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Wait till poll is announced UNF tells Fonseka

Nov 12 (DM) The leaders of the newly formed United National Front yesterday requested General Sarath Fonseka to hand over his resignation from the post of Chief of Defence Staff only after the President declares a presidential election. UNF sources said its leaders decided on this course of action on receiving information of a move by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to call a general election instead of a presidential election in the event that General Fonseka resigned from his post. more..

Ladies College Water Polo coach banned for two years

Nov 12 (DM) Former Sri Lanka double junior international Bilal Hassen, who is presently the coach of the Ladies College Water Polo team has been suspended for two years by Sri Lanka Aquatic Sports Union (SLASU) for disciplinary reasons. Former star Royal College sportsman who represented Sri Lanka both in Rugby and Water Polo had allegedly abused the referee S. Bamunuarachchi using obscene language in full view of the public, more..

IDP Matters: An Update

Steeplechaser fails to clear Airport

Nov 12 (DM) Sri Lanka Steeplechase champion Indika Bandara who was to represent Sri Lanka at the Asian Athletic Championships which is now in progress in Guangzhou, China had reportedly been turned back at the Bandaranaike International Airport after the immigration officials found the athlete’s name among a list of names prohibited to leave the country. Sources told “Daily Mirror” that Bandara is an Air Force deserter, which resulted in the episode. more..

'French call for repealing Emergency too early: President still a target'

Nov 12 (LNP) Although the LTTE no longer poses a conventional military threat, the government will retain the state of emergency to facilitate ongoing operations undertaken by intelligence services, both here and abroad, targeting LTTE operatives. In keeping with a Defence Ministry directive, recruitment to the armed forces and police, too, will continue for the time being. more..

The President of Myanmar Senior General Than Shwe visits Sri Lanka

Nov 12 (IL) The President and the Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council of the Union of Myanmar, Senior General Than Shwe and the First Lady Than Shwe arrived in the island today on an official visit to Sri Lanka. President Than Shwe and his delegation was warmly welcomed by the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa at Katunayake International Air Port. more..

Sri Lanka split over war honors

Nov 12 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa's hopes of easily winning re-election have taken a blow with plans for a popular armed forces chief to run against him. The opposition's nomination of a war hero General Sarath Fonseka, the nation's chief of defense staff, may well split the Sinhala-Buddhist vote. The presidential election is not due until November 2011, but there are signs Rajapaksa may hold them as early as January next year, to take advantage of a high-level of public support. more..

Is Than Shwe Seeking military advice?

Nov 12 (TI) Burma’s military dictator Snr-Gen Than Shwe may well seek tactical advice pertaining to the defeat and eradication of ethnic rebels during his state visit to Sri Lanka, observers say. Than Shwe left his capital, Naypyidaw, on Thursday for a four-day trip to Sri Lanka, the first official visit to the country by a Burmese head of state since Gen Ne Win in December 1962. A Theravada Buddhist nation like Burma, Sri Lanka was visited by previous Burmese statesmen, including Gen Aung San and former Burmese Prime Minister U Nu. more..

Sri Lanka’s war hero quits top army job

Nov 12 (Hindu) Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Sarath Fonseka, who led the war against the LTTE as Army Chief, on Thursday afternoon sent his resignation letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa possibly to join politics. There was no immediate response from the President’s office. The timing of the resignation, a consequence of rift between the high profile General and Mr. Rajapaksa in the post-Prabakaran Sri Lanka, is significant as more..

Sri Lanka unions urge govt to address EU rights concern

Nov 13 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's garment industry unions on Thursday urged the government to address human rights concerns so that the nation did not lose European Union trade concessions worth more than $100 million for its top export. The request from the Apparel-industry Labour Rights Movement (ALaRM) comes after Sri Lanka delivered its response to an EU probe that found it in breach of human rights laws in the 25-year war with the Tamil Tiger rebels. more..

20 Sri Lankans 'ready to leave boat'

Nov 13 (Age) Some of the 78 Sri Lankan asylum seekers on the Oceanic Viking are prepared to disembark on to Indonesian soil - possibly as early as today - according to negotiators. The breakthrough comes after almost four weeks of tense talks, and follows an offer to the Tamils decried by Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull as an "act of weakness" by the Rudd Government. "There are 20 Sri Lankans on board who said they are willing to be placed in detention." more..

Inside the broken land

Nov 13 (Age) After enduring a vicious war, the loss of a child and six months in a tent, Nithia Rubin just wants to go home. She was trapped between the retreating Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan army in the bloody closing stages of Sri Lanka's civil war. In May, days before the Tigers were defeated, tragedy struck when a volley of shells hit the sandy bunker where Mrs Rubin and her family were hiding. more..

Press communiqué from the UNP

Nov 13 (UNP) Because of the prevailing work to rule staged at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), distribution of fuel has been disrupted resulting in a serious fuel crisis across the whole country. The Govt. which is bankrupt is making attempts to paint a wrong picture and justify itself on the ground that it is unable to maintain the supplies owing to the trade union action at the CPC, and direct the public anger against the CPC workers. more..

