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Buffaloes for voters?

Nov 11 (DM) UNP Puttalam district MP Palitha Range Bandara told Parliament yesterday that a ‘male buffalo’ should be given to each person who cast his or her ballot for ‘Mahinda Chintana’ policies without understanding their economic repercussions. Joining the second reading debate on the budget, Mr. Bandara said the government had done little to increase the local production although the taxes had been imposed or increased to limit the import of essential items. more..

Millions lost to SLT in IPTV project

Nov 11 (LD) A top-level inquiry is on into a reported loss running into millions of rupees to 'Sri Lanka Telecom' as a result of a swindle by a foreign company in a project to set up 'Internet Protocol TV' in the country. SLT subsidiary 'Visioncom (Pvt.) Ltd.' is operating the project, according to a senior SLT official. Several officials involved in the fraud have been given transfers, while the fraud company and its local agent have been blacklisted. more..

Obama win can reduce Sinhala-Tamil divide says one of world’s top ten thinkers

Nov 11 (FI) The historic win of Barack Obama can help reduce ethnic prejudices and divides throughout the world, such as those between Israelis and Palestinians and Tamils and Sinhalese. This is the view expressed by Kishore Mahbubani in the Commemorative Issue of TIME magazine on the Obama election. Mahbubani is described as one of “the world’s top ten thinkers” in the current (Nov/Dec 2008) edition of more..

Another TMVP office attacked

Nov 11 (LD) Two operatives of the TMVP Karuna Faction were killed when unidentified persons fired upon their office at Vavunativu in Batticaloa last night. There had been six persons at the building when it came under attack around 10.30 pm, police said. Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman has told a newspaper that he would ask the president to arrest LTTE members who were murdering his supporters in the East. more..

Political spying service under Gotabhaya

Nov 11 (LD) By creating a secret spying service under the Ministry of Defence, the Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is attempting to create a police state for the safety of the Rajapaksa family regime, leader of the SLFP ‘Mahajana’ Wing, Mangala Samaraweera said. He emphasized that under the pretense of restructuring intelligence units, an intelligence network has been set up under the defence secretary at grassroots level to suppress more..

Sri Lanka govt gives dates for new taxes

Nov 11 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government has announced the dates on which new taxes imposed in the government budget for 2009 will become effective. A finance ministry statement said the cess and excise duty applicable on selected imported items will be effective from November 07, 2008. The Value Added Tax and Port and Airport Development Levy will be effective from January 1, 2009. The present VAT rate of 15 percent will fall to 12 percent but more..

'War Budget' Ignores Int'l Criticism

Nov 11 (IPS) President Mahinda Rajapakse’s annual budget, that increases spending on the armed forces, has drawn mixed reactions. While supporters have welcomed it as a budget that breaks away from dependency on foreign loans and grants, opponents say it will exacerbate economic woes. Rajapakse indicated that offensive operations in the country’s north, targeting the LTTE, would continue despite international pressure to seek a negotiated settlement to the long-standing ethnic war on the island. more..

Sri Lankan Tamil's issue dominates zero hour of TN Assembly

Nov 11 (PTI) The Sri Lankan Tamil's issue dominated the Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday, with all political parties highlighting their stand on the issue. Members of various political parties competed with each other and sought the permission from the Speaker R Avudaiyappan to raise the issue during the zero hour. Following the constant shouting of the members from the opposition benches, chaos and confusion prevailed, more..

UDA gets back 'Water's Edge'

Nov 11 (GDI) The ownership of the property, "Waters Edge", Battaramulla was handed back to the Urban Development Authority yesterday by the private entrepreneur Asia Pacific Golf Course Pvt Limited. The Urban Development Authority yesterday submitted to the Supreme Court the Deed of Revocation of ownership of 224 acres of land to the state, sources said. Counsel for the UDA Nihal Jayewardene, told the Court that the UDA abided by the recent Supreme Court judgement which more..

Sri Lankan troops take rebel town: military

Nov 11 (AFP) Government forces in Sri Lanka have wrestled control of a small town from Tamil Tiger rebels in an ongoing military offensive, the defence ministry said on Tuesday. Troops fighting to secure a strategic road along the coast to the northern peninsula of Jaffna have faced stiff resistance from the LTTE. The ministry said that the soldiers had taken Palavi, a small town on the road. It described the town as an LTTE "strongpoint." more..

