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'Exercise your franchise at Jan 8, prez poll'

Jan 5 (Island) The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has reiterated its call for Tamil electorate to exercise their franchise at the forthcoming presidential election. The following is the full text of the statement issued by GTF’s President Rev Father S J Emmanuel: "I prefer to give only one answer as to why Tamils are asked by GTF to vote and that for the survival of democracy and rule of law. We Tamils of Sri Lanka are unfortunately caught up in a pseudo democracy bequeathed by more..

Time for change in Sri Lanka?

Jan 5 (ANI) President Rajapaksa is a nervous man. Barely a month ago, when he announced snap presidential polls in Sri Lanka, it seemed then that he was unconquerable. Within days however, that has changed. Common opposition candidate and Rajapaksa's former health minister Maithripala Sirisena has grown from strength to strength as Sri Lanka readies for a change. Sirisena's biggest asset is the anti-incumbency factor being faced by two-term President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Deshapriya hits back at thuggery

Jan 5 (CG) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya today warned thugs who attempt to threaten his officials, saying they will not be successful in their attempts. Deshapriya said that it was not new to see thuggery being used at an election and that similar incidents had taken place even at past polls. He said that people accused him of not taking action over an incident where two election officers were assaulted in Trinco. more..

BBS slams the US over an article

Jan 5 (CG) The Badu Bala Sena (BBS) says it will stage a protest against the US over an article appearing in the US media. The CEO of the BBS, Dilantha Vitanage told reporters today that the article had been published in an attempt to tarnish the image of the BBS ahead of Thursday’s Presidential election. Without mentioning an exact date, Vitanage said that the BBS will protest outside the US Embassy in Colombo against the article and will also raise the issue directly with the US govt. more..

Maithripala assigned Three Wheeler in false model ballot paper

Jan 5 (AM) Falsified model ballot papers with a false electoral symbol for New Democratic Front candidate Maithripala Sirisena have been found in Chilaw, BBC Sandeshaya reported. These ballot papers had the symbol of a three wheeler as the electoral sign of Sirisena. The UNP Organizer Shantha Sisira Kumara has told media that even the elephant has been included in front of some other candidate’s name, even though the elephant is the symbol of the UNP. more..

India to bring back 77 laborers stranded in Sri Lanka within 48 hours

Jan 5 (ANI) India said on Monday said they will ensure that all Indian workers, willing to return to India, will come back within 48-72 hours after the matter of a labour dispute at the privately owned Bhuwalka Steel Company was taken up by Indian High Commission authorities in Colombo. "This morning a counsel team has gone to the company. They have got all the information and they are now working to ensure that they are more..

Sri Lanka’s president faces tough election

Jan 5 (VoA) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, seeking a third term in Thursday’s elections, is facing an unexpected and powerful challenge from one of his former aides. When he called the election two years ahead of schedule, the island nation’s leader was expected to cruise to an easy victory. But an internal revolt led by Maithripala Sirisena, his former health minister in the ruling party, has seen more than 20 lawmakers and former ministers cross over from the president’s side to his rival. more..

Kurunegala Bishop gets threats

Jan 5 (CG) Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala, the Rt Reverend Shantha Francis, says he has been threatened by the Tamil diaspora and has offered to resign. Bishop said he had been threatened since he openly speaks against LTTE supporters living overseas. Bishop says he is unable to continue with his work as a Bishop and so has informed the Church of Ceylon that he is keen to step down. Asked why he came out with his concerns at this moment when there is an election more..

SL opposition for Social Market Economy

Jan 5 (EN) Sri Lanka's opposition is for a 'social market economy' where macro-economic stability and economic freedoms will be maintained allowing benefits to be enjoyed by all citizens, Harsha de Silva, an opposition legislator said. "There has to be political and social justice within a market based economy," de Silva told reporters in Colombo on Sunday. "This is a social market economy." more..

True grit amid the guns

Jan 5 (CI) Kane Williamson had been a part of the 126-run stand that sapped Sri Lanka and propelled New Zealand into dominance on day one in Christchurch. But even he admits his role in the whole thing was minor. As his runs dried up when he lost rhythm after lunch, Brendon McCullum was laying waste to the opposition. Williamson's contribution to the partnership was 20 - less than one-fifth of McCullum's tally. "It felt like I was the library in a theme park," was his take on more..

