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Debrief News - 14. 01. 2010

Gem and jewellery export market reaches Rs.45 b

Jan 15 (LP) Gem, diamond and jewellery export earnings in 2009 amounted to Rs.45 billion exceeding the estimated target. Steps have taken to develop the gem industry and efforts taken to find new markets helped to prevent the Sri Lanka’s gem industry being adversely affected by the global recession resulting in the collapse of markets in Europe, Japan and the USA. The new markets for Sri Lankan gems are in India, China, Russia, Turkey, Taiwan and Oman. more..

How preference votes are counted in a Presidential Election

Jan 15 (TC) This briefing paper responds to questions received by CRM about the counting of preferences at the Presidential election A decision how to vote, or whether to vote at all, should be an informed decision. This note deals with just one aspect on which the Civil Rights Movement (CRM) has received a number of queries, namely how the votes and the preferences are counted. 1) There is an INITIAL STAGE of counting votes, and then POSSIBLY one more stage at which preferences are counted. more..

Weerawansa condemns Fonseka's abusive remarks on Ilangamge

Jan 15 (GDI) The comments made by Presidential Candidate Sarath Fonseka yesterday (13) using obnoxious language to respond to the calms made by former Captain, Upul Ilangamge has come under wide criticism by the Parliamentarians and political analysts who state that this harsh statements of Fonseka unfolds the ‘real man’ behind Sarath Fonseka. more..

Gotabhaya Rajapakse has had a heart attack & gone to Singapore

Jan 15 (DBS) Unconfirmed reports state that presidential sibling & defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse has had a heart attack & gone to Singapore. According to these reports Gotabhaya had suffered a heart attack while participating at a conference in Rattota in Kandy district on Jan 12. After emergency treatment at Kandy teaching hospital Gotabhaya had been airlifted to Colombo & admitted to Durdans hospital say these reports. more..

A Sri Lankan made to owe Rs. 108,000 in past 4 years

Jan 15 (CT) Sri Lanka has, for the very first time, borrowed more than its annual income last year, claims parliamentarian Wijayadasa Rajapakse. Speaking to 'Colombo Today,' he said the total state earnings in 2009 stood at Rs. 750 billion, while the loans obtained amounted to Rs. 800 billion. With this huge borrowing, every Sri Lankan now owes Rs. 210,000 to the world, up from Rs. 92,000 in 2005, he said. more..

'Those who opposed demerging East from North then charge us falsely of attempt to merge them now'

Jan 15 (LT) Those who were against the measures taken by the JVP to demerge the East from the North are now spreading false propaganda stating that Gen. Sarath Fonseka is involved in merging the East and the North says JVP MP Vijithe Herath. He said, “Immediately after the presidential election in 2005 we, as the JVP, asked Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse to use the executive presidency and demerge the East from the North. more..

'I will appoint a special Committee to resolve the Sarasavi students issues'

Jan 15 (UNP) When a group of University professors and and students met Prseidential candidate Gen. Fonseka today (14), the General told them that he would appoint a Committee comprising intellectuals and highly educated scholars to resolve the Sarasavi students’ issues when he becomes the President, adding that the present University Commission functioning under the President is not addressing the students issues adequately. more..

BJP studying Lanka’s claim

Jan 15 (DM) India’s opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) says that they will await more details on claims made by Sri Lanka that President Mahinda Rajapakse helped the ruling Congress party win the General Elections in Tamil Nadu last year by agreeing to stop using heavy weapons during the last stages of the war. Shri Nalin S. Kohli, Convener of the BJP said that it would appear strange for any foreign country to claim to have played a role in the internal workings of the democratic elections of another country. more..

On same platform but both Saraths airing opposite views, says PM

Jan 15 (AD) Opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka says that he will abolish the constitution created by J.R. Jayewardene once he is elected. But former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva says that Fonseka cannot change the constitution the way he wants to, said Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake today. The strangest fact is that Sarath Nanda Silva is on the same platform as the retired General and they were putting forward opposing views while on the same side, more..

