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Schools being used for polls propaganda

Nov 20 (CT) Over 2,000 schools, administered by Western and Central Provincial Councils, have been instructed to hold meetings with the participation of Provincial Councillors, parents and students, in a bid to carry out election propaganda, Mahinda Jayasinghe, Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers' Service Union (CTSU), said. "The ministry is giving cheques of between Rs 50,000 and 150,000 to schools administered by the Western Provincial Council, to colour wash the buildings. more..

Lankan refugees attempt mass suicide

Nov 20 (CG) Twenty Sri Lankan Tamil refugees lodged at a camp attached to the Trichy Central Prison made a mass suicide attempt on Tuesday, consuming sleeping pills inside the camp. All 20 inmates were taken to hospital immediately. Their condition is stable now. Prison officials said about 26 Lankan Tamils, who are facing trial under various charges including illegal entry and petty crimes, were on a hunger strike for three days seeking speedy trial which is delayed by first years more..

Joint opposition front to be formed on Friday

Nov 20 (Island) The Joint Opposition Front (JOF) to contest the next Presidential Election was expected to be formally established on Friday. The parties to the MoU based on a six-point programme, would include the UNP, JHU, National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ), Democratic Peoples Front (DPF), Nava Sihala Urumaya (NSU), National Unity Alliance (NUA) and Eksath Janatha Peramuna (EJP). more..

Basil trying to resolve JHU crisis

Nov 20 (CT) It is reported that Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa is intending to intervene to resolve the political crisis that has arisen as a result of members of the JHU resigning from their posts in the government. Whist no one has been appointed to the position vacated by Former Western Province Agriculture Minister Udaya Gammanpila, Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga is presently overseeing the duties of the position. more..

Presidential Poll: Official word awaited

Nov 20 (DN) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday said he is awaiting President Rajapaksa's proclamation to proceed with the preparatory work for the 2015 presidential poll. "I shall receive the proclamation with instructions to conduct the Presidential Election 2015, either by midnight today or tomorrow," he said. Asked what will be the date of election, the Commissioner said, "Well I would say that it will not be Jan 2, 2015 for it happens to be a Friday". more..

Mahinda: SLFP candidate

Nov 20 (CT) SLFP Central Committee, last night, unanimously decided to field President Rajapaksa as the Party's candidate at the next Presidential election, Party sources said. They said Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva proposed the name of Party Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, while it was seconded by PM D.M. Jayaratne. The SLFP Central Committee appointed several election campaign committees at electoral and district level to more..

Politics in the run-up to presidential election

Nov 20 (DM) Politics in the run-up to the upcoming presidential election is becoming ever more interesting. On Tuesday JHU announced it had on a matter of policy decided to act independently of the UPFA led by President Rajapaksa and also announced that Minister Champika Ranawaka and Western Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila had relinquished their portfolios. Before this announcement on Tuesday, JHU stalwart and MP Ven. Athureliya Rathana Thera made public more..

Mahida Plus (+) or Minus (-)

Nov 20 (DM) Next Presidential Election will be fought on the wavelength of a Mahinda Plus (+) to a Mahinda Minus (-); with the waveband set on his eight-year regime. To be precise: Will Mahinda, be good or bad personally for you in the next few years? It is the ultimate question that will decide the election. Colombians will lose the election again on pressing with the perennial issue that sails above the head of the voters, that fails to ignite even a feint touch of interest amongst ordinary voters, more..

Business sinking at Floating Market

Nov 20 (SL) The floating market on the jade green canal of Bastian Mawatha in Pettah is indeed picturesque. The large boats docked along the landing look charming against the backdrop of the railway tracks with the odd pelican preening itself on the still water. However, the market is oddly enervated. Business for the traders who have rented out spaces is slow. When The Sunday Leader walked on to the first boat, more..

Lust and foul murder in the dead of night

Nov 20 (ST) It was one of the most puzzling and grotesque crimes – the young woman whose body lay naked beside a stream had vanished noiselessly in the night while her mother lay sleeping in the same room. Now, as detectives prepare to go to court, details of the tragedy are emerging. The alarm was raised on the morning of May 26 this year when Nadisha Warapitiya, a 23-year-old undergraduate, was found missing more..

