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Over 500 families resettled in Jaffna HSZ

Jan 7 (MoD) Signifying accelerated progress in the resettlement drive another 509 families were resettled in the High Security Zone (HSZ) of the Jaffna Peninsula in the presence of Basil Rajapaksa MP. The 509 families consisting of 1,862 members were displaced from their villages and were living in various areas of the Jaffna Peninsula. One thousand bicycles were distributed among them and another 491 bicycles among schoolchildren. more..

'Sampanthan Faction on a journey of revenge against President'

Jan 7 (GDI) Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa today claimed that the TNA had cracked into factions and the "Sampanthan Faction" was now trying a course of revenge on President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Minister Yapa stated that it was the President who restored law and order, peace, stability, democracy and the right of Tamils to live in the North and East. more..

SEP presidential candidate speaks in Galle

Jan 7 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) held a public meeting on January 3 in the major southern city of Galle as part of its campaign for the January 26 presidential election. About 40 workers, youth, small business owners and housewives participated in the meeting, which was also covered by reporters from the state-owned television channels, more..

New transmission station for Jaffna residents

Jan 7 (MoD) The government further facilitating the life of people live in Jaffna, has constructed a new transmission station in Palaly and provided access to Rupavahini Corporation and Independent Television Network Channels and FM radio stations of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. The new Transmission Station was opened by Basil Rajapaksa MP at the Palaly Army Camp yesterday (06 Jan). more..

Private buses to transport IDPs to polling stations

Jan 7 (MoD) The Private Bus Owners' Association will assist the Elections Department to transport IDPs to polling stations on the Presidential Election day. Association President Gemunu Wijeratne said the Elections Commissioner has expressed willingness to obtain the services of Private Bus Owners' Association for the Presidential election. He said they will be involved in transporting ballot boxes to the polling stations and counting centres. more..

'N & E merge is a major condition of TNA'

Jan 7 (SLW) President of PNM Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekara said during a press conference yesterday that the TNA has decided to support Gen. Fonseka at the coming presidential elections based on three conditions, including the pledge to re-merge the north and eastern provinces. He also said the following. “Former chief justice Sarath N Silva has also said during a rally of Gen. Sarath Fonseka that the north and east should be re-merged. more..

ICTA rejects Corruption Watch allegations

Jan 7 (DM) The Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka yesterday rejected charges leveled against them by the Corruption Watch organization saying that there had not been any impropriety in the Lanka Government Network (LGN) established by them. “A Company named Asset Networks never signed a contract on behalf of Samsung Networks for the LGN,” head of communication at the ICTA Atula Pushpakumara said. more..

Subarathi Programme used to support Mahinda Rajapake in violation of election law

Jan 7 (LG) “Only those leaders who have not had any education abroad have served the country well. They had not gone to foreign universities. Therefore they have not bowed to foreign powers. Mahinda Rajapakse is also is a person of that kind,” said Alle Gunawansa, a Buddhist monk who is the leader for National Protection at the Subarathi programme today. more..

'We Support without any conditions'

Jan 7 (SLW) TNA leader R. Sambanthan stated at a press conference yesterday that the TNA decided to support the opposition common candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka unconditionally. This press conference was attended by 13 out of 22 MPs of the TNA. He also said that the TNA made this decision without pressure from India or anyone else. The following are some of the questions raised by journalists and answers given by the TNA. more..

TNA-LTTE Diaspora-SF collusion: Another sell-out

Jan 7 (LNP) Opposition Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka has entered into a clandestine agreement with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to cede to it many concessions and demands, if carried out would not only undermine the historic military victory achieved by the heroic Armed Forces but would also render in vain the supreme sacrifices made by around 26,000 troops and another 30,000 disabled. more..

`Colombo, best port in the region`

Jan 7 (LNP) The Colombo Port is stable and it is the best port in the region. We need to attract possible business despite the downward trend in the global shipping industry. Many shipping lines are comfortable with the services we offer and we need to have a strategy to consolidate our position, Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) Managing Director Capt. Nihal Keppetipola said at the P.B. Karandawela Memorial Lecture on more..

'Sampanthan faction and Sarath Fonseka in lop sided politics'

Jan 7 (GDI) The Sampanthan faction of the TNA has agreed on lop sided conditions of General Sarath Fonseka because they had a mentality similar to terrorism, said Ven. Athuraliye Rathana. He said that was why General Fonseka had agreed to release LTTE cadres in custody because the Sampanthan faction was close to the LTTE. more..

