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Delegation of Catholic Clergy to visit Jaffna

Jan 5 (TN) A high level delegation of catholic clergy including the Papal representative for Sri Lanka, Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Mario Zinari, and Rev.Harold Anthony, Bishop of Galle Diocese, are scheduled to visit Jaffna peninsula Wednesday 09 January to officially hand over houses of built for Tsunami victims, sources in Jaffna said. The delegation is to be accompanied by Rt. Rev. Dr.Thomas Savundranayagam, Bishop of Jaffna, and more..

Japan concerned of escalation of violence following abrogation of CFA

Jan 5 (TN) Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Masahiko Koumura, on Friday issued a statement stating that Japan was deeply concerned that the decision taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to withdraw from the Ceasefire may lead to the escalation of the conflict by way of increased level of violence and greater civilian casualties, and leave the peace process at a standstill. Japan further said it expected a devolution package, "in line" with Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa's previous commitment. more..

Sri Lanka crisis in new perspective

Jan 5 (NTI) A mine blast on army vehicle in Sri Lanka this time triggered abrogation of six years old Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) between the Sri Lanka Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE. In the wake of continuing violence and the escalation of endless hostilities, Sri Lankan government forced to terminate the ceasefire, looking it as of no positive consequence. more..

Sri Lanka fighting kills 34 Tamil Tiger rebels, a soldier

Jan 5 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops killed 34 Tamil Tiger rebels in northern Sri Lanka, the military said on Saturday, following the government's formal scrapping of an already tattered truce in the two-decade civil war. One soldier was killed and 11 wounded in fighting in the northern Jaffna peninsula, the northern district of Vavuniya and northwestern district of Mannar. "Fighting on Saturday in Jaffna, Vavuniya and Mannar killed 26 LTTE terrorists. Eight soldiers were also wounded from the fighting," more..

Truce saved 10,000 Sri Lankan lives, say Nordic ministers

Jan 5 (IANS) Foreign ministers of five Nordic countries, which had contributed truce monitors to Sri Lanka, have claimed that the ceasefire agreement (CFA), which the Sri Lankan government abrogated earlier this week, had saved an estimated 10,000 lives in the first three years of its existence. "The ceasefire agreement had a number of positive consequences. During the first three years, conflict-related casualties dropped to almost zero, which means that as many as 10,000 lives may have been spared," more..

Sri Lanka in crucial need of monitoring mission: rights group

Jan 5 (AFP) Sri Lanka urgently needs an international rights monitoring mission following the government's decision to end a truce with Tamil rebels, a London-based rights group said as clashes continued in the north. The Minority Rights Group International said Colombo's decision to formally withdraw from the ceasefire deal with the rebels would result in escalating violence and lead to more rights abuses against minority Tamils and Muslims. more..

Man from TN held on charges of smuggling fuel for LTTE

Jan 5 (PTI) A suspected agent of separatist outfit LTTE was arrested after a fight with a Tamil Nadu police when he was attempting to smuggle diesel for the banned Sri Lankan group at Mandapam. Mahendran, a native of Sivaganga District, was walking along the seashore with two cans of diesel when Sub-Inspector Ravi followed him on suspicion on Friday night, police sources said. more..

Two Sri Lankans Closely Linked with LTTE Arrested

Jan 5 (DW) In a major operation, police team headed by inspectors Jayanth Shetty and Umesh Shet, has arrested two Sri Lanka-based persons who are closely linked with LTTE on Saturday, January 5. The arrested persons have been identified as Baala Ruban alias Ruban alias Kadiravelu Gunaselvan (22) of north Sri Lanka and Nallatambi Jayasheelan alias Sheelan (25) of north Jafna. Acting upon a sure tip-off, the police conducted a raid in a lodge here and arrested the accused. more..

Malaysia must play a leading role to get Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers to the negotiation table

Jan 5 (MV) The Sri Lanka’s government official withdrawal from the 2002 cease-fire agreement with the Tamil Tiger on Thursday is a great national tragedy but opens the path for Malaysia to enter into a negotiation with both parties to find a new and lasting political solution to the five decade old conflict. Malaysia has long experience in mediating in regional and international conflicts like in Bosnia Herzegovina, more..

