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Bring action against Gota for perverting the course of justice

Feb 12 (LG) In a interview given The Hindu published on 11th February 2010, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has alleged that the retired Army Chief, Sarath Fonseka, is guilty of charges of treason, military coup and of being involved in the disappearance of a few journalists. He has said that “In fact, I know for sure. He was definitely responsible for 5 or 6 cases [of disappearances] where media people were involved,” more..

'Arrest of General could be a personal vengeance'

Feb 12 (LT) Anybody can consider the arrest of Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the chief opponent to President Mahinda Rajapaske at the presidential election, is a personal vengeance says Chief incumbent of Bellanwila Rajamaha Viharaya Most Ven. Bellanwela Wimalaratne Thero. Thero said, “Various views are circulating in the country regarding the arrest of Gen. Sarath Fonseka. I think there had been a mistake here. more..

Prof. G.L. Peiris’s Legal Lunumiris

Feb 12 (LG) Prof. G.L. Peiris who had been the Vice Chancellor and head of the law faculty of the Colombo University and for a long time a teacher of law, attempted to justify the arrest of the common opposition candidate, Sarath Fonseka, saying that merely because somebody was a candidate for a presidential election he was not specially privileged before the law. He was trying to justify the arrest on the basis that the law should prevail in the country. more..

ACHSU goes to HRC against repression in health sector

Feb 12 (LT) Against the systematic repressive programme launched by the Minister of Health and Director General of Health against activists of All Ceylon Health Services Union said President of ACHSU Gamini Kumarasinghe. He said his union has been in the forefront in the services to the Nation and the members of the union dedicated themselves in fulfilling their duties. more..

'Mahinda adopting JRJ–style strategy against JVP'

Feb 12 (Island) The JVP yesterday said that the need of the hour is to restore democracy in the aftermath of a fraudulent presidential election. He said that the forthcoming general election would not be their priority at this moment. JVP propaganda secretary MP Vijitha Herath said that whether they would contest on its own or as a member of a political alliance would be known within a few days. more..

Tourism nets US$ 450 m

Feb 12 (LNP) The tourism industry recorded a total turnover of US$ 450 million in 2009 an increase of over 20 percent growth compared to the corresponding year, SLTDA Director General, S. Kalaiselvam told Daily News Business. He said this year the SLTDA is targeting around 575,000 tourist arrivals while targeting an income of US$ 600 million. During January the number of tourist arrivals recorded 50,757 which is a 31.9 percent increas more..

A 'colourful` killer

Feb 12 (LNP) The tragic end of a family, save one member, in Polgasowita shocked us beyond measure recently. A father doused his children and wife with petrol and set them on fire and took his life in the same way. Such fathers are, no doubt, an exception and we are not short of caring dads even ready to lay down their lives for their children. But, even the good parents whose reason is the wellbeing of their broods unwittingly expose their precious ones more..

'Don’t use politics of violence'

Feb 12 (DN) Politics should not be based on violence or vindictiveness and with the last Presidential election we have ended both these evil trends in the political arena of our country, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday. Addressing the first General Election campaign meeting at the Tangalle Town Hall to support the candidature of Namal Rajapaksa, the President said we were able to save the country from another bloodbath recently. more..

Coastal Environmental centre for Kalpitiya

Feb 12 (DN) A Coastal Environmental Centre has been established in Kalpitiya for providing facilities for the local and foreign tourists to observe the Kalpitiya coastal area rich with natural resources. The Kalpitiya Coastal Environmental Centre that initiated its construction in 2007 by the Coast Conservation Department was completed in 2009 at a cost of Rs 11.8 million under the Mahinda Chintanaya program and more..

Cultural factor in elections

Feb 12 (DN) How come that so many artistes worked dedicatedly for the President in his campaign when there were virtually no artistes to bolster the campaign of the UNP led Opposition? It is indeed strange that the UNP, being the oldest party and the one that governed this country for a good part after independence could not find some artistes to stand by the party while the President’s campaign was backed by a star studded ‘Artistes brigade’. more..

'Opposition violated sanctity of Court'

Feb 12 (DN) Some of the main Opposition party leaders were seen holding slogans and staging a public protest within the premises of Courts in an attempt to violate the sanctity of the Courts on Tuesday. While it is common knowledge that no one could disturb Courts, even talking in raised voices, the two main Opposition political parties attempted to storm the Court premises probably adopting a short cut to come to power, more..

Best projected results for UPFA –12 members short of a two-thirds majority

Feb 12 (Island) The ruling SLFP-led coalition is confident that it could muster 138 seats at the forthcoming parliamentary polls-12 members short of a two-thirds majority it needed to implement far reaching constitutional reforms envisaged in the 14-point Mahinda Chintanaya II programme. Among the proposed changes were electoral reforms, including changing the existing PR system as well as revamping Provincial Council and Local Government systems. more..

Sinha officer arrested for demanding Rs. 7 mn on pretext of raising funds of MR

Feb 12 (Island) The police investigating an alleged attempt to extort Rs. 7 million from a wealthy Tamil business living in Wellawatte, have arrested a Captain of the Sinha Regiment, who posed off as an agent of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. The suspect who had been a serving officer attached to the Ambepussa Sinha Regimental headquarters and another person are alleged to have demanded money to fund President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidential election campaign. more..

