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Anti-fraud measures cause delays in VAT refunds

Nov 21 (Island) Responding to criticism that the Inland Revenue Department was delaying VAT refunds, Commissioner General of IR Mahinda Medagoda yesterday said that they had been forced to take a series of measures to thwart fraudulent activities. Medagoda said that delays would be inevitable due to what he called recently introduced checking methods. Medagoda acknowledged that the Auditor General had recommended measures to curb illegal payments. more..

Police will question Lanka editor over alleged attempt on Fonseka’s life

Nov 21 (Island) Director General of the Media Centre for National Security Lakshman Hulugalle yesterday said the police had launched an investigation following media reports of an alleged attempt to assassinate retired Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka. He said that Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa had directed IGP Mahinda Balasuriya to conduct an inquiry. He said that the government would also investigate press reports that more..

Tamil activists' shock on return to Jaffna

Nov 21 (BBC) It has been six months since the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka, but normality has yet to return to the Tamil cultural heartland of Jaffna, activists and former residents say. Groups of former Tamil residents and media activists recently visited Jaffna. It was an emotional and nostalgic journey for Nirmala Rajasingham - the first woman to be detained under Sri Lanka's anti-terror laws in 1982 - when she visited her home town after nearly three decades. more..

Zoo to be refurbished to accomodate new animals

Nov 21 (DM) Sri Lanka National zoo at Dehiwala does not have enough space to accommodate new animals, therefore the zoo authorities are planning to refurbish the zoo premises according to a master plan on completion of the new zoo in Pinnawala and the Safari park in Ridiyagama Hambantota, Director of the national zoo Duminda Jayaratne said. He further said that they received Rs 120 million for the Pinnawala zoo construction and more..

‘I will dedicate myself for the motherland in whatever circumstances’

Nov 21 (LT) In a special communique addressing the war heroes General Sarath Fonseka states that he will dedicate his life in whatever circumstances to restore the democracy that is weakening in the motherland, and to safeguard human rights, media freedom, social justice and communal harmony. His complete communique is as follows : The message issued by General Sarath Fonseka after his retirement from more..

CHOGM to address Sri Lanka refugee issue

Nov 21 (AAP) Foreign Minister Stephen Smith will sound out his Commonwealth counterparts on ways to help stem the flow of refugees from Sri Lanka. Mr Smith is travelling to Trinidad and Tobago for a meeting of foreign ministers beginning on Tuesday that will prepare the ground for this week's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Port of Spain. Along with climate change and the global economy, the refugee issue is on CHOGM's agenda on the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth. more..

Jaffna exporters eye global markets

Nov 21 (DN) A three-day familiarization program is being held in Colombo for 20 entrepreneurs from Jaffna. The event, aimed at promoting export-oriented enterprises in the North, will end on Monday. Speaking at the inauguration of this program yesterday, Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof G. L. Peiris said the Government was committed to raising the living standards of the people of the North. more..

Minority groups from Sri Lanka to meet in Zurich

Nov 21 (Hindu) In the first of its kind, representatives of the Sri Lanka Tamil and Muslim parties including the pro-LTTE TNA are meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, to take stock of the ground situation in the post-Prabakaran island nation. Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda, who heads the EPDP, told BBC Tamil Service from Zurich that though there is no fixed agenda, the objective behind the conference was to more..

General Fonseka meets US Ambassador in Colombo

Nov 21 (DM) Retired Chief of Defense Staff General Sarath Fonseka met with the United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Patricia Butenis this afternoon, sources close to the General told Daily Mirror online. The purpose behind the discussion was not known. The US Embassy in Sri Lanka neither denied nor confirmed if such a meeting took place. The meeting comes in the backdrop of recent reports the US had attempted to use General Fonseka to file human rights charges against more..

Govt.dismisses reports

Nov 21 (DM) Media Centre for National Security Director General Lakshman Hulugalle said former CDS General Sarath Fonseka had not been given a date to leave the official residence and refuted claims that the Defence Ministry was obstructing General Fonseka in finding a suitable place of residence. “If someone wants to find a place to live in Colombo it’s very easy. They should not have any difficulty and we are not doing anything to make it inconvenient for him,” he said. more..

