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'Govt. obsessed only with liquidating Fonseka while country is in a shambles'

Feb 16 (UNP) UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said, the Govt. under Rajapakse is only obsessed with eradicating Gen. Fonseka from the political scene. This being its favorite preoccupation it has allowed the whole economy, the administration and legal systems of the country to founder on the rocks. more..

Sri Lanka opposition file court challenge to premier

Feb 16 (AFP) Sri Lanka's former army chief and defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka on Tuesday petitioned the Supreme Court challenging incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse's re-election, his lawyer said. Fonseka, who lost a January 26 vote, alleged that he was robbed of victory because of rigging, electoral malpractice and undue influence on the 14 million electorate, lawyer Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told AFP. more..

EU to withdraw preferential tariff benefits to Sri Lanka

Feb 16 (Hindu) European Union (EU) Member States have decided to withdraw preferential tariff benefits to Sri Lanka, with the withdrawal coming into effect six months from now, under a special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, known as GSP+ on charges of human rights violations and torture in the war against the LTTE which concluded in May last year. more..

Sri Lanka keeps rates unchanged to spur lending

Feb 17 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank kept interest rates unchanged for a third straight month on Tuesday to encourage borrowing and new investment which has yet to pick up after the financial crisis. The economy is expected to expand by more than 6 percent this year after growth of 3.5 percent in 2009, an eight-year low. Policymakers hope the end of the island's 25-year civil war last May will eventually result in higher investment. more..

'General created a negative impact on the sovereignty of the nation'

Feb 17 (GDI) A substantially negative impact has been made on the sovereignty of the country through the irresponsible statements of General Sarath Fonseka, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. This is a great betrayal of the country. General Fonseka who has no political experience has made these statements based on hatred. The President who has defeated terrorism has been working hard to defeat the terrorist ideology as well. more..

Debrief News - 16. 02. 2010

US$23.6 million appeal for resettling Sri Lankan refugees

Feb 17 (RW) As part of a joint UN appeal, FAO and partners are calling for US$23.6 million to support over 200 000 people to resettle in the North of Sri Lanka. This emergency response plan aims to promote self sufficiency and prevent further dependency on food aid for some 50 000 rural families. Nearly 130 000 people have returned to their places of origin in the North of Sri Lanka as of December 2009. more..

Sri Lanka not in turmoil

Feb 17 (AN) Some letters appearing in this page create the impression that there is political turmoil in Sri Lanka and the whole of the island has plunged into trouble because of the recently held presidential election. It is true that there were some protests about the election results and some protests about the arrest of Gen. Fonseka. A protest here and there doesn’t mean that the whole country is in turmoil. more..

Buddhist conference postponed

Feb 17 (BBC) The Buddhist leadership of Sri Lanka have indefinitely postponed a conference convened to discuss issues related to democracy and good governance in the island. Four Mahanayake theras of three main Buddhist sects last week called for a special gathering of Buddhist monks to discuss the "uncertainty" developing in the country. In an unprecedented move, the Mahanayake theras invited more..

Sri Lanka apparel costs seen rising with loss of EU access

Feb 17 (LBO) Sri Lankan exporters of apparel, the island’s main industrial export, said the withdrawal of European Union trade benefits would increase costs and erode their competitiveness. European Union nations decided Monday to withdraw the ‘GSP Plus’ preferential trade benefits from Sri Lanka because of what the EU Commission called "significant shortcomings" on human rights issues. “It will have an impact on the industry,” more..

Central Bank staff to be proficient in Tamil

Feb 17 (IL) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka, having understood the importance of possessing proficiency in Tamil language of its staff, has launched a scheme for facilitating its staff to enhance the mastery of Tamil languages with the collaboration of the Department of Official Languages. The main objective of the scheme is to equip its staff to discharge duties adhering to the Government language policy more..

The international significance of Sri Lanka’s emerging police state

Feb 17 (wsws) The rapid moves by the Sri Lankan government towards a police state not only spell danger for the working class on this island, but are a warning to workers around the world. As debt crises erupt in country after country and governments encounter resistance to the savage austerity measures being demanded by international finance capital, the anti-democratic methods of more..

Sri Lanka to start e-commerce trials

Feb 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka is to start test runs on extending to several government agencies a long-delayed automated documentation system for trade that allows cargo to be cleared electronically, officials said. Vinesh Athukorala, chief executive, eServices Lanka, the firm in charge of the online documentation project, said they were appealing to the government to appoint an ‘inter-ministerial task force’ to speed up the project. more..

Sri Lanka export recovery gathers steam

Feb 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s exports grew 6.4 percent to 723.4 million dollars in December 2009 exceeding those of the year before for the first time as a recovery which began in April gathered steam, the Central Bank said. Exports earnings grew largely because of strong growth in agricultural exports, particularly tea and rubber which have been enjoying high prices. Agricultural exports shot up 40.2 percent to 169.3 million dollars, more..

