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'Left Front: An alternative for the people'

Dec 22 (DM) Apart from the two candidates one from the ruling UPFA and the other from the common opposition contesting at the presidential election next month, Left Front candidate Duminda Nagamuwa could be considered as the third in line to steal the attention in the race. Having started mainstream politics in the JVP, Mr. Nagamuwa is now a politburo member of the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), more..

It's not too late Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya...

Dec 22 (CT) Election violence seems to reach unprecedented levels in the current presidential election campaign. Last Saturday, political goons attacked a UNP meeting in Haputale minutes before the arrival of Ranil Wickremesinghe. The UNP Chief Organizer Senarath Jayasinghe sustained injuries in the attack. Last week political thugs in jeeps destroyed the election platform of common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena in Wanduramba, Galle. more..

No impersonation: Give voting right to migrant workers

Dec 22 (DM) While the hard-fought campaign for the crucial presidential election enters into top speed on the political superhighway, the parties in the common opposition, top State officials and independent election monitors need to take effective measures to ensure that the January 8 election is free, fair and peaceful. The common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena last Friday presented the 10,165-word manifesto for a just and compassionate administration to begin more..

TNA will not call for polls boycott

Dec 22 (CG) The TNA, following a meeting with TNA provincial council, local council members and MPs, decided not to call for a boycott of the Presidential election. TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah told reporters in Vavuniya that the TNA leadership will soon decide which candidate to support at the election. He said that the TNA felt boycotting the election and telling the Tamils not to vote at the election will not serve any purpose. more..

Ranawaka assures unitary character for SL

Dec 22 (CT) Executive powers will not be given to the Provincial Chief Ministers and it will not be taken away from the President under a govt headed by the common candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, General Secretary of the JHU Champika Ranawaka said. Ranawaka, who is one of the major campaigners for Sirisena, stressed that the common Opposition will not end the unitary status of the country and the executive powers held by the provincial governors under the purview of the Head of the State more..

OIC tastes Deputy Minister's 'stress' tablet...

Dec 22 (CT) A tablet taken to rid stress by Deputy Minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama brought to the Wanduramba Police Station when he called on the OIC to seek the release of three suspects who attacked common presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena's election campaign stage, had either fallen or diluted with the tea served to the OIC. The OIC had ordered for two cups of tea for him and the deputy minister. After consuming the cup of tea, the OIC had felt dizzy and police are unable to more..

SLMC looks to reach consensus

Dec 22 (CG) The SLMC says it is looking to reach a consensus on which candidate to support at the Presidential elections. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem, speaking at an event in Kandy, said that while opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena has made public his election manifesto and President Rajapaksa will release his this week, it is difficult to decide who to support simply based on a manifesto. more..

Maithripala camp lodges bribery complaint against Tissa

Dec 22 (Island) The Maithripala Sirisena Camp has lodged a complaint with the Bribery Commission against former UNP General Secretary and Health Minister Tissa Attanayake for accepting health ministry portfolio after the calling of presidential election. Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader's Office at Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, on Sunday, UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe PC said that the UNP expected the Bribery Commission to inquire into its complaint. more..

President won’t take part in debate with Sirisena: SLFP

Dec 22 (Island) The SLFP ruled out the possibility of President Rajapaksa accepting Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s challenge for a live debate in the run-up to January 26, 2015 presidential poll. Top SLFP spokesman Minister Dallas Alahapperuma said that the Maithripala Sirisena’s call was nothing but a joke. The minister pointed out that Maithripala Sirisena continued to insist that he remained the General Secretary of the SLFP. more..

BASL plans MR-MS debate

Dec 22 (CT) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has decided to invite the two main contenders in the Jan Presidential Election fray, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena, for an open public debate on the independence of the Judiciary, stability of the rule of law, good governance and to eradicate corruption. The Ceylon Today exclusively reported that various groups of professionals and intellects were preparing more..

Mahela, Dilshan and Malinga for CPL 2015

Dec 22 (JO) Three stars of Sri Lankan cricket, Mahela Jayawardene, Tilakaratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga, have been added to the pool of international players to feature in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) draft which is set to take place in early 2015, organisers reported Friday. The three will join other top class T20 international players including South African all-rounder, Jacques Kallis, for the third staging of the tournament. Malinga, who played in the first CPL more..

Migrant workers’ organisation pledges support to opposition candidate

Dec 22 (FT) A powerful migrant workers’ organisation in Sri Lanka, All Island Middle-East Employees Organisation pledged support to the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena at next month’s presidential elections. President of the organisation Ranjith Nanayakkara assured the support of 149,000 families in his organisation to ensure the victory of the opposition candidate. Organisation had supported President Rajapaksa at his re-election in 2010. more..

Govt: Sirisena admits his involvement in foreign conspiracy

Dec 22 (Island) Minister Dullas Alahapperuma claimed that the Maithripala Sirisena’s camp had unwittingly admitted its involvement in an international conspiracy aimed at ousting incumbent President Rajapaksa. He was responding to a UNP declaration that the country could avoid punitive UN action by thwarting a third term for President Rajapaksa. Minister alleged that the Opposition wouldn’t have made such a more..

