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Central Bank to start Golden Key repayments within two weeks

Nov 8 (Island) The long-awaited process of repaying Golden Key depositors is expected to begin within the next fortnight in terms of the Supreme Court directive, a senior Central Bank official announced. "We are now auditing all deposits up to one million rupees to start settling 75% of their value with a maximum ceiling of 100,000 rupees", he said. This means that a depositor who had invested one million rupees at Golden Key will receive only 100,000 rupees, more..

We’ll back you to topple Mahinda, JVP tells UNP

Nov 8 (Island) The JVP has assured the UNP that it will support a common candidate fielded by a joint opposition alliance-led by the main opposition party if President Mahinda Rajapaksa called an early presidential election ahead of parliamentary polls. Well informed political sources told the Sunday Island that this would be a new alliance and should not be mistaken with the recently formed UNP-led UNA which would campaign for parliamentary polls scheduled to take place by April next year. more..

Chelvadurai Anjalendran: Come as you are

Nov 8 (NS) Some call him the architect of Sri Lanka or the next big thing after Geoffrey Bawa but I doubt Anjalendran gives a damn about the labels. Sitting in his home, a place where he can be himself and clad in a sarong he is too busy doing things the way he wants. The Nation met him last week to talk about his philosophy in life ‘do not try to save the world, but try and perhaps make a few people around you happy’ and more..

Constitutionality of Elections without the Constitutional Council

Nov 8 (Island) The hottest topic of the day is elections. A general election, under the law, is due early next year. The President can call for a Presidential Election soon after he completes four years in office shortly. People are anxiously awaiting the announcement of the dates for the elections. They are guessing which election would come first. Politicians of all hues are getting ready to fight the elections. Those in power are trying to consolidate themselves by hook or by crook. more..

Beach horror posers

Nov 8 (Island) Very understandably, the more conscience-filled sections of this country are yet to recover from the shock they suffered on seeing a human being brutally beaten to death by other humans in the shallow waters off Bambalapitiya, a few days back. The bloody drama which unfolded before their eyes on TV screens drove home the truth that brutality is very much part of life in Sri Lanka. more..

Why politicians are addicted to spending

Nov 8 (Island) The government’s ability to spend money on virtually anything it wants and the ability to create money to fund such spending has broad negative implications. It means that the size of the State will grow without limit. Why is it that the government is so keen to spend money? Ostensibly to promote a higher growth rate, which they interpret is in the public interest. But too much spending with borrowed money is not in the public interest for more..

Fonseka: A tactical withdrawal; what next?

Nov 8 (ST) Chief of Defence Staff Sarath Fonseka returned to Colombo as dawn broke over Sri Lanka on Thursday, ending fears of Government leaders he would disclose to US law enforcement agencies secrets of the military campaign that defeated the Tiger guerrillas this May. Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL 228 from Dubai touched down at the BIA at 4.35 a.m., Gen. Fonseka alighted and immediately boarded an Air Force helicopter for a short flight to the Army Grounds in Colombo. more..

Kumar Sangakkara targets 'last frontier'

Nov 8 (CI) The Sri Lankan cricket team arrived in Mumbai on Sunday afternoon with the captain Kumar Sangakkara promising their best in an attempt to conquer "the last frontier". Sri Lanka have yet to win a Test in India in 14 attempts but Sangakkara backed them to break a winless, 27-year streak. "We know we are good enough to win and match India if we really wanted to, " he told Cricinfo before departing from Colombo. more..

War heroes remembered; Poppy week begins

Nov 8 (MoD) The 'Poppy day and the Security Forces Heroes' day will be commemorated today morning at the War Memorial at Vihara Maha Devi Park. War heroes paid the supreme sacrifice for a better tomorrow for all of us. Hence, it is our paramount duty to pay tribute to their martyrdom. Poppy Day is commemorated internationally on second Sunday of November. more..

First Swine flu death in Lanka

Nov 8 (ST) A 16-year-old boy in Kandy has died of H1N1 (Swine flu), the first reported death in Sri Lanka of this global pandemic flu, senior health officials confirmed yesterday. The victim, son of two doctors, died on Wednesday night at the Kandy Teaching Hospital, the officials said. The Medical Research Institute confirmed that the death was caused by H1N1, the officials who declined to be identified, said. more..