SF arrest row: Law will takes its course - GL

Feb 12 (Island) The government yesterday rejected Opposition’s claim that detained Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka’s fundamental rights had been violated by ongoing army investigations. Minister Prof G. L. Peiris said at a post-Cabinet media briefing that the executive and political arms of the government were not involved in the legal process against the former army commander. more..

Joint attack by thugs & police at Anuradhapura

Feb 12 (LT) The demonstration held today (12th) at Anuradhapura to protest against the illegal arrest and detention of Gen. Sarath Fonseka by the Military Police has been attacked by police with a baton charge and tear gas. When the demonstration commenced at ‘Kada Dolaha’ government goons hiding in District Secretary’s office had attacked with stones provoking the demonstrators. more..

They are coming, move to block them

Feb 12 (DM) Despite the pleas by various respected individuals in society, organizations and media to abstain from demeaning Sri Lanka parliament, the principal parties especially the UPFA looks as if it is going with the plan to fill the parliament with movie stars and poorly qualified candidates. What is disturbing is the manner some of the movie stars who were spending their retirement gracefully had given into their wildest ambitions and more..

UNP to use elephant symbol at GE

Feb 12 (DM) The UNP Working Committee which met yesterday passed a resolution that the party should contest the upcoming General Election under elephant symbol. However, the party also gave approval for leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to discuss with other parties to work out strategies to contest the poll. Addressing the meeting, Mr. Wickremesinghe had reportedly said that he would stand by the collective decision of the Working Committee, more..

JVP questions timing of naming detention centres

Feb 12 (DM) JVP yesterday raised concerns over the timing of the government’s naming of eight places as detention centres in the government gazette issued on February 3rd. The centres have been named by IGP Mahinda Balasuriya in accordance with the Emergency Regulations 19 and 21 of the 2005 Emergency Act (1) special gazette. The gazette notification says that the IGP had named these detention centres for the purposes stated in regulations 19 and 21. more..

'SF to face immediate Court Martial'

Feb 12 (DM) General Sarath Fonseka will face an immediate court martial for treason and he can be jailed for up to five years, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said in an interview published yesterday. Rajapaksa, a brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, also told Singapore’s Straits Times that Fonseka had planned to impose military rule and his candidature in the presidential election that he lost was backed by the US and Norway, more..

'Let us denounce dangerous trend in SL'

Feb 12 (DM) A dangerous new trend could be seen in the way persons are arrested and treated by the government by looking at the way Sarath Fonseka was arrested. Attorney at law Shrilal Lakthilaka said this yesterday when commenting on the arrest and detention of General (rtd.) Sarath Fonseka. He said the way in which General Fonseka was arrested is a threat to democracy and the rule of law which the government has violated since the Presidential election. more..

'Why ‘imprison’ an ex-army commander at Navy headquarters'

Feb 12 (Island) Anoma Fonseka, the wife of General(Rtd) Sarath Fonseka yesterday questioned the "motive of imprisoning" her husband, a former army commander at Naval Headquarters. She said that to begin with there was no legal basis to "imprison" her husband at any place. But,the detention of a retired army commander at naval headquarters, was suspicious to say the least. more..

Military Police had the power to arrest even without a complaint

Feb 12 (GDI) All Military Officers and soldiers are bound to heed the Military Law and the Military Police had the authority to arrest them even without a complaint if they had committed an offence, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said. He said no one can interfere in the activities of the Military Police. General Fonseka himself vehemently opposed interference in the activities of the Military Police previously. more..

US denies it bankrolled Sri Lankan opposition

Feb 12 (AP) The United States denied accusations that it bankrolled Sri Lanka's defeated and imprisoned presidential candidate, and the U.S. Embassy called on the government to protect the rights of opposition supporters and media. The denial came after reported allegations by Sri Lanka's defense secretary that the U.S. and Norway financially supported the opposition's attempt to more..

Major meeting of Buddhist prelates for democracy, good governance

Feb 12 (CT) Top Buddhist prelates warn that a state of confusion prevails in democracy and good governance that will spell disaster for the country. The combined force of the Buddhist clergy since olden times has made tremendous contributions to the nation?s forward march, but has faced certain setback since of late, they said in a letter. In order to address this confusing situation and to consolidate democracy and good governance, more..

Ranil meets President Rajapaksa, asks him to release Fonseka

Feb 12 (PTI) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe today asked president Mahinda Rajapaksa to release the Gen Sarath Fonseka immediately and expressed his willingness to meet the detained former army chief. Ranil met Rajapaksa this morning and sought his intervention in the release of Fonseka, who was taken into custody by the army on Monday for allegedly planning a coup against the government while in service. more..

Fonseka’s wife new rallying point in Sri Lanka

Feb 12 (EB) With violent protest against his arrest continuing across Sri Lanka, former Sri Lankan Army Commander Gen Sarath Fonseka appealed to the public and army troops not to get provoked, his wife, Anoma Fonseka, told media here on Thursday. “He wanted me to convey to the people, and especially the troops, to remain calm and not to be provoked by his illegal arrest,” Anoma said. more..

