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India: Limited options in Sri Lanka

Nov 10 (ISN) Sri Lanka is pressing ahead with its military campaign in the north of the Indian Ocean island nation to vanquish the separatist LTTE. The troops have made considerable progress and are almost knocking on the doors of LTTE's political headquarters, Kilinochchi, a town almost 300 kilometers north of the capital, Colombo. The success of the operations has sparked off a euphoria in the majority Sinhala community and could turn President Mahinda Rajapaksha into a tiger-taming legend. more..

On the trail of the gay journalist who gave his life to change Sri Lankan history

Nov 10 (IO) “Put down. Stand still.” A dead-eyed, 18-year-old soldier was pointing his AK47 straight at me. As director Willi Richards and I had walked out of the hotel into eyeball-shattering sunlight, a presidential cavalcade of motorbikes, SUVs and armour-plated limos, with a bomb-proof ambulance bringing up the rear, hurtled down the street. I was carrying a case of recording equipment that the young soldier could indeed have mistaken for a bomb. more..

Sri Lanka CPC is settling hedge bills: Chairman

Nov 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) has already settled a part of its dues on hedging oil contracts and remaining payments would be completed as they fall due, a top official said. A 6.5 million dollar payment had been made Friday and another 7.5 million payment was also due. CPC Chairman Ashantha De Mel said instructions have been given to the Bank of Ceylon to make payments. more..

Clothing exporters' ethical stand leaves buyers cold

Nov 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka's apparel exporters complain buyers practice double standards in purchasing and are not ready to pay more despite the manufacturers' costly commitment to comply with high labour and environmental standards. "We're disappointed there are double standards in purchasing," said Ajit Dias, chairman of the Joint Apparel Association Forum, an industry umbrella body. "Some of our buyers source from several countries and average out the price." more..

Sri Lanka CPC Iranian credit at US$1.1bn

Nov 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation owes 1.1 billion dollars in supplier's credit to Iran on crude bought in 2008, Chairman Ashantha de Mel said. CPC buys Iranian light crude to feed its 50,000 barrels a day refinery. CPC struck a deal to get interest free credit from Iran to cover four months of imports in early 2008 when monthly purchases from Iran averaged about 90 to a 100 million dollars. more..

Houses to be gifted to "war heroes" fighting LTTE

Nov 10 (PTI) As part of incentives and rewards for gallant defence personnel who are serving in the forward areas of the LTTE strongholds, the government has decided to donate 100 houses to select "war heroes". The Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order will donate houses to 100 war heroes of armed forces to mark the completion of three years in power by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces besides being more..

Karunanidhi asks India to ensure ceasefire in Sri Lanka

Nov 10 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Monday underlined India's need to bring the two warring sides in Sri Lanka to the negotiation table. And an eventual negotiated settlement of the dragging conflict should be within the ambit of a united Sri Lanka, Karunanidhi said, quoting India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. 'The opinions of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and (Pranab Mukherjee) are congruent with the decision more..

Sri Lanka: Rebels must lay down arms before talks

Nov 10 (AP) Sri Lanka's government said Monday that Tamil separatists must lay down their arms before cease-fire negotiations can begin, as the military continued heavy ground and air attacks on the guerrilla de facto state in the north. "We can't trust them with arms in their hands," government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said, accusing the Tamil Tiger rebels of using a previous truce to rebuild their strength. more..

Budget 2009 lacks only lavatory tax -Ranil

Nov 11 (LD) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says 'Mahinda the Fifth has failed to introduce only a tax for the use of lavatories' through his budget for 2009. Mr. Wickremesinghe was speaking to UNP MPs, provincial councilors and party organizers at the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya headquarters. The opposition leader said he compares President Mahinda Rajapaksa to King Mahinda the Fifth as he was the last ruler of Anuradhapura, who triggered the collapse of the kingdom. more..

Witnesses refuse to give evidence in police presence

Nov 11 (LD) Alleging police bias in investigations, witnesses have refused to give evidence in the presence of police in connection with the arson attack on the home of the late UNP organizer for Anuradhapura Dr. Raja Fernandopulle. When the case came up before the anuradhapura magistrate today (Nov. 10th), chief incumbent of Mihintale Rajamaha Vihara Dhammarathana Thera and two other witnesses made objections to the police presence. more..

