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UPFA PS Chairman Solangaarachchi resigns

Dec 7 (CT) Kotikawatta-Mulleriyawa UPFA Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) Chairman, Prasanna Solangaarachchi will resign from UPFA membership today. He said that at a press conference, fixed for today, he will make a public announcement regarding this matter. At the 2011 Local Govt Elections, Solangaarachchi polled the highest number of preferential votes (42,322) in that PS. He was supported by then Kolonnawa SLFP Organizer, Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. more..

Five more Govt MP’s to back Maithripala?

Dec 7 (Island) At least five more govt MP’s are expected to defect to Joint Opposition Front (JOF) this week. They are among the initial group of 23 UPFA MP’s, some of whom are Ministers, who were due to cross over with former Minister Maithripala Sirisena.  Meanwhile, it is learnt that the leader of the 23-member group who had negotiated with the JOF for Srisena to be appointed its Presidential candidate, had for several reasons decided to remain in the govt.  more..

Senior citizen to get 12% special interest rate from January

Dec 7 (Island) Govt is finalizing the implementation of the budget pledge of 12% interest for senior citizen’s fixed deposits (FDs) in state banks with effect from January, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said. On Friday this question was raised with Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Treasury, when President Rajapaksa met editors and senior media practitioners at the breakfast meeting he hosts regularly. more..

Pre-election travel advisories unlikely to impact on tourist arrivals

Dec 7 (ST) Tourism industry is unfazed by some countries alerting their citizens visiting the country to be ‘cautious’ of potential election violence during the presidential polls campaign. Industry officials said large-scale election violence was unlikely and the traditionally peak season was looking good. “Bookings are great (for December) and I don’t expect any election violence that would deter arrivals,” one official said, adding: “These are routine advisories issued ahead of any election”. more..

Ex-CJ too busy to support Maithri

Dec 7 (CT) Former Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake's lawyers said, she has no intention of supporting common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena. "She is busy with her legal cases and does not want to get involved in politics," a lawyer said. Her lawyers said that Bandaranayake has had no discussions with Sirisena or his agents and will not support his political campaign. Her lawyers refuted reports that she is supporting Sirisena and giving him legal advice. more..

UPFA, NDF all set for do-or-die battle

Dec 7 (ST) The official countdown for the Jan 8 presidential election gets under way with tomorrow’s nominations where more than 15 candidates will be in the fray. That the political battle will be between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his main rival Maithripala Sirisena, the main contenders, is all too well known. What remains to be known are the allegiances of at least some of the other candidates. more..

Responsibilities of Mahinda and Maithri

Dec 7 (CT) Tomorrow Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena will officially enter the fray for a presidential election on 8 January. Both will hand in nominations at the Election Secretariat. Large crowds, supporters of both candidates, are expected to flock the city on this first working day of the week. A heavy traffic jam is expected in and around Borella-Rajagiriya area and it would cause grave inconveniences to the public. Should both candidates arrive in such a manner to more..

Now hold the Alliance on a tight leash

Dec 7 (Island) At last it’s done! SI-CC has been endorsed; it was a steep and at first a solitary climb, but you and I dear reader, now have a different task. We need to hold the Alliance and its leaders to account; hold a sword over their heads as it were. It is not those who loyally served Mahinda Rajapaksa in cabinet and parliament for nine long years who best know the evils of the Executive Presidency; or those who upheld the system when graft, abuse and rights violations proliferated who best more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Dec 7 (ST) There are tears, fears and cheers for politicians as the campaign for the January 8 presidential election goes on amid seasonal festivity. A Minister from an area that provides vegetables and fruits for the dining tables not only in the City but also many other towns literally shed buckets of tears at a public meeting. Man whose name was on top of the list of likely ‘crossovers’ was pouring his heart out about the love for the party. more..

Govt excludes opposition from all public spaces

Dec 7 (Island) "The govt has under various names of party supporters booked all public spaces and venues that can accommodate large crowds for political meetings", Manjula Gajanayake, National Co-ordinator, CMEV said. "This is a strategy employed to exclude all opposition parties from using these venues- constituting election violence. It is a strategy used by the very powerful incumbent govt to deny more..

