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Sri Lanka to establish 4 cement factories within Port premises

Sep 23 (GDI) The govt under the programme to establish new industrial parks and enterprises within new and existing port premises has decided to construct cement grinding and packaging plants in the Colombo, Galle and Trincomalee port premises. Accordingly the Sri Lanka Ports Authority is making arrangements to provide facilities to establish cement factories on a proposal made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Minister of Ports and Highways under the concept of more..

High profile investigation into soldier’s alleged rape in Haiti

Sep 23 (DM) Three senior officers appointed by the Army Commander Lt. General Daya Ratnayake are to leave to Haiti shortly, in order to investigate an alleged molestation attempt on a Haitian woman by a member of the Sri Lankan contingent, serving the UN Peacekeeping Missionin Leogane, Haiti Following is the release issued by the Army regarding the ongoing inquiry. Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake on hearing the more..

IPL tie fixed by 4 Sunrisers, bookie

Sep 23 (DC) A Mumbai-based bookie fixed an IPL match for Rs 6 crore after striking deals with four players of Sunrisers Hyderabad -Thisara Perera, Hanuma Vihari, Karan Sharma, Ashish Reddy, according to a statement by this bookie that has been included by the Mumbai police crime branch in its chargesheet filed on Saturday. This bookie had been arrested by the Delhi police special cell from a Mumbai hotel. The bookie allegedly met the four players in Pune and fixed the deal with more..

FM lauds TNA for securing resounding mandate in polls

Sep 23 (PTI) Lauding Sri Lanka's main Tamil party, the TNA, for securing a "resounding mandate" in elections for the Northern province, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram today expressed confidence that it would secure maximum autonomy for provinces and equal rights for Tamils among others. "This is a resounding mandate in favour of TNA and gives TNA a splendid opportunity to work for a permanent solution based on the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution more..

TN, SL fishermen associations talks useful if held in a month

Sep 23 (PTI) DMK president M Karunanidhi today said the dialogue sought by TN govt between fishermen's associations of the state and Sri lanka following frequent attacks and arrests of the former by naval personnel of the island nation would be useful only if it is held within a month. In a letter to PM Manmohan Singh, he also referred to recent incidents of arrests of Indian fishermen by SL navy and sought his intervention. more..

Alleged teacher tormentor’s nephew defeated

Sep 23 (Island) Nephew of former UPFA Northwestern Provincial Councilor Ananda Sarath Kumara, who allegedly forced a female teacher to kneel down, Nilantha Wimalaweera failed to win a seat from the Puttalam District at Saturday’s poll. Wimalaweera got nominations to contest the poll from the UPFA as Sarath Kumara was refused nominations in the aftermath of forcing a teacher attached to the Navagaththegama Navodya school to go down on her knees for advising more..

Video: We will not do anything that goes against the law - Vigneswaran

Sep 23 (AD) We will do nothing that goes against the law, TNA Chief Ministerial candidate, C.V. Vigneswaran stated after receiving the highest preferential votes in the Jaffna District at the concluded PC election. Speaking to journalists in Jaffna, he stated that the party requires the support of the government in order to be able to maintain the NPC. He said that the party however did not have any intention of joining an alliance with the govt. He also assured that the TNA was prepared to more..

SLC dismisses fixing allegations against Thisara Perera

Sep 23 (PTI) Sri Lanka Cricket on Monday has denied reports that all-rounder Thisara Perera indulged in match-fixing during this year’s Indian Premier League, saying that it has full faith in its players. SLC rebuttal comes in the wake of a media report which stated that a Mumbai-based bookie fixed an IPL match for Rs. 6 crore after striking deals with four players of Sunrisers Hyderabad. more..

Sri Lanka welcomes Syrian move

Sep 23 (CG) Sri Lanka has welcomed the framework agreement reached between the Russian Federation and the USA on the time bound safeguarding and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, stockpiles, thereby seeking to resolve this issue through peaceful means. The External Affairs Ministry said that as a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, SL abhors the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons, and has advocated their complete destruction and more..

