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Sunday December 20th, 2009


TNA faces rebellion over Tamil candidate
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), saddled with an internal rebellion after its leader R. Sampanthan and two others went to Vienna last Sunday without a decision...

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Aitken Spence wants to make up with Chinese partner
Despite a recent outburst by business tycoon Harry Jayewardena who controls the blue chip conglomerate Aitken Spence, against its lead Chinese partner in the new Colombo South Harbour...

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Restrictions on A-9 to be eased as hundreds get stranded in Vavuniya each day
Travelling restrictions on the A-9 Highway will be further relaxed next week allowing buses to ply between Vavuniya and Jaffna up to 7:30 p.m. after it was...

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“You can count on me”

“My brother Arjuna may have gone to the other side, but you can count on me,” appears to be the soothing words conveyed by Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga to President Rajapaksa at his inaugural election rally in Anuradhapura Friday. Seated in the Centre and listening to the good news is North Central Province Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake

(Pic by Ishara S. Kodikara)

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No business like monitoring business
A scam as big, or bigger than the one discovered at the Free Media Movement late last year, is now coming to light at the election monitoring body PAFFREL.

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SLFP in Jaffna after 30 years
In a move to establish democracy all over the country, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) opened a party office in Jaffna after 30 years.
The first SLFP office opened in Jaffna in 1971, but the office had to be shut down a few years...

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German Parliament rejects HR resolution against Sri Lanka
The Human Rights commission of the German Parliament rejected a petition last Wednesday tabled by the alternative party presently in the opposition, the Bündnis90/The Greens.

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NEWS

Defence Secretary claims Rs. 1 bn for defamation
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Attorney at Law Sanath Wijewardane has sent a letter of demand for one billion rupees from The Sunday Leader newspaper Chairman Lal Wickramatunga and Editor Fredrica Jansz as damages for publishing two defamatory articles of the Defence Secretary on December 6 and December 12, 2009.
The Attorney-at-Law pointed out that the District Court of Mount Lavinia had ordered The Sunday Leader to be restrained in publishing such news in two cases filed by Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

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Crime Log
Mulleriyawa
A girl and her mother were killed yesterday in Mulleriyawa by an unknown group, according to the information received by the Police.
News was received by the Mulleriyawa Police yesterday morning at 5:45 a.m. through the 119 message centre in relation to a murdered girl. The girl was killed almost 200 metres away from the Moragas Junction.
The Police have then started investigations by taking the dead body to the Mulleriyawa Hospital.
While the Police were investigating the above incident, news was received again by the Mulleriyawa Police regarding a stabbing. According to Police sources, the stabbed victim was identified as the murdered girl’s mother. The mother was stabbed inside her residence in Himbutu-Uyana.

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Massive USD 182Mn WB loan approved
The World Bank has announced a USD 182 million loan to help Sri Lanka. It is to assist in rebuilding the Northern Province affected by the terrorist conflict. The bank said in a statement that one loan package for USD 105 million will go to rebuild major roads linking the North and East in the island.
Another tranche for USD 77 million is “designed to support the return of 100,000 Internally Displaced Persons to their places of origin in the Northern Province. It will also help restore their livelihoods destroyed by the three decades of the terrorist conflict.

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Rich, ‘fishy’ dividends
Local fishermen in the North and East have seen rich dividends from their industry as a result of fishing restrictions being lifted at the end of the drawn out war. The Sri Lanka Navy has taken several steps to assist local fishing communities uplift their industry.
Recently the Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe met with representatives of the Fishing Societies of the Trincomalee area to discuss their industry concerns. Similarly other navy personnel constantly meet with fisheries society leaders in order to facilitate the fishing industry and to expedite administrative issues encountered in fishermen’s daily work.

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1,600 Lankans receive priority Canadian visas
The Government of Canada has expedited the processing of applications for approximately 1,600 people from Sri Lanka in an effort to help them reunite with families in Canada, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said today.
The humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka prompted the Government of Canada to begin expediting the processing of new and existing sponsorship applications in June 2009 for Sri Lankans who were directly and significantly affected.

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New student visa appointment email addresses in Sri Lanka
From Monday December 21, 2009 customers who wish to submit student visa applications at the visa application centre in Colombo are required to make a prior appointment.
If you would like to make an appointment please send your request between 08:00 am and 03:00 pm Monday to Friday to: ukstudentcolombo@vfshelpline.com
You can find further information about making an appointment at www.vfs-uk-lk.com. Please email only if you hold a valid Visa Acceptance Letter.

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POLITICS

The TNA factor in a two-way race
Now, it is official: Nominations closed for Sri Lanka’s sixth presidential elections on Thursday (17), and 22 contestants are in the fray, although, in reality, the race is between incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his main rival, the United National Front (UNF) sponsored General Sarath Fonseka, officially contesting from the New Democratic Front (NDF).
The days that preceded the nominations saw a flurry of political activity: United National Party (UNP) Parliamentarians Johnston Fernando and Indika Bandaranayaka announcing their ‘support’ to President Rajapaksa and Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) stalwart and former World Cup winning cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga doing likewise for General Fonseka.

