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New badges for Prison Intelligence Unit

Jan 30 (LP) A new badge has been introduced to the Prison Intelligence Unit to prevent mobile telephones and hard drugs being used in the prison department premises. The electronic and print media had given wide publicity that mobile telephones and hard drugs were being used by inmates. Several steps were taken including appointing senior prison officers to the Prisons Intelligence Division with a new badge to prevent this situation, more..

Independence Day celebrations in Kandy

Jan 30 (LP) Sri Lanka’s 62nd Independence Day celebration will be held at the Maha Maluwa of the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy on February 4 under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. This year’s celebrations will be held in a grandiose manner since it is the first independence commemoration held in a unified country after liberating it from 30 years of terrorism. more..

The fourth Deyata Kirula exhibition in Kandy

Jan 30 (LP) The fourth Deyata Kirula exhibition staged in Kandy to coincide with Independence Day will be opened by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Pallekelle International Buddhist Research centre premises on February 4 at 4 p.m. The exhibition features about 300 State and private sector stalls. The exhibition spread over an area of about 51 acres. The exhibition titled Pelanda Ek Kirulak - Nevum Heta Davasak will continue daily till February 10. more..

The second phase of "Dependable change"

Jan 30 (LG) I have gone through several election experiences in my life. Sometimes the candidates I have supported won and sometimes they lost. However, I have never felt how I feel now before. I wholeheartedly supported Sarath Fonseka's bid to the presidency in Sri Lanka due to few simple reasons: 1. He (and his multi-ethnic coallition) wanted to start a political reconciliation process with the Tamils to strengthen Sri Lanka as a Nation. more..

Will India gain with Rajapaksa's win?

Jan 30 (TOI) No country's role is more discussed and less understood in Sri Lanka than India's. With the island nation electing Mahinda Rajapaksa as president for a second six-year term, there is bound to be much debate in Colombo on what the result means for India, and whether India "won" or "lost" in the process. Perennial political legend has it that India has specific preferences about who rules in Sri Lanka and more..

School midday meal: Govt allocates Rs 2,900m

Jan 30 (DN) The Government has allocated Rs. 2,900 million to supply midday meals for one million schoolchildren studying in Grades 1 to 5, Education Minister Susil Premajayanthe said. The allocation will be utilised to supply nutritious midday meals during this year. The midday meal program commenced in 2006 on the advice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa after an investigation revealed in 2005 that 30 percent of schoolchildren came to school without having breakfast. more..

Lightning strikes knife and sometimes knife-thrower too

Jan 30 (DN) Minister Dulles Alahapperuma in a campaign speech drew from that ancient practice of throwing a piece of iron out into the garden when there was thunder and lightning, a practice that is prevalent even today in many parts of the island. He was speaking of the dilemma faced by the UNP leadership when the presidential election was announced. Ranil Wickremesinghe was in no state to take on Mahinda Rajapaksa and more..

Election Secretariat rules out computer fraud at Jan. 26 polls

Jan 30 (Island) The Election Secretariat yesterday dismissed Opposition allegations that the government and the election staff had manipulated the results of Tuesday’s presidential polls to help incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa secure a second term with a thumping majority of 1.8 million votes. counting of ballot papers was done manually though computers, too, were used in the process. more..

SLA, SLN restrictions in Jaffna peninsula imposed again

Jan 30 (TN) Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) which had relaxed their various restrictions in Jaffna peninsula prior to president election have begun to impose them again actively, sources in Jaffna said. These restrictions include the checking of passengers travelling within the peninsula and to the islets of Jaffna besides access to their places in the SLA High Security Zones (HSZs), they said. more..

UNPers attack journalist’s mother

Jan 30 (DN) A UNP supporter has been taken into custody by the Kadugannawa Police in connection with an assault on Wimala Maturata (66), Treasurer of the Yatinuwara SLFP Women’s Organisation in Kadugannawa town on the day of the Presidential Election. Maturata who is the mother of Lake House Journalist Sanjaya Asela Maturata is receiving treatment at the Kadugannawa district hospital. more..

