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'Tiger rump, West out to topple Govt'

Dec 29 (SO) Minister Johnston Fernando said the Opposition fielding Maithripala Sirisena as the Common Opposition Candidate has opened avenues for President Rajapaksa to secure an easy victory at the upcoming Presidential Election. He said that the international community cannot understand Sri Lankan politics. Sri Lankans love their motherland and although there might be a plan by foreign forces to destabilise this more..

Rugby’s longest Christmas

Dec 29 (SL) After 8 continuous weeks of frenetic rugby fare, the pause in the competition this week is welcome. It provides the chance to step back and catch one’s breath, look back on the past eight weeks and mull over how the league’s second round might evolve. The first round, which concludes next week, and predictability have been poles apart. By the fourth week of the nine-week first round, defeat hadn’t spared any team, and just who might be favourites for the title isn’t any clearer more..

Undermining the President’s main strength

Dec 29 (SL) The clash that took place in front of the UNP Headquarters is a warning sign that the presidential election campaign can turn violent. Previous incidents of violence associated with these elections had been localised. They involved clashes between groups in different localities. There have been attacks on sites where the opposition was going to hold its election rallies, including the burning of their stages. But the attack on UNP’s headquarters by pro-govt supporters more..

Yes, I played Casino: Dudley Sirisena

Dec 29 (CT) As various allegations are levelled at brothers of the two main contenders at the upcoming Presidential Election, Ceylon Today interviewed Dudley Sirisena (Maithripala's brother) and Basil Rajapaksa (President's brother) to obtain responses over allegations levelled at the two families. Q: What happened to the car you won at the casino? A: I won the car about three years ago. Q: Is that story true? A: It is true. more..

Open public defiance has beaten the white van culture

Dec 29 (ST) Oscar Wilde’s bitingly satirical remark that ‘high hopes were once formed of democracy’ but this has come to mean simply ‘the bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people,’ could not be better suited for Sri Lanka’s election processes. Nevertheless and despite being bludgeoned by bloody conflicts, grave misrule under successive Presidencies and the absence of an enlightened and courageous ‘intelligentsia’ (if we ever had such leadership), this country’s more..

Saturn’s rings of fear strike terror into astro besotted lankan hearts

Dec 29 (ST) On the second of November, after thirty years of voyaging the twelve constellations, the most-feared planet in the astrological sphere, Saturn, moved into the house of Scorpio, home of the zodiac’s war lord Mars. Lying more than 1,200,000,000 km away from Earth, the transit of Saturn from the constellation Libra into Scorpio may only amount to another notch in the astronomical calendar for astronomers to jot for the record. But to the millions of Lankans who gaze at more..

If proved elections not free and fair Polls Chief ready to resign

Dec 29 (CT) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya vowed to tender his resignation if anyone proved that the upcoming presidential poll was not conducted in a free and fair manner. He also warned that he would not hesitate to postpone the election if gun fire and violence spreads at unprecedented levels. Q: Although election laws are blatantly violated pertaining to the Presidential election to be held on 8 Jan, more..

Is the west coast also vulnerable to a tsunami?

Dec 29 (Island) Several countries in the region took measures soon after the 2004 tsunami, to set up their own TWSs without waiting for any IOC initiative. This was facilitated by some developed countries offering technical and financial assistance to these countries bilaterally. Indonesia received a 45-million-Euro contribution from Germany to build its local tsunami warning system. Two German buoys were installed off Indonesia between Banda Aceh and Bali along with seismometers and more..

Editorial: The same old drama

Dec 29 (Island) The unfolding political drama is an old play enacted with a new protagonist and a few more characters besides some minute changes to its plot. Last time, we were shown the drama at a stretch, but this time around it has been broken into several episodes. It lacks mystery and suspense! With a few more days to go for the presidential poll, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has pledged its support to New Democratic Front Candidate Maithripala Sirisena. more..

'Good times ahead for Sri Lanka in 2015'

Dec 29 (CT) Central Bank Governor Ajit Nivard Cabraal predicted good times ahead for Sri Lanka in 2015, if global fuel prices stay at the current US$ 60 per barrel. He said that the country's total fuel imports, estimated at US$ 4.8 billion for 2014, would fall by as much as US$ 2-2.8 billion, if crude oil prices remain around US dollars 60 per barrel in 2015. As an oil importing country, SL also will be benefitted by ease of current account deficit, more..

