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The 'ides' of February 2010

Feb 15 (LG) If one may be pardoned for departing from the strict etymological sense of the term, it may well not be the Ides of Marchbut rather the Ides of February 2010 marked of note when public anger at the arrest and initial incommunicado detention of the country's former Army Commander and losing Presidential candidate spills over to the streets of Sri Lanka's capital and towns and seems poised to fashion itself into a political movement that more..

What for the Tellin, Laffin also Comin!

Feb 15 (LG) Pandang Paksha on meeting Traitor Silva after their English class: [Pandang Paksha (PP) and Traitor Silva (TS) are buddies on opposite sides of the political fence. They are also students of the new way of speaking English — English as She is Spoke — introduced by Sunimal Fernando (BA Oxon) under the sponsorship of the Presidential Secretariat. Their secret conversation was recorded by an operative of Kelang Unit of more..

People of Sri Lanka deserve better

Feb 15 (LG) When Sri Lanka recently went for Presidential election,many people around the world thought that the country’s democratic system has matured and Sri Lanka will be able to overcome its problems before long. While the election debate was acrimonious when several personal allegations were made, the observers did not mind it, terming such exchanges between the political parties as more..

Ballooned ego of the Rajapakshas would not……..

Feb 15 (LG) Mahanayakas of all sectors have called a meeting of the Bikkhus to be held on the 18th of February to discuss the impending disasters for the country regarding the erosion of democracy and the decline of the rule of law. This could be the first time in the recent history of Sri Lanka that all four Mahanayakas have made a collective call for a gathering of the monks to discuss the said issues. more..

Kandurata and Ruhuna rule the roost

Feb 15 (CI) Sri Lanka and Kings XI Punjab captain Kumar Sangakkara's Kandurata team had their unbeaten record dented by Ruhuna who managed a thrilling four-run win in Galle. Despite the loss, Kandurata held on to the lead by a mere one point with both teams having a 3-1 win-loss record after four matches. Kandurata were on course to overhaul Ruhuna's modest total of 213 with 35 required off 27 balls and five wickets intact. more..

The Fonseka affair: A perfect blunder?

Feb 15 (LG) Are we headed for a third great cycle of violence? Sri Lanka has experienced two so far: the violence of the Sinhala underprivileged youth vs. the System, and the youth of the Tamil periphery vs. the Sinhala heartland. Are we living through the prelude of a third cycle, this time of a Cold war turning hot –factional strife turning into civil conflict- within the Sinhala establishment itself? more..

Psychological effects of Torture

Feb 15 (LG) Torture is one of the most serious abuses of human rights. Generally torture is referred to as 'any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person", for a purpose such as obtaining information or a confession, punishment, intimidation or coercion, "or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind". Torture was used as a governing tool since the dawn of human history. more..

Sri Lanka's endless wars

Feb 15 (TS) For Sri Lanka, 2009 was its Year of Living Dangerously. Now, 2010 is shaping up as the country's Year of Living Dictatorially. After first vanquishing his Tamil Tiger enemies on the battlefield last year, and then trouncing his main electoral opponent last month, President Mahinda Rajapaksa might have been expected to show a measure of magnanimity. Yet his post-election impulses have tended toward revenge, not reconciliation. more..

Rajapaksa and cohorts justified Fonseka "action" against the media earlier

Feb 15 (TC) Is it selective amnesia, emulating Pontius Pilate or both? That’s what crossed my mind when I read the interview on the arrest of General Sarath Fonseka, given by Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to the Straits Times, headlined “He was definitely planning a coup”. Referring to Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickramatunge’s murder and the violence unleashed on other journalists and media activists, more..

Army unmoved by growing support for Fonseka

Feb 15 (HT) A groundswell of support seems to be building up to free the arrested former army chief Sarath Fonseka. But the army is likely to go ahead and initiate court martial proceedings against him, the first four-star general in its history. A board, of three or five members, would be constituted to hear the evidence against Fonseka, accused of planning a coup among other things. The court martial board would be headed by current chief of defence staff (CDS) and more..

