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Chinese FTA evokes mixed reactions

Sep 22 (NS) The proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Sri Lanka and China, which is slated to be inked this November ahead of the CHOGM, is a ‘wakeup call’ for the country’s exporters to identify and exploit opportunities available in China, the country with the second largest economy in the world, Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Suresh Shah told The Nation Gain. In this regard, he further said that the CCC is fully supportive of govt’s move, more..

Unlikely proposition for Lankan coaches

Sep 22 (ST) Sri Lanka’s cricket management has already begun its quest to replace the South African born coach Graham Ford who opts out after his contract ends in January next year. Last week, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) came out with an official communiqué saying, “National Coach Graham Ford has indicated to SLC of his unavailability to continue with SLC after his contract expires in January 2014. more..

Nine new records established on day one

Sep 22 (ST) The two-day 30th Mercantile Athletic Championship, which got underway at the Sugathadasa Stadium, saw nine new records being established from over 100 finals in different age groups that were held on day one yesterday. The 30th Mercantile Athletic Championship, conducted by the Mercantile Athlete Association, is being contested by 1823 athletes from 40 companies from the mercantile sector which comprises 1204 in the men and 619 in the women categories. more..

Hurdles lined up for Rajapaksa govt following polls

Sep 22 (SL) Elections to three provincial councils have ended. By the time this newspaper reaches its readers on Sunday morning, the winner will be known. The question, however, would be whether there will be any “real” winner. Regardless of who emerges victorious at the provincial polls, especially in the North, it must be understood that the country is yet to fully heal from the war. The campaigning in the North has so far done more harm than good to a community that is waiting more..

Banks favoured; no faith in regulator-poll reveals

Sep 22 (ST) Most Sri Lankans favour banks, particularly state banks, to invest their hard-earned money or pensions and have no faith in the regulators to effectively control and monitor other investment options here, a joint poll has revealed. A street poll conducted by Research Consultancy Bureau revealed that 99.4% of respondents invested in commercial banks while that number was exactly 50% in the email more..

CMC awaits Internal Audit Dept. report on the burnt files

Sep 22 (ST) The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) is awaiting its Internal Audit Dept’s report on the destruction of the CMC files. CMC Mayor M.J. Muzammil said that the inquiry has not been completed, as they are waiting for the Internal Audit Dept’s observations. “The Dept is yet to get statements from three Municipal Councillors and the Commissioner of the Council,” he said. He said that the Local Govt Ministry Secretary has requested a report from him and the LG Commissioner. more..

Krrish, Shangri-La projects in Colombo clear hurdles

Sep 22 (ST) The Krrish square mixed development project tainted by scandalous financial deals is to finalise the land lease by making the final payment of Rs. 589.7 million by the end of next month, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. However the Delhi-based Krrish group’s partnership with Ritz Carlton to bring the seven-star hotel to Colombo is unlikely to happen, the BT reliably learns. When Parliament agreed to grant a massive 25-year tax exemption to Krrish Group more..

Ravinatha dealing with Pillay’s office

Sep 22 (SL) Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinghe is in touch with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay over a statement released to the media on Friday. External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatilaka Amunugama said that Aryasinghe has been asked to seek further clarification on the statement. Pillay had denied the claims attributed to Secretary of Defence more..

SC refuses appeal of migrant worker

Sep 22 (ST) The Supreme Court has refused ‘leave to proceed’ by a migrant worker against a new rule where women seeking to work overseas as domestic workers are permitted based on the consent of their husbands. When the fundamental rights petition came up recently, the court headed by Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, took the position that the rule was not gender discriminatory nor violated an individual’s human rights. The court said that the rule was based on the protection of more..

Govt. plans fresh elections

Sep 22 (NS) The ruling UPFA govt has planned to dissolve Western, Southern and Uva Provincial Councils soon and hold fresh elections. This was revealed by the Minister, Dullas Alahapperuma, just a few hours before the North, Wayamba and Central provinces elections commenced. The govt dissolved both the North Western and Central provincial councils before their official terms were over. Minister who was busy getting ready to leave to participate at the UN General Assembly more..

