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Narrowest gender gap: Lanka 12th in world rankings

Nov 13 (DN) Norway is the country with the narrowest gender gap in the world, while Yemen has the widest. A new global survey of equality between the sexes reveals that despite near equal access to education and health care, women are still way behind when it comes to political and economic decision-making. Sri Lanka is placed 12th in the ranking and the UK, Switzerland and France have all been placed below Sri Lanka. more..

Presient Rajpaksa makes debut speech at BMISTEC Summit

Nov 13 (GDI) In his debut speech at the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), President Mahinda Rajapaksa said "Sri Lanka wholeheartedly supports the BIMSTEC Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking as an important and vital milestone in the efforts on counter terrorism. more..

Training for police, probation, labour officers

Nov 13 (DN) A National Training programme for Police, Probation and Labour officers will be inaugurated today at the SLFI in Colombo. This is the second major step taken by the Government to revive the Children and Young Persons Ordinance (CYPO). The CYPO is the child protection law in Sri Lanka which sets out the standards for the treatment of all children in contact with the criminal law. more..

Now govt ally demands power sharing pact on hill country

Nov 13 (Island) The Up-country People’s Front in its fresh proposal submitted to the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) on Tuesday, called for a power sharing unit for Up-country Tamils by amalgamating the areas where they are in large numbers namely the Central, Uva and Sabaragamuwa provinces. It said that if necessary, the district boundaries could be re-demarcated to carve out the proposed power sharing unit. more..

Dallas wants school van owners to be mindful of...

Nov 13 (Island) Transport Minister Dallas Alahapperuma feels that it would be unethical for school van owners to charge a full month's transport fee from the parents next month since schools will be opened only for a few days in December. "It is not only illegal but immoral, too," Alahapperuma said. Since the school van owners enjoyed the full benefit of the diesel price reduction since November 6 this year, it would not be fair by them to charge a full month's fee for December, he said. more..

Pay hike for President, Premier and MPs

Nov 13 (DM) The President, Prime Minister, the Speaker, Ministers, the Opposition Leader and Parliamentarians are to receive another windfall in the shape of yet another pay hike effective from January 2009. An increase in pay and allowances for the judicial officers was approved by the Cabinet last week and their salaries are linked to those of the Prime Minister and other Parliamentarians. more..

Poverty level down, says Rajitha

Nov 13 (DM) The poverty level of Sri Lanka had dropped from 22.7 percent in 2002 to 15.2 percent in 2006-2007 according to a document tabled in Parliament by Construction and Engineering Services Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne this week. There had been a marked drop in the rural poverty level from 24.9 percent in 2002 to 15.7 percent in 2006-2007 while it had declined from 7.9 percent to 6.7 percent during the same period in the urban sector. more..

Sri Lankan Tamils issue: Rare unity in house

Nov 13 (EB) The AIADMK on Wednesday sprang a surprise by whole-heartedly supporting a resolution moved by its archrival and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. Besides, the party insisted that all Tamil outfits in Lanka should be involved in peace negotiations. Recently, AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa had dubbed the resolutions adopted at the all-party meeting on October 14 as farce. more..

Missing monk found

Nov 13 (LD) The Buddhist monk who went missing in Panama, Ampara two days ago was found in a cave at Kudumbigala jungle this morning (Nov. 13th). The monk, Ven. Kiralumulle Dhammasiri Thera was found semi conscious in a cave one km away from a hermitage which he supposed to have visited. Accompanied by Civil Defence Force members, the monk, had gone by cab to the place to handover some needs to his father at the hermitage atop a hill in the jungle. more..

Maga Neguma machinery sold in scam

Nov 13 (LD) Several machinery of Maga Neguma Emulsion Production Co., set up under Ministry of Highways and Road Development, have been taken apart and sold as scrap iron. A senior official of the Ministry said that an investigation has begun after several ministers complained to President about the scam. Of late, machinery of Maga Neguma Emulsion Production Co. has continued to disappear mysteriously, with Weligama Police seizing four of the dismantled machines. more..

