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Yal Devi runaway success, more trains on track

Oct 9 (ST) Raking in Rs. 10 million since its launch on Oct 13, the northern-bound Yal Devi has become the highest revenue earner for the Railways Department, which now wants to put on more trains. About 10,000 people are using the train for day-to-day activities, earning the department Rs. 600,000 daily. Given the increase of passengers travelling to the north, department has decided to launch a second night mail train more..

Security plans and spiritual programmes underway for Pope Francis visit

Oct 9 (ST) With the Holy Father set to visit the country on January 13, the Sri Lankan Army and Police are gearing up to implement a tight security plan, while the church prepares to greet the Roman Catholic Pontiff and canonise the first saint of Sri Lanka. “We will provide tight security to the Pope without causing any disturbance to any religious activities,” Army Spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wannigasooriya said. more..

Ven Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera conducts spiritual programs

Oct 9 (NS) ‘Sammabimani’ Spiritual Program that would go to many places of the island with the view to enhancing moral development is to be conducted by Ven Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera, with the coordination the Sri Lanka Army. Thera said that our society, now free from terrorist menace need to be elevated high moral grounds through which the peace could be made more meaningful. Lieutenant General Ratnayake told the gathering that the Army would be pleased to coordinate the program, more..

A scintillating evening of appreciating Dr Lester James Peries

Oct 9 (Island) The auditorium of the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute was packed full on the evening of Tuesday October 27 when the Sinhala translation of Lester by Lester as told to Kumar de Silva was launched. Kumar’s 2005 publication is the collaborative biography of Dr Lester James Peries (LJP) as narrated by the great man and written down and published by Kumar de Silva. The Head of the Dept of Fine Arts, University of Peradeniya, Athula Samarakon, recently translated the book more..

How susceptible are we to El Nino?

Oct 9 (Island) Violent storms, flash floods and severe droughts have shaken the entire global equilibrium and their impact is felt on almost every economically viable human activity ranging from agriculture, production of export crops, fisheries, livestock and power generation. The devastating and unpredictable weather patterns can no longer comfortably place our farmer in the cycle of the traditional Yala and Maha seasons. more..

All the bulls are in must

Oct 9 (Island) They only have to sniff an election and all Lanka’s politicos break into must like the rutting craze that grips hounds when the neighbourhood bitch goes into season; it is as if all the bull elephants in the forest are in must (or musth). Lucidity leaves the mind; the irrational takes a grip. The examples from last week are too many to recount so I will entertain you with just five; one disquieting, the other all knotted up, the third a shrewd game, and the last two comic. more..

Search teams find two more bodies

Oct 9 (NS) The bodies of two more persons have been recovered by search teams at Meeriyabedda landslide site this morning. Troops engaged in the search operation had recovered the body of a girl aged about 7 years as well as that of an adult female. Today is the 12th day of the search operation, which began after the deadly landslide on October 29. With the discovery of these bodies, the remains of 16 people have been recovered from the landslide location thus far. more..

Chinese submarines sail on rough SL seas

Oct 9 (CT) Joint Opposition on Friday met with the Convener of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ), Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera to discuss the selection of a common candidate to contest President Rajapaksa at a Presidential Election likely as scheduled for January next year. Among the names discussed were Chandrika Kumaratunga, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Karu Jayasuriya. more..

Groups seeks ban on SL cricket team

Oct 9 (Hindu) The Tamil Youths and Students Federation and three other groups have demanded that the Sri Lankan cricket team not be allowed to play in India. This is in protest against the recent death sentence on five Indian fishermen on charges of smuggling. The organisations will submit a petition to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials in Mumbai on Sunday. “We approached the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association officials and explained the issue to them,” more..

World Bank ‘evaluates’ situation

Oct 9 (NS) World Bank caught unawares by allegations of massive fraud in the NPC is currently ‘evaluating the situation,’ Sandya Salgado of the Bank’s External and Corporate Relations unit told ‘The Nation’ on Friday. Salgado was responding to queries arising from a letter written to President Rajapaksa and Chief Minister, Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, urging the two to investigate a fraud implicating the Chief Secretary who is alleged to have defrauded the Council more..

