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Why does TNA and Welgama’s faction support Sajith?

Nov 13 (SO) This week, two major political forces in the country, the TNA and a faction of the SLFP announced their stance on the upcoming prez election. Perhaps for different reasons, they both have decided to support the NDF candidate, Sajith Premadasa. The rest of the country should ask why these groups arrived at that decision. The TNA has decided to support Candidate Premadasa after having discussions with the NDF, SLPP and JVP. It has said that Premadasa’s commitment to more..

The prez election must trigger a movement if it is to help Tamils win their rights

Nov 13 (CT) On the surface, this election looks like one that Tamils just have to get past and then think about how to fight the decades old repression they face in SL. But beneath the surface, the frustration with the failure of the Tamil parties to offer a way forward is leading to discussion and debate on what is needed. Lesser-evilism is all that the TNA can offer but that still means evil for Tamils – and for all those at the sharp end of govt policy, from war to chauvinism to privatisation. more..

Can social media be used to manipulate #PresPoll2019?

Nov 13 (Roar) With four more days to go for the election, we can’t help but reflect on the campaigns of the candidates and wonder how effectively social media was used to sway the public in one direction or the other. Election campaigns are all about winning voters’ hearts and minds, and campaigners may adopt various strategies for this. These may include rational persuasion, emotional appeals, mobilising peer networks, more..

Economic performance dependent on political outcome and economic policies

Nov 13 (ST) SL’s economic performance in 2020 and beyond will depend on the outcome of prez election next Sunday, subsequent parliamentary elections that would elect a govt and PM, political stability and the pursuance of sound economic policies. Whoever is elected president, resolving the fundamental economic problems of the country and getting the economy moving is a tough task that has been made even tougher by the extravagant expenditures of election promises. more..

So who should we vote for?

Nov 13 (CT) This is the question in the minds of all open minded citizens as we face a prez election of crucial significance. We are the so-called floating vote – and in my case at least, a proud member of it. To begin with, it’d be fair to say that all citizens who take their franchise seriously, have had enough information (and sadly even more disinformation) required to make up their minds about the candidates and what they stand for. As such, this is not really an attempt to change more..

Eliminating apathy: To vote or not to vote?

Nov 13 (Roar) Although Sri Lanka was granted universal franchise in 1931—making it possible for all those above the age of 21 to vote—(later amended to 18, in 1959), voting is not compulsory and there are many that choose to stay at home rather than participate on election day. Voter turnout has therefore varied over SL’s 37-year-old Prez election history. In 1988, it was a mere 55.32% (owing largely to JVP insurrections), more..

Why NPP for minorities and the nation?

Nov 13 (FT) The two minority communities, Tamils and Muslims, and their ethnic political parties are once again caught up in a dilemma in choosing one or the other of the two leading presidential candidates, Sajith and Gota. The Tamil parties drew a set of 13 demands, submitted to both candidates and promised to support the one who accepted them. However, the ideological framework within which those demands were drawn obviously meant outright rejection by both candidates. more..

Right to misinformation

Nov 13 (ST) It was after I wrote on the MCC Compact grant under the title Transport corridors and elephant corridors in this column on Sept 15, that this commentary opened the doors to a couple of follow-up interviews. One of the interviewers asked me: “If SL accepts this grant, according to various reports and social media, the country will be divided into two pieces, acres of our land will be sold out to the US, and we – the Sri Lankans, will have to get American visas to go to Anuradhapura. more..

Gotabhaya Rajapaksha

Editorial: Abuse of public assets

Nov 13 (Island) Transparency International SL has taken up the issue of politicians using the SL Air Force (SLAF) choppers for electioneering. It has demanded to know whether the SLAF is paid for their helicopter rides. We have been raising this question for the last so many years. The misuse, if not abuse, of the state-owned whirlybirds is not of recent origin. These days, govt politicians are more airborne than chairborne and they must be made to reveal whether they pay for their campaign- more..

Is Sajith slowly pulling ahead as Gota fails to gain traction?

Nov 13 (Island) The 2019 prez election, rather predictably is shaping up politically, very similar to its precedent in 2015. On that occasion, the then ruling Rajapakses’ sought an unprecedented third term and was rebuffed at the polls. In 2019, the Rajapakses’ are essentially seeking a third term, with the personalities changed. The message though from the Rajapaksa camp has not changed, only increased in intensity. The message that the Sinhala people are under threat both from more..

