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Massive crowds at President's rally

Jan 4 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that a broad based programme would be launched to safeguard the future of the youth. The President observed that the target of the government was to reduce the unemployment rate. He stressed that the youth who have not passed the Ordinary Level Examination with adequate number of credits should also have opportunities as well as those who have passed with better results. more..

Trade Minister says imported rice is suitable for consumption

Jan 4 (GDI) The government today out rightly rejected a claim in a newspaper that the Trade Ministry had imported rice unsuitable for consumption. Minister Bandula Gunawardena told a press briefing at his ministry in Colombo a short while ago that all rice imported had the SGS certification. He also dismissed contents in that news report of a shortage of rice in the market towards the end of last month. more..

A new information centre for Kandy

Jan 4 (LP) An Information Centre for the convenience of the tourists visiting Kandy was opened on the 01st of January at the Kandy City Centre. The Information centre will provide information needed by locals and foreigners instantly. The centre was declared open by Minister of Tourism Achala Jagoda. Governor of the Central Province Tikiri Kobbakaduwa, Chief Minister of the Central Province Sarath Ekanayeka and more..

'JVP vote base drastically fallen'

Jan 4 (GDI) SB Dissanayake who crossed over from the UNP to support the candidature of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has claimed that the JVP vote base has dropped to a mere 200,000. He said the JVP has conveniently forgotten the murder of their late leader,Rohana Wijeweera committed by the UNP and secretly cremated in a location in Colombo. "They have also forgotten the torture chambers that tortured JVPers uring the UNP regime", more..

A-9 leads to more tourists

Jan 4 (LP) With reopening of the A-9 road the arrival of the Southern tourists to Jaffna has increased. According to the Jaffna Government Agent sources about 1,000 to 1,500 southerners now come to Jaffna on a daily basis along with a sprinkling of foreign tourists. The biggest problem was the lack of accommodation, but enterprising citizens were hastily converting their homes into restaurants and guest houses, as per to the increased demand. more..

Price reduction of essential commodities only for a month

Jan 4 (LT) The sources at Presidential Secretariat state the reduction of prices of rice, fuel and gas is only an election gimmick and this reduction would be effective only for one month until the end of the presidential election. The reduction of the prices of essential goods takes place targeting every election. Earlier a tax of Rs.25,000 was levied to import a metric ton of rice. more..

SLRC union object to free Ads given to one candidate

Jan 4 (LNW) The Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Trade Union Alliance which consists of several associations including a branch of the Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, the SLRC Workers Union and the Programme Producers Union, warned yesterday that they would be compelled to take trade union action if the SLRC authorities failed to stop the ongoing process of telecasting the advertisements of one presidential candidate free of charge. more..

Mahinda’s propaganda campaign exceeds Rs.10,000 million

Jan 4 (LT) It has been revealed that expenses of President Mahinda Rajapakse’s election campaign would exceed Rs.10,000 million. It is also revealed that Rs.3250 million would be spent by ‘Tharunyata Hetak’ organization of Mahinda Rajapakse’s son Namal Rajapakse for TV advertisements. At present 15,000 to 50,000 cutouts of all sizes have been put up throughout the island. It has been revealed that 75,000 more cutouts and more..

Person behind arrest of Ven. Amila Thero exposed

Jan 4 (LT) The arrest of the President of the Patriotic National Centre (PNC) Ven. Dhambara Amila Thero is a political revenge states ‘Bhikkus Solidarity for Democracy.’ Holding a special press conference on the 30th Member of the Presidential Council of ‘Bhikkus Solidarity for Democracy’ Ven. Kalawalgala Chandaloka Thero said arresting Ven. Dhambara Amila Thero by the CID was an instance of political power overwhelming the law of the country. more..

A socialist program to fight for social equality and democratic rights

Jan 4 (LP) The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) calls on workers and youth to support our candidate Wije Dias and participate in our campaign for the January 27, 2010 presidential election in Sri Lanka. Dias, 68, is SEP general secretary and a member of the World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board. He has devoted his entire adult life to fighting for revolutionary Marxism. more..

