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Buddhist nuns demand right to vote & removal of gender bias

Dec 14 (PSM) Sri Lanka Bhikkuni Sasana Balamandala, the main organization of Buddhist nuns in the country, passed a resolution at a recent meeting in Dambulla to request President Mahinda Rajapaksa to repeal the prohibition on women voting at the election of the Diyawadana Nilame of the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy and entering the upper enclosure of the Anuradhapura Jayasirimaha Bodhi. more..

U'grads want police to acknowledge arrest of colleague over LTTE links

Dec 14 (Island) Minister Wishwa Waranapala told ‘The Island’ that he had directed the relevant authorities to inquire into the disappearance. Inter University Students’ Federation and Students for Human Rights are seeking the whereabouts of undergraduate Ms Rasaiya Dwarka, arrested over her alleged involvement with the LTTE. The missing girl had been taken in by plainclothesmen from the Arts Faculty of the Peradeniya University on November 12. more..

'Youth’s duty to ensure President’s victory'

Dec 14 (DN) Certain rulers in this country have some unique qualifications. However one particular qualification is a given field doesn’t qualify a person to rule the country. A person with wide experience in trade union and public activities etc. can only govern a nation with equal treatment to all sections of the country. Any attempt to bring in a person opposite of this will be nothing but an initiative of international reactionary forces. more..

Fonseka throws down gauntlet

Dec 14 (DM) The joint Opposition yesterday challenged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to come for a public debate on political issues at a joint press conference. The challenge was thrown by JVP Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe who chaired a joint press conference together with common opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickrmesighe and other opposition parties. more..

'Budget pack' draws mixed reactions from consumers

Dec 14 (Island) The special budget pack for consumers in time for the festive season announced by the government last Friday, on a directive from President Mahinda Rajapaksa, drew a mixed reaction from many consumers over the weekend. The government indicated that the budget packs would be available from Saturday at Lak Sathosa, Co-operative Shops, Economic Centres, Welfare Centres and retail shops, but complaints have been pouring in that they are not available. more..

Did mysterious plane carrying arms plan to refuel in Colombo?

Dec 14 (Island) Acting Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetilike yesterday told The Island that armaments recovered from a mysterious transport aircraft seized on Saturday in Thailand were not meant for Sri Lankan forces. Sri Lanka had nothing to do with the consignment, he said adding that the aircraft may have planned to touch down at the BIA for refuelling, if it had escaped detection in Thailand. more..

Rajapaksa 'war criminal', try him, demand Tamils

Dec 14 (IANS) Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada have called for an international trial of the Sri Lankan president for allegedly ordering the killing of surrendering LTTE leaders during the ethnic war that ended in May. Former Sri Lankan army chief and opposition presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka has alleged that Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered troops to kill three top LTTE leaders when they raised white flags to surrender. more..

'Artistes’ campaign supporting MR voluntary'

Dec 14 (Island) Namal Rajapaksa yesterday rejected accusations that the government had paid Rs. 500,000 each to artistes and sports personalities now campaigning for President Rajapaksa at the forthcoming presidential election. Responding to criticism that artistes and sports icon Sanath Jayasuriya had been bribed by the UPFA, Rajapaksa junior emphasized that none of them had received any money to join more..

Deputy Education Minister resigns to contest for Presidency

Dec 14 (DM) Deputy Education Minister M.M. Mustaffa said that he would be resigning from his ministerial post to contest the upcoming presidential election. Deputy Minister said that he has already informed his intention to the government. Elaborating on his decision to contest the polls the deputy minister said that he was not given an opportunity by the government to implement his plans with regard to higher education and more..

Young Tamils and Sinhalese meet for peace and reconciliation

Dec 14 (AN) A group of young Tamil from Jaffna and hundreds of students from Colombo spent five days together to share the anxieties and hurt caused by war, and express their desire to see ethnic groups and religious communities rebuild life together. Some 35 young Tamils from the north and 700 students from the south, around 14-16 years of age, took part in a “peace and reconciliation’ programme organised by more..

