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Ensure the welfare of the plantation worker

Dec 19 (CT) Ceylon Tea has made a name for itself in the global markets, and it being the world's most popular drink, is relished by tea drinkers all over the world. According to statistics it makes an export earning of over US$ 1.4 billion for the country. That is, when the workers in the plantations who number approximately around 5% of the country's population, languish in dilapidated line-rooms in the estates in squalid conditions without the basic facilities. more..

Hirunika expelled from SLFP

Dec 19 (AM) Hirunika Premachandra has been expelled from the SLFP with immediate effect. She has already received a letter from the party with regard to the suspension and it is signed by party leader. Letter states that Hirunika Premachandra’ has been removed from the SLFP as her actions tarnished the reputation of the party and that under the 15th clause of the SLFP’s constitution, the party leadership is allowed to suspend the membership of any one violates its code of conduct. more..

Minister under fire for advocating crude violence on women

Dec 19 (EN) Sri Lanka's higher education minister is facing calls for resignation from a citizens group after he allegedly said a former woman president should to be stripped naked and forced to run along public roads. The Friday Forum, a Sri Lankan citizen’s group said the higher education minister S B Dissanayake made the remarks about former president Chandrika Kumaratunga on Dec 12 on Sirasa TV. more..

Muthuhettigama tries to take away arson suspects

Dec 19 (DM) Deputy Minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama had reportedly attempted to forcibly take away the suspects, arrested in connection with the arson attack on the stage put up for the opposition’s propaganda rally at Wanduramba, when they were being brought to Court under police custody this monring. The Police had however intervened and prevented the deputy minister from taking away the three suspects who were arrested yesterday. The suspects were remanded more..

Sri Lanka’s proposal to establish a World Youth Skills Day adopted by the UN

Dec 19 (GDI) Yesterday, the UN General Assembly adopted by consensus, a resolution, spearheaded by Sri Lanka, declaring 15th July as the World Youth Skills Day. Sri Lanka initiated this resolution, with the assistance of the G77 & China, to highlight at a global level, the importance of youth skills development. The goal is to achieve better socio-economic conditions for today’s youth, including as a means of addressing the challenges of unemployment and under employment. more..

Video: Show any factory promised in the Mahinda Chinthanaya: UNP

Dec 19 (DM) UNP MP and National Youth Front President Ruwan Wijewardene said today the upcoming presidential election would be a crucial one that changes the next decade and would be decisive particularly for the youth because they had been neglected by the present government. “We have seen how the present govt treated the youth especially in Rathupaswala and Katunayake when they came forward to win their rights,” more..

Ehaliyagoda PS chairman joins common candidate

Dec 19 (AM) Eheliyagoda PS Chairmn Sarath Sandanayaka joined the Common Opposition, a short while ago, at a special press conference that was held at the Common Candidate’s office in Cololmbo. Sandanayake announced that he would support Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the forthcoming presidential election. Addressing media, Sandanayake said there was an erosion in the grasstoots level vote base of the United People’s Freedom Alliance. more..

FSP complains of denial of visa to their leader to return

Dec 19 (Island) JVP splinter group, Frontline Socialist Party’s top leaders alleged that the govt was dragging its feet on an online visa application submitted by their leader Kumar Mahattaya alias Premakumar Gunaratnam currently in Australia. FSP Propaganda Secretary Pubudu Jagoda said their Leader who now uses the name, Noel Mudalige, had applied for visa from Sydney Australia to enter Sri Lanka at on Dec 16 and promptly received a computer generated more..

SL Opposition to forge closer ties with India

Dec 19 (PTI) Sri Lanka's main opposition today pledged to have closer ties with India that would be neither "anti-Indian nor dependent" if they win the presidential polls against incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa. Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena in a policy document promised to establish equal ties with India, China, Pakistan and Japan, while improving friendly relations with emerging Asian nations such as Thailand, more..

Modern Commercial Complex at Pundaluoya

Dec 19 (GDI) Work on the new commercial complex in Pundaluoya town began on Thursday. Secretary Defence Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa commenced the project during a ceremony held at the Pundaluoya town last evening. The existing old shopping complex which was destroyed in fire accident will be rebuilt into a modern commercial complex at a cost of Rs. 100 million. Once completed the new commercial facility will have 24 shops. The project will be handled by the UDA and more..

