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General Fonseka to announce his future plans soon

Nov 25 (DM) Former Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka is to announce his future plans soon. The General told Express news the next few hours will be the most crucial hours in his life adding that that the government does not want him to go to the media. “They are trying to turn the people against me and to some extent they’ve been successful. They asked me to vacate my official residence on November 22. I could not find an alternative accommodation so far. more..

Fonseka challenges Gota in Court

Nov 25 (LNP) Former Army Commander and Chief of Defence Staff Sarath Fonseka yesterday filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court seeking adequate security and secure quarters. He named Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Army Commander, the Inspector General of Police, the Acting Chief of Defence Staff, Presidential Secretary and the Attorney General as respondents. more..

Dengue has affected 75 percent of Colombo’s children

Nov 25 (DN) The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has discovered that 75 percent of the children below the age of 12 living in Colombo city limits have been infected with the dengue virus and there is a possibility of those with weak immune systems, being vulnerable to the disease, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. He said it was discovered during a recent study by the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry. more..

Canadian tourist to sue Kataragama UDA

Nov 25 (DN) A Canadian female tourist hopes to claim compensation from the Kataragama Urban Development Authorities for a leg injury caused by falling into an unprotected manhole in Kataragama town. The tourist who arrived in the island a few days ago had come to Kataragama to visit sacred places including the Kataragama Maha Devalaya and Kiriwehera in the sacred city. After visiting these places she had come to Kataragama Town to purchase some goods. more..

Presidential polls, risks and pitfalls

Nov 25 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has thrown down the gauntlet but the Opposition is still all at sea, unable to decide who should pick it up. It is believed that former army chief Gen. (retd) Sarath Fonseka will be the Opposition's common candidate. But, no official announcement of his candidature has so far been made. Nor is it known whether he will represent the Opposition as a whole or only the UNF. more..

Sri Lanka Jan-Sept trade gap narrows 60 pct

Nov 25 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's trade deficit for the first nine months of 2009 narrowed 60 percent to $1.85 billion, the central bank said on Wednesday, as the island nation recovers from the global financial crisis and the end of a 25-year war. Exports in the Jan-Sept period fell 16.8 percent to $5.12 billion amid the global trade downturn, while imports dipped 35.3 percent $6.97 billion, compared to a year earlier. more..

Lewke launches 'police mission' in Northern Province

Nov 25 (MoD) The Northern Province Police have launched a programme to implement the mission 'Friendly Police' with a slogan 'Oba Wenuwen Api - Sri Lanka Police' to win the confidence of the people in this battered province. Northern Province Police led by S/DIG Nimal Lewke has identified the present role of the Police in the North where the people had suffered tremendous hardships during three decades of war. more..

Fonseka’s campaign to be spearheaded by combined UNF committee

Nov 25 (Island) Opposition common candidate Sarath Fonseka’s election propaganda would be spearheaded by a committee comprising all United National Front constituent parties. The UNF would conduct the propaganda at national level while the JVP would conduct it at the village level, sources said. Though all constituent parties of the UNF had reached an agreement to project Fonseka as the common candidate to contest the Presidency, more..

Clergy Association to support Sri Lanka President at election

Nov 25 (LNP) The All Ceylon Clergy Association Secretary Ven. Vatinapaha Somananda Thera yesterday said they would organize a campaign to get the support of the clergy, laymen and the laywomen to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa s victory at the forthcoming Presidential election. Ven. Somananda Thera said President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the only leader who did not succumb to external influences in the fight against LTTE terrorism. more..

UPFA leaders pledge wholehearted support to President

Nov 25 (DN) UPFA leaders expressing their wholehearted support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the forthcoming Presidential election, predicted a clear victory with a larger majority of votes for the President. Minister Maithripala Sirisena said four years back when President Rajapaksa took charge of the country UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had bequeathed a divided country, heaps of bodies and killings, more..

editorial: Which way the North

Nov 25 (DM) It sounds quite a noble idea, or at least that’s how it appears, when President Mahinda Rajapaksa says that one of the reasons to hold premature presidential polls is to provide an opportunity to the people in the North and the East to elect a president of their choice. It also goes without saying that to call for elections President also must have got some assurance that he can muster more votes in the two provinces than his key opponent. more..

