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Magampura Port really takes off next month with requisite facilities

May 28 (Island) The Chinese Contractors (HQC) has completed the construction of the Oil Tank Farm at the Magampura Port in Hambantota at a cost of USD 76 mn provided by Exim-Bank of China. Contractors had also carried out pre-commissioning tests prior to offering off shore oil bunkering facilities to passing merchant vessels from next month, Director of the Magampura Port (Chief Eng) Agil Hewageegana said. Along with the commissioning of the oil bunkering services, more..

Sri Lanka central bank bought over $400mn to prevent rupee gain this year

May 28 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank has absorbed more than $400 million so far in 2014 to prevent a sharp gain in the rupee, a top central bank official said on Wednesday, amid steady inflows in the absence of strong importer dollar demand and lower credit growth. "We have been buying dollars and we have bought a little over $400 million so far this year," Ananda Silva, one of the two deputy governors at the central bank, said. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close higher

May 28 (LBO) Stocks closed in positive directions on Wednesday despite relatively low foreign participation on the bourse. All Share Price Index closed 5.32 points higher at 6,272.76 up 0.08%. The S&P SL20 closed 3.40 points higher at 3,450.65, up 0.1%. Turnover was 451.16 million rupees, down from 1.39 billion rupees a day earlier with 71 stocks closed positive against 114 negative. Ceylinco Insurance closed 51.20 rupees higher at 1,351.00 rupees with two off-market transactions more..

Underage girl taken into custody with lover

May 28 (Island) An underage girl who was taken into custody recently along with her 33-year-old lover by the Children’s and Women’s Bureau of Kalutara Division was found to be seven weeks pregnant. The 15-year-old schoolgirl was caught while she was changing her school uniform in a public toilet in Kalutara. Investigations have revealed that the girl was carrying on with her step father’s brother’s son and that he had a criminal record with several cases against him at the Horana Courts. more..

Video: UNP offers support for devolution

May 28 (DM) Calming that UNP would always back the govt if it made a genuine effort to resolve the national issue, UNP MP Lakshman Kiriella enquired what the govt intended doing with regard to the request made by the new Indian PM Narendra Modi, for a political solution to the national issue. Kiriella who referred to the reports published by the Indian media in this regard, said his party would raise a question in this regard more..

Namal visits Prabha's kovil

May 28 (CT) Hambantota District MP, Namal Rajapaksa, had participated in a religious ceremony at the Wattapalai Kovil, Mullaitivu, which is known as the Kovil of LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. One of the major religious ceremonies organized by the Kovil, the annual Tiruwila ceremony is to be held on 9 June and MP Rajapaksa had monitored the organizing work prior to the ceremony. He had discussions with the Trusteeship Council of the Kovil regarding the ceremony. more..

National Human Resources and Employment Policy launched

May 28 (Island) Although the overall unemployment rate had gone down to 4.2% in 2011 the incidence of unemployment among the educated young men and women remain significantly high, Human Resources Senior Minister D.E.W Gunasekera said. Addressing a media briefing t to introduce the National Human Resources and Employment Policy for Sri Lanka (NHREP), he said that that there were very important manpower and employment challenges faced by the country at present. more..

Saudi ‘treatment’ leaves another maid in precarious state

May 28 (Island) This is the harrowing story of another Sri Lankan woman who had been tortured and humiliated by her agent in Saudi Arabia. Amitha Kumari, a mother of two and a resident of Iranawila left for employment in Saudi Arabia several months ago. But she had to return home an invalid as she had been forced to swallow poison by her employer and hospitalised. Now she cannot eat any food and can only take liquids. more..

Warrant for Sudharma Nettikumara

May 28 (SM) Colombo Fort magistrate Thilina Gamage has issued a warrent for the arrest of Sudharma Nettikumara, the wife of Salaka Group owner Gamini Nettikumara. She has failed to appear before courts on three occasions in connection with a fraud of Rs. 05 million from a businessman. The case is due to be taken up again on October 23. After the website of a national newspaper posted the court order, its editor had been repeatedly asked by Hula, a diplomatic officer from Australia more..

