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Lasantha assassination: Doubts over cause of death

Jan 8 (DM) The CID informed the Mount Lavinia Magistrate yesterday that Judicial Medical Officer who conducted the post mortem inquiry had revealed that the death of Sunday Leader Editor, Lasantha Wickrematunga had been caused not due to gunshots but injuries caused to his head with a sharp weapon. However the cause of death as gunshot injuries was recorded based on entries made by the medical officer who recorded his admission to the hospital, more..

Sivaji claims body of Prabha’s father

Jan 8 (DM) TNA MP and Independent Presidential candidate M.K. Sivajilingam yesterday requested the government to hand over the body of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s father Thiruvengadam to him or Prabhakaran’s sister Vinothini Rajendran who lives in Canada. Mrs. Rajendran has reportedly contacted Mr. Sivajilingam and requested him to take care of the final rites of Prabhakaran’s father more..

'Estate votes will decide victory'

Jan 8 (DM) CWC Leader and Minister of Social and Economic Development and Youth Welfare Arumugan Thondaman yesterday said he and his supporters with the people of the estates shall be with President Mahinda Rajapaksa although some members of his party had left to support the Opposition candidate despite the decision already taken by the party to support President Rajapaksa. more..

Magistrate says no purpose to screen

Jan 8 (DM) Chief magistrate of Colombo- Champak Janaki Rajaratne rejected the request by the Investigations Division for permission to send a team of Investigators to Pampemadu Camp in Nelum Kulama in Vavuniya for the screening of the 713 Tamil youth held there before releasing them. The Magistrate questioned the need if the inmates to be released are not suspects. The youth held like that are not held under detention orders and more..

'Do you want to further nourish the richest Rajapakse families or your own struggling families?'

Jan 8 (UNP) Addressing an election rally yesterday (07) at the Chilaw, Divulapitiya and Kegalle Districts in support of the Opposition common candidate, Opposition and UNF leader Ranil Wickremesinghe urged everyone to overthrow the Rajapakse ‘dynasty’ regime in order to ensure the General Sarath Fonseka’s victory. more..

A ‘General’ Manifesto

Jan 8 (DM) One of the advantages of having a lucid and an unelaborated manifesto is that it gives the liberty to the candidate to interpret it whatever way he wants post- polls. Sarath Fonseka’s ten point programme is of no difference. It has all the hallmarks of a candidate who is still trying to understand the electorate and wants to make sure that he keeps everything to a bare minimum till he acquires a better understanding of what governance is all about. more..

Sri Lanka grills Tamils in Jakarta

Jan 8 (TA) Tamil asylum-seekers were "interrogated" by a Sri Lankan navy officer within the walls of an Indonesian immigration detention centre yesterday, a refugee advocate in Australia said. Saradha Nathan, of the Australian Tamil Congress, last night said Captain Kapil and two other navy officers from the Sri Lankan Embassy had visited eight asylum-seekers from the boat moored at Merak in their detention centre in Jakarta. more..

Lasantha: The Courageous Editor who Fearlessly spoke Truth to Power

Jan 8 (DBS) It was on January 8th last year that Lasantha Wickrematunga the Editor of “The Sunday Leader” in Colombo was killed by “unknown” assassins. He was my colleague, editor, friend and above all a kindred soul. How I miss him. There is big vacuum in the media scene after his departure. One whole year has passed but there has been no progress whatsoever in the investigations into the brutal murder. more..

Batti mayor supports Fonseka

Jan 8 (TN) Batticaloa Mayor Sivageetha Prabhakaran Friday resigned from the SLFP and joined UNP to support General (retd) Fonseka in the upcoming Sri Lankan Presidential elections. Ms. Sivageetha was earlier in the TMVP paramilitary group faction led by Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, the present chief minister in the Eastern Provincial Council. more..

