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Special treatment from President to editors of Lake House papers

Dec 5 (LT) It is reported that editors of ‘Dinamina’ and ‘Daily News’ that reported “JVP splits – Somawansa goes abroad” have been subjected to a special treatment by the President. According to these reports the special treatment they received from the President was from the telephone and it included some of the choicest words in the Sinhalese language. The treatment received by the leader of the NFF Wimal Weerawansa, who has joined the government, more..

A Textile designing Faculty to come up

Dec 5 (LP) The Government has decided to set up Textile and Fashion Designing Faculty at the Moratuwa University said Minister of Higher Education Prof Wiswa Warnapala. He made this announcement when he met the academicians of the London College of Fashion. According, the Ministry will also set up Textile and Fashion Designing departments in the Institutes of Advanced Technological Institutes in Colombo, Kandy and Galle. more..

Lawyers attempting to bolster government lose their bearings

Dec 5 (LT) At ‘Asi Disi’ a meeting of ‘scholars’ held at the auditorium of Ministry of Media yesterday the lawyers who convened the meeting to state that Gen. Sarath Fonseka would never be able to abolish executive presidency had to admit he could do it amidst questioning by journalists who participated at the meeting. Lawyers Gomin Dayasiri, S.L. Gunasekera, Kalinga Indratissa and Dr. Jayatissa de Soysa addressed the meeting. more..

Johnny’ goes shopping before crossing over!

Dec 5 (LT) UNP MP for Kurunegala District Johnston Fernando convened a press conference yesterday and called upon UNP Leader Ranil Wickremsinghe not to support the common candidate but put forward a candidate from the UNP at the forthcoming presidential election. He said he struggled for democracy in the party and now he is being sidelined charging he has accepted a contract from the government and was attempting to cross over. more..

Shiranthi obstructs academic professionals of the JVP

Dec 5 (LT) The meeting of academic professionals in the South organized by the JVP has been obstructed by the First Lady Shiranthi Rajapakse. The meeting was to be held on the 13th and the organizers had reserved Chandraguest Reception Hall at Tangalle. However, today the owners of the Reception Hall had informed the organizers of the meeting of academic professionals that the hall had been reserved by President’s Security Division from the 10th. more..

'Those who fled the country terrified of the war claim leadership to it now'

Dec 5 (LT) Those who fled the country during the war and engaged in counting dollars are now claiming its leadership after the victory was achieved says Gen. Sarath Fonseka. Speaking at a meeting of the representatives of trade unions affiliated to All Ceylon Trade Union Federation (ACTUF) today, the common candidate for the presidential election Gen. Fonseka said, “I see trade unions as a symbol of democracy. more..

'Somawansa talks of GSP + exposing his nudity'

Dec 5 (GDI) Minister Dilan Perera today scoffed at the hilarious remark of JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe on the latter's return to the country from overseas this week that the Opposition could obtain the GSP + facility once the joint opposition presidential candidate won the upcoming election. He said that Gen.Fonseka while making his maiden appearance in politics before more..

Attempts to split TNA

Dec 5 (TN) A faction led by Mavai Senathirajah and some by Srikantha, both TNA MPs for Jaffna, are said to be engaged in activities aimed at splitting TNA, sources in Jaffna said. Srikantha and Selvam Adaikalanathan, another TNA MP, met Monday Basil Rajapakse, in Colombo after which Srikantha told press that Basil Rajapakse had consented to allow resettlement of 4,500 IDPs from Valikaamam North in the first stage. more..

Much ado about whistle blowing

Dec 5 (Island) Corruption seems to have gone the same way as pollution; everybody talks about it but nobody does anything about it. Suddenly, some people wake up, get agitated and go hell for leather to battle corruption but their interest fizzles out when another issue crops up. Yesterday, we reported that former Chairman of John Keells Holdings Ken Balendra had emphasised the need for promoting the whistle blowing culture in the corporate sector. more..

