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'We know our strengths and weaknesses'

Nov 2 (SL) JHU has presented a set of demands before the Govt and now engages in discussions to get the Govt to accept JHU demands. However the Govt has so far not shown any signs of accepting these proposals. JHU MP Udaya Gammanpila said that his party members who hold ministerial portfolios will first resign from their posts if the Govt rejects their proposals, before commencing discussions with other political parties. more..

Enter the Dragon

Nov 2 (ST) No other country in Sri Lanka’s post-war history has wielded the influence, had the reach or commanded the servility that China today does. The bilateral relationship between the two nations has grown so rapidly that few have had the time, or the required information, to analyse the direction it is taking. Sri Lanka and China have a long history. They were trading partners in ancient times and after SL gained Independence, Rubber-Rice Pact of 1952 helped in the growth of relations. more..

Who can wear the Sinhala-Buddhist attire?

Nov 2 (NS) The opposition will gain nothing by turning the presidential election into a triangular contest. It will further complicate the matter. There should be a formidable candidate from the opposition who can pose a serious challenge to President Rajapaksa While the political parties of the opposition are still playing hide-and-seek with the so-called common candidate, a serious doubt is looming large over the political sphere of Sri Lanka as to whether the presidential election more..

'As captain, you need to listen to people'

Nov 2 (WI) Since Angelo Mathews took over as captain of the Sri Lankan Test and ODI teams, his batting has flourished, signifying a change in his approach to the game. Just 27, Mathews’s dream run, coupled with Sri Lanka’s surge, has already triggered massive expectations and the question as to what heights he will achieve as a leader. Mathews talks about his evolution as a batsman and captain, the lessons he has more..

Are the Commoners the Tea Baggers of SL?

Nov 2 (NS) By Commoners, I mean the lunatic fringe in Sri Lanka who are forever (well, since Mahinda Rajapakse became President forever that is) in the lookout for a “common” candidate to oppose Mahinda Rajapaksa. Almost ten years of Mahinda Rajapaksa must feel like an eternity to these Commoners. Tea Baggers, more formerly known as members of the Tea Party are the American gun loving, missionary position loving, all things Obama hating, gay people hating, black people more..

The Bar Association and MR’s burden

Nov 2 (Island) Sri Lanka Bar Association obtained expert legal opinion from Prof. Suri Ratnapala a Sri Lankan legal academic resident in Australia as to whether President Rajapaksa is qualified to contest for the presidency for the third time. The opinion given by Prof. Ratnapala can be summarized as follows: 1. On 26 Jan 2010, President Rajapaksa was elected president for the second time and on that very day, he became disqualified from contesting the presidency again in terms of more..

Referendum in the offing?

Nov 2 (SL) There have been talks that the Govt is to hold a referendum to extend the life of the current parliament for another six years after the next Presidential Election. Several Tamil politicians said that a referendum to decide the extension of the current parliament would not be acceptable but there need to be a general election. They also debated whether they need a referendum to address the Tamil national issue, more..

Orphaned tragedies

Nov 2 (NS) How many deaths does it for something to be called a ‘tragedy’? What is more tragic, a long-drawn-out war that takes more than a 100,000 lives, an insurrection that takes 60,000, a tsunami that kills 50,000, Dengue or CKDu that affects tens of thousands, a flood or landslide that takes away a hundred or a child who has just learned that her parents were buried alive? Tragedy is described in numbers but it cannot be quantified. Quantity is a non-issue for the dead and a small matter for more..

Rs. 5.15 billion takeover of Three Coins by Lion concluded

Nov 2 (Island) Rs. 5.15 billion deal under which Lion Brewery (Ceylon) PLC and its fully owned subsidiary, Pearl Springs (Private) Ltd. acquired Millers Brewery Ltd., makers of Three Coins beer was concluded on Thursday, the parties to the transaction announced in separate stock exchange filings. "We hereby confirm that the disposal process was concluded on Oct. 30, 2014 with the trade marks and the entire shareholding in Millers Brewery Ltd. (MBL) Being transferred to more..

Clarity needed over definition of senior citizen, BT poll reveals

Nov 2 (ST) This question was posed in a Business Times (BT) poll in the context of some confusion as to the age of a senior citizen, and most respondents (40.5%) said it was 60 years. The question asked was “who is a senior citizen. Is it one aged (a) 60 years, (b) 55 years, (c) 59+, or (d) none of the above”. Little over 38% said it was 55 years while 21.4% said it was D (none of the above). Not a single respondent from the nearly 350 more..

