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Round-the-clock medical watch for CHOGM delegates

Nov 3 (ST) Visiting heads of govt and their delegations attending this month’s Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka will have blanket medical coverage, with emergency teams on alert to tackle any crisis. Around 200 medical officers, a similar number of nurses and 70 fully-equipped ambulances have been commissioned as part of the exercise, it is learnt. It will not be medical training however but protocol training that will be held for three more..

Five Sri Lankan artistes receive Bunka (Cultural) Awards

Nov 3 (Island) The 20th Bunka (Cultural) Awards ceremony organized by the Japan Sri Lanka Friendship Cultural Fund was held on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, Colombo 7. The Bunka Awards are presented annually by the Fund, which was established in 1993, on the initiative of the Japanese Solidarity Association and the Japanese Commerce and Industry Association in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan. more..

Indian fishermen’s poaching hits Lankan economy

Nov 3 (SO) The illegal and destructive fishing methods employed by South Indian fishermen in the North had adversely affected the livelihood of a large number of fishermen in the area. The Northern fishermen are unable to compete with their South Indian counterparts as they use giant trawlers. The illegal and destructive fishing methods employed by South Indian fishermen in the North had adversely affected the livelihood of a large number of fishermen in the area. more..

Govt. importing cars belying earlier denial

Nov 3 (CT) The extravagant expenses of the Sri Lankan Govt in the run up to CHOGM that would take place in less than two weeks has come under constant criticism by the opposition parties, ever since Sri Lanka was declared the host country. Despite Govt expressing views about pruning the planned allocation of Rs 6 billion to Rs 3.5 billion early in the year, a colossal amount tax concessions has been granted to a more..

Dhammika tightens grip on ceramic sector

Nov 3 (Island) The Dhammika Perera group which is consolidating its presence in the country’s ceramic industry on Friday increased its hold by acquiring 13.6% of Lanka Tiles from the company’s Deputy Chairman, Dr. S. Selliah and related parties, at a price of Rs.576 million. In a corporate disclosure made on the CSE on Friday, Lanka Walltiles PLC, the controlling shareholder of Lanka Tiles, announced the sale of shares by Mrs. A. Selliah, Dr Selliah’s wife, and four private companies more..

NFC compiling new Directory of Artistes

Nov 3 (Island) The National Film Corporation (NFC) is currently in the process of compiling for the ninth time, the directory of artists – 2014. Towards this end it is seeking the assistance of artists in Sri Lanka to both submit their details to the NFC if they have not been listed in the previous directory and update any details that have changed since the previous year’s publication. "These details may be provided either by normal post or by email", said Kassapa Senarat, Assistant General more..

White sandalwood smuggling racket

Nov 3 (NS) Investigations have been launched against three companies under the BOI following allegations of highly lucrative trade involving the illicit export of ‘White Sandalwood’. The racket had puzzled Customs for a lengthy period, chiefly because it hadn’t been able to ascertain just how the white sandalwood was being smuggled out of the country in recent times. However, a breakthrough was made last month when officials from more..

Debris from Colombo’s construction sites aiding dengue

Nov 3 (NS) Increasing construction activities in Colombo have also increased dengue threats in areas adjacent to construction sites, health officials warned. According CMC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, most dengue cases were reported from residents who live close to a number of construction sites in Colombo. The situation had intensified during the past five months. During this period, the number of dengue patients around construction sites is reported to more..

Budget 2014 - CNCI focuses more on industries

Nov 3 (SO) The chambers that represent the business community have presented their proposals for the 2014 Budget which will accelerate economic development through a vibrant business environment in the country. The Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI), Chairman, Gamini Gunasekera said that the chamber has called upon the govt to address the skills mismatch by bringing industry needs to the education curriculum. Skills mismatch is a huge problem affecting more..

Ten heads of State/Govt to speak at CBF

Nov 3 (Island) As many as 10 heads of State/Govt will be speaking at the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) which will run alongside the Summit which is something unusual and a clear indication of the importance accorded across the Commonwealth to this forum held in Sri Lanka, Minister G.L. Pieris said. Sri Lanka was following what Australia did two years ago by inviting non-Commonwealth members to this forum more..

