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Tiger buddy with nuisance value takes on Karunanidhi

Jan 12 (TI) Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu may be five months away but at least one person has announced his candidature against the electoral might of Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi. Tamil film director-turned-actor Sebastian Seeman, a fiery supporter of the LTTE and the Tamil Eelam cause, has declared that he was ready to be the common candidate to challenge Karunanidhi at whichever constituency he contests, and sought the support of all Opposition parties. more..

UN allocating funds for flood assistance

Jan 12 (UN) Floods caused by heavy rainfall in Sri Lanka have affected nearly a million people, including more than 127,000 displaced from their homes, the United Nations humanitarian office reported today. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has re-allocated funds to support the Government’s aid efforts, and will provide 735 metric tons of food assistance to feed approximately 400,000 of those affected, according to the OCHA. more..

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 46.1-pct in 2010

Jan 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals in December 2010 rose 48.8 percent to 84,627 from a year earlier, driven by sharp increases from traditional European markets seen due to the winter season, official data showed. For the full year 2011, arrivals were up 46.1 percent to 654,476. Tourist arrivals from Western Europe shot up by 54 percent in December 2010 to 30,855 after travel warning in many countries were relaxed or removed after the end of a 30-year war. more..

Faizer says he appeared free of charge for Susil

Jan 12 (Island) Deputy Minister Faizer Musthapa said that he had appeared as Defence Counsel for UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha free of charge. The Kandy District MP was responding to a query in the wake of a recent controversy in parliament over his appearance on behalf of the MP Premjayantha. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa delivering his ruling on a matter of privilege raised in the House by the Chief Opposition Whip, John Amaratunga, MP, stated that he did more..

‘Even President cannot send me on retirement’

Jan 12 (DM) Senior Minister on Good Governance and Infrastructure, Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka said even the President could not send him on retirement unless he retired on his own will as he is an elected Member of Parliament. Addressing the media after assuming office at the Senior Ministers’ Office Complex, he said he does not intend to respond to the comments made by certain ministers on a statement n he had made earlier while he was abroad. more..

Editorial: Fear of persecution – not then, but now

Jan 12 (G&M) The Immigration and Refugee Board’s specific identification of one of its decisions as “persuasive” – in a case about a young male Tamil from Sri Lanka – offers considerable reassurance that Canada’s refugee system is working quite well – and that the claims of the Sri Lankans who arrived on two ships on Canada’s west coast in 2009 and August, 2010, will be sensibly adjudicated. Ken Sandhu, the deputy chairperson of the IRB’s refugee more..

India to commence restoration of KKS harbour

Jan 12 (DM) The Indian External Affairs Ministry yesterday signed an Agreement with RITES Limited for Consultancy Services on the preparation of a Detailed Project Report and the conduct of geo-technical investigations for the rehabilitation of the Kankesanthurai Harbour in Sri Lanka. The Indian High Commission in Colombo said that the cost of preparation of the DPR and geo-technical investigations (SLR 70 million) will be met by the Government of India. more..

Swiss police arrest Tamil Tiger members after raids

Jan 12 (AFP) Swiss police Tuesday raided several properties and arrested ten Tamil Tiger rebels, accusing them of involvement in a criminal group as well as money laundering, the attorney-general's office said. "Today, the Swiss Federal Criminal Police carried out a nationally coordinated operation directed at Tamil individuals and members of the LTTE. "They are accused, amongst other offences, of money laundering and membership of a criminal organisation," more..

‘Expectant mothers, children need to be hospitalized’

Jan 12 (DM) The Health Ministry yesterday asked that expectant mothers above 36 years of age and children up to 5 years of age who have been displaced due to floods be admitted to state hospitals since they are more vulnerable to contract diseases prevalent with bad weather. “Minister Sirisena instructed Additional Ministry Secretary Dr. Palitha Mahipala to dispatch ample drugs and medical teams to all 25 districts to ensure no water borne or more..