VIDEO: I was not directly told that I was axed - Upeksha

Jan 8 (AD) Popular teledrama actress Upeksha Swaranamali, speaking to reporters today said that she was not directly told that she was axed from the television series ‘Paba’. She explained that earlier she was notified that due to the Elections shooting dates for January have been canceled. Once rumours of she being axed from the series due to her supporting the candidacy of Rtd. Gen. Sarath Fonseka came to more..

Fresh row over UN move in Sri Lanka

Jan 8 (Hindu) Seventeen days ahead of the January 26 Presidential election, a fresh row has broken out between Sri Lanka and the United Nations after it was made known that the UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon has conveyed to Colombo that he is considering appointing a Commission of Experts to advise him further and to assist the Sri Lankan Government in taking measures to address possible violations of international human rights and more..

Sri Lanka rejects UN execution video claims

Jan 8 (BBC) Sri Lanka has angrily rejected UN claims that footage which apparently shows extra-judicial killings by Sri Lankan troops is genuine. The government described a UN inquiry into the video's authenticity as "highly subjective and biased". It says the footage was "fabricated". UN human rights investigator Philip Alston earlier said three independent experts confirmed it was authentic. more..

Mahela and Tharanga script thumping win

Jan 9 (CI) A succession of bowling changes within the first eight overs of the chase indicated where the match was heading. Bangladesh, under immense pressure to defend a modest - by this tournament's standards - 250, found themselves at the receiving end of an annihilation by Sri Lanka. Mahela Jayawardene and Upul Tharanga compiled centuries with risk-free cricket and the hosts were at the mercy of the conditions again. more..

Debrief News - 08. 01. 2010

Golden Key depositors get more refunds

Jan 9 (LBO) Central Bank said it will make another part-payment to depositors of Golden Key Credit Card Company, subject to a maximum of 100,000 rupees. A Central Bank statement said arrangements had been made to make part payment of security deposits of 2,506 Golden Key cardholders whose balances are between one million and 2.5 million rupees. The repayments had been arranged by a three member Committee of more..

Sri Lanka ship yard mulls expansion options

Jan 9 (LBO) The building of new ports in Sri Lanka has given several expansion options for Colombo Dockyard, a listed ship builder which faces space constraints at Colombo port, an official said. Colombo Dockyard managing director Mangala Yapa said the firm is looking for expansion opportunities as it seeks to increase business and handle bigger vessels. Colombo Dockyard would consider a government request for proposals for investments, more..

Country heads into decisive elections

Jan 9 (IPS) Call it a novel election propaganda ploy. On Jan. 1, millions of mobile users in Sri Lanka got an unusual text message amid the flood of New Year’s wishes. The sender’s name read simply as ‘President’. This was no joke by a prankster; it was a message by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It wished millions of Sri Lankans the very best for the new year, adding he had kept his promises to the nation. more..

Trampled Tamils lack election appetite

Jan 9 (Guardian) On Thursday, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Philip Alston called for "an independent inquiry to be established to carry out an impartial investigation into war crimes" in Sri Lanka. In particular, Alston has given the UN's imprimatur to the authenticity of video footage apparently showing summary executions of prisoners in January 2009 in the final stages of the civil war. more..

Online election campaigns in Sri Lanka: The way forward

Jan 9 (GV) As the presidential race heats up in Srilanka, the sheer volume of content and Ads that burst forth about this election is astonishing. The Internet is now a gateway for millions of ordinary Srilankans to participate in the political process. Mahinda Rajapakse has made an early splash. But every presidential candidate has a presence of some kind online regardless of how well they actually used it, though none built anything as comprehensive as Mahinda’s. more..

Deeming execution video authentic

Rupavahini shoots programme using dismissed Army personnel to sling mud

Jan 9 (LT) According to a very reliable source Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, engaging Army personnel who were punished for various offenses when Gen. Sarath Fonseka was the Army Commander has prepared a programme to sling mud at the Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka. Four Army officers including a major who had been dismissed from service for various offenses while in Army service have been used for this programme. more..

