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Praba's siblings decline President's offer to be present at funeral

Jan 10 (DBS) Prabhakaran's three siblings abroad guaranteed safety by President Rajapakse to attend their father's funeral in Valvettithurai. Praba's siblings Manoharan (Denmark) Jegatheeswari (India) Vinodini (Canada) decline President's offer & will not come to Sri Lanka for the funeral. Inquest into sudden death of Prabhakaran's father , Thiruvengadam Velippillai issues verdict that his death was due to natural causes. more..

Sri Lanka seeks full inquiry into maid’s murder

Jan 10 (AN) The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) is asking Riyadh to conduct a full inquiry into the murder of Balakrishnan Dharshani, 26, a maid from Kandy who was working in Hofuf, Eastern Province. The events that led authorities to the body on Dec. 19 are unknown, but an anonymous official of the Lankan Embassy told Arab News on Saturday that the body had burn marks and that the sponsor is in custody. more..

Rajapakse Vs Fonseka: Not a one horse race, but a contest

Jan 10 (TC) This election was supposed to be a one horse race for Mahinda Rajapakse. Now it is a contest. Nobody can yet say that Mahinda Rajapakse is going to lose; nor can anyone now say that Sarath Fonseka is not going to win. When Rajapakse won in 2005, he polled 4,887,152 votes, a mere 574,995 votes more than what President Kumaratunga polled in 1999. more..

Rajapaksa, Fonseka face-off on cyberspace

Jan 10 (HT) They are not known to be geeks but Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his rival Sarath Fonseka have taken their political sabers to cyberspace. With help from the Sinhala and Tamil diaspora, Rajapaksa and Fonseka are all over the internet. Scores of sites about the two have sprung up. Social networking sites are having a field day, and thousands of hits, with supporters of the two slugging it out virtually. more..

Highways to the future

Jan 10 (SO) Highways Minister T.B. Ekanayake pointed out that the Government's next aim is to expedite the ongoing construction work of the highway network in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. In an interview with the Sunday Observer he said the Government has allocated a huge sum of US $ 3,000 million to fulfil this task. "In addition to byroads and other small roads, there are three types of roads in the country and they belong to A and B Grades. more..

Book Review: A disobedient girl by Ru Freeman

Jan 10 (Guardian) Raised in an aristocratic Sri Lankan family, Ru Freeman has observed closely the subject of her first novel – the relationship between master and servant in contemporary Sri Lanka. A Disobedient Girl tells the story of Latha, a servant-cum-companion to a girl her own age named Thara. Latha's only luxury comes in the form of purloined bars of rose-scented Lux and more..

‘Disclose agreement with TNA’

Jan 10 (SO) The Government yesterday renewed its challenge to New Democratic Front (NDF) presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka to disclose the agreement he has reached with the TNA. “The Opposition presidential candidate has not yet disclosed this agreement to the country. But Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at a recent press briefing commented on an agreement reached between the TNA and the Opposition presidential Candidate Sarath Fonseka,” more..

Memories of Vadakaha Sudiya in 1955 eclipse

Jan 10 (SO) Peering into the distant past perhaps one may recall nostalgic memories of the full blown eclipse that cast its shadow on Ceylon on the 20th June 1955, almost 54 years ago. It left indelible memories in the minds of many people who witnessed the event on that day. Sri Lanka then was known as Ceylon before it became a Republic in 1972. The eclipse brought about an apocalyptic scene never witnessed before in the country. more..

'Golden opportunity to express gratitude'

Jan 10 (SO) Veteran Actor Jackson Anthony describes forthcoming Presidential Election as a historic election and its outcome would clearly show the gratitude extended by citizens to the President. The veteran dramatist and film producer in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Observer said he was fully confident the people would give the President an unprecedented mandate on January 26. more..

Rebuilding the nation through a major development drive

Jan 10 (SO) Sri Lanka recorded one of the lowest annual inflation levels last year since 1985 indicating economic stability and social benefits and even better prospects in the years to come. Sri Lanka's inflation remained static for the last 30 years which was around 11.7%. However, in June 2008, due to the increase in crude oil prices inflation rose to 28.2%. But in 2009 it showed a decrease up to 1.4%. more..