Govt. shaken by ‘SF’ operation – seeks legal action to disperse today’s ‘march’

Jan 4 (LT) Rajagiriya Police yesterday requested an order from the Judiciary to disperse the protest march to be held today commencing from Office of the Commissioner of Elections at Rajagiriya to Campbell Park in Borella organized by the political parties supporting the Common Presidential Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka. The march is organized to protest against the undemocratic agenda of the government contravening election regulations, more..

Discussions on 1978 Constitution at Sirasa TV

Jan 4 (LG) The Sirasa Television Service has conducted a series of discussions on the 1978 Constitution. This series has brought to focus some of the fundamental defects of this Constitution. In fact, most of the themes discussed are not new. In some groups there have been constant reflections on the defects of the 1978 Constitution and there is some literature on this issue. However, the importance of the discussion on Sirasa TV is that more..

'Kiribathgoda attack: Desperate acts in face of defeat'

Jan 4 (LG) Karu Jayasuriya, deputy leader of the United National Party, says that the government is acting in a desperate manner in the face of its impending defeat in the upcoming presidential election. Issuing a statement in connection with the attack on opposition supporters who had been peacefully distributing handbills in Kiribathgoda, Mr. Jayasuriya has said that he was of the view that more..

Attention: Presidential Candidates! The Case for a 'Media Commission'

Jan 4 (TC) In the final analysis, it is the media that can give true meaning to democratic values and ensure 'good governance' not withstanding the existence of even an enlightened constitution and a 'Right to Information' law (which we do not have!). If the media as it exists at present in this country were to continue in the same vein, these measures even if introduced, to a large extent would not serve their purpose. more..

Dockyard builds largest ship

Jan 4 (LNP) Sri Lanka should not consider India as a threat any longer but an opportunity to earn foreign income to the country. One such instance in the history of ship building is about to be unravelled by the Colombo Dockyard PLC, as it has constructed the first and the largest passenger vessel on the request of Indian Government, Colombo Dockyard PLC, Managing Director, CEO, Mangala P.B. Yapa told Daily News Business. more..

Ex-JVP MP supports Sri Lanka President

Jan 4 (LNP) Former JVP MP Anuruddha Polgampola yesterday expressed solidarity with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the forthcoming Presidential election. He said the President is the only candidate who could protect the country from terrorism and support national economy based on agriculture. He alleged that an international conspiracy being hatched to destroy JVP, the largest leftist movement in the country and against the country`s sovereignty. more..

In the soup for doing the job

Jan 4 (LNP) One J. R. Jayewardene resorted to all sorts of election malpractices and infamously vowed to roll back the country`s electoral map but years later another J. R. Jayawardena has stuck his neck out in a bid to help ensure free and fair elections. The latter is not a politician but a police officer a Senior Superintendent of Police, to be exact. Last week he ordered the removal of President Mahinda Rajapaksa`s cutouts in the Ampara area and more..

AF commander suicide bomber's target ?

Jan 4 (LNP) There was speculation yesterday that Friday s suicide attacker planned to target SLAF Chief Air Marshal Roshan Gunatilleke as he returned to his headquarters at Sir Chittampalam A Gardiner Mawatha. Well informed sources asserted that the female bomber may have had anticipated Gunatilleke to return to his offices after attending Friday's ceremony at the Presidential Secretariat to celebrate the liberation of Kilinochchi. more..

Sri Lanka targets 5 to 6-pct inflation in 2010

Jan 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka is targeting 5 to 6 percent average inflation by end-2010 allowing the country's base money to grow by 14.5 percent, building on low single digit inflation achieved in 2009, Central Bank governor Nivard Cabraal said. Sri Lanka ended 2009 with seasonally adjusted annual average inflation of 3.4 percent, the lowest since 1985, but worryingly unadjusted inflation moved up to 4.8 percent in December from 2.8 percent in November. more..

