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93 arrested for suspected terrorist connections in Sri Lanka

Nov 3 (Xinhua) At least 93 people were arrested for suspicious terrorist connections in a north western village in Sri Lanka on Sunday, the police said. The police arrested all of these people in the village of Kalpitiya, about 165 km from the capital Colombo, the police said. All arrested were people who had arrived in Kalpitiya from Northern and Eastern provinces and living in temporary locations in the village, police added. more..

Tamils issue:'DMK should have exerted more pressure on Centre'

Nov 3 (PTI) Accusing the Tamil Nadu Government of not exerting "much" pressure on the Centre over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, the CPI on Sunday said it will reach out to like-minded parties to press the state administration to convene another all-party meeting on the matter. Party TN unit chief D Pandian said the DMK-led Government should have "exerted more pressure on the Centre" on the Sri Lanka Tamils issue as it was one of the resolutions passed by the all-party meeting on October 14. more..

All-party resolutions not sidetracked, says Karunanidhi

Nov 3 (PTI) amil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Sunday said it was wrong for anyone to state that the resolutions passed at the October 14 all-party meet on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue had been sidetracked. Writing in the DMK mouthpiece 'Murasoli', he said that Tamils in the state have a common goal that each and every Sri Lankan Tamil should be saved. "We are all working to achieve these objectives," he added. more..

'LTTE on verge of losing key supply line'

Nov 3 (Hindu) The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) on Sunday claimed to have pounded “an LTTE training and logistic base” located in the Iranamadu area in Mullathivu district. The base is located north of Iranamadu jungle and “fighter jets accurately hit the target.” The military claimed soldiers met with “less resistance” from the LTTE on the Wanni battlefront as they continued to consolidate defences in the newly-captured territory east and west of Kilinochchi. more..

'India has constraints in intervening in Sri Lanka'

Nov 3 (Hindu) Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Sunday said India had constraints in intervening in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. “Should we not be conscious of India’s limitations? The Centre is helping the Tamils because we have adopted a resolution at the all-party meeting,” he said in a statement. The Chief Minister’s reaction came in the wake of the allegation of PMK founder S. Ramadoss that Tamil Nadu had failed in persuading the Centre to effect a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka to open up a mission in Libya

Nov 3 (AT) Sri Lanka Government has decided to open up an embassy in Libya, to carry on bilateral and friendly relationship with that country. The mission is expected to be started by the end of the year or by early next year, according to Keheliya Rambukawella, Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare and Government Spokesman on National Security. A government delegation from Libya is in Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka economy, rupee at risk from deficit, foreign debt: IMF

Nov 3 (AFP) Sri Lanka's overvalued currency, reliance on foreign borrowing and poor management of the budget are putting the island's economy at "serious risk", the International Monetary Fund said Sunday. The island, which is in the midst of a long-running war with ethnic Tamil Tiger rebels, could have inflation of 23.9 percent by the end of 2008, the IMF said in its just released annual assessment on Sri Lanka. more..

Jayalalithaa fears funds, relief may be diverted to LTTE

Nov 3 (Hindu) There is an apprehension among the people of Tamil Nadu that the money and relief materials will be diverted to the LTTE which has been using Tamils as a shield in the war against the Sri Lankan Army, AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa said on Sunday. “It is a genuine apprehension and I share it,” she said in a statement. more..

‘We are two miles away from Kilinochchi’!

Nov 3 (LG) Hello Malli can you hear me? Yes! Yes!! Thambi, I can hear you. It is very bad line Thambi Thamby. Where are you? What is happening in Kilinochchi? Oh machan Malli, I am in the heart of Kilinochchi. Kilinochchi is deserted. Some LTTE cadres are moving about. They are very helpful to me. The LTTE fellows are saying that they have moved all their Kilinochchi operations to the Vanni and are saying they are waiting to trap the army when they enter Kilinochchi. more..

'Thousand thanks to India for the Humanitarian aid'

Nov 3 (LG) Tamils of this country thank Indian central and Tamilnadu state governments for the forthcoming generous humanitarian aid to the needy in the Vanni region. But the food and medicine cannot substitute the all important power devolved political solution to the national question of Sri Lanka. The need of the hour is the political power devolution beyond 13th Amendment to the Tamil and Muslim people said Civil Monitoring Commission Convener and Western Peoples Front leader parliamentarian Mano Ganesan. more..

