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Video: Champika points fingers at MR

Dec 15 (CG) Former Minister and JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka claimed that President Rajapaksa and his govt had talks with London based LTTE leader Emil Kanthan in 2005. Speaking at the launch of a book today, Ranawaka said that in 2005 Mahinda Chinthanaya policy was focused on ending the war and strengthening the economy. However he said the wrong impression had been given that more..

Threat of UPFA losing Kotte MC

Dec 15 (CG) The Kotte Municipal Council is reportedly in the balance with four ruling party members set to crossover to the opposition sources said. UPFA Kotte Municipal Council member Dhanuka Vishwajith has already announced he will back opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena and 3 others are expected to follow him. Kotte Mayor Janaka Ranawaka, when contacted, said that he hopes to brief the media tomorrow on the developing situation. more..

Govt told tribunal LTTE still wants ‘greater Tamil Nadu’

Dec 15 (IE) While seeking to extend the ban on the LTTE, the Centre and the TN govt told a tribunal that the banned outfit nurtures an idea of “greater Tamil Nadu, which includes the state of TN, part of Kerala, part of Karnataka, part of Andhra Pradesh and northeastern provinces of Sri Lanka”. The tribunal was also told that an offshoot of the banned terrorist outfit carried out a blast outside the home of former UPA minister P Chidambaram and tried to target home of V Narayanasamy in Tamil Nadu. more..

UPFA using prisoners to build election stages: CaFFE

Dec 15 (AD) A Sri Lankan election watchdog today accused the UPFA of using prisons inmates to build stages, carry out decorations and engage in other election campaign activities. The CaFFE claims that the ruling party has provided the inmates with blue clothing similar to prison uniform and is using them to carry out various construction work. CaFFE states that the individuals in the pictures are inmates of the Galle Prison more..

Old Mahinda or new Maithri; Options for Tamils

Dec 16 (CT) The next Presidential Election has pitted two candidates both belonging to the same party, SLFP. One is sitting and the other a choice from circumstances, arising from the divisive and divided opposing parties and groups who got united for the common purpose to defeat Rajapaksa’s family empire and their foot hold in Sri Lanka, while seeking personal revenge for the past acts of revenge. As far as the Tamils are concerned, Tamils have no reasons to cheer about this election. more..

Grappling with conscience at the crossroads of crossovers

Dec 16 (ST) The time has come to underscore once more that the outcome of the presidential election will not be determined by members of parliament regardless whether they cross over or stay put but by the masses of this country who will assume their oft neglected role as the true kingmakers of this nation. If they fail to realise the gravity of the responsibility thrust upon them, then they will have only themselves to blame; and will receive the leader they deserve to get. more..

'Are foreign agents funding the UNP?'

Dec 16 (SO) Minister W.D.J. Senewiratne said that the undertaking given by the Common Opposition Candidate Maithripala Sirisena that he will abolish the Executive Presidency in 100 days is mere hogwash just to impress the people who are demanding that the Executive Presidency be abolished. He said whichever govt that wants to abolish the Executive, it should first and foremost have a two thirds majority in Parliament. more..

Facing the realities of an ageing population

Dec 16 (ST) The ageing of Sri Lanka’s population is one of the most serious socio-economic challenges in the coming decades. Although the Budget of 2015 recognised this to some extent, no significant steps have been taken to cope with the problems of an ageing population. Weak public finances, distorted prioritisation of public expenditure and wasteful expenditure leave no fiscal space to address the needs of the elderly. The inability to reform the retirement age and retirement benefits more..

I do feel immensely sorry for Rajapaksa

Dec 16 (CT) Though I do not in any way regret our decision not to support Mahinda Rajapaksa at the forthcoming Presidential election, I do feel immensely sorry for him. He is neither a fool, nor a villain, so he knows well the mess into which he has got himself. Though he and his advisers will use every trick in the book now to win re-election, and he might even succeed, he knows that the methods he is now using serve only to make crystal clear how very unpopular he has become. more..

'Houses for plantation workers is the priority'

Dec 16 (CT) Former Deputy Minister of National Languages and Social Integrity and Leader of National Union of Workers Palani Digambaram, who crossed over to the common alliance said the govt opposed the demand of building separate houses in 7 perches to the plantation community. He further added "The govt did not consider our 7 perches demand but the common candidate and the alliance promised to fulfill it. more..

