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NZ trade delegation ends Sri Lanka tour

Nov 6 (RNZ) Milk and cricket have been on the agenda for the New Zealand trade delegation that has finished the Sri Lankan leg of its tour and is now off to India. Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said he had met with senior Sri Lankan govt officials and discussed the Dairy Cooperation Arrangement between the two nations. Mr Guy said NZ was committed to helping develop the Sri Lankan dairy industry which has just 280,000 cows compared with NZ's 5 million. more..

Govt fuels speculation of Mangala’s crossover

Nov 6 (Island) The govt said that a team of powerful UNP MPs would join it shortly. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that all of them had already expressed their willingness to defect to the UPFA. "It is only a matter of time." The presidential election will be held at the first quarter of next year, he said, adding that prominent UNPers would join forces with the UPFA to ensure President Rajapaksa’s victory. more..

Southern Province: 382 principals lack qualifications

Nov 6 (Island) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena said in Parliament yesterday that there were 382 school principals in the Southern Province who lacked the required qualifications. Responding to a question raised by UNP Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa, the minister said of the principals heading the schools in the Southern Province 729 had obtained the required qualifications. There were 1,115 schools in the Southern Province, minister said. more..

Chinese submarines in Colombo not a threatening situation: Sri Lanka

Nov 6 (IANS) Sri Lanka Wednesday said the issue of Chinese submarines making a port call in Colombo was "not a threatening situation" and the vessels were returning from Africa. SL Minister Amunugama, in answer to a query on the sidelines of an event, said the Chinese submarines were returning from the Horn of Africa. "All submarines are coming that way. It was not a threatening situation," he added. Amunugama also said SL was planning to build large fuel oil tanks more..

'Sri Lanka’s relationship with China not at India’s expense'

Nov 6 (Island) Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera stressed that the govt of Sri Lanka would not cause hostilities among countries. Such a course of action would be inimical to all countries including Sri Lanka, VA Perera said. "There is absolutely no need for Sri Lanka to pursue a strategy hostile to India or any other country," he said. The navy chief was responding to allegations that GoSL had aligned itself with more..

Historic week for Sri Lanka

Nov 6 (DM) Sri Lanka is facing a crucial period or even the moment of truth in its history with President Rajapaksa yesterday officially seeking the opinion of the Supreme Court -- the final and binding verdict -- on whether he has the right to call an early election in his second term and whether he has the right to contest for a third term. This move and the historic verdict to be given within five days, many independent analysts believe, will not only chart the course of Sri Lanka’s future but more..

Ritchiemania: popcorn taste in a pop culture

Nov 6 (DM) Good taste is harder to acquire than wealth. If we take good taste in art, it takes a great deal of education, and years of perseverance, to acquire it. Wealth will buy the best housing, cars, furniture and, if one has the right kind of taste, even the best art available. But wealth can’t buy good taste. Contemporary Sri Lankan society is an excellent example of this age-old truth. We have become a pop culture with popcorn tastes and mannerisms. more..

Human tragedies behind increasing road accidents

Nov 6 (ST) Sansika Himal Abeywikrama, an 18-year-old accident victim at the Colombo National hospital was in tears on Thursday as he signed a consent form to amputate his right leg. He was shouting in pain as nurses prepared him for the surgery scheduled for later in the day. He was not the only victim in this, one of the most recent accidents – three others sustained serious injuries. more..

Nepal, Sri Lanka set to revive direct air link

Nov 6 (KSA) The relationship between Sri Lanka and Nepal may strengthen once the two nations resume direct air travel service between Colombo and Kathmandu early next year. The two countries signed an Air Service Agreement (ASA) to establish direct service between their two capital cities in 2009, and it is projected to become reality in March 2015. "Mihin Lanka is set to start direct flight from Colombo to Kathmandu more..

Kings of the nation at the receiving end

Nov 6 (SL) While the Govt claims that they have provided relief to the farmers via the budget presented to the parliament last week, the farmer organisations charge that it is just another election gimmick and the farmers are still in the same predicament that they were in all this time. The National Organiser of the All Ceylon Farmers’ Federation Namal Karunaratne said that the budget allocation for the agriculture sector has been more..

