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Business loans for Jaffna youth

Jan 12 (MoD) The youth assistance programme "Youth Business Sri Lanka" of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has begun a programme to provide loans to Jaffna youth to start self employment projects. The full commitment of the first phase of the project is estimated Rs.1 million. These loans of Rs.250, 000/- each are provided to youth between the age group of 18 - 35. The Government has also initiated a special loan scheme for Northern entrepreneurs under the Vaddakin Vasantham programme. more..

Rats jumping off the sinking ship, says Dayasiri Jayasekara

Jan 12 (LG) Rats are jumping off the sinking ship and very soon half of the cabinet will be on our side, says UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekera. Addressing a convention in Kurunegala yesterday for the Muslim community in the area, Dayasiri said that all minorities in the country were with the opposition common candidate General Sarath Fonseka. The tide is changing now. All minorities in the country are now with us and are gearing up to make Sarath Fonseka victorious. more..

A new Sri Lankan Hony Consul to Bahrain

Jan 12 (LP) With the concurrence of the Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain, P B Higgoda, a Sri Lankan businessman cum philanthropist with long years of experience in the fields of engineering and construction industry has been granted the “Commission of Appointment” by Rohitha Bogollagama, Minister of Foreign Affairs appointing him as Sri Lanka ’s Hony. Consul to the Kingdom of Bahrain. Although, Higgoda has served as defacto Hony. Consul since 2001, more..

The importance of Ranil Wickremesinghe

Jan 12 (NPC) The decision of the TNA to endorse one of the two leading candidates with a real chance of winning the forthcoming presidential election has a significance that goes beyond those elections. The delay of the alliance in arriving at a decision itself suggests the importance of the issues at stake. There were three strong points of view expressed by the membership of the alliance which more..

HSZ relaxed only for Pilgrimages

Jan 12 (SLW) President Mahinda Rajapakse informed Jaffna Bishop Rev. Fr. Thomas Sauderanayagam yesterday that he will investigate the possibilities of allowing people to visit religious shrines within the Jaffna high security zone and worship those and provide a solution in this regard. During the discussions the President had with the Jaffna bishop during his tour of Jaffna, the rev. father has asked the President to allow people to more..

The Promises of Universalism and Tyrannies of Relativism?

Jan 12 (GV) Though Sri Lankans have not been passive victims, our progress toward equal rights is being frustrated by ceaseless international allegations of human rights abuses. The state is preoccupied with defending itself against these charges, and vilifies its accusers as traitors. The two Presidential candidates attribute abuses to each other, and their claims are remarkably similar to the charges of abuses levied against the state. more..

Mobilise now for post-election conflicts

Jan 12 (LG) It is quite understandable that Bahu and Siritunga, who have loads of intelligence and reservoirs of experience, though they do grasp the importance of regime change, don’t want to mention second preference voting. They see the danger that if radical voters become agitated by the importance of regime change as a priority, then they will plonk directly for Fonseka, not wanting to risk second preference counting. more..

President inaugurates Pannipitiya Fly-Over and Bridge

Jan 12 (GDI) The Pannipitiya flyover and the Hirana Bridge in Panadura were inaugurated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning. The Government was able to complete the construction which the earlier governments failed. The new flyover was constructed over the Pannipitiya rail track close to the High level Road and the 174 bus route between Kottawa and Borella. more..

Where has all the LTTE money gone, Ranil asks President

Jan 12 (LG) Where is all the money that belonged to the LTTE, asked Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe yesterday. Addressing a public rally held in the Biyagama Delgoda pubic grounds in support of General Sarath Fonseka, he said that such LTTE money should be made use of to lessen the debt burden of the masses. “On the 2nd December Mr. Keheliya Rambukwella told a newspaper that all of the LTTE assets had been found. more..

'Security arrangement in place for Postal voting'

Jan 12 (LP) All security measures are in place for the 401,118 Postal Voters to mark their votes today and tomorrow announced the Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dissanayake. The Postal votes would be marked before the certifying officers in around 4000 marking Centers in all the 22 Districts prior to the January 26th election to elect the 6th Executive President of the country. more..