Sri Lanka apparel sector needs GSP plus: workers

Nov 13 (LBO) Claims that alternative markets can be found if Sri Lanka loses European Union trade concessions are a 'joke' and if human rights are violated the state should take corrective action, apparel sector trade unions have said. The EU has threatened to withdraw access granted to Sri Lanka under its GSP Plus scheme, which ensures a series human, political and civil rights for citizens of the recipient country. more..

Show boosts dog welfare in Sri Lanka

Nov 13 (S&B) A fleet charity has staged a dog show with a difference. Hundreds of Sri Lankan people of all ages turned up for the annual show put on by Home and Abroad Animal Welfare (HAAAW). This year’s show was held in a very poor area of Negombo. “While it was definitely not Crufts, to the people who attended there is just as much at stake,” said Fleet resident Janice Down, who set up HAAAW ten years ago more..

Family happy to be in Canada despite economic hardship

Nov 13 (TS) Kalaichelvi Vinasiphamby, her husband and two children survive on $2,000 a month from working at whatever jobs the couple can get as general labourers. The couple arrived as teenagers from Sri Lanka in the early 1990s, looking for a better life. Despite their economic hardship, they are glad they came to Canada. They are not receiving social assistance. Vinasiphamby, like many Tamils, is Hindu, but more..

Sri Lanka warns dockers of loss of shipping business

Nov 13 (LBO) Delays at Colombo port caused by disruptive labour union action might prompt international shipping lines to shift their hard-won custom to competing ports, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has warned. The warning came as dockers joined a three-day 'go-slow' or work-to-rule action to back demands for a pay hike made by other state sector workers, resulting in some delays in port cargo operations. more..

Gen. Fonseka’s relatives removed from security services

Nov 13 (LT) Several relatives of Gen. Sarath Fonseka who were attached to defense services have been removed from their posts says a reliable source. According to this source Gen. Fonseka’s brother- in- law Sarath Munasinghe, Director of Ministerial Security Division, has been transferred to Traffic Police with immediate effect. Also DIGP Sisil Perera, father of Gen. Fonseka’s daughter’s groom to be has been removed from that post. more..

Transportation on A-9 Road further relaxed

Nov 13 (GDI) The Government today after consideration decided to relax certain restrictions on goods and passenger transportation on the A-9 Road, for the further convenience of the public in Jaffna. A series of measures have been brought in to effect to provide enhanced relief to the people in the North. Those measures are as follows; 01. There is no restriction to transport goods to Jaffna and back as in the case of any other part of the country. more..

Debrief News - 12.11.2009

ITN launches Prime TV and Prime Radio Channels

Nov 13 (ITN) A child of Democracy is born, with the launching of Prime TV and Prime Radio. This is another concept of the Independent Television Network. The launch took place at the auspicious time with the blessings of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President said he is glad that ITN is launching Prime TV and Prime Radio with a truly Sri Lankan identity. He said he is aware that its wide choice of programmes will lay emphasis on Sri Lanka more..

Guerilla marketing

Nov 13 (LG) Mahinda Rajapaksa during his election campaign At Matara, berated US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton for her remarks at the UN Security Council, "We have seen rape as a tactic of war in Bosnia, Burma, Sri Lanka and elsewhere." Rajapaksa said "Mama Clinton Nonata Abhiyoga Karanawa boru chodana karanna epa kiyala…… ( I challenge Madam Clinton not to make false accusations), the situation has been further confounded by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, more..

'Wicketkeeping is about being late and fast'

Nov 13 (CI) People know so little about Prasanna Jayawardene. When did you first take up the game? I was bitten by the bug at a young age, and knew I wanted to play for my country. I used to knock the ball around in our small house or outside in the garden with siblings and cousins, but the focus was always on wicketkeeping. It came to me when I was very young. It was just something that felt right. more..

Myanmar junta leader 'thrilled' to be in Sri Lanka

Nov 13 (AFP) Myanmar's junta leader General Than Shwe said he was "thrilled" to be in Sri Lanka, where he was given a 21-gun salute and an elaborate red-carpet welcome at the start of his four-day state visit Thursday. "Sri Lanka and Myanmar have a history of close Buddhist ties," he said during a meeting with Sri Lanka's foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama in the central Buddhist pilgrim city of Kandy. more..

Tamil Nadu to spend Rs.100 crore on Sri Lankan refugees camps

Nov 13 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu government Thursday decided to allocate Rs.100 crore for improving the amenities in the 115 camps for Sri Lankan refugees in the state and also for extending various welfare measures to them at par with Indian citizens. The decision was taken at a state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi. The state government has allocated around Rs.37 crore for repairs to dwellings and roads inside the camps and more..

U.S. Ambassador opens two schools rehabilitated by U.S. Govt

Nov 13 (AT) The U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Ms. Patricia A. Butenis, officially opened two schools in Mutur. The schools were rebuilt by the USAID, the development agency of the U.S. Government, as part of its program to help former conflict-affected communities return to normalcy as quickly as possible. Ambassador Butenis presided over the ceremonial openings of Amman Nagar and Arafa Nagar Schools in Trincomalee District, more..