Former Commonwealth head of Human Rights condemns SL over gay harassment

Sep 23 (PN) The former head of Human Rights at the Commonwealth, Dr Purna Sen, has condemned the Sri Lankan Govt over the harassment of activists campaigning for LGBT rights. Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, Dr Sen, who is Chair of the Kaleidoscope Trust, said it was “wholly unacceptable for the country preparing to host Commonwealth leaders in a few weeks time to try to silence the LGBT community and human rights defenders through threats and intimidation.” more..

Monitors dismayed at Army role

Sep 23 (CG) Foreign election monitors from the South Asian region today expressed dismay over the alleged role played by the army during the provincial council election in the North. Addressing the media today the monitors, who were invited to Sri Lanka by the Department of Elections, also raised concerns over the alleged role of the army in the attack on the house of a candidate of the TNA a day ahead of the polls. more..

Long, hard road ahead for the Tamils

Sep 23 (GN) A leading Sri Lankan Tamil politician and MP did not hold out much hope for the country’s minority Tamil population in the north despite his party having swept the NPC elections last week. R. Sampanthan, the President of the TNA and ITAK, which registered an overwhelming majority, when over 60% of Tamils voted to give themselves a sliver of hope in their quest for self-rule, admitted he saw a long, hard road ahead in negotiations with the Sri Lankan authorities. more..

A great chance for Lankan Tamils

Sep 23 (AA) The landslide victory scored by the TNA in the Northern Provincial Council has presented a fresh and perhaps the best opportunity in recent times for the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka. After three decades of gruesome death and destruction that mauled almost every household in the north, the Tamils have now got a chance to get on their feet. TNA’s chief minister-elect, C.V. Wigneswaran, is highly respected, not just among the Tamils but across the island, more..

U.S. Ambassador views rare Sri Lankan artifacts preserved with SLR4 million grant

Sep 23 (USE) U.S. Ambassador Michele Sison visited the Yatala Museum today to view rare antiquities found during the excavations of Yatala Dagaba, which were preserved with a $30,000 grant from the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. During her visit, the Ambassador met with Department of Archeology Acting Assistant Director of Museums Mr. Palitha Weerasingha, more..

They lost before elections

Sep 24 (NS) The holding of the Provincial Councils elections was promised by the UPFA regime just after the defeat of the LTTE terror outfit and finally, in the first week of July this year, they made the official announcement to hold the elections in September. The UPFA govt also planned to hold fresh elections even for the North Western and Central Provinces, though these councils had not reached the end of their official term. Now, the PC polls in all three provinces are over and more..

Time for reconciliation

Sep 24 (NS) The shadow of neighboring India looms large as local and international attention focuses on the outcome of the NPC elections, suggesting that our neighbor will play a pivotal role in shaping the role and fate of the newly elected Council. In sentiments that raised a few eyebrows, The TNA’s chief ministerial aspirant, C.V. Wigneswaran was critical of India’s involvement saying that when there was a domestic dispute, it was not proper for the ‘next door neighbor’ to suggest a divorce. more..

Fillip for education in Eastern province

Sep 24 (SO) Several academic activities and events took place in the Eastern province this month, highlighting the rapid progress that the province has made in the field of education in the post-terrorism era and the prevailing atmosphere of freedom and zeal among the academic circles. New buildings for the different faculties of the Eastern University were constructed at huge expenditure while more buildings are more..

Provincial elections, an acid test for UNP

Sep 24 (CT) The year 2014 will be crucial for both Sri Lanka and India. Rumours about a snap presidential election are circulating in political circles here, whilst the general election of India is actually in the cards for March and April. Both the ruling Congress Party of India (CPI) as well as the opposition giant, the Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP), are gearing up a massive power show, which observers have predicted will see an opposition victory. Then Narendra Modi may replace more..

A toxic brew of election fury promising disunity

Sep 24 (ST) As the 21st of Sept 2013 draws to a close, marking the first provincial council election held in Sri Lanka’s Northern region for decades, there is a certain terrible inevitability as to where the metaphorical (so far) lines of battle are drawn between this Govt and its most determined detractors. Unmistakably defined by the hardline majoritarian policies of the Rajapaksa administration which has left little room for compromise during the past few years, more..

I believe in the people - Dayasiri

Sep 24 (CT) Q: Are you satisfied with the election campaign? A: Yes, we are addressing at least 60 meetings including pocket meetings per day and these are scheduled in such a manner that it covers each and every polling centre in all 14 seats in Kurunegala District. I have addressed at least 1,200 meetings in the first 30 days and hoping to hold at a least similar amount and complete addressing all 3,500 villages by the end of more..

