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Shashendra’s thugs collect identity cards

Jan 23 (LT) A group of thugs of Shashendra Rajapaske, the Chief Minister of Uva, is engaged in collecting identity cards of the Tamil Community by force in Badulla area says our reporter at Badulla. According to our reporter thugs had arrived at the line residences of estate workers of Othunga Estate at 7th Mile post at Uduwara in Bandarawela electorate yesterday (22nd) night and had collected more than 20 identity cards from residents. more..

'My task of protecting sovereignty of the Motherland cannot be stopped by conspiracies'

Jan 23 (LT) The noble task of defending sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Motherland he has undertaken cannot be defeated by an army coup or any other conspiracy says apolitical Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka. He said this at the final press conference he held before the presidential election. Leader of UNF Ranil Wickremasinghe, Leader of the JVP Somawansa Amarasinghe, more..

‘Rupavahini’ employees sent on leave on 26th & 27th

Jan 23 (LT) Except for a selected few all other employees of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation have been sent on leave on the 26th and 27th. The relevant circular was issued by Addl. Director General (Administration) yesterday. (This is published below.) According to the circular only selected employees from various sections would be on duty at SLRC after 5.00 p.m. on the 25th. more..

Govt. Strategy to deceive the Tamil people by replacing the swan symbol by an Eagle

Jan 23 (UNP) There are reports that the Govt. which is anticipating a humiliating defeat at the Presidential elections is trying another trickery aimed at deceiving the Tamil population by printing and distributing spurious ballot papers to various places in the North with misleading contents. In this misleading ballot paper the symbol of candidate Gen. Fonseka is shown as Eagle and not as Swan which is his true symbol. more..

Govt. discovers novel method to hide poor crowds at President’s rallies

Jan 23 (UNP) It has now come to be known as to why the Govt. is disallowing media to cover its rallies. The Govt. has issued a communique that the media is banned from attending media rallies of the President. At many of the rallies where the President participated, there has been a marked paucity of crowds. In order to distort this true position and for doctoring of the photographs relating to the meeting and the poor crowd, more..

Polls Chief vows malpractices free poll

Jan 23 (LNP) Dismissing claims and counter claims that the government and the Opposition could manipulate the presidential election process, Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake yesterday assured that he had taken a range of measures to ensure a free and fair poll. An irate Polls Chief emphasized that measures now in place were sufficient to thwart attempts to engage in organised malpractices though more..

All set for free and fair poll

Jan 23 (LNP) All arrangements have been made to ensure the voting rights of all on January 26 and hold a free and fair poll, Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayaka told the media yesterday. Establishment of polling stations and providing other facilities for internally displaced voters in the North and East have also been made to allow them to exercise their right to vote satisfactorily, Dissanayaka added. more..

EU- Lanka's number one trading partner

Jan 23 (LNP) The European Union (EU) is Sri Lanka's number one trading partner with imports and exports valued at Euro 3.55 billion, or 23.3 percent of Sri Lanka s total trade said Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Bernard Savage. He was speaking at the AMCHAM January luncheon meeting which was held recently. He said that Sri Lanka's exports to the EU amounted to Euro 2.24 billion, more..

'No one can sow the seeds of terror'

Jan 23 (MoD) Anybody attempting to sow the seeds of terror among the people by engaging in undemocratic activities during the election would be severely dealt with according to the law, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President said that a political party which is well-known for creating a fear psychosis among the people in the past in trying to sow the seeds of discontent and fear among the people again. more..

Attempt to misinterpret results - President

Jan 23 (DN) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said his victory was guaranteed at the Presidential election on January 26 but warned that the TNA led by R. Sampanthan was attempting to misinterpret to the world that the percentage obtained by the Opposition was for the separation of this country. He made this observation at the rally held at the Horana public ground. President Rajapaksa referring to the latest report of the IMF that more..

Economists predict: Eight percent growth

Jan 23 (DN) For the first time in the country’s history, Sri Lanka is going to achieve economic independence using its geographical location under the economic policy of Mahinda Chintana – Vision for the future. Countries such as Gibraltar, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Maldives have already done this very successfully, said Prof Buddhadasa Hevavitharana of the Peradeniya University. more..

'Bomb attack on Tiran’s house is most disgraceful and deplorable' -Chandrka

Jan 23 (LeN) Following the bomb attack early morning on the 22nd on the house and vehicle of SLFP (M) National Organizer , the former President Chandrika Bandaranaike visited the site of the tragedy and made an inspection of the devastation. The former President expressed her sentiments as follows after witnessing the scene… This is a most disgraceful , deplorable and disdainful act. more..

AG rejects TISL claim over missing $ 471 mn in tsunami funds

Jan 23 (Island) Auditor General S. Swarnajothi says that all funds received by the government for tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation had been audited and reports submitted to donors. Dismissing recent criticism by Transparency International Sri Lanka with regard to auditing of tsunami funds, Swarnajothi emphasises the need to examine funds received by both INGO/NGOs operating in Sri Lanka. more..