Army has increased its strength

Dec 19 (CG) Army Commander Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake says the army strength has increased in a significant manner in the past three decades. Commander said that the prime responsibility of the Army is national security and several attempts to destabilize the country had been successfully thwarted by the Army. “The Army and its strength has increased in a significant manner in the past three decades and the organization has proved itself to be an integral and more..

SL opposition to stop JKH, Packer casinos

Dec 19 (EN) Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena has threatened to cancel two casino licences given to John Keells Holdings and Australian casino king James Packer. "I will not allow the two casino licences given to Water Front and Lake Leisure projects contrary to certain decisions of Parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers and despite the opposition of the Chief Prelates of all three Buddhist Sects," more..

Life in words: on a quest for the unknown

Dec 19 (Hindu) It’s a week before Christmas and I’m not at my cheeriest best. I’ve stuck a tiny pine tree with shiny baubles on my office desk, watched my share of Christmas plays and heard my quota of the season’s carollers. But as the journey of this year crawls to a close, my wellspring of positivity feels parched; a certain weariness has set in. I found resonance of this emotion in T.S. Eliot’s poem The Journey of the Magi, an imaginative retelling of the Christmas story’s wise men’s travels. more..

Bajaj bags order from SL govt for bikes

Dec 19 (PTI) Bajaj Auto today has bagged an order for 1.25 lakh units of Discover-125M motorcycles from Sri Lankan govt. The company through its distributor David Pieris Motor Company in Sri Lanka had secured, after a detailed evaluation process by the Government of Sri Lanka, an order from them for supply of around 50,000 units of Discover-125M motorcycles. Company has already supplied 48,000 units successfully against this order, Bajaj Auto Ltd said in a filing to the BSE. more..

Sri Lankan opposition pledges domestic war crime inquiry

Dec 19 (AP) Sri Lanka's opposition presidential candidate said that the country cannot be charged with war crimes in the International Criminal Court, but he will launch a domestic inquiry if he wins a January election. Maithripala Sirisena said in a policy statement that Sri Lanka has not ratified the statute establishing the international court and therefore is not subject to it. He said he would instead institute an investigation more..

Nepal-Lanka air links set to resume by Feb

Dec 19 (EK) Direct air links between Nepal and Sri Lanka are set to resume after a break of two and a half decades with Colombo-based carrier Mihin Lanka planning to begin services by February, Tourism Ministry officials said. The low-cost airline, which is owned by the Sri Lankan govt, has officially applied for operating authorization to conduct daily flights between Kathmandu and Colombo. “We have received a diplomatic note from the Sri Lankan govt seeking operating authorisation and more..

'Sirisena reneged on vow made on casket of Buddha’s relics'

Dec 19 (Island) Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena was not trustworthy and should be shunned by all Buddhists for he had reneged a promise he had made by placing his hands on a casket containing the sacred relics of the Buddha, Chief Sanghanayake of the US, Dr. Walpola Piyananda Thera said. Thera said Sirisena had sworn by the casket of relics of the Buddha in the presence of JHU’s Ven. Ellawela Medhananda that he would never desert the President or the SLFP. more..

Video: 'I fulfilled an obligation to Sarath Fonseka': Ketagoda

Dec 19 (AD) Former Deputy Leader of the Democratic Party (DP) MP Jayantha Ketagoda, who recently joined the UPFA and pledged support to President Rajapaksa, says that he did not think about himself when he crossed over to the govt. “I didn’t think about myself and leave. If I thought about myself I should have stayed there because I was the Deputy Leader,” he told reporters. Ketagoda, who took over parliamentary seat more..

Sri Lanka petroleum sleuths reveal rich Mannar basin potential

Dec 19 (EN) Two years of studying seismic and test well data and modelling has revealed Sri Lanka's offshore Mannar Basin has sedimentary deposits that are thick and old enough to yield high quality oil and gas. "The good news is that it's quite thick. The Mannar Basin has 10-12 km sedimentary thickness. And it's quite old," declared Saliya Wickramasuriya, Director General of the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat. "That combination of thickness and age indicates potential for more..

Sri Lanka opposition promises sweeping handouts to win votes

Dec 19 (EN) Sri Lanka's opposition coalition has promised sweeping handouts to win the favour of different sections of voters in the run-up to next month's presidential poll, according to its manifesto released Friday. The subsidies in a 100 day program include a 3,500-rupee interim allowance for pensioners until salary their anomalies are corrected and a 5,000 rupees in February as part of a 10,000-rupee increment to state workers. Fuel retail prices will be reduced by reducing taxes which more..

