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50,000 postal vote applications rejected

Dec 15 (Island) Over 547,000 have become eligible for postal voting for the forthcoming Presidential election. A senior spokesman for the Elections Secretariat said, that out of those who had applied for the postal voting around 50,000 applications had been rejected. The postal voting will be held on Dec 23 and 24. Those who fail to cast their votes will be able to exercise their franchise on Dec 30. For the first time, an Elections Department official would be present to supervise postal voting, more..

'Govt propaganda blitz very counterproductive'

Dec 15 (Island) The coalition supporting Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena, MP, claimed that incumbent President Rajapaksa’s massive propaganda campaign wouldn’t help him secure a third term at Jan. 8, 2015 presidential election. Instead, the costly govt project could be advantageous to Maithripala Sirisena, the media was told at a press conference held at an Opposition campaign office more..

Sirisena promises to implement private bus owners’ proposals

Dec 15 (Island) Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne said that Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena had agreed to implement ten proposals submitted by the LPBOA in case he was elected President. Wijeratne said that the ten proposals included the appointment of educated and qualified personnel to regulate the private bus industry, bring under the govt the National Transport Commission (NTC) and more..

Russian team arrives in Sri Lanka to probe into the plane crash

Dec 15 (DM) A team of Russian aviation experts has arrived in the country to assist in the investigations launched into the crash of the Antanov-32 (fixed wing) aircraft of Sri Lanka Air Force. According to the SLAF, the team had arrived in the country today. The plane that crashed was produced in Russian and it had been sent to Russia for a complete renovation just nine months ago. The clearing of debris in the crash site has been completed now and an estimate of the damages more..

Gotabhaya defends ex-military men engaging in politics

Dec 15 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that those who had accused him of using retired military personnel in President Rajapaksa’s campaign had conveniently forgotten Sarath Fonseka entering politics while still holding office as Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Fonseka held the rank of General at that time. He said that President Rajapaksa had promptly accepted the former army commander’s more..

Let’s turn this calamity into a blessing

Dec 15 (DM) Amid speculation, rumours and conflicting claims in the intensive campaign for the crucial Presidential Election, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has given a solemn pledge that if he was defeated at the election, he would peacefully and without hesitation hand-over office to the winner. The reassuring pledge was given by the President to the Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and other Bishops when they met the President after the nominations last Monday. more..

Maithripala should not upset economic apple cart

Dec 15 (DM) There appears to be a certain misunderstanding within the Maithripala Sirisena camp about why Sri Lanka needs a political change. The country needs a political change, not for economic reasons (Rajapaksa is good at it), but for democratic reasons, and for that matter, for the reasons of good governance, accountability and respect for human rights. The common Opposition candidate has given all the good promises to uphold democracy, but, if he fails to have a more..

'Will muster 200,000 Tamil votes'

Dec 15 (DM) The DPF had already announced its support for the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Election. In a wide ranging interview DPF leader Mano Ganesan claimed that the Tamils may not support President Rajapaksa as he had failed to change the mindset of the majority community following the end of the war. Q: As the leader of DPF what is your stance on common candidate? more..

Whither the Muslim vote?

Dec 15 (SL) Sri Lanka has less than 10% of Muslims when compared to its entire population – fewer than the country’s Tamil community – but it is a deciding factor in swing of ‘the electoral pendulum’. Even though the national parties in the South, North and East shared the Muslim voter-base, the main Muslim party of the country SLMC, attracted the majority. However, according to many this Muslim voter pattern has changed more..

20,000 affected by torrential rains

Dec 15 (ST) Torrential rains continued in the Northern, Southern and South-Western parts of the country, affecting over 20,000 persons. In the Jaffna district, the lives of more than 17,000 persons have been disrupted by the floods. The deluge of rainwater Jaffna received in the past two weeks has stagnated, which is prolonging the flood situation, said District Disaster Management Unit’s Assistant Director, S. Ravi. more..

