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Screening 250 senior citizens to mark National Stroke Day

Feb 27 (AT) The Sri Lanka National Stroke Association (NSAS) marks the National Stroke Day 2010 on February 28th with a novel turn by screening 250 senior citizens for possible signs of any impending heart ailments/ Stroke/ Cardio-vascular diseases.These senior citizens are selected from Aluth Kade North, Colombo an area with low income families. A new look brochure with details pertaining to Stroke in all three languages more..

Why does he do it?

Feb 27 (BBC) Marathoners will talk about hitting The Wall. Toward the end of the 42-kilometre journey, exhaustion overwhelms the body, as if a parachute has opened up behind them or their muscles have suddenly melted away. Their toughest challenge is to resolve to keep running, despite the body screaming, "Stop!" Suresh Joachim does not run marathons. more..

Anti-Tank mines seized

Feb 27 (DN) Mannar Police seized three Anti-Tank Mines on Thursday, buried in a thicket in Mannar. Police Spokesman Prishanatha Jayakody said the AT mines each weighed 16 kg. They were found buried at the 2 km post on the Mannar-Kalpadu road. The mines were seized by a group of Police led by Mannar Police HQI. The Army Bomb Disposal Squad diffused the three AT mines. No suspects have been arrested in this connection so far. Police are investigating. more..

Gordon, David and Emmanuel: Notes for a post-LTTE drama

Feb 27 (DN) There is a man called Gordon Brown. I have something to say to him. Here goes: Mr. Brown, your country is yet to compensate mine for crimes against humanity, genocide, plunder of resources, insults and humiliation. I know you are going through a hard time, so let me conservatively say ‘50 billion pounds’. To begin with. That would be the first instalment of a series of annual payments spread through a decade more..

Clearing the way to road safety

Feb 27 (DN) Many drive in an indiscipline manner, violating road rules or Highway Code. Some drive at inappropriate speeds without considering road and traffic conditions. Research has indicated that speeding over 40 mph in road intersections, bends and corners, sharp downward slopes, wet roads, during rain and fog, poor lighting and low visibility, thickly populated urban residential, schooling and bazaar areas, pedestrian crossings and road humps is risky. more..

‘Ad’ conman nabbed

Feb 27 (DN) A suspect who urged the public in a Sunday Newspaper advertisement to deposit over Rs 1.7 million in two accounts promising to grant them low interest loans and deceived them was arrested by the Colombo Fraud Bureau. When the applicants made the request via mobile phone, the suspect had instructed the applicant to deposit Rs 15,000 in an account as the lawyer’s fee. The advertisement appeared on February 14. more..

Fundamental Rights case filed against President’s re-election

Feb 27 (Island) The secretary of the New Democratic Front, Shyamila Perera, has filed a fundamental rights violation application in the Supreme Court against the election of Mahinda Rajapaks, as the President of Sri Lanka, consequent to the poll of January 26, 2010.She has alleged that the e-mailing of electoral results without physical verification lead to a computer fraud. more..

Party leaders’ dictatorship

Feb 27 (Island) It is an irony that a party that plunged headlong into an ill-conceived peace process at the behest of sinister foreign powers in spite of the risk of secession has taken precautions to prevent defections from its ranks. The UNP is reported to have extracted affidavits from all candidates contesting the next parliamentary polls to the effect that they will not decamp in the event of their election. more..

Govt demand for credit picks up

Feb 27 (Island) Dealers said interest rates could increase as the government continues to demand for short term credit from the domestic market but are confident interest rates would not be allowed to pickup significantly as the government’s policy is to stimulate economic activity through private sector participation. "The three month and six month Treasury bill rates have been inching upwards for quite some time. more..

TNA cracked into four pieces; two strong rivals

Feb 27 (LP) TNA has split into four identical groups although there are only two powerful factions. They are the TNA led by R. Sampanthan and the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) led by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, the son of late Kumar Ponnambalam and the grand son of late G.G. Ponnambalam. Former MPs S. Gjendran and Pathmini Sithamparanathan also contest under ACTC ticket showing political lining up of the Tamil nationalists. more..

