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SL can earn foreign exchange from stars: PM

Aug 13 (EN) One should not be a slave to the stars but Sri Lanka had the potential to earn foreign exchange from astrological services, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. "The commissioner of elections decides the day of the elections, not astrology," PM Wickremesinghe said. "Astrology is subject we should pay attention to but we cannot be enslaved by it. If the Lord Buddha was not enslaved by it, how can we be?" "But I think it can be a good way to earn revenues from abroad, more..

Steps to ban import of asbestos roofing sheets by 2018

Aug 13 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena said that he will discuss with the Cabinet of Ministers and arrive at a decision to ban the importation of asbestos roofing sheets into the country by the year 2018. President further said that he will take this decision taking into the consideration of the health and the good hygiene of the people in the country. He made these observations delivering the keynote address at the SL Ceramics and Glass Symposium 2015 held in Colombo, yesterday. more..

Video: Mahinda’s defeat is already written on his forehead: JVP

Aug 13 (LT) “Mahinda’s defeat is already written on his forehead. He will have no power to become the PM. UPFA has divided. Its election campaign is fractured at village level. Certain leaders of UPFA publicly ask their supporters not to vote for the other fraction of UPFA. Here is a conflict within UPFA. As such, party members are looking for an alternative. Neither UNP nor UPFA can get 113 seats to form a govt on their own,” more..

10-hour shifts to produce ballot papers

Aug 13 (ST) Ballot papers for all 22 districts were printed and dispatched this week amid tight security, Govt Printer W.A.A.G. Fonseka said. Election Department officials supervised the handover of ballot papers to an official of each District Secretariat. “We started to print ballot papers from July 15 for 10 hours at a stretch every day and managed to finish printing on Monday,” he said. The entire printing and packing process was monitored via CCTV cameras while more..

No role for Army in polls duties

Aug 13 (DM) Military Spokesman Jayanath Jayaweera said the army would play no role in election duties in view of Monday's parliamentary election. However, he said they would have troops on standby in the event there was a request by the police seeking their assistance. “We will not engage in election activities as poll duties are carrying out by Police officers. However, we have troops on standby to assist the police in the event they make a request,” Brigadier Jayaweera said. more..

Maithripala tells Mahinda he will not be PM

Aug 13 (AM) President Maithripala Sirisena wrote to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today and reiterated that even if the UPFA wins the general election, he won’t be appointed PM. Writing a lengthy letter, Sirisena said that there were a number of other senior party members who could be appointed as PM. He did not approve of Rajapaksa seeking to be PM once again after being President for years, Sirisena said. more..

Court rejects Premalal's request to vote

Aug 13 (DM) The request of former Deputy Minister Premalal Jayasekara, who is now in remand custody, to cast his vote at Monday's general election was rejected by Pelmadulla Magistrate today. Former minister and five others have been remanded in connection with the alleged killing of UNP supporter Shantha Dodangoda during the last presidential election. When the six suspects were produced in court last morning the lawyers appearing for former deputy minister told more..

PAFFREL urges people to vote, even if politicians are disgusting

Aug 13 (CT) PAFFREL requests all voters to compulsorily use their franchise on behalf of changing the political culture in the country - although there is a certain disgust where politicians are concerned - as this parliamentary election scheduled for 17 August is an election which will directly decide the future of this country. At the same time, representatives of Parliament are the ones who prepare laws that have an impact on the people of this country and they are the people who more..

Video: Power devolution through Grama Rajya system: Ranil

Aug 13 (DM) A UNFGG govt would devolve power up to the village level according to a Grama Rajya system but will not adopt federalism, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said today. Power would be devolved only to village elders and religious leaders and not to politicians in accordance with the Grama Rajya system. Meanwhile, he denounced allegations made by UPFA that UNFGG had associated with pro LTTE groups. more..

Towards a free and fair poll

Aug 14 (NS) A free and fair election is what every citizen expects. However, loopholes in the prevailing election laws have prevented a fair election being held in the country. Even the Commissioner of Elections, Mahinda Deshapriya in several occasions expressed the present laws should be amended or revised if the country is to have free and fair elections, especially with relation to misappropriation of State property, the entertainment of voters with mass feeds and the putting up more..

