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Sri Lanka post-war tourism prospects lures India's SpiceJet

Oct 10 (LBO) Indian budget carrier SpiceJet, which has launched daily flights to Sri Lanka to exploit the island's post-war tourism prospects, intends to increase frequencies and add more destinations soon. The airline, India's second largest budget carrier, is offering introductory fares as low 999 Indian rupees one way to Colombo from Chennai for some early bookings, with meals having to be bought on board. more..

Sri Lanka state sell-down proposals spell new direction

Oct 10 (LBO) Planned sell-downs of two state enterprises charts a new direction in Sri Lanka's post-war economic strategy that can make state firms more transparent and also boost capital markets, analysts said. Chairman of SriLankan Airlines Nishantha Wickramasinghe, said the firm was doing preliminary work on a possible listing of a part of SriLankan Catering, a profitable unit that runs a flight kitchen for the parent firm and more..

Editorial: No one is above the law

Oct 10 (SO) The UNP and the JVP have hit rock bottom in party politics after the UPFA Government passed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution with a majority of 144 votes. This was the biggest victory in the country's legislature. Never before in Sri Lanka's parliamentary history did a Government obtain such a thumping majority in getting a Bill or an Amendment passed. During the debate, yet another group of UNP MPs joined the Government, more..

'President’s open invitation to TNA stands'

Oct 10 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s open invitation to the TNA to meet him still stands. Therefore, party leaders should take an initiative to meet President Rajapaksa to discuss matters relating to the resettlement of IDPs and development projects for them instead of expressing misgivings over the non-receipt of a written invitation, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga told the Sunday Observer. more..

Editorial: Mental health and national progress

Oct 10 (Island) The news that 25 percent of the local population or one in four Sri Lankans suffers from some kind of mental ailment, should cause grave concern all around. That Sri Lanka has a high mental ill health toll was always known, but it perhaps was never suspected that the problem was growing to alarming proportions and some revelations made in this regard a couple of days back by the National Council for Mental Health, more..

Editorial: Opposition abdicating its duty

Oct 10 (NS) The ruling UPFA led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa enacted the 18th amendment to the Constitution over a month ago. At that time, there was high drama over the issue with the government being accused of engineering crossovers from the Opposition using various means to ensure the safe passage of the amendment. This amendment may have its advantages and disadvantages. The government may have its own motives for implementing it at this stage. more..

'Anoma misguided by JVP and UNP'

Oct 10 (NS) Q: The talk of the political rounds these days is former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. In your opinion, should he be entitled for a presidential pardon? A: Sarath Fonseka was sent to prison as a result of him being proven guilty in connection with the Hicorp deal. Even though Fonseka says various things about the bench of judges of the court martial not being competent there is no basis for that argument. more..

Editorial: Pardon me, but....

Oct 10 (LB) The issue of the power of pardon has come up in quick succession twice within the space of two weeks. It has come up with regard to retired General Sarath Fonseka, now serving a prison sentence having been tried at a Court Martial. The issue had also come up at least by implication with regard to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) alleging that Sri Lanka continues to detain at least 8000 Tamil Tiger suspects without trial, more..

Lanka’s general crisis

Oct 10 (NS) For the past week, the focus of attention has been the incarceration of Sarath Fonseka, former Army Commander and Chief of Defence Staff and unsuccessful candidate at the January presidential elections this year. With President Mahinda Rajapaksa confirming Fonseka’s jail sentence late last week as one of the first duties he performed after returning from New York where he addressed the UN General Assembly, Fonseka went to jail at the Welikada prison where more..

'President must say sorry to Fonseka'

Oct 10 (NS) Q: You seem to be reawakened politically with the imprisonment of former army commander Sarath Fonseka as it provided plenty of slogans. Some even question the genuineness of these protest campaigns. What have you got to say about these? A: The government of Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot solve any of the burning issues in the country at present. The cost of living is sky rocketing, unemployment is increasing and more..

