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India approaches Interpol in Rajiv Gandhi case, wants to wrap up probe

Dec 8 (TOI) The CBI has approached Interpol to expedite its request to question Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) of LTTE for the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi. Interpol's help has also been sought to convince Sri Lanka to assist in the case and reply to the judicial requests, which have been pending for years. CBI feels the case has been held up for very long & should be wrapped up quickly after getting all information from SL. more..

A case for a stronger SAARC

Dec 8 (DM) The 18th SAARC conference concluded a couple of weeks ago in Kathmandu, Nepal, without any solid outcome. However for anyone who has followed SAARC developments, it was nothing unusual. They would say it has always been like that. SAARC was formed in 1985 with lofty ideals—to promote political and economic cooperation among South Asian countries. However, even after almost 30 years, there are numerous trade and entry point barriers, major political more..

Battle of the Blues

Dec 8 (DM) A born again Chandrika is phenomenal. Found wanted nowhere and is being sought after everywhere. Maybe, the reason why she is Always late and Never on time [Reply: Yes, why hurry?]– Her signature tune that is not pleasant to those who have to wait in vain; probably choreographed to provide an awe element; holds the key to the doing or undoing of her candidate Sirisena; her silhouette or shadow. Sirisena is the SLFP bride that eloped on the eve of the wedding without the retinue. more..

Tale of two crossovers by Rajarata stalwarts

Dec 8 (DBS) The controversial cross over of Senior minister Pallewatte Gamaralalage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena from the UPFA Govt to the opposition and related developments have evoked memories of another cross over from treasury benches to the opposite side by another senior minister from the Rajarata 50 years ago. It was on Dec 3rd 1964 that Charles Percival de Silva the minister of Land, Irrigation and Power more..

Is Tamil Nadu holding up deal on swapping fishermen prisoners?

Dec 8 (SL) Sri Lanka and India are discussing at the diplomatic level a proposal from fishermen’s organizations in both countries that fishermen being held in custody in the two countries should be released in a swapping arrangement. But TN appears to be standing in the deal’s way, some officials said on condition of anonymity. Director General of Fisheries, Nimal Hettiarachchi, said that SL has taken up this suggestion with India more..

Govt: Presidential powers, defence, 13 A: Sirisena contradicts himself

Dec 8 (Island) The SLFP led UPFA yesterday urged the political grouping backing opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena to speak with one voice. National Freedom Front (NFF) spokesman Mohammed Muzammil alleged that those spearheading Opposition campaign had been pulling in different directions. The NFF split from the JVP several years ago over differences over policy. more..

Another controversy over coal shipment

Dec 8 (ST) In the aftermath of allegations of a fraud involving about Rs. 1.5 billion in the purchase of coal from Australia, the awarding of a three-year contract to a Singapore-based shipping company has created another controversy. According to officials, the contract has been awarded to the company for transportation of coal after adjusting tender requirements – a move which could result in additional expenses. more..

SLFP likely to review boycott decision

Dec 8 (Island) Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said the ruling coalition would probably participate in live Sirasa political programme, Satana. He was responding to a query regarding the UPFA boycott of the programme, where serious allegations pertaining to waste, corruption and irregularities were made by General Secretary of the JHU Champika Ranawaka and JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. more..

Kabir Hashim becomes new General Secretary of UNP

Dec 8 (AM) UNP appointed Kabir Hashim as the new General Secretary of the party. He was appointed to the position vacated by Tissa Attanayake who pledged his support to President Rajapaksa this afternoon. A member of UNP Leadership Council, Hashim was previously the Chairman of the UNP. 55 year old politician was the former Non-Cabinet Minister of Tertiary Education, Training. He was educated at the Royal College Colombo more..

Improved quality of life in rural areas will ensure my victory: MR

Dec 8 (FT) President Rajapaksa on Friday expressed confidence that significant improvement in quality of life in rural areas along with rapid infrastructure development will secure him a fresh mandate to lead the country for a third term. “Quality of life in rural areas has vastly improved. With rapid infrastructure development in the country and rise in per capita income, people are not wishing for push cycles anymore but more..

