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The way ahead for next govt on economy

Dec 9 (CT) The two main contenders for the Presidency have paid their deposits and the campaign will now get into high gear. They may present their manifestos for the future. The economy has not figured much in the debate so far. The economy has been growing reasonably even if one discounts the exaggerated figures trotted out by the authorities for 2014. But although the statistics have not yet disclosed the economy may be slackening. But what made it grow. more..

Northern Railway, some historical aspects

Dec 9 (SO) President Rajapaksa in keeping with his wisdom and sagacity, fully aware of the aspirations and sensing the ethos of the Jaffna Tamil community re-established the train service from Colombo to Jaffna, vice versa on Oct 19. That historical event took place after 24 years when the Northern railway line together with stations, bridges, signal systems were totally damaged and sabotaged by the LTTE more..

Pseudo democracy of Mahinda Rajapaksa

Dec 9 (CT) A very thoughtful analysis of Tisaranee Gunasekara: ‘Fake Tales For Elections’ rightly projects the paranoiac, selfish and phony mindset of Mahinda Rajapaksa in prolonging his autocratic governance. The analysis speaks of the degree of the treacherous and dishonest campaign of the Mahinda camp to subterfuge the very people it depends on to prolong the nation’s agony. Sri Lanka, under the autocratic family rule of Rajapaksa & Co., is an epitome of malevolence, more..

Mr. President; where is my laptop?

Dec 9 (NS) Your Excellency, I must confess at the outset that I am deeply hurt and miffed by the fact that I was overlooked when the names of the jounos to receive new laptops was finalized by your administration. I don’t care much about car loans or car permits because I want to reduce my carbon footprint. I do admit that I have limited experience in journalism and even less of a readership and I do not belong among the elite Silvas, Sumanapalas, Seneviratnes, Ratnatungas, Weerawansas more..

'Defections won't lessen MR's chances'

Dec 9 (CT) Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne believes that the defection of SLFP General Secretary, Maithripala Sirisena and several others, will have no impact at all on the stability of the govt. This senior SLFP member said those who crossover from the SLFP will ultimately be vanquished. Q: The General Secretary of the SLFP, Maithripala Sirisena left the govt to contest the forthcoming election against incumbent President Rajapaksa. more..

Election time: Speak fluently and say nothing

Dec 9 (SL) We have always admired those people who can speak fluently in tight situations without saying anything that can be understood by anyone. In these pre-election times, unless you agree with all what is said, you are likely to be asked: Alright, then what’s your solution? It’s no use telling that there are no solutions to all problems thought up by agitated minds. You can’t resort to science and say that for example there is no solution to squaring a circle. What the hell has squaring of a circle more..

Mahinda Vs Mahinda, still

Dec 9 (SL) It looks as if campaign fever for the January eighth presidential poll is yet to pick up a full fortnight after it all began. At this rate, the poll might conclude without the campaign reaching the conventional climax and the nation getting a new President or a President for a new term possibly without the usually high 75% turnout. Strange are the ways of politics. It’s thus an irony that President Rajapaksa, while in office, has been able to create a contestant from within his camp, more..

Sri Lanka's prolonged peace dividend

Dec 9 (FA) Colombo's stock market has been on fire since Sri Lanka's civil war ended. From $3.7 billion at the end of 2008 the country's market capitalisation has grown five-fold to almost $24 billion now, according to CIMB research. In that time, it has been the world's second-best performing market, putting on almost 400%. For Nalaka Godahewa, chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission, that is just the beginning. more..

Editorial: A clash of kingdoms?

Dec 9 (Island) The presidential race has officially begun with the closing of nominations for the Jan 8 poll, which will be a contest between President Rajapaksa and Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena. Interestingly, the former is the leader of the SLFP and the latter the former General Secretary of that party. President Rajapaksa, as expected, sprang a big surprise for his opponents yesterday, engineering as he did two high profile defections. UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake more..

These Indian givers!

Dec 9 (FT) An Indian Giver, as we all know, is one who gives something and then tries to take it back, a conduct most cultures would look at unfavourably. Common decency dictates a certain finality in an act of giving. All religions tell us that once given there is no taking back. Claims to the gift are extinguished and attachments severed, when given. Even in the law, a gift is irrevocable, save in a few exceptional circumstances. If noble is the giver, so ignoble is the Indian giver. more..

