Leave alone the traditional
Christmas goodies with even the bare
necessities for survival going out
of reach of the ordinary man,
spending on Christmas trees has seen
a marked decline. That Christmas
this time seems bleak all round is
clearly signified by the look on
this street vendor's face who by
this time usually is all smiles with
the mad rush for the freshly cut
to print more money to fund expenses
Bandula says no option due to high defence
Inflation set to skyrocket in new year
Minister predicts worsening food crisis
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
government is expected to print more money
shortly to fund its rising expenditure
driving the rate of inflation, which is at
24 per cent even higher in the new year.
government minister says that the government
may be compelled to print more money to fund
Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardena
admitted to The Sunday Leader that for the
past three years since 2005, the government
was forced to print money driving inflation
sky high, as the state revenue did not meet
the expenditure targets.
He said that
considering the increase in defence
expenditure as well as the increase in
salary expenses due to the new recruits to
the public sector, the government's
expenditure level has seen a greater
increase than its earnings.
a scenario, the government has printed money
to meet the expenses. This has resulted in
the increase in inflation," he said.
also said that the rising global prices too
have pushed inflation further.
prices have affected every country. The
whole world is now facing a food crisis and
during the next few months it would get
would see an increase then," he said.
Bandula Gunawardena in an interview to the
BBC's Sinhala Service, Sandeshaya too said
that it has now become necessary to print
money because the government had recruited
250,000 persons and defence expenditure was
BBC: Is the government trying to pay for all
this expenditure by printing money?
Yes. There is no alternative.
BBC: The government has no alternative but
to print money and inflation also goes up
Yes. In that event the government will
have to stop state recruitments with
immediate effect, stop the war, stop welfare
expenditures, stop fertiliser subsidies,
stop school mid-day meals. However, the
government is not prepared to move into an
expenditure limiting programme because the
government believes it is politically bad
for the country.
have warned that printing more money would
result in an unprecedented increase in the
already high level of inflation.
Dr. Harsha de Silva said the consequence of
this was very clear. "Inflation would
increase even further," he warned.
pointed out that till the government stops
printing money, the country would continue
to record a high rate of inflation.
have pointed out that the government had
printed Rs. 45 billion from May to September
and was borrowing vast amounts from the
state banks to fund its survival, causing
Consumer Price Index (CCPI) recorded a 4.4%
increase between the months of October and
The CCPI for
the month of November was posted at 5976.2,
which is an increase of 253.2 index points
of that recorded in October, the Census and
Statistics Department said.
"This is an
increase of Rs. 512.08 in the expenditure
value of the Market Basket when compared to
October 2007," the department said.
the countrywide consumer price index, the
Sri Lanka Consumer Price Index (SLCPI), was
recorded at 24.1% in October this year, the
highest recorded by the index since 2005.
The SLCPI's previous high was 18% recorded
in January 2005, soon after the government
printed Rs. 65 billion to fund fuel and
fertilizer subsidies in 2004.
Sri Lanka's closest neighbour
India has recorded 3% inflation along with
many other countries in the Asian region.
has one of the highest levels of inflation
in the region," Dr. de Silva said.
Govt. washes its hands
off TMVP leader
Karuna probed in UK for war crimes
authorities last week commenced
investigating TMVP Leader Karuna's
involvement in war crimes and human rights
abuses even as the Sri Lankan Government
washed its hands off the LTTE renegade
eastern commander to avoid diplomatic
Metropolitan Police earlier last week
submitted a report on Vinayagamoorthi
Muralitharan alias Karuna's alleged
involvement in war crimes and human rights
abuses to the British Crown Prosecution
Service to decide whether he is to be
prosecuted for war crimes and human rights
went out even as Sri Lanka's High Commission
in the UK disassociated itself from the
Karuna forged diplomatic passport scandal.
newspaper in Britain on Friday reported that
Sri Lanka's High Commissioner Kshenuka
Senewiratne was called to the British
Foreign Office on Monday for officials to
'express concern' on how Karuna obtained a
forged diplomatic passport.