Govt bungled economy: Ranawaka

Dec 8 (CT) Govt has failed to collect 25% of the expected revenue in 2014 and the county has to face serious consequences due to the ill-judged economic policies adopted by it, JHU General Secretary, Champika Ranawaka said. Although the expected revenue of the govt in 2014 was over Rs 1,400 billion, only. Rs 1,100 billion was collected. He said that SL is bankrupt and the govt revenue is not sufficient to pay loan installments & interest more..

Candidates submit nominations

Dec 8 (CG) All 19 candidates, including President Rajapaksa and common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena, handed over their nomination papers to Elections Commissioner today to contest the Presidential elections. Among the candidates contesting are 17 candidates from recognised political parties and two independent groups. Two objections had been filed after the time allocated to accept nominations were closed. more..

Koica’s aid touches young and old in SL

Dec 8 (KJ) Hundreds of students from the Sujatha Vidyalaya, a Buddhist girls’ elementary school in Sri Lanka’s Matara District, lined the street waving the Korean flag along with their own national flag. Dozens of girls filed down a narrow street in a parade to the beat of their accompanying drummers. They were greeting a group of volunteers led by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (Koica). more..

Stop vote-buying

Dec 8 (CT) Elections are important to voters to elect leaders of their choice. Over the past decade elections have suffered due to impersonation, vote buying and electoral violence. None have been brought to book for committing such offences. There seems to be no accountability process during and after elections to try offenders. Vote-buying is an undemocratic act often committed by politicians. That is committed under various pretexts. However, it is viewed with suspicion by the people. more..

A Balance Restored: Meeting Mahinda & Maithripala

Dec 8 (CT) It wasn’t just another Sunday. On the eve of the day that nominations closed and the Presidential race began in earnest, I had a one-on-one luncheon conversation with President Rajapaksa and a late teatime discussion with Maithripala Sirisena, at the invitations of the incumbent and a key personality of the challenger’s camp, respectively. While I shall not divulge the contents of either conversation, I can however, share my impressions. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Fitch assigns Abans' debenture BBB+(lka)

Dec 8 (LBO) Fitch Ratings has assigned Abans Plc's senior unsecured redeemable debenture issue of up to two billion rupees a final National Long-Term rating of 'BBB+(lka)', the rating agency said. The debentures are rated in line with Abans' National Long-Term Rating as they will rank equally with the company's other senior unsecured creditors. The debenture is expected to be issued in three tranches with maturities of three, four, and five years at fixed coupon rates. more..

'SL boasts alluring environment for holidays'

Dec 8 (eTN) A rendezvous with Sri Lanka — Ceylon to historians — is not all about serendipity. A little effort, which does not entail a great deal of time and space, and chances are you’ll be rewarded with attractions that are right after your heart. Lord Buddha’s Temple of the Tooth, Adam’s Peak, Dambulla Cave Temple, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Sigiriya, Yala National Park, Knuckles Mountain Range, Diyaluma Falls and Kandy Lake — to name just a few — are breathtaking more..

SLFP-JVP MoU; Maithripala wants peace with the LTTE, but not in the UNP way

Dec 8 (CT) “Amid fanfare, President Kumaratunga’s SLFP party and the radical JVP formally entered into a political alliance on January 20. The alliance is basically an electoral pact, but an MOU attacking the GSL’s handling of the peace track was also agreed to. In a related development, Somawansa Amarasinghe, a key JVP leader and noted hard-liner based in the UK, is making a rare visit to Sri Lanka. more..

Senasinghe crows about UPFA PS budget defeat as symptom of times

Dec 8 (Island) A strong opposition to the govt had emerged all over the country. The situation in almost all UPFA dominated people’s institutions was similar to that at the Madadumbara Pradeshiya Sabha (PS), UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe said. MP Senasinghe addressed the media conference in association with the Teldeniya UNP Chief Organiser and former mayor of Kandy and presently an MMC and members of the Madadumbara PS who defeated its Budget for the year 2015, on Thursday. more..

Sri Lankan stocks edge up in low trade; rupee forwards firmer

Dec 8 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks rose slightly on Monday in sluggish trade as investors were cautious due to the political uncertainty ahead of the Jan. 8 presidential poll. At 0756 GMT, the main stock index was up 0.07 percent, or 5.04 points, at 7,243.96. "The market is volatile in low trade, not much of activity as many are awaiting to see the direction as election nears," said Dimantha Mathew manager, research at First Capital Equities (pvt) Ltd. 19 candidates, including President Rajapaksa more..