Wildlife Ministry, DWLC lack civility

Nov 2 (CT) Minister of Wildlife Resources Conservation, on the invitation of the Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC), has recently laid the foundation stone for a bungalow in Yala, in the absence of the donor and the architect, it is learnt. "DWLC Director General, H.D. Ratnayake, has approved the laying of the foundation stone, without signing an agreement with the donor," Environmental Designer, Sunela Jayewardene, who designed the plans free more..

Potential investors shun North

Nov 2 (NS) The frequent conflicts between the Government and the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) would have an adverse impact by creating a negative environment for investors, Economists and Founder, Point Pedro Institute of Development, Muttukrishna Sarvanantha said. Speaking to The Nation, he stated that that the continuous friction between the NPC and the Government would discourage external businessmen from investing in the region. more..

Budget: Treasury grappling with ‘how to find funds’ syndrome

Nov 2 (ST) While the Govt and the Central Bank project a vibrant economy in the country on the back of unprecedented goodies offered in the 2015 budget, the Treasury officials have been confronted with numerous issues in giving effect to the budget proposals. Finance Ministry and Treasury officials are grappling with the task of issuing relevant circulars, gazette notifications and operating instructions to the relevant line ministries, more..

'Offspring of some political leaders wear shoes worth Rs. 150,000 a pair'

Nov 2 (Island) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said in Parliament that the children of some political leaders were wearing shoes that cost Rs 150,000 a pair and belts worth Rs 64,000 each, while the majority of people were undergoing many hardships. Participating in the second reading stage debate of the budget 2015, he said that nepotism was growing in the govt. "Some children of leading politicians drive around in Lamborghini cars that cost over Rs 50 million," he said. more..

200 more senior journalists, artistes to receive interest free vehicle loans

Nov 2 (ST) Some 200 more senior journalists, artistes and the writers will receive an interest free vehicle loan of Rs.1.2 million under the second phase of the loan scheme announced in the 2015 budget, according to Mass Media and Information Ministry Secretary Charitha Herath. The second batch of around 200 journalists, artistes and the writers eligible for these loans has already been selected by the Ministry. Earlier a total of 547 journalists received interest free vehicle loans more..

Sri Lanka snubs India, opens port to Chinese submarine again

Nov 2 (TOI) Despite India's strong reservations about a Chinese nuclear submarine at the Colombo port in September, govt has learned that Sri Lanka has permitted another Chinese attack submarine to dock at a Lankan port. According to the information received, the second docking is likely to take place very soon. The presence of Chinese submarines across Palk Straits has deeply disturbed the govt which is making another call to more..

Who is to blame?

Nov 2 (SL) Following last week’s Haldummulla catastrophe where more than 100 people are believed to have buried alive, accusations have been raised against the Haldummulla Divisional Secretary and Maskeliya Plantations for not taking preventive measures despite a landslide warning report being submitted in 2005 by the National Building Research Organization (NBRO). The earth slip warning has been issued to both the Divisional Secretary of Haldummulla and more..

Dropped women’s cricketer lobs sex bomb

Nov 2 (ST) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) executive committee will appoint an Independent Inquiring Committee to look into the now infamous Women’s Cricket scandal triggered by a player who was dropped from the national T-20 side claiming she was victimized for refusing sexual favours sought by a selector. SLC CEO Ashley de Silva said “we had discussions with the three parties concerned – the Coach, Trevor Penney Manager and Selection Committee representative more..

With a noise like a bomb blast, the mountain smothered the villagers

Nov 2 (ST) On the shoulder of a hill on the Meeriyabadda tea estate stood the humble linerooms that were home to 330 men, women and children. Every day, when the children were at school, the parents were out working on the tea plantation. But that fateful Wednesday morning when the children returned from school their homes had disappeared, and their parents, who had been readying to set out to the plantation fields, more..

Employees can have access to ETF information online

Nov 2 (NS) Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka launched an online facility through which individuals can view their Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF) account balance and ETF claim application status online or via SMS. The launch was held on Friday at JAIC Hilton, and was attended by Secretary to the President, Lalith Weerathunga, ETF Board Chairman KMA Godawatte, Working Director G Tissakuttiarachchi and ICTA CEO Reshan Dewapura more..

