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Is Rudrakumaran successor to Prabhakaran?

Feb 8 (DM) His cherubic face glowed like a silk worm as delegates greeted him as ‘Mr Prime Minister’ at Millennium UN Plaza Hotel on 44th Street New York in September 2010 at the General Assembly of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)- the flag carrier of an LTTE government in exile. Most present had lineage with the LTTE, none more than Rudrakumaran Viswanathan known to many as effervescent ‘Rudra’- the US based attorney, more..

LG Polls and Nominations Fiasco

Feb 8 (DM) It was Indira Gandhi who once reportedly said that she brought voters to her election rallies but it was the cadres who would have to bring in the votes, still. Nothing describes the truth behind this observation better than the nominations fiasco ahead of the local government polls in neighbouring Sri Lanka. Every party and every combine has suffered but it is the ruling UPFA that has been hit so very badly. In the Tamil-majority North, where the local more..

Forces in 2nd humanitarian ops. rescues thousands in the floods

Feb 8 (DM) Rain poured continuously in violent torrents for weeks. The tanks started spilling with oceanic fury, and the rivers and streams swelled and overflowed their banks inundating towns and villages, in some instances, making them look like islets poking out in the sea. People were marooned in their thousands. They helplessly witnessed their livestock and other belongings being washed away. more..

Walk like an Egyptian

Feb 8 (SL) People have been asking when an Egyptian style revolution will come to Sri Lanka. Um, unlikely, and if it does, then in 20 years. The problem with Mubarak in Egypt was quantity as much as quality. He’s been an autocrat for 30 years. The generation that started the revolt is literally younger than his rule. Furthermore, the countries seeing fruitful rebellion in the Middle East are A) republics rather than monarchies and B) backed by the US. more..

When the goons go marching on

Feb 8 (SL) Debating about the boycott of the Galle Literary Festival (GLF) one respected voice said, “depriving us of an opportunity to express ourselves” is extremely disappointing, while a few reputed names claimed the GLF gives “legitimacy to the Sri Lankan government’s suppression of free speech”. Most nevertheless went with the ‘festival’ fun than with the ‘boycott’ bore. The GLF thus with no clear boycott, was concluded with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion more..

How the UNP demonstration was attacked by thugs while police watched

Feb 8 (TC) I am generally not the street-protesting type. I try to articulate my arguments with facts and figures, be it writing, speaking or engaging in debate. But the other day, I was in a demonstration and this is an account of what happened; the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The UNP had decided to boycott the 63rd Independence celebrations to protest against the incarceration of General Sarath Fonseka and more..

Editorial: Medamulana Pharaoh and Colombo pushovers

Feb 8 (Island) Both UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and his deputy Karu Jayasuriya have warned the govt that Sri Lanka, like Egypt, is heading for disaster. The government is behaving like a druggie on an overdose or a tippler who has had one too many. Intoxicated with power, in its inebriated state, it does not know what it is doing or whether it is coming or going. Its rashness makes it look more like an asphalt cowboy (read a private bus driver) high on cannabis more..

Editorial: A Cup for whose benefit?

Feb 8 (DM) If the people of Sri Lanka had a choice to make between politics and cricket, their pick would be obvious. Politics will have to take a back seat for the simple reason that it takes place behind closed doors and can be a curse to many while cricket is played out in the open for everyone to see and causes no harm apart from some heartburn that has little or no repercussions. As the country marks a countdown unlike the football World Cup where an octopus made some more..

Somali pirates take the lives of our men

Feb 8 (LB) Somalian pirates have allowed one of the Sri Lankan fishermen held by them to speak to Fisheries Operation Centre at Weligama and the fisherman who had spoken said that pirates are looking after the three fishermen well so far. Fishermen Priyanjith de Silva, Neil Daminda, L Hannedige, Ajith Priyadarshana and Priyantha Prdeep Kumara left on a boat named ‘Darshana 6’ on Jan 4 for fishing. more..

Sri Lanka confident sovereign ratings would be improved

Feb 8 (Island) With the government’s fiscal performance improving and the recent pat-on-the-back from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Central Bank is confident Sri Lanka’s sovereign credit ratings would be upgraded by Fitch, Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s this May. Sri Lanka’s credit rating from Fitch is currently at B+, with a positive outlook, Standard and Poor’s has given a B+ with a stable outlook while Moody’s ranking for Sri Lanka is B1 and more..