Sri Lanka to persuade EU against trade benefits denial

Feb 17 (IANS) Sri Lanka will persuade the European Union for reversal of its decision to suspend the island nation from EU's preferential trade concessions. 'Sri Lanka will continue her engagement with the EU in the upcoming 6 months with a view to sensitising the European side through a constructive dialogue, concerning both the rapid, demonstrable and sustainable progress that more..

Real estate prices tumble in Tamil areas

Feb 17 (BL) Prices of real estate and property have plunged to lowest levels in certain areas in Colombo district where Tamils have traditionally resided before the end of the war, area residents and property agents say. Prices of properties, especially in areas such as Wellawatte and Kotahena are dropping fast as residents are resettling back into their homeland in the North, sources said. “Although monthly rentals for houses have not dropped drastically since the end of the war, more..

Call for more women representation

Feb 17 (BL) The Women and Media Collective notes that in the 2004 General Election 56% of the eligible voters were women but only 6.6% of the candidates were female candidates. Furthermore, even though 52% of the population are women, only 11 of the 225 Parliamentary seats were occupied by women. To educate the public more on this issue, the Media Collective will hold a media briefing today, calling for increased representation of women in Sri Lankan politics. more..

JVP in massive campaign demanding release of General

Feb 17 (LT) A massive agitation organized by the JVP was held in Colombo today (16th) to demand the government to release apolitical Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka who was illegally arrested and is being detained without any charges. A massive crowd participated in the agitation which commenced with a demonstration from Campbell Park to Lipton Circus. more..

North & East to get Passport Offices

Feb 17 (GDI) A programme to provide passports to the people in the north without delay has been implemented. Under this programme implemented through the assistance of the Post Master General and the District Secretaries, people in the north could obtain their passports by handing over their applications to the relevant divisional secretaries. The controller adds that passport issuing offices will be set up in the Northern and Eastern provinces soon.

A Missed Opportunity for Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (WSJ) President Mahinda Rajapaksa's plans sound good on paper (op-ed, Feb. 4), but until his government and the international community address the dire human-rights situation, the deterioration of the rule of law, and legitimate Tamil grievances, Sri Lanka will remain mired in turmoil. More than 7,000 civilians died last year in what the United Nations called a "bloodbath" for which government forces as well as the Tamil Tigers were responsible. more..

New TRC-DG to hold crucial meeting on interconnection

Feb 17 (BL) Newly appointed Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), Anusha Palpita, said that the Commission is to expedite the stalled interconnection regime and in a bid to do so, will meet all operators at a crucial meeting next week. “We have commenced discussions with operators, and I am in consultation with the technical experts. more..

Police request for arrest warrant rejected

Feb 17 (LG) The Chief Magistrate and Additional District Judge of Anuradhapura yesterday rejected a request made by the police to issue an order to arrest former UNP MP P. Harrison, the Chief Incumbent of the Mihintale Raja Maha Vihara, Walawahangunawewe Dhammarathana Thera and several others. This decision was take by the magistrate when the Anuradhapura police submitted a 'B' Report to court more..

Messy politics in Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (DP) Sri Lanka is in a royal mess just 10 months after a brilliant but brutal military campaign which vanquished the deadly Tigers fighting for a Tamil Eelam. Rather than consolidating peace, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, spurred by his brother Gothabaya Rajapaksa, the powerful Defence Secretary and former Colonel, has got embroiled in an ugly fight with a former Army Commander, Gen Sarath Fonseka, whom he had arrested on February 8 while he was on a visit to Russia. more..

'Fonseka, pawn of international community'

Feb 17 (BL) The Federation of National Organisations (FNO) strongly held that the government is neglecting its duty of properly informing the public of the international conspiracy at hand to tarnish Sri Lanka’s image and the patriotism of its soldiers. Speaking at a recent press conference held specifically to alert the public of the so called negligence of the government more..

Sri Lankan bank offers new financial plans for expatriates

Feb 17 (GN) Hatton National Bank (HNB), a private commercial bank in Sri Lanka, has launched the HNB World in Dubai, an initiative that seeks to tap into the business potential of the Sri Lankan diaspora, which has recently been invigorated following the end of the civil war in the country. HNB said that it is offering "tailor-made financial solutions and rewards for savings" to Sri Lankan expatriates in the UAE. more..

Sri Lanka slams EU on cutting trade benefits

Feb 17 (AFP) Sri Lanka criticised Tuesday a decision by European Union nations to withdraw preferential trade benefits from Sri Lanka if it failed to respect human rights obligations. The decision Monday came after an "exhaustive" investigation "identified significant shortcomings" by the island nation in implementing UN human rights conventions, the EU Commission said. Sri Lanka's foreign ministry said the more..

U.S. Supreme Court to hear controversial terrorism case

Feb 17 (Examiner) The nation's highest court will hear a case that may redefine the difference between humanitarian aid and aiding and abetting terrorist groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda and Tamil Tigers. The Humanitarian Law Project, a left-wing special interest group, contesting part of federal law that prohibits "material support" to terrorists and nations such as Iran. more..