Rs. 25 million spent on renovating VIP bungalow

Nov 25 (DM) An audit conducted by the Auditor’s General’s Department has found that a VIP bungalow at Chandrika Wewa in Emibilipitiya had been renovated early this year, at a cost of Rs. 25.3 million thus violating the government’s financial regulations. The audit had revealed that nearly one million rupees had been wasted on unnecessary purchases while Rs.970,165 had been spent to purchase grass for the overhead helipad installed on the bungalow and more..

Foreign Ambassadors including Indian High Commissioner visit Jaffna

Nov 25 (TN) Newly appointed Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Mr. Ashok K. Kantha is on a two-day visit to Jaffna while the Ambassadors of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea to Sri Lanka paid a sudden visit to Jaffna Wednesday accompanied by high officials from their embassies, sources in Jaffna said. The sudden visits of foreign emissaries to Jaffna prior to the Presidential election in January have raised questions among the residents of Jaffna peninsula, more..

Sri Lanka steady after India amass 642

Nov 25 (CI) Rahul Dravid laid the platform for the hosts with a serene, yet commanding 144 before Yuvraj Singh and VVS Laxman hit fluent fifties to lead India to a position of immense strength in Kanpur. India consolidated their position further by removing Tillakaratne Dilshan for a first-ball duck, and would also have been boosted by a probing spell from Harbhajan Singh and an encouraging one from Pragyan Ojha. more..

Third candidate enters race in Sri Lanka's presidential election

Nov 25 (Xinhua) A third candidate entered the race of Sri Lanka's presidential election on Wednesday while the election date is yet to be announced. Wickramabahu Karunaratna of the Left Front called himself the common left candidate pitted against incumbent President Mahinda Rajapakse and the main opposition candidate yet to be named. more..

'Galleon sells Commercial Bank shares'

Nov 25 (BN) Galleon Group LLC, the U.S. hedge-fund firm that’s liquidating after founder Raj Rajaratnam was charged with insider trading, sold shares in Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc last week, according to Sri Lanka’s securities regulator. The hedge fund sold holdings in other Sri Lankan companies earlier, Udayasri Kariyawasam, chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka said, without providing details. more..

Sri Lanka’s exports fall in September for 10th straight month

Nov 25 (BN) Sri Lanka’s exports declined in September for the 10th straight month on reduced shipments of tea, rubber, textiles and garments. Overseas sales fell 12.8 percent to $568.2 million from $651.8 million a year earlier, after declining 6.7 percent in August. The faltering export from Sri Lanka, which makes garments for Marks & Spencer Group Plc, Gap Inc. and Victoria’s Secret indicates economic recovery is still weak in developed markets. more..

‘I alone can abolish executive presidency; I alone need to do so’

Nov 25 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa told heads of media institutions and newspaper editors that he alone could abolish the executive presidency and he alone had a genuine desire to do so during his second term. His government was contemplating constitutional reforms and he personally believed the Executive President should be responsible to Parliament, more..

Gen. Fonseka to form new political party

Nov 25 (Xinhua) Former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka is to form a new political party soon to accelerate his campaign against incumbent President Mahinda Rajapakse in the presidential polls next year, sources close to Fonseka said Wednesday. Fonseka will lead the opposition as their common candidate under a new symbol. The newly formed Opposition Alliance UNF, JVP and all other Tamil minority parties who had discussions with Fonseka had agreed to support him more..

