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'I’m ready to be expelled'

Dec 20 (LB) SLFP MP and 1996 World Cup-winning Sri Lanka cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga, who broke ranks with the government and joined forces with the Common Opposition Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka last week, said he was ready to face any expulsion from the SLFP over his action. “I took this decision to take my crusade forward tied to the ticket of General Sarath Fonseka against family-oriented politics”, more..

Sri Lankan refugees leave Indonesia

Dec 20 (AP) Fifteen Sri Lankans left Indonesia for Canada and Australia on Saturday, only two months after they were rescued at sea by an Australian customs vessel, an official said. The 15, who were among 78 Tamils involved in the Oceanic Viking standoff with the Australian government, left the Indonesia immigration detention centre in Pangkalpinang on a small island just off Sumatra on Saturday, with 13 going to resettle in Canada and two in Australia, more..

Tamils vote on support for state within Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (CTV) Canada's Tamil population is voting in a referendum today to gauge support for a sovereign Tamil state within Sri Lanka. Canadians of Tamil descent are being asked whether they still support the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution of 1976, which called for the recreation of an independent sovereign state for the Tamil people in the northern and eastern portions of Sri Lanka. Saturday's referendum is being run by the Coalition for Tamil Elections Canada, more..

Sri Lankan guards 'sexually abused girls' in Tamil refugee camp

Dec 20 (Guardian) Tamil women interned after escaping the horrors of the civil war in Sri Lanka were sexually abused by their guards who traded sex for food, a British medic has revealed. Vany Kumar, who was locked up behind barbed wire in the Menik Farm refugee camp for four months, also claims prisoners were punished by being made to kneel for hours in the hot sun, and those suspected of links to the defeated Tamil Tigers were taken away and more..

Need for new "vibes" and emergence of a "home grown" Tamil leadership

Dec 20 (TC) Too long just a few have done the thinking for the Tamils. Too long have the Tamils followed a few at the top. Too long have they been led by emotion and rhetoric. Too long have they stayed in a time warp where fresh thinking was shut out and the collective mind kept dormant. In their lives there was no spring or summer and nothing new could grow. The stillness of autumn and the cold of the winter was their lot. more..

Sri Lanka still waiting for its peace dividend

Dec 20 (AP) Inside, there are no victims, no killers, and no questions. There are only bright white lights and the click-clack of sewing machines in this new garment factory in war-torn eastern Sri Lanka. Outside, the land is littered with memories from the island's quarter-century civil war: Five farmers shot dead in March. Fifteen buried in a ditch. A massacre in a nearby mosque. more..

Golden Key assets, hospital under liquidation: report

Dec 20 (LBO) Court appointed officials liquidating assets of Golden Key Credit Card Company, a failed finance firm in Sri Lanka's Ceylinco group is planning an auction of assets, and offers have been received for the sale of a hospital, a media report said. The Sunday Island newspaper said several parties have been received for Golden Key ENT hospital, which has been valued at more than 1.5 billion rupees. more..

Sri Lanka to change price index basket next year

Dec 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka will change the basket of goods in its most widely watched price index from next year and re-base it to reflect consumption patterns of a newer survey, an official said. Sri Lanka's current revised Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) is based on a household consumption survey based in 2002. The new index to be released in February next year will be based on a 2006/2007 consumption survey, more..

And the way forward to solve the vexed ethnic issue for good - Part Two

Dec 20 (LG) You feel so sad for the IDP, the slain terrorists and the dead (in reality and deep in your heart, you actions speaks louder than words, you only feel for the dead Wanni people and terrorists, not for the dead soldiers and civilians in the South). There has not been nor be a war where refugees are not made. From World Wars to Swat Valley that has been the reality. You have failed to take solid action to save them from peril but have only written 'critiques'. more..

