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'We support the one who addresses Tamil national issue'

Nov 23 (SL) TNA claims that they would decide supporting a candidate contesting the next presidential election based on the ground how they expect to address the Tamil national issue in the country. TNA MP Suresh Premachandren said that Tamil people however have lost faith in President Rajapaksa as he has failed gravely to prove his commitment to solve the Tamil national issue. He also welcomed move of JHU to break away more..

Have fixed day for elections

Nov 23 (ST) A Presidential proclamation has been made this week calling for a Presidential election which will be held on Jan 8, 2015. There is great debate on the eligibility of the incumbent President contesting a third consecutive time. Notwithstanding the Supreme Court opinion giving the predictable thumbs up for the President to contest, the intention of the controversial 18th Amendment was clearly to allow the incumbent to come forward again clearing the two-term hurdle. more..

The hour of the voter

Nov 23 (NS) After weeks of speculation the Opposition has come up with a name. A solid one too. Maithripala Sirisena. It’s a name calculated to split the major partner of the ruling coalition, i.e. the SLFP. Some MPs have already crossed over. Other defections are on the cards. It is a time of speculation, of risks and of calculations. It boils down to ‘winnability’. In an ‘iffy’ situation the risk is naturally greater. The ruling coalition will not twiddle thumbs. more..

'We realised it wouldn’t be easy for us to stand alone'

Nov 23 (NS) General Secretary of SLFP Maithripala Sirisena announced on Friday that he is the Common Opposition candidate contesting the presidency against the incumbent President Rajapaksa. Addressing the media at the New Town Hall, Minister Sirisena said he served as the General Secretary of the SLFP for 13 years, but he had not condoned the huge scale corruption and the breakdown of law and order. more..

Crossing Well of Parliament gets as dangerous as border crossing during war

Nov 23 (NS) Switching political alliances and talks of possible crossovers reigned above almost all the other affairs of Parliament last week. It had been long predicted that once the President proclaims the next presidential polls, crossover time would commence and the so-called Common Candidate would uncover his face. Many in the parliamentary circuit knew Maithripala Sirisena to be the one who would be selected to bell the cat while other names too had been circulated in those talks. more..

The frustrated PM wannabe who’d be Executive President for 100 days

Nov 23 (NS) Some believe that there was something wrong with the ‘auspicious time’ at which the late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike formed the Sri Lanka Freedom Party in 1952. Although the party has managed to come to power on seven occasions over the past 62 years, it also lost seven general secretaries in the same process. The seventh general secretary to leave the SLFP was Maithripala Sirisena, party’s longest serving General Secretary who held the office for nearly 13 years. more..

'Let's get together and re-elect President Rajapaksa'

Nov 23 (SO) Minister Lakshman Senewiratne said President Rajapaksa is a strong candidate and the most suitable leader for a country such as Sri Lanka today. We need that leadership even more. The Minister in an interview said that those who were clamouring to abolish the Executive Presidency are definitely funded by some outside forces and there was no doubt about that. The only thing that they want to do is to more..

Where to now?

Nov 23 (SL) In modern day governance, peace-loving people expect the rulers to implement certain principles. One of them is accountability: accountability on the actions, expenditure, decisions, and appointments that governments make. In advanced democratic societies, there are mechanisms to ensure accountability with vested powers to seek and collect information, summon officials before parliamentary committees, investigate, and make recommendations. more..

Sirisena turns traitor

Nov 23 (SO) The stage is set for the seventh Presidential election. Although the UNP-led Opposition is making a big hue and cry, it was the self-same party which introduced the Executive Presidency while it was in power with a five-sixths majority after the 1977 general election victory. Executive Presidency and the preferential electoral system were introduced under the 1978 Constitution by the then PM J.R. Jayewardene. Regrettably, there was no election for the first Executive more..

Kumar Sangakkara - CNN interview

Freed fishermen: Modi tells Tamil Nadu parties they are part of the problem

Nov 22 (FP) An odd thing has happened in Tamil Nadu politics. The Narendra Modi intervention, which got SL President Mahinda Rajapakse to free five fishermen sentenced to death in a drug trafficking case, has forced all Tamil political parties on the backfoot. While many of them have been trying to claim credit for something they could never have done themselves, Modi is getting back-handed praise for quietly getting them released. He has effectively shown them up for what they are: more..

CPI charges BJP with politicising the fishermen issue

Nov 22 (PTI) CPI charged the BJP with politicising the release of five fishermen of Tamil Nadu who were sentenced to death by a Sri Lankan court on drug trafficking charges. "BJP has been engaging itself in politicising the issue to gain political mileage," CPI national secretary D Raja told reporters here, a day after the fishermen arrived in Tamil Nadu after being pardoned by Lankan President Rajapaksa. "If the release of the five fishermen was because of BJP's initiatives more..

