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The Sri Lankan scramble

Jan 3 (CI) Bony elbows flapping, bad haircut flailing, Nuwan Pradeep goes flying to the crease like a hare flees from a hunter. He used to bowl a little more round-arm. The new Lasith Malinga, or so the hype-stories went. But then his body broke down several times a season. Now he goes taller and straighter, scrawny arms whipping in the delivery stride, and somehow, through the vortex of limbs, scrambles deliveries faster than 140kph. more..

Bathing chamber of last king’s consorts to be rehabilitated

Jan 3 (Island) Archaeology Department had decided to spend Rs 38.8 million to conserve the Ulpenge (the royal bathing chamber for the concubines of King Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe) in Kandy Lake, Director General of Archaeology Dr. Senarath Dissanayake said. The Ulpenge is one of the iconic Kandyan Period buildings resting by the side of the Kandy Lake besides the Temple of Tooth Relic and one of the main tourist attractions. "This two storeyed building contains the pond used by more..

NCE Student teachers’ monthly allowance up by Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,500

Jan 3 (ST) Cabinet approved Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena’s proposal to increase the monthly allowance of student teachers in National Colleges of Education, during their academic training period, by Rs 1,000, to Rs 3,500, and during the in-service training period by Rs 1,000, to Rs 4,000 per month, in keeping with the 2015 Budget proposals. This Monthly Allowance is given for Food and Service Facilities of Student Teachers in National Colleges of Education. more..

Colombo University distances itself from poll survey

Jan 3 (DM) The Colombo University distanced itself from the survey released by the Opposition Common candidate's office which showed 53% victory for Maithripala Sirisena. Colombo University Registrar K.A.S. Edward in a statement said: "In this connection, I wish to categorically state that this survey has been conducted by a certain individual without the knowledge of the University and as such more..

Leading artistes pledge support to President while condemning attack on colleagues

Jan 3 (Island) A group of leading artistes yesterday pledged their support to President Rajapaksa while condemning a recent attack on their colleagues supporting Common Opposition Candidate Maithripala Sirisena at Kumbukgate in Kurunegala. About 16 artistes including Malni Fonseka, Ravindra Randeniya, Palitha Silva, Madumadawa Aravinda, Rohana Weerasinghe, Jackson Anthony held a media briefing at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo. more..

Sri Lanka sees rupee bond sales by foreigners amid reserve drop

Jan 3 (EN) Sri Lanka has seen rupee bond sales by foreigners in the latter part of the year as foreign reserves also dropped due to repayments to the IMF and a pick-up in bank credit. Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said a sell-down in foreign holdings of rupee denominated bonds had been ‘encouraged’ to reduce short term liabilities as a proportion to total foreign reserves. Sri Lanka maintained an approximate ceiling of 12.5% of foreign holdings to the total outstanding rupee denominated more..

Menu: Mahela Jayawardene, crab curry and cricket

Jan 3 (GN) Let me start by apologising to Sri Lanka’s most illustrious cricketer Mahela Jayawardene, for I’m guilty of disturbing a peaceful dinner with his family. Although, the thorough professional that he is, I’m sure he would understand a journalist’s instincts and he clearly didn’t mind. At the heart of Colombo is one of the most popular restaurants Ministry of Crab co-owned by cricketing pair Mahela and Sangakkara. more..

Suspect confesses to Wennappuwa quadruple murder

Jan 3 (AD) The main suspect in connection with the recent horrific murder of a family of four in the Wennappuwa area has been arrested, police said. Police launched an investigation following the discovery of the bodies of four members of the same family which were recovered from a pit behind a coir factory in Nainamadama area in Wennappuwa on January 01. The victims were identified as a dental surgeon attached to the Lunuwila hospital, her businessman husband, their 13-year-old son more..

Siritunga wants army in baracks

Jan 3 (CG) Presidential Candidate Siritunga Jayasuriya has urged the Elections Commissioner to ensure that the military remains in the barracks, at least from midnight tomorrow till the election is over. Jayasuriya said that during a visit he had undertaken to the North, he found that a feeling of insecurity and possible intimidations prevail very strongly in the Northern Tamil psyche with armed security and para military groups moving freely in those areas. “Their past traumatic and frightening experiences more..

