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Three Years of the Mahinda Rajapaksa Presidency

Nov 16 (NS) UPFA Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected as President in November 2005. His tenure has been amidst some unparalleled challenges both locally as well as in the region and the world at large. Rajapaksa was born in Weerakatiya in the southern rural district of Hambantota. He hails from a well known political family in Sri Lanka. His father, D. A. Rajapaksa, was a prominent politician, independence agitator, MP and Cabinet Minister of Agriculture and Land in Wijeyananda Dahanayake’s government. more..

Karuna, Pillaiyan divided over assassination

Nov 16 (NS) Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivenesathurai Chandrakanthan alias ‘Pillaiyan’ and TMVP leader and parliamentarian Vinayagamurthi Muralidaran alias ‘Karuna’ hold opposing views on the assassination of Pillaiyan’s personal secretary, Kumaraswami Nandakopan alias ‘Ragu’. While Pillaiyan has publicly stated that he did not suspect the LTTE of killing his secretary Ragu, Karuna categorically stated that it was the LTTE that carried out the killing. more..

Muhamalai likely target after Pooneryn victory

Nov 16 (Island) The SLAF yesterday morning launched a series of air strikes on LTTE positions on the neck of the Jaffna peninsula as the Task Force I brought Pooneryn under its control fuelling speculation of a fresh security forces attempt to pierce Muhamalai defences. The capture of Pooneryn marked the end of a critical phase of the offensive which has now denied the north-western seaboard to the LTTE. Military sources said that from now on Sea Tigers wouldn’t have the wherewithal to bring in supplies from Tamil Nadu. more..

Politicos will keep their seeni bola despite budget cuts

Nov 16 (Island) Although funds allocated to over two dozen ministries through the 2009 budget had been sharply reduced, ministers, deputy ministers and non-cabinet ministers will not lose any of their perks and privileges, the JVP said yesterday. JVP MP Ranaweera Pathirana said that parliamentarians have been assured that their seeni bola will not be taken away despite an unprecedented economic downturn. more..

Hotels Corp. trims payroll through voluntary retirement scheme

Nov 16 (Island) Ceylon Hotels Corporation PLC (CHC), a member of the Galle Face Hotel group and owner of several prime hotel properties and rest houses countrywide, has posted a hefty group loss of Rs.336.8 million in the 15 months ended March 31, 2008, up from a loss of Rs.37.5 million in the year ended December 31, 2006. At company level the loss for the 15 months was Rs.235.8 million against a loss of Rs.40 million in the year ended December 31, 2006. more..

Sarath Fonseka and the Sinhalese

Nov 16 (Island) Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has provoked a storm of criticism with some of his recent statements, notably the following which had appeared in a Canadian magazine, "I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese but there are minority communities and we treat them like our people….. We being the majority of the country, 75%, we will never give in and we have the right to protect this country … They can live in this country with us. more..

Srilankan Airlines marks silver anniversary in Oman market

Nov 16 (AME) From one flight a week averaging 120 passengers a month and three staff members 25 years ago, SriLankan Airlines now operates three flights a week carrying an average of 1,500 passengers a month serviced by eight dedicated staff members in the Sultanate of Oman. said Mohamed Fazeel, SriLankan Airlines' Regional Manager for the Middle East. '25 years ago SriLankan Airlines' UL 206 connected to Trivandrum, Trichy and Madras (now Chennai) and Bombay (now Mumbai),' more..

Rajapaksa calms down India

Nov 16 (ST) On the eve of Tiger guerrilla leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's 53rd birthday last year, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, told Agence France Presse (AFP) news agency, "if all goes to plan it will be his last." Evidently, things did not go to plan. The guerrilla leader has survived that threat. His cadres are busy in the Mullaitivu district preparing for the 54th birthday on November 26. more..

Fall of Pooneryn: Crushing blow to Tigers

Nov 16 (ST) There are strong indications that the Tiger guerrillas are coming under heavy military pressure on many fronts. The latest came yesterday. Troops backed by main battle tanks and helicopter gunships made a pre-dawn foray southwards into Tiger guerrilla defences in the now shut down Muhamalai entry exit point. Heavy fighting broke out and both sides suffered casualties. The battles continue. There were reports that the guerrillas carried out gas attacks. more..