The contest

Dec 16 (GV) The announcement that Maithripala Sirisena, General Secretary of the SLFP and Minister in the Rajapaksa regime is to be The Common Candidate of the Opposition to Mahinda Rajapaksa has turned the Presidential Election into a contest. Moreover the electoral arithmetic, most popularly quoted, appears to favour the challenger on the premise that the vast majority of minority votes will go to him leaving the incumbent the challenge of securing some 60-65% of the more..

2014: Year in Review

Dec 16 (GV) Groundviews published over 300 articles in 2014. Since its launch in 2006, the most amount of traffic to the website was generated over May this year, around the compelling content featured in the End of War: 5 Years On Special Edition. Selecting the most engaging content from this vast selection is impossible – all of the articles deal with issues often not covered at all by mainstream media in Sri Lanka, or only dealt with in passing. more..

Vasudeva still regrets contesting against Kobbekaduwa

Dec 16 (CT) Last surviving member of the first Presidential Election, Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that his Party forced him to contest that election although he did not want to do so. Q: You are the only living candidate of Sri Lanka's first presidential election. Tell us how you became the presidential candidate. A: The NSSP decided to contest it. But I was undecided. The reason was, I was undecided about contesting against more..

Offering material inducements without policy change to win votes

Dec 16 (Island) The govt is sparing no effort to ensure victory for itself at the forthcoming presidential election. The opposition alliance accuses it of offering their members large sums of money to cross over. This is rejected by those who have been accused of this practice, which leaves the electorate in a state of disquiet and uncertainty, not wishing to believe the worst in those who ought to be champions of the national interest. Those who join the govt do not seem to be negotiating more..

Editorial: Laptops and pens

Dec 16 (Island) Some journalists and various media rights groups in this country do not seem to learn from their mistakes. They continue to deify politicians as messiahs though the latter are no great lovers of the media. There have been only a few exceptions. The US was lucky to have Thomas Jefferson, as a founding father and president, who famously said: "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a govt without newspapers, or newspapers without a govt, more..

MS over MR: The tale of two campaigns

Dec 16 (Island) The Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena (MS) is not just a person. He is a symbol as well. Different people have different interpretations of this symbol. The supporters of the Rajapakasa regime are the poorest interpreters of this symbol. For them the Common Candidate is a conspirator supported by the West. As Gunadasa Amarasekara has put it, Common Candidate is a conspiracy of the more..

Mahela and Sanga set for grand farewell

Dec 16 (Island) Sri Lankans will give former captains Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara a grand send off in today’s seventh and final One-Day International against England at R. Premadasa Stadium. Today’s game will be Jayawardene’s last on home soil while fans will no longer see star batsman Kumar Sangakkara in coloured cloths. Tickets for today’s game were going fast with just a few hundred available last night. With Sri Lanka having already won the series more..

Premadasa set for Sanga-Mahela farewell

Dec 16 (CI) This series was always framed within the wider narrative of an impending World Cup, with player form and planning of more immediate significance than the series result. Sri Lanka have wrapped things up with a game to spare, meaning that they can revel in the last home ODI appearances of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara in front of what is expected to be a bumper crowd at the Premadasa. The teams have returned to Colombo, where it all kicked off more..

Mahela will 'miss the music the most'

Dec 16 (CI) As the flags fly and the papare plays for one final time for Mahela Jayawardene in Colombo, he admits he may become a little emotional. The city whose grounds he has filled since he was 16 has already given him one grand farewell at his final Test in August. They will almost certainly do so again for both Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, for whom it is also the final ODI at home. more..

No level playing field for local businessmen

Dec 16 (CT) A senior local businessman raised concerns over foreign investors being given extensive tax breaks which Sri Lankan businessmen were unable to enjoy, as the govt or investment promotion agencies have not recognized the need to provide a level playing field. Fairway Holdings Chairman Hemaka de Alwis said that many foreign investments in the country would earn more despite its low contribution to the economy as a result of low capital investment as well as more..

Constituent changes to the S&P Sri Lanka 20 Index

Dec 16 (Island) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) announces the changes in S&P Sri Lanka 20 index constituents made by S&P Dow Jones Indices at the 2014 annual index rebalance as follows. S&P Dow Jones Indices today announced that effective from the Dec 22, Asian Hotels & Properties (CSE: AHPL, Bloomberg: AHPL SL), C T Holdings (CSE: CTHR, Bloomberg: CTHR SL) and Hayleys (CSE: HAYL, Bloomberg: HAYL SL)will be removed from the S&P Sri Lanka 20 index as they no longer qualify more..