UNP must field candidate - Johnston

Dec 5 (DN) The UNP Leader should forthwith propose to field a candidate from the party since no election in the party’s history were there elections without a candidate from the UNP, UNP MP Johnston Fernando said. Fernando lashing out at Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said tomorrow’s party convention held today will be a crucial and decisive one. “There are enough efficient members in the party to face the Presidential Election. more..

'Conspirators joining forces to halt forward march'

Dec 5 (DN) Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena yesterday said that the country is at a decisive time with international conspirators having joined forces with local conspirators to cause severe damage to its forward march at a time the Government and the people have reposed faith on their own resources for economic development. "They are trying to cook up a story that there will be a scarcity of food in the country," more..

Buddha statues of Sri Lanka: Part 08

City hotels get ready for Christmas

Dec 5 (DN) With Christmas round the corner all the city hotels have planned several activities during the festive season. Even non Christians will celebrate Christmas with the dawn of peace in the country. The city hotels are already decorated in different themes for the season. Most of the hotels will begin their Christmas celebrations with a grand celebration. The city hotels there is an increase in the number of tourist arrivals with the dawn of peace and Christmas will be celebrated on a grand scale more..

UPFA seniors will also join me: Gen. Fonseka

Dec 5 (DM) Common opposition candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka yesterday expressed confidence that some ruling party seniors would also team up with him in the future in his fight against what he termed as the ‘prevailing tyranny’ of the country. Addressing trade union representatives affiliated to the JVP, Gen. Fonseka said he, as a novice to politics, is backed by the main parties like the UNP, the JVP, the SLMC and the Democratic People’s Front leader Mano Ganesan. more..

Where have we gone wrong?

Dec 5 (DM) Elections are upon us again, and the presidential election on January 26 is being described as the mother of all elections. It is said the best source of legitimacy for a democratic political system is a ballot vote. A government or person chosen by the people in a free and fair election is deemed legitimate and democratic. In countries such as ours, all elections presidential, parliamentary or provincial should result in political representation of all ethnic and socio-cultural groups, more..

TNA and SLMC criticise executive presidency

Dec 5 (DM) The TNA and the SLMC have rejected the claim that the executive presidency guaranteed the rights of minorities. TNA parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan and SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem expressing their views on Thursday at the Lalith Atulathmudali Commemoration -- said that the 1978 constitution in itself posed problems for Sri Lanka. Mr. Sampanthan said the executive presidency was bad in principle not only for the minorities but for all citizens of this country. more..

UNP rebels demand SB or Sajith as presidential candidate

Dec 5 (Island) There were enough heavyweights within the United National Party to contest the forthcoming presidential election and there was ample time to field one of them, UNP Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Johnston Fernando told the media yesterday in Colombo. Ranil Wickremesinghe knew that he could not win an election, Fernando said. more..

PAFFREL to ask polls chief to ensure IDP polling cards not misused

Dec 5 (Island) The Peoples Alliance for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) will voice its concerns with the Commissioner of Elections that the polling Cards of around 300,000 IDPs are not misused, PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said yesterday. He said "As each and every vote is valuable, we have the responsibility of ensuring that the IDPs could exercise their franchise freely at the forthcoming Presidential Elections." more..

Bhikku Front to support General Sarath Fonseka

Dec 5 (DM) The National Bhikku Front (NBF) said that they will be supporting General Sarath Fonseka in the forthcoming presidential election and will not extend any support to the President as he has not kept his promises to the people of the country. The NBF’s General Secretary, Aththanale Samitha Thero said that when President Rajapaksa competed in the last presidential election, they supported him on the basis of five conditions that the President was expected to fulfill. more..

US envoy to visit Sri Lanka

Dec 5 (AFP) A senior US envoy will head to Sri Lanka next week to encourage post-war reconciliation, days after the island nation allowed Tamil civilians to leave detention camps, officials said Friday. Robert Blake, the assistant secretary of state for South Asia, will visit Sri Lanka on Monday and Tuesday in the highest-ranking US trip to the island nation since it ended a 37-year guerrilla war in May, more..

