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Banking industry performs well

Feb 3 (LNP) Despite the global economic downturn the banking industry has performed outstandingly last year. The Central Bank has pursued strict regulation on the banking sector during the global economic meltdown. As a result there was not much impact on the banking sector of the country. The banking, insurance and real estate sectors also contributed nine percent to the Gross Domestic Production (GDP), more..

Fonseka says he will challenge Presidential Election result in Court

Feb 3 (Island) A petition challenging the result of last week’s Presidential Election will be filed in Court shortly, the Oppositions Common Candidate Sarath Fonseka said yesterday. He said that his lawyers were in the process of gathering evidence of malpractices and polls rigging, that had been reported from various parts of the country. more..

Father sets fire to house: Three children burnt to death

Feb 3 (DN) Four members of the same family were killed and another seriously injured when their house was allegedly set on fire by the chief occupant. The incident took place in Kahathuduwa, Piliyandala on Monday around 11.00 pm. Police spokesman SSP I. M. Karunaratna said following a family dispute between the husband and the wife, the husband set the house on fire in Kahathuduwa. more..

If you can’t add and subtract you must quit politics

Feb 3 (DN) Somawansa Amarasinghe, perhaps more than anyone in the badly shaken Fonseka camp, demonstrated best the ridiculous levels to which the Opposition has fallen when he said that the election result was manipulated by a computer ‘gilmart’. It reminded me of something that a pro-Mahinda person is supposed to have told someone who campaigned for Sarath Fonseka: ‘you people will lose the next election and will continue to lose until you learn some basic mathematics’. more..

Petition against SF’s candidature to be supported on March 18

Feb 3 (Island) The fundamental rights violation application filed by Attorney-at-Law Sarath Koangahage, a candidate at the last Presidential Poll, against General Sarath Fonseka and the Commissioner of Elections, will be supported in the Supreme Court on March 18, 2010. The petitioner wanted further time to support the petition. Time was granted till March 18, 2010. more..

Appointments for 110 Moulavi teachers

Feb 3 (DN) The Government will fulfill the long-felt need of the Moulavi teachers’ appointment in Muslim schools with the token grant of 110 such appointments at the Education Ministry today. The Cabinet earlier granted approval for the recruitment of 615 Moulavi teachers on the basis of vacancies available in Muslim schools islandwide. Accordingly there were 212 such vacancies in 2008 and another 212 and 191 vacancies in 2009 and 2010. more..

SLFP calls for applications to contest polls

Feb 3 (Island) Those wishing to contest the forthcoming parliamentary elections on the SLFP ticket, have been requested to submit their details to SLFP party headquarters on or before Friday, February 5. The necessary application forms could be obtained from the party headquarters. Nomination boards have been appointed provincial wise and all applications would be scrutinised by those boards before final selections are made. more..

'Tamil Nadu examining demand for permanent residence of refugees'

Feb 3 (Hindu) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has sad that the Centre had intimated to the State government that it was examining the demand for according permanent residence status to Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in the state. On his recent meeting with National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, the Chief Minister said the views on coastal protection were exchanged and more..

SLIIT to enrol South Asian students

Feb 3 (DN) The Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) has planned to enrol students from India, Bangladesh and Maldives. Initially the students will be from the region according to proximity and then SLIIT will cater countries such as Pakistan and the Middle East in the next phase, SLIIT, President/CEO, Prof. Lalith B. Gamage told the Daily News Business. He said a large number of students in India migrate to countries like Australia and the UK. more..

Base effect drives up inflation

Feb 3 (Island) A senior Central Bank official says statistical affects could expand headline inflation figures even without price changes, but the bank’s target is to maintain average inflation at round six percent during the year. Headline inflation, the point-to-point change in the Colombo Consumers’ Price Index jumped to 6.5 percent last January mainly driven by increases in food prices and more..

To ally or not: TMVP will decide on Saturday

Feb 3 (DM) The TMVP is to decide next week whether to contest the upcoming General Elections in alliance with the ruling party or to go it alone. TMVP Spokesperson Azath Maulana told Daily Mirror Online that a high level meeting chaired by TMVP leader Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (alias Pillayan) would be held in Batticaloa on Saturday to decide the TMVP’s stance. more..

Opposition parties talk of broader alliance

Feb 3 (DM) The parties that supported Gen. Sarath Fonseka at the last Presidential Election are planning to complete their talks this week on the formation of a broader alliance that would include the JVP to contest the parliamentary election. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem, Democratic People’s Front leader Mano Ganeshan, SLFP (Mahajana Wing) leader Mangala Samaraweera and JVP parliamentary group leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake met more..

Cometh the best man forward

Feb 3 (LNP) The Opposition`s brouhaha over last week s polls results is bound to fizzle out sooner or later with or without an election petition being filed, when the futility of their venture sinks in. But, its unsubstantiated allegations of a computer fraud and switching of bundles of ballots at counting centres are likely to tarnish the image of the country and cause some erosion of public confidence in the electoral process. more..

