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Anti-Rajapaksa front formed with Sirisena’s tacit consent

July 11 (ENS) To prevent former President Mahinda Rajapaksa from coming back to power through the August 17 parliamentary elections, anti-Rajapaksa forces have formed a common front with the tacit consent and blessings of Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. The United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) led by the UNP will be inaugurated at Temple Trees, the office of the UNP leader and PM Ranil more..

Free hit and no-ball, & Rizwan's redemption

July 11 (CI) Tillakaratne Dilshan's 65-ball stay was scratchier than a pair of undercrackers. He could have been out on his sixth ball had Mohammad Irfan not overstepped. Irfan enlisted the help of his height to generate big extra bounce outside off and induce a nick, which was pouched by Sarfraz Ahmed, only for the umpire to find that Irfan had overstepped after checking. With a free hit for the taking, Dilshan could have swatted, lashed, clouted or unfurled his signature Dilscoop. more..

Student raising money to fly parents from Sri Lanka for graduation

July 11 (GWL) A law student living in Southall has set up fundraising page to collect enough money to fly her parents from Sri Lanka to the UK to see her graduate. Rosalina Nadesarajah’s family sold their house and spent their life savings funding her studies at the Ealing School of Law, where she would be free from persecution due to her being of the Tamil ethnic minority group. She is the only member of her family to have travelled abroad and has not seen her parents since more..

Video: UNP approves United National Front for Good Governance

July 11 (DM) The UNP today approved the United National Front for Good Governance, a new alliance with sections of the SLFP and JHU to contest at the forthcoming General Elections under the elephant symbol. The forming of the new alliance has been approved at a special UNP convention at the Campbell Park in Colombo. Speaking at the convention, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said the alliance would be more..

Sri Lanka planning more power sector reforms

July 11 (EN) The Sri Lankan govt is contemplating further changes in the power sector’s structure with a wholesale market with limited competition being considered for 2016, a new report said. The changes could involve moving the Independent Power Producers to a competitive market, introducing merchant power plants, and allowing the wheeling of power, the report by the Asian Development Bank, has said. Wheeling allows areas of a utility like the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) with more..

SC calls for environmental feasibility reports on Colombo Port City project

July 11 (Island) The Supreme Court yesterday directed the Central Environmental Authority, the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau and the Coast Conservation Department to submit for the perusal of the Court, the environmental feasibility reports they had done in respect of the Colombo Port City Project. The fundamental rights violation application filed by a group of fishermen will be called before the court to be supported for leave to proceed subsequent to that. more..

Hirunika to contest under ‘elephant’ symbol

July 11 (AD) UPFA Western Provincial Council member Hirunika Premachandra has reportedly signed nominations to contest the upcoming parliamentary election from the United National Front for Good Governance, the UNP-led political alliance. She will contest the General Election under the “elephant” symbol from the Colombo Electoral District. The UNF for Good Governance today received approval at the UNP’s special convention held in Colombo. more..

Leaders passing the buck to the voters

July 12 (ST) There is this old joke of how a man wanted to serve his country and thought one way would be to get elected to the country’s Parliament. So, he got himself nomination from a political party, and was duly elected. He went to Parliament and returned home after 30 days. “Martha,” he said to his wife, “I’ve discovered one thing – it’s the first insane asylum I’ve seen or heard of that’s run by its inmates.” Jokes apart – and a joke is a very serious thing, said Sir Winston Churchill quoting more..

A bizarre and critical election ahead

July 12 (SO) The August parliamentary elections will not only be an extremely critical election but also the most bizarre in the history of elections in this country. Even before nominations were called for the next parliamentary elections, developments were astounding. President Sirisena’s rallying call on the January 8th elections was to end corruption. Throw out the rogues, he said. Now he seems to be bringing them back! Eight months ago, Maithripala Sirisena, long standing General Secretary of more..

'SLFP is pro Maithri'

July 12 (SL) SLFP Vice Secretary, Minister Duminda Dissanayake, a leading member of the pro-Sirisena group, insisted that the SLFP is no longer divided and will continue to carry forward the people’s mandate given to President Sirisena to establish good governance. Dissanayake said that those who have sought nomination under the SLFP ticket are those who accept the people’s mandate. Q: SLFP has taken a decision to more..