Govt. urged against 'Muslim fundamentalism'

Nov 11 (LD) The National Sangha Conference has urged the government to enforce the law against whom it described as "extremist Muslim fundamentalists" who, together with the underworld, have been creating unrest in Colombo. Speaking to the media yesterday (Nov. 09th), members of the NSC alleged these very groups were responsible for the protest against Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka at Maradana two days earlier. more..

Rupee levels off, stock market falls

Nov 11 (Reuters) Rupee closed firmer on Monday after the central bank said it was going to support it at 110 a dollar despite a dwindling foreign currency reserve. Shares on the Colombo Stock Exchange .CSE fell as economic gloom clouded the corporate earnings outlook. The rupee closed stronger at 110.00 a dollar, from Friday's close of 110.00/20. The central bank expects the rupee to stabilise at 110, and that the bank would support that level. more..

Red Cross Red Crescent partners overhaul Sri Lanka’s health infrastructure

Nov 11 (IFRC) The impact of the tsunami was not only felt in the housing sector - severe damage was also caused to more than 100 hospitals and health centres on the coast. The disaster highlighted the important role played by inland hospitals, as it was these facilities that cared for many of the wounded when overstretched or destroyed hospitals along the coast were unable to cope. more..

Where is Sri Lanka's war heading?

Nov 11 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's government on Monday rejected a reiterated Tamil Tiger offer of a cease-fire out of hand, saying surrender or defeat are the only options left now for their opponents in a 25-year-old war. Analysts say the military is making gains and has the unflinching support of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in its mission to wipe out one the world's most ruthless and effective insurgent groups. Here are some scenarios of what could happen next: more..

Indian court upholds ban on LTTE

Nov 11 (IANS) A special tribunal Monday upheld the government's notification of banning the LTTE for another two years. The notification, declaring the LTTE as an unlawful association, was issued by the union Home Ministry May 15 this year. Delhi High Court judge Justice Vikramjit Sen, who was heading the special tribunal constituted under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, said there was sufficient evidence against the Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger rebels to justify the extension of ban. more..

CM 'led' Anuradhapura violence

Nov 11 (BBC) Chief Minister of the North Central Province (NCP) and his son 'actively contributed' to an attack on the property of a leading opposition figure prior to elections, a leading Buddhist monk told courts. Valawahengunawewe Dhammarathana thero has told courts that CM Berty Premalal Dissanayake and Deputy Minister Duminda Dissanayake was leading their supporters in destroying the property of Dr. Raja John Pulle. more..

American people make history, can we Sri Lankans ever?

Nov 11 (TC) In April 2008 I met an American national in Colombo who works for the World Bank in Washington, DC. At that time both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were contesting for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination and John McCain was already the sole contender for the Republican Party Presidential nomination. When we conversed about the upcoming American Presidential election he told me that, more..

Congress minister endorses Jayalalitha's stand against LTTE

Nov 11 (IANS) Central minister E.V.K.S. Elangovan of the Congress, which is aligned to Tamil Nadu's ruling DMK, Monday endorsed Leader of Opposition J. Jayalalitha's stand against the Tamil Tigers - signalling fissures in the state's political scenario over the Sri Lankan Tamils' issue. Elangovan, the union minister of state for commerce and industry, told reporters in Tenkasi, more..

Ominous danger posed by aerial dimension in Sri Lankan conflict

Nov 11 (TC) The recent attacks on the Kelanitissa Power Station once again brings to bear the ominous danger posed by the aeronautical dimension in the conflict in Sri Lanka. In modern warfare, aerial bombardment is the most effective means of attack since, although land and water military vehicles are capable of destroying enemy targets, military aircraft are most often the first choice for use because of the speed and accuracy in which they can reach the target. more..

'We are two miles away from Kilinochchi'

Nov 11 (LG) Hello Podi Malli I have reached Vethilai Kerni machan? I am calling from a secret telecommunication centre? Where are you Malli now? I..yo.. Sinnathambi…. ‘Komatha’ (How are you?). I thought you will not call me for some time? I am at my in-laws place in Buath Sinhala Machan. Are you safe there Machan. I am presently with the sea Tigers Malli. They are looking after me very well Machan. more..

