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Overcome legal hurdles to GSP+ first, says Ranil

Nov 12 (LD) Rejecting claims that complying with conditions for renewal of GSP+ will threaten the country's sovereignty, opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has said he was ready to support enactment of a minor constitutional amendment to pave way for the facility. According to Mr. Wickremesinghe, a Supreme Court ruling in 2007 that any international agreement by Sri Lanka should first be signed by the President and then approved by Parliament is preventing the execution of such pacts. more..

Mangala wants war halted - Lal Kantha

Nov 12 (LD) JVP MP K.D. Lal Kantha has accused SLFP Mahajana Wing leader Mangala Samaraweera of attempting to halt the forward march of security forces in the Wanni battlefront and to sabotage efforts to curb LTTE terrorism. Mr. Lal Kantha was responding in Parliament to a speech made earlier in the day by the former minister during the budget debate yesterday (Nov. 11th). It is not surprising that Mr. Samaraweera is speaking against the anti-LTTE war, the JVP MP said, more..

More mystery murders in 3 districts

Nov 12 (LD) Identities have been determined of two of the three victims of murders reported from the districts of Vavuniya, Batticaloa and Ampara in the past two days. Killings by unidentified assailants are on the rise in these areas, especially in Batticaloa, which are all government held areas. In Vavuniya, the body of a youth shot on the head was found on Pattakadu Tank bund last morning (Nov. 11th). more..

Bus owners to challenge new fares

Nov 12 (LD) "Although we reduced bus fares from Tuesday, we are hoping to challenge the bus fare reduction in the Supreme Court," said President of the Private Bus Operators’ Association, Gamunu Wijeratna. The new fares determined by the National Transport Commission have several shortcomings and is severely inconveniencing private bus operators, he claimed. The new rates came into effect following the price reduction of a litre of diesel by Rs. 30 through Budget 2009. more..

Army assault in north Sri Lanka kills 10

Nov 12 (AP) Sri Lankan forces attacked Tamil separatists with artillery and mortars, triggering heavy battles that killed 10 guerrillas as the army closed in on a northern rebel stronghold, the military said Wednesday. Tuesday's fighting near the Tamil Tigers' de facto capital in Kilinochchi district came as part of a major escalation in the country's quarter-century civil war. The military has vowed to destroy the rebel group by the end of the year. more..

Smooth resettlement of IDPs in east

Nov 12 (IRIN) More than 150,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned to their former villages in the east over the past year, according to the UNHCR. The displacement in 2008 of some 230,000 people in the northern part of the country under the control of the LTTE has overshadowed the largely peaceful resettlement of significant numbers of IDPs to their villages in the east, the agency said in a statement released on 6 November. more..

de Alwis spins Sri Lanka to series win

Nov 12 (CI) Sri Lanka crushed West Indies by seven wickets in the fifth and final ODI at the Premadasa in Colombo to win the series 3-2. After Suwini de Alwis had ripped through the West Indies batting, it was upto captain Shashikala Siriwardene to once again lead her team to an emphatic victory with 12 overs to spare. Siriwardene would have been slightly worried with her decision to field first again, similar to the previous game which they had lost, more..

Bribery Commission to probe ex-President

Nov 12 (LD) The Bribery Commission is to follow up with a Supreme Court order and conduct an inquiry into the leasing of a prime land at Battaramulla for a golf course project during the tenure of President Chandrika Kumaratunga. The 126-acre land, owned by Urban Development Authority, had been given on a 99-year lease to Asia Pacific Golf Course Company. more..

Crawling the coasts for conquests

Nov 12 (SP) The army advance is still moving along the coast, where the monsoon rains are less of a problem. Troops are seven kilometers from opening a land link to the Jaffna peninsula (2,300 square kilometers of territory at the northern tip of the island, cut off from the rest of the island by LTTE controlled territory to the south, forcing the government, for the last 13 years, to use ships to supply the half million people in Jaffna.) more..

'PM should take up Lankan Tamils issue with Rajapaksa'

Nov 12 (PTI) With the Sri Lankan Tamils issue hogging the limelight again in Tamil Nadu, political parties are demanding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh take up the matter with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, currently on a visit here, and ensure a ceasefire in that country. The parties, including ruling DMK and its ally Congress, want India to intervene into the ethnic Tamils issue and impress upon the Sri Lankan Government to resolve the decades-old conflict through a "political settlement". more..

