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Websites planning to go to courts over blocking on election day

Jan 31 (LB) January 26th was a much awaited day for Sri Lankans. However, as the day dawned many controversies and rumours got off the ground regarding the two main contenders and even the media. While all this was happening, news that access to independent news websites Lankaenews, Lankanewsweb, Infolanka and Sri Lanka Guardian have been blocked by the country’s main Internet Service Provider caused a controversy among the public. more..

Presidency in the bag, but road ahead bumpy

Jan 31 (LB) Mahinda Rajapaksa won the presidential poll by a margin that was widely unanticipated. It was a cliff-hanger till the point of the election — the race was thought to be so close that the campaigns of the two main candidates were often laced with hysteria. There was no photo finish. President Rajapaksa swept the polls in 16 of 22 districts and clinched 57.88 per cent of the vote. more..

Govt reiterates pledge to develop N-E

Jan 31 (SO) The Government has reiterated that it will continue its efforts to develop the North and the East. Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake told the Sunday Observer that the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government, which saved those in the North and the East from LTTE terror, will continue to give priority and pump more money to develop the North and the East though they had voted for the Opposition. more..

Tamil expatriates welcome President's re-election

Jan 31 (SO) Praising Sri Lankans for re-electing President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the second time, the Diaspora Dialogue for Peace and Development, an organisation comprising Tamil expatriate professionals, has urged all political parties to put behind their differences and join hands with the President to rebuild the North and the East. On behalf of the Diaspora Dialogue for Peace and Development, its coordinator Dr. Noel Nadesan from more..

‘Vadakkin Vasantham’ brings light to budding artistes

Jan 31 (SO) It was hard work that brought spring to the North. The effort was to bring equal place for the budding artistes of the Northern Province. ‘Northern Province Governor G.A. Chandrasiri warmly welcoming the guests at the occasion said the ‘Vadakkin Vasantham’ cultural show was a historical event. The majority of the participants belonged to the future generation and a few from the past. more..

Women better off after dawn of peace

Jan 31 (SO) Ramyalatha Perera thought that her vote would change the 'fate' of the country. She had an objective to fulfil! No preferred colour! She wanted this time 'blue' to dominate the country so that her objective would bear fruit. The woman in her mid 40s was one of the many Sri Lankan women who kept her fingers crossed until her children came home safely from tuition classes. more..

People's voice loud and clear: Economic upturn in top gear

Jan 31 (SO) The infrastructure development that was launched in the last four years has surpassed all other projects that were completed in the last two decades. Most of the ventures such as the Hambantota and the Colombo harbour, Oluvil development, power projects in Sampur, Kotmale, Norochcholai and mega irrigation projects will be completed this year. Many observers felt that a change of leaderships would have resulted in these projects being stalled, more..

'My victory, a triumph for all'

Jan 31 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that his resounding victory at Tuesday’s presidential election was not a personal victory but a triumph for everybody who loves the country. Addressing media heads for the first time at Temple Trees, after his re-election with a landslide victory at the presidential election, President Rajapaksa said all loyal and patriotic forces worked tirelessly towards the UPFA’s success. more..

What Now for the TNA, the Tamil Diaspora and their Supporters?

Jan 31 (TC) The Eleam war has turned full circle as the political machinations of the race for the Sri Lankan Presidency has demonstrated. General (Retired) Sarath Fonseka the ‘hammer of the Tamil tigers’ became the de-facto saviour of the aspirations that the Tamil Diaspora, the remnants of the Tamil tigers, and their proxy the TNA ever wanted in the Presidential election. more..

An Open letter to Doulas Devananda

Jan 31 (LG) At last you have realised after a long time; I welcome your decision. This will pave the way for Karuna, Pillaiyan, Sitharthan and the TNA MPs who entered parliament with the help of LTTE to leave Tamil political arena. Most of the political representatives in the North and East have come into power through undemocratic means. I am sure you are a man of your word. more..

