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'Sri Lanka's per capita income grows from $ 1,000 - $ 2,200'

Dec 10 (LNP) Sri Lanka is no longer a poor country. Its per capita income has increased from S 1,000 to $ 2,200 within a few years even under the worst conditions said Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P B Jayasundera. Dr. Jayasundera who was the Chief Guest was addressing the sixth Annual General Meeting of The Spice Council (TSC) at the Galle Face Hotel on Tuesday. more..

For whom will the war be Waterloo?

Dec 10 (DM) My dear Mahinda Aiya, Ayubowan, vanakkam and assalamu alaikkum as the government and the joint opposition headed by General Sarath Fonseka intensify their political fireworks not for the festive season but for the all powerful executive presidency. As the political and propaganda war rages, we see more crossovers, double crosses, double games and agendas within agendas with most politicians apparently taking decisions for their personal gain, glory or safety. more..

Contracting trade deficit is bad news

Dec 10 (Island) An economist says Sri Lanka’s contracting trade account deficit is frightening and is bad news although, on the positive side, economic growth is showing signs of bottoming out and Sri Lanka needs to have adequate social protection schemes in place before economic development enters the fast lane. "The trade deficit is contracting sharply and this is frightening," Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, a consultant economist with the International Labour Organisation said. more..

The Bad, the Ugly and the Beautiful

Dec 10 (DM) Politicians are generally at their worst during elections. However they get back to their old self post polls. Media on the other hand is known for its kaleidoscopic behaviour. There are quite a few media entities – print, electronic and web that continue to display an erratic and venomous behaviour all the time. Another set of otherwise neutral entities tend to go bonkers whenever the politicians they back turn violent. more..

CID takes over Lasantha Wickramatunga murder probe

Dec 10 (CT) The CID has taken over investigation into the murder of 'Sunday Leader' chief editor Lasantha Wickramatunga. Mirihana Police, which earlier probed the killing, today informed Mount Lavinia magistrate Harsha Sethunga about the step, taken on the orders of IGP Mahinda Balasuriya. The magistrate ordered the CID to make submissions on December 24. A man, who had stolen the mobile phone belonging to Mr. Wickramatunga after more..

Youth for Trusteeship

'Politics behind prison protests'

Dec 10 (DM) Justice and Law Reforms Deputy Minister V. Puthirasigamony said the recent protests carried out by several prisoners at the Negombo and Bogambara prisons were politically motivated by vested interests. Prison’s Department spokesman Kenneth Fernando said that at the Negombo Prison 36 prisoners were on hunger strike and of them four had given up the protest while the hunger strike by prisoners at the Bogambara Prison ended last morning. more..

Appointments: Cabinet seeks talks with Polls Chief

Dec 10 (DM) The Cabinet yesterday decided to negotiate with the Elections Commissioner and seek exceptions from him for making apolitical appointments in the public service in the run up to the Presidential Election. The Cabinet which met with Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake in the chair discussed the Commissioner’s decision to cancel all appointments and transfers in the public service till the election is over. more..

President serving liquor at functions is not a bad precedent for ‘Mathata Thitha’

Dec 10 (LT) The President treating guests with liquor at a social function is not a bad precedent for the ‘Mathata Thitha’ (Abolish intoxication) programme of the government says JHU MP Ven. Ellawala Medananda Thera. He said the statement made by common candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka that little bit of liquor taken at a social function could be acceptable should be condemned as a policy of making the county a haven for drunkards. more..

India's Cairn starts Sri Lanka oil hunt

Dec 10 (LBO) Cairn India said it will start three-dimensional seismic surveys to search for oil in the Gulf of Mannar waters off Sri Lanka's north-west. P Elango, director of Cairn India, said the 3D seismic surveys by its local unit, Cairn Lanka, starting Friday will be completed in three months after which the company will analyse the data. At the same time it will continue procurement activities for further exploration work such as hiring an oil rig to drill test wells in deep water. more..

