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Ministry vehicle worth Rs.30m, still missing

Dec 1 (AD) Political sources state that a Land Cruiser luxury vehicle, that had been imported from Japan a while back for the use of the Ministry of Resettlement has suddenly gone missing. The vehicle had been brought down from Japan listed as ‘Brand New’. However when it was kept in a garage in Matara for repairs, following an accident it had been revealed that the vehicle in question was actually a ‘Reconditioned’ one. more..

Wikileaks confirms that US led the international op. against Lanka – Wimal

Dec 1 (AD) This is what we said from the start, minister Wimal Weerawansa said regarding the Wikileaks documents on Sri Lanka. He added that this substantiates the fact that it was the US that led the International operation against Sri Lanka. They wanted to isolate us internationally, Wimal claimed. Weerawansa went on to state that because Sri Lanka did not follow US orders, they wanted to defeat the government and appoint those in favour with them. more..

Lawyers optimistic of justice to Fonseka

Dec 1 (BBC) The National Lawyers Association (NLA) says that lawyers are optimistic that the courts hearing cases against former army commander Sarath Fonseka would bring justice. "It is the wish of the people and we, as lawyers have a very strong belief of his release," Ajith Pathirana of the (NLA) said at a demonstration held in Colombo on Tuesday. The demonstration held in front of the court complex in Colombo demanded the release of more..

Fonseka not a political prisoner – Nimal Siripala

Dec 1 (LM) The government today (Nov. 30) said that former Army Commander and DNA Leader Sarath Fonseka is not a political prisoner, as he is serving a jail term after being convicted by a court. Leader of the House, Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva has told parliament that Fonseka is a convict and not a political prisoner. The Minister had made this comment after Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had repeatedly referred to Mr. Fonseka as a political prisoner. more..

‘Hicorp’ put off till decision on court martial

Dec 1 (LT) Colombo High Court decided to put off the ‘Hicorp’ case against former Commander of the Army Gen. Sarath Fonseka until the Supreme court decides whether the court martial is an accepted court under the Constitution. The Supreme Court is scheduled to decide on 6th December whether the court martial is an accepted court under the Constitution and it is appropriate to hear the ‘Hicorp’ case once the Supreme Court gives it decision informed the state counsel to the Court. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 30.11.2010

Using outdated laws to prevent the displaying of posters – CHR

Dec 1 (LM) The Centre for Human Rights (CHR) - Sri Lanka says it has received information that 24 individuals have been arrested in the last few months for pasting posters and stresses that using outdated sections of the penal code to arrest and press charges against activists can be considered as an attack on the freedom of expression. CHR said in a report that there are no legal provisions preventing anyone from printing, distributing or pasting posters but more..

Seniors forbidden to meet juniors

Dec 1 (DM) Senior students of the University of Aesthetic Studies have been forbidden to meet with first year students due to the fear of ragging and also stopped them from participating in the events organized for the first year students, Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) said. The Federation said that the university administration had prohibited access to the University premises in Kohuwala due to this. more..

Pallekele awaits its Test debut

Dec 1 (CI) This series was supposed to be a mismatch but it has turned out to be a well-contested tussle, though marred by unfavourable weather. West Indies gave Sri Lanka a bloody nose in Galle where they enforced the follow-on, but were at the receiving end of an improved performance from the hosts whose batsmen and spinners dominated the rain-affected Colombo Test. The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, the venue for the decider, more..

Sri Lanka hires Chime group for Games bid

Dec 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka has hired public relations firm Bell Pottinger and other units of Chime Communications marketing group as advisors in its bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, a statement said. The team is led by pmplegacy, a global sporting events consultancy and includes Fast Track, Bell Pottinger, Populous and PwC, and several specialist advisers in transport planning, sustainability, security, brand and communications and cost consultancy. more..