Summary of Cabinet decisions

Nov 13 (GDI) Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa to vest of 20h Hectares of state land, earmarked for the proposed Investment Promotion Zone at Hambantota. The approval was granted to direct the Ministry of Land and Land Development to vest the identified 200 hectares of state for the establishment of the proposed Investment Promotion Zone (IPZ) at Hambantota, more..

UNICEF defends aid workers in Sri Lanka

Lankan team visit: Petition filed with amended prayer

Nov 13 (PTI) A petition with amended prayer was filed in the Madras High Court bench here seeking a direction to the BCCI and various Union ministries not to allow the upcoming cricket match series involving Sri Lanka. The petition sought direction to secretaries of Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Home and External Affairs not to allow Lankan team to play tests, one dayers and 20/20 matches between November 16 and December 27 in the country. more..

UNDP works to rebuild peace, fellowship amongst youth in Sri Lanka

Nov 13 (UNDP) The usually sleepy town of Vavuniya in northern Sri Lanka recently saw a surprising burst of activity. The small Tamil community was in the news for a slightly unusual reason: it was hosting Sinhalese school children and teachers from Matara district in southern Sri Lanka for a sporting event. Sri Lanka is still recovering from the fall out of a three decade civil war that came to an end in May, 2009. more..

Five Sri Lankan Artists Honored with Bunka Awards

Nov 13 (AT) The 16th Bunka (Cultural) Awards organized by the Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund was held last Sunday, at the Lionel Wendt Theatre, located in Colombo. The Bunka Awards are presented annually by the Fund which was established in 1993, on the initiative of the Japanese Solidarity Association and the Japanese Commerce and Industry Association in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan. more..

South African Minister visited Sri Lanka with the pro-LTTE Deputy Minister Roy Padayachi

Nov 13 (AT) Mrs. Maite Nkoana Mashabane, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation who declared that South Africa will not allow anyone to use it soil for any transitional government visited Sri Lanka, along with the Deputy Minister Roy Padayachie, a strong supporter of the LTTE who vociferously advocates a separate state of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka. more..

Rajaratnam arrest jolts Sri Lanka’s markets, Tsunami survivors

Nov 13 (BN) About 60 Muslim fishermen and their families congregated in a community hall on Sri Lanka’s east coast to pray for Raj Rajaratnam after he was arrested for alleged insider trading at his New York hedge fund. The billionaire co-founder of Galleon Group LLC helped build 240 apartments in Kalmunai with a $5 million donation following the 2004 tsunami that swept away people and houses in his homeland, more..

UN humanitarian chief to visit Sri Lanka next week

Nov 13 (UN) The United Nations humanitarian chief will undertake a mission to Sri Lanka next week, the world body announced today. The 17 to 19 November visit will be the fourth this year for Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes, who previously travelled there in February, April and May. The UN has been closely monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka, more..

Rajapaksa not deterred by opposition plans

Nov 13 (Hindu) Besides getting endorsement from the leader of the 12-party opposition front led by Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, the man who escaped death in the hands of a LTTE woman suicide bomber in April 2006 has the indirect backing of the ultra-national Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). JVP, which backed Mr. Rajapaksa in the 2005 presidential election, in the last few months has been openly campaigning for his ouster. more..

Sri Lanka's food imports up despite government rhetoric on self-sustenance

Nov 13 (LP) Rhetoric of the Sri Lanka government to achieve self-sustenance through a a new green revolution named 'Let Us Cultivate and Develop the Country' is highly contrasted with some of the statistics revealed in the parliament last week. According to Minister Bandula Gunawardane, the government imported 52,800,209 kilos of milk food accounting for 89.1 percent of local demand in 2005, but more..

Media allowed into Tamil camps

Nov 13 (ABC) TONY EASTLEY: Sri Lanka's Government says it's on track to have most of the Tamils living in its internal refugee camps back in their home villages by the start of next year. AM has gained rare access to Manik Farm, the main camp where more than 130,000 Tamils have been forced to live after the end of the country's civil war. The camp's residents live in makeshift tents without access to many basic amenities, all the while under the watchful eye of Sri Lanka's military. more..

Your right to know

"Rise and Fall of a General" !

Nov 13 (AT) It had been reported that Gen. Sarath Fonseka,Chief Defence of Staff, had tendered his resignation today, 12 November. General Fonseka is a great Sinhala patriot, a disciplined army officer, a great military leader who gave leadership to the army, a man of honour and loved by all Sri Lankans for crushing the terrorists which nobody else dared to. He made the arduous journey to Nandi Kadal where none ever dreamt of going to. more..

Months of tension culminated in Fonseka’s resignation

Nov 13 (Hindu) The resignation by the Sri Lanka Chief of Defence Staff, Sarath Fonseka, to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday is a culmination of tension building up for at least five months. It began on what initially appeared to be a case of communication gap between the office of the President and the office of the Army chief during the last phase of Eelam War IV. Camp managers of Gen. Fonseka in recent weeks have been complaining that more..