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Unions vow to cripple essential services

Nov 11 (DM) The trade unions of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, the Ceylon Electricity Board, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority yesterday vowed to go ahead with their three-day work to rule campaign from today rejecting the government assurance of a 22 percent salary hike from November this year. Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said the government held extensive talks with more..

President will accept Gen. Fonseka’s resignation

Nov 11 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said if Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka submitted his resignation from the post with the intention of contesting the upcoming Presidential election, he would accept it forthwith. The President made the comment when several Ministers inquired from him whether there would be a legal problem for General Fonseka if he wanted to resign soon to contest an election. more..

Mega reservoir scheme on target

Nov 11 (DN) The Mahaweli Ganga Development Program is a multi-purpose project ever undertaken in Sri Lanka, based on the water resources of Mahaweli and allied six river basins. It aims at creating more jobs, increasing agricultural production and hydro-power generation, preventing floods and providing relief to the landless people. The Moragahakanda-Kalu Ganga scheme is one of the largest construction projects under the Mahaweli Development Program. more..

Ban on Opposition MPs’ visits to Vanni IDP camps lifted

Nov 11 (Island) The government will shortly invite Opposition MPs to visit northern relief camps, where about 140,000 war displaced people are accommodated. The government has so far refused the entire Opposition, including the UNP, the TNA and the JVP, access to the facilities run with the support of some international community, particularly UN agencies. more..

UNF to reveal its policy statement at Kandy on the 14th

Nov 11 (UNP) It has been decided that the policy statement of the United National Front (UNF) shall be announced in Kandy on the 14th. The General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake stated that the Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and other leaders of the constituent parties of the UNF after paying homage at the Dalada Maligawa will present the UNF policy statement before the Chief incumbents of Malwatte and Asgiriya chapters and more..

President promises over promises: Ranil rejects them as falsehood over falsehood

Nov 11 (UNP) Workers of the trade unions of the Ceylon petroleum Corporation , Ceylon electricity Board , Ports Authority and the Water Board have commenced a work to rule today (11) as their demands have not been met by the Govt. despite numerous promises. The Govt. of course has been giving solemn grandiose promises since its advent to all and sundry through its Mahinda Chintana and budgets. more..

'Govt. is so bankrupt that it has no choice except follow Sakvithi policy'

Nov 11 (UNP) UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said the Govt. is so bankrupt and so desperate that it as no choice except to follow the public swindling Sakvithi Finance Co. policies. The Govt. has plunged itself into such monumental debts due to its abysmal fiscal mismanagement that its re payment of these debts inclusive of interest exceed its revenue. In these hopeless circumstances, the Govt. is trying to more..

'Missing' Lankan teacher, returns home

Nov 11 (TOI) Police heaved a sigh of relief when they were informed that the missing Sri Lankan teacher, Gamini Silva, safely reached his home. According to Uppal inspector B Bhaskar, Gamini Silva was home sick and left the lodging facility at Don Bosco school in Ramanthapur without notifying the English and Foreign Languages University (Eflu) officials, where he had been attending special training-cum-English proficiency classes. more..

Recruitment to armed forces to continue

Nov 11 (DM) The armed forces will continue to recruit officers and personnel in order to meet their targets for this year and the coming years, said a spokesman for the military yesterday. Military Spokesman Brig Udaya Nanayakkara told Daily Mirror yesterday that recruitment to the Army would continue till December 31. “Our target is 10,000 recruits for the new batch,” he said. He said that the monthly wage would be increased by Rs 1000 for all officers and more..

'Call for scrapping exec.presidency, a ruse'

Nov 11 (Island) National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP on Monday (Oct 9) alleged that the JVP’s demand for abolishing the executive presidency was a ruse to facilitate an anti-Mahinda Rajapaksa alliance with the UNP. The MP said there was an attempt to bring the UNP, JVP and the likes of Mano Ganeshan, MP and R. Sampanthan, MP under one umbrella. more..