Video: Champika reveals Mahinda’s LTTE dealings

Jan 5 (LT) Mahinda Rajapaksa, who talks about patriotism, doesn’t know anything about unitary state says former Minister Champika Ranawaka. He said this at a summit of trade union representatives. He challenged Mahinda Rajapaksa to amend the smallest amendment in the 13th amendment that is detrimental to ‘unitary state if Mahinda Rajapaksa knows what ‘unitary state’ is. Ranawaka revealed that Mahinda Rajapaksa maintained relationship with the LTTE through Basil Rajapaksa. more..

'TNA will not accept positions in Maithri govt; But will support advisory council'

Jan 5 (AM) The Tamil National Alliance today indicated that it would not accept ministerial portfolios under Maithripala Sirisena’s government; but assured to play an active role in the process of making constitutional changes. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, speaking to media, said the party was yet to make a decision on the role it should play in the new govt which would be formed after Maithripala Sirisena’s ascension to power. more..

An open letter to JVP leader

Jan 6 (CT) Dear Anura, Everything in this world is subjected to change and so do the people. Political parties, too, cannot avoid this global phenomenon. So, no argument about you and your party. I thought of writing to this open letter after listening to you at Campbell Park a few days ago at a rally organized by Purawesi Balaya. In fact more than me, it was my wife and a few of her women friends insisted listening to you and were looking for an opportunity. Thus, I accompanied them to Campbell Park. more..

Impact of presidential elections on politics

Jan 6 (CT) Sri Lanka will face another couple of days of drama before Sri Lankans exercise their democratic rights to decide, whether they wish to regain the democracy they had under 'Westminster parliamentary system of govt' since Independence in 1948 or approve the continuation of the 'Presidential system of govt' under the current President Rajapaksa. He passed the 18th amendment and laid the foundation to stay in power for life by overriding the current limit of two to unlimited terms more..

'Challenge from foreign soil for separatism is real'

Jan 6 (SO) Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe, who commanded the SL Navy soon after the end of the war against terrorism after contributing immensely as an Area Commander in the Navy and at Navy Headquarters is now serving as the Sri Lanka High Commissioner to Australia, and overseeing the duties New Zealand other Pacific Ocean countries Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu since July 2011. more..

North beats Western Province in banking density

Jan 6 (FT) Reaffirming post-war economic recovery, the Northern Province has beaten the Western Province in the latest banking density rankings. Northern Province’s bank branch density (bank branches per 100,000 inhabitants) was 21.66 while it was 21.18 for the Western Province. In 2008, the Northern Province figure was 7.39 and it ranked ninth best. In the Eastern Province too there has been rapid expansion with its figure being 16.82, placing it third as opposed to more..

With Rs. 24 Billion in assets MBSL completes much awaited merger

Jan 6 (CT) Sri Lanka's pioneer merchant banking giant Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka PLC's finance company status has been consolidated after merging with two subsidiaries MBSL Savings Bank Limited and MCSL Financial Services Ltd with effect from Jan 1, 2015 The new corporate entity would be known as "Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka and Finance PLC" and has consolidated Rs. 24 billion in assets and has been done according to the Central Bank's Banking sector consolidation programme, more..

'Common opposition: A corporation of failures'

Jan 6 (NS) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, candidate of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) met with several editors of national newspapers on Wednesday, December 31 for an open discussion on various topics including the upcoming Presidential Election. He fielded questions on various aspects of his campaign as well as key elements of his manifesto. The following are excerpts of the President’s responses. more..

January 8th: Another opportunity for change

Jan 6 (GV) For the first time since Mahinda Rajapaksa ascended the Presidency in 2006 he faces a strong threat to his office. This was not the case when he called the election two years before it was due, confident of re-election owing to a deeply fractured opposition. But that has changed dramatically. Now his own former Health Minister and General Secretary of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena is the consensus opposition contender to the Presidency, completely blindsiding more..

Editorial: Lester, forgive them!

