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Opposition in disarray

Feb 20 (DN) The main Opposition alliance of political parties the UNP, JVP, SLMC and TNA who were together in the recent Presidential election split into more than two groups yesterday. The UPFA remains the strongest political party now. The main Opposition, the UNP has decided to go alone with the elephant symbol, Sirikotha sources said. The JVP earlier said it would form an alliance with the UNP and the New Democratic Front. more..

'Disturbing and dangerous signals: even Buddhist Prelates browbeaten'

Feb 20 (UNP) Referring to the Buddha clergy conference convened by all the three chapters of the Mahanayakes which was scheduled for the 18th of this month and its subsequent postponement by them suddenly owing to various pressures brought upon the Mahanayakes from Govt. groups is a dangerous and disturbing signal not only to Buddhism, the Prelates, but also to the whole country - more..

Lawyers to meet detained officers

Feb 20 (DN) The Supreme Court yesterday directed the CID to give access to lawyers to visit the detained Army officers arrested at Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka's political office. According to the court order, the lawyers could meet the detained officers from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. next Sunday. The Court directed the counsel for petitioner Army officers to support their rights applications on Monday after meeting with their clients. more..

Lanka can overcome GSP+

Feb 20 (DN) A concession is given for a certain time frame and we should not depend heavily on concessions. Regarding the GSP+ concession, the private sector especially apparel associations and the other related business chambers should go to the European Union (EU) through Ministries without making this a political issue, Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) Past President, Nawaz Rajabdeen told Daily News Business. more..

The Buddha Sasana: Sri Lanka’s biggest NGO?

Feb 20 (GV) Sometimes words are used so often and so uncritically that they not only lose communicative value but those who utter them and those who hear them no longer know what they mean. We really don’t know what ‘democracy’ means, do we? Decency, anyone? How about justice? Love? There are thousands of such words and terms including ‘people’, ‘sustainability’, ‘development’ and ‘hegemony’, but more..

PAFFREL wants go 'ahead' to monitor counting centers

Feb 20 (DM) The elections monitoring body, PAFFREL has made a request to Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake to authorise it to monitor the counting and calculation of the final results of the Parliamentary election on April 8 in addition to its other monitoring work when it met him on Thursday. Local or foreign observers are not permitted to monitor counting of votes right now. more..

Poor labour rights alone enough to lose GSP Plus

Feb 20 (Island) A trade union says Sri Lanka could lose GSP Plus trade concessions to the EU based on the country’s poor labour rights record alone, although it is the human rights front that continues to receive much attention. "Four out of the 403 garment factories in the island actually comply with the core ILO conventions on Labour Rights. We have constantly brought labour rights issues before the government, more..

Sri Lanka Civil War

TNA Kinks out nine former members

Feb 20 (DM) The TNA has denied nominations for at least eight former MPs including Batticaloa district member Ms. Thangeswari Kathiraman and Jaffna district member Pathmini Sithamparanathan who were in Parliament last time. The TNA, which enjoyed 22 parliamentary seats last time, finalized its nomination papers for some electorates such as Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Digamadulla yesterday. It has also left out its dissident members M.K. Sivajilingam and N. Sri Kantha from the lists. more..

Trophy, the upside down Bell

Feb 20 (DM) A Daily Mirror online reader has posted a comment reminding that Trophy, the latest JVP-SF symbol is in fact upside down of the JVP symbol, the Bell.One wonders whether the new alliance would turn the JVP too upside down ideologically and make them look less JVP. Today the party has got what it badly wanted, some stronger ally to latch on to win a few seats in the next parliament. more..

'Ranil happiest man to enjoy Fonseka’s fate'

Feb 20 (Island) SLFP Chief Organiser for Udunuwara, S. B. Dissanayake on Wednesday, told the media at Hanguranketha that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, was the happiest man to enjoy the fate of General (retd.) Sarath Fonseka. Ranil Wickremesinghe faced challenges from two persons. "Primarily, I was the major challenge. Secondly, the unsuccessful Presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka. more..

