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Sri Lanka moves to allow president to run again

June 11 (AFP) The Sri Lankan government has approved lifting the two-term limit for presidents in a move that would allow incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse to run for office again, an official said Friday. Rajapakse, 64, came to power in 2005 and has increased his firm grip on power since defeating the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in May last year after nearly four decades of bloody ethnic conflict. more..

Returning IDPs face lack of clean water, landmine threat

June 12 (IRIN) Thousands of IDPs returning home from camps in northern Sri Lanka are concerned about access to potable water and slow progress in clearing landmines. Since the government declared victory over the LTTE in May 2009, more than 170,000 of 280,000 people displaced by the violence have returned to the 7,650 sq km Vanni region, which includes the Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu, Jaffna, Mannar and Vavuniya districts and has a population of about 700,000. more..

Sri Lanka removed from war risk insurance list

June 12 (LBO) London underwriters have removed Sri Lanka from the area listed for war risk insurance following lobbying by the island's government that risks have been eliminated with the end of the ethnic war. A statement from the Joint War Committee in London said it recently reviewed the Listed Areas for Hull War, Strikes, Terrorism and Related Perils, last altered on March 11, 2010, and deleted Sri Lanka. more..

India to engage Lankan Tamil parties on ethic solution: Report

June 12 (PTI) India plans to directly invite Sri Lankan ethnic parties, including the pro-LTTE TNA, for parleys to resolve the Tamil issue in the country, a media report has claimed, prompting the main opposition party to seek a clarification from the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. India will be directly inviting Sri Lankan Tamil political parties to New Delhi for one-on-one talks. more..

Sri Lanka growth accelerates: CB Governor

June 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's first quarter growth is likely to be "more than 6.0 percent" allowing year-end growth to reach 7.0 percent, higher than originally forecast, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. The Central Bank originally projected a growth of 6.5 percent for 2010. "Our estimates are the first quarter GDP will be over 6.0 percent," Cabraal said. "We can say that yearly growth will be 7.0 percent." He said all sectors have shown growth which is "substantial." more..

Rajapaksa wriggles from India's grasp

June 12 (AT) India and Sri Lanka signed an array of agreements across areas including security, power, railways, rehabilitation and cultural exchanges during Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa's visit this week. The Indian government rolled out the red carpet for the Sri Lankan leader in Delhi. This was even as the visit was marked by black-flag demonstrations in Tamil Nadu and other southern Indian states, where anger against the Rajapaksa government's conduct during the war against more..

Debrief News 11 06 2010

Tempers flare in House over UNP MP's private motion

June 12 (CT) Tempers flared in parliament today (June 11) after UNP's Ravi Karunanayake moved a private members motion that opposed the president and the prime minister holding ministerial portfolios. Chief government whip Dinesh Gunawardena objected to the proposal being discussed, saying it pertained to the powers of the executive. Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva claimed the motion had violated the constitution, more..

Sri Lanka urged to end strife

June 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka's army chief on Friday called for a political settlement to the island's decades-long ethnic strife, a year after the Tamil Tiger rebels were defeated in a major military offensive. Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya warned that although the separatist LTTE were crushed following the offensive in May last year, rebel remnants could try to regroup. 'It is up to the government and the people now to find the root cause of the problem and more..

Sri Lanka sounds India on oil fields straddling boundary

June 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka is seeking Indian support in finding and exploiting offshore petroleum deposits in the Gulf of Mannar that might extend to waters of both neighbours across their maritime boundary. The matter was revealed in a joint statement by the two countries at the end of a visit to India by Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa who held talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. more..

Conditions on visa for Prabakaran's mother relaxed

June 12 (EI) Relaxing the conditions once imposed on the offer to extend visa to slain LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran's mother Parvathi, the Centre has allowed her to stay with her daughter and meet her relatives and friends as she wished, but reiterated that politicians would not be allowed to meet her. The Centre had, on May 18, wrote to the Tamil Nadu Government, seeking its opinion on relaxing the conditions earlier imposed as more..

Devananda: Wanted man, state guest

Sri Lankan minister goes home, Indian court to hear arrest plea Monday

June 12 (IANS) Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda, declared a proclaimed offender under the Indian law, returned to his country Friday as the Madras High Court said it will hear a petition urging his arrest Monday. The petition was filed by advocate P. Pugazhendhi, who contended a warrant was issued against Devananda, now the minister for traditional industries and small enterprises, in a murder case. more..

Rajapaksa returns home

June 12 (Hindu) President Mahinda Rajapaksa returned home on Friday evening on conclusion of his official visit to India. The island nation's Social Welfare Minister, Douglas Devananda, who was part of the Presidential delegation and got into the limelight after a petition was filed seeking his arrest on the ground that he was a proclaimed offender in India, also returned. Mr. Devananda maintained that the cases against him in Tamil Nadu were filed prior to the Indo-Lanka 1987 Accord. more..

Editorial: Productive visit

June 12 (Hindu) The visit by Sri Lanka's President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has reaffirmed the country's close ties with India and provided both sides the opportunity to signal a readiness to take the bilateral relationship to a new level. This was reflected in the joint statement by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Rajapaksa, and the host of agreements to strengthen and expand bilateral cooperation. more..

