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Sri Lankan war allies, now political enemies

Dec 11 (AP) Just a few months ago, Sri Lanka's president and its army chief were strong allies, working closely together to defeat the Tamil Tiger rebels and end the nation's 25-year civil war. Now the two men hailed as national heroes are bitter political opponents, as Gen. Sarath Fonseka works to unseat President Mahinda Rajapaksa in next month's presidential elections. more..

Sri Lanka business says worker training key in former war zone

Dec 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's former war zones in the north and east need vocational training to raise worker productivity, corporate leaders have told a visiting American diplomat. Better water supply and cold storage facilities to bring fresh produce to markets were also critical requirements, they told US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake during a meeting, an embassy statement said. more..

Sri Lanka seeks to gain from British small business cost cutting

Dec 12 (LBO) Sri Lankan, which is trying to attract more information technology outsource business, said a recent survey shows an increasing number of British small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are considering outsourcing work. One in five British SMEs are considering offshoring in 2010 as they seek to reduce labour costs to enable faster growth, according to the survey among 200 SME businesses in November 2009. more..

Sloppy India aim to arrest slide

Dec 12 (CI) The ICC World Twenty20 win, and the subsequent celebrations that riled Andrew Symonds so, seems like it belonged to another age. Though it set in motion the events that led to the creation of the IPL, India's form in the international arena has been dire. Wednesday's thrashing at Nagpur was their fourth loss in succession, and you have to go back nearly a year to their last victory against a major side. more..

'Sri Lanka sees recovery in credit growth'

Dec 12 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's private sector borrowing is showing signs of recovery that could help to achieve a 3.5 percent economic growth target now that interest rates have come down, a central bank official said. The island nation's private sector credit growth has recorded negative growth of 5.2 percent in September year-on-year, the latest data from the central bank shows, despite a continuous reduction in policy rates. more..

'Shane Warne had guile, I used style'

Dec 12 (CI) Muthiah Muralidaran has more Test dismissals than Shane Warne, whose record he eclipsed to become cricket's highest wicket-taker, but says the Australian leg-spinner has a better brain for the game. Muralidaran passed Warne's 708 Test wickets two years ago and has since stretched the record to 792, but said this week that Warne had a superior "cricket brain". more..

'Sri Lanka ready to offer more oil exploration blocks'

Dec 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka is ready to calls for bids for oil exploration in more blocks in the island's north-west as well as the south, Petroleum Resources Minister A H M Fowzie said. He said he expects more interest this time now that the ethnic war is over and Cairn India has begun seismic surveys in preparation for drilling test wells in the Gulf of Mannar off the island's north-west. more..

Tourism and Peacebuilding

Dec 12 (TG) Why would anyone want to spend a vacation among the ghosts and relics of a 30-year war that introduced suicide bombing to the modern world and led to the disappearance and deaths of countless innocents? As it turns out, thousands of tourists are returning to Sri Lanka. They are drawn to sea and sand, centuries-old Buddhist temples and wilderness reserves of elephants, leopards, monkeys and brilliantly colored birds — no matter what the recent history of this island. more..

Second Tamil migrant ordered released

Dec 12 (G&M) A second Tamil migrant has been ordered released from custody by the Immigration and Refugee Board, but government lawyers have sought to keep the man behind bars. The release was ordered Wednesday night by IRB member Otto Nupponen after a lengthy detention hearing. The man can't be identified because of a publication ban imposed at the beginning of the detention hearings. more..

Debrief News - 11.12.2009

Dec 11th: Birth anniversary of Tamil poet Mahakavi Bharathy

Dec 12 (DBS) December 11th is the 127th birth anniversary of my favourite Tamil poet Subramanya Bharathi known widely as Bharathiyaar or Mahakavi Bharathy. When I first left Sri Lanka for the USA in 1988 Bharathi's poems was one of the three Tamil books I took along with some other English books. Later in Canada I bought a new copy of his poems & constantly read it for sheer pleasure & also for emotional inspiration. more..

