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Ex-CJ's son Shaveen contesting as an independent

July 14 (DM) Former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake's son Shaveen is contesting the upcoming general election from the Colombo District as an independent candidate under the flashlight symbol. He said he had decided to contest after his involvement in a social justice movement known as the Campaign for Clean and Competent Candidates. “My main objective is not so much to enter parliament but to more..

SLMC to give turbo boost to Ranil’s campaign

July 14 (Island) The SLMC has refrained from fielding a Muslim candidate on the UNP nomination list for the Colombo electoral district in a bid to garner the support of the entire community to Premier and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at the August 17 parliamentary polls. SLMC leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem said that his party would go flat out in Colombo during nearly five-week long campaign. more..

August 17 polls: More than 6,100 ready for the fray

July 14 (Island) The Elections Department says 6,151 candidates will be in the parliamentary election fray from 22 districts representing 21 recognised political parties (3,653) and 201 independent groups (2,498). Nominations for the August 17 general election closed at noon yesterday. UNP-led United National Front for Good Governance, the UPFA and the JVP handed over nominations for all 22 Districts. more..

Govt considers bailout loan package for tea producers

July 14 (DN) The govt is now in the process of considering a loan package for all tea producers, to salvage the sector from the on going trade union action and global market price impact on the industry. The trade union action in tea estates is causing a major crisis to the sector with the sanction imposed against Iran by the USA and the currency crisis in Russia adding insult to injury. Therefore, Sri Lanka Tea Board and Ministry of Plantation more..

FSP National List including its fugitive leader accepted

July 14 (Island) Leader of the JVP-splinter group Frontline Socialist Party Premakumar Gunaratnam’s name has been included in the FSP’s national list accepted by the Elections Commissioner for the general election. Gunaratnam’s name has been listed along with his real NIC No 653231890 V, according to election department sources. Born in Kegalle on 18.11.1965 to a Sinhalese mother and a Tamil father, more..

Sri Lankan shares end at over two-week high; turnover slumps

July 14 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares hit a two-week high on Tuesday, helped by foreign inflows, gaining for a fourth straight session, but turnover slumped to a five-week low as investors were cautious ahead of the Aug. 17 parliamentary elections. The main stock index ended up 0.35%, or 24.22 points, at 7,027.00, its highest close since June 29. The day's turnover slumped to 367.3 million rupees ($2.75 million), only around a third of this year's daily average of 1.05 billion rupees. more..

Upcountry Tamils in plantations: Politics a void situation?

July 14 (CT) With the nomination saga ending mid-day 13 July both UPFA and UNP are widely covered by the media and political discourses drawing from the drama that unfolded during last few weeks. These ascendancies however have diminished the visibility of minor parties elsewhere in the country. There is attention paid to JVP as a third force covering much of its positions and speeches but seemingly less focus on plantations where there is sizable voters and once termed as a more..

Rajitha has established family rule in Health Ministry: docs

July 14 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) called for radical reforms to prevent the collapse of the free health care system. Secretary of the GMOF, Dr. Jayantha Abeysekara said most of the regional, provincial directors and major hospital director positions were vacant in Kalutara, Gampaha, Colombo, Kandy and Polonnaruwa. GMOF Secretary alleged that the same chaotic situation prevailed within the Ministry where more..

MR enters Guinness Book

July 14 (CT) History has been repeated in a short space of eight months where a political alliance has once more been formed to try to make certain that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa would stay defeated. The United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) under the UNP's leadership is the second coalition formed in an attempt to keep the UPFA, this time under the proxy leadership of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, would not be in a position to form the next govt. more..

CSK, RR owners suspended for two years

July 14 (CI) In an order with far-reaching implications, the RM Lodha panel has suspended Indian Cements and Jaipur IPL, the owners of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals teams, for a period of two years. The panel has also banned Gurunath Meiyappan, a former team official of Super Kings, and Raj Kundra, a former Royals co-owner, from any involvement in cricket matches for life. The committee's order effectively leaves the two companies with two teams that cannot play. more..

Video: Several displaced politicians join UNFGG: JVP

July 14 (DM) The newly formed United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG) is made up of several politicians who were displaced in the wake of President Maithripala Sirisena deciding to nominate Mahinda Rajapaksa, the JVP said. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said those who opposed the UNP led govt had withdrawn their objections before signing the MoUs for political benefits. more..

