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NHC suffers heart attack

Nov 20 (SAMN) A severe shortage of essential drugs and equipment has threatened to halt life saving heart surgeries in major hospitals in the country, hospital authorities, doctors and officials said Tuesday. If the main medical equipment and drugs supplier State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) fails to supply vital drugs and equipment immediately even the National Hospital is likely to suspend heart surgeries, they said. more..

Media Minister denies UNP claims

Nov 20 (DN) Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena yesterday refuted the UNP General Secretary's claims that the Pooneryn victory by the Armed Forces was aimed at the 2009 Budget which is being debated in Parliament. The UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake is engaged in a futile effort to demean the Security Forces victories. He should make a public apology over his irresponsible comments on Security Forces the victories, the Minister said. more..

Unique example of ethnic harmony

Nov 20 (DN) Had our journalists or rather our mediamen, as they call themselves today, continued to retain the word ‘communal’ in our political vocabulary instead of falling for a slick and ‘politically correct’ term like Ethnic, we may have been able to throw a clearer light on our thriving Ethnic problem of today. Now we are left groping around in the dark with the word Ethnic. Let us see whether we can still use it. more..

Paramedics to strike as HM passes the buck

Nov 20 (Island) Nearly 5,000 paramedics, of 37 Government-run and 400 Provincial Council-run hospitals, will launch a one-day token strike today (20) in protest against the Health Ministry’s inability to resolve some of their core issues, the All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) said. ACHSU President Gamini Kumarasinghe said pharmacists X-ray technicians, radiography technicians, laboratory technicians and physiotherapists will participate in the strike. more..

UNP also joins criticism

Nov 20 (DM) Charging that politics have destroyed sports in Sri Lanka, the main opposition UNP slammed the government in Parliament yesterday for not allowing former Sri Lankan cricketer Hashan Tilakaratne to serve in the Cricket Board. UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera who spoke during the committee stage debate on the budget in the House where the sports Ministry was taken up charged that former Sri Lanka cricket captain Hashan Tilakeratne was not allowed to serve in the Cricket Board as he is a UNP Organizer. more..

'Health sector unions cannot dictate'

Nov 20 (DM) Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said yesterday that he would never allow some sections in the health sector to dictate terms on health issues using their trade union clout. Addressing a ceremony held to mark the launching of a training course for pharmacists in Colombo district yesterday Minister De Silva said the severe dearth of para-medical personnel in both State and private sectors had adversely affected the healthcare delivery in the country. more..

'Yaldevi' restricted for LTTE Heroes Week

Nov 20 (LD) 'Yaldevi' the train on the northern track to Vavuniya, previously confined up to Medavachchiya, has been restricted only to Anuradhapura since yesterday. According to reports, it is a security measure taken in view of LTTE's Heroes Week. However, this has led to severe inconvenience of the people in both North Central and Northern Provinces. Also, suspicious Tamil people will not be allowed to cross Irattaperiyakulam and Medavachchiya roadblocks until further notice. more..

Rs. 10 m daily loss from Kerawalapitiya power purchase

Nov 20 (LD) Engineers say the Ceylon Electricity Board is incurring a daily loss of Rs. 10 million owing to its having to purchase 200 megawatts of power from the new thermal power plant at Kerawalapitiya which is still at experimental stage. This is to cover for the power generation shortfall following damage to Kelanitissa Power Plant in the recent LTTE air raid. Damage to machinery at Kelanitissa Power Station has resulted in a generation deficit of 155 mw, more..

NGO worker abducted in white van

Nov 20 (LD) The white van abductions had yet another victim yesterday in a menace that has become a continuous concern for society. This time, it was a girl serving at an NGO, who was kidnapped in Serunuwara. In Colombo on the same day, a youth was taken by a group in clothing similar to military fatigues. The abduction around 12.45 pm had taken place at Beira Road, Kesewatte, Mattakkuliya, said police spokesman SSP Ranjith Gunasekara. more..

Leaflets accuse Karuna over Raghu murder

Nov 20 (LD) A leaflet charging Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna for being responsible for the killing of Kumaraswarmy Nandagopan alias Raghu, private secretary of East Chief Minister Sivanesthurai Chandrakanthan has been distributed in Batticaloa, provincial reports say. Titled ‘Are you following Prabhakaran’s orders?’, the leaflets accuse Karuna and question the reason for the killing of Raghu, who was the right hand of the East CM Chandrakanthan. more..

