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Sri Lanka pick uncapped Sandakan

Dec 5 (CI) Uncapped left-arm chinaman bowler Lakshan Sandakan has been picked in SL's squad for the 4th and 5th ODIs, while seamer Suranga Lakmal rejoins the side after an injury layoff. Middle-order batsman Ashan Priyanjan also joins the squad proper, having been named as batting cover for the third ODI in Hambantota. He displaces Thilina Kandamby, who collected a duck on Wednesday. Shaminda Eranga is the more..

Mathews criticises sloppy fielding

Dec 5 (Island) Sloppy fielding has been one of the big drawbacks of the national cricket team over the last few months. Sri Lanka Cricket hired fielding expert Trevor Penny to work with the team, but the show the national cricketers put up at Suriyawewa during the third One Day International was an indication that there is lot of work left to be done. The Sri Lankans had fielded reasonably well in the first two ODIs, but at Suriyawewa with the team carrying liabilities on the field like Kandamby, more..

New Catholic channel Verbum on PEO TV

Dec 5 (FT) Verbum Television tied up with SLT PEO TV to commence its channel telecast from 30 Jan 2015. Verbum Television is a Catholic Television channel, which caters to the spiritual needs of the Catholic communities in Sri Lanka and around the world. This endeavour has been established with the alliance and guidance of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and the Catholic Bishop’s Conference. Agreements were signed between the two parties at the Archbishop’s House Colombo, more..

Chevron launches Sapugaskanda plant

Dec 5 (Island) Inaugurating Chevron’s two billion rupee state-of-the art blending plant and warehouse complex at the Lindel Industrial Estate in Sapugaskanda yesterday, Kishu Gomes, CEO, Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC said, "We have several valid reasons to give this milestone event the theme, ‘Chevron Blending with Country’s Growth’. "Maintaining the right overseas-local ownership balance, blending 98% of more..

Twenty IT SMEs in EDB’s first Jaffna Export Forum today

Dec 5 (Island) Sri Lanka’s apex export facilitator EDB’s first IT event in Jaffna has been boosted by an influx of Jaffna based operators and would be ICT entrepreneurs and the event also packs in-depth industry presentations from no less than seven top Lankan IT firms. "Almost 20 SME IT operators in Jaffna region have registered for Dec 5, IT/BPM Export Forum in Jaffna. Another 30 prospective IT entrepreneurs from Jaffna who are looking to set-up, too have joined making it a total of 50" more..

Common opposition stalwart admits MR still has a lead of 60-40 over Maithri

Dec 5 (AM) A stalwart of the common opposition has told his closest associates that President Rajapaksa still has a lead of 60:40 over common candidate of the opposition Maithripala Sirisena. “The present lead,” he has said, “is due to the early start of President Rajapaksa’s election campaign. Although the common opposition has held its first election rally in Polonnaruwa, there is still no comprehensive plan where the way forward of the campaign is concerned.” more..

12,000 pedagogues for propaganda work?

Dec 5 (CT) Over 12,000 teachers and principals in the Anuradhapura District have been asked to attend an event to be held at the Walisinghe Harishchandra Stadium on Sunday, 7 December, where Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena will address them, the CTSU charged. "All zonal education directors have been asked by the education provincial director to mobilize all teachers and principals. more..

ACMC offered Azwer's seat

Dec 5 (CT) Minister Dullas Allahapperuma yesterday stated that the All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC) had agreed to accept the National List seat left vacant by A.H.M. Azwer and a deputy ministerial portfolio. Allahapperuma said Eastern Provincial Councillor Ameer Ali would be accepting the post of National List Member of Parliament and also the deputy ministerial portfolio. He also said that an oaths taking ceremony would take place on 12 December to affirm this. more..

Loudspeaker wires severed ahead of Matara rally, claims Opposition

Dec 5 (FT) Election fever hit the southern town of Matara yesterday, as common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena addressed his first campaign event in the area. Cut-outs and election propaganda for the two main candidates in the presidential race vied for space in the coastal city, while the main Opposition UNP alleged that police personnel had attempted to disrupt the rally by severing the wires to loudspeakers stationed around the Uyanwatte grounds. more..