An affair of the heart ... and the heartland

Jan 31 (LG) The (geographic) periphery proved to be (politically) peripheral, while the road to power lay through the paddy fields and the provinces of the Sinhala heartland. Mahinda Rajapakse gave the lie to the notion that the minorities, especially the Tamil minority, held the key to the outcome of the election. Given the demographics on the ground, namely that the Sinhalese constitute an overwhelming majority, more..

Colombian Poll

Jan 31 (AT) For once, the Colombians have gained fame in the academic realm, as subjects of a socio-anthropological study. They were primarily responsible for the defeat of Sarath Fonseka by brazenly pronouncing the defeat of Mahinda Rajapakse prematurely; lost an election they would have won. With their garrulous talk, these town criers gave the wrong signals to galvanize the People to rally round MR. more..

In search of consensus

Jan 31 (LG) The reelection of President Rajapaksa with a historic mandate accounting for nearly 58% of the total votes cast presents a unique moment for Sri Lanka to capture the many opportunities for economic development which we have missed since Independence. This overwhelming victory should serve as a wake-up call for our political establishment across all party lines to stop squabbling on parochial and personality-based issues and more..

Five minutes with the average voter

Jan 31 (LG) It’s been hard to avoid the “we told you so” comments ever since the election results started coming over the TV Wednesday morning. We were reading about democracy at dawn when our phone kept ringing and some of the cheer squad leaders of the incumbent regime were on the line. “Where are you now? Under the bed?” asked a considerate but delighted colleague. We confessed that we had switched off the TV and were reading about democracy. more..

Indian Journalist on firing line in Colombo

Jan 31 (LG) CID detectives turned up at the Rajakeeya Mawatha election office of retired General Sarath Fonseka on Friday evening accompanied by commandos of the Police Special Task Force (STF). When they tried to enter the campaign office, they found the door locked from inside. One of the CID officers noted that ceiling fans were working and asked help from a commando. He climbed the roof, entered the office and had it open. more..

His face said it

Jan 31 (LG) Quite apart from the frenzied allegations and counter allegations that have now come to dominate much of public talk on Sri Lanka's Presidential Elections this Tuesday, one profoundly pathetic image dominates my mind, putting into doubt the very basis on which I will decide whether or not to exercise my vote in future elections in this country. This is the image of Sri Lanka's Elections Commissioner when, in an edited news telecast, more..

Election Results

Jan 31 (AT) Mahinda Rajapakse won the Presidential election convincingly, polling 58% of the total valid vote, while his main contender, Sarath Fonseka, could muster only 40%. That was one election result. There were others: the editor of the para-JVP paper, Lanka has been arrested; a Swiss reporter was deported for asking sharp questions at a post-victory press conference; more..

Rajapakse won election because majority of war euphoria infected Sinhalese wanted to keep the Tamils in their place

Jan 31 (TC) So begins the Rajapaksa era, heralded by a massive vote of confidence by the Sinhala majority, a resounding vote of no-confidence by the Tamil and Muslim minorities and armed soldiers surrounding the hotel in which the main contender was temporarily residing. For those who oppose the dynastic project of the ruling family, illusions of a Fonseka victory should not be replaced by delusions of a fraudulent election. more..

56 ex-LTTE cadres handed over to parents after rehabilitation

Jan 31 (GDI) Another batch of ex-LTTE members, totalling 56, who had undergone rehabilitation have been handed over to their parents. Many of them had quit the terrorist organization at the height of the humanitarian operation to liberate the Wanni and surrendered to the security forces. The government launched a programme to rehabilitate them so they have better prospects for their future. more..

President's mantra of "peace through development" has been resoundingly rejected by all ethnic minorities

Jan 31 (TC) On the morning after the election result was announced I woke up to a stale old day. The winning margin of the election was too big to believe. The hope for believable change has turned into an unbelievable status quo. If it is the destiny of Sri Lanka, I humbly accept that. Now that the Sri Lankan people have chosen the President of the country for the next six years or eight years more..

