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Shelters fill up after deadly Sri Lanka mudslide

Oct 31 (AP) Sri Lankan authorities warned of more landslides at a tea plantation where a deadly torrent of mud swept away scores of homes this week, but residents said Friday there was no room left at the shelters and no alternative housing for them to move to. Disaster officials estimate that at least 100 people were killed Wednesday when monsoon rains unleashed a cascade of muddy earth at the Koslanda plantation in Badulla district, more..

Suggests House sittings be limited to once in three months

Oct 31 (Island) Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne on Wednesday (Oct 29) suggested that it would be better if Parliament met once in three months as most of the MPs were skipping sessions. The Prime Minister participating in the Second Reading Stage Debate on Budget 2015 said that there was not a single UNP MP in the House. "Thus, I would like to propose that we should meet once in three months. So that the MPs could find time to attend parliament sessions," he said. more..

India-assisted northern Lanka railways trial run successful

Oct 31 (PTI) India on Friday announced the successful completion of trail run on a key railway track in Tamil-majority northern Sri Lanka, a region that suffered heavily during the three decade-long civil war. The trial took place along the renovated Madhu Road- Thiruketheeswaram line. "The trial run evoked considerable enthusiasm among the local populace and many people were seen spontaneously cheering the train as it passed by", a press release issued by Indian High more..

Sri Lanka downplays India's concerns on death sentences to fishermen

Oct 31 (PTI) Sri Lanka on Friday downplayed India's concerns over the death sentences handed down to five Indian fishermen for alleged drug trafficking, saying India is "clearly aware" of legal systems in the country. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, said India understands Sri Lanka's prevalent laws. He said India's concerns raised on Thursday's verdict should not present Sri Lanka with any problems. more..

Protests continue in Tamil Nadu over death sentence to 5 fishermen

Oct 31 (PTI) Protests rocked different parts of Tamil Nadu for the second day on Friday against the capital punishment awarded by a Sri Lankan court to five Indian fishermen for alleged drug trafficking. A fishermen's association at Rameswaram announced that they would go on an 'indefinite strike' till the Indian govt went for an appeal in a higher court against the death sentence awarded to the five fishermen. Protesting fishermen lifted blockades in Rameswaram following assurances more..

Slain Tiger’s mother stopped from leaving for Canada: HC Shelly Whiting responds

Oct 31 (Island) Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Shelley Whiting yesterday issued a statement challenging front-page news item headlined ‘Slain Tiger’s mother stopped from leaving for Canada’ published in The Island. She, however, declined to discuss the specific case mentioned in the article. The following is the statement issued by the Canadian High Commissioner: "There is absolutely no basis for insinuations attributed to a senior security official suggesting that more..

Church ok for polls around end of January

Oct 31 (CG) The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka hopes the date of the Presidential elections will be postponed to at least the end of January and not be held close to the date Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, during a meeting with the priests of the Archdiocese of Colombo, confirmed the Holy Father’ visit in Sri Lanka, scheduled from 13 to 15 Jan 2015. more..

'Village-level officials must be protected'

Oct 31 (CT) President Rajapaksa emphasized the importance of safeguarding the dignity of the grassroots level govt servants by providing them with all the necessary facilities to serve the villagers and to clear whatever illicit activities taking place in the villages. President Rajapaksa was speaking at an event on Tuesday in Trincomalee where the vehicles such as motorbikes and scooters were presented to the Grama Niladharis to carry out their duties without any hassle. more..

Govt. falsely accusing UK UNP branch members of being LTTE’ers - Tissa

Oct 31 (Island) The UNP on Wednesday accused the govt of using a recent picture of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe meeting some members of the UK UNP branch in London, to allege that they were LTTE’ers. General Secretary of the UNP Tissa Attanayake MP said that the four persons in the photograph with Wickremesinghe were Harsha Kannangara, Roshan Samantha, Dharsahan Daniel and Indika Kumara, all office bearers of the UNP UK branch. Rajapaksa regime was so bankrupt more..

Presidential Election : Ranil ready to face Mahinda

Oct 31 (Island) Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa has thrown his weight fully behind his once estranged leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has declared publicly for the first time that he is ready to challenge Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next Presidential Election expected to be held in January 2015, Premadasa, who only recently was re-appointed Deputy Leader of the UNP told a gathering of over 7,000 of the 12,000 polling more..

JVP breakaway group to field presidential candidate

Oct 31 (DM) The JVP breakaway faction Front Line Socialist Party (FLSP) said it was having discussions with other leftist parties to field a candidate at the forthcoming presidential election. FLSP Politburo member Duminda Nagamuwa said they had several rounds of discussions with United Socialist Party, Maoist communist party and Praxis Collective about fielding a candidate from leftist parties. “We have had several rounds of discussions with these parties about the possibility of more..

Karunanidhi urges Centre to step in for fishermen's release

Oct 31 (PTI) Holding that the narcotics case against five Indian fishermen sentenced to death by a Sri Lankan court for drug trafficking was a "foisted" one, DMK president M Karunanidhi on Friday urged the Centre to take up the matter with Colombo to the pave way for their release. Karunanidhi said India had already made it clear that New Delhi does not consider them guilty and therefore it would take all legal and diplomatic steps for their release. "Since the fishermen have been allowed time till more..

