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The UNP’s abdication-fixation

Dec 30 (NS) Now it can be argued that Ranil Wickremesinghe was robbed, so to speak, both in 1999 and 2005. In 1999 a close election went the incumbent’s way when she lost an eye in a terrorist attack, the resulting sympathy translating into a vote-sway. Moreover, S.B. Dissanayake once claimed that he had ensured that 400,000 fydr Pkao (illegal votes) were cast in her favor. The claimant of course late switched sides and was the UNP’s National Organizer for a while before more..

Living in hope that Hiruni is among the living

Dec 30 (ST) A decade has passed by, but the small-size red toothbrush of a child still hangs amidst the adult ones in the bathroom of a home down Somadevi Place in Kirullapone. The photograph of a beautiful little girl in a party dress with flowers in her hair has pride of place in the sitting room. The acute distress and the frenzied searching are no more – the sadness though has not left this father, mother and older sister. more..

Editorial: Of that Dear John

Dec 30 (Island) The SLMC has, after weeks of dilly-dallying, broken ranks with the govt to back common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena. It has cited its opposition to the 18th Amendment to the Constitution as one of the reasons for its defection. Ironically, it secured ministerial and diplomatic posts for its leaders and their relatives by the simple expedient of deserting the UNP to back the 18-A in Parliament and now it has crossed over to oppose the same amendment! more..

The trickle down theory

Dec 30 (CT) Over the years, the West has always tried to apply its own conception of development, working through the local elite, especially, local NGOs, and pretending that the benefits showered on the elites would trickle down to the less fortunate. It doesn't happen. The foreign millionaires, all come to Sri Lanka after establishing a close contact with the Met Department about rain, drought or floods. The local NGOs are the happiest when it happens. After showering few garlands round more..

1.5 millionth tourist arrives

Dec 30 (Island) The booming Sri Lanka tourism industry created history by achieving its year 2014 arrivals target of 1.5 million tourists on 28 December by welcoming German couple Torrens Jaime and Ciupika Hedwig, who arrived at BIA via UL558as the 1.5 millionth tourists to Sri Lanka in 2014. The couple was given a warm welcome by SL Tourism Promotion Bureau Managing Director Rumy Jauffer, more..

Business confidence stalls ahead of election

Dec 30 (FT) Business magazine LMD reports that “the impending presidential election appears to have curtailed the recovery of the LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI),” adding that the index “remains more or less at the same level of 142, as in November”. Nielsen’s Managing Director Shaheen Cader states, in LMD: “The business community usually has concerns about the impact on business of election-related activities – and this time, too, we see the same pattern.” more..

NSSP turns 36 today

Dec 30 (CT) The Nava Sama Samaja Pakshaya (New Same Society Party), the Trotskyist political party in Sri Lanka attached to the Fourth International, celebrates its 36th Anniversary on 30 December 2014. It was formed through the expulsion from the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) of the Vama Sama Samaja tendency led by Vickramabahu (Bahu), Sumanasiri Liyanage and Siritunga Jayasuriya and Vasudeva Nanayakkara (Vasu) who joined later. more..

Nation's misfortune, CEB's fortune!

Dec 30 (CT) While almost Sri Lanka in its entirety was debilitated by floods wreaking havoc following excessive torrential rains, there has been only one beneficiary, which is the CEB! "There has been excessive rain which has helped us to generate additional power in the form of hydropower, which accounted for over 80% of the total power generation, CEB's Additional General Manager M.C. Wickremasekera said. more..

Salman Khan a betrayer, says Vaiko

Dec 30 (PTI) Hitting out at Bollywood actor Salman Khan for allegedly campaigning for President Rajapaksa, MDMK chief Vaiko today dubbed him as a 'betrayer.' "He is also a betrayer," Vaiko told reporters here when asked about this. Earlier, reports had suggested that the Indian superstar, along with actor Jacqueline Fernandez, had been roped in to campaign for the Lankan leader, who is testing his electoral fortunes for a third time in the coming Presidential elections, more..

Farmers' loans scheme to be streamlined

Dec 30 (CT) Financial institutions are directed to abide by rules and regulations when issuing loans and insurance packages to the farmers in the north. Jaffna District Secretary, S. Arumainayagam has instructed the managers of financial details of loans approved should be submitted for verification. This was mentioned during the special discussion held pertaining to the issues faced by farmers last Thursday at the Jaffna District Secretariat. Banks should comply with rules and regulations more..