Mahinda’s entry a drawback for UPFA election campaign: UNP

July 14 (Island) The UPFA by fielding former President Rajapaksa as a candidate at the next month’s general election had actually boosted the United National Front for Good Governance chances of winning, the UNP said. Minister John Ameratunga said that the UPFA by even unofficially projecting Rajapaksa as its Prime Ministerial candidate had sent out a negative signal that it was not willing to shed its history of nurturing unprecedented corruption at the highest levels and more..

United States to launch GSP product eligibility review next month

July 14 (Island) The Office of the United States Trade Representative is scheduled to launch the annual review of Generalized System of Preferences product eligibility for this year, by next month. Press and Information Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Colombo Joshua Shen said that the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has already commenced a limited Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) product review subject to competitive need limitations. more..

'Sri Lanka’s growth rate in past two years disturbed after GDP rebasing'

July 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s GDP growth rate in the past two years have been disturbed by a sinister action of politicians, former Governor of the CB Ajith Nivard Cabraal charged. He said that the new growth rate of 9.1% for 2012 is not a reasonable number. “2012 was a year where the economy was deliberately controlled to some extent; with the credit squeeze that we had as well as rupee being allowed to depreciate further; more..

MoU to construct seven storied building for Maharagama Cancer Hospital

July 14 (DN) Govt signed a MOU with Ahmad Tea Limited, London for the construction of a seven storied building at the Maharagama Cancer Hospital at an estimated cost of Rs 850 million as a grant. A subsequent contribution of Rs. 380 million will be received from the company. Project includes increasing the bed strength by 375, additional operating theatres, a surgical ICU, a Medical ICU, Chemotherapy Unit, Indoor and Outdoor Pharmacy, Emergency Treatment Unit and paying unit. more..

Champika and Rathana Thero have betrayed national interests: CNO

July 14 (AD) Champika Ranawaka and Athuraliye Rathana Thero have betrayed the national movement and national interests of the country, charged the Collection of National Organisations (CNO). A member of the collective, Gevindu Kumaratunga, says that during a recent visit the US, the Northern Province CM C V Wigneswaran had used the words Tamil lands in a statement urging the withdrawal of troops from the North. “What if we say this is Sinhalese lands? more..

UPFA claims easy win

July 14 (DM) The UPFA said today it would win easily at the general election because the 6.2 million who voted for President Sirisena at the presidential election would not vote for the UNFGG though 5.8 million who voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa would do so. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha said the 600,000 Tamil votes 700,000 JVP votes must be reduced from the votes polled by President Sirisena. more..

Two murdered In Kelaniya and Yakkalamulla

July 14 (CT) Two individuals were murdered in two different incidents in Kelaniya and Yakkalamulla on Sunday Police Media Unit (PMU) said. The PMU said that a man was beaten to death with a wooden club in the Kelaniya Police division on Sunday. Victim, who was critically injured by the beating, succumbed to his injuries upon admission to Colombo National Hospital. He was a 40-year-old resident of Polhena. Victim's body has been placed in mortuary of Colombo National Hospital. more..

Justice Abrew’s FR Petition withdrawn

July 14 (DM) Fundamental Rights Petition filed by Supreme Court Judge Sarath De Abrew was withdrawn today, after Counsel informed court that there was no danger of imminent arrest of the judge. President’s Counsel Manohara De Silva appearing on behalf of the Judge said that since Justice Abrew was enlarged on bail, there was no danger of imminent arrest and accordingly there was no necessity to proceed with the Fundamental Rights Petition. Having heard the application by more..

President urged to support MR’s campaign

July 14 (CG) Political allies of former President Rajapakse have requested President Sirisena to join him on stage during the campaign for the August 17 Parliamentary Elections. There were reports that Sirisena will not support any political party at the elections despite being a member from the same party as Rajapakse who he defeated at Presidential Elections. Vasudeva said that the party had made a request more..

