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The journey of the Magi – from whence?

Dec 25 (CT) You would be surprised to read rather bizarre findings suggesting a probability that one of the Three Wise Men, mentioned in the Gospels, originated from Sri Lanka, in their trek to Bethlehem of Israel in about 7-4 BC, to worship a new born baby. Their knowledge in astronomy and astrology was so amazing and accurate that they had followed a star for direction to the little town of Bethlehem. The famous visit of the Three Wise Men from the East is described as follows more..

'No difference between UNPand SLFP'

Dec 25 (CT) The media play a crucial role during election time as it is the media that more often than not makes or breaks the image of a candidate. The common opposition has been calling for the state media to act in an unbiased manner, but Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that, when it comes to the State media, 'it was obvious that the incumbent President should have an edge over the state media'. more..

Christmas is a Salute to Humanity !

Dec 25 (Island) Any philosophy, science or ideology worthy of its name and fair by its premises has to hold in high esteem the dignity of the human person. Hence, the sense of humanity and all things human should always occupy an exalted position in any system of thought or vision. No wonder, ancient writers from even very early times held the human person to be the measure of all things. Nothing is worth anything, if human dignity is despised, devalued, spurned upon or obliterated. more..

From dreams & visions to realities & hope

Dec 25 (Island) We keep Christmas this year amidst manifestoes, dreams and visions. Politicians want power; they resort to lofty manifestoes. People long for sincere governance and bread at affordable prices; they persist in dreaming dreams. Prophets resent deceit; they dare to see visions. Some scheme, most dream and others see visions; this is the gist of our political realities. The birth of Christ occurred amidst conflicting agendas. More than enough was not enough for the greedy more..

Sri Lanka’s electoral dysfunction

Dec 25 (FP) On Jan 8, two years ahead of schedule, Sri Lanka will hold a presidential election that could help restore democracy by scrapping the country’s authoritarian presidency and replacing it with a strong parliament. Real change, however, seems unlikely. While the political opposition has campaigned on a platform of good governance and rule of law, it has also systematically undermined pluralism and more..

Now, it’s beginning to look like Christmas

Dec 25 (ST) With less than a week for Christmas, the festive feeling is slowly descending on Sri Lanka, aided by the Pope’s scheduled visit in January. In Colombo city, roundabouts are sprouting Christmas trees while Baby Jesus sleeps in a stable outside Churches and Christian schools. Established businesses beautify their shops with baubles, tinsel and gold stars while food outlets and bakeries stock up their shelves with seasonal goodies like Breudher, fruit cake, yule logs & mince pies. more..

Editorial: What’s in a pact?

Dec 25 (Island) Christmas is the time of giving and forgiving. Even Ebenezer Scrooges and Silas Marners amongst us tend to loosen their purse strings. But, the spirit of the season is conspicuous by its absence in the political arena. We have politicians washing quite a lot of dirty linen in public in view of the forthcoming presidential election. Yesterday, they clashed near Sirikotha. While President Rajapaksa and his former minister Maithripala Sirisena are jousting for power, more..

Bishops echo Pope’s galvanising message

Dec 25 (Island) In the Christmas message of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference they remind Catholics of the awakening issued by Pope Francis that it should not be just a celebration, but more importantly to be sensitive to those in need and to transcend barriers. "At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem which is God’s entry into human history. In this mystery of the Incarnation God revealed to us the depths of more..

Bank of Ceylon wins four international awards for its Annual Report 2013

Dec 25 (Island) The Bank of Ceylon Annual Report 2013 "Bank Beyond" won four awards at two International events. Bank of Ceylon was the winner for Corporate Governance Disclosure 2013 in Public Sector Banking Institutions Category - South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA). Also Bank won three Awards at the ARC International Awards, which are Gold Winner for the Financial Data in bank- international sector. Silver Winner for Written Text in bank- international sector. more..

National Safety Day commemoration tomorrow

Dec 25 (DN) The National Safety Day 2014 will be commemorated tomorrow for the 10th consecutive year in Sri Lanka in remembrance of the lives lost in the tsunami catastrophe in 2004. The national event will be held at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Conference Hall in Hambantota under the theme 'Safety Sri Lanka-let us unite to eradicate disasters'. A series of other programs have also been arranged to mark National Safety Day 2014. The first National Safety Day was held following the more..

