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Did the Tiger change its strips for a white Flag?

Dec 30 (LG) Probably the most important outcome of Sarath Fonseka's misadventure into the political arena has been his opening up a post-mortem of the Tiger leadership. Although Fonseka may reduce the "walk-over" majority commanded by Rajapaksa, the final outcome of the election is fairly evident to everyone except those who have become mesmerized by the mismatched Mangala-Ranil-Tilvin kaleidoscope. more..

The UN’s butterfly effect

Dec 30 (LG) The United Nations has done a lot of foolish things in Sri Lanka over the years, but the response from its Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings to Sarath Fonseka’s interview in the Sunday Leader is amongst the dumbest. There was no reason for Philip Alston to do anything. Whether or not we believe that the Defence Secretary ordered field commanders in the final stages of the war to execute senior members of the LTTE if they attempted to surrender, more..

De-mining in North, East progressing well

Dec 30 (MoD) Army Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara stated that the forces have cleared an area of 62,760,434 square metres of mines and explosives in Northern and Eastern Provinces this year. The forces have recovered 8,313 anti personnel mines and 2,536 other explosives hidden in these areas which could have posed a hazard to the civilians. He made this statement during a field tour to Periyathampanai and Periyapannivirichchan in Vavuniya to more..

Sri Lanka regulator checks advertised broadband speeds

Dec 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s telecom regulator has begun investigations on broadband speeds advertised by telcos after a private research study found them exaggerating available bandwidth to surfers, a senior official said. “The Telecom Regulatory Commission is conducting its own investigations on mobile broadband speeds advertized by operators," Priyantha Kariyapperuma, director general of the TRC said. more..

Karannagoda claims Rs 500 m from Fonseka

Dec 30 (MoD) Former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda has sent a letter of demand to presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka claiming Rs 500 million as damages for defamation in an interview given by the latter to Sirasa TV wherein he had made false statements against him (Karannagoda) to bring him into ridicule, disrepute and contempt in the eyes of the public. more..

Jaffna peninsular revival driven by road link

Dec 30 (LBO) At a remote fishing village in Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsular a fisherman tells a group of officials from a state-run commercial bank and the country's central bank the difficulties faced in a getting loan. "We would like to thank the bank for introducing a new loan scheme, but the requirement for two government officials to counter-sign it had made it inaccessible to most of us," the middle-aged fisherman says. more..

Elder bro builds palace for younger Bro; Ports money channeled; Election laws violated

Dec 30 (LeN) A notice issued by the Presidential Secretariat warned Institutions and individuals against making allegations without proper investigation in regard to charges being made that State assets and vehicles are being used for the President’s election campaign. The notice further stated no such use was being made. This notice has been issued by the Presidential secretariat without itself conducting a proper investigation into the charges leveled. more..

Between a Horek and a Mule

Dec 30 (GV) Over 6 decades of independence and universal adult franchise and SL has reached probably the lowest points of its political life. Listening, reading and drawing inferences from what’s coming out and not coming out of the 2 main camps in the presidential foray; I cannot help but come to the conclusion that the people of SL has the unenviable choice of electing either more..

Civil Defence men were also war heroes - President

Dec 30 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has stressed that Civil Defence Members were also heroes who protected the villages that faced terrorist threats. He made this statement while addressing the representatives of the Civil Defence committees. He said that they were appointed to the Civil Defence Committees to prepare the background for the advancing troops. The Civil Defence Committees looked after the villages throughout the day. more..

Minister throws challenge at the Opposition

Dec 30 (GDI) Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene today threw an open challenge to the Opposition to prove that the Rajapaksa family had engaged in corrupt activities and described such charges as baseless and canards to sling mud during the polls campaign. He said the Opposition was using certain media to sling mud at Rajapaksas' making frivolous charges that the Rajapaksas' have purchased hospitals, land and many things in the country. more..

Dr Kohona to Co Chair UN Working Committee

Dec 30 (LP) Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona has been appointed as a Co Chairperson of the UN Working Group by the President of the UN General Assembly, to study issues relating the Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Marine Biological Diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction. more..