Petrol hedge deals probed

Nov 16 (ST) The Central Bank has begun an extensive probe on the oil hedging deals by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), criticized over mounting losses, even as a government minister said there will not be any more hedging next year. Even as CPC Chairman Asantha de Mel came out blazing at a news conference on Monday and stoutly defended the decision to resort to the ‘zero cost collar’ option in hedging on oil prices, five-man teams from the CB visited five commercial banks on Thursday and Friday and obtained all documents pertaining to the transactions. more..

Shaven heads, bandaged faces and looks of despair

Nov 16 (ST) Shaven heads, bandaged faces and looks of despair. They are in for the long haul. Days, months and years and even when the hospital stay is over, regular clinic visits are a must. Family life goes awry, work cannot be attended to and schooling is disrupted especially for those coming from the outstations. Life comes to a halt. That is why the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at Maharagama has joined hands with the CCC (Courage, Compassion and Commitment) to more..

Sri Lanka draws dragonfly watchers

Nov 16 (LBO) At the site on an ancient monastery in Sri Lanka, a group of British visitors are peering into ponds, looking closely at stone walls and adjusting their cameras and binoculars to get a better angle. Other visitors to the ruins in Arankelle in north central Sri Lanka are looking at the British visitors curiously, wondering why they find so interesting in the murky waters of an ancient pool. The visitors had come not to view the ruins, but to study and photograph dragonflies that have made it their habitat. more..

Detained journalist says threatened daily; quizzed in court over writing

Nov 16 (LBO) A Sri Lankan journalist who had been detained for over eight months had been questioned about what he wrote, and had also revealed to court that he had been repeatedly threatened, a media report said. Senior journalist J S Tissainayagam's case had been taken up Friday in Colombo High Court but the judicial medical officer summoned to give evidence was not present, The Sunday Times newspaper reported. more..

Sri Lanka probes wheat ship: report

Nov 16 (LBO) Sri Lankan customs authorities are holding a ship that carried 72,000 tonnes of wheat to a mill owned by Prima of Singapore in the eastern port of Trincomalee, a media report said. The Sunday Times newspaper said the ship named as MV Boreal was boarded by customs sleuths under military escort. The report said the ship's agent had submitted documents to clear wheat imported from the Canadian Wheat Board, before the vessel arrived in Trincomalee and two days before a budget proposed a new import tax on wheat. more..

'Ceasefire alone will satisfy DMK'

Nov 16 (PTI) DMK will not be satisfied till a ceasefire was enforced in the embattled north Sri Lanka, party president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said on Sunday. "We have made our stand clear in the party executive and also through the resolution at the all-party meeting that we want nothing short of a ceasefire and protection for the lives of innocent Tamils there," he told reporters here. more..

Sri Lanka bombs major rebel northern defense line

Nov 16 (AP) Sri Lanka's air force pounded the Tamil Tiger rebels' main northern defense line Sunday, a day after government forces dismantled the last rebel stronghold on the island's west coast, the military said. Fighter jets bombed the Tamil separatists' defense line in the Muhamalai area of Jaffna peninsula, north of the rebels' de facto state, twice on Sunday, said air force spokesman Wing Commander Janaka Nanayakkara. more..

The Other Tamils

Nov 17 (TOI) The war in Sri Lanka always finds an echo in Tamil Nadu. Political parties and civil society groups including members of the film industry have now brought the issue to a boil. The situation in Sri Lanka is indeed grave: Over 2, 00, 000 people of Tamil origin are fighting for survival in extreme conditions in the Wanni region in north Sri Lanka. Some of the scepticism about the current protests in Tamil Nadu is valid. more..

Foreign Ministrty to seek cabinet approval to set up Sri Lanka Mission in Libya

Nov 17 (AT) Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to present a cabinet paper shortly seeking for approval to open up a Sri Lanka Mission in Tripoli, Libiya. Dr. Keheliya Rambukawella, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare and Government Spokesman on National Security speaking to Asian Tribune said that already Sri Lanka President has approved the setting up of a Sri Lanka Mission in Tripoli. more..

“Take steps to end genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka”

Nov 17 (Hindu) Fans of actor Vijay observed fast here on Sunday urging the Central government to take steps to stop the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. The day-long fast organised near Khadi Kraft junction was led by the Tiruchi District Vijay Narpani Iyakkam district president R.K. Raja. The fast was inaugurated by the DMK district treasurer K.K.M. Thangaraja. The Communist Party of India State council member M. Selvaraj, Pattali Makkal Katchi State youth wing secretary T. Arivuselvam, more..

