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The hybrid features of the present constitution must be removed

Jan 1 (CT) The most important feature of the Executive Presidential form of govt which distinguishes it from the Westminster form is that the Executive is separated from the Legislature and the Judiciary and the separation of powers is followed down the line. It is not only the Executive President who is separated from the Legislature. It includes all his Ministers as well. The Executive President appoints his Ministers from outside the Legislature – the Parliament. more..

Northerners fundamentally anxious for democracy and change

Jan 1 (CT) When I began this column, over seven months ago, I did not think that the threat to President Rajapaksa would come to fruition quite so quickly. Until the incidents at Aluthgama, I thought it unlikely that anyone would be able to defeat him in a Presidential Election. After that I thought any reasonable candidate would probably win, if there was unity in the opposition, but it seemed unlikely that that would be achieved. And after Uva, when it seemed that the govt was more..

Mattala Airport flies high in aviation history

Jan 1 (SO) Sri Lanka is earning additional revenue for the first time in aviation history. Any airline flying over any country has to pay a fee to that country. Airlines are now flying over Sri Lanka for two reasons with the opening of the Mattala Airport (MRIA). One it's a shorter distance to fly over Sri Lanka to the final destinations thus saving fuel and two, the opening of MRIA has enabled the airlines to land in any emergency. more..

Will Tiger Diaspora back TNA decision

Jan 1 (CT) In the backdrop of the decision by the TNA to support common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena at the upcoming January presidential election, it is appropriate to recall events and incidents within the TNA which happened behind the curtain. The TNA was the party which brought tremendous pressure on UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to stay out of the presidential contest. TNA leader R. Sampanthan delivered this message direct to Ranil's face several times more..

Singapore – Malaysian models to Sri Lanka

Jan 1 (CT) In a frequently telecasting political commercial, popular singer Santhush Weeraman attempts draw parallels with Malaysia and Singapore on the argument of development. His logic, though never said in direct terms, is seem to be that a longer duration in power is necessary for a sustainable development like in Malaysia and Singapore. Good argument, but in an entirely different context, and easily be counter-productive as well. Of course, both Mahathir Mohamad more..

Frank and upfront with Zuhair

Jan 1 (CT) While many point out that the manifesto of the common candidate Maithripala Sirisena does not address the issues of the minorities specifically, NUF, Leader M.M. Zuhair who is part of the common opposition said, such mention was left out on purpose, as it was time to move beyond '100 years of communal politics'. He advocated that a country with good governance and rule of law would solve the problems of all more..

Thuggery as a method of intimidation, bullying and harassment in the South

Jan 1 (GV) Use of thugs ‘chandiyas’ or ‘marayas’ by those in authority has its roots in the colonial period. Later, Sinhalese politicians adopted this method in village level politics spreading into urban locales. It is a method used to control public opinion and behaviour, more importantly to submerge alternative viewpoints and behaviour and divert the popular will in the direction of those in authority by using physical force, fear and the like. The only way to counter such acts of intimidation, more..

Team of the Year 2014: Wheels for Wheels Foundation

Jan 1 (NS) There’s the cricket team that secured ICC silver after many years, winning the T-20 World Cup. There’s the chess team that won a Gold at the Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, fighting well above its weight. But there are teams and teams, those that compete against opponents and those that compete for their fellow creatures. The team of cyclists who went around the pearl that is Sri Lanka to raise money for children suffering from Cerebral Palsy is special. more..

Herath says people longing for change

Jan 1 (FT) The JVP says the downfall of the Rajapaksa regime is evident and the “good days” of family rule are limited. JVP parliamentarian Vijitha Herath expressed that the President and his Government are now using cheap psychological gimmicks to trap the people. “It is clear that the people are no longer with President Rajapaksa. People need a change and they are rallying around Maithripala Sirisena.” Following are excerpts: more..

Editorial: Boon or kiss of death?

Jan 1 (Island) The TNA’s declaration of its backing for presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena has come as no surprise. The Tamil political parties had been campaigning for him unofficially. The TNA was expected to wait until the eleventh hour to go public with its declaration so as to deny the government time to use it against the Opposition, but apparently Sirisena’s campaign needed a boost vis-à-vis a propaganda onslaught by the Rajapaksa camp. Never a dull day in Sri Lanka! more..

