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Gampaha tops rat fever deaths

Nov 19 (DN) The number of Leptospirosis (rat fever) cases reported from Sri Lanka during the last 10 months is 5,994 while 181 persons have died from the disease, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. The disease shows a growth of 172 per cent this year. The most number of deaths has been reported from Gampaha district which is 39, he said. He said 700 rat fever cases have been reported from Gampaha district during the last 10 months. more..

Abductors release five demand food, batteries

Nov 19 (DN) Group of armed men abducted four out of nine villagers who had gone for sand mining in the Nagollawa area, Horwpotana on Monday morning. The abductors had demanded released villagers to dispatch food and batteries. Police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekera said a group of nine villagers in two tripper truks had gone on sand mining to the Nagollawa area on Monday at around 4.00am. "An armed group clad in black uniforms blocked the villagers and abducted all of them", he added. more..

Failure to exercise control over public finance revealed

Nov 19 (Island) Against the backdrop of the Supreme Court’s criticism of Parliament’s failure to exercise full control over public finance, Auditor General S. Swarnajothi has painted a bleak picture of the existing accounting mechanism. In his latest report submitted to Parliament this week, the AG asserted that as some institutions were outside his purview, there hadn’t been parliamentary control over the utilization of funds provided to these institutions. more..

Doctor’s killers were Hospital employees

Nov 19 (Island) Batticaloa Police yesterday made an early breakthrough in arresting the killers of Dr. S. W. Palitha Pathmakumara (35), who was gunned down at the government hospital at Vavunativu Sunday night. Police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara said that the suspects were employees of the same hospital and they were a male nurse, an amubulance driver, a watcher and a midwife. Asked whether the suspects belonged to any terrorist group, the SSP did not elaborate. more..

Sornam attacked

Nov 19 (DM) The vehicle carrying senior LTTE leader Sornam came under army attack at Mankulam late on Sunday, military sources said. They said the cab carrying the driver and Sornam had mistakenly entered military controlled areas north of Mankulam,. The military attacked the vehicle killing the driver on the spot. Ground sources said after the attack, Sornam had run towards the uncleared areas. The military later fired towards the Tiger official using heavy weapons including Multi-barrel rocket launchers. more..

Omanthai Entry/Exit point face standstill

Nov 19 (LD) The Sri Lanka Army says that transportation across the Omanthai Entry/Exit point faced a complete standstill today (Nov. 19th) due to the absence of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) officials. The Omanthai Entry/Exit point, which is opened between 9.00 am - 1.00 pm on a daily basis was closed yesterday as well due to the same reason. However, the point remained closed yesterday after the ICRC officials failed to report to duty until 1.30 pm. more..

450,000 small tea holders facing crisis - Kiriella

Nov 19 (LD) Around 450,000 small tea holders are facing a crisis due to the declining prices of tea, UNP frontliner Lakshman Kiriella says. Speaking at a press briefing held today (Nov. 19th), he added that many others in the rubber industry are similarly facing a crisis due to the decline of trade. He said that the government has not taken any measures to address the crisis erupted in the tea and rubber industries. more..

Abdeen Yehiya crossover to opposition in NWP

Nov 19 (LD) Mr. Abdeen Yehiya, a Sri Lanka Muslim Congress member of the North Western Provincial Council (NWPC) crossed over to the opposition during a council session yesterday. Mr. Yehiya said that he intended to join hands with SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem to safeguard democracy, which is being destroyed under the current regime. With this crossover, the ruling party members of the NWPC have been limited to 23 with 29 members in the opposition benches. more..

Rs. Six lakhs for Israeli jobs: UNP

Nov 19 (DM) The UNP yesterday charged that Rs. 600,000 had been charged from each person who were sent to Israel for employment. UNP MP Renuka Herath said Rs. 189,000 was charged from Korean job seekers, and it is questionable how the government can do it according to existing laws. “The air ticket costs Rs. 60,000 and we do not know what is happening to the rest of the money. more..

President convenes SLFP CC to discuss polls

Nov 19 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called for a meeting of the SLFP Central Committee today (Nov.19th) to discuss possible elections. Fresh polls for the Western, Southern, Wayamba, Central and Uva provincial councils are yet to be held as well as a crucial general election before April 2010. Under such a backdrop, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared that 2009 would be an election year. more..