Rupavahini’s coverage of Mahinda exceeds 8 lakhs a day!

Jan 12 (LT) Rupavahini ignored strict guidelines issued by the Elections Commissioner and went ahead with the live telecasting of the President’s election manifesto launch. Under instructions from President’s powerful brother Basil Rajapakse and Dulles Alahapperuma, the state channel has telecast the event from 10.25 to 11.40 last morning. Rupavahini sources confirm that Rs 300,000 has been spent on producing the programme and Rs 500,000 on the telecast. more..

Rs.8.2 million for Jagoda’s diaries

Jan 12 (LT) The Minister of Tourism Achala Suranga Jagoda has ordered that a receipt be issued for Rs.8,200,000.00 as cost for printing 20,000 diaries. However, the Secretary to the Ministry George Michael has rejected to issue the receipt. The Secretary has informed the Minister that Rs. 8.2 million could not be allocated for 20,000 diaries. A ministry official told ‘Lankatruth’ when we inquired regarding the refusal by the Secretary to issue the receipt for 20,000 diaries, more..

No limitations to visit Madhu Church

Jan 12 (LP) Limitations on visiting Madhu Church were lifted with effect from today. There by devotees can visit and pray at the Madhu Church 24 hours a day 7 days of the week with no limitations as the Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order has lifted the limitations which prevailed. The Ministry decided to withdraw the limitations due to the improvements in the Security situations in the area. more..

Election hiccups

Jan 12 (LG) For President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week was not a happy one. Media predictions show a slow swing in favour of the common opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka in the January 26 presidential poll. Like all poll predictions they have their limitations; but they were enough to disturb the dovecote of Rajapaksa camp. It was also a week of bad tidings for Rajapaksa on many fronts. more..

Just pie in the sky!

Jan 12 (LNP) Several media outfits have joined forces to ask the presidential candidates to declare their strong and unequivocal commitment to the protection of freedom of expression and information. The media have come under threats under successive governments. Television stations, publishing houses and media personnel have been attacked and several journalists killed. So, it may be argued that there is a pressing need for media organisations to more..

Tamils and Elections 2010 : Choices, Threats, Delusions

Jan 12 (LG) What should Tamils do? The answer is obvious. Those who wish to vote for either of the main Sinhalese candidates in the upcoming 2010 presidential election could do so. But they must keep clearly in mind that they will get nothing in return. Irrespective of who wins, the current ethnocidal policy of the Sinhalese State vis-à-vis Tamils will continue unabated. more..

'War cost country Rs 23 trillion'

Jan 12 (Island) Deputy Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that the Government had spent a total of Rs 23 trillion on the three-decade war. This works out to Rs. 920 billion per year in the 25 years of war, which is now a saving for the government in addition to the targeted revenue budget per year. The 2009 targeted revenue was Rs. 855 billion, and the government spends only around Rs. 2 billion on ministers, and Rs 278 billion on development. more..

'Sri Lanka's war-torn areas to get more funds'

Jan 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's war torn areas would get more World Bank funds this year as the region recovers from a 30-year war, with a little over 250 million US dollars already approved, country director Naoko Ishii said. "We have another four programs which will go for board approval when negotiations are complete," Ishii told reporters. From September 2009, the World Bank had approved three programs of 182 million US dollars and anther 77 million dollar program. more..

How Sri Lanka defeated terrorism

Jan 12 (PI) After more than 25 years of combating terrorism, Sri Lanka finally achieved peace in May 2009. But the costs - more than 75,000 deaths - were high and the struggle arduous. To this day, few acknowledge the difficulty of defeating what the FBI had described as "one of the most dangerous and deadliest outfits in the world." Although the world too easily ignores the importance of Sri Lanka's achievement, more..

Dairy production and livestock gets boost

Jan 12 (DN) The development of the national dairy production and uplifting the living standards of dairy farmers is one of the main strategies in Mahinda Chinthanaya policy of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. A dairy villages program, promotion of the milk production industry, establishing livestock breeding farms are some of the main programs currently going on under the Mahinda Chinthanaya. more..