Visualising Sarath Fonseka’s key campaign issues and manifesto

Jan 9 (GV) Groundviews was the first website in Sri Lanka to visualise key statements by a Presidential candidate in the public domain. Visualising key speeches and submissions of Sarath Fonseka was republished in traditional print media and circulated widely over email because we seem to have hit a chord with many voters looking for an easy way to get to the core of what the two leading candidates were saying. more..

Blatant misuse of public property in a tough battle for the presidency

Jan 9 (LP) A written complaint lodged by the All Sri Lanka Harbor Workers' Common Union leader Chandrasiri Mahagamage before the Election Commissioner points to shocking revelation of blatant misuse of public property for the presidential campaign of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Minister in charge of the Ports Authority is Chamal Rajapaksa, the elder brother of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

VIDEO: Lest we forget...

Jan 9 (AD) A commemoration meeting to mark the first anniversary of the assassination of Sunday Leader Editor-in- chief Lasantha Wickramathunga was held today at the Jayawardena Centre, Colombo 7. Pictured here Lasantha’s brother Lal Wickramathunga addressing the gathering. At around 10 a.m. on January 8, 2009, Wickramatunga was killed in his car on his way to work on a busy street in a mixed suburban and semi-industrial suburb of Colombo. more..

Artistes flock around ‘Swan’

Jan 9 (LT) A group of artistes supporting apolitical Common Presidential Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka held a press conference at Colombo Hilton Hotel today. The press conference was convened by renowned artist Cyril Dharmawardene and a large number of artistes including W Jayasiri, Ranjan Ramanayake, Kithsiri Jayasekera, Kuma Attanayake, Upeksha Swarnamali, Chandrasoma Binduhewa, Wasanthe Moragoda, Kingsley Lose, Sepala Amarasinghe. Stanley Perera participated. more..

Prabhakaran, Veluppillai and the father-son relationship

Jan 9 (DBS) Veluppillai Prabhakaran’s father Thiruvengadam Veluppillai breathed his last on Wednesday January 6th night. The 86 year old retired government servant’s birthday was on January 10th. The octogenarian hailing from the northern coastal town of Valvettithurai (VVT) and his wife Parvathiamma were staying in a chalet within the precincts of the Army cantonment at Panagoda. more..

Will Sri Lanka cooperate with the UN’s experts?

Jan 9 (C4) Sri Lanka’s foreign minister is beginning to sound like a stuck record. Rohitha Bogollam continues to insist – as his government has done for four months – that the exection video is fake. The story, he still maintains, is “concocted”, the source “unreliable”, the footage “doctored” and the whole thing part of a “sinister” plot to besmirch Sri Lanka’s reputation. more..

Lanka raps six Indian drug suppliers on quality issues

Jan 9 (BS) Six Indian drug makers have been pulled up for quality lapses by Sri Lanka’s ministry of health. The Lankan ministry was concerned at the quality of some batches of injections supplied by them. It had then restrained three of the six companies — Belco Pharma, based in Delhi, and Kilitch Drugs and Umedica Laboratories, both based in Mumbai — from supplying medicine for two years. more..

A blessing for the North People

Jan 9 (SLW) A-9 road is now opened around the clock for transportation. This is also one of the benefits that Tamils got soon after the conflict against the terrorism is over. Though the A-9 was opened just after the conflict, there were some controls as there were land mines buried by the road. Now the land mines were disposed of and all blocks were removed. more..

In the Lankan election din, the sprouting of pro-LTTE ideology goes unnoticed

Jan 9 (AT) The presidential election Sri Lanka as it is hotting up, the dispersed pro-LTTE group is coming closer to voice their support to the main common opposition presidential candidate Gen. Sarat Fonseka. For them gunning President Mahinda Rajapaksha in the forthcoming election is more important than who they support. Of the two main candidates, the General is considered ‘lesser evil’. more..