Sri Lankan tragedy: No exit from crisis even after military victory

Dec 20 (TC) It is a fairly safe assumption that with the Southern province elections the Rajapakse administration hit its electoral ceiling and the UNP its floor. The ceiling is fairly high, around 65%, and the floor (almost a basement floor, courtesy Mr. Wickremesinghe) pretty low, 25%. It is a safe guess that President Rajapakse had his eyes on Chandrika Kumaratunga’s “ground record”. more..

Dr. Cyril Ponnamperuma (1923-1994): A passionate champion of public science

Dec 20 (GV) On 20 December 2009, we mark the 15th death anniversary of Professor Cyril Ponnamperuma, one of the best known scientists produced by Sri Lanka during the Twentieth Century. He was both an internationally recognised researcher on the origins of life on Earth, and an early promoter of science and technology for development. more..

Sarath, Gota and the brutality shown to surrendered LTTE leaders

Dec 20 (TC) The Island, reported on December 15: “Fonseka said, he had told a weekend newspaper that a journalist had told him that Gotabaya Rajapaksa had ordered Maj. Gen Shavindra Silva (then Brigadier) to kill the LTTE leaders who offered to surrender but, what he said had been misreported. Certain opposition politicians were trying to gain political mileage by making use of that erroneous report, he said. more..

Tamils must come out of the graveyard of boycott politics

Dec 20 (TC) The 2005 presidential election was the graveyard of Tamil boycott politics. As a consequence many people have impressed on the Tamil political parties the importance of active involvement of their people in the current election cycle; recently me too. The thrust of our argument was that their people have suffered a great deal and seen many terrible things in recent months; this has shattered their self-confidence. more..

Meals at Temple Trees served on credit

Dec 20 (LNW) The Media Watch organization says that meals organized at Temple Trees cost over Rs. 20 lakhs per day. A massive cost has been incurred on liquor served during evening functions apart from the expenses on serving breakfast and lunch. Meals for these functions are catered by Sen Saal in Battaramulla and Fingara in Rattanapitiya. These institutions supply food on credit. more..

'Tamils to live with self respect, they shall not in anyway become compatible to the majoritarian chauvinism'

Dec 20 (AT) The President Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as his rival Sarath Fonseka, either of them has not gone beyond the 13th Amendment to the Constitution fo a political resolution to the ethnic question of the Tamil speaking people of Sri Lanka. In a statement sent to Asian Tribune to justify why Sivajilingham, the TNA MP N. Srikantha categorically said that Sinhalese leaders who are more..

'Tamils should claim rights gradually'

Dec 20 (TN) Tamils have been reduced to the stage where they cannot no longer fight for their rights. Their non-violent approaches as well as armed struggle have failed leaving them in a situation where they can only claim their rights step by step, Minister Dougala Devananda said Saturday in a press meet held in Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) office in Jaffna Srithar theatre. more..

"Plans afoot to kill me" - Sivajilingam

Dec 20 (TN) TNA MP and independent candidate in presidential election said that efforts are being made to kill him so as to prevent him getting the Tamil votes in North and East in the presidential election, in a press conference held in Jaffna Friday. He further said that he had received certain information from Basil Rajapakse, the brother of President Rajapakse and that pressure was exerted on him to return to India. more..

Relief to consumers during festive season

Dec 20 (GDI) The Government has provided more relief to consumers for the festive season. Accordingly, Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawerdena has taken initiatives to reduce prices of rice, wheat flour and sugar. The President as Minister of Finance issued instructions last month to reduce taxes and grant relief to the consumers. Following these instructions, tax was waived off on many flour based products used in the festive season, more..

'Ranil failed to impress Indian leaders on Fonseka’s credentials as future President'

Dec 20 (AT) With nominations closed and President Mahinda Rajapakse and former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka emerging as the two major candidates at the forthcoming Sri Lankan Presidential election, the international community is watching with great interest the outcome of the January poll. India, in particular, is keenly interested in the results of the Sri Lankan presidential election, writes Theepori Website. more..

