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'We have focussed on minimum of 6% sustainable GDP growth'

Nov 23 (NS) Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment promotion Dr. Sarath Amunugama justifying the latest war budget says the present government is keen to end the war without passing it down to the next generation. The Minister further points out that the country was losing at least 2% of GDP growth due to instability in the north and east and adds that an early end to the conflict is better to the future of the island nation. more..

Galle once again centre stage of the literary world

Nov 23 (Island) A world-famous line up of international and local authors are heading back to Galle for the renowned Galle Literary Festival 2009. The event, dubbed the "No 1 Literary Festival in the world" by Harpers Bazaar after its debut in 2007, is set to continue this reputation with a wide-ranging programme stretching from the literary to the architectural to the ecological. The four-day programme, beginning January 28 until February 1, 2009 more..

Welcome boost for English proficiency

Nov 23 (Island) After decades of painful hair-splitting over an appropriate methodology for teaching the English Language, particularly among the young, the Lankan state has hit on what seems to be a workable, practical solution to the apparently complex problem. As we reported last week, a special state task force headed by Presidential Advisor Sunimal Fernando would be collaborating with the University of English and Foreign Languages in Hyderabad, for more..

Basic amenities at refugee camps soon: Collector

Nov 23 (Hindu) Basic infrastructure like street lights and interior roads would be created and amenities such as drinking water and toilet facilities enhanced shortly, assured Collector R. Vasuki. She was interacting with Sri Lankan refugees after inspecting the camp at Adiyanuthu village near here on Saturday evening. Already, basic amenities have been provided to families of Sri Lankan refugees in various camps in the district. more..

Refugees to get driving licence

Nov 23 (Hindu) The State Government has instructed to issue driving licenses to the inmates of Sri Lankan refugee camps, Minister for Backward Classes Welfare K.K.S.S.R. Ramachandran has said. Reacting to requests from the camp residents on the license issue when he inspected five refugee camps in the district, he said that necessary steps would be taken to issue licenses. He also advised the inmates to make a representation to him or Collector K. Raghupathi, if they faced any hurdles on the issue. more..

SLCC to collect items for injured Lankan soldiers

Nov 23 (TP) The Sri Lankan Co-ordinating Committee (SLCC) Qatar has appointed coordinators to collect items requested by Seva Vanitha Army Branch to be given to injured soldiers in Sri Lanka. Community members residing in Industrial Area, Ras Laffan, Mesaieed, Wakrah and Doha can give their donations to: Industrial Area - Ranjith Gurusinghe (6580392), Samantha Lakmal (5483804), N.D. Perera (5339105) and more..

Gold bars seized, Sri Lankan held

Nov 23 (Hindu) Officials of the Air Intelligence Unit of the Customs seized gold bars weighing 1.16 kg from a Sri Lankan national at the Anna International terminal here on Friday. They were concealed in stroller rods of checked-in baggage. They arrested the passenger and the seized gold bars valued at Rs.15.38 lakh. An official release stated that the passenger was proceeding through the Green Channel. On suspicion the authorities examined her baggage. more..

Vaiko denied visa to UK

Nov 23 (PTI) MDMK leader Vaiko was on Sunday denied visa to travel to London apparently for his pro-LTTE stand, forcing him to cancel his air ticket for Monday. While British Deputy High Commission officials in Chennairemained tight-lipped on the issue, police sources said that Vaiko cancelled his ticket following "denial of visa". They said the MDMK leader was denied visa for his pro-LTTE stand as the militant organisation was also banned in Britain. more..

'No Food shortages for IDPs' - GA

Nov 23 (BBC) There is no shortage of food to Killinochchi and Mulativu areas say the government agent of Mulativu Imelda Sukumar. World Food Programme [WFP] and the government had been supplying the food and other essential items, the official told the BBC. Mulativu government agent say, "Today I saw 46 lorries of food going north. I met the WFP officials going with them. Thirty of the lorries were for Killinochchi district while the other sixteen were going to Mulativu. more..

"No confidence" against govt. on corruption

Nov 23 (LD) Opposition is to move a "no confidence" motion against the government on corruption based on Mihin Air and hedging for petroleum, says SLFP-M wing sources. Mihin Air is "an elephantitis limb" that can not be carried through with billions of rupees wasted from public funds and being funded by public funds again, said SLFP – M wing source to 'lankadissent'. Petroleum is procured on an agreement signed by the Petroleum Corporation Chairman, Asantha de Mel in more..

