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Sri Lankan shares ease from near 3-1/2 year high on profit-taking

Nov 10 (Reuters) Sri Lankan stocks edged down on Monday from a near three-and-half-year high hit in the previous session on profit-taking, led by banks and telecommunication shares. Continued foreign buying, low interest rates and better earnings expectations kept investor appetite for risky assets intact. Sri Lanka's main stock index closed 0.17 percent weaker at 7,403.38, moving away from its highest closing level since May 31, 2011 hit on Friday. more..

Powerful politico blocks opening of merchant wards to help private sector

Nov 10 (Island) A powerful politician in the Western Province is alleged to have blocked the opening of paying ward complexes constructed at Negombo District General Hospital and Gampaha District General hospital. Gampaha District Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. H.P.W. Hewapathirana, said that though the merchant wards complexes had been constructed, the on-call doctors had to be given accommodation in them due to unavailability of quarters for several doctors. more..

Video: SF strikes note of caution

Nov 10 (DM) DP Leader Sarath Foneska struck a note of caution for the common candidate to be picked this time, literally comparing it to the act of sending one to the gallows. Mr. Fonseka, who unsuccessfully contested the 2010 presidential election as the common candidate, said the prospective candidate should take up such a challenge with care. "I can tell it with my past experience as the common candidate. more..

Priyankara offers portfolio to Mangala

Nov 10 (DM) Civil Aviation Minister Piyankara Jayaratne said he would give his portfolio to UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera if he returned to the SLFP. “Mr. Samaraweera is most welcome if he decided to return to the SLFP. I am ready to offer my portfolio for him as a gesture of honour,” he said. He expressed these views at the opening of a Presidential Election office in the Anamaduwa electorate. The minister said that SLFP was not something new to Mangala Samaraweera. more..

Sajin Vaas challenges JVP leader to contest presidential election

Nov 10 (AM) While confirming that the presidential election will take place in January, Monitoring MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena challenged JVP Leader to contest the forthcoming presidential election as a candidate. It was widely speculated that the JVP would boycott the presidential election citing legal issues involving President Rajapaksa’s third term presidency. However, Gunawardena, who recently found himself in the middle of a controversy over an alleged assault on Dr. Chris Nonis, more..

Vasudeva calls for urgent action against bigots spreading hate

Nov 10 (Island) Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara has stressed the need for deterrent measures against extremist elements who indulged in hate campaigns against religions and their followers. He made these remarks when a seven member delegation from the National Shoora Council (NSC) met him recently to apprise him of the ongoing hate campaigns against the minorities and the ensuing threat to religious harmony and more..

CCTV footage on robbery released

Nov 10 (DM) Police today released CCTV footage of a Rs.400,000 robbery of a hardware shop at the Watareka Junction in Padukka yesterday. They sought public assistance to identify the two armed men who carried out the robbery. The two men wearing face-covered helmets had fired several shots in the air to frighten off the bystanders and the shop employees. The Padukka police requests the public to provide any information that might lead to identification of the armed robbers to more..

TN CM rejects DMK demand on Lanka

Nov 10 (CG) Rebuking DMK leader M K Stalin for demanding an assembly session to discuss the issue of five Indian fishermen facing death row in Sri Lanka, TN Chief Minister O Panneerselvam listed out his govt’s initiatives in this regard, saying the former’s efforts to “fish in troubled waters” will not fructify. “While this govt is expediting all steps to save the five fishermen, I wish to inform that his (Stalin’s) intentions of trying to fish in troubled waters will not fructify,” Chief Minister said. more..

Mangala to hold back: Multiple parties exert pressure

Nov 10 (AM) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera is likely to revise his previous decision to join the govt. Samaraweera, who was scheduled to arrive in Colombo yesterday after a brief visit to Singapore, has prolonged his tour by a few more days. Sources close to Samaraweera added that the Parliamentarian would return to Sri Lanka on Thursday. Moves to field a UNP-backed common candidate at the more..

BASL regrets over Supreme Court’s process to determine MR’s 3rd term

Nov 10 (AM) Sri Lanka Bar Association (BASL) today expressed its regret regarding the Supreme Court’s process to determine President Rajapaksa’s eligibility to contest for a third term. The Supreme Court’s opinion on President Rajapaksa’s eligibility to contest for a third term was sent to the Temple Trees this afternoon. BASL Secretary Ajith Pathirana said that up to now it has not received any response from the SC regarding the two letters sent by BASL urging the matter be taken up more..