Democratic administration needed for peace

Nov 3 (LG) Do the discerning have to look far to witness amicable living? Colombo and its immediate suburbs accommodate Tamils, Muslims and Sinhala citizens. Many temporary residents from the West and Asia too mingle with the resident citizens. The demography was determined more by the peaceful atmosphere that prevailed. Most of the land and dwelling houses are Sinhala owned. Tamil speaking people who preponderate, pay rents to remain in the hub, for they are mostly businessmen. more..

Needed: Farmer centred agricultural development

Nov 3 (LG) Historically, the functions of exploring and testing new techniques in farming (what we now call research), and then sharing information on what works, and what does not work (what we now call extension), were activities carried out by farmers themselves. With the advent and professionalisation of agricultural science, farmers’ research tends to have been marginalised or de-legitimised and farmers began to be seen as mere recipients and adopters of technologies developed by ‘scientists’, and more..

New conditions when importing 44 goods including TVs & fridges

Nov 3 (LT) Central Bank of Sri Lanka has imposed new regulations regarding the import of 44 goods labeled as 'non-essential' goods. Hereafter importers will have to deposit the full value of the goods they import when they open Letters of Credit (LC) in banks for such goods. According to Central Bank this new condition has been imposed to control the devaluation of the exchange ratio. more..

Reporters Without Borders hits new low in NGO Index

Nov 3 (PISL) Obviously finding themselves with plenty of time on their hands, the boffins at Reporters Without Borders have seen fit to compile what they like to call a Press Freedom Index. In fact, they do it every year. Hours are spent trying to position as many countries as possible on a numerical scale, while monitoring the rise and fall of the various regimes is supposed to provide us with a meaningful insight into the availability of information and opinions to their citizens and more..

Trade Minister promises adequate stocks of rice

Nov 3 (GDI) Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs, Bandula Gunawardena warns that if the private traders attempt to create an artificial scarcity of rice stocks in the local market, he would not hesitate to import and distribute rice. He said that while farmers are getting Rs. 30 for a kilo of rice the traders are allowed to sell at Rs. 70, which means that traders are entitled to gain a satisfactory profit more..

Economic Advisory Committee to formulate national economic strategies

Nov 3 (GDI) Members of the Economic Advisory Committee appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to solicit advice and proposals to build a strong economy emphasized that expenditure on war should be considered as an investment and the contribution of each citizen of this country in this regard was of vital importance. Committee members made these observations at a meeting chaired by President Mahinda Rapjaksa at Temple Trees yesterday (2nd). more..

'Terrorism is a losing cause'

Nov 3 (GDI) Expressing confidence about the on-going humanitarian mission to liberate the country from the clutches for terrorism, Member of the European Parliament, Niranjan Deva Adithya said that terrorism has never succeeded anywhere in the world. In an interview with the State Radio, the European parliamentarian further pointed out that "Karuna Amman," a former key military leader of the LTTE, had broken away from the terrorist outfitunderstanding this situation well. more..

Knocking at diplomatic doors

Nov 3 (LNP) Retired Ambassador and gadfly, Nanda Godage, has predictably taken up cudgels in this issue of the Sunday Island on ongoing attempts to amalgamate the Sri Lanka Administrative Service with the Sri Lanka Foreign Service. No final decision on whether this will be done or not has yet been taken, but the lobbies for both sides are hard at work, one defending its turf and the other looking for lolly. more..

'Increase salaries by Rs.5000 without giving a trifle from budget'

Nov 3 (LT) Stern trade union action would be taken if the government doesn't take measures to increase the salaries of state and private sector employees by Rs.5000 states National Trade Union Centre (NTUC). Sending a letter to President Mahinda Rajapakse President of NTUC Parliamentarian Lal Kanthe states: We wrote to you a month ago that salaries of all state and private sector employees should be increased by Rs.5000 and more..

Govt. to dissolve five PCs after budget

Nov 3 (SAMN) The government is to dissolve the five remaining Provincial Councils and hold fresh provincial polls after presenting the 2009 budget at the parliament this week. According to reports, the Western and Central Provincial Councils will be dissolved first followed by Southern, North West (Wayamba), and Uva Provincial Councils early next year. Reports also said election for the Western and Central provincial councils would be held in February 2009. more..

