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'Corruption is rife in several sectors'

Jan 2 (FT) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is carrying out projects initiated by Ranil Wickremesinghe in 2003, UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva stressed. “What the Defence Secretary is doing is taking ad hoc projects from the Singaporean plan that Ranil Wickremesinghe came up with in 2003 and implementing it. They are just paving it with red bricks and saying we did it,” asserted de Silva. more..

Editorial: Polls, winners and losers

Jan 2 (Island) Who will win the next week’s presidential election? This is the question on everyone’s lips. Most people tend to think the candidate they back will make it; they concoct various theories to bolster their claims. They are impervious to others’ views and, therefore, it is an utter waste of time and energy to discuss politics. No one loses a political argument! There are 19 candidates in the current presidential race and most of them are puppets on strings. more..

Global English and SL Election

Jan 2 (Island) In the modern society, education is meaningless without a good knowledge of at least one useful world language in addition to one’s mother tongue. For the majority of Sri Lankans, this means an indispensable knowledge of Sinhala or Tamil plus English. (The government’s praiseworthy target of a trilingual Sri Lanka is in excess of this barest minimum need.) Among nations in the world we are in an advantageous position in this respect because, for historical reasons, more..

Sri Lanka buoyant despite first-Test defeat

Jan 2 (CI) Wellington woke bleary-eyed from a year-end party that had stretched late into the night, but the Basin Reserve was tense with purpose and energy early on New Year's day. Sri Lanka had been relaxed following their eight-wicket loss to New Zealand in Christchurch. The post-match football game - a tradition in overseas Tests, win or lose - was played in typically high spirits, before the team set out on a farm excursion more..

Open and secret pacts

Jan 2 (Island) Open Pacts and secret Pacts are not new to Sri Lanka politics, especially during elections. As I remember, there was a claim of a secret pact between Dudley Senanayake of UNP and S.J.V Chelvanayakam of Federal party (ITAK) in 1965, prior to the general election. Dudley, whose govt lasted only three months after winning the general election in March 1960 due to insufficient majority in Parliament, managed to get the support of all the breakaway groups of the S.W.R.D more..

The perfect crossover

Jan 2 (FT) As another year dawns, in addition to the hype of global warming effects, thanks to the activities of political machineries, Citizen Sri Lankan is really feeling the heat of politics. Even the weather appears to have created a low pressure zone over our land, perhaps to compensate for the high pressures generated in most of our arteries. The newest ingredient in this year’s election episode is crossovers sans policy but with lots of altruistic reasons and citizens may find more..

Access to Internet should be included in SL Constitution as a right

Jan 2 (ST) ‘Print Media – soon you’ll be out of business; better find an alternate way to impart information as social media is bulldozing you’ was the warning at a UN event last week by a final year Colombo University student studying international relations. This young Sri Lankan was implying that the print media, the traditional media for decades, would vanish from the public eye in a matter of few years as the Internet is already more..

Stocks sold by foreigners in quarter with best rally

Jan 2 (EN) Foreign investors in Sri Lankan stocks turned net sellers in the third quarter of 2014 when the Colombo bourse made its highest gains of the year, according to an analysis done by a stock broker. All Share Price Index of the Colombo stock market rose 873.52 points (13.7%) in the third quarter to close at 7,252.14 compared with the previous quarter. "The Colombo bourse maintained the optimistic momentum in the third quarter amid high investor participation," more..

Sinopec partners with SOS Children’s Villages to transform lives of children in need

Jan 2 (Island) World’s Third largest company, Sinopec once again proved how much they are committed towards the well-being of the community when they donated School books and stationeries to SOS children’s village in Jaffna at a ceremony held recently. The ceremony was held under the patronage of the senior officials of Sinopec Lubricants with participation of SOS Children’s Village staff, Officials and Children. SOS Children’s Villages Sri Lanka has taken care of more..

Sri Lanka caps finance company interest rates for pensioners

Jan 2 (Island) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka informed the general public yesterday that Licensed Finance Companies may pay an additional interest rate of 2% above the maximum interest rates stipulated by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka for any savings deposit accepted or maintained and time deposit accepted from or renewed by a person who is over fifty five (55) years of age with effect from 1st January 2015. more..