'MR visited Nepal because he was not worried'

Dec 5 (Island) MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena asks whether President Rajapaksa would have left the country on an official visit to Nepal if his govt had been in crisis due to then SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena’s defection. He said that President had left for Nepal on Nov. 25, just four days after Maithripala Sirisena had switched his allegiance to what MP called a satanic alliance hell-bent on causing havoc. more..

GMOA accuses PGIM of targeting its members

Dec 5 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Association accused the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM) Director of hounding GMOA office bearers and of trying to deprive the doctors of their trade union rights. GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that their former General Secretary Dr. Chandika Epitakaduwa, who continued to help the association dauntlessly, had participated in a meeting held at the NHSL recently, and expressed his views represnting the GMOA. more..

Meeting with President Bus owners decide against participation

Dec 5 (CT) The Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) has decided to refrain from participating in a meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, which was scheduled for today. LPBOA president Gemunu Wijeratne said that his committee, while claiming that the meeting was an election gimmick, had told the membership that they are at liberty to decide on whether to participate or not. "We told our members to take a decision according to their conscience," he said. more..

CID probes Navin’s bribery allegation

Dec 5 (Island) The govt said that the CID would conduct an investigation into former minister Navin Dissanayake’s claim that he had been offered Rs. 100 million by the govt to remain in the UPFA coalition when he was about to cross over to the UNP on Sunday. Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said that President Rajapaksa had informed them on Wednesday night that he would order the CID to probe the serious allegation. more..

Sri Lanka’s Next Step

Dec 5 (WSJ) President Rajapaksa called a snap election two weeks ago, giving voters until January to decide whether to grant him an unprecedented third term. Despite his achievements, Sri Lankans may decide they need a different kind of leadership. When Mr. Rajapaksa came to power in 2005, Sri Lanka was locked in a decades-long civil war. He succeeded in defeating the separatist Tamil Tigers in 2009, and that triumph guaranteed him a huge margin of victory when he ran again in 2010. more..

Touchwood troubles: Rs. 3.3 b claims by 1,537 creditors

Dec 5 (FT) The case for the winding-up of Touchwood Investments PLC was called in the Commercial High Court of Colombo yesterday, where an interim Report was filed by the Liquidator. The Counsel appearing for the Liquidator stated that he received 1,537 claims from the creditors of the company being wound-up and the Interim Report filed by the Liquidator further states the total claims amount to Rs. 3,302,606,498. The Liquidator’s Interim Report further stated that more..

Mega bonanza for CEB workers in view of polls?

Dec 5 (Island) CEB workers’ salaries average Rs. 86,000 without various allowances and with the latest 30% pay hike an employee’s take-home pay is expected to exceed Rs. 100,000. The CEB Management has agreed to pay 30% salary increase for its more than 16,000 employees with effect from next year, a top official said. Prior to giving green light, CEB requested its trade unions numbering 50 to ink a joint agreement. more..

The Unfinished 9th Symphony for disabled people

Dec 5 (DM) Amid week-long activities to mark the United Nations’ International Day of People with Disabilities, with this year’s theme being “Sustainable development: The promise of technology,” it would be wiser to focus on solutions rather than problems and the positives instead of the negatives. For instance, Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the greatest composers and musicians of all time, composed some of his best works after 1796 when he began to go almost totally deaf. more..

Racism in US: Lady Justice, what’s your verdict?

Dec 5 (DM) In November 2008, the rest of the world partied with the people of America in celebrating the victory of Barack Hussein Obama. The victory was touted then as symbolising the collapse of the racial wall. But recent events in the United States indicate that it was not so and more blows are needed to bring down the wall. Sadly, though, these blows come in the form of deaths of Afro-Americans and in the form of protest marches and even riots -- as happened in 1991 in Los Angeles when more..

Campaigning the mind game

Dec 5 (NS) What exactly convinces an individual to vote for X or Y candidate at an election? And what are the methods used by candidates to motivate, convince or persuade the public to vote for him or her? In a time of heightened election fever these are some intriguing questions. In an ideal situation a voter would and should not be influenced by external factors. In a perfect situation, an individual will cast his vote based on more..

Private bus operators back Sirisena snub Rajapaksa

Dec 5 (Island) Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has signed a MOU with Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera to support the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena, LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne disclosed. Wijeratne saidUPFA govt had done nothing to improve the private bus industry for the last ten years. Board of Directors of the LPBOA had unanimously decided to support common opposition candidate more..

