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Catholics condemn Colombo Bishop's partisan role in the presidential election

Nov 14 (AT) Bishop Oswald Gomis, the Catholic Archbishop of Colombo, is under fire from members of his own Catholic congregation for running a full-page advertisement in support of his favourite presidential candidate, Ranil Wickrermesinghe. more..

SAARC leaders bid farewell to President Kumaratunga

Nov 14 (AT) The twice postponed summit of the seven South Asian leaders finally got underway at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Centre in Dhaka on 12 th Saturday morning. The security measures were perhaps the 'most stringent experienced thus far' said a senior diplomat who had attended most of the past regional Summits. more..

Ranil -- "neither a man of the majority nor the minority" -- is heading for.....?

Nov 14 (AT) Without running into violent and stormy seas so far, the presidential yacht race has been sailing along smoothly on predictable lines with the usual quota of cross-overs, propaganda gimmicks, promises, mud-slinging, media hypes for one side or the other, astrological predictions, opinion polls more..

Response to Ranil's "Rata Perata- failure to use pledged aid- a crime"

Nov 14 (AT) Ranil and the UNP have failed to grasp that Aid is a trap to which Sri Lanka fell from 1977. In 1977 the foreign debt of Sri Lanka was at $ 750 million and that too on productive projects. Today Sri Lanka's foreign debt is around $ 10,000 million. more..

HRC "disturbed" over govt. stand

Nov 14 (BBC) The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (SLHRC) expressed the shock and disbelief of the remarks made by a government representative over attempted arson attack on its headquarters a month ago. more..

Suspected rebels kill member of rival Tamil group in Colombo

Nov 14 (AP) Suspected Tamil Tiger gunmen shot and killed a member of a rival Tamil group in Sri Lanka's capital Sunday, police said, prompting security forces to ramp up defenses ahead of this week's presidential election. more..

Lanka astrologers see better times after vote

Nov 14 (AFP) Sri Lankan astrologers have predicted their fortunes will rise after Thursday's presidential election and see the opposition leader as the candidate with the stronger horoscope. The Association for the Propagation of Vedic Astrology said Sunday that former Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe was the rising star according to his horoscope. more..

Circular road to lessen traffic nightmare

Nov 14 (WS) The traffic nightmare that everyone has to endure in Colombo on a daily basis might finally be tackled with the building of a circular road around the city. But, like everything with our planners this is going to take some time. more..

Lanka poisoned by oil fired power plants

Nov 14 (WS) While highly questionable opposition by certain groups against the proposed Norochcholai coal power plant continues, nine oil burning plants in the country are grossly violating the Central Environment Authority's (CEA) stack emission standards by emitting large quantities of sulphur dioxide. more..

Jaffna polling stations to be clustered in cleared areas too

Nov 14 (SLE) Polling stations in the cleared areas of the Jaffna district will be clustered for purposes of Thursday's presidential election, Jaffna Government Agent K. Ganesh said yesterday. “It is being done primarily for security reasons,” he explained. “The security of the voters must be ensured.” more..

LTTE taxes businessmen in Govt. controlled areas in north

Nov 14 (PIS) The LTTE is said to be collecting heavy taxes from Tamil businessman and shop owners in government controlled areas in the North. Rest house operators in Jaffna as well as businessmen in the area say they pay as much as Rs. 300 to Rs. 400 to the LTTE as taxes on a weekly or monthly basis, apart from the taxes paid to the government. more..

Tiger group calls for day of mourning

Nov 14 (PIS) The Consortium of Public Organizations (CPO), a leading LTTE frontline organization in Jaffna yesterday called to observe November 17, the day of the Presidential election as a day of mourning and advised the people in the peninsula to boycott voting. more..

UNP consistent and unwavering on peace process – GL

Nov 14 (PIS) "Confusion has been created in the minds of the people regarding the position of the UNP on the peace process. The UNP has consistently stood for a negotiated political solution based on Federalism within an united Sri Lanka. The country has only two options open to it, which is to revert to war or seek a solution through power sharing within an united Sri Lanka," more..

French Government funds disaster preparedness efforts

Nov 14 (TN) The Government of France has provided Sri Lanka $1.2m to improve disaster preparedness, to create better disaster awareness and a culture of safety in the country, a press release issued by the French Embassy in Colombo said Monday. more..

Tamil public servants urged to boycott election duty

Nov 14 (TN) An organization called "Peoples Force" in Jaffna district called all Tamil public servants to ignore election duty on the presidential poll scheduled to be held on November 17 and to observe the day as mourning. Boycott posters are seen in public places throughout the Jaffna district, civil sources said. more..

Why the Tamil Community is silence on “Non-Contiguous Unit for Muslims” – Hakeem

Nov 14 (LM) The Tamil community, who respected the separate identity of Muslims as a community when they were fighting for their rights democratically, are non-committal about rights of Muslims now, said SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem in Kalmunai, yesterday. more..