UNP pleads again for peaceful polls

Feb 27 (DM) The main opposition UNP yesterday called on all political parties to cooperate in conducting a peaceful election on April 8 and said the UNP would as far as possible refrain from confrontational politics. UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya made these comments after handing over nominations to the Gampaha District and added that it was essential to enforce election laws for the conduct of a free and fair election. more..

UNP supporters come under attack in Payagala

Feb 27 (DM) The first post nomination incident of the 2010 general election was reported yesterday from the Kalutara District where UPFA and UNP supporters clashed near the Payagala police station after the handing over of nominations. The clash took place between supporters of Beruwala Urban Council Chairman Mazahim Mohamed who is contesting from the UNP and supporters of a Minister who is representing the district. more..

20,000 Maldivians have settled in Sri Lanka

Feb 27 (DM) Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said that approximately 20,000 Maldivians had settled along Sri Lanka’s coastal belt from Beruwala to Wellawatta as they feared that the Maldives might be submerged as the seas rose due to global warming. Addressing a workshop for provincial media personnel to enable them to make the public aware of the plastics waste management project of the Environment Ministry, more..

UNP to start door to door campaign

Feb 27 (Island) The UNP will start a house to house campaign from Ratnapura today to educate the masses regarding the present situation in the country, reasons for this situation and the solutions. A spokesman for the UNP, told The Island, that the masses should be educated on the political crisis in the country, including the detention of general (Rtd.) Sarath Fonseka, and allegations made against him, the financial crisis with the ever rising cost of living, and more..

'Mechanism needed to control candidates’ campaign finances'

Feb 27 (DM) Election monitors yesterday emphasised the need to introduce a mechanism that could control the campaign finances of each candidate as outlined by the Commonwealth Union and other international election monitoring missions. The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) noted that, in Bangladesh, a candidate could spend only five Takas, equivalent to Rs. 12 for the election concerned. more..

'Only Police security for MPs in future'

Feb 27 (DM) The Defence Ministry yesterday announced that Army security would no longer be provided to politicians, in an attempt to de-politicize the Army. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said in future politicians would be given the protection of the Police and the STF. “In order to de-politicize the Army the security of the MP’s and Ministers will be transferred to the Police and the STF,” more..

Nearly 8,000 vie for 196 slots in 7th Parliament

Feb 27 (DM) District Returning Officers (DROs) of the 22 electoral districts concluded receiving of nominations yesterday for the April 8 General Elections where 225 members of Parliament including 29 national list members are to be elected to the 7th Parliament. According to the final count of the Elections Secretariat, the General Election will be contested by 7696 candidates from 24 political parties and hundreds of independent groups, more..

Two-thirds majority: What for?

Feb 27 (DM) It is interesting to note that all UNP members who whished to contest the parliamentary elections were required to sign letters committing their allegiance to the party throughout their political life. This indicates the mindset with which the UNP is facing the parliamentary election scheduled for April 8. The only party in the country that once had branches from Point Dondra in the south to Point Pedro in the north and more..

UNF’s Moneragala nominations list altered; Kuttiarachchi’s name deleted

Feb 27 (Island) Former UNP MP and UNP Moneragala District leader Ranjith Madduma Bandara had his bête noire Tissa Kuttiarachchi’s name deleted from the party’s list of nominations handed over to the Moneragala District Secretariat yesterday, according to highly placed sources. Kuttiarachchi’s name had been deleted with some correction fluid and another name written in its place, sources said more..

Sri Lanka's dissenting voices 'silenced'

Feb 27 (BBC) When Mahinda Rajapaksa was re-elected president of Sri Lanka in January, media organisations and human rights groups said they hoped the suppression of dissenting voices would end. But those hopes have not materialised. The recent arrest of defeated presidential candidate, Gen Sarath Fonseka, is seen by some as the latest example of intimidation of Mr Rajapaksa's opponents. more..