‘Non serious’ presidential candidates a further burden on taxpayer

Jan 30 (Island) SLFP General Secretary, Maithripala Sirisena echoed Polls Chief Dayananda Dissanayake’s assertion that ‘non serious’ candidates at the recently concluded presidential polls caused unnecessary expenditure. Minister Sirisena said that Constitutional Amendments would be necessary to restrict the number of candidates as the existing laws allow any Sri Lankan to join the presidential fray. more..

Gilchrist's squash ball and MR's majority

Jan 30 (Island) We are never short of conspiracy theories in this country. The government tells us that a group led by presidential candidate and former Army Chief Gen. Sarath Fonseka was hatching a plot to arrest President Mahinda Rajapaksa and take over the country while election results were being announced. The Opposition claims that the government manipulated the outcome of Tuesday's election electronically. more..

Air-conditioned trains back on track

Jan 30 (Island) Two luxury Hitachi air-conditioned trains will resume operations from February 1. These trains were under repairs for the past one year by local technicians. Speaking to The Island, Commercial Superintendent of Sri Lanka Railways, Vijaya Samarasinghe, said that one of these luxury trains could accommodate 60 travellers, while the other could carry 100. Each train will comprise four compartments. more..

Dayananda in dilemma

Jan 30 (DM) Despite Elections Commissioner statement that he would not step into his office even for a day after the conclusion of the Presidential Election, a senior source of the AG’s Department said the Commissioner would have to seek a Supreme Court ruling if he wishes to stay home. The Commissioner would again have to get back to work soon as the government had already declared that it would dissolve Parliament early next month and more..

Public servants may get Rs. 2,500 more

Jan 30 (DM) Public servants are to receive a bigger pay packet from May when the government pays them the salary increase of Rs. 2,500 pledged by President Mahinda Rajapaksa during the Presidential Election campaign. Public Administration and Home Affairs Ministry Secretary D. Dissanayaka said the salary increase would come as a budgetary proposal expected in April. Asked whether the salary increase could be granted immediately, more..

SF’s supporters not wanted for any crime: CID

Jan 30 (DM) Two retired army officers and a civilian --supporters of Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka-- who were arrested by the army on Tuesday opposite Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo on suspicion of planning to commit a crime, were released on Rs 25,000/- personal bail by Colombo Additional Magistrate Macky Mohamed. The Magistrate directed the CID to impound the car allegedly used by the suspects to gain entry to the Hotel until February 3 and more..

Stop hounding SF, says Ranil

Jan 30 (DM) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe called on the government yesterday to stop harassing Presidential Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka and his supporters. Mr. Wickremesinghe told the media yesterday that opponents of the government were being harassed after the election though President Mahinda Rajapaksa assured that post election violence would be avoided. more..

NPC assigned to provide health facilities for IDPs

Jan 30 (DN) The Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry has assigned the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) to provide Internally Displaced Persons in Welfare Villages in Vavuniya with health facilities, Ministry sources said. The Northern Provincial Council will take the responsibility from February 1 to provide health facilities which have so far been carried out by the Healthcare and Nutrition Ministry. more..

To resign or not to resign

Jan 30 (DM) EPDP leader Douglas Devananda says he was to resign from his parliamentary seat because the people of Jaffna had not voted for President Mahinda Rajapakse. However the Minister says he is now reconsidering the move. He had earlier today made known to the people of Jaffna his decision to step down from his parliamentary position, as he felt the people had not been happy with his political stand. more..

Artistes warn of fresh separatist threats

Jan 30 (Island) Sri Lankan artistes, who campaigned for President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the recently-concluded presidential polls, yesterday warned of the possibility of a fresh threat to national security though the LTTE no longer posed a conventional military capability. Jackson Anthony said the votes obtained by Opposition presidential candidate General (retd) Sarath Fonseka, reflected that more..

