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GCE O/L ended on Dec 19, paper marking commences on Dec 28

Dec 21 (ST) GCE O/L 2014 which began on Dec 9 concluded last Thursday. A total of 578,135 candidates including 370,030 school candidates and 208,105 private candidates sat for the exam. Exam was conducted at 4,279 centres islandwide including in Nainativu (Nagadeepa), Analaitivu and Delft Island, supervised by a staff of 38,200. Special exam centres were set up at the Magazine Prison in Colombo, Suneetha Vidyalaya in Watareka, Padukka for those in prison custody, more..

OUSL activists to defy court action threat

Dec 21 (NS) Student activists of the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) will continue their Satyagraha campaign despite threats of being taken to courts, OUSL Students’ Union Convener Amila Sandaruwan said. He added that the activists would continue protesting against three aspects of the current situation in OUSL, even if they have to hold their campaign on the streets. OUSL student activists launched a Satyagraha campaign on more..

FLSP supporters assaulted in Kolonnawa

Dec 21 (NS) Frontline Socialist Party (FLSP) said that a group of supporters of its candidate Duminda Nagamuwa was attacked by an unidentified group in Kolonnawa at about 5.00am on Friday. In a media release, the FLSP said that the attackers had arrived in a van which had stickers in support of Maithripala Sirisena. However, the FLSP supporters could not identify the attackers. Two of the FLSP supporters were admitted to hospital and a three-wheeler they used was also damaged. more..

Calorie Counter debuts in Colombo

Dec 21 (NS) Calorie Counter by Duaine Peiris a healthy food restaurant concept, will shortly open doors in Thimbirigasaya. Get set to take away or be served specially formulated meals which come with a full breakdown of nutritional and calorie information. Prepared with both the customer’s tastes and healthy lifestyle in mind, all meals use only the most nutritious of ingredients and exclude unhealthy preparation styles that overly rely on sauces, condiments and more. more..

Sri Lanka probe report on March 25

Dec 21 (CG) The report on Sri Lanka by the investigations team of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will be taken up for discussion at the UNHRC on March 25, the draft agenda for the March session noted. 28th regular session of the UNHRC will be held from March 2 to March 27 in Geneva and the report on Sri Lanka is part of the agenda. In its resolution A/HRC/25/1 adopted in March 2014 on more..

SLFP to take Maithri to Court

Dec 21 (CT) The SLFP is to take legal action against Common Opposition presidential candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, SLFP General Secretary, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. He said the party was pursuing legal action against Maithripala Sirisena for still carrying the tag of SLFP General Secretary despite being suspended from the party. Yapa said, Sirisena's election manifesto, which was launched on Friday had not been presented as being the manifesto of the more..

Maithri accused over son’s cash

Dec 21 (CG) NFF leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa, today questioned common opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena on the money his son allegedly gave his would-be father-in-law. Weerawansa told a gathering at an election rally in Monaragala today that Sirisena’s son Daham, had given Swiss franc and US Dollars to the parents of his fiancee. He said that yesterday the investigations unit of the Central Bank had gone with the police and seized the foreign currency more..

President's election manifesto launch postponed

Dec 21 (AM) Launch of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election manifesto Mahinda Chinthana thun kal dekma has been postponed due to undisclosed reasons. The launch was scheduled to take place tomorrow under the auspices of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. According to highly placed sources of the govt, the launch will now take place on December 25, barely 12 days before the date of the presidential election. more..

Up-Country People’s Front pledges support to President

Dec 21 (AD) The Up Country People’s Front (UCPF) has pledged their fullest support to the President at the forthcoming Presidential Election. Leader of the UPCF Shanthidevi Chandrasekaran announced their decision during a meeting held yesterday. Leader of UCPF Shanthidevi Chandrasekaran and party members of also met President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on 10 Dec. However, UCPF senior member and former Deputy Minister V. Radhakrishnan left the party on 11 Dec and more..

Muthuhettigama’s MSD men arrested

Dec 21 (DM) Three Ministerial Security Division (MSD) officers attached to Deputy Minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama had been arrested last night for attempting to forcibly remove suspects from the Police custody. The suspect were arrested by the Wanduraba Police over attempting to forcibly take away the suspects, who were arrested in connection with the arson attack on the stage put up for the opposition’s propaganda rally at Wanduramba, when they were being more..

