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NCRS to get more teeth as a commission

Sep 17 (Island) In the face of the rapidly increasing number of road accidents, the National Council for Road Safety (NCRS) has taken steps to repeal the Motor Traffic (Amendment) Act No. 05 of 1998 and convert it into a Commission to become a more powerful authority by next year, NCRS, Chairman, Gamini Ekanayake said. He said that currently the NCRS act as a coordinating secretariat and it did not have implementation powers therefore it couldn’t take actions to reduce road accidents. more..

MPs play havoc on expressway

Sep 17 (DM) Two MPs, who had tried to show their high-handedness on the Katunayake Expressway, were forced to withdraw following interventions by the security forces personnel. The MPs who entered the expressway violating the restrictions were from the Western and North Western provinces. One MP had removed road barriers and entered the expressway, but after the police were alerted the vehicle was brought to a halt more..

Sabaragamuwa U'grads petition HRC

Sep 17 (CT) Undergraduates of the Sabaragamuwa University, numbering 2,723, have sent a petition to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), requesting that normal laws prevail in the university, and to ensure their rights and the freedom to implement activities of the student union. A report has been submitted to the HRCSL by the University, based on the inquiries held by the authorities on the students whose membership had been suspended by the university, and more..

Ranil calls on Malwatte prelate

Sep 17 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, on Monday, called on the Mahanayake of Malwatte, Most Ven. Tibbatuwawe Sri Siddhartha Sumangala Thera. UNP leader and the prelate shared views on the current situation pertaining to the PC elections and the general political situation in the country. The meeting was not open to the media. MP Lakshamn Kiriella said that while discussing the country’s present situation, views had been expressed on the Rathupaswala shooting incident. more..

NPC polls a new chapter for Sri Lanka

Sep 17 (Hindu) Come Saturday, over seven lakh people in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority north will finally get to vote in a long awaited election. Still recovering from the aftermath of a three decade-long conflict that ended in 2009, the region is to hold the NPC elections on Sep 21. This is the first time since 1988 that provincial council elections are being held in Northern Sri Lanka. Campaigning has largely been muted — public meetings are allowed, more..

Welikada Prison riot report out next week

Sep 17 (CT) The report on the Welikada Prison riot that broke out last November, will be handed over to the Minister of Rehabilitation and Prisons Reforms, Chandrasiri Gajadeera, next week. Secretary of the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prisons Reforms, G.S. Vithanage, said, the report had been inordinately delayed due to the absence of one or more members of the committee appointed to probe into the incident, being away from the country. Vithanage said that as Minister Gajadeera is away, more..

CCTV unplugged on day of fire at Sathosa

Sep 17 (FT) The CCTV cameras installed at the Sathosa Building in Vauxhall Street, Colombo 02 had been disconnected on the day that the fire broke out, the Slave Island police informed Court yesterday. At a previous occasion, Colombo Fort Magistrate had ordered the Chairman of the CWE that the CCTV camera video footage obtained from the surveillance camera set up at the Sathosa Building be handed over to the Slave Island police in order to conduct further investigations. more..

Dayasiri warns of ‘computer Jilmaat’

Sep 17 (Island) UPFA Chief Ministerial aspirant and former UNP MP Dayasiri Jayasekara warned that there could be a ‘computer Jilmaat’ when the votes were counted after the forthcoming PC polls in the Nortthwestern Province. Jayasekera, however, said he had faith in public officials and he was confident they would not compromise themselves. Dayasiri said that he did not have money to distribute phones and tyres free of charge to more..

Over 100 lawyers appear for CJ 43

Sep 17 (FT) Attended by the President and some 100 members of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, impeached CJ Shirani Bandaranayake created history as the first head of the country’s Judiciary to be hauled before court on charges filed by the Bribery Commission yesterday. Colombo Chief Magistrate impounded Bandaranayake’s passport, an extension of the travel ban imposed on the ousted CJ by the Bribery Corruption in the asset declaration case against her. more..

Permanent trade centre in Katchatheevu

Sep 17 (PTI) Against the backdrop of attacks on TN fishermen allegedly by SL Navy, the Centre has come out with some proposals which included making Katchatheevu a trade centre where Indian and Lankan traders could barter their products and sign various trade pacts. "We are informally thinking, at the central govt, to moot the idea of making Katchatheevu a trade centre, like the Pragati Maidan in Delhi, to Sri Lanka. Once a trade centre is established there, ferries could be operated," more..

