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Govt. prevents three commanders from attending General’s farewell ceremony

Nov 16 (LT) The government authorities had taken measures not to let commanders of the three forces to participate at the farewell ceremony held for Chief of Defense Staff Gen. Sarath Fonseka today. As such, Gen. Fonseka received the salute of the three forces without the presence of their commanders. Speaking to the media after the ceremony Gen. Fonseka said he was retiring from his position as CDS with the contentment and delight that more..

Sarath Fonseka and the Role of the Opposition: Will Sanity Prevail?

Nov 16 (GV) Sri Lanka is a small miracle, and miraculous things happen here. Not only did it defeat terrorism. It is just about to witness another battle. Something grotesque, gruesome. We are playing into the hands of the separatists. We are creating more problems for ourselves, at a time when we should have been resolving them. Much of this could still be avoided. Much of this would have been avoided – if only this country had a more responsible and concerned Opposition. more..

SL Govt to decide in due course

Nov 16 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the annual National Convention of the SLFP at the Khettarama Stadium yesterday evening noted that the Government would decide in due course what election should be held first. When the President inquired from around 100,000 SLFP members who had filled the Khettrama, whether they wanted a Presidential or a Parliamentary election first, the overwhelming response was - a Presidential poll. more..

Govt insists Fonseka not given step motherly treatment

Nov 16 (LNP) The government insists that Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka, who retires from service today, is not being given step motherly treatment following reports his security detail had been drastically reduced despite the General requesting for tighter security over fears he still maybe under LTTE threat. The Director General, Media Centre for National Security, Lakshman Hullugalle said he was not aware of the present security detail provided to General Fonseka but more..

Air Force Chief to take office as CDS

Nov 16 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has appointed Air Chief Roshan Gunathilleke to perform the duties and functions of the office of the Chief of Defence Staff, Secretary to the President Lalith Werathunga said. Mr. Gunathileke has been given the new appointment in addition to his current post as the Sri Lanka Air Force Chief. He was born on February 28,1956. more..

Union flies, royal monkeys etc.

Nov 16 (LNP) Once upon a time, there lived a king. He had a pet monkey, which played all sorts of tricks to keep him entertained. One day, he set out on a journey and halfway through, fatigued, he thought of resting his royal self. The primate accompanying him stood guard. Before long, to its horror a fly materialised and landed on the potentate without a scintilla of respect. Exasperated by this show of disrespect, the monkey, wanting to teach a lesson to more..

Eco tourism the fastest growing segment

Nov 16 (LNP) Eco tourism, the fastest growing segment in Sri Lanka has a huge potential and it is important to brand Sri Lanka for eco tourism to get the maximum benefit, Ella Adventure Park, Chairman, Major Vijith Welikala said. He said that there had been many foreign inquiries in this segment since the war ended, and the country must be ready to meet this demand. He said that eco tourism could be promoted in underdeveloped areas in the country and more..

Dashing Dravid carries India's comeback

Nov 16 (CI) Rahul Dravid's 27th century - and tenth 150-plus score - carried more intent than probably any of his Test innings, and helped by MS Dhoni's second century and Yuvraj Singh's seventh half-century, led India's remarkable comeback from 32 for 4 in the first half hour. Along the way, he took part in his 77th and 78th 100-run partnerships (both world records), scored more runs than he ever has in a day's play, more..

Geothermal reservoir in Sri Lanka

Nov 16 (DN) The potential of buried geothermal energy in Sri Lanka and the feasibility for developing geothermal energy as a source of power generation must be given a serious thought, said Institute of Fundamental Studies Director Prof. C.B. Dissanayake. He said that a potential geothermal belt running from Hambantota to north of Trincomalee is discovered and there are about ten identified thermal (hot water) springs situated along this line. more..

Central Bank bombing mastermind arrested

Nov 16 (CT) Police have arrested a man now aged 53 who is said to have been one of the masterminds behind the LTTE suicide bombing of the Central Bank building in Colombo 13 years ago. Identified as Sellathamby Rajaratnam, the suspected terrorist had been hiding among civilians in a welfare camp in Vavuniya. He had made his way out of the camp with a fake identity card, when authorities released all those who are aged over 60 years. more..

