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‘They paste, we scrape’

Aug 8 (ST) Desperate to have illegal posters up even for a few hours, sometimes just in the dawn hours, parties and candidates are plastering walls with posters all over the country with just two weeks to go to the elections. Candidates eager to promote their preference numbers among voters send out crews shortly after midnight to put up posters despite being aware that the posters would be torn off within hours. more..

Relief measures to be continued after polls

Aug 8 (SL) The 100 day programme of the govt led by the UNP provided a list of relief measures in its interim budget. Despite many questions being posed on its sustenance, the relief provided to the people is expected to play a decisive role at the elections on August 17. When inquired as to whether a UNP govt will be able to continue providing these relief in the future, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that most definitely more..

Tigers as Spiders! Ex – LTTE cadres contesting as independent group in Jaffna

Aug 8 (DBS) 6, 151 Candidates from 21 registered political parties and 201 independent groups are contesting the Parliamentary elections. Of these 3, 653 are from the 21 parties and 2,498 from independent groups. Predictably the spotlight in general has been on the major political parties both nationally and regionally. However a particular group of independents contesting in the north has also attracted much attention. more..

Former Speaker stresses need to protect political leaders

Aug 8 (Island) Former Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara warned that the lives of those holding powerful positions were always in danger. One-time UNP heavyweight said that both President Maithripala Sirisena and Minister Ravi Karunanayake should realise the situation faced by them. Lokubandara was addressing a gathering at the launch of A Sri Lankan Voice in the Global Arena and its Sinhala translation at the BMICH more..

Govt says country’s image was tarnished

Aug 8 (CG) The Govt says the country’s image which had been tarnished in the international arena has now been re-established. Govt member Karu Jayasuriya, said that a number of large foreign investment projects have already been initiated and many more foreign investors and financial institutions, funding development projects, look forward to working with an administration of the UNFGG. more..

Kilinochchi struggles to leave past behind

Aug 8 (Hindu) Those who pass through Kilinochchi, which served as headquarters of LTTE till the end of 2008, hardly miss the sight of a fallen overhead water tank in the city. Perhaps this is the only symbol of the past that has been allowed by the govt to remain. Area around the destroyed water tank, which is said to have been destroyed by LTTE, has been developed into a small park with a hoarding, which reads say no to destruction. more..

Susil alleges UNP trying to divide SLFP

Aug 8 (Island) UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha lambasted former President Chandrika Kumaratunga for working for the UNP in her retirement. She had never worked for the SLFP since her retirement, he said. He said her statements in support of the UNP with days to go for a crucial election were condemnable. Premajayantha said that since 2005, when former President Rajapaksa entered the presidential more..

'JVP has only social motives'

Aug 8 (DN) The JVP has no personal motives, but, only social motives, said former MP Sunil Handunnetti. Addressing the media, Battaramulla yesterday, JVP Matara District candidate Handunnetti said that two main political parties are trying to deceive the public through impressive election promises which would never come true. He said the UNP and UPFA were now engaged in the same old politics of giving election promises. more..

UNP trying to sell water rights to multinational giants: UPFA

Aug 8 (Island) UPFA claimed that present UNP govt had presented a Cabinet paper to prepare a water policy and Act to transfer water rights to multinational companies and to fix a price for water. Former Minister Wimal Weerawansa said the then UNP govt in 2001 had also attempted to introduce a Water Act, but its attempt had failed due to protests and the Ranil Wickremesinghe govt had fallen two weeks later. more..

Underworld members involved in polls in 4 districts

Aug 8 (CG) Underworld members are involved in election related work in four districts, local election monitors said today. CaFFE said that they have received information related to underworld members involved in election campaign work in Colombo, Gampaha, Hambantota and Kandy. CaFFE Executive Director, Keerthi Tenakoon, said that underworld members who were known to have been close with the UPFA have now shifted more..

N&E parties, Tamil Diaspora now think differently!

Aug 8 (CT) The Canada branch of the TNA held a special meeting in Toronto last week, to get the views of the Lankan Tamils who are presently domiciled in Canada, on the roles of the Tamil political parties in the forthcoming parliamentary polls in the Island. TNA Leader R. Sampanthan also addressed the Tamil Canadians via Skype, elaborating on the TNA's stance at the parliamentary polls in the Island. Apart from Sampanthan several other TNA candidates and more..