Lawyers ready to help officials victimized for doing duty

Jan 23 (Island) The Lawyers for Democracy (LFD) pledged they would intervene on behalf of those victimized or harassed for carrying out their duties and maintaining law and order on the Day of the Presidential election. They pledged yesterday (22) that three hundred lawyers were prepared to appear for those officials and police personnel who get into trouble for upholding the law by preventing election violations during Tuesday’s (26) election. more..

'Fonseka has dropped his pledge to abolish executive presidency'

Jan 23 (Island) Media and Information, Enterprise Development and Investment Promotions Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, addressing a meeting of UPFA activists in Katugampola, said the UNP activists had pledged support for the President as they had lost faith in the Vishvasaneeya Venasak (a believable change) mentioned in the election manifesto of General Sarath Fonseka. more..

How can the economy be in doldrums?

Jan 23 (Island) Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama addressing the business community asked how any one could claim the economy was deteriorating when the IMF upgraded Sri Lanka’s classification from a low income country to a middle income emerging market. "The IMF has the authority to make statements on a country’s economy, they are authorised to evaluate a country’s economy and more..

‘Move to pull out phones from forces’

Jan 23 (DM) Common opposition candidate General Sarath Fonseka’s camp had alleged that there was a move to withdraw mobile phones of all ranks of the three forces on or before the day of the elections and keep them under the custody of the heads of these three divisions. Secretary New Democratic Front Themiya Hurulle had informed him that such a move is a violation of fundamental rights, while it could be a tactic for the benefit of the government candidate. more..

70.6 % poll cards posted to Jaffna voters

Jan 23 (DM) The election authorities in Jaffna said yesterday that 70.6 percent of poll cards were delivered to the registered voters in the district although the right figure stood at 32.7 percent on January 16. Assistant Elections Commissioner of Jaffna P. Kuganathan told the Daily Mirror yesterday that he had requested the postal authorities in the district to speed up the delivery process. more..

'I will ensure people’s dream come true'

Jan 23 (DM) Opposition common candidate General Sarath Fonseka yesterday charged the authorities of the security forces were encouraging their officers to indulge in politics while being in the army. Addressing an election rally at Matara General Fonseka said during his tenure as the army commander he did not allow any of his officers to engage in politics while being in the army. more..

'Temporary IDs will be retained at polling booths'

Jan 23 (DM) Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake yesterday said the temporary identity cards would be retained by the presiding officers of the respective polling booths after the holders exercised their franchise on January 26. Mr. Dissanayake said the move was aimed at preventing any possible allegation that such ID cards were used for impersonation. more..

Fonseka, once elected, wants to handle,finance, health and education

Jan 23 (Island) "We have now 14 constituent parties with us and it only took just two hours for us to select a suitable presidential candidate free from party bonds. Sarath Fonseka is our candidate. We told him about the need to abolish the executive presidency for which he readily agreed. But he said he cannot be a mere vase of flowers and more..

Wimal: Staged one

Jan 23 (DM) NLF leader Wimal Weerawansa yesterday said that the grenade attack on businessman Tiran Alles's house was a staged drama to gain public sympathy just prior to the Presidential election. "The UPFA had no knowledge as to who Tiran Alles was until Mangala Smaraweeera made that statement on media two days ago," he said. Mangala Samaraweeera has said that Tiran Alles had received death threats. more..

Actress claims fans being misled

Jan 23 (DM) Popular actress Upeksha Swarnamali of ‘Paba’ fame claims fans of the television series are being misled and made to believe she is back to continue her role. She insists she had not returned since she was removed from the series following her decision to support Presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka. more..

Over 300,000 fake ballot papers

Jan 23 (DM) The police have received information that around 300,000 fake ballot papers are circulating around the country and sought public support to crack down on its distribution. Senior DIG of the police elections unit Gamini Navaratna, speaking to Daily Mirror online, said that the revalation came following the detection of 21700 fake ballot papers this week. more..

Tensions grow over Sri Lanka vote

Fonseka alleges bid to rig polls

Jan 23 (Hindu) Hours before the close of the official campaign for the crucial January 26 Sri Lanka Presidential election, the common opposition consensus candidate and retired Army Chief Sarath Fonseka accused the incumbent President and his chief opponent in the polls Mahinda Rajapaksa of getting ready to rig the polls. Claiming that he was far ahead of Mr. Rajapaksa, the retired General asserted that he would emerge victorious more..

Sri Lanka opposition warns of violence ahead of vote

Jan 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka's opposition warned on Saturday of possible vote-rigging and violence by the ruling party ahead of next week's presidential election as both sides wound up campaigning. Ahead of the final rallies later on Saturday, opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka predicted that the ruling party, led by President Mahinda Rajapakse, would use violence to intimidate his supporters in the Tuesday vote. more..