Getting elected is the permanent interest

July 12 (Island) What Lord Palmerston (1784–1865) said some two centuries ago about nations neither having permanent friends nor permanent enemies, but only (permanent) interests applies very much to politics as the unfolding nomination drama which will close at noon tomorrow amply demonstrates. Yesterday’s newspapers reported that Minister Champika Ranawake may run on UNP ticket and his stable-mate, Ven. Atureliye Ratana, is looking at a National List slot from the same quarter. more..

Can candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa name those wrong-doers?

July 12 (SO) The issue of massive corruption in govt has never before been raised as it has been during and after the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime. Very early in the first Rajapaksa presidency, a very powerful govt minister became known as Mr. Ten Per Cent for his predilection for commissions on the side for various projects approved by him, or, even initiated by him. A whole new class of capitalist cronies grew around the regime making the country's big business community worried that it would be shut out more..

'We have the vision and will for good governance'

July 12 (SO) Articulate, outspoken and immensely confident, Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera has no doubts about the UNP securing a major victory in the August 2015 General Elections. He talks about his party's nomination process to select the most suitable candidates, party manifesto which will have good governance as its pivot, minority votes, unified govt pledge and about corrupt politicians being allowed to control the SLFP. more..

Law of averages

July 12 (CT) Nominations for the election of candidates to Sri Lanka's 15th Parliament closes tomorrow. The 17 August 2015 General Election is essentially a poll between the UNP, Sri Lanka's single largest party and the SLFP-led UPFA coalition. Since elections to Sri Lanka's 2nd Parliament which was held in 1952, the polls battle have largely been between the UNP and the SLFP, where the latter, sans its coalition partners, is Sri Lanka's 2nd largest political party. more..

Babylonian captivity of SLFP/UPFA ends

July 12 (Island) To say that last week was full of tension would be an understatement. Political futures and fates of individuals were being decided on the run. A day, an hour or even a minute was becoming a long time in politics. Weekend will see frantic last minute horse trading and the nomination lists on both sides of the political divide may be different on Monday. Mere fact that Mahinda Rajapaksa has signed UPFA nomination papers had stood the entire political system on its head. more..

'Our alliance represents the true masses'

July 12 (SO) Following the inclusion of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the UPFA nominations list, the JHU formally announced its decision to break away from the UPFA and form a new alliance, the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) to defend the January 8 people’s mandate. JHU General Secretary and Minister, Champika Ranawaka explained the reasons for the split and party’s fresh moves more..

Second coming: What’s on Mahinda’s mind

July 12 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, I thought I must write to you to congratulate you for securing nominations from the betel leaf party once again although the prospect of you running for Parliament after being the big boss for ten years is like Susanthika running the village marathon after winning a medal at the Olympic games. Mahinda maama, remember that imitation Sirisena chap who contested the election because he looked like Maithri? In the last few days, we thought that more..

Nation betrayed looks at Maithri’s next move

July 12 (SL) President Sirisena, in his effort to prevent a split in the SLFP led by him, has inadvertently weakened the party like never before. Not to mention the severe blow dealt to the foundation of good governance, a policy he preached in the run up to the Presidential election. Sirisena, who pledged a change in the system that existed during the former Rajapaksa regime, has once again endorsed the return to the same scenario, by giving a green light to Rajapaksa more..

'I'm not scared of underworld thugs'

July 12 (CT) Commissioner of Elections, Mahinda Deshapriya says he is not scared of underworld gangs. "I do not take any notice of the underworld. At the same time, anyone of those underworld gangs can be defeated by the people with their vote. Anyhow, the Elections Commission cannot control thugs and gangs due to the shortcomings that exist in the law. If there are either terror groups or thugs the responsibility of controlling those more..

Gearing for polls amidst political turmoil

July 12 (CT) In just over 180 days with President Maithripala Sirisena in Office, the political centre stage had reverted to what it was before 8 January as the SLFP had begun to crack in a serious manner with nominations for the August polls due to close tomorrow. Nominations for the upcoming elections caused a stir with the SLFP as the UPFA controlled nomination list entertained almost all confidantes of former President Rajapaksa. Maithri claimed he had no control over the preparation of more..