Police re-arrest relative of SEP member

Nov 13 (wsws) Sri Lankan police last month re-arrested Santhiralingam Ilancheliyan, who was detained along with Socialist Equality Party (SEP) member Velummailum Kamalthasan in September. The two men were held for eight days without charge before being released after a campaign by the SEP and the World Socialist Web Site. Ilancheliyan was detained in the west coast town of Negombo on October 3, but the SEP only came to know of the arrest after more than a fortnight. more..

Will U.S.-style change come to Sri Lanka?

Nov 13 (UPI) There is universal agreement that the election of Barack Obama is a great achievement for the United States and one in which the people of the whole world can take comfort. It not only means that people can transcend race and prejudice in their choice of who should lead them. It also means that in a free society where the media is free, people are sooner or later able to see through the disinformation and failed policies of governments and vote them out. more..

Another attempt to stifle e-media in Sri Lanka

Nov 13 (TW) It has been reported in the media that the government has issued a Gazette notification on October 10 introducing new regulations to control electronic media institutions. In short these regulations seek to ensure that whatever is telecast or broadcast is nothing but ‘his master’s voice.’ By this exercise the government hopes to muzzle these institutions with the threat of refusing applications for issue of new licences or cancelling the existing licences of television broadcasting stations. more..

Sri Lankan nationals detained over forged documents in Malaysia

Nov 13 (DPA) Malaysian immigration officers have arrested two Sri Lankan nationals, believed to be part of a syndicate issuing forged passports and personal identification documents to their fellow countrymen, news reports said Wednesday. The suspects, both in their 20s, were caught in a raid on Sunday at an apartment in Kuala Lumpur. The officers discovered 20 Malaysian passports, a British passport and seven Malaysian identification cards which had all been tampered with, more..

Sri Lanka port authority in campaign to rein in costs

Nov 13 (LBO) The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), which suffered a loss last year, plans to maintain tight control of finances and minimise waste in a campaign to cut costs, its new chairman Priyath Wickrema said. "It is reported that a very high percentage of all resources - men, material and machinery - are not being used properly due to the wrong practices, lack of supervision and delays in decision making at different levels." more..

Battling over birthrights

Nov 13 (LMD) With the conflict intensifying to unprecedented levels recently, Sri Lanka remains far from the peace that the Gover-nment offers in the future. The challenge for peace-making in Sri Lanka is to overcome two main obsta-cles to a political solution that is fair by all communities. One obstacle is ‘Sinhala nationalism’, which perceives Sri Lanka as a Sinhalese nation and seeks to impose its own vision of a political solution on ethnic minorities. more..

Defence Secretary’s interview with Business Today

Nov 13 (MoD) A few years ago, he was just another retired army officer, a little known brother of a politician with a promising future, and a name referenced infrequently, if at all. Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, today, is not just the President’s brother, but the man who carries on his shoulders the aspirations of a nation yearning to be rid of a terrorist menace; more..

Chief incumbent of Balangoda temple escapes attack

Nov 13 (LD) The chief incumbent of Bodhimalakarama Temple in Udellapola in Balangoda has escaped a shooting attack in the early hours of this morning (Nov. 12th). Ven. Kolonne Sirishantha Thera had gone out of his room 12.30 am for a personal need, when he was shot at. He had run back to his room unhurt. The Thera said he had lodged a complaint with Balangoda Police. He had earlier complained to police about threats to his life. more..

Search in Ampara for missing monk

Nov 13 (LD) Police, backed by STF commandos, are combing the Kudumbigala jungle at Panama in Ampara for a Buddhist monk who is reported missing since yesterday (Nov. 11th) afternoon. Accompanied by Civil Defence Force members, the monk, Ven. Kiralumulle Dhammasiri Thera, had gone by cab to the place to handover some needs to his father at a hermitage atop a hill in the area. more..

Educating the community about Sri Lanka

Nov 13 (TP) Sri Lanka, located off the coast of India, is a nation torn apart by civil war and environmental challenges. Thirty Elon students have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness for this small island. This week, the 2011 Periclean Scholars are hosting Sri Lanka Week, filled with cultural events with a common goal: raising awareness about the small country. On Monday, an opening ceremony was held in Moseley to kick off the week. more..

CPI flays Rajapaksa for his 'remarks on Indian fishermen'

Nov 13 (PTI) Slamming Mahinda Rajapaksa for his allegations against Indian fishermen, the CPI said the Sri Lankan President was attempting to "pre-empt" discussions with Indian leadership. The President had said that the fishermen issue is being "manipulated and that the LTTE is using Indian fishermen to bring arms and weapons in their trawlers". Party National Secretary D Raja said if Rajapaksa had some proof about the allegations "he should have taken it up with the top leadership in India" instead of directly going public more..

