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21st century Silk Road

Jan 2 (CT) If the 20th century was for the West, then the 21st century is for China! This was no better exemplified by Professor Ding Yifan of the Institute of World Development, Development Research Centre of the State Council, Beijing, who said that traditional development agencies led by countries in the West and Japan, which took an initiative to lead development works in the past, in developing countries like Sri Lanka, were however now bereft of such resources to lend a hand to those more..

TNA and SLMC support from a reconciliation point of view

Jan 2 (CT) TNA and SLMC/NMF support is a welcome development for the common opposition candidate although this move was partly anticipated from the beginning. While the TNA previously announced that they would take a decision by the end of December, it was not clear whether they were simply going to ask the people to vote ‘as they prefer’ or for the ‘best candidate,’ without committing themselves clearly for the opposition. Supporting the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapaksa, more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lankan stocks end up 0.7%

Jan 2 (EN) Sri Lankan stocks opened the year on a stronger note Friday with gains in almost all sectors and activity improving slightly, although still low given uncertainties ahead of next week's presidential poll. The All Share Price Index rose 49.44 (0.7%) to 7,348.39 while the S&P SL20 index, rose 21.16 points (0.5%) to reach 4,110.30. Turnover was a low 743 million rupees but more than that seen in recent days. Gains in the benchmark index was led by Commercial Bank which ended at 174.90 rupees, more..

Heavy rains deprive Kataragama of clean water

Jan 2 (Island) Heavy rains are causing the Menik Ganga to overflow flooding some parts of the Kataragama area, but the residents there are without potable water. The National Water Supply Drainage Board (NWSDB) has failed to cope with the demand and the debris from the over flowing river is said to have clogged the pumps of the NWSDB. Consequently, the residents of Kataragama, Gothamipura, Gaminipura, Wallimathagama, Detagamuwa, more..

President asks Tamils to re-elect ‘known devil’

Jan 2 (AFP) Sri Lanka’s embattled President Mahinda Rajapaksa has urged minority Tamils to back him in next week’s election, calling himself the “known devil,” as he made a final push for votes in the country’s former war zone. While he remains popular among ethnic majority Sinhalese voters, Rajapaksa is widely detested by members of the country’s biggest minority after overseeing the brutal crushing of a 37-year Tamil rebellion. more..

President blames Northern Provincial Council for slowing down development

Jan 2 (AM) President Rajapaksa today blamed the Northern Provincial Council for not using the funds allocated to develop the area. Speaking at a public rally at Jaffna, President Rajapaksa said there was no way of solving problems faced by the people in the North unless their representatives talk to the govt in power and inform the state authorities of the issues. President added that the govt had done a lot to develop the area after the three decade long war came to an end in 2009 and said more..

Provincial Councillor, former MP and 3 PS members support Maithripala

Jan 2 (AD) A Provincial Councillor, a former MP and 3 Pradeshiya Sabha members of the ruling UPFA today pledged their support to Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the forthcoming Presidential Polls. Two UPFA members of the Ibbagamuwa Pradeshiya Sabha and a member of the Kurunegala Pradeshiya Sabha announced their decision at a press briefing held at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo this evening. Meanwhile UPFA member of the North Western Provincial Council more..

Sri Lanka presidential poll must be peaceful to be credible: EU

Jan 2 (EN) The European Union has called on Sri Lanka's govt to ensure a peaceful presidential election next week, saying the result would be credible only if citizens are free to choose their leaders without violence or fear. The call comes amid growing concern by opposition parties and election monitors over intimidation of and violence against opposition supporters and abuse of govt workers and machinery to support the more..

Death sentence for Indian fishermen a Rajapaksa-BJP drama: Vaiko

Jan 2 (AD) Terming the death sentence for five Indian fishermen in Sri Lanka as a drama enacted by the island nation and the BJP government, MDMK chief Vaiko said there was no capital punishment in Sri Lanka since 1986. The awarding of death sentence and their subsequent release after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention was planned to boost the image of the BJP govt at the Centre and blunt the opposition to Rajapaksa in Tamil Nadu, he alleged. more..

