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15 million voters go to the polls tomorrow

Aug 16 (CT) Polling begins tomorrow morning, 17 Aug, to elect representatives to Sri Lanka's eighth Parliament. Polling begins at 7 a.m. and will end at 4:00 in the evening. Some 15,044,490 voters all over the country are eligible to vote in this election. There will be 12,314 Polling Centres in 22 districts. A total of 6,151 candidates are contesting this election from 21 political parties and 201 independent groups. more..

Crackdown on liquor; violators beware

Aug 16 (ST) A crackdown on the transport of liquor has been launched in the run-up to tomorrow’s parliamentary elections, Excise Commissioner General L.K.G. Gunawardena said. He said Excise teams headed by senior officials had fanned out throughout the country to nab offenders after the election campaign ended at midnight on Friday. This is also to ensure that all liquor outlets are closed on polls day, tomorrow. more..

Where have all the coins gone?

Aug 16 (CT) "Sorry ma'am, no change." Why does no-one ever give you back change in this country? Where have all the coins – 25 cents, 50 cents, Rs 1, Rs 2, Rs 5, Rs 10 – gone? Boarding a bus these days is a nightmare if you do not have the exact fare. The bus conductor always demands change. If you give Rs 20 for the minimum bus fare of Rs 8, you will get only Rs 10. Some commuters ask for the balance of Rs 2, while others who are in a more..

Can SL’s new govt break free from China?

Aug 16 (WP) In the past seven months, Sri Lanka’s new president, Maithripala Sirisena, has tried to steer the island nation back to the path of good governance and reverse the excesses of his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa. He has grounded the air-conditioned buses the former president’s family used for cross-country joy rides. Luxury govt cars driven by cronies have been reclaimed. Work has stopped on a building in more..

UNF, UPFA confident of victory

Aug 16 (SO) The two main political groups, the UNF for Good Governance and the UPFA are both confident of securing a 113 –member working majority to form the next govt, post August 17. Both parties exuded confidence, saying they will be able to garner enough seats to form a stable government and that tomorrow’s parliamentary election will only provide electoral proof of their political strength. more..

'Land ownership rules to be amended'

Aug 16 (CT) Sri Lanka is planning to liberalize the Land ownership rules to boost foreign direct investment (FDI) under a future Govt, Chairman of the Board of Investment (BOI) Upul Jayasuriya said. He was in conversation with this newspaper on the sidelines of the agreement signing ceremony for the proposed Volkswagen manufacturing plant at Kuliyapitiya at the BOI auditorium in Fort on Thursday. more..

More than 30,000 local, international observers to monitor tomorrow’s polls

Aug 16 (ST) More than 30,000 local and international observers are set to monitor tomorrow’s islandwide elections. Former election commissioners, lawyers, politicians, doctors and journalists are among the observers who have undergone training for weeks before moving in as observers in various parts of the country. On an invitation from the EC, a team of Commonwealth election observers are in Colombo. more..

A So Important Election

Aug 16 (Island) Yes, this is a most important election, a watershed really, but its importance is accompanied by a happy element of hope that it will be as clean and devoid of violence as can be expected. The main plus point is that people have confidence in the Elections Commissioner and the President has left almost the entire matter, very rightly, in the EC’s seemingly capable hands. President is being a true statesman, not involved overtly in the elections and not going to more..

If MR’s defeat is certain, why not vote JVP!

Aug 16 (Island) If it is certain that Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) will not be the next PM, it makes sense to use ones vote to craft a meaningful opposition instead of increasing the Ranil Wickremesinghe (RW) UNF-GG parliamentary majority. A strong JVP serves two objectives: (a) an opposition that can keep the next govt on a tight leash (the debauched UPFA opposition can serve no such purpose); (b) test out a dish that may mature into an alternative govt one day. more..

Over 15 million voters from 22 electoral districts to elect 225 MPs tomorrow

Aug 16 (ST) Over 15 million voters across 22 electoral districts will go to the polls tomorrow to elect 225 MPs in the country’s 15th General election since 1947. Colombo District will return the largest for a single district with 19 MPs, while Tricomalee will return the lowest number of 4 MPs. Colombo -19 MPs -1,586,598 registered voters -15 polling divisions namely: Colombo North, Colombo Central, Borella, Colombo East, more..