Underdone Sri Lanka dial down expectations

Oct 31 (CI) Somewhere in Sri Lanka Cricket's drive to justify a sudden ODI tour of India, the board enlisted the spirit of 1996 for moral assistance. "All SL cricket fans will remember," a line in an SLC press release began, "how India and Pakistan toured Sri Lanka to show their solidarity when Australia and West indies refused to play in Sri Lanka in the 1996 Wills World Cup." It was an ambitious manoeuvre from the board. more..

Landslides: Don wants warnings heeded

Oct 31 (Island) Authorities as well as the people should respond to warnings by Nature and scientists to escape disaster like landslides, warned Vice Chancellor of the Peradeniya University, Professor Athula Senaratne at a media briefing. Speaking on the deadly landslide at Haldumulla Prof. Athula Senaratne, who is a senior lecturer in Geology said that the plantation authorities had been warned years back that the area was prone to landslides and the people should be evicted. more..

Water levels reach spill level; several areas flooded: DMC

Oct 31 (DM) The water levels in Kelani Ganga, Kalu Ganga and the Attanagalu Oya had risen to the spill level, the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said. DMC Assistant Director Pradeep Kodippili asked people living in the low lying areas close to these rivers to exercise caution. Bingiriya, Chillaw, Wariyapola and Nikaweratiya areas were flooded following the opening of four spill gates of the Deduruoya reservoir this morning and people in those areas were asked to be vigilant. more..

Video: Probe on misleading statistics on landslide victims

Oct 31 (DM) Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said today an investigation would be held on the contradictory statistics about the number of dead and missing in the landslide at Meeriyabedda Estate. “If someone is missing or dead, it is the Police Department that has the authority to investigate. We need these statistics because a death certificate has to be issued and compensation has to be paid after a police investigation,” more..

Health Minister vows to bring legislation to print pictorial warnings

Oct 31 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena has stressed that the govt is not satisfied with pictorial warnings covering only 60% of the display areas of cigarette packets and it will do everything in its power to increase their size to cover 80% of that area. Speaking at a seminar on World Stroke Day (29), Minister said as far as he could remember some officials of the tobacco industry had claimed in India the pictorial warnings covered only 40% of the front and back of cigarette packets more..

Sri Lankan rupee forwards fall on importer dollar demand

Oct 31 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee forwards fell slightly on Friday due to importer dollar demand, but moral suasion by the central bank prevented them from falling below 131.00. The spot currency was not quoted due to moral suasion, dealers said. It closed at 130.85/90 per dollar on Thursday. Three-day forwards, or spot next, were actively traded in the absence of spot trade. Spot next was traded at 131.00/05 per dollar compared with Thursday's close of 130.90/131.00. more..

Swamy urges PM to bring back death row fishermen from Sri Lanka

Oct 31 (PTI) BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Friday sought PM Narendra Modi's intervention in brining back five Indian fishermen who were were awarded death penalty by a Sri Lankan court for alleged drug trafficking. In a letter to Modi, Swamy said India had signed a treaty on transfer of sentenced prisoners with Sri Lanka and invoking its provisions, the five fishermen could be brought back and allowed to stay in a prison in India more..

Pakistan offers assistance to landslide victims

Oct 31 (AM) High Commissioner of Pakistan, Maj Gen Qasim Qureshi along with the entire staff of the High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka express their deep sympathy and grief on the tragic loss of life and property caused by the recent landslide in Badulla District. Govt of Pakistan is abreast with the situation and is actively considering the assistance requirements put forward by the Sri Lankan Govt. In this regard, Gen Raheel Sharif, Chief of Pakistan Army Staff had a telephonic conversation more..

The rise of Mahinda Rajapaksa, democracy, terrorism and the Muslim factor in Sri Lanka

Oct 31 (CT) Winds heralding another round of elections loom high. Astrologers, fortune-tellers, and every political soothsayer are busying themselves to make the kill. It’s that kind of season once again in Sri Lanka. The time to lubricate the palms big time if you’re someone or anyone endowed with the incomprehensible science of planetary movement. All of this can happen only in the resplendent island of Sri Lanka. Television channels compete with each other showcasing supposedly eligible more..

Ada Cartoon

Don't blame the Koslanda victims

Oct 31 (CT) Koslanda, in the central hills, is famous for 'housing' Sri Lanka's second tallest waterfall, the majestic Diyaluma Waterfalls. Nevertheless, on Wednesday, it became infamous for being the 'unwilling recipient' of Sri Lanka's second biggest natural calamity after the 2004 Tsunami, the 2014 Koslanda Landslide tragedy. Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena, speaking in Parliament yesterday said, 75 children living at the scene of the tragedy have suffered the loss of their parents, more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.4%

Oct 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed 0.44% higher with Commercial Bank and John Keells Holdings gaining amid strong foreign buying, brokers said. All Share Price Index closed 32.40 points higher at 7,326.81, up 0.44%. The S&P SL20 closed 35.96 points higher at 4,087.38, up 0.89%. Turnover was 3.81 billion rupees, up 2.20 billion rupees a day earlier with 111 stocks closed positive against 96 negative. Nations Trust Bank closed 3.90 rupees higher at 93.90 rupees with more..

