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Dulles drubbed

Dec 19 (LT) Minister Dulles Alahapperuma, participating at a media conference held by the UPFA yesterday put himself into a difficult situation trying to bring up the objection raised at the handing over of nomination papers at the Office of the Commissioner of Elections regarding Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s USA citizenship. Speaking to the media Minister Dulles Alahapperuma said, “Not a single citizen in our country would like to elect a US citizen as the president of our country. more..

Mahinda’s popularity dwindles by 31% in 19 days – ‘Dinamina’

Dec 19 (LT) Popularity of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaske has dwindled by 31% in 19 days points out ‘Dinamina’ newspaper. A news item published by ‘Dinamina’ on 30.11.2009 stated Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse would win the presidential election by a margin of 93%. The newspaper stated that this was revealed in a survey conducted by Dr. K. Karunatileke of Kelaniya University. Meanwhile, today’s ‘Dinamina’ states that the President would receive only 62% of the votes. more..

A Sea of heads in Kandy

Dec 19 (LT) The whole city of Kandy was packed with people who came to participate at the inaugural election rally of the Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka says our reporter. The rally was held at the Central Market in Kandy. Leaders of all political parties that support Gen. Fonseka at the presidential election including leaders of the UNP and the JVP participated. UPFA MP Arjuna Ranatunga who joined Gen. Fonseka to support him at the election too participated. more..

Defence Secretary claims Rs 1 b for defamation from Sunday Leader

Dec 19 (MoD) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa's Attorney at Law Sanath Wijewardane has sent a letter of demand for one billion rupees to the Sunday Leader newspaper Chairman Lal Wickramatunga and Editor Fredrica Jansz as damages for publishing two articles defamatory of the Defence Secretary on December 6 and December 12, 2009. more..

From War Hero to a Fallen Idol

Dec 19 (MoD) From a War Hero to a Fallen Idol. Is Sarath Fonseka engaged in a ritual of self-immolation when he accuses the army of killing the surrendering terrorists on instructions? Fact or fiction, the retired Commander is accusing his own army under his command of war crimes. Is Fonseka disqualifying himself before nomination day by displaying he is not fit to be a Presidential candidate! more..

Vocational training under way: Jobs for welfare village youth

Dec 19 (MoD) Employment opportunities are being provided to displaced youth in welfare villages in the North after a proper vocational training under a program launched by the Vocational and Technical Training Ministry said Minister Piyasena Gamage. The Minister said this at a ceremony to mark the handing over of Three million rupees to the Vocational Training Authority by the National Development Bank (NDB) for more..

Govt to sue EU, if GSP+ not granted

Dec 19 (MoD) The government would institute legal action against the European Union (EU) if the GSP Plus concession was not granted to Sri Lanka, Minister of Export Development and International Trade Prof G. L. Peiris told the media yesterday (18 Dec) in Colombo. "If the EU decides against the granting of GSP plus, it would be a human rights violation," Prof. Peiris said. more..

Marked increase in foreign remittances

Dec 19 (LNP) Despite the global economic meltdown foreign remittances have shown a significant increase and diversification. Foreign remittances from countries such as Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Europe and North America recorded a higher growth during the year, a senior official of the Central Bank told Daily News Business. He said that these remittances were mainly from expatriate Sri Lankans working in Middle East countries, more..

The Presidential Election: A Diabolical Deception!

Dec 19 (GV) This up-coming presidential election would be comical, if not for the fact that it is deceptively diabolical. The contention between incumbent president Mahinda Rajapakse and retired General Sarath Fonseka and the arguments being drawn up by both sides are simply degenerate. They expose the depths to which this political order has been despoiled and degraded. more..

Sivajilingham to solicit Tamil diaspora support for his election campaign

Dec 19 (AT) The TNA MP who filed his nomination to contest as an Independent candidate in the forthcoming Presidential Election in Sri Lanka is planning to leave for London to drum up the Tamil Diaspora’s support for his election campaign. Asian Tribune learns that he is going to meet with the Tamil leaders in London to solicit their support and solidarity for his campaign to give a sound expression of the Tamil national aspirations at the presidential election. more..

