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Latest Interview with General Fonseka

The opposition in Sri Lanka: Restore viability, resolve crisis

Apr 25 (GV) What prevents the ruling coalition from unveiling a new ‘first past the post’ electoral system and going for a mid–term parliamentary election? Judging by current trends and data of a decade, the UNP, if it remains under Ranil Wickremesinghe, would be overrun and crushed to a pulp, not even reaching double digits in terms of seats. How can a UNP which is unable to ditch an ineffectual and effete Ranil Wickremesinghe, more..

World Malaria day falls today

Apr 25 (LP) The 25th of April is declared as the World Malaria day and it is celebrated around the world. This year's World Malaria Day marks a critical moment in time. The international malaria community has less than a year to meet the 2010 targets of “delivering effective and affordable protection and treatment to all people at risk of malaria”, as called for by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon. more..

Jaffna Civil Affairs office a boon to visitors

Apr 25 (MoD) The Civil Affairs and Public Relations Office set up by the Security Forces in Jaffna to cater to the needs of the public handled thousand of issues of various categories since its inception on March 9, according to Major Lal Nanayakkara the Officer-in-Charge of the office. The Civil Affairs office also launched its website and around two-hundred-thousand people have accessed it to obtain details of various aspects in the peninsula. more..

Indian Railway engineers, technicians arrive at Mathavaachchi

Apr 25 (TN) A group consisting of Indian Railway Department engineers and technicians has arrived in the North to commence work on the reconstruction of the railway tracks and railway stations from Oamanthai to Kaangkeasanthu’rai (KKS), a project which India earlier announced as aid to Sri Lanka. The Indian engineers and technicians presently located in Mathavaachhi and Vavuniyaa have begun to work in stages. more..

Indian aid to assist Jaffna's development

Apr 25 (MoD) India is looking forward to revive the air transportation between Jaffna and destinations in India, along with beginning a passenger ferry service, Indian envoy Ashok K. Kantha said. Speaking at the opening of the Jaffna International Trade Fair last week he said that Jaffna was traditionally rich in fisheries, livestock, agriculture and agro business and most importantly in human recourses. more..

Moves to revive separatist sentiments

Apr 25 (LG) Responding to a query, as reported in the last weekend issue of The Island, the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said that Opposition political parties or constituent partners of the ruling coalition should not be allowed to engage in divisive politics. Suppressing the separatist movement and tackling its propaganda apparatus should be a major part of Sri Lanka’s strategy against the LTTE, he said. more..

Editorial: The new cabinet

Apr 25 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa named his new cabinet on Friday, with some vacancies remaining to be filled after an investigation of the Nawalapitiya thuggery that delayed the results of the April 8 election is concluded. Meanwhile some political heavyweights of the Kandy district are left kicking their heels wondering what they are going to get. We hope that the investigation will not be a whitewash and that whoever was responsible for more..

Re-birth of ‘Jewel of Muscat’

Apr 25 (NS) Sometimes one can think that the ocean which covers two thirds of the Earth hides history’s most fascinating and mysterious stories. Because of this reason mankind’s history has always been filled with curiosity. However, even the ocean knows that these secrets cannot be concealed in the bottom of the sea forever. The history is recreated when fragments of shipwrecks come to the shore and more..

Curse of National List

Apr 25 (NS) The curse that is the National List consumed the ruling UPFA and the main opposition UNF this week as parties finalised their members who would proceed to become MPs in the Seventh Parliament. The announcement of the respective National Lists was delayed by almost a fortnight because polling had to be re-scheduled in the Nawalapitiya and Trincomalee electoral divisions. The re-poll was conducted last Tuesday, and was held without any untoward incidents. more..

Editorial: Constitutional reforms – Now is the hour

Apr 25 (NS) Last Thursday saw the inaugural sessions of Sri Lanka’s seventh Parliament. That it was conducted in an atmosphere of cordiality - even bonhomie - was a welcome change, coming as it did after a bitter general election campaign and an even more acrimonious presidential poll. The sceptics would say that the Speaker, Chamal Rajapaksa being elected uncontested is not an event to rejoice as the Opposition was depleted anyway and more..