'Govt ministers know they are on the losing side'

Dec 8 (AM) Addressing a press conference soon after former General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake joined the govt, common candidate Maithripala Sirisena said some members of the govt are of the belief that they are already on the losing side. He also revealed that his policy framework pertaining to the presidential election will be released next week. He said the state media was giving unfair attention to more..

GCE O/L commences tomorrow: 577,220 candidates, 4,279 centres

Dec 8 (Island) GCE O/L Exam will commence tomorrow at 4,279 centres countrywide and go on till Dec. 18. A total of 577,220 candidates including 206,841 private applicants will sit the examination. Commissioner General of Examinations W.M.N.J. Pushpakumara said that special exam centres had been set up at Magazine Prison in Colombo and Suneetha Vidyalaya in Watareka, Padukka for those in prison custody, for visually handicapped children Ratmalana Deaf and Blind School more..

Medadumbara PS rebels say they did it not to embarrass President

Dec 8 (Island) The five UPFA members of the Medadumbara Pradeshiya Sabha who boycotted its 2015 budget told a media briefing in Kandy (05) that they had done so to register their protest against the chairperson Sunethra Jayaratne and not to embarrass the President or the UPFA govt. The five members vowed to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential Election. They said they would not permit the UNP to take undue advantage of their boycott at any cost. more..

Vaiko resigns over Sri Lankan issue

Dec 8 (CG) MDMK chief Vaiko today quit the BJP-led NDA after he hit out at two BJP leaders for criticising him over his remarks against PM Narendra Modi on the Sri Lankan issue. “Being in NDA is untenable because of Modi’s policies,” 70-year-old leader as saying in a statement. “Modi govt has not followed the steps of (former PM Atal Bihari) Vajpayee. There have been differences, so the MDMK has decided not to continue in the more..

SL co-operative bankers visit Germany

Dec 8 (FT) Sri Lankan Consulate in Frankfurt recently facilitated a visit of Sri Lanka cooperative bankers to the Academy of German Co-operatives (ADG) in Montabour, Germany. ADG is a training institution set up to train coop banks in Germany and also provides information and services to co-operative banking networks worldwide. A five member team headed by Damitha Narangoda, CEO of the Co-operative Insurance Company, participated in this three day workshop. more..

Chandrani Bandara rejects crossover claims

Dec 8 (AM) UNP MP Chandrani Bandara, who was present at the common opposition press conference today, denied rumours that she was going to cross over to the govt, following the footsteps of Tissa Attanayake. She is known to be a close friend of former General Secretary of the UNP and recently media reports alleged that she had got a diplomatic posting for her son with the help of the UPFA govt. She rejected rumours saying she was born to UNP, was raised within a UNP background, more..

He is going anyway, Let him go: Ranil

Dec 8 (AM) It has now been revealed that opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe knew his General Secretary Tissa Attanayake’s defection since last week and ignored repeated requests to prevent him from joining the govt especially at this juncture. “He is joining the govt, anyway. Don’t worry about the matter anymore. Let him go,” UNP National Leader has told his close associates last week, when they informed more..

Western heritage management values to be reassessed

Dec 8 (Island) Western values of heritage management are to be questioned and their relevance in Asian context reassessed during a four day international forum that commences from today, according to Director General of Department of Archaeology Dr. Senarath Dissanayake. Symposium, ‘ICCROM-CHA Annual Conservation Forum 2014’ would bring about far-reaching changes and pave way for methods and techniques in conserving the sites and monuments of more..

LSSP breakaway group to support Maithripala Sirisena

Dec 8 (AM) LSSP members who were recently expelled from the party for opposing the decision to support President Rajapaksa at the presidential election, have decided to support common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena. Former CPC Member and Politburo Member of the LSSP Lal Wijenayake announced this decision yesterday. 3 Central Committee members and 3 Politburo members were recently expelled from the party for opposing decision to support Rajapaksa. more..