Jan 6 (Island) JHU firebrand Champika Ranawaka, MP has come under heavy fire for insulting the doyen of Sri Lankan cinema and internationally renowned film-maker, Dr. Lester James Peries. He showed the media the other day a picture of President Rajapaksa with former LTTE arms procurer KP. But, it has now been revealed that the photograph is a doctored one with the head of Lester hugging President Rajapaksa, replaced with that of the former terrorist. more..

Boston Lanka: January 05, 2015

Presidential Election 2015: Projection of probable results

Jan 6 (GV) Further to the initial forecast I made in my previous article (Groundviews, 1st Jan 2015), in this article I make several projections about the possible result in the forthcoming presidential election based on previous election results. I primarily use percentages from the 2010 Presidential election result, 2005 Presidential election result and the 2014 Uva Provincial Council result, in particular the result of the Badulla district, for this purpose. more..

China, India and the Sri Lanka Elections

Jan 6 (TD) In less than a week, President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka will be facing the toughest political battle of his life as the country votes in the presidential elections on Jan 8. The Sinhala strongman, credited with ending a 30-year war against the separatist LTTE in 2009 was expected to have a cakewalk until one of his closest colleagues Maithripala Sirisena walked out of the ruling combine and mounted a credible challenge after the fragmented opposition rallied around him. more..

The challenger for Sri Lanka's presidency

Jan 6 (Reuters) Over a dinner of rice-flour pancakes with his trusted health minister one evening in November, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa observed with a grin that there would be no serious candidate to challenge him in the coming presidential election. Little did Rajapaksa know then that the man who would stand in his way of winning an unprecedented third term as president of this island nation was right beside him. more..

When allies collide

Jan 6 (NS) The 2010 SL Presidential Election was proved to be unlike anything before. Most importantly, it was the first presidential election held after the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009. However, the election was to become an instance of increased political tension due to the unexpected appearance of an unlikely presidential candidate in the form of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. After the defeat of the LTTE and the annihilation of all its leading local cadres, more..

Many twists and turns in run-up to polls

Jan 6 (NS) Sri Lanka’s mostly closely contested presidential election will be held in four days. The campaign leading to the poll has had many twists and turns, right from the inception when incumbent President Rajapaksa’s Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena announced he would be running for office. With less than 100 hours before voting begins, political observers, opinion polls and astrologers have but one thing in common with the average voter: their choices are equally divided. more..

Tensions rise as Sri Lankans prepare for historic polls

Jan 6 (IPS) These days, the national greeting in Sri Lanka is a simple question: “So, what do you think?” Everyone from van drivers waiting to pick kids up from school, to mechanics repairing vehicles, to barbers cutting your hair have only this question on their lips. Even govt ministers, though appearing assured of their victory at the upcoming Jan 8 presidential polls while addressing crowds of supporters on stage, ask this query of more..

Sri Lanka investment opportunities draw US strategy consulting firm

Jan 6 (EN) Sri Lanka's post-war economic growth and changing demographics offer profitable opportunities for investment especially in tourism, healthcare and retail, officials of a US-based global strategy consulting firm said. Family-owned Sri Lankan business along with public ones are now getting more used to management strategy consultants, according to Rafi Musher, CEO of Stax, headquartered in Boston, USA. The firm helps private equity (PE) investors find good places more..

SLT Ridee Reyak held for the 12th consecutive year

Jan 6 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) announces that the company was once again the Principal sponsor of Sri Lanka Telecom Ridee Reyak, which was organized for the 12th consecutive year. Ridee Reyak took place at the BMICH on Dec 20, and as is customary, was telecast on Rupavahini on the eve of New Year 2015. Organized by the Cinestar Foundation for the 12th consecutive year, the main aim of Ridee Reyak is to raise funds for a medical scheme for local cinema artists, more..

Royal British horse a game changer in Sri Lankan presidential polls

Jan 6 (DNA) The supreme leader has changed the face of Sri Lanka. A war of 30 years has been put to an end, the world's finest cars are speeding on newly built expressways, the economy is spurting at a handsome 7%, tourism is booming at an unheard of 22% — and yet the peasants of the country are obsessed with one silly horse. The horse imported from the royal stables of Buckingham for millions of rupees has more..

