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Sri Lanka foreign loan program 'difficult' under current conditions: official

Nov 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka's infrastructure projects could face delays if the island is unable to raise over half a billion dollars though commercial loans amid tough conditions in global financial markets, a top official said. "The government needs external financing of around 500 million dollars in commercial money for financing counterparty funds required for concessionally financed projects," more..

Sri Lanka cigarette firm profits rise despite falling sales volume

Nov 18 (LBO) Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC), said net profit rose 40 percent to 603 million rupees in the September quarter from a year ago. Total sales rose 15.2 percent to 13.7 billion rupees, according to a stock exchange filing. The result boosted nine-month profits by 38 percent to 1.5 billion rupees. Although cigarette sales fell, market share improved at the expense of counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes, more..

Influx of Sri Lankan refugees on the rise

Nov 18 (Hindu) There has been an increase in the influx of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to the State. In the last one week alone, more than 100 refugees reached Rameswaram and reported at police stations on the island, apparently due to the intense battle in Sri Lanka. Eighteen refugees, including 5 women and 6 children, arrived on Sunday night after enduring an ordeal for nearly two days on one of the unmanned islets between Talaimannar and Dhanushkodi. more..

Major parties stay away from meeting called by CPI

Nov 18 (Hindu) The all-party meeting convened by the Communist Party of India (CPI) on Monday called for a hartal on November 25 in Tamil Nadu to urge the Centre to intervene and ensure a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. All the major parties including the DMK, AIADMK, Congress, CPI(M), DMDK and Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi stayed away from the meeting. The CPI(M) had told the CPI leadership that it did not approve of the party’s criticism that sending relief materials to the Tamils in Sri Lanka was nothing but a farce. more..

Sri Lanka’s crisis budget: government imposes new war burdens

Nov 18 (wsws) The Sri Lankan budget handed down last week by President Mahinda Rajapakse was dominated by two major crises: the country’s protracted civil war and the economic impact of the international financial turmoil and rapid slide towards global recession. Having restarted the war in mid-2006, the government is struggling to borrow the money to pay the ballooning military costs. The defence allocation for 2009 is a record 200 billion rupees ($US1.8 billion) more..

Plea in court to stop killing of fishermen

Nov 18 (Hindu) A resident of Ranipet has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Union government to stop giving training and supplying weapons to the Sri Lankan military and also take steps to ensure that the island government stopped killing Tamil Nadu fishermen, and Tamils on the island. In his petition, S.Mohana Sukumar said the Sri Lankan Army had killed more than 600 Tamil Nadu fishermen and wounded several others. more..

'28 Indian fishermen held in Sri Lanka'

Nov 18 (IANS) At least 28 Indian fishermen and seven of their boats have been detained by the Sri Lankan Navy early Tuesday, a police officer here said. Fishermen who had set out to sea yesterday (Monday) night in 100 boats reported that seven boats and at least 28 men have been captured by the Sri Lankan navy,' the officer said. 'Those who returned said the seven boats and their crew were being detained at Kankesanthurai in northern Sri Lanka,' more..

'There is no sympathy for the LTTE in Tamil Nadu'

Nov 18 (Rediff) Cho Ramaswamy, the editor of Thuglaq magazine, is one of the most respected political analysts in India. Cho tells Shobha Warrier about the Sri Lankan crisis and the LTTE in his inimitable style. Why do you think all political parties in Tamil Nadu are suddenly interested in the Sri Lankan Tamils? It all started with the Communists. They didn't have any particular platform here, and more..

Sri Lanka seizes funds said to be used for terror acts

Nov 18 (LBO) Central bank said it had made the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), an organisation linked to the Tamil Tigers, to forfeit its funds to the state under laws against terrorist financing. "A sum of about 71 million rupees which was lying to the credit of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization at the time the funds of the TRO were frozen, have now been forfeited to the state," a central bank statement said. more..

Sri Lankan military says it sinks 2 rebel boats

Nov 18 (AP) Sri Lankan naval forces backed by helicopter gunships attacked a group of rebel boats early Tuesday, sinking two and killing six Tamil Tiger sailors, the military said. The sea battle came as the military pushed ahead with its multi-pronged offensive against the rebels' de facto state in the north. The battle erupted in Nayaru Lagoon on Sri Lanka's northeast coast, just south of the rebel stronghold of Mullaitivu, when navy forces attacked seven Tamil Tiger boats, more..

Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada ravaged by war in homeland

Nov 18 (AFP) The picture of a fallen top commander of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels is neatly plastered on the wall of a shopping center. Not far away, a food outlet peddles a crispy savory pancake, "dosa," named after Tamil Eelam, the independent state aspired by the Tigers. No, you are not in the stronghold of the LTTE in northern Sri Lanka but in Scarborough, the eastern part of Toronto. This largest Canadian city is home to about 250,000 ethnic Tamils who more..

So close and yet so far: From Pooneryn to peace in Sri Lanka

Nov 19 (GV) The military have now taken the strategic western town of Pooneryn, thus opening up the A-32 highway that links Mantota and the former along the western flank of the Northern Province. This would enable the linking up (via the causeway that traverses the Jaffna lagoon) of the peninsula with the mainland for the first time since Eelam War II. Supplies, both economic and military could thus be transported to government-controlled Jaffna, providing relief to its people. more..

Govt. targets USD 3 billion in foreign exchange

Nov 19 (GDI) The Government is confident of earning a net annual revenue of three billion US dollars in foreign exchange this year, Minister of Foreign Employment Promotions and Welfare, Keheliya Rambukwelle said. "The Government has formulated a National Policy on Foreign Employment in consultation with all relevant parties. Apart from this, several other initiatives have been taken for the welfare of Sri Lankan migrant workers." more..

Release Loshan - RSF

Nov 19 (BBC) Reporters Without Borders urge the Sri Lankan authorities to release the manager of a Tamil radio A. R. V. Loshan arrested at his home in Colombo. The senior radio presenter and current manager of FM Vettri was picked up by Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) agents on Sunday. The worldwide press freedom organisation said that TID allegations against him of having "links with terrorists" and "aiding terrorist activities" should be based on evidence and not on simple conjecture. more..

Bring TNA into APRC - Ranil

Nov 19 (BBC) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe says TNA has to be brought in the deliberations of the APRC. Wickremasinghe who is in India meeting Indian leaders to apprise them of the current political situation in Sri Lanka has met India's main opposition the Bharathiya Janatha Party's top leaders including former Foreign Ministers of India, Jaswant Singh and Yashwant Sinha. more..

No major bribery probe in 2007 - Corruption Watch

Nov 19 (LD) The non-implementation of the 17th Amendment has denied the Bribery Commission - which has failed to carryout any major investigation in the past year - the ability to function impartially, said Rohana Gamage, a member of 'Corruption Watch.' The ex Lt. Col. of the Navy, who is now a member of the North Central Provincial Council, was speaking to the media on the new anti-corruption initiative in Colombo today (Nov. 18th). more..

ICRC to distribute Indian aid to Vanni IDPs

Nov 19 (IRIN) A consignment of relief supplies from the government of India destined for tens of thousands of displaced persons in areas under the control of LTTE in the island's north arrived in Sri Lanka on 15 November, Indian diplomats in Colombo said. Dinker Asthana, the spokesperson for the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, told IRIN: "It is a fairly large consignment and we expect to clear customs formalities in the next few days." more..

Church youths give school supplies to displaced children

Nov 19 (UCAN) The gift of school books, pencils and a water bottle meant a lot to 10-year-old Thurga Subothini. The Hindu Tamil girl says her parents scrape a living in Jayanthi village, North Central Province, only 30 kilometers from the civil war frontline in Northern Province. As refugees from the fighting, they find it hard to keep Thurga, her sister and two brothers in school. more..

IT professionals wear T-shirts inscribed with pro-Sri Lankan Tamils slogans

Nov 19 (Hindu) Hundreds of IT professionals in the city on Monday wore white T-shirts with slogans printed on them to mark the launch of a series of non-violent campaigns to protest against the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka. The T-shirts were printed in Tamil with strong social expressions such as, ‘Stop war,’ and ‘Guns are heartless.’ Most of the participants were employees of more..

What of the people?

Nov 19 (ML) The latest report of University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna), (UTHR-J) dated October 31 was tabled in parliament by the UNP on November 11. Special Report No. 31 is titled Pawns Of An Un-heroic War. The report was tabled in parliament by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera. We reproduce excerpts, continued from last week. Having taken out expatriate aid staff, the government suggested that the local staff of these organisations could work as government volunteers paid by their nominal employers. more..