Political parties’ pulses and approaching Presidential Election

Nov 6 (DM) The UNP was in a panic during the last couple of days after speculation was rife in political circles that its MP for the Matara district Mangala Samaraweera was planning to switch allegiance to the govt, ahead of the snap presidential election. In fact, MP Samaraweera has remained disillusioned with the party for sometime on the grounds that it is not doing what it has got to do in view of the presidential election. more..

Video: MSD officers not involved in Malaka brawl: Police

Nov 6 (DM) Investigations have revealed that the two Ministerial Security Division (MSD) officers who accompanied Malaka Silva, were not involved in the alleged assault of the foreign couple at a night club in Colombo, the Police said. SSP Ajith Rohana said according to the CCTV footage, the two officers were outside the night club during the initial stage of the incident. “We are still investigating the incident & checking CCTV more..

'Budget 2015: Promises without allocations'

Nov 6 (Island) A striking feature of President Rajapkasa’s Budget 2015 was that it contained various promises without the necessary allocations, the UNP said. Financial Analyst and UNP MP Eran Wickremeratne said that the budgetary allocation for 2015 in comparison to the inflation adjusted 2014 figure of Rs. 2,196 billion was Rs.2,210 billion. "The total estimated expenditure for this year is Rs. 2,084 billion. more..

'Seeking SC opinion is a joke'

Nov 6 (DM) UNP National Leader Ranil wickremesinghe said he considered it a joke to seek a Supreme Court opinion on constitutionality of president Rajapaksa contesting the presidential election for a third term. He said that a Supreme Court opinion had no legal binding because it was not a verdict of the Court. Mr. Wickremesinghe said in such a scenario one could still file action if President Rajapaksa hands over nominations more..

US cautions Sri Lanka against attempts

Nov 6 (AM) US has cautioned SL against attempting to silence those cooperating with the UN. Concerns have been raised in recent times over reports that SL authorities are cracking down on anyone attempting to assist the UN led investigation on SL. Ambassador Keith Harper, US Representative to UNHRC, tweeted saying that SL must understand that attempting to silence those cooperating with UN is an attack on the UN. more..

Over 160 new complaints in Mullaitivu

Nov 6 (CG) The Missing Persons Commission chaired by retired judge Maxwell Paranagama received 166 new complaints when it conducted sittings in the Mullaitivu District once again, over a 4 day period which ended yesterday. Commission had invited 230 people who had submitted complaints when the commission conducted sittings in Mullaitivu on an earlier occasion, to be present and make oral statements. more..

Republic of Korea Navy vessels to visit Colombo Port

Nov 6 (GDI) Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) – Cruise Training Task Group will be calling on the Colombo Port for a three day Port visit from 11 to 13 Nov. 2014 ROK Cruise Training Task Group is currently deployed on a 96 day voyage visiting ports in 12 countries. Sri Lanka is the 6th country visited by the Group since their first visit to Guam on 24th Sept, 2014. Two Navy Vessels Choi Young (DDH-981) & Cheonji (AOE-57) more..

Mohan Pieris and Nihal Jayamanne draft MR questions for SC opinion

Nov 6 (CT) In a startling revelation, the De Facto Chief Justice Mohan Pieris and Chairman of Seylan Bank Nihal Jayamanne had drafted the two question posed by Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Supreme Court for its opinion, CT learns. Pieris and Jayamanne are close confidantes of the President with Pieris being the former Chairman of Seylan Bank prior to his controversial appointment as Chief Justice. However, the fact that Pieris a sitting judge of the Supreme Court and CJ of the country more..

A Dangerous Game?

Nov 6 (CT) Why would Lankan military need a war gaming centre? Why did Sri Lanka refuse to sign the resolution condemning nuclear weapons-use, for the second consecutive year? The war with the LTTE is over. Sri Lanka has no land border, nor any external enemies. Given these fortuitous circumstances, war games should have been the last thing on Colombo’s agenda. But a state of the art Joint War Gaming Centre was recently opened by Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Sapugaskanda. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Perils of Superpower Politics

Nov 6 (CT) The furor over the visit of a Chinese submarine to the Port of Colombo, last week, shows little signs of dying down. India is incensed at what they view as a rival Asian superpower trespassing militarily into India's traditional region of military influence. China, for its part, maintains that the visit was a routine one, and not something to get excited about. In a more global sense, the incident is viewed by some as marking an escalation in the age-old Sino-Indian rivalry. more..