316 Incidents of election related violence on record from 23 Non - Jan 10

Jan 12 (TC) The following is full text of media Communiqué No 6, issued by Centre fro Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) on Jan 10, 2010: CMEV has recorded a cumulative total of 316 Incidents of election related violence since the issue of the Gazette Notification on 23rd November 2009 announcing the Presidential Election. Of these, 133 are classified as Major and 183 as Minor incidents. more..

‘Dinamina’ fashions lies – Pabha’s mother

Jan 12 (LT) Ms. Nirmalee de Silva, mother of Upeksha Swarnamalee (Pabha), says the state media ’Dinamina’ has published a fabrication under the headline “My daughter Upeksha is sold for politics” using her photograph. She said this at a special press conference held at the media unit of the Common Candidate yesterday. Speaking further Ms. Nirmalee de Silva said, “I received telephone calls continuously. more..

Nearly 1,000 Tigers to join with their families soon

Jan 12 (LNP) About 1,000 ex-LTTE cadres are expected to be united with their families in two weeks in keeping with a government directive. They are among some 11,000 detainees held in various parts of the country after the end of the war last May. Authoritative government sources told The Island that the Justice and Law Reforms Ministry was in the process of finalising a list of LTTE cadres who could be released probably ahead of presidential polls on January 26. more..

Industrial Park in Kadawatha

Jan 12 (LNP) Development is rapidly progressing in Sri Lanka and the country is in the process of transition to become an industrial country. It has a trainable workforce and the quality is on par with the international standards, Flinth Industrial Park. Chairman Rune Flinth said at the inauguration of Flinth Industrial Park at the Ranmuthugala Estate at Kadawatha. The Park was set up with an investment of US $ 10 million and more..

“Kaudha Rajah?” - Who is the King?

Jan 12 (TC) This is the question presently in the lips of every Sri Lankan - leaving alone a section of the disgruntled Tamil population. The present incumbent president, having weakened the main opposition UNP in what ever way possible to his best, made up his mind soon after the defeat of the LTTE, to have more or less a no show boxing fight basing on his war glory. more..

JVP alleges poll malpractices in Hambantota

Jan 12 (Island) The Presidential election campaign in Hambantota is full of malpractices, JVP MP Nihal Galappaththi said. JVP and UNP supporters are also being harassed, the Hambantota District MP alleged at a press briefing at Amila Hotel, Tangalle. So far, he said, unidentified masked gunmen had shot at 12 houses that exhibited posters of Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka while 32 JVP offices had been attacked in the district. more..

Top theatre complex in S Asia coming up at Nomads

Jan 12 (DN) Sri Lanka’s state-of-the-art theatre with the most modern equipment is being constructed changing the entire landscape of the Nomads playground leaving nostalgic memories for some of the players who shed their sweat at this green field, a senior officer of the Cultural Ministry said. Yet it will be another unique place for not only the artistes but all Sri Lankans. It is a gift from China and will cost around Rs. 3.45 billion. more..

'If a Lankadeepa staff thinks he can do things secretly without my knowing – nothing is more stupid'

Jan 12 (UNP) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said, having failed miserably in all quarters, the President is now trying to arouse communal disharmony and resort to all kinds of ‘games’. He told this with reference to an article in the Lankadeepa newspaper ‘TNA’s support to General because he agreed to their demands’ attributed to TNA leader Sampanthan, which he described as absolutely false more..

False deed in Defence Secretary's name

Jan 12 (DN) The CID is to take into custody a group of suspects including a Kurunegala District Parliamentarian who are alleged to have forged a deed of a land to make it appear as if it is owned by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. They have forged the documents in connivance with a real estate agent in Kurunegala. Intelligence reports revealed that an MP from the Kurunegala District had produced more..

Mahinda promises a brighter future for all

Jan 12 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday unveiled a 14-point programme titled, ‘A brighter future’ with a promise to bring Sri Lanka to a prominent position in Asia and the world and work towards a political solution to the ethnic problem. The manifesto is aimed at enhancing the stature of the country with focus on new areas of development and the opportunities for investment and economic progress. more..

