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Lanka's economy heads for disaster

Nov 9 (ST) Thursday's budget overshadowed other events to become the focal point of attention for Sri Lankans in all lifestyles. This is notwithstanding the remarkable victory of Barack Hussein Obama at US presidential elections on Tuesday. The Democratic Party president-elect has won the hearts of millions in not only the US but also the world over. For the Government that is marketing its virtues, the budget proposals are encapsulated in a one-liner - substituting imports, more..

The Tiger countdown to Maveerar Day

Nov 9 (ST) The opportunity of announcing to the nation the accomplishment of main objectives of ongoing military offensives in the Wanni eluded President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, for a second year in succession. This was when he, as Minister of Finance, presented the government's fourth budget in Parliament on Thursday - an event seen on television and heard on the radio by millions of Sri Lankans. more..

Crisis over oil hedging deals

Nov 9 (ST) Two separate oil hedging deals between the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and CitiBank have gone wrong and about US$ 30 million was not paid by the CPC when the deadline (for the October payment) ended on Friday, informed sources said. The Sunday Times reliably understands that the two banks were scheduled to meet their ambassadors (Britain and the United States) to put pressure on the CPC to pay, more..

Sri Lanka recent policy has crippled domestic industry: opposition

Nov 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's current economic framework has crippled domestic industry and protectionist taxes announced in the 2009 budget are contradictory and are aimed simply at raising revenue, the island's main opposition has charged. Though the Mahinda Chinthana economic framework pays lip service to domestic industry, while undermining their competitive strengths, more..

Price hikes on scores of items soon

Nov 9 (ST) A range of taxes announced in Thursday’s budget proposals will lead to price increases on a variety of essential items, an investigation by The Sunday Times has revealed. The tax increase, which will see a further escalation in the cost of living, will lead to price hikes on milk powder, dhal, onions, potatoes, sugar, wheat flour, clothing, fans, television sets and school stationery. Three different measures will lead to the price hikes. more..

Sri Lankan budget to help some industries, hurt others: analysts

Nov 9 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government's budget for 2009 which raised trade barriers may help listed industries catering to the local market by victimising local consumers, hurt importers, but exporters will still have problems, analysts said. Channa Amaratunga of CT Capital said the budget's overall focus is to protect local industry and agriculture while reducing the cost of living. more..

Silva fifty gives SL series lead

Nov 9 (CI) Sri Lanka took a 2-1 series lead with an emphatic eight-wicket win as they chased the lowest total of the contest so far. West Indies' middle order collapsed to Sri Lankan spin and only some late fightback by Danielle Small took them past 100. However it was not enough as Sri Lanka reached the target with 81 balls to spare. After choosing to bat, West Indies' openers put on 25 before Deandra Dottin was caught for 15 off Chandi Wickramasinghe. more..

Sri Lanka steps up air strikes on Tamil rebels

Nov 9 (AP) Sri Lanka's air force stepped up its strikes against the Tamil Tigers' de facto state in the north Sunday, pounding two rebel positions, the military said. Fighter jets hit a rebel artillery gun position and a command center in the guerrillas' northern stronghold of Kilinochchi. The pilots had confirmed they hit their targets, but that damage and casualty details were not immediately available. more..

'Troops close to capturing key road'

Nov 9 (AFP) Sri Lankan troops were close to capturing a key road to the northern peninsula of Jaffna after months of heavy fighting, the defence ministry said. Heavily armed units have pushed along the coastal road to Jaffna, which had been cut off from the rest of the island by Tamil Tiger rebels in control of the area to the peninsula's south. "The military surge continues with strong determination to liberate the strategically important 90-kilometre (56-mile) coastal stretch," more..

CPI asks Centre to change policy towards Sri Lanka

Nov 9 (PTI) The CPI asked the Centre to change its policy towards Sri Lanka and demanded that India intervene and stop the "war" in the island nation and insist for a political solution to the over 25-year-old ethnic crisis in that country. Party secretary D Raja also said India should immediately stop providing all kinds of military assistance to Sri Lanka. "The war between two sides in Sri Lanka has caused immense hardships to innocent Tamil civilians in the northern part of the island. more..

