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No election news today

Aug 16 (SL) Election laws of this country prevent publication of news, comments or any editorial or advertising material – considered to be biased or partial – pertaining to candidates or political parties, 48 hours before the election. There are laws banning many other activities today, such as demonstrations and political meetings. It takes off much of the momentum that has been gathering in the past weeks and is obviously meant to be a wet blanket thrown on the proceedings. more..

'Probes complete on 2,700 complaints'

Aug 16 (SL) Presidential Commission Investigating Cases of Missing Persons (PCICMP) has come under criticism throughout its operation, especially from civil society organizations and those who have been working with the families of the disappeared. They have viewed the commission as a ludicrously futile domestic investigation set merely to show attempts to bring about reconciliation without genuine intentions to do so. more..

The last minute strike

Aug 16 (Island) Like the proverbial magician, President Maithripala Sirisena on Friday pulled a rabbit out of his top-hat dismissing Messrs. Anura Priyadharshana Yapa and Susil Premajayanth, the general secretaries of the SLFP and the UPFA from their posts and appointing two of his loyalists, Mr. Duminda Dissanayaka and Prof. Viswa Warnapala to act as secretaries of the party and alliance respectively. When the first news broke that the Colombo District Court had issued more..

SLFP braces for post-election inner party purge

Aug 16 (SO) At the time when UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha and SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa exerted pressure on President Maithripala Sirisena to give nomination to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, many political observers raised questions as to why the President did not take measures to remove the two General Secretaries from their positions. According to powers vested in him by the party constitution, President Sirisena, who more..

'Lots of lapses in missing person’s commission'

Aug 16 (SL) Many civil society organizations and human rights defenders in the country have been pushing for a credible investigation to probe into alleged war crimes and human rights issues in order to move towards a meaningful reconciliation. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Executive Director of Centre for Policy Alternatives said civil society organizations as well as international community more..

Vote responsibly

Aug 16 (ST) General elections will take place tomorrow, and like all such elections, this one is crucial to the country and the likely direction it will take in the next five years. In the past, these elections were even more significant. They were clashes between the Free Market economy and Socialism; a choice between a pro-Western stance and a pro-Soviet/China and anti-West position. Today these ideological differences have narrowed. The two opposing camps, like in most of the more..

Confused voter at the crossroads

Aug 16 (ST) My dear Chandadaayakaya, I thought I must write to you as you will be making a very important decision tomorrow. Also, writing letters appear to have become a fashionable thing to do these days with Maithri writing to Mahinda maama and Mahinda maama sending him a reply — and both of them sending copies for us to read! Chandadaayakaya, despite the important task ahead of you tomorrow, I wouldn’t blame you if you are confused, seeing what has been more..

No room for rigging: Polls Chief

Aug 16 (CT) EC Mahinda Deshapriya requests people to go to the polling station early in the morning and cast their vote without fear. "We safeguard their privacy. No one can find out who they have voted. Some think voting is futile since nothing can be achieved from it. It is not a good way of thinking. The vote is not only the right of an individual but it is also a responsibility." Q: Are you ready for the election now? more..

Sirisena’s bid to prevent MR come back

Aug 16 (Island) As the election campaign drew to a close last week, President Maithripala Sirisena threw all the trump cards he had on the table to head off what he seems to believe is a clear victory for MR. How desperate Sirisena thinks the situation is for him can be gauged from the incredible flip flops in his conduct within a brief 24 hour period. On Aug 13, Sirisena wrote a letter to Mahinda Rajapaksa saying that if the UPFA wins, he would appoint one of seven party seniors as the PM and more..

Duminda strikes as rebels weigh war crimes immunity or premiership

Aug 16 (SO) The corridors are buzzing over the Elections Commissioner’s request to political parties to desist from accommodating any defeated candidate in their national lists for Parliament. Several key figures of the ruling coalition as well as the opposition are now in a state of shock, according to whispers behind closed doors. It has already been speculated that several key ex-MPs from both sides will fail to secure their seats at the election due to emergence of young and popular faces. more..

Resolute Herath stretches cricketing mortality, again

Aug 16 (CI) When the grey hairs bloom and the joints start creaking, a barren spell takes on a little more meaning than before. In the last 18 months of his career, no one has known this truth of mortality better than Rangana Herath. As innings figures like 1 for 99, 1 for 154 and 1 for 89 begin to stack up, the whispers start as well. "Is Herath too old now?" "Is the fizz gone from his fingers?" "His knees will only get worse from more..

