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Sri Lanka minimum wages lag behind Asia amid currency depreciation

Dec 14 (EN) Sri Lanka's minimum wages have grown since the end of a decades long conflict but remains among the lowest in Asia, the International Labour Organization said in a report. For workers where a state mandated Wages Board set minimum salaries, the real minimum wage grew 36.8 percent between 2009 and 2013. "However, Sri Lanka’s minimum wages are among the lowest in Asia and the Pacific," the ILO said its Global Wage Report 2014/15 released this month. more..

Conservative Party members meet Sirisena

Dec 14 (SL) Three representatives from the governing Conservative Party has met with common opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena recently and promised to back him at the presidential election. The Conservative Party members had also participated in separate discussions with Democratic Party leader Sarath Fonseka, former JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe and Chairman of the UNP Leadership Council Karu Jayasuriya. more..

'Hirunika has returned': Rajitha

Dec 14 (AM) Rajitha Senaratne has stated that Hirunika Premachandra has not left the country. Senaratne told the BBC that the WPC Member who left the country over threats to her life has returned to the island and that she will take part in the election campaign for the common candidate of the opposition. Senaratne added that Premachandra has threats to her life and the underworld gang members who assassinated more..

Tissa withdraws oral questions

Dec 14 (DM) Former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake had withdrawn some of the oral questions he had submitted to Parliament after his defection, it was reported yesterday. This was notified by Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkodi during the oral question time. Mr. Weerakkodi announced that Mr. Attanayake had withdrawn a question on some prominent post in the Department of Archeology. The question was to be asked from National Heritage Minister Jagath Balasuriya. more..

Sangakkara fined for dissent

Dec 14 (ICC) Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara has been fined 15% of his match fee for breaching the ICC Code of Conduct during the sixth ODI against England in Pallekele on Saturday. Sangakkara was found to have breached Article 2.1.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to “Showing dissent at an Umpire’s decision during an International Match.” The incident happened at the beginning of the 34th over in Sri Lanka’s innings more..

Academics want policy changes

Dec 14 (CG) A group of university academics, have in a joint statement, said they will continue to advocate for the implementation of proposed constitutional and policy changes even after the Presidential election. Academics said that it is their considered view that the country is at a historically important juncture at this moment and the decision at this election will have crucial implications for future generations. more..

UPFA feels predictions wrong

Dec 14 (CG) UPFA says predictions given by some websites and others with regards to the Presidential elections, are misleading. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayanth said that some people are calculating votes obtained in the past by those who joined the opposition and are attempting to give the impression the opposition will get more votes than President Rajapaksa. He termed the predictions as a 'montessori effort' by some elements to give the wrong image to the public ahead of more..

Sajith says he would have preferred a UNP candidate

Dec 14 (AM) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa stated that he would have preferred a UNP candidate to come forward as the presidential candidate in the forthcoming election. Speaking at the ‘Satana’ political talk show on Sirasa TV last evening, he added that despite his personal belief, the UNP is not his personal property and therefore he has to abide by the party decision. He will unanimously support the common candidate Maithripala Sirisena, Premadasa added. more..

Malaysia deports Lankan national to Colombo, ignores India's plea

Dec 14 (PTI) A Sri Lankan national wanted in India for allegedly plotting terror strikes at American and Israeli consulates in the country has been deported by Malaysia to the island nation notwithstanding India's plea for his extradition to unravel key aspects of the conspiracy. Highly-placed sources here said that 47-year-old Hussain Mohammed Sulaiman was recently sent back to Sri Lanka by Malaysian authorities more..

The relevance of soft-power for Tamil politics

Dec 15 (CT) Vickramabahu Karunaratne once told me that I would have no problem making speeches in Tamil, but that it is only if I, like Raviraj, start making speeches in Sinhala that I would have to be careful. The Sinhala political leaders, he said, did not want to tell Sinhala people the truth. They feared that if the people came to know the truth, it would become dangerous for them. Sadly, the reverse is also true. There are Tamil politicians who wish to keep the Tamil people ignorant. more..

Tamil Vote: Is it 2005, again?