Forces continue rescue missions

Jan 12 (DM) The armed forces continued their rescue missions as rains lashed several areas in the country leaving tens of thousands stranded. Navy spokesman Captain Athula Senerath said nine teams were deployed in the Vavunathivu, Valaichenai, Horowpathana, Vattachchena and Welikanda while two teams werein Batticaloa and nine more teams on standby. Two teams are in Medawachchiya, three teams in Trincomalee, two teams in Colombo and three teams in Arugambay. more..

Immigration board notice on Tamils 'smacks of political interference'

Jan 12 (MG) Refugee advocates are questioning whether political interference from Ottawa prompted a senior Immigration and Refugee Board manager to issue a rare notice last month highlighting a ruling that rejected the claim of a young Tamil migrant. The November ruling found that the human rights situation in Sri Lanka had improved and that the likelihood Tamils -particularly young males from the north -would be more..

Negotiations underway to set up Sri Lankan University in Maldives

Jan 12 (HNS) The Sri Lanka Ministry of Higher Education for the first time is negotiating with the Maldivian government to setup a branch of the Sri Jayewardenepura University in Maldives. It has recently transpired that a delegation from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Higher Education will be making plans to travel to the capital Male to discuss the proposal with the Maldivian government. more..

Floods ground Sri Lanka President

Jan 12 (BBC) Weather conditions have forced Sri Lanka's president to abandon a visit to areas affected by severe flooding which has displaced nearly 200,000 people and killed 18 others. Mahinida Rajapaksa had to cancel his helicopter trip from Polonnaruwa in the east to the badly affected coastal city of Batticaloa. The downpour is continuing after two weeks of rain in the centre and east. The floods have inundated farmland and destroyed rice fields. more..

'Govt deploys Army to sell vegetables and asks people to find their own protection'

Jan 12 (LT) The present government gets the Army to sell vegetables on the streets and asks people to find their own security says convener of the IUSF Udul Premaratne. He said this speaking at a media conference convened by ‘Api Srilankikayo’ (We are Sri Lankans) held at Social and Cultural Centre at Maradana yesterday evening to apprise the media regarding how people in the North have been made insecure and more..

Navy Commander promoted to Admiral

Jan 12 (NN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has promoted Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe to the rank of Admiral with effect from today, the Navy said in a statement this morning. The short statement said “His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has been pleased to promote Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy more..

Wikileaks : Solheim, Burns misjudged MR et al

Jan 12 (Island) A leaked confidential US diplomatic cable, authored by the then US Ambassador in Colombo Jeffrey Lunstead in the wake of Nov. 2005 presidential election, has revealed how those spearheading the peace initiative misjudged the Sri Lankan leader. Following a meeting US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns had with President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on Jan. 23, 2006, more..

Vegetable prices soar as rains pour

Jan 12 (DM) The wholesale prices of vegetables at the Dambulla Economic Centre have risen by 70 % on Monday due to the flooding and heavy rains in many parts of the country, DEC Manager Christie Wijeratne said yesterday. “A sharp drop in the arrival of vegetables exceeding 60% largely due to heavy rains, has resulted in the price increase,” Mr. Wijeratne said. more..

No extension after 60 years

Jan 12 (DM) The government has accepted as a policy that the age limit of service for public servants as 60 years and there will be no extensions after that, Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister John Seneviratne said today. He said earlier the public servants should have retired at the age of 55 and apply for extension of service annually for another two or three years. more..

Solheim wanted to coach MR on how to make peace

Jan 12 (Island) A few days before leaving Oslo for Colombo, where he was scheduled to meet President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Jan. 2006, Norwegian peace facilitator Minister Erik Solheim claimed that the President needed to learn how to handle the peace process. Solheim boasted of his expertise in handling the Sri Lankan crisis when he met Ambassador K. Whitney, the newly appointed US Ambassador to Norway on Jan. 19, 2006. more..

