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President is violating all election laws, says Kiriella

Jan 20 (LeN) Kandy district UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella asks who the Chief Minister candidate of the UPFA is, either President Mahinda Rajapakse or Sarath Ekanayaka. Addressing a press conference held in the official residence of the Opposition Leader, Kiriella charged that the President was violating all election laws. He said that 27,000 packets of rice had been distributed from Mahaweli Reach hotel by Sunday (18) against laws. more..

Attorney General withdraws the charges framed under a non-existing law

Jan 20 (LeN) The Attorney General informed the Supreme Court today (19) that the indictment against former Chairman of Airport and Aviation Authority and the Chairman of ‘Mawbima’ newspaper company Tiran Alles and the Financial Director of the company Dushayantha Basnayaka would be withdrawn. The Court had shelved the indictment against these two persons since it was framed under a non-existing law. more..

Live and Let Live

Jan 20 (LG) It is assumed that Prabhakaran has given the slip to both Indian and Sri Lankan forces and escaped into wilderness, an unknown destination. Who would have believed that a man who built an army, a navy and an air force from scratch and virtually ran a mini separate state for two decades would allow himself to be caught by the forces? Most people believed that he would eat the cyanide pill or get killed in battle. Very few suspected that he would run away. more..

Tamil Polity and the silent majority

Jan 20 (LG) The LTTE, as is known, enforced the 'sole representative' status by successive elimination of other militant leaders and their cadres from within the Tamil community. Moderate political leaders met the same fate if the LTTE saw in them the possibilities of becoming a new focus in the 'Tamil politics' of the island-nation. Even academics and administrators capable of thinking on their own did not escape the LTTE's wrath. more..

Mass organizations & people rally against media repression

Jan 20 (LT) A rally jointly organized by the JVP, Patriotic National Centre, Intellectuals for Human Rights, Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, National University Teachers’ Organization and several other mass organizations under the theme “Lets’ rally against media repression” was held at Nugegoda yesterday. President of Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association Sanath Balasuriya addressing the rally said, “We can fight with ideas; not with swords, poles and knives. more..

Anura questions visit of US Pacific Command! Govt. mum!

Jan 20 (LT) Making a special statement in the Parliament today Leader of the group of Parliamentarians of the JVP Anura Dissanayake questioned the activities carried out by the US Pacific Command in Trincomalee area. Mr. Dissanayake reminding the history of USA mediation in Sri Lanka asked 1. When did the group of US Pacific Command arrive in Sri Lanka? more..

Special teams to look into IDP needs

Jan 20 (SAMN) On the direction of Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, MP, secretaries of ministries connected to providing basic needs and looking into the welfare of the displaced people entering government controlled areas from the Vanni, dispatched special teams to Vavuniya Monday, to assess the situation and prepare a comprehensive report. The report is to be presented to Rajapaksa by Wednesday. more..

MTV attack: Court blasts police

Jan 20 (SAMN) A Nugegoda Court Monday granted bail to the five suspects arrested in connection with the attack on the MTV/MBC broadcasting station and observed that the police had maliciously implicated the Pannipitiya Devram Vehera and Kotte Municipal Council opposition leader’s vehicle in the case. Magistrate Wasantha Jinadasa also observed that this was an attempt to mislead the investigations by diverting attention in some other direction. more..

'JVP, UNP, SLFP (M) among conspirators'

Jan 20 (SAMN) The NFF charged that several conspirators including the JVP, UNP, SLFP (M) and several media personnel, who draw salaries from the NGOs are out to revive the battered LTTE, by exploiting incidents such as killing of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge and the attack on the Sirasa transmitting station. The party also spoke about SLFP (M) Leader Mangala Samaraweera, who said he would write to US President Barrack Obama about the death threats he had faced. more..

Bandula to Homagama

Jan 20 (SAMN) The government has decided to give SLFP organiser posts to some UNP MPs currently holding ministerial portfolios in the ruling coalition. Accordingly, political sources said, Trade, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardane will be appointed as the SLFP organiser for the Homagama electorate soon. Besides, the government was considering the possibility of appointing Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama as the organiser for the Kotte electorate in Colombo. more..

