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Won't arrest politicians till polls over: FCID

July 22 (DM) The Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division will not arrest any person who is suspected to have committed grave financial crimes, if he is contesting the forthcoming general elections, until the elections of August 17 are over, as such arrests may prejudice the voters against them or their parties, a senior officer said. The special police unit which attracted much attention in the recent past by summoning a series of more..

UNP wants EC to consider poorer candidates when imposing strictures

July 22 (Island) The UNP yesterday appealed to the Election Commissioner to consider the poorer candidates contesting the August 17 general election when imposing various strictures. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera addressing a news conference said that directives such as the use of one jeep per candidate should be relaxed, since it was practically not possible to comply with, under the current electoral system. more..

Sri Lankan stocks at seven-week high on buying in blue-chips

July 22 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks were trading at more than seven-week highs on Wednesday as expectations of political stability after the Aug. 17 parliamentary polls lifted sentiment, brokers said. At 0853 GMT, the main stock index was up 0.76% at 7,199.69, the highest level since June 1. Turnover stood at 1.59 billion rupees ($12 million) on Wednesday. "The market is up on blue-chips and people are buying ahead of elections,", said a stockbroker asking not to be named. more..

Lesson from Greece for Sri Lanka

July 22 (CT) Greeks decided overwhelmingly against an international creditor imposed bailout programme, 61% rejecting it while only 39% saying yes, at a referendum held on 5 July. Its Finance Minister at that time, Yanis Varoufakis, hailed the results as a victory for democracy meaning that Greeks have voted against the intervention of foreign powers in its internal affairs. But the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was more cautious in interpreting the results. more..

Video: Tissa forms United Citizen’s Front

July 22 (DM) Former Health Minister Tissa Attanayake today launched a new political party named as the United Citizen’s Front and invited those who had been suppressed and intimidated by the yahapalanaya govt to join the new party. Mr. Attanayake was appointed as the leader of the party. “Our party policies are based on liberal and democratic beliefs with the economic policies being a mix of trade and welfare. more..

Sprat catcher

July 22 (CT) Sri Lanka's Bribery Commissioner's Department (BCD) according to its website was established 57 years ago in 1958. Now known as the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), our lead story said that in the past 21 years since 1994, not a single politico has been successfully convicted by it. Is it the fault of political interference for this state of affairs? Nonetheless, the significance of 1994 vis-à-vis CIABOC is two-fold. more..

Intra-party rivalry gets ugly

July 22 (Island) Hate politics among the same party candidates is becoming predominant in some parties, Executive Director, CaFFE, Rajith Tennakoon said. He said, "Some candidates have launched a campaign against their own party colleagues asking the public not to vote for them through the use of Face Book, SMS and they insult each other." The ultimate result of that kind of campaigning would be a possible clash leading to violence and therefore party leaders should more..

Sri Lanka imports up in May amid rising credit, widening trade gap; exports flat

July 22 (EN) Sri Lanka's imports rose 17.2% to US$ 1.5 billion in May 2015 from a year earlier, official data showed amid growing state and private credit in 2015, while exports were flat. Consumer goods imports rose 25.6% to US$ 348 million in May from a year earlier. Though food imports fell 4.1% to US$ 131.9 million amid falls in commodity prices, expenditure on vehicles rose 87% to US$ 93 million. more..

Assassination attempt on Gota; suspect sentenced

July 22 (DM) A man, who was found guilty of having concealed information of an attempt to assassinate former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa by the LTTE, was sentenced to six months imprisonment by Colombo High Court Judge today. Maithree Saman Kumara of Gampaha was accused of having concealed covered information about LTTE cadres Ikendran and Suresh Kumar who had been employed by the LTTE to assassinate Mr. Rajapaksa at Welikada sometime in 2009. more..

Nigel Barker in Sri Lanka

July 22 (Island) While touring around Sri Lanka, Nigel Barker and his family have been completely overwhelmed by what they have experienced so far. "There’s never been a dull moment throughout our tour, and the food has been amazing! It brings back old childhood memories and I simply could not get enough of the curry!" commented Nigel. Although Nigel was born in London, his mother Mrs. Gillian Barker is of Sri Lankan ancestry and was a former contestant of Miss Sri Lanka beauty pageant. more..