U.S. halted military aid to Sri Lanka when battling LTTE terrorism: Does SL need it now?

Dec 19 (AT) The United States Senate and House Conference report of the 2010 Appropriations Bill, now ratified by both chambers, in the section which deals with U.S. financial assistance to Sri Lanka restricts any military assistance to Colombo. The section of the bill directs the Secretary of State to submit a report supplementing her report on October 21 on crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka detailing whether any measures have been taken by Colombo and more..

President promises during his second term: Developed moral society

Dec 19 (DN) Addressing a mammoth crowd of over 100,000 at the inaugural UPFA Presidential election rally at Salgado grounds, Anuradhapura yesterday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he was very confident of taking the country to greater victories from January 27 after obtaining a second successful mandate, based on the experience and the knowledge gained in the struggles won to date. more..

Journalists debarred

Dec 19 (DN) When opposition Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka arrived at the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy to pay homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic the media was debarred from entering the precincts and covering the event by his security officers. A large number of journalists representing various media institutions present on the occasion were aghast at the indifference shown by officers providing security to Fonseka. more..

EU delegation Head briefs Foreign Minister

Dec 19 (DN) The Head of the European Union delegation to Sri Lanka Ambassador Bernard Savage called on Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama yesterday and briefed the Minister on the developments connected with the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty which came into force on December 1. Minister Bogollagama used the opportunity of the meeting to take up the European Commission press release "Commission statement on GSP+ and Sri Lanka" of December 15, 2009. more..

'I ‘ll not let down my troops at International Court'

Dec 19 (DM) Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka says he will never let down the troops who were under his command even if he has to go before an international court but at the same time will not defend some top government officials who interfered with the military operations. He said he was in the Army to win the war and not to win friends and that he had sidelined disgruntled elements in the Army during the war. more..

Decline in unemployment bottoming out

Dec 19 (Island) Third quarter unemployment figures have bottomed out reaching 5.9 percent from the lowest of 5.5 percent during the corresponding quarter of 2008 after a gradual decline from 8.1 percent in 2003, data released by the government’s statistics office shows. According to the Department of Census and Statistics, unemployed people during the third quarter of this year increased to 480,000 from 449,000 during the corresponding period of 2008. more..

Petition against State media: AG undertakes to take action, proceedings terminated

Dec 19 (Island) If a news item published recently, that the Elections Commissioner will appoint a Competent Authority to overlook all State media and other media institutions, is true Attorney General, Mohan Pieris PC, will draw the attention of the Commissioner of Elections to Article 104/B of the Constitution, which refers to guidelines. The Attorney General explained to the Supreme Court yesterday that the guidelines were a prerequisite. more..

Trishaw driver saves the day

Dec 19 (Island) A trishaw driver, who had come across a bundle of GCE Ordinary Level Exam papers, had been able to deliver it with the assistance of police to the Exam center five minutes before the commencement of yesterday’s examination. The packet had 300 papers and if not for the timely action of the trishaw driver yesterday’s entire History paper would have been cancelled affecting around 500,000 candidates, more..

Jumped-up jumpy jumpers

Dec 19 (Island) As a shower is to drought affected frogs, so are elections to disgruntled politicians; they croak and jump. The past few weeks have seen frog like jumps in politics beginning from Wijedasa Rajapakshe's defection to the UNP. Then came S. B. Dissanayake's pole-vault from the UNP to the SLFP, followed by crossovers of Johnston Fernando and Indika Bandaranayke to the government from the UNP. more..

CBK comes back to support Fonseka

Dec 19 (DM) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga is to address the election rallies of Opposition Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka early next month, UNP sources said yesterday. The new political development is expected despite Mrs. Kumaratunga’s claim made earlier that she would never come out of her retirement. The leaders of the newly formed UNF which now supports the candidature of Gen. Fonseka, more..