Video: MR assures East brighter future

Dec 19 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today assured the people of the east a better future and urged them not to be misled by false propaganda. Speaking at an election rally in Batticaloa, the President said that Sri Lanka will not face another dark era like it did during the war. He said that the public in the eastern province had voted for him at the last election and that confidence they had in him did not go in vain. more..

Full text: Maithripala's election manifesto

Dec 19 (AM) Despite interruptions and sudden power-cuts, Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena launched his much awaited election manifesto at the Viharamahadevi Open Air Theatre this morning. Due to non-availability of electricity, sound system became dysfunctional from time to time, but Common Candidate proceeded with the launch saying he would not be deterred by such interruptions and intimidations. “They may try to obstruct our journey by flouting election laws more..

MR has set world record: JVP

Dec 19 (Island) President Rajapaksa would set a world record for abusing public resources in his re-election campaign in violation of election laws, JVP claimed. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva alleged that heads of govt institutions such as Road Development Authority, the Urban Development Authority, the Sri Lanka Transport Board, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the National Youth Services Council had been ordered to work for the UPFA campaign or face the consequences. more..

Maithripala launches his election manifesto

Dec 19 (CG) Common opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena has proposed in his manifesto which was released today, to dissolve Parliament on or after April 23rd and appoint a transitional govt under which a Parliament election will be held. Sirisena’s manifesto, which was released at the Viharamaha Devi Park today, details in point form his 100 day plan if he wins the Jan 8 Presidential election. more..

Bodu Bala Sena handlers unroll Plan B

Dec 20 (CT) The BBS has unrolled its plan B by merging with the ultra-nationalist break away group of the JHU led by Udaya Gammanpila after attempts were made to form a Sinhala Buddhist alliance under the leadership of Venerable Ellawala Medananda Thera, the former head of the JHU failed. The formation of a Sinhala Buddhist party as declared by Gammanpila with the support of the BBS and the Ravana Balaya comes as no surprise after the BBS failed to gather even a few more..

In defense of Solangaarachchi and others

Dec 20 (CT) President Rajapaksa recently said “My hands are not tainted with blood or dirt.” He further said that, “On the day my hands are got tainted, I would cut them off.” From the gesture he made while saying this, anybody would think that he was going to cut his hands off below the elbow if they got tainted. This was a serious statement. Why? It is because the word “blood” mentioned in his comments refers to “killing of human beings” and the word “dirt” must be referring to “corruptions.” more..

Vishwakarma awards for artisans

Dec 20 (SO) The National Crafts Council has come up with yet another creative idea of honouring hundred artisans throughout Sri Lanka, who have rendered yeoman service to handicraft by awarding them with the Vishwakarma award. Conferences will be held annually to encourage and enable more artisans to join who are interested in handicraft. The ceremony was held recently at the National Handicraft Council more..

Wide publicity in TN for President's speech

Dec 20 (CT) Almost all the Tamil television channels in the State of Tamil Nadu (TN) went to town for the first time giving wide publicity for the speech made by President Rajapaksa in Tamil at his first election rally in the Northern Province on Thursday. President Rajapaksa, addressed his first election campaign meeting for the Northern Province at Mulliyawalai in the Mullaitivu District followed by the second meeting on the same day in Kilinochchi. Two weeks ago the television channels in TN more..

Ancestral links of Leaders of Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (CT) Statesmen of Sri Lanka who followed the Sinhala and Tamil Kings, the Portuguese Captains-General, the Dutch and British Governors, have either been the descendants of the original inhabitants of the country, who had come from North India in ancient times or those whose ancestors had come from South India in more recent times in different waves of migration. The first Prime Minister of Ceylon, as the country was then known, after it regained freedom after nearly 450 years of more..

Back off!

Dec 20 (CT) Harassment is a form of discrimination and it can be of verbal, emotional, physical and unlawful. Sexual harassment in workplaces has become a daily fact of life and it is more common where management is disrespectful towards subordinates and treats women as sex objects. However, all socio-sexual conducts cannot be labelled as sexual harassment. Dr. Arosha Adikaram, Senior Lecturer in more..

