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Religious leaders call for fair presidential election

Dec 25 (UCAN) Religious leaders have appealed to authorities to ensure a free and fair presidential election next month and that state-run media are impartial in the run-up to the polls. They also raised the question of voting rights for displaced people held in camps in the north. Thousands of displaced people have not registered to vote ahead of the Dec. 24 deadline. Buddhist, Christian and Muslim leaders met Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dissanayake more..

Refugees deny sexual abuse

Dec 25 (EB) Tamil war refugees residing in camps in Vavuniya categorically denied that Sri Lankan troops guarding the camps had raped or indulged in any other form of sexual abuse as alleged by a former inmate in an interview to The Observer newspaper of London. “It’s a mischivous rumour,” Rasendran from Ponneryn, who had been living in the Kadirgamar camp for months, told visiting journalists on Wednesday. more..

'Kumar Sangakkara erred by batting first'

Dec 25 (CI) Virender Sehwag, who oversaw India's last two one-day international wins, believed his team was handed an advantage when Kumar Sangakkara opted to bat. The pitch in Kolkata was expected to play slow and low but the dew was expected to counter that advantage for the team batting first. In the end, Sehwag's hunch proved right as Gautam Gambhir posted the highest individual score at the Eden Gardens to help India register the highest successful chase at the venue. more..

Presidential aspirant views sought on 14 issues by Tamil professionals

Dec 25 (TC) Presidential elections are always of great importance to all citizens. In the context of the recent civil war defeat of the LTTE, as well as other developments over the years, the forthcoming Presidential Election is of very special relevance to ethnic minorities, human rights activists and journalists. The voter needs to know the positions of the various candidates so as to assess more..

Sisters of the Good Shepherd celebrate Christmas with the poorest children

Dec 25 (AN) The Sisters of the Good Shepherd held a Christmas party for poor children of the community of three villages near Jael, 25 km from Colombo. On the afternoon of December 22 nuns invited 52 children from Wewala, Weligampitiya and Kalaeliya (photo) to the hall adjacent to their convent for a party of two hours with songs and dances, the representation of Jesus' birth and the delivery of gifts. more..

The President, the General and the Geo-politics of the Indian Ocean

Dec 25 (TC) The unpredictability of Sri Lankan politics is a godsend to journalists and political analysts alike. It was only seven months ago that General Sarath Fonseka was riding high in the opinions of ordinary Sri Lankans as the architect of the ultimate demise of the Tamil tigers. He shared this accolade with President Mahinda Rajapaksa who the Sri Lankans dubbed ‘The Saviour of the Nation’. more..

A nasty, cruel war followed by a nasty, dirty election

Dec 25 (TC) Philip Alston the UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions has asked the Government of Sri Lanka for explanations regarding the deaths of three senior LTTE leaders and members of their families in the final stages of the war. He wants in particular information pertaining to the the “circumstances of the death of three representatives of the LTTE more..

Finishing the war on terror & beginning the battle for democracy

Dec 25 (TC) The 26th of November 2009 went by without Vellupillai Prabhakaran making his annual Mahaveera Speech. We can effectively say that he and the LTTE died on the beaches of the Nandikandal Lagoon in May 2009. The Sri Lankan Government won the war against the LTTE and declared that Terrorism had been defeated. Some Sri Lankans danced in the streets, ate Milk Rice and lit fire crackers celebrating that Terrorism had been defeated. more..

Adam’s Peak and Muslim Saints and Shrines in Sri Lanka

Dec 25 (LG) It is a belief among Muslims world-wide that when Adam (AS) was banished from Paradise on account of his disobedience to God, he set foot on the peak where the foot print of Adam remains to this day. Muslims attribute the luscious growth and beauty of natural vegetation in our spicy island, and it being immune from major natural calamities to the fact that Adam stepped down on this island and more..