Heavyweights come on National List

Feb 27 (DM) Main political parties contesting the April 8 general elections have in their National Lists named some of the heavyweights who were members of the previous parliament. Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake and former Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara are included on the UPFA National List which was handed over to Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake yesterday. more..

Sri Lanka: After the "War on Terror"

Feb 28 (TO) Just four months ago, the rulers of Sri Lanka were the toast of the "anti-terror" fraternity in the region and the rest of the world. They were supposed to have attempted and achieved what others made of less-stern stuff had abandoned as unattainable: a military solution to the problem of terrorism. With the LTTE now an extinct species, it was said, the island-nation had become a safe sanctuary for democracy. more..

Dry zone eco activists offered World Bank grant

Feb 28 (LBO) Community organizations in Sri Lanka's dry zone could get apply to get a grant of up to 9000 US dollars under a program that promotes environmental friendly agriculture, water and waste management, the World Bank has said. The lender's Colombo office is calling application to give grants under its Civil Society Fund (CSF) 2010 which is operating under a theme of "Development and Climate Change – Building Community Resilience in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka." more..

Reflecting between elections in Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (GP) When I asked a friend in Sri Lanka what she thought of the presidential election and its aftermath, she said with exasperation, “The election was a joke. These politics are a joke.” Another friend said, “At least Sri Lankans are again beginning to laugh and take their politicians less seriously.” Whether or not the latter comment may be true, the recent politics and events in Sri Lanka are no laughing matter. more..

Sri Lankan EC registers symbols like deer, snake, hammer

Feb 28 (PTI) Symbols ranging from deer, dog, parrot, snake to hammer and computer kite will be used by the candidates for the April 8 Parliamentary polls here as the Sri Lankan Election Commission has issued a special notification to register such signs. The elections, nominations for which closed yesterday, will give the electorate a wide array of choice to choose from, as the Department of Elections gave its nod to the new symbols depicting animals, fruit and other items. more..

Some exclusives on Fonseka Coup & HICORP

Feb 28 (SLW) First allegations of a Fonseka Coup/plot in 2005: The first allegations that Fonseka was plotting against the political leadership of the country came in late 2005 when he was chosen and subsequently appointed Army Commander. These allegations were made by some top-ranking Army officers. We were privy to some of this information at that time. While a good section of President Rajapakse's close aides took it seriously, more..

Gotabhaya not Fonseka responsible for killing of journalists and politicians says UTHR reports

Feb 28 (LG) According reports from University Teachers for Human Rights – Jaffna, it is Defence Secretary not Army Commander that was responsible for waves of killings that took place in Colombo. UTHR report on February 2008 states, “The Defence Ministry, which functions as the property of an American citizen and the President’s brother, moved virtually to extort public funds from Parliament, more..

Living Secular in the ‘Sinhala Buddhist Republic’ of Sri Lanka

Feb 28 (GV) Two years ago, in a moment of panic, I rushed my young daughter to Colombo’s only children’s hospital. To be honest, I don’t normally turn to our overcrowded government hospitals for healthcare. But a doctor friend had recommended the Lady Ridgeway Hospital as the best place for administering the anti-rabies vaccine. As with all government hospitals, they first wanted to record the patient’s basic bio data. Fair enough. more..

Navy accompanies released Sri Lankan Fishermen safely home

Feb 28 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy accompanied a group of twenty-two Sri Lankan fishermen safely home after their release from Indian custody yesterday (27th February 2010). The fishermen and four (04) fishing vessels were repatriated by the Indian Coast Guard Ship “ Ganga Devi” and handed over to SLN officials at the Indo-Sri Lanka International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the seas north of Kankasanthurei. more..

New NIC to be introduced in 2010

Feb 28 (CT) Commissioner of the Registration of Persons Deprtment, A.G. Dharmadasa said that a new National Identity card with enhanced features would be introduced before the end of year 2010. Noting that tenders will be called within the next six months, Mr. Dharmadasa said that several security aspects including the fingerprints of the ID card holder would be introduced. more..

