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Essential items handed over to soldiers and civilians who fled LTTE-held areas

Nov 25 (GDI) Essential items taken in the Goodwill Train from the South were handed over to war heroes in the Wanni yesterday. The train which left Matara reached Medawachchiya last night carrying donations for the war heroes as well as civilians who have reached liberated areas escaping from the grip of the terrorists. The Manel Mal Movement organised this programme to further strengthen soldiers engaged in humanitarian operations in the North and boost their morale. more..

394 Graduate teachers appointed to serve in Northern Province

Nov 25 (GDI) Letters of appointments were handed over to 394 graduates of the Northern Province who were recruited as teachers, at the Northern Provincial Governor's Office yesterday. The move is a part of the Government's approach to address the lack of adequate teachers and other state sector employees in the region. Governor assured that measures will be expedited to ensure that all the children in the region are provided with free education facilities more..

EU asks LTTE, Govt. to begin talks

Nov 25 (SAMN) The final report of the European Union delegation which visited Sri Lanka recently is to be presented to the EU parliament later this week, a top EU official said. The report calls upon the LTTE to lay down arms and enter the negotiating process and immediately stop its forcible recruitment of local NGO workers and children to its terrorist organisation. It also called upon the Sri Lankan government to abandon its military activities and enter the political process as more..

Gang takes control of estate

Nov 25 (SAMN) An armed gang backed by some powerful politicians have forcibly taken control of Hawanatenna Estate in Melsiripura, Kurunegala, JVP MP Namal Karunaratne said in Parliament Monday. MP Karunaratne said a powerful politician representing the Kegalle District is behind this incident. He said the police are turning a blind eye to this incident as a result. “In fact, a senior police officer too is behind this case. People in the area are furious. more..

Consider shifting checkpoints: SC

Nov 25 (SAMN) The Supreme Court Monday directed a Northern Commanding Officer to explore the possibility of shifting the check points in the buffer zone towards Kankesanturai so that educational activities in the area could go on without hindrance. The Court directed Maj. Gen. G.A. Chandrasiri of the Palaly Army Camp to consider the shifting of checkpoints to facilitate students, teachers and hospital staff access to the Mahajana College, the Union College and the Tellipalai Base Hospital. more..

Act fast to save Lanka: UNP

Nov 25 (SAMN) The main opposition UNP told parliament Monday that according to World Bank and the International Monetary Fund projections it would take about one and half to two years for countries to recover from the global economic recession. UNP front-liner Ravi Karunanayake -- who returned after attending a meeting of Parliamentarians’ Network in Paris where the global financial crisis was the main item on the agenda – said the more..

Govt eases fishing curbs in Jaffna

Nov 25 (DN) The Government has eased fishing restrictions in Jaffna in the aftermath of the regaining of Pooneryn. With the entire North Western seaboard now controlled by the Security Forces, the Security Forces have lifted restrictions on fishing hours and perimeters in the Jaffna seas, Brigadier Nanayakkara said. Jaffna fishermen can now sail any distance on a daily basis between 6.30 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. exceeding the three kilometre limit earlier in force. more..

Iran plans to resume tea purchase from Lanka

Nov 25 (DN) Importers of Sri Lanka tea in Iran are mulling over resuming purchase of Sri Lanka tea, stayed since the global financial crisis, following a meeting between officials of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Tehran and top Iranian importers of Sri Lanka tea held at the Mission premises. Leading importers of tea who responded to the Mission’s invitation for a discussion on resumption of tea purchase, were told by Mission Officials that more..

UNP politicized education – Yapa

Nov 25 (Island) Minister of Media and Information Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, joining the committee stage budget debate of the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, said politicizing education was a practice the UNP had carried on for a long time resulting in the decline in education standards. He had a kinsman who had been a one-time UNP Education Minister known for his meddling with education and therefore the UNP had no moral right to protest against political interference, he said. more..

While VAT scam reports gather dust PSC appointed to probe IRD shortcomings

Nov 25 (Island) While two comprehensive reports on Sri Lanka’s biggest ever VAT (Value Added Tax) fraud gather dust, Parliament has launched another inquiry by a Select Committee to identify shortcomings at the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) and recommend remedial action. The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) chaired by UNP MP Kabir Hashim has called for public representations on or before December 15, 2008. more..