TNA’s Sivajilingam too against party decision

Jan 3 (DM) TNA's NPC member M.K. Sivajilingam taking a different stance from that of the party said that he would ask people to vote for a candidate of their choice at the forthcoming presidential election. He said the TNA should not have openly backed any particular candidate. "There are several other NPC members who are not ready to accept the TNA stance to support a particular candidate. Actually, we should not have more..

Samurdhi payments are mostly politically driven: Governor

Jan 3 (LBO) Governor Nivard Cabraal said that Island’s Samurdhi (prosperity) income re-distribution scheme is mostly politically driven. “Sometime I have heard the criticism, if the poverty level have gone down why is that we still have Samurdhi beneficiaries?" Cabraal said. “But it is because Samurdhi payment are mostly politically driven system and sometime even though people are taken away from poverty many politicians are not too keen to remove them from the support of more..

Sri Lanka corporate earnings seen growing on lower costs

Jan 3 (EN) Sri Lankan companies should continue to do better this year given fuel and electricity price reductions and fall in interest rates, the latter almost matching the growth in the benchmark equities index in 2014, stockbrokers said. "Corporate earnings denote strong growth potential amidst the favourable economic environment," Softlogic Stockbrokers said in a research note on the outlook for firms listed on Sri Lanka's stock market for 2015. The easing of interest rates and improving external sector more..

Namal rejects car, horse claims

Jan 3 (CG) Namal Rajapaksa today denied allegations that he had imported a Lamborghini car and that his family had purchased a horse. In a twitter interview, he said that the cars shown in photographs circulating on social media do not belong to him or his family. He also denied reports that his family had purchased a horse from England saying “No these are false allegations made maliciously”. more..

TNA’s Ananthi opts to be neutral

Jan 3 (DM) Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Northern Provincial Council (NPC) member Ananthi Sasitharan has defied the party's decision to support opposition common candidate Maithripala Sirisena and said she would not support either of the two main candidates, the Daily Mirror learns. Former Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) political wing leader Ellilon widow Sasitharan had made public statement in this regard. It is learnt that her defiance had irked TNA leaders.

Will Sri Lanka stick to its Known Devil?

Jan 3 (NDTV) There is a section of the ubiquitous "international community" that has thrived on the misfortunes of Sri Lanka. At the risk of sounding heartless, I would suggest that a tribe of human rights activists, aid workers and an ever-swelling diaspora have developed a vested interest in keeping the bitter conflict that devastated the island for 30 long years alive. If not the civil war, they sense an advantage in keeping the memories and post-war recriminations alive. more..

Sangakkara becomes quickest to 12,000 runs

Jan 3 (SKY) Sangakkara achieved the feat in his 224th innings, during Sri Lanka’s second Test with New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday. India’s Sachin Tendulkar and Australia’s Ricky Ponting took 247 knocks to pass the 12,000 mark, a milestone also reached by South Africa’s Jacques Kallis and India’s Rahul Dravid. Sangakkara has notched 37 hundreds and 51 fifties in his 130 Tests to date at an average of 58.38, more..

Abuse of state property costs millions of rupees, says TI

Jan 3 (Island) Transparency International Sri Lanka branch Executive Director S. Ranugge said there was a large scale abuse of public property by the UPFA govt to boost incumbent President Rajapaksa's campaign in the run up to the Presidential election in violation of the election laws. "A letter of demand would be sent by the Bar Association of SL to the relevant parties," Ranugge said. TI had received 170 complaints from the public so far about such incidents, more..

Abducted child forced to appear in election Ad

Jan 3 (AM) A mother has complained to the Police that her child has been "abducted" and used for political campaigns. Chamila Dissanayake, the mother who lodged the complaint, said that her child was used for an election ad supporting President Rajapaksa. She added that the husband took her child on Dec 26 and she saw her thereafter on Dec 30 on television. "The Mother alleged that the child has been subjected to mental and physical harm", Lawyer Saliya Pieris who represents more..