Sri Lanka Design Festival 2014: Design, innovation and makings of a regional hub

Nov 22 (FT) Fashion industry patrons of Sri Lanka Design Festival (SLDF) 2014 –Brandix Lanka Ltd. CEO Ashroff Omar and MAS Holdings Chairman Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean, together with SLDF/AOD Founder Linda Speldwinde speak out on the importance of design and innovation in taking the next giant step for Sri Lanka apparel. Q: Sri Lanka Design Festival has closely been associated with the apparel industry for more..

Teachers satisfied, increases done on systematic basis: Minister

Nov 22 (ST) Increases for teachers set out in a circular issued by the Ministry of Education last Wednesday (12) came under severe criticism from several trade unions, while the Minister of Education scoffed at the criticism saying the teachers were well satisfied. “All the teachers are happy with the increases. These have been effected on a systematic basis and accordingly these teachers will be granted these increments,” Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said. more..

Kelaniya varsity to start Tri-Lingual Studies Diploma Course

Nov 22 (ST) The Linguistics Department of the Kelaniya University is initiating a Higher Diploma Course in Tri-Lingual Studies from the second week of December, course coordinator Prof. Janaki Wijesekara said. This is a two-year course which would be conducted at the university premises on Sundays. The total course fee is Rs.65,000 which could be paid in three instalments (first instalment of Rs. 21,000, second instalment of Rs. 22,000 and third instalment of Rs. 22,000). more..

France – SL partners in fashion education

Nov 22 (CT) The Lanka Institute of Fashion Technology (LIFT) has teamed up with MOD' ART of France, a renowned international institute in the field of fashion. MOD'ART has spread its wings among many countries such as Paris, Shanghai, Budapest, Lima, Delhi, Mumbai, Belgrade, Ho Chi Min City, Madrid and finally made its merry way to Sri Lanka. They have made sure that they cater fashion education all around more..

First issue of Sathipola presented to Basil

Nov 22 (FT) Sri Lanka’s first business weekly, ‘Sathipola’ was launched at a ceremony in Colombo with the participation of Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa on Thursday 20 November. Senior journalist Nimal Weeratunga is the editor of Sathipola which is being published to empower the rural business community. Today Sri Lanka has 481 main Sathipolas (weekly fairs) which have been set up as barter centres for products from towns and villages. more..

Four police OICs transferred

Nov 22 (AD) Four police OICs have been transferred with effect from November 20 and 21, despite the announcing of a Presidential Election which is scheduled to be held on January 8, 2015. The OIC of the Bemmulla Police Station, P.M. Vandagat, has been transferred to the Gampaha Police Headquarters for normal duties while A.K. Premanath has been appointed as the Bemmulla OIC. Meanwhile Dankotuwa Police OIC W.H.C.K. Fernando has been transferred to more..

'Common candidate is a foreign conspiracy'

Nov 22 (DM) A group of senior members of the SLFP today described SLFP stalwart Maithripala Sirisena contesting the upcoming Presidential polls as the common candidate against Mahinda Rajapaksa, is part of an international conspiracy to create political instability in Sri Lanka. These remarks were made during a special media briefing that was convened by the SLFP a short while ago at the party headquarters more..

Missing Principal: Police draw a blank

Nov 22 (Island) Several police teams including Kottawa police investigating the alleged disappearance of the Principal of Hewawitharana Maha Vidyalaya, Rajagiriya since Nov. 19 have so far failed to find any clue about his whereabouts. Kottawa OIC said that they were trying their best to locate him but no information had been revealed as to what really happened to him on that day. "The Principal, N. N. Thissapala (42), is an unmarried, disciplined and respected person," more..

Maithripala is the seventh General Secretary to leave SLFP

Nov 22 (AM) Maithripala Sirisena, who gave up his positions in the govt, was the seventh General Secretary of the SLFP to leave the party. Prior to Maithripala Sirisena, S.B. Dissanayake, who was the General Secretary of the party, during former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s time, also left the party and joined the UNP. Maithripala was elevated to the position of General Secretary after S.B. Dissanayake’s crossover. Former PM Rathnasiri Wickramanayake too distanced more..

After the tigers are gone in Jaffna

Nov 22 (HT) To write about a train, you don't need to run with it. So I will, instead, first talk about Jaya Perera, a hairdresser from Muscat, who in the 70s, had married a man from Jaffna, had his child, whom they had taken to meet his grandparents on a train, with her wearing a sari and speaking in self-conscious Tamil, to escape being noticed she was Sinhala. In the riot-ridden 70s, Sri Lankans, she said, had things to hide: more..

Over 100mm of rain likely tomorrow

Nov 22 (CG) Department of Meteorology today warned that over 100mm of rain is expected in some places tomorrow and the General public have been urged to take precautions from strong winds and lightning. In a weather update released this afternoon, The Department said that showers or thundershowers will occur at times in the Northern, North-central, Eastern, Uva, Southern and Central provinces tomorrow. Heavy showers (more than 100mm) are also likely at some places. more..

UPFA MP Perumal Rajathurai defects to UNP

Nov 22 (Island) Nuwara Eliya District UPFA MP Perumal Rajathurai joined the UNP yesterday. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that Perumal who was a member of the CWC on receiving his membership from UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had pledged to work for the victory of the Joint Oppositions candidate. He, predicted that the UPFA MPs defection would be the first of many from Up County parties affiliated to the govt, despite it claiming their unstinted support. more..

