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Sri Lanka’s dance with the devil of universal internet access

Aug 14 (Wire) Who today is against Internet access and digital connectivity? These are ideas and technical buzzwords that resonate across the political spectrum; politically-neutral words that are capable of uniting Left and Right and are consequently easily adopted by both the establishment and its opposition. It is also here that the interests of Silicon Valley and governments of developing countries across the world converge most spectacularly. more..

Sirimavo’s policies to develop local industry should have been continued: President

Aug 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s economy would have developed if the country continued the policy of former PM Sirimavo Bandaranayake to develop local industries rather than import, President Maithripala Sirisena said. “If you take the island’s political era from 1956-65 and 70-71, priority was given to the local industrial economy,” he said. “But with the introduction of open economy in 1977, country absorbed all the good & bad things. more..

Memorial plaque demolished a day after it was unveiled

Aug 14 (CT) Former Opposition Leader of Kalmunai Municipal Council Henry Mahendran demolished a plaque to name a street in Kalmunai soon after it was unveiled on Sunday. Memorial plaque was erected to name a street in memory of late Gate Mudliyar M.S. Kariyappar, a former parliamentarian from Kalmunai. Mahendran destroyed it on the same day it was declared open by Eastern Province Chief Minister Hafiz Nazeer at a ceremony participated by Kalmunai Mayor Nizam Kariapper. more..

Gammanpila sold company shares without approval: Foreign investor

Aug 14 (DN) Brian Shedrick, a foreign investor lodged a complaint to the CID alleging leader of the PHU Udaya Gammanpila, had misused the Power of Attorney vested in him and amassed wealth by selling shares in the Pan Asia Bank, Ceylon Tea Gardens and Metal Recycle to third parties without approval. Lasith Perera who had been given the power of attorney by Brian Shedrick to handle this case, said Brian Shedrick arrived in the island on Aug 1 and made this complaint to the CID. more..

Ranil’s Central Bank attack not second to LTTE attack: UPFA

Aug 14 (FT) The UPFA claimed that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was the only one person who attacked the Central Bank (CB) after the attack carried out on the bank by the LTTE. Lashing out at Wickremesinghe over the CB Treasury bond scam, UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha charged that Ranil had used the best way to destroy the county’s economy by advising CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran to carry out the scam. more..

Ford model for Lanka’s women

Aug 14 (DM) As we move into the final day of campaigning for the crucial general elections on Monday, the major parties in their manifestos or plans have made many promises to empower women and work towards giving them equal representation or leadership in areas ranging from politics to business. Political leaders make all sorts of promises varying from the sublime to the ridiculous and as our columnist in the article on this page says, most promises are not kept. more..

I believe SLFP will win: Solangaarachchi

Aug 14 (DM) Prasanna Solangaarachchi, is contesting from the Kolonnawa electorate in the upcoming General Election. Q: How influential was the late Bharatha Lakshman in your life? He was my guru and he is the reason why I am here today. He was shot while we were in the process of making him the organizer of the Kolonnawa district. Q: Kolonnawa is a hotspot for drug deals and the underworld. Although there are many politicians in this electorate they haven’t done anything to more..

'Will get 117'

Aug 14 (DM) UPFA Candidate Wimal Weerawansa, a main speaker of the stage of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, says his party will get 117 seats at this election. He says there are many UNP members willing to join hands with the UPFA after the elections. Q: What is your assessment of your party’s standing at the moment? A: It is a gigantic task for a political party to emerge as a force to reckon with, in the immediate more..

Polls, world cup, Olympics

Aug 14 (DM) During an interview with Gampaha District UNFGG candidate and Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, discussed a wide range of issues. Q: All other members of the Mahinda Rajapaksa cabinet who split with the UPFA have vividly explained the reasons for their decision but I think you still have to say much? It was indeed a difficult decision but not only me but several others did not have a choice. more..

Massive Police crackdown before election

Aug 14 (CT) An emergency order has been issued to Police Stations in the Colombo area to commence search operations immediately to apprehend underworld goons now rampant in the metropolitan area before the election. Ten members of these gangs including Army Sampath – who has seven warrants issued against him – is providing leadership to organized criminals and prowling Colombo with plans to unleash violence more..

