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Deputy minister's aide netted for drug trafficking

Mar 8 (CT) A Muslim man said to be an aide to a deputy minister has been arrested on drug trafficking charges. Police Narcotics Bureau officials arrested him at the Katunayake airport on March 06 as he was trying to flee the country. Alleged to be a leading drug trafficker, he is reportedly a coordinating secretary to a deputy minister of the government. A resident of Chilaw, the suspect is a justice of the peace for the entire island, more..

Sri Lanka voices: 'Fractured democracy'

Mar 8 (BBC) The recent arrest of Sri Lanka's former army chief and defeated presidential candidate, Gen Sarath Fonseka, along with some of his supporters, has raised fears among rights groups in the country. The authorities accuse the general of having worked with what they call anti-government forces. Here people in Sri Lanka discuss the latest political developments as they prepare for general elections in April. more..

India intends to open Consulate in Jaffna

Mar 8 (Hindu) India intends to open a Consulate General in Jaffna to help the people of the peninsula and fully restore the connectivity to south India. The Government of Sri Lanka has agreed to the proposal. Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said that she conveyed the intention of India to open a consulate in Jaffna in the course of her nearly two-hour coordinal meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday. more..

'India worked against Sri Lanka president'

Mar 8 (AFP) India's external intelligence agency tried to undermine President Mahinda Rajapakse at polls in January and wanted him defeated, a minister said in an interview published Monday. Nandana Goonathilake, minister of postal services, said the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India's foreign intelligence service, had worked against Rajapakse at the January 26 vote even though the Indian government publicly supported him. more..

Petition challenges UNF Moneragala district list

Mar 9 (CT) Uva provincial councilor Janaka Tissakuttiarachchi has initiated legal action against the alleged removal of his name from the list of UNF candidates from Moneragala district. He filed a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking a court order for the inclusion of his name in the list of candidates at the upcoming general election. Or else, the court should order the elections commissioner to reject the UNF list for Moneragala, the petitioner pleads. more..

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao calls on Foreign Minister

Mar 9 (SLMFA) Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao during her official visit to Sri Lanka, called on Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on 8th March. Mrs. Rao who is the first senior Indian official to come to Colombo after the conclusion of the Presidential Election of last January, has used her visit to reiterate the felicitations of Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh concerning President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s re-election by a decisive majority. more..

'Fonseka tortured army officers'

Mar 9 (BBC) The Sri Lankan government accuses its former military chief Gen Sarath Fonseka of torturing army officers and soldiers while in office. Lakshman Hulugalle, the Director General of MCNS told BBC Sandeshaya that Gen Fonseka has "taken revenge" from certain officers while he was the commander. "It has now been revealed that he has even kept those who were faced court martial in dark rooms," he said. more..

Soldiers 'victimised by Govrnment'

Mar 9 (BBC) A human rights group representing the families of disappeared military men in Sri Lanka has accused the government of victimising soldiers. Visaka Dharmadasa, convenor of the Association of War Affected Women (AWAW), said her organisation is currently campaigning to get soldiers arrested by the Rajapaksa administration released. more..

Debrief News - 08.03.2010

Sri Lanka relaxes some forex controls

Mar 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka has relaxed several exchange controls relating to opening bank accounts abroad, forward forex cover and imports margin deposits and prepayments from March 11 in the first phase of a forex liberalization plan announced in earlier in the year. "This is the first series of relaxations," Central Bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. "We will be relaxing other controls in a phased manner." more..

Sri Lanka to seek tenants for $550 million tax-free port zone

Mar 9 (BW) Sri Lanka plans to invite overseas and local companies this month to set up operations in a new $550 million tax-free port zone as the end of the island’s civil war boosts trade and investment. Companies from Australia, India, China, Russia and Dubai have expressed interest in opening shipbuilding, ship-repair and warehousing facilities at the port in Hambantota, southern Sri Lanka, more..

