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FEB awaits report from Saudi

Dec 23 (CT) The Foreign Employment Bureau said they were waiting for the investigation report from Saudi Arabia, on the death of a Sri Lankan housemaid, who committed suicide in the bathroom at her employer's house in Saudi Arabia. Foreign Employment Bureau Deputy General Manager, Mangala Randeniya said "We still have not received further details from the Consul in Saudi Arabia." However, he noted that they had inquired from the Consul in Saudi Arabia and that the case more..

'60% of expenditure for few top ministers'

Dec 23 (Island) The incumbent govt had allocated 60% of the funds meant for the development of the country to cover the extravaganzas of top ministers, common opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena said. He said that there were four President’s Houses at Colombo, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Anuradhapura. Incumbent President had built three more in Southern, Sabaragamuwa and Northern Provinces. more..

Is all this violence due to lack of confidence?

Dec 23 (DM) A street drama troupe which included veteran artiste Jayathilaka Bandara were attacked at Hambantota on Sunday by an unidentified group of goons. The goons who stormed the scene, soon after the street drama was over, chased away the journalists and smashed a camera belonging to a photographer before attacking the artistes. The attack took place in broad daylight in the midst of hundreds of spectators in the hometown of the UPFA presidential candidate and more..

Disaster preparedness

Dec 23 (CT) As reported in this newspaper, 'inclement' weather in the six out of nine provinces, namely the Northern, North Central (NC), Wayamba, Central, Uva and Eastern Provinces, has caused floods, displacing thousands. This disaster overtook the country, only two months after the tragic, Koslanda landslide, which left several killed and homeless, in its wake. This time round is the period of the North East (NE) monsoon, one of two monsoons that impact the island. more..

Prasanna laments over brother Arjuna’s behaviour

Dec 23 (Island) Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga last week lamented that he was so saddened by the fact that his brother, former world cup winning cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga had joined forces with those who had harassed and used violence against their father, late minister Reggie Ranatunga. He said his brother’s present day policies were against their father’s political vision. more..

'Mahinda Chinthanaya is either polluted or diluted'

Dec 23 (DM) The leader of the TULF, V. Anadasangaree yesterday said he would pledge his support to the common candidate at the upcoming Presidential election. In an interview he said the development of war affected areas is being sidelined and the Tamils are not being equally treated. Sangaree said President’s Mahinda Chinthanaya is either polluted or diluted and ideas of others are smuggled in to it. more..

Video: JVP complains to EC over abuse of state resources

Dec 23 (DM) The JVP met the Elections Commissioner today and submitted evidence with regard to the use of state sector employees and the abuse of state resources in President Rajapaksa’s election campaign. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva accused the Govt and its candidate President Rajapaksa of attempting to influence the state sector employees. “This is a grave violation of election laws. more..

Incalculable loss to our fish habitat

Dec 23 (SL) In spite of many discussions held in both countries, the fishing issues faced by Sri Lanka due to the encroachment of Indian vessels entering its territorial waters still remain a huge problem. In India too it is a huge issue for the TN govt as fishing is the main source of livelihood for many of its residents. The over exploitation of fishing resources on the Indian maritime region had led to depletion of fish more..

'State resources manipulated for Rajapaksa'

Dec 23 (ST) Opposition parties and election monitoring bodies allege the govt is using an array of state and public resources to boost ruling party candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential elections due in three weeks. A podium prepared for a rally by National Democratic Front (NDF) candidate Maithripala Sirisena was set alight by an unidentified group in Waduraba, Galle early this week. more..

'MR not savvy of future techno trends'

Dec 23 (CT) The Rajapaksa administration is utterly incapable making Sri Lanka a beneficiary of emerging technologies and if Mahinda Rajapaksa wins the 8 January election, the country will see an exodus of highly skilled professionals, JHU General Secretary, Champika Ranawaka said. "The current technological trend is cyber technology and other Asian nations are leading the way. more..

