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Opposition plans interim budget on Jan 29

Dec 21 (EN) Sri Lanka's main opposition candidate is planning an interim budget on January 29, where sweeping handouts will be given, if he wins a Presidential election on January 8. According to a 100-day plan published by main opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena, he hopes to be sworn in on January 10 and a cabinet with Ranil Wickramasinghe as prime minister will be appointed the next day. more..

Muthuhettigama’s MSD men arrested

Dec 21 (DM) Three Ministerial Security Division (MSD) officers attached to Deputy Minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama had been arrested last night for attempting to forcibly remove suspects from the Police custody. The suspect were arrested by the Wanduraba Police over attempting to forcibly take away the suspects, who were arrested in connection with the arson attack on the stage put up for the opposition’s propaganda rally at Wanduramba, when they were being more..

Up-Country People’s Front pledges support to President

Dec 21 (AD) The Up Country People’s Front (UCPF) has pledged their fullest support to the President at the forthcoming Presidential Election. Leader of the UPCF Shanthidevi Chandrasekaran announced their decision during a meeting held yesterday. Leader of UCPF Shanthidevi Chandrasekaran and party members of also met President Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on 10 Dec. However, UCPF senior member and former Deputy Minister V. Radhakrishnan left the party on 11 Dec and more..

President's election manifesto launch postponed

Dec 21 (AM) Launch of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election manifesto Mahinda Chinthana thun kal dekma has been postponed due to undisclosed reasons. The launch was scheduled to take place tomorrow under the auspices of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. According to highly placed sources of the govt, the launch will now take place on December 25, barely 12 days before the date of the presidential election. more..

Maithri accused over son’s cash

Dec 21 (CG) NFF leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa, today questioned common opposition Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena on the money his son allegedly gave his would-be father-in-law. Weerawansa told a gathering at an election rally in Monaragala today that Sirisena’s son Daham, had given Swiss franc and US Dollars to the parents of his fiancee. He said that yesterday the investigations unit of the Central Bank had gone with the police and seized the foreign currency more..

SLFP to take Maithri to Court

Dec 21 (CT) The SLFP is to take legal action against Common Opposition presidential candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, SLFP General Secretary, Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. He said the party was pursuing legal action against Maithripala Sirisena for still carrying the tag of SLFP General Secretary despite being suspended from the party. Yapa said, Sirisena's election manifesto, which was launched on Friday had not been presented as being the manifesto of the more..

Sri Lanka probe report on March 25

Dec 21 (CG) The report on Sri Lanka by the investigations team of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will be taken up for discussion at the UNHRC on March 25, the draft agenda for the March session noted. 28th regular session of the UNHRC will be held from March 2 to March 27 in Geneva and the report on Sri Lanka is part of the agenda. In its resolution A/HRC/25/1 adopted in March 2014 on more..

Calorie Counter debuts in Colombo

Dec 21 (NS) Calorie Counter by Duaine Peiris a healthy food restaurant concept, will shortly open doors in Thimbirigasaya. Get set to take away or be served specially formulated meals which come with a full breakdown of nutritional and calorie information. Prepared with both the customer’s tastes and healthy lifestyle in mind, all meals use only the most nutritious of ingredients and exclude unhealthy preparation styles that overly rely on sauces, condiments and more. more..

FLSP supporters assaulted in Kolonnawa

Dec 21 (NS) Frontline Socialist Party (FLSP) said that a group of supporters of its candidate Duminda Nagamuwa was attacked by an unidentified group in Kolonnawa at about 5.00am on Friday. In a media release, the FLSP said that the attackers had arrived in a van which had stickers in support of Maithripala Sirisena. However, the FLSP supporters could not identify the attackers. Two of the FLSP supporters were admitted to hospital and a three-wheeler they used was also damaged. more..

