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|More Headline News|
Sri Lanka `s air force jets destroy a Tamil Tiger rebel base in volatile north
Saturday, 23 December 2006 - 3:30 AM SL Time
Sri Lanka`s air force destroyed a Tamil Tiger guerrilla base in the volatile north on Friday, the military said while accusing rebels of attacking government security posts elsewhere in the north. Sri Lanka`s two decades of civil war halted temporarily in 2002 when Norway brokered a cease-fire, but a resurgence of near-daily violence has since threatened the truce. More than 3,500 combatants and civilians have been killed this year, according to the Defense Ministry.
The Tamil Tigers say they are fighting to create a separate homeland for Sri Lanka`s 3.1 million minority ethnic Tamils, accusing the majority Sinhalese of discrimination.
Most of Sri Lanka`s Tamils live in the island country`s north and east.
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Governor orders de-merger steps, keeps Trincomalee separate
Friday, 22 December 2006 - 1:53 PM SL Time
The Governor of the North Eastern Province, Rear Admiral Mohan Wijewickrama, with exclusive powers delegated on him by the Sri Lankan President, has ordered the officials of the NorthEastern Provincial Council (NEPC) to split the unified administration of NEPC into two separate administrations, breaching the core aspect of the 1987 Indo Lanka accord. One administrative unit is to be set up in Vavuniya, to look after the affairs of the Northern Province and the other unit is to be located in Kalmunani to administer the Eastern Province, excluding Trincomalee district, which is to be under direct rule of the Governor and the GA, both ex-military officials posted to civil positions.
Sources close to the Governor`s Colombo office revealed Thursday, on condition of anonymity, that Trincomalee would be looked after by the Governor and the GA, as the administrative unit to be located in Kalmunai would deal with the affairs of Batticaloa and Amparai districts.
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LTTE will not fill vacancy created by Balasingham`s death
Friday, 22 December 2006 - 11:48 AM SL Time
The LTTE yesterday said it had no intention of filling the vacancy created by the demise of it theoretician Anton Balasingham.
Balasingham, who was domiciled in London died there last week and his funeral was held on Wednesday.
He had been close to LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran from the inception of the group and functioned as its theoretician. He represented the Tigers in all but the last talks with the government on finding a solution to the problems of the North and East.
LTTE spokesman Daya Master told The Island that the recent abduction of school children was a big mistake. `It caused us considerable damage and we are holding an inquiry to ascertain the truth.` He said.
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More Headline News
|Security Security Forum|
Aspirations of Tamils be fulfilled- Indian PM
Saturday, 23 December 2006 - 9:10 AM SL Time
Five Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs have met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Sing to discuss the situation in the north and east.
The five member team led by TNA leader R.Sambanthan briefed the Indian premier about the hardships faced by Tamil people in the north and east.
TNA leader Sambanthan said that they have discussed these issues even with President Mahinda Rajapakse but to no avail.
`All efforts we made became futile`, he said.
As there are no positive results, TNA decided to go to neighbouring India for their help, TNA leader Sambanthan said.
Asked whether TNA was happy with the reactions, Sambanthan said Indian PM had told them that India would try to persuade Sri Lankan government to address the issues. Full Story Post Reply To This Read Replies ( 2 )
Jeyaraj defends Anti-Terror Act
Friday, 22 December 2006 - 12:11 PM SL Time
Holding a strong brief for reactivating the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act, Trade and Commerce Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle said yesterday the Act would not be an obstacle to those who renounced terrorism and prepared to enter the democratic process.
`With the scourge of terrorism experienced by the entire international community, implementation of regulations to curb terrorism, safeguarding democracy whilst upholding the rights of all communities to a free livelihood in accordance with their traditions, the timely decision by the Government to re-implement the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) is of great national importance.
`In the 1980`s the then UNP Government promulgated this Act with the Peoples Alliance Government in 1994 continuing with this legislation. The UNP Government in 2001 with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on February 22 suspended the implementation of this Act.
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Parents deny monitoring mission claim
Thursday, 21 December 2006 - 11:58 AM SL Time
Contradicting SLMM`s allegation that 22 underage children were being recruited by the Karuna faction with the help of the military, the parents of those children claimed military had no involvement in the abductions.
Parents of those children vehemently rejected the Ceasefire Monitors` report that the military had a hand in the abductions, a report compiled by an inquiry board appointed by the 231 and 232 Brigades in Welikanda into the allegation, revealed.
The report, already submitted to the relevant authorities quoted parents as saying that most of their children were abducted by the Wanni faction and a few by the Karuna faction.
`Thirteen children abducted by the Karuna faction had been released so far and several others are still with the group as they wanted to continue their work with the faction. They are being paid a monthly salary,` said a senior military official of the investigation board.