A personal odyssey in search of true love

Dec 20 (SO) Kathleen Jayawardene is the author of ‘Sathya Kama’, a novel widely held as a tour de force in contemporary Sinhala literature. The novel is set against Buddha’s time in India where many important philosophical discussions were carried out amidst unprecedented economic prosperity. The protagonist in the novel is on a journey of discovery the true meaning of love. more..

The order to keep General out of sight of viewers was from Presidential Secretariat

Dec 20 (LT) It is reported that Presidential Secretariat has directed Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation that telecast live the handing over of nomination papers by candidates contesting the presidential election at the Office of the Commissioner of Elections on the 17th not to show any frames which would show Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka. The Chairman of SLRC has given this direction through telephone to the producer of the programme. more..

Orugodawatte flyover opens to public

Dec 20 (LP) Sri Lanka’s sixth flyover at Orugodawatte opened to the public this morning by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. President Rajapaksa who was on an observation visit to Orugodawatta flyover bridge instructed the Highways Ministry officials to allow the public to use the flyover from this morning. The flyover is 521 meters long and 17.4 meters wide. The government has spent Rs.550 million in this regard. The flyover comprises of two lanes. more..

ADB funds for waste water management

Dec 20 (LP) Sri Lanka and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a USD 100 million loan agreement recently to launch the Greater Colombo Wastewater Management Project. The project aims to upgrade the sewerage infrastructure under the Colombo Municipal Council in the Greater Colombo Area and strengthen its institutional and operational capacity as well as to improve the project management and implementation capacity of CMC. more..

Bogollagama accuses Fonseka of self-serving allegations

Dec 20 (LNP) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that the international community should not take seriously former Army Chief turned Opposition presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka s recent claim that Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had ordered Major General Shavendra Silva, not to take prisoners. He said that Fonseka caused irreparable damage though he subsequently blamed the media for misquoting him. more..

All restrictions on A9 highway lifted

Dec 20 (MoD) The government has lifted all restrictions imposed on civilian travel on the A9 Road enabling citizens to travel freely to and from Jaffna and other parts of the country. "Any citizen can now travel on the A9 Road using either private transport or public transport with no restrictions whatsoever," Chairman of the Presidential Task Force for Northern Development Basil Rajapaksa said. more..

Well done, CIMOGG

Dec 20 (LNP) Two weeks ago this newspaper editorially urged that the candidates running for president be pinned down on their positions on vital issues. This is what the Citizens Movement for Good Governance (CIMOGG) and its redoubtable president, Dr. A.C. Viswalingam, has done or is trying to do. As reported in our front page today, CIMOGG is sending out a short questionnaire to the various candidates seeking `yes or `no responses to some questions of vital interest to the community. more..

4 JVP supporters hospitalized after UPFA thug attack at Attanagalla

Dec 20 (LT) A group of JVP members who were engaged in propaganda activities of the presidential election at Attanagalla area yesterday evening were attacked by a group of more than 50 UPFA supporters. Four members of the JVP, who were severely injured in the attack, had to be admitted to hospital. Despite lodging a compliant at Attanagalla Police regarding the attack no action has been taken yet states the media unit of the JVP. more..

'All fraudsters will be driven away & democracy established'

Dec 20 (LT) All fraudsters would be driven away and democracy would be established at the presidential election held on the 26th of next month says apolitical Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka. Addressing the mammoth rally held near Public Market in Kandy on the 18th Gen. Fonseka said, “Who ever tries to claim the victory of the war it belongs to war heroes and masses that were behind them. more..

UPF decides to support President

Dec 20 (SO) Minister of Community Development and Inequality Eradication Periyasamy Chandrasekaran commenting on his party's decision said that only President Rajapaksa could play a significant role in stabilising the integrity of the country and make it more vibrant with regard to development activities whereas the main opposition candidate has no agenda. Minister Chandrasekeran commenting on his party's decision on more..

Shedding bitter memories....

Dec 20 (SO) "He is a refined kid". That is the very first impression one gets seeing and talking to 16-year-old Raj. A chain of bitter memories are fading away slowly with the busy schedule that ties him to books, lectures, sports and music. But whenever he gets a breathing space his mind makes him restless as blood stained memories still haunt him. "I want to feel the warmth of my mother", is the wish that tops his list of priorities more..