Dec 15 (CT) The Opposition needs Tamils. Tamils need the Opposition. The Opposition cannot win without Tamil votes. Tamils will be stuck with Rajapaksa rule, if the Opposition fails to win. The Rajapaksas do not need Tamil votes to win. They just need Tamils to abstain from voting. The Rajapaksas understood this in 2005. That is why they did a deal with the LTTE to impose an election-boycott on Tamils. So the Rajapaksa camp raising hell, about a rumoured alliance between more..

'President Rajapaksa understands the pulse of the minorities'

Dec 15 (SO) President Rajapaksa will record a landslide victory in the forthcoming presidential election. He liberated the country from the clutches of the LTTE and is moving towards achieving the goal of becoming the wonder of Asia, Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana said. He said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only leader who raised a voice for Muslim nations when more..

House goes into year-end recess with crossover hangover

Dec 15 (ST) If anyone was hoping for fireworks on the last sitting day of Parliament, before the Presidential poll, they would have been disappointed. None of the excitement associated with the lead up to the poll, with multiple crossovers to and fro taking place outside, was in any way reflected when Parliament met on Friday. The only noteworthy feature was the swearing in of former Eastern Provincial Councilor Ameer Ali Shihabdeen as a new National List MP from UPFA. more..

Need for a modest hand on the reins of state

Dec 15 (ST) Sri Lanka’s former Army Commander and 2010 Presidential election candidate General Sarath Fonseka has never been at loss for a catchy turn of phrase in the wittiest Sinhala idiom possible. And as the Govt’s defensive posture in relation to the common opposition’s accusations of misrule by a grossly corrupt family cabal reminds one of the cat proverbially yowling with discomfort on a hot tin roof, the repartee has become even spicier. So the droll comment this week that more..

'I could not live with anti-nationalist forces'

Dec 15 (CT) Former Deputy Secretary of the JHU, Udaya Gammanpila, says that the JHU decided to join hands with anti-nationalist forces such as Chandrika, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Wickramabahu Karunaratne and Mano Ganeshan. As a result he left the Common Opposition since he could not work with such elements according to his conscience. Q: Why did you leave your party and join the govt? A: Well. The JHU stood for more..

Editorial: Corruption as political weapon

Dec 15 (Island) There are two things that all politicians seek mandates at elections to eliminate—poverty and corruption. But, as is common knowledge, they do precious little to make good their pledges. Instead, we have seen most politicians eliminate their own poverty through corruption while marketing their humble origins as the progeny of farmers and slum dwellers to woo and dupe poor voters. They amass so much of wealth through corrupt deals that they more..

Election or Rejection?

Dec 15 (NS) In a process where a choice has to be made, naturally it singles out a person as the choice while the others, who are not chosen, end up as ‘Rejections’. ‘Election’ in its true meaning should be to ‘single out the best and the most suitable’ not to punish the ‘demerits’ in an act of vengeance. However, all decisions depend on the sentiments of the voters and if there is a punishing mood, will the real merits receive the rightful consideration? Will there be any ‘rationality’ left to move towards more..

Of an island of springs, stupas and serendipity

Dec 15 (Hindu) Sri Lanka, the Emerald Isle of yore, has made multiple transitions in recent decades. But the collage of memories about it from my childhood remains happy and unsullied by time and age. The island then was a gentle, sun-filled land of upcountry rolling hills and meandering roads of white-washed stupas and incense-filled air; of temples, temple flowers, and lanterns swaying in the balmy air; and more..

Recent crossovers no longer based on principles

Dec 15 (NS) Crossovers have been part and parcel of SL’s political journey since gaining independence. Indeed, it was S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s crossover from the UNP to form the SLFP that gave rise to an effective two party system in the country. For the 2015 presidential election, however, crossovers have taken on an entirely different meaning. What triggered this wave was the defection of SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena to contest President Rajapaksa at the poll. more..

For whom the bell tolls

Dec 15 (Island) An aeroplane crashed somewhere in the vicinity of Hokandara on Friday, making attempts to land at Ratmalana. First let us address the sadness at an aviator and his crew losing their lives in an accident that is shrouded in mystery. The blame game has already begun and the ‘Pontius’ finger points directly and only at the crew who flew the Antonov 32. My phone has been ringing with people calling to find out what happened. Most of them have already decided that more..