Govt. strengthening Karuna & Pillayan to rob East votes

Nov 13 (LD) The government is strengthening the armed Karuna Amman and Pillayan factions to use them in a robbery of votes in East Province at a future election, alleged Defence Watch spokesman Mangala Samaraweera. Speaking to the media today (Nov. 13th), he said the Defence Ministry has so far failed to act against abductions and murders being committed by the two groups in East, where it is claimed democracy has been restored. more..

Sri Lanka to issue coins commemorating pension fund

Nov 13 (LBO) Central bank is issuing two coins to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of a state managed pension fund of private sector workers, the monetary authority said. Sri Lanka's Employees Provident Fund (EPF) was established in 1958 and had completed 50 years in June 2008. The Central Bank is issuing a limited 1,200 Nickel plated steel 1,000 rupee coins packed in a plastic capsule from November 14, through its currency museum in Colombo and regional offices. more..

Sri Lanka bilingual education gets World Bank priority

Nov 13 (LBO) The World Bank said one of the aims of its new aid programme for Sri Lanka was to help achieve ethnic harmony through bilingual education and mixed schooling of the island's two main communities. World Bank country director Naoko Ishii said the new country assistance strategy was designed to be more sensitive to the special requirements generated by the island's ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority. more..

Amnesty urges release of Sri Lankan journalist

Nov 13 (AP) Amnesty International has urged the release of a Sri Lankan journalist, saying he is a prisoner of conscience who was jailed for writing articles that were critical of the government. J.S. Tissainayagam, an ethnic Tamil journalist, was arrested in March and indicted five months later under an anti-terrorism law for two articles he wrote for a monthly magazine that discussed issues confronting Sri Lanka's minority Tamils, more..

Bay of Begal being used by terrorists to smuggle arms: Sri Lanka

Nov 13 (PTI) Sri Lanka on Thursday sought the cooperation of BIMSTEC nations in combating terrorism in the region saying the sea lanes of Bay of Bengal were being used by terrorists to smuggle arms and drugs. The resolution, adopted by the BIMSTEC nations, "fully reflects our concern" over growing terrorism in the region, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said at a joint press conference with leaders of BIMSTEC countries. more..

School Teacher Turned Terrorist Surrendered

Nov 13 (LG) “Task Force-I troops battling for supremacy with Tiger terrorists in Vallayarkuttirukkumoddai, about 4 km to the east of the 7th Mile Post on the A-32 Road, close to Palavi area just captured, were absolutely astounded to find that one of the Three female Tiger terrorists captured on Tuesday (11) after fierce clashes, happened to be a Government English Teacher of a reputed school,” the Sri Lanka Army said in a statement. more..

LTTE has to be dealt with militarily: Rajapaksa

Nov 13 (PTI) Sri Lanka today unequivocally stated that terrorist activities of the LTTE have to be dealt with militarily and any underlying causes, exploited by such outfits, should be addressed politically. "For over two decades, Sri Lanka has been facing a tremendous challenge to our democratic way of life through barbaric actions of a terrorist group, the LTTE. "There is no doubt that such groups have to be dealt with militarily," Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said more..

Helping tsunami-affected women in the Eastern Province

Nov 14 (PISL) Tsunami-affected women participating in the sustainable livelihood development project initiated by the Peace Secretariat in the Trincomalee district are reported to be doing well. Loans they received to develop their businesses are being repaid on time, indicating that they now have a steady income. In April this year, the Rotary Club of Windward Oahu in Hawaii provided Rs. 350,000 to a group of seven women. more..

Sri Lanka scores poorly in ease of paying tax ranking

Nov 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka has been ranked near the bottom of a new global ranking on paying taxes, making it one of the most difficult countries for business to pay their dues. The island has achieved an overall ranking of 164 out of 181 economies covered by the report produced jointly by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the World Bank-IFC which evaluates the relative ease of paying taxes. more..

Sri Lanka CSE to push retirement planning knowledge

Nov 14 (LBO) The Colombo Stock Exchange is creating wider awareness of retirement planning through a workshop on Saturday November 28, with top analysts and asset managers of the island making presentations. The workshop is part of a series on Planning your Financial Future – Plan to Retire Rich, CSE said. Sessions would be led by Murtaza Jafferjee, from J B Securities who will speak on 'Investing in your future', more..

Budget 2009, a utopian dream - Ravi K.

