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General assures safety of Media personnel

Dec 16 (LT) At a special media briefing held on 14th instant, common candidate General Sarath Fonseka gave an assurance to the media that he will bring a special Act for the benefit and security of all media personnel once he becomes the President. Speaking further at this conference General Sarath Fonseka stated that all political leaders and the rulers address the media personnel very affectionately during an election period. more..

PM’s Security Division housed in a place worse than a cattle shed

Dec 16 (LT) In order to put up a huge assembly hall at ‘Temple Trees’ with the allocations of the Port Authority, the Security Division assigned to the Prime Minister consisting more than 600 security personnel who were housed in a building there have been forced to settle in a place worse than a cattle shed after demolishing the existing building. The Security Division of the Prime Minister was accommodated in more..

The background to the ethnic violence in Sri Lanka

Dec 16 (LG) When Sri Lanka became independent in 1948 it was considered to be a model of a democratic state poised for development. Since independence there had been regular elections except for the referendum in 1982. Governments had been changed through the electoral process. The growth rate showed a reasonable average upward trend until the ethnic problem emerged and led to an increase in defence spending. more..

Former CJ throws his weight behind Opp. campaign

Dec 16 (Island) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, PC yesterday accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa of brazenly violating the Constitution. Addressing a group of Opposition activists, at the launch of a website in support of their anti-Rajapaksa campaign, he said "the incumbent President has acted in contravention of not only single Articles, but several Chapters of the Constitution". more..

Minister blasts General Fonseka

Dec 16 (LNP) Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said yesterday that the recent statement reportedly made by General Sarath Fonseka that the Defence Secretary had ordered the killing of LTTE leaders who offered to surrender has led to a war crimes investigation that is to be prepared against Sri Lanka. He said that soon after General Fonseka made the controversial statement, a great amount of discussion took place in the international sphere. more..

Resources aplenty to promote Sri Lankan tourism

Dec 16 (LNP) Compared to other countries Sri Lanka has a lot of resources to promote tourism in the region. There are less resorts in Sri Lanka compared to other countries such as the Maldives, said Sri Lanka Tourist Board, Director (Development), T. Suriyagoda at the Wayamba Investors and Exporters Forum on Monday at the Hotel Galadari. He said that Wayamba is a unique province that has many opportunities for tourism. more..

Prabakaran’s daughter Dwaraka’s photos released

Dec 16 (LNW) The photos of Dwarka’s dead body had been published. During the last phase of the war, among the other LTTE cadres she also attempt to surrender and get killed horribly. News had been informed that, International NGO’s and UN representatives are being there, believing that in whole, Nadesan and Puleedevan went with a white flag. But they were killed cruelly. In the same way, Dwarka and Balachandran were killed by SLA and more..

Our 'promising' politicos

Dec 16 (LNP) JVP Trade Union Chief K.D. Lal Kantha is known for his brilliant Utopian ideas. He says a pay hike of Rs. 10,000 for the public sector employees, which Opposition common presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka promised the other day, is possible, though he (Lal Kantha) has, so far, failed on two occasions to win his party`s demand for a 5,000-rupee salary increase for government workers. He says funds for this purpose could be raised by more..

Alliance party to join Govt

Dec 16 (DN) Another party of the Opposition alliance for the common candidate will extend support to the Government by next week. This revelation was made yesterday by Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. Two prominent members of the UNP grass roots movement declared their support to the President yesterday. Nalin Priyantha Sooriyage, Bandarawela Mayor since 1991 and Wayamba Provincial Minister, Sudath Chandrasekera joined to the Government. more..

'Rumor mongers scavenging for stories'

Dec 16 (SLW) Sajith Premadasa the prominent UNP MP refutes the ongoing rumors of his speculated disapproval for the candidature of Sarath Fonseka. When inquired whether the spreading rumors had any truth behind them, he said “ The UNP had taken an unanimous decision to support Sarath Fonseka for the upcoming Presidential Polls. There is no such rift as the media is speculating. Everyone is keen to support Fonseka.” more..