Trace the roots offer

Nov 13 (Hindu) The Indian mission in Sri Lanka on Wednesday announced a scheme titled “Tracing the Roots” under which persons of Indian origin desirous of tracing their roots could make a representation along with the prescribed fee and supporting documents. A statement issued by the Indian mission said the programme only provided for gathering information of the ancestors of the applicant. It did not have any provision for the visit of the applicant to his/her ancestral place(s). more..

Devil’s Point sealed off

Nov 13 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan military on Wednesday charged that even as its troops were getting closer to “their ultimate mission with increasing pace and vigour”, LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran has ordered his followers to prepare for counter-offensive using civilians as a shield. The Defence Ministry said the troops were proceeding as per their plans despite cynicism expressed by some defence observers and political segments. more..

Indian relief material to reach Colombo on Saturday

Nov 13 (Hindu) The M.V. Conti Jork, carrying relief material for Sri Lankan Tamils, will set sail for Colombo early on Thursday. The container vessel arrived at the Chennai Port on Tuesday night. Till late evening, about 100 containers kept at various container freight stations after customs clearance were being loaded on to it. “It is a normal vessel that the Shipping Corporation of India operates in this sector. The relief material is expected to reach Colombo on Saturday,” more..

Mangala cannot understand the difference between 'nationalism' and 'racism'

Nov 13 (AT) Mangala Samaraweera speech in the parliament drew the wrath of many members of Parliament. Several members flayed him. It was alleged that he wants the ongoing military operations halted at this crucial moment. Responding Samaraweera’s speech in parliament on Tuesday many parliamentarians said he represents the LTTE and wants to divide Sri Lanka. Lal Kantha of the JVP said that Mangala Samaraweera cannot understand the difference between ‘nationalism’ and ‘racism’. more..

LTTE part of the problem: Swamy

Nov 13 (Hindu) The former Union Minister for Law and Justice, Subramanian Swamy, on Wednesday described the ‘Tamil Tigers’ as part of the problem of strife in Sri Lanka and not part of the possible solution. He was addressing a meeting organised by the Canadian Democratic Tamil Association for Culture in Toronto on Tuesday. Dr. Swamy maintained that while India does not support an independent Tamil Eelam and respects the integrity of Sri Lanka, nevertheless more..

ICRC pulls out from Omanthai

Nov 13 (BBC) The international Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) has decided to temporarily suspend their presence at Omanthai checkpoint in northern Sri Lanka. Alexandra Mathievich, the ICRC spokesperson in Colombo told BBC Sandeshaya that the decision was taken due to ‘general insecurity’ in the area. “This is particularly linked to few incidents and increase in hostility on the 11 November,” she told BBC Sinhala service. Ms. Mathievich did not elaborate on the incidents. more..

India and conflict in Sri Lanka

Nov 13 (TN) AS the armed forces of Sri Lanka in their current offensive close in on the last stronghold of LTTE, feelings of unease and discomfort have begun to run high in New Delhi about its impact on India's Tamil population of southern states, especially Tamil Nadu. In Tamil Nadu parties on both sides of political divide and organisations of civil society joined by artists, intellectuals, writers and human rights activists have loudly protested against what they allege more..

'LTTE must lay down its weapons'

Nov 13 (TN) Sri Lankan Foreign Minister -- Rohitha Bogollagama has dismissed talks to a ceasfire and said that LTTE must lay down its arms. In an exclusive interview with TIMES NOW's senior editor Srinjoy Chowdhury, the minister went on to talk about the LTTE issue and more. Srinjoy: Sri Lanka is still in a difficult situation. The civil war is going on. But the LTTE has asked for a ceasefire. Like in the past are you going to agree to a ceasefire? more..

Sri Lanka to tackle Indian anger at rebel war

Nov 13 (FT) Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka's president, is expected to try to defuse -rising concern in India over his government's military campaign against ethnic Tamil rebels while he is in New Delhi this week for a regional summit. India's leftist parties have joined in a clamour for New Delhi to intervene in the civil war in Sri Lanka to force a political settlement. Regional parties supporting the Congress-led national coalition have made threats to bring down the government over more..

