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Weerawansa refuses to face debate alone

Jan 9 (LT) The political debate ‘Rathu Ira’ telecast by ‘Swarnavahini’ had to be abandoned yesterday night as NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa had accompanied Dr. Rajithe Senaratne contravening conditions agreed upon to hold the debate and was not prepared to have the debate without his assistance. For the opposition UNP MPDaysiri Jayasekera had come to participate and he objected to more..

Red faced Dayasiri walks out in fear of "Rathu Ira" debate

Jan 9 (GDI) The much awaited sensational political debate on a private television scheduled last night on the alleged fraudulent arm deals involving retired Gen. Sarath Fonseka ended on an inconclusive note plunging millions of enthusiastic viewers into sadness. Appearing on behalf of Gen. Fonseka UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara opposed the presence of two Government members claiming that he came for a one to one debate with a government member. more..

Rajapakse to crack down on corruption

Jan 9 (LG) One would have thought that extortion was the domain of the LTTE, but incredibly it has been revealed that a notorious minister of the Rajapakse government has been engaging in extortion. The incident has taken place in a plush award winning restaurant in the capital some time ago, but kept under wraps for fear of repercussions, although most of Colombo is aware of it. The non-cabinet Minister had swarmed into the restaurant with his goons and more..

'I’m prepared to work for the victory of Motherland even if I have to spend time in thousand prisons'

Jan 9 (LT) He was prepared to work for the victory of the Motherland even if he had to spend jail terms in thousand prisons says President of Patriotic National Centre (PNC) and Senior Lecturer in Archeology Ven. Dhambara Amila Thero. He said, “You all know that I was arrested on false allegations and imprisoned in an agonizing cell at Kalutara Prison. more..

Bhikkus from SLFP & JHU to support General

Jan 9 (LT) The General Secretary of the SLFP Bhikku Organization and former Senior Presidential Advisor Ven. Uvatenne Sumana Thero and former Member of the Central Committee of JHU and convener of ‘Bodu Jana Balavegaya’ Ven. Galagodaththe Gnanasiri Thero expressed their support to Common Presidential Candidate Gen. Fonseka at a press conference held after Ven. Dhambara Amila Thero was released from remand prison. more..

Maharaja’s ‘Dansala’ open for postal votes!

Jan 9 (LT) The government has taken measures to hold the ‘Dansala’ (the refectory) at Temple Trees on the 13th and 14th as well as these are the dates for postal voting. The Presidential Secretariat is in charge of organizing the ‘Dansala’ and on the 13th employees of Divisional Secretariats and District Secretariats throughout the island have been invited to partake the meals provided by the ‘Dansala.’ more..

'Govt managed economy well'

Jan 9 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the Government brought the country under a massive development drive while billions of rupees were spent to eradicate terrorism. He said the Government was able to manage the country’s economy by cushioning the adverse impacts of the global financial crisis. “We faced the global financial crisis and food crisis effectively due to the sound and dynamic economic policies followed by us,” more..

Neck deep in political sludge

Jan 9 (LNP) With barely two more weeks to go for the expiry of the stipulated period of electioneering, the UPFA and the UNF-JVP-TNA combine have stepped up hurling allegations of corruption at each other. Some of these unsubstantiated charges are very serious and, if proved, should carry severe punishment. The UNF and the JVP accuse President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s family of having amassed a great deal of illgotten wealth on his watch as the Head of State. more..

Kerawalapitiya combined cycle power generation: Full glow next week

Jan 9 (DN) The Kerawalapitiya Combined Cycle power generation plant with a full capacity of 300 megawatts will come into full operation from next week, January 15. Power and Energy Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne told the Daily News that the Kerawalapitiya power plant was one of the important steps of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s policy in providing electricity for the needs of the next several years. more..

'People are backing me on trust not on written agreements'

Jan 9 (Island) Sarath Fonseka said yesterday that the support he received from various political parties, including the TNA, was based on trust and not on any written agreements. He said that all those who were backing him had joined hands on trust and a common conviction, that there had to be an end to the Rajapaksa dictatorship, nepotism, unimaginable levels of corruption, bribery and ego boosting extravagance. more..