Pragmatic Political Programme of the EPDP

Nov 11 (LG) It is very unfortunate that over the past 60 years, the Sinhala and Tamil leadership have failed to arrive at a mechanism through which the different communities of the country could share power. As a result, Sri Lanka, which was a role model for other developing countries in terms of education, health and other qualities of life indicators, has now come to the brink of destruction. more..

Prabakaran Disable: False Propaganda

Nov 11 (LG) One of the Colombo based weekend news paper said that the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabaharan was disabled, for this claim they had stated that a photograph carried in the leading tamil website early this week shows a wheelchair by the side of the LTTE Leader. But according to the reliable sources in Vanni, that wheelchair belongs to the LTTE international communication unit head Mr Manivannan alias Castro, who more..

Identify the problem, before formulating a solution

Nov 11 (LG) “Let me reiterate that my government is firmly committed to a negotiated political solution based on devolution of power and ensuring the democratic, political, including linguistic, rights of all our Tamil brethren within an undivided Sri Lanka,” President Mahinda Rajapaksa told The Hindu in an interview at ‘Temple Trees’ in Colombo few weeks ago. Asked about the contours of the political solution he had in mind, more..

Tamil youths from East rush for job training

Nov 11 (AT) More than 60 percent of the youths taken this year for vocational training in various training institutions are from the recently liberated eastern province. Stating this at a lecture on ‘Current Political Situation in Sri Lanka’ organized by the SLFP Paris Brach, Minister of Vocational and Technical Training Dayasritha Thisera said that Tamil youths in the east are quite keen to get the maximum advantage of the training schemes more..

Obama, The New America and Sri Lanka Tomorrow

Nov 11 (TC) Watching the live coverage of the US elections on as many channels as possible—but mainly on Al Jazeera International—I discovered I had mixed emotions, corresponding perhaps to the various aspects of my identity. I was delighted as an individual, a political analyst and academic, a friend of the United States (though a critic of its foreign policy) and a citizen of the world. more..

Sri Lanka CPC looks at capping hedge losses

Nov 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation is looking at ways to cap losses from hedges that went against it by entering into opposite positions, Chairman Ashantha de Mel said. "I can take a producers hedge where it is upside down compared to the normal one going up and I can collect on the downside," says de Mel. "But the downside is I can’t defend that risk as the prices, if they start rising, I'll have to pay the balance." more..

What about the chauvinism directed at Tamils?

Nov 11 (SLW) What about the chauvinism directed at Tamils? Social leader Thomas Kochery in his Saranapala felicitation speech (Saranapala, a leading trade unionist was felicitated for his contribution of over forty years to trade unionism) said: “We are living in a civilised world. We have to learn the art of bringing peace into the world by removing violence. Terrorism is at our very doorstep and all over the world. more..

Serendi-pity it is for eighty per cents and ten per cents

Nov 11 (SLW) But police is for policing the society, is it not? Not anymore, says he. Police have to stay round the clock at every barricade. The Special Task Force in the East and in combat elsewhere is a warring force. And then the randomly firing CDF that by now has killed many innocents and committed suicides many times, are paid through the Police Department. So the cost per day should go beyond Rs. 500 million, quite easily, says Azadek. more..

Operational developments in the Eelam War

Nov 11 (LG) The security forces put two weeks of sunny weather to good use, advancing their offensive further both along the Mannar coast and the axis Akkarayankulam-Kilinochchi, southwest of the administrative capital of the LTTE. According to the security sources Task Force-I formed out of 58 Division advancing on a broad front south east of A32 Mannar-Pooneryn axis are six km short of Pooneryn on October 10, 2008. They came under heavy LTTE resistance at Palayilkulam and Uruthirapuram on way. more..

