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State banks head Most Valuable Brands list

Apr 16 (FT) Media Services, the publisher of leading business magazine LMD, announced that its special edition of Brands Annual 2014 has been released to supermarkets and bookstores across the island. The all-encompassing special issue features the top 200 brands in Sri Lanka, compiled by Brand Finance. The value of the top 10 brands combined has grown by around 30% (to Rs. 190 billion) the annual edition notes, adding that “the table is heavily weighted towards the financial services industry, more..

Furore over route permits

Apr 16 (CT) Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) is to take legal action against the Ministry of Private Transport Services for issuing only 12 route permits for private buses to ply on the Southern Expressway (E 01), from Maharagama to Matara. LPBOA President, Gemunu Wjeratne, said these route permits were allegedly issued to government supporters. "The ministry says these are only temporary route permits, which allow buses to ply on E 01 during the New Year season. more..

Sri Lankan Tamils issue takes a back seat in election campaign

Apr 16 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan Tamils issue appears to have taken a back seat in the campaign for the April 24 Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu, much to the disappointment of pro-Tamil groups in the State. Almost all the political parties, including those which, vociferously criticised the Congress-led-UPA govt at the Centre, for its alleged inaction in protecting the Tamils in the island nation, are hardly mentioning it now. more..

Govt. responds to UNP chairman’s allegations

Apr 16 (SM) Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena rejects UNP accusations that the controversial draft bill to allow casino businesses is to be tabled in parliament again, and says the relevant draft permits only three mixed hotel projects. Minister is responding to the allegations UNP chairman Kabir Hashim had made when he called on the Mahanayake Theras of Malwatte and Asgiriya on April 11. Hashim said that the opposition would fulfil its national responsibility more..

OHCHR will commence assessing the evidence on SL-UK

Apr 16 (DM) Britain said that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights will now begin the process of establishing an investigation and assessing the evidence regarding Sri Lanka. UK Foreign Minister William Hague told in UK Parliament that, it is expected that the investigation will draw on expertise from a range of fields and examine a broad range of information and evidence. The high commissioner will provide an oral update to the UNHRC this September, more..

Australian Tamil Congress dismisses terrorism allegations as 'baseless'

Apr 16 (ABC) A Tamil community group in Australia is among more than a dozen international Tamil organisations labelled as "financers of terrorism" by the Sri Lankan Govt. A Tamil community group in Australia is among more than a dozen international Tamil organisations labelled as "financers of terrorism" by the Sri Lankan Govt. Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) has denied any links to terrorists, accusing Colombo of more..

Global warming: Don’t wait till it’s too late

Apr 16 (DM) In the afterglow of a happy but the hottest ever National New Year we need to reflect deeply on the latest UN report which warns that just a few decades remain to halt global warming and head off its most catastrophic effects. The report according to the widely respected National Geography magazine offers a sweeping menu of climate change fixes that would require global cooperation to implement. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) mitigation report, more..

False assumptions and erroneous theorisation

Apr 16 (DM) There is a school of thought that believes that the common action programme of the Left with the UNP was a meaningless exercise, to say the least. They go on to claim that it was helpful to the UNP leader to stabilise his leadership within the party, but brought discredit to the left leaders. On the other hand they believe that the collapse of the mass support of the government, shown in the recent elections, was an outcome of the policies of the government. more..

'Women’s participation in labour market is more important than oil for Norway'

Apr 16 (DM) A wide-ranging interview with Grete Lochen, Ambassador for Norway in Sri Lanka on women’s contribution to national development and political participation, engagement in peace processes and the UN. Q: The Norwegian Embassy in Colombo recently celebrated Norway’s 100th year anniversary of women’s enfranchisement in politics at an event to coincide with International Women’s Day 2014. more..

Fonseka denies Indian role in 2009

Apr 16 (CG) Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka has denied claims that the Indian army played a direct role in Sri Lanka during the final stages of the war against the LTTE. Fonseka, who was the Army Commander at the time, told BBC Sandeshiya that the final battle which eventually led to the defeat of the LTTE, was fought only by local troops and not any foreigner. The Times of India had reported this week that a petition filed at the more..