Con man diddled well meaning students

Nov 6 (Island) Kamburupitiya police recently took into custody a suspect who was visiting schools in the area and collecting money claiming that he had to undergo surgery to a wound suffered while he was serving in the army during the Mavilaru operation in 2009. The police said that he who is a resident of Beliatta had a rubber stamp bearing the name and rank of a commissioned officer at the army hospital. His modus operandi was to write down the names of the students more..

SC cannot become party to a political trick

Nov 6 (AHRC) According to a letter written to the Bar Association by the Registrar of the Supreme Court, the President of Sri Lanka has, under Article 129(1) of the Constitution, referred two questions to the Supreme Court for its consideration. The Court has been asked to submit its opinion to the President on or before the 10th of Nov 2014. A careful reading of the two questions, posed in the letter as (a) & (b), makes it clear more..

Were State officials negligent?

Nov 6 (CT) If a complaint was lodged, at the Human Rights Commission of SL, it would be possible to investigate, if in fact the negligence of govt officials resulted in the Meeriyabedda, Koslanda landslide tragedy, Attorney-at-Law Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa said. He noted that it was pertinent to look into whether the State officers had acted in accordance with the laws governing the Ministry of Disaster Management and adhered to obligations and recommendations put forth by ministry. more..

TN fishermen stay away from sea demanding their release

Nov 6 (PTI) Protesting the death sentence awarded to five members of their ilk by a Sri Lankan court for drug trafficking, about 30 lakh fishermen in Tamil Nadu went on a one-day strike on Thursday, urging the Centre to put pressure on Colombo for their release. Fishermen stayed off the sea in 13 coastal districts of the state including Nagapattinam, Tuticorin, Kanyakumari and Ramanathapuram among others, fishermen association representatives claimed. more..

Army ready to build houses for Koslanda victims

Nov 6 (Island) Defence Ministry spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that the Pakistan Army had rushed in Rs. 100 million worth of tents, medicines and generators for the Koslanda landslide victims. Of the two planes, one carrying relief arrived on Tuesday and another was expected yesterday, he said. The army would soon provide 63 families with temporary accommodation until permanent houses were built more..

EX-CJ cries foul

Nov 6 (DM) Former CJ Sarath N. Silva said the move by the President to seek an opinion from the Supreme Court (SC) was to preclude parties such as him from going before the SC. He said the two questions posed by the President to the SC were in his personal capacity and not as the President of the Republic. "Both questions he had posed for opinion from the SC are personal. He is asking a question regarding his qualification to contest and if he could declare an election," he said. more..

SLMC not prepared to meet TNA individually

Nov 6 (CT) SLMC National Organizer Shafeeq Rajabdeen says his party leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem had informed their Council that they are prepared to talk to the TNA. "We are however, not prepared to meet them individually as proposed by them," he said. "Discussions have been in the offing since the provincial councils of the North and East were established. Since we were with the govt there was no way to join with the Northern Provincial Chief Minister or the Council," he said. more..

Sri Lanka landslide deaths linked to early warning failures

Nov 6 (Reuters) Four days before the village of Meeriyabedda was swept by a landslide that killed at least 10 people, district officials received early warning that the area was in danger – but those warnings were not effectively relayed to villagers, officials said. Closing such gaps in early warning systems is becoming increasingly crucial as Sri Lanka is hit by a growing number of disasters caused by extreme weather linked to more..

Browns Hotels & Resorts ties up with Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Nov 6 (LBO) Browns Hotel and Resorts, a fully owned subsidiary of Browns Investments recently signed a definitive agreements with Starwood Hotels & Resorts which will give Starwood the management rights to five-star Sheraton Kosgoda Turtle Beach Resort, owned by Browns Hotels and Resorts. The 172 room hotel is set open next year located in Kosgoda, the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka. “We believe Sri Lanka has the potential to become a preferred tourist destination for more..