Sri Lanka says milk powder levy must to be absorbed by importers

Nov 12 (LBO) The Sri Lankan government said it would not allow milk powder importers to raise retail prices despite an increase in import levy in the budget for 2009 presented last week, because world prices are falling. Stock market analysts said the impact of the price controls on companies like Lanka Milk Foods and Nestle would depend on the international milk powder prices, which have fallen off their highs as the commodities bubble burst. more..

No trust on 'double standard ceasefires' of LTTE: Lanka

Nov 12 (PTI) Sri Lanka has made it clear that fresh negotiations with the LTTE will be considered only if the outfit lays down arms and said it was the Tamil Tigers who had quit the peace talks five years ago and not the government. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said Tiger political head B Nadesan, while stating that Sri Lankan government had unilaterally called off the 2002 ceasefire in January this year, had "conveniently forgotten that it was the LTTE that quit the talks in April 2003." more..

Obama's triumph, a heavy setback for racist political groups among the Tamil expatriates

Nov 12 (LG) Lynn Ockersz, writing a feature article in the Island (7th Nov. 2008), claims that "Obama's triumph is a heavy setback for majoritarianism and racial bigotry". The author is only partially correct, and gives a completely wrong twist to the historic victory of Obama in trying to make political points which go starkly counter to the Unitarian, inclusionist politics of Obama and Rajapaksa. more..

Amy Chief Highlights Importance of Alertness in Jaffna

Nov 12 (LG) Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka Tuesday (11) morning flew to Jaffna peninsula with the intention of receiving an update on ground realities after meeting Jaffna based senior military officers. The visiting Commander received a comprehensive account of security developments in Muhamalai, Kilaly and Nagarkovil areas where the troops were able to smash LTTE earth bunds in the past few days. more..

Catholics take steps toward beatification of Cardinal Cooray

Nov 12 (UCAN) Catholics in Sri Lanka are hoping for the beatification of their first and still only cardinal, whose 20th death anniversary they recently celebrated. Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo told 700 laypeople and 70 clergy at an Oct. 29 anniversary Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka in Tewatte, on the northern outskirts of Colombo, that Cardinal Thomas Benjamin Cooray should join the list of saints. more..

Rohana Wijeweera's killing - still a mystery

Nov 12 (AT) On July 30, 1983, along with the Nawa Sama Samaja Party and the Communist Party, the Janatha Vimukthi Perumuna (JVP), led by Rohana Wijeweera, was proscribed by President J R Jayewardene. The JVP was outlawed on the pretext that it instigated anti-Tamil riots in the country - the party had decided to take a hard line against the Tamils' struggle in the North and East. more..

Church handicraft competition enlivens village students' faith

Nov 12 (UCAN) A beautifully carved wooden model of a church and a rosary earned Bulanjana Dilan first place in a competition aimed at helping Catholic village youth strengthen their faith. The 16-year-old smiled as he went up on stage when his name was called on Oct. 26 in the auditorium at St. Joseph Church in Kuliyapitiya, 90 kilometers northeast of Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka: The State Changes Face

Nov 12 (TC) During the course of the 25-yearlong civil war, the Sri Lankan state has changed character, which is now manifest very sharply. Sri Lanka has become a national security state where civil and political rights remain suspended, where the civil-military relationship has changed and the military has been accorded greater say. The ethnic communal and majoritarian nature of the state is also now very apparent. more..

Thol Thirumavalavan want to take up arms and fight fo the LTTE

Nov 12 (AT) In interview with Kumudam Reporter, a Tamil weekly magazine dated 09 November, Thol: Thirumavalavan, Chief of the Dalit Panther of India, one who is said to be on the payroll of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, openly declared the he cannot change his pro-LTTE mentality at any point of time. Thol. He went on to stress "In fact, I only grumble that I am unable to take up arms and fight for LTTE and hence more..

Lankan President Rajapaksa arrives on three-day visit

Nov 12 (PTI) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in New Delhi late Tuesday on a three-day visit during which he is expected to apprise Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the steps being taken by his government to safeguard the interests of ethnic Tamils in that country. Rajapaksa, who is in New Delhi for the BIMSTEC Summit on Thursday, was received at the airport by Minister of State for Home Shakeel Ahmed. more..

