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People’s Movement to Free Fonseka inaugurated

Nov 22 (ST) The People’s Movement to Free Sarath Fonseka held its inaugural meeting at the public library in Colombo this afternoon where people from all walks of life aired their views on the need to form a united front to secure the former Army commander’s release. Even though several prominent politicians, members of the clergy as well as Mrs.Anoma Fonseka were present on the occasion, people who attended the meeting were asked to express their views on how best to more..

Ajantha Mendis included in Test squad for SA

Nov 22 (CI) Ajantha Mendis has been included in Sri Lanka's 16-man Test squad for the tour of South Africa in December ahead of the offspinner Suraj Randiv. There was no place for senior batsman Thilan Samaraweera, who continues to be ignored after having been left out of the squad to face Pakistan in UAE as well. The squad also includes fast bowler Dilhara Fernando - who last played a Test against England in June - in place of Dhammika Prasad, who was ruled out of the more..

10% added allowance to salaries not increment: Govt

Nov 22 (AD) Minister Sarath Amunugama told Parliament today that the state workers have been given only a ten percent allowance based on their salaries and not their salaries increased by ten percent. The minister said this in response to a question raised by DNA MP Sunil Handunetti during the second reading stage debate on the budget proposals 2012. MP Handunetti demanded to know whether the 10 percent salary increase promised in the proposals was an increment or more..

Activists attack Fonseka verdict

Nov 22 (UCAN) Civic activists and religious leaders have accused the govt of using the judiciary as a political tool after the High Court jailed the country’s most distinguished soldier for three years on Friday. General Sarath Fonseka, who is already serving a 30-month term for irregularities in military procurement, was jailed for having “spread disaffection” by backing, in a newspaper interview, allegations that the defense minister ordered the shooting of Tamil more..

Western, Eastern & Uva PC budgets also commence; UPFA loses Bope - Poddala Divisional Council Budget

Nov 22 (HN) The budget proposals of the Western, Eastern and Uva provincial councils for the year 2012 were presented today. The Chief Minister of the Western Provincial Council Prasanna Ranathunga stated that the objective of this budget proposal is to strengthen the development journey of the provincial council through uplifting its infrastructure facilities. However, the Opposition Leader of the Western Provincial Council Manju Sri Arangala stated that more..

Doubts over govt. statement on need for opposition

Nov 22 (DM) UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya today expressed the party’s doubts regarding the honesty and sincerity of the statement of the govt which say that they need an opposition, if they continue to assault those who express opposing views. Issuing a statement Mr. Jayasuriya stated. “We have to reiterate the fact that there is a severe eroding of democracy in this country. The latest example is the assault of the members of the UNP by more..

Sri Lanka tea output to rise in 2012

Nov 22 (LBR) Sri Lanka’s tea production, hit by bad weather and low prices is expected to reverse the current downward trend and reach 340 million kilos in 2012, while producer margins will continue to shrink due to escalating costs, Central Bank said. The country’s national tea production during the first eight months of 2011 saw a marginal decline of 0.08 percent to 220.9 kilos compared with the same period in 2010, mainly due to adverse weather conditions. more..

Govt. states that 893 are detained under PTA

Nov 22 (AD) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena stated in parliament today that 893 persons have been detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) while only 64 of them were currently on trial. Replying a question put forward by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera, Minister said that out of the total number of detainees 259 of them are not on trial but are still being detained while 33 persons are currently part of ongoing court proceedings but have not been granted bail. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 22.11.2011

Sri Lanka business chamber approves devaluation

Nov 22 (LBO) Sri Lanka's main business chamber has approved the sudden devaluation of the rupee saying it would boost exports and urged the govt to consult plantation firms whose uncultivated lands are being taken. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said the government's 2012 budget presented to parliament Monday "maintains the consistent fiscal framework announced two years ago" since the end of the island's ethnic war in 2009. "The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) is more..

Expected concessions not provided in budget - LPBOA

Nov 22 (AD) The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association says that no relief has been provided to the private bus industry through the 2012 budget proposals. President of the association Gamunu Wijeratne stated that an allocation of Rs.4 billion has been made for the SLTB through the budget and that it would result in the downfall of the private bus industry. He added that even though a 50% reduction on imported tire prices has been proposed in the budget, a majority of more..