Injured Angelo Mathews to return home

Dec 19 (CI) The injury crisis in the Sri Lankan camp has deepened, with the allrounder Angelo Mathews set to return home after straining his right quadricep muscle during the second ODI in Nagpur on Friday. The Sri Lanka Cricket media manager Brian Thomas has confirmed to Cricinfo that the Wayamba allrounder Thissara Perera will join the squad in India on Sunday for the three remaining ODIs. more..

'Missing SL fisherman contact their families'

Dec 19 (DM) Two Fishermen who took hostage of two Indian coastguards and later reported that they had gone missing had reportedly contacted their families, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Neomal Perera said. “These fishermen had given their whereabouts, so we have informed the Indians to find them,” Minister Perera said. According to him they had spoken to their families in Sri Lanka and more..

'I won’t take donations from Prabhakaran’s parents'

Dec 19 (DN) I won’t accept from Prabhakaran’s parents even millions or billions while I would gladly take a donation of even a cent from our toiling peasants, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa accepting a donation of Rs 300,000 from a peasant farmer at the inaugural UPFA campaign rally at Anuradhapura. “We are ready to receive aid from any country to develop Sri Lanka. more..

Election violence on the rise

Dec 19 (DM) Six people were injured and hospitalised when a clash took place in the Tangalle town between two major political parties in the area taking the total election related incidents up to 20. JVP MP Nihal Galappaththi said that government supporters had carried out an unprovoked attack on the JVP propaganda road show at Beliatta. Six of the party’s activists were injured and at least three vehicles damaged. more..

Sigiriya frescoes continue to fascinate millions

Dec 19 (DN) Scholars are of the opinion that the paintings at what is manifestly the Buddhist monastic site of Sigiriya and the Buddhist monastery at Ajantha in India are closely related. The Ajanta paintings were discovered in 1819 by British Army Officers and the Sigiriya paintings were discovered in 1833 also by British Army Officers. It is evident that there had been hundreds of paintings adorning the great rock (Bell ASCAR 1906 Paranawitana 1956). more..

'Curse be on those who use State resources and LTTE assets for their betterment'

Dec 19 (UNP) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said, it is the duty of those who are elected to power on the people’s votes to safeguard State resources, assets and funds as they are not dowry properties of the elected representatives, nor the Treasury the personal wallet of the President to draw monies from it as though those funds belong to his personal account. more..

'Is there any point in holding to power if you cannot deliver what you promised to the masses'

Dec 20 (UNP) Addressing an unprecedented mammoth crowd at Kandy, at his maiden election campaign rally, Opposition common Presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka said, when he announced that he would bring down the food prices and increase the salaries of the workers if he becomes the President, the Govt. economic pundit Ministers began criticizing him as ignorant of economic theories. more..

Room to Read builds libraries in Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (FT) It looks like a normal prize-giving ceremony at a normal school. Children are arranged by age on rows of seats in the barn-like hall. They wait patiently, a burble of chatter rising on the boiling air towards the tin roof. On a raised concrete dais is a small table on which sit the books to be presented as prizes. A teacher reads out the name of each winning child who moves shyly to the front to collect their prize with a gracious bow. more..

Paasikuda: Heavenly beach of the 'Green algae' bay

Dec 20 (TC) Paasikuda means Green-Algae-Bay. It is a coastal resort which is situated 35 kilometers North West of Batticaloa. Beautiful beach in Paasikuda is an attraction to Sri Lankans and foreign tourists. Now, people from other parts of the country visit Paasikuda in big numbers. Paasikuda is one among many choices for a memorable and pleasant holiday in Sri Lanka. Paasikuda is situated in Batticaloa district between Kalkuda and the sea. more..

Threats from within and Spectres from the Past

Dec 20 (AT) During the Presidential election season, the hopes of Lankan democracy rest not on Mahinda Rajapakse or on Sarath Fonseka, but on Dayananda Dissanayake, the Election Commissioner. On nominations day the Election Commissioner demonstrated his determination to ensure that the Presidential election is as free and as fair as it is possible in the current context. more..