To vote or not to vote

Aug 14 (CT) As a born and practicing Muslim I am inclined not to vote for Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR). MR was quite insensitive for issues faced by the Muslims in Sri Lanka. He maintained a deafening silence when all things were going wrong for the minority Muslims in the country. His brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was quite open in saying that there is Muslim terrorism in SL. MR was witnessing the development and growth of the BBS. BBS was going out in all directions to attack Muslims. more..

'I will not allow threats to national security'

Aug 14 (DM) Minister Ruwan Wijewardene will be contesting at the upcoming General Elections from the Gamapaha District under the UNFGG led by the UNP. Q: This is not the first time you are contesting at General Elections. What is the difference you see this time compared to the last? A: There is a marked difference from the previous elections. There are a lot more defections from the other side at the ground level. more..

Promises galore no matter how unrealistic

Aug 14 (NS) The spectre of election violence raised its ugly head last week with an attack on the UNP campaign in Colombo North. Party supporters were sprayed with bullets in broad daylight on a Poya Day, leaving two persons dead. It was the first incident of its kind in this election. The attack has led to more questions than answers. Initially, Minister Ravi Karunanayake blamed the rival UPFA for the violence. However, later reports suggested that the incident was the result of more..

From Can’t do without Mahinda to Can’t do with Mahinda

Aug 14 (CT) Power at any cost; It is the UPFA’s election strategy which is evident now from their daily change of slogans. The UPFA campaign commenced with the slogan can’t do without Mahinda then changed it to we rise with Mahinda. They have now abandoned both those slogans and their election campaign has taken a new turn in the eleventh hour. Now they have started using the photograph of President Maithripala Sirisena to boost their campaign. more..

'President has indicated a preference for a SLFP led govt'

Aug 14 (DM) North Western Province Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara is contesting at the general elections in the Kurunegala District on the UPFA ticket. He said that his party would win comfortably and that there was no need to talk about a national govt. Q: How far have you progressed in the election campaign? A: The arrival of former President Rajapaksa as a candidate in the Kurunegala District, gave a fresh impetus to more..

Maithri-Ranil partnership a sine qua non for political stability

Aug 14 (FT) A silent revolution was brought about on 9 Jan in the backdrop of a political ambiance replete with violence, thuggery and intimidation. Since it was silent and non-violent people felt the transfer of power seamless and had it taken in a different form it would have been disastrous for democracy. It would be germane to consider the events that preceded the election on 8 Jan. People saw for themselves that public property and public money were being used wantonly to more..

All systems green or, go (So what are the red flags?)

Aug 14 (FT) If you were hoping that the post-Revolution parliamentary election would be fought over matters of principle, you might be quite mistaken – and/or rather disappointed. The chips are down again, and all the customary stops have been pulled out by virtually all contestants and coalitions. Such dirty fighting and in-fighting over past and present crimes, and corrupt personalities and churlish personages, we haven’t seen the like of in ages. more..

Bogollagama confident of UPFA win, Rajapaksa’s return as PM

Aug 14 (FT) Mahinda Rajapaksa is a factor in this election and UPFA is well ahead of its opponents, said UPFA Colombo District candidate and former Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, adding that the ground realities are contrary to the statistics given by political analysts. People want a govt that will fight against separatism, a govt that will protect the sovereignty of Sri Lanka and also a govt that will ensure values for the society, more..

Man knows no-man; Tamarind knows rotten fish

Aug 14 (Island) This is a native Sinhala proverb that implies that man is the monitor of his kind as much as tamarind is the monitor of rotten fish. On the seventeenth of this month will dawn a special day on which men in this country will be called upon to identify no-man. If man failed to identify no-man on that day, every man and woman and their fellow citizens will be faced with umpteen problems for the following five years. That day is significant because the next general election of this country more..

'Sathosa lorries used for MR's polls campaigns'

Aug 14 (DN) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is alleging that the present govt has not purchased the Yala season paddy harvest from farmers, but during the last Yala season when he was in power the govt did not make any Yala paddy purchases from farmers, Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera said. The minister said the former govt imported 225,000 mt of ponni samba and nadu rice instead of purchasing the paddy harvest from farmers of the last Yala season. more..

