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Q+A-Sri Lanka's economy after Jan. 26 presidential poll

Jan 23 (Reuters) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his challenger, former army chief Sarath Fonseka have laid out their plans to revive Sri Lanka's economy after a 25-year war both men lay claim to winning. Here are some questions and answers on what kind of economic policies investors can expect from the winner of a Jan. 26 presidential poll: WHAT ARE KEY FEATURES OF THEIR POLICIES? more..

Inadequate initiatives elude peace in Sri Lanka

Jan 23 (UPI) A decisive victory over terrorism is a rarity. However, Sri Lanka defeated terrorism and effectively separated politics from terror, which shows commendable political will for a war torn nation, starved of democracy. But without adequate political initiatives, peace will elude Sri Lanka. Even the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi could not separate political issues from terror while fighting insurgency in Punjab. more..

Atapattu to coach Singapore for 2010

Jan 23 (CI) Marvan Atapattu, the former Sri Lanka captain and opening batsman, has been hired by Singapore as their coach till the end of 2010. This is Atapattu's first full-time assignment of a coach of a national side, after a short previous stint as Canada's batting coach in early 2009, subsequently helping them qualify for the 2011 World Cup, and his main task will be the World Cricket League Division 5 in Nepal next month. more..

Can Sri Lanka hold a genuine election?

Jan 23 (UPI) Sri Lanka’s presidential election, set for Jan. 26, will test the popular sovereignty enshrined in the Constitution and the possibility of a genuine election, as required by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 25 of the convention states that citizens of a country have the right to vote and that elections should be genuine and periodic, with universal and equal suffrage, more..

Shares up on local buying ahead of polls

Jan 23 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares gained 0.34 percent on Friday led by local buying with volatility ahead of a presidential poll next week, dealers said. The All-Share Price Index .CSE of the Colombo Stock Exchange closed 12.02 points firmer at 3,531.73 points. It hit a record high of 3586.68 on Monday. "The market was highly volatile on the uncertainty ahead of the election," said an analyst on condition of anonymity. more..

Sri Lankan media as elections loom

26 January 2010: ‘Open Moment’, Closed Minds!

Jan 23 (GV) Today marks exactly 250 days since Sri Lanka’s civil war officially ended on 18 May 2009. On that momentous day, all Lankans shared at least one sentiment: a huge sense of relief. Many among us were euphoric, while some of us chose to be cautiously optimistic. It certainly was a defining moment, just like the tsunami had been four and a half years earlier. more..

Religious demand end to election violence

Jan 23 (UCAN) Catholic religious leaders have called for an end to election violence as the country counts down to the Jan. 26 presidential poll. Four people have died and hundreds injured in campaign-related shootings and even a hand grenade attack over the past few weeks. “People should make choices without pressure and intimidation,” said Sister Bernadette Fernando, executive secretary of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors more..

Indian High Commissioner monitors Eastern Province development projects

Jan 23 (Hindu) Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Ashok K. Kantha, visited Trincomalee and Batticaloa on January 20 and 21 for a first hand understanding of the ground situation and look at various projects being executed in the Eastern Province with Indian help. A statement by the Indian mission here said that during the visit he met the Governor of the Eastern Province, Mohan Wijewickrama, more..

'Sri Lanka economic revival loan rates to war-torn areas slashed'

Jan 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central bank said loans given to war torn northern and eastern areas for economic revival under a special scheme would be cut to 9.0 percent from the current 12.0 percent. The loans are for agriculture, livestock, and micro and small enterprises, with a maximum limit of 200,000 per borrower, under the 'Awakening North' and Development of the East' schemes. more..

Pre dawn attack causes severe damage to house and vehicle of Secretary, SLFP (M)

Jan 23 (TC) At approximately 4.50am this morning, an explosive device was thrown at the home of the Secretary and National Organizer of the SLFP Mahajana Wing Mr. Tiran Alles, located at Galpoththa Road, Nawala, resulting in severe damage to his vehicle and house. Mr. Alles and his family were unharmed. According to the OIC Welikada Police CI Neville de Silva a complaint has been lodged in more..

Gramarajya: The Utopian vision of Ukku Banda Wijekoon

Jan 23 (DBS) Three days from today the nation will be going to the polls to elect the most powerful person in the Country. Twenty-Three potential candidates handed in their nominations on December 17th 2009but with the Commissioner of Elections rejecting one there were only twenty-two in the fray. Of these two dropped out from the race with one-a Buddhist priest-transferring his support to Mahinda Rajapakse and more..

35 Muslim organizations appeal to make 2010 The year of return of expelled Northern Muslims

Jan 23 (TC) As Sri Lankan Muslims civil society groups we are deeply concerned by the lack of urgency and recognition of the Northern Muslims’ right to return. Despite the end of the war in May 2009 and on-going efforts to resettle IDPs, the expelled Northern Muslim community is still waiting for the announcement of a program that will facilitate their dignified return to their places of origin, free of further trauma. more..