Refugee was Tigers 'agent'

Mar 9 (TA) A Sri Lankan refugee being held on Christmas Island with her two young children after ASIO declared her to be a security threat worked for the legal system run by the Tamil Tigers. The Australian has learned that the woman, who was rescued by the Customs vessel Oceanic Viking in October, lived and worked in the Vanni district in Sri Lanka's north, which was controlled by the LTTE. more..

Bishops meet resettled refugees in Jaffna

Mar 9 (UCAN) Six Catholic bishops have met resettled Tamil war refugees in Jaffna diocese in northern Sri Lanka, listened to their grievances and given them relief aid. The delegation on March 6 went to see for themselves the problems people are facing as they try to rebuild their lives. During their tour of the Kilinochchi, Mulangavil, Vidaltaltivu, Iranamadhu and Kiran areas, the bishops handed over bicycles, solar lamps, oil lamps, clothing for more..

Sri Lanka Army completes summary of evidence against Fonseka

Mar 9 (Hindu) The summary of evidence over charges against retired General Sarath Fonseka in compliance with provisions of the Army Act was completed and handed over to the Commander of the Army Jagath Jayasuriya. A special communiqué issued by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) on Monday said the legal officers in the Army Directorate of Legal Services are now in the process of reviewing the contents and more..

Face-off in Sri Lanka

Mar 9 (DS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa dissolved the 6th parliament on February 9, calling for fresh elections. The unicameral parliament has tenure of six years and is elected on the basis of proportional representation. More than 14 million voters will go polls on April 8 to elect the 7th parliament, which is expected to sit on April 22. The dissolution came following the presidential elections on January 26, which Rajapaksa won with a massive (?) mandate. more..

Women in Lankan politics

Mar 9 (EB) Sri Lankan women had a head start over their counterparts in other South Asian countries in terms of education, social status and political rights, when the British rulers left the region. But sixty years down the lane, they seem to be lagging behind. Lankan women got the right to vote and stand for political office way back in 1931, long before Indian women got it. As in Kerala, Lankan women had been beneficiaries of school education long before independence in 1948. more..

President Rajapaksa participates international women’s day celebrations

Mar 9 (IL) The National celebration of the International Women’s Day was held at Siribopura Singapore Community Hall in Hambantota under the patronage of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa on 8th March. The International Women’s Day falls on today. Women’s contribution to the decade of prosperity in Sri Lanka is the title of this year’s celebration and more..

Path to economic and political emancipation of the Conflict

Mar 9 (TC) Sri Lanka is, slowly but surely, emerging out of a vicious civil war that has lasted over twenty-five years; armed conflict since 1972; and the conflict per se ever since independence in 1948. The amount of human, material, environmental and psychological destruction caused by this long drawn out civil war, especially in the conflict affected Eastern and Northern Provinces, is immeasurable and would last for generations; more..

Sri Lanka to start underwater sled rentals to tourists

Mar 9 (LBO) An under water scooter rental firm is starting up in a tourist area north of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, to feed an upturn in the industry following the end of a 30-year war, the island's investment promotion agency said. Mountcastle Marine will rent 'Cayago Seabob' sleds to tourists. The 500,000 US dollar venture will employ 30 people, the Board of Investment said. more..

TID questions Tyran for three hours

Mar 9 (LT) National list candidate of the Democratic National Alliance Tyran Alles has been questioned by the TID for about three hours. It is reported that Mr. Alles was questioned today regarding his support for Gen. Sarath Foseka during the presidential election. According to reports Mr. Alles has been questioned whether he had helped Gen. Fonseka in his election campaign, provided security and telephone facilities. more..

Mini-marathon to celebrate Sri Lankan Day

Mar 9 (GT) More than 100 runners participated in the 15th annual Lanka Lions’ mini-marathon, held on Friday to commemorate the 62nd Independence Day of Sri Lanka. There were seven categories that covered men, women and children of all age groups, ranging from five to 39 years. As many as 750 Sri Lankans from all walks of life had converged at the Sheraton end of the Corniche to cheer their compatriot ‘athletes’. more..

