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Dengue causes 290 deaths

Dec 23 (Island) The total number of dengue cases recorded since the beginning of the year stands at 31,749, with 290 deaths. A spokesman for the Health Ministry said yesterday that the highest number of deaths reported had been from Colombo, Gampaha, Kandy, Kurunegala, Ratnapura, and Kegalle. He said the number of dengue cases reported from the Vavuniya District from January to date was 750 while the number of dengue deaths reported was 13. more..

'Thonda and Chandrasekeran are well noted for betraying the workers'

Dec 23 (UNP) President of the SL of the United Workers Union , Sathasivam addressing a media briefing, said the leaders of the estate workers and CWC , Ministers Arumugam Thondaman and Chandrasekeran have earned the disrepute of being always with the side which loses at elections, and then somersaulting to the winning side after elections for personal gains including portfolios. more..

JNP wants Fonseka before a court martial

Dec 23 (DM) The Jathika Nidahas Peramuna said yesterday that Opposition Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka should be produced before a court martial for his reported allegations against Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva. Issuing a statement, JNP leader Wimal Weerawansa said Gen. Fonseka had made a controversial statement to more..

Station Masters to cripple train services

Dec 23 (Island) Station Masters were scheduled to launch a 48-hour strike from midnight yesterday as a protest against their salary anomalies. Their trade union action will badly affect students sitting the GCE O/Level examination, holiday makers and festive season shoppers. A spokesman for the Station Masters’ Union said yesterday that over 900 of their members would participate in the strike as more..

Captured LTTE ship to be exhibited

Dec 23 (Island) Plans are underway to exhibit the LTTE ship ‘Kristina’ captured in the territorial waters of a South Eastern country and brought to Sri Lanka on Monday. The ship, believed to have been used for LTTE smuggling activities was 90m in length and said to be the largest vessel in the outfit’s possession. Government sources yesterday said that two more LTTE vessels would be brought to Sri Lanka and all three vessels exhibited.

'Contractors misuse public funds'

Dec 23 (DN) Contractors misuse public funds. Many of them have built houses of their own in the Colombo suburbs, Public Administration Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said. “We should implement a transparent and effective system to overcome this. That is the main object of Mahinda Chinthanaya - Gama Neguma program’ too, the Minister said. He made these views at the seminar ‘Exemplary Public Service towards a good governance’ held at the Art Centre, Kandy. more..

Govt bails out Fonseka

Dec 23 (DM) So sweet had been the latest query by the UN to Sri Lanka this time that the government was making sure that even the people in the far flung regions of the country got to know what it was all about. The enthusiasm displayed by the government was such that the cynics started joking that it was the government which had pleaded with the UN this time and got it to attack Sri Lanka based on Sarath Fonseka’s allegations. Even a handful of realists too started believing it. more..

Presidential Elections Candidates

Moragoda wants Freedom of Information Act

Dec 23 (DM) Leader of the Sri Lanka National Congress, Minister Milinda Moragoda, emphasised the need to legislate the Freedom of Information Act in order to ensure good governance and enhance the democratic rights of the people. Mr. Moragoda told a gathering yesterday that, if civic conscious people would take it up, and persuade the various political parties to endorse it, such legislation could be passed by more..

Ex-JVP veterans return to support Gen. Fonseka

Dec 23 (DM) A group of JVP veterans including Lionel Bopage and Kelly Senanayake who defected from the party from time to time have now teamed up to support Opposition Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka at the upcoming presidential election. These ex-JVPers have formed an organization called the ‘People’s Forum’ to campaign for Gen. Fonseka. These JVP veterans did not join any political party after their defection from the party in the past but more..

'Over a billion rupees spent on President’s food orgies at temple Trees'

Dec 23 (UNP) Mangala, addressing a media briefing, said, the Temple trees has bills running to the amount of over Rs. 10 million to be settled due to the catering services and food suppliers on account of the sumptuous feasts and lavish parties given by the President during the last several weeks after the announcement of Presidential elections. more..

Religious leaders request for a peaceful and Fair Presidential Election

Dec 23 (LP) Representatives of all religions in Sri Lanka met with Elections Commissioner Dayanada Dissanayaka yesterday (22). The Religious leaders requested the Elections Commissioner to hold a peaceful and Fair Presidential Election on the 26th of Januray 2010. Prof Belllanwila Wimalarathana Thera said that steps should be taken to minimize problems which may occur during the elections period. more..

Weapons-carrying cargo plane headed for Sri Lanka

Dec 23 (AP) A plane seized in Bangkok with a cache of North Korean weapons wasn't headed to Iran, a senior Thai police official said Wednesday, contradicting a report from arms trafficking experts. Separately, the five-man crew insisted their final destination was Sri Lanka and not Iran, their lawyer said after visiting the jailed men. The crew also denied any knowledge of accused international weapons trafficker Victor Bout, more..