Wijeratne wins ladies golf

Nov 8 (Dawn) Sri Lankan Sanduni Wijeratne amassed 41 points to win the two-day 3rd Ladies Golf tournament which concluded at the Karachi Golf Club (KGC) on Saturday. South Korean Hea Kyung Park finished runner up with 40 points while her compatriot Myung Hee Yoo was second runner up with 35 points. Both are members of the KGC. Shahzadi Gulfam, a former national champion, and Shahida Ismail finished joint fourth with a tally of 31 points. more..

Govt. slams EC in 48-page response

Nov 8 (ST) The Government has slammed the European Commission (EC) probe on GSP Plus trade concessions saying it is 'politically motivated and accompanied by a high degree of prejudice'. In a detailed response presented by the Foreign Ministry to the EC on Friday, the government also said the Commission, though claiming to be assisted by three independent external experts involved in the investigation, was the driving force behind the 'experts' who "could only assist rather than guide the EC”. more..

Opposition’s common candidate: Gen. Fonseka

Nov 8 (ST) Constituent parties of the newly formed-United National Front (UNF) reached consensus this week that General Sarath Fonseka should be their common candidate in the event of a Presidential Election. The major players of the Front are the United National Party (UNP), the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), the Sri Lanka Freedom Party-Mahajana Wing and the National Democratic Front. more..

Gov’t, EU in back-channel talks over fate of trade pact

Nov 8 (IPS) Sri Lanka has reacted strongly to a European Commission (EC) probe on its human rights record, saying it is politically motivated. But beyond the public sparring and rhetoric, informal diplomatic contacts between the two sides are underway to save a crucial trade pact and hundreds of jobs in the garment industry. Sri Lanka stands to lose its trade concessions from the European Union under the GSP+, more..

Australia urges Sri Lanka reforms, reconciliation

Nov 8 (Reuters) Australia on Sunday urged Sri Lanka, having defeated the Tamil Tigers in May, to now embrace political reform and reconciliation to stem the flow of asylum seekers leaving the country. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith will meet his Sri Lankan counterpart Rohitha Bogollagama in Colombo on Monday amid a standoff in Indonesia involving 78 Tamil asylum seekers, who are refusing to leave an Australian vessel that rescued them last month. more..

Rajaratnam: a 'living buddha' under suspicion

Nov 8 (AFP) Raj Rajaratnam, a billionaire financier facing insider trading charges in the United States, is recalled in stone in one of the villages he helped recover from the Asian tsunami in 2004. A black granite monument honours the "Galleon Housing Scheme", named after his Galleon Group hedge fund, in the palm-fringed and rustic village of Rathgama, 112 kilometres south of the capital Colombo. more..

Sri Lankan Navy opens fire on Kottaipattinam fishermen

Nov 9 (Hindu) Sri Lankan Navy was reported to have opened fire at a boat on which fishermen of Pudukottai district had ventured into sea on Saturday. All the three fishermen had a providential escape, although the glass windscreens of the boat were extensively damaged. Over 700 fishermen from Kottaipattinam, a coastal village about 80 km from here, had ventured into sea by 239 mechanised boats on Saturday and were scheduled to return home on Sunday. more..

Will Lankan expats respond to the call for help?

Nov 9 (LG) Next weekend, President Mahinda Rajapaksa will be involved in two significant events – hosting a group of Sri Lankan expatriates from across the world and seeking their support in the post-conflict development of the country, and announcing the date for the next presidential poll. The date of the next presidential election is keenly awaited by the opposition though according to schedule such a poll is not due till 2011. more..

Sri Lanka says LTTE gone but suicide bombers remain

Nov 9 (IANS) The Tamil Tigers are finished as a military outfit but a small group of their feared suicide bombers still remain in Colombo, a top Sri Lankan official visiting India said. Rajiva Wijesinha also said that the number of Tamil refugees who were taken into camps following the defeat of the Tamil Tigers in May would fall from the original nearly 300,000 to 50,000 by January-end. more..

Opposition too hasty in supporting Sarath Fonseka

Nov 9 (TC) too hasty: Opposition too hasty in supporting Sarath Fonseka as common candidate. Country will fall from frying pan into fire. Army will be politicised. What awiats?: Sarath Fonseka opines Sri Lanka belong to Sinhalese alone & minorities cannot demand anything. What fate awaits non-Sinhalese if SF is prez? Autocratic: Sarath Fonseka is an autocratic Sinhala Buddhist supremacist. Under SF Sri Lanka will be turned into a "malevolent military dictatorship". more..