Bhikku Front condemns prayer meeting and JHU monks’ action

Nov 11 (Island) The National Bhikkhu Front in a statement issued yesterday condemned both, the Prayer meeting conducted by a religious group at Vihara Mahadevi Park on October 31, in which two participants died, and the subsequent conduct of the Jathika Hela Urumaya, which it claimed was responsible for the attack on the office of the religious organisation concerned at Koswatte. more..

Gen. Fonseka will not join traitors who opposed humanitarian operation – Dallas

Nov 11 (Island) Transport Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said he believed that the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, who led the army to save the country from LTTE terrorism, will not join a political party whose leader betrayed the country when the critical fight against the Tigers was raging. He said a number of people hd asked him whether the former Army Commander would contest the next President elections against President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

'Sri Lankans should ask for single digit wage hikes'

Nov 11 (LBO) Sri Lankan workers should ask for to 3.0 to 5.0 percent annual wage hikes with the Central Bank targeting low inflation in the future, the island's most senior Treasury official said. "People also have to get used to 3.0 percent wage increases, 5 percent wage increases," Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundera told a business forum more..

Sri Lanka state to recruit 17,000 unemployable graduates

Nov 11 (LBO) Government is to recruit 17,000 graduates from state universities unemployable in productive sectors, expanding an already bloated public sector, ahead of planned national polls due early next year. Graduates from state universities, who are educated at the expense of the people through general taxes, have successfully cultivated a perception that the society owes them a lifetime job as well. more..

Sri Lanka's boat people: Dying to strike it rich

Nov 11 (AFP) For 50 young Sri Lankans who had paid up to 1,500 dollars each for the chance of a new life, a five-week voyage in the hold of a fishing boat ended in an Australian camp for illegal migrants. Their families had sold property and whatever other assets they had to fund the journey which was to have taken the men to New Zealand but nearly cost them their lives after their boat ran aground at Horn Island off the northern tip of Queensland. more..

In Sri Lanka, anger over detainees' fate

Nov 11 (WP) Six months after Sri Lanka's decades-old civil war ended with a final assault, about 200,000 people remain trapped in overcrowded government-run camps that were once safe havens for those fleeing the conflict. Facing pressure from the Obama administration and the European Union, the Sri Lankan government last month launched a campaign to resettle tens of thousands of the minority Tamil detainees. more..

Interview with top government official on IDP camps, returns

Nov 12 (IRIN) One of the more contentious issues in Sri Lanka this year has been the plight of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the north. More than 280,000 were in closed camps after hostilities between the military and the LTTE ended, and in recent months senior UN humanitarian and human rights officials have repeatedly voiced strong concern about conditions there. more..

Central bank in battle to dampen inflation expectations

Nov 12 (LBO) Central bank is in a battle to dampen high public inflation expectations after capping price rises in the island's capital Colombo to low single digits for more than a year. In 2009 the Central Bank is hoping to end the year with inflation at 3.5 percent after seeing only a 1.4 percent rise in the widely watched Colombo Consumer Price Index in the twelve months to October, compared to 28.2 percent in June 2008. more..

'Opp. Condidate showing the younger and giving the elder'

Nov 12 (GDI) The Minister Lakshman Yapa Abewardana described the stance of the joint opposition to put forward a common candidate as an attempt to show the ‘younger sister’ and offer ‘elder sister’ to the bride broom. Referring to a statement made by opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe who has sought the position of holding an election under a care taker Government, Minister in a lighter vein cracked, ‘Ranil is trying to stage the famous “Suba saha Yasa” drama a second time. more..

TUs decide work-to-rule will continue indefinitely

Nov 12 (CT) State sector trade unions involved in a work-to-rule campaign have decided to continue the agitation until they win their demand for a higher salary increase. They had previously said the union action would last three days. But, with there being no favourable response from authorities concerned, the campaign would go on indefinitely, said spokesman for CPC Trade Unions Alliance D.J. Rajakaruna. more..