Sri Lanka Cricket election on December 27

Nov 22 (PTI) The interim committee running Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been dissolved and the first democratic election in seven years is all set to be held on December 27. The Sports Ministry said on Tuesday that nominations have been called within 14 days from November 25, leading up to the election. Politically appointed interim committees had been running SLC since 2005 after the sacking of the then administration headed by Tilanga Sumathipala. more..

Budget a “sugar coated pill” for the IMF – Tissa

Nov 22 (AD) UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake today compared the proposed budget 2012 to a concoction similar to a “short story” and stated that it would win prizes and accolades if it was applied for a competition. Or else it is a “sugar coated pill” prepared for the sole purpose of pleasing the IMF, he told a press briefing in Colombo. He stated that the devaluation of the exchange rate was a “very foolish” move proposed by the budget and that it is more..

World Cup berths for Pakistan, Sri Lanka

Nov 22 (CI) Sri Lanka Women booked their place in the Women's World Cup after comprehensively beating hosts Bangladesh Women in Mirpur. After restricting Bangladesh to an exact 100, Sri Lanka made light work of the target, reaching home within 27 overs. Shashikala Siriwardene had a hand with both bat and ball, taking 2 for 23 and scoring an unbeaten 22 to guide her side home. Sri Lanka's Udeshika Prabhodani struck early after Bangladesh opted to bat, reducing them to 13 for 3. more..

Protest in Dematagoda over abduction

Nov 22 (DM) The alleged abduction of a prominent Peliyagoda businessman by two men in camouflage military uniforms this morning has resulted in protests in the area. Family members said Lalith Kumara was a businessman who owned three fisheries outlets in Dematagoda and Peliyagoda. They alleged that he was abducted at around 5.30 a.m. while travelling in a lorry to Peliyagoda accompanied by one of his employees. more..

Towards a ‘Dharmadweepa’…

Nov 23 (NS) Then do you believe in part of the Scripture and reject the rest? Then what is the recompense in the life of this world, and on the Day of Resurrection they shall consigned to the most grievous torment. –The Noble Qur’an (From verse 85 of Surah 2. Al-Baqarah Part 1) A friend of mine recently expressed to me his concerns of how his religion is being portrayed as ‘inherently violent’. He told me just because a group of people who profess a faith behave badly does not mean that more..

Sydney Knight’s reflections

Nov 23 (NS) To my mind, national reconciliation is the most important matter that we in Mother Lanka as one people must undertake. Since we are part of the Global Village and we enjoy our status and membership in this village could we learn from others in this village so called on the subject of reconciliation as a Nation? The Philippines could be taken as a Nation that can teach us about national reconciliation for in the Philippines also the post war Nation building had many hurdles. more..

Semage to showcase artistic talents in Italy

Nov 23 (SO) Kalasuri Jayasiri Semage had to cover the aggressively sexy breasts of the beauties he created before escorting them to Oman in keeping with the moral standards of Middle-East. He volunteered to cover the shame of Picasso's nudes to go with the local norms of cultured display of sensual feelings. This time he is going to tally Italy! Will he be fortunate to enjoy all freedom to show every curve, exciting rhythms of movement more..

Book Review: The Sri Lanka reader

Nov 23 (TC) Duke University Press(Durham and London) has published this superb anthology edited by that most perceptive and shrewd observer of Sri Lanka and its complex social, economic and political history, John Clifford Holt who is William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Humanities in Religion and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine in the United States. He has written several books and, of those, the ones I am familiar with and profited from reading more..

‘Sthree Mela’: Grand celebration highlighting great accomplishments of Sri Lankan women

Nov 23 (TC) The Voices of Sri Lankan Women Presents An Exhibition & Conference at the BMICH Colombo 8th 9th and 10th December 2011 Film Screening at Gall face Jubilee hall 7th December 2011. Over the centuries, women have played a significant role by contributing to our socioeconomic, cultural, political and human development processes in the country. Women have proven themselves without a doubt, through remarkable contributions, which only confirms this fact and more..