Sri Lankan carer waits anxiously to hear whether she will be deported

Nov 17 (BM) A BIRMINGHAM refugee, living under the threat of deportation, has told of her agonisingly long wait for news. Sri Lankan born Olivia Senaratne has been providing 24-hour care for frail Bert Reynolds, aged 93, in exchange for board and lodgings at his home on Adrian Croft, Moseley. Olivia, a devout Christian, aged 60, claims she was forced to leave her four children and five grandchildren after enduring nearly 20 years of domestic violence at the hands of her alcoholic, ex-military policeman husband. more..

Indian ship with relief supply arrives in Colombo

Nov 17 (IANS) An Indian ship carrying 1,700 tonnes of relief assistance for war-affected Tamil civilians in the island-nation's north arrived in the Colombo harbour. The relief material will be distributed primarily through the International Red Cross with the concurrence of the Sri Lankan government. The Indian Shipping Corporation ship Contijork, carrying the first consignment of relief assistance, arrived in the Colombo harbour late Saturday. more..

A Passage from the novel ‘Lanka Rani’

Nov 17 (LG) However, there is little evidence, the real history of Sri Lanka was anything like what is stated in Mahavamsa. Up to the 12th century no language by the name Sinhala language exited in Sri Lanka. It is only after this period, a language in the name of Sinhala language came into existence by the intermixing of Tamil, Pali, Sanskrit and Eelu, one of the tribal languages of Sri Lanka. more..

Meritocracy or devolution?

Nov 17 (LG) Tamil-speaking ethnic Sri Lankans are now caught between a murderous separatist group and a duplicitous Sri Lankan state. The Tamil diaspora in the West is also blindly cheering the extremists from the comforts of their American, Australian and European homes, harming the social and economic interests of innocent Sri Lankan Tamil residents. And the politicians of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu are trying to gain political mileage as the humanitarian crisis escalates in conflict areas. more..

Sri Lanka's war: The crucible of the sword

Nov 17 (TC) In regard to the Tamil Nadu assembly’s call for a ceasefire and an end to military operations, President Rajapakse has spoken for the overwhelming bulk of his citizens when he just said no. Sri Lanka is not a powerful country, nor is it an influential small country such as Cuba , but it has its strengths. One of these is the resilience of its multiparty democracy under conditions of extreme duress, its eschewal of military rule and totalitarianism of the Right or Left. more..

Ceasefire in Sri Lanka – only after Killinochchi

Nov 17 (LG) In the absence of nothing concrete emerging to save the Tigers from their predicament – this has been confirmed in the latest reports coming from Delhi that President Mahinda Rajapakse has stood firm on his decision not to stop the war until the Tigers lay down their arms -- the Tiger cadres and their apparatchiks abroad are looking for a miracle. Since nothing of the sort is also visible in the skies or in the horizon hey rely on rumours that more..

Can TNA play guarantor for LTTE?

Nov 17 (LG) Independent of the unanimous resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu State Assembly, there is little chance of the Government of India getting involved in the ‘ceasefire demand’ in Sri Lanka. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it that much more clear at his meeting with Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa at New Delhi. Singh reiterated the Indian concerns on the humanitarian front and reiterated New Delhi’s position on a non-militarist, political solution on power-devolution. more..

Sri Lanka's genocidal war on Eelam Tamils

Nov 17 (FI) For the last two weeks, the Sri Lankan armed forces have been engaged in an aggressive war with the people of Tamil Eelam, aimed not only at the combatants but the entire civilian population. As a result, Thousands of Tamils have been killed, wounded and have been forcefully displaced. It is not a war between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE as the mainstream media tries to portray, but is an attempt by the Sri Lankan state to wipe out the entire Tamil population from the island, in the cover of eliminating the LTTE. more..

The Tamil Nadu Resolution and new possibilities

Nov 17 (FI) On Wednesday, 12 November, the Tamil Nadu State Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the Indian Government to persuade the Government of Sri Lanka to agree to a ceasefire with the LTTE and to commence negotiations to reach a political settlement. According to reports, the Indian Prime Minister handed a copy of the resolution to President Mahinda Rajapkase when the two met in Delhi. more..

Protest after killing of doctor in Batticaloa

Nov 17 (MG) Doctors and staff of the Batticaloa hospital today have staged a protest after a doctor attached to the Navatkudha hospital was shot dead overnight at his quarters, Police said. The doctor identified as S.W Palitha Pathmakumar , 35, a resident of Gampola was called out of his quarters and shot on Sunday night, by suspected LTTE cadres, Police said. The gunmen while fleeing had shot dead a civilian in Vavunathivu. He was identified as Yogendran. more..