The fallacious logic of the article: "Presidential election 2010, and the next armed uprising in Sri Lanka"

Jan 15 (LG) I was provoked to write this article by another article which appeared in the Sri Lanka Guardian entitled ,Presidential election 2010, and the next armed uprising in Sri Lanka by Trishantha Nanayakkara. The author takes up six principles for analysis, and seems to argue that clear conclusions as to how to prevent the next armed uprising could be drawn. more..

When taking decisions, think only about the country: Gen. Fonseka

Jan 15 (LG) “Think only about the country when taking decisions,” said General Sarath Fonseka. Addressing a public rally in Nittambuwa organised in support of his candidature for presidency, the Opposition Common Candidate said that people should think of the future of their children and should not repeat the mistakes they made all over again. “We grew up in the village. Since our young days, we have spent time in rural areas. more..

'I understand the heartbeat of the poor'

Jan 15 (LG) “I understand the heartbeat of the poor,” said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He said that Mahinda Chintanaya had been introduced with the objective of outlining the UPFA plan to develop the country. “I came here knowing all this. I did not fall from a bed of flowers or from the sky. Hence I can say that I have an understanding of the people's grievances and problems. more..

The choice before Tamils

Jan 15 (LG) The delicate choice before the Tamils on Jan 26 is an unenviable one. Both main candidates President Mahinda Rajapakse and General Sarath Fonseka inflicted, no matter by ommission or commission, maximum collective pain and indignity on them. Mass displacement from their ancestral homes , villages and towns; pre-meditated genocidal action including destruction of the educational careers of their children, destruction of places of worship, more..

Expectations of the Tamils in Sri Lanka

Jan 15 (LG) The presidential election in Sri Lanka has certainly given hopes that the Tamils in Sri Lanka can expect to have better times ahead. Both the prime candidates in the presidential elections have certainly walked extra mile to assure the Sri Lankan Tamils that their interests would be taken care of. While the election campaign in Sri Lanka has generated bitter war of words between the contesting candidates more..

Responsibilities of Police officers in presidential election

Jan 15 (LG) We are very conscious of the heavy burden that falls on the police during an election. Once again today police officers, from the highest ranks to sergeants and constables, are called upon to play a crucial, and at times very onerous, role in the defence of values prized by peace-loving citizens. It is hardly necessary for us to emphasise to experienced police officers that more..

Sarath Fonseka and Nation

Jan 15 (LG) About a couple of years ago I had a sudden moment of illumination while viewing Pontecorvo’s film The Battle of Algiers, now established as a classic and one of the best political films ever made. It brought back to me vividly my intense emotional and intellectual involvement with that struggle during my days in Paris in the first half of the ‘sixties, the period which saw de Gaulle exercise his superb manipulative skills to give Algeria its merited independence. more..

President declares Thirukethieswaram a Sacred City for the Hindus

Jan 15 (AT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared Thirukethieswaram as a Sacred City for the Hindus. This was the first time an area where an oldest Hindu Temple is located has been declared as the sacred city in Sri Lanka. There had been many attempts in the past to get this status to the temple town, but in vain. The Hindus in Sri Lanka and around the globe will be ever thankful to the kind act of Mahinda Rajapaksha, the locals say. more..

M.I.A. slams 'NYT' in new song

Jan 15 (TW) On Sunday, the New York Times published an article in its travel section naming Sri Lanka the world’s top vacation destination for 2010. “For a quarter century, Sri Lanka seems to have been plagued by misfortune, including a brutal civil war between the Sinhalese-dominated government and a separatist Tamil group," the article said. "But the conflict finally ended last May, ushering in a more peaceful era for this teardrop-shaped island more..

Dilshan flies in for dramatic Twenty20 entry

Jan 15 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan is scheduled to touch down for a flying visit to New Zealand 90 minutes before Northern Knights play Wellington Firebirds in a Twenty20 domestic match on Friday. Dilshan caught a flight after Sri Lanka's tri-series win in Bangladesh on Wednesday and his journey to the Bay of Plenty is due to finish with a helicopter ride landing on the Blake Park outfield. "It's a reasonably tight schedule, so more..