Sarath Fonseka stands on UNP garbage mountain - Minister Sirisena

Dec 30 (GDI) "If Mahinda Rajapaksa did not win the 2005 presidential election and Ranil Wickremasinghe won it, the" Ranil - Prabakaran Agreement" would have got further strenghtened", observed SLFP General Secretary, Minister Maithripala Sirisena. Speaking to journalists today, Minister Sirisena said that Sarath Fonseka was now working with such a UNP that betrayed the nation. more..

"If I contest I will lose my deposit" - Sarath Fonseka

Dec 30 (GDI) "I do not know politics.I have no knowledge on politics. I am only a strong disciplined military officer.Politics do not suit my profession. If I contest I will lose my deposit and end up as the most unsuccessful politician in the history", said Gen Sarath Fonseka. He made this statement in response to a question whether he would take to politics after retirement. In this interview done on February 10, 2008, more..

Curfew completely lifted in Jaffna from tomorrow

Dec 30 (LP) The curfew in the Jaffna peninsula will be lifted from midnight tomorrow. Speaking to Lankapuvath Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said that curfew in the area prevailed since it was liberated from the clutches of the LTTE. Curfew in the area prevailed for several years and the duration of curfew was lessened from time to time. In the recent past curfew was in force from 12.00 midnight to 04.00 am, daily. more..

'Sarath Fonseka engaged in childish politics'

Dec 30 (GDI) Power and Energy Minister, WDJ Seneviratne today claimed that Opposition candidate quite ignorant to politics was reading out written text material by others like a parrot, similar to a child of eight years."In that sequence he commits contradictions on a daily basis", observed the minister. He said the UNP was a party now hated by its own membership and the UNP leader must accept that the party was now bankrupt. more..

'There is nothing to be shocked or scandalized about in the fact that one family is running the country'

Dec 30 (LG) There is nothing to be shocked or scandalized about in the fact that one family is running the country, according to Jackson Anthony, who spoke to the ‘Subharathi’ programme of the National Service of the SLBC today. It was a long and detailed discussion on views of history according to this Jackson. more..

Large numbers travel on A9 road

Dec 30 (LP) Massive crowds have travelled via the A9 highway this festive season. Over 500000 people have used the A9 Highway between the 24th and 27th of December 2009 said Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara. It was also reported that over 4000 vehicles have travelled on the A 9 road within the 04 days. 969 vehicles and 14 260 people had travelled on the Jaffna-Kandy highway on the 27th of December itself more..

Price of a 12.5kg Laugfs gas cylinder reduced

Dec 30 (LP) The price of a 12.5 kg domestic Laugfs gas cylinder will be reduced by Rs 60.00 with effect from midnight tomorrow (31). Accordingly the new price of a 12.5kg Laugfs gas cylinder will be Rs. 1421.00. However Shell gas prices will remain unchanged and the price of shell gas cylinder will be Rs 1550. Minister Bandula Gunawardena disclosed this at a Media briefing held in Colombo today (30).

State electronic media under watch

Dec 30 (DM) Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake yesterday decided to appoint former civil servant Jayampathi Hettiarachchi to monitor the state electronic media in the run up to the presidential election scheduled for January 26, 2010 according to guidelines set by him. The Commissioner informed his decision to representatives of some opposition political parties supporting the candidature of Gen. Sarath Fonseka when he met them yesterday. more..

Spoils of war

Dec 30 (LG) For little Sri Lanka, 2009 was a year of celebration and heart break. The aftermath of an improbable victory against the LTTE brought a massive wave of support from the Sinhala majority to President Mahinda Rajapakse. The Tamils were dumbfounded. In a near thirty year period of the LTTE’s dominance, the Tamil community, though not by choice, looked upto the LTTE to bring about devolution or some semblance of self rule in the North and East of the country. more..

Indian High Commissioner meets Commander of the Navy

Dec 30 (LP) High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka His Excellency Ashok K. Kantha called on Sri Lankan Navy Commander Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe yesterday. The High Commissioner was accompanied by Indian Defence Attache Captain Pradeep Sing. Discussions were held between the Navy Commander and High Commissioner Kantha on matters of bilateral relevance and mutual interests. more..

