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'We will be a formidable opposition'

Sept 28 (SL) UNP’s Chief Ministerial candidate for the Uva Province, Harin Fernando, said he had met the challenge of mustering support for his party successfully, by obtaining 173,993 preferential votes in the Badulla District translating to 88%, which was the highest number of votes polled, overall in the province. He said the time is opportune for everyone to put aside petty differences and join hands to work as one unit more..

Uva smiles: Bigger tests ahead boy!

Sept 28 (ST) My dear Sajith, I thought of writing to you to offer my congratulations when I heard that you have been appointed as the Deputy Leader of the Greens. I know that this was something that you had to fight hard for, so you must be a happy man now but I hope you realise that the struggle is not over — it has only just begun. You know that after the Greens were voted out of power 20 years ago, they have remained in the opposition for almost all of that period, except more..

UPFA’s Waterloo in Uva and the unseen danger

Sept 28 (ST) The result from the Uva PC election last weekend was the buzz in the country over the past few days, and will continue to be so for some time. The ruling UPFA was expected to lose some votes from the emphatic 2009 victory achieved in the backdrop of the defeat of the LTTE. It won 72% of the vote back then, but the extent to which it lost those votes — down to 51% in 2014 – mostly to the main Opposition UNP, a party in total disarray, is what must concern the Government most. more..

‘It was personal’

Sept 28 (SL) While the UNP seemed to have reconciled prior to the Uva PC election, sources say there appears to be the emergence of an internal conflict, consequent to the General Secretary of the UNP, resigning from the Leadership Council (LC) of the party. In an interview, Attanayake spoke about the reasons for his resignation. Q: The UNP has come to fore again with the Uva PC election. What led to your more..

CBK’s comments on creeping militarization

Sept 28 (Island) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, in office and outside, was never shy of speaking her mind. Her recent remarks on 'rampant militarization' in an interview with the Aththa newspaper has predictably drawn the ire of the Defence Ministry. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that the former president has spoken out on a subject that is worrying a number of Lankans, not merely those who are opposed to the present Rajapaksa administration. more..

Friendship and enmity

Sept 28 (NS) Addressing the UN General Assembly last week, President Rajapaksa subsequent to what can be called a pointed but relatively mild critique of the movers and shakers of the organization, reiterated the bottom-line of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy: ‘Friendship towards all and enmity towards none.’ We live in a world where it is not easy to distinguish friend from enemy or worse are required as per diplomatic courtesies to call everyone ‘friend’. more..

'Govt vote base still intact'

Sept 28 (SO) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that except for a few places in Uva there was no reduction in the govt's vote base in most areas. If there was a downward trend as claimed by the UNP, then the UNP would have captured power in the Uva PC, he said. The Minister said that victory is not static and there are various reasons adduced when a party becomes victorious. What is important is that the Govt has now more..

They who fund the UN call the tune

Sept 28 (SL) President Rajapaksa, addressing the 69th Sessions of the UN General Assembly on Thursday, stressed the need for the UN to gain the confidence of the international community as a whole, to establish its credibility and pointed out that one of the essential requirements for this purpose was ‘consistency of standards across the board without any perception of selectivity or discrimination.’ “The currently functioning system needs fresh examination more..

A city like no other

Sept 28 (SO) Colombo is fast turning into an eco-friendly city. Compared to most other cities in the region, the metropolis is today a beautiful, greener and safer city. The latest attractions are the Colombo Gold Centre and the Floating Market in Pettah, another brainchild of Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. St. John's Fish Market, Pettah was moved to a more spacious location in Peliyagoda and the Urban Development Ministry redeveloped the prime commercial plot of land more..

President Rajapaksa holds discussions with world leaders enhancing bilateral relations

Sept 27 (IL) President Mahinda Rajapaksa who is currently in New York City, after delivering his address at the 69th Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly held discussions with several state leaders enhancing bilateral relations. In the series of meetings being held by the President with world leaders at the UN Headquarters he has held bilateral discussions with the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot this morning. more..

