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'Water project contract given to failed Chinese N’cholai plant builder'

Sep 5 (FT) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament questioned the aptitude and reliability of China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), a key contractor hired by the Govt for several major projects including the “failed Norochcholai power plant”. Given the poor track record of the Chinese firm, he also questioned the suitability of awarding a fresh $ 229 million water project to the same company. more..

CB spotlight was on CIFL says Govt.

Sep 5 (DM) The Central Bank ordered the Central Investment Finance Ltd. (CIFL) on numerous occasions to rectify its shortcomings in financial management, the govt said in Parliament today. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake made a statement under the Standing Order 23/2 in this regard, and asked as to why the Central Bank had not taken steps to prevent the CIFL from going bankrupt, leaving its depositors in the lurch. Minister Dinesh Gunawardene who responded said more..

DG Archaeology says no theft occured

Sep 5 (Island) Director General of Archeology Dr Senarath Dissanayake yesterday denied that there had been any theft of archaeological treasures while he was abroad. He said recent newspaper and electronic media reports regarding a theft of invaluable gold (Ranpath) archaeological treasures and other valuables from the Department of Archeology were baseless claims and the department would take legal action against the media institutions. more..

Floral tribute at Mullivaikal: Gross misrepresentation, says Pillay’s Office

Sep 5 (FT) The Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay broke its silence yesterday over Govt claims that she had attempted to a pay floral tribute where LTTE Leader V Prabhakaran had been killed, saying the allegations were a ‘gross misrepresentation’. Spokesman for the High Commissioner said that it was a “gross misrepresentation” to pretend Pillay was planning to honour the LTTE. more..

Defence Services Colleges to spread islandwide

Sep 5 (ST) Govt has decided to expand the Defence Services Colleges to accommodate children of armed forces and police personnel in other parts of the country, with the first of them coming up in Kurunegala. Earlier, the Defence Services College commenced in Colombo to provide educational facilities to children of the three Forces and the police. Cabinet approval was granted to expand the facilities to other areas of the country on a joint proposal made by the President, more..

Sri Lanka awarded Best Travel Destination in Guangdong, China

Sep 5 (AT) Sri Lanka won an award for Best Travel Destination of Cantonese, based on online voting by the readers of the Southern Metropolis Newspaper. The award was presented to the Consulate General on the opening day of the China (Guangdong) International Tourism Industry Expo 2013 (CITE 2013), a one-stop platform for the travel trade, which took place at the China Import and Export Fair Pazhou Complex, Guangzhou from August 29th –September 1st 2013. more..

Sri Lanka nudges up in Global Competitiveness Index

Sep 5 (FT) Sri Lanka has moved up three places to number 65 in the latest Global Competitiveness Index compiled by the influential World Economic Forum, though the country continues to struggle in making strong headway. Sri Lanka’s rank of 65 is out of 148 countries but the score of 4.2 (range of 1 to 7) remains unchanged from the previous year’s index. Though year on year there is an improvement, Sri Lanka is yet to catch up more..

TNA should learn from history

Sep 5 (DM) The manifesto that the TNA has presented ahead of the Provincial Council elections is an admirable improvement on previous such documents produced by that party. In earlier iterations the TNA showed unreserved servility to the LTTE and its terrorist leader, V Prabhakaran. The leadership of the TNA, by accepting Prabhakaran as the sole representative of the Tamil people not only conflated the Tamils with LTTE, but agreed in essence to a complicity clause more..

Man makes mistakes; a noble man admits them

Sep 5 (DM) The President says “I am not a dictator.” From this statement we presume that he has no intention whatsoever of becoming one either. This comforting news is for the people who have in recent months questioned as to why the 18th Amendment was introduced if it was not to arrogate power to the Executive Presidency at the expense of the Legislative and Judicial arms of govt. Be that as it may, those who have known the President and watched his political climb would agree that more..

Harry says Lankan tax policy promoting illegal boozers

Sep 5 (DM) Despite the several social and economic hindrance to the illegal alcohol industry growth, the country’s tax policy in fact encourages it which causes the legal, regulated and responsible sector to shrink, charged a top official of a listed distiller. According to the Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka (DCSL) Chairman, Harry Jayawardena, the sharp rise in tax on alcoholic beverages is disproportionate to the more..