Tamils economic refugees: Sri Lanka

Nov 12 (TA) Sri Lanka has dismissed any suggestion Tamils are oppressed within its borders, saying those aboard the Oceanic Viking were drawn to Australia by its "magnetism" rather than the need for asylum. Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UN Palitha Kohona last night denied the Tamils aboard the vessel had started their journey from his country, describing them as "economic refugees looking for greener pastures". more..

Secret plan to boost migrants from Sri Lanka

Nov 12 (SMH) The Rudd Government is considering ways to allow more Sri Lankans to emigrate legally from war-torn regions of the country to reduce the incentive for them to travel to Australia with people smugglers. Kevin Rudd's special envoy to Sri Lanka, John McCarthy, has been discussing the migration strategy in Colombo this week along with other initiatives to try to stem the flow of boat people arriving in Australian waters. more..

Query to Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka

Nov 12 (DBS) Three queries to Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka: Query no 1 to Lt.Gen Sarath Fonseka: Do you still think that Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhalese because they are the numerical majority? Query no2 to LtGen Sarath Fonseka:Do you still think that the minority communities in SriLanka cannot make what you think are "undue" demands? Query no3 to Lt.Gen Sarath Fonseka:You said in Washington that "terrorists"in IDP camps must be identified and destroyed. How will you do it? more..

Pope: A political solution and respect for human rights in Sri Lanka

Nov 12 (AN) Respect for human rights, a just political solution to the problems that still exist and international support. This was Benedict XVI’s request for Sri Lanka, six months, as he himself pointed out, from the end of the conflict, while "we note with satisfaction the efforts of those authorities who are facilitating the return home of displaced persons". more..

Church arts festival brings together rival communities

Nov 12 (UCAN) A Church cultural group has tried to heal divisions between Tamils and Sinhalese left by the 26-year civil war by bringing the two sides together in a program of traditional folk dances. The Center for Performing Arts (CPA) brought its artists from the south to the arts festival held in Jaffna city in the previously war-torn north, and invited people of various religions and ethnicities to join the "Sinhalese and Tamil festival." more..

Rain wipes out first day of Sri Lanka tour opener

Nov 12 (Reuters) The entire first day of Sri Lanka's tour opener against an Indian Board President's XI at the Bandra Kurla Complex was washed out by rain on Wednesday. Sri Lanka are second behind South Africa in the official test rankings and will be aiming to win a series on Indian soil for the first time. The visitors, who have failed to record a victory in any of the 14 matches they have played in India more..

'Get off boat and you'll go to Australia'

Nov 12 (TA) The 78 Sri Lankans aboard the Oceanic Viking have been offered resettlement in Australia in as little as a month, as well as homes, jobs and social security payments once in the country, in an unsuccessful effort to end the boatpeople standoff. But the Sri Lankan Tamils rejected the offer because it would have required them to wait in an Indonesian detention centre. The written offer, made by Australian government negotiators to more..

Myanmar dissidents condemn Sri Lanka over junta visit

Nov 12 (AFP) Dissident Myanmar monks living in Colombo on Wednesday criticised the Sri Lankan government for inviting junta leader General Than Shwe for a state visit. The monks said Sri Lanka's increasingly close relations with Myanmar's military regime would further raise international concern over the island's human rights record. They said President Mahinda Rajapakse was "foolish" to become associated with Than Shwe, set to arrive on Thursday. more..

Debrief News - 11.11.2009

Port employee assaulted by Chairman’s men hospitalized

Nov 12 (LT) An employee, who was participating in a lunch hour agitation carried out opposite ‘Jaya’ container terminal, simultaneous with the ‘work to rule’ campaign launched by employees of CPC, CEB, Port and Water Board, was assaulted by two bodyguards of the Chairman in his presence and had to be admitted to hospital. The incident had occurred when employees had finished their agitation and were coming back to the ‘Jaya’ container terminal. more..

