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Malinga Bandara signs for Kent

Jan 29 (BBC) Kent have signed Sri Lankan leg-spinner Malinga Bandara as an overseas player for the second half of next season. Bandara, 30, is due to arrive in mid to late May in time for the start of the revamped Twenty20 in June. He will then take over from Australian Stuart Clark, Kent's overseas signing for the first half of 2010. Bandara, who had half a summer with Gloucestershire in 2005, worked with Kent team director Paul Farbrace when he was assistant coach of Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka's Fonseka seeks fresh poll

Jan 29 (AFP) Sri Lanka's defeated presidential candidate said on Thursday he will ask the Supreme Court to annul this week's election result because of huge fraud and said he feared arrest. Sarath Fonseka, 59, said he had already lodged a protest with the island's independent elections commission and he would make a formal complaint shortly to the highest court seeking a fresh poll. "We have already collected enough evidence of more..

Debrief News - 28. 01. 2010

Sri Lanka election results: Your reaction

Jan 29 (BBC) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been declared the winner of Sri Lanka's presidential poll but the outcome was immediately rejected by his challenger. General Sarath Fonseka promised a legal challenge to the outcome of the ballot, the first since Tamil Tiger rebels were defeated after 25 years of civil war. BBC website readers have been giving their reaction to the election outcome. more..

Sri Lanka's time for choosing

Jan 29 (WSJ) When President Mahinda Rajapaksa junked a ceasefire with his country's Tamil Tiger insurgents in January 2008 and ramped up the military fight against the terrorist group, these columns called the move "Rajapaksa's big bet." That bet paid off in May 2009 when the army routed the Tigers, giving the country its best shot at peace in 26 years. Now, with both that win and a handy electoral mandate under his belt, the president faces Rajapaksa's Big Choice: What kind of a country will Sri Lanka become? more..

Victory for the Tiger-slayer

Jan 29 (Economist) Had Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s war-winning leader, lost his island-state’s presidential election on January 26th, it would have been described as a Churchillian defeat. But that would have underdone the drama. Imagine Britain’s wartime prime minister falling out with his feted general, Montgomery, removing him, then losing to him in the 1945 general election. more..

Open letter to the President of Sri Lanka

Jan 29 (GV) Dear Mr. President, Congratulations on your land slide victory which, like most Colombo elites, I was stunned by. Your spokesperson Dr R Wijesinghe quite rightly described us as shallow and lacking foresight and the common touch unlike the rural polity who rightly judged your true capability and potential based purely on your good governance and not by manipulation through crafty and cut throat state propaganda. more..

No twist in the tale

Jan 29 (HT) ‘Believable change.’ That was disaffected General Sarath Fonseka’s Obama-like assurance for the future when he shed the Sri Lanka Army uniform in November to stand — and stand up — against President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential elections. Fonseka had told Lankans that he would bring in change for the better — from a high cost of living, corruption and family rule. Indeed, Fonseka appeared to be riding a surge of popularity and promise during the two-month poll campaign. more..

Sri Lanka may 'take action' over opposition candidate

Jan 29 (BBC) Sri Lanka is considering taking action against defeated presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, the defence secretary has told the BBC. Gotabaya Rajapaksa - the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa - said that Gen Fonseka had allegedly divulged sensitive information to the public. His comments came just a day after the president was re-elected. more..

Troop movements ruined Sri Lanka’s reputation, observers claim

Jan 29 (Times) The head of a Commonwealth observer mission to Sri Lanka said that the government had damaged its international reputation by deploying troops around the main opposition candidate’s hotel headquarters during vote-counting for a presidential election. K D Night, the former Jamaican Foreign Minister who led the mission, expressed concern about the abuse of state media and other government resources more..

Rajapaksa’s victory

Jan 29 (Hindu) Mahinda Rajapaksa’s thumping victory in the Sri Lankan presidential elections proves that the people of the island state believe they should be led by an experienced political leader, not a self-centric, opportunistic ex-military general. Settling the internally displaced people who still live in government camps and providing an appropriate political solution to the Tamils are the two gigantic tasks before Mr. Rajapaksa. more..

Sri Lanka's real human rights record

Jan 29 (Guardian) The recent Guardian article by a Human Rights Watch officer exemplifies what EM Forster described as the world of telegrams and anger. Today, he would have used the term "soundbite", and this is what HRW has engaged in relentlessly against Sri Lanka, with no attention to accuracy, nor to engagement. This is not the first time we have found HRW seeking more..

Post election clamp down on media in Sri Lanka

Jan 29 (LG) On 28th morning Ariyarathana Atugala chairman of state controlled Sri Lanka Rupavahini Cooperation (SLRC) assaulted programme producer Ravi Abewikrama and threatened to kill him. Atugala called a open staff meeting and told them to remember that 'he is the Atugala and will not allow any one to go against him'. Journalist leaders told the Media, that situation is very tense within the SLRC. more..