Oluvil Port: Down the drain!

Nov 20 (CT) The COPE, in its latest report said, although the construction work of the Oluvil Port had been completed by spending Rs 6,780 million received from the DANIDA Agency of Denmark and Rs 444 million from the SLPA, its operations had not commenced even at the date of the examination on 4 June, this year. Further, it has been revealed that the Port can accommodate only smaller vessels due to its low depth more..

'I'm a bit disappointed not to get that Test average up to 50'

Nov 20 (CI) Q: Has there been a moment since you retired when you have questioned your decision? A: Not really, never. I think that's a good thing because then I know I made the right call. It's always a tough decision to make. You never know when is the right time. But I've always felt that I would get the hint from within me, and then I just needed to ask the right questions of myself. A few things I had to process, one being that more..

While opposition seeks its common candidate parties leaving UPFA shakes govt

Nov 20 (DM) The opposition, grappling with an arduous task to find a candidate acceptable to all, received a new lease of life after the JHU broke ranks with the govt on Tuesday. For the first time after the war victory, UPFA was shaken by the fact that one of its allies left it, making somewhat of a challenge to the unstinted popularity it enjoyed so far at electorates, particularly in the non-urban areas. JHU took this decision on Monday more..

CEB squanders Rs. 20 mn on South Korean sojourn

Nov 20 (Island) Having represented Sri Lanka at a recent conference in South Korea organised by the Association of the Electricity Supply Industry in the East Asia and the Western Pacific (AESIEAP), an influential private association, CEB General Manager Shavindranath Fernando has undertaken to host its 2018 confab, which is expected to cost the Sri Lankan taxpayer as much as Rs. 500 mn. more..

JVP interested in reports of a govt minister becoming common candidate

Nov 20 (AM) The JVP has stated that the party was watching the developments on the reports which claim that a Minister of the govt may be the common candidate. JVP MP Vijitha Heart has said that the party will take a decision taking into account how the political environment evolves in the country. However, JVP will not support Ranil Wickremesinghe as the common candidate under any circumstances, he has added, more..

JHU undecided

Nov 20 (CT) UPFA constituent, the JHU said it was undecided on whether to support a common candidate, contest by themselves or maintain a neutral stance at the upcoming Presidential Election. National Organizer of the JHU, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe added that the Party was now embarking on discussions regarding their Party's proposals with fellow UPFA constituents, the LSSP, CP, DLF, NFF and the MEP. more..

Govt is confident of Maithripala

Nov 20 (CG) Govt said it was confident that Minister Maithripala Sirisena will not join the opposition despite rumors he was not happy with the Govt. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that Sirisena was present at the SLFP Central Committee meeting last night and had not made any indication of leaving the Govt. The SLFP had unanimously backed the proposal to nominate President Rajapaksa as the govt candidate more..

Mahinda declares Presidential election

Nov 20 (CG) President Rajapaksa has signed the proclamation declaring a Presidential election next year. In the proclamation, President has noted his intention to seek another term in office. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has confirmed he received the proclamation. JHU had this week resigned from its Govt positions in protest over holding election next year before implementing key constitutional changes. more..

Eris and Elections

Nov 20 (CT) In modern parlance it would be called a prequel – to the Trojan War. Eris, Goddess of Discord, appears uninvited at the wedding banquet of Peleus and Thetis and throws the eponymous apple amongst the assembled guests, seeding collision, strife and war. Mahinda Rajapaksa may have intended to do an Eris vis-ŕ-vis the Opposition with his decision to have an early presidential election. But his gambit seems to have backfired. Opposition is indubitably at loggerheads, but more..

