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Cargo village for perishable goods

Jan 13 (DN) The move to set up facilities at the Cargo Village at the Bandaranaike International Airport will be a major boost to the fruit and vegetable exporters in the country. The state-of-the-art facility will enable to overcome a stumbling block in the past where the safety of perishable goods was a huge problem the sector faced, Fruit and Vegetable Exporters, Producers, Processors Association Secretary Zuraish Hashim told Daily News Business. more..

Govt. promises new laws to battle bribery and corruption

Jan 13 (Island) Non-cabinet Justice Minister Dilan Perera, MP, yesterday said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa would introduce a new Act in Parliament to fight waste, corruption and irregularities in the public sector. Addressing the media at the Mahaweli Centre, the Minister said that this would be the first Bill to be tabled in the House after the forthcoming presidential polls. more..

Livelihood gets boost

Jan 13 (DN) The Government of Japan has provided Rs. 103 million for demining project in Mannar and Vavuniya districts and three livelihood and development projects in Jaffna, Batticaloa and Matara districts to accelerate resettlement process and to improve the lives of people at the grassroots level. The first project is “the Project for Integrated Humanitarian Mine Action to Support the Return of Internally Displaced Communities in the North of Sri Lanka,” more..

Sri Lankan peacekeeping troops safe in Haiti

Jan 13 (MoD) Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakara speaking to reporters said that the Sri Lankan troops engaged in UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti are safe from the massive earth quake that struck the Haitian capital Tuesday afternoon. He further revealed that the communication was established with them and the Sri Lankan troops had been away from the capital Port-Au-Prince when the quake struck. more..

UPFA says joint UNP-JVP alliance targeting media

Jan 13 (Island) UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayantha, MP, yesterday alleged that the joint Opposition was engaged in a systematic campaign to suppress the media though it regularly accused the ruling coalition of harassing the press in the run up to the presidential polls on January 26. He said that both the UNP and JVP had threatened the media as part of its political strategy aimed at terrorising journalists. more..

More laws to battle corruption

Jan 13 (Island) "Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy," said Mahatma Gandhi," as they undoubtedly are today." Nothing describes the contemporary Sri Lankan politics better than this immortal Gandhian apothegm. We have seen many a battle against corruption in this country. But, it continues to thrive eating as it does into the vitals of society. Robert Blake once said that Sri Lanka's GDP would have increased by a couple of more percentage points but for corruption. more..

Sale of blood to India claim denied

Jan 13 (Island) The Health Ministry denied allegations levelled by the All Ceylon Health Services Union that the National Blood Transfusion Service with support from the Health Ministry, had sold 750 litres of human plasma to India. Addressing the press, Director, National Blood Centre, Dr. Ananda Gunasekare said, all what they had done is to send it to India where life saving elements from it is extracted to be utilised on needy patients. more..

'Fonseka can't say he will abolish himself'

Jan 13 (DM) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva spoke to Daily Mirror on the reasons he is supporting the joint opposition candidate, Sarath Fonseka, the constitutional changes needed and the misinterpretations surrounding the phrase ; ‘abolishing of the Executive Presidency’. Q: What were your reasons for entering politics; or at least the political stage from where you are addressing rallies in support of General Sarath Fonseka? more..

Pensioners , jobless, graduates and old people will be given a monthly sum of Rs 2000/- - Gen. Fonseka

Jan 13 (UNP) Addressing an election rally at Kuliyapitiya yesterday, Presidential candidate Gen Sarath Fonseka said , he would arrange a monthly payment of Rs. 2000/- to pensioners, jobless youths and graduates and old citizens while also creating a climate and infrastructure for the development and growth of business and the private sector, after he is elected as President. more..

Chamal’s hunting dogs released with weapons for election murder acts

Jan 13 (LeN) Four security unit officers of the Airport and aviation service of the Ports Ministry belonging to Chamal Rajapkse, the brother of the President have been released with arms and weapons to do election campaign work, according to other employees. The security officers released are C.A Seneviratne, L D Fernando, K.M.S. Ranjith and MLM Perera who had also been allowed to use 9m.m. pistols which are to be used while on duty at the Ports Authority. more..

Elections Commissioner threatens to withdraw from duties

Jan 13 (DM) Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake threatened, yesterday, to withdraw from his duties related to the Presidential Election asserting that the authorities concerned had not aided him by adhering to the guidelines and regulations issued by him to create an atmosphere conducive to a free and fair election. more..

'Those who were sacked by me on criminal offences are now Defence Secretary’s favorite demons'

Jan 13 (UNP) At the election rallies organized jointly by the UNP and JVP at Delgoda, Kesbewa and Bandaragama on the 11th , Common Presidential Candidate Gen. Fonseka said, what the President Rajapakse acquired in 40 years in politics, he did it in 40 days . However, what I have achieved is a clean unblemished record, he added. more..

