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Kusal left out for NZ tour; Nuwan recalled

Dec 30 (CI) Kusal Perera has been omitted from Sri Lanka's squad for the one-day series against New Zealand, as they continue to search for a stable opening pair, while seamer Nuwan Kulasekara has been recalled. Lasith Malinga has also been included and, as the coach Marvan Atapattu said recently, is expected to make his comeback from injury in the latter part of the 7-match series. Kusal has played 41 ODIs more..

Let’s be citizens and not subjects

Dec 30 (DM) Change hasn’t always been for good; but that’s how hope and conviction kicks in. Martin Luther King once said, “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.” But it seems so many Sri Lankans have lost hope nowadays. And a good many of them simply don’t care. Yes, we are talking about the upcoming presidential election and people’s reactions. It is surprising and rather depressing to see so many Sri Lankans talking about the election with such indifference and more..

Desire for change; hope for democracy’s survival

Dec 30 (DM) Less than two weeks more to the Presidential Election, scheduled for January 08, 2015, the political temperature of the country is rising amidst incessant rain and unusually cold December. The signs are that violence may increase, for the simple reason that the stakes are high at this election. At present, there is a discernible political trend in urban areas in favour of the opposition coalition and its Presidential candidate. This trend may or may not more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon: Home grown solutions

Stocks end marginally up on low volumes

Dec 30 (EN) Sri Lankan stocks closed marginally firmer Tuesday in choppy trade with volumes low given the holiday mood and uncertainties ahead of next week's presidential poll, brokers said. The All Share Price Index rose 3.74 points (0.05%) to 7,291.33 while the S&P SL20 index, ended up 5.79 points (0.14%) at 4,086.60. Turnover was a low 678 million rupees, a big chunk of it generated by John Keells Holdings (JKH) trades, according to CSE provisional figures. more..

KP to Mahinda & TNA to Maithri

Dec 30 (LT) TNA officially announced that it will support common candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential election. The NPC is ruled by the TNA and it received 78.48% of the votes at the election held to elect members for the NPC. Meanwhile, the official leader of the LTTE Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP, military leaders of the LTTE Karuna Amman, Pilleyan, Daya Master and several senior leaders of the outfit are carrying on their affairs to support Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

'Swing towards Maithri is not only an urban phenomenon'

Dec 30 (DM) UNP MP Sujeewa Senasinghe, is currently playing a central role in the campaign for the Common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena. He insisted that the incumbent regime is corrupt and hence should be voted out. He reiterates his challenge at MP Namal Rajapaksa for a public debate, in which he said he would expose the govt. Following are the excerpts of the interview, more..

Docs see NGO hand behind today’s strike by PSM and nurses

Dec 30 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) accused the Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (CPSM) and Govt Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) of instigating paramedics and nurses to launch a wildcat strike today while the country was struggling to cope with a disaster situation. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Navin de Soysa said that in accordance with the Circular 6 of 2006 issued by the govt trade union action taken by the Health Sector unions more..

Rs. 331 million released for disaster rehabilitation work

Dec 30 (Island) The Disaster Management Ministry has released Rs. 331 million to carry out rehabilitation work in 22 districts. The Island learns that following discussions with the Treasury, plans are underway to release more money as and when required for rehabilitation work. Disaster Management Centre already has another Rs. 500 million for urgent assistance. Number of persons affected by inclement weather prevalent in 22 districts has now exceeded 1.1 million. more..

Sri Lanka govt to issue 12% bond to cover pensioner deposit scheme

Dec 30 (EN) Govt will issue a bond to banks at an annual tax-free interest of 12 percent to cover extra interest cost incurred by them under a state-mandated special deposit scheme to pay higher interest income for senior citizens. Central Bank said the Special Interest Scheme for Senior Citizens over 60 years of age will come into effect from 1 Jan, 2015. The scheme to give a 12% special annual interest rate scheme for deposits of more..

Wimal: Sirisena’s son engaged to pharmaceutical importer’s daughter

Dec 30 (Island) Pharmaceuticals prices had gone through the roof during the past few years because Maithripala Sirisena had links with the drug companies, 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 by the CID from a house belonging to the brother of the businessman at Ratmalana. more..