Sri Lanka highly vulnerable to US spy-game

Sep 22 (NS) In the absence of a national cyber security monitoring system, every key government institution in Sri Lanka is highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks and unauthorized infiltrations by countries who conduct online surveillance programs, The Nation reliably learns. As a result if this no-wall, no-gate situation, industry experts warn that any party can eavesdrops on top govt institutions, weakening their IT systems more..

Sri Lanka poll threatens to ignite fresh conflict with Tamils

Sep 22 (Reuters) Voters in Sri Lanka's north thronged polling stations yesterday in an election that threatens to rekindle animosity between the govt and ethnic minority Tamils, four years after the military crushed separatists and ended a 26-year war. The provincial council election is the first in 25 years in the north, once the heartland of Tamil Tiger separatists. President Rajapaksa's govt is holding the poll after facing international pressure to restore democracy. more..

Sri Lanka women win Asian 7s Plate

Sep 22 (SO) Sri Lanka beat Singapore by 17 points to 5 to win the Plate championship and secured the overall fifth place at the Asian Sevens Series Women’s Tournament worked off in Bangsaen, Thailand yesterday. Sri Lanka scored one goal and two tries after leading 10-nil at the short whistle. Singapore was only successful in scoring an unconverted try in the second half. Sri Lanka, determined to win the fifth position of the tournament, excelled in both attack and more..

Tamil Nadu exports fish robbed from Lanka

Sep 22 (ST) More than 1,000 Tamil Nadu fishing boats that cross into Sri Lankan waters with impunity thrice a week form part of the southern Indian state’s multi-billion rupee fish export industry catering to the EU, US, Japan and other countries, a Sunday Times investigation has revealed. The fishermen who cross the IMBL that separates the two South Asian countries in a flotilla of sophisticated boats are engaged in more..

Al Jazeera blocked in Lanka

Sep 22 (CG) Al Jazeera television has been temporarily blocked in Sri Lanka over its election coverage today. Dialog Television is the main re-broadcaster of Al Jazeera television in Sri Lanka. Sources said that the Doha based TV station was blocked today by Dialog Television following one of its reports on the Northern polls. Meanwhile Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that some international media had made “serious adverse comments” on Sri Lanka on election day. more..

President to address UN on inaugural day

Sep 22 (SO) President Rajapaksa will lead Sri Lanka’s delegation to the 68th UN General Assembly which will be convened at the UN Headquarters, New York on Tuesday. He is one among the world leaders who will address the General Assembly on the very first day, a senior official at the Sri Lanka’s Mission in New York said, adding that his speech has been included in the afternoon session. The Assembly sessions were officially inaugurated on Sept 17 and more..

Voting ends on relatively peaceful note

Sep 22 (Island) The poll in the Northern, Central and North Western provinces was relatively incident-free as voting ended at 4 pm yesterday, election officials said. "There were no major incidents reported", they said. Polling was brisk with an estimated voter turnout of around 63%, which they described as "reasonably good" for a provincial-level election. However, under the new system it was difficult even for the EC to more..

Bid to swindle public money with shopping mall in Kotte

Sep 22 (SL) Municipal Commissioner of the Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte Municipal Council (SJKMC) is accused of planning to build a luxury shopping mall in Welikada without a proper plan and an estimate. SJKMC ruling party member R. Ponnamperuma said that although constructing a shopping mall in Welikada is a good idea, the Municipal Commissioner and some council members are trying to swindle council money in the guise of constructing a shopping mall. more..

Legal action against politicos not declaring assets

Sep 22 (SL) Legal action is to be initiated against the political candidates who have failed to declare their assets so far, said Attorney Gunaratne Wanninayake. He said that a group of lawyers had made preparations to hand over a proposal to the executive committee of the Sri Lanka Bar Association. The proposal will be handed over at the next executive committee meeting. Wanninayake said that if the candidates do not submit their assets and liabilities declaration to more..

UPFA, TNA emerge winners

Sep 22 (CT) The UPFA was leading with a clear majority in the North-Western and the Central Provinces and the TNA was leading in the Northern Province, according to reports from the counting centres, by the time we went to print last night. Commissioner of Elections, Mahinda Deshapriya, said that other than a few incidents, the election was basically peaceful. The voter turnout was 62% in the NP, 57.5% in the CP and 54.5% in the NWP. more..

