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'Opposition ill-prepared for a national level election'

Nov 13 (AM) SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena, commenting on the conduct of the main opposition, said the opposition seemed ill-prepared for a national election. Without commenting on the nature of the election which is in the offing, he said the ruling party was expecting a national level election. Therefore, Minister added, the election will end with a resounding victory for the ruling party. The ruling party press conference was also attended by Minister Vasudewa Nanayakkara, more..

Nandana Gunatilleka to resign from UPFA

Nov 13 (DM) Panadura UC Chairman Nandana Gunatilleka of the UPFA today denied rumours that he was planning to join the UNP as its Horana organiser. However, he stressed that he had not changed his stance on the need to abolish the executive presidency, amendments to the electoral system and re-introducing the independent judicial commission, the independent police commission, the independent public services commission and the independent elections commission. more..

Rohit 264, Sri Lanka 251

Nov 13 (CI) Rohit Sharma's first ODI in 10-weeks began with a touch of nerves. He was even kept scoreless in one Angelo Mathews maiden. By the end of the innings, his batting had become cartoonish. There was no shot he had not played. No part of the ground he had not exploited. No bowler who escaped his brutality. Rohit amassed 45 more runs than any ODI batsman had ever managed in an innings, finishing on 264 from more..

My ignorance that seeks answers

Nov 14 (CT) Commenting on the Opposition slogan of “Abolishing the Executive Presidency”, Communist Party boss DEW Gunasekera had said, this is only to muster co-operation amongst them against President Rajapaksa. Yes it is. What’s wrong in choosing a demand or a slogan that most could agree ? The fact that DEW cannot subscribe to it as he chose to support President Rajapaksa for the third time, does not invalidate the opposition efforts in forming a broad alliance. more..

Another term of this madness?

Nov 14 (CT) This month, a female university-entrant fell off a seven-foot wall and suffered spinal injuries, while participating in the Leadership Training Programme in an army camp. The military spokesman says the wall was just six feet high. Let’s believe him. What sort of ‘leadership training’ entails jumping from a six-foot wall? Armed robbery? Kidnapping? Movie stunts? What is the logic of herding students into army camps and forcing them to engage in mindless and useless pursuits more..

Royal College shortlisted for Zayed Future Energy prize

Nov 14 (SO) Having a green zone within Colombo city is nothing short of a miracle, for it is unlikely to happen in a crowded, noisy and urban city like Colombo moreso in a school. Turning Colombo city to a world of greenery is like swimming against the tide but Royal College has made it a dream come true. When you enter the College it is as if you have entered a world of greenery. It reminds you of some fairy tale picture and more..

Rohana Wijeweera’s fading political signature

Nov 14 (NS) 25 years ago a man was killed. He was one of some 60,000 who had been killed in those gruesome days of the late eighties. It is reported that he had been tortured and shot. It is reported that he was still alive when he was tossed into the incinerator at the General Cemetery, Borella. This was at the tail end of the second insurrection launched by the JVP. By this time, most of the key leaders had been eliminated. The rank and file was decimated along with hundred of more..

Why is NPC not allowed to exercise Powers ?

Nov 14 (CT) The President says he allowed elections to the Northern Provincial Council. But what he has given with the right hand he has withdrawn with the left hand. The NPC is hamstrung because the power is exercised by the Governor. Provision was made legally for it by the Provincial Councils Act of 1987 which undid the devolution to the PC under the 13th Amendment. We have had a highly centralized State during the colonial period, as well as after Independence. more..

'Mindlessness crucial in batting'

Nov 14 (CT) Q: You once said that as a batsman you have to look confident, aggressive and arrogant. Do you have to fake it at times? And does faking confidence actually help you regain your confidence level? A: It's a tough thing. There are times when even if you haven't had a great series, you still have to walk in with a very firm belief that you are out there to score runs. No matter how tough the fight is, you have to project more..

Police murders and punishments

Nov 14 (CT) Death of suspects in police custody is very common now. Some are shot dead when they are taken to show the hidden weapons used in crimes. Some others jump into water and sink. There were instances the suspects jumped out of the running vehicles. Some suspects hanged in the police lockups. Once in a while, police officers were found guilty for killing the suspects. The OIC of Angulana Police Station was sentenced to death for killing two suspects. more..