Turkish Embassy in Colombo taken for a costly ride

Dec 7 (Island) A Sri Lankan has cheated Turkish Embassy officials for over Rs. 3.5 million and no proper formal inquiry has been conducted so far by the law enforcement authorities, it is learnt. Despite the Turkish Embassy secretary’s complaint to the Colombo Fraud Investigation Bureau (CFIB) a few months ago on a deceitful financial deal involving the Sri Lankan, no action has been forthcoming to recover the money, more..

Gota fears re-emergence of LTTE

Dec 7 (CT) The possibility of terrorism re-emerging remains the foremost threat to Sri Lanka's national security, with support generated for the LTTE and the separatist enterprise internationally, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. Addressing a meeting, he said extremist elements within the expatriate Tamil population, together with LTTE's international network, remain committed to achieving a separate Eelam even to this day. more..

Oil politics shatters CPC plans

Dec 7 (ST) Presidential polls have ruined the Govt’s chances of keeping fuel prices at current, high levels aimed at wiping out losses at both the CPC and the CEB even though crude oil prices have fallen sharply overseas, local oil traders and economists said. Just two days after Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told reporters that current prices were due to heavy taxes, Govt on Friday in a pre-election incentive announced a reduction more..

TNA, Opposition hold talks

Dec 7 (SL) The TNA has had talks with the common opposition with regard to the presidential election. The convener of the NMSJ, the Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero said that the TNA showed positive signs at the talks with regard to extending support to the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena but a final decision is yet to be reached. He said that even though the TNA has not signed an agreement with opposition, more..

Signature campaign will reconvene Uva PC

Dec 7 (NS) Opposition Leader of the Uva Provincial Council Harin Fernando said he was confident that the Uva PC would fall to the Opposition this week. Fernando said they were currently in the process of collecting signatures from members of the council to show that the majority of members were in favor of reconvening the council sessions, which were earlier postponed till January 15 citing ‘cold weather conditions’. more..

Sri Lanka to release Indian boats

Dec 7 (SL) SL Govt has softened its stance on boats seized while poaching in Sri Lankan waters. Minister Sarath Kumara Gunarathne said that Sri Lanka has decided to consider releasing Indian boats and fishermen in SL custody on friendly terms. “Right now there are 83 Indian boats and 41 fishermen in Sri Lankan custody – and there are 28 SL boats and 40 SL fishermen in Indian custody for fishing illegally crossing the sea boundaries,” more..

Navin will not file Police complaint

Dec 7 (SL) Former Minister Navin Dissanayake who crossed over to support the common opposition candidate, said that he has no intention of lodging a complaint against the businessman who offered Rs.100 million to retain him in the govt as he has no faith in the Police Department. He said that although it is a criminal offence to offer and accept a bribe, and the only way to stop bribery and corruption is to lodge a complaint in police, more..

Bird flu in Kerala: Sri Lanka on alert

Dec 7 (ST) With the outbreak of bird flu or avian influenza in the southern Indian state of Kerala, the Sri Lanka Navy and veterinary surgeons in coastal areas have been placed on alert to prevent Indian poultry products from being smuggled into the country. Animal Production and Health Department Director Dr. A. Sivasothy expressed concern that as prices and demand for poultry products in Kerala had dropped due to bird flu, the spillover more..

A world Tamil congress mooted

Dec 7 (CG) Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) has proposed the formation of a world Tamil congress which will include Tamils and Tamil leaders from around the world. TGTE leader and former LTTE peace negotiator V. Rudrakumaran had made the proposal in New York when the TGTE convened its self proclaimed parliament over the weekend. The TGTE parliament began sitting on Friday and concludes today and included video live links with delegations in Malaysia & TN. more..

Dr Sumith Pilapitiya on the Human–Elephant Conflict

Dec 7 (Island) The human-elephant conflict is escalating. This in spite of methods resorted to, to prevent humans and elephants coming into violent contact. Plans have been put forward but implementation is half hearted. Often the reason that emerges for lethargy in addressing this grave situation is lack of funds. This to me is utterly surprising when there seems to be plenty of government money (ours) splashed around on extravagant but useless ventures! more..