'Self proclaimed ‘King’ must be dethroned and people must be enthroned'

Dec 14 (UNP) Speaking at the same media conference yesterday where all parties supporting the common Presidential candidature of General Fonseka appeared together for the first time, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said , 391 relatives and henchmen of President Rajapakse are holding key Govt. positions. Most of them are square pegs in round holes. more..

'They called me World’s best Army commander when war was won, in less than 6 months the same people are calling me a traitor'

Dec 14 (UNP) Addressing a Press briefing at JAIC Hilton Hotel yesterday, the Opposition common candidate General Sarath Fonseka said, when I won the war, they called me the greatest Army Commander in the World. These same people have now started maligning me within six months as a traitor. You can therefore imagine how they would treat others of the Forces who retire. more..

Malaysia can be Sri Lanka's tourism driver, says High Commissioner

Dec 14 (Bernama) Malaysia has the potential to be the main driver of Sri Lanka's tourism sector. The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia Dr D.D. Ranasinghe, said at present, Malaysia is the country's top investor. "It also holds the number one spot in the telecommunications sector," he added. Ranasinghe said Malaysia can emulate the international chain of hoteliers and tour operators, more..

Muttiah Muralitharan rushed to hospital

Dec 14 (Hindu) Muttiah Muralitharan was rushed to a city hospital for medical examination after he complained of pain in his finger. Muralitharan, who did not take part in the team’s practice session on Tuesday morning, was rushed to the Sterling Hospital where Dr. Samrat Buddh conducted various medical tests including X-rays and CT scan of his finger, medical director of the hospital Dr. Kamal Parikh said. more..

Local climate efforts: Too little, too slow, too late?

Dec 14 (IPS) Sri Lankan experts do not seem to be pinning their hopes on the ongoing climate talks in Copenhagen, saying greenhouse gas emissions will continue to torment the world as long as western lifestyles remain the same. The key, therefore, is for the island state—and other developing countries for that matter—to tackle climate change right in their own backyards. That is, through applicable mitigation and adaptation measures. more..

Jayalalithaa blasts government over Katchatheevu island

Dec 14 (IANS) Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa Monday criticised External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna over Katchatheevu, a small island ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974 and a source of recurring irritation in ties between the two countries. In a statement here, the AIADMK leader accused the foreign minister was ignorant of the basic facts about the issue. more..

Sri Lanka current account in surplus amid economic slump

Dec 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka's external current account is expected to swing into a surplus in 2009, for the first time since 1977, the central bank said as the island was gripped by a severe trade contraction and economic slump. In the first nine months of 2009, the current account was already in surplus by 393 million US dollars. The current account is swinging back from a 3.7 billion dollar deficit in 2008, more..

Sri Lanka World Cup venues on track - ICC

Dec 14 (CI) The ICC's two-member delegation in Sri Lanka has expressed satisfaction at the work being done at the three venues which will host the twelve 2011 World Cup matches. Sri Lanka is due to host matches at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, and at two new venues which are currently under construction at Hambantota, down South, and at Pallekele, near Kandy in the Central Province. more..

'JVP, LTTE launched terror campaigns'

Dec 14 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said both the LTTE and the JVP launched their respective terror campaigns against the democratically elected governments by attacking police stations as there was a close link between the people and the police. Addressing Police officers at the Temple Trees, President Rajapaksa said the JVP attacked police stations in 1971 during their first uprising against the government and the LTTE overpowered more..

SF allegations: Govt. to go legal

Dec 14 (DM) While dismissing the allegations made by Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka the government yesterday vowed that legal opinion will be sought to take action against what it called the ‘malicious attempt to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka and the armed forces’. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said yesterday that the statement made to a weekend newspaper by General Sarath Fonseka was very damaging locally and internationally. more..