Country microfinance network extensive - Survey

Nov 16 (DN) Microfinance providers have an extensive network in the country with over 10,800 outlets and the SANASA Movement has the largest number of active outlets followed by NGOs, as revealed in a nationwide survey of microfinance institutions in Sri Lanka. This was published by the GTZ-ProMis (Promotion of the Microfinance Sector) and the German Technical Cooperation GmbH in Sri Lanka. more..

'Diabetes no longer a disease of the elderly'

Nov 16 (DN) Commemorating the World Diabetes Day 2009, the Diabetes Research Unit, Department of Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine, Colombo together with the Tharunyata Hetak youth organization conducted the "Diabetes Walk 2009" at 7 am yesterday. The walk commenced from the Colombo Municipal Council grounds and ended at the Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha. A mini-exhibition related to diabetes, treatment and prevention was also held near Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha. more..

India’s warships to remain with Lanka

Nov 16 (Island) Sri Lanka is confident that there is no basis for recent Indian press reports that the government of India wants two warships which it had leased to Sri Lanka in 2007 on annually renewable contract returned. Navy spokesman Captain Athula Senarath told The Island yesterday that as far as the navy was concerned, they had not been asked to return the ships. He said that one of the ships, SLNS Sagara, would undergo a major refit in Calcutta. more..

MPs travelling expenses up

Nov 16 (Island) Hot on the heels of the controversy over 101 UPFA and UNP members of the Western Provincial Councillors spending Rs. 30 million of WPC funds for ‘study tour of China’, The Island can now reveal that the government allocated a great deal of funds for MPs’ overseas visits arranged by the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). Representatives of all political parties represented in Parliament took part in these visits. more..

Responsibility of religion and religious freedom

Nov 16 (DN) The Heads of Churches of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka issuing a statement call upon all Christians and Buddhists to remain calm and not be provoked by rumours that aggravate religious tensions. This is the best that most of us can offer in such sensitive situations. It said two recent and very unfortunate incidents that aroused religious tensions have received much publicity in the media. more..

Politics or not, decision in two days

Govt. allows TNA to visit refugee camps

Nov 16 (DM) For the first time since the IDP camps were set up, the government has allowed a ten-member TNA delegation to visit welfare villages and camps in Vavuniya and newly resettled areas in the North today. But party leader R. Sampanthan said he would not be able to join the delegation as he was going abroad. TNA MP, N. Sri Kantha told Daily Mirror yesterday they would visit the newly resettled areas in the districts of more..

Mahinda promises to consult SLFP on snap presidential election

Nov 16 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said at the SLFP’s 19 Convention in Colombo yesterday that he would resist attempts by any world power to grab anything from him with might and main but would not hesitate to grant anything that the people expected of him. Thereafter, the President requested tens of thousands of SLFP members and office bearers gathered at the Khettarama Stadium to tell him which election they preferred to have first—presidential or parliamentary. more..

Honour your promises, prelate tells politicians: ‘Scrap executive presidency, PC and PS systems’

Nov 16 (Island) Politicians of Sri Lanka were in the habit of making promises that they could not honour, the Most Venerable Mahanayake of Malwatte Tibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thero said receiving a copy of the ‘Policy Statement of the UNF' on Friday 13. However, the prelate added that he believed the leader of the UNP would honour his promises spelt out in the new policy statement. more..

A’La affaire Fonseka

Nov 16 (DM) If there was nothing surprising about Gen Sarath Fonseka quitting as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), it was not without reason. What is however surprising in a’la affaire Fonseka’ is the fact that President Mahinda Rajapaksa accepted the ‘retirement’ with immediate effect, despite the fact that the ‘retirement letter’ and the ‘Confidential’ Annex-A lays down a kind of charge-sheet against the Government of which the outgoing CDS was very much a part. more..