Ranil Says Govt. mum on his challenge to reveal seized LTTE assets

Dec 5 (Island) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe challenges the government to reveal the amount of cash and goods captured from the LTTE, since the end of the war. He threw this challenge on Thursday at a meeting in Chilaw, where he declared open a new office of Puttalam District MP Palitha Range Bandara. He said he had not received a reply from the government. The matter would be raised in Parliament on Dec. 08. more..

Sangakkara fights but India in control

Dec 5 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara stood alone between India and the No. 1 Test ranking, scoring his first hundred in six Tests in India, a fighting effort on a pitch that helped both spinners and fast bowlers. Although India were made to work hard for six wickets on the fourth day, they were still in control of the Brabourne Test. Their position was strengthened after a Sri Lankan middle-order collapse, kicked off by Sreesanth, more..

Got to relax checking at the Mannar bridge entrance

Dec 5 (AT) Up to now those entering the Mannar Island are stopped near the bridge entrance, checked and their National Identity Cards retained before allowing them to enter Mannar. When representation has been made at a consultation meeting, to the Chairman of the Northern Province Task Force Basil Rajapaksa, it has been agreed to relax the checking arrangements at the Mannar bridge entrance effective from 10th of December. more..

Missing foursome found

Dec 5 (DN) Four men who had gone missing were arrested by the Special Task Force in the Kithulwatte area, Borella during the wee hours of Thursday. Police spokesman SSP I.M. Karunaratna said acting on information, the STF arrested four suspects allegedly involved in a serious crime. "They have been arrested near the Borella Cemetery at around 5.00 a.m," he added. The suspects were handed over to the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) for further investigations. more..

‘He said the Army’s too strong, Sri Lanka will become like Myanmar’

Dec 5 (OI) General (retd) Sarath Fonseka has found himself an office space in the posh neighbourhood of Colombo 7. Guarded by army commandos, Fonseka sits in his new war room, preparing for Sri Lanka’s next big battle—presidential elections 2010. A multi-party opposition coalition called the UNF has pitted him as its candidate against incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Garment exporters decry container scanning fees

Dec 6 (F2F) Newly imposed scanning fees for export consignments in the Chittagong port put readymade garment (RMG) exporters and the National Board of Revenue (NBR) at loggerheads. The scanning fees, which the government imposed from early August, is an extra financial burden on exporters who are already impacted by global economic meltdown, believes Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). more..

Children among 11,000 Tamil ‘fighters’ held in rehabilitation

Dec 6 (Times) Sri Lanka is holding more than 11,000 Tamil prisoners without charge in closely guarded “rehabilitation centres”, despite the Government’s claim that it released all Tamil civilians from detention centres this week. The Times can reveal that the group of prisoners, whose exact number has been unknown since the Sri Lankan Government blocked access to them from the ICRC in July, is allegedly a “combatant category” that includes former LTTE fighters. more..

Muttiah Muralitharan wants ICC to enforce reviews

Dec 6 (CI) Muttiah Muralitharan has said the ICC should ensure that the umpire decision review system is implemented in every Test series. The UDRS is currently being used in New Zealand and Australia, but not in India, where Sri Lanka have been on the receiving end of poor umpiring decisions. "Had the review system been there, we could have been in a better position. Everything went against us," Murali said. more..

Sarath Fonseka fails to satisfy key leaders & officials in India

Dec 6 (DBS) Gen.(retd) Sarath Fonseka returns to Colombo after failing to satisfy key leaders & officials in India about the exact nature of his politics. UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe will leave for India shortly to clarify doubts in New Delhi about bona fides of Sarath Fonseka. Sarath Fonseka lashes out at Rajapakse regime at meeting of Union representatives of JVP controlled All Ceylon Trade Union Federation -ACTUF. more..

Tamil detainees enjoy taste of freedom - but it comes at a high price

Dec 6 (Times) A chance encounter behind the wire offered the cook an opportunity to serve exquisite revenge on his would-be killer. He was a prisoner, one of 280,000 Tamil civilians interned in Sri Lankan detention camps this year, when the moment came. Memories of his earlier escape from the strip of land held by the Tamil Tigers during their last stand in May were still vivid. more..