Govt. mulls rice imports

Nov 3 (SAMN) A government plan to stock up 140,000 tonnes of paddy to thwart a possible attempt by the private sector to exploit the market in the next few months has failed due to a vast majority of farmers declining to sell their product at the prices fixed by the government. The government priced a kilo of samba at Rs 30 and Nadu at Rs. 28 early this year. The Paddy Marketing Board and the Government Agent Ampara had managed to buy approximately 4,800 and 900 tonnes of paddy respectively. more..

Still no-go for Mihin Lanka

Nov 3 (SAMN) The government’s budget airline Mihin Lanka continues to remain grounded since it stopped its flights in May even after certain administrative changes including the appointment of a new CEO were made recently. The airline’s efforts to obtain an aircraft from China have also not materialised though a team of officials from the Aviation Ministry visited China seeking to negotiate a new lease of an aircraft. more..

‘Health Ministry admits blood blunder’

Nov 3 (SAMN) The main opposition UNP Sunday alleged that Health Ministry Secretary Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage had admitted that outdated blood transfusion sets had been used in several hospitals in the country. UNP MP Jayalath Jayawardena told a news conference that the secretary had admitted this in writing and had informed the Auditor General that action had been taken on some officials attached to more..

Teen invents modern wheelchair targeting disabled Forces, police personnel

Nov 3 (DN) A student of Heenatigala Maha Vidyalaya has invented a modern sophisticated wheelchair targeting disabled Security Forces and police personnel. Lahiru Niranjaya Pandigama, 16, a Grade 11 student claims that his model wheelchair has over 10 novel features which provided more manoeuvrability than the standard wheelchair available in the market. Lahiru said: “It is more like a mobile room, vehicle or a bed and adjustable to suit the type of disability of the user.” more..

Illegal breweries busted in Kandana

Nov 3 (DN) Police have busted two illegal breweries in Kandana area taking into custody two key suspects along with brewing equipment and illicit liquor worth over Rs. 500,000. The two breweries in Kalaeliya and Thotupala road in Kandana had run a lucrative business for some time distributing their produce mainly to Kandana and adjoining areas. During the raid on the Kalaeliya illicit brewery, officers took into custody 42,336 drams of Goda, 2,520 drams of moonshine, 21 barrels, seven copper coils and other equipment. more..

A fresh attempt to grab Agriculture Dept land thwarted

Nov 3 (Island) Acting Agriculture Minister Hemakumara Nanayakkara said that land belonging to the Agriculture Department wouldn’t be given to the private sector. Addressing a recent meeting at Gannoruwa to evaluate the progress at farms managed by the Agriculture Department, he said that many individuals and private sector organisations wanted to utilise their land but they wouldn’t grant their requests. more..

Another major split in JVP?

Nov 3 (Island) The JVP is likely to suffer another major split with its trade union chief and parliamentarian offering to resign, The Island learns. JVP trade union wing leader and MP K. D. Lal Kantha, highly placed sources yesterday said, had tendered his resignation letter to the party's politburo on Friday night as the politburo and the Central Committee had been very critical of his failure to handle trade union affairs effectively and efficiently. more..

'No end till we get Prabhakaran'

Nov 3 (LNP) The Government will declare a ceasefire only if the Tigers lay down weapons and surrender, President Mahinda Rajapaksa told India Today in an interview. President Rajapaksa said the Forces have Prabhakaran cornered and he will be caught soon. The day Prabhakaran is caught, military operations would be over. Soon after that we will give a political solution as we did in the East, the President said. more..

'The government will not hesitate to safeguard rights of workers'

Nov 3 (LP) The state bank employees will be entitled for the pension which will be reintroduced with effect from January 2009 said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He also said that his government does not hesitate in giving them their rights. This decision was conveyed at a special meeting held at the Temple Trees last Saturday (01) with the State Bank and state officials. Considering a request made by the union leaders, a committee consisting of more..

Ancient mosque destroyed by goons

Nov 3 (DM) A historic mosque dedicated to an Islamic saint in Magamboda in Matale was destroyed by a goons yesterday. Presidential Advisor A. H. M. Azwer told the Daily Mirror that this mosque had been registered with theWakhuf Board as a historic shrine. A team of top government officials led by the Western Province Governor Alavi Mowlana and Mr. Azwer himself visited the area and inspected the damages. more..

