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40% to China

June 23 (CT) China is to get 40% of Sri Lankan's upcoming construction projects, a senior official said, amid growing concerns of the local industry. "The growth rate of the construction sector in the country reached 24% last year making Sri Lanka stand among the top six countries in the world. The forthcoming mega infrastructure projects in the areas of highway, mono-rail, harbour expansion, water supply and other more..

KOICA provides capacity building program to SL railway officials

June 23 (DN) As part of 2014 KOICA's technical cooperation program to Sri Lanka in Advanced Railway Operation, a country specific multi-year program will be implemented in Korea. This program is a continuation of the same program implemented in 2013. This year, 15 officials, including engineers, foremen and supervisors will participate in the program. KOICA implements this capacity building program to transfer and share Korea's know-how on railway operation and to foster more..

Reputed French mag names Joseph Sinniah as ‘World’s Best Tea Blender’

June 23 (FT) For the first time a Sri Lankan, Joseph Sinniah, Director of Akbar Brothers was conferred with the ‘World’s Best Tea Blender’ award by the prestigious French international magazine, ‘The Magazine’. Some of the criteria for the selection of the award are; promoting and creating quality tea, track record of tea blenders who understand world tea from plantations to factories, and blending tea to consumers’ taste, contribution of the tea blender to tea community and reputation & integrity. more..

Day 3: SL fightback puts game in balance

June 23 (CI) In the Test Match Special commentary box, Graeme Swann wistfully imagined himself bowling triumphantly on a dry Headingley track. Moeen Ali knew that millions were probably imagining the same thing and, with the Test - and the series - in the balance, it was not a good feeling. Then Moeen, a part-time spinner asked to offset the retirement of one of the finest spinners in England's history, struck twice more..

3-day ‘Israel-SL Business Forum’ on 25 June

June 23 (FT) The Sri Lanka Embassy in Israel in collaboration with the Export Development Board in Sri Lanka, Ministry of External Affairs in Sri Lanka, LR Group in Israel and the Israel-Asia Chamber of Commerce in Israel, has organised a ‘Business Forum’ for the Sri Lankan and Israeli business communities from 25 to 27 June, in order to strengthen bilateral, commercial, trade, cultural and other relations between the two friendly nations. Main topics to be dealt with more..

Higher education remains a struggle for Lankan Tamil refugees in India

June 23 (NIP) For the children of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees getting access to higher education, especially professional courses, has been a struggle in Tamil Nadu. The plight of Nandini, who is unable to get admission into a medical college, best illustrates this. Children of Tamil refugees were first permitted to join arts and science colleges in the 1984 by the then AIADMK Govt headed by M G Ramachandran, a year after the State witnessed a mass influx of refugees. more..

President opens Rs. 5 b aviation refuelling terminal at Hambantota airport

June 23 (FT) President Rajapaksa yesterday declared open the fuel hydrant system and aviation refuelling terminal at MRIA in Mattala, Hambantota. The automated fuel hydrant system along with the state of the art aviation refuelling terminal facility was constructed at a cost of Rs. 5 billion. The functioning of the automated fuel hydrant system along with the state of the art aviation terminal facility will become an more..

Fined, imprisoned for being drunk, allowing mobile phone to ring in court

June 23 (Island) A ten-week jail term and a fine of Rs. 5,000 were imposed on a person found guilty of allowing his mobile phone to ring inside the Matale Court complex. The convict Warnakumara Raja Prabhakaran, a resident of North Matale had also been drunk at the time in court on June 20. A police sergeant on duty produced him before the court. Prabhakaran was imposed a fine of Rs 3,500 and two month imprisonment for being drunk in the court and a fine of Rs. 1,500 and more..

Insurance industry doubts ability of NITF to settle riot claims

June 23 (ST) Sri Lanka’s insurance industry has expressed doubts over the ability of the National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF) to meet claims which is likely to arise following the attacks on Muslim shops and property in Aluthgama last week, due to the relatively lower returns from its investment portfolio amid receding interest rate scenario. The NITF, the sole provider of health insurance coverage to 1.2 million Govt employees, maintains a conservative stance with regards to investments, more..

Video: Five nabbed for threatening Nolimit outlests

June 23 (DM) Five persons were arrested on Saturday for allegedly threatening the Nolimit outlets in Wellawatte and Dehiwela to close down their shops. SSP Ajith Rohana said that Police were conducting operations to arrest two others who are said to be involved in the incident. SSP said that almost all the CCTV Cameras which were fixed at the Nolimit store which was burnt on Saturday had been severally damaged, more..