Our country should be directed along a people's economy! – Bimal Ratnayake

Nov 17 (LT) The country needs a people's economy where the gains are fairly shared between the masses and producers said Parliamentarian Bimal Ratnayake. He said a national centre has been created encompassing all forces including farmers, workers, scholars, industrialists and entrepreneurs for this purpose. Mr. Ratnayake made these observations at a media meeting organized by National Centre for People's Economy more..

1000 nurses to be recruited

Nov 17 (GDI) A total of 1000 nurses are to be recruited under the supervision of the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) on November 19, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training told today (17). This ceremony will be held under the patronage of the Minister of Vocational and Technical Training, Piyasena Gamage, and the Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition, Nimal Siripala de silva. more..

Mayhem at LTTE front fund raising event

Nov 17 (LG) The affiliated organisation of the LTTE front British Tamil Forum (BTF) the UKTSU (UK Tamil Student Union) was abruptly called off whilst their ‘Western Thaalam 2008’ fund raising event was in progress. The event was held at the Harrow Leisure Centre on 15th (Saturday) November 2008. The UKTSU call itself an umbrella organisation for all UK Tamil and Sri Lankan University societies. more..

Judge C.G. Weeramantry; of memories, and memoirs yet unpublished

Nov 17 (GDI) I had picked up a small book on 'The World Court' from a dusty shelf of a bookshop close to my home, in Nugegoda. I had flipped through it, realized the importance of its content, and decided to purchase it. I had heard much about the author and even read some of his previous publications. But I didn't know where he was or what he was doing, then. more..

A bus to operate from Colombo to Jaffna

Nov 17 (LNP) Minister Dulles Alahapperuma desires to operate an SLTB bus from Colombo to Jaffna. Discussions are afoot to ply a bus on the A-32 Highway with the liberation of Pooneryn. Handing over letters of appointment to graduates recruited to the SLTB, he referred to yesterday s decisive victory. The West Coast had been totally liberated. A bus can be operated on the A-32 Highway in two to three months. Instructions had been given to prepare the ground work. more..

Angry President raps Health Ministry

Nov 17 (LNP) As the country celebrated the capture of the last major LTTE bastion on the western flank of the Vanni battlefield on Saturday, frontline troops wounded in skirmishes with the LTTE had to be transferred to the National Hospital and Kandy Teaching Hospital for want of medical specialists at the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had intervened after this was brought to his attention. more..

A historic victory! - Sri Lanka

Nov 17 (LNP) The liberation of Pooneryn couldn`t have come at a better time for President Mahinda Rajapaksa engaged in a war on the political front where the UNP, the TNA and the JVP have joined forces to dislodge his government. A telegraph that General Sherman sent to President Lincoln in 1864 comes to mind. `I beg to present you,` Sherman, having successfully completed his march through Georgia and South Carolina, wrote to Lincoln reverentially, `as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah .` more..

Minister Amunugama launches new BOI Job Bank website

Nov 17 (BOI) Hon Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion, Dr. Sarath Amunugama launched the BOI Job Bank website on Monday at an inaugural event at the ministry office, 25th Floor, West Tower, World Trade Centre. Chairman/Director General, BOI, Mr Dhammika Perera and senior officials of the BOI were present at the occasion. A brainchild of the Hon. Minister, the website will facilitate interaction between BOI companies and youth who are seeking jobs. more..

World Class Quality hats made in Sri Lanka

Nov 17 (BOI) The BOI granted investment approval to Statesman Hats (Private) Limited for a project to manufacture hats, caps, headwear and head dresses for export. Mr. Dhammika Perera, Chairman / Director General signed the agreement and formally presented the BOI Certificate of Registrations to the investors. The company will establish the production facility in Wattala and is expected to export their products to markets in Europe, United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. more..

LTTE suicide air strike a possibility

Nov 17 (SAMN) With the area on the western flank under the control of the LTTE rapidly shrinking amid heavy pressure on its positions along the 12 km stretch on the neck of the Jaffna peninsula, the Tigers could resort to retaliatory measures including a suicide mission by its aircraft, authoritative defence sources said, adding that this possibility had been discussed and counter measures planned. more..