Military Police raid Gen. Fonseka’s resident to remove soldiers providing him security

Dec 12 (LT) A short while ago the official residence of common candidate retired Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Fonseka was encircled by deploying more than 200 personnel from Military Police say reports. According to reports the raid has been carried out to remove soldiers who have been deployed to provide security to Gen. Fonseka. However, officers of Military Police had said the raid was carried out more..

UN Sri Lankan child soldier call

Dec 12 (BBC) A senior United Nations envoy has asked the Sri Lankan government to release all detained Tamil Tiger child soldiers and reunite them with their families. The UN special envoy on children and armed conflict made the call while on a five-day visit to the island. Maj-Gen Patric Cammaert said that examples from across the world showed that children recovered better from trauma when living with their families. more..

The Rajapakse regime & the forth estate

Dec 12 (LG) The Rajapakse regime has been in power since April 2004 and has received a bad press in many Western countries in recent years. Such comments have often aroused Xenophobic reactions within some segments of Sri Lankan society. This parochial response merges with the rabid hostility to (selected) NGOs in some political circles. Rather than dwelling in a parochial miasma, the Rajapakse government should ask itself WHY, why such a bad press? more..

The known devil

Dec 12 (LG) If the country was fortunate the ideal situation would be to have an alternative to President Rajapakse at the forthcoming presidential election; an alternative to his or his apparent, ultra Sinhala-Buddhist vision and anti-liberal and anti-western policies. Instead the choice now appears to be, or it has been made to appear so, between a known devil and an unknown angel. While whether the common candidate is an angel itself is highly debatable with more..

Rajapaksha’s gamble: SB’s crossover

Dec 12 (LG) President Rajapaksha has declared two wars against his rival candidate General Sarath Fonseka. One is the media campaign against the General, with the help of the bought-over media men. Four years of his governance has created, a blind and corrupt money influenced media personals in Sri Lanka. Those who did not tow the President’s line had been killed or run away from the country or even lingering in the prisons. more..

Golden Key deposit refunds begin

Dec 12 (GDI) The refund of deposits of the crashed Golden Key Credit Card Company that ran into a high financial scandal by the Ceylinco Group of Companies commenced today,according to the Committee of Accountants handling the refund process. They said cheques drawn in favour of depositors were being dispatched to the depositors and refunds were being done under a ceiling drawn up to refund deposits in a gradual process. more..

Vote for the real General, says Wijedasa Rajapaksa

Dec 12 (LG) Parliamentarian Wijedasa Rajapaksa yesterday called on all to vote for the real General who dedicated his life for 40 years for the country and guided the country to victory. Describing the General as a person who did not rob and and did not engage in corruption, Wijedasa said, “the General is being presented to the people as a clean candidate”. more..

Public Utilities website launched

Dec 12 (GDI) Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has launched its official website ( for the benefit of all the stakeholders at the Government Information Department. PUCSL as the regulator for infrastructure industries in the country started regulatory activities in the electricity industry with the enactment of Sri Lanka Electricity Act No.20 of 2009. more..

Maldives beat Sri Lanka 5-1

Dec 12 (Miadhu) Maldives has entered the final of SAAF championship for a second consecutive year after beating Sri Lana 5-1. in the semi final played in Dhakas Bangabandhu Stadium this afternoon. Ahmed Thorig scored the first goal for Maldives in the 21st minute. While the Maldives was trying to win a second goal missing some opportunities, Sri Lankas Channa equalised in the 62nd minute. more..

President drops by revered Marian shrine

Dec 12 (UCAN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and parliamentarians have made a brief visit to the popular Madhu Marian shrine and participated in a special afternoon prayer service. On Dec. 9, Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar and priests welcomed the Buddhist president, state officials, armed forces commanders, MPs and around 500 Tamils who were brought from nearby refugee camps and villages. more..