Political landscape post the provincial polls

Sep 24 (GV) The elections to the provincial councils are over and the results have been largely as many political analysts predicted. The UPFA won in both the North Western and the Central provinces, while the TNA romped home in the North. The political landscape though remains largely unchanged subsequent to the polls, with the polls reiterating but not altering the political dynamics that existed since the end of the war and the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2010. more..

TNA sweeps NPC poll with 30 out of 38 seats

Sep 24 (DBS) The TNA has triumphed magnificiently at the historic first election to the Northern Province with its chief ministerial candidate retired Supreme court Judge CV Wigneswaran topping the number of preference votes with a whopping tally of over 130,000. Wigneswaran polled 132,255 votes in the Jaffna District, with the wife of Ezhilan former LTTE Political Wing Leader for Trincomalee Ananthi Sasitharan coming in second with 87,870 votes. more..

Shruti Challa

In memory of Lasantha: Media and the self-preservation policy of Rajapaksa

Sep 24 (CT) Ladies and Gentlemen: good afternoon. I’m happy to be here with you and speak at this event. I would like to thank the organisers for putting together the Lasantha Wickrematunge Memorial Lecture. I worked with Lasantha at the Sunday Leader between 1999 and 2002. It is tragic that media censorship and political oppression against which Lasantha struggled valiantly then, and for which he died in 2009, persist four years after his death. Following the military campaign, more..

Lasantha had courage

Sep 24 (CT) Greetings to the organizers and my fellow panelists. I participate with the full knowledge that the organizers have been at the receiving end of criticism from all quarters, those I consider friends and those who would consider me adversary. I am aware, also, that friends and colleagues though my fellow panelists are, they roughly fall into a single camp. I am an outsider, in that sense. But I believe, still, that our commonalities outweigh our differences. Media has a role in all societies. more..

Mannar’s holy wars

Sep 24 (FT) Focus may be on the key districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu as the Northern Province goes to the polls tomorrow, but the unobtrusive District of Mannar is multi-layered in complexity, a heady mix of ethno-religious communities integrated and segregated in so many different ways. Land, resettlement and livelihood issues resonate with the rest of the Province but in Mannar they are compounded by more..

Editorial: Much-maligned manape

Sep 24 (Island) UPFA chief ministerial aspirant Dayasiri Jayasekera has secured a stunning 336,327 preferential votes in the Kurunegala District and TNA Chief Ministerial candidate C. V. Vigneswaran an impressive 132,255 votes in Jaffna. We, now, know how popular these two candidates are. Would we be able to gauge a candidate’s popularity under the Proportional Representation (PR) system but for the preferential vote mechanism? Kurunegala is a case in point. more..

The promise to work together after elections

Sep 24 (Island) The unexpectedly large scale of the defeat suffered by the govt at the NPC elections held last Saturday is an indication of how inaccurate it was in assessing the mood of the electorate in the former war-zone of the North. The govt cultivated the belief that economic development and the self-interest of individuals would outweigh their desire for political rights. With its ability to raise large loans from the international community and deliver economic benefits, more..

Cuing for nothing

Sep 24 (ST) The 61st National Billiards Championship came to an end last Sunday, with the maestro of cues K.H. Sirisoma clinching his 22nd title. If that makes Sirisoma an elated man is a big question. To rank billiards, the sport that brought Sri Lanka’s first World Cup title, among the prolific will be indeed a total mishap, with the present condition. But if it is to see a change, a wholesome benefactor needs to assist the sport. more..

Elephant watching in Sri Lanka

Sep 24 (DL) It's a cool jungle dawn, silent save for the old girl next to me, 5000-odd kilograms and a heavy breather. Wrinkled, grey and one of an estimated 600 elephants counted in the recent census in Ude Walawe National Park and soaked from an overnight dumping of rain, her sound, like air passing through a hose, is noisy and rhythmic. It's in time with the thwacking of her leathery ears flapping back and forth, so close I could reach over and touch one from our open jeep, more..