'Ranil did not consult my husband' – Anoma Fonseka

Oct 10 (SL) Anoma Fonseka vehemently refuted statements made by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe that he had consulted with her husband, jailed former MP Sarath Fonseka before sending a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa seeking his release. “I won’t go so far as to say he is lying,” Anoma Fonseka told The Sunday Leader asserting however that Wickremesinghe had never consulted with her husband before writing to the President. more..

JVP internal revolt against Fonseka support

Oct 10 (LB) The JVP is facing an internal revolt over the party’s continuous support for former army commander, Sarath Fonseka, LAKBIMAnEWS learns. A number of JVP ground level leaders have left the party in protest against the party’s support of the former army commander, whom party cadres now accuse of being culpable in extra judicial killings of JVP cadres during the uprising in ’88-’89, an inside party source said. more..

'Mr President, please let Fonseka go'

Oct 10 (LB) Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera expressed optimism that President Mahinda Rajapaksa, being the sensitive leader that he is, will shortly pardon the imprisoned Sarath Fonseka in consideration of the role he played last year in ridding the country of the LTTE. Ven. Sobitha Thera urged the president to forget all other crimes or faults committed by the former four-star general and to release him from incarceration. more..

Virginity test saga continues

Oct 10 (SL) The Inter University Student’s Federation (IUSF) is challenging Vice Chancellor, Sri Jayewardenepura University, L.N.A. Karunaratne to take legal action against the student’s federation if they have fabricated the ‘Virginity Test’ story as claimed by him. Convener, IUSF, Udul Premaratne queried why the Vice Chancellor does not go before court if the IUSF has ‘tarnished’ his good name and challenged Karunaratne to prove that what has been highlighted is incorrect. more..

EPF, ETF to carry ID numbers soon

Oct 10 (SO) The number in the National Identity Cards (NICs) of 8.5 million workers in the country will be used for the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and the Employees Trust Fund (ETF) under the re-registration project to be implemented by the Labour Department shortly. Labour Ministry Secretary Mahinda Madihahewa told the Sunday Observer that this decision was taken following numerous complaints by employees, more..

World record tea cup in Sri Lanka

Oct 10 (BBC) One of the world’s main tea producing countries – Sri Lanka – has just become the scene for a new world record, certified by the Guinness company: the largest ever cup of tea to be made anywhere in the world. BBC Colombo correspondent, Charles Haviland saw the brew being cooked up in Colombo on Satuday. It was much too big a cup to involve anyone “putting the kettle on”. more..

Angry flak over MP’s `roti’ remark

Oct 10 (Island) A recent remark by UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera that the supposed tourism boom that the country is enjoying is no more than the propaganda of government spin doctors has drawn angry flak from the government. The Kurunegala district MP told a recent public meeting that most of the tourists coming here are low budget Indian visitors who were using electric irons in their hotel rooms to bake roti. more..

Shivajilingam hints at fresh Tamil alliance

Oct 10 (NS) The formation of a another Tamil parties alliance cannot be ruled out in the future, Tamil National Liberation Alliance (TNLA) Leader and former MP M K Shivajilingam said. Several Tamil political parties recently formed the Tamil Political Parties Forum (TPPF) with the intention of voicing the concerns of the Tamil people after the completion of the war. “The TPPF was formed by the parties in order to form a common programme for more..

'If my husband continues to remain in prison I will take over political mantle in his name'

Oct 10 (TC) In an emotionally wracked interview with The Sunday Leader Anoma Fonseka, wife of the imprisoned former Army Chief and decorated war hero Sarath Fonseka bared her feelings and the terrific trauma she is undergoing as her husband she says remains a political prisoner. A victim of revenge, vengeance and hate. Q: In hindsight do you now regret your husband Sarath Fonseka having decided to enter politics? more..

Trading democracy for peace?

Oct 10 (JT) Regarding the anonymous Oct. 3 letter "What's so bad about Rajapaksa?": In Sri Lanka, opinion is polarized along an urban-rural and an ethnic divide. For the rural Sinhala people, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is a hero, a hark back to the ancient kings who, riding battle elephants, fought off invading South Indian armies to reunite the island. It was the Sinhala people who bore the brunt of the social costs of the past conflict. more..

