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A Road Map for change

Jan 3 (Island) The presidential election on Jan. 8 is crucial for Sri Lanka. After a long time a multi -party opposition is in place and the people are given the opportunity to make their choice between the strategies the Govt and the Opposition. The policies of the contending parties must be clear and not be overtaken by pettiness, bickering and irresponsible bouts of violence as displayed by enthusiastic supporters vying for attention by their respective leaders. more..

Will Mahinda win?

Jan 3 (Island) As the presidential election campaign draws to a close, both sides have been claiming imminent victory. The common opposition candidate has been saying that there is a massive surge of public opinion against the government which in his view is greater than the political upheavals of 1970 and 1977. However, in actual fact, the only heat at this election is in the media with reports of crossovers from one side to another taking place on a daily basis. more..

PBJ flag bearer for presidential candidate at CB event

Jan 3 (ST) With five days more for the presidential election, Sri Lanka’s top technocrat Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera went out of the way to talk on the upcoming presidential elections and current politics in a marathon ‘lecture’ at the launch of the Central Bank’s Roadmap for 2015 in Colombo on Friday. Quite a few bankers and businesspersons left the BMICH, amidst Dr. Jayasundera’s over 60-minute speech. more..

Maithri demands 1000 million from ITN for damaging reputation

Jan 3 (AM) Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena has taken legal action against the ITN by sending a letter of demand seeking Rs.1000 Million. The Common Candidate has taken legal action against the television network, its board of directors and Deputy General Manager (News) Sudharman Radlaiyagoda. Sirisena has claimed that the ITN, through its news bulletin, has maliciously damaged the reputation of the Common Candidate by publishing false and baseless stories about more..

Plans afoot to train 600 Dutch travel agents

Jan 3 (Island) In conjunction with Sri Lanka Tourism, Colombo’s Embassy in The Hague has taken the initiative to train 600 Dutch travel agents specializing in Sri Lanka as there is a hitherto untapped market in that part of the world, says Buddhi Athauda, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to The Netherlands. "There are ready opportunities to promote bilateral trade between the two countries, he stressed. The envoy said the production of documentaries highlighting the multitude of tourist attractions that more..

Gunaratnam faces arrest

Jan 3 (SL) FSP leader Kumar Gunaratnam, could face arrest if he engages in political campaigning for the Presidential election. Department of Immigration and Emigration said that Gunaratnam needs to obtain permission from the department if he wants to engage in any political activity in the country. Since Gunarathnam had arrived in the country on a 30-day tourist visa, he cannot engage in political activities more..

Fault grounds SriLankan flight

Jan 3 (CG) SriLankan Airlines said that its Colombo bound flight from London, UL 504 of Jan 1, was grounded due to a technical fault which was identified whilst the aircraft was on the ground. The passengers were accommodated at a hotel in London as it was expected that the rectification work could not be completed overnight due to LHR airport mandatory closure for night curfew. SriLankan staff were at hand throughout with the passengers and assisted. more..

Gotabaya defends the President

Jan 3 (CG) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa defended President Rajapaksa, saying all the allegations raised against him, particularly on corruption, are baseless. Speaking at an event in Galgamuwa, the Defence Secretary said that if the President wanted to gain something through corrupt deals he would have allowed the war to drag as that would be the best time to be corrupt. He said that the most corrupt period was during the war as some arms deals were corrupt yet more..

Move to dissolve Parliament when presidential poll ends

Jan 3 (ST) A possible dissolution of Parliament as polling ends for the presidential election on Thursday is worrying those at the highest levels of the opposition. They fear such a move would stymie the 100 day manifesto of NDF candidate Maithripala Sirisena if he should emerge the winner. Mr. Sirisena is giving high priority to making changes to the Executive Presidency by trimming its wide powers and privileges. more..

Gunshots fired as Maithri leaves stage in Arawaganvila

Jan 3 (AM) Gunshots were fired at the opposition rally in Aralaganwila when Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena was leaving the stage. The Common Candidate has not sustained injuries due to the incident. The Common Candidate's media team said the gunshots were fired at the stage and MSD security officers of Maithripala Sirisena confirmed the incident. When the firing occurred, the rally was still underway. A former UNP Provincial Councilor was injured due to the attack. more..