TNA to back South African process

Apr 16 (CG) The TNA says it will back the South African facilitated process to achieve reconciliation in Sri Lanka but at the same time will also closely monitor the actions of the Govt. A TNA delegation which visited South Africa last week on an invitation extended by the South African Govt, said the visit was positive and fruitful. TNA leader R. Sampanthan said that the TNA delegation informed South African Govt that the Tamils want more..

Nediyavan: On a mission for LTTE

Apr 16 (SL) After the death of Velupillai Prabhakaran and the dismantling of the LTTE in Sri Lanka in May 2009, the leadership of the foreign wing of the LTTE clashed with Kumaran Pathmanathan. The chief of LTTE procurement and shipping Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP was sidelined by Prabhakaran from 2003 to 2008, but when the LTTE leader realized the end was near, he entrusted KP with the mantle of more..

Up, up and away with 2 more domestic airlines

Apr 16 (ST) Two more companies have applied for certification to the Director General of Civil Aviation to start domestic private and charter services, bringing the total number of such firms to nine. Existing private airline companies already own 14 aircraft- eight airplanes and six helicopters, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Dept said. The latest to apply for air operations certificates are Fly Me (Pvt) Ltd and IWS Aviation (Pvt) Ltd. more..

Sri Lanka could have credit upgrade on lower budget deficit, external debt: Fitch

Apr 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka's sovereign credit could be upgraded on a steadily narrowing budget deficit and a lower external debt burden, which were weaker than similarly rated countries, Fitch Ratings has said. Sri Lanka has been given a 'BB-' sovereign rating three levels below the lowest investment grade rating of 'BBB-' by Fitch with a stable outlook. Compared to similar rated peers, public finances and external finances were listed as more..

SB accuses TNA MP of having close links with Gopi

Apr 16 (Island) A senior govt minister charged that a TNA MP had harboured and provided transport facilities to three LTTE cadres shot dead by security forces in a gun battle in the Nedunkerny jungle last Friday. The dead LTTE cadres were Selvanayagam Kajeepan alias Gopi, Navaratnam Navaneethan alias Appan and Sundaralingam Kajeepan alias Thevihan. Minister S.B. Dissanayake said that he had information that a TNA MP more..

Sri Lanka offers six prime acres of Colombo to international investors

Apr 16 (Island) The govt has sought international expressions of interest for six acres of prime Beira lake front land on offer in commercial hub of Colombo for mixed development, Janaka Kurukulasooriya Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development says. A perch of prime land on the Beira water front was priced at eight million rupees and ten acres or more of prime land opposite the Fort Railway Station the Chalmers more..

Durham enlist Sangakkara on short-term contract

Apr 16 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara has confirmed he will represent Durham for two to three Division One matches of the County Championship in preparation for Sri Lanka's tour of England. He will likely miss Sri Lanka's two ODIs in Ireland, but will join the squad before their first ODI against England on May 22. He may also be available for one of the two 50-over warm-up matches against Essex and Kent. Sangakkara had sought a more..

TID releases 19 suspects out of 60 held over attempts to revive LTTE

Apr 16 (Island) The TID had released 19 suspects including mothers of Selvanayagam Kajeepan alias Gopi and Navaratnam Navaneethan alias Appan on April 11, 12 and 13, out of 60 held by it over attempts to revive the LTTE Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said. Among the 19 released suspects, four were females and fifteen were males, he said. The bodies of Gopi, Appan and Sundaralingam Kajeepan alias more..

Sri Lanka trip anger for Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson

Apr 16 (GE) Laurence Robertson was left ‘embarrassed’ and ‘furious’ after having to call off a Parliamentary trip to Sri Lanka at the last minute. Tewkesbury MP and his partner, Annie Adams, were due to jet off to SL last Thursday. Mr Robertson had been asked by legendary Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan to send a delegation of MPs to his homeland on a fact-finding mission during the Easter recess. more..

Audio: Online drug purchase: NDA to set up monitoring body

Apr 16 (DM) The Director of the National Drugs Authority Dr. Hemantha Benaragama warned Lankans not to purchase medicines, especially drugs that were purported to enhance sexual performance over the internet. He said that he had a meeting Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa regarding the issue and that a unit would be set up in collaboration with the Customs, Interpol and the CID to monitor such activities. more..