'Only one team can lose from here'

Nov 26 (CI) This was a traipse back down memory lane to the 1990s when India's batsmen would pile up huge totals before vacating the stage for their slow bowlers to systematically demolish the opposition. At least, India will be hoping the script plays out that way. The batsmen have done their part, putting 642 on the board at a cracking pace and with the pitch already showing signs of deterioration, the onus is now on Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha more..

Sri Lanka seeks to expand plantations

Nov 26 (LBO) The government wants to encourage rubber and coconut cultivation outside traditional areas of production, Plantations Industries Minister D M Jayaratne said. He said there was high demand for land to grow coconut in the east, after the end of the ethnic war made cultivation there commercially viable. The eastern province and Anuradhapura, in the north-central province, is also being considered for rubber cultivation because more..

Sri Lanka says move to fair value accounting difficult

Nov 26 (LBO) The global move towards fair value accounting might prove difficult for south Asian countries as they lack active markets to support such valuations, a senior Sri Lankan accountant said. Reyaz Mihular, chairman of the Accounting and Auditing Standards Committee of South Asian Federation of Accountants, said a key point of discussion at a meeting of the regional body in Colombo was new trends in Financial Reporting Standards. more..

Foreign reserves US$5.2bn in November

Nov 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's foreign reserves had climbed to 5.2 billion US dollars by November 20, helped by strong capital inflows and IMF loans, the Central Bank said. Gross official reserves were at 4,822 million US by end October 2009. Reserves were at 5.045 million US dollars with balances at Asian Clearing Union, a regional settlement arrangement. 247 million US dollars had come into government Treasury bills and more..

Sri Lanka will not collect back taxes from war torn areas: official

Nov 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka's revenue office will not collect back-taxes from areas that have emerged from a 30-years war but will set up branches to start tax collection as economic activities pick up, an official said. "We are not trying to collect taxes due in previous years," commissioner general of Sri Lanka's Inland Revenue Department Mahinda Medagoda told a meeting of revenue officials in Colombo. more..

Rights groups blame gov’t apathy for migrant woes

Nov 26 (IPS) Dozens of Sri Lankan migrant workers languishing under a flyover in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, claiming to be stranded, exemplify the crisis of migration that Sri Lankan authorities have faced over the years. "There are no hard-and-fast solutions (to problems faced by migrant workers)," noted Hussain Bhaila, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Foreign Minister, who flew to Jeddah last week to look into this issue. more..

Debrief News - 25 11. 2009

Police grab JVP posters

Nov 26 (LT) A gang of policemen at Pettah in Colombo has grabbed a stock of posters being taken by a member of the JVP today evening states the media unit of the JVP. The posters announcing a JVP rally to be held at Nugegoda on the 30th were grabbed by the police when the member of the JVP was taking them from Panchikawatta to Ampara. While the JVP member was on his way to the bus stand at Pettah a group of policemen in civilian clothes had arrived in a jeep, more..

Herath shows heart for five-star returns

Nov 26 (CI) On landing in India, Kumar Sangakkara singled out Rangana Herath as Sri Lanka's best bowler, citing form as the criterion. It may have been intended as a red herring for India but, by placing Herath above Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, Sangakkara had clearly set Herath a stiff challenge. Today Herath took a few steps to meeting that challenge. He bagged his fourth five-for, and his first on foreign soil. more..

Sri Lanka shrugs off Galleon divestment

Nov 26 (Reuters) Investors in Sri Lanka's stock market should not be worried about political uncertainty ahead of the 2010 elections or hedge fund Galleon's divestment of assets in the island nation, its chief regulator said on Wednesday. "They don't need to worry because for sure the president is going to win," Udayasri Kariyawasam, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, told Reuters in Singapore. more..

Govt questions Fonseka’s conduct

Nov 26 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday granted the request of General (retired) Sarath Fonseka for a 66-member security contingent amid indications that the General is all set to float a new party and secure support of the opposition combine for the January 23 presidential poll. The shape of things to come became evident when the Government Information website in a report accused the former Army chief of illegally using 23 vehicles and 110 solders in the name of his security. more..