Polls Monitors: Procession ban a sham

July 14 (Island) Although the Elections Commissioner has banned all political parades including vehicle processions, UNP, UPFA and JVP candidates and their supporters yesterday defied his directive, according to election monitoring organisations. Head of the CaFFE Keerthi Tennakoon said parades were conducted in Mannar, Vavuniya, Nuwara Eliya, Kurunegala, Polonnaruwa and Galle Districts according to their provincial representatives. more..

Prasanna, wife released on bail

July 14 (DM) Western Provincial Council CM Prasanna Ranatunga and his wife were granted bail by the Colombo Fort Magistrate when they were appeared in court today on charges of threatening a businessman demanding money and accepting a part of the amount. Police alleged that CM had given a threatening call to a businessman demanding a sum of Rs. 54 million over a land deal. His wife, Maureen Ranatunga was alleged to have accepted a part of the amount. more..

Audio: BJP calls for unity among party leaders

July 14 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and ex-president Rajapaksa should not treat each other as enemies when contesting the general elections, BJP Leader Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera said. He asked former President Chandrika Kumaranatunga not to treat Mahinda Rajapaksa with enmity and that Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Udaya Gammanpila, Champika Ranawake, more..

Ramadan dinner eases suffering of Sri Lanka's Muslims

July 14 (WB) As the sunset nears, families in the Mujabdeen Puram camp in northwestern Sri Lanka begin to slowly assemble out in the open. Under the cover of a small tent is a large centrally-placed pot of traditional broth. Beside the pot are a few trays laden with sweets and dates. And when dusk finally falls the children will be first to rush to those pots and the trays in the communal area. Adults will follow soon afterwards, making their way from single room homes to break more..

SL civil society outraged over South Africa

July 14 (CG) A group of Sri Lankan civil society members and organisations, have in a petition to be submitted to the South African High Commission in Colombo, expressed outrage over the failure of the South African authorities to apprehend and detain President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan during his recent visit to South Africa for an African Union (AU) summit. This is in a context where President al-Bashir is wanted by International Criminal Court (ICC) to face trial on charges of war crimes, more..

'Kurunegala will be MR's Waterloo'

July 14 (DM) Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, who leads the UNP's Kurunegala district team, vowed to defeat former president Mahinda Rajapaksa in Kurunegala similar to that of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was considered invincible but was defeated at Waterloo. He that Mr. Rajapaksa had chosen to contest from Kurunegala in the face of waning public support in his home district of Hambantota. more..

MR’s only offense was turning a blind eye to corruption: Nalaka Thero

July 14 (AD) So far, the JHU has failed to execute what it promised in the first place for the goodness of the Buddhism, Advisor to the Bhikku Voice Organization (Pevadi Handa Sanvidhanaya) Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thero said. “For political gain, no political party ever used Buddhism as a tool. Apart from the JHU, there is no other political party that harmed the Buddhism this much” Thero said. Thero also went into say that the people of this country will have to make an ultimate more..

WFP Sri Lanka boosts data collection with new computer system

July 14 (Reuters) eWIN software package, developed by WFP, helps staff collect data from beneficiaries and measure project performance and progress in the fight against hunger. It allows for better responses to malnutrition - and facilitates faster analysis by permitting field monitors to enter data directly into an electronic system (rather than collecting data manually and entering it on return to a computer). System is currently being tested in the northern part of the country. more..

'Demand for bribes deterred German investments in Sri Lanka'

July 14 (EN) German investors like car manufacturer Volkswagen did not invest in Sri Lanka in the recent past because the ousted Rajapaksa regime demanded bribes and commissions to approve investments, a minister said. Deputy Minister Eran Wickremeratne said the new govt was in talks with Volkswagen to set up a factory to make vehicles for export in Sri Lanka. Foreign investors were now more keen to invest in the island more..

Voters urged to demand assets of parliamentary candidates

July 14 (EN) Sri Lankan voters should ask candidates at next month’s parliamentary polls to declare their assets and only vote for those with good education and experience and a national outlook, a minister said. “To get a job you need a real qualification and a character certificate from a referee who is of some social standing,” said Deputy Minister Eran Wickremeratne. “Today to become a candidate in the parliamentary elections none of that is required.” more..