An environmental friendly lamp for lagoon fishermen in Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (LP) A Sri Lankan environmental organization is introducing a new lamp for the fishermen that engage in the industry in lagoons. This new lamp is a compact florescent lamp with a rechargeable battery. It will replace the traditional kerosene lamps that consumes at least a liter of kerosene per each night. The Negenahiru Environmental Center has already supplied around 40 such lighting units to the fresh water and lagoon fishermen in Maduganga and Madampawila more..

Sri Lankans told to get involved in election

Feb 17 (UCAN) The Church is urging Catholics to get involved in general elections scheduled for April 8, the first since the 26-year-old civil war ended. The Church will be mobilizing Catholics across the country to encourage them to “take part in their democratic right to vote,” said Caritas Sri Lanka’s national director Father George Sigamoney. Bishops Rayappu Joseph of Mannar, Norbert Andradi of Anuradhapura and more..

Independence celebrated in USA

Religious leaders meet again over Fonseka

Feb 17 (UCAN) Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim religious leaders have expressed deep concern over the arrest of former army chief and defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka. The Congress of Religions met the chief prelates of Sri Lanka’s two main Buddhist chapters among four in Kandy to discuss the situation today [Feb. 16]. The country faces a fresh wave of post-election violence as anger grows over the arrest. more..

AFC Challenge Cup: Sri Lanka 0-4 Myanmar

Feb 17 (Goal) Myanmar have gone to the top of Group A after a comprehensive 4-0 win over hosts Sri Lanka at Colombo on Tuesday evening. Kyaw Thi Ha, Yan Paing, Pai Soe and Myo Min Tun all got on the scoresheet while Sri Lankan defender Thuwan Raheem was sent off early in the game. Sri Lanka were determined to make a good start in front of their own fans but suffered a big blow in the 17th minute when defender Thuwan Raheem was shown a straight red more..

Repeal repressive laws that permit abuse of power

Feb 17 (TC) The recent Presidential elections were widely heralded as being the first in recent times in which the people in the entire country could participate and as signifying the reunification of a country that was for so long divided by war. However, the political developments after the elections are indicative of a growing political crisis in the country and more..

The ‘Sinhala-Nationalist’s Burden’

Feb 17 (GV) Mr. Gomin Dayasiri’s article, titled ‘Tamil Grievances – Untouched & Unattended’ (Daily Mirror, 16 February 2010) reveals the Sinhala nationalist perspective concerning the kind of solution necessary for the resolution of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It is an important piece, written by a respected senior lawyer, a nationalist. The author points to some valuable propositions. But there are certain aspects of it which are disturbing. more..

'Sri Lanka to build new container terminal in 2Q'

Feb 17 (LBO) Construction of a new deep-water container terminal to be built and run by the private sector in Colombo port is to start in the second quarter of this year, a Sri Lanka port official said. Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) chairman Priyath Wickrama said they were in the final stages of talks with the private investor, a consortium led by China Merchant Holdings which has teamed up with local conglomerate Aitken Spence. more..

IDPs evicted from army HSZ in Valikaamam again asked to register their names

Feb 17 (TN) The residents of Valikaamam North evicted by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) to establish its High Security Zone (HSZ) have been asked to register their names with Thellippazhai Divisional Secretariat (DS) if they wish to be resettled in their properties, before Thursday. Meanwhile, IDP Welfare Organizations in Jaffna said that this is the sixth time the residents are being asked to register their names and more..

Goods container trains back on Northern track

Feb 17 (MoD) After a lapse of 20 years, a special train consisting entirely of goods containers left the Colombo Fort Railway Station on Monday morning to Thandikulam in Vavuniya. Accordingly, a train carrying 12 containers consisting building materials required for the massive construction projects in the Northern Province was ceremonially flagged off at the Fort Railway Station. more..

Dr. Gamini Jayakuru is no more

Feb 17 (GDI) The former Government Chief Venereologist, Dr. Gamini Nihal Jayakuru died last morning of a sudden illness. Dr. Jayakuru who was the most well-known expert in this particular field in recent times also served as Director of the STD/AIDS Control Programme after his retirement.Dr. Jayakuru who was a distinguished past student of Royal College, Colombo made a significant contribution to the medical field of more..

Mrs.Tillekeratne violates country's exchange control laws

Feb 17 (GDI) The possession of more than 2000 US Dollars is a serious breach of law. Written permission had to be sought from the Exchange Controller if a sum more than this amount was to be kept in one’s possession. If not, it had to be deposited in a bank account. This has been clarified by Exchange Controller of the Central Bank P.H.O. Chandrawansa. He pointed out that, a Sri Lankan can possess up to 2000 US Dollars or other foreign currency amounting to this value. more..

SLBFE branch offices in Jaffna, Vavuniya

Feb 17 (MoD) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment will set up branch offices in Jaffna and Vavuniya, Minister Douglas Devananda said. These offices will be made use of for awareness raising and help foreign job seekers, migratory workers and public, in addition to their routine service, the Minister said at a ceremony at his Ministry, to receive 245 bicycles gifted by more..