Editorial: Democracy and duplicity

Oct 10 (ST) If a just, free and fair society has prevailed in the world so far, it is democracy that has played a key role in sustaining it. The essential features of democracy include representative government, judicial and media freedom, human rights and the rule of law, transparency and accountability and continuing moves towards the more equitable distribution of wealth and resources among the people. more..

JVP internal revolt against Fonseka support

Oct 10 (LB) The JVP is facing an internal revolt over the party’s continuous support for former army commander, Sarath Fonseka, LAKBIMAnEWS learns. A number of JVP ground level leaders have left the party in protest against the party’s support of the former army commander, whom party cadres now accuse of being culpable in extra judicial killings of JVP cadres during the uprising in ’88-’89, an inside party source said. more..

Mervyn refuses to give details of Lasantha’s killers

Oct 10 (SL) Following Deputy Highways Minister Mervyn Silva’s statement to a private TV channel on Wednesday, October 6 that he has evidence as to who killed the Founder Editor in Chief of The Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunge, we got in touch with him. But Silva refused to meet The Sunday Leader and release the “evidence” he claims to have. more..

Opposition pulls in different directions over Fonseka

Oct 10 (Island) Efforts to save defeated presidential candidate DNA leader Sarath Fonseka is in tatters with Opposition political parties pulling in different directions. The government moved Fonseka to Welikada prison on September 30 to serve a 30-month term of RI after President Mahinda Rajapaksa endorsed the recommendation of a military tribunal. more..

Spotlight on ‘porn queens’

Oct 10 (NS) The Police Women’s and Children’s Bureau (WCB) has collected pornographic pictures and videos of over 360 Sri Lankan women from various websites which are yet to be sorted and catalogued. A WCB spokesperson said that once they have finished examining these pictures they will be able to identify women who keep repeatedly appearing in such videos and pictures. more..

Car duty speculation fills Customs yards

Oct 10 (Island) The clearing of motor vehicles from the Sri Lanka Customs yard in the Colombo port witnessed a dramatic drop since early this month as importers banked on another duty reduction following speculation that there’s more good news in the pipeline. With stories doing the rounds that the import duty on vehicles will see another drastic dip either in the days to come or during next month’s budget, more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa to attend Commonwealth Game’s closing ceremony

Oct 10 (Island) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will attend the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games (CWC) now being held here, informed sources told The Sunday Island here today. He will arrive here on October 14 by a special SriLankan airlines flight in time for the closing ceremony of the 19th edition of the CWC, which will take place at the magnificent Jawahahlal Nehru Stadium. more..

US trade delegation to visit Jaffna

Oct 10 (Island) The 50-member US delegation participating in the US – Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks are expected to visit Jaffna on Tuesday. Governor of the Northern Province Maj. Gen. (Retd) G. A. Chandrasiri said the visiting US business delegation will be ceremonially welcomed by Minister Douglas Devananda, District Secretary Mrs Emelda Sukumar and the Mayoress of Jaffna more..

No more extensions: 12,000 public servants must retire this year

Oct 10 (ST) The Government has decided that state-sector employees, including the security forces, will not be allowed to work beyond 60 years of age, Public Administration Minister John Seneviratne said yesterday. The move would mean that as estimated 12,000 public servants who reach the age of 60 this year will not be able to continue in service after December 31. more..

Fonseka in jail: Confusion and conflicts

Oct 10 (ST) The success of former General Sarath Fonseka, who led troops to military defeat of Tiger guerrillas, became the strong glue that bonded major opposition political parties together. Bitter opponents for decades hugged each other in a rare display of unity. Fonseka became their celebrated presidential candidate. Now the former General and war hero is a convict. He has already served 23 days of a 30-month sentence. more..

JVP: SF cannot lose parliamentary seat

Oct 11 (SL) The JVP today (10) said the party was committedd to safeguarding the parliamentary seat of former Army Commander and DNA Leader Sarath Fonseka. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told a press conference today that the party and the DNA did not accept that Fonseka has lost his seat due to the imprisonment and that Fonseka’s lawyers would file two petitions on the matter to courts tomorrow (11) – a writ application before the Appeal Court and a more..