People remain with President

Jan 7 (DN) After the victory over the terrorists in May last year when President Mahinda Rajapaksa came to Parliament, Opposition Parliamentarians surrounded him and congratulated him. The only thing that they did not do was to carry him shoulder high, Agriculture and Agrarian Services Minister Maithripala Sirisena said at the UPFA press conference yesterday. more..

New era for Nuwara Eliya District

Jan 7 (DN) Sri Lanka which is an island of little of over 25,000 of land space is indeed an earthly paradise consisting of all climatic conditions found in the world. It is rich in all the merits of diverse climatic conditions in zones unique for such environments. The Nuwara Eliya District, which is renown as little England is an exquisite area that attracts tourists from all over the world. more..

A just society, President's aim - Devananda

Jan 7 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa had taken meaningful steps to build a society that cares and respects children, displaced and elderly, said Social Service and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devananda. Speaking at a meeting in Karainagar, the Minister said President Rajapaksa's programs would be extensively developed for the creation of a just society that respects all social and ethical values. more..

Biz Pact Investment Forum in Jaffna: North begins to happen

Jan 7 (DN) There is tremendous potential and opportunities for tourism, fisheries, agriculture and construction sectors in the Northern Province. Investors need to recognize the importance of these opportunities available in this area and try to get the maximum benefits out of them. The loan re-payment in the Northern province is over 95 percent, Ernst and Young Partner, Arjuna Herath told more..

December tourist arrival up 16-pct, annual up 2-pct

Jan 7 (LBO) December tourist arrivals rose 16.2 percent to 56,862 from a year earlier as travel warnings were removed while annual visitors grew 2.1 percent to 447,890, tourist promotion office data showed. India retained its position as the top market for generating visitors last year, with the UK remaining in second place, for the second year running. The December 2009 increase in arrivals was the seventh straight monthly rise in arrivals. more..

JVP won’t oppose Pilleyan, UNP dissidents coming back; Promises probe on COPE, PAC findings

Jan 7 (Island) The JVP yesterday said that it would push for investigations into cases of waste, corruption and irregularities involving MPs exposed by the Committee of Pubic Enterprises and Public Accounts Committee though it had thrown its weight behind the UNP to help presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka win the forthcoming presidential election. more..

'No pacts between Fonseka and parties backing him'

Jan 7 (Island) None of the parties backing General Sarath Fonseka for the presidency have entered into pacts and that applies to the Tamil National Alliance as well, SLFP(M) leader Mangala Samaraweera said. Asked at a news conference in Colombo on Tuesday whether the TNA had sought written gurantees, he said: "No. None of us have arrived at pacts. more..

'Politicians should maintain continuous rapport'

Jan 7 (Island) Politicians should not restrict their relationship with the people to the times of elections only. They must carry on a continuous rapport and interaction with the people to understand them and help them live a contented life, Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said. He was addressing the members of the 'Amunugama Sumithuro' Organisation at the Nugawela Assembly Hall. more..

Elections and democracy in South Asia

Sri Lanka general guns for economy in presidential run

Jan 7 (Reuters) Sri Lankan presidential contender General Sarath Fonseka on Thursday laid out a platform to fight corruption and cut the cost of living, both of which he said had risen sharply under incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa's rule. Fonseka, who led the army to victory over the Tamil Tiger separatists in May, is running as the common opposition candidate against his former commander-in-chief, Rajapaksa, in a Jan. 26 election more..

Pole vaulting

Jan 7 (DM) When flipping through the pages of USSR culture magazines in the 1980s there was no way of one missing an article about him. Always there was a page or two or even more dedicated to the much treasured star sportsman who was repeatedly voted the World’s Best Athlete. Sergey Bubka lifted pole vaulting to new heights and added a glamour that the game had never seen before. more..

What the TNA`s volte-face signifies

Jan 7 (LNP) The process of political realignment in the run up to the Jan. 26 polls has taken a dramatic turn with arch rivals joining forces and friends falling out. There could be seen many a strange bedfellow on either side of the political divide. However, it is the TNA`s volte face that takes the cake! The moment former army chief Gen. (retd) Sarath Fonseka announced his intention to contest for the presidency, the Diasporic Tigers flew off the handle. more..

I won’t crossover – Naveen

Jan 7 (AD) Minister of Investment Promotion Naveen Dissanayake, today said that he will not crossover from the government as rumoured by media. He added that he will support the President at the upcoming polls. Naveen is the brother of SLFP District Organizer Mayantha Dissanyake who recently expresses support to Rtd. General Fonseka’s candidacy.

