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17 of 29 JHU PS members join Udaya

Dec 18 (CT) The JHU plunged yesterday into a deeper crisis when 17 of its 29 local govt members defected to the UPFA to support President Rajapaksa at the upcoming Presidential Election, former Senior Vice President of the party told a news conference. Western Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila said that they would be unveiling the name of the new party and its leader soon. "Our party is founded on policies that are our foundation. more..

Chunnakam fish market now a health hazard

Dec 18 (CT) Chunnakam Fish Market has turned into a health hazard, due to waste water from the stalls and water from a nearby public toilet stagnating in and around the market complex. Those who visit the market to purchase fish, find it hard to bear the stench that emits from the stagnant water. It is said that the public toilet is situated adjoining the fish market, and water from the toilet flows into the market compound to mingle with the water discarded after washing fish. more..

Candidates barred from govt offices

Dec 18 (CT) The Elections Commissioner says no presidential candidate or a representative of a candidate could enter any govt sector office for election propaganda. The Commissioner, speaking to Ceylon Today, said such activities are illegal and those found in breach of this rule will be dealt with appropriately. He further stressed that this rule will apply to all corporations statutory bodies and boards. The Commissioner, meanwhile, has made arrangements to meet all candidates or more..

Massive abuse of State resources – Monitors

Dec 18 (CT) Highlighting the massive use of State resources for election campaigning, Transparency International (TI) has noted that these agencies should be held responsible for the protection of the country's resources. TI Senior Manager, Shan Wijethunga, who cited one such example of misuse of public property, revealed that the Prison Department of Matara had unequivocally allowed the use of their resources for govt campaigns. more..

Uva results compelled early presidential polls - NUF

Dec 18 (Island) A dramatic drop from the 72.4% of votes the UPFA got at the post-war Uva PC elections on Aug 08, 2009, to 51.2% at the Uva PC elections held three months ago on Sept 20, 2014 was a major blow to the ruling UPFA. Uva results had opened the eyes of the govt and compelled it to go for early presidential elections, the NUF said. President of NUF M. M. Zuhair PC said that realising the dangerous downward trend, attributable mainly to the govt’s failure to more..

Muslims lose interest in polls

Dec 18 (CT) The Muslims in the North have lost interest in casting their vote at the forthcoming presidential election, according to Muslim Federation Vice President K. M. Nilam. He made this comment, when asked about the current situation of the Muslim vote at the upcoming poll. "Ever since the presidential election was announced, Muslim parties have regularly met, but decisions have not been announced as yet," he added. "In the meantime, the Muslim community has shown disinterest in more..

Broken promises for tsunami survivor Baby 81 in Sri Lanka

Dec 18 (DPA) Abilash Jeyaraj, a 10-year-old boy living in an village eastern in Sri Lanka, says his only ambition is to become an engineer when he grows up. He was lucky enough to survive the deadly tsunami waves that hit Kalmunai, when the Indian Ocean tsunami hit on December 26, 2004. He was 67 days old at the time. "I have been told by my parents that my name was famous during the tsunami, not only in Sri Lanka, during that period," says Abilash, more..

CEB urges JVP et al not to exploit situation

Dec 18 (Island) The CEB Management yesterday strongly urged the JVP backed Lanka Viduli Sevaka Sanagamaya (LVVS) and other unions not to indulge in protest campaigns seeking permanency for contracted workers when an election was around the corner. CEB Spokesman Senajith Dassanayake said that unions were instructed on the orders of Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya that employment could not be entertained when a major election was being contested. more..

Madras high court suggests government free Lanka doctor held in camp

Dec 18 (TOI) The Madras high court has asked the Tamil Nadu govt to consider releasing a Sri Lankan Tamil doctor, now lodged in a special camp for refugees at Poonamallee, so that he could return to his country with his family and reclaim the property they had left behind during the civil war. Justice V Ramasubramanian, passing orders on the petition filed by T Maheswaran's wife Prasanthi, asked the authorities to "reconsider the matter as to whether more..