CBK fires on all cylinders!

Dec 30 (FT) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s lawyers have threatened legal action against the IGP and the department if they fail to act against perpetrators who attacked her vehicle in Beruwala last week. Election monitors said both the former President and Western Provincial Councillor HirunikaPremachandra had been attacked in Beruwala and their vehicles damaged by the mob. more..

MDMK protest against broadcasting of president Rajapaksa's interview

Dec 30 (PTI) MDMK cadre on Monday staged an agitation in front of the office of a private TV news channel in Chennai, which is scheduled to broadcast an interview of president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Earlier, party founder Vaiko garlanded the statue of the founder of the news organisation and claimed that the ideals the founder had protected were not being adhered to by the present management of the organisation. Later, MDMK cadres raised slogans against the news channel more..

University of Jaffna hosts biggest IT conference in Northern Peninsula

Dec 30 (FT) One of the most prevalent needs of Sri Lanka’s blossoming IT industry is increased human capital, to meet the rising demands of an industry that is hungry for further growth. Public-private partnerships need to play a dynamic role to strengthen our human resources and make known to our youth some of the country’s best employment opportunities. The Jaffna IT Week – an industry initiative for inclusive growth and reconciliation – facilitated this collaboration, more..

No secret pact with Hakeem, says Champika

Dec 30 (Island) JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka denied the allegations made by the govt that the SLMC had decided to support Maithripala Sirisena as he been promised a separate administrative unit based on ethnicity. He said that they had not agreed to give such a separate administrative district in Amapara based on ethnicity as claimed by the govt, but it was the SLMC that agreed with Sirisena’s election more..

Maithripala’s petition against TV adverts

Dec 30 (Island) The Colombo District Court yesterday gave time till January 5, 2015 to the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation and three other television stations to file objections to an application for an Interim injunction filed by common opposition candidate at the forthcoming Presidential polls Maithripala Sirisena. The plaintiff Sirisena has said these TV stations telecast a speech made by him, in 2009 in which he praised President Rajapaksa. He had alleged that more..

Foreign observers begin work

Dec 30 (CG) International election monitors have begun monitoring the pre-election activities ahead of the January 8 Presidential elections. The People’s Action for a Free and Fair Election (PAFFREL) said that members of the Asian Election Monitoring Network who are now in the country, will begin observations from tomorrow. PAFFREL invited the Asian monitors and 36 foreign election monitors from the Asian Election Monitoring Network arrived in Sri Lanka to observe the polls. more..

Sharma urges level playing field

Dec 30 (CG) Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma today called for a level playing field during the Presidential election in Sri Lanka, and adherence to the laws and norms that govern a credible and peaceful election. Sharma said that Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, former President of Guyana, will lead a Commonwealth Observer Group to Sri Lanka, which follows a formal invitation from EC Mahinda Deshapriya. more..

Anagarika has to wait!

Dec 30 (CT) The launch of a commemorative coin of Rupees 500 denomination, designed and issued by the Central Bank to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Sri Anagarika Dharmapala, has been delayed due to the Presidential Election. The launch was to take place on Christmas Eve (24) in recognition of Dharmapala's national service but has been indefinitely delayed. The President, in his capacity as Minister of Finance and Planning, was to be officially presented more..

Salman was not paid: Namal

Dec 30 (DM) Refuting allegations that Indian actor Salman Khan was paid to visit the country with a presidential election looming, Tharunyata Hetak Chairman and MP Namal Rajapaksa said no payments were made and that the actor was in the country in connection with his charities. “This is not the first time Salman has come to this country, and each time he came, he has provided charity for the needy in this country. He came in 2011 as well and then we conducted a health project more..

'India is a relative, China a friend'

Dec 30 (TOI) Gearing up for a tough Presidential election in January 2015, President Mahinda Rajapaksa described India as his relative and China as a friend. "I will not allow my soil to be used against my friends and neighbours. That will not happen in Sri Lanka as long as I'm here," Rajapaksa said in a rare interview to a Chennai-based Tamil television channel. Thanking PM Narendra Modi for his foreign policy initiatives, Rajapaksa in more..

