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4 new measuring instruments as air quality drops to breathtaking levels

Nov 13 (ST) Four new air quality measuring instruments will be installed in Puttalam, Anuradhapura, Vavuniya and Jaffna during the coming days, the National Building Research Organization (NBRO) said. The particulate matter levels in Colombo went up twofold, to unhealthy levels, creating an atmosphere of smog but has come down since. Air quality started deteriorating from Nov 5-8 in Colombo, more..

Both main camps creating fear psychosis to obtain votes: JVP

Nov 13 (DM) JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath said today the two main camps were creating a fear psychosis among the people to secure their votes and stressed the need to defeat both of these corrupt political camps. He said that the Rajapaksas looted votes by highlighting the electric chair and were creating a fear psychosis by highlighting the Easter Sunday attack while Sajith’s faction was creating a Gota fear psychosis. more..

National innovation bill passed in P’ment

Nov 13 (FT) The National Innovation Agency Bill, which received House approval this week, is expected to pave the way for the private sector to support local innovation and contribute to national research. The bill provides for the establishment of the agency and incorporation to seek private sector support for innovation, to contribute to national research, and to identify barriers to innovation. more..

Army troop Leaves for Mali

Nov 13 (SLA) The new contingent of 243 Army personnel of the Combat Convoy Company (CCC) of the Army, set to serve in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) left the country morning (13). Lt General Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Army was at the airport to see them off, together with a few senior officers. With this contingent, Sri Lankan CCC, comprised of 20 Officers and more..

GR campaign raises bond scams, Geneva betrayal and Easter carnage

Nov 13 (Island) Top spokesman for Gotabaya Rajapaksa Campaign Charitha Herath said that the ruling UNP couldn’t cover up the Treasury bond scams, the betrayal of the armed forces in Geneva and negligence resulting in the Easter Sunday carnage, by questioning the credibility of SLPP prez candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Former Media Secretary Dr. Herath said the desperate attempts to depict Gotabaya Rajapaksa as more..

CaFFE urges northern voters not to boycott Saturday’s poll

Nov 13 (Island) Election monitor, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), urged the Northern voters not to boycott the Nov 16 prez election. Acting Executive Director of the CaFFE, Manas Makeen told The Island: "Some groups are trying to stop Northerners from voting. As an election monitor we can’t condone calls for boycotts. When you boycott an election you deprive yourself of a chance to make a difference. more..

Video: FR petitions against MCC Agreement fixed for support on Jan. 31

Nov 13 (AD) The Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions filed against the signing of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Agreement with the United States have been fixed for support on the 31st of January 2020. The five-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices L.T.B. Dehideniya, Buwaneka Aluwihare, S. Thurairajah, Murdu Fernando and Gamini Amarasekara sat for the petition hearing today (13). more..

Video: Prez poll campaigning ends midnight today

Nov 13 (AD) All types of canvassing and campaigning activities for the Presidential Election 2019 are set to conclude by midnight today (13). The Election Commission urged the presidential candidates not to carry out any promotional activities via social media platforms. Publishing election propaganda materials of Presidential candidates either through printed or digital media has been banned starting from 12.00 am tonight. more..

Social towers, hover, hover

Nov 13 (CT) This is all about the determinants as to the end of the Presidential election with the election of a new President and whether it will enhance or detract seriously from the negative nuances this nation has been suffering through the abuses of the system. This vital component of a democracy needs mention here because we seem to be back once again to the potential of seeing dilettantes egged on by vanguards of disaster. The aberrant of democracy give the fools no slack. more..

Elections, Voltaire, Candide and optimism

Nov 13 (FT) Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet-1694- 1778) was one of the key writers to have inspired the ideals of the French revolution, that history- changing explosion in 18 Century Europe. Politically, socially and intellectually, after 1789, the world would never be the same. Not only did the ideas of the French revolution pave the way to many of the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the generations that followed, but fundamentally changed the way we view ourselves in the universe we inhabit. more..