World Buddhist forum to be held next year

Nov 23 (Xinhua) Buddhist monks and scholars from around the world will gather at a forum in China in March next year to discuss how Buddhism can contribute to the building of a harmonious world, organizers said Sunday. The second World Buddhist Forum is to be held in Wuxi city in east China's Jiangsu province March 28, 2009. The meeting will then move to Taipei in Taiwan, and close there April 1, Buddhist Master Xuecheng said at a press conference in Wuxi. more..

CPC’s November oil hedge loss estimated at $ 35 mn.

Nov 23 (Island) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporati-on’s oil hedging liabilities are expected to rise to USD 35 million or more in November, up from USD 27 million the previous months, but talks towards restructuring the agreements to bring down the cost to CPC by 40 – 45 percent and now going on, well informed banking and political sources said. While commercial banking sources estimated the liability at around USD 35 million, other estimates said the more..

Champika denies the heritage of Muslims

Nov 23 (LG) ‘We have smashed the Tamil resistance, now we take on the Muslims’ appears to be the slogan of Sinhala chauvinists who support the Mahinda regime. Muslims who could not tolerate anymore the blatant attacks on their image and very existence came out protesting. With many other parties together we took a stand against this inhuman situation. In fact all opposition parties and some pro government Tamil and Muslim nationalist parties signed this common document. more..

Obama, the Mahanayakes and national unity

Nov 23 (LG) It would not be far off the truth to state that not only did 62 per cent of those who voted in the recent US presidential elections believe that the half-black, half-white Barack Hussein Obama would make a better president than the all-white John McCain but even the vast majority of Sri Lankans who followed the recent US presidential elections were thrilled that so many white voters joined their multi-coloured counterparts to support Obama. more..

Celebrating a triple achievement

Nov 23 (LG) The Daily News where I worked almost 40 years ago has now staked its claim to be in the Guinness Book of World Records. On Wednesday it had a bumper supplement running into three sections comprising a near 20 full pages on its lord and master and incomparable Mahinda Rajapakse. This deserves the record for political sycophancy (the Sinhala equivalent being pandang), if the Guinness recognises such a record. If not they are advised to create one. more..

Coconut grower’s perilous plight

Nov 23 (LG) Unless the government acts to protect the coconut grower we may soon see not only the end of the economic coconut holdings but even the small one acre coconut lands. This would no doubt be a national disaster considering the importance of coconut in our daily life. The coconut palm and the paddy field form an intrinsic part of the social fabric that has sustained the way of life of our island nation. more..

Proposal for referendum instead of polls

Nov 23 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa's 63rd birthday on November 17 turned out to be joyous. He received two big birthday gifts. One came from the armed forces to their Commander-in-Chief. That was the re-capture just one day before of the strategic northern village of Pooneryn. As a result, the second followed. It was from the public who showered accolades, mostly over state-run media, for his unwavering commitment, despite pressures particularly from neighbouring Tamil Nadu to stop the war and talk peace. more..

Bitter battles, heavy toll, Tiger strongholds under siege

Nov 23 (ST) With just three days to go for Tiger guerrilla leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran's "Maveerar" (Great Heroes) Day speech, the Army has placed siege on Kilinochchi and the adjoining Mullaitivu areas. All land routes have been sealed off. With the exception of food convoys and emergency medical needs of civilians, entry or exit into these areas has been severely restricted. Trains and buses heading towards Vavuniya are being terminated in Anuradhapura since Tuesday. more..

Gotabhaya wants NGO/INGO funds audited

Nov 23 (SAMN) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Saturday called for an audit of funds received by International and local Non Government Organisations (INGOs and NGOs) for development work in areas under LTTE control at the time of the Norwegian brokered CFA came into operation in February 2002. He said both the Sri Lankan government and those who contributed millions of dollars to INGOs and NGOs should investigate the recipients as more..

Brutal end to healing touch

Nov 23 (ST) The uneven stone steps cut into the rock lead down to the modest little house where tragedy has laid its mark. An elderly man stands at the doorway, greeting visitors with trembling hands, his eyes blinded by grief. His only son has died a cruel and unnecessary death and he must now carry out the funeral rites for his beloved child, in the home where he was raised. Inside, a family grieves for the loss of a son, brother, husband – a doctor who might have been a gift to their community. more..

