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CBK - Maithripala crossover strategy backfired?

Nov 25 (AM) With no ruling party MP crossing over during the third reading vote of the budget, questions have now been raised whether the 'crossover' strategy adopted by common candidate Maithripala Sirisena and former President Chandrika Kunaratunga has backfired. From the outset, the former President assured the main opposition party that SLFP MPs will crossover and join the opposition in installments. more..

Gold for drugs: How Jaffna’s austerity is crumbling under addiction

Nov 25 (ST) A three-wheeler parks outside a boys’ school in Jaffna almost every day, seemingly to pick up pupils and take them home. After school closes, some students enter the vehicle and remain inside for some time. When they climb out and walk away their pockets are filled with packets of a mix of cannabis and arecanut. “If you watch them carefully they will have something in their mouths. Their faces are reddened,” more..

Speaker sees brighter side as UNP tables much sought Supreme Court opinion

Nov 25 (Island) If the Opposition could steal a copy of the full report of the Supreme Court opinion on the incumbent President contesting a third term that indicates its resourcefulness and talent, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said in Parliament yesterday. Speaker said so after Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga claimed to have in his possession the full report of the Supreme Court opinion on the incumbent President more..

'Those who left will be isolated'

Nov 25 (DM) Newly appointed SLFP General Secretary, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa spoke on the latest developments with regard to upcoming presidential election and the political situation in the country. Q: Even before the proclamation of a presidential poll, JHU left the alliance, then with the proclamation Wasantha Senanayake also came out, what is happening to the govt which boasted of big wigs of opposition cross overs? more..

Creating a Noble Humane Environment

Nov 25 (DM) Development must necessarily mean Human Development. No development effort can be meaningful and fruitful unless and until the development is people-oriented and aimed to result in healthy human growth This requires optimization of available resources through an Integrated Development Plan. The ultimate goal of such a development plan should be the provision of Right Opportunities for the satisfaction of Human Needs at different levels without undue exposure to more..

Let the people have the space to decide

Nov 25 (DM) Until President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared his intention by proclamation, to hold an early presidential election on Nov 20, a day after he completed four years of his current term, the Opposition seemed to be struggling to find a common candidate for the presidential election that was unofficially announced at the time. However, the Opposition had been so secretive that even the govt’s intelligence apparatuses seemed to have been caught on the wrong foot. more..

Opposition presidential candidate pays homage to Sacred Tooth Relic

Nov 25 (Island) Common opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena yesterday paid homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic at Sri Dalada Maligawa and subsequently called on the prelates of Asgiriya and Malwatte in keeping with custom. Sirisena was received in Kandy and accompanied to the places of worship by a group of UNP activists. Among UNPers who accompanied Sirisena were MPs Karu Jayasuriya and more..

Missing principal returns, but cannot recall the previous four days

Nov 25 (Island) Principal of Hewavitharana Maha Vidyalaya, Narendranagasinghe Chitrapala has told police that he did not know what really happened to him and he had been sleeping under a tree close to Prarakrama Samudraya in Polonnaruwa until he came to know where he was from a man there on Saturday, Police Media Unit said. The principal disappeared on Nov 19, on the day President Rajapaksa declared opened Mahindodaya science laboratory at his school. more..

New SLFP General Secretary assumes duties

Nov 25 (FT) Attorney Anura Priyadarshana Yapa assumed duties as the new General Secretary of the SLFP yesterday. The new General Secretary, who arrived amidst the loud cheering and applause of party supporters who had assembled at SLFP headquarters, was warmly greeted by Senior Ministers Piyasena Gamage and C.B. Ratnayake among a number of other ministers. Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Treasurer Dullas Alahapperuma, Deputy President Nimal Siripala De Silva and more..

Govt. offering massive bribes to MPs – JVP

Nov 25 (Island) The JVP asked the govt to reveal from where it had obtained money for bribing its MPs to prevent them from crossing over to the Opposition and to poach opposition members came. JVP MP Vijitha Herath alleged that there were several ministers and MPs who had been ready to crossover with former Minister Maithripala Sirisena but they had been bribed into changing their mind. He alleged govt had offered Rs 500 million more..