JVP leader calls for defeating Rajapaksa

Dec 18 (Island) Never had state resources been abused more in a govt election campaign than in the on-going one JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. Addressing a JVP public rally at Piliyandala, Dissanayake said that SLTB had become an SLFP bus service transporting supporters to President Rajapaksa’s rallies. "SLTB should be renamed the Rajapaksa Travels. Some depots have to send their buses to other provinces to more..

Two new names in SL Women squad

Dec 18 (CI) Sri Lanka Women have named uncapped players Chathurani Gunawardene and Sugandika Kumari for their limited-overs tour of the UAE where they will play Pakistan Women in January. The other notable changes were the returns of Lasanthi Madushani and Dilani Manodara. They were included in place of Anushka Sanjeewani, Sanduni Abeywickrema, Imalka Mendis and Nilakshi de Silva, who were a part of the squad that played against the South Africa Women at home in October. more..

As Tamil Catholics wait for Pope Francis' visit to the island, they wish the pope a Happy Birthday

Dec 18 (AN) On Pope Francis's birthday, Tamil Catholics in a northern Sri Lankan community expressed their best wishes to the Holy Father for a "long and healthy life" because the people of Sri Lanka "needs the pope's prayers for a lasting peace." The pontiff, who is 78 today, will travel to the island nation in less than a month on an apostolic visit (13-15 Jan). However, some in Sri Lanka, including some Christian groups, are very concerned about the proximity between more..

Opposition stage, vehicle, sound set-up torched

Dec 18 (Island) A stage erected in Galle for Common Opposition Presidential Candidate (COPC) Maithripala Sirisena and a vehicle that brought the sound set-up had been set on fire yesterday morning by a gang that arrived in two vehicles. SSP Ajith Rohana said that President Rajapaksa had ordered Inspector General of Police N. K. Illangakoon to launch a special investigation into the arson attack on the opposition election stage set up at Wanduraba. more..

Indian weddings, new market for industry

Dec 18 (CT) 'Indian weddings' is a key market that the tourist industry is pursuing. Jetwing Group Chairman Hiran Cooray speaking at a function in Colombo yesterday said that over 500 people attend Indian weddings and it lasts for three days. "We are looking into various new markets to promote tourism in the island. Another sector that I believe would flourish in the near future is cruise ship tourism," he said. Cooray said, within the next three to four years Sri Lanka should more..

'Structured' projects to enhance FDI

Dec 18 (CT) The country's investment promotion agency has recently structured 20 project proposals in various sectors to attract investors in a bid to improve foreign direct investments (FDIs) into the country, after failing to attract investors for the 48 proposals submitted at the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) held last year. Sri Lanka aims for US$ 5 billion in FDIs in 2016, approximately five per cent of anticipated GDP for the year, to achieve high, sustainable growth. more..

Synchronised MR captivates Colombo!

Dec 18 (FT) An upbeat President Rajapaksa made his strongest overture yet to the private sector and professionals yesterday by pledging to tackle corruption and push ahead with ambitious development projects. Attending what was billed as the largest synchronised forum in South Asia bringing together around 2,000 business leaders and top professionals, Rajapaksa’s affable promise won much applause. “We won the war, we restored stability,” more..

Presidential Elections and the People

Dec 18 (Island) Many people have described the Presidential elections 2015 as a "defining" event in the history of our country. The unfolding scene also highlights the depths to which our national politics has sunk, and the complete blurring of the difference between what is acceptable and not acceptable behaviour on the part of those holding public office. Certain incidents that would have elicited a negative public response have gone unnoticed or ignored in our country even more..

Editorial: Fathers and mothers of victory

Dec 18 (Island) It was with shock and dismay that the world received the news of Tuesday’s cowardly terror attack on a school in Pakistan. The Taliban have once again demonstrated their ability to take targets in spite of the on-going military operations against them. Tuesday’s tragic incident reminds us of barbaric acts of terror we witnessed here for decades and the unstinted support extended by Pakistan and a few other countries to rid this country of terrorism. more..

