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Pope to visit Sri Lanka?

July 31 (Island) Pope Francis has said that he is considering an invitation from Sri Lanka to pay a visit to the country next year. "He said he was thinking of traveling to the Holy Land next year and is considering invitations from Sri Lanka and the Philippines as well," a report filed from aboard the Papal aircraft said. Pope Francis’ remarks came Monday during a plane journey back to the Vatican from his first foreign trip to Brazil. more..

‘Ramadan is of great importance to SL’

July 31 (AN) Sri Lankan Ambassador Vadivel Krishnamoorthy hosted an iftar gathering at the embassy premises on Saturday in a show of religious tolerance. Krishnamoorthy said that the month of fasting brings people closer to one another and is a form of personal sacrifice. Speaking at the inter-community iftar party, Krishnamoorthy said, “The noble values of reconciliation and peace, which are at the heart of the Islamic tradition, need to be shared and celebrated. more..

TNA candidates intimidated by Army

July 31 (CT) Two candidates of the TNA, had been intimidated by the Army, soon after they had filed their nominations yesterday, to contest the Northern Provincial Council polls. TNA Spokesperson Suresh K. Premachandran said that Army personnel had gone to the residences of S. Sayanthan, a TNA candidate from Chavakachcheri, and Ananthi Sasitharan, the wife of the LTTE's former Trincomalee political wing leader, Elilan, and had questioned them on their political activities. more..

SC okays repayment to 1205 GK depositors

July 31 (Island) The Supreme Court, yesterday, approved the recommendation of the Priyantha Fernando Committee to make an attempt to repay 1,205 depositors who had invested up to Rs. 1 million in Golden Key Credit Card Private Limited. The payment is to be made within three weeks. Those depositors are to be paid a maximum of Rs. 100,000 within the three weeks. Counsel Anura Maddegoda and V.K. Choksy more..

'Shocked and appalled' : BASL Chief

July 31 (FT) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka reacted strongly to news that the Bribery Commission had filed legal action against deposed Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake and said all Members of Parliament and other elected officials who had not submitted their asset declarations must be charged under the same law. BASL President Attorney-at-Law Upul Jayasuriya told Daily FT that he was “shocked and appalled” at the news that the Bandaranayake was being charged with more..

Audio: Talks fail, monk begins fast

July 31 (CG) The chief incumbent of the Galoluwa Buddhist Temple, the venerable Siridhamma Thero said that he had launched a fast unto death after talks held late this evening to resolve an issue over contaminated water in parts of Gampaha had failed. The drinking water in the area is believed to have been contaminated from chemical waste released from a gloves factory in the area. The venerable Siridhamma Thero said that the residents in the area are demanding that the factory be shut down more..

Rupasinghe’s Rs. 98 mn compensation case stayed; Norway wins first round

July 31 (Island) The govt has intervened, on behalf of Norway, to halt legal proceedings pertaining to Dr. Rupesinghe’s claim, for compensation to the tune of Rs. 98 million from the Scandinavian country. Following high level consultations, the AG’s Department has filed a stay order at the District Court of Colombo asserting that the Dr. Rupesinghe’s move was inimical to Sri Lanka’s national interests. more..

Sri Lanka studying fresh locations for super-critical coal plant

July 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka is studying locations to site a high tech coal plant for which funding is expected from Japan, after concerns over the initial location. The 500 MegaWatt coal plant was to be built at Athuruwella in the South West coast of the island. Power ministry secretary M M C Ferdinando said a location study is now being conducted following concerns raised about the site. "This is a very clean plant where there will be no fly ash and it will be eco-friendly," he said. more..

'$430 m in FDI so far; $2 b target still on'

July 31 (FT) The country can anticipate a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of US$ 2 billion by the end of the year, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. With the first six months of the year, having brought in US$ 430 million worth of FDI (excluding the John Keels and Lake Leisure investments), the country is likely to touch on US$ 2 billion, he said, a marked improvement from the US$ 1.2 billion FDI fetched in 2012. Noting that the private sector must work alongside the Govt to bring more..