Jaffna Muslims up in arms against false news

Dec 30 (PSM) Muslims in Jaffna city set fire to local Tamil daily "Valampuri" today charging that the daily carried a fabricated news report stating that the story was designed to discredit the Muslims and damage their busines. Furhter, trustees of Muhammadiya Jummah Mosque in Jaffna city condemned this news paper for this false news in a press release. The related news story had falsely stated that a Muslim hotel at the Jaffna Bazar served meals with dog meat. more..

From betrayal to denial

Dec 30 (LNP) The JVP says the UNF-JVP presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka has denied a statement attributed to him in The Sunday Leader on Dec. 13, 2009 that he had learnt from a third party that Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa ordered 58 Division Commander Maj. Gen. (then Brigadier) Shavendra Silva to gun down LTTE leaders who surrendered. He is reported to have given that newspaper a choice between publishing his denial and facing a costly law suit. more..

Govt. plays Thaksin card to get Tiger assets

Dec 30 (DM) Some months ago a foreign news agency published an article that former Premier of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra now in exile had sought political asylum in Sri Lanka. Although this news did not create a stir, soon afterwards it was learnt that the new Tamil Tiger leader, Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) who was resident in Thailand was arrested. more..

Ven Dambara Amila Thera refused bail

Dec 30 (DN) Horana Magistrate and Additional District Judge Anushka Seneviratne yesterday refused bail to Ven. Dambara Amila Thera, who had been remanded in connection with several complaints of collecting money with the promise of employment abroad. The monk was placed in remand till January 8, 2010. The Judge directed the CID ASP Mevan Silva, who appeared for the prosecution with Inspector Ranjith Munasinghe and SI Mohamed, to submit a more..

Unprecedented Development in Puttalam

Dec 30 (DN) The main objective of 13th amendment to the Constitution is to devolve power at provincial level to accelerate the development process of the country. Policies of the country's regional development have undergone a complete change following the Provincial Councils. But no tremendous development in the rural areas of the country had been observed during the regimes of four presidents due to their less interest or more..

Man who facilitated Karuna’s defection lashes out at Ranil

Dec 30 (Island) Former UNP Batticaloa District MP Ali Zaheer Moulana said yesterday that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had betrayed and let him down after he had done so much for the party and the country. "I was solely responsible for bringing Karuna Amman safely to Colombo when his life was threatened by the LTTE, at great risk to my own life," he said. more..

Call to attract high-tech global companies

Dec 30 (LNP) Sri Lanka should move into a high tech industry base by 2020 by attracting global high tech companies to the country, having met a number of pre-requisites to create an environment for such companies to operate in Sri Lanka, Pathfinder Foundation, Executive Director Luxman Siriwardena said. He said that Sri Lanka has been transformed from an agrarian to a low-industry based economy during the past few decades and more..

Subsidy scheme increases demand for fertilizer

Dec 30 (DN) The demand for fertilizer has increased rapidly due to the Government's subsidy scheme. The Government is encouraging the public and private sectors in agriculture development. The average fertilizer imports per annum are around 600,000 - 650,000 MT. However, during 2008 it grew up to 800,000 MTs, which shows that there is a big demand for fertilizer, a senior official of CIC Agri Business told more..

This is how Artists are praising the Great King

Dec 30 (LT) We have received a report regarding the series of advertisements broadcasted through TV channels these days, created by “Tharunyata Hetak” organization under the leadership of Mr. Namal Rajapaksha the elder son of President Mahinda Rajapaksha. Normally a TV channel is charging Rs. 90,000 to Rs. 100,000 for a 30 seconds length advertisement to be played during the News broadcasting. more..

Lanka to get additional 33 power-sets

Dec 30 (DN) The Government will add 33 power sets imported from China and India to the locomotives in next year under its 10-year Railway Development Strategy highlighted in the Mahinda Chintana. ”The total cost of these 33 power sets is Rs.13 billion,” Sri Lanka Railways General Manager P.P. Wijesekara told a media briefing in Colombo. This would fulfill the countrywide demand of commuters as more trains are expected to be deployed on several rail tracks. more..

