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Gen. Fonseka given 3 days to vacate official residence

Nov 18 (LT) Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who resigned from the post of Chief of Defense Staff, has been ordered by the Ministry of Defense to vacate his official residence within three days. The relevant order was received by Gen. Fonseka yesterday. Gen. Fonseka handed over his resignation to the President on the 12th and he resigned from his post officially on the 16th. Normally, an officer of security forces who retires is given sufficient time until he finds another residence to vacate the official residence. more..

'Much hyped SLFP convention ultimately turned into a damp squib'

Nov 18 (UNP) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe regretted that the much hyped SLFP convention held once a year was turned into a damp squib by the President Rajapakse who instead of speaking on important Party’s policy issues and Govt.’s plans to extricate the country from the dire mess it is in, took over a new role of ‘Game Chandiya’ on stage. When he was speaking, the audience were made to wonder whether he has forgotten that he was on a political stage and more..

'The fear psychosis gripping the President is such even after getting answers from all on holding elections , he is undecided'

Nov 18 (UNP) SLFP (M) leader Mangala Samaraweera speaking on the occasion said, the President for the last several months has been asking from all and sundry whether to hold General or Presidential elections. While all have given answers, the President is still undecided . In the morning he thinks of holding Presidential elections ,but in the night he decides to hold general elections when he sees nightmares of losing. more..

'UNP led UNA growing in strength and numbers'

Nov 18 (UNP) UNP Gen. Secretary and M.P. Tissa Attanayake addressing a media briefing at the UNP media unit today, said , the newly formed UNP led alliance, the UNF which started with 13 constituent parties recently, is growing in strength and number even exceeding expectations. Another party, the Lanka kamkaru Peramuna had also now joined it. Another five more parties are also to come into the fold in the next few days , he added. more..

Building housing top offices collapses in Galle

Nov 18 (DN) A massive portion of the pristine Dutch period building where the Galle Heritage Foundation, the office of the Central Cultural Fund and Chemical Conservation Unit of the Archaeological Department are located collapsed around 10.30 a.m. yesterday. It collapsed presumably owing to continuous rain water leaking through the heavily constructed building walls due to the torrential rains during the last few days. more..

Farmers banking on hi-tech research

Nov 18 (DN) The 21st Annual Congress of the Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture (PGIA), University of Peradeniya, will be held on Thursday and Friday at the Plant Genetic Resources Centre in Gannoruwa, Peradeniya. The chief guest is Prof. Michael Emes, Dean, Graduate Studies, School of Biological Science University of Guelph, Canada. Dr. (Mrs) J. P. Eeswara is the present coordinator of the Annual Congress 2009. more..

'More TU action if no positive response'

Nov 18 (DM) JVP MP K.D Lalkantha yesterday warned that 366 trade unions attached to the National Trade Union Centre would resort to a massive trade union action, if the government did not respond positively to the workers of four institutions who launched a work to rule campaign last week demanding a pay hike. Mr Lalkantha said the government should come up with an acceptable solution for the wages problem of the workers of CPC, CEB, more..

Following European visit to lobby for GSP plus: Inter-religious leaders meet President

Nov 18 (DN) A group of Inter-religious leaders who recently visited European Union countries to explain the merits of extending the GSP plus facility to Sri Lanka handed in their report to President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday. The delegation comprising the Ven Dr. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera, Ven Dr. Kumburugamuwe Vajira Thera, Colombo Archbishop Rt. Rev. Dr. Malcolm Ranjith, Kurukkal Kugananda, Fr. Damian Fernando and Moulavi Niyas Moulana. more..

Transport Ministry seeks Rs. 4.75 bn for railway development

Nov 18 (Island) The Transport Ministry yesterday sought parliamentary approval for a Supplementary Estimate of Rs. 4,750 million to purchase power sets, engines and to upgrade the coastal railway line. Minister Dinesh Gunawardene presented the paper to the House. The explanatory note of the paper said that in 2009 budgetary allocations approval had been granted for Rs. 1,000 mn to purchase power sets and engines through the Indian line of credit. more..