First medal for Sri Lanka in China

Nov 12 (BBC) Chaminda Wijekoon secures the first medal for his country in the ongoing eighteenth Asian Athletic Championships being held in the Chinese city of Guangzhou. Wijekoon won a Silver medal in the men’s 1500 meters competition on Wednesday. He clocked a timing of three minutes 47.01 seconds to secure the second place. The gold medal in this event was won by Shaween of Saudi Arabia while the bronze went to Chatholi Hamza of India. more..

Sri Lanka dares to believe in prosperity

Nov 12 (FT) The colonial archways in Colombo’s Fort business district are pasted with bills advertising a local film, The Road From Elephant Pass. The hero, a stone-faced army officer in sunglasses, stares out in front of the heroine, a Tamil Tiger fighter with whom he falls in love. Until this year the film was as close as most Sri Lankans could have expected to get to Elephant Pass, a former army base that connected the government-controlled Jaffna peninsula more..

Sri Lankan troops will step in to run services

Nov 12 (National) Sri Lanka’s armed forces, having defeated the Tamil separatist rebels in May this year, were yesterday preparing for another battle: running the country’s essential services – water, electricity, fuel and ports as trade unions claimed success in a protest over wage demands. Unions belonging to the main opposition party, UNP, and the JVP, Sri Lanka’s third largest political force, claimed success in the work-to-rule campaign, more..

In talks with Fonseka, says opposition

Nov 12 (Hindu) Mano Ganeshan, leader of Sri Lanka’s Western People’s Front (WPF) and Colombo district parliamentarian, disclosed on Wednesday that his party along with several other opposition parties were engaged in discussions with Chief of Defence Staff Sarath Fonseka on fielding him as a candidate against President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the event of an election. In a lengthy response to criticism on how a party which claims to represent aspirations and more..

Dr Kohona on Lateline: Part 2

Dr Kohona on Lateline: Part 1

Rajapakse extends "Olivebranch" to Sarath Fonseka

Nov 12 (DBS) lunch: Mahinda Rajapakse extends "Olivebranch" to Sarath Fonseka. Prez has private meeting & lunch with CDS at "Temple Trees" on wednesday. What happened? attends: Chief of Defence Staff Lt.Gen SarathFonseka attends national security council meeting. President tries to resolve problems with ex-army chief. "probe": Govt may have "probe" into Sarath Fonseka "war crimes" to prevent contesting polls. Those probed cant quit service. Those serving cant contest more..

Sri Lanka gems captivate the Chinese consumer market

Nov 12 (LG) The Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing together with the National Gem and Jewellery Authority and Gem and Jewellery Association organized a colorful Sri Lanka Pavilion at the International Gem and Jewellry Fair 2009 from November 5th to 9th at the China International Exhibition Center in Beijing. With the participation of eighteen (18) companies, Sri Lanka is made its biggest presence ever in this Beijing Jewellry Fair, more..

Tamils, India and International community: What next?

Nov 12 (LG) Every event has its meaning underling the immediate issues and, beneath it a fundamental trend that connects events and issues outside it. The genius of Darwin, Marx or Einstein was not about solving the immediate puzzle or a problem, but spotting the connectedness or the overarching trend between seemingly random, disjointed events. When those trends are generalised they take a global perspective, apparently detached from the local reality. more..

Douglas’s gravy train

Nov 12 (LG) The second part of Sooriyasekaram’s personal experience in Sri Lanka, whilst touching on issues in a constrained way, also exposes his deliberate attempt to point score on issues that are central to the current problems in Sri Lanka. He says ‘I never encountered any problems except once when I was stopped at 11pm by a police man and fined Rs500 for not wearing a helmet while riding a motor bike. I could not get angry for he was extremely polite in discharging his duties and more..