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Remains of the farmer taken into custody found in a stream

Feb 23 (LNW) The remains of the farmer, Moragahapallama Mahawalayaye Saman Thilakasiri (39), were found on the right stream of the Senanayake Samudra in Inginiyagala the day after he was taken into custody by the Inginiyagala Police. The police have said that he had jumped into the river when he was being taken in the police jeep. However, the people in the area have rejected the police claim saying they had witnessed more..

Promise by Basil to take Vajire to govt. after the election

Feb 23 (LT) According to a very reliable source Mr. Basil Rajapakse, Senior Presidential Advisor and Leader of UPFA group of candidates for Gampaha District at the general election, has promised former Parliamentarian of the UNP Vajire Abeywardene that he would be taken into the government after they win the election and offer him a ministerial portfolio. Basil and Vajire have met in Colombo yesterday as had been arranged earlier and more..

Pros and cons: the UNP -the elephant symbol- disappointment, if any of other parties

Feb 23 (UNP) Addressing a Press briefing yesterday, the Gen. Secretary of the UNP, Tissa Attanayake said, although the UNF alliance of opposition parties which supported Gen. Fonseka at the last Presidential elections has ceased at the forthcoming general elections, the Opposition parties have not ceased their common political programs against the Govt. more..

JHU monks against lay contestants

Feb 23 (LT) The Buddhist monks who were in the JHU have expressed their displeasure against the all-lay contestants from the JHU put forward for the General Election. Former JHU MP Udawatte Nanda Thero said that even though they (the monks) has requested for candidacy, they have been ignored by the leadership of the JHU. “The JHU has decided to contest only in 05 districts with lay candidates despite our requests for slots. more..

Govt’s media man Radaliyagoda orphaned from his orginial seat

Feb 23 (LT) Sudharman Radaliyagoda of the independent only in name TV channel ITN, was left high and dry after his expected nomination from the Kurunegala district did not materialize due to pressure from a former Minister and now has been forced to contest from Colombo. Namal Rajapakse has managed to get Radaliyagoda a slot in Colombo and a Provincial Council member who crossed over from the UNP has been entrusted with the task of ensuring that Radaliyagoda gets elected. more..

Migrant workers to be re-registered as from today

Feb 23 (lp) The re-registration of the Sri Lanka employees in foreign countries commences today (23). Those who return to the island after completing their contract period will be re-registered accordingly said the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB). The programme is launched under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the initiation of Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. more..

NDB group posts Rs 2.1 b profit in 2009

Feb 23 (LNP) The profit attributable to the shareholders of the NDB Group increased by 30 percent over the previous year. The profit before tax and the profit after tax also increased by 37 percent and 24 percent respectively over the last year. This exceptional performance for the year was mainly due to the significant profits earned from the banking segment of the NDB Group. The profit before tax and the profit after tax for the NDB Bank increased by 48 percent and more..

`DNA` test for RW and SF

Feb 23 (LNP) It is a supreme irony that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has had to jostle with Gen. Sarath Fonseka for supremacy in the Colombo District within weeks of their joint campaign to oust President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Resentment towards the UNP`s decision to break ranks and contest parliamentary polls under the Elephant symbol may have prompted the latter to pit himself against the former in Colombo from the DNA by way of tit for tat. more..

'Gampaha can be best self-sufficient district in two years'

Feb 23 (DN) Twenty one UPFA candidates handed over nominations yesterday to Gampaha District Secretary and Gampaha District Returning Officer P.A. Abeysekera under the leadership of Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa to contest the April 8 General Election. Gampaha district UPFA leader Basil Rajapaksa said the agro-based Gampaha District is with full of resources and more..

Drug smugglers en route to Sri Lanka nabbed at Thai airport

Feb 23 (LNP) Two international drug traffickers trying to smuggle 1,632 grammes of heroin worth Rs. 25 million were nabbed at the Tribbuvan International Airport in Bangkok, Thailand by a Nepalese Anti-Narcotics Aviation Squad as the duo were boarding a Thai Airways plane en route to Colombo recently. The drug traffickers identified as Kul Bahadur Tamang and Sharmila. Taman had swallowed the contraband in the form of plastic coated capsules more..

Lankan fishermen, boats released

Feb 23 (DN) The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ministry obtained the release of 637 Lankan fishermen who were held in custody in five countries (India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar and Diego Garcia) in 2009 and also secured the release of 118 multiday fishing boats that were captured along with the fishermen. “They all have been released following the intervention of Minister Felix Perera and the embassies of the respective countries”, more..

JVP still believes deal with UNP possible

Feb 23 (Island) The JVP-led Democratic National Alliance (DNA) yesterday (Feb 22) said that it was not too late for the UNP to reverse its ‘unjustifiable’ decision, to contest the forthcoming parliamentary polls under the ‘elephant’ symbol, to pave way for a common Opposition front against President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ‘authoritarian’ rule. more..

