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Deshapriya, Illangakoon earn praise from Opposition

Dec 22 (Island) The Opposition praised Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya for making a genuine effort to ensure a level playing field in the run-up to January 8, 2015 presidential election. Opposition spokesman UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, PC, said that Deshapriya had shown his commitment in spite of incumbent President exercising executive powers to his advantage. MP Rajapakshe said that polls chief's feat was a victory for those who value democracy. more..

Sri Lanka opposition for international probe on money laundering

Dec 22 (EN) Sri Lanka’s opposition says it will not allow the country to be subjected to an international war crimes probe but, should it come to power, will initiate international probes into money laundering and white collar crimes and punish the perpetrators. The opposition will defend ‘war heroes’ against any attempts to take them before an international tribunal for war crimes, said Champika Ranawaka, representing the Sinhala-Buddhist JHU party in the opposition coalition. more..

Video: Mahinda says Ali should resign

Dec 22 (CG) President Rajapaksa says ACMC member Ameer Ali, who had recently accepted the Parliament seat offered to him by the Govt, must be a gentleman and resign from Parliament. UPFA MP A H M Azwer had resigned from Parliament to pave way for Ali to be given the seat. Speaking at an election rally in Ratnapura, the President said that Ameer Ali had eventually betrayed another Muslim by taking his seat more..

Torrential rains displace 290,000 in Sri Lanka

Dec 22 (Xinhua) Nearly 290,000 people have been displaced in the north central and eastern regions of Sri Lanka as torrential rains made dams overflow and hampered transport. State-run DMC calculates 288,085 people belonging to 78,527 families have been affected while 22, 369 people from 6,537 families have been housed in shelters. "The govt has instructed the relevant authorities to take immediate measures to ensure relief for the families hit by bad weather," DMC spokesman said. more..

Sri Lankan Courts free 66 Indian fishermen

Dec 22 (PTI) Courts in Sri Lanka today ordered the release of 66 Indian fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan Navy and lodged in jails there, a top official said. Joint Director of Fisheries M. Subburaj and Local Fishermen's association president S.Emirit said they got the information from Sri Lankan officials. The fishermen were lodged in Oorkavalthurai and Paruthiturai prisons and were ordered to be released by the courts at the respective places, they said. more..

Video: Bathiudeen, Ali support Maithri

Dec 22 (DM) ACMC Leader and Minister Rishard Bathiudeen and MP Ameer Ali pledged their support to common opposition’s candidate Maithripala Sirisena today. The minister and the MP along with many other ACMC members arrived at the Opposition Leaders Office and are in a news briefing being held with the participation of UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

Will there be changes in economic policies in 2015?

Dec 23 (ST) With less than three weeks for the presidential election, a question uppermost in the minds of the intelligentsia and business community must be: “Will 2015 be a turning point in economic policies?” There is no definite answer as the election campaign has paid scant attention to economic issues. In as far as the incumbent President is concerned the campaign is based on the continuation of his development strategy. The opposition is focused on the abolition of more..

Maithri’s manifesto: Where does the roadmap lead?

Dec 23 (ST) With less than three weeks to go for the presidential poll the opposition has complained of increasingly blatant violation of election law by the govt camp. More than in the case of previous elections, the violations this time have tended to strengthen the opposition’s case against the regime, vindicating the position that it is corrupt and oppressive. This reality does not seem to have dawned on those instigating or turning a blind eye to the usual catalogue of offences. more..

Divi Neguma: The road map to MDGs

Dec 23 (SO) Globally sustainable development is the key word in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The world will focus on post MDGs from 2015. Sri Lanka will also focus on meeting the demand of the post MDGs. Therefore, balancing the three pillars of the sustainable development environmental, social and economical aspects need to looked into. The Divi Neguma livelihood development program more..

Re-election after narrow escape

Dec 23 (NS) The fourth presidential election in Sri Lankan history was held in December 1999 at a time of increasing political unrest. The PA govt of Chandrika Kumaratunga had seen a decline in popular support at the failure in both the war and economy. Govt embarked on the war path after the failure of the peace process in April 1995. Initially, the war was successful as the govt forces captured several important rebel-held areas. The liberation of Jaffna in the latter part of 1995 was a morale more..