Security slashed MPs go to courts

Jan 5 (LeN) The MPs whose security was slashed after they voted against the budget are planning to file fundamental rights petitions against the Inspector General of Police due to threats to their lives. MP T. Maheswaran was assassinated after the number of officials in his security staff was slashed. Meanwhile, MP Mano Ganeshan is to leave the country for the safety of his life. Former Minister Anura Bandaranaike who was guarded by 76 police officials earlier has only two officials for his safety now. more..

Human rights monitoring crucial

Jan 6 (BBC) As the Norwegian ceasefire monitors packing up, a number of human right groups have pointed out the need for international human right monitoring. The need for International Human rights monitors is now ever more crucial, says the London based minority rights group. Basil Fernando Executive Director of the Hong Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHC) said that the state sponsored human right organizations have ceased to be effective. more..

The Assassination of Thiagarajah Maheswaran

Jan 6 (TC) Year 2008 dawned on a dreadful note for Tamils in Sri Lanka as one more democratically elected Parliamentarian was assassinated in broad daylight. UNP Colombo district MP Thiagarajah Maheswaran was shot dead at the Shree Ponnambalavaneswarar Sivan temple in Kotahena. 41 year old Maheswaran was to celebrate his 42nd birthday on Jan 10th. In what was perhaps the first development of its kind, the assassin was shot and wounded by one of Maheswaran’s bodyguards. more..

Maheswaran: Blend of Business Acumen and Political Savvy

Jan 6 (TC) To succeed in business one needs a certain amount of political skill. To succeed in politics one requires a certain degree of business sense. Thiagarajah Maheswaran who was gunned down on New Years day was a rare blend of business acumen and political savvy. He was a shrewd businessman with a dubious background who achieved two stupendous records in politics. more..

APRC Under Pressure to Propose 13th Amendment Plus as Interim Solution

Jan 6 (FI) Much maligned and mis - understood in recent times , the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) continues to forge ahead with its task of drafting a comprehensive scheme of Constitutional reform that would provide maximum power sharing between centre and periphery. Despite the disinformation and misinformation being dished out the APRC chaired by the indefatigable Samasamaajist Tissa Vitarana has quietly progressed and is on the verge of completing its mission. more..

OK .. CFA is abrogated, what next?

Jan 6 (AT) Sri Lanka Government has officially conveyed that they are abrogating the Ceasefire Agreement they entered with the LTTE. Accordingly, from 16 January officially there will be no more ceasefire in force with the Liberation Tigers. What is that mean. It means Sri Lanka Government is at war with the Tamil Tigers. It clearly indicates that the flood gate of war has been opened up. more..

What will it mean for the least empowered person?

Jan 6 (AT) The word devolution has generated more discussion amongst some people in Sri Lanka perhaps next to the word terrorism. Some have argued that devolution is the panacea for all ills in the country while others have attached sinister implications arising out of it. Some have argued for minimalist devolution models, while others have rejected them and pushed for maximalist models. more..

Burying the Ceasefire Agreement killed by Velu & Solheim

Jan 6 (AT) The official termination of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) signed on February 22, 2002 was long overdue. Everyone knew it was dead as the countless number of whales killed by the Norwegians, defying the ban imposed by the International Whaling Commission in 1986. The Mahinda Rajapakse government has rightfully concluded that it is unjust, illegal and unacceptable to let the Tamil Tigers do what the Norwegians are doing to the whales: violating international law and decimating the endangered species (Tamils in the case of Velu Prabhakaran). more..

It is time to say not 'Good Bye,' but to say 'Thank you Norway.'

Jan 6 (AT) At last Norway is kicked out of the peace process in Sri Lanka. Norwegian spent millions of dollars in their endeavor to bring peace to Sri Lanka - a war torn country. Unfortunately their money has been wasted in a futile mission. While they failed to bring peace to Sri Lanka, their image as international peacemakers has been sullied because of the setback. Erik Solheim is a most ambitious Norwegian politician. more..

The Rampant Extremism

Jan 6 (AT) The ultimatum came from Wimal Weerawansa: the JVP 'will' topple the government by 'April' if the President acquiesces to a devolution package contrary to 'Mahinda Chinthanaya. Mahinda Chinthanaya' commits the government to the unitary state. The JVP, intent on preserving the unitary state in its unadulterated form, is unequivocally opposed to any devolution proposal of the quasi-unitary sort. more..

The effect of colonialism in Sri Lankan culture and politics

Jan 6 (LR) The man is a cultural animal and culture and man has mutual influence for both. However, the western colonial invasions influenced this balance and in Sri Lanka, we are still seeing the post colonial effect of artificially created cultural segments and their desire to retain power against the will of the common people. The man required to change the environment in order satisfy his desires. more..