'EC should appoint competent authority for state media'

Dec 16 (AD) The Elections Commissioner has to draw his attention on appointing a competent authority for the state media regarding propaganda for the upcoming Presidential election, said UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya. Members from the UNF and JVP met Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake this morning at the Elections Secretariat to urge the Commissioner to take appropriate action on this matter. more..

Cut-outs, posters, banners out after December 17

Dec 16 (DN) Cut-outs, posters and banners of presidential candidates contesting the forthcoming Presidential Elections will be removed after the nomination day, December 17, Western Province Senior DIG Nimal Mediwaka told a press briefing at the Colombo DIGs office yesterday. Two persons will be allowed to accompany each candidate to the Election Commissioner’s office to hand over nomination papers. more..

Doctors to be gradually released

Dec 16 (DN) There are 104 MBBS doctors serving IDPs in welfare camps at present. Once the resettlement process is over, these doctors will be attached to State hospitals in the North and East, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. According to the spokesman, the doctors will be gradually released from serving in welfare camps with the resettlement of IDPs which is now going on apace. more..

Police Commandos recover Rs. 48mn worth contraband

Dec 16 (Island) The elite STF now engaged in an intensified campaign against organised crime on Monday seized 2,430,000 Benson and Hedges cigarettes during an operation conducted in the Sapugaskanda police area. An STF spokesman told The Island that commandos had lured the gang by offering to buy the consignment estimated to be worth about Rs. 48 million. This was the largest ever detection made by law enforcement authorities outside more..

Irrigation assigned to Jeevan while Nanda acts as Post Minister

Dec 16 (LT) Land and Land Development Minister Mr Jeevan Kumaratunga has been vested with Ministry of Water Management and Irrigation who was sworn in on the 14th instant at Temple Trees. This Ministry was earlier assigned to the President’s brother Mr Chamal Rajapaksa. However when the NFF requested this Ministry when Mr Nandana Gunatillaka who was the Minister of Tourism resigned from his party and from the Ministry of Tourism, more..

Gota says battlefield excesses charge exposed Opp. strategy

Dec 16 (LNP) In his first public comments on last week's The Sunday Leader lead news item 'Gota ordered them (read as surrendering LTTE cadres) to be shot,' on the basis of an interview given by former Army Chief, General Sarath Fonseka, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told The Island that a section of the international community, hell bent on undermining the Sri Lankan State, would take advantage of this situation. more..

What I say, I will do: Fonseka

Dec 16 (DM) The Opposition’s Common Candidate General Sarath Fonseka signed nomination papers for the upcoming Presidential Election at his political office in Colombo 7, last morning. Members of the two main opposition parties supporting General Fonseka - the UNP and the JVP - were present at the occasion along with leaders of the major religions. more..

Govt. rejects Caritas claim on IDP funding

Dec 16 (Island) Government sources said that there was absolutely no truth in a recent claim that Caritas Sri Lanka had spent Rs. 9.7 million a day in support of ongoing rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the Vanni region. Sources said that Caritas Sri Lanka-SEDEC aka the social arm of the Catholic Church carried a front-page lead story in its official organ, Gnanartha Pradeepaya, claiming that money had been spent on food and other essential items. more..

Let’s dissect the Sahodara Samaagama

Dec 16 (DM) When President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed Parliament for the first time after the war was brought to a close in Pudumathalan in May 2009, he thanked all those who he believed were deserving of appreciation, all those who contributed to the national effort to rid the country of the terrorist menace. He mentioned also the strength he obtained from family, his wife and his three sons; mentioning that ‘family’ helped him understand the anxieties and more..

Mangala Samaraweera launches a blog of his vision

Dec 16 (CT) Leader of the SLFP Mahajana Wing Mangala Samaraweera yesterday launched, a blog of his vision for a "new Sri Lankan order" titled "Dare to Dream." This cause-related website seeks to sensitize the citizen on a range of country governance issues and provokes discussion and mobilization of civil society to effect change for a better Sri Lanka, Mr. Samaraweera said at the launch in Colombo. more..

