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Sri Lanka seeks to turn subsistence farming into agri-business

Nov 7 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs to develop and maintain consistent policies and provide appropriate support infrastructure to change subsistence farmers into commercially successful agri-businesses, an expert said. "The most important thing the government can do is to ensure consistent policies on agriculture, land, trade and investment," said Anoma Ariyawardana of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Peradeniya. more..

Sri Lankan novelist tells a story of the civil war

Nov 7 (TP) Vasugi V. Ganeshananthan never intended to become the spokesperson for 20 million Sri Lankans, not counting the millions who left the country as part of the Sri Lankan diaspora. Yet with the publication of her new novel, she has been asked to fill that role in her lectures throughout the United States. “I wrote a work of fiction,” Ganeshananthan said. more..

French foreign minister to send envoy to Sri Lanka

Nov 7 (CT) French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner is sending an envoy to Sri Lanka to inquire into ways of helping the return of war-displaced people to their homes and to strengthen the rule of law. In a statement, Minister Kouchner said he has asked human rights ambassador Francois Zimeray to visit the island for two days from November 05. The envoy is expected to gather from authorities, NGOs and the people information, evidence and proposals, he said. more..

Providing lifetime security to heads of security forces is a complication – PM

Nov 7 (LT) Providing lifetime security for heads of security forces would be troublesome said Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake. He said advice from Auditor General’s Department regarding this has been requested regarding this issue and he would be able to give a definite reply when he gets the advice from the Attorney General said PM Wickremasinghe. During the debate for extending emergency in Parliament today JVP more..

Orphaned children visit Lankan Parliament

Nov 7 (PTI) To explore the world beyond their village, over 200 children orphaned during the Lanka-civil war were today visited Sri Lankan Parliament. Cutting across party lines, Members of Parliament greeted the children with thumping of desks. The children from Chettikulam IDP camp also gestured back by clapping following the rousing welcome. The Deputy MinisterVadivel Puththirasigamoney told the House that the children had not seen beyond their village in Mullaittivu and more..

Rajapaksa appoints panel to look into US report

Nov 7 (PTI) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today appointed a five-member high-level committee to look into a US Congress report that alleged human rights violations by both the Army and LTTE during the last phase of the 30-year-old civil war. The committee would be headed by legal expert D S Wijesinghe, Minister for Disaster Management and Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe told reporters here. more..

Debrief News - 06.11.2009

Sri Lanka hands over its observations on GSP+ report

Nov 7 (LG) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama handed over today (6) to the Heads of Missions of the EU member states represented in Colombo, individually addressed letters to his counterparts in the EU member countries, together with a copy of the document captioned “Observations of the GOSL in respect of the Report on the findings of the investigation with respect to the effective implementation of certain human rights conventions in Sri Lanka”. more..

Displaced Sri Lankans increasingly returning home from camps – UN

Nov 7 (UN) About 90,000 Sri Lankans displaced by the conflict between Government forces and Tamil separatists have returned to their homes in the past three months, and the pace of returns has begun to accelerate, the United Nations refugee agency reported today. UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told journalists that in the past two weeks alone, an estimated 39,000 people have returned to their former villages more..

World Gold Council welcomes Sri Lankan allocation to Gold

Nov 7 (PRN) The World Gold Council is delighted to note that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has announced that it is buying gold to diversify its reserves. The move comes hot on the tail of the Reserve Bank of India's purchase of 200 tonnes of gold from the IMF on Monday and the announcement in April of this year by the China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) that the country's gold reserves had risen from 600 tonnes in 2003 to 1,054 tonnes. more..

Oceanic Viking given another week

Nov 7 (AAP) Indonesia has given Australia another week to resolve the Oceanic Viking asylum seeker stand-off but has warned it will give no more extensions. Australia has been trying for almost two weeks to persuade 78 Sri Lankans to voluntarily leave the Australian customs vessel and enter the Tanjung Pinang Detention Centre on the Indonesian island of Bintan. But the ethnic Tamils have refused, adamant they want to be taken to Australia more..