Exciting times for Rotary in Sri Lanka

Dec 18 (FT) It’s an exciting time for Rotary in Sri Lanka right now, with key life-changing projects underway, an ongoing visit by the Rotary International President and a Sri Lankan elected to take up the mantle as International President next year. Rotary International President Gary Huang is on a visit to Sri Lanka from 15 to 17 Dec, the first visit by an international president since 2011. Huang kicked off his visit with the ‘Light Up Rotary’ event more..

The TNA follows JVP strategy

Dec 18 (GV) No less a person than the JHU’s General Secretary, Champika Ranawaka, went on record over the past weekend, stating that every attempt at campaigning by the joint opposition is being violently and illegally suppressed by the Rajapakse regime. He stated that if democratic dissent and a genuine electoral process did not occur, the country would slip back to the era of extra parliamentary and violent opposition to the regime. A free and fair election, at least by more..

BOC to improve environs of National Hospital Colombo

Dec 18 (DM) National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo (NHSL) serves over 10,000 outpatients daily and accommodates 3500 resident patients. The management of the NHSL aims to upgrade its standard and i mprove the surrounding environment to become the best govt hospital in South Asia. Bank of Ceylon (BoC) is partnering with the NHSL by becoming a stakeholder in this worthy project by assisting in creating a pleasant environment. It is a known fact that a peaceful, green environment more..

Gota blasts those ashamed of being Sinhalese

Dec 18 (DM) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said it was extremely unfortunate to note that there were some influential figures within Sri Lanka who have said openly that the country should submit itself to an international investigation. “One such figure has even admitted to being proud of her children for saying they were ashamed to be Sinhalese and Sri Lankans after having watched what is little more than an LTTE propaganda film aired on Channel 4,” more..

Special security for Pope’s visit

Dec 18 (CG) A special security plan is to be put in place for the visit to Sri Lanka by Pope Francis next month, SSP Ajith Rohana announced. He said that this would include a traffic plan for vehicles entering the Galle Face area where the Pope will hold a mass on January 14. SSP Ajith Rohana said that five routes will be identified as the routes to be used by people looking to attend the Galle Face mass and further details will be made available within a week. more..

Maithri calls Mahinda for debate

Dec 18 (CG) Common opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena issued an open challenge to President Rajapaksa for a live debate early next month. Sirisena said that he is ready to debate issues related to good governance and democracy with the President. Sirisena said that if the President agrees to the debate he will take part in it without a text document in his hands. He also accused the govt of failing to use the 2/3 majority it has in parliament to address more..

Video: 10 PS members arrested for election law violations

Dec 18 (DM) The Police Department said that 30 individuals including four Pradeshiya Saba (PS) Chairmen were arrested for violating election law violations. Of the 30 individuals arrested 10 were PS members. Local politicians have been warned of dire consequences if they were to step beyond the boundaries of the law. PS Chairmen of Mawathagama, Ududumbara and Ibbagamuwa and six other pradeshiya saba members were arrested, SSP Ajith Rohana said. more..

Trinco MP turns down offer to rejoin UPFA

Dec 18 (CT) Trincomalee District MP, M.K.D.S. Gunawardene said he rejected an offer of money, by a UPFA bigwig, to rejoin the govt and support President Rajapaksa. Gunawardene, who was Deputy Minister of Buddha Sasana, defected, with the Maithripala Sirisena faction, to the Opposition. Gunawardene addressed a public rally at the 4th Mile post in Trincomalee, a few days ago and explained the reasons for his defection. He said he wished to support the Opposition's common candidate to more..

Embilipitiya UC Budget defeated with no UPFA members turning up

Dec 18 (CT) The Embilipitiya Urban Council's 2015 Budget was defeated yesterday (16) as none of the ruling party members showed up for the debate. Acting Chairman, Attorney-at-Law Vijitha Punchihewa presented the Budget to the Council. When the vote was taken the two UNP members voted against it and the Chairman abstained, thus defeating the Budget. The Embilipitiya UC consists of seven members including the Chairman, of which five belong to the govt and two to the Opposition. more..