Sri Lanka has not levelled "Alex" accusations with Australia

Nov 9 (AAP) Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says he can't verify a Sri Lankan government claim that the spokesman for a boatload of Tamil asylum seekers is a people smuggler. The bearded 27-year-old known as Alex emerged as the spokesman for almost 250 Tamil Sri Lankans whose boat was intercepted by the Indonesian navy en route to Australia and taken to the Javanese port of Merak. more..

Rajapaksha lied to Ban Ki Moon – HRW

Nov 9 (LG) “International law does not allow a government to keep hundreds of thousands of people in detention just because it thinks that there are a certain number of criminals among them. That is collective punishment. It’s illegal, immoral and counterproductive,” Brad Adams, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division, is a general expert on Asia said in an exclusive interview with the Sri Lanka Guardian. more..

How successful is the resettlement in the Northern Province?

Nov 9 (AT) Being a retired Army Officer I must confess at the inception that I have little or no information regarding the strategy of the present government in its implementation of the Uturu Vasanthaya. However the accelerated pace at which the two hundred and eighty thousand internally displaced Tamil people are being resettled though commendable leaves many questions unanswered. more..

Riau won’t grant asylum to Sri Lanka refugees

Nov 9 (Reuters) The Riau Islands’ regional government has reiterated that the Sri Lankan immigrants still aboard an Australian-flagged ship anchored in provincial waters will not be granted asylum if they are transferred to nearby Tanjung Pinang detention center. “Although the Foreign Ministry has extended their stay permit, we remain firm in rejecting them,” Governor Ismeth Abdullah said on Sunday. more..

Sri Lankan Celebrity: Dhanushka wins all three, Stage, TV and Cinema

Nov 9 (AT) She was known by her family members and neighbors as “Wasana”. In Sinhala language, Wasana means fortune. Yes, her beauty, talent and the dedication has brought her the fortune. She is Dhanushka Iroshanie Jayarathne - an upcoming star in the tele-screen as well in the silver screen. Dhanushka sets her foot in the tele-drama field by initially appearing in a 20-second commercial as soon as she finished her GCE A/L examination in 2002. more..

Nation salutes war heroes on "Remembrance Day"

Nov 9 (MoD) The "Remembrance Day", annually organized by the Ex-Servicemen Association in memory of fallen War Heroes was held at Viharamahadevi Park Colombo, today with attendance of a host of distinguished guests and service personnel. The Chief Guest of the event Former Army Commander General (Retd) Hamilton Wanasinghe and other invited guests were welcomed at the entrance by the senior office bearers of more..

Lankan scholar to attend Tamil meets

Nov 9 (AT) After dilly-dallying for long, Jaffna University professor emeritus Karthikesu Sivathambi has confirmed at last that he will be taking part in the proposed World Classical Tamil conference being held in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu from June 24 to 27. Prof Sivathambi has said, "call it a somersault, if you like, but I have changed my mind and decided to take part in the conference, whatever more..

Refugees celebrate All Souls' Day behind barbed wire

Nov 9 (UCAN) Thousands of displaced Sri Lankan Catholics attended specially organized All Souls' Day Masses in refugee camps and prayed for those who died in the decades-long civil war. Refugees want to tend their loved ones' graves on the special day dedicated to the dead, said Catholic priests visiting the camps. However, these graves are far from the camps which are surrounded by barbed wire, and more..

Priests join protest against police brutality

Nov 9 (UCAN) Priests have joined civic groups in demonstrating against police brutality after video footage was released apparently showing a policeman assaulting a mentally challenged youth, resulting in his death by drowning. "People are tired and scared of the immunity enjoyed by the police force," said Father Terrence Fernando of Colombo archdiocese. The video, released on television and the Internet, showed the youth chased into the sea by policemen wielding sticks, more..

Asylum seeker reveals gangland past

Nov 9 (ABC) The spokesman for more than 250 Sri Lankan asylum seekers still aboard a wooden cargo boat in western Java has revealed that he is a former member of a violent Tamil gang in Canada. Alex, as he has called himself until now, is actually Sanjeev Kuhendrarajah. He denies being a people smuggler as alleged by Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry but admits to a violent gangland past. more..