JOF to sign six-point agenda tomorrow

Nov 10 (Island) The UNP, JVP, JHU, and Sobitha Thera are scheduled to sign a six-point common programme to launch the Joint Opposition Front (JOF) which would be followed by a public meeting at Muttiah Park in Colombo, tomorrow with the participation of President Chandrika Kumaratunga and the Democratic Party led by Retired General Sarath Fonseka. The MoU would include the abolition of the executive presidency, revival of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution which more..

NFF denounce UNHR Chief’s statement

Nov 10 (DM) NFF today denounced the statement made by the UNHRC Chief criticising the Govt of Sri Lanka (GOSL) for refusing to cooperate with the UN mandated investigation on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. UNHR Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein on Friday said the GOSL continues to sabotage the UN probe and was attempting to prevent witnesses from submitting information to the probe. more..

MR to announce election on Nov 19 or 20

Nov 10 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will declare, on either November 19 or 20, the holing of a snap presidential election, highly placed sources said yesterday. The proclamation will be issued on one or the other of these days so that the election could be conducted early January, next year. The political parties, both in the Govt and the Opposition, are getting ready for the election at the moment. The govt is trying to iron out its differences with its allies and the Opposition it trying to more..

State racism and sexism in post-war SL

Nov 10 (OD) The bloody end to Sri Lanka’s civil war in May 2009 inaugurated a renewed upsurge in Sinhala Buddhist ethno-nationalism. Its outlines were clarified by President Rajapakse himself in his first post-war speech to parliament when he said: “the word minorities have been removed from our vocabulary” and claimed that “no longer are the Tamils, Muslims, Burghers, Malays and any others minorities.” He did not however say that there are no longer any majorities for more..

CAS to review FIFA's life ban on Fernando next week

Nov 10 (IWF) Sri Lanka's former FIFA executive committee member Vernon Manilal Fernando, once regarded in some quarters as the footballing Godfather of South Asia, will have his Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) appeal against being banned by FIFA for alleged corruption heard next week. According to the website of the CAS, sport's highest appeal court, the case of Manilal Fernando v. FIFA will take place on Nov 20, more..

Mandatory diplomas to public transport drivers

Nov 10 (CT) Motor Traffic Department is to make mandatory a compulsory diploma to public transport drivers parallel to the separate driving licences issued to them from next year. Deputy Motor Traffic Commissioner S.A. Premaratne said the department decided to take up this initiative in order to ensure passenger safety. "Many people lost their lives while many were injured due to the negligence of bus and other public transport drivers. In order to come over the issue, we are introducing a diploma to more..

JVP takes Geneva Embassy 'scam' to CID

Nov 10 (CT) The JVP is to appeal to the CID to conduct aninvestigation on the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), alleged transaction with the LTTE. The problem concerns the External Ministry contracting a company affiliated to the LTTE, for the refurbishing of the official residence of the Permanent Representative to Geneva, valued at Rs 18 million. The parties involved in awarding the contract include Secretary to the MEA, Kshenuka Senewiratne, it is alleged. more..

Video: Parties agree on common candidate

Nov 10 (DM) Opposition party leaders today expressed their optimism on fielding a common candidate at an upcoming Presidential Election. Several Party leaders gathered this morning at a forum organised by the National Movement for Social Justice headed by Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera in Kotte on the abolishment of Executive Presidency. UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, DP Leader Sarath Fonseka, more..

Eligibility for a third term: From the horse’s mouth

Nov 11 (CT) I was looking through some of my old articles and came across a press cutting with an interview by JR Jayewardene. An amendment to the 2 term period requires a 2/3 majority in Parliament PLUS a Referendum. The “old fox” himself said so. This is clearly the intention behind the relevant Constitutional article and who should know better than JR himself since his own brother was probably its principal framer. In an interview with Island Editor Rohan Abeywardena on 15 Dec 1991, more..

Movements with common purpose and hope for democracy in Sri Lanka

Nov 11 (CT) One healthy sign we can observe in the depleted democratic polity of Sri Lanka at present is that many of the opposition political parties, and even some in the ruling alliance, have begun to think and act beyond the self-interests of their respective parties. They have begun to show more interests in fighting to change the suppressive political conditions that more or less affect the life in a functioning democracy. Meanwhile the civil society initiatives such as more..

