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The emperor at 50

Dec 2 (Island) Some sportsmen are still remembered fondly although they are long retired. The thrills they provided the fans through their exceptional skills could be forgotten as time passes by, but the things they stood for in life are long revered. Strong leaders aren’t the most popular ones. The decisions they have taken in life for the common good have their admirers and critics. As a captain and later an administrator Arjuna more..

Some silver linings in containing fiscal deficit

Dec 2 (ST) Three critical challenges of the 2014 budget were: containing the fiscal deficit, providing cost of living relief to the poorer sections and generating an environment conducive to higher investment. There is ample recognition of these in the budget recital, but whether the measures adopted would achieve the needed results is doubtful. Today we discuss the challenge of containing the fiscal deficit. The broader issues of generating an environment conducive to more..

Love triangle ends in death

Dec 2 (SO) A marriage ends, another is tested, jealousy appears, old feelings are explored, new love blooms and to top it all off it could also end up in death. Love can bring joy and at the same time sadness and tragedy. The world is full of stories describing many facets of love, marriage and sad and happy endings. This is one about love and marriage which goes bad in a moment of madness which ultimately ends up in tragedy and loss of lives. Rohan, a handsome youth often dreamt more..

‘Let us solve our problems on our own’

Dec 2 (SL) The Following article is based on the speech Minister Basil Rajapaksa made last Friday winding up the budget debate. Democracy is not only elections. We wanted rebuild pubic organisations and restore stability. We held the Eastern Provincial Council elections in 2011. We know that the TNA won many seats in that election. After liberating the country in 2009 we held two local govt elections. We won those elections. more..

Singh doing a Cameron!

Dec 2 (Island) All indications are that the Congress-led govt in New Delhi is scraping the barrel with a few moons to go for a general election. The BJP is emerging very powerful and the scandal-ridden Congress is desperate for votes to avert an electoral disaster. Else, PM Manmohan Singh would not have evinced so keen an interest in Sri Lanka. He needs Tamil Nadu backing more than ever. Congress stalwart and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has gone on record as saying that more..

Used car importers eye business in Africa

Dec 2 (ST) Sri Lanka’s reconditioned vehicle importers should consider the option of shifting their business to a growing African market if they cannot survive locally due to heavy taxes on used car imports, authoritative govt sources said. If these motor vehicle importers think that the country’s second hand car market will collapse as result of govt’s taxation, what they should do is to explore the possibility of entering into African market which is now opened to the island nation after more..

Belgium backs Sri Lanka-China FTA

Dec 2 (FT) While its own visiting investor delegation made busy preparations for one of the largest B2B sessions to be held in Colombo, Belgium, a top buyer of diamonds from Sri Lanka, declared that the forthcoming FTA with China was “a major step for Sri Lanka”. “Sri Lanka’s forthcoming FTA with China is very interesting and very important. In fact, it is a very important milestone and a major step for Sri Lanka,” more..

Submission to missing persons commission

Dec 2 (CT) In terms of the invitation published in the Media under your hand, dated 31st October 2013, calling for written submissions, I am pleased to make the under noted submissions: The Commission should interpret the scope of its Terms of Reference as set out in the Warrant issued by the President, taking cognizance of the reasons and historical background leading to the appointment of the Commission, the expressed recommendations of the LLRC and the expectations more..

3 females nabbed in gold smuggling attempt

Dec 2 (DN) Customs sleuths yesterday nabbed two Sri Lankan women and a teenage girl at the BIA who attempted to smuggle 676 grams of unfinished gold jewellery valued at around Rs.3.8 million to India. "The arrested females confessed that the jewellery was given to them by a travel agent to be handed over to a person in Chennai" Customs Spokesman cum Director Leslie Gamini said. The customs have forfeited 10 gold bangles and three necklaces seized from the female passengers. more..

ONGC bids for Lanka blocks

Dec 2 (TT) ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, has bid for three blocks in Sri Lanka that are of immense economic and strategic interests to India. Of the 13 blocks on offer, OVL has bid for three blocks — M4, M5 and M6 — in the Mannar basin, sources said. Several global oil majors, including Exxon Mobil Corp, Royal Dutch Shell, France’s Total, Eni of Italy, more..