Tax defaulters be warned; your property is to be seized

Nov 2 (ST) A staggering Rs. 170 billion in tax arrears has prompted the Department of Inland Revenue to take steps to seize movable and immovable properties of defaulters, Corporate Tax Commissioner Bandula Haputhanthrige said. He said the department would implement regulations introduced in 2006 to seize the properties of tax defaulters. “The number of defaulters is on the rise and it is difficult to achieve our targets. The current recovery process is slow. more..

Minister’s two containers released despite suspicion

Nov 2 (ST) Two containers brought down from Japan under the name of a foundation operated by a Cabinet minister were released on Friday by the Customs despite suspicion that one of them contained motor vehicle spare parts, sources said. 40-foot and 20-foot containers were declared to be carrying 200 used bicycles for Lakshman Yapa Foundation, whose chairman is Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. more..

Port City land to cost Rs. 8.5 mn. a perch

Nov 2 (Island) It is proposed to sell land reclaimed from the sea at the mega Port City on which work began when Chinese President Xi Jinping was here at Rs. 8.5 million a perch, SLPA Chairman Priyath Bandu Wickrema told a meeting of the Colombo Club last week. "That is the present intention," he said. "I’ve already had over 25 inquiries from prospective investors." He gave the price in response to a question at the end of a detailed power point presentation made at more..

Wife of Indian fisherman on death row in Sri Lanka moves Madras High Court

Nov 2 (PTI) The wife of one of the five Indian fishermen sentenced to death by a Sri Lankan court on charges of drug smuggling has moved the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Centre and others to appoint a counsel and conduct the appeal in the case in an effective manner. In her writ petition, Lavanya, wife of Emerson, sought a direction to the Union Home Minister, Director (Sri Lanka) in the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka for more..

Sri Lanka cuts mudslide dead and missing toll to 38

Nov 2 (AFP) Sri Lanka on Saturday reduced to 38 the number of dead and missing from a mudslide at a tea plantation after giving an initial toll of over 300. SSP Ajith Rohana said interviews with survivors and officials found the number of victims was far below early estimates by authorities. "There had been a lot of confusion about the casualties, but we arrived at our figures after a thorough and a proper investigation," more..

Probe team to accept late submissions

Nov 2 (SL) While accepting of submissions for the investigation on Sri Lanka by an investigation team appointed by the UN Human Rights office ended on Thursday, submissions which arrive late will not be rejected. In the terms of reference of the investigations team, submissions were to be accepted till midnight, Geneva time, on October 30, 2014. This is to allow the investigation team time to analyse all the information gathered before drafting its report. more..

Malaka remanded for alleged assault on foreign couple

Nov 2 (ST) Minister Mervyn Silva’s son Malaka, who allegedly harassed and assaulted a foreign couple at a night club on Duplication Road, Kollupitiya, in the early hours of yesterday, was remanded until next Tuesday, police said. Police said the incident had taken place during a dance at the club attended by the foreigner and his fiancée. Police said, during the investigations they had gone through the CCTV recordings at the night club, which revealed Malaka casting remarks at the foreign woman more..

Presidential election: It should be Mahinda vs. Ranil

Nov 2 (ST) The main contenders for the upcoming presidential election possibly on January 8 next year have now gone into high gear making preparations. This is notwithstanding high tensions within their own camps over different but contentious issues. More active is the UPFA which wants to see its candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa return with a higher majority. The nerve centre of its operations is ‘Temple Trees’. more..

Prodigal sons of 'Naughty' political fathers

Nov 2 (CT) Minister Mervyn Silva's son, Malaka is in the news again. He was reportedly assaulted at a night club at Duplication Road, Colpetty on Friday night by a Scottish national. Malaka had sustained minor injuries. Malaka's involvement in violent incidents does not come as a surprise as this is not the first time. He is a young man warned by Court to behave in public in a decent manner. We are living in an era where the attitude of legislators is devoid of dignity and decorum. more..