Sri Lanka central banker expects financial turmoil to dampen consumption

Nov 20 (LBO) A senior Sri Lankan central banker says the collapse of the global financial sector has underlined the value of real output and resources but that it could dampen consumption. Central Bank Deputy Governor W A Wijewardena said that the entire financial market is now going through turmoil. He was speaking at an international seminar on advanced techniques in risk management & Basel II. more..

We are India's true friends -Nadesan

Nov 20 (TW) With the Sri Lankan army closing in on Kilinochchi, the LTTE headquarters, army officers are confident of decisive victory in the civil war. But LTTE political chief B. Nadesan does not agree. Recently, the Sri Lankan government dismissed Nadesan's statement that the LTTE "had always wanted ceasefire" and was "fighting a defensive war" as a trap and demanded that the Tigers lay down their weapons before coming forward for any talks. more..

Charity financing terrorism: Sri Lanka

Nov 20 (NP) Liberty Square Shopping Plaza has a South Asian convenience store and a branch of the Toronto Public Library, but the tenant that has brought this busy strip mall international notoriety is upstairs above a jewellery store. The Tamils Rehabilitation Organization works out of a cramped second-floor office with a big Canadian flag over the window. And while its official mission is humanitarian, governments in three countries suspect it serves a shadier purpose. more..

Under fire journos learn survival skills

Nov 20 (IPS) For journalists on the job in Sri Lanka -- considered by international media rights bodies to be the third most dangerous place to work in, after Iraq and Somalia -- staying safe is a prime concern. In a rising climate of insecurity where journalists and media workers are being killed, abducted or shot at, media practitioners have teamed up with non-government organisations to ensure that their colleagues are equipped with practical skills that will help minimise the risks they face during news coverage. more..

Ranil hails Pranab's handling of ethnic crisis in Lanka

Nov 20 (UNI) Sri Lanka Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinge today hailed the External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee for his deft handling of the ethnic crisis in Sri Lanka. Talking to newspersons here at the Chennai Airport before proceeding to Tiruchirapalli, Mr Wickramasinge said he had a detailed discussion with Mr Mukherjee in New Delhi recently about the problem of the Tamils in the island nation. more..

ICRC, Sri Lanka spar as India hands over relief

Nov 20 (IANS) India Thursday formally handed over to the international Red Cross nearly 1,700 tonnes of relief material meant for civilians displaced by war in Sri Lanka's north, but a top government official insisted that Colombo alone would distribute the aid. Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad handed over the gift certificate to Paul Castella, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Sri Lanka, at what the envoy said was 'a simple but solemn occasion'. more..

Sri Lanka says it captured key rebel defense line

Nov 20 (AP) Sri Lankan troops broke through a strategic front in the country's civil war on Thursday, overrunning an important rebel defense line north of the Tamil Tiger's de facto state, the military said. While government forces have pushed deep into rebel-held territory from the south in recent months, the rebels have managed to counter repeated strikes launched by the military from the northern Jaffna peninsula. more..

Shares dip again on earnings gloom, economy

Nov 21 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's stock exchange edged down on Thursday to its lowest close since February 2005, with gloomy economic and earnings outlooks keeping investor sentiment down. The rupee closed flat at 110 to the dollar, supported by the central bank. The Colombo All-Share index .CSE closed 0.33 percent or 5.74 points down at 1,711.78, its lowest close since Feb. 17, 2005. It is down 32.6 percent so far this year. more..

A gem studded throne to celebrate President’s birthday

Nov 21 (AT) Celebrating the birthday of the President Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse, a Gem Studded Chair – studded with 90 valuable gems - was presented to the Venerable Sangarakkhitha Thero, the chief incumbent of Kelalniya Royal Temple in President’s honour by the Minister of Labour Mr. Mervin Silva. In the 5th century BC the Lord Buddha in his 8th year of enlightenment visited Kelaniya in order quell a quarrel between two Naga leaders; Chulodara and Mahodara. more..

Sri Lanka tea prices down; quality improves, volumes fall

Nov 21 (LBO) The quality of black tea production in Sri Lanka has improved while quantities are coming down, as producers tightened standards in response to the crisis caused by the collapse in prices, brokers said. "Reduced crop intakes and the continued resolve of tea factories to source only the finest leaf, have led to lower quantities of teas being manufactured and dispatched for sale," said brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities. more..

