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Govt to brief diplomats

Sep 23 (CG) The Sri Lankan govt is to brief foreign diplomats both in Sri Lanka and through its missions overseas on the NPC elections. External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatillake Amunugama said that the Ministry will brief the diplomats on the successful and peaceful conclusion of the polls. Apart from the foreign election observers invited to Sri Lanka, a huge number of foreign diplomats were in the North to keep an eye on what was said to be a landmark election in Sri Lanka more..

Indian fishermen hail Jayalalithaa’s initiative on dialogue

Sep 23 (Hindu) Leaders of fishermen associations in the district have welcomed Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s suggestion for dialogue between fishermen associations in the State and Sri Lanka in Chennai. Reacting to the Chief Minister’s letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on this issue, U. Arulanandham, President of the Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF), said on Sunday that he thanked her for making efforts to resolve the fishermen issue. more..

JVP accuses govt. of winning two provinces by using state power, resources

Sep 23 (Island) The JVP claimed that although the UPFA and the TNA recorded landslide victories at Saturday’s polls, it was not a people’s victory. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that UPFA used state power and resources to win the Northwestern and Central PCs, while the TNA won by spreading racism and separatism in the Northern Province. Silva said that there was no considerable loss or an increase in more..

Holding elections in north is a victory for the Govt: President

Sep 23 (FT) Holding an election to provide the people in the North, who were under terrorist control for three decades, the right to elect their own administration is a victory for the got, President Rajapaksa said following the elections held for three provincial councils on Saturday. Issuing a statement on the election victory, the President said the provincial council election held yesterday is a unique event that strengthened Sri Lanka’s political democracy. more..

GTF: NPC result meant Tamils want political freedom

Sep 23 (Island) The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) asserted that the ITAK’s overwhelming victory, at the first NPC polls, meant that Tamil speaking people want political freedom. GTF spokesperson Suren Surendiran issued the following statement in response to a query at the conclusion of the election: "Under occupying military intimidation and violence the defiant Tamil people of North have shown, in unprecedented record numbers, their true aspirations through the ballot box. more..

'True victor is Democratic Party'

Sep 23 (Island) Former Army Commander and Democratic Party Leader Sarath Fonseka declared that it was his party that had scored the real victory at Saturday’s election by making gains, while the ruling coalition and the UNP lost ground electorally. In assessing the gains made by his party, in the Central and Northwestern Provinces, Gen. Fonseka said that all the major parties had a responsibility to ensure that more..

'Dayasiri joining UPFA was a great loss'

Sep 23 (CT) North Western Provincial (NWP) Council’s chief ministerial aspirant, Dayasiri Jayasekera, leaving the United National Party (UNP), was the greatest loss that the party had suffered in recent times, UNP Chairman Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, told Ceylon Today. He was responding to a question on the UNP’s reaction, following unconfirmed reports last afternoon of Jayasekera topping the NWP preference votes in the just concluded Provincial Council polls. more..

TNA has to deliver on high public expectations

Sep 23 (TOI) The massive mandate in the north for the TNA and its chief minister designate C V Wigneswaran reflects the great expectations of the people but they face a big challenge given the limited powers they enjoy and the funds at their disposal. Political observers point out that provinces in Sri Lanka have only limited powers. "I voted for TNA to show my frustration to the government and to the world. But I don't think this new provincial council can perform well. more..

'TNA duty bound to safeguard Sri Lanka’s sovereignty'

Sep 23 (Island) Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that the TNA, after having won the NPC election, now had a great responsibility for safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and the aspirations of those living in the North. Those who had been elected would also have to treat in an equal manner the Sinhalese and Muslims living in the North and the govt had a responsibility for providing security to all, more..

Sri Lanka election shows Tamils reject the status quo

Sep 23 (TS) In an election that was largely symbolic, perhaps nowhere is a dewy sense of back-to-the-future envisioned more poignantly than here — the former de facto capital of Tigerland. This is the town that the LTTE captured at the beginning of a brutal civil war and kept as a formidable stronghold until almost the very end. Guerrillas blew up the train tracks, severing commuter travel from the south, using the rail ties to construct fortified bunkers. When Kilinochchi fell in early 2009, more..

