SRILANKA TODAY

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Five Sri Lankan artists honoured
with BUNKA (CULTURAL) AWARDS
The 16th Bunka (Cultural) Awards organized by the Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund was held on Sunday 8th November 2009 at the Lionel Wendt Theatre Colombo 07. Picture:L to R : Ms. Jayani Senanayake, Mr. Lakshman Joseph de Saram, Mr. Kasun Kalhara Jayawardhana, Mr. Abdul Rahim Noorul Ameerkhan, Mr. Prasannajith Abeysuriya, Hon. Mr. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Minister of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, Mr. Kaoru Shimazaki, Chargé d’ affaires, Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka and Mr. Yoshiaki Kato, Co-Chairperson of the Selection Committee of the Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund The Bunka Awards are presented annually by the Fund, which was established in 1993, on the initiative of the Japanese Solidarity Association and the Japanese Commerce and Industry Association in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan. For the past fifteen years 88 such awards have been presented to mid-career individuals and organizations on the basis of their creative activities in culture and the arts, in order to encourage and promote individual and collective talent in these fields in Sri Lanka.

This year the following five mid-career Sri Lankan artists received the prestigious Bunka (Cultural) Awards.

· Mr. Prasannajith Abeysuriya - Drama & Film
· Mr. Abdul Rahim Noorul Ameerkhan - Music
· Mr. Kasun Kalhara Jayawardhana - Music
· Mr. Lakshman Joseph de Saram - Music
· Ms. Jayani Senanayake - Drama & Film

Hon. Mr. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Minister of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage graced the occasion as Chief Guest while Mr. Yoshiaki Kato, Co-Chairperson of the Selection Committee of the Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund, Mr. Kaoru Shimazaki, Chargé d’ affaires, Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka and a distinguished gathering of invitees including several Sri Lankan cultural artists were also present on this occasion.

Apart from the performances and presentations by the award winners, the highlight of the ceremony was a special guest performance by the Sri Lanka-Japan Joint String Quartet featuring Sri Lankan and Japanese musicians, Mr. Ananda Kithsiri Dabare, (Violin), Mr. Satish Casie Chetty (Violin), Mr. Shogo Kanamori (Viola) and Mr. Shinichi Murata (Violoncello), who entertained the audience with some fabulous Western and Japanese music.
More: http://www.lk.emb-japan.go.jp

People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE)

PLOTE to Back Rajapaksa in Presidential Election

By Anuradha K. Herath for http://www.srilankanewsnetwork.com/
The leader of the People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) will support President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the upcoming presidential election.
PLOTE leader Dharmalingam Sithadthan made the official declaration to support Rajapaksa in an exclusive interview at the PLOTE headquarters Thursday evening.
“We will be working with (the president) for elections,” says Sithadthan. “One thing is the political experience. Personally I believe (President Rajapaksa) is going to win. A large number of people believe that he is going to win.”
There were indications early on that PLOTE would be supporting the government. But Sithadthan made the official statement only after learning that the working committee of the United National Party (UNP) endorsed former general Sarath Fonseka as its common presidential candidate early Thursday afternoon.
More:http://www.srilankanewsnetwork.com/
Sri Lanka denied next Commonwealth summit

Sri Lanka has lost its bid to host the next Commonwealth heads of government meeting after members raised objections over the treatment of its Tamil minority. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Commonwealth nations agreed Sri Lanka should not hold the biennial meeting in 2011, but could host in 2013.
Australia will host the 2011 meeting of the 54 Commonwealth nations. Harper told reporters today at the meeting in Trinidad and Tobago that the delay will give Sri Lanka time to improve conditions.
Read More:http://www.zeenews.com/news583235.html

LTTE carders fleeing Sri Lanka via India

LTTE carders fleeing Sri Lanka via India

New Delhi:www.dnaindia.com report
The decimation of the LTTE in Sri Lanka has given a big push to illegal immigration involving Sri Lankan Tamils in India. There is a sudden spurt in Sri Lankan Tamils illegally crossing over to India to take a flight abroad. Agents have kept apace by doubling fees for passports and visa.

Investigators believe most Sri Lankans trying to cross-over to western shores via India are LTTE cadres or sympathizers. Airport authorities have caught at least 40 Sri Lankan Tamils trying to take such flights from Indian airports.
In a latest case at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport on November 16, Rajan Kumar was stopped from boarding an Air India flight to New York, after the US visa on his passport drew suspicion. The regional passport office in Hyderabad had purportedly issued the passport.
But close scrutiny showed the passport was fake. It would have gone down as another case of illegal immigration had Rajan not told investigators he was a Sri Lankan Tamil who had illegally crossed over to India.
Read More:http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_ltte-cadres-fleeing-sri-lanka-via-india_1318172

Sri Lanka Inflation Accelerates, Leaving Less Room for Rate Cut

Sri Lanka Inflation Accelerates, Leaving Less Room for Rate Cut
(Bloomberg) --
Sri Lanka’s inflation accelerated to a six-month high, suggesting the central bank may have less room to keep cutting interest rates.
Consumer prices in the capital, Colombo, rose 2.8 percent in November from a year earlier after gaining 1.4 percent in October, the statistics agency said on its Web site today.
Faster inflation may scuttle the central bank’s plans to boost credit demand and drive the economy’s recovery after the end of the island’s 26-year civil war. Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Nivard Cabraal has slashed interest rates to a five- year low to spur spending and make up for slowing exports.
“We expect policy makers to keep rates on hold through 2010 as inflationary pressures mount,” said Samantha Amerasinghe, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Colombo.