Morgans deported from Sri Lanka

Dec 12 (HT) Accused Sarasota Ponzi schemers John and Marian Morgan have been deported from Sri Lanka and were being escorted Friday by federal law-enforcement officials on a flight to Washington D.C. The Morgans had been held in a Sri Lankan prison since mid-August. The U.S. Marshal’s Service said previously that it had kept tabs on the Morgans and that the FBI had arrest warrants at the ready should the couple reappear on U.S. soil. more..

Ven. Ellawela Medhananda Thera MP displays double-standards on imbibing liquor

Dec 12 (DBS) JHU MP Ven. Ellawela Medhananda Thera displays double-standards over Mahinda Rajapakse&Sarath Fonseka on imbibing liquor. He condemns Fonseka for telling a little bit of liquor taken at socially was acceptable because county would become a haven for drunkards. He says President Rajapakse serving liquor to official guests at "Temple Trees" does not violate "Mathata Thitha" (Abolish Intoxication) concept. more..

How can "President Elect" Sarath Fonseka without a Govt Implement promises immediately?

Dec 12 (TC) Gen Sarath F was accepted by the UNF including Mangala S and its supposed allies and by the JVP as their Common Candidate for the forthcoming presidential elections in January 2010. Gen SF then came forward to accept that position as their Common Candidate on the express purpose of abolishing the Executive Presidency, upon being elected. The JVP and its General Secretary vowed the parliament would be dissolved more..

Krishna, Bogollagama discuss resettlement of war displaced Sri Lankans

Dec 12 (Hindu) External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna met his Sri Lankan counterpart Rohitha Bogollagama and is understood to have enquired about the progress in the resettlement of IDPs in northern parts of the country. Mr. Krishna had a long chat with Mr. Bogollagama on the sidelines of a dinner hosted by Myanmar Foreign Minister U. Nyan Win in the honour of participants of the 12th ministerial meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for more..

Fonseka weighs in as common candidate

Dec 12 (Hindu) With five days left for filing of nomination papers for the January 26 presidential election, the Sri Lankan Election Commission on Friday received the deposit on behalf of retired General Sarath Fonseka who is in the fray “as the non-party common candidate”. Representatives of political parties including the main opposition UNP and JVP were present on the occasion. The deposit on behalf of President Mahinda Rajapaksa of the ruling SLFP was made earlier in the week. more..

Public interest litigation

Dec 12 (LG) There is a transparency, accountability and functional legitimacy even in the rural death donation society, periodically committee is publish its income and expenditure statement either temple or else where to gain the legitimacy from its community ,but Gotabaya Rajapaksha gathered billions on the account of "Api Wenuwen Api" programe hitherto nation not known whatsoever other than the Gotabaya him self and "Medamulana Dynasty". more..

Education and positive experience: MR has none either

Dec 12 (LG) This write up is a brief response to the article entitled “Sarath season or Rajapaksha return?” by our compatriot, professor, political scientist, diplomat and writer Dayan Jayathilleka. His article does not go beyond the hackneyed subject of military victory to justify the re-election of Mahinda Rajapaksha (MR). Indeed the military victory was a tremendous achievement. more..

Some reflections on the presidential election

Dec 12 (LG) The entry into politics of the former army chief seems to have caused much consternation among some politicians, academics, journalists and a handful of instigated members of the public. A democracy confers an inalienable right to every adult citizen of sound mind and good behaviour to freely participate in politics, vote and contest at any democratically held election and express his/ her opinion on any matter of public interest. more..

Wijaya Godakumbura's award still not news in Sri Lanka

Dec 12 (LP) Wijaya Godakumbura a Sri Lankan physician inspired by the deaths and mutilation of people by burns caused by unsafe kerosene lamps ran a safe bottle lamp project to win an international award for its excellence although none of Sri Lanka government, civil society and media focussed attention to him so far. The news regarding Godakumbura's award will also be hidden from public in Sri Lanka where press is strictly controlled by the ruling regime. more..