JVP collects data to file petition

Feb 3 (DM) The parties that supported Gen. Sarath Fonseka at the Presidential Election are now busily gathering information from various sources to petition the Supreme Court regarding the election results which, they say, have been distorted. JVP MP Vijitha Herath told Daily Mirror yesterday that lawyers representing both his party and the UNP would collaborate in this exercise. more..

‘People’s faith in Govt. hospitals, schools declining’

Feb 3 (DM) The Chief Incumbent of the Kataragama Kiri Wehera and the Vice Chancellor of the Uva Wellassa University, Ven. Aluthwewa Soratha Thera said spending a large sum of money on Govt. schools and Govt. hospitals was a waste, as the people’s faith in these institutions were gradually declining. He said that most parents now try to send their children to private schools at times and he could not help thinking that the money spent on Govt. schools and more..

Teachers appalled over closure of 68 schools

Feb 3 (DM) Ceylon Teachers Service Union (CTSU) President Mahinda Jayasinghe said yesterday they were opposed to the Central Provincial Council decision to close 68 schools in Kandy for two weeks to make way for the “Deyata Kirula” exhibition. “This is a sad situation as this clearly proves that the Council and the government which promised a brighter future do not care about the children’s education,” he said more..

Karu wants Malwatte, Asgiriya prelates to intervene

Feb 3 (Island) A UNP delegation, led by UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya, called on the Mahanayake Theros of Malwatte and Asgiriya to complain that the recent Presidential election was "corrupt and unjust." A collection of used ballot papers reported to have been found from sites close to polling booths was presented to the Mahanayake Theros by Karu Jayasuriya. more..

TRC’s DG quits over ‘double game’

Feb 3 (Island) Telecom Regulatory Commi-ssion’s (TRC) Director General Priyantha Kariyapperuma yesterday resigend following allegations that he had backed Opposition presidential candidate General (redt) Sarath Fonseka on the sly. Sources said a government leader censured him when he visited Temple Trees to congratulate President Mahinda Rajapaksa on his re-election. more..

India gives $2.7 million worth material to war-hit Sri Lanka

Feb 3 (Hindu) India on Wednesday handed over a consignment of galvanised corrugated sheets worth US$ 2.7 million to the government of Sri Lanka as part of its commitment to help Colombo in providing relief and re-settlement of the nearly three lakh war-displaced in the north and re-construction of the infrastructure badly damaged in the 26 year long military conflict which more..

War displaced start to pick up the pieces

Feb 3 (IRIN) About a year ago, civil war raged around Vasanthi Kumari's house in northern Sri Lanka. "There was a loud sound and `Appa' [father] went out," Kumari, 21, told IRIN. "That was the last time we saw him alive." Because of the danger, she said, the family could not even bury him properly. "We just dug a hole and put him there." She, her parents and her brother lived in Puliyankulam, a village on the A9 highway, more..

Gov’t defends detention of suspected Tamil rebels

Feb 3 (IPS) Sri Lanka is rejecting claims that some 11,000 people who surrendered as suspected Tamil rebels just before the decades-long bloody conflict ended in May 2009 are being held incommunicado or risk being tortured. "These allegations are untrue. The surrendered persons have access to relatives and family and we are working with UNICEF and the IOM in their rehabilitation and reintegration programme," more..

All set for first Independence after defeating terrorism

Feb 3 (GDI) Tomorrow's Independence celebration will be the first such celebration taking place after the defeat of terrorism and soon after President Mahinda Rajapaksa was re-elected in an overwhelming mandate. The 62nd Independence Day will begin tomorrow at 8.30 am at the precincts of the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy, presided by the President. more..

EC refutes malpractices during polls

Sri Lanka holds 37 over 'plot to assassinate president'

Feb 3 (BBC) Thirty-seven people are being held in Sri Lanka in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate President Mahinda Rajapaksa, state-owned media say. Most of those detained under emergency regulations are military officers. On Monday, about a dozen officers were sent to compulsory retirement accused of dabbling in politics. The opposition denies there is any plot and says the government has launched a witch hunt after more..

Sri Lankan opposition launches street protest

Feb 3 (AP) Thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets of Sri Lanka's capital Wednesday to protest the results of the recent presidential election, which they say was marred by fraud. President Mahinda Rajapaksa secured a landslide victory, defeating his former army chief Sarath Fonseka in the Jan. 26 poll, according to official results. But the opposition says the vote was rigged, and has rejected the results and says it will mount a court challenge. more..

Vote chief rejects Sri Lanka rigging charges

Feb 3 (AFP) The Sri Lankan elections commissioner on Wednesday rejected allegations that last week's presidential vote was rigged by incumbent Mahinda Rajapakse but raised questions over unfair campaigning. Dayananda Dissanayake said he stood by the results of the January 26 poll, which gave Rajapakse 58 percent of the vote, trouncing opposition-backed former general Sarath Fonseka with 40 percent. more..