A rough journey for refugees in Malaysia

Nov 22 (AJ) Tightly clutching her Sri Lankan identity cards, 41-year-old Mala struggled to hide her fear as she told her story. In her shaking hand she held an eight-page appeal, written in a curvy Tamil script that detailed her family's troubled life in Sri Lanka's once war-ravaged north, caught between government forces and rebel Tamil groups, scared of the military and fearful of retribution. The appeal was meant for the UNHCR and more..

Modi to plant sapling of Bodhi tree in Nepal

Nov 22 (IANS) PM Narendra Modi will plant a sapling of Bodh Gaya's sacred Bodhi tree in Lumbini during his visit to Nepal next week, an official said Saturday. "The Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) has given a sapling of the sacred Bodhi tree to Consulate Krishna Chaitanya who took this to Nepal Friday evening," its member secretary N. Dorjee said. He said priests of Bodh Gaya's Mahabodhi temple performed rituals before the sapling was sent to Nepal. more..

'Papal visit: Vatican watching situation'

Nov 22 (Island) Bishop of Badulla Rt. Rev. Dr. Winston Fernando yesterday told The Island the Catholic Church desired to receive Pope Francis Jan.13, though the next presidential election would be held on Jan. 08, as announced by Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday. Bishop Winston said that he had never expected the polls to be so close to the papal visit and he hoped and prayed the country would be free of violence when the Pope arrived after the polls. more..

Exclusive: Full text of the Rajapaksa’s secretive third term Supreme Court opinion

Nov 22 (CT) The full text of the secretive ‘Opinion’ obtained by the President, to legitimize a potential third term for him, Colombo Telegraph can exclusively reveal today. The Supreme Court on November 10, communicated its opinion to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the constitutionality of contesting for a third term under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, saying Rajapaksa can contest for a third term more..

Maithri threat: Will it translate into votes against Rajapaksa?

Nov 22 (CT) The threat posed by Maithripala Sirisena and Co. to the popular war-winning President is the biggest pre election political upheaval since the defection from Chandrika govt by SB, GL and eleven others that gave the crown to Ranil Wicremesinghe in December 2001. Will this be repeated in the January 2015 elections? This time around, the number of defections are rumored to be far greater with 21 to 46 predicted, a far greater number than in 2001. more..

The Sirisena surge and why Mahinda is still way ahead

Nov 22 (CT) Two cheers then for Maithripala Sirisena whose act of resistance and rebellion is truly heroic. Why cheer at all? And why two cheers instead of three? Hearty cheers are entirely warranted because Maithripala Sirisena has produced a Black Swan event; a real game changer. Having argued in the print and electronic media for years that Ranil Wickremesinghe should not be the Opposition’s presidential candidate, that a viable Opposition candidate must be one whose more..

Cartoon

A golden opportunity not to fritter away

Nov 22 (CT) The decision of Maithripala Sirisena to throw his hat into the ring has resulted in what must be the biggest sigh of political relief experienced in Sri Lanka in a long time, not to mention the usual fire-cracker sounds of celebration! While it is easy enough to see this as an unmitigated blessing to a land that is drowning in a cesspool of corruption, a word of caution is not simply needed, it is essential. Particularly given the players in this melodrama, one needs to bring more than a bit of more..

The canker that is the public service

Nov 22 (CT) Yesterday (19) this newspaper reported a story of 2,000 Colombo Municipality workers being paid for doing no work! This is not something new. Almost everyone knows that the public service, whether it be local councils such as municipalities or govt departments such as Railways, or boards such as the CEB, and the list goes on, are overstaffed. This canker received life nearly 50 years ago, in 1956, when MEP coalition led by the founder of SLFP, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike more..

Anura Yapa takes over Maithri’s post

Nov 22 (AM) Minister of Petroleum Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has been appointed as the new General Secretary of the SLFP. This decision has been taken at a special SLFP Central Committee meeting which was held midnight yesterday at the Presidential Secretariat. He will assume his duties from today morning. It was widely speculated that Minister S.B. Dissanayake will be appointed as the General Secretary of the party, more..

'Release the 3 convicted SL fishermen'

Nov 22 (CT) A member of the international advisory panel of experts, appointed by President Rajapaksa, to probe alleged war crimes committed by the SL Forces and the LTTE, says President should not be 'selective' in releasing the five convicted fishermen while leaving out the three Sri Lankan fishermen, who were sentenced to death on the same day and charges, due to pressure applied by Indian Govt. more..

CBK, Sirisena asked for UNP approval before going public

Nov 22 (Island) Dissident SLFPer Maithripala Sirisena publicly announced his decision to switch allegiance to the Opposition yesterday soon after UNP unanimously accepted him as the Common Candidate. Both Sirisena and twice-President Chandrika Kumaratunga had insisted that UNP officially approve Sirisena’s candidature before they went public. Members of the Parliamentary Group, Working Committee more..

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