Rajiva files action against Liberal Party

Aug 16 (Island) The nationalist candidate of UPFA Dr Rajiva Wijesinha has filed a case in Colombo District Court seeking enjoining orders against the Liberal Party office bearers Mrs. Swarna Amaratunga (President) Mr. Kamal Nissanka (Secretary General), Mr. Ananda Stephen (Deputy Secretary General), Mr Roshan Amaraarachchi (Vice President), Mr Rathnasiri Kotege (Treasurer), MrSarath Buddadasa (Ex Vice President), and Dr Newton Pieris. more..

Frozen India caught in the headlights

Aug 16 (CI) When daylight breaks tomorrow, on what would have been the final morning of the Galle Test, the Indian team will wake up in their dramatic Lighthouse Hotel and wonder whether they were involved in a game of cricket or were actually characters in the 1960s Hindi movie Mughal-e-Azam (The Great Mughal). In which hours and days went by like a breeze, full of pomp and grandeur, walking about like royals before they suddenly found themselves buried alive with the dancing girl. more..

Sri Lanka deploys thousands of police on election eve

Aug 16 (AFP) Sri Lanka deployed thousands of police Sunday in stepped up security on the eve of a general election after the campaign was hit by sporadic violence that claimed four lives. Police Inspector General N.K. Illangakoon said 63,000 officers were fanning out across the country to guard polling booths and counting centres for Monday's election, while para-military commandos were on alert in case of trouble. more..

Sri Lanka heading for troubled waters

Aug 16 (AT) The parliamentary election in Sri Lanka on Monday has lost much of its geopolitical import because it is no more the Chinese election it was meant to be. Actually, Reuters estimates, with a good measure of accuracy, that no matter which of the two electoral fronts wins the election – led respectively by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa – Sri Lanka will be a non-aligned investment attraction. more..

Stain on clear canvassing

Aug 16 (SL) Sri Lankans is experiencing an altogether new experience this duration towards the general election, slated for tomorrow since it has been one of the most peaceful pre-election periods in the country when taken into account many of the past elections. Apart from few incidents, that many of violent incidents the Sri Lankans had witnessed at past elections were not reported during this election campaigning period. However, a horrific incident took place on Aug 9 in Orugodawatte more..

4,000 buses for commuters, 1,000 for polls related work

Aug 16 (ST) A fleet of 4,000 buses will be in operation during the election period to ensure a smooth transport service, SLTB Chairman Ramal Siriwardena said. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya requested over 1,000 buses for election work and they have been released from the fleet of 5,000 buses. He explained that it is also planned to provide special long distance buses which start from Pettah with destinations to more..

‘Don’t let election law violators get bail’

Aug 16 (CT) EC Mahinda Deshapriya has instructed the Police not to release on bail anyone taken into custody in connection with violation of election laws during the immediate post-election period and on the day of the election. EC has asked Police to object to the granting of bail to such suspects and persons in Court. He added that the Elections Department will get lawyers to represent them in Court, and ensure that they object to granting of bail to such suspects as well. more..

State media tilted in favor of UNP: TISL

Aug 16 (NS) According to the interim report by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) on election coverage by the state and private media, while a fairer and more balanced approach was to be seen by both camps relative to the presidential election, there still remained instances of news outfits taking sides. Among the findings of the report, titled Electoral Integrity compiled by TISL’s Program for the Protection of Public Resources, it was stated that state media dedicated less space for more..

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

Aug 16 (ST) 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 police more..

Three seriously injured as candidate’s vehicle crashes into motorcycle

Aug 16 (ST) Two women and a four-year-old child involved in an accident were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after the motorcycle which they were riding was hit by a speeding vehicle owned by a candidate at the elections. According to police the vehicle was travelling from Puttalam towards Kurunegala when the accident occurred. Candidate concerned –from the Puttalam District– was in the vehicle at the time, and that the driver of the vehicle had been arrested. more..