First Christmas after end of war

Dec 20 (SO) The much anticipated event for Christians all over the world will arrive with the dawn of Christmas later this week. This year’s celebrations are all the more unique for Sri Lankans who also rejoice in the great victory of peace. This is the first Christmas the country is celebrating after the end of a thirty-year war that created division, hatred and animosity among communities. more..

'We are fully confident of another triumph'

Dec 20 (LNP) UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha says most issues mentioned in Mahinda Chinthana have been fulfilled during the past four years. Therefore, the President is fully confident of winning the Presidential Election with an overwhelming majority and getting a massive mandate from the people for his second term. The Minister in an interview with the Sunday Observer expressed his views on the forthcoming elections and recent political developments. more..

TNA faces rebellion over Tamil candidate

Dec 20 (NS) The TNA, saddled with an internal rebellion after its leader R. Sampanthan and two others went to Vienna last Sunday without a decision on the party’s stand at the forthcoming Presidential election, is now expected to take up the matter once again with the return of the trio yesterday. On the eve of their departure, 17 members of the TNA who met in Colombo on December 8 and 9 were split three ways, more..

Broadcasting antennas on one roof

Dec 20 (SO) The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) will set up a common station to house broadcasting antennas at Paliyagoda to facilitate an efficient service for the telecommunication industry in the country. The TRCSL will commence work on this project early next year at a cost of around US$ 100 million. Director General, of TRCSL, Priyantha Kariyapperuma said the project upon completion will be a national icon that more..

Crowds throng Sri Lankan Embassy in Italy

Dec 20 (SO) The JVP has requested permission from the Police to demonstrate opposite the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Italy demanding President Mahinda Rajapaksa to hold a free and fair election and ensure media freedom. As the news spread, the Sri Lankan community in Rome assembled in large numbers in the Embassy premises on that day December 10, 2009 to counter the JVP demonstration. more..

'Defence Secy did not order me to fire on those coming holding white flags aloft'

Dec 20 (NS) The Nation speaks to Director, Military Operations Major General Shavendra Silva in the context of allegations being made that the ground troops during the last stages of the war executed LTTE leaders who approached them with white flags held aloft. Gen. Silva led the most successful 58 Division which recaptured from the LTTE, the most amount of territory, more..

The TNA factor in a two-way race

Dec 20 (NS) Now, it is official: Nominations closed for Sri Lanka’s sixth presidential elections on Thursday, and 22 contestants are in the fray, although, in reality, the race is between incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his main rival, the United National Front (UNF) sponsored General Sarath Fonseka, officially contesting from the New Democratic Front (NDF). The days that preceded the nominations saw a flurry of political activity: more..

No business like monitoring business

Dec 20 (NS) A scam as big, or bigger than the one discovered at the Free Media Movement late last year, is now coming to light at the election monitoring body PAFFREL. The sums involved is said to be running to as much as Rs. 8 million. Like a case of thieves having fallen out, charges are being traded now between those who are there and those who are no longer there. PAFFREL General Secretary Jehan Perera said yesterday that it has dealt with the misdeeds of one of its leading members, more..

All set for Presidential polls - 2010

Dec 20 (NS) It is election time again! If we told someone about the number of elections we’ve had over the past few years, and asked them to guess how big this country was, they would probably mistake this tiny island of 65,525 square kilometres for being as big as the United States of America spanning a multitude of states, cities and counties. However, few other elections would have garnered as much enthusiasm as the one that we will see taking place on January 26, 2010. more..

Opinion polls and elections

Dec 20 (NS) Our past experience about elections in Sri Lanka confirms that there was hardly anything that parties and candidates did not exploit for their advantage. On the eve of elections, the incumbents in high postings often remember to offer government jobs, pay hikes to the people who they think are their potential voter bases. Since independence every party and its candidates exploited the government’s food-rations and other welfare programmes shamelessly to expand their voter bases. more..