Treasury bond scams date back to Rajapaksa regime: Sajith

Nov 13 (Island) Widely described as a Friend of the Poor, the NDF’s Prez candidate Sajith Premadasa has pledged to serve the masses 24 hours a day. In this interview with The Island he speaks of his vision for SL. Q: Minister Sajith Premadasa, if elected Prez on Nov 16, what would your priorities be, in the first hundred days? A: As the title of my manifesto indicates, There's no limit to what my nation can achieve. more..

Sri Lankan thinking on national issues, spending and taxes

Nov 13 (Island) In the past month, there’s been no shortage of views in the media on what the country needs and what the public wants, but on Nov 16, the voters will have their say. That is all that counts in a democracy - but the ballot box inevitably simplifies public views to simple choices without nuance or caveats. Which means - especially if the elections are close - that we will continue to argue and debate what the public wanted. A key weakness in our civic life is the lack of regular, independent more..

Sri Lanka recycling 30% of waste plastic, producing apparel, exports

Nov 13 (EN) SL is re-cycling 30% of its waster plastic including waste washing up on its shores, into fabric and brushes, which is turning into multi-million dollar businesses. Trischel Fabric (Pvt.) Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of SL’s MAS Holdings had produced 4500 meters of fabric with yarn made of waste plastic bottles, including those collected from SL’s beaches. SL cricket team’s World Cup jersey in May 2019 was made with recycled yarn produced by Eco Spindles Ltd, a unit of SL’s BPPL group. more..

UL limps with Rs. 17.21 billion loss

Nov 13 (FT) SriLankan Airlines continued its turbulent run in 2018, racking up losses of Rs. 17.21 billion and outstanding loans of Rs. 126.7 billion, with the running of the national carrier continuing to be financed through bank borrowings, secured by comfort letters issued by the Govt, according to the embattled airline’s latest annual report. “The airline has been reporting losses since Emirates withdrew from managing the airline more..

MCC grant: A ploy for compacting national sovereignty

Nov 13 (Island) Yahapalana govt’s failed attempt to hurriedly sign the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact surely injected some life in to an otherwise lackadaisical prez election contest, at least from the points of view of the UNP’s old guard, and the increasingly cynical voting public; the govt’s attempt to sneakily sign the compact in the middle of a bleak-looking election campaign was so daring that cynics might suggest that it was probably the last nail on the coffin of the prez hopes of more..

2019 prez poll: critical issues ignored

Nov 13 (Island) Govt Information Department (GID) invited the media to meet foreign election monitors at the Galadari Hotel today (13). They are here to observe the eighth presidential election - the third since the successful conclusion of the war in May 2009. Director General, GID, Nalaka Kaluwewa, requested both print and electronic media organizations to submit two names each for the scheduled one hour meeting. Kaluwewa was acting on Commissioner General of Elections more..

Sri Lanka to trim down SAG contingent

Nov 13 (ST) Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Sports will launch a programme to inquire objections brought up by individual athletes and sports associations ahead of the upcoming South Asian Games (SAG) 2019, to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal from Dec 1. Dhammika Muthugala, the Director General of the Ministry of Sports revealed on Thursday, that the amount of objections and complaints received pertaining to selection and more..

Sri Lanka to become hub if reforms are made with South Asia in mind

Nov 13 (EN) Sri Lanka could become a key logistics reforms are made with South Asia in mind, an economist has said at an investment conference in Singapore targeting South Asia. “SL has every possibility to become the South Asia hub in shipping and logistics, if it can get some simple reforms through,” Razeen Sally Associate Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National Uni of Singapore said. “Geography is just right, placed between Singapore and Dubai along more..

Sri Lanka calls for Indian Ocean security architecture

Nov 13 (MFA) Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha has said, over the past four decades Sri Lanka has provided valuable case studies to the world in the successes in the operationalization of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and humanitarian diplomacy, as well as the challenges entailed in doing so, many in which the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been a valued partner. He made this observation on Monday (11) when he delivered more..

CB to follow AG advice and limit access to forensic audits

Nov 13 (FT) The Central Bank yesterday said the Attorney General had advised the Monetary Authority to limit access to the five forensic audits conducted by them only to relevant officials as they may contain information that could be used as evidence in ongoing investigations and future legal action. Under the recommendations of the PCoI to investigate and inquire into and report on the issuance of Treasury Bonds during the period more..

