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BJP happy over the number of votes secured

Aug 19 (DM) Bodu Jana Peramuna (BJP) said winning parliamentary seats was not their main objective of contesting the general elections but to prove their strength as a party capable of promoting its ideology among the citizens. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera said they had formed the BJP just two days prior to the dissolution of the parliament. "Our prime objective was centered on encouraging and reviving the Buddhist culture among the Sinhala-Buddhist community," he said. more..

More female representation needed in Sri Lanka elections: EU observers

Aug 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka had extremely low number of female candidates participating in the general election held this month, European election observers said. Sri Lanka signed key international instruments for equality between women and men, and the principals of equality and non-discrimination are constitutionally protected. “We recommend that efforts are made so that more female candidates are nominated and elected,” said Ignazio Corrao, chair of the European parliament more..

End of the road for Mahinda Rajapaksa -- Sri Lanka's warrior king?

Aug 19 (CNN) In hindsight the odds were stacked against such a major comeback -- even for Sri Lanka's most powerful politician of the last decade. Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa won his seat in parliamentary elections this week, but his UPFA won only 42% of the seats on offer -- not enough to give him a chance of becoming prime minister, Vladimir Putin-style. It has been a stunning political reversal from a year ago. more..

Two or three things I know about my country

Aug 20 (CT) We’ve never really had a father. We like to think we did, of course, be it D.S. Senanayake, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike or S.J.V. Chelvanayagam. But they never had a vision for Lanka that made sense, in the end. Unlike a Mahathir, Nehru or a Mandela, their vision was partisan, and the results plain to see. Senanayake’s great contribution was to disenfranchise the up country Tamils, and ignore the vernacular language question. more..

The best outcome I expect from election

Aug 20 (CT) The best outcomes of today’s election result would be a resounding defeat of the Mahinda Rajapaksa led UPFA and the UNP succeeding in forming a coalition government with the help of the ethnic minority political parties and the JVP. The country could expect a better future only if the stability of the coalition is forced to being vulnerable to the pressures exerted by the JVP and the ethnic minority political parties. This is necessary in order to hold UNP, as lead partner of the coalition, more..

Cooray uncensored

Aug 20 (CT) Story of double Olympian Marathoner, Anuradha Indrajith Cooray, has much similarity to a movie story where he has proven himself when odds aren't in his favor, by achieving the impossible through lack of support and continuous discouragement. Cooray has now become SL's only male athlete to represent 3 Olympics, becoming present SL's only athlete from any sports who has achieved Olympic A more..

North & South reject racism

Aug 20 (CT) When Maithri removed the UPFA and SLFP Secretaries last week, the Mahinda faction attacked Maithri stating that the latter's decision to introduce new secretaries to act in those offices was taken before Court by a Tamil lawyer. Former CJ Sarath N. Silva disclosed the name of that lawyer and identified as a Tamil. The motive was to put the Tiger label on that lawyer and incite racism. The entire campaign of Mahinda was designed to promote the feeling that more..

Editorial: Winners and losers

Aug 20 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has struck a conciliatory note. Referring to the outcome of Monday’s election, he has declared that there are neither winners nor losers while stressing the need for everyone to put his or her shoulder to the wheel and help achieve national progress. His gesture of magnanimity has won him plaudits—and rightly so. We are reminded of Victor Ratnayake’s golden oldie, api okkoma rajvaru okkoma vesiyo—we are all kings; we are all subjects. more..

'Would pick Sangakkara to bat for my life'

Aug 20 (CI) "Let me put it straight. Kumar Sangakkara is the best batsman that Sri Lanka has ever produced. Aravinda de Silva will always be a sentimental favourite for most of the Sri Lankans including me, but numbers alone make Kumar a phenomenal achiever. More than 60 international centuries. Look at those staggering numbers. In any international sport, there are only a few who attained greatness in every aspect, more..

Priyanjan to lead Sri Lanka ‘A’ to NZ

Aug 20 (NS) Ashan Priyanjan will captain a Sri Lanka ‘A’ team on their tour of New Zealand in October. The national selectors have named two different squads for the tour – one for the unofficial test series that comprises two matches and the other for the four unofficial ODIs. The two squads comprise a young crop of players most of whom made their appearance in the recently concluded series against Pakistan and in the current tour by India. more..