73 LTTE suspects released

Jan 23 (BBC) A court in Sri Lanka has ordered the police to immediately release 73 Tamil Tiger suspects. The Colombo magistrate has rejected a request by the police terrorist investigation division (TID) for a conditional release. Police were ordered to send another 29 LTTE suspects to a rehabilitation centre for a period of one year. The TID which brought 102 former LTTE combatants from Boossa detention camp requested the court to release them with conditions. more..

Sri Lanka must halt pre-election attacks on political activists

Jan 23 (AI) Amnesty International has called on Sri Lankan political leaders to investigate attacks on activists during one of the most violent presidential elections in the last 20 years. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) said that more than 600 violent incidents had been reported until Thursday, including five murders and five attempted murders of political activists. more..

Political violence;Only the powerless suffer

Jan 23 (LG) "In our country the problem is not that people do not know what is correct; they know but justify doing what is wrong for short term gain rather than looking at the welfare of this country with her long history and long future. We have to ask that you please use your authority in the run-up to the election to free us from the taint of any impression that politics is to further politicians’ interests rather than more..

Change we can’t believe in

Jan 23 (LG) We are just two days away from January 26, 2010, a very significant day in the Sri Lankan calendar; one of great hopes for its people who wish to see the full fruits of peace and freedom achieved after nearly three decades of terror, Yet, this is too close to January 20, 2010, the first anniversary of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. more..

Dr Harsha De Silva on YaTV

Presidential Election as a Referendum?

Jan 22 (LG) The international community is desirous of an end to Sri Lanka’s ethnic strife. Now that the war has ended, they want tangible proof of reconciliation so that they can leave Sri Lanka to its able leaders and voters. Going by this the international community is keen on this election. This is the first ever election in an atmosphere of peace compared to the elections held from 1982 to 2005. more..

Two Canadians jailed for aiding Tamil Tigers

Jan 23 (TS) Sathajhan Sarachandran apologized to the court for attempting to buy military equipment for the Tamil Tigers in 2006, before a U.S. judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison for the crime. "I apologize. I take full responsibility for my actions," Sarachandran said. Sarachandran is one of two Tamil-Canadians sentenced on Friday for their role in attempting to buy military equipment in the U.S. for the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. more..

Displaced Tamils demand a better life

Jan 23 (BBC) For thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils there is only one issue that really matters in next week's presidential election - their rehabilitation after months in government-run camps. They were kept in these camps after they were displaced in the final bloody phase of Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war, which ended in the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels fighting for a separate homeland. more..

Post-presidential elections: The new challenges before Sri Lanka

Jan 23 (GV) Citizens are living through a politically decisive week with just days to elect Sri Lanka’s next Executive President. The next elected Chief Executive, unlike his predecessors, will acquire a unique place in the island’s political history as the country’s first post war president. In many ways, it is an honour. It also comes with attendant problems, multiple challenges and unique opportunities. more..

The phase of extreme violence begun in presidential campaign of Sri Lanka

Jan 23 (LP) The much anticipated most violent phase of Presidential began this morning with the spread of the news of bombing the house of opposition activist Tiran Alles situated in close proximity to the Colombo city limits. Alles was unhurt although his house and the vehicle were badly damaged. Alles is a wealthy businessman and an activist of the SLFP (M) led by break away ex-Minister Mangala Samaraweera. more..

Stuck in Limbo

Jan 23 (FP) In the early summer of 1983, S.C. Chandrahasan, a lawyer living in Colombo, Sri Lanka, began to notice that there were "efforts being made to silence me"; one of his friends less euphemistically describes them as attacks on his life. Chandrahasan is a Tamil and an outspoken pitchman for human rights, a volatile combination in Sri Lanka at the time. That summer, the LTTE had ambushed Sri Lankan policemen on multiple occasions. more..

Electing the general as president would be a decidedly a risky adventure

Jan 23 (TC) It is said that large sections of the country —-people from different communities, religions, classes, regions, occupations and gender —-are supporting the General at the Presidential elections. Why is this so? Is it that the public mood, at least among the affluent, the educated bourgeoisie and urban workers, is for change in the way the country is run? Is there a feeling, conditioned by 500 years of foreign rule and more..

Why I am voting for Sarath Fonseka

Jan 23 (TC) When rumours started circulating some months ago of the possibility of Sarath Fonseka being a Presidential candidate, I was horrified. As the rumours at the time linked him to the JVP, I immediately contacted a couple of my JVP friends and berated them soundly for what I believed at that time to be a disastrous decision. My main argument was that a battle between SF and MR would leave ethnic minorities with more..