'Beware of LTTE suicide bombers in guise of pregnant women'

Nov 9 (PTI) A wary Sri Lankan police has cautioned the public against LTTE female suicide bombers disguised as harmless looking pregnant women, beggars or old people in the Island country. This comes months after the Sri Lankan intelligence warned of LTTE cadres planning to smuggle in explosives by concealing them in the ice-cream boxes fixed to bicycles. LTTE suicide bombers in the guise of pregnant women, beggars, women carrying children, old persons more..

Rajapaksa to brief Indian leaders on devolution process

Nov 9 (IANS) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to brief Indian leaders on the progress made by an all-party committee on devolution of powers to the provinces during his visit to India to attend the second BIMSTEC summit starting Nov 13. The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) was set up in 2006 by Rajakapsa and is tasked to suggest a system of devolution of powers to end Sri Lanka's bloody ethnic war. more..

'1987 Indo-Sri Lanka pact only solution to Tamil problem'

Nov 9 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Congress president K.V. Thangkabalu said Sunday that the Tamil conflict in Sri Lanka can be resolved only by implementing an accord New Delhi and Colombo signed in 1987. 'The only solution to the Tamil people's issues can be through the application of the accord signed between (then Indian) prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and (then Sri Lankan) president J.R. Jayewardene in 1987. more..

LTTE Feeling the Heat of Defeat

Nov 10 (LG) Nadesan the LTTE terrorist is again in the headlines of Tamilnet. This time, he is appealing for a ceasefire for the umpteenth time. First, he tried playing the SAARC card for a ceasefire and failed. Tried writing to the UN requesting for a ceasefire, again failed. Then tried to push Tamilnadu to pressure India to intervene in Sri Lanka and call for a ceasefire, yet again failed. more..

Separatists in Sri Lanka

Nov 10 (LG) The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), also known as the Tamil Tigers, are a separatist group in Sri Lanka. For the past thirty years, the LTTE have been agitating for a homeland for ethnic Tamils, who feel persecuted by Sri Lanka's ethnic majority, the Sinhalese. The LTTE is notorious for having pioneered the suicide bomb jacket, as well as the use of women in suicide attacks. more..

Serene and clear: an introduction to Buddhist meditation

Nov 10 (LG) Why is meditation central to Buddhism? The Buddha’s teaching is concerned with the nature of the human condition, with who we are and how we live out our lives. At the centre of the human condition is our capacity for self awareness, or reflexive awareness. Have you ever had the experience of eating in company when the food is particularly good, gobbling it down oblivious to your surroundings? Suddenly you freeze, realising that everyone can see you. more..

Why muzzle sheep and goats?

Nov 10 (LG) Censorship of the media, in democracies, is imposed at times of severe crises, usually when national security is threatened. The last time when censorship was imposed in Sri Lanka was in 1987 under President J.R. Jayewardene. It was in the worst of times. At that time our near and dear neighbour thought that JRJ and the Sri Lankans in this tiny isle were getting uppity. JRJ in his inimitable style had declared this country to be the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka while more..

Farmers talk of post-LTTE east

Nov 10 (BBC) Farmers in eastern Sri Lanka say they were ordered to pay for the land they cultivated for decades while offering the land for companies. Farmers in Kantale told BBC Sandeshaya that the Mahaveli Authority has ordered them to pay a Rs. 2000 tax per season per acre to continuation of their use of paddy fields. "I have been cultivating this for 31 years," said a paddy cultivator. Though not having land titles deeds, they were hoping to be allowed to continue farming the land after the government re-captured the east from Tamil Tigers. more..

Ceasefire will bring 'disaster'

Nov 10 (BBC) There is a widespread belief that India is forcing a ceasefire in Sri Lanka, the chief minister of the eastern province said. Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, widely known as Pillayan, told a gathering in Kalmunai that such a scenario would create a 'disastrous' situation in the east. "The details of the development in the eastern province are not being brought to the notice of the Indian politicians and the lack of complete understanding by politicians in India, more..

A Historic Victory and an Unsustainable Budget

Nov 10 (AT) When an African American man with the un-American name of Barrack Hussein Obama was elected the President of the USA, the world rejoiced. The CNN responded to an avalanche of congratulatory messages from its global viewers with a question: Can a member of a minority community become the elected leader of your country? America, which was built on slavery and where segregation flourished just half a century ago, has managed to come to terms with its ugly past and make a seismic shift towards a different future. more..

