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Arjuna bats for common candidate

Nov 21 (FT) Sportsman turned politician Arjuna Ranatunga, who is currently in the political spotlight following his name being proposed for the highly-discussed common candidate, affirms he can pose a challenge to President Rajapaksa at the upcoming presidential election. An Opposition MP, the former Cricket Captain says: “When you look at some of the leaders who have run the country, I am not second to them. more..

Editorial: Of that elephantine dilemma

Nov 21 (Island) Everybody knew there would be a snap presidential election early next year and now President Rajapaksa has announced it officially. SLFP has unanimously decided that he will be the presidential candidate. Who will be fielded by either the UNP or the Opposition to face President Rajapaksa? The UNP’s kept on saying it would reveal the name of its candidate immediately after a presidential election was declared. Speculation is rife that UNP is likely to announce more..

Truth or falsity, or is it the communal divide?

Nov 21 (FT) Any intelligent person will agree that communal politics have been the bane of this country. Instead of looking at issues from a national point of view, the communal perspective encourages a narrower approach, each group claiming as large a piece of the pie as an entitlement, indifferent to the consequences to the whole. It reduces men to the lowest definition; their particularities are emphasised while ignoring commonalities with the rest. The idea of a nation ought to bind people together more..

'India needs more time to resolve fishermen's issue'

Nov 21 (CT) BJP Global Convener, Vijay Jolly, says although India appreciates Mahinda Rajapaksa releasing the five convicted fishermen, BJP does not want the Indian fishermen to be harassed, arrested or prosecuted during the two-year moratorium demanded by the Govt of India. Q: President Rajapaksa has agreed to pardon and release the five Indian fishermen serving a death sentence in Sri Lanka without any conditions; more..

Apparels proceeding to USD 5bn growth but issues seen as remaining

Nov 21 (Island) 'The apparel industry has seen the tangible benefits of the implementation of the anti-competition bill and has returned to double-digit growth, but future growth will have to be built on our own initiatives and entrepreneurship as we lack favourable trading arrangements, tilting the playing field in favour of our competitors, Saif Jafferjee, Chairman, Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association said. "Nevertheless, in the short term, with the current growth momentum we will be on line more..

Dr Jagath Alwis: ‘Personality of the Year Asia – 2014’

Nov 21 (Island) Dr Jagath Alwis, Chief Technical Officer of Ceylinco Insurance was honoured as the ‘Personality of the Year – 2014’, at the 18th Asia Insurance Industry Awards held in Taipei, Taiwan. The prestigious ‘Asia Insurance Industry Awards’, recognised as the zenith of the Insurance Industry in Asia, is now in its 18th year, having become a much sought-after mark of excellence and peer group endorsement, for insurance companies and professionals in the region. more..

Science and technology in the forefront of development

Nov 21 (SO) The week dedicated to science ended with the World Science Day celebrations on Nov 10. How many of us noticed the importance of it other than few programs at schools? Sri Lanka is struggling to get out of the middle income trap fighting against the turmoil in the world economy. Countries with several similarities to Sri Lanka made successful breakthroughs by thinking out of the box. more..

Karu may be the best common candidate

Nov 21 (CT) The opposition wants to win the presidential election. Fielding a common candidate definitely would increase the chances of winning. It is common sense now. But any common candidate is not a good candidate. Therefore, it seems that the selection of common candidate is not that easy. In my view the best nominee is Karu. Let me explain why? Firstly, the UNP being the largest party in the opposition must be invited to nominate the common candidate. more..

How will the SL electorate behave ?

Nov 21 (CT) We would not be talking of a decent and a free election this 2015 January. Minister Maithripala Sirisena was once heard saying he could even go back to the village in a bus and stay in his old house. But most would not feel comfortable taking such decisions and that makes this election a very decisive election. Especially to those who are in the regime or decide to remain with the regime. A total voting population of around 15 million as of now would decide if they should go or stay back. more..

UNP to make common candidate decision on Friday

Nov 20 (AM) The UNP is to make a final decision on its presidential candidate on Friday, at a crucial working committee meeting, a senior spokesman of the party said. UNP Leader Ranil Wcickremesinghe, who is now back in the country after a brief foreign trip, has instructed General Secretary Tissa Attanayake to convene the Working Committee on Friday. Three names have already been proposed as potential candidates more..

Families disappointed on being told fishermen going to Delhi

Nov 20 (PTI) Families of five Indian fishermen released yesterday in Sri Lanka after commutation of their death penalty were left disappointed after waiting for hours to see them at the airport here, as officials told them they would be flying directly to Delhi. The families had left Rameswaram early this morning and come to the airport at about 8 AM, as they were told the fishermen would arrive here from Colombo by a Sri Lankan flight, wife of one of the fishermen, told reporters. more..

20 to quit govt. with Maithri

Nov 20 (SM) At the UNP working committee meeting tomorrow it is to be decided whether UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe or Minister Maithripala Sirisena is to be fielded as the common candidate. If Minister Sirisena is to be fielded as the common candidate, JVP and the JHU have agreed to extend their support. According to UNP sources, the contesting of the presidential election by a common front and under a common symbol is to be confirmed at the UNP WC meeting tomorrow. more..