Sarath Fonseka – TNA agreement: A political solution becomes even more distant now

Jan 9 (AT) Mr Sampanthan very clearly stated that the 13th Amendment, an agreement brokered by India, cannot be repealed unilaterally by one party to the agreement. Mr Sampanthan is saying here that the other party to the agreement was India, as only it could have been the second party as no other sovereign entity besides Sri Lanka existed to have signed this document if indeed a second party did sign it then. more..

A Sri Lankan underdog battles global Tea giants

Jan 9 (NYT) Merrill J. Fernando’s eyes lit up one recent morning when his son Dilhan handed him a box of Twinings Pure White Tea. He quickly ripped open a tea bag and spilled its contents onto a piece of paper. Fields of Tea Then he asked for some green tea, which Dilhan delivered on another piece of paper. Mr. Fernando beamed as he put the samples side by side. more..

Murder by a thousand cuts

Jan 9 (LG) A few days ago, to my horror, I saw axe-men from the Town Hall hacking away at the oldest living thing in our neighbourhood – the only ‘bakmee-gaha’ in Colombo which stood proud and untroubled , for over a century, at the bend of the road where Longden/ Malalasekera Place turns towards the Jatika Pola. It is a magnificent old giant almost 75 feet tall with a sturdy black trunk, gnarled and mottled with age and was crowned with a lush canopy of dark-green foliage. more..

Regenerative Agriculture: A People’s agenda

Jan 9 (LG) In today’s Sri Lanka, the growing poverty of the rural population is one of our biggest problems. Small farmers in Sri Lanka and the rest of the world are being marginalized. Agriculture has been transformed into an activity that requires considerable capital investment. It is estimated that over half of all small scale farmers will be reduced to destitution because of market globalization. more..

Presidential hopeful plugs petroleum inflation theory

Jan 9 (LBO) Opposition presidential had promised to cut diesel prices in the hope that it would bring consumer prices down, media reports said, echoing the failed 2004 petroleum price fixing policy that sent inflation rocketing up. Opposition common candidate Sarath Fonseka has promised to cut diesel by 50 rupees a litre from the current 73 and kerosene by 30 rupees from the current 50, more..

HC stays deportation of Lankan Tamil national

Jan 9 (EB) The Madras High Court has stayed the operation of an order dated November 27, 2009 of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs directing a Sri Lankan Tamil residing in Bhavani Sagar in Erode district, to leave India immediately. Justice K Venkataraman granted the injunction while passing interim orders on a writ petition from Jeganathan Prathapan challenging the deportation order. more..

The future Tamil politics

Jan 9 (GV) Eelam War IV shattered and devastated Tamils social, economical, cultural and political structural factors. These four structural factors were corner stone’s of the Tamil National Struggle and were intricately interconnected to each other. These became primary targets during the war and were destroyed. To give this research paper a focus and due to contextual developments I will only be analyzing the political aspect. more..

National Youth Survey 2009

'Change Agent' program under Uthuru Vasanthaya

Jan 9 (MoD) Nena Guna Weduma Sisu Diriya 2010, a change agent program under Uthuru Vasanthaya rehabilitation program of the North for social integration of youth and schoolchildren who were directly affected by the LTTE has been launched by the Social Development Affairs Division of Presidential Secretariat. Young people who have been rehabilitated after counselling started functioning as change agents for social integration among more..

Relief measures for disabled Forces personnel

Jan 9 (MoD) Several new relief and assistance measures to the war disabled members of the Armed Forces have been taken by Army Commander Lt. General Jagath Jayasuriya. The injured members of the Forces will be given suitable light jobs as recommended by the Army Medical Services Director with full pay. They will get their promotions to higher ranks on due time, the Sri Lanka Army Headquarters said more..

'Fonseka has agreed to autonomy in a merged NE'

Jan 9 (MoD) NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa yesterday said that the Common Opposition had signed an agreement with the TNA with several conditions to support Sarath Fonseka at the forthcoming Presidential elections. The signatories were Sarath Fonseka, Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on behalf of the Opposition and R. Sambandan on behalf of the TNA, Weerawansa said. more..