JVP leader sounds alarm over drastic drop in rubber prices

Sept 27 (Island) Livelihood of around 1.1 million people was in jeopardy as the prices of rubber had drastically fallen, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament yesterday. Making a special statement MP Dissanayake said as in December last year, a kilo of crepe rubber had fetched between Rs. 300 and Rs. 400 while a kilo of smoked rubber sold for Rs. 300 to Rs. 350. There had also been occasions where the price went up to around Rs. 500 a kilo. more..

New govt. project to build 50,000 houses for plantation sector

Sept 27 (DN) The govt has initiated a project to build 50,000 housing units for plantation sector workers as per a concept mooted by President Rajapaksa. The houses will be two storeyed and will consist a spacious living area, bedroom and pantry with all amenities including proper sanitary facilities and costs over Rs.1.2 million. The project was recently inaugurated by Plantations Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe at a function at the Delkin Estate in Baduraliya. more..

U.S. Embassy, Jayewardene family launch auditorium at Bar Association of Sri Lanka

Sept 27 (USE) U.S. Ambassador Michele Sison joined today with the family of the late Dr. H.W. Jayewardene and members of the Bar Association to inaugurate a newly-renovated auditorium named in honor of Dr. Jayewardene, the first president of BASL. AG Palitha Fernando also attended the ceremony, which included a tribute to Dr. Jayewardene and his efforts to support the development of a strong professional legal more..

Heavy rains in drought- hit areas

Sept 27 (DM) The Meteorology Department said today several drought affected areas such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Moneragala and Vavuniya districts received heavy rains during the last twenty four hours ending at 8.30 a.m. this morning. Duty Meteorologist said the highest rain fall of 113 mm was reported in Matale while Anuradhapura, Vavuniya, Polonnaruwa and Moneragala districts received a rainfall of 66.8 mm, 61.2 mm, 58 mm and 18.9 mm respectively. more..

Inquest finds Lankan’s death accident

Sept 27 (CG) A Sri Lankan political refugee died in his London cell accidentally following failures by staff at Pentonville Prison to care for him due to budget cuts, an inquest has heard. Inadequate training and lack of communication and information sharing at the Caledonian Road prison contributed to the death of Satheeskumar Mahathevan, a jury at St Pancras Coroner’s Court ruled. The 31-year-old supermarket cashier, who fled Sri Lanka’s civil war as a teenager in 1999 in fear of his life, more..

Water, water everywhere but think before you drink!

Sept 27 (ST) Every day in offices and hospitals people stroll up to a public water dispenser and pour themselves what they think is a cup of purified clean water – the cooler labels carry that assurance – but investigators have turned up a racket of dirty water substituted for clean cooler water. PHIs island-wide have received complaints about mud-like particles or discolouration in water from 15-20 litre bottles used in dispensers, and more..

Teachers oppose new recruitment criteria

Sept 27 (Island) Teachers are up in arms against an Education Ministry decision to recruit those who have passed only the GCE A/L while thousands of graduates are awaiting teaching appointments. In a letter to the Minister Bandula Gunawardena with copies to the Secretary of the Ministry and the Public Services Commission, General Secretary of the Pro–JVP Ceylon Teachers Service Union, Mahinda Jayasinghe has asked the minister to refrain from doing anything in contravention of more..

A growing menace

Sept 27 (ST) Touts and vendors are a growing menace to the booming tourist industry with almost all cultural, scenic and tourist areas flooded with vendors forcing their products on annoyed foreign tourists. Whether it is in the Southern towns of Galle Fort and Hikkaduwa, the city of Anuradhapura, the rock fortress at Sigiriya, touts follow tourists unaware of their travel purpose, budget or needs. Added to the menace touts are beggars, parading a multitude of woes. more..