Nurses’ strike disrupts health service across the country

Dec 30 (AD) The members of the Govt Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) have staged an island-wide 24-hour token strike, since this morning. The token strike has caused disruptions to duly services at the govt hospitals across the country, Ada Derana learns. GNOA president Saman Rathnapriya said that the strike has been launched since the authorities failed to provide adequate solutions for some issues after several rounds of desiccations. He added that the GNOA urges Rs. 10,000 more..

Artistes tell of horrors in MR Disneyland

Dec 30 (DM) A large number of the artistes today condemned the attack on a group of young artistes by political goons in Kurunegala and said the current regime had created a ‘Disneyland’ for people. “The Rajapaksa regime has created a Disneyland for people with many promises. They are scared when the truth is revealed. The artistes were attacked because they exposed the true nature of this Government,” an artiste said. more..

Death toll rises to over 30

Dec 30 (Island) The death toll from landslides and flooding triggered by torrential rains in Sri Lanka has risen to more than 30 as floods, mud and rocks destroyed many houses in mainly Badulla District on Friday. Severe weather had forced the evacuation of more than 116,363 persons while six other people were still missing and 20 people had been injured. The DMC said that as many as 1,113,002 people had been displaced in the 22 districts of Northern, Central, North Central, North Western, more..

Defender driver arrested

Dec 30 (DM) The driver of the Defender vehicle which rammed into a bus halt after colliding with a tipper was arrested in Welikada, SSP Ajith Rohana said. The driver was a 23-year-old university student and his reckless driving had led to the crash. “He was admitted to the Colombo General Hospital on Monday evening and was later arrested by the Welikada police,” SSP said. A 17-year-old girl who suffered a fracture on her left knee in the accident had been operated on last evening while more..

Polls chief addresses flood issue

Dec 30 (CG) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya says measures have been taken to assist voters affected by the severe weather on election day. Speaking to reporters today, Deshapriya said that special polling booths will be setup at locations where people are unable to move around owing to floods. He also said that the assistance of the security forces will also be obtained, if required, to assist the voters. more..

England blitzed by Jayasuriya in '96

Dec 30 (ICC) Sri Lanka was on a winning streak when it reached the quarterfinal and was going up against England, a team that had never failed to reach the semifinal in past editions of the tournament. Furthermore, Sri Lanka had never beaten England in the Cricket World Cup. But openers Jayasuriya, who had come into the Cricket World Cup averaging 19 from 19 ODIs, and Romesh Kaluwitharana were looking quite the dangerous pair. more..

SL shippers to see low freight rates in 2015

Dec 30 (EN) Container freight rates are likely to fall further in 2015 given the significant over-capacity in shipping and weak international trade recovery, industry officials said. Several attempts by shipping lines to raise freight rates in the peak cargo season this year failed because of the over-capacity and continuing deployment of bigger, new vessels, they said. In November, container spot freight rates fell about 15% led by rates on the Asia-Europe trade lane, shipping industry analysts said. more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thanthi TV

Award winning SL film, Sri Siddhartha Gautama debuts in Guangzhou, China

Dec 30 (GDI) Cinematic classic, Sri Siddhartha Gautama, shot on location in Sri Lanka, featuring well known SL actors and directed by Saman Weeraman and produced by Navin Gooneratne, had its debut screening in China, at the Grand Buddha Monastery in Guangzhou recently. The film played to a capacity audience of approximately 1000 that included Heads of Buddhist temples throughout Guangdong Province, govt officials, diplomats and members of the general public. more..

Former top JVPer pledges Tea Small Holders backing to Sirisena

Dec 30 (Island) Joint Federation of Tea Small Holders on Sunday pledged support to Common Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena claiming that the UPFA govt was turning a blind eye to a series of issues faced by the tea smallholders. Chandrasena Wijesinghe, President of the federation and former People’s Alliance Minister (JVP), addressing a news conference, said the UPFA govt was solely responsible for the crisis situation faced by the industry today. more..