India's stern, four-fold examination

Aug 20 (CI) India are playing a brand of cricket that attempts to go against the grain and rewrite the rules. Five bowlers, twenty wickets, responsibility on the batsmen to hack it and score enough. The first attempt at this experiment led to a wildfire victory at Lord's in 2014. That victory was built on the back of an insane Ravindra Jadeja half-century, followed by the Indian bowlers pounding the ball into the pitch, hypnotising the England batsmen into helpfully landing more..

LMD releases Most Respected Corporate Rankings

Aug 20 (FT) The 11th edition of LMD’s Most Respected entities in Sri Lanka has been released. The special annual edition notes: “As in the prior year, the 11th issue of this special edition measures peer perceptions of corporate admiration – i.e. the Most Respected rankings – using the Olympic Ranking System, so Sri Lanka’s most admired organisations are being conferred gold, silver and bronze medals, as a show of more..

Political stability vital for governance and development

Aug 20 (ST) The election of a politically stable govt is crucial for good governance, national solidarity and economic development. Only a stable govt can ensure social harmony, law and order, the rule of law and good governance that are prerequisites to economic development. An unstable govt would not be in a position to take bold and often unpopular decisions for the country’s economic advancement. Although peace was achieved six years ago the satisfactory settlement of minority grievances more..

Planes, trains, tuk-tuks, and a meeting with the Malingas

Aug 20 (CI) August 10: Flights from Bangalore to Colombo appear to land in a time zone known around the world as TrST (Taxi rip-off Standard Time). If I was a taxi driver, 11pm to 7am is the only shift I'd work, welcoming passengers landing bewildered in a new city, disoriented, sleep-deprived, grumpy and ready to hand over their wallets. Colleague Arya Yuyutsu and I head to Galle, picking Andrew Fidel Fernando up from his home. Colombo is stirring awake, more..

Up from the ashes, Jaffna library welcomes new readers

Aug 20 (NPR) Rising two stories and capped by three domes, the Jaffna Public Library looks a bit like a stately wedding cake. Gleaming white under the Sri Lanka sun, the building's classical lines and beautiful proportions make it one of the architectural standouts of the South Asia region. That it survived at all is a testament to resilience. The fact that it was restored to such pristine condition, including its lush gardens, and more..

On Wickremesinghe rides Sri Lanka's hope for growth

Aug 20 (BS) In a campaign speech in rural Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe, the new PM of Sri Lanka, said: "We established good governance in 100 days; we can produce a new country in 60 months". The accent was on new country and 60 months. For all practical purposes, Sri Lanka is already a new country, having made the transition in 2009 under Mahinda Rajapaksa when V Prabhakaran and the entire leadership of the LTTE were wiped out in a military operation. more..

Head coach reveals her side of story: Happy with performance

Aug 20 (CT) Following a disastrous Netball World Cup, the national head Coach Deepthi Alwis came under heavy criticism for Sri Lanka's poor run in the tournament. Appointing her daughter Semini Alwis as the Captain of the team which went on to lose all ten matches they played during the competition in Sydney, Australia, has also been a talking point among the netball lovers in the country. Meanwhile, netball experts and former Sri Lankan netballers are calling Alwis to quit, more..

New techniques created by Colombo University to monitor sea movements

Aug 20 (ST) Strict international standards are followed today in transporting goods and people by air or sea and if not following these rules transporters risk being blacklisted. On the other hand these measures are enforced to safeguard lives. In this context, Sri Lanka is no exception and new measures are constantly being drafted to ensure standards are followed and offenders penalised. more..

Treasury releases Rs 17,179 mn to maintain guaranteed price on agro-crops

Aug 20 (Island) The Treasury has released Rs 17,179 million to relevant ministries for the expenses incurred to maintain the guaranteed price for tea, rubber and paddy purchasing and other subsidies announced in the interim budget including the 50% reduction of farmers’ loan and providing 15% interest on fixed deposits by senior citizens. Govt expects to purchase 120,000 MT of paddy under the guaranteed price this Yala season and the Treasury has issued a guarantee for more..

Exporters’ Association congratulates new Govt

Aug 20 (DN) Exporters' Association of Sri Lanka (EASL) extended its congratulations to the UNFGG, the coalition led by the UNP, for its victory at the general elections. The EASL is looking forward to the Government's facilitation to reach the $50 billion export target as enunciated by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce at its recently concluded Economic Summit. It endorses and reiterates the direction advised by the Chamber that Govt must engage with the relevant stakeholders more..