Editorial: The hour of truth

Nov 16 (DM) The strong rejection by India of former CDS Sarath Fonseka’s claim that Indian Army was put on alert following a warning by President Mahinda Rajapaksa of a military coup attempt, has gone on to shake the grounds on which General (Retd) had built his whole argument against President Rajapaksa. While one may say that it’s a case of India playing it safe in the best interests of the two nations, still one has to accept State Minister Shashi Tharoor’s version as the Indian stand. more..

A Presidential address...

Army in Mullaitivu expedite de-mining process

Nov 16 (DM) The authorities of the army in Mullaitivu informed a delegation of the Catholic church who visited the area recently that they had expedited the de-mining process in the area though it would take them a few years to make the entire conflict area free of mines. The delegation of Caritas Sri Lanka, the social service arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference in Sri Lanka led by its National Director Fr. Damian Fernando who visited the area said thousands of IDPs had been resettled in the area. more..

Sri Lanka state revenues up in September, but may miss revised targets

Nov 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state revenues rebounded to 522.0 billion rupees in September 2009 up 12.1 percent from a year earlier, but year end targets may miss revised estimates, the Central Bank said. For the first nine months of the year fiscal deficit was 322.6 billion rupees or 6.5 percent of gross domestic product according to official estimates released by the Central Bank, compared to an year-end target of 7.0 percent of GDP. more..

In Sri Lanka, 'Tamils can live in a state of security'

Nov 16 (NP) Letter-writers Roy Ratnavel and David Poopalapillai have attempted to make the case that Tamils are persecuted in Sri Lanka. If we accept this contention, it will help pave the way for the boatload of Sri Lankan Tamils who arrived recently in our waters to claim they are genuine refugees and, therefore, entitled to stay here permanently. While the fighting continued in Sri Lanka, the argument was made that young Tamil men were at risk either from the government side more..

Petroleum and water supply workers too, end go-slow

Nov 16 (CT) Petroleum and water supply workers returned to work today after ending a work-to-rule campaign over a salary issue. Their trade unions said they would still resort to union action in the future to win their demand. Meanwhile, electricity workers are still continuing with their go-slow effort. Earlier, port workers abandoned their work-to-rule, with their trade unions and authorities agreeing on a salary increase of Rs. 1,000 and the payment of a monthly allowance of Rs. 2,000. more..

Unease as Sri Lanka general eyes presidency

Nov 16 (AFP) Hailed as a hero for ending decades of civil war, Sri Lanka's most decorated general now looks set to challenge for the presidency -- a move that some analysts view with deep foreboding. General Sarath Fonseka led the Sri Lankan army's May victory over the separatist Tamil Tigers, achieved in a brutal showdown that eliminated the remnants of the rebel army and its leadership. more..

Sri Lankans held apart from other detainees

Nov 17 (SMH) The 22 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who left the Australian customs vessel Oceanic Viking and are being held in Indonesian detention are being kept separate from other detainees out of fear they will be targeted because they are receiving special treatment. A source inside the Australian-funded, Indonesian-run Tanjung Pinang detention centre told the Herald there was tension between the different groups of detainees. more..

Rehabilitating the Rice Bowl

Nov 17 (Mag) Seventy-seven families are scheduled to return to Pallaikuli village – which they fled in 2008 during heavy fighting between the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) – following MAG's clearance of landmines and unexploded ordnance there. Surrounded by rice paddy – essential to the livelihoods of the local people – Pallaikuli is situated in the middle of the heavily fought-over area in Mannar District known as the ‘Rice Bowl’. more..

A bright but shortlived start

Nov 17 (CI) Less than an hour into the opening session, Chanaka Welegedara had grabbed the attention of those trying to discover merely whether his initials - UWMBCA - expanded into the longest name in cricket. He did so with a terrific spell of swing bowling that, with a little help from Dammika Prasad, reduced India to 32 for 4. The irony was that both Welegedara and Prasad weren't even expected to play until more..

