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Video: President Rajapaksa launches election manifesto

Dec 23 (AD) President Rajapaksa today launched his election manifesto Mahinda Chinthana: Lowa Dinana Maga for the upcoming Presidential Election at the BMICH. President presented the manifesto to the Maha Sangha at the event. Delivering his speech, the President said that this Mahinda Chintana, Part III, document envisages to prepare and elevate the nation to the levels of developed nations. more..

What the Stars foretell

Dec 24 (SL) Like it or not. Sri Lankans, particularly Buddhists, believe in astrology more that in themselves. Certainly the credibility of astrologers is much greater than of politicians. Wego to war, get married, accept high office, even start cricket matches and decide on the day for elections on auspicious times (and many other chores of life) as determined by our astrologers. The two things that defy astrological timing are death and birth, strangely the latter being more..

Pooling and polling, then and now

Dec 24 (SL) Credit it to his stars, or to the strength of his personality, if there is something common to three successive presidential polls since 2005 in which the candidacy of Mahinda Rajapaksa is already one, the choice and line-up against him has been another. President Rajapaksa has this wonderful luck or knack of turning supporters/aides into electoral adversaries but so far in the first two outings, he has proved successful, still. It’s now an open secret that then President and his SLFP more..

Fantasia-Incs presents New Year’s Eve 2014 at Waters Edge

Dec 24 (SO) 2014 has already come to an end. Most of you must be planning your new year’s eve celebrations. On New Year’s Eve, Colombo comes alive with celebrations, fireworks and parties full of shouts of ‘Happy New Year!’ ringing through the streets of Colombo. It’ll always be good if we all can get together with our loved ones and wave goodbye to 2014 and welcome 2015 with open arms. Whatever you fancy, more..

Cricket, Loverly Cricket, and Gallant Gentlemen

Dec 24 (CT) You cannot now talk of those elegant men in cream flannel trousers wielding the willow. The way the game is played and the clothes worn have changed so much. But cricket itself, the basic game, remains more or less the same, we suppose, as the game introduced in Southern England in the 16th century during Tudor times. It became the national sporting game in England in the 18th century. Wanting a definite win to a game, the shorter versions were introduced more..

Can a female voice be truly heard?

Dec 24 (CT) Politics is a not something that is far removed from our everyday lives. Every decision made in the course of a day was influenced by a political decision made by those in authority. Hence this week, Sati Chronicles examines the role of women in politics and whether women in general have much of a say in how things are run. With 51% of the Sri Lankan population being women, it is interesting to note that Parliament only has 13 women MPs out of the 225 MPs more..

'I will Raise my voice for women of all races'

Dec 24 (CT) Northern Provincial Councillor and TNA member Ananthi Sasitharan told Ceylon Today that, women in the North were faced with immense problems. "The war is over but the violence and issues against women seem to continue, as teenage rape cases are increasing in the Jaffna Peninsula. All women should be united to solve these burning issues, disregarding racial or religious differences," she observed. more..

Editorial: Lajja!

Dec 24 (Island) ‘The Executive Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka at an emergency meeting held on 19.07.2012 unanimously expressed its strong condemnation and abhorrence of the incident which took place in Mannar where the Court premises came under attack and the District Judge and Magistrate Hon. A. Judeson was threatened and subjected to questioning by Minister Rishard Bathiudeen. In the unanimous view of the Executive Committee, this conduct amounts to more..

SLMC: Liability on the Muslim community

Dec 24 (FT) Muslims are a deeply-wounded community today. They are ignored by successive govts, betrayed by their own politicians and exploited by all to suit their agendas. The selfish politics of the main Muslim political party SLMC, and its more than half a dozen splinter groups, have brought nothing but disaster. As a result, Muslims are disgusted with their politicians. They are in the same camp with Sinhala racist groups which unleashed violence against Muslims, more..

Boston Lanka: Rajiva Wijesinha

Does the common Opposition have what it takes?

Dec 24 (FT) A prominent economist who runs a weekly column observes that: There has been a resurgence of the economy since the end of the war in 2009 (7.3% growth in GDP this year) however, the following critical issues surface to block development. The mystery deepens when one questions (as Verite Research did in June last year in the DM) where the jobs are while this growth was going on. In fact there was a job loss of over 68,000 in 2012 compared to the previous year. more..

