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Editorial: Gotabhaya’s defence

Dec 17 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, taking part in an interview on Derana TV on Monday, defended the govt much better than most ruling party politicians who make a lot of noise in dramedies that are political debates but leave the viewers unconvinced and disappointed in the end. He, as usual, tore into the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which, he said, remained committed to a separate state and had a visceral antipathy towards President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

'No computer Jillmart'

Dec 17 (CT) Q: There have been various allegations that a single family is dominating the party. What do you say about that? A: That is not just the case in Sri Lanka but it is the same in other countries too. In India, Nehru Family governed the country after independence. In recent times you had Sonia Gandhi and her family, so this phenomenon is not limited to Sri Lanka. We also had the Bandaranaike family; President, PM more..

Limits of being bought off in the face of gross injustice

Dec 17 (SL) The political landscape has become an uncertain one racked by the crossovers taking place at regular intervals almost on a daily basis. Now the crossovers have become even more uncertain, as there are crossbacks as well. Whether these are motivated by conviction or by the desire for power and wealth is a speculative exercise. Most of those who have crossed over give as their reason their commitment to the national interest. But there has been at least one recent crossover that more..

Logic of Coconut and Bo trees in a presidential election

Dec 17 (SL) It’s not easy to reconcile Sri Lankan election rhetoric with elementary logic. One such challenge we faced watching a late night TV talk show, these talk shows being of interest to us not as a political columnist or student of politics but for sheer entertainment. On Tuesday night we wondered why a speaker was holding forth on the virtues of the Coconut tree with much eloquence. Roots of tree are used as a fuel for cooking in our humble homes, the trunk is of hardy wood more..

Burning issues facing SL ahead of Jan. polls

Dec 17 (IRIN) As Sri Lanka gears up for a presidential election five years after the end a long separatist rebellion, the country, especially the war-scarred North, faces a raft of unresolved chronic problems. Analysts regard many of them as long-term drivers of conflict. Front-runners in the January poll are incumbent President Rajapaksa, who is seeking an unprecedented third term (thanks to a constitutional amendment passed by UPFA), more..

Leader, Commoner & the change of hearts

Dec 17 (NS) A leader will never change his policies. He will never bow down in the face of sinister moves and threats. A real leader will have the courage and determination to carry forward the work he has undertaken. A leader takes care of the people who work under him. Leadership has been described as “a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”. For example, some understand a leader simply as more..

Sri Lanka’s trail of tears

Dec 17 (NS) I don’t think I can remember a more confused and sadder sight in Sri Lankan politics than elected representatives of the people selling themselves and whatever little dignity they have to extend their respective little fiefdoms. The practice started in earnest when Mahinda Rajapaksa became President in 2005, and continues its path of destroying the confidence of the political system. The practice has gathered fresh momentum ever since Maitripala Sirisena came forward more..

‘People in Batticaloa rally round President’

Dec 17 (SO) Mangala Senerath, who was instrumental in reviving the Valachchenai paper mill has been able to work closely with the people in the Batticaloa district after being appointed the competent authority of the National Paper Corporation Ltd (NCPL) in 2012. The close interaction he had maintained with the people in the Batticaloa district and the political hierarchy in the district while serving at the Valachchenai more..

Presidential election and the TNA

Dec 17 (CT) The ongoing presidential election campaign seems to have downgraded the Tamil community, or to be precise, their main political party the TNA to the status of an outcast. Both major political formations, UPFA headed by President Rajapaksa and the NDA headed by common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena, are not interested in a formal alliance with the Tamil party, despite the fact that Tamil votes are a crucial factor in the electoral equation. more..

I am sick and tired …

Dec 17 (CT) ….of the never-ending, refrain that we “should be eternally grateful to Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family for putting an end to the Tamil Tigers and bringing Sri Lanka out of (enter your figures) years of terror.” Let’s get this straight, in no way can Mahinda Rajapaksa or his acolytes make ANY claim to single-handedly destroying the LTTE, and its vicious war machine. What I am about to say is no way hindsight because I went on record in Montage Magazine (in 2007, long before the final more..

Video: I finished 75% of the war: CBK

Dec 16 (DM) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga today staked a bigger claim for the war victory by reiterating that 75% of the LTTE-held territory was cleared during her tenure. She told a news conference that at the time she took over the presidency in 1994, the entire northern region -- barring five or six military bases at Mannar, Talaimannar, Kankesanturai, Point Pedro, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya in the central part of the North more..

NPC spent Rs 8.87M to refurbish schools

Dec 16 (CT) Northern Provincial Council (NPC) spent Rs 8.87 million for the refurbishment of school buildings, for President Rajapaksa's visit to Jaffna. Northern Minister of Education Thambirasa Kurukularasa said that the specific amount was spent for refurbishing school buildings, reconstructing inner roads and for colour washing. Councillor Kandiah Sarveswaran, said a large amount of NPC money was spent to refurbish the schools when the President visited Jaffna. more..