Signs of lakhs of IDPs losing their franchise: All the 22 Candidates, political parties silent

Dec 25 (LG) Media spokesman for Campaign for Free and Fair elections (CAFFE), Keerthi Tennekoon regretted that no political party has taken any action to protect the voting rights of the IDPs in the North. Not only the Elections Commissioner and the govt. officials, but the political parties too have a grave responsibility to safeguard the voting rights of the IDPs in Jaffna and the Wanni Districts. more..

Experience within a corrupt system is not an advantage

Dec 25 (LG) The claim of having long years of experience as a qualification for leadership may be valid only to the extent that the experience has been acquired within an an acceptable system. If the experience has been gained within a corrupt system then that experience should be a disqualification for leadership and should be treated as a disadvantage for exercising the functions of leadership. more..

Five years on, Sri Lankans want to know where tsunami aid has gone

Dec 25 (National) Five years after the tsunami swept over the shores of Sri Lanka destroying everything in its path, victims are continuing to rebuild their lives. But their efforts have been plagued by nagging questions over widespread corruption in programmes expected to provide thousands of houses worth billions of rupees. more..

More imported rice to the local market soon

Dec 25 (GDI) The Government will import another 40,000 metric tons of rice within this month in addition to the 44,000 metric tons imported by the private sector importers so far to cater the increased demand for rice in the local market, Secretary to the Treasury, Dr. P.B. Jayasundara said. Accordingly the first consignment of 15,000MT will reach Colombo on the 28th of this month. more..

Sri Lanka’s Future

Dec 25 (SC) First, the good news. Sri Lanka’s government, whose 26-year war against the separatist Tamil Tigers ended in total victory last May, is keeping its promise to let all of the 300,000 Tamil civilians who were captured in the final battle go home again. Not only that, but it is going to hold a free election next month–so free that the ruling party might even lose it. The bad news is that it does not much matter who wins that election. more..

Endangered elephant is subject of new film

Dec 25 (NJ) There's nothing inconspicuous about a charging 10,000-pound Asian elephant, but for three uninitiated Pascack Valley natives, the range of sounds that suddenly ripped through Sri Lanka's Lahugala forest on a warm evening last September was, to say the least, surprising. Shaking trees and snapping branches heralded the charge of a young male seeking to intimidate Phil Buccellato, a documentary filmmaker who grew up in Hillsdale, and more..

University of Madras to start study centre in Sri Lanka

Dec 25 (Hindu) The University of Madras will start study centres for the benefit of Tamil students in Sri Lanka, Madras University Chancellor G. Thiruvasagam has said. The draft plan to commence classes from July, 2010, was mooted during a discussion with Vadivel Krishnamoorthy, Deputy High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Southern India. Mr. Krishnamoorthy had called on the Vice Chancellor on Thursday to discuss more..

'No decision to sue EU; It is just a view expressed by Prof. Peiris'

Dec 25 (AT) Despite Prof. Peiris’ claim on suing the EU over temporary suspension of the GSP plus to Sri Lanka, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe today said there is no such decision adding it is “just a view expressed” by the former. There will not be any legal action against the EU,” Samarasinghe told Asian Tribune. “There are various opinions being expressed. more..

Lanka seeks investments in IT, auto parts sectors from india

Dec 25 (Hindu) Indian investors could look at their neighbour Sri Lanka for investments in a wide range of sectors, including agriculture, dairy, fisheries and manufacturing sectors, according to Mr Vadivel Krishnamoorthy, Deputy High Commissioner of Sri Lanka. After nearly three decades of strife, peace has come to Sri Lanka which is now looking to fully exploit the benefits of a liberalised economy Mr Krishnamoorthy said. more..

Sri Lanka Hambantota port industries to be called by

Dec 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's cabinet of ministers has kicked off the process to bring private enterprises to a new industrial port in Hambantota in the south of the island, the government's information office said. The ministers had given the nod to set up a cabinet appointed negotiation committee and a project committee to prepare requests for proposals and negotiate with investors to start a series of industries by April 2011. more..

