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Sunday January 23rd, 2011


UN special session on Sambuddhajayanthi
For the first time in the history of the UN, the General Assembly has agreed to convene a special session to commemorate the Sambuddajayanthi

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Govt and UN plan joint aid drive
The UN is working on a joint plan with the government to assist the resettled people in the north, UN resident co-ordinator Neil Buhne said.

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TNA facing dilemma as young ‘shun ballot race’
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which has planned to contest the elections with the PLOTE and TULF’s Anandasangari, is facing a dilemma without being able to fulfill the election law to include 40% of the nomination list with youths.

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POSTER POLLUTION BEGINS

Even before the nominations are finalised, the preferential vote race has begun with public places being defaced with mug shots of prospective candidates. Our cameraman Rukshan Abeywansha captured this wall covered with posters of candidate hopefuls of the two main parties at Kelaniya yesterday
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Scare stories hurt vaccination
Disturbed by the overall decline in the immunisation coverage for preventable diseases in young children due to spread of unfounded scare stories about vaccines and concerned that it will take its toll on child health, the authorities are today...

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Tea output hits record high
Sri Lanka, one of the world’s biggest producers of black tea, reported yesterday that output hit a record high in 2010, helped by good weather.

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SLMC opts for tree symbol in 36 councils
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) will contest under its own tree symbol in 36 local councils, SLMC general secretary Hasan Ali said last night.

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NEWS

Rs.20 billion lost annually in post-harvest handling
Nearly Rs.20 billion is lost due to post-harvest damage to vegetables and fruits annually, the Consumer Affairs Ministry said.
Ministry media spokesperson Nipun Ekanayake said the ministry had taken several steps to minimise the damage caused to vegetables and fruits while plucking, displaying and transporting them.

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Premajayantha says hedging deal corrupt
Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha yesterday denied reports that the government is ready to pay billions to compensate banks over the controversial hedging deal.
He added that Sri Lanka, under no circumstance, was obliged to pay any bank under the controversial hedging deal.

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TMVP blames police for not taking action against GS
The Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) blamed the police for failing to take action against Arayampathi Grama Sevaka (GS) following complaints of misappropriation of flood relief items.
TMVP Eastern Provincial Council member Poopathipillai Prashanthan told The Nation that the people had informed the police that the GS, Anton Suresh was in possession of the relief items for the flood victims.

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Suspect held in conspiracy against judge
A suspect in the case of kidnapping a niece of a senior judge and conspiracy to fabricate evidence against the judge was produced before the Kesbewa Magistrate Ayesha Jinasena early this week by Piliyandala Police.
Suspect Delpathotage Chitrasena, a contractor involved in building the house of the senior judge concerned, was enlarged by the Magistrate on Rs.200,000 surety bail and strict conditions to report to Piliyandala Police once a week every Sunday.

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GLF to go ahead as planned
Despite protests and a campaign against the Galle Literary Festival (GLF) which opened last week here in Colombo, director of the festival insists they would go along with their schedule as planned and the campaign bore no hindrance to the festival.

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She didn’t take the warning seriously
A 42-year-old woman from Wekunagoda, Galle, who had been caught by the Police and released two years ago, has been netted once more by the Police for dealing in heroin.
On Tuesday evening, the Galle Police Crimes Division took her into custody on a tip-off.

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MR has no plans to meet US officials, says Crowley
Admitting that Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa is in fact on US soil but on a private visit, the US State Department spokesman P J Crowley told the daily media briefing in Washington on Friday that the State Department made no arrangements for him to meet any US official and that he was positive that assistant secretary for South Asia Robert Blake did not meet the Sri Lanka President.

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POLITICS

Charming the voters
The local government elections have been announced already and this is what most political parties are bracing for in the New Year. The polls may not have a great impact in terms of national governance but it would be a reliable political barometer nevertheless. The well-oiled machinery of the ruling United Peoples’ Freedom Party (UPFA) is already at work.