West Indies level series with 14-run win

Nov 12 (CI) A complete team performance from the West Indies ensured a 13-run win against Sri Lanka in the fourth ODI at the Premadasa in Colombo. While Deandra Dottin and Lisa-Ann King batted well to take West Indies to 170 earlier, Kirbyina Alexander and Shanel Daley picked up two wickets apiece to ensure the series stayed alive. An allround performance from captain Shashikala Siriwardene was not enough for Sri Lanka as more..

Singapore snatch late draw with Sri Lanka

Nov 12 (IRB) Singapore fly half John Forrester kicked a last gasp conversion to snatch a 20-20 draw with Sri Lanka in the opening match of the HSBC Asian Five Nations Division I at the Tainan Rugby Stadium in Chinese Taipei. Singapore had trailed 20-10 with six minutes remaining, but a Forrester penalty cut the deficit to seemingly secure at least a losing bonus point for his side from a match played in cool and blustery conditions in Tainan. more..

Wooing children and parents to Sri Lanka

Nov 12 (Hindu) SriLankan Holidays, the leisure arm of SriLankan Airlines, has come up with four exciting tours to the island nation to attract children and their parents to explore the beautiful country. Valid from November to January, the tours are marketed as ‘Holiday in Colombo,’ ‘Holiday on the beach,’ ‘Holiday in Negombo’ and ‘Holiday in Kandy.’ Two children below of the age of 12 can accompany a minimum of two adults purchasing more..

Sakvithi’s book gives great clues…

Nov 12 (ML) An old and undated book on ‘Spoken English,’ written and published by absconding Sakvithi Ranasinghe, the man behind the ‘Sakvithi scam’ who disappeared with approximately five billion rupees is believed to be the classic print version of coming events casting their shadows. The book surfaced into the hands of a young mother who treasured it for its pertinence today. more..

Sri Lankan military struggles in rains: death and desertion

Nov 12 (ML) Desertion rates soar in the Sri Lanka Army, but as the military closes in on the Tigers, its new tactic of amnestying deserters seems to be working to some extent. Just five months ago, a 29-year-old infantry soldier in the Sri Lanka Army’s 12th Gajaba Regiment exchanged fire with fighters from the LTTE in their stronghold in the island’s northern Wanni region. more..

Champika wants problems solved through dialogue

Nov 12 (ML) Environment Minister and JHU strongman Champika Ranawaka yesterday said in parliament the country cannot resolve problems through violence and that a dialogue must be sought to overcome the present difficulties. He said his Buddhist credentials are not "by birth certificate" but were based on "principles of equality." "Buddhist philosophy says others’ opinions should be respected and allowed," Ranawaka said. more..

Minister reveals talks with UNP

Nov 12 (ML) A senior minister has said that several UNP members who defected to the government were in negotiations with Chairman Rukman Senanayake to return to the party following an invitation extended to the defectors. Post and Telecommunications Minister Mahinda Wijesekera told The Morning Leader yesterday that the UNP defectors held three viewpoints with regard to the stance that should be adopted when contesting at the next general election. more..

Sri Lanka and the American example

Nov 12 (BL) A few months ago journalist Anita Pratap predicted that LTTE chief Velupillai Pirapaharan would drag the war till international environment favoured him. She said Pirapaharan expected the change to occur after the change of governments in America and India. One has taken place. The other may happen by the middle of next year. Anita did not anticipate the two developments that took place last week. more..

Sheik Hisham to visit Sri Lanka

Nov 12 (BL) Seyyidina Sheik Muhammed Hisham Kabbani will visit SriLanka on November 16. He will stay in the island for nine days. kabbani is the Head of the Islamic Supreme Council of America and the United Kingdom. Shiek Kabbani is a scholar from the Middle East. He graduated from the American University of Beirut in Chemistry. From there he went to Belgium, to continue his Medical Degree in Louvain. more..

Bourse suffers lowest turnover in 4 years

Nov 12 (BL) The stock market yesterday suffered a further humiliation when it recorded a turnover of Rs. 57.3 million, lowest in over four years or since Rs. 56.4 million recorded on April 16, 2004. In an apparent confirmation that investors aren’t overly impressed over the Government’s 2009 Budget, the market has lost Rs. 23 billion in value since then while the year to date wiped off value is a staggering Rs. 160 billion. more..