Anandasangaree’s urgent proposals for immediate implementation

Dec 30 (AT) The TULF leader has in a statement pointed out the lapses which are to be taken up and rectified without further delay by the candidate getting elected in the forthcoming presidential election. V. Anandasangaree, the President of the TULF has touched on the need for the safeguard of the minorities, on the merger of the North and East, resettlement of the IDPs, compensation to be paid to the IDPs, more..

Three UNP dissidents pledge support to President

Dec 30 (Island) Three dissident UNP politicians from Sabaragamuwa on Sunday pledged support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the forthcoming Presidential elections, saying that Rajapaksa was the better candidate who had provided the leadership to defeat the LTTE and liberate the country from terrorism. The dissidents were former Sabaragamuwa Chief Minister Jayatillake Podinilame, Kegalle Urban Council Chairman Jude Rukantha Perera and more..

Assets declared by 11 candidates

Dec 30 (Island) Eleven of the 22 candidates, including the UPFA candidate President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Opposition common candidate General Sarath Fonseka have declared their assets to the Elections Commissioner as required by law. New Left Front candidate Dr. Wickremabahu Karunaratne and United Socialist Front candidate Siritunga Jayasuriya have also handed over their assets declarations to the Elections Commissioner. more..

Mahinda Chintana: Over 98 percent fulfilled

Dec 30 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday when he came into power he introduced a people friendly manifesto Mahinda Chinthana and told the public if it could be successfully implemented, the benefits would be for the whole country. People accepted it and rallied round us with new vigour. We never forgot our election promises. Today I have come forward for re-election after completing 98 percent of my promises, more..

Tamils should negotiate with both leading presidential candidates - Vigneswaran

Dec 30 (Island) Former Supreme Court Judge C. V. Vigneswaran, who was under tremendous pressure from the majority Tamil Diaspora to stand for the Presidential election as a common candidate of the Tamils, said the Sri Lankan Tamil community should negotiate with both main presidential candidates and get the maximum benefit before deciding on whom to support. He said that fielding a common Tamil candidate or boycotting the election would be tantamount to giving up their democratic rights. more..

Boycott not the solution for Tamil grievances

Dec 30 (DM) The news that the All Ceylon Tamil Congress has decided to boycott the upcoming Presidential elections is indeed cause for serious concern. Apart from the fact that such a decision creates a further rift within the already divided Tamil community, it has the potential to leave the real grievances of the Tamil people out in the open, unmet, un-discussed and uncared for. Such a room leaves for the Tamil people to be further alienated both from more..

Formidable challenger

Dec 30 (MO) You can take the soldier out of a war, but you cannot take the war out of a soldier. Perhaps that is why even after his stormy retirement, Gen. Sarath Fonseka is busy making the January 26, 2010, Sri Lankan presidential election more exciting. He is the challenger, and the allegations he has levelled against President Mahinda Rajapaksa have shaken the island from post-LTTE celebratory mood. more..

Sri Lanka cuts lending rate for farmers ahead of polls

Dec 30 (LBO) Central Bank said it will slash lending rates for farmers with effect from January 1, 2010 barely a month ahead of crucial presidential elections. The interest rates on three types of loans mainly for cultivation and animal husbandry will be reduced by four percentage points to eight percent from 12 percent. The move follows price cuts in petrol Tuesday and in several other essential commodities like sugar ahead of the presidential poll on January 26. more..

No transparency in election campaigning

Dec 30 (CaFFE) There is no transparency in election campaign financing of the presidential candidates for the upcoming election, Director Keerti Tennakoon said yesterday. Mr. Tennakoon told the Daily Mirror that a large amount of funds were being pumped into the election campaigns of the presidential hopefuls and that no effort had been made to inform the public from where the funds were flowing. “The citizens of the country have the right to know who is responsible for funding these campaigns and more..