Substantial reduction in election related violence

Nov 14 (LBO) Election monitors report a “substantial” reduction in election related violence during the run up to Presidential elections so far. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) recorded 389 complaints compared to 1,483 reports of violent election incidents in the island during the 1999 Presidential election. more..

JVP decides country’s political path - Tilvin Silva

Nov 14 (LT) The JVP has become the force that decides the direction of Sri Lankan politics says Mr. Tilvin Silva, General Secretary of the JVP. Mr. Silva made this observation addressing the Commemoration Ceremony for ‘Il-Maha’ heroes held at Open air theatre of the Viharamahadevi Park yesterday. more..

Vote for Mahinda Rajapakse to amend the ceasefire agreement to include all Tamil Parties – Colonel Karuna

Nov 14 (AT) Mahinda Rajapakse has said he will make changes to the ceasefire agreement with the LTTE. This is an important issue for us. He has also said that he will commence talks with all parties to find a solution to the ethnic problem. This too is important for us. more..

Tamil Tigers not ready for long-term agreement

Nov 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka’s presidential frontrunners both promise lasting peace with the Tamil Tigers if elected at this month’s poll, but while their pledges strike a chord with ordinary voters, they may have misjudged the rebels. more..

Ranil promises new super city in Greater Colombo

Nov 14 (SLE) Our people have to face truth and reality. If the country is to achieve peace and prosperity the two major political parties, the UNP and the SLFP must work together said UNP presidential candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing campaign rallies at Nugegoda and Borella. more..

Almost all parties back me, it is to get UNP to our fold — PM

Nov 14 (SLE) "Almost all political forces in the country have today rallied round me for giving me strength and what is left for us is to get the UNP to our fold" says the Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapakse. The prime Minister was speaking at a presidential election propaganda rally held at the Narandeniya Central college grounds in Kamburupitiya. more..

Ranil addresses rally via mobile phone

Nov 14 (SLE) UNP Presidential candidate and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe on Saturday became the first candidate to use a mobile phone to reach his voters. He was forced to adopt this mode addressing his supporters due to his flight being grounded and delayed by stormy winds. more..

CID grills UNP Deputy Secretary for two hours

Nov 14 (LeN) UNP Deputy Secretary Tissa Attnayake was questioned for two hours on Saturday night by the Criminal Investigations Department. Attanayake was questioned regarding a statement he made at a recent media briefing where he claimed that the UNP had received information the Prime Minister is gunning for a sympathy vote by exploding a bomb or firing at the bullet proof cubicle at one of his rallies. more..

Plot to plunder vote by ex-Army officers

Nov 14 (LeN) Freedom Alliance presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa has planned to detail his former Army officer brother and a group of retired military officers for a vote plunder in Jaffna, former Jaffna commander General Sarath Munasinghe has revealed. more..

Steps taken against vote rigging

Nov 14 (SAMN) Election Commissioner office yesterday said 15,000 ballot boxes, each carrying a special code identification, would be used in next Thursday's Presidential election. The boxes had been handed over to the Government Factory in Kolonnawa for repairs and restoring to good conditions and for pasting the special code numbers. more..

Low voter turnout expected in NE

Nov 14 (SAMN) The outcome of the November 17 polls is expected to strongly reflect the fear factor instilled by the LTTE on the Tamil people in the north and east with election monitors and officials expecting a very low voter turnout. more..

Much ado about nothing

Nov 14 (ANN) The grand debate we were promised between the two main presidential candidates seems to have gone the same way as the peace talks. As we have had no peace talks but talks about talks for years, so have we had debates about a debate, for days, without the debate proper. more..

Candidates to shoot their best bolt

Nov 14 (SAMN) The final rallies of the two main contenders for the presidency will take the stage today in Colombo. UPFA candidate Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse's final rally will be held this evening at Campbell Park while UNP candidate and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe's rally will be held opposite the Tower Hall theatre in Maradana. more..

SB confident of being freed under Ranil

Nov 14 (LNP) UNP National Organiser S.B. Dissanayake in a letter to his party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has expressed confidence Mr Wickremesinghe would win the Presidential election. 'Your victory is the victory of peace, you victory is the victory of intelligence, your victory is my victory, more..

Thai police nab two shady Lankans

Nov 14 (LNP) Two Sri Lankan nationals were arrested on Saturday on charges of extortion after a tourist from Sri Lanka filed a complaint with the Thailand Tourist Police, a Bangkok Post news report said yesterday. It said: Ismail Lebbeai, 30, and Naufer Mohamad Bacha, 29, were arrested in Rom Klao. more..

Media should provide fair coverage to ensure a free and fair election: Chairman SLRC

Nov 14 (FMS) The Chairman of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation M. M. Zuhair, in a statement issued yesterday has said that sections of the print media are attempting to create an issue relating to the grant of credit facilities to presidential candidates in the run-up to the polls. more..