Over 80 bhikkhus in the fray

Aug 16 (SO) Over 150 bhikkhus are contesting the Parliamentary elections tomorrow. A large number of Bhikkhus are contesting and campaigning for good governance with civil society organisations. While some are contesting others hope to enter Parliament through the National List. Among the leading figures, a Bhikkhu among the first to enter politics is contesting from the UPFA. Two Bhikkhus who lead the campaign of the recently held Presidential election are nominated from more..

'All projects in Sri Lanka now on our terms'

Aug 16 (PTI) Calling former President Rajapaksa’s China-focussed foreign policy an aberration and blunder, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said from now on all projects in the island nation will be on Sri Lankan terms. Assuaging India’s apprehensions about China being handed out a piece of sovereign land in the temporarily suspended China-funded Colombo Port City Project, he said: “There will be no sovereign territory. more..

Ex-Yakkalamulla PS Vice Chairman arrested

Aug 16 (AD) The former Vice Chairman of the Yakkalamulla Pradeshiya Sabha has been arrested on charges of molesting an underage girl, police said today. He is accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl during election campaigning activities in the Henawatta area in Ma Gedara on Friday. The arrested suspect reportedly also serves as the principal of a school in the area. He is scheduled to the produced before the Galle Additional Magistrate today while Yakkalamulla Police is more..

Elections put future of top leaders on the line

Aug 16 (ENS) The future of Sri Lanka’s top most leaders, namely, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe; former President Mahinda Rajapaksa; and incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena; will be on the line on Monday as 15 million Lankans elect a 225-member parliament. If the UNFGG wins, as predicted by most opinion polls, its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s political future is secure for the next five years. But if the UNFGG loses, powerful factions in his UNP will demand his scalp. more..

Video: Sobitha Thera commends EC

Aug 16 (DM) Ven. Maduluwave Sobitha Thera, who heads the Movement for a Just Society, today met EC Mahinda Deshapriya and encouraged him to keep up the good work he was doing in making sure that this election was free and fair. He told journalists after meeting Mr. Deshapriya that the elections commissioner had to be consistent when handling the complaints he receives of election law violations. more..

SLT assures uninterrupted service

Aug 16 (ST) SLT being the telecommunication service provider for the Elections Commissioners office, counting centres and the media centre, will have a staff of more than 250 working around the clock till the elections come to a close. To ensure smooth communication of results the Commissioner’s office has been given two 1mbps lines to facilitate uploading of the website which is hosted through the SLT internet Data Centre. Current bandwidth is sufficient to handle more..

Voters can claim poll cards even on election day

Aug 16 (ST) Post Offices islandwide will remain open till 4 p.m. today to enable voters who have not received their polling cards to collect them from their respective post offices, a senior official of the Postal Department said. They can do so on Monday, the day of the poll as well, Post Master General Rohana Abeyratne said. He explained that all polling cards could not be delivered to homes as the householders were not present when they were taken for distribution. more..

Prageeth probe: Police under no pressure to conceal info

Aug 16 (DM) Police Headquarters said today that some of the details of the investigation into the disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda had been released to the public but the rest could not be revealed because the investigations were continuing. It denied that Police Chief N.K. Illangakoon was holding back some of the information under pressure from some individuals. Prageeth's wife Sandaya more..

The importance of the vote

Aug 16 (ST) On 14 Aug, Kalpitiya jetty was abustle with fishermen from the islands off the Kalpitiya peninsula. They had come to board buses and vans to reach their homes in order to vote on Aug 17. While the number of voters registered within the islands off Kalpitiya –Battalangunduwa, Palliyewatte and Uchchumunai– account for only a couple of hundreds, there are nearly 1500 fishermen working here who are registered as voters in other areas of the country including more..

Swiss politician wants Lankans sent back

Aug 16 (CG) A leading Swiss politician has called for the return of Sri Lankan asylum seekers in Switzerland as the island is now at peace. He said people fleeing conflict should only receive temporary protection in Switzerland, calling for a rethinking of the country’s approach to asylum seekers in an interview published today. “People displaced by war should still be taken in but only with the aim of sending them back later when the situation in their country of origin allows it,” more..

