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Fonseka as next `Bribery Commissioner`?

Dec 21 (LNP) No sooner had the UNF-JVP presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka`s campaign officially kicked off from Kandy last Friday than UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe made known his political plan yet another time. In an interview with The Sunday Leader yesterday he said he hoped to be Executive Prime Minister, after winning the next parliamentary polls, in the event of Fonseka`s victory. more..

A section of TNA coming forward to support Sarath Fonseka

Dec 21 (AT) The TNA leadership has summoned the Parliamentary Group meeting tomorrow to finalize on their support to Sarath Fonseka in the forthcoming Presidential Election, it is learnt. Asian Tribune reliably learnt that yesterday night R. Sampanthan, TNA Parliamentary Group Leader, Mavai Senathirajah Deputy Leader and Suresh Premachanthiran the Parliamentary Group whip were having discussion with Ranil Wickremasinghe, more..

TNA disavows Sivaji

Dec 21 (DM) The TNA said it had neither decided to field a candidate for the presidential election nor to boycott it, and therefore the party disassociated itself from the decision taken by its MP M.K. Sivajilingam to contest the election. Party leader R. Sampanthan said that Mr. Sivajilingam had participated at the meeting during which the TNA took those two stands, but he had failed to conform to them. more..

Women motorists worse than men, study shows

Dec 21 (Island) Women are slower and less accurate at parking than men, according to a scientific study that confirms the suspicions of many male motorists. Female drivers take an average of 20 seconds longer to park their cars but are still less likely to end up in the middle of the bay, the research suggests. As part of the test 65 people were asked to park an Audi A6 family saloon in a standard-sized parking space. more..

I will never back Fonseka, says Mustapha

Dec 21 (Island) Tourism Promotion Minister Faizer Mustapha refuting speculations that he was crossing over to the opposition pledged that he would not desert President Mahinda Rajapaksa at any cost. Speaking to media yesterday (20) morning Minister Mustapha said that President Rajapaksa was a leader who had confidence in him (Mustapha) and that he served his government wholeheartedly. more..

Investors wooed for tourism projects in Kalpitiya islands

Dec 21 (Island) The islands near Kalpitiya are the focus of a mega development project. This will help Sri Lanka achieve the targeted 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016, say officials. According to the Sri Lanka Tourist Development Authority (SLTDA), 14 islands with a total land area of 1,672.67 hectares are being targeted for investment projects. Nine of those islands are state lands and the other five are held by both private and state owners. more..

Government will investigate alleged incidents of IDP abuse

Dec 21 (DM) The government will investigate allegations of abuse of IDP at the Vavuniya refugee camps if there is credible evidence to substantiate such claims, a top government official told Daily Mirror online. Professor Rajiva Wijesinha, the secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights said that international organizations have never associated the government with sexual abuse or other forms of abuses in the IDP camps. more..

Polls chief sets media guidelines

Dec 21 (DM) Amidst allegations and counter allegations with regard to the behavior of the print and electronic media in the Presidential election campaign, Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has issued a set of 21 point guidelines to be followed by the media during the period. The Commissioner would review the behaviour of private and state media from tomorrow in the run up to the Presidential election and more..

Unprecedented no. of applicants for postal votes

Dec 21 (DM) The marking of Postal Voting will be held on the 12th and the 13th January, while the Elections Secretariat has received nearly 300,000 applications for postal voting for the January 26 Presidential election, a spokesman of the Secretariat said. “The receipt of applications for postal voting closed on December 17 and we accepted those sent by mail on the 18. The Secretariat is in the process of checking the applications right now. more..

Residents seek 'MP for Welioya'

Dec 21 (Island) People living in the Welioya area, the northernmost Sinhala settlement, are pushing for representation in Parliament. They want President Mahinda Rajapaksa to accommodate a resident from Welioya on the UPFA list at the forthcoming parliamentary polls. The request was made during a recent meeting attended by Northern Province Governor Major-General G A Chandrasiri, Vanni SLFP chief organizer, Premaratne Sumathipala and villagers. more..

'Gen. Fonseka is unappeasable'

Dec 21 (DM) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said opposition common candidate General Sarath Fonseka was never satisfied with what he got, and was entering politics because of his ‘hunger for power’. “The government provided all perks to General Fonseka including land worth over Rs. 100 million for his own use, but General Fonseka was never satisfied with what he got,” Mr. Rajapaksa said. more..

'Education a link between Sri Lanka and India'

Dec 21 (LP) Participating at a reception held by the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka at Hotel Taj Samudra last week to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Minister of Education of Independent India, and to celebrate International "Students’ Day", Higher Education Minister Prof. Wiswa Warnapala highlighted the achievements and contributions of Maulana Azad in the field of education. more..