Govt. blames weather gods for high vege prices

Dec 16 (Island) The Ministry of Cooperative and Internal Trade yesterday said the vegetable prices had increased owing to heavy rains in vegetable producing areas. A ministry spokesman rejected the idea that prices were being kept artificially high. The Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute, contacted for comments, said rains had caused extensive damage to vegetable cultivations. The prices of some vegetables per kilo as at yesterday were: more..

Video: Govt alleges secret meetings in S’pore

Dec 16 (DM) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva today claimed that several common opposition members including presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena had secretly met representatives of the Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) in Singapore. He said the Govt would reveal details of their activities during their visit to Singapore. Minister said Maithripala Sirisena, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sarath Fonseka, Chandrika more..

UPFA denies marketing the war

Dec 16 (CG) UPFA denied claims that it was attempting to market the war victory in order to win support at the Presidential election next month. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the govt, however, had every right to remind the people of the efforts taken to defeat the LTTE as it is now part of Sri Lanka’s history. Minister noted that to say one cannot speak of the end of the war is to say one cannot recall history like other historic events which are often spoken of. more..

Lanza Vs Ramanayake postponed

Dec 16 (CT) The case against UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake, filed by Western Provincial Councillor Nimal Lanza for making defamatory statements about him, was postponed to 23 February 2015 after Ramanayake did not turn up in Court yesterday. The case is being taken up at the Negombo District Court. Attorneys-at-law, Hilary Livera and Felicia Fernandopulle, stated that the fiscal officer had not been given an opportunity by the security guards manning the defendant's house more..

Video: 'Admin powers of executive presidency led to war victory'

Dec 16 (AD) While expressing that the international community still attempts to summon Sri Lankan Govt to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa pointed out that the administrative powers of the executive presidency assisted and led the war victory. He added that international pressure on the island nation proves the fact that some pro-LTTE elements, UNHRC, and even TNA still more..

Govt awarded railway contract to foreign firm for Rs 1,600 Mn per km

Dec 16 (Island) Former UPFA Minister and JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka said that the UPFA govt thrived on kickbacks and it launched mega projects so that its leaders could pocket huge commissions. The country was in debt and three or four future generations down the line would have to pay back the massive loans the incumbent govt had obtained. He said the govt had awarded a contract to construct the northern railway line to a foreign company at a cost of Rs 1,600 per km more..

BBS fear eastern terror groups

Dec 16 (CG) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) today warned of terror groups operating in the eastern province and urged the government to take action to curb their activities. BBS General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara thero told the media today that the government has ignored intelligence reports with regards to these groups in the east. He said that allowing these groups to remain unchecked could result in similar incidents to that seen in Australia and Pakistan this week. more..

Colombo Port City will be scrapped: Ranil

Dec 16 (DM) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremsinghe said today the new govt, which would be formed by the joint opposition after the current regime was defeated at the January 8 elections, would scrap the Colombo Port City Project. He told tourist industry leaders who met him today that the project would be scrapped because it would end up destroying the coastal belt from Negombo to Beruwala. more..

Sirisena’s aide receives threatening calls

Dec 16 (Island) Common Opposition Presidental Candidate (COPC) Maithripala Sirisena’s Coordinating Secretary Atterney-at-Law Rajika Kodituwakku had been threatened with his life and the lives of his family members were also in danger, COPC’s media secteray Danushka Ramanayake said last night. Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana confirmed that the Keselwatta police station had receieved a complaint regarding the matter and the investigations were being carrried out. more..

Two men buried alive inside illicit mine

Dec 16 (Island) Two men were buried alive yesterday morning inside a 15-foot-deep mine dug by the victims in the Ratnapura police area in search of gems. The two bodies were recovered after a few hours with the use of a backhoe machine. The victims had been identified as Mahinda Senadeera (32) and Prasad Yasawardana (37). They had been mining inside an abandoned shop at Thiruwanaketiya with the help of its owner. It said the police had been alerted to the tragedy by more..

Sri Lankan boy dies after being struck by football during school game in UK

Dec 16 (ES) A father today paid tribute to his son who died from an injury in a freak incident when he was hit in the stomach by a football cleared by a goalkeeper during a PE lesson at his north London school. Sugenth Jeyakumar, 14, was admitted to hospital and died in front of his dad Arumugam a day later. Teenager received the blow during a game at Whitmore school in Harrow last Tuesday and complained of feeling pain after more..

Omalpe Sobhitha thera turns down Gammanpila's request for a meeting

Dec 16 (AM) Omalpe Sobhitha Thera, leader of the JHU, has refused have a one-to-one meeting with its former Deputy General Secretary Udaya Gammanpila when the latter informed the JHU Leader that he wished to meet him, Asian Mirror reliably learns. Gammanpila had told Sobhitha Thera that he wanted to meet him to clear the air on a remark the JHU Leader made at the press conference which was held after Gammanpila’s crossover. more..