UNP slams attack on Rathana thera’s temple

Nov 20 (CG) UNP condemned the attack on Sadaham Sevana Buddhist Temple, residence of Venerable Athureliye Rathana Thero, MP representing the JHU. UNP noted that it was only a couple of days ago that the Venerable Monk and his General Secretary, Champika Ranawaka made their groundbreaking announcement of leaving the present Govt. “No sooner than they made this announcement the hired thugs of those who more..

Navin boycotts budget debate

Nov 20 (CT) Minister Navin Dissanayake did not take part in the Parliament debate on his Ministry yesterday. In recent times, the relevant minister had always been present when the votes on his or her ministry was taken up for debate. Votes on 11 ministries were taken up for debate yesterday and when the vote on the Ministry of State Management Reforms was taken, neither govt MPs or Opposition MPs spoke. There is a rumour that Dissanayake would cross over and more..

'My dad armed Mahattaya to split LTTE'

Nov 20 (CG) UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa says his father armed Gopalaswamy Mahendraraja, also known as Mahattaya, in an attempt to split the LTTE. Speaking at an event in Tissamaharama today, Premadasa said that his father, former PM Ranasinghe Premadasa, had not armed Mahattaya to split the country but split the LTTE. He said that the Govt is however spreading false allegations against his father saying that he had strengthened the LTTE during the war. more..

UK brothers orphaned in tsunami repay Sri Lankan support

Nov 20 (AFP) Orphaned by the 2004 tsunami, two British brothers have told their story in a book out this week and unveiled plans to build a Sri Lankan children's home, using funds from their flip-flop business. Rob and Paul Forkan were aged 17 and 15 when the giant wave hit their hotel in Weligama, and survived by clinging onto a roof. Their two younger siblings, Rosie and Matty, also survived disaster, but there was no sign of more..

GMOA: Personal health screening and record system on the cards

Nov 20 (Island) Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara with the concurrence of relevant stakeholders such as the Health Ministry, Public Administration, Salaries and Cadre Commission and Finance Ministry will submit a Cabinet paper to initiate a personal health screening and maintain personal health record system for every Sri Lankan, according to GMOA. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said that in addition to that the restructuring of entire administrative system more..

'Facebook is responsible for failure of new players'

Nov 20 (AM) Minister Mahindanada Aluthgamage has said that the unsatisfactory performance of younger cricketers was partly due to social media such as facebook. He has said that the recent Indian tour was undertaken to give young players a chance. Although losing all five matches was a unsavory experience, it was not a catastrophy he said, adding that if such defeats had occurred during the upcoming tours of Australia and New Zealand, one could say it was a serious situation. more..

Sri Lanka ranked 36 (out of 162 countries) in Global Terrorism Index

Nov 20 (WP) Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar are three of the 13 countries worldwide identified as being at higher risk for terrorism, according to the recently-released Global Terrorism Index. The report, published by the Institute for Economic and Peace in Australia, found that 82% of terrorist attacks occur in just five countries - Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Syria. The next five countries seeing a significant number of more..

'Nominations will be called within 3 weeks'

Nov 20 (AM) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that nominations would be called for the Presidential Election will be called after 16 days and before 21 days. The election will be held within 45 to 65 days from today. Deshapriya added that he will issue the date for nominations and the date of the election within the next 48 hours. President Rajapaksa today signed the proclamation declaring his intention to hold a Presidential Election seeking his third term. more..

Protesters want 3 Lankans also freed

Nov 20 (CG) A protest was staged in Jaffna today calling for the release of the three Sri Lankans who were sentenced to death together with five Indians. The five Indians were yesterday pardoned by President Rajapaksa but the three Sri Lankans are still in jail serving a life sentence. The family members of the Sri Lankans and others staged a protest walk in Jaffna which began from opposite the Jaffna prison this morning. The five Indians were freed following protests in India and more..

Belarus to strengthen cooperation with SL in international parliamentary organizations

Nov 20 (BelTA) During the official visit of Belarusian parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka, Chairman of House of Representatives of Belarus National Assembly Vladimir Andreichenko met with Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa. “Belarusian side noted the need to enhance the coordination in international parliamentary organizations. Main topic of the meeting was the development of Belarusian-Lankan inter-parliamentary dialogue. more..

Now, sugar cane farmers contract killer kidney disease

Nov 20 (Island) Around 1,500 to 2,000 young and middle-aged sugar cane farmers in Wellawaya and Buttala have developed renal failure, the National Project for the Prevention of Kidney Disease (NPPKD) said. NPPKD Director Dr. Channa Jayasumana said that sugar cane farmers had of late begun to complain of difficulty in urination, abdomen cramps and mostly they were suffering from polyuria (excessive urination) and some of them were undergoing treatment. more..