North- South cultural show in Colombo

Jan 7 (GDI)Northern Province artistes are to perform in Colombo. This is an effort made by the Northern Provincial Council to re-awaken the cultural identity of the region and to provide space for its expressions through the medium of art. Addressing the media in Colombo recently Northern Governor, G.A.Chandrasiri said the cultural show will be declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Lal Kantha denies rumours of a crossover

Jan 7 (AD) MP Lal Kantha today vehemently denied the false rumours that are spreading claiming that he will join the government. Speaking to Ada Derana Lal Kantha said that by spreading such rumours the government is highlighting its bankruptcy. Yesterday after a question from a journalist regarding the matter Minister Maitripala Sirisena gave a funny laugh and said, more..

Update from PAFFREL

Last ditch Indian bid to stop war revealed

Jan 7 (Island) Had President Mahinda Rajapaksa given in to Indian and joint British-French pressure to halt a combined security forces offensive directed at the LTTE, last April, the terrorist leadership would have survived to fight another day. Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga revealed that the President had politely explained to both parties that the LTTE could not be given a lifeline again. more..

'Suppressing opponents & their views is an attack on democracy & bad precedence for future'

Jan 7 (LT) Mahanayake of Malwatte Chapter Most Ven. Rambukkana Siddhartha Sri Sumangala Thero in a letter to the President has stated that suppressing opponents or their views at a decisive period in the country is an attack on democracy and a bad precedence for the future. The prelate has made this observation in a letter written to President Mahinda Rajapkse more..

Govt. has paid US $ 7500 monthly to Asian Tribune

Jan 7 (LeN) JVP M.P. Bimal Ratnayake in Parliament yesterday charged that, because the Asian Tribune website is run out of monthly Govt. funds, it is publishing false fabricated news against Opposition common candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka. In corroboration of his accusation, the MP showed a letter sent by Bernard Jayatileke, a former American Ambassador to Palitha Kohona, the Secretary, Foreign Ministry at that time. more..

Opposition alliance a mixture of reptiles & animals - JHU

Jan 7 (GDI) The opposition alliance led by candidate Sarath Fonseka is a mixture of reptiles and animals out to destroy the country, said Media Secretary of the JHU, Nishantha Warnasinghe today. Joining a media briefing of the JHU seniors, he said Fonseka's "SF Meheyuma" was in transparency a "Snake Meheyuma" which was poisonous to the nation. more..

Elections Commissioner bans five Rupavahini programmes

Jan 7 (DM) Elections Commissioner has instructed the Rupavahini Corporation to ban the telecast of five TV programmes namely Yakshawesaya, Edagena Nema, Kimbul Kandulu, Pravurthi Pasubima and Vinivida with immediate effect. The Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has toughened his stand on the state media by directing the Chairman of SLRC to ban the five programmes. more..

Prabhakaran's father passes away in military custody

Jan 7 (DBS) LTTE leader Prabhakaran's father Thiruvengadam Velupillai has passed away. He and his wife were being held under "special" military custody. Mr. Velupillai who was 86 years old was housed in a chalet within the Panagoda Army cantonment. Authorities say it was for his own protecton. Mr.Velupillai was attended to by Colombo national hospital doctors frequently as more..

'No Gen. if I didn’t crush LTTE'

Jan 7 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said if the all important political decision to crush LTTE terrorism once and for all was not taken in 2005 there would not have been permanent peace in the country, a humanitarian operation and a victory to talk about and even Generals to contest presidential elections. Addressing a massive gathering at the Mahaweli Public Ground at Embilipitiya last afternoon more..

Fonseka releases 10-point poll manifesto

Jan 7 (Hindu) After securing the support of the post-Prabakaran TNA, the common opposition presidential candidate, retired General Sarath Fonseka, on released a ten-point document under the title ‘Vishvasaneeya Venasak’ (Believable Change). The incumbent, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is seeking a second term two years ahead of his term, is expected to release his manifesto next week. more..

Debrief News: 07 01 2010

Sri Lanka's human rights disaster

Jan 8 (Guardian) On 8 January 2009 Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge, a prominent Sri Lankan anti-government journalist and politician and human rights activist, was murdered while on his way to work. Four gunmen riding motorcycles blocked his vehicle before breaking open his window and shooting him. He was rushed to hospital but died from his wounds. One year on, his killers have still not been brought to justice. more..