OUSL activists to defy court action threat

Dec 21 (NS) Student activists of the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) will continue their Satyagraha campaign despite threats of being taken to courts, OUSL Students’ Union Convener Amila Sandaruwan said. He added that the activists would continue protesting against three aspects of the current situation in OUSL, even if they have to hold their campaign on the streets. OUSL student activists launched a Satyagraha campaign on more..

GCE O/L ended on Dec 19, paper marking commences on Dec 28

Dec 21 (ST) GCE O/L 2014 which began on Dec 9 concluded last Thursday. A total of 578,135 candidates including 370,030 school candidates and 208,105 private candidates sat for the exam. Exam was conducted at 4,279 centres islandwide including in Nainativu (Nagadeepa), Analaitivu and Delft Island, supervised by a staff of 38,200. Special exam centres were set up at the Magazine Prison in Colombo, Suneetha Vidyalaya in Watareka, Padukka for those in prison custody, more..

Secretary Defence graces Christmas under the Stars

Dec 21 (MoD) Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa graced the Christmas Carol eve held under the theme of 'Christmas Under the Stars' organized by the Urban Development Authority yesterday (19) at the Independent Arcade, Colombo. Distinguished Chief Guest of the Christmas Eve festive was His Eminence - Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. Chairperson of the MOD Seva Vanitha Unit Mrs. Ioma Rajapaksa was also present at the occasion. more..

Education Ministry to identify Best Classroom Practices in govt schools

Dec 21 (ST) Education Ministry has decided to identify Best successful Classroom Practices with regard to teaching -learning process in State schools, to be included in a Resource Manual to be compiled next year. Ministry also intends to prepare a Resource Directory to assist in developing professional competencies of teachers at school level, and raise students’ level of achievements. Education Ministry Secretary, more..

President calls Pakistani PM; condemns terrorist attack, conveys condolences

Dec 21 (MoD) President Rajapaksa called Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday to express condolences to the families of those who were killed in the terrorist attack at a school in Peshawar. President condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms and particularly highlighted the brutally of targeting innocent children while in school. Recalling how Sri Lanka suffered from terrorism for nearly three decades, President Rajapaksa told PM Sharif that Sri Lanka more..

Maithri, Ranil to address business community on Tuesday

Dec 21 (Island) Common Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena will make his case for a united and prosperous future for Sri Lanka at a meeting with the business community at a key forum on Tuesday 10.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. at Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel.  Accompanying Sirisena will be UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who will speak on the policy framework for boosting socio-economic development within a stable policy environment. They will address the business community at more..

Sri Lanka hope to solve ODI opener riddle in NZ Tests

Dec 21 (CI) Sri Lanka head coach Marvan Atapattu has said that the tour of New Zealand was always going to be a challenge for his team, but welcomed it as a timely one that will help them prepare for the World Cup. "Touring New Zealand is always going to be a challenge with the weather and the wickets. It is up to us to adapt and to be at our best. It's a challenge for us like all other teams coming to Sri Lanka," said Atapattu more..

Sri Lankans struggle on seamers' day

Dec 21 (CI) Sri Lankans were reduced to 173 for 9 on their first day of competitive cricket in New Zealand, but had struck back through their own seamers before the close of play, in the two-day warm-up encounter in Queenstown. Lahiru Thirimanne top-scored for the visitors, scoring 50 with four fours and a six from the no. 4 spot vacated by Mahela Jayawardene's retirement. Although Sri Lankans played batsmen down to no. 8 in the 12-a-side match (11 batting and bowling), more..

EVKS Likens Rajapaksa to Prabhakaran

Dec 21 (ENS) TNCC president EVKS Elangovan on Friday compared Sri Lankan president Rajapaksa with LTTE leader V Prabhakaran and said that he considered both as ‘evils’. Speaking to reporters after the party’s State executive committee meeting here, he said while Prabhakaran was a “terrorist”, Rajapaksa massacred Tamils, and added that his party was opposed to both. The TNCC chief vowed to fight for the rights of Tamil Nadu if Karnataka was adamant in constructing dams more..