Govt blocks Tuna King Kimura introduced by Rajitha

Dec 30 (AD) The govt has decided to temporarily halt foreign vessels including those belonging to Japan’s Kiyoshi Kimura alias ‘Tina King’ from fishing under the Sri Lankan flag in the island’s maritime waters, says the Ministry of Fisheries. The ministry says that strong opposition has arisen against several companies registered with the BOI engaging foreign vessels to fish on international seas under the Sri Lankan flag. more..

SLFP condemns attack on artistes

Dec 30 (DM) While condemning the assault on a group of young artistes in Kurunegala yesterday, the SLFP said such incidents would only tarnish the image of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. “As a party, the SLFP condemns the attack on the artistes. It is an uncivilized act,” Minister Dullas Alahapperuma told at a news conference in Colombo this morning. However he brushed off the allegations that the attack was carried out by members of the Nil Balakaya. more..

Manamendra supports President Rajapaksa

Dec 30 (AD) Nawa Sihala Urumaya (New Sinhala Heritage) leader Sarath Manamendra today pledged to support President Rajapaksa at the upcoming Presidential Election. Ironically Manamendra, a former UNP member who formed his own party in 2006, is also a candidate in the Presidential Polls to be held on Jan 8, 2015. He had also contested in the January 2010 presidential election getting 0.09% of votes. His party contested the April 2010 general election as a part of the DNA more..

UPFA questions Maithri on deal

Dec 30 (CG) The UPFA today questioned the agreements reached between opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena, the SLMC and the TNA. Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said that it is unlikely that both the TNA and the SLMC will not agree to back Sirisena unconditionally. He told reporters today that since the TNA was not part of a coalition involving the opposition, it is hard to think they would offer more..

Dhoni retires from Test cricket

Dec 30 (CI) MS Dhoni has retired from Test cricket with immediate effect following the drawn Test against Australia in Melbourne. Virat Kohli will take over as India captain for the final Test of the series, which India have already lost, in Sydney. Dhoni was batting on 24 when the Test was called off early at the MCG - four overs were left and India had four wickets in hand - and he made no mention of his retirement during the customary captain's press conference at the end of the match. more..

Rishad, Mannar bishop reconcile

Dec 30 (CG) Former Minister and leader of ACMC Rishad Bathiudeen today settled his differences with Mannar Bishop Rayappu Joseph when the opposition met the Bishop in Mannar for talks. Bathiudeen accompanied common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena to Mannar and for the meeting with the Bishop. Mannar Bishop and Bathiudeen had been at odds with each since 2012 over the resettlement of war displaced in Mannar and an attack on the Manar Court. more..

Video: TNA decides to support Maithri

Dec 30 (DM) The TNA has decided to extend support to Opposition Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Elections, TNA Parliamentary Group Leader R. Sampanthan announced in Colombo. Statement released by the TNA: The TNA has given careful consideration to the positions and pronouncements of the two main candidates at the upcoming Presidential election and has also undertaken more..

Enemies of the President’s promise: Doc 3

Dec 31 (CT) Dayan’s point then was that Lalith too was part of the group around Gotabaya Rajapaksa, that had decided after the 2010 election that the President should not make too many concessions with regard to a political settlement. This did not mean Lalith would set himself up consciously against the President, as even Gotabaya was to do with regard to the issues noted above. When he was ordered to move, he did so, as when he produced swiftly an Action Plan for the LLRC Recommendations, more..

Regime is desperate

Dec 31 (CT) Election campaign strategy and tactics of the President seem a desperate attempt to keep the head above water. It is normal that people resort to ineffective tactics in desperate situations not knowing that they always backfire. Rajapaksa campaign shows signs of dying. Masses seem to have resolved to make a change. From the ordinary villager to the sophisticated urbanite, everyone seems to be coming together to restore, peace, democracy, law and order and fairness and justice. more..

