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Tamil terror ‘suspects’ out for election

Jan 3 (LB) Thanks to the Presidential election, over 700 Tamil suspects who were arrested under the Emergency Regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act will heave a sigh of relief as the government is expecting to release them soon. Some of the suspects are in remand prisons for more than ten years without facing any charges. Deputy Minister of Justice V. Puthirasigamani says the government will soon release over 700 Tamil detainees who more..

Tamils fight over two Sinhala war heroes

Jan 3 (LB) The main political formation of Tamil political parties, the Tamil National Alliance, would announce its stance on the presidential election tomorrow, but, if current developments are any indicator, the decision would hardly be a consensus. Cracks are wide open in the once cohesive TNA: one constituent party, the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) has broken ranks with the rest to announce a unilateral boycott of the election. more..

Sri Lanka needs political solution and civil society reconciliation

Jan 3 (TC) First, I thank Transcurrents readers for reading, and commenting. Yours views are indeed thought-provoking, and I promise to continue writing on the issue, as Thaya T. had rightly said, until every Tamil in that island live in peace with dignity and equal rights'. A big ‘thank you’ goes to Mr Jeyaraj and Transcurrents, for publishing this as a separate note (I sent the first part as a comment to Prof. Roberts’s article). more..

Tamils living abroad can aid development in North Sri Lanka

Jan 3 (TC) In Sri Lanka today the Government, Non Government Agencies and Private Sector are all focusing on the post conflict development of the North. The potential is viewed through the incentives by Government and investment and grants expected to flow into the territory. Every one of them has their own agenda. The society has deteriorated over the past three decades and the ranking of Jaffna district in Education is evidence. more..

'People do not care whether Govt. ordered LTTE leaders killed'

Jan 3 (LB) Media Minister Lakshman Yapa talks to LAKBIMAnEWS on the ongoing presidential election campaign, and on media bias on campaign issues. Q: Only a month left for the presidential election and do you think that the government is losing momentum? A: The government has not lost any momentum. We are running a very aggressive campaign and winning is certain. more..

Rajapaksa, Fonseka launch campaign

Jan 3 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is seeking a second term in the January 26 election and his main opponent and the Opposition consensus candidate, retired General Sarath Fonseka on Saturday kicked off their campaign with big rallies in the holy towns of Kalatura in the south and Jaffna in the north. According to local media reports, both rallies attracted huge crowds. There was great interest in the maiden visit of the commander-turned-politician to Jaffna, more..

New Lankan CG vows to boost economic ties

Jan 3 (AN) Ahamedlebbe Sabarullah Khan, the deputy chief of mission of the Sri Lankan Embassy in the Kingdom, has been named Sri Lanka’s consul general in Jeddah, the Sri Lankan Embassy announced on Saturday. “Promoting economic diplomacy is my major mission since my country has entered a new era following the defeat of terror in May last year,” Khan said. He also requested the island’s expatriates in the Kingdom to follow President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s request to more..

Engage the Diaspora

Jan 3 (GV) As all issues pertaining to ethnicity in Sri Lanka the role of the Diaspora Tamils has become a point of contention in Sri Lanka. As usual this group is defined in monolithic terms by most commentators within Sri Lanka and its diversity of opinion is overlooked. There is little effort to understand the diversity within this group or to engage them in a constructive manner for the benefit of long-term peace and prosperity in Sri Lanka. more..

Unsolicited SMS messages are spam. Please desist Mr. President

Jan 3 (GV) All mobile phone subscribers, across all networks got an SMS from the President this morning – “Kiwu paridi obata NIDAHAS, NIVAHAL RATAK laba dunnemi. Idiri anagathaya sarwapparakarayenma Wasanawantha Wewa! SUBA NAWA WASARAK WEWA! Mahinda Rajapaksa” (As I promised, I gave you a free and independent country. May your future be successful in all ways. Happy New Year!) Many thought it was a hoax until it was confirmed in the media that the message was legit. more..

