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Displaced Tamils battle to rebuild their lives

Feb 23 (UCAN) The Church in the Jaffna peninsula is continuing to help displaced Tamil families with accommodation and food months after the civil war ended. But priests say the situation remains bleak. “Re-establishing their livelihoods and rebuilding their lives are a struggle that loom large for the displaced,” said Father Amirthanathar Francis Xavier Jayasegaram, president of the Justice and Peace Commission of Jaffna diocese. more..

Debrief News - 22. 02. 2010

Govt. disrupts 'Dalada Pooja' to invoke blessings on General

Feb 23 (LT) The government deployed police to sabotage the special 'Dalada Pooja' scheduled to be held at the Temple of the Tooth today to invoke blessings on Gen. Sarath Fonseka who is being detained arbitrarily without any charges brought against him. When the 'Special Pooja' organized by the 'Saradharma Tharuna Bauddha Samajaya' was about to commence today evening police officers had arrived and more..

'UNP can be sued'

Feb 23 (LT) The Leader of the Nawa Hela Urumaya party Sarath Manamendra says legal action could be taken against the UNP for violating agreement of the UNF. 16 political parties of the UNF signed an agreement to contest the general election in a single front said Mr. Manamendra and added that the UNP is now going on an opportunistic path with the elephant. "The UNP is engaged in opportunistic politics using the 'elephant' as its symbol. more..

'Detained Sri Lankan presidential candidate not in luxury'

Feb 23 (ABC) The wife of arrested ex-Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka has told ABC she rejects claims her husband is living in luxury while in detention. General Fonseka was detained two weeks after being defeated in the presidential election by the incumbent President Mahinda Rajapakse, and President Rajapakse says the former general is getting "five-star" treatment in custody. more..

'President's policy on fraud & corruption could be seen on 26th'

Feb 23 (LT) How the President goes about eradicating fraud and corruption could be seen on the 26th says former Parliamentarian of the SLFP Arjuna Ranatunga. He said, "My need is not going to the Parliament. It is better to stay at home rather than getting any ministerial portfolios when Gen. Sarath Fonseka, the leader who created the environment for all of us to move about freely, is imprisoned arbitrarily. more..

Sri Lanka: Last Chance for Lasting Peace

Feb 23 (WPR) The recent election loss of Sri Lankan opposition candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka underlines the island's failure to build on its recently achieved peace, while his subsequent detention brought to light a threat to its democracy. Now, upcoming parliamentary elections, slated for April 8, represent the country's last chance to build an opposition that can bring the ethnic grievances that drove Sri Lanka's civil war into the political arena, more..

Kenya kicks out Sri Lanka as world leading tea exporter

Feb 23 (DN) Kenya has overtaken Sri Lanka to become the number one tea exporter in the world. Latest figures provided by the Tea Board of Kenya shows the country exported 342 million kilogrammes to 47 world markets, accounting for 22 per cent of the world tea exports. “We did dislodge Sri Lanka as the leading tea exporter last year and hope we will continue maintaining the same position,” more..

Hundreds need reconstructive orthopedic surgery

Feb 23 (MSF) Many patients who had surgery during the time of fighting between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE that were operated on initially under emergency conditions have developed infections, particularly of the bone. The wounds, mostly caused by exploding shells and bullets, have not healed. Dr. Inga Osmers, an MSF orthopedic surgeon, stops by a patient's bed and reviews the X-ray. more..

Sri Lanka needs more business freedom, says top entrepreneur

Feb 23 (LBO) People who are quick witted can develop business opportunities in Sri Lanka by challenging state or private controls and by busting monopolies to bring in competition, a veteran entrepreneur has said. "We should have the freedom to get on with the business," Nahil Wijesuriya, chairman of East West Properties, a colourful entrepreneur who had founded and sold out of a wide variety of businesses over several decades, more..

Oman Air commemorates operations to Sri Lanka

Feb 23 (AME) Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, will be commemorating its flights to the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo on February 26th. The flights to this destination were launched in November last year with four weekly frequencies between Muscat, capital of the Sultanate of Oman and Colombo. HE Eng Sultan Hamdoon Al Harthi, the President of the Muscat Municipality, will be the chief guest more..

Missed opportunities for reconciliation and healing

Feb 23 (NPC) The end of the three decade old war that pitted the government against the Tamil militant movements, and divided the population created a reasonable expectation that Sri Lanka would be able to reach reconciliation and healing that would pave the way for rapid economic progress. But unexpectedly the country appears to be getting more divided and polarized than ever before. The lines of ethnic division that existed are now being supplemented by more..

Shares end flat amid net foreign selling

Feb 23 (Reuters) Shares closed flat on Monday with a turnover of over 1 billion rupees led by retail buying across the board, even as foreigners remained net sellers, dealers said. The All-Share Price Index edged up 4.74 points or 0.13 percent to 3,773.55, its highest close since Feb. 10. It has risen four straight sessions. "Still the turnover level is high as local investors pushing the market, while foreigners are buying on selective counters, " more..