Rajapaksa to NDTV

Opposition plan for protest

Jan 30 (BBC) The opposition coalition which has rejected the election result says it will explore the possibility of taking legal action, says the leader of the opposition Ranil Wickremasinghe. The political action to be taken is being discussed by the parties of the opposition, Mr.Wickremasinghe said in a joint opposition statement on Friday. more..

Sri Lanka gets less bang for capital buck: economist

Jan 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka is saving and investing too little and spending too much and the country is also getting less returns than more efficient economies for the money spent to boost capital stock, a top economist has said. Countries that invest more will generate higher levels of growth and incomes. East Asian nations have had levels of investment close to 50 percent to push growth to near 10 percent levels. more..

Start work now - President

Jan 30 (MoD) President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday emphasized that proposals contained in his second manifesto Mahinda Chintana Idiri Dekma should be implemented without any delay starting from now. The President made this observation at Temple Trees when he met the distinguished persons of the think tank who made proposals on different sectors to him in drawing up his policy program. more..

Rajapaksa seeks Supreme Court view on second term

Jan 30 (Hindu) Elected for a second term with a huge majority, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sought the opinion of the island nation’s Supreme Court on when to commence his term in office. The question has arisen since Mr. Rajapaksa chose to advance the presidential election two years ahead of his first term as per the third amendment to the Constitution mooted by the then President J.R. Jayawardene and more..

'In touch with Fonseka over his security'

Jan 30 (PTI) US has said it is in touch with the defeated Sri Lankan Opposition Presidential candidate over the issue of his security which was withdrawn on Thursday and has urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to move towards a political reconciliation. "We are watching carefully and we have been in touch with General Fonseka regarding his security", US Assistant Secretary of State Philip Crowley said in Washington. more..

Now, Govt. wants 2/3 in Parliament: Negotiations on to engineer 19 crossovers

Jan 30 (Island) The government is set to secure a two-thirds majority in the next Parliament by winning at least 149 seats at the general elections likely to be held before the April New Year holidays, NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa, MP, said. More people in the North and East would also vote for the ruling UPFA at the upcoming parliamentary elections, he told a news conference at his party office. more..

Sri Lanka opposition newspaper shut down

Jan 30 (AFP) Police in Sri Lanka shut down the offices of an opposition newspaper on Saturday, the weekly said, as international rights groups accused the authorities of a vendetta against critical media. Police went to the offices of the Lanka weekly and sealed the premises, a day after taking its editor into custody for questioning over reports that criticised a top government official, the newspaper said. more..

The West loses its plot in Sri Lanka as Rajapaksa wins

Jan 31 (MN) Nearly sixty per cent of the Sri Lankans chose incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa to run their country for another six years. This is the first island wide presidential election Sri Lanka has had since 1982, without any hindrance from the Tamil Tigers. The other significant incident in this election was the sudden appearance of retired army commander, General Sarath Fonseka as the main presidential contender against President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Govt cracks down on opposition

Jan 30 (wsws) After winning Tuesday’s election, President Mahinda Rajapakse has begun his second term with a widening crackdown on his political opponents. Despite winning by a substantial margin, Rajapakse’s position remains weak amid continuing sharp divisions in ruling circles and widespread popular frustration and resentment over declining living standards. On the island of Kayts off the northern Jaffna peninsula, the EPDP mobilised a gang of thugs on Thursday evening to more..

Commander of the Navy visits "HMAS Glenelg" at the Port of Colombo

Jan 30 (SLN) Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe visited "HMAS Glenelg" at the Port of Colombo on 29 January 2010. He was warmly received by Commanding Officer of "HMAS Glenelg" Lieutenant Commander ST Doolin, upon his arrival on board the ship. Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Her Excellency Kathy Klugman was also present at the occasion. more..

