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Second reading of Budget 2009 passed with majority of 42 votes

Nov 15 (GDI) The Budget for the year 2009 presented in parliament by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance on the 6th of November passed with a clear majority of 85 votes on the completion of its second reading, Parliament Correspondent said, with 127 voting in favour of the budget and 85 against. The UNP, JVP, TNA and SLMC voted against the budget. more..

CC: President seeks more time from SC

Nov 15 (SAMN) The Attorney General’s department Friday told the Supreme Court that President Rajapaksa wanted further time to convene a meeting with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to arrive at a consensus on the persons to be appointed to the Constitutional Council (CC) The case is a sequel to an appeal to the SC, that the government had failed to abide by the 17th Amendment to the Constitution and to appoint a CC. more..

Cabinet nod for two seismic stations

Nov 15 (SAMN) Cabinet approval has been granted to a joint Cabinet Memorandum submitted by Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe to install two seismic stations in Sri Lanka, Cabinet spokesman Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. He said two seismic stations will be established in Sri Lanka under a tripartite cooperation agreement between more..

Pilgrims to Madhu cannot stay overnight

Nov 15 (SAMN) Despite the government declaring in April this year that the vicinity of the Madhu shrine has been liberated and handed over to the Catholic Church, pilgrims are not in a position to visit the shrine, stay overnight and participate in religious rituals, UNP MP for Gampaha District Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana said Friday. The shrine was repaired by the Sri Lanka Army and was handed back to the Catholic Church in July this year. more..

Campus students left in the lurch

Nov 15 (SAMN) Students who were transferred to other universities from the Eastern University have been told to go back to the Eastern University by their new academic institutes. But they have yesterday received anonymous letters from a body calling themselves the “Organisation for the Protection of Eastern University” not to head back to the Batticaloa. In the letter, the organisation warned of dire consequences for those who returned to the university, citing more..

'Sri Lanka records 7 pc growth'

Nov 15 (DN) During the past three years Sri Lanka maintained a seven per cent Economic Growth. Sri Lanka acquired it with accurate and farsighted policies, Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said. “Today Sri Lanka’s per capita income is US $ 1,630 and Sri Lanka is ahead of Indonesia and the Philippines,” he said. Sri Lanka has the second highest per capita income in the SAARC region, the Minister said. more..

New Master's degree in public management

Nov 15 (DN) The Government service will need officers who are more efficient and effective and with the capability of making correct decisions Administration and Home Affairs Minister Karu Jayasuriya said. He said the improved public service is our final objective and it will be accessed to a better life of the people in the country irrespective of where they live, what they do and what religion and ethenic group they belong to. more..

Rs.40 billion annual profit on petrol sales - Ravi

Nov 15 (Island) The government is in a position to make an annual profit of Rs.40 billion on petrol sales, but is stubbornly refusing to pass on the benefit to the consumer, UNP MP, Ravi Karunanayake said yesterday. He, told The Island that the genuine cost of a litre of petrol was Rs.40 and it can be sold at around Rs.75, which is inclusive of refining costs and overheads. But the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation(CPC), was making a 100 per cent profit. more..

Nearly 200 visit Eye hospital every month due to diabetes

Nov 15 (Island) Nearly 200 patients visit the Eye Hospital every month with defects caused by diabetes. Diabetes is a silent and terminable disease which could affect several parts of the human body - mostly the eyes. The Colombo Eye hospital had special programmes to mark world diabetes day yesterday (14). The main event was an awareness programme organized by Specialists of the Hospital for its patients. more..

UNP MP says can’t forgive the Tigers

Nov 15 (DM) UNP parliamentarian Lakshman Seneviratne told parliament yesterday he had no mind to forgive the LTTE, which killed so many of Sri Lanka’s leaders. He said the UNP had lost a number of leaders including Gamini Dissanayake when he was campaigning for the presidency. “How can we forgive the LTTE and assuage our conscience at the same time,” he asked. Mr. Seneviratne requested the government to capture Kilinochchi quickly without dragging its feet. more..

Study reveals political parties lack democracy

Nov 15 (DM) A research conducted into the level of democracy within political parties have revealed that they lack a “reasonable” level of democracy, and that party structures have become increasingly centralized and top down in how they operate. The research, which was commissioned by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, explored into the governance structures within three main political parties, the UNP, SLFP and the SLMC. more..

