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Navin boycotts budget debate

Nov 20 (CT) Minister Navin Dissanayake did not take part in the Parliament debate on his Ministry yesterday. In recent times, the relevant minister had always been present when the votes on his or her ministry was taken up for debate. Votes on 11 ministries were taken up for debate yesterday and when the vote on the Ministry of State Management Reforms was taken, neither govt MPs or Opposition MPs spoke. There is a rumour that Dissanayake would cross over and more..

UNP slams attack on Rathana thera’s temple

Nov 20 (CG) UNP condemned the attack on Sadaham Sevana Buddhist Temple, residence of Venerable Athureliye Rathana Thero, MP representing the JHU. UNP noted that it was only a couple of days ago that the Venerable Monk and his General Secretary, Champika Ranawaka made their groundbreaking announcement of leaving the present Govt. “No sooner than they made this announcement the hired thugs of those who more..

20 to quit govt. with Maithri

Nov 20 (SM) At the UNP working committee meeting tomorrow it is to be decided whether UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe or Minister Maithripala Sirisena is to be fielded as the common candidate. If Minister Sirisena is to be fielded as the common candidate, JVP and the JHU have agreed to extend their support. According to UNP sources, the contesting of the presidential election by a common front and under a common symbol is to be confirmed at the UNP WC meeting tomorrow. more..

Families disappointed on being told fishermen going to Delhi

Nov 20 (PTI) Families of five Indian fishermen released yesterday in Sri Lanka after commutation of their death penalty were left disappointed after waiting for hours to see them at the airport here, as officials told them they would be flying directly to Delhi. The families had left Rameswaram early this morning and come to the airport at about 8 AM, as they were told the fishermen would arrive here from Colombo by a Sri Lankan flight, wife of one of the fishermen, told reporters. more..

UNP to make common candidate decision on Friday

Nov 20 (AM) The UNP is to make a final decision on its presidential candidate on Friday, at a crucial working committee meeting, a senior spokesman of the party said. UNP Leader Ranil Wcickremesinghe, who is now back in the country after a brief foreign trip, has instructed General Secretary Tissa Attanayake to convene the Working Committee on Friday. Three names have already been proposed as potential candidates more..

How will the SL electorate behave ?

Nov 21 (CT) We would not be talking of a decent and a free election this 2015 January. Minister Maithripala Sirisena was once heard saying he could even go back to the village in a bus and stay in his old house. But most would not feel comfortable taking such decisions and that makes this election a very decisive election. Especially to those who are in the regime or decide to remain with the regime. A total voting population of around 15 million as of now would decide if they should go or stay back. more..

Karu may be the best common candidate

Nov 21 (CT) The opposition wants to win the presidential election. Fielding a common candidate definitely would increase the chances of winning. It is common sense now. But any common candidate is not a good candidate. Therefore, it seems that the selection of common candidate is not that easy. In my view the best nominee is Karu. Let me explain why? Firstly, the UNP being the largest party in the opposition must be invited to nominate the common candidate. more..

Science and technology in the forefront of development

Nov 21 (SO) The week dedicated to science ended with the World Science Day celebrations on Nov 10. How many of us noticed the importance of it other than few programs at schools? Sri Lanka is struggling to get out of the middle income trap fighting against the turmoil in the world economy. Countries with several similarities to Sri Lanka made successful breakthroughs by thinking out of the box. more..

Dr Jagath Alwis: ‘Personality of the Year Asia – 2014’

Nov 21 (Island) Dr Jagath Alwis, Chief Technical Officer of Ceylinco Insurance was honoured as the ‘Personality of the Year – 2014’, at the 18th Asia Insurance Industry Awards held in Taipei, Taiwan. The prestigious ‘Asia Insurance Industry Awards’, recognised as the zenith of the Insurance Industry in Asia, is now in its 18th year, having become a much sought-after mark of excellence and peer group endorsement, for insurance companies and professionals in the region. more..

Apparels proceeding to USD 5bn growth but issues seen as remaining

Nov 21 (Island) 'The apparel industry has seen the tangible benefits of the implementation of the anti-competition bill and has returned to double-digit growth, but future growth will have to be built on our own initiatives and entrepreneurship as we lack favourable trading arrangements, tilting the playing field in favour of our competitors, Saif Jafferjee, Chairman, Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association