Delhi uneasy on Fonseka’s disclosures ?

Dec 16 (DM) Following the comments made by General Sarath Fonseka regarding the final days of the war , is New Delhi’s South block uneasy and agitated than the Sri Lanka (SL) Govt. question sources. Gotabaya Rajapaksa , the SL Defense Secretary when delivering a lecture at Ananda College , Colombo stated it was India which helped to end the war enabling SL to avert the International intervention. more..

Visit Sri Lanka

Press communiqué from the UNP Gen. secretary Tissa Attanayake

Dec 16 (UNP) The Secretary to the President has issued a notice that the President’s official funds are not spent on the sumptuous feasts that are being given to various professional groups and Organizations invited in thousands to Temple Trees. This action of the President after the announcement of Presidential elections and feeding thousands of people at a time during the election campaign is a gross violation of the election laws and is wrong morally. more..

New election monitor DAFFREL makes debut

Dec 16 (CT) A new local election monitor DAFFREL made its debut at a media briefing at Centre for Society and Religion in Colombo today (Dec. 15). Democratic Action or Free and Fair Elections comprises a breakaway group of PAFFREL founded by the late Kingsley Rodrigo. Mr. Rodrigo’s wife Chitrani Rodrigo is also an active member of the new poll monitoring body. Its executive director is Wasantha Pushpakumara and Mohamed Musammil Cader serves as its chairman. more..

78 Sri Lankans rescued from Oceanic Viking granted refugee status

Dec 16 (TA) ALL of the 78 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers rescued by the Customs ship Oceanic Viking have been found to be refugees, increasing the pressure on the Rudd government to find a home for the Tamils. The Australian understands that the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, has completed its assessment of the 78 asylum-seekers and designated all of them as genuine refugees. more..

UPFA election manifesto after tomorrow

Dec 16 (CT) The election manifesto of the UPFA, effectively that of president Mahinda Rajapaksa at upcoming presidential polls, will be unveiled any day after tomorrow, said general secretary of the alliance Susil Premajayantha. The document will contain future plans for the country, based on the 'Mahinda Chinthana' policy concept of president Rajapaksa. It will include proposals for providing vocational training for GCE Ordinary Level dropouts and more..

Murali and Fernando out of ODI series

Dec 16 (CI) Sri Lanka's hopes of coming back from a 1-0 deficit in the ODI series against India have taken a hit with Muttiah Muralitharan and Dilhara Fernando being ruled out of the remaining four games because of finger injuries. Mulalitharan picked up his injury during the final Test in Mumbai as a result of which he missed the two Twenty20 matches as well as the first ODI in Rajkot. Fernando did not play in the Tests, but figured in the shorter formats and more..

UNP MPs Johnston, Indika to back president Rajapaksa

Dec 16 (CT) Two UNP parliamentarians Johnston Fernando and Indika Bandaranayake have decided to back incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa at next month's presidential elections. Mr. Fernando said their decision was a show of protest against the party's not fielding its own candidate. The UNP has endorsed the candidature of Gen. Sarath Fonseka from the common opposition, to which the two MPs have voiced their strong protest. more..

'Some parties are trying to tarnish my name & belittle services I rendered to Army'

Dec 16 (LT) “I was a man who served the Army for 40 years and within those years my men knew that I would have even given my life for one of them,” said Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka addressing the media after signing nomination papers for the upcoming Presidential Election at his political office in Colombo 7, yesterday. He said, “Certain people are trying to tarnish my name by misinterpreting what I say, but more..

Fact-finding tour of Jaffna

Dec 16 (DN) International Chamber of Commerce Chairman Tissa Jayaweera and Asst General Manager Kumar Goonatillake led a 24-member team including four women comprising entrepreneurs, investors, bankers, construction contractors, BPO, fish breeders, equipment suppliers, traders on a fact- finding tour of Jaffna. The Principal interests were to invest on new ventures with joint venture partners, open showrooms, start assembly/manufacture, bid for private/public sector contracts. more..