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall, Who is the ‘Commonest’ of them all?

Dec 6 (LG) Having lived through the long years of armed conflict and futile attempts at peace making, we in Sri Lanka know well that peace does not merely mean the absence of war. While the state has now certainly won a war, the country needs to win peace, and this is the critical need of this immediate post war period. To win and consolidate peace we need to build a culture of peace which includes economic, social and political justice. more..

No cheer leaders for Sri Lanka: the lost prize for victory over terorism

Dec 6 (LG) The lost prize for victory over terrorism is yet another example of how Sri Lankans turn, ever so often, success into near non-event. Challenge to the State through terrorist activity has become the virus that erodes the foundation of many societies in modern political history. Much of the time, energy and money of the political leadership and their civil society are expended in the efforts to eliminate terrorism. more..

Presidential election: Military Vs. Politics

Dec 6 (LG) Mayankote Kelath Narayanan, the National Security Advisor (NSA) to the Prime Minister of India, once described the Army General Sarath Fonseka as the "best army commander in the world”. His comment was very popular around the world, because it came from a highly respected and the esteemed security adviser in India. Having enjoyed this upbeat comment until recently (the President and those ringing around him) more..

No cheer leaders for Sri Lanka: the lost prize for victory over terorism

Dec 6 (LG) The lost prize for victory over terrorism is yet another example of how Sri Lankans turn, ever so often, success into near non-event. Challenge to the State through terrorist activity has become the virus that erodes the foundation of many societies in modern political history. Much of the time, energy and money of the political leadership and their civil society are expended in the efforts to eliminate terrorism. more..

Helping communities in Trincomalee

Though united in policy, division is obvious

Dec 6 (LG) Former president J R Jayewardena brought in the executive presidency to serve a particular agenda. The open economic policy needed such a strong political head. If the Multi National Corporation (MNC) system is to come in and play the important central role expected of them, it was necessary to give all the facilities requested by them. Thus it was introduced as an instrument to support the MNC system. more..

Is this a game of relay?

Dec 6 (LG) Valvettithurai is a small coastal fishing village on the northern coast of Sri Lanka. The town is near a river mouth called Thondaimanaru. The mouth of the river has the popular Hindu temple Selva Sannithy. Most villagers are Tamil. About 400 kilometres away in the south of Sri Lanka is another coastal fishing village by the name Ambalangoda. The Madu River joins the sea in Ambalangoda. The river has many islets, the largest being Delduwa which has a famous hermitage. Most villagers are Sinhalese. more..

Rajapaksa ahead in cut-out war

Dec 6 (LG) Less than a month ago, the faces of the two main candidates at the upcoming presidential election — President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka — smiled down on passers-by from the one and same billboards to mark the defeat of terrorism. The billboards that showed them together have disappeared. Instead, a new cut-out campaign or a propaganda war has begun, In Colombo, President Rajapaksa is almost without competition in the cut-out war with more..

Fonseka hits out at Rajapaksa

Dec 6 (Hindu) At his first public appearance on Saturday, General (retired) Sarath Fonseka, nominee of the main opposition parties for the January 26 presidential poll, hit out at President Mahinda Rajapaksa with charges of corruption and nepotism. Speaking at the 54th UNP convention presided over by Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe, the former Army chief promised to work towards abolition of Executive Presidency and a political solution to the ethnic conflict acceptable to all stakeholders. more..

The captain's last stand

Dec 6 (CI) Having deferred what seems like another Test defeat, Sri Lanka will be forgiven for wondering how things would have turned out had Kumar Sangakkara displayed in the first two Tests the patience and quality he showed today. He stood tall and unflustered as his team-mates lost their wickets to good balls, bad shots, and a dreadful umpiring mistake. That error, committed by Daryl Harper, got rid of Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Australian upheld an lbw appeal against more..