Sri Lanka flights filling up: Etihad Airways

Jan 15 (LBO) Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways is seeing growth in traffic after it resumed services to Colombo with tourist arrivals also expected to pick after a 30-year war ended in the island, officials said. The airline says it is experiencing 60 percent load factors since re-starting operations on January 01. "We hope to increase it by 10 to 15 percent in the coming few months," Kumar De Silva, Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives said. more..

Mangala challenges Gotabhaya on Hicorp arms deal issue

Jan 15 (TC) SLFP (M) leader Mangala Samaraweera refuted charges of alleged corruption against former army commander Sarath Fonseka and his son in law Damuna Tillekaratne on the HICorp arms issue.Addressing a press briefing in Colombo Samaraweera has challenged the Defence Secretary to prove that HiCorp International is registered with the Defence Ministry. more..

Three distinguished Sri Lankans write to Rajapakse and Fonseka about conduct of elections

Jan 15 (TC) This Presidential election is taking place at a time when we are free of the scourge of armed conflict––thanks to you and the team of which you as President and also General Fonseka were vitally important members. The contents of this note are for the attention of both of you please. We would like our children and grandchildren to be pleased with and learn positively from all that goes on before, during and after the election, more..

Dilemma facing the nation at presidential poll is how to choose the lesser of two evils

Jan 15 (TC) After emerging victorious in a 30-year war Sri Lanka was heading for a bright new era. At least so the Sri Lankans thought. However, less than seven months from that victory which was celebrated for days by the elated Sri Lankans, the country is faced with a war of a different kind. This war is as decisive to the island nation as the civil war it experienced, though many may not have realised that yet. more..

Why the minority communities are rallying around Sarath Fonseka

Jan 15 (TC) The moment the TNA announced its support for the opposition presidential candidate, General Sarath Fonseka, the ruling party and the forces that back President Mahinda Rajapakse have begun to smell an international conspiracy with the help of the LTTE to destabilize and divide Sri Lanka. According to them the very man who was mainly responsible for eliminating the Tigers has today turned out to be a Tiger supporter! more..

Court case throws light on internet sales of stolen bank details

Jan 15 (FT) A British man is facing jail for masterminding a criminal website from an internet café in London's Wembley district, in a case that provides a fascinating glimpse of how stolen financial details are bought and sold on the internet. Renukanth Subramaniam, 33, who used the online nickname "JiLsi" as an administrator for the DarkMarket site, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud at a London court yesterday. more..

Govt. bankruptcy revealed again – mud against JVP spill over!

Jan 15 (LT) A lorry transporting posters slandering the JVP has turned turtle at Etul Kotte today (14th). The incident had occurred at about 5.20 p.m. The lorry with registered number JL 9452 from ‘Dilruk’, Pragathipura, Madiwela had turned turtle and crashed against a vehicle (KJ 1003) coming from the opposite direction damaging this vehicle as well. When the lorry turned turtle the posters slandering the JVP had been thrown out on to the road. more..

'Five years after tsunami devastation, Sri Lanka is doing OK'

Jan 15 (eTN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that this time of year is a period for reflection for many people around the world. “For the people of Sri Lanka it brings back acutely painful memories, but also for the first time in many years a genuine sense of hope.” He recalls that on the 26th December 2004, “one of the worst natural disasters in modern times befell our country and more..

President to honour Handicraft artistes

Jan 15 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed the National Crafts Council (NCC) to draw up a scheme to recognize and honour national handicraftsmen throughout the country. This recognition scheme will b implemented this year,sources from the NCC revealed. These honours will be betowed on traditional handicraft experts with longstanding service and dedication to the industry, they added. more..

CTB buses round the clock on A-9 highway

Jan 15 (GDI) Buses from the Ceylon Transport Board (CTB) operate round the clock on the A-9 highway after the road was opened without restrictions, CTB sources said. The government lifted all restrictions on that highway that links the North and South transport for convenience. The CTB wa directed by the Transport Ministry to provide adequate buses to facilitate commuters from Jaffna and Colombo. more..