Streets of Sri Lanka

Room to Read’s results in Sri Lanka

Dec 12 (FT) The first thing I noticed about 11-year-old Kasun Amarasinghe was the state of his shirt. Theoretically white, it was tinged with a bluish sheen, possibly the result of being washed together with his navy blue shorts. It was also riddled with bleach stains, like so many bullet-holes. Kasun’s shabbiness contrasted with some of the other children at this school in Trincomalee on the east coast of Sri Lanka, who more..

Bus passengers through A9 road suffer undue delay

Dec 12 (TN) Passengers travelling in Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) buses through A9 road between Jaffna and Vavuniyaa are held for nearly six to eight hours in their buses until Sri Lanka Army (SLA) allow the buses to leave in a convoy, civil society sources in Jaffna raised concern. The passengers are not allowed to get down from the buses even to answer calls of nature, they said. more..

Southern Express Highway : One stretch completed

Dec 12 (TN) Construction work on the stretch from Kurundugahahethepma to Pinnaduwa of the Southern Expressway has been completed. Prior to the road opening to the public, religious ceremonies were held under the patronage of Secretary to the Ministry of Highways and Road Development, Wasantha Karannagoda, Construction work on this stretch was carried out with aid from the ADB. more..

Ranil keen to ensure Fonseka's defeat - SB

Dec 12 (GDI) Former UNP stalwart and cross over to the UPFA, S.B. Dissanayake has said that Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe was attempting to rout the Opposition candidate at the Presidential election. Participating in a special discussion, he said that Ranil Wickremasinghe’s wish was to retain his position for the next six years as he expected to contest the poll in 2017. more..

Pettah to be upgraded as a Transport zone

Dec 12 (LP) Measures have been taken by the Government to transform the areas covering the Fort Railway station, Central bus stand and Bastian Mawatha private bus stand as a transport zone to help the public. According to the Transport Ministry, the Fort Railway station, Central bus stand and the private bus stand at Bastian Mawatha will be brought under one roof to fulfill the transport needs of commuters. more..

End to conflict is opportunity for prosperity says British HC

Dec 12 (LP) The end of Sri Lanka's longstanding conflict provides a real opportunity to achieve greater prosperity not only for Jaffna's fishermen but all Sri Lankans, said British High Commissioner, Dr Peter Hayes after concluding his two day visit to Jaffna Peninsula. "It has been a privilege to visit the beautiful islands off the Jaffna Peninsula and talk to their people," he further said. more..

The rights of the disabled: Forgotten and forsaken?

Dec 12 (GV) Of the more than 6 billion people in the world, the UN estimates that more than 500 million of them are disabled. That is approximately 8%. In the early 1900s and before, little knowledge and awareness existed about people with disabilities, so much so that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not even mention the rights of the disabled. However, since then awareness and activism concerning disability has increased tremendously with the UN alone, more..

Rs. 100 crore to upgrade facilities in refugee camps

Dec 12 (Hindu) “All the welfare schemes of the State Government will cover Sri Lankan Tamils residing in refugee camps,” said Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S Arumugam. Distributing free colour TVs to inmates in the camps at Konakapadi and Kurukkupatti, the Minister said that the Chief Minister had allotted a sum of Rs. 100 crore to upgrade basic amenities in all the Lankan camps in the State. more..

Grievances redressed; Police -public relations strengthened

Dec 12 (MoD) Public relief service conducted based on the concept of a public -friendly professional police service initiated by the new I.G.P Mahinda Balasuriya was held for the fifth time the whole day today (11). On the fourth session 640 persons submitted their problems. They are first registered and complaints entertained. They are directly referred to the I.G.P and solutions given immediately. more..

Political opportunists to play blame-game, spurning LTTE 'attempt' to surrender during final battle

Dec 12 (MoD) Signs of political opportunism vandalizing the much won war against the Tigers, has surged, as those who long term opposed the liberation battle continue to form nexus with pro-LTTE diaspora fronts, in a strategy to denigrate the Sri Lankan government and security forces before the international community, government officials said yesterday (Dec 11). more..

