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'Udaya’s defection underscores need to change political culture'

Dec 13 (Island) Switching of allegiance by Udaya Gammanpila to President Rajapaksa would not affect the JHU at all, JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka said. "Gammanpila’s defection and change of stance clearly demonstrated the urgent need to change the political culture in the country which was detrimental to the country and it is a system created by the Rajapaksas to feather their nests at the expense of others." more..

Buoyed England aim for series decider

Dec 13 (CI) Each time this series has threatened to slip away from England they have pulled their fortunes around with two excellent chases. The first ramped up to a bit of a thriller, finished off by Jos Buttler, but the second in Pallekelle was as clinical and controlled as many England have been on the receiving end of. The star on Thursday, on the second day of the two-day one-day international, was Joe Root, who continued to cement his position as the fulcrum of the ODI order at No. 4. more..

JHU plans 1,000 rallies for Maithri

Dec 13 (CT) The JHU is organizing 1,000 rallies, island-wide, within the next 3 weeks, to ensure the victory of common Opposition candidate, Maithripala Sirisena. JHU National Organizer and Media Spokesman, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe stated steps have been taken to win the support of women, youth and employers, in order to conduct meetings and conferences at electoral and provincial level. He mentioned that the temples will be the central point in organizing these meetings. more..

Pakistan officials in Sri Lanka wanted 26/11 return in Bangalore: India

Dec 13 (ET) Two Pakistani High Commission officials posted in Sri Lanka had conspired to send terrorists to India via the sea route, for an attack on the US consulate in Chennai and Israel mission in Bangalore in a re-run of the 26/11 Mumbai raid, the National Investigation Agency claimed in a charge-sheet. The plan was to send the terrorists to a landing spot between Rameshwaram and Tuticorin in a rowing boat, the NIA said more..

PB justifies govt debt, says repayments on time

Dec 13 (CT) Treasury Secretary, Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, while justifying the loans taken by the present govt, noted that the govt never got delayed in paying debt installments. Dr. Jayasundera, in a recent television interview stressed, that the loans obtained were invested in good projects, adding that the present govt unlike previous govts, was focusing on utilizing loans on capital investment, which would give long term return to the country's economy. "These loans are invested in various projects more..

Sirisena playing Ehelepola Nilame's role in new plot - Wimal

Dec 13 (DN) Maithri and Champika backed by the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka are all out to breathe new life into an old film or dormant franchise that had existed in 1815 peopled by historic characters of note, Ehelepola, Pilimathalawe and Britisher John Doyle, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. According to Weerawansa, the so-called common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena plays the role of Ehelepola Nilame in the new version of the plot of the film to be reproduced. more..

Sri Lankan govt denies using state resources to skew poll

Dec 13 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's govt has denied allegations made by a group of independent monitors that it is using state resources to give an unfair advantage to President Rajapaksa who is running for an unprecedented third term in next month's election. The seven observer groups, some of which are funded by foreign NGOs, on Thursday raised concerns that the ruling party was exploiting public services and employees and that more..

Immediate measures to boost fisheries

Dec 13 (DN) Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development acting Minister Sarath Kumara Gunaratne pledged to take immediate measures to launch all programs essential for the well-being of the Sri Lankan fishing community. Assuming duties as the new Chairman of the National Fisheries Federation (NFF), acting Minister Gunaratne said arrangements are in place to appoint a group of field officers (mobile officers) to go to fishing villages and address issues of the fishing community more..

Belarus bells ring for Sri Lanka

Dec 13 (Island) In the aftermath of the successful Lanka-Belarus Trade talks on July 9 in Colombo, comes the first ever trade breakthrough, as revealed on December 11- and the first beneficiary of Belarus’ is no less than the Lankan exporter. "Our Joint Commission talks in July have brought results. I welcome the Govt of Belarus’s initiative to remove Sri Lanka from the list of off-shore countries with effect from this November" said Minister of Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen in Qatar. more..