SL economy in trouble: Sajith

Nov 17 (SAMN) Charging that Sri Lanka’s economy is in dire straits, the UNP MP for Hambantota District Sajith Premadasa told Parliament on Saturday that a paradigm shift in the design, structure and substance of public policy is necessary to come out of it. Premadasa made this point during the debate on the second reading of the budget on Saturday when he charged that the country is faced with poverty, foreign reserves crisis and brain drain. more..

Make Pooneryn victory permanent: UNP

Nov 17 (SAMN) Charging that the government is trying to convert the victory by the military in Pooneryn into a political victory, the main opposition UNP called for a political solution which would make this success a permanent one. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told a press conference Sunday the government has unfairly converted the victory of the security forces into one of its political successes, just to cover up its failures especially in the economic front. more..

Rukman calls for ‘Tea for Oil’ Pact

Nov 17 (SAMN) UNP MP Rukman Senanayake called for the implementation of ‘Tea for Oil’ pact with Middle East and Russia to save the declining tea industry. Senanayake made this call speaking during the debate on the second reading of the Budget in Parliament over the weekend. He said the government should go ahead with this pact as suggested by the Sri Lanka Tea Board and pointed out, more..

'Need for establishment of agro-export zones'

Nov 17 (DN) The Government has allocated comparatively a large amount of funds in the present budget, for export promotion that includes the increase of export volumes, incentives intended for exporters and producers of export goods and establishment of agro-export zones, Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof. G. L. Peiris said at a mee ting that was held recently at the Mahanaga Mandiraya at Hambantota. more..

Weerawansa praises Forces' victory

Nov 17 (DN) The necessity of forming a Parliament without any representatives supporting separatism was emphasised by National Freedom Front President Wimal Weerawansa at a media conference held at the party's Battaramulla headquarter office yesterday. "There should be no room for anyone who finds it difficult to congratulate our valiant soldiers on their triumph in Pooneryn," Weerawansa added. more..

Now, National Hospital runs out of commonly used type of insulin

Nov 17 (Island) The National Hospital has run out of a commonly used type of insulin, causing immense difficulties to diabetic patients scheduled to undergo surgical operations. Medical sources said that Sri Lanka’s premier health institution did not have this type of insulin even on World Diabetes Day, which fell on November 14. The GMOA has accused the Health Ministry of failing to provide the required stocks on time. more..

New Ananda Principal’s appointment thwarted

Nov 17 (Island) The Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Education Ministry are on a collision course over the latter’s refusal to appoint Nimal Jayaweera, Principal of Dharmasoka Vidyalaya, Kelaniya as Principal of Ananda College, Colombo. The PSC has called for an explanation from Nimal Bandara, Secretary to the Education Ministry, in this regard. Well informed sources said that the PSC had recommended Jayaweera’s appointment about a month ago, more..

Video Conferencing to record evidence shortly

Nov 17 (DM) The Special Presidential Commission Investigating Serious Violations of Human Rights (Commission) is to resume recording evidence shortly via video conferencing once again with the assistance provided by the Presidential Secretariat, Chairman of the Commission retired Supreme Court Judge, Nissanka Udalagama said. The Commission suspended recording evidence from witnesses from foreign soils on the instructions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa after more..

Govt. plans to counter unknown disease killing coconut trees

Nov 17 (DM) Coconut, a plantation crop which is one of Sri Lanka’s main foreign exchange earners, is facing a serious threat in the shape of an un-identified disease where coconut leaves wither away before the entire tree dies due to a suspected fungal attack, as experienced in the districts of Matara, Weligama, Hambantota and Galle in particular, a spokesman of the Coconut Development Authority (CDA) said. more..

Identifying Sri Lankan Tamil cause with LTTE may damage the cause itself

Nov 17 (TC) The war in Sri Lanka always finds an echo in Tamil Nadu. Political parties and civil society groups including members of the film industry have now brought the issue to a boil. The situation in Sri Lanka is indeed grave: Over 2, 00, 000 people of Tamil origin are fighting for survival in extreme conditions in the Wanni region in north Sri Lanka. Some of the scepticism about the current protests in Tamil Nadu is valid. more..

Govt. exploiting military victory for elections - Mangala

Nov 17 (LD) A news statement released by the "Defence Watch" says the government is exploiting military victories for a snap poll. Future military operations are also politically planned by the government to mould social emotions in order to win elections, says the statement, released under the signature of Mangala Samaraweera, MP and SLFP - 'M' Wing leader. more..