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Presidential election and the TNA

Dec 17 (CT) The ongoing presidential election campaign seems to have downgraded the Tamil community, or to be precise, their main political party the TNA to the status of an outcast. Both major political formations, UPFA headed by President Rajapaksa and the NDA headed by common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena, are not interested in a formal alliance with the Tamil party, despite the fact that Tamil votes are a crucial factor in the electoral equation. more..

‘People in Batticaloa rally round President’

Dec 17 (SO) Mangala Senerath, who was instrumental in reviving the Valachchenai paper mill has been able to work closely with the people in the Batticaloa district after being appointed the competent authority of the National Paper Corporation Ltd (NCPL) in 2012. The close interaction he had maintained with the people in the Batticaloa district and the political hierarchy in the district while serving at the Valachchenai more..

Sri Lanka’s trail of tears

Dec 17 (NS) I don’t think I can remember a more confused and sadder sight in Sri Lankan politics than elected representatives of the people selling themselves and whatever little dignity they have to extend their respective little fiefdoms. The practice started in earnest when Mahinda Rajapaksa became President in 2005, and continues its path of destroying the confidence of the political system. The practice has gathered fresh momentum ever since Maitripala Sirisena came forward more..

Leader, Commoner & the change of hearts

Dec 17 (NS) A leader will never change his policies. He will never bow down in the face of sinister moves and threats. A real leader will have the courage and determination to carry forward the work he has undertaken. A leader takes care of the people who work under him. Leadership has been described as “a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. For example, some understand a leader simply as more..

Burning issues facing SL ahead of Jan. polls

Dec 17 (IRIN) As Sri Lanka gears up for a presidential election five years after the end a long separatist rebellion, the country, especially the war-scarred North, faces a raft of unresolved chronic problems. Analysts regard many of them as long-term drivers of conflict. Front-runners in the January poll are incumbent President Rajapaksa, who is seeking an unprecedented third term (thanks to a constitutional amendment passed by UPFA), more..

Logic of Coconut and Bo trees in a presidential election

Dec 17 (SL) It’s not easy to reconcile Sri Lankan election rhetoric with elementary logic. One such challenge we faced watching a late night TV talk show, these talk shows being of interest to us not as a political columnist or student of politics but for sheer entertainment. On Tuesday night we wondered why a speaker was holding forth on the virtues of the Coconut tree with much eloquence. Roots of tree are used as a fuel for cooking in our humble homes, the trunk is of hardy wood more..

Limits of being bought off in the face of gross injustice

Dec 17 (SL) The political landscape has become an uncertain one racked by the crossovers taking place at regular intervals almost on a daily basis. Now the crossovers have become even more uncertain, as there are crossbacks as well. Whether these are motivated by conviction or by the desire for power and wealth is a speculative exercise. Most of those who have crossed over give as their reason their commitment to the national interest. But there has been at least one recent crossover that more..

'No computer Jillmart'

Dec 17 (CT) Q: There have been various allegations that a single family is dominating the party. What do you say about that? A: That is not just the case in Sri Lanka but it is the same in other countries too. In India, Nehru Family governed the country after independence. In recent times you had Sonia Gandhi and her family, so this phenomenon is not limited to Sri Lanka. We also had the Bandaranaike family; President, PM more..

Editorial: Gotabhaya’s defence

Dec 17 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, taking part in an interview on Derana TV on Monday, defended the govt much better than most ruling party politicians who make a lot of noise in dramedies that are political debates but leave the viewers unconvinced and disappointed in the end. He, as usual, tore into the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which, he said, remained committed to a separate state and had a visceral antipathy towards President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Good governance is a Trojan Horse

Dec 17 (Island) Has there been any govt free from blame for corruption, bribery, undemocratic in the sense defined in the text books, partiality towards favourites including relatives, suppression of the press etc. in this country? What can be observed is that the so-called good governance has deteriorated over the years and if by some chance (in a dream world) Maithripala Sirisena became the President we would have a government worse than the present with respect to good governance. more..

Dilshan stars as England thrashed

Dec 17 (CI) The full-house crowd might have come to bid farewell to Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, but it was another member of the trio of senior SL batsman, Tillakaratne Dilshan, who led the home side to a crushing 87-run victory in the final ODI of the series against England. The result wrapped up the series for Sri Lanka 5-2. The thought of trying to find replacements for Jayawardene & Sangakkara more..