SL bans pesticides containing 5 chemicals

Dec 25 (AD) The govt banned the use and sale of pesticides containing five certain ingredients including Glyphosate, which has been linked to the dramatic increase in Kidney Disease in the North Central Province. In a Gazette Notification, Registrar of Pesticides stated that every license issued in respect of pesticides containing active ingredients Glyphosate, Propanil, Carbaryl, Cholopyrifos,Carbofuran have been modified. more..

Tsunami 10: A missed opportunity for SL

Dec 25 (HP) Hypocrates once said that "healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity". Thus in tragedy there should be an opportunity to heal. In an ideal world a ten year reflection on the tsunami in Sri Lanka would wax lyrical about the developments of the country. Much would be written as to how the doors that were opened between faith and ethnic communities in the first few days after the tsunami would become opportunities to forge peace in a conflict more..

Bonanza for senior citizens: 280,000 retirees to get 12% interest on FDs tax free

Dec 25 (CT) Over 280,000 senior citizens would be benefitting from a govt announcement that fixed deposits worth more than Rs 2.5 million maintained at State banks by senior citizens, will receive an increased 12% interest rate and that earnings would be interest free. This is a Budget 2015 proposal and would be implemented with effect from 1 January, Deputy Secretary to the Treasury Dr. Suren Batagoda said. Rs 30 billion was allocated in Budget 2015 for this purpose and if more..

Out of tragedy, fortune for Sri Lankan tsunami village

Dec 25 (Reuters) As towering waves came crashing into the southern coast of Sri Lanka on Dec. 26, 2004, Kushil Gunasekera gathered up his children and they ran for their lives to a nearby temple, the highest point they could find. Returning later to his village in Seenigama district, he found a heart-breaking scene of death and devastation: one in four had been killed by the Boxing Day tsunami that swept across the Indian Ocean. more..

Christmas message of Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena

Dec 25 (FT) As the Common Candidate contesting on 8 Jan to be elected as President of Sri Lanka, I consider myself fortunate that I have received the opportunity to address all Christians in Sri Lanka as they prepare to celebrate the Christmas season. Each year in December, we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came to earth to redeem the world from sin. The nativity story reminds all Christians that God did not choose a woman from high society to more..

Christmas message of President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Dec 25 (DN) The Festival of Christmas that is celebrated today by the Christians of Sri Lanka marks the nativity of Jesus Christ, President Rajapaksa states in a message to mark Christmas. The message: "It is the belief of Christians that the birth of Jesus Christ paved the way for the liberation of humankind with the new teaching of universal love, tolerance and understanding that he gave to the world. The life of Christ saw a total commitment to the liberation of people from more..

The year-end party in cricket's hinterlands

Dec 25 (CI) The party next door has brighter lights and a bigger sound system. When the beat drops in Melbourne on Boxing Day, the biggest nations in South Asia and Oceania will dance on the game's most colossal stage. The rumble of their feet will be heard around the cricket world. Meanwhile, the only rumbling felt across the Tasman in Christchurch was of the tectonic variety. Two days before its Boxing Day Test, more..

Johnston reveals UNP propaganda secrets

Dec 25 (Island) Minister Johnston Fernando admitted that he had been instrumental in propagating false rumours to defame the Rajapaksas when he was in the UNP. He said: "We used to hold classes for UNP organizers at Sirikotha and all of us were of the view that President Rajapaksa was too popular to be beaten at an election. We had realised that we had no one in the party who could challenge him. Therefore, we decided to form a ‘katakatha’ (rumour) more..

Strike: PSM, GNOA issue ultimatum

Dec 25 (Island) Joint council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (JCPSM) and the Govt Nursing Officers Association (GNOA) warned they would launch a strike on Tuesday if the Health Ministry failed to increase their monthly allowance by Rs. 15,000 in keeping with the increment given to doctors recently. Spokesman for JCPSM, said that in addition to the monthly salary being paid to medical officers they were also paid a Disturbance, Availability and Transport (DAT) more..