entered Britain on a forged diplomatic
passport under the name Kokila Gunawardena
having received a visa from the British High
Commission in Colombo on the strength of a
Third Party Note (TPN) issued by the Foreign
The TPN as
exclusively reported in The Sunday Leader in
October said Gunawardena, the holder of the
diplomatic passport bearing number D1944260,
was the Director General of the Wildlife
Conservation Department and was visiting
Britain to attend a climate change
Lankan High Commission in London however in
a statement to The Guardian had
disassociated the government from the case
stating, "The Government of Sri Lanka is
unaware of any issuance of a diplomatic
passport to Colonel Karuna. The (Tamil
Tigers) are well known for forging
learned despite the government's denial,
Karuna had disclosed to the British
authorities the circumstances under which he
came to receive the passport and left Sri
Lanka through the Bandaranaike International
the British Metropolitan Police contacted by
The Sunday Leader said Friday that Karuna
was arrested on November 2 by the British
Borders and Immigration Agency and that they
were liaising with other agencies regarding
human rights organisations including Amnesty
International, Human Rights Watch and the
Coalition to Stop Child Soldiers have called
on the British authorities to investigate
Karuna for war crimes and human rights
Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) contacted by
The Sunday Leader confirmed Friday that they
have received preliminary reports on the
Karuna case and was studying the reports.
spokesperson for the CPS told The Sunday
Leader there is still some way to go before
a final decision is arrived at.
preliminary reports are not the same as the
final evidence on what we make a decision
on. We are quite some way from having
sufficient information to take a decision on
the case. We are pretty much at the start of
the case," the spokesperson said.
Metropolitan Police will forward the
evidence to us and we will decide whether
there is a case. They can always decide at
the start of the case they do not wish to
investigate and then they will not send
anything to us. If they are investigating a
case then they will send a report to us. In
this case they have sent us preliminary
reports," the spokesperson also said.
Leader learns that in the course of the
Karuna investigation if names of any other
persons transpire with regard to war crimes
or human rights abuses they too will be
charged if they leave Sri Lankan shores.
LTTE denies injury to
last week rejected government claims that
their leader Velupillai Pirapaharan had been
injured in an air force raid.
military spokesperson Rasiah Ilanthirayan
said that Pirapaharan had not been injured
in any attack nor had his bunker been
nothing like that. These claims are
baseless. There were reports that his bunker
was also damaged. These are fabricated
We do not
know how they come up with them," he said.
"We do not
know how and why these stories come out. We
do not know who is behind these claims," he
government last week claimed it received
intelligence reports that LTTE Leader
Velupillai Pirapaharan suffered minor
injuries in an air force attack.
transferring officer probing assets
IGP under fire from Bribery Comm.
By Nirmala Kannangara
Commission has protested against the
transfer of a police officer attached to the
commission by the Inspector General of
Police (IGP) without any prior approval from
the Director General (DG) of the commission.
In a letter
addressed to the Secretary, National Police
Commission, Director General Bribery
Commission, Piyasena Ranasinghe has stated
that this was the first time in the history
of the Bribery Commission that a police
officer attached to the commission has been
transferred without due approval from the
the first time that an officer has been
transferred without his or the commission's
knowledge as those who were assigned to the
Bribery Commission have not been transferred
to another department unless on a personal
request made by an officer or on the request
of the commission," Ranasinghe has said in
direction of Inspector General of Police
(Ref. No. D/MD/ADM/1673/ 2007), Chief
Inspector C.A. Premashantha has been
transferred to Ampara with immediate effect
The Sunday Leader learns.
although the IGP has assured the Director
General that he received prior approval from
the National Police Commission, Ranasinghe
has alleged that the IGP was not given any
prior approval by the commission
Ranasinghe, Chief Inspector Premashantha was
the officer in charge of the asset
investigation branch and had conducted
several investigations against top ranking
trend continues it would hamper the work at
the Bribery Commission as the officers who
are engaged in impartial inquiries against
the wrongdoers irrespective of their status
would stay away from an impartial job,"
Ranasinghe has said.