MTV files writ application in Court of Appeal

Jan 9 (Island) The MTV Channel Pvt. Limited, yesterday filed a writ application in the Court of Appeal, against the decision of the State dated January 4, 2010, to direct the MTV, to shut down the transmission of Shakthi TV on channel 25 in Jaffna and further to handover the channel formally to the Independent Television Network. more..

Government purchases emergency drugs

Jan 9 (DN) The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry will send a special team to India to purchase drugs and airlift them to Sri Lanka soon. The Ministry has already provided some drugs to the hospitals, a Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry spokesman said. He said the Ministry locally purchased some drugs and sent them to the hospitals in need. There was a shortage of 40 drugs and the Ministry locally purchased around 15 percent of them. more..

Embracing politics of bluff

Jan 9 (DN) The Independent of UK showed a good understanding of the reality behind the TNA decision to support Retired General Sarath Fonseka in the current Presidential Contest, when it headlined its story on it on January 7, as Tigers throw weight behind General who crushed them. The article by Andrew Buncombe began stating: Seven months after Sri Lanka long and bitter civil war was brought to an end by a withering assault, more..

'Prabhakaran’s favourite gun was seized from Navy'

Jan 9 (Island) Slain LTTE leader Prabhakaran’s prized personal weapon, an M 16 A 2 rifle with a folding butt was seized from the Navy in Palampattaru, Trincomalee in 1988, an investigation has revealed. A police team recovered this rifle and a body armour with a cache of weapons and explosives last Monday in Vellamullaivaikal in Mullaitivu. The weapons were found buried in a jungle. more..

Recruitment to Public Service was totally banned during Ranil’s regime

Jan 9 (Island) Governor Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, addressing a meeting of the Assistant Librarians Association of Sri Lanka, recalled the period from 2002 to 2004 when recruitment to the public service of Sri Lanka was banned by the government. He told the meeting that the time was ripe to go down memory lane to that period and reconsider whether the country should return to that dark era once again. more..

Postal voting: Elections Commissioner sets guidelines

Jan 9 (AD) Voters entitled for postal voting at the forthcoming Presidential Election can exercise their ballot at their respective places of work on January 12 and 13. Elections Commissioner Dayananada Dissanayake, through a circular sent through the Returning Officers, has directed all certifying officers to make arrangements for this, stated a press release from the Elections Secretariat. more..

An open appeal to Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe

Jan 9 (LG) Dear Mr Mahinda Samarasinghe; Following the telecast of the brutal execution of seven Tamils by the soldiers by the Channel 4 News some four months ago, you made it clear that Government of Sri Lanka will file legal action against the Channel 4 Television. Your comment received considerable publicity, but since then there is no report about the government’s legal mission against the TV station. more..

Obsession over channel 4

Jan 9 (DM) Life is precious. And it is also expected to move on despite setbacks and tragedies. How much Sri Lanka should wallow in the past and how much of its war burden should be carried on to the future is something certainly that the people in this country should decide. When one thought that the nation is well past the days of channel 4 and into a new post-war dispensation, the United Nations it looks is determined to make sure that it’s going to be otherwise. more..

Independence Day celebrations in Kandy

Jan 9 (DM) The Government has decided to hold the Independence Day (February 4) celebrations this year in Kandy, and it is the 62nd since Sri Lanka received its independence. The sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Administration says these celebrations should be held with a sense of national pride as it is the first after defeating terrorism that plagued the country for thirty years. The main function is to be held in the Maha Maluwa in front of the temple of the Tooth Relic. more..

New year hopes and expectations

Monitors cannot monitor all incidents

Jan 9 (DM) The PAFFREL said yesterday that the election monitor would not be covering all the polling stations for the upcoming postal voting but just some 50% of the stations which includes Police stations, the Divisional Secretariat offices and local authorities. PAFFREL Director, Rohana Hettiarachchi said that both stationary and mobile observers will be made available on January 12 and 13 when postal voting is to take place. more..