Sri Lanka to attract tourists for North and East

Dec 20 (AT) The only negative factor which caused for a setback for the Sri Lanka’s tourism industry was removed and next year will be the year of tourism with the immense development projects presently going on all over the island, said by the Tourism Minister Achala Jagoda. Sri Lanka is a foremost tourist destination which has diverse attractions along with beauty, culture and warm and hospitable people. more..

Security Zone in Point Pedro shifted away from Hartley College and Methodist Girls School

Dec 20 (AT) The two leading schools – Hartley College and Methodist Girls school located side by side in Point Pedro are taken out of the security zone. The Army has also vacated from those school buildings, which it was occupying for years. Sri Lanka Forces have shifted the security zone towards the Point Pedro Jetty excluding these two schools, the Urban Council Office and the Courts complex. more..

And the way forward to solve the vexed ethnic issue for good

Dec 20 (LG) The reports says “What these survivors’ stories make clear is that for both parties, the key to military dominance lay not in brilliant strategies, but in an utter disregard for the lives of civilians and combatants alike, driven by their leaders’ single-minded pursuit of personal power”. If it is what UTHR(J) has to say, then the following true story will provide as to what, in fact, a brilliance strategy in fog of war or more..

President does not accept throwing parties at election period is tantamount to bribes

Dec 20 (LeN) The President Mahinda Rajapakse speaking at a function of the Judicial Officers, said, it is his belief that feeding and giving feasts during the elections period is a violation of the election laws. Treating any person who comes to a house with hospitality is an old tradition. Providing them with food and drinks during any period ought not to be stopped through the constitution Trying to control these good traditions and practices by law is something untoward, he added. more..

Decision to please Karuna rescinded by Cabinet meeting on 16th as Ferial opposes

Dec 20 (LeN) The Cabinet decision taken last week to please National Integration Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan (Karuna) was withdrawn by a Cabinet decision at a meeting on 16th, because Housing Minsiter Ferial Ashroff took offence at this decision. This action to stop was because of the decision to appoint a new Secretariat at ‘Kalmunai North’. All these years, it was only the Kalmunai District secretariat which was functioning. more..

Conviction sets Dilshan apart

Dec 20 (Hindu) There was a time when Tillakaratne Dilshan’s many talents made it difficult to slot him. As can be the case with someone who can cut, drive and pull comfortably, and someone who shows even a slight willingness to adapt, Dilshan was pushed up and down the batting order. But the dashing, audacious manner needed security to appear convincing. Without that, Dilshan was struggling to hold on to his place in the team. more..

On Lasantha Wickremetunge, media freedom and human rights in Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (GV) To commemorate Human Rights Day 2009 Groundviews interviewed a number of leading activists in Sri Lanka to find out their perspectives on current challenges facing human rights in post-war Sri Lanka. In general, activists featured were asked to comment on the Sri Lankan State’s protection of human rights, the nexus between human rights and human dignity and opportunities for greater human rights protection over the coming years. more..

National referendums and the aspirations of a diaspora: a Saturday morning reflection

Dec 20 (GV) A week ago (Saturday 12 December 2009), I came across a news report about a referendum organised by Tamil nationalist activists in France, in order to "say yes or no for independent and sovereign Tamil Eelam in the island of Sri Lanka". The article, published in Tamilnet, further said that polling was to take place in 30 centres in Paris and suburbs and in five centres out of Paris. more..

Some critical problems facing human rights protection in Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (GV) Recently, the world celebrated the ‘Human Rights Day’, on 10 December. It comes to us, every year. It is a day that commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Various events, seminars and workshops are held, various programmes launched, on that day. There are advocacy programmes, awareness programmes, lectures and such kind. more..

Mano says life in danger because of back-up “Cart”

Dec 20 (SL) Furious opposition MP Mano Ganesan has declared that his life is at stake and is demanding a road-worthy security back-up vehicle from IGP Mahinda Balasuriya. Claiming that authorities are deliberately putting his life at risk by giving him a back-up vehicle which he compared to a ‘cart,’ Ganesan said that his original back-up vehicle was immediately removed soon after he extended solidarity to opposition presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka. more..

