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Court Martial or Civil trial on AG's advice

Feb 10 (MoD) Military Spokesman Major General Prasad Samarasinghe said the Sri Lanka Army will decide to hold a trial on the evidence against retired General Sarath Fonseka either at a Court Martial or Civil court after summary of evidence is forwarded to the Attorney General for his advice. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka was arrested by the Military Police more..

Rajapaksas have done to Fonseka what LTTE could not do – Jt. Opp.

Feb 10 (Island) Leaders of the joint opposition, which backed Sarath Fonseka at last month’s Presidential Election, said yesterday that the Rajapaksa regime by getting Major General Sumith Manawadu to abuse, assault and abducting Fonseka from his Colombo office on Monday night, had done what the LTTE dearly wanted to do, but couldn’t. more..

'General had Elimination Lists'

Feb 10 (GDI) General Sarath Fonseka, during the period he was Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of the Army had held discussions with JVP's Tilvin Silva to obtain advice from Silva on matters relating to military affairs, claimed NFF leader, Wimal Weerawansa today. He claimed that Fonseka had clearly violated the statute of the Army thus eroding required discipline. more..

'Arresting General is no political vengeance'

Feb 10 (GDI) The opposition is trying to obtain petty political advantages by misleading the public by undermining the arrest of General Sarath Fonseka. He was arrested under Military Act 57 (1) which states that even a retired military officer can be taken into custody if he had divulged secrets or acted against the government while serving in the Army. more..

Death penalty or long jail terms

Feb 10 (DM) The Army Act authorizes the Army Commander to set up a Court Martial with powers to impose the death penalty or lengthy jail terms on those found guilty, former Attorney General C.R. De Silva said yesterday. He said a Court Martial normally comprises th ree high-ranking gazetted officers and its ruling is similar to a judgment delivered by a court of law. more..

Gen Sarath Fonseka's arrest to be challenged

Feb 10 (BBC) Sri Lankan opposition parties have said they will mount a legal challenge to the detention of defeated presidential candidate Gen Sarath Fonseka. Gen Fonseka was arrested on Monday, accused of working with anti-government forces and planning a coup and assassinations. He denies the charges. His wife has visited him, but his supporters say they fear for his life. more..

Political supporters clash in streets of Sri Lanka

Feb 10 (AP) Sri Lankan government supporters hurled stones at thousands of opposition activists and police fired tear gas and water cannon as a mass protest over the arrest of defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka sparked unrest. The clash was the first salvo in what promises to be a bruising pre-election period leading up to a parliamentary poll on April 8. It follows an acrimonious presidential election, more..

Arrest the opposition

Feb 11 (Economist) Not content with trouncing his main opponent, General Sarath Fonseka, in Sri Lanka’s presidential election last month, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has had him arrested. General Fonseka was nabbed—brutishly, by over 100 soldiers, according to his supporters—on Monday February 8th. Officials say he will be charged in a court martial with conspiring to topple the government. He was accused shortly after he lost an acrimonious election more..

Opposition protestors rumble in Colombo

Feb 11 (Time) It was a typical hot, balmy day in Colombo when protestors supporting Sarath Fonseka, the retired general and defeated presidential candidate now under arrest and facing court marshal, gathered near the Supreme Court complex in the capital Colombo. Trouble was in the air. Another group was mingling near the statue of former president Ranasinghe Premadasa, holding posters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Debrief News -10.02.2010

Indian compensation for Fisherman's family

Feb 11 (Hindu) The Madras High Court Bench here on Tuesday held that the State government was liable to pay Rs.10.07 lakh to the family of a Sri Lankan fisherman W. Carnicius Fernando, who was shot dead by a Warder outside the Madurai Central Prison on October 5, 2007. Allowing a public interest litigation petition filed by a lawyer on behalf of the wife of the deceased, a Division Bench ordered to disburse the money through the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka more..

Unemployment: Where did it go wrong and what should be done?

Feb 11 (GV) The unemployment rate in Sri Lanka is not exceptional when compared with other countries in the world. In fact, it might seem relatively low. On a list of countries ranked in order of their rate of unemployment in the World Factbook produced by the US Central Intelligence Agency, Sri Lanka ranks 62nd with a comparatively low unemployment rate of 5.2%, a figure that concurs with that in the Central Bank report of 2008. more..

Ban raises Fonseka arrest with Sri Lanka president

Feb 11 (Reuters) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon raised the arrest of a defeated Sri Lankan opposition candidate with its president and expressed concern about events in the Asian nation, the United Nations said on Wednesday. In a telephone call on Tuesday night, Ban also agreed with President Mahinda Rajapaksa that Lynn Pascoe, head of the U.N. political department, would visit the island soon more..

Aluthgamage claims both Elephant & Swan have lost

Feb 11 (GDI) Minister of Power, Mahindananda Atluthgamage today scoffed at the opposition stand which claimed the recently concluded Presidential Election was corrupt and added that the opposition was at cross roads today after the humiliating defeat. "The opposition is badly affected and they sling mud at us unable to bear the pain", he noted. He told the media at a news briefing at the Mahaweli Centre in Colombo that the UPFA had a 2.3 million majority vote an year ago. more..