Tsunami survivors still homeless after five years

Dec 21 (IRIN) Seven-year-old Muffla Mubarak and her friends are revelling in their new homes in the French Friendship Village in Kalmunai, a town on the east coast of Sri Lanka, 300km from the capital Colombo. "I am happy here. I don't want to go to the sea," she said smiling. Muffla has little memory of the devastating tsunami that swept through her family's village of Maradamunai five years earlier, but she knows the sea is to be feared. more..

Viking deal 'to sway others': Sri Lanka

Dec 21 (TA) Sri Lanka has attacked the decision to resettle the 78 refugees rescued by the Oceanic Viking, warning it will encourage more boatpeople to risk the dangerous ocean journey to Australia. Australian and UN authorities are frantically preparing to meet the next resettlement deadline of December 29, laid out in the agreement struck with the Tamils to end their month-long standoff aboard the Customs vessel. “The ship is 89m in length and had been utilised for arms smuggling and human trafficking. more..

Sri Lankan Navy seizes rebel arms smuggling ship

Dec 21 (Hindu) The Sri Lanka government on Monday said as part of its efforts to secure assets of the LTTE outside the island nation, its Navy has seized ‘Princess Christina’ — said to be the large LTTE arms ship — and escorted it to the Colombo Navy ship yard this morning. “The ship is 89m in length and had been utilised for arms smuggling and human trafficking. more..

U.N. seeks explanation on senior LTTE cadres death

Dec 21 (Hindu) On the basis of the December 13 controversial interview (which was later denied) by the Sri Lankan Presidential contender and former Army Chief, Sarath Fonseka the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Phillip Alston has asked Colombo to explain the circumstances of the death of three senior LTTE cadres and their families at the last stages of military operations to defeat the LTTE in May this year. more..

'Allow Sri Lankan Tamils via sea route for Chidambaram festival'

Dec 22 (PTI) The BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit on Monday demanded that the Centre should allow Sri Lankan Tamils to enter the state through sea-route for visiting the temple festival at Chidambaram. BJP state president L. Ganesan said the practice of pilgrims visiting Tamil Nadu for the 11-day ‘Tiruvadirai’ festival in Chidambaram from the northern parts of Sri Lanka through sea-route was in vogue till 1992. more..

'Sri Lanka business growth depends on overseas expansion'

Dec 22 (LBO) Sri Lankan businesses are compelled to look overseas to expand sales as the domestic market is too small, a senior corporate executive said, calling for government policies to support expansion abroad. Inward-looking economic policies are making it difficult for firms to build their own brands, said Ranjith Page, chief executive of Cargills (Ceylon), which operates the 'Food City' chain of supermarkets, the island's largest. more..

Post-tsunami development helps "Baby Tsunami" start school

Dec 22 (RW) Little Tsunami sits on a rock by the sea, watching the boats that sail in the distance. A wave splashes close to the rock where she is sitting and she stands up in a flash and runs to her mother. "She loves the beach and the sea. Everytime her father goes to the market, she goes with him just to get on the rocks and look at the sea, but she is terrified of the waves," says Sarojini, Tsunami's mother. more..

'Sri Lanka refugees may lose voting rights'

Dec 22 (Reuters) Many of Sri Lanka's war refugees may be unable to vote in January polls, the first national election after the government's crushing defeat of separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in May, election monitors said on Monday. That could provide a fresh grievance for the country's mostly Hindu ethnic Tamil minority, many of whom believe the Buddhist Sinhalese majority has a habit of discriminating against them. more..

Sri Lanka becoming a popular cruise call

Dec 22 (EoD) Calls by international cruise vessels to Sri Lanka are on the rise in the post-war era with an increasing number of cruise liners including Sri Lanka as a port of call in their itineraries according to the Middle East Office of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau. Several cruise lines had changed their itineraries in the past but the cruise line business is now picking up with the latest operator to launch visits to Sri Lanka being Louis Cruises India. more..

Sri Lankan detainees go on hunger strike to address frustration

Dec 22 (BVI) Efforts are being made to resolve the plight of six Sri Lankans held in the Territory’s detention center, but according to Head of Immigration Dennis Jennings the men were trying to dictate when they should leave by mounting a hunger strike. The strike began on Wednesday, December 16, and concluded the following day after the detainees received a letter from the Office of the UNHCR requesting them to cease their actions. more..

Sri Lanka gains service sector jobs in 3Q

Dec 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka has generated 234,000 service sector jobs in the third quarter of 2009 from a year earlier, though 89,000 jobs were lost in industry, and 240,000 were lost in the farming sector, a government survey showed. The data does not include Sri Lanka's Northern province, which had just emerged from a 30-year war. The agriculture sector shrank 0.9 percent in the quarter, with paddy production falling 28.4 percent, more..