Sri Lanka admits rights violations

Nov 7 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government has admitted that it has room for improvement on its human rights record. The admission comes two weeks after two foreign reports, by the European Commission and the US State Department, subjected it to strong criticism in the rights field. Both before and since its victory in the civil war last May, the Sri Lankan government has been defensive on human rights matters. more..

Vasudeva Nanayakkara to deliver speech titled “Tamils and Future” in Jaffna

Nov 7 (TN) Vasudeva Nanayakkara, the senior advisor to President Mahintha Rajapakse, who arrived in Jaffna Friday is to deliver a speech titled “Tamils and Future” Saturday at Changkaraththai Hindu Youths’ Hall in Vaddukkoadai, sources in Jaffna said. Meanwhile, Vasudeva Nanayakkara met Jaffna district High Court Magistrate R. T. Vicknarajah in Jaffna Court Complex Friday where the magistrate stressed on the importance of more..

IDPs brought to Jaffna suffer without shelters

Nov 7 (TN) The IDPs brought to Jaffna district from the internment camps in Vavuniyaa are suffering in pouring rain without sufficient shelter for them, sources in Jaffna said. Divisional Secretaries of Jaffna district find hard to meet the immediate needs of the IDPs for want of funds. The ten government ministers recently appointed by the President for Divisional Secretary areas in Jaffna to function as resettlement coordinators have failed to return to Jaffna after their first visit. more..

Bogallagama’s Weird Thanks

Nov 7 (AT) We hear from the media that after the release of General Sarath Fonseka from the American trap, Bogallagama has thanked all the American establishments connected to it including the American ambassador in Sri Lanka. He somehow or other seems to have forgotten to thank Robert O Blake and Hillary Clinton. What America did to us was like permitting a man to enter a house for a legitimate cause and on entry lock the front and back doors to interrogate him to more..

Needed: An Agenda for Reform on Groundviews

Nov 7 (GV) Whilst it is not clear as to whether we would be voting in both the presidential and general elections on the same day, it is clear that we will be voting in at least one of them in the next three months, followed soon thereafter by the other. Most likely it will be the presidential elections since it is the president who has to decide and since he is much more popular than his party. more..

Gold price hits record after 'Sri Lanka purchase'

Nov 7 (AFP) The price of gold hit a record high above 1,100 dollars an ounce in trading here on Friday following a report that Sri Lanka had joined India in purchasing the precious metal in favour of the US currency. "The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has announced that it is buying gold to diversify its reserves," industry body the World Gold Council (WGC) said in a statement issued before gold struck a record high of 1,101.42 dollars. more..

Sri Lanka responds to EU rights probe concerns

Nov 7 (Reuters) Sri Lanka delivered its formal response on Friday to a European Union probe that found it in breach of international human rights laws and said it was hopeful of retaining a lucrative trade concession with the bloc. The EU had set Friday as a deadline for Sri Lanka to respond to its report, which European diplomats had said meant the Indian Ocean island was likely to lose concessions worth more than $100 million for its top export, garments. more..


Nov 7 (LG) Shani in her/his latest feature article on 31st October (‘The Island’) states among other things, “….chauvinists who claim that Sri Lanka is only home to a Sinhala Buddhist majority who have been in this in this country for 2300 years.” I do not know whether this is an accurate statement because it would not be correct to say that Sinhla Buddhists have ever claimed that Sri Lanka was the home to themselves only, for the reasons stated by Shani. more..

Pros and Cons of Sarath Fonseka becoming a common candidate

Nov 7 (LG) Sri Lanka is in a crucial juncture. General election for the legislature is due before April 2009. The President Mahendra Percy Rajapakse is also planning to call the Presidential election before the due date to capitalize on the upbeat mood in the South to get a higher percentage of votes to exert his absolute authority in future. Though the election dates are not announced, political pundits and parties are pitching the fever for upbeat elections. more..