Anton Karunaratne: Do you know him?

Nov 25 (DM) A Sri Lankan by the name of Anton Karunaratne has lost his memory. The university hospital in San Antonio, Texas issued a bulletin requesting Sri Lankans who are aware of the identity of Anton to contact them. He is not able to identify himself. Social workers at University Hospital need your help in finding friends and family of 55-year-old Anton. Social workers are hoping someone will come forward to help him return home. more..

German tourist raped and robbed

Nov 25 (DM) An 80-year-old German tourist was allegedly raped by an unidentified three-member gang at her apartment in Marawila yesterday, police said. The woman was sleeping alone in her apartment at the Marawilla Sports Resort when she was woken up by someone banging on the door and calling out her name saying they were from the police. Her son said the men who were not in police uniform had forcibly entered the room when his mother had opened the door. more..

5 PCs to be dissolved after budget vote

Nov 25 (LD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has told election coordinators of the SLFP to prepare for provincial polls, as he was going to dissolve Western, Southern, Northwestern, Uva and Central Provincial Councils on December 18th. His instruction has come last night (Nov. 24th) at a meeting attended by the party's District Coordinating Officers, general secretary Maithripala Sirisena, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Anuruddha Ratwatte. more..

Govt. used JHU to send out feeler for truce - UNP

Nov 25 (LD) The government has sent out a feeler through its key affiliate JHU which is talking about a ceasefire, said UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella, predicting that starting peace talks would be the next step. Mr. Kiriella was giving a media briefing in Colombo this morning regarding the party's stance on the JHU spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe's remark that if India could guarantee a ceasefire with LTTE the government could consider the issue. more..

New driving license, the most corrupt deal - Corruption Watch

Nov 25 (LD) The new driving license scam will be the most corrupt deal in this country - in which all existing licenses will have to be renewed at a cost of Rs. 2,000 although it will cost only Rs. 300, said Ravi Jayawardena, legal coordinator of 'Corruption Watch.' Speaking at a media briefing in Colombo today (No. 25th), Mr. Jayawardena also placed more details of the controversial hedging deal. more..

Sri Lanka cuts reserve ratio to 7.75-pct

Nov 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka has cut its statutory reserve ratio for commercial banks from 9.25 percent to 7.75 percent, releasing 17 billion rupees in cash to the banking system, the central bank said. The statutory reserves are deposits kept by commercial banks in the central bank. In October the central bank cut the reserve ratio by 75 basis points from 9.25 percent. more..

Wimal accuses JVP over expulsions

Nov 25 (LD) Wimal Weerawansa has condemned what he termed as "attempts by the JVP to replace us in Parliament with 11 from the SLFP." The National Freedom Front chairman was commenting to the media this morning (Nov. 25th) on the expulsion of 11 JVP MPs, including him, from the party. The ex-propaganda secretary of the JVP said the move would not affect their parliamentary seats. more..

Sri Lanka port urged to reduce dependence on India

Nov 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Colombo harbour needs to reduce dependence on the Indian sub-continent and expand its coverage to get cargo from elsewhere in order to emerge as a true global hub port, a senior port professional says. Sarathkumara Premachandra, regional manager of CMA CGM Terminal Link (Asia), who is currently based in Malaysia, says two ports being developed by India could threaten Colombo's share of the sub-continent's transhipment business. more..

Tamil Nadu opposition boycotts meet on Sri Lankan issue

Nov 25 (IANS) Most of the Tamil Nadu opposition parties Tuesday boycotted an all-party meeting called by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to discuss the plight of minority Tamils in Sri Lanka. Opposition parties including the AIADMK, DMDK, MDMK, Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) stayed away from the meet, officials said. Karunanidhi announced that he would lead a delegation of legislators to New Delhi Dec 4. more..

VIDEO: Fighting in Sri Lanka intensifies

Nov 25 (Reuters) Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lankan troops fight fierce battles in the north of the country with both claiming they've inflicted heavy casualties on the other. The Sri Lankan Defence Ministry said troops were advancing on the Tamil Tiger rebel's administrative town of Kilinochchi from three directions amidst heavy fighting. Kilinochchi is the prime target of the government's offensive to try to crush the rebels, more..

Can the Army seize Kilinochchi by LTTE "Maaveerar" Day ?