'Economic growth steady in Sri Lanka'

Nov 11 (SO) What Sri Lanka needs now is an indigenous economy that can withstand the global catastrophes and climate change calamities and the Govt is heading towards that, said Secretary to the Ministry of Finance Dr. P.B. Jayasundera. Explaining the structure of the developing economy from 2005 until now and targets of 2020 and 2035 according to the 'Mahinda Chinthana' Vision for the Future, more..

Journey of content: Instagram unplugged IRL

Nov 11 (GV) We are discussing a photograph. It was taken by the camera of a smartphone. It has been viewed by thousands, engaged with by hundreds, and is now being exhibited at the Saskia Fernando Gallery. @colombedouin is Abdul-Halik Azeez. Colombedouin is the title of the exhibition that is ongoing at the time of conducting this interview. It is a strange place to be. “Blowing up your Instagrams and putting them up on a wall gives you a different perspective of what was captured,” more..

Kaleidoscope of Desire

Nov 11 (GV) It’s really weird to live in a place and then to come “home” and feel like a stranger there too. It’s unusual to be thinking utensils are superfluous and that all this air-conditioning is making me cold. Yet, throughout the summer to early fall – from Texas to New York to Maryland – the utensils sometimes seem to be getting in the way and all this A.C has been making me chilly. With winter right around the corner, I’m in even more trouble. more..

Referendum to extend life of Parliament

Nov 11 (CT) Minister Jayarathna Herath, recently said that a Referendum should be held, after the Presidential Election due in January 2015, instead of a Parliamentary Election. He put forth his views on this when Ceylon Today interviewed him. Q: For whose need did you propose a Referendum? A: I speak with my experience. I was in politics at the time of the 1982 Referendum also. I was 22 years old then. more..

Chinese submarines in Sri Lanka – Analysis

Nov 11 (EAR) The docking of two Chinese submarines in Sri Lanka within a space of two months raises pertinent questions. As any naval expert would agree docking of submarines is essentially different from port-calls or docking by a warship, because a submarine is a stealth weapon. In the next five years Chinese nuclear submarines like the Type 93 and Type 94 armed with nuclear tipped ballistic missiles will be prowling these waters along with aircraft carrier battle groups. more..

Budget and the polls

Nov 11 (SL) If someone thought that a soft budget is going to make a difference to the voter-mood, he’s mistaken. While a harsh budget does make the voter mood harsher if he is already inclined to vote against the incumbent, a soft budget does not always do the trick. It’s an irony of our times that the political masters do not have the talent to pre-assess the voter-mood as they would want to and always claim to be. It’s unclear even to the best of psychologists, provided you agree that more..

Boston Lanka: November 10, 2014

State needs to take responsibility for the neglect of plantation Tamil community

Nov 11 (SL) The readiness of the SL population to rally around any section faced with disaster came to the fore once again in the aftermath of the landslide disaster in the hill country. It evoked memories of the public response in the aftermath of the Tsunami of 2004. Voluntary assistance and donations poured in from all parts of the country irrespective of ethnicity or religion. It showed that social and man-made barriers could be overcome and spirit of universalism could prevail. more..

Editorial: Disaster blues

Nov 11 (Island) The search for the remains of the Koslanda landslide victims has been abandoned on a request from their family members, we are told. Search teams worked tirelessly, risking as they did life and limb, for days on end, but theirs had all the trappings of a Sisyphean task. It certainly does not make any sense to continue with the search. The near and dear ones of the victims have come to terms with reality in spite of their unbearable grief. The dead are best left buried in their own more..

In the shadow of the deadly mountain

Nov 11 (NS) Sitting near a window in the corner of the hall, Mylvaganam Kokilan (33) stares vacantly into space. However, when asked for his story, he speaks quietly but clearly, almost in a matter-of-fact tone. He lost his mother, aunt and uncle in the Meeriyabedda landslide. Mylvaganam stays in Kosgama as he works there. “My mother phones me every morning before I go to work. On October 29, she phoned at around 7.35am. more..