Jaffna leads in dengue case reports

Feb 20 (Island) The Jaffna District recorded the highest number of dengue cases during the last two months. Health Ministry sources said yesterday (19) that in January 814 cases had been reported while in February (upto Wednesday) the number of cases reported was 455. Gampaha and Colombo also have a high rate of dengue. The total number of dengue cases reported from the Colombo District was 733 and from the Gampaha District 833 from January till February 17. more..

Sri Lanka vehicle imports fall in October

Feb 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's vehicle imports fell 4.1 percent October 2009 from a year earlier to 21,239 vehicles registered, with most categories showing a decline, according to official data. Motor car imports were down 54.9 percent to 370 in October, continuing a trend of the past several months, while dual purpose vehicles were down 51.7 percent and land vehicle imports, which include tractors, down 40.5 percent. more..

INTERPOL to probe Dhanuna

Feb 20 (DM) The CID has sought the assistance of the INTERPOL to gather information on foreign bank accounts of Danuna Tilakaratne, the son-in-law of General Sarath Fonseka. The CID has already gathered information regarding Tilakaratne accounts in Sri Lanka and the CID is collecting more information on Tilakaratne’s international financial dealings by collecting data on his foreign bank accounts. more..

'Many new faces through UNP to challenge Govt'

Feb 20 (AD) The UNP which is contesting all districts under its elephant symbol, has finalized around 80 per cent of the nomination lists, says party General Secretary Tissa Attanayake. Addressing the media at party headquarters ‘Siri Kotha’, theKandy district former Parliamentarian said that the UNP will tomorrow (Sunday) officially start accepting the signatures of its nominees on the list. more..

'We were never in an alliance with the UNP'

Feb 20 (DM) Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amerasinghe yesterday claimed that it was never in an alliance with the UNP and that every party that supported the candidacy of General Sarath Fonseka, did so individually. “We have not formed an alliance with the UNP; we supported the General, the UNP supported the General and the other parties also supported the General,” Amerasinghe told Daily Mirror more..

Lanka's split opposition comes under one platform for Fonseka

Feb 20 (PTI) Sri Lanka's tattered coalition found a rallying point here as its leaders came together in support of detained former Army chief Sarath Fonseka, and indicated a possibility of a post parliamentary election understanding. The opposition political parties, who fielded Fonseka against Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential polls, have decided to go it alone in the upcoming parliamentary polls but have jointly expressed solidarity with him. more..

INGOs, NGOs ‘destabilising democracy’

Feb 20 (Hindu) Sri Lanka on Saturday complained to two visiting envoys that some countries were channelling funds via International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) and local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to destabilise democracy in the island-nation. The Foreign Affairs Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama, echoed these views in separate meetings with more..

W.J.M. Lokubandara joins SLFP

Feb 20 (CT) W.J.M. Lokubandara, speaker of the last parliament and a strongman of the UNP, has joined the SLFP. Mr. Lokubandara obtained membership of the party from president Mahinda Rajapaksa at a function in Bandarawela. His son Uditha Lokubandara was recently appointed SLFP organizer for Haputale electorate and has been given nominations to contest the upcoming general election from Badulla district on the UPFA ticket. more..

Sri Lankan SEP press conference condemns government’s anti-democratic measures

Feb 21 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) in Sri Lanka held a press conference in Colombo on Thursday to condemn the anti-democratic measures being carried out by the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse, including the arrest of opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka. SEP Political Committee member Vilani Peiris made a statement in Sinhala, which was translated into Tamil and English. more..

On being Democratic in spite of the Constitution

Feb 21 (TC) The polemical piece I wrote on cricket and the Constitution two weeks ago has got drawn into the debate over the Third Amendment, courtesy Rajiva Wijesinha’s intervention last week. That provides me with the context, if not the pretext, to offer this proposition on how Sri Lanka could be democratic despite the Constitution and not in defiance of the Constitution. more..