Tax polls spends

Aug 8 (CT) One way Sri Lanka may be able to boost its flagging revenue is by charging politicos for undeclared money, going by their election spends. Politicos are expected to declare their assets by law. Electronic, print media and poster, advertising; use of transportation; house to house campaigning and maintaining election offices cost massive sums of money. Inland Revenue Department (IRD) should be provided with the necessary expertise to assess the cost of such campaigning more..

Ceylon Today Cartoon

Land bridge over Palk Straits: Impact on bio-diversity & ethnic identity

Aug 8 (CT) In a previous comment I discussed economic issues and some questions about sovereignty that arise if the Indians revive a 2002 proposal for a land bridge over Palk straits. Surprisingly, many Northern Nationalists think that the opposition to land bridge is a matter of Sinhala Chauvinism. In fact the entity most threatened by the bridge is Illankai-Thamil culture. Distinctive flora and fauna of the island, evolved since the last glaciation are equally threatened. more..

JVP accuses UNP of using underworld muscle

Aug 8 (Island) JVP accused the UNP of using underworld gangs in its election campaign. JVP Candidate Sunil Hadunnetti said that the two main political parties, UNP and UPFA were now employing the old methods the majority of people had voted for a change at the last presidential election. Citing the recent murders in Kotahena and Wattala, he alleged that underworld gangs created by the former UPFA govt were now being given protection under the Yahapalana govt. more..

Shivajilingam writes to Zeid on war crimes report

Aug 8 (CG) TNA member of the NPC, M K Shivajilingam, has written to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, urging him to ensure the investigations on on the war is purely an international judicial process. In his letter, Shivajilingam noted that the UN’s failure to protect the Tamil people in 2009 was termed as systemic failure of the UN by the UN’s own “Report of the UN Secretary General’s Internal more..

Fake ballot papers found

Aug 8 (CT) Kantale Police yesterday discovered a stack of counterfeit ballot papers in the offices of a UNP candidate located at the Clock Tower Junction in the Kantale Police Division, on Thursday, the Police Media Unit [PMU] said. The PMU added that a total of 14,986 fake ballot papers were discovered by the Kantale Police. The Police have taken both the ballot papers and one suspect into custody. The forged ballot papers were found following an anonymous call received by more..

Two Japanese naval ships arrive in Colombo

Aug 8 (SLN) Two Japanese naval ships, Ikazuchi and Murasame, arrived at the Port of Colombo on a goodwill and supply visit on 7th August. They were welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on arrival. The Head of the Mission, Commander Escort Division One, Captain Atsushi Nakasuji and the ships’ Commanding Officers, Commander Kazuharu Hokazono and Commander Kenji Fujil paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Area Commander of Western Naval Command, more..

Sri Lanka's ex-strongman in tough battle for return to power

Aug 8 (AP) Mahinda Rajapaksa, once poised to be Sri Lanka's president for life, is a desperate man these days. At stake is not just his own political future, but that of an entire dynasty and a network of supporters he founded at every level. A shocking loss to a former ally in the January election he had himself called two years ahead of schedule has hit his once powerful family's fortunes hard. It seems only a political revival may offer them more..

One million cataract patients on waiting list due to shortage of eye surgeons

Aug 8 (Island) Coordinator Vision 2020 Secretariat of the Health Ministry, Dr. Asela Abeydheera said that there was a severe shortage of trained eye surgeons in Sri Lanka. It was an impediment to the Vision 2020 (V2020) programmes aimed at preventing avoidable blindness in the country, he said. Country’s need was for 200 trained eyes surgeons. A majority of them were required to serve in peripheries- 12 of them including Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and more..

China seeks agreement to import bananas

Aug 8 (EN) Sri Lanka is to sign an agreement with China on quality standards for export of bananas for which there is good demand among Chinese consumers. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the agreement on phytosanitary requirements for banana exports will be signed between China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and the Quarantine Service of the island’s Ministry of Agriculture. He said there was good potential to export more..