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President cements Jaffna links with Thai Pongal visit
President Mahinda Rajapaksa was on a visit to Jaffna on January 16 and 17 to commission the new Sangupiddy Bridge spanning the Kilaly lagoon and to attend the Thai Pongal festival as the chief guest at the Alfred Duraippah stadium.
Associated with President Rajapaksa on this visit were Ministers Basil Rajapaksa and Douglas Devenanda, and President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga.

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NEWS FEATURES

Price pressures
The escalating cost of living in the country continues to be a matter of concern with prices of essential items expected to increase in the coming weeks as well.
Economists predict that the inflation, which was on the lower side during the post-war period, could increase in the coming months due to various factors that had affected Sri Lanka and several other countries. According to economists, the past year had been economically healthy, as many post-war projects started to materialise.

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Investigation

‘Federalist plotters’ uncovered
The UPFA government, led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has consistently been of the view that the International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) have played a partisan role during the war and that they have by and large been supporters of the LTTE.
In fact, when Rajapaksa assumed office as the executive President in November 2005, he did make statements to the effect that the country...

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Gotabhaya spells out winning strategies
Firm leadership, commitment and discipline of each individual are essentials in achieving success in the development process, said Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa while noting that having a clear vision about the task and the ability to remain firm from beginning to the end without any ambiguity would make the path for development smooth.

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President’s three messages to the Tamils
The government celebrated the national Thai Pongal Day in Jaffna last Monday.
Though it was a personal triumph for President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the chief guest, it failed to evoke any enthusiasm among the Tamil people.
Reasons for that are many. It had lost its significance as it was held two days late.
The day and time for thanking the Sun for its benevolence was the dawn of Saturday.

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SPORTS

Mission accomplished says Dandeniya
It was all systems ‘go’ for Sri Lanka Cricket as the three-member ICC delegation headed by Tournament Director World Cup 2011 Professor RS Shetty gave their final approval on the three cricket stadiums in Sri Lanka that will host 12 World Cup 2011 matches between February 19 and April 2.
Along with Prof Shetty, Prof Eugene van Vuurun, the ICC Venue Consultant and Chris Tetley, the ICC Events Manager inspected the three venues at Colombo (R Premadasa Stadium), Kandy (Pallakele Stadium) and Hambantota (Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium) on their final inspection tour and according to Sri Lanka ICC World Cup 2011 Director Suraj Dandeniya they were “extremely happy with the outcome”.

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Nadal survives scare to reach last 16
World number one Rafael Nadal survived a brief scare against local teenager Bernard Tomic to reach the Australian Open last 16 Saturday, as women’s favourite Kim Clijsters also battled through.
Nadal, gunning to unite the four Grand Slam titles for the first time since 1969, was surprisingly broken twice by the confident Australian 18-year-old in the second set before recovering strongly to win 6-2, 7-5, 6-3. Nadal, ironically the last teen to beat a world number one at a major when he conquered Roger Federer at the 2005 French Open, stretched his Grand Slam streak to 23 matches after winning Roland Garros...

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Bitter lessons from politics
Dabbling politics with sport can have dire consequences as some of our senior cricketers have come to realise. Cricket World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga tried his hand at politics but, after being elected a Member of Parliament in the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga, has not got anywhere either in the field of politics or in sport. He was given the chance to clean up Sri Lanka Cricket from corruption, of which he has been a strong dissenter, when he was appointed chairman of the interim committee...

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Asian Junior Squash C’ships attracts 23 countries
The 15th Asian Junior Team Squash Championships 2011 will be held at the newly constructed six-court international standard squash complex of the Sri Lanka Air Force Base in Ratmalana from January 25-29. The 31st annual general meeting of the Asian Squash Federation is also billed to take place concurrently at the official host hotel - The Mount Lavinia Hotel on January 28 and 29.

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INTERVIEWS

We love Tamils but oppose separatism – Gammanpila
Vociferous western province minister and Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) legal advisor Udaya Gammanpila has thrown a fresh challenge to Tamil leaders who claim they have a right to self-determination. Gammanpila is steadfast in his views that Tamils have no right to self-rule but are entitled only to minority rights recognised by the UN in Sri Lanka.  His contention is that the Tamils, who claim to have grievances, should prove with empirical evidence that would convince the Sinhala masses.

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