Nov 14 (LD) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake says the only objective of the budget is for the government to sustain the largest cabinet in the world of 110 ministers and the massive panel of presidential advisors at the expense of the masses. He described Budget 2009 as a utopian dream. "The government is talking of developing local industries, at the same time increasing taxes ruthlessly and burdening the people. more..

SLTB chairman resigns after differences with Minister

Nov 14 (LD) Tudor Dayaratne has resigned as Chairman of Sri Lanka Transport Board following the intensification of differences with his officials and the Minister of Transport. It had earlier been reported in the media that Mr. Dayaratne, who is SLFP organizer for Bandaragama, had stepped down to contest upcoming elections. However, a SLFP trade unionist told 'Lanka Dissent' the ex-chairman had been facing interference in SLTB by the Transport Minister and his personal staff. more..

Community credit boosts poorest families

Nov 14 (IFRC) In the four years since the tsunami struck, most of the affected families along Sri Lanka’s coastline have received some form of help to rebuild their homes and restore their livelihoods. However, it is not uncommon to find that humanitarian assistance programmes have failed to bring lasting benefits to some of the poorest and most marginalized families. One of the key obstacles has been gaining access to loans and financial services via the commercial banking sector. more..

Rupee edges down on intervention; shares fall

Nov 14 (Reuters) Rupee edged down on Thursday as 'limited' central bank supporting was inadequate to protect it at 110.00, while shares fell 2 percent on continued earnings and macroeconomic gloom. The rupee closed at 110.00/20 a dollar, down from Tuesday's close of 110.00. Both currency and stock markets were closed on Wednesday for a Buddhist religious holiday. The rupee fell around 0.4 percent to 110.40/50 level immediately after the opening of the trade, more..

Indian PM tells Rajapaksa to ensure welfare of Tamils

Nov 14 (PTI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday to ensure the safety and welfare of ethnic Tamils as he met the Sri Lankan leader for the first time since the recent uproar over their condition in the island nation. Rajapaksa, while apprising Singh about the steps being taken to protect the interests of Tamils, made it clear that the military offensive against the LTTE will not stop as his government was determined to "eliminate" terrorism before initiating the political process of settlement. more..

Sri Lanka can defeat Tigers, top ex-rebel says

Nov 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's political will and military planning will defeat the Tamil Tiger rebels, a legislator who fought with the guerrillas for more than two decades said on Thursday. Ex-Tiger commander Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan last month metamorphosed from ruthless guerrilla into parliamentarian and de facto spokesman for President Mahinda Rajapaksa's plan to devolve power to the Tamil minority. more..

Colombo creates human crisis at entry point - Nadesan

Nov 14 (TN) The closure of entry point at Oamanthai in Vavuniyaa by the Colombo government for the last three days has created a human crisis affecting emergency patients and supply of medicines to civilian hospitals, said B. Nadesan, the political head of the LTTE on Thursday. Intense shelling by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) on the entry point has made the ICRC officials posted there to leave. more..

Caritas hopes pilgrims can visit Madhu shrine at Christmas

Nov 14 (UCAN) Following a visit to Our Lady of Madhu Shrine in embattled northern Sri Lanka, a team of Caritas officials wants the government to do what is necessary so pilgrims can visit the shrine before Christmas. Father Damien Fernando, director of Caritas Sri Lanka-SEDEC, told UCA News on Nov. 7 in Colombo that they hope to draw the government's attention to the condition of the shrine, the power supply cutoff due to the war and the prevalence of malaria in the area. more..

President holds bilateral discussions with Nepali PM

Nov 14 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is now in New Delhi for the BIMSTEC Summit, held bilateral discussions with the Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and the Foreign Minister of Nepal, Upandra Yadav on the sidelines of the summit this afternoon. The discussions focused on several issues pertaining to inter-cultural and religious activities with the President drawing special attention to development activities in Lumbini, more..

Interview with Kumaravadivel Guruparan, a Sri Lankan youth activist

Nov 14 (GV) Guru is a student at the Faculty of Law University of Colombo and the Founder of the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament based at the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies. He is also associated with Beyond Borders and was an Action Partner for the Oxfam International Youth Parliament, having attended the second sitting of the Parliament in Sydney, July 2004. more..