Political revolt roils SL presidential vote

Jan 3 (AP) Until just a few weeks ago, Sri Lanka’s upcoming election seemed a mere formality. Nothing, it seemed, could keep President Rajapakse from rolling to a third term in office. He was the president hailed as a king after crushing the Tamil Tiger rebels in 2009 and ending the 25-year civil war. He is a charismatic campaigner with vast campaign funds. He has turned the govt into an extended family business, more..

Probe using stone attack video

Jan 3 (CG) The police are investigating the video footage of the attack on an opposition election rally at Pelmadulla, SSP Ajith Rohana said. He said that some people had already been identified and investigations are continuing. The election rally in Pelmadulla was attacked late last evening while 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. more..

Violence escalates ahead of Sri Lanka polls

Jan 3 (AFP) Campaign-related violence escalated across Sri Lanka ahead of next week's elections as President Mahinda Rajapakse fights an unexpectedly tough battle to remain in power, poll monitors and police said Saturday. The private CaFFE monitoring group said it had received 1,073 complaints since campaigning got underway in early December. Police said they had received a much smaller number of complaints, but that 130 arrests had been made. more..

Tamil Nadu extends ban on LTTE

Jan 3 (CG) TN Govt has extended the ban on the LTTE following the opinion of a Tribunal which found that the LTTE is still active overseas. Tribunal had found that the LTTE demand for a separate Tamil State in Sri Lanka remains and the LTTE is looking to gather support for this goal in TN. Ban on the LTTE first took effect in 1991 following assassination of former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi and has been extended since then. more..

Free, fair and peaceful poll the need of the hour

Jan 4 (Island) This will be the last issue of the Sunday Island before the country goes to the poll to elect its executive president with President Rajapaksa, who pledged to abolish that office seeking an unprecedented third term having abolished the previous two-term limit. This was done through a constitutional amendment enabled by engineering defections from the opposition UNP after the electorate narrowly denied him the two thirds parliamentary majority he sought at more..

Elections: An exercise in democracy, not a blood feud

Jan 4 (SL) There are only three days to go before for the outcome of the presidential election and whatever astrologers, political pundits, editorialists and the like may say, an undeniable fact is that the goose – call it fowl, beef or Kiributh – is already in the cooking pot and be ready for eating by next Sunday, dinner time. It is important to realise that the goose (proverbial or not) is already cooked but the great pundits of the above-mentioned categories between now and next Sunday will more..

'Economic progress due to good governance'

Jan 4 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will seek a fresh mandate for a record third term in office, two years ahead of the end of his second term as the Head of State. In a country which had the bitter experience of postponing elections and cancelling general elections though referendums, President Rajapaksa has set a shining example in restoring democracy and reposing faith in people's power. more..

Peace or misery - voters should decide

Jan 4 (SO) Voters in Sri Lanka will have to make an important decision in four days time - an election that would not only decide on the next Head of State but also the future of the country's hard-earned peace. If one were to study the line-up for Thursday's Presidential election, it is crystal clear that it will be a contest between those who love the country and those who don't. In other words, it's a battle between those who wish to retain the country's hard-earned peace more..

Towards a smoke-free tomorrow

Jan 4 (NS) It was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka. It was not exactly what the petitioners wanted, but even the ‘compromise’ contained in the determination to force the tobacco industry to have pictorial warnings about the possible ill-effects of smoking was a considerable victory. As has been the case in all parts of the world, where people have lobbied against the smoking, the tobacco industry fought tooth and nail to trump its ‘detractors’. more..

'Opposition confident despite violence'

Jan 4 (SL) Many have observed a great amount of election violence carried out by the ruling party to deter the opposition election campaign. Even during the week before the election, there were reports of several attacks which included an attack directed on a set of young journalists supporting the opposition campaign and an attack on former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Ms. Hirunika Premachnadra. more..

Year of awakening

Jan 4 (ST) In four days’ time, 14.5 million registered voters are entitled to trek to the polling booth allotted to them and cast their vote for the Chief Executive of the Republic; half a million having already done so by postal voting. That this country still has the choice of the ballot over the bullet in choosing govts is a blessing now taken for granted. Many people around the world yearn for this right and are prepared to die for it. “Best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with an average voter” more..

