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Sri Lanka records positive growth rates

Jan 11 (LNP) Sri Lanka is one of the few countries which has been able to record positive GDP growth rates in 2009 despite the global recession. The main reason for this was that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had a clear policy and a vision towards the country s economy, Central Bank (CB) Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said. He was speaking at an interactive session on Economic Prospective of 2010 and Beyond more..

Indigenous doctors and astrologers also rally round Gen. Fonseka

Jan 11 (UNP) Gen. Fonseka addressing the National Indigenous doctors and Astrologers Association members at their convention today (11) at the New Town Hall said, he is aware of the issues and problems faced by the indigenous Doctors sector. He has done a thorough study on them . Therefore , he will devise ways and means to eliminate the hindrances and handicaps militating against them in their profession. more..

Ravi Karunanayake demands Rs. 1000 million from Derana, others

Jan 11 (AD) A letter of demand has been sent to Derana through his lawyers for reporting a news item where mention had been made on an agreement between the opposition and the TNA, said UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake. He said that the letter of demand for Rupees 1,000 million has been sent to Derana, its News director and parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa and that the media could obtain a copy after 4.30 pm today. more..

No truth in rumours - EP Chief Minister

Jan 11 (DN) Scoffing at various rumours, TMVP Leader and Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan yesterday expressed his unreserved support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s candidature at the forthcoming Presidential Election. He stressed that there is no truth in the rumours being spread by unscrupulous elements with vested interests that he is going to support the Opposition’s Presidential candidate. more..

Dairy farm industry very lucrative

Jan 11 (DN) Credit access is the key for development and the development banks throughout the country have given an immense support to the small and medium entrepreneurs to expand their businesses. If not for the development banks there would not have been a large contribution to the GDP from the SME sector. Therefore, the development banks are vital for a country to introduce entrepreneurs while expanding the business community. more..

'I will make this country among the best'

Jan 11 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Saturday said the Government is dedicated to place the country among the most developed countries in the world in the ensuing years under his leadership. The President was speaking at an election rally at the Vavuniya Urban Council grounds on Saturday. The people are facing the first Presidential election after the country was totally freed from the scourge of terrorism, he said. more..

President receives rousing welcome in Jaffna

Jan 11 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited the Defence Headquarters in the north at Palali, Jaffna yesterday as the first Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces to visit this northernmost Army position. The public of the Jaffna peninsula accorded him a rousing welcome. A large number of people garlanded him and a number of people offered him bouquets. Children, young people and the elderly placed the traditional pottu on his forehead in a rare show of gratitude to more..

A storm in a tea cup or what?

Jan 11 (DM) A principled, headstrong prelate who commands respect for his restrained demeanour and an affable President who goes out of the way to please everybody may not have many things in common. However the Kandyan prelate and the southern President appeared to have been getting on extremely well or so it seemed. Nothing it appeared came in the way of their relations and even if there were any discrepancies in opinion nobody made it public. more..

No secret pact – JVP

Jan 11 (Island) The JVP yesterday said there was no secret pact between the TNA and presidential candidate, Sarath Fonseka, contrary to claims by certain sections of media. The TNA had agreed to Gen. Fonseka’s 10 point plan as regards the war affected areas and persons and the TNA had not slapped any conditions to support Fonseka. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, said the Tamil people and their leaders should not be further isolated. more..

Public debt exceeds Rs. 4 trillion

Jan 11 (Island) The outstanding debt stock of the government which has been on the decline, as a percentage of the country’s output, since 2002 increased in 2009 exceeding the Rs. 4 trillion-mark according to provisional estimates of the Central Bank. The Central Bank, Institute of Policy Studies and economists argue that the government would have to increase its spending to speed up efforts to normalise the North and East and more..