Establish real democracy in the Eastern province

Nov 19 (ML) Defeat of terrorism, restoration of democracy and establishment of law and order are claims that can roll easily off the glib tongues of political demagogues and their supporters but the actual establishment of these ideals are long and arduous, needing painful application. Constant repetition of a claim, true or false, leads to its acceptance by the people is an axiom of the Goebbelsian principles of propaganda and more..

Global recession jolts Lankan economy

Nov 19 (BL) Growing global recession as per analysts is likely to seriously hamper Sri Lanka’s prospects despite the Government remaining optimistic of achieving higher economic growth next year. The country’s external reserves are likely to dip further with apparel and tea exports facing severe threat and tourism earnings remaining depressed. As per latest data, total apparel exports dropped by 12.3% to $ 244.8 million in September 2008 compared with $ 279 million a year earlier. more..

New trends

Nov 19 (BL) I wish to record the trends that surfaced last week locally, in Tamil Nadu and globally among the Tamil people to help our readers to keep track of the possible new developments in the ethnic conflict. Locally, besides the acceleration of the processes of polarisation between the Sinhalese and the Sri Lankan Tamils, a sense of insecurity seems to be growing among the upcountry Tamils and the Muslims. more..

The President is popular : Survey

Nov 19 (BL) More than half of the respondents to LMD-TNS Lanka’s countrywide poll say that they would vote for President Mahinda Rajapaksa if elections were held now. The President’s third year in office has seen his popularity rise, with a clear majority satisfied with his performance as Commander-in-Chief, according to business magazine LMD. And almost 80 percent of those who were polled “feel that he is right to seek a military solution to the ethnic conflict,” it observes. more..

Parliament partner Vasu recaps the man in Mahinda

Nov 19 (BL) Presidential Advisor and activist Vasudeva Nanayakkara and President Mahinda Rajapaksa are perhaps unusual counterparts; yet a glance at their 38 year long journey together through ardent human rights lobbying to pro-people campaigns, prove that they are just that. Fulfilling the trying roles as champion and critic, Nanayakkara over the decades has been instrumental in supporting Rajapaksa as well as censuring his regime. more..

'Sri Lanka should have announced aid for Tamils'

Nov 19 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan government should have announced welfare measures for Sri Lankan Tamils while attempting to tackle terrorism in the island-nation, Bharatiya Janata Party State president L. Ganesan said on Monday. Mr. Ganesan termed unacceptable the position of Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa that the government wanted to eliminate LTTE before initiating negotiations for a political package. more..

Sri Lanka set to develop tourism in the East

Nov 19 (4H) We want a people based tourism to flourish in the East! Sri Lanka Tourism in its attempt to develop the East, now liberated after the 22 years of war in the region has set in place a process to fast track development. Regions listed are: of Pasikudah, Arugambay, Trincomalee, Nilaveli, Waakarai, Verugal and Kalkudah. The appointment of the Eastern Province Tourism Development Committee was officially announced last week at a press conference more..

Rajasingham Jayadevan vs. Douglas Devananda

Nov 19 (LG) This is my response to Douglas Devananda’s defense solicitor Dr Tellipallai C. Rajaratnam LL.B (SL). LL.M (Lond)., PhD (Lond). Dr. Rajaratnam has claimed that he is responding ‘in defense of Douglas Devananda’ subsequent to my open appeal to the latter. The heading herein accordingly reflects the legal position of Douglas Devananda as a respondent and Dr.T.C.Rajaratnam as his attorney. more..

Agenda of the CFA

Nov 19 (LG) We have said before, that the monkey design of Man Mohan Singh government is to rule this country by holding Mahinda by the neck. First they supplied both arms and money, to push the government to war. Now they say that the war is enough and that it is necessary to go for discussions. Accordingly Mahinda should discuss in order to install an Indian agent as he had done already in the east. Mahinda went to Delhi with Ranil in order to discuss these matters. more..

Aba – an alternative perspective

Nov 19 (LG) No Sinhala film in recent memory has provoked as much mixed comment and emotion as Aba. It is being varyingly perceived as an attempt to subvert the true face of history, as the Mahawansa decrees it; as a not so subtle attempt to impose a Judeo-Christian image on an essentially Sinhala-Buddhist tradition; as an essentially Sinhala-Buddhist episode, perversely interpreted by a mind and a personal ideology honed by the Catholic upbringing of its Director. more..