‘Ranil is ideal candidate to pose a challenge to MR’

Dec 5 (DM) Minister S.B. Dissanayaka is a vocal member of the ruling party and a vociferous critic of the opposition. In an interview with the Dailymirror he slammed the former General Secretary of the SLFP and former Health Minster Maithripala Sirisena for crossing over to the opposition with several other members of the govt while claiming that the present incumbent had tackled the issues of corruption successfully. more..

'Rural areas will be cheated out of education'

Dec 5 (ST) A large number of schools across the country with only A/L Commerce and Arts streams could be downgraded to primary schools, trade unions claim. The new 1000 Schools Project aimed at improving the science and technology streams in govt schools will select only 1000 schools out of the close upon 3000 schools that offer A/L classes to students, claimed Joseph Stalin, the general secretary of the CTU. more..

'Petrol could be cheaper but for taxes'

Dec 5 (Island) Following JHU MP Champika Ranawaka accusing Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera of pocketing Rs. 48 per litre of petrol, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that the CPC could provide petrol at that price but for taxes. He stressed that every country in the world levied taxes on petroleum products. Italy, Netherlands, Greece, and Finland levied more than 100% taxes on petrol, while more..

Modernised planetarium re-opens

Dec 5 (Island) The Sri Lanka Planetarium, which has been given a long-awaited facelift after 49 years will be re-opened today under the patronage of Senior Presidential Advisor Prof. P.W. Epasinghe at 10 a.m. It will be however be opened to the public only from Tuesday. It was closed for refurbishment in June. The Ministry stated that the planetarium was upgraded with the installation of a 4D/Digital full dome projector more..

Amir Ali accepts MP post: Rishad to go Mahinda's way

Dec 5 (AM) Highly placed political sources said that the All Ceylon Muslim Congress, led by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, might support President Rajapaksa at the forthcoming presidential election. A senior spokesman of the party, said the party would announce its decision next week. However, ACMC member of the EPC has agreed to accept the parliamentary seat which was vacated by former MP A.H.M. Azwer. more..

SL Attorney General’s word awaited for TN fishermen release

Dec 5 (ENS) The release of the 38 TN fishermen in Sri Lankan custody, 26 of whom are on an indefinite hunger strike for the last four days, is awaiting orders from the country’s Attorney General. “The Indian High Commission had taken up the issue with the Sri Lankan authorities. Now, it is for the Attorney General to withdraw the cases of trespass and poaching against the fishermen. Once this is done, they will be released,” more..

Sri Lanka's real estate, tourism markets to be boosted by US$ 1.4 bln port city

Dec 5 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's real estate and tourism markets will be boosted by a US$ 1.4 billion port city project, a top official said as the country aims to top 8% growth in 2015. China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) has come forward to invest in the land filling process and will acquire 170 hectares from the total 233 hectare land area. CCCC subsidiary company China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) will more..

Govt decides to boycott political programmes on Sirasa, Derana and TNL

Dec 5 (AM) The govt has decided to boycott political talk shows on three television channels, namely Sirasa, TNL and Derana. The govt has decided to resort to this 'unofficial' boycott on the grounds that the three TV channels are tilting the playing field against representatives of the ruling party. However, the govt will continue to take part in political programmes conducted by Hiru TV and Swarnawahini. more..

Make a realistic assessment of poverty in the country

Dec 5 (CT) The govt regularly trots out figures saying that poverty in the country has reduced due to the many people-friendly measures it has taken, and that Sri Lanka is racing towards a better tomorrow. But, economists are not agreeing that the figures put out by the govt are realistic. They say the figures present an entirely different picture of the state of the country when the real situation is not so. Reports indicate that 42% of the population earn less than US$ 2 per day and more..

Daughter kills violent father

Dec 5 (Island) A 31-year-old married woman killed her 66-year-old father in the Horana police area yesterday. Incident had occurred around 1 p.m., while the suspect and the victim were alone at the latter’s house at Kananwila. Preliminary investigations have revealed that the victim, a drunkard was in the habit of assaulting the family members including his wife. His youngest daughter who could no longer tolerate the father’s aggressive behaviour assaulted him with a mammoty. more..