Sri Lanka’s first Braille newspaper ‘Wijeya Braille’ launched

Nov 23 (TC) Sri Lanka has come a long way since children who were either hearing or sight impaired were neglected and marginalised in society and did not have opportunities in gaining any education or fitting into society. With the Ceylon School for the Deaf and Blind preparing to celebrate its centenary next year, it was timely that the first ever Braille newspaper in Sri Lanka was launched yesterday at the School for the Blind in Ratmalana. more..

Hirunika Premachandra addresses crucial issues affecting Sri Lanka in ‘Sirasa’ TV interview

Nov 23 (TC) While young people all over the world are experimenting with new forms of social resistance, the young, energetic and brave 24 year-old daughter of the slain politician, Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra (BLP), Hirunika Premachandra in her interview with Sirasa, Kingsly Ratnayaka, proposed that in order to understand the incident that occurred at the local government election day, it has to be located in a broader political landscape of the island. more..

Editorial: Lajja!

Nov 23 (Island) Today, we should have devoted this column to a comment on the national budget in keeping with newspaper tradition, but we thought of discussing something else that put the whole country to shame––the conduct of some lawmakers in Parliament on Monday. Of what use is a parliament where lawmakers cannot maintain decorum even when the national budget is presented, controlling public finance being one of their duties. What we were made witness to on Monday was more..

The General and the Witch-hunt

Nov 23 (CT) For all their patriotic rhetoric, the two omnipotent presidential-siblings, Basil and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, tend to be more open and truthful with major and minor US officials than with Lankan people. Perhaps this proclivity to lie less to American officialdom is a carryover from their long years as hardworking US citizens chasing the American dream. As far as it is known, both siblings are still dual-citizens, and thus subject to American laws. more..

“Problem Solved” Gota is the “Hero”

Nov 23 (CT) The triumvirate comprising President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya and Army Chief Fonseka was hailed for providing political, administrative and military leadership respectively in the triumphant war against the LTTE. Since Sarath Fonseka entered politics the credit of military victory was in dispute and ended a friendship. Who deserves the total credit? The UNP and JVP led a fierce battle against President Rajapaksa. more..

White flag saga

Nov 23 (Island) The verdict on white flag story has been given and I suppose that it is not subjudice any more. Many people, especially of the middle class who generally vote UNP, would say that they respect the verdict given by the courts but would fight to see that Sarath Fonseka is allowed to go home. They would most probably not request a Presidential Pardon as they believe that the President should have intervened at the very beginning and taken steps to prevent the arrest of Sarath Fonseka. more..

Pandemonium in parliament as UPFA-UNP MPs clash during budget speech

Nov 23 (DBS) Pandemonium erupted in the Parliament on Monday November 21st 2011 as MP’s belonging to the ruling UPFA and UNP clashed openly in the presence of President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the presentation of the budget for the forthcoming year. In what was a shameful spectacle viewed by several diplomats, high ranking govt officials,media personnel and eminent citizens, there were fisticuffs, scuffles, manhandling, hurling of more..

Postal identity card photocopy mandatory for GCE O/L students

Nov 23 (Island) The Examination Department has made it mandatory for school children, who will sit the GCE O/L exam next month, with their postal identity card, to produce the photocopies of pages two and three to the invigilators at the exam hall. The department has also decided to hold back the results of candidates who do not pay heed to this directive. Despite the national identity card being compulsory for all students, there were students who sat the exam using their more..

Evaluating the Norwegian evaluation

Nov 23 (CT) Taken as a whole, the Norwegian study is a valuable and welcome addition to the growing literature on the war and our times. It is however, wrong or empty at its very core. Wrong not only in what it sees and says, but perhaps even more so, in what it does not—in what it fails to or chooses not to see and/or express. The NORAD study is characterised by an absent analytical core. Though I am critical of its post–mortem of the armed conflict and efforts at peace-making, more..

Pelwatte fights back against 'illegal takeover' by Govt.

Nov 23 (FT) Owners of the listed Pelwatte Sugar Industries Plc is fighting back against what it described as “illegal takeover” by the Govt since the company’s land does not fall under the ambit of the recently-passed Revival Act, nor its assets qualify to be termed underutilised. The PSIL also said that the 4,302 hectares of the land was leased 25 years ago, hence the provisions of the new act are inapplicable. more..