Sarath Fonseka candidacy will divide Sri Lankan armed forces

Nov 9 (DBS) Divide: Presidential contest between Mahinda Rajapakse & Sarath Fonseka will politicise and divide Sri Lankan armed forces. Dismal prospects ahead! Refuse: President Rajapakse MAY refuse to accept Sarath Fonseka's resignation of Chief of Defence Staff post to prevent SF contesting elections. Forbids: Since law forbids serving defence personnel from contesting President Rajapakse can keep Sarath Fonseka at bay by keeping him in "service" more..

Damaged churches provide shelter as refugees trickle home

Nov 9 (UCAN) Tamil refugees are slowly returning to their villages six months after fighting ended in the country's 26-year civil war. But many are returning to find their homes ruined and are seeking refuge in damaged churches. The government says it is finally speeding up the resettlement process. Refugees are gradually being released from detention camps in Menik Farm, about 30 kilometers southwest of Vavuniya city in the north, to their villages in the former war zone. more..

Yogapura Vidyalaya at Mallavi Re-opens Today

Nov 9 (AT) The Government has made all the arrangements to re-open the Mallavi Yogapura Vidyalaya at Mallavi in Mullaithivu, which had been closed due to civil war situation last few years, Northern Province Major General (retired) G.A.Chandrasiri told the Asian Tribune. He said that the area was under the LTTE control over last 20 years and all the development projects had been completely stalled. more..

A local hydro-power construction company commences its operations in

Nov 9 (AT) Hydropower International Ltd, a local hydro power construction company expands its business in East African countries to obtain more foreign revenue. Chairman, CEO of the company Dr. Nishantha Nanayakkara says at present the company provides consultancy and construction support in Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi to setup Mini hydro power project with isolated mini grids and more..

Rajaratnam planning to sell holdings in Sri Lanka?

Nov 9 (Hindu) Sri Lanka-born United States business tycoon Raja Rajaratnam, arrested by the FBI on October 16 on charges of vast insider trading, is reportedly planning to sell some of his firm’s holdings in Sri Lanka to partly finance his $100 million bail condition. Mr. Rajaratnam, the billionaire chief of the Galleon Fund, lost his bid on Friday to reduce the value of his bail condition. more..

Thillaiampalam Sritharan for cooperation, not confrontation with Colombo

Nov 9 (AT) Thillaiampalam Sritharan, a Boston- based Sri Lankan Tamil activist and a former Bank of Boston employee, who once spearheaded the Eelam movement with his two brothers in US and who later got disillusioned with the idea when a group of people started taking up arms, killing people, leaders, peers, killing each other, was in Chennai on a brief visit. more..

The case of Jaseekaran and the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka

Nov 9 (AT) On 26 October 2009, B. Jaseekaran and V. Valarmathi were released as the state council withdrew the charges filed against them. Both of them were partners of journalist J. Tissainayagam who was sentenced to 20 years of hard labour on 31 August 2009. Both cases were heard at the Colombo High Court and were interlinked: Tissainayagam was charged for writing and publishing two articles in the North Eastern Herald, more..

‘We are not worried about history’

Nov 9 (Hindu) Kumar Sangakkara is clear about the Sri Lankan team’s outlook towards security issues on tour. “The thing about security is that it can never be 100 per cent foolproof. We have been through bad experiences before — in Pakistan. “The feedback from the Australians, now playing here, is that the Indian authorities are doing a great job,” said the Sri Lankan captain, adding: “I look at security this way. Either we play cricket and accept the risks, or not play at all.” more..

The case of Jaseekaran and the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka

Nov 9 (GV) On 26 October 2009, B. Jaseekaran and V. Valarmathi were released as the state council withdrew the charges filed against them. Both of them were partners of journalist J. Tissainayagam who was sentenced to 20 years of hard labour on 31 August 2009. Both cases were heard at the Colombo High Court and were interlinked: Tissainayagam was charged for writing and publishing two articles in the North Eastern Herald, a magazine he edited. more..

Australians want PM to be tougher on boat people

Nov 9 (Reuters) New opinion polls added pressure on Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Monday to take a tougher stand against asylum-seekers and end a standoff involving 78 boat-people picked up by an Australian ship off Indonesia. The stream of boats arriving in Australia this year has reignited a divisive political debate over illegal immigration and forced Rudd to defend his border-security policy, more..