LTTE military intelligence wing leader killed in LRRP strike

Jan 6 (LG) LTTE intelligence wing suffered a setback today when it's "military intelligence wing" leader Charles (also known as Shanmuganathan Ravishankar) was killed in by a claymore explosion set off by the army's Deep Penetration Unit. Self styled "Colonel" Charles and 3 other senior LTTE cadres were killed when the army's Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) detonated a claymore mine targeting their van. more..

“Thanks Your Invitation but Sorry” says Indian PM

Jan 6 (LG) India has officially told Sri Lanka that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is unable to accept the invitation to attend the island's 60th Independence Day celebrations on Feb 4, because of prior commitments. "We were told that the prime minister's schedule did not permit him to be in Sri Lanka on Feb 4," Ravinatha Ariyasinha, director general of communications in the Sri Lankan foreign office, said Sunday. more..

13 political groups pending recognition

Jan 6 (LD) There are 13 requests pending registration as recognized political parties since mid-2007, the Elections Secretariat said. Among them is an application by the Pillayan Group in the east, a top elections official told ‘Lanka Dissent.’ The Elections Secretariat has decided to interviews the applicants after accepting nominations for nine local bodies in Batticaloa district from January 18th to 25th. more..

Govt. further prolongs teachers’ salary anomalies - CTU

Jan 6 (LD) The Ceylon Teachers Union has accused the government of attempting to prolong the salary anomalies issue of teachers for another year from its unresolved status more than10 years after it surfaced. President of the CTU Joseph Stalin told ‘Lanka Dissent’ that certain teachers unions as well as the JVP were supporting the government attempt. Very soon, the combined trade unions front of teachers and principals will take concerted action against this, he said. more..

Media organizations protest army chief’s media labeling

Jan 6 (LD) Several media organizations have condemned the Army Commander for branding selected media institutions and personnel as “traitors.” When questioned about whom he sees as the obstacles or the problems in the way of achieving the targets set by the army this year, he has said, “The non-patriotic media is the main obstacle. I do not level this allegation at all the media or the media personnel. more..

Biggest obstacle to Army this year is traitorous media – Army Commander

Jan 6 (LD) At a time when the government has declared 2008 as a year to eliminate terrorism, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka sees what he calls the “traitorous media” as the main obstacle to achieving that objective. Following is an excerpt of an interview given by him to Prasanna Fonseka of the Dinamina Sinhala daily in its January 02nd issue. “Q: What do you see as the obstacles or the problems in the way of achieving the targets set by the army this year? more..

Sri Lankan body elects new panel

Jan 6 (GT) Sri Lankan Majlis – Qatar (SLMQ), a prominent Sri Lankan forum in Qatar, elected a new executive committee for a one-year term. Ameerudeen Moulana is the new president. The other members are Nazeem Yakoob (VP-PR); Mohamed Fahmy (VP-projects); Arshad Ahmed (general secretary); Abdul Wahab (treasurer); Mohamed Shiraz (assistant secretary); Aslam Careem (assistant treasurer); Imthiyas Samsudeen, Mohamed Najad, Mohamed Rizly, Haja Mohideen and Azhar Safwan. more..

Lanka's economy to grow 7% this year amidst challenges - CB Governor

Jan 6 (GDI) Sri Lanka's economy will grow around 7 per cent this year amidst global challenges and increased counter terrorism measures, said Central Bank (CB) Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal. The Governor was addressing a gathering to outline the Road Map: Monetary and Financial Sector Policies for 2008 and beyond'. He said the growth is broad-based with all three sectors such as agriculture, industries and services growing at a steady rate. more..

CFA abrogation welcomed across the political spectrum

Jan 6 (GDI) Most political parties in the country have welcomed the recent Cabinet decision to abrogate the 6-year old Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) signed by the then Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe and LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran on February 22, 2002. According to leaders of political parties, political analysts and many civil society leaders, the CFA only served the LTTE, which used it to re-arm, recruit and infilterate area that were previously inaccessible to the terrorist outfit. more..

Maldivian Foreign Minister visits Sri Lanka

Jan 6 (GDI) Maldivian Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah Shahid arrived in Sri Lanka on 03rd January on a two – day official visit. During his visit Foreign Minister Shahid called on the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka and Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. The discussions with the Sri Lankan leaders centered on a range of bilateral issues including further strengthening of the growing bilateral ties between the two countries. more..