Let us wait and watch patiently: Group of Ministers disgruntled

Apr 25 (LeN) It is reported that a majority of new Ministers and Deputy Ministers are displeased with the Ministries allocated to them. Those who are wallowing in their new appointments are Dr. G L Peiris, Champika Ranawake, Johnston Fernando, Rajitha Senaratne, Kumara Welgama and Mahinda Samarasinghe. According to inside sources of the Govt., SLFP Gen. Secretary Maithripala Sirisena, A H M Fowzie, Felix Perera, more..

Disputes over NL seats plague party combines

Apr 25 (NS) It was only last Wednesday that the Elections Commissioner received from the main political parties the national lists containing the names of candidates nominated for appointment as MPs, and the mass media lost no time in bringing these lists into the public domain. These lists, now a fait accompli, are nevertheless plaguing the party alliances with disputes over the manner in which the parliamentary seats have been allotted to their constituents. more..

Officials caught flat-footed over budget

Apr 25 (ST) Finance Ministry officials were taken completely by surprise with the government’s announcement on Friday of delaying budget 2010 till July and presenting a second vote-on-account, informed sources said. Earlier a budget was expected to be presented in May/June. Officials were preparing for the budget, even on Friday morning at the same time as former Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva told journalists at a UPFA press conference that a ‘mini’ budget will be presented in July. more..

An eco paradise in Habarana

Apr 25 (ST) It is 4 p.m. and we are driving through the Hurulu Eco Park at Habarana. It had rained the previous days and both the Kaudulla and Minneriya National Parks that we had planned to visit are under water. It was good to discover that we could drive through another wild life park during our short stay at Habarana. This is the Hurulu Eco Park, part of the Hurulu Forest Reserve which comes under the purview of the Forest Department. more..

Performing exactly as the President pleases

Apr 25 (LG) The composition of current Cabinet of Ministers certainly carries the unmistakable message that appropriate rewards have been handed out to those political supplicants who performed exactly as the President pleased, regardless of whether those actions may have been beneficial in the long run to Sri Lankaor not. Yet notwithstanding this predictable sharing of the spoils, it is to be hoped that the new government would be less defensive and more..

One hangs himself; brother in custody; residents protest against Police

Apr 25 (NF) A group of residents staged a protest opposite the Kahathuduwa police station demanding the release of a person taken into custody. Police said the suspect in question was taken in based on a warrant and added that his brother was also wanted by police in connection with several incidents. Relatives of the suspect had pleaded with the elder brother to turn himself in so that the person already in custody could be released, said police. more..

Four power pirates pay with their lives

Apr 25 (NF) Four persons were electrocuted last night in the Sooriyawewa area while attempting to obtain electricity illegally. The incident took place at Kaluwaragaswewa in Sooriyawewa and they died on admission to the Hambantota hospital. The four persons were residents of Sooriyawewa and they had been attempting to get electricity to a camp site from a lamp post in an illegal manner. Sooriyawewa police are investigating.

National summit to completely eradicate ragging

Apr 25 (NF) A national summit will be held to initiate an extensive programme to completely eradicate ragging from the universities, says the UGC. “This summit will be held on May 3,” said Prof. Gamini Samaranayaka, chairman of the UGC. Vice chancellors of all the universities in the island would attend the summit, said Prof. Samaranayake, who added that through the summit, vice chancellors, parents and children would be educated on the issue. more..

Govt. wrestling backlash over National List & Ministries

Apr 25 (Island) Political sources say all constituent partners of the UPFA are angry over their being denied the promised two National List slots each, though NFF leader, Wimal Weerawansa was the only one to openly accuse the SLFP of unequal treatment. They say the NFF never expected other constituent partners to throw their weight behind Weerawansa who target UPFA General Secretary and newly appointed Petroleum Minister Susil Premjayantha for more..