කිලිනොච්චි ජනතා රැලිය: Anura Kumara

NPP assures Tamil people their language identity

Nov 13 (DM) NPP prez candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake yesterday assured northern people that they would create a situation where Tamil people would be able to learn and deal with the government in their mother tongue. Speaking at an election rally in Kilinochchi, he said there were two state languages such as Sinhala and Tamil and added that it was vital to ensure the language rights of all communities. “There are communities who speak Sinhala and Tamil languages. more..

Sri Lankan banks facing pressure on credit profiles, rising NPLs: Fitch Ratings

Nov 13 (LBO) Pressure on Sri Lankan banks’ financial profiles due to challenging operating conditions became more apparent in the banks’ 1H19 results, Fitch Ratings says in a new report. The sector’s non-performing loans (NPLs) continued to rise rapidly, up 39% in 1H19 (64% in 2018) and 46% for 8M19. The deterioration in asset quality reflects the challenging operating conditions, the aftermath of high loan growth, and the impact of the Easter Sunday attack in April 2019. more..

Tamils should freely exercise their franchise at the upcoming Prez Election, urges GTF

Nov 13 (Island) The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) urges Tamil people from the North-East and throughout Sri Lanka to freely exercise their franchise at the Nov 16 Prez Election, giving careful consideration to the political formations and agendas of the major contenders. In a statement the GTF says: "After playing a decisive role in the political change of 2015 and experiencing disappointments on the new govt’s performance, more..

Workers Party millionaire’s Presidential campaign on stretch limo

Nov 13 (EN) The brand of A S P Liyanage, a millionaire prez candidate representing his self-styled Sri Lanka Worker’s Party is being showcased on a stretch limo on Colombo’s streets. Liyanage said he decided to stand for the third time because people were disappointed with existing politicians and he wanted to catch the floating vote. “A lot of people have daily financial difficulties (aga hinga kam,/I>),” the millionaire businessman told reporters soon after handing in his nomination papers. more..

Rathana Thera denies withdrawing support from Gota

Nov 13 (TM) Member of Parliament Athuruliye Rathana thera has denied reports alleging him of withdrawing support from SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa. A document purported to be written by Rathana Thera surfaced on social media today alleging that the thera had extended his support to NDF presidential candidate Sajith Premadasa. Following the reports Rathana Thera releasing an official statement confirmed the reports were fake. more..

SC appeal rekindles challenge to Gota’s Sri Lankan citizenship

Nov 13 (DM) Two civil society activists today an appeal with the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the decision last month by the Court of Appeal to dismiss their writ application that sought to quash the dual citizenship certificate of SLPP prez candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Prof. Chandragupta Thenuwara and Gamini Viyangoda, co-conveners of the Purawesi Balaya civil society group, had filed a writ application in the Court of Appeal more..

Revoking US citizenship takes over one year: Swarna Gunaratne

Nov 13 (DN) A group of US-based SL professionals yesterday recalled the lawlessness during the Rajapaksa regime and expressed their disbelief that SLPP candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who played a key role in that era could now campaign for votes with the promise that he would behave differently if elected. Former Consul General of SL for Western States of USA and late Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s sister Swarna Gunaratne said that before the govt change in 2015, more..

SLMA to presidential candidates: Help fight university ragging

Nov 13 (RN) The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) requested all prez candidates today to condemn ragging in universities and, upon assuming office, take measures to curb the practice with the utmost urgency. Writing to all candidates, the SLMA said the physical, sexual and emotional violence that is currently taking place in all universities in Sri Lanka, in the guise of ragging, is reflective of the degree of violence, hate and abuse escalating in Sri Lankan society. more..

Sumanthiran files complaint with Police against 3 newspapers

Nov 13 (TM) TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran today filed a complaint with the Police against three newspapers that have allegedly carried blatant false news propagating racial hatred. Sumanthiran through his lawyers has written to the Acting IGP to open an investigation to an offence under section 3 of the of the international covenant on civil and political rights (ICCPR) Act, No. 56 of 2007. Sumanthiran’s lawyers have stated that more..

Police to go tough on cooling period election campaigns

Nov 13 (DM) Strict legal action would be taken against those engage in election propaganda activities from tonight, the cooling period of the Prez Election, Police said today. SSP Ruwan Gunasekera said according to the Prez Election Act, it is prohibited to hold all types of canvassing and campaigning activities for the Prez Election from tonight until a week after the announcement of the result. “The cooling period has been announced allowing the public to cast their vote freely more..