Arputhammal joins fight to save fishermen

Nov 11 (Hindu) G. Arputhammal, who ran a campaign to save her son A.G. Perarivalan from the gallows in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has joined hands with a collective of fisherwomen to fight for the release of five fishermen condemned to death by a Colombo court. After visiting the families of the fishermen, Ms. Arputhammal and Amutha Nambi, who heads the women’s wing of the Naam Tamizhar Katchi, led a procession of fisherwomen at Thangachimadam on Monday. more..

Work together instead of politicizing tragedy

Nov 11 (Island) The readiness to politicize any issue came to the fore in the course of the landslide tragedy at Haldamulla. With presidential elections on the near horizon, there was competition to be seen as caring more for the victims than the other. President, ministers, leaders of political parties and their party members all were seen on the media taking relief supplies to the area and commiserating with the victims. Govt had the advantage as it could control access to the area. more..

Ornamental fish featuring notably in 14% export growth

Nov 11 (Island) Sri Lanka has earned USD 7.34 billion from exports up to August this year, recording a positive growth of 14% when compared to the corresponding period in 2013, said Sri Lanka Export Development Board CEO Bandula Egodage. Addressing a gathering at the First International Ornamental Fish Trade Conference in Colombo yesterday he said despite many constraints and challenges faced by more..

Budget 2015: Favourable features and fundamental flaws

Nov 11 (ST) Despite the fundamental weaknesses in fiscal policy discussed last week, there are favourable features in the 2015 Budget. The higher allocation for education and health, initiatives for the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and assistance to smallholder agriculture are commendable. These favourable proposals, if implemented effectively, would benefit the economy. However, the actual disbursement of funds for these developmental needs may be stifled by more..

Over 400 culinary professionals celebrate Fonterra International Chefs' Day 2014

Nov 11 (Island) A record breaking four hundred and thirty Chefs from all parts of the island turned up for this year's International Chef Day in October, the largest representation seen to date at the nation's foremost event for culinary professionals. The 2014 event was sponsored by Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka for the fourth consecutive year. Each year members of the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) celebrate International Chefs Day. On this day, chefs around the world celebrate more..

SriLankan launches new A330-300 with non-stop flights to London

Nov 11 (CT) SriLankan Airlines began commercial operations on its newly acquired Airbus 330-300 with a direct non-stop service to London last Sunday. "SriLankan Airlines flight UL505 departed from Katunayake at 0225 a.m. local time on Sunday en-route to London Heathrow airport, returning to Colombo at 0440 a.m. on Monday 10 November,". "The brand new A330-300, the first of seven such aircraft on order from Airbus more..

Public lashing of state officials by PBJ

Nov 11 (ST) Treasury Secretary Punchi Banda Jayasundera is perhaps Sri Lanka’s most powerful official. Barring the three brothers who are principal drivers of Sri Lanka’s development – Mahinda, Gotabaya and Basil (Chamal is not so influential in the circle of power) – Jayasundera is more influential than any minister (senior or junior) and has over time drawn the wrath of many ministers during the Rajapaksa regime and also during the Chandrika Kumaratunga era. more..

National Index for inflation

Nov 11 (CT) The Census and Statistics Department Director General, D.C.A. Gunawardena said, his department was in the process of introducing a national index for inflation, eliminating the Colombo Consumers' Price Index (CCPI). "We are going to change the inflation basket next year; not only that, we are going to introduce a national index covering all the districts. With the government policies food prices are stable, and international prices are not in an upward movement," he said. more..

Fonterra to offer free milk to schools in SL

Nov 11 (Stuff) Fonterra is looking to start a pilot free "milk in schools" programme in Sri Lanka, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says. The programme is one of a suite of initiatives designed to boost Sri Lanka's dairy industry, which is still centred around small-scale farms. Last week Guy and a New Zealand business delegation, which included former Black Cap cricketer Stephen Fleming, met President Rajapaksa and more..

‘Mount pressure on Sri Lanka’

Nov 11 (Hindu) Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader Thol. Thirumavalavan has urged the Centre to pressure SL govt to free the five TN fishermen awarded the death sentence by a Colombo court. Alleging a political motive behind the sentence, he told reporters here that President Rajapaksa was trying to spread insecurity among the Tamils because of the fears of LTTE resurgence. Mr. Thirumavalavan said G.K. Vasan’s decision to quit Congress & float a new party was welcome. more..