Five killed in trishaw-bus collision

Nov 3 (DM) In another tragic road accident yesterday five people including two children were killed on the spot when their three-wheeler and an army bus collided with each other at Kipalogama on the Thalawa-Eppawala main road, police said. In the tragedy that occurred near the Kipalogama Subodhi Vidyalaya about 1 p.m., a woman passenger and the three-wheeler driver were also killed while another woman who was injured and rushed to the Anuradhapura teaching hospital where she later died. more..

5 Tamil youths abducted in Trinco

Nov 3 (LD) Unidentified armed men in white vans have abducted five Tamil youths in the past seven days in Trincomalee district, Tamil Net reports, citing complaints lodged with Trincomalee District Tamil National Alliance MP Thurairatnasingham. The fate of the five abducted youths is not known, the relatives of the youths have told the MP, it adds. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Army and Sri Lanka Navy jointly conducted a cordon and search, and more..

CIABOC questions UPFA MP

Nov 3 (LD) The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption has questioned Gampaha District UPFA parliamentarian Sarana Gunawardene for four hours on a complaint made against him on November 01st. Investigations are being conducted into the complaint, CIABOC says. Earlier, CIABOC questioned Minister of Nation Building Rohitha Abeygunawardena on an allegation pertaining to having fraudulently obtained assets worth over Rs. 450 million.

LTTE observes 1st death anniversary of Thamilchelvan

Nov 3 (ZN) People in LTTE-controlled areas on Monday reportedly queued up to pay homage to slain former political head of Tamil Tigers S P Thamilchelvan, who was killed in Kilinochchi in November last year. "Eezham Tamil diaspora as well as the war-affected people in Wanni marked Sunday the first death anniversary of Brigadier S P Thamilchelvan, who was assassinated along with four members of the political division, in a Sri Lanka Air Force targeted air-strike more..

Bold And Desperate

Nov 3 (SP) The LTTE is putting its last reserves of trained fighters into the defense of Kilinochchi. Casualties are increasing, as is LTTE pressure on its allies in southern India (Tamil Nadu, the original homeland of the Sri Lankan Tamils) to get India to force the Sri Lankans to stop their military operations against the LTTE. This is essential if the LTTE is to survive as a viable separatist organization. more..

Defence, subsidy costs overshoot ahead of next budget

Nov 3 (LBO) Budget for 2009 will focus on keeping a military campaign on track while also providing resources to build infrastructure, while expenses in the current budget have overshot targets, a government minister has said. Junior finance minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told ETV's Lanka Business Report show that managing the 2008 budget has been tough. "Generating the budgeted income has been a challenge this year," Siyambalapitiya said. more..

Media groups to challenge new restrictions

Nov 3 (IPS) Media groups in Sri Lanka, already restricted from covering the war against Tamil rebels in the north, are bracing to challenge new regulations that seek to control television broadcasting and new media. The new rules, announced on Oct. 27, control content not only for broadcast but also MMS, a form of news dissemination that is rapidly gaining in popularity. Newspapers on the weekend also reported government plans to bring in similar rules for radio broadcasting. more..

'Separating Tamil people and LTTE is foolish'

Nov 3 (Rediff) Tamil Nationalist Movement leader Pazha Nedumaran is one of the most vocal supporters of the LTTE and its supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran. In a rare interview to's Shobha Warrier, he talks about the civil war raging in Sri Lanka. When I interviewed you in 2000, you stated that the LTTE was a freedom movement and not a terrorist organisation. At that time, it had been banned in India after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Do you still believe that? more..

Central bank limits access to cheap emergency cash

Nov 3 (Reuters) Central bank sharply cut the number of times banks can borrow cash from its emergency funding tool after a central bank official said had been misused as a cheap source of funds. In its latest move to stabilise the rupee, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said in a notice sent to banks and primary dealers that access to its discounted reverse repurchase window would be limited to three from 10 times a month as of Nov. 1. more..

Sri Lanka: New fighting between military, rebels

Nov 3 (AP) Sri Lankan soldiers fought a series of battles with Tamil Tiger rebels across the country's embattled north, inflicting "severe damage" on the guerrillas, the military said Monday. Government troops have made dramatic progress in recent months, seizing rebel bases and chunks of land, but the rebels have offered stiff resistance as the soldiers close in on their administrative capital, Kilinochchi. more..