Lanka responds to UK’s concerns, points finger at Chilcot & Gibson probes

Nov 23 (Island) In spite of pursuing Sri Lanka over accountability issues, the UK was still struggling with two inquiries into its role in the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and the complicity of British intelligence services in torturing persons arrested for their links with Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks, Sri Lankan govt sources said. The US and UK falsely claimed Iraq had to be captured to rid the country of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which did not exist at all. more..

Medical U’grads protest against MPMC

Nov 23 (Island) Medical undergraduates yesterday launched protests opposite the UGC in Ward Place and the Higher Education Ministry demanding an immediate end to the Malabe Private Medical College project which got underway in 2009. Police headquarters moved in additional personnel as undergraduates caused massive traffic jams in the area for about two hours. Organizers said that about 2,000 undergraduates had been involved in the protest, the latest in more..

Apsara Fonseka speaks out about her father

Sri Maha Bodhi Bo sapling taken to Buddhagaya

Nov 23 (DN) A sapling of Sri Maha Bodhi was planted in Buddhagaya at the Mahabodhi Temple to mark the 2600th Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi by Asgiriya Chapter Most Ven Udugama Sri Buddhaharakkitha Thera on the invitation of Chief Sanghanayake of India and Secretary of Indian Maha Bodhi Society Ven Dr Dodamgoda Revatha Thera on Nov 6. This sacred Bo sapling was raised at the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens under the personal guidance of its Director General Dr D S A Wijesundara. more..

Japan to assist Killinochchi water supply project

Nov 23 (Island) The Japanese Govt has announced its willingness to provide immediate assistance to implement Kilinochchi Water Supply Scheme and to purchase well drilling equipment and spare parts to drill hand pump wells at settlement areas in the Northern Province. Ambassador of Japan Nobuhito HOBO handed over the Note Verbale to minister Dinesh Gunawardena, at the Ministry office, Battaramulla. The project which has materialized consequent to a request made by more..

FUTA unhappy over Budget

Nov 23 (DM) University academics, who are unhappy over the govt’s failure to honour the pledge to increase their salaries to a mutually agreed level in the 2012 Budget are once again mulling over the idea of resorting to trade union action to win their demands. The Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA) President Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said today FUTA members were thoroughly disappointed over the govt’s failure to honour the July 21 agreement. more..

Arrest warrant issued against Uvatenne Thera

Nov 23 (DM) The Colombo Fort Magistrate issued a warrant for the arrest of Ven. Uvatenne Sumana Thera for not being present in Court in connection with an alleged defrauding of a businessman of Rs.3 million on the promise of providing him with a plot of land in Madampe. At a previous occasion Defence Counsel for Ven. Thera had informed Court his client had already paid an amount of Rs.300,000 and would pay the rest of the amount (Rs.2.7 million) within a period of one-and-a-half years. more..

Travel freedom for Sri Lankans

Nov 23 (LBO) Recently, the Govt of Sri Lanka announced that it will charge 50 US dollars per person from every foreigner entering Sri Lanka, except for citizens of Singapore and Maldives who could come in for free. It was then reported that the rates would be rolled back to USD 10 for SAARC country nationals and USD 20 for all others. The back and forth since the beginning of 2010 is a less-than-optimal way of running public policy, but still, not a bad outcome from more..

UNDP Sri Lanka launches Human Development Report

Nov 23 (DN) The Sri Lanka launch of the 2011 Human Development Report (HDR), "Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All" was held on Tuesday at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in the presence of Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, who delivered the keynote address. The report was launched globally in Copenhagen by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. With President Mahinda Rajapaksa emphasizing more..

A Supreme Court & Government that erode investor confidence in Sri Lanka?

Nov 23 (GV) One can understand President Obama’s urgency. His legislative programme has been delayed by a divided Congress, his approval ratings have fallen and next year is election year. Hence his new slogan is ‘We can’t Wait’. Despite claims of unconstitutionality and abuse of power he has resorted to issuing executive orders to get things moving. Obama would envy President Rajapakse. With complete control of Parliament, the latter enjoys more..