One man's garbage another man's treasure

Jan 10 (SO) Waist deep in waste, it was amazing to hear a high spirited Saroja say "Nothing is impossible for us." Not to sound condescending - quite the contrary, because the service rendered by Saroja and the like is worthy of commendation - but it requires amazing endurance levels to work in a garbage dump. But the dump site Saroja works in is no normal garbage dump. In fact it is one of the most successful composting projects in the country more..

Thai Pongal on Thursday

Jan 10 (SO) The two Tamil words "Thai" and "Pongal" are important. "Thai" means the month of January. The word "Pongal" means milk rice. The first day of January in the Tamil calendar, would always fall between January 12 and 15 of the Christian calendar. On the first day of January in the calendar, Tamils all over the world celebrate Thai Pongal which is a Hindu religious festival. more..

'TNA faction supporting Fonseka wants to resuurect LTTE'

Jan 10 (GDI) Political Commentator and top journalist, Dayan Jayatilake has emphasized that the sole desire of a section of the Tamil National Alliance was to rout President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the elections with the aim of resurrecting the LTTE. "This is the reason they support the Opposition candidate" said Jayatilleke. at a Round Table discussion telecast over Prime TV. The TNA are yet to be critical of the LTTE, he noted. more..

Presidential Election 2010: What is at Stake?

Jan 10 (LG) By most accounts the forthcoming election has been framed by main contenders as a referendum on who contributed most to defeating Tamil Tigers by launching an unprecedented war in modern history of the country. In essence, people are being asked to vote for a Presidential candidate on the basis of the role one played in winning the war. As a formality, election manifestoes will also be released including other promises in coming weeks. more..

'President's leadership pivotal factor for war victory'

Jan 10 (MoD) The man who formulated Naval strategies during the humanitarian operations speaks on the factors that led to the downfall of the LTTE and victory for the Armed Forces in an exclusive interview. "That is definitely due to the leadership and commitment of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He was determined to finish this war. After a careful study he selected the Armed Forces Commanders more..

CSE to open branch in Jaffna

Jan 10 (MoD) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), has decided to open a branch office in Jaffna. An official from the CSE said that this was in response to the demand of Jaffna businessmen and the public who want to invest in the share market. The CSE is currently negotiating for a building and they would get it by the end of the month. "We are hoping to open this branch in early February, he said. more..

Safe journey ensured for Udarata Menike

Jan 10 (LP) Steps have been taken to provide protection to the Hill country railway line (Udarata Manike) under the Disaster Mangement Programme of Railway Department. Accordingly areas identified as danger areas will be cleared while fallen trees and rocks will be moved away from the hill country railway track. The Department will also take measures to lesser the risks in the area as well. more..

Mahinda fails to fulfill expectations, in Jaffna

Jan 10 (TN) President Mahinda Rajapakse who arrived in Jaffna Sunday to engage in election campaign failed to make important announcements in matters regarding youths gone missing after arrest, the immediate resettlement of IDPs in Sri Lanka Army (SLA) High Security Zones (HSZs) and a solution to the ethnic issue, sources in Jaffna said. more..

Thousands pay last respects to Pirapaharan’s father

Jan 10 (TN) Thousands of people, including men, women, and children Saturday paid their last respects to the remains of late Thiruvengadam Vellupillai, father of LTTE leader Mr. V. Pirapaharan, at Theeruvli in Valveddiththu’rai (VVT) near the memorial monument of Lt. Col. Kumarappa, Lt. Col. Pulenthiran and Col. Kiddu. Mr. Velupillai passed away while he was being kept in isolation and illegal custody by the Sri Lanka Army at the age of 86. more..

Taking Lanka around the world via Mobitel broadband

Jan 10 (LNP) Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel has yet again unveiled an innovation that will change the landscape of our nation. Tying up with Lanka TV Neth, Mobitel, Sri Lanka`s National Mobile Service Provider will enhance and facilitate a new generation of Television viewing. Lanka TV Neth is a popular Digital TV channel based in Greece which will now be powered from Sri Lanka by Mobitel`s Broadband service, more..