Military says jets bomb rebel camp

Nov 19 (AP) Sri Lankan air force jets bombed a rebel training camp in the north as ground forces waged new battles with Tamil Tiger rebels across the front lines, the military said Wednesday. The new fighting came amid a major government offensive aimed at defeating the rebel group and ending the Indian Ocean island nation's 25-year-old civil war. Fighter jets struck a rebel camp late Tuesday and reported accurately hitting their target. more..

Tamil Tigers building up capacity for arms shipments: analysts

Nov 19 (AFP) The Tamil Tigers are likely building up their capacity for receiving weapons shipments with two long airstrips to receive large cargo planes, respected defence analysis group Jane's said Tuesday. Based on analysis of high-resolution, commercially-available satellite imagery, the London-based group said the rebel LTTE had constructed two one-kilometre paved runways between 2002 and 2007. more..

Govt agencies vie for Water's Edge land

Nov 19 (LBO) Several Sri Lankan government institutions are scrambling to get land in a government property near the capital Colombo whose ownership reverted back to the state on a recent court order, a senior official said. The parliament, and the ministries of defence and power are among the institutions that have asked for land at the Water's Edge, said Prathap Ramanujam, acting chairman of the government's Urban Development Authority (UDA). more..

Gov't celebrates battle gains in Tamil areas

Nov 19 (IPS) Sri Lankan national flags hoisted at important locations and posters depicting army offensives against the Tamil rebels are part of week-long celebrations ordered by the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse to mark its latest battlefield victories in the north of the island. "The nation salutes our brave soldiers who once again linked north and south by their victory at Pooneryn," one such poster, with silhouetted images of soldiers, read. more..

Sri Lanka extends olive branch to pro-LTTE groups

Nov 19 (PTI) In an olive branch to Tamils, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has invited over ground ethnic groups to participate in the political process to find a lasting solution to the decades old conflict. Rajapaksa has invited the United National Party and the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance to participate in the political process "to find a lasting solution to the (ethnic) conflict", Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told Parliament. more..

Limits of external pressure in Sri Lanka

Nov 20 (UPI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has once again demonstrated his ability to cope with the government’s international detractors, this time in India where he attended an important regional conference last week. When Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed concern over the humanitarian situation of war-affected Tamil people in Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa responded strongly, saying that the Tamils are “our people” and the government was doing everything to take care of them. more..

Birds Of Ceylon may earn a nest-egg for charity

Nov 20 (P&J) AN OLD book that has been valued at £300 has been donated to an Oxfam store in Moray. The book, called Birds Of Ceylon, was given to the Elgin branch more than a month ago with several other items. One of the volunteers at the shop suspected it might be worth a bit of money so the book was sent to be valued at Oxfam, which prices some of the valuable and rare items donated to the charity. more..

Peace a priority for Sri Lanka envoy

Nov 20 (OC) Sri Lankan High Commissioner Dayananda Perera has one overriding goal for his time in Canada - to unite the majority Sinhalese and separatist Tamils. He wants to do that among the Sri Lankan ex-patriate communities in Canada, and in his beleaguered homeland where civil war broke out in 1983 and has continued to flare up periodically ever since. A ceasefire brokered by Norway in 2002 broke down after the LTTE became increasingly violent in 2006 and more..

Vaiko on day long fast over Sri Lankan Tamil issue

Nov 20 (ANI) Prominent political leader of Tamil Nadu Vaiko observed a day- long fast on Wednesday to protest against the alleged killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’’s inability in calling off the oppression. The protest in Chennai today was organised to demonstrate solidarity with the Sri Lankan Tamils being allegedly targeted by the Island nation’’s Defence Forces. more..

SriLankan offers first non-stop direct flights between London and Male

Nov 20 (Gulf) SriLankan Airlines has become the world's first airline to operate non-stop return flights direct between London and Male. Sri Lanka's national carrier, for many years the largest operator on the Maldives, introduced its new service from Male to London Heathrow on October 26. SriLankan simultaneously increased its existing London-Male flights from two per week up to four. more..

'Govt. has achieved victory during the first term of President'

Nov 20 (GDI) During the first three years of President Mahinda Rajapaksa tenure in office as the President, the Government focused on the three main national issues of development, national security, and social welfare, Minister of Media, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. He also noted that the general masses have ample reasons to be satisfied with the achievements of the Government during this period as concrete measures have been taken to solve several issues. more..