BBS pledges support to MR

Dec 25 (CT) BBS pledged their direct, unconditional support to President Rajapaksa at the 8 Jan election. All organizational networks, affiliated to the BBS, will also back Rajapaksa, the BBS said, adding that no political organizations, including the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, were involved. "So called good governance, democracy and the rule of law, all slogans of NGOs, the World Bank and the UN are presently being bandied more..

A coin in memory of Anagarika Dharmapala

Dec 25 (LBO) Central Bank of Sri Lanka issues a commemorative silver coin of 500 rupees to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala in recognition of his national service. The coin is to be officially presented to President Rajapaksa by Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Governor of the Central Bank tomorrow (24) at Colombo. A limited number of coins will be available for sale at a price of 8,700 rupees at the Economic History Museum, Colombo from tomorrow and more..

OIC team’s visit to Colombo delayed

Dec 25 (AN) The scheduled visit of an OIC team to Colombo to prepare for its secretary-general’s visit has been postponed on account of the island’s presidential elections. Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Ameen Madani was to visit Sri Lanka early next year on an invitation from the Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa and an advance team of four members from the OIC was to visit the island in preparation for the secretary general’s visit. more..

'Removing Azwar, a great relief for Muslims'

Dec 25 (DM) ACMC National List MP Ameer Ali, who pledged his support to Common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena said that removing former National List MP A.H.M. Azwar from Parliament was the biggest support extended to Muslims by President Rajapaksa. “Azwar was the one who acted as the govt representative to protect the govt when there were allegations of harassments against Muslims,” more..

Pelwatte Sugar under liquidation

Dec 25 (CT) Sri Lanka's first Colombo Stock Exchange- listed sugar growing and manufacturing company Pelwatte Sugar Industries PLC is under liquidation. SJMS, Joint Liquidators, in a filing to the Colombo Stock Exchange dated Dec 18, 2004, under the topic Commercial High Court of Western Province Colombo Case No: HC (Civil) 46/2012/CO said: We refer to your letter dated 05-12-2014 and the discussion your officers had with us previously regarding the above company and more..

High drama or staged drama?

Dec 25 (Island) There was high drama at the NDF news conference yesterday with a youth named Savithra de Silva (22), who claimed to be a Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia Municipal Councillor, arriving there and praising President Rajapaksa. When the media asked him why he had come to a news conference which had been organised in support of the Common candidate, Maithirpala Sirisena, he said there was no democracy there (at the meeting) and left the place berating more..

US surveys one-time LTTE strongholds

Dec 25 (Island) The US embassy is examining the ground situation in former LTTE Vanni bastion in the run-up to Jan 8, presidential election. Political Officer Sandeep Cross has met representatives of the TNA as well Puthukudirippu based senior UPFA coordinator Kanagaratnam. Sources said that Cross had met Opposition Leader of EPC Thandayudhapani (TNA) on Dec 22. There were several other meetings with more..

TISL exposes fresh misuse of public property for electioneering

Dec 25 (FT) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) yesterday issued a statement exposing fresh misuse of public property for electioneering ahead of the Presidential poll. Full text of TISL statement: It has been informed to us that a large number of election offices contrary to the laws of election and circulars issued by you have been set up in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara. These constructions set up in the guise of election campaign offices do not function accordingly. more..

Polls Chief orders Maithri's security strengthened

Dec 25 (CT) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has instructed DIG Gamini Navaratna to provide 45 STF personnel for Common Opposition Candidate, Maithripala Sirisena's security. However, SSP Ajith Rohana said that Deshapriya has not instructed them of this in writing. UNP MP Wijayadasa Rajapakshe wrote to the Commissioner of Elections a few days ago urging him to ensure the safety of Sirisena by beefing up the common Opposition candidate's security detail. more..

'Sirisena planned conspiracy one and a half years ago'

Dec 25 (Island) Minister Basil Rajapaksa yesterday said that he felt the then SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena had been planning his move against incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa about one and a half years back. Minister Rajapaksa said that he had always suspected Minister Sirisena’s intentions unlike others who had their faith in him. The minister was responding to a query at an informal meeting with the media. more..

Sirikotha protest organisers deny NFF involvement

Dec 25 (Island) Executive Member of the Collective of National Organisations (CNO) and General Secretary of the Patriotic National Movement (PNM) Dr. Wasantha Bandara said his outfit had no connection with the NFF of Minister Weerawansa with regard to yesterday’s protest. "The protest was organised by the CNO. The PNM is one of the 32 organisations of the CNO. We staged a protest opposite the Sirikotha and all our members wanted was that a senior UNPer to come out more..

