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UPFA’s slip is showing and coming apart at the seams

Nov 23 (ST) When President Rajapaksa presented the UPFA 10th consecutive Budget to Parliament on Oct 24, a month ahead of the usual Budget period, it was obvious it was intended to win favour with voters at an early Presidential poll. What was not so obvious were the rumblings within the President’s own Party, which would spill over just days before the Budget was set for final approval. Discontentment within the Ruling Party first came to light when two members of the JHU, more..

Maithri: Lessons from history

Nov 23 (ST) My dear Maithri, I thought I must write to you because you are the man of the moment. Everybody is talking about you because you have offered yourself as the ‘common’ candidate that the entire country was speculating about for the past few months — and declared that you would take on Mahinda maama. I must admit, Maithri, despite the speculation and rumours about you that had been circulating for several days, I was shocked and surprised at the announcement on Friday. more..

'The small navy that did big things'

Nov 23 (CT) "I decided to write the story because we need to record our history and I hope more people will write their story," says former Commander of Navy, Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda. Beyond the bloodshed and the human trauma, war is also about human ingenuity, sacrifice, determination and most importantly, politics. Admiral Karannagoda recently launched his memoir titled Adhishtanaya (determination), a detailed more..

England left short of preparation

Nov 23 (CI) England's preparations for the one-day series against Sri Lanka were cut short as their second warm-up match was abandoned without a ball bowled due to a wet outfield at the P Sara Oval. Morning showers left the field saturated and even though the weather cleared during the day, and a decision was delayed until the last minute, there was not enough time for the under-foot conditions to become suitable although shortly after the match was called off England underwent more..

Sri Lanka arrests 14 Indian fishermen

Nov 23 (Hindu) Sri Lankan Navy on Sunday arrested 14 Indian fishermen off Delft islands, on charges of poaching in Sri Lankan waters. Three trawlers in their possession were seized, Navy officials said. The arrested fishermen were likely to be produced before the Kayts Magistrate, officials in the Indian Consulate in Jaffna — who were in touch with the fishermen — said. The arrest comes days after five Indian fishermen on death row in Sri Lanka were released by the Sri Lankan govt. more..

Opposition secures Buddhist backing for Sri Lanka vote

Nov 23 (AFP) Sri Lanka's main opposition candidate on Sunday won important backing from a top Buddhist monk campaigning to scrap the executive presidency and return the country to a parliamentary democracy. Minister Maithripala Sirisena, who defected Friday to challenge his former boss President Rajapakse in the Jan 8 election, visited monk Maduliwawe Sobitha to receive his blessings. more..

SLPI urges President to enact Right to Information law

Nov 23 (Island) The Sri Lanka Press Institute Friday wrote to President Rajapaksa stressing the urgent need for Sri Lanka to enact a Right to Information Act in line with similar statutes in India and other SAARC countries. SLPI’s representation to the president was made in the context of the upcoming 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu later this month. "ln this regard, it is a matter for concern that Sri Lankan citizens remain deprived of robust rights to official information enjoyed by more..

Pope’s visit: Church depends on God

Nov 23 (ST) Despite the possibility of violence, the Catholic Church is relying on faith in God and govt assurances that the upcoming presidential election will not interfere with the scheduled visit of Pope Francis in January, a spokesman said. Presidential election has been fixed for Jan 8 – five days ahead of the Pope’s visit. The Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, declined to comment but Spokesman, Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini, said: “Nobody knew that elections will be held close to more..

MR says he has files on the defectors

Nov 23 (CG) President Rajapaksa today warned that he had “files” on those who had defected from the Govt but will not use it against them. Speaking at an event after opening the newly reconstructed A12 road between Anuradhapura and Trincomalee, the President said that the doors of the Government is like a salon where anyone can enter and anyone can leave. President noted that so many members of SLFP, including former President more..

Learn from history and prevent recurrence of youth violence: Eran

Nov 23 (Island) The allocation for Higher Education was Rs.40 billion in 2014 and Rs.41 billion in 2015. To maintain the actual expenditure of Rs.40 billion in 2015 would require an allocation of Rs.41.6 billion in 2015 after adjusting for inflation. Therefore in real terms the allocation for higher education has reduced in 2015. Despite the lower allocation, the Finance Minister promised to spend Rs.1.6 billion on the Post Graduate Institution of Pali & Buddhist Studies, Higher Education Scholarships, more..