'TMVP ‘Ragu’ killing due to rivalry'

Nov 15 (LD) 'Siber News’ a blogsite alleged the killing of TMVP founder leader Ragu could be an inside job, due to internal rivalry. The slain key TMVP Cadre was a political strategist very close to Pillayan and was identified as Kumaraswami Nandagoban alias ‘Ragu’, an Eastern Tamil returnee, from Australia. Ragu openly known as a private secretary of Pillayan and another person identified as 29-year-old Sameer Rajkumar were shot dead while more..

Preparation to dissolve parliament after Budget 2009

Nov 15 (LD) Following the final budget vote on Dec. 08th, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is considering to dissolve Parliament and hold General Elections in March 2009, internal government sources say. Several SLFP seniors have proposed that it is more apt to call for General Elections after holding provincial council elections in some of the remaining 5 provinces. However, the President has already held talks with several leaders of the government affiliated political parties saying that more..

Sri Lanka Dockyard begins work on offshore supply vessel

Nov 15 (LBO) Colombo Dockyard, the shipbuilder listed on Sri Lanka's stock exchange, said it has started building a new offshore support vessel for a unit of India's Greatship. The keel for the second multipurpose platform supply vessel being built for Greatship Global Offshore Services of Singapore was laid Friday, the yard said in a statement. The occasion was attended by the owner's representatives and senior management of Colombo Dockyard and the project team, it said. more..

Sri Lanka asks 'friends' to buy more tea

Nov 15 (AFP) Sri Lanka, a key exporter of tea, has appealed to "friendly countries" to buy more of the brew to help the island weather the global financial crisis, officials said Saturday. Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and senior officials of the tea board on Friday met envoys of main tea-buying countries and urged them to purchase more of the island's green gold and help sustain auction prices. more..

Mop up operations in progress in Pooneryn salient

Nov 15 (MoD) Task Force 1 troops having liberated Poonaryn are now engaged in mop-up operations in the Poonaryn salient, Defence sources in the filed reveal. Troops are now clearing their way towards Kalmunai Point (K-Point) along the 20 Km long narrow land stretch where the LTTE terrorists used to stationed their artillery and mortar batteries. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Air Force has lunched a series of air strikes in support of ground troops in the Muhamalai area. more..

Military seizes key Tamil stronghold

Nov 15 (AP) Sri Lankan troops seized a rebel coastal stronghold Saturday, establishing a land link to the ethnic Tamil heartland on Jaffna peninsula in a key victory against Tamil Tiger separatists, the country's president said. President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced the capture of Pooneryn town on the west coast in a televised speech and said the military will now be able to access the previously isolated, government-controlled Jaffna peninsula by land, instead of depending on boats and aircraft. more..

Scenarios: Where is Sri Lanka's war heading?

Nov 15 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military on Saturday said it had seized the entire western coast of Sri Lanka after months of combat, leaving it in position to open a road to the war-isolated Jaffna Peninsula for the first time since 1993. Analysts say the military is making gains and has the unflinching support of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in its mission to wipe out one of the world's most ruthless and effective insurgent groups. Here are some scenarios of what could happen next: more..

Sri Lanka army seizes entire west coast

Nov 15 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military said troops seized the entire western coast of the Indian Ocean island on Saturday, capturing the key Pooneryn area where Tamil Tiger rebel artillery had kept soldiers at bay since 1993. With the military controlling Pooneryn, a strategic spit of land that runs parallel to the neck of the northern Jaffna Peninsula across a narrow lagoon, it will be in a position to strike the rebel capital of Kilinochchi from three sides. more..

Sri Lanka army 'takes key town'

Nov 15 (AJ) The Sri Lankan military says it has captured the strategically important northern town of Pooneryn from Tamil Tiger separtists. After months of heavy fighting in the north, the defence ministry said on Saturday that government forces now controlled the entire western coast of the Indian Ocean island. "Troops of army Task Force One have entered the LTTE bastion of Pooneryn this morning [Saturday]," the ministry said in a statement. more..