Mervyn vows to tackle assailants himself

July 31 (Island) Minister Mervyn Silva’s son, Malaka, has been hospitalized with serious injuries, after being attacked with a sharp instrument, at the Odel clothing store car park, in Town Hall, around 4.15 p.m. yesterday. He had been admitted to the Nawaloka Hospital. Minister Silva said that he had no need for the police and he himself would deal with the assailants if they dared come forward. Malaka was transferred to the ICU. more..

Ethics in crossover

July 30 (DM) Apart from the causes for the pole vault by UNP Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekara that we had discussed on Friday there is a serious ethical aspect involved in changing sides not only by the Kurunegala District singer-cum-politician but by almost all those who had crossed over from one party to another. There is no doubt that anyone in any party has the right to change his or her allegiance and join another party under the democracy, so long as the action does not more..

Sri Lanka roads need better planning and educated users

July 30 (DM) In most countries there is much planning and trials performed electronically by use of GPS and satellite to follow traffic movements prior to implementation of one-way systems and installation of colour light traffic control systems on the timing of stop/go during peak and non-peak hours. Studies are done continuously for 24 hours for a minimum of seven days prior to decisions being taken on timing. In this country colour light systems have to be manned by uniformed law enforcement more..

'Candidates we field are of good character'

July 30 (DM) Chief Opposition whip, UNP front liner John Amaratunga in a candid interview with Daily Mirror, spoke about his party’s policies on the upcoming provincial polls and explained why they did not believe former UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara’s defection last week would make any impact on the party or its campaigns. Q: Isn’t former MP Jayasekara’s defection a major setback for the UNP at the upcoming PC polls? more..

‘Election Port’ in Oluvil sinks 46m euros

July 30 (SL) The Oluvil Port Project, considered as a futile venture, is to be ‘opened’ next month. Despite the fact that this project has cost the country’s tax payers a colossal amount of money amounting to Euro 46.1 million, it is now said that only ships that carry cargo up to 10,000 tons can enter the port, which, the SLPA employees say is a ‘real joke’. “What a joke this is? Is it for this Euro 46.1 million was spent? more..

Will mass grave case be buried?

July 30 (TD) On November 24 last year, workers digging a trench in the compound of Matale hospital, made a gruesome discovery. Using a backhoeing machine ahead of plans to build foundations for a new bio-gas unit behind a kitchen, workers began to unearth what appeared to be human remains. Forensic excavation over the next three months confirmed at least 154 human skeletons, the largest mass grave discovered more..

Lankans face return or transfer

July 30 (CG) A group of 68 Sri Lankans who recently arrived at Cocos (Keeling) Islands is now on Christmas Island about to begin enhanced screening processes, the Australian High Commission in Colombo said. They face the same assessment process that unauthorised maritime arrivals (UMAs) of Sri Lankan background have since last year when the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) took steps to stem more..

Kusal Perera, two uncapped players in SL squad for fifth ODI

July 30 (CI) Sri Lanka has named Kusal Perera and two uncapped players in the squad for the final ODI against South Africa in Colombo on Wednesday, while resting three senior players and dropping two others. With the series safe after the victory on Sunday, the Sri Lanka selectors have turned their focus to blooding emerging players, which has been a priority for the panel this year. Opener Dimuth Karunaratne, left-arm spinner more..

Jobs for disabled: National Plan to be launched today

July 30 (ST) Words are to be turned into action with regard to providing jobs to persons with disabilities, when the ‘National Plan’ is launched today, along with an ‘online database’ to register them. Having the responsibility of implementing the National Plan of Action 2013-2017, a National Secretariat is to be set up under the purview of Labour Minister Gamini Lokuge, to ensure the provision of jobs for disabled persons. more..

UPFA intra-party battle for CM post hots up

July 30 (Island) Intra-party rivalries have begun to peak in the North-Western Province with several UPFA candidates from the Kurunegala District staking their claim for the chief ministerial post while those from the Puttalam District have entered the fray demanding that one of them be made the CM as that position has never been held by a candidate from there. Former North–Western Chief Minister Athula Wijesinghe claimed that more..

Canada FM to attend CHOGM

July 30 (CG) Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird is expected to attend the CHOGM in Sri Lanka, External Affairs Ministry Monitoring MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena said today. The MP said this when he met newspaper Editor and electronic media heads at Temple Trees this morning. Gunawardena said the govt however hopes Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as the head of state, will attend the key summit. more..