Opposition plans interim budget on Jan 29

Dec 21 (EN) Sri Lanka's main opposition candidate is planning an interim budget on January 29, where sweeping handouts will be given, if he wins a Presidential election on January 8. According to a 100-day plan published by main opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena, he hopes to be sworn in on January 10 and a cabinet with Ranil Wickramasinghe as prime minister will be appointed the next day. more..

Mass murder committed by Karuna

Dec 22 (SL) The Sunday Leader of 9th January 2014 published an article on the first page under the caption IPKF Head Slams Karuna. The former IPKF Intelligence Corp. head Col. R.Hariharan had made serious allegations against Deputy Minister Karuna, alias Col karuna. The Col alleges that Karen and his Deputy Pillian, former Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council were responsible for the Murder of about 300 Muslims, 600 people including hundreds of Policemen. more..

ABA’s selection criteria long overdue – why?

Dec 22 (SL) IT’S not for a lark that sport bodies appoint special committees. Born as they are in times of crisis, these committees are for the specific purpose of examining the issue in hand and recommending resolutions. And given that resolution to a crisis is the need of the hour, you’d expect special committees to set about the task with a sense urgency. ABA appointed a special committee late last September to study and recommend “the criteria for selection of national teams" more..

'A progressive Govt, need of the hour'

Dec 22 (SO) Minister Wimal Weerawansa said incidents which have happened in the limited time frame of the run-up to the presidential elections bears ample testimony that presidential aspirant of the NDF, Maithripala Sirisena lacks leadership qualities and dances to the whims and fancies of various segments. The Minister in an interview said that Sirisena had signed one MoU with the JHU and another with the UNP. more..

Will Santa gift a new conscience this X’mas?

Dec 22 (ST) Every man considers his conscience to be his temple — supreme and infallible, as eternal as the icon Truth enshrined therein. But to another it may seem like the devil’s workshop where, upon temptation’s anvil, the conscience can be hammered into any shape and form as personal expediency and inclinations dictate. If patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel then the appeal to conscience to justify a questionable course of action has to be the first port of call for more..

Getting a glimpse of the Presidential waula

Dec 22 (NS) Folks, it sure looks like we’ve got a game on.A couple of weeks ago it seemed like President Rajapaksa was cruising to another term in office. After the initial euphoria, the cohesiveness of the opposition camp seems to be crumbling. It was starting to look a lot like 2010. That has changed dramatically of late. Maitripala Sirisena, has managed to blunt the impact of parties who while crucial to his campaign, were polarizing the electorate. more..

Support for Maithri’s airport statement

Dec 22 (SL) Maithripala Sirisena, opposition common candidate, claimed recently that some media have distorted the statement he made regarding his intention to bring those involved in fraud and corruption before the law when he wins. According to him, necessary legal steps would be followed to bring them before the law. As some claimed, he had stated that he would close the airport when he wins the election to avoid more..

Minority political parties keep everyone guessing

Dec 22 (NS) The presidential elections will be held in less than three weeks but the so-called ‘minority’ political parties have kept everyone guessing as to who they would support among the two main contenders at the poll. It is a strategy that is confusing voters and creating panic in the major political parties. Of the three major communal based political parties, only the plantation sector based CWC has pledged support to the ruling UPFA and its candidate, President Rajapaksa. more..

A hopeless jumble of the law and crossovers for gain

Dec 22 (ST) It is a devastating indictment on Sri Lanka’s political culture that the right of a parliamentarian to cross the floor of the House on a ‘matter of conscience’ (meant to be resorted to only exceptionally) has evolved into a convenient device exercised for precisely the opposite objective. The utterly unprincipled nature of parliamentary crossovers has now become part of a fierce national debate. Some crossovers are absurd to the point of being incredulous. more..

The voter: Insulted, humiliated and forgotten

Dec 22 (NS) Election Day is less than three weeks away. Campaigns are gathering intensity. Candidates and their supporters are falling over each other promising the sun, moon, stars and whatever else they think could please the voter. They all talk about a clean society and don’t seem to mind the dirty friends that surround them. They talk of a new political culture even as they pour invective on their respective opponents. more..

