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Diary of Terror – 15th February 2010

Feb 16 (LG) Wijedasa Rajapaksha PC, the senior lawyer handling the case onbehalf of defeated common candidate for the presidential election Gen (Ret) Sarath Fonseka, has received death threats. This was announced by the opposition official spokesman to the media. According to the reports, Mr. Rajapaksha has received death threats several times telling him to abandon the legal work that he’s doing on behalf of Sarath Fonseka. more..

Sri Lanka - Hell or High Water

'People cannot be taken for a ride with adverse opposition media gimmicks'

Feb 16 (GDI) Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said the Opposition lacks the knowledge of basic arithmetic and it is engaged in leveling baseless allegations at the Government over election results. He said that there is nothing to be surprised about a victory which had a majority of 1.8 million votes. He scoffed at the opposition stand which claimed the recently concluded Presidential Election was corrupt and more..

'Foreign Minister told an absolute lie that the General is being treated well and respectably'

Feb 16 (LeN) A former High Court judge and an attorney at law P.D. Kulatunge said, The Foreign Minister Bogollagama has declared that Gen. Fonseka who is now in custody is being treated well and with due respect. If that is so, the Minister must provide an opportunity for the Foreign diplomats in Sri Lanka through the authorities to meet him at the place of his detention and see for themselves to verify his statement. more..

Commonwealth expert team issues final report on presidential election

Feb 16 (CS) The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, today released the Final Report of the Commonwealth Expert Team which observed the 26 January Presidential election in Sri Lanka. In issuing the report, he noted the Team’s conclusion that, "even though on the day of the election voters were free to express their will, shortcomings primarily in the pre-election period meant more..

Sri Lankan Diaspora & the Govt of Sri Lanka

Feb 16 (LeN) During the time of the war against the LTTE, the Sri Lankan Diaspora and all peace loving Sri Lankans rallied around the military and the government in an unprecedented manner. Their fervent wish was to see elimination of the LTTE from Sri Lanka. As a result the government was able to use them very effectively to counter sophisticated LTTE propaganda machinery and to respond various allegations against the conduct of war by foreign government. more..

Sri Lanka lift Amateur Golf team title

Feb 16 (IE) In a closely fought contest, Mithun Perera and K Prabhagarn from Sri Lanka held their nerve to win the team championship of the LG All-India Amateur Championship at the par-72 Oxford Golf & Country Club. The Lankan duo edged out the India B team of Chikkarangappa and Ashbeer Saini by a margin of one stroke to clinch the title. While the Indian team totaled 14-over for the tournament, the Lankans were one better at 13-over. more..

Kumar Rupasinghe to take legal action against Norway

Feb 16 (LNW) Chairman of the Foundation for Co-Existence (FCE), Kumar Rupasinghe is reportedly planning on taking legal action against the Norwegian government for slashing funds that were allocated to the NGO. One of the key NGOs in the country, the FCE has received millions of rupees in foreign funding each year. In some instances the funding received by the NGO is reportedly higher than more..

University admissions to be increased up to 25000

Feb 16 (LP) Steps are taken to increase the student intake for Universities up to 25000 said the Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC) Professor Gamini Samaranayake. The Chairman of the UGC addressing a media briefing held at the Media Ministry yesterday (15) said that the student intake will be increased with the completion of the infrastructure facilities of the Northern and Eastern Universities. more..

Rear Admiral Peiris assumes duties of CDF

Feb 16 (MoD) Rear Admiral Ananda Peiris was appointed to the post of Director-General of Sri Lanka Civil Defence Force (CDF), and he assumed duties yesterday. He vowed to actively and honestly dedicate himself to the task of taking the country towards development. Rear Admiral Peiris takes over the post after the retirement of his predecessor Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera under whom the CDF transformed into a formidable unit by incorporating the former Home Guards into the force. more..