Most Innovative Awareness Campaign of the Year 2014: Ceylon Today

Jan 1 (NS) Long years ago, a Native American leader said, ‘you can dig as deep as you want but there’s one thing you will never find on the lands we’ve lived on: a home for the elderly.’ There was a time when the elderly were not considered liabilities. They were seen as repositories of knowledge, libraries in fact. Even today, there are people in this country who will not equate ‘infirm’ with ‘inability’. And yet, we’ve come to a stage where we have had to mark a special day to talk about elderly, more..

'UPFA stooping to new depths amidst declining voter confidence'

Jan 1 (FT) UNP is concerned about the high incidence of election violence. UNP notes that the current situation clearly proves there is a breakdown in the country’s law and order. Chairman of the UNP LC Karu Jayasuriya says the ruling party is losing the confidence of voters and has stooped to a low level of political campaigning. “President Rajapaksa heads the Commonwealth which is known as guardian of democracy. more..

Etisalat introduces AppZone Click

Jan 1 (CT) Etisalat Lanka successfully launched AppZoneClick; a simplified process of developing Short Message Services (SMS) based applications. The new platform was launched at an educational forum, which was held at the Etisalat Head Office. The event was most anticipated among many individuals, including students, undergraduates and many promising entrepreneurs. AppZone Click is the next phase of Sri Lanka's first ever independent third party mobile application platform, more..

Bankers group backs President Rajapaksa

Jan 1 (FT) Re-electing Mahinda Rajapaksa will prevent privatisation and allow the Sri Lanka to move forward in development, according to the Professional Bankers’ Joint Organisation. “UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe wanted to privatise the banks in 1994,” Senior Bankers National Joint Organisation’s Secretary S. Annasiwatta said, addressing the media and members of the banking community at an event held yesterday at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute. more..

Mahinda vs. Maithri: Frenzied contest races to final week

Jan 1 (FT) At the Bambalapitiya junction, a larger-than-life silhouette of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is illuminated with hundreds of tiny blue, red and white fairy lights. It’s a strange depiction because his hair and facial features are covered in tiny blue lights. Behind the giant light spectacle is an entire façade of presidential portraits and signatures. Last week, a large screen television was mounted upon the façade. more..

Sri Lanka stocks drew Rs 106 billion in foreign funds in 2014

Jan 1 (EN) Colombo's stock market saw a record 106 billion rupees of foreign buying in 2014 and was one of the top six best performing markets internationally, CSE said. It was within the top five best performing markets in the region, with the benchmark All Share Price Index (ASPI) rising 23.4% to close the year on 7, 298.95. In 2014 the S&P SL20 index, crossed the 4000 mark for the first time since its launch and market capitalization reached three trillion rupees more..

Lankem Robbialac sponsors EDEX Sithuwam Art Competition and Exhibition

Jan 1 (CT) In order to encourage, motivate and recognize the potential of talented artistic students, EDEX Sithuwam has organized a one-of-a-kind art exhibition. Lankem Robbialac is the valued sponsor of the event for the 2nd consecutive year. Since 2008 'EDEX Sithuwam' has created and expanded the competition, giving widest reach to talented students, and has become the popular national level art competition it is today. Lankem Robbialac, a front-runner in the paints industry more..

2014 Review: Sanga, Herath and Mathews complete outstanding year

Jan 1 (Island) Having painfully watched Sri Lanka being humbled by New Zealand’s pace attack in Christchurch, most observers would agree that there’s plenty of work left to be done for the national cricket team especially when it comes to competing overseas. Obviously there was also the memory of 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the Indians not too long ago, Sri Lanka’s first ever whitewash. However, the fact remains that 2014 was more..

ICA Sri Lanka inks crucial contracts ahead of 16th congress

Jan 1 (GDI) The 2015 International Colored Gemstone Association Congress in Colombo, inked contracts with several stakeholders ahead of the 16th Congress slated to be held in May from the 16 to 19 at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel. A.H.M Imtizam, Chairman of the ICA 2015 Congress cited that a special ICA Congress Gem Show – FACETS which will be held in May from 15 to 18at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel will be an exclusive networking place with B2B opportunities. more..