Bandula Jayasekara on Tamil Camps

IMF sells 10 tonnes of gold to Sri Lanka

Nov 26 (AFP) The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday it had sold 10 tonnes of gold to Sri Lanka's central bank for 375 million dollars, as part of a restructuring of IMF financial resources. It was the third IMF sale of gold in a month as the Washington-based institution seeks to reduce its dependence on lending revenue and bolster its finances amid the global economic crisis. The IMF said the sale was based on the market prices prevailing Monday. more..

Sri Lankan refugee: How I got to Australia

Nov 26 (TS) A Sri Lankan refugee has revealed how a professional human trafficker in Malaysia gave him false travel documents that enabled him to get a protection visa upon arrival in Australia. The 23-year-old Tamil man, who asked to be identified only as Sanjay, told The Australian newspaper that he fled his home in Sri Lanka’s Jaffna peninsula in 2007 at the height of the conflict between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the LTTE. more..

A peace dividend Sri Lanka cannot squander

Nov 26 (FT) M. Chandrapala may not be your typical Sinhalese Sri Lankan. Dressed in an ankle-length lungi and standing outside his modest home in Trincomalee, on the east coast of this beautiful but tragic island, he tells me that Tamil citizens must be given political rights if the fragile peace reached this year is to hold. A former justice of the peace turned organic farmer, Mr Chandrapala is also an advocate of mixed schooling, more..

Political terrain shifts in Sri Lanka

Nov 26 (National) The run-up to Sri Lanka’s next presidential elections, expected to be held in mid-January, has created many twists and turns and the possibility of the country’s having its first leader with absolutely no political experience. Sarath Fonseka, the former army commander credited with leading the army to victory over Tamil separatist rebels in May, is pitting himself against Mahinda Rajapaksa, the incumbent, more..

Sri Lankan government calls early presidential poll

Nov 26 (wsws) After more than a week of hesitation, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Monday called for fresh presidential elections nearly two years early. It is a desperate bid to strengthen his hand amid a deepening economic and political crisis. Rajapakse narrowly won the presidency in November 2005 and the next election was not due until November 2011. Under the constitution, the president can call an early poll only after completing four years in office. more..

Heroes and rulers, eternal struggle of humanity

Nov 26 (TN) The roots of the current tragedy of the island lie in the unscrupulous competition between India and USA over the control of the island as a whole. None of the adamantly competing powers wanted to address the national question in the island with justice. In a way, over the death and captivation of Tamils, powers are now wooing and competing for the ‘democratic’ votes of the Sinhalese. more..

Nearly 3000 IDPs from Jaffna released

Nov 26 (TN) Jaffna Government Agent, K. Ganesh said that 3,117 persons of 983 families from Jaffna district who had been held in the camps in Vavuniyaa and Kodikaamam Raamaavil camps have been released Tuesday. He further said that 445 persons of 425 families brought to Jaffna and held in Kodikaamam Raamaavil camp were sent to their own places in Jaffna district Tuesday. The GA also said that Sri Lanka Army registered 1672 persons of 558 families brought to Jaffna Tuesday night and more..

National events proceed despite election fever

Nov 26 (GDI) Development activities in the country will continue unabated despite the fever of a presidential election in the offing. The Government has given precedence to development and national activities to keep alive the development trend in the country, Accordingly the ‘Sri Lanka Design Festival’, a nine day event, is on from 27th of November to 5th December at the Mt.Lavinia Hotel and will showcase to the world, Sri Lanka’s design capabilities, more..

Army Commander rebuff Gen. Fonseka’s claims

Nov 26 (GDI) Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya today categorically refuted the accusations leveled against him by the ex-Chief of Defence Staff, General Sarath Fosenka. He noted that the logic behind General Fonseka’s argument that he (Lt. Gen. Jayasuriya) should not be promoted to the rank of Army Commander is baseless and said that more..