Libya to recruit 1,000 doctors and 1,000 nurses from Sri Lanka

Nov 10 (AT) Libya has come forward to recruit immediately 1000 doctors and 1000 nurses from Sri Lanka. Recently Libya and Sri Lanka entered into a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the manpower requirements from Sri Lanka to Libya. This MoU was signed on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka by Dr. Keheliya Rambukawella, Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare and on behalf of the Libyan Government by its Minister of Employment Dr. Martook Mohamed Martook, more..

Passive voice

Nov 10 (DNA) What started as a familiar Tamil Nadu-India-Sri Lanka spat last month to bail out the Tigers — in the guise of humanitarian concerns for ethnic Tamils — ended in a diplomatic charade. On an unprecedented military high, Colombo rejected Delhi-Chennai's demand for ceasefire, ending the war and reviving the political process. It conceded only to guaranteeing the security of the Tamils caught in the war zone. Buddhist monks have traditionally reflected the fortunes of war and the national mood in Sri Lanka. more..

The realities of a surface-based war in Wanni

Nov 10 (DW) By this evening the Sri Lanka Army’s 58 Division was 6 kilometers from the Pooneryn-Paranthan road. Military tacticians will aim for this road, instead of heading directly for Pooneryn; a tactic we have observed numerous times in the recent past. Tigers will be forced to withdraw from Pooneryn but would have to avoid annihilation by the Special Boat Squadron and RABS boats deployed in the Kilali Lagoon. more..

'Chance to blood youngsters'

Nov 10 (CI) Zimbabwe may not be the kind of opposition Sri Lanka would like to have to improve their rankings, but the tour, which comprises five ODIs in addition to two practice matches, gives them the opportunity to give some of their younger players a taste of international cricket. Zimbabwe are ranked No. 11 in the ICC ODI rankings, below Associates Ireland, but Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene, who left with the team for Zimbabwe on Saturday, is not taking them lightly. more..

Sri Lankan rebels reportedly want cease-fire

Nov 10 (AP) Tamil Tiger rebels are ready to consider a cease-fire with government forces who have boosted offensives in a bid to crush the militants' separatist campaign, a rebel leader was quoted as saying Sunday on a pro-rebel Web site. Balasingham Nadesan, the head of the rebels' political wing, said the militants are fighting a defensive war forced upon them by the government. "There is no hesitation on our side to reiterate our position that we have always wanted a cease-fire," Nadesan was quoted as saying. more..

Wrong Premise

Nov 10 (SLW) Despite the Sri Lankan government’s insistence it will soon destroy the LTTE, its military onslaught has become mired in a war of attrition in the muddy fields of Vanni. Amid the tub-thumping, the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has launched another recruitment drive, is arresting and press-ganging military deserters back into service and has stopped issuing even the sanitised casualty figures it has been issuing. more..

All aerial bombings must stop immediately

Nov 10 (LG) Bombings from the air and terrorizing and killing civilians is no way to solve the ethnic problems in Sri Lanka. And along with them livestock perish and key infrastructures are destroyed as well. Even farms are damaged. These bombings have been the key feature for far too many years. The refugee nightmare has been there now since 1956 and that is over half a century. Is Sri Lanka so bankrupt for good leadership? more..

Rajapakse’s show cases, skeletons and show pieces

Nov 10 (LG) Whenever Rajapakse is pressured by the Indian Government and /or the rest of the international community to go for a political settlement, he goes for his showcase with skeletons in it, the All Party Representative Committee (APRC), a misnomer, pathetically headed by Dr Tissa Vitharana of the LSSP who has lost the last remnants of even his personal credibility among the Tamil intelligentsia. more..

Humanitarian services to the North

Nov 10 (PISL) This status report was prepared by the Peace Secretariat in the context of continuing claims of a humanitarian crisis in the North of Sri Lanka caused by the Government. In fact, it is the LTTE that is trying to precipitate a crisis, which the Government has thus far avoided through close attention to the needs of the people. The Government has always been committed to the well being and protection of the people of the country irrespective of ethnic and religious backgrounds or place of residence. more..

'Decommissioning of weapons pre-condition for ceasefire'

Nov 10 (GDI) While the rejecting the possibility of entering into a ceasefire agreement with the LTTE at this point, the General Secretary of the SLFP, Maithripala Sirisena said that the Government has clarified its position in this regard on numerous occasions and the LTTE should lay down weapons as a precondition prior to the Government considering such a request. The minister made this statement while participating in the budget debate today (10). more..