Sangakkara expects turn from new track

Dec 1 (CI) Having come back strongly in the second Test against West Indies, Sri Lanka are likely to field an unchanged team for the decisive third Test against West Indies in Pallakele. "Barring injuries not many changes are likely," the home captain Kumar Sangakkara said. "We will have to see how the guys pull up after today's practice. We will probably decide whether a change is needed in the spin department, but other than that I think we are fine." more..

Pakistan President concludes Visit to Lanka

Dec 1 (APP) Pakistan and Sri Lanka on Tuesday agreed on establishing a multi-faceted partnership in security, trade, tourism and culture for the mutual benefit of their peoples. In a joint statement issued at the conclusion of President Asif Ali Zardari’s four-day state visit to Sri Lanka, leaders of the both countries agreed to promote a dialogue on security and defence issues relevant to their bilateral relationship, more..

Fishermens right to freedom of expression violated

Dec 1 (LG) About 50,000 members of the fisher folk community in the Negombo lagoon area have been protesting against a move by the government to initiate a tourism project which will require the reclamation of part of the lagoon to build a landing strip. The Negombo lagoon is rich with marine resources and has provided livelihoods for large sections of the Negombo fishing population for centuries. more..

Mervyn or mosquitoes; which one is more menacing?

Dec 1 (LG) I am not sure what it is but among all the ministers in the Rajapakse Government the only honest and straightforward one is Dr Mervyn Silva. I am dead serious when I say this. He calls a spade a spade although he equates journalists with his pet menace the mosquitoes. Both are such irritants you cannot ignore. Just when you think they are a spent force one keeps buzzing into your net no matter how much you secure the four corners and inveigle the book you hope to read in peace. more..

FULL TEXT: Wikileaks on Sri Lanka

Dec 1 (LG) 1. (C) Summary. During a June 11 discussion with Poloff, Commonwealth Political Director Amitav Banerji offered electoral commission capacity-building as an area where the USG and Commonwealth could be strategic partners; said a Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) would soon discuss and likely recommend full suspension of Fiji; noted concern about the human rights situation in Sri Lanka; and more..

Past, present and possible ‘futures’

Dec 1 (DM) We have sketched some of the background of Sri Lanka’s ethnic war and examined our actual ethnic reality and the external machinations that clouded basic facts as well as tried to dismember Sri Lanka. The question we have to now pose is, how can we prevent this recurring. We should remember that our nearly 40 year war was one of the longest wars in the last century and in fact, one of the longest in world history. more..

Repeal the 13 Amendment and strengthen Local Govt

Dec 1 (DM) The Indian Foreign Minister has also asked us to find a political solution to our so-called ethnic issue. So we do need to get our act together so that those spiteful elements among the international community and the Tamil Diaspora and other well meaning persons would not be able to point a finger at this country and charge us with discriminating against minorities. The 13th Amendment to my mind is not the answer to our problem; more..

The government need not be embarrassed by its news clothes

Dec 1 (TC) The 2010 Budget is a departure from the Budgets that have been presented by the Mahinda Rajapakse regime in the past. Its neither Keynesian or Marxian, but explicitly committed to limiting itself to fiscal variable targets. The president is on record to limit the budget deficit to 5% of GDP over the medium term. A mainstream liberal economic policy statement with incentives for big business and little else in terms of relief for the poor. more..

Raising hornets’ nests?

Dec 1 (DM) Sri Lanka once compared to another Eden and visualized by many to reach that semi fantasy imagined utopian state soon now that the war on terrorism is over yet has so many critical erudite individuals attempting to stir up hornets nests on various issues. This metaphor is self-explanatory as when one ‘stirs a hornet’s nest’ the hornets fly out of their nest in a temper and attack the cause of the disturbance. more..

Forget the Budget 2011 but watch corruption and your purse

Dec 1 (SL) The government’s budget for year 2011 drew many “one liners” from many political big wigs in the opposition, immediately after it was presented in Parliament by President Rajapaksa on November 22. Mangala called it a “Fairytale budget” while Harsha de Silva called it a “Damp squib”. For Anura Kumara it was an “Eye wash”. Ranil nevertheless didn’t have anything to say, putting off a media query with “What can I say?” more..