Ven. Dawuldena Gnanissara Mahnayaka Thero felicitated on his 100th Birthday

Jan 1 (GDI) President Mahinda Rajapaksa extended birthday greetings to the Most Ven. Aggamaha Panditha Dawuldena Gnanissara Supreme Mahanayake Thera of the Sri Lanka Amarapura Maha Sangha Sabha on his hundreth birth anniversary. The President who attended the ceremony held at the BMICH on Wednesday (31) to felicitate the prelate offered him a felicitation award. The President inquiring into his well being offered him good health and long life. more..

Sri Lanka's inflation is at 2.1% in December

Jan 1 (LBO) Sri Lanka inflation up to 2.1% in December 2014 from to 1.5% in November 2014, the Central bank of Sri Lanka said. The data is based on the change in the Colombo Consumers’ Price Index (CCPI), which is computed by the Department of Census and Statistics. The year-on-year (YoY) inflation decreased to 2.1% in December 2014 compared to 4.7% in December 2013 on a year-on-year basis. more..

CSE looking at a Champagne Year!

Jan 1 (CT) The Colombo Stock Exchange is expected to perform even better in 2015 than it did in 2014 based on the prevailing low inflation and low interest regime, a frontline stock broker said. "The Colombo bourse performed well till the announcement of the Presidential elections where the All Share Price Index was up 29% based on the low interest and low inflation regime, which by itself was good," Chairman of Colombo Stock Brokers' Association, Dihan Dedigama said. more..

Faizer respects Mahinda, backs Sirisena

Jan 1 (Island) Former Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha yesterday quit the govt to support presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena. Announcing the decision at a press conference, he said that he wanted a better Sri Lanka. Mustapha however said that the decision to join opposition campaign was one of the most difficult decisions he had to take in his political career. He said he did not have any personal issue with BBS but he could not be where extremism was. more..

Silva desperate for more centuries

Jan 1 (CI) Kaushal Silva is no stranger to the next step. His story so far has been full of incremental advances. At 28, he is already a veteran of SL's arduous domestic staircase. From among his team-mates he had excelled for the longest in first-class cricket, before being granted a stretch in the national side. Now, a full year since getting his big chance, he has embedded himself in the top order, an average of 40.30 in 2014. more..

Customs bust beedi racket

Jan 1 (Island) Customs Preventive officers yesterday seized a huge consignment of beedi tobacco worth Rs. 3.5 million hidden inside two 40-foot containers. Preventive Division Deputy Director Parakrama Basnayake said that the consignment had been imported by a businessman living at Kalagedihena and the stock had arrived from Chennai, India on Dec. 15. The businessman who paid only Rs. 600,000 in levies to the Customs declaring them as beedi wrappers, more..

748 election law violations so far – NDF

Jan 1 (CT) Highlighting that there was an increase in government-sponsored acts of election related violence, the New Democratic Front's (NDF) Election Monitoring Unit charged the Commissioner of Elections as being wilfully blind and ineffective. The NDF's EMU observed that while a total of 748 election law violations had been reported as of 30 December, 819 incidents of election-related violence had been reported, with attacks on artistes in areas such as Anuradhapura, Hambantota and more..

India constructs 27,000 houses in Sri Lanka

Jan 1 (HCI) The Indian Housing Project in Sri Lanka continues to make excellent progress, with the project reaching its target of constructing 16,000 houses during 2014. With the achievement of this important milestone, a total of 27,000 houses have been constructed or repaired under this project till date. During 2014, 14555 new houses were constructed in Northern Province, and 1447 in Eastern Province. more..

LTTE war films to boost one candidate

Jan 1 (CT) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) is up in arms against the screening of LTTE war films shown on digital screens in many places in Colombo. The digital screens imported at around Rs 100 million per screen is meant to boost the image of a particular presidential candidate. It had been continuing for more than a week, BASL President Upual Jayasuriya said. Govt had erected digital screens at prominent locations in and around Colombo to screen LTTE war scenes. more..

JVP's New Year message

Jan 1 (LT) New Year dawns today. The Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and Malay masses in Sri Lanka, who have been suppressed by Mahinda Rajapaksa regime have rallied to win their rights and to breathe winds of freedom. It is an auspicious sign. The year 2015 could be made an Auspicious Year in such a decisive and advantageous political environment. Rajapaksa despotic regime raised the cost of living to a level unbearable to the people in Sri Lanka. more..

Mustapha’s defection no big deal: Govt

Jan 1 (Island) Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha switching allegiance to common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s camp was no big surprise as it had been widely expected, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said. "His joining Sirisena camp has been talked about for weeks. It is no surprise. It had also been reported in the media that Mustapha would announce it officially upon returning from Singapore. more..