Video: White van belongs to LTTE

July 22 (DM) The mystery of the white van with three army personnel on board taken into custody on Tuesday deepened further after a govt minister revealed that it had earlier belonged to the LTTE. Minister Joseph Michael Perera who revealed more details said the white van had been acquired by the Army later. He said this incident is an achievement of the people and is a step in the direction of revealing more details of the level more..

Large scale fish deaths in Kandy Lake attributed to pollution

July 22 (Island) Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) preliminary research clearly indicates that large scale fish deaths in the Kandy Lake is due to pollution and over population. NARA Researcher, Dr. Deepthi Amarasinghe who headed the probe team told The Island that there was major pollution in the Kandy Lake. The situation had worsened with rains when nutrients and organic matter got washed into it from the surrounding hills. Study also indicated secondary infection. more..

DIG files FR case over alleged unreasonable extension given to senior officer

July 22 (Island) Supreme Court yesterday fixed for support on July 27, 2015, fundamental rights violation petition filed by DIG of Galle S.A.D.S. Gunewardene. Petitioner has alleged that the extension of service given to Senior DIG, Gamini Navaratne is unreasonable. Navaratne was given an extension on contract. Extension was decided by the Cabinet of Ministers and not by the National Public Service Commission. An extension of Service on Contract was unreasonable. more..

'Price reduction violates election laws'

July 22 (DM) The PAFFREL said the announcement of the govt decision to reduce the gas price and prices of rice at the UNP convention, had violated the election laws and was a threat to the conduct of a free and fair election. “The decision to reduce the price of essential goods at election time is a good step from the point of view of the public. However, announcing it at the Party Conference held on July 11, was violating more..

Ravi to send letter of demand to MR

July 22 (AD) “A letter of demand will be sent to the former President seeking Rs 5000 million in damage over several defamatory remarks made against me to a newspaper,” Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. “In the article, former President Rajapaksa has expressed that there are corruption charges against the present Finance Minister. He attempts make us accountable for corruptions to cover-up allegations leveled against him. I will send a letter of demand seeking Rs 5000 million in damage more..

Navy denies attacking Indian fishermen

July 22 (AD) Sri Lankan Navy denied reports that it had attacked a group of Indian fishermen who had strayed into Sri Lankan waters on Tuesday evening. Navy Spokesperson Commander Indika Silva has said that the navy had never engaged in any unruly behavior and conducted its duties within the country’s legal framework. According to reports, a complaint had been filed with the Indian police on Tuesday stating that SL navy personnel had allegedly assaulted more..

Mirihana incident had no political links: Army

July 22 (DM) The arrest of three Army personnel armed with a weapon while travelling in a white van at Mirihana had no political links and in no way poses a threat to any individual, Military Spokesman Jayanath Jayaweera said today. The arrest of three soldiers on Monday night resulted in UPFA claiming that the incident posed a threat to ex-president Rajapaksa who resides in Mirihana. Brigadier Jayaweera said soldiers more..

UK police to recruit Sinhalese speaking officers

July 22 (CG) British police are looking to recruit Sinhalese speaking policemen as part of a recruitment drive in the hope of finding more bilingual officers. The Metropolitan Police hopes to increase the number officers able to speak and understand 14 of the languages used across London. A recruitment update on Metropolitan Police’s website states: “Whilst our police officers are able to effectively carry out their duties without the ability to speak a second language, more..

Ex LTTE member arrested is a close aide of Prabhakaran

July 22 (CG) One of the two Sri Lankan Tamils arrested on Monday along with communication gadgets and cyanide in Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, has been identified as Krishnakumar, a close associate of slain LTTE supremo V Prabhakaran, Indian police have said. Sleuths from Intelligence Bureau, TN Q Branch Police, and Special Intelligence Unit were now interrogating the LTTE militant, arrested along with two others during a routine vehicle check at Uchipuli more..

'UNP for a competitive knowledge based economy'

July 22 (CG) UNP will unveil an economic policy that will end cronyism and boost incomes of ordinary people, through a competitive knowledge based economy, Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said. "It will create a massive economic revolution, which will improve incomes of the family," de Silva told reporters. "Though the Rajapaksa administration criticized so-called neo-liberalism, they expanded the state for the benefit of a few people. more..