What I said at the LLRC?

Dec 1 (TC) There are many factors to which we should give our attention in this connection, for without confidence and trust that their rights will be upheld and guaranteed without fear or favour, there cannot be contentment and harmony, especially among minorities whose confidence in law and order needs to be built on firm foundations. To achieve this there are some essential prerequisites among which are: * A Constitution which shields more..

Editorial : Barack Obama's WikiLeaks-Gate

Dec 1 (Island) WikiLeaks has once again left the US in the same predicament as a cat trying to cover up a stinking mess it has made on a hard surface. This time around, WikiLeaks has posted on its website a host of confidential diplomatic cables which indicate that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ordered the US diplomats to spy on top UN officials among others. This expose has come as the second wave of a tsunami, more..

Editorial : Law for the benefit of the people

Dec 1 (DM) With serious questions over the independence of the judiciary itself largely due to the scrapping of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, the legal system has become so time- consuming and costly that it seems the law is not for the ordinary. So serious is the situation that a growing number of people resort to or are forced to resort to street justice. For instance when a tragic road accident occurs most people know that calling in the police, more..

Veteran Tamil Journalist dies at 80

Dec 1 (LG) Veteran Tamil journalist Subramaniyam Sivanayagam, founder-editor of the popular, Jaffna based, English Weekly Saturday Review and the head of Tamil Information Centre (TIC) branch in Madras (1983-1987) passed away on Monday 29 November, in Colombo after a long illness. He was 80. Born in Jaffna, Ceylon, in 1930 during British Colonial rule, had his secondary education at Kokuvil Hindu College and Jaffna College, in the north, more..

Wikileaks on Sri Lanka: A breakdown and implications

Dec 1 (GV) “The first is that, in Sri Lanka, it would never be possible for any one to play “Julian Assange” and dare face an open media briefing in Colombo, to justify his or her claims on war crimes and torture. Right or wrong, excessive or not, that “democracy” is nowhere within the shores of Sri Lanka and would not be, for many decades to come. There is also no possibility of any lawyer, any public litigant, requesting Courts to “order” relevant authorities to more..

Vanni schools face closure due to torrential rain, negligence

Dec 1 (TN) Education department sources have warned that schools in Vanni are facing closure due to continuous torrential rain. Majority of schools including in Ki'linochchi, Mullaiththeevu, Mannaar, and Vadamaraachchi East have been functioning in temporary shelters. Classrooms have been under water due to rain. Members of several families have also sought refuge in temporary shelters put up in schools as their houses are also under water. more..

Jaffna Varsity to get Agriculture Faculty

Dec 1 (DN) Plans are underway to open an Agriculture Faculty at the Jaffna University, Higher Studies Minister S B Dissanayake said. The awareness program was held at the Jaffna University last week. The whole University system will also be changed and by the end of the next year, all students should complete studying the English langauge course, the Minister said. Dissanayake said the education and examination systems should undergo an overhaul. more..

Vaazhaichcheanai parents, students protest against TMVP

Dec 1 (TN) Students and parents of Vaazhaichcheanai in Batticaloa district Monday protested against the decision by Piratheasa Chapai (PS) chairman S. Jeevagathas to close down private tuition centres in the area. This was the first time residents of Vaazhaichchenai held such demonstration against the TMVP, which is led by Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pilliayan who is also the Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC). more..

President’s trilingual plan: The challenges ahead

Dec 1 (NS) Most of the Tamil people consider President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proposal to make Sri Lanka a trilingual nation by 2020 a farsighted initiative. They are pleased with the appointment of Vasudeva Nanayakara as the minister in-charge of its implementation. President Ranasinghe Premadasa was the first Sri Lankan leader who realised the importance of communicating with the Tamil speaking people in their language. more..