Sri Lanka wins IT/BPM destination of the year in UK again

Nov 25 (FT) Sri Lanka won the National Outsourcing Association (NOA) Offshoring Destination of the Year Award 2014 for the second time, validating that the country is a leading destination for outsourcing of information technology and Business Process Management. In BPM, finance and accounting is a global niche, whilst product engineering in IT is a core competence for the nation. The quality of service provided in these niches has contributed immensely to the IT/BPM industry’s growth more..

QRC takes part in Lanka summit to commemorate tsunami tragedy

Nov 25 (GT) A high-profile delegation from Qatar Red Crescent (QRC) has participated in the three-day Red Cross and Red Crescent (RCRC) T10 summit in Sri Lanka to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami tragedy. The summit was organised by the Sri Lankan Red Cross (SLRC) with support from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and German Red Cross. more..

Murali throws light on his days of fizz

Nov 25 (Telegraph) Since seeing is believing, the world-record holder for Test wickets goes to a sideboard in the sitting room of his house – open, verdant, yet far from palatial – on the outskirts of Colombo, and kneels. “Come,” Muttiah Muralitharan says, asking for a volunteer. Palm upwards, the record holder extends his right elbow along the sideboard. It is not straight. His elbow rises at an angle of 27 degrees more..

Russian naval ship arrives in Colombo

Nov 25 (SLN) Russian naval ship Yaroslav Mudriy, arrived at the Port of Colombo on a goodwill visit yesterday. The ship was welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on her arrival. Yaroslav Mudriy is a destroyer commanded by Captain 3rd Rank Vladmir A Cherokov. It is 126.6 meters in length. It has a displacement of 4,480 tons and a crew of 210 naval personnel. The Commander of the task group, Captain 1st rank Igor N Smirnov and Commanding Officer paid a courtesy call more..

Embassy seeks info of SL expats in Iraq

Nov 25 (DM) Sri Lankan Embassy in Iraq requested information on SL expatriates living in various parts of Iraq, due to the prevailing security situation in Iraq. Embassy said it has been reported that there are around 2000-3000 Sri Lankan expatriates living in various parts of Iraq, mainly in Kurdistan Region in Northern part of Iraq. “Embassy learns that the number is increasing as the Iraqi Embassy in Colombo has informed that around 20 visas are being issued weekly for Sri Lankan workers more..

Departures for employment down 3.3%

Nov 25 (CT) Remittances continued to be the foremost foreign exchange earner for the country during the first half of this year, despite a 3.3% fall in the number of departures across categories as a result 18% drop in migration of housemaids. The country's foreign employment policies have shifted the country's dependence on migrant housemaids and unskilled to semi and high-skilled categories. Central Bank attributed the 18% drop in more..

Panneerselvam wants all fishermen freed

Nov 25 (Hindu) Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the prompt release of 38 fishermen, including the 14 detained by the Sri Lankan authorities on Sunday. He thanked Mr. Modi for the “timely intervention” in securing the release of five fishermen on death row. Mr. Panneerselvam reminded Mr. Modi that 24 Tamil Nadu fishermen, apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy nearly two months ago, were still in custody there. more..

Crossover MPs' seats get new owners

Nov 25 (CT) After the departure of ruling party front bencher Minister Maithripala Sirisena, Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama has been assigned that seat. Dr. Rajitha Senaratne's seat has been given to Minister of Labour and Labour Relations Gamini Lokuge and that of Education Services Minister Duminda Dissanayake will be occupied by Minister Nirmala Kotalawa. Former Deputy Minister of Buddha Sasana M.K.D.S. Gunawardena's seat was given to Deputy Minister Wijaya Dahanayake. more..