Poor quality rice given as relief food in Jaffna

Dec 25 (TN) Rice that is distributed as relief food for the resettled IDPs and other needy people in Jaffna district by the government of Sri Lanka is of very poor quality and unsuitable for consumption, according to concerns raised by Non-government Organizations in Jaffna. All relief dry food items are purchased by the Commissioner of Essential Services (CES) in Colombo and sent to Jaffna for distribution, Jaffna Secretariat officials said. more..

Mahindapala’s Ranil

Dec 25 (LG) During the last couple of years I have read HLD. Mahindapala in relation to the on going war. Mahindapala’s contribution to the efforts of Sri Lanka to defeat terrorism played a vital role and he deserves our gratitude and sincere thanks. My impression was that he was a patriot and a veteran journalist/writer. I had nothing but respect for his ability to counter LTTE propaganda in favour of Sri Lanka. more..

Christmas and the call to reconciliation

Dec 25 (LG) We are celebrating the Christian festival of Christmas at a time when the entire country is in dire need of a true peace and national reconciliation. In fact, Christmas is about the greatest drama of reconciliation between God and humanity, for God has become a human being in this historical birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The Christians revere him as Son of God, the Redeemer of mankind and more..

National Safety Day tomorrow

Dec 25 (GDI) Arrangements have been made to observe the National Safety Day tomorrow (26). Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management Mahinda Samarasinghe said that two minutes silence will be observed from 9.25am to 9.27. to commemorate the Tsunami victims as well as the others who have lost lives. He pointed out that this is observed devoid of political differences. He stressed that we should resolve to come out strong after facing natural disasters. more..

Azath Sally condemns Sarath Fonseka's stance on minorities

Dec 25 (GDI) Former Deputy Mayor of the Colombo Municipal Council Azath Salley said that he will unite the Muslim population against the anti-national statement made by the candidate of the New Democratic Front, retired General Sarath Fonseka that insulted the minorities. He said the opposition candidate who made a statement to the Canadian Post on 23rd September 2008 said that more..

MoD SVU hands over keys of new house to a war hero's family

Dec 25 (MoD) Completing another housing project, Defence Ministry's Seva Vanitha Unit handed over the keys of the newly constructed house to a war hero's family in a function held under the patronage of MoD SVU chairperson Mrs. Ioma Rajapaksa on 23rd December. War hero, L/Cpl W.P.P.S.K. Wijesinghe of 1st Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment made utmost sacrifice to defend the motherland while serving in the battlefront in Mullaittivu on 22nd December 2008. more..

Seva Vanitha Unit donates Rs.4 Million for Seruwila Hospital

Dec 25 (MoD) The Seva Vanitha Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently made a donation of Rs. 4 million to the Ministry of Health for the construction of a 20 bed Ward for women and children at the Seruwila Hospital in Trincomalee, making its total contribution to the Seruwila hospital to be more than Rs. 6 million. On 16 December, Mrs. Deepthi Bogollagama, Hony. President of the Seva Vanitha Unit of the Foreign Ministry handed this donation to more..

'Fonseka breached military discipline'

Dec 25 (GDI) The Former Army Commander, retired General Sarath Fonseka had breached military discipline by making a treacherous statement. When the US Internal Security Department was planning to quiz Sarath Fonseka, he had queried from the JVP as to what should be done and it was Tilvin Silva who had told him not to answer any queries but to return to the island. more..

'Senior Govt. men are with General'

Dec 25 (LT) Several senior leaders of the present government are supporting apolitical Common Presidential Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka at the presidential elections says Minister Champike Ranawaka. The press conference had been convened to explain 29 policy matters the JHU had proposed to include in the second stage of ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ to be issued as the election manifesto of Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

Eravur shops encroachment case is put off to 8th January

Dec 25 (PSM) The case against illegal encroachment of newly built shops in Eravur is put off to 8th January next year by District Judge, Batticaloa. The Court has also issued summon on all illegal occupants to appear before him on this date. The Eravur Pradeshya Sabha (PS) has filed this case in the court against this since the police have failed and neglected to entertain the complaint of the PS. more..