Former Tamil Tigers run for office

Restrained Dhawan tunes out the noise

Aug 14 (CI) Galle will feel like a generous kind of town for Shikhar Dhawan. His first Test in Sri Lanka and he found himself at the receiving end of some strokes of fortune. Dhawan has not only cashed in, but maximized. His fourth Test hundred, during the course of which he reached 1000 Test runs, and double-century partnership with his captain formed the core strength of India's grip on the Galle Test. A clatter of wickets fell in the second session, either side of the second new ball, more..

Editorial: Catapulting cadavers

Aug 14 (Island) Genghis Khan (c1162-1227) is believed to have pioneered the use of cadavers against enemies as a crude form of biological warfare. He had decomposing corpses catapulted into besieged forts so that diseases would spread causing his enemies to surrender. His method worked in most cases, according to historians. Researchers are busy trying to trace the descendants of the Mongol conqueror. Some of them are apparently in this country if their more..

'Rajapaksa sons lived normal lives'

Aug 14 (FT) Former heir apparent to the Rajapaksa dynasty and UPFA Hambantota District Candidate, Namal Rajapaksa sat down for a brief chat with the Daily FT on Wednesday during a campaigning pit-stop at his Carlton family home in Tangalle. Sitting in the foyer, below a picture of his youngest brother Rohitha dressed in nilame costume, the younger Rajapaksa said that the only crime the Rajapaksa sons had more..

Time to stop playing politics with education

Aug 14 (PF) The Constitution of Sri Lanka stipulates that education is a fundamental right. The population has achieved a literacy rate of 98.1%. From the time of the Kannangara Reforms in the 1940s, education at all levels has been primarily funded and administered by the government. The public school network has an enrolment of about four million students in over 10,000 schools across the nation. At tertiary level, there are 15 state universities. Against this landscape, there is a tendency more..

SLT Group profits increase by 17%

Aug 14 (DN) Sri Lanka Telecom, has increased its profits for the first half of 2015. The group comprises the holding company Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and its eight subsidiaries including Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd. The group reported revenue of Rs. 33.5 bn during the first six months of the year 2015, with a 7% growth compared to the same period of the previous year. Both Fixed Telephony and Mobile Segments have contributed to the growth. Mobitel has displayed an impressive performance in revenue & profits more..

The roughest of diamonds

Aug 14 (CI) Tharindu Kaushal's 30th over was to Ishant Sharma. It was the ultimate battle of wills. Ishant, with a strike rate of 29, bats like the plague will break out if he tries a scoring stroke. Making 3 from 39, he was basically a carcass attached to a bat. Kaushal, with an economy rate upwards of four an over, sends a gift-wrapped full-toss almost every over. In the end, it was Ishant's stubborn passivity that triumphed. more..

SL sells US$172 million floating rate bonds

Aug 14 (EN) Sri Lanka has sold US$ 172.3 million of floating rate bond with tenors of 1 year 7 months and 2 year 5 months, the state debt office said. The debt office sold US$ 78.10 million of 1 year 7 month bonds at 349.47 basis points above the 6-month London Interbank Offered Rate. Another US$ 94.27 million of 2 year 5 month bonds were sold at 373.83 basis points above 6-month LIBOR. The bonds, styled Sri Lanka Development Bonds are targeted at the domestic market. more..

‘We’re on a mission to set country right’

Aug 14 (Island) Colombo District UNP candidate Ferouza Muzammil, addressing several pocket meetings in Colombo recently said Sri Lanka was a nation in transition, moving from one system to another. "We are moving from times of enmity, revenge, privilege and exclusivity to an era of friendship, cooperation, equality and inclusiveness. The movement from one state to another is never easy. There are and there will be teething problems but you can be certain of one thing: more..

Minority outreach holds risks before vote

Aug 14 (WSJ) Sri Lanka’s govt has been reaching out to the country’s influential Tamil diaspora with the aim of building minority support and boosting its international standing. But the contentious strategy holds risks for the govt’s survival ahead of parliamentary elections next week. Ruling coalition led by President Sirisena—which took office after his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was voted out of office in January more..