'Northerners won't dance to TNA tune'

Jan 9 (DN) The people of the North are not prepared to dance to the tune of the LTTE agents the Tamil National Alliance today as they are freed from the yoke of terrorism. President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the true national leader who is accepted by the people of the whole country, said MEP leader and Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday. more..

Actress refusing ‘Tharunyata Hetak’, loses ‘Pabha’ teledrama

Jan 9 (DM) A group of Artistes who had formed ‘Forum for Victory of General Sarath Fonseka’ charged that some of them have been subjected to undue influence by some members in a political camp to join in the media campaign of ‘Tharunyata Hetak’ which promotes a certain candidate. Popular actress Upeksha Swaranamali who appears in the teledrama ‘Pabha’ who more..

'Alarming rise in womb cancer patients'

Jan 9 (DM) The Ministry of Health said there was an alarming possibility of a larger percentage of women over 40 years of age being prone to cancer in the womb and the ministry was to import a new vaccine in order to remedy the situation. The Ministry in a statement said research findings revealed an alarming rise in the percentage of women over forty years being prone to womb cancer. The statement said in 2005, 881 persons had fallen victim to the disease. more..

Funeral of Prabhakaran's father to be held on Monday

Jan 9 (ZN) The funeral of Thiruvekkadam Velupillai, father of slain LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, will be held on Monday in Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula, likely to be attended by the guerrilla leader's mother. The remains of Velupillai, who died over seven months after Prabhakaran's was killed in a military offensive in northern Sri Lanka were handed by the army from its protection to more..

Sri Lanka frees over 700 ex-militants

Jan 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Saturday released more than 700 former Tamil Tiger fighters from military custody following a rehabilitation program, an official said. President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is touring the northern town of Vavuniya, handed over the ex-combatants to their immediate relatives, an army officer involved in the rehabilitation, Major General Daya Ratnayake, said. more..

Contracts expansion has boosted Sri Lanka - Board

Jan 10 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket has attributed the success of suitable replacements in the present national team to its far-sighted policy in expanding its list of contracted players from 32 to 76 since May last year. Players like offspinner Suraj Randiv, allrounders Thissara Perera and Muthumudalige Pushpakumara, fast bowler Suranga Lakmal and batsman Lahiru Thirimanne have lived up to expectations after filling in as replacements more..

India aim for final berth against familiar rivals

Jan 10 (CI) You heard it right. India and Sri Lanka are playing an ODI. Again. For the 21st time in less than 19 months. Not even a final. Nor has this been a back-and-forth rivalry that the marketing gurus might be interested in milking. Ever since their Asia Cup final win in 2008, Sri Lanka have been on the receiving end, thumped in three bilateral series, and also the tri-series final in Sri Lanka. The 12-7 scoreline in India's favour says as much. more..

Army Commander visits Jaffna

Jan 10 (MoD) Sri Lanka Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya paid a visit in Jaffna this afternoon (January 09)to see the security situation , development projects assisted by the Army and the welfare measures of officers and soldiers serving in the peninsula. Security Forces Commander, Jaffna Major General LBR Mark received the Army Commander at the Palali Airport. more..

Regenerative Agriculture; a People’s Agenda

Jan 10 (LP) In today’s Sri Lanka, the growing poverty of the rural population is one of our biggest problems. Small farmers in Sri Lanka and the rest of the world are being marginalized. Agriculture has been transformed into an activity that requires considerable capital investment. It is estimated that over half of all small scale farmers will be reduced to destitution because of market globalization. more..

The shocking behaviour of the TRC

Jan 10 (GV) With frustrated resignation, Sri Lankans are used to how government departments (the Police in particular) and public property are misused and abused by the party in power during elections for partisan advantage. For sheer insouciance though, the emergent new kid on the block during this presidential election, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRC), surpasses even the chutzpah of the President in kicking aside the Seventeenth Amendment. more..

