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Editorial: The Avurudu election

Apr 11 (Island) The election result, of course, was a foregone conclusion, but not its size which would have surely boggled the minds of even seasoned observers and analysts. Given that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had trounced General Sarath Fonseka, undoubtedly the most formidable opponent that could have been fielded against him, there was absolutely no doubt that Rajapaksa had wrapped-up the election just concluded even before people went to the poll. more..

Vas Gunawardene’s goons attack Chief Minister

Apr 11 (LT) The residence of Chief Minister for Southern Provincial Council Shan Wijelal has been attacked by goons today (11th) at 3.00 a.m. However, there has been no damage to people or property. The residences of the President, the General Secretary and several activists of the SLFP branch at Ambalangoda who are ardent supporters of Chief Minister Shan Wijelal too have been similarly attacked this morning. more..

A new party in Tamil Nadu, inspired by Tigers

Apr 11 (IE) On May 18, the first anniversary of the death of LTTE leaders including Velupillai Prabhakaran, Tamil Nadu will have a new political party — this time to be launched by a film director. The latest entrant from the Tamil cinema is an ardent LTTE supporter Sebastian Seeman, who on Saturday unveiled the Naam Tamilar (We the Tamils) party’s flag, which closely resembled the rebels’ Tiger insignia more..

Police obstruct Anoma visiting woman raped by ‘Blue Brigade'

Apr 11 (LT) A special police posse and CID officers have obstructed when Ms. Anoma Fonseka visited a woman sexually abused by the members of the ‘Blue Brigade.’ The special posse deployed at the hospital and CID officers had told her that they had got orders from the top to prevent her from visiting the relevant woman who is being treated at the hospital after being sexually abused. more..

To reawaken common cultural legacy

Apr 11 (NS) The spring is in the air, there is a flavour of festivity and the koha is heralding its New Year message once more. The first Sinhala and Tamil New Year after three decades of horrendous civil war which scarred the entire island, will dawn in a few days, brimming with hopes for a new era of Sri Lankan history, The Nation shares the perspectives of this special New Year and how the true meaning of it should be ‘lived’ and shared in brotherhood, more..

National lists under siege

Apr 11 (NS) With several heavyweights losing from both sides of the political divide at the just concluded polls and there being not a single Muslim elected to Parliament from the UNP from Colombo for the first time since the party was formed, political sources said pressure was building up on these parties to accommodate some of the losers through their respective national lists. more..

How the parties fared

Apr 11 (NS) The invalidation of votes in 34 polling stations in Nawalapitiya and one polling booth in Kurumbapitty due to violations of election law may have forced the Election Department to withhold the release of results in Kandy and Trincomalee districts, but the clear cut verdict for UPFA from the 20 districts already released is the biggest victory for any party at a general election since the proportional system was introduced by the 1978 Constitution. more..

General Election at a glance

Apr 11 (NS) The recently concluded general election, which for the first time in 30 years covered the entire country, recorded unprecedented trends and mindsets of people of the country, according to election analysts. While UPFA was able to secure 117 seats from 20 districts where final results were released, the UNP that won 71 seats in 2004 has only managed to secure 46 seats. The JVP that managed 39 seats in 2004 was reduced to three seats more..

The soldier’s home for New Year

Apr 11 (ST) There were no Avurudu holidays for the soldiers all these years. Instead of the sound of fire crackers that herald the auspicious times of the new year, what they heard were the sounds of guns and artillery fire. While the rest of the country looked forward to a new beginning with fresh hope, our war heroes were away from their families and friends fighting a bitter battle to save the country from the clutches of terrorism. more..

Women MPs; The number not satisfactory

Apr 11 (NS) At the conclusion of the sixth general election, the constitution of women MPs in the seventh Parliament sees little improvement from the previous one. Excluding the two districts where results have been temporarily withheld due to re-poll – Kandy and Trincomalee – less than 10 women from the other 20 districts have managed to secure seats in Parliament. Among notable returnees from the winning UPFA are; Pavithra Wanniarachchi more..