'Casino business is good for the country'

Nov 3 (SM) Higher education minister S.B. Disssanayake says the casino business will bring no evil to the Sri Lankan society, but will be a boon for investments towards making the country a naval and aviation hub in the region. Speaking at a function at Peradeniya University, he said, “When a lottery seller goes to our village, the poor people buy lotteries from him. That also is betting. When a bar is opened in our village, it is our man in the village who goes there and buys a drink. more..

Deepavali message of the JVP

Nov 3 (LT) Deepavali Festival which commemorates the defeat of the cruel ruler Narakasura and the triumph of peace to the world is celebrated by Hindu devotees today. Hindu devotees that celebrate the event wish for light, peace and prosperity. However, the question arises, at this moment, whether masses have received light, peace and prosperity. We believe that Tamil Hindu devotees should consider the situation as a challenge and a threat before them; as a challenge that more..

UK Visa bond scheme 'scrapped'

Nov 3 (BT) Govt plans to force visitors from "high risk" countries to pay a £3,000 security bond to enter the UK have been scrapped, it is understood. Home Secretary Theresa May's scheme was due to be piloted from this month as a way of deterring temporary visitors from staying on in the UK after their visas expire. It had been suggested that visitors from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ghana and Nigeria more..

Only PC polls next year

Nov 3 (CG) The govt says there will only be Provincial Council (PC) elections next year and not Presidential or General elections. Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena told a gathering in Pollonaruwa today that the SLFP Central Committee which met last week had discussed about the PC polls. “We did not discuss about a Presidential election or a General election so next year there will not be a Presidential or General election,” he said. more..

A law unto themselves

Nov 3 (ST) Thugs have taken over parking slots in many of the areas of Colombo city, causing inconvenience to motorists. In areas demarcated as public parking, thugs have become ‘traffic wardens’ and charge varying rates for parking. In the event motorists fail to agree to their demands they turn abusive. ‘If we do not agree to park at the location they indicate, they try and force us to agree to their orders. If we refuse, they turn abusive or bang on the car’, Suranjith Perera, a motorist said. more..

Valikamam North demolition to be challenged

Nov 3 (CG) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) is to petition court over the army demolishing houses and carrying out new constructions on disputed land in Valikamam North despite nearly 2000 cases pending before court. Executive Committee member of the BASL Gunaratne Waninayake said that altering the conditions of the land when it is before court is in contempt of court. He said that the BASL will present more..

Traffic snarl on the Southern Expressway as villagers protest

Nov 3 (Island) A protest by a group of villagers near the Pinnaduwa interchange of the Southern Expressway resulted in traffic congestion around mid afternoon yesterday. Officials said that irate villagers began picketing across the Southern Expressway to protest against what they termed "lack of protection on the stretch of the expressway between the Pinnaduwa interchange and Galle, a stretch of 5 km". "The picketing is going on", said a call centre executive at the more..

Raids on errant salons

Nov 3 (NS) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) together with the Cosmetics Devices & Drugs Authority (CDDA) has launched a nationwide campaign to raid salons in a quest to warn consumers of the deadly cosmetics that flood the market. Nearly half of the cosmetics are reported to be expired or unregistered. “The CAA as well as the CDDA have raided 12 salons in Bambalapitya and have issued severe warnings that much of the cosmetics had expired,” more..

Hi-tech labs for thousand schools

Nov 3 (ST) Technological laboratories are to be established in thousand secondary schools in Sri Lanka. Known as the “Mahindodaya” project, it will involve the provision of some 62,000 computers and 1000 computer notebooks to these schools. It is estimated to cost Rs 1.7 billion for the initial stages. The Govt has decided to ask local companies in the computer trade, including those accredited to sell internationally branded more..

It’s time our boxers paid back the Godfather

Nov 4 (SL) It is easy to decry the performancelast week of Sri Lanka’s five boxers at the World Championship in Almaty, Kazakhstan, as “disastrous". All were defeated in their respective first fights – three lost unanimously; one on a split decision and the fifth was pounded to submission in the first round. The championship was of a 13-day duration which means the Sri Lankan boxers were on holiday for twelve days. Inevitably, criticism will be aired that the investment made more..

