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Off-budget funding escalates

Nov 10 (CT) Off-budget funding of State-owned enterprises continues to expand at a rapid pace, new data showed. Treasury has issued off-budget guarantees amounting to Rs 503.7 billion as at end Sept 2014, the Fiscal Management Report 2015 of the Ministry of Finance and Planning showed. Such guarantees amounted to Rs 492 billion as at end May 2014, up sharply from Rs 302.7 billion a year earlier. more..

Hambantota comes to Colombo!

Nov 10 (FT) To better highlight the wide range of new opportunities in the deep south, the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce will hold an important forum tomorrow in Colombo targeting businesses and investors based in the commercial capital. The half day forum titled ‘Invest in Hambantota – 2014’ will be held from 9 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. at the auditorium of the Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka building at Malalasekara Mawatha, Colombo 7. more..

PEO TV to introduce world’s latest technological platform

Nov 10 (ST) In a move towards revolutionising traditional television viewing, Sri Lanka’s Personalised Entertainment Option (PEO) TV, owned by Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), is to introduce the world’s latest and modern technological platform to bring next generation of home education and entertainment TV with high quality digital pictures, the head of the company said. PEO TV is now operating a test transmission and the company plans to launch this new platform next month more..

Sri Lanka to harness benefits from AIIB, moving away from WB, ADB

Nov 10 (ST) Sri Lanka is drawing up ambitious development project plans to harness maximum benefits from the newly launched Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), moving away from its dependence on the WB, IMF and the ADB. Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Dr. B.M.S Batagoda said that the new lender would fund the construction of roads, power plants and telecommunications networks in the country more..

Ceylon Chamber has its say over call for SC opinion on MR’s third term

Nov 10 (FT) The country’s premier private sector lobby the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce yesterday joined the debate over President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s decision to seek Supreme Court opinion on a possible third term and his calling for a presidential election. Following is the statement: The attention of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has been drawn to recent media reports pertaining to an opinion sought from the Supreme Court by His Excellency, The President. more..

Ornamental Fish Trade Conference under way

Nov 10 (Island) Sri Lanka's first International Ornamental-Fish Trade Conference which takes place today and tomorrow in Colombo is scheduled to go live as it happens, signifying the industry's export-surge by 41% year-on-year. Gerald Bassleer, renowned international Fish Pathobiologist who has been working in the ornamental fish industry since 1977, has undertaken to lead the sessions. Minister Bathiudeen, who is currently participating at Geneva's UNIDO session, more..

Health Ministry recruits 5,000 student nurses this year

Nov 10 (Island) The Health Ministry said it would recruit a total of 5000 student nurses for training in a bid to increase and improve the human resources and services provided by the government health sector. Spokesperson for Health Ministry S.M.L. Kumari said they would be given their appointment letters tomorrow at the Sugathadasa Stadium. In 2011 the Ministry had recruited over 3300 nurses while in 2012 it recruited 2239. more..

Royal Ceramics incorporates new company in Australia

Nov 10 (Island) Royal Ceramics Lanka, a Dhammika Perera controlled company which is a major player in the country’s ceramic tile industry, announced that it has incorporated a new company in Australia, Rocell Ltd., under Australian law to engage in wholesale and retail business in floor tiles and wall tiles as well as bathware in that country. In a Stock Exchange filing on Friday, RCL said that physical entry into Australia involves a proposed initial investment AUD 525,000 (Rs. 61.5 million). more..

Leading investors in gem industry welcome 2015 Budget

Nov 10 (FT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2015 Budget proposals relating to the gem industry have been welcomed by local businessmen and foreign investors alike, with the initiatives seen as potentially adding a new dimension to the industry. Ratnapura Lanka Gemstones Ltd., (RLGPL), a subsidiary of Gemfields Plc, a global leader in the coloured gemstone industry with a proven track-record of lifting growth and transparency in the gemstone sectors of several countries, said: more..

SLC sex scandal: JVP calls for hunting down sexual predators immediately

Nov 10 (Island) The JVP women’s wing Women for Rights (WfR) urged Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage to expedite inquiries against officials who had allegedly obtained sexual bribes from women cricketers. WfR Co-President Samanmalee Gunasinghe said that if the inquiries were not carried out fast women would be discouraged from playing cricket. "Cricket and other sports have helped put SL on the map," more..

