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I am like our President -Mervyn

Nov 25 (DM) I am like our President. He works for the country, overcoming all difficulties and obstacles. I am not afraid of my rivals. I will continue to work like King Parakkramabahu the Great, Minister Mervyn Silva said. Speaking at an event in Kelaniya, he said, “no one can say I am idle and silent. I am active. I am with the people not only of Kelaniya but of the entire Gampha district. It is my duty to serve the people who voted for me,” he said. "I am aware of the difficulties people are facing. more..

15 TN fishermen released by court

Nov 25 (PTI) 15 Tamil Nadu fishermen, arrested by SL Naval personnel on Oct 19, were today ordered to be released by a court in Jaffna in the island nation. The fishermen, hailing from Pudukottai, were produced before the Judicial Magistrate Court which ordered their release. However, four boats impounded by the Lankan navalmen had not been released, officials here said quoting information received by them. more..

LC door still open for Sajith, Thalatha

Nov 25 (Island) UNP has kept the two vacancies in its Leadership Council (LC) open in the hope that MPs Sajith Premadasa and Thalatha Athukorale would return. Both resigned from the LC soon after its formation. Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga said that they were hopeful that both Premadasa and Athukorale would rejoin the LC soon. He said that the party needed them both and never thought of replacing them with anyone else though both had failed to attend the more..

Sri Lanka Cricket divided over coach

Nov 25 (CT) After it failed to convince several high profile coaching professionals to become Sri Lanka’s next cricket coach, Sri Lanka Cricket is divided in opinion as to who should be Ford’s successor in the run-up to 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup. While some insist that the successor in line should be a foreigner no matter what his credentials are, others believe that he should be someone with an excellent track record both as a player and a coach. Graham Ford refused an extension on personal ground and more..

Mahela skips Pakistan limited-overs leg

Nov 25 (WI) Mahela Jayawardene, whose wife is expecting their child, has been rested for the limited-overs leg of Sri Lanka’s tour of UAE. Sri Lanka will play Pakistan in two Twenty20 International matches, three One-Day Internationals and three Test matches, with the first T20I scheduled in Dubai on Dec 11. Kithruwan Vithanage, the 22-year-old, left-hand batsman, who has represented SL in two Test matches, more..

Police in civvies trap heroin dealer

Nov 25 (Island) Acting on a tip-off received by the OIC of the Wellawaya police a team of policemen in civvies trapped a heroin dealer at Mahawelamulla by pretending to be customers. He was arrested with 15 retail sachets of heroin. Investigations have revealed that he had earlier been arrested by Moneragala for possession of drugs and was on bail when he was caught by the sleuths from Wellawaya. Constables W.H. Wijekoon, Bandara and Krishantha made the arrest on the direction of more..

Mangala, silent on Tiran

Nov 25 (SM) MP Mangala Samaraweera, today filed a petition against Chairman of the Capital Maharaja - Rajamahendran for directing media in a manner that roused public anger. Several UNP MPs are reportedly astonished as to why MP Mangala Samaraweera did not give the same treatment to Tiran Alles’ Maubima newspaper, which is engaged in a similar practice. However, when a journalist brought the question up, MP Samaraweera has just smiled before falling silent. more..

SL bans remembrance of rebels Tamil Tigers

Nov 25 (AFP) Sri Lanka's military Monday announced a ban on commemorations of the island's defeated Tamil Tiger rebels following reports that sections of the ethnic Tamil minority were planning to hold events. The military said any event was banned because the LTTE was still a proscribed organisation, four years after the army defeated the group to end a decades-long separatist war. Small and low-key ceremonies are more..

Budget caters to all sectors of society - GL

Nov 25 (Island) The Budget presented in Parliament by President Rajapaksa addressed the requirements of all sectors of society, in the midst of a variety of challenges and would bring about further progress and relief to all our people, Minister G.L. Peiris said at Vijayaba Maha Vidyalaya in Hungama during the weekend. The Principal of the school brought to the attention of Prof. Peiris the achievements of the institution during the last year. They included the first place in an all island drama competition. more..

International alert launches film series on Sri Lanka’s diaspora

Nov 25 (CG) A series of short documentary films exploring the nature of diaspora engagement with Sri Lanka has been released by the independent peace building organisation International Alert. For details visit: Produced by award-winning film-maker Kannan Arunasalam, ‘Diaspora Diaries’ provide a unique glimpse into the complex relationship of each individual with their country of heritage. They are designed to broaden more..