Five more cabinet ministers due to be appointed soon

Apr 25 (Island) Five more cabinet ministers including three from the Kandy District, LSSP leader, Prof. Tissa Vitarana and Mr. Arumugam Thondaman will be appointed within the next few days, well informed sources said yesterday. These sources indicted that Prof. Vitarana’s exclusion from the cabinet appeared to be an oversight as he is the leader of a constituent of the UPFA and is an MP from the UPFA national list. more..

Editorial: Lessons from India for new Govt.

Apr 25 (ST) The unfolding events across the Palk Straits cannot go unnoticed here. From about ten days ago, a huge gathering storm has all but eclipsed the clouds of volcanic ash from Iceland. It concerns the multi-million dollar mega-extravaganza called the Indian Premier League (IPL) involving the who's who of Indian business and show-biz, said to be the sixth largest sporting event in the world. It has transformed cricket into an entertainment and then a business. more..

Nahil makes Rs. 1.8 billion killing on Hotel Services deal

Apr 25 (Island) Colombo business leader Nahil Wijesuriya made a Rs. 1.8 billion killing on the sale of Hotel Services (Ceylon) PLC, owners of the Ceylon Continental Hotel, in which the Hayleys Groups now have 51% control. Wijesuriya returned to Colombo from Singapore last week and wrapped-up the sale of slightly over 25% of Hotel Services he had retained when he sold 51% control to Hayleys a few weeks ago. "It’s done, done, done," he chortled, more..

Sri Lanka desperate for another title

Apr 25 (AFP) Sri Lanka, world champions in the 50-over format in 1996, are desperate to add the Twenty20 title to their collection in the Caribbean after a series of near-misses. Captain Kumar Sangakkara's men lost the World T20 championship by eight wickets to Pakistan at Lords last year. Two years earlier, the Sri Lankans lost to Australia in the final of the World Cup while more..

CEB and CPC most difficult targets for fiscal reforms

Apr 25 (Island) The Government is expected to introduce reforms to broaden the tax base and reduce tax exemptions in 2010 with the objective of increasing revenue, said Asian Development Bank’s lead economist, Narhari Rao. The most difficult targets of fiscal reform for Sri Lanka are two huge loss-making entities, the Ceylon Electricity Board, and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, he noted. more..

Sri Lanka's ambassador to Kuwait defends celebrations

Apr 25 (Gulf) Sri Lanka's ambassador to Kuwait said that the new year celebrations by his community last Friday disrupted by hardliners did not include hard liquor, drinks, dances, a graffiti on a car or the election of a beauty queen. "We have held festivals and celebrations for 26 years, and we have never had any violations," K.S.C. Dissanayake said. "The celebrations by the community on Friday were going on smoothly, peacefully and more..


Rajapaksas take the reins

Apr 25 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa sounded a strong note of caution to UPFA parliamentarians at 'Temple Trees' last Sunday. "Be careful about whatever you say," he declared in his first encounter with the MPs after the April 8 parliamentary elections. In a speech to them ahead of a buffet lunch, Rajapaksa spoke plainly, when he demanded their undivided loyalty. To underscore the seriousness, he said, he had planned to play a tape recording. more..

Manape ‘robbery’: Complaints dry up after talks with MR

Apr 25 (ST) A week after claims of alleged manipulation in the counting of preferential votes during the recently concluded General Elections, many of the aggrieved candidates have decided not to take any further action. This was after they had spoken to President Mahinda Rajapaksa about the allegations. Many candidates in Districts such as Colombo, Galle, Puttalam and Nuwara-Eliya from various political parties complained that a large amount of their preferential votes had been ‘stolen’ or more..

At Sri Lankan elephant orphanage, dung is in business

Apr 25 (IANS) Don't call it crap. Dung is actually being turned into profit at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, thanks to a good idea. At the entrance to the orphanage stands a shop, Pinnawala Elephant Dung Paper, where elephant excrement is used to make products like notebooks, photo frames, gift items, book marks, photo albums and greeting cards. 'An elephant's dung is just fibre. Elephants are poor digesters and more..