Govt accuses monitors

Dec 15 (CG) Govt accused local election monitors of being biased and making false allegations against the govt and its election campaign. SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, speaking to reporters today, said that election monitors are only focused on the govt and not the opposition. He insisted that the govt will ensure a free fair election and not violate election laws during and before the Presidential election. more..

Progress review of Maithri’s campaign

Dec 15 (AM) Strategy meetings are taking place almost on a daily basis at the private residence of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga on the progress of the political campaign of Maithripala Sirisena, the Common Candidate of the opposition. At the strategy meetings, according to highly placed sources of the opposition, detailed PowerPoint presentation are being done with relevant statistics pertaining to the present more..

KOICA committed to improving health care, education in Sri Lanka

Dec 15 (KH) Only five years ago, Pavani Weerasekera, an 18-year-old student at Sujatha College, was seen walking along an all-too-familiar path that would have never set her apart from many of her peers living on low incomes and life chances. But an encounter with a volunteer from the Korea International Cooperation Agency helped her discover her knack for languages and improved her job prospects. more..

Shift Solutions to launch first ever hologram in Sri Lanka at SLFP Rally

Dec 15 (Island) Shift Solutions, Sri Lanka's leading creative digital agency will soon launch the first-ever hologram in Sri Lanka - a life sized projection of President Rajapaksa delivering a live speech. The hologram will be projected at the SLFP Youth Rally in Ratnapura on Monday to convey a Presidential message to the youth of the country. Shift Solutions is the first company in Sri Lanka to bring state-of-the-art hologram technology to Sri Lanka, more..

Different pacts on presidency: Ranawaka defends Sirisena

Dec 15 (Island) JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka, strongly defended Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena's right to reach two different electoral pacts with the Opposition coalition backing him and the JHU. He was responding to govt allegations that Maithripala Sirisena had deceived the electorate by having two different agreements. After having pledged support to President Rajapaksa, more..

Sri Lanka voices support for Australia amid hostage crisis

Dec 15 (Xinhua) President Rajapaksa on Monday expressed concern over the developing hostage situation in Sydney, Australia and extended his support. In a Twitter message to Australian PM Tony Abbott, the president said he is "deeply disturbed about the hostage situation in Sydney". President Rajapaksa, expressing solidarity with Australia, said "Sri Lanka stands united with Australia in fighting terrorism." more..

Launches of both election manifestos delayed!

Dec 15 (AM) The official launches of election manifestos of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena has been delayed due to multiple reasons, sources from both parties told Asian Mirror on Monday. The election manifesto of the Common Opposition was previously scheduled to be released on Wednesday (17). However, it has now been postponed till December 19. more..

Presidential election and the challenges facing the TNA

Dec 15 (CT) On the 9th of Jan 2015 the Sri Lankan Presidential election results would have been announced. It is needless to say that, this election is a two horse race between the incumbent Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa and his erstwhile secretary of his party turned his contender, Mr Maithiripala Srisena. One of them is expected to be declared elected as the President by the election commissioner on the 9th of January. There are about 19 other names on the ballot paper, more..

The woes of the Sri Lankan migrant worker

Dec 15 (CT) Around 85 Sri Lankans who sought employment in Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, returned to the country last week with their cherished hopes of earning money in those countries for the upkeep of their families dashed. They had turned down the employment in those countries due to breach of contract and ‘personal reasons’ and had been brought back to the country with the assistance of the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau. more..

Perth team changes lives in Sri Lanka

Dec 15 (YN) A 14-year-old girl lies with horrific scarring and deformity from burns to 30 per cent of her body most likely from self-immolation. Her chin is fused to her chest by burnt skin contracting. Unable to chew, she weighs a skeletal 19kg. Because of her suffering and that of many others in this destitute region still reeling from civil war that ended in 2009, three Perth medics went there. more..

Schoolboys arrested for attempted rape

Dec 15 (Island) A 37-year-old woman residing in Buwelikada has complained to the Kandy police that two senior students of a leading boys’ school entered her house while she was alone during day and attempted to rape her. Acting on information given by the woman the police arrested two students aged 17 years and 18 years and produced them before the Kandy Chief Magistrate. The judge ordered personal bail and warned the duo to appear in court on Feb 5, 2015. more..