Sri Lankan tea prices stay high

Feb 21 (LBO) Sri Lankan tea prices eased at the Colombo auctions this week but are still at record highs being much higher than last year both in rupee and dollar terms, brokers said. But the Western quality season, which is during this time of year, has yet to set in because of unseasonal rains, they said. “The year 2010 has commenced on a strong footing with Sri Lankan national averages for January registering 389.74 rupees a kilo more..

The “Great divider and Destroyer” may prove to be the “Great unifier and Builder”

Feb 21 (LG) The Rajapakse presidency has been a phenomenon previously unseen in independent Sri Lanka. Luxman Arvind has (Sri Lanka Guardian, 20/02/2010) written a brief note with the title 'The Divider Extra-ordinaire?' with reference to President Mahinda Rajapakse and it was thought provoking. Will the 'Great Divider and Destroyer' ultimately turn out to be the 'Great Unifier and Builder'? more..

SLK 3-0 BAN: Hosts end on a high

Feb 21 (AFC) AFC Challenge Cup hosts Sri Lanka ended their campaign on a high note with an impressive 3-0 win over a Bangladesh side that went into the Saturday’s match needing to win handsomely to keep alive their hopes of advancing to the knockout stage. Bangladesh’s chances of reaching the semi-finals were dealt a huge blow with just seven minutes gone when Mohammed Kaiz put Sri Lanka one up, firing home a low shot after Shanmugarajah Sanjeev headed a more..

Sri Lanka to set up community villages for ex-rebels

Feb 21 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan government said on Saturday that it will introduce a new concept, community villages, to reintegrate and rehabilitate former Tamil Tiger rebels who are now under rehabilitation process at government run centers. The proposal to establish community villages has already drawn and in the process of clearing some administrative requirements before putting it for the final nod. more..

A plan for a campaign of blackmail and political harassment

Feb 21 (LG) There was breaking news today (20) at noon that some NGOs are trying to destabilize the country and that the government will engage in a campaign against this. This news was attributed to a Foreign Ministry source. In making inquiries into this news item, it was revealed that the beginning of this attempt to initiate a campaign started at a meeting held at Temple Trees yesterday (19), more..


Feb 21 (Forbes) Somebody once said democracy is the right to choose your dictator. For the minority Tamils in Sri Lanka, the presidential election in late January presented such a baffling dilemma. Should they vote for the man who ordered a bloody war on their homeland or for the military general who actually led the troops into their fields? In the end most Tamils stayed home on the poll day unable to fathom who was the lesser evil. more..

Sri Lanka's Jayasuriya sets sights on parliament

Feb 21 (BBC) Sri Lanka's top run-getter in one-day international cricket is going to contest the forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for 8 April. Sanath Jayasuriya, now retired from Test cricket, told the BBC Tamil service he will stand in the southern district of Matara, where he was born. He will be standing for the SLFP of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Jayasuriya played a key part in Sri Lanka's only World Cup victory in 1996. more..

Luxury jail treatment for ex Sri Lanka army chief: president

Feb 21 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president says arrested ex-army chief and defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka is getting "five-star" treatment in custody, it was reported Saturday. Fonseka, whose detention came two weeks after being beaten in presidential elections in late January by President Mahinda Rajapakse, is being held by the military pending court-martial proceedings on unspecified charges. more..

The Two-thirds Menace

Feb 21 (AT) Lankan democracy is under siege. And the besiegers are not the ruling party but the Ruling Family, not the SLFP or the UPFA but President Rajapakse, his siblings and their progeny. It is the determination of the Rajapakses to perpetrate their rule which is creating an existential crisis for the Lankan democracy. The UPFA can win the upcoming parliamentary election with a simple majority, freely and fairly, without abusing power to more..

'Mahanayakes threatened with temple bomb attack'

Feb 21 (SL) The proposed Sangha Convention that was scheduled for last Thursday had to be postponed by the Mahanayakes after a group of pro-government Buddhist monks threatened to bomb the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy, the most venerated Buddhist shrine in the country. Executive Committee Member of the Sangha Convention, Ven. Walawahengunuwewe Dhammarathana Thero alleged that a group of 45 Buddhist monks had visited the Malwathu Viharaya on February 16 and more..