TULF leader welcomes CFA abrogation

Jan 6 (GDI) Veerasingam Anadasangaree, the leader of the TULF and for a long time the lone Tamil voice of objection to the LTTE, has welcomed the decision to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA). Newspaper sources claim that Mr. Anandasangaree has said that the agreement only helped the LTTE to expand its terrorist activities and to blindfold the international community, adding that 'the CFA should have been scrapped when the LTTE went beyond its limits'. more..

LTTE readies of all out war

Jan 6 (SAMN) The LTTE has ordered Non Governmental Organisation employees to pull out from Mullaitivu and declared the district a high security area as the government hinted at a major military offensive into the Tiger heartland. These developments are taking place as the Sri Lanka Army set up its newest military division, the 59 Division in Weli Oya. The 59 Division established as an offensive formation, is expected to spearhead a military push into the Tiger hinterland in Mullaitivu. more..

APRC deadlocked over unitary state

Jan 6 (SAMN) The APRC is deadlocked on key issues relating to its proposals resulting in the political package not expected to be finalised before mid February. Informed sources said there was no agreement between the parties on the unit of devolution, the nature of the state, land issues and the electoral reforms, and added that the committee decided to delay discussing the contentious issues until the end but that they have now reached a deadlock with the JHU and SLFP insisting on a unitary state while the other parties have objected to the use of that terminology. more..

Doctors confused over new drug rule

Jan 6 (SAMN) Confusion reigned amongst doctors and pharmaceutical firms this week following the government decision to enforce a ban on prescribing branded drugs from January 1. According to Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, doctors in government hospitals can only give the generic name of the drug in a prescription while doctors in the private sector will have to explain to the patient the generic alternatives available when giving brand names of drugs. more..

Govt. undecided over Emirates

Jan 6 (SAMN) The government is still undecided over the renewal of the SriLankan airline agreement with Emirates. However aviation sources said that in the event the government decides to renew the deal, it was likely to demand that Emirates return the General Sales Agency, which it moved to Dubai in the late 90s, back to Colombo and also stop all unfair pricing practices in any new management deal. more..

Government in full throttle for clash with Emirates

Jan 6 (SL) Sri Lanka's national carrier remains the centre of intense controversy as President of Emirates, Tim Clark last week arrived in Sri Lanka to discuss the fate of the troubled partnership. Tim Clark arrived here last Wednesday (2) and handed over a letter containing a business proposal to the Government of Sri Lanka. It is learnt Emirates is expecting a response from the government by tomorrow (7). more..

Violent beginnings in the new year and the abrogation of the CFA

Jan 6 (SL) With the government deciding to formally withdraw from the Ceasefire Agreement last week, the stage was set for a no-holds-barred war between the security forces and the LTTE even as the JVP seized the political initiative in the south by forcing President Mahinda Rajapakse’s hand through a pre budget deal that left him internationally isolated. It was always the game plan of the JVP to push the government into an extremist agenda and more..

Price increases have only begun

Jan 6 (SL) Sri Lanka heralded the dawn of 2008 with another price increase - this time the price of LP gas. Along with it several essential items also saw their prices going up. The government on the other hand, has expressed confidence in reducing the prices of consumer goods by April. The weary Sri Lankan consumer has heard this before, many times, from this very government, but the promised relief is yet to materialise. more..

What ails Sri Lanka's health sector?

Jan 6 (SL) The health sector in Sri Lanka has been ailing for a long time. This remark, the health authorities would simply dislike, but a few visits to Sri Lanka's national, base and teaching hospitals will prove what ails our health sector. There is no denying that we lack doctors, nurses, beds and equipment. If the rest of the country can manage, then the northeast suffers from lack of medical staff, despite the trying conditions that prevail. more..

Sharp drop in heroin inflow

Jan 6 (SO) There is a drastic drop in the flow of heroin in the country following increased sea patrols deployed in the Palk Straits last year to counteract arms smuggling operations by terrorist groups, police sources told the "Sunday Observer". The Police, Excise, Customs, and Armed Services detected eight kilograms of heroin last year. Police even tipped off the Maldivian authorities last year when they detected a drug courier carrying seven kilograms of heroin to the Maldives via Sri Lanka. more..