Fonseka pledges to get GSP back

Jan 13 (DM) Opposition common candidate General Sarath Fonseka yesterday pledged to get the GSP plus concession back for Sri Lanka soon after the election through a dialogue with the European Union. Addressing the business community in Colombo yesterday, Gen. Fonseka also said the subject of human rights was relevant to him as he had dealt with the war during the time as army commander. Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe called on those apparel industrialists who more..

Officials visit India to order essential drugs

Jan 13 (DM) A team of Health Ministry officials will visit India this week to inquire about the possibility of purchasing a stock of essential drugs now in short supply at government hospitals, a Ministry spokesman said. A survey conducted by the Medical Supplies Division (MSD) had found out that Sri Lanka had imported nearly 9,000 drug varieties annually in the form of tablets, capsules, ointments, injections and vaccines but more..

'Public service, rule of law undermined by constitution'

Jan 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka's post independence constitutions of 1972 and 1978 and the scrapping of the institution of permanent secretaries has usurped the rule of law and destroyed the impartiality of the public service, a rights body has said. Following the independence from Britain, the island inherited a government structure headed by permanent secretaries that operated strictly according to a set rules and treated all citizens equally without fear or favour. more..

'Danuna's Hicorp International US didn't supply to defence ministry'

Jan 13 (CT) Hicorp International US, owned by Gen. Sarath Fonseka's son-in-law Danuna Seneviratne, is not registered with the Sri Lankan defence ministry to supply military or any other equipment to Sri Lanka, said SLFP Mahajana Wing leader Mangala Samaraweera. Speaking to the media at his party headquarters today, Mr. Samaraweera said the company had not supplied even a piece of pencil for the Army. more..

Sanath appeals to voters: Vote for President

Jan 13 (DN) Renowned Cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya yesterday said that it was an obligation of the people of Ambalangoda as well as of the entire country to cast their votes on January 26 for President Mahinda Rajapaksa who created a peaceful and fearless environment for people to travel around and live in safely. He made this observation at a rally held in Ambalanagoda appearing in a political stage for the first time. more..

Police nab gunmen who attacked Fonseka supporters

Jan 13 (PTI) The two suspected gunmen, who carried out an attack on a bus carrying supporters of common opposition Sri Lankan Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka were arrested today, the police said. A woman was killed and eight others sustained injuries during the attack in the home district of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in what was the first political killing to the run-up to the Presidential polls. more..

'Election law violations: Stern action against police personnel'

Jan 13 (DN) The Police Department will take stern action against errant police personnel irrespective of their positions who violate Election Laws. The Police Department had taken action against several police personnel who had violated the Election Laws recently. If found guilty to the charges preferred against them, the police personnel will be removed from the Police Department, more..

Ex-Army Captain adds fuel to accusations against Fonseka

Jan 13 (Island) Retired Army Captain Upul Illangange, currently resident in Oklahoma, USA, yesterday claimed that Presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s son-in-law Danuna Tilakaratne had forged his signature and supplied arms to the Sri Lanka Army. The ex-soldier said that those transactions had been done with the full knowledge of the then Army Commander Gen. Fonseka and they were fraudulent. more..

Rajapaksa says govt considering bicameral legislature

Jan 13 (IE) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has offered to create a second chamber in the parliament as part of moves to give greater representation to provinces, especially the Tamil-dominated North and East. Stepping up his bid to woo the minority Tamils, Rajapaksa said his government is considering bringing a constitutional amendment to create a bicameral legislature that will allow greater say to the provinces in the parliament. more..

Poll violence escalates after killing

Jan 13 (AFP) Police Wednesday broke up clashes between political activists as violence linked to looming presidential polls escalated after gunmen shot dead an opposition party worker. Tear-gas was fired to disperse thousands of party workers in the eastern town of Polonnaruwa, local officials said by telephone. About 3,000 opposition supporters destroyed a ruling party office in the town after posters of their favoured presidential candidate, Sarath Fonseka, were destroyed overnight, more..

Debrief News - 13. 01. 2010

U.S. expresses concern over poll-related violence in Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (Hindu) As Sri Lankan Government strongly condemned the incident of shooting at a group of supporters of the Opposition consensus candidate retired General Sarath Fonseka, in which one woman was killed and several others injured, the United States on Wednesday said it was deeply concerned what it termed as the escalating violence surrounding the January 26 presidential elections. more..

Sri Lankan SEP launches election web site

Jan 14 (wsws) The Socialist Equality Party, the Sri Lankan section of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), has launched a new web site: For the first time, the Trotskyist movement’s analysis will be available on the one site in the island’s three main languages—English, Sinhala and Tamil. From today, the web site will provide full coverage of the campaign more..