Postal voting begins tomorrow

Dec 21 (Island) As approximately 54,700 postal voters prepare to cast their ballot in a bid to select their next president on Dec 22, 23, 24 and 26, CMEV led election observers will mobilize 1,000 static observers to ensure that everything is in order, Manjula Gajanayake, National Co-ordinator, CMEV said yesterday. Member of the police will cast their postal votes on the last day – Dec 26 – which has been reserved for them, officials said. more..

Plot to tamper with postal vote

Dec 21 (CT) Trade Union Coalition for a Just Society (TUCJS) said some reliable information had been received about a plot that is being hatched by the govt, to interfere with the postal voting scheduled for 23 and 24 Dec. Therefore, they have requested their members to be aware of the danger to their postal ballot and to take every precaution to safeguard it. TUCJS stressed that the Election Commissioner, monitoring groups and political Party representatives should take note of the dangers that more..

Towards One World: The Memoirs of C.G.Weeramantry

Dec 21 (Island) This is the third volume of the memoirs of C.G.Weeramantry (`Christie’ to his many friends all over the world, Judge Weeramantry to international lawyers, and `Professor’ to me). The first volume dealt with his childhood and early career in Sri Lanka and the second with his time as a Professor of Law at Monash University in Australia. This volume continues his story from his time on the International Court of Justice to the present. It tells of his experiences on the ICJ and more..

Ten years on: Orphaned boys reach out in Sri Lanka

Dec 21 (CG) Two brothers orphaned in the devastating Boxing Day tsunami are opening a children’s home in Sri Lanka. Robert and Paul Forkan, were aged 17 and 15, when their parents were swept away in the 2004 tidal wave. The teenagers survived the horror during a holiday in Sri Lanka, along with their two sisters Mattie, who was 12 and Rosie, then eight. Now ten years later the brothers are to return to more..

Restoring the Jaffna Fort

Dec 21 (Island) According to Phillipus Baldeaues, the Dutch cleric and celebrated historian and writer, the Jaffna fort erected by the Portuguese ‘was not be taken by storm, owing to the unusual height of its walls, nor was it to be effected by mines owing to its rocky soil, nor was it to be leveled with the thundering of our cannons owing to the triple thick walls.’ The oldest extant Dutch map of the Jaffna town dating back to 1658 made by a Batavian map maker further confirms its substantial more..

Sri Lankan maid commits suicide in Saudi

Dec 21 (E24|7) A Sri Lankan housemaid committed suicide in the bathroom at her employers’ house in Saudi Arabia and police said they were investigating the incident. The maid’s Saudi employer found the maid dead after smashing the bathroom door when she failed to answer his repeated calls, ‘Sada’ newspaper said. It quoted police spokesman Colonel Ziad Al Rugaiti as saying the maid committed a suicide and that police are investigating her motive. ‘Sada’ did not say how the maid more..

SLMC to leave the govt within next 48 hours

Dec 21 (AM) The SLMC will leave the govt within the next 48 hours. A senior spokesman said it has already decided to pledge support to Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena. “However,” he said, “there are two or three people who believe that the party should remain with the govt. They can make their own decision and leave the party. But, the SLMC has arrived at a collective decision to support Maithripala Sirisena.” more..

Catholic Church ready to receive Pope

Dec 21 (CT) A Papal visit is no doubt a great privilege and honour to a country and the fact that a Papal visit is such a rare occurrence is further cause for great pride to that particular country. From the moment the Vatican announced that Pope Francis will be visiting Sri Lanka, tens of thousands of Catholics began preparations to welcome the Pontiff. This will be the third time a Pope visits Sri Lanka, the first time being, Pope Paul VI on more..

Opposition activists attacked in Hambanthota by toy pistol mayor

Dec 21 (AM) A street protest involving Opposition members and activists has been attacked in Hambantota this morning, opposition sources said. The attack has allegedly been carried out by Hambanthota Mayor Eraj Fernando who rose to fame due to “toy pistol” controversy. Britto Fernando, Jayathilaka Bandara, Philip Dissanayake and several activists have been attacked by goons, opposition sources added. more..