‘India needn’t be insecure about Chinese presence in Sri Lanka’

Dec 13 (Hindu) India should have an open mind about Chinese projects in Sri Lanka unless the island was seen conferring special favours on China, which is yet not the case, former diplomat Jayantha Dhanapala said. Mr. Dhanapala, widely acclaimed as a top diplomat who played a key role in Sri Lanka’s foreign policy engagement during the war, spoke to The Hindu recently, and shared his views on a host of issues including more..

Department of Census and Statistics holds ‘Census & Statistics Awareness Walk 2014’

Dec 13 (FT) Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) together with UN Population Fund (UNFPA) organised the ‘Census and Statistics Awareness Walk 2014’ on 4 December. The main purpose of the walk was to create awareness about the services provided by the Department of Census and Statistics to the country and to announce that the DCS wouldbe opening their new office building on 8 Dec with a religious ceremony. The walk commenced at Campbell Park, Borella more..

Environmentalists get on political bandwagon

Dec 13 (Island) The National Environmental Activist Group led by Convener of the National Council for Pivithuru Hetak (Clean Tomorrow), Athuraliye Rathana Thera will launch a policy document for sustainable development ensuring environmental rights and democracy at the Mahaweli Centre on Monday. The group including environmental activists Hemantha Withanage, Thilak Kariyawasam, Ashoka Harischandra, Sajeewa Chamikara, Sampath Ariyasena, Karunadasa Munagama and more..

DMK, AIADMK members clash in Rajya Sabha over fishermen issue

Dec 13 (PTI) Members from various political parties in TN on expressed concern in Rajya Sabha over arrest of Tamil fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy, an issue that saw a clash between the DMK and the AIADMK members. With PM Narendra Modi present when the issue was being raised, there was a demand from members belonging to the DMK, the CPI(M) and the CPI that he should respond to their concern. Raising the issue during Zero Hour, more..

In form Kapugedera eager for SL comeback

Dec 13 (IC) Chamara Kapugedera has returned to Sri Lanka midway through a fantastic season for Victoria SC in the Dhaka Premier Division Cricket League limited-over tournament in Bangladesh, where he amassed 365 runs in just five matches, to play in the local Premier League tournament. The 27-year-old last month sent a timely reminder to the selectors of his ability to clear the ropes. His innings of 161 not out off 136 balls against Prime Bank CC was followed up with a blistering more..

A comedy of errors

Dec 13 (ST) Despite the flags of opposition parties mixing harmoniously at rallies where supporters of diverse political parties gather to greet common candidate Maithripala Sirisena, it is the image of president Rajapaksa that dominates the cityscape today. Our cameramen captured a few of these images. Some of them, taken with the ground realities of today in fact lampoon the president and the forthcoming election. A poster Ko Mark No Mark, Dukata thitha written next to more..

Flooding brings heartbreak for students sitting O/L

Dec 13 (ST) Flooding in five districts has caused severe problems for more than 5000 people, including hapless schoolchildren who face sitting for next week’s GCE O/L examinations without textbooks, uniforms or shoes. More than 750 families in the Puttalam district were affected when the Periyankulam tank’s upper bund was damaged. An estimated 323 coastal families of the Manthai West and Mannar DS belonging to more..

SriLankan management and Flight Attendants’ Union seal collective deal

Dec 13 (FT) A new agreement was signed between the Management of SriLankan Airlines and the Flight Attendants’ Union, yesterday for a period of three years. This agreement mutually recognises the importance of enhancing productivity and contributing to business priorities while addressing the needs of the cabin crew in keeping with industry trends and employee retention demands. SriLankan Airlines’ management said that it appreciated the union’s approach in joining hands with more..