Situation Report (Jan 20th) - SL Army

Jan 20 (SLA) CORPSES of thirty-eight Tiger terrorists which had note been accepted by the LTTE are to be buried in the VAVUNIYA cemetery this afternoon (20), following a court order received by the Police on Monday (19). Those bodies, now becoming decomposed, consist of seventeen males and twenty-one females of the LTTE. They are to be buried by the Police in the presence of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) officials in VAVUNIYA. more..

Fleeing civilians top 2,000 mark

Jan 20 (DN) The number of IDPs seeking refuge with the Government authorities surpassed the 2,000 mark yesterday as the Government reiterated that arrangements were in place to help displaced civilians. Resettlement and Disaster Relief Services Minister Rishard Bathuideen said by yesterday, the number of IDPs who sought refuge in the cleared areas, had increased to 2,057 and they were housed at welfare centres in Vavuniya with all facilities. more..

'No reference to ceasefire in talks with Menon'

Jan 20 (Island) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said that there was no reference to a ceasefire agreement between the government and the LTTE during talks with Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, who was on a two day official visit to Sri Lanka. He told the media that the visiting Indian Foreign Secretary was briefed about the agenda that Sri Lanka followed with regard to the eradication of terrorism and the relation with the foreign countries. more..

Conductors told: Wear uniforms by Feb. 15

Jan 20 (DN) The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the Western Provincial Transport Authority to ensure that private bus conductors wear a uniform and issue tickets with the ticket machines by February 15 and ordered the cancellation of route permits for non-compliance. The Supreme Court Bench comprised of Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva PC and Supreme Court Justices Shirani Thilakawardene and Chandra Ekanayake. more..

President assures no privatisation of State banks

Jan 20 (Island) None of the State banks will be disposed of the private sector nor will any private sector banks be allowed to close down, President Mahinda Rajapaksa assured bank employees of the of the Central Province, at a meeting on Saturday. The meeting was held at the Janadhipathi Mandiraya in Kandy. President Rajapaksa said that many of the demands of the bank employees had been met and there was no necessity launch protest campaigns. more..

Assurances alone are not enough

Jan 20 (DM) There are only a few things that could raise the ire of a person more than an accusation levelled against him for a deed or a statement that he had not even dreamt of doing or making. Some people, of course, get angry not because of their innocence but because of the disclosure of their misdeeds. So in the present situation of political turmoil where accusations are freely exchanged among pugnacious politicians, many inevitably are thrown into the emotional fire of anger. more..

'Health Minister painfully slow on vital issues'

Jan 20 (DM) The People’s Movement for the Rights of Patients (PMRP) has expressed concern over the delay in implementing the proposed Charter of Patients Rights and Responsibilities and the National Medicinal Drugs Policy. A spokesman for the PMRP said Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva had repeatedly promised to quicken the introduction of legislation on these two policy matters, as part of moves to restore a health service where the well-being of the patients is given priority. more..

Tamil lawyers protest against Indian cricket team's visit to Sri Lanka

Jan 20 (ANI) Lawyers here staged a rally in protest against Indian cricket team touring Sri Lanka and urged the Central Government in New Delhi to intervene and stop alleged atrocities on Tamils in the island nation. The protesting advocates held placards and raised slogans against the Government of India of betraying the cause of Tamil people by sending Indian cricket team to Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka among countries poorly prepared to face global crisis

Jan 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka is among 25 percent of countries that are poorly equipped to deal with the global financial crisis, and needs fiscal as well as external adjustment to stabilize itself, a World Bank economist said. Claus Astrup, World Bank's senior country economist in Sri Lanka said about 40 percent of emerging market countries were well prepared to meet the crisis with budget deficits of less than 3.0 percent and strong external current account positions. more..

Sri Lanka World Bank head says global crisis failure of government

Jan 20 (LBO) The meltdown of the global economic system is not a collapse of capitalism and markets but rather a failure of government, World Bank's Sri Lanka country director Naoko Ishii said.Ishii said the collapse of banks and falling prices of financial markets have been interpreted by some as a failure of markets and that the state should be substituted. "On the contrary in my view -- it is government that has failed and not the markets," Ishii told more..

Pakistan hit back to dismantle SL

Jan 20 (CI) Not for the first time in recent months, Sri Lanka's batsmen floundered after a strong start as they were bowled out for 219 in good batting conditions at the National Stadium. The new opening duo of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sanath Jayasuriya surged the innings forward, but the insecurities of the middle-order slowly surfaced as Pakistan clawed back, applied the pressure and restricted Sri Lanka to a total much lower than projected after the early blitz. more..