US court refers to Gota as dual citizen: Sujeewa

Nov 13 (RN) Adding to the controversy surrounding the citizenship of presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe said today that a US court has referred to Rajapaksa as being a dual citizen. According to the documents pertaining to the case, Senasinghe said, Rajapaksa is still referred to as a citizen of the US and of SL. “A person named Manojkumar Samathanam is the defendant of the case. Gotabaya requests that he will be entitled to immunity when more..

'R. Premadasa’s son will get lowest percent ever by any candidate at 2nd place'

Nov 13 (DM) While saying that SLPP prez candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa would win the election by a majority more than 10 per cent, SLPP National Organizer Basil Rajapaksa said the son of Ranasinghe Premadasa would garner the lowest percentage of votes obtained by any second candidate in the prez election history. He said their vote base had been increased by two or three times than the prez election in 2015. more..

President’s Secretary informed on death row inmates’ protest demanding pardon

Nov 13 (AD) Dept of Prisons has informed the Secretary to the President on the protest staged on the rooftop of the Welikada Prison by four inmates on death row. The Secretary to the President was briefed on the reasons for the death row inmates’ protest. The protest, which was initially commenced by two death row inmates, was later joined by two others. However, reports today said that a total number of six death row inmates are currently carrying out protest demanding Prez pardon. more..

EU deploys 30 short term observers across Sri Lanka

Nov 13 (TM) Chief of European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) SL 2019, Marisa Matias, launched the latest phase of the mission today, deploying 30 Short-Term Observers (STOs) to all nine provinces of the country for election day observation. 30 short-term observers and a delegation of five members of the European parliament will join 30 long term observers who have been in the country carrying out observations for almost a month. more..

After hiatus, Rajapaksa brothers set to dominate Sri Lanka again

Nov 13 (Reuters) One brother is considered a shoo-in for the job of Sri Lanka’s president in elections this weekend and another is eyeing the prime minister’s post when that election becomes due early next year. Two other brothers are political strategists for their SLPP and one of them is considering a shot at becoming the speaker in parliament. Three men of the family’s next generation are also in politics. more..

PAFFREL requests Facebook to control election propaganda during silent period

Nov 13 (AD) PAFFREL organization has made a request to Facebook to monitor and control election propaganda and canvassing during the cooling period of Prez Election 2019. Executive Director of PAFREL Rohana Hettiarachchi stated that a written request has been made to the Facebook company on the matter. Meanwhile, all forms of canvassing and campaigning activities for the Prez Election 2019 are set to conclude as the silent period commences at midnight today (13). more..

Human rights must be at the heart of the next presidency: AI

Nov 13 (AI) Ahead of SL’s prez election this weekend, Amnesty International has called on the country’s next president to put human rights at the heart of their policies. Amnesty is appealing to all candidates to prioritise key human rights issues, including commitments on transitional justice made in the aftermath of the country’s bloody conflict. The organisation is also calling on candidates to commit to repealing repressive laws, abolishing the death penalty and protecting essential human rights more..

Presidential candidates charged premiums for advertising

Nov 13 (RN) Sri Lanka’s radio, television and newspapers are charging premium rates of 150 to 300 per cent of standard prices from candidates in upcoming Prez polls, a survey has found. The Divaina newspaper was charging 2.14 times the standard rate, Daily Mirror 1.27, TV Derana and ITN 1.5 times, Hiru Gold Radion around 3.0 times, the survey by EthicsEye, a unit of Verité Research, that runs has found. more..

Sri Lanka's presidential election 2019: All you need to know

Nov 13 (AJ) On Nov 16, Sri Lankans will go to the polls to elect a new president, a landmark vote as the island nation struggles with a sluggish economy, security challenges and increasing political polarisation. Here is everything you need to know: who the candidates are, how the govt works, and the implications of the possible outcomes. This year's election has a record 35 candidates running, from across the political spectrum. Incumbent Maithripala Sirisena, elected in 2015, more..