A paradise for sure

Jan 30 (EB) I’ve been wanting to go there for years now, finally with the political turmoil stabilising, I got my chance. The visa officials in Lanka actually smile at you and are friendly just like all the other people in the airport and the country itself. I head straight to Kandy from the Colombo airport. The road to Kandy reminds me a lot of Ooty. I kick-started the day with a visit to the Pinnewala elephant orphanage, which is an hour’s distance. more..

'65 Sri Lankan boats confiscated in past six months'

Jan 30 (Hindu) The Coast Guard confiscated 65 Sri Lankan fishing boats in the past six months from Indian waters, said Eastern Region Commander A. Rajasekhar here on Friday. In January alone, four boats were confiscated off the east coast. Asked if these fishing vessels were engaged in any other illegal activities, he said so far there had been no such case. “They are into long-line tuna fishing. Indian waters have a lot of tuna.” more..

'Rajapaksa administration is moving towards ‘Idi amin’ type of regime'

Jan 30 (LT) The present Rajapakse regime is moving towards an ‘Idi Amin’ type of administration says Leader of the group of JVP Parliamentarians Anura Dissanayake. He said this to the media when he came to observe the sealed office of ‘Lanka Irida’ newspaper. Speaking further Mr. Dissanayake said, “Mahinda Rajapakse administration is preparing to commence an ‘Idi Amin’ type of regime. more..

Time for an independent press?

Jan 31 (Hindu) With the re-election of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Sri Lanka, many will be watching to see what his next term will mean for the government's policy towards private media. The persecution of the Sri Lankan media has been a long-running international story, particularly after the killing in January last year of Lasantha Wickramatunga, the editor of the Sunday Leader. Several journalists fled to seek asylum in the West, and more..

Attempts to destroy Presidential polls results Register – UNP

Jan 31 (UNP) The UNP Gen. Secretary Tissa Attanayake said, they have received reports that the Govt. is planning to destroy the vote counting registers and other important details regarding the recent Presidential election, which he alleged was manipulated and completely rigged. The UNF parties are in the process of gathering information on all the monumental frauds, rigging, malpractices and election law violations of the Govt. more..

Sri Lanka's losing candidate vows protests

Jan 31 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's losing presidential candidate on Saturday vowed protests against what he said was his stolen victory and accused the government of removing his personal security as part of an "indirect assassination attempt". General Sarath Fonseka lost Tuesday's presidential election to incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa by more than 1.8 million votes, in a poll that observers generally praised as well-run despite more..

Special budget train for Buddhist sites

Jan 31 (Hindu) The Indian Railways will launch its maiden special train covering the Buddhist circuit across the country, with a visit to Nepal also thrown in. Aiming to cater to budget tourist from Sri Lanka and other Asian countries, the 14 days and 13 nights, all-paid package tour will also provide off-board services such as hotel accommodation, vegetarian meals, road transfers for sight-seeing, and assistance for visa formalities for foreign nationals. more..

One Vote, One Value

Jan 31 (IL) Sri Lanka perhaps is the only democracy where 'One Vote - One Value' concept is not practised. In the 2004 General Elections, the JHU received 552,724 votes and obtained 7 district basis seats, whilst the Tamil Front received 633,654 votes and obtained 20 district basis seats. In effect, each JHU seat has a value of 78,960 whilst each Tamil seat has only 31,682. North & East electors were therefore able to get at least 2 MPs against 1 MP in the South for the same vote value. more..

India relieved MR has returned

Jan 31 (SL) India has heaved a sigh of relief over the re-election of President Mahinda Rajapaksa for a second term in office, sources said. A very happy Indian government led by its Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh and Indian President Pratibha Patil were among the first to telephone and congratulate Rajapaksa on his re-election on Wednesday. “Although India made a formal announcement declaring it was ready to work with whoever who won more..