French Defence Attache calls on the Commander of the Navy

Feb 16 (MoD) Defence Attache of the Embassy of France in Sri Lanka Commander Pascal Carre called on the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe at the Naval Headquarters in Colombo yesterday (15th February 2010). They discussed matters of mutual interests and bilateral relevance and exchanged mementos as a gesture of goodwill to mark the occasion. more..

Sri Lanka, a much sort after tourist destination

Feb 16 (MoD) The number of tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka went up 31.9 percent to 50,757 in January 2010, compared to January 2009, which was 38,468, according to figures released by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. Arrivals from Western Europe, the traditional tourist generating market, rose 36.3 percent to 21,230 in January 2010 from a year ago. The number of visitors from the UK went up 24.6 percent to 8,225, those from France up 25.9 percent to 2,272 and more..

Jaffna farmers reap harvest after years

Feb 16 (LP) Paddy fields which were left unattended for many years due to the LTTE activities in Jaffna began its harvesting. A few months ago after those paddy lands in Chavakachcheri-Thanankilappu areas that fell under the former High Security Zone (HSZ) Jaffna were released back to their owners. Massive marshy paddy lands of about 4000 acres were cultivated by the farmers in the area under the “Uthuru Wasanthaya” programmes. more..

Australia supports Demining activities in the north

Feb 16 (MoD) Five Bozena +4 de-mining machines and spare parts valued at Rs. 250 million were presented by the Australian Government to Sri Lanka today. These machines of Czechoslovakian origin are to be used to remove land mines placed by the LTTE terrorists in the northern areas during the war. Honoring a request made by the Government, Ms. Cathie Key Klugman, the Ambassador for Australia handed over more..

Govt launches massive purchase programme for Maha crop

Feb 16 (GDI) The Government has launched a massive programme to purchase paddy during the Maha Season. Arrangements have been made to purchase paddy at six centres in the Ampara District, the Paddy Marketing Board revealed. According to the Paddy Marketing Board sources, the Government expects to spend five billion rupees for the purchase. A kilo of Nadu rice will be purchased at the rate of Rs.28.00 while a kilo of Samba at Rs.38.00. more..

WHO to train our doctors for the first time

Feb 16 (GDI) The World Health Organization is considering providing training to Sri Lankan doctors. This facility is normally confined to doctors from the developed countries. The Programme Manager of the South East Asian Regional office of the WHO said that this was decided after taking the quality improvement in local health sector into consideration. Minister Siripala de Silva had earlier made a request in this connection. more..

No SLFP electoral organizers, only district heads in future

Feb 16 (LP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa directed SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena yesterday to abolish the party’s electorate organizer posts and create District Party organizer posts and requested all party organizers to work as a team in each district, according to the SLFP headquarters. President Rajapaksa said all party district leaders and organizers should work as a team more..

All forests mapped except those in North

Feb 16 (GDI) The Government has completed mapping of all forests in the country except in the Northern region barring encroachments by unauthorized persons, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources revealed. The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Patali Champika Ranawaka said that all forests were mapped out and boundary stones were laid to prevent any encroachments in the future. more..

Another marriage of convenience?

Feb 16 (LNP) The JVP has apparently succeeded in coercing the UNP into falling in line. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has offered to reconsider a Working Committee resolution to contest the next parliamentary polls under the Elephant symbol, in a bid to appease the JVP on the warpath threatening to forge an alliance under Gen. Sarath Fonseka`s leadership to contest the April polls. The fear of the Opposition vote being split in such an eventuality may more..

Ven. Rathana sets about rift in Mahasangha

Feb 16 (LT) Those in All Religious Conference which opposed arresting and detaining Gen. Sarath Fonseka stating democracy in the island has deteriorated are those who supported terrorism in the past says former Parliamentarian of JHU Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera. He said this participating at ‘Janahanda’ live political talk show telecast yesterday (15th) by TNL. more..