Prabhakaran should be tried in Sri Lanka, says parties

Jan 20 (IANS) Sri Lankan political parties are insisting that Tamil Tigers chief Velupillai Prabhakaran should be tried in this country if he is caught and not sent to India where too he is a wanted man. A media report said Tuesday that the political parties wanted Prabhakaran to be tried in Sri Lanka 'for the crimes he has committed including the assassination of several political leaders'. more..

Sri Lankan issue to dominate TN assembly

Jan 20 (PTI) Amidst changing political equations ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the first session of Tamil Nadu Assembly this year beginning here tomorrow is likely to be stormy with a host of issues, including the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka, set to figure prominently. The session, expected to be a brief one, would start with Governor Surjit Singh Barnala's customary address which is expected to spell out a slew of announcements on DMK's welfare schemes ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. more..

LTTE planes missing: Did Prabhakaran fly?

Jan 20 (AA) Has Sri Lanka’s most wanted man, Tamil Tiger chieftain Velupillai Prabhakaran, fled the country with his family? Sri Lankan troops who captured six airfields and landing strips used by the LTTE in their march towards the last stretch of territory held by a handful of Tigers, said they had not been able to find the three Czech-made Zlin Z-143 aircraft that the Tigers’ air wing had secretly acquired in recent years. more..

Sri Lankan special forces on alert to capture Prabhakaran

Jan 20 (PTI) Sri Lanka has kept Special Forces in readiness to capture LTTE Supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran as its Army closes in on the Tigers' last bastion of Mullaittivu, a top official said on Tuesday. As seven divisions of Lankan troops converge on Mullaittivu from all directions, the Army has been told to be on the look out for the elusive Tiger chief and top leadership of the LTTE. more..

Manhunt for top rebel stepped up in Sri Lanka

Jan 20 (AP) A special forces team waits on high alert to search for one man. Fighter jets stand poised to strike. Drones scour the jungle for hidden bunkers, while intelligence agents interrogate captured guerrillas. As Sri Lankan troops wage large-scale battles against rebel forces in the north, they are also desperately trying to find, capture or kill Velupillai Prabhakaran, the autocratic leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. more..

Sri Lanka troops, Tamil Tigers in fierce naval battle

Jan 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka's navy Tuesday destroyed four Tamil Tiger boats and killed 16 guerrillas trying to escape as government soldiers close in on the rebels' last base in the northeast, the military said. Officials said the pre-dawn naval battle erupted in waters off Mullaittivu, a jungle and lagoon area and the last town in Sri Lanka still in the hands of the LTTE. A naval blockade has been stepped up to prevent any rebel leaders from leaving the country. more..

Brandix crosses oceans to raise funds in battle against cancer

Jan 21 (F2F) Brandix Group has taken caring for the community beyond national boundaries to support people suffering from leukaemia and cancer in the United States of America by becoming a sponsor of ‘America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride,’ a fund-raiser for the fight against blood cancers. An apparel exporter of significance in the US market, Brandix joined many other top global brands as a Silver Sponsor of last year’s event at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, more..

Bourse jumps 4 pct to over two-month high

Jan 21 (Reuters) Bourse surged 4.01 percent on Tuesday to an over two-month high, with positive sentiment over a potential end to the country's 25-year war and hopes foreign investors would return driving up shares. The rupee closed flat on a state bank's intervention, but analysts said the state of Sri Lanka's gross official reserves has become a concern weighing on the rupee. The Colombo All-Share index surged 69.86 points to 1810.27, its highest close since Nov. 11. more..

Sri Lanka draws India's Kingfisher Airlines

Jan 21 (LBO) In the wake of global airline bankruptcies and route cuts, India's Kingfisher Airlines has expanded its international presence with flights to Sri Lanka, and plans for daily connections from Bangalore and Chennai to Colombo. "We have plans to expand quite considerably this year, and choose Colombo as it's our nearest neighbor and traffic between the two countries has shown a significant growth in the last few years, and we believe its going to grow further," more..