UNP will disclose in two weeks how to reduce CoL, provide jobs: Ranil

Feb 28 (AD) The UNP will disclose how it will reduce the cost of living within another two weeks. It will also reveal how salaries could be increased, said UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Addressing the Ratnapura district party representatives today (Saturday) said that the biggest problem for the country was not the parliamentary elections system, but it was the problem of the increasing costs of essentials. more..

Battle at the UDA

Feb 28 (SL) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Chairman, Urban Development Authority (UDA) Sanath Weerakoon are at loggerheads over illegal political recruitments to the UDA. Ignoring the Election Commissioner’s directives, Minister Gunawardena has recruited 140 party loyalists to the UDA after the dissolution of parliament. Ignoring the Election Commissioner’s (EC) directives, Minister Gunawardena has recruited 140 party loyalists to the UDA after the dissolution of parliament. more..

Our electoral rubicon

Feb 28 (SL) The crown was made of solid gold with jewels encrusted. It was presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa by the Peoples Friendship University of Russia “as a token reminiscent of Russian Monarchy and in consideration of the President’s role also as a king who brought about peace to the world” (Daily News – 10.2.2010). This latest accolade would be an apposite addition to the President’s already formidable arsenal of illustrious titles more..

The UNP — An Uncle Nephew Story

Feb 28 (SL) At the recently concluded presidential campaign the main slogan of the opposition was that we should vote for change, given the daily vicissitudes facing the common man in every sphere of his life, a most reasonable urging. The voter seemed to have listened. But the change they voted for was not the one anticipated by the opposition. more..

Enter The “Stars”

Feb 28 (SL) Former Sri Lanka cricket captain, Sanath Jayasuriya took a break from a match in Kandy to give The Sunday Leader a little insight into his decision to enter politics. Q: Can you confirm that you will be running in the upcoming general election? If so, which party and what district will you represent? A: Yes, I will be contesting in the general elections. I will be contesting from Matara, under the UPFA ticket. more..

Green Path — Sudden Burst Of Vivid Colour

Feb 28 (SL) Driving down Green Path last Sunday you were greeted by a sudden burst of vivid colour. This was Kala Pola, the open air art fair by the George Keyt Foundation — a riotous mix of sapphire blues, emerald greens, pink and sunset orange stretched as far as the eye could see. Over 250 artists and sculptors travelled to Colombo to display their work. Walking through the fair the sheer variety of art on display was apparent. more..

Still ‘Queen of deceit’?

Feb 28 (SL) More than 10 years since the Town Hall bomb explosion during the 1999 presidential election campaign, which injured former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the investigation remains as yet inconclusive. The case is still being heard in the High Court, which is currently in the process of considering the confessions made by the accused in custody. more..

Tamil votes go all over in North, East

Feb 28 (LB) The TNA and DNA led by General Sarath Fonseka could face a severe blow at the coming general election in the North and East as nearly one million voters who voted at the last presidential election out of 1.9 million registered voters are split in thier loyalties, between several parties. Meanwhile, political analysts were of the view that the TNA would possibly be reduced to around 10 MPs from its earlier 22 MPs due to the split in the party, more..

Opposition “Cup gahai’’?

Feb 28 (LB) There is a strange and new crisis in the UNP which is the feeling that for what its worth it is Sarath Fonseka and the ‘Trophy’ that is offering some resistance to the government. This is also probably why it was rather difficult for Ranil Wickremesinghe to stomach the fact that Anoma Fonseka the General’s wife had asked some UNP organizers to come on board the Trophy list and contest with the general and the UNP. more..

WP police special unit disbanded over SF posters

Feb 28 (LB) In an unprecedented move, the Western Provincial Special Operations Unit of the Police was dissolved with immediate effect and over 1000 police officers have been transferred out. It is learnt that this step has been taken in retaliation as O.M.C. Gemunu, OIC of the Colombo Central Division, and a group of police officers raided a press in Maradana and confiscated a stock of scurrilous (‘mud’) posters against General Sarath Fonseka during more..