Make public aware of agriculture research findings

Nov 6 (CT) Agricultural officials must put more efforts into communicating the findings of their research to the public through mass-media, Minister of Agriculture, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane said yesterday (4). Speaking at the Annual Symposium on Agrarian Research in Sri Lanka, he said, "We have carried out a lot of research in the field of agriculture but little of it has reached the people. We see people engaged in the same hazardous agricultural activities, especially more..

Mangala's crossover still hangs in the balance!

Nov 6 (AM) Opposition MP Mangala Samaraweera’s “would-be” crossover to the govt still hangs in the balance, sources close to Samaraweera said. Samaraweera, is presently in Singapore. Coincidently, DP Leader Sarath Fonseka and his former Secretary Senaka Haripriya de Silva are also in Singapore at the moment. A spokesman of Fonseka’s party said there might be a meeting between two parties in Singapore more..

DNA tests on Koslanda human bones

Nov 6 (CG) The police are to send human bones found at the site of the landslide in Koslanda for DNA testing in order to identify the remains, police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said today. He said that search operations are continuing at the site and several human bones had been recovered which could not be identified. As a result, police investigators are taking samples to be sent for DNA testing in order to accurately identify the bones, the police spokesman said. more..

'I’m prepared to forward written evidence'

Nov 6 (LT) If there is an issue regarding the standard of the coal imported for Ceylon Electricity Board the loss should be recovered from the relevant parties and an intellectual council should be appointed to investigate the fraud said to have taken place when importing coal to this country says the Minister Champika Ranawaka. Minister Ranawaka said this participating in a seminar held at Mahaweli Center yesterday to reveal coal, casino and power politics. more..

HC tribunal reserves order on Centre's ban on LTTE

Nov 6 (PTI) A special tribunal constituted by the Delhi High Court today reserved its verdict on whether the Centre's ban on terror group LTTE needs to be upheld. Tribunal, headed by Justice G P Mittal, reserved its order after conclusion of arguments by the govt represented by advocate Anil Soni as well as other parties in the matter. Central govt as well as state of TN submitted before the tribunal that as per the documents more..

Malik launches anti-Karu campaign targeting presidential polls

Nov 6 (AM) Former Chairman of the United National Party Malik Samarawickrama, who is considered to be a close associate of UNP National Leader Ranil Wcikremesinghe, has launched a fresh campaign against the party’s Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya targeting the forthcoming presidential candidate. According to party sources, Jayasuriya, at the moment, holds an edge over others to be the UNP-backed common candidate of the opposition. more..

Wiggy bound for Tamil Nadu

Nov 6 (CT) Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, will make his first foreign trip, since the setting up of the Northern Provincial Council last year, when he visits India this week. According to ITAK President, Mavai S. Senathiraja, Wigneswaran will leave for India on Thursday and will only travel to Tamil Nadu where he is scheduled to deliver a memorial lecture in remembrance of one of the leading human rights activists, Kannapiran, in Tamil Nadu. more..

'Expand coverage of Shop Act'

Nov 6 (CT) Employees working in small shops and small-scale industries were being slave driven by employers, said Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. Minister, participating in the committee stage debate on the Labour Ministry expenditure, therefore, suggested amending the Shop and Office Act to cover all workers, including those working in small boutiques. He alleged that the Labour Department is in deep slumber more..

ADB provides $ 800 million loan for Maga Neguma project

N0v 6 (AM) Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide their loan assistance of USD 800 million for the "Maga Neguma" Integrated Road Investment Program of the Sri Lankan govt. This will cover 6 provinces in Sri Lanka, Southern Province, Sabaragamuwa Province, Central Province, North Central Province, North Western Province and Kalutara District of Western Province. The Govt’s investment to implement this program in the above provinces is USD 106 million. more..

Madras high court dismisses plea on five death row Indians in Sri Lanka

Nov 6 (TOI) The Madurai bench of the Madras high court on Thursday dismissed a petition that stated that a Sri Lankan court could not try the case of five Indian fishermen who were sentenced to death for smuggling narcotics. The petition had also sought the high court's intervention to get the five fishermen -- Emerson, Agastas, Wilson, Prasath and Langlet -- transferred to the Madurai central prison in accordance with a treaty between the two nations. When petition filed by Virudhunagar-based more..