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Peace dividend unlikely for Sri Lanka

Feb 8 (ANN) Newly re-elected President Mahinda Rajapakse made all the right noises in his address marking the country's independence day on Feb 4 but questions remain over his sincerity. And his intentions. The Jan 26 presidential poll pitting Rajapakse against his former army chief, General Sarath Fonseka, was the first since Sri Lanka ended 26 years of civil war with last May's military victory over the separatist LTTE. more..

Lanka not to allow even UN to probe war crimes

Feb 8 (EB) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa told a foreign news channel that his country would not allow even the United Nations (UN) to investigate the alleged war crimes committed during the last phase of the Eelam war. “I will not allow any investigation by the UN or any other country. There is nothing wrong happening in this country. I am the Secretary of Defense. Take it from me, we will not allow any investigation,” more..

Cry for self-rule by Sri Lanka’s Tamils is muffled by reality

Feb 8 (NYT) Jaffna is a city of ruins. Some are physical, like the overgrown jumbles of mold-streaked concrete where graceful buildings used to stand. But perhaps the biggest ruin of the Tamil Tiger insurgency against the Sri Lankan government is the very thing the Tigers wanted most: any hope of self-rule. After 26 years of war that ended with a decisive government assault last May, more..

Sri Lankan government purges the military

Feb 8 (wsws) President Mahinda Rajapakse carried out a major shake-up of the army last week, sacking a number of top-ranking officers. A defence ministry statement claimed that some senior officers were “sent into compulsory retirement” because they were considered a “threat to national security,” but gave no details. Rajapakse carried out the purge after winning a second term in the presidential election held on January 26. more..

Sri Lanka, acid test for International Law

Feb 8 (TN) The widespread systematic pattern of crimes committed by the Sri Lankan state against Tamil civilians, particularly during the first five months of 2009 in the Northeast province, constitute violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, legal scholars have said. During this period, indifference exhibited by the international community, including the United Nations, led to the deaths of more than 30,000 Tamils. more..

SLA tightens fishing restrictions in Jaffna peninsula

Feb 8 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) which had imposed restrictions on fishing in Jaffna peninsula since its occupation for the last fourteen years is now tightening the restrictions, subjecting the peninsula fishermen to additional harassment, fisheries societies sources in Jaffna said. SLA compels the fishermen to renew their ‘fishing pass’ often while keeping many fishing jetties in several coastal villages closed to them, more..

Jaffna HRC attempts to close files of persons reported missing

Feb 8 (TN) Human Rights Commission (HRC) Jaffna officials are attempting to close the files of persons reported missing in the period after 11 August 2006 claiming that the missing persons had gone abroad, the families who had made the complaints said. While Sri Lanka government continues to maintain that persons reported missing after arrest by its armed forces have left the country the action taken by Jaffna HRC officials seems to more..

Forest tracks to link Wild Life Parks

Feb 8 (GDI) The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has taken steps to link wild life parks across the island through forest tracks. Under the first phase, steps had been taken to design tracks in order to link the national parks in Lahugala-Kitulana, Kumana and Gal Oya. According to Minister Champika Ranawaka, the initiative is expected to curb the long-standing human - elephant conflict and other related issues. more..

The Sinhala polity help Rajapaksa inherit his own sins

Feb 8 (LG) If, by not voting, the Tamil people helped Mahinda Rajapaksa to be president of Sri Lanka in 2005 then in 2010 the Sinhala polity made Rajapaksa president in gratitude for sealing the fate of the Tamils as a permanently oppressed nation notwithstanding the tactics and methods used to do so. The majority of the Tamils who voted for Fonseka did so not because they loved him but because they hated Rajapaksa, a vote of no confidence on Rajapaksa. more..

New Tamil alliance group, new faces may be at play in the general elections

Feb 8 (AT) A new political alliance is gradually taking shape in the North. It is learnt that a handful of TNA dissidents might join the TULF led by V. Anandasangaree to face the forthcoming Parliamentary General Election in Jaffna and Vanni electoral districts. There are nine elected representatives in the Jaffna and six in the Vanni electoral districts. In the Jaffna district there are at present eight TNA elected MPs and more..

Nurses to get overseas opportunities

Feb 8 (GDI) The MInistry of Healthcare and Nutrition will find foriegn employment for fully trained nurses from the current intake, Ministry sources said. These nurses will have to complete the mandatory three years training at Nurses Training Schools countrywide, sources added. The outstanding nurses following the traning will be considered for foreign employment,the ministry noted. more..

Mahinda’s roadmaps: Constitutional Reform and (not ‘or’) Development

Feb 8 (LG) Sarath Fonseka may not be ready to accept it, but everyone else has acknowledged that Mahinda Rajapaksa roundly defeated the man at the Presidential Election. There will be a little bit more foul-crying, licking wounds and what not, but sooner rather than later, Fonseka and all those who along with Fonseka did the ultimate no-no of believing one’s own propaganda will have to live with the fact of defeat. more..