Govt. accepts proposal by fitis to enhance the country's ICT industry

Dec 2 (Island) The Federation of Information Technology Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS) who has been the country’s representative body for ICT industry, that includes, software, hardware, IT education training and communication, recently submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Finance on the strategic development of the ICT industry in the country. The main purpose behind this proposal was FITIS’s mission of having it presented at this year’s budget. FITIS believed it would play more..

UAE donates 16 houses at Wellampitiya-Kohilawatta

Dec 2 (FT) The handover ceremony of the Emirates Housing Scheme, Kohilawatta, comprising of 16 housing units donated by Sharjah Charity International, UAE, took place on Saturday. The occasion was graced by Senior Ministers A.H.M. Fowzie and Athauda Seneviratne, Abdulhamid A.K. Al Mulla, Ambassador of UAE, Tarek Al Noman, Board Member of Sharjah Charity, and Mohamed Hamdan Al Zari, Projects Management Supervisor of Sharjah Charity International. more..

'High-profile coach will expect 100% more pay'

Dec 2 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket would have to double the pay it offers for the post of head coach if it is to attract a high-profile candidate, SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga has said. The board had been underwhelmed by the 11 applications it had received for the job, and continues to explore its options despite having shortlisted two coaches. Talks with higher-profile coaches like Greg Chappell and Tim Nielsen had not been successful, more..

Reducing number of fincos. welcome, BT poll shows

Dec 2 (ST) Last week’s budget proposal for companies and banks to absorb subsidiaries operating as finance company has won near unanimous approval in a Business Times poll this week. Asked whether the govt’s proposal asking companies to take under their wing finance companies subsidiaries, 90% of the respondents said it was a good proposal. More than 80% said the proposal will help reduce risks to depositors who opt to invest in finance companies. more..

Horse bites cop’s leg

Dec 2 (Island) A sergeant attached to the Mirigama police station, who went to the Botale Walauwe to investigate the theft of a gun belonging to the Senanayake clan, suffered serious injuries when he was bitten by a horse. The victim is sergeant Newton, who visited the Walauwe last Thursday, accompanied by a constable, to record statements from some employees regarding the theft. While they were walking towards the house after getting off their motorcycle, a horse grazing in more..

Maldives to quit Commonwealth?

Dec 2 (Island) Former Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and a Minister in Abdulla Yamin's newly elected coalition govt have called for the Maldives to quit the Commonwealth, which they said has lost its focus and was interfering in others internal affairs. Accusing the Commonwealth of dictating terms to small states, the Ex-Head of State who ruled for thirty years, pointed out that there was a time more..

Poice recover stolen ancient Buddha statue

Dec 2 (CT) An ancient Buddha statue that had been stolen from the Bibile Rajamaha Viharaya and concealed in a muddy area near a canal in Uduwela, had been unearthed by a special police team. Police said the statue was found near the residence of a relative of the main suspect who had allegedly committed the robbery. Police have arrested three men over the theft of the statue, including the main suspect and a man who had allegedly helped in transporting the same. more..

Fast bowler Sylvester Dias dies aged 76

Dec 2 (Island) Former Sri Lanka pace bowler Sylvester Dias (76), will be laid to rest today, after an illustrious career, at the Ja-Ela cemetery. During the 1960s and ‘70s he was known as ‘Typhoon’ Dias, due to his deadly pace and exploits with the ball. He first played for Sri Lanka, then Ceylon), in 1963 against Imitiaz Ahamed’s Pakistanis. Dias took 4 wickets in the first innings. In his first over, (third delivery), he bowled Imitiaz Ahamed. From the early 1960s to the 1970s, more..

Chidambaram’s meet exposes factionalism in Congress

Dec 2 (Hindu) At a time when the Congress party in TN was on the defensive over the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, Union Minister P. Chidambaram sought to expound what the Centre and his party had done on the issue that struck a chord in many hearts in the State. But Saturday’s meeting became virtually a one-man show, with most senior leaders, including TNCC president B.S. Gnanadesikan, keeping away. more..

Sri Lanka seeks manager for central counterparty project

Dec 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka is seeking a manager and consultant to establish a central counterparty for financial transactions, which is expected to minimize credit risks in settling financial transactions. An expression of interest was jointly called by the Central Bank, SEC, CSE and LankaClear (Pvt) Ltd, the interbank clearing house. Central bank issues SL govt debt in an agency capacity and the SEC regulates privately issued debt. A newspaper advertisement called for a more..

