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Ten-point plan to ensure free and fair elections

Nov 8 (LT) When the two Fundemental Rigjhts violation petitions filed by two Presidential candidates, Messrs Wimal Geeganage and Nelson Perera were taken up in Courts yesterday, the Supreme Court reserved the order for tomorrow with regard to the identity of voter. more..

Ambassador Goonatillake blasts Norway’s attempt to hastily push LTTE agenda at cease-fire talks

Nov 8 (AT) In a candid presentation to a Washington-based think-tank, Ambassador Bernard A.B. Goonatillake has identified (1) the limitations in the ceasefire agreement itself, (2) the shifting of goal posts by the LTTE,(3) limitations in monitoring the breaches of the ceasefire and (4) the policy of appeasement adopted by sections of the international community, more..

A 3-4 result would be ideal - Atapattu

Nov 8 (CI) Marvan Atapattu hoped that Sri Lanka could carry on the momentum after the win at Ahmedabad and finish the series on a high. He, along with Harbhajan Singh and Mohammad Kaif, spoke to the press on the eve of the Rajkot match. more..

India have allowed Sri Lanka an opening

Nov 8 (CI) Three key men did not play for India. Sachin Tendulkar, Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh have been half of your team in this series. It took the flexibility theory to dangerous terrain. To aim for eleven faceless men in the team is alright, but it was akin to pushing an automobile onto the road without gas. Besides, to us, it appeared you were cocky. more..

Mahinda, Ranil and the Kandaswamy deity of Maaviddapuram

Nov 8 (TW) "Yarlppanakudanadu " or Jaffna Peninsula became the cynosure of the on going presidential election campaign when both Ranil Wickremasinghe and Mahinda Rajapakse paid brief visits on successive days last week. The Leader of the Opposition was in Jaffna on Nov 3rd and the Prime Minister on the 4th. more..

LTTE runs risk of misjudging intnl. response to election boycott

Nov 8 (PIS) Indications from the north east are that people there are getting the impression that the LTTE is opposed to them casting their votes at the forthcoming Presidential elections. This contradicts the public statements from LTTE officials that they are goig to remain neutral in the elections and will not obstruct the elections in any way. more..

Solution to N-E issue only through talks, consensus: PM

Nov 8 (PIS) A solution to the North and East issue could be found only through negotiations and consensus, said UPFA Presidential candidate and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse. Rajapakse who was unable to attend the UPFA election rally in Nawalapitiya due to the bad weather, more..

Polls propaganda caused heavy losses: TI

Nov 8 (SAMN) Misuse of public resources for election propaganda has led to massive losses to the state, said Transparency International Executive Director J. C. Weliamuna said Tuesday. He said a Programme for Protection of Public Resources (PPPR) was in place to entertain public complaints with regard to the use of public resources by candidates in the up coming presidential election. more..

PM pledges houses to estate workers

Nov 8 (SAMN) UPFA Presidential candidate, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has pledged to build separate new houses under the Jana Sevana project for plantation workers who are living in shanties and huts and not in estate line rooms. He gave this pledge at a meeting of estate kanganis (labour supervisors) held at Temple Trees more..

EC guidlines on polls: SC reserves fiat

Nov 8 (SAMN) The Supreme Court Monday reserved order in the case questioning the guidelines issued by the Elections Commissioner to hold a free and fare elections in the North and East for November 9. more..

Ranil promises separate Muslim Ministry

Nov 8 (LNP) UNP Presidential candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday assured about 1,000 Muslim representatives that as President he would setup a separate Muslim affairs ministry if he is elected President to safeguard the rights of the country`s Muslim community. more..

Benefits for average wage earners in today`s budget

Nov 8 (LNP) Despite objections from the UNP, the Second budget of the UPFA government will be presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Dr.Sarath Amunugama at 2.00 p.m. today. The UNP objected to the budget being presented before the Presidential Election of November 17 saying that it could be used to boost the chances of the UPFA`s presidential candidate. more..

Norochcholai launch put off

Nov 8 (LNP) President Chandrika Kumaratunga who signed a deal with China to kick start the much delayed and controversial coal power project in Norochcholai is not likely to lay the foundation stone for the project before she steps down from Presidency. more..

UNP rejects budget

Nov 8 (LeN) United National Party Deputy Secretary Tissa Attanayake told a press briefing today that his party rejects the Freedom Alliance government's budget that is to be presented in Parliament tomorrow and will present a new budget after Ranil Wickremesinghe's election victory incorporating his proposals and policies. more..

Gnanakone, suspects further remanded

Nov 8 (DN) Colombo Chief Magistrate and Additional District Judge Sarojini Kusala Weerawardena yesterday further remanded Charles Gnanakone and four other suspects in the assassination of former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar till November 16. more..

Budget deficit to widen next year on Tsunami costs

Nov 8 (Bloomberg) Sri Lanka's budget deficit will widen next year as more money is spent on building roads, hospitals, schools and houses destroyed by the December tsunami, Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama said today. more..

Catholics’ demands to presidential candidates

Nov 8 (AN) Ethnic conflict, freedom of worship and poverty: the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka is urging citizens to give these issues serious thought in view of the upcoming presidential election on 17 November, and it is calling on candidates to deliver precise answers. more..