Displaced Tamil civilians will be resettled by Jan. 10: Sri Lanka

Dec 10 (PTI) Sri Lanka on Thursday said all displaced Tamil civilians, currently lodged in relief camps, will be resettled by January 10 next year and efforts for a political solution to the Tamil question will be initiated immediately after the presidential elections there. A Sri Lankan delegation consisting of Senior Presidential Adviser Basil Rajapaksa, President’s Secretary Lalit Weeratunga and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa met more..

'Palk Strait continues to be a problem'

Dec 10 (Hindu) Sri Lanka Navy Chief T.S.G. Samarasinghe on Thursday said that the understanding between Colombo and New Delhi on handling contentious issues arising from the fisher folk of both sides straying in to each other’s waters has eased the tensions to a great extent. The original understanding made in October 2008 was reiterated in New Delhi on June 24 in the course of a meeting between the External Affairs Minister and more..

Sri Lanka Cargills to open 100 more supermarkets

Dec 11 (LBO) Cargills (Ceylon) group, which runs Sri Lanka's largest retail chain, said it plans to open 100 more supermarkets in all the island's 25 districts in the next few years. The first of the new outlets, its 140th covering over 10,000 square feet with a range of 10,000 products, was opened Thursday in the Rajagiriya. "This outlet marks the first of 100 more Cargills Food City outlets that we will set up in neighbourhoods across 25 districts in the coming years," more..

'Lack of evidence based policy making can be disastrous'

Dec 11 (LBO) Ad hoc public policy formulation can be disastrous and both China and India are evolving evidence based processes to back effective government action, academics and researchers said at a policy forum in Colombo. "The strategic direction is set by the Party and State Council and the People's Congress makes legislation," Xue Lan professor of Public Policy at Tsinghua University in China said, more..

Fortis not talking to Asiri

Dec 11 (Reuters) Indian hospital chain Fortis Healthcare Ltd on Thursday said it is not in talks with Sri Lanka's Asiri Hospitals ASIR.CM to buy clinics there and a senior official said the island nation is not a priority. The Business Standard newspaper reported on Thursday that Fortis is close to a deal with Asiri to buy three hospitals for 20-25 billion rupees ($43-$54 million), citing investment banking sources. more..

Text books, school uniform issue event conducted in Sinhalese in Jaffna

Dec 11 (TN) The National event of issuing free text books and school uniforms to students in Jaffna was held entirely in Sinhalese Wednesday in Jaffna Veampadi Girls’ College, sources in Jaffna said. President Mahinda Rajapaksa was to preside in this event and later his brother Basil Rajapaksa was to participate in the event instead of the president. But Basil Rajapaksa too did not attend the event as announced in the local media. more..

Sri Lanka Day in Kuwait brings joy and opportunities to all

Dec 11 (IL) The "Sri Lanka Day" celebrated on 4th December organized by the Sri Lankan Embassy Seva Vanitha Unit attracted a large gathering of Sri Lankans and well-wishers from all walks of life amidst benefits and opportunities to all and sundry. The day which coincided with the Seva Vanitha Unit's First Anniversary made the occasion all the more relevant for the Sri Lankan community with more..

Sri Lanka seeks financial and technological incentives at climate change summit

Dec 11 (SLNN) As a low emitter of greenhouse gases, Sri Lanka is pushing for additional financial and technological incentives for developing countries to do their part in dealing with climate change “without compromising the legitimate development aspirations of developing countries.” The country’s position was articulated at the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Trinidad and Tobago in November. more..

Human rights in post-war Sri Lanka

Dec 11 (GV) To commemorate Human Rights Day, falling today, Groundviews interviewed a number of leading activists in Sri Lanka to find out their perspectives on current challenges facing human rights in post-war Sri Lanka. After asking each of them to define human rights as they saw and understood it, Groundviews asked the activists to comment on the Sri Lankan State’s protection of human rights, the nexus between human rights and human dignity and more..

'Sri Lanka’s electoral system must change'

Dec 11 (SLNN) Abolishing the executive presidency will not be enough to ensure stability in Sri Lanka, says S.B. Dissanayake, former national organizer for the UNP and former opposition leader of the Central Provincial Council. “Even more than the system of the executive presidency, there is a bigger problem in this country and that’s with the parliamentary electoral system,” Dissanayake says. more..