President, a clear winner

Jan 31 (NS) This week, the frenzied election activity that was the hallmark of the presidential election campaign came to a rather anti-climactic end with President Mahinda Rajapaksa emerging a clear winner with nearly 58 per cent of the popular vote and his main rival, General Sarath Fonseka polling 40 per cent and conceding a majority of 1.8 million votes. more..

A more simple explanation of ‘Mahinda’s Victory’

Jan 31 (LG) There have been some attempts to explain what is beginning to be called ‘Mahinda’s victory.’ However, these explanations make the situation out to be more complex than it actually is, since the issue at hand is in fact, quite simple to understand. The architect of the 1978 Constitution under JR Jayawardene, stated that the only powers that this Constitution does not give the president is the power to make a man a woman. more..

'Process of receiving, preserving and counting the ballot at the commissioner’s office is an issue'

Jan 31 (LT) Poll monitors and human rights groups criticizing the presidential election held in Sri Lanka states, “It is not only the electoral process that is under challenge. The very process of receiving, preserving and counting the ballot at the commissioner’s office itself is an issue that has been prominently raised." They say before polling day, the Commissioner of Elections had complained about more..

Tamil diaspora invited to develop North

Jan 31 (MoD) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama called upon the Tamil diaspora to help the government to develop Jaffna into a commercial hub. He was speaking at a ceremony held at the Jaffna Public Library yesterday. He said that Tamils living abroad should contribute to develop Jaffna. "Normalcy has been restored in the North and this message should be conveyed to the world", he said. more..

Southern Buddhist pilgrims throng Nagadeepa

Jan 31 (MoD) The Jaffna peninsula is attracting a large number of local tourists from Southern areas and the historic Nagadeepa Vihara in the Nagadeepa isle. Jaffna, witnessed a record number of Buddhist pilgrims on Friday, Full Moon Day, informed sources said. The visitors from the Southern parts of the country are flocking to the Nallur Kanthaswamy Kovil, the Holy Keerimalai Tank and the historic Buddhist Holy Shrines in Kankesanthurai and Kantharodai, more..

'Petition will be filed to challenge election results'

Jan 31 (LT) The results of the presidential election have been distorted; they possess information that could prove it says JVP MP Anura Dissanayake. He said his party intends filing an election petition against the move. he said, “We don’t accept the result of the presidential election. A lot of information is being revealed at present regarding malpractices carried out to change the result, state mediation and other violations. more..

Plantation Capital

President pays homage to the sacred tooth relic after re-elation

Jan 31 (LP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa paid homage to the Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth Relic) yesterday (30). President visited the Temple after his re-election as the 5th executive President of Sri Lanka at the Presidential elections which concluded on the 26th of January. The President also called on the Chief Prelate of the Malwatta Chapter Ven. Tibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera, more..

Tourism Ministry extends support to “Nagenahira Navodaya”

Jan 31 (LP) The Tourism Ministry has decided to develop the infrastructure facilities of the eastern region by supporting the “Nagenahira Navodaya” development drive. Initially projects are launched based on the hot water springs at Kinniya and the Mahaoya and Landing peir at the Pigeon Island. These projects consists of construction of basic facilities such as changing rooms, renovating of existing toilets, more..

No nominations from TNA for its rebels?

Jan 31 (NS) The two leading TNA rebels N. Srikantha and M.K. Sivajilingam who defied the alliance, now face the prospect of not getting nominations from the TNA. TNA Leader R. Sampanthan yesterday hinted that they are unlikely to get nominations when he declared that “political parties normally don’t give nominations to rebels,” but he insisted that so far no such decision had been taken and more..