Scenarios: Where is Sri Lanka's war heading?

Nov 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military on Thursday said it seized Devil's Point on the northwest coast, cutting off a Tamil Tiger sea supply line and putting it closer to opening a road to the Jaffna Peninsula for the first time in 20 years. 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. more..

LTTE cannot be crushed, say TNA MPs

Nov 14 (IANS) The Tamil Tigers cannot be crushed, two Sri Lankan Tamil MPs said Thursday, reacting to claims that the rebels were on the verge of losing the dragging war in the island nation. "We have been hearing from various (Sri Lankan) presidents that the LTTE will perish. There is nothing new in it," N. Sri Kantha of the pro-LTTE TNA told the media here. Sri Kantha and his colleague M.K. Shivaji Lingam spoke even as Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa met Indian leaders here. more..

Japan funds de-mining and agricultural activities

Nov 14 (RW) The Government of Japan@has provided a sum of US$ 394,142 (approximately Rs. 42,961,478) to implement three projects in three Districts through its "Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP)" . The demining project is implemented by the "Mines Advisory Group(MAG)" to facilitate the resettlement of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Batticlaoa district. more..

Fight and flight - The LTTE's air cargo ambitions

Nov 14 (Janes) Satellite imagery has revealed a number of runways in LTTE-controlled areas of Sri Lanka. This could either show civilian aspirations towards statehood or a desire to fly in weapons. Jane's looks at the evidence and suggests the latter is more likely. The LTTE is losing its war for an independent state in Sri Lanka. Since the effective resumption of the conflict in 2006, it has lost control of the Eastern Province and seen its forces slowly pushed back in the north. more..

Sangakkara and Kapugedera pile up tons

Nov 14 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara and Chamara Kapugedera highlighted the huge gulf in class on show in Bulawayo as they both struck centuries in a 287-run third-wicket stand with the Sri Lankans closing on 450 for 3, a lead of 291 over the Select XI. The opening day was one-way traffic and the visitors became even more dominant as they piled on the runs at more than four-an-over. The top four all passed fifty and Sangakkara led the way as he compiled 174 off 273 balls. more..

Authorities neglect domestic workers

Nov 14 (AT) The National Workers Congress (NWC) conducted a full day seminar to coincide the United Nations ‘World Day for Decent Work’ at the Mahaweli Centre with a large number of domestic workers drawn from various parts of the country. Anton Lodwick, Secretary General, NWC welcoming the guests and participants and making opening remarks said that the National Workers Congress has been campaigning the cause of the domestic worker in Sri Lanka for the last five years. more..

'Two lands, separated by water, linked by history, religion and culture'

Nov 14 (AT) It gives me great pleasure to be provided this opportunity to say a few words on the occasion of the 77th Anniversary of the construction of the Mulagandha Kuty Vihara in Sarnath, Varanasi in its present form. A son of Lanka, Anagarika Dharmapala, was the leading light behind the rehabilitation of the Mulagandha Kuty Vihara. more..

Sri Lanka tea trade warns crisis not over yet

Nov 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea trade has warned that the crisis caused by the sudden collapse in demand and prices was not over yet and that it was bracing itself for further trouble. The Colombo Tea Traders’ Association (CTTA) said in a statement that cash flow problems remained throughout the supply chain, with buyers saddled with stocks bought at prices well above current rates. more..

'APRC proposals should treat all Minorities in the same footing'

Nov 14 (LG) The political arrangements agreed in the All Party Representative Committee proposals for the Muslims and Sinhalese of the north and east should be extended to the Tamils of Indian Origins living in the south. It is only fair and right if the minorities of the north and east and the minorities of the south are meted with the same and equal treatments. more..

Re: Douglas Devananda vs. Rajasingham Jayadevan

Nov 14 (LG) I write by virtue of my right to reply to the Open Appeal to Douglas Devananda written by Mr.Rajasingam Jayadevan (from London) in the Sri Lanka Guardian (Nov 12) with reference me and my article. I was perturbed and sad to read the writings of an erudite writer that too a school mate of Douglas Devananda making insinuous remarks based on hearsay and insinuations. more..