South Korean pianos for Lankan schools, childrens homes

Apr 16 (Island) A South Korean programme to raise hope through music among Sri Lankan students,has resulted in schools and childrens homes in twelve districts, receiving digital pianos. The country’s Ambassador in Colombo, Arjuna Jongmoon Choi told "The Island" that encouraging the young ones to learn music not only brought out their latent talents, but also gave them a medium through which they could relax amidst constant pressure to excel in their studies. more..

Future of Tamil nationalism in Sri Lanka after NPC election

Apr 16 (CT) TNA’s thumping victory in Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council (NPC) election held on September 21, 2013 has to be viewed the post-Eelam War political setting. It was conducted after electoral politics was set free from the stranglehold of the LTTE in nearly three decades. The election is a watershed in Sri Lanka Tamil history as it marks the return of Tamil nationalism to the political platform after a tortuous journey to extremism to insurgency. more..

Hakeem stands by report to Pillay

Apr 16 (CT) SLMC leader and Justice Minister Rauff Hakem says he stands by his decision to submit a report to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay related to reconciliation issues. Speaking to reporters after meeting the Chief Prelate (Mahanayake) of the Malwathu Chapter in Kandy today, Hakeem said that the report to Pillay focused purely on shortcomings in implementing recommendations of LLRC. more..

Australians told to exercise caution

Apr 16 (CG) Australians visiting Sri Lanka have been told to exercise a high degree of caution because of an unpredictable security environment. In an updated travel advice, the Australian Foreign Ministry says because of the prevailing security situation, Australians are strongly recommend to register their travel and contact details with the Australian authorities to contact in an emergency. The updated travel advice contains new information under Civil unrest/political tension with more..

Sri Lankan rupee edges down on mild importer dollar demand

Apr 16 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee closed slightly weaker on Wednesday on light importer dollar demand in the absence of export dollar conversions and inflows from remittances after a long holiday, dealers said. Both currency and stock markets were closed on Monday and Tuesday for the Sinhala-Tamil new year holiday and a special bank holiday respectively. The spot rupee ended at 130.60/65 per dollar, edging down from Friday's close of 130.59/61. more..

Sri Lankans urged to search for President’s missing macaws

Apr 16 (AFP) Four macaws belonging to President Rajapakse have escaped his tightly-guarded official residence, his office said as it appealed for help to trace the colourful long-tailed birds. "The president is very fond of these birds," an official said, adding that he also cared for other species at the colonial-era President´s House in Colombo. Macaws went missing from their aviary during the New Year holidays this week. more..

Police probe attack on Jaffna journalist

Apr 16 (Island) The Police in Jaffna were investigating an alleged attack on a print media journalist. He was admitted to the Point Pedro hospital after being attacked allegedly with iron rods at Vellaveli by two unidentified persons who followed him on a motorbike on Friday night. DIG of Police Jaffna Police Division Rohan Dias, contacted for comment, said that he had dispatched a team to the Point Pedro Hospital at dawn on Saturday to speak to the injured journalist to more..

Politicos’ chits wanted to become nurses

Apr 16 (LT) Until now nurses were recruited on their educational qualifications, trained in well organized training colleges under competent teachers and were acclaimed internationally. However, the Ministry of Health has now decided, in a bid to fulfill the desires of local politicians, to recruit nurses on recommendations of such local politicians says the General Secretary of All Ceylon Health Services Union Gamini Kumarasinghe. He said an attempt had been made earlier to recruit more..

Video: 'Mervyn is better than them'

Apr 16 (AD) Mervyn Silva is better than Hakeem, Wimal, Dilan and Wasu because he is a good Sinhalese Buddhist leader with a proper Buddhist background, General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organization Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero said today. He added that the latter were the kind of people who were giving wrongful information about the BBS to the international community. more..

Roadblocks to Knowledge Hub dreams

Apr 16 (CT) The chaos that is university education in this country and the failure of the government to give serious thought to rectifying the situation brings to mind the oft repeated idiom about Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burnt. The action attributed to the Roman Emperor, referring to his lack of concern for the people and the empire at a time of distress, may be an anachronism rather than a chronological fact, given that fiddles did not exist in the era that Nero lived. more..