Exciting times for Sri Lankan cricket

Dec 24 (Island) The nation gave a fitting farewell to stalwarts Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara on Tuesday. There was a packed house at R. Premadasa Stadium despite the game being played on a weekday. That this game was a dead rubber didn’t matter to the fans. They wanted to give a rousing send off to their heroes. Mahela or Sanga didn’t come up with a sparkling performance, but yet they gave their supporters something to cheer about with the last dismissal as more..

Vaas: 'SL pace quintet can thrive in NZ'

Dec 24 (CI) Somehow, Sri Lanka snuck them through customs. No part of their convoy was delayed or detained. Not even New Zealand's biosecurity officers - a more fastidious breed than most - were wise to their transit. As of Tuesday afternoon, all five specimens had arrived intact in Christchurch ahead of the first Test. Though their official names are long and unpronounceable to most in NZ, their wrangler, more..

SEC’s mandate for protecting investors strengthened

Dec 24 (CT) The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently issued a directive to be included in the CSE listing rules, which will further strengthen the SEC's mandate for protecting investors. Prior to this, entities were not required to disclose the basis of the 'IPO Price', and as a result in some limited instances entities were criticized due to overpricing without a justifiable basis at the expense of the investors. The SEC, in a media release, said: more..

‘Women need to be included in decision-making’

Dec 24 (Island) Do the following issues we have brought out in this statement, fall within the much publicized issues of good governance and human rights? This is an appeal to both presidential candidates. Women’s concerns and aspirations are usually relegated to the margins in the political discussions and in the governance issues. However, the Women’s Movement has being trying to focus attention on issues related to gender and bring it to the attention of the State and others more..

Boxing Day tsunami, 10 years on: how cricket helped save Sri Lanka

Dec 24 (Telegraph) Sri Lanka has got its smile back. This serendipitous isle, blighted by 25 years of civil war and, exactly a decade ago, a devastating tsunami, is finally emerging from the darkness of its recent past to brighten visitors’ lives with smart new hotels and modern infrastructure to enhance its superb natural attractions. There is free Wi-Fi on the jerky but spectacular train journey from Colombo to Kandy (a cut above what GWR more..

Teacher charged with abusing girl granted bail

Dec 24 (Island) A teacher of English conducting private classes in Kandy was produced in the Magistrate Court of Kandy for sexually abusing a female student. The suspect, a resident of Malwana-Kanatha in Wariyapola, was granted bail on two sureties of Rs. 100,000 each by the Kandy Acting Magistrate Sunil Weerakoon. Magistrate ordered the suspect Chandra Gamage to appear in court again on January 12 next year. Children’s and Women’s Bureau of the Kandy police told court that more..

'No UNP crossovers from CMC'

Dec 24 (CT) There is no necessity for any of the UNP members, which Party controls the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), to cross over, said UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. He was speaking to a group of UNP CMC members at the office of the joint Opposition at Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Colombo. Last week, the media reported that five UNP members of the council, including the UNP chief organizer and Municipal member Sunil Vithanage, were going to cross over to govt. more..

Cheers for change!

Dec 24 (FT) The applauses which both the Opposition’s Common Presidential Candidate and UNP Leader received at a packed business forum yesterday sounded like early celebrations of a thumping victory. That was the scene during the nearly two-hour engagement between Maithripala Sirisena, Ranil Wickre-mesinghe and the business community yesterday at the Cinnamon Lakeside. more..

'Opposition to boost export access, education'

Dec 24 (EN) An administration by Sri Lanka’s opposition will expand export access, boost productivity with more investment in skills, education and knowledge, a senior UNP official said. Eran Wickramaratne said export access to the United States will be expanded and access to European markets will be re-opened by regaining a Generalised System of Preferences plus benefits, if the opposition came to power. "Our Foreign policy will be aligned to protect our markets," more..

Prasanna Jayawardene can guide Sri Lanka's young and restless

Dec 24 (Stuff) The bulk of the Sri Lanka test squad are young and inexperienced but the side's longest serving player believes they're more than capable of competing with New Zealand. Speaking to ahead of the first test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Christchurch on Boxing Day, wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene said his side had the ammo to compete with New Zealand and were well prepared. Jayawardene debuted for Sri Lanka even before run-scoring machine more..

