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Universities sign petition against Leadership Training for varsity entrants: IUSF

Dec 17 (ST) University student unions are up in arms against the Leadership Training given to university entrants and petitions are being signed in universities against it, the Inter University Students Federation (IUSF) said. IUSF said that, Rajarata and Sri J'pura Universities have already signed the petition, while this week, Ruhuna University students signed the petition, demanding the authorities to stop the training given at military bases. more..

Economy, tolerance and reconciliation on minds of Sri Lankan voters

Dec 17 (KSA) The higher cost of living, religious tolerance and inter-communal reconciliation are issues that may determine the winner of next month's snap presidential election in Sri Lanka. Voters will choose between the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is seeking an unprecedented third term, and his former minister, Maithirpala Sirisena, who defected to the opposition UNP in November. Jan 8th election is expected to be close. more..

Film director complains of suppression of artistic freedom

Dec 17 (Island) No govt has suppressed the artistes and intellectuals the way the present govt of Mahinda Rajapaksa has, says a popular film director. Film Director, Prasanna Withanage, speaking at a seminar organised by an organisation called Citizens Power said presidents J.R. Jayewardene, R Premadasa, Chandrika Kumaratunga had interfered in many things but they had never meddled with contents of films, more..

John Amaratunga to make important decision on Dec 25

Dec 17 (AM) Chief Opposition Whip and UNP MP John Amaratunga had told his close associates that he would make an “important decision” on Dec 25. Amaratunga had made this remark amidst rumours that he would cross over to the govt. However, speaking to media last week, Amaratunga categorically denied crossover claims saying he had no intention to leave the UNP. However, the MP had not revealed as to more..

Video: Corrupt investors planning jump to Kitts and Nevis: UNP

Dec 17 (DM) UNP today charged that corrupt investors backed by the present UPFA Govt have already obtained permanent residency in Saint Kitts and Nevis islands in the Caribbean Sea toavoid being penalized under a National Unity Government. UNP MP and economist Harsha De Silva said that they would not allow corrupt investors and businessmen to leave the country and vowed to take legal action against them. more..

'Maithripala Sirisena is a very capable person'

Dec 17 (DM) Professor Rajiva Wijesinghe, son of late Sam Wijesinghe, Former Parliamentary Secretary General is a member of the Liberal Party of Sri Lanka. In June 2007 President Rajapakse appointed him Secretary-General of the Sri Lanka Govt Secretariat for Co-ordinating the Peace Process, and in June 2008 he became the Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights. more..

Video: I am still the CJ: Shirani B

Dec 17 (DM) Former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake said today she would not enter politics because she still considered herself as Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice. She told journalists outside the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court a short while ago that because she still considered herself as the 43rd Chief Justice of country, she did not believe it was appropriate for a public servant to publicly campaign for any particular candidate. more..

Jobs for Lankans in Dubai defence sector

Dec 17 (Island) The govt of Dubai had expressed willingness to offer job opportunities to Sri Lankans in Dubai’s defence sector in 2015, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) Chairman Amal Senalankadhikara said. Discussions were underway with the govt of Dubai regarding such jobs at a monthly salary of between Rs. 75,000 to 100,000. Offer had been made at a meeting held with the Director of Dubai Police Academy, Lt. Gen. Nasser Ibrahim Kizim at his office recently. more..

BASL files writ application seeking order against political hoardings

Dec 17 (Island) Treasurer of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Upul Deshapriya, Attorney-at-Law and a few other officers bearers of the BASL, filed a Writ Application in the Court of Appeals seeking to obtain a mandatory order on the Mayors of Kotte and Dehiwela-Mt. Lavinia Municipal Councils, to prevent the display of hoardings and posters which carried pictures of candidates at the upcoming presidential election. The petitions said the display of election related posters violated section 74 of the more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Polls violations before HRCSL

Dec 17 (CG) Complaints have been filed with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) with regards to pre-election violations, including the misuse of govt property. The PAFFREL are among those who filed complaints today with the HRCSL on the use of govt buses, RDA officials and govt vehicles for election work, in violations of election laws. Meanwhile the HRCSL said that it has been reported to the Commission that some political party candidates have been denied the opportunity more..