Abolishing the presidency: A mis-diagnosis

Nov 7 (LG) Consistency is not the strong point in politicians or their political parties. Expediency is. The Island editorial of 30 October 2009 makes an interesting observation on this. From about 1994, the SLFP wanted the presidency scrapped, but did not get down to doing it even when it had the opportunity. At that time, the UNP wanted to continue with it, with some modifications. In his presidential manifesto, the incumbent President declared his intention to more..

IMF clears Sri Lanka second tranche loan of 329 mln dlrs

Nov 7 (AFP) The International Monetary Fund said Friday its executive board approved the release of 329.4 million dollars to Sri Lanka, the second portion of a loan to help the country weather the economic crisis. The IMF said the board completed the first review of Sri Lanka's economic performance under a 20-month standby loan. This allows the immediate disbursement of the second tranche, bringing more..

Dealing with lawlessness as the key issue for the coming elections

Nov 7 (AHRC) There is the expectation of imminent presidential as well as parliamentary elections in the coming months. The government approaches this with a view to take advantage of the victory over the LTTE to thereby consolidate its power for a further term. In none of the government’s statements is there any indication of significant changes to the policies or programmes than those that exists now. more..

Gautam Buddha's ashes in Darjeeling

Nov 7 (TOI) It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the people of the Hills, especially the Buddhists. The ashes of Gautam Buddha have been brought to Darjeeling from Bodh Gaya and will be on display for the people from Saturday to Monday at the Gorkha Ranga Manch, near Mall Road. The Dharma Chakra Committee (DCC) of Darjeeling brought the casket containing the ashes of Buddha to the Druk-Sa-Ngag Choeling monastery near Dali on Friday. more..

IMF loan helps Sri Lankan reconstruction drive

Nov 7 (IMF) A loan from the IMF is helping rebuild confidence in Sri Lanka’s economy as it recovers from conflict and paves the way for donor assistance in its reconstruction effort. The IMF Executive Board met on November 6 and cleared the way for the release of just over $322 million. The Board reviewed the Sri Lankan government’s progress on the implementation of reforms agreed to last July, and more..

Serene Pavilion Hotel in Wadduwa commences operations

Nov 7 (AT) Tourism industry has a massive role to play in the local economy with the end of the war in the country where the private sector will have many investment opportunities said Minister of Tourism Nanadana Gunatilleke speaking at the opening of the Serene Pavillion Hotel in Wadduwa recently. The Minister further expressed his appreciation to British investor Clive W Leech for investing Rs.600 million for a tourist hotel while the war was going on in the country. more..

Note from a war on terror

Youth awards in Kalutara

Nov 7 (GDI) The Kalutara District Youth Awards Festival will be held at the Bandaragama Maithree auditorium today under the patronage of Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka. Several competitions for youth were held by the NYSC in the district. Winners of prose, verse and short story literary competition, folk song recitals, Kandyan, Sabaragamuwa and Low Country dancing, oriental and western music were selected and they will receive awards. more..

Events to mark President's fourth year in office

Nov 7 (GDI) A sanghika dana to mark the fourth anniversary of President Mahinda Rajapaksa assuming office as President will be held at the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya on November 18. The event has been organized by the SLFP, Kelaniya Branch, Labour Minister and SLFP organizer for Kelaniya Electorate Mervyn Silva said in a press release. Elaborate arrangements are on cards to mark the fourth year in office of the President countrywide more..

Kandy water supply scheme

Nov 7 (GDI) The National Water Supply and Drainage Board has taken steps to expand the Water Supply System in Kandy extending the ongoing phase to meet high demand for pipe-born water in Greater Kandy Area. According to the Ministry, the contract has been awarded to Maga Engineering Ltd for the contract price of LKR 590,111,702.17 plus JYen 34,596,753.90 plus Customs duties payable amounting to LKR 9,371,000.00 more..