UNP, JVP agree in principle on support for candidate

Nov 18 (DM) The UNP says that the key points highlighted by the JVP to support a common candidate at the next presidential election, is acceptable to them in principle. The UNP also accused the government of spying on talks between the opposition parties. UNP General Secretary MP Tissa Attanayake said that the newly formed the UNF had commenced negotiations with all the political parties in the opposition on the common candidate. more..

Twenty Tiger suspects released on AG’s advice

Nov 18 (Island) Following the advice of the Attorney General’s Department, the Prisons Department on Monday released 20 suspects who had been detained at Welikada Prison under the PTA and Emergency Regulations. Following consultations, the Minister of Justice and Judicial Reforms Milinda Moragoda had with Attorney General Mohan Peiris PC, it was decided to dispose cases of those held under the Emergency Regulations and the PTA, quickly, more..

Archaeological sites vandalized – UNP

Nov 18 (Island) Numerous places of archaeological value have been vandalised during the regime of the present government, Parliament was told yesterday. UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera said that the vandalising of these sites take place with the blessings of government ministers. He said that chief incumbents of temples request the UNP MPs to safeguard the national heritage as, as there was no use in complaining to the police. more..

The latest conspiracy theory

Nov 18 (LG) It has taken less than six months for Sarath Fonseka’s relationship with Mahinda Rajapaksa to break down. One moment they were congratulating each other on their spectacular victory over the LTTE, and the next the former Army Commander was giving up his post as Chief of Defence Staff with invitations in hand from both the UNP and the JVP to run against the President in the upcoming election. more..

Childhood hobby turns into entertainment business

Nov 18 (DN) Creative entrepreneurs start ventures related to their hobby and spend more time at the workplace enjoying the work. This is an advantage in two ways because it gives the entrepreneur a sense of satisfaction and productivity increases. Managing Director Water World Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, Darshana De Zoysa, an entrepreneur also turned his childhood hobby into an entertainment enterprise successfully. more..

Jayawardene double flattens India

Nov 18 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene ground the Indian bowlers into the Ahmedabad dust, almost ruling out a defeat for Sri Lanka in the first Test. This was only the second time that Sri Lanka took a first-innings lead in India, and only the first time they crossed 450 in the country. Jayawardene's sixth double-century, and twelfth 150, was one of his easier ones because for more than half his innings India didn't try to take his wicket, more..

India’s worry over General Fonseka’s Presidency …

Nov 18 (DM) The Indian media in its reports earlier speculated that India’s Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee who is due to visit Sri Lanka in connection with the former Foreign Minister of SL Late Lakshman Kadirgamar’s memorial oration will be meeting President Mahinda Rajapakse and inquiring about the current political situation in the country vis a vis General Sarath Fonseka’s resignation. more..

A star without a turf

Nov 18 (DM) If President Mahinda Rajapaksa went ahead and announced the Presidential polls at Sunday’s party convention, the JVP was to hold a press conference on Monday announcing an official invitation to General (Retd) Sarath Fonseka to be the opposition candidate. This was to be followed by an endorsement by the UNP led UNA two days later. The plans have been wrapped up for the time being due to the change of circumstances. more..

'Lanka never made any claims over Andamans'

Nov 18 (PTI) Refuting reports that Sri Lanka made any claims over India's Andaman Islands, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has said the country was only seeking undersea sediment rights near the Islands. "On November 4, in response to a question that was raised (in the House), I never said that we are going to claim Andaman Islands or any of the Islands belonging to India," more..

Sri Lanka cuts interest rates to 5-year low

Nov 18 (AFP) Central bank on Wednesday cut its key interest rates to a five-year low in a bid to boost economic growth as the island recovers from decades of ethnic violence. The Central Bank lowered its benchmark repurchase rate by 50 basis points to 7.50 percent, while the reverse repurchase rate was cut by 75 basis points to 9.75 percent. "Benign inflation has enabled the Central Bank to gradually relax its monetary policy stance on several occasions (in 2009) in order to support economic activity," more..