IDB grant to set up a private school for Muslim students

Nov 25 (AN) The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has given an outright grant of SR750,000 to set up a private school for Muslim students in Colombo, the Sri Lankan Embassy announced. Thanking the IDB for the contribution, the country’s Ambassador Mohamed Hussein Mohamed said it would help a great deal in enabling Muslim students in Colombo to receive quality education. more..

Lalith Dissanayake assumes duties as acting Health Minister

Nov 25 (Island) Deputy Health Minister Lalith Dissanayaka assumed duties as Acting Health Minister. Since 1988 Minister Dissanayaka has been the SLFP organiser for Aranayaka. He is a lawyer by profession. In 1993 he Contested the Sabaragamuwa PC polls and in 1999 became the province’s Indigenous Medicine Minister. In 2004 he held several other ministerial positions in the provincial council. In 2005, at the Presidential election he dabbled in active national politics more..

ITC to foster high spending tourists to SL

Nov 25 (CT) India's ITC, which is currently investing more than US$ 300 million enjoying a 25-year tax break, plans to attract niche market tourists in a bid to support the income generation from the industry. Sri Lanka last year earned more than US$ 1.7 billion from 1.27 million tourist arrivals and hopes this year would be better. The industry targets more than 1.5 million tourist arrivals this year, after surpassing last year's target of 1.2 million arrivals, which was achieved after a serious data revision. more..

EDB hits China gold with first mainland MoU

Nov 25 (FT) Sri Lankan exports broke fresh ground on 20 Nov, as a pioneering MoU between the country’s apex exports facilitator EDB and China was entered into in Colombo. With the commencement of FTA talks, bilateral relations have also further deepened. “During President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Sri Lanka this September, he and President Rajapaksa reached consensus to deepen the strategic partnership and more..

Hela Viru Rasa Udanaya showcases Army's culinary skills

Nov 25 (DN) 23 exhibition stalls, erected by 23 Regiments of the Army under the Phase 3 of the Army's latest Hela Viru Rasa Udanaya project, began at Kadolkele Stadium, Negombo on Nov 20, showing culinary skills of Army chefs and highlighting the importance of the use of indigenous food varieties among Sri Lankans. SFHQ-West Commander Major General U.A.B. Medawela opened the mega exhibition of food varieties, other senior officers last Thursday. more..

MR's & Thera's cut-outs, scattered island-wide!

Nov 25 (CT) There are already over 4000 cut-outs of the two candidates, who have officially shown their intention of contesting the coming Presidential Election, by handing over the deposit money, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) said. "Those are, cut-outs of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Battaramulla Seelarathana Thera who have 'officially' indicated their intentions of contesting as of yesterday," said the CaFFE Executive Director Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon. more..

Travel bloggers conference brings huge dividends to Sri Lanka

Nov 25 (ST) Some 250 people including 45 travel bloggers from across the world, met in Sri Lanka last week for the Asia’s First Ever Travel Bloggers Conference – TBCasia 2014 organised by Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts in partnership with SriLankan Airlines. The participants include Allison Busaca, Global Editor of BBC Travel, who in a keynote address spoke on the huge strides made by travel bloggers more..

Sri Lanka debuts in Global Entrepreneurship Index at # 71

Nov 25 (FT) Perhaps reflecting the post-war opportunity and improved country profile, Sri Lanka has debuted in the influential Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI) 2015, ranking at 71 out of 130 nations surveyed and 11th within the Asia Pacific region. Released last week by the US-based Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI Institute) to mark the global week to celebrate entrepreneurship, the Index sheds light on the efficiency of national startup ecosystems more..

Editorial: Solheim’s hands

Nov 25 (Island) Prabhakaran is long dead, but his friends who helped him from a safe distance continue to be in the news. Former Norwegian minister Erik Solheim, who was in and out of the Vanni while his striped friends were going great guns, has recently drawn heavy flak from the Sri Lankan govt for having funded terrorism here. His backing for the LTTE is something he will never be able to live down. Sponsoring terrorism is fraught with danger. more..

