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MEP to contest with the UPFA

July 5 (DM) Dinesh Gunawardena led Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) today announced that it would contest the forthcoming general elections along with the UPFA under the betel leaf symbol. In a statement its General Secretary Thissa Yapa Jayawardana said the decision had been taken during the Central Committee meeting held yesterday with the participation of its Leader Dinesh Gunawardena. It further said that they would represent their candidate covering more..

UNP delighted over UPFA decision to nominate Rajapaksa

July 5 (AM) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said that the UNP is delighted over the decision taken by the UPFA to grant nomination to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He said that with Rajapaksa out of the scene, there was no major reason to hit out at the SLFP. "There was no one in the opposition that we could accuse" he pointed out. However, the inclusion of Rajapaksa in the UPFA election campaign provided the UNP more than enough points to attack the alliance, more..

President's alliance disintegrates

July 5 (EN) UPFA disintegrated further with another key coalition partner formally quitting Sunday, a day before nominations opened for August general elections. The JHU, or the Heritage Party, of Buddhist monks announced Sunday that they were leaving the UPFA which was formed in 2004 to topple the then UNF govt led by the UNP. JHU national organiser Champika Ranawaka said that they were breaking ranks with the UPFA, more..

To be or not to be with the party: The million dollar dilemma!

July 6 (CT) I respect Mr. Maithripala Sirisena who refuses to be addressed as His Excellency, for his bold decision to confront the the absolute villain of Sri Lankan politics. He took a bold step but he would have been ashes if not for the support of firstly the digruntled people and then those who crossed over with him including Rajitha a main architect, Champika and Ven Rathana, Arjuna, and the others. The revolution had already started when Mr. Maithripala was invited by more..

Projects, projects everywhere: But who knows how to run them?

July 6 (CT) Human history is replete with projects enabling civilisations to deliver marvellous creations through them. But many of them have been failures right from the design stage. Sri Lankaís recent history is marred by a plethora of such failed projects due to errors in design. Of them, the Hambantota Harbour failing to attract large draft ships due to low depth of the harbour, the Mattala Airport with a runway perpendicular to the headwinds forcing airlines to shun it more..

'People expect the SLFP to be united'

July 6 (SL) Rathnasiri Wickramanayake is a senior member of the SLFP. At present, he serves as a senior advisor to President Maithripala Sirisena. Given below are experts of the interview with Wickramanayake. Q: What is your opinion about the upcoming general election? A: In short, if we split we will lose. Our strength is in our alliance and unity. If we continue to work together in unison we will not have any obstacle. more..

Wealth of a New Nation

July 6 (NS) Devotees: Many political devotees observed sil at the Medamulana Abhayaramaya last Wednesday. Love for the sons: Many political leaders today donít think about themselves, but think about their sons. Mahinda is not thinking about himself but about his sons. Vimal too seems to be thinking in that way. Dinesh and many others are the same. But Vasu may be different. He thinks about his beard. Same: Vijithamuni made Maharaja an appachchi. In retaliation, Professor Nalin is more..

Those who canít COPE..

July 6 (NS) Those who cannot the COPE need to go home, and that is almost axiomatic. Parliament was dissolved before the COPE Report on the Central Bank Governorís bond dealings had a chance of seeing the light of day. It is patently obvious to the people that the abrupt dissolution of Parliament at this juncture was a direct result of the COPE bombshell, and other financial irregularities of govt heavyweights which were bound to be highlighted in no-confidence debates that were to come. more..

'UNP confident of winning 115 seats'

July 6 (SL) UNP has buckled down to secure a majority in parliament and has confidently declared that they will secure 115 seats in parliament without difficulty owing to the split in the SLFP. UNP has announced that several Tamil parties have already agreed to contest with the party under the elephant symbol and they also invited anybody who wishes to contest the election with the UNP under elephant symbol to join them. more..

Deciding as to which roguery is less harmful to Sri Lanka

July 6 (ST) That pithy village idiom, long beloved of those who view politics and politicians with a bitterly jaundiced eye, unuthekai, munuthekai, is greatly apt for Sri Lankaís current political environment. This translates roughly into saying that one set of political rogues is only equaled by the other set of political rogues. Smaller political parties who have used this scathing indictment as a poster cry against the two main party voting blocs are also no better, as the post January 2015 political trajectory shows. more..

Mahinda catches the UPFA bus: but will Maithri get runover?