Nov 25 (TC) Even as fierce fighting rages between the Government of Sri Lanka armed forces and the LTTE in the North the multi – crore rupee question doing the rounds in politico – military circles is whether Kilinochchi town could fall or be taken by November 27th 2008? In short, could the army seize the former de-facto tiger administrative capital of Kilinochchi and raise the national flag on the LTTE’s “Maaveerar thinam” or Great Heroes day that falls on November 27th each year? more..

Tamil Tigers 'fool Met into allowing pro-terrorist event'

Nov 25 (ES) he Metropolitan Police has been tricked by terrorists after allowing a Tamil Tiger event to go ahead in London, it was claimed today. Supporters of the National Awakening Day at the ExCel centre say it draws more than 25,000 members of the capital's Tamil community to mourn loved ones who have been killed in Sri Lanka's civil war. But critics claim Thursday's event commemorates suicide bombers, is in clear violation of British anti-terror legislation and more..

Murder, abductions rise in 'liberated' Sri Lanka: rights group

Nov 25 (AFP) A leading human rights group on Tuesday accused a pro-government militia in eastern Sri Lanka of being behind a worsening wave of killings and child abductions. Human Rights Watch accused the TMVP, made up of former members of the Tamil Tigers who switched sides in the bitter ethnic war, of at least 30 murders and 30 kidnappings in the east of the island in September and October. more..

Tamil Tiger chief to issue rallying call as fiefdom crumbles

Nov 25 (AFP) The reclusive leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers is to deliver his annual policy address this week from a besieged jungle hideout that could soon be totally overrun by government troops. With his northern fiefdom shrinking fast in the face of a massive onslaught, Velupillai Prabhakaran is expected to use Thursday's address to rally his forces for a do-or-die battle for survival. more..

Sri Lanka to get Vision Asia status

Nov 26 (Goal) According to the official website of AFC, the green signal was shown in the Vision Asia Bureau meeting in Shanghai as the application from Sri Lanka was accepted. Maldives inclusion in the vision Asia project was also ratified at the meeting. The two Indian Ocean countries join India and Bangladesh as part of the current South Asian Vision Asia portfolio. Cricket is the dominant sport in Sri Lanka, which has a population of around 18 million, more..

Sri Lanka celebrates birthday of Sai Baba

Nov 26 (PTI) Hundreds of devotees celebrated the 83rd birthday of Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi with traditional lighting of lamps, songs and other renditions on the occasion. The glittering Sai Baba Centre at Colombo witnessed a sea of people on Sunday with the devotees waiting patiently to get a glimpse of the highly decorated Sai Baba's portraits on his birthday. At the crack of the dawn, people were seen queuing the centre as more..

Stephen Champion’s Lanka War Stories

Nov 26 (GV) On 4th February 2008, as the government celebrated the 60th anniversary of our independence from Britain, it struck me strongly that we Sri Lankans are going round in circles. For some time it has been obvious that ordinary political science terminology and analysis are insufficient and reason inadequate to the strange and twisted trajectory of our country. more..

Bids invited for Broadlands hydro project

Nov 26 (WPM) Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has invited design build contractors/firms and voluntarily formed joint ventures to submit competitive bids for the engineering and design, procurement and manufacturing, construction, erection, installation and commissioning of the 35MW Broadlands hydro power project in Sri Lanka. The project is a run-of-river type development on the Kelani River in the Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces. more..

Karunanidhi reiterates demand for ceasefire in Sri Lanka

Nov 26 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Tuesday once again called for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka despite most of the opposition parties boycotting an all-party meet called to discuss the plight of minority Tamils in Sri Lanka. 'We will continue to demand the declaration of a ceasefire in Sri Lanka and start of political negotiations between the island's government and the Tamil minority there... (but) more..

Colombo 'commissions' education for structural war on Tamils

Nov 26 (TN) Beginning from curriculum, school textbooks, teachers, educational administrators and resources to the destruction of the existing educational infrastructure in the guise of war, the structural violence committed by the Sri Lankan state against Tamils has been condemned by the Trincomalee MP, Mr. Thurairetnasingam in a parliamentary debate on Friday. “An ethnicity can be devastated by the destruction of its education, and more..