Stocks hits record high; rupee slips

Dec 22 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares hit a record closing high of 3,234.28 on Monday, surpassing its previous closing level of 3,188.82 on Dec.18, on high turnover as investors stepped up buying ahead of the year end, traders said. The All-Share Price Index .CSE rose 1.75 percent to an all time high of 3,244.87 in intra-day trade, before closing up 1.43 percent or 45.46 points at 3,234.28, its highest ever close. "Market is back on its feet and running," more..

Tendulkar and Jadeja give India 2-1 lead

Dec 22 (CI) After Virender Sehwag had bludgeoned 44 from just 28 balls, an unhurried and unbeaten 96 from Sachin Tendulkar took India to a facile victory that took them 2-1 ahead in this five-match series. Sri Lanka had dominated the early stages of the match, galloping to 165 for 1 from 22.2 overs but they then subsided in bizarre fashion, undone by a combination of Ravindra Jadeja's spin, poor shot selection and more..

Debrief News - 21. 12. 2009

Passengers from Jaffna through A9 road subjected to inconvenience

Dec 22 (TN) Though Sri Lanka government and its ministers say that all restrictions imposed on persons travelling from Jaffna to Vavuniyaa have been completely lifted they continue to experience undue delay and inconvenience, sources in Jaffna said. The buses carrying the passages from Jaffna have to wait at Jaffna esplande first and then allowed to go in convoys under military escort, the sources added. more..

‘Lanka Lions Nite’ boasts of top acts

Dec 22 (GT) Leading Sri Lankan dance band X-Periment, veteran artiste Annesly Malawana and current chart topper Rambara fame Lahiru Perera are the key attractions of Lanka Lions Sports Club’s 26th Lanka Lions Nite on January 7 and 8 at the Ramada’s Giwana Ballroom. Sri Lanka Ambassador to Qatar Wijesiri Padukkage will be the chief guest. There will be a dinner dance on the first day, and the concert alone on the next. more..

Sarath Fonseka, India etc.

Dec 22 (LG) I am more than a little perplexed by the fact that General Sarath Fonseka’s recent visit to India caused no more than a mild innocuous reaction, whereas I had expected that it would provoke a storm. He made the disclaimer that it was not for the purpose of holding discussions with Indian Government representatives, claimed that it had a purely private character, and cracked a joke that more..

US & Indian reports expose anti-national Ranil

Dec 22 (LG) Even before the presidential election could get into first gear Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Vice President of the International Democratic Union (IDU) -- a club of the right-wing Christians of the West including Bush, Blair and John Howard of Australia -- is dodging the critical issue that is before the nation: Is he with his right-wing Christian leaders in the West pressing for tribunals to try Sri Lankan forces that more..

A test of sincerity prior to elections

Dec 22 (NPC) Who will the Tamil people vote for has become an important question at the forthcoming Presidential elections. The departure of former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka, and worse still his joining the opposition, has deprived the government leadership of its monopoly regarding credit for the war victory over the LTTE. more..

A law unto himself

Dec 22 (LG) Strange things are happening in this Resplendent Isle these days which departed political spirits or souls if they return would find hard to recognise or explain. One such phenomenon is the copious flow of tears that is being shed by Mahinda Rajapaksa and his cheering squads over the failure of the UNP to produce a presidential candidate, sufficient even to drown a crocodile. more..

Indian credit towards northeast reconstruction

Dec 22 (CT) The Indian government has extended a 425 million US dollar credit towards reconstruction of the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. The grant will fund the railway track laying between Omanthai-Pallai and Madhu-Talaimannar. The track laying will be undertaken by IRCON (India) Ltd. The loan will also be utilized for the supplying of rolling stocks for northern province.

Tamil activists protest at Kerry's office

Dec 22 (BG) Ethnic Tamils in Boston protested today in front of Senator John F. Kerry's office against a report that Kerry's Senate Foreign Relations Committee released earlier this month that calls for friendlier relations between the United States and Sri Lanka. Six months after the Sri Lankan army defeated a Tamil rebel army that had controlled the northern part of the island for decades, many Boston-area Tamils complain that more..

Sri Lanka will study UN call for report on LTTE leaders’ deaths

Dec 22 (BN) Sri Lanka will study a call by the United Nations for a report on the alleged shooting of surrendering Tamil rebel leaders by the army, saying the accusation is “baseless” and a humiliation for the country. The government in Colombo said it will make a formal response to the request made by Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions. more..

Asia Foundation's strategy in Sri Lanka

Three to admit backing rebel Tigers

Dec 22 (Age) Three Melbourne men today indicated they would plead guilty to charges of providing assets to Sri Lanka's LTTE. Lawyers for the men told the Victorian Supreme Court their clients would plead guilty once the prosecution filed a new list of criminal counts. Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, Sivarajah Yathavan and Arumugam Rajeevan, who were not in court, have already had terror-related charges dropped. more..