Outsourcing and layoffs cause for employee anxiety

Nov 4 (SL) During the last few years there has been an increasing and unprecedented rise on the part of business institutions to outsource their core and ancillary business functions. It’s essentially because outsourcing provides organizations to have greater focus on core business products and growth, while saving time and money. However, with outsourcing of human resources, the rights and privileges of the workers are gradually eroded, while those in permanent employment run the risk of more..

Colombo Port city to be among the most sought after locations

Nov 4 (SO) From the time the first world map was drawn, Sri Lanka, then known as Thambapanni, was known as an island while the Maldives and several other countries were marked as clusters of islands. However, very soon, Sri Lanka too would have to undergo a ‘geographical name change’ from an ‘island nation’ to a country with two additional islands. These two islands did not spring up naturally. more..

Commonwealth Summits: Memories and Musings

Nov 4 (Island) What strikes me in the run up to the CHOGM (2013) is the extent to which this event has changed since the 1970s. CHOGMs then were on a more modest scale, without the fanfare that we see in Sri Lanka today. There was only one event, and that was the meeting of the heads of govt. No business or NGO forums took the limelight away from the main event. The main event itself was an informal, friendly affair, without excessive protocol. Airports were not closed. more..

An NGO ‘Mavilaru’ on the cards

Nov 4 (Island) The happiest man in the entire Commonwealth must be Kamlesh Sharma, its Secretary General. Prior to 2011, the Commonwealth was an ailing organisation, slowly going into decline due to irrelevance. The only thing that kept it going was the lasting impact of the colonial heritage of the British Empire. As a gathering of nations, it had no impact on the world or its member states. The Commonwealth never supported its members in international fora, more..

Debating Budget Priorities

Nov 4 (Island) The Budget for 2014 will be announced by the President in late November. The Appropriations Bill, which specifies budgetary allocations for the various ministries, has already been made public. This article is a pre-budget analysis based on the Appropriations Bill for 2014. Performing a pre-budget analysis is inherently limited because govt expenditure is but a slice of economic policy making. more..

The world today: China, India and the United States as seen from Sri Lanka

Nov 4 (CT) Let me begin with one of the formative myths of the Sri Lankan state. It deals with the introduction of Buddhism to the country, in the 2nd century BC. The king at the time, Devanampiyatissa, was out hunting when he came across a strange man in the forests of Mihintale. This was Mahinda, the son, or some say the brother, of the Mauryan Emperor Asoka, who had converted to Buddhism after a terrible war in which, to complete his conquest of India, more..

The day of commemoration for the disappeared: May god save us

Nov 4 (CT) On 27 October, about 400 persons from the north and south, most of whom are family members of disappeared persons, gathered at the Monument for the Disappeared at Raddaluwa, Seeduwa. Like the gatherings in previous years, this year’s too was a very sad spectacle to watch. Several of the persons carried flowers or a candle to place before their loved ones, whose photographs are set in the marble of the monument. There are many disappeared family members whose more..

'Govt must probe itself '

Nov 4 (SL) President Rajapaksa established the Ministry of Law and Order, taking the Police Department under its purview, and, by implication, his executive powers. Ministry is to implement a Police Act, and tackle the issues of corruption within the existing system of law and order. However, this move has raised the suspicion of the opposition, and even segments of the general public, over Rajapaksa administration. more..

A twist of fate

Nov 4 (SO) In a strange twist of fate Weeran had turned out to be the village thug. The entire village in the area from where Weeran hailed feared him. They dared not say a word against him because they feared his wrath. Weeran was tall and big-made. Handsome you might say in a way but he wore a moronic expression all the time. A crooked smile hung about his face because he was up to no good. All he did was drive fear into the people of Queensland estate. more..

Economists concerned over perils to sustained growth

Nov 4 (ST) Economists are concerned that the current economic policies would be a serious constraint to sustained economic growth. The annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA) on October 25 and 26 brought this out clearly. Delivering the presidential address on the theme “Way Forward for Sustained Growth”, Prof. A.D.V. de S. Indraratna, noted that Sri Lanka was able to reverse its low economic growth, not by investing domestic savings, but by borrowing more..

Lookout! Test-killing Lankan cricket is rolling over

Nov 4 (ST) For sports and war, there is one common golden rule. Though the two subjects exist at the opposite ends of the pole, both entail one common phenomenon. They both categorise endurance, cunning foresight and the guile. Then if the two opposite camps are equally balanced, it comes to the point where who drops their guard first. The moment one drops the guard, all endurance, foresight and guile are blown with the wind more..