Mahela and Afridi set to become the most experienced players in World Cup 2015

Dec 13 (ICC) Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene and Shahid Afridi of Pakistan are in line to become the most experienced players in ICC Cricket World Cup history, after they were named in provisional squads for the tournament that starts on 14 February. The two players made their World Cup debuts at the ICC Cricket World Cup 1999, and have appeared in every event since then. While Jayawardene featured in the final of the World Cup 2007 and 2011, as well as the semi-final of World Cup 2003, more..

'There is perfect understanding between the UNP and common candidate'

Dec 13 (FT) “Why evaluate and come to decisions that Maithripala Sirisena has not delivered? Delivering process has just begun,” stressed newly-appointed General Secretary of UNP Kabir Hashim. Emphasising there is perfect understanding between the UNP and the common candidate, he added: “There is very good trust between our party and Maithripala Sirisena.” Commenting on Attanayake’s crossover, more..

Time for the UN to respect SL sovereignty

Dec 13 (DC) Led by the United Nations, a growing international chorus is calling for sweeping investigations of Sri Lanka over its conduct at the tail end of its brutal civil war that lasted more than a quarter century. With recent demands within the EU to revoke its trade status if Sri Lanka does not acquiesce to what it considers a biased and faulty effort, the very Western countries that once cheered its war against one of the world’s most vicious terrorist groups are piling on through more..

Sri Lanka draws Australia's Linfox group

Dec 13 (EN) One of Australia's largest transport firms, Linfox, has shown interest in a new airport in southern Sri Lanka which the government is trying to promote as an air-sea transport hub along with the nearby new deep-water port. David Fox, director of Linfox group, Australia’s largest privately-held logistics company, said there were opportunities in air freight and tourism between Australia and Sri Lanka and the Maldives. There was 70 million dollars worth of airfreight going from more..

Electing a president: The critical days ahead

Dec 13 (FT) Presidential election of 8 Jan is significant not only because it is the first time an incumbent President is seeking office for a third term, but also because it is the first presidential election conducted after the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Keeping in mind that franchise is not only a fundamental right but part of the very sovereignty of the people, Friday Forum calls upon the following to protect that right. more..

Editorial: Jilmaat politics

Dec 13 (Island) Opposition common candidate Maithripala Sirisena has pooh-poohed the Opposition’s oft-repeated claim that the result of the last presidential election was manipulated through a computer jilmaat (fraud) in favour of President Rajapaksa. He has also declared that he has absolute faith in the Elections Department and Polls Chief Mahinda Deshapriya, who is said to have commended him. This is not what we usually hear from the Opposition candidates who rake more..

Digging deep into a monastery on the mountain

Dec 13 (ST) A small stupa lies at the very top of the rocky surface we’re scrambling up. It sits unhindered by the verdant forest growth around it with a bird’s eye view of a large water body. A simple stone inscription by it states; Ye imadipa patamaya idiya agatana Idika-(tera-Ma)-teraha tube translated as, this is the stupa of the Elder Ittiya and the Elder Mahinda, who came to this island by its foremost good fortune. Relics of Arahat Mahinda, the first messenger of Buddhism to SL rest here. more..

Boston Lanka: Dec. 13, 2014

Post-nomination moral and ethical musings

Dec 13 (FT) Filing of nomination papers for the presidential elections on 8 Dec was a sombre formality that marked the official commencement of a do-or-die battle. It prompted the Commissioner of Elections to remind the nation that we are one of two nations in the entire Asia Pacific region to have practiced universal franchise since 1931, the other being New Zealand. The Commissioner of Elections used the occasion to make an eloquent appeal to all parties to respect democratic dissent. more..

Over 15 million can vote

Dec 13 (FT) For the first time the total number of registered voters in Sri Lanka has gone beyond 15 million. It is nearly a million voters more than the number registered for the 2010 presidential election. While the figure in 2010 was 14,088,500, the eligible voters in the 2015 election – everyone over 18 years – will be 15,044,490 – an increase of 955,990. The present number is based on the 2014 electoral register. Contesting the election on 8 Jan are 19 candidates, 3 less than last Election in 2010. more..