Cricketers break off political independence

Dec 30 (DM) Cricketers Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralidaran have broken their political independence by deciding to exhort their followers to vote for a particular candidate at the forthcoming Presidential election, analysts told the Daily Mirror yesterday. One analyst said that the country’s hero-worshipped cricketers can no longer be cast as role models or icons. more..

Sri Lanka stock market ends 2009 up 128 percent

Dec 30 (AFP) The Sri Lankan stock exchange more than doubled in value in 2009, figures showed Wednesday on the last day of trading for the year. Investors sent the Colombo market soaring on the prospect of peace and investment after the government claimed victory over separatist Tiger rebels in May after 37 years of bloodshed, analysts say. "The end of the conflict is a key factor driving the market," more..

Yogarajan, Satchithananthan join the UNP to support Fonseka

Dec 30 (DM) CWC National Organizer R. Yogarajan and Deputy Minister and CWC member M. Satchithananthan told reporters a short while ago that they have resigned from the party to join the UNP and expressed support to Presidential Candidate Sarath Fonseka. R. Yogarajan said that he had decided to join the UNP as recent elections had shown that the people of Indian origin are not supportive of the government of more..

No deadline for resettlement of IDPs says Government

Dec 30 (DM) The Government despite having given a pledge to resettle all the displaced people by the end of January 2010 said yesterday that there was no deadline for the resettlement of the IDPs who were in the camps in Vavuniya. Disaster Management and Resettlement Minister Samarasinghe told Daily Mirror Online that no such assurances were given earlier. more..

Media persons need MOD clearance to visit Jaffna peninsula

Dec 31 (TN) Restriction on the travel of media persons to Jaffna peninsula via A-9 highway still remains, Director General of the Media Centre for National Security, Lakshman Hulugalla, told media in Colombo Wednesday. The procedure applied to the media during and immediately after the end of war still remains. Hence all media personnel need to get permission from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to visit Jaffna peninsula via A-9 highway, Hulugalla added. more..

'I nearly lost my life to save country from terrorism ; now I am sacrificing luxurious comforts to save it from corruption and nepotism'

Dec 31 (UNP) Speaking at a mammoth public rally at Diggana, Kandy, Opposition common candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka said, earlier, he nearly lost his life in his absolute dedication to save the country from the scourge of Terrorism, now he is on the next task to save the country from corruption, nepotism, indiscipline and lawlessness presently overrunning this country. In the first campaign, I promised I will more..

Sri Lanka Brandix says price cuts helped apparel sales

Dec 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Brandix group, which supplies top Western fashion brands, said price cuts had helped increase apparel sales despite a global slump in demand. Prices across all categories from men’s underwear, commodity, fashion and best price panties, fashion bras, lounge wear and woven pants, had fallen by 10 to 27 percent over the past year or two, Brandix Director Udena Wickremesooriya said. more..

'Govt. unable to account for US $470 million funds received for Tsunami relief'

Dec 31 (UNP) Addressing a media briefing at the UNP media unit today (30), UNP M.P. Lakshman Kiriella said , the Govt. is unable to explain where a colossal sum of Rs. 47 billion funds for Tsunami relief received from foreign countries went, or into whose pocket it crept in. No wonder, the Govt. has been unable to provide relief to the Tsunami victims even after nearly five years have elapsed. more..

Not Quite Paradise

Dec 31 (CSM) Three weeks after 9/11, University of Arizona professor Adele Barker arrived in Sri Lanka as a senior Fulbright Scholar to teach Russian literature, feminist literary theory, and American literature to select students at the University of Peradeniya. But her own education about the history and people of the island nation takes center page in her latest title, Not Quite Paradise: An American Sojourn in Sri Lanka. more..

Over 173,000 IDPs resettled within five months

Dec 31 (RW) Over 173,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have been resettled in their places of origin within five months. Addressing media at the Wanni Security Forces Headquarters, Wanni Security Forces Commander and Competent Authority for IDPs, Major General Kamal Gunaratne said that it was a great achievement to resettle such a number of IDPs in their villages within a short period of time. more..