Defence Ministry clearance required for foreign observers visiting North

Dec 21 (ST) International Observers (IO) visiting the country to monitor the presidential election will require a ‘special clearance’ along with a recommendation from the Elections Commissioner, to visit the Northern Province for monitoring purposes, Brig. Ruwan Wanigasuriya said. “We have not lifted the restrictions on travel to the North. Foreign nationals will not be allowed to visit the North under more..

Bad weather causing havoc again

Dec 21 (ST) Bad weather is causing havoc again, with many parts of the country experiencing heavy rains, floods, landslides and strong winds. The North Central, Eastern, Uva and Central provinces are currently experiencing heavy rains while floods are reported in the Anuradhapura, Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa, Mannar and Puttalam Districts. Over 5,000 persons are at present reported displaced due the floods triggered by more..

Monitors accuse local govt politicos

Dec 21 (NS) Election monitors have accused local govt politicians of being behind some of the most serious incidents of election violence, while police have also confirmed at least 10 Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) members are under arrest and more are being sought for incidents of election violence since the handing over of nominations on Dec 10. CaFFE, Executive Director, Keerthi Tennakoon stated that local govt politicians are the people who more..

Polls monitors at only 300 of 1,115 counting centres

Dec 21 (ST) The Elections Commissioner will permit polls monitors to be at only 300 of the 1,115 counting centres for the presidential election. The decision was conveyed to the election monitors on Friday at a meeting with Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya. Seven election monitoring groups will have to share the 300 slots among them in consultation with the Commissioner, they were told. more..

Buddhist monk among victims, man stripped naked: Police assault in Batticaloa

Dec 21 (Island) A group of civilians including Buddhist priests led by Rev Ampitiye Sumanaratna Thero yesterday alleged they were attacked by the police at around 6.30 p.m. on Friday in front of the Batticaloa Police Station. "The CMEV received a complaint from Rev Ampitiye Sumanaratna Thero alleging that a group of civilians protesting that their voting rights should be ensured were attacked by the police in front of more..

'Media has a special role covering election'

Dec 21 (Island) "If the Dhammapada, Bible or Holy Quran is revered by people, so is the media," asserted the Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya emphasizing on the decisive role played by the media in shaping the mindsets of the public at a panel discussion on Election Reporting held on Wednesday at the Sri Lanka Press Institute. The event was organized by the Press Complaints Commission of SL. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Dec 21 (ST) A serving Govt official in the Anuradhapura District held a ceremony and distributed free mobile telephones to retired Grama Niladharis. This is the gist of a complaint made to the Commissioner of Elections by the district branch of the Bar Association of SL. It alleges the official in question would be acting as a Returning Officer on polls day and hence it violated the legal guidelines set out by Commissioner of Elections. more..

Sirisena must avoid mixed signals

Dec 21 (Island) In last week’s column ("Challenges after Regime Change") I made the following comment (abridged): "There is alarm in the minority communities of an alleged Maithri-JHU anti Tamil-Muslim alliance which could be a threat to them and to 13A. This is endangering 18% of the vote (Ceylon Tamils and Muslims; 24% if you count Upcountry Tamils), but what for? The JHU can pull hardly 3% of the ultra-chauvinist vote away from Mahinda". This was in response to panic buttons that more..

Remember Vaddukoddai

Dec 21 (CT) Every single vote in an election is important. More so, in a national election such as at a presidential election or at a general (parliamentary) election. At times, parties and presidential candidates win or lose an election by a hairsbreadth, due to the receipt or non receipt of 'such crucial' votes. In Sri Lanka's 67-year old parliamentary election history, this has happened only once. Though UNP led by Dudley Senanayake won the March 1960 parliamentary poll, more..

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