No Vote For Fonseka

Jan 31 (SL) What was he thinking? That was the question on election day last week when General Sarath Fonseka admitted that he was unable to cast a ballot for himself because his name was not on the registration list. Taking advantage of this surprise revelation, President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s campaign team immediately called a press conference to declare that Fonseka was ineligible to be president. Never mind whether or not this was true. more..

Written in the stars?

Jan 31 (SL) Everything is written in the stars here. From weddings to births, even laying the foundations of a new house, astrology often plays a big part in the life of an average Sri Lankan. Astrologers can be enormously important in mapping out people’s lives, and so their opinion is afforded much respect. So it’s no surprise that the public turned to star-gazers to predict who would prevail in this presidential election. more..

Law of the land will prevail over Fonseka'

Jan 31 (SL) Steps will be taken to investigate the alleged assassination attempt on President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Government Defence Spokesperson, Keheliya Rambukwella said. His comments came following an explosive announcement made by the Director, Media Centre for National Security, Lakshman Hulugalle who alleged that General Sarath Fonseka had hatched an elaborate plan to assassinate President Rajapaksa. more..

Placing bets and cashing in

Jan 31 (SL) The race is over and the results are in. By early morning on January 27, it was clear who was in the lead. Many Sri Lankans decided to treat the presidential election like just another race. Some cast bets on which of the two major candidates, incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa or common opposition candidate, General Sarath Fonseka, would come out on top. And as results flashed on TV sets island-wide, skies filled with exploding fireworks and more..

SF Fans! Stop acting like clowns and respect democracy..

Jan 31 (LLNO) It was so hard for we Sri Lankans to believe that we lost the cricket world cup final 2007 to Australia. It was shocking! We whole heartedly backed up our boys, and we were damn confident that our guys deserved the cup and we must crush the Aussies. But then? We lost!! We lost big!! What did we do? We blamed the toss, blamed the rain, blamed Gilly's squash ball, blamed the umpires, blamed individual players. more..

'Govt. has successfully concluded world’s first hi-tech election rigging operation'

Jan 31 (SL) SLFP (M) Wing Leader and Co-media Spokesperson for General Sarath Fonseka, Mangala Samaraweera charged that software/paper rigging finally changed an approximately 1.5 million vote victory for General Sarath Fonseka into a 1.8 million majority for President Rajapaksa. He said this “is perhaps the first successfully carried out software/paper rigging in the world.” more..

Was it a zero sum game?

Jan 31 (LB) President Mahinda Rajapaksa belied the projections of many an observer, including this correspondent who guessed that the election would be a close call. Rajapaksa romped home with a massive margin of 1.8 million votes in an election which many including the opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe described as relatively peaceful on the election day. That is a fair assessment. But, a relative peace in a polling day alone could not underwrite a free and fair election. more..

'Village vote is firmly behind the President'

Jan 31 (LB) Just a few days after the presidential election and news of a general election circulating, LAKBIMA spoke to Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena about the conduct of last week’s election and about the plans of the government. Excerpts: Q: How do you perceive the win of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Did you expect him to win with such a large percentage and a margin? A: Yes we did. We conducted a lot of surveys during the time of election campaigns. more..

'We want SC verdict on poll'

Jan 31 (LB) Q: The result of the presidential election was a surprise to many. No one expected Sarath Fonseka to lose the election by 1.8 million votes. What can you say about the defeat? Well, I don’t believe that the win by MR was a true representation of the people’s desire. The government has been breaking all election laws even before the day of the nominations. There was a massive misuse of state property and the partisanship of the state media was unseen before. more..

Post election conspiracy theories flow freely

Jan 31 (LB) Until the first postal result for the Ratnapura district was released, many believed that the 2010 presidential election would be a close one. Everyone, including the top UPFA leaders, were expecting a narrow margin of victory. Speaking to this reporter on the evening of election day, a senior SLFP Minister claimed that the president will win the election by about 300 000 votes. But as the results started coming, in it was obvious that we were all mistaken. more..