Britan proposes Sri lanka to host Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)-2013

Britain proposes Sri Lanka to host Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)- 2013

Sri Lanka as the host for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 was endorsed on a proposal made by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the CHOGM held in Trinidad & Tobago from 27 – 29 November 2009. Since Australia and Mauritius had also offered to be host, Prime Minister Brown had pointed out that all three countries are equally qualified and it was decided by the Commonwealth Heads of Government that they host the 2011 and 2015 CHOGMs respectively. The endorsement of Sri Lanka by the entire membership of the Commonwealth singularly demonstrates the recognition of Sri Lanka’s adherence to the Commonwealth values and principles with the country being one of the most vibrant democracies.
Sri Lanka has been associated with the Commonwealth from its very inception by being a signatory to the London Declaration of 1949. Sri Lanka has been actively involved in the activities of the Commonwealth and therefore is no stranger to the hosting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Meetings and workshops. It would be recalled that in the recent past Sri Lanka has hosted the Commonwealth Ministerial Meetings on Finance and Youth.
Sri Lanka was closely engaged with the process of compiling the final Communiqué. In this context, its contribution in the areas of terrorism, climate change, reform of international institutions, illegal migration, disarmament etc were adequately reflected in the final Communiqué.
Sri Lanka has been a member of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) since 2003 unprecedentedly serving three terms. The primary objective of the CMAG is to ensure that member states uphold the Harare Commonwealth Principles. During Sri Lanka’s tenure in CMAG the situation in Pakistan and Fiji were examined.
Climate change received major focus of the CHOGM this year. With regard to climate change, Sri Lanka not being an emitter of green house gases advocated the need for additional incentives including financial flows for developing countries to make commitments to enhanced action on mitigation and adaptation based on common but differentiated responsibilities. Sri Lanka further emphasized the need for a proper financial mechanism to face the challenge as the fund under Kyoto Protocol is inadequate for the efforts of adaptation of developing countries.
Sri Lanka’s delegation to CHOGM 2009 was led by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake and the pre-CHOGM Foreign Ministerial delegation by Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. On the sidelines of the meetings the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister met a number of foreign heads of government which included Hon. Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister of Australia, Hon. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, Hon. Patrick Manning, Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, Hon. John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand, Hon. Murray McCully, New Zealand Foreign Minister, Hon. Stephen Smith, Foreign Minister of Australia, Hon. David Miliband, Foreign Secretary of the UK and also the Hon. Ban Ki Moon, United Nations Secretary General. They used the occasion to discuss issues of bilateral importance and on matters relating to the Commonwealth. This is in keeping with Sri Lanka’s policy of maintaining and enhancing bilateral relations through extensive engagement. The Commonwealth provides a platform for networking both within and outside the Grouping

Chicks from France suspended in Sri Lanka owing to bird flu

Chicks from France suspended in Sri Lanka owing to bird flu


Acording to daily mirror report Sri Lanka has suspended importing live chicken from France owing to the threat of bird flu, the Animal Production and Health Department said.
The Animal Production and Health Department said that chicken imported from France has been suspended following a warning that had been issued by the World Animal Health Organization (WAHO), due to the spread of bird flu in the country.
General Manager at the Animal Production and Health Department Dr. Swarna Herath speaking to Daily Mirror online said that following the warning issued by the WAHO Sri Lanka had stopped all orders placed for the next three months.
She went on to say that if within the next three months bird flu was not been effectively curbed by France that it was likely that importing chicken from the country would be further suspended.

Sri Lanka imports live fowl from a number of countries for breeding including the Netherlands, China, New Zealand, England, Australia and India.

Space shuttle Atlantis returns to Earth

Science
Space shuttle Atlantis returns to Earth
NOT READY UNTIL 2015
The new ships also will enable NASA to fly astronauts to the moon and other destinations in the solar system, in addition to the station. They will not be ready until 2015 at the earliest, however.
Until then, Russian, European and Japanese cargo ships will take over the job of flying food, fuel and supplies to the outpost, though none can handle the bulky station spare parts that fit in the shuttle cargo bay.
NASA also is hoping to turn over cargo deliveries and possibly crew transport to commercial U.S. companies.
Joining the six Atlantis astronauts for the ride back to Earth was space station flight engineer Nicole Stott, who has been aboard the outpost for three months. Stott is the last station crew member scheduled to catch a ride on the shuttle.
The Russian Soyuz capsule now becomes the station's exclusive taxi, a service that costs the United States about $50 million a seat.

India eye top spot in final Sri lanka test

India eye top spot in final Sri Lanka test

MUMBAI (Reuters) -
India will reach the top of the ICC test rankings for the first time if they win the third and final test against Sri Lanka starting Wednesday.
India lead the series 1-0 after thumping Sri Lanka by an innings and 144 runs in last week's second test in Kanpur and have been given an added incentive to make it 2-0.
India are currently third on the world rankings behind South Africa (first) and Sri Lanka (second) but are close enough to leapfrog them both with a victory in Mumbai.
Climbing to the top spot would undoubtedly represent a major milestone in Indian cricket but captain Mahendra Dhoni has tried to play down the significance, warning his players just to concentrate on the match and forget about the rankings.
"It will be an added responsibility," he said.
"Becoming the number one side is not important, we've got to maintain our performance level."
India's chances of beating the Sri Lankans have already suffered a blow with in-form opener Gautam Gambhir, the world's top-ranked batsman, pulling out of the match to attend his sister's wedding.
The left-handed Gambhir has played a significant role in India's great start to the series, scoring centuries in each of the first two tests and sharing in a 233-run opening stand with fellow centurion Virender Sehwag in Kanpur. Continued...http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE5AT10N20091130

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Id Ul Alha (Hadji Festival Day)






Id Ul Alha (Hadji Festival Day)









Eid ul-Adha (عيد الأضحى), or the Festival of Sacrifice is a public and bank holiday in Sri Lanka.


Muslims all over the world celebrate this holy day.
Hadji or the Festival of Sacrifice (Turkish: Kurban Bayramı) is a religious festival celebrated by Muslims in Sri Lanka and worldwide in commemoration of the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God.