Sri Lankan lawyers join protests over detained general

Feb 12 (Reuters) Hundreds of Sri Lankan lawyers staged a silent march in the capital Friday in a third day of street protests seeking the release of losing presidential candidate Sanath Fonseka. Tensions have risen on the island since the former army commander was arrested Monday by military police on charges of engaging in politics against his president while still in uniform. more..

SC takes up Fonseka's arrest

Feb 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear a challenge to the arrest of defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, as opposition parties stepped up a campaign for his immediate release. The court accepted a petition by Fonseka's wife requesting that his arrest be ruled illegal, and ordered the state to allow the former army chief family visits and medicines. "The court granted leave to proceed with the case because it appeared, on the face of it, there had been a breach of fundamental rights of General Fonseka," more..

Debrief News - 12. 02. 2010

Q+A: Sri Lanka's mounting political unrest

Feb 13 (Reuters) Hundreds of Sri Lankan lawyers staged a silent march in the capital on Friday in a third day of street protests aimed at winning the release of losing presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka. Here are some questions and answers on the political and economic implications of unrest in the island following the end of a 25-year war against Tamil Tiger separatists last year. more..

Nasty turn of events in Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (Rediff) The fallout of the spat between two headstrong and powerful personalities like Mahinda Rajapakse and Sarath Fonseka does not augur well for this small and beautiful Island nation struggling to leave the ravages of war behind, writes Nitin Gokhale. Vellupillai Prabhakaran must be gloating in his grave. The trinity that plotted his and the LTTE's downfall has fallen out in less than a year. more..

State-owned SLBC to broadcast BBC programs again

Feb 13 (SLBC) Broadcasting of programmes of the BBC World Service through the Sri Lanka broadcasting Corporation will recommence on the 1st of next month. Local listeners will be accorded the opportunity to listen to this channel in all three languages. An agreement in this regard was signed at the Corporation premises today. more..

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 31-pct in January

Feb 13 (LBO) The number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka rose sharply in January with a recovery in traditional Western European markets and more visitors from newer south Asian markets after the end of the war. Latest data from the government tourism authority showed arrivals rose 31.9 percent to 50,757 in January 2010, albeit from a low base the year before. “We were at the height of the war in January 2009,” more..

Thin line between politics and ‘treason’ in Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (NYT) On Friday, Sri Lanka’s supreme court ruled that Sarath Fonseka, the retired general who was arrested Monday night after his defeat in the country’s presidential election, will be allowed to challenge his detention in court. After the ruling the Web site Lanka Truth posted this video of one of General Fonseka’s representative’s telling reporters that the court had scheduled a hearing for Feb. 23: more..

HSBC in Jaffna to strengthen financial links

Feb 13 (LBO) A branch of HSBC which opened in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsular will strengthen financial ties with the rest of the country and the world as the area recovers from a debilitating war, officials said. During the war years tens of thousands of residents in the north and the eastern areas migrated abroad forming a diaspora that still maintain links with family members here. more..

'SC decision defeated govt’s conspiracy to prevent election petition'

Feb 13 (LT) The conspiracy of the government to abduct Gen. Sarath Fonseka and prevent the election petition he was to file has been defeated by the Supreme Court says the Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe. He said this speaking to media after the Supreme Court decided to take up the fundamental rights petition Gen. Fonseka had filed. “The main reason for abducting Gen. Sarath Fonseka is to prevent the election petition he is to file against the results of the presidential election. more..

Sri Lankan polls watch groups want access to counting

Feb 13 (Xinhua) Polls monitoring groups in Sri Lanka want access to be provided to counting centers at future elections following a dispute over the results of the just concluded presidential election. "We will write to the commissioner of Elections asking his permission to station our monitors at counting centers", Rohana Hettiarachchi, the executive director of People's Action for Free and Fair Elections told reporters Friday. more..

Up to 40,000 civilians 'died in Sri Lanka offensive'

Feb 13 (Independent) The bitter controversy surrounding the final stages of the Sri Lankan government’s operation to crush separatist rebels has been reopened after a former UN official claimed that up to 40,000 civilians may have been killed. In the final stages of last year’s move to defeat the LTTE, the UN protested strongly about the number of Tamil civilians caught up in the fighting. more..

Nuns learn how to heal Tamil-Sinhalese rift

Feb 13 (UCAN) Jesuit priests have conducted a program to help nuns reconcile Tamil and Sinhalese people they work with following the end of the bitter 26-year-old ethnic civil war. Jesuit priests from the Lanka Centre for Social Concern organized the program on conflict resolution Feb. 11 in Colombo. About 30 nuns from different congregations attended the program aimed to speed up efforts in helping Sinhalese and Tamils reconcile. more..

Fonseka’s petition admitted

Feb 13 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan Supreme Court on Friday admitted a petition challenging the detention of the former Army chief and defeated opposition presidential candidate, Sarath Fonseka, and posted it for further hearing on February 23. The petition has been filed by Anoma Fonseka, wife of General (retired) Fonseka, appealing to the court to declare the arrest as illegal and order his immediate release. more..