HNB first Lankan bank to establish $ 50 m credit line with Korea Exim Bank

Dec 17 (FT) At the signing of the agreement, HNB Chairperson Dr. Ranee Jayamaha stated: “We are delighted to be the first bank in Sri Lanka to enter in to an agreement with Korea Exim Bank to support trade between the two countries.” HNB Managing Director Jonathan Alles added: “With foreign trade between Sri Lanka and Korea growing significantly, the agreement entered into with KEXIM is timely and would enable HNB to pass on the benefit of attractive interest rates to customers.” more..

The Finance Company continues second phase of restructuring

Dec 17 (LBO) In keeping with the direction issued by the Monetary Board at its meeting held on 26th May 2014, the Central Bank has continued the implementation of the second phase of restructuring of The Finance Company PLC (TFC) in order to further stabilise the Company and move it to a profitable level, in terms of the provisions of the Finance Business Act No. 42 of 2011. Press Release Produced By Central Bank: Already, a new Board of Directors has been appointed and more..

A dream day for Khettarama faithful

Dec 17 (CI) In characteristic Sri Lankan style, Colombo was a little late catching on to the bit of history about to transpire on Tuesday. Only after the hill country had welled up to farewell its cricketing king did the buzz come slowly alive in three-wheeler stands and bus halts on the coast. "Machang, it's these buggers' last match, no? Do you think there will be tickets left?" There were, of course, tickets left. Like political crossovers more..

St Sangakkara b Jayawardene

Dec 17 (CI) When Fawad Alam bowled with his cap on backwards during the recent series between Pakistan and Australia, it caused a bit of a stir. Joe Root is not quite as part-time as Alam but, when called upon to chip in with a few overs here, he promptly came in off a few steps and delivered the ball with his head still covered, peak pointing down the wicket. He then took his cap off and gave it to the umpire but not before a few comparisons with Geoffrey Boycott had been made. more..

Sangakkara's golden year to remember

Dec 17 (CI) 1256: Runs scored by Kumar Sangakkara in ODIs in 2014, more than any other player. Sangakkara is already the highest scorer in Tests this year with 1431 runs and is unlikely to be overtaken by any player in either format. 5: Number of batsmen who have topped the run charts in both Tests and ODIs in the same year; Sangakkara, should he as expected achieve the feat, will be the fifth. The four players to do this before him are Viv Richards (1976), Greg Chappell (1977), more..

'Policy on foreign investment skewed'

Dec 17 (CT) A senior businessman raising concerns over the ongoing foreign investments in the country pointed out that these foreign investments were not viable to the economy. Fairway Holdings Chairman Hemaka de Alwis said, "A lot of these special projects that have been approved are given 15-year tax holidays and many other benefits which local businessmen never get. "There is no fruitful foreign investment. more..

Australia opens door to professionals and businessmen

Dec 17 (CT) Australia recently opened its doors to Sri Lankan professionals, businessmen and investors, who showed interest in migrating to the country, through special visa schemes. According to Sri Lankan Immigration Law Specialist Susantha Katugampala, Australia is ready for business and has encouraged business ventures to support the economy. "Australia offers ample opportunities for Sri Lankan professionals and businessmen," he said. "Australia is the number one sought more..

President underscores importance of discipline

Dec 17 (Island) ‘Along with the development of modern expertise and technology, it is of paramount importance that children are brought-up correctly to create a disciplined society, especially in the present era, said President Rajapaksa. Delivering his live feed from Temple Trees through the first hologram effect in Ratnapura, he said the country could witness unprecedented development in infrastructure growth and rural electrification due to the people’s trust in Mahinda Chintana policy more..

Serendib for Sri Lankan Muslims unveiled

Dec 17 (FT) As the promoters of the pioneering venture declared that their effort would remain independent and apolitical, Sri Lanka’s first mass media outlet aimed at the country’s 1.9 m Muslim community was unveiled on 16 Dec in Colombo, with Muslim Media Forum, an influential Muslim community voice in Sri Lanka, calling the effort a ‘historic event’. “This is indeed a historic occasion. We are totally apolitical, inclusive more..