Sniffer dogs join search for Sri Lanka landslide victims

Oct 31 (ABC) Sniffer dogs are being used in the search for bodies buried under tonnes of mud following a landslide in central Sri Lanka this week. Rescue operations were suspended on Thursday due to fresh rains, but resumed at daybreak with a team of sniffer dogs joining hundreds of troops already at the site. Although officials have estimated that around 100 people lost their lives on Meeriyabedda tea plantation, more..

JHU to abstain from first round of vote on budget 2015

Oct 31 (AM) The JHU, a constituent party of the ruling UPFA, has decided to abstain from the first round of voting on the Budget 2015, which is scheduled for tomorrow. A spokesman of the party said that the party has made the decision as discussions between the govt and JHU have still not arrived at a settlement. Another round of discussions between the govt and the JHU is scheduled for next week. more..

Rathana thera renews warning to Mahinda

Oct 31 (CG) JHU MP, the venerable Athureliya Rathana thera, speaking at a rally in Nugegoda last night organised by the JVP, renewed his warning to the Govt of President Rajapaksa, saying is ready to leave if the Govt fails to take the correct path. Speaking in front of a large crowd, Athureliya Rathana thera said that there is no basis for the President to say the Executive Presidency must remain if the threat of Eelam still remains. more..

UN Committee accused of being biased

Oct 31 (CG) The UNHRC has been accused of being biased by the Govt. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the Committee had failed to note murders carried out by the LTTE in its review of Sri Lanka. Responding to a question raised at the post cabinet press briefing today, Rambukwella questioned as to why the UNHRC did not note the killing of nearly 700 policemen by the LTTE during the war. more..

UNP accuses govt of not allocating funds for Northern and Eastern provinces

Oct 31 (Island) UNP MP D.M. Swaminathan accused President Rajapaksa of not allocating funds for the Northern and Eastern Provinces through the Budget 2015. He was participating in the second reading stage debate on budget 2015. UNPer demanded to know why Northern and Eastern Provinces were being treated as ‘no man’s land’. He alleged that govt had deprived the TNA run NPC of required funds. more..

Bishop of Badulla decries bid to blame Koslanda victims

Oct 31 (Island) Bishop of Badulla Rt. Rev. Dr. Winston Fernando strongly condemned statements attributed to various govt politicians that lives wouldn’t have been lost due to Wednesday’s landslide at Koslanda if those living in areas prone to landslides had moved out as requested. He said that it was unfair for anyone to propagate such an opinion when those facing the risk were never provided with alternative land. more..

SAITM fights back groups attacking it

Oct 31 (CT) The South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) Parents' Collective (PC) whilst suing the All Ceylon Medical Officers' Association (ACMOA) for Rs 50 million would also consider taking legal action against the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). Convener of the SAITMPC, Gemunu Wijeratne said, the SLMC has delayed SAITM's application for accreditation and the Secretary of ACMOA, more..

JVP challenges Ranil

Oct 31 (CT) Stating that it was an election he was bound to lose, JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake challenged UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to abstain from contesting at the coming presidential election. Dissanayake voiced these sentiments onstage at a protest rally (concerning the illegitimacy of President Rajapaksa contesting for a third presidential term) of the People's Movement for Democracy in more..

Fishing in banned waters

Oct 31 (SL) With the European Union (EU) deciding to impose a sanction on Sri Lankan fisheries products, there is lot of agitation created especially among the fisher folks. Some fisher groups who will be affected by this decision recently protested in front of the Ministry of Fisheries who received them with hostility. Convener of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement and the human rights activist Herman Kumara said more..

Lanka at the tipping point

Oct 31 (ST) It is late evening and the rain is pouring outside. Nishantha Jayalath, 43, is playing with his two little children while listening to a Sinhala song. From his house we can faintly smell the stench from the garbage mountains nearby. Mr. Jayalath is living within 500m of the Karadiyana Waste Management Facility (KWMF). When he purchased the plot of land 10 years ago, Jayalath did not know what he was signing on for. more..

Oil politics: The secret US-Saudi deal

Oct 31 (DM) Is oil a bane or a boon? A blessing or a curse? If there had been no oil, would we have reached the advanced stage that we are in today in industrial development? There would not have been aircraft. Neither would there have been rockets going to the moon and Mars or launching satellites. No oil, no internet, and, of course, no social media. On the other hand, if oil had not been discovered, the Earth would have been a better place to live in. It would have been comparatively peaceful. more..

Koslanda catastrophe: Thundering wakeup call from voiceless people

Oct 31 (DM) In Sri Lanka’s worst natural disaster since the 2004 Tsunami, at least 300 people are feared dead after a huge mudslide or landslide washed away hundreds of tea estate linerooms in Koslanda near Diyatalawa on Wednesday morning. Eyewitnesses said they heard what sounded like a thunderbolt from a nearby mountain and the catastrophe erupted around 7.30 am. At least 75 children had already left for school and yesterday—as troops and others continued more..

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