UN to notify Govt. about two senior experts on probe this week

June 23 (FT) With Nobel Prize Laureate and former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari strongly tipped to be the second senior expert consulting on the UN investigation into the final stage of the war, the Sri Lankan Govt is likely to be notified of the appointments within the course of this week. Ahtisaari who also served as the UN Special Envoy for Kosovo, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 for his efforts to resolve international conflicts across several continents. more..

'We will not defend him'

June 23 (CT) Vijitha Thera was not available for a comment. However, his lawyer, Attorney-at- Law Sanath Perera said it would constitute a grievous case of wrongdoing, if what the police say is true and they would not defend him. "If things have happened according to what the police have found as evidence to be true and Vijitha Thera has indeed contradicted himself in his statements to the police, then it illegal and constitutes a clear case of grievous wrongdoing," he said. more..

Sri Lankan police ban rallies inciting hatred

June 23 (AP) Sri Lankan police announced Sunday that they will not allow rallies or marches inciting religious and communal hatred in the future, a week after Buddhist mobs attacked minority Muslims in deadly violence that was condemned by the international community. Last Sunday, a mob led by the group Bodu Bala Sena, which rails against the country's Muslim minority, hurled gasoline bombs and looted Muslim homes and more..

MDGs failed: New policies needed

June 23 (DM) For more than 35 years different Govts in Sri Lanka have been essentially following the globalised capitalist market economic system. Whatever its advocates may claim and whatever the apparently spin-doctored figures about growth rates, per capita income and low unemployment figures, the reality is that millions of people are struggling daily to find their basic needs of food, shelter and clothing, healthcare and education and other factors such as the electricity rates more..

Ethno-religious violence & its consequences

June 23 (DM) It was only a few weeks ago that I wrote an article in this column pointing out that there was a likelihood of ethno-religious violence breaking out around certain flash points in the country. I pointed out there that ethno-religious violence does not flare up without an environment conducive for it. It appears that those who participated in the violent acts are largely disgruntled youth with a sense of relative deprivation who have been mobilised by militant religious groups. more..

'No chance for revival of armed elements'

June 23 (DM) Army Commander Lt. General Daya Rathnayake shared his views on the recent violence in the South-western region of the country and asserted that the Army is a reflection of the vibrant cultures that exist in SL and is not confined to a race or religion. He asserted that the intelligence network in this country was strong and there would be no room for a revamp of any armed extremist element within the country. more..

The human tragedy of Aluthgama

June 23 (SL) The incident in Aluthgama that instill terror in the hearts of the Muslim community left nearly 10000 people dislocated. Divisional Secretary of the Beruwala DS Janaka Chandraguptha said that there were 8000 Muslims and 2000 Sinhalese among those who were displaced due to the incident. There were initially 9 Muslim and 6 Sinhala IDP camps – but the number of the Muslim IDP camps had come down more..

Tall order for female giraffes at Zoo

June 23 (DM) It was revealed that four female giraffes at the Dehiwala Zoo had been living without male animals for more than seven years, because of the high transport costs. When asked why steps were not taken to bring down a male animal for their company, the deputy director of the Dehiwala Zoo Dammika Malsinghe said they had found it impossible to do so because of the high transport cost. “It costs so much to transport more..

Chandrika seeks an impartial probe

June 23 (CG) Former President Chandrika Kumarathunga today called for an impartial inquiry into the incidents in the South without delay and to direct the law enforcement authorities to take strict legal action against the instigators and perpetrators of the savage violence. Kumarathunga said that she was deeply concerned about the outbreak of communal violence and Anti-Muslim attacks that occurred in several areas more..

Hakeem seeks independent probe, says fascists’ arrogance has no limit

June 23 (ST) Minister and SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem called for “an independent and transparent inquiry” into the incidents in and around Aluthgama. He said that such an inquiry would determine not only who should be held responsible for the events, but also as to who allowed or encouraged religious zealotry. “If that process requires my incarceration as a probable offender, I offer myself willingly to the due process," more..