EU moves to end preferential imports from Sri Lanka

Feb 11 (wsws) International tensions over Sri Lanka were highlighted last Friday when European Union ambassadors to Sri Lanka recommended the suspension of tariff concessions to the country, citing unresolved concerns about human rights abuses. The decision followed months of warnings. European finance ministers are set to endorse the decision under the EU’s Generalised System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) when they meet on February 16. more..

Sri Lanka's opposition fears for Fonseka's life

Feb 11 (AFP) Sri Lanka's opposition parties demanded Wednesday the immediate release of former army chief and defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, warning that he faced "assassination" in custody. In a joint statement, the parties which had backed Fonseka's failed challenge to President Mahinda Rajapakse in January elections, said they feared for the retired four-star general's life following his arrest. more..

Fonseka arrest and the Govigama-Karawe caste equation in Sinhala society

Feb 11 (TC) I read with concern reports of the arrest of General Sarath Fonseka. As a Sinhala Buddhist, I had voted for Mahinda Rajapakse at the last presidential polls. Mahinda had after all done a commendable job at synchronizing the foreign policy, the military policy, the India policy and the domestic policy to ensure a complete route of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, something no president before him had accomplished. more..

Tamils opt for mainstream politics

Feb 11 (UPI) The authenticity of the result of Sri Lanka’s recent presidential election has been reaffirmed by Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake. But defeated opposition candidate retired army commander General Sarath Fonseka and the political parties that backed him continue to dispute it. The two most outstanding features of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s reelection were the big margin of victory that caught many by surprise and more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa has enlivened SLFP for yet another vital era in Sri Lankan politics

Feb 11 (TC) The Coalition of parties, a motley group of political parties with divergent views, for which General Sarath Fonseka gave leadership, has been defeated at the Presidential poll which gave special recognition to some of the fundamental realities of the Sri Lankan polity. As Aristotle once said, the study of politics signifies a method or a form of enquiry, concerned with the human behaviour in political societies. more..

Sri Lanka electricity ‘tariff deficit’ 30-pct: expert

Feb 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s loss-making state power utility, whose rates have been held below cost by successive governments for political reasons, is running a ‘tariff deficit’ of 30 percent, an expert said. But the new more efficient power generation plan of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) should lower the deficit in future, said Leonardo Lupano, a tariff expert hired by the Asian Development Bank to help with reforms in the power sector. more..

'Sri Lanka bad loans up, but bank capital strong'

Feb 11 (LBO) Sri Lanka's banks have been hit by bad loans in 2009, but have maintained required capital levels and asset quality is improving with the help of low inflation and interest rates, a report by the regulator said. Sri Lanka's licensed commercial banks have maintained Tier one capital at 11.4 percent by September 2009, up from 11.1 percent in 2008, a financial stability report issued by the Central Bank said. more..

IMF sees Sri Lanka 2010 growth at 5.5 pct

Feb 11 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's economy will grow 5.5 percent in 2010 due to improving domestic demand and potential export growth after the 25-year war ended in 2009 and as global recovery takes hold, the IMF said on Wednesday. However, the International Monetary Fund said there were concerns about the country's fiscal deficit which needed to be addressed. more..

A Nation is whole only when its people feel they all belong to it equally

Feb 11 (TC) The Sri Lankan crisis continues, sourced in and stemming from two major flaws/factors: (i) There is no comprehension that “justice must not only be done, but be seen to be done” and that what is legal in the narrowest sense may not be perceived as legitimate or ethical in the broader sense. The consequences for institutions, the long term health of the body politic and the larger national ethos are never considered. more..

Free Fonseka; Readers' Comments

Feb 11 (Hindu) This refers to the editorial, “Set General Fonseka free” (Feb.10). Though the General’s accusations — in both pre- and post-election scenarios — against President Mahinda Rajapaksa were false and not too simple to be ignored, they do not warrant his arrest and court martial. This has unwittingly given an opportunity to the dismantled and demoralised opposition now to regroup and rejuvenate itself. more..

Sri Lankan House to convene on April 22

Feb 11 (Hindu) Elections to the Parliament would be held on April 8 and Parliament would convene on April 22, it was officially announced here on Wednesday. President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday night ordered the dissolution of Parliament with effect from midnight Wednesday, paving the way for a general election. The term of the 225-member House, which came into being in 2004, was scheduled to end in April. more..

The rising of peoples’ power against Fonseka’s arrest

Feb 11 (LG) Around 20,000 people gathered at the court premises at Hulsdorf to protest the arrest of Sarath Fonseka, the common candidate for the opposition who was arrested yesterday (February 9) and who is being held in military custody. People shouted slogans saying that the election has been stolen and the general has been put behind bars. They called for Fonseka’s immediate release and a frequent slogan was that ‘lightning should strike Rajapakse.’ more..

Minister Premajayantha confident of massive victory

Feb 11 (GDI) UPFA General Secretary and Education Minister, Susil Premjayantha today spelt out details of the UPFA led coalition with regard to the forthcoming general election and expressed confidence of a two thirds victory on April 08. Addressing the media at the Colombo Mahaweli Centre, Minister Premjayantha said the acceptance of nominations will commence on February 19 and end on February 26. more..