The devil tempted Ibrahim by saying he should disobey God and spare his son. As Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son, God intervened and instead provided a lamb as the sacrifice. This is why today all over the world Muslims who have the means to, sacrifice an animal (usually a goat or a sheep), as a reminder of Ibrahim’s obedience to God. The meat is then shared out with family, friends (Muslims or non-Muslims), as well as the poor members of the community (source: wiki)

It falls approximately 70 days after Eid ul-Fitr (end of Ramadan) and is celebrated in honor of the prophet Abraham willingness to sacrifice his son as a proof of his loyalty to God. Celebrations usually include presenting an animal (usually a cow or a sheep) sacrifice, and the meat is shared with family, friends and those in need. The festival also marks the end of the Pilgrimage or Hajj to Mecca. During the Hajj, male pilgrims are required to dress only in a garment consisting of two sheets of white unhemmed cloth, with the top draped over the torso and the bottom secured by a white sash; plus a pair of sandals.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Obama sends letter to President Rajapakse for Tissainayagam’s release

Obama sends letter to PresidentRajapaksa for Tissainayagam’s release

U.S.Presidment Obama has sent an urgent letter to the President Mahinda Rajapakse for the release of Senior Journalist Tissainayagam who was sentenced to jail some months ago by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.
Tissainayagam was sentenced under the Terrorist investigation Dept. charges in the misdst of a huge storm of protests locally and internationally.

President Obama’s letter has urged the release of Tissainayagam based on human rights considerations.
Read More:
http://releasetissa.blogspot.com

http://http://www.frontlinedefenders.org/node/2150

http://www.thecolombotimes.com/political-news/7745-tissanayagam-gets-20-years-ri-.html

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Third presidential candidate enters race

Third presidential candidate enters race

A third candidate entered the race of Sri Lanka's presidential election on Wednesday while the election date is yet to be announced.

Wickramabahu Karunaratna of the Left Front called himself the common left candidate pitted against incumbent President Mahinda Rajapakse and the main opposition candidate yet to be named.

"Both the two sides have failed to resolve the Tamil minority issues and both have been responsible for suppressing them," Karunaratna charged.

The election date is expected to be announced by end of this week by the Commissioner of Elections.

The incumbent Rajapakse said on Monday that he opted for a snap poll two years ahead of schedule.

It is widely expected that former Army Commander General SarathFonseka will contest the presidential poll as the common candidate of the opposition parties.

Pakistan FM urges India to allay domestic pressure, resume dialogue

Foriegn news -Pakistan
Pakistan FM urges India to allay domestic pressure, resume dialogue

Foreign Minister of Pakistan Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi has urged India to overcome its domestic political pressure and resume composite dialogue process with Pakistan as time is running out.
He said that the message has already been conveyed to India that delay in the resumption of bilateral dialogue process could change the situation in Pakistan. He said that if India is not ready to talk, then Pakistan should not press for the talks.Fortunately enough a significant number of Indians are convinced that the dream of making India an economic power could not be materialized without settling issues with Pakistan, he said.He said indeed, there is a significant constituency of peace preachers both in Pakistan and India.

The FO of Pakistan holds that in present scenario it seems that India is not serious in resumption of dialogue, on different bilateral issues including Kashmir. The Prime Ministers of both countries had agreed at a summit in Egypt that terrorist acts, would not affect the negotiations between India and Pakistan in future. Pakistan has categorically denied any links with Bombay incident, instead its agencies made efforts to collect all related facts about that incident. But Pakistan has not got good signals from India, and there was need of sincerity and seriousness for settlement of all issues including Kashmir dispute, Commenting on Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s remarks about Jammu and Kashmir in an interview with CNN, Foreign Office reminded India that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory awaiting settlement in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The spokesman said, “India is only one of the parties to the dispute; it cannot, therefore, unilaterally change the status of the dispute or place preconditions in open contradiction to the right of self-determination of Kashmiris.”

Rather the intentions of India can be well understood by the recent remarks of Indian Army Chief on offensive nuclear doctrine.

Terming Indian Army Chief’s remarks about nuclear war as reflection of India’s offensive nuclear doctrine, Pakistan on Tuesday said it was fully capable of safeguarding its national sovereignty and defending its borders. In response to a question regarding the reported remarks by India’s Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor on Monday warning that ‘a limited war under a nuclear overhang is still very much a reality at least in the Indian sub-continent’, Foreign Office Spokesman on Tuesday said that these remarks only reaffirm India’s dangerous and offensive nuclear doctrine. “India has long been working on the so-called ‘Cold Start’ strategy and preparing for a limited war against Pakistan. General Kapoor’s statement confirms the hegemonic thrust of India’s nuclear doctrine”, the spokesman added. The Spokesman said that the international community should take notice of General Kapoor’s remarks and India’s long-term intentions. He said that major powers have a particular responsibility in this regard, adding, they should refrain from steps that in any manner negatively affect the strategic balance in South Asia. The Spokesman added that “Pakistan is fully capable of safeguarding its national sovereignty and defending its borders. As a responsible country, we will continue promoting peace and stability in South Asia on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sri Lankan migrants to leave Australian ship off Indonesia

Sri Lankan migrants to leave Australian ship off Indonesia

Jakarta -
A group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers were to leave an Australian customs ship moored off Indonesia's Bintan island Wednesday after a three-week standoff, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said. The 56 migrants are the remainder of a group of 78 Sri Lankans who were picked up by the Australian ship Oceanic Viking in international waters one month ago while on their way to Australia, claiming persecution in their homeland.
They were taken to port off Bintan but they refused to disembark, demanding they be sent to Australia.
Last week, 22 migrants agreed to go ashore and enter an Australian-funded refugee centre in Tanjung Pinang on Bintan, after being promised speedy processing for their refugee claims by the UN refugee agency UNHCR, but the others remained adamant in their refusal.
Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said the 56 Sri Lankans had now agreed to leave the ship.
"A team from related departments have met them and will send them to the detention centre in Tanjung Pinang," Faizasyah said.
"They would be detained for one month after their claims are processed by the UNHCR before they could be sent to a third country willing [to take them in], possibly Australia," he said.