'Sri Lanka banks managing risks, credit upturn expected'

June 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's banking system is managing the risks of bad loans especially from gold-backed loans but high credit growth targets by some banks are a concern, a top Fitch Ratings official said. Bad loans in SL's banking system spiked after low interest rates up to 2011 set off a credit bubble, which ended in a balance of payments crisis, while plunging gold prices triggered default on gold-backed loans, delivering a double whammy. more..

Video: More opening ceremonies than ships in H’tota: UNP

June 23 (DM) UNP said that the number of Govt-sponsored opening ceremonies at the Hambantota Harbour was higher than the ships that arrived there. UNP MP Gayantha Karunathilake said it was not ethical to spend huge amounts of tax payers’ money for so many worthless opening ceremonies. “The Govt is only attempting to improve its image by wasting tax payers’ money for carnivals and opening ceremonies and attempting to use these more..

G.L. to answer Muslim countries on Aluthgama clashes

June 23 (AM) Minister G.L. Peiris is to present a detailed report to diplomats of Muslim countries on clashes occurred in Beruwala, Aluthgama, Dharga Town and several other parts of the country. This move comes in the wake of several Muslim countries warning the Sri Lankan govt to take immediate action against what they term as attacks on the Muslim community of Sri Lanka. "I will brief ambassadors and high commissioners more..

Pakistan backs arrests in Sri Lanka

June 23 (CG) The Foreign Office of Pakistan has distanced itself from the reported arrests of registered Pakistani refugees and asylum seekers in Sri Lanka, but aid workers from the island nation have confirmed that Pakistani refugees are being rounded up by the authorities. Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam was unsympathetic to the plight of the detained refugees in Sri Lanka, saying: “These people more..

Pakistan and Sri Lanka on the ‘drug route’

June 23 (DM) In evidence of Sri Lanka being used as the hub of an international drug peddling cartel, Anti-Narcotics Force of Pakistan confiscated 402 kilos of heroin meant to be shipped to Sri Lanka last year alone, diplomatic sources said yesterday. The confiscation was done in two separated cases- 200 kilos in one case and 202 kilos in another. There were several cases in which foreign nationals, mainly Pakistanis, more..

Pussyfooting when the country burns

June 23 (CT) If the unchecked sectarian violence that erupted in Aluthgama and Beruwala a week ago left three dead, over 80 injured and thousands displaced, there was more to be seen last Saturday when a popular garment retail outlet in Panadura burned to the ground. Though people see this as sabotage, foul play or retaliation for the hartal launched by the Muslim community in Colombo and in other major towns on Thursday by unruly elements, the police say initial investigations more..

Sri Lanka shares close lower

June 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's shares closed 0.05% lower for the forth straight day amid strong foreign selling. All Share Price Index closed 3.10 points lower at 6,299.35, down 0.05%. The S&P SL20 closed 3.93 points lower at 3,474.93, down 0.11%. Turnover was 867.34 million rupees, down from 1.21 billion rupees last Friday with 67 stocks closed positive against 110 negative. Commercial Bank closed 40 cents higher at 133.40 rupees with four off-market transactions of 135.37 million more..

'Any organisation inciting religious hatred should be banned'

June 23 (FT) If precautions are not taken to prevent religious tension and to bring perpetrators to book, the incidents of such nature will dampen the economy and social fabric of this country, says Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha. He stresses that if the procession on 15 June had been prevented, the present developments in the country would have not occurred. “I wrote a letter to the IGP asking to take steps to prevent that march. more..

Defending BBS barbarity on Muslims; JHU adopts their Zionist friend’s strategy

June 23 (CT) While Sinhala Zionist BBS thugs were burning, looting and destroying Muslim owned properties in Aluthgama, Beruwela and Dharga Town on Sunday 15 and Monday 16 June under cover of curfew, in a despicable show of fathomless venom here in Colombo, JHU, was busy demonizing Muslims to create smokescreen to cover up BBS barbarity. On Sunday 15, JHU National Organizer Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe, in a tongue in the cheek pronouncement, said in Colombo that more..

Dummalasuriya burial canoes dated to second, third century AD

June 23 (Island) Dating of the clay canoe burials found from Dummalasuriya in Kurunegala has confirmed that such funerary rituals were in practice in ancient Sri Lanka from prehistoric to historic periods, according to Director General of Archaeology Dr Senarath Dissanayake. Dr Dissanayake said that charcoal samples found during the excavations at Dummalasuriya in 2013 by the Department of Archaeology had been sent to the Beta Analytic Institute in Florida, US more..