GL points to failures in all sectors during last 5 months

July 22 (Island) Former Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris has said that the last five months of the minority UNP govt was nothing but a preview of what the UNP administration would look like if elected. Asserting that the electorate would never want to experience such an administration, Prof. Peiris said the Aug. 17 parliamentary poll would give voters an opportunity to choose a govt capable of addressing their needs. Former Minister was addressing an audience at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute organised by more..

TNA politician threatened students: CaFFE

July 22 (CT) Election monitor, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) said that TNA National List nominee Prof S. Sitampalam threatened students of the Jaffna Technical College after they objected to his campaigning at the premises on 20 July. "Sitampalam held a meeting at Jaffna Technical College on 20 July at 12:30. He was invited by the Director of the College, N. Yogarajan and Sitampalam toured the College for over one hour carrying out propaganda activities," more..

EU fish ban causes $75 million loss

July 22 (AP) Sri Lanka has suffered a revenue loss of $75 million because of a European Union ban on fish caught by Sri Lanka-flagged vessels since January. Sri Lanka was a significant exporter of swordfish and tuna to countries in the EU, which blacklisted Sri Lanka in January for failing to combat illegal fishing. Brussels accuses Sri Lanka of allowing vessels to fish the Indian Ocean without marine satellite positioning equipment, more..

Court rulings on religious establishments and unethical practices

July 22 (CT) Sri Lankan courts have given four or five determinations outlining that the moment a religious organization moves towards economic upliftment and economic development it is moving towards unethical religious practices. Addressing a recent consultation on reporting on religious and communal tensions in Sri Lanka organized by the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka and its Head of Media and Communications Jovita Arulanantham, Visiting Lecturer at more..

India emerges as Sri Lanka's top import source nation

July 2 (PTI) India has emerged as Sri Lanka's top import source during the first five months of this year, the Central Bank said here today. India was followed by China, Japan, UAE and Singapore. These nations accounted for 60% of the total imports of Sri Lanka which amounts to USD 1,585 million. The country wise breakdown of foreign trade was not given. "Total import expenditure in May 2015 increased for the second consecutive month recording a significant increase of 17.2%, more..

Video: 'MR tried to protect himself'

July 22 (DM) A video showing an incident that occurred at a UPFA election rally held in Akuressa yesterday attended by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has started going viral in the internet. The incident occurred on Tuesday during a UPFA rally held at the premise of Akuressa bus terminal. Mr. Rajapaksa, who was on his way towards the stage, was seen moving towards a supporter in an irritated manner. more..

State resources being misused

July 22 (CT) Elections monitoring bodies observed that 30 vehicles (cabs) given to officials at the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council in January were presently being used for General Election political campaigning activities by Councillors. PAFFREL observed that some of the vehicle numbers were SGPF; 3959, 9360, 9363, 9366, 9370, 9371, 9373, 9374, 9376, 9377, 9378, 9380, 9381 and 9382. Some of the Councillors were presently contesting at the Parliamentary Election. more..

Mervyn vows to campaign for Ranil

July 22 (DM) In an unexpected turn of events former Minister Mervyn Silva said he would launch a separate campaign in support of the Ranil Wickremesinghe-led UNF for Good Governance. He said that he would never betray the SLFP and pledged his support for President Sirisena. Former minister demanded to know from the UPFA why it had refused to nominate him for the general election. “Most of those who have been given nominations have been summoned by FCID more..

Some UPFA Ministers to resign soon

July 22 (DM) The cabinet ministers, state ministers and deputy ministers loyal to ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa are expected to submit their resignation to President Maithripala Sirisena soon. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said several ministers from the UPFA have requested General Secretary Susil Premajayantha to convene a central committee meeting to take a final decision on whether they should remain in UNP-led govt. more..

JVP: Political prospects & challenges

July 23 (CT) 2015 parliamentary election in Sri Lanka is marked by the rejuvenated presence of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (People’s Liberation Front, known nationally and internationally as the JVP, its Sinhala abbreviation). At this election, the JVP is striving to increase its headcount in parliament, and consequently, emerge as the principle parliamentary opposition. Over the last two decades, the JVP has played a non-negligible role in electoral politics, entering a coalition govt more..