Sri Lanka has a chance to attract shifting industries: economist

Nov 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka has a chance to attract industries from advanced nations in the wake of current turmoil if the country can put its house in order with a longer term view and create a strong base for industry, an economist has said. Though the current turmoil may lead to prolonged recession and low growth in advanced economies, it may provide Asian nations new opportunities. "I actually believe this is the greatest opportunity for developing countries," more..

Christians tell of human rights abuses in Sri Lankan war zone

Nov 21 (TC) Christian activists in Sri Lanka expressed increasing anxiety and frustration over widespread abuses of law and violations of human rights in the country's northern war zone. "Police and armed forces behave as if they are a law unto themselves. The special powers granted to the armed forces because of the concerns regarding national security have led to a range of human rights abuses (even) in areas outside the conflict," more..

'Prabakaran's Tamil Nationalism is like bad Cholestrol but mine is good Cholestrol'

Nov 21 (TC) Douglas Devananda, a veteran of the Tamil armed struggle is well known to all Sri Lankans as the politician who has survived the most number of LTTE assasination attempts. In this interview, he speaks to C.A.Chandraprema on the liberation of Pooneryn, the conflict between Karuna and Pillaiyan in the east, and the question of rehabilitating Tamil youth who had taken up arms against the state, and more..

Sri Lankan troops capture LTTE stronghold of Pooneryn

Nov 21 (wsws) Sri Lankan government troops last Saturday captured the strategic northern town of Pooneryn, the last remaining stronghold of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the island’s north-west coast. The LTTE apparently withdrew after several days of fierce fighting. The fall of Pooneryn is a significant blow to the LTTE, which has held the town and surrounding areas since 1997. more..

'Laying down arms only option for LTTE'

Nov 21 (GDI) While emphasizing that the only option the LTTE has got is to lay down weapons as they are unable to contend with the advancing military, Cabinet Spokesman, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that it was not a strategic move of the LTTE to ‘leave’ Pooneryn but that they were forced to flee. Minister Yapa noted that the Government troops are engaged in the Wanni offensives to liberate the region from the grip of terrorists and were notching historical victories. more..

Mendis a bigger threat than Murali - Utseya

Nov 21 (CI) Prosper Utseya, the Zimbabwe captain, believes Ajantha Mendis will be a bigger threat than his Sri Lankan spin partner Muttiah Muralitharan in the five-match one-day series starting on Thursday in Harare. "We were lucky to play Mendis in a four-day game and we have an idea of what to expect from him," Utseya said. "Murali didn't play in that warm-up game, but I don't think he's as effective as Mendis. But basically it's all about us reacting to whatever they dish out." more..

'75% of confiscated funds belong to INGOs'

Nov 21 (TN) Responding to the Government press release that the State has confiscated Rs. 71m from Tamil Rehabilitation Organization’s (TRO’s) bank account, TRO reiterated its denial of allegations that funds were “mainly used for terrorist activies,” and pointed out that the “GoSL has never produced any proof of these allegations in a court of law and has not brought any criminal charges against TRO,” and more..

3 yrs. of Chinthana & 79 Mahinda's relatives in top jobs

Nov 21 (LD) As President Mahinda Rajapaksa celebrated his third year in office, 79 of his closest relatives hold top government positions, including as ministry secretaries, parliamentarians, presidential advisors, diplomats and chairmen of corporations, said leader of SLFP Mahajana Wing Mangala Samaraweera. Mr. Samaraweera was speaking at a media briefing titled "Three years for Chinthana: Country is lost" in Colombo more..

Murali and Mendis rout Zimbabwe

Nov 21 (CI) Zimbabwe's captain, Prosper Utseya, may have suggested that Muttiah Muralitharan was "not as effective" as he once was, but that assertion came back to haunt his team during the first ODI against Sri Lanka in Harare. Ripping the ball with all the mystery and venom of old, Murali claimed figures of 4 for 14 in four overs, as Zimbabwe lost their last seven wickets for three runs in four overs. They tumbled from 124 for 3 to 127 in the blink of an eye, more..