A Lasting Wave

Dec 22 (NW) It was a car ride I will never forget. Four of us were packed into a red compact SUV, racing on a bumpy dirt road to Palliyawatta, a small fishing village on the teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka. The goal was to deliver pots and pans to families struck hard by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Only four days earlier a gigantic earthquake—the second strongest in recorded history—had hurled a massive wave hundreds of miles across the ocean—killing, more..

Jaffna IDPs home-bound

Dec 22 (MoD) The resettlement of IDPs is being expedited and all IDPs of the Jaffna district will return to their original places of residence today. The number of IDPs at Menik Farm relief village had come down to 121,849 by yesterday, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Ministry Secretary U.L.M. Haldeen said. He said all IDPs of the three districts of the Eastern Province; Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ampara have been resettled. more..

Work begins on Northern irrigation projects

Dec 22 (MoD) The Re-awakening Project launched under the Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development Ministry with World Bank financial assistance has taken the initiative to rehabilitate the main four irrigation schemes in the Northern Province at a cost of Rs 835 million. The project has allocated Rs 385 million for Giants Tank in Mannar district and Rs 200 million for Iranamadu in the Kilinochchi district. more..

'Eradication of terrorism boost to the environment'

Dec 22 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that his government accepts challenges in a unique manner when compared with the outer world. He said the government could overcome all challenges as the motherland was the priority. He said that Sri Lanka has made the biggest contribution to the environment by eliminating terrorism. Sri Lanka was able to end three decades of terrorism and prevent further destruction to the environment, more..

Sarath Fonseka paved the way for UN to intervene - Wimal Weerawansa

Dec 22 (GDI) General Fonseka through his baseless allegation against the Defence Secretary and the military establishment has paved the way for the United Nations to pressurize the Sri Lankan Government, National Freedom Front leader, Wimal Weerawansa today said at a media briefing. He added that Fonseka by his irresponsible statement had committed a serious crime on the Sri Lankan People and the State. more..

Fonseka's venom fuels UN probe

Dec 22 (MoD) When the UNF government infamously committed the treacherous act of having a safe house of the army long rangers raided in 2002, exposing their identities and causing them to be eliminated by the LTTE, people called it the biggest ever betrayal of the Sri Lanka army. But, former Army Commander Gen. (Retd) Sarath Fonseka has done something equally bad. He has levelled a serious war crimes charge against the Sri Lanka army and more..

US Senate report proposes a more “robust” policy toward Sri Lanka

Dec 22 (wsws) A report published by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on December 7 called for a significant policy shift toward Sri Lanka, aimed at boosting US influence in Colombo and countering China following the end of the island’s devastating civil war in May. The bipartisan report entitled “Sri Lanka: Recharting US strategy after the war” underscores the dangers facing the working class amid more..

Government refutes charge that it influenced 'Sunday Leader"

Dec 22 (GDI) The Government today categorically refuted a claim that it influenced the "Sunday Leader" newspaper to publish the controversial interview of retired General Sarath Fonseka which leveled accusations of murder on Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and then Brigadier, Shaveendra Silva. Ministers Dulles Alahapperuma, GL Peiris and MP Wimal Weerawansa spontaneously made that observation when a scribe raised a question in that regard more..

Dengue on rise in Vavuniyaa, 15 reported dead

Dec 22 (TN) Health officials in Vavuniyaa say they were struggling to control the spread of Dengue fever in the district. Meanwhile, Sri Lankan health ministry sources in Colombo said the spread of the fever has been brought under control in Matale and Colombo districts, but situation in Vavuniyaa is getting out of control. More than one thousand people are thought to have contracted the disease and more..

Cut off marks for Grade five scholarships

Dec 22 (LP) The Ministry of Educations has released the Cut off marks for schools in the Grade 5 scholarship which concluded recently. Accordingly the highest cut off mark for Colombo District is 177 for Royal College and from the Girls school 177 for Vishaka Balika MV. Then follows Ananda College and Devi Balika MV 172 marks, Nalanda MV and Sirimavo Bandaranaike BMV 169. For Kandy District the cut off marks are 173- Dharmaraja V, more..

A 20% bonus interest for the deposits of senior citizens

Dec 22 (LP) The Government has decided to pay a 20 percent bonus interest for the deposits of senior citizens on a request of senior citizens with effect from January 2010. Speaking at the induction of Prof. S. Indraratne as the 29th President of the Organization of Professionals Association of Sri Lanka at the BMICH yesterday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said entrepreneurs and investors welcome the decreasing interest level but it is not favourable to the depositors. more..

'Fonseka using politics for revengeful action'

Dec 22 (GDI) Minister Dallas Alahaperuma said today that General Sarath Fonseka had entered the Presidential contest not to win, but to take revengeful action. The Minister asked the people to keep a side momentum of the election and concentrate on that damaging statement made by General Fonseka to the Sunday Leader that made the United Nations to demand an explanation from Sri Lanka. more..