34 fishermen released but 20 more held by Sri Lankan navy

Sep 23 (TOI) As many as 150 villagers assembled near the Mandapam coast guard station on Saturday to receive the fishermen who were released by the Sri Lankan navy. However, they were in a dilemma whether to be happy about their release or shed tears when they received news that 20 other fishermen and four boats were held by Sri Lankan navy on Saturday. The 34 fishermen from Nagapattinam and Karaikal, who were released, were handed over to Indian Coast Guard more..

'Inexperienced TNA would require a well thought-out strategy'

Sep 23 (Hindu) The TNA may have reached a historic, political milestone in winning the NPC polls, but the actual game begins now. Attired in a spotless white dhoti and a kurta in pastel blue, C.V.Wigneswaran who, as of Sunday evening was emerging the first preference among TNA candidates with over 1.3 lakh votes, was a restrained man at Sunday’s press conference. The retired SC Judge, fielded by the TNA more..

Dayasiri Jayasekera receives highest number of preferential votes

Sep 23 (DN) Dayasiri Jayasekera received the highest number of preferential votes (336,327) at the NWPC election on Saturday contesting on the the UPFA ticket. Johan Fernando received 134,443 preferential votes. Jayasekera’s victory with a big majority has proved that he is a big favourite of the masses. The UPFA’s Sanath Nishantha obtained 62,996 being the highest preference votes in the Puttalam district. in the Matale District, Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon (UPFA) topped the list more..

North appreciates democracy – Susil

Sep 23 (DN) All those who value democracy should appreciate the people of the North exercising their franchise, with a huge percentage participating in the first provincial council elections in the Northern Province and contributing to electoral democracy in the North, which was ruled by ‘landmines and terrorism’ five years ago, Minister Susil Premajayantha said. Various local and foreign forces attempted to defeat the steps taken by the President and the govt immediately after more..

UPFA bags CP, NWP; TNA wins North

Sep 23 (Island) The UPFA bagged both the Central and North-Western Provinces while the ITAK/TNA secured the Northern PC with ease at Saturday’s PC polls. President Rajapaksa led the campaign in all three provinces for the UPFA. Veteran politician R. Sampanthan, who spearheaded the TNA campaign is widely believed to be responsible for bringing in former SC Judge Vigneswaran as the party’s CM candidate. more..

Ayubowan Wigneswaran : Win or lose, we go shopping after the election – Imelda Marcos

Sep 23 (DM) A few weeks ago when Noam Chomsky declared that the United States has ceased to behave like a democracy, the statement made international headlines despite its predictability. Speaking at an audience in Bonn, Germany, Chomsky, voted ‘the world’s top intellectual,’ maintained that the United States is nothing but a plutocracy - a political system run and dominated by a handful of people. Even otherwise the United States remains a complex state more..

Judicious diplomatic skills put Sri Lanka on the mat

Sep 23 (DM) It need not be reiterated that infrastructure development is an essential pre-requisite for development. A state of the art road, rail and sea transport system has been long overdue for this country. Noteworthy are the govt’s efforts in this direction whatever be the criticism leveled against the present regime. Yet, to restrict the meaning of good governance only to building of roads, bridges, airports highways, railways seaports, schools hospitals, culverts and bridges more..

Sri Lanka bank liquidity surge, overnight rates lower

Sep 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's interbank rupee liquidity has surged to 80 billion rupees, following the conversion of proceeds of the a dollar bond by a state bank, and overnight interest rates have edged lower, dealers said. Sri Lanka's state-run Nations Savings Bank raised 750 million dollars and a surge in liquidity to 80 billion rupees indicates a conversion of around 500 million dollars to rupees through a sale to the Central Bank. more..

Starting point for reconciliation after northern election

Sep 23 (SL) The holding of the elections to the NPC is the most significant political development relating to the ethnic conflict since the end of the war. There were many who doubted that these elections would take place. Apart from the report of the LLRC, there has been no other governmental initiative that impacts upon political issues that are of utmost concern to the Tamil people. It is likely that the strong international more..

Vasan’s stand sparks speculations

Sep 23 (Hindu) At a time when the Congress party in Tamil Nadu has no plausible explanation with regard to the UPA govt at the Center vis-à-vis its policy on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, Union Minister G.K. Vasan’s strong views have overshadowed every political leader in the State. While all political parties in the State are highly critical of the Centre’s position, Vasan’s open call for keeping in abeyance the military pact more..