The chill felt in Uva may be signalling an inevitable shift in power

Dec 7 (CT) December is a cold month. But, this is a time even icebergs will become hot as the heat of politics is spreading all over the country. It will get worse by January. The fire was ignited by President Rajapaksa, but now he is unable to control it. The opposition has fuelled it to burn further. The chairs of ministers are getting heated. Amidst all the heat, the Uva Provincial Council is feeling an extraordinary chill. more..

‘JVP will work hard to defeat the President’

Dec 7 (Island) The London branch of the JVP held the annual Heroes’ Day commemoration (Il Maha Viru Samaruwa) rally in Wembley Vale Farm Sports Centre last week. The chief guest was JVP North-West provincial council member and National Organizer of the All Ceylon Farmers’ Association, Namal Karunaratne. Speaking at the event, he said that 60,000 JVP cadres, including Rohana Wijeweera, Upatissa Gamanayake, Shantha Bandara, Saman Piyasiri & Upali Jayaweera more..

When will the noise stop?

Dec 7 (Island) "When will the noise stop?", asked an invitee at a presentation on the Metro Colombo Urban Development Project (MCUDP) by Eng. Rohan Seneviratne, Project Director, MCUDPat the Water’s Edge on Thursday as part of a World Bank organized awareness program. "The noise emanating from the 55 acre ‘yet to be named’, consolidated Defence services base currently under construction, off Akuregoda Road, in Pellawatte, Battaramulla, lasts through the day & night more..

SC to consider whether Golden Key assets can be liquidated

Dec 7 (Island) Supreme Court directed that the assets of Golden Key (GK) and related parties be identified by Task Force and referred to the Monetary Board of Central Bank to be placed before Court for determination on whether they could be liquidated or not. The overall assets were divided into four categories – those owned by GK and its subsidiaries, personal assets of directors, 3rd party assets & those under dispute. more..

Uneasy Parallels: January 8 presidential election and 1982 parliamentary feferendum

Dec 7 (Island) To be clear, the govt, rather the President, called the election prematurely for a third term without precedent. Opposition has turned it into a referendum on the presidency. If one looks for a historical parallel, the closest one can get to is the 1982 referendum. The people lost the referendum then, the govt won, and nothing has remained the same thereafter. If the govt wins this time, and the people lose again, everything that changed for the worse after 1982 will remain the same more..

'President himself decided to wage war - No party pushed him'

Dec 7 (AM) Denying claims that it was the JHU who pushed President Rajapaksa towards the final phase of war, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that the timelines of the final battle was decided by the President himself. “No one asked him to do this and that. It was the President himself who made the political decision and it was done according to his line of thinking,” the Defence Secretary said addressing a meeting organized by the SLFP in Homagama. more..

BBS breaks silence over Rishad supporting MR

Dec 7 (AM) BBS on Sunday said it was not aware of the terms and conditions under which Rishad Bathiudeen’s ACMC extended its support to President Rajapaksa at the presidential election. A delegation of ACMC stalwarts, led by Bathiudeen, met President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday evening and pledged to support him at the election, after President Rajapaksa vowed to address their grievances. more..

Rauff Hakeem in no man’s land

Dec 7 (NS) The SLMC, the largest Muslim parties in Parliament, led by Minister Rauff Hakeem, is now in a dilemma on the stance they should take at the forthcoming presidential election, highly placed political sources said. The ACMC, led by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, has pledged support to President Rajapaksa at the presidential election. However, a senior spokesman of the party, said the party would officially announce its decision next week – probably on Monday or Tuesday. more..

Champika rocks trade union sector

Dec 7 (NS) JHU General Secretary and former Minister Champika Ranawaka made a serious allegations against the ministers of the govt saying ministers were behind recent trade union actions against the govt. According to Ranawaka, some ministers are triggering trade union actions against the govt as the ministries are deprived of essential funds to carry out their usual operations. “Funds are not given to the Ministries within the first three months of the year. more..

Leftist parties slam hundred day program

Dec 7 (NS) Common Candidate of the Leftist political movement Duminda Nagamuwa asserted that the people of Sri Lanka will have no say in the 'new constitution' that will be drafted by the common opposition within 100 days after asuming power as it would never be put before the people for approval. He said that it would be another extension of the constitutions that were passed in 1972 & 1978 against the will of the people. more..