Death of a Green Activist: Tribute to Piyal Parakrama

Mar 9 (GV) Piyal Parakrama’s smile was regular and genuine, but it could be also be a bit misleading. Those who engaged him found that there was a keen mind, passionate heart and a sharp (yet always courteous) tongue behind that disarming smile. Opponents dismissed him lightly at their peril. In public and media debates, Piyal could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. That flutter and buzz are now abruptly silenced with his sudden death on March 3 at age 49. more..

Boston Lanka News

International Women’s Day observed in Jaffna

Mar 9 (TN) Around 500 women including many feminists from South observing International Women’s Day went on an awareness march Monday around 9:30 a.m from Jaffna Secretariat, sources in Jaffna said. Jaffna Government Agent, K. Ganesh officially inaugurated this event which highlighted the plight of women gone missing and arrested women exposed to violence in the prisons including women militants, the sources added. more..

ITAK begins three day election campaign in Moothoor Tamil villages

Mar 9 (TN) Ilangkai Thamizh Arasuk Kadchi (ITAK) Monday began a three day campaign by holding election meeting in every Tamil village in the Moothoor East, Verukal DS division, Moothoor DS division in Trincomalee district. ITAK leader and the chief candidate for the Trincomalee district Mr.R.Sampanthan is leading the campaign with other six candidates in the list. more..

Ban voices concern about lack of progress on key issues in Sri Lanka

Mar 9 (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed concerns about the lack of progress on political reconciliation, the treatment of IDPs and the setting up of an accountability process in Sri Lanka since the United Nations signed a joint statement with the Government last year in the wake of the end of its civil war with separatist Tamil rebels. more..

Agony of Wilpattu- the betrayal of a Nature Heaven

Mar 9 (SLW) Openings of ‘Highways’ and sheer humane infidelity to an unpardonable massacre of lush green wilderness, a continual assault on a splendid Biological brainwave of Mother Nature, torment of Wilpattu National Park has been unendurable at the least and outrageous at the most. It is with profound distress that we are forced to report this tragedy that was revealed with contrary to the promised succession of a new era with the end of war. more..

Tourism action plan for Eastern Province

Mar 9 (MoD) A Tourism Development Action Plan for Eastern Province has been implemented by the Tourism Ministry aiming to boost the tourism sector in the province. This Action Plan has been signed by a three member committee of the Sri Lanka Tourism Board. The Tourism Ministry will take steps to organise 24 projects which are in the Action Plan into operation. This will be conducted by a Plan Implementation Unit which consists of more..

A golden opportunity to serve the motherland as a graduate

Mar 9 (MoD) Creating a golden opportunity to enter tri forces after obtaining a degree, the KOTHALAWALA Defence University is ready to recruit Officer Cadets for its Intake 28 in the year 2010. This was revealed by Maj General M.P. Peiris the Vice Chancellor/Commandant of KDU in a press conference held at the Media Centre for National Security yesterday. more..

Govt suppresses protest demonstration of IDPs in Jaffna

Mar 9 (TN) A protest demonstration demanding immediate resettlement of people displaced from Valikaamam North occupied by Sri Lanka Army (SLA) as High Security Zone (HSZ) organized by the Welfare Organizations for IDPs on 1 March in front of Jaffna Secretariat had to be given up due to the strong opposition to it by Jaffna Government Agent (GA) K. Ganesh, the representatives of the welfare organizations said. more..

SVU donates house for War Hero - Kandy

Mar 9 (MoD) It was a happy moment for Private Karunarathne and family. A dream come true. Private WMM Karunarathne- a war hero of the Sri Lanka Army Gajaba Regiment (GR) could own a place that he and his beloved family would call 'Home'. The valiant soldier was lost for words Monday (March 08), when he received the key to his new home at Nilamba, Kandy, by the MOD Seva Vanitha Unit Chairperson Mrs. Ioma Rajapaksa. more..