Budget deficit expands by 50 percent, 8.4 percent of GDP

Feb 16 (Island) Sri Lanka’s budget deficit has expanded by 50.8 percent with government expenditure rising at a faster rate than revenues while the annualised budget deficit as a percentage of GDP has reached 8.4 percent. According to the revised 2009 Budget, the deficit for the entire year was estimated at Rs. 346.4 billion but the actual difference between government spending and revenues had already exceeded this full year target, reaching Rs. 416.4 billion by October. more..

Milk plant in Pelwatte

Feb 16 (LNP) One of the largest milk processing plants in Sri Lanka which is an investment of Rs 1.8 billion will be opened in Pelwatte next month. Pelwatte Sugar Company and Maubima Lanka Foundation Chairman Ariyaseela Wickramanayake told Daily News Business the new factory will collect 150,000 litres of milk per day benefiting 20,000 farmer families in the country. The factory will produce cheese, butter, yoghurt, and flavoured milk including milk powder. more..

Exceptional responses to questions from media

Feb 16 (GV) Groundviews was able to obtain an audio recording of an exchange between Swiss journalist Karin Wenger and a well-known, senior journalist now part of the Presidential Media Unit (PMU). Karin’s visa and media accreditation to cover the Sri Lankan presidential election was revoked after she asked several questions from government representatives at an official press briefing. more..

German Tech symbolises Lanka, German ties - PM

Feb 16 (DN) The Ceylon German Technical Training Institute (CGTTI) symbolizes the strongest bond and longstanding friendship between Sri Lanka and Germany, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka said. He added that the CGTTI had been able to mould Sri Lankan youth to take up challenges and equip them with technical skills in the automobile and allied trades at international level too. more..

'Do not create political disorder, confusion'

Feb 16 (DN) Several leading Academics\Intellectuals yesterday urged certain opposition elements not to create political disorder and confusion in the country by exerting undue pressure on the judiciary and by selling emotions to the public for the sake of politics. While claiming that they had closely monitored the developing unrest, in the aftermath of the arrest of defeated Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka by the Military Police, more..

Maha Sangha Convention non-political

Feb 16 (DN) The convention of the Maha Sangha to be held next Thursday at the historic Maha Maluwa of the Sri Dalada Maligawa was convened to discuss the problems faced by the Buddhist clergy and not to lend support to any political party or political group, Chief Prelate of the Malawatte Chapter Most Ven Thibbotuwawe Sri Siddharatha Sumangala Maha Nayaka Thera said. more..

Making Sri Lanka a logistics hub: Inter Ministerial Task Force vital

Feb 16 (DN) Making Sri Lanka a logistics hub and one of the top ten places to do business is the need of the hour. This could be done by setting up an Inter Ministerial Task Force, e-Services Lanka Chief Executive Officer Vinesh Athukorala said yesterday. He was speaking to the media at the Sri Lanka Tourist Board Auditorium (SLTB) on the benefits of online facility given to the SLTB by eServices Lanka. more..

JVP Bhikkhu Front urges Buddhist monks to converge in Kandy

Feb 16 (Island) Ven. Dhambara Amila Thero, leader of the National Bhikku Front (NBF) at a media briefing said he doubted whether it was really the Police that had raided the National Bhikkhu Front headquarters at Christie Perera Mawatha yesterday morning. A person calling himself ASP Liyanapathirana had led the operation together with six Constables in uniform minus their identification numbers. more..

Tamil Mirror launched

Feb 16 (DM) Integration is not a process that people should leave for the politicians. More often than not politicians pose the biggest threat to the ordinary people’s moves to reach out to other communities. If goes without saying that Sri Lanka would have remained a much peaceful and a more developed country if not for the political posturing of opportunistic leaders. more..

'Coup a ruse to justify political victimization'

Feb 16 (Island) UNP and Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said his party would reject in toto what he called a false allegation that the JVP and General Sarath Fonseka had been planning a military coup. Addressing a press conference, Opposition Leader said without making false allegations, the government should immediately release Gen. Fonseka and his supporters. more..

