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Sri Lanka to develop software for export

Nov 22 (LP) TradeCard Services a Joint Venture between Sabre Technologies, Sri Lanka and TradeCard Inc. USA was granted investment approval from the Board of Investment (BOI) for a project to develop software for export. The project which is located in Colombo has an investment of US $ 150,000. It provides employment for 35 professionals. TradeCard Services Sri Lanka, will be responsible for all activities of TradeCard Inc. in this region including sales and marketing. more..

'Over 250 soldiers killed yesterday and 48 bodies brought to Kurunegala'

Nov 22 (LeN) Kurunegala district UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara says that over 250 soldiers have been killed in clashes at Muhamalai and Kilali yesterday (20). The residential patients of Anuradhapura and Colombo hospitals were discharged yesterday to treat the influx of admissions and nobody is commenting on the situation. He made these observations at a press briefing held in the official residence of the Opposition Leader today (21). more..

Three books to mark the Presidency presented to President Rajapaksa

Nov 22 (LP) Three new books, to mark President Mahinda Rajapaksa's 63rd birthday and his assumption of Presidency were presented to him at Temple Trees recently. The books, Sanvedee Janapathy by Rodney Gallage, Ran Kurahan Kirula by Prema Disanayake and Dayakantha Disanayake's Siyapathaka Suwanda were presented to the President by the authors of the books. more..

Child in chains

Nov 22 (SAMN) A mentally retarded, orphaned youth with rusty iron chains on his feet admitted himself to the Kandeketiya Hospital Friday, police said. The hospital staff were surprised to see the 12-year-old child who had on earlier occasions too had been in hospital seeking treatment for various ailments. Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jagath Kumara instructed the staff to remove the chains and feed the child. Dr. Kumara said according to medical reports the child had been in chains for a long time. more..

GMOA demands STF security for doctors

Nov 22 (SAMN) The treatment of war casualties and healthcare services in the North and East have been seriously affected by medical officers continuing to keep away from work for the fifth consecutive day, on the instructions of the GMOA. Specialists, surgeons, medical officers and medical interns have been instructed by the GMOA to keep away until the government provides adequate security after the Vaunaithivu Rural Hospital medical officer S.W. Pathmakumara was shot dead last Sunday by unidentified gunmen. more..

Education has failed the test: UNP

Nov 22 (SAMN) The main opposition UNP charged in parliament Friday that school children would not be able to take their reports home at the end of this term in December as the third term tests would end only on December 4, a day prior to the last day of school. UNP MP Ranjith Maddumabandara who opened the debate in the committee stage of the budget on the Ministry of Education in the House yesterday said it was sad to note education had declined so much. more..

‘MPs can't launch development projects’

Nov 22 (SAMN) MPs will not be able to launch new development projects depending of funding from decentralized budgetary allocations due to the special circular restricting expenditure for next year, JVP said in parliament Friday. Referring to the circular issued by Finance Ministry Secretary S. Abeysinghe, JVP parliamentary group leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the government had given instructions to economize public finances due to the global economic meltdown, the high fuel and more..

Harrow Tamils demonstrate over violence in Sri Lanka

Nov 22 (HT) Harrow Tamils joined a demonstration outside Parliament yesterday in protest over violence in Sri Lanka. Thousands of people gathered in Parliament Square, in central London to lobby MPs over what some claim is an attempted genocide of Tamils by the Sri Lankan Government. Councillor Thaya Idaikkadar, (Lab/Roxeth) who went to the demonstration, said people were getting “carried away with emotions”. more..

'Underhand move to tarnish Parliamentarians'

Nov 22 (DN) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told Parliament yesterday an underhand move is being implemented to tarnish the image of Parliamentarians. The Minister said immediate measures should be taken to safeguard the rights of MPs who come to Parliament. The opportunity should be provided to MPs to perform their duties with a clear mind. He said certain newspapers carried some news items trying to tarnish the image of Parliamentarians. more..

Walawe Left Bank Irrigation project Giving a better life to farmers

Nov 22 (DN) If you get an opportunity to have a chat with Engr. N.C.M. Navaratne just for 5 minutes, you would definitely begin to admire him. For one reason, he is a soft spoken and an amiable person. But, more importantly, he has encyclopedic knowledge in the subject he officially handles. He is the Project Director of Walawe Left Bank Irrigation Upgrading and Extension Project. It's no wonder he knows his onions because more..