'Milk food prices will remain stable'

Nov 10 (GDI) The price of milk foods will not increase in any manner due to the new taxes introduced in Budget 2009, Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs, Bandula Gunawardena. The Minister, joining the budget debate in Parliament today (10), pointed out that the price of milk food in the world market had declined. He opined that the price of milk food cannot be increased without the approval of the Consumer Affairs Authority. more..

Troops set sights on Pooneryn

Nov 10 (GDI) Amid poor weather and heavy terrorist resistance, Army Task Force 1 troops have stepped into the great marshlands of Pooneryn, the final obstacle they have to clear before achieving their mission, defence sources said. According to sources, heavy fighting has been reported since last evening (9) in the Chempankundu area, as infantrymen started crossing the extremely hostile terrain that runs about 18 km to Nivil. more..

Sri Lankan artists move to give true picture of conflict to TN counterparts

Nov 10 (GDI) A group of Sri Lankan artists including actors has decided to send an open letter to protesting South Indian Actors explaining the real situation in Northern Sri Lanka, local media sources said. The artists plan to send the message to their South Indian counterparts through the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka. Veteran actor Cyril Wickremage told the media that they would explain to their Indian counterparts that the military operations in the North was aimed at more..

Govt. dismisses LTTE's latest 'ceasefire talks'

Nov 10 (GDI) The Government, dismissing the latest LTTE appeal for a ceasefire, said that fresh negotiations will be considered if and only if the terrorist organization lays down its weapons. Earlier, the pro-LTTE Tamilnet quoted LTTE Political Head B. Nadesan as saying, "there is no hesitation on our side to reiterate our position that we always wanted a ceasefire." Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, pointed out that more..

Massive Rs.158 billion tax default

Nov 10 (SAMN) In what appeared to be a staggering disclosure, the Inland Revenue Department in its latest report released to Parliament revealed that the government had lost Rs. 158 billion by way of revenue due to tax defaults, However, Rs. 66 billion of this amount had been categorised as disputed taxes – tax revenue which are still under legal scrutiny to ascertain whether they are collectible or not. more..

‘Docs who remain abroad unpatriotic’

Nov 10 (SAMN) Sri Lankan doctors who go abroad on scholarships and continue to remain overseas solely for their financial benefits came under heavy criticism by Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva who branded them as ‘unpatriotic and selfish’. Addressing a gathering at a ceremony held in connection with the opening of the new Drugs Storage Facility at the Gampola Base Hospital recently he said doctors had an obligation to serve the people on whose expense they became doctors. more..

Rohitha Abyegunawardene before Bribery Commission again

Nov 10 (LT) Minister of Nation Building Rohitha Abeygunawardena was called once again to the Bribery Commission yesterday (9th) to question over alleged amassing of Rs. 450 million of wealth by illegal means. He was grilled for six hours by a team headed by SSP Neville Guruge Director (Investigations). The commission recorded statements by him last month as well. more..

Govt, UNP neglect estate workers: JVP

Nov 10 (SAMN) The government and the UNP have completely neglected the estate sector workers, said JVP MP and Deputy Chairman of Committees, Ramalingam Chandrasekar speaking on the Budget debate yesterday. The Budget has also imposed taxes on items that are essential for their survival. “What has the government offered the 1.5 million estate sector workers?” he asked. “We saw the government MPs claim that this is a great Budget. more..

RI for molesting seven- year-old niece

Nov 10 (SAMN) A man who was indicted with molesting his seven year-old niece was sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment by the Badulla High Court Judge when the accused pleaded guilty. In addition, a fine of Rs.500 was imposed and in default a further imprisonment of six months. The accused was Mutuhathage Gunaratne (43) of Welimada. Counsel for the accused, told court that the accused was highly repentant over the incident and was prepared to plead guilty. more..

Anti -Terrorist Photo Exhibitions in Italy

Nov 10 (LP) Anti -Terrorist Photo Exhibitions displaying brutality of terrorism will be held in Rome, Milano and Napoli in Italy. These exhibitions are scheduled to be held at University of Popolore in Rome on the 14th and 16th November, Federico II University from 18 to 20 November in Napoli and in Milano from 21 to 23 November. Sri Lankan embassy in Italy and Anti –Terrorist Union in Italy and Europe are organizers of these exhibitions. more..