SriLankan Airlines expands training to meet demand for aviation professionals

Dec 16 (EN) SriLankan Airlines has set up a new training outfit by amalgamating existing internationally certified training units, aiming to produce more aviation professionals needed by an expanding industry. The SriLankan Aviation College is an integrated training institution that brings together the airline’s SriLankan Technical Training and International Aviation Academy training centres, national carrier said in a statement. more..

Municipality Solid Waste to Energy pilot project enters final stage

Dec 16 (FT) The Municipal Solid Waste to Energy pilot project in Sri Lanka inaugurated its construction for the third and final stage of the plan at Kaburupitiya, Matara recently. The inauguration was held for the technological portion of the third phase of the project under the patronage of Central Environment Authority (CEA) Chairman D. W. Prathapasinghe with Biogreencycle Ltd. Chairman Michael Quyn and Managing Director Amindra Wimalasena also present. more..

Maithripala, Ranil to address business leaders on Dec 23

Dec 16 (FT) The much-anticipated business forum to be addressed by the common candidate Maithripala Sirisena and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has been rescheduled for 23 Dec at 10:30 a.m. at the Cinnamon Lakeside. It was previously planned for 17 December at TajSamudra Hotel. The duo will address the business community in this interactive forum titled ‘Let’s Unite,’ with a special theme of ‘Boosting Growth in a Stable Policy Environment’. more..

$ 50 m fund to boost economy via private sector

Dec 16 (FT) Under a multi-partner initiative including a first-ever collaboration between international financial agencies, Sri Lanka’s largest private equity fund amounting to $ 50 million (over Rs. 6.5 billion) was launched yesterday with a plan to boost the economy via the private sector, especially SMEs. Spearheading the initiative is NDB Capital Holdings Plc, which has partnered Zephyr Management, a global private equity more..

Colombo favoured for high-rise living; not so much for houses

Dec 16 (Island) Colombo is the most popular location among both buyers and renters, with the city accounting for about a third of searches on the Lamudi website. Reflecting the growing demand for high-rise living in Colombo, more than half the searches for apartments on relate to the capital city. This sits in stark contrast to searches for house listings for sale or rent. Only a quarter of those looking for a house are searching within Colombo, Lamudi onsite data reveals. more..

Docs threaten countrywide strike tomorrow accusing NCP Health Minister of inaction

Dec 16 (Island) GMOA gave notice of a countrywide strike on Dec 17 against North Central Province Health Minister S.B. Semasinghe. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said that Provincial Health Minister Semasinghe was not performing his duties properly. He alleged that the NCP Health Minister was ignoring the outcome of a probe against Public Health Inspectors Union (PHIU) General Secretary H. Bandara and no disciplinary action had been taken against PHI Bandara. more..

University name new clinic in memory of former student murdered in Sri Lanka

Dec 16 (MEN) University bosses have named a new clinic in memory of a former student and Red Cross worker murdered on holiday in Sri Lanka. The University of Salford has named the clinic, in the Brian Blatchford Building, after Khuram Shaikh - a former orthotics and prosthetics student killed on Christmas Day in 2011. Mr Shaikh died at the southern tourist resort of Tangalle after being shot and stabbed. His family, backed by more..

SL presidential elections: India’s stance

Dec 16 (EAR) Sri Lanka’s presidential elections are to be held on Jan 8, 2015. President Rajapakse will be up against his former Minister, Maitripala Sirisena, who defected from the ruling SLFP. Chandrika Kumaratunga, earlier the country`s President from the SLFP, has stepped in to support Sirisena. For his part, Sirisena has arrived at a working arrangement with the SLFP`s arch rival, the UNP, to entrust premiership to UNP leader, Ranil Wikremasinghe, in the event of his victory. more..

A chance to close SL’s one-family show

Dec 16 (WSJ) When President Mahinda Rajapaksa called a snap election last month in Sri Lanka, it appeared he would cruise to a third term. But a hitherto feeble and divided opposition has since rallied behind a common presidential candidate for the Jan. 8 vote. Only a month ago, Maithripala Sirisena was a cabinet minister and general-secretary of the ruling party. Now suddenly Sri Lanka could be at a turning point after almost a decade of Rajapaksa rule. more..

