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Were the General and JVP involved in a coup conspiracy?

Feb 13 (DBS) A striking facet of Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s intriguing personality is the candour he displays in some media interviews. Instead of bluffing, sidestepping or trying to wriggle out of answering tricky questions the Defence secretary responds directly and fields them in a frank,forthright manner. This characteristic was very much evident in the telephonic interview given by more..

Sri Lanka needs carrot, not stick

Feb 13 (Guardian) Are Sri Lanka's problems caused by too much democracy? Western analysts were dismayed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa's recent election victory over General Sarath Fonseka, who led the military defeat of the Tamil Tigers. Criticism of Rajapaksa's government increased following Fonseka's subsequent arrest on sedition charges. Such condemnation belies ignorance of the democratisation process and of the Sri Lankan experience. more..

US Embassy hosts booth at “Deyata Kirula” exhibition in Kandy

Feb 13 (USE) The United States Embassy in Colombo hosted a booth at the "Deyata Kirula" national exhibition held in Kandy during February 4 to 10. Thousands of people visited the booth and learned about the US Government’s activities and projects in the Sri Lanka and about U.S. culture and society. Many activities took place during the event including a promotion of apples by the Washington Apple Commission, more..

Protests grip restive nation after General’s arrest

Feb 13 (IPS) Sri Lanka’s bruising presidential election ended less than a month ago on Jan. 26, but the island nation is now caught up in protests that threaten to spiral into public agitation across the country. If the populace felt it could breathe easy after incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa defeated his main challenger, former Army commander Sarath Fonseka, by a margin of 1.8 million votes more..

Three women's cries and water cannons in the street

Feb 13 (UPI) During the past week, three women in Sri Lanka have tried to speak to the nation about the tragedies they face. One is Sandya Ekanaliyagoda, wife of Prageeth Ekanaliyagoda, a disappeared journalist; another is Hemali Abeyratne, the wife of Chandana Sirimalwattha, the detained editor of Lanka E News; the third is Anoma Fonseka, wife of former army commander and opposition candidate in the recent presidential election, more..

Editorial: Victimising Fonseka will not help

Feb 13 (KT) Political exigency seems to be at work as General Sarath Fonseka stands trial in Colombo. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is treading a path of accumulating more and more power since his re-election, apparently sees his former military general as a political threat. This is why he has been booked and arrested on charges of divulging official secrets, recruiting deserters and even plotting to overthrow the government. more..

Cricket gets Olympic approval

Feb 13 (CI) Twenty20's push to be part of the 2020 Olympics has received a major fillip with news that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has voted to have the International Cricket Council (ICC) approved. However, while cricket - along with power boating sport climbing - can now bid to join the 2020 games the ICC currently has no imminent plans to have the format included. more..

Sri Lankan election announced amid climate of fear and intimidation

Feb 13 (wsws) President Mahinda Rajapakse dissolved parliament on Tuesday and called a general election for April 8, just one day after detaining his rival in the January 26 presidential election, General Sarath Fonseka. The timing was not accidental. The arrest has set the stage for an election in which the government will use every means at its disposal to intimidate and suppress political opposition. more..

Remarkable entry of the hair-to-the-throne of Rajapaksa kingdom of Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (LP) The eldest son of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Namal Rajapaksa marked his entry to politics today wearing fatherlike white national dress instead of casual baggy shirts he earlier prefered to wear at a function patronaged by his father in Tangalle, in the Hambanthota district where Namal had sought for nominations to contest the general election. more..

War crimes probe call reiterated

Feb 13 (BBC) The United Nations have once again called for an independent international investigation over alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. Navi Pillai, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has told a gathering in Dublin, Ireland that her office is in a clear understanding that national investigations "have not worked so far". Speaking in Dublin, Ireland, she added that UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon is more..

EU closely monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (LT) Ms Catherine Ashton, Deputy Chairperson of the European Union has announced that the EU is concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka following the arrest of General Sarath Fonseka. A statement issued by her appeals to the Sri Lankan authorities to ensure that the law of the land is given due consideration and the safety of the election candidates assured. It further states that the Government and all stake holders must more..

Need to improve bilateral trade between India and Sri Lanka

Feb 13 (PTI) There is enormous opportunity to develop trade and investment with Sri Lanka as there is absolutely safe conditions and the government pro-active policies for investors in Sri Lanka. Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FAPCCI) President K Harishchandra Prasad who led a 21-member business delegation to Sri Lanka recently, more..

Death of painter, singer Susil Premaratne

Feb 13 (CT) Veteran painter and singer Susil Premaratne passed away yesterday (Feb. 11) aged 85. He was a son of pioneering Buddhist painter M. Sarlis. Funeral arrangements are to be notified later.

USA to host New Zealand v Sri Lanka internationals

Feb 13 (CI) New Zealand and Sri Lanka will cross a new frontier when they meet each other in three Twenty20 internationals in the USA in May. The games will take place at Central Broward Regional Park Cricket Stadium in Lauderhill, Florida, which has been approved by the ICC. It is the first time two Full Members will have met in an official match on US soil and follows the signing of a strategic partnership between more..