Post-tsunami Sri Lanka - Five years on

Engage the Diaspora

Jan 3 (GV) As all issues pertaining to ethnicity in Sri Lanka the role of the Diaspora Tamils has become a point of contention in Sri Lanka. As usual this group is defined in monolithic terms by most commentators within Sri Lanka and its diversity of opinion is overlooked. There is little effort to understand the diversity within this group or to engage them in a constructive manner for the benefit of long-term peace and prosperity in Sri Lanka. more..

Election feedback

Jan 3 (LG) Below are comments by citizens from various parts of the country, which are of interest. A Traffic Police officer near the Benthara River ; “The law must be applied to all equally. We stopped a container and found it full of Billboards in support of the President. It is illegal, but we could not do anything. If the OIC had ordered us to seize it, he may have been transferred to Batticaloa or some other place.” more..

‘Subharathi’ program used for election propaganda

Jan 3 (LG) The January 2nd, 7 a.m. ‘Subharathi’ program on SLBC was a discussion with the Minister Bandula Gunawardene, with several other officers of Consumer Protection Authority of the same ministry. The discussion was devoted entirely to create the impression that the prices of commodities have in fact come down dramatically, in contradiction with the allegation by the opposition allegations that the prices of essential commodities are unbearable. more..

Presidential election: Who will be affected?

Jan 3 (LG) Who will be affected by the outcome of the forthcoming presidential election? Certainly not Sri Lanka’s Mark Anthony (reference: oration at the funeral of late Vijaya Kumaranathunga) aka Prof.Carlo Fonseka. For whatever he writes in these columns, be it his decisive comments in the debate between Dayan and Malinda, a review of a Chithrasena-Vajira mould ballet in which he could not but express an old man’s burning desire for the young flesh, or more..

Her Story…

Jan 3 (SL) On December 13, 2009 The Sunday Leader’s headline “Gota Ordered Them To Be Shot” – General Sarath Fonseka would become the most explosive story of the year. The article which, perfectly accurately, quoted the General as saying he had heard that Gotabaya Rajapaksa had given an illegal order asking Brigadier Shavendra Silva to not accommodate surrendering LTTE cadres, became more than a news story. more..

Caste factor in Sri Lanka politics

Jan 3 (LG) On Royal-Thomian cricket match morning in March 1996 I got a telephone call from someone very close to President J.R. Jayewardene saying that the Old Man, who was suffering from a bad head cold, was insisting on going to the Big Match that day against medical advice. Did I have any ideas to prevent him from getting out of the house? The only way of thwarting him, I suggested, was to tell him that he was not as popular as he had been and more..

Promises galore by Gen. Fonseka wooing Tamil voters in Jaffna

Jan 3 (TC) In an ironic twist of fate Sarath Fonseka the man who refused to dismantle high security zones in Jaffna during the Oslo -brokered ceasefire in 2002 performed a neat somersault in 2010 by promising to remove high - security zones in North if elected President. The difference then and now is that he was Northern army commander then and Presidential candidate now. Moreover the LTTE no longer exists as a military force. more..

Feedback: Citizens speaking up on the polls from all over Sri Lanka

Jan 3 (TC) Below are comments by citizens from various parts of the country, which are of interest: A Traffic Police officer near the Benthara River ; “The law must be applied to all equally. We stopped a container and found it full of Billboards in support of the President. It is illegal, but we could not do anything. If the OIC had ordered us to seize it, he may have been transferred to Batticaloa or some other place.” more..

Sri Lankan fishermen awaiting repatriation

Jan 3 (EB) Sri Lankan fishermen who are in detention here and whose release has been ordered by the government are dependent on a voluntary organisation for their food and other needs as no funds had been allotted by the government for their maintenance. These Lankan fishermen were arrested by the Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy for trespassing the International Maritime Boundary Line. more..

Gwynne Dyer holds up a mirror on Sri Lanka's future

Jan 3 (TC) It usually takes an objective, empathetic outsider to hold up a mirror before us, reflecting our achievements and our failures. We have two in our midst: Padraig Colman who publishes in the prestigious Le Monde Diplomatique and Kath Noble, who sticks loyally to the local press when she is easily good enough to write for papers back home in the UK. more..

One year after Kilinochchi recapture...

Jan 3 (GDI) Yesterday was the first anniversary of the recapture of KIlinochchi, which was the administrative town of the LTTE terrorists. It was recaptured in the humanitarian operation carried out under the leadership of President Rajapakse and the guidance of Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse. The retake of Kilinochchi was an important deature in the humanitarian operation that was launched at Mavillaru. more..