The electorate answers the President’s clarion call

Apr 11 (NS) Even before the announcement of the final result of Thursday’s general election, President Mahinda Rajapaksa held a conference at Temple Trees with a group of state officials close to him over the formation of the new cabinet. President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, Additional Secretary to the cabinet Gamini Senarath and Secretary to the Finance Ministry Dr. P. B. Jayasundara participated in the deliberations. more..

‘My defeat an opportunity to allow youth to take over party responsibility’

Apr 11 (Island) UNP’s Galle district leader, Vajira Abeywardena who was defeated at Thursday’s parliamentary election, said that he will continue to work steadfastly for the party he stood by for the past 25 years. "I will never leave the UNP", he reiterated. "I will always remain loyal to the party which moulded my political career". more..

TNA suffers setback as UPFA makes inroads into N-E vote base

Apr 11 (Island) With the UPFA making inroads to the North and East vote base by its comfortable victory at Thursday’s general election, the TNA has suffered a political setback, reports said. For the first time after several decades, the UPFA has been successful in capturing power in all the five districts of the North and the East. This has resulted in the support enjoyed by the TNA, which earlier had 22 MPs elected to the 6th Parliament, being reduced to 14 MPs more..

SLFP shamed by Nawalapitiya thuggery, delays national list

Apr 11 (Island) Had the SLFP leadership restrained its members, who resorted to violence at the General Election on Thursday, the Election Secretariat would not have been forced to suspend election results of both Kandy and Trincomalee districts. The rampant thuggery forced the suspension of results of two districts, thereby holding up the final countrywide results and the allocation of National List slots. more..

Winning Chandana out, defeated Lokuge in – manipulation from the top

Apr 11 (LT) SLFP organizer for Ratmalana and former organizer for Kesbawa Chandana Kathriarachchi who had been elected to Colombo District on a higher preferential vote has been struck out from the list of MPs elected from Colombo District and instead Gamini Lokuge who crossed over from the UNP stating he was defecting to strengthen President Mahinda Rajapakse’s hands and more..

Nuwara Eliya ready to welcome stream of merry makers

Apr 11 (Island) With the parliamentary poll now over, salubrious Nuwara Eliya is looking forward to a record turn-out of merry makers as the annual season in this popular holiday destination in the hills, begins. A series of exciting events have been lined up this season as well, with the Golf Tournament starting today (11) at the Nuwara Eliya Golf Course. It will continue until April 13. more..

No Cabinet till April 21

Apr 11 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will swear in a new Cabinet of Ministers on April 21, a day ahead of the first session of new Parliament. Thus, for the first time after a parliamentary election, Sri Lanka will not have a Cabinet of Ministers or Secretaries to Ministries for 13 days since the poll. All functions of the Ministers will be exercised by the President, in accordance with the Constitution. more..

Deal between TNA and MR not ruled out

Apr 11 (Island) A deal between the TNA and the government was not ruled out yesterday but Tamil politicians said they have not received any invitation from the president for talks although they were open to a dialogue. "We have not received any invitation so far. Should any proposal be made with a sense of responsibility to try and bring an end to the problems the people are facing, we will not be found wanting on our side," more..

Editorial: Higher the majority greater the expectations

Apr 11 (ST) Voter fatigue - and apathy finally took its toll. Since last year, the Government has wanted to plan its strategy by hitching its wagon to the military defeat of the LTTE, but the voter turnout at one of the most important elections - the election that chose the country's next set of lawmakers, on Thursday set a new record. This was for the lowest turnout ever for a general election, even surpassing the elections of 1989 during the reign of terror. more..

Manape jilmaat: Ministers in recounts at counting centre

Apr 11 (ST) Fisticuffs and heated arguments broke out among UPFA heavyweights and their supporters at Colombo's counting centre on Thursday night. Police squads were deployed to ensure that peace was maintained as final preference votes were being counted. The tussle was among ex-ministers Rohitha Bogollagama, Susil Premjayantha, A.H.M. Fowzie, Gamini Lokuge after they found that their names were at the low end of the preference vote list. more..

