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Save elections to save democracy

Oct 7 (SL) During the elections in North Western and the Central Provincial Councils there were allegations of violence and violations of law reported – some inter-party rivalries and many more intra-party rivalries. In the Northern Provincial Council, a different set of violent actions and violations were reported – some are before courts already. Inter-party rivalries, and violence caused, is part of the history of elections. more..

Tough times ahead for Sri Lanka’s NPC

Oct 7 (IRIN) Nearly two weeks after the TNA resounding victory in a local election in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, analysts and voters are debating what the party will be able to achieve as the province recovers from more than two decades of a brutal civil war. By the end of polling on 21 Sept, 67% of 719,000 eligible voters had cast their votes in the north’s first provincial election - long-awaited by international donors and local political more..

Wignes calls for self determination

Oct 7 (CG) Newly appointed Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran today reiterated calls for self determination for Tamils in Sri Lanka. In a statement issued after he took office in front of President Rajapaksa, the Chief Minister said that the Tamil people in the North have mandated him to perform his duties on a long term as well as a short term perspective. He said that the long term goal is for the Tamils to more..

March organisers blame pro-Ranil groups and govt. for violence

Oct 7 (Island) Those who organised a protest march demanding the removal of Ranil Wickremasinghe as leader of the UNP, accused Ranil loyalists and the govt of jointly executing Saturday’s attack on the marchers. The protest march from Devinuwara to Colombo organised by Southern Provincial Council member Maithri Gunaratne and Western Provincial Councillor Shiral Lakthilake, came under attack in the Matara town. more..

NPC polls: UPFA to take up polls monitors’ conduct with Deshapriya

Oct 7 (Island) Minister Susil Premjayantha deplored the conducted of some local election monitors at the recently concluded first NPC election. He alleged that some election monitors had been partial and therefore the need to take it up with Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya had arisen. The polls chief allowed both local and foreign monitors in response to a request from political parties. more..

President of Cyprus looks forward to attending CHOGM - GL

Oct 7 (Island) Sri Lanka has the warmest wishes of Cyprus with regard to the hosting of the CHOGM in November, and he is himself looking forward to attending the Summit in Colombo, Nicos Anastasiades, President of Cyprus, said in Nicosia on Friday, the External Affairs Ministry said. "He made these remarks when minister G.L. Peiris, called on him at the Presidential Palace," a communique issued by the ministry said. more..

CHOGM 2013 preparations meet with official optimism and some public scepticism

Oct 7 (ST) With little over a month left before the CHOGM begins, officials engaged in the large scale development work in the city, say they are on track to complete the work on time. However, the public has mixed feelings about the ongoing work. Project manager Priyanka Suriyaarachchi, in charge of work at Union Place, Kumaran Rutnam Road and T.B. Jayah Mawatha, said that 98% of the work has been completed in these areas, more..

Canadian PM to boycott CHOGM in Sri Lanka because of human rights concerns

Oct 7 (CA) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper while confirming he would not attend the forthcoming CHOGM in Colombo said the Sri Lankan govt had failed to uphold the core values of the Commonwealth. Issuing a statement Harper said, “It is clear that the Sri Lankan govt has failed to uphold the Commonwealth’s core values, which are cherished by Canadians. As such, as the PM of Canada, I will not attend the CHOGM more..

Australia's PM to head to Commonwealth despite boycott call

Oct 7 (AFP) Australia's new prime minister said on Monday he would attend a Commonwealth summit next month despite calls for a boycott over the human rights record of host Sri Lanka. Conservative leader Tony Abbott indicated disagreement with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who does intend to shun the Nov 15-17 summit in Colombo over alleged abuses by Sri Lanka's military during more..

A peaceful march and a violent disruption

Oct 7 (CT) History has a strange way of repeating itself. What took place on Saturday, was a microcosm of the mayhem unleashed in Wayamba in 1999 by the thugs of the People’s Alliance under the guidance of Mangala Samaraweera, then a powerful minister in the Chandrika Kumaratunga regime. Back then, the UNP, under the leadership of the same Ranil Wickremesinghe, suffered an ignominious thrashing at the hands of goons let loose by the PA, with some of the UNP more..