Sangakkara firm over ODI retirement

Dec 15 (CI) If Kumar Sangakkara had a perfect Kandyan farewell - which featured a series win, a raucous full house, and a century - its mood was dampened slightly by one question: why is he already planning retirement? Sangakkara has had a rich year in ODIs, hitting 1382 runs at 47.03, and leads the series run-scorers' list by 134 runs. Age has seemingly only enhanced him, as four consecutive years with over 1000 ODI runs more..

Ceylon Tea Campaign kicks off in ME

Dec 15 (LBT) Sri Lanka Tea Board has embarked on a massive Light Board advertising campaign on Pure Ceylon Tea at Dubai and Sharjah airports. The campaign, launched by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries on Oct 1, covers 20 Light Boards and 11 Mupies at Dubai and Sharjah International Airports. “Ceylon Tea has already established its reputation as world’s finest tea, and we expect higher brand exposure globally, to further increase our market share more..

DFCC-NDB merger on hold in view of polls

Dec 15 (ST) The merger between the National Development Bank (NDB) and Development Finance Corporation (DFCC) Bank has been temporarily halted till the conclusion of the January 8 presidential poll due to ‘procedural’ matters relating to the gazette notification, official sources said. The two banks are being merged under this year’s budget with the banks jointly hiring a foreign consultancy firm to recommend a proper merger structure. more..

'Global South must reflect on how development is done, not just what is done'

Dec 15 (IL) Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said, in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Global South must continue to reflect on 'how' development is done, not just 'what' is done. He made this observation, when in his capacity as and Chairman of the Personal Representatives of G-15[1], together with Executive Director of more..

Russian rouble crisis Tea exporters voice grave concern

Dec 15 (CT) Sri Lanka's tea exporters have voiced grave concern over their tea exports to Russia and the Combined Independent States following the devaluation of the Russian currency in the aftermath of the sanctions imposed by the United States on that country. 'This is a very serious situation which has prevailed for the last one year or so and we are hopeful that the government will step to mediate in this national crisis,' Chairman of the Tea Exporters' Association of Sri Lanka, Rohan Fernando more..

Moratuwa University offers courses on evolving disciplines like petrochemicals

Dec 15 (ST) Leading international tech institute, Sri Lanka’s University of Moratuwa has started establishing courses in evolving disciplines such as advanced electronics, petrochemicals, mechatronics and aeronautics, according to the university’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Ananda Jayawardana. Further, he said that, while courses such as electronic and telecommunication engineering were still the most demanded, due to the high salaries offered, the university had already started labs in areas more..

UK Parliament discusses enhancing bilateral trade with Sri Lanka

Dec 15 (FT) Britain’s Upper Parliament, House of Lords last week discussed plans to encourage more bilateral trade between UK and Sri Lanka, one of UK’s most important bilateral trading partners. Introducing the subject, Lord Mohamed Sheikh said UK is one of the top five investors in SL and its number one EU trading partner and noted that the balance of trade has risen significantly in favor of SL in recent years. more..

LTTE killed 600 students, JVP 400: SB

Dec 15 (Island) Minister S.B. Dissanayake accused that the JVP and LTTE of having disrupted universities from 1980 to 2005. The universities were ruled not by the Chancellors, Vice Chancellors, Directors, Senators, Professors or lecturers but controlled by students who represented the LTTE in the North or JVP in the South, Minister Dissanayake said. He was speaking after laying the foundation stone for a building complex at the Trincomalee campus of the Eastern University. more..

Tamils should vote for Mahinda says Karuna

Dec 15 (CT) Deputy Minister of Resettlement, V. Muralitharan alias Karuna said that if the war was not brought to an end in 2009 thousands of more young Tamil men and women would have been killed in the war. The Deputy Minister was addressing at an event at Thirukkovil Ganesha Vidayalayam in the Batticaloa District. Financial assistance was given to the people who had lost their houses to rebuild them at the event by Deputy Minister Muralitharan. more..

More pole vaults

Dec 15 (CT) As the current Presidential Election campaign gathers momentum, crossovers seem to continue at grassroots level. Former UPFA deputy chairman of the Habaraduwa PS, Ranjith Vithanage and former PS member, Chandrasena Ranadeera joined the UNP at the Party's Habaraduwa Asana Bala Mandala meeting held at Goviyapana, Ahangama on 13 Dec. Both men are senior members of the SLFP. more..