UNF demands Presidential or any election be held

Nov 18 (Island) The UNF said yesterday that if President Mahinda Rajapaksa did not keep his word on holding elections, they would take their campaign to the streets. Leaders of the UNF, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Rauff Hakeem, Mangala Samaraweera, Sirimasiri Hapuarachchi and Sarath Manawadu told a news conference that President Mahinda Rajapaksa who had boasted of advancing the date of the Presidential Polls should not back track now. more..

Happy Birthday Mr President

Nov 18 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa celebrates his 64th birthday today and the fourth anniversary in assuming office as Executive President the same day. Many religious programmes are planned to celebrate and invoke blessings on the Head of State Island wide. Venerable Maha Sanga including Uduwe Dhammaloka thero chanted Seth Pirith at President’s House in the early hours of this morning to bless the President on his birthday. more..

Sri Lanka to do tourism master plan

Nov 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka is preparing a 10-year tourism master plan covering new infrastructure in former war zones and avoiding the haphazard development that happened in existing resort areas, an official said. S Kalaiselvam, director-general of the Tourism Authority, said a new master plan was needed to ensure planned, sustainable development of tourism in the island, which is emerging from a 30-year ethnic war. more..

Rajapakse: Now the most popular surname in Sri Lanka?

Nov 19 (GV) Banyan News Reporters (BNR) learns from the Registrar of Names that a record number of people in Sri Lanka are requesting a change in their surnames. Over the last few months, the Registrar of Names notes that most of the applicants have requested to change their surname to Rajapakse, or to add it on as an additional surname. “This is unprecedented. Never in my thirty years at the department have we had so many applicants” more..

The much anticipated return of IDPs: An eyewitness account

Nov 19 (GV) Last week a group of us got very rare access to some of the resettled areas in Mannar and Killinochchi. I also visited the different zones in Manik Farm (used to be called Manikkam Pannai). As we get to Vavuniya something that strikes me was the number of vehicles (buses and lorries) moving about with IOM stickers. IOM is the only agency that is allowed to shuttle the IDPs from Manik Farm to either to Vavuniya Urban Council (UC) ground or more..

Govt’s terrorist repression that ended Dwaraka’s dream for ‘gold’

Nov 19 (LT) Rasiah Dwaraka, a student from University of Peradeniya who was arrested by terrorist investigation unit on 12th November is still being detained. Her elder sister R. Wasanthala and her aunt visited her on the 16th. Later, together with another aunt they met Deputy Chairman of Committees in Parliament, JVP MP Ramalingam Chandrasekar and JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi more..

When life’s a minefield

Nov 19 (MAG) In late 2005 12-year-old Kokulan was playing with his sister and a friend in Pulipanjakal, a village in eastern Sri Lanka. With the curiosity typical of young boys he saw something buried in the ground and picked it up. In his hands was a deadly P-4 landmine. A few seconds later it exploded, taking Kokulan’s hand with it. His eight-year-old sister Puvitha lost an eye in the explosion, and their friend Nevetha, also eight, is now blind. more..

Classy Jayawardene leaves India clueless

Nov 19 (CI) It's a bowler's worst nightmare: A placid pitch and a master batsman seemingly incapable of playing a false stroke. It was Rahul Dravid on day one, lifting India out of a deep trench, and Mahela Jayawardene followed suit to give his team a vice-like grip on the game. From the start - and what better match to debut in than the 952-run-riot against India - Jayawardene has been a beautiful batsman to watch, one capable of playing every stroke in the book with real elegance. more..

183 'adults only' films taken out of circulation

Nov 19 (CT) The Public Performance Board has taken out of circulation 183 films that had been screened under the 'adult only' tag. PPB chairman Asoka Serasinghe said these films included imports from India, Hong Kong, western countries as well as 15 local productions. All these films had been approved by the PPB before 2000 and a second review determined their unsuitability due to adult content, he said. more..

Plans to release Tamils ‘Nothing but a political ploy’

Nov 19 (IPS) What could be better news for thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils displaced by bloody fighting between government troops and separatist rebels, and huddled in crowded camps with no freedom to move out? The government announced on Tuesday that it was speeding ahead to complete the process of resettling the displaced in two months. And that was all because of a radical change in the political firmament. more..