Wreck diving tourism significant revenue earner

Nov 10 (DN) Wreck diving tourism is a significant revenue earner for many coastal countries around the world. Sri Lanka is already famous among the world's wreck divers for having one of the top 100 wrecks in the world, the HMS Hermes, the world's first purpose built aircraft carrier, sunk off the coast of Batticaloa during the Japanese raid of Ceylon in 1942. A recent discovery of a mysterious aircraft wreckage in the east coast by a local dive expert and explorer Dharshana Jayawardena more..

Graduate employees want to be treated with dignity

Nov 10 (Island) More than 100,000 public sector graduate employees asked President Mahinda Rajapaksa to take immediate action to prevent them from being underemployed and subjected to indignities. In a letter to President Rajapaksa, they have demanded duty free motorcycles for all graduate employees and an increase in their transport allowance up to Rs. 4,000. General Secretary of the pro-JVP Graduate Employees Union (GEU) Chandana Sooriyarachchi said more..

Bodyguards abscond while Malaka stays remanded post-surgery

Nov 10 (ST) Six accomplices of Malaka Silva, son of Minister Mervyn Silva, allegedly involved in the assault of a foreign couple at a nightclub, are still at large, though they have been identified, police said. The suspects were identified through CCTV footage from the Rhythm and Blues nightclub where the alleged assault took place in the early hours of Nov 1. Details of the alleged assault surfaced this week as a team from CCD more..

SLTB employees ask for duty-free motorcycles

Nov 10 (CT) All Ceylon Transport Workers' Union (ACTWU) demanded the govt to provide duty-free motorcycles to employees attached to the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB). In a letter to President Rajapaksa, ACTWU General Secretary, Sepala Liyanage, while appreciating the govt's initiative of providing motorcycles, requested the govt to provide motorcycles, duty-free, to SLTB employees. He further added, the SLTB employees contributed massively to the country's economy, hence, more..

Minister emphatic hygienic standards be improved

Nov 10 (CT) Nearly sixty confectionery factories and small scale soft drink manufacturing plants have been closed down in Jaffna by the Public Health Inspectors for not complying with the required hygienic standards. However, the owners of the confectionery factories and the small scale soft drink manufacturers have described the action as a deliberate attempt to sabotage their industry in the Northern Province in order to introduce the food items and soft drinks produced outside more..

Yapa’s bicycles: The mystery deepens over deals within wheels

Nov 10 (ST) Two containers which arrived from Japan under the name of the Lakshman Yapa Foundation headed by Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena were scanned and declared as ‘unclear and suspicious areas marked’, but yet released without a proper investigation. Sunday Times last week in its lead story disclosed that the two containers were released despite instructions that further checks were required. more..

'Only some teachers willing to embrace ICT'

Nov 10 (CT) Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said that not all teachers were ready to embrace the use of Information and Community Technology in the classroom and that this phenomenon prevailed to a greater extent in govt schools. "I wouldn't know about the international schools though, probably to a lesser extent I guess, but certainly to a greater extent in govt schools, and that's a problem for us," he said. The Presidential Secretary was delivering the keynote address more..

Anuradhapura Public Fair to be developed

Nov 10 (GDI) Anuradhapura town is the main Commercial and Administrative Capital in the North Central Province, and under the National Physical Planning Policy and plans, Anuradhapura town has been identified as a Metro City. The UDA has prepared Anuradhapura town development plan for 2006 -- 2016. Under the plan it is proposed to develop the Anuradhapura Public Fair in extent of 1.19 Ha. which is owned by the Anuradhapura Municipal Council. more..

If Muslim's grievances are met SLMC will support common candidate

Nov 10 (CT) If a common candidate is prepared to address the grievances of the Muslim people the SLMC will undoubtedly support such a person at the forthcoming Presidential Election, General Secretary of the SLMC, Hasan Ali said. SLMC did not have to support the govt candidate as the govt had not delivered its promises made to the people who represent the SLMC. If the SLMC went with the govt, longer, the Muslim people would not more..