Sri Lanka has plenty of core issues ahead of World T20

Nov 13 (DN) The T20 International series that took place recently and that are currently in progress point to one thing – that there is a gulf between subcontinent teams and the rest, India of course being an exception. The manner in which Australia thrashed the daylights out of Sri Lanka and subsequently Pakistan and the way India disposed the challenge from Bangladesh with a virtual second string side goes to show that nations like SL, Pakistan and Bangladesh have a lot of work more..

Commonwealth SG visits mangrove site in Wadduwa

Nov 13 (MFA) Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland made a brief visit to a mangrove replanting site in Wadduwa in Koggala recently, in appreciation of the contribution Sri Lanka has made to improve its mangroves, which not only benefits Sri Lankans, but the world, in terms of increasing the carbon sequestration, which is 2 – 4 times more than tropical forests. Sri Lanka spearheads the Commonwealth Blue Charter Action Group on Mangrove Ecosystems & Livelihoods more..

Suspect arrested with drugs shot dead while fleeing

Nov 13 (AD) An individual who was arrested with over 33 grams of heroin has been shot dead by police officers when the suspect attempted to escape while being escorted under custody to the Karapitiya JMO this afternoon (12). The suspect was arrested with 33.6 grams of heroin in front of the Galle Municipal Council last evening (11) by officers of the Galle – Karapitiya Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB). The 34-year-old was taken to the JMO more..

SAG 2019: Sports Ministry gives green light to include more athletes

Nov 13 (CT) Athletics Association of SL (AASL) has amended the National team list once again following green light received from the Sports Ministry to include two athletes per event. Earlier, the list prepared by AASL had two athletes per event, but Sports Ministry had requested them to cut down on the list stating there were too many. Hence, AASL cut down on some of the second placed athletes after the selection trials. However, following appeals from second placed athletes, more..

Several months for names to appear in Federal Register after renunciation: US Emb.

Nov 13 (AD) The renunciation of US citizenship by an individual might take several months to be published in the Federal Register, a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Colombo said. However, she noted that the embassy cannot comment on individual visa or citizenship issues according to US privacy laws. Responding to questions raised by Ada Derana with regard to SLPP prez candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa renouncing his citizenship, US Embassy Spokesman Nancy VanHorn said: more..

Indian tribunal confirms 5-year ban on LTTE

Nov 13 (PTI) Centre on Monday set up a tribunal for adjudicating whether or not there is sufficient reason to continue the ban on the LTTE, a fortnight after it extended for five years the proscription of the terror group that was behind the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi. While extending the ban on the LTTE, the home ministry had said the group's continued violent and disruptive activities are prejudicial to the integrity and more..

No move to block social media sites: EC

Nov 13 (DM) Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday ruled out any plans to block social media websites during the last leg of the election period. He told Daily Mirror that there was no need for such drastic moves though there was speculation about social media platforms such as Facebook may be blocked. Earlier, Facebook announced that it had a mechanism to remove fake and malicious content which might mislead voters or discourage them from voting. more..

Gota unveils his dream for educated youth

Nov 13 (Island) SLPP prez candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa said he would attract additional revenue to the country by training 300,000 youth who had passed the GCE O/L and A/L exam, in IT. Addressing a live public forum Kurunegala, Rajapaksa said that training youth was high on his agenda. He out of more than 200,000 who the G C E A/L examination said only about 30,000 entered universities. Plans were underway to set up universities specialising in science & tech. more..

Video: 'I practice the small man’s politics'

Nov 13 (AD) NDF prez candidate Sajith Premadasa says that he is not a person who engages in the usual politics and that what he practices is the politics of the small man. Speaking during a campaign rally in Moratuwa, minister said that he eagerly awaiting until the 16th of Nov on order to strengthen the carpentry industry in the country. “I promise you that the golden age of the carpentry industry will be created after the 16th,” more..

If Prez keen to make a statement, best to do so after 6 pm on Nov.16: EC

Nov 13 (DM) Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said yesterday that if Prez Sirisena was keen to make a special statement before his term expires he should do so after 6 pm on Nov 16. “We requested the Prez to make his statement on Nov 16 after 6 pm because we believe that it would be the ideal time for him to do so after polling ends,” Mr Deshapriya said. He said they had made several other requests to the President like drafting a specific code of ethics for media. more..