“I hope to be executive Prime Minister”

Dec 20 (SL) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said he hopes to function as Executive Prime Minister, after the next general election is held. Answering questions as to what exactly his role would be or how he stood to gain in the event of General Sarath Fonseka winning the January 26 presidential election, Wickremesinghe responded saying, “I have functioned before as Executive Prime Minister in an Executive Cabinet and I hope to do so again.” more..

The politics of resettlement

Dec 20 (SL) Almost 20 years ago, the Muslims living in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province were ruthlessly thrown out from their homes by the LTTE in 1990 in an attempt to make the north a ‘homeland’ for the Tamils. Helpless, these people were forced to flee and seek temporary shelter in other areas of the country such as Puttalam, Anuradhapura and Kurunegala where they live to date in poverty and deplorable living conditions in makeshift camps and houses. more..

The Fonseka revelations and presidential palpitations

Dec 20 (SL) A day in politics is long. A month? Sri Lanka is set for a blockbuster, rib bruising battle during the next 40 plus days. The battle lines are clearly drawn and irrespective of who wins the next presidential election Sri Lanka will emerge as a deeply divided nation… politically. The LTTE is defeated though the Tamil problem remains. The war is over but the economy is tottering. Corruption is yet rampant. Lawlessness and crime are on the increase. more..

the Choice: More of the same or is it?

Dec 20 (SL) A record 22 candidates are contesting the sixth presidential election, since the 1978 Constitution came into force. The country has another opportunity to elect a dictator for six years. In a nation where voting in elections is an addiction, a turn out of 80 per cent or so can be expected on January 26 next year. Of the 22 candidates 20 of them put together would be lucky to get even one percent of the votes. more..

J.V.P. factor

Dec 20 (SL) Market sources were divided on the Marxist J.V.P. factor in the event General Sarath Fonseka wins the January 26 Presidential Poll. “The market will zoom if Fonseka wins,” one market source told The Sunday Leader. It will be the capitalist U.N.P. which will be calling the shots, the J.V.P. will be a minority in such a coalition, as such the market has discounted the J.V.P. factor in the event Fonseka wins the polls,” he said. more..

'I’m contesting to force a second count'

Dec 20 (LB) TNA Parliamentarian M.K. Sivajilingam handed in his nomination papers to contest the Presidential elelctions along with 22 other candidates, last week. MP Sivajilingam is contesting the polls as an independent candidate, though he is yet a member of the TNA. LAKBIMAnEWS spoke with Sivajilingam on the key issues of the imminent election. Q: What made you want to contest the Presidential Election? more..

IDP washout: just 7000 vote

Dec 20 (LB) Less than 7000 IDPs have registered with the authorities to vote at the coming presidential elections, claim election monitoring bodies. This is only a fraction of the 160 000 people who are eligible to vote. “Around 160 000 IDPs are eligible to vote and out of that only 1600 from Jaffna and 5000 from Vavuniya have registered. The IDPs should register if they are to vote outside the cluster polling centres,” said Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) Spokesman Keerthi Tennakoon. more..

Right royally putting your foot in it !

Dec 20 (LB) Sarath Fonseka wants to be president. So he has enlisted the United National Party, among others, to help him get there. Now, we don’t know the precise details of what the UNP has taught the general (in terms of winning an election, that is). But they have clearly neglected to instruct him in the fine art of keeping one’s mouth shut so as not to regret what flies out of it. more..

The political slate wiped clean

Dec 20 (LB) This column’s speculation last week that parliament would be dissolved before the presidential election seems now to be a certainty. The president’s strategy is clear —— pit the JVP against the UNP, because the two parties never would be able to contest the general elections together. That he hopes would take the wind off the sails of the UNP-JVP backed presidential campaign for Sarath Fonseka. more..

Election wars and cardboard heroes

Dec 20 (LB) Just a day after handing over their nominations President Rajapaksa and opposition common candidate Sarath Fonseka held their first major rallies in two venues that are linked to the past glories of the country. The first rally of the Rajapaksa campaign was held in Anuradhapura while General Fonseka addressed his first rally in Kandy. Both candidates focused mainly on the economic issues ranging from the cost of living to corruption, while more..