Video: Champika in a mega deal: Wimal

Dec 17 (DM) NFF Leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa today accused the JHU General Secretary and former Minister Champika Ranawaka of publishing fake statistics to change peoples’ opinion on the economy. According to the minister, MP Ranawaka had said the present govt was acquiring foreign loans for higher interests such as 7%. “This is not true. The govt had obtained all the loans for interest lower than 7%. However, previous govts had obtained loans for high interest. more..

'No internal coup to oust Gnanasara Thera from BBS'

Dec 17 (AM) BBS CEO Dilantha Withanage categorically denied claims that there was an internal coup in the party to oust its General Secretary Galagodaaththe Ganansara Thera. It was reported in certain online publications that there was a move in the party to oust Gnanasara Thera who is supportive of President Rajapaksa. “There is no division in the party over the subject of presidential election. more..

New vehicle ownership in Sri Lanka spikes in November with motorcycles

Dec 17 (EN) Sri Lanka's new vehicles registrations have surged to unprecedented levels topping 50,000 a month for two months, led by motorcycles, an analysis by an equities research report shows. JB Securities said in a report using data from Sri Lanka's vehicle registry that 35,462 motorcycles were registered in October 2014 up from 15,878 a year earlier, and 37,592 in November, up from 14,644 a year earlier, driven by subsidized vehicles to state workers. more..

Derana apologizes to Mahindananda over Ranjan Ramanayake controversy

Dec 17 (AM) Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said the management of Derana tendered an apology over the incident where UNP PM Ranjan Ramanayake allegedly gave a telephone call to Aluthgamage during a political programme. Aluthgamage, who appeared on the same show last nigh, said he was in possession of all the details pertaining to the phone call which, according to him, was given from a mobile number that was registered under Ramanayake’s name. more..

Policemen may eye divorce to raise spending power

Dec 17 (EN) Sri Lanka’s latest move to offer free water and electricity to unmarried policemen and women could encourage bachelorhood in the ranks while helping the national budget by reducing the burden of excess children on the exchequer. The govt is already committed to giving a grant of LKR 100,000 to the third child of public servants, a move to encourage large families. The zero point one million rupee babies are more..

SL firms get banking facilities in Chengdu

Dec 17 (EN) Sri Lankan companies have been given the facility to register themselves in Chengdu, emerging as a big economic and transportation hub in western China, and allowed to operate bank accounts which makes repatriation of funds easier. "When companies are registered there, they can work independently, which is a most important thing, instead of having to have Chinese associates," explained Nihal Aluvihare, President of SL China Trade and Investment Promotion Chamber. more..

Handagama’s Ini Avan a ‘rare achievement’

Dec 17 (LR) Asoka Handagama’s recent run of awards for Ini Avan at the Hiru Golden Film Awards was felt half a world away here in Toronto. Two years ago, it was in this city the film premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Ini Avan bagged five top awards in Colombo in October including Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Editor and Best Film. Ini Avan addresses the fallout of Sri Lanka’s conflict with art, compassion and political insight. more..

CSD Director General tells opposition not to play politics with his men’s dignity

Dec 17 (Island) The Civil Security Department’s (CSD) Director General (DG) urged politicians not to demoralise his service men who were rendering yeomen service to the country’s economy and social wellbeing in various spheres following the eradication of terrorism. Addressing a media briefing, Rear Adm. (Retd.) Ananda Peiris said that CSD personnel should not be insulted. more..

Sirisena got one of the best ministries but could not prove himself: Johnston

Dec 17 (Island) Minister Johnston Fernando said on Sunday that opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena had never been a capable minister who could sort out the problems in ministries assigned to him. Addressing a public rally at Nikaweratiya, he said that Sirisena had recently lamented that the most frustrated day of his life was the day the Mahaweli Ministry was taken from him. "This statement amply indicates the capabilities of Sirisena. more..

Video: Tissa Attanayake assumes duties

Dec 17 (AD) Former General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake assumed duties as the new Minister of Health, this morning. Today I assumed duties upon a request by the President. Otherwise, I wanted to assume duties after the polls. I eternally grateful for President Rajapaksa for having faith in me to offer with such responsible Ministry, he told media. On 8 Dec, Tissa Attanayake tendered his resignation letter to UNP leader Ranil Wickramaginghe and stepped down from more..