Sri Lankan rupee forwards fall on importer dollar demand

Nov 20 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee forwards ended weaker on Thursday due to dollar demand from importers, but moral suasion by the central bank limited its fall, dealers said. The local currency is under pressure as imports continue to rise on stable foreign exchange and low interest rates, they said. The rupee will likely remain weak due to rising seasonal imports, at least through November and then start to inch up in December on remittances, they added. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka stocks close higher

Nov 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed 0.07% higher with the price gains in Nestle Lanka, brokers said. All Share Price Index closed 5.23 points higher at 7,530.33, up 0.07%. S&P SL20 closed 2.12 points higher at 4,190.93, up 0.05%. Turnover was 1.69 billion rupees, down from 1.83 billion rupees a day earlier with 92 stocks closed positive against 94 negative. Aggregate value of all off-the-floor deals only represented 5% of the daily turnover. Piramal Glass Ceylon closed 10 cents higher at 5.20 more..

Hambantota gallows to be conserved

Nov 20 (Island) Archaeology Department has taken steps to conserve the gallows and a guard room set up during the colonial period in Hambantota. Director General of Archaeology Dr. Senarath Dissanayake said that the gallows and guard room would be conserved as a tourist attraction under the programme launched by the UDA. At present the department’s Chemical Conservation unit and Architectural Conservations unit had jointly launched a project to conserve damaged parts of more..

EU sanctions on SL fisheries sector - Part 1

Nov 20 (Island) When I became minister, Sri Lanka had not been represented in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission from 2007 to 2010. No replies had been sent to IOTC notifications either and the IOTC was about to cancel our membership. If that had happened, we would not be able to export fish to any country. I went for the IOTC sessions in Brisbane, Australia because they insisted that SL should be represented at more..

Battle begins...

Nov 20 (CT) The proclamation calling a snap presidential election was issued by the President last night. The incumbent seeks a third term. The joint opposition is in search for a common candidate. Of all presidential elections, this election appears to be crucial. Be that as it may, all aspirants should put forward their credentials as serious thinkers about the nation's issues, at a time the people are faced with untold hardships unable to cope with the ever rising cost of living. more..

More to be arrested

Nov 20 (CT) The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) revealed that investigations are being conducted to arrest more suspects, in connection with the assault and sexual harassment of a Scottish couple at a night club, by Minister Mervyn Silva's son Malaka and his associates. Seven suspects, including Malaka Silva are currently in remand custody. "Based on the CCTV footage from the nightclub, it is clear that there are some more suspects, other than those already in remand custody, more..

Wasantha Senanayake crosses over to UNP

Nov 20 (AM) UPFA Gampaha District MP Wasantha Senanayake joined the UPFA a short while ago. Speaking a short while ago at Sirikotha, Senanayake said that he considers transparency to be vital and the present constitution was behind many of the ills the country was facing. He said that the executive presidency should not be abolished but reformed. He has been in the forefront criticizing the govt on several accounts. more..

PM: MR will welcome Pope Francis soon after securing a third term

Nov 20 (Island) PM D.M. Jayaratne said that JHU’s decision to campaign against the abolition of the executive presidency wouldn’t affect President Rajapaksa’s victory at the forthcoming presidential poll. Having secured a third term, President Rajapaksa would welcome Pope Francis on Jan 13, the PM said. He asserted that the political situation would be totally different when Pope Francis arrived here. It would be a blessing for the newly re-elected President to welcome the Pope, the PM said. more..

Police look for place where LTTE killed and burnt 80 cops

Nov 20 (Island) Acting on information elicited from LTTE cadres, police have begun an operation to locate the place in the Oddusudan jungle where the intelligence head of Mount Lavinia police, Inspector P. Jeyaratnam and 80 other security forces and police personnel were lined up, shot dead and burnt by the LTTE. Under interrogation, the LTTE cadres have told the police that the bodies of slain security forces personnel and policemen were burnt on old tyres. Jeyaratnam was shot dead and more..

'Full SC determination will not be tabled'

Nov 20 (CG) The full Supreme Court (SC) opinion that President Mahinda Rajapaksa can contest for a third term in office does not need to be tabled in Parliament, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva informed Parliament. UNP has been pushing for the opinion of the SC to be tabled in Parliament so that it becomes a public document. However the Minister said that opinion was only conveyed to President and does not need to be made public. more..