From reel to realities

June 12 (DM) My dear Mahinda Aiya, Ayubowan, vanakkam, assalamu alaikkum and best wishes as you meet Indian leaders amid widespread reports that tension or ties between the two countries have reached a make or break flashpoint. According to independent analysts, India recently sent a dossier or a political letter to Sri Lanka. It included the widely criticized Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) through which India will have not only a virtual monopoly of more..

Suicide bombers of Sri Lanka -Part 2

June 12 (LG) Jaffna Hindu society before the war was very much under the caste system and the lower castes were suppressed by the higher, mainly the Vellala caste who held the authority. The caste system has been responsible for considerable covert violence throughout history. For many from the lower castes, joining the militant movement became a way out of this oppressive system. Similarly, for the younger women who experience widespread socio-cultural oppression against their sex, more..

A Powerful move to power Lanka

June 12 (DM) Japan would never attach strings or lay down conditions to the beneficiaries in the form of political, ideological or national commitments when she offers foreign aid to any country in any part of the world, says Japanese ambassador Kunio Takahashi in an interview to the daily mirror. “The only objective of Japan’s aid to friendly countries is towards economic, cultural and social development. more..

Strict measures await drug cheats in Sri Lanka

June 12 (News) The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) has intimated all the Asia Cup participating teams about the strict measures being adopted to check the drug cheats during the biannual event starting in Sri Lanka from June 15. Like every cricket event coming under the International Cricket Council (ICC) charter, all the participating team players would under go dope tests during or at the end of every match. more..

UN agency assists Sri Lanka to create jobs for war widows

June 12 (UN) The United Nations Industrial development Organization (UNIDO) said today it was helping the Sri Lankan Government to provide jobs to an estimated 40,000 widows in the island country’s northern and eastern regions, which bore the brunt of nearly three decades of civil war. UNIDO is supporting technology transfer and value addition projects to small- and medium-size industries, according to Kandeh Yumkella, the agency’s Director-General, more..

Chaminda Vaas stars against old county as Northants win

June 12 (BBC) Chaminda Vaas starred with bat and ball against his old county Worcestershire as Northants finally broke this year's FP t20 duck at the fourth attempt. Vaas hit a fluent 54, including three huge sixes, as a makeshift opener for the hosts, who went on to post a total of 143-8 from their 20 overs. He then went on to grab two wickets as Northants restricted the visitors to 122-8, Ben Scott (23no) top scoring. more..

The role of the Attorney General in the pursuit of justice

June 12 (LG) This generous reference to Mr. K C Kamalasabayson was by Justice Saleem Marsoof and is the opening paragraph in the essay he wrote in a collection of essays which Justice Marsoof co-edited in memory of this illustrious former Attorney General.At a time when moves have been made to take away, for no stated reason, the office of the Attorney- General and his department from the Ministry of Justice and more..

Sri Lanka, China vow to enhance cooperation

June 12 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne and the visiting Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang stressed here on Friday to enhance the two friendly nations' cooperation in a wide range of areas including economy, education, culture and international affairs. Jayaratne told Zhang that Sri Lanka's economy has been greatly benefited by some mega-projects funded by China in recent years. more..

Patriotism as Creed

June 12 (LG) It defies reason. The year the war was at its most intense and critical, Sri Lanka’s defence allocation was Rs. 177 billion; but in the first year of peace Sri Lanka’s defence allocation increased by a massive Rs.24 billion to Rs. 201 billion. Normally, defence expenditure increases in times of war and decreases (or stabilises) once peace dawns. Sri Lanka has become the antithesis of this norm; in this surreal land, more..

Register all weapons, says Ravi K. in parliament

June 12 (NF) A proposal was made in parliament today that all weapons used in the country to be registered and action to be taken thereafter against anyone possessing unregistered weapons. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake presented this proposal as a motion for a private members’ bill in parliament today. “You should give us our privileges. You have defeated terrorism. But we need to discuss the root cause of that problem as well. more..

Four arrested for hunting treasure in Mihintale

June 12 (NF) Four persons have been arrested by the Mihintale police for allegedly excavating for treasure at the Wijeyarama Temple in Katupotha Kanda in Mihintale. Police said that members of the Mihintale Archaeology Department, on patrol, had spotted several persons excavating for treasure. After the officers had informed the head of the Mihintale Archaeology Department, the police had arrived at the scene. more..

Suicide bombers of Sri Lanka -Part 3

June 12 (LG) In the beginning, youth joined the militant movements out of altruistic beliefs to safeguard their threatened ethnic identity (Somasundaram, 1998). For example, when in the 1983 riots Tamils as a group were humiliated, the youth took up arms to prevent a complete eclipse of the group’s identity. They joined whichever Tamil militant group was available. That they did so in the thousands with complete dedication, more..

Gota! Please do not betray Sri Lanka!!