Rajapaksa orders resettlement of war displaced

Nov 21 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered the resettlement of every single displaced person in the war between the security forces and the LTTE, which concluded exactly six months ago, by January 31. Senior Presidential Advisor and MP Basil Rajapaksa, who visited the Menik Farm welfare village in Vavuniya on Saturday morning, made the announcement on behalf of the President. more..

Election Season

Nov 22 (AT) The government is expected to gazette the Presidential election on Monday. Minister Maitripala Sirisena has hinted that the delay (the announcement was expected last Sunday, at the SLFP Convention) is due to astrological factors, ever a potent force in Lankan politics. According to the para-JVP paper Lanka, until recently the government expected the oft-defeated Ranil Wickremesinghe to be its main challenger at the Presidential election. more..

LTTE’s Tamilnet struggling to comprehend the reality

Nov 22 (LG) Post liquidation of the LTTE’s military might has put its powerful English medium Tamilnet in quandary. With the loss of LTTE mechanisms in Sri Lanka, the website has become a forum to reproduce news published elsewhere and occasionally publish its own news and views of pro-LTTE sentiments to reflect its allegiance to the LTTE’s lost cause. Instead of playing consensus politics even with the LTTE support base, more..

'Plot to kill General Sarath Fonseka'

Nov 22 (LG) One of the Tamil politicians who is close to the government is said to have brought a women suicide bomber as part of a plot to kill General Sarath Fonseka- the former Chief of Sri Lanka Army, who led the military mission to liquidate the LTTE military might. According to the weekly newspaper “Lanka”, based in Colombo, ‘the women suicide bomber identified as Vasanthi who has strong links to a Tamil politician had been given accommodation and facilities to live in Colombo. more..

“Political decisions in a war and crisis situation”

Nov 22 (LG) War is an armed conflict between two or more non congruous communities aimed at recognising subsequently designated geopolitical desired result. Carl Von Clausewtz described it as intercourse carried on with other means and war in general terms is aware between fractions of civilians in a crisis. Crisis situation arises when the country enters into a dangerous social economic environment. more..

Former President Chandrika visits Sudath Silva's Rajatha Dekma photo exhibition

Nov 22 (IL) Former President Mrs Chandrika Bandaranayake Kumaratunga visited 'Rajatha Dekma' photographic exhibition held at the National Art Gallery, Colombo organised by Sudath Silva. She had a opportunity to have a glimpse of her photographs taken by Sudath Silva during her tenure at the office as Executive President of Sri Lanka. Mrs. Kumaratunga is seen here with Sudath Silva admiring photos of past Sri Lankan Presidents more..

No JVP Support For UNF ‘Common Candidate’

Nov 22 (SL) The JVP would not support a common candidate at the next presidential election if he were to contest from the UNF. JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath told The Sunday Leader that the JVP would not support any common candidate if he contests the election from the UNP led UNF. The JVP maintains that the common candidate should be an independent individual respected by the people and not affiliated to any political party. more..

Govt. Woos UNP National Organiser S.B.

Nov 22 (SL) The government has approached UNP National Organiser S.B. Dissanayake with various offers to woo his support towards the governing party. Dissanayake it is learnt has been offered many important posts in the government if he agreed to join it. It was reported that Dissanayake was even offered the post of Prime Minister after the next general election if he joined the government and coordinated the President’s campaign for the next presidential election. more..

Marching Orders

Nov 22 (SL) As you peruse today’s papers – no doubt in the comfort of your favourite armchair, sofa, or deck chair, please spare a thought for those less fortunate than yourselves. Take some time to think about those who in this relentlessly wet weather are left to manage without even a solid roof over their heads: Colombo’s unfortunate beggars, the Wanni’s IDPs, and of course Sarath Fonseka. As of today, the former Chief of Defense Staff will join this nation’s ever-increasing ranks of homeless itinerants, more..