SLMC to court as govt. rejects 4 more nominees

Feb 8 (DM) The SLMC yesterday filed petitions against the rejection of its nominations tendered for four Local Government bodies. Nominations forwarded by SLMC for the Local Government Elections had been rejected for the Nuwaragam Palath Pradeshiya Sabha in the Anuradhapura District, the Mawathagama Pradeshiya Sabha in the Kurunegala District, the Minuwangoda Pradeshiya Sabha and Attanagalla Pradeshiya Sabha in the Gampaha District. more..

Arjuna gets bail

Feb 8 (DM) DNA Kalutara District MP Arjuna Ranatunga was yesterday granted bail when he appeared before Galle Magistrate Thamara Thennekone who withdrew the warrant issued earlier. An arrest warrant was issued on the Parliamentarian over an incident relating to an allegation that he had acted in a violent manner and assaulted Police Officers, causing destruction to state property during a demonstration in Galle on August 12, more..

Mahanayakes commend 'very good cricket'

Feb 8 (BBC) The Buddhist Mahanayake theros in Sri Lanka have invoked blessings to the national cricket team for the upcoming cricket world cup to be held in Asia. The most venerable Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayake thero and Udugama Sri Buddharakkhitha Mahanyake thero have also commended the team for playing “very good cricket.” The two most senior Buddhist leaders have expressed the view when Sri Lanka all-rounder Thilakaranthne Dilshan visited them early Monday morning. more..

Remittances dependent import-export economy

Feb 8 (ST) The country is heading for a massive trade deficit of over 5 billion US dollars in 2010. Nevertheless there will be a balance of payments surplus. This has been the experience of recent years: large trade deficits yet balance of payments surpluses. The last time there was a small trade surplus was in 1977, when it was achieved under a tightly controlled import regime. Despite continuous trade deficits in the last decade, there have been balance of payments more..

Sri Lankan adventures to lure tourists

Feb 8 (BBC) Adventure and nature tourism, such as whale and dolphin watching, is central to Sri Lankan plans to recover after decades of bloody conflict. The sea off Mirissa harbour, in Matara district, is among the best place to watch the sea mammals, according to AH Deepika Kumari, MD of Mirrisa Water Sports, a company that organises whale watching trips in southern Sri Lanka. And the best period for frequent sighting of blue and sperm whales is more..

CMC warns tyre traders

Feb 8 (Island) The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council warned legal action against owners of tyre shops and tyre storage shacks between the Gradpass and Kettarama Stadium area. Chief of the Public Health Department, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said that there could be another dengue outbreak in Grandpass if immediate action was not taken to do away with all storage places for old tyres. He said that over sixty patients had already been reported from this area more..

Mystery surrounds capsized boat

Feb 8 (DN) A semi Government Authority in Sri Lanka has lost a boat with all mechanical equipment valued at Rs 700 lakhs when it capsized in the mid sea off Panadura after being dragged by a strong gale and rain recently. The incident is still a mystery. The police said no arrangements had been made to recover the tug boat from the bed of the sea, off the Panadura estuary. According to police, the matter had not been reported to the Panadura or the Moratuwa police by the authorities. more..

Rohana Hettiarachchi on YaTV

'No use of force against fishermen'

Feb 8 (Hindu) India and Sri Lanka on Monday agreed that there would be no use of force “under any circumstances” by security forces on fishermen, with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna informing his Sri Lankan counterpart G.L. Peiris about the government's deep concern over the attacks on Indian fishermen. Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Mr. Peiris advocated a stable mechanism for handling the issue instead of adopting an ad hoc approach each time such an incident occurred. more..

Deyata Kirula attracts large crowd

Feb 8 (DN) Thousands of visitors from various parts of the country are visiting the Deyata Kirula Exhibition being held in Buttala, Moneragala from February 4 to 10. According to the Deyata Kirula Exhibition Organising Committee, the number of visitors is increasing daily. The number of visitors is expected exceed over one million a day when the exhibition reaches the final days. Sources said that more than 200,000 visitors had visited the exhibition on the third day. more..