Debrief News - 16. 12. 2009

Former CJ on Executive powers

Dec 16 (DM) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva said yesterday that the country had observed a heavy concentration of power around the Executive Presidency and insisted there should be two levels of governance instead of four, to ensure checks and balances. Addressing the launch of a blog by SLFP (M) Leader Mangala Samaraweera yesterday, he said the Executive had gone into violating several key articles of the Constitution during the last few years. more..

EU provides €6 million in aid to support IDPs

Dec 16 (EU) The European Commission has allocated another €5 million to provide humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and host families in Sri Lanka. The current return process has triggered urgent humanitarian needs in particular for protection, temporary shelter, health services (mobile clinics and specific care for conflict victims) and demining in heavily mined return areas. more..

US supports a UN probe on alleged HR abuses in Lanka

Dec 16 (DM) The US says that it is fully supportive of the UN investigating alleged Human Rights (HR) abuses in Sri Lanka and also continues to stress to the Government of Sri Lanka on the importance of ending human rights abuses and investigating and holding accountable those who are responsible for past abuses. Responding to a question posed at the US State Department daily press briefing Philip J. Crowley, more..

Northern Katpaka Tharu - Palmyara palm becomes a victim of ministerial whims

Dec 17 (AT) R.M. Dharmadasa Banda, Minister of Supplementary Crops Development is allowing Palmyra sector which provides livelihood to hundreds of thousands in the Northern Sri Lanka where it is considered as Katpaka Tharu is put on a a state of stagnation. The minister is reportedly planning to wind up the statutory Palmyra Development Board, which he has packed with his cronies while making his nephew S.M.Wickramapala its chairman. more..

Our little vote and democracy

Dec 17 (LG) Two important characteristics of our presidential elections could be seen. Firstly, despite our reasonably long election history, our presidential candidates have only had missions and no vision. Jayawardena, hardly a visionary, more a withered political juggler, whose mission was to instantly fill the markets with commodities and open up, and it was done quite wantonly, the then import-proof dying economy. more..

'Attempts afoot to prevent Fonseka’s nomination'

Dec 17 (AD) Knowing well that Mahinda Rajapaksa will lose the upcoming Presidential election, the government is resorting to underhand tactics to prevent General (Rtd.) Sarath Fonseka from reaching the Elections Secretariat at Rajagiriya today, says Mangala Samaraweera. He charged that a Minister and a Buddhist monk from the south have been given the task of bringing in crowds and preventing Sarath Fonseka from proceeding towards the Elections Secretariat. more..

Just what the Doctrine ordered

Dec 17 (LG) Who will be the better Sri Lankan president from the Indian angle? Incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is seeking a second term, says he “fought India’s war” against the LTTE. The combined opposition has pitted war hero Sarath Fonseka, and former prime minister Ranil Wickramasinghe has been to Delhi to apprise the leadership of the danger of backing Rajapaksa. India wants a president who would deliver credible political power to the Lankan Tamils, more..

'Govt should explain Fonseka's charges'

Dec 17 (PTI) Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe today sought an explanation from Colombo on former army chief Gen Sarath Fonseka's allegation that some surrendering LTTE leaders were killed on the orders of the government. "Government must say... we have already asked the government to tell us the background of this," Wickramasinghe, who held talks with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna in Delhi, more..

'Sri Lanka broadband backbone to be awarded by April'

Dec 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka Telecom, Dialog Telekom, India's Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Sweden's Ericsson, are among the firms in the running to get a fibre optic backbone for the island, an official said. "We are hoping to award the deal by April 2010," director general of Sri Lanka's Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Priyantha Kariyapperuma said. TRC is now evaluating expressions of interest received from a number of companies. more..

"Fishy" explanation given on "Missing" Lankan fishermen

Dec 17 (DBS) What befell the Sri Lankan fishing boat "Winmarine" with Sinhala fishermen at the hands of the Indian coastguard & navy remains a "mystery". How did the "Winmarine" boat allegedly catch fire & how did the boat go missing with fishermen on board? "Fishy" explanation given by Indian officials about how Indian coastguard hostages were rescued but not the two Lankan fishermen now "Missing". more..