President raps Mihin over unilateral announcement of resumption of ops

Nov 22 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed his displeasure with the management of Mihin Lanka for having announced its destinations and plans to launch its inaugural flight to Dubai next month. An industry source said the President was unhappy that the management of Mihin Lanka had not held extensive consultations with the management of the national carrier, SriLankan Airlines. more..

Baiz’s verbal attack on policeman heard by others

Nov 22 (Island) The policeman, who was on duty at the entrance to the Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, had kept his walkie-talkie switched on when Deputy Minister of Livestock Development Abdul Baiz verbally abused him and threatened to remove his trousers. His words were heard on all walkie-talkies carried by other policemen. The Deputy Minister lost his cool when the policeman refused to open the barrier for him as it was not his job. more..

Sri Lanka, Brunei forests have similar tree species

Nov 22 (BB) Dipterocarp tropic rainforests in southwestern Sri Lanka have similar tree species to those found in the rainforests of Brunei Darussalam. This was revealed in a recent lecture on biodiversity at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. Professor Gunatilleke said planting native trees and medicinal plants in plantations is one of the methods of reforestation that has been supported by villagers affected by environmental meltdown. more..

Uproar in House over Johnpulle incident

Nov 22 (DM) A heated debate erupted between the main opposition UNP and the government in Parliament yesterday with an exchange of harsh words over the case regarding the alleged setting ablaze of the residence and dispensary of UNP’s Anuradhapura district co-ordinator the late Dr. Rajah Johnpulle. The government which moved an adjournment motion said the name of Deputy Minister Duminda Dissanayake and his father North Central Provincial Chief Minister Bertie Premalal Dissanayake had been linked to this incident more..

Mind your language: orders court

Nov 22 (DM) The Colombo District Court yesterday issued an enjoining order on Police Media Spokesman Ranjith Gunasekera preventing him from making defamatory statements against the MTV channel. District Judge Sisira Ratnayake made the order following a civil suit filed by the television station claiming Rs. 100 million as damages from defendant SSP Gunasekara, the Official Media Spokesman of Sri Lanka Police Department. more..

Civilians in Vanni protest against Colombo's use of humanitarian supplies as tool of war

Nov 22 (TN) People in Vanni marched in thousands towards two Government Agents' offices and two Divisional Secretariat offices in four locations on Friday protesting against Sri Lanka Government's restrictions on food and essential supplies, blaming Colombo for using humanitarian supplies as a tool of war to force civilians to flee against their will into the hands of Sri Lanka Army (SLA). more..

Mangala supports Tigers after forming govt. to defeat terrorism

Nov 22 (LD) It is unfortunate that a person like Mangala Samaraweera, after striving hard to elect the present regime with the intention of defeating terrorism, is misleading the public today by saying that "three years of Chinthana - the country is lost," said JHU's Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe. The JHU spokesman was commenting to 'Lanka Dissent' in response to strong criticism of the government by the SLFP Mahajana Wing leader at a recent media briefing. more..

Sri Lanka's trade gap narrows from Jan to Sept

Nov 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka's trade deficit narrowed during the nine months to September, as a slowdown in the global economy hurt export sales, official data showed Saturday. The nation's trade deficit from January to September widened 88.1 percent to 4.61 billion dollars from 2.45 billion dollars reported in the same period 2007, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said. The trade deficit in September widened 103.0 percent to 582.5 million dollars from 287.0 million dollars a year earlier, more..

'Malnutrition among 21 pc of schoolchildren'

Nov 22 (LD) A top health official warns that as much as 21 per cent of the country's schoolchildren suffer from malnutrition. The official, Director (Nutrition) at Ministry of Health Renuka Peiris, also says 29 pc of children in primary classes do not get a nutritional diet. She gave these details to school principals who attended a primary school management diploma course at Education Management Centre in Meepe recently. more..

Govt. secretly agrees for GSP+ probe

Nov 22 (LD) Sri Lanka has clandestinely agreed for an inquiry by European Commission for a continuation of the GSP+ concession, although the government had publicly rejected such a probe, 'Ravaya' reports. Pending the completion of the investigation, the EC has agreed to continue the garment industry concession, according to the newspaper. Colombo has instructed Sri Lanka's ambassador at EU Ravinatha Aryasinghe to assist in the inquiry. more..