meanwhile has also requested the Secretary,
National Police Commission to revert the
IGP's directive in order to boost the morale
of the officers attached to the commission
to carry out their duties without any
World Bank contradicts
15,000 tsunami affected families still
By Amantha Perera
families are still without permanent houses,
three years after the tsunami, the World
Bank said last week adding that additional
funding would be required to provide the
Emergency Reconstruction Programme I (TERP
I) ended on March 31, 2007. At completion,
there are still about 15,000 families in
need of permanent housing. These are
primarily landless families, and due to this
increase in housing needs, with only about
US $8 million remaining, additional funding
would be required to complete all units of
the housing programme," the bank said.
government announced that 99,497 houses had
been constructed, in excess of a requirement
of 98,525, figures put out the bank and
other agencies said that there was still a
shortfall, especially in the north and east.
"As of March
2007, about 97 percent of the partly damaged
houses and 62 percent of the fully damaged
houses in seven districts have been
completed. The remaining houses are under
various stages of completion. The
reconstruction programme in the north and
east is likely to take some more time due to
the ongoing conflict-related issues," the
between government forces and the Tigers
severely hampered reconstruction efforts in
the north and east since December 2005. They
have also been impacted by transport
difficulties and delays.
difficult operating environment will
continue to severely restrict movement in
the north and the east. The situation has
been further aggravated by rising costs and
a shortage of building materials and skilled
labour, particularly for construction and
civil engineering projects," the
International Federation of Red Cross and
Red Crescent Societies said in their annual
tsunami update for 2007.
north of the country, the vast majority of
International Federation operations have
already been suspended and it is difficult
to prepare future operations in the current
political and military climate. In the east,
fighting disrupted activities and diverted
efforts from the tsunami recovery operation
to internally displaced people (IDP) relief
programmes between July 2006 and July 2007,"
federation that is the largest single funder
of houses said that it was holding funds in
recovery schemes till the situation
40 ft. under
Leader Velupillai Pirapaharan lives more
than 40 ft. underground in a massive, well
provided, and seemingly impenetrable bunker
complex hewn from rocks in the middle of a
thick jungle in northeast Sri Lanka.
Balasingham, the Australian-born wife of the
late Anton Balasingham, the LTTE's
ideologue, describes Pirapaharan's office
cum residence in the Alampil jungles, in her
book The Will To Freedom.
led us down the steps into a room about
thirty to forty feet underground. To our
amazement, we could see that this
subterranean haven of tunnels and rooms had
been chiseled out of the underground rocks.
Our room had been carved out, high enough to
stand up in and move around comfortably."
room was even deeper underground than ours,"
roofs constructed over the bunkers, and
banks to divert water, prevented the monsoon
rains from pouring in and flooding the
than concrete, this underground granite
structure stood up to the heavy downpour of
the monsoon rains when the entire jungle
turned into a muddy quagmire."
were deep into the earth, where the sun's
heat has no access, the room was absolutely
freezing, particularly at night. My bones
ached from the cold and I wondered how it
could be endured over a sustained period of
time. But obviously it had been, and without
any ill-effects," she notes.
expansive complex was more like a village
than a camp. It had been cleared of virgin
jungle. The LTTE's cadres had pulled out
rocks and cleared the foliage except the
giant trees, which gave it good cover. Sixty
to seventy foot wells had been dug, only to
find that there was no water!
Mano calls on intl.community to intervene
Monitoring Commission Convener, Mano Ganesan
last week urged the international community
to intervene regarding the reduction of
security of certain parliamentarians by the
In a letter
addressed to the ambassadors and high
commissioners, Ganesan stated that his life
was under threat due to his activities as a
human rights campaigner.
that the government had failed to understand
the differences between a state and a
non-state entity as it fails to understand
the differences between a state and a
questioned as to whether this government was
pushing the country towards an alternative
state by restricting state protections and
privileges only to the government's partners
and people of a privileged community.
"We may not
be part of the government but definitely we
are a part of the state. This government
fails to understand that we as part of the
Lankan state are an entity. It appears that
the government considers that privileges for
protection by the state are only for the
members of government," he said.