Sachithra in SL's 30-man World Cup squad

Dec 8 (AP) Suspended offspinner Sachithra Senanayake has been included in Sri Lanka's provisional 30-man squad for next year's cricket World Cup. Senanayake is currently serving a suspension after his bowling action was deemed illegal. He has undergone remedial work and is awaiting results of another test which will determine if he can be allowed to bowl again in international games. more..

NUF welcomes JHU backing for Sirisena

Dec 8 (Island) NUF led by former MP M.M. Zuhair PC, has welcomed the decision of the JHU to join the ‘Common People’s Agenda’ launched on Dec 1, by the UNP led opposition in support of common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena. NUF said the leadership roles played by respected Buddhist monks Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, leader of the Movement for a Just Society and Athuraliye Rathana Thera of the JHU have ushered in a new era of welcome change for just governance. more..

'President suffers from Bandaranaike phobia'

Dec 8 (AM) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said President Rajapaksa now suffers from “Bandaranaike phobia.” She made this remarks at the press conference this evening to announce the crossover of WPC member of UPFA, Hirunika Premachandra. “I have no medicine for the President’s fears,” former President said. She was responding to the statement made by President Rajapaksa that his key opponent in the election race is former President Kumaratunga. more..

Video: Jayantha Ketagoda joins UPFA

Dec 8 (AD) MP Jayantha Ketagoda will join the UPFA and support President Rajapaksa, a source said. Ketagoda became a MP replacing Sarath Fonseka’s place, and represents the DNA. In the political field in 1991 he was the Opposition Leader of the Kaduwela Pradeshiya Sabha. In 1999 he was elected Member of the WPC and obtained 2nd place in the preferential votes in the whole of Colombo district. more..

Abolish Executive Presidency, form national govt: Ranil

Dec 8 (Island) A special UNP Convention unanimously resolved to support the Joint Opposition Front’s Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena on Saturday. The Convention held at Sirikotha was preceded by a recent decision of the party’s Working Committee to endorse Sirisena’s candidature at the January 8, Presidential Election. The resolution was proposed by Senior UNP MP Joseph Michael Perera and put to a vote by UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

'Ministers who talk of patriotism love their stomachs only'

Dec 8 (LT) "Comrade Rohana Wijeweera, the founder of our party, was foresighted enough to see the threat of executive presidency in 1978. Since then we have been carrying out our campaigns to get executive presidency abolished. We don’t need the assistance of other countries to do it. We don’t need international assistance for it. Many ministers who talk about love for this country love only their stomachs. Certain individuals who call themselves ‘left’ have become tooth picks to clean more..

Hirunika joins the Maithri camp

Dec 8 (AM) WPC member of the UPFA, Hirunika Premachandra joined the common opposition, extending her support to Maithripala Sirisena. She announced her decision addressing a press conference at the Opposition Leader’s Office. Premachandra added that she would support common candidate of the opposition Maithripala sirisena. "No justice has been done to my father, who was killed three years ago. more..

CBK declares Arjuna A’galla SLFP organiser

Dec 8 (Island) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga declared World Cup winning cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga, MP, the chief SLFP organiser for Attanagalle electorate. Kumaratunga made the announcement at a public rally in the area. Turning towards Ranatunga, former President said there wasn’t a better person than Arjuna to organiser the party there. In a scathing attack on the SLFP-led govt, she alleged that those in power involved in mega scale fraudulent activities. more..

'Vaiko's exit won't affect BJP in Tamil Nadu'

Dec 8 (ANI) The chief of Tamil Nadu's BJP unit, Tamilisai Soundararajan, on Monday lashed out at MDMK chief Vaiko for snapping ties with her party, and said that the decision would not affect the saffron party's strength or growth in Tamil Nadu. "If a party decides that they want to go away then let them go, but reasons which Vaiko is giving is unacceptable. The exit of Vaiko will not affect the BJP's strength or growth in Tamil Nadu," Soundararajan said. more..

The heartbeat of the nation STOPPED

Dec 9 (NS) There was a Sunday unlike any I can remember. It is a Sunday I do not wish to revisit but which continues to visit me. And others. June 8, 2014. It was a Sunday, the stay-home day of the week for those who work at ‘The Nation’, but it was a Sunday that dawned for many in the form of a piece of news no one wanted to believe. Almost every member of the staff, including those who don’t concern themselves with news, features or any kind of ‘copy,’ wanted to verify. more..