Retired Tri-service Officers enlightened on Army’s role in security & development

Nov 23 (Island) Senior members of the Association of Retired Flag Rank Officers (ARFRO) of tri-services on Friday received an update on the Army’s ongoing involvement in nation-building tasks and its all-time readiness against any recurrence of terrorist threats from Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Daya Ratnayake. The special get-together was held at Sri Lanka Corps of Military Police (SLCMP) Headquarters at Polhengoda. On his arrival at the venue, the chief guest was received by more..

SLFP believes no one else will leave

Nov 23 (CG) The SLFP insisted that no one else will leave the party or betray the party like former SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena. Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said that as a Cabinet Minister she can give a firm assurance that SLFP members will not defect. She told reporters that Maithripala Sirisena had betrayed the party and was being used in an attempt to bring Ranil Wickremesinghe back to power. more..

Sajith backs decision on candidate

Nov 23 (CG) UNP deputy leader Sajith Premadasa says he backs the decision taken by the party working committee on the common candidate despite his firm belief that a UNP member should be President. Premadasa said that his father, the late Ranasinghe Premadasa, worked hard to make J.R. Jayawardena the President. He said the goal of all UNP members and supporters was to ensure another UNP member becomes President once against and that is his personal goal as well. more..

Shooting of ex-PS member: Suspects at large

Nov 23 (NS) Police have still not been able to apprehend the suspects involved in the shooting of a former UNP PS member on Friday evening. When contacted, SSP Ajith Rohana said no arrests had been made and those involved in the shooting remained unidentified yesterday. The victim, Chamila Ranasinghe, is a former member of the Beruwala Pradeshiya Sabha. He had been shot by unidentified assailants around 6.40pm in Maggona on Friday while he and a group of UNP more..

Naguleswaran killing not by Army

Nov 23 (CT) A rehabilitated LTTE cadre who was in Eelam police before the end of war was assassinated last week paving way for the Tamil Diaspora to sling mud at the Security Forces again. The murder victim was Krishnasami Naguleswaran, 39, a resident of Iluppukadavai Police Division in Vavuniya. He lived in Velankulam, Ganeshapuram with his wife and two children. His wife was a school teacher. more..

FUTA keeps mum on Budget allocation for education

Nov 23 (NS) “We would like an explanation of the budget proposal from Dr. PB Jayasundara,” FUTA President Dr. Chandraguptha Thenuwara said, adding that, “a responsible economist will have to explain the budget proposals,” to Dr. Thenuwara as he is unable to understand it. Once the budget proposals are explained to and understood by FUTA, they will hold a press conference regarding the many issues they have, including FUTA’s opinion of the allocations made for more..

JHU still undecided on whether to support Maithripala

Nov 23 (AM) JHU is still undecided on whether to support common candidate of the opposition Maithripala Sirisena. JHU Media Spokesperson Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said that JHU will take the final decision after convening the Central Committee. Meanwhile, JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka confirmed through his facebook page a few hours ago that the final decision has still not be taken. Ranawaka said that a final decision can be taken only after more..

Govt split could impact on foreign investment

Nov 23 (ST) While Sri Lanka’s business community reacted cautiously to Friday’s stunning split in Govt ranks, economists, speaking mostly off the record, said political stability has become an issue for foreign investors while academia and chambers now have an opportunity to speak about the ‘real’ economic statistics. “The people cannot be fooled by rosy statistics all the time; the facts speak for themselves and more..

International Conference themed 'Evolution of Buddhist Stupa' held

Nov 23 (GDI) In parallel with the series of events organized at the Sandahiru Stupa, an International Conference on Buddhism on the theme of 'Evolution of Buddhist Stupa' was held with a view of educating the devotees including international community at the Bhikshu University in Anuradhapura yesterday. The keynote address of the international conference was delivered by the Prof. Nimal De Silva, former Director General of the Postgraduate Institute of Uni of Kelaniya enlightening the listeners. more..

I will not leave even if MR does: Nimal

Nov 23 (DM) Denying rumours that he was planning to quit the SLFP, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva today said he would not do so even if Mahinda Rajapaksa left the SLFP. “Almost every day, there were reports in the media that I will be the next Prime Minister. I am not a person who goes behind portfolios. The SLFP General Secretary became the Common Candidate. I also got several offers from time to time. But I will not leave the party,” Minister Siripala said addressing media. more..