Pakistan leave out Rehman, Jamshed for Sri Lanka Twenty20s

Dec 2 (CI) Left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman and batsman Nasir Jamshed have been left out of Pakistan's squad for the Twenty20s against Sri Lanka in the UAE later this month. Left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar, who was not picked for the recently-concluded home and away limited-overs games against South Africa due to a finger injury, has been named in the 14-man squad, which will also play a one-off T20 against Afghanistan in the lead-up to the Sri Lanka series. more..

China seeks to cultivate Sri Lanka ties but without international reproach

Dec 2 (SCMP) It is not often that the Chinese govt criticises another nation for how it handles civil liberties, especially a country with which it has close financial and diplomatic ties. So it was curious when Qin Gang, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, advised Sri Lanka, a nation accused of committing war crimes, to "make efforts to protect and promote human rights". "What is most important is that human rights conditions more..

Rehabilitated ex-combatants receive bicycles/gift packs

Dec 2 (CT) Rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres and their family members received gift packs and bicycles from the Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya, at an event presided over by the Mullaitivu Security Forces Commander, Maj. Gen. L.B.R. Mark on 23 November 2013. The initiative to give these gifts was made by the Commissioner of Rehabilitation, Gen. K.J. Wijetileka. Three hundred bicycles and a corresponding number of gift packs containing school accessories were distributed among more..

Military presence in North an obstacle for democracy - Wigneswaran

Dec 2 (CT) The heavy military presence in the North remains an obstacle for democracy in the North. As the Security forces have acquired the lands of the people in the North, the people in the region are forced to leave their habitats and leave the island seeking greener pastures abroad according to Northern Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran. The Chief Minister was addressing at an event in Mullaitivu where a new rice mill has been built with the Australian assistance on Friday. more..

Dilemma over allocating CHOGM Benz cars

Dec 2 (ST) The govt is in a dilemma in allocating 54 luxury Benz S400 vehicles that were imported to the country for the CHOGM held in Colombo recently. All these Benz cars are now parked at the DIMO vehicle yard at Weweldeniya and the govt can take it away at any time, Ranjith Pandithage, Chairman of DIMO said. He revealed that the company received the payment for vehicles through the BoC and the transaction more..

Amunugama justifies food tax

Dec 2 (NS) Following a barrage of criticism leveled at the govt by opposition parties for imposing taxes on some essential food items through the Budget 2014, a Senior Minister last week said that the move will in fact help the country promote food security. According to him, the reason why Budget 2014 has proposed to raise taxes on imported food items was to encourage and incentivise local producers of such items enabling all segments of the population to have physical access to sufficient, more..

JVP warns against returning cars

Dec 2 (SL) The JVP says it would strongly object to any moves by the govt to return the 54 Benz cars which were imported for the Commonwealth Summit. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said the Finance Ministry had signed as the consigner of the 54 Benz cars in the documents with regard to the purchase. “Therefore the Benz cars were imported by the Finance Ministry and were given tax concessions without any legal basis. A letter has been sent from the Department of National Budget to more..

Inventor’s bro blamed for BMICH fire

Dec 2 (Island) Saturday’s fire which destroyed a temporary structure housing about 270 new inventions within the BMICH premises had been caused when the elder brother of an inventor attempted to light the petrol/electric rice cooker invented by his younger brother who was unable to be present at the opening day of the exhibition, as he had to go for an interview, investigations into the fire have revealed. more..

The long wait for a National Drug Policy

Dec 2 (CT) Despite the many promises given by the Health Ministers of the country over the past so many years, to implement the National Medicinal Drug Policy (NMDP), the promises remain unfulfilled despite the policy coming close to implementation in 2005. It is a pity that such an import piece of legislation remains unimplemented, despite it being acclaimed locally as well as globally, with the World Health Organization (WHO) lauding it as being fit to be taken as a model, and more..

What is fundamentally wrong with the 2014 budget?

Dec 2 (CT) The economic fundamentals overtly appear strong in the 2014 budget with the objectives of reducing the debt rate, budgetary deficit and sustaining a reasonable growth rate. That is when we look at the budget from a conventional economic point of view or a ‘bourgeoisie’ stand point, to be more precise. But what is the point of a budget in a developing country like Sri Lanka if it doesn’t address the key challenges in the socio-political system, not to speak of more..