Summary of Cabinet Decisions

Dec 11 (GDI) Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by the Minister Dullas Alahapperuma to allocate remaining contraction works of the building for Kegalle District office of the Department of Motor Traffic on an estimate to Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB) subject to payment on the rates approved by the Permanent Technical Committee of the Ministry of Construction and Engineering Service out of normal tender procedure. more..

Tilko Jaffna City Hotels to build modern tourist hotel in Jaffna

Dec 11 (GDI) The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval for Tilko Jaffna City Hotels (Private) Limited to establish a modern tourist hotel in the heart of Jaffna Town. The project carried out under the Accelerated Development Programme for the Northern Province is for an initial investment of Rs. 80 million. The company will establish a modern hotel offering a comfortable stay for guests. more..

Navy to strengthen elite-squadron: 6 more FACs to be procured

Dec 11 (MoD) Sri Lankan Navy is to further strengthen its elite sea-borne squadron (FAF-4), with the inclusion of 6 more fast attack craft (FACs) from Israel, said Vice Admiral TSG Samarasinghe. The Navy Chief said, "the procurement will be made on January next year, enhancing Navy's existing coastal patrolling capabilities. Further he said the Navy has strengthened security at sea to ensure local and foreign fishermen from poaching in the maritime boundaries.

Joint Press Statement on the visit of Sri Lankan delegation

Dec 11 (GDI) Basil Rajapaksa, MP, Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President, Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary visited New Delhi between 9-10 December 2009 and met with Shri M.K. Narayanan, National Security Adviser, Smt. Nirupama Rao, Foreign Secretary and Shri Pradeep Kumar, Defence Secretary. They also called on the External Affairs Minister Shri S.M.Krishna. Both sides reviewed the ongoing relief, rehabilitation and resettlement efforts in Northern Sri Lanka. more..

Debrief News 10 12 2009

Another colossal fraud at CPC involving Rs. 3390 million commission

Dec 11 (LeN) The CPC workers question as to whose pocket a sum of Rs. 3390 million (US$ 30million) as commission is stealthily creeping into on a tender given for laying the underground pipelines for pumping fuel from Uswetakaiyawa to the Ceylon petroleum storage terminal Ltd. at Kerawalapitiya? They allege that this tender which was earmarked for Lakhanow CO. for US $ 30.5 million was later awarded to ‘Leyton’ an Australian Co. for US$ 60.5 million. more..

Arahat Sanghamitta Therani’s arrival to Sri Lanka commemorates at London Buddhist Vihara

Dec 11 (IL) Sanghamitta Day Celebrations were held at London Buddhist Vihara, Dharmapala Building, The Avenue, Chiswick, London W4 on Sunday 6th December 2009 from 9.00am to 7.00pm to commemorate the Arahat Sanghamitta Therani’s arrival to Sri Lanka in 245 B.C. Bhikkuni Sanghamitta, who established the Bhikkuni Order in Sri Lanka has a very special recognition in Sri Lankan history and more..

Unending search for dissapeared

Dec 11 (BBC) We do not know the whereabouts of our children who were abducted and disappeared since 2006, said their relatives commemorating the International Human Rights day. Relatives of the dissapeared joined the Committee for CID in a march from Hyde Park to the Public Library at Colombo Town Hall exhibiting pictures of their loved ones. Premila Kumaridevi from Chilaw whose husband was abducted by a white van said “we appeal the president to intervene in finding our relatives.” more..

No Action against US lawyer Visvanathan Rudrakumaran - Amb. Blake

Dec 11 (DBS) Robert Blake states in Colombo that no action would be taken by US Govt against US lawyer Visvanathan Rudrakumaran. Blake says about V.Rudrakumaran - "From what we know he has not committed crimes in the US. Therefore we will not be taking any action.” Visiting US Asst Secy of state for South Asia, Robert Blake tells Colombo press conference that US -Sri Lanka relations have now normalised. more..