UN expert cites video in call for Sri Lankan probe

Jan 8 (AP) A U.N. human rights investigator said Thursday that a videotape of an apparent execution of blindfolded and naked Tamils by Sri Lankan soldiers probably is authentic and called for a war crimes investigation. Philip Alston did not specify who should undertake his recommended investigation into war crimes and other grave violations of human rights allegedly committed in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka was never a “model democracy”

Jan 8 (LG) Sri Lanka was never a “model democracy” since its independence in 1947 and I don't think it will be in future after the worst atrocities committed against the Tamilians. The struggle for a Separate State (Eelam) started since the colonial power took over the administration of Kandyan Kingdom in 1815. Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon, was ruled by 3 kingdoms when the Portuguese arrived in 1506. more..

Don’s Diary: One week in Sri Lanka

Jan 8 (GV) Saturday: Fly from Heathrow to Colombo; uneventful journey; drink gin and tonic, take long sleep. Hear that an aunt passed away just before departure. Sunday: Catch up on sleep and go to funeral. My cousin goes through religious rituals, with the priest dragging on. He is a nice guy, my cousin, meticulously following all instructions from the priest. When in his position, at my dad’s funeral a few months ago, I had a quiet word with the priest: more..

The long wait for a President…

Jan 8 (GV) “How can we inspire ourselves to greatness, when nothing else will do…?” asks Nelson Mandela from Francois Pienaar, the captain of the Springboks rugby team. This leading question comes from the movie ‘Invictus’ which has just been released. It is based on the true story of how Mandela inspired Pienaar and his team to win the rugby world cup in 1995. In his first term as president, Nelson Mandela is faced with a country full of people trying to more..

HiCop Lanka Co. Director remanded until 20th

Jan 8 (LeN) The Director of HiCop Co., Wellington De Hoedt who was arrested by the CID in connection with a complaint of appropriating lands on forged documents was remanded until the 20th of this month by the Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne when he was produced in Court today (07). The suspect was arrested following a complaint made by Major General Manawadu to the CID. HiCop is a Company run in SL with the same name of a Co. in America more..

Minister Sellasamy also joins UNF

Jan 8 (UNP) Posts and power distribution Minister S. Sellasamy too joined the UNP today (07). Sellasamy appeared on stage with Opposition common candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka at the launch of the General’s manifesto at the Hotel Intercontinental amidst huge applause. It is significant to note with the recent entry of Arjuna Ranatunge, Mayantha Dissanayake and Sellasamy to the UNF to support Gen. Fonseka more..

'Govt. Ministers are not only openly crossing over but many are also secretly supporting me'

Jan 8 (UNP) Speaking at the launch of his Vishvaneeya venasak ( believable change), the common minimum program today (07), setting out his policies and programs to be implemented when he becomes the President, the Opposition common Presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka said, from what he saw and what he heard, he is compelled to conclude that the entire population is clamoring for a change. more..

Govt. goons and gangsters attack Gen. Fonseka’s supporters at Minuwangoda

Jan 8 (UNP) A group of goons and gangsters of the Govt. had launched a vicious attack on the supporters of Gen Sarath Fonseka and have set fire to their campaign materials when they were peacefully making preparatory arrangements for a rally this afternoon at Minuwangoda under the leadership of Presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka. This group who came in a green colored vehicle No. 50-4407 at more..

'We united with UNF to eliminate the Executive Presidency and the monster in that throne'

Jan 8 (UNP) JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, one of the speakers at the launch of the Vishwaneeya venasak of Gen. Fonseka today (07), when delivering the vote of thanks on the occasion, said the Executive Presidency is baneful to Sri Lanka. That, with a monstrous President in that throne using the sweeping powers vested in him by that Executive power has created hell for the people more..

Foreign Ministry clarifies presence of Heads of Missions in Colombo

Jan 8 (LG) The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to news items published recently in some sections of the print media claiming that some Heads of Missions and Officials serving in Sri Lanka Missions abroad are in the country for election related work. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to clarify that some Heads of Missions/ Posts and senior Officials have been in Colombo more..

Media organizations present agenda to presidential candidates

Jan 8 (TC) The undersigned media organisations hereby present the following agenda of reform to the presidential candidates (2010) for their unequivocal commitment to implement the same; The said agenda of reform is presented with the following core values and imperatives: a) Freedom of expression and freedom of information are vital to a democratic society and are essential for its progress and more..

Navy pays Rs. 200 lakhs for President’s son Yoshitha’s scholarship

Jan 8 (LNW) One of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s sons, Yoshitha Rajapaksa had followed the course at the Royal Darkness Naval Academy in violation of Navy regulations. Although it was stated that Yoshitha was granted an opportunity to follow the course as he was the President’s son, the Sri Lanka Navy has had to pay a large sum of money amounting to Rs. 200 lakhs for the course. more..