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|Politics Political News Forum|
JVP refutes JHU charge
Saturday, 23 December 2006 - 9:12 AM SL Time
The JVP denied allegations made by the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) over its role in the plantation workers` strike. The JHU had charged that the JVP and certain Marxist groups created panic among the plantation workers and this had paved the way for LTTE cadres from the Eastern province to infiltrate the central hills.
JHU General Secretary Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobitha thera said in a statement that the JVP and certain Marxist groups were trying to create a chaotic situation in the plantation sector by insisting on a daily wage of 300 rupees for the workers. This was a part of a conspiracy to undermine the operations of the security forces in Vakarai and Serunuwara. The JVP and other groups were bent on destabilizing the hill country in a bid to provide a safe haven there for terrorist cadres fleeing the armed conflict areas in the East, he had said.
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UGC increases varsity intake by 400
Friday, 22 December 2006 - 11:53 AM SL Time
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has decided to increase the next intake for the university system up to 18,030, based on the Advanced Level Examination held this year.
UGC Chairman Prof. Gamini Samaranayake told journalists yesterday that they had initially decided to admit only 17,630 students, but now they could accommodate 400 students more at the Sociology Department of Kelaniya University.
Prof. Samaranayake said Kelaniya University had already expressed their willingness to admit the extra number of students.
He said that all these students would be admitted for 62 degree programmes, with three of them being introduced for the first time.
So far, over 38,000 applications have been received for university admission for the next academic year.
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Lankan Tamil MPs in India to meet PM, Sonia
Friday, 22 December 2006 - 1:05 AM SL Time
Five Sri Lankan MPs who support the Tamil Tigers arrived on Thursday with a view to meet Indian leaders in a development that one of their most strident supporters said marked an `important` policy change for New Delhi.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs are expected to call on an array of political leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, said P Nedumaran, speaking from Chennai.
`This visit will mark an important change for India`s policy towards Sri Lanka,` Nedumaran, one of the most loyal supporters in this country of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), said over the phone.
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|Business / Economy News Business News Forum|
`Mihin Air` lands at Cabinet
Friday, 22 December 2006 - 11:52 AM SL Time
The Cabinet yesterday approved the establishment of a Government-owned low cost airline - Mihin Air - aiming to provide affordable services to less affluent travellers, people leaving for overseas employment, particularly in the Gulf and Asian countries and to promote regional tourism.
The Memorandum was submitted by Ports and Aviation Minister Mangala Samaraweera.
For the setting up of the new airline, the initial capital contribution is estimated at around Rs. 500 million while the total project cost is estimated at Rs. 1,500 million. Since the Foreign Employment Bureau, Employees Trust Fund and several other Government agencies provide varieties of incentive schemes in support of the local working population as well as those engaged in overseas employment, these agencies are also participating as shareholders in this venture.
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Mahaweli spills over causing floods
Friday, 22 December 2006 - 11:49 AM SL Time
The Polonnaruwa-Batticaloa highway has gone under water and is impassable at Manampitiya and Gallella. This has been caused due the Mahaweli Ganga waters rising above the spill level.
About 30 houses in the area were also affected and the construction of the new bridge over the Mahaweli Ganga has been halted due to floods.
Three cars and a lorry loaded with flour were stuck in the flood waters that had risen to nearly six feet high at Manampitiya. Full Story Post Reply To This Read Replies ( 1 )
Grade 5 Scholarship examination results today
Wednesday, 20 December 2006 - 7:49 AM SL Time
The results of the Grade 5 scholarship examination will be released today.
More than 300,000 students sat the exam which was held in August. However, the exam was not conducted on the scheduled date in a few centres in the northern and eastern provinces due to the volatile security situation. The department held the exam for those students on a later date, though some students in Vakarai and Kadiraweli were unable to sit the exam on the new date as well.
Separate arrangements were made for these students to sit the exam last Sunday but they failed to turn up on that day too.
Therefore the Examinations Department said it was compelled to issue the results without taking those students into consideration.
The results will be posted on the internet only after releasing them to schools. Full Story Post Reply To This
|Editorial News Editorial News Forum|
Bring them to book!
Friday, 22 December 2006 - 11:51 AM SL Time
The controversial Oerlikon gun deal has taken a dramatic turn with the revelation that there was a sinister attempt to dupe Sri Lanka into purchasing outdated cannon, which would have had a debilitating impact on the Sri Lanka Navy. According to classified information that The Island is privy to, it is clear that a group of Navy high rankers tried to line their pockets at the expense of national security interests. The Special Presidential Commission appointed by President Mahinda Rajapakse has, we learn, recommended in its interim report tough action against those who are responsible for the scandal. The Commission, comprising Supreme Court Judges Shiranee Tilakawardane, Nissanka Kumara Udalagama and Nimal Edward Dissanayake, had conducted, under trying conditions, painstaking investigations, which included the perusal of stacks of documents and elicitation of oral evidence from a large number of military personnel and civilians, before filing the report.