Democratic elections to elect President in a failed democracy

Jan 9 (IL) Although Sri Lanka maintains a dubious status as a democracy, Sri Lankans will vote on January 26 to elect a president. The Tamil voters are in a state of shock and dismay as they face enormous hardships at the hands of the Sri Lankan State. Tamils have no hope whatsoever to overcome the fear and intimidation that haunts their lives. They are over-sighted by alienated armed forces in their own homeland. more..

President's victory certain - Chandrakanthan

Jan 9 (GDI) Eastern Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan has emphasized that they were always with President Mahinda Rajapaksa and would ensure his victory at the polls. All Muslims and Tamils within the Batticaloa District are united for the victory of President Rajapaksa at the Presidential polls on January 26, he added. He said their party will do everything possible for the victory of the President. more..

Tipper-jeep collision kills a Policeman

Jan 9 (LP) A police constable was killed and four other policemen injured in an accident which occurred in Waharakkada area on the Beliattha-Hakmana Road yesterday. The Police jeep belonging to Nachchikuda Police Station in Mannar heading towards Beliattha collided with a tipper heading towards Hakmana. PC 5836 Bandara, a 42 year old resident of Nochchiyagama in Anuradhapura, died in the accident while more..

'President's leadership outstanding at all times'

Jan 9 (GDI) Dayan Jayatilake has emphasized that President Mahinda Rajapaksa did a magnificient job in routing terrorism which no other leader could have done. It was due to his political leadership that terrorism was routed and he deserved commendation, Jayatilleke observed. At a Round Table discussion, he said that they were able to celebrate this New Year in a way that was not celebrated for ages. more..

SLAF’s Tiger Moth and the Chipmunk flies today

Jan 9 (LP) The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Museum plans to fly two of the oldest aircrafts in their fleet in an Air Demonstration taking place at the Rathmalana Air Base this morning. The venerable De Havilland Tiger Moth and the Chipmunk TMK are two flying legends which have been fully restored to flying condition by a dedicated team of SLAF engineers and technicians. The Tiger Moth aircraft was originally built in 1937 at De Havilland aircraft Company in England. more..

Sinhalese encroach into Kurangkuppaangnchaan Muslim village

Jan 9 (TN) Sinhalese are being settled down in Kurangkuppaangnchaan, one of several predominant Muslim villages in the Ki'n'niyaa DS division in Trincomalee district. 22 Sinhalese youths were brought from the south to Kurangkuppaangnchaan last Tuesday and are being given lands earlier occupied Muslim farmers. Muslim residents of the village fled in 1990 when ethnic conflict reached its climax and sought refuge elsewhere till a normalcy returned. more..

'Sooriyarachchi was killed due to a curse' -Bandula G

Jan 9 (LG) Sripathi Sooriyarachchi was killed in an accident while he was returning home after being engaged in a rice racket, said the Minister of Trade and Consumer Affiars Bandula Gunawardene, during the “Subharathi” program this morning at 7 am (8th of January). Gunawardene said that it is the local religious belief that people who are engaged in malpractices regarding food are punished by gods. more..

Colonization of Sinhalese in Batticaloa district continues

Jan 9 (TN) “Government has taken action to settle 107 Sinhalese families in the traditional Tamil areas in Batticaloa district within the last three months,” P. Ariyanethiran, TNA Batticaloa MP, said in a report. He further said that a written complaint about the matter to President Mahinda Rajapakse had not produced any result. “I had pointed out with evidence that huts had been constructed to house 170 Sinhalese families in Kevu’liyaamadu more..

Magistrate concerned over cultural decadence, crime, in Jaffna

Jan 9 (TN) District magistrate Mr. K. Ariyanaygam expressed grave concern over the alarming rise of cultural decadence, illegal activities and crime in Jaffna peninsula when he spoke to police and government officers Friday after having assumed duties as Mallaakam District magistrate. Meanwhile, civil society representatives in Jaffna alleged members of Sri Lanka armed forces occupying Jaffna for the circulation of porno CDs and films among students, more..