254 ships call MR port; 190,000 vehicle shipments handled

Dec 29 (FT) Magam Ruhunupura Mahinda Rajapaksa (MRMR) Port has recorded 254 calls by RO-RO vessels and handled 190,000 vehicle shipments in 2014. MRMR Port received 254 RO-RO vessels from Jan to Dec this year against 137 such vessels for the same period last year, pointing to a positive change of 85%. Total number of motor vessels handled for the same period this year at MRMR Port is 188,791 units against 64,524 units for the same period last year, more..

Oriflame products 'well accepted' among South Asia's middle classes

Dec 29 (Island) Oriflame - its fresh emergence to the glamour world of female poise and classy exuberance adds that tinge of confidence that gives extra content to the term ‘personality’. Director, Sales, India and Sri Lanka, Pradnya Deshpande, addressing the press recently said the 'Top to Toe' concept of enhanced personality of glamorous woman added to style and projection of confidence. Most women had inner beauty and natural flare to enhance their attractiveness. more..

SLT workers including CEOs threaten work stoppage if demands not met

Dec 29 (ST) A sizable section of SLT employees, including CEOs and other senior management, is threatening a work stoppage if a plan to make permanent 2000 temporary workers is not withdrawn, union leaders said. These employees who account for 90% of the workforce are saying they would go ahead with the trade union action if the govt goes ahead with the plan to transform 2000 temporary workers of Human Capital more..

23 SL senior corporate officials take part in leadership programme in Japan

Dec 29 (ST) 23 senior officials from leading companies and organisations of Sri Lanka won a ‘rare opportunity’ to participate in a Senior Corporate Management Leadership Programme in Japan. It was organised in collaboration with Japan Sri Lanka Technical and Cultural Association (JASTECA) and The Overseas Human Resources and Industry Development Association (HIDA) of Japan. HIDA of Japan is an organisation for human resource development in developing countries to more..

Both leading candidates abusing voters: FSP

Dec 29 (NS) Frontline Socialist Party Propaganda Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda said the two main candidates for the upcoming Presidential Elections are abusing voters by competing for promises. The capitalist politicians are trying to arouse the animal within the humans by arousing greed and hatred. They do not speak on egalitarianism and equality. This is nothing but an act of abusing the voters, he argued. Jayagoda also added that in Europe, there was a difference in right-wing politics more..

A struggle for democratic space

Dec 29 (Hindu) Sri Lanka is facing a crucial election, possibly its most important since 1956 when the SLFP came to power. For the first time since S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike split from the UNP, the two-party system may be reconfigured as members of the two elite parties come together in an attempt to overthrow the Rajapaksa regime, which has gone too far down the path of authoritarianism. With the election campaign, Colombo more..

NPC Opp. Leader asks How can a nameless party leader serve Tamils?

Dec 29 (CT) Northern Provincial Council (NPC) Opposition Leader, S. Thavarasa, describing the Common Opposition Candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, as a leader of a nameless party said that the Opposition coalition will not be able to solve the problems of the minorities, with the combination of political parties who have diverse views with regard to Tamil political issues. He was speaking at an election rally in support of President Rajapaksa at Manipay on Wednesday. more..

Anchor invokes mothers' blessings on nation's children

Dec 29 (Island) Anchor which has been providing quality dairy nutrition to the nation for the past 37 years, recently conducted a special initiative as part of their social responsibility by invoking blessings on the children of the nation through the unique Sri Lankan ritual of a KiriAmma Dane; an alms giving for mothers. Anchor invited 336 mothers from across Sri Lanka to take part in large-scale ceremonies held across the Western, Southern and Central provinces, and more..

Prof. Carlo urges to expand the smoking ban

Dec 29 (NS) The much awaited implementation of Pictorial Health Warnings (PHW) regulation on cigarette packets in Sri Lanka is due on January 01, 2015, following a court decision several months back. Hundred million people died in the 20th century due to tobacco smoking and Professor Carlo Fonseka said that the figure will rise to thousand million deaths in the 21st century, if the present smoking trends are not reversed. more..