Conversations with Sarath N Silva

Nov 14 (NS) These are moving-around days. There’s talk of people crossing party lines. There are people plotting regime-change. There are people getting ready to counter such moves. People are talking to people. We have the Constitution Abolishers. We have the Constitution Amenders. Then there are people trying to cobble together parties and other political groups as well as prominent personalities in a grand coalition that would support a ‘Common Candidate from more..

'A cartel has hijacked the State'

Nov 14 (CT) Former Permanent Representative of SL to the UN and present Chairperson, Intergovernmental Working Group on the Rights to Development, UNHRC, Geneva, Tamara Kunanayakam, says the govt and the Ministry of External Affairs has no direction or clear orientation to follow and she was pushed to step down due to a 'deliberate' action played on her by the foreign office. "I got caught in the middle more..

Editorial: Unparliamentary language

Nov 14 (Island) UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake stirred up a real hornet’s nest in Parliament on Wednesday by using a derogatory term to describe the men who forced their wives to work as virtual slaves in West Asia so that they could lead comfortable lives here. He called them eunuchs and all hell broke loose. Govt MPs tore him to shreds for using unparliamentary language. There has been a spate of complaints that housemaids’ hard-earned money is wasted by their husbands on more..

150 years of illustrious service to the nation: General Hospital, Colombo

Nov 14 (Island) This year (2014) a grateful Sri Lankan nation salutes, this illustrious national institution and commemorates 150 years of dedicated service and recall the pivotal role it has played in the day to day life of the people of this country. Few institutions in Sri Lanka can boast of such a unique record, of service impacting on their life for 150 long lone years. Throughout this period the National Hospital of Sri Lanka has stood steadfastly in times of peace more..

The new Yarl Devi to Jaffna: What do people in Jaffna think?

Nov 14 (GV) Yarl Devi was a train. A hulking pile of metal on wheels, just like any other train. It began its run around 1956; neither the first train to make the trip to the North of Sri Lanka, nor the only train to operate along the Northern Line, but definitely the most iconic. Like most named trains, the “Yarl Devi” came to symbolize more than just this one train, but the line itself. It’s fair to say that the war took a scalpel to it pretty fast. more..

The costliest drop in ODIs

Nov 14 (CI) The first time Rohit Sharma hit a double-hundred in an ODI, he had been late to respond to Virat Kohli's call for a run, and effectively ran Kohli out. The pair put on 202 together this time, but Kohli was out in the same fashion again. Having hit the ball aerially towards long-on in the 39th over, Kohli set off quickly, but sensed some hesitation from Rohit about the second. That prompted a stutter from Kohli, and the throw came in to have him well short. There were many astonishing strokes more..

Munchee sets up factory in Bangladesh

Nov 14 (Island) Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL) has set up the first Sri Lankan owned confectionery manufacturing plant overseas in Bangladesh. The factory located 35 Km out of Dhaka City in the Gazipur District Sreepur Mauna had its soft inauguration recently. Selecting Bangladesh and initiation of this project was the decision of Mineka Wickramasingha, CBL. who during a visit a few years ago with. Foreign Minister G.L Pieris identified the potential in providing the Bangladeshi more..

An appeal to India’s conscience

Nov 14 (Hindu) The appeal made in Chennai this week by the Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, for Indian help to procure justice for Tamils in his country is perhaps the most impassioned, well-articulated and timely call by any leader of the community from Indian soil since the days of TULF leader A. Amirthalingam. To place it further in historical context, Mr. Wigneswaran’s lecture more..

4 housing schemes ready to vest on public

Nov 14 (MoD) Fulfilling the responsibilities set out by "Mahinda Chinthana Vision for the Future" of Providing 'A Home for all', Urban Development Authority under the directions of Ministry of Defence and Urban Development has completed Construction of several housing schemes that are to be provided to underserved settlement families under the 'Urban Regeneration Project'. The following housing schemes will be declared open by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Colombo to host Taiwan Textile Fairs 2014 in late November

Nov 14 (DM) The Taiwan textile industry is the acknowledged world leader in research, development and manufacturing of fabric and garment accessories. The highly successful Taiwan Textile Fairs brings together leading suppliers of textiles and related products from Taiwan, one of the world’s largest apparel textiles exporting countries to Sri Lanka, at the Taiwan Textiles Fairs in South Asia 2014. Fairs will showcase innovative and high performance functional textiles more..