Rising water levels threaten tank bunds

Jan 12 (DM) The rising water levels due to continuous rains have caused threats to the stability of many large scale tank bunds in the North Central and Eastern provinces. The bund of the Walathapitiya tank in Ampara had breached from two places and ten families were evacuated. The flood waters had inundated Ninthavur and Karativu areas as well. Most tanks in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Ampara districts were affected and more..

Record rains increase urgency of climate change adaptation

Jan 13 (IRIN) Ongoing storms have dumped more rain in one eastern district of Sri Lanka than witnessed in a century. Nationwide, storms have hit some two million people in the past seven months and hastened climate adaptation plans already under way, according to the government. National climate scientist WL Sumathipala said recent storm activity had sped up the timetable to help residents cope with changing weather. more..

Sri Lanka bourse nears peak amid foreign outflows

Jan 13 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's bourse gained on Wednesday on heavy retail buying, a day after the central bank slashed interest rates to over six-year lows, pushing it further deep into overbought territory. But foreign investors were net sellers for the 10th session in a row with 511 million rupees on Tuesday, extending the net outflow to 1.9 billion rupees this year. They sold 26.4 billion rupees last year. Share index .CSE gained 0.32 percent more..

'This is a moronic government'

Jan 13 (LT) Rajapakse government is a moronic, shortsighted administration that doesn’t have any programmes or policies but continues to deceive masses said General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. Speaking at a media conference held at the head office of the JVP today Mr. Tilvin Silva said his party demands that the government holds elections to the local bodies throughout the country at the same time. more..

Govt. is contesting LG polls with victorious mindset - GL

Jan 13 (Island) Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs says that the government is contesting the Local Government elections with a victorious mindset confident of a landslide victory in spite of claims of the Opposition that its decision to hold the polls under the PR system is a sign of weakness. Prof. Peiris said amending the electoral system was a time consuming task which could not be accomplished within six weeks in time for the LG polls. more..

Govt. getting ready for a great suppresion, says Ranil

Jan 13 (NF) The government, after deceiving the country and failing to resolve the problems, is getting ready for a great suppression, says Ranil Wickremasinghe, leader of the UNP. Mr. Wickremasinghe was addressing the final meeting of the 4th Phase of the Grama Charika programme launched by the UNP held at the National Estate Workers' Union auditorium at Rajagiriya last evening. “Two years ago, Lasantha was killed. Thereafter, Prageeth Ekneligoda was abducted. more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 12.01.2011

Sri Lanka rated on top among the ‘most-improved countries’

Jan 13 (NN) Sri Lanka has been rated among the ‘most-improved countries’ in the world in the Economic Freedom 2011 Index, a joint project of The Heritage Foundation and The Wall Street Journal. Hong Kong and Singapore topped the overall ratings, finishing one and two, respectively, for the 17th straight year. But Singapore cut into Hong Kong’s lead significantly, mainly on the strength of a better score in anti-corruption and a significant gain in financial freedom. more..

IPL franchises reject Sri Lanka World Cup players

Jan 13 (IC) Well now, how many followed the latest Indian Premier League auction? How franchises new and old decided not to be spendthrifts funding players either passed their shelf-life usefulness, or for that matter didn’t quite make an impact in 2009 and last year. By eschewing some of the more fancy names, along with those Sri Lanka wannabes whose credentials have been found wanting at this level, include several World Cup squad members, and more..

President inspects floods

Jan 13 (NN) President Mahinda Rajapakse visited the flood affected areas in Polonnaruwa this morning to assess the damage and offer relief to the displaced. The President was also scheduled to visit the Eastern Province which was most affected by the floods but had to postpone the visit owing to bad weather. President Rajapaksa yesterday instructed Essential Services Commissioner General to gather all available resources to more..