Rajitha throws open challenge to the UNP

Jan 3 (GDI) Minister Rajitha Senaratne today threw an open challenge to the UNP to go before the Commission on Bribery against the Rajapaksa family, if that family had indulged in corruption, rather than slinging mud without any base or an iota of evidence to prove such charges. He said that the opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka and his supporting alliance had failed to prove such charges by perusing at least a document to that effect. more..

"Sarath, We are ready for the debate", says Wimal Weerawansa

Jan 3 (GDI) National Freedom Front Leader and Parliamentarian, Wimal Weerawansa once again demanded and challenged opposition candidate Ge,Sarath Fonseka to enter into a debate over the reported arms deal of his son-in-law and warned that if Fonseka failed to respond within one, the UPFA would begin to unfold details on that corrupt and shady arms deal. Speaking to journalists at the Mahaweli Centre in Colombo to day, more..

Competent Authority not appointed yet

Jan 3 (LNW) The UNP has complained that the Elections Commissioner has not appointed a Competent Authority to oversee the state media institutions, Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and the Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation as agreed up on during a meeting between the Commissioner and UNP representatives on December 28th. UNP Secretary Tissa Attanayake said that at the discussion the Elections Commissioner had agreed to more..

"Lalkantha, oba nihanda ai ?"

Jan 3 (GDI) Minister Susil Premjayanth today said the Sunder Leader Editor, Fredrica Janz has, in today’s Sunday Leader issue substantiated that General Sarath Fonseka had without doubt made that serious allegation against Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Premjayanth claimed that Fonseka and his band of alliance leaders were uttering all falsehoods. more..

The burden of the school bag

Jan 3 (ST) Bent double with a heavy burden on their backs, thousands of smartly-clad children will make their way to schools across the country, as the new academic year begins on Tuesday. For most, their uniforms, shoes, socks, water bottles and bags will be brand new, with even the humblest of parents borrowing money to buy their children the necessities for the school year. But are the bags that these children will carry to school, more of a health hazard than a boon? more..

Faimiles of persons gone missing in Jaffna confront Southern political leaders

Jan 3 (TN) Family members of young men and women gone missing after arrest by Sri Lanka Armed Forces in Jaffna confronted the political leaders from South who had accompanied Sarath Fonseka when they came to attend an event in Jaffna. MP Mano Ganeshan had arranged a meeting with the persons whose children or relatives had gone missing and the people who had come for this meeting appealed to the Southern political leaders more..

Protect the true Sri Lankans - our endemic species

Jan 3 (ST) In the 1990's, members of the Wildlife Conservation Society of Galle discovered a species of small freshwater fish in a stream in Wilpita in the Matara district. Conducting a survey recently, they couldn't find the fish Raspora Wilpita, as it was named, in the stream where it was discovered. It was later located in streams deeper in the rainforest. This fish that prefers shady streams may have been affected due to agrochemical use, more..

Mervin’s thugs squashed at Kiribathgoda

Jan 3 (LT) A gang of thugs sent by Minister of Labour ‘Dr.’ Mervin Silva to attack a group of JVP supporters who had been engaged in election campaign of the Common Presidential Candidate Gen. Fonseka at Kiribathgoda town has been beaten until they had fled the area. According to reports, when Mervin Silva’s thugs arrived to attack the JVP supporters who were engaged in the campaign, the police on duty in the area had withdrawn. more..

Vijitha Herath challenges health minister

Jan 3 (LT) JVP MP Vijitha Herath issued a challenge to Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva to sort out the acute shortage of medicine instead of delivering false election pledges. Mr Herath addressed this issue at a press conference held today at the JVP Headquarters. He pointed out that the shortage of drugs was due to two main reasons – “ one is not importing adequate stocks and the other is importing low quality drugs. more..

I’ll diminish social & physical barriers between Jaffna & Colombo – Gen. Fonseka

Jan 3 (LT) Common Presidential Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka participated in several meetings held in Jaffna the whole day yesterday and stated he would take measures to diminish the social as well as physical barriers that are between Jaffna and Colombo at present. People in Jaffna were very enthusiastic regarding the visit of Gen. Fonseka to Jaffna and a large crowd had gathered at Weerasingham Hall where a public meeting was held. more..