Youth turnout impressive in Lanka polls

Sep 22 (TOI) The PC elections held on Saturday in war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka attracted a significant number of young men and women to the booths. They contributed to the high turnout of over 65% recorded in the polls. "This is the first time that I am getting a chance to vote and I hope this election ushers in a new beginning for our people," said 21-year-old K Shobana of Aanaikottai in Jaffna district. Having completed 'A level' schooling, she works as a computer operator in a shop in Jaffna. more..

TNA heads for clean sweep in Sri Lanka's Tamil-dominated north

Sep 22 (PTI) Sri Lanka's main Tamil party- TNA, is heading for a landslide win in the historic polls in Sri Lanka's Tamil-majority Northern Province, four years after the military defeated the LTTE to end decades of ethnic conflict. TNA has convincingly trounced the ruling UPFA coalition, grabbing three of the five district results declared till 4 am local time today in the first polls in the province for 25 years. A turnout of over 60% was recorded during yesterday's voting in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaithivu more..

Polls over: Govt. borrows billions more; key world issues next week

Sep 22 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in an unusually buoyant mood last Thursday when he chaired the weekly cabinet meeting late afternoon at the President’s House in Kandy. At other times this meeting would have been postponed on account of the day being Binara Poya. However, he was on a tight schedule with plans to leave Colombo over the weekend. He is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday. more..

JKH summons EGM to get shareholder nod for rights issue

Sept 22 (Island) John Keells Holdings has summoned an extraordinary general meeting on Oct 2 to get shareholder approval for its forthcoming rights issue with attached warrants. On Aug 28, the JKH board decided, subject to shareholder approval, to issue nearly 132 million new ordinary shares of the company by way of a rights issue of two ordinary shares for every thirteen held at a price of Rs.175 per share. The new shares that are subscribed will be entitled to two sets of warrants, more..

Sri Lanka: a miracle in Asia

Sept 22 (CNTV) Sri Lanka is known as "Pearl of the Indian Ocean". Sri Lanka's economy has taken off after the civil war, property prices have gone up, many new job opportunities have emerged. The country is becoming an Asian new miracle. Mr Silva lives in the suburb close to the capital. He bought this two story single house before the end of the civil war for 10 million Rupee (85000 U.S dollars). As the country’s economy continue to grow, now the value of the house has gone up more than 30%. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Sep 22 (ST) The polls campaign for yesterday’s PC elections was not without a sense of humour. In one instance in the Puttalam District, a candidate had almost fallen in love with his voters. In an SMS message he sent, he called them “Raththarang” or Darling. This is what he said: “Raththaran, mama godak lengathuwa oyage dukedi sapedi oya laga hitiya. Punchchi hith amanapakam wenna athi. Mama tharaha na wagema more..

Phony ‘Uthayan’ circulated in Jaffna

Sep 22 (NS) Confusion reigned in Jaffna yesterday when a newspaper carrying a fake front page of Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper was circulated with news of TNA boycotting polls. Sources in the peninsula said the four page newspaper which was circulated in several areas in the peninsula had created confusion among the public with regard to TNA’s participation at the NPC polls held yesterday. more..

'Pillay, D.S. and Buddhist flag: Govt. exhibiting lack of diplomacy'

Sep 22 (Island) The on going dispute over the alleged remarks made by the UNHRC, Navaneethem Pillay about the D.S.Senanayake statue and the Buddhist flag, indicated the lack of diplomacy on the part of the Rajapaksa regime, an Opposition MP said yesterday. Eran Wickremeratne, MP, said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa by publicly contradicting his brother, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who alleged that more..

NCE organizers ‘helpless’ as PB plunges into marathon 90-minute speech

Sep 22 (Island) In a one-and-a-half–hour marathon speech, a top bureaucrat bulldozed his way through the time allotments to spell out govt policy and proffer a glut of advice to the cream of Sri Lanka’s community of exporters at a prestigious export-oriented awards ceremony on Friday night. Treasury Secretary, Dr. P. B. Jayasundara apparently had plenty of time on his hands to over-shoot the 45-minute time slot more..

Diplomats ordered to cut travel expenses

Sep 22 (ST) Sri Lankan diplomats have been told to cut down on travel expenses immediately following excesses in certain sectors, External Affairs Ministry (EAM) Secretary Karunatilleke Amunugama said. Orders to this effect have been sent to the heads of Sri Lankan missions, instructing them and their staff to avoid unnecessary travel, he said. “Each and every staff member on the diplomatic payroll must obey this order,” more..