Sri Lanka Litro to reduce gas prices

July 14 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s state run, Litro Gas Lanka says it will reduce the prices of Litro Gas refills with effect from mid night, today. “We are pleased to inform our customers that due to the new policies and procedures adopted, we have obtained the necessary approval to reduce our prices of Litro Gas refills with effect from 15th July 2015.” Litro Gas Lanka said. Earlier Litro Gas Executive Chairman Shalila Moonasinghe was quoted saying that the prices would be reduced further by more..

Will remain neutral, won't back MR: Maithri

July 14 (DM) President Sirisena said that he was totally against the granting of nominations to former President Rajapaksa, and said that Mr. Rajapaksa would lose the upcoming general elections similar to his loss on January 8. He said that this is not the fault of Mahinda Rajapaksa but due to the system introduced by J.R. Jayawardena. Following a long and stony silence, President finally addressed the nation and said that he is more..

UNP creates broad front while UPFA leads a retreat to the past

July 15 (GV) As nominations closed earlier this week, the contours of the battle lines for the general election to Parliament became clear. The two major political formations in the country, the UNP and the UPFA are vying for a parliamentary majority and with it effective control of the next govt. The UNP spent an useful weekend, creating a broad political front, styled the United National Front for Good Governance, (UNFGG) which will contest the elections under the UNP’s elephant more..

Duminda, Sajin, Mervin, Sarana; A false token gesture

July 15 (CT) The denial of nominations to Duminda Silva, Sajin Vass, Mervin Silva and Sarana Gunawardene is a false token gesture. The assurance of nominations for all other rogue elements means that Mahinda Rajapaksa does not intend to make his reentry into the parliament as a reformed man but with the intention to continue with his corrupt governance with the same circle of colleagues of ill-repute. Mervin had already refrained from supporting Rajapaksha at the more..

Election 2015: Former Tigers in the fray

July 15 (SO) Former Tiger terrorists as candidates for Parliament? Has the story of SL's ethnic conflict come full circle back to a peaceful co-existence between communities that were once embroiled in bloody war? Leaders of both the Sinhala nationalist JHU and the one-time insurgent JVP seem to think that the initiative by some ex-LTTE militants to contest the forthcoming general election is a positive step in that direction. more..

Thinking of a President

July 15 (CT) Peace and stability must be the focus of any development agenda. As the president of the country Maithripala Sirisena should have the same focus. Other than analyzing mere economic factors any macroeconomic analyst would concern about the political stability and peace of the country. Hence, with the same focus, I prefer to investigate the impact arising from the provision of nominations to former president Rajapaksa and his clan. If the president Sirisena had consciously decided more..

Interviews with two prospective candidates

July 15 (SL) Raj Pakis native of the historic village of Humbug down south was being interviewed by a political boss of his party. In accordance with the direction of the party he was being questioned on his honesty, educational qualifications and criminal past, if any. He had applied to be a candidate for the Humbug Constituency. Interviewer Pandang Wiswas (PV) was a party loyalist and a son of the soil of Humbug. Wiswas: Mr. Pakis we have not heard of you before. Where are you from? more..

'People want us to contest independently'

July 15 (CT) Q: Why did the EPDP decide to contest the election independently this year when you have contested with the UPFA all along? A: People have been telling us, continuously, to go for the election independently. The first time we stood for elections, we did contest on our own, both local and parliamentary elections. This time, we thought we would do the same and listen to the people. We are still part of the UPFA more..

Who changed Maithri’s mind?

July 15 (CT) Indian PM Narendra Modi visited Sri Lanka after Maithripala Sirisena assumed the Presidency. He met Mahinda Rajapaksa too during that brief visit. Following that meeting, Mahinda displayed to his followers that he had received some blessings from Modi and this information reached New Delhi. After Modi returned to India the truth of what Modi told Mahinda was revealed. Modi had told Mahinda that the latter had ruled Sri Lanka for two terms and was time for him to retire more..

Editorial: Everyone’s Aunt Sally

July 15 (Island) Everything is now in place for the grand dog fight to commence with a bang. There are as many as 6,151 candidates in the parliamentary election fray and how mad their scramble for as few as 225 seats will be is not difficult to guess. Nobody seems to care a damn about the hapless students who have spent years preparing for the GCE A/L exam to be held next month. Elections, in this country, are synonymous with noise & disturbances of all sorts and those who scheduled more..