'You are the engine of growth and backbone of country’s economy'

Jan 12 (UNP) Addressing a meeting of Business community at the Cinnamon Grand today, UNP Dep. leader Karu Jayasooriya said, the Business community is the engine of growth in the country and the backbone of the economy. He described Gen. Fonseka , the Opposition common candidate as an Officer and a gentleman who can deliver the goods and the promises he gives. more..

Jaffna booms as govt eases A9 curbs

Jan 12 (Island) Sri Lankan families from outstations have been flocking to the Jaffna district via the A9 highway after the government eased restrictions on civlian transport on the main road linking the peninsula to the south. Hotels and restaurants in the Jaffna city are cashing in from the sudden demand as curious visitors from the south make their to Jaffna in private vehicles and public transport. more..

Kiribathgoda inquiry over to CID

Jan 12 (DM) Colombo Additional Magistrate Lal R. Bandara handed over to Colombo Crime Division (CCD) the investigations of the incident that took place in Kelaniya on January 3 which injured the public and damaged their properties. The Magistrate ordered the CCD to file their report of the progress of the investigations in court on April 01. The incident took place on January 03 when some supporters of United National Alliance who assembled near more..

'Cancel Pongal celebrations using State funds'

Jan 12 (DM) The Tourism Ministry Secretary has been advised by the Commissioner of Elections to cancel the Thai Pongal celebrations on 14th January at Vavuniya utilising Ministry funds as it was politically inclined and violated election laws. However, DM online learns that Minister Achala Suranga Jagoda had pressurized the Secretary to go ahead with the function disregarding the order of the Elections Commissioner. more..

‘From the third world to first’

Jan 12 (DM) When President Mahinda Rajapaksa vows to devote the next six years to fight corruption, one may say it denotes the reality of the state of affairs. That is that there’s so much of corruption in the country that one needs at least a good six years to battle it out. And the President’s remark at the manifesto launch, one may also say falls very short of a confession that nothing tangible has been done about it in the past. more..

Will history repeat?

Jan 12 (DM) The SLMC, one of the parties supporting Opposition Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka, is to request Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake today to pay special attention to certain polling stations in the Pottuvil electorate of the Digamadulla District, where ballot boxes were ‘pre-stuffed’ at the last Eastern Provincial Council Election. Among these polling stations are Vinayagapuram Maha Vidyalaya, Koraikalapu Shakthi Vidyalaya, more..

'I will make Sri Lanka hub of Asia'

Jan 12 (DN) He said he had to wake up everyday with a heavy mind confronted with thousands of problems concerning the re-unification of the country so much so that he had no time to devote to other fronts which needed attention in the country. Today people could lead their lives without fear or suspicion as a result of his endeavours. Development activities were now taking place rapidly on a countrywide scale, he said. more..

All cutouts and posters removed say Police

Jan 12 (DM) Peliyagoda Police pledged in the Colombo Magistrate court that they had removed all illegal cut outs, posters and banners of all the candidates contesting the Jan. 26 Presidential Election from the walls in the Peliyagoda Police area. The Police made this submission before the Additional Magistrate of Colombo Lal R. Bandara while producing a suspect who was allegedly arrested while pasting posters of the Opposition Common Candidate General Sarath Fonseka more..

‘Job losses could have been worse’

Jan 12 (IPS) When the global financial crisis struck in 2008, expectations were high that the Sri Lankan economy would be severely affected. But as it turned out, the number of job losses was not as bad as anticipated. Some industry reports released in the same year had indicated that the resulting jobs losses would reach as high as 200,000 across the South Asian country. An estimated 70,000 people lost their jobs from around August 2008 to April 2009 as a result of more..

'My aim country sans bribery, corruption'

Jan 12 (DN) Corruption cannot be eliminated according to the pickpocket’s formula just because a corrupt individual who had joined hands with corrupt force and cries hoarse about it. It is being done in a systematic and vigourous manner similar to the way the underworld and the Tiger terrorists were tackled, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the launch of the Mahinda Chinthana manifesto more..