Japan’s help for Sri Lanka’s technology development

July 30 (MEA) Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communication Minister Yoshitaka Shindo assured Minister Basil Rajapaksa Japanese assistance for developing Sri Lanka’s information technology, telecommunications and other technology-related projects, thereby further strengthening the long-standing relationship between the two countries. Minister Yoshitaka Shindo gave this assurance when he met more..

'Willing to discuss land and police powers with Vigneshwaran'

July 30 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the decision to appoint a commission to investigate incidents of disappearances during the war was not taken owing to outside pressure. Speaking to newspaper editors and electronic media heads at Temple Trees today the President said that he saw the need for an investigation some time ago. President’s Secretary Lalith Weerathunga, who has been tasked to appoint the commission, more..

A small step in the right direction

July 30 (CT) At last, saner counsel has prevailed within the ruling UPFA, as far as the selection of candidates for the forthcoming Provincial Council elections are concerned. That is indeed a pleasant surprise. A couple of weeks back, it appeared that the UPFA was all set to field a horde of unsavoury individuals, who had blatantly violated public trust during their tenure in public office. The disgraced North Western Provincial Councillor, Ananda Sarath Kumara, who forced a female teacher to more..

Sri Lanka stocks close flat

July 30 (LBO) Stocks closed flat Tuesday for a second consecutive day with activity seen in the large cap stocks and some banking stocks. All Share Index closed 01.44 points lower at 6,055.48 and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 06.26 points higher at 3,432.03 up 0.18%. Turnover was 700 million rupees up from 451 million Monday. Foreigners brought 261 million rupees worth shares while selling 503 million rupees of shares, in a day that 65 stocks advanced and 109 stocks declined. more..

ICC announces 2015 Cricket World Cup fixtures

July 30 (CI) Twenty-three years after Imran Khan led Pakistan to victory over England, Melbourne will again host the World Cup final in 2015, while Sydney and Auckland will host semi-finals just as they did in 1992. A wide range of alternative options for the major matches of a tournament co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand had been discussed in the lead-up to the formal announcement of the official fixtures in more..

Role of religion and religious men in the process of reconciliation

July 30 (CT) There is perhaps total consensus that religion is one of the major factors that exerts influences on the people: nurturing, moulding, and contributing to the development of their character. But religion by itself is not able to exert this influence. This happens depending on how it is communicated to the people. This religious communication is done by the religious men. Therefore, in discussing the issue of reconciliation, which involves both inter-religion and more..

Beware of fish, fruit treated with formalin

July 30 (Island) Consumers were yesterday warned to be careful when purchasing fruit and fish as unscrupulous traders were using formalin to preserve them. The warning was issued by the Toxicology and National Poison Information Centre (TNPIC) of the National Hospital. TNPIC Chief Dr. Waruna Gunathilake said that with the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) had launched raids to nab traders who use formalin to preserve fish. He said that most consumers now call the centre and more..

FTA has benefited India, Lanka: ILCCI

July 30 (PTI) The Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement, has brought many benefits to both the nations, enabling two-way investments in many key sectors, a top industry body has said. "A vast number of top Indian companies continue to show immense interest in investing in Sri Lanka in many major sectors. It has also not been one-sided and our own companies have found prospects to invest in the Indian market and be benefited by it", more..

Academic partnerships to be initiated between Lankan and US scientists

July 30 (USE) The Embassy of Sri Lanka continuing its efforts to foster mutually beneficial relations with a broad segment of US institutions, had extensive discussions with the University of Kentucky to initiate formal academic partnerships between Sri Lankan and US scientists. Ambassador Jaliya Wickramasuriya on July 12 visited the University of Kentucky in Lexington to facilitate academic affiliation among the University of Kentucky, the University of Peradeniya, and more..

JVP brings new message for People in the North – Somawansa

July 30 (LT) “A new group of youths have arrived in Vavuniya today. They have come here to build the ‘People’s Wall of Comradeship’ and this new generation seeks strength and determination. The govt has called for a provincial council election. After the so-called 13th amendment a provincial council was not established only in the North. People would not get anything from this provincial council. What is needed today is a new dialogue, a new journey and a new programme. more..