Jaffna DDC clash goes to Court

Dec 25 (CT) Jaffna District Development Committee (DDC) meeting assault case will be taken up for hearing at the Jaffna Magistrate's Court on 16 January. The case was filed on a complaint lodged by the EPDP. Police said they had summoned TNA Members and inquiries were conducted yesterday. Of the eight TNA Members summoned only three came and gave statements. They were Provincial Councillsors P. Gajatheeban, M.K. Sivajilingam and Karainagar PS Chairman, V. Anaimugan. more..

Demand for Competent Authority

Dec 25 (CG) The opposition has called on Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya, to appoint a Competent Authority for the media until polling day to ensure blatantly biased behavior by the State media ceases. UNP said that the Commissioner’s failure to appoint a Competent Authority would be tantamount to his condoning the behaviour of the state media in this election season. Opposition said it was shocked and disgusted more..

What is not given is lost

Dec 25 (DM) Today the whole world celebrates Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ. When we look at the development of civilization and the history of humanity it is easy to recognise that a handful of people have had the greatest impact upon its direction and Jesus Christ is certainly one of them. It is valuable to ponder why this was so and ask what lessons we could draw from it for a better life and a better world. Bible describes Jesus as God’s son sent into the world with a mission & purpose. more..

Our sight of his bright light is our delight

Dec 25 (DM) How are we to understand the interplay between light and darkness? Is Jesus Christ truly and surely the light of the universe? Is His light temporary or permanent? In order to understand Christ as the true light, first of all we need to grasp adequately the real nature and impact of darkness. When we know what darkness is all about, then only we can deeply fall in love with light. Lover of Christ is a lover of light. Lover of darkness is a lover of devil. One person’s sins darken lives of the other more..

Rural voters to be a deciding factor

Dec 25 (DM) With the political situation hotting up each day at national level, the grassroots level campaign of common opposition candidate Maitripala Sirisena remains somewhat lackadaisical. Therefore, the campaign managers of the opposition decided to swing into action this week itself in the hope of reviving the propaganda engine with two weeks to spare for the election. One million rupees was released to each organizer of more..

Derailing the railway

Dec 25 (SL) The All Ceylon Railway Employees General Union alleges that the Railway Department lost almost Rs. 100 million due to the reckless decisions of the govt. They claim that a recent programme to hand back the gold recovered from the war torn areas of the North to their owners has added to the situation. According to the union, this exercise had involved four trains in transporting these people free of charge. more..

Wheels within wheels: Buses used for election propaganda

Dec 25 (ST) The misuse of state-run buses for the re-election campaign for President Rajapaksa is costing the SLTB money and depriving the public of regular bus services, mostly in remote areas, a trade unionist charged this week. Trade unions are planning to take action against top officials of the SLTB by complaining to the Human Rights Commission, Election Commission and the judiciary for not granting leave to more..

Election Department prepares for unforeseen stormy weather on polls day

Dec 25 (Island) The Department of Election was keeping a close eye on the weather forecast as it might offer important clues as regards managing voter mobilisation and polling stations on Election Day, Additional Commissioner of Election R.M.A.L. Ratnayake said. The Elections Deartment was monitoring the ground situation while working closely with the Meteorology Department to obtain countrywide weather updates more..

CaFFE condemns the attack on Sirikotha

Dec 25 (AM) CaFFE condemned the attack on UNP HQ, Sirikotha in Pitakotte. The elections monitors said that the govet should take proper action against the responsible parties. "After the announcement of the common candidate, the main opposition and its activities were disturbed with violence, intimidation, disruptions and sabotage and CaFFE considers the attack on Sirikotha is the climax of these activities", it stated. more..

Faizer to announce final decision tomorrow

Dec 25 (AM) Highly placed political sources told Asian Mirror that Investment Promotions Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha is likely to make a public announcement on Friday on his position with regard to the forthcoming presidential election. The Deputy Minister said he would not support President Mahinda Rajapaksa if the BBS, a hardcore Sinhala-Buddhist organization, extended its support to the incumbent. more..