Stop the War and Hang Peace In Sri Lanka

Nov 11 (LG) The current controversy that looms large in the Sri Lankan landscape torn by war is whether the on-going military campaign waged by the Sri Lankan government can lead to peace. In fact this issue is being canvassed today at the Centre for South Asian Studies (CSOAS), London, UK., Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu Executive Director, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Colombo. Predictably he has chosen as his theme: Sri Lanka: Can Peace Be Won Through Military Victory? more..

The government is doing everything to make Eastern PC ungovernable

Nov 11 (LG) According to reliable sources from the Eastern Province, the government is heavily involved in weakening both the Tamil and Muslim communities to extend its age old policy of turning the balance of power to the Sinhalese. It is claimed that the rift between Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan known as Karuna and the Chief Minister Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan are in fact government making to ensure their party TMVP not playing an important role in the east. more..

The Kalpitiya-Mannar coast, a historic theater of old battles and new confrontations

Nov 11 (LG) The recent fighting along the North-western shore of Sri Lanka, extending from Mannarma (Mannar), through Meepaathota (Illuppikadavai) and Naagathudaava (Nachchikuda) to Punranna (Poornaryn), has been at the focus of the news media. However, a quiescent war has been going on around the the Kalpitiya (Kalpiddi) lagoon and extending down to Halaavatha (Chilaw). more..

One thousand Tamil detainees demand justice

Nov 11 (LG) Civil Monitoring Commission has decided to take up the issue of the Inmates of Colombo, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura and Trincomalee remand prisons who went on one day token hunger strike today. It is a peaceful agitation to seek legal redress in the forms of getting release on bail or their cases expedited of all those who are kept detained without trial for longer periods said CMC Convener Mano Ganesan MP to the media. more..

Aspirations of Thamils for self-determination should be recognized by US

Nov 11 (LG) We write to congratulate on your resounding and historical victory at the US presidential elections just concluded. Not only we Thamils, but the whole world has hailed your election as the first black president of the US – a feat arguably considered impossible by any standards. The image of US remains in tatters under the mis-rule of a hawkish and vindictive President Bush. Hence, the hope that under your leadership an era of peace, prosperity and world without wars and conflicts will emerge. more..

Rs. 72400000.00 allocated to education slashed from budget! – IUSF

Nov 11 (LT) The budget proposals 2009 presented as a 'development budget' has reduced the vote of education by Rs.72400000.00 states Inter Universities Students' Federation. Speaking at a media meeting held in Colombo yesterday the convener of IUSF Udul Premaratne said the capital expenditure of the ministry has been cut by Rs.64700000.00 while recurrent expenditure has been cut by Rs.7700000.00. more..

Thalassemia on the rise in North Central and Western provinces

Nov 11 (GDI) A sharp increase in the number of Thalassemia patients in the District of Kurunegala has been reported compared to other areas of North Central and Wayamba Provinces. With a view of educating the public of the precautionary measures that should be adopted to prevent from falling victim to this disease, the National Thalassemia Center has organized 30 simultaneously health camps in all DS Divisions in the Kurunegala Districts more..

Minister defends tax on cement

Nov 11 (GDI) "The country produces 1.7 million metric tonnes of cement annually and imports 2.2 million metric tonnes to fulfill the annual demand of 3.9 million metric tonnes of cement," said Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs, Bandula Gunawardena. In response to an oral question raised by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake in the House, Minister Gunawardena noted that the objective of imposing a 15% VAT on imported cement is to protect and encourage the local manufacturer. more..

Upahara mobile package for clergy

Nov 11 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a ceremony at the Presidential Secretariat formally handed over the 'Upahara' telecommunications package introduced by Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel to members of the clergy. The package, earlier limited to public servants and pensioners, was extended to members of the clergy following the President's pledge to do so during his Budget Speech. more..

President attends swearing-in ceremony of new President of the Maldives

Nov 11 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was among South Asian leaders and foreign dignitaries who attended the swearing in ceremony of the newly elected Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed which took place at Male today (11). Nasheed won the run-off election for the Maldivian Presidency on October 28 with a 54% majority defeating President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who had ruled the country for 30 years. more..

LTTE moving 130mm howitzers?