Life behind bars Children growing up in prison

Dec 18 (CT) Prison is a place for the depraved, guilty and criminally convicted but for a few children who have to pay for the crimes of their parents, the four walls of a prison cell is all that they know. This week's Sati Chronicles explores the life of children who live in prison with their mothers. If freedom is the fundamental right of all citizens in the country, we ask how a system that takes away the freedom of a child in the name of 'love' is fair. more..

A love affair that ended in murder

Dec 18 (CT) He promised his fiancée that whoever opposes their love would have to face bitter repercussions. He also assured her that he will possess her doing away with any transgressor, may it be his or her family member. Thiyagaraja Sankaran, an 18 year old youngster was a resident of Thalikkulam Vavuniya, who fell in love with a girl who was living in the same area. Jiwitha at the beginning did not show love in him. However, later Thiyagaraja Sankaran won over Jiwitha's love. more..

Will Mahinda go if he is defeated?

Dec 18 (CT) "If Sirisena wins poll, President and his brothers may try to retain power by resorting to compliant Court or military..." – International Crisis Group. Mahinda's fears must be doubled and trebled in his march towards the Presidential Election. The reason is that Chandrika is behind Maithri. Mahinda having won the 2005 Presidential Election ousted Chandrika from the SLFP leadership on her birthday. Hence, Mahinda fears that Chandrika will not only destroy his more..

Impending doom for Sri Lanka Railways

Dec 18 (CT) This week the trade union talk focuses on the transport sector which plays a very crucial role in everyone's day-to-day life. Our focus is on the railway which is one of the major modes of transport in Sri Lanka. Accordingly more than 5-6 million commuters uses railway daily. It is the All Ceylon Railway Employees' General Union (ACREGU) General Secretary, S.P. Withanage who spoke about the issues prevailing in the Sri Lanka Railways (SLR). more..

Mr. President, build us a Wall!

Dec 18 (NS) Walls normally are meant to separate, to keep people and things apart. However, not all walls are about separation. Walls can also be about inspiration, unification and purification. Sri Lanka needs a wall to bring us together, to unify, to inspire and to glorify our differences. For far too long we have allowed the carrions of our society to dictate the path of our nation. Time and again the nation has invested its faith in leaders who have used that faith in the vilest of manner. more..

Politics and love are both dead

Dec 18 (NS) These are days of political loyalty. Political betrayal too. Crossing lines. Shifting allegiances. Shifts and the speed of movement bring to mind a soliloquy in Udayasiri Wickramaratne’s Suddek Oba Amathai (A white man addresses you). This particular segment was called Ithihasaya Oba Amathai (History addresses you). Jayalath Manoratne played ‘History’ or rather gave voice to a note on history. The following refers to political loyalties, in particular to loyalty associated with political parties. more..

'Gender bias still exists'

Dec 18 (SO) Gone are the days when women were supposed to get married, bear children, stay at home and end up being doormats or slaves. Today, women are more open and independent, especially in the West where women are given due recognition. Compared to those antiquated times However, in Asian culture, women do not seem to be getting equal rights, though they hold top positions in different fields. There is a certain amount of apprehension that more..

Tyranny dares to plot and democracy fears to preempt

Dec 18 (CT) The caption is a tragic commentary on the events likely to unfold in Sri Lanka in just three weeks. May not, is a distant possibility; but if they do what is the response of the International Community, the govt and the people? When Tamils faced mayhem, there were certainly good and noble deeds at all times from the better ones. From 1977 to 2009 against the Tamils and in 2014 against Muslims, when pogroms were unleashed, the state apparatus stood idle struck by rigor mortis. more..

Changing the regime and the NGO-led civil society

Dec 18 (CT) Let me first thank ICES for inviting me to speak on this panel, which I think is a very timely initiative to break the silence of, what I would call, the NGO-led civil society. I am not making a sweeping statement here that the NGO-led civil society has kept mum on the issue of the upcoming Presidential Elections. Some NGOs have been busy, particularly the election monitors. But by and large, I think, this is the first time, a meeting has been convened by a NGO-styled more..

 England in Sri Lanka