Jayalalithaa sentenced to four years in jail

Sept 27 (Hindu) The Special Court in Bangalore on Saturday convicted and sentenced TN Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to four years in prison and a fine of 100 crores, in the disproportionate assets case. Since the sentence in the case exceeded three years, the special court does not have jurisdiction to grant bail and she will be taken into custody. Judge John Michael Cunha pronounced the verdict at Gandhi Bhavan, more..

'FDI inflows to triple in next two years'

Sept 27 (DN) While referring to 2014 as a turning point in Foreign Direct Investment to Sri Lanka, Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama predicted that FDI inflows will at least triple during the next couple of years due to the country's all-round potential and FDI favourable business climate. "Sri Lanka will continue to be one of the most promising destinations for foreign investment in the world as a result of continuous efforts made to improve the investment climate and infrastructure which more..

‘No beheading here unlike in other countries’

Sept 27 (Island) Journalists were being beheaded in other countries, but there was no hindrance to Sri Lankan media personnel practising their profession, PM D.M. Jayaratne told Parliament. He said so in answer to a question raised by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in connection with the attack on a journalist in Hali-Ela following the recently concluded Uva PC poll. Wickremesinghe said that there had been a post-election clash at Hali-Ela and a car of Harin Fernando, more..

Sri Lanka wins backing of 22 nations against UN rights probe

Sept 27 (IL) 22 developing countries of the Like Minded Group (LMG) in Geneva, in a joint statement made through its Chair - Egypt, have said the Group "believes that the intrusive mandate given to the OHCHR by Res. 25/1 to carry out investigations on Sri Lanka is unwarranted, especially in the context where the country is implementing its own domestic processes". It said "OHCHR's efforts should contribute to a more..

BJP pitches for new maritime policy to solve fishing row

Sept 27 (NIE) The BJP has advocated the formulation of a new Maritime Indo-Lankan policy to deal with the fishermen issue. The saffron party has also advised the Sri Lanka govt that it should be sensitive, flexible while dealing with the problem. BJP general secretary Murlidhar Rao, who recently visited Sri Lanka to participate in a meeting of asian political parties in Colombo, said, “Resolving the issue related to fishermen of TN origin will eventually create a reservoir of goodwill in India more..

Health bigwigs make mockery of govt’s Mathata Thitha

Sept 27 (Island) Many an eyebrow has been raised by a farewell party at one of the leading Hotels for former Health Secretary, Dr. Nihal Jayatilake almost three months after he had been moved to the Ministry of Economic Development. Event had been organised by some Health Ministry official and funds had come from pharmaceutical companies and laboratory equipment suppliers. About Rs. 3,000 each had been collected from officials participating in the do, sources said. more..

Sri Lanka nationalists to host controversial Myanmar monk

Sept 27 (AFP) Sri Lanka's main Buddhist nationalist group on Saturday announced it will host a radical cleric from Myanmar who is accused of fanning religious tensions, at a convention which is already attracting opposition from minority Muslims. Sri Lanka's hardline BBS or Buddhist Force, which has been accused of instigating hate attacks on the island, said the Mandalay-based monk Wirathu would be an honoured guest more..

China says sub made stopover in Lanka

Sept 27 (CG) The Chinese Defence Ministry says one of its submarines had only made a stopover in Sri Lanka while on its way to the Gulf of Aden to conduct escort operations in the area. There were reports stating that a Chinese Type 039 ‘Song’ class submarine visited the Colombo port earlier this month, the first time one of the People’s Liberation Army-Navy’s (PLA-N) diesel-powered submarines has emerged in the Indian Ocean. Geng Yansheng, spokesman of the Chinese Ministry of more..

Drug addict’s wife begging on streets

Sept 27 (Island) The Gampola police recently arrested two suspects who were fleeing after committing a burglary. Investigations have revealed that one of them is a criminal wanted in connection with 49 crimes. A team of policemen returning after a night patrol confronted the suspects as they attempted to flee on the seeing the police. The policemen overpowered and apprehended them. The suspects admitted that they had burgled a house and were leaving with the booty. more..