Six UPFA members pledge support to Maithripala

Dec 16 (AD) Six members of the ruling UPFA, including 4 local govt members and a former UC Chairman, today pledged to support Common Opposition Candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Election. UPFA Attanagalla PS member Indika Rajapaksa, Meerigama PS member Somaratna Diyanetti and Chilaw UC member Jeevani Kariyawasam announced their decision at a press conference with former President Chandrika Kumaratunga at her residence. more..

Frontline Socialist Party to agitate for the right of their leader to return

Dec 16 (Island) Senior members of the JVP splinter group, the Frontline Socialist Party, announced that it would resort to an agitation campaign to urge the govt to permit the return of their leader Kumar Mahattaya alias Premakumar Gunaratnam who now uses the name, Noel Mudalige. Two senior FSP members, its General Secretary Senadheera Gunathilake alias Opatha Mahattaya and Politburo Member Chameera more..

'Rishad Bathiudeen assaults Sri Ranga'!

Dec 16 (AM) Several Tamil news portals have reported that Minister Rishad Bathiudeen had assaulted MP J. Sri Ranga in the presence of a few other MPs during a dinner that was hosted at Temple Trees last night. The incident had occurred in a context where MP Sri Ranga, who also hosts TV shows on Sirasa and Shakthi TV, had been highly critical of Rishad Bathiudeen's party's stance on the forthcoming Presidential Election. Ranga had criticized the decisions taken by more..

Does Gotabaya drag military into politics?

Dec 16 (CT) It appears that the Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is openly taking inspiration from ‘terrorism.’ He at least defends his actions on the basis of terrorists. According to the lead story of ‘The Island’, he has said, “If terrorists can enter politics, why not forces personnel?” This is a dangerous trend. If the same logic is extended to human rights violations or war crimes, he can argue, ‘If terrorists can do such and such things, why not forces personnel?” more..

China,Sri Lanka to invest in Maritime Silk Road initiative

Dec 16 (Xinhua) China and Sri Lanka will continue to strengthen investment relations through the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative and allow Chinese companies to do business in the island, officials said here on Tuesday. The two countries will continue expanding cooperation on significant infrastructure projects, including building a $1.4 billion port city, expanding terminal services at the Colombo port and constructing more..

CaFFE claims it provided evidence of polls law violations to EC, but no action

Dec 16 (Island) The CaFFE submitted photographs to Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya on Sunday, showing how the police department misused public money allocated to them to remove cut-outs. Executive Director of CaFFE, Ranjith Tennakoon said that most of the big cut-outs in Chilaw, Arachchikattuwa, Anuradhapura, Kadawatha and Ratnapura were being covered haphazardly with paper, pieces of cloths or polythene, instead of removing them completely. more..

'I too had to deal with injustice under this govt' - Chamal

Dec 16 (AM) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said justice was not meted out to him during the Cabinet reshuffle in 2005 – which took place soon after President Rajapaksa’s ascension to power. Speaker Rajapaksa, who is the elder brother of President Rajapaksa, addressing a meeting in Galle yesterday said, he was given a non-cabinet ministerial post in 2005- to overlook the agricultural sector. “I was again given the Ministry of Irrigation without the Mahaweli development sector. more..

Sri Lankan peace keeping troops of UN mission in Lebanon honored

Dec 16 (SLA) The Medal Parade of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the prestigious military ceremony that appreciates the exemplary dedication, made by any specific contingent, took place recently at the UNIFIL Headquarters, Naqoura, Lebanon where the Sri Lankan contingent, was honoured awarding medals. Major General Sumedha Perera, Director General General Staff of Sri Lanka Army, attending more..

Sri Lankan stocks tad weaker in thin trade

Dec 16 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks fell for a fourth straight session on Tuesday, led by blue-chips such as John Keells as investors remained cautious ahead of the Jan. 8 presidential poll. The main stock index ended 0.09%, or 6.70 points, lower at 7,223.56, its lowest close since Dec. 9. "There was limited activity. Political worries are hindering market activity," a stockbroker said on condition of anonymity. "Investors expect political stability after the election and until such time more..

Poor Rajapaksa thinks villagers are all babies

Dec 16 (CT) One of my Tamil friends was recently at Temple Trees to participate in the exercises the poor President is now engaged in to try to win hearts and minds. But the experience was surreal, for discussion of substance was it seems left to Basil Rajapaksa, whilst the President contented himself with assuring his guests that he had taken precautions to stop further crossovers. Whether this was through carrots or sticks he did not elaborate. Basil’s idea of substance of course leaves more..

Ada Cartoon

India exploring alternate route to launch Sethusamudram project

Dec 16 (PTI) In line with BJP-led govt's stand not to demolish 'Ram Sethu', the govt is in the process of exploring an alternative route for the launch of Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP). "We are in the process of exploring an alternate route for SSCP through Pamban Pass without affecting Ram Sethu/Adam's Bridge," an Shipping Ministry official said. The official said Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES), which was assigned the task of a study on alternate route, more..