'Strong leadership vital for development'

Dec 31 (SO) Global corporate giants are keen to invest in Sri Lanka which is an attractive investment hub, said Sri Lankan Ambassador to Japan and former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda. He added that the thrust to economic development became a reality with the emergence of peace in Sri Lanka. Excerpts of the interview. Q : Japan is an economic giant. How do you rate present bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Japan. more..

Gratitude and the SL presidential election

Dec 31 (GV) The CEO of a leading company is found out to have embezzled a significant quantity of money. This individual, however, has been responsible for bringing the firm through an economic crisis, and thus, in a last ditch effort, appeals to the board to spare punishment out of gratitude for all the services rendered in the past. The board is won over by this plea, and grants the request. A similar case for gratitude has been thrown around by the incumbent candidate in more..

Reflections on the attack on young artists and activists

Dec 31 (GV) The chilling news came in the afternoon – our friends, colleagues and comrades who had been holding a small scale meeting in Kumbukgate, Kurunegala, were under attack, surrounded by a group of goons clad in blue t-shirts of Nil Balakaya. ‘What on earth can we do’ was the question that we both silently shared but were frightened to ask out loud. We could call our friends in the media, of course, and alert them of the horror unfolding there. But all that could only have more..

'President's first term was impressive'

Dec 31 (CT) According to the Common Opposition, "the tragic end of the Rajapaksa govt against the gathering forces of the Joint Opposition" ironically led by former General Secretary of SLFP Maithripala Sirisena is somewhat similar to a jumbo jet which has lost its way due to a systemic ailment and is about to crash land, eventually exploding itself and killing all on board. By now, it seems that days of the President Rajapaksa's regime more..

Sporting Personality of the Year 2014: Dinesh Chandimal

Dec 31 (NS) Greatness in sports is often measured in the number and margins of victory. Domination of a discipline or a sport over a long period of time naturally wins accolades. Sports, after all, is mostly about winning. And yet, not everything that stands out for standing ovation has to do with besting the opposition. Sometimes it is rising to the occasion to the point that you rise above yourself and your self-interest. This is why ‘The Nation’ picks Dinesh Chandimal as more..

Business Personality of the Year 2014: Otara Gunewardene

Dec 31 (NS) For being exceptionally smart, not just in the chic sense of the word, but as it pertains to business decisions that make waves for more reasons than one, ‘The Nation’ picks Otara Gunewardene as the Business Personality of the Year 2014.Otara Gunewardene obviously knows words but she didn’t just turn a phrase or create a line of jeans and tops. She created a retail brand of international standing. She was not only ODEL’s brand ambassador, she was a brand herself. more..

Citizen of the year: The Voter

Dec 31 (NS) Bombarded. That’s the word. The voter is being drowned in propaganda material. If only it was just that! It’s much more than a few TV, radio and newspaper commercials. There’s invective that’s being tossed around wherever one goes, whichever direction one turns to. You just can’t escape the vitriol. In this country where one gets an election every other month more for reasons of political expedience than anything else, this particular election, more..

Lalith Weeratunga on his President

Dec 31 (FT) The Momentum Forum, the country’s first-ever synchronised event involving President Rajapaksa and business and professional leaders, was held recently with over 2,000 participants. The event included a panel discussion where Secretary to President Lalith Weeratunga was one of the panellists along with Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal and four business leaders – Ranjit Page, Hiran Cooray, Kishu Gomes and Dian Gomez. more..

Influence of Economists

Dec 31 (FT) An economist is a person, President Ronald Reagan once famously observed, who ponders over why something which works in practice does not work in theory! Notwithstanding this somewhat jaundiced view of the practical approach of the average economist, the academic economist has an inordinate about of influence over public policy. In the corporate sector, the accent being return on investment and profitability, economic theories are not given much space. more..

Flashback 2014

Dec 31 (ST) 2014 was marked with several upheavals in the political landscape of the country. The year also saw the rise of ethnic tensions while nature too took its toll on the country, first with a severe drought affecting several areas followed by floods and landslides that left many dead and homeless. Here is a look back. January: Jan 12 - MP Kabir Hashim took over as the new Chairman of the UNP replacing MP Gamini Jayawickrema Perera who more..