Govt. will have go for snap parliamentary polls - Ranil

Nov 22 (LD) The government will definitely have to go for snap polls in this situation of an uncontrollable cost of living, despite its reiteration that it will develop the country while waging a war, said Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. He was addressing the executive committee of the UNP at a meeting at party headquarters Sirikotha in Pitakotte today. Mr. Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka has been predicted to be one of the two Asian economies that would collapse irreversibly. more..

No humanitarian crisis in Northern Sri Lanka: Govt

Nov 22 (PTI) Sri Lankan government on Saturday took strong exception to claims over catastrophe like situation in the Northern part of the country due to displacement of civilians and asserted the situation was being managed satisfactorily. "There is no humanitarian crisis (in Northern Sri Lanka). Some reports say there are 2,00,000 or 3,00,000 Internally displaced persons in the North, which is not true," more..

'Indian relief for Tamils should not reach wrong hands'

Nov 22 (PTI) Sri Lanka should ensure that the Indian relief supplies for displaced Tamils in northern areas reach the correct people, a top business chamber member has said, advising the government to seek the services of district chambers of commerce in disseminating the material. "It should be ensured that the relief from India reach the Tamil people who are in need of assistance in the north and it should not fall into the wrong hands," more..

Hapless Zimbabwe crushed once more

Nov 22 (CI) It has not been a particularly encouraging day for cricket's minnows. First Bangladesh were routed by an innings-and-129 runs in Bloemfontein while, in Harare, Zimbabwe capitulated to their fourth-lowest ODI score of 67 against a clinical Sri Lanka who, with gross inevitability, are heading for a 5-0 series win. It was Zimbabwe's second collapse in three days. They lost their last seven wickets for three runs in the first ODI, and more..

Troops capture rebel training camp

Nov 22 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers captured a Tamil Tiger rebel training camp, while air force helicopters bombed two rebel groups in the north, the military said Saturday. Troops seized the training camp in Andankulam village in the rebel stronghold of Mullaitivu on Friday, the military said in a statement. Military helicopters also bombed two rebel groups in Kilinochchi district on the same day, the statement said without giving casualty details. more..

A fearful end to Sri Lanka's war?

Nov 22 (BBC) Sri Lanka's government says it is nearing victory in its 25-year conflict with the Tamil Tigers, but as Roland Buerk explains the war will leave a bitter legacy. The Sri Lanka Air Force helicopter flew fast and low out of Anuradhapura, heading north. The white domes of the ancient city's Buddhist temples stood high over the green canopy of the treetops. Flares thumped out of tubes on the helicopter's side, bright red sparks trailed thick white smoke into the jungle just below, a defence against being shot down. more..

Indian pressure mounts as govt. faces economic tsunami

Nov 23 (SL) While Tamil Nadu continued to simmer over the ongoing military offensive in the Wanni which is increasing in intensity each passing day, the government weighed the pros and cons of a snap general election last week in the backdrop of an anticipated doomsday economic scenario. That the government is finding it increasingly difficult to meet its day to day housekeeping commitments leave alone the loan repayments is an open secret in the market today and with the flight of capital also taking its toll, more..

Access Chief continues to celeb rate jackpot win

Nov 23 (SL) Documents in our possession now show Access Group mogul Sumal Perera was well aware of the spurious nature of the Kotte Golf Course land deal and no innocent victim when he decided to sell off blocks of land for luxury holiday homes by public advertisement. Despite the fact the October 8 judgment stripped him of title, Sumal Perera continues to profit from the premises he is due to hand over to the UDA free of all encumbrances on or before February 8, 2009. more..

Pouring oil on troubled waters

Nov 23 (SL) The oil and energy debates in Sri Lanka often tend to get divisive with more insults and verbose dominating discussions as opposed to laying bare electrifying facts and an exchange of ideas. The Committee Stage debate on the Ministries of Power and Energy, Petroleum and Petroleum Resources on Thursday was doomed likewise, except for the contributions made by three opposition legislators who raised issues concerning the public whereas the two cabinet ministers were seen keenly skirting the issues. more..