That suspicious branch of olive!

Nov 12 (BL) The latest invitation by the LTTE for a Ceasefire Agreement with the Government is looked at with much scepticism, and quite justifiably so. B. Nadesan, the constable turned Police Chief of the LTTE, who also heads the organisation’s political wing since the demise of S.P Thamilselvan, is reported to have told Tamilnet last week, “there is no hesitation on our side to reiterate our position that we have always wanted a ceasefire.” more..

Exposure to spiritual subtlety

Nov 12 (LG) Il Poya is well known for the most significant events in the history of Buddhism. Sakyamuni Gautama Buddha who sat under the Bodhi tree determined to find the eternal truth, succeeded in his intellectual struggle with the enlightenment that dawned upon him. The Buddha the world teacher is believed to have appeared in this world for the good of all mankind, for their happiness and emancipation from evil and sorrow. more..

Former US Diplomat Recognized by Who’s Who in America and Sri Lanka Foundation

Nov 12 (AT) The Sri Lanka Foundation and Who’s Who America celebrated the outstanding achievements of Dr. Patrick Mendis recently. Former American diplomat and military professor during the Presidents Clinton and Bush administrations, Dr. Mendis serves as the vice president of academic affairs at the Osgood Center for International Studies and a visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. more..

Heavy casualties to both sides at Sempankundu Villu

Nov 12 (DW) Heavy fighting was reported last evening between the Sri Lanka Army's 58 Division and the LTTE at Sempankundu Villu. Reports indicated 30 Sri Lanka Army dead and another 50 injured in this fight as troops edged to within 2.5kms of the Pooneryn-Paranthan road. The firefight occurred in open terrain and 11 SLLI troops fought against defended LTTE positions killing at least 30 cadres. more..

High profile delegation showcases Sri Lanka at WTM

Nov 12 (LP) A high profile delegation from Sri Lanka Tourism, headed by the Minister of Tourism, Milinda Moragoda attended the World Travel Market (WTM) expo which opened at the Excel Centre, London yesterday. The four-day global trade exhibition will showcase trade and travel opportunities in Sri Lanka highlighting the steps taken by the country to combat global climate change. Sri Lanka Tourism will also unveil a program named Sri Lanka Specialist to more..

Ampara Vocational Training Centers Open Today

Nov 12 (LP) Vocational training center of the Ampara Central Camp built by the Sri Lanka Vocational Training Authority will be opened today. Minister of Vocational and Technical Training Piyasena Gamage and American Ambassador for Sri Lanka Robert O. Blake will be the chief guests. The Ampara Central Camp vocational training center offer several courses including carpentry, water pipe mechanism, electricians and domestic electricians, repairing bicycles and repairing three-wheelers. more..

Sri Lankan artists’ demonstration tomorrow

Nov 12 (LP) Sri Lankan artists are scheduled to stage a slogan free, peaceful demonstration tomorrow (13) in response to the south Indian Counterparts who protest against the Government humanitarian offensives in Sri Lanka, on a misunderstood conception. The main objective of the demo is to show the real situation in the country. An open letter will also be sent to the Indian Government and the South Indian artists clarifying the actual situation prevailing in the country to wave off their fears. more..

'Mihin Lanka' gets Rs.6000 million while whole health sector gets only Rs.5000 million!

Nov 12 (LT) The allocations for health services from the budget 2009 have been drastically slashed complains All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU). General Secretary of ACHSU Gamini Kumarasinghe says while Rs.6000 million has been allocated for 'Mihin Lanka' only Rs.5000 million has been allocated for the health sector. more..

Vote of Education slashed - IUSF

Nov 12 (LD) Budget 2009 has reduced allocations for education by Rs. 724 million, the Inter Universities Students' Federation say. Speaking at a media briefing yesterday (Nov. 10th), the convener of IUSF, Udul Premaratne said 664 schools have been closed down during the period 1997 to 2007 due to similar slashing of funds. Thirty-six of these schools were closed down in 2007, he further said. more..

