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Israeli pharmaceuticals giant to help manage chronic kidney disease in SL

Dec 14 (Island) An Israeli company, listed as the world’s number one generic supplier of pharmaceuticals, has entered the Sri Lankan market to provide therapeutic support to manage chronic kidney diseases, which have witnessed a surge in recent years. Teva Pharmaceuticals says its time-tested, high quality medications are used the world over to treat kidney-related diseases. Joseph M. Grinyo, Professor of Medicine, University of Barcilona at a workshop held at more..

Daya Gamage distances himself from opposition's presidential campaign

Dec 14 (AM) Asian Mirror can now reveal that UNP National Organizer Daya Damage has distanced himself from the national campaign of the common opposition. He has confined himself to the meetings and propaganda activities in the district of Amrapa – his electorate. The exact reasons for Gamage’s move are still not clear. However, sources close to him said he was disappointed with certain developments of more..

Rupee bubble to burst, similar to 2011-12

Dec 14 (CT) The rupee bubble may burst sooner or later, similar to what happened three years ago, sources said. Despite depreciating pressure on the rupee due to US dollar demand, Central Bank of Sri Lanka has continued to defend the exchange rate (ER) at the Rs 131.10-Rs 132 level to the US dollar by a mix of moral suasion and selling dollars on a selective basis from its foreign exchange (FX) reserves to the market and to the Government of Sri Lanka at discounted rates. more..

Barking up the Jilmaat tree

Dec 14 (Island) So we come to yet another time of electioneering where politicians run a circus to amuse the rest of us. And, to a large extent we oblige, exchanging cartoons and videos via social media and even reading posters and cutouts smiling down on us from giant hoardings. Almost exactly five years ago, I had to lead a team from the University of Colombo School of Computing to assist the Elections Commissioner in the final processing of results. more..

'Agriculture sector Too many contributing too little'

Dec 14 (CT) The country's agriculture sector has a large proportion of people who contribute lesser than expected to the economy, burdening Sri Lanka's overall population with the extensive support provided by the State through higher tax and food prices. According to Pathfinder Foundation, scarce resources, such as human resources and finance from other dynamic areas, which are complaining of labour and more..

How can a parliament of cross-overs deliver on the promises of the Opposition?

Dec 14 (Island) Depending on who is saying it, there have been half a dozen or more characterizations of the forthcoming presidential election. I for one called it a presidential referendum and drew an uneasy parallel to the 1982 referendum. Two former Peradeniya academics with deep roots in the left movement have offered different takes on the election. According to one of them the coming election could be the most historic since the island’s first ever election under universal franchise more..

Presidential Elections 2015

Dec 14 (Island) The cause and the course of the campaign for 2015 presidential election have to be confined to the reassertion of democratic principles. Personalities should not be posited as the key elements since they are, as in all else, passing features in the passage of time. This country has been suddenly put on full alert. Wires have gone live all over, market places are alive with the news that a common candidate for the 2015 Presidential elections had emerged supported by more..

Polls chief to thwart plan to rig postal voting

Dec 14 (ST) For the first time in SL, an Elections Department official will be present to supervise postal voting wherever it is held, Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said. Move followed fears expressed by political parties that malpractice could take place at postal voting centres. He said there were allegations that in some instances state sector employees were being told to show their ballot papers to their bosses more..

Sri Lanka hooked by fresh conditions for exports to EU

Dec 14 (ST) A Sri Lanka delegation that had talks with the European Union to avert a ban on fish exports has been slapped with fresh demands. The fresh demands include establishing a mechanism to inspect and monitor all multiday vessels, delegation led by Minister Sarath Amunugama was told. Other demands put forward by the EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs are a proper Vessel Monitoring System, more..

TNA to announce its stand on Sri Lankan polls in a month

Dec 14 (Hindu) SL Tamil politician and MP Seenithambi Yogeswaran has said the TNA, an amalgamation of Tamil parties, will announce by this month-end its stand on the presidential elections. Mr. Yogeswaran, who was here to attend a conference organised by the Hindu Makkal Katchi, said the TNA wanted to keep the cards close to its chest because it did not want its decision to influence the outcome of the elections. more..

Britain to maintain ban on LTTE

Dec 14 (ST) Britain’s ban on the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organisation will remain and is not affected by the decision of the European Union’s General Court annulling some of the sanctions imposed on the LTTE by the European Union. A Foreign and Commonwealth Office source said, “Britain’s domestic proscription of the LTTE is unaffected by this judgment.” He said Britain had denounced the LTTE as a brutal terrorist more..

A conspiracy at play?

Dec 14 (SL) The govt insists that a conspiracy backed by the pro-LTTE diaspora is very much at play ahead of the Presidential election next month and a few notable incidents in recent times prove the conspiracy theory is not fake but very much real. External Affairs Minister, G.L. Peiris, speaking to The Sunday Leader, said that some foreign diplomats based in Sri Lanka cross the line through their actions. more..