Election monitor says all basic principles of political rights violated

Dec 24 (FT) An election monitoring group in Sri Lanka, CaFFE says it is highly concerned about the violation of political rights during the run-up to 8 January presidential elections and claims that the election is neither free nor fair due to this. Noting that a number of opposition activists, including street drama troupe, ‘Weediye Virodaya’ were attacked Monday at Hambantota by goons led by Hambantota Mayor Eraj Fernando, more..

Former JHU monk MP asks people to support President unconditionally

Dec 24 (Island) Former Kandy district Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) M.P. Ven. Udawatte Nanda Thera has come forward to support the election campaign of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Ven. Udawatte Nanda Thera, the chief incumbent of ancient vihare at Watapuluwa said yesterday (23) that President Rajapaksa should be given another term to complete his programme for achieving complete freedom from foreign and local anti-democratic and separatist forces. more..

Police look on as Muthuhettigama sings

Dec 24 (DM) Deputy Minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama who had allegedly taken away three suspects from Wanduramba Police custody had sung songs yesterday at a musical show conducted at the Udugama Public Stadium, villagers said. SSP Ajith Rohana said that he had made arrangement to get a statement from him regarding the removal of the suspects but that he had fled the area. However Mutuhettigama had come on stage in Udugama at about 11.45 p.m. with a police escort and more..

'NDF most powerful democratic party'

Dec 24 (Island) Common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena Monday declared that the New Democratic Front was the most powerful democratic party that has ever been formed in Sri Lanka. Sirisena said that the NDF would form a govt after his victory at the Presidential election. "The NDF is so democratic that its govt would ensure independence of judiciary and a non-politicised public service in this country. more..

Postal voting peaceful, barring two incidents

Dec 24 (Island) Overall situation of the first day of postal voting was peaceful but a few incidents were reported in some areas, according to local election monitoring organisations. The PAFFREL said that overall situation had been peaceful on the first day other than two assault incidents at Gomarankadawala in the Trincomalee District and Labuduwa in Galle. According to polls monitors a UPFA member of Gomarankadawala PS, Sandun Hemantha, had been injured in a clash. more..

Recalcitrant Dy. Minister untraceable

Dec 24 (CT) Police are to take action against Deputy Minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama and his driver, in connection with the setting ablaze a stage constructed for the common Opposition candidate, Maithripala Sirisena's meeting at Waduramba. However, SSP Ajith Rohana said, Muthuhettigama was untraceable, but investigations are proceeding. He added that even in African countries such dastardly activities do not take place, and therefore the police will not hesitate to enforce the law. more..

'They haven’t denied facts'

Dec 24 (CT) Former UNP General Secretary and current Minister of Health, Tissa Attanayake said, although the Joint Opposition denied his claim that Ranil and Maithri had entered into a secret pact, they had not denied the contents of the document he had exposed. He added although the Joint Opposition has presented a number of arguments against the document, he presented, he would not budge from his position. more..

TNA studying MR's and MS's manifestos

Dec 24 (CT) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) claimed they were currently studying the manifestos of the two major candidates and would reveal their stand by 27 December. TNA General Secretary Mavai Senathiraja said the decision would be taken, after their leader R. Sampanthan returns from India this week. Senathiraja said the TNA is currently in the process of having discussions with its regional Party men, represented in the local bodies in the North and East. more..

Two men killed, two others critical following head-on collision

Dec 24 (Island) Two men were killed following a bus-trishaw head-on collision in the Lunugamwehera police area yesterday morning. SSP Ajith Rohana said the SLTB bus belonging to Tangalle depot plying from Matara to Ampara had collided with a trishaw carrying four men travelling from the opposite direction, at Bogahawewa on the Thanamalwila-Lunugamwehera main road around 7.45 a.m. Other two passengers in the trishaw are in a critical condition at Hambantota hospital. more..

Betrayal after dinner makes Sri Lanka presidential race personal

Dec 24 (BN) Crispy rice pancakes and spicy salad, both traditional Sri Lankan dishes, were on the menu the night of Nov 19 when President Rajapaksa dined with long-time ally and cabinet member Maithripala Sirisena. Two days later, Sirisena vowed to end Rajapaksa’s decade-long rule in a presidential election. The betrayal shook up the island nation, which has undergone a growth spurt since Rajapaksa oversaw the end of a more..