Sri Lanka threatens legal action over war crimes claim

Dec 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka threatened on Wednesday to take legal action against its former military chief over his claims that troops had committed war crimes against Tamil Tiger rebels. Former army chief Sarath Fonseka claimed this month that Sri Lankan troops shot dead surrendering Tamil leaders on the orders of the defence secretary during the final stages of 37-year conflict in May. more..

Sri Lanka see opportunity in India's injuries

Dec 24 (CI) The 2-1 scoreline is not unexpected given the way India have pushed Sri Lanka to the brink in all but one game - a Twenty20 - played in the limited-overs leg of the tour. But now, with the home team missing two match-winners, a hurting Sri Lanka have a realistic chance of leveling the series. This will be the first time since MS Dhoni's debut in 2004 that India play an ODI without him and Yuvraj Singh. more..

The decision to kill rather than to detain

Dec 24 (LG) In discussing the question of the tolerance towards murder, something which has become so common a feature of Sri Lankan life today, the way the law enforcement agencies were used to engage in committing large-scale disappearances needs to be considered as a significant issue. Law enforcement agencies participating in direct murder after securing the arrest of persons became common practice in Sri Lanka. more..

Jayasuriya likely to play Kolkata One-dayer

Dec 24 (PTI) After being dropped in the last two matches, veteran Sanath Jayasuriya may return to the Sri Lankan playing XI in the do-or-die fourth One-dayer against India at Eden Gardens on Thursday. In the absence of in-from all-rounder Angleo Mathews, Sri Lanka struggled in Cuttack in the third One-dayer and the visitors might be forced to bring in the once explosive opening batsman. more..

Sri Lanka farmers get mobile phone trade service

Dec 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's top celco Dialog Telekom is offering a trading platform based on short message services (SMS) that can help farmers to sell their produce and create a forward market for agriculture produce, officials said. "The Dialog TradeNet agricultural trading platform service is offered free of charge to users, but normal call charges and SMS charges will apply," more..

No truth in 'food for sex' in camps, claims Sri Lanka

Dec 24 (PTI) Sri Lanka today claimed that an inquiry had found no truth in reports that military guards had traded sex for food in welfare camps set up for Tamil refugees during the final phase of the country's war against LTTE. "With authority I can tell you that no such incident has happened," Maj Gen Kamal Gunaratne, a top Sri Lankan commander said. Gunaratne also said that an inquiry had been conducted and nothing was found. more..

Sri Lankan carpenter becomes star of Swiss sledge-making

Dec 24 (WRS) Sledges of every shape and size will be careering down snowy slopes this winter. If there’s a pecking order among sledges, the favourites are the traditional hand-made wooden sledges. One of the few carpenters who continues to produce them lives in the tiny villge of Peist in the Schanfigger valley of southeast Switzerland. His name is Kavithas Jeyabalan, a Tamil from Sri Lanka, more..

Sri Lankan cricketers breach security cover, go partying

Dec 24 (PTI) Sri Lankan cricketers, including senior batsman Sanath Jayasuriya and Tillakaratne Dilshan, gave the local police some anxious moments when they went for a night-out in the city without security cover yesterday. According to sources, some members of the visiting team went partying at a bar at Camac Street putting local police in a tizzy. The cricketers left the hotel at around 11:00 pm. more..

Debrief News - 23. 12. 2009

Profit taking drags Sri Lanka shares from record highs

Dec 24 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares hit a record high on Wednesday, but closed weaker after rising for six sessions in a row, as investors booked profits in blue chips ahead of year-end holidays. The All-Share Price Index .CSE of the Colombo Stock Exchange rose 1.82 percent to an all-time high of 3,340.56 in intra-day trade, before closing down 0.45 percent or 14.82 points at 3,266.00, from a record high close. more..

Red Cross provides Safe drinking water to 2,000 families

Dec 24 (RC) The Red Cross “Safe drinking water” project that benefited 2000 families in new settlements in rural areas in Galle 2 project funded by the French Red Cross was handed over at a closing ceremony held in Galle on 18 th December 2009. A beneficiary Ms. K.K.R. Kumari of Nelumpokuna ,one of the tsunami housing schemes in Galle District who was overjoyed after receiving access to safe drinking water. more..

Red Cross launches a public awareness project on influenza A H1 N1

Dec 24 (RC) The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society launched a public awareness project on influenza A H1 N1 using its branch network and mobilizing volunteer base throughout the island to educate the people about the measures that they should focus on to protect themselves in the backdrop of the spreading of A H1 N1. Dr. Lasantha Kodituwakku said that the theme of the awareness project was “Your Best Defense is You”. more..