Trail of tears

Nov 17 (TV) In May 2009, Tamil protestors closed down the Gardiner Expressway for the first time when thousands turned out for a mass demonstration to call attention to civilian deaths. Some protestors at the Gardiner had lost relatives to government shelling in Sri Lanka. Others had lost touch with their loved ones, and believed the Canadian government’s reaction was lukewarm at best. The Sri Lankan civil war, arising out of ethnic tensions between the Sinhalese majority and more..

LTTE not only armed, trained ULFA too – Former ULFA leader

Nov 17 (IANS) The Assamese separatist group got military training from the LTTE, said a former United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leader. It was recently revealed that the ULFA also bought arms from the LTTE. ‘A small ULFA team from the northeast Indian border state went to Jaffna in Sri Lanka in the early 1990s when the LTTE controlled the northern peninsula’, said former ULFA spokesman Sunil Nath. more..

'Reputations are there to be made'

Nov 17 (CI) Sri Lanka are the world's second-best Test side yet their fast-bowling line-up is unlikely to send shivers down a batsman's spine. Their five-member pace contingent for the India tour, comprising Nuwan Kulasekara, Thilan Thushara, Dammika Prasad, Angelo Mathews and Chanaka Welegedara, have played 27 Tests among them, sharing 68 wickets with only one five-for (Thushara). Yet, Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's captain, is not edgy about his inexperienced pace attack. more..

Don’t come to my house to buy cheap goods - Bandula

Nov 17 (AD) Please do not come to my house to buy cheap goods, Minister Bandula Gunawardena said at a press conference today. He said that certain people have made comments saying that cheaper essential goods cold be bought at Minister Bandula Gunwardena’s house. My house is not a shop neither is it an official residence but was built after much toil and sweat, he added. He furthered saying that people do come to his house not buy goods but to speak about their difficulties. more..

Debrief News -16.11.09

Patriots turn traitors: Rajapaksa

Nov 17 (Hindu) The four-decade-long military career of General Sarath Fonseka, who led the war against the LTTE, ended on Monday with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa naming Air Force Chief Roshan Gunathilleke as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). However, General (retired) Fonseka may not adhere to the dictum “Old Soldiers never die, they just fade away”. All indications are that the “war hero” would enter public life as a consensus opposition candidate against Mr. Rajapaksa in the event of a presidential election. more..

Amnesty International takes action for Sri Lanka displaced

Nov 17 (AI) Activists and supporters of Amnesty International will launch a week of action on Monday highlighting the continued detention of thousands of displaced civilians in government camps in Sri Lanka. Activists in more than 10 countries will take action as part of the Unlock the Camps campaign. Events include a ‘Circle of Hope’ in Canada, a street march and signature campaign in Nepal, a poetry reading in Switzerland and solidarity actions in France, Germany, Mauritius and the United States. more..

"Good bye General"

Nov 17 (IL) The outgoing Chief of Defence Staff and former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka made his final call to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees this morning. Before the meeting with President, General Fonseka attended the farewell ceremony accorded to him at Army Headquarters in Colombo. Later General Fonseka made his final farewell by visiting the War Memorial at Parliament grounds at Sri Jayewardenepura, Kotte and more..

'At SLFP convention, the crowds want President to prematurely terminate his Presidency -to send him home'

Nov 17 (UNP) UNP M.P. Gayantha Karunatileke said, at the SLFP convention yesterday (15), despite the President and his Govt. making a big din earlier that an announcement will be made at the convention, whether the Govt. will hold the Presidential or the Gen. elections, deliberately avoided making the announcement. This is because it is scared about elections. more..

A Bonapartist in the Indian Ocean

Nov 17 (AT) When a tea sapling was brought into Ceylon - present-day Sri Lanka - in 1824 from China and planted in the Royal Botanical Gardens, the British had no commercial interests in mind. It took another 40 years before a plucky Scotsman planted the first seedling, which blossomed into the famous Ceylon Tea and became today's unshakeable pillar of Sri Lanka's economy. The "Emerald Island" has obscure tales to tell. more..