Tea exports to Russia: Wade into the waters

Dec 17 (CT) Ceylon FT ran a page one lead story on Monday under the banner headline 'Russian rouble crisis: Tea exporters voice grave concern'. We quoted the Chairman of the Tea Exporters' Association of SL, Rohan Fernando as having said that the exports to Russia have been severely affected due to the devaluation of their currency, the rouble, due to the US sanctions imposed on that country. It is also pertinent to note that Russia accounts for over 40% of SL's tea exports more..

BBS threatens legal action against SLMC

Dec 17 (CT) BBS said they would take legal action against the SLMC, if its Deputy General Secretary, Nizam Kariapper did not retract his statement that BBS had said that there would be a repeat of the 1915 Buddhist-Muslim riots, if common candidate, Maithripala Sirisena came to power. CEO of the BBS, Dilanthe Withanage and General Secretary, Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera said that the comments were the first move taken by the SLMC to give birth to a federal state. more..

‘No devolution possible under Rajapaksa’

Dec 17 (Hindu) Northern Tamils cannot expect powers to be devolved as long as President Rajapaksa is in power, according to Rajitha Senaratne who was, not very long ago, a Minister in his cabinet. On Nov 21, he left the ruling coalition along with his colleague Maithripala Sirisena, now the principal challenger of President Rajapaksa in upcoming polls. “President never wanted to give anything to northern people,” more..

Finland interested in Sri Lanka's potential for investment

Dec 17 (GDI) Dr. Lakshman Jayaweera, Chairman of the Board of Investment and Senior officials of the BOI briefed an official delegation from Finland headed by Matti Anttonen Under Secretary of State, External Economic Relations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and Rauli Suikkanen, Ambassador of Finland to Sri Lanka at the BOI. Finnish delegation expressed interest in Sri Lanka’s Trade and Investment policy and particularly on the Free Trade Agreements that SL has entered into more..

'Opposition is referring to our toy helicopters'

Dec 17 (CT) Refuting the claims made by the Opposition on each of the Rajapaksa ‘princes’ owning a private chopper, the eldest ‘prince’ MP Namal Rajapaksa in a most absurd response has stated that the helicopters in reference are only toys that were gifted to them as kids. Addressing a UPFA rally, Namal has said that when he saw news reports of the three helicopters gifted to him and his two siblings by their father, he had rushed home to check whether the reports were true. more..

More desert UPFA for Maithri

Dec 17 (CT) 8 Local Govt councillors, from the UPFA, crossed over to the common Opposition yesterday to extend their support to Maithripala Sirisena, citing corruption and nepotism as the main reason for their decision. SLFP member of the Sri J'pura Kotte, MC Ranjan Ponnamperuma, SLFP Chairman of the Ja-Ela UC, Anju Perera and Athula Senaratne, former SLFP Kandy MC Member and campaign organizer for Minister Jeevan more..

Sri Lanka hails Tamil Nadu goodwill

Dec 17 (CG) The Sri Lankan Govt said it noted with satisfaction the several media reports on a communication to Indian PM Narendra Modi from Chief Minister of TN O. Panneerselvam informing of the decision to release on 22nd Dec 2014, thirty Sri Lankan fishermen and nineteen boats currently in the State’s custody. President Rajapaksa during his discussions in Kathmandu on the sidelines of the 18th SAARC Summit in Nov 2014, requested PM Modi to facilitate the release of SL fishermen more..

Fine weather forecast for election

Dec 17 (Island) The weather will be fine for much of the country in January as everyone heads for the polls, says the Meteorology Department. Met Department’s Climate Change Studies Centre Deputy Director A.R. Warnasooriya said that they were not expecting any adverse weather conditions next month. Therefore the Election Day weather across the country is likely to be mild, sunny. Except Northern and Eastern provinces, other areas would experience fair weather. more..

MR says Maithri, TNA have deal

Dec 17 (CG) President Rajapaksa alleged that the opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena has signed a secret deal with the TNA. President Rajapaksa claimed that the secret deal was formulated by a team which includes TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran. “We are watching these things very closely. These things need to be revealed,” he added. He urged the public not to forget what the LTTE did and the fact that more..