Intruder at Lankadeepa cartoonist's house

Nov 14 (FMS) Mr. Dasa Hapuwalana, popular political cartoonist of the Lankadeepa, a Sinhala national daily newspaper said, that groups within the government angry about his work would may have tried to intimidate him by attempting to break into his house. more..

Honourable peace my aim, says Mahinda

Nov 14 (DN) UPFA Presidential candidate and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse said his aim was to establish an honourable peace by introducing unity among all communities. Addressing an election rally at the Eheliyagoda public grounds, Rajapakse said he is a father of three and has a deep affection towards the younger generation. more..

Film star Sri Lankan PM faces popularity test

Nov 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse shot to fame in his debut film "Immortals," but his political popularity will be tested in this week's presidential election in which Tiger rebels portray him as a war candidate. more..

Former PM struggles to claim presidential prize

Nov 14 (AFP) for freezing a decades-long ethnic war but that has not translated into deep support among the Sinhalese majority crucial to victory. Wickremesinghe, the 56-year-old former prime minister, has told voters he is the "peace candidate" and promised to secure a permanent deal with Tamil Tiger rebels within "two to three years" if he wins Thursday's ballot. more..

Interview: The people do not see any difference between the candidates -Tamilchelvan

Nov 14 (Time) While the leader of the LTTE, Vellupillai Prabhakaran, is almost never seen in public, the LTTE's political head S.P. Tamilchelvan can be more forthcoming. Tamilchelvan spoke to TIME's Alex Perry through his interpreter at the group's headquarters in Killinochchi. more..

Interview: I Stand for Peace -Ranil

Nov 14 (Time) As the former Prime Minister who agreed to a cease-fire with the rebel LTTE, Presidential candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe, of the right-of-center opposition United National Party, has been accused by Sri Lankan nationalists of being a soft touch on terrorism. more..

Interview: There is no peace at all -Mahinda

Nov 14 (Time) Over the past 18 months Mahinda Rajapakse, 59, has risen from opposition leader to Prime Minister and is now vying to become Sri Lanka's next President. Personable and gregarious, Rajapakse has allied himself and his party with hard-line Sinhalese nationalists for the Nov. 17 vote and shocked many, more..

Battle for Sri Lanka

Nov 14 (Time) There are not many elections where candidates campaign behind razor wire, surrounded by 14 bodyguards and watched over by helicopter gunships. But then there are not many elections that could make the difference between war and peace. more..

84 EU members to be on election duty

Nov 14 (TN) 55 additional officials arrived from European member countries and Switzerland Monday to augment the 29 officials already present to participate with the EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to "observe voting, counting and tabulation procedures throughout the whole country," more..

After tsunami, Sri Lanka gets phone warning system

Nov 14 (Reuters) Next time a disaster such as a tsunami strikes Sri Lanka, officials say they hope to use text messages and the mobile phone system to give people the crucial few minutes warning they need to seek safety. more..

Key issues in Sri Lanka's presidential election

Nov 14 (HT) In the presidential election of November 17, political mobilisation is being shaped by a variety of factors and a wide range of issues. These relate to questions of the identity, security, survival and economic development of ethnic and religious groups; Sri Lanka's unity and integrity; the LTTE's attitude; more..

Sri Lankan children differ on how to best achieve peace in their homeland

Nov 14 (AP) The vast majority of Sri Lankan children want an end to the war that has long plagued their Indian Ocean nation, but differ on how to achieve peace, according to a survey released Monday. more..

Sri Lankans rally behind opposing peace plans amid bombing fears on last day of campaign

Nov 14 (AP) Sri Lanka's main presidential candidates Monday offered opposing visions for peace with Tamil Tiger rebels on the last day of campaigning, as security officials braced for a feared repeat of previous election rally suicide bombings. more..

Sri Lanka tightens security as poll campaign wraps up

Nov 14 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's police beefed up security on Monday after the bodyguard of a minister opposed to the Tamil Tigers was shot dead and presidential candidates wound up their final day of campaigning ahead of a Nov. 17 vote. more..

All ready for presidential poll: Elections cheif

Nov 14 (Xinhua) Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake said here Monday that all arrangements for the Nov. 17 presidential poll has been finalized. The campaigning by all 13 candidates for the poll will close midnight on Monday and Dissanayake said that radio and television campaigns too must come to an end. more..

Economy and peace choices for Sri Lankans at key vote

Nov 14 (AFP) Sri Lanka's presidential election this week has turned into a vote on the country's distressed economy and the troubled peace process, with the two main contenders diverging sharply on the major issues. more..

SEP debates radical “left” in presidential election campaign

Nov 15 (wsws) A debate last Wednesday in Colombo organised by the Lanka Left website in the lead-up to the November 17 presidential election in Sri Lanka provided an illuminating insight into the gulf between the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the various “left” parties that present themselves as “socialist”. more..

"Follow BBC" - Commissioner

Nov 15 (BBC) The chief election officer in Sri Lanka has said that the country should not have state media institutions. Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake told the journalists in Colombo that he believes both state and independent media are not maintaining a balanced coverage during presidential elections. more..