74 Tamil political prisoners transferred to Magazine

Nov 20 (TN) Prison authorities of Colombo Remand Prison Tuesday evening suddenly transferred 74 Tamil political prisoners, including senior journalist J.S.Tissanayagam to Colombo Magazine Prison, placing them with hardcore criminal prisoners from South, according to initial messages passed by the prisoners to their relatives. The political prisoners, who have been urging the authorities to transfer them to remand prisons in Northern and Eastern provinces, more..

Bayliss: Sri Lanka will find form

Nov 20 (ECB) Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss has shrugged off the mini batting collapse his team suffered in a warm-up match and is certain his players will rise to the challenge in the upcoming five-match one-day series with Zimbabwe. The first match takes place tomorrow at Harare Sports Club - just as a three-member International Cricket Council task force arrive in the strife-torn nation to establish if Zimbabwe could regain its Test-playing status. more..

Swarnam dead?

Nov 20 (DW) Troops attached to the newly formed Task Force 3 that suddenly assaulted Mankulam in three different directions recently claim they have either seriously injured or even killed LTTE's senior 'Commander' 'Col' Swarnam. A Green coloured Canter truck was observed inside a small LTTE base at Mankulam when troops surrounded the area. A tall man who soldiers have claimed was Swarnam was seen mounting the truck when soldiers opened fire on the truck from two directions severely injuring the man. more..

Beware of The Many "Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing"

Nov 20 (AT) It seems that "un-winnable wars" are "winnable" and naturally, this creates discomfort to many stakeholders who have through a period of thirty years been trying to brainwash the Governments of Sri Lanka that the LTTE is invincible and therefore "do not attempt to proceed to defeat them militarily"- Beware! From 1980s onwards until 2005 Sri Lankan citizens have been brainwashed with a "LTTE Phobia" and more..

Loyal toasts and 'aliens' in Parliament

Nov 20 (AT) JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake on Monday alleged that the Indian High Commission in Colombo sent relief items from Delhi directly to the Red Cross for distribution among IDP in the North, instead of channeling the items through the Sri Lankan Government. Dissanayake raised this question at the TNL television's Janahanda (People's Voice) discussion program, where he also took up the issue of radar equipment for the Sri Lankan Security Forces. more..

Tamils are not terrorists

Nov 20 (AT) The dissolution and the dismantling of the LTTE is not a defeat for the Tamils. We must ensure after the defeat of the LTTE, the Tamils in the North are brought into mainstream democracy after 30 years of being captive in the hands of the LTTE and have been deprived of the benefits we have enjoyed. Majority of the Tamils are law abiding citizens of whom only a handful is terrorists. They are our brothers and sisters and we have so much in common- this country has a rich cultural ethos that binds us together more..

A First Person Revelation: A re-incarnation of King Parakramabahu? Or is it King Dutugemunu?

Nov 20 (AT) "Who said there is a war? There is no war in this country. This is not a war but a 'Humanitarian Operation.' For whom is this operation done? Is it only for the Sinhalese? Is it only for the Moslems? Is it only for the Tamils, Malays or Burghers? No. This operation is for the country as a whole, so that, everybody can live in peace without any fear and suspicion of each other." So said Mr. Mervin Silva, more..

'Give up violence, enter non-violent path of Democracy'

Nov 20 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapakse has one more time appealed to Velupillai Prabakaran and the LTTE, a sepaeratist Sri Lankan Tamil terrorists outfit, which is banned in India since 1992, to give up violence in the interest of the Tamils of the country and enter into a negotiation with the Government of Sri Lanka. Mahinda Rajapaksa's interview in Junior Vikatan - 23 November 2008. In an interview with a Tamil Language bi-weekly magazine "Junior Vikatan" he said more..

ICRC negotiating safe passage

Nov 20 (BBC) International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has stressed that movement for safe passage need to be negotiated with the government and the LTTE. The ICRC says that it is discussing new crossing-point arrangements in the north with the government and the LTTE. "Finding an arrangement for movement between government and LTTE-controlled territory is essential for the safe passage of civilians, ambulances and food convoys, and for the return of bodies of fallen fighters," more..