Forex reserves drop to US$ 6,887mn in July

Aug 8 (EN) Sri Lanka's forex reserves dropped US$ 638 million to US$ 6,887.2 million in July 2015 from a month earlier, official data showed amid record low interest rates and high credit financed State spending. Sri Lanka's forex reserves peaked in August 2014 at US$ 9,185.64 million amid a credit contraction and began to drop as credit picked up. The current credit and foreign reserve cycle began in Feb 2012, more..

Restraining order on SLFP Central Committee meeting extended

Aug 8 (Island) The District Court of Colombo yesterday extended till August 24, 2015 the enjoining order issued earlier restraining the holding of the SLFP Central Committee meeting. Prasanna Solangaarachchi, Pradeshiya Sabha member of Kotikawatte, Mulleriyawa has complained to the court that the Central Committee meeting of the SLFP could not be held without obtaining the approval of the party President, Maithripala Sirisena according to the party constitution. more..

SLCM founder leader opposed NE merger, says Azwer

Aug 8 (Island) Founder of SLMC M.H.M. Ashraff had clearly said that he would not support the merger of North and East. East is East and North is North, never the twain shall meet. The present-day SLMC politicians had to bear in mind the position of their late leader on the issue, former Minister of Muslim Affairs A.H.M. Azwer said, addressing several meetings in support of UPFA candidates in the Anuradhapura district at Galenbindunuwewa, Medawachchiya, Kekirawa and more..

Police to enforce speed limit on 72 roads

Aug 8 (AD) the Police Department today announced that cases will be filed against motorists violating the speed limits on 72 main roads in the country with speed limit signs, with effect from Tuesday. Currently legal action is not instigated with regard to speeding vehicles due to Supreme Court verdict declaring that cases cannot be filed for speeding until speed limit signs are properly placed on the road. more..

US issues travel advice before Lankan polls

Aug 8 (CG) United States has issued an updated travel advice for Sri Lanka warning US citizens of possible violence ahead of the August 17 Parliamentary election. In the travel advice, US citizens have been advised to monitor local media and avoid political rallies and demonstrations. “Even peaceful rallies and demonstrations may turn violent,” the travel advice notes. The US has strongly recommend that US citizens living or traveling in Sri Lanka & Maldives enroll in more..

Call for independent probe into Sri Lankan journalist’s abduction

Aug 8 (EN) Sri Lanka’s Free Media Movement (FMM) has called on the police CID to probe the abduction of journalist Pradeep Eknaligoda in an independent manner and bring the culprits to justice. Eknaligoda, who has been missing for the past five years, was reportedly abducted by two people said to be members of Sri Lanka’s army intelligence who have been detained for questioning, FMM said. They reportedly seized Eknaligoda in a white van and handed him over to an army camp more..

Gym instructor arrested over Bloemendhal shooting

Aug 8 (AD) Police today arrested a suspect in connection with last week’s tragic shooting incident at Bloemendhal Road in Colombo, which claimed the life of two persons and wounded a dozen more. Suspect was arrested by the CID in front of the Hulftsdorp Court Complex on Thursday. 28-year-old suspect reportedly works as a gym instructor. Police said that the arrested suspect is being further interrogated to identify the main more..

Probe on missing persons to be held in Batticaloa

Aug 8 (CG) The commission investigating reports on missing people, is to hold public sittings in Batticaloa later this month. The Presidential Commission on Missing Persons will hold sittings from 22-25 August in Batticaloa. Secretary to the Commission, H.W. Gunadasa said that 1200 people have been invited to make oral statements over complaints they had made on people reported missing during and soon after the war. During previous sittings held in Batticaloa, Commission had received 5119 more..

Special court to hear cases on women harassment: Ranil

Aug 8 (DM) United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) will set up a special court to hear cases on harassment of women, PM Ranil Wickremasinghe said today. Addressing a meeting in Morawaka this morning, the Premier said this will be done to expedite the process of bringing culprits to book. Mr. Wickremasinghe said a woman's rights Bill which provides provisions to set up National Woman's Rights Authority will also be enacted if UNFGG comes to power. more..