‘I have no intention of leaving’

Dec 23 (DM) Senior Minister and former Prime Minister, Rathnasiri Wickramanayake says as per his interpretation of ‘good governance’, there is no crisis in Sri Lanka in that department. In a candid interview this senior SLFPer rejected rumours that have been circulating on his possible defection and on why he believes there is no crisis with concern to law enforcement or good governance. more..

Concocted figment of imagination: UNP

Dec 23 (Island) The UNP dismissed Health Minister Tissa Attanayaka’s allegation of a secret pact between it and the NDF Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena as a "concocted figment of his imagination." Chief Opposition Whip John Ameratunga said that the NDF comprised many parties including the support of two leading Buddhist monks Maduluwave Sobitha Thera and Athuraliya Rathana Thera. more..

Govt claims BASL politicized

Dec 23 (CT) The govt accused the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) of being an entirely politicized professional organization. Wayamba Chief Minister, Dayasiri Jayasekera alleged that almost 50% of the short message service (SMS) texts sent by the BASL, to its membership, were completely against President Mahinda Rajapaksa, adding that it was not performing its role as an unbiased organization. more..

12 Sri Lankan fishermen released

Dec 23 (Hindu) Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) court here on Monday ordered the release of 12 Sri Lankan fishermen, who were apprehended by Coast Guard on Sept 30 and arrested by the Taruvaikulam Marine police on charges of poaching in Indian waters off Kanyakumari. Magistrate T. Jayaraajan ordered the release after the Taruvaikulam police presented a copy of govt order pertaining to the release more..

'An attack on unarmed citizens'

Dec 23 (GV) The Editor of Vikalpa, Sampath Samarakoon, was mercilessly attacked by Hambantota UC Chairman Eraj Frenando (of the toy pistol infamy) yesterday as he was taking part in a street drama with leading rights activists and artistes. A detailed report by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) around this incident can be read here. Police arrested Eraj Fernando today in connection with the incident and remanded him till the 24th of December. more..

A presidency under threat: 31 carrots, sticks and adulation

Dec 23 (CT) Though the choice the nation has to make on Jan 8th is a very serious one, there has certainly been a lot of entertainment during the last few days. This is not all on one side, since it is odd to find many individuals who had little time for each other in the past now working together. My friend Dayan Jayatilleka finding that the JHU provides the saving graces to the campaign of the common candidate is a fascinating phenomenon, putting in the shade even Chandrika Kumaratunga more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Rathnasiri the notable absentee during President's manifesto launch

Dec 23 (AM) Former PM and Senior Minister Rathnasiri Wickremanayake was a notable absentee during the launch of President Rajapaksa's election manifesto Mahinda Chinthana: Lowa Dinana Maga. Wickremenayake chose to stay out of the ceremony in a context where it is widely speculated that he might cross over to the Common Opposition. However, the former PM has always remained tight-lipped on his 'crossover'. Over the past four years, Wickremanayake has been a critique of more..

More than 10,000 awareness programmes on child abuse conducted

Dec 23 (Island) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) has carried out over 10,000 awareness programmes during the current year on child abuse and protection. The programmes had been carried out for children, parents, teachers, civil organisations, youth societies, police and health organisations. Awareness programmes had also been carried out for Child Protection Committees established at a school level and Parent-Teacher Associations. more..

Anura Dissanayake @ Beruwala

Sri Lanka creditors bitter over long wait for sugar compensation

Dec 23 (EN) Creditors and shareholders of a Sri Lankan sugar company taken over by the state and being wound up for non-payment of dues are still waiting for compensation, the stock exchange has been told. Liquidators of Pelwatte Sugar Industries told the Colombo Stock Exchange they have asked the Compensation Tribunal to seek the advice of the govt's chief legal advisor, the AG's Department, over compensation claims. This was after the Compensation Tribunal claimed more..