School Books at Deyata Kirula at affordable rates

Feb 8 (GDI) The Deyata Kirula exhibition in Pallekele Kandy is offering school books at concessionary rates to attract students. Steps have been taken to provide school books at cheaper rates in consultation with the Ministry of Education. Students who visit the exhibition site could purchase school book requirements at affordable rates, a Ministry spokesman said. more..

Remembering Upali

Feb 8 (Island) The 27th anniversary of the disappearance of Mr. Upali Wijewardene, the Founder Chairman of Upali Group, falls on February 13. The Upali Group, its employees and sales agents islandwide have made elaborate arrangements to commemorate the anniversary with religious ceremonies such as Buddha Poojas, Sil, meditation, alms giving and blood donation campaigns. more..

It is time to support the President !

Feb 8 (GDI) Presidential candidate of the Kamkaru Pakshaya (Labour Party), ASP Liyanage extended his fullest support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the UPFA government today. He made this announcement at a media briefing held at the Hotel Nippon in Colombo this morning. Liyanage claimed it was now time to support the President and the Government to continue with the development of the country. more..

'UNP and JVP lacks vision'

Feb 8 (GDI) Minister Rajitha Senarathne said opportunistic politics have been completely eliminated with the results of the presidential election. The UNP and JVP are without any forward vision regarding their political strategies. The Minister pointed out that Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe has granted the opportunity to Mr. Sarath Fonseka to contest the presidential election, knowing fully well that he would not be able to win the election. more..

Deyata Kirula tops two million visitors

Feb 8 (GDI) The Deyata Kirula exhibition at Pallekelle, Kandy is breaking records of crowds visiting exhibitions even in Colombo. The number of visitors topped two million by noon yesterday the number coming to view the exhibition was increasing every day, Nation Building Ministry media spokesman Kapila Ariyaratne told the Daily News. more..

More discarded ballot papers found from Ratnapura

Feb 8 (LT) ‘Lankatruth’ has received 4 more ballot papers that had been discarded at Technical College polling center at Ratnapura. In 3 out of the four ballot papers the vote had been clearly cast by marking ‘x’ in front of the ‘Swan.’ The fourth one had been scribbled though a vote to the Common Candidate had been indicated by placing ‘x’ in front of the ‘Swan.’ Photographs and the video clip regarding these ballot papers have been published here. more..

Sinhala, Muslim student intake to Jaffna University to increase

Feb 8 (LP) Steps have been taken by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to increase the percentage of Sinhala and Muslim students to the University of Jaffna. Earlier the intake of students for the North and East universities were minimized due to the conflict that prevailed in the areas. However the overall intake of students will not increase but priority will be given to Sinhala and Muslim students this year. more..

'Sri Lanka can become symbol of non-violence and peace'

Feb 8 (MoD) Martin Luther King III, the son of renowned American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., said that Sri Lanka now has an opportunity to become a symbol of non violence and justice. He expressed these views at the opening of the 'Justice Everywhere' exhibition at the Colombo Art Gallery. He said that his father spoke of a community in which peace, more..

CaFFE reminds EC regarding carbon copies

Feb 8 (LT) Campaign for Free & Fair Elections (CaFFE), in another letter to the Commissioner of Elections has reminded him regarding their request for the carbon copies of results sheets of the presidential elections issued by the counting centers. In his letter Director of CaFFE Keerthi Tennekone states the letter is sent in addition to the letter sent a week ago and telephone calls made reminding the Commissioner regarding the request for carbon copies. more..

UPFA in quandary over nominations

Feb 8 (LNP) Ruling party sources said that talks among constituent parties of the UPFA, on nominations for the upcoming parliamentary elections would be difficult, particularly in view of the breakaway faction of the JVP, the NFF, the JHU, UNP dissidents and several newcomers to parliamentary politics seeking the UPFA ticket. At the last parliamentary elections in April, 2004, the JHU went it alone and subsequently joined President Mahinda Rajapaksa s government. more..

Dr. Jehan Perera on post election

Bogol never had it so good - takes tax payers for a ride but gives his supporters a joy ride at people’s expense

Feb 8 (UMP) Foreign Minster Rohitha Bogollagama who had always been the cynosure of all eyes not for welcome reasons or for doing anything for the benefit of the country has once again taken the toiling tax payers for a ride by taking his cronies, henchmen, hangers on and stooges by flight to Jaffna two weeks ago just to curry favor with them to get their support at the forthcoming General elections more..

Invasive species threaten native species

Feb 8 (DN) Minister Champika Ranawaka warned that invasive fauna and flora are increasing in the country's wetlands and is now posing a threat against the preservation of the country's native plants and animals. This is an adverse effect of the extent of climate change due to carbon emissions and global warming. "Even though Sri Lanka has not contributed to any of these damages, it had to face the music of climate change, more..

'We could be silenced only by creating good governance in the country'

Feb 8 (LT) The media would stop writing against the government only when a good governance san fraud and corruption is established in the country states ‘Journalists against suppression’ organization. Journalists who participated in the agitation held today against media suppression emphasized their struggle for good governance and against fraud and corruption would continue even more..