Sri Lanka wants to be the next Singapore as war legacy fades

Aug 20 (BN) Sri Lanka is moving past its history of ethnic strife and seeking to emulate Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai as one of the region’s premier trading and financial hubs, a senior ruling party lawmaker said. “Our focus entirely is going to be on creating the most competitive economy in this part of the world,” Harsha de Silva, who helped draft the UNP’s economic policy, said. “We are going to have to play in a different league.” more..

Top Canadian universities to tour Sri Lanka to promote Canadian education

Aug 20 (Island) Eight of Canada’s leading universities are visiting Sri Lanka from Aug 30th to Sept 1st, to meet with top students and showcase Canada as a destination of choice for higher education. This will mark the Council of International Schools (CIS) Canadian University Tour’s first visit to Sri Lanka during which the group will meet with schools in Colombo. High Commissioner of Canada Shelley Whiting stated that "Education is a priority sector for Canada’s commercial engagement more..

NCE congratulates President and the Commissioner of Elections

Aug 20 (Island) National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) which is the only Chamber which exclusively serves Sri Lankan exporters wishers to convey its congratulations and warm appreciation to the President, the Commissioner of Elections and his staff and other responsible state officials for the conduct of a peaceful and highly successful general election, which augurs well for the future of the country. NCE is the only private sector Chamber which exclusively provides more..

SL ranked 122nd in Human Rights Index

Aug 20 (CT) Sri Lanka ranks 122nd for its level of human freedom while the US ranks 20th in the Human Freedom Index, released by the Fraser Institute and a network of international public-policy think-tanks. Index - which uses 76 indicators of personal, civil and economic freedoms to rank 152 countries around the world - is the most comprehensive freedom index so far created for a globally meaningful set of countries. more..

TISL salutes Elections Commissioner

Aug 20 (FT) As a leading civil society organisation in the promotion of good governance and the integrity of the electoral process, Transparency International SL wishes to congratulate and extend its warmest gratitude to the Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya and the staff of the Elections Department for ensuring a peaceful, free and fair Parliamentary election was held in Sri Lanka on 17 August. The nature of this election and the pre-election period has sent out more..

Sri Lanka chooses change

Aug 20 (WSJ) Sri Lankan voters demonstrated on Monday for the second time this year that they are hungry for new leadership. The UNP picked up 45 parliamentary seats, likely giving it the political muscle necessary to pass President Sirisena’s ambitious reform agenda. President Sirisena won election in January after former President Mahinda Rajapaksa tried and failed to use a snap election to consolidate power. While lauded for ending Tamil insurgency, allegations of nepotism and more..

Election was a research: Sannasgala

Aug 20 (DM) The well known tuition master Upul Shantha Sannasgala, who entered the political arena by contesting the Colombo District from the UNP, but failed to win a parliamentary seat, said that he considered his contesting the election as an act of research done by him. He said he could see how people reacted when policy-based politics was adopted by a politician while others were following pledges-based politics. more..

'EU to discuss fish ban lift, GSP plus trade benefits'

Aug 20 (DN) The European Union (EU) ban on fish exports lifting, GSP plus trade agreement and bilateral trade with the EU region will soon be a reality under the new govt, European Union Niranjan Deva Aditya said. “The new govt’s good governance, rule of law and proper foreign policies will propel to remove the EU fishing ban against Sri Lanka, and to obtain the GSP plus trade arrangement provided Sri Lanka adheres to EU requirements properly and swiftly,” more..

Mumbai bookie placed bets worth crore in Ind-SL Test

Aug 20 (TOI) Mumbai-based bookie Mahendra Mittal had carried out transactions and had taken bets worth Rs 90 crore on the last day of the first test match between India and Sri Lanka which concluded on August 15. This was revealed by sources after officials of Ahmedabad unit of Enforcement Directorate (ED) completed search operations at the premises of Mittal in Mumbai. ED officials had recovered documents, four laptops, several landlines and mobile phones, more..

Good showing by NFF candidates; five secure parliamentary seats

Aug 20 (Island) Five candidates of NFF led by former Minister Wimal Weerawansa, who contested under the UPFA banner at last Monday’s general election, got elected from Matara, Kalutara, Moneragala and Colombo Districts. Wimal Weerawansa obtained the highest number of preferential votes (313,801) from the UPFA. Matara District NFF leader, Niroshan Premaratne had bagged 99,762 votes more..