Reconstruction of Kokavil Tower in progress

Mar 9 (MoD) The Government is now geared to meet the transmission and communication needs equally of the North as well as the South. The main focus of the government, as soon as the Kokavil area was liberated from the terrorists, was drawn to the Kokavil transmission tower. The LTTE terrorists fled causing heavy damage to the transmission tower, when the soldiers captured the areas. more..

Thammanna boat hoisting facility upgraded

Mar 9 (MoD) The boat hoisting facility located at the Hull Engineering Workshop at SLNS Thammanna has been upgraded with the installation of a winch. It was made operational at a ceremony held on 04th March 2010. The installation was done on a novel design implemented by the Navy Hull engineers in collaboration with the Naval personnel of the Command Engineering Department and the SLNS Thammana’s Ops Department. more..

JICA offers 20 million USD to improve infrastructure of tourist hubs

Mar 9 (GDI) Tourism authorities have planned an aggressive global promotional campaign to draw visitors with new events such as night surfing. Attempts are also being made to send the message about the island’s attractions to the Sri Lankan Diaspora as well. With tourist arrivals up 31.9 percent in January alone from a year ago, the authorities expect the total number of visitors this year to increase by 25 – 30 percent. more..

'Illegal to credit campaign funds to accounts of relatives'

Mar 9 (GDI) It is against the law to credit funds provided for the presidential election campaign of General Sarath Fonseka to the accounts of his son-in-law Danuna Thillakeratne and his mother, even with the consent of General Fonseka, Leader of the NFF Wimal Weerawansa said. Both the JVP and the UNP have now acknowledged that General Sarath Fonseka received foreign money of non-governmental organisations and other international sources. more..

Navy provides medical assistance to an Indian fisherman

Mar 9 (MoD) Sri Lanka Navy provided medical assistance to an Indian fisherman rescued in the seas south of Delft on 07th March. The rescued, who is aged 41, is a resident of Seruvikkaran West, Urani in Tamil Nadu and had left Rameshwaram on board an Indian trawler named "Sagaya Mary" for fishing on 06th March. He had fallen overboard close to midnight and subsequently had been rescued by a Sri Lankan Fishing Boat named "Amal Putha", more..

'Ballot paper printing to be expedited'

Mar 9 (GDI) Government Printer Lakshman Gunawardena has pointed out that work related to the printing of ballot papers will be expedited. He dismissed a newspaper report about an alleged dearth of paper for this purpose and other purported difficulties as being incorrect and without foundation. The Government Printer had the paper sufficient for the printing of ballot papers, he said, adding that sufficient stocks for future use have already reached the Colombo Harbour. more..

Premium on 'terrorist cover' reduced by 75%

Mar 9 (GDI) The Strike, Riot, Civil Commotion and Terrorism (SRCC and T) Fund was created in order to provide insurance covers to the insurance policyholders who are exposed to arise due to relevant destructive activities within the geographical limits of Sri Lanka which could be obtained as an extension to the basic insurance policies, Chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission Udaya Sri Kariyawasam said more..

Thrills and spills of Rally Cross

Mar 9 (MoD) Thrills and spills of Rally Cross The second edition of the "Sigiriya Rally Cross" was conducted yesterday (07th) at the Sri Lanka Air Force Station Sigiriya race track. This is an annual feature of the Sri Lankan Racing calendar which is conducted by the Sri Lanka Air Force in association with the Sri Lanka Association of Racing Drivers and Riders (SLARDAR). more..

Is the British Conservative Party making a strategic change in relation to Sri Lanka?

Mar 9 (LNW) The Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague's address to the Global Tamil Forum signals potential change in Conservative Party's approach to the conflict in Sri Lanka. Last week's Global Tamil Forum inaugural conference was, the first time ever, a Conservative Shadow Foreign Secretary addressed a gathering organised by the Tamil lobby in relation to the conflict. more..