‘Universities have men of little brains’

Dec 5 (Island) Professor Sarath Wijesooriya, a well-known figure in Sinhala literary circles, writing a long piece to Ravaya touched on something extremely important in these election times. It is very rarely that an important Sinhala essay is commented upon in the English language press, and I want to bring that article to the attention of our English language readers. The article talks about Niwatayan & thakkadiyan. more..

Sri Lankan bourse slightly weaker; Rupee-forwards steady

Dec 5 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks edged down on Friday with low retail participation, but block deals pushed the turnover, while some investors were cautious due to political uncertainty ahead of the Jan. 8 presidential poll. At 0557 GMT, the main stock index was down 0.28 percent, or 20.09 points, at 7,234.71. "The turnover was up on a block deal if you take out the block deal the rest of the market was very slow as retail investors are staying away waiting to see the direction," more..

Sri Lanka’s economy is stable and moving towards reducing poverty: Governor

Dec 5 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s economy is stable and moving towards reducing poverty in the Island, Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said. “Today economic stability has being established. Poverty has reduced to 6% today from 15% six years ago,” Cabraal said. “We had only 4% economic growth at that time and accordingly it will take 40 years to make a person rich with that growth rate,” “However we made it to 8% economic growth; poverty has reduced due to that." more..

South African Tamils slap war crime charges against Lankan General

Dec 5 (PTI) A South African Tamil group has filed criminal charges against a visiting former Sri Lankan general for alleged war crimes during the civil war with LTTE. General Srilal Weerasooriva is in South Africa as part of an international delegation attending the Association of Military Christian Fellowships - Global Interaction 2014 at the naval base of Simonstown. General and his wife Dilhani led a worship and evening session more..

Open letter To EC & IGP; Give every voter a security detail

Dec 5 (CT) A news report said, defected govt MP and former deputy minister Duminda Dissanayake’s 20 member security detail had all been transferred out to rural police stations. Seriously, this number is unimaginably a XXL number for any politician now. This also means, well over 100 such ministers, deputy ministers and Kangani MPs attached to ministries are running about with such or even heavier security details, some not just with armed police, but with special military squads too. more..

Pardon pushes Asian killer to Islam

Dec 5 (E24|7) A Sri Lankan man on the death row converted to Islam after he was pardoned by the father of a young Saudi man run over by the expatriate in Saudi Arabia. The Buddhist driver had been ordered to pay SR300,000 (Dh300,000) diya (blood money) to the victim’s relatives in return for a pardon but he could not afford it. “The father went to court and pardoned the man without the need to pay diya…when he was released, the Sri Lankan decided to convert to Islam,” more..

'I am happy to go before the people'

Dec 5 (GDI) President Raajapaksa said he is happy to go before the people anytime. Replying to a question whether he regretted the decision to call a snap election, President said, ‘Not not at all, I am very happy to go before the people any time. This is the democratic principle.” Speaking to newspaper editors and media heads today, he said although Mr Maithripala is opposition candidate, his real opponent is former President, more..

Sri Lanka invites Pakistan to invest in Housing and Infrastructure

Dec 5 (GDI) High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Pakistan, Air Chief Marshal Jayalath Weerakkody has invited Pakistan to invest in housing and infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka. Weerakkody has proposed Pakistan to increase investments in Sri Lanka when he called on Pakistan's Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar in Islamabad. Finance Minister welcoming the High Commissioner has said that the feeling of friendship is shared by both the sides and more..

'Govt launches free propaganda campaign for Maithri'

Dec 5 (AM) The UNP said that banners and cutouts of Maithripala Sirisena - which are being displayed on the main roads of Matara – had nothing to with the campaign of the common candidate. “It has now been revealed that they were not put out by the common candidate’s election campaign committee,” a spokesperson of the common opposition said. These cutouts were intentionally displayed by the ruling party to discredit the common candidate’s election campaign, which was officially more..

Navin not sure who is going to win

Dec 5 (Island) Former UPFA Minister Navin Dissanayake said that he couldn’t say who was going to win the presidential election. He was responding to a query by Mahanayake of Asgiriya Chapter Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera. Dissanayake said that he had quit the govt to support those campaigning for the abolition of the executive presidency. MP who recently defected to the UNP, calling on the prelates of Malwatte more..