Health officials fly out in droves

Nov 20 (Island) Several high ranking Health Ministry officials including the Health Secretary and the Director General Health Services had left the country on official and private visits during the past few days. Among others who have left the country are Senior Additional Secretary and five out of seven Deputy Directors General for Laboratory Services, Public Health Services II, Medical Services II, Planning II, Education, Training and Research and Dental Health Services. more..

Now, sugar cane farmers contract killer kidney disease

Nov 20 (Island) Around 1,500 to 2,000 young and middle-aged sugar cane farmers in Wellawaya and Buttala have developed renal failure, the National Project for the Prevention of Kidney Disease (NPPKD) said. NPPKD Director Dr. Channa Jayasumana said that sugar cane farmers had of late begun to complain of difficulty in urination, abdomen cramps and mostly they were suffering from polyuria (excessive urination) and some of them were undergoing treatment. more..

Belarus to strengthen cooperation with SL in international parliamentary organizations

Nov 20 (BelTA) During the official visit of Belarusian parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka, Chairman of House of Representatives of Belarus National Assembly Vladimir Andreichenko met with Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa. “Belarusian side noted the need to enhance the coordination in international parliamentary organizations. Main topic of the meeting was the development of Belarusian-Lankan inter-parliamentary dialogue. more..

Protesters want 3 Lankans also freed

Nov 20 (CG) A protest was staged in Jaffna today calling for the release of the three Sri Lankans who were sentenced to death together with five Indians. The five Indians were yesterday pardoned by President Rajapaksa but the three Sri Lankans are still in jail serving a life sentence. The family members of the Sri Lankans and others staged a protest walk in Jaffna which began from opposite the Jaffna prison this morning. The five Indians were freed following protests in India and more..

'Nominations will be called within 3 weeks'

Nov 20 (AM) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that nominations would be called for the Presidential Election will be called after 16 days and before 21 days. The election will be held within 45 to 65 days from today. Deshapriya added that he will issue the date for nominations and the date of the election within the next 48 hours. President Rajapaksa today signed the proclamation declaring his intention to hold a Presidential Election seeking his third term. more..

Sri Lanka ranked 36 (out of 162 countries) in Global Terrorism Index

Nov 20 (WP) Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar are three of the 13 countries worldwide identified as being at higher risk for terrorism, according to the recently-released Global Terrorism Index. The report, published by the Institute for Economic and Peace in Australia, found that 82% of terrorist attacks occur in just five countries - Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria. The next five countries seeing a significant number of more..

'Facebook is responsible for failure of new players'

Nov 20 (AM) Minister Mahindanada Aluthgamage has said that the unsatisfactory performance of younger cricketers was partly due to social media such as facebook. He has said that the recent Indian tour was undertaken to give young players a chance. Although losing all five matches was a unsavory experience, it was not a catastrophy he said, adding that if such defeats had occurred during the upcoming tours of Australia and New Zealand, one could say it was a serious situation. more..

GMOA: Personal health screening and record system on the cards

Nov 20 (Island) Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara with the concurrence of relevant stakeholders such as the Health Ministry, Public Administration, Salaries and Cadre Commission and Finance Ministry will submit a Cabinet paper to initiate a personal health screening and maintain personal health record system for every Sri Lankan, according to GMOA. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said that in addition to that the restructuring of entire administrative system more..

UK brothers orphaned in tsunami repay Sri Lankan support

Nov 20 (AFP) Orphaned by the 2004 tsunami, two British brothers have told their story in a book out this week and unveiled plans to build a Sri Lankan children's home, using funds from their flip-flop business. Rob and Paul Forkan were aged 17 and 15 when the giant wave hit their hotel in Weligama, and survived by clinging onto a roof. Their two younger siblings, Rosie and Matty, also survived disaster, but there was no sign of more..

'My dad armed Mahattaya to split LTTE'

Nov 20 (CG) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa says his father armed Gopalaswamy Mahendraraja, also known as Mahattaya, in an attempt to split the LTTE. Speaking at an event in Tissamaharama today, Premadasa said that his father, former PM Ranasinghe Premadasa, had not armed Mahattaya to split the country but split the LTTE. He said that the Govt is however spreading false allegations against his father saying that he had strengthened the LTTE during the war. more..