"Democracy challenged" - CM

Nov 16 (BBC) Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan says that he has no reason to believe that LTTE was behind the assassination of TMVP Secretary Kumarasamy Nandagopan known as Ragu. The Chief Minister made this remark when he visited the Mahajana College, Batticaloa to pay his last respects to Ragu. "I have come to this conclusion following my visit to the crime scene in Athurugiriya and having a personal observation", he said. more..

Week-long felicitation to mark military victories

Nov 16 (IANS) Sri Lanka Saturday announced a week-long felicitation to mark island-wide the victories of the security forces, who captured the last major naval bastion of Tamil Tiger rebels in the north after 15 long years. 'Our soldiers have captured the strategically important Pooneryn in the north from the LTTE after several years and registered a major victory. We expect to honour our security forces and declare this week felicitate the victories of our heroic soldiers against terrorism,' more..

LTTE & "Cats on Hot Bricks"

Nov 16 (AT) Today - Saturday, it has been reported that our Armed Forces have captured Pooneryn. On the 12th of November it was reported in the newspapers that the Combined Forces "….. had entered Kumulamunai located 13 Km south of the LTTE’s Mullaitivu bastion." The LTTE had abandoned their stronghold. Is there anyone so unpatriotic in Sri Lanka who wishes to deny the victories that our brave soldiers have achieved in what was formerly termed as "LTTE strongholds"? more..

29 Lankan Tamil refugees reach India

Nov 16 (NDTV) In the largest influx of refugees since the last few months, a batch of 29 Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees arrived at Dhanushkodi near Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu on Saturday, officials said. The refugees said they had paid Rs 15,000 per head to be ferried to India. Officials said the influx of refugees proved that the fighting in the Island's north had intensified. more..

The great victory of Poonaryn

Nov 16 (LR) The heroic Sri Lanka military forces has finally liberated Poonaryn area after nearly two decades of terrorist control and established the territorial integrity between North and South. With this great victory, not only the sea tiger activity has been completely swept away from the western coast of the emerald island, but also it has open up strategic land route from South to North. This is joyful victory for all the patriotic Sri Lankans who genuinely supported the fight against terrorism. more..

Corruption in Sri Lanka: Interview with J.C. Weliamuna

Nov 16 (GV) J.C. Weliamuna is the Executive Director of Transparency International in Sri Lanka and an Attorney-at-Law. He and his family were lucky to escape with their lives after two grenades were thrown into their house, just a week or two after this interview was recorded. Our discussion explored the nature of corruption in Sri Lanka, how it stunts Sri Lanka’s development and contributes to violence. more..

Pillayan’s Sec a RAW agent claims military intelligence

Nov 16 (LB) Military intelligence believes that Kumarasawamy Nandagoban alias Ragu who was killed in Athurugiriya on Friday is a RAW agent. He was the private secretary of Eastern province chief minister Sivanesathurei Chandrakanthan (Pillayan). The Chief Minister told media yesterday that Ragu was not killed by the LTTE, but he declined to say who is responsible for the killing. more..

Mahinda’s learning curve

Nov 16 (LB) The president formally meeting CWC members in anticipation of elections next year may have sought more hope than surprises. Another plantation outfit UPF wants a separate administrative unit in the plantation areas, when power is devolved in a new power sharing arrangement. However, in the best indication that there will be polls definitely next year - perhaps a general election as well — the president spoke to the CWC to ensure there will be no holes in his current support base. more..

Other nationalities and religions have been established... they are like migrants

Nov 16 (LB) Minister of Environment, Patali Champika Ranawaka has been in the thick of it in recent weeks on account of statements he is purported to have made, offending the sensibilities of minorities in this country. However, the minister vehemently denied that he ever uttered statements which were of an offensive nature either against Tamils or the Muslims. In addition, he denied that President Rajapaksa had pulled him up over the issue. more..

Muslim student uniform causes school calamity

Nov 16 (LB) A three-decade-old circular allowing Muslim schoolgirls to wear the Punjabi suit to school is fuelling a controversy that may spread throughout Sri Lanka. The circular is dated 12 December 1980 and has been signed by Education and Higher Education Secretary M D D Peiris. It says his ministry had received complaints that some principals were not allowing Muslim girls to wear the traditional Punjabi suit to school. more..