Nimal Siripala on ‘Katakatha Balakaya’

Jan 11 (Island) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, says that SLFP (M) leader Mangala Samaraweera has set up a Katakatha Balakaya (a gossip brigade) to spread rumours in public places. Samaraweera had hired a large number of men to talk good of Sarath Fonseka in trains and buses and railway stations where the general public gathered, he said. This gossip brigade had been tasked with discussing various issues with the people they came across, he said. more..

'No progress despite end of war'

Jan 11 (Island) Paying a courtesy call on the prelate of the Malwatte Chapter, JVP leader, Somawansa Amarasinghe, said that his party had decided to support Sarath Fonseka to restore democracy and good governance. The war had ended eight months ago, but the present administration failed to take the country forward, he told the most Venerable Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddartha Sumangala Thero. more..

‘Government hospitals face severe drug shortages’

Jan 11 (DM) Government hospitals were facing severe shortages of more than 70 drugs and devices including many essential drugs, Prof. Senaka Bibile Commemorative Association Secretary Dr. Jayantha Bandara said yesterday. “More than 70 drugs and devices needed for patients with heart, cholesterol, kidney, high blood pressure, asthma related ailments and essential drugs required for the Intensive Care Unit were in shortage,” Dr. Bandara said. more..

Political debates generate more hatred than enlightenment

Jan 11 (DM) Greed, hatred and delusion are regarded in Buddhism as depravities that have to be avoided as they are the root of all moral evil and also the cause of all the misery in life. But in this land of Buddhism all these potent passions seem to dominate particularly at this time of an internecine struggle for power. Whatever euphemistic terms they take cover under, it is obvious from the words that politicians use and more..

'Help me regain the lost cause of Tamils'

Jan 11 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday told Jaffna Bishop Dr. Thomas Saundranayagam that all LTTE suspects detained with minor offence charges would be released. The government also wants to produce world class IT profes sionals from this part of the country in the future,” President Rajapaksa stressed. All these dreams could become reality only if the Tamil community took the right decision to protect their newly gained freedom and rights. more..

JVP now with Norway

Jan 11 (DM) In what appeared to be a major policy shift, the JVP said yesterday that it was ready to hold talks with the Norwegian Embassy, and would not oppose Sri Lanka having diplomatic relationships with Norway in the post war period. The JVP used to be a vociferous critic of Norway for what it termed as “Norway’s sympathetic stand on separatist terrorism”. “We are flexible. We used to criticize Norway for aiding and abetting separatism in the past. more..

India, Sri Lanka ink pact for construction of railway line in Northern Province

Jan 11 (Hindu) India and Sri Lanka on Monday signed commercial agreement for the construction of the railway line between Omanthai and Pallai in the war-torn Northern Province. A press statement by the Indian High Commission said that the pact was signed at the Ministry of Transport in the presence of the Sri Lanka’s Minister of Transport Dullas Alahapperuma and the High Commissioner of India Ashok K. Kantha and on behalf of IRCON International more..

Battle-scarred Tamils could be key Sri Lankan voters

Jan 11 (AFP) For decades, Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels fought for an independent ethnic homeland. In May they were defeated, but observers say Tamil voters could now be key to who becomes the next president. The two main candidates -- incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse and former army chief Sarath Fonseka -- both claim credit for crushing the Tigers and ending the island's bloody ethnic conflict. more..

Concern grows over IDP voting rights

Jan 11 (IRIN) Tens of thousands of IDPs and new returnees in Sri Lanka may miss out on voting in this month's presidential election on 26 January. More than 170,000 of the 280,000 who fled the last bout of fighting between government forces and the now defeated LTTE have returned to their homes in the former conflict zone known as the Vanni. And while the government maintains those still in the IDP camps and the returnees will be able to vote, questions remain. more..

Journalist Tissainayagam granted bail

Jan 11 (Hindu) Veteran Tamil journalist J. S. Tissainayagam, who has been jailed for 20 years rigorous imprisonment by the High Court of Colombo, on Monday, was granted bail pending appeal by the Appeal Courts. The development came over two weeks after Government informed a court that it has no objection if bail is given to Mr. Tissainayagam, first journalist in the island nation to be convicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa unveils election manifesto

Jan 11 (Hindu) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, seeking a second term two years ahead of his tenure in the election scheduled on January 26, on Monday morning unveiled a 14-point programme titled, `A brighter future’ with the promise to put Sri Lanka in a prominent position in Asia and the world and work towards a political solution to the ethnic question within a united Sri Lanka. more..