Opposition unaware of campaign funds received by Fonseka

Feb 21 (SL) Following the discovery of millions of rupees in safe deposit boxes in a bank, opposition party leaders have denied any knowledge of these monies allegedly received by Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka during the recently concluded presidential election campaign. Ashoka Tillakaratne, whose son Dhanuna is married to Sarath Fonseka’s daughter Apsara, claims more..

Sri Lanka taken for a ride

Feb 21 (SL) We have the Fonseka Phenomenon still in overdrive; we have the self-anointed General of anti-corruption who has a Rs 78 million question mark to sort out; we have the opposition scooting off to the clergy complaints in hand; we have a section of the clergy who are in unholy relationships with a terminally ill violence-experienced wanna-be political party; we have lawyers who recklessly ignore the sanctity of the Supreme Court and more..

Galle hospital delayed for six years

Feb 21 (SL) On December 26, 2004, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl watched the tsunami waves roll in from the third floor balcony of his hotel in Thalpe, outside of Galle, where he was vacationing. Stranded in the hotel, the main road impassable, Kohl had to be rescued by a Sri Lanka Air Force helicopter, which airlifted him to Katukurunda airfield south of Colombo. On the same day, the patients of the Mahamodara Maternity Hospital in Galle were evacuated just in time more..

A stroll down Bristol Street – 24 years later

Feb 21 (SL) A truck turned left off Baron Jayathilake Mawatha and roared down the newly-opened Bristol Street, adding to the traffic that had already clogged the road. Vehicles tooted their horns in irritation at a motorbike creeping along narrow spaces, almost colliding with a three-wheeler in the process. Looking out upon the normalcy of this sight, one would never believe that this was a road which more..

Emergency over emergency

Feb 21 (SL) The government may consider re-summoning the now dissolved parliament in March to extend the emergency regulations currently in place by another month. The emergency regulations were last passed in parliament on February 5 and would have to be extended for a further month on March 5 when the regulations are due for renewal. In the event that the regulations are not passed by parliament in March after its one-month period, more..

"Bell,Swan and Trophy": The JVP march of Folly

Feb 21 (TC) “We have not formed any alliance with the UNP; we supported the General, the UNP supported the General and the other parties supported the General separately. The only agreement was that we will work in unity to make the General, President of this country; to hold a free and fair General election to bring back good governance, to bring back good governance and to make this society a dignified society.” more..

Gotabaya Rajapaksa's imprint on Lanka will not be a footrint on the sands of time

Feb 21 (TC) After a certain victory in the north, lovable General Denzil Kobbekaduwa came running and embraced him with fatherly affection. Before that the genial General shouted “Yako Gota umba hari yakek ne (Gota you did it)” He was the chosen one even then. Chosen one of the two most loved Generals of our times General Denzil Kobbekaduwa and Vijaya Wimalaratne. more..

Sun rises in Ratnapura!

Feb 21 (SO) Ratnapura district which is situated in the island’s western slopes of the central hill country is bordered by Colombo, Kegalle, Badulla and Hambantota districts. The district occupies a land area of 3275 square kilometres with a population of 1,096,760 according to 2008 statistics. Ratnapura district consists of 8 electorates, namely Ratnapura, Ehaliyagoda, Nivithigala, Pelmadulla, Balangoda, Kalawana, Rakwana and Kolonne. more..

The predicament of conventional Leftist parties in Sri Lanka

Feb 21 (SO) It was the conventional Left parties, that awakened people, introduced socialism to our country and inspired masses to fight against the reactionary forces. They were the first to agitate for full independence which we enjoy today. They also won so many rights for workers by their trade union activities. In the 1953 Hartal they were able to tame the mighty UNP and get relief to people. The Hartal also paved way for the 1956 revolution. more..