'No loopholes in ballot paper printing'

Dec 17 (DM) Department of Govt Printing said the printing of ballot papers was continuing under special security arrangements and denied allegations about any irregularities and security lapses in the printing process. Earlier, PAFFREL drew the attention of the Govt Printer to media reports that the department’s security officers had been replaced by police personnel while outsiders were alleged to have been recruited to work in the Confidential Division of the Govt Press. more..

Govt prints booklet defaming Sajith

Dec 17 (CT) Jathika Pavura, a faction of the UNP, revealed that a booklet has been published, by the govt, to defame UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa. Lawyer and Co-convener of the organization, Shiral Lakthilaka said the booklet contains false information in an attempt to defame and slander UNP Deputy leader Sajith Premadasa and his late father, former President R Premadasa. "The booklet contains pictures of Sajith Premadasa and his father, along with defamatory more..

Extortion: Ten Tigers jailed in Germany

Dec 17 (Island) The Criminal Court in Berlin convicted two women and eight men of Sri Lankan origin, living in Berlin last Friday of illegally collecting funds for the LTTE. The duration of imprisonment ranged between six to eighteen months. The names of the accused and their prison terms are as follows: Kanapathipillai Koneswaran was sentenced to one year and three months, Sumathy Uthayakumar to seven months, more..

Prisons Chief denies

Dec 17 (CT) Prisoners were not used in any capacity for election propaganda work, Prisons Commissioner Chandraratne Pallegama said yesterday. Prison Superintendents have been issued instructions to prevent illegal use of public property in the election propaganda work of any candidate. Pallegama had acted in response to complaints made by Transparency International (TI) and CaFFE, that prisoners were being made use for election propaganda. more..

Sirisena sees anti-govt wave gaining momentum

Dec 17 (Island) Common opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday maintained that an anti-govt wave was gaining momentum and it was led by the country’s youth. Sirisena said that the govt had come to power promising a brighter tomorrow for the youth, but failed to honour that promise. "Instead, the powers that be created a better future for thier children. As the govt failed to make good its promises, the rural youth are resentful. more..

'Upcoming presidential elections should not derail papal visit'

Dec 17 (NCR) Catholic church leaders in Sri Lanka are pushing ahead with preparations for Pope Francis' Jan. 13-15 trip to their country, banking on the politicians' promise that presidential elections scheduled five days ahead of the papal visit would be free of violence. "There is no change in the schedule of papal visit events," Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando, national director of Catholic social communications in Sri Lanka, told NCR more..

looking at a paradigm shift

Dec 17 (DM) Not even a month to go for the presidential election, the two main candidates -- incumbent president Rajapksa and common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena are yet to come up with their election manifestos. Apart from the typical political waiting game --waiting for the other party to come up with their manifesto first so you could either match it or better it -- a paradigm shift that has taken place in the country’s social and political spheres since end of civil conflict more..

People can prevent rigging

Dec 17 (DM) The present Govt and its coalition partners are held in so much suspicion and contempt, the obvious question that is being asked by every reasonable man and woman today is: “even if we win, will they allow our candidate to be declared the winner?” It is a very reasonable question to ask and equally reasonable to prepare the voter, supporter and activist of the Opposition for the uphill task of upholding the law of the land to compel all officials, from Elections Dept more..

Law-less’ election?

Dec 17 (SL) Election monitors have observed election related violence and many election law violations within the short period since the declaration of the presidential election. Among many, the govt is accused of manipulating public servants by giving promotions, new appointments and transfers and misusing state media in support of the political campaign of the President. According to PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi more..

‘They cannot establish a multi-party govt’

Dec 17 (DM) The former General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake recently joined the Govt to support President Rajapaksa at the presidential elections. Mr. Attanayake who had earlier said that he would not join the govt explained the reasons for his defection. Q: You were the General Secretary of the UNP. What are the reasons for your defection? A: For eight years I was the General Secretary of the UNP and more..

Australia will not change policy

Dec 17 (CG) The Australian government today said it will continue with its policy to return illegal Sri Lankan asylum seekers despite concerns raised by some human rights groups. Australia’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ms Robyn Mudie told reporters today that Australia has a system in place to identify genuine asylum seekers and those who fail to fall within that category will be sent back. more..