Janitorial services in govt medical facilities: Questions raised over exploiting workers

Oct 9 (Island) With a staggering Rs. 6 billion allocated annually for janitorial services in 60 state-run medical facilities, critical questions have surfaced whether some private sector companies entrusted with the task pay a decent daily wage to their workers and also honor statutory EPF/ETF commitments. The multi-million rupee bids, which complied with the stipulated criteria, were cleared by the Technical Evaluation more..

Thalpahewa assume duties as new Deputy HC in London

Oct 9 (Island) Dr. Chanaka Thalpahewa, the newly appointed Deputy High Commissioner to London assumed duties last Thursday. He was serving as the Deputy High Commissioner in Maldives when he was asked to move to London following the resignation of High Commissioner Chris Nonis. Thalpahewa replaced Neville de Silva who completed his term as the Deputy High Commissioner in London recently. On assuming duties, Thalpahewa addressed the staff and more..

Sri Lanka Pavilion at London WTM features wild life theme

Oct 9 (Island) The Sri Lanka Pavilion at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London was inaugurated by Deputy High Commissioner, Chamari Rodrigo and Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) Managing Director, Rumy Jauffer. The event organized by SLTB in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Trade Department concluded last week. WTM, an annual global event, was held at the Excel Exhibition Hall in London from November 3 – 6. Tourism Promotional Officer in London Nalin Perera said that more..

Anxious wait for safe homes in landslide areas

Oct 9 (ST) Thousands of people in shelters in Badulla and Nuwara Eliya districts will have to return to homes in unsafe areas when the risk of landslides lessens until the government builds them new permanent homes. In Badulla alone, more than 4,386 people from 1,209 families are living in 30 temporary shelters. This is in addition to the 1,364 people who were directly affected by the Koslanda landslide last week. more..

SL’s public servants ratio against total population 1:17 — WDJ

Oct 9 (Island) Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne told in Parliament that the ratio of public servants against total population was 1:17. The minister participating in the third reading debate on budget 2015 under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs said: "Sri Lanka is small in size but has surpassed many big nations in the sense of strength of public service. We have 1.4 million strong public sector employees. Of every 17, one is a public servant. more..

Good food and promises dished out to families of Lankans working abroad

Oct 9 (ST) With the presidential election scheduled for early next year Temple Trees is a hive of activity, with arrangements being made for President Rajapaksa to meet various groups of people. “I had the best meal ever in my life today,” said Siriyalatha, a mother of two daughters. The added joy for her, she said, was eating the food in the presence of the President. Siriyalatha whose daughters are employed in Cyprus was one of among 3,000 guests at Temple Trees yesterday. more..

Video: Prelates against Presidential system

Oct 9 (DM) A campaign to pressurise the President to abolish the Executive Presidency and implement the 19th Amendment would be launched by Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera and JHU President Venerable Athuraliye Ratana Thera on November 12 at a mass rally at the Muttaiah Park in Colombo, the prelates announced today. The campaign would force the govt to abolish or reform the Executive Presidency without more..

Take care when you next go to the fair

Oct 9 (ST) Take care when you next go to the fair. The 20-year-old fair which has long met the needs of the locals is now a death trap in waiting with many road-side accidents occurring in the vicinity. Kandapola town located 10 km from Nuwara Eliya is populated by cultivators and estate workers. For over 20 years the Saturday fair has catered to the needs of the town’s people and it meets the needs of the local cultivators. Vendors from Udupussellawa, Walapane & Welimada come more..

All landslide missing pronounced dead

Oct 9 (CG) All those reported missing in Koslanda following the landslide have been pronounced dead with the Govt today deciding to call off the search operations. Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that 34 people were reported dead and/or missing and 14 bodies as well as human bones had been found so far. Those still missing will be considered dead and death certificates will be provided to the relatives of those still missing following the landslide. more..

'State violence in Sri Lanka continues'

Oct 9 (PTI) Slamming the central govt and Supreme Court in his country, visiting Chief Minister of Northern Province C V Wigneswaran today claimed "state violence" in the island continued and the judiciary too played a role in foisting a second-class citizenship on Tamils. On his first foreign visit after taking over as Chief Minister of the Tamil-populated Northern Province, he also stressed that India had legal and more..