India aid sends all clear for Sri Lanka war

Nov 21 (Reuters) India handed over aid for Sri Lanka's war refugees on Thursday in what analysts say is the clearest sign yet New Delhi will not interfere with Colombo's plan to end Asia's oldest insurgency militarily. India's ambassador to Sri Lanka handed over at a ceremony more than 1,680 tonnes of relief items to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which will deliver it to an estimated 200,000 people displaced by the war in northern Sri Lanka. more..

Govt. rejects AI charges of aid blockade

Nov 21 (RW) The Sri Lanka Government categorically rejects the assertion made by Amnesty International (AI) in its latest report that it is carrying out a policy of blocking humanitarian aid needed for the people at present displaced in the Wanni region, states a spokesman for the Presidential Secretariat. It is correct that a large proportion of the civilian population of the Wanni region who live in locations still controlled by the terrorists of the LTTE are more..

Sri Lanka dominant but captain looks for improvement

Nov 21 (CI) Despite his team claiming a comprehensive six-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the opening ODI, the Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene is still looking for improvement. The visitors had an easy stroll in the park and only needed 33.2 overs to chase a paltry 127 set by Zimbabwe who were earlier blown away by Muttiah Muralitharan, the man-of-the-match. "Winning games at this stage is always important and it does not matter who you are playing against," Jayawardene said. more..

Mangala hypocritical - Keheliya

Nov 21 (BBC) The government has dismissed claims of using war propaganda to cover up an economic down turn by Parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera is using casualty figures of soldiers to ‘climb out of a political dustbin”which he has fallen in to. “We give out all casualty figures to the Parliament” said Minister Rambukwella. more..

Young Catholics take to the streets to raise money for displaced peers

Nov 21 (UCAN) Panhandling for a good cause on the streets of Colombo pays, according to a 13-year-old Catholic girl. Iresha Nilakshi Fernando is amazed by how much money she and about 80 other schoolchildren have been able to raise. Since the first week of October, the members of the Holy Childhood Association of Colombo archdiocese have raised nearly 2.5 million rupees (US$25,000) to date. more..

Sri Lanka's 'forgotten war': A call for global church advocacy

Nov 21 (CT) In Sri Lanka, the conflict between the army and Tamil rebels has caught the civilian population between a rock and a hard place. Although the world turns a blind eye, Christian global advocates say churches should insist that attention be paid to victims caught in the violence. For several years, a civil war in Sri Lanka has placed in opposition a government dominated by the Sinhalese majority population and rebels who claim to defend the rights of the Tamil minority. more..

In the Tigers' lair

Nov 21 (Economist) Independence day is not celebrated until February. But flags are flying from buildings and lamp posts in Colombo in a show of public support for the government’s military campaign against the rebel LTTE. On November 15th, as his government faced a crucial parliamentary vote on the budget, President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced on national television that troops had seized the Tiger-held town of Pooneryn for the first time in 15 years. more..

Aid distribution: Red Cross, India differ with Sri Lanka

Nov 21 (Hindu) India on Thursday formally handed over 1,680 tonnes of relief material to the International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) for distribution to civilians in northern Sri Lanka. A brief ceremony at the ICRC warehouse here was marked by contradictory statements by India and ICRC on the one hand and Sri Lanka on the other. Colombo insisted the relief would be distributed by “government agents” in LTTE-occupied areas, under the supervision of ICRC. more..

LTTE still most lethal: tribunal

Nov 21 (Hindu) The LTTE continues to be an extremely potent, most lethal and well-organised terrorist force in Sri Lanka and has strong connections in Tamil Nadu and certain pockets of southern India, a tribunal said. The tribunal, set up under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, was upholding the ban imposed on the outfit by the Centre on May 14, 2008. “the LTTE continues to use Tamil Nadu as the base for carrying out smuggling of essential items like petrol and diesel, besides drugs, to Sri Lanka.” more..

Chilling stories

Nov 21 (FL) In the third week of November, it would be 11 weeks since the Sri Lankan government ordered United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organisations out of areas controlled by the LTTE in the North. The ostensible reason for the orders was that the government could not take any chances with the security of international aid workers following the escalation of hostilities between the government forces and the LTTE. more..