Even Kopi Kaday is politicized

Feb 11 (LG) Where will Sri Lankans turn for some sort of entertainment in the TV or the radio? Those things no longer exist. Kopee Kaday used to be a light drama shown on ITN which has the largest broadcasting capacity in Sri Lanka. People gather in their homes and watch this teledrama to enjoy some light banter and to recollect some familiar sights from, particularly from the rural Sri Lanka. more..

170 port workers transferred, showing the revenging politics

Feb 11 (UL) It is reported that the president who alleged the opposition party that they were engaging revenging politics during the recent presidential election, 170 port employees including trade union leaders who bear opposition views, have transferred causing political revenge with his victory. Among port employees who have been transferred, there are 6 trade union members as leaders of All Ceylon Port Common Employees Union, more..

Protesters demand journalists’ freedom

Feb 11 (UCAN) Christians have joined media groups and relatives of journalists in protesting the alleged abduction, harassment and imprisonment of reporters by the Sri Lankan government. About 300 protesters, holding placards in English, Tamil and Sinhalese that read “Condemn the suppression of media” and “Release our journalists,” demonstrated in Colombo Feb. 8. They shouted that they wanted the government to allow journalists to report freely. more..

Minister Samarasinghe briefs high commissioner for human rights

Feb 11 (IL) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, met with Navanetham Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the Palais Wilson in Geneva on Tuesday. The Minister, who was accompanied by Attorney General Mohan Peiris and Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN at Geneva, Ambassador Kshenuka Senewiratne, briefed High Commissioner Pillay, on the progress more..

'He was definitely planning a coup'

Feb 11 (ST) Soon after Mahinda Rajapaksa took charge as president of Sri Lanka in late 2005, he appointed younger brother Gotabaya, a former infantry officer, to the critical post of Defence Secretary. At Cabinet meetings, Mr Gotabaya would listen as the debates swirled on how to tackle the Tamil Tiger separatist insurgency that had roiled his nation for a quarter century. Many thought a political settlement was the only way out. more..

Jackson Anthony and the moral responsibility of an artist

Feb 11 (LG) In his article, Aho Kalawa that was published in Ravaya newspaper Mr Gamini Viyangoda implies that Jackson Anthony had betrayed his conscience as an artist. Before coming to a drastic conclusion several co factors should be evaluated on Jackson Anthony and his artistic career. Born as a non Buddhist Jackson Anthony had a deep-rooted unconscious fear of rejection from the mainstream Buddhist culture. more..

Sri Lanka: Is democracy faltering?

Feb 11 (SG) Rejuvenated with confidence after victory in the recently held presidential elections, President Mahinda Rajapakse has not wasted much time enhancing his relations with the socialist bloc. His first visit to Russia after re-election seen as a mark of his allegiance to the left, which is not surprising, as traditionally the party he represents and his own political views has a history of stronger alliance with socialist countries. more..

Free Fonseka, BJP urges SL president

Feb 11 (ET) The Sri Lankan government’s decision to arrest and court martial retired Army chief General Sarath Fonseka for "plotting to overthrow President Mahinda Rajapaksa" found its echo in India here on Wednesday with BJP taking up cudgels on his behalf. Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, in a statement issued here on Wednesday, denounced the move, and urged President Rajapaksa to set Gen Fonseka free immediately. more..

The easy way out for the Rajapakshas

Feb 11 (LG) The international community is just beginning to warm up to the issue of Sri Lanka’s governance, politics and news. It remains to be seen how hot it can get in the coming weeks as the country is gearing to experience yet another election. As I have written earlier there is no end to the relay of elections in Sri Lanka. The politicians have no time for constructive thoughts other than to concentrate on strategies for winning the elections. more..

Sri Lanka Tamils

SEP condemns opposition candidate’s arrest

Feb 11 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) unequivocally condemns the arrest of defeated opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka. His detention by military police on Monday night is a fundamental attack on democratic rights that foreshadows the consolidation of a police-state regime under President Mahinda Rajapakse. No charges have been laid against Fonseka, who resigned from the military last November to contest the more..

'Madras Mail' passes away in Jaffna

Feb 11 (TN) Madras Mail, the President of the Development Council of Tamil Traditional Arts, and a recognized Saiva scholar and dramatist passed away Tuesday in Jaffna Teaching Hospital (JTH) where he was admitted with heart ailment, sources in Jaffna said. Chelliah Madras Mail, a native of Puthukkudiruppu in Vanni, residing in Nalloor had dedicated himself to the task preserving and maintaining the Tamil traditional arts and drama and more..

Education of IDP children addressed

Feb 11 (GDI) The Government has admitted 2,000 internally displaced children living outside the welfare camps to 59 regular public schools in Vavuniya and another 2,000 children deprived of school education would be admitted to Gamini Maha Vidyalaya in Vavuniya, Northern Province Governor G.A.Chandrasiri said yesterday. The Government has taken this measure to more..