Prove any malpractice and we will resign: EC

Dec 17 (DM) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said he and his officials would resign from their posts sans pension if it was proven that any malpractice or rigging had taken place at this presidential election. He said this at panel discussion organised by the SL Press Complaints Commission today. Mr. Deshapriya assured that no malpractices would take place at this election especially when it came to more..

Germany briefed over progress

Dec 17 (CG) The Govt has briefed Germany on the post war situation in Sri Lanka particularly on the socio- economic development and national reconciliation process. The External Affairs Ministry said that the Sri Lankan Ambassador to Germany, Karunatilaka Amunugama met State Secretary Stephan Steinlein of the Federal Foreign Office recently and discussed the enhancing of the long standing friendly relations between Sri Lanka and Germany. more..

Transport Union wants them removed

Dec 17 (CT) The All Ceylon Transport Workers’ Union (ACTWU) has asked the Elections Commissioner to remove the cut-outs and posters of President Rajapaksa, that adorn SLTB buses and depots and to avoid advertising the President’s campaign through them. The Union also added the SLTB workers are being forced to register their postal votes by various SLTB officials. They said that most workers have unwillingly registered their votes as the officials were forcing and more..

Maithri’s rally sabotaged

Dec 17 (DM) The stage and decorations for a rally for the Common Opposition Candidate Maithripala Sirisena at Wanduramba in Galle was sabotaged this morning by an unidentified gang. Police said the unidentified gang has arrived in two defenders, set fire to the stage and decorations with petrol and also damaged a vehicle and speakers. Baddegama PS member Premalal Liyanage who filed a complaint with more..

Stocks fall for fifth day; hit near 3-wk low

Dec 17 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks fell for a fifth straight session on Wednesday, hitting a near three-week low, as investors cautiously bought risky assets amid political uncertainty ahead of the Jan. 8 presidential poll. The main stock index ended 0.33% lower at 7,199.73, its lowest close since Nov. 28. The fall erased 10 billion rupees of market capitalisation from the 3.06 trillion rupee ($23.34 billion)-worth bourse. Turnover improved, hitting its highest since Dec. 8, more..

Maithri will make CBK the PM: Tissa

Dec 17 (DM) The newly appointed Health Minister Tissa Attanayake said that common opposition’s presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena had a secret agenda to appoint former President Chandrika Kumaratunga as the Prime Minister in a govt formed by Mr. Sirisena. “Mr. Sirisena has a hidden agenda to give the premiership to Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga,” President Rajapaksa tweeted quoting Minister Attanayake as saying at the UPFA presidential election rally today. more..

SL tops Google’s ‘sex’ search list again

Dec 17 (DM) Sri Lanka topped the list of having searched for the word ‘sex’ in 2014, while India followed at the second spot. Sri Lanka came first for the fourth consecutive year since 2011 in the internet ‘sex’ search category. When it came to the breakdown of data by cities, Homagama, Colombo and Nugegoda topped the list of people Googling the term ‘sex’ in 2014 in Western Province, while Kandy came the fourth place. more..

'87 Indian fishing vessels in SL's custody'

Dec 17 (PTI) As many as 87 Indian fishing vessels are in custody of Sri Lanka and the govt has taken up the issue with the country's authorities, Lok Sabha was informed today. Minister Gen V K Singh said in a written reply that as on Dec 12, there were 87 Indian fishing vessels under the custody of Sri Lanka. He said govt attaches the highest importance to the safety, security and welfare of Indian fishermen and, in this regard, has consistently taken up the issue of release of Indian fishermen more..

SL another first: Shuts out EU monitors

Dec 17 (CT) Elections monitoring bodies blamed the government for making Sri Lanka the first country to close its doors to European Union observers. "Apart from seven countries including China, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Albania, is Sri Lanka going to be the eighth country that does not even allow local monitors?" Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) queried. It was Sirima Bandaranaike who first invited foreign polls observers. more..

'Presidential candidates not offered anything constructive to Tamils'

Dec 17 (CT) PLOTE leader, Tharmalingam Siddharthan, said that the two Presidential candidates have not offered anything constructive towards fulfilling the political aspirations of the Tamil speaking people. TNA will support a Presidential Candidate who will solve the Tamil issue Siddharthan said. PLOTE, one of the constituent parties in the TNA is waiting for leader R. Sampanthan to return from his visit to India to more..