Debreif News - 11. 01. 2010

Shares hit new peak on heavy local buying

Jan 12 (Reuters) Shares hit a new record high on Monday, led by high local trade in the tourism, plantation, and motor sectors. The All-Share Price Index .CSE of the Colombo Stock Exchange rose 0.99 percent or 34.64 points to its all-time high 3549.27 during the trade, surpassing the previous record of 3545.56 hit on Wednesday. It closed 0.03 percent or 1.15 points firmer at 3515.78 due to profit-taking on blue chips. more..

People’s tribunal on Lankan war crimes

Jan 12 (EB) A permanent People’s Tribunal on ‘War Crimes’ and ‘Crimes against Humanity’, allegedly committed by the Sri Lankan security forces and the government during the war against the LTTE between 2006 and ‘09, will be organised by the Irish Forum for Peace in Sri Lanka (IFPSL) between January 14 and 16 at the Trinity College in Dublin. While legal and human rights groups from Asia, the European Union and the United Nations have been invited to submit reports, more..

Journalist Tissainayagam released on bail: Implications for freedom of expression

Jan 12 (GV) Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagam was enlarged on bail today pending the appeal of his conviction under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Groundviews spoke with Asanga Welikala, Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives, for his views on this development and its implications for media freedom and the freedom of expression in Sri Lanka. more..

Rights group calls for women's quota at local govt. Politics

Jan 12 (CT) Noting that politics has a mere 1.8 per cent active participation of women, a women's political rights group has called for a precise quota for women in local government politics. 'Women's Representation in Politics' says in a statement that Sri Lankan women enjoyed universal franchise way back in 1931, when their counterparts in most countries were without that right. However, the ensuing 78 years had done very little to more..

Disabled policemen protest in Colombo

Jan 12 (CT) A group of police and STF members sent on retirement after suffering disabilities at war staged a protest in Colombo Fort today (Jan. 11). Gathering in the middle of the main road, they demanded speedy solutions to their grievances, including the denial of due promotions and pensions. The protestors blocked the road, creating heavy vehicular congestion on the roads in the Fort area. more..

'Dharmasoka taught me to become a useful citizen to the nation and obey religion'

Jan 12 (UNP) Presidential candidate Gen. Fonseka addressing a large group of old students of Ambalangoda Dharmasoka Vidyalaya who met him today at his office to express their support at the upcoming Presidential elections said, he learnt his first lessons to be a good citizen, useful to the nation and obey religion while he was at Dharmasoka Vidyalaya. more..

Suggestion for Sri Lankan expatriates to vote at elections

Jan 12 (AT) Minister Milinda Moragoda is of the view that all Sri Lankan nationals living and working abroad should be afforded an opportunity to vote at elections. He indicated that there are well over a million Sri Lankans living overseas and they should also be given the opportunity to vote at elections. He said that this would be a means of testing as to how Sri Lankans overseas feel and what they think about the political environment back at home. more..

140 Tamil students 'missing'

Jan 12 (BBC) Nearly 140 Tamil university students have "disappeared" during the conflict between the government forces and the LTTE, the main students union in Sri Lanka said. Inter University Students Union (IUSF) has called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to reveal details of the disappeared students. "These students are not dead but there have been some reports that they were in different camps at different times," IUSF convenor Udul Premaratne told more..

Mangala Samaraweera refutes the claims by ColomboPage as malicious propaganda

Jan 12 (UNP) In the face of its inevitable defeat, the Mahinda Rajapakse regime has been resorting to various desperate tactics to create confusion in the minds of the general public. A malicious and fabricated news item, ‘Mangala not pleased with Fonseka - TNA agreement’ has been deliberately planted in a website that is known for its partisan views. This report has been ably backed up by a SMS campaign which claims that more..