2010 elections endorse Rajapaksa era in Lanka

Apr 11 (ST) Six weeks of lacklustre poll campaigns paved the way only for sombre and dull Parliamentary elections last Thursday; arguably the dullest ever. Yet, it created political history for post-independent Sri Lanka in many respects. Nearly half the 14,088,500 registered voters stayed away; or some, like the IDPs were unable to find conveyance to the booths. more..

True, true happiness will follow if you follow me!

Apr 11 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, I thought I must write to you after your Blue party won handsomely at last Thursday’s elections. Congratulations I must say, but I daresay that even you would have been surprised at the extent of your victory. Of course, we know that you were asking the people for a two-thirds majority and that is not quite what you got, but knowing you I am sure you will be able to come to an ‘understanding’ with some of the Greens, more..

28 Tamil Nadu fishermen injured in 'attack' by Sri Lankan Navy

Apr 11 (PTI) Twenty eight fishermen from Tamil Nadu were injured when they were attacked allegedly by Sri Lankan Naval personnel while fishing near Katchatheevu late last night. Three persons suffered serious injuries as they were beaten up badly, official sources and local fishermen's association functionary Anthony Raj said today. They said the incident occurred around midnight when the men were fishing near Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka by India. more..

President Rajapaksa inspects the proposed International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota

Apr 11 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa along with his elder son and the Chairman of the Tharunyata Hetak movement Mr Namal Rajapaksa inspected the construction of the proposed International Cricket Stadium in Sooriyawewa at Hambantota district in the early hours of 09th April. The President is back on duty the day after the General Election and was seen talking to people in Hambantota yesterday. more..

United States congratulates President and the UPFA

Apr 11 (USE) The United States congratulates President Rajapaksa and the UPFA for their historic victory in the first nationwide parliamentary election in decades. This victory, coupled with the President's win in January’s contest, provides a mandate to move forward on the important issues the President discussed during the campaign, such as national and ethnic reconciliation, decentralizing power, economic development, and securing human rights. more..

Rajapakse wins again, but battle for unity remains

Apr 11 (AFP) It seems Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapakse, just can't stop winning. His ruling party's landslide triumph in parliamentary elections this week capped a trio of historic victories following the military defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels a year ago, and a thumping presidential re-election win in January. Now with his ruling UPFA in firm control of parliament, the opposition divided and his main political rival under court martial, his position appears unassailable. more..

Back to work

Apr 12 (LG) Now that the dust has settled over a prolonged period of elections, Sri Lanka’s business community is preparing to get back to work after the near week-long Avuruddu festivities in the coming week. At the time this edition was going to print, the ruling UPFA was heading for a comfortable victory after Thursday’s parliamentary polls on the back of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s success at the January presidential election. more..

Financial crisis - no signs of abating

Apr 12 (LG) For the first time in history, the economic crisis affected all humans spread throughout the world. This crisis which is not yet over is being experienced everywhere and it is explained as a crisis in capitalist globalisation. No territory including Lanka is spared. In global capitalism the economic, social and political factors are interrelated. The economic crisis is not an incidental crisis. more..

Violence within UPFA before and after elections comparably very high

Apr 12 (TC) On Election Day CMEV recorded 84 Major Incidents, including 53 incidents of Intimidation within the vicinity of polling centers. This figure includes 07 incidents of involving election officials, 07 incidents of Threat and Intimidation and 06 Assaults. CMEV has recorded 189 incidents of election law violations as well. When compared to the last Presidential election, there were a higher number of incidents of more..

A Portentous Result

Apr 12 (LG) ‘Will President Rajapakse’s family triumph in Sri Lanka’s election?’ queried the BBC in a piece on Lankan parliamentary elections. The answer is, yes. Though all the results were not in at the time of writing, the general trend is clear. The UPFA will come within striking distance of a two-thirds majority. A Rajapakse constitution and a Rajapakse future await Sri Lanka. If the Rajapakses are the main winners of this election, the primary loser is the Lankan democratic system. more..

Sri Lankan tells of asylum death voyage

Apr 12 (TA) Twelve of Pararasasingam Paheertharan's fellow travellers drowned, including brothers aged 13 and 14 employed as crew, after people-smugglers herded him and 38 other Sri Lankan Tamils on to an ill-equipped fishing boat for an ambitious journey across the Indian Ocean. In the first interview about last November's tragedy, soon to be examined by the West Australian coroner, Paheer said the people-smugglers promised passengers more..