WPC allocates Rs 95 million for Schools’ Infrastructure

Nov 10 (ST) The Western Provincial Council has allocated Rs 95 million for development of school infrastructure for the next year, WP Education Secretary, Daya Senarath said. He said, under this project, Principals will be required to send in their project proposals and the Provincial Education Ministry will fund 50% of the project in slabs of Rs 50,000, Rs 100,000, up to a maximum of Rs 150,000. The balance funds will have to be raised through the respective School’s more..

Govt identifies lands to build houses for Koslanda victims

Nov 10 (GDI) The Govt has taken a decision to build new houses immediately for those who have lost their abodes due to the Koslanda disaster, The Badulla District Secretary Rohana Keerthi Dissanayake said. According to him, the required land has already been identified. The Physical Planning Department and the National Building Research Organization have examined these lands. Govt will commence building the houses once their recommendations are received. more..

Quest for common candidate: CBK eclipses Karu

Nov 10 (Island) Former UNP Deputy Leader and MP Karu Jayasuriya has received the backing of many political parties and groups looking for a common candidate at the forthcoming presidential election, but some influential players are of the view that twice-president Chandrika Kumaratunga will be a better candidate. Sources said that UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had recently suggested that more..

Dramatic turn of events: Polls may be too close to call

Nov 10 (DM) Today will be one of the most important days in Sri Lanka’s history. A full bench of the Supreme Court is to give an opinion on whether President Rajapaksa has the constitutional right to call an early election in his second term and whether he has the right to contest for a third term. This historic decision of the Supreme Court has been made in three working days though the country’s premier legal body, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), declined to make written more..

Deeper Societal Issues and the Present Human Predicament

Nov 10 (DM) The world today can hardly be characterized as orderly. Yet, there appears to be some sense of order as most people carry on with their day to day activities, whether it is work, business, education, leisure or socializing. It is also clear that, despite this seeming orderliness, normal activities are often disrupted by natural disasters, conflicts, or political upheavals. In other words, order and disorder exist side by side and their sequence can change from time to time more..

Sri Lanka World Cup plans not in disarray yet

Nov 10 (CI) Sri Lanka had talked themselves down a lot before the India tour. The coach and captain stressed the lack of time the team had had. Drafted in for administrative expediency, Sri Lanka were like the man suddenly called upon to give a speech at the family wedding. The team had told themselves that the tour would ultimately not matter; that the other guests would understand that the jokes would be unrehearsed and more..

Team to learn from India how to handle high-risk viruses

Nov 10 (ST) The Health Ministry will send a team of virologists and microbiologists from the Medical Research Institute and Infectious Diseases Hospital to Pune, India to observe the handling of viruses such as Ebola in laboratories. The team will be visiting the National Institute of Virology in Pune, which is the only top laboratory in Asia that tests samples of suspected Ebola patients, said the Director General of Health Services, more..

Modi, Rajapaksa discuss fishermen’s case

Nov 10 (Hindu) PM Narendra Modi and President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday discussed possible options regarding the five Indian fishermen who were recently sentenced to death by a Sri Lankan Court. Sri Lankan President's office confirmed that Mr. Rajapaksa telephoned Mr. Modi and the two leaders discussed a range of issues including the fishermen's sentence. While local media reports here on Monday said more..

Indian houses for landslide affected

Nov 10 (CG) Govt of India has committed, as part of its housing project in the estates in Sri Lanka, to construct houses in some landslide prone estates from where people have been evacuated, Indian High Commission in Colombo said. Govt of India had made a commitment to provide emergency humanitarian assistance worth SLR 5 million, following the devastating landslide that occurred on Oct 29, more..

'Opposition groping in the dark for a candidate'

Nov 10 (DN) While the govt having won 28 elections in a row is set to win its 29th, the Opposition is yet searching for a candidate, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. Addressing a delegation of 5,000 women leaders of the SLFP at Temple Trees on Saturday, President said the Opposition was looking for a “billy” boy (meaning a fall guy) to put forward as a candidate. Women-folk of this country have contributed immensely towards the more..

Ranil wants CBK to be UNP presidential candidate!