Sri Lanka and the Future

Jan 12 (AT) This is the first time generation Y (born after 1980) in Sri Lanka celebrated their new year with peace and prosperity. (Though this is not a traditional Sinhala –Tamil New Year there is a significance of this at least as a new calendar year). But because of the election environment and the current situation people of the county could not celebrate. This is not an exception for the country like Sri Lanka. more..

Jaffna rebuilds: After the Tsunami in Sri Lanka

Jan 12 (HP) It's kite season on the Jaffna Peninsula in northern Sri Lanka. On the tip of the peninsula, people are flying their homemade kites along the sea's edge with a little help from the northeast monsoon winds. It's a good season up here for other things as well. Peace has come to the north of this war torn country. It's a very different place than it was three years ago when I was here. Sri Lankans from all over the island are now free to travel to the north. more..

Sri Lanka: A Bitter Peace

Jan 12 (ICG) since the decisive military victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Sri Lanka has made little progress in reconstructing its battered democratic institutions or establishing conditions for a stable peace. Eight months later, the post-war policies of President Mahinda Rajapaksa have deepened rather than resolved the grievances that generated and sustained LTTE militancy. more..

PTA Prisoners In Critical Condition

Jan 12 (AHRC) Four Tamil prison inmates in Jaffna Prison were hospitalised today, 11th January, after they had fallen seriously ill due to a hunger strike they had undertaken for their release from detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. They are among thousands of Tamil detainees in several prisons who have been held under the PTA for a long period now. The prisoners detained under the PTA in Sri Lanka have undertaken a hunger strike which has lasted for a considerable time now more..

Four Oceanic Viking Tamils refused visas

Jan 12 (ABC) Four of the Sri Lankan refugees picked up by the Oceanic Viking have been refused visas to resettle in Australia because of security concerns. The Immigration Department says some of the refugees rescued by the Australian Customs ship last year will not be resettled in Australia because of adverse security findings. The Federal Government promised 78 Sri Lankans quick processing to coax them off the Oceanic Viking and into an Indonesian detention centre. more..

President’s wife in Jaffna wooing votes for husband

Jan 12 (TN) Shiranthi Rajapakse, wife of President Mahinda Rajapakse, arrived in Jaffna Monday to seek support for her husband in the forthcoming presidential election, accompanied by Thilak Kumara Udugama, the SLFP organizer for Vanni and Jaffna district, sources in Jaffna said. Parents and relatives of persons gone missing after arrest by armed forces who attended Monday Shiranthi Rajapakse’s meeting at more..

Canadian backers of Tigers may get longer penalties

Jan 12 (CBC) U.S. prosecutors are seeking tougher sentences for two Tamil-Canadians who were caught by the FBI trying to buy anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons for the Tamil Tigers three years ago. Toronto residents Suhil Sabaratnam and Thiruthanikan (Thani) Thanigasalam were due in court for a sentencing hearing in New York on Monday. Both have pleaded guilty to conspiracy and material support for terrorism and were facing more..

Colombo’s denial won’t help

Jan 12 (EB) January last year, during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war, an unknown person recorded a video of what looks like government soldiers shooting two men dead. The grainy footage shows some eight other bodies, all but one naked, hands tied behind the back. It caused a huge outcry when released last August, but Colombo dismissed it as a fabrication intended to defame the military. more..

The 31 Places to Go in 2010

Jan 12 (NYT) 1. Sri Lanka: For a quarter century, Sri Lanka seems to have been plagued by misfortune, including a brutal civil war between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority. But the conflict finally ended last May, ushering in a more peaceful era for this teardrop-shaped island off India’s coast, rich in natural beauty and cultural splendors. The island, feels like one big tropical zoo: more..