Opening conumdrum vexes Mathews

Nov 23 (CI) Sri Lanka will aim to lock down their best ODI combination as World Cup preparation begin in earnest, during the seven-match series against England, captain Angelo Mathews said. Sri Lanka had experimented with their XI in the five-match series against India, resting key players and handing out two ODI debuts, but Mathews said he now sought to build momentum with the players who would comprise the best side at World Cup. more..

Pre-polls related violence increases

Nov 23 (CG) Election monitors today reported pre-polls related violence, including shooting incidents in Puttalam and Madampe. The CaFFE said that the house of a staunch UNP supporter was shot at in Medagama, Madampe early this morning. The house of Sudesh Priyankara, at Second Lane, Medagama, was also attacked. CaFFE believes that both men were targeted because they lit firecrackers during celebrations by the the opposition when former SLFP General Secretary Maithripala more..

Angered by break-up, girl stabs boyfriend

Nov 23 (E24|7) A 20-year-old Sri Lankan woman, who was absconding after stabbing her 21-year-old boyfriend about two months ago, surrendered to the police on Nov 18. A love affair between the woman, a garment factory worker, and the youth had started about one and a half years ago. Both had informed their parents about the affair and about their intention to marry. The youth realised the poverty of the girl’s family when he accompanied his parents to the girl’s house one day. more..

'Rajapaksa treated as a cash cow by those around him'

Nov 23 (AD) Leader of the Liberal Party of Sri Lanka MP Rajiva Wijesinha says that it is important that Mahinda Rajapaksa does not win the forthcoming Presidential Election, because if he wins the consequences for Sri Lanka’s armed forces will be very negative. Wijesinha, who recently quit the govt with former Minister Maithripala Sirisena, was speaking as a panelist, along with UNP MP MP Harsha de Silva more..

Free Media express concern over blocking of Sirasa’s Satana

Nov 23 (NF) Numerous complaints were received from our viewers on Saturday evening, regarding disruptions of Sirasa TV, Shakthi TV and MTV Sports, which come under MTV Channel Private Limited, on PEO TV and Dialog TV. The disruptions were experienced while preparations were underway for the political debate programme – Satana – at which Maithripala Sirisena was also a participant. The service disruption came up at several media briefings held on Sunday. more..

Plea to release Sri Lankan refugees

Nov 23 (CG) Tamizhaga Vaazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) leader, Panruti T Velmurugan, on Saturday urged TN Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam to immediately release some 26 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees kept in a special camp in the Tiruchi central prison and give them medical assistance. The refugees have been on a fast since November 15 to demand that they be released from the camp and permitted to take legal assistance from outside to fight the cases against them, he said in a statement.

Transfer of 10,000 cops postponed

Nov 23 (AD) The police headquarters today announced that transfer of some 10,000 police officers scheduled to come into effect on 1 January, 2015 have been postponed due to the forthcoming Presidential election. SSP Ajith Rohana said that therefore respective transfers will be effected from 1 February next year. “The implementations of the transfers have been postponed 1 February, 2015. more..

Finally, A way out

Nov 24 (CT) The opposition has cleared, spectacularly, the first hurdle in the presidential race. The honours of that victorious engagement belong to Maithripala Sirisena – and to Chandrika Kumaratunga, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mangala Samaraweera. A Rajapaksa defeat is by no means assured. But for the first time it has become a credible, viable possibility. And that is a great leap forward. Maithripala Sirisena is no better or worse than most Lankan politicians. more..

JHU action precipitates a wave of crossovers

Nov 24 (NS) After weeks of speculation, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) left the government this week announcing that they would function as an independent group in Parliament. Cabinet minister Champika Ranawaka and Provincial minister Udaya Gammanpila also resigned their portfolios. The decision was meant to put an end to much political intrigue where many felt that the JHU would, in fact, not leave the government even though they threatened to do so. more..

Improper waste disposal, a colossal loss to the country

Nov 24 (SO) Sri Lankans contributed to collect 15 million lunch sheets a day according to a research done in 2012. Researchers revealed that 20 million shopping bags are dumped each day while 20 million yoghurt cups and one million sachet packets are dumped per month. Every time some one goes shopping he/she brings home several polythene bags which are not recycled or reused. more..