Sri Lankan election offers hope for families of the disappeared

Aug 16 (AJ) For tens of thousands of people in Sri Lanka, photographs of the missing are treated as family treasures. In the north and east of the country, the former war zone for the 26-year-long civil war, they are everywhere. They grace the entrances of the mud-wall houses or are hung inside high on the wall next to pictures of deities, sometimes garlanded with strings of lights or flowers. Many families risked their lives for more..

HRCSL sets up a special unit for election complaints

Aug 16 (GDI) The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has set up a special unit to record complaints related to incidents of fundamental rights violations on the day of the election. According to Secretary and media spokesman of the HRCSL, Nimal Punchihewa the HRCSL has decided to set up a special unit to prevent election related fundamental rights violations while casting votes. The unit will be set up in the HRCSL head office consisting of 10 members. more..

Sri Lanka to decide tomorrow; polling amid tight security

Aug 16 (PTI) Sri Lanka will vote on Monday in what promises to be a closely contested elections between PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s UNP and President Maithripala Sirisena UPFA, as Mahinda Rajapaksa eyes a political comeback as PM months after being toppled as president. The rivalry between Wickremesinghe and Sirisena has been evident in the past months since the latter became president despite the constitutional positions they held, even though it was with the former’s support that more..

Sri Lankan ice-cream parlour gains fame after surviving brutal conflict

Aug 16 (CNA) Rio Ice-cream is much revered among ice-cream lovers within and beyond the town of Jaffna. The two-storey building on Point Pedro Road is packed with polished wooden tables and chairs that are usually occupied in the evening, when customers flock to enjoy scoops of ice-cream. “Ice-cream here is very delicious and of top quality. The staff treat us very well too,” a regular customer said, before delving a spoon into more..

Sri Lanka’s ethnic question & the JVP: A pre-election clarification

Aug 17 (CT) As the Sri Lankan general election approaches, there is an effort among pro-UNP media to raise an intriguing argument. This argument goes as follows: Voting the JVP is thoroughly unadvisable, because JVP MPs will side with Mahinda Rajapaksa, when the UNP-led govt moves towards reforms, especially with regards to the ethnic question. Articles of this nature, published in outlets such as Lanka E News, first appear in Sinhala, and then in English. more..

Elections: For power or for consultative leadership?

Aug 17 (SO) When people go and vote tomorrow, they will be voting to elect not one person or even a few individuals with special power over others, but a group of people who will function as an assembly of collective decision-makers whose decisions become the law of the land but who are not empowered to rule by implementing those decisions. Rather, this assembly - our Parliament - authorizes other sets of people to implement their rulings - Cabinet of Ministers, President, govt bureaucracy, more..

Puttlam's undocumented other half

Aug 17 (SO) These women from Puttlam are unique for many reasons: They have intensely suffered due to the rise of terrorism in the North, were driven out of their homes and villages under short notice together with their families without cash or documents in hand to live in a strange district they were compelled to adopt as their new home. In the eyes of many - in a country that had experienced near 3 decades of war more..

A victory for democratic revolution

Aug 17 (CT) Both President Sirisena and PM Wickremasinghe have called the ongoing change a revolution whatever the attendant infirmities or exaggerations. It is through the same democratic processes that those weaknesses could be rectified. The participation of the people and the civil society is of paramount importance. If Jan 8th was the first stage of that revolution, today, Aug 17th undoubtedly is going to be the second stage. The following is what Wikipedia gives more..

A Cabinet of 30

Aug 17 (SO) One of the largest single groupings of concerned experts, senior retired civil servants and, academics that emerged recently in response to major national problems, the Campaign for Sound National Policies, has proposed a thirty-member Cabinet of Ministers for Sri Lanka's future govt. The set of proposals for 'Ministry Clustering for Enhanced Performance' were submitted to the Presidential Secretariat on Friday and, by yesterday, also to the leaders of more..

Why STF took over President's security

Aug 17 (CT) Former STF Commandant Senior DIG of Police Nimal Lewke says that the removal of the Presidential Security Division may be to tighten the security of President Maithripala Sirisena. He also said STF was neglected and sidelined during the past 10 years. Therefore, it should be given a thorough training again to do a proper job. Q: What are the main reasons for dissolving PSD? more..