UNP seniors steal Attanayake's Key to launch village-level campaign

Dec 17 (AM) Despite claims former UNP General Secretary made saying he still holds the “key” to the UNP ground-level machinery, UNP is about to launch its grassroots level campaign from next week, following the launch of its election manifesto. Attanayake said he had the key to the “election-machine” of the party and when he left Sirikotha, he brought the key with him. Attanayake said it would take at least three months for the new General Secretary of the party to find the key. more..

17 JHU local gov.members to support President, says Gammanpila

Dec 17 (AD) Seventeen out of total 29 JHU local govt authorities’ members have pledged to support President Mahinda Rajapaksa at forthcoming Presidential polls, Udaya Gammanpila said. Gammanpila made the observation at a press conference held in Colombo, this morning. He said that 17 of 29 provincial level members of the JHU including eight monks will assist President Rajapaksa at the upcoming polls. WPC member Udaya Gammanpila quitted the JHU and more..

Video: JHU says Gammanpila harassing them

Dec 17 (DM) The JHU today alleged that Western provincial councilor Udaya Gammanpila and some ministers were forcing the party’s local govt members to defect from the JHU and join hands with the president. JHU media spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe told a news conference that the govt was engaging in a sinister campaign to grab their local govt members and destroy the country’s political culture. more..

Changing the regime and the NGO-led civil society

Dec 18 (CT) Let me first thank ICES for inviting me to speak on this panel, which I think is a very timely initiative to break the silence of, what I would call, the NGO-led civil society. I am not making a sweeping statement here that the NGO-led civil society has kept mum on the issue of the upcoming Presidential Elections. Some NGOs have been busy, particularly the election monitors. But by and large, I think, this is the first time, a meeting has been convened by a NGO-styled more..

Tyranny dares to plot and democracy fears to preempt

Dec 18 (CT) The caption is a tragic commentary on the events likely to unfold in Sri Lanka in just three weeks. May not, is a distant possibility; but if they do what is the response of the International Community, the govt and the people? When Tamils faced mayhem, there were certainly good and noble deeds at all times from the better ones. From 1977 to 2009 against the Tamils and in 2014 against Muslims, when pogroms were unleashed, the state apparatus stood idle struck by rigor mortis. more..

'Gender bias still exists'

Dec 18 (SO) Gone are the days when women were supposed to get married, bear children, stay at home and end up being doormats or slaves. Today, women are more open and independent, especially in the West where women are given due recognition. Compared to those antiquated times However, in Asian culture, women do not seem to be getting equal rights, though they hold top positions in different fields. There is a certain amount of apprehension that more..

Politics and love are both dead

Dec 18 (NS) These are days of political loyalty. Political betrayal too. Crossing lines. Shifting allegiances. Shifts and the speed of movement bring to mind a soliloquy in Udayasiri Wickramaratne’s Suddek Oba Amathai (A white man addresses you). This particular segment was called Ithihasaya Oba Amathai (History addresses you). Jayalath Manoratne played ‘History’ or rather gave voice to a note on history. The following refers to political loyalties, in particular to loyalty associated with political parties. more..

Mr. President, build us a Wall!

Dec 18 (NS) Walls normally are meant to separate, to keep people and things apart. However, not all walls are about separation. Walls can also be about inspiration, unification and purification. Sri Lanka needs a wall to bring us together, to unify, to inspire and to glorify our differences. For far too long we have allowed the carrions of our society to dictate the path of our nation. Time and again the nation has invested its faith in leaders who have used that faith in the vilest of manner. more..

Impending doom for Sri Lanka Railways

Dec 18 (CT) This week the trade union talk focuses on the transport sector which plays a very crucial role in everyone's day-to-day life. Our focus is on the railway which is one of the major modes of transport in Sri Lanka. Accordingly more than 5-6 million commuters uses railway daily. It is the All Ceylon Railway Employees' General Union (ACREGU) General Secretary, S.P. Withanage who spoke about the issues prevailing in the Sri Lanka Railways (SLR). more..