Bringing Back The Child

Nov 22 (SL) As you walk between the rows of neatly-made bunk beds, with their colourful sheets, stuffed animals, and clothes hung up to dry, it’s hard to imagine that the children who sleep here were fighting for the LTTE less than a year ago. These children — boys and girls aged 13-18 — were forcibly conscripted by the Tamil Tigers during the final, desperate months of Eelam War IV, when the Tigers sent wave after wave of poorly-trained children against the advancing Sri Lanka Army. more..

Fonseka Booted (Exclusive Interview)

Nov 22 (SL) Speaking exclusively to The Sunday Leader General Sarath Fonseka bitterly recounted his ordeal last week. Having been ordered to vacate ‘Generals’ House’ by today, Fonseka was given a mere week to find alternative housing. “Contrary to all previous false reports I allowed my predecessors both General Shantha Kottegoda and Donald Perera to continue in this house for three and a half months after they had retired from service” Fonseka said, more..

Fonseka to court

Nov 22 (LB) General Sarath Fonseka will file a fundamental rights case this week requesting for more security personnel in his security contingent. General Sarath Fonseka had been offered 25 security men as an initial measure comprising eight soldiers in each shift. It is reported that he had requested for 100 security personnel from President Mahinda Rajapaksa when he met the latter recently. But the government has given him 62 security personnel comprising two officers, more..

Guess what? We are asked to guess

Nov 22 (LB) We have a new worthless pastime in Sri Lanka now. It’s called: “Guess the Date of the Presidential Election”. (This replaces the previous worthless pastimes of 2009 which were called “Guess the Conspiracy Theory”). Every week, several ministers amuse themselves by vaguely telling the media that the president will “soon reveal” a) whether a presidential election will precede a parliamentary one b) whether he will hold a presidential election at all and more..

Showtime over coup-time

Nov 22 (LB) The untold story of this week is that the government is acting as if there is a substantial fear of a coup, even though Gen Sarath Fonseka has already resigned from the army. No one will know of course —- at least not until history is written in 20 years time —- whether the government has some real information about a possible coup threat, even an iota of it, or whether it is advantageous for the government to act as if there is an imminent coup. more..

Chief Priest denies making poltical plans for General

Nov 22 (LB) He has been widely rumoured in some quarters to have made the plans to bring Gen Sarath Fonseka into poltics, but Chief Incumbent of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya (temple) Professor and Most Venerable Kollupitiye Mahinda Sangharakkitha thera only says that even former Army Commander and General Sarath Fonseka would have an inalienable right to enter politics, as with any other individual in a democracy. more..

3 Shocking Cases: SSP Vaas rides high

Nov 22 (LB) Three incidents in the recent past marred the reputation of the police, and brought to the fore the dangerous levels of impunity in the country. The first one was the attack on Nipuna Ramanayaka of the Malabe SLIIT institute by Ravindu Gunawardana, son of SSP Vaas Gunawardana, director of Colombo Crimes Division, and a group of police officers from the CCD. more..

Editorial: Tamil refugees

Nov 22 (AN) The Sri Lankan government appears on target to release by the end of January 2010 the 136,000 Tamil refugees it still holds in military-run camps. Perhaps in response to UN pressure, it announced Saturday that from now on, people will be able to leave the camps for a few days to visit friends and relatives but must then return to detention. This presumably signals the fact that the authorities have completed the screening of the camp populations to weed out Tamil Tiger fighters from their midst. more..

Tamil Eelam: Historical right to nationhood

Nov 22 (LG) Sri Lanka—formerly Ceylon, in English, and Serendib in Arabic (which gave rise to the word serendipity)—is commonly referred to as the “pearl of the orient” due to its beauty and wealth of natural resources, flora and fauna. Today, it is a land torn apart by hatred: racist government policies, ethnic cleansing, and terror war just ended albeit continuing in the form of incarceration of hundreds of thousands of Tamil people in the north. more..

Sri Lanka’s new found friends: Looking for love in all the wrong places

Nov 22 (GV) Reading about GOSL’s latest foreign foray is like venturing into an oncologist’s office; you suspect that there is something wrong with your system but you hope that it’s nothing serious. But, deep down you know that you will be looking at some serious chemotherapy and at least a few doses of radiation. You try to come to terms with the impending gloom of the loss of hair; the loss of appetite and the nausea. more..