June 12 (LG) I always admired you as a man of extra-ordinary abilities. With the delegated powers from your brother, the President Mahinda Rajapakse, you did an exceptional job to finish off the LTTE’s military might. Your partnership with your one time schoolmate General Sarath Fonseka gave us the much wanted victory for us to sleep peacefully without the worry of being bombed by the LTTE suicide bombers. I will always be thankful for your contribution to finish off the LTTE. more..

CID conducts spurious searches in paramilitary operatives’ houses in Vaazhaichcheani

June 12 (TN) CID searched Tuesday the house of Nagalingam Thiraviyam alias Jeyam, a member of the Eastern Provincial Council and an operative of TMVP who had been evicted from LTTE in 2004 by the then Commander Karuna and present Deputy Minister of Rehabilitation, Vinayagamoorthy Muaralitharan. Similar searches were also made in his other houses in Vaakarai police division and his relatives’ houses in Challiththeevu and Panichchangkea’ni areas, more..

China remains committed to Sri Lankan progress – Vice Premier tells President

June 12 (GDI) China reiterated its commitment to the economic development of Sri Lanka, with its investment and association with the major economic, infrastructure and socio-cultural development projects in the country, when the visiting Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang was hosted to a breakfast meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Janadhipathi Mandiraya today (June 12). more..

Mass wedding of 53 rehabilitated Tiger couples tomorrow

June 12 (GDI) Sri Lanka military has made arrangments for the wedding of 53 rehabilitated LTTE couples to be held in northern Vavuniya from 7.00 am on Sunday the 13th. Hundreds of young men and women of the North who were forced to spreading terrorism have now been reintegrated into society under a special program launched by the military. These ex-combatants were rehabilitated for a period of nine months. more..

Basilian neo-liberalism, Mahindian nationalism and high level Sovereign Rating Committee of Sri Lanka

June 12 (LP) Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has initiated a programme to take the necessary steps to upgrade the country’s sovereign rating. The significance of this move is that the government has moved further in the Basilian doctrine of neo-liberalism and it has appointed top officials of Indian company and and a local agent of a multi national consortium into this committee. more..

Sri Lanka’s 207 Centimetres tall Tamil netball champion

June 12 (AC) Now, we move to Sri Lanka where our Colombo correspondent, takes us to meet the tallest female netball player in Asia - Tharjini Sivalingam. She stands at 6ft 10in (that’s 207 centimetres) and she is also a Tamil. Her sport, netball, is like basketball but you can’t run with the ball or bounce it. Twelve months after the end of the decade’s long civil war that divided Sri Lanka’s Tamil and Sinhalese communities for three decades, more..

BBC's Hard Talk interview with Gotabhaya was propagandistic rather than journalistic

June 12 (TC) It was the other day that the BBC aired the full version of the Hard Talk interview with Gotabhaya Rajapakse, and there are certain issues that need to be raised, not about what Gota said in that interview, but about the BBC programme itself. I have watched only two other BBC Hard Talk programmes, one was an interview with Ms Chandrika Kumaratunga when she was the president and more..

Time to tackle the worst form of child exploitation

June 12 (LP) Hundreds of millions of the children around the world are deprived of their rights as they have been engaged in labour to earn their bread or to support their families etc. Out of those who are engaged in labour, more than half of the children are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution, more..

Matara mayor's home stormed again

June 12 (CT) An armed gang had stormed the house of Matara mayor Upul Nishantha last evening, police said. The men, bearing swords and clubs, had threatened the wife and the children of Mr. Nishantha, who had not been home at the time. Since he supported Gen. Sarath Fonseka at the recent presidential polls, Mr. Nishantha has been facing threats in this manner. This is the third occasion that thugs had gone to his home, police said. more..

'Jaffna University Students Union will be banned if IUSF comes to Jaffna'

June 12 (LT) The Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) had organized on the 12th to distribute wheel chairs, crutches and books collected from benefactors from the South to students in the University of Jaffna who have been disabled due to the war. However, it is reported that the university area where the distribution was to take place has been suddenly made a prohibited area. more..

Hambantota port 2nd phase work to commence

June 12 (N360) Sri Lanka and China will sign the “Commercial contract” to start construction work of the second phase 2 of the Hambantota port on Monday the 14th of this month. Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama said the The signing will take place in the presence of visiting deputy Prime Minister of China Zheng Dejiang. The SLPA Chairman also said the China Harbor Engineering Corporation will construct the second phase which is estimated to cost US $ 700 million. more..

Education Minister hopeful of national education policy by 2011

June 12 (CT) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena says he is hopeful of implementing a national education policy by 2011. The Education Ministry has commenced the initial work in formulating the policy, he says. A parliamentary consultative committee on education was appointed recently and the committee is to appoint a subcommittee to prepare a report on education reforms. Minister Gunawardena says the subcommittee will study the needed reforms based on more..

Defence Secretary tells rehabilitated youth: Get involved in development programs

June 12 (DN) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said the North and East are developing at an unprecedented speed and the rehabilitated youth with a vocational training can directly get involved in the development programs. The Defence Secretary made this observation at a ceremony held to issue certificates to rehabilitated ex-LTTE combatants who completed more..