Nov 10 (AM) Asian Mirror is now in a position to reveal that UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe is behind Malik Samarawickrama's move to field former President Chandrika Kumaratunga as the presidential candidate of the main opposition party. Malik Samarawickrama is a former Chairman of the UNP and a close ally of UNP Leader Wickremasinghe. It has now come to the limelight that Samarawickrama is acting as the more..

SLMC denies Muslim Eelam allegation

Nov 10 (SL) With the resolution passed by the SLMC asking for a separate administrative district for the Muslims in Ampara, many directed accusations at the SLMC stating that it is an attempt to create a Muslim Eelam. Denying such allegations, the SLMC insists that they do not look for a separate state for Muslims but their proposal was only to create a separate administrative district for the Muslims in Ampara as Muslim majority more..

SL ranked 62nd in World Prosperity Index

Nov 10 (DM) Sri Lanka slipped down two notches to 62nd place in this year’s Prosperity Index prepared by Legatum Institute, which measures the well-being of country’s people and its wealth. The 2014 Legatum Prosperity Index has covered the economy of 142 countries with Norway topping the list and followed by Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, Sweden, Australia, Finland, Netherlands and the United States. more..

'Sri Lanka has not implemented death penalty since 1976'

Nov 10 (Hindu) In what could be a major relief to the five Tamil fishermen who have been awarded death sentence by the Sri Lankan High Court on drug trafficking charges, the country’s Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran said his country had not implemented death sentence since 1976. Mr Wigneswaran, who was a former Judge of the Supreme Court, said in Chennai on Monday that even though more..

'5 Tamil fishermen on death row in Sri Lanka to be transferred to India'

Nov 10 (Yahoo) Sri Lanka will transfer all the five fishermen, who had been sentenced to death on the charge of drug trafficking, to India, a CNN IBN report said quoting BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. This will come as a huge relief to the fishermen and their families. Television reports said that the deadlock was broken after PM Narendra Modi spoke with President Rajapaksa on the issue, according to a tweet from Dr Swamy. more..

UNPers up in arms against Hewaheta new organiser

Nov 10 (Island) United National Party (UNP) activists of Hewaheta electorate are protesting against the change of the chief organiser for the electorate. At a largely attended meeting of the UNP local leaders and supporters resolved to oppose the appointment of former UNP Central Provincial Member Shanthini Kongahage as the UNP chief organiser of Hewaheta at the expense of present chief Organiser and sitting member of the Central Provincial Council Chanaka Ilapperuma. more..

The opposition’s platform & why Mahinda is winning

Nov 10 (CT) I suppose it takes the Sri Lankan Opposition to make the slogan of a common candidate, a source of fissure and the search for unity a source of division. But that’s Sri Lanka, or rather, that’s the Sri Lankan Opposition. It would be fun to have good old CBK as common candidate though I doubt that even the Sri Lankan Opposition is going to do something that corny. CBK would be an entertaining, hard hitting public speaker on a broad opposition platform. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka rupee steady; inflows expected to ease pressure

Nov 10 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee traded steady on Monday as dollar inflows into some government securities offset importer demand for the greenback, while expected inflows in bonds eased the pressure though moral suasion by the central bank prevented a fall, dealers said. Traders said the local currency may face pressure as imports continue to rise in a stable exchange rate regime. The spot currency was flat at 130.90/131.00 per dollar at 0629 GMT. more..

Playing games with the Dengue mosquito

Nov 10 (CT) As the rains ended, the ugly menace of Dengue fever has started to raise its head with domestications in main city areas being kept unclean. The worst hit city is Negombo and Negombo Hospital is flooded with Dengue fever patients. Latest statistics indicate that Gampaha, Colombo and Kalutara too are infested with Dengue mosquitoes and the number of patients treated at hospitals is on the rise. Global reports indicate that 40% of people around the globe are at risk of more..

'Send back Tamil refugees to Sri Lanka'

Nov 10 (PTI) Visiting Sri Lankan Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran today said India should take steps for sending back the about one lakh Tamil refugees in TN to counter the island govt's “efforts” to push the ethnic community into a further minority. “India should take efforts to send back more than a lakh refugees who are now staying in camps in TN with sufficient rehabilitation measures in Sri Lanka. more..