Ampara - the focus of development in East

Jan 4 (DN) Ampara District situated in the Southern part of the Eastern Province is rich in fertile soil and covers a land area of 44314 sq.k.m. The district has a population of 610,719 persons and Muslims are the majority population in the district. Muslims represent 43.99% of the district population while Sinhalese account for 37.49% and Tamils 18.34%. There are 20 Divisional Development Secretariat in the District and 503 Grama Niladhari Divisions. more..

Five schools in Kilinochchi begin academic work

Jan 4 (LP) The new school term for the year 2010 commences today. All Government schools will begin today except the schools deployed as the G.C.E (O\L) evaluation Centres. The first term for those schools will begin on the 11th of January. Meanwhile five schools in the Kilonochchi district will also commence its academic work for the year 2010 today. The schools will be opened with the participation of the Governor of the Northern Province Major General G A Chandrasena. more..

'Son-in-law’s arms company registered at Fonseka’s Green Card address in Oklohoma'

Jan 4 (Island) The UPFA yesterday declared that it would divulge former Army Chief General (Retd) Sarath Fonseka’s secret dealings this week. UPFA Ministers alleged that Fonseka had manipulated procedures relating to the acquisition of armaments for his benefit with the help of a company run by his son-in-law. They alleged that the company had been registered at Fonseka’s permanent Green Card address. more..

Police OICs profusely lying about cutouts displayed – EC raps them

Jan 4 (UNP) The country’s police Force who should be exemplary as law enforcing officers have descended to such levels that they have now become lackeys and stooges of politicians, unable to do anything properly pertaining to their law enforcing duties because of political interference and goals. While several Assist. Elections Commissioners have complained that giant cutouts, banners and posters are still on display illegally and more..

Hill country mourns Chandrasekaran’s demise

Jan 4 (DN) The hill country mourned the death of Minister Periyasamy Chandrasekaran. His remains are lying at his residence in Talawakelle. Thousands of plantation workers were seen in tears and ‘Poojas’ are being conducted around the plantations today. The funeral will take place at 2 p.m. at Talawakelle. White flags are displayed in every shop and household in the plantations. more..

Opposition’s claim Mahinda bought only ammo countered

Jan 4 (Island) Responding to claims that the Rajapaksa administration had not acquired any new, weaponry except ammunition during the Eelam War IV, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told The Island that nothing could be further from the truth. "What we acquired after fighting erupted in August 2006 was amazing," he said adding that no previous government had provided such a range of equipment to more..

Gold missing from State Bank

Jan 4 (Island) The Galle Police are investigating how a stock of jewellery worth Rs 7.5 million pawned to a state bank in Kaluwella went missing from its safes. The value of the missing of gold jewellery was Rs 7,539,312.00, police said. The bank managers has told the police that he believes the theft occurred between December 24 and December 28. An audit conducted by the bank revealed that the safes which had contained jewellery were empty. more..

Elections bring economic uncertainty

Jan 4 (Island) Economists and commercial bank dealers are uncertain about Sri Lanka’s economic performance as presidential and parliamentary elections take up the first quarter of the year, and the feeling of uncertainty is worse than during the time when the war against the LTTE escalated in the later part of 2008 and early 2009. "There is a period of uncertainty until May this year because of the presidential and parliamentary elections. more..

Politicking for power

Jan 4 (Island) Another election has been thrust on us. At best of times, this would have been an enjoyable exercise in democracy. Unfortunately in our country elections have become the occasions to insult and intimidate the long-suffering citizens by the politicians. Already we can see this process being enacted on almost every election platform and by every poster on private walls and cutouts in public places. more..

'We will expose you'

Jan 4 (DM) The ruling UPFA yesterday dropped another bombshell on the opposition Presidential candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka alleging that he had directly involved in purchasing weapons through a firm in the US while serving as Army Commander and threw a challenge to prove otherwise in the next 48 hours or threatened that he would be exposed. Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne addressing a news conference at the Mahaweli Center said more..

'When the General enters politics, we talk about him'

Jan 4 (LG) “When General Sarath Fonseka was in uniform, no one found fault with him. Nobody makes comments on soldiers. The reason is that when they are in service, they are in a different plane. However, when they are no longer in uniform and enter the political arena, we are compelled to talk about them, That is the reality,” said Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Minister of Mass Media and Information. more..