Luxury bus service for village bound voters

Aug 14 (DN) A super luxury SLTB and private bus service will be operated on the Southern Expressway from Town Hall, Colombo and Kadawatha to Galle and Matara for commuters leaving for their villages to cast votes for the general election. The new bus service will be available from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. from today to August 18. Bus fare from Town Hall and Kadawatha to Galle is around Rs. 400 while the fare from Town Hall and Kadawatha to Matara is around Rs. 500. more..

Liberal Party accuses UPFA and UNP

Aug 14 (FT) Liberal Party (LP) claimed that the UNP and the UPFA had been repeating the same accusations at election meetings to condemn their competitors. Launching its manifesto which had identified some major issues of the country, LP Candidate Muhammed Fazl said that the LP would be a better platform for people which could fulfil their real needs. “We believe Sri Lanka’s election is like a circus. All political parties try to accuse the opposition without correcting their own faults. more..

UN envoy in Sri Lanka urges Youth to engage

Aug 14 (CG) The UN envoy to Sri Lanka has urged youth in the country to be the drivers of progress of the global agenda to build more inclusive and vibrant societies, to ultimately support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The International Youth Day, which falls annually on the 12th August 2015, was marked by an event conducted by the United Nations (UN) in Sri Lanka in collaboration with Ministry of Youth Affairs more..

Revenue jumps 20% on excise, vehicle tax

Aug 14 (Reuters) Govt revenues jumped by more than a fifth in the first seven months of this year, data showed, as the new govt sought to improve tax collection and cracked down on corruption. The data were released ahead of a parliamentary election on Monday in which the UNP-led minority govt formed in January is seeking a strengthened mandate. Sri Lanka does not usually release interim figures, but the data showed that total tax revenues had risen from January through July by 20.5%, more..

President & PM will secure good governance

Aug 14 (DN) There is no doubt that President Maithripala Sirisena and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe will secure and entrench good governance, freedom, democracy and other rights that were rescued in the historic January revolution, UNP National List candidate Krishantha Cooray said. "Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans scored an important victory on January 8. That revolution saved the country from the Rajapaksas' corrupt and lawless regime. more..

Tamara demands compensation

Aug 14 (FT) Former Permanent Representative to UN Tamara Kunanayakam has sent two Letters of Demand to Minister Mangala Samaraweera and EAP Broadcasting Corporation to pay Rs. 500 million as compensation. She demanded pay Rs. 500 million each within 10 days as compensation for grave irreparable damage caused to her reputation. In March 2015, Minister Samaraweera has more..

Religious leaders exhort public to vote wisely

Aug 14 (Island) Executive Director of Centre for Society and Religion (CSR), Rev. Fr. Ashok Stephen called on the public to vote wisely at next Monday’s election. Fr. Stephen said it was the duty of religious leaders to raise public awareness of civic rights. People should vote for those who followed their religion and lived according to it. The next parliamentarians, too, should be those who followed and lived according to their religion, he said. Dharmashakthi is multi-religious association more..

PMB Chairman refutes allegations

Aug 14 (DN) Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) Chairman M.D. Dissanayake refuted allegations made against the PMB that paddy is purchased at a low price and that no storage facilities are available. He said a kilogramme of Samba and Nadu are being purchased at Rs. 50 and Rs. 45 at government stores. This increased paddy price will benefit the farmers. The middlemen purchase paddy for a low price from the farmer and re-sell the paddy to the PMB at the certified price, Dissanayake said. more..

Court lifts Gota's travel ban

Aug 14 (CT) Three persons including former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who had been banned by Court from travelling abroad due to investigations being carried out in connection with the floating armoury in the Galle Harbour, were allowed permission by the Chief Magistrate of Galle to go overseas for a period of one month. Magistrate granted permission subsequent to considering more..

Business groups appeal for communal harmony

Aug 14 (EN) Sri Lanka’s top business and professionals’ organisations have appealed to political parties to ensure communal, racial and religious harmony during and after parliamentary polls next Monday, August 17. They also appealed to all voters to vote to a stable govt enabling and guaranteeing all Sri Lankans to live in harmony. “We strongly believe that the country has undergone many calamities and socio-political upheavals, resulting in instability in past few decades, more..