We can forget India - Atapattu

Nov 25 (CI) Sri Lanka head coach Marvan Atapattu is confident his team will be able to put aside the 5-0 defeat they suffered in India and bounce back in the seven-match ODI series against England. The whitewash in India was just Sri Lanka's third loss in their last ten series and Atapattu insisted the trip was not as bad as the scoreline suggests. "The best thing that happened to us in the three weeks in India is that although more..

Water: Droughts, deluge and carelessness of Sri Lankans

Nov 25 (ST) “Not even a drop of water that comes from the rain must flow into the ocean without being made useful to man” – (King Parakramabahu, the Great -12th Century). “Sea water will be desalinated and be made useful to man” – (President Mahinda Rajapaksa-21st Century) These are two statements made by two heads of the country during two different eras regarding water. Modern science, technology, engineering and IT were not available in the 12th Century. more..

Govt. on track to achieve high degree of fiscal consolidation – CB

Nov 25 (CT) As a result of the IMF's vigilant observations on off-budget guarantees, the govt is now taking necessary steps to achieve a high degree of fiscal consolidation, a senior official said. Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said, he was pleased with the discipline that had been exerted by the govt on its finances, which has been improving consistently. "We are pleased that the govt is taking the essential steps to achieve a high degree of fiscal consolidation," more..

Cabinet identifies Tata Project as SDP 16-year tax break as goodwill gesture

Nov 25 (CT) Cabinet has identified the US$ 430 million mixed development project in Slave Island by India's Tata Housing, as a Strategic Development Project in a new gazette notification granting the company a 16 year tax break for the US$ 130 million foreign direct investment. Tata housing obtained five acres of land free of charge from the UDA, as a goodwill gesture for agreeing to build 562 housing units on 3 acres of land adjoining location, more..

Good governance includes of devolution of power

Nov 25 (Island) The selection of the ruling party’s General Secretary to be the opposition’s common candidate was unexpected. It also poses a serious challenge to the govt. For the past decade the opposition has been unable to loosen the government’s grip over the Sinhalese rural heartland. In selecting Maithripala Sirisena to be their common candidate the opposition has brought a seasoned politician from the area of their greatest weakness to the fore. more..

Tamil Elephant in the Green (Blue?) Room

Nov 25 (GV) Kalana Senaratne’s characteristically perceptive article on the implications of Maithripala Sirisena’s common candidacy for the upcoming Presidential election flags the Tamil question: what role do Tamils and issues of concern to them play in the politics of the election? Kalana deems the Tamils the ‘forgotten other’ of the upcoming campaign, noting that the contest is one between two versions of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism. Kalana is partially right. more..

Who is Maithripala?

Nov 25 (CT) The SLFP went to Rajarata from Horagolla before it went to Medamulana. After the death of PM S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, PM W. Dahanayaka contested the 1960 March election from a separate party. The SLFP was led by C.P. de Silva, an MP from Rajarata. Sirima Bandaranaike who took reins of the SLFP in the July 1960 election wanted C.P. de Silva to take the lead. Therefore, C.P. de Silva appeared more..

Charting a new course for Sri Lanka tourism: Key lessons from Singapore

Nov 25 (FT) The iconic city State Singapore’s success in tourism is well-documented and widely-used as a benchmark. Many Sri Lankans have personally experienced brand Singapore or have transited via its huge airport Changi. Singapore last year attracted over 15 million tourists and earned Singapore $ 24 billion (Rs. 2.4 trillion) from tourism and related activities. The figures for a tiny country are staggering. It is targeting S$ 30 billion by 2015, a higher value from a relatively lower more..

Oscar nominee Bombay Jayashri travels to Jaffna by Yal Devi

Nov 25 (CT) Tamil Nadu celebrated the release of five fishermen from Rameswaram, who were granted amnesty a few days ago by Lankan President Rajapaksa, from the death sentence passed on them by a Colombo court for engaging in drug trafficking in 2011. All five Indian fishermen, who escaped the gallows in Sri Lanka, were given a warm welcome by representatives of almost all the key political parties, including the ruling BJP's Deputy Minister from TN, Pon Rathakrishnan, more..