Four questions for Gen. Sarath Fonseka, “transformed” champion of media freedom

Dec 17 (DBS) Gen.Sarath Fonseka reportedly said at Dec 14th press briefing that he would provide full media freedom if elected president. Promising to bring new law ensuring security for media personnel, Fonseka also pledged inquiry into past incidents of violence against media. While appreciating Sarath Fonseka's transformation as a champion of media freedom & rights I want to ask him four questions right now. more..

'Mahinda and Douglas cannot fool all the people all the time'

Dec 17 (DBS) Mahinda Rajapakse has reportedly agreed to ten point demands proposed by Douglas Devananda in return for EPDP support at presidential polls. Comrade Surendra of Ceylon Communist (Maoist) Party pinpoints contradictions in hypocritical Mahinda Rajapakse-Douglas Devananda agreement. This honored minister of the chauvinist-militarist Mahinda Chinthanaya regime has come forward in defense of Tamil rights now says Surendra. more..

Can Sri Lanka really decentralize power?

Dec 17 (UPI) Sri Lanka’s total military defeat of the Tamil insurgent movement in May has finally freed the country from large-scale armed rebellion for the first time since the mid-1970s. Sri Lanka obtained independence from the British in 1948, but much of its post-independence history has been violent. In 1971 there was an armed insurrection against the government by Sinhalese rebels, on a Marxist platform, more..

In praise of the devil’s advocate

Dec 17 (OM) “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it,” said Voltaire after reading Rousseau’s Social Contract in 18th century France. We respect the courage and honesty of Voltaire and other leaders of the time for they laid the foundation for an enlightened century. Medieval dogmatism, prejudice and narrow mindedness was set aside at the political level to allow for more mature acceptance of questioning and criticism. more..

Central Bank to guarantee loans to troubled finance firms

Dec 17 (LBO) Central bank said it will guarantee loans given by banks to registered leasing and finance companies in liquidity trouble, though the assistance would be conditional. Registered finance companies (RFCs) and specialised leasing companies (SLCs) come under Central Bank regulation. "Some RFCs and SLCs have been facing liquidity constraints since early 2009 due to a decline in inflow of new funds and more..

First trade delegation from Palestine

Dec 17 (AT) A Palestinian trade delegation of 6 persons will be in Sri Lanka from 6th to 13th to explore the possibilities of purchasing items from Sri Lanka; this is the first time that a Palestinian trade delegation is visiting Sri Lanka. All members of the delegation are members of the Ramallah Chamber of Commerce who organized the mission. In Sri Lanka they will be Guests of Export Development Board who kindly consented to host the delegation at their expense. more..

RDA employee pasting posters for President dies in accident

Dec 17 (LT) An employee of the Road Development Authority (RDA) who had been employed for the presidential election propaganda campaign of Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse has died in an accident at Negombo today morning. The dead employee is Jagath Pushpa Kumara from Malsiripura. Three vehicles belonging to RDA had been engaged in pasting posters of President’s election campaign when one of the vehicles met with an accident. more..

SC takes up General's FR petition on misuse of state media

Dec 17 (LG) Three fundamental rights petitions filed by General Sarath Fonseka regarding the conduct of state media institutions were taken up for consideration before the Supreme Court today. The case was called up before a panel headed by Chief Justice Ashoka N. De Silva. The Bench also comprised Justices Nimal Gamini Amaratunga, Shiranee Thilakawardena, Saleem Marsoof and K. Shri Pavan. more..

Is post-war Sri Lanka at grave risk of a “Fat Tail” failure?

Dec 17 (GV) Eurasia Group, a leading global political risk research and consulting firm earlier this year listed ten countries that may fall risk to “Fat Tail”. To those of you not familiar with the word, Fat Tail is described as “ A highly volatile political development. Risks include the fall of regimes, military coups, political gridlock and the break-ups of existing states.” It named ten countries with “Fat Tail” risks as a probability and more..