Self employment for widows

Nov 7 (GDI) The Ministry of Textile Industries has taken steps to launch a programme to donate handlooms to the women less than 35 years of age who had lost their husbands and widowed during the North-East war to uplift their living standard. The ministry would supply free raw materials for six months under the programme costing Rs. 4 million. In addition, another programme to train handloom workers was underway and more..

Five more Croatian machines to speed up the northern demining

Nov 7 (LP) In order to speed up the demining process in the north, the Sri Lankan Government has taken measures to get down 05 more MV4 type machines from Croatia. The machines purchased from the Dorkin Company in Croatia were airlifted and brought to the island this morning. One machine weighs around 5 tons and can demine around 2200 landmines per day lying to 30 mm deep in soil. more..

60 buses to strengthen “Gamisariya” –Village bus service

Nov 7 (LP) Another fleet of 60 buses will be added to the “Gamisariya” project in keeping with the theme “A village bus service”. The buses will be in service in the rural areas of Wayamba from today. The buses will function from 12 different depots in the area. Meanwhile another 13 buses will be included in to the “Sisusariya” projects in the districts of North Kurunegala, Putthalama and Nikawaratiya. more..

Govt silent on illegal arms in circulation

Nov 7 (LG) The government has not decided to remove the arms from the Tamil paramilitary groups following the end of the military campaign of the LTTE in May 2009. The government supporting Minister Douglas Devanand’s EPDP, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan of TMVP and Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman, the Vice President of the President Mahinda Rajapakse’s SLFP are carrying arms unhindered in the conduct of their business. more..

General is the common candidate – Ravaya

Nov 7 (LNW) Leaders of several opposition political parties have reportedly arrived at a decision to put forward General Sarath Fonseka as the common candidate to contest against President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next presidential election. The discussion held at the parliamentary complex on November 4 in relation to this issue had been attended by Leaders of the United National Front Ranil Wickremesinghe, Rauf Hakeem, Mano Ganeshan and Mangala Samaraweera and more..

Panadura Sri Sumangala Vidyalaya praises its war heroes

Nov 7 (MoD) "Old boys association of the Panadura Sri Sumangala Vidyalaya has organized a notable ceremony, today (6) to tribute war heroes whom were made by the school. Defence Secretary Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa has graced the occasion as the chief guest and 186 war heroes from armed services, Police and next of kin of war heroes who sacrificed their noble lives during the humanitarian operations, also being praised at the ceremony. more..

'Win hearts & minds of people'

Nov 7 (MoD) "President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as Commander - in -Chief visited areas such as Mulankavil and Thunukkai and his visit served a great boost and strength to the soldiers. President Rajapaksa has already given the verbal approval for payment of 'hardlying allowance' to all soldiers in the Army wherever he works," so said Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya this morning (06) when he met a cross section of troops more..

Lalin’s Column: Who pays the Hangman?

Nov 7 (AT) A few weeks ago the new Minister of Justice ‘suggested’ that hanging be re introduced to curb the incidence of murder as it was probably felt that suspending the death penalty had contributed to the constant high rate of murder. Shockingly and unfortunately the Minister and the public came face to face with reality. For the first time they saw something like murder being openly committed in SL on TV on 29 October (29/10) at Bambalapitiya beach. more..

U.S. Congress resolution on Sri Lanka IDPs reflects sanity returning to Congress

Nov 7 (AT) The House resolution 711 passed in the House of Representatives in the U.S. Congress on Thursday, November 05 called on the Government of Sri Lanka to engage in speedy resettlement of Tamil civilian refugees in welfare camps but significantly recognized the positive initiative Sri Lanka has taken so far regarding the settlement of the IDPs. The House resolution passed by a vote 421 to 01 does not talk of more..

'Prabhakaran's parents in torture chamber'

Nov 7 (AT) Tiruvengagam Velupillai(76) and Parvathiammal(71), parents of LTTE leader V Prabhakaran who died in the battle for Eelam last May, have been detained in the "Fourth Floor" of the Colpetty detention centre of the army and police in Colombo which has become notorious as a torture chamber, popular Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan published from here (Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India) has said. more..