'No post-flooding disease outbreaks so far'

Feb 8 (IRIN) Health officials in Sri Lanka are keeping a close eye on possible disease outbreaks in areas badly hit by flooding. “So far there has been no major outbreak,” Sudath Peiris, a senior epidemiologist with the Ministry of Health, told IRIN. “But there is always the risk. We need to constantly monitor the situation.” More than 320,000 have been displaced and over 1.2 million affected in the country’s eastern, northern and central regions, more..

UK Police name Deptford fire victims as Sri Lanka nationals

Feb 8 (DT) Police investigating a fire in a block of flats have released the identities of the two women who died in the incident. Sri Lankan nationals Kunaliny Alagaratnam, 42, of Marine Tower, and Santhirapathy Tharmalingam, 59, who was visiting the UK from her native country, were both formally identified today. Post-mortem examinations at Greenwich Mortuary on Saturday confirmed that both women died as a result of the fire on Friday afternoon at more..

People return home as flood waters recede

Feb 8 (DM) People had been returning home after being put up in welfare centres as the flood waters had started to recede and the weather had cleared considerably, Mullaitivu government agent A. Pathinathan said. However, he said that bad weather had caused the prices of food items, including vegetables, to increase and the situation had been worsened due to transport problems, Pathinathan told Tamil Mirror. The main reason for this was that the roads more..

Sri Lanka plans US$90mn sale of east coast land

Feb 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka will lease 500 acres of land in the east coast to hotel developers on a one-off payment for around 10 billion rupees (90 million US dollars) and the same model is likely to be followed in the north west Kalpitiya area. The government is expecting to give land in the eastern Kuchhaveli area for 15 to 20 investors to build 5-star rated hotels at 20 million rupees an acre on a 99-year lease, more..

600 Army deserters resign lawfully

Feb 8 (DM) Around 600 army personnel have made use of the opportunity given by the military to resign from the Army lawfully, after being absent without leave, Army Spokesman Major General Udaya Madawela told the Daily Mirror online. This opportunity will be given until Thursday (12) to those army personnel who have not reported for work and are absent without leave, to make use of this period to resign from the Army in a lawful manner, Major General Udaya Madawela said. more..

Pakistan President Zardari phones Sri Lankan president

Feb 8 (DT) Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday called Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and expressed his deep sympathies and concerns over the devastation caused by the recent floods in Sri Lanka. He said that the government and the people of Pakistan could relate to the sufferings and miseries of their Sri Lankan brothers and sisters as they suffered the same natural calamity a few months ago. The president also expressed his sympathies for the victims of more..

Muralidaran to take up guest spin coach role in Australia

Feb 8 (DT) In a stunning coup for Australian cricket, The Daily Telegraph can reveal Sri Lanka's controversial spin genius will spend several weeks at the Brisbane-based Centre of Excellence in June for intensive training with rising Australian spinners. Test cricket's greatest wicket-taker will not only impart the secrets of his spin wizardry but also record a spin coaching tutorial so his extraordinary knowhow will be passed on to more..

Five Saudis charged after drunken forced landing in Sri Lanka

Feb 8 (AFP) Five Saudi Arabian nationals appeared in court in Colombo on Monday after their allegedly drunken misbehaviour on board a flight from Dubai to Indonesia forced the plane to land in Sri Lanka. The men became unruly during the journey, shouting abuse at passengers and refusing to obey orders from cabin crew, police said. The Etihad Airways flight from Dubai to Jakarta diverted to Sri Lanka's BIA on Sunday night, when the men were arrested. more..

‘Prabhakaran’s mom ignored by kin’

Feb 8 (EB) Dr Mayilerum Perumal, the head of the Valvettithurai government hospital, says that the psychological state of Parvathy Ammal, the paralysed mother of slain LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, is getting worse because she is deeply perturbed by the fact that no family member has bothered to visit her in the year and two months she has been in the hospital. “Neither the son nor the daughters, or even the grandchildren, have come to see her. And this has affected her mental condition. more..

Sarath Fonseka anniversary rally planned

Feb 8 (BBC) Opposition parties in Sri Lanka are promising a huge demonstration on Tuesday to mark one year since the detention of the losing presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka. He was held after losing the election to the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapaksa. In September he was moved to prison after a military court found him guilty of corruption. With jail comes the loss of the parliamentary seat he won last April and he still faces more court cases. more..