Food insecurity, debt rise in SL’s North

Sep 23 (IRIN) In two northern districts of Sri Lanka, now slowly recovering from decades of conflict, almost seven out of 10 households are “food insecure”, according to a recent survey. Of the 300 households interviewed over two days in Vavuniya and Mullaitivu districts in August 2013, half reported selling jewellery to cope with falling income and rising debt. Food cost 10 to 30% more in local markets in the two surveyed districts than more..

It’s not the people who have won; they will have to start their struggle from tomorrow

Sep 23 (LT) Only the govt and several candidates of the ruling party have won. The election result will never bring down the prices of essential commodities, electricity or fuel; the cost of living will go up further, the salaries of the state, private and estate sector employees would not increase. The election result would not bring employment to the unemployed. It wouldn’t stop the slashing of education carried out by the govt. more..

TNA victory in Lankan polls evokes lukewarm response from TN

Sep 23 (ENS) The landslide victory of the TNA in the elections of the Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka has evoked a lukewarm response from the political class in Tamil Nadu. While DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi hoped that the elected TNA representatives would work towards the devolution of power, MDMK chief Vaiko and PMK founder S Ramadoss interpreted the victory as a vote for a separate Tamil Eelam. more..

TNA demands ‘a measure of autonomy within a united, undivided Sri Lanka’

Sep 23 (Island) Having secured the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) with an overwhelming majority at Saturday’s Provincial Council polls, the ITAK aka TNA yesterday urged the govt to ‘grant a measure of autonomy to Tamil speaking people within a united undivided country.’ Saturday’s was the first Northern PC polls since the introduction of the 13th Amendment, in accordance with the Indo-Lanka Accord, signed on July 29, 1987. more..

Wealthy, influential British investor says he is pulling out in disgust

Sep 23 (ST) A disgusted British media baron is selling his shares in a Sri Lanka boutique hotel and says he will warn other investors to think twice before they come here. Clive W Leach, 78, is the former CEO of Yorkshire Tyne Tees, one of the biggest television stations in the UK. He is also the incumbent chairman of Durham County Cricket Club which hosted the fourth test match between Australia and England in the recently more..

Unions warn of blood shortage

Sep 23 (CG) Health unions today warned that there maybe a shortage of blood in the future as a decision has been taken not to pay allowances to the employees of the national blood bank. The All Ceylon Health Service Union said that the Health Ministry had decided to suspend paying allowances for the next three months. A Ministry circular had been issued last with in this respect, the All Ceylon Health Service Union said. more..

PC Polls: First reactions of the main parties

Sep 23 (DM) In a response to the election results, Minister Dinesh Gunawardane said the people had once again endorsed the govt’s programmes by giving a thumping majority in the Central and North western provinces. Though the govt was defeated in the North, he said it was a victory for democracy. “After 25 years, an election was held in the North. It is a victory for democracy. The parties got an opportunity to be more..

Rape and murder in Sri Lanka

Sep 23 (CT) Early this month, the media reported that four persons found guilty of the rape and murder of a young female physiotherapy intern, on a moving bus in the southern part of Delhi, were sentenced to death by hanging. The incident that occurred on 16 December 2012 saw furious street protests and enormous media attention, which prompted the Court to fast track the case, the normal course of which would have taken anything between five to 10 years. The long delay in obtaining justice, more..

Prison massacre and the Alitalia hijacker Sepala Ekanayake

Sep 23 (CT) He has been identified as an assassin in the second massacre by some of the surviving Tamil detainees and was the leading attacker to enter the Youthful Offenders Building. Independently, Major Sunil Peiris who led the rescue team confronted him carrying an object in his hand, and apparently thinking that the commandos had come to admire their work, told Peiris, “Sir, how is this job?” Repelled by what he saw, the officer delivered a blow while passing Ekanayake, more..

Australia clamps down on information about asylum seekers

Sep 23 (Reuters) Australia's govt said it would no longer provide regular information on asylum boats turned away or on emergencies at sea involving asylum seekers under a new military operation to curb people trafficking. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, accused by rights groups of imposing a gag on an issue which split voters in a Sept 7 election, said the govt would no longer provide full briefings on border protection more..

Will your children take up arms?