Sample something different in Sri Lanka

Jan 24 (PJ) As it was nudging 33 degrees in the shade, the last thing I wanted to drink was a hot toddy. But on Sri Lanka, the island of smiles off the toe of India, toddy is a comfort drink of the poor and needy. Strictly in the interests of research, I tried this original tropical version. To most of us, of course, a toddy means any spirit lifter in the dead of winter, mixed with hot water and sugar. more..

Murugeysen Tiruchelvam: The legacy of a dream

Jan 24 (Hindu) I wonder how many remember Murugeysen Tiruchelvam, Q.C. whose legacy was a dream he had for his country. Over and over in the 1960s and 1970s, he reminded people of the roots of the ethnic fracturing happening in what was then Ceylon and how it could be healed. It is a narration as little remembered by those worldwide free with advice to the political groups in the island nation as more..

Maldivian ship released from the Sri Lanka port

Jan 24 (HO) Port of Colombo, Sri Lanka released a ship owned by the Maldives National Shipping Ltd (MNSL) after three months, for settling the due payments owed to a Singaporean supplier. MNSL is a company owned by the government of the Maldives. “The ship was released after making the payments owed to the Singaporean supplier,” Ahmed Hameed, MNSL managing director said on Thursday. “Now, there won’t be any claim from any other company.” more..

'Sri Lanka failed finance firm repayments'

Jan 24 (LBO) Sri Lanka's central banks says depositors of several failed financial firms are being settled according to court directions and others could be settled with Treasury bills when assets are identified. Critics have said most people were driven towards unregulated institutions due to loose monetary policies from 2004 to 2007. But investors in several unregulated firms also did not pay taxes like more..

SLNS Samudura rescues drifting Multi-day fishing trawler in Northern seas

Jan 24 (SLN) Sri Lanka Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel “Samudura” rescued a Multi-day Fishing Trawler which was drifting due to engine failure in the Northern deep seas on 21st December 2010. The fishing trawler named “Samagi 5” with a crew of five fishermen had left for fishing from the Nilwella Fisheries Harbour on 14th January. However, the trawler had begun to drift due to engine failure while more..

Filming Sri Lanka's displaced

Jan 24 (AJ) Sri Lanka is in the unusual position of preparing for a presidential election while just under 100,000 of its citizens are being held in refugee camps. Yes, they can leave temporarily, but they can't go home. We were granted the chance, by the Sri Lankan Army, to visit one of the camps, which were set up to house those displaced during the final stages of the civil war against the rebel Tamil Tigers. At its peak, the population was more than 245,000. more..

Mahinda Chintanaya takes Sri Lanka towards economic independence

Jan 24 (AT) Sri Lanka’s top economists are confident that the country would achive economic independence under the policies outlined in the Mahinda Chintanaya. A group of the country’s eminent economists stated that for the first time in the country’s history, Sri Lanka is going to achieve economic independence using its geographical location under the economic policy of Mahinda Chintana – Vision for the future. more..

Sri Lanka poll campaign winds up; both contenders confident

Jan 24 (Hindu) As the curtains fell on the official campaign for the January 26 Sri Lankan presidential election, the two chief contenders - President Mahinda Rajapaksa and common opposition candidate retired General Sarath Fonseka - wound up their nearly two-month-long campaign with mammoth rallies in and around Colombo. A general sense of unease prevails in the island nation ahead of more..

Police raid ancestral home of Karu Jayasuriya's wife

Jan 24 (CT) Police, armed with a search warrant, raided the ancestral home of the wife of UNP deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya in Kadawatha last night (Jan. 22), 'Daily Mirror Online' reported. Quoting Mr. Jayasuriya, it said police had searched for arms and other articles of a defamatory nature, but had found nothing. The premises at Ranmuthugala, occupied by Mrs. Jayasuriya's brother, more..

SLN permits worship in Ma’ndaitheevu St. Peter’s church after 20 years

Jan 24 (TN) Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) occupying Ma’ndaitheevu in the islets of Jaffna since 1990 allowed people to worship in St. Peter’s Church in Ma’ndaitheevu Friday, sources in Jaffna said. Jaffna Bishop, Rt. Rev. Thomas Soudaranayagam and the SLN top officials stationed in the islets of Jaffna were present on the occasion, sources added. However, only a group of people permitted to resettle in Ma’ndaitheevu were allowed to participate in the mass. more..

Sri Lanka Navy’s “Jetliner” embarks on a new journey

Jan 24 (SLN) The Sri Lanka Navy’s largest passenger craft “Jetliner” which served as a life line between the North and East during the Humanitarian Operations set sail on a new journey at the Launching Ceremony of Jetliner Entertainment Cruise Venture yesterday (22) at the Port of Colombo. Honourable Minister of Tourism Achala Jagoda graced the groundbreaking event as the Chief Guest. more..