To vote or not to vote

Aug 16 (CT) General election, which will determine next Parliament and the PM, is just around the corner. In fact, long-awaited 17 August is tomorrow. On the eve of this crucial election, Ceylon Today ventured to find out one pertinent question: Does everyone who has the voting right, actually vote? There are varying opinions regarding the present political climate in Sri Lanka. Some candidates are hated, some loved and some are treated with indifference. more..

Electoral Prospects; Political Scenarios

Aug 16 (Island) Statistics and politics tally. The confluence indicates that the UNP is likely to emerge the single largest party on Aug 18. Under certain favourable conditions, the UNP might even be able to win an outright majority. UNP winning big (with or without a clear majority) will save Sri Lanka from being plunged into a politico-constitutional cold-war, post-election. There is no doubt that Ranil Wickremesinghe and not Mahinda Rajapaksa is President Sirisena’s preferred PM. more..

The unseen centuries of Sanga

Aug 16 (ST) “But, while these would all be interesting topics, deep down inside me, I wanted to share with you a story, the story of Sri Lanka’s cricket, a journey that I am sure Colin would have enjoyed greatly because I don’t believe any cricket-playing nation in the world today better highlights the potential of cricket to be more than just a game.” – Kumar Sangakkara at the Colin Cowdery memorial oration. Only a few sportspeople end their more..

If you are undecided, vote for your future

Aug 16 (NS) Elections in Sri Lanka are often about default options. This is why we hear people talk about ‘the known devil’ and ‘lesser evils’. Spoilt votes and votes that don’t get cast also indicate a certain dissatisfaction with the options available. It’s the same this time too. It would be a brave person indeed who can stand up and say such and such a party has an unblemished record in serving the people. The truth is, none of the major parties have squeaky clean histories. more..

EC’s guidelines sharply cut public cost

Aug 16 (ST) Total spending by the state on general election tomorrow has been sharply reduced to around Rs.7.8 billion from Rs.10.5 billion spent at the January 2015 Presidential election as a result of enforcing stringent guidelines by the Elections Commission, preliminary estimates revealed. However spending to conduct the August 17 poll by the Commission alone has risen to Rs. 4 billion from Rs.2.5 billion at the January election as officials had to deploy more election staff and materiel more..

Divya's suicide causes a ripple effect

Aug 16 (CT) A teenager committed suicide when school authorities did not permit her to sit GCE A/L exam. Victim, Gunasegaram Divya, an 18-year-old girl from Vepankulam-Vavuniya, was a student of Vavuniya-Pandarikulam Vipulananda College. She committed suicide on 6 August when she was refused permission to sit GCE A/L exam. Divya committed suicide as she could not bear the peer pressure and the negative attitude of her more..

Avishka, Sammu waiting in vain

Aug 16 (Island) The just concluded pre-quarter-finals and quarter-finals of the Inter School Under-17 Division I cricket tournament featured at least two batsmen who have shown maturity above their age. Having already represented Sri Lanka U-19s, what business does Ananda College all-rounder Sammu Ashan and St. Sebastian’s College batsman Avishka Fernando have to do in an U-17 tournament? Both batsmen amassed huge scores against either their pre-quarter final or quarter-final counterparts. more..

IUSF abduction claims rubbished

Aug 16 (SL) Police have denied allegations that they had abducted two people as claimed by the IUSF last week. ASP Ruwan Gunasekera said the police rejected the IUSF accusation of abducting two people following a demonstration staged in Colombo last week. According to him, the police had taken into custody a lorry with a public announcing system that had no permit. “Along with the lorry, the police seized loudspeakers with no permits and arrested two people who were in that lorry to take a more..

Ex SEC chief Nalaka skips FCID questioning on legal grounds

Aug 16 (ST) Former SEC Chairman Nalaka Godahewa – who authorities want to question over a number of alleged irregularities – this week absented himself from being questioned by the FCID by raising legal objections. Dr. Godahewa, who has become an active campaigner for the opposition UPFA, was represented at the FCID by his lawyers who told investigators that their client would be available for questioning only after more..