EU fishing ban to hit Sri Lanka

Jan 3 (SL) Sri Lanka will have no choice but to face the fishing ban by the European Union which will take effect from Jan 15. Fisheries Minister Sarath Kumara Gunarathne said that the govt is ready to face the ban and accused former Fisheries Minister Rajith Senaratne of mishandling the matter which led to the EU to impose a ban on Sri Lankan fisheries imports. Minister said that the Fisheries Ministry has taken the necessary steps to protect the fishing industry. more..

'Only Colombo thinks Maithripala will win'

Jan 3 (Island) Predicting that winning the presidential election would be easier than even in 2010 and 2005, President Rajapaksa says that  he would  get home  by a wide margin.  Interviewed by the weekend newspapers at Temple Trees last Wednesday, Rajapaksa  asked "What challenge? I do not see any contest. You hear people speaking of   tight finishes only in Colombo. I didn’t have this lead even in 2010. I will win by a big margin more..

Opposition to seek blockade

Jan 3 (SL) The common opposition says it will request the Department of Immigration and Emigration not to allow govt officials to flee the country if there are allegations against their name in the event the opposition wins the Presidential election this week. MP Rajitha Senaratne said that they have received information of an attempt by some officials to flee Sri Lanka. Senaratne said that many such officials have submitted applications to foreign embassies to flee the country. more..

Army on standby

Jan 3 (SL) The Military says it is prepared to offer assistance if the police and civil authorities formally request on or before election day in order to control violence. The military also denied allegations that extra troops were deployed in certain areas for the election on Thursday. Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that troops had not been deployed to any area so far for the election. “However in the event the troops are needed, we are prepared to offer our assistance if more..

'SLFP support more than anticipated'

Jan 3 (CT) With three more days to go before the presidential election, Ceylon Today caught up with the common candidate Maithripala Sirisena to gain some insight into the man whose campaign slogan has revolved around 'change'. When 'power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely', Sirisena said his plan was to ensure that the highest seat of power, the 'Executive Presidency' no longer has the capacity to corrupt. more..

Battle of the Blues

Jan 3 (CT) This is the first time in the post-independence era where two members of the same party (now cracked) enter the ring to battle each other. Some political analysts say that Thursday's battle is a neck and neck fight between the two contestants. Political sources said, more crossovers to both sides are expected to take place tomorrow when the two parties wind up their month-long countrywide election campaign. Foreign election monitors have already arrived in the country more..

Wennappuwa quadruple murder suspect kills himself

Jan 3 (AD) The suspect arrested in connection with the horrific murder of a four-member family in Wennappuwa has committed suicide by jumping into the Ma Oya, police said. He had jumped off the bridge in the Thoppuwa area while assisting police officers to recover the weapon used by him to carry out the murders, Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said. The suspect was arrested by officers of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in the Galkiriyagama area earlier today. more..

Rajapaksa goes in as underdog, but is no pushover

Jan 3 (ST) The month long campaign for Thursday’s presidential poll ends at midnight tomorrow and the main contenders are equally confident of victory. “It is likely my victory this time would be with a larger majority than in 2010,” President Rajapaksa told Sunday Times. He said, “People know I have an impeccable record of conduct and results. This has led to a large number of undecided voters to shift towards me.” more..

Distribution of forged ballot papers

Jan 4 (CT) A 'daily' yesterday reported of the alleged distribution of forged ballot papers in respect of the forthcoming presidential poll by a govt politico among his supporters at Ratnapura recently. What is worse, these forged ballot papers were seemingly printed at a govt department which has the sole right to print such documents, by law. This sort of unsavoury incidents cast a multiplicity of doubts in the minds of the voting public, of which the uppermost being as to whether more..

Will it be third term and old politics, or a new President and new politics?