Will keep some vital ministries with me if elected, says Fonseka

Jan 12 (AD) If the people elect me as President, it is not a contract to send Mahinda Rajapaksa home and at the same time send me also home, said Presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka during an interview to the electronic media. The President should retain some powers so as to rectify anything that goes wrong, General Fonseka added. He said that the President should be responsible for national security and that it should come under his direct control. more..

Sri Lankan Tourism grows

Jan 12 (AT) Srilal Miththapala, President, Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka in a communiqué indicated that the month of December continued to show a healthy improvement in the arrivals, recording 56,862 arrivals for the month, a 16.2% increase compared to December 2008. In the arrival pattern United Kingdom continued to dominate with about 81,500 arrivals while India generated a slightly higher figure of 82,600 arrivals. more..

Postal voting begins today to elect the sixth executive President

Jan 12 (AT) Postal voting for the Presidential elections to elect the country’s sixth executive president will commence today and tomorrow (January 12 and 13), the Elections Secretariat announced. A total of 401,118 are qualified for the postal voting and ballots papers are are already delivered by the postal department these days. more..

“Believable Change” with unbelievable contradictions: Sarath Fonseka’s manifesto

Jan 12 (GV) The much awaited manifesto of General (Rtd) Fonseka the Common Candidate launched on 7January which proves the Opposition Alliance is too loose to offer the people the “Believable Change” its campaign leaders are promising on platform, is now gearing its campaign on other popular promises, far outside those that need to be actually addressed and akin to that ancient promise of “rice from the moon”. more..

'I have no necessity to merge North and East again'

Jan 12 (UNP) Gen. Sarath Fonseka announced on the 09th, that he who won the war against the Tiger terrorism has no necessity to merge North and East again. The possibility of de merging the North and East arose because he liberated the East from the terrorists. An action in the Court was made possible to de merge North and East followed on my liberating the East, he added. Gen. Fonseka stated that he will never ever betray the country’s interests or compromise its sovereignty. more..

Three Pre-requisites in IDP re-settlement are de-mining, security and infra-structure

Jan 12 (TC) Let me begin by thanking the Business for Peace Alliance for allowing me to address this third panel of your Investment Forum here in Jaffna. I should note that I feel under somewhat false pretences in talking to you about investment opportunities and operational support, because I am not a businessman, and this is the area of expertise of the Board of Investment, Banks like the Sanasa Bank, more..

'Victory at the cost of 27,000 lives should not be squandered'

Jan 12 (GDI) The forthcoming Presidential Elections will mark a decisive juncture in the nation’s history, said Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, stressing that it will determine the country’s survival or destruction. ‘We have been able to defeat the most ruthless terrorist organization and bring peace to the nation after three decades. This historic victory was achieved by sacrificing the lives of 27,000 heroic soldiers who fought against terrorism,’ more..

More power generation in 2010

Jan 12 (GDI) An additional 550 mega watts will be added to the national grid this year, Power and Energy Ministry sources disclosed. This would include 300 mega watts from the first phase of the Norochcholai power plant designed under the Mahinda Chinthana policy of the government. Power nd Energy Minister, WDJ Seneviratne said that nearly 95 per cent of households countrywide would get electricity this year. more..

'Hambantota Harbour a maritime hub'

Jan 12 (GDI) The first phase of the Hambantota Harbour will be completed by November this year. After the completion of the first stage it will provide various services to ships, Minister of Ports and Aviation Chamal Rajapaksa said at a press conference held at Ambalantota yesterday. The Minister pointed out that the discussions in this regard with world’s renowned shipping corporations were now being held. more..

"Mahinda Chinthana - Idiri Dakma" gives immense benefits to public servants

Jan 12 (GDI) Steps have been taken to provide many benefits to public sector employees through the "Mahinda Chinthana - Idiri Dekma", the manifesto of the President released yeaterday. During the past four years, the Government provided many benifits to state sector employees and the Government now wants to further improve and strengthen its policy in the future by giving more benifits to the working class. more..