Sri Lanka Tourism to take Tea theme at World Travel Mart London 2015

Aug 20 (GDI) The leading travel industry event staged annually in London- World Travel Mart that attracts around fifty thousand tourism professionals which recorded an $244 million for the British economy and deal making at $2.5 billion dollars plus globally, Sri Lanka tourism together with the private sector will be making a strong statement given the 16.8% cumulative growth and 31.2% growth in visitor arrivals in July said Dr. Rohantha Athukorala. SL Tourism Pavilion taking a cutting edge more..

15-year-old student writes book on poverty

Aug 20 (AN) A 15-year-old Sri Lankan student from Bangladesh International School in Riyadh, English Section, has becoming one of the world’s youngest authors by writing a book on poverty. Poverty is not Passivity authored by Zainab Ifthikar was presented to Minister Champika Ranawaka in Colombo last week. Some of the country’s leading writers attended, who encouraged the teenager to pursue a writing career. The young writer said she has personally witnessed the suffering of the poor more..

Internal squabbles of TNA intensify

Aug 20 (Island) Having consolidated its position in the Northern Province, the four-party TNA is seeking to neutralise an influential section within the coalition. TNA candidates contested the recently concluded Aug. 17 parliamentary polls on the ITAK ticket. TNA alleged that certain persons had tried to sabotage its propaganda campaign, thereby depriving them of the opportunity to win all 7 seats in the Jaffna more..

Central Bank FIU questions Thera

Aug 20 (DN) The Central Bank Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) yesterday questioned and recorded a statement from a prominent Buddhist monk over the alleged depositing of Rs 500,000 into his personal bank account. The money in question was a part of the money allegedly deposited by the China Harbour Engineering Company in favour of a former minister. The Ven Thera who was asked to appear before the Central Bank Financial Investigation Unit to record a statement more..

Higurana sugar factory to reopen in October

Aug 20 (DN) Higurana sugar factory which had been closed for 20 years will commence production in October. A large number of employees became jobless as a result of the shut down. A spokesperson for the project said about 600 employees will be re-employed as a result of the re-opening. Spokesperson said 18 acres of land and 18 tanks close to the sugar factory will be developed. A Singaporean investor will invest Rs. 13,500 million on the Higurana sugar factory project. more..

OHCHR report names 43 individuals complicit in war crimes

Aug 20 (CT) Report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) contains the names of 43 individuals including those in the Army, Air Force and Navy as being allegedly complicit in war crimes, human rights abuses and violations. It is reliably learned that a report from the US is going to clear Sri Lanka of war crimes by stating that Sri Lankan forces followed the Fourth Protocol of the Geneva Convention, more..

Ranil smashes CBK’s preferential vote record

Aug 20 (FT) UNP Leader Ranil Wickre-mesinghe, endlessly mocked over seven months for being a PM without mandate, polled a record-breaking 556,600 preferential votes in the Colombo District race to cement his claim to the premiership and head the country’s next Govt. With his vote haul at Monday’s poll, Wickremesinghe smashed Chandrika Kumaratunga’s record of 464,588 preferential votes in the Gampaha District, when she contested as the SLFP’s prime ministerial candidate in 1994. more..

Ranil to be sworn-in as PM today

Aug 20 (PTI) Incumbent Ranil Wickremesinghe will be sworn-in as Sri Lanka's new PM today, returning to the office for a fourth term after his party won the closely contested general election. UNP coalition won 106 seats in parliamentary election, just 7 short of a simple majority in the 225-member assembly but enough to form a govt. "We will also form the Cabinet thereafter," former Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. He was certain to receive the majority support from Rajapaksa's UPFA more..

MS meets rejected UPFA candidates

Aug 20 (Island) Amidst on-going talks among warring SLFP factions to resolve contentious issues, particularly the dispute over the filling of National List slots, President Sirisena met a group of unsuccessful UPFA candidates at his official residence. Sources said that among the issues discussed had been the possibility of accommodating some of them through the National List. Among those who had been involved in more..

Promises to keep, miles to go before you sleep

Aug 20 (DM) With the virtues of magnanimity and humility in victory, Sri Lanka’s newly re-elected PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday made an impassioned plea for all parties to come together to break the deadlock of confrontational party politics and build a new era of consensus, compromise and conciliation. In the afterglow of a personal triumph where he won a record number of more than 566,000 preferential votes, the PM said he had a lengthy dialogue with President Sirisena more..