EU monitors rejected

Dec 14 (SL) A request to consider election monitors from the European Union (EU) has been rejected by four Presidential candidates. Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that he can only invite election monitors from the unions or forums only if the Department of Election or the country holds memberships of those unions. He said that if he is to invite any other monitors from organisations which Sri Lanka does not hold more..

Election ‘terror’ in Kolonnawa?

Dec 14 (NS) UPFA MP and party organizer for Kolonnawa Duminda Silva scoffed at claims made by supporters of Maithripala Sirisena to the effect that ‘terror stalks the electorate’. He was responding to allegations made by recent defector to the Opposition camp and former Chairman, Kotkawatte-Mulleriyawa Pradeshiya Sabha Prasanna Solangaarachchi. Solangaarachchi told reporters in Colombo a few days ago that more..

Rave festival relocated after protests

Dec 14 (NS) In the wake of protests by environmentalists and subsequent media attention, organizers have relocated a ‘rave festival’ that was due to be held within the Rekawa Marine Turtle Sanctuary. Accordingly, the ‘Atman Festival’ has now been relocated to a private land close to Ella, ‘100 kilometers from any beach areas, and away from any wildlife protection areas at risk,’ according to Facebook post from organizers. more..

An election that split many political parties

Dec 14 (CT) As crossovers continue to and fro, the Presidential Election fever began to rise from last Monday as the two main contenders, President Rajapaksa and Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena handed in their nominations to the Elections Commissioner, Mahinda Deshapriya, at the Election Secretariat as hundreds of their supporters gathered outside that premises. Mahinda and Maithri, after they parted following more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Dec 14 (ST) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya, on the one hand, acknowledged the role of the state and private media equally when he spoke to the nation last Monday. On the other, more importantly, he made clear that both should act in a fair and just manner in their coverage in the run-up to the presidential election. The remarks came in a speech he made when receiving nominations at his office last Monday for more..

The challenges after regime change

Dec 14 (Island) The "etc" refers to a few small Left groups such as the Frontline Socialists and the USP’s Siritunga Jayasooriya who, like the larger JVP, are disoriented by the Common Candidate (CC) phenomenon, the un-socialist MoU, and the UNP-Chandrika-My3-Fonseka-JHU chop-suey (formal name: National Democratic Front, NDF). Some readers may find the leftist lingo in the first part of this piece a little awkward, but it is imperative to address the JVP, FSP and like minded more..

Lead poisoning, watch for tainted toys

Dec 14 (CT) A recent news report quoting a doctor attached to the National Hospital of Sri Lanka, Colombo, said schoolchildren are susceptible to lead poisoning due to the use of lead laced paint in the country. While, in the developed world, using lead in the manufacture of paint is banned or allowed to be sold on the condition of not having more than the maximum permissible limits stipulated, similar laws are also on board in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless, such laws, more often than not, are observed in more..

UPFA showpieces Tissa; Maithri offers Rs. 10,000 pay hike and petrol at Rs. 50

Dec 13 (ST) The ‘star of the week’, the UNP’s former General Secretary Tissa Attanayake was on board the SriLankan Airlines airbus A 330 with President Rajapaksa, wife Shiranthi and son Yoshita when it rolled out from the runway of the BIA last Tuesday afternoon. For Attanayake, who had been an Opposition politician until much less than 24 hours earlier, it was a signal honour. There are more than a 100 ministers more..

Lawyers Collective appalled at election malpractices and fraud

Dec 13 (Island) The Lawyers Collective, committed to a free and fair election, and the Rule of Law, is shocked to learn the level of polls violations committed by the UPFA. The use of State resources, the police and defence establishment, bribery, and ‘treating’ of electors (including Public Servants), has been unprecedented. Recalling retired IGP Mahinda Balasuriya, who was serving as a politically appointed ambassador from UAE, and placing him as Secretary of Ministry of Law more..

Mahinda - Maithri Debate in the offing

Dec 14 (CT) Various groups of professionals and intellects are now preparing the ground for a debate between the two main contenders, in the upcoming Presidential Election, Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena. The proposed debate will cover subjects such as democracy, good governance, and the independence of the judiciary. These groups say that it could either be a one-day debate or a series. They are planning to inform the two contenders about the proposal next week. more..

Cyber war for presidency

Dec 14 (ST) UPFA has accused opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena of hijacking its Facebook account – but an opposition spokesman has defended Mr. Sirisena’s right to use the account. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premajayantha has complained that the Facebook account is now being used by Mr. Sirisena for his election campaign and demanded that it be restored to the UPFA. more..

Sirisena’s assets declaration not gettable despite promised access

Dec 13 (Island) Although presidential challenger Maithripala Sirisena filed his assets declaration with the Elections Commissioner last week and said it was open for public scrutiny, efforts by the Sunday Island to obtain a copy proved futile. In a public statement the candidate said, "copies of my asset declaration are available at my campaign office which is open to all members of the public, if they wish to peruse it," shortly after handing over his nomination papers. more..