Fonterra dairy farmers taken on study tour to New Techno Livestock 2014

Jan 6 (Island) Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka hosted farmers from dairy communities in Hanwella and Kiriwattuduwa on a study tour to the New Techno Livestock 2014. Over 80 farmers were provided with access to best practices on managing livestock and production. The free Expo was hosted by the Department of Animal Production and Health and saw over 2000 farmers and entrepreneurs in the industry visiting to browse and learn from the companies and organisations present. more..

Keeping misgovernance at bay after elections

Jan 6 (Island) The prominent role of civil society in the polity has been highlighted during the course of the elections by the activities of the election monitoring organizations. However, even before the declaration of elections, civil society was in the news. The govt media used to regularly vilify sections of civil society and NGOs as engaging in anti-national activities. Although this was not their intention, the state media highlighted the important role that civil society was playing in the polity, more..

Govt defends cost of expressways

Jan 6 (CT) Govt denied allegations that the expressways had been built at exorbitant cost and said the contracts were awarded based on proper procurement guidelines. Additional Director General of the RDA, R.M. Amarasekara said that reports of the cost of construction of the expressways of Sri Lanka were taken out of proportion and the facts presented had been false and baseless. more..

A fight to the finish in hill country

Jan 6 (ENS) In 1987, the Indian Peace Keeping Force forayed into Sri Lanka with the aim of ending the civil war in the island nation. Anybody who takes up arms against the Union of India is viewed as enemy. On this occasion, the Indian Army had to fight against the LTTE. The 13 Sikh Light Infantry (Sikh LI), under Lieutenant Colonel R S Sethi, was airlifted from Gwalior to Palali airfield in northern Sri Lanka on October 11, 1987. The troops were due to land at Vavuniya in central Sri Lanka but, more..

In post-election Sri Lanka, CCC calls for sweeping economic reforms

Jan 6 (EN) Sri Lanka's Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has called for rule of law, right to information, transparency, higher households incomes and freer trade to for the people after polls later this week. Issuing a pre-election statement on Monday, the chamber said increases to household incomes have failed to impress despite the doubling of per capita GDP since the end of the decades-long conflict in 2009. The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in its statement said although more..

Severed heads of dogs sent to two human rights activists

Jan 6 (DM) Two severed heads of dogs have been sent to Brito Fernando and Prasanga Fernando, who are human rights activists, last night. Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Brito Fernando said the severed dog head was hanging in his gate last night. “Last night, I along with my daughter and my wife went out for dinner around 7.00 pm and got back home at 10.30 pm. By the time we got back I saw three shopping bags hanging in the gate. more..

FUTA doesn’t support any candidate

Jan 6 (Island) Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri said that he had not represented the Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) when he defended NDF’s candidate Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday at a media briefing. He was referring to our lead news report yesterday headlined ‘Compromising national security: FUTA defends MS’. "I was present there as a member of the University Teachers for Social Justice," he added. Dr. Devasiri is an executive committee member of the FUTA more..

President Rajapaksa, 3rd time not so lucky?

Jan 6 (EAF) Two years before an election was due, President Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka has called an early poll for 8 January, seeking an unprecedented third term in office made possible by his revision of the constitution. So far the SL president has had a charmed political life, winning 58 per cent of the vote at the last poll in 2010 on the back of overwhelming support for ending nearly thirty years of civil war in the Tamil separatist north and east a year earlier. more..

In Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, an anti-Rajapaksa wave

Jan 6 (Hindu) After Sri Lanka’s brutal war ended five years ago, President Rajapaksa gave the Tamil majority North better roads, rail connections and electricity. However, people of the Northern Province believe he has not given anything by way of the much-awaited post-war reconciliation that will make them vote for him. Despite trying hard to recover from the trauma of the war, the Northern Tamils are constantly weighed down more..

independent commissions must for good governance says Ex-AG

Jan 6 (CT) The establishment of independent commissions is essential to ensure good governance, said former Auditor General S. Mayadunne. He said that if independent commissions were in place, individuals would not be able to make sole or arbitrary decisions with regard to State institutions. "Public Service Commission (PSC), Election commission, National Police Commission and Human Rights Commission play very critical roles. more..