Divi Neguma benefits 1.1 m. minor export crop growers

Nov 25 (MED) The Divi Neguma minor export crop cultivation programme which comprises: Providing plants for home gardens; Introduction of crops to be grown on a commercial basis up to an extent of two-and-a-half acres, Developing cottage industries linked to minor export crops; Training self-employed persons in pepper pruning and Providing plants required for 100,000 home gardens programme which more..

Supporters of two ministers clash

Nov 25 (Island) The SP for Kalutara has launched an inquiry into an incident where supporters of Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardane had ordered two supporters of Minister Rajitha Senaratne to kneel down and seek pardon, after a supporter of Senaratne had hit a supporter of Abeygunawardane on the head with a bottle at the Moragalle Junction on Saturday. Investigations have revealed that there had been a long-standing dispute between the two parties. more..

JVP begins fight to win 21 demands

Nov 25 (Island) The JVP will launch a protest campaign against Budget 2014, today in Colombo. The protest march would commence at 2.00 pm from Punchi Borella Junction, JVP MP Vijitha Herath said, adding that it would culminate with a rally at the Hyde Park. Herath said that the public servants had, as usual, got only an allowance which is not added to their basic salary. "Public servants asked for a Rs. 10,000 salary increase, but they got only a paltry allowance," Herath said, more..

Video: 'Budget has become a tax statement'

Nov 25 (AD) The Govt has taken loans at exorbitant rates and transferred the burden to the people, UNP MP Gayantha Karunathilake said today. He added that due to the new tax on telecommunication people are unable to even say ‘hello’ to some to convey the burden. The budget has become a tax statement and the govt has reduced the allocation for health and increased the one for Mihin Air, Gayantha charged. more..

Castle street shanties removed

Nov 25 (CG) Several shanties and illegal constructions along the railway track near Devi Balika Vidyalaya at Castle Street in Borella were demolished this evening. Most residents in the area said they were given notice to shift to a permanent apartment complex constructed by the government before the shanties were demolished. The residents said that they had removed most of their belongings yesterday but there were a few people however who had failed to comply. more..

Poet Jeyapalan to be deported following investigations

Nov 25 (CT) Immigration Controller Chulananda Perera says, “Poet Jeyapalan will not be immediately deported from Sri Lanka and that investigations into his conduct during his stay in the country are underway.” Sri Lankan born, Norwegian Tamil poet and actor V.I.S. Jeyapalan was arrested on the 22 Nov for attending a function at the Jaffna Press Club on 18 Nov. Sources reveal that media personalities as well as other members of the Jaffna community were present at the event as more..

'SL seeks meaningful economic cooperation and genuine diplomatic relationships'

Nov 25 (MoD) Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa took this stance while making the keynote address at the opening session of the 'Galle Dialogue 2013' international maritime conference this morning. The Sri Lanka Navy's fourth annual international maritime security conference got underway at the Light House hotel in the southern port city of Galle today. more..

Cameron enacts his buffoonery at CHOGM

Nov 26 (NS) The CHOGM is over and overall, the summit was a success, although it also helped publicize the country’s ongoing tussle over human rights to the rest of the world. The usual suspects, who made threatening noises before the meeting, kept to the script. Canada attempted to organize a mass boycott of the proceedings but failed miserably with only India, and potential host designate Mauritius heeding their call. Indian PM Manmohan Singh kept away but his absence did more more..

Macrae good on ‘tell’ but weak on ‘show’

Nov 26 (NS) As Defence Correspondent of the Nation newspaper I got to know that the Channel 4 Team was in Colombo. With some difficulty I found that they stayed at the Hilton Colombo Residences. Callum Macrae of Channel 4 agreed to avail himself for a meeting with him on Nov 13, in the lobby of Hilton Residencies. The meeting took place around 5.30 pm. The entire meeting was videotaped. I asked him ‘Why do you accuse Sri Lanka of war crimes and what is your intention’. more..

An open letter to Sri Lankan journalists

Nov 26 (NS) I definitely detected a delicious sense of “schadenfreude” from among you brave – but mischievous - Sri Lankan journalists, over the relentless harassment of me and my Channel 4 News colleagues by state intelligence, police and immigration officers. I’m not referring to the ranting rottweiler “reporters” who do the regime’s clunky propagandist bidding, although I have no doubt that they enjoyed it too. more..