Let them speak:Truth about Sri Lanka 's victims of war

Dec 14 (UTHR) This latest report from the University Teacher for Human Rights (Jaffna) documents the final chapter of Sri Lanka’s war 26-year war. Drawing on individual eyewitness accounts, it chronicles the relentless violence experienced by survivors of the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE between September 2008 and May 2009, when the Sri Lankan government ultimately crushed the LTTE leadership and declared victory. more..

Sri Lanka candidate denies Tiger rebels shot

Dec 14 (Reuters) General Sarath Fonseka, who is challenging President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a January election, denied on Monday having said government soldiers shot surrendering Tamil Tiger rebels, adding no such incidents happened. The Sri Lankan government had earlier denounced reported comments by the general, carried in an opposition newspaper, that senior rebels who were to surrender with more..

India shifts venue of Sri Lanka one-dayer

Dec 15 (AFP) India's cricket chiefs on Monday changed the venue of the second one-day international against Sri Lanka due to political tension in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam. The match will now take place on Friday in Nagpur, which had hosted a Twenty20 international between India and Sri Lanka last week. Visakhapatnam, in the south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh, has been gripped by demonstrations over the federal government's decision to create a separate state of Telangana. more..

UAE signs air services MoU with Sri Lanka

Dec 15 (AME) The United Arab Emirates represented by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) signed an Air Services Memorandum of Understanding with Sri Lanka on 11th December 2009 in Colombo, to increase flights between the two countries. The United Arab Emirates represented by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) signed an Air Services Memorandum of Understanding with Sri Lanka on 11th December 2009 in Colombo, to increase flights between the two countries. more..

'Farmers can gain from mobile phone services'

Dec 15 (LBO) Mobile phone message services like one deployed by the financial news agency Reuters to over a million farmers in India could help Sri Lankan farmers earn more for their produce, experts said. Ranjit Pawar of Reuters Market Light, India said their SMS in India provide farmers timely information and helps eliminate middlemen. "A farmer told me, 'If I had timely information I could have made 40 percent more money,' when we launched the short message service in India," more..

SL's shot at redemption in a disappointing tour

Dec 15 (CI) After a one-sided Test series and an even Twenty20 contest, during which flat pitches and big bats rendered the spinners ineffective, India and Sri Lanka embark upon a five-match ODI series beginning in Rajkot. Chastened by a 2-0 defeat in the Tests, Sri Lanka have a shot at redemption during this final leg of the tour. The focus will be on Kumar Sangakkara and how he backs his talk with leadership and runs - he did thump exceptional fifties in the Twenty20s. more..

Fonseka does a volta face

Dec 15 (Hindu) Less than 24 hours after his sensational statement that Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa had instructed a ground commander in the battle zone during the last phase of the Eelam War IV to shoot all LTTE leaders that had come out waving a white flag with the intention of surrendering to the military, the retired General and contender for the January 26 presidential poll, Sarath Fonseka did a volta face. more..

Sri Lanka fined for slow over-rate

Dec 15 (CI) Sri Lanka have been penalised for their slow over-rate during the second Twenty20 international against India in Mohali on Saturday. The ICC match referee Jeff Crowe said the team fell two overs short of its target at the end of the match after taking various stoppages into consideration. The captain Kumar Sangakkara was fined 40% of his match fee while the rest of the team was docked 20% each. more..

Editorial: A long haul for Lanka

Dec 15 (HT) The war has ended but Sri Lanka’s Tamils are caught between a hard place and a harder place. Whichever way the forthcoming presidential elections pan out, the choice is between two people, neither of whom have too much love lost for the island’s Tamil ethnic minority. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, now the undisputed strongman of Sri Lanka after his army crushed the LTTE and more..

Sri Lanka port gains as Maersk pulls out of Chennai

Dec 15 (FP) Sri Lanka's Colombo port stands to gain more container transhipment business with Maersk, the world biggest container shipping line by volume, deciding to stop direct calls at Chennai, officials said. Maersk Line has announced it will stop direct calls at Chennai on its 'MECL2' service linking south Asia to North America with the last vessel calling at the south Indian port on February 5. more..