TNA MP called on India to Complete its unfinished agenda in Sri Lanka

Nov 14 (AT) Pressing for an "acceptable" political solution to Sri Lanka's ethnic problem, the proxy LTTE Tamil political party of Sri Lanka today sought India's intervention to stop war and suggested it could bring LTTE chief V Prabhakaran "on board" for a negotiated settlement. The TNA appealed to India to "complete its unfinished agenda" in Sri Lanka and ask Mahinda Rajapaksa government to stop its "obsession with a military solution" to the ethnic issue. more..

Rajapakse snubs Manmohan Singh by refusing to declare ceasefire

Nov 14 (TC) President Mahinda Rajapakse delivered a direct snub to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by rejecting a proposal to declare an immediate ceasefire and begin efforts towards a negotiated political settlement. When both leaders met in New Delhi the Indian Premier presented a copy of a unanimous resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu state legislative assembly that called for an immediate ceasefire and resumption of negotiations. more..

The new moral majority - Black, it ain't!

Nov 14 (TC) Whilst it is understandable that most African Americans and others of a certain vintage would see the election as a 'win' in the battle for emancipation, the election of Barrack Hussein Obama has signaled a far more significant development in America's psyche. The World has witnessed a quantum leap in how Americans perceive themselves and Obama has laid bare the presumptions of a White and Black America, a Democratic and Republican America, more..

'Govt is in the middle of Jeyananda Murthy's and Nadesan's ideas'

Nov 14 (LeN) Minister of Media and the government spokesman on national development Lakshman Yapa Abewardhana says that the government is ready to set forth a power devolution proposal to India if all parties approve it and government will guarantee to implement complete power devolution for north. The Minister made these observations addressing a press briefing held in Media Ministry auditorium more..

'Price of Milk Power to come down next month'

Nov 14 (GDI) The prices of milk power will be reduced from the 15th of December this year following a decision reached at a discussion held between the Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs, Bandula Gunawardena and milk powder importers. The Consumer Protection Authority will enter into the agreement pertaining to the reduction of prices with the milk powder importing companies on the same day. more..

India appreciative of efforts to provide relief to civilians in North and East -- Dr. Singh

Nov 14 (GDI) Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh told President Mahinda Rajapaksa that discussions held a few weeks ago with the Preisdent's Special Envoy, his Senior Advisor and Member of Parliament, Mr. Basil Rajapaksa had been most constructive and that he valued the facilitatory arrangements expeditiously put in place by the Government of Sri Lanka, for the distribution of relief to the civilian population in the affected Districts of the Northern Province. more..

Disabled people’s organisation hopes for peace

Nov 14 (PISL) After so many years of conflict, almost everybody in this country yearns for peace, and encouraging dialogue between ordinary citizens worried about how we are going to find our way out of the current situation is one of the most important tasks of the Peace Secretariat. Disabled people have a special interest in putting an end to the devastating effects of fighting, an unfortunate proportion of them having been injured in suicide bombings, when serving in the armed forces and so on. more..

Latha Walpola -Nightingale of Sri Lanka

Nov 14 (LP) Latha Walpola is an unrivalled and unique personality. She is acclaimed as "The Nightingale of Sri Lanka .She is one of Sri Lanka's leading female singers. She captured the hearts of masses with her melodious voice, which is parallel with Latha Mangeshkar’s in India. Latha was born in Mount Lavinia. In her childhood she was known as Rita Genevi Fernando. She was a leading singer in the Church Choir. At the age of 13, Latha was introduced to Radio Ceylon. more..

Mihin Air resume with French aircraft

Nov 14 (LP) Mihin air is to resume its operations from December 15 with Rs. 6 billion allocation from the Treasury. It hopes to lease out a Boeing B737-800 flight from France. The Cabinet has appointed a Tender Committee to arrange the tender with an agent to organise a wet lease to lease out the flight and to have agreements with a Lessor from France to deliver the flight. The agreement includes the flight, maintenance, pilots and insurance converges, he said’. more..

Govt provides computers and equipment to less privileged students

Nov 14 (LP) The government has taken necessary steps to provide necessary equipment for IT education at schools and universities through STC General Trading Company stated Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardana. The first step towards this process was the opening of a showroom / sales outlet by Minister Bandula Gunawardana yesterday (13) at the STC Premises in Colombo. more..