Abide by official results: U.N.

Jan 29 (Hindu) United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on Sri Lanka’s political parties to abide by the official results of the presidential election and to pursue any concerns peacefully. He also said the election had been relatively free of violence. “I realise that the election has been quite a hard-fought one,” said Mr. Ban. “I had been concerned at the level of violence during the campaign. more..

Sri Lanka Presidential Poll: A resounding but fractured verdict

Jan 29 (DBS) The electoral verdict, stunning and conclusive on the whole, has some cracks in parts. As the President of the whole country, Mahinda Rajapaksa must take the initiative and reach out to those sections of the people who have been alienated in terms of ethnicity, class, and the urban-rural divide. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has scored a stunning victory in Sri Lanka’s presidential election. more..

Denmark: worrying situation in Sri Lanka

Jan 29 (JP) We regret to note that the campaign was marred by violence and irregularities. In addition to the crucial political reconciliation process, Sri Lanka is facing a huge challenge to solve the humanitarian crisis in the country after many years of civil war, says the Danish foreign minister. He thinks it is essential that the election Tuesday set in motion a process towards building lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. more..

Peace dividend risks turning into illusion

Jan 29 (FT) Sri Lanka's presidential election process ended yesterday almost as oddly as it began. Mahinda Rajapaksa, not content with thrashing opposition candidate (retired) Gen Sarath Fonseka at the polls, besieged the former army commander's hotel with troops, accusing him of harbouring army deserters in the five-star facility. The general, who shocked the nation in November when he abruptly quit the military and became a presidential candidate, more..

Sri Lanka Galle literary festival opens

Jan 29 (LBO) Inside a 17th century Dutch Fort in Sri Lanka's southern port city of Galle, celebrated writers will talk about their work, debate their ideas and share a drink with all who pass through. Galle has long been a stopover for travellers and this year, the who's who of English literature from around the world will meet in this coastal city for an annual literary festival. more..

'No shortage of life-saving drugs'

Jan 29 (GDI) Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said there although there had been a shortage of 39 life-saving drugs in several hospitals, this situation has been corrected with the required drugs being distributed to the relevant hospitals. The Minister said that he had directed the Medical Supplies Unit of his Ministry to maintain regular contact with hospital authorities and ensure that medicine and other medical supplies are readily available.

President seeks blessings and advice from religious leaders following victory

Jan 29 (GDI) The President has consulted the leaders of all religions on his return to Temple Trees after being informed of the official results of the Presidential election at the Elections Secretariat. The President called the leaders of Buddhist, Catholic, Islam and Hindu religions over the telephone for their advice regarding the future course, as his first task. more..

'Opposition wants to paralyze economy'

Jan 29 (GDI) Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has said that the desire of the opposition is to paralyse the economy and this was why they were engaged in spreading rumours and false propaganda. Addressing a media conference in Colombo, the Minister said that there was no veracity in claims that all kinds of underhand transactions took place just before the Elections Commissioner announced the final results. more..

Sri Lanka ranks World's Eighth Fastest Economy

Jan 29 (GDI) Sri Lanka ranked among the Top Ten Fastest Economies, being eighth in the world according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) of United States. As the global economy would emerge in the recession, it is envisaged that Sri Lanka would record a 6.3 percent GDP growth rate that is second only to China, which will record a 8.6 percent in the Asian region. The improvement in 2010 is that the world will emerge from recession and more..

Chairman of Rupawahini in devil mood

Jan 29 (UL) It is reported that Sri Lanka Rupawahini corporation chairman Mr. Athugala who manipulated Rupawahini selectively aiming one candidate disregarding Supreme Court orders is now taking revenge from employees who supported the opposition. As per the information available at present Robert Kumara Alagiyawann of Rupawahini corporation has been dismissed with immediate effect and the letter of dismissal was handed over at his house itself. more..

The "Swan" has been Shot along with Truth, Democracy and Conscience

Jan 29 (TC) “It has to be stated with much reluctance that the co-operation received from some of the candidates and their supporters in ensuring a peaceful, free and fair election during the two months period of the election campaign was much less than desired. It became necessary to issue directives and guidelines to prevent misuse of State resources and the State media. more..

Royal Australian Navy patrol boat on goodwill visit in Sri Lanka

Jan 29 (LP) The Royal Australian Navy Patrol Boat “HMAS Glenelg” arrived in the port of Colombo yesterday on a goodwill visit. “HMAS Glenelg” is 56.45m long and has a displacement of 270 tons. It carries a crew of 04 officers and 25 sailors and is commandeered by Lieutenant Commander ST Doolin of the Royal Australian Navy. The boat’s visit to Sri Lanka is expected to strengthen the existing ties and cooperation between Sri Lanka and Australia. more..