‘India will always help in uniting Sri Lanka’

Sep 17 (HT) In an exclusive interview, President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka countered questions on the forthcoming provincial polls in Jaffna, the manifesto released by the oppositional TNA, which was sympathetic towards the separatist LTTE and the TNA’s demands for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment engineered by India. Rajapaksa said he was disappointed that the TNA was trying to ‘rouse the feelings of more..

405 days and counting

Sep 17 (DM) It is easy to promise, propose and demand yet difficult to deliver, but this does not mean all things are hard to deliver. Sometimes, though, things that are easy to accomplish just don’t get done, even if they are very important. Lack of resources and lack of will are often obstacles, but sometimes there is foot-dragging by interested parties that stump the simplest plans. It is 405 days since the gazette notification was issued regarding pictorial warnings on cigarette packets. more..

Skirting the Middle-Income Trap

Sep 17 (DM) Just four years after the end of the 30-year civil conflict that had impeded developmental progress, Sri Lanka is focused on policies that could speed economic growth and steer around the middle-income trap, a predicament countries might face in moving from low to high income levels. With 25% of the world’s gross domestic product, the region accounted for 38% of the economic losses due to natural disasters from 1980–2009. Unless govts, businesses and more..

SLMC stresses need for pictorial warnings

Sep 17 (Island) The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) yesterday stressed the need for displaying pictorial warnings covering 80 per cent of the front and back of cigarette and tobacco packs. In a communiqué issued to the media the SLMA called for the implementation of the warnings gazetted almost one year ago. The SLMA said it was concerned that the tobacco industry would keep fighting to delay implementation of this more..

Breakthrough in Kowdarmunie rape case

Sep 17 (SL) A 43 year-old mother of three daughters aged 22, 12 and 10, from Pooneryn, Kilinochchi, was brutally raped recently by two unidentified men while she was on her way to cut palmyrah leaves to weave her mats. She is a resident of Kowdarmunie – a remote village in Pooneryn. Her first husband had left her with the children and married another woman. Unable to sustain the family by herself she got involved more..

'No need to panic'

Sep 17 (CT) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, said, "The manifesto of the TNA is not a new concept, but if they seek to go beyond that and try to divide the country, we have the necessary medicine for that as well. Hence, there is no need to panic over it. Various political parties resort to diverse methods during the elections period to win over the people, but the country's Constitution does not permit division of the country in any way. more..

Vass Gunawardena allowed bail

Sep 17 (Island) Interdicted DIG Vass Gunawardena was yesterday allowed bail in a case pending before the Mahara Magistrate Court. He is to be granted bail on furnishing two sureties of Rs. 500,000 each. In this case Gunawardena is charged with demanding a bribe of three million rupees and obtaining Rs. 1.5 million from Sarath Edisrisinghe, alias Singapore Sarath, a witness in the assassination of Kelaniya PS member more..

CBF 2013 set to place inclusive and ethical social sevelopment on the corporate agenda

Sep 17 (EAR) Salma Yusuf in conversation with Dr Mohan Kaul, Chairman of the Commonwealth Business Council, in London. Q: To what extent did the notion of ‘psychic distance’ influence the establishment of the Commonwealth Business Forum, given that it is a key determinant in the internationalisation process? A: In 1997, the then Prime Minister of the UK, Tony Blair, raised questions at the CHOGM held in Edinburgh, more..

Garbage collection waste deep in management and disposal

Sep 17 (ST) Garbage collection and disposal has become an essential service in the country, especially in the Western Province (WP), where much dedicated effort and resources are put in to ensure a smooth operation of the system. Although standards have improved by leaps and bounds in solid waste management in the country, in general, and the WP in particular, where over 700 tons of garbage are collected daily, more..

BOI launches online investment portal

Sep 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka has launched Board of Investment launched an online portal for investors to submit applications making it even easier, investment promotions minister Lakshman Abeywardene said. "This makes it very easy for investors to submit applications," he told reporters. "They can also pay the relevant fees." An investor can create a login for himself choose a sector and fill out the application at more..