‘Persuade Lanka to provide equal rights to Tamils’

Nov 20 (Hindu) India must persuade Sri Lanka to announce soon equal rights for Tamils on its soil, even as it carries out military action against the LTTE, Bharatiya Janata Party State president L. Ganesan told presspersons here on Wednesday. “We cannot accept Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s stand that the rights issue will be dealt with only on completion of the military offensive against the LTTE. We cannot trust the present Sri Lankan Government. more..

'Centre not acting with alacrity on Sri Lanka issue'

Nov 20 (Hindu) It is regrettable that in the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue the Centre does not seem to be acting with the urgency it deserves, said G.K. Mani, State president of the Pattali Makkal Katchi. Mr. Mani said that the recent all-party meeting convened at the behest of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, and subsequently the State Assembly had passed identical resolutions urging the Centre to take immediate steps to prevail upon the Sri Lankan government to stop military offensive against the ethnic Tamils. more..

Govt must act now to protect 300,000 displaced -AI

Nov 20 (AI) The humanitarian crisis in the Wanni region of northern Sri Lanka is worsening as the government fails to provide shelter and protect over 300,000 displaced civilians. Tens of thousands of families are now enduring the monsoon season with limited food, shelter, water or sanitation. They fled their homes to escape the fighting between the Sri Lankan military and the opposing LTTE. These civilians are trapped in the LTTE-controlled Wanni region. more..

Who said the the army is not humanitarian?

Nov 20 (LG) The following photographs were sent to us to show how the Armed Forces are treating the helpless LTTE fighters injured in the civil war and had abandoned them to their fate. If people in Wanni are hiding then they are hiding from the Tigers and also to enable the Armed Forces to take over areas held by the LTTE. Those LTTE Diaspora supporters living in the lap of luxury in the west are fighting a proxy war that kills many innocent people forced into the frontiers of the war by Pol Pot Prabhakaran. more..

Sri Lanka: An Analysis of Military Situation

Nov 20 (LG) As expected Task Force-I of the Sri Lanka security forces captured Pooneryn on November 15 freeing A32 highway from the control of the LTTE. But the security forces used the continued spell of fine weather and the newly raised Task Force-3 to capture of Mankulam, a key junction on the A9 Kandy-Jaffna lifeline on November 17. On the eastern seaboard of Mullaitivu district, 59 Division captured Mulliyavalai village, 10 km from Mullaitivu, the key coastal town of the area. more..

The Stillborn LTTE Counter Attack

Nov 20 (LG) There is little doubt the war in Sri Lanka has reached a decisive phase. Various theories exist as to what the outcome of this war would be. Variables can and will change and this would alter the outcome of the war. The war is more than a collection of battles. In addition to battles, the effect of each battle burdens both the winner and the loser. While the loser may lose morale, manpower, land, resources, roads, etc. the winner will also be burdened with the responsibility of manning what he won. more..

M.N. Nambiar: Legendary "Villain" of Tamil Cinema

Nov 20 (TC) Manjeri Narayanan Nambiar or M.N.Nambiar (89) as he was generally known passed away after prolonged illness around 1.00 pm , at a private nursing home in Chennai on Wednesday November 19th 2008. The remains were taken to his residence at Gopalapuram for fans and members of the film fraternity to pay their respects to the legendary “villain” of Tamil cinema. more..

MP in massage clinic whilst budget debate underway

Nov 20 (LeN) The committee stage of budget was adjourned prematurely 100 minutes before the scheduled wind up Tuesday (18). An opposition MP who was to take part in the budget debate was having an herbal massage in the parliament ayurvedic clinic at that time. A minister was also having a massage with him, parliament sources said. The newspapers cited the absence of a Minister and three MPs as cause for the premature adjournment of the parliament meeting. more..

The Tamil View on Mahawamsa

Nov 20 (MG) Religions were made with the purpose of bringing prosperity to human lives and they do not allow anyone to harm any society and this is applicable to all the religions. But some religious extremists for the existence of their religions and to defame other religions brought in from time to time, their ideas and mixed them up with the pure belief which cannot be denied. In the same way, the stories in Mahawamsa confirm the propaganda of extremism in it. more..

The sinhala view on Mahawansa

Nov 20 (MG) Mahawamsa was stooping to Kings. Many people criticize the director of the film “Abaa” now shown in theaters, for stooping to the government. In the whole history of Bandugabaya, that is in Mahawamsa this kind of stooping can be observed. Bandugabaya took over the kingdom during the fourth (4th) century. Lord Buddha’s visit to Sri Lanka was during the period between the 5th and the 6th century. more..