Former CIFL chairman emerges from hiding in Cambodia

Aug 16 (ST) Deepthi Perera, former Chairman, CIFL (Central Investment & Finance) on the run overseas for the past two years, was arrested on Monday after arriving with a bogus passport amidst objections by depositors of the failed company to any restricting plan. Depositors also threatened to surround the homes in protest of officials including former CB Governor Ajitjh Nivard Cabraal whom they held responsible for the fiasco, if all efforts to recover their money failed. more..

Former police spokesman accuses Ex-DIG

Aug 16 (SL) A former police spokesman has accused a former Senior DIG of attempting to cover up the evidence over the murder of former rugby player Wasim Thajuddeen. He said that former Senior DIG Western Province, Anura Senanayake, has to be brought before the law to find out why he allowed evidence into Thajudeen’s murder to be covered up resulting in the assumption that he was killed in an accident. “There was so much substantial evidence to suspect death to be more..

Security to be beefed up in fragile areas

Aug 16 (SL) Security will be beefed up in some areas by deploying STF and additional policemen in order to ensure a free and fair election. CaFFE said that the EC, Mahinda Deshapriya, had issued instructions to strengthen security in vulnerable areas. “Election Commission insisted that in Vavuniya, Mannar, Puttlam and if necessary in Hambantota and Batticaloa, STF and extra police troops will be deployed more..

Labor Ministry stipulates leave mandatory for private sector

Aug 16 (NS) The Ministry of Labour issued a communiqué reiterating a directive by Elections Commissioner, calling on all private sector employers to grant mandatory leave for employees to cast their vote on August 17. Signed by Herath Yapa, Secretary to the Ministry of Labor, the communiqué cites that employers should avail employees a period of leave ranging from half day to a full day without the loss of pay or their private leave. more..

Sacking of Yapa and Premajayantha: Elections chief says no comment

Aug 16 (Island) EC Mahinda Deshapriya declined to comment on the legal position regarding the sacking of Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Susil Premajayantha, the General Secretaries of the SLFP and UPFA, respectively. "I don’t want to make any comment on this matter", he said. Yapa and Premajayantha were restrained from functioning as the General Secretaries on an enjoining order issued by Colombo District Judge on Friday following a petition filed by more..

Ranil warns of constitutional logjam if Rajapaksa becomes PM

Aug 16 (ENS) As the month-long campaign for the August 17 elections closed this weekend, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe warned of a constitutional logjam if Mahinda Rajapaksa becomes PM. “No PM can take the country forward while being at loggerheads with the President,” Wickremesinghe said, alluding to the on-going public spat between his rival, former President Rajapaksa, and incumbent President Sirisena. more..

Diplomats join polls observers in monitoring general elections

Aug 16 (ST) For the first time in Parliamentary elections some 20-plus senior Colombo-based diplomats will join 180 foreign elections observers during tomorrow’s polls, polls monitors said. They said the diplomats have been drawn from the European Union (EU) missions in the country and they have been mandated to assist their foreign counterparts. Among the EU countries that maintain embassies in the country are Britain, Italy, Sweden, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, and France. more..

No reports on underworld threats

Aug 16 (SL) Despite claims by some local election monitors that underworld members were involved in election related work, Elections Dept said that it has not received complaints regarding any such involvement of underworld gangs. Deputy Elections Commissioner, R.M.A.L. Rathnayake said that they have not received any complaints on underworld gangs operating in election work. “There is no such report or complaints lodged with us about involvement of underworld in election work. more..

VVIP security enhanced

Aug 16 (CT) Police Friday evening beefed up VVIP security details due to warnings issued by intelligence agencies in a sequel to sudden changes in the political climate after President sacked SLFP General Secretary Anura Yapa and UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha. Police decision was predominantly aimed at preempting the eruption of clashes after polls results begin pouring in. more..

Pen portraits of key players in SL Polls

Aug 16 (AFP) The following are profiles of main players in Sri Lanka’s general election on Monday. Lord of the rings: Sri Lanka’s former strongman president, Mahinda Rajapakse, who was ousted in January and is seeking a return to power as prime minister, is a polarising figure. He won huge popularity among the majority Sinhalese for crushing Tamil separatist rebels in a no-holds-barred offensive in 2009 that ended a 37-year-long ethnic war. But he is deeply unpopular with more..