Prelate to take to the streets against Bim Saviya Act

Apr 16 (DM) Maha Nayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter, most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera, said today he and the Maha Sangha were ready to take to the streets, unless the Govt amends the Bim Saviya Land Registration Act immediately. The Thera expressed these views when Minister of Justice, Rauff Hakeem and representatives of the SLMC called on him at the Asgiriya Temple today. The Thera said that the Vihara, Devala and Buddhist religious places would lose the lands more..

Protected interests of Sri LankanTamils, Indian fishermen: Sonia

Apr 16 (PTI) Congress president Sonia Gandhi today said the Congress-led UPA govt had always stood up for the rights of Sri Lankan Tamils and had been in the forefront to protect the needs of the Indian fishermen. Speaking in her first visit to the state after the announcement of Lok Sabha elections, she attacked the AIADMK govt and the BJP, and put forward the Congress party’s promises including Right to — free medical care, more..

Cart race blocks expressway access; police keep away

Apr 16 (Island) The Number Two Inter-change of the Southern Expressway at Kahathuduwa was blocked yesterday by a buggy cart race. There were no policemen around to control the traffic and clear the road. The police emergency number affected drivers tried to call did no work for one hour or more to convey the information. A driver said that there were no policemen to be seen. "But, they are there in their numbers on roads at other times to nab drivers who cross the centre line." more..

Hakeem discusses law faculty admission with Mahanayake

Apr 16 (DM) Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem visited the Mahanayake Thera of Malwathu Chapter today and had a discussion on the issue of admission of students to the Law Faculty of the Colombo University. The discussion centred on the issue of students admission and how best it could be done without creating any controversies. The Mahanayake Thera urged the minister to conduct these admissions justifiably. Among other topics that were discussed by the Chief Prelate with more..

India investigating Sri Lankan kidney racket

Apr 16 (Hindu) City police are investigating into allegations of a Colombo-based kidney racket in which a youngster from Hyderabad lost a life. A criminal case under Information Technology Act was registered after Ganesh, brother of Dileep Maaru, approached the Hyderabad Central Crime Station alleging that his brother died in Colombo because of a kidney racket. A resident of Kishan Bagh in old city, more..

Pettah Central Bus Stand raided for having unhygienic eateries

Apr 16 (Island) The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (PHDCMC) yesterday said that legal action had been taken against three eateries at the Colombo Central Bus Stand. Acting Food Inspector, Lal Kumara, said the inspections had followed complaints from commuters regarding the allegedly deplorable condition of the eateries which also served as restrooms. Most SLTB buses to all parts of the country start from the central bus stand. more..

Family 'shocked' as SL court bails four men accused of Khuram's murder

Apr 16 (ITV) The family of Khuram Shaikh, who was killed while on holiday in Sri Lanka, say they are shocked by the decision to bail four men accused of his murder - half way through their trial. 32-year old from Rochdale was on holiday on Christmas Day in 2011 when he was stabbed and shot at his hotel. Trial into his murder, which has taken more than two years to come to court amid fears of a cover-up, began at the High Court in Colombo last month. But the trial has since been adjourned for several more..

Video: Proper procedures not adhered to in pardoning PSD personnel: UNP

Apr 16 (DM) The presidential pardon for those found guilty by the High Court of harassing popular artistes Rukantha Gunatilleka and Chandraleka Perera is improper as the procedures for such a pardon has not been followed, UNP MP Ajith Perera said today. He said that the presidential security division personnel, who were found guilty, should make a public confession before being given a presidential pardon. more..

UNP starts appraisal process

Apr 16 (DM) Mr. Hashim said they focused on the number of votes the party received in each constituency. “The criteria for the evaluation would the number of votes obtained the party in each electorate at the recent PC elections, irrespective of whether the party had won or lost the electorate” he said. He said the party would have to replace the organisers of constituencies in which the party had performed badly. However he said organisers who represented electorates which were more..

Land deeds for Mahaweli families

Apr 16 (DN) The third phase of the national program to distribute land deeds among Mahaweli settlers will be held under the patronage of President Rajapaksa in Girandurukotte on April 19. Arrangements will be made to distribute 45,000 land deeds under this program. Land deeds will be presented to a group of Mahaweli settlers picked from the Mahaweli B Zone and the Mahaweli C Zone at this ceremony. Earlier, 2,000 farmer families of the Mahaweli G Zone and another group of families of Mahaweli H Zone more..