNO. According to our sources this female official of the Health Ministry has telephoned the OIC of Medawachchiya Police regarding the consignment of ‘high protein’ food and has demanded that the container be released immediately claiming that it is a consignment of food belonging to Health Ministry. more..

Prabhakaran and His Cohorts will be Destroyed - Army Commander

Jan 27 (AT) What is described as a revealing close-up of the battle front in the north, Sri Lankan Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka vividly answered the question ‘is Prabhakaran dead” thus: “Though Prabhakaran is alive, he is merely like a dead person,” he added “We launched attacks on accurate information. But we do not know whether he was directly hit. I need not lie. We have not received adequate information to confirm his death. more..

de Silva heads SLC cricket committee

Jan 27 (CI) Newly-appointed chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) cricket committee Aravinda de Silva said that one of his prime concerns was to restructure school cricket. "We have to develop our coaching sector. Like medical science, the coaching system keeps changing with new methods and we've got to keep pace with it. We have school cricket coaches but only some of them are knowledgeable," said de Silva. more..

Low-key arrival for Sri Lanka

Jan 27 (CI) Following a break from international cricket - five weeks is something of a luxury these days - Sri Lanka are back on Australian shores, this time for a one-day series, the CB triangular also featuring the hosts and India. They were last here three months ago for a two-Test whitewash that proved a handy catalyst for bouncing back to beat England in the subsequent home series. more..

Major fuel pilfering racket busted at Muthurajawela

Jan 27 (LNP) An internal investigation conducted by the Petroleum Corporation has revealed a long-running fraud at its Muturajawela fuel storage and distribution facility where a group of influential officials, with the help of a section of the workers, had pilfered massive stocks of fuel. The revelation comes as the country struggles to cope with rising world oil prices which has caused several sharp upward fuel price revisions. more..

Karuna to be charged for war crimes

Jan 27 (SAMN) The British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has indicated it is considering prosecuting former TMVP head and LTTE renegade Eastern Commander Karuna Amman for war crimes and human rights abuses on the basis of evidence forwarded to them by the Metropolitan Police, including reports by leading human rights organisations. CPS Spokesperson Ben Harding said further investigations are the responsibility of the police, and anti-terrorism units would likely lead the investigations. more..

JVP to protest against 13th Amendment

Jan 27 (SAMN) The JVP has threatened to take to the streets against the establishment of the Interim Council and the implementation of the 13th Amendment as proposed by the All Party Representative Committee. JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake said the government has no right to hand over the administration in the North and East to the “proxies of terrorists”. Ratnayake was referring to the Tamil National Alliance. more..

Minister’s relatives behind rice prices

Jan 27 (SAMN) The JVP has blamed relatives of Government Ministers for manipulating prices of rice and called on the government to take immediate action to stop the soaring prices. JVP MP Vijitha Herath commenting on the rise in price of rice, blamed certain politically backed private millers for increasing rice prices according to their whims and fancies while the JVP’s General Sectary Tilvyn Silva said that brothers of government ministers were running certain mills and this was causing an increase in the price of rice. more..

Govt.-TMVP alliance shocks UNP

Jan 27 (SAMN) The United National Party (UNP) said Saturday it was ‘simply astonished’ over the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered between the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) to jointly contest the Batticaloa Municipal Council election in March. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said the government has legalised an armed group by entering into an electoral pact with the TMVP. more..

No need for interim council when efforts to crush terrorism are on

Jan 27 (SO) The proposed Interim Council for the Northern province will not be the ideal solution to end the national problem at a time the military is engaging in an operation to crush the LTTE, Foreign Affairs Secretary of the JVP and Parliamentarian, Vijitha Herath said. He said the decision to implement the 13th Amendment of the Constitution, which was brought without the consensus of the people during the late President J. R. Jayewardene, would be a failure soon. more..

No scarcity of commodity items in Jaffna - GA

Jan 27 (SO) The Jaffna Government Agent's office on Friday assured that the distribution of rice, wheat flour and other essential commodity items is being carried out without any interruption through public and private sector outlets. Referring to several media reports on the scarcity of essential commodity items in the district, the Jaffna Government Agent stressed that there was no shortage whatsoever of essential food items in the peninsula. more..

Lanka's true image vital to attract Japanese tourists

Jan 27 (SO) Sri Lanka's image tarnished by irresponsible media publicity as a trouble-hit country should be changed. This will make Sri Lanka a number one tourist destination among Japanese people who are fond of travelling abroad, said Stuko Onodera, a Japanese tourist who was in Sri Lanka last week. Japanese select Hawai and Guwan as their favourite tourist destinations. If Sri Lanka projects its real image and its beauty to them they may choose Sri Lanka as their best tourist destination, she said. more..

Govt to rejuvenate co-op movement

Jan 27 (SO) The co-operative movement which was severely affected by the political decisions of the past, will be rejuvenated by the present Government, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President was speaking at a ceremony at the President's House Kandy to donate 306 million to the co-operative societies to open 306 Co-op City super markets islandwide before the forthcoming New year, "Co-operative shops should be maintained well and nicely. more..

Karuna attacked in UK prison

Jan 27 (NS) LTTE renegade commander Karuna Amman, who was sentenced to nine months in a British prison after being charged with having entered the country on false travel documents, has been allegedly tortured in the prison, The Nation learns. Reports reaching Colombo said that Karuna was sent to a maximum security prison as a political prisoner and was to be housed with other Tamil inmates who had been charged with other crimes. more..

Mahinda axes APRC ‘body’

Jan 27 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa virtually transformed the All Party Representative Committee’s (APRC) crucial recommendations on how to implement the much hyped about 13th Amendment to the Constitution from a detailed 10-page report into a mere two-page poster. The Nation learns that the President was responsible in chopping down almost all important recommendations given in the 10-page report on January 22, when he met with the APRC members at Temple Trees. more..