“Road map for 2010 and beyond” – Attractions

Mar 9 (LP) In keeping with the announcement made by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in its “Road Map for 2010 and Beyond”, the following measures will be implemented with effect from 11th March 2010, in relation to foreign exchange transactions: The following categories of resident Sri Lankans will be permitted to open and maintain bank accounts abroad: Persons earning foreign exchange from investments abroad as approved by the Central Bank, more..

EC asks parties and groups to apply for air time

Mar 9 (LP) Rules and regulations have been set by Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake for those who are contesting at the upcoming general Election on allocation of Air time. The Elections Commissioner has asked secretaries of political parties and leaders of independent groups, contesting the forthcoming parliamentary elections, to apply before March 12 to more..

Two members of underworld shot dead

Mar 9 (LT) Two members of the underworld have died in a shoot out that occurred at Badagamuwa forest reserve at Kununegala today (9th) morning. The two killed are Sampath Sandalla Dias alias 'Usa Sampath and Charith Chamara Chathuranga alias 'Ahinsaka' of Bloemendhal Street in Colombo. According to police spokesman the two had bolted from police cell at Wallawa, had hidden in an abandoned house in the Badagamuwa jungles. more..

Massive crowd to demand release of General

Mar 9 (LT) A massive crowd took part in the rally held yesterday (8th) at Hyde Park to demand the government to release of Gen. Sarath Fonseka. The rally was organized by Democratic National Alliance (DNA) yesterday, a month since Gen. Fonseka was illegally arrested by Military Police on the 8th of February and is being arbitrarily detained at Navy Headquarters. The rally held with the leadership of Ms. Anoma Fonseka more..

Govt campaign against Tl and moves to arrest J.C. Weliamuna

Mar 9 (AHRC) The Asian Human Rights Commission reliably understands that there is a move to arrest and detain J.C. Weliamuna, the chairperson of Transparency International in Sri Lanka (TISL) on fabricated charges. During the last few weeks there have been several media attempts on the part of the government to make insinuations against the Sri Lankan branch of Transparency International. more..

JVP votes against emergency

Mar 9 (LT) The JVP would vote against extension of emergency regulations as the government, at present, is using emergency regulations to deny the democratic rights of the people said JVP Parliamentarian Sunil Handunneththi in Parliament today (9th). Speaking further Mr. Handunneththi said the war had been over for more than eight months and asked what the necessity for the extension of emergency regulations was now. more..

Govt. gives in to mass opposition - General stops fast

Mar 9 (LT) The hunger strike begun on Sunday by Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who was illegally arrested by Military Police and arbitrarily detained at Navy headquarters still without any charges leveled against him, was discontinued last night. He decided to abandon the hunger strike only when he was allowed to use the mobile phone brought by Ms. Anoma Fonseka to communicate with his two daughters. more..

Sampath Bank profit tops Rs 2 bn

Mar 9 (LNP) Sampath Bank pre-tax profit for 2009 crossed the Rs 3.9 bn mark, registering a growth of Rs 1.4 bn or 55.1 percent, over the previous year, the bank said. The post tax profit of the Bank crossed the Rs 2.1 bn mark, rising by Rs 684.4 mn or 48.4 percent and over 2008. The above profit growth rates are well above the asset-growth of 12.7 percent for the year. more..

Reasonable price for paddy under the new UNP government

Mar 9 (LNP) Ampara district UNP leader for parliamentary election and the Eastern Provincial Council Opposition leader Mr Daya Gamage addressing a UNP district committee meeting and said that all UPFA candidates in the district are completely strangers to the area. He said once the election is over all UPFA candidates will pack and get back to their original places and their will not be a single candidate to serve the area. more..

Hardware, software and computer jilmaat

Mar 9 (LNP) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is known for his interesting turn of phrase, which unfortunately does not serve him well in electoral politics, when he speaks in Sinhala. For, he strains for effect and, in the process, leaves room for his expressions to be taken out of context and twisted. Recently, a technology savvy Ranil drew a clever analogy between his party and computer software. more..