Badulla-Colombo train service at a standstill

May 28 (DM) The railway service on the Badulla-Colombo track came to a standstill after large rocks had fallen on to the rail track between Demodara and Uduwara last night, the Railway Control Room said. It said the Badulla-Colombo Udarata Menike and the Podimenike were the trains that were affected. The Control Room said train services from Colombo to Badulla would end their journey at the Bandarawela Railway Station until the tracks were cleared. more..

North CM, Aussie envoy hold talks

May 28 (CG) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran had talks with the Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ms Robyn Mudie in Jaffna today. Australian High Commissioner was in Jaffna on a visit when she met Wigneswaran to discuss the latest developments in the North. A wide range of issues were discussed but the details were not immediately made available to the media. Australia has been a strong more..

Halal certification for host of products

May 28 (SM) Halal certification has been received by many local and international products as of May 2014, despite being greatly opposed to by BBS. Products of world renowned brands such as Macdonalds, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Caravan, Prima, CIC, Nestle, Anchor, Crest, Motha as well as locally renowned brands such as well as Elephant House, Maliban, Raththi, Kotmale, Helabima, Ruhunu, Glucorasa and Alankulama are among those that have thus received the Halal certification. more..

Why Jayalalithaa gave Modi's swearing-in a miss

May 28 (Rediff) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa kept the nation waiting for a while before deciding to skip the historic swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Jaya, like most other Tamil Nadu politicians, cited the invitation of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Rashtrapati Bhavan forecourt ceremony, but the reasons in the case of each one of them could be many. Having become used to seeing their leader draw the centre-stage in more..

Promotion for Brig. who led Rathupaswala attack

May 28 (SM) Govt has given a bad precedence by giving a posting at the Sri Lankan mission in Turkey to Brig. Deshapriya Gunawardena, who had led the Army attack on the people of Weliweriya who had been agitating for safe drinking water, alleges the UNP. There people were killed and 37 others injured in the shooting and after being attacked with clubs in that military crackdown. UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake charges the govt more..

PHI-GMOA tussle: Epidemiologist refutes allegations against him

May 28 (Island) The Regional Epidemiologist of the North Central Province, Dr. R. Sanganayake, yesterday refuted allegations leveled against him by the General Secretary of the Public Health Inspectors Union of Sri Lanka (PHIUSL). Dr. Sanganayake referring to the report in The Island on Saturday on the ‘Docs threaten strike over fight with PHI union secretary’ said that it had taken PHIUSL General Secretary, Senarath Bandara about two years to accuse him of having more..

'Gold-loan fall masking credit increases to industry, services'

May 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's banks are lending money to industry and services, but the total loan stock is not growing fast because of contracting gold loans, Deputy Central Bank Governor Ananda Silva said. From a peak in 2012, gold loans have slumped 156 billion rupees so far, Silva told a business forum. Credit to private business fell in the first two months of 2014 in absolute terms. But in the 12 months to February the credit stock was up by 104 billion rupees. more..

President Mahinda Rajapaksa orders quickening of India power plant project

May 28 (PTI) Fresh from his visit to New Delhi for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing-in, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today ordered officials to quicken the progress of a coal-fired power plant being built jointly with India. Last October, Sri Lanka and India had announced the finalisation of USD 512 million joint venture coal-powered electricity plant in Sampur in the eastern port district of Trincomalee. more..

Govt refutes allegations made by Opposition Leader on resources for free education

May 28 (GDI) Sri Lankan Govt refutes allegations made by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe with regard to signing of MoUs with the IMF to reduce the resources for free education. Minister Bandula Gunawardena said that the govt would never cut the resources for free education regardless of any pressure from the IMF or any other agency. He challenged the Opposition to prove the allegations saying that President Rajapaksa has offered to resign if the allegations are proved. more..

Video: It is nobody’s land

May 28 (DM) A group of people who had come from Chavakachcheri held a protest in Kilinochchi demanding a land which had been used by the Army after it was captured from the LTTE, the army said. “A group of 40 people arrived in Chavakachcheri staged a protest in Kilinochchi asking for the land. The land was captured by the Army from the LTTE. None of the protesters had legal deeds for the land although they claimed it was theirs,” Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said. more..