Millions for ministers’ houses

Nov 23 (ST) At least 40 ministers have their own residences though they claim the monthly housing allowance of Rs. 100, 000 from the government, according to information provided to parliament. Some of these ministers get the privileges of having their high electricity and water bills paid by the state, it was revealed in answers to questions raised by JVP MP Ranaweera Pathirana. more..

Sri Lanka war reaches crucial phase; troops zero in on Kilinochchi

Nov 23 (IANS) The long drawn out civil war in Sri Lanka has reached a crucial phase with reports of the fighting spirit of the Tamil Tigers said to be at an 'all time low' after the fall of two of their strongholds even as government troops march in on the rebels' political capital Kilinochchi. The troops last week captured the LTTE bastions of Pooneryn and Mankulam which they had held for a decade. more..

Sri Lanka fighting spreads to key highway near Tiger HQ

Nov 23 (AFP) Helicopter gunships attacked Tamil Tiger rebel positions in northern Sri Lanka as battles shifted onto a key highway leading to the rebels' political capital, the defence ministry said. Helicopters were deployed to pound rebel bunkers that make up the western defences of the town of Kilinochchi, the political headquarters of the LTTE, the ministry said. "Sri Lanka army offensive divisions... are now marching towards Kilinochchi built up in three frontiers," more..

Sorry Zimbabwe look for batting revival

Nov 24 (CI) The series so far has witnessed two appalling batting displays from the home team, sarcastic cheers from the crowd at the scoring of a run - a rare commodity in each of Zimbabwe's innings - and continued doubt over the country's durability as a cricket-playing nation. Zimbabwe have averaged just 9.6 runs for each wicket this series, with only two of their batsmen, Stuart Matsikenyeri and Tatenda Taibu, showing any ability to resist the Sri Lankan bowling attack. more..

Trying to negate the rightful claims of ethnic minorities

Nov 24 (FI) Recently, two viewpoints have been asserted to negate the basis for settling the ethnic conflict permanently, according to justifiable claims of the ethnic minorities. These resulted from their bitter experiences with the Sinhala majority rule that ignored the diverse ethnic, linguistic and other demographic features of the island nation. Because of this neglect, the unitary system failed to promote unity and build one integrated multi-ethnic nation. more..

Ramifications of 13th Amendment and its potential for change

Nov 24 (FI) Devolution of power by necessity engages a structural hierarchy of constitutionally determined recipients of the devolved powers. Under the 13th Amendment such recipients are the Provincial Councils that fall within a structural hierarchy of centres of constitutional governance. In future arrangements other recipients of devolved powers may be constitutionally ordained such as the Districts, Municipalities and other local bodies right down to the level of the “Grama” or the Village. more..

Prime Minister to Lead Sri Lanka Delegation to Doha Summit

Nov 24 (AT) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake will lead the Sri Lanka delegation to a major UN Conference on Financing for Development scheduled to take place in the Qatari capital of Doha November 29-December 2. The Prime Minister is due to address the plenary, along with dozens of other world leaders, on the global financial crisis and its impact on developing nations such as Sri Lanka. more..

Anbazhagan calls for urgent action to help Sri Lankan Tamils

Nov 24 (Hindu) Urgent action needs to be taken to help out the Sri Lankan Tamils, who have been caught in the conflict, Finance Minister K. Anbazhagan said on Sunday. The Tamils everywhere had to transcend their differences and come together to fight for the issues that concerned all Tamils. Only with a deep-rooted sense of the Tamil identity could Tamil Nadu continue to rise, he said, more..

Eliminating LTTE Terrorism from Sri Lanka

Nov 24 (AT) Let no one who is not militarily trained to combat terrorist warfare stand in the way of our Combined Armed Forces and Civil Defense operations which are performing an excellent task right now in entering the once strongholds of LTTE un-cleared territory. With extreme dedication and focus, our valiant forces are moving steadily forward and regaining lost ground so that all citizens who live in the North can return to peace and harmony and more..

If Mahinda is Winston Churchill, Ranil is Clement Attlee

Nov 24 (TC) In the general election, every vote counts. It would be a grave mistake indeed to think that anyone could carry a general election by playing exclusively to the Sinhala nationalist gallery or a military constituency. Mahinda Rajapakse is aware of this. Gothabaya Rajapakse once informed me of certain disagreements he was having with his brother, with Mahinda emphasising that there is a political angle and not just a military one. more..