In the shadow of Sinharaja

Jan 3 (SO) If you think that Sinharaja, a World Heritage Forest, is rich in biodiversity, think again. Kanneliya Forest Reserve is like the sadly underestimated son living in the shadow of a larger than life father. Sinharaja has revelled in the glory of limelight for long. It is interesting to note that, although Kanneliya is home to similar plants and animals as that of Sinharaja, in terms of biodiversity per unit area it is far superior to Sinharaja. more..

Forces focus on Northern rehabilitation

Jan 3 (MoD) The Jaffna Security Forces Commander, Major General L. B. R. Mark has reiterated that the Security Forces in the North would do their best to maintain the peaceful atmosphere that prevails in the region now. Maj. Gen. Mark, in his New Year message in Jaffna, expressed his gratitude to the Northern civilians for their role in supporting the Security Forces, when the fight against terrorism was being carried out in the North last year. more..

All IDPs eligible to vote

Jan 3 (MoD) Recent news reports in some sections of the media that about one million IDPs of the Northern Province have not been registered for voting and will be deprived of their franchise at the January 26 Presidential Poll are incorrect. Voters whose names are already in the 2008 Electoral Register will be able to vote, Bandula Kulatunga, Consultant to the Elections Department told the Sunday Observer. more..

Police goes to Court today itself to disperse tomorrow’s JVP procession

Jan 3 (LeN) The Colombo additional Magistrate Gihan Ranasinghe has issued an order today to the Police to disperse the JVP procession tomorrow if it is not peacefully conducted. This order was given in connection with the JVP public Rally to be held at Campbell Park tomorrow starting with a procession from Rajagiriya. The Rajagiriya Police obtained this order from the Courts after filing a petition more..

Swift relief for Sakvithi, Golden Key depositors

Jan 3 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured speedy repayments to all depositors of Golden Key/Ceylinco, Sakvithi and other failed finance companies at a meeting he held with representatives of depositors. President Rajapaksa has instructed officials to explore the possibility of acquiring Ceylinco Properties through an Act of Parliament and totally settle all depositors. As a first step, the Central Bank has decided to more..

Special loan schemes for resettled people

Jan 3 (MoD) The Government with the objective of uplifting the living standards of the people who have been resettled in the North has introduced a special relief loan scheme, said Governor of the Northern Province Maj. Gen. G. A. Chandrasiri. He said that up to now Rs. 7.5 million has been granted among the resettled people in the Jaffna district under this program. Funds of the Northern Provincial Council are being utilised for the granting of loans. more..

Jaffna reawakens after 30 years

Jan 3 (SO) After the war Sri Lankans are flocking to Jaffna during this holiday season, irrespective of race or religion. Today the entrance to the Northern Province, Vavuniya, has transformed into a bustling city. It's like spring time in the North. Jaffna almost like an island, separated from the narrow maximum 12 kilometre wide isthmus at Elephant Pass is one of a kind land uniquely made out of limestone and lines of palmyra trees with its elegant fan like fronds. more..

Drop in cracker-related injuries

Jan 3 (SO) There was an overall drop in firecracker-related injuries reported from Colombo and suburbs during the festive season compared to the corresponding period of 2008. This was mainly due to people being educated on the hazards of firecracker-related injuries. However, the quantum of firecrackers lit on the last day of the year was significant as people were celebrating the end of war. Another significant factor this year was the reduction of violence, more..

Over 100,000 NICs within next three weeks

Jan 3 (SO) Over 100,000 permanent NICs will be issued by the Department for Registration of Persons (DRP) during the next three weeks to reduce the issuing of temporary identity cards for voters to exercise their franchise at the forthcoming Presidential Election. DRP Commissioner A. G. Dharmadasa said the Department is working round the clock to process NICs. Over one million people are waiting to have either their permanent National Identity Cards (NICs) or more..