Sri Lanka to move for INTERPOL Red Notice to arrest Mrs. Sicille Kotelawala

Jan 10 (Island) With attempts to track down Mrs. Sicille Kotelawala proving futile even a year after the 26 billion rupee Golden Key scam, moves to request the International Police (INTERPOL) to issue a Red Notice for her arrest is now under active consideration, The Sunday Island learns. "We have been in touch with INTERPOL to locate her, but there have been no positive results so far", a senior police official said. more..

More on the election

Jan 10 (LNP) Unfortunately nobody in authority has taken up our suggestion that the principle of ``Polluter Pays must be enforced regarding the political propaganda that continues to be on illegal display despite some ineffectual noises made by the Elections Commissioner. We made the point that the taxpayer should not be made to carry the tab for clearing other people s dirt when it was announced that the police was to get about Rs. 12 million to more..

Patriots and the Gravy Train at the Departure Lounge

Jan 10 (LG) Travel agents in Colombo are reporting brisk trading and high demand for airline tickets from the 20th of January onwards for departures with peak demand on Election Day when not ”the battle of the blues”, but the battle of the “war hero’s” takes place. We mortals can only wonder in amazement how in a “Buddhist” country, “heroism” is awarded to “dogs of war”. The concept of “War Hero” is irreconcilable with the teachings of the Buddha. more..

Tamils: A heroic nation that has sacrificed enormously for national survival

Jan 10 (TC) On 16 April 2007 I asked the UNP MP Mano Ganesan whether he agreed with the statement made by UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinge about Janaka Perera. Ranil proposed to the government to appoint Janaka Perera to the post of defence secretary in place of Gotabhaya. He was confident that Janaka will do a better job of crushing the Tamil armed resistance, of course with General Sarath Fonseka at the helm of the military. more..

90% of Sri Lankan Tamils, are showing their hypocrisy rather ‘true colours’

Jan 10 (LG) Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): There are only 10 percent of good Tamils in Sri Lanka or Sri Lankan origin. They are easy to identify. They live, without harboring the separatist thoughts, among Sinhalese in the south and east knowing very well the reasons why Sinhalese and Tamils are living in discord (as a matter of fact I know of my cardiologist friend and his doctor wife who went to live in Canada first then to England, and more..

Party office built inside a bunker to avoid attacks

Jan 10 (LNW) The main election office of General Sarath Fonseka in the Kalawana electorate has been build inside a bunker following continuous attacks from the governing party. UNP organizer for Kalawana, Attorney Nanda Muttuttuwegama said that the party office was built like a bunker with sand bags surrounding it in order to protect the lives of the party supporters working in the office due to the continuous attacks on the office carried out by more..

UK backs GSP withdrawal to Sri Lanka

Jan 10 (LNP) British Minister for International Development Gareth Thomas said that despite the fact there was no more war in Sri Lanka the culture of impunity is still prevailing and that is why the British government supported the EU resolution to withdraw the GSP plus trade tariff concessions. He said that his government has been consistently expressing concerns to Sri Lanka, through diplomatic channels, more..

Kanthi Kodikara to dustbin

Jan 10 (LT) The present Mayoress of Maharagama Municipality and SLFP organizer for Maharagama Ms. Kanthi Kodikara has been removed from the post of the party organizer for the area. Mr. Isura Devapriya has been appointed in her place as the SLFP organizer for Maharagama electorate. Ms. Kanthi Kodikara is a long standing member of the SLFP and is the wife of the present Western Provincial Council Minister Upali Kodikara. more..

Live telecast of Mahinda’s election manifesto free by SLRC

Jan 10 (LT) It is reported that the ceremony to be held to launch the election manifesto of UPFA presidential candidate Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse will be telecast by SLRC live. It has been planned to telecast the ceremony on the 11th between 11.00 a.m. and 12.00 noon. The Current Affairs unit under Deputy Director Tilak Mahagamage is in charge of all arrangements for the live telecast while consultation is being done by more..

'People ahead of us in flashing message of the need for change’

Jan 10 (Island) ‘We in the opposition alliance feel that the people are far ahead of us in this presidential polls campaign. The enthusiasm of the people is so great that they themselves are carrying the message of the Swan and Gen. Fonseka’, UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said. ‘A non political figure coming to politics and all political parties carrying a common message has certainly gravitated the need for a change or more..