Cleaning the economy!

Dec 16 (FT) Explaining its economic policy, the joint Opposition yesterday sought to reassure voters of prosperity won through an end to corruption and equitable economic policies while insisting the current development drive would be revamped to offer protection from a debt trap. Common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena, who addressed a large gathering of intellectuals and professionals in Kotte, advocated ending more..

NNSC backs MR

Dec 16 (CT) The New National Sanga Council (NNSC) criticized JHU MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera for causing a division in the Party and pledged their support to President Rajapaksa. The NNSC who is backing Rajapaksa, for his role in defeating terrorism and establishing development, is at loggerheads with the National Sanga Council for backing common candidate, Maithripala Sirisena. NNSC stated that they would also be standing together with BBS on common matters after more..

Crowded out UPFA councillor joins Sirisena

Dec 16 (Island) Former Dehiwela SLFP organizer and attorney-at-law Keerthi Udawatte on Sunday alleged that the SLFP leadership had given perks and privileges to UNPers at the expense of those SLFPers who had faithfully served the party. Western Provincial Council member Keerthi Udawatte said that he represented a section of the SLFP that had been neglected by the present leadership. Flanked by JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka & UNP MP Wijeyadasa more..

'Obviously Sirisena lied'

Dec 16 (DN) “Disparities in the agreements which the so-called common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena signed with the UNP and Chandrika Kumaratunga and the one which he signed with the JHU compelled me to leave the JHU,” former JHU legal adviser Udaya Gammanpila said. He said as per the agreement signed between Sirisena and the JHU, Executive Presidency should be reformed & protected, more..

Ratnapura Depot told to show receipts for release of buses

Dec 16 (DM) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has ordered officials of the Ratnapura Bus Depot to produce the cash receipts issued for the release of 25 buses to transport people to a political rally in Panadura today. Earlier, election observers including PAFFREL had in writing requested Mr. Deshapriya to inquire into allegations that state buses had been used to transport people for the political rallies in the run-up to the presidential election. more..

Momentum: Asia’s largest synchronised professional forum in Colombo tomorrow

Dec 16 (GDI) Organized by ‘Professionals for a Stable Sri Lanka’; Momentum, Asia’s largest synchronized professional forum will be held on 17th Dec. To be held simultaneously at four locations – Cinnamon Lakeside, Hotel Galadari and JAIC Hilton Colombo Residencies – the forum will feature top professionals in business and social sectors, sharing their insight on the significance of stability on the business and economic landscape of Sri Lanka. The two main speakers of the event will be more..

'Only LTTE rump can clarify Prabhakaran’s decision'

Dec 16 (Island) JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka, says the LTTE rump should be asked whether it had received payment from the then Premier Rajapaksa Camp in the run-up to Nov. 17, 2005 presidential election. Referring to a statement made by an Opposition MP (not a UNPer), UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC, said that the LTTE had facilitated Rajapaksa’s victory by depriving UNP presidential candidate Ranil more..

SB's comments about CBK: UPFA women take offence

Dec 16 (CT) UPFA women politicians and activists yesterday denounced recent derogatory comments, made by Minister S.B. Dissanayake, in reference to parading former President Chandrika Kumaratunga naked on the streets. Deya Rakina Diriya Liya (Courageous Women Who Protect the Nation) comprising women attached to govt constituent parties and headed by Minister Pavithradevi Wanniarachchi, said it was merely the personal opinion of a Cabinet Minister and was not more..

Petition against water contamination

Dec 16 (CT) A petition was handed over to the Thellipalai Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman, K. Sri Mohanan and Uduvil Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman, M. Nandagopalan by the Chamber of Environmental Protection yesterday urging that immediate action be taken regarding the oil leak into well water. The petition wanted the affected areas marked as disaster prone zones. Villagers of Valikamam signed the said petition requesting immediate action be taken before all people fall sick. more..

UPFA in last ditch bid to keep SLMC

Dec 16 (Island) A top level govt delegation yesterday held talks with SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem in a bid to retain his support for incumbent President Rajapaksa’s re-election bid. Ministers Susil Premjayantha, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, and Dallas Alahapperuma met Minister Hakeem at the Presidential Secretariat. Sources said that presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga had joined the discussion. more..