Health officials fly out in droves

Nov 20 (Island) Several high ranking Health Ministry officials including the Health Secretary and the Director General Health Services had left the country on official and private visits during the past few days. Among others who have left the country are Senior Additional Secretary and five out of seven Deputy Directors General for Laboratory Services, Public Health Services II, Medical Services II, Planning II, Education, Training and Research and Dental Health Services. more..

'Full SC determination will not be tabled'

Nov 20 (CG) The full Supreme Court (SC) opinion that President Mahinda Rajapaksa can contest for a third term in office does not need to be tabled in Parliament, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva informed Parliament. UNP has been pushing for the opinion of the SC to be tabled in Parliament so that it becomes a public document. However the Minister said that opinion was only conveyed to President and does not need to be made public. more..

Police look for place where LTTE killed and burnt 80 cops

Nov 20 (Island) Acting on information elicited from LTTE cadres, police have begun an operation to locate the place in the Oddusudan jungle where the intelligence head of Mount Lavinia police, Inspector P. Jeyaratnam and 80 other security forces and police personnel were lined up, shot dead and burnt by the LTTE. Under interrogation, the LTTE cadres have told the police that the bodies of slain security forces personnel and policemen were burnt on old tyres. Jeyaratnam was shot dead and more..

PM: MR will welcome Pope Francis soon after securing a third term

Nov 20 (Island) PM D.M. Jayaratne said that JHU’s decision to campaign against the abolition of the executive presidency wouldn’t affect President Rajapaksa’s victory at the forthcoming presidential poll. Having secured a third term, President Rajapaksa would welcome Pope Francis on Jan 13, the PM said. He asserted that the political situation would be totally different when Pope Francis arrived here. It would be a blessing for the newly re-elected President to welcome the Pope, the PM said. more..

Wasantha Senanayake crosses over to UNP

Nov 20 (AM) UPFA Gampaha District MP Wasantha Senanayake joined the UPFA a short while ago. Speaking a short while ago at Sirikotha, Senanayake said that he considers transparency to be vital and the present constitution was behind many of the ills the country was facing. He said that the executive presidency should not be abolished but reformed. He has been in the forefront criticizing the govt on several accounts. more..

More to be arrested

Nov 20 (CT) The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) revealed that investigations are being conducted to arrest more suspects, in connection with the assault and sexual harassment of a Scottish couple at a night club, by Minister Mervyn Silva's son Malaka and his associates. Seven suspects, including Malaka Silva are currently in remand custody. "Based on the CCTV footage from the nightclub, it is clear that there are some more suspects, other than those already in remand custody, more..

Battle begins...

Nov 20 (CT) The proclamation calling a snap presidential election was issued by the President last night. The incumbent seeks a third term. The joint opposition is in search for a common candidate. Of all presidential elections, this election appears to be crucial. Be that as it may, all aspirants should put forward their credentials as serious thinkers about the nation's issues, at a time the people are faced with untold hardships unable to cope with the ever rising cost of living. more..

EU sanctions on SL fisheries sector - Part 1

Nov 20 (Island) When I became minister, Sri Lanka had not been represented in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission from 2007 to 2010. No replies had been sent to IOTC notifications either and the IOTC was about to cancel our membership. If that had happened, we would not be able to export fish to any country. I went for the IOTC sessions in Brisbane, Australia because they insisted that SL should be represented at more..

Hambantota gallows to be conserved

Nov 20 (Island) Archaeology Department has taken steps to conserve the gallows and a guard room set up during the colonial period in Hambantota. Director General of Archaeology Dr. Senarath Dissanayake said that the gallows and guard room would be conserved as a tourist attraction under the programme launched by the UDA. At present the department’s Chemical Conservation unit and Architectural Conservations unit had jointly launched a project to conserve damaged parts of more..

Sri Lanka stocks close higher

Nov 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed 0.07% higher with the price gains in Nestle Lanka, brokers said. All Share Price Index closed 5.23 points higher at 7,530.33, up 0.07%. S&P SL20 closed 2.12 points higher at 4,190.93, up 0.05%. Turnover was 1.69 billion rupees, down from 1.83 billion rupees a day earlier with 92 stocks closed positive against 94 negative. Aggregate value of all off-the-floor deals only represented 5% of the daily turnover. Piramal Glass Ceylon closed 10 cents higher at 5.20 more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lankan rupee forwards fall on importer dollar demand

Nov 20 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee forwards ended weaker on Thursday due to dollar demand from importers, but moral suasion by the central bank limited its fall, dealers said. The local currency is under pressure as imports continue to rise on stable foreign exchange and low interest rates, they said. The rupee will likely remain weak due to rising seasonal imports, at least through November and then start to inch up in December on remittances, they added. more..

Eris and Elections

Nov 20 (CT) In modern parlance it would be called a prequel – to the Trojan War. Eris, Goddess of Discord, appears uninvited at the wedding banquet of Peleus and Thetis and throws the eponymous apple amongst the assembled guests, seeding collision, strife and war. Mahinda Rajapaksa may have intended to do an Eris vis-ŕ-vis the Opposition with his decision to have an early presidential election. But his gambit seems to have backfired. Opposition is indubitably at loggerheads, but more..