Ranil puts KP on notice

Dec 13 (SL) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has put former LTTE chief arms procurer Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) on notice saying a UNP govt will take legal action against him. Responding to a question posed by this journalist on twitter, Wickremesinghe said that normal legal channels will be used to deal with KP if the UNP come to power. KP is wanted in India over the murder of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the UNP has been consistently questioning the freedom more..

Govt borrows Rs 150 Billion

Dec 13 (CT) Govt and State Corporation local bank borrowings increased by Rs 149.7 billion or 9% to Rs 1.8 trillion as at end October on a year on year basis, latest Central Bank data showed. Market sources said that among the reasons for such increases were new employment opportunities provided in these two sectors, which have upped their costs, coupled with having to take bank loans to make loss making institutions, such as more..

Gammanpila shuns privileges

Dec 13 (CT) Former Western Provincial Councillor, Udaya Gammanpila, who pledged his support to President Rajapaksa several days ago, refused to accept his previous portfolio when it was offered to him. Gammanpila, who left the govt two weeks ago, to pledge support to the Common candidate Maithripala Sirisena, decided to resign from the JHU several days ago and support the President at the January 2015 Presidential Election. Gammanpila said the decision to leave his party and more..

Recovery of black box now a matter before Court of Inquiry

Dec 14 (Island) The present status of the black box of the SLAF Antonov-32, which crashed at Hokandara last Friday, is not known as it is now a matter within the purview of the Court of Inquiry, Wing Commander, Gihan Seneviratne said. "I am not privy to such information", he explained, when asked when the black box of the Russian-built aircraft had been recovered. The Court of Inquiry appointed to probe the crash will submit a final report to the SLAF Commander, he said. more..

Cracks appear in Finance Ministry over presidential election spending

Dec 14 (ST) Cracks are appearing in the Finance Ministry over possible pressure on officials to resort to extravagant pre-polls spending. Pressure is being exerted by officials on the Treasury Secretary to direct heads of Finance Ministry divisions to adhere to administration and financial regulations in monitoring the spending and handling of state resources by institutions coming under the ministry in the run up to more..

Long thought dead, man returns home after 25 year detention

Dec 13 (ST) A resident from Chunnakam in Jaffna returned home on Friday after more than 25 years in a detention camp, residents said. S. Vairavanathan was arrested at Armour Street in Colombo soon after a bomb blast in 1990. He was 28 then. Since then, he had been detained at a detention camp in Hambantota for 25 years without any charges being filed against him. Both his parents died not knowing where their son was after they had searched for him for a long period without success. more..

Elections Commissioner moves to free venues for Sirisena’s meeting

Dec 14 (Island) Asked whether his office would intervene in the event that the govt continued to deny the common opposition venues for their meetings, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said, "my office has already intervened and through our Returning Officers have sorted all these issues in the electoral districts of Kurunegala, Kotmale and Attanagalle." He said his Returning Officers have spoken to the heads of the relevant Municipal Councils, and Pradeshiya Sabhas more..

All but one candidate file assets declarations

Dec 14 (Island) 18 out of the 19 candidates running for president have submitted their asset declarations, Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said. One more candidate has promised to make his declarations by Monday though he has under the law one month to do so from the time of submission of nominations. Asked whether the two principal candidates have submitted their asset declarations, more..

Funerals of three airmen today

Dec 14 (NS) The funerals of three of the four airmen killed in last Friday’s Antanov-32 plane crash will be held today. Air Force Spokesman Wing Commander Gihan Seneviratne said the funerals of Squadron Leader J.M.W.N. Abeywardena (Captain), Flight Lieutenant A.A.D.T. Amaratunge (Co-Pilot) and Corporal W.W.A.N. Wijeratne will be held with full military honors. The funeral of Flight Sergeant M.W.L. Priyantha (Flight Engineer) will take place at a later date this week. more..

TNA to study manifesto

Dec 14 (SL) The TNA is yet to study the election manifesto of the opposition common candidate Maithripala Sirisena. According to TNA MP Suresh Premachandran, the TNA has not yet taken any stand regarding to whom they would support at the presidential election. However, he added that there may have been some unofficial level discussions with certain political parties regarding the matter. “We have not received any official invite from the opposition common candidate for any form more..

Fiji sevens coach alarmed at exodus to SL

Dec 14 (AFP) Fiji's rugby sevens coach Ben Ryan is concerned at the loss of talented players overseas, particularly to Sri Lanka, saying it threatens to derail the Pacific islanders' preparations for the Rio Olympics. Ryan said a huge number of players had been lured offshore, estimating 30 Fijian wingers were plying their trade in France alone, including 2014 world sevens player of the year Samisoni Viriviri, who recently signed for more..

12% interest offer to senior citizens with restrictions

Dec 14 (ST) The recent budget offer of 12% interest on deposits held by senior citizens, aged 60 years and over, in state banks is being restricted to a cap of Rs.1 million and strictly one account per person, bankers said. Central Bank (CB) has directed that applicants should make a declaration that they have one account that would be entitled to this above-market interest rate to prevent senior citizens from having multiple accounts and getting 12% interest on all. Several senior citizens said that more..

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