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Chandimal back in Sri Lanka ODI squad

Dec 12 (CI) Batsmen Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne have been called up to the Sri Lanka squad for the sixth and seventh ODIs against England, while Kusal Perera and Ajantha Mendis have been dropped. Legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna has also been named, in the absence of injured left-arm spinner Rangana Herath. Chandimal has been in and out of the top team over the past year, and was most recently let go after more..

June 21 is International Day of Yoga: UN

Dec 12 (PTI) The UN General Assembly today adopted an India-led resolution declaring June 21 as 'International Day of Yoga'. This comes less than three months after PM Narendra Modi proposed the idea. It was introduced by India's Ambassador to the UN Asoke Mukerji and had 175 nations joining as co-sponsors, the highest number ever for any resolution in the 193-member UNGA. This is also for the first time that such an initiative has been proposed and implemented by any country in more..

Life is a papare, old chum

Dec 12 (CI) The drive from Bandaranaike International Airport to my hotel in central Colombo is some 35km but the Katunayake Expressway and what seems, by subcontinental standards, a fairly relaxed flow of traffic make for a pleasant journey. First thing I notice at the Galle Face Hotel, in its 150th year and proclaimed as "the oldest east of the Suez", is the scaffolding, with the front half of the place being renovated. I suppose you can expect to be spruced up for your sesquicentenary. more..

Sharp drop in crime rate: Police spokesman

Dec 12 (Island) Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana denied media reports of a crime wave. There had in fact been a sharp drop in grave crimes since 2004, he claimed. SSP Rohana explained to media that grave crimes had decreased since the defeat of terrorism. "There has been a 120% decrease in homicide cases since," he said. He attributed the decrease in the crime rate to the efficiency of the police personnel. more..

Lankan ICTs first entry to Slush 2015

Dec 12 (GDI) In a major renewal of its economic cooperation with Sri Lanka, World’s ICT innovation leader has announced that it is ready to form a joint Business Council with Sri Lanka for the first time, as revealed on dEC.04 -and Lankan ICT start-ups have received a breakthrough invitation to showcase themselves at one of world’s top-tier start-up events in 2015. “It is time that we establish a Finland-Sri Lanka Business Council for B2B activities. Such a mechanism will kick-start the process. more..

Hullabaloo over NICs being recalled from those going abroad as per law

Dec 12 (Island) Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment’s (SLBFE) recent letter sent to all licensed foreign employment agencies asking them to take necessary steps to ensure the handing over of National Identity Cards (NICs) of Sri Lankans leaving the country for a period of more than six months has raised doubts among the people. In a letter dated 03.12.2014, according to a circular issued by the Department of Registration of Persons (DRP), SLBFE Chairman more..

Secretary Defence opens Water's Edge Drive Thru

Dec 12 (MoD) Adding yet another facility to the popular Waters Edge hotel in Battaramulla, 'Bakery at the Edge' Drive Thru was declared opened by the Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa today. It is the Sri Lanka's pioneering 'Drive-Thru Bakery' replete with freshness, happy smiles and warmest ambience at the Edge. Moreover, Bakery at the Edge is one of the hottest settings that give splendours experience of more..

ICA 16th congress to attract over 400 foreign delegates

Dec 12 (GDI) Over 400 global members of the International Colored Gemstone Association including the President of the Association Benjamin Hackman are scheduled to participate in the 16th Congress which is to be held in May from 16th to 19th, 2015 at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel. ICA Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Altaf Iqbal cited the objective was to host a Congress that is on par with the latest consumer trends and developments in new markets. more..

CEB moots railway electrification to use excess energy

Dec 12 (EN) Sri Lanka's state-run electricity utility is looking at railway electrification and pump storage to make use of excess energy generated with the recent commissioning of new coal power plants. "We have three coal plants now with 900MW of capacity, giving 40% of our energy," said Shavindranath Fernando, General Manager of the CEB. "Sometimes peak daily demand is only a little above 1,000MW so sometimes we cannot run all 900MW to meet off peak demand. more..

SLT-TRC-Keheliya sued over blocking Satana

Dec 12 (AM) A Peo TV customer today filed a fundamental rights violation petition before Supreme Court claiming a sum of Rs. 10 million from SLT, Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of SL, Minister of Mass Media and Information and the secretary for intentionally blocking the Satana political programme telecasted by Sirasa TV on Nov 22. The petition had been filed Manju Sri Chandrasena of Yatiyanthota more..

SL Church: candidates pledge no violence

Dec 12 (AP) A Sri Lankan church leader says the two main candidates in January's presidential election have promised a violence-free vote, with Pope Francis scheduled to visit the country just days later. Francis is to start a three-day visit on Jan. 13, five days after the poll. Some church officials are seeking a postponement, fearing there could be post-election violence because of the acrimonious campaign. President Rajapaksa, who is seeking a third term in office, is facing his former more..

'SB should apologize from all SL women'

Dec 12 (AD) UNP MP Rosy Senanayake says that the controversial statement made by Minister S.B. Dissanayake regarding former President Chandrika Kumaratunga is the biggest crime of insult committed against the women of the country. She pointed out that the minister had said Chandrika should be “put down in the ground, trampled, stripped naked and made to run along the streets.” She stated that this act falls under the crime of harassment in the Penal Code. more..

Sri Lanka imports rise sharply as exports fall

Dec 12 (EN) Sri Lankan imports rose 25.6% to US$ 1,750 million in Oct 2014 from a year ago, driven by higher spending on fuel and vehicles as exports slumped, widening the trade gap, Central Bank data showed. Earnings from exports fell by 13.7% in Oct 2014 to US$ 899 million, the first fall since June 2013. The trade deficit in Oct 2014 widened significantly to 852 million in comparison to US$ 352 million in Oct 2013. more..

'Saloon-door will be closed next week'

Dec 12 (AM) Commenting on crossovers of MPs from the ruling party to the opposition and vice versa, President Rajapaksa told a group of ruling party MPs in Kandy yesterday morning that he will close the famous “saloon-door” by next week. What he implied was that no more opposition MPs who want to cross over to the government would not be welcomed after next week. At the same time, he also indicated that no SLFP defector would join the common opposition after next week. more..

SLAF appoints a team to investigate crash

Dec 12 (GDI) SLAF convened a media briefing this morning with regard to the plane crash that occurred in Hokandara. speaking at this media briefing, Chief of Staff Gagan Bulathsinhala said that a team headed by Air Commodore Ravi Jayasinghe has been appointed to investigate into the crash. He said that the Antonov 32 aircraft had left Katunayake Airport at about 6.20 am today. The pilot of the plan was Sq.Leader J.M.W.N. Abeywardena, Co-Pilot Flt.Lt. A.D.A.D.T. Amaratunga more..

'I’ll end interference with judiciary'

Dec 12 (DM) Common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena pledged to end the system whereby verdicts given by courts could be changed with one telephone call. He said the verdict given regarding pictorial warnings on cigarette packs was changed by one such phone call. He said the present regime was once a leftist one but now it had gone off the track. "It has gone off track as the sons of those who run it travel by helicopter just to 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..

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..

'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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

Boston Lanka: Dec. 13, 2014

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

'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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..