US bows to Rajapaksa determination

Dec 12 (MoD) The Obama change of course on Sri Lanka also points to the need for a much wider discussion of our own issues, by genuine organizations of civil society, to seek the path of reconciliation, through the acceptance of pluralism in our polity, as well encourage more of secularism in social and political attitudes. It point to constitutional change that does not stop at slogans to abolish the Executive Presidency or replace it with an Executive Prime Minister. more..

Dr.Vickramabuhu: “Adding value” to our “valuable vote”

Dec 12 (TC) It is good to support Dr.Vickramabuhu for the simple reason that he represents the “non-capitalists” and the “oppressed” who are the actual ‘MAJORITY’ in this country. To get the support from the “majority people” he should get on the platform of “good governance”. By “good governance” it is meant “a government that is against injustice, discrimination corruption and oppression”. more..

Gamya among first 25 of Miss World 2009

Dec 12 (LP) Sri Lanka’s contestant for Miss World 2009, Gamya Wijayadasa, has progressed in ranking to 22nd from among 114 during the fourth week at the beauty pageant being held at Johannesburg in South Africa. The finals are to be held on Saturday December 12. Gamya Wijayadasa who won the title Miss Sri Lanka recently progressed in the last five weeks of the pageant with no ranking in the 1st week, being in more..

An unprecedented presidential election

Dec 12 (GV) Never before has such a major rift opened up between the political and military leadership in electoral politics as what has been witnessed over the recent months. By luring Sarath Fonseka to fight against the incumbent President on their behalf, the newly formed opposition took the Sri Lankan polity as well as the diaspora by surprise. As a result, what looked like an unassailable position for Mahinda Rajapakse now looks more vulnerable. more..

'CID has under the guise of Court powers has tried to involve the Court in an unlawful act'

Dec 12 (LeN) When the Colombo Chief Magistrate Nishantha Hapuarachchi examined a petition today (10) filed by the CID to get a Court order to obtain the source of information from the Lanka e news editor Sandaruwan Senadheera in regard to the news item published by the Lanka e news website under the caption ‘Minister requests IGP to transfer disobedient police officers‘, more..

An astonishing act of Act. Minister of Posts

Dec 12 (LT) According to employees of the ministry the monthly rent of the vehicle hired for acting Minister of Post and Telecommunication Nandana Gunatileke costs the public Rs.1,10,000. He is also allocated another vehicle for his use say employees. When Mr. Nandana Gunatileke was sworn in as the acting Minister of Post and Telecommunication he said politics doesn’t flow through a soft and silky path. more..

'It's time all suppressive laws are abolished and democracy established'

Dec 12 (LT) All suppressive laws such asemergency regulations and Suppression of Terrorism Act should be abolished forthwith to re-establish democracy and human rights in the country states Intellectuals for Human Rights (IHR). Addressing the 61st International HumanRights Day Celebration held in Colombo on the 10th of this month the Secretary of Civil and Political Rights of the IHR more..

Muslim religious leaders reject President but meet General – Aswar enraged

Dec 12 (LT) The Council of All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama (ACJU), the Council of Islamic Theologians met common candidate of the presidential election Gen. Sarath Fonseka on the 10th when Gen. Fonseka visited its head office at 211, Orabi Pasha Street, Maradana. When President heard that Gen. Fonseka had visited All Ceylon Lamiyathul Ulama he had informed the organization that he could meet them at Temple trees yesterday more..

Presidential Secretariat gets ready for mudslinging project against JVP

Dec 12 (LT) It is reported that Presidential Secretariat is making arrangements to launch a massive mudslinging project against the JVP as the party had been responsible in bringing Gen. Sarath Fonseka to contest the presidential election as the non-party common candidate. Before Gen. Fonseka came into the scene everybody had considered the presidential election was a one horse race for Mr. Mahinda Rajapaske. more..