Sri Lankan troops, rebels clash near Tiger HQ

Nov 26 (Reuters) Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels clashed again on Tuesday in driving monsoon rains, with soldiers probing the edge of the guerrillas' headquarters town after three bloody days of combat, the military said. Sri Lankan soldiers ambushed and killed two rebels on Tuesday on the northern Jaffna Peninsula, the military said. LTTE fighters also killed two soldiers in an anti-personnel mine explosion, both sides said. more..

'JHU never said it agrees to truce'

Nov 26 (LD) The JHU, in a media release, says it is of the firm stance that Tamil separatist Tiger terrorism needs to be defeated militarily, and that it is pointless to offer truces or political solutions or to negotiate. It notes that every time such were offered, the Sri Lankan government had been taken on a ride and the LTTE had used the opportunities to fortify itself both militarily and politically. Therefore, the JHU will never propose ceasefires with the LTTE, more..

Sri Lanka banks chief says push-bike credit better risk than BMW loan

Nov 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Hatton National Banks (HNB) micro finance default rate is lower than the bank average default rates due to the shame factor and peer pressure from villagers, says managing director Rajendra Theagarajah. He says there's a myth that if the business is from the bottom of the pyramid, the chances of that loan portfolio going bad is high. more..

Scenarios: Where is Sri Lanka's war heading?

Nov 26 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's military on Tuesday said it was probing the edges of the headquarters of the LTTE rebels, Kilinochchi. That follows a bloody weekend during which both sides said they killed scores of their enemy. Here are some scenarios of what could happen next: Soldiers are already marching on Kilinochchi from the north, west and southwest, where fighting is heaviest, and where the military for more than a month has said it is on the edge of town. more..

Tamil Nadu leaders to meet Manmohan Singh to discuss Sri Lankan issue

Nov 26 (ANI) Top leaders from Tamil Nadu will meet Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on December 04 to discuss the Sri Lankan issue. The decision was taken at an all-party meeting convened by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in Chennai today. The AIADMK party boycotted the meeting. Political parties in Tamil Nadu have been reiterating their demand for ceasefire between the Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE. more..

Grim outlook for LTTE on eve of Hero’s Day

Nov 26 (Hindu) On the eve of the Hero’s Day address by LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran, the Sri Lankan military on Tuesday claimed to have reached a “significant stage in Wanni liberation operation” by capturing Olumadu in Mullathivu district. Once considered an LTTE stronghold, Olumadu is located 4 km northeast of Mankulam, along the Mankulam-Mullathivu (A-34) Road in the north. more..

‘Fight against LTTE and move towards political solution should go hand in hand’

Nov 26 (Hindu) Douglas Devananda, Social Welfare Minister in the Mahinda Rajapaksa government and leader of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), has clear views on the current military and political situation in Sri Lanka and the humanitarian crisis triggered by the ongoing war between the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE. Here are excerpts from an interview he gave The Hindu. more..

Protest condemning attack on Tamils in Sri Lanka

Nov 26 (Hindu) Condemning the attack on Tamils in Sri Lanka by the military forces, cadres of the Pattali Makkal Katchi, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Communist Party of India, Tamilar Desiya Iyakkam and Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam blocked Salem Road, near the Head Post Office, here on Tuesday. They raised slogans against the Sri Lankan Government, its President Mahinda Rajapaksa and also the Centre and demanded immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka. more..

Satellite pictures reveal LTTE runways

Nov 26 (Hindu) Analysis of high-resolution commercially available satellite imagery from DigitalGlobe and GeoEye has allowed Jane’s Intelligence Review to verify that the LTTE constructed two 1,000 m paved runways between 2002 and 2007. One of these runways is currently being extended to 2,000 m. These airstrips are unnecessarily long for the light aircraft that the LTTE uses for aerial attacks and are probably intended to handle larger cargo planes delivering weapon shipments. more..

'Mihin Lanka will make profits within 3 months'

Nov 26 (BL) The Government will give assurance that Mihin Lanka will be a profit making venture within three months after it recommences its flights on December 15, said Minister of Ports and Aviation, Chamal Rajapaksa. “We have completed a corporate plan. We made this plan only after a careful perusal of the mistakes we made before, and we are sure that Mihin can be turned into a profit making more..