'Ranil and Mahinda are two sides of the same coin'

Aug 14 (DM) In an interview with the Dailymirror trade unionist, North Central Provincial Councillor and Anuradhapura JVP candidate Wasantha Samarasinghe spoke of the similarities between the Mahinda and Ranil governments and the complaints made by the JVP to the FCID. Excerpts. Q: What is the campaign theme of the JVP this time? A: As the JVP we have a programme for the entire country. more..

'We will get an overall majority in the next Parliament'

Aug 14 (DM) The leader of MEP Dinesh Gunawardena, in an interview said that the introduction of a new electoral system would be the highest priority under a govt led by the UPFA in future. Mr. Gunawardena who contests the election on the UPFA ticket, expressed confidence that the party would get an overall majority. Q: What is your overall assessment on the election campaign and the possible outcome? more..

Bloemendhal shooting: Supporters of UPFA candidates cleared

Aug 14 (Island) Police investigating recent attack on a group of UNPers at Bloemendhal Road in the Kotahena police area have cleared supporters of Colombo District UPFA candidates, Susil Premjayantha and Dhanasiri Amaratunga of their involvement in the incident. The Bloemendhal attack carried out on July 31 claimed the lives of two persons, including a 46-year-old woman. Police headquarters sources said that investigators more..

Sri Lanka should respect labor rights to regain GSP+: GZEU

Aug 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union has called on apparel exporters to protect labor rights to regain the tax concessions under GSP Plus. The union has recalled a meeting held recently with the PM where apparel exporters agreed to raise wages in order to regain GSP Plus. “It is not possible to get GSP+ back without respecting the human rights of employees,” more..

Video: Signatures already given naming Mahinda as next PM: Susil

Aug 14 (AD) Reacting to President Maithripala Sirisena’s letter to his predecessor, the General Secretary of the UPFA Susil Premajayantha says that the leaders of the party, including him, have already given their signatures for appointing Mahinda Rajapaksa as the next PM. He stated that the person who has a majority of support in Parliament will be appointed as the PM and that even incumbent President has now admitted more..

'My leader is not involved in anything that’s corrupt and wrong'

Aug 14 (DM) In an interview with the UNP National Organiser and Eastern Provincial Councillor Daya Gamage spoke of the UNP’s efforts to reach grass roots and also the bond scam. Q: Sri Lankan voters have seen when they elect businessmen to Parliament, there had been instances in the misuse of power by them. Politicians also use their influence to promote their business. How would the voters know you won’t do the same? more..

Rajapaksa sends reply to President Sirisena

Aug 14 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today responded to the letter from President Maithripala Sirisena, with a letter of his own. Rajapaksa stated that he received the latter issued by Sirisena on Thursday, however completely rejected the baseless criticism contained in the letter which he claims were made from information received from a third party. The UPFA Kurunegala District candidate expressed more..

19A & polls violence

Aug 14 (CT) Polls campaigning for Sri Lanka's 15th parliamentary election officially ends at midnight tonight. Polling starts in another three days' time on 17 August. Violence, intimidation and thuggery on election-day are generally rampant in the periphery, where the bulk of the electorate, some 70% of the voting population lives. A classic case was the Wayamba PC elections of 25 January 1999. It was held when the PA, the mother which gave birth to the UPFA was in power. more..

Astrologers got it wrong last time, pollsters get it wrong this time

Aug 14 (CT) Polls often measure perception rather than behavior. This is one reason they often fail spectacularly in predicting electoral outcomes. Election surveys at best imperfectly measure differences in turnout between voter segments. First, because some amateur polls don’t factor in turnout at all. Second, because even professional polls can only measure voters’ stated intention. Voters often say that they plan on voting but then don’t. There are two reason for this. more..

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lankan shares end higher ahead of polls

Aug 14 (Reuters) Shares ended firmer on Friday on hopes that political stability after the Aug. 17 parliamentary elections would help boost investor sentiment. The main stock index ended up 0.26% at 7,462.34, hovering near its highest close since Jan. 16 hit on Wednesday. The day's turnover stood at 1.25 billion rupees on Friday, slightly higher than this year's daily average of 1.13 billion rupees. Foreign investors were net buyers for the first time in 11 sessions. more..