Media Personnel Attacked at the UNP Convention

Dec 6 (AT) Seven media personnel from the state owned electronic media stations namely Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) and the Independent Television Network (ITN) had been attacked by unidentified persons at the UNP Convention held yesterday at the Nawaloka grounds, Welisara, Colombo. Two journalists from the SLRC and five journalists from the ITN sustained injuries and had been hospitalized at the Colombo National Hospital. more..

India deserves to be number one: Sri Lankan coach

Dec 6 (PTI) Sri Lanka's assistant coach Stuart Law today described India as cricket's "powerhouse" and said they deserve the number one tag in Test format. The top rank is beckoning India as they are just four wickets away from winning the series against Sri Lanka, which will catapult them to the top of the ranking chart. "They are a powerhouse and deserve to be number one. Even Australia won a series in India only after a long time. more..

'Why I fell out with the Rajapaksas'

Dec 6 (SL) General Sarath Fonseka, speaking to The Sunday Leader on Friday said post war he vetoed a multi-million dollar proposal to purchase further large quantities of artillery shells from China to the value of 300 million US dollars by Lanka Logistics & Technologies Limited — a state-owned limited liability company operating under the Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order. more..

President keeps it in the family, Gen. Fonseka fuels debate

Dec 6 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has now formally sent General Fonseka’s resignation and its acceptance for Gazette notification, clearing the last of the impediments in the General’s way, for him to hand in nominations. In the meantime, as he has done for the past several weeks, Fonseka has held the limelight and the attention of the press. Sarath Fonseka held his maiden press conference last Sunday which was very well attended. more..

Hard questions for the presidential candidates

Dec 6 (SL) Now that the candidates are in the starting gate for what promises to be an interesting competition for the highest of stakes, I expect that a few questions for all of them may be considered appropriate. Let me say at the outset that these questions are NOT meant to be merely rhetorical and that I hope that even if the candidates themselves are not, for whatever reason, able to respond to them, that an accredited spokesperson will do so. more..

The holy war that is to take place between two war heroes

Dec 6 (SL) The victory in the war against the LTTE made President Mahinda Rajapaksa a giant whilst making all other political leaders look like dwarfs in his presence. In the final analysis it created a situation where nobody was there among the political leaders who had a chance of victory against him in a presidential election. In spite of having certain limitations, the situation was that Mahinda Rajapaksa could easily win a presidential race. more..

And… The white vans are back!

Dec 6 (SL) As we heaved a sigh of relief thinking the chilling white van menace was over, BOOM! It’s back… or so we thought, until Friday, when we were told that the STF appeared to have its own unique style of snatching people from the city of Colombo. The alleged ‘abduction’ on Wednesday night sent chills down many in Colombo who assumed that the kidnapping was yet another ransom taking incident or was connected to the one time white van menace, more..

IDPs not ‘vote-machines’

Dec 6 (LB) In a spontaneous reaction to the forthcoming presidential poll, IDPs expressed mixed feelings about the two main candidates who are contesting Presidential elections. Re-settled IDPs told that they will vote for President Mahinda Rajapaksa while some IDPs who were still in camps said that they will vote for General Sarath Fonseka. However, the majority of IDPs who have been resettled and even those in camps were not interested in politics or in the forthcoming election. more..

KP wanted for assets or crimes?

Dec 6 (LB) LTTE's international wing leader Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) who was once the most wanted man after the death of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabahakaran is enjoying a luxury life as he did earlier, unlike other LTTE hard core men in custody, according to our sources. He has been given almost everything he wants. He resides in a luxury bungalow. In addition to that, KP is believed to be moving about freely in the country with VIP security, sources said. more..

If you are a Tamil, now you wear a halo

Dec 6 (LB) It has turned out that one of the greatest ironies of this forthcoming presidential election is the fact that after the war, it’s the Tamil vote that seems to be most valuable to both contenders for the presidency - perhaps more valuable for the President, than even for the opposition candidate. No student of politics would easily forget the circumstances in which the 2005 presidential election was won with the Vanni not voting due more..