Notice-of-vacation issued to ex-Wanduramba OIC

Jan 2 (DM) The vacation-of-service notice which was issued by the Police Superintendent’s office in Galle to former Wanduramba Police OIC Inspector P.L. Keerthisinghe has been delivered to his house in Dadella, Police said. Galle ASP L.R. Kumarasiri said the notice was issued because the relevant authorities had not accepted the former Police OIC’s resignation and had not reported for duty December 22, 2014 without obtaining approved leave for his absence. more..

'Real international community looks forward to Mahinda victory'

Jan 2 (Island) The people all over the world were talking about the election in Sri Lanka. The real international community is keen to know who would win the election, and in whose favour the contest was heading. They wanted to know whether the Sri Lankan leader elected would be an anti-imperialist leader or pro-imperialist leader from the UNP led unholy alliance. Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara expressed these views at more..

Sirikotha surrounded by Police anti-riot squad!

Jan 2 (AM) Police anti riot squad surrounded ‘Sirikotha’ while the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was taking part in a discussion with a group of three wheeler drivers this afternoon. The representatives of three wheeler drivers met the Opposition Leader and pledged support to the Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the forthcoming presidential election. Police anti-riot squads were also seen around the UNP headquarters although there was no sign more..

'Sri Lanka targets 8% growth 2-4% inflation'

Jan 2 (EN) Sri Lanka is targeting economic growth of 8% in 2015 and inflation around 2-4%, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. In the next few years the Central Bank would pursue a 'flexible inflation targeting framework' where the 'tolerable' inflation could rise to 4-6%, he said presenting a monetary policy road map for 2015. Central Bank will also act to contain inflation expectation where a budget deficit of 5% of GDP by the Treasury will help, he said. more..

SL railway reconnects last link to north

Jan 2 (EN) The last stretch of rail track extending to Sri Lanka's northern tip was commissioned Friday fully restoring the Jaffna peninsula's connectivity with the rest of the island that had been cut off by war. The newly built railway track between Jaffna and Kankesanthurai, where there's a port, covering a distance of 18 km was commissioned by Minister of Transport Kumara Welgama, the Indian High Commission said. more..

The pleasures and perils of Sri Lanka

Jan 2 (BS) Driving south from Colombo on the coastal road to Galle, the flat steel grey of the Indian Ocean is obscured by villages transforming into towns and towns into prosperous small cities overrun by the tide of commerce. As in India, Bajaj auto rickshaws - painted in vivid reds, blues and greens - are the common urban transport, weaving past street stalls stacked high with papaya, pineapple and the day's fresh catch of fish. You can easily zip down the smooth four-lane more..

Pope, Vatican finalize trip arrangements

Jan 2 (DM) The Vatican on Friday said it was finalizing details for a trip mid-month by Pope Francis to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. A media briefing next week will set out more information about the apostolic trip by the pope to Sri Lanka from January 12 to 15 and then the Philippines from January 15 to 19. Visiting these Asian nations signals a new interest and attention by the Church towards a "predominant portion of today's and tomorrow's humanity, both from more..

Sri Lanka’s not-so-tranquil Buddhists

Jan 2 (CH) Last year the satirical news site The Onion published a story about Buddhist extremism. Its headline read: “Extremist cell vows to unleash tranquillity on the West.” It described a video posted online in which a monk threatened “an assault of profound inner stillness” and said “no city will be spared from spiritual harmony … We will bring the entire United States to its knees in deep meditation.” more..

India lends a helping hand

Jan 2 (GDI) To help in meeting the needs of people affected and displaced by floods and landslides caused by the incessant rains in Sri Lanka, the High Commission of India handed over relief goods on Thursday as humanitarian assistance to the National Disaster Relief Services Centre (NDRSC) of the Ministry of Disaster Management of Sri Lanka. The relief material was procured locally in Sri Lanka and included water purifiers, water purification tablets, buckets and cans, mats, mosquito nets, more..

Noontide Toll by Romesh Gunesekera

Jan 2 (NYT) This collection of linked stories, set in post-civil-war, post-tsunami Sri Lanka, is narrated by a retired clerk who has sunk his savings into a minibus and now hires himself out as a driver. Each story traces a different journey, with passengers that include three Russians on their way to a new luxury spa; a Roman Catholic priest and his acolyte pursuing a kind of detective mission; a Czech couple who share a walk on a beach with a night watchman whose entire family perished, more..