A joyous celebration - Daily News Editorial

Dec 25 (MoD) Christmas comes but once a year. But this Christmas is very special for all Sri Lankans, not just Christians. This is the first Christmas that we are celebrating in a country sans terrorism, after 30 long years. There is no fear or suspicion in the air. Today, the whole country is one, with no ethnic and religious divisions. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." more..

Lanka sure of GSP+, says BOI Chief

Dec 25 (DN) BOI Chairman Dhammika Perera said that Sri Lanka would get the GSP+ facility without being suspended and assured that the Government was in a position to afford it even if the facility was suspended. Stating that there were 186 factories of European countries in Sri Lanka, he said if GSP+ would be suspended the most affected are these European companies that invested in Sri Lanka and more..

A ‘Sanki' Oil Corporation fraud amidst the ‘Uthura Vasanthe'

Dec 25 (LeN) The Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CPC) is to purchase 500 inferior quality fuel pumping plants under the cover of ‘Uthuru Vasanthe' program. The pumps used in the fuel filling stations in 2002 are the Chinese ‘Sunstar’ . It was the CPC which appointed them as the agents for SL. A foreign lady , Ema was the representative for that ‘Senstar’ in SL. These pumps need refurbishment only after 10 -12 lakhs of fuel have been pumped using them. more..

Christmas Message of the JVP

Dec 25 (LT) Today is Christmas Day that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Today is a special day that is venerated by Christians all over the world. This is the first Christmas celebrated after defeating tiger terrorism that plagued the Sri Lankan society for 30 long years. Hence, this Christmas is a very special for all citizens of our Motherland. The Philosophy preached by Jesus Christ was justice and equality. He taught to love others. more..

Robert Blake refuses to comment on US human rights probe

Dec 25 (AT) Presenting hard facts about New York immigration lawyer Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran’s direct links to LTTE, a designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO) in the U.S., to which State Department’s Robert Blake described him as ‘only an advisor and not a well known Tiger operative’ in his December 9 press briefing in Colombo Blake refused to comment when more..

Christmas message of the Leader of the UNP

Dec 25 (LT) Christmas is a special occasion of peace and goodwill celebrated by all across the entire world. It aims at creating an environment of peace and well being among all free from evil and hypocrisy.Let us strive to make all beings happy and live in harmony with a view to overcoming the problems and hardships faced in the day to day life on this special day. May it be the hope of all that the light of learning shines on more..

Christmas message of the President

Dec 25 (LT) As the world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace this year, Christians in Sri Lanka have more cause for the joy of Christmas in a country that is no more threatened by the dark clouds of terror. “The spirit of Christmas is one of loving and giving. It brings together families and communities to share the joy of the birth of Jesus Christ who brought with him the great teaching of love that is at the core of Christianity. more..

Tsunami's political impact

‘Tharunayata Hetak’ caught pants down

Dec 25 (LT) ‘Tharunayata Hetak’ (Tomorrow for youth) organization of Namal Rajapakse has swindled Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union for the tune of Rs.10.8 million by ordering air tickets for participants at the recently concluded Carlton Rugby sevens tournament. The bill is the money owed to Mackinnon travel agents which facilitated air ticketing for the tournament. The ticketing had been done on credit. more..

Tsunami deaths traded a fifth time?

Dec 25 (LT) The government has asked all Sri Lankans to observe silence between 9.25 a.m. and 9.27 a.m. on the 26th, the fifth anniversary of the tsunami disaster, in memory of all those who died in the tsunami. Even at the time this request has been made many people have not been able to build up their shattered lives. The houses built without a proper standard have become another debacle for those who suffered five years ago. more..

