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Mahinda’s thugs play havoc at Kolonnawa

Jan 15 (LT) UNP Member for Kolonnawa Municipal Council Janaka Kuruwita, who was inhumanly assaulted and cut with swords by a group of thugs of the UPFA, has been admitted to Colombo National Hospital in a very grave condition say reports. Today between 3.00 a.m. and 5.00 a.m. a group of UPFA thugs armed with firearms, clubs and swords have carried out several acts of violence including setting fire to the main office of the JVP at Kohilawatta, more..

Minister Sirisena goes on a rampage destroying UNP offices

Jan 15 (UNP) UNP M.P. Earl Gunasekera said, Minister Maithripala Sirisena about 12 days ago assured that he will no allow UNP to conduct election campaign activities at Polonnaruwa. Though this type of threats are illegal, he stood by his promise by destroying 13 UNP election offices at Polonnaruwa. Even yesterday night, about 300 of his supporters had entered the house of a UNP staunch supporter and more..

'Pseudo video-tape to show General & Sambanthan signing agreement'

Jan 15 (LT) There is information of an attempt to telecast, over the state media as an advertisement, a doctored video-tape that shows the Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka and Leader of the TNA R. Sambanthan signing an agreement says Mr. Anura Dissanayake. He said despite five days have gone by since challenging the government to produce any evidence to show that there had been an agreement between Gen. Fonseka and the TNA, more..

Rs 7.2 m bank heist

Jan 15 (LNP) Three special police teams have been deployed to nab the four suspects who fled after robbing Rs.7.2 million from a State Bank in Isurupaya Branch, on Tuesday evening. Police spokesman SSP I.M. Karunaratna said when the ATM of the Isurupaya branch was running out of money, it has informed another branch in Pelawatte. The Manager of Pelawatte Branch had dispatched Rs.7.2 million with two employees to the Isurupaya branch at around 4.25pm. more..

'Lanka still not free from separatist threat'

Jan 15 (LNP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa says Sri Lanka still faces a severe threat from separatists though the LTTE has been militarily crushed and the country united after a 30-year war. He says people should recognise the growing threat to the country s sovereignty and territorial integrity. President Rajapaksa accused SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem of trying to revive the separatist movement once spearheaded by the LTTE. more..

Need to attract domestic savings stressed

Jan 15 (LNP) Sri Lanka needs to have a mechanism to attract domestic savings to carry out development activities and generate necessary funds within the country. Steps enhance the level of domestic and national savings will minimize dependency on foreign investments. A strategic approach to promote savings and motivate savers to save in financial instruments especially in the capital market would facilitate increased level of savings within the country. more..

Ayurveda research conference historical event

Jan 15 (DN) The third annual Ayurveda Research Conference was an important milestone as well as a historical event in the history of Ayurveda and Traditional Medicine in Sri Lanka, said Sri Lanka Ayurveda and traditional medicine institute President and Ruhuna University Professor of Botany Prof. Samarakoon. He was addressing the third annual Ayurveda Research Conference organized by the Ayurveda College of Uk more..

'Violent acts incited by opposition agents'

Jan 15 (DN) The freedom from fear won by the supreme sacrifice of thousands of the Security Forces was being threatened by anti-national forces conspiring to take those valiant members of the Forces before international war crimes. This was a shameful activity that should be denounced by the people, Jatika Hela Urumaya General Secretary Ven Dr. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera said yesterday. more..

Jaffna reawakening

Jan 15 (DN) During the four-year tenure of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a new era was heralded in the North opening new vistas for its future prosperity through his policy document Mahinda Chinthanaya. The development of the North's economic and social infrastructure was expedited to a level that the country had never witnessed, under the Uthuru Vasanthaya which had provided significant infrastructure facilities to the people in the North more..

Defeat threat to stability - President

Jan 15 (MoD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday called on the people to defeat another unforeseen threat to the country's stability at the January 26 election, which has come in the form of a secret pact. Addressing a public rally at the Mahaweli grounds in Girandurukotte yesterday, the President urged the gathering to defeat elements who were scheming to usher such divisions in the country again, just to gain petty political mileage. more..

'Solution during second term'

Jan 15 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he will present his own solution to the problem of the people of the North and East during his second term. He said they have seen a number of All Party Committees appointed to find a solution with no agreement reached on a solution. “ Therefore, I would present my own solution so that all parties and groups could discuss it and arrive at a solution accepted to all groups in the country,” more..

Candidates on Stage

Mangala's conniption

Jan 15 (Island) SLFP dissident and spokesman for UNF-JVP-TNA combine's presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, Mangala Samaraweera has vented his spleen on this newspaper. He accuses us of having tried to ‘trivialize’ the killing of an innocent woman in Tangalle the other day by not according due prominence to the tragedy. We believe in taking as much as we give and hence the publication of Mangala's diatribe against us in full in this newspaper yesterday. more..