Commander of the Navy visits Northwestern Naval Command

Dec 24 (SLN) Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe visited the Northwestern Naval Command in Puttalam on an inspection tour yesterday (22). He was accompanied by several senior officers. Commander of the Navy was accorded a guard of honour and was received by Commander Northwestern Naval Area Rear Admiral AARA Dias upon his arrival. He inspected work in progress at the Puttalam construction site and gave instructions on further improvements. more..

Baby 'Tsunami' turns 5 years old in Sri Lanka

Dec 24 (HP) Little Tsunami sits on a rock by the sea, watching the boats sail by in the distance. Every now and then, she pushes back the hair the evening sea breeze playfully pulls across her eyes. 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. Every time her father goes to the market, more..

Another batch of Sri Lankan Army personnel leaves for Haiti

Dec 24 (SLA) The official farewell military parade of Haiti bound 11th Sri Lankan Contingent was accorded at the Sri Lanka light Infantry regimental parade ground to mark their forthcoming departure ceremonially. Major General Daya Ratnayake, the Chief Guest on the occasion received the Guard of honour of UN peace keepers commanded by Colonel KJ Jayaweera. The Latest batch of Sri Lanka Army troops consists of 52 officers and 697 Other Ranks more..

Second chance for Tamil former child soldiers

Dec 24 (BBC) Hundreds of former LTTE child soldiers are being educated in Sri Lanka as part of government rehabilitation efforts following the rebels' defeat in May. Sri Lanka's government says it has 550 ex-child soldiers in its custody - and about half of them are being given the chance of education. "I am from Trincomalee. I was studying in [the] ninth year when I was forcefully taken away by the Tigers," says Murugan, one of the former combatants studying in Colombo. more..

Christmas gathering heals divisions among kids

Dec 24 (UCAN) Youngsters from the south recently celebrated Christmas with displaced children in the north of the country, which is struggling to recover from decades of civil war. Prior to their visit, the southern Sinhalese children, both Christian and Buddhist, collected toys and school materials for their counterparts in a refugee camp in Vavuniya. "You are my friends," Sithara Anjali, 10, told a group of youngsters in the camp with her few words of Tamil. more..

Future Energy; Part 2

Future Energy; Part 1

Weaving shoes to make money in Eastern Sri Lanka

Dec 24 (AN) As humanitarian workers, we strive to 'build back better' after a disaster - we seek to improve the situation rather than simply restoring the status quo - and ensure that the most vulnerable people don't slip through the cracks. These goals are often our motivation to hold ourselves and our activities accountable. On a recent visit to an American Red Cross supported project in eastern Sri Lanka, more..

Anti-Fonseka Group within the TNA prevails

Dec 24 (AT) Attempts made by the Tamil National Alliance’s SMS leadership (R. Sampanthan, Mavai S. Senathirajah, and Suresh Premachandran) – a subtle move to thrust a decision on the rest of the TNA Parliamentary Group MPs to back General (retd.) Sarath Fonseka, the decimator of Tamils’ resistance, has again come to a cropper yesterday, with the majority of the parliamentarians present stiffly resisting the move. more..

JVP Member assaulted for voting against Kanthi’s budget

Dec 24 (LT) The second reading of the budget proposals of Maharagama MC was defeated a second time yesterday and a group of thugs of UPFA Provincial Minister Upali Kodikara has assaulted JVP Member of the MC Stanley Perera for voting against the budget. The group that had come to Mr. Stanley Perera’s residence in a white van early morning today had abducted Mr. Perera, assaulted him and left him on the road. more..

Preserving the peace is next goal for Sri Lanka

Dec 24 (National) The end of nearly three decades of bloody civil war and the unexpected emergence of a serious challenger to the president’s political dominance were the biggest developments in Sri Lanka this year. But what happens in 2010 will be crucial, as a lasting peace – and the economic dividend many are hoping for – is far from certain. more..

JVP takes to the streets against UPFA thugs

Dec 24 (LT) A protest campaign against the attack on JVP Member for Maharagama MC Stanley Perera by thugs of Western PC Minister Upali Kodikara was held by the JVP today (23rd). The protest campaign held with the leadership of JVP Parliamentarian for Colombo District Sunil Handunneththi was participated by a large number of people. The campaign held in Maharagama town demanded that thugs of the government should be punished. more..

Paediatric hospitals ‘build back better’ after the 2004 tsunami

Dec 24 (UNICEF) Taking shade from the fierce Indian Ocean sun, a crowd waited patiently for the UNICEF-built Amanthanavely Government Health Centre to open. Inside, midwives distributed nutritional aid to mothers of underweight children. Despite their numbers, the line moved quickly and soon the mothers were appearing from the other side of the building, carrying bags of nutritional flour. more..