Mahinda in Tamil attire in Jaffna ‘sells’ Vijaya Kumarathunga

Jan 10 (LeN) President Rajapakse is due to visit Jaffna tomorrow (10) in connection with his election campaign. As part of his campaign, a poster of the President in Jaffna depicts Rajapkse with a pottu and appearing as a Tamil with ashes on his forehead. But, the worst irony of it is ,this poster includes in it a picture of Vijaya Kumaratunge. more..

Rs. 12 million to remove cutouts and banners

Jan 10 (SL) The Department of Elections has been provided Rs.12.2 million to employ labourers, who will remove cutouts and posters of candidates contesting the upcoming elections. This is subsequent to the President’s recent public request to the IGP, to the effect that all posters and cutouts depicting him be removed, in keeping with election laws. Posters and cutouts are still in evidence in the streets and public places. more..

Yet another Swindlers’ List?

Jan 10 (SL) It is often said that you can judge a man by the company he keeps and one of the most damning indictments against our incumbent President is that he keeps exceedingly poor company. Mahinda Rajapaksa may well be one of the most charismatic and successful politicians in the country’s history – however he has, from the moment he assumed office, surrounded himself with ministers, followers, acolytes and stooges of very dubious repute. more..

The cost of winning

Jan 10 (SL) Elections are a costly business in Sri Lanka. They are costly to conduct, costly to contest and yet more costly to win. The cost of conducting the presidential election in ’94 was one third of what it would cost to hold the forthcoming January 26 poll, which would cost the taxpayers of this country a staggering Rs. 1.5 billion. Talk of inflation! What is more worrying however is the astronomical cost of conducting a decent campaign. more..

Constitutionalism or Feudalism?

Jan 10 (SL) The events of the past few months (and indeed the past few years) in Sri Lanka have puzzled me. The President and his coterie are flagrantly violating the Constitution and laws. That is shocking, but what is more shocking is the casual acceptance of this behaviour by all concerned. What is surprising is not that the President violates the law and disregards explicit directions from lawful authority, but that the citizenry seem to accept it. more..

The shocking behaviour of the TRC

Jan 10 (SL) With frustrated resignation, Sri Lankans are used to how government departments (the Police in particular) and public property are misused and abused by the party in power during elections for partisan advantage. For sheer insouciance though, the emergent new kid on the block during this presidential election, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRC), surpasses even the chutzpah of the President in kicking aside the Seventeenth Amendment. more..

Pro-LTTE groups stage protest to Lankan Speaker at Vaitheeswasran Kovil

Jan 10 (AT) Parliament Speaker W.J. M. Lokubandara’s visit to the Vaitheeshwaran Kovil here on Saturday met with protests from Pro-LTTE groups. A slipper was hurled at his car. The Speaker arrived with his family by car from Chennai at 11.30 a.m. Over 27 protesters belonging to various parties, including the MDMK, PDK, VCK, and the All India Students Federation, had gathered outside the temple. more..

In search of a political solution

Jan 10 (SL) With the presidential election two weeks away, the time has come for candidates to clarify their stance on issues of the day. One of the major issues at the forefront of public consciousness is the national question. It is a fact that sections of the Tamil minority feel their rights have been consistently ignored. So what is being done to ensure that war doesn’t flare up again? The President has offered the 13th Amendment as a political solution to this problem in his new policy statement. more..

'Mahinda Rajapaksha & Co. will destroy our economy'

Jan 10 (LG) The Central Bank recently relaxed the regulations on Sri Lankans investing money in foreign banks and equity markets. Sources close to the government says , many relatives of the Rajapaksha family left the country in the past few days through VIP lounge of the Colombo Katunayake Airport carrying large amounts of funds to invest in foreign banks. Sri Lanka Guardian tried to contact few ministers and more..