'Fonseka making politically immature statements'

Jan 15 (GDI) Public Administration and Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. Sarath Amunugama claimed that opposition candidate, Gen.Sarath Fonseka was in the habit of making immature political statements being new to politics. He noted that Fonseka and President Mahinda Rajapaksa were poles apart and the gap was wide as ever, in an unimaginable manner. more..

Contest between Democracy and Military Rule - Vasudeva

Jan 15 (GDI) Firebrand left politician, Vasudeva Nanayakkara warned that if Gen.Sarath Fonseka was elected by error, Fonseka would enforce a military regime. He predicted that Fonseka's political thinking would be brief and, in power he would adopt military thought in rule."Therefore, it is wise for the people to have a democratic leader like President Mahinda Rajapaksa", the former MP said. more..

'Mahinda Chintana the best policy for development'

Jan 15 (GDI) Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene today claimed that the Mahinda Chintana second stage would take the nation towards a magnificent development era with a five proned plan. Addressing a news conference, the minister said the UNP believed in the Gobelle theory which was a farce."We will work according to the Mahinda Chintana to take the country from a third world nation to a first nation", he noted. more..

'President upgraded university education'

Jan 15 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa had improved and upgraded the level of higher education in the country, said North Central Province Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake. Despite fighting a war against the LTTE, the President assisted by Higher Education Minister Wiswa Warnapala worked tirelessly to commission the Faculty of Medicine of the Rajarata University in 2006, he said. more..

Government allocates Rs.2,900 m for school mid day meal

Jan 15 (LP) The government has allocated Rs.2 900 million to provide the mid day meal for schoolchildren for 2010. According to Education Ministry Press release it was found that more than 30 percent of schoolchildren do not have breakfast. This program was started in the year 2006 and it is successfully carried out in 7,618 schools involving one million students from Grades One to Five. more..

Investors upbeat on Jaffna

Jan 15 (MoD) The Biz Pact Investment Forum - Jaffna, organized by the Business for Peace Alliance (BPA) was a welcome effort to the business community in Jaffna and business giants in Colombo to show potential sectors in the North with the dawn of peace. Business for Peace Alliance (BPA) Chairman, Suresh de Mel said small and medium entrepreneurs throughout Sri Lanka who have been striving to foster peace and stability are taking advantage of the opportunity that more..

Eye Safety during the best solar eclipse after 55 years

Jan 15 (LP) The solar eclipse due on January 15th 2010 is visible to the whole country. The eclipse begins in Africa and streams through Sri Lanka to China leaving the central line of the solar eclipse close to Jaffna. This is the first time that a centre line of a solar eclipse crosses Sri Lanka since the total eclipse of June 20th, 1955 and more..

EDEX 2010 commences today

Jan 15 (LP) EDEX, the National Higher Education and Career Expo and the largest education fair in the country, commenced today at the BMICH. EDEX, organized by the Royal College Union is held for the 07th consecutive year in the country. It is expected to draw thousands of visitors from all parts of the country. The education Expo provides a wide range of education and career opportunities to the younger generation in Sri Lanka. more..

IDPs not allowed to enter their places in HSZs in Jaffna

Jan 15 (TN) Following the announcement made by government ministers and Sri Lanka Army (SLA) officials, persons who went to observe ‘Pongal’ in their houses in the SLA High Security Zones (HSZ) in Ariyaalai North and Valikaamam North Thursday were chased away by SLA soldiers and police deployed at the Front Defence Line (FDL) positions in these areas, IDP’s Welfare Association representatives said. more..

TNA MP Sathasivam Kanagaratnam released

Jan 15 (TN) TNA MP for Vanni district Sathasivam Kanagaratnam was released on condition after being produced before Vavuniyaa Magistrate Alex Raja Wednesday night. Mr. Kanagaratnam was taken into custody while he was staying with his people in one of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) internment camps in Vavuniyaa, for displaced civilians from Mullaiththeevu. more..