Exams Dept. sets up 24-hour hotline

July 30 (Island) The Examinations Department announced its 24–hour hotlines set up for complaints and inquiries on the GCE (A/L) Exam, scheduled to begin on August 05 at 2,164 centres countrywide. Addressing the media, Commissioner General of Examinations W.M.N.J. Pushpakumara said that candidates could contact the department on 011 2784208, 011 2784537, 011 3188350 or 1911 for inquiries or complaints. more..

CPC says testing fuel

July 30 (CG) The CPC says it is carrying out tests on a consignment of imported fuel after an initial test had found that it was substandard. CPC Managing Director L.E. Susantha Silva said that the fuel consignment has not yet been rejected as another test is to be carried out. He said that 25,000MT of Octane 90 petrol, 5000MT of Octane 95 petrol and 10,000MT of diesel were in the imported fuel consignment. The first test had found that the fuel had a small amount of contamination more..

Sri Lankans among the 100 war crimes suspects living in UK

July 30 (CG) Scores of suspected war criminals including those believed to be from Sri Lanka are living in Britain, a BBC report said today. Almost 100 suspects – with the majority likely to have been living in Britain for years – originate from countries including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Rwanda, Serbia and Sri Lanka. The Home Office, which says it is determined the UK will not become a refuge for war criminals, identified the suspects last year, the BBC reported. more..

Wijayamuni’s Jumbo calves transfer decision attacked

July 30 (Island) Environmentalists criticized the Wildlife and Agrarian Services Minister’s recent decision to transfer elephant calves from the Ritigala Elephant Transit Home to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. They claimed that the decision was taken to allow high level govt politicos to take away those calves for their use. They urged the govt to transfer the calves to the Udawalawa Transit Home to protect the elephant population more..

International conference on water cooperation in Anuradhapura

July 30 (GDI) Ministry of Water Supply & Drainage, National Community Water Trust, National Water supply & Drainage Board and Lanka Rain Water Harvesting Forum has jointly organized the 2nd International Conference on “Water Cooperation for Community Development”. It is to be held from 16-18th August 2013 in Anuradhapura. The Conference is convened to mark this year’s the UN declared theme ‘International Year of Water Cooperation’ and to follow up on the 1st International more..

China’s close ties with Lanka not an issue for Japan

July 30 (Island) Japan said that it had no problem with the increasingly close ties China had developed with Sri Lanka in recent years. "China has its relationship with Sri Lanka and so do we," Japan’s Internal and Communications Minister Yoshitaka Shindo told a news conference in Colombo, at the end of his two-day official visit during which he met President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ministers Basil Rajapaksa and Keheliya Rambukwella and Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. more..

Health allocation cut by Rs 5 billion

July 30 (CT) The 2013 annual budgetary allocation for the health sector has been cut by Rs 5 billion, the GNOA revealed. However, the Ministry of Health has denied the claims, counter claiming that there has been an increase in the allocation. According to GNOA General Secretary, Saman Rathnapriya, the Treasury has decided to cut Rs 5 billion of the funds, that was part of the annual health budget for the year 2013. more..

Moratuwa Mayor, 5 others released on bail

July 30 (Island) Magistrate Arvinda Perera released Moratuwa Mayor Saman Lal Fernando and five others on personal bail in Rs. 50,000 each and warned them not to obstruct the new principal of Prince of Wales College from carrying out his duties. The schools deputy Principal Subashini Kapurupassa, who was also alleged to have been involved in organizing the demonstration against the new principal with the assistance of several parents, was severely warned and discharged. more..

Did Malaka assaulters arrived in a PSD vehicle?

July 30 (SM) The Police reports that the Defender with the registration number WP – AI 5213 in which the group that stabbed and assaulted the son of Minister Mervyn Silva, Malaka Silva arrived, belongs to PSD. However, the police suspects that the proprietors might have used a fake number plate. While the Cinnamon Garden Police is probing the incident, it has also took into police custody the security cameras of Odel shopping complex car park, where the incident has occurred, more..

Govt debt will even burden children born in 2050 – Tissa

July 30 (AD) The UNP said that the recent incidents involving the sons of Ministers clearly display the extent of the decline in the country’s law and that the “law of the jungle” is reigning over the rule of law. They are different from what happens to normal citizens as they are not happen suddenly and are different to daily occurrences, UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. Referring to the assault on Minister Mervyn Silva’s son more..