Jan 4 (Island) Mahinda Rajapaksa won the 2010 presidential election polling 58% of the votes against Sarath Fonseka’s 40%. All he needs to do to win this time is to manage the leaks from that high water mark and make sure that his share of the vote stays above the 50% mark. He won the 2005 election by a squeaker with 50.29% of the votes and a vote difference of 180,786 over Ranil Wickremesinghe. He knows a win is a win even if he manages just one vote over his third presidential rival in more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Jan 4 (ST) There was rather an embarrassing moment when the Indian movie star Salman Khan was introduced wrongly at a public meeting held in Borella where he was attending a purported eye camp. The rather breathless and overenthusiastic announcer urged the people present to welcome Mr. Khan by shouting out Sharuk Khanta Jayawewa (Long Live Sharuk Khan). He repeated this twice before realising that more..

Day 2: Sangakkara 11th double flattens NZ

Jan 4 (CI) The closest New Zealand came to taking a huge first-innings lead - or, as it panned out, not conceding a huge one - in Wellington was off the first delivery of Trent Boult's first over of the day, when the ball swung sharply past the outside edge as Kumar Sangakkara went for a drive. Twice, in Christchurch, Sangakkara had fallen for single-digit scores edging similar deliveries from Boult. more..

MR, MS rev up for final stretch

Jan 4 (ST) More than 14.5 million Sri Lankans are eligible to cast their votes at Thursday’s crucial presidential election, the seventh since the introduction of the executive presidential system in 1978. Incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa and New Democratic Front (NDF) Common Opposition Candidate Maithripala Sirisena are the main contenders though 17 others are also in the fray. more..

Monitors fear voter intimidation before Sri Lanka election

Jan 4 (AFP) International observers said they had received complaints of voter intimidation before this week’s Sri Lankan presidential election, in which the incumbent faces a tough battle to win an unprecedented third term. The 55-member panel of monitors told reporters they had already received complaints that the military had set up 400 roadblocks to discourage minority Tamils from voting freely in former war zones. more..

Brutal butchering of dentist's entire family in the New Year!

Jan 4 (CT) As the New Year dawned, Sri Lanka was inescapably embroiled with all of the political tensions and all eyes were focused to the presidential campaigns. When, the utterly shocking and disastrous news broke out on the assassination of an entire family, father, mother, and kids on the very first day heralding the New Year 2015. The assassinated family was a lady doctor, her husband and the two kids who lived in more..

Is Rajapaksa facing defeat in elections?

Jan 4 (BBC) President Rajapaksa hopes to be re-elected to a third term in election on Thursday. But what sort of a country has SL become under Mr Rajapaksa and his brothers? One day last month six astrologers were brought onto govt television to discuss the prospects for the presidential election. All six declared that not only would President "secure a fabulous victory" but "nature" would "completely work against" more..

Demo over Salman’s Sri Lanka visit

Jan 4 (CG) Tamil parties protested outside Bollywood star Salman Khan’s residence in Mumbai on Sunday criticising the actor for campaigning for Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Groups of protestors gathered outside the actor’s residence and shouted slogans against the Bollywood star. With the police intervening, 10-15 people have been taken into preventive custody on Sunday afternoon. more..

JHU gives assurance to Mahanayakes on unitary status & national security

Jan 4 (AM) The JHU today assured the Mahanayake of Malwatte chapter that the country’s unitary status and territorial integrity will be fully protected under Maithripala Sirisena’s rule. The assurance was given on Sunday when JHU Leader Omalpe Sobhitha Thera and its General Secretary Champika Ranawaka met Mahanayake of the Malwatte chapter, Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera. JHU representatives assured that more..

'Not deterred by govt malpractices as the people support us'

Jan 4 (ST) New Democratic Party Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena declared that, despite malpractices by the government, the public will not be deterred in defeating President Rajapaksa at next week’s presidential election. Mr Sirisena, in an interview with the Sunday Times, expressed confidence that the Elections Commissioner and his department will conduct a free and fair election. more..

Video: Photoshoped: Susil

Jan 4 (DM) The govt keeps former LTTE arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP in safe custody to use him at the right time at the right place to counter UNHRC allegations and fight international propaganda against Sri Lanka in Geneva and elsewhere, Minister Susil Premajayantha said. He said the opposition had stooped to the lowest level of misinformation and disinformation as a picture of President more..