One year on, life slowly returns to the Tamil Tigers' shattered stronghold

Apr 12 (Guardian) For 20 years or more it was a combat zone, a frontline and a strategic asset. Now light traffic travels down the narrow A9 highway. From the checkpoint at Omanthai, where Sri Lankan soldiers and fighters from the LTTE once exchanged their dead, to Elephant Pass – scene of fierce battles in the 1990s – all is quiet. The Tamil Tigers are no more. This territory, once their de facto state, is now very much part of Sri Lanka. more..

A worldwide boycott of Sri Lanka

Apr 12 (Guardian) David Miliband, the foreign secretary, said in his speech at the Global Tamil Forum conference in February: "It [political reconciliation] will require you to speak up for a vision of a decent Sri Lanka that respects all its people and it will require you to speak up for a spirit that recognises that if people can not find a way to live together they will drift apart." more..

No solution possible for Tamils through confrontational politics

Apr 12 (TC) etween the pro government Tamil parties on one side and those advocating nationalism and self determination on the other, TNA competing on a "moderate approach" in the middle won most of the seats this time, says D.B.S. Jeyaraj. Sivaramakrishnan of BBC Tamil Service interviewed Journalist D.B.S. Jeyaraj on the results of the April 8th General Elections pertaining to TNA and North and East of Sri Lanka. more..

80,500 displaced Tamils yet to be resettled in Sri Lanka

Apr 12 (PTI) Nearly 80,500 displaced Tamils still remain in the Vayunia relief camp, even as the Sri Lankan government has stepped up efforts to rehabilitate them. According to the latest statistics over 193,607 Internally Displaced Persons have been resettled and nearly 80, 500 people are remaining in the Welfare Camps in Cheddikulam, Vavuniya. more..

Europe, Sri Lanka and the GSP+

Apr 12 (GM) Amid all the excitement around EU institutional change, the European Commission’s recent launch of a consultation on the future of its trade instruments under the World Trade Organisation – the GSP – went largely unnoticed. But those who want the EU to be an effective actor to promote human rights should care, because GSP+, one of the few EU human rights instruments that is isolated from other areas of policy towards third countries, forms part of this. more..

'Sri Lanka poverty subsidy helping not only the poor'

Apr 12 (LBO) A Sri Lankan poverty alleviation subsidy programme provides benefits to well over a quarter of the people, an unrealistically high number, and not only the poor, the Central Bank has said. Under the 'Samurdhi' subsidy programme, benefits are provided to about 32 percent of the population of 20 million people. "Compared to the Poverty Head Count Index which was 15.2 percent, the percentage of Samurdhi recipients at 32 percent is substantially high," more..

Bountiful betel

Apr 12 (ST) With just a few days for the Avurudu, in the darkness of pre-dawn, betel growers and buyers wend their way to the ‘Bulath Pola’ in Alawwa town. By 4 a.m., the growers are ready with their produce awaiting the buyers who come from far and near to purchase the betel. Heads covered with towels to protect against the early morning chill, the vendors wait patiently beside their baskets of betel. more..

Singapore is role model for Sri Lanka to fight bribery and corruption

Apr 12 (ST) The vision of the UPFA is to make Sri Lanka the miracle of Asia within the next few years. Making this vision a reality will be a formidable task, requiring commitment and action in several areas, including the political, social, economic, and ethical. If the national effort is mobilised and properly pursued, the UPFA vision could well be achieved. In addition to creating the institutional infrastructure necessary to realise this vision, more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Apr 12 (ST) Even if one time Sri Lanka's Counsellor at the Embassy in Japan did not attend a Foreign Ministry inquiry over an act of alleged misconduct, one that embarrassed the country in no small measure, Dr. Tilak Attanayake, has remained busy. The one-time non-career diplomat, who was accused of bringing into Sri Lanka a piano, an antique clock and an expensive wall painting - items that belonged to his landlord -- when he completed his term, more..