Bid to whip up anti-Indian sentiment in North

Aug 8 (ENS) There appears to be an attempt by some political parties to whip up an India-sentiment among the Tamils of Northern Province in the run up to the Aug 17 elections with the aim of ending the dominance of the TNA which is perceived to be pro-India. Authoritative sources said that this is being done by two pro-Tamil Tiger parties, TNPF led by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, and Crusaders For Democracy (CFD) led by Vithyatharan. more..

SLPA says vessel calling boosted by 12.7%

Aug 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka Ports Authority says the Colombo port has continued to meet the challenges in the maritime sector successfully and two new main shipping lines started using the Port this year. During the first six month of this year the number of vessels calling at the port has increased by 12.7% and the cargo tonnage has increased by 2.8%. Container handling has also increased by 6.4%. “The infrastructure is being developed significantly and much is being done to improve more..

Foreign investors sell down more SL bonds

Aug 8 (EN) Foreign investors sold down 17 billion rupees of bonds (US$ 125 million) in the week to August 5, extending a trend seen since a rate in April and pressure on the country's currency peg due to growing domestic credit. Foreign investors have sold down 81 billion rupees (US$ 604 million) of rupee bonds since the April rate cut. Some foreign investors also sold out in the last quarter of 2014, but there was renewed buying in the first quarter. Central Bank has said it is cutting rates more..

Kaushal, Tharanga fifties in draw

Aug 8 (CI) Kaushal Silva played himself into some form ahead of the first Test, but another failure for Lahiru Thirimanne weakened his grip on the Sri Lanka No. 4 position, as the tour match wound to a draw at the Premadasa Stadium. Silva's 83 not out was compiled with characteristic measure, as he gritted through the testing new-ball spells, before settling down in the late afternoon. Thirimanne's cagey 18, however, more..

Signs of genuine Democracy?

Aug 9 (SO) A police officer apologises promptly to demonstrators who were accidentally sprayed by an anti-riot water cannon, a govt ministry secretary is summarily transferred out of post and, two other, more junior, govt officers are also transferred from their posts and, the country's streets and walls yet remain remarkably un-festooned with (illegal) election posters. Is this Third World Sri Lanka or, some developed democratic country? Citizens, looking forward to next week's elections, more..

Treat cross-overs as Pariahs

Aug 9 (SL) Lack of clear majorities, inability to maintain political stability within ruling parties and strong opposition parties with the backing of trade unions were features of weak govets in the first two decades since Independence. Yet strong oppositions prevented govts from riding rough-shod over the rights of the people. The first govt of D.S. Senanayake had only 42 UNP members in a 100 seat parliament. Opposition was led by erudite and capable Marxists with trade union backing more..

'Investigations deliberate attempts to suppress UPFA politicians'

Aug 9 (SO) Former Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that despite the big hue and cry made by the govt to bring crooks to book as early as possible, the govt over the past six months has failed to find anybody guilty over the alleged financial frauds and other charges levelled against some UPFA politicians. He said the ongoing investigations by the FCID, CID and Special Presidential Commission of inquiry into more..

We can’t blame anyone for Sri Lanka’s Motor Racing set up: Shafraz

Aug 9 (Island) EZY is Sri Lanka’s first ever professional motor racing team. EZY Racing who took up professional motor racing in Sri Lanka in 2010, have successfully taken this sport to greater heights by introducing Team based motor racing. Their success has encouraged many more teams to enter the sport thereby providing many drivers with lucrative sponsorship offers. Having started with a humble driver line up, EZY Racing today have dominated every motor racing circuit in SL more..

Editorial: MS vs. MR

Aug 9 (Island) With just one Sunday more to go before the country goes to the polls to elect a new Parliament, it will be a brave man (or woman) who will predict what the eventual outcome will be. The race will undoubtedly be tight whatever the different analyses, no doubt colored by elements of wishful thinking of their authors, might say. Remember few, least of all himself, expected Mahinda Rajapaksa to lose the January presidential election he called two years before it was due. more..

'No alliance with UNP or UPFA'

Aug 9 (CT) JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake says that none of the two major political parties can get a majority in Parliament at the general election, but the JVP will not ally with either party to form a govt. Q: How is the JVP election campaign? A: We have built a strong organizational network. We use the mainstream media as well as alternate media to take our message to the people. more..