Consumers unaware of mercury hazards in CFL bulbs

Sep 22 (NS) Sri Lanka lacks proper regulations and consumer awareness on mercury content in Compact Fluorescence (CFL) bulbs, stated Center for Environment Justice (CEJ) Executive Director Hemantha Withanage. Speaking to The Nation he said that there were a number of concerns about these bulbs and mercury poisoning which the people should be made aware. Speaking further, Withanage mentioned that a CFL bulb used in SL more..

Post Polls: Tamils want solutions

Sept 22 (SL) The Northern elections may be over and results are out, but as far as the people in the North are concerned the election is just an administrative formality. To put it in the words of Sarawanan Krishna, a trader at the Jaffna market, the Tamils want a solution to their everyday needs which so far does not seem likely to be addressed through an election. Krishna is just one of many Northerners who cast their ballots yesterday more..

HIV infections again on the rise

Sep 22 (NS) Ninety people have been diagnosed with HIV in the first six months of 2013 alone, Consultant Venereologist and Trustee of the AIDS Foundation Dr. Sujatha Samarakoon revealed. This is in comparison with 186 cases reported for the year 2012, she added. Dr. Samarakoon made these observations at the Lanka Business Coalition on HIV and AIDS (LBCH) Annual General Meeting, held recently. An estimated 4200 people, more..

Sri Lanka strives to hit the US$2 bln FDI target this year

Sep 22 (ST) Sri Lanka is aiming for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of around US$2 billion by this year, having so far received $540 million up to June, up by 20 per cent from the same 2012 period, BOI officials said. The country fetched $1.2 billion in FDI last year and expects an increase this year with investments coming from strategic development projects and country wise investments mainly from China, India and Hong Kong, more..

Jayalalithaa proposes India-Lanka fishermen talks Dec

Sept 22 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa has suggested to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the suggested bilateral talks between fishermen in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu can be held in Chennai this December, subject to certain conditions. In a letter to Manmohan Singh Sep 20, the text of which was released to the media Sunday, referring to the proposal to facilitate a dialogue between more..

The constitution undermined: By the TNA manifesto or the Sex trade in children?

Sept 22 (CT) In a most damaging story affecting the already poor government fortunes on the eve of the PC elections, Colombo Telegraph reported that the then US ambassador Robert Blake had wired Washington in 2007 that “[Tamil] children are sold into slavery, usually boys to work camps and girls to prostitution rings, through EPDP’s networks in India and Malaysia.” Stephen Sunthararaj, an employee of World Vision, a California-based “Evangelical Christian Humanitarian aid, more..

Provincial Council Elections: Rajapaksa Economics and TNA Politics

Sep 22 (Island) The voting is over in the three PC elections that concluded yesterday. The news over the coming days and weeks and even months will be saturated with election results analyses and commentaries, especially the results of the Northern Provincial Council election. If predictions hold, the UPFA will triumph as usual in the North Western Province and the Central Province, but it is the TNA that is expected to topple the UPFA cart in the Northern Province. more..

DP now the third force

Sep 22 (CG) The Democratic Party (DP) led by former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said it was now the “third force” in Sri Lankan politics. DP MP Jayantha Ketagoda said that the party will now look at taking their political policies further. The DP received 3 seats in the North Western Province and 2 in the Central provincial council elections held yesterday and pushed the JVP down the list. more..

The will of the Northern voter

Sept 22 (CT) Ostensibly, voting in the historical NPC election ended on a peaceful note yesterday, with as many as 68% of the residents exercising their democratic right with quiet determination. The result, while indicating the future course of this war ravaged Province, still looking for the promised peace dividend, will also reflect the reality of the govt's development and reconstruction efforts. Given the sudden spike in violence and intimidation directed both towards the opposition candidates more..

Mahela Jayawardene tweets after airport security scare

Sep 22 (SKY) Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene was one of the 267 passengers on board the Sri Lankan Airlines flight that was forced to make an emergency landing at Stansted Airport in London due to a security threat on Saturday. Jayawardene was travelling to England for the Test Captains' dinner, which will be held at Lord's on Tuesday. Jayawardene will be joined by fellow former Sri Lanka captains Arjuna Ranatunga, Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara more..