Health Services to sue Ministry over ‘blood money’

Jan 15 (Island) The All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) accused the Health Ministry of selling 1,028 litres of plasma to India for Rs. 700,000. It also alleged that the money was placed in the National Health Development Fund (NHDF) of which both the Chairman and Treasurer were a single person. ACHSU President Gamini Kumarasinghe told The Island that his union would take legal action against the Health Ministry, more..

Sri Lanka enters Google maps

Jan 15 (LP) Sri Lanka recently entered in the Google Maps. The Google maps Sri Lanka locations list, welcome to the place where google maps sightseeing make sense. With comprehensive destination gazetteer enables to explore Sri Lanka through detailed satellite imagery fast and easy as never before. Browse the list of administrative regions and follow the navigation through administrative regions to more..

‘Global pharmaceutical mafia harms Sri Lankan interests’

Jan 15 (Island) Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva accused some multinational drug companies of adopting ‘mafia tactics’ to prevent the sale of drugs to small drug markets like Sri Lanka. A ministry spokesman yesterday quoted the Minister as saying that these companies prevented the sale of even some of life-saving drugs to Sri Lanka. The Minister made the remarks at a ceremony at the Kandy Teaching Hospital to mark the start of new building project, more..

Nimal scoffs at Fonseka’s Rs 10,000 pay hike pledge

Jan 15 (Island) Health Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva warned the people not to be misled by a novice in politics in the calibre of Presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka. He was addressing a meeting at the Ratnapura General Hospital after laying the foundation stone for an Rs 500 million Emergency Unit. He said Fonseka was promising all sorts of things including a Rs 10,000 pay increase for public servants. more..

'Last chance to change deceptive, corrupt politics'

Jan 15 (LG) “Today the government has politicised everything in the guise of war. They have destroyed the country's law and order. They have built a company of brothers to buy over property. This is the last chance to change this type of corrupt and deceptive politics. This is the time to come forward and decide for the sake of your children and grand children,” said General Sarath Fonseka, more..

Gen. Fonseka to restrict Ministers to policy making

Jan 15 (DM) Opposition common candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka who pledged to bring about drastic reforms in the state machinery yesterday said he would confine the Ministers to policy making and monitoring implementation while public servants would be allowed to work independently. General Fonseka made this pledge when he met a large number of academic and non academic staff of universities including 15 senior lecturers at his office yesterday. more..

Opposition parties want special measures to curb violence

Jan 15 (DM) The political parties supporting the candidature of Sarath Fonseka have decided to ask for special measures from the authorities concerned, to arrest what they termed a dangerous trend taking place, following the election violence that took place in the Polonnaruwa district. S.K. Subasinghe MP (JVP) told a news conference yesterday that the brothers of a powerful minister representing Polonnaruwa were responsible for the violence. more..

Violence against rivals tarnishing president’s image - JHU

Jan 15 (Island) The JHU yesterday said that they were against political parties engaged in violence against their rivals. JHU General Secretary Dr. Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera said, that those who resorted to violence were really working against President Mahinda Rajapaksa. "Those unleashing violence in support of the Government were were ruining the President’s image," the Thera added. more..

JHU priests to support Fonseka

Jan 15 (DM) Priests of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) yesterday pledged their support to Opposition Common Candidate General Sarath Fonseka in his quest to become President. Seven priests in the JHU including Secretary of JHU, Venerable Galagodawatte Gnanasara Thera, Central committee member of the JHU, Ven. Udahamulle Sirivimala Thera and Deputy Finance Secretary of JHU, Ven. Kalubowila Kusalagnana Thera announced more..

Minority factor and presidential elections

Presidential hopeful hopes to play policy referee

Jan 15 (LBO) Opposition presidential hopeful retired general Sarath Fonseka has said he may have to play referee between pro free market UNP and Marxist JVP. "There is a policy contradiction," Fonseka said at a meeting flanked by UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe and JVP leader Somawansa Amerasinghe. "But the JVP does not completely disregard a market economy. They want controls. The UNP looks at it in a different way. more..

Another candidate withdraws from presidential race

Jan 15 (CT) A second candidate has withdrawn from the presidential race - this time in support of common opposition's hopeful Gen. Sarath Fonseka. Mira Mohideen Mustafa, an independent contestant, made his decision public at a media briefing in Colombo today. Earlier, Ven. Battaramulle Seelaratana Thera of Janasetha Peramuna withdrew his candidacy, pledging support to incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Preferential battle in presidential polls

Jan 15 (DM) One is hearing some really sordid stories about how the battle for preferences has created cracks in the presidential campaigns. So much so that one may jump to the conclusion that doing away with the preferential vote system perhaps must be the most progressive step one can promise at this hour. Unfortunately the two principal candidates appear to be blissfully ignorant of these cracks on the ground they tread as intensity of intra camp rivalries continues to rock the boat. more..