Sanath Jayasuriya returns to old haunt in middle order

Dec 15 (CI) At 40, challenges still exist for Sanath Jayasuriya. The Sri Lankan team management, led by captain Kumar Sangakkara, has decided to push Jayasuriya down the order to make better use of the allrounder. Jayasuriya admitted it was a "big challenge" for him to return to the position where he had started his career. "Since 1995, I have not opened unless I was coming back from an injury. So it is a big challenge, which for the last 15 years I haven't faced," more..

Debrief News - 14.12.2009

Sarath Fonseka perturbed at negative reaction within Army personnel over interview

Dec 15 (DBS) Govt consulting AG dept & Army lawyers about filing charges of treason against Sarath Fonseka for media interview rattles the ex-army chief. Like typical politico he now says" The Sunday Leader" newspaper had misquoted what he said about alleged Army conduct in war with the LTTE. According to Reuters report Fonseka has denied saying govt soldiers shot surrendering Tiger leaders& now says no such incidents happened. more..

Indian coast guard seize another Sri Lankan boat off the coast of Pondicherry

Dec 15 (DBS) Indian coast guard seize another Sri Lankan boat with five fishermen on board off the coast of Pondicherry union territory in South India. According to officials the boat "Dinusha Baby" (Meril Marine) was seized by Indian coast guard ship "Vikram" after prolonged deep sea chase. Indian officials suspicious of "highly sophisticated" boat equipped with GPS, radar & long-range wireless capable of communicating worldwide. more..

Spirit of the season: Annual pilgrimage of Lord Iyappan

Dec 15 (TC) Season to climb the mountain and worship Lord Iyappan has just begun. Devotees in Black attire are seen on the streets of the East. They have gathered & seen filling up visa application forms on the pavements in Colombo to get the visa to travel to India during the season. They are on barefoot & look extremely spiritual. They gather in groups and pray for prosperity. Devotees at temples are seen giving offering to the Iyappan devotees who will climb the mountain in India. more..

Multi-faceted dilemmas await Sri Lanka

Dec 15 (CI) Sri Lanka showed signs that confidence was seeping back into their game during the recent Twenty20 series, especially in the batting department. They were denied a 2-0 win by a breathtaking cameo from Yuvraj Singh, but they still travel to Rajkot for the start of the ODI series with newfound belief. They now know if they play excellent cricket, their best cricket, they can beat India in India. more..

'Replacing Sanath brings its own kind of pressure'

Dec 15 (IE) Despite figuring in 82 one-day international matches, Sri Lankan opener Upul Tharanga hasn’t quite managed to cement his place in the national team. So when the selectors decided that he should replace Sanath Jayasuriya at the top of the Lankan batting line-up for the first ODI against India, the 24-year-old left-hander considered it a brand new beginning. Tharanga talked about why this series is important for him. more..

Cyclone Ward remnant crosses Lanka coast

Dec 15 (BL) The deep depression (from erstwhile Tropical Cyclone Ward) over southwest Bay of Bengal crossed the north Sri Lanka coast near Trincomalee on Monday afternoon. On crossing, the encounter with land features of Sri Lanka have further mellowed down the storm intensity and led to its weakening as a depression, an India Meteorological Department (IMD) update said on Monday. more..

Telangana: Implications for Sri Lanka

Dec 15 (AT) A clash of personalities seems to be overshadowing crucial issues at a time when Sri Lanka should have been planning her future political strategies following the LTTE’s crushing military defeat. It is very unfortunate that the upcoming Presidential Election has caused a division among the very people who contributed to the victory. It is therefore imperative that the heat of election campaigning should not be allowed to more..

Dedication removes all barriers, Chandika Nanayakkara’s rise proves

Dec 15 (AT) He might have been on the film firmament hardly for six years. But he has already become one of the most successful actors of the island nation today. He is Chandika Nanayakkara, who has won the hearts of film-goers. ‘Nothing is Impossible’ has been his motto and he went ahead to reach this popularity height, from where a dizzy height may not be an impossible task. He has that dedication and hard work. more..