Undergrads claim Govt. trying to legalize private unis

Sep 5 (CT) Undergraduates of the Universities of Peradeniya, Ruhuna, Rajarata and the Visual Arts, yesterday, protested against a Gazette issued by the education authorities on 22 August, saying it contained recommendations of the 2011's Proposed Private Universities Bill. According to the IUSF the Private Universities' Bill which was proposed in 2011, but had to be retracted due to enormous pressure by student unionists more..

'Media Mudalalis working to private agendas'

Sep 5 (DN) Certain media 'Mudalalis' (moguls) are promoting their private agendas by manipulating their institutions according to their own likes and dislikes and subverting the main import of news items, said MMinister Keheliya Rambukwella. He was addressing a workshop on "the role of the provincial correspondent in district development" organized by this Govt Information Department more..

Tiny ant makes big strides

Sep 5 (ST) They are a household nuisance and the sight of lines of ants marching towards food lying about can drive one crazy. But researchers from Peradeniya University studying a group of ants are excited by their discovery. The cause of the excitement was the existence of the rare endemic Sri Lankan Relict Ant (Aneuretus simoni Emery) among the sample of ants being studied. The Sri Lanka Relict Ant may be one of the tiniest more..

UK Tamils want British monitors to oversee ‘vote on self-rule’

Sep 5 (Island) An organisation calling itself the British Tamil Conservatives (BTC) has urged the British govt to deploy election monitors in Sri Lanka ahead of the first NPC polls scheduled for Sept 21. Claiming that the Sri Lankan govt was holding Northern PC polls due to international pressure, the BTC asserts that a free and fair election would largely depend on the deployment of polls observers. more..

Sri Lanka court orders release as 34 fishermen plead guilty

Sep 5 (ENS) For the first time since Sri Lanka changed the procedure to deal with arrested Indian fishermen, 34 of them have pleaded guilty in a Sri Lankan court, of transgressing into the waters of the island nation. After 36 days in custody, a court in Point Pedro has ordered their release, as the fishermen pleaded guilty. In the past two months, the Sri Lankan navy apprehended a large number of Indian fishermen. more..

UN fully supports Pillay’s work in Sri Lanka

Sep 5 (AD) The UN stated that it fully supports the work that UN Human Rights Commissioner Navanethem Pillay did while on the ground in Sri Lanka while adding that no one should face intimidation for speaking to the UN. Associate Spokesperson for the Secretary General of the UN, Farhan Haq stated that the UN respects and fully supports the work that Navi Pillay was doing while she was in Sri Lanka. more..

'Chinese got it as there were no other takers'

Sep 5 (Island) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday told the House that the National Water Supply and Drainage Board had taken measures to award the contract of constructing the Gampaha, Attanagalle and Minuwangoda Integrated Water Supply Scheme to China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) as none of the other reputed water supply contractors came forward. "The contract was awarded more..

Concerns over Gota’s speech

Sep 5 (CG) Muslims have raised concerns over the comments made by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa where he had said that the govt was on alert over attempts to spread Muslim extremism in Sri Lanka. The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) said that the Muslim community has without any hesitation stood by the Sri Lankan State throughout the 30 year conflict and has never resorted to any form of armed resistance. more..

Pillay pessimistic after visit

Sep 5 (SL) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay – who concluded her seven-day visit yesterday – said she was happy about post-war developments, particularly in the North but sounded rather pessimistic about the govt’s progress in issues related to accountability. After a series of meetings with representatives of the govt, the opposition, civil society and families of the disappeared, she made a statement to the more..

Is Sri Lanka becoming a drug hub?

Sep 5 (CT) A portentous drama of 'drug transit', whose plot and script were most likely composed some thousands of miles away, but enacted on the Customs Yard of Urugodawatte last week, served to re-emphasize a chilling reality, that of Sri Lanka establishing itself as a key transit point in the narco trade. The detection and subsequent seizure of 250 kilograms of heroin, said to have a street value exceeding two and a half billion rupees, from a container sent from Pakistan, more..

Human rights in a brutalised society

Sep 5 (CT) It was exhausting — mentally and emotionally — to sit and listen to Dr Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu reveal fact after fact, story after story to illustrate the hellish depths to which Sri Lanka has sunk in terms of abuse of human rights and the brutalisation of society. The executive director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives was guest speaker at the 13th Convention of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Foundation (SLHRF) held in Colombo on Monday, September 2. more..