Once considered walk over this election could well be Nemesis of Rajapakse

Jan 23 (TC) Deeply divided Sri Lankan citizens go to the polls on Jan. 26 to vote in a president in its first major post-war electoral exercise. Ironically Sri Lankan voters are now divided not between the majority Sinhala community and the minority Tamils who fought for a separate state. The top contenders to the post of executive president, from nearly 20 candidates, are the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapakse and more..

Total break-down of law and order feared as election day approaches

Jan 23 (TC) With the race for the presidency getting increasingly close and uncertain, there has been a considerable increase in tension throughout the country. This gives rise to the danger that there can be obstructions to the exercise of the franchise on the day of election which needs to be effectively countered as the electoral process is the main source of legitimacy in a democracy. more..

Different elections, different locations: Countdown in Colombo and a new Boston Tea Party

Jan 23 (TC) As Sri Lankans are anxiously getting ready to cast their votes in Tuesday’s presidential election that is turning more violent than ever before, the voters in Massachusetts have peacefully sent a shockwave through the American political establishment. It is countdown time in Colombo for Mahinda Rajapakse and Sarath Fonseka. In far away Boston it is a different tea party as more..

An appeal to the two key candidates contesting the Presidential Elections

Jan 23 (TC) We write this letter on behalf of the Friday Forum, which is an informal gathering of concerned citizens who have voluntarily come together to deliberate and make representations on vital issues of national concern. The Forum includes a considerable number of elder citizens who have served the country with distinction in various capacities. more..

Yal Devi to proceed to KKS soon

Jan 23 (GDI) Commercial Superintendent of Department of Railways Wijaya Samarsinghe said that operating of Yaldevi train from Colombo Fort to Kankesanthuri railways station would begin soon. The Northern railway track is 159 kilo meters long and consists of 85 bridges, 16 stations and 12 sub stations. The first phase will include laying the track from Vauniya to Omanthai and the second phase from Omanthai to Pallai. more..

Counterfeit ballot papers all over the country

Jan 23 (LeN) There are reports that with just four days more for the Presidential elections, counterfeit of ballot papers used at the polling booths for voting are being distributed to mislead the voters at many areas. These misleading ballot papers have been distributed among the Estate voters in Nuwara Eliya. In this spurious ballot paper, an elephant symbol is included (which symbol is not existent in the actual ballot paper), and more..

'Fonseka threatens military officers'

Jan 23 (GDI) Minister of Education Susil Premjayath said the opposition candidate had announced his decision to punish military officers. General Sarath Fonseka is making such statements before assuming power, insulting the war heroes who have been engaged in the liberation of the country. As such, Minister Premjayanth queried as to what the situation would be if Fonseka assumed power. more..

Fonseka does not know "Democracy" & "Good Governance" - SB Dissanayake

Jan 23 (GDI) "General Sarath Fonseka who preaches about democracy and good governance himsilf does not know the meaning of those two sacred words", S.B.Dissanayake. He pointed out that the comments made by Presidential Candidate Sarath Fonseka using obnoxious language has in for criticism by Parliamentarians and political analysts who state that these harsh statements of Fonseka unfolds the ‘real man’ behind Sarath Fonseka. more..

Tamil political prisoners stage hunger strike to demand their release

Jan 23 (wsws) Hundreds of Tamil political prisoners in Sri Lanka suspended a hunger strike on its eighth day January 14 after the government “promised” to look into their demands. The hunger strikers are demanding that the government release them or, failing that, allow them to answer any accusations against them in fair and expeditiously organized trials. The prisoners, 774 of them, under detention in prisons in more..

'No more fear psychosis in the country'

Jan 23 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that he will not allow another terror era to raise its head again in the country and cautioned people about the rumors being spread by elements with vested interests. He said that everyone should unite to build the country irrespective of party politics. The President invited everyone to join for this purpose from January 27. more..

German NGO implements Punkuditivu Island resettlement project in Jaffna

Jan 23 (MoD) German Ambassador Jens Ploetner, who visited the first Resettlement site in Jaffna on the Punkuditivu island, which was coordinated by the German Organisation Weltthungerhilfe (Agro-Mart), said people had suffered incredible hardships and losses in the past and giving them a home and a perspective for their future must therefore be a top priority. He said Germany was pleased to be able to participate in a Resettlement Programme in Jaffna. more..

Sinhala Cinema (2005-2010)

Jan 23 (DN) In its history of six decades, Sinhala cinema boasts of an impressive record with international awards of recognition being lined up for its credit. An award is a reflection of the maturity of the film-maker as well as the film-goer. Earlier sinhala cinema dominated by such popular film-makers as B.A.W. Jayamanne, Robin Tampoe, K.A.W. Perera and H.D. Premaratne was a source of entertainment, coupled with a joyous outing. more..