'Fonseka will never be President'

Jan 15 (GDI) Sarath Fonseka who pledged to abolish the presidential system is now planning to retain certain powers in the event he is elected", said Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene today adding that Fonseka's stand was contradictory to his earlier statement. He told the media that Fonseka today screamed that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was retaining certain portfolios while Fonseka planned to retain same if elected to office. more..

President set for easy win: Survey

Jan 15 (ZN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa seems set for an easy victory over his rival and former Army chief Sarath Fonseka in the January 26 Presidential Election, according to an opinion survey. Viplav Communications Pvt Ltd, which has earlier been strategic advisors to numerous Indian politicians and conducted election surveys in India, conducted the survey in Sri Lanka. The poll shows Rajapaksa leading in all provinces other than more..

Media face uncertainties in the run-up to elections

Jan 15 (IPS) The string of events involving the Sri Lankan press over the past week has once again brought the embattled Fourth Estate into the limelight. This comes into sharp focus as the country eagerly awaits the upcoming presidential elections. On Jan. 8, the media community held vigils to commemorate the first death anniversary of pioneering editor Lasantha Wickremathunge, killed by still unidentified assassins in 2009. more..

Wimal says Fonseka buying support

Jan 15 (DM) National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa claimed there is audio evidence the opposition had attempted to seek the support of National Freedom Front MP Mohamad Muzamil by offering him a lucrative financial deal. Speaking to reporters today Weerawansa said that the evidence of attempts by the opposition to “buy” support will be released to the media soon. more..

Minister Segu Issadeen quits portfolio, supports Fonseka

Jan 15 (AD) Non Cabinet Minister Segu Isadeen met Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Rauff Hakeem this morning and extended support to the party. The Non Cabinet Minister has said he will support General Sarath Fonseka at the upcoming Presidential elections.

We are ahead in postal votes – Media Minister

Jan 15 (AD) According to reliable sources we are ahead in postal votes, Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told a press conference today. He added that according to information they had received the rural vote has not swayed in any way. The Minister added that under the Presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa there will be no room for self-governance. more..

Rajapaksa for ‘reducing unnecessary Presidential powers’

Jan 15 (Hindu) Amid concerns over sporadic incidents of violence and furious debate on the need for a switch over from the all powerful Executive Presidency to a model akin to India in the run up to the January 26 poll, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has promised to ‘reduce unnecessary powers’ of the Executive Presidency, born after the then President J.R. Jayawardene got the Parliament approve a new Constitution in 1978. more..

Shares hit new peak on hotel shares

Jan 16 (Reuters) Shares rose 0.94 percent to a new record high on Friday as investors stepped up buying of hotel shares on hopes of better profits due to peaking post-war tourist arrivals to the island nation. The All-Share Price Index .CSE climbed to 3,576.84 points in the first two hours of trading, surpassing its previous peak of 3,549.27 hit on Monday. The bourse closed 0.75 percent or 26.43 points firmer at an all-time high close of 3563.14. more..

President rejects APRC proposals

Jan 16 (BBC) The president dismissed all efforts that have been made so far to find political solutions to the country’s ethnic problem and has said he will present his own solution after the forthcoming election. The country’s constitution has an amendment providing for devolution of powers to the provinces but this has never been fully implemented. Since his government’s decisive war victory last May President Mahinda Rajapaksa has spoken of the need for ethnic reconciliation. more..

'Rajapaksa favoured IPL over national cricket'

Jan 16 (PTI) Arjuna Ranatunga, the Sri Lankan world cup cricket winning captain, on Friday accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa of preferring the IPL matches last year even at the cost of playing for the national side. "President Mahinda Rajapaksa allowed the Sri Lankan cricket players (last year) to participate in the IPL even if it meant it was at the expense of their playing for the national team more..

Probe on into 242 missing official poll cards

Jan 16 (CT) Police in Kamburupitiya are investigating the disappearance of 242 official poll cards after the lot had been given to a postman for distribution. The probe had begun more than two days after the incident as officers in the area's post office had been couple of days late in making a complaint. The elections chief, who was notified about the missing official poll cards, had brought the matter to the attention of the IGP. more..

Govt. rejects Dublin war crimes probe, calls for an end to witch hunt

Jan 16 (GDI) Sri Lanka yesterday urged the international community to end its campaign against the country for eradicating the LTTE. Government sources said that a section of the international community was relentlessly hounding the government. An elite panel of 11 judges will decide if Sri Lanka had violated human rights and involved in war crimes against civilians during the last phase of the Vanni battle last May. more..