'We print cheque books of State banks'

Dec 15 (CT) UNP MP, Chairman of the UNP Youth Front and Leadership Council Member, Ruwan Wijewardene, admitted that a company owned by his family has received the tender for printing cheque books for State banks. Wijewardene family also prints the Lankadeepa newspaper. He also added that his family had been handling the said contract for some time now and owing to it, his business and Lankadeepa had not had any govt interference or pressure exerted on them. more..

Buckingham stables horses and private choppers for Rajapaksas

Dec 15 (CT) The common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena has revealed some interesting details of the lavish lifestyles led by family members of the ‘සංවේදී නායකයා’ during several election campaigning rallies held over the weekend. Speaking at a rally yesterday, Sirisena had said that millions were spent to buy a horse last year from the Royal mews of the Buckingham palace for the young ‘prince’ Rohitha Rajapaksa. more..

TN fishermen accuse Sri Lanka Navy of chasing away 3,000 Indian fishermen

Dec 15 (ANI) Fishermen in the Rameswaram area of Tamil Nadu have reportedly accused personnel of the Sri Lankan Navy of threatening and chasing away 3000 Indian fishermen. Sri Lankan Naval personnel issued the warning and fired shots at the Tamil Nadu fishermen fishing near the Katchatheevu islet in the Palk Straits on Sunday. The fishermen were in 682 mechanized boats when the warning and the shots were reportedly fired, and had to return without their catch. more..

Sri Lankan accused of molesting 11-year-old girl in Dubai

Dec 15 (GN) A clerk has been accused of sexually molesting an 11-year-old schoolgirl while she was present in a shop with her parents. The 31-year-old Sri Lankan clerk, A.N., was said to have taken the Indian girl by surprise when he came from behind and touched her inappropriately while she was beside one of the shelves in October. The defendant admitted that he molested the girl as he entered a guilty plea before the Dubai Court of First Instance on Sunday. more..

In response to Musthapha, UPFA denies BBS links

Dec 15 (CT) UPFA denied that the BBS organization was linked to it. Minister Susil Premajayantha, responding to a statement, made by Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha, said the BBS is not part and parcel of the UPFA. Musthapha had said he would leave the govt to safeguard his community (the Muslims), if the BBS was found to be directly or indirectly backing President Rajapaksa at the Presidential Election. more..

'20 UNP electorate organizers will cross over'

Dec 15 (AM) Minster of Health and Former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake yesterday revealed that four UNP organizers of the Polonnaruwa district have pledged support to him. Attanayake, speaking at a UPFA political rally in Nawalapitiya yesterday (14), said that all four organizers consulted him regarding possible crossovers. However, the former UNP Secretary refrained from disclosing specific details about the organizers. more..

SLMC claims govt failed minorities

Dec 15 (CT) SLMC is taking a long time to decide on which candidate they will support in the coming election, because the government which has been in power for nine years, had failed to address any of the issues faced by the minorities, SLMC General Secretary, Hassan Ali said. Ali said, "The govt has not really given us any assurance that it would address the issues of the minorities." He added that the govt which has been in power for nine years, had failed to address more..

Brothers-in-arms prepare for sunset at home

Dec 15 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene are shooting stills for a clothing sponsor in April, when the photographer asks Sangakkara to stand behind his friend and pose as if helping him into a jacket. Both men get into position. Upon realising how intimate the shot would turn out, they begin to cringe aloud. "With what people say about us already, imagine what it will be like when this goes up on a billboard," more..

'Where is the Maithri-Ranil MoU?'

Dec 15 (CT) Former JHU Deputy General Secretary, Udaya Gammanpila, challenged the joint Opposition Alliance, the New Democratic Front (NDF), to produce the agreement between common candidate, Maithripala Sirisena and UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. With former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Wickremesinghe in tow, what kind of good governance is common candidate, Maithripala Sirisena expecting to establish? more..