NBRO warns of landslides
By Nirmala Kannangara
Building Research Organisation (NBRO) has
requested people in the Nuwara Eliya,
Badulla and Matale Districts to be vigilant
of any tension cracks and muddy springs in
their vicinity which could lead to
Landslide Studies, NBRO, R.M.S. Bandara told
The Sunday Leader that Hanguranketha,
Walapane and Kotmale in the Nuwara Eliya
District and the Badulla and Matale
Districts are more prone to landslides
during the northeast monsoon season.
"We are now
in the northeast monsoon period and the
eastern slopes of the hill country are more
prone to landslides as heavy rains could be
expected in the eastern slopes," Bandara
He also said
landslides could also be expected in other
parts of the hill country as well if there
are cutting failures along the hilly slopes.
landslides are due to cutting failures, as
people cut the hilly slopes without
technical analysis for construction
purposes. Despite our appeals people still
cut the hilly slopes without knowing the
consequences they have to undergo in
future," claimed Bandara.
the Meteorological Department forecasts that
the prevailing rainy weather will last till
the end of December.
the Director, Meteorological Department, G.B.
Samarasinghe, the northern and eastern parts
of the country and eastern slopes of the
hill country are expected to receive heavy
rainfall due to the activation of northeast
"We are in
the northeast monsoon period and we could
expect heavy showers in the north and the
eastern parts of the country and also along
the eastern slopes of Nuwara Eliya, Matale
and Badulla," Samarasinghe told The Sunday
whether there would be any cyclone threats
to the country Samarasinghe ruled out any
severe cyclonic conditions but warned of the
possible formation of cyclonic conditions
with the easterly waves.
be a slight tendency for the formation of
cyclonic conditions and also thunder and
lighting due to climatic changes. People
should not panic. If you exercise caution
there would be no necessity to panic," said
TMVP denies forcing civilians to carry arms
last week denied allegations that it had
forced civilians to carry arms in the east.
last week said that civilians allegedly
abducted by the TMVP were given arms and
were forced to patrol the area on
spokesperson Azath Moulana told The Sunday
Leader that the TMVP was ready to
investigate these allegations if the SLMM
provides them details of these incidents.
"We have not
done this. We have done some mistakes in the
past. But now we have changed and are into
democracy," he said.
The SLMM has
continuously accused the TMVP of carrying
out abductions in the east. However, Moulana
alleged that these allegations were baseless
and that the organisation had not reported
to the TMVP directly.
either inform me or the TMVP office in
Colombo before accusing us," he said.
Twenty two die of Leprospirosis
By Shezna Shums
of leprospirosis cases reported since the
beginning of this year has reached 1900
cases with 22 confirmed deaths. The
Epidemiological Unit, Ministry of Health,
confirmed these figures.
Epidemiologist, Epidemiological Unit, Dr. P.
Palihawardena told The Sunday Leader that
leprospirosis is mainly transmitted through
rat urine, but that it is also possible to
find this infection in bull urine as well.
Dr. Palihawardena explained that the
concentration is very high in rat urine and
not as high in bull's urine.
the infection can also be considered water
borne as organisms in the water can enter
the human body through the skin.
Leprospirosis is said to be a disease that
affects animals but can be transmitted to
humans as well.
common mode of transmission of leprospirosis,
is when there are lesions, cuts or abrasions
on the feet and it comes into contact with
rat infected water.
leprospirosis is a 100 percent clinically
treatable disease if the patient seeks
treatment at the early stages. Risk to life
will be present if the patient delays
treatment for leprospirosis.
from the Epidemiological Unit show that the
districts of Gampaha, Matara and Kegalle
have reported over 200 cases of suspected
districts of Colombo, Kalutara, Kandy,
Matale and Galle have reported about 100
suspected cases of leprospirosis.
and Ratnapura have also reported about 80
suspected cases of leprospirosis.
Better training for 500 tourist police
By Nirmala Kannangara
In order to
better protect the visiting leisure seekers
to the country the Tourist Police Division
has trained 500 police officers over the
past seven months, Director Tourist Police
Division, SSP Maxie Proctor said.