Faculties in Rajarata Uni closed due to prevailing weather

Jan 13 (SL) The administration of the Rajarata University in the North Central Province has decided to close several faculties in the university due to the prevailing weather conditions. Registrar of the University, A. G. Karunaratne has said that three faculties in the university located in Mihinthale have been closed till Monday. The faculties that have been closed are the Social Science, Management and Applied Science faculties. more..

A new Commander for the Navy

Jan 13 (LT) It is reported that Rear Admiral S. Dissanayake, Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy has been appointed as the Navy Commander with effect from 15th January by the Secretary of Defense Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Earlier it was reported that current Navy Commander Thisara Samarasinghe had been promoted to the rank of Admiral with effect from today. He will retire on 15th January after completing a period of a year and half as the Commander. more..

White flag case: For. Chief Magistrate testifies

Jan 13 (DM) Former Colombo Chief Magistrate Ms. Champa Janaki Rajaratna testifying before the Trial at bar at the Colombo High Court today said the note book of Frederica Jansz that contained notes in respect of the White flag case had blank pages and two pages of it were found torn leaving a one inch piece of the pages in tack with the note book. She also said the note book was not in present appearance when it was handed over to the Magistrate Court. more..

Police torture as an indicator of the constitutional degradation of Rule of Law

Jan 13 (LG) Sri Lankan citizens are protected against torture and arbitrary arrest in sections 11, 12 and 13 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka. In addition Sri Lanka has ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and Cruel and Inhuman Treatment in 1994. While the legislation is there, the effectuation is not. The gap between the rights set out on paper and the daily practice at the police stations is tremendous. more..

Another perspective on War Crimes allegations

Jan 13 (LG) According to one view Ban Ki-Moon had no business to appoint that UN Panel of Advisors as it did not have the sanction of the Security Council, the General Assembly, or any other UN body. According to another view he was well within his rights because the appointment of the Panel was an internal affair of the UN office, which was therefore something on which the UNSG could legitimately exercise his discretion. more..

He heals fractures &pPains

Jan 13 (Cimic) All religious doctrines advocates that treating and curing the sick is noble and meritorious. Lord Buddha preached that attending to sick people is similar to paying homage to Lord Buddha himself. King Buddhadasa of ancient Sri Lanka was famous for his art of curing not only ailing people but ailing animals. In days of yore, Vedamahattaya (indigenous doctor) was one of the most prominent and respected village figures in our country. more..

Major matters - mini and the minister

Jan 13 (LG) How predictable can we get? Almost everybody I know who cared to comment, predicted that I will be writing about miniskirts this week. And you ask me how they got that one right? The answer can be traced to what somebody said about the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. “As long as they are in power, there will be something to write on.” So thanks for that. The war is over and the scribes must have fodder, and somebody has raised his hand and volunteered. more..

Tamil Eelam out of India?

Jan 13 (LG) The seeds of Tamil separatism were sown by the European Christian missionaries, the moment they landed on Madras, Tranquebar, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Pondicherry four centuries ago. Later it extended to Sri Lanka also. The missionaries deliberately identified the Tamils as a separate “Dravidian Race”,which concept was fully utilised by the ‘Justice Party’ in the early twentieth century, although a Christian convert by name John Rathinam founded more..

Postcard from Sri Lanka: After the War

The power and glory of Jayalath Jayawardena

Jan 13 (LG) Let me come right out and declare it: the fact that I totally disagree with my former pupil Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena MP’s politics does not prevent me from celebrating his entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. He combines in high degree amiability, power and glory. Even like me, the vast majority of my former pupils have found satisfaction in comfortable existence, responsible parenting and conscientious discharge of assigned duty. more..

Local Government Polls, Testing the Unity Claims

Jan 13 (DM) The local govt elections are to be here again. Unnoticed by most and unacknowledged by the polity, it is testing time for their inherent claims to unity as parties and groups, performance and past records. There is contemporary history to contend with. Shoring up a parliamentary majority in the interregnum notwithstanding, President Mahinda Rajapaksa won the local govt polls in March 2006, but without the JVP ally of the time in the Govt. more..