Gota sees foreign attempt on Lanka

Jan 12 (DM) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has warned that several foreign and local bodies including a section of the international community have become a part of a malicious attempt against Sri Lanka. The government information department quoted the Defence Secretary as saying the forthcoming Presidential Elections will mark a decisive juncture in the nation’s history and more..

Sri Lanka president offers concessions to Tamils

Jan 12 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president on Tuesday offered concessions to ethnic Tamil demands for greater autonomy ahead of elections in which the minority community could play a decisive role. President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is seeking a second term, said he was proposing power-sharing arrangements to give minority Tamils a greater say in the legislature and address long-standing demands for devolution of power. more..

Sri Lanka pre-poll attack leaves one person dead

Jan 12 (BBC) Gunmen have opened fire on a bus carrying supporters of the main opposition presidential candidate, killing one person, police say. They say at least four people were wounded in the attack on supporters of former army chief Gen Sarath Fonseka. Unidentified attackers riding on a motorbike sprayed bullets into the bus in the island's south, police say. Sri Lanka's presidential elections take place on 26 January amid a heightened sense of political tension. more..

Opposition says politicians could be taxed

Jan 12 (LBO) Sri Lanka's opposition says the issue of politicians being taxed could be looked at early in a future new administration if common candidate ex-general Sarath Fonseka becomes president. "We can look at the issue of taxing politicians early," opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe, told a business forum in Colombo. "The issue of taxing the public servants however is more difficult." more..

Refugee family faces indefinite detention

Jan 13 (Age) A Family of refugees from the Oceanic Viking faces indefinite detention after the Government flew their mother to Christmas Island knowing she was a security risk. The Tamil woman was among four adult refugees involved in the customs boat stand-off to fail security checks by ASIO. Her two young children were also on the journey. Yesterday, Immigration Minister Chris Evans said all were ineligible to live in Australia. more..

Form book points to India

Jan 13 (CI) With all due to respect to Bangladesh, the teams with the more commanding records were always expected to meet in the final. After going at each other for the past two months, Sri Lanka and India clash at the Shere Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Wednesday, and if recent encounters are any clue, India are the favourites. That's not a tag they have ever been comfortable with. Finals of multi-team tournaments have long been India's dreaded bogie, more..

Sri Lankan journalists demand justice for slain editor; no arrests a year after his killing

Jan 13 (CP) Sri Lankan journalists Tuesday demanded justice for a renowned newspaper editor gunned down by attackers on motorcycles, complaining no arrests have been made in the case a year after his killing. Lasantha Wickrematunge, editor of The Sunday Leader newspaper, was shot dead in his car by assailants on Jan. 8, 2009. more..

'Prabhakaran's mother free to go to India to settle'

Jan 13 (PTI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said slain LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran's mother and mother-in-law were free to go to India to settle, if they wanted. "They (Prabhakaran's mother and mother-in-law) can go to India if India agrees," Rajapaksa told foreign journalists here in reply to question. Though Prabhakaran's mother Parvathi Pillai and his mother-in-law Erambu have not publicly expressed any plans about their future, more..

Rajapaksa manifesto disappoints Tamils

Jan 13 (EB) President Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged on Monday to retain the unitary character of the country’s Constitution. This promise, made in his manifesto for the January 26 presidential election, is expected to go down well with the Sinhalese majority in the country, but disappoints the Tamil minority living in the north and the east. Rajapaksa said his manifesto did not have a single clause that would destroy the unity and integrity of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka's Choice, and the World's Responsibility

Jan 13 (NYT) Pity the poor Sri Lankan voter. As presidential elections loom on Jan. 26, the public is faced with a choice between two candidates who openly accuse each other of war crimes. The current exchange of charges and counter-charges between retired Gen. Sarath Fonseka and President Mahinda Rajapaksa must be particularly confusing to those Sri Lankans who consider both to be war heroes rather than war criminals. more..