Sri Lanka's election strife worsens post-war woes

Feb 4 (EWC) Post-election tensions are high in Sri Lanka, after the country’s election commission declared incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa the winner of last week’s contest with more than 57 percent of the vote. Rajapaksa’s main opponent, General Sarath Fonseka, has challenged the validity of the election results, alleging vote rigging, intimidation and censorship. Soldiers blockaded Fonseka in a hotel, and more..

Sri Lankan fighting leaves a gruesome legacy

Feb 4 (SMH) The guns fell silent more than eight months ago but the brutal conclusion to Sri Lanka's civil war is still being felt by Tamils caught up in the conflict. Anthony Pillai, his wife and four children were among thousands of civilians who fled fighting in the north-east two days before the Tamil Tiger rebels were defeated last May. During the escape, disaster struck. Mr Pillai trod on a landmine hidden beside a lagoon. more..

Debrief News - 03.02.2010

Election increases polarization in Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (UPI) The win by incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka’s presidential election last week has the potential to further divide the country along both political and ethnic lines unless a spirit of magnanimity prevails. One of the important challenges for Rajapaksa will be to address the alienation of the ethnic minorities and provide a political solution for their problems and grievances by way of devolution of power. more..

Filmi-style protest by Sri Lankan refugees

Feb 4 (EB) In a Sholay-type drama, three of the 33 inmates at the Chengalpattu special (Sri Lankan refugees) camp climbed up the 60 feet tall Pipal tree inside the premises and refused to come down unless they were handed down ‘release orders’. The three detainees Ramana (33) Mohammad Rukshan (24) and Sekhar (27) continued their tinsel-style protest throughout the day, and when the trio finally descended in the evening, all the 33 inmates continued more..

'Lanka committed to national reconciliation'

Feb 4 (PTI) Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa today said national reconciliation involving Tamils and other communities was a priority for his government after nearly three decades of ethnic war that led to liberation of the country from the clutches of "separatist terror". "As we move into the new era of peace in our country, we are ready to face the challenges of the future. more..

The fourth Galle Literary Festival

Feb 4 (Dawn) Gradually, the Galle Literary Festival is becoming known as a major event for book lovers. Writers gladly accept an invitation to speak about their work in this historical fort city. And Sri Lankans and foreigners flock to Galle for the four-day festival. Established by Geoffrey Dobbs in 2006 as a means to give this tsunami-hit country a boost in terms of tourist appeal, the event is now a regular fixture on the literary calendar. more..

India nervously watches post-election Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (wsws) Since Mahinda Rajapakse won a second presidential term in Sri Lanka last week, India’s dilemma over how to pursue its interests in the island has only intensified. New Delhi wants close ties with Colombo to counter the growing influence of rival China and open up opportunities for Indian businesses. At the same time, it is concerned that political unrest in Sri Lanka, particularly communal tensions involving the Tamil minority, will reverberate inside India, more..

Gotabhaya Rajapakse on BBC

MPs query delay in report on Sri Lanka team attack

Feb 4 (AFP) A parliamentary sports committee on Wednesday summoned Pakistani security officials to explain a delay in the release of a report on last of a report on last year's terror attack on Sri Lanka's cricket team in Lahore. A senior federal government official told the committee the government had yet to receive a report on the attacks from the provincial authorities. The report was compiled by a judicial commission in 2009 and more..

Sri Lanka software industry eyes UK market

Feb 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s software industry has launched a campaign to draw information technology and business process outsourcing work mainly from small and medium firms in the United Kingdom and Europe, an industry body said. The Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) said in a statement it was aiming at providing niche services. The island’s BPO sector focuses on financial and accounting services, more..

Sri Lanka's hard battle for a peaceful Independence Day

Feb 4 (NM) For over a quarter of a century Sri Lanka was ravaged by one of Asia's most vicious terrorist wars. That war ended nearly nine months ago with the military defeat of the LTTE, popularly called the Tamil Tigers. That is the special significance of this year's Independence Day today. After all these years, Sri Lanka celebrates the event free of the fear of terrorist attack, and more..

Latin hymns bring nostalgia, new fans

Feb 4 (UCAN) A choral society is keeping alive the tradition of hymns in Latin in the country with the help of visiting musician and liturgist Father Robert Tyrala from Krakow in Poland. Father Tyrala, president of the Swiss-based Foederatio International Pueri Cantores, visited Sri Lanka recently to promote the singing of traditional hymns in both Latin and local languages — Tamil and Sinhala — as well as English. more..

Commonwealth takes centre stage in Colombo

Feb 4 (Times) It is rare for the Commonwealth to have a chance to play a decisive role on the world stage, but last week’s disputed presidential election in Sri Lanka is one such opportunity. It was the only major international organisation to send observers, and the only one regarded as impartial by both the main candidates, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his former army chief, Sarath Fonseka. The UN and the EU were invited, but both declined. more..