Sri Lanka surprised at EU statement

Jan 2 (CG) Sri Lankan Govt today expressed surprise at the statement by the EU Heads of Mission in Colombo with regards to the Presidential elections. A statement by the External Affairs Ministry said that the press statement was on an issue of a strictly domestic nature and such an initiative could bring into question the bona-fides and objectivity of their intervention. “Sri Lanka has a vibrant tradition of democratic practice since more..

Sri Lanka prepare to give sterner fight

Jan 2 (CI) The second innings of the Boxing Day Test is what both sides have kept in mind in the approach to the second Test. For Sri Lanka, the fight back is a source of self belief. "We can compete out here," is the thought they have embraced. For the hosts, memories of that second innings have prevented them from "getting too far ahead of ourselves." The Christchurch match was won on the back of stunning first-innings performances, but NZ are taking nothing for granted in Wellington. more..

Better defence aiding McCullum's aggression

Jan 2 (CI) In chess, kung-fu, and the battlefield, the accepted wisdom is all the same. Staying safe wins you nothing. The hand that strikes also blocks. A good offence is the best defence. Brendon McCullum appears to espouse this philosophy better than most batsmen. For years he championed batting aggression to the point of frustration. Former coaches called for better application, and critics for a more sensible approach, but the aggressive strokes did not wane, despite an average more..

'Southee-Boult on par with Steyn-Morkel'

Jan 2 (CI) As far as bowling pairs go, Trent Boult and Tim Southee are equals with South Africa's Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, Angelo Mathews said, even as he expected his team to take heart from their recent track record of fighting back from positions of weakness in Test series. Mathews marked out batting in the first innings as the area requiring most improvement, given the rampant New Zealand attack and another surface with a more..

Video: Stones thrown towards Sirisena

Jan 2 (CG) An election rally in Pelmadulla was attacked late this evening while opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena was speaking. Sirisena said that while he was addressing the crowd stones were thrown towards the stage and his security officers surrounded and protected him. Several people near the stage were injured in the attack but Sirisena said that he was not hurt. “My security officers protected me. But the people in front were injured,” more..

Sri Lanka rupee forwards ease on importer dollar demand

Jan 2 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee forwards ended weaker on Friday as importer dollar demand surpassed inward remittances, while exporters stayed away hoping for further weakening of the currency, dealers said. Four-day forwards, which were actively traded, ended at 132.25/30 per dollar compared with Thursday's close of 132.20/30, dealers said. "There were inward remittances, but importer demand was also seen. There is pressure to depreciate," a dealer said. more..

Video: Govt has to collect US$7 Bn from Cairn Energy: Champika

Jan 2 (DM) Maithripala Administration will carry out an investigation into the failure by the present regime to collect a sum of US$7 billion which was owed to SL by Cairn Energy which breached the contract to extract oil from the Mannar Basin, JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka said. He said the US$7 billion which was earned by Cairn Energy as a result of its share price hike after the announcement it made saying more..

Significance and challenges of TNA decision

Jan 3 (CT) SL’s main Tamil political party, the TNA made the decision to back the opposition common candidate Maithripala Sirisena about ten days before the election. The decision was not easy as the party was under pressure from internal as well as external groups to either boycott the election or to stay neutral. The party finally came out and announced the decision on Dec 30, 2014. This was a significant move. First, the boycott call came from within the Tamil community in SL & SL Tamil diaspora more..

Presidential elections 2015: Main issues

Jan 3 (CT) As the election campaign is hotting up with widespread violence, there is no doubt that the people have already made up their minds on which way they should vote and no election meeting rhetoric, the Nil Balakaya advertisements, Bollywood artistes, and other gimmicks will change their decision. Both candidates have put out what are supposed to be election manifestos. However, it is obvious to anyone reading them that they are mere empty promises with no consideration more..

From a silent world to a world of sound

Jan 3 (ST) It was nothing short of a miracle for those who experienced it. There were tears of joy as around 1,760 northerners and easterners made the journey from a silent world into the world of sound at the Air Force grounds in Colombo recently. Eleven-year-old Rajiv, who had been deaf to the world, broke into dance when he heard the sounds of music for the first time after being fitted with a hearing aid. His overjoyed father said more..

Forward march with Maithreepala…?