England beat Sri Lanka by 10 wickets

May 28 (CI) What a weird one-day series this is becoming. The levels of batting collapses are increasing with each match. Sri Lanka were bowled out for 144 at The Oval, England plummeted for 99 in Durham and here the tourists subsided for 67, their third-lowest total in ODI cricket. There is, perhaps, more sympathy for Sri Lanka's plight in these conditions than for the home side who are brought up in them but more..

Modi’s day-1 in office

May 29 (CT) PM Narendra Modi, who had faced more flak and investigations than any other aspirant stepping into the shoes of a prime minister, has shown on Day-1 that he is a man of his own mind. His spectacular election victory owed it to his planning, execution and management of his election strategy. His relentless campaign against odds has shown as a one who leads from the front, not losing sight of overall goals, and an uncanny knack to get his way through overcoming his more..

Modi as gonibilla and maverick’s plaything

May 29 (NS) Narendra Modi is not just India’s new Prime Minister. He’s also the latest gonibilla conjured by Indophiles, Eelamists, federalists and other fellow-travelers. The ‘Specter of Modi’ is a good topic to write on, notwithstanding the fact that gonibilla-conjurers, given their secularist posturing would, if they could, have voted for the Congress or any other party apart from the BJP any day. They have to make the best out of a bad deal, one must understand. more..

Probe into disappearances: Investigations hindered by lack of credible information

May 29 (NS) The story of the disappeared has been a very long, complicated, confusing, and is yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Five years after the war, the issue of missing persons continues to haunt the country. Thousands have been reported missing over the 30 years of war in the country and it is one of the key concerns expressed by local and international human rights activists. The UN officials, who had visited more..

Architects’ civic responsibility: dengue vs roof gutters

May 29 (Island) As Architects, and members of one of the leading professional organizations in society, our civic and social responsibility lies in addressing the acute problem of children and adults dying of dengue fever. Architects design buildings to serve society in various forms. In the act of building they meet residential, commercial and other functional objectives of their clients. At a civic level, these buildings form part of the fabric of its neighborhood and therefore has a social responsibility too. more..

How burdensome is the country’s increasing indebtedness?

May 29 (ST) The increasing debt — both domestic and foreign — is a serious economic concern. The current debt position exceeds acknowledged thresholds — the fiscal deficit of 5 per cent of GDP and the debt to GDP ratio of less than 60% of GDP. However Dr. Mohamed Aazim, Deputy Superintendent of Public Debt of the Central Bank, in response to my recent columns, says I do not appropriately acknowledge that the debt/GDP ratio has been constantly falling over the years, more..

High speed road network reduces economic costs

May 29 (SO) Unplanned development has been taking place over the years in the city of Colombo since the colonial era due to it being the capital. This unplanned development has resulted in congestion and has also led to many social and economic problems. In a move to reassess this haphazard development which has a severe impact on infrastructure, the UDA, the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Highways have risen to more..

Next election: Parliamentary or Presidential?

May 29 (CT) As everybody is fully aware the Uva PC will be dissolved within next two months to make way for the election. There is a heated debate about the election to be held after the Uva Election. Some say it would be a presidential election. The others contradict this prediction by saying it would be a parliamentary election. President Rajapaksa will complete four years in his present term on 18 November this year. Although a presidential term is six years, the President has the discretion to more..

Will Mahinda become Modi's headache?

May 29 (CT) Mahinda Rajapaksa is a pragmatic politician. When the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was close to win the election in India, he called on Shiv Sena Leader, Uddhav Thackeray, who is close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also strengthened ties with Leader of Janatha Party, Subramaniam Swamy. He invited this ardent critic of LTTE to Sri Lanka. It was similar to his association with The Hindu editor-in-chief, N. Ram, during the Congress Party rule. more..

වතුරේ විස...

Sri Lanka seeks low-cost financing for heavy infrastructure debts

May 29 (Reuters) Sri Lanka is seeking low-cost funding to help to reduce pressure on its finances after a big jump in the cost of servicing debts related to infrastructure projects, the finance ministry said in its 2013 annual report. The finance ministry's report said the country was in negotiation with development partners to obtain foreign financing at the lowest cost. The country's development partners include China and Japan and the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. more..

Quo vadis Sri Lanka?