Editorial: Santa won’t come

Dec 22 (Island) Sri Lankans are in for a big disappointment. The Pope may come next month, but Santa won’t be here this Christmas. For, we have two local Santas doing his job much better than he and his visit will be redundant. One of them is wearing a saataka and the other is in a waistcoat borrowed from Modi. The former is already showering goodies on the public and the latter is promising much more in a few weeks provided the people facilitate his ascent to power. more..

Capital market gathers momentum: SEC

Dec 22 (FT) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is maintaining that the capital market has gathered strong momentum during the past three years and post-war reflecting sustained recovery proving those who once predicted doom and gloom wrong. SEC said that thanks to a series of initiatives with the support of all stakeholders, capital market has reported significant achievements. A significant development is the net foreign inflow of Rs. 97 billion during the past 3 years. more..

'Bribery had swallowed private bus industry'

Dec 22 (CT) Today the trade union talk focuses on the transport of the common man. It is the LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne who joined us to discuss about the issues prevailing in the private bus industry and the steps which need to be taken to enhance the quality of public transport. According to Wijeratne, nearly 48% of the people use private buses as their transport mode, but the usage of private buses is declining. more..

Jilmaat: Ethics and dangers of political exploitation

Dec 22 (Island) I wish to draw the attention of the reading public to the news item appearing in the Island of the 19th inst., under the caption, "Jilmaat: JVP disputes Sirisena’s claim". The news had attracted public attention so much, that by 9.00 PM, 4549 persons had read it in the internet, whereas an average news story does not normally find more than a few hundred online readers. Evidently the impact of the news would be widespread. I have no personal interest in any of the more..

Sponsors pay SR400,000 arrears to housemaids

Dec 22 (AN) Saudi sponsors in the capital last month paid SR400,000 in money owed to housemaids being held at the government’s detention centers, Arab News has learned. Now that they have received their money, they can be sent home. They were handed over to the govt after running away from their Saudi sponsors because of alleged financial and physical abuse. Maids working in Saudi Arabia are mainly from Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Somalia. more..

Russian rouble crisis: Cabraal sweetens tea exporters' bitter cuppa

Dec 22 (CT) Central Bank Governor, Ajit Nivard Cabraal intervened to try to solve the crisis which has engulfed the country's tea exporters who are reeling under the Russian rouble crisis. Russia is a destination to which 22% of Sri Lanka's tea exports are shipped. Governor Cabraal has directed Assistant Governor Lankatilleke to officially write to all commercial banks to relax the 90-day limit which is imposed for exporters to get more..

Russian rouble crisis impacts tourism too: 25-30% drop in arrivals predicts SLAITO

Dec 22 (CT) The current Russian rouble crisis has impacted tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka with a frontline tourism leader predicting a 25-30% drop in arrivals from that country during the winter 2014/ 2015 season. "This is a very serious situation where we are bound to see a decline in Russian arrivals in the 2014/2015 Winter season by around 25- 30% which is essentially beach tourists," Immediate Past Chairman of the SLAITO, Nilmin Nanayakkara told Ceylon FT yesterday. more..

Maithri’s manifesto mum on petrol cut

Dec 22 (NS) The manifesto of the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena released on Friday has been strangely silent on the earlier claim that if the common opposition candidate wins the January 8, 2015 Presidential Election, his new govt would take steps to provide a drastic price cut on petrol. Since the last few weeks, there have been ‘confusing’ claims where media reports said that common opposition alliance has proposed to reduce petrol prices to Rs.50 per liter and more..

Malinga to return for New Zealand ODIs

Dec 22 (CI) Lasith Malinga will return to international cricket towards the tail-end of the seven-match ODI series in New Zealand in January 2015. Malinga underwent surgery on a troubled left ankle in September and is currently recuperating. He missed Sri Lanka's last two ODI series played against India and England. "Malinga is still recovering from surgery and everything is going well according to plan. more..

Five questions for presidential candidates from MTI

Dec 22 (Island) The international strategy consultancy MTI claims it has identified the five most economically important strategic questions to be put to the Presidential Candidates. They are as following. "What really is our competitive advantage as a nation? Which sectors should we focus on - given our capabilities and the global opportunities? How can we align our entire 'educational supply chain' to enable this? (this requires radical structural changes). more..