The Muslim view on Mahavansam

Nov 20 (MG) “It is difficult to analyse what is not said than what is said in scrutinising the history of Sri Lanka.” is the opinion of Wilhem Geiger the western historian who translated Mahawamsa into the German language. An opinion is established that Mahawamsa is not only a historical document of Buddhism in Sri Lanka but also of the world, which is translated into more than ten (10) languages. more..

Summary of Cabinet Decisions

Nov 20 (GDI) abinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Minister the of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana to initiate a project to illuminate Sigiriya Rock during the night hours and to put up a light show initially on Fridays and Saturdays. The project will be implemented utilizing foreign funds which are to be arranged through the Department of External Resources after obtaining necessary approval from the relevant institutions. more..

No snap General Election - Media Minister

Nov 20 (GDI) Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena squashed rumours regarding a snap General Election, pointing out that the Government enjoys a comfortable majority in the house. "The Government has a majority of over 42 votes in Parliament whereas the PA Government led by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga only had a majority of one vote," he said. He said however that Government is considering the possibility of holding elections for five Provincial Councils on a single day. more..

'Tourism Act' to boost industry --Faizer Mustapha

Nov 20 (GDI) Deputy Minister of Tourism, Faizer Mustapha speaking in Parliament today said that with the liberation of Eastern Province a special programme has been launched aimed at boosting the tourism industry in the region. He also said that the newly introduced 'Tourism Act' will help expedite the programmes already launched to uplift the tourism industry. Apart from the Government's efforts the contribution of the private sector is also vital in more..

TNA parliamentarians grilled by TID

Nov 20 (TN) Within the last few days, three TNA parliamentarians, S. Jeyanandamoorthy, P. Ariyanethran and S. Kajendran, were summoned by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) for investigation after getting stipulated permission from the Speaker of the Parliament. The focus of the questioning was their speeches viewed as a breach of the 6th Amendment of the Sri Lankan constitution, which prohibits any opinion expressed inside or outside of the island, in favour of secession in Sri Lanka. more..

Army goes offensive at Northern FDL

Nov 20 (MoD) Sri Lanka Army latest offensive elements 53 and 55 divisions are now in the process of consolidating their positions on the newly captured LTTE's first line of defence at the Northern theatre of operations, say the defence sources. Troops of 53 division are now linking up the captured terror bunkers in the Kilaly area, South of A-9 road while the 55 division soldiers are engaged in clearing operations in the Muhamalai forward area, North of the A-9. more..

'Wanni a non-issue for TN voters'

Nov 20 (SAMN) Sri Lanka is not an Indian province, but a sovereign state. And New Delhi's leverage is quite small as the Sri Lankan Army goes after the Tigers who are deemed a terrorist organisation, said the Express Buzz website in India in an editorial. The editorial: "As the Sri Lankan army tightens the noose around the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a familiar litany has broken out in Tamil Nadu. more..

Prabha can contest polls

Nov 20 (SAMN) The government said yesterday that LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran could contest elections in the country if he gave up arms and entered the democratic mainstream. Speaking at a media briefing, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that, just as President Mahinda Rajapaksa had welcomed Pillayan and Karuna -- both former Tiger leaders --, into Sri Lankan politics, a path would be paved for Prabhakaran to hold a key position in the North if the people elected him: more..

Plans to teach all subjects at GCE O/L

Nov 20 (SAMN) Education Minister Susil Premajayantha said the Government was planning to teach all subjects at GCE Ordinary Level in the English medium. He made this remark as the chief guest at the Annual Prize Day of Zahira College, Colombo. “We have now decided to allow any student who wishes to offer all subjects including the religion, in English from Grade 6 to 11,” said Mr. Premajayantha. more..

SL Cricket incurred huge losses due to corruption – Arjuna

Nov 20 (Island) UPFA MP Arjuna Ranatunga told Parliament yesterday (19) that the Sri Lanka Cricket run by a business mafia in the past had incurred heavy losses running into hundreds of millions of rupees. Corrupt officials of the Board had the support of some sections of the media, he said. Ranatunga, who thanked President Mahinda Rajapaksa for appointing him Chairman Sri Lanka Cricket more..