Raising their voice

Feb 13 (BL) May 2009 marked the end of Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war that had torn the nation apart. But it has been an uneasy truce. “The Sri Lankan government should immediately end its post-election harassment of media outlets and ensure protection of journalists from attack,” Human Rights Watch said on January 29, 2010. It added, “Since the presidential election on January 26, Sri Lankan authorities have detained and questioned several journalists, more..

Elephant Conservation in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka eyes 10-year sovereign bond

Feb 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka is eyeing a 10-year 500 million US dollar sovereign bond after May 2010 when funding needs becomes clear after a budget is passed in April, an official said. Sri Lanka has sold two 500 million US dollar sovereign bonds in 2007 and 2009 with a 5-year maturity. "We think Sri Lanka has now matured and gained confidence amongst investors (to float a 10-year bond)," Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. more..

Sri Lanka gets new central bank deputy chief

Feb 13 (LBO) Central bank said P D J Fernando, a senior official with 33 year's of experience has been appointed deputy governor. The Central Bank has two deputy governors, who are primarily in charge of price stability and financial system stability. Fernando's promotion comes with the retirement of D S Wijesinghe. Fernando has functioned as secretary to the monetary board and has worked in human resources, management audit, more..

Sri Lanka's legendary doorman turns 90

Feb 13 (News) In 70 years of greeting guests to Sri Lanka's venerable Galle Face Hotel, doorman K. Chattu Kuttan has hobnobbed with everyone from royal heads of state to Bond girls and Soviet cosmonauts. Kuttan, who turns 90 on Monday, has watched the hotel change with the country, from colonial days, through independence and the dark decades of ethnic conflict. more..

Sri Lanka’s top court to hear challenge to candidate’s arrest

Feb 13 (wsws) The Sri Lankan Supreme Court yesterday overruled objections by government lawyers and decided to hear a fundamental rights case challenging the arrest of General Sarath Fonseka. Fonseka, who resigned as the country’s top general last November, was defeated by President Mahinda Rajapakse in the January 26 presidential election. The case is proceeding in a highly charged political situation. more..

Mixed responses from Buddhist prelates on Fonseka arrest

Feb 13 (TN) Buddhist Chief Prelates (Mahanayakas) of Asgiriya and Malwatte Chapters have come out with mixed responses on Fonseka's arrest. While the Mahanayaka of Malwatte Chapter has said that he was awaiting response from the Sri Lankan president, saying that Mr. Rajapaksa "could have been in dark" while the arrest took place, the Mahanayaka of Asgiriya Chapter has deplored the sudden arrest of Sarath Fonseka. more..

Hopes of ending University Ragging

Feb 13 (SLW) The new set of regulations to Universities is a step that was long due. Better later than never. It’s a step in the right direction. University students in future will be asked to sign a document assuring that they will not engage in any sort of ragging activities till they complete their study programs. It will make them very clear for what are joining the Universities. more..

'Sri Lanka Navy responsible for abductions in Mannaar'

Feb 13 (TN) Relatives of most of the disappeared persons in Mannaar district, who attended a discussion organised by Vavuniyaa Non-Violent Peace Organisation at Mannaar Divisional Secretariat on Friday have said that most of the disappeared were taken into 'custody' by the Sri Lanka Navy for 'interrogation'. The meeting was organised to collect details of the missing persons in the district. more..

Police Election Monitoring Offices active again

Feb 13 (GDI) The Police Election Monitoring Offices recommenced operations yesterday. Police Election Monitoring Offices will investigate into complaints made with regard to the campaign and polling of the forthcoming General Election. Head of the Police Election Secretariat, Senior DIG Gamini Navaratna said that the Election Monitoring Offices will operate from the Police Headquarters and Provincial Senior DIG offices. more..

Minister Ranawaka eliminates corruption in his Ministry

Feb 13 (GDI) Environment Ministry is no more a burden on the Treasury, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. The Minister pointed out that corruption in his Ministry has been eliminated effectively. He stressed that the appointments, transfers and promotions of his Ministry was devoid of politics. A system has been designed to grant promotions on the basis of merit. more..

New measures to avoid drug shortages

Feb 13 (GDI) A "Drug Demand Forecasting Unit" will be set up at the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation (SPC) by the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition, said Media Secretary to the Ministry. The aim of this project is to prevent drug shortages in state hospitals and medical institutions, he explained. The proposed unit will forecast all drug shortages three months in advance, he noted. more..

General's healthcare facilitated

Feb 13 (GDI) The Army Commander gave the nod to make available the services of the usual Doctor who had been serving the former Army Chief. This was explained by Military Spokesman Major General Prasad Samarasinghe. “Mrs. Anoma Fonseka had requested permission from the Commander of the Army, to get the services of Major General Sanjeewa Munasinghe who is the medical advisor of the Commander of the Army. more..