Sumal: Laughing all the way to the bank

Nov 16 (SL) While the landmark Kotte Golf Course Judgment delivered by a pumped up Supreme Court last month smacked modest fines of Rs. 3 million, Rs.2 million and Rs. 1 million on former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, her long time ally Ronnie Peiris and the three original shareholders of Asia Pacific Golf Course Ltd., respectively, business tycoon and Access Group Chief Sumal Perera, once dubbed Komis Kakka by the former chief executive may be laughing all the way to the bank. more..

Setting the stage for an election

Nov 16 (SL) While Tamil Nadu turned the heat on New Delhi to push for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka in the lead up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's meeting with President Mahinda Rajapakse last week, the government was looking at its own options to diffuse the developing crisis including the submission of a political package and a snap general election before the economy hits rock bottom. more..

Time for all good men to come to the aid of party and country

Nov 16 (SL) News of the UNP breakaways talking to the UNP as reported in The Morning Leader last Wednesday would have been great news to supporters of the grand old party. The UNP, the oldest political party in the country, has shown tremendous resilience in the past. It has arisen from the grave many a time while its opponents declared so many 'last nails' being driven into the coffin. more..

Top order seals draw for Zimbabweans

Nov 16 (CI) Half-centuries from Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza and Stuart Matsikenyeri ensured the four-day contest between Zimbabwe Select XI and the Sri Lankans ended in a draw at the Queens Sport Club in Bulawayo. After rain made only 38 overs possible on the third day, a wet outfield delayed the start by an hour on Saturday. The Sri Lankans opted to push for a result, declaring their first innings at 567 for 4 - a commanding lead of 408. more..

'Sri Lanka has hit rock bottom'

Nov 16 (SL) In an unprecedented move, the main opposition United National Party has countered what it calls the government’s "disastrous" economic management policies by presenting an alternate Appropriations Bill to parliament, while challenging the government point by point on its failings to bring down prices, control taxes and inflation, and bring about betterment for the people. more..

“Persuade Sri Lanka to stop bombing”

Nov 16 (Hindu) The People’s Union for Civil Liberties-Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Saturday urged the Indian government to pressure Sri Lanka to stop the bombing of civilians. A meeting organised by the organisation made it clear that a military solution would not help to end the ethnic crisis. Calling upon the Sri Lankan government to show magnanimity and respond positively to the LTTE’s offer of ceasefire, the meeting said India should not extend any military assistance to Sri Lanka. more..

Tamil journalist arrested at home in Wellawatte

Nov 16 (TW) General Manager of Tamil FM radio station ‘Vetri’, Journalist Mr. A. R. V.Loshan was arrested early in the morning today, Saturday before dawn at his residence at Wellawatte by Sri Lanka Terrorism Investigations Department (TID), according to Colombo’s premier Tamil daily Virakesari website. Virakesari report says the Tamil journalist was arrested on charges of alleged links with ‘terrorists’ and for taking part in ‘terrorist activities’. more..

Editorial: Tamil Tigers on the retreat?

Nov 16 (AN) The conventional wisdom has long been that the Tamil insurrection in Sri Lanka cannot be brought to an end by military means. Events in recent weeks culminating with the capture yesterday of a key town would seem to be proving this wrong. The retaking of Pooneryn which has been occupied by the rebels for 15 years is significant because it means that there is now a direct link northward with the government-held city of Jaffna. more..

Sri Lankan charity to help repatriate comatose maid

Nov 16 (AN) A Colombo-based charity has come forward to arrange the repatriation of a Sri Lankan housemaid who has been in a coma for three months in a hospital in the Eastern Province. Saroja Devi, 32, who is from Wilanagama, Alawatugoda, was admitted to Al-Musa Hospital, a private health care facility, by her employer on July 2. She was later transferred to the government-run Prince Saud bin Jalawi Hospital due to the high cost of treatment at the private hospital. more..

U.S. Embassy helps Habitat for Humanity build affordable homes in Moratuwa

Nov 16 (USE) On November 7, Ambassador Robert Blake, Deputy Chief of Mission James Moore, and other staff of the U.S. Embassy Colombo volunteered for a day with Habitat for Humanity to provide impoverished Sri Lankan communities with decent housing. Habitat for Humanity Sri Lanka works to provide simple, low-cost homes, not only to those people affected by the 2004 tsunami but also for those affected by poverty. more..