Families affected by Broadlands power project compensated

June 23 (Island) Under no circumstances would the people’s rights be betrayed for development projects, said Power and Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, when she took measures to compensate 47 families affected by the construction of the 35 MW Broadlands hydro power project. The minister said she had taken immediate measures to compensate the affected villagers to the tune of Rs. 210 million. more..

Fines for illegal water taping net Rs. 20.5 mn

June 23 (Island) A flying squad of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board has nabbed 726 persons for illegal water tapping and recovered Rs. 20.5 million from them by way of fines during the last six months. A member of the flying squad said that they had inspected over 4,000 houses and businesses during their raids. Large number of illegal tapping of water mains at Pettah, Fort, Kotahena, Modera, Mattakkuliya, Wellawatte, Borella, Salve Island, Bambalapitiya and more..

Driver arrested over killing of monk

June 23 (Island) Bakamuna police have arrested a trishaw driver on suspicion over the killing of Chief Incumbent of the Punyawardenarama temple at Hiratiya, Elahera, Ven. Alakolamada Dhammaratana thera on Saturday night. The 47-year-old Thera was assaulted with a pole and strangled with a piece of cloth worn by monks. His body was found in a room of the temple. Investigators found a bottle of arrack and a half burnt cigarette near the body, but they believe they had been deliberately more..

All schools except Nine schools in Beruwala will reopen today

June 23 (GDI) Schools in the Beruwala Educational Zone, except for 9 schools will re-open today. The remaining 9 schools too will be re-opened immediately after the refugees housed in those schools are re-located. Secretary to the Western Province Mrs. Jayanthi Wijethunga said that arrangements have been made to hold classes during weekends and on govt holidays to cover the loss of periods due to the closure more..

Sri Lanka rupee steady ahead of bond sale; Iran crude adds pressure

June 23 (Reuters) Rrupee steadied on Monday, as inflows from remittances offset dollar demand from importers ahead of a govt-guaranteed bond sale by Sri Lankan Airlines. Dealers, however, said the rupee could be under pressure if the United States takes any action against Sri Lanka for importing Iranian crude via third parties, as govt spokesman says it has done. Rupee was little changed and traded at 130.25/30 per dollar, compared with Friday's close of 130.26/31. more..

Chinese NDU delegation meets CDS

June 23 (MoD) A delegation of the National Defence University (NDU) of China called on the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Jagath Jayasuriya at his office today. The 33 member delegation led by Lieutenant General Wang Yongsheng, Vice President of the NDU of the People's Liberation Army is in the island on an overseas study tour. The delegation comprises of senior officers of the army, navy and the air force. Lieutenant General Yongsheng had discussions with more..

Govt wants US leaders killed

June 23 (CG) A Govt Minister says American leaders must be killed for the atrocities they have committed, particularly in the Middle East. Minister S.B. Dissanayake said that Iraq and Libya were doing well till the U.S. invaded those countries and killed their leaders. He said that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein may have had some shortcomings but he changed Iraq for the better. “Saddam may have had some flaws more..

Dutch courage lands eight undergrads in trouble

June 23 (Island) Five undergraduates of the Eastern University and two employees of a restaurant were admitted to hospital following a brawl at an eatery in Trincomalee on Friday night. Three other undergraduates involved in the brawl had been taken into custody, police said. The eight undergraduates visited the restaurant for dinner after having consumed liquor elsewhere and kicked up a row over the bill. The suspects later assaulted the restaurant employees and damaged more..

Fake passport racket busted; Six Lankan Tamils arrested

June 23 (PTI) Police today claimed to have busted a fake passport and visa racket with the arrest of six Sri Lankan Tamils residing here. Police said they were on the lookout for persons who had obtained the fake travel documents. The gang, which charged Rs 30,000 per 'passport', was nabbed on a tip-off that its members used these fake passports and sometimes fake visas also to send fellow Sri Lankans and others to foreign countries, a police release said. more..

Tsunami worker receives £400k settlement for trauma

June 23 (CL) A former police trainer left traumatised by the horrors of handling dead bodies following the Asian tsunami has won a £465,000 pay-out. David Collins, from Consett, County Durham, was deployed in Sri Lanka after giant waves swept across the continent in 2004 and caused devastation. As part of his role with the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) the forensic expert helped identify some of the more..