Rethinking the Pope’s Sri Lanka Visit

Jan 2 (TD) Sri Lanka’s highly anticipated presidential election will be held on Jan 8. Incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa will go for an unprecedented third term as challenger (and erstwhile member of Rajapaksa’s cabinent) Maithripala Sirisena tries to defeat him. Sirisena’s resignation as health minister and defection from the govt came as a big surprise to Rajapaksa regime. And, while 'common opposition' is hardly a cohesive entity, it seems clear that a Rajapaksa victory is by no means assured. more..

HNB General Insurance launched

Jan 2 (CT) The inauguration ceremony of HNB General Insurance Limited which is a fully owned subsidiary of HNB Assurance PLC was held on 1 January 2015 amidst a gathering followed by traditional ceremonial rituals. HNB General Insurance will take over the general insurance business of HNB Assurance PLC and will be specializing in offering a variety of motor and non-motor insurance solutions to customers in Sri Lanka. In addition, there will be numerous more..

Delivering democracy!

Jan 2 (FT) Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena told Colombo-based diplomats yesterday that his “mission” was to bring democracy back to Sri Lanka and hoped the country could re-qualify for the GSP Plus import concessions to Europe under his Govt. Addressing the diplomatic community at the Galadari Hotel yesterday, Sirisena, dressed in his Modi-style waistcoat, pledged to enact freedom of more..

Opposition politician’s son attacks journalist

Jan 2 (Island) Journalist Suranga Dilhan was assaulted at the Gampola hospital on Tuesday afternoon. Freelancer Suranga Dilhan, primarily works for the Rupavahini Corporation. He is undergoing treatment at the Gampola hospital. The journalist has complained to Gampola police that he was assaulted by the son of CPC’s Democratic Party (DP) member Channa Galappattige. Galappattige was hospitalised following an attack by a gang on his way back from Galpaya more..

Collection of Dishes & Insights from Top Restaurants in Sri Lanka

Jan 2 (DN) December 2014 brings out the first edition of Menus by Dharshan. Its purpose is to give guests insights, stories and origins of some of the dishes of Nihonbashi, Ministry of Crab, Kaema Sutra and the newest addition in Galle, The Tuna & The Crab. Each restaurant is unique in its own way; they each utilize a variety of ingredients and methods in how the dishes are cooked and presented and this publication showcases all of these aspects. This first edition presents the stories behind more..

Rajapaksa can no longer count on rural Sinhala vote bank

Jan 2 (Hindu) The joint opposition’s bid to give President Mahinda Rajapaksa a tough fight in Jan 8 presidential polls has resulted in a rarely seen phenomenon in Sri Lanka — a contest between two candidates with their roots in the country’s rural heartlands. In the past, it has mostly been a competition between a candidate from the urban elite and one from the rural areas. Mr. Rajapaksa, whose roots lie in Hambantota, the rural more..

Austria joins Sri Lanka to mark the 10th anniversary of the Tsunami

Jan 2 (NS) Sri Lankans and Austrians gathered at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Vienna last week to mark the tenth anniversary of the Asian Tsunami that occurred on December 26, 2004. Ambassador and Director General in the Austrian Foreign Ministry Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, Vienna City Council Member Omar Al-Rawi, Ambassador of Sri Lanka ALA Azeez and individuals from both the countries participated in the commemoration. The event commenced with the lighting of a lamp more..

Thilanga almost triggers dabang moment with Salman at UPFA rally

Jan 2 (AM) UPFA MP Thilanga Sumathipala's announcer today made a deadly blunder by thanking Sharukh Khan for coming to Campbell Park to support the election campaign of President Rajapaksa. Interestingly, this remark was made in the presence of Salman Khan and his campaign partner Jacquline Fernandez, who arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday to support the Sri Lankan ruling party. One can assume that it is just a careless mistake: but those who knew the nuances of more..

'Chandrika calls President dictator and Prabhakaran gentleman'

Jan 2 (Island) Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena repeatedly claimed that he had not signed an agreement with the UNP, his election manifesto clearly indicated that he had agreements with the UNP and the JHU, former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. Addressing a media conference Minister Attanayake said that according to the page 14 of Maithripala’s manifesto he had entered into more..