Wife fears for Solangaarchchi’s life

Dec 30 (Island) Wife of former UPFA Mullariyawa-Kollonnawa PS Chairman Prasanna Solaarachchi Thiwankatold media in Colombo that she was pregnant and she fears for her husband’s life. "Do not harm my husband," she said adding that the Colombo Crime Division personnel, (CCD), come in search of him every five minutes. She showed some pitucres to media the vehilces STF personnel used to come to her house in Kollonnawa. Thiwanka said that her husband’s life was at a risk. more..

Shocking Star prices of Salman Khan: Rs. 30 Million per day for public appearance

Dec 30 (AM) While Bollywood star Salman Khan is making headlines in the Sri Lankan media due to appearance at an election rally supporting President Rajapaksa, Asian Mirror thought it was timely to reproduce an article that was carried on Hindustan Times in 2012 – which gave a comprehensive picture on prices of Bollywood stars – including Salman Khan. These prices may have changed over the past three years. However, article still gives an idea about exorbitant prices of more..

Sirisena accuses govt of failing on physical and spiritual development of masses

Dec 30 (Island) Common Opposition Candidate Maithripala Sirisena on Friday said that the UPFA govt during the last ten years had not done anything tangible to uplift the physical and spiritual development of the masses. Sirisena addressing a tsunami commemoration ceremony at the Crows’ Island, Mutwal said it was a decade after the tsunami catastrophe devastated our country where over 40,000 lost their lives and more..

Polls monitors record high levels of state resource abuse during election campaign

Dec 30 (FT) An official election monitor in Sri Lanka, People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) says abuse of state resources for election purposes in 2015 presidential election has increased dramatically compared to the 2010 election. A total of 150 violations relating to the Abuse of State Power, Resources & Misuse of State Sector Employees for election purposes have been reported to PAFFREL during the first 35 days of the pre-election period. more..

CID to question Tissa about Ranil-Maithri pact

Dec 30 (CT) Former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake will be questioned by the CID today regarding the statement of a secret agreement between UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena. CID had made an appointment with Minister Attanayake to take a statement from him today. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had complained to IGP N.K. Illangakoon that the document produced by Attanayake, alleging that it was a part of more..

UN chief calls for peaceful and credible election

Dec 30 (UN) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has conveyed his “strong expectation” that the Govt of Sri Lanka will ensure “the peaceful and credible conduct” of its upcoming Presidential election, scheduled for the beginning of the New Year. In a phone call last week with Minister G.L. Peiris, Mr. Ban reaffirmed the UN’s continuous support for reconciliation, political dialogue and accountability as the country heads towards more..

UNP says bringing Bollywood actor for campaigning a disgrace

Dec 30 (Island) Bringing in Bollywood actor Salman Khan to campaign for President Mahinda Rajapaksa is a disgrace to the Sri Lankans, says UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva. MP Silva said: "How can one go that low. As a Sri Lankan I am ashamed to see people are being fooled and treated like a bunch of idiots." The president should have asked Sri Lankan artistes like Amaradeva, Malini Fonseka to help him with electioneering without disgracing Sri Lanka as a nation. more..

Rangana Herath could boost Sri Lanka

Dec 30 (MS) Star Sri Lankan spinner Rangana Herath may return for the second test against New Zealand in Wellington, but captain Angelo Mathews says they can't rely on him alone. Sri Lanka were outplayed for much of the first test at Christchurch Hagley's Oval, losing to the Black Caps by eight wickets. The tourists could receive a boost for the second test at the Basin Reserve starting on Saturday with Herath, the world's leading test wicket-taker in 2014, with 60 scalps at 27.45, more..

'Defectors won’t be taken back'

Dec 30 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared that those who switched their allegiance to Maithripala Sirisena’s camp will not be taken back to the SLFP-led UPFA. The warning was given at a public meeting held at Matale last Friday in the wake of several members of parliament, provincial councils and local government bodies joining the Opposition. The President emphasised that defectors wouldn’t more..

'Curb malpractices Elections Commissioner'

Dec 30 (DM) A civic society has written an open letter to the Elections Commissioner has called on him to punish publishers who had violated the Presidential Elections Act, particularly Part V which lists out actions deemed to be election malpractices, so that the public could be made aware and report these actions to the Commissioner, wherever they are carried out, with relevant proof. The Friday Forum is an informal and self-financed group dedicated to democracy, more..