Black July: JR confers with Alle Gunawanse and the search for a scapegoat

Oct 7 (CT) The aim of the UNP during this crisis was to marginalise the influence of the Tamils in the economic and political life of the country. It was a two-pronged strategy where the Govt attempted to control and use the violent forces of the Sinhalese nationalist Right. At the same time, they wanted to make the Left a scapegoat for the violence. This is the context for the alliance between the Govt and Gunawanse, an alliance which is brought to our attention by Ratnatunga. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Medirigiriya records highest incidence of Kidney failure

Oct 7 (Island) Presiding over a meeting at the Medirigiriya National school, on Saturday, Minister Sirisena said around 16,442 kidney patients were receiving treatment in the North–Central Province with the Anuradhapura District accounting for 12,210 and Polonaruwa 4,232. He said that 1,114 cases had been reported from the Medirigiriya area alone and of that about 283 had died due to kidney failure. He pointed out that it had been found that 90% of the people in the NCP had taken more..

Union calls for probe into nursing exam paper ‘leak’

Oct 7 (Island) The All Ceylon Health Services Union (ACHSU) alleged that the Health Ministry had deceived trainee nurses by getting question papers for yesterday’s nursing examination set by an unauthorised person. ACHSU General Secretary Gamini Kumarasinghe said that instead of getting a board appointed by the Health Ministry, to set the examination question papers on ward management, ward sisters and ward masters, a junior matron had been assigned to do it. more..

Northern Province CM Vigneswaran takes oath before President Rajapaksa

Oct 7 (IL) The newly elected Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Northern Province before President Rajapaksa at 9.30 am this morning at Temple Trees. He took oaths as a member of the northern provincial council and later as the chief minister. Former Supreme Court judge Wigneswaran has been selected as the TNA Chief Minister of the Northern Province following more..

Divisional Secretariat used for promotion of imported milk powder, says GMOA

Oct 7 (Island) The GMOA complained that a foreign milk food company had promoted its products at the Biyagama Divisional Secretariat and near the Kalagedihena MOH office. Dr. Nalinda Herath said that the company representatives had displayed posters of their products to mothers in a bid to persuade them to buy their products. Some company representatives had also asked some Medical officers of Health to allow them to hold sales promotion campaigns at their offices. more..

'No connection with Matara demonstration'

Oct 7 (SM) MP Sajith Premadasa emphasizes that he had no connection with the protest march which was held on Saturday demanding a change of leadership in the UNP. Speaking to BBC Sandeshaya, he has denied allegations of having a particular group which is giving him a special backing. He has added that the sole intention of all UNP members is to take the Party towards victory. Therefore, Provincial Councilors Shiral Lakthilaka and Maithree Gunaratne who more..

Wigneswaran says 'peace possible'

Oct 7 (BBC) Former SC judge CV Wigneswaran has been sworn in as the new chief minister for Sri Lanka's north, after his TNA won a historic victory in elections last month. The BBC spoke to Justice Wigneswaran before the election to find out what coaxed him out of retirement and into politics. Asked what keeps him looking young for his age, the 74-year-old Wigneswaran says: "The secret of youthfulness may be that I was not involved more..

5 or 9 for UNP leadership council?

Oct 7 (SM) A grave dispute has sprung up regarding the number of members that should be included in the proposed "leadership council" of the UNP, chaired by MP Karu Jayasuriya. While some are of the opinion that the "leadership council" should consist of only five members, namely Karu Jayasuriya, Sajith Premadasa, Ravi Karunanayake, and two other members representing Tamil and Muslim ethnic groups. However, the UNP leadership is of the view that the number of members in more..

Stock close 0.5% higher, rupee steady

Oct 7 (LBO) Stocks closed 0.5% higher on continued investor interest in tobacco and diversified stocks, and the rupee was steady against the dollar. All Share Price Index closed 29.15 points higher at 5,867.10, up 0.5%, after peaking at an intraday high of 5870.64. The S&P SL20 closed 12.59 points higher at 3,244.38, up 0.39%. Turnover amounted to Rs. 483.77 million rupees, down from Rs. 622.16 million rupees the previous day, with shares of 121 firms gaining and 57 losing. more..