SEP candidate addresses plantation workers

Jan 14 (wsws) Wije Dias, the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) presidential candidate, addressed a public meeting in Hatton town in Sri Lanka’s central plantation district last Sunday. Around 50 workers, teachers and youth participated after SEP teams campaigned among workers at tea plantations in Agarapathana, Maskeliya, Bogawanthalawa, Kotagala and Watawala. more..

BBC reporter in Polonnaruwa assaulted

Jan 14 (BBC) Police in Sri Lanka say that a team is assigned to investigate the attack on a BBC reporter in Polonnaruwa. Thakshila Dilrukshi Jayasena was attacked allegedly by the supporters of the government after covering election related violence on Wednesday. A clash has erupted between supporters of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Gen Sarath Fonseka. Minister Maithreepala Sirisena and former JVP provincial councillor Indrananda Silva were seen among the clashed supporters. more..

SEP campaigns for Hatton meeting

Jan 14 (wsws) Socialist Equality Party (SEP) members campaigned among visited plantation workers and youth to build the party’s January 9 public meeting in Hatton for the presidential elections. SEP General Secretary Wije Dias, a member of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board, is the party’s presidential candidate. Hatton is a town in the island’s central plantation districts. more..

Jakarta set to force refugees off boat

Jan 14 (TA) Indonesia will force 240 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers into immigration detention by the end of next week, at gunpoint if necessary, after admitting it has concerns there are former Tamil Tigers militants among the group. As the opposition stepped up its attack on the government over its decision to bring to Australia four Tamils deemed a security risk by ASIO, more..

Yacht sail plant opens in Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (IBI) A $10.5m yacht sail manufacturing plant has just been opened in Sri Lanka by Dimension-Polyant Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. The plant was established following a deal with the Sri Lankan Board of Investment involving setting up the plant for sails and textiles with its output going for export. With a workforce of up to 200, the new facility will make sails to European standards with high-tech equipment and machinery having been imported from Germany to support this. more..

The president and the IGP should bear responsibility for the attack that resulted in a killing in Hungama

Jan 14 (AHRC) The killing of even one person signals a turn for the worst in the presidential election in Sri Lanka. The attack on the bus carrying the supporters of the opposition candidate was carried out in a manner that reeks of the organized violence practiced in previous elections. The failure of the police to provide protection remains the major cause of such violence. more..

Sri Lanka beat India by 4 wickets, win tri-series title

Jan 14 (CI) Historically, when it comes to finals of triangular tournaments, Sri Lanka have had the upper hand over India, who in the last decade succeeded in winning just four in 21 finals. A familiar tale panned out in Dhaka, where a frenetic start was followed by an enthralling finish and the result was yet another tournament win for Sri Lanka over India. more..

Pilgrims now free to visit Madhu shrine

Jan 14 (UCAN) The Madhu Marian shrine, the most celebrated in Sri Lanka, has been declared open to all once more, after completion of demining in the surrounding area. The Defense Ministry on Jan. 12 allowed unrestricted access to the shrine in the north of the country, which means pilgrims will once again be allowed to stay overnight at the site. “There is no danger to those devotees visiting the Madhu shrine,” more..

Navy brings released Sri Lankan Fishermen safely home

Jan 14 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy brought one hundred and eighty-six (186) Sri Lankan fishermen safely home after their release from Indian custody yesterday (12 January 2010). The fishermen and 35 fishing vessels were handed over to SLN officials by Indian Coast Guard Vessels, “Sarang” and “Vickram” at the Indo-Sri Lanka International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the seas north of Kankasanthurei. more..

'Mahinda helped Congress win polls'

Jan 14 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa helped India’s Congress party win the General Elections in Tamil Nadu last year by reaching an agreement with the Indian government to stop using heavy weapons during the last stages of the war, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said. He said the President had turned down a request from India to stop the military operations last year but more..

Police search Sunday Leader

Jan 14 (DM) The Sunday Leader office located in Ratmalana was search by armed police officers who had come in a bus a short while ago. The police officers searched the printing press of the office saying they had information that defamatory posters were being printed at the premises. However staff members at the office said that the police did not search the editorial section of the newspaper. more..

Postal vote irregularities for soldiers and more campaign violence mars the day

Jan 14 (TC) Sri Lanka when considering the postal voting over the last two day period, CMEV has received a total of 27 incidents related to postal voting. In addition, approximately 20% of army soldiers who requested votes have been rejected according to reports received by CMEV monitors, which was highlighted in our report yesterday. A further two incidents were reported from Ampara today, more..