He said the verification process would take a week.
Australia has seen a fresh influx of undocumented migrants from conflict-hit countries such as Afghanistan and Sri Lanka this year.
Most Australia-bound asylum seekers arrive on small boats from Indonesia, where they have paid smugglers to arrange their passage.

Sri Lanka signs agreement with SSTL for space capability

Sri Lanka signs agreement with SSTL for space capability

The Director General of the Sri Lankan Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, Priyantha Kariyapperuma and Professor Sir Martin Sweeting of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited ( SSTL ), signed a landmark agreement today.

This agreement starts a Sri Lankan national space capability by providing an SSTL Earth Observation satellite and commencing the definition and design of Sri Lanka's first communications satellite. Peter Hayes, the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka recognised the value of the agreement, saying "This project is exciting for the development of telecommunications in Sri Lanka and will strengthen the ties between the two countries."The programme, including a training and development programme and collaborative activities between the University of Surrey and leading Sri Lankan academic institutes, will promote academic, industrial and socio-economic development. The project has been approved by the Sri Lankan government under the personal direction of His Excellency, President Mahinda Rajapaksa.Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, who also chairs the Space Centre of the University of Surrey, said "Sri Lanka has already demonstrated a keen interest in space based technology, supported through numerous programmes within the country's universities and other academic organisations such as the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies. Our close partnership will allow Sri Lanka to fully embrace the benefits of space technology through training and education while stimulating industrial development. The economic benefits resulting from space based communications including TV, broadband services and earth observation applications are substantial and will positively contribute to the country's development as a "high-tech" trading nation".
More:http://media-newswire.com/release_1106185.html

Pakistan Air Chief meets President Rajapaksa

Pakistan Air Chief meets President

Commander of the Pakistani Air Force Air Chief Marshal Rao Kamar Suleman met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday morning at the President’s House in Kandy.

The Air Force Commander is on a 7 day official visit to Sri Lanka. The President thanked him for the timely action taken by the Pakistani Air Force when the Sri Lankan Cricket team was attacked in Lahore.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani Air Force Commander met his Sri Lankan counterpart Air Chief Marshal Roshan Gunatilake yesterday evening. The meeting took place at the Air Force Headquarters. A Guard-of-Honour was also held.

At this occasion the two Commanders exchanged souvenirs. The Pakistani Air Force Commander also met with the Air Force Chief of Staff as well as other senior Air Force officers.
Defend adviser of Pakistan high Commission office of Colombo, Kol.Khuram shake hands with the presidnet Rajapakse

Pakistan Foriegn minister urges India to allay domestic pressure, resume dialogue

Pakistan Foriegn Mininister Qureshi urges India to allay domestic pressure, resume dialogue

ISLAMABAD, (APP):

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday urged India to overcome its domestic political pressure and resume composite dialogue process with Pakistan as time is running out.In an interview with Dunya News he said, the message has already been conveyed to India that delay in the resumption of bilateral dialogue process could change the situation in Pakistan.He said that if India is not ready to talk, then Pakistan should not press for the talks.

Fortunately enough a significant number of Indians are convinced that the dream of making India an economic power could not be materialised without settling issues with Pakistan, he said.

Responding to another question he said Indeed, there is a significant constituency of peace preachers both in Pakistan and India.

Serious efforts on part of India needed for resumption of dialogue: FO Spokesman

Serious efforts on part of India needed for resumption of dialogue: Foriegn Office Spokesman in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, (APP):

Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit said on Friday that India is not serious in resumption of dialogue, on different bilateral issues including Kashmir. Talking to PTV, he said that Prime Minsters of both countries had agreed at a summit in Egypt that terrorist acts, would not affect the negotiations between India and Pakistan in future. The Spokesman said that Pakistan has no link with Bombay incident, istead its agencies made efforts to collect all related facts about that incident.To a question, he said that Pakistan has not got good signals from India, and there was contradiction, between statements of Indian Prime Minster and the Minister.Foreign Office Spokesman said Pakistan does not believe in anybackground diplomacy, and there was need of sincerity and seriousness for settlement of all issues including Kashmir dispute.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pakistani Air Chief shares views with Army commander




Pakistani Air Chief shares views with Army commander








A Warm Welcome was extended to Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of the Air Staff Pakistan Air Force at the Army Headquarters (AHQ) Colombo this morning (14) when he visited Army Headquarters to meet Commander of Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya.
Commandant Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force and Colonel of the Regiment Sri Lanka Artillery Major General Jammika Liyanage received the visiting Pakistan Air Chief on his arrival at the entrance to the AHQ. Then the troops of Sri Lanka Artillery accorded a Guard Turnout and a Guard of Honour to Air Chief Marshal Suleman.
Later, he was welcomed by the Army Commander who introduced his Principal Staff Officers to Pakistan Air Chief at the entrance to the Commander's Office complex.
During bilateral discussions that subsequently took place at Army Commander's office, Air Chief Marshal Suleman shared views with Army Commander on issues related to mutual security developments and concerns in the region.
At the end of the official meeting, two military chiefs exchanged mementoes. Air Chief Marshal Suleman placed his signature in the Visitors' Book to mark his visit to Army Headquarters.
Defence Attach‚ of the Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka Colonel Syed Khurram Hassnain Alam, Military Secretary Major General Milinda Pieris and few senior officers were present on the occasion.
Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman who arrived in the country on Thursday (12) is scheduled to meet several senior military officers during his brief stay in the island.