Some comments on Legacy of the Senator Tiruchelvam

Nov 24 (TC) 19th November marked the 101st birth anniversary of the late Senator Tiruchelvam who passed away 32 years ago today—22nd of November, 1976. Born in 1907, the young Tiruchelvam grew up in Malaya where his father Mr.Vishwanathan Murugeysen was one of several Ceylonese members of the British colonial administration in that country. Soon after the end of World War I in 1918, Mr. Murugeysen sent his two elder sons Tiruchelvam and Rajendra to St. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia. more..

Houses for 179 tsunami affected families in Muruthumunai

Nov 24 (MG) The French Red Cross handed over 179 houses constructed to tsunami affected families in French City in Muruthumanai, Ampara District. The housing scheme, initiated by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society was built by returnee families who lived in the same area before the 2004 tsunami. This small fishing community has been involved in the planning, design and implementation of the project from the start. more..

Global crisis and cost of war in Sri Lanka

Nov 24 (LG) The current financial crisis is rapidly becoming an economic crisis and threatens to become a social crisis in many developing countries such as Sri Lanka. Latest Central Bank data showed that Sri Lanka's trade deficit narrowed during the nine months to September, as a slowdown in the global economy hurt export sales. “The US and other major export destination markets had been grappling with what has been dubbed as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s,” more..

Liberals in Toronto are in a risky honeymoon with Canadian Tamil Congress

Nov 24 (LG) Once again the latest LTTE front in Canada, so called Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) started to meet Canadian Law makers and giving them the impression that they are the sole representatives of Tamil people in Canada. (Just like their mother ship LTTE claims in Sri Lanka) It seems some politicians especially some Liberal politicians in Greater Toronto area are as usually starting to hug and believe them in a grand manner. more..

Ides of November

Nov 24 (LG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa's invitation for LTTE chief Prabhakaran, by name, to lay down arms and return to the negotiations table could not have come at a more crucial time. Repeated ad nauseum, starting with President Rajapaksa's Inauguration address three years ago, this one came after the Sri Lankan armed forces had re-captured Poonneryn – and less than a fortnight before Prabhakaran delivered his annual "Heroes' Day" address on 27 November. more..

Jayadevan has no Moral Right to Challenge Minister Devananda

Nov 24 (LG) I am neither an EPDP supporter nor a foe of Jeyadevan. I do not subscribe to the political policies of EPDP or its leader Minister Douglas Devananda. I was a Government servant, left Sri Lanka in the early nineties and living comfortably in United Kingdom since then. I am a silent spectator of the political happenings in Sri Lanka. Daily I browse through all the websites on Sri Lankan affairs, anxious to know what is happening in my home country. more..

Do not abuse the Country's sovereignty

Nov 24 (LG) I read with interest the sudden concern of R.Jayadevan (a disgruntled person of questionable repute) in his article of November 22,2008 in the Sri Lanka Guardian – He abuses the freedom of the Press and is allowed to do so by the Press for reasons common to money launderers and mischief makers, conspirators and temple trustees who throw money on advertisements and entertainment and at the end dissatisfied by the outcome he dissipates his energy. more..

‘Rock on fortress harmful to wildlife’

Nov 24 (DM) Wildlife surrounding the Sigiriya would be harmed by the Cultural shows the Ministry of Cultural Affairs hopes to stage at the rock fortress, Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardena said. The government said last week it hoped to organise cultural shows at the Sigiriya rock with the intention of attracting tourists and have plans to put up spot lights on the rock. “The Sigiriya rock is part of an animal and bird sanctuary and the loud music and bright lights will have a devastating effect on them,” more..

Ambassador Blake and the the Politics of the Tamils of Sri Lanka

Nov 24 (LG) Udara Soysa, interviewing Ambassador Blake for the Sri Lanka Guardian has given us a succinct thumb-nail picture of Blake's Bottled-medicine solution (BBMS) to Sri Lanka. Even a rapid reading of it shows that Blake is trying to kill two birds in one shot- first, to given a humane face to the aggressor politics of his master Bush, and re-state the views of the "International Community" which reflects the thinking of the Thimpu Tamils who populate the cocktail circuits in Colombo, New York and Geneva. more..

The national flag makes a statement; let it be made

Nov 24 (LG) War results when politics breakdown. However, once war commences, it is merely an extension of politics. The war in Sri Lanka is a violent contest between two national political ideologies. On one hand there is Sri Lankan national interests and on the other Tamil Elamist national interests. Obviously both cannot coexist and hence the contest. Either Sri Lanka or Tamil Elam will win this war and the contested areas will be decorated by its rulers with the winner’s flag. more..