Obama vs Obama and parallels

Nov 13 (LG) A friend of mine informs me that in Arabic Barack means who is blessed or simply blessed. Also it is equivalent to Benedict. According to my friend who has been able to do some "research" on the word, it appears in Hebrew also, and the name is popular in Israel. Though there is an equivalent of this Hebrew Barack in Arabic it has a different meaning "lightening" as the word is etymologically not connected due to different root consonants. more..

An open appeal to the Minister Douglas Devananda

Nov 13 (LG) The two news items under the captions ‘Pragmatic Political Programme of the EPDP’ and ‘Douglas Devananda: The guardian of the Tamils’ published in the Sri Lanka Guardian prompted me to write this open appeal. The purpose of writing this appeal is to touch on issues that have not (and you are unable to) addressed in these two documents. As a school time friend at Jaffna Central College and having been involved in the political activities in the late 1970’s, more..

SLAF 'exposed'

Nov 13 (DW) When investigating the SLAF, our particular attention fell on the recent attack by the Zlin-143s in Colombo. This being the most discussed issue against the SLAF in recent times, we decided to inquire into the reasons why an 'appropriate' response was not made to engaging the Zlins. We were assured by sources within the SLAF that MI-24 gunships were airborne and waiting in an undisclosed location over Kilinochchi and that F-7s were also dispatched to engage the Zlins. more..

Fernando and Mendis hurt Zimbabweans

Nov 13 (CI) Sri Lanka began their tour of Zimbabwe in bullish fashion, dismissing a Zimbabwe Select XI for 159 on a rain-affected first day of their warm-up match in Bulawayo. Ajantha Mendis picked up four wickets and in reply, Upul Tharanga and Mahela Udawatte propelled the tourists to 50 without loss in 14 overs. The umpires twice suspended play because of drizzle and eventually ended the day 20 minutes early due to bad light. more..

LTTE survival is Indian insurance policy against Sri Lanka

Nov 13 (TC) The survival of the Tamil Tigers is India’s insurance policy against Sri Lanka swinging over to interests of powers that might seek to contain India in the Indian Ocean region. Now that the ethnic conflict has resurfaced as a factor in Tamil Nadu politics, India can ill afford to be seen as actively colluding with the Sinhalese to subjugate the ethnic Tamils. While the recent competitive jostling among political parties over this issue is largely due to fragile electoral alliances in the state, more..

Every sixth day a school is closed in Sri Lanka

Nov 13 (LeN) Six hundred and sixty four government schools have been closed in the decade since 1997. The number of schools closed within 2007 alone is 36. According to these facts, one government school is closed on every sixth day since 1997. The major reason for the closure of so many government schools is pruning state expenditure for education year by year. In 2008, Rs. 5267 million was allocated for education but according to recent budget proposals, the amount allocated for education in 2009 is Rs. 4620 million, more..

Rev. Wijaya Thero who exposed corruption in Temple of Tooth shot

Nov 13 (LeN) Last night (11) an unknown gunman shot and injured Kolonne Siri Shantha Wijaya Thero, the chief incumbent of Udaellepola Sri Bodhimalakarama temple. The gunman who was hidden in darkness attempted to shoot at the monk when he was walking towards the toilet situated away from his residence. The Thero said to Lanka-e-News that he ran back to the house and hid in there as the gun shot finally fell on the wall. more..

The latest business of Sri Lankan Ministers

Nov 13 (LeN) A government Minister representing Gampaha district who went to Korea in the guise of a religious tour on October 29 has returned to the country leaving behind the nine person crew went with him. The Minister who is responsible to promote morality under the President has accompanied his wife as well for this tour. Several Sri Lankan expatriate workers in Korea said to Lanka-e-news that the Minister introduced the nine persons that came with him as the coordinating secretaries and the branch chairmen of the party. more..

PSM apeal to the land Commissioner to withdraw the circular

Nov 13 (MG) Peace Secretariat for Muslims has written to the Land Commissioner General requesting him to withdraw the circular issued with regard to the implementation of government policy on land alienation and control of encroachment. The PSM points out that the circular is violative of equality clause in the Constitution and inconsistent with laws governing the subject. The full text is as follows: more..

Obama defeated racism, can we transcend caste?

Nov 13 (LG) Barack Obama has won the battle and, as one columnist put it, this is an "emotional, incandescent moment" not just for Mr Obama, but, in a sense, for the entire world. The significance of Mr Obama’s victory for African-Americans, oppressed minorities all over the world, is immeasurable. The issue of Mr Obama’s race is foremost on everybody’s mind as the world and America rejoice that US voters have perhaps, cleared, the greatest hurdle of racial discrimination and more..