Kandy SLMC member joins opposition in line with party decision

Jan 2 (Island) Kandy Municipal Council’s SLMC member Asmin Marikkar crossed over to the Opposition yesterday. He returned the motorcycle he had received under the concessionary scheme to Kandy Mayor Mahendra Ratwatte. Handing over the motorcycle to Mayor Ratwatte, Marikkar said that he was compelled to obey instructions from the party leadership. However, he said he was grateful to President Rajapaksa and the mayor for all assistance inclusive of financial allocations more..

Southee, Williamson in doubt for SL test

Jan 2 (RS) The Black Caps will wait until tomorrow morning to decide whether two key players will be fit for the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Basin Reserve. An ankle injury to seamer Tim Southee and Kane Williamson's shoulder complaint are preventing the confirmation of what was due to be an unchanged side for the second and final Test starting tomorrow. Captain Brendon McCullum says they'll give the pair some time to recover. He says they will operate with the same team if more..

Gunaratnam’s return irks JVP leaders

Jan 2 (Island) Accusing its breakaway group Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) of carrying out a govt contract, the JVP yesterday said it had no need to enter into a secret agreement with Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that the govt was in such a bankrupt position to allow FSP leader Kumar Gunaratnam alias Kumar Mahattaya to come back to Sri Lanka from Australia. more..

Plans for another state of the art swimming pool

Jan 2 (DN) Following the enormous success of Calamander Unawatuna Beach's glass fronted lap pool, the resort has embarked on ambitious plans to create quite simply the best pool in Sri Lanka and one of the best in the world. Using the world's finest Italian mosaics, the pool promises a 'big design surprise', due for completion in 2015. This latest innovation will serve families with young children as well as holidaying couples and the more senior crowd who wish to relax and enjoy more..

Record number of police personnel on polls duty

Jan 2 (CT) Over 70,000 police officers will be deployed island wide for election duty next week. This will be the largest deployment of police officers at an election. SSP Ajith Rohana said, "Over 70,000 police constables will be deployed from 5 January and will continue to provide security until the election results are out. There will also be 5,000 Special Task Force (STF) personnel engaged for the same." There are 12,500 polling stations, and two police constables with aT-56 weapon more..

'JVP shaken to core by its support for MS'

Jan 2 (Island) Leader of the JVP splinter FSP Kumar Gunaratnam alias Kumar Mahattaya said the JVP had dug its political grave by entering into an agreement with common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena. Gunaratnam, who arrived here yesterday, in an exlusive interview, which he described as his first ever face to face meeting with a local paper, said that he had information of increasingly more..

IBSL licences 7 new insurance companies

Jan 2 (Island) Insurance Board has granted licences to 7 new Insurance Companies, to commence business operations from Jan 1, 2015. These new companies were established by composite insurance companies to comply with the segregation requirement laid down in the Regulation of Insurance Industry Act, No. 3 of 2011. The law requires composite insurers to segregate the two classes of insurance businesses (Long Term and General) into 2 separate companies by Feb. more..

Fonseka booed in Jaffna

Jan 2 (CT) The people who gathered at the common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena's election rally booed former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka and shouted at him not to lie when he said the military operation in 2009 was carried out with only a few human causalities in the Vavuniya District. The gathering shouted, "don't lie, don't lie" when Fonseka was describing the manner in which the war was carried out. Responding to the booing by the gathering, he said it was because of more..

'Army will not be withdrawn from Jaffna'

Jan 2 (Island) The NDF Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday that he would ensure maximum security to ensure the territorial integrity of the country including Jaffna, if he secured the presidency on Jan. 8. Addressing the diplomatic community in Colombo to explain his policies, he observed that President Rajapaksa having realised that the writing was on the wall was spreading blatant lies in the hope that more..

Stop the abuse of the state media

Jan 2 (DM) A free, fair and peaceful election is the foundation of democracy. One of the key pillars for this is an independent media through which the people could get fair, accurate and balanced information to make an informed choice at the crucial presidential election on January 8. Unfortunately, during the past decade media freedom has suffered a devastating if not death blow, as have other vital pillars such as the independent Judicial Services Commission, more..