Good governance: Only an election slogan!

Dec 30 (CT) We continue to hear the call for good governance by our political leaders. President Rajapaksa who is in the saddle of leadership for nine years also speaks of the need for good governance. His rival Maithripala Sirisena who contests him too, stresses the need for good governance. Over the past four decades all leaders who aspired to high office and those elected to such office promised good governance. Tragically, the country has been deprived of good more..

Misery for a million as rain lashes country

Dec 30 (ST) On Friday, as the country joined in solemn commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the devastating tsunami, newer tragedies occurred as five bodies were recovered from Rilpola, Hali-ela in Badulla after an earth embankment collapsed on houses. Twenty people are still missing there. The same day, another four bodies were found in Karunapura and Hegoda in Badulla following an earthslip. more..

Army troops continue to take care of flood victims

Dec 30 (SLA) Sri Lanka Army troops under the Security Force Headquarters (SFHQs) Wanni, Kilinochchi, East, Central and West, are continuing their rescue and relief operations with commitment for the benefit of flood victims by assisting the conduct of medical clinics, restoration of disrupted roads, threatened and burst tank bunds, provision of security and administrative support for surveys, transport of victims and relief items, more..

Ex-JVP MP takes Rajitha to Bribery Commission

Dec 30 (Island) Former JVP MP Anuruddha Polgampola and leader of the Wijaya Sri Front accused former Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne who switched his allegiance to common opposition presidential candidate Maithripla Sirisena, of cheating more than Rs. 100 million through a fraudulent life jacket deal. Polgampola said a complaint in that regard had been lodged with the Commission to investigate more..

Weerawansa ties up Sirisena with pharmaceutical mafia

Dec 30 (Island) Medicine prices had reached unprecedented highs during former Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena’s time as the latter had secret deals with the pharmaceutical mafia, Minister Wimal Weerawansa alleged. He said common opposition presidential candidate Sirisena’s son Daham was engaged to a daughter of a pharmaceutical businessman and large sums in foreign currencies had recently been found more..

Muthuhettigama says Police media spokesman is just a parrot

Dec 30 (AM) Deputy Minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama, who was released on bail by the Baddegama Magistrate yesterday, said Police Media Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana is a parakeet. He said the Police Media Spokesman was making irresponsible statements to media over the incident in Wandurama where he stormed a police station and allegedly ‘kidnapped’ a few suspects who were in police custody. more..

War crimes, hence war the poll issue again?

Dec 30 (SL) Whoever wins or loses the January eighth presidential polls, one thing is becoming increasingly clear. The results would not be based on the defections that the two sides could engineer, starting with that of the common Opposition candidate, Maithripala Sirisena. Nor would it be wholly based on the rival manifestos, which could at best be used by the emerging divisions within the Tamil minorities, if not more..

Northern Catholics ready to receive Pope

Dec 30 (CT) It's expected that nearly 500,000 people are expected to participate during the Holy Pope's visit to the renowned Roman Catholic shrine of Madhu church. Arrangements are also underway for this event, an official from the administration of the shrine, S. Emiliyaanuspillai said. All arrangements are nearing completion pertaining to the Pope's visit, he pointed out. Pope will reach Madhu by helicopter on 14 January more..

'Sirisena to arrest all LTTEers'

Dec 30 (CT) Accusing the govt of having ties with the remnants of the LTTE, the NDF promised to arrest all LTTE terrorists and punish them, once in power. General Secretary of the JHU, Champika Ranawaka said that the govt has allowed Prabhakaran's successor, Kumaran Pathmanathan (who handled the international network and arms procurement) to operate in Kilinochchi and Ram and Nagulan to work in Batticaloa. more..

MR is an amazing man: Salman Khan

Dec 30 (DM) Visiting Bollywood star Salman Khan yesterday said President Rajapaksa was an amazing man but his visit was not political. Indian actor however said he was not aware about the attack on Sri Lankan movie stars and artistes and added that he was ‘coming from Mumbai’. “I’m quite unaware of the attack on the artistes because I come from Mumbai and I have not been following what is happening here,” more..