Sri Lanka ranked 97 in corruption perception index

Nov 19 (CT) Sri Lanka has been ranked 97th in the corruption perception index of Transparency International for this year. In a list of 180 countries, the global watchdog has ranked the island five notches down from the previous year. With a score of 3.1, the rampant corruption in the state sector makes Sri Lanka in serious need of a preventive mechanism, said TI’s Sri Lanka chief J.C. Weliamuna. more..

Man who killed son with axe under probe over missing wife

Nov 19 (CT) A man who had killed his son with an axe is under investigation over suspicion that he had murdered his wife in a similar manner many years ago. Police in Negombo unearthed the 26-year-old murdered youth’s body buried near his home at Katana recently. The son had had regular quarrels with the father over the mysterious disappearance of his mother more than 16 years ago, his sister has told the magisterial inquiry. more..

Indonesia backs down on Merak boat people

Nov 19 (SMH) The Indonesian Government has reversed its policy to swiftly deport Sri Lankan asylum seekers refusing to get off a boat in Merak and will now allow the UN to process them, a decision that may prove decisive in ending a five-week stand-off at the port. A meeting of Indonesian ministries and agencies on Tuesday resolved to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to process all 255 people who came on the boat, more..

Mangala, Sripathi plotted to kill President, claims Mervyn Silva

Nov 19 (CT) Labour Minister Mervyn Silva has claimed a plot by Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathi Sooriyarachchi to assassinate President Mahinda Rajapaksa, while they had been government ministers. Both had lost their ministerial positions after the exposure of the conspiracy, minister Perera said at the opening of a National Savings Bank branch in front of Rajamaha Vihara in Kelaniya today (Nov. 18). more..

Debrief News - 18.11.2009

Muddled thinking costs India

Nov 19 (CI) The picture became pretty much clear in the first 10 overs of the day, when MS Dhoni got Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra into the act. The idea may have been good but not the execution: neither bowler hustled, challenged, teased or troubled the batsman, and the captain didn't back them with attacking fields. The only beneficiaries were the Sri Lankans, who built on the momentum established on the second day by Tillakaratne Dilshan. more..

A visionary leader

Nov 19 (LG) A young man in a bush shirt and white slacks came into my office to meet one of my colleagues Obadaarachchi, a young graduate working with us. The year was 1970 and we were working for a senior SLFP Vice President, buddy to Premier S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, the legendary Badiudin Mahmud, then Education Minister of the United Front government of 1970 of Premier Sirimavo Bandaranaike. more..

Time to strengthen CWW Kannangara vision

Nov 19 (LG) Every human baby born to this world has the right to obtain an education. The article 26 of the Universal declaration of human rights clearly identifies education as a human right in itself as well as being an indispensable means of realizing other human rights. Article 26 of the universal declaration of human rights 1948 * (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. more..

The opposition needs common sense, not a common candidate

Nov 19 (GV) Much has been said, written and speculated about the anticipated presidential candidacy of General Sarath Fonseka. In my case, something good has come out of this SF for President business. I found the perfect Christmas gift for the so called opposition leadership (not much of an opposition and definitely not much of a leadership). I was browsing in this souvenir shop which sold everything from t-shirts to key tags to stuffed toys to whatever and more..

Sri Lanka is under "more positive circumstances" – UN

Nov 19 (LG) UN Under-Secretary -General for Humanitarian Affairs, Sir John Holmes, during his meeting with Foreign Minister Bogollagama, states that his current visit to Sri Lanka is under “more positive circumstances”. The UN Under-Secretary -General for Humanitarian Affairs, Sir John Holmes, who is on an official visit to Sri Lanka from 17th to 19th called on Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama more..

'Notion of common candidate depict a major bankruptcy in UNP and JVP'

Nov 19 (GDI) The growing rebellion within the UNP has weakened its leadership which has escalated to the degree of replacing Ranil Wickramasinghe with a common candidate, to contest an upcoming presidential election, said Minister T.B. Ekanayake. He noted that as a result of that, the UNP has lost its vote base drastically and the party has begun to slide because of its failure to understand its own role and the interests of the public. more..