Sri Lanka stocks end down 0.2%

Dec 23 (EN) Stocks closed weaker with trading dominated by deals in Commercial Bank following yesterday's transaction in the same shares. The All Share Price Index closed down 13.52 points (0.19%) at 7,238.05 while the S&P SL20 index, ended at 4,062.33, down 1.28 points (0.03%). Turnover rose to 3.38 billion rupees the bulk of which came from a large crossing or off-market negotiated deal in Commercial Bank. Foreign activity accounted for 5% of turnover & there was a net foreign inflow more..

Video: Students go to HRC against cops

Dec 23 (CG) University students filed a complaint against the police today at the Human Rights Commission (HRC) of Sri Lanka after the police had assaulted some of them yesterday during a protest in Colombo. The IUSF said that 28 students were injured in the assault while 4 students had been arrested. The police fired tear gas to disperse the university students when they staged a protest opposite the UGC more..

Candlelight vigil held in Colombo for victims of Peshawar Terrorist Attack

Dec 23 (GDI) A candlelight vigil was organized by the Sri Lankans and Expat Pakistanis based in Sri Lanka to express solidarity with the victims of Peshawar school carnage. A large number of people representing cross section of society including children participated in this memorial ceremony. High Commissioner of Pakistan HE Qasim Qureshi, Officers of Pakistan High Commission and their families of also attended the vigil. The speakers on the occasion strongly condemned more..

SEP election campaign reveals widespread disillusionment with main political parties

Dec 23 (wsws) Teams of Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) members and supporters have launched an intense campaign for the SEP’s presidential candidate Pani Wijesiriwardena in a number of areas across the country during the past two weeks. These include Colombo, Kandy, Chilaw, Gampaha and Hatton where public meetings have also been held. Campaigners have distributed thousands of copies of the SEP manifesto more..

Opposition defends proposed handouts

Dec 23 (EN) Sri Lanka’s opposition defended sweeping handouts promised in an election manifesto saying they were short term and were needed to kick start the economy, while the incumbent president assured stability. Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe, who is to be appointed PM if the opposition wins, said the proposed handouts to state workers were part of a short-term fix to kick start a slow economy. more..

Judicial service and politics don't mix: CJ

Dec 23 (DN) Chief Justice Mohan Peiris said that any judicial officer engaged in political activity is not fit to be in the judiciary and he should leave its services. "Whatever political views you might have, the judiciary is not the place to engage in politics. There is no room for that," he stressed. He added that he does not even look at the names of the litigants when he sits on the Supreme court Bench. "The day that commitment is not there, I think it is time to find another job," he said. more..

3 killed in Sri Lanka floods and mudslides

Dec 23 (AP) Three people died and more than 60,000 had to be evacuated to safer locations due to floods and mudslides caused by heavy rains around Sri Lanka, officials said Tuesday. Disaster Management Center said that three days of heavy rain in 15 districts also injured two persons and destroyed 1,900 homes. Hospitals and government offices were inundated and some inmates of a prison were transferred to other facilities. It is monsoon season in some parts of Sri Lanka, more..

SL president pledges fresh war crimes probe

Dec 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka's president, under pressure from his main opponent in upcoming elections, on Tuesday promised a judicial inquiry into allegations that his troops killed thousands of Tamil civilians at the end of the civil war. But President Rajapakse reiterated that he would not cooperate with a UN-mandated investigation into the govt's 2009 crushing of Tamil Tiger rebellion. "If any rights have been violated (during the war), more..

Video: SF claims was offered PM post by MR

Dec 23 (CG) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka (SF) claims he was offered the Prime Minister post by the Rajapaksa govt, just before he decided to resign from the military and contest for President in 2010. Fonseka denied reports that he was now having discussions with the Govt to support President Rajapaksa at Presidential elections. Fonseka said that in 2010 when several Govt posts were offered to him, including that of Prime Minister, he had rejected the offers. more..

EPC: Leader of the House joins Maithri

Dec 23 (DM) Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) House Leader Priyantha Pathirana pledged his allegiance to common opposition candidate Maitripala Sirisena today. Mr. Pathirana told a news conference that he played a silent role in the fight against terrorism by helping paramilitary groups led by Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna after he defected from the LTTE in 2004. “When Karuna and his team defected from the LTTE, they asked for help to fight terrorism. more..