Multinational pressure on Health Ministry

Dec 9 (CT) The All Ceylon Nurses Union (ACNU) represents a group that is the very backbone of the health services sector and the year thus far has been a turbulent one for them. President of the ACNU, Gamini Kumarasinghe spoke to Ceylon Today about the issues affecting the nightingales of the wards, problems pertaining to promotions, the increasing narrowing of the scope of the noble profession, the lacklustre provisions more..

Circuit Colombo 2014 decrypts latest digital trends

Dec 9 (FT) The latest trends in digital marketing were decrypted at Circuit Colombo, the debut digital forum organised by GroupM yesterday at Park Street Mews, Colombo. Speakers from digital powerhouses such as Google, Facebook, Xaxis and GroupM congregated on a single platform to discuss the future of digital marketing. GroupM Sri Lanka COO Sabry Haniz touching base on what inspired them to host a digital forum of this nature noted that Sri Lanka was yet to fully embrace more..

Can the LSSP be Revived?: Reflecting on 79 Years of History

Dec 9 (Island) I live in Negombo. In 1956, this citadel of the UNP that was at that time supported by the Church was captured by LSSPer, Comrade Hector Fernando, a medical doctor by profession. When Lanka Samasamaja Party that is the oldest political party in Sri Lanka celebrates its 79th anniversary this month, the party seems to be in total disarray with two factions openly fighting with each other. A majority of the LSSP Central Committee has decided to support Mahinda more..

Education steering Committee releases booklet: For a meaningful free education

Dec 9 (CT) Steering Committee on education, comprising the FUTA, CTU, IUSF, CTSU and PEASL, issued a booklet titled 'For a Meaningful Free Education' last week. The booklet, which takes the form of a text book made for self study, raises issues hitherto discussed in abstract terms by academics and other stakeholders in a way that is familiar and applicable to real life. This allows the reader to determine whether the issues more..

Efficient energy initiatives offsetting tyre market losses

Dec 9 (Island) Though the solid tyre market was suffering losses upto 50% mainly due to energy costs, the country’s rubber industry tackled it through efficient energy initiatives, said Executive Director, Global Rubber Industries, Ananda Caldera. Speaking at 22nd anniversary of Forbes Marshall, he said cost leadership and competiveness depends on the lower cost of specific energy. He said that to compete with the global market, it is of great importance to cut energy cost. more..

'More corporates needed for infrastructure development'

Dec 9 (CT) President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), Arjuna Herath said that Sri Lanka now requires more private sector involvement in infrastructure development. "There are few companies that have shown the way and we are hoping that there will be many more joining the bandwagon. This may require Joint Ventures and Public- Private Partnerships which I am sure will be forthcoming with the progress and development country is making, more..

Mahathir in town to open development projects

Dec 9 (FT) Former PM of Malaysia Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka today for the inauguration of two development projects as well as address the Hambantota Conclave. He will launch the Residential Development Project in the proposed new city of Hambantota and the Mixed Development Project in the Katunayake Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) on Wednesday. MP Namal Rajapaksa, Maju Group of Companies more..

Sri Lankan envoy finds Madinah ‘fascinating’

Dec 9 (AN) * Which particular aspect of Saudi Arabia you like the most? Saying mashaallah. * Can you tell us your favorite and oft-repeated Arabic word? Tayyib. * Which book is now on your bedside? A copy of the Holy Qur’an. * What is your favorite holiday destination? Sri Lanka. * What is your dream country where you would like to be posted after leaving Saudi Arabia? Any Gulf country. * Which country’s people have you found most friendly? Arabs. more..

Rambukwella among WC probables

Dec 9 (CI) Sri Lanka have named slow-bowling allrounder Ramith Rambukwella in their 30-man preliminary squad for the World Cup, ahead of Chaturanga de Silva, who performs a similar role. Seam-bowling allrounder Farveez Maharoof, and chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandakan, have also been picked. A tall offspinner, Rambukwella made his international debut last year against New Zealand in a T20I, when he took 1 for 19 from four overs in Pallekele. more..