Victory is near: UNP’s 67th anniversary theme, with youth to the fore

Sep 5 (Island) The 67th Anniversary of the UNP will be celebrated at Sirikotha tomorrow under the theme, ‘Jaya Langai’ (Victory Is Near). UNP MP Harin Fernando said that the younger generation would be given pride of place at the anniversary celebrations as the Rajapaksa govt had duped them by dangling programmes such as the ‘Tharunayata Hetak’, which was purely a political movement to promote more..

Dayasiri seeks President’s help to find missing supporter

Sep 5 (AD) Former MP Dayasiri Jayasekara has sought assistance from the President and Defence Secretary to locate his friend and supporter, Sarath Ratnayake, a millionaire businessman who is reportedly missing since last night. Ratnayake’s wife has lodged a complaint with Hettipola and Wariyapola Police Stations stating that her husband has been missing since 9.00pm yesterday. He is a longtime supporter of the former UNP MP, who is contesting for the NWPC under the UPFA more..

Sri Lanka rupee slightly weaker on importer dollar demand

Sep 5 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's rupee was a tad weaker on Thursday due to dollar demand from importers as the local currency stayed under pressure in the absence of strong dollar inflows, dealers said. However, the central bank expected the currency to stabilise due to $209 million in inflow raised through Sri Lanka Development Bonds from a number of Middle East banks. The rupee spot next or one-day forward, which was active in the absence of spot trade, traded at 133.08/15 per dollar more..

India to supply two naval warships to Sri Lanka

Sep 5 (PTI) India is planning to supply two naval warships to Sri Lanka to strengthen its capabilities to guard its maritime boundaries. The two Offshore Patrol Vessels would be built by the Goa-based defence PSU Goa Shipyard Limited and they are expected to be delivered to the Island nation by 2017-18 timeframe, sources said here. The development comes at a time when political parties in Tamil Nadu have been demanding more..

Seylan Bank ties up with Micro Cars

Sep 5 (Island) Seylan Bank recently tied up with Micro Cars Ltd as its leasing partner, thereby offering its customers across Sri Lanka a wide range of exciting leasing products. This partnership will henceforth enable all Micro Cars customers to avail themselves of Seylan Bank’s leasing products from any of its 150 outlets island wide. Seylan Bank’s CEO Kapila Ariyaratne said, "As we celebrate 25 years of banking excellence this year, we are indeed happy to join hands with Micro Cars and more..

SC gives go ahead for FR violation plea

Sep 5 (Island) The Supreme Court recently granted leave to proceed with a fundamental rights violation application filed by a father and his daughter, who had complained that unauthorised protests on public highways caused immense hardships to people who had to attend to their routine lives. The petitioner, on July 3, 2013, had taken his daughter to Musaeus College, Colombo from his residence at Navinna, Maharagama. He had travelled along the High Level Road. A protest demonstration launched by more..

Tamil refugee was child soldier trainer

Sep 5 (Age) Tamil refugee Ranjini admitted to having trained child soldiers during Sri Lanka's bloody civil war in a secret ASIO report used to justify her indefinite detention in Australia. She also told immigration officials she rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the separatist Tamil Tigers and fought two battles in the late 1990s against Sri Lankan forces. But the mother of three who arrived by boat in 2010 has never been more..

Audio: No need to teach HR says CJ

Sep 5 (CG) Chief Justice Mohan Peiris says no one in Sri Lanka needs to be taught human rights as all are born with it. Speaking at the opening of a new court in Anuradhapura today to deal with pending cases of several former LTTE detainees, the CJ said that the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was not created owing to international pressure. He said that Sri Lankans respect human rights as they are born with it and so do not need to be told to protect it. more..

Oust Lanka from commonwealth, says Vaiko

Sep 5 (ENS) Sri Lanka should be removed from the Commonwealth for its anti-Tamil activities, said Vaiko, president of MDMK here on Wednesday. He was here in Vellore to participate in the preparatory meeting for the party’s 105th birth anniversary conference of Aringnar Anna, Vaiko said the Congress has betrayed the interests of people of TN and Tamils in Lanka. “Sri Lanka should be removed from the Commonwealth and the meet should not be held at Sri Lanka,” he said, more..