July 6 (ST) As things stand at this volatile hour on the shifting sands of Lankan politics, reports indicate that Mahinda Rajapaksa will soon be boarding the UPFA bus having obtained his season ticket to travel courtesy of President Sirisena. And no doubt, his loyal cheering squad of political groupies will be accompanying this senior and once foremost citizen on the southern expressway to keep him company and to carry his baggage of prime ministerial hopes. News of confirmation of his economy seat more..

'Polls will be free and fair'

July 6 (SO) With the two main political parties, UNP and the SLFP ready for a do or die battle to secure power in Parliament on August 17, EC Mahinda Deshapriya, said his office will do whatever possible to ensure the upcoming polls are free and fair and violence-free. Elections Department machinery will swing into full operation nominations close on July 13, to bring down illegal hoardings & cutouts, and punish offenders. more..

Editorial: Politics!

July 6 (Island) Nothing is so certain as the unexpected in politics. President Sirisena has finally agreed to nominate his bÍte noire, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to contest the August 17 polls. Both of them have made compromises; the former said he would never field Rajapaksa on the UPFA ticket and the latter spared no pains to be named the UPFAís PM candidate. Now, it has been left to the UPFA parliamentary group to decide who should be PM in case of an SLFP-led govt being formed. more..

Guerrilla diplomacy and Wild West tactics in Toronto

July 6 (Island) I was invited to attend an event at the Toronto Law Courts organised by the South Asia Bar Association of Canada. I thought it was a very good opportunity for me to meet and network with South Asian lawyers in Canada. After the lecture by the Attorney General of Ontario, I walked into the reception hall and saw a prominent LTTE backer and harsh critic of Sri Lanka, Garry Anandasangaree. He is a son of TULF leader, V. Anandasangaree. more..

Mathews' mopping act salvages Sri Lanka again

July 6 (CI) Perhaps it's because Angelo Mathews' team-mates have spoken so much about his capacity to absorb pressure that they have lately begun to treat him like a human dishcloth. In recent years, Mathews is the man forever mopping up top-order spills, wiping down tailenders' nervous sweats, and occasionally serving as the improvised bandage that delays bloody death and makes the corpse a little more presentable. more..

Saving money in a unique way

July 6 (ST) A leading sports organisation after its AGM, has avoided 16 court cases! This move has saved a lot of funds for the sport. The earlier administration had spent nearly Rs. 50 lakhs on such cases. The present set of officials have decided it is useless to pursue such court cases and had decided not to go after them further causing a lot of heart burn for the lawyers and saving a lot of money for the sport. An official who was not invited for a function held in connection with more..

Pakistan left to ponder another batting failure

July 6 (CI) In the three days of the Pallekele Test so far, Pakistan have shown variation and a fair amount of success in their bowling. The focal point for them, however, has been yet another poor batting display that has left the team management struggling to find explanations. Pakistan turned the match around from a first-innings position of 96 for 5 in the first Test in Galle, eventually winning by ten wickets within four days, but it seemed to be a one-off case. Inconsistency seems inevitable with the side more..

'I now know my game inside out'

July 6 (CI) Jehan Mubarak expressed disappointment at squandering two starts in his first Test in more than seven years, but said he has refined his game enough to now belong at Test level. Mubarak had underwhelmed in several early stints in international cricket, averaging less than 16 from his ten previous Tests. However, a pair of exceptional domestic seasons has seen him selected for the national team again, at 34. more..

Entrance ticket fraud at tourist sites

July 6 (ST) The govt, in a bid to overcome fraud where the same entrance ticket is sold repeatedly at tourist attraction sites, has since June 1 begun selling entrance tickets only at the site. This method was adopted with the aim of avoiding frauds happening on a large scale which was brought to the notice of the Central Cultural Fund (CCF) that was in charge of charging these fees from visitors. Officials at the CCF state that a large number of frauds were carried out out in the recent past due to more..

Borrowings to increase by massive Rs 507B Money printing up 2,201%

July 6 (CT) Current regime inched closer to the dubious target of reaching the Rs One trillion mark in domestic borrowings when it announced that it plans to raise another Rs 62,000 million by selling Treasury (T) Bills and T-Bonds to the market this week. Already it has borrowed Rs 914,622 million by selling T-Bills and T-Bonds to the market in the calendar year to date. With that envisaged borrowings, it will take the current Govt's borrowings by selling T-Bills and T-Bonds to more..