Maithripala and Chandrika discuss campaign strategy

Dec 23 (NS) If it is rumored that former president Chandrika Kumaratunga was instrumental in getting Maithripala Sirisena to take on Mahinda Rajapaksa, the lady’s thinly-disguised treatment of the candidate as though he was a serf in her ancestral estate almost turns it into fact. If that were the case then Maithripala should be grateful. For now. After all, he’s earned more brand-points over the last few weeks than he has accumulated over the last 40 plus years in active politics in the SLFP. more..

Presidential Polls: What's up in TNA and SLMC?

Dec 23 (CT) Both the TNA and the SLMC are yet to make a decision about their support to a Presidential Candidate at the upcoming Election. The SLMC will decide their stand by tomorrow (22) yet TNA does not have an accurate deadline as to when their decision would be announced. Their voters are anxiously awaiting the final decision. Following are the excerpts of the interviews with P. Sumanthiran (TNA) and Hassan Ali (SLMC): more..

A war-time issue that is meaningful to more than Tamil voter

Dec 23 (SL) The Presidential election campaign has yet to grip the imagination of the Tamil voters in the North and East. Visitors there report that they see no overt sign of interest in the election there, unlike in the rest of the country. While there is some govt campaign there is hardly any opposition campaign. Most people in the North and East appear to have little idea who the opposition candidate is. Like most politicians from the ethnic majority community, he did not taken any particularly strong interest more..

A critique and alternative to Rajapaksa-nomics emerging from the opposition

Dec 23 (SL) Earlier this week saw business tycoons and private sector professionals gathered, simultaneously at four different star class hotels to participate in Momentum, essentially an economic vision outlining exercise organised by a hitherto unknown or ad hoc group styling themselves as professionals for a stable Sri Lanka. The event forced the organisers for a parallel event, a meeting or forum for business leaders and professionals with common opposition candidate Maithripala more..

'We have not used state resources'

Dec 23 (SL) Recently, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa had accused some local election monitors of being biased towards the opposition common candidate and criticizing the president unfairly. He said that the Election Commissioner should consider not deploying such biased election monitors to observe the election process. Meantime, he denied allegations against the govt about misusing state resources more..

Editoral: Elephant and feral dogs

Dec 23 (Island) Supporters of Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena are all out to make the UNP’s elephant, as it were, go charging at their political enemies. It is believed that Gen. Sarath Fonseka lost the presidential contest in 2010 because the UNP did not go the whole hog to ensure his victory. The Opposition activists are aware that most of the constituents of their rainbow coalition are mere name-boards and unless the UNPers are enthused into taking on more..

Ensuring Tamil participation in election important to reconciliation effort

Dec 23 (Island) The manifesto of the Joint Opposition Candidate reflects the concerns of the different political parties that have formed the opposition alliance. Some of them have signed agreements with him, others have not. So, the manifesto reflects those agreements. The main ethnic minority parties representing the Sri Lanka Tamils and Muslims have yet to publicly declare their stance at the election. Consequently, their input into the opposition mandate is not manifest. more..

Chinese multinational denies environmental issues in $ 1.4 b port city project

Dec 23 (Xinhua) The Chinese multinational spearheading Sri Lanka’s largest investment of a $ 1.4 billion port city insisted all environmental protections are in place, an official said, after the Opposition threatened to scrap it. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told a gathering of tourist industry professionals this week that if his side carries the day at the presidential elections the port city project would be cancelled. more..

The UN reopens old wounds

Dec 23 (USN) In the 1980’s, the soundbite set liked to say that “one man’s terrorist was another man’s freedom fighter.” At the time, rebel groups on the left and right were being used to play out a proxy war between the United States and the Soviet Union. The inference, of course, is that the groups were morally equivalent as to tactics even if they differed in their objectives. Various conflicts, political and otherwise, have emerged in the decades since the Berlin Wall finally came down. more..

New fish market to be demolished

Dec 23 (Island) A two storeyed fish market constructed near the Buddhist Cultural Centre and the sacred Bo tree at Beruwala facing the Galle Road remains closed since the day it was opened ceremonially six months ago. This market was constructed to serve three purposes: to sell ornamental fish, to provide information to fishermen on the fishing industry and oceans and to sell fish at retail and wholesale rates. Fish vendors say that the new fish market has no place to more..