Aren’t we all in this together?

Nov 19 (LG) The first film I was taken to – even before I began schooling-- was an Elvis movie, so I welcome the news that the best performing single in the history of the US charts is Elvis Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation A Little More Action”. Not only would this hold as regards the global economic crisis, a slightly revised version would constitute sound advice as regards terrorism in the volatile South Asian region: “A little less of double standards, a little more action”. more..

Nation building and Obama

Nov 19 (LG) The United States of America is also in the process of nation building. In fact one could say that the USA is in the process of including the so called African Americans in the nation of Americans. There are other categories besides African Americans such as Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans that have to be incorporated into the American nation, which is nothing but a nation of Caucasian Americans at best. more..

There is nothing funny about lawyers being named as traitors for doing their jobs as lawyers

Nov 19 (AHRC) This week a website maintained by the Ministry of Defence published a report in which they referred to some lawyers as traitors as they appeared for alleged LTTE suspects by filing fundamental rights applications before the Supreme Court on their behalf. It is universally known that it is the job of lawyers to appear for anyone, even for the devil himself. Lawyers appear for murderers, rapists, corrupt politicians facing corruption charges, more..

Boycott of classes in universities from Monday

Nov 19 (LT) Students of all universities will launch a continuous campaign to boycott classes from Monday to protest against detention, for more than 30 days on false allegations, of the President of Faculty of Management of University of Rajarata said Mr. Udul Premaratne, convener of Inter Universities Students Federation (IUSF). Mr. Premaratne said detaining the President of the faculty without any complaint or charges was unjust and more..

Rs.1.4 million monthly rent for offices of 5 Ministers of Nation building

Nov 19 (LT) The government spends Rs. 13,80,000 as monthly rent for offices of five non-cabinet ministers of Nation Building and Infrastructure Development said Chief Government Whip Dinesh Gunawardene in Parliament yesterday (18th). The Non-Cabinet Ministers of Nation Building are Messrs. Jagath Pushpakumara, Rohitha Abeyagunawardene, S.M. Chandrasena, Gunaratne Weerakone and Salinda Dissanayake.

'This crisis could be overcome only by developing a 'People's economy''

Nov 19 (LT) Sri Lanka could be safeguarded from the effects of the world economic crisis only by developing a 'people's economy' where the gains are fairly shared between the masses and producers said JVP Parliamentarian Anura Dissanayake. Delivering the opening speech of the "Way to develop the country", a programme organized by 'The National Centre for a People's Economy' to bring awareness regarding the importance of a 'People's Economy' for the country held today at more..

UNP reorganization a flop!

Nov 19 (LT) Ten days have passed since the qualifications for the posts of 'Deputy Leader' and 'Asst. Leader' created under the reconstruction programme of the UNP have been announced by the Executive Committee of the party but so far no applications have been received state sources in 'Sirikothe.' According to regulations unanimously approved by the Executive Committee of the UNP the hopeful candidates should be members of the UNP, had been Members of Parliament for six years, more..

I am facing the same fate as Wardharaja -Pilleyan

Nov 19 (LeN) Eastern Provincial Council Chief Minister Sivanesathirai Chanrakanthan says that a plan is underway to annihilate the Provincial Council in the same way the Northeast Provincial Council under Chief Minister Wardharaja Perumal was demolished in late 1990s. He made these comments participating in the budget debate of the Provincial Council. Commenting on the killing of his personal secretary Raghu, he said that it was not an LTTE act. more..

President spends his birthday in Kandy

Nov 19 (LP) On his 63rd birthday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa accompanied by the first lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa visited the temple of the Tooth Relic (Sri Dalada Maligawa). An all night pirith pinkama followed by a sangika dana was held at President’s House, Kandy to mark the dual occasions of the President’s birthday and his completion of three years as Executive President. Members of the Hindu, Christian and Muslim clergy also called on the President at the President’s House, more..

Government should drop instruction in English medium, says JVP

Nov 19 (LP) Children should be taught in their mother tongue and English too should be taught as an international or link language, said JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake, The MP said this as the JVP yesterday called upon the Government to rethink its decision to make English a medium of instruction in government schools. The party’s newly formed Education Policy Planning Committee, referring to a results analysis, of the first batch of students who sat the GCE O/L examination in the English medium, more..