Presidential promises and necessity for change? Sri Lankan voters at crossroads

Jan 23 (GV) This note concerns the forthcoming Presidential election in Sri Lanka, due on 27 January 2010. As several insightful articles on the polls have already appeared on Groundviews, all I propose here is to give a brief ‘view from afar’, i.e. perceptions from a citizen living away, who will unfortunately not be able to cast his vote during what could be described as the most crucial of elections since the enactment of the more..

'Leave granted to all private employees for polls'

Jan 23 (LP) All employees will be granted leave to cast their vote at the Presidential Election held on the 26th of January. Commissioner of Labour said that the leave will be declared as a special leave and the leave granted should be without any loss of payment to the employee. Employees are granted leave of 04 hours and the period of time available to the employees for this purpose has to be determined by the employer on more..

Culinary Art 2010 to showcase talents of local chefs

Jan 23 (LP) The Chefs Guild of Lanka (CGL), said they had over thousand six hundred entries for Culinary Art 2010 competitions and exhibitions. The event, that it was being held to boost the tourist industry. The culinary art is directly linked to the tourist industry. It is the skilful preparation of meals that are pleasing to the palate and eye. Competitions and exhibitions will also showcase talents of chefs - mainly young chefs from 130 hotels. more..

Northshore College of Business and Technology to provide Tertiary Education

Jan 23 (LP) Board of Investment of Sri Lanka granted investment approval for Northshore College of Business and Technology to provide tertiary education services under the BOI. The company will establish a modern training institute to provide tertiary education. The institute will provide tertiary qualification such as bachelors’ degree programmes and masters’ programmes in thier Information Technology, Engineering and Business Management faculties. more..

Ambassadors doing political work

Jan 23 (LNW) It is no secret that large number of ambassadors, high commissioners and other officials working in our Embassies have come to Colombo to do election work for Mahinda. On the political appointees this may not be a big problem as they are bound to serve their political master. However, there is an exceptional woman Ambassador from Sri Lanka Foreign Service doing election work. She is Mrs. Kshenuka Senewiratne, our Ambassador in Geneva. more..

Sri Lanka: Democracy and free expression in peril

Jan 23 (LNW) Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) warns that withdrawing the competent authority appointed to monitor state media during the pre-election period is a clear indication of the inability of the nominally democratic institutions to restrain the ruling party practice of using every weapon in its arsenal to bring down democracy. Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake, earlier nominated Jayampathy Hettiarachchi as more..

Govt condemns attack

Jan 23 (DN) The Government expressing its grave concern over the explosion at a residence of a political activist said it appears to have been carried out to disrupt and discredit the upcoming Presidential Election. It is a relief that no one has been hurt in this incident, the Government said in a statement yesterday. The statement added: "Perpetrators of previous incidents are being brought to justice and those involved in this latest cowardly act will face the full force of the law. more..

The Tamil Issue: The Political Football of the Presidential Election

Jan 23 (GV) The 5th Presidential election in Sri Lanka is heading towards a photo finish. In this context once again the Tamil issue has become the political football in Sri Lankan politics. Let’s have a look at few recent election news headlines: •“Defeat secret pact between Fonseka and Sampanthan; Give verdict against betrayal; Will never allow rebirth of LTTE – Rajapaksa” •“On 27th I will abolish Rajapaksa – Douglas Agreement – Fonseka” more..

Sri Lankan union endorses SEP presidential candidate

Jan 23 (wsws) The Executive Committee of the Central Bank Employees Union (CBEU) passed a resolution, January 15, to endorse the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) candidate Wije Dias in Sri Lanka’s January 26 presidential election. The resolution by one of the country’s leading trade unions supporting the election campaign and political perspective of the SEP provides a guide for the rest of the working class in the island: more..

Signs of vote rigging in the East – Container of ballot boxes to Pilleyan

Jan 23 (LT) A large number of ballot boxes have been brought to the residence of Pilleyan. the Chief Minister of Eastern Province in a container today at 3.00 a.m. states a very reliable source. According to this source the ballot boxes had been brought in the container vehicle bearing Reg. No. 42-3944. Officers of President’s Security Division (PSD) had accompanied the container vehicle in a defender jeep. more..

Weeraketiya OIC is Mahinda’s poster carrier

Jan 23 (LT) It is reported that the OIC of Weeraketiya Police in Hambantota is engaged in the election campaign of Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse. According to information the OIC has visited all the temples in Weeraketiya area in his official vehicle to distribute leaflets and other propaganda material of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaske’s election campaign. Meanwhile, it is reported that a large number of Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse’s cutouts are more..

'Overseas rump of the LTTE is still active'

Jan 23 (MoD) In the back drop of opposition claims that the Rajapaksa government messed up the foreign policy of the country, Dr Palitha Kohona foreign secretary and permanent representative to the UN, speaks to C.A.Chandraprema about the foreign policy of the Rajapaksa regime. He also touches on the current tensions with the European Commission regarding the extension of GSP+. more..