‘Swan’ to return at general election

Jan 10 (NS) All constituent political parties of the United National Front and the JVP have decided to contest the upcoming General Parliamentary election as a new political combine titled ‘Ekabaddha Vipaksha Sandhanaya’ (United Opposition Alliance) under the ‘Swan’ symbol, UNF sources disclosed yesterday. This decision was taken at a meeting held last week which was attended by UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, SLFP (M) Leader Mangala Samaraweera, SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem, more..

‘On arrival’ visa system abused

Jan 10 (NS) Sri Lanka’s policy of providing visas to nationals of some 80 countries on arrival here as a means of promoting tourism is being increasingly abused to the detriment of the country with all types of nefarious types ranging from drug smugglers, prostitutes, illegal workers and migrants to arms traders taking advantage of the facility. Almost on a daily basis they have to arrest and deport prostitutes from several countries ranging from Ukrainians, Uzbeks to Thais and Chinese. more..

JHU signals it is for Devolution

Jan 10 (NS) Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) heavyweight and Western Provincial Council (PC) Minister Udaya Gamanpila vows that, unlike the JVP, they are not against devolution. In an interview with The Nation early this week, he hinted at some surprises in the new manifesto agreed to by the UPFA members for President Rajapaksa’s second term. It will be made public next week. more..

Economists dissect General Fonseka’s manifesto

Jan 10 (NS) The propaganda campaigns of the two main candidates President Mahinda Rajapaksa and General Sarath Fonseka are preceding in full steam with the decisive poll only 16 days away. Meanwhile, crossovers between the two main camps, a comedy so typical on the eve of every national election, have become almost a daily feature. Meanwhile, most speakers from both main camps addressing propaganda rallies to woo the voters, trade vitriolic abuse as usual, more..

Impact of a divided Tamil vote?

Jan 10 (NS) There appears to be never a dull moment in the campaign leading up to the sixth Sri Lankan presidential election. This week had its fair share of thrills and spills: Some confusion in the Upcountry Peoples’ Front (UPF) in the aftermath of the death of its leader Periyasamy Chandrasekaran, the crossover of Mayantha Dissanayake to the UNP and the appearance of former Chief Justice Sarath Silva at opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka’s campaign. more..

Election promises are carbon emissions

Jan 10 (NS) A stranger who steps onto this land during election time, may think that Sri Lanka has the most talented, generous and dedicated politicians in the whole world. There are not many other countries where you hear of receiving free laptops or massive increases in salary prior to elections. Alas, most of the time such sweet words have been limited to being mere words, or what is better known in Sri Lanka as ‘election promises’. more..

From 323 places PAFFREL asks polls chief to remove cutouts

Jan 10 (Island) The Executive Director of Elections Monitor PAFFREL Rohana Hettiarachchi yesterday made representations to Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake calling for the immediate action to remove cutouts and banners of the two main candidates from 323 different places in the country. Hettiarachchi said that in the absence of the Elections Commissioner, yesterday morning, he had submitted a document to more..

'End of war does not mean the conflict has ended'

Jan 10 (Island) Past Chairman Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), Deva Rodrigo said although the war has ended, it does not mean basic conflicts have been resolved. Rodrigo, moderating at the Panel II discussions at the Jaffna Summit last week, expanding on this theme said developing the region had to have simultaneous adjunct applications. Priority standing is conflict dialogue; alleviation of suspicion should attain priority to be instrumental as a precursor to progress. more..

Tamils being wooed on the basis of elementary liberties being fully restored

Jan 10 (TC) Free movement of all persons without being impeded by security and police; areas of civilian activity to be free of weapons; security forces to be stationed only at strategic locations; restoration of fishing rights; no ‘kappang’ to be levied by anyone; and train services to the Jaffna Peninsula. Fifty years after independence, Sri Lanka’s Tamil population is being wooed at a crucial election by more..

Raj part sells personal stake in JKH but remains a major shareholder

Jan 10 (Island) Although Mr. Raj Rajaratnam, a major investor in listed companies in Sri Lanka, last week sold out a substantial 28 million shares in John Keells Holdings he personally held at a price of around Rs. 179/180 per share, he continues to own 20 million JKH shares and remains among the top 20 shareholders of the conglomerate. Rajaratnam who with nearly 49 million shares (8%) was the second biggest shareholder of more..