'I’m not behind positions, but ready to give leadership'

Apr 25 (NS) Dubbed by many as a future leader of the United National Party, Sajith Premadasa is however, playing safe not willing to openly challenge the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe. He says he will not run behind positions and if the party decides in his favour he would be ready to give leadership to the battered grand old party to lead it to victory once again. more..

Heads roll in CID: DIG, 8 senior officers transferred

Apr 25 (Island) The Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) who headed the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and eight other senior officers have been moved out on sudden orders described as "outside routine transfers". Nandana Munasinghe, who served the CID as its DIG for just ten months, has been transferred as ‘Additional DIG’ of the Organized Crime and Crime Investigation Division, more..

Rajapaksa patriarch and ex-police inspector set to police Parliament

Apr 25 (ST) Chamal Jayantha Rajapaksa will perhaps always be known as Mahinda Rajapaksa's elder brother. However, the elder Rajapaksa sibling who was unanimously elected Speaker at Thursday's inaugural session of Parliament wouldn't mind; he preferred for the spotlight to shine on Mahinda even forty three years ago. That was in 1967, when their father D.A. Rajapaksa passed away. more..

Ranil to be muscled out?

Apr 25 (SL) One minute you’re in, the next you’re out. So it must have felt to a bewildered K. N Choksy. The former Member of Parliament said, “I have been on the National List for the past 20 years, since its inception. I have no idea why I have been removed from the list now.” The only thing Choksy could think of that had led to his removal from the list is two statements he made in passing. more..

First broken promise?

Apr 25 (Island) Will it be possible for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to at least keep the number of cabinet ministers to less than 40 as UPFA leaders promised in the run-up to the April 8 general election? It seems unlikely say ministerial sources, who pointed out that the CWC leader Arumugam Thondaman and UPFA heavyweights elected from Kandy are yet to receive ministerial portfolios. Thondaman declined to accept the portfolio offered to him, while more..

Sri Lanka considers ending emergency laws

Apr 25 (AFP) Sri Lanka may scrap the state of emergency laws that gave sweeping powers to police and troops during the island's long ethnic conflict with Tamil rebels, a newly appointed minister said Sunday. The government has faced international criticism over nationwide laws that were first imposed in 1983 to combat the Tamil Tiger separatists, who were finally defeated a year ago. more..

Are Sri Lankans fed up of elections?

Apr 25 (NS) Sri Lanka has had its share of elections in the recent past but does this explain the election fatigue that is said to prevail? The year 2009 saw elections for the Provincial Councils, local authorities and then came Presidential elections in January 2010 followed by the recently concluded General Elections. Much is being said to downplay the success of the ruling government’s victory winning 21 of the 22 districts. more..

WI women get 3-0 T20 series win over Sri Lanka

Apr 26 (CI) Sri Lanka will be sick of Stafanie Taylor, Shanel Daley and Anisa Mohammed after their tour of the Caribbean is over. For the third consecutive game, the West Indies trio frustrated Sri Lanka and ensured West Indies swept the three-match Twenty20 series. Sri Lanka had done well to keep West Indies to 112, out of which Taylor made a match-winning 59, but their inability to cope with Mohammed's teasing offspin saw them slump to a 28-run loss at St Mary's Park. more..

Nalini's counsel claims harassment by Tamil Nadu prison authorities

Apr 26 (ANI) Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassin Nalini Sriharan's counsel M. Radhakrishnan has claimed that his client was harassed by prison authorities. Nalini is serving her lifer term at the Vellore Central Prison in Tamil Nadu. Addressing the media, Radhakrishnan sought jail transfer for Nalini. Recently, Nalini was accused of using a mobile and flushing it in the toilet when authorities conducted a routine check. more..

The Nalini Case: Law must take its own course

Apr 26 (MN) Vellore jail is caught in yet another controversy after, Nalini an accused in the assassination of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was caught using a mobile from inside the jail and talking to her friends and relatives. Nalini is accused No.1, Shriharan accused No. 2 and Peralivalan, accused No.3 are in jail for the last 19 years. Nalini got life sentence and the remaining two are on death sentence. more..