An ass selective in kicking

Feb 8 (LNP) Former Army Chief and unsuccessful presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka has complained of a government move to frame him over the assassination of The Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. In what could be described as some strange quirk, he has told the newspaper Lasantha edited that an attempt is being made to forcibly obtain a confession from a brigadier in custody, who was close to him while he was the army chief. more..

Independence Celebrated at Rehabilitation Centres

Feb 8 (GDI) Two of the Rehabilitation Centres in Vavuniya for former LTTE combatants celebrated Independence Day in their own fashion on February 4th. At Poorthottam, where there are a couple of hundred of former child soldiers, there was a flag hoisting ceremony, which included the release of a dove, and speeches in both Tamil and Sinhala. This was followed by a well rehearsed drill display. more..

Sri Lanka's 'Eton' celebrates its 175th birthday

Feb 8 (BBC) In the cloisters is the motto Disce aut discede, Latin for Learn or depart, and in the quadrangles is the old school bell. A quick walk past the classrooms takes you through a kaleidoscope of learning - Sinhala in one classroom, music theory in the next, then maths and a science class taken in Tamil. Not far away they are learning Chinese - a language recently introduced along with German and Japanese. more..

Nation-building and the lessons of the kula sutra

Feb 8 (DN) The most enchanting thing about Buddhism for me is that even the simplest sutra is made for multiple application in multiple situations, for untying straightforward knot or unravelling the complexities of being to reveal (at least those who have slain appropriate volumes of the kleshas) the pathway out of sorrow. I was introduced to the Kula Sutta (on families) a short while ago. more..

Rural sector signatory of election victory

Feb 8 (DN) The country just witnessed a Presidential election. The verdict of the people was clearly seen. President Mahinda Rajapaksa won by a clear majority of votes and it is now time to get back to work. Development programs started during the past four years have to be continued for the national economy to achieve a rate of rapid growth. Acceleration of the ongoing infrastructure programs, extension and diversification of agriculture and more..

Election outcome: Insights from the North

Electricity tariff system to be restructured

Feb 8 (DN) The regulation of the water supply and Petroleum sectors will be entrusted to the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) to offer maximum benefits to the public and reduce the monopoly powers being exercised by state water supply agencies and the Petroleum Corporation. Electricity services regulation has already been vested in the PUCSL completely by the recently introduced Sri Lanka Electricity Act No. 20 of 2009. more..

'Drugs pilfered from discarded stocks by political TU'

Feb 8 (Island) The Health Ministry Investigation Unit which probed contaminated injection phials and drugs found in Ratnapura, Kandy, Badulla, Elpitiya and Kurunegala hospitals has revealed that two trade unions attached to a political party had pilfered them from previous discarded stocks and produced them to mislead the public. Disciplinary action would be taken against the culprits and more..

Sri Lankan athletes bag four Gold Medals

Feb 8 (LNP) Sri Lankan athletes had a field day bagging four Gold medals, one Silver and one Bronze on day two of the Athletics Event at Bangabandu National Stadium in Dhaka here on Sunday. Chandrika Subashini gave yet another splendid performance to win her second Gold medal in her pet event - 400 metres. She ran a superb race showing her class to return a time of 54.28 seconds. Her first Gold was in the 200 metres on Saturday. more..

Budget deficit 17.6% of GDP up to Sept 09

Feb 8 (Island) Available data shows the budget deficit for the first nine months of 2009 at 17.6 percent of GDP but with revenues generally coming in during the last few months of the year there is a possibility that the budget deficit could near the IMF target of 7 percent of GDP for the year. According to Central Bank figures, the budget deficit for the first nine months of 2009 amounted to Rs. 322.7 billion. more..

TNA won’t heed Nimal’s call

Feb 8 (Island) Although Chief Government Whip Nimal Siripala de Silva last Friday (Feb 5) called for the TNA’s support at the upcoming parliamentary poll, a pre-election arrangement is unlikely between the SLFP-led UPFA and the one-time LTTE ally. The Health Minister’s appeal to the TNA in Parliament has fuelled speculation that the ruling coalition is seeking a political alliance with the group. more..

The Election Aftermath

Police transfers cancelled

Feb 8 (DM) Senior police officers who were transferred and recruited for various divisions in the police department have protested against the new appointments and some of them have personally written to President Mahinda Rajapaksa asking him to cancel the appointments. The appointments were made with immediate effect from Saturday midnight. Highly placed police sources said that the appointments were made based on the recommendation of IGP Mahinda Balasuriya. more..

The SAG saga of Sri Lanka

Feb 8 (DM) As expected a slew of intended and unintended blunders by sports authorities here saw Sri Lanka sliding down the gold medal table at the South Asian Games (SAG) that is now being held in Dhaka. The mess created by Sri Lankan sports authorities in preparing for SAG is a classic example as to how politicization of sports would affect Sri Lanka’s performance at international games. more..