Public Private Partnerships are key to economic revival in Jaffna

Jan 21 (PISL) With the opening up of the A9 highway reconnecting the North and the South by road, the Jaffna economy is set to take off. The recent Exhibition and Trade Fair demonstrated the business potential of the Jaffna region, and the top brands participating were clearly impressed at the vibrancy of the market. Following the encouraging response they received from Jaffna consumers, many of these companies are already planning to expand their distribution networks and more..

SLBC censorship 'breach of privilege'

Jan 21 (BBC) The leader of the opposition has raised a point of privilege over censorship of his speeches by a state owned radio station. Opposition and UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe requested speaker of the parliament to investigate SLBC censoring his speeches. Mr. Wickramasinghe said SLBC has played music over his statement in parliament over the killing of Sunday Leader editor, Lasantha Wickramathunga which was broadcast on BBC Sandeshaya. more..

Butt century powers Pakistan to easy win

Jan 21 (CI) A country starved of international cricket for over six months celebrated with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka to take a 1-0 lead in the series, thanks to the efforts of Salman Butt and Khurram Manzoor, who made light work of the 220-run target. Pakistan took full advantage of a jaded Sri Lankan side still circumspect with their form after struggling against weak sides in the recent months. more..

SAARC Education Ministers meet in Colombo

Jan 21 (LP) A meeting of Ministers of Education and Higher Education of member nations of the SAARC will be held in Colombo on March 26 and 27. A meeting on the subject of Mutual Recognition of degrees and Common Education Standards in the region was held in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2008. At this meeting Sri Lanka initiated the proposal to arrange a meeting of Education and Higher Education Ministers with the intention of more..

‘Rangpuhar’ goes on stage at Ananda College

Jan 21 (LP) A dance and music ensemble named ‘Rangpuhar’ headed by Ms. Shubhra Bharadwaj will be performed at the Kularatne hall, Ananda College Colombo10 on Sunday (25th) at 6.30 p.m. ‘Rangpuhar’ will be performed at Dharmaraja College in Kandy on Tuesday (27th) at 6.00 p.m. The High Commission of India in Sri Lanka and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) will sponsor the troupe's visit to Sri Lanka to celebrate the 60th Republic Day of India. more..

'Govt would not causeany injustice to the villagers'

Jan 21 (LP) The Government would not cause injustice to any villager in developing the Sella-Kataragama town area said the Minister of Urban Development and Sacred Areas Development Dinesh Gunawardena. The Minister made these observations as he was answering a question on a picketing organised by shop owners last Wednesday in protest against moves to demolish their shops, some of which had been operating for several decades, to make way for the construction of new shops. more..

'Central and Wayamba will be under UPFA Administration'

Jan 21 (GDI) The People in the Central and North Weastern Provinces have said that the UNP is in far a good treat at the forth coming Provincial Council election, Minister of Construction and Engineering Services Dr.Rajitha Senaratne said today (20) at a Press conference at Mahaweli Center. UNP will not be able to deceive the Public by their false propaganda campaigns adding that the public of the country are well aware of the Government policies which are favorable for them. more..

No civilians killed - government

Jan 21 (BBC) Sri Lanka government says that not a single civilian was killed in the conflict between government forces and the LTTE in Mullaitvu district. Minister in charge of Human Rights, Mahinda Samarasinghe, accused the BBC of carrying out 'false information' on the civilian casualties in the battle field in northern Sri Lanka. Medical staff in the north told BBC on Sunday that at least 18 civilians have been killed during the weekend as more..

In Sri Lanka hope is a four letter word

Jan 21 (ML) Bulldozed from the land, bombarded from the air and sea, brutalised in general, one would think the Palestinian people would make a sensible calculation, put their hands up and surrender. They don’t. Most of the world is with them, but that doesn’t really matter because the dominant global power, the United States, is against. Indeed, the U.S. refuses to prevent, or even condemn, the merciless assault of the Israeli state. more..

UNP alleges conspiracy against debate

Jan 21 (ML) The main opposition UNP yesterday alleged there was a conspiracy to prevent the UNP sponsored no confidence motion from being debated with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe alleging that the newspaper editor who published a series of articles on the dubious hedging deal was slain just the day before the said parliamentary debate was to take place. While Chief Opposition Whip Joseph Michael Perera alleged there was a conspiracy to more..