'Future bleak, but do not give up,' veteran Marxist reviewed

Nov 22 (TN) “Fifty years of ethnic cleansing have wiped out whole generations who knew any sort of peace, and made cohabitation with the Sinhalese people virtually impossible,” says veteran Marxist A.Sivanandan on the political future of the island of Sri Lanka in an interview to the New Left Review 60, November-December 2009. The 87 years old ideologue, who in his younger days “had no sense at all of being a Tamil” while living in the south, and more..

Colombo announces new phase of 'IDP management'

Nov 22 (TN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother and advisor Basil Rajapaksa MP on Saturday announced that the Tamils held in the internment camps of Vavuniyaa would be free, starting from December 01, to go and live wherever they want to or to choose whether they want to continue to remain inside the camps. Tamil sources in Vavuniyaa view the announcement with scepticism describing it as an 'election gimmick' while more..

Protest unsettles Victoria's Secret's catwalk

Nov 22 (TN) Several American Tamil activists protested in front of the midtown Manhattan New York State armory building where Victoria's Secret catwalk event was being held Thursday evening. While celebrities were arriving to attend the popular event, the protesters highlighted the Corporation's trade with Sri Lanka as aiding and abetting crimes against humanity, and war-crimes. more..

PM explains investment sphere to Singaporean Chamber

Nov 22 (GDI) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake has revealed that many investment opportunities are available in the agricultural, dairy farming, fisheries and tourism sectors. He was speaking at a meeting organized at his office recently. The meeting was held in view of the arrival of a group of representatives from the Chamber of Commerce of Singapore. The delegation comprises 22 members. more..

Post-war North-East fast returning to self-sufficiency

Nov 22 (MoD) Many lives have been lost, tens of thousands of people disabled while millions suffered due to the bloody LTTE war which was crushed by a humanitarian operation by the government last May. The damage to the economy, especially to the industries and the enterprises will run in to several billions. The conflict also held back development plans by the government for the north east while high revenue generating institutions more..

Support for LTTE fades in UK

Nov 22 (MoD) High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom, Justice Nihal Jayasinghe said that the momentum the LTTE had during the war is now fading. "During the height of the war one could see nearly 20, 000 LTTE supporters and sympathizers in protest for the movement," he said. "However now the London Police estimates that this number has come down to 5,000," he said. He said that the protesters are now talking about IDPs and more..

Secretary Defence joins his former regiment

Nov 22 (MoD) The Secretary of Defence, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa graced the final grandeur of the Corps of Signals' 66th Anniversary Celebrations when he was felicitated as the Chief Guest during the Signal Officers' Get-together on 21 November 2009. The occasion turned out to be an ideal reunion for the Secretary of Defence with his former Regiment since he commenced his military career as a Second Lieutenant of the Sri Lanka Signals Corps on 25 May 1972. more..

“We have not just resettled the people for the sake of resettling them”

Nov 22 (SLW) In an exclusive interview with Sri Lanka Watch, Governor of Northern Province, Maj. Gen. G.A. Chandrasiri - a leading governmental resettlement coordinating official, shared his take on the current return process, plight of IDPs and post-resettlement issues. More than 135,000 have returned already, he said adding that several tens of thousands were resettled within last several weeks and more..

Children and Disability Batticaloa

Suranga’s road to Kamala

Nov 22 (ST) Trailing a shimmering shawl and dressed to kill, Suranga Ranawaka is a picture of glamour, something that is only emphasised by her surroundings – a newspaper office in the middle of a working week. In fact, you might be hard pressed to identify the perfectly turned out young woman as the same one who stood by a checkpoint not so long ago, hair yanked back and braided into a stiff plait, face full of distrust. But Suranga has travelled a long way since then, more..

Better trade ties between Sri Lanka and Japan

Nov 22 (LP) Japan-Sri Lanka Business Co-operation Community 15th joint meeting of the Sri Lanka-Japan and Japan-Sri Lanka Business Co-operation Committee has given rise to several bilateral economic agreements that could promote and strengthen relations between the two countries for further growth in many potential sectors. Japanese investors are confident in investing in Sri Lanka with a high level of investments. more..