AG tells SC: Eight military personnel detained

Feb 23 (DN) Eight retired military persons out of 18 who were taken in to custody at Presidential Candidate Sarath Fonseka’s election office were detained under a detention order, the Attorney General told Supreme Court, yesterday. Senior State Counsel Riyas Hamza appearing for the Attorney General in the fundamental rights applications filed by the detained officers informed court that 10 out of 18 persons arrested have been already released. more..

Arjuna waiting to see whether COPE ‘suspects’ receive nominations

Feb 23 (Island) Former UPFA MP Arjuna Ranatunga yesterday said that he was waiting till the UPFA handed over its nominations this week to see whether politicians named by parliamentary watch dog committees, COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) and PAC (Public Accounts Committee) received nominations to contest forthcoming parliamentary polls. more..

'TNA MPs are traitors to their people'

Feb 23 (Island) The TNA are traitors of their own Tamil people. They are puppets of the Sonia Gandhi led Congress Party Government in India. The Tamil people in the North and East must join hands to throw the TNA into the dustbin of history. These were some of the views expressed by former TNA MP, N. Sri Kantha, the Leader of the newly formed Tamil National Liberation Alliance (TNLA), more..

Uva University to be upgraded

Feb 23 (Island) Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva paid a visit to the Uva university last week on an observation tour. He said that the university would be further developed. The government has focused its attention on upgrading the Uva university since it is one of the leading educational institutions that produces graduates for both, the public and private sector, he said. more..

Pensioners’ case: United they stand

Feb 23 (DM) The Appeal Court yesterday ordered the Pensions Department to reimburse the Rs.50 deducted from the February pension of 12 pensioners last year but the petitioners requested that the reimbursement be given not just to those who went to Court but to all the 450,000 pensioners. They said Rs.50 had been deducted from each of the 450,000 pensioners and this amounted to a massive Rs.22.5 million therefore reimbursing Rs.600 to the 12 petitioners more..

AG assures visiting rights to relatives

Feb 23 (DM) The Attorney General yesterday undertook to grant relatives of the detained retired army officers who are loyalists of the defeated Presidential Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka access to their loved ones in prison on Saturdays between 9.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon as well as on Wednesdays. The detainees were also told they would have access to their counsel upon obtaining permission from more..

Lanka cautions the Maldives

Feb 23 (DM) The LTTE, after being defeated militarily, is now attempting to use its ‘white collar’ activists to achieve its objectives, the Foreign Ministry quoted Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama as saying. The Foreign Minister cautioned that countries such as Sri Lanka and the Maldives were vulnerable to such threats and that it would be in the interest of the two countries to share important information with each other and other member countries of the SAARC, more..

Anoma to UNP: Come join us

Feb 23 (DM) The newly formed Democratic National Alliance (DNA) led by retired General Sarath Fonseka said yesterday the doors were still open for the main opposition UNP to join the DNA and contest the April general election under its ‘Trophy’ symbol. The alliance comprises the Democratic National Front led by Sirimasiri Hapuarachchi, the Democratic People’s Front led by Ariyawanse Dissanayake, the New Sihala Urumaya led by Sarath Manamendra, more..

Future of Karuna

Feb 23 (DM) Karuna Amman is a politician who had the potential to be a phoenix but got all his fortune ruined as a result of a wayward lifestyle. Today the ex- LTTE Commander of the East is chickening out of the election race and insists he should be nominated from the national list. Not stopping at that the Kiran born had prevented his sister also from applying for nominations from Batticaloa as a mark of protest against the UPFA more..

'UPFA aims two-thirds'

Feb 23 (DN) The UPFA has fielded the strongest team of candidates covering all social strata aiming to obtain a two thirds majority mandate at the upcoming general election, UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha said. He said the next legislature should be stronger and it should have the capacity to make constitutional amendments. more..

Govt. urges Ranil to refrain from accusing Maha Sangha

Feb 23 (Island) The government yesterday urged UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to give up his attempts at dividing the Maha Sangha and avoid criticizing the Buddhists prelates. "This is not the first time Wickremesinghe has been involved in such activities and if he doesn’t know Buddhism he should keep quiet," Transport Minister Dullas Alhapperuma said more..

Robert O. Blake Interview with BBC

Feb 23 (IL) BBC: What is the American view of what is taking place in Sri Lanka? Live now to Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs. Assistant Secretary, thanks very much for joining us here on BBC World News. What is your reading of what is underway now in Sri Lanka? Do you accept that General Fonseka is experiencing a due and proper legal process? more..

'Rajapakshas are patriots'

Feb 23 (Times) The political situation in Sri Lanka is not perfect. There is corruption within --and without-- the government institutions, nepotism, and a degree of authoritarian rule that defies the normal constraints. But at the same time, there has never been a leadership in the country that was as energetic, and determined, as the current government. more..

US wants Sri Lanka to follow rule of land in Sarath Fonseka's arrest

Feb 23 (PTI) A top Obama Administration official said the US is not satisfied with the manner in which the Rajapaksa government has handled the issue former Army chief General Fonseka's arrest and hoped that Colombo would follow the rules of the land in this case. "So far I think it has been less than we might have hoped for, but we have certainly encouraged the government of Sri Lanka to ensure that he is charged promptly, more..