A British jailed for claiming thousands of pounds fraudulently

Nov 10 (LP) Brian Riley, a British who lived in a beautiful villa in Sri Lanka was arrested on Saturday like the recently accused Sakvithi of Sri Lanka for his alleged playing out of public money. Brian Riley was charged for claiming nearly pounds 30,000 fraudulently from Income support, council tax benefits and disability living allowance from year 2001. It is reported that Brian had been claiming money even after he moved to Sri Lanka in 2002 and since. more..

'Bureaucratic blunder' caused hippo's death, say zoo employees

Nov 10 (DN) The Dehiwela Zoo lost a female hippopotamus while the animal was trying to give birth on Saturday morning, with a section of employees blaming negligence by the authorities as the cause for the tragic incident. The female hippopotamus had died in agony due to suffocation with the lower part of the body of her new born getting stuck in the womb as doctors severed the head in an attempt to save the animal as repeated attempts at safe delivery failed. more..

US$ 10m Lanka-Japan joint venture

Nov 10 (DN) The inaugural Fisheries Expo 2008 which kicked off on Friday and concluded yesterday has already borne fruition with a local fish exporting company going into partnership with a Japanese consortium for tuna exports to Japan and continental markets. The local company - Diyakawa Ltd, a well known fish exporter has begun negotiations with a consortium of three Japanese buyers/partners to inject a total of US$ 10 million for exporting tuna to Japan and continental markets. more..

STF confident of meeting LTTE threat in East

Nov 10 (Island) A series of hit and run attacks in the east, particularly directed at the renegade Karuna faction has prompted Army headquarters to review security measures in place to meet the LTTE challenge. The army top brass has expressed serious concern over what a security official called an alarming increase in LTTE activity. LTTE infiltrators have claimed the lives of a dozen Karuna loyalists in the recent past. more..

Now Army chief demands anti-corruption drive

Nov 10 (Island) Amid significant territorial gains on the Vanni front, Army Chief Lt. General Sarath Fonseka has called for urgent action on another front. Addressing Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Gajaba Regiment at Saliyapura, Anuradhapura, early last week, the tough-talking commander emphasised the importance of being honest and disciplined on the part of the officers in charge of Regiments. more..

Did negligence cause death of cricketer?

Nov 10 (DM) Speculation is mounting in cricketing circles that prompt medical care could have saved the life of a promising bowler from Panadura whose funeral was held on Saturday. Left arm “chinaman” spinner Iresh Pushpakumara, 21, died without giving doctors a clue of what his illness was after he was first taken to the Panadura Base Hospital with high fever and then transferred to a private hospital in Colombo. more..

Shocking AG’s report on 17 state bodies

Nov 10 (DM) The Auditor General’s report of 2007 had come up with staggering disclosures regarding 17 organizations including top government institutions. This report which was released to Parliament recently detailed information on series of discrepancies that had taken place in top government institutions including Cooperative Wholesale Establishment (CWE), National Child Protection Authority, National Institute of Business Management and the Development Lotteries Board and several others. more..

President to leave for BIMSTEC summit

Nov 10 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa leaves for India later today (Nov. 10th) to attend BIMSTEC summit in New Delhi. The two-day meeting will mainly discuss eliminating terrorism and measures to face the world financial crisis at regional level. Heads of state and foreign ministers of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka are attending the summit staring tomorrow. more..

Oct tourist arrivals fall on war, global crisis

Nov 10 (Reuters) Tourist arrivals fell 5.2 percent in October from a year ago as global financial turmoil and an intensified war between the government and Tamil insurgents kept visitors away. Tourism is one of the country's top foreign exchange earners, along with tea, garments and remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad. Arrivals in October fell to 35,103 and totalled 352,649 in the first 10 months of 2008, bringing the year-to-date total down by 9.1 percent more..

War in Sri Lanka heightens tensions with India

Nov 10 (wsws) The ongoing civil war in Sri Lanka is disrupting relations between Colombo and New Delhi despite attempts by both sides to ease tensions. The advances made by the Sri Lankan military against the separatist LTTE have not only provoked protests in southern India over the fate of 200,000 war refugees, but are raising concerns in the Indian establishment about the implications of an LTTE defeat. more..