Jordanian police teargas striking Lankans

Oct 11 (AD) The Jordanian police had resorted to the use of tear gas to quell an unruly protest by Sri Lankans at a factory there today, said the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE). Though the initial work stoppage by around 3,000 Sri Lankan workers in the Jordanian factory had been called off, a dispute this morning had created a tense atmosphere. The work stoppage had begun as a result of a clash between the Sri Lankans and a group of Indonesian workers in the factory. more..

Boxer Wanniarachchi ends Sri Lanka’s 60-year wait

Oct 11 (AFP) Manju Wanniarachchi on Sunday guaranteed Sri Lanka its first Commonwealth Games medal in boxing in 60 years after easing through to the semifinals on points. The 30-year-old saw off Kenya’s Nicholas Okoth in the bantamweight quarter-finals, putting him through to the last four and a guaranteed bronze. “This is Sri Lanka’s first boxing medal since 1950, so this is great for us. It is historic,” more..

Are long-distance bus travellers in for some relief at last?

Oct 11 (NF) Commuters on long distance travel on public transport have been raising their concerns about the standards of places where buses stop for a brief rest. The majority of complaints are on the quality of food available. Accordingly, the Public Health Inspectors' Association has decided to launch a special programme to look into the quality of food that is being sold at those outlets. Long distance buses stop on their way to a destination, more..

Silencing Sri Lanka's anti-Govt voice

Oct 11 (BBC) In Sri Lanka this year it has well and truly been a case of the mighty falling, as the man that led the military to victory against the Tamil Tigers found himself placed in detention swiftly after losing his bid to oust Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential election in January. Ten days ago it got worse for the former general Sarath Fonseka as he began a 30 month jail sentence in one of Colombo’s most notorious prisons for using nepotism in purchasing military supplies. more..

'When the country is developed, prices of goods go up'

Oct 11 (NF) “When the country is being developed, prices of goods increase,” says Dilan Perera, Deputy Minister of Public Administration. Expressing his views addressing a convention of the Gampaha District Grama Niladhari Officers held at the Negombo Urban Council auditorium yesterday, he said that increasing salaries and reducing price of goods could not be done simultaneously. more..

Dayasiri responds to Tissa

Oct 11 (SL) UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara has responded to the call for explanation by party General Secretary Tissa Attanayake. Jayasekara received two letters from Attanayake calling for explanations for allegedly writing to a Sinhala daily newspaper, contradicting a report that the Party’s Working Committee had decided to take action against seven dissident MPs for voting in favour of the 18th Amendment and more..

Diaspora Tamils contributing towards tourism boom in Sri Lanka

Oct 11 (LG) Large influx of Diaspora Tamils post defeat of the LTTE is contributing towards tourism boom in Sri Lanka. The Diaspora Tamils are visiting Sri Lanka for various reasons. Some are visiting to see their kith and kin and some to deal with their property matters. The Hindu temples festival season also has attracted large numbers of Tamils to the north. The infamous Nallur annual festival has attracted thousands who were longing to more..

Caring for the mind

Oct 11 (NS) As a result of several psycho-social factors operating in the country over the last two decades, the incidents of mental illnesses have accelerated rapidly. Despite having moved from tertiary level care to secondary level care, mental health services in Sri Lanka still remain largely centralised, failing to reach out to the majority of such population in need of mental health care. more..

Sri Lanka Guardian: Weekend Review

Oct 11 (LG) Sarath Fonseka’s prison term dominated the editorials and political comments this weekend. Fonseka’s situation was presented as one of the ill treatment of a hero rather than of a citizen who has been wronged. Fonseka was chosen as a common candidate of the opoosition and his own convictions led him accepting that invitation. His political campaign was based on promise of abolition of the executive presidential system and ending corruption. more..