Debrief News - 15. 01. 2010

Longest annular eclipse provides spectacle

Jan 16 (BBC) A solar eclipse that reduced the sun to a blazing ring surrounding a black disk has entered the record books as the longest annular eclipse for 1000 years. The phenomenon which lasted eleven minutes and eight seconds, set a record that will not be beaten for another millennium. An annular eclipse occurs when the moon only blocks the sun's middle therefore creating a ring, and could be seen across parts of Central Africa, the Maldives, southern India, northern Sri Lanka, more..

Too soon for tourism to Sri Lanka's east coast

Jan 16 (Telegraph) As Sri Lanka’s east coast opens up to tourists after 30 years of civil war, anyone hoping to find deserted beaches will be disappointed. The Tamil Tiger guerrilla fighters have been replaced by busloads of young Sinhalese in party mode. Driving north from rundown Trincomalee last month, fields have been turned into car parks for the weekend assault on the most beautiful beaches. There is one decent tourist-class hotel, the 44-room Nilaveli Beach Resort, more..

Heroes Cross Swords in Sri Lanka

Jan 16 (PS) Two celebrated heroes who, as president and army chief, helped end Sri Lanka’s long and brutal civil war against the Tamil Tigers are now crossing political swords. Whichever candidate wins Sri Lanka’s presidential election on January 26 will have to lead that small but strategically located island-nation in a fundamentally different direction – from making war, as it has done for more than a quarter-century, to making peace through more..

Asylum seekers may be sent home

Jan 16 (ABC) The Indonesian government says it has not ruled out returning some of the Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka. About 240 asylum seekers have been refusing to disembark to go into detention in Indonesia for the past three months. Australian refugee advocates say the asylum seekers would face persecution if they were returned to Sri Lanka. But spokesman Teuku Faizasyah says that any members of the group who are not found to be refugees could be sent home. more..

Lanka to fast track trial of 11,000 LTTE cadres

Jan 16 (PTI) Sri Lanka will expedite legal proceedings against 11,000 former LTTE combatants, according to a media report. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has given his nod to Justice and Law Reforms Minister Milinda Moragoda to fast track the proceedings against the former Tigers, held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and Emergency Regulations, a news report said. more..

Swaminathan opts out of helping Lanka

Jan 16 (HT) Renowned agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan has given up a new job he was assigned — to oversee the task of restoring the livelihoods of Tamils in war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka. Though Swaminathan agreed to take up the task at the behest of the Indian government, sources close to the development said he opted out after being pressured by Tamil Nadu politicians, more..

Breaking the Piper’s charm

Jan 16 (GV) Political commentators seem to have run out of superlatives when attempting to describe the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapakse. Academics have joined the fray, falling over themselves to award him honorary degrees while Business Schools have attempted to analyse the crucial elements of his leadership style. All are in agreement that his leadership is unprecedented in history and has no parallel elsewhere. more..

Changing the Pillow for the Headache?

Jan 16 (SL) Power, greed, avarice have all conspired to make Sri Lanka what it is today. To put it simply, it’s hard work being a Sri Lankan. The rot though began way back in time. DS Senanayaka, was the master of all manoeuverers. Forging links between himself and the British Governor, he ensured that his son succeeded him to the exclusion of Sir John Kotelawala, who had every right to expect to be the Prime Minister in succession to DS. more..

Muslims, urban voters lean towards Fonseka

Jan 16 (HT) Voters belonging to the Muslim community and the urban areas of Central Lanka are largely backing the joint Opposition Presidential candidate, Gen Sarath Fonseka. With the Indian origin Tamils also backing him, Fonseka is seen as the candidate of the minorities and the urban bourgeoisie in the race for Lanka’s top office. Support from the urban population is not surprising, more..

Visualising Mahinda Chintanaya 2010

Jan 16 (GV) Groundviews was the first website in Sri Lanka to visualise key statements by a Presidential candidate in the public domain. We followed up with a visualisation of Sarath Fonseka’s manifesto. The incumbent Executive’s manifesto was released in English on 14 January. On the website, it is called Mahinda Chinthana – Vision of Future. The cover page it says A Brighter Future and Mahinda Chintana: Vision for the Future. For the purpose of this article, we will call it Mahinda Chintanaya 2010. more..

Jayasuriya in signing controversy

Jan 16 (IANS) Veteran Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya Friday courted controversy after it was found that he has signed for two clubs simultaneously in the ongoing CAB league and knock-out tournaments. The matter came to light Friday, the last day of players' registration, when Jayasuriya's name was found in the lists of both clubs. Sri Lankan player had opted to sign for Kalighat after initially giving his consent to turn out for Mohun Bagan. more..