Japan to continue aid to Sri Lanka

Oct 7 (MEA) Japan will continue to help Sri Lanka’s economic progress by developing her infrastructure and human resources. This follows a decision reached at a discussion Minister Basil Rajapaksa had with top level Japanese Govt Ministers during his one week official tour of Japan from Sept 25 to Oct 2 on a Japanese Govt invitation. At the discussion Minister Rajapaksa told Japanese officials that the visits to Sri Lanka of more..

Karapitiya ICUs are sick

Oct 7 (Island) One of three Intensive Care Units of the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital had been closed since last week due to lack of specialised medical officers to work there as annual transfers had been made without replacements, hospital sources alleged. The sources said that a part of another ICU too had been closed at the hospital. Senior consultant attached to the hospital said that 43 medical officers were needed to run the Karapitiya Anaesthetist Department more..

Sri Lankan Airlines leases three A350-900s

Oct 7 (LBO) State-run SriLankan Airlines said it had leased three Airbus A350-900 aircraft from US-based International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), as part of a re-fleeting program where another four will be bought directly from the manufacturer. "We believe that this new generation, fuel-efficient aircraft will play a leading role in the airline’s long-haul operations in time to come," SriLankan Chief Executive Officer Kapila Chandrasena said in a statement. more..

India calls for consensus

Oct 7 (CG) India today called for a consensus in Sri Lanka for “meaningful” power devolution and expressed hope the new NPC will work with the govt to achieve that goal. Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said that India will not decide for Sri Lanka but is ready to offer assistance to reach a political solution to the National issue. He said this at a joint press briefing after meeting Minister G.L Peiris more..

TELO leader to keep post

Oct 7 (CG) The leader of the TELO, Selvam Adaikalanathan, has now decided not to resign from his post in the best interest of the party. The Uthayan newspaper reported that he has reconsidered his earlier decision following advice he had received saying it will not go well for the party or the Northern Provincial Council. Earlier Adaikalanathan said he had decided to resign as TELO leader over a dispute on the appointments of provincial ministerial posts for the TNA. more..

SLC seeks funds from expatriates in Europe

Oct 7 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket is looking to the expatriate community in Europe for development funds, SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said, after the board appointed a representative in the region on Friday. UK resident and textile tycoon Sarath Abeysundara was tasked with raising money for district and school cricket in Europe, and SLC is hopeful he will ease the burden on SLC's stretched domestic budget. "Mr. Abeysundara's job is to try and help the board build relationships with more..

SL govt denies heavy cricket funding

Oct 7 (CI) Sri Lanka's sports ministry has denied that it is preparing to disburse Rs. 389 million to Sri Lanka Cricket for development of cricket facilities outside the main centres. The figure (US$ 2.96 million) was first reported in the Sunday Times and confirmed to ESPN by SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga, but the sports ministry's spokesperson told this reporter that the sum is actually closer to Rs. 30 million (US 228,000). more..

I will work with Dayasiri- Johann Fernando

Oct 7 (DM) North Western Provincial Councillor Johann Fernando-the son of Minister Johnston Fernando who came second in the preferential votes list to Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said that he will work with the new CM as President asked all the elected members to work with him. “President asked us to work with him and we would do anything what the party and the leader asks us to do,” he said. He said that he congratulated Jayasekara after he was sworn in as the Chief Minister more..

US State Dept. cites Daily News Editorial

Oct 7 (DN) The US good governance advice should be packaged and returned to sender, the Sri Lankan Daily News stated in an editorial comment, said USDS spokesperson Marie Harf in one of her State Dept. press briefings in Washington last week. She said that while United States, and particularly many in Congress, have urged the govt in Sri Lanka to ‘more aggressively pursue reconciliation and accountable govt, something we care a lot about, the Sri Lankan press is watching us.’ more..

'Surveillance in North to continue'

Oct 7 (DM) Army Commander Lt. General Daya Ratnayake responding to allegations of high-level military surveillance and involvement in the North said although surveillance would continue, there was no evidence of the Army going beyond its mandate in the North. He said Army surveillance would continue due to the existence of external threats to the country. "You cannot term it as heavy or unusual surveillance – that’s the usual more..