The plight of the Sri Lanka women as domestic servants in Lebanon

Nov 21 (LG) To run away from the misery of poverty , and to let the families live, a number of Sri Lankan women leave their homes to go to countries in the Middle East, more particularly to Lebanon to wok as domestic servants. Lebanon with a population of four million receives 800 000 immigrant workers, among them 150 00 are Sri Lankan women. Many among them find them selves in worst conditions, than they were in their homes in Sri Lanka. more..

Christianity and Science

Nov 21 (LG) Science and Christianity over centuries have had a love-hate relationship. Some historians have argued that Christian ideology has been an obstacle for the growth of scientific development. Some historians, on the other hand, have argued that Christian ideology and Western science have existed in mutual support on many occasions. A closer analysis of this relationship shows that though some believe Christianity has been an antagonist to science, more..

Illuminated Sigiriya to attract tourists

Nov 21 (AT) Minister of Cultural Affairs; Mr. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena speaking at the Cabinet Press Briefing revealed that Sigiriya, the famous world heritage site is to be given a face lift. Sigiriya, with its significant cultural, archaeological and architectural importance has been the highest income earner to cultural triangle fund among the archaeological sites in Sri Lanka. more..

Minister Ranawaka elected President of Vienna Convention

Nov 21 (LG) Environment and Natural Resources Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka has been elected the President of the Conference of Parties to Vienna Convention at it’s 8th Convention held in Doha, Qatar. The Vice Presidency of the conference went to Canada. Doha was the venue of twin meetings of world Environment Ministers the - twentieth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol and Eighth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention held from November 16-20. more..

JHU appeal to Indian Buddhists

Nov 21 (LG) We regard India as the Buddha Land, the Sacred Land. We have lived the Dhamma and protected the Dhamma amidst various foreign invasions and built up a culture and civilisation that is now our heritage. Even the little children in the village know the names of Indian villages. Buddhist Literature has been absorbed to our life and living. It is impossible to believe that Buddha Dhamma disappeared in India. more..

That Nation Building Levy

Nov 21 (LG) There has been much debate on the Nation Building Levy (NBL) since its introduction in the 2009 Budget on November 6, to be implemented from the beginning of the next fiscal year. Some have argued that it would throw an additional burden on the tax payer while some others have opined that it would further complicate the already complex tax system. To my surprise, I also read in the print media a couple of days ago, of a well known tax consultant, more..

In Eelam Gnanakone will not deal with peasants

Nov 21 (LG) Freedom Fighter Jayantha Gnanakone is a Lone Ranger fighting for an Eelam State in which his own smuggling fraternity will be the dominant community. All others are peasants and he will not deal with them. Of late he has been making so many slashing statements which he casts like sowing wild oats all over the world. His language is often belligerent and bellicose and some of phrases certainly are x-rated and unfit for civilized communication. more..

No Further Free Meals

Nov 21 (MG) The principals in government schools at the Kalmunai Education Zone say that the education department has not paid them the money allocated for free meal to school students for the last five months since July this year. Free meals are provided to school students of families which are receiving Samurdhi assistance. The Principals, while saying they continued the provision of free meals till now stated that they couldn’t continue it further and more..

'More than 12 lakhs of coconut trees have been felled'

Nov 21 (LP) Over 12 lakhs of coconut trees have been felled during the past few years, said Minister of Plantation Industry D M Jayarathna yesterday (20), explaining for the shortage of coconut oil. Speaking in Parliament the Minister said that measures to stop further importing of palm oil is underway. He also said that Sri Lanka has to import oil as the country does not have sufficient production of oil. more..

A-32 Road will be reconstructed

Nov 21 (LP) Arrangements have been finalised for the immediate launching of reconstruction of the A-32 Highway liberated by the security forces recently. Minister of Highways T. B. Ekanayake said the reconstruction is due to be completed by January 2009. The Minister said under this operation, a land route from Dondra Point to Point Pedro and road from the Kilali Lagoon to the other Point along A-32 and A-9 will be opened. more..

A conspiracy that betrayed PNM revealed

Nov 21 (LT) Information regarding an attempt to destroy or weaken or tame the Patriotic National Movement (PNM), when it was functioning properly, for its stand taken against NGOs and other forces against Sri Lanka has been revealed. This plan was executed by National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, an organization that coordinates NGOs with the sanction of certain stalwarts of the government and the knowledge of certain individuals of the PNM. more..