SF admits to rift with Wasantha

Dec 7 (CG) Former army commander Sarath Fonseka has admitted to a rift with former navy commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda during the final stages of the war. Fonseka said that he had refused to accommodate some of Karannagoda’s requests during the war as he felt it would hamper the progress of the army on the ground. He said that on one occasion, Karannagoda, who was then the navy commander, had wanted to place navy boats at a particular location in the north which more..

'Govt decides to change electoral system as an immediate requirement'

Dec 7 (AM) The UPFA has also decided to change the present electoral system as an immediate task, if it comes to power after the next presidential election. The new electoral system, which was formulated by a parliamentary committee headed by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, will be a mix of the first-past-the-post system, ensuring that every electorate has its own MP, and proportional representation. The new electoral system is one of the key slogans of the common opposition, more..

'Casino-Ethanol-Heroin-Arsenic-Cigarette cartels running the country'

Dec 7 (AM) JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka stated that the country was being run by five spectres he added saying that they are namely, the casino cartel, ethanol cartel, heroin cartel, arsenic cartel and cigarette cartel. He said that corruption has grown in mammoth scale in the country. It is not just the 10% deals that take place today. Its 1000% or even 5000% deals that take place today, he added. more..

'RDA staff used for election work'

Dec 7 (Island) Transparency International SL says that it has complained to Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya about more than 300 officers and other staff attached to the RDA, which functions under the Ministry of Road Development, being used for election propaganda work. In a letter to the Commissioner, TISL has given details unearthed by the Program for Protection of Public Resources (PPPR) on how these officers and staff has been utilised for election work. more..

Investor exodus

Dec 7 (CT) With foreign investors having made exit Rs 43 billion worth of investments in Treasury (T) Bills and T Bonds in the past 14 weeks, banking sources said more such exits were expected in the coming weeks due to the prevailing uncertain political climate in the country, leading to the Presidential Polls. Rs 43 billion is equivalent to, between US$ 328 million and US$ 330 million. Such exits cause pressure on the rupee. As a result, in the 14-week review period up to now, more..

Sangakkara stars in solid Sri Lanka win

Dec 7 (CI) Sri Lanka regained their two-match advantage in the one-day series with England but were pushed closer than appeared likely for most of the chase before getting home with two balls to spare. The pursuit was controlled, for the most part, by Kumar Sangakkara's 86 but it needed another steely contribution from Angelo Mathews to ensure against any late slip. Nothing seemed more certain than Sangakkara sealing victory with his 20th more..

Taylor makes his statement

Dec 7 (CI) It had been over a year since James Taylor played for England, more than three since his debut, so his cautious start was understandable. He moved to 11 from 29 balls when he decided there was something about Thisara Perera's medium pace that he liked. The delivery was maybe a touch full and wide of off stump, allowing Taylor to skip nimbly out of his crease and cart the ball over wide long-on with a heavy bottom-handed swipe of the bat. It was the first boundary of his innings more..

19 place bonds for Presidential Polls

Dec 7 (CG) 19 candidates submitted bonds as of this afternoon to contest the 2015 Presidential elections. The deadline to submit bonds ended this afternoon, Deputy Elections Commissioner U. Amaradasa said, adding that among those who submitted bonds are two independent candidates. President Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena are the two main candidates contesting the polls and the nomination papers of all candidates will be handed over tomorrow. more..

MR defends Chinese projects

Dec 7 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa defended the Chinese funded projects in SL saying they have contributed to the development of the country. The President said that the Hambantota Port, Mattala airport and the Norochcholai coal power plant had all brought benefits to the people of Sri Lanka. The opposition, especially the UNP, has been critical of the three projects saying they are loss making projects more..

A week for National Zoological Gardens

Dec 7 (GDI) A week for National Zoological Gardens has been announced with the aim of enhancing the efficiency and productivity in the Department of National Zoological Gardens. The week for National Zoological Gardens will start on Monday and continue until coming Friday. Several programs have bee organized during week days focusing on the National Zoological Garden Colombo. Zoological garden in Dehiwala, is a beautifully landscaped 30 acre land which has a rich collection of more..