Supreme Court rejects Fonseka’s bail plea

Feb 23 (Hindu) The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of retired General Sarath Fonseka. He is currently in the custody of the military on a number of charges including treason. The commander turned politician was picked up on the night of February 8 after a raid on his election office by a group of military personnel. The raid and the subsequent detention triggered a furore within and outside Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka to import essential drugs from India

Feb 24 (PTI) Facing a shortage of "essential drugs" in its hospitals, Sri Lanka will import the medicines from India within 10 days. Measures will be taken to overcome the shortage of essential drugs in the country's hospitals, Acting Secretary to the Ministry of Healthcare and Nutrition, Nihal Jayatillake, said, adding the required medicines will now be imported from India. more..

A six-week window for Lankan oppostion

Feb 24 (HT) Time is running out for the beleaguered opposition in Sri Lanka as it readies for the April 8 general election. For all their promises of bringing in good governance, better economics and stamping out corruption, opposition parties now are now preparing to fight each other then putting up an united stand against the ruling UPFA. The opposition parties were an ideologically assorted but politically keen group as they rallied behind former army chief Sarath Fonseka more..

Debrief News - 23.02.2010

Sri Lanka urged to be more transparent in business

Feb 24 (LBO) The top US diplomat in Sri Lanka said the country should address the issue of greater transparency in business dealings to build investor confidence and attract more American investment. “The challenge is to have transparency in business interactions and confidence in the legal framework that if a contract is signed it will be honored,” said US ambassador Patricia Butenis, more..

A&E Lanka donates garments to war affected

Feb 24 (F2F) American & Efird Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. (A&E), the Brandix Group’s manufacturer of world class sewing thread has donated a consignment of essential garments to villagers in Illupadichchene in the Eastern Province in a corporate social responsibility initiative. The donation valued at Rs. 3 million included ladies tops, t-shirts, trousers, camis and lingerie sourced from within the Brandix Group. more..

Compassion & violence co-exist

Feb 24 (ST) Every time I travel to Colombo the first person I usually call is old Pali Wickremesinghe, whose family owns Ceylon Biscuits. This time when I tried him I reached Pali in a town called Negombo. I didn't think much of it; Pali is one of those ancient Wodehousian spirits who restlessly travels from town to town, enjoying the beauty of the land around him, savouring its tastes and scents. more..

A valuable insight into Sri Lanka's peace process

Feb 24 (IANS) The book, 'A Powderkeg in Paradise', is not a historical account of the Tamil separatist campaign that bled Sri Lanka for a quarter century before the military finally decimated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009. In nearly 250 crisp and easy to read pages, Jon Oskar Solnes delves into his rich and intimate knowledge of the conflict, gained as an official of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), to more..

Thousands of Sri Lankan farmers to benefit from UN-funded anti-poverty scheme

Feb 24 (UN) Nearly 58,000 farming households in Sri Lanka are expected to benefit from a United Nations-funded programme designed to improve their livelihoods, boost their incomes and enhance their participation in the marketing and selling of their products. The $25 million loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will enable the country’s National Agribusiness Development Programme to more..

Power drive

Feb 24 (FL) It is nearly a month since the presidential election, and the Fonseka factor refuses to fade away. The dramatic detention of General Sarath Fonseka, the defeated common opposition candidate and former Army chief, by the military police on the night of February 8 has taken the sheen off the spectacular re-election of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The action, widely perceived as vindictive, has actually given a fresh lease of life to more..

Destroyers and others

Feb 24 (CI) Ask any selector and he will tell you that picking a pair of openers is one of the most difficult tasks. In their pre-Test years Sri Lanka (or All Ceylon as it was known then) had some famous pairs, among them MK Albert and LDS Gunasekera (who were called Sri Lanka's Hobbs and Sutcliffe), followed by Dr C Balakrishnan and Dr Nihal Gurusinghe, TCT Edwards and Mano Ponniah, and Sunil Wettimuny and Bandula Warnapura. more..

Lenten devotion held amid calls for unity

Feb 24 (UCAN) Thousands of Tamil Catholics took part in a Way of the Cross in Colombo on Sunday amid calls by Church leaders to heal the wounds of division in the country. “We have to create unity with others and build up peace in our country,” said Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo in his homily during the Mass, held at the end of the annual procession. On Feb. 21, the first Sunday of Lent, about 15,000 Tamil Catholics and some Hindus marched through Colombo city, more..

'Power of the people is required more than financial strength to build the nation'

Feb 24 (GDI) “The daunting task ahead of the nation will be accomplished through the strength and commitment of its people possessed by his government rather than financial strength” said the President at Moragahakanda today. The President was on an inspection tour of the ongoing construction work of the Moragahakanda reservoir project this afternoon. more..

'Sri Lanka may miss 2010 IMF deficit goal'

Feb 24 (AB) Sri Lanka's 2010 budget deficit target for 2010 set by the International Monetary Fund as a condition for a $2.6 billion loan will be challenging to meet due to high post-war government spending, the central bank chief said. Sri Lanka, which ended a 25-year war in May last year, promised to cut its fiscal deficit to 6 percent of gross domestic product this year. more..