IOM to provide youth with livelihood kits in tsunami-hit Kalutara district

Nov 8 (RW) More than 70 youth from transitional shelters established by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for people affected by last year's tsunami in Kalutara district are set to embark on new livelihood ventures following an IOM-sponsored vocational training course. more..

Lasting peace pivot of Sri Lanka poll, rebels not game

Nov 8 (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..

Cricket: Sri Lanka slips in rankings

Nov 8 (PTI) Four defeats in a row to India cost Sri Lanka heavily as it slid to No. 4 in the latest One-day international cricket rankings. India remained at the seventh place although another two wins in the remaining matches of the series against Lanka could help it climb up the charts. more..

Sri Lanka's top candidates extra cautious

Nov 8 (Gulf) Security for both main presidential candidates have been stepped up amid fresh security concerns as the campaign draws to an end with eight more days left for the election. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, used to address rallies behind a bullet proof cubicle, has been provided a similar additional cover in front of the stage opposite his seat. more..

Sri Lanka cuts farm Taxes as ruling alliance prepares for Polls

Nov 8 (Bloomberg) Sri Lanka eased the tax burden on farmers and raised government salaries in its 2006 budget as the ruling coalition prepares for presidential elections next week. The government's deficit will widen to 9 percent of gross domestic product next year as more money is spent on reconstruction following the December tsunami, more..

LTTE prepares for Tamil boycott

Nov 8 (HT) The LTTE, which has under its control over 6,00,000 Sri Lankan Tamil votes in the North and East, seems to be preparing the ground for an undeclared boycott of the Presidential election of November 17. more..

Tamil Tiger plot for election suicide bomb foiled, police say

Nov 8 (AP) Police in Sri Lanka's capital found an explosives-packed jacket they suspect was to be used in a Tamil Tiger rebel suicide attack, hours after a man claiming to be a Tiger sought protection at the U.S. Embassy, officials said Tuesday. more..

Danish group tells U.N. Committee of police torture in Sri Lanka

Nov 8 (AHRC) The Danish Rehabilitation and Research Centre for Torture Victims (RCT) has submitted a written statement to the U.N. Committee against Torture regarding the prevalence of police torture in Sri Lanka and the lack of effective remedies. more..

Government presents budget amid opposition boycott

Nov 8 (AP) The Sri Lankan government unveiled its annual budget Tuesday amid a boycott by the main opposition, which accused the ruling party of offering "carrots" to the public just days ahead of a presidential election. The budget won't face a parliamentary vote until after the Nov. 17 poll. more..

Vaas - The verity man

Nov 9 (CI) There aren't too many cricketers whose initials are longer than their surname. There aren't too many bowlers around with an economy-rate of less than 4.16 in one-dayers. Nobody has dismissed Sachin Tendulkar nine times in ODIs. more..

Sri Lanka promises Vehicle permits and higher pay for public servants

Nov 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka is offering tax breaks on vehicle permits, higher pay and cash for unpaid leave to encourage its bloated public sector to become more efficient. The minimum salary scale for public servants employed in the administrative sector has been set at Rs. 11,630 per month more..

Election Commissioner blocks Editor’s access to documents

Nov 9 (FMM) Sri Lanka’s Election Commissioner Dayananda Disanayake has rejected a request from Ravaya newspaper to release the assets and liabilities declarations of the two main presidential candidates, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksha and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe. more..

Surrendered cadres expose SLA complicity with Karuna group

Nov 9 (TN) Two underage youths, Suresh Kandasamy (16) and Babu Selvam (15), and another foreign returnee Shanmugam Sarwarajah (21), recruited with promise of financial incentives by paramilitary Karuna Group surrendered to the Liberation Tigers and talked to media Monday more..

Cushnahan visits Trincomalee, observes polling arrangement

Nov 9 (TN) Mr.John Cushnahan, Head of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU-EOM) to Sri Lanka Tuesday visited Trincomalee and held discussions with election officials and representatives of the two main political parties contesting the presidential poll. more..

Sri Lanka offers tax-free ICC cricket

Nov 9 (AFP) The Sri Lankan government announced Tuesday that all International Cricket Council (ICC) events held in this cricket-mad island will be given total tax exemptions. Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama said the concession would start with the under-19 World Cup in February next year. more..

Elections leave Sri Lankan Tamils cold

Nov 9 (IPS) Fighting elections in Sri Lanka’s embattled northern Jaffna peninsula can resemble fighting a real war. Candidates move from bunker to bunker communicating constantly over wireless with soldiers in forward positions while helicopter gunships provide cover and gunboats patrol the coastline. more..

Sri Lanka 2006 budget targets 6.0-8.0 pct growth

Nov 9 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is targeting economic growth of 6.0-8.0 percent over the next three years, the finance minister said on Tuesday, unveiling a 2006 budget with spending focused on health, education and infrastructure development. more..

An American style Presidential candidates’ TV debate – a comical circus

Nov 9 (AT) For the very first time, an American style TV debate of the leading presidential candidates’ is to take place in Sri Lanka, as the two leading contenders Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse and the former Premier Ranil Wickremasinghe have on principle consented to participate in such a debate. more..