Lankan football ready to revel in peace

Feb 15 (AFC) Sri Lanka is hoping that hosting the AFC Challenge Cup 2010 will help to show the world that the country is emerging from the ashes of war. AFC Vice-President Manilal Fernando, a Sri Lankan, said after the end of the civil war last year, he wanted an event that would showcase the country to the world. “Sri Lanka is at peace now and I wanted to get the message across to the world, especially people in Asia, that we are a country which is beautiful and we have smiling people,” more..

Sri Lanka: Surrounded by a Sea of Troubles

Feb 15 (KT) If the rising waves of social and political unrest are any measure of the gathering turmoil in Sri Lanka, it is unlikely that the island nation will regain its serendipity soon, and the snap parliamentary poll scheduled for April 8 may only make matters worse by exposing the deep fissures of frustration as it expands. And for this rather disturbing state of affairs, the President Mahinda Rajapakse may soon realise that he has no one else to blame but himself. more..

Lankan president should empower Tamils: SM Krishna

Feb 15 (PTI) India wants Sri Lanka to empower the minority Tamil speaking people through a political process and open a new chapter in the island nation's history, external affairs minister, SM Krishna said here today. "We also want the Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa to create a situation where the minority Tamil speaking people are empowered through political process and open a new chapter in Sri Lankan history", more..

Why the Mahanayakes are annoyed with President and backing General Fonseka

Feb 15 (TC) In this country no issue remains at the forefront of the public consciousness for long. The arrest of General Sarath Fonseka last week basically put an end to the election rigging circus. Now nobody is talking about election rigging and everybody is talking about Fonseka. A new twist to events that emerged with the arrest of Fonseka is the comments that the Ven Mahanayake of the Malwatte chapter made about the arrest and about democracy in the country in general. more..

Bio diversity in Sri Lanka

Three-pronged Sinhala colonization in Mannaar

Feb 15 (TN) Ko’ndachchi-Chilaavaththu’rai, Thalaimannaar Pier and Madu in Mannaar district are being particularly targeted for Sinhala-Buddhist colonies by the colonial government in Colombo, news reports from Mannaar said Sunday. Everyday, colonizers with shelter-making facilities and boats are brought through Vilpattu from Puththa’lam district and from Medawachchiya of Anuradhapura district, news sources said adding that more..

Government does not reveal true number of Vanni IDPs yet to be resettled

Feb 15 (TN) Though the government of Sri Lanka reports that only less than 60,000 Vanni IDPs detained in the camps remain to be resettled, more than a hundred thousand of them have not been resettled in their own places but have sought refuge with their relatives and friends while some of them live in temporary sheds put up on government lands, according to Ki’linochchi District Secretariat sources. more..

China donates more equipment for N & E infrastructure development

Feb 15 (GDI) The Chinese Government donated more equipment for infrastructure development in North and East on behalf of the Uthuru Wasanthaya programme mooted for the resettlement of civilians displaced due to terrorist activities. The latest donation is worth 285.4 million rupees. China’s Ambassador Yang Xiuping handed over the donation via the Ministry of Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development. more..

Containers back on rail tracks after many years

Feb 15 (GDI) The transport of containers via the railways has resumed. The service has resumed after a lapse of many years. A special train carrying containers left the Colombo Fort Railway Station yesterday to Thandikulam, the Railways Department sources said. The main Control Room of the Railways said the use of containers for the transport of food and other goods, is a profitable system. more..

Largest-ever international soccer gathering to begin on Feb 16

Feb 15 (GDI) The largest-ever international soccer gathering in the country’s history where for the first time teams from outside the South Asian region are taking part was described by Manilal Fernando, AFC vice-president and the leading Sri Lankan Football official. “Sri Lanka is at peace now and I wanted to get the message across to the world, especially people in Asia, that we are a country which is beautiful and we have smiling people. more..