Broad coalition against the suppression of freedom

Jan 21 (ML) The murder of The Sunday Leader Editor, Lasantha Wickrematunge has galvanised several facets of civil society and human rights groups, who held a meeting yesterday at the J.R. Jayewardene Centre to form a broad coalition against the suppression of freedom prevailing in Sri Lanka. Leaders and representatives of several opposition political parties including the UNP, SLMC, SLFP (M) and TNA among others, met with representatives from NGOs, trade unions, more..

Rs. 5 bn., relief pkg., to plantations yet to be realized

Jan 21 (ML) The plantation sector has not got the President’s promised Rs. five billion relief package, Planters’ Association of Ceylon Chairman G.D.V. (Donga) Perera said. This compensation package amounting to a total of Rs. 16 billion and covering various sectors of the economy including plantations was announced by the President on December 30, 2008. Perera speaking at a seminar on the global economic crisis and its impact on Sri Lanka on Monday more..

Pakistan win early Mendis battle

Jan 21 (CI) Whatever Pakistan had planned for Ajantha Mendis, it worked in the first ODI at the National Stadium in Karachi. Leading up to the series, several batsmen, as well as the coach, had said they would look to attack and unnerve him. For once, thought was translated into action: Khurram Manzoor cut and pulled Mendis for four in his very first over and a route to neutralizing Mendis - for now - was set. more..

'UNP nearing its end with Mangala'

Jan 21 (BL) Government yesterday warned the UNP that SLFP (M) Leader Mangala Samaraweera would be their downfall and claimed that, at present, the political field is undergoing a severe attrition due to the lack of a strong Opposition. Minister Rajitha Senaratne noted that, the UNP is nearing its end and SLFP (M) Leader Mangala Samaraweera, “already a politically bankrupt character in politics, will be the ultimate cause of the downfall of the UNP.” more..

‘Stimulus’ is still

Jan 21 (BL) Amidst criticism that the state’s much hyped Rs. 16 billion stimulus package is yet to see the light of day since its announcement three weeks ago, the Government yesterday assured it will be rolled out by next week. Admitting that the process was taking an extended period of time, Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunewardene pointed out that this was unavoidable, as the separate sections of the relief package had to be ironed out among different government and private bodies. more..

Prabhakaran’s fate: Differing perceptions

Jan 21 (BL) The topic of the day is the impending fate of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. Sinhala and English language media are filled with stories of his possible end. The Tamil media is cautiously silent. Five possible options have been discussed. Of them, the first three- flight from Mullaitivu, captured alive and surrender- are improbable, as they are in conflict with the character, thinking and philosophy of the Tamil Tiger leader. more..

CB unveils bonanza for NRFC, RFC deposits

Jan 21 (BL) The Central Bank on Monday revealed a bonanza to encourage greater inflow of foreign exchange to the country. It said, with effect from February 1, a payment of a 20% bonus interest on NRFC and RFC deposits will be made as a special incentive to encourage higher levels of inflows into NRFC and RFC accounts. The Bank also said the government will consider the introduction of a once-and-for-all concessional final income tax for new foreign exchange inflows, if more..

Tamil Tiger chief in SEA?

Jan 21 (ST) WITH Sri Lankan troops closing in on the last remaining Tamil Tiger stronghold of Mullaitivu, speculation is rife that rebel chief Velupillai Prabhakaran has fled to South-east Asia to 'fight another day'. Prabhakaran is the leader of the LTTE, a rebel organisation that seeks an independent Tamil state in part of Sri Lanka. He is wanted by Interpol for murder, organised crime and terrorism. more..

Sri Lanka looks to trim stock transaction fees: official

Jan 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stock brokering industry and the securities regulator is examining the transaction cost structure to trim both broker fees and official levies to encourage more trading, an official said. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and brokers operating in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) met Monday to discuss future market development strategies, a move towards derivatives trading as well as transaction fees. more..

Prabakaran is presumably fighting his last battle in conventional warfare

Jan 21 (TC) The battle being waged by the LTTE to defend Mullathivu in the face of the Sri Lanka security forces’ onslaught may well be the last conventional military operation by Tamil insurgent leader Velupillai Prabakaran in the two-year-long “Eelam War IV.” Mullathivu is the LTTE’s last bastion, what is left from an original domain of nearly nine districts it had ruled for over a decade. more..