Litigation in the public interest

Nov 26 (ML) As a person actively and committedly involved in litigation in the public interest for quite sometime, even though I am not a professional lawyer, nor purporting to be one, I cannot be a silent dumbhead or spectator to the concepts propounded and opinions expressed by Deshamanya Dr. R.K.W. Goonesekere, in his recent oration at the Colombo Law Faculty (excerpts of which were published in last week’s issue of The Morning Leader), more..

JVP takes government to task over Mihin, Port losses

Nov 26 (ML) JVP Parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti yesterday charged that the Ports and Civil Aviation Ministry has failed to submit an expenditure statement on the so called budget airline Mihin Air, thus disregarding parliamentary control of public finance. He also charged that besides not showing any accountability for the immense expenditure, it was unexplained by the government as to why Rs. 6000 million had to be allocated for a single institution when more..

Crisis confirmed

Nov 26 (BL) The financial crisis in Sri Lanka is firmly confirmed now after the Central Bank yesterday freed a further Rs. 17 billion to boost cash in the system bringing the total to Rs. 24.5 billion in little over a month. A top economist warned that a prolonged war could further devastate the economy. Response measures by the Central Bank as well as a fresh warning on the economy comes hot on the heels of dwindling reserves and more..

What would Prabhakaran say tomorrow?

Nov 26 (BL) What would LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran say tomorrow when he addresses the Tamil people after paying homage to the 22,000 cadres who died since the armed struggle began in 1982? At 6.05 p.m., the exact hour the first cadre died on November 27, 1982, Prabhakaran will light the ‘Eekai Sudar’ (The Light of Self Sacrifice) and follow that up with a statement outlining his future course of action. more..

HRW statement dismissed by government

Nov 26 (BL) The government yesterday dismissed the statement released by Human Rights Watch calling on the government to take immediate action regarding the escalating killings in the Eastern Province but admitted that there were steps that could be taken to stem the tide. Peace Secretariat Head Prof. Rajiv Wijesinghe was adamant that these were ploys orchestrated by the LTTE. more..

All eyes on Tiger Chief as Tamil Nadu simmers

Nov 26 (ML) All eyes will be on the north tomorrow, as LTTE Leader Velupillai Pirapaharan gears to deliver his ‘Martyrs Day’ speech. Each year, the speech of the LTTE Supremo is highly anticipated, not only by Tamils, but others as well. This time however, the scenario has slightly changed. The LTTE, in the battlefield is on the back foot. The government claims that the troops are closing in on Kilinochchi and that the end of the Tigers is near. more..

The man behind the Tamil Tigers’ retreat

Nov 26 (IHT) A former computer systems administrator from suburban Southern California is today leading the charge in Asia’s longest running civil war and these are among his new treasures: This fishing village of empty pummeled houses; a secret cove nearby the ethnic separatist guerrillas are said to have used to smuggle fuel; and a martyrs cemetery a few kilometers down the road containing two generations of slain rebels. more..

'JHU is playing the role of the harbinger'

Nov 26 (LT) The JHU is playing the role of the forerunner of the government says Information Secretary of the JVP Vijithe Herath. Mr. Herath said this when 'Lankatruth' inquired him regarding the statement of the spokesman to the JHU Nishanthe Sri Warnasinghe who had said that Sri Lanka should go for a ceasefire as Indian pressure was mounting. Mr. Vijithe Herath said, "The government that is getting ready to go for a ceasefire agreement sends forerunners. more..

Tamils' plight sees realignment in TN politics

Nov 26 (TOI) It was billed as a meeting of parties represented in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, but the "all-party meet" convened by chief minister and DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Tuesday on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue may have ended up revealing the emerging patterns of political realignment in the state. Major opposition parties, including AIADMK, MDMK and two Left parties, stayed away, while PMK, ousted from the DMK-led front a few months ago, was one of the driving forces behind the conduct of the meeting. more..

Sri Lanka 15th among countries with low gender gap

Nov 26 (GDI) Sri Lanka has been ranked 15th among countries with a low gender gap according to the Gender Gap Index released by the 'World Economic Forum' based on 2007 statistics. Four Nordic countries, Sweden (1), Norway (2), Finland (3) and Iceland (4) once again ranked top in the latest report. All countries in the top 20 made progress relative to their scores last year – some more so than others, more..