'We are antagonizing India' – Says NBC

Dec 29 (CT) National Bhikkhu Collective (NBC) requested security personnel to vote for common candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, as he, unlike President Rajapaksa, would not have a domestic inquiry to mete out punishments. Convenor of the NBC, Ven. Hedigalle Wimalasara Thera said that the joint Opposition alliance's NDF's manifesto was clear on the fact that they would not allow Rajapaksa, Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the war heroes to be tried more..

President urges Batti Tamils to vote for him

Dec 29 (CT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged the Tamil voters in the Batticaloa District to get rid of the narrow political ideologies and support him at the forthcoming Presidential polls. President Rajapaksa was addressing at the UPFA election rally in Batticaloa last week. The Deputy Resettlement Minister V. Muralidharan, SLFP District Organizer Arun Thambimuttu. Eravur PS Chairman, Ali Zahir Mowlana also participated at the election meeting. President Rajapaksa urged the Tamil voters more..

TNA, TNPF want flood relief expedited

Dec 29 (CT) The TNA and the TNPF have called upon the Govt to expedite the relief measures to the flood victims in the North and the East. TNA in a statement released on Friday stated, "To date around 660,000 persons have been affected by the floods and due to continuing rainfall this number keeps on increasing. Further, according to the statistics of the DMC, only around 9% of the affected are staying in safe areas. more..

Professions Supplementary to Medicine to go ahead with strike tomorrow

Dec 29 (Island) 15 professions attached to the Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (JCPSM) will launch a one-day token strike tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 8 a.m the following day in protest of the sudden increase of the Disturbance, Availability and Transport Allowance (DAT) paid to doctors only. JCPSM General Secretary Saman Jayasekera said that it was unacceptable that there had been a Rs. 15,000 increase in doctors’ DAT allowance all of a sudden just prior to more..

Ranils slams Mahinda for using national anthem in propaganda ads

Dec 29 (FT) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has strongly criticised incumbent and presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa for using phrases in National Anthem in his campaign advertisements. He said the use of the phrases Apege Shakthiya Obayi, Apage Alokaya Obayi and Apage Anupraanaya Obayi derived from the national anthem in President Rajapaksa’s ads was unconstitutional and showed disrespect both to the national anthem and the country. more..

Sujatha, Hindu, Visakha, Southland, Musaeus excel at A/L

Dec 29 (Island) Examination Department released the GCE A/L 2014 results on the Department website on Saturday and it will post results to schools today. This time too top results had been secured by outstation students. Hiruni Udara of Sujatha Balika Vidyalaya, Matara obtained the best results in Bio Science, while Pakiyarajah Darukeesan of Hindu College Jaffna secured the top position in Mathematics. more..

Mavil Aru reservoir faces collapse: Residents warned

Dec 29 (CT) While the Mavil Aru reservoir is in danger of breaching, the island's tanks have risen by 89%, and with more rainfall imminent, Department of Irrigation warned residents to move to safer ground. The water levels in all the tanks around the island had increased by around 89% and she had asked residents to be vigilant. Mavil Aru reservoir's security flood dam was in danger of breaching due to continuous rain yesterday. Department of Irrigation told people to move to safer ground more..

JVP on the fence

Dec 29 (CT) The JVP yesterday said it had not received any invitation to join the common Opposition and there was no need for them to do so. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said the JVP was at present conducting its own election campaign, while the joint Opposition was carrying out their campaign separately. "There were no official discussions or invitations on joining the Opposition. The JVP is a Party that does not accept discussions with or invitations from individuals. more..

Video: Govt neglecting distribution of poll cards: JVP

Dec 29 (DM) Stating that the distribution of poll cards had been hampered by the ongoing flood situation in the country, the JVP today urged the authorities to focus more on this situation. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that the govt should focus their attention more on those affected by the floods. “The Govt seems to be using the flood situation for its political advantage, targeting the presidential election. more..

Faizer's stand known today

Dec 29 (CT) Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha will, upon his arrival from Singapore today, announce his final decision regarding his stance at the upcoming Presidential Election. Deputy Minister said he would be doing his community a disservice if he were to support the incumbent President at the upcoming Presidential Election, should the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) also support President Rajapaksa. If the govt has ties with the BBS, I don't think I would be doing justice to my community. more..