UNP PC member backs Mahinda

Dec 15 (CG) UNP Uva Provincial Council member Janaka Tissa Kuttiarachchi today offered support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential election. The announcement came as the UNP was looking at taking control of the Uva Provincial Council which is governed by the UPFA. Last September Kuttiarachchi had been remanded after being accused of assaulting the son of another candidate ahead of the Uva elections which was eventually won by the UPFA. more..

Will not allow offenders to flee: Maithri

Dec 15 (DM) Common opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena said he would not allow those who faced allegations of corruption to leave the country, if he were elected to office in January. "There are many who are waiting to flee if we win the Presidential Election. I will not allow anyone to flee the country if they were alleged to have been involved in corruption," he said speaking at launch of book Alapalu Arthikaya more..

Sri Lankan stocks slightly weaker; turnover at over 6-month low

Dec 15 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks ended weaker for a third straight session on Monday, led by market heavyweight John Keells Holdings as investors remained cautious ahead of the Jan. 8 presidential poll next month. The main stock index ended 0.08%, or 6.11 points lower, at 7,230.26, its lowest close since Dec 9. Turnover was 340.4 million rupees, according to stock exchange data, the lowest since May 26 and well below this year's daily average of 1.42 billion rupees. more..

Sajith Premadasa sabotaging Maithripala’s campaign: Sign of crossover?

Dec 15 (AM) Serious questions are looming large over the role of UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Pemadas in the presidential election campaign o f the common opposition, as Premadasa is directly playing into the hands of the government while pretending to be a ‘staunch supporter’ of Maithripala Srisena’s campaign. When attending election meetings of the common opposition, Premadasa takes his own announcer with him - who would take over duties from the official announcer of the meeting, more..

'Presidential Poll won't solve Tamil problem'

Dec 15 (CT) The TNA has told the Tamils, in the North and East, that the forthcoming Presidential Election is not one through which the Tamil national question can be solved. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said, "We would like to advise our people that this election is perhaps not an election through which the Tamil national question can be resolved. It is perhaps not an election in which all our issues can be resolved." more..

The high-stakes battle for SL’s presidency

Dec 15 (TD) Mahinda Rajapaksa’s plans to return to power as Sri Lanka’s president for a third successive term has run into trouble. With less than a month to go before the vote, Rajapaksa is ahead of his rivals but joint opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena is closing in and could unseat him in a free and fair election. Until recently, Sirisena was Health Minister in the Rajapaksa govt and General-Secretary of the SLFP, the party Rajapaksa heads and which leads the ruling UPFA. more..

Hirunika says she fled on advise

Dec 15 (CG) WPC member Hirunika Premachandra says she fled the country together with her mother on the advise she had received following threats to her life. Premachandra said in a statement that she began receiving threats after she decided to back common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential elections. She said that Maithripala Sirisena and former Minister Rajitha Senaratne had advised her to go overseas for a few days and so she left with her mother and more..

SL GDP grows 7.7% in 2014 third quarter

Dec 15 (EN) Sri Lanka's economy grew 7.7% in the third quarter compared to 7.6% in the same period last year. Total economic output, measured by GDP, for the third quarter (July-Sept 2014) was 911,064 million rupees compared with 846,102 million rupees in the same 2013 period. Third quarter growth came mainly from industry, which grew 12.6%, and services grew 7%, while agriculture contracted by 2%. more..

Election monitors on way to SL

Dec 15 (DM) International election observers have started arriving in Sri Lanka in view of the presidential election, an official said today. An Election Department official said a representative from the Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA) arrived in the country on Sunday while several others would arrive in stages. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Desapriya had invited representatives from three different international organisations more..

President warns of LTTE threat

Dec 15 (CG) President Rajapaksa today warned that despite the defeat of the LTTE in Sri Lanka, the country still faces a threat from the LTTE network overseas. Speaking at an election rally, he noted that LTTE supporters living in foreign countries have formed a parliament of their own and are working against Sri Lankan interests. He said that the country needs to be vigilant against the actions of these groups operating overseas and those supporting those groups from within SL. more..