Flood crisis: No leave for public servants

Feb 8 (DM) The Public Administration Ministry yesterday decided to cancel leave for all public servants working in flood affected districts, officials said. The flood has caused extensive damage to the districts of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa, Trincomalee Ampara and Vavuniya. Ministry Secretary P.B.Abeykoon told the Daily Mirror that he had drafted the letter in this regard to be sent to the affected areas soon and the message would reach public servants today. more..

Flood damage exceeds Rs 50 b

Feb 8 (DN) The total damage due to the latest wave of floods and landslides caused by torrential rains could exceed Rs 50 billion, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said yesterday. The Minister said that even though a proper assessment is yet to be made, the damage caused by floods was extensive. The Disaster Management Centre yesterday said that around 2,273 houses have been fully damaged while another 13,148 houses were partially damaged so far. more..

Sri Lankan team inspects facilities for ferry service

Feb 8 (Hindu) A high-level nine-member team led by Additional Secretary, Ministry of Ports, Sri Lanka, Anura Jayawickrama, arrived at Tuticorin Port on Monday. It inspected the amenities established for passengers on the premises for ferry service, which is expected to commence on March 1, in line with the agreement reached between India and Sri Lanka. The furnished passenger terminal was inaugurated by G.K. Vasan, Union Shipping Minister, here on January 24. more..

Dayasri flays govt. over delay in activating seven Commissions envisaged by 18A

Feb 8 (Island) Prominent lawyer Gomin Dayasri says the government should be ashamed that it hasn’t constituted independent commissions in spite of having introduced the 18th Amendment to the Constitution on Sept. 7 last year. Dayasri, one of the professionals, who threw their weight behind the Amendment, said that people had a right to know why the commissions had not been appointed since the enactment of the 18th Amendment. more..

Sri Lankan in midst of sex change charged with killing British transsexual lawyer

Feb 8 (Island) A Sri Lankan Tamil, in midst of sex change, will stand trial over alleged killing of British HR lawyer David Burgess, London based sources say. Sources identified the accused as 34-year-old Sri Lankan Nina Kanagasingham of Chichele Road, Cricklewood, who had been in the process of becoming a woman at the time of arrest on Oct. 25 last year. The case will resume on July 18 at the Old Bailey. more..

‘US concern over Lanka war crimes not frivolous’

Feb 8 (EB) Former US envoy to Sri Lanka Teresita Schaffer ruled out American backing for Tamil Eelam and said that the concern about war crimes in Sri Lanka was not frivolous. There was evidence that the end of the civil war between the island troops and the LTTE was brutal. At a forum on ‘US perspective on security in South Asian region with special emphasis on Nepal and Sri Lanka’ Schaffer stressed the need for genuine reconciliation by the Rajapaksa govt. more..

UPFA files LG poll petition

Feb 8 (DM) The ruling UPFA yesterday filed 19 Writ applications challenging the rejections of its nomination papers submitted for the elections of the local government bodies in the Jaffna and Kilinochchi Districts. The rejection of nominations was over the issue of the Tamil rendition of the party name UPFA. The Tamil rendition of the party name UPFA in the nomination papers was in variance with the name recognized by the Commissioner of Elections and registered with him. more..

IGP ordered investigations - Witness

Feb 8 (Island) The CID investigations into the press briefing by former army commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka, had been conducted on a directive of the IGP, IP CID Aruna Silva told the Trial-at-Bar when the ‘White Flag case’ was taken up yesterday. He was testifying before High Court Judges Deepali Wijesundera (President) W.T.M.P. Warawewa and Zurfick Razeen. The witness said that investigations had begun in the first week of December 2010 under late SSP Nimal Samarasekera. more..

Sri Lanka shrugs off inflation fears, holds rates

Feb 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank on Tuesday shrugged off food inflation fears and held interest rates at six-year lows as expected, saying export earnings growth and adequate rice stocks should offset any supply shocks. Two rounds of heavy flooding that hit the staple rice crop, the first of which came right after the central bank surprised market expectations by cutting interest rates in January, have heightened inflation fears more..

Sri Lanka says at least 35 percent of rice crop destroyed

Feb 8 (Reuters) Two rounds of flooding in Sri Lanka since January have destroyed at least 35 percent of the staple rice crop, the Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday, raising the risk of food price inflation. Heavy monsoonal looding since mid-January has killed at least 54 people, and in the latest round this week, displaced more than 1.1 million from their homes. "On rough estimates, more than 300,000 hectares' have been completely destroyed so more..