Health workers appointed to estate sector

Nov 24 (GDI) The Government has appointed 125 health workers consisting of nine dispensers, 74 family health officers and 42 public health inspectors to upgrade the health services in the estate sector, Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said at the occasion of handing over appointment letters to trainees at the BMICH on Saturday (22). This would further bolster efforts to improve healthcare in this sector, more..

'Parliament to be dissolved in December'

Nov 24 (LD) SLFP Mahajana Wing leader Mangala Samaraweera says he has come to know through reliable sources that the President has decided to dissolve Parliament next month, at the conclusion of the budget debate. Mr. Samaraweera told 'Lanka Dissent' that President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a firm believer in astrology and considers 'nine' as his lucky number, has been advised by his astrologers to effect the dissolution either on December 9th or December 18th. more..

Kerawalapitiya Thermal Power Plant to commence operations next month

Nov 24 (GDI) The newly constructed 300 megawatt Kerawalapitiya Thermal Power Plant will be ceremoniously opened on December 7 under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a spokeperson from the Ministry of Power & Energy told today (24). The power plant, built at a cost of US $ 300 million, will commence operations by generating 200 megawatts this year and will expand to 300 megawatts within a year. more..

More civilians move to govt. controlled areas

Nov 24 (GDI) Forty one (41) civilians in two groups arrived at the Omanthai road barrier on Saturday (23), after fleeing LTTE-head areas, according to military source. The first group (25 males and 11 females) had arrived at the barrier at around 8.00 am. Defence sources said the group had nine children below 18 years and 11 youths below 30 years of age. The nine adults included three females below 50 years of age and seven adults over 50 years including three females. more..

First stage of Upper Kotmale Power Plant nears completion

Nov 24 (GDI) Eighty percent of the work pertaining to the construction of the first stage of the Upper Kotmale Power Plant has been completed, the Ministry of Power & Energy sources said. The project was launched in 2006 and is estimated to cost 950 million US dollars. Construction is due to be completed by 2010, sourced said, adding that 495 families displaced by the project have been found new houses. more..

"Shilpa 2008" at BMICH until November 26

Nov 24 (GDI) The handicraft exhibition organized by the National Craft Council (NCC), "Shilpa-2008", was opened yesterday and will be open to the public until November 26. The exhibition will reflect the workmanship of traditional handicraft artists across the country and is expected to attract local and foreign buyers. The handicraft artist who won first, second, third places and merit awards at the regional level will showcase their creations at the exhibition. more..

Efforts to liberate Kilinochchi intensify

Nov 24 (GDI) Offensive divisions of the Sri Lanka Army deployed in the Wanni Theatre of Operations are now marching towards the LTTE's Kilinochchi build up on three flanks, defence sources in the battlefield said yesterday. Army Task Force 1 and 57 Division have launched attacks on the LTTE held earth bund built around Kilinochchi, sources reveal. Pitched battles have been taking place in the areas north and south of Adampan and Therumurikandi area since early last morning. more..

Reporters Sans Accountability, Integrity and Pants

Nov 24 (GDI) Malinda Seneviratne has a conversation with Reporters Sans Frontiers and discovers some amusing things. A few days ago I received an email from RSF Asia, that is, I assume, the Asian branch of 'Reporters Sans Frontiers'. I don't have friends in that outfit, so I was surprised. It was not a personal email, but a general notification/appeal sent to many (list hidden). more..

Hasty retreat by LTTE supporters in Paris

Nov 24 (AT) Few dozens Tamil terrorists supporters who tried to disrupt a peaceful demonstration held by the Sri Lankans in Paris on Sunday had to make a hasty retreat under police protection. The supporters of LTTE started to shout pro-Tiger slogans when the demonstration began at 3.00 P.M. and some of the LTTE supporters made threatening gestures to the demonstrators, but when the young girls and boys started to shout slogans denouncing Tiger terrorists, more..

No move to repatriate Sri Lankan Tamils from refugee camps in India

Nov 24 (AT) There is no move to repatriate Sri Lankan Tamils living in the 115 refugee camps in Tamil Nadu and there is no truth in the statement made by D. Pandiyan, State secretary of the Communist Party of India, who spearheads a hate campaign against the Sri Lanka Government. In a press release, Tamil Nadu state Government has categorically stated that there was no move to repatriate the Sri Lankan Tamils refugees living in Tamil Nadu. more..