How LTTE killed Inspector Jeyaratnam

Dec 13 (CT) During the three-decade war, if the LTTE could take a security forces member abducted in Colombo through the Army and police checkpoints to the North, it was Police Inspector Thurairatnam Jeyaratnam, who was the second officer of the police intelligence wing which had been established attached to the Mount Lavinia Police Station. The police officer was instrumental in preventing a number of targets of the LTTE. more..

LTTE alias diaspora

Dec 13 (CT) A recent issue of the Ceylon Today, published an interview given by Chandrika Bandaranaike on Prabhakaran. This was on May 1995. When she was the President, she was asked what she felt about Prabhakaran. Her answer was Prabhakaran's LTTE was the most ruthless and the most effective Guerilla Organization in the 20th century. We fought them with one thing in mind, that we were fighting a merciless, megalomaniac, who killed every person who opposed him. more..

The sarcastic prediction of C.V. Wigneswaran!

Dec 13 (CT) Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran, made his own prediction in a sarcastic manner on the forthcoming Presidential polls responding to a question put to him by the Minister and the EPDP Leader, Douglas Devananda and the Opposition Leader of the NPC S. Thavarasa, at the Kilinochchi District Development Council meeting last week. Minister Douglas Devananda and the NPC Opposition Leader, S. Thavarasa requested CM Wigneswaran to more..

Mega composting facilities to manage WP garbage

Dec 13 (SO) The rapid development taking place in almost all parts of the country has turned many urban settlements in the country into more beautiful and attractive places. Clean water bodies, streets and public recreational areas have added beauty to the cities enabling the people to breathe fresh air and live in a relaxed environment. These changes have made a great impact on the people who are living in the Western Province. more..

EP, 13A, PC & Presidential poll campaign

Dec 13 (CT) Although the executive powers of the President have become pivotal to the agenda of the “common candidate” of the opposition, the even more emotional question of the 13th amendment has been kept out of the limelight. While the incumbent can claim the status quo as his working model, the supporters of the “common candidate” do not seem to have any common ground to stand on. In 1987 Rajiv Gandhi was reeling from exposures in the Indian press regarding kick-backs more..

ISIS: Islamic State in Sri Lanka

Dec 13 (CT) Quick to distance from, does the four letters ‘ISIS’ really spell danger for the Muslims or for them to be apologists and be all defensive just at the mere mention of it? While I am yet to understand the now-fashionable practice of Muslims being answerable to or compromising their faith and religious practices to suit misguided adherents of different faiths, instead of contributing towards an unjust society of immorality and lawlessness, I believe it is time the followers of Islam more..

'Gammanpila was instrumental in drafting the MOU with Maithripala'

Dec 12 (AM) Leader of the JHU, Omalpe Sobhitha Thera today said that former JHU Deputy General Secretary Udaya Gammanpila was instrumental in drafting the MOUs the party signed with other stakeholders of the common opposition. Thera said Gammanpila did not utter a word against the MOUs or their terms and consitions when he was in the JHU. Gammanpila resigned from his party membership and extended his more..

Last parliamentary session before election ends without crossovers

Dec 12 (AM) In what seems to be a temporary setback for the common opposition, the last Parliamentary session before the presidential election ended without any crossover from the govt to the opposition. The last Parliamentary session of the year ended without any major incident this evening, although the opposition expected at least two crossovers. Yesterday, several spokespersons of the opposition predicted that the govt would lose the two thirds majority in Parliament more..

'I will quit UPFA if BBS backs Rajapaksa'

Dec 12 (AD) Deputy Minister of Investment Promotion, Faiszer Musthapha, says that he will not remain in the UPFA if the BBS Organisation decides to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the upcoming Presidential Election. Responding to a question from a journalist at a press conference in Colombo today, the deputy minister stated that the ultra-nationalist Buddhist group has still not made a statement, directly or indirectly, regarding supporting President Rajapaksa. more..