New technique developed to use banana leaves as wrappers

Nov 4 (GDI) A new technique has been introduced to manufacture food wrappers from banana leaves, as a measure to prevent the growing demand for and usage of environmental hazardous polythene in the country, a spokesperson of the Telijjawila Agriculture Research Station told, today (03). The new eco-friendly technique will preserve banana leave for a longer period without harming the colour and the quality of the leaf, sources said. more..

Drug addict gets life for murder

Nov 4 (BBC) A crack addict has been jailed for life for killing a pensioner who arrived in Britain to start a new life away from his war-torn homeland. Arulanantham Jayasundarakumar, 66, was stabbed to death at a greengrocer's shop in Horns Road, Ilford, in April 2007, a year after arriving in the UK. Idris Jaulim, 21, from Barkingside, Essex, was ordered to serve at least 22 years for the killing in east London. more..

Interview with Austin Fernando

Nov 4 (GV) Interview with Austin Fernando, former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and author of ‘My Belly is White: Reminiscences of a Peacetime Secretary of Defence‘ (reviewed on Groundviews in Sinhala here). Austin, disarmingly charming and humble, was Defence Secretary when the Prime Minister at the time, Ranil Wickremesinghe, signed the Norwegian-brokered ceasefire agreement (CFA) with the LTTE in February 2002. more..

Sri Lanka tea board to buy again at auctions

Nov 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea board said it plans to buy stocks at the Colombo auctions this week as well to help prop up the market after prices crashed and large stocks went unsold last month. Tea board chairman Lalith Hettiarachchi said they would continue to intervene in the market in future as well if required to cope with the crisis caused by the sudden plunge in demand and prices. more..

Another UN food convoy on its way to violence-stricken northern Sri Lanka

Nov 4 (UN) The United Nations said today it has dispatched another major food convoy into the Vanni region of northern Sri Lanka, as part of the continuing humanitarian aid effort to assist some 230,000 people uprooted by recent clashes. The World Food Programme (WFP) convoy consists of 29 trucks carrying 438 metric tons of food for civilians displaced behind the lines of confrontation in the districts of Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. more..

Tamil Nadu opposition wants more steps to help Lankan Tamils

Nov 4 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Monday underlined the steps the state and central governments have taken to alleviate the sufferings of Sri Lankan Tamils but the opposition charged them of not doing enough for the ethnic minority caught in violence. Karunanidhi penned an emotional poem exhorting people of the state to provide more relief and to ignore those who faulted the serious efforts to send out succour to the suffering Tamils of Sri Lanka. more..

13,000 Tigers killed - Gen Fonseka

Nov 4 (BBC) The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) commander says that his troops have captured eighty percent of the territory previously controlled by the LTTE. Speaking at a ceremony in Anuradhapura, Lt Gen Sarath Fonseka said eighty percent of Tamil Tigers were already destroyed by the military. The fact that the LTTE is facing lack of cadres to send to battlefront was witnessed in the recent weeks, he said. more..

Implications of the Recent Interview of Prabhakaran

Nov 4 (AT) In an e-mail interview with Indian magazine Nakkeeran recently, the Leader of the LTTE, answering the question "Do you still demand Tamil Eelam as a solution? Or do you accept an administrative framework with minimum powers?" has stated "The Tamil people have at every election since 1977, indicated what their political aspirations are. That would be the permanent solution for the ethnic crisis." more..

'Indian govt. should probe the end use of the money collected by Karunanidhi'

Nov 4 (AT) The central government of India should probe the end use of the money and other relief materials collected in the name of suffering Sri Lankan Tamils by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi demands, Dr.Subramanian Swamy, Leader of the Janata Party in India. Dr. Swamy pointed out that, most of the suffering Sri Lanka Tamils are presently being held as hostage and a buffer by the LTTE against a Sri Lanka army attack. more..

'80 percent of LTTE's fighting capability eliminated'

Nov 4 (IANS) Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka said '80 percent of the fighting ability' of the LTTE has been 'eliminated' and his advancing troops would soon re-open a main supply route between Colombo and northern Jaffna peninsula. Addressing the troops attached to the elite Gajaba Regiment, one of the most prominent regiments in the Sri Lankan army, Fonseka said Monday that the advancing troops were now just seven kilometers away from the Kilaly lagoon, more..