Volkswagen team to sign car assembly deal with Sri Lanka soon

July 6 (ST) A team of representatives of Volkswagen (VW), Germanyís largest automaker and the second-largest car manufacturer worldwide behind Toyota, will be visiting SL in the next few weeks to sign an agreement to set up a car manufacturing plant here, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said. ďThis will be the biggest brand name investor Sri Lanka has got in a decade,Ē he said adding that he was instrumental in working with more..

Gunner Supercross - 2015 thrills crowds

July 6 (SLA) SL Artilleryís pet project, Gunner Supercross - 2015 motor racing event at Minneriya Sri Lanka Artillery (SLA) track, got underway on Sunday, amid a huge gathering of 25,000-30,000 spectators and well-known drivers and riders. The exciting event, the pride of the Regiment of SLA was held for the 10th consecutive year with the collaboration of Sri Lanka Auto sports Drivers Association. Major General Jagath Dias, Chief of Staff, graced the occasion as Chief Guest. more..

Private credit slows in April, SOEs up

July 6 (EN) Sri Lanka's private credit slowed in April 2015 to 14.5 billion rupees from 41.5 billion rupees a month earlier, with state and state enterprises continuing to borrow, official data showed. Private credit however has a tendency to be slow in April amid a seasonal holiday in most years. State enterprises borrowed 13.10 billion rupees, up 3 billion month earlier, and the Central Govt borrowed 13.7 billion rupees in April, compared to a net payback in March. more..

Indian Consulate in Jaffna to start regular Hindi classes

July 6 (ENS) In view of the enthusiasm among the Tamils of Northern Province to learn Hindi, Indian Consulate General in Jaffna has asked the Ministry of External Affairs for funds to start regular Hindi classes at the Consulate, said A.Natarajan, the Consul General in Jaffna. ďFor some time now, the Consulate has been conducting classes, but in an ad hoc manner with no special or dedicated fund for holding such classes. more..

India hoopsters maul Sri Lanka to retain South Asian supremacy

July 6 (ENS) Akashdeep Hazra produced the gameís first and only slam dunk to the delight of the large crowd, fetching India the 91st point against Sri Lanka. And at 93-44, the buzzer went off as India won the 4th South Asian Basketball Association (SABA) Championships and qualified for the FIBA Asia Cup in September. India thus retained the title while Nepal ended third behind the Lankans. Maldives beat Nepal 97-55 earlier, while in the morning, India steamrolled Maldives 128-48 more..

Special Rice Noodle producing factories under Korean assistance

July 6 (GDI) The Agriculture Ministry has signed an MoU to establish rice flour noodles producing factories with the assistance of a South Korean-based company - KC Alliance. The MoU was signed recently at the Agriculture Ministry by Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake and KC Alliance Chairman James Kim. This special noodles product is cholesterol free, healthy, natural and provides a balanced diet, specially made for children and it does not contain any flavour enhancer. more..

Indo-Pak betting agents in Colombo nabbed, but no laws to prosecute

July 6 (Dawn) Sri Lanka Cricketís Anti-Corruption Unit cracked down on an Indo-Pakistan betting operations at the P. Sara Oval in Colombo last week during the second Test. But the culprits were later released as there were no local laws to prosecute them.The unitís head, retired SSP Lakshman de Silva said they questioned two Pakistanis and three Indians who were supplying match commentaries to bookies more..

Udayanga on non-release of container full of personal effects

July 6 (DN) Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides facilities for all diplomats taking up overseas postings to transport their personal effects from and to Sri Lanka at state expense. I, too am entitled to this basic facility. A container full of my personal effects which was packed and dispatched under the supervision of embassy officials reached Sri Lanka on April 10, but, it has not been released to us for over three months, former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga in a release. more..

Intoxicated Russian tourist attempts to assault WPCs

July 6 (DM) A Russian woman who violated traffic laws while attempting to assault Women Police Constables as she rode a motorcycle was taken into custody by the Police on Saturday evening in Negombo. Police said the 24-year old Russian tourist had ignored the orders of the police officers on traffic duty and had behaved in unruly manner under the influence of alcohol. She had even attempted to assault the WPCs who arrested her with great difficulty. more..