Days of dilly-dallying with projects are over

Jan 6 (SO) The increasing number of violations committed against the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) have paved the way to abrogate the agreement and it was not a sudden decision of the government but a fulfilment of a long felt need, Minister of Power and Energy W. D. J. Seneviratne said. In an interview with the 'Sunday Observer' he emphasised the need of bringing a political solution soon while eliminating terrorism. more..

TMVP to contest polls independently in East

Jan 6 (SO) The Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) would contest on its own at the forthcoming local polls without aligning with other political parties in the Eastern province. The TMVP, which is known an the Karuna faction took this decision at their Polit Bureau meeting yesterday. The TMVP would contest all nine local bodies including the Municipal Council in the Eastern province. "The party launched its election campaign yesterday and we are confident that we would win in the Eastern region. People are with us", he said. more..

Colombo Dockyard presents 80 ton anchor handling tug vessel

Jan 6 (SO) Colombo Dockyard PLC presented its first 80 ton anchor handling tug supply vessel "GREATSHIP ANJALI" to Greatship (India) Ltd. This is the first anchor handling tug supply vessel built by a Sri Lankan company. This vessel is the first on the list and orders for two more anchor handling tug supply vessels have been placed by Greatship (India) Ltd. The handing over ceremony was held on January 2 at the Colombo Dockyard premises. more..

Jeyaraj against proscribing LTTE

Jan 6 (LB) Chief government Whip and Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle yesterday told LAKBIMAnEWS he was opposed to LTTE being proscribed in the country. The minister said banning the outfit will close the path to a negotiated settlement. “We’ve been telling the world that we are prepared to engage in talks with the LTTE to find a solution. How can we talk with a proscribed organisation” said the Minister. “That is why I am against the LTTE being banned” Fernandopulle said. more..

And the killings go on...

Jan 6 (LB) Yet another political assassination heralded the dawn of 2008 for Sri Lankans - UNP Parliamentarian T Maheswaran was shot dead inside a kovil at Kotahena, shortly after attending religious ceremonies to usher in the New Year. UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe was on tour in Rajasthan, India, when he got the message. Tissa Attanayake, Ravi Karunanayake, Johnston Fernando, Lakshman Senewiratne and Ranjith Aluvihare went to the hospital. more..

The year of war

Jan 6 (LB) The grisly events unfolding since the dawning of the New Year could only portend the impending spiral in violence. However, often violent developments which took place last week were only symbolic of what is in store. This year will be the year of war; indeed, both the political and military hierarchy has openly vowed to crush the LTTE this year. This is however a paradoxical shift in the history of the ethnic conflict, more..

Public protest against road construction

Jan 6 (LB) Police beat up protestors, including one pregnant woman in Kurudugaha, Elpitiya, locals complained. Among those assaulted was a provincial correspondent of a private television channel. However, police denied the allegations of an attack, and insisted they intervened to ease a tensed situation which erupted as the protesters obstructed vehicular traffic. A crowd of over 500 residents of the areas of Thalawa, Anuruddhagama, and Kuru-ndugahahethepme protested against the construction work which they claimed inconvenienced them in many ways. more..

Emirates lifts recruitment ban on UL staff

Jan 6 (NS) SriLankan Airlines strategic partner and aviation giant Emirates has decided to lift its self-imposed recruitment ban on SriLankan staff following the crisis with the government of Sri Lanka, The Nation reliably learns. According to aviation sources, Emirates had decided upon entering into its strategic agreement with the government in 1998 to refrain from inducting UL staff into its massive global staff, fearing it would hamper its own business interests in the Sri Lankan national carrier. more..

Atrocious not auspicious heralding of the New Year!

Jan 6 (NS) The New Year has, quite literally, begun with a bang: the killing of Parliamentarian Thiagarajah Maheswaran on January 1, followed by claymore mine explosions in Colombo and Kebithigollewa in the next two days. And, to cap it all, the government’s intention of withdrawing from the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA), in a surprise announcement. The New Year has, quite literally, begun with a bang: the killing of Parliamentarian Thiagarajah Maheswaran on January 1, more..

Rajapaksa’s regime decides for itself

Jan 6 (NS) The New Year dawned with one of the most heinous and horrendous crimes, the assassination of one of the top Tamil Parliamentarians, T. Maheswaran, who, more or less, speaks his mind in Parliament and elsewhere. He was a vehement campaigner of Human Rights, in and outside Parliament, especially, when it came to minority Tamil issues. Nevertheless, he was a very good friend of the majority community and had an array of Sinhala friends. more..