Harsha urges govt to enact new Foreign Employment Bill

Nov 14 (FT) UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva told the Govt to enact a new Bill which strengthens the welfare and human rights of migrant workers, especially those belonging to the semi-skilled and blue-collar categories. Pointing out the loopholes in the current legislation, which was enacted in 1985, Dr. De Silva recommended that Minister Dilan Perera refer the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995. more..

LOLC Group profits surge

Nov 14 (CT) The LOLC Group reported a profit before tax of Rs 3.7 billion for the six months ended 30 September 2014, up 118% from Rs 1.7 billion a year ago, interim financial results filed with the Colombo Stock Exchange showed. The main contributor to this growth in the profits comes from LOLC's core business, financial services, where all three regulated companies recorded excellent performance for the first six months of 2014. The trading sector too contributed to strong more..

B’desh says speedier trade pact in offing

Nov 14 (DM) Sri Lanka and Bangladesh could be inking either a preferential trade agreement (PTA) or a free trade agreement (FTA) in the near future, following talks between the newly appointed Bangladeshi High Commissioner Tarik Ashan and Industry and Commerce Minister Rishard Bathiudeen. “At my final meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina just before my departure to Colombo, she advised me to focus strongly on trade during my new tenure in Sri Lanka. more..

Ceylon Blue Sapphire sets new world record

Nov 14 (Reuters) A Swiss auction has set a new world record for jewellery sales, Christie's said, led by a Ceylon sapphire known as the "Blue Belle of Asia" which alone sold for an unprecedented 16.96 million Swiss francs ($17.6 million). 346 items had found new owners on Tuesday for a total sum of 147.2 million Swiss francs, exceeding the late actress Elizabeth Taylor's collection which netted $116 million three years ago. more..

NPC collects info. on lands

Nov 14 (CT) Northern Provincial Council has initiated a survey to collect information on the ownership of land in the Northern Province, whereby the 'illegal acquisition of land' could be evaluated. NPC had also directed other local councils to collect information on private lands, govt lands and public buildings, under the control of the security forces. Accordingly the NPC has forwarded letters to the heads of municipal councils, urban councils and pradeshiya sabha's to submit information more..

Hameedia to venture overseas after Concept 2015 show

Nov 14 (DN) Hameedia, the top menswear clothing giant in Sri Lanka will be expanding business to Asia, Europe and the Middle East soon. Hameedia Group Managing Director Fouzul Hameed said, "We are expanding our business to Kiribathgoda this December and we are expanding our brand Signature islandwide and then will venture overseas." Hameedia's 'Concept 2015' show will be held on November 22, at the Waters Edge with an investment of Rs.10 million for the project. more..

Container truck workers’ protest: Corruption sets port ablaze

Nov 13 (Island) Over 1,000 drivers of container carriers and their assistants belonging to the Container Truck Owners and Transporters Association (CTOTA) on Wednesday night launched a protest at the entrance to the Colombo Port near Ingurukade Junction, demanding tangible measures to deal with corrupt port employees. Alleging that port security personnel had been demanding money at the main entrance more..

Religious motorcade pageant carrying sacred relic casket set in motion

Nov 14 (FT) The religious motorcade which was leading the casket of the Omniscient Sacred Relics up to Sandahiru Stupa, commenced its first leg at an auspicious time at the President’s house in Colombo yesterday. President Rajapaksa worshiped the casket in the shrine room of his house. The omniscient relics were consecrated by the chief prelates of the sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Temple, Sri Pada Temple, Sri Subuthi Temple in Waskaduwa and Udaganawa Raja Maha Vihara more..

Additional 447 acres to be rehabilitated and reactivated as salterns

Nov 14 (GDI) The Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development has taken steps to Rehabilitate and reactivate the Elephant Pass Saltern. In 2014 the Ministry of Economic Development has provided Rs.100 mn. under the Uthuru Wasanthaya. Programme to rehabilitate and reactivate 330 acres of Saltern as Phase I to achieve an estimated salt production of 20,000 MT per annum and development work to rehabilitate infrastructure such as more..