Ranil directs media to Hansard

Aug 14 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday queried the identity of those who had furnished lists of JVP suspects to the then State Minister for Defence Ranjan Wijeratne during the height of the insurrection. "Who provided information leading to the arrest of lawyer Wijeyadasa Liyanarachchi?" Premier queried. The UNP Leader was responding to a question pertaining to his alleged role in operating Batalanda detention facility during the second JVP uprising in late 1980s. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism to make cruise segment a top 5 earner for Polls

Aug 14 (GDI) A giant step forward for the development of cruise tourism in Sri Lanka to be a 100,000 visitor arrivals source Sri Lanka tourism promotions bureau has invited Mr. John Tercek, Vice President of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd to visit Sri Lanka and address the business community of the 4 billion dollar industry said chairman Sri Lanka tourism Promotions bureau Dr Rohantha Athukorala. more..

Johnston accuses govt ministers of extorting money from businesses

Aug 14 (Island) Former Minister of Cooperatives and Internal Trades Johnston Fernando said the ministers of Yahapalana government were extorting money from leading businessmen and companies. Addressing an election rally in Kurunegala, Fernando said he had evidence to prove that certain ministers had obtained money from businessmen for their election campaigns. "There is a certain minister who has paid Rs. 65 million for TV ads alone recently. From where has that money come? more..

Audio: Fowzie explains decision of not signing letter to President Sirisena

Aug 14 (AM) Former Minister AHM Fowzie stated that he has no right to oppose President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision if he thinks that he is suitable to become PM. Fowzie said that he did not sign the letter sent to the President by six other senior SLFP members, urging the President to name Rajapaksa as PM if UPFA wins the election. President Sirisena, writing a letter yesterday to former President Rajapaksa, said that Rajapaksa should support the naming of a senior SLFP member to more..

Whatever Sri Lanka's election result, China's back in business

Aug 14 (Reuters) Work on a landmark Chinese-backed waterfront development in Colombo could resume after next Monday's general election, even if Beijing's preferred candidate for PM, ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, is defeated. Eight months after losing power, 69-year-old strongman is mounting a comeback bid. But his campaign - dogged by allegations of corruption and abuse of power that he denies - is flagging. more..

'Pakistan - SL relationship serves as a beacon for other countries of South Asia'

Aug 14 (GDI) High Commissioner of Pakistan, Maj Gen (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain said that the brotherly and time tested relationship between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, having depth, breadth and diversity, serves as a beacon for other countries of South Asia. High Commissioner said this while delivering his message on the occasion of the 69th Independence Day of Pakistan today in Colombo. Shakeel Hussain said that the Govt of Pakistan is actively engaged with all neighboring more..

Court stays Anura, Susil functioning as general secretaries

Aug 14 (DM) Former UPFA MPs Duminda Dissanayake and Dr. Vishwa Warnapala today obtained an enjoining order preventing SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha from functioning as the general secretaries of the SLFP and the UPFA and that Mr.Dissanayake and Dr. Warnapala be empowered to function as the general secretaries of the SLFP and the UPFA respectively. Colombo District Judge Harsha Sethunga more..

Chandimal 162* leaves India tricky chase

Aug 14 (CI) What began as a low-percentage humpty from Dinesh Chandimal ended as a high-quality counterattack of 162 not out off 169 balls to set India a tricky target of 176, nearly double the highest successful chase in Galle. He came in with Sri Lanka still 100 runs behind with only six wickets in hand, which soon became a deficit of 97 with five in hand. He scored 162 of the 275 runs that came while he was at the wicket. more..

Rahane takes world record eight catches

Aug 14 (CI) 8: Catches taken by Ajinkya Rahane in this Test, the most for any fielder in Test history. Five fielders had previously taken exactly seven catches. 13: Tests in which Dinesh Chandimal reached 1000 runs as a wicketkeeper, the fastest for any keeper in Test history. Chandmil bettered the record previously held by AB de Villiers, who scored 1000 runs as a keeper in 14 Tests. Chandimal reached this mark when batting on 110 during his second-innings century. more..

Five things to know about Sri Lanka’s general elections

Aug 14 (Time) On Aug. 17, seven months after Maithripala Sirisena pulled off a stunning electoral victory over Mahinda Rajapaksa to become Sri Lanka’s President, the island nation will go to the polls to choose a new Parliament. The contest will help determine the future of Sirisena’s drive to reform Sri Lanka after nearly a decade of increasingly autocratic rule under Rajapaksa, who is seeking a comeback to the political frontline. Here are five things to know as campaigning ends more..