Sri Lankan ex-rebels reunited with family members

Jan 10 (AP) More than 700 former Tamil Tiger rebels were reunited with family members Saturday after months in rehabilitation camps since the country's decades-long civil war ended last year. President Mahinda Rajapaksa joined the hands of 15 men, women and children with relatives at a special ceremony at the Manik Farm camp in northern Sri Lanka where more than 100,000 war refugees are housed. more..

Hemantha who brought International fame to Lanka with his stage performance

Jan 10 (AT) A school boy from Mahabage who directed a drama for a village show got a chance to stage it at an island wide drama competition organized by the National Youth Services Council (NYSC) to celebrate its twentieth anniversary. And the young director, at the last minute, when he found that the actor who was to do the main role in his stage play was missing, he, undaunted, decided to don that role too. more..

That intriguing word ‘consultation’ and gonata andanawa

Jan 10 (LB) The Foreign Ministry last week tried bravely to clarify the presence of a large number of heads of mission, heads of post and senior officials in Colombo with a quaint and enigmatic press release that raised more questions than it answered. The communiqué — issued by the publicity division, no doubt on higher instructions — referred to news reports that had claimed some heads of mission and officials serving in overseas missions are back in Sri Lanka for election-related work. more..

Poll commissioner: I will sue cops

Jan 10 (LB) The Elections Commissioner is contemplating on going to courts against police who ignored his demand to remove all propaganda material by January 7th. Despite continuous appeals, letters and circulars issued by the Elections Commissioner the police failed to remove the propaganda material in the Ampara, Anuradhapura, Gampaha, Kaluthara and Moneragala districts. more..

Second count fever spreads

Jan 10 (LB) Twenty two candidates have entered the fray for the upcoming presidential poll and excepting for General(rtd) Sarath Fonseka and the President the rest of the candidates it is understood want to ‘break’ the votes and force a second count; we spoke to some such candidates to obtain their views on the matter. Dr. Vikramabahu Karunaratne who has publicly said that his main intention for contesting in the 2010 presidential poll is to force a second count. more..

Opposition ahead, but could appearances deceive?

Jan 10 (LB) These are the results of the last presidential election held in 2005: Mahinda Rajapaksa 4,887,152 or 50.29 per cent of the vote, Ranil Wickremesinghe 4,706,366 or 48.43 percent of the vote. The margin is extremely thin —- and as can be seen, does not even add up to a basic two percentage points. If the UNP backed common candidate loses 5 per cent of that vote that was cast in 2005, it appears mathematically that he may still win the election if more..

Some ex soldiers appear from woodwork, alleging unfair treatment by Fonseka

Jan 10 (LB) With only two weeks to the presidential election allegations against Common Opposition Candidate General Sarath Fonseka and the president—- the two main candidates —— are being made by various quarters. Some of the allegations against the president such as misuse of public funds have been highlighted in this newspaper. more..

Ceylinco, Sakvithi depositors refute state media report

Jan 10 (LB) Agitating Ceylinco and Sakvithi depositors held a joint media conference last week to refute the lead article of a state media Sunday English language publication. The article said that the wronged depositors would be compensated. The depositors’ representatives said that since the problem surfaced, nothing like a solution was in sight. “The problem is far more compounded and grows more horrifying by the month, while the authorities remain unconcerned” more..

Urgent national security overhaul in Sri Lanka

Jan 10 (GV) The government in an emergency press briefing today, announced that it will take steps to overhaul the national security strategy of the island. The government defence spokesman, Minister Kokila Bathalahitawanna admitted that a post-war review of the defence plan had exposed glaring gaps in the national security strategy that needed urgent attention. Military Spokesman Brigadier Rajarathna T Pakshadeemana detailing the changes, said that more..

'Tamils of this country loves me and I too love them and value their affection'

Jan 10 (AT) The Tamils of Sri Lanka consider me as their own. I love them very much. I have many Tamils and Muslims friends. They consider me as their own brother. I too love them as my very own sisters and brothers- said Mahinda Rajapaksa in Mannar. So said President Mahinda Rajapaksa at a mammoth election rally held in Mannar on Saturday. more..