University–Industry interaction for meaningful cooperation

Dec 22 (Island) 25 students and professors of Moratuwa, Peradeniya, Jaffna, Eastern and Uva Wellassa universities along with a German energy expert recently travelled to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) around the country, helping them address challenges in energy efficiency. The Travelling University (TU) was introduced to Sri Lanka for the first time by GIZ under the Sri Lankan-German SME Development Programme. It was conducted by IfAS Institute of University more..

CMC cautions customers against unhygienic foods

Dec 22 (NS) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni warned the public that during the festive season, they should be careful when purchasing boondi as it has food coloring not safe for consumption and other chemicals, and also dates, as some of them have insects in them. CMC will be conducting inspections in Fort, Pettah, Borella, Manning Market, Narahenpita, Wellawatte and Colpetty this week and the inspections will focus on quality of food more..

Maithri’s 100-day sprint

Dec 22 (FT) Common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s campaign has released a comprehensive timetable to make sweeping changes to Sri Lanka’s governance system and promised parliamentary elections under a Westminster-style system by 23 April 2015. The 100-day plan released with candidate Sirisena’s manifesto last Friday (19) pledges a national Govt and new Cabinet more..

UNP CP member joins UPFA

Dec 22 (Island) UNP Central Provincial Council member S. Sathasivam has switched allegiance to President Rajapaksa. Sathasivam announced his decision to throw his weight behind President Rajapaksa. SLFP treasurer Dallas Alahapperuma said that the ruling coalition was glad to receive the support of veteran plantation sector leader. Ceylon Workers’ Alliance (CWA) met on Saturday under the chairmanship to decide on its stand at the forthcoming presidential poll. more..

JKH retains top slot in the LMD 100

Dec 22 (FT) The pioneering business magazine LMD, has announced that it will release its special edition on Sri Lanka’s leading listed companies – the LMD 100 – to bookstores this week. LMD’s special edition – the 21st since the rankings were first published in 2004 – notes that “with a turnover of close upon Rs. 90 billion in 2013/14, JKH retains its position at the summit of the premier listed company rankings.” The magazine notes: “Bukit Darah surrenders its runner-up title from more..

Boom times for fisheries industry!

Dec 22 (CT) Sri Lanka has reported phenomenal growth in fish exports where values have increased from Rs 10.6 billion in 2005 to Rs 31.7 billion in 2013. Exports have increased from the Rs 10.6 billion in 2005 to Rs 19.8 billion In 2010, Rs 21.8 billion in 2011, Rs 26.3 billion in 2012. The quantities of fish exports have also increased from 15,985 tonnes in 2005, 18,325 tonnes in 2010, to 18,462 tonnes in 2011, 18,631 tonnes 2012. more..

Six alleged Sri Lankan sex workers detained in Malaysia

Dec 22 (DM) The Johor police in Malaysia have conducted 10,300 raids to tackle prostitution in the state and arrested 2,986 women including six Sri Lankan from January until now. Local and foreign women were detained in these raids for suspected involvement in such activities. "Of that number, 102 were locals while the rest were made up of 627 Chinese nationals, Vietnam (1,341), Thailand (555), Indonesia (229), Cambodia (13), Philippines (62), Myanmar (16), Singapore (1), more..

Five questions for presidential candidates from MTI

Dec 22 (Island) The international strategy consultancy MTI claims it has identified the five most economically important strategic questions to be put to the Presidential Candidates. They are as following. "What really is our competitive advantage as a nation? Which sectors should we focus on - given our capabilities and the global opportunities? How can we align our entire 'educational supply chain' to enable this? (this requires radical structural changes). more..

Malinga to return for New Zealand ODIs

Dec 22 (CI) Lasith Malinga will return to international cricket towards the tail-end of the seven-match ODI series in New Zealand in January 2015. Malinga underwent surgery on a troubled left ankle in September and is currently recuperating. He missed Sri Lanka's last two ODI series played against India and England. "Malinga is still recovering from surgery and everything is going well according to plan. more..

Maithri’s manifesto mum on petrol cut

Dec 22 (NS) The manifesto of the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena released on Friday has been strangely silent on the earlier claim that if the common opposition candidate wins the January 8, 2015 Presidential Election, his new govt would take steps to provide a drastic price cut on petrol. Since the last few weeks, there have been ‘confusing’ claims where media reports said that common opposition alliance has proposed to reduce petrol prices to Rs.50 per liter and more..

Russian rouble crisis impacts tourism too: 25-30% drop in arrivals predicts SLAITO

Dec 22 (CT) The current Russian rouble crisis has impacted tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka with a frontline tourism leader predicting a 25-30% drop in arrivals from that country during the winter 2014/ 2015 season. "This is a very serious situation where we are bound to see a decline in Russian arrivals in the 2014/2015 Winter season by around 25- 30% which is essentially beach tourists," Immediate Past Chairman of the SLAITO, Nilmin Nanayakkara told Ceylon FT yesterday. more..