Police meanwhile had conducted six awareness
programmes in six police divisions to
educate the police officers on how important
the role of a tourist police officer is and
the responsibilities attached.
past seven months we have trained 500 police
officers to provide better protection to the
visiting tourists; to prevent harassment
from unauthorised tour guides, traders, and
also from unauthorised massage palours and
ayurvedic centres," SSP Maxie Proctor told
The Sunday Leader.
the SSP since the inception of the Tourist
Police Division in June, six tourist police
stations have been opened in Hikkaduwa,
Kandy, Negombo, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa
and Galle in order provide a better service
to the tourists. 400 complaints have been
received at these tourist police stations as
at mid December.
"In all six
prominent tourist destinations we have
opened tourist police stations and up to
date we have received 400 complaints. 50% of
the complaints have been settled and the
rest are at the inquiry stage," the SSP
meanwhile asserted the value of police
officers attached to Tourist Police Stations
being proficient in foreign languages. He
said the Tourist Police Division was
planning to hold French and German classes
for the police personnel. "It is important
to know foreign languages and we are
planning to hold English, French and German
language classes for the police officers
attached to tourist police stations," added
Galle well stocked for thirsty English
By Nirmala Kannangara
and restaurants down south have geared up
this season for business that the city has
not seen since before the 2004 tsunami.
hoteliers claim that there have been high
sales in liquor due to the upsurge in
English cricket fans in the country, pubs
and small time restaurants in and around the
city are also benefiting from the English
The Sunday Leader, Janaka de Silva, general
manager, Unawatuna Beach Resort, where many
English fans are staying said, "Whenever the
English are in town, we run out of beer.
This was the case the last time they were
here for the test match series in 2003."
Silva said that this time around the city of
Galle is well equipped to handle the demand
for the fast moving liquid.
"This has been one of the most well
organised tours ever. When the grounds run
short of beer, fans go to local restaurants
and pubs nearby, so it's good business all
round for Galle."
Call to implement bi-lingual policy
has been launched by the Foundation for
Co-Existence (FCE) to demand the full
implementation of the official language
policy in the country.
has called on the government to implement
the bi-lingual policy due to the issues
faced by the minorities because of its
Chairman, Dr. Kumar Rupesinghe said the
rights of the people who do not speak
Sinhala were not upheld, as it should be.
present security situation, the ability of
the Tamil people to move outside the north
and east has been drastically hindered. What
worsens this situation is the lack of Tamil
language capacity in the police and courts
in particular," he said.
implementation of the Tamil language and the
implementation of the tri-lingual policy is
critical to peace in Sri Lanka," he added.
Mannar battle reaches decisive stage
The battle for the control of the
Vavuniya-Mannar forward defence line is
likely to reach a decisive stage very soon,
the Defence Ministry said yesterday while
announcing that troops had overrun the Tiger
bunker line on the closed Uliyankulam
“The ground situation along the Mannar and
Vavuniya defences might reach a decisive
stage soon,” the Defence Ministry said
The Ministry said that government troops had
advanced upto the Tiger entry-exit point
north of its government counterpart at
Uliyankulam yesterday morning. It said that
at least six Tigers had been killed, over 10
injured and five bunkers destroyed.
“Five bunkers along the Uyilankulama LTTE
defences were seized by security forces,
while identified LTTE ground constructions
have come under concentrated artillery and
mortar barrages by advancing troops.”
The Media Centre for National Security put
the Tiger death toll at eight. Both sides
exchanged heavy artillery fire along the
line of control south of Jaffna in the last
seventy two hours as well.
Fighting has intensified along the FDL on
either side of the Wanni in the last month
and in the last fortnight fighting has
erupted in the Kokkuthuduwai-Kokilai sector,
in Weli-oya north east of Vavuniya. Between
December 20 and 22 over 40 combatants,
including 25 Tigers have been killed in the
fighting, according to military sources. The
Tigers have however denied high casualties
and said their losses were far less and that
it was the Sri lankan security Forces that
had suffered heavy casualties.
Tigers have bolstered the defences with
cadres and the presence of high rankers like
Bhanu, Jeyama and Vidusha, the military head
of the female Tigers..