'Forces' critics helping LTTE'

Nov 13 (SAMN) Environment and Natural Resources Minister Champika Ranawaka said those who criticise the Armed Forces were indirectly helping the LTTE to continue with its brutal terrorist atrocities. The minister said: "Our hezoic Forces are moving forward to eliminate terrorism". "Those who criticise our Armed Forces indirectly help the LTTE to conduct its brutal terrorist atrocities. more..

Tell the truth about LTTE

Nov 13 (LG) A major lesson that the Manmohan Singh Government has learnt in recent days is that the warm and friendly Delhi-Colombo relationship cannot remain unaffected by the dynamics of Colombo-Chennai equations. Significantly, some of Sri Lanka’s most astute officials are appointed as Colombo’s Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai. If people in Punjab get outraged by Sikh children in France being prohibited from wearing turbans in schools, it is unrealistic to expect that relations with Sri Lanka can be conducted smoothly if more..

Tamil Nadu politics to save Prabhakaran cannot save Sri Lankan Tamils

Nov 13 (LG) After flashing excessive and ear-piercing sounds than soothing light, the Tamil Nadu Assembly unanimously passed a resolution yesterday demanding “an immediate halt of military operations, reverting the Sri Lankan military to old position and a commencement of political negotiations to find a solution to the Tamil problem.” This was predictable. But this raises a question that cuts into the very military and political fundamentals of the Tamil Tigers. more..

Development in Ratnapura to get a boost

Nov 13 (GDI) Major steps have been taken to develop the Ratnapura electorate, including the development of facilities in major towns as well as small towns, the Minister of Highways and Road Development T.B. Ekanayake told local media. Under this project Rs. 221 million has been allocated to develop Pulungupitiya junction roundabout and the roadway, to widen and develop the road from Warakatota Bridge to the Ratnapura Police Station and to develop the Eratna road leading to Adam's Peak. more..

Of that striped trial balloon

Nov 13 (LNP) The Tigers have the habit of sending trial balloons. A few days ago, LTTE indicated its willingness to consider a ceasefire. The government promptly rejected the offer reiterating its position that no truce was possible unless the LTTE gave up arms. The LTTE does not lose anything due to its ceasefire offers. Instead it gains a lot from them. If the government reciprocates, then it can have some respite, regroup and rearm for the next phase of war. more..

U.S. Government gives Batticaloa improved opportunities for trade

Nov 13 (AT) One of the major sources of income for the Batticaloa Municipal Council is now restored to full capacity following today’s official opening of the Batticaloa Market by USAID Mission Director, Ms. Rebecca Cohn. A bustling marketplace since 1948, the Batticaloa market has been badly affected by repeated natural and man-made disasters since the late 1970’s. With the successful completion of major rehabilitation activities, the market can now attract both more..

Even the current leaders of the JVP are unaware of how Rohana Wijeweera was killed

Nov 13 (AT) Nanda Kodituwaku, a solicitor from London writes, it appears that even the current leaders of the JVP are unaware of how Rohana Wijeweera was killed. In a letter to the editor, Nanda Kodituwaku writes that I want to add something very important to your report, the Truth of which I believe people of Sri Lanka is unaware. Nanda Kodituwaku in a Letter to the Editor wrote as follows: more..

Fleeing civilians flock Mullaitivu

Nov 13 (SAMN) A severe shortage of shelter is brewing in Mullaitivu as more than 300 families cross into the district each day to flee the fighting in Kilinochchi, a government official in the area said Wednesday. Currently, schools in Mullaitivu have been transformed into temporary shelters to accommodate those fleeing the areas while many displaced people also continue to sleep under trees and strawboard. more..

No reduced bus fares say commuters

Nov 13 (SAMN) National Transport Commission (NTC) yesterday requested bus commuters to complain if the private bus operators refuse to comply with the directive to charge reduced bus fares. The NTC made this request following numerous complaints received from commuters. The Daily Mirror too received several complaints from bus commuters that the private bus operators had refused to charge the reduced bus fares. more..

President pays homage to sacred relics

Nov 13 (SAMN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is in New Delhi to attend the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation (BIMSTEC) summit visited the Indian National Museum yesterday and paid homage to the sacred relics of the Buddha placed at the Museum. President Rajapaksa engaged in the religious observances at the museum premises marking Il poya that fell yesterday. more..