Why 3.6 million IDs Printed when only 1.9 million is the requirement: attempting election frauds

Dec 15 (CaFFE) Though there are nearly 20 Lakhs persons without identity cards, the registration of persons Dept. has decided to print temporary cards for them for the forthcoming Presidential elections. The CAFFE organization has pointed out that there is room to suspect there will be a fraud in respect of this issue fo cards. According to the voters list of 2008, there are 1.955,312 voters without ID cards. more..

Birds of Sri Lanka

Opposition complains bias of state media

Dec 15 (Xinhua) Officials from an opposition party in Sri Lanka said Monday that they have made a complaint to Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake regarding state media's bias in the presidential campaign. Sharmila Perera, secretary of the New Democratic Front (NDF) said several state media institutions are violating articles of the constitution which prohibit the use of state property to promote or prevent the election of any candidate. more..

Sri Lankan war crimes video is authentic, Times investigation finds

Dec 15 (Times) Video footage that appears to show Sri Lankan troops committing war crimes by summarily executing captured Tamil Tiger fighters on the battlefield was not fabricated, as claimed by the Sri Lankan Government, an investigation by The Times has found. The findings come after General Sarath Fonseka, the former head of the army, alleged that Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Defence Minister, had ordered that surrendering Tiger leaders be killed rather than more..

Rs. 20 million is the monthly expense out of State funds for Dansalas at Temple Trees

Dec 15 (LeN) The Dansalas given by the President at Temple Trees these days has come under heavy fire from the Opposition. The monthly expense on account of these sumptuous (Dansalas) meals is Rs. 20,000,000/- (Twenty million) per month. These expenses are disbursed out of State funds. Govt. officials, Police Officers, Teachers, media personnel, Judicial officers and others are invited for these functions. more..

EPDP Devananda’s 10 point program insinuates support to Gen.Fonseka

Dec 15 (LG) It is not surprising that the EPDP maestro “Douglas” Devananda alias Kathiravelu Devananda or whatever his real name is - has put forward a 10 point program. On the one hand Douglas Devananda has informed his confidantes and the Government that unless he gives publicity to this request, he may not get sufficient votes in Jaffna at a General election, whilst on the other hand he has brilliantly stood by the claims made by Gen.Fonseka and more..

“Fonseka, Fonseka, why have you forsaken me?’’

Dec 15 (LG) It’s true, the bible says Jesus, having been nailed to the cross, cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" If this was a passion play, and if Jesus was Mahinda Rajapaksa, his words now are bound to be on the lines of “Fonseka, Fonseka, why have you forsaken me?" Well, the answer my friend, is blowing in the wind. Sarath Fonseka is not representative of himself. He was estranged from the president no doubt for personal reasons. more..

Election pledges can bring peace but need to be implemented

Dec 15 (LG) Sri Lanka faces Presidential elections on January 26, 2009. As in the case of previous Presidential elections and since the first in 1982, this will be a momentous election fraught with possibilities of extreme violence and a change in direction of the country. The total military defeat of the Tamil insurgent movement in May 2009 has finally freed the country from large scale armed rebellion for the first time since the mid 1970s. more..

What to do with MR

Dec 15 (LG) In this world, nobody is indispensable. Not even President Mahinda Rajapakse. It is true, we, the people of this country, voted him to power to get a certain difficult job done. It was done. Mothers do not anymore live in tension till the father and the children safely return home in the evening. Congratulations Mr President, you did it successfully and thoroughly. Thank you very much. And we respected him and loved him for standing up to all the international bullies and thugs, more..

Five political risks to watch in Sri Lanka

Dec 15 (Reuters) Following the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels this year, the political risk focus for Sri Lanka has shifted to presidential polls on Jan. 26 and parliamentary polls expected to follow by April. Following is a summary of key risks to watch in Sri Lanka: * ELECTION FEVER: President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called elections for next month, well ahead of the end of his term, in a gamble to take advantage of popular support after the end of the 25-year separatist insurgency in May. more..