Chandadaayakaya: One-day king

Jan 4 (ST) My Dear Chandadaayakaya, I thought it is only fitting to write to you this week because, for a brief moment on Thursday, you will be kingmakers in this country. It is not an opportunity that comes often. For most part of the next five or six years, you will have to do as you are told, instead of telling our rulers what they should do. My first advice is to cast your vote, instead of saying unuth ekai, munuth ekai and staying at home. That is because, in this democratic country of ours, your vote may more..

Boston Lanka: January 02, 2015

'Booming' economy complemented by revenue decline – contradiction

Jan 3 (CT) While the economy is 'booming,' the decline in revenue is a cause for concern, an economist speaking on the grounds of anonymity told Ceylon FT. According to latest State controlled Census and Statistics Department (CSD) data, the economy in GDP terms grew by 7.7% in the 3rd quarter of last year (2014). But, as a seeming contradiction, during the first nine months of last year, revenue as a percentage of GDP declined by 9.1% to 8.4% on a year-on-year (YoY) basis. more..

Final crossovers to come before grand finale

Jan 3 (NS) The presidential election has now entered its final and most “heated” stage. As of now, 26 MPs of the government have crossed over to the opposition and two stalwarts of the opposition have joined the ruling party pledging support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. As the election battle has entered its final stage, both political camps have now embarked on a feverish mission to ‘materialize’ more and more crossovers within the next 72 hours. Highly placed sources of the opposition said more..

'Regime is blatantly violating ethical politics'

Jan 3 (SL) General Secretary of the JHU Champika Ranawaka urged all voters to use their vote irrespective of to whom they vote for, or what their political preferences are. He said that the Rajapaksa regime is blatantly violating all ethical politics and abusing their powers and manipulating the state media for their election campaigning. He pointed out that even the security force personnel and thugs are being deployed in order to threaten more..

Victory and Defeat Election 2015

Jan 3 (NS) There are just four days left for a pivotal election where people of Sri Lanka will decide the fate of many political stalwarts. Hence this write up will reflect the concept of victory and defeat as such remains a decisive aspect of human dealings from war, to sports, to elections and many other areas of life. Accepting either victory or defeat has been tough for the contenders whichever the field of contest they undertake. However, the reality is that one side or a person wins and more..

Surveying the ground for victory

Jan 3 (SL) Sri Lanka is four days away from it seventh presidential election and it is clear that it would be the closest and tightest presidential contest in the country’s electoral history. Both candidates, namely President Rajapaksa and Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena have expressed full confidence over the victory of the presidential election and the ‘election heat’ has already reached its zenith. Just a week away from the election, two of Sri Lanka’s prominent more..

Concerns over troops withdrawl

Jan 3 (SL) There have been concerns over the idea of troops withdrawal from the North if the opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena comes to power. Some claimed that the Tamil parties extended their support to the common opposition candidate based on a promise to withdraw troops from the North. However, the election manifesto of the the opposition common candidate Maithripala Sirisena does not more..

CB relaxes rule on branch openings

Jan 3 (NS) Central Bank of Sri Lanka on Friday announced that it would relax the current 2:1 ratio of branches that banks are allowed to open from this year. Accordingly, banks were allowed to open one branch outside the Western Province for every two offices opened in the province. The relaxation of the existing ratio was announced at the launch of the Roadmap 2015 by the CBSL. “Banks would be permitted a greater choice of location in 2015 since banks have already expanded more..

Rajapaksa offers computers to Sri Lanka’s astrologers

Jan 3 (ST) Sri Lanka’s astrologers are to receive financial assistance from the govt to upgrade their ages-old profession using modern computer technology. President Rajapaksa a strong believer of astrology gave this assurance at meeting with a group of astrologers in Colombo. A leading astrologer, who attended the meeting, said the President told them that he will direct the Treasury to provide necessary financial assistance to upgrade their profession with modern technology. more..

Economic progress: Mahinda; At what cost: Maithri

Jan 3 (ST) President Rajapaksa on Thursday coined a new term for the joint opposition labelling it the ‘Failures Corporation’ but his formidable political opponent Maithripala Sirisena hit back saying the current administration was a ‘Kleptocracy’ (rule by thieves). In separate interviews by the Business Times with the President and Mr. Sirisena, the former said; “The so-called leaders of that group are either unsuccessful politicians more..