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General Sarath Fonseka’s statement creates a furore
A sensational statement made by common opposition candidate General (retired) Sarath Fonseka during an interview he had had with The Sunday Leader last Sunday has created a furor not only in the political circles but also in the entire country.
The Sunday Leader in this interview quoted General Fonseka as saying that during the final stage of the war three LTTE leaders B. Nadesan, Pulidevan and Ramesh approached the troops for surrendering with white flags held aloft and they were shot dead by the army on orders issued by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

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NEWS FEATURES

All set for Presidential polls - 2010
It is election time again! If we told someone about the number of elections we’ve had over the past few years, and asked them to guess how big this country was, they would probably mistake this tiny island of 65,525 square kilometres for being as big as the United States of America spanning a multitude of states, cities and counties.
However, few other elections would have garnered as much enthusiasm as the one that we will see taking place on January 26, 2010. There is an unprecedented 22 candidates contesting in the 2010 Presidential election. After three decades the country is rid from the menace of terrorism, and this is the first real opportunity the public gets to decide how they want a terror free Sri Lanka to be ruled.

Full Story

Opinion polls and elections
Our past experience about elections in Sri Lanka confirms that there was hardly anything that parties and candidates did not exploit for their advantage. On the eve of elections, the incumbents in high postings often remember to offer government jobs, pay hikes to the people who they think are their potential voter bases. Since independence every party and its candidates exploited the government’s food-rations and other welfare programmes shamelessly to expand their voter bases. In addition, parties always try to make an impression that they are certainly winning the upcoming election assuming that the victory vibes would attract the ‘floating voters’ towards them.

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On Sarath Fonseka’s tongue-twisting dilemmas
Human beings are imperfect creatures, and part of the imperfection lies in the inability to recognise this truth. People just don’t want to acknowledge that they are not all-powerful, that they are flawed and fallible. They want to believe that their heroes are without blemish and incapable of error. What’s saddest is that humility, which is the salve of correction, is seen as flaw and not virtue.
I am thinking of Sarath Fonseka. He was cast as saviour, deliverer, messiah and other roles that human beings are really not very adept at playing.

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SPORTS

Sanga ‘proud’ of team
Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara was full of praise for his side after they produced a “great effort” to level the one-day series at 1-1 with India on Friday.
India overcame a poor start to post a total of 301-7 in Nagpur thanks to a century from skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
However the Sri Lankans, who lost the series opener having just failed to chase down 414, managed to reach their target with three wickets to spare.

Full Story

Lanka gears up for 2011
World Cup

Suraj Dandeniya is not a name synonymous with Sri Lanka cricket. Dandeniya played cricket for S Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia 1975/76 and for SSC under the leadership of former Sri Lanka captain Anura Tennekoon in 1977/78 before leaving for the USA to pursue a career in banking. He comes from a cricketing family and according to him he has enough cricketing knowledge and experience to undertake the job of Tournament Director of ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.

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The making of a perfect pitch (Point Blank)
What makes a perfect pitch for a One-Day International (ODI)?
Ask the curator at Rajkot, venue of the first ODI between Sri Lanka and India which produced the second highest aggregate in one-day cricket – 825 runs for 15 wickets off 100 overs and pure excitement right upto the very last ball.

Full Story

Lanka leaves for South Africa
After two successful series the Sri Lanka under-19s left for Johannesburg, South Africa last night to participate in a Tri-Nation series along with hosts South Africa and defending champions India which will begin next Sunday (December 27).

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INTERVIEWS

Defence Secy did not order me to fire on those coming holding white flags aloft –
Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva

The Nation speaks to Director, Military Operations Major General Shavendra Silva in the context of allegations being made that the ground troops during the last stages of the war executed LTTE leaders who approached them with white flags held aloft. Gen. Silva led the most successful 58 Division (former Task Force II) which recaptured from the LTTE, the most amount of territory, starting from Mannar Rice Bowl to Pooneryn and then across to Mullaitivu, the last holdout of the enemy
Q:
The allegation that the Sri Lanka Army shot dead a group of LTTE leaders who had come forward carrying white flags which was bandied about sometime ago has been raised again. We would like you, as a military officer who played an active role in the war on terrorism, to comment on this allegation.
A:
I can speak only on behalf of the Division 58. I can categorically say that we never received a report saying that a group of white flag carrying LTTE leaders were gunned down by the troops.

Full Story

“Whole world now behind Fonseka”
Veteran UNP strongman John Amaratunga, who, in the past, has held such important portfolios as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Interior, says the whole world is now behind Sarath Fonseka, since he started speaking out And the serious accusations levelled against Fonseka in the past, were made by individual MPs, not by the UNP as a whole
Q:
The UNP is the biggest political party in the country, with a massive talent base, but then, why did it resort to the extreme measure of fielding a total outsider?

Full Story

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