Survivor of train derailed by tsunami in Sri Lanka tells his tale

Dec 23 (CNA) Wanigaratne Karunathilake was a security guard on the Ocean Queen as it chugged south Sri Lanka’s western coast on Dec 26, 2004, and remembers vividly when the first wave of a tsunami borne by a monster earthquake off the coast of Indonesia hit. "When the train reached Peraliya, it was hit by the tsunami,” he said. “The first wave didn't harm any passengers. Only one carriage was damaged. more..

Hayleys Advantis signs JV in Yangon with Kusuhara Japan and Sedate Myanmar

Dec 23 (Island) Hayleys Advantis, the Transportation and Logistics arm of diversified blue-chip conglomerate Hayleys Group, entered into a joint venture in Myanmar with Kusuhara Transportation Company Limited of Japan and Myanmar Sedate Shipping & Logistics Company Limited. The agreement was signed recently in Yangon, Myanmar with the participation of representatives of the 3 companies. The new JV is expected to further strengthen the more..

Peliyagoda C-City complex ready before polls

Dec 23 (ST) The State Engineering Corporation (SEC) has been directed to expedite the C-City complex at Peliyagoda with a view to opening it on December 31st ahead of the presidential elections, a senior SEC official said. The UDA estimated cost of the market complex is Rs. 1.36 billion. He disclosed that Minister Wimal Weerawansa has insisted that the engineers should complete the construction work soon enabling the president to declare open the building on the eve of the poll. more..

Sri Lanka's Desiccated Coconut exports records a 148% increase

Dec 23 (GDI) Sri Lanka has recorded a remarkable 148% increase during the first eight months of this year in Desiccated Coconut exports compared to the same period in 2013. Sri Lanka has exported 26115 M/T in 2014 against 10530 M/T for the same period in 2013 for the period referred to above. Sri Lanka's D/C exports are likely to have a bright future from a short and medium term market perspective due to more..

Comedy in Sri Lankan politics

Dec 23 (ST) A February 2009 song by veteran singer and Sri Lanka’s number one entertainer Sunil Perera titled Meka comedy country-yak (This is a comedy country)” is once again doing the rounds on Facebook and for good reason. The song (video) is a ditty on the lives of politicians and the general decay in society. That’s the good (fun) part in elections which many people in music-crazy Sri Lanka love. On a more serious note, some of the events this week and pronouncements on more..

One in a million police officer

Dec 23 (Island) A policemen are generally subject to much public criticism, but occasionally there are policemen with hearts of gold. Police Sergeant A.M.P. Kodituwakku of Teldeniya Police Station belongs to that rare category of honest and duty conscious police officer. Kodituwakku picked up a purse packed with cash and documents while it was lying on the road at Teldeniya on Sunday. The wallet contained more than Rs. 45,000 and a Credit Card. The documents it contained were also more..

Sri Lanka Army assists flood victims

Dec 23 (SLA) More than 7000 Army personnel have now been deployed in flood-affected areas in the Wanni, Anuradhapura, Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa districts for rescue and relief operations on the directions of the Commander of the Army, Daya Ratnayake. With the coordination of District Secretariats, Navy, Air Force, Police and the Disaster Management Centre, Major General Boniface Perera, Commander, has launched more..

Big draw for Maithri-Ranil-biz meet today

Dec 23 (FT) The meeting between the Opposition’s common presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena and business community today at 10:30 a.m. at the Cinnamon Lakeside is expected to be a big draw, according to organisers. They said that over 1,000 have confirmed attendance at the forum, which will also see the participation of UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, JHU Secretary General Champika Ranawaka and NDF Leader Sarath Fonseka as well as newly-joined constituent ACMC Leader more..

Seylan Bank finalizes allotment of debentures

Dec 23 (CT) Amidst the year-end rush of Debenture Issues, where 6 debt issuances were lining up for subscriptions, aspiring to raise a total value of approximately Rs 12.5 billion, Seylan Bank's initial tranche of Rs 3 billion, 'A'- rated, Senior, Unsecured Listed debentures were successfully oversubscribed, receiving Rs 5.134 billion worth of applications. As notified to the CSE, the date of allotment is scheduled for 23 Dec 2014 and all applications accepted will be fully allotted. more..