Video: Govt’s actions in the past 4 years pushed Tamils towards racist ideology - JVP

Sep 5 (AD) The govt’s actions in the past four years have pushed the Tamil people into the racist ideology that they need a separate govt instead of accepting the present one as their own, the JVP stated. JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that Prabhakaran was able to recruit suicide bombers and amass such a strong force by spreading the ideology that the govt in Colombo should be replaced by a Tamil one. more..

Critics fail to see positive side of Pillay’s visit – Govt.

Sep 5 (Island) The govt said that those who criticised UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay’s visit to Sri Lanka did not consider what she expressed in favour of the country after concluding her task here. Youth Affairs and Skills Development Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said that Pillay had stressed six important points. He said that after concluding her five-day visit, she had praised the hospitality of the Sri Lankan people and the govt. more..

'China's influence on Sri Lanka a matter of concern for India'

Sep 5 (PTI) China's growing influence on Sri Lanka, which is India's back gate, should be a matter a concern for the country, research professor in the Centre for Policy Research Bharat Karnad said today. Karnad said India needs to become militarily pro-active and be assertive with not only Pakistan but with China as well. "India, which should be cautious of China, remains too much preoccupied with other neighbouring countries including Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan," more..

U.S. renovates Mullaitivu market to bring communities together

Sep 5 (USE) U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison and USAID Mission Director Sherry Carlin opened the newly renovated Mullaitivu public market today, which will enhance livelihood opportunities and bring local communities together. The market, renovated at a cost of SLR 54 million after being damaged by the conflict and the December 2004 tsunami, will not only provide easy access to goods and increase incomes, but more..

GMOA Crucial meeting to promote breastfeeding

Sep 5 (Island) Representatives of the GMOA, United Nations International Children Educational Fund and the World Health Organisation yesterday met Health Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka to take steps to promote breastfeeding in the country. GMOA Committee Member Dr. Nalinda Herath told The Island that during the discussions with the Health Secretary, the GMOA had requested him to promote breast milk promotion countrywide as there was no substitute available. more..

UK Secondary school keeps links with SL

Sep 5 (FC) Marshland High School has once again been chosen to develop international links with Sri Lanka as part of a major school twinning project to boost global education. Connecting Classrooms is a UK govt and British Council education initiative. Marshland High School has been selected in recognition of its commitment to teaching students about global issues. Teachers and students are working with Swarnamali Girls College in Sri Lanka to learn how to become responsible more..

Iraq, Lanka seek stronger ties

Sep 5 (CG) Iraq and Sri Lanka have sought stronger ties after both countries had re-established diplomatic ties. Iraq’s Labor and Social Affairs Minister Nassar al-Rubaie called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning at the President’s Office. President Rajapaksa, remembering his own numerous visits to Iraq decades ago, said relations between the two countries must be strengthened to the level more..

Top shrink wants danger message driven into tobacco industry employees

Sep 5 (Island) Awareness should be created among the tobacco industry employees regarding the havoc smoking was causing among people. It should go hand in hand with the country’s endevour to say "No" to smoking, said Prof. Diyanath Samarasinghe of the Colombo University’s Department of Psychological Medicine. Addressing the ceremony, held to award Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena the ‘World No Tobacco Day- 2013 Award’ and the Harvard Leadership Award’ on Tuesday, more..

Was Kumar Sangakkara 'morally forced' into opting for Kandurata?

Sep 5 (NDTV) More often than not, choices put one between the devil and the deep blue sea. For Kumar Sangakkara however, it was seemingly less life-threatening, having to choose to represent either the Kandurata Maroons or the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the upcoming Champions League T20. Sangakkara opted for Kanduranta, but with it opened a can of worms feeding on commitment, loyalty and a sense of belonging. The veteran Sri Lanka claimed that his country's board (SLC) put him more..

Sri Lankan man dies in failed exorcism ritual

Sep 5 (AFP) A Sri Lankan man died Thursday after a bizarre and botched ritual to drive out what he thought were evil spirits from a house outside Colombo. The man sacrificed a cat and was then buried in a shallow grave after instructing onlookers to dig him out once he gave a signal of pushing a sword he was carrying through the ground, police said. “Even after three hours, there was no sign of the sword coming up from the grave,” more..