May 29 (GV) May 2009 will always be an exclamation mark in Sri Lanka’s history. Many will celebrate the defeat of the Tamil Tigers as a rupture with a brutal past. For others it will mark a period of remembrance as families mourn relatives lost in crossfire or shelling. It was a time of rumour, elation and pain. Supporters of the final offensive against the Tigers danced in the streets of Colombo while survivors emerged from the ruins of war carrying terrifying survival stories. more..

Honeymoon with Modi?

May 29 (FT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa may have metaphorically leapt into new Indian PM Narendra Modi’s arms this week, but in the beginning there was Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh. Congress Party won Parliamentary elections in 2004, returning the Gandhi family dynasty to the helm of Indian politics after a hiatus of eight years and heralding a new dawn for Sri Lanka’s battle against terrorism. more..

Seventh ball the charm for Anderson

May 29 (CI) The wide call against James Anderson off what would have been the final ball of his second over was borderline, but it proved perfect for England. With the seventh delivery, Anderson nipped one back off the seam to take Dilshan's inside edge through to Jos Buttler. The man who had held Sri Lanka together in Durham was out early. Forecasts are to be taken with a pinch of salt, but the one for Manchester on Wednesday looked bad enough to presume chances of play more..

Jordan aggression speaks louder than words

May 29 (CI) Chris Jordan loves nothing more than hurling down a few bouncers, but is less bothered about hurling a few words at the batsmen along with them. He would prefer the more silent-assassin type role and it certainly worked a treat at Old Trafford as he bagged 5 for 29 to inspire England to a 10-wicket win as they bundled out Sri Lanka for 67. Jordan's figures were the best by an England bowler at Old Trafford and the best for England since Chris Woakes' 6 for 45 more..

Mathews at loss to explain collapse

May 29 (CI) In his relatively young career as an international cricketer, Angelo Mathews has been party to several appalling batting collapses. Perhaps the most traumatic was Sri Lanka's second-innings capitulation in the Cardiff Test in 2011, when on a flat pitch, needing to survive less than two sessions for a draw, the team succumbed to 82 all out. Eight months later, Sri Lanka suffered their worst ODI ignominy, crashing to 43 after more..

Editorial: Enemies of free education

May 29 (Island) Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has vowed to abrogate, under a future UNP govt, some agreements the govt has allegedly entered into with the IMF as he considers them detrimental to SL’s interests. Implementation of these pacts, he has said, quoting some advisors to his party, will sound the death knell for the free education system. Importance of free education is only too well known. It has not only helped millions of Sri Lankans rise out of poverty but more..

From a bloated public service to higher productivity and incomes

May 29 (Island) Since the mid-60s, the public service has been subject to a high degree of politicization under successive regimes. During the 70s and 80s, the public service cadre and recruitment procedures went through many changes primarily to serve the partisan objectives. Even during the so-called economic liberalization phase, our political leaders continued to appoint increasing numbers of party supporters, friends and even relatives disregarding well-known and more..

‘Country back in the dark days; factories rapidly closing down’

May 29 (Island) ‘There were only two factories at Katunayake during the time of former President J.R. Jayewardene in 1978 employing 251 employees (196 women and 56 men), but the development was so rapid and when former President R Premadasa was voted to power there were 56 factories in the 1990s, employing 24,091 epersons (21,031 women and 3,060 men). He named it Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ). more..

Sifting the earth of the killing fields

May 29 (ET) It has been five years since the end of one the bloodiest conflicts in recent memory. A state of armed hostility and political instability that embroiled Sri Lanka for decades ended when the Sri Lankan forces claimed victory over the outlawed LTTE in May 2009. The Lankan government declared a peaceful and prosperous future was about to dawn for their people and promised to heal the wounds of the conflict. However, the Sri Lankan govt has failed. more..

Changing face of Sri Lanka tourism

May 29 (DM) There is no doubt that tourism in Sri Lanka is currently growing in leaps and bounds, with the cumulative arrivals up to April 2014 amounting to 534,132, which is an overall growth of 27 percent year-on-year (YoY). Hence, it is quite possible that the arrivals to the country will reach close upon 1.5 million arrivals or more by the end of this year. Earnings have also kept pace with the arrival growth pattern, with 2013 achieving a record US $ 1.75 million in foreign exchange revenues. more..