EU still mum on invitation to monitor the election

Dec 20 (Island) The European Union (EU) has not yet responded to Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake’s invitation to monitor the forthcoming presidential election but he has received two positive responses from the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Asian Association of Election Moniors, Dissanayake said. "I asked the candidates whether they had any objections to having the election monitored by foreign observers and they remained silent," more..

Questions for the presidential candidates

Dec 20 (Island) The CIMOGG will send out a short questionnaire to the candidates running for the presidency, asking for `yes’ and `no’ responses to 14 questions relating to good governance on vital issues and publish whatever answers that are received for the benefit of the voters. "It is essential that voters should be able to compare the policies and programmes of the presidential candidates so that they may exercise their franchise to the best effect," more..

How the war was won

Dec 20 (Island) Recently, a court in the UK granted an unprecedented warrant for the arrest of Tzipi Livni, a former Israeli Foreign Minister over alleged war crimes committed by the Jewish State during the last major military offensive in Gaza last January. Livni, now the Opposition leader, had no option but to cancel a scheduled visit to the UK at the eleventh hour to avoid being taken on a war crimes charge. more..

More assets of Lalith Kotelwala to be sold to raise big bucks to repay depositors

Dec 20 (Island) Several Expressions of Interest have already been received for the state-of-the-art Golden Key ENT Hospital, which has been advertised for sale as part of ongoing efforts to sell the assets of Lalith Kotelwala to settle distraught depositors, a senior official said last week. "We are happy with the response to purchase this ultra-modern medical facility – one of the best in this part of the world", he said. more..

Moulana returns from US to back Rajapaksa

Dec 20 (Island) Former UNP National List MP Ali Zahir Moulana will join President Mahinda Rajapaksa's presidential election campaign this week. Moulana quit his seat in early 2004 and took refuge in the US fearing an LTTE assassination attempt on his life over helping one-time LTTE strongman Karuna to reach Colombo. Well informed sources told The Sunday Island that President Rajapaksa had accommodated Moulana on the Sri Lankan mission in Washington over a year ago. more..

President to dissolve Parliament early Jan. 2010?

Dec 20 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is likely to announce the dissolution of Parliament after the motion to extend the State of Emergency is taken up in Parliament on January 5, 2010, party sources said yesterday. The President has further cautioned all the UPFA MPs, SLFP district and electoral organizers and Party rank and file that their performance would be monitored during the campaigning for the 6th Presidential Elections on January 26, the sources said. more..

In exposing Rajapaksas, Fonseka exposes himself

Dec 20 (ST) Gardihewage Sarath Chandralal Fonseka, the former Commander of the Army and later the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), became an icon of heroism after May, this year, for leading troops to military victory against Tiger guerrillas. President Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa decorated and rewarded him with land, money and a luxury car. Barely six months later, armed with that new glory and some of the wealth, he ended a 40-year military career. more..

From the clutches of pirates to loving arms

Dec 20 (ST) It is the season of hope, faith and peace. A time of great expectations -- awaiting fulfilment, with unshakeable faith, amidst the worst distress. A small family of four in Maharagama is content now. Broad smiles wreathe the faces of father, mother and two daughters, but the smiles cannot mask the worry and anguish that not so long ago caught their lives in a vice-like grip for nearly six long months. more..

'President tried to woo JVP'

Dec 20 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa wanted the support of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) for his re-election bid, its leader, Somawansa Amerasinghe revealed yesterday. "He telephoned me on November 1 this year and said he wanted to meet me and discuss political developments in the country," he said. That was to explore prospects of JVP's support. more..

British Minister's Sri Lanka holiday outrages rights campaigners

Dec 20 (Independent) Ben Bradshaw, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has raised eyebrows by taking a Christmas holiday in Sri Lanka days after the British government condemned the Colombo administration for its poor human rights record. Gordon Brown last month blocked Sri Lanka's attempt to host the next Commonwealth summit, and last week David Miliband told the Commons that more..