UN investigation will not derail Sri Lanka’s economy: Business report

Dec 24 (FT) The successful passage of the UNHRC third resolution will neither hurt political stability in Sri Lanka nor derail its economy, a recently released business report says. The market report ‘Sri Lanka Business Forecast Report Q1 2015’ from Business Monitor International has therefore maintained the short-term political risk rating for the country at 77.1 out of 100. The agency has upgraded their 2014 real GDP forecast of 7.1%, from their previous estimate of 6.8%, as they expect the country’s more..

Trade links with West, Japan to be re-established: Sirisena

Dec 24 (CT) Common Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena yesterday assured that a govt under him, if he is elected to the Presidency on 8 January, would re-establish trade links with the West and traditional friends such as Japan. Jointly addressing the 'Let's Unite' Business Forum with Opposition and UNP Leader Wickremesinghe, at the Cinnamon Lakeside yesterday, Sirisena also stressed that the current govt's lack of bi-lateral relations with such commercially more..

MR promises new Constitution, reforms during his third term

Dec 24 (Island) Assuring that all communities would be treated alike regardless of ethnicity, religion or language, President Rajapaksa yesterday reiterated his commitment to Sri Lanka’s unitary status. President Rajapaksa pledged that no one would be allowed to propagate separatism or destabilise the country. He gave this assurance at the launch of his manifesto for the January 8, 2015 presidential election at the BMICH. more..

Sri Lanka mobile phone sales pass 1 million units milestone

Dec 24 (FT) Mobile phone shipments in Sri Lanka reached 1 million units in the third quarter, smartphone shipments increased by 100% to account for 20% of total mobile phone sales and 3G-enabled handset shipments amounted to 0.17 million units in the quarter. Nokia leads the mobile phone market in Sri Lanka, with a share of 22%, followed by Micromax (19%) and E-Tel (12%), in terms of sales (unit shipments) during the third quarter of 2014. more..

Weather gods bless CEB: Reservoirs over 90% full

Dec 24 (Island) The CEB continued with its earlier plans to stockpile coal before the next monsoon period though hydro generation had reached more than 70% by yesterday, the Four ships arrived yesterdy at Norochcholai, Puttalam from Russia with each carrying 60,000 MT of coal. Additional General Manager (Generation) M.C. Wickramasekara said the stockpiling of coal would continue until the  CEB had achieved the 1.8 million MT target by the end of April 2015. more..

National Unity Cabinet will be appointed on Jan. 11, Sirisena predicts

Dec 24 (Island) Declaring that his election as President was a foregone conclusion, the NDF candidate Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday that on Jan 11, the day after being sworn into office, he would appoint a Cabinet of not more than 25 members drawn from all parties, with Ranil Wickremesinghe as the PM. Addressing the creme de la crème of business captains at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, he pledged that more..

Govt has mixed its priorities

Dec 24 (DM) The priority mix-up and the subsequent mess it has created are evidently haunting the Govt prior to the upcoming presidential polls. A key weapon in the common opposition’s armoury to attack the govt seems to be the so-called mega development projects it carried out from 2010. Though the Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Govt may have wanted to bank on these mega development projects to come into power again, it appears that it would be the last thing these more..

Treacherous Rishad and Amir...

Dec 24 (CT) Judas is the epitome of betrayal and humiliation and the embodiment of a traitor, according to the scriptures. Moreover, last Tuesday's defection of former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and Amir Ali, looked after well by the govt of President Mahinda Rajapaksa sums up that both were not only defectors but traitors. There are different kinds of traitors. Some traitors take money and vanish in the dark. Some take rewards in kind and disappears or cross sides. more..

Eating in Pettah? Think twice

Dec 24 (ST) After a walk through an alley barely three feet wide, we ascended a flight of steps strewn with cigarette butts, crumped pieces of newspaper and banana skins. We are in the heart of Pettah, the country’s commercial world. Here, we watch public health officials of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) check one of those ‘eating houses.’ The manager of the place boasts that for the past three decades, more..