New constitution after election

Jan 31 (NS) The government will convene a Constituent Assembly after the conclusion of the next general election to formulate a new Constitution based on the German Model. The Nation learns that a 1972-styled Constituent Assembly that drafted the First Republican Constitution that year would be set up after elections, as the present 1978 Constitution does not provide for the setting up of such an assembly. more..

40 m worth infrastructure development in Monaragala

Jan 31 (LP) “Room to Read” which is an International Non Governmental Organization INGO headquartered in San Francisco USA, expanded its good work in to Sri Lanka since Tsunami Disaster. Recently the organization competed the construction of 10 pre schools, 07 libraries and 02 Primary class room buildings in the Medagama, Siyabalanduwa, Bible Division in Moneragala District. The amount allocated for the project was Rs 40 million. more..

Preserving guardians of the sky

Jan 31 (NS) Just as much as I’m excited, I’m nervous as we drive into the base. Still unaware of questions I might have to answer. The Air Force base in Ratmalana was never a place that warmed up to visiting civilians in the past. The place was marred by barbwires, barricades to five feet concrete walls and stringent police checks. Today though, it seemed different. Unexplainable enough. more..

Election results procedure change leads to suspicion

Jan 31 (TC) I have had first-hand experience as a Presiding Officer, Counting Officer (Assistant Registering Officer) and as Returning Officer in past elections in Vavuniya, Nuwara Eliya, Matara, etc. The procedure then was for the counting centers to be set apart for each electorate. After the count the results for that electorate were announced by the Government Agent (Returning Officer). more..

The bronze medal contenders voice their opinion

Jan 31 (NS) The recently concluded election had a record 22 candidates contesting for the Presidency. While it was clearly a two horse race for the gold medal, there were many others who were vying for the coveted bronze medal in the election. The Nation talked with several candidates who had held hopes of coming third in the election. M.C.M. Ismail from the DUNF got 39,226 votes and won the mini race for third place, more..

Intimidation at counting centers accuses Ranil

Jan 31 (Island) While polling proceeded between 7 am and 4 pm on election day in most places in a peaceful and non-intimidatory atmosphere, the situation was different at several counting centres that night, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a statement issued from his Cambridge Place office on Friday evening. He alleged that several groups of thugs accompanied by ministers and MPs more..

Dublin Tribunal Chair’s hands tainted

Jan 31 (NS) The Chairman of the Permanent People’s Tribunal which conducted the Dublin War Crimes Tribunal on Sri Lanka, and professor at the Catholic University of Louvain, Rev. Father Francois Houtart appears to be unlike the blind folded lady holding the scales of justice evenly. After conducting hearings for two days from December14 – 16, the Dublin Tribunal, which is also known as the People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka, declared that more..

It is ‘thinking time’ for everyone

Jan 31 (NS) It was, in the end, an anticlimax. Things were supposed to go down to the wire on January 26, 2010, but in the end, when the people spoke, the verdict was an emphatic endorsement of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s first 4 years as President. It was not supposed to be this easy, though. The opposition had blogged out of their minds and bombarded the English-speaking ‘elites’ in Colombo and Kandy with so many fairytales about how the people will vote more..

'Sri Lanka policy certainty higher after polls'

Jan 31 (Island) Sri Lanka’s policy direction is clearer after a President Rajapaksa was returned to power with a bigger majority allowing investors to emerge from any ‘wait and see’ attitude, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said shortly after the election result was in. "The mandate means we have a clear path charted for the next six years," he said. more..

Mega city real estate development on hold for time being

Jan 31 (Island) One of the biggest planned real estate developments in the city will be placed on hold for the time being following a decision by Associated Motorways Limited (AMW) to opt out of the project "at this juncture." In May 2008, John Keells Holdings (JKH), AMW and Finlays Colombo entered into a MOU for a feasibility study to develop nearly eight-and-half acres of land the companies individually owned in the Union Place, more..