ITU Chief congratulates President

Feb 15 (GDI) The Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union Dr. Hamadoun I. Toure has sent a Congratulatory message to the President on his grand election victory end of last month. In his message, Dr. Hamadoun says “ I am pleased to learn of your re-election as President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. I should like, on this occasion, to extend to you my heartiest congratulations and best wishes for success in your assignment”. more..

United Sri Lankans in Scotland celebrate 62nd Independence

Feb 15 (MoD) Sri Lankans of all communities in Scotland gathered to Partick Burgh Hall in Scotland's largest city on 07th February to celebrate Sri Lanka's 62nd Independence Day. Deputy High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Britain graced the occasion as the chief guest. This was a remarkable event as the country celebrates the first Independence Day since the separatist terrorists were defeated. more..

UPFA selects all their candidates for nominations

Feb 15 (GDI) General Secretary of the SLFP Agriculture Maithripala Sirisena 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. Minister Sirisena said that nomination papers of the UPFA have been signed in front of the President this morning by District Leaders. more..

Our Rajapakse Future

Feb 15 (LG) Last week the contours of our Rajapakse future became too manifest to be ignored, too unequivocal to be misunderstood. On the night of February 8th, the military police and the army launched a commando type raid on the office of retired General and former Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka and arrested him. The next morning, twenty-something law student Namal Rajapakse, the eldest offspring of the President, applied for nominations for the family enclave of Hambantota. more..

13th amendment to the constitution can be fully implemented by president without reference to parliament

Feb 15 (TC) What is attempted in this brief comment is to draw certain positive conclusions from the published result of the Presidential election just concluded. The position popularized in the course of the election was that it was a contest between two individuals, the C-in-C of the Armed Forces and the General that led them on ground to what was claimed as the liquidation of the LTTE and its military and political capacity. more..

Germany ready with post-war aid

Feb 15 (MoD) Germany is ready to help Sri Lanka overcome the consequences of 30 years of armed conflict and German development aid is very much focused towards this endeavour, Germany's Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jens Plotener said. In an exclusive interview with the Daily News, the Ambassador observed that the war has been won but building peace is a long and very demanding task. more..

One more new batch of SF troopers passed out

Feb 15 (MoD) The passing out parade of 40th batch of the Special Forces took place on Saturday (13) at Maduruoya Special Forces Training School where Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya was the Chief Guest. Army Commander was received on arrival by the Colonel Commandant of Special Forces Major General Kamal Gunaratne and was accorded a guard turnout according to military traditions. more..

Batticaloa gets Rs 700 m bridge across Valaichchenai lagoon

Feb 15 (MoD) Work on the new Oddamavadi bridge across the Valaichchenai lagoon is nearing completion and will be opened to the public this year. A Highways and Road Development Ministry spokesman said public transport in the Batticaloa district would be hassle free because of this bridge being constructed at a cost of Rs 700 million. The World Bank and the Spanish Government have funded the project. more..

Army resorts in Nilaweli & Yala beach

Feb 15 (PSM) Holiday resorts for families of army personnel are to be built in Nilaweli and Yala beach areas soon. Army Chief Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya during a recent visit to the Eastern Province, assured officers and men that holiday resorts would be established in the area for the benefit of them and their families. Addressing troops stationed in the area, he said that the Army had obtained land from Yala and Nilaweli areas for this purpose. more..

Fonseka arrest :Govt. in deep muddle trying to muddy Gen. Fonseka

Feb 15 (UNP) The Govt. which is keeping Gen. Fonseka in custody after his arbitrary arrest in the most humiliating manner has plunged itself into a serious crisis as regards his inquiry when Gen. Fonseka defied Govt.’s attempts last Friday to subject him to a preliminary military inquiry. The summary of evidence which was to be recorded by Major Gen. Ratnayake at the Officer’s mess in the Navy Headquarters where Fonseka is held in custody presently, came a cropper when more..