GNs asked to be present to issue temporary IDs to the internally displaced

Jan 10 (Island) The Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake has made special provision for all Grama Niladharis to be present in their offices on January 11, 12 and 13 to issue temporary identity cards to IDPs. Any IDP who does not possess a NIC or any of the alternate identity cards recognized by the Department of Elections can apply for a temporary Identity to vote at the forthcoming presidential elections. more..

Different history if Velupillai had his way

Jan 10 (IANS) If the doting father could have had his way, Velupillai Prabhakaran would have never founded the Tamil Tigers or died so brutally along with his family and dreams. Thiruvendran Velupillai, who died in Sri Lankan military custody last week, tried his utmost to persuade his youngest child, Prabhakaran, to concentrate on studies and not be swayed by Tamil nationalism. more..

Fresh weapons in political war

Jan 10 (ST) For the two major contenders in the upcoming Presidential polls - Mahinda Rajapaksa and retired General Sarath Fonseka - the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas became the main platform. Both shot into greater national limelight after the victory. Nearly eight months later, the two major stakeholders in success have become bitter enemies. If their campaigns began with the duo staking claims to a Lion's share of success over the Tigers, it has now taken a different turn. more..

Health Ministry in bloody money deal

Jan 10 (ST) Human plasma, extracted from blood donated to the National Blood Transfusion Service during campaigns to collect blood for security force personnel and for Thalassemia patients, has been exported to a private company in India – with a health union accusing the ministry of indulging in a bloody betrayal. The first consignment of 750 litres of Human Plasma had been exported in May last year in the last days of the war with the LTTE when injured soldiers were still needing blood. more..

Nilames in row over presidential poll campaign

Jan 10 (ST) Some Basnayaka Nilames have accused the Dalada Maligawa’s Diyawadana Nilame, Nilanga Dela Bandara, of asking them to fund President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign. The Basnayaka Nilames have complained that the Diyawadana Nilame had asked them to provide Rs. 50,000 each for the election campaign after he himself promised Rs. 5 million. more..

Plays for the people

Jan 10 (ST) I hesitated for some days before I could conjure up the courage to call Parakrama Niriella, a director I have admired and respected from the day I saw Varenthu as a teenager in the Sarachchandra Open Air Theatre. I wanted to meet him to discuss his experiences as one of the first members of the Wayside and Open Theatre and to talk of his recollections about working with the late Gamini Haththotuwegama, the pioneer of wayside theatre. more..

Political nakedness of Tamil leadership

Jan 10 (ST) No one knows where Velupillai Prabhakaran's remains lie. Or, even if they knew, they wouldn't say anything about it because somebody will write about it saying he was shot while carrying a white flag and that could spell disaster for somebody else's campaign. But wherever that brutal man rests — probably in the murky depths of the Nanthikadal lagoon anyway — he must be turning in his grave. more..

President Rajapaksa visits Jaffna Nallur Kovil

Jan 10 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Jaffna for his political campaign in the north of Sri Lanka today, 10th January. He visited Nallur Kovil for Hindu religious observances. He was blessed according to the Hindu traditions by the chief priest of the kovil. The President was seen in bare top, which is a very rare sight in public. EPDP leader and the Minister Douglus Devananda, more..

India dominate Sri Lanka on way to final

Jan 10 (CI) India's best fielding performance in ODIs since the Champions Trophy in September last year set up their march to the final by way of a thumping win. It wasn't anything spectacular: half chances were taken and easy ones not missed, marking a big improvement on their recent fielding form. That, coupled with impressive bowling from Zaheer Khan and Amit Mishra, pulled Sri Lanka from an explosive start and restricted them to a paltry 213, more..

Real democracy the key issue

Jan 10 (ST) With the chief contenders for the country's most coveted job persisting with their mud-slinging campaigns, it is increasingly apparent that the choice for the people is - as is said pithily in the vernacular -- between a partner who has a cough and a partner who has a cold. Both contestants are claiming credit for the war victory over the LTTE. The rightful claimant may even be neither; for many would justifiably argue that it was the Defence Secretary who more..