Ven. Rathana’s roar of blasphemy

Jan 4 (Island) The spinal slogan of the present govt’s call for popular support rests on its assertion that the LTTE and the 30 year separatist war were ended under the presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa. And complementing this accomplishment is the claim that any further threats to national security from foreign factors can be defeated only under the leadership of MR. As a secondary element closely tied to the reason why MR’s govt should continue in power are mega scale infrastructure projects, more..

Election monitors refute claims of funding opposition campaign

Jan 4 (AM) Campaign for Free and Fair Election has vehemently denied the claim by Minister Wimal Weerawansa that the foreign funds received by the election monitors are being used for the Maithripala Sirisena campaign. Executive Director of CaFFE Keerthi Thennakoon said that this claim by Weerawansa is an attempt to create mistrust about the election monitors among the public. Weerawansa had claimed that the monitoring organizations receive US $ 16 million. more..

Sangakkara's measures help him conquer again

Jan 4 (CI) Every hero needs a villain. Protagonists require conflict. The bad times put the good ones in context, and achievement gleams brighter in light of failure. At times in 2014, Kumar Sangakkara was sailing clear in the sun, wind behind him, no choppy waters in sight, no eddies to avoid. His father, who has lit Sangakkara's path to excellence, scolds that if Sangakkara was a good batsman, only he would ever get himself out. more..

Sri Lanka must lay past demons to rest

Jan 4 (Age) Five years of peace, but tranquillity is yet to settle on Sri Lanka. A new tower in the capital, Colombo, intended to be the tallest building in south Asia, could easily be considered a monument to President Rajapaksa, the man who in 2009 finally crushed the vicious 26-year insurgency by the Tamil Tigers. The $100 million building represents an ambition that could never have been realised during the crippling years of war. Known as the Lotus Tower, folding outwards around a long stem more..

Nothing but Elections

Jan 4 (Island) I write this on Dec. 31 but the fact the old year is soon to end and a new one begin is almost lost on me, my mind so preoccupied with the forthcoming elections. Why so, one would ask. Never have we been so keen on an election or so bothered by its outcome and wondered so earnestly whether it will be fair and free and what its aftermath would be – a continuation of the same Prez, a new one installed or most difficult to even imagine - mayhem. more..

Speculation on high profile crossovers

Jan 4 (Island) Former PM Ratnasiri Wickremenayake and Ministers S.B. Nawinna and Jeevan Kumaranatunga are among many key figures in the govt tipped to pledge their support to the Joint Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena this week.  Informed sources said that Wickremenayake had met former President Chandrika Kumaratunga who was in the forefront of Srisena’s election campaign last week. more..

Azath Salley’s security removed

Jan 4 (CG) The police security provided to MTMA leader Azath Salley has been withdrawn with effect from today. Salley had been provided two policemen as security on the instructions of the Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya. Deshapriya had instructed the police to provide security for Azath Salley as a political party leader and provincial council member. However Salley was informed today that the two policemen have been withdrawn on the instructions of the Defence Ministry. more..

Pope’s bust by local sculptor ready for visit

Jan 4 (Island) An admirer of Pope Francis, who is to visit SL in a few days, Upali Dias, a sculptor and an artist from Boralesgamuwa had created a bust in the likeliness of the Pope. The sculpture which is made out of fibre is about one ft tall. Dias said, "although I’m a Buddhist, I admire the personality of Pope Francis and I was keen to do a creation in his honor." According to the sculptor, although a rewarding labor, the figure of Pope Francis is a challenging study. more..

Thisara Perera joins Rajapaksa’s campaign

Jan 4 (AM) Cricketer Thisara Perera has extended his support to the campaign of President Rajapaksa. Perera is the second member of the national cricket team to support President Rajapaksa, after Thilakaratne Dilshan. ODI cricketer now appears for an advertisement supporting the candidature of President Rajapaksa. Several months ago, Thisara Perera stepped down from the team citing mental stress when he haw pulled out more..

Arrangements in place for flood victims to vote

Jan 4 (NS) Arrangements are being made to ensure that some 18,000 individuals displaced due to the adverse weather conditions in December would be able to vote at this week’s presidential election. Deputy Director (Media) at the DMC, said there was no threat regarding any of the displaced losing out on the right to exercise their franchise. With rainy conditions easing, the DMC expected many of the displaced to return to their homes by the time the election is held on Jan 8. more..