The pundits were proved wrong

Jan 31 (Island) The pundits who had expected a very close finish were proved grievously wrong when President Mahinda Rajapaksa handsomely wrapped-up last week’s presidential election winning another term with a majority several times as big as that with which he squeaked home in November 2005 when the war was raging. Many people believed that Prabhakaran preventing a sizable section of the northern and Wanni electorates from voting won that election for more..

Imminent arrest of Gen. Fonseka by CID

Jan 31 (ST) The arrest of retired General Sarath Fonseka any time now became imminent yesterday as a team of CID detectives probed an alleged attempt to overthrow the Government and assassinate President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Department of Immigration and Emigration has been instructed not to allow Gen. Fonseka, his son-in-law Danuna Tillekeratne and a few others including retired Army officers to leave Sri Lanka. more..

Health Ministry hands over IDP healthcare to northern officials

Jan 31 (Island) The Health Ministry will hand over the task of providing healthcare services to internally displaced camps in the Vanni to health officials of the Northern Province with effect from tomorrow. "We will be pulling out". "Health officials of the region will take over". He said the Cabinet had only given approval to the Ministry to maintain services at the camp for six months following the arrival of the internal displaced to camps in Vanni last May. more..

When does President’s new term of office commence?

Jan 31 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to invoke the consultative jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in order to determine the commencement of his second term of office following his overwhelming victory at last Tuesday’s presidential election, senior governmental sources said yesterday. "The lawyers are working on this," they said pointing out that the president, like anybody else, would like to maximize his tenure. more..

Major shuffle in the Army after poll victory

Jan 31 (ST) A series of senior level transfers have been effected in the army in the wake of Tuesday’s presidential election. The Sunday Times learns that most of the officers who had been transferred were close to the defeated presidential candidate Gen. (retd.) Sarath Fonseka. These changes came amidst claims by Gen. Fonseka that he has heard several senior officers loyal to him had been discharged or suspended. more..

The Rajapaksa thunderbolt

Jan 31 (ST) At Tuesday's polls, the final count showed that Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa rode on a tidal wave of voter support to victory and continues as Sri Lanka's sixth President. The triumph was unprecedented. None of his predecessors had got an overwhelming majority of 1.8 million votes or gained 57.88 per cent when seeking a second term. He ceded only 40.15 per cent to his main rival, retired General Sarath Fonseka. more..

Gen. Fonseka says affidavit that bares all is in safe keeping

Jan 31 (ST) Defeated presidential candidate Gen. (retd.) Sarath Fonseka reiterated yesterday that he faced a threat of assassination and has prepared an affidavit and kept it in the safe custody of relevant people to be made public if he comes to any harm. “I have written an affidavit with details of persons who want to harm me and given it to the necessary persons and the names of those who are responsible for my death will be made public if I come to any harm,” more..

Right to vote but little right of access

Jan 31 (ST) They were determined to vote, despite age, infirmity and disability. Politically aware like most Sri Lankans, they would not even consider staying home on election day for they felt it was their duty to take part in the democratic process of choosing SriLanka’s next President. But polling booths with no easy access for people using walkers, wheelchairs etc spelt trouble for the disabled. more..

Now - statesmanship

Jan 31 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been re-elected for a second term. Though the President said publicly that he would be re-elected with a "comfortable majority", there were no doubt, anxious moments for him and his supporters until the count came trickling in. From what was essentially a 'walk in the park' in the afterglow of the crushing military defeat of the LTTE last May, the combined Opposition sprang a surprise by putting forward the just retired Army Commander as its common candidate. more..

A classic power struggle turns ugly with wild allegations

Jan 31 (ST) Sri Lanka’s first historic post-war presidential election is over and done with, and the victor, with an unassailable lead in the vote count, has been hailed. The generous 1.8 million margin of votes by which the election was won should have been a cause for relief, allowing the nation to resume its day-to-day life with hopes renewed, and confidence braced, in a leadership to which it has given a decisive mandate. more..