Mode shift on the northern frontline

Nov 23 (SL) It is not yesterday that the ethnic conflict manifested itself in cyber space. For over a decade both parties have used the internet as a tool. The Tigers pioneered the effort but have of late seen the government catch up and catch up fast with a heap of websites, official and otherwise, matching the pro-Tiger outlets. In the last few weeks while pro-Tiger outlets have visibly gone slow on divulging details, their government counterparts have gone in the opposite direction. more..

SL up in computer literacy - Govt.

Nov 23 (BBC) Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga says that Sri Lanka has made considerable progress in information communication technologies with a computer literacy rate of over 25 percent. Weeratunga was recently elected to the chair of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Committee of ESCAP – the Economic & Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Weeratunga said that “during the past three years computer literacy in the country has increased from 5 per cent to over 20 per cent” more..

Tamils should sink differences to seek an end to war in Sri Lanka: Pandian

Nov 23 (Hindu) The Tamils in the State should sink their differences and unite in their demand for stopping the “war against the Tamils in Sri Lanka,” D. Pandian, State secretary of the Communist Party of India, said on Saturday. Addressing the protestors, who observed a fast by the Vellore Tamil Sangam to urge the Centre to force Sri Lanka to halt the war, Mr. Pandian said the CPI had always expressed itself against war wherever it took place. “It is a humanitarian demand.” more..

Ranawaka and Sri Lankan Muslims

Nov 23 (LB) Minister Ranawaka's allegedly anti-Muslim views found expression in a newspaper which I don't read because it won't publish my views. I am glad therefore, that the LAKBIMAnEWS of November 16 gave substantial coverage to the Muslim Rights Organisation's demonstration which was held two Fridays ago. I can now honourably enter the debate. more..

TMVP hand in Doctor deaths

Nov 23 (LB) Police investigations have revealed that the killing of Dr. S.W. Palitha Padmakumara, who was serving at the Nawakkadu government hospital in Vavunathivu, Batticaloa, had been carried out on the orders of “Varnan” who is a TMVP area leader. Varnan is the TMVP leader in charge of the party’s office in Manikkadu, Vavunathivu, sources said. This high ranking officer revealed that currently, the Pillayan faction has 21 offices in the East, while the Karuna faction had 27. more..

Hell of a how do you do

Nov 23 (LB) Thirty nine government cabinet and non cabinet ministers as well as deputy ministers are to receive 100,000 rupees a month as house rent, even though they are living in houses belonging to their relatives or friends. This will cost 3.9 million rupees a month to the exchequer, and the Treasury has to spend around 47 million rupees annually. This was revealed to the house consequent to a question posed by JVP MP Ranaweera Pathirana. more..

Estate unions allege employee funds diddled

Nov 23 (LB) Labour unions representing estate workers claim that over Rs.700 million in ETF and EPF funds of estate workers of the Namunukula Plantations Limited have gone missing. According to the Ceylon Estate Staff's Union, over 700 million rupees in employee dues which the Namunukula Plantations Limited had handed over to Trusker Bottling Company, has already been lost. Though they have held demonstrations and launched many other campaigns, more..

Unidentified Gunmen Killed Kaluwanchikudy Police OIC

Nov 23 (MG) Kalmunai Weapon carrying two unidentified gunmen riding on a motor cycle shot dead the Kaluwanchikudy Police OIC, I.L. Saththar around 6.05 in the evening at Sainthamaruthu in the Kalmunai Police Division. The 48 years old inspector is from the Muslim Central College Road in Akkaraipattu and a father of two children. This incident occurred when the inspector was returning home after work from the Police Station at Kaluwanchikudy, more..

Politicians belittling victories are an insult to the nation: Army Chief

Nov 23 (LNP) Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka has said that politicians who are building negative attitudes belittling the contributions of the war heroes, are an insult to the entire nation. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe had queried as to what was significant about the capture of Thoppigala. He had said that it had been captured on many occasions and was only a jungle. more..

Grave crisis in N-E hospitals

Nov 23 (SAMN) With health services in the crisis-ridden Eastern and Northern Provinces virtually at a deadly standstill, doctors will decide today whether to restrict their services only to hospitals in main towns and not those in rural areas of the two provinces. The move comes in the aftermath of the killing of a doctor at a hospital at Navatkadu in Batticaloa last Sunday. This provoked more than 100 doctors from all communities to leave the North and East. more..