Maithripala Sirisena's New Year message

Jan 1 (AD) Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena in his new year message said he wishes 2015 be the year in which the people would become truly free and are able to reap the full benefits of good governance. Following is the full message: May 2015 be the year in which you become truly free and are able to reap the full benefits of good governance. We are a people who suffered much on account of the fears generated by war, unrest and of course blood-letting and more..

President Rajapaksa's New Year message

Jan 1 (DN) President Rajapaksa in a New Year message requested the public to welcome the New Year with overwhelming hopes and determination to uplift the nation. "Our New Year resolution is to safeguard the Motherland and win the world with thorough determination and patience. "During the past decade we could fulfill all the New Year resolutions we had at the beginning of each year." "We could perform the work of 100 years within the past decade, and uplift the nation. more..

'MR trying to replace Muslim leadership with Salman Khan'

Jan 1 (Island) With the Muslim leadership deserting the govt in hordes, President Rajapaksa had brought down Indian actor Salman Khan in an attempt to replace them, but it was a futile attempt, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. Addressing the UNP Eksath Lanka Vanitha Convention, he noted that Salman Khan would not be able to reverse the massive Maithri Wave that was spreading throughout the more..

Sri Lanka budget deficit 5% of GDP by Sept 2014 amid slow revenues

Jan 1 (EN) Sri Lanka has posted a budget deficit of about 5% of gross domestic product for the first nine months of the year, amid slow revenue growth, but expenses have also been kept in check, according to official data. Data released by the Central Bank showed that revenues rose 5.6% from a year earlier to 828.2 billion rupees up to the third quarter slower than a 21% expected in the budget for 2014 and 17.3% revised budget presented to parliament in October. more..

Polls monitor’s camera snatched during clash

Jan 1 (Island) An officer attached to the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), was threatened and his camera allegedly snatched by a supporter of a UPFA minister in the Polonnaruwa District, while he was observing two election campaigns led by two groups of Buddhist monks in support of President Rajapaksa and Common Opposition Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena in close proximity to each other on Tuesday evening in Polonnaruwa. more..

Govt grant Visa for Gunaratnam to reveal Sirisena-JVP secret pact

Jan 1 (Island) The govt has granted leader of the JVP splinter group, FSP, Kumar Gunaratnam alias Kumar Mahattaya, a visa to come here from Australia. He is scheduled to address the final FSP rally where he is expected to reveal a secret deal between the JVP and opposition’s common presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena. FSP Propaganda Secretary Pubudu Jagoda said Gunaratnam, had been more..

Make it a wonderful 2015

Jan 1 (DM) Another New Year 2015 dawned today and while the goodwill of the hundreds of Happy New Year greetings we give and receive generates positive vibrations, it is also a good time for sincere inner reflection leading to a change of hearts and attitudes. This inner change needs to begin especially in the ruling alliance political leaders, religious, social and others taking leadership roles. They need to remember that big talk is like a noisy gong and example speaks louder than more..

A way out of Ukrainian imbroglio

Jan 1 (DM) The vote last week in the Ukrainian parliament was a seriously disturbing move- it has made reconciliation with Russia near impossible. The parliament voted to work for Ukraine’s membership of NATO, a red rag to a bear. The truth is this whole Russian-Ukrainian-Western confrontation could be largely solved if the Ukrainian and Western sides wrote on paper that they don’t want to see Ukraine in NATO. This is the key issue for Russia. more..

'I will be more of a statesman than a politician'

Jan 1 (DM) On the eve of 2015 and days before the crucial presidential polls, President Rajapaksa in an email interview spelt confidence of a victory at the polls while admitting that there still seems to be some areas such as foreign service and governance that needs improvement. Q: Mr. President the last time we interviewed you, exactly a year ago, one of the questions asked was whether SLFP old guard seems to be disillusioned. more..

Maithri agrees to hold public debate on Jan 5; still no response from MR'

Jan 1 (AM) While sending a reminder to President Rajapaksa asking him to be participated in a debate on the Rule of Law, Independence of the Judiciary, Good Governance, elimination of corruption and democracy, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka announced that so far only Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena had accepted the invitation extended by them. The BASL stated that on Dec 22, it had sent invitations more..