Sri Lanka plans US$100mn northern re-finance fund

Feb 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank is planning a 100 million US dollar re-finance fund for the northern Jaffna peninsular which is seeing a recovery in economic activity after a road link with the rest of the country was restored. The Northern Regional Development Fund will channel loans to businesses in the region through existing banks. more..

UNP strongman Ex-Speaker's son to lead Haputale

Feb 13 (GDI) A son of former speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara, Udith Lokubandara has been appointed as the Haputale SLFP Chief Organizer.This is part of the President’s plan to give priority to the younger generation to make a vital contribution to the progress of the country. Accordingly, the UPFA is planning to introduce young popular personalities amongst the public, to contest the forthcoming general election. more..

Malwatte Chapter, the Church and Fonseka

Feb 13 (AT) Ven. Tibbotuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera, chief Buddhist Monk of Malwatte has said, "...It was a grave crime to imprison a war hero who had done an immense service to eradicate terrorism...Even if such a person does something wrong he should be pardoned..." With due respect to the Malwatte Chief Monk, we wish to ask him if he knows about what the Military Act says regarding the release of Military secrets to the enemy. more..

NWZ Programme 191

Shot in the arm to handicraftsmen

Feb 13 (DN) The National Crafts Council has initiated another mechanism to provide handicraft artistes island wide a means to increase their income by selling their products to the buyers without the support of middlemen with establishment of a Handicraft Sales Complex at the NCC premises. The Handicrafts Sales Complex at Pelawatta, Battaramulla which consists of thirty stalls and initiated with the support of Tourism Ministry will be opened on March 01. more..

To reduce high accident death toll: Neuro trauma units built

Feb 13 (DN) The Health Ministry in a bid to reduce the high death toll from road accidents has built neuro trauma units at a number of hospitals in the areas where there are a large number of road accidents occur. This step was taken after a study that showed a number of accident victims had died on the way while being brought to the Colombo National Hospital from distant places. more..

BoC enters investment banking

Feb 13 (LNP) Bank of Ceylon is focusing more on equity management and will set up a specialized unit to handle investment banking. This would be a paradigm shift in our banking system, Bank of Ceylon Chairman Dr. Gamini Wickramasinghe said. Bank of Ceylon (BOC) launched a medium-term corporate plan taking into consideration the dramatic shift in the economic potential of post-war Sri Lanka. more..

Constitution making and majorities

Feb 13 (LNP) The UPFA is hoping for a two-thirds majority in the next parliament. However, we reported yesterday that according to the government`s calculations based on past election data, the best projected result would be 12 seats short of its target. Opinion may be divided on this prediction. Whether people will grant the UPFA a two-thirds majority or not remains to be seen. However, our bitter experience with governments with steamroller majorities makes us wonder if more..

Anyone violating law must be penalized - PM

Feb 13 (DN) The law is above all and everyone should abide by the law, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka said. Speaking at a function to admit Grade one students to Thalagala Junior school, the Prime Minister said the period where the jungle law flourished is no more. "Whoever violates the law must be penalized. No one can work arbitrarily to fulfill their sinister purposes by utilizing their power in the society. more..

Mahanayakas to hold ‘Sangha Samuluwa’ to strengthen democracy

Feb 13 (LT) The Mahanayakas of the three Chapters have decided to hold a Sangha Assembly with the participation of Maha Sangha to quell the chaotic situation developing in the country and strengthen democracy and establish good governance. The ‘Sangha Assembly will be held at the historic ‘Maha Maluwa’ in Kandy on the 18th of this month at 3.00 p.m. more..

Govt spends Rs 35,000 for person: An expensive dog bite

Feb 13 (DN) The Sri Lankan Government is compelled to spend Rs.35,000 every time a dog bites a person. Annually over 50 persons die in Sri Lanka of rabies. People die from rabies because of negligence, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. According to the spokesman annually the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spends Rs. 500 million to treat dog bites and another Rs 167 million to control the stray dog population. more..

Parliamentary Elections 2010: UPFA gets boost, UNF undecided

Feb 13 (Island) While the UNF is divided and undecided on the future of the alliance, the ruling UPFA has been strengthened with more parties showing their willingness to join it and contest the forthcoming Parliamentary polls under the betel leaf symbol, political sources said yesterday. The UNF’s constituents, the UNP, JVP, SLMC, TNA and DPF have not been able to arrive at a decision on whether to contest the polls under one banner or go their separate ways. more..

'JVP will not contest polls under Elephant symbol'

Feb 13 (Island) The JVP was weighing its options, following the UNP deciding to contest the forthcoming parliamentary election under the elephant symbol, its leader Somawansa Amerasinghe said yesterday. He told The Island that the elephant symbol was out of the question, because the JVP was not prepared to use it. Asked what his options were, Somawansa said: "Why not the Swan. It’s a well known symbol now. more..