Jan 3 (NS) It is definitely going to be a turning point either way, or it will be a ‘worse about turn…forward march…’ scenario than what this country experienced in 1977. That ‘about turn’ caused this issue of ‘Executive Presidency’ when the power was given to some who had more personal agendas than what was best for the nation. Mr. Maithreepala has been propped up by a bunch of enemies between themselves who have come together to get rid of Mahinda Rajapaksa accusing him of more..

Open letter to Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez

Jan 3 (GV) Dear Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez, It was probably not your intention to be in the middle of this embarrassing political controversy. Clearly, all you wanted to do was visit your old friend Namal and distribute some spectacles in order to boost your charity. But, I must say, you two… the time you picked for this was just a little shortsighted. It’s understandable that as you come from Mumbai (Jacqueline has been there for all of six years now…) you were ‘not aware of more..

'EU-China economic dialogue instrumental to solve problems'

Jan 3 (CT) Honorary Consul General of Latvia, Thomas Daetwyler, tells Ceylon Today that the human rights situation in any country is a common concern. "The European Union will continue monitoring the national reconciliation process in Sri Lanka and will continue engaging with the govt constructively. As an aspiring member of the UNHRC for 2015-2017, Latvia will continue to promote important values such as lasting more..

Comments on the 100-day Work Program

Jan 3 (NS) In view of the fact that the Common Candidate has declared that Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe will be the Prime Minister it is easy to see how the Sri Lankan economy will fare. Regaining Sri Lanka, the flag plan of Mr Ranil Wickremasinghe when he ruled as the Prime Minister from 2002 to 2004 and the manner he handled affairs during his premiership discloses what can be expected. The 100-day Work Program put forwards by the Common Candidate also more..

2015 presidential election: An initial forecast

Jan 3 (GV) As we approach the final week of campaigning for the Presidential election, the political messages of both coalitions are becoming clearer. So are the strategies of both coalitions and trends in voter sentiment as revealed through some surveys and public attendance in political rallies. Defections from the ruling coalition have dominated the political stage though there have been some notable defections from the opposition to the govt side also sparingly. more..

'JVP struck deal with Sirisena to defeat Rajapaksa'

Jan 3 (Island) Controversial leader of the JVP splinter group, the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), Kumar Gunaratnam alias Noel Mudalige, popularly known as Kumar Mahattaya, returned from Australia yesterday. Speaking to The Island within hours of his return, he said it was the first face-to-face interview he had given to a Sri Lankan media organisation. Excerpts of the interview: Q: What made your return to SL at this juncture? more..

Chandrika at Nallur: Jaffna's recent history in retrospect!

Jan 3 (CT) Acouple of hours after the announcement made by the TNA to support the common Opposition candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga thanked the TNA, in Jaffna, on behalf of Maithripala Sirisena, for extending its support. 'Chandrika wave' hit tremendously in Jaffna when she first contested the presidential poll in 1994. She polled significantly in Jaffna even without her holding a single campaign rally in the Peninsula as the region at that time was more..

Mobitel & Ericsson partner to drive SL’s Smart Society Vision

Jan 3 (Island) Mobitel and Ericsson announced the signing of a MOU between the two companies, stating that in 2015 they intend to forge a strategic business partnership that aims to significantly contribute to the nation’s Smart Society vision and Knowledge Hub strategy. The collaboration, which focuses on jointly working together to make WiFi broadband services more accessible and affordable to university students across the country through a ’WiFi as a Service’ business partnership, more..

China pumps in US$ 400 B for new 'Silk Road' Sri Lanka, one of its beneficiaries

Jan 3 (CT) The ancient Silk Road, which connected the East to the West and led Marco Polo to see for himself the grandeur and majesty of China, culminating with an audience with the Emperor, is being re-established with a mega US$ 400 billion aid package from China. The new Silk Road, which China is developing, is focused on the East, i e, Asia, the continent that 'gave birth' to the ancient trade route. more..

Before the elections -2

Jan 3 (Island) Why is it so important that Governments should observe standards of public morality? It is a fact that all human societies have moral standards. There may be no elaborate system of ethics but notions of what should be done or what should not be done, of what is permissible and what is taboo, have been universal in all human societies right down the ages. That certainly has to mean something about the human condition. The probable explanation is that commonly accepted more..