Rs.1150 lakhs for Maha Raja’s nephew; Rs. 4875 lakhs for his bosom friend from ethanol racket

Jan 15 (LeN) SLFP (M) leader Mangala Samaraweera in the second of the series of ‘exposing Royal robberies’ Press meetings at SLFP (M) main Office today (14) said, arrangements were made for President’s elder sister’s son Lalindra Hettiaratchi to make an illegal gain of Rs. 1150 lakhs because of YMax technology through Telecom – Ymax deal profits, whereby he became entitled to 60% of the profits on the SLT procurements, more..

Revenge – The Determining factor?

Jan 15 (LG) During a previous election many in Colombo and the affluent classes were overconfident of a UNP victory. At the time there was a massive disjoint between the perceptions in Colombo and those in the country. Rajapakse tapped into these rural aspirations, and Prabakaran assisted by excluding the Tamil vote. The rest was history. The Rajapakse Presidency has performed in terms of delivering a military victory and more..

Veluppillai death: Rajapaksa adds on to human rights abuse list

Jan 15 (IL) The father of the LTTE leader, Thiruvenkadam Veluppillai, passed away suddenly on January 6, at the Panagoda army camp, which is located in the Sri Lanka's western province where the Sri Lankan army has various army camps with the army's 11th Brigade along with the army hospital. The military spokesman announced the next day that Veluppillai had passed away due to natural causes more..

Reaction to scandalous interview by President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunge

Jan 15 (LNW) In a frankly scandalous turn of events, Secretary to the President and the country’s top public servant Lalith Weeratunge today made the astonishing proclamation in a newspaper interview that the Sri Lankan government ceased using heavy weapons against the LTTE in April 2009 at the request of the Indian government, in order to help the re-election bid of India’s ruling Congress Party. more..

Old & Feeble at Victoria Elders’ Home Forced to Vote for President

Jan 15 (LNW) In an unprecedented move a Matron attached to the Victoria Elders’ Home in Rajagiriya has demanded all the inmates to vote for President Mahinda Rajapakse at the forthcoming Presidential Elections, threatening to withdraw the facilities given to them at the century old institution looking after the welfare of nearly 200 inmates, unless they vote for the President. more..

'President's wish, people's happiness'

Jan 15 (MoD) Leaders of the Tamil speaking people in the recent past never worked to solve the problems of the people who they represented but were only blood thirsty, said Social Services and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda at a meeting with tractor drivers in Manalkadu, Jaffna. Today the situation is quite different from what prevailed during the war. more..

Should UNPers sacrifice the UNP for a Common Candidate

Jan 15 (AT) Arguably Sri Lanka’s oldest political party remains the UNP of which its first Prime Minister D S Senanayake left behind a legacy for its future leaders to carry forward from generation to generation. Any UNPer can see how the once a proud party cannot even win a provincial election today. The sad state of affairs for this party solely lays upon the present UNP leader and his team who have taken the grand old party to the annals of history. more..

The crisis in public health

Jan 15 (wsws) President Mahinda Rajapakse’s manifesto for the January 26 presidential election pompously declared that country’s free health system “has earned much praised internationally as being one of the best in the world”. A vast gulf exists between this rhetoric and reality. The island’s public health system is in deep crisis. Successive governments have slashed spending on health, like other basic public services, such as education. more..

President never short of unfulfilled promises makes another host of them in his ‘Idiri dekma’

Jan 15 (UNP) UNP M.P. Lakshman Kiriella said, the President who is sure of election defeat is determined at least to find solace in setting a new world record as the Leader who gave the most number of unfulfilled promises to a nation. While 98 % of his promises in his Mahinda Chintana he put out at the last Presidential elections still languishing in dusty corners without being fulfilled more..

The Fonseka Effect?

Jan 15 (GV) Cartoon by Dharshana Karunathilake, published in Irida Lakbima. Translation: General Fonseka (on left): “I promise to give you….” President Rajapaksa, interrupting: “Whatever he promises, I promise to give you all those!". “Civilization is an interlude between ice ages,” said the noted historian Will Durant. We might adapt that to characterise the current presidential election in Sri Lanka as a brief period of liberty and relief more..