General dies a political death -Part Two

Jan 29 (LG) 2. SF sounded almost like Lou Dobbs after Lou’s resignation from CNN (Lou Dobbs is the Host of the nationally syndicated radio program The Lou Dobbs Show. He was the anchor and managing editor of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight) a. Tamils in general and Wanni Tamils in particular would have laughed they ‘posterior’ off or chuckled themselves by reading the Factors 14, 15 and 16 in the Annex A to GEN SF’s Letter of Resignation. more..

Prime Minister requests people to celebrate victory peacefully

Jan 29 (LP) Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka made a request from the general public to celebrate the convincing victory achieved by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a peaceful manner. The Prime Minister in a statement issued on the President’s victory said the results of the Presidential election were loud and clear. more..

Behind Sri Lanka’s political infighting: US-China rivalry

Jan 29 (wsws) In the wake of Tuesday’s presidential election in Sri Lanka, Colombo has become a hotbed of rumour and intrigue as the two factions of the ruling elite backing the winner, Mahinda Rajapakse, and the loser, General Sarath Fonseka, manoeuvre and position themselves for open political warfare. Far from putting an end to the campaign brawling, the election has set the stage for deepening instability. more..

Video: When does President Rajapakse's second term begin?

Jan 29 (TC) There have been a number of confusing media reports after the results of the Presidential Election were announced on 27 January 2010 as to when the second term of Mahinda Rakapakse begins. Rohan Edrisinha, Head of the Legal and Constitutional Unit of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) addresses this issue and other key concerns in a short video here: In the video, Rohan clearly explains the relevant constitutional provisions more..

Stop post election media suppression – an open appeal

Jan 29 (LG) We five major media organizations in the country express our deep concern over the increasing media suppression in post presidential election situation. The presidential election was marred by various threats to non state media and misuse of state controlled public media. In the post election period media situation is becoming serious day by day as clearly shown by development in last few days. more..

'President has become the real Idi Amin'

Jan 29 (LT) The president who showed films on Idi Amin against him has begun working as real Idi Amin says Gen. Sarath Fonseka. Speaking at a press conference held at his residence in Colombo yesterday Gen. Fonseka said he has not been accused by any court or police but regrets the moves that are being taken to take revenge from him politically. He said his security has been completely withdrawn. more..

The loud and clear message from the voter turnout and the voters in the North and East

Jan 29 (GV) I wrote on the 30th of December in a post to Groundviews (and republished in the Daily Mirror) that the assertion that the Tamil people would be deciders in the Presidential election would be a myth. There was nothing brilliant or extraordinary about what I said at that time, but it was contrary to public perception that was prevalent all over the country and in international media circles. more..

‘Sirasa’ threatened for telecasting General leaving hotel

Jan 29 (LT) A senior official of the government who had demanded the video tape of the scenes taken when Gen. Sarath Fonseka was leaving Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, where he was staying when election results were being announced, is now threatening ‘Sirasa’ media institution for refusing to hand over the relevant tapes say reliable sources. Gen. Fonseka had been prevented from leaving the hotel and more..

'Commandos for Karuna & retired PCs for General, Is this patriotism of Mahinda?'

Jan 29 (LT) The government of Mahinda Rajapakse, providing security of commandos to Karuna Amman who was a leader of the tiger terrorist organization, has provided only two retired constables for the security of Gen. Fonseka who dedicated himself for the country said JVP MP Anura Dissanayake and asked whether it was the patriotism of Mahinda Rajapakse. more..

Plot to assassinate several MPs of TNA

Jan 29 (LT) At a secret discussion lead by Karuna Amman held at Batticaloa on the 27th a plan to assassinate TNA Parliamentarians R. Sambanthan, Ariyanethri and Thomas has been discussed reports web site. According to the Tamil page of the web site the discussion held under the leadership of Karuna Amman had been held in two stages at the Rest House near Batticaloa Town Hall. more..

'Polls, crowds and excuses'

Jan 29 (MoD) Inability to cope with losses is common to humans. Opposition presidential candidate Gen. (retd) Sarath Fonseka has found it difficult to come to terms with the ignominious defeat he suffered at Tuesday's election. It is only natural that he is reeling and smarting because he had high hopes. Never did he anticipate that his political blitzkrieg would collapse in this manner. Fonseka thinks he should have been the President because of the large number of people present at more..