Let Malaysians support justice, freedom beyond borders, Anwar tells Putrajaya

Oct 9 (MI) Throwing his support for those highlighting atrocities against Tamils in Sri Lanka, the PKR de facto head said Malaysians should be allowed to help promote freedom and justice wherever abuses occur. “If there is gross injustice, the killings must be stopped,” he said at the closing of the Penang International Tamil Conference. “That is a consistent, coherent principle.” In a similar vein, he said Malaysian should also offer support to any marginalised ethnic group, more..

Water levels low, but Maha targets can be met

Oct 9 (Island) "We have 72 major reservoir which are on average 30% full," said Mrs. Badra Kamaladasa, Director General, Department of Irrigation speaking to the Sunday Island yesterday. Of these five reservoirs including Batalagoda in Kurunegala, Tissawewa in Anuradhapura and Angamuwa, also in Anuradhapura are at 100% capacity," she said. The Director General also intimated that other reservoirs are still slowly filling as a result of the last rains. more..

Monks warn Sri Lanka president to reform or lose support

Oct 9 (AFP) Sri Lanka's main party of Buddhist monks warned President Rajapakse on Sunday it would withdraw support if he refused to loosen his grip on power before a snap election. The JHU, said it wanted Rajapakse to honour a promise to rewrite the constitution and allow civil servants, judges, police and the elections chief to function independently. "If the next election is held without carrying out the promised reforms, more..

Buddhism finds global voice at China conference

Oct 9 (Island) More than 600 international delegates met for the 27th World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) conference last month, hosted for the first time by China, in the north-west province of Shaanxi. The conference theme of "Buddhism and Public Charity" laid a path for Buddhist collaboration, especially in mobilising financial and spiritual resources to advance the development of Buddhist communities across the world in a compassionate and socially harmonious manner. more..

'Battlefields turn paddy fields'

Oct 9 (SO) Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga said at the launch of an online /SMS facility enabling ETF members to know their ETF balance that "today some people have forgotten the difficult conditions that prevailed during height of terrorism. Things have changed now. What were battlefields then have now become paddy fields. Instead of cumbersome travelling today people move about freely anywhere wielding communication tools such as phones, iPhones and i-Pads." more..

Kohli and Dhawan deliver series win

Oct 9 (CI) A batting Powerplay that cost Sri Lanka three wickets for 16 runs sucked the oxygen out of an already imperiled innings, and set the visitors on course for a third hiding on the trot. Sri Lanka's six-wicket loss in Hyderabad surrendered the series to India, who have not only been untested in the three matches so far, but have also discovered potential gems from among their second-string players. more..

On safeguarding security and sovereignty

Oct 10 (CT) We are gathered here today to remember one of India’s greatest human rights’ leaders and jurist – the late Mr. K.G. Kannabiran. He was the President of your People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) from the year 1994 to 2008. His period of office saw PUCL climbing to great heights as a human rights’ organisation. He was, I am told, deeply humble and humane as a person, passionately and intensely committed to protecting democracy and human rights, not just in India more..

Electorate and elections

Oct 10 (CT) For the opposition, the presidential election will be an obstacle race on a non-level playing-field, overseen by a biased judge. If the opposition can agree on a common candidate, it will be over the first hurdle. A common candidate is not a sufficient condition for electoral victory; but it is an absolutely necessary one. Without it, with an opposition divided and bickering, the election will be lost even before the nomination is over. The next hurdle will be to discover and address more..

'UNP is not against raising loans for development'

Oct 10 (SO) UNP was founded by D.S. Senanayake way back in 1946 with the unstinted support rendered by all community leaders of the day who fought for independence leaving aside petty communal agendas. Muslim community was represented by Dr. M.C.M. Kaleel and T.B. Jayah, who later became Cabinet Ministers. Jayah was appointed Minister of Labour in the first UNP govt headed by D.S. Senanayake. more..