Colombo tops AIDS infected

Dec 2 (DN) Colombo district has the highest percentage of the country's AIDS infected which is 52%, while in the Western Province as a whole the percentage is 60%, a Health Ministry spokesman said. During the past 11 months, half a million blood samples were tested and it was found 159 persons were infected with AIDS. 69 cases had been found during the past three months. The majority of those infected were between the ages of 25-49, more..

'We are not above the law'

Dec 2 (DM) MP Namal Rajapaksa in his first interview to the English media gives a brief insight into his perspective and thoughts on a wide range of issues. He spoke to the Daily Mirror on issues of policy, reconciliation, his personal views on issues that affected the country, allegations cast against him and how he foresaw the country’s direction in the coming years. Q: We welcome you to your first interview with the Daily Mirror, more..

Poaching crisis: President appeals to India

Dec 2 (ST) Sri Lanka has reiterated its call to India to end a deadlock on a fishing dispute between the two countries as more fishermen from both sides were taken into custody for allegedly intruding into each other’s territorial waters. The call was made when India’s Navy Chief D.K. Joshi met President Rajapaksa Minister Rajitha Senaratne. The Naval chief was in Sri Lanka to attend the ‘Galle Dialogue’ organised by the Sri Lanka Navy to more..

LTTE hand in hand with Mauritius

Dec 2 (SL) Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Chandra Ramgoolam’s decision to stay away from this month’s Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka follows intense lobbying by supporters of the defeated LTTE. In its heyday, the LTTE was able to garner the support of the Tamil community in Mauritius into advocating and supporting the campaign for nationhood in the North of Sri Lanka that eventually resulted in Ramgoolam more..

'Budget deficit reduced at people’s expense'

Dec 2 (Island) The govt in a to reduce the budget deficit had deprived the people of the relief and benefits they earlier enjoyed, UNP MP Sajith Premadasa said. He said that the Rajapaksa govt had cut down on several subsidies including Samurdhi, fertiliser and the farmer pension to reduce the deficit. "Now, the govt has brought down the budget deficit to 5.2% compared to the GDP and expects to reduce it to 3.8% by 2016, more..

No trace of eight missing fishermen

Dec 2 (Island) There had been no trace, up to late evening yesterday, of the eight fishermen, who went missing when their boats were capsized by the cyclone ‘Lehar’ on Thursday. A total of 16 Lankan fishermen, in three craft, had been caught in the cyclone and eight of them had been rescued by other fishing craft, about 450 nautical miles off Trincomalee. The rescued fishermen would be brought ashore within a couple of days, more..

Dhashi breaks stereotypes to win International Fitness Model awards

Dec 2 (LR) Sri Lankan-born fitness model Dhashi Perera Bartholomeusz won two international awards recently in Canada. She bagged second place Fitness Model Masters and fifth place Fitness Model short category at IDFA (International Drug Free Athletes) World Championships and Pro Universe held in Mississauga at the Meadowvale theatre. Bartholomeusz, who showcased the more..

President stresses importance of modern education for monks

Dec 2 (Island) President Rajapaksa said that monks should not only learn the religion but other subjects and other disciplines such as languages, literature, technology, art, medicine etc. Speaking after declaring open a new a theatre the President said, "We need to uphold the ‘Maha Vihara’ traditions which helped this country become a great nation and Bhikkus should learn not only Pali and Sanskrit but also English and IT." more..

Victoria given notice as trial begins

Dec 2 (CG) Colombo High Court judge Kumudini Wickramasinghe today issued notice on the girlfriend of murdered British tourist Khuram Shaikh and 11 other witnesses to appear in court next March when the case is taken up for hearing. Judge Wickramasinghe made the order when that the suspects accused over the murder were produced in court today. Shaikh was murdered while he was on holiday in Tangalle more..

Sri Lanka keen on obtaining oil from Iran

Dec 2 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is keen to get oil from Iran once again and is studying a recent deal signed between six world powers with the Iranian govt, a senior govt official said. Petroleum Resources Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said that his ministry is monitoring the situation and a decision will be made once all the required information is gathered on if Sri Lanka can look to importing more fuel from Iran again. more..