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Child abductions: Who cares?
Thursday, 21 December 2006 - 11:54 AM SL Time
The LTTE abducted 24 school children and two teachers on Monday and later released some of the children and the teachers under pressure. The LTTE claimed it had let go of those children, as they were found to be underage. What right does the LTTE have to forcibly hold other children simply because they are not minors? The Tigers` excuse amounts to a confession that they are abducting children, despite their claims to the contrary.
A provincial leader of the LTTE has promised action against his cadres who were involved in the abduction of the `underage` children. Whom is he trying to fool? In the LTTE, nothing gets done without the leader`s nod. It may be that the outfit was desperate to avoid adverse publicity in the international media at a time when grand preparations were being made for Mr. Anton Balasingham`s funeral in London. Abductions couldn`t have come at a worse time for the Tigers.
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Educating the underprivileged
Wednesday, 20 December 2006 - 7:53 AM SL Time
Minister of Education Susil Premjayanth has put his finger on what ails the country`s education system. The biggest problem that the education sector is faced with is the absence of proper management, he has told a workshop for the provincial education officials in Kandy recently.
Mr. Premjayanth has pointed out that in terms of the teacher-student ratio, Sri Lanka is ahead of even some of the developed countries. However, rural areas experience a dearth of teachers, he says, due to the over-concentration of teachers in the urban areas. In the rural backwaters, the Minister may also have observed, paradoxically, many schools experience a dearth of students and this has caused many schools to be closed. Some schools, according to media reports, have more teachers than students! This is due to the so-called `popular schools` attracting students and teachers from their underprivileged counterparts, apart from other factors such as rapid urbanisation and the expansion of public and private transport, which has facilitated the mobility of the rural population. The small schools have come to be left with the progeny of the poorest of the poor and the teachers without the right political connections to obtain transfers to urban areas. Thus, the rural schools are caught in the vicious cycle of the `exit phenomenon`: More and more students are leaving the neglected schools thus causing further neglect thereof, as those who remain are voiceless.
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|Sports News Sports News Forum|
Sri Lanka take Twety-20 games seriously
Friday, 22 December 2006 - 11:50 AM SL Time
Sri Lanka`s captain Mahela Jayawardene said that his team is taking the two Twenty-20 Internationals, that begin today at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, seriously and not as mere warm ups for the five match ODI competition that`ll follow. The Asian region doesn`t give much priority for the Twenty-20 matches, the condensed version of ODI cricket which promotes big hitting, but in places like New Zealand, England and South Africa Twenty-20 is a big attraction. The tourists will move to Auckland for the second Twenty-20 International on the Boxing Day.
`We are taking it very seriously. It improves your skills and we want go into the ODI series on a winning note,` Jayawardene told reporters after training in Wellington yesterday.
Although many cricket playing nations ignored the Twenty-20 games sometime back, it has got far more attention after the International Cricket Council announced a Twenty-20 World Cup next year in South Africa.
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Landis plans 100-mile off-roadrace
Thursday, 21 December 2006 - 11:55 AM SL Time
Embattled Tour de France cycling champ Floyd Landis will compete in a 100-mile (160-kilometer) mountain bike race in Colorado in August.
The Leadville Trail 100 will mark Landis` return to off-road racing, which he left in 1998 to focus on road racing.
`I`m looking forward to getting back to my roots. Training for Leadville will be great preparation for a return to the Tour de France,` Landis said in a statement on Tuesday.
After winning the Tour de France, Landis` urine samples were tested and found to contain elevated testosterone to epitestosterone levels. Tour organizers say they no longer consider him the champion, though Landis denies doping and plans to contest the results at U.S. arbitration hearings. If found guilty of doping, he would be formally stripped of the title and face a two-year ban.
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We could have done better - Mahela
Wednesday, 20 December 2006 - 7:52 AM SL Time
Despite a thrilling win in the second Test Match against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington to square the Test series 1-1, Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene said that this team could achieve greater things. Like in England early this year, the Sri Lankans came from behind to square the series. Paceman Lasith Malinga was bowling so well that the tourists admitted that he was very difficult to pick up and at times impossible. The stranglehold the bowler had on the opposition was so much that if there had been a third Test, New Zealand`s batsman would have hated facing Malinga again.
`The biggest challenge we had was to perform away form home this year as we had lot of games away from home. In Sri Lanka we do really well and then we set goals to succeed outside and I am glad we won two Tests in New Zealand and in England,` Jayawardene said.
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