Rajapaksa ventures into Sri Lanka's Buddhist heartland in comeback bid

Aug 14 (Reuters) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ventured out of his southern power base and into Sri Lanka's Buddhist heartland in his bid to regain power in Monday's parliamentary election, eight months after crashing to defeat in a presidential vote. A 27-metre statue of Buddha gazes from atop Elephant Rock over the provincial city of Kurunegala where the 69-year-old strongman is running, a reminder of his appeal to more..

Conspiracies in play to prevent UPFA victory: Dilan

Aug 14 (AD) Former MP Dilan Perera says that various conspiracies are in play to prevent the UPFA from winning the upcoming General Election. Therefore supporters of the party need to be informed to cast their vote for the Betel Leaf at the election on August 17, in a manner that does not violate election laws, he said. Former Minister stated that he respectfully asks Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, who had claimed that a dictator had risen in the country, more..

'No research by Sri J'pura University on loss of jobs'

Aug 14 (DN) Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce of University of Sri J'pura has not conducted any research or survey with regard to the loss of jobs during the past eight months, as claimed by UPFA candidate Bandula Gunawardhana, says Prof Kennedy Gunawardana, Chairman of Board of Studies in Management Studies and Commerce. Candidate Bandula Gunawardhana, during a television programme claimed that the total loss of jobs during past eight months was 1.5 million. more..

Video: Former Tamil Tigers set to contest upcoming Sri Lankan election

Aug 14 (CNA) Sivanathan Navindra was once known as Venthan, a former bodyguard of slain V Prabhakaran, leader of the world’s deadliest terrorist organisation at the time, Tamil Tigers. When Sri Lanka goes to the polls on Aug 17, Mr Sivanathan will be a candidate, hoping to be elected as a member of parliament. Despite the scars and lingering legacy of the bloody, three-decade-long conflict, he said the war was a closed chapter more..

Central Highway trace changes, as originally planned: Eran

Aug 14 (DN) The changes that we have made to the trace of the Central Highway was not changed for political reasons, but, on the recommendation of experts, said Deputy Minister Eran Wickremaratne. He said that the entry point of the Central highway has been slightly changed. It starts in Kadawatha and it goes through Pothuhera. One part of the highway goes through Galagedara into Kandy and the other part goes through Pothuhera into Kurunegala and then into Kandy. more..

Election campaigning ends at midnight

Aug 14 (AD) Campaigning for the General Election will draw to a close at 12 midnight today, 48 hours before the election. Deputy Commissioner of Elections M.M. Mohamed stated that engaging in any election propaganda and campaigning activities after midnight today will be illegal. Therefore the final election rallies of political parties and independent groups are set to take place today. Final rally of the UNF led by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will be held near the Tower Hall in Maradana. more..

'Hand over task of the opposition to JVP'

Aug 14 (LT) We call upon the people in this country to give more power to the JVP to strengthen the task of the opposition in order to prevent the undemocratic, arbitrary state that would be created by the coalition govt that would be formed after the 18th. We call upon the people to strengthen Comrade Anura Dissanayaka as opposition leader of the conscience of the masses. We also ask the people to cast their vote to the bell and more..

SL's political future arrives at a rossroads

Aug 14 (TD) On Monday, Sri Lankans will vote in parliamentary elections, ten months ahead of schedule. The election comes nearly 8 months after Maithripala Sirisena unexpectedly beat Mahinda Rajapaksa in early presidential elections. The election will pit the SLFP-led UPFA group of parties against the more right-leaning UNFGG, a new grouping of political parties led by the right-wing UNP, including parties representing Muslim and Tamil interests. more..

SL offers relief aid to Myanmar after floods

Aug 14 (CG) On the request of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, President Maithripala Sirisena has approved a cash contribution of USD 25,000 to be presented to the Govt of Myanmar as relief aid, following the devastation to life and property caused by the recent floods in the country. The contribution was handed over to U Min Thein Zan, the Ambassador of Myanmar, by Foreign Secretary Chitranganee Wagiswara, on behalf of Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, more..