Global Rotary Chief in town

Dec 15 (FT) The world’s premier service organisation – Rotary International President Gary C.K. Huang will visit Sri Lanka from15-17 December 2014 where he will address over a thousand Rotarians at BMICH at the intercity meeting and thereafter a gala black tie dinner at Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel. Rotary International has partnered the world in eradicating polio from the face of the world which is currently recording a 99% success rate excluding Nigeria, Afghanistan and more..

'War destroyed Northerners' identity'

Dec 15 (CT) Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran, regretted that the brutal war has destroyed the true identity of the people in the North, the family integrity, culture, religious aspects and the environment. Chief Minister Wigneswaran was addressing a youth conference held at the Weerasingham Hall, Jaffna last Wednesday. The Chief Minister also went on to say that the several participants were prevented from attending the conference on Wednesday. more..

Japanese advisor to help commission

Dec 15 (DM) President Rajapaksa had appointed another international expert to advise the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons (Commission), Chairman of the Commission Maxwel Paranagama said. The Japanese expert, a former international judge Motoo Noguchi is the sixth foreign adviser appointed by President Rajapaksa to advise the Commission. more..

'Muslim political parties must support Maithri'

Dec 15 (CT) Wanni District MP, Hunais Farook emphasized that the Tamil and Muslim voters should vote for the Common Opposition candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, at the forthcoming Presidential polls to win their rights. Farook earlier represented the ACMC led by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen from Wanni District. He later joined the UNP in support of the Common candidate Maithripala Sirisena. He was addressing several rallies in the Batticaloa District and in the upcountry area last week. more..

MoL receives feedback on issues affecting domestic workers

Dec 15 (AN) In a bid to protect the rights of employers and domestic workers in the Kingdom, the Labor Ministry moved to engage for the first time in a dialogue with domestic workers and their employers to address their grievances. The two-day dialogue included the participation of Labor Minister Adel Fakeih and senior officials from 10 ministries and various government agencies which discussed a wide range of subjects in the domestic help sector. The aim of the dialogue was to more..

'Sinister move to get Tamils boycott poll'

Dec 15 (DM) There was a sinister move by some local and international forces to change the mindset of the Tamil community in order to get them boycott the January Presidential election, Former Minister Champika Ranawaka charged. He said that this was to be done by a campaign aimed at making the Tamil community understand that this election was not relevant to them as it would not bring solutions more..

More crossovers from JHU?

Dec 15 (CT) Former JHU Deputy General Secretary, Udaya Gammanpila said that the country will soon be able to see who the majority of the JHU supports, hinting that there will be more crossovers in the coming weeks. The General Secretary of the UPFA, Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy, Susil Premajayantha added that the government would be putting out its election manifesto within the course of the week. He said that his leaving was not a solitary case and that many JHU members more..

Election monitors write to SLTB

Dec 15 (CG) Local election monitors have written to the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) raising objections to the use of State buses for election work of the govt, in violation of election laws. PAFFREL has told the SLTB that it had received complaints with regards to the use of SLTB buses for election campaigns and rallies of the govt. PAFFREL Executive Director, Rohana Hettiarachi has said in a letter to the SLTB that 1100 SLTB buses had reportedly been used for more..

'Will not allow to revert to bullock-cart era'

Dec 15 (DM) President Rajapaske said he would not allow anyone to lead the people astray and to revert the country to the bullock–cart era. Addressing a meeting in Dambulla he said the govt’s development process targeted the forward march of the country with sophisticated facilities including a modernised road network and other facilities to fall in line with the developed world. “The govt is prepared to face any challenge in this endeavour. more..

ITAK members are keen to vote

Dec 15 (CG) Members of the Illangai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) are keen to exercise their franchise and vote at the January 8 Presidential election, ITAK leader Mavai Senathirajah said. Speaking to reporters after ITAK held a meeting in Vavuniya, Senathirajah said that ITAK is yet to decide who it will support at the elections. He said that at today’s meeting the party members had discussed several political issues as well as the upcoming Presidential elections. more..