Ranil opens fire on LTTE - last minute bid to win Sinhala votes

Nov 9 (AT) In the last lap leading to the presidential election Ranil Wickremesinghe has suddenly changed tack to woo the Sinhala majority vote by claiming that the UNP was responsible for splitting the LTTE and trapping the LTTE inside "an international safety net.". more..

PAFFREL invites more than 100 foreign election monitors

Nov 9 (TN) Peoples Action For Free and Fair Election (PAFFREL), a Colombo based election monitoring Non Governmental Organization said in a press release issued in Colombo Wednesday that more than one hundred foreign obeservers are arriving on 9 November to monitor elections in the twenty two electoral districts. more..

Sri Lanka 2006 Defence expenditure to increase by 30%

Nov 9 (TN) Sri Lanka's defence expenditure for fiscal year 2006 is expected to increase by more than 30% of the 2005 levels to Rs 61b, budgetary estimates submitted to the legislative body Tuesday revealed. more..

Suspected Tamil Tigers hijack van at gunpoint

Nov 9 (SLA) AN UNIDENTIFIED GROUP of suspected Tamil Tigers (LTTE) had hijacked a dolphin van (252-0967) at gunpoint from the general area of KANNIYA in TRINCOMALEE on Tuesday (08) around 3.00 p.m. after blindfolding its driver and his friend. more..

LTTE feared civilians end up at Army camp

Nov 9 (SLA) TWO CIVILIANS fleeing to escape from Tamil Tigers (LTTE) in pursuit had ended up on the Army camp premises at PAHALA THOPPUR, TRINCOMALEE on Tuesday (08) morning at about 10.30 a.m. in search of protection. more..

Two more near Minister Devananda’s office taken in

Nov 9 (SLA) TWO MEN LOITERING near the office premises of Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) Leader Minister DOUGLAS DEVANANDA (MP) were taken in for questioning on Tuesday (08) night at about 8.30 p.m. by troops on mobile patrol. more..

Ranil’s prompt letter to debate Mahinda’s confused solutions

Nov 9 (UNP) After 2 months delay, the JVP/JHU/PA presidential candidate, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa in Bulathsinhala on Sunday finally accepted Ranil Wickremesinghe’s challenge to a debate. He agreed to debate the UNP presidential candidate anywhere from Bulathsinhala, Biyagama, Batalanda or the Galle Face Green. more..

Sri Lankan stocks fall on post-budget jitters

Nov 9 (LBO) Stocks slipped further as punters worried that higher corporate taxes announced in next year's budget proposal, may eat into company profits. The benchmark All Share Price Index fell 25.6 points to 2,456.8 while the liquid Milanka Price Index dropped 36.5 points to end at 3,236.2, more..

How Amunugama nearly missed the bus

Nov 9 (LBO) Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama nearly missed presenting the 2006 budget today after his staff got the time wrong and forced him to an inauspicious start. Official invitations sent out by the Ministry of Finance to heads of diplomatic missions and other dignitaries said the budget speech would start at 2.30 p.m, when in fact the cabinet had decided it will be at 2.00 p.m. more..

SLMC Successful in making UNP to accept the five basic demands of Muslims – Hakeem

Nov 9 (LM) The five demands on which 10 SLMC MPs boycotted the parliament during the UNP government headed the then by PM Ranil Wickremasinghe have now been accepted by the same UNP leadership under the election agreement, said SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem. more..

Praphakaran; first to accept Independent Participation of Muslims at Peace Talks- Hakeem

Nov 9 (LM) The JVP's open challenge to UNP presidential candidate Ranil Wickremsinghe to disclose his election agreement with the SLMC was nothing but a communal chauvinistic message to the majority community, said SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem. more..

PM Rajapakse is Prisoner of JVP, JHU- Hakeem

Nov 9 (LM) The LTTE which is now powerful and matured is taking recourse to a new political strategy, getting certain organizations to tell the voters in its areas to boycott the November 17 presidential poll, said SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem speaking at an election meeting at Hidayath Nagar in Madurankuli. more..

2006 Budget at a glance – Finance Minister hails the President

Nov 9 (LT) Finance Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama who entered the Parliament at 2.05 p.m. yesterday unveiled his second budget proposals on behalf of the United People’s Freedom Alliance. Dr Amunugama praised the President Chandrika Kumaratunga for her creditable attempts to elevate nation from the position of under-developed country more..

UPFA budget brings relief for masses

Nov 9 (LT) Budget proposals would bring benefits to masses in all sectors and speed up development said Minister of Finance Sarath Amunugama. He said this presenting the budget for 2006 in the Parliament. Sri Lanka has become a country which is in the medium income category. It is expected that per capita income could be raised to $1800 next year. more..

Expats can't vote by post

Nov 9 (KT) Postal voting for the upcoming Sri Lankan presidential elections seems a distant dream for the large Lankan community residing in the UAE and other parts of the world. “The issue has been thought over by the Sri Lankan government so many times, but the system is not yet in place because of the logistical arrangements which is cumbersome,” more..