Hafeez finds form to subdue Sri Lanka

July 12 (CI) There was a big cloud hanging over Mohammad Hafeez ahead of the first ODI against Sri Lanka in Dambulla. He had managed only returns of 98 runs and three wickets in four innings before missing the series-deciding Test in Pallekele to undergo tests on his bowling action. He replied by getting impressive drift, turn and bounce, claiming his personal best figures of 4 for 41 in 10 overs, including a maiden before marshalling the chase of 256 with his tenth ODI century, more..

How the SLFP split

July 12 (SO) Soon after President Sirisena assumed duties as the SLFP Chairman, his close associates, including former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, called on him to introduce drastic reforms to clean up the party. For obscure reasons, such calls fell on deaf ears and no tangible action was taken to bring about meaningful party reforms. He even retained the General Secretaries of the SLFP and the UPFA who more..

It’s good to lose at times

July 12 (ST) By the way Sri Lanka happened to lose the third and series deciding Test match against Pakistan by seven wickets and the visitors re-wrote cricket history while racing away to score the required 378 runs for the loss of only three wickets. In the hindsight, if Sri Lanka had won the Test match it would have been misconstrued to prowess and strength – an ingredient that is worth discussing about in Sri Lanka cricket. I personally think, the result was good enough and more..

Muppets, jokers and gentlemen

July 12 (Island) Sri Lanka’s excellent run in Test cricket against Pakistan has finally come to an end. Since 2006, Sri Lanka had won three home series in a row against Pakistan and that brilliant run ended Tuesday after Pakistan’s record breaking run chase at Pallekele. Skipper Angelo Mathews conceded that defeat will take some time to digest. His century under pressure had helped Sri Lanka to set a target of 377 and he was extremely confident of winning as no team had chased more than 352 in more..

JVP nominations list

July 12 (CT) The members of the JVP signed their nominations yesterday for the general elections at the Party headquarters, presided over by the leader of the JVP and former MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake. This being so, Dissanayake would lead the Colombo district along with Lal Kantha, Lakshman Nipunaarachchi and Samanmal Gunasinghe. Former MP Vijitha Herath signed nominations to head Gampaha district, more..

Govt has failed: Retired CB Deputy Governor

July 12 (CT) Retired Central Bank Deputy Governor W.A Wijewardena on Thursday, lambasted the govt, alleging that it had failed to set an example of good governance, contrary to what it promised, post January 8. This govt, by tolerating and also covering up questionable transactions by those in power, thereby allowed critics to level the same charges at the govt, was an indication, that the present govt also failed to fulfil the people's 8 January verdict. Addressing the Bastiat Economic Forum more..

Foreign beggar in Kollupitiya

July 12 (CT) A young disabled foreigner and an elderly woman, supposed to be is mother, were seen begging in Kollupitiya town on Thursday evening. The disabled man on crutches moved with difficulty along the road and begged from the vehicles that halted at the traffic signals. He became a cynosure of the people and they said they had seen hundreds of Sri Lankans begging in busses, trains and in public places, but it was unusual to see a foreigner begging along Sri Lankan streets. more..

RDA funds misused

July 12 (SL) Funds allocated for road development work to the Road Development Authority (RDA) had allegedly been misused by the former govt. Working Director of RDA, Keith Bernard said the misuse of funds obtained from local banks, that were meant for road projects in the country, has compelled some contractors to suspend work abruptly. “Contractors were unable to complete road projects due to lack of funds as the loans more..

Ganeshan joins UNFGG

July 12 (CT) President of the Tamil Progressive Alliance Mano Ganesan, who has joined the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) with a view to defeat the UPFA, invited all progressive people in the country to gather round this Front, in order to establish democracy in this country. He emphasized that the UNFGG represents all sectors of people and religions in the country. The only way to defeat the effort of the Rajapaksas to destroy democracy achieved on more..

UNP led govt to devolve powers

July 12 (CG) A UNP led Govt will devolve powers to the provinces within the policies of an undivided Sri Lanka, UNP leader and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Speaking at the UNP special convention in Borella, Wickremesinghe said that he believes every community in every part of the country should be able to enjoy equal rights. Wickremesinghe also said land acquired during the war will be returned to the rightful owners in the North and East as well as in the South. more..