Tamils must accept the new realities

Jan 4 (DM) The e-mail address of Dr. Noel Nadesan, the Australian veterinarian who passed out from the Peradeniya University in the ‘70s, tells a story of its own about his background. It means that he has been running the Uthayam, the anti-LTTE Tamil community newspaper in Australia for 12 years despite the threats to his life by the Tiger agents. He has been in the forefront of the anti-LTTE campaign in Australia and abroad. more..

Lankans can open, maintain accounts with banks abroad

Jan 4 (DM) The Central Bank (CB) says Sri Lankans will now be allowed to open and maintain accounts with banks abroad and invest in equity or short term debt instruments in overseas companies. The Bank website also said that foreigners can invest in rupee denominated debentures issued by local companies. Foreigners on tour or business in Sri Lanka can also open Sri Lanka Rupee accounts. more..

Polls Chief praised for halting JRJ’s transfer

Jan 4 (Island) Police headquarters yesterday acknowledged that Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake had cancelled the transfer of SSP Ampara J. R. Jayawardena to Kilinochchi allegedly over the removal of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cutouts in Ampara. Several organisations engaged in election monitoring called for Dissanayake’s intervention to prevent the government from interfering in more..

Court refuses to ban opposition procession

Jan 4 (CT) The court has refused to issue a restraining order, sought by police, against an opposition procession prior to a campaign rally in support of presidential hopeful Gen. Sarath Fonseka in Borella this afternoon. Colombo Fort additional magistrate Praharsha Ranasinghe disallowed the request by Borella Police, saying the court has no powers to issue such an order. more..

Sri Lankan Airlines asks travelers to come early to airport

Jan 4 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines said it was asking passengers on departing flights to report four hours before departure to the airport because of delays at immigration. It said in a statement there was heavy congestion at immigration counters at the BIA, north of Colombo. “SriLankan Airlines requests all travelers departing on flights out of Bandaranaike International Airport to report to the airport 04 hours prior to their respective departures, more..

'All armed forces fully behind me'

Jan 4 (AD) This is the first time in history of this country that all the armed forces are standing together as one. They are supporting my candidacy as one, said Presidential candidate General (Retired) Sarath Fonseka addressing a JVP rally at Campbell Park in Borella. There are only a few officers who are supporting the President and his brother and are resorting to thuggery and intimidation. more..

Congestion at BIA due to Immigration & Emigration work-to-rule

Jan 4 (AD) Members of an employees’ trade union of the Immigration and Emigration Department staff based at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) have launched a work-to-rule campaign in support of three demands put forward to the authorities. The BIA based union has demanded that the department implement an employees’ constitution, an incentive payment and the rectification of salary anomalies, said Immigration and Emigration Controller P.B. Abeykoone. more..

JVP accepts challenge

Jan 4 (DM) The JVP said yesterday that Opposition Common Candidate Gen. Sarath Fonseka was always ready for a debate with President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the alleged frauds in the procurements of arms during the war period. JVP MP Vijitha Herath was responding to a Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne who vowed to expose all the fraudulent deals that involved Gen. Fonseka unless he came for a debate within the next 48 hours. more..

Infrastructure gets priority

Jan 4 (DN) Priority has been given to the development of infrastructure facilities. The key sectors of electricity, highways, irrigation, water supply, ports and airports, transport facilities, cities and investment zones have been prioritized for development throughout the country, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. he said development, which was largely confined to Colombo earlier was spread to the village level. more..

Election violence 'on the rise'

Jan 4 (BBC) The campaign for the forthcoming election is getting increasingly violent as it intensifies, election monitors and campaign groups say. There have been at least 24 violent incidents around the country during the 48 hours ending on Sunday, according to the Campaign for Free Fair Elections (CaFFE). CaFFE media spokesman Keerthi Tennakoon told BBC Sandeshaya that the violence is increasing as a result of law enforcement agencies being partial to one presidential candidate. more..