Rishad Bathiudeen's party splits; Hizbullah remains with MR

Dec 23 (DM) The All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) has split over the decision by party leader Rishad Bathiudeen to support common opposition candidate Maitripala Sirisena. Mr. Bathiudeen and recently sworn in MP Ameer Ali had joined the common opposition while the party’s national organiser M.L.A. Hizbullah said he would support ruling party candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Promise on Dambulla mosque compels Hakeem to buy more time

Dec 23 (AM) With President Mahinda Rajapaksa promising to resolve the controversy with regard to the mosque in Dambulla, Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem is buying more time to arrive at a final decision, highly placed political sources told Asian Mirror this afternoon. At the meeting with the President which was held at Temple Trees last night, Hakeem had said he was becoming helpless as the concerns of the Muslim community of Sri Lanka still remain un-addressed. more..

Buddhist priests of sabaragamuwa meet Ratnapura Bishop

Dec 23 (DN) Chief Priests of Buddhist temples in the Ratnapura and Kegalle districts called on the Bishop of Ratnapura Rt. Rev. Dr. Cletus Perera, OSB, at the Bishop’s House, Madola, Avissawella last Friday, on the invitation of Vicar General Very Rev. Fr. Damian Fernando. This meeting was in connection with Pope Francis meeting religious leaders at the BIMCH on Jan 13. Bishop Cletus Perera thanked the prelates for their participation and said the Catholics of Ratnapura Diocese more..

Video: Govt has no right to talk on war crimes: JHU

Dec 23 (DM) JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka said the govt had no right to talk about war crimes because the Maxwell Paranagama Commission had been empowered to probe war crimes following an announcement by Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga. “We will not allow any international probe. We will allow for a domestic probe, if there are allegations of war crimes. We are very clear on that point,” more..

Sri Lanka opposition to negotiate with IMF direct instead of local jokers

Dec 23 (EN) Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe said he will negotiate with the IMF in Washington instead of dealing with the ‘local jokers’ if a new administration comes to power. Wickramasinghe and common opposition candidate Maithripla Sirisena were addressing a forum in Colombo to explain their future strategy to the business community. Wickramasinghe said he did not agree with a recent IMF assessment that all was well with the exchange rate, for example, more..

J'pura dons collective come out firing on behalf of Rajapaksa

Dec 23 (Island) It would be an appropriate time to teach a damn lesson to imperialists’ stooges at the forthcoming Presidential Elections, which coincides with the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Kandyan Convention with the British, said Sri J'pura Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sampath Amaratunga. The senior don speaking to journalists in Colombo at a media briefing organised by the Collective of University Teachers of the Sri J'pura University said Sri Lankans had got opportunity to hit back at more..

Video: Sirisena, Ranil to sue Attanayake over fraudulent document

Dec 23 (DM) Common opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe have decided to take legal action against former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake. Sirisena and Wickremesinghe are looking to sue Attanayake over an alleged secret document he displayed to the media with the signatures of Sirisena and Wickremesinghe. more..

Facing stiff challenge, Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa seeks to woo voters

Dec 23 (Reuters) Facing possible defeat in his bid for re-election, President Rajapaksa sought to reassure voters on Tuesday that he would resist pressure for an international war crimes probe, bring a new political culture and ensure media freedom. Rajapaksa's popularity has eroded in recent years due to public disgruntlement over high prices and allegations of corruption and nepotism, but until recently he had been expected to win an unprecedented third term in Jan 8 election. more..

Sri Lanka FDI up on state aircraft purchases; deals to be probed: opposition

Dec 23 (EN) A sharp increase in reported ‘foreign direct investment’ in 2014 came from a state aircraft purchases and the deals will be probed if they came to power, opposition said. Common opposition candidate said expertise was needed to stem the massive losses reported by state-run SriLankan Airlnes since it parted ways with Emirates, and Mihina Air, a budget airline built with people’s money by President Rajapaksa. “Mihin Air is a large national robbery (jathika dana mankollayak),” more..