Illegal asylum seekers arrested in Beruwala

Oct 7 (AD) Police arrested 46 persons in the Beruwala area who were allegedly attempting to illegally travel to Australia. The group was arrested at around 2.40am today near the Samanala stadium in Beruwala. Among the arrested were 29 men, 7 women and 10 children, the police reported. The arrested suspects were from several areas including Jaffna, Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Kilinochchi and Negombo while a van which was used to transport them was also seized by police. more..

Injured Dilshan out of first four-dayer

Oct 7 (CI) A finger strain will keep Tillakaratne Dilshan out of the first match in Sri Lanka's first-class tri-series, which begins on Tuesday. Dilshan's omission is understood to be a precautionary measure, and he is expected to be fit to play the Board XI's second match of the tournament, which begins on October 21. Wicketkeeper-batsman Kaushal Silva has been moved from the Sri Lanka A team and into the Board XI for Tuesday's match, after his highly successful run in more..

'India will facilitate meeting of fishermen's associations very soon'

Oct 7 (Hindu) The Indian govt will facilitate a meeting between representatives of fishermen associations in India and Sri Lanka at the earliest, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said in Colombo on Monday. He said that the Sri Lankan govt had dealt with Indian fishermen in a compassionate and humanitarian way. Since it was a livelihood issue, India had asked Sri Lanka not to insist on the technicalities. more..

Is Lanka fast becoming "safe area" for Pakistani terrorist outfit LeT?

Oct 7 (Island) Sri Lanka is fast becoming a "safe area" for the dreaded Pakistani terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), an Indian weekly newspaper claimed today. In a Colombo-datelined report, The Sunday Guardian quoted experts tracking the growth of international terror organisations that LeT is being patronised by Shahbaz Sharif, the brother of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, three of the experts gave details of the way in which more..

Tamil voters demand real change, but can TNA deliver?

Oct 7 (TD) The TNA, which won a handsome majority at Sri Lanka’s NPC elections on September 21, says it will use its mandate to demand greater self-governance. But with the Sri Lanka govt resisting self-governance by simplistically labeling it as secession, it is important to know what exactly the TNA is going to do to deliver on its promises to the Tamil people. The election to the NPC is its first, although legislation for the establishment of provincial councils was introduced in 1988 more..

Indian fishing boat comes under Sri Lankan navy attack

Oct 7 (TOI) A fishing boat allegedly came under the attack of Sri Lankan navy and sustained damages allegedly by Sri Lankan navy caused a flutter near Rameswaram on Sunday. Meanwhile, the fishermen representatives from four coastal districts submitted a petition to Union minister, P Chidambaram urging his intervention on taking efforts to organise mutual talks between the fishermen of the two countries. more..

TNA signals moderate stance

Oct 8 (NS) Elections to the NPC are over, but the two protagonists in the fray, the TNA and the UPFA govt will be taking stock and trying to plot their moves in the next phase of this drama. The result was a foregone conclusion, but the TNA received an overwhelming mandate, polling a massive 78% of the vote. Eelamist propagandists have already called this a vote for separation, a claim based on the TNA’s manifesto which called for self-determination and a ‘federal’ set up. more..

If moral high ground is to be recovered…

Oct 8 (NS) There are no ‘okay’ words for the belligerent and influential few of the international community when it comes to nations, regimes and other entities they are at odds with. There are no ‘okay’ deeds either. The only thing that is ‘okay’ in such cases is submitting to agenda; in other words, compliance with rules they set. This is why there was so much pooh-poohing of the LLRC when the idea was mooted and embracing of consequent recommendations in a ‘pick and choose' more..

Vavuniya hotelier set for expansion

Oct 8 (SO) Although Vavuniya was among the govt administrated areas in the North during the 30 year old battle, the dark silhouettes of terrorism had been overshadowing it for a long time. Being the last commercial town situated on the A9 route penetrating through a vast area up to Jaffna held by the LTTE for many years, this bustling town somewhat had a sense of uncertainty over the regular lifestyle. However, after the reopening more..

Scholarship or torture?

Oct 8 (Island) Close on the heels of a report that an unsuccessful Grade Five Scholarship Exam candidate had been chased away from home by way of punishment in Moneragala has come the sad news, from Bogawantalawa, of an estate worker burning his son’s face and limbs with a heated iron rod for failing that exam. Sri Lanka is lucky to have free education but decades of mismanagement, wrong policies coupled with fund cuts and whims and fancies of politicians and more..