Rajapaksa calls for robust cooperation among SAARC nations

Dec 9 (IANS) President Rajapaksa Monday commemorated the 30th anniversary of the SAARC Charter Day by calling for more robust cooperation among the eight member states, that would result in tangible benefits to the people of South Asia. In a message, Rajapaksa said that the region is characterised by diverse cultures, ethnic groups, religions and languages, nurturing over centuries the finest works of philosophy, more..

Dutch writer/publisher on a mission to promote Sri Lankan tourism and investments

Dec 9 (ST) A Dutch writer and publisher who first visited Sri Lanka about three years ago is now assisting tourist authorities in the western province to develop a good tourist product and also engaged in writing a book on architecture that would explain the country's ancient irrigation and cultivation systems. Interest in the ancient farming systems came after a visit to Anuradhapura. “There is so much of peace and tranquility in the sacred city of Anuradhapura. more..

Do patriots suck country dry?: Anura K.

Dec 9 (CT) "Govt boasts about its patriotism to get votes. But, do true patriots suck the country dry?" asked JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. He said that the country is in a debt trap as a result of investing in projects, which do not give sufficient returns. The present govt had allowed their supporters to conduct massive malpractices, bribery and corruption. Corruption is also the reason why development projects, carried out by the govt, are costly, he said. more..

Polls chief calls for violence free campaign

Dec 9 (Island) Commissioner General of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday urged political party leaders to ensure a violence free election campaign. Addressing the Presidential Election Candidates who handed over their nominations at the Elections Department Auditorium, Deshapriya expressed his displeasure at several violent incidents reported from several areas. President Rajapaksa accompanied by more..

UPFA PS Chairman arrested over assault

Dec 9 (Island) Ududumbara police arrested three suspects including UPFA Ududumbara Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman for allegedly assaulting a group of Opposition activists and destroying the propaganda materials in support of Common Opposition Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena on Dec 6. The alleged incident occurred in the Ududumbara town, while the victim, a former UNP PS member, W.M.G. Thilakaratne, was carrying Sirisena’s propaganda campaign. more..

Construction of windmills in Kilinochchi

Dec 9 (CT) The construction of windmills, in the Kilinochchi-Palai area, is moving rapidly to provide more electricity to the district. This project was initiated by the NPC with foreign funds given with the aim of preserving the environment. The project is being carried out by Julipower Private Ltd and Bittapower Private Ltd. They are constructing windmills in the Pulopalai, Vallimunai and Pooneryn lagoon areas. A total of 16 windmills, 80 feet in height will be built under this project. more..

'TNA unhappy with both candidates'

Dec 9 (DM) TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that his party was unhappy with the two main presidential candidates because they had not offered any solutions to the burning issues faced by the Tamil people in the North and East. He said the ruling party had indicated that it would not rely on Tamil votes from the Northern and Eastern provinces while the common opposition candidate Maitripala Sirisena had sent more..

Sri Lanka to host AESIEAP in 2017/18

Dec 9 (IT) AESIEAP (Association of the Electricity Supply Industry of East Asia and the Western Pacific) has chosen Sri Lanka as the host destination for its activities in the years 2017/18. The activities feature AESIEAP CEO Conference and Conference of the Electric Power Supply Industry (CEPSI) which would draw around 200 and 2,000 foreign delegates respectively. They will come together to study problems at the regional level and to seek for solutions that can contribute to more..

Dengue chokes Jaffna

Dec 9 (CT) Number of dengue fever cases reported in Jaffna is on the risk. Nearly 20 cases were reported during the last week. The rainy weather will most likely witness a surge in the number of cases. 316 cases of dengue were reported in the district, in November. The entire peninsula is now under the dengue fever threat and awareness programmes were being conducted by Pradeshiya Sabhas and Public Health Inspectors (PHI), within the peninsula, in a bid to control the outbreak. more..

Hirunika for Maithri

Dec 9 (FT) Pledging her support to common opposition Maithripala Sirisena, popular UPFA Western Provincial Councillor Hirunika Premachandra defected from the ruling party on nomination day. Premachandra said that she could not in good conscience remain with the Govt. “If he wins, the country wins,” she said of Sirisena, soon after arriving at the Opposition Leader’s office for a press briefing yesterday. more..