Victims evidence to LLRC not published in the English media in Sri Lanka

Oct 11 (LG) The Tamil website ‘’ has published some of the evidences to the Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) by the wife’s of the missing victims. Mrs Joseph Mary Sahayamani, the wife of the Batticaloa Municipal Council member has cried ‘If my husband is not released by the army, I and my children will set fire and commit suicide’. Councillor Sahamani was allegedly kidnapped by the army in Batticaloa and being incarcerated in the camp. more..

This submissive and biased media with ‘SF’

Oct 11 (SL) For some urbanites, agitating against the verdict of the second court martial, the verdict in the now popularly referred to “white flag” case against former General Fonseka, is already written in the Hulftsdorp walls. If Fonseka can not be unseated from parliament on the second court martial verdict consented to and signed by President Rajapaksa, on the basis that military courts don’t fall within the law that unseats a MP sentenced to more..

Disregard for the rule of law vs the absurd application of rules and regulations

Oct 11 (SL) The horrendous damage caused by the torrential rain that parts of the Central Province experienced on the first days of October, brought home, very forcefully, the practical implications of the laws of the land being observed in the breach as well as the absurd application of government rules and regulations. I live in the watershed of one of the primary feeder streams of the Deduru Oya. more..

If Fonseka dies in prison he will not only be a military hero but also a political martyr

Oct 11 (TC) The President keeps insisting that the family of Sarath Fonseka must ask for a pardon and his release. But that would be an admission of guilt. But he does not think he is guilty nor do many other people who have rallied around his cause. Does the law demand confession? Doesn’t he have a right to act according to his conscience? The US Government as well as liberal opinion wanted Sarath Fonseka to be tried by the civilian courts which more..

LLRC: Submission by Manik de Silva, President of the Editors Guild

Oct 11 (GV) Manik de Silva is the most senior and longest-serving Editor of an English newspaper in Sri Lanka. Presently the Editor of the Sunday Island, Manik was also a former Editor of the Daily News and is currently the President of the Editors Guild. Manik’s testimony to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) on 13th September 2010 covers, inter alia, the nature of media censorship during the war, more..

Editorial: The unforgiving vs the unyielding

Oct 11 (Island) The government insists that a presidential pardon cannot be granted to former Army Chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka in prison, unless a request to that effect is made by either him or one of his family members. Gen. Fonseka has categorically stated that he does not want a pardon as he has done nothing wrong. His stand runs counter to the Opposition's demand. The government asks the Opposition how it could demand a presidential pardon for more..

Editorial: Diaspora group lands Fonseka in trouble

Oct 11 (DM) It was quite interesting to note how some die hard supporters of Sarath Fonseka on cyber space went on the defensive the moment a story broke that the Canadian Tamil diaspora - generally known to be strong sympathizers of the LTTE - have called for the release of the former Army Commander. 'The treatment of the former military chief shows how cruelly this government has treated its opponents, including Tamils. more..

'Young MPs make valuable contribution in Parliament'

Oct 11 (SO) Chandima Weerakkody is a young MP and senior lawyer from the Galle district in the Southern Province. He hails from a family which could rightfully boast close relations with political stalwarts such as Amarasiri Dodangoda and Richard Pathirana. Here he speaks of his childhood and his entry into politics in an interview with the Sunday Observer. I started my career as an Attorney-at-Law in 1994 and more..

Kelaniya university students stage protest over hostel facilities

Oct 11 (NF) Students of the Kelaniya University staged a protest this morning in front of the university demanding solutions for their problems. Daya Weerakkody, President of the university's student federation said the main reason for the agitation was the male hostel facilities. He said the agitation campaign will continue until a solution is provided. Commenting on the issue, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Sarath Amunugama rejected the allegations of students. more..

The Inspiring Influence of India on Sri Lanka

Oct 11 (TC) When we refer to the interaction of India and Sri Lanka in whatever field, we assume that India and Sri Lanka are two separate countries, but there was a time in the distant past when India and Sri Lanka were a single land mass. Even today after the land mass has split, the distance between India and Sri Lanka is only 22 miles. That is the full distance of the Palk Strait. In earlier ages when transport and communications between countries and contacts were minimal, more..