'I didnít go inside Public Debt Dept'

July 6 (ST) Under-fire CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran strongly denied references in the report of a parliamentary committee that he had been at the Public Debt Department when bids of a controversial Treasury Bonds were being perused. The report by the COPE had said that the Governor had visited this department on two occasions on Feb 27 where the auction in question had taken place. ďI was not in department. I was in the corridor more..

Gammanpila says JHU lies exposed

July 6 (Island) JHU is trying to form an alternative political force on the instruction of PM and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, alleges former JHU stalwart and the leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Udaya Gammanpila. Commenting on the decision by the JHU to form a new political front to contest the forthcoming general election, Gammanpila said that people of this country would not fall for such tricks. "People now regret having voted for the Swan at the January 8 polls. more..

Indian visitors to Sri Lanka up 30% in June

July 6 (EN) India remained the top source of visitors to Sri Lanka in June 2015, accounting for almost a quarter of traffic, with China coming second. The number of arrivals from India surged almost 30% to 25,860 in June from a year ago and accounted for 27% of visitors in the January- June 2015 period. Arrivals from China shot up 86% to 15,487 in June and are up 81% so far this year from the year before. Arrivals from traditional markets in Western Europe grew steadily with the UK up 10% more..

'They want to bury us for saving the country'

July 6 (Island) Addressing a gathering of people in Kandy recently, the former President said PM Wickremesinghe went about saying that the Rajapaksas should be buried. "They didnít do anything other than taking revenge under their 100-day programme. The govt has targeted me, Mahindananda, Keheliya, Johnston, Basil, Sajin Vass, Gotabhaya and many others. They have thrown govt officials behind bars and then more..

Piliyandala murder: Two in the dock

July 6 (CT) Two suspects allegedly involved in murdering 26-year-old Indika Sandaruwan after kidnapping him and assaulting him on the 28th of January, were arrested by the Piliyandala Police, last Saturday. The Police, after five months, was finally able to reveal what had happened to the victim who was kidnapped, assaulted and immolated after kerosene was poured onto him. The new details regarding the homicide were revealed with the arrest of the two suspects. more..

SLMC decision today

July 6 (CT) SLMC says that a decision regarding the forthcoming General Election will be arrived at this evening. SLMC General Secretary Hassan Ali said that discussions on contesting in the forthcoming Elections are still underway. However, Ali confirmed that the SLMC will not be joining nor contesting with the SLFP and former President Rajapaksa. "SLMC is still having discussions regarding this matter, but we have not even considered contesting with the SLFP or the former President." more..

JHU breaks ranks with UPFA, UNP

July 6 (Island) Accusing both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinhe of failing to fulfil their obligations, the JHU yesterday quit the SLFP-led UPFA. JHU spokesperson Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe yesterday said that the party had done so following President Maithripala Sirisenaís decision to field former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the UPFA ticket at the August 17 general election. more..

CP, LSSP to contest with the UPFA

July 6 (Island) Communist Party and LSSP have decided to contest the forthcoming general election under the UPFA banner. The CPís decision was made at a party Central Committee meeting on Saturday with President of the CP Raja Kollure and General Secretary D.E.W. Gunasekera in Colombo, Central Committee Member of the CP, L.R. Stepehen said. He said that CP candidates would be fielded from Ratnapura, Galle and Kurunegala Districts in the General Elections from UPFA. more..

Acceptance of nominations begins today

July 6 (DN) All arrangements are in place to accept nominations for the August 17 general election from today, Additional Elections Commissioner R.M.A.L. Ratnayake said. Nominations could be handed over till noon on July 13. Ratnayake said nomination applications should carry the signature of the candidate, an affidavit and the signature of the General Secretary of the party, adding that any application which are not duly filled would be rejected. more..

Sirisena-Chandrika-Ranil alliance in offing?

July 6 (ENS) Following the grant of UPFA parliamentary election ticket to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his rival and serving President Maithripala Sirisena is set to form an anti-Rajapaksa alliance with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. This was evident on Sunday when Sirisena and Wickremesinghe attended Kumaratunga's 70th birthday celebrations more..

Shocking reversal but hope still springs for democracy

July 6 (DM) With the nominations week beginning today for the General Elections on August 17, political turmoil and uncertainty have gripped the country with various parties or groups expressing concern over whether we are seeing an attempt to reverse the peopleís revolution of January 8. President Sirisena, under intense pressure from the Mahinda Rajapaksa loyalists in the UPFA, virtually waved the white flag on Friday, when he agreed to the nomination of former president Rajapaksa more..