Video: Tsunami-survival memories still fresh

Dec 29 (Echo) It was end of year and desperate to escape the pressures of that year, I decided the perfect hideaway would be to return for a surf trip to Sri Lanka after 28 years. I arrived in Colombo at 3am not expecting to get a vehicle to Hikkadua. The alternative was by local train the next morning. A direct minibus to my accommodation on the beach. On arrival I found that my booking had been given to another and I was moved to the jungle side of the railway line. more..

Hakeem heats up presidential battle

Dec 29 (FT) SLMC struck the biggest blow to President Rajapaksa’s re-election hopes yesterday, when it finally stopped dithering over a decision and formally endorsed common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena. SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem said he had resigned as minister. With the exit of the SLMC – the country’s biggest Muslim party – 8 MPs, 13 provincial councillors and 163 local govt representatives quit the UPFA more..

‘No postponement of Presidential Election’

Dec 29 (DN) No decision has been taken to postpone the Presidential Election scheduled to be held on January 8, 2015, due to the prevailing adverse weather conditions and no such request has been made to me by any candidate contesting or the authorized agents of candidates or their lawyers to postpone the election, states Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya. Yet, it has been suggested at a meeting held recently with the participation of the Presidential candidates, more..

High incidence of election violence in Kandy, Gampaha

Dec 29 (NS) Police have received 113 complaints with regards to election violence and have arrested 53 suspects. The Police Media Unit also said that local govt politicians were connected to 10 serious incidents of election violence. The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), Executive Director, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon revealed that they have received 574 complaints of election related incidents. “We received more than 500 cases which are election law violation cases. more..

Floods: 23 lives lost, eight persons missing and nine injured

Dec 29 (DN) President Rajapaksa instructed officials to reconstruct the houses destroyed by floods and landslides with the assistance of Army personnel. President who postponed his election propaganda work, visited Anuradhapura and Badulla yesterday and Saturday to inspect the relief measures to the flood and landslide affected people. About 4,571 houses were totally damaged while another 14,511 houses were partially more..

The deluge enters debate

Dec 29 (DM) With eight days left in the campaign for the crucial presidential election and the two main contenders and parties or civic action groups supporting them going into the highest gear, the major event yesterday was the crossover of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) to Maithripala Sirisena’s common opposition front. The SLMC’s move came after its rival group the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) led by former minister Rishad Bathiudeen crossed over last week. more..

Betraying Ravana: State-nation-hero triangle

Dec 29 (FT) “When Ravana approached the end of his tether, there was a sequence of pitiable happenings. A devoted Brother (Vibeeshana) (Maithri?) deserted ranks and joined Rama. After battle was joined, he lost his brothers and able commanders in war. Kamban the emperor among Tamil poets described the mental state of Ravana in the Ramayana. “Ravana the King of Lanka, was in lamentable mental travail, like one deep in debt”. How true in the current scene! more..

Why a future govt will not probe mega corruption

Dec 29 (DM) Many Sri Lankans concede that the current govt was corrupt (In addition to being autocratic and nepotistic). But, they also tend to believe, partly due to the absence of a better consolation that ‘a little bit of corruption’ is permissible as long as govt was delivering growth. That was the essence of unwritten social contract between govt and the public. However, govt leaders seemed to have different calculations; more..

'Be independent in choosing your A/L subjects'

Dec 29 (DN) The present generation has too many educational avenues leading to diverse professional objectives. Hence in selecting educational streams students should not be conventional and dependent on others' attitudes and needs. They should be free to choose their subjects to suit their skills, instincts and aptitudes to obtain higher achievements in the exam, Piumi Dananjana of Galle Southlands more..

No reduction in local fuel prices!

Dec 29 (SL) While the oil prices in the world market is on a steep decline, the local fuel prices have only been reduced marginally in comparison to the decline internationally. While electricity and fuel charges in other countries are exempt from taxes, in SL we pay taxes for these commodities on several fronts. According to sources in the LIOC, where none were willing to be identified, stability in international price of crude oil more..

Cross section of crossovers

Dec 29 (ST) In this season of crossovers, among those who changed allegiance are the sons of two well-known politicians. Navin Dissanayake, who served as the Minister of Public Management Reforms in the Rajapaksa Govt, till recently, quit and pledged his support to Maithripala Sirisena. Few days later, Opposition Leader of the North Central PC UNP Provincial Councillor Kingsley Nelson said he was quitting and more..