Kudos to the Einstein that designed President’s new cabinet

Dec 1 (LB) The government printer said Friday that the gazette outlining subjects and functions of the new cabinet of ministers will not be released before this week. It was sent for printing on Wednesday night but things subsequently kept getting added to it — like a new ministry here and there — so the department couldn’t finalise it. Meanwhile, phones at the department of government printing rang off the hook. more..

UNP fears Cabinet might hit century

Dec 1 (DM) The cabinet keeps expanding and it looks as though it will soon reach the 100 mark, the UNP said. “It might soon reach a century because of the need for the government to please its members just like what it did by creating senior ministerial posts,” UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. He said initially 60 ministers and 31 deputy ministers were sworn in and a few days later one more minister and three more deputy ministers were brought in more..

Deva to visit India on Mr. Krishna’s invitation

Dec 1 (DM) In spite of a court case in Chennai against the Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises Development and the Secretary General of EPDP Douglas Devananda, Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna had invited him to visit New Delhi. A statement released by the EPDP yesterday said Mr. Devananada held talks with Mr. Krishna at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) on Sunday before he left for New Delhi. more..

Sri Lanka's alternatives abroad

Dec 1 (Himal) There is no such thing as 'the Sri Lankan diaspora'. Sri Lankan communities exist in the plural. And yet, nearly thirty years of conflict have rendered a nation with multiple minority communities and religions as though it has only two groups. If you generalise about what you read at all (and most people do), you are likely to believe that Sri Lanka's Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority are pitted against each other, more..

'CMC spends millions per day to collect garbage'

Dec 1 (Island) The Colombo Municipal Council spends millions of rupees a day on garbage collection, Chief City Administrator Omar Kamil said. He said "the Sri Jayawaredenepura MC belongs to the Kotte electorate. The cost of collection of garbage in the area is Rs. 320,000 per day. To collect the garbage in six electorates the CMC has to spend six times that. Along with the costs for dumping the total cost to collect garbage comes up to 2.1 million." more..

Rs 19 b for skills development - Minister

Dec 1 (DN) In a bid to assist those who were denied the opportunity to a higher education, the Government has taken measures to develop talents and skills of youth in its on going efforts to create a knowledge based development, said Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena. He said that the Government has allocated Rs 19 billion for skills development projects through the budgetary proposals. He said that 131,000 students qualified for university entrance in 2009. more..

Boston Lanka News: Nov. 30, 2010

Champika summons all employees of CEB for seminar in Colombo

Dec 1 (LT) The Minister of Power and Energy Champika Ranawaka has sent a circular to all offices of Ceylon Electricity Board throughout the island to get all their employees to participate at a seminar to be held in Colombo tomorrow at 9.00 a.m. According to the circular employees would be given duty leave to participate at the seminar and it has been stated that transport facilities for the employees to travel to Colombo would be provided by the CTB. more..

JVP wants Govt. reveal number of Lankans employed at H’tota port

Dec 1 (Island) The JVP wants the government to reveal the number of Sri Lankans employed at the Hambantota port, which was commissioned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Nov. 18. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that the government hadn’t employed any Sri Lankans at Hambantota, though President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other government spokesmen claim the new port would solve the unemployment problem. more..

'Sri Lanka gets 30 proposals for reservoir tourism'

Dec 1 (LBO) Thirty parties have responded to a call for proposals to operate boat and leisure services at major reservoirs in Sri Lanka, irrigation minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. An official said all the proposals appeared to be from local parties. The government asked for proposals from private parties to operate boat services and restaurants at irrigation works connected to Sri Lanka's Mahaweli river development project. more..

War crimes lawyers seek arrest of Sri Lankan president in Oxford

Dec 1 (Guardian) Lawyers working for Tamil activists are attempting to obtain a war crimes arrest warrant against Sri Lanka's president and senior member of his entourage who have arrived in Britain. Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose government defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers last year amid humanitarian protests about the treatment of civilians trapped in the war zone, is due to speak at the Oxford Union on Thursday. more..