President Rajapakse and the Third Term

Nov 2 (Island) I have discussed elsewhere a few a days ago the contention that President Rajapaksa is not qualified to fight an election for a third term by virtue of the operation of Article 31(2) of the Constitution. Repeal of that article by the 18th Amendment does not remove the past operation of anything suffered under the repealed law. Since ex-CJ Sarath Silva first raised this issue, lawyers and non-lawyers have tried to make the case that Sarath Silva is wrong and that President Rajapaksa more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Nov 2 (ST) The high-flying Rajahs who made it big in Europe post-1983 selling mobile telephones and buying influence got their just desserts when their boorish behavior came to an abrupt halt onboard SriLankan Airlines Flight 503 to London on the Oct 29. The Rajahs from the UK, all 31 of them, and all of Lankan origin except for the kiddos, were on a holiday to the Four Seasons hotel in the Maldives. more..

CCD takes over Malaka incident probe

Nov 2 (CG) The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) has taken over the investigations into the incident involving Minister Mervyn Silva’s son Malaka Silva. SSP Ajith Rohana said that statements have been recorded from eyewitnesses at the RnB night club where Silva had allegedly assaulted a Scottish national. Initially complaint had been made at Bambalapitiya police station saying Malaka Silva was assaulted by a foreigner more..

Lankan President's Counsel to argue for 5 TN fishermen

Nov 2 (NIE) The five Tamil Nadu fishermen, who were sentenced to death earlier this week on a charge of smuggling heroin into North Sri Lanka, will appeal against their conviction before a two-judge bench of the Colombo High Court next week, an Indian High Commission official said here on Saturday. The official said that steps to appeal against the ruling of a single judge of the Colombo High Court will be taken after more..

President nets in fishermen, assures solution to problems

Nov 2 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has assured fishermen that he would look into their problems including fears of a European Union (EU) ban on fish impots affecting them, and foreign vessels operating under the Sri Lanka flag, violating EU fishing regulations. The assurances were given at a meeting with fishermen’s federations and fisheries organisations islandwide and ministry officials, more..

Shirani Bandaranayake approached to be opposition's common candidate

Nov 2 (AM) Former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake has been approached by the Movement for a Just Society, led by Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera, to be the common candidate of the opposition at the next presidential election. Several other political parties of the opposition too have requested Bandaranayake to contest the forthcoming presidential election as the common candidate with sole purpose of abolishing more..

Drug dealers shift operations to tuition classes?

Nov 2 (NS) With action being taken to crack down on illegal drugs being sold in close proximity to schools, there are indications that the drug menace has shifted increasingly to center around tuition classes, according to Senior Lecturer at University of Sri J'pura, Dr. Praneeth Abeysundara. He said the findings had come to light through recent research. Students in the GCE O/L and A/L age groups were particularly vulnerable more..

A boy longs for his mum’s cuddle but she lies buried in the mud

Nov 2 (ST) Huddled among the desks and chairs in the packed school serving as an evacuation centre, 12-year-old Theeban wishes with all his heart for his mother’s warmth. He and his 14-year-old sister, Sewwandi, are among 75 children whose parents were killed or declared missing in Wednesday’s landslide at the Meeriyabedda estate in Haldumulla. Theeban and his family were packed and ready to flee on Wednesday; seeing more..

Wildlife Dept. refuses to release 150 acres from Muthurajawela Sanctuary

Nov 2 (Island) The Department of Wildlife Conservation has rejected a move by the Board of Investment (BOI) to obtain 150 acres of land from the Muthurajawela Sanctuary as it violated environmental laws, Parliament was told. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said: "The BOI submitted a project proposal to the Wildlife Department seeking approval to obtain 150 acres from Muturajawela Sanctuary for a project to construct more..

AIIB to rival WB, ADB; loans with no questions asked

Nov 2 (ST) The new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), launched in Beijing last week with a near US$ 50 billion commitment from China, will provide easy access to unconditional credit for countries like Sri Lanka but at higher interest rates, senior Sri Lankan economists said. “It will provide unconditional loans, unlike credit from other agencies (IMF, WB or ADB), but interest rates would be higher,” more..

Sri Lanka says papal visit on despite snap polls

Nov 2 (AFP) Pope Francis will visit Sri Lanka as planned in January, officials said on Sunday despite signs of concern from the Vatican that the govt intends to exploit the trip for political gain as it readies for snap elections. "Pope Francis has graciously accepted the president's invitation, and the Vatican has confirmed that His Holiness will be visiting Sri Lanka in January 2015," office of President Rajapakse said in a statement. more..