Supporter of UNP’s Batti candidate shot dead

Aug 16 (CT) A supporter of a UNP candidate in Batticaloa was killed yesterday afternoon in an election related incident. According to the CaFFE, the victim, J. Ameen, was a supporter of UNP Batticaloa candidate Amir Ali. The victim had been cycling on the Oddamavadi-Hudapalli road when he was shot dead around noon. CaFFE reported that the assailant had shot Ameen through his mouth. UNP candidate Amir Ali stated that the murder could only be politically motivated, more..

Suspension poses puzzle for UPFA

Aug 16 (ST) EC Mahinda Deshapriya told a UPFA delegation that polls would not be affected by the suspension of the alliance’s Secretary General, Susil Premajayantha. The UPFA is the main contender with the ruling UNP and is contesting all the districts in the country. Polls Chief’s assurance will mean lists submitted by Mr. Premajayantha naming agents for polling booths and the counting centres will be valid. more..

Chinese tourists advised to be cautious in SL

Aug 16 (Xinhua) Chinese tourists traveling in Sri Lanka have been urged to remain cautious due to various accidents in the island nation. In recent years, China has become the second largest source of visitors to Sri Lanka, but Chinese tourists arriving in the country have faced a lot of inconvenience and problems. In the first seven months of the year, there were 46 tourist accidents, including three cases of drowning which had led to two deaths. More than 30 cases of theft, one rape case, more..

SL's elections pit its past against its future

Aug 16 (AJ) As I look towards the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo, I see bright kites coasting through the air. The crowd of people gathered along the sea face grows as dusk approaches and the ocean front Sri Lanka’s capital is famous for prepares for night. Cargo vessels dot the horizon and to my extreme right, a major port is sprouting - signs of a nation quickly stepping out of the shadows of war and trying to find its place in the global economy. But what life holds for Sri Lankans gathered on more..

Outcome of tomorrow’s poll crucial for Lanka

Aug 16 (ST) When a messenger from Presidential Secretariat arrived at former President Rajapaksa’s temporary residence in Mirihana on Thursday, he was away. So the messenger left a letter he brought with a staffer at Rajapaksa’s residence. Rajapaksa was in Kurunegala, from which district he is contesting for tomorrow’s elections. When he learnt that a letter from President Sirisena had come, he asked that it be more..

Poll propaganda ban

Aug 16 (CT) Yesterday this newspaper carried an appeal by the Elections Commissioner not to use social media for electioneering, targeting tomorrow's general election. Campaigning in any form has been banned effective from midnight last Friday till polling at tomorrow's election closes at 4 p.m. Since the exploitation of the internet for worldwide communication from the early 1990s by the USA, the mother of all inventions, social media, including Facebook, websites and even normal e-mail more..

On the eve: The President closes all avenues for MR’s return what will the voters say?

Aug 16 (Island) Maithripala Sirisena brought life to a lifeless campaign on its last official day. After putting it in writing that he will not appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa even if the UPFA manages to win more than half the number of seats in tomorrow’s election, Sirisena went further and fired the twin-secretaries of the SLFP-UPFA alliance so that they are not around to play monkey tricks after the election and in the selection of national list MPs for the UPFA. After berating Rajapaksa for letting the UPFA more..

Sri Lanka’s VIPs bust millions to watch movies, including porn, in New York

Aug 16 (ST) Whenever Sri Lankan delegates made their annual pilgrimage to the United Nations in September, they flew business class and were virtually armed with blank cheques. No expenses were spared — be it five-star luxury hotels, unlimited overseas calls, room service, laundry valet, late night refreshments, a fully-stocked refrigerator and in-room movies. Last week we revealed the whopping $436,498 hotel bill more..

EC epitomises deshapriya in his quest for a free and fair poll

Aug 16 (ST) The Elections Department situated at Rajagiryia is a hive of activity and Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya is once again the cynosure of all eyes. Since the Jan 8 Presidential election, the unconventional and candid approach by the Commissioner in discharging his duties, has won him much praise and also helped restore public confidence in the electoral system. His widely published comment that more..

'Cash advance from Treasury to repay GK depositors under consideration'

Aug 16 (ST) A liquidator will be appointed by the Central Bank to wind up operations of Golden Key (GK) by Sept 2015, a high-ranking official disclosed last week. "The liquidation process will begin one month after the August 17 election", CB Governor, Arjuna Mahendran said. He said that GK owns a wide range of assets. The company has under its wing varied properties, including hospitals and schools. more..