Chief of the Airf Pakistan Air force visits Sri lanka

Chief of the Airf Pakistan Air force visits Sri lanka

Commander of the Pakistan Air Force (P.A.F) Air chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman arrived to the island for a three day visit yesterday (12 Nov). According to Air Force sources, the visit was made following an invitation extended by the SLAF Commander. The visiting Pakistani Air Force Chief is also due to meet several dignitaries in the Sri Lankan defence establishment.
The visit underscores the historic ties and friendly cooperation between the two forces, SLAF sources said. The Pakistan Air Force had extended technical assistance and training for the SLAF during its air campaign against the terrorists.

The Chief of the Air Staff of Pakistan Air Force (CAS, PAF), Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman accompanied by Pakistan Deffence Attache Colonel Syed Khurram Hassnain Alam called on the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe at the Naval Headquarters in Colombo 14th November 2009.

The Pakistan Chief of Air Staff, who is in Sri Lanka on a three-day official visit at the invitation of the Commander of the Sri Lanka Air Force, was accorded a token Guard of Honour on his arrival at the Naval Headquarters. He was warmly received by the Commander of the Navy and was introduced to the Principal Staff Officers at the Naval Headquarters. Thereafter, they had discussions on matters of bilateral relevance and mutual interests. Mementos were exchanged between the Commander of the Navy and the visiting Pakistan Chief of Air Staff to mark the occasion.
Air Commodore Azsar Hassan Rizvi, PSO to CAS, PAF and Flight Lieutenant Shehzed Ali, ADC to CAS, PAF were also in the delegation.

Sri lanka tourist arrivals up 7.0- pct in Oct

Sri Lanka tourist arrivals up 7.0-pct in Oct

Nov 10, 2009 (LBO) -

Sri Lanka's October tourist arrivals grew 7.0 percent to 37,575 from a year earlier, but were slightly lower than the September figure of 37,983, data from the tourist promotion office showed.

Visitors from Western Europe rose 11. 0 percent to 13,873 with France up 33, percent to 1,120, UK up 1.8 percent, to 6,592 and Germany up 13.1 percent, to 2,700.
Visitors from Eastern Europe were down 23.8 percent to 1,983 with Russia sending 1,311 tourists, 28.7 percent less.



East Asian arrivals were up 0.5 percent at 3,759, with China generating 755 visitors (up 14.4 percent) and Malaysia generating 643 up 45.8 percent.

Freedom

South Asian arrivals grew at a double digit 15.3 percent to 12,587. India generated 9,219 visitors (up 14.7 percent), the Maldives 2,428 (up 18.2 percent) and Pakistan 675 (up 20.3 percent).
A long-running conflict with Tamil Tiger separatist ended in May raising new hope that the tourist sector will revive despite a global economic downturn.




After falling steadily till May, arrivals grew 8.0 percent in June (to 30,234), 28.0 percent in July (to 42,223) and 34.3 percent (to 41,207) in August.


Meanwhile the state has also mandated minimum prices for Colombo's five star rated hotels, and at least one hotel owner has said he wanted the hotel to be down graded to regain pricing freedom.










Sri Lanka tourism offers chance for quick post-war jobs

Sri Lanka tourism offers chance for quick post-war jobs: report

Sri Lanka tourism offers chance for quick post-war jobs: report
Nov 17, 2009 (LBO) - Post-war Sri Lanka has an opportunity to generate employment quickly by developing tourism to ensure employment for youth especially in conflict-affected areas, a new report said.
The study by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said it was important to initiate efforts that would have a "tangible impact' on target communities in conflict affected areas in the short run while contributing to long-term tourism development.
Building new hotels is a more long-term venture whose benefits in terms of employment and income generation would take several years to be felt by the affected communities, it said.
The study was part of a USAID effort through its CORE (Connecting Regional Economies) project to examine six industry sectors to identify growth opportunities in the east for the private sector.
The other sectors were dairy, horticulture, fisheries, aquaculture and logistics.
Sarasali Fonseka, private sector/policy advisor at USAID, said the usual post-conflict trend is for domestic and adventure tourism to take off first.
"The government should fast track domestic and adventure tourism," she told a seminar by the agency to disseminate the study's recommendations to key stakeholders in the government, private sector, and other industries.
Sri Lanka's tourism industry has set a target of 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016, requiring the development of at least 15,000 new hotel rooms and major investment in large-scale resorts at new locations.
"The Eastern coast in particular has the potential to absorb many new investments with the right mix of tourism products and development planning," the report said.
The government has earmarked the east coast as one area for tourism development as it has some of the island's best beaches.
The east and north of the island were the worst affected by the 30-year ethnic war which ended in May when government forces defeated the Tamil Tiger separatists.
Fonseka said government and industry should promote focused events such as surfing contests in Arugam Bay, a beach well-known for surfing on the east coast, and the literary festival in southern Galle.
They should also focus on development of small and medium enterprises as that would give employment and income generation opportunities for people in conflict-affected areas.
"The aim is to create entrepreneurship. It is important for the bigger firms to work with people there and to get the communities involved. That type of work needs to start now."
The USAID study also suggested the SME sector be encouraged to develop tourist attractions and activities like water sports, guided tours, adventure hikes and cultural tours.
"Larger lodging enterprises and tour companies need to encourage and support these smaller SME managed attractions because they add life and variety to the destination and help attract more visitors in future."










Gen. Fonseka mulls options

Gen. Fonseka mulls options

General Fonseka stepped down from his post on Monday after differences with Rajapaksa [AFP]
Sri Lanka's senior general has said he will announce a decision on entering politics within two to three days, amid speculation he may run for the presidency.
Sarath Fonseka's comments came after he officially stepped down from his post on Monday following differences with Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country's president.
"I expect to announce my future steps in two or three days. I will be serving the country in the future," Fonseka said soon after signing an official document to quit as Sri Lanka's top military officer.