Election 2015: Our choice

Dec 20 (FT) Given what we know of the Opposition’s declared strategy and policy at this stage, I am unconvinced that we should vote Mahinda Rajapaksa out. Change is necessary; even imperative. But what kind of change, where, when and to whom? There is a case for peaceful democratic regime change, but what has the current Rajapaksa regime to do with the decades older Executive Presidential system, which is a form of state? The current choice in Sri Lanka – and more..

If you want to be a Kolombian….

Dec 20 (NS) People are asking me about Kolombians. Not Kolombians – they generally approve and appreciate. Kolombians thank me for getting the word out, in giving them voice etc. It’s the non-Kolombians who ask the questions. That want to know how one becomes a Kolombian. Someone asked if there’s a Kolombian Handbook. Someone else wanted to know if there’s a residency requirement. There were questions such as ‘Do we have to sit an exam?’ and ‘Is Kolombianess more..

'Common candidate has people’s support'

Dec 20 (FT) Although the Government is trying to pit one against the other, the UNP is united and will ensure that Maithripala Sirisena is made the President on 8 January, stressed UNP Assistant Leader Ravi Karunanayaka, denying there is division among Party leaders in supporting the common candidate. He further stated that Muslim and Tamil voters have already endorsed Maithripala Sirisena. more..

Editorial: Piety of sinners

Dec 20 (Island) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya tells us he is having a hard time trying to enforce the polls laws which politicians either blatantly flout or craftily circumvent. His immediate predecessor underwent heart surgery more than once presumably due to stress and it is hoped that the same fate won’t befall him as well. His is a thankless job and he continues to draw heavy flak. There have been some lapses on the part of the Polls Chief as well as his subordinates. more..

16-year-old high jumper in National athletics pool

Dec 20 (Island) A 16-year–old high jumper, Roshan Ranatunga of Kularatne MMV, Godakawela, has been included in the national pool of 74 athletes announced by the Athletics Association of Sri Lanka. Their training will commence on January 1. The pool has been picked with the aim of fielding a strong team for the forthcoming Asian Athletics Championships and other future events. Ranatunga who broke Manjula Kumara’s John Tarbet and schools records this year has qualified for more..

Romesh Gunesekera sees an uncertain future for Sri Lanka

Dec 20 (GN) The day I began reading Noontide Toll, the latest novel by the Booker-nominated author Romesh Gunesekera, Sri Lanka turns over a happy milestone. The popular rail service known as the Queen of Jaffna — linking the capital Colombo with the northern city of Jaffna — reopens after a 24-year hiatus. There are celebrations across SL at the renewed hope of normalcy returning to island ravaged by war. more..

Progress of the Capital Market

Dec 20 (Island) Economic growth hinges on an efficient Capital Market that mobilizes savings for productive investments. From the perspective of Sri Lanka's fast emerging economy status the role played by the capital market as an integral driver of the overall macro economy is constantly evolving. To this effect the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) believes whilst regulation is fundamental to ensure the Capital market mechanism is fair and transparent, more..

The Minority Vote

Dec 20 (Island) My confident expectation before the Uva PC elections was that the UPFA would have a ‘torrid time’, and so it turned out. My confident expectation thereafter was that at the next round of elections the President and the UPFA would be soundly, and deservedly, trounced. The obvious reasons for that expectation are as follows. First of all there is the factor of longevity: in the contemporary world, though not in traditional societies, people want change; more..

Revisiting seaside Sri Lankan village a decade after tsunami

Dec 20 (CT) For the first time in 10 years, my wife, Sian, and I climbed the small staircase to the balcony of our apartment at the Sea View Hotel in the seaside village of Unawatuna, near Galle in Sri Lanka. The previous time, we were racing to beat the rapidly rising water and awesome power of the Boxing Day tsunami that engulfed the coast of Sri Lanka. It was eerie being up there again – like a sequel to a horror movie. more..

450 chefs gear up for a Cinnamon Christmas in the City

Dec 20 (FT) This year, Cinnamon hotels in the city – Cinnamon Grand, Cinnamon Lakeside and Cinnamon red – are debuting a joint Cinnamon Season for festive feasting, with unique entertainment options and a touch of legendary Cinnamon hospitality to celebrate the season of goodwill and cheer. A significant feature this year, is the amazing feat undertaken by the 450 Cinnamon City chefs who have come together to offer patrons the best of festive fare, in over 21 dining more..