Sri Lanka fisheries harbour project wins UNOPS global award

Sep 24 (FT) The Post Tsunami Coastal Rehabilitation and Resource Management Project in seven districts won the Project of the Year award by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark. The project was a joint partnership with the Ministry of Fisheries and the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation. It was funded through a loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented by UNOPS. more..

CB: Economy on track to achieve 7.5 % growth in 2013

Sep 24 (Island) The Central Bank in a statement last week said the economy was on track to achieve a 7.5% growth rate this year. "The economy grew by 6.8% in the second quarter of 2013 according to the GDP estimates. Both Industry and Services sectors contributed positively towards growth while the Agriculture sector contracted. The Industry sector maintained its growth momentum registering an expansion of 10.1%. more..

Straight from Sri Lanka: Snake gourd grows on Staten Island

Sep 24 (SIL) Ranjani Fleming has a vegetable Staten Islanders would love to get their hands on: Snake gourd. In fact, many a resident could wrap their hands around it if they actually found a way to acquire the long, green vegetable that Ms. Fleming grew via seeds acquired from Sri Lanka. The 77-year-old aide revealed the unusual edible veggie a few weeks ago. It was in a Tottenville backyard of her patient, where other more mundane vegetables, including parsley, grow. more..

HNB introduces cashless payment solution for taxi services

Sep 24 (Island) HNB MOMO and Kangaroo Cabs have formed a mutually beneficial alliance, in what could only be described as the most significant moment in recent history. Kangaroo Cabs has incorporated this new age technology, paving the way for a future of cashless convenience. HNB recently made history with its revolutionary unveiling of "HNB MOMO", becoming the first bank in Sri Lanka to introduce the mobile POS technology to local businesses. more..

CB faults CIFL in Court over financial mismanagement

Sep 24 (FT) The Central Bank yesterday informed Court that Central Investment and Finance (CIFL) was liable to pay a sum of Rs. 1,032 million to depositors at maturity and a further payment of Rs.179 million as interest. The Central Bank faulted CIFL for violating the directions issued by the Monetary Board of the Central Bank over liquidity issues of the company. Filing a report before Colombo Fort Magistrate more..

New project to boost biomass energy production

Sep 24 (Island) A new climate change mitigation project to promote sustainable biomass energy production and modern bio-energy technologies in Sri Lanka commenced with an inception workshop on September 17, 2013. The project is aimed at supporting Sri Lankan industries to meet energy needs from locally sourced fuel wood derived through sustainable practices, instead of imported furnace oil, kerosene and diesel. In implementing the project, the UNDP will be partnering more..

Just one of us

Sep 24 (ST) The Sugathadasa Stadium was all decked up for the prize giving of a sports body and a particular lady was spotted sulking in the stands. This lady was heard saying that she is an advisor to the Big Man in the sport and that the reception she got at the prize giving was Luke warm. To counter this, officials of the sports body said that she is part and parcel of the sports body and does not need any special greeting. The lady was glamorously dressed hoping that she will get a grand welcome at more..

Ravana Balaya on the war path

Sep 24 (CT) The Ravana Balaya (RB) threatened mass-scale countrywide agitation, if the govt fully implemented the 13th Amendment and vested full powers with the NPC, which will be run by the TNA. President of the RB, Ven. Ittekande Saddhatissa Thera, threatened sternest action against the govt, if it were to vest all the powers as stipulated in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, with the Northern Province, more..

NDB Capital Holdings PLC ventures into private equity with New York based firm

Sep 24 (Island) NDB Capital Holdings (NCAP), Sri Lanka’s leading full-service investment bank, plans to venture into Private Equity (PE) fund management in partnership with Zephyr Management (Zephyr), a New York based leading emerging market PE fund manager. The two parties entered into an agreement to work together,subject to obtaining all regulatory approvals, to set up a PE management company and eventually launch Sri Lanka’s first dedicated country PE Fund. more..

'Wigneswaran has stature to do business with Colombo'

Sep 24 (Island) An Indian analyst said today that victorious TNA Chief Minister-designate for NPC C. V. Wigneswaran has the stature and ability to establish a working relationship with President Rajapaksa’s govt. Commenting on the TNA’s impressive victory in the first election for the NPC in a quarter century, Col R Hariharan, a retired military intelligence specialist on South Asia, said: "Now TNA in office in NPC has no choice but to build an equation with Colombo to fulfil the more..