Why President Rajapaksa cannot appoint commission to review judgments given by ex-chief justice Sarath Silva

Feb 15 (TC) Last week, Minister of Nation Building, Jagath Pushpakumara, was quoted in more than one newspaper as having said that he would request the President to appoint a commission to review the judgments delivered by former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva. This idea seems to have occurred to the Minister after a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court headed by the present Chief Justice Asoka De Silva more..

Govt. via Karannagoda trying to hamper the Sangha convention on 18th

Feb 15 (LeN) The Govt. is moving heaven and earth to obstruct the Maha Sangha special convention on the 18th evening at the Mahasamaluwa in Kandy at the invitation of the Ven. Mahnayakes of all three Chapters. Former Navy Commodore and present Secretary of the Highways Ministry Admiral Vasantha Karnnagoda had met the Ven. Mahanayakes of the Malwatte Asgiriya Chapters on the orders of the Govt. and more..

PUCSL to guarantee safe electricity

Feb 15 (DN) The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has launched an inspection program to improve the safety of internal electrical installations within Government owned school buildings in the country to educate the school community and the public about safe electrical installations in buildings. The program launched from Tangalle recently has so far inspected a number of schools with some being categorized as in dire need of repair and new equipment. more..

Civil and political rights of peoples, democracy and the UN covenants

Feb 15 (LG) Due to the strange political developments taking place in my mother country, Sri Lanka,recently I do read most newspapers and Internet sites to check on the latest news these days. Political parties seem to run some papers. There are a few nationally recognised newspapers such as the Daily Mirror, The Island, and Daily News. All these papers have their own biases when reporting events and commentary on issues. more..

Ranil deplores and disdains President’s mealy mouthed talks on Fonseka ‘s release

Feb 15 (UNP) UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said, Gen. Fonseka who won the war for the country defeating the LTTE terrorists is kept in jail by the Govt., but KP a LTTE leader who engaged in all the villainy and treason against the country is kept in a Palace. How quickly has the President forgotten the feat of former Army Commander Gen. Fonseka. more..

Sigiriya stays open despite wasp attack

Feb 15 (DN) Sigiriya will be opened to the public today despite Saturday’s wasp attack which injured several visitors, a Cultural Affairs Ministry spokesman said. Nearly 18 foreigners were injured by wasp stings at the rock fortress on Saturday. Other tourists who were at the summit of the rock at that time were evacuated immediately as a precautionary measure, OIC of the Sigiriya police said. more..

Politicians duty-bound to develop remote villages

Feb 15 (DN) As politicians it is our bounden duty to find out shortcomings in remote villages and take action to fulfil them Highways and Road Development Minister T. B. Ekanayake said. The Minister made these observations at the opening ceremony of a laboratory building at the Panagamuwa Central College in the Rideegama Education Division. The Minister said the Government allocates a colossal sum of money every year for the development of education in the country. more..

UPFA-CWC deal sealed: 9 on govt. list

Feb 15 (Island) The UPFA has accepted the CWC’s request to field nine candidates on the UPFA ticket in seven districts, including Colombo. UPFA General Secretary Minister Susil Premjayantha yesterday said the two parties had finalised an agreement. According to him, the CWC would field three candidates in Nuwara Eliya, Badulla (2), Matale (1) Kandy (1), Ratnapura (1) and Colombo (1). more..

UPFA members jostle for nominations: NFF, UNP dissidents seek lion’s share

Feb 15 (Island) The constituent parties of the ruling SLFP-led UPFA, dissident UNP MPs, who had supported President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the last Parliament and other political crossovers will receive at least 100 slots to contest the upcoming parliamentary polls. The breakaway JVP faction, the National Freedom Front (NFF), wants the lion’s share–– 20 slots––with two in the Gampaha District. more..

Senior attorney on Court Martial

Feb 15 (DN) Senior Attorney-at-Law Uapli Senaratne commenting on General Sarath Fonseka’s arrest said the retired General was taken into custody by the Military Police in Terms of Section 57 of Army Act. Any person subject to Military Law commits an offence thereafter ceases to be a person subject to Military Law he still can be taken into and kept in military custody and tried and punished for an offence by a Court Martial. more..