Tamil journalist’s release on bail hailed as first step towards acquittal

Jan 14 (RSF) Reporters Without Borders welcomes Tamil journalist J. S. Tissainayagam’s release on bail today pending the outcome of his appeal against a 20-year jail sentence on a trumped-up charge of supporting terrorism. His release was ordered by a Colombo appeal court two days ago. “This is very good news,” his lawyer, M.A. Sumanthiran, told today to Reporters Without Borders. more..

Jeyaraj’s elephantine fabrications reveal a plot

Jan 14 (LG) In keeping with the well known Sinhala adage “the more interesting dances will come on stage towards the wee hours” D.B. S.J (David Buell Sabapathy) Jeyaraj, a Tamil racist journalist has written what can be called a preliminary report about the ‘white flag incident in his website. This report is now on the email circuit too. Based on this report, one can expect DBSJ to come out with more ‘details’ in the coming days. more..

A General Scorned (II)

Jan 14 (LG) Presidential candidate, former Army Chief General Sarath Fonseka, has been in MBRL mode firing a tactical barrage of election pledges to suit different occasions. These promises, no doubt, have been designed by the man, whom the General not so long ago scornfully dismissed as a “mere tailor who makes underwear for women.” This ‘tailor’ has forgotten his jeer and proclaims that the General is fit to lead a new Salvation Army. more..

President vs. General: Let the Bout Begin

Jan 14 (LG) I visited my beloved country during the recent festive season, the land of my forefathers, where due to my extended sojourn overseas, I no longer have the right to vote. I have now lived exactly half of my life away from this island nation so I can look at the country from a different perspective to someone living and breathing in Sri Lanka everyday. This is I think especially true when it comes to politics. more..

Three elections and two ‘funerals’: Beginning of a new cycle

Jan 14 (LG) Cycles that define different stages in peoples’ life come when they are totally unprepared. A psychological condition individual and collective self seem to prefer even if there were indications of huge changes, as though were they needed dramatic events to turf them mentally to the next stage. Those study intensely the various fields foretell these changes, only to be derided out of our attention. more..

Presidential election 2010, and the next armed uprising in Sri Lanka

Jan 14 (LG) I carefully observed the developments in Sri Lanka around the current race for the presidency in order to find an answer to one of my major points of interest as a citizen. That is who has a better sense of what is needed to be done to avoid a fourth armed uprising in Sri Lanka? Higher education: If we carefully look at the root causes of the past three armed uprisings, frustrated university students and more..

Real democracy the key issue

Jan 14 (LG) 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; more..

New Delhi keenly watching poll scenario

Jan 14 (AT) As the Presidential election fever is warming up in Sri Lanka, New Delhi is keenly watching the developments for any clear swing in favour of either of the two main candidates, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and former army chief General Sarath Fonseka. The elections are scheduled for January 26. Though India’s policy is not to interfere with the internal affairs of a neighbouring country, events in Sri Lanka are of special interest, more..

Programmes of Hope: Debating the elections and the minority question

Jan 14 (LG) Recently, I was stopped at this checkpoint just outside Colombo. It was about 8 pm and I was in a three wheeler. Perusing my identity document, the security person queried in Sinhala: ‘Are you Tamil?’ Taken aback by this query, I paused a little before saying ‘yes.’ But what I actually wanted to say was ‘Hasn’t the President said there are no Tamils, Muslims or Sinhalese? more..

'Support from selectors invaluable'

Jan 14 (CI) The last three weeks have been good for Sri Lanka. In seven games against India, they have nailed three close chases. For a team that has been choking of late - today's effort too was far from perfect - it's a precious statistic. Never mind the fact that that this game should never have got so close, but considering they were losing these games from similar situations in the not so distant past, it's a step forward. more..

Sri Lanka state trading firm imports rice to cool crisis

Jan 14 (LBO) A Sri Lankan state trading firm has imported a stock of rice from Pakistan as domestic prices shot up in a market mired in heavy handed state intervention. Consumer affairs minister Bandula Gunewardene says a 5,000 tonne stock of IRRI-6 white raw rice imported from Pakistan would be sold through the co-operative outlets as some shops ran out of a popular red raw rice. more..

'Let's re-elect President to save democracy'

Jan 14 (GDI) A leading Buddhist prelate today asserted the need to protect the vibrant democracy installed in the country after winning a three decade cruel war with LTTE terrorists, and urged all parties to unite to develop the country. He commended the brave political leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa which helped the armed forces to win the war. He stressed the need to halt mud slinging at President Mahinda Rajapaksa and more..

Thai pongal message from General Sarath Fonseka

Jan 14 (UNP) It gives me great pleasure to send this Thai pongal message to the Hindu community of Sri Lanka. This Thai pongal celebration is a religious thanksgiving pooja overflowing with milk and rice. The Hindus also are closely tied up with the Sri Lanka culture. Through those cultural ties the country’s development can be fostered. The Tamil community has right along down history helped us by making their contributions. more..