Rathana Thera complains of inaction by Polls Chief

Dec 23 (Island) Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya had not taken tangible action to prohibit election propaganda carried out by the state media institutions exclusively on behalf of President Rajapaksa, Ven. Athuraliya Rathana thera said. He said that the abuse of State property such as vehicles, buildings and even the security personnel for propaganda purposes had been going on unabated more..

Mangala says Tissa’s document is a forgery

Dec 23 (DM) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera rejected MP Tissa Attanayaka’s allegation that there was a secret agreement between Common Opposition Candidate Maithripala Sirisena and the UNP. Addressing a media briefing last evening, he said that the signatures on the document shown by Mr. Attanayake were forgeries. He said the UNP had already lodged a complaint with the Elections Chief regarding the matter. more..

Army is doing only official work

Dec 23 (CG) The army says it is only carrying out its official duties and nothing else and also insisted that national security matters will not be compromised for any reason. Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, rejected allegations that the security forces personnel are involved in duties other than their official obligations. He said that with the end of the war a large number of skilled persons were recruited to the security forces and upon completing training and according to their fields of expertise more..

Police tear gas protesting students

Dec 23 (CT) Police used tear gas and water canons to disperse members of the Student Collective of the Higher National Diploma for Accountancy (HNDA), who were protesting opposite the UGC yesterday. This led to the hospitalization of 28 students. The students were protesting the cancellation of the degree status for their programme. The students walked in procession from the Pettah. more..

2014 has been a good year reveals LMD poll

Dec 23 (FT) An LMD-commissioned poll conducted by TNS Lanka offers the people’s perspective on “Sri Lanka’s performance in 2014,” the leading business magazine states, and “highlights the socio-economic progress achieved by a nation looking to move beyond the ghosts of war”. The magazine in its December 2014 issue reports that “the people are largely of the view that Sri Lanka achieved satisfactory progress on the economic front, with 60% of those polled in nationwide survey more..

Google expands Android One to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal

Dec 23 (cnet) Android One, the Google-developed platform designed to bring its mobile operating system to developing countries around the world, is expanding outside of India, the company announced Monday. At some point in the next several weeks -- Google didn't provide an exact date -- Android One smartphones will start popping up in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. The launch will bring Android One to potentially over 200 million more people in the world. more..

Rishard heartbroken by attempt to justify racial activities

Dec 23 (FT) Minister Rishard Bathiudeen who quit the ruling alliance yesterday, spelled out a list of grievances to President Rajapaksa in his letter of resignation, describing his ‘heartbreak’ at the govt’s attempt to justify racial activities by hardline groups. In a four page letter to President dated 22 Dec, former Minister says the incumbent had repeatedly brushed off references to the religious violence in Aluthgama and more..

Wanduramba OIC resigns

Dec 23 (CT) OIC of the Wanduramba Police, IP P.L. Keerthisinghe, resigned yesterday. He cited that political interferences in the area made him incapable of executing his duties in a fair manner. On 17 Dec, the common candidate's stage in Wanduramba was set on fire by supporters of Deputy Minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama. Investigations by police led to the arrest of three suspects but on 19 Dec these suspects were freed from custody by deputy minister himself. more..

UPFA launches manifesto today

Dec 23 (CT) The UPFA Govt will be launching the Mahinda Chinthana Thunkal Dekma at the BMICH today at 9:00 a.m. Minister Dullas Alahapperuma had previously stated that the manifesto would be unveiled on Friday. The joint Opposition alliance's New Democratic Party common candidate Maithripala Sirisena launched his manifesto last Friday, which has already sparked raging debates amongst the main political factions, inspiring both passionate defences and critiques more..

Tissa citing UNP-MS secret agreement cries betrayal

Dec 23 (Island) Former UNP General Secretary and Health Minister Tissa Attanayake yesterday told the media in Colombo that the UNP and opposition common candidate Maithripala Sirisena had, in an undisclosed pact signed on Nov. 1, 2014, agreed to implement all UNHRC recommendations as regards Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes and fully cooperate with the international community for that purpose. more..

Video: 'Namal baby doesn't know about drug pedallers': Hirunika

Dec 23 (LT) Mr. Namal Rajapaksa visited her and her mother on the day before she intended to hold a press conference to announce that she would support the common candidate Mr. Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential election and when her mother asked him regarding those who pedal drugs he had said he was not aware of it says Miss Hirunika Premachandra. “The whole country knows who is pedalling drugs except President’s son. Is he a baby not to know it?” more..