Mahinda vs Sarath:Grassroots vs "Townie"

Dec 11 (TC) One cannot demand recognition or reward. Though initially it might have been earned, demanding it brings you disrespect. It sounds petulant to the public hearing Sarath Fonseka’s reasons for defecting. Not increasing the numbers of the Army (often a mistake when moving towards peace), not being made a Field Marshall - and then adding to it all by saying he only got what other commanders have received, more..

Karuna justifies destruction of LTTE monuments commemorating the fallen

Dec 11 (DBS) Former LTTE eastern commander "Col" Karuna justifies destruction of monuments commemorating fallen LTTE fighters by the Army in north-east. Karuna now a minister in Rajapakse cabinet said Govt felt preserving LTTE Great hero monuments could encourage future Tamil insurrections. War victory Monument declared open by President Rajapakse in Mullaitheevu district has stone pillars, national flag, lion & dove images. more..

The Zurich meeting,Usual Suspects and Usual Suspicions

Dec 11 (TC) There was much speculation recently about the provenance of the meeting of minority parties in Zurich. The usual suspects were thought to be behind the event, with the usual suspicions. My own view was that the move was to be welcomed, because unlike in the past the balance of power at such meetings could no longer be held by the Tigers. Given the strength of mind displayed in resisting them by a host of others in the past, more..

Power and accountability in Sri Lanka

Dec 11 (ISN) Sri Lanka’s government prosecuted a brutal military campaign from mid-2008 to spring 2009 to inflict a final defeat on the LTTE after twenty-six years of war. Many thousands of civilians died amid the horrors of this last battle. In the aftermath, the Colombo government corralled 280,000 Tamils who had fled from Tiger-controlled territory in forty-one “detention-camps”. The move is designed to suggest - to international as much as more..

Chinese labour invades local labour market

Dec 11 (AT) The 14th Annual Sri Lankan Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 Awards organized by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka was held at the BMICH last week with Prof Tissa Vitharana, Minister of Science and Technology as the Chief Guest and Ruwan Edirisinghe, Chairman, RN Constructions (Pvt) Ltd was adjudged the 2008 Entrepreneur of The Year. more..

Sri Lanka Holiday

'Cold’ welcome for teams

Dec 11 (HT) As India and Sri Lanka teams arrived in Chandigarh to prepare for the second match, the hosts will be looking to square the series. But the Islanders, buoyed by their win in Nagpur, will be keen to keep the momentum ahead of the ODI series. With two members each from both the international squads playing for the PCA Stadium-based Kings XI Punjab IPL team, the pitch won’t spring a surprise. more..

Sarath Fonseka and his 3 Cs: Confusion, Contradiction and Capitulation?

Dec 11 (LG) When a country elects a new president or reelects the incumbent, it has to think seriously how the policies that are offered by different candidates would affect the future of the country and its people. Of course, every candidate would be careful to make her/his election manifesto attractive to the people of all walks of life so that some of the promises and policies may lose their practicality. more..

Fonseka promises a Rs. 10,000 pay hike for public servants

Dec 11 (LG) The Opposition’s common presidential candidate Gen. (Retd) Sarath Fonseka yesterday promised to increase the salaries of public servants by Rs. 10,000/= each within a month of assuming office, if elected President. Addressing UNP trade union activists at Sirikotha, Fonseka said that he would increase the salaries of not only public servants but also of private sector workers in accordance with the rising cost of living. more..

Fantasies of a military Machiavelli trying to re-write history

Dec 11 (LG) It is obvious that victory over terror was no individual effort individual effort but a composite mosaic of astute political leadership executed with apt nimbleness and moral courage, with the Army, Navy and the Air Force intricately woven into that astounding effort. It was far too complex and tiered for any single ego. No single military person can ever claim exclusive bragging rights to that great conquest. more..

Regime Change: An American Addiction

Dec 11 (AT) It didn’t start with the U.S.’s Neoconservative-inspired invasion of Iraq in March, 2003. Whether knowingly or not, the morally bankrupt Bush-Cheney Gang was following an imperial script which is over 110 years old. During that period, the U.S. has “overthrown fourteen governments that displeased it for various ideological, political and economic reasons,” writes Stephen Kinzer, more..