Clashes between the Catholic Church and Leftists in Negombo

Jan 3 (SO) Although the Vatican Council II (1962-65) mellowed its attitude towards Marxist-orientated socialism, still the clashes between the Catholic Church and the Leftists in Negombo area continued. In the schools Take-Over issue it was the Leftists in Negombo who shouldered the leadership in favour of the move against the stand of the Church. Dr. Hector Fernando, the leader of the LSSP in Negombo played prominent role against the Catholic Church over the issue. more..

'War victory a team effort'

Jan 3 (NS) Secretary- Ministry of Highways Admiral Vasantha Karannagoda says the decisive victory in the war on terrorism in the country was the outcome of a team effort, and credit for this great achievement should go to the entire team. Former Navy Commander Admiral Karannagoda, who played a lead role in the `team effort’ of winning the war, also asserts, “President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Captain and Defence Secretary was Vice Captain of this team. more..

APRC ‘awaiting President’s response’

Jan 3 (Island) The APRC is awaiting President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s response to a summary document which was submitted to him, outlining the APRC’s proposals to resolve the ethnic conflict, APRC chairman Prof. Tissa Vitarana said. It was the opinion of the APRC that the President would need some time to take a decision on the proposals, particularly in view of the fact that the presidential election campaign is now taking up most of his time, the APRC chairman said. more..

Campaigns of ‘style’ sans substance

Jan 3 (NS) With just over three weeks to go for the presidential election, the leading campaigns are gathering momentum, at times overshadowed by events that occur within a fast evolving and dynamic political climate. A significant development over the past week was the crossover of two stalwarts of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC), Murugan Satchithananthan and Ramalayan Yogarajan to the United National Party (UNP). more..

Hundreds of Indian trawlers encroach daily

Jan 3 (NS) More than 20,000 fisher families in the Jaffna Peninsula are unable to enjoy the removal of restrictions on fishing since the end of the conflict, as hundreds of encroaching trawlers from Tamil Nadu are robbing them of their catch on a daily basis and the President of the Jaffna Fisheries Cooperative Federation T. Thavaratnam warned yesterday that if the situation continued, within a few years there would be nothing to catch in our waters as more..

Northern viewers to get ITN, Rupavahini from Monday

Jan 3 (NS) Jaffna citizens will get to see Rupavahini and ITN telecasts from Monday along with an improved reception of SLBC under the 180-Day Programme of the ‘Uthuru Wasanthaya.’ Media and Information Ministry Secretary W.B. Ganegala said yesterday the new services were being provided via the transmission tower in the Palali camp, pending the completion of the construction of the new Kokavil tower in a few weeks. more..

President’s rural vote bank is intact

Jan 3 (NS) With the presidential election drawing closer, the propaganda campaigns of the two main candidates in the fray are gathering heat and momentum. Given the obvious keen contest, the main opposition, the UNF says that the Tamil and Muslim vote at the election would be a decisive factor. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, DPF leader Mano Ganesan and SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem are now engaged in a relentless effort to more..

Lalith Kotelawala and other Directors to be indicted in Golden Key scam

Jan 3 (Island) The Attorney General’s Department is now preparing the ground work to indict Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala on charges of criminal misappropriation of funds, fraud and breach of trust in connection with the 26 billion rupee Golden Key scam, a top official said last week. "Criminal charges will be filed against Kotelawala, his wife Sicille and other Golden Key directors shortly with the completion of the ongoing auditing process", he said. more..

Monetary Board will decide on Monday on bonus interest

Jan 3 (Island) The Monetary Board will on Monday decide on a scheme of bonus bank interest for senior citizen hard hit by the recent sharp decline in interest rates, well informed sources said yesterday. The Central Bank has been working on a scheme, to be effective from this month, and the possible options including the maximum bonus interest payable at 20% and the level to which the Treasury Bill rate should fall for the new scheme to more..

The ‘Angry Young Man’ is back...

Jan 3 (NS) Aristotle, the first scholar to theorise stagecraft in his legendary text poetics written in the 5th Century BC, clarifies the role of the poet/playwright as being in a prophetic mission. It is a universal journey in which the poet/playwright sees into the future. In Sri Lanka, a 25-year-pld rebel par excellence ventured on a similar mission in 1976 with his debut play Eka Adhipathi which reverberates with its timeless, more..