‘Lanka Irida’ editor arrested

Jan 29 (LT) The editor of ‘Lanka Irida’ Chandana Sirimalwatta, who had been asked to call over at the CID to get a statement, has been arrested on detaining orders. Mr. Sirimalwatta, who went to the CID today afternoon, had been questioned for more than two hours. The CID has informed his lawyers that he had to be detained as he has to be further questioned. more..

STF breaks into General’s house

Jan 29 (LT) Gen. Sarath Fonseka’s residence at Rajakeeya Mawatha in Colombo was broken into by soldiers of the STF a short time ago. They had attempted to enter the house saying they wanted to search the house. Later, they had threatened the two officers providing security to the General and had forced themselves into the house. The STF soldiers do not have any document giving permission to search General’s house but they had said they had received orders from ‘above’ to do so. more..

Green Building Council for greater efficiency in construction industry

Jan 29 (LP) Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) is planning to set up 'Green Building Council of Sri Lanka' with all stakeholders in the construction industry to improve standards of the industry. All stakeholders such as engineers, architects, environmentalists, planners and quantity survey consultants will participate in the Council so that there will not be disparities in the quality of the construction industry. more..

Government to woo Opposition voters

Jan 29 (DN) The Presidential election once again proved there was vibrant democracy in the country. President Mahinda Rajapaksa polled nearly 60 percent of the votes while the NDF candidate Sarath Fonseka polled approximately 40 percent of the vote, SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday. It was accepted by all including the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and more..

Charge us or release us

TID arrests 'Rajan' senior LTTE leader

Jan 29 (MoD) The Terrorist Investigation Division has arrested one of the most wanted senior members of LTTE named 'Rajan' recently, said DIG Nimal Wakishta, head of TID in Colombo Division. He further said that Rajan was a main supporter of LTTE and engaged in supplying of weaponry, military hardware, vehicles and other necessities to the LTTE, locally and internationally. more..

To change Constitution: Government aiming for two-thirds

Jan 29 (DN) The Government will give a time period around one week for the Opposition to offer a two thirds majority in Parliament to change the present Constitution. If they fail to do so, the Government will dissolve Parliament at the right time and hold the General Election on schedule to obtain the two thirds majority, Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. more..

Ven. Uduwe to quit politics

Jan 29 (DN) Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera yesterday declared that he would withdraw from all politics hereafter since an environment has been created by President Mahinda Rajapaksa giving pride of place for all religions and a society free from drugs and alcohol. He said he would continue conducting the Dharma deshana for the future prosperity of the country and its people. Ven. Uduwe Thera stated that he would remain as an MP until Parliament is dissolved. more..

'Fiscal difficulties, power play and devolution key areas to watch'

Jan 29 (Island) An international bank says President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election victory bodes well for investment-led growth and provincial development but as to how fiscal and political power issues play out would have to be closely watched along with how a political solution is reached with regard to ethnic minority. A report published by Citigroup said a strong mandate for Rajapaksa bodes well for investment more..

'Abolition of executive presidency non issue'

Jan 29 (Island) SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena, yesterday said that the abolition of the Executive Presidency could no longer be an issue as the people had overwhelmingly rejected the joint Opposition’s vow to do away with the executive powers. He said that clipping the presidential wings had been the main campaign slogan of the UNP-JVP combine though they turned a blind eye to its appeal. more..

'Do not allow communalism to raise its head again'

Jan 29 (DN) Do not use the media to promote chauvinism, provoke communal tensions and create an environment in which riots could occur again, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing Editors and Heads of media institutions yesterday evening. “Please use the media responsibly for the good of society,” he added. “Do not leave any room for terrorism to raise its head again in the country,” more..

Polls chief objective and impartial, say observers

Jan 29 (Island) A visiting international polls observer group yesterday endorsed the Presidential election saying the "whole exercise was done in accordance with the law of the land". Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake had acted with objectivity and impartiality in conducting Tuesday’s poll, delegation leader Dr. Pan Wei Ta said. The head of the election observation mission also said that 41 observers from 13 countries had been fielded in more..

CMEV says 2010 election day less violent than in 1999 and 2005

Jan 29 (Island) The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence in a statement issued to the media on Tuesday said that in comparison with the violence recorded on the Presidential Election Days in 1999 and 2005, Election Day of the 2010 was considerably less violent. In 1999 there were 816 major incidents and in 2005, only 242. On Election Day, CMEV recorded a total of 178 incidents of which 94 have been categorised as major. more..

JVP alleges computer manipulations

Jan 29 (DM) The JVP which supported opposition common candidate General Sarath Fonseka for the presidency said yesterday it would not accept the overall results of Tuesday’s presidential election as they were largely distorted. JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe said the election results were clouded in controversy due to the manipulation of computer technology in the processing of results at counting centres. more..