Packer and Park

Nov 4 (Island) International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Asia-Pacific Director Jacqui Park and her deputy Jane Worthington arrived in Australia on Saturday after being detained and questioned in Sri Lanka for attending a media workshop while being in Colombo on tourist visas. The treatment meted out to Park and her colleague is in sharp contrast to the way the govt has chosen to deal with Australian gambling czar James Packer. It is going out of its way even to change the existing more..

Ideology and national medicinal drug policy

Nov 4 (Island) Wouldn’t a rational individual choose a state controlled, well constituted government institution such as the DRA, have the monopoly of choosing a few brands of a drug, selected on the basis of safety, effectiveness and affordability to the public, using a Marxist-inspired, Bibile-conceived, "essential drug list"? As pointed out earlier, countries the world over, including the capitalist ones, have chosen Prof Bibile’s way! I refer to Mr. RMB Senanayake’s ‘Bibile drug policy – more..

Murali Cup: An adulation that blurs divisions

Nov 4 (CI) "The capacity for cricket to bring unity and to bring communities together is huge," Kumar Sangakkara says as he surveys the Kilinochchi Central College grounds, where the local Under-19 team is playing their neighbours from the east coast of Sri Lanka. It has been four years since Sri Lanka's Civil War ended, and this town, the LTTE's former capital, was one of the hardest hit. Many of the scars of conflict more..

President join winding-up ceremony of students CHOGM cultural parade

Nov 4 (GDI) President Rajapaksa Sunday joined the conclusion of a cultural procession staged by 3,750 students from all leading schools representing the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth. The cultural procession depicting cultural traditions of the Commonwealth member countries paraded from the Royal Park and to the Independence Square this evening. Amongst the schools that participated in the "Tomorrow belongs to us" Commonwealth cultural procession, more..

First ever female Chairperson at Unilever

Nov 4 (FT) Creating history on 1 November 2013, Shazia Syed took over the reins of Unilever Sri Lanka as the first-ever female Chairperson. Like her predecessor, Amal Cabraal, Shazia started off her illustrious career as a management trainee at Unilever. In her 24 years with the organisation, she has worked across most Unilever categories and was seconded to Vietnam in December 2000 for three years where she worked as a Business Unit Leader in Personal Care. more..

Sterile males to tackle war against dengue

Nov 4 (ST) The latest weapon that Sri Lankan authorities are to brandish against the deadly dengue-carrying female mosquitoes is sterile males. The Sterile Insect Technique to prevent mosquito breeding is to be introduced next year. Under the ‘Sterile Insect Technique’, laboratory-bred male mosquitoes which have been rendered sterile through irradiation will be introduced to the environment to mate with female dengue more..

Sri Lanka SMEs enter a global forum for the first time

Nov 4 (Island) The Sri Lankan Small and Medium Enterprises will receive a boost as the sector has grabbed the attention of a powerful Swiss Investment arm, SGE, and for the first time, Sri Lankan SMEs will take part in a leading international forum. Top Swiss investment team led by the co-founder of the Zurich merchant bank is scheduled arrive in Colombo for CHOGM. "Sri Lanka SMEs need tech capability for them to advance. Your food processing, water bottling, dairy & livestock, more..

Commonwealth apathy over Sri Lanka is only to be expected

Nov 4 (Guardian) As the Commonwealth summit approaches, the shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander, among others, has urged David Cameron to boycott the meeting next week in Colombo, while the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, has withdrawn. At issue are the war crimes alleged to have been committed under the host government in Sri Lanka, for which there is mounting evidence. Thousands of Tamil civilians were killed during the bloody civil war. more..

Hakeem asks Kalmunai Mayor to step down

Nov 4 (Island) SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem on Friday asked the Mayor of Kalmunai to step down. He said: "At my discretion, as the SLMC leader, I restrain Siraj Meerasahib from functioning as the Mayor of the Kalmunai Municipal Council from 1st Nov. 2013. If any of the SLMC members in the council cooperates with him, disciplinary action will be taken against them. Meerasahib will not enjoy any political status in the party hereafter." more..