Sowing Dragon’s Teeth

Jan 24 (AT) The Presidential election has so far claimed four lives on both sides of the political divide. Many more have been injured while damages to property have been considerable. If the nature of the campaign is an indicator, this election is likely to be an exceptionally violent, unfree and unfair exercise. And one of the many negative firsts we have witnessed during this campaign is the use of serving army officers, in uniform, as propaganda mouthpieces for the ruling party. more..

Blatantly false and misleading coverage of CPA website

Jan 24 (TC) It has been brought to our notice that the website titled SF Balakaya hosted at the URL currently features a blatantly false story involving Social Indicator (SI), the survey research arm of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA). A story posted on the aforementioned website (accessible here at the time of writing) claims that SI was contracted to do an opinion poll survey on the presidential election by the UNP, more..

Fonseka factor and the creeping politicization of military in Sri Lanka

Jan 24 (DBS) Last year when speculation was rife about former Army commander Sarath Fonseka announcing his candidacy for the Presidential elections this columnist was among those who warned of adverse consequences befalling the Country as a result of this unprecedented move. Chief among these was the very strong possibility of an escalation in the continuous process of the military being politicised and more..

President scoffs at Dublin verdict

Jan 24 (SL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa last week scoffed at the explosive judgment delivered recently by a Dublin based International Tribunal which found the Sri Lankan Government, its military and aligned paramilitary groups guilty of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity during the war. President dismissed the war crimes tribunal and its findings – insisting they were unimportant and insignificant. more..

Jumbo Cabinet costs 4 billion a year

Jan 24 (SL) The upkeep of 132 ministers in Sri Lanka is costing the country a whopping four billion rupees annually, Common Opposition Candidate Sarath Fonseka has said. “In contrast, the budget allocation for the entire Samurdhi programme which provides welfare to some nine million of this nation’s poorest families is only Rs. 10 billion,” he said. He pledged to disband the present jumbo cabinet and limit the number of ministries more..

Tamils will vote at this election – Mano

Jan 24 (SL) Democratic People’s Front (DPF) Leader Mano Ganeshan said that Tamil people would definitely cast their votes at the Presidential election and in favor of Common Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka because they need a change. He told the media yesterday that IDPs in camps have expressed their confidence in General Fonseka. more..

The surprising power of Tamils

Jan 24 (SL) The big question is whether Tamils will vote, and how. Last election all the polling data pointed to a Ranil victory if they came out. The LTTE stopped people from voting, and that ended up being pretty much the difference. I just got back from Jaffna and drove through the Wanni, and the place is now secured. The Wanni is in no condition to really vote, but I think Jaffna will. The question is how. more..

Puttalam desperate for change

Jan 24 (SL) People in the Puttalam District expect the January 26 presidential election to be yet another repetition of the infamous Wayamba Provincial Council election. Although ‘election fever’ has increased, massive scale rigging is on the cards according to the opposition parties, as many of them, particularly in Nattandiya, Marawila and Arachchikattuwa have been threatened not to vote. Most of the party offices in the district have come under attack from both sides, more..

Rajapaksa popular in the South

Jan 24 (SL) The end of the war seemed to be the most important factor for the southerners. As we traversed the southern coastal belt, this underlying fact was predominant in almost all of the areas we visited. Across the board sentiments were expressed pledging support for President Mahinda Rajapaksa, maintaining that it was he who lent the necessary muscle to help end a near 30 year bloody civil war. more..

Valid identity card a must for voters

Jan 24 (SO) Around 14,088,500 citizens are eligible to cast their vote at the presidential election on January 26. Voters should prove their identity by producing their National Identity Cards, temporary IDs, issued by Gramaseva Niladharis or any other valid document issued by the Government. Identity Cards issued by Government Departments or public sector establishments for employees will not be accepted at polling booths for voters to cast their vote. more..

Mahinda Chinthana: Vision for the future

Jan 24 (SO) The financial crisis which hit the world last year was similar or even worse than the crises that affected the world in the 30s. World economies were in shambles. Some of the fast growing economies in Asia such as Singapore and Malaysia experienced negative growth. However, Sri Lanka managed to record a growth rate which was fairly decent and also it was good enough to keep the economy from going into negative growth. more..

'Corruption charges baseless'

Jan 24 (SO) NDF Presidential Candidate Sarath Fonseka and the combined Opposition have accused the Government of waste and corruption to the tune of Rs. 430 billion, saying that these funds could instead be used for public welfare. They have mentioned the CPC, Mihin Air, SriLankan Airlines, Kerawalapitiya, Uma Oya, Weerawila Airport project, MiG deal, VAT scam flyovers and the Hambantota Safari park as more..