The Maduru Oya fiasco

Nov 26 (CT) In the last chapter, we touched on the drive initiated by leading officials in the Mahaveli Authority pre-emptively to settle Sinhalese in the Maduru Oya Basin in the Batticaloa District. This area was to be developed under the Mahaveli Project. The story of this takes much of Herman Gunaratne’s book For a Sovereign State (FSS). The author should be complimented for an unusually frank narrative where he has been true to his perceptions. But after five years more..

Were the Commonwealth leaders too judgmental ?

Nov 26 (CT) Ever since Jesus refused to pass judgment on the woman caught in adultery and who was produced before him and he instead, asked those of her accusers who were without sin to cast the first stone, people have been saying that those who are guilty of an offence themselves have no right to pass judgment on others. The President echoed those views when he told David Cameron that those in glass houses should not cast stones. He also quoted a Pali stanza more..

'Awareness campaign against smoking a success'

Nov 26 (SO) The National Youth Services Council (NYSC) launched 'Urban Youth' in Colombo, to create awareness among youth about the dangers of drugs and other intoxicating stuff. The awareness program carried out among youth against smoking has been successful and the number of youth smokers have declined, NYSC, Chairman Lalith Piyum Perera said. He expressed confidence that the 'Urban Youth' program will make a more..

Dunamis Capital to invest Rs. 200 m in synthetic leather venture

Nov 26 (FT) Dunamis Capital yesterday announced it plans to invest Rs. 200 million on a synthetic leather and related products manufacturing venture. The new activity will be undertaken by a fully-owned subsidiary, Premier Synthetic Leather Manufacturers, with BOI approval under Section 10 of the BOI Law. It will supply the local market. Dunamis, which initially aspired to be a conglomerate, has in the short term confined its operations to financial services more..

Putting the Lankan state on notice post CHOGM

Nov 26 (ST) As the nation catches its breath following an extravagantly useless CHOGM, the only way in which Sri Lanka can avoid evident international pitfalls ahead is to put our internal democratic systems in order. It is time and more that we stopped wasting energy protesting double standards followed by Western nations where accountability for human rights abuses is concerned. Such fierce gnashing of teeth in regard to historical as well as present injustices more..

Look at that little fella!

Nov 26 (ST) Unique it was and a sight never beheld in the wilds of Sri Lanka or anywhere else in the world for that matter. A dwarf elephant! It was 6.30 in the morning on July 7 and for environmentalist Rohan Wijesinha the foray into the Uda Walawe National Park was like the hundreds he had undertaken in the past 20 years. In the distance, Rohan who was accompanied by tracker Saman, more..

No angels in war, peace or at conferences

Nov 26 (SL) The Colombo CHOGM, if it goes down in history at all, will be the result of rare manifestations at the conference: morality, frivolity and hypocrisy under the cover of democracy. British PM David Cameron, much before the conference commenced, was behaving like a fanatical missionary breathing hell fire and brimstone on those Sri Lankans whom he alleged were responsible for killing 40,000 Tamil civilians during the last days of the war against terrorism. more..

Is sex work, work?

Nov 26 (GV) Two weeks ago we found ourselves sitting in a room full of three wheeler drivers working in the Colombo Fort area on what seemed like an all or nothing mission. Of all taboo topics we work with, sex work is perhaps one of the most difficult to approach. The level of judgement and the lack of understanding on the topic is unprecedented. So how do you coax three wheeler drivers to talk about sex work in a country where it is criminalized but exists unrestrainedly in the shadows? more..

Big boys boost Budget 2014

Nov 26 (FT) Six of the country’s biggest listed conglomerates yesterday welcomed the 2014 Budget as being broadly good, despite listing a few concerns – a stance also maintained by two top economists at the sell-out Daily FT-Colombo Uni MBA Alumni Forum at The Kingsbury with Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera as the Chief Guest. Coming together for the first time on a common platform, more..

Lankan women seeking housemaids’ jobs abroad down 37%

Nov 26 (FT) The number of Sri Lankan women seeking employment as housemaids overseas has decreased by 37% in 2013, as a result of stringent controls by State authorities. Minister Dilan Perera said that the Govt had also included family background checks in the controls to prevent fraud and other irregularities related to foreign employment. “The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau has spent Rs. 29.01 million in 2012 to arrange the repatriation of 960 more..