Six alleged Sri Lankan sex workers detained in Malaysia

Dec 22 (DM) The Johor police in Malaysia have conducted 10,300 raids to tackle prostitution in the state and arrested 2,986 women including six Sri Lankan from January until now. Local and foreign women were detained in these raids for suspected involvement in such activities. "Of that number, 102 were locals while the rest were made up of 627 Chinese nationals, Vietnam (1,341), Thailand (555), Indonesia (229), Cambodia (13), Philippines (62), Myanmar (16), Singapore (1), more..

Boom times for fisheries industry!

Dec 22 (CT) Sri Lanka has reported phenomenal growth in fish exports where values have increased from Rs 10.6 billion in 2005 to Rs 31.7 billion in 2013. Exports have increased from the Rs 10.6 billion in 2005 to Rs 19.8 billion In 2010, Rs 21.8 billion in 2011, Rs 26.3 billion in 2012. The quantities of fish exports have also increased from 15,985 tonnes in 2005, 18,325 tonnes in 2010, to 18,462 tonnes in 2011, 18,631 tonnes 2012. more..

JKH retains top slot in the LMD 100

Dec 22 (FT) The pioneering business magazine LMD, has announced that it will release its special edition on Sri Lanka’s leading listed companies – the LMD 100 – to bookstores this week. LMD’s special edition – the 21st since the rankings were first published in 2004 – notes that “with a turnover of close upon Rs. 90 billion in 2013/14, JKH retains its position at the summit of the premier listed company rankings.” The magazine notes: “Bukit Darah surrenders its runner-up title from more..

UNP CP member joins UPFA

Dec 22 (Island) UNP Central Provincial Council member S. Sathasivam has switched allegiance to President Rajapaksa. Sathasivam announced his decision to throw his weight behind President Rajapaksa. SLFP treasurer Dallas Alahapperuma said that the ruling coalition was glad to receive the support of veteran plantation sector leader. Ceylon Workers’ Alliance (CWA) met on Saturday under the chairmanship to decide on its stand at the forthcoming presidential poll. more..

Maithri’s 100-day sprint

Dec 22 (FT) Common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s campaign has released a comprehensive timetable to make sweeping changes to Sri Lanka’s governance system and promised parliamentary elections under a Westminster-style system by 23 April 2015. The 100-day plan released with candidate Sirisena’s manifesto last Friday (19) pledges a national Govt and new Cabinet more..

CMC cautions customers against unhygienic foods

Dec 22 (NS) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni warned the public that during the festive season, they should be careful when purchasing boondi as it has food coloring not safe for consumption and other chemicals, and also dates, as some of them have insects in them. CMC will be conducting inspections in Fort, Pettah, Borella, Manning Market, Narahenpita, Wellawatte and Colpetty this week and the inspections will focus on quality of food more..

University–Industry interaction for meaningful cooperation

Dec 22 (Island) 25 students and professors of Moratuwa, Peradeniya, Jaffna, Eastern and Uva Wellassa universities along with a German energy expert recently travelled to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) around the country, helping them address challenges in energy efficiency. The Travelling University (TU) was introduced to Sri Lanka for the first time by GIZ under the Sri Lankan-German SME Development Programme. It was conducted by IfAS Institute of University more..

Govt: Sirisena admits his involvement in foreign conspiracy

Dec 22 (Island) Minister Dullas Alahapperuma claimed that the Maithripala Sirisena’s camp had unwittingly admitted its involvement in an international conspiracy aimed at ousting incumbent President Rajapaksa. He was responding to a UNP declaration that the country could avoid punitive UN action by thwarting a third term for President Rajapaksa. Minister alleged that the Opposition wouldn’t have made such a more..

Migrant workers’ organisation pledges support to opposition candidate

Dec 22 (FT) A powerful migrant workers’ organisation in Sri Lanka, All Island Middle-East Employees Organisation pledged support to the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena at next month’s presidential elections. President of the organisation Ranjith Nanayakkara assured the support of 149,000 families in his organisation to ensure the victory of the opposition candidate. Organisation had supported President Rajapaksa at his re-election in 2010. more..

Mahela, Dilshan and Malinga for CPL 2015

Dec 22 (JO) Three stars of Sri Lankan cricket, Mahela Jayawardene, Tilakaratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga, have been added to the pool of international players to feature in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) draft which is set to take place in early 2015, organisers reported Friday. The three will join other top class T20 international players including South African all-rounder, Jacques Kallis, for the third staging of the tournament. Malinga, who played in the first CPL more..