I exchanged 42 letters with Prabhakaran: CBK

Nov 13 (DM) Former Prez Chandrika Kumaratunga said today that after being elected president, she had exchanged 42 letters on various matters of peace with the LTTE leader Prabhakaran and that she would make them public in the future. She said this at an election rally of Sajith Premadasa at the Veerasingam hall in Jaffna. After few months of becoming the president we continued peace talks while terminating the war, of how to resolve this problem but, after 8 mo. again war started. more..

Video: Gotabaya promises Rs 1,000 daily wage for estate workers

Nov 13 (AD) SLPP prez candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa says that he will increase the daily wage of estate workers to Rs 1,000 and also they will establish a state university for the students in the estate areas of the Central Province. Addressing an election rally held in Kotagala area in Hatton, Rajapaksa said that he spoke to the youth and that they informed him that students selected to university have to travel all the way to areas more..

Sajith condemns President’s pardon of Royal Park murderer

Nov 13 (DN) NDF Prez candidate Sajith Premadasa condemned outgoing Prez Sirisena’s decision to pardon convicted killer Shramantha Jayamaha who was on death row. In a Twitter post, Prez candidate condemned Prez’s decision and said as president he will never abuse the power of pardon. “I condemn the President’s decision to pardon Yvonne’s killer. As someone whose father was murdered, I understand the family’s grief. We cannot be bystanders to violence, especially against women. more..

China medical team perform 100 free cataract surgeries in Sri Lanka

Nov 13 (Xinhua) A medical team from China performed 100 cataract surgeries, free of charge, in Sri Lanka on Sunday and Monday, in order to strengthen medical cooperation between the two countries. The Sri Lankan patients received the free cataract surgeries as part of a partnership between Lanka Hospitals, China Huaxia Cultural Heritage Foundation, AIDI Eye Hospital Chengdu and Association for Sri Lanka-China Social and Cultural Cooperation. more..

Galle Bishop denies ever requesting President to pardon Jayamaha

Nov 13 (Island) Galle Bishop Rev Dr. Raymond Wickramasinghe yesterday found fault with the President’s Media Division for using his name as one of the religious leaders who had requested the President to give a presidential pardon for Royal Park murder convict Jude Shramantha Anthony Jayamaha. In a statement the Bishop said: I wish to state that I have not made any request on behalf of Jude Shramantha Jayamaha, more..

November 16; Lanka’s date with destiny

Nov 13 (DM) The 2019 SL Prez Election will be the 8th, scheduled to be held on Nov 16, 2019. Incumbent Prez Maithripala Sirisena’s term of office will end on Jan 9, 2020. It is also the first prez election in the country where no incumbent Prez, PM or Leader of the Opposition is contesting. As Nov 16 draws closer, the question on everyone’s lips these days is, who will win this prez election? With the prez campaigns drawing to a close today - Wednesday (13), the contestants from more..

Election Diary: Message from Northerners nudges lawmakers

Nov 13 (DM) It must also be mentioned that it’s the Tamils who have shown courage and given enough indication that they’ll not vote this time; underscoring the fact that lawmakers in general can’t be trusted. All other communities have continued to vote for the best out of the worset and as a result continue to live with lies, half-truths and betrayals. It all points towards a Tamil boycott, especially in the north, which like in 2005 will make the Rajapaksas the victors, this time too. more..

Voters’ rights and responsibilities

Nov 13 (DM) Exercising one’s right to vote is the fundamental right of any citizen. With SL’s eighth Prez Elections just weeks away on 16 Nov, there is an urgent and important need for citizens to educate themselves on how to exercise their voting rights, right. In this light, DM spoke to Election Commission member Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole, TISL head Mr. Asoka Obeyesekere, PAFFREL head Mr. Rohana Hettiarachchi more..

Sajith for the forgotten man; Gota for a forgettable family cabal

Nov 13 (DM) Only two more days to go. Prez election 2019 is here. The candidates have behaved fairly decently, except perhaps the political charlatans who are supposed to represent the Rajapaksas, Mahinda included, have resorted to their usual uncouth statements, sometimes bordering on outright falsehoods and other times dwelling in the twilight zone of the delusional. more..