Bring back Mahinda, brink back lawlessness

July 23 (CT) The bring back Mahinda campaign cries out loud that they will bring back Mahinda as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka but fails to explain why and how. The speakers who flank MR are Wimal Weerawansa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Tissa Vitharane, and Udaya Gammanpila, the leaders of the insignificant constituent parties of the UPFA, the same coterie that stood by Mahinda at the previous election. The previous election results do not seem to have made them learn that more..

From rebels to lawmakers

July 23 (SO) Six years ago, when a brutal war came to an even more brutal end, few looking into crystal balls would have dared predict the metamorphosis that now sees the Tigers not only rehabilitated but also entering mainstream politics. Calling themselves Crusaders for Democracy (CFD), with veteran journalist Nadesapillai Vidhyatharan as the party convenor, rehabilitated ex-combatants are contesting elections as an independent group more..

Should Mahinda’s privileges be preserved?

July 23 (CT) Late President told them that I must uphold the dignity of a former President and protect the title called President. I told them to leave me alone". Stating this JR explained that Lalith supporters may have thought he was protecting Premadasa and that was why they had ganged up to abuse him if he had gone to pay last respects to Lalith. JR's assumption was correct. After Lalith and Gamini brought the Impeachment Motion against Premadasa, the meets between more..

Pakistan's nine-year wait, and Pathirana's unwanted 200

July 23 (CI) 2006: The last time Pakistan won a bilateral series in Sri Lanka before today. They had won a three-match series 2-0 on that occasion, but lost three consecutive series after that. 55: Pakistan's win margin in this match in terms of the number of balls remaining - their fourth-biggest against Sri Lanka in ODIs. Their biggest win against Sri Lanka in terms of balls remaining came in 2012 in Dubai, when they won with 169 deliveries to spare. more..

'In spite of insulting Mahinda, UPFA will be victorious'

July 23 (CT) UPFA, former MP Laxman Wasantha Perera in conversation with Ceylon Today says that even though the UNP is trying to put forward the President's statement to gain advantage, what will happen is that the UPFA will become victorious at the coming general election. Q: How is it that the UPFA is already declaring that they have won the Parliamentary Election? A: That is what any party says. more..

Rift in the SLFP widening

July 23 (NS) President Maithripala Sirisena’s speech raised a storm of controversy plunging the UPFA campaign into disarray just as the alliance believed it had united behind the candidature and de facto leadership of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. President Sirisena had maintained a stoic silence in the run up to the deadline for nominations when the two factions of the SLFP were battling it out, one promoting Rajapaksa’s re-entry to politics and the other trying to stall it. more..

Voter can affirm March 12th Declaration

July 23 (NS) March 12 Declaration, according to its architects, is the product of island wide multi-stakeholder consultation aimed at transforming the political culture of the country. All political parties agreed, by signing the declaration, to adhere to eight basic principles pertaining to selecting and nominating candidates for the Parliamentary Elections. Talk is cheap. As easy is placing a signature on a piece of paper. We live in a country where elected politicians openly say more..

‘Mahinda forerunner as PM'

July 23 (DM) Contesting alongside former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, SLFP general secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa stated that even though there were no moves to remove President Maithripala Sirisena as the head of the SLFP and UPFA, they were not ready for a leader other than Mahinda Rajapaksa. Anura Yapa said the party would establish a more democratic and cleaner govt if re-elected. more..

Reducing President’s powers, Bond scam

July 23 (CT) An ambassador who seems to understand this country well said recently that he thought the greatest mistake this govt had made was to let me go. I have to admit though that that was probably more flattering than accurate. One can see rather that the greatest mistake was to ignore completely the manifesto on which the President had won the election, and instead assume it was about two things and two things alone – the abolition of the Executive Presidency and having more..

Don’t do this to the majestic elephant

July 23 (Island) Most of us love elephants or Alia as we call them here. I never get fed up of watching them waking, bathing, playing or trumpeting triumphantly. I hail from the city known as Ethugalapura or the Elephant Rock City and definitely feel good about it. My favourite during the army parade has always been the army mascot Kandula. There is a beautiful book with me on Kandula the mascot I treasure. I have many pictures of elephants and wood carvings of elephants more..