UNP invites Fonseka to join for polls

Feb 23 (Xinhua) UNP said on Monday that the door is still open for the defeated presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka to join them to contest the forthcoming parliamentary elections on April 8. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayaka told reporters that their invitation is not only for Fonseka but also for the JVP and any other party interested in bringing democracy back to the country. more..

Family bandyism

Feb 23 (LG) Now that the election storm is blown over and the dust has settled to some extent, it may be opportune to take a sober look at,at least one issue that took the centre stage in the run up to the elections which, particularly, the Western oriented Middle Class of this country could not come to terms with, even if they sympathised with MR. That was the issue of alleged nepotism and family bandyism. more..

Tisaranee and a Fonsekan Future? -Part Two

Feb 23 (LG) ) Before dealing with speculative interpretations and insinuations about Citizen Sarath Fonseka’s arrest and incarceration, this upfront. I have expressed serious reservation about the suitability of Fonseka for the office of Executive President (The Island 13/01/09 and 20/01/09). This must not in anyway be misconstrued as uncritical support for President Mahinda Rajapkse and his government. more..

Sarath Fonseka to lead new alliance

Feb 23 (Hindu) Defeated opposition presidential candidate General (retired) Sarath Fonseka was on Monday named the leader of the newly floated Democratic National Alliance (DNA), of which the ultra-nationalist JVP would be a key constituent. The announcement is an acknowledgement of the failure of the opposition parties that had come together during the presidential election in support of the former Army Chief to continue the more..

Norochcholai power plant to be sold for metal in next ten years

Feb 23 (LG) According to inside sources in the electricity board, major corrupt deals had taken in regard of the newly constructing Norochollai power plant.The sources added that many metal materials that are used in this project are low quality and Basil Rajapakse himself had been involved in these deals. According to the sources, President's brother had obtained a considerable amount of money as commission from more..

Observations on the ‘labyrinthing’ of Sarath Fonseka

Feb 23 (LG) Leaders sometimes suffer a lot on account of being lied to by their most trusted loyalists.Loyalists are given to painting rosy pictures about things. They are deft and slashing ‘i’ and ‘m’ from impossible and then replacing ‘possible’ with ‘probable’. Naive leaders with little experience and unable to lay a finger on the political pulse of a nation broaden grin, swell chest and strut around; they start flapping non-existent wings and believe that they are about to fly. more..

Business in beach shorts in Arugam Bay

'US can't afford to disengage with Lanka'

Feb 23 (Rediff) A leading Washington, DC-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, notwithstanding the arrest of retired Army General Sarath Fonseka who challenged President Mahinda Rajapakse at the recent elections, and the country's poor record on human rights and its treatment of several thousand internally displaced persons, has said that the United States cannot afford to disengage with the island nation. more..

Business loans grows in December

Feb 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's loans from commercial banks to private businesses expanded in December 2009 continuing a credit recovery that started in September, the latest official data shows. Loans to private businesses rose to 1,195.8 billion rupees in December from 1,188.1 billion in November and 1,176.4 billion in October. Rupee denominated loans to private businesses rose to 1,044.6 billion rupees in December up 9.1 billion rupees more..

Prabakaran must be laughing

Feb 23 (GV) Mahinda Rajapaksa seems to be turning into his one-time enemies. During the reign of terror (bheeshanaya) in the late 1980s, which was started by J.R.Jayawardene and continued by R.Premadasa, around 60,000 Sinhalese were tortured, disappeared and killed by the state. At that time, Rajapaksa collected evidence of these crimes and took them to the international community, the UN. For doing this, he was called a ‘traitor’. more..

Opposition candidate challenges election result

Feb 23 (wsws) A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on February 16 on behalf of defeated opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka, seeking to overturn the result of the January 26 presidential election. The legal challenge is part of continuing bitter infighting within the Colombo political establishment following the poll. Fonseka is in military custody after being arrested on February 9 by more..

Myth of Sri Lankan state and the historic responsibility of Tamil leadership

Feb 23 (TN) Why Tamil political leadership should never on its own surrender sovereignty, why Tamils are coerced to surrender it by all quarters concerned, what are the historical and legal bases for claims of Tamil sovereignty in the island – these are questions every Eezham Tamil, whether politician or layman has to put to serious perusal at this historic juncture, writes TamilNet political commentator in Colombo. more..

27 passengers injured in bus accident in Vanni

Feb 23 (TN) A public transport bus carrying mostly government employees and teachers fell into the roadside canal Monday early morning while trying to avoid colliding with a Sri Lanka Army (SLA) vehicle in Kunchchup Paranthan in Vanni, sources in Jaffna said. Eleven of the injured are admitted to Jaffna Teaching Hospital where three of them are in a critical condition, hospital sources said. more..