Russian rouble crisis: Cabraal sweetens tea exporters' bitter cuppa

Dec 22 (CT) Central Bank Governor, Ajit Nivard Cabraal intervened to try to solve the crisis which has engulfed the country's tea exporters who are reeling under the Russian rouble crisis. Russia is a destination to which 22% of Sri Lanka's tea exports are shipped. Governor Cabraal has directed Assistant Governor Lankatilleke to officially write to all commercial banks to relax the 90-day limit which is imposed for exporters to get more..

Sponsors pay SR400,000 arrears to housemaids

Dec 22 (AN) Saudi sponsors in the capital last month paid SR400,000 in money owed to housemaids being held at the government’s detention centers, Arab News has learned. Now that they have received their money, they can be sent home. They were handed over to the govt after running away from their Saudi sponsors because of alleged financial and physical abuse. Maids working in Saudi Arabia are mainly from Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Somalia. more..

Jilmaat: Ethics and dangers of political exploitation

Dec 22 (Island) I wish to draw the attention of the reading public to the news item appearing in the Island of the 19th inst., under the caption, "Jilmaat: JVP disputes Sirisena’s claim". The news had attracted public attention so much, that by 9.00 PM, 4549 persons had read it in the internet, whereas an average news story does not normally find more than a few hundred online readers. Evidently the impact of the news would be widespread. I have no personal interest in any of the more..

'Bribery had swallowed private bus industry'

Dec 22 (CT) Today the trade union talk focuses on the transport of the common man. It is the LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne who joined us to discuss about the issues prevailing in the private bus industry and the steps which need to be taken to enhance the quality of public transport. According to Wijeratne, nearly 48% of the people use private buses as their transport mode, but the usage of private buses is declining. more..

Capital market gathers momentum: SEC

Dec 22 (FT) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is maintaining that the capital market has gathered strong momentum during the past three years and post-war reflecting sustained recovery proving those who once predicted doom and gloom wrong. SEC said that thanks to a series of initiatives with the support of all stakeholders, capital market has reported significant achievements. A significant development is the net foreign inflow of Rs. 97 billion during the past 3 years. more..

Editorial: Santa won’t come

Dec 22 (Island) Sri Lankans are in for a big disappointment. The Pope may come next month, but Santa won’t be here this Christmas. For, we have two local Santas doing his job much better than he and his visit will be redundant. One of them is wearing a saataka and the other is in a waistcoat borrowed from Modi. The former is already showering goodies on the public and the latter is promising much more in a few weeks provided the people facilitate his ascent to power. more..

The voter: Insulted, humiliated and forgotten

Dec 22 (NS) Election Day is less than three weeks away. Campaigns are gathering intensity. Candidates and their supporters are falling over each other promising the sun, moon, stars and whatever else they think could please the voter. They all talk about a clean society and don’t seem to mind the dirty friends that surround them. They talk of a new political culture even as they pour invective on their respective opponents. more..

A hopeless jumble of the law and crossovers for gain

Dec 22 (ST) It is a devastating indictment on Sri Lanka’s political culture that the right of a parliamentarian to cross the floor of the House on a ‘matter of conscience’ (meant to be resorted to only exceptionally) has evolved into a convenient device exercised for precisely the opposite objective. The utterly unprincipled nature of parliamentary crossovers has now become part of a fierce national debate. Some crossovers are absurd to the point of being incredulous. more..

Minority political parties keep everyone guessing

Dec 22 (NS) The presidential elections will be held in less than three weeks but the so-called ‘minority’ political parties have kept everyone guessing as to who they would support among the two main contenders at the poll. It is a strategy that is confusing voters and creating panic in the major political parties. Of the three major communal based political parties, only the plantation sector based CWC has pledged support to the ruling UPFA and its candidate, President Rajapaksa. more..

Support for Maithri’s airport statement

Dec 22 (SL) Maithripala Sirisena, opposition common candidate, claimed recently that some media have distorted the statement he made regarding his intention to bring those involved in fraud and corruption before the law when he wins. According to him, necessary legal steps would be followed to bring them before the law. As some claimed, he had stated that he would close the airport when he wins the election to avoid more..

Getting a glimpse of the Presidential waula

Dec 22 (NS) Folks, it sure looks like we’ve got a game on.A couple of weeks ago it seemed like President Rajapaksa was cruising to another term in office. After the initial euphoria, the cohesiveness of the opposition camp seems to be crumbling. It was starting to look a lot like 2010. That has changed dramatically of late. Maitripala Sirisena, has managed to blunt the impact of parties who while crucial to his campaign, were polarizing the electorate. more..

Will Santa gift a new conscience this X’mas?

Dec 22 (ST) Every man considers his conscience to be his temple — supreme and infallible, as eternal as the icon Truth enshrined therein. But to another it may seem like the devil’s workshop where, upon temptation’s anvil, the conscience can be hammered into any shape and form as personal expediency and inclinations dictate. If patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel then the appeal to conscience to justify a questionable course of action has to be the first port of call for more..