Sri Lanka High Commission holds Deepavali Festival



Sri Lanka High Commission holds Deepavali Festival

The Sri Lanka High Commission together with the members of the Sri Lanka community in Singapore organized a cultural and religious festival on 25th October 2009 to celebrate Deepavali.

A unique feature of this event was that while celebrating the significance of Deepavali, it also celebrated the multi religious and multi cultural nature of Sri Lanka. The event was observed in keeping with the traditional rituals associated with Deepavali such as lights, kolam and kumbuam.

The event commenced with musicians from the Sri Arasakesari Sivan temple and dancers from the Sunday School of the Kelaniya Vidyalankara Pirivena leading the religious leaders in procession to the venue. This was followed by blessings conducted by the religious leaders of the Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Islamic faiths.

Welcoming the audience, consisting of Singaporeans and Sri Lankans, High Commissioner Jayathri Samarakone wished everyone a Happy Deepavali and called for unity and harmony among all Sri Lankans.

The cultural performances commenced with a dance by the Kelaniya Vidyalankara Pirivena Sunday School dance troupe. Cultural items representing various dance forms from Sri Lanka followed. These were performed by accomplished performers from both Singapore and Sri Lanka. The performances, reflective of the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka, included such items as the Bharatha Natyam and Ves, as well as folk dances and the famed “Pantheru” dance. Renowned singer Mrs. Shobha Shankar too performed a Hindi song at the event. A tri lingual song celebrating Deepavali and the cultural unity of Sri Lanka, especially composed for the evening by Ms. Jeyasundari Sivakumaran, was sung by members of the community and the High Commission. Following the performances, the vote of thanks delivered by the Counsellor Ms. Panabokke. The evening concluded with refreshments, which included traditional sweets and food associated with Deepavali, being served to the audience.

Dilshan gives Sri Lanka solid start against India

Dilshan gives Sri Lanka solid start against India
Associated Press

Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan led a strong Sri Lanka reply with a brisk unbeaten 88 on Tuesday after India was dismissed for 426 on the second day of the first cricket test.
Sri Lanka's was scoring well at 155-1 by tea, losing only opener batsman Tharanga Paranavitana (35) in the middle session.
Dilshan faced 106 deliveries in his stroke-filled innings, hitting eight of his nine boundaries on the offside on an easy paced wicket at Motera.
Paranavitana helped Sri Lanka to a confident start, the tourists reaching 74 before India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni held a low, one-handed catch off paceman Ishant Sharma's delivery which left the left-hander and got a thick outside edge.
Dilshan faced little trouble in negotiating spinners Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra as he punished loose deliveries with some attractive boundaries.
Captain Kumar Sangakkara (23 not out) was giving a good support to Dilshan, the pair adding 81 runs for the second wicket at a good scoring pace.
Earlier, tge Sri Lankan bowlers rallied with four wickets in the morning session after India had resumed at 385 for six.
Off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, playing what could be his final test series on foreign soil, took three wickets in the session.
But it was Chanaka Welegedara who made the early breakthrough, as he had on Monday, by removing Rahul Dravid for his overnight score of 177.
Dravid had withstood Welegedara's damaging first spell on the opening day _ when the rookie paceman took three wickets and had the hosts reeling at 32-4 _ and led India's innings revival in important partnerships with Yuvraj Singh (68) and Dhoni (110).
But Welegedara knocked back the stumps in the second over Tuesday when Dravid left a big gap between bat and pad as he attempted to drive down the ground.
Dravid's innings lifted him to fifth in the all-time test scorers after Sachin Tendulkar (12,777), Brian Lara (11,953), Ricky Ponting (11,345) and Allan Border (11,174).
He faced 261 deliveries and hit 26 boundaries and a six in a display of brilliant temperament and strokemaking.
Muralitharan ran through the Indian tailenders as he trapped Zaheer Khan lbw for 12, bowled Harbhajan for 22 and got last man Sharma stumped without scoring.
Welegedera finished with 4-87 while Muralitharan returned 3-97.

Dilshan gives Sri Lanka solid start against India

Dilshan gives Sri Lanka solid start against India
Associated Press

Opener Tillakaratne Dilshan led a strong Sri Lanka reply with a brisk unbeaten 88 on Tuesday after India was dismissed for 426 on the second day of the first cricket test.
Sri Lanka's was scoring well at 155-1 by tea, losing only opener batsman Tharanga Paranavitana (35) in the middle session.
Dilshan faced 106 deliveries in his stroke-filled innings, hitting eight of his nine boundaries on the offside on an easy paced wicket at Motera.
Paranavitana helped Sri Lanka to a confident start, the tourists reaching 74 before India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni held a low, one-handed catch off paceman Ishant Sharma's delivery which left the left-hander and got a thick outside edge.
Dilshan faced little trouble in negotiating spinners Harbhajan Singh and Amit Mishra as he punished loose deliveries with some attractive boundaries.
Captain Kumar Sangakkara (23 not out) was giving a good support to Dilshan, the pair adding 81 runs for the second wicket at a good scoring pace.
Earlier, tge Sri Lankan bowlers rallied with four wickets in the morning session after India had resumed at 385 for six.
Off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, playing what could be his final test series on foreign soil, took three wickets in the session.
But it was Chanaka Welegedara who made the early breakthrough, as he had on Monday, by removing Rahul Dravid for his overnight score of 177.
Dravid had withstood Welegedara's damaging first spell on the opening day _ when the rookie paceman took three wickets and had the hosts reeling at 32-4 _ and led India's innings revival in important partnerships with Yuvraj Singh (68) and Dhoni (110).
But Welegedara knocked back the stumps in the second over Tuesday when Dravid left a big gap between bat and pad as he attempted to drive down the ground.
Dravid's innings lifted him to fifth in the all-time test scorers after Sachin Tendulkar (12,777), Brian Lara (11,953), Ricky Ponting (11,345) and Allan Border (11,174).
He faced 261 deliveries and hit 26 boundaries and a six in a display of brilliant temperament and strokemaking.
Muralitharan ran through the Indian tailenders as he trapped Zaheer Khan lbw for 12, bowled Harbhajan for 22 and got last man Sharma stumped without scoring.
Welegedera finished with 4-87 while Muralitharan returned 3-97.