India has no issue with subs in Lanka

Nov 13 (CG) Indian navy played down the issue of the docking of Chinese submarines at Sri Lankan ports. “They (Chinese submarines) are in Sri Lanka waters. They are visiting Sri Lankan ports. That is an issue between the SL Navy and Chinese,” Indian Navy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan said, adding that Chinese have never approached India for any replenishments for its submarines. “It is the responsibility of Indian Navy more..

Coins to represent Sri Lanka’s districts

Nov 14 (Island) The Central Bank will release 25 sets of coins on Nov 17. The 25 sets of coins, all in the 10 rupee denomination, will each represent a district. It is also understood that unlike on previous occasions, the Central Bank had the luxury of selecting the minter out of four minting organisations. Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal believes that the sets of coins would create further interest among numismatists and others, particularly, school-going children. more..

High Court told Ravi K. helped illegal transfer of funds

Nov 14 (CT) It was alleged in the Colombo High Court that UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake had actively facilitated the transfer of Rs 390 million to Sri Lanka, by infamous Sri Lankan American and former hedge fund manager and billionaire, Raj Rajaratnam. It was alleged that Karunanayake was directly involved in this fraud and the exchange controller had questioned him on three occasions about it. This came to light during cross examination of the former Central Bank Additional Exchange Controller, more..

Table copy of SC opinion on third term in House – UNP

Nov 14 (Island) Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga requested the govt to table a copy of Supreme Court decision that enabled President Rajapaksa to seek re-election for a third time, in Parliament. Speaker assured the UNP that he would look into Amaratunga’s request and make his position known. Raising a point of order at the commencement of public business, MP Amaratunga said that would help MPs know the basis on more..

NTC to open new restaurants for long distance commuters

Nov 13 (Island) The National Transport Commission (NTC) has decided to open new restaurants for the benefit of long-distance bus commuters, the NTC said. NTC Chairman Renuka Perera said the NTC had called for applications from all registered wayside restaurants to run the service. Chairman Perera added that the restaurant should be spacious enough to accommodate at least 100 at a time and it should have a parking facility for four buses. There had to be separate toilets for more..

Court of Appeal orders AG to submit CEA report

Nov 14 (Island) Court of Appeal gave the Attorney General time till Nov. 26 to submit a report by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) on the use of agrochemicals containing arsenic and mercury. Petitioner, the Centre for Environmental Justice, has complained to the court that arsenic and mercury cause organ decay in humans. The petitioner has requested the court to order the CEA and the Registrar General of Pesticides to impose controls on the use of such harmful agrochemicals. more..

Heavy EPF losses

Nov 14 (CT) EPF despite investing billions of rupees in selected companies, listed in the share market, had incurred heavy losses, and according to the latest annual report tabled in Parliament, it had failed to generate any income. The EPF annual report for the year 2012, tabled in Parliament by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, said that the EPF had not received any income from the investment in relation to Rs 500 million more..

PSC on National question given more time

Nov 13 (CT) The term of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), appointed to find solutions to the national problem, was extended by another six months, through a motion moved in Parliament last morning, by Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. Accordingly, it will continue to sit to recommend and report on political and constitutional measures to address the country's national problem, till 12 May 2015, as the work could not be completed. The committee was appointed in June 2013. more..

Application for admissions to State-run Universities to go online

Nov 14 (ST) Online application to State-run universities will be available for the first time in Sri Lanka from next year. GCE A/L qualified students desirous of gaining admission to any State-run university, could apply online, to save time for both parties. Presently, students have to post their applications or hand them over to the University Grants Commission (UGC). However, when the new service is introduced, they will not have to waste time in this process. more..

Maithripala pooh-poohs crossover speculation

Nov 14 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena scotched off rumours that he was planning to enter the presidential fray as the common opposition candidate. He dismissed claims that he had been approached by the Opposition for that purpose. He said that though the Opposition vowed to field a common candidate, in reality there couldn't be a better person than President Rajapaksa to be recognised as the people's candidate. more..

The Power of perseverance

Nov 14 (DM) In this era of throat-cutting competitiveness, the system encourages children to win or come first at any cost, by fair means if possible or otherwise by foul means. So we see many children loosing even their childhood and important playtime because they and their parents are pushed by the system into the exam oriented process with loads of books and tuition classes for several hours after school closes. As a negative result, students have got confused between more..