Red herrings and that vexed question of a third term

Oct 10 (ST) There is considerable confusion prevalent in Sri Lanka’s urban circles. At one level, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka is confused as to how (reportedly) an in camera sitting of the Supreme Court was held to consider the Reference by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on his ability to contest a third term under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution even whilst the Registrar had called for Written Submissions by the Bar on the matter, this week. As the Bar expressed its surprise more..

Mahinda tests his Achilles’ heel

Oct 10 (ST) With President Mahinda Rajapaksa invoking the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on Tuesday to submit an opinion as to his eligibility to contest the presidential election for a third time and the Government announcing on Wednesday that it will be issuing after the 19th of November, the proclamation to hold the next presidential election, how fares the political landscape this Sunday morn as parties gear up for the good fight? At the favoured corner of the ring, more..

'We completely reject 18th amendment'

Oct 10 (SL) UNP speculates that the President seeking Supreme Court validation to contest for the third term is an attempt to legitimize his action to contest the next presidential election. Speaking to SL Eran Wickramaratne said that the UNP rejects the 18th Amendment which has altered the basic structure of the constitution. Q: Was there a need for the President to actually go through the Supreme Court to seek more..

Mahela's muted celebration

Nov 10 (CI) Many negative themes have plagued Sri Lanka's innings this series, but two of the more telling have been their poor use of the batting Powerplay, and Akshar Patel's ability to make crucial breakthroughs. Both these features were brought together in emphatic fashion in Hyderabad, as Akshar came on as soon as the Powerplay was called, to remove Angelo Mathews, then Ashan Priyanjan, and Chaturanga de Silva in each of his following Powerplay overs. more..

Politically motivated EU creating problems

Oct 10 (NS) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe recently made a quick visit to Europe. Unconfirmed reports say that there he met some representatives of the LTTE Diaspora and sought help to win the presidential election. It is also reported that he has given many promises to the LTTE supporters, that he will merge north and east. Also he will fully implement the 13th Amendment. Further he will lift the ban on LTTE and LTTE supportive organizations and many more. more..

'We do not want to decide anything'

Oct 10 (SL) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) expressed their doubts about the procedures followed to seek Supreme Court interpretation to determine whether President Mahinda Rajapaksa could contest the presidential election for the third term or not. TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran said that Supreme Court interpretation on constitution is very important but the manner in which they are making the interpretation is not right. more..

Hired mourners and other pests

Oct 10 (Island) Kenya’s professional mourners have become a dying breed, we are told. Time was when they were paid by bereaved families handsomely to make all the noises in the world while wailing because that was thought to be the best way to honour the dead. Well-oiled mourners riding motorcycles, blowing whistles and chanting the names of the dead used to wreak havoc on public roads in cities on weekdays much to the consternation of the public, but a ban has more..

Britain encourages more SL businesses to come to UK market

Oct 10 (Island) Speech made by the British High Commissioner John Rankin at the session on "Bilateral Trade Between Sri Lanka and U.K" on Oct 29 at the National Chamber of Commerce. "As British High Commissioner I have many tasks in representing the UK's interests here in Sri Lanka. But one of the most rewarding tasks is the promotion of the commercial relations between our two countries". "Promoting commercial relations and helping to increase bilateral trade between more..

Taji Dias

Opposition struggling to find a common candidate

Oct 10 (NS) The rumblings of dissent within the ruling UPFA, instigated mostly by the JHU pale into insignificance in comparison to those that are being now felt in the main opposition party, the UNP which is in the throes of another crisis. Hopes of the UNP faithful and indeed, for those seeking an alternative to the UPFA rose dramatically, when the UNP performed creditably at the Uva PC elections and even ‘won’ a few contests there at the electoral level and then appointed Sajith Premadasa as its more..

Deheragoda Asia’s second on terrain of death

Nov 10 (Island) After a fascinating display on what could be termed a terrain of death here in the Asia-Pacific Motor Rally Championship (APRC) China leg, Sri Lanka’s debut runner Dinesh Deheragoda of Ezy Racing ended up second in Asia and the prestigious fourth overall, on Sunday, Nov 9 here in Longyou, China. "This is my 17th year in motor racing and driving in a FIA (the world body of the sport) event for the first time. I’m really happy about the overall results achieved in China," more..