Sri Lanka policy forum in drive towards knowledge economy

Dec 11 (LBO) Asia's drive towards a knowledge economy is being helped by expanding and cheaper telecoms but fresh evidence based policy interventions could speed up the drive, regulators and academics said at a policy forum in Colombo. The forum, from 'from research to policy to knowledge based economies' is organized by LirneAsia, a regional policy research body based in Colombo. more..

Portrait of the East: "I am your friend, I am your relative"

Dec 11 (TC) "I am your friend,I am your relative.Your prosperity is my aim" says posters in Chenkalady with the President's portrait. Election posters to support the current President Mahinda Rajapakse is emerging at Chenkalady' in Tamil in Blue and Orange. Young generation in East are not bothered too much to talk politics.Want to enjoy every bit of life and say have had enough politics in past. more..

Ranil thanks ex-lefts for services rendered

Dec 11 (wsws) A speech last week by Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the opposition UNP in Sri Lanka, provided a revealing insight into the role played by middle class ex-radicals in keeping the working class tied to the main capitalist parties and thus in propping up bourgeois rule as a whole. He gave fulsome thanks to the leaders of the NSSP and the USP for their support over the past year and wished them well in the current presidential election campaign. more..

HR Day observed in Jaffna after 3 years

Dec 11 (TN) Thousands of persons whose family members had gone missing after abduction or arrest by Sri Lanka Armed forces and paramilitary men participated in an event organized by Jaffna Human Rights Commission (HRC) in Jaffna Veersingham Hall Thursday around 10:00 a.m to mark the 61st International Human Rights Day. Representatives of various Tamil political parties and human rights activists participated in the event which ended around 2:00 p.m. more..

'Reveal whereabouts of surrendered, arrested Liberation Tigers'

Dec 11 (TN) “The government should maintain transparency in matters related to the Liberation Tigers who had surrendered or were arrested at the end of the war,” Mano Ganeshan, DPF leader said. Mano Ganeshan, presently in Jaffna, also said that Sarath Fonseka, the common opposition presidential candidate, is steadfast in solving the issues related to the reunion of the Liberation Tigers with their families and resettlement of IDPs. more..

'Dairy farming upgraded for better supplies'

Dec 11 (GDI) Dairy farming will be promoted island-wide and the dramatic program launched is expected to grow steadily, supplying more milk. The project expects dairy farmers to be major participants in the Government’s development efforts and milk will be made part of the daily diet of the people, the Minister of Livestock Development R. M. C. B. Rathnayake said more..

Sarath Fonseka is the ' Laughing Stock" for economic experts - Minister Sirisena

Dec 11 (GDI) SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena today claimed that opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka who confessed he (Fonseka) had no knowledge of the nation's economy, has become the 'Laughing Stock" before the eyes of economic experts as Fonseka has promised a Rs.10,000 salary hike to state employees within a month of assuming his dream wish presidency. more..

'UNP and JVP at crossroads'

Dec 11 (GDI) The Minister of Public Administration and Home affairs and Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning Sarath Amunugama pointed out that the UNP and the JVP are rendered helpless without a leader. He queried as to what had happened to the UNP." The party does not have a leader to contest the forthcoming elections and Johnston Fernando at a news conference made this reference", more..

Medical Practitioners support President

Dec 11 (GDI) The Government Registered Assistant Medical Practitioners Association extended its support to the candidature of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The association will be committed will be to the victory of the President unconditionally. Secretary to the Association Dr. Mahinda Liyanage said that they consider Mahinda Rajapaksa as a people’s leader. "He is a leader, who does not consider any caste, creed or religion or colour",they opined. more..

UNP will shortly go down the precipice - Dr.Sarath Amunugama

Dec 11 (GDI) Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama described President Mahinda Rajapaksa as a leader of the common man with a greater human touch. The UNP has today fallen to a pathetic situation unable to find a candidate, lamented the minister. The UNP remained a very strong party since 1977 but, today it is in sad state, claimed Dr.Amunugama. The party has gradually moved towards a prepice since 1994 and more..