2 more independent groups pay deposit to contest parliamentary election in Jaffna

Feb 23 (TN) Murugesu Arumainayagam and Kasipillai Senthilvel from Jaffna paid their deposit money at Jaffna Secretariat Monday to contest as independent groups in Jaffna electoral district in the forthcoming parliamentary election. Meanwhile, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, former TNA MP paid a visit to Jaffna where he met Jaffna University society members to discuss the need to form an alternative political party in place of TNA, more..

News/Views from Sri Lankans in Boston

President speaks at Kesbewa in support of Gamini Lokuge

Feb 23 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that the era in which youths pursue employment opportunities will be eliminated. Alternatively, he is determined to create a new era in which jobs are to go in search of youths. The President also said that development work was not curtailed when the war was being waged. Infrastructure requirements such as power generation projects, roads, harbours and airports were being constructed. more..

Foreign Minister affirms consolidating relationship with USA

Feb 23 (GDI) The Ambassador of the United States Ms. Patricia Butenis met Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on the 18th of February. Among the matters discussed were reports inimical to the bilateral relationship carried by some sections of the Sri Lanka media. The United States maintains that no room should be left for the creation of impressions that this reportage has any support extended by official sources. more..

Gampaha & Hambantota UPFA nominations given

Feb 23 (GDI) The UPFA group contesting the parliamentary election from the Gampaha district has handed over nominations at the Gampaha District Secretariat and Hambantota district group at the Hambantota District Secretariat last morning, General Secretary of the UPFA Minister Susil Premajayantha said. He said UPFA is ready to ensure political stability in the parliament. more..

Moragahakanda vested in the public today

Feb 23 (GDI) The Moragahakanda – Kalu Ganga development project will be vested in public today by President Mahinda Rajapakse. This is the country’s largest ever agro development project to be implemented. The project will pave the way for a new development era for Polonnaruwa and Medirigiriya areas. Around 30 thousand acres of land in Medirigiriya area are to be developed with an investment of 12 billion rupees. more..

Technical and Vocational training establishments for N&E

Feb 23 (MoD) Two Technical Colleges and three Vocational Training Institutes are to be established in the Northern and Eastern Provinces by the Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training. The two Technical Colleges will be established in Mannar and Kalkudah with assistance from the South Korean Government, while the vocational Training Institutes will be at Trincomalee, Vavuniya and Serunuwara. more..

Gotabaya Rajapaksa's imprint on Lanka will not be a footprint on the sands of time

Feb 23 (MoD) After a certain victory in the north, lovable General Denzil Kobbekaduwa came running and embraced him with fatherly affection. Before that the genial General shouted "Yako Gota umba hari yakek ne (Gota you did it)" He was the chosen one even then. Chosen one of the two most loved Generals of our times General Denzil Kobbekaduwa and Vijaya Wimalaratne. more..

Caste in modern Sri Lankan politics

Feb 23 (TC) In a recent intervention, Lakruwan de Silva has conjectured that caste rivalry between the Govigama and Karâva contributed in a secondary manner towards the rift between the Rajapakse clan and General Fonseka. In his broad survey of caste undercurrents in the history of the Sinhalese, he also refers to the Kara-Govi rivalry that surfaced during the contest for the “Educated Ceylonese Seat” in the Legislative Council more..

Strengthen media to address community issues

Feb 23 (PSM) A capacity building workshop to strengthen the network structure of the Muslim Information Centre (MIC) was held yesterday in Colombo for its volunteers based island wide. The event was organized by the MIC and supported by PSM and is part of a collaborative information sharing endeavor the two organizations have undertaken on vital issues affecting the Muslim community in Sri Lanka. more..

D R Wijewardene - A true patriot

Feb 23 (DN) Today is the 114th birth anniversary of the Founder Chairman of The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd, D R Wijewardene who was not merely a newspaper magnate but also a patriot who used the newspapers to instill the importance of regaining independence in the minds and to agitate for it strongly. The history of the early 20th Century marked a renaissance among the Sri Lankans in several fields. more..

Three Rupavahini media personnel join the election fray

Feb 23 (LeN) At the forthcoming General elections three prominent media personnel will also be contesting. They are all attached to the Television stations. Two of them are from the State Television. They are, Sirasa Media chain News Editor Susil Kindelpitiya, ITN former Deputy Director general (News and current affairs), Sudhariman Radeliyagoda and State Rupavahini former Chief Executive Karunaratne Paranvitharne. more..

Amy officers raping a nine year old girl; Can the new army commander maintain army discipline?

Feb 23 (LG) A nine-year-old girl studying in the 5th Grade was raped by soldiers attached to the Digiliwatiya Camp at Batticaloa. The victim is a student of the Sinthandiya School at Digiliwatiya. The rape has led to protests by the villagers of the area which in turn has led to retaliation on the part of the soldiers from the camp who have ridden into the village on their motorcycles to harass the villagers. more..

'We will end the practice of going behind politicians to seek employment'

Feb 23 (LP) We will soon end the practice of the youth being compelled to go behind politicians to find employment and begin a period of enlisting youth in employment according to their qualifications stated President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President made this comment while addressing the activists of the UPFA including SLFPers of Kesbawa, Piliyandala. more..