Fonseka says there is a conspiracy to wipe away his party from politics

Sept 27 (AM) DP Leader Sarath Fonseka has said that certain parties have plotted to ‘wipe away’ his party from politics as they pose a major threat to the present govt. “We were aware of a plot to infiltrate election counting centres and sabotage the Democratic Party’s result. This plot was put into motion with the govt’s consent”, he said. Fonseka lashed out at the Elections Commissioner saying that he did not take steps to prevent this more..

Appeal Court affirms murder conviction and death sentence

Sept 27 (Island) The Court of Appeal recently affirmed the conviction of murder and the sentence of death imposed by the High Court on a man who had murdered his wife. The judgment of the Court of Appeal dated September 22, 2014 said that when the evidence of the trial court was considered, it was apparent that the accused appellant, Duminda Munasinghe had last been seen with the deceased Niroshini Wickramasinghe, on or about December 27, 1998. more..

Members of the cabinet shall not be MPs !

Sept 27 (CT) This is what UPFA MP Vasantha Senanayake proposes. “Think from the end.” This is what I like to do on certain things. When it comes to the subject of constitutional reforms I prefer to think from the end. What kind of govt we want to have at the end? In this regard Wasantha’s proposal made me curious. It seems that everybody wants to abolish executive presidency. Chandrika promised to do it. Under Mahinda Chinthana abolition of executive presidency has been envisioned. more..

The happy busker

Sept 27 (CT) Traffic blocks are stressful for motorists and even more so when experienced every day. The heat, noise and general standstill nature of a traffic block puts a scowl on everyone's face. Hearing a happy tune float through the sound of horns and engines completely distracts one's mind from the block all around. Curious motorists and passengers peer out of their windows, trying to locate the source of the music only to see more..

Sri Lanka welcomes terrorist, spurns saint

Sept 27 (CT) Ahsin Wirathu, leader of the 969 Burmese terrorist movement and self-proclaimed ‘Buddhist bin Laden’, landed in Sri Lanka this morning. He will attend the BBS’ so called ‘Great Sangha Council’, undoubtedly voicing his trademark toxic message of hate, violence and terror that unleashed death and destruction on tens of thousands of Burmese Muslims. The 969, an organization very similar to the BBS, plays a critical role in stoking inter-ethnic conflict in Burma. more..

Polls budget

Sept 27 (CT) President Rajapaksa speaking to an IMF delegation at the end of the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2010, in which period the country faced relatively high budgetary overruns, justified such cost increases in his own charming way, by telling the delegation that such overruns were because of elections! A look at public accounts in 2009 showed that the govt's current expenditure increased by 1.3% of GDP to 18.2% of GDP in 2009 over that of 2008, according to Central Bank more..

Australian Premier hails LLRC process

Sept 27 (CG) Australian PM Tony Abbott has hailed the LLRC and credited President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the process. The President’s office said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Australian PM Tony Abbott met in New York City and held talks yesterday. At a cordial discussion that took place on the sidelines of the 69th UNGA, the two leaders caught up on a range of matters of bilateral interest. more..

'More than 20 govt. members will cross over'

Sept 27 (Island) Over 20 govt MPs would cross over to the Opposition soon after a Presidential election was announced, UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella said in Parliament. He said that there were a large number of ministers and MPs in the govt ranks disgusted with the way the country was being ruled. "Even today I met one of the government ministers in the Lobby and he questioned me when they should cross over. more..

Govt, presents Appropriation Bill one month in advance

Sept 27 (Island) The govt presented its Appropriation Bill for 2015 to Parliament yesterday one month earlier than usual, fuelling speculation of a snap presidential election. Bill was presented to the House by PM D. M. Jayaratne. The projected govt expenditure for 2015 is Rs. 1, 812 billion, up from Rs. 1,542 billion for 2014. Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga asked whether the budget estimates were being presented more..