Pakistani investors line-up more than US$ 240M for Sri Lanka

Nov 26 (CT) Pakistani businesses are planning to invest more than US$ 240 million in Sri Lanka's glass, healthcare, tourism, steel and energy sectors, an official said. "Pakistani investors have a preference for Sri Lanka due to logistics and developing infrastructure. We have earmarked investments worth US$ 240 million earmarked specifically for Sri Lanka," said Pakistan-Sri Lanka Business Forum (PSLBF) President, Tarek M. Khan, as quoted in a press communiqué more..

'Budget fails to focus on exports'

Nov 26 (FT) UNP yesterday slammed the Govt’s Budget for 2014, saying it was aiming to create an import substitution economy when the true focus and strategy should be export-oriented for Sri Lanka to make the transition from a middle income to upper middle income country. Opening the debate on the Budget in Parliament yesterday, UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva said the Govt had failed to put measures in place to more..

Sri Lanka- through the looking glass

Nov 26 (KT) As we approach the New Year, India's diplomatic climate is rapidly heating up. Political developments with far reaching consequences are taking place in the SAARC Member States. The Maldives' elected Govt views reducing dependence upon New Delhi as the lynch pin of foreign policy. The Indian PM is unable to follow up on his Pakistan initiative in the run up to the Indian general elections and Pakistan waits for NATO's withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014. more..

E-ticket reservation by SLR runs into flak

Nov 26 (CT) With the recently introduced E-ticket reservation system by Sri Lanka Railways (SLR), all seats in the upcountry railway line (from Colombo Fort to Badulla) have been reserved till the end of December 2013. Commercial Superintendent of SLR, Sisira Kumara said, according to the new method of reserving railway tickets, passengers can reserve tickets 45 days ahead of their journey, and as a result, nearly 3,600 commuters had reserved their tickets on the upcountry railway line. more..

NBT confusion for banks

Nov 26 (DM) The 2% Nation Building Tax (NBT) extended to banks and financial institutions in the 2014 budget have created some confusion as no explanation has been given so far as to whether the said tax would be applied to the gross turnover or the profits. According to tax consultants, NBT is an indirect tax which generally applies to the turnover. The technical notes to the budget 2014 showed that the NBT application to banks and more..

'Naming Southern roads after Northern leaders will increase racial harmony'

Nov 26 (CT) Minister Douglas Devananda commended the decision to name a road in Matara after Sir Ponnambalam Ramananthan, who was one of the prominent figures that fought for the independence of Sri Lanka. Minister Devananda, along with Jaffna Mayor Yogeswari Patkunaraja, unveiled the name board of the Old Market Road as Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan Mawatha on 17 November in the backdrop of the CHOGM. Speaking at the event, which was presided over by more..

New duties on used cars will drive traders round the bend

Nov 26 (ST) Traders warned that new duties on used cars would cripple their trade. The warning came from the Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka. Its chairman Mahinda Sarathchandra said that the revised duties for used car imports would be almost the same as the volume levy for brand new cars. Under the revised system of taxation, the tax table on the imports of a vehicle used between six months to a year will be the same as the amount levied on a brand new imported vehicle, while more..

'I didn't know of a Salaka Casino'

Nov 26 (CT) Director General of the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) Lakshman Hulugalle, in an interview, said he is on familiar terms with Sudharma Nettikumara and has helped her in many ways, and that she has no involvement with the Salaka Casino that was raided recently; consequent to which 23 police officers, who had been involved in the raid, were transferred. Q: Several of the media have attacked you more..

Australia: PM should retract torture remarks

Nov 26 (HRW) Australian PM Tony Abbott should retract his Nov 15, remarks condoning the use of torture in Sri Lanka, Human Rights Watch, the Human Rights Law Centre, Amnesty International Australia, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, and the Castan Centre for Human Rights said in a letter to the prime minister. At the Commonwealth Heads of Govt Meeting in Colombo, Abbott said, “we accept that sometimes in difficult circumstances, difficult things happen.” more..

Customs placed on strict vigil

Nov 26 (CG) Amid a spike in the smuggling of gold, Sri Lanka has stepped up vigil after 56 of its nationals, including 29 women, were arrested by Indian authorities for smuggling the yellow metal, the Press Trust of India quoted a senior Customs official as saying today. “We are keeping a close watch on passengers, especially on Chennaiand Mumbai flights, moving out of the Bandaranaike International Airport,” Sri Lanka Customs spokesman Leslie Gamini said. more..