Karuna, Pilleyan sink their differences to back Mahinda

Dec 25 (LNP) Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council, is under JVP fire after he criticized the candidature of General (Rtd) Sarath Fonseka. Contrary to expectations of the Opposition, Chandrakanthan aka Pilleyan has not thrown his weight behind the former Army Chief s campaign though at one time he had indicated a desire to go against the incumbent president. more..

Christmas greetings from Gen. Sarath Fonseka

Dec 25 (LT) I am happy to issue a message on Christmas Day. Christmas reminds us about the trials and tribulations of Jesus Christ. The star of Bethlehem was a star of hope that led the wise men to the fulfillment of their expectations and the success of their expedition. Nothing in this world is more fundamental for success in life than hope, and this star pointed to our only source for true hope: Jesus Christ. more..

Diplomatic loose cannon

Dec 25 (LNP) Albert Camus has famously said that any mediocre person begins to put on airs and graces the moment he or she is put behind a counter. This being a personality trait common even among the ordinary folk, how pompous the artful could become when placed in a position of authority goes without saying. EU Ambassador in Colombo Bernard Savage has got into hot water over an unnecessary statement he made recently. more..

MR and SF takes their campaign to Cyber World

Dec 25 (SLW) President Rajapakse and the opposition Presidential candidate General (Retired) Sarath Fonseka, both have launched their respective websites for the presidential campaign yesterday. is the official website of president Rajapakse. The website launched from the President’s house in Kandy. more..

More powers under new construction Act: Authority to replace ICTAD

Dec 25 (DN) The Construction Industry Development Authority will be the successor to the Institute of Construction Training and Development (ICTAD) under the proposed Construction Industry Development Act. It will have more independence and will assume the role of a stronger regulatory body. The new Act will incorporate changes necessary for the industry to progress further, more..

Reflections on Christmas (as per Isaiah, Ch 58)

Dec 25 (DN) I am writing this on December 24. You will be reading this, hopefully, tomorrow, Christmas Day. So Merry Christmas to all of you, especially those of the Christian faith and all those who are inspired by the life and words of the exceptional earth-resident, Jesus of Nazareth. There’s a passage in the Bible that I return to frequently. It prompts deep self-reflection and also gives perspective to a lot of things in our society. more..

UNHCR supports returnees

Sahanagama winds up

Dec 25 (DN) Vanni Security Forces Commander and Competent Authority for IDPs Major General Kamal Gunaratne stated that the Welioya Sahanagama Idp centre (13 Mile Post) for the IDP's was to be closed by evening yesterday as most of them were resettled and the rest being directed to the Zones 1 and 2 relief villages where more facilities were provided. Major General Gunaratne said that the Darmapuram and Weerapuram Relief villages would be closed within three weeks. more..

Basic amenities at all Sri Lanka refugee campsin India to be improved

Dec 25 (PTI) Basic amenities at all 113 Sri Lankan refugee camps in Tamil Nadu would be improved and all houses in dilapidated condition would be renovated, Rehabilitation commissioner M Kalaivanan said on Friday. Speaking to reporters here, he said the Government was willing to allocate more funds to improve amenities, including shelter, if the first phase of allocation of Rs 100 crore was not enough. more..

Reason for Fonseka’s falling out with Govt. - Yapa

Dec 25 (DM) The government dropped another bombshell on the Sarath Fonseka camp yesterday alleging that opposition presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka got angry with the Defence Ministry when it refused to approve a heavy load of military equipment worth US$ 222,392,635 which General Fonseka had wanted to import from China on August 3, this year, long after the conclusion of the humanitarian operation. more..

Mahinda, Sarath (Silva) and two cans of worms

Dec 25 (DM) Former Chief Justice, Sarath N Silva, delivering the keynote address at the launch of Mangala Samaraweera’s new website, has made some interesting and useful observations on the Executive Presidency, the flaws of the incumbent president and transgressions that violate and compromise the principle of separating powers (among the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government). more..