Polls chief calls meeting to discuss election violence

Jan 4 (CT) Elections chief Dayananda Dissanayake is meeting secretaries of political parties tomorrow to discuss escalating violence related to campaigning for the upcoming presidential polls. Measures to ensure a free and fair election will come under discussion at the meeting, said the elections secretariat. In the latest incident, nearly 30 people were wounded in Nawalapitiya yesterday afternoon in a clash between supporters of government and opposition parties. more..

If Fonseka is a fraud why Govt. begged him to accept Ministry portfolios and even share Gotabaya’s post? –JVP

Jan 4 (UNP) JVP M.P. Vijtha Herath challenged Minister Dr. Rajitha Seneviratne’s wild allegations of fraud hurled against Gen. Sarath Fonseka. Herath told the Minister to come for a debate instead of barking in the air. The JVP M.P. questioned as to how the Govt. offered Ministry portfolios, Ministry Secretary posts, the Chief of defense staff post and more..

Fowza: from victims to volunteers in Sri Lanka

Jan 5 (RC) Over 120,000 houses along Sri Lanka’s coastline were destroyed, and over 516,000 people were displaced, while over 30,000 drowned in the 2004 tsunami. In its aftermath, the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society worked tirelessly to help the victims and clear up the devastated areas throughout the island. A number of victims of the tidal wave are now volunteers for the SLRCS themselves and many work in the worst affected areas – like Ampara district in the east coast. more..

Indonesian Police arrest 11 ilegal immigrants from Sri Lanka

Jan 5 (Antara) Police in Bintan in the Sumatran Kepulauan Riau province arrested 11 illegal immigrants from Sri Lanka on Monday. "We caught them hiding on the edge of Nirwana Garden Coastal Resort at around 6am," the head of the Bintan resort police, Adjunct Senior Commissioner Yohanes Widodo, said in his confirmation to ANTARA News. He said they consisted of seven male adults, two female adults and two children. more..

Sri Lanka announces ceiling for deposit insurance

Jan 5 (LBO) Central Bank said a new mandatory deposit insurance scheme to be introduced this year will cover up to 100,000 rupees per depositor. Coverage would increase as the deposit insurance fund grows, governor Nivard Cabraal said in a statement on its financial sector policies for 2010. The deposit insurance is to be introduced to stabilise the country's financial sector and restore public confidence in the financial services industry, he said. more..

Lankan Navy greets TN fishermen with sweets on New Year

Jan 5 (PTI) In a gesture to ease tensions in Palk Straits following complaints by Tamil Nadu fishermen of persistent attacks by Sri Lankan Navy, Lankan Naval personnel on New Year's day distributed sweets and cakes to the fishermen in mid-sea wishing them a happy new year. The fishermen reciprocated by greeting the Naval men and gifted them a caricature of a fish netted by them. more..

Tillakaratne Dilshan masterminds easy victory

Jan 5 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan made 2009 his own, scoring ten centuries in all forms, and he didn't start too badly in the new year either, compiling another robust ton to guide Sri Lanka to an easy win in the tri-series opener. Bangladesh gave a good account of themselves with the bat in getting to 260, but their bowlers lost the battle against Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and the dew. more..

General offers amnesty for LTTE

Jan 5 (BBC) The former military commander of Sri Lanka standing for presidency has pledged the main Tamil party to grant a general amnesty for all former militants. Gen Sarath Fonseka has submitted a proposal named “Immediate Relief Measures for war affected persons,” to the leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). Over 10,000 former Tamil Tiger cadres are currently detained in different detention centres. more..

Debrief News - 04.01.2010

Tillakaratne Dilshan to miss game against India due to groin injury

Jan 5 (CI) Sri Lanka opener Tillakaratne Dilshan has been virtually ruled of tomorrow's game against India because of a groin strain. He suffered the injury during his match-winning 104 in the opening fixture of the tri-nation tournament in Bangladesh, against the hosts. Sri Lanka entered the competition with a depleted team and have now been dealt a further blow with Dilshan's injury. more..