JCPSM wants better facilities for staff serving in North and East

Feb 16 (Island) The Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (JCPSM) urges the Health Ministry to provide its members in the North and East with required facilities to carry out their duties. JCPSM President Ravi Kumudesh said the Union would be forced to recall all PSM and Medical Laboratory Technologists (MLTs) who had gone from the South unless the government complied with the union request. more..

UNP wants to form a common front

Feb 16 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday said it was ready to begin talks with other political parties in the opposition to form a common front and summon the party’s working committee once again to make the final decision if a viable alternative alliance is worked out. Leader of UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe told a news conference yesterday the party would begin talks with other opposition political parties this week on this matter. more..

The triumph of Truth – Lanka editor released by magistrate

Feb 16 (LT) The Magistrate of Gangodawila Courts today ordered the unconditional release of Chandana Sirimalwatte Editor of Lanka newspaper who was held in custody for eighteen days without any charges being brought against him. He was held under the draconian ER act by the CID. In Court today, the CID was unable to present any charges against him. more..

State sector recruitment suspended

Feb 16 (DM) The Elections Department has issued a circular suspending the recruitment of State sector employees until the end of the General Elections in April, Department sources told Daily Mirror online. Sources said that the circular informs the government sector not to conduct the recruitment examinations for the State sector. No new recruitments will take place in government institutions or departments until the completion of the General Elections in April.

Treasure hunters kill accomplice

Feb 16 (DM) A man who went with a group of treasure hunters to dig up a treasure was allegedly killed by his companions and his naked body dumped in a pit. His decomposed body was recovered last morning by the Sigiriya police. The victim G.P.N. Asoka Karunaratne of Ratmalkatuwa, in Dambulla had been lured by a group of treasure hunters to accompany them. His wife has been employed abroad for more than two years more..

'Arrest of Fonseka not political'

Feb 16 (DN) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that he had informed (in writing) all international leaders and Heads of State that the arrest of Sarath Fonseka under military law had nothing to do with the politics in the country. The Minister also said that despite some quarter’s charge that this was an act of taking political revenge, there was no room for manipulating this law for such petty gains. more..

India uneasy over Sri Lanka's slide

Feb 16 (AT) Developments in neighboring Sri Lanka are triggering unease in India. There is growing concern that President Mahinda Rajapaksa will use his second term to marginalize political rivals rather than seek a political solution to the island's ethnic conflicts. The arrest last week of General Sarath Fonseka, former army chief and Rajapaksa's losing rival in the presidential election in January, more..

Sri Lanka worried by EU decision to suspend trade benefits

Feb 16 (DPA) A decision by the European Union to withdraw preferential trade agreements from Sri Lanka has caused concern among the country's export-oriented garment sector. The EU mission in Colombo said that the Union had decided Monday to temporarily withdraw preferential tariff treatment, known as its GSP, which grants preferential access to its markets to countries that pursue good governance and sustainable development. more..

Sri Lanka foreign reserves lower at US$5.0mn in December

Feb 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka foreign reserves eased to 5,067 million US dollars in December 2009, from 5,228 million US dollar in November which was equal to about 6.2 months of imports, the Central Bank said. Reserves with balances of the Asian Clearing Union, a regional arrangement with non-convertible currencies rose to 5,357 million US dollars from 5,308 million US dollars in November. Sri Lanka's trade deficit slumped 52.5 percent to more..

President instructs IGP to inform him of any arrest of Journalist

Feb 16 (LP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa instructed IGP Mahinda Balasooriya to expedite inquiries and legal matters pertaining to journalist and Editor of “Lanka” newspaper Chandana Sirimalwattha and release him on bail with immediate effect this morning. This order came following a special meeting with the heads of some media institutions the President had yesterday when Victor Ivon made a request more..