All vehicles in the western province should obtain the VET certificate

Nov 19 (LP) To limit the vehicles that emit large amount of fumes which are harmful to humans as well as the environment, a Vehicle Emission Testing Certificate programme commenced this year. In order to revenue the license, all registered vehicles in the western province will have to obtain the VET certificate. The testing will be conducted by Laughfs Eco Pvt Ltd and CleanCo Pvt Ltd. Laughfs where they would have permanent centers, more..

Govt.committed to formulation of National Pharmaceutical Policy

Nov 19 (GDI) The Government is firmly committed to formulating a "National Pharmaceutical Policy" and measures have been taken in this regard, Leader of the House and Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition, Nimal Siripala De Silva said in Parliament. "The State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) is competing in the local market to break the monopoly of the private sector," he said. He noted that the SPC has a 47% share of the local pharmaceutical market. more..

Initiatives to bridge gap between skill and job availability

Nov 19 (GDI) The Ministry of Labour Relation and Manpower in collaboration with one of Sri Lanka's leading online employment agents, JobsNet, has taken several initiatives to secure both local and foreign employment opportunities for jobseekers, Minister Athauda Seneviratne said. He noted that fresh initiative should be introduced to develop the job oriented skills of Sri Lankan youths in order to cater to the growing demand of opportunities. more..

40,000 houses to be constructed by RADA

Nov 19 (GDI) The "Reconstruction And Development Agency" (RADA) has undertaken a project to construct 40,000 houses, said Chief Government Whip, Minister Dinesh Gunewardena in Parliament yesterday (18). The Government had allocated Rs. 3200 million in the 2006 Budget and Rs.1900 million in the 2007 Budget for the development activities carried out by the RADA and other affiliated bodies of the Government, the Minister disclosed. more..

'Birth Certificates to all Sri Lankans by the end of this year'

Nov 19 (GDI) The Government plans to complete the process of issuing Birth Certificates to all the citizens by the end of this year, Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs, Karu Jaysuriya said, adding the at present 94% of births are registered. Accordingly, the Department of Registration of Persons will expedite the service of issuing Birth Certificates to the remaining one million in the local population, the Minister added. more..

Heavy casualties in Wanni battles

Nov 19 (SAMN) Heavy fighting has continued in the Mankulam area south of Kilinochchi and the Muhamalai front line in the last three days with hundreds of casualties reported as Tigers put up stiff resistance against troops advancing into the Wanni. Fighting was continuing Tuesday afternoon as well. According to the Tigers, at least 46 soldiers were killed and over 100 wounded in the fighting in the last three days. more..

LTTE luring TMVP cadres

Nov 19 (SAMN) The TMVP Tuesday said LTTE cadres, in an attempt to infiltrate the East, were trying to connect with its cadres in a bid to carry out attacks in the province. TMVP spokesman Azath Maulana said several of its cadres had complained to the party hierarchy of being confronted by the Tigers who were persuading them to rejoin the terror outfit. However, he said that despite LTTE cadres urging the TMVP cadres to rejoin them, no one would cross over as the membership is loyal to the TMVP and the government. more..

Ranil to be reined in on proposals?

Nov 19 (SAMN) UNP first Executive Council will meet on Saturday (22) under the patronage of Party Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe at the Party’s Headquarters in Sirikota, to discuss proposed reforms. UNP Media Spokesman Gayantha Karunathilaka said Party reforms such as the position of Deputy Leader and Assistant Leader will be mainly discussed during the council meeting. “We have to approve these two particular party positions during the party convention before nominating the names, more..

HC refuses anticipatory bail for Duminda

Nov 19 (SAMN) The Colombo High Court Tuesday rejected an application made by Western Provincial Council member Duminda Silva, pleading for anticipatory bail in the event of an arrest on a complaint lodged by actress Anarkalli Akarsha’s mother. Duminda Silva told the Court that the police had filed a ‘B report’ against him at the Magistrate’s Court Mt. Lavinia under the Firearms Ordinance, following a complaint by Indrani Vijayamenike Jayathilaka, the mother of Anarkalli Akarsha, more..

FM highlights key role of Foreign Ministry in countering terrorism

Nov 19 (GDI) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has emphasized the important role that the Foreign Ministry has been playing in gaining the support and confidence of the international community in combating terrorism in the country. The Minister made this observation when speaking during the Committee Stage of the Debate on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Parliament yesterday (18). more..