Tamil diaspora must take a unified position on Tamil Eelam referendum

Nov 24 (CT) The 2009 Mullaivaikal Genocide has etched an indelible mark on the national psyche of Eelam Tamils. Those were days our people were chased down and murdered, anywhere and everywhere – in their homes, in the street, in the temple, in the hospital, in wedding ceremonies, in tunnel services – there was no place to hunker down; if you were Tamil, no place was a safe haven. The Mullaivaikal Genocide also dismantled the de-facto state of Tamil Eelam and more..

Red marks that dotted a struggle

Nov 24 (NS) Twenty five years since what is arguably the most intense genocide in “Southern Lanka”, that dark reign of blood, bullets and terror remains a “taboo subject”: unspoken of, unaccounted for and un-remembered by the State. Every year, in the month of November, the JVP organizes a commemoration on behalf of the fallen victims of the uprising against the J.R Jayewardene govt, which culminated in an inconclusive number of deaths of civilians and political activists. more..

'Not a development, But a drawback'

Nov 24 (SL) With the new developments, the appointment of the former UPFA General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena as the common candidate was seen as a very interesting development to the changing political situation of the country. However, UPFA Minister Mihinda Yapa Abeywardena said that it is no threat to the President as the people’s choice would always be President Rajapaksa. more..

Critically supporting the anti-regime campaign

Nov 24 (GV) It had to happen that way, and the break was only possible with a serious split within the regime. The moment had come for members of the SLFP to take the plunge. And when finally Vasantha Senanayake, MP, crossed over (the first member of the brave ‘suicide squad’) and mentioned that he knew who the common candidate was, the matter was settled. It had to be Maithripala Sirisena. And yet it was somewhat remarkable, in this day and age of unprecedented surveillance, more..

Good governance can oust nationalism as central issue

Nov 24 (SL) The decision of the JHU to oppose President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s bid to be re-elected for a third term has the potential to be the defining moment of the forthcoming presidential election. In explaining their departure, the JHU leaders have said that they united with the government to defeat the LTTE and its threat to the unity of the country. But now that threat is over, they have said that the present need is to achieve good governance in the country. more..

'Mega deal makers have hijacked Parliament'

Nov 24 (CT) JHU General Secretary, Champika Ranawaka said, "We invite people to join us to create a new age of better economic and political culture." Q: You said at the press conference on 18 Nov that you had broken open the door of the cave and invited the people of lion's generation to join. What did you mean by it? A: You can see what has happened. Is the political situation today the same as it was a week ago? No. more..

President, After the poll

Nov 24 (SL) By naming incumbent SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena as the common Opposition candidate in the polls to nation’s highest office, Opposition may have surprised President Rajapaksa. If not to the same extent, it might also many a liberal in the UNP, who are averse to Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism beyond the decimation of the terrorist LTTE. This is not to say that Maithripala is a weak candidate, or the Opposition has a losing proposition already on hand. more..

Social responsibility in universities in unstable times

Nov 24 (GV) Guest lecture delivered at the international conference, ‘Revisiting Social Responsibility in Contexts of Crisis: Challenges and Possibilities in Sri Lanka’ at Faculty of Arts, University of Colombo, 17 Nov 2014. Vice Chancellor, the dean and colleagues, let me wish all of you a very good morning. When the Dean, Faculty of Arts wrote to me some time ago and asked if I am willing to speak at this conference under the theme, more..

Common Candidate true story: Dinesh reveals 1988 Opposition

Nov 24 (CT) Q: How did this secret mission start? A: 1988 was an era of terror which is now forgotten by many people. There were both the JVP terror and State suppression. We discussed about the Presidential Election with the SLFP and the other leaders of the Opposition. Premadsasa was the UNP candidate and the competition was tooth and nail. The Presidential campaign was very hard and there were more..

SL's future is in the growth of SME sector

Nov 24 (CT) Lankaputhra Development Bank Chairman H.S. Dharmasiri in an exclusive interview said that the future of Sri Lanka depends on the future of SMEs. The market is small; at present around 60% of the GDP comes from SMEs. Our ultimate object is developing at least 100 SME leaders. The present ones in the fold will grow to be the large and big ones in the near future. Lankaputhra Development Bank is a licensed specialized Bank fully owned by Govt of SL. more..