Sep 23 (CT) NFF Leader, Wimal Weerawansa, questioned the leaders of the TNA, as to whether their children would be taking up arms if powers are not granted fully to the NPC. Referring to a statement made by TNA chief ministerial candidate C.V. Wigneswaran, that they will take up arms unless full powers are given to the NPC, he queried whether it is the children of his close relatives, Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara and politician Kesaralal Gunasekara or the TNA leaders’ more..

Time for Ranil, cronies to go – Maithri

Sep 23 (Island) The people of North-Western and Central Provinces had, at Saturday’s PC elections, given the UNP a clear message that they rejected the party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and his cronies, UNP reformist Maithri Gunaratne, said. He said that Wickremesinghe and those in the Working Committee should realise that the people had totally rejected them. He said it was the 27th electoral defeat that the UNP had suffered under the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

President arrives in New York; Will address UN general assembly Sept. 24

Sep 23 (GDI) President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa arrived in New York City Sunday afternoon. President will attend the 68th session of the UN General Assembly and is scheduled to deliver his address Sept. 24. The President and First Lady were welcomed by the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN Dr. Palitha Kohona, the Deputy Permanent Representative Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva, more..

Sri Lanka rupee slips on importer dlr demand, stocks weaker

Sep 23 (Reuters) The rupee traded a tad weaker on Monday due to importer dollar demand, dealers said, while the main stock index slid in the early trade. The rupee spot traded at 132.15/20 by 0529 GMT, compared with Friday's close of 132.12/18. "Being a Monday, naturally the importer demand is high," a currency dealer said. Many dealers expect the rupee to be steady around the 132.25 level due to inflows from the National Savings Bank's $750 million 5-year bond issue. more..

Sri Lankans among 66 illegal immigrants nabbed in Malaysia

Sep 23 (NST) A total of 49 Sri Lanka nationals were found hiding in trucks by Kedah Immigration Department enforcement officers in Jalan Sultanah Bahiyah here today. The foreigners were believed to have gone into hiding after learning that officers were rounding up on illegal immigrants. The department's deputy director Aidil Safri Adnan said the suspects were among 66 foreigners rounded up during a four-hour operation which started at 12 midnight last night. more..

Video: Southern communal parties spreading separatism bogey: SF

Sep 23 (DM) No one needs to be afraid of the success scored by the TNA in the Northern Province as it will not pave the way for separatism, Democratic Party Leader Sarath Fonseka said today. He said there was no room anymore for separatism in the country. He said the separatism bogey was unnecessarily fed into the minds of the people by the southern political parties which have embraced communalism for their survival. more..

Laktillake fires broadside

Sep 23 (Island) Shiral Laktillake, one of the leading UNP rebels, now fighting to prevent the party from expelling him with several others, warned that the fate that befell parties like the CP and the LSSP would befall the UNP if nothing was done to change its fossilised leadership. The sky high cost of living, mounting debt, Ratupaswala killings, electricity being overpriced while the country enjoyed maximum rains over hydro reservoir areas, govt and politicians getting involved in scandal after more..

Jaffna Ex-Servicemen Felicitated

Sep 23 (GDI) A pompous ceremony to felicitate Ex- Servicemen in Jaffna was organized by the Security Forces-Jaffna (SF-J) last Friday at Civil Affairs and Public Relations Office on Hospital Road. Thirty two aging Jaffna citizens who dedicated their spring of age to serve the country and their family members were invited to the function where each of them met their counterparts from the tri services and different regiments. The moment filled with sharing cherished memories and nostalgic feelings of good old more..

Sinhalese hardliners fear Tamil win could revive calls for Tamil autonomy

Sep 23 (AFP) Sinhalese hardliners have urged Sri Lanka's president to reduce powers of a regional council won by the country's main Tamil party, with fears the win could revive calls for Tamil autonomy. The TNA has won the first local election to be held in the country's north after decades of civil war. The election over the weekend has been hailed internationally as a step towards ethnic reconciliation and comes four years after the army defeated more..

Wimal hits rock bottom in PC polls

Sep 23 (SM) All the 5 candidates who have been put into the UPFA lists in the CPC and NWPC polls, from Minister Wimal Weerawansa's NFF, have faced a crushing defeat. They have all been rolled into the bottom of the preferences lists. Accordingly, former JVP MP Nimal Themawansha who contested from Kandy, former MP Samansiri who contested from Puttalam, Kurunegala former MP Senarathne De Silva, and Matale former MP Sarath Wijesinghe have all been defeated. more..