Foreign Election observers left for North

Sep 17 (MoD) Foreign Election observers arrived in Sri Lanka to monitor the upcoming provincial council elections toured the North yesterday,. A group of 13 members of the Election Monitors Organizations of the South Asia arrived on Friday and met with the Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya on Saturday. They also met with the representatives of Political parties and local election monitors yesterday. more..

TNA complains to SAARC monitors

Sep 17 (CG) The TNA has complained to a group of election monitors from SAARC countries alleging widespread breach of election laws. TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran had told the election monitors led by former Indian Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N. Gopalaswami that elections laws are being violated in the North. Meanwhile The Hindu newspaper quoted Gopalaswami as saying that the SAARC more..

Foreign inflows fuel Sri Lanka recovery

Sep 17 (AFP) Sri Lanka's economy grew 6.8% in the second quarter, up from 6.0 percent last year thanks to foreign cash inflows which helped a recovery. The strong economic activity in the three month period ending June showed Sri Lanka was on track to achieve a growth rate of 7.5% in calendar 2013, up from 6.4% in 2012, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said. "Along with the normalisation of domestic economic activity, the expected more..

Narco-State: A fate worse than death

Sep 17 (CT) In the United States, there are at least 110,000 drug addicts, slaves to 'dope' manufactured out of the poppy and coca leaves, wrote Raymond Leslie Buell, writer and an earliest foreign policy theorist, way back in 1925. In the same year, the Opium convention, the first global effort to curtail the international drug trade, at that time, came into effect. The peril of drug addiction has already caused much concern by then. Buell, one of the earliest anti isolationist of the US more..

Beware of Pandankarayas who suddenly see the light!

Sep 17 (CT) The admonition that is the title of this column is an unashamed parody of that warning people against “Greeks bearing gifts.” It comes to mind in a Sri Lankan context for a not dissimilar reason: a relatively recent trend for those supporting the most violent and corrupt govt in Sri Lanka’s post-1948 history who, after giving a new and expanded meaning to the word “apologist,” choosing to leave the sinking ship of state. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to divine the fact that this shift of more..

Wikileaks: EPDP’s targeted killing method with govt military

Sep 17 (CT) “The EPDP, originally called the EPRLF, began as a rival to the LTTE. One wing of the EPRLF founded the EPDP as a formal political party when its leader, Douglas Devananda, was elected to Parliament in 1994 and aligned with the govt. Devananda continues to hold the single parliamentary seat his party won in the 2004 election. As part of the ruling coalition, he serves as Minister of Social Services and more..

'Court cannot interfere with presidential order'

Sep 17 (Island) The Court could not interfere with an order made by the Head of State and the elections to the Northern Province had been declared by the President by a special rule, because polls had not been held in that province for a long time and therefore no functional provincial council there, said Justice S. Sriskandarajah, when a writ application, filed against the provincial council polls in the North, was called before the Court. The petitioner, Jayantha Liyanage, Secretary of the more..

Chinese builder of coal power plant eyes its control?

Sep 17 (Island) China General Machinery and Import and Export Co. Ltd. (CMEC), the firm which constructed the country’s first coal fired 300MW power plant at Norochcholai and was now putting the final touches to its second phase, was eyeing to take full control over the plant, top ranking CEB engineers said. They said that CMEC wanted to take full control over the plant and be an Independent Power Producer (IPP). There was no logic in the latest move as locals, more..

Kelaniya Uni hostel attack: Four suspects surrender

Sep 17 (Island) Four persons, wanted in connection with last Saturday’s attack on the Polhena male hostel, of the Kelaniya University, surrendered to the Kelaniya police yesterday. They were remanded till Sept 20 by the Mahara Magistrate. Police sources said that all were from the same village in the area and two more susprcts were being sought. The attack took place around 3.30 a.m. on Saturday. more..

2 dead as heavy rains, winds create havoc in Sri Lanka

Sep 17 (PTI) High speed winds and persistent rains created havoc in Sri Lanka as two people died and over 50,000 were left marooned on an island as a cyclone made a landfall on neighbouring India. Disaster management officials said the two deaths were caused after earth mounds fell on houses. "Over 50,000 people have been affected with two deaths. Some 4600 people are in relief camps numbering 26," Pradeep Kodippily, a deputy director of the disaster management centre said. more..