Changing Times

Nov 16 (AT) Crises are times of change; the greater the crisis the profounder the change can be, either for good or ill. The Great Depression gave birth to the New Deal in the US and brought Hitler to power in Germany. Sometimes crises propel countries forward, enabling them to remake themselves more progressively. This is the path the US opted for, with the election of Barrack Hussein Obama as President. more..

Safeguard victory over separatism achieved by security forces by capturing Pooneryn! – JVP

Nov 16 (LT) Victories achieved by Security Forces over terrorism could be converted into genuine victories only by defeating the agendas that sustain separatism including the attempt to grant powers that exceed the 13th amendment and for this masses in Sri Lanka should rally says the JVP. The JVP issuing a statement to facilitate the victory achieved by Security Forces capturing Pooneryn states "We congratulate the Security Forces that recaptured Pooneryn yesterday (15th), more..

Special unit for Sri Lanka`s disabled persons soon

Nov 16 (LNP) A special unit for disabled persons will be opened at the Ministry of Manpower and Labour Relations at its Employment Division at Battaramulla to mark the International Day for Disabled Persons that falls on December 3. `We intend to promote employment, self-employment, and undertake career guidance for the benefit of disabled persons. We are happy that the Minister for Skills Development has agreed to provide training for those who require different skills,` more..

LTTE`s backbone broken -EPDP

Nov 16 (LNP) The capture of Pooneryn by the Security Forces was hailed by key Tamil political figures saying that it was somewhat like breaking the backbone of the LTTE. Praising the bold efforts of the Security Forces in taking control of Pooneryn, Jaffna District Parliamentarian and the Eelam People`s Democratic Party leader Douglas Devananda said that the capture of Pooneryn was a great victory in establishing peace in the north.` more..

Police vigilance foils abductors’ scheme

Nov 16 (SO) It was a heart rending episode where a five year old boy was rescued from the jaws of death squad a fortnight ago. The ruthless bunch of extortionists abducted a little five year old boy from the custody of his mother whilst asleep in his cot and demanded a huge ransom for his release from his father. The criminals even set a deadline and threatened the boys’ parents that failure to comply with their request would result in the death of the boy. more..

Projects to upgrade English and IT skills

Nov 16 (SO) The Presidential Task Force on English and IT will now implement far-reaching programs to improve English knowledge and IT skills of our educated youths, said Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion. The task force of which he is the chairman will also be responsible for the launch of the Year of IT and English in 2009 under President Mahinda Rajapaksa, more..

Right step towards disaster risk reduction

Nov 16 (SO) It is a fact that children are among the vulnerable segments in a disaster and preparedness for a disaster is vital in disaster risk reduction. This project was conducted under the patronage of the Secretary of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha and the Director General of the Disaster Management Centre Major General Gamini Hettiarachchi with the support of zonal education officers. more..

Provision of anti-venom injections - a must

Nov 16 (SO) Over 40,000 persons are bitten by snakes annually and anti-venom injections should be provided to all hospitals countrywide to save them from death. Senior Prof. (Forensic Medicine and Toxicology) University of Colombo Ravindra Fernando told the Sunday Observer. Quoting from latest reports, Prof. Fernando said around 100 snake bite victims die in the country annually due to lack of proper treatment. more..

A ministry divided against itself

Nov 16 (NS) The undeclared war between Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama and Ministry Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona has now got out of hand to such an extent, the smooth functioning of this vital Ministry too has been affected, Foreign Office sources complain. With the duo hardly talking to each other, these sources said it has come to a point where even the staff had got divided and urged the President to intervene in the matter and more..

Waters’ Edge inquiry; an opportunity for Chandrika to clear her name

Nov 16 (NS) The judicial process now known as the ‘Waters’ Edge case,’ was widely acknowledged as a landmark in the annals of legal history in this country for a variety of reasons. Not only did it reaffirm the faith the public had in the judiciary, it also underscored an important principle: that Presidential immunity is no blanket cover for politicians, for acts of commission or omission. more..