MOD launches SMS alerts

Nov 13 (DN) The Ministry of Defence has introduced a SMS alert service. The aptly named MOD ALERTS SMS Service will inform authentic news on national security issues and disaster management emergencies encompassing the whole country and also news clarifications of national security concern. The new service was launched by the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, General (Retd) SHS Kottegoda today. This new service, mooted by this Ministry is a long felt need that will not only more..

Pad Man faces Terminator in SL vote fight

Nov 13 (AFP) SL's prez election on Saturday is turning out to be a showdown between a man offering free sanitary pads and a former soldier dubbed the Terminator by his own family. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, 70, a retired army lieutenant colonel, was the de facto military chief who crushed Tamil guerrillas and ended a 37-year separatist war, but Saturday's vote is his battle of ballots. His family calls him SL's Terminator more..

Bearing responsibility for evil: A note on electoral choices and burdens

Nov 14 (GV) As the prez election heads into its final stretch, handwringing over the lesser of the two evils is reaching its tortured apex. The most terrible strain of this that has emerged at the eleventh hour has been the chorus of voices claiming that only a vote for Sajith Premadasa will protect democracy in the country. Consequently, this argument goes, anyone considering voting for third party candidates – in particular, the JVP’s Anura Kumara Dissanayake – are morally self-righteous and more..

Comedy of errors in the reign of a crackpot President

Nov 14 (CT) Perhaps, no other past Prez in our Post Independence history may have provided this amount of entertainment and clownish performance, like Sirisena, the present crackpot. What is referred here is not the recent humorous Cutting the ribbon episode without caring for the countdown, which made people to make tons of memes about it, and laugh all day. Seriously, there are tinfoil-hatted comics performing on street corners who make more humour like this, than this political clown more..

'Vote for the person who must win'

Nov 14 (CT) NPP Prez Candidate, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, says "I urge the people to avoid the habit of voting for the one who wins and vote for the person who must win." Q: You explained the difference between you & the 2 major candidates. They belong to the aristocratic families and they are the past students of high schools like Royal College. You hail from a poor family and were educated in a small school. Is that the only change? more..

Gota: The Manchurian Candidate?

Nov 14 (CT) On Wednesday, pro-Rajapaksa Derana TV ran a brief interview with US Embassy Spokesman Nancy Van der Horn. Using an utterly misleading headline, Ada Derana said that the US confirms Gotabaya has lost US citizenship. However, in the interview, Van der Horn specifically explains to the reporter that under US privacy laws the Embassy cannot comment on individual cases. She goes on to explain the renunciation process, beginning with handing over documentation more..

Abiding by Sri Lanka’s democracy

Nov 14 (GV) A Prez election is a unique opportunity for Sri Lankan voters to have a direct say in our constitutional democracy. At this time, the way in which we exercise our power (or our agency) matters. It has irreversible consequences. An election gives us multiple opportunities for exercising our agency – we engage in policy debates, discuss political parties, analyse the suitability of candidates etc. Our ideas, our conversations, and our disagreements feed into a process more..

The Aftermath

Nov 14 (GV) If Gotabaya Rajapaksa wins the presidency, he and his family will have two priorities: secure the premiership for Mahinda Rajapaksa and obtain a two-thirds majority in the next parliament for the SLPP. Reaching the first goal would be a necessary condition for reaching the second. If the SLPP can go for the next election under a SLPP prez and a SLPP premier, a landslide victory would be possible. more..

No nonsense election guardians

Nov 14 (CT) Election Commissioner who cleaned up the Indian electoral system and ensured its absolute impartiality passed away last week. T.N. Seshan, as Chief Election Commissioner during 1990-96, had initiated the process of cleaning up the electoral system. The introduction of electors' photo identity cards was a measure towards this direction. He also saw to it that the model code of conduct, till then considered a document of academic interest, was taken seriously by the parties & candidates. more..

The vote and the voter

Nov 14 (CT) The battle lines are finally drawn - and not on unexpected lines. Barring the initial hiccup and surprise over the UNP-NDF non-selection of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as their Prez Candidate, everything is moving along the tried and tested routes of Elections-2015 for full and the preceding one of 2010, in many parts. Barring the Muslim parties which had backed the Rajapaksas in 2010 and backed out five years later, it's all in the script. It included the TNA going through motions of more..