Calling of int'l conspiracy canard: JVP

Dec 9 (CT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Minister Dullas Alahapperuma, were the people behind events, which were attributed to an international conspiracy, allegedly orchestrated by the diaspora and foreign diplomatic missions, hence the calling for an early poll. This was said by JVP Propaganda Secretary, Vijitha Herath, at a press conference on Sunday. "It was Rajapaksa who asked for this illegal election and not the international community," he emphasized. more..

University token strike against UGC’s lapses

Dec 9 (Island) University teachers will stage a token strike today against UGC for its failure to solve its problems. Executive Committee member of FUTA Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that they informed their decision to all university administrations and UGC as well as the Higher Education Ministry. Three months before they had protested against the admission of a student to the Ruhuna University one year later on a request of MP Namal Rajapaksa and sending a UGC official on an overseas tour more..

'Tissa, Tissa come this way!'

Dec 9 (FT) In a tit-for-tat maneuver President Rajapaksa yesterday managed to poach the UNP’s General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake on nominations day. Together with Jayantha Ketagoda, a member of Sarath Fonseka’s Democratic Party, Attanayake was greeted at Temple Trees by a host of former UNP ministers and SLFP strongmen, including Nimal Siripala De Silva and Mahindananda Aluthgamage. more..

Tight security for Rajapaksa’s visit

Dec 9 (Hindu) Tight security arrangements are made in the temple city of Tirupati ahead of the visit of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa who will be on a two-day pilgrimage starting Tuesday. The special flight carrying Mr. Rajapaksa and his entourage will be flying into the Renigunta airport at 4.30 pm, from where he will reach Tirumala hills by road. After offering prayers late in the evening and again participating in the pre-dawn ritual on Wednesday, ahead of the visit of the VVIP. more..

Sirisena declares all his assets

Dec 9 (CG) Common opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena declared all his assets to the Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya. Sirisena said that the details regarding his assets will also be open for the public to gain copies of if a request is made to his campaign office. He also returned unused fuel slips given to him while he was the Minister of Health. Sirisena, meanwhile, accused state television of violating election laws during the live coverage of nominations more..

'They are coming, be patient'

Dec 9 (Island) They were coming be patient, the Joint Opposition Fronts (JOF) Presidential candidate Maithripala Srisena said, in reference to his claim that more govt MPs would back his candidature. He said, "Be patient, more govt MP’s and local councilors are coming. It’s a matter of time." Srisena, producing over Rs.1.3 million worth of unused petrol vouchers which he had received from the Health Ministry more..

Missing drugs policy, a real foreign conspiracy

Dec 9 (DM) On and off for the past several years there had been news items in the media that the Government was going to bring in laws to implement the Senaka Bibile Medicinal Drugs Policy. However, it is ironic and surprising to note that the intended piece of legislation did not see the light of day despite the Govt having a two-thirds majority in Parliament on the one hand and on the other with none among the twenty million people in the country being against such a move. more..

Rajapaksa and media: Someone else has to undo the damage

Dec 9 (DM) None of the predecessors of Mahinda Rajapaksa did anything substantial to uphold the independent media in the country. Country’s media have withered away under successive govts since Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s left-leaning United Front administration ‘nationalized’ the Lake House and effectively turned it into a mouthpiece of the govt. Subsequent leaders went further, helped by a succession of compliant editors, unleashing the state media on its political opponents, more..

Election violence on the rise

Dec 9 (SL) More election violence and violations are reported from all parts of the country where the ruling UPFA govt is accused for all the reported cases say election monitors. CaFFE Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon and PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchchi said that it is disheartening to see how the ruling party violates election rules even before nominations are filed. “Nominations will be filed tomorrow (8) more..

Montrealers making their mark: Tamara

Dec 9 (CBC) On the anniversary of the Polytechnique shooting, the discussion surrounding violence against women, and how far we've come in 25 years, is again growing. For many in Canada, the shooting was a wake up call — a reminder of just how vulnerable we all can be. "Tamara," who was a little girl running running from shelter to shelter in war-torn Sri Lanka in 1989, never needed such a reminder. more..

'UNP too weak to field own candidate'

Dec 9 (DM) Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that it is foreign forces that are behind the candidacy of Common candidate Maithripala Sirisena. He said that the current govt is democratic and there is no room for corruption. While denying the allegations levelled by the opposition he said because the opposition cannot tolerate country bumpkin they come up with illogical arguments. more..