Ranil puts UNP on election mode

Nov 23 (SAMN) The UNP's national executive committee that met Saturday under the leadership of Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe decided to immediately prepare the party to face a snap poll. Wickremesinghe said that regardless of the statements made by the government of not calling elections any time soon as the main focus was on the war and development activities, it would be compelled to do so due to the economic crisis faced by the country and that the UNP should prepare itself to face a general election. more..

Norochcholai funds splurged on VIPs

Nov 23 (SAMN) The JVP last week charged that the government has unleashed a state of financial terrorism in the country and splurged millions of rupees of the Norochcholai power project on vehicles and political propaganda for VIPs in the Power and Energy Ministry. JVP MP Gamini Ratnayake alleged that four cabs, one jeep and one car purchased from funds released for the Norochcholai coal power plant project at a cost of Rs. 15 million have been released for the usage of officials holding high office at more..

I don`t have any powers - Pillayan

Nov 23 (LNP) Sri Lanka`s Eastern Provincial Council Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan says that since he took office in May this year not a single person has been recruited to the Council. 'I don t have any powers to implement the 13th Amendment. We have asked the central government to give us the powers vested in the 13th Amendment,' says Chandrakanthan in an interview with a Sri Lankan weekend newspaper. more..

Health Ministry cautions public on rat fever

Nov 23 (SO) The Health Care and Nutritional Ministry yesterday said nearly 200 Sri Lankans have died due to leptospirosis, commonly known as rat fever during the past few months and warned the public especially the farmer community who are affected by this fever to seek medical treatment only from Government hospitals. Over 6,400 persons infected with rat fever have been reported from various parts in the country during the past six months. more..

'Ethnic based enclaves not acceptable'

Nov 23 (SO) Ethnic based enclaves which the minority political parties have sought as units of devolution were not acceptable to the SLFP as a matter of principle, said Prof. Wiswa Warnapala, party stalwart and Minister of Higher Education, commenting on proposals submitted to the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) by the Upcountry People’s Front (UPF), Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). more..

Angry CGR commuters cause Rs. 100,000 loss

Nov 23 (SO) Sri Lanka Railways incurred a loss of over Rs. 100,000 due to damages caused to property by angry commuters after pandemonium broke out at the Colombo Fort Railway Station on Friday evening. Fort Railway Station Superintendent S. Perera told the Sunday Observer that the incident occurred due to several train delays following a sudden colour light failure between Slave Island and Maradana. more..

Serving the poorest

Nov 23 (SO) Street urchins have been a social issue which has grabbed the attention of academics and sociologists for a considerable period of time. Though numerous programmes have been introduced, inconsistence in the programmes has rendered most of them either impractical or unsustainable. With the setting up of Waram Centre, a community facility ray of hope has been shed on the lives of street urchins. more..

Jumbo gathering, but nothing to trumpet

Nov 23 (NS) The much expected UNP Executive Committee meeting yesterday proved to be a total flop with none of the important decisions, including the appointments to its two newly created posts of Deputy Leader and Assistant Leader, being taken up. It, however adopted unanimously, resolutions demanding a salary increment of Rs 7500 to government employees and to increase the number of women and youth participation in politics. more..

Navy takes law into its hands

Nov 23 (NS) Morning walkers on the beach at Wellawatte had a nasty surprise Friday morning when they were ordered by Navy Personnel not to use the section of the beach between the Kinross Club and the Wellawatte Railway Station during the time MP Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka and his security personnel are using the beach for exercise. A group of beach users had then approached the MP, who has been coming there for a long time and told him about the Navy instructions. more..

Family dynasties must not rule nominations - MR

Nov 23 (NS) After President Mahinda Rajapaksa told his ministers and organisers that 2009 is going to be an election year, the Opposition parties have also been putting things in place to get ready for the polls. In view of the Budget debate, Parliament convenes every day from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on public holidays and Sundays. In view of securing the road for MPs travelling to Parliament, the road between Kollupitiya and Parliament is closed for half an hour every day, more..

UNP demands immediate Rs. 7,500/- pay hike for employees

Nov 23 (Island) A demand for the granting of an immediate Rs. 7,500/- salary increase to the working class was amongst three key resolutions the UNP adopted unanimously at yesterday’s executive committee meeting at party headquarters ‘Sirikotha’. As the cost of living has zoomed and the common masses found it unbearable to eke out an existence with the price of essential commodities skyrocketing, the UNP resolution sought this immediate pay hike to grant relief to the people. more..