Asylum seeker dies on Merak boat

Dec 24 (AAP) One of almost 250 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who have spent the past 11 weeks refusing to leave their boat in Indonesia has died after allegedly being denied medical help. The 29-year-old Tamil died late last night after falling ill several days ago. The Tamil's spokesman, Sanjeev "Alex" Kuhendrarajah, said the man had been vomiting blood for two days but authorities ignored his pleas to be taken to hospital until after he had a seizure on Wednesday night. more..

Lankan Cricket Club take Tier B crown in photo finish

Dec 24 (CI) Lankan Cricket Club were crowned Premier League Tournament Tier B champions after their nearest rivals Seeduwa Raddoluwa Cricket Club failed to obtain the necessary batting points against Singha Sports Club at the Ananda College Ground to displace Lankan CC from the top spot. Having completed their matches for the season Lankan CC ended No. 1 on the points table with 102.18 points, awaiting the result of the Seeduwa Raddoluwa-Singha SC clash. more..

Colombo may move against Fonseka

Dec 24 (Hindu) A Cabinet meeting presided by Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake on Wednesday took serious note of the recent allegations made in the media by General (retired) Sarath Fonseka and the consequences arising from it. It announced that it was contemplating “whatever action necessary including legal” against the retired General and presidential contender. more..

Govt begging for UN action against war crime charges agaisnt officials

Dec 24 (LP) In a very extraordinary move, Sri Lanka government is anticipating harsh action from the United Nations against the state heads. officials and Army even before the UN has considered such a move. Government leaders campaigning for the re-election of the President Mahinda Rajapakse in the presidential scheduled to be held on January 26 is trying to seek political mileage from a detrimental statement made and more..

Gen. Fonseka agrees to TNA demands

Dec 24 (SLW) R. Sambandhan MP, Mavai Senathirajah MP and Suresh Premachandran MP all from the TNA had met the leader of opposition Ranil Wickramasinghe and the common opposition candidate General Fonseka and had discussed the problems Tamil community are facing and on the solution to the ethnic problem last night (22nd). The TNA members have also had an hour long discussion with SLMC leader Party leader Rauf Hakeem about the problems that Tamil and Muslim community have. more..

Dilshan Dil-scooped: The picture he won't let others see

Dec 24 (TT) Tillekaratne Dilshan, the star Sri Lanka opener who perfected the “Dil-scoop”, became so angry at being photographed in a nightclub that he chased a photographer of The Telegraph, Bishwarup Dutta, from the fifth-floor club down to the street to confront him on Tuesday night. “How dare you? Don’t you know who I am?” shouted Dilshan, refusing to let go of the photographer until more..

Sri Lanka tea earnings seen holding up despite lower crop

Dec 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tea production this year will be lower than in 2008 because of drought and a strike but earnings should match last year's as prices have been good, a senior official said. Sri Lanka Tea Board chairman Lalith Hettiarachchi said the crop up to November this year is only about 263 million kilos. "This means we'll probably end the year with just about 290 million kilos," he said. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines launches second service to Italy

Dec 24 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines has twice weekly to the second Italian city from Colombo, which is expected to boost tourist traffic between the countries, the carrier said. An estimated 12,000 visitors from Italy travel to Sri Lanka each year now. SriLankan Airlines already operates twice weekly flights to Italian capital Rome. The twice weekly flight to Milan is expected to service the significant Sri Lankan community in more..

Newly appointed ministers take office

Dec 24 (GDI) Newly appointed Ministers, Johnston Fernando and Indika Bandaranayaka have assumed duties. Johnston Fernando assumed office as Land Development, Human Settlement and Ranaviru Welfare at the Lands Ministry yesterday. Speaking on the occasion the new Minister said that he joined the Government to express support to the President as he was the most appropriate leader of the country. more..

Basil speaks of Northern programmes

Dec 24 (GDI) The Government is implementing several programmes to help the civilians of the North to lead a happy lives said MP Basil Rajapaksa. He pointed out that Sri Lankans including the civilians of the North are happily reaping the dividends of peace. The government headed by the President was in the process of extending all the facilities required by the resettled civilians to engage in agricultural activities and fishing. more..

'Over 50 per cent of the displaced resettled'

Dec 24 (GDI) More than 50 percent of the displaced in welfare villages have been resettled in their places of origin. Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management, Mahinda Samarasinghe made this disclosure at a media briefing at the Media Centre for National Security yesterday. The Minister pointed out that Internal Displaced in the Welfare Village in Vavuniya at the moment number 87,241. more..

President explains village development

Dec 24 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has underlined that the present Government succeeded in surmounting the challenge of developing the village during the last four years. The President stressed the need to take forward the Mahinda Chinthana to fullfil development targets. "The marginalized village should be developed and a future ensured. Due consideration should be given to the future of the children. more..