Nov 11 (DW) The Sri Lankan Army entered the village of Kiranchi yesterday after Tigers started withdrawing from the village in the face of the superior firepower of the 58 Division and the guile of the 2 Commando Regiment. A few Tiger units are still trapped inside the land mass at Devil's Point. Kiranchi is the southern-most village at Devil's point, a strategic area for the LTTE for over two decades and often used as an area to observe movements at sea. more..

Pickpockets vs pickpockets in Sri Lanka

Nov 11 (LNP) Today, the government is required to submit to the Secretary General of Parliament amendments to the Appropriation Bill 2008, as ordered by the Speaker last Thursday in keeping with a recent Supreme Court (SC) ruling that Clauses 2 (1) and 6 (1) thereof are inconsistent with the Constitution and their passage requires either amendments or a two thirds majority. The government has undertaken to amend these clauses for want of a special majority in the House. more..

Watch out for possible attacks: Minister

Nov 11 (SAMN) In the wake of security forces advancing further into Tiger territory the government Mondayurged civilians to be more vigilant as the LTTE might resort to targeting civilians in the South. “The government is advising the people to pay extra attention to security as the LTTE which is facing defeat may carry out attacks on civilians,” Government defence spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said. more..

UNP guns boom at Mihin Lanka

Nov 11 (SAMN) The main opposition UNP Monday criticised the government for allocating in the 2009 budget a massive Rs.6,000 million for the grounded and cash-strapped budget airline ‘Mihin Lanka’. UNP front-liner John Amaratunga pointing out that the international airline industry was in doldrums with more than 30 airlines heading for bankruptcy. He said in these circumstances, the allocation of such a massive amount would be a colossal waste of public funds. more..

Sinharaja valued at Rs.18 bn per annum

Nov 11 (SAMN) The first ever value survey on the Sinharaja forest, based on international valuation, has placed it at an annual price tag of USD 188.47 million or Rs.18. 84 billion. Sinharaja which was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988 has been given this price considering its value at key ecosystem services by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. more..

Alleged death threats on Azwer, Mowlana

Nov 11 (SAMN) Presidential Secretary A. H. M. Azwer and Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana had received death threats following the statement they made on SLBC on the recent violence in Madarana. In a letter addressed to Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa,. Azwer had said he got the threatening call on the night of November 9 to his hand phone from number 2629367 exactly at 9 .15 pm. more..

National Diabetes Prevention Week declared

Nov 11 (DN) The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has declared a National Diabetes Prevention Week from November 10 to 16 targeting children and youth. The week will be held to coincide with the International Diabetes Day to be marked on November 14. The Ministry has made arrangements to conduct the week countrywide with the assistance of Provincial Health Ministries and Provincial Educational Zones to educate the public and school children. more..

Weheragala Reservoir Project to cultivate 25,000 acres

Nov 11 (DN) The Weheragala Reservoir Project will provide water to cultivate 25,000 paddy acres in both Yala and Maha seasons, said Ports, Civil Aviation and Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa. The Minister was addressing a meeting that followed the opening of sluice gates of the Weheragala reservoir to supply water to farmers to mark the Minister’s birthday celebrations. The water of Menik Ganga flows into the sea without being used for a fruitful purpose. more..

Dr. JJ complains to HRC

Nov 11 (Island) UNP MP for Gampaha District Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana made representation to the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission on a complaint made by him regarding the "denial of the right to worship." He said the complaint had been filed against the Defense Secretary when he had given Jayawardana only a day’s permission to visit the Madhu shrine in August. more..

Peradeniya agricultural technology boosts rural economy

Nov 11 (Island) JKH Consumer Foods and Retail Group recently took part in the annual "Agriculture, Science and Technology Exhibition" organized by the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Peradeniya.Being the leader in agriculture higher education in Sri Lanka, the University’s Faculty of Agriculture organised this exhibition" in celebration of 60 years of higher education. more..

Gloves off medical racket running into millions

Nov 11 (DM) Several irregularities have been reported in the Medical Supplies Division (MSD) and the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC), the two premier state institutions responsible for the import and distribution of drugs and medical equipment worth billions of rupees. According to documents the SPC recently awarded a contract to a Malaysian firm as the principal supplier and another local company as the local agent to supply Sri Lanka’s requirement of surgical gloves for this year. more..