Palestine trapped between two rogues

Jan 2 (DM) Politically speaking, 2014 ended on a disappointing note while New Year 2015 dawned on a somewhat positive note yesterday. The biggest disappointment of 2014 was the failure of the international community to grant recognition to Palestine. The positive news is that Afghanistan once again gained its independence yesterday with the formal withdrawal of the US-led foreign forces from Afghanistan. As the year ended, one of the oldest international crises, more..

Gamble saved couple as tsunami roared onto them

Jan 2 (ST) The deafening sound of a giant wave crashing on Peraliya beach is what 33-year-old Nirmala Fernando heard this week when the country fell silent for two minutes to remember the tens of thousands who were killed in the tsunami 10 years ago. “I still hear the ‘hoo’ sound of the water charging our way. Even today, I see the giant wave in my dreams,” says Nirmala who was travelling on train No: 50 on Dec 26, 2004 to visit her more..

'Sri Lanka’s sovereignty will remain intact under me'

Jan 2 (DM) The Common Opposition Candidate Maithripala Sirisena in an interview with the conducted at his residence, asserted without any hesitation that the unitary nature of Sri Lanka would be protected and that a Govt under his administration would be stable. I was the target of five LTTE attacks; The people are fed up with the Rajapaksas; If they were loved by the people, why resort to mud slinging? more..

Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa regime losing its grip

Jan 2 (BT) Casino mogul James Packer must wish he could vote in Sri Lanka's presidential elections next Thursday. Not only is the main challenger Maithripala Sirisena threatening incumbent President Rajapaksa's bid for an unprecedented third term – he is also promising to cancel Mr Packer's plans to build a $400 million casino resort on the island if he wins. Since becoming president in 2005, and crushing more..

Lamenting economic hardships

Jan 2 (SL) Villagers in Hambantota, Tissamaharama and Weerawila are lamenting economic hardships they are undergoing despite the govt’s claims that they have sorted out most of these villagers’ problems. They express concern that the benefits of impressive infrastructure projects such as the super highways, airport and harbour in Hambantota are yet to trickle down to them. While claiming that these were constructed more..

Some schools to remain closed until polls

Jan 2 (AD) The Ministry of Education says that all schools except those being used for G.C.E. O/L examination paper marking and as counting centers during the Presidential Election will reopen on January 05. Sixty-eight schools in total have been utilized for O/L paper marking and will reopen for the new term on January 12 as they will remain closed from Jan 6-9, the Secretary of the Education Ministry, Anura Dissanayake said. more..

Now, Ariyaratne warns of Lankan spring

Jan 2 (Island) Internationally renowned Sri Lankan civil society leader and founder of the Sarvodaya network, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne said in the event future govts and leaders fail to uphold true democratic principles, they shall not hesitate to intervene by mobilising people power to secure their rights. Speaking at a gathering at the Lakshman Kadirgarmar Centre in Colombo, he urged religious, political, professional and more..

Docs accuse nurses union of launching illegal strike on eve of polls

Jan 2 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) accused the Govt Nursing Officers’ Association (GNOA) President Saman Ratnapriya of having launched an illegal and meaningless strike from today to cause suffering to poor patients. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Navin de Soysa alleged that the GNOA leader Saman Ratnapriya was being manipulated by some NGOs. The only motive of the GNOA was to destroy more..

CEB management refuses to cow down to JVP, UNP unions

Jan 2 (Island) The CEB Management said it would stick to the scheduled 30% salary hike. A top official said the CEB would not give in to the JVP. He requested the media not to give publicity to what he called unreasonable demands: "Will your media outfits give you a 30% raise? There is no way we could give 45% salary hike to our workers simply because the JVP tells us to." He said powerful CEB Engineers Union had agreed to 30% hike. more..

JHU throws a challenge at MR

Jan 2 (DM) The JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka said that his party would consider supporting the incumbent president if he brings amendments to the 13th Amendment to reduce powers of the Provincial Councils before the presidential elections. We asked him to remove the power which a provincial council has to merge with another council and to increase the power of the governor but he did not do it and we ask him more..

Achala Jagoda crosses over to common opposition

Jan 2 (AM) UPFA MP Achala Suranga Jagoda has pledged support the Common Opposition a short while ago. The MP will support the candidature of Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the next presidential election. Announcing his decision, the UPFA MP held press conference in Colombo, along with Common Candidate of the opposition Maithripala Sirisena. Jagoda is the 27th MP to defect from the ruling party since more..