Tea factories remain shut, go-slow continues

July 12 (ST) With a global tea crisis brewing, the situation has been made worse by the ongoing go-slow by plantation workers demanding a pay hike, officials said. Tea factories remained shut with no immediate solution in sight after the failure of talks on Friday to resolve the wage dispute between employers, trade unions and labour officials. Last Monday, the largest union, Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), led the go slow more..

Fonseka’s DP to decide after polls

July 12 (SL) Democratic Party led by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said that it will decide who it will support after the Parliament election. Fonseka has already handed over his nomination papers to contest the Parliament election from Colombo District on behalf of the Democratic Party. He denied reports that he had withdrawn his nominations and that he was to contest under the elephant symbol of the UNP. Fonseka said that once the nominations are handed over it cannot be changed more..

Elections Dept receives 111 nominations

July 12 (SO) The Elections Department has received 111 nominations from registered political parties and independent groups to contest the forthcoming general election. Only five political parties and three independent groups had handed over nomination papers by Friday. All major parties including the UNP, UPFA, JVP and JHU are yet to hand over nominations. Nominations will close tomorrow 13 at 12 noon. The nominations of main parties, the UNP which will most probably contest more..

Govt failed to act against the corrupt: Poll

July 12 (ST) A new Research Consultancy Bureau poll this week, just as the momentum takes off in the August 17 election campaigning, has concluded that many respondents feel the Govt has failed to take action against corrupt persons. A majority view however was that the cost of living had improved under the present regime even though economic conditions (in general) haven’t improved, the street-cum-email poll showed. more..

Former LTTE members denounce Eelam

July 12 (SL) A new group consisting of ex-LTTE cadres called Crusaders for Democracy insisted that they do not have an Eelam objective behind their decision to enter mainstream politics in Sri Lanka. Nadesapillai Vithyatharan, the former editor of a Jaffna based newspaper, said the Crusaders for Democracy, of which he is a member, have denounced violence and the Eelam ideologies and are only keen to enter democratic politics in order to address the issues of the Tamils. more..

Lion to sell Three Coins plant & machinery but hold on to 22-acre Meegoda property

July 12 (Island) Lion Brewery (Ceylon) PLC., which last year acquired Millers Brewery is now capable of supplying the entire country’s beer requirement from its state of the art facility in Biyagama, Mr. Cubby Wijetunge, Chairman of Lion has said in the company’s just released annual report. Lion CEO Suresh Shah has said in the report that their board has decided to dispose of the brewing plant and machinery as well as packaging equipment available at the Millers Brewery in Meegoda. more..

'Delay on part of Treasury on funding issue, will be sorted out soon'

July 12 (Island) Amidst disappointment expressed by exasperated depositors over the inordinate delay in submitting the Golden Key (GK) repayment plan, Central Bank Governor, Arjuna Mahendran, last week assured that the matter will be sorted out soon. Depositors expected the Central Bank to place the long-awaited repayment formula before the SC, when the GK fundamental rights plea resumed hearing on Tuesday, but more..

Who really controls the UPFA nominations?

July 12 (ST) The looming nomination deadline on July 13 has drawn attention to the power struggle within the UPFA coalition. On reading the UPFA constitution, I will show that President Sirisena’s power to singularly drive nominations is limited and that his control rests on his ability to negotiate with the executive committee of the UPFA. The UPFA coalition won the 2010 general election, accounting for 144 of the 225 MPs in parliament. The SLFP was overwhelmingly the dominant force more..

Brokers meet Mahinda Rajapaksa

July 12 (ST) Colombo’s broking community was buzzing over news that some stockbrokers had visited former president Mahinda Rajapaksa at his residence in Hambantota earlier this month. “On Poya Day (1 July) some of them met Mr. Rajapaksa at his residence,” one source told the Business Times. It was unclear as to why they went there while speculation ranged from pledging support at the upcoming elections to trying to get a hold on the current political situation. more..

Presidential election victors regroup for parliamentary polls

July 12 (Island) A majority of the parties and organizations that propelled Maithripala Sirisena to the Presidency, have regrouped under a common banner to contest the August 17 general election. The formation of an alliance named United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG), which  comprises a section of the SLFP, JHU, SLMC, some Tamil and left parties, civil society organizations & leading members of clergy more..