Sri Lanka Chief of Defence Staff gen. Sarath Fonseka bids farewell

The most controversial Chief of Defence Staff of the country, General Sarath Fonseka Yesterday (16th Nov) bid farewell to the Sri Lanka Army.

General Fonseka this morning retired from his post as President Mahinda Rajapaksa has granted him permission to retire with immediate effect.

Speaking to the media at his last assignment as an Army officer, General Sarath Fonseka said that he will make a official announcement over his future decision after three days.

He stressed that he will serve the country furthermore as he did in the past.

According to General Fonseka he had served the country for the last forty years more than enough. "I am satisfied" he said.

During the media address the outgoing Chief of Defence Staff said has not forgotten the great sacrifice made by the brave soldiers during the war, especially the final days of the war and appreciated the support given by them to him to achieve a historical victory.
Finally General Fonseka thanked the media for its support given to him and asked to give further support for his future activities.

Meanwhile the journalists, invited to cover the farewell ceremony to General Sarath Fonseka this morning were not allowed into the Army Headquarters in Colombo where the event took place.

Later the Journalists were allowed to enter after the intervention of outgoing Chief of Defence Staff into the matter.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Miyanmar leader arrives in Sri lanka

Miyanmar leader arrives in Sri lanka

The President of Myanmar will arrive in the island yesterday to further strengthen bilateral ties.
Myanmar’s President General Than Shwe is arriving at the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Myanmar Newton Gunaratne said several MOUs would be signed between the two countries today. One will be between the ITN and MRTV which is the State Radio and TV of Myanmar for an exchange programme.

Related Articles:

1.Myanmar junta leader 'thrilled' to be in Sri Lanka http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gZV8mG2og-kUxhIdT6Q4zVN-Zuugoogle.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gZV8mG2og-kUxhIdT6Q4zVN-Zuug

2.Myanmar President arriveshttp://www.itn.lk/news_01_20091112.html

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

‘Mahinda Mame(Uncle), why did you burn down our humble home?’ -Range Bandara and children stage protest in front of Parliament

Mahinda Mame, why did you burn down our humble home?’ -Range Bandara and children stage protest in front of Parliament

Why Is the law silent?

(Lanka-e-News, Nov.03, 2009, 6.20PM)


UNP M.P. Range Bandara and his family staged a protest in front of the Parliament yesterday (03), against the Govt. for not taking any action against those who committed the arson by setting fire to Range Bandara’s house and office at Chilaw.Range Bandara, his wife, son and two daughters staged the protest by sitting on the side of the roadway leading to the Parliament, and displaying placards which read ‘Mahinda mame, why did you burn down our house ?’, ‘why is the law silent?', ‘Is this SL’s Democracy?’.Range Bandara speaking to Lanka e news stated, that his house and office were burnt down over a month ago. Yet. no suspect has been taken into custody despite himself providing enough evidence to the Police. No inquiry has been conducted and no arrests have been made so far. I had disclosed this even in Parliament. The speaker decided to get down the DIG and others. When they were summoned and questioned they revealed no inquiries had been conducted. The Police were then given a good ‘lecture’, teaching them how they should perform their duties, by the Speaker.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iziwp5XKFb0&feature=player_embedded


In spite of all this advice and evidence provided, if the Police is inert, it is because they are enjoying the support and patronage from the highest places against proceeding with the inquiry. The Govt. will have to face the retribution. We will have to rise against these evil acts. We have to somehow find a solution. Otherwise, my family and I will launch a fierce campaign locally and internationally. Myself and family will go before the Parliament and stage our strong protests, he observed.

Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who visited the scene of the satyagraha said, it has come to a stage where even the right of an Opposition M.P. to perform his duties democratically is at stake, judging by the outrageous arson committed on Range Bandara’s premises. Mr. Wickremesinghe recounted a number of incidents of violence and political revenge committed by the Govt. against Bandara. This violence and hooliganism of the Govt. must stop and Bandara’s losses shall be compensated for by the Govt., Mr. Wickremesinghe vehemently emphasized.These pictures portray the satygaraha being staged by the M.P. and his family.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Colombo's biggest food festival held on 6th-14th Nov

Colombo's biggest food festival -held for the 4th consecutive year from the 5th - 15th of November.

Tuesday, 03 November 2009

Colombo’s biggest food festival is due to be held for the 4th consecutive year from the 6th - 14th of November. The World Spice Food Festival offers food enthusiasts a wide variety of culinary delights. Under the patronage of the SLTDA, the festival will be officially opened on November 5, at the Waters Edge and the grand finale is to be held at the BMICH on November 15.