Hunger strike in London against LTTE front activities

Nov 12 (MoD) Patriotic Sri Lankans in the UK are organising a 'Hunger Strike' urging British authorities to stop events organised by LTTE front running forums taking place in London. They further request not to let bogus forums celebrate the barbaric terrorist leader's birthday on 26th November in London. According to the LTTE supporter groups they are organising a community and cultural event. more..

TNA sees security threat for Tamils

Nov 12 (SAMN) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said that the security of the Tamil people will come under serious threat if the Tigers lay down their weapons. TNA parliamentarian S. Jeyanandamurthi said while the LTTE was ready for negotiations, it will never lay down arms.The Tigers last week had said the outfit was ready for negotiations. The government said that the Tigers should first lay down their arms before coming to the negotiating table. more..

Ranil says only toilets left to be taxed

Nov 12 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration has only left lavatories out of its new tax regime while all other sectors and services have been heavily burdened with taxes in the 2009 budget, alleged Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Addressing UNP provincial council members and party organisers Wickremesinghe stated that taxes imposed on essential imported food items would send the cost of living (CoL) spiralling even higher and more..

Budget may head to era of queues: JVP

Nov 12 (SAMN) The JVP said in Parliament Tuesday that the 2009 budget proposals had triggered fear that the country would head towards an era of queues again. JVP MP K.D. Lalkantha who joined the budget debate pointed out that the country was concerned about such an eventuality. “This budget is reminiscent of the budget presented by late Dr. N.M. Perera as the Finance Minister. The budget has created a fear psychosis among people,” he said. more..

CMC launches awareness campaign

Nov 12 (SAMN) A special dengue and chikungunya prevention campaign will be launched today by the Public Health Department of Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), in order to educate people about the diseases. The CMC has decided to launch a door to door campaign to eradicate dengue and Chikungunya from society. “We decided to launch a massive mass campaign, to educate the people about dengue and Chikungunya; and what kind of measures they should take to eliminate these diseases. more..

Troops regain Palavi

Nov 12 (DN) Troops of the 58 Division yesterday made another breakthrough in their march towards Pooneryn after capturing the Valayakudiyurippumoddai defence line strongly held by the LTTE for the past few days, killing over 30 Tiger cadres and capturing five Tiger bodies. This came hours after they dominated the Palavi fishing village in the west of Mannar-Pooneryn A-32 road, military sources told the Daily News last night. more..

'No price hike on essential items'

Nov 12 (DN) Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena yesterday ruled out any possibility of an increase in the prices of essential commodities as 12 such commodities declared as essential commodities have been exempted from taxes. He said that the criticism of the main Opposition is invalid as 12 commodities namely potatos, big onion, gram, green gram, cowpea, dhal and mysoor dhal, batana, dry chillies, canned fish, Dubai sprats and Thai sprats have been exempted from taxes as more..

Our troops better than US army: Minister

Nov 12 (DM) Environment Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka yesterday told parliament the security forces were marching forward victoriously on seven fronts in the Wanni operations, and their performance was much better than the US army’s fight against the guerillas in Afghanistan. The minister who spoke during the Budget debate said nobody could stop the forward march of the security forces. more..

Money lender commits suicide as borrowers fail to pay back

Nov 12 (Island) Hot on the heels of the Sakvithi scandal and various other scams which swindled depositors of millions of rupees, comes the story of a woman, who lent millions of rupees sent to her by her relations from Italy, committing suicide when the borrowers failed to repay her. The woman, identified as 44-year-old Cecilia Kumari Amitha Fernando of Annepura, Lunuwila, had received large sums of money monthly from her relations and friends in Italy. more..

Nutrition Bill to Parliament next year

Nov 12 (Island) The Health Ministry will submit the National Nutrition Bill in Parliament early next year. A Health Ministry spokesman said yesterday that Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva was very keen that the Bill should be passed and implemented within the course of next year. "This is imperative in the interest of the health of the younger generation," he said. It was also revealed that surveys conducted by the Health Ministries since Independence had indicated that the nation’s nutritional level was still below average. more..

Boy’s truancy sparks detective thriller

Nov 12 (DM) For twelve-year-old Wijeyakumar November 10 will be a day never to be forgotten. His life which was full of mischief and games suddenly turned sour as he became the target of a police chase. Unable to understand why he was suddenly the centre of attention, Wijeyakumar’s mischief cost him a day at the Fort Police Station and a number of stern lectures from his relatives and guardians. more..