Rat fever: 2900 cases so far this year

Sep 17 (Island) Leptospirosis, better known as rat fever, continues to trouble the health authorities. The Epidemiology Unit of the Health Ministry has reported that there have been over 2,900 cases, from the beginning of January till the end of last week. Health Ministry said that the highest number of cases had been reported from Polonnaruwa (146), Colombo (155), Moneragala (189), Gampaha (270), Kalutara (287), Kurunegala (250), Ratnapura (278) and Anuradhapura (294). more..

SL hopes to sign FTA with China by Nov.

Sep 17 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka is negotiating intensely with China on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with hopes to sign it as recently as November, a top minister said despite significant issues yet to be decided. Discussions on negative lists are a key point that remain to be resolved admitted, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana said. He noted that the govt was attempting to promote Sri Lanka's vibrant apparel industry, more..

Chinese tourists to SL increase greatly

Sep 17 (Xinhua) Chinese tourists made the eighth largest number of arrivals for the first eight months of 2013 to Sri Lanka, latest data showed here on Tuesday. According to the latest statistics released by the state-run Tourism Development Authority, 24,306 Chinese visited the island from January till August. In August alone, 4,098 Chinese tourists visited Sri Lanka, which marks an impressive 73% increase from the same period last year. The top 10 markets as of end of August shows that more..

Ranil says Lanka a drugs kingdom

Sep 17 (CG) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says Sri Lanka has now become a drugs “kingdom” and will soon be the drugs wonder of Asia. Speaking at an election rally in Yatinuwara, he said that initially people attempted to smuggle heroin into Sri Lanka using their pockets but now it is being smuggled using containers. “The most heroin has been seized in Sri Lanka,” he said. He says the UNP wants to make a change in Sri Lanka and will use the provincial council elections to more..

'Tamil issue in Sri Lanka is being resolved'

Sep 17 (PTI) The Tamil issue in Sri Lanka is in the process of being resolved and the country's government is trying to find a solution to alleged human rights violations involving Tamil citizens, Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam said today. He said that peace reigned in the island nation now and the govt was finding a political solution to demands and problems raised by ethnic communities, which would be of more..

SL gets US$540mn in FDI in 2013 first half

Sep 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka has received 540 million US dollars in foreign direct investments up to June 2013 up 20% from a year earlier, minister Lakshman Abeywardene said. The top investor in the period was Colombo International Container Terminal, from China and Hong Kong with 116.7 million US dollars, followed by Cairn Lanka Pvt Ltd, an oil explorer with 29.4 million US dollars. MAS Fabrics (Pvt) Ltd from had an investment of 25.5 million US dollars from Hong Kong and Krrish Transworks Colombo more..

CID probes Cancer Hospital gloves with undertaker

Sep 17 (Island) The Health Ministry said that it had called in the CID to probe the detection of a consignment of surgical gloves, belonging to the Maharagama Cancer Institute, at an undertaker’s. Ministry Spokesman said that the discovery had been made following a tip-off received by the Maharagama Police. He said that ten boxes containing surgical gloves had been sold to the undertaker. Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena had requested the CID to carry out investigations more..

'Post-2015 development agenda needs a renewed global partnership'

Sep 17 (IL) Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, SL's Permanent Representative to the UN and Chairman of the Personal Representatives of the G-15, has said "the post-2015 development agenda would need to be supported by a renewed global partnership grounded on the values of equity, solidarity and human rights, fully mobilizing developed and developing countries, leaving no one behind". more..

PMG denies plans to shut down sub post offices

Sep 17 (Island) The Department of Posts would under no circumstance close down post offices or sub post offices (SPOs), a top official said. Postmaster General Rohana Abeyratne said that apart from two post offices being upgraded and one sub post office downgraded, there were no plans to close down any other sub post offices. He also accused some unions of resorting to a malicious campaign to tarnish the image of the 235-year-old public sector department. more..

Khurshid to hold talks with Foreign Ministers of Iran, Lanka

Sep 17 (PTI) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will hold a series of bilateral meetings in the next two days with representatives of a number of countries, including Australia and Iran, on the sidelines of Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation conference here. He will hold bilateral meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris on Friday. Khurshid will meet Foreign Minister of Seychelles Jean Paul Adam and more..