Many of Sri Lanka’s leading culinary chefs and experts and signature chefs who will be arriving from various parts of the world will be displaying their skills at the event.A special feature at the festival is the Global Spice Food Village, which will be held at the Galle Face Green from the 6th – 8th. The Galle Face Green will take a festive air for the first time after its re-opening with live music and entertainment including a Spice Art Competition, Art Exhibition, Crab Cooking Competition and dance performances by the ceylon Kaffirs and other entertainers. Spiced ice-cream and spice tea promotions will also be a feature.

serious security implications -Foreign Minister

serious security implications -Foreign Minister

Tuesday, 03 November 2009

DHS move has serious implications for security and welfare of Sri Lanka

The President and the Government of Sri Lanka stand firmly behind the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff of Sri Lanka. We will not allow that high post to be denigrated or made vulnerable, said Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama addressing the media on the moves by the USD Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to question the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who is now in the USA.
The matter under reference has serious implications for the security and welfare of the people of Sri Lanka and the Government of Sri Lanka will under no circumstances, authorize such an illegal act, he added.According to available facts the objective of the questioning is to use the CDS “as a source against human rights violations done by Secretary/Defence”. The Minister said.The CDS had traveled to the United States on a diplomatic passport for pre-arranged appointments. Whatever General Fonseka may have become aware of during his service with the Government of Sri Lanka and in the course of his duties, has the status of privileged information. He has no authority to divulge or share this information with third parties, without the prior approval and consent of the Sri Lanka authorities, the Minister said.Answering a question from the media as to why the US DHS which has as its mandate the protection of the US from terrorism wishes to obtain information on the Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka, Minister Bogollagama said it was an interesting matter as to why a department that has its main function to safeguard the US from terrorism, wants to question a person who was largely responsible for defeating terrorism here.In response to another question whether CDS Gen Sarath Fonseka being a Green Card Holder will be subject to US laws and will be obliged to answer questions put to him by DHS, the Minister said the Green Card was a visa arrangement, and the holding of a green card cannot alter the primary allegiance of the CDS to the Government of Sri Lanka to be subordinated to any other country. Whatever he knows is his capacity as CDS and former Army Commander is privileged, and it is wrong to ask him to reveal it to any others, without the agreement of the Government of Sri Lanka.The US Ambassador had been given an Aide Memoire on the Government’s position, after discussions with her where the position of the Government had been clearly stated

More:http://www.news.lk/

serious security implications -Foreign Minister's statement

-Foreign Minister's statement


Tuesday, 03 November 2009
DHS move has serious implications for security and welfare of Sri LankaThe President and the Government of Sri Lanka stand firmly behind the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff of Sri Lanka. We will not allow that high post to be denigrated or made vulnerable, said Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama addressing the media on the moves by the USD Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to question the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who is now in the USA.

Here is the summary of Foreign Minister Bogollagama’s statement at the media briefing held Nov 1.


I have invited you to meet with me this afternoon, to emphasize in my capacity of Foreign Minister that the President and the Government of Sri Lanka stand firmly behind the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff of Sri Lanka. We will not allow that high post to be denigrated or made vulnerable.

The facts of the case as available to us are that the CDS General Sarath Fonseka who is at present in the United States, received a letter from the US Department of Homeland Security or DHS, calling him for an interview at 3.00 p.m. on Wednesday 4 November in Oklahoma City, in the State of Oklahoma. Moreover, he has also received a telephone call on 28 October during which a DHS Attorney had stated that the objective of the interview is to use him “as a source against human rights violations done by Secretary/Defence”.It had been clarified during the telephone conversation that the reference to "Secretary/Defence" relates to Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law & Order of Sri Lanka.

It is pertinent to recall in this regard that Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa's duties as Secretary of that Ministry required his dealing with a situation of a grave onslaught that threatened the integrity of Sri Lanka and which was launched by the LTTE, an organization proscribed by several countries including the United States, for its terrorist activities. The allegations therefore leveled against the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary affect the vital interests of the Government of Sri Lanka and have occupied considerable time and attention of the respective Governments, at the highest levels. In fact, the US Ambassador in Colombo has already been briefed of the decision taken by the President of Sri Lanka to appoint a Panel to consider the matters raised in this Report. This decision by the President stems from Sri Lanka's unbroken commitment as a democratic nation to the Rule of Law, under which allegations are first assessed as to whether they possess any substance meriting further inquiry.The Chief of Defence Staff is a high level position within the Sri Lanka Government.

He traveled to the United States on a diplomatic passport for pre-arranged appointments. Moreover, whatever General Fonseka may have become aware of during his service with the Government of Sri Lanka and in the course of his duties, has the status of privileged information. He has no authority to divulge or share this information with third parties, without the prior approval and consent of the Sri Lanka authorities.I have accordingly met earlier this afternoon with H.E. Ms. Patricia Butenis, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, to convey through Her Excellency the message that the Department of Homeland Security should forthwith desist from any endeavor to interview General Fonseka. Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the US Jaliya Wickramasuriya has also made similar representations to the State Department in Washington DC.Let me reiterate that this position of the Government of Sri Lanka is based on the following two well founded principles.

Firstly, whatever information General Fonseka may have acquired in the exercise of his official duties is privileged by nature. Therefore, it cannot legally be shared with third parties without the prior approval and consent of the Sri Lanka authorities. The matter under reference has serious implications for the security and welfare of the people of Sri Lanka and the Government of Sri Lanka will under no circumstances, authorize such an illegal act.Secondly, the action taken by the DHS is not needed, since any issues that may be of concern are already being addressed at the highest levels on the part of both the Government of Sri Lanka and that of the United States. You would recall that I have earlier in my remarks to you, already referred to the briefing given to the US Ambassador, concerning the appointment of a Panel by H.E. the President of Sri Lanka.I wish to emphasize that my conversation a little while ago with Ambassador Butenis was cordial and constructive and in keeping with the long standing relationship that exist between the United States and Sri Lanka.

New UNP led coalition formed in Parliament

New UNP led coalition formed in Parliament
http://www.dailymirror.lk/
The new UNP led coalition comprising 12 political parties was formed at the Parliament premises today with the signing of the agreement. The coalition includes the SLMC, Democratic Peoples Front and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party – Mahajana Wing.

The agreement was signed at the Parliamentary Complex during a special ceremony.Ranil Wickremasinghe, Opposition leader and leader of the UNP; Mangala Samaraweera, leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Mahajana Wing; Rauff Hakeem, leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress; Mano Ganeshan, leader of the Democratic People's Front, those representing eight other parties and representatives of the national intellectuals forum signed the agreement