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Sri Lanka's promise to free displaced must be followed by concrete action

Nov 24 (AI) Amnesty International has welcomed the government of Sri Lanka's promise to lift by 1 December any restrictions on movement of at least 130,000 people displaced by the war with the LTTE. "Now the Sri Lankan government needs to demonstrate that it will provide the displaced with necessary assistance such as shelter, food and security as they re-establish their homes," said Madhu Malhotra, deputy director of more..

India plunder 417 on opening day

Nov 24 (CI) It was a run orgy at the Green Park stadium in Kanpur. The first session witnessed a semblance of a battle, at least in the first hour, but the rest of the day was a one-way street, with India utterly dominant. Gautam Gambhir notched up his seventh hundred in nine Tests - and his fourth on the trot - Virender Sehwag completed a feisty century, Rahul Dravid was close to his ton and the end-of-day score was the highest in a day for India. more..

'Prepared to bring victory to Gen. Fonseka'

Police get wrong baby

Nov 24 (DM) In an amazing mix-up, police recovered another baby from adoptive parents, instead of the baby they had originally adopted. The incident was reported from Bakamuna in Polonnaruwa. A 17 year old single girl who lived in tract 506, Ekiriwewa, delivered a baby on October 30 at Polonnaruwa base hospital and had allegedly gone home without the child. When she was questioned by her mother about the whereabouts of the child she had replied that she gave her baby up for adoption. more..

With Sarath in the race, Mahinda must become centrist to govern

Nov 24 (DM) Even as this article is being penned on Monday morning, the nation awaits a much anticipated announcement on Monday night about a national election to be called, widely expected to be a presidential poll towards end January and election fever is on the rise. A general election is anyway due by latest mid next year. The entry of General Sarath Fonseka into the political fray has certainly jolted the political establishment and more..

Private sector calls for free and fair polls

Nov 24 (DM) The announcement of impending presidential elections yesterday drew mixed reactions from private sector industry heads, with the focus being on holding free and fair elections. They called for a sustainable development drive from whichever party that is elected, to maximise on peace dividends for economic growth. UPFA party leaders were summoned to an urgent meeting at Temple Trees last morning, where President Mahinda Rajapaksa informed them that more..

Sri Lankan Navy intercepts four vessels bound for Australia

Nov 24 (TA) THE Sri Lankan navy has seized four fishing boats carrying more than 100 asylum-seekers believed to be heading to Australia in the first concrete signs the Rudd government's appeal for help to reduce boat numbers is taking effect. Naval spokesman Athula Senarath told The Australian last night the four trawlers were detected in a combined naval, air and police operation launched two weeks ago, more..

'Economy should not be misinterpreted'

Nov 24 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said professionals should not interpret the country’s economy according to the political agendas of vested interests. “Certain people want to disrupt the economy and grab power and there are others who try to influence the academia to show that the economy has collapsed. “What has actually collapsed is not the economy but the political objectives of the concerned,” he said. more..

Ex-general to run against president: party

Nov 24 (AFP) Ex-military chief will challenge President Mahinda Rajapakse in upcoming elections, an opposition party said Tuesday, after the pair engineered the defeat of a bloody Tamil Tiger revolt. The JVP, which had earlier backed Rajapakse, said General Sarath Fonseka would stand against his former boss in a snap presidential election due between January 11 and February 13. "We came to an agreement last night that he will be the common opposition candidate," more..

Unprecedented UNF-JVP pact on General Fonseka sealed

Nov 24 (Island) Contrary to speculation in some politial circles as well as a section of the media over the past few days, the UNP-led United National Front (UNF) and the JVP have resolved a simmering dispute over a UNP condition that its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe should be the Prime Minister in a future caretaker government. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress and MP Mano Ganeshan’s Western People’s Front are UNF constituents. more..

Kohona adds to the Gen. Fonseka puzzle

Nov 24 (DM) In a strange twist of events and despite the Foreign Ministry earlier issuing a statement to the contrary, a Sri Lankan envoy now says the United States had not attempted to quiz former Army Commander and Chief of Defence Staff Sarath Fonseka. Sri Lanka’s United Nations Permanent Representative Palitha Kohona, told it had been conveyed to the highest levels that there was no such attempt by the US Homeland Security Department. more..

JVP extends conditional support to Fonseka

Nov 24 (Hindu) The JVP on Tuesday extended a conditional support for the candidature of the just retired General Sarath Fonseka if he chooses to be a Presidential candidate in the election scheduled in the second half of January. Ramalingham Chandrasekar, the JVP MP told The Hindu, “We are ready to back Gen. (retd) Fonseka as a candidate against the President Mahinda Rajapaksa if he agrees to our charter of demands. The charter has been conveyed to the retired General. more..

'Corporate debt killed by nuisance tax'

Nov 25 (LBO) The corporate debt market in Sri Lanka is being held back by the complex way a tax is charged by the government which has killed secondary market trading in debt securities, market participants have said. Unlike loans, debt securities can be sold to another buyer in the secondary market allowing a quick exit mechanism, for buyers. "There is no way a primary market can develop without a secondary market," more..

Cohn: Long arm of Sri Lanka's Toronto envoy

Nov 25 (TS) Sri Lanka's conflict is over, and yet it isn't – not there, and not here. A weekend protest by Tamil Canadians outside the Sri Lankan consulate general in midtown Toronto was a distant echo of demonstrations that blocked University Ave. and brought the Gardiner Expressway to a crawl last spring. The consul general wasn't at his desk on a Saturday. But he remains an unusually high profile – and undiplomatically meddling – presence in this town, more..

Lankan ‘make-up women’ escape with jewellery

Nov 25 (EB) A Sri Lankan woman on Monday requested the suburban police to help get back her daughter’s eight-sovereign gold jewellery after two Lankan women who were hired to apply make-up, escaped with the jewellery at Maduravoyal. Indrani (52) had been living in Chennai since 2006. On November 9, during her younger daughter Dharmini’s wedding, she had hired Sugitha, a Sri Lankan woman, to apply make-up for her elder daughter Chendini. more..

Tamil group calls for global vote on independent state

Nov 25 (CBC) The Tamil organization that fought a bloody decades-long war with the Sri Lankan government said it is planning on holding a December referendum in Canada and around the world on the question of an independent Tamil state. The LTTE were defeated after a 23-year battle with the Sri Lankan military in May but continue to operate internationally. In Canada, the federal government has listed the group as a terrorist organization since 2006. more..

Galleon's Rajaratnam denies inside trading charges

Nov 25 (Reuters) Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire founder of Galleon Group, on Tuesday rejected federal insider trading charges, and accused the government of violating his constitutional rights with its use of wiretaps. Rajaratnam denied allegations in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission complaint that he conducted insider trading in securities of Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Akamai Technologies Inc, more..

Debrief News - 24.11.2009

India delight in Delhi double-act

Nov 25 (CI) It was just a brief chat but its importance increased as the day went on. Midway through the 21st over Virender Sehwag walked up to Gautam Gambhir and said a few words. Gambhir listened patiently and nodded in response. The previous ball, Muttiah Muralitharan had drawn Gambhir out with a well-flighted off break. Gambhir, a few runs short of his half-century, stepped out and tried unsuccessfully to hit him over mid-on. more..

Trevor Bayliss sticks by decision to play three spinners

Nov 25 (CI) There was little for Sri Lanka to feel happy about. One of the rare moments of celebration came when Muttiah Muralitharan dived to pick a spectacular catch to get rid of Gautam Gambhir, who was marching towards his double century. But Gambhir and Virender Sehwag had already heavily damaged the morale of the Sri Lankan bowlers with a brilliant 233-run opening partnership. The most disheartening aspect, probably, for the Sri Lankans was the slowness of the pitch, more..

Security provided as requested for General

Nov 25 (AD) Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara denied the speculations and reports disseminated by the media on the security provided to the retired CDS General Sarath Fonseka at a media briefing held today. He revealed that Retired Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka has requested 01 Commando officer, 20 Commando other rankers, 03 officers and 50 soldiers of Sinha Regiment 10 other Drivers and 05 members of women corps, more..

Fonseka files FR petition seeking adequate security

Nov 25 (TN) General Sarath Fonseka, former commander of the Sri Lanka Army and Chief of Defence Staff, Tuesday filed a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition in the Supreme Court seeking the court to order the government to provide adequate security and also to direct the government to allow him to stay in his official residence. He stated in the petition that he has come to court as the government is not complying with the request made by him. more..

Neelambari Perumal plays journalist in debut whodunit "Bombay Mittai"

Nov 25 (Hindu) Neelambari Perumal is no stranger to social issues. In fact, she has experienced the trauma that a committed social worker’s family faces while pursuing a genuine cause. Life can’t be different for the daughter of former chief minister of North East Provincial Council in Sri Lanka and Tamil leader Varadaraja Perumal who had to spend a major part of his life in exile fearing the guns of the LTTE. more..

Bail pending appeal by Tissanayagam postponed

Nov 25 (CT) Imprisoned journalist J.S. Tissanayagam had a bail pending appeal filed by him postponed until November 25. He is serving a 20 year rigorous prison term after the Colombo High Court convicted him of a charge of supporting terrorism. The journalist has filed an appeal in the court of appeal against the sentence. In his bail pending appeal, he has noted that he had on no occasion resorted to violence in any form. more..

Security advisor seeks commandos for Lankan players

Nov 25 (PTI) The chief security officer of the Sri Lankan cricket team has demanded a commondo cover for the players when they arrive to play the third one-dayer against hosts India on December 21 in Cuttack. The Kalinga Sena has threatened to disrupt the match. The officer L Fernando today met the Police Commissioner Bhubaneswar-Cuttack B K Sharma and said he was satisfied by the security arrangements made in and around the hotel and Barabati stadium, more..

A wobbly bridge (Or is it a footpath?) From the Tamil diaspora

Nov 25 (GV) For a long time I didn’t think of myself as being a part of the Tamil Diaspora. I had this vague feeling that I was going to go back home some day. Even when it was pretty obvious that I was not going back, I still didn’t want to identify myself as a member of the Diaspora. For me, acknowledging that I was a part of the Diaspora meant closing the door on my life in Colombo. Forever. more..

Media, journalists in Jaffna issued with death threat again

Nov 25 (TN) Two black-helmeted persons arriving on motor cycles Tuesday around 7:00 p.m to the offices of Yaazh Thinakkural, Uthayan and Valampuri Tamil dailies in Jaffna issued a letter threatening the lives of their journalists and officials for publishing false news about ‘terrorists’, causing confusion among the residents of Jaffna peninsula, sources in Jaffna said. The letters signed, ‘Alliance Protecting Tamils’, accused the media and its reporters in Jaffna for more..

Fonseka takes on Rajapaksa

Nov 25 (DP) Two unthinkable events occurred recently in Sri Lanka. First, the comprehensive defeat of the invincible LTTE at the hands of the Sri Lankan Army; second, a power struggle following differences between the principal architects of victory, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former Army Commander, Gen Sarath Fonseka, popularly called ‘Saviour of the Nation’ and ‘War Hero’, respectively. more..

Feuding Winners

Nov 25 (TOI) Politics in Sri Lanka has assumed a sudden urgency with President Mahinda Rajapakse calling for early presidential elections. The election, expected in January 2010, comes two years ahead of schedule. Rajapakse and his allies believe that an early election will help the coalition to tap popular sentiment in favour of the government, after the defeat of the LTTE. However, the January election is unlikely to be a runaway affair for Rajapakse. more..

Voting rights for Tamils key: Rajapaksa

Nov 25 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday told heads of the local print and electronic media that his decision to advance the presidential election by two years was prompted by his desire to restore universal franchise to the Tamil civilians. Also on Tuesday, the ultra nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) extended conditional support for the candidature of General (retired) Sarath Fonseka. more..

Customs cuts fuel import taxes further

Nov 25 (BL) The Department of Customs, following a directive by the Treasury has recently reduced import taxes on petrol and diesel. The total import tax reduction has been revised to Rs. 19 on petrol and Rs. 12 on diesel, while the duty which is now applicable, is Rs.16 for petrol and Rs. 3 for diesel. However, The Bottom Line learns from a high ranking official attached to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) that the revision of import taxes was apparently a mistake on the part of the Treasury. more..

'No clear vision or mission for fisheries'

Nov 25 (BL) A senior expert in fisheries has criticised the fishery organisations in Sri Lanka saying that it lacks vision based on the values of the fishing industry, while the mission statement does not take into account of the actual stakeholders. K. B. S. Wijayaratne, Consultant in Leadership and Group Dynamics says that some of the fishery organisations need to re-visit their vision and mission statements and articulate them to obtain their full commitment over a sustained period of time. more..

Reform executive Presidency – MR

Nov 25 (BL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he believes the current Executive presidency needs changes, but its total abolition could lead to political instability in the country. He was answering questions raised at a meeting he had with the newspaper editors and heads of media institutions at Temple Trees. The President further said that post-independent Sri Lanka in its early period witnessed frequent collapse of governments and more..

Plantation worker wage hike affects RPC performance

Nov 25 (BL) The Richard Pieris Group recorded a Turnover of Rs 5.2 bn for the quarter ending September 30, 2009. The Turnover for the six months ending September 30, 2009 was Rs 10 bn, resulting in a Group Operating Profit of Rs 460 mn and a Loss After Tax of Rs 236 mn. Reported results were mainly affected by a charge of Rs 659 mn, consequent to a wage increase in the Plantation Sector in September 2009. more..

Islandwide teachers’ protest today

Nov 25 (BL) The Ceylon Teachers’ Services Union (CTSU) is to conduct an islandwide protest campaign this afternoon urging the government to resolve salary anomalies and pay long overdue arrears. “This protest is going to be about the Rs.3,000 million that was allocated by the budget proposal last year to solve the salary anomalies of teachers and principals, along with finding solutions for other problems that teachers are faced with at present,” more..

End of the road for the armed struggle in Sri Lankan politics

Nov 25 (LG) In 1970 we were outnumbered by the JVPers in the University. Their ‘revolutionary message’ was spreading like wildfire among the students. We used to read out passages from Lenin’s Left Wing Communism: An ‘Infantile Disorder’ but it fell on deaf ears. We were branded as traitors. I was told that I would be sent to Jaffna to grow onions and a few of us were also sentenced to death, to be carried out after the victory. more..

A call to the Muslims of Sri Lanka

Nov 25 (LG) Now that there is a presidential election declared, who will win is the question in the minds of the electorate of Sri Lanka , be it the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and or all others who have the right of franchise in Sri Lanka , the right to vote. Respecting the political trend and analysing the build-up of all political/governance issues facing the Nation since the presidential elections of 2005, what ever may come, Mahinda Rajapaksa will win again. more..

Coastal Rising

Some ideas for Good Governance

Nov 25 (LG) The Government has declared that the war is over. So we need not go in search of peace. What is needed is a search to move the country forward on good footings to eliminate the unrest or turmoil in the country and prepare a way forward to meet the aspirations of the people that would allow them to lead a happy and prosperous life. Currently the need of the country/nation is good governance coupled with real democracy in its real sense for speedy development. more..

Mississippi burning

Nov 25 (LG) On the 5th of November 2009 a mob led by some extremist monks attacked the Jesus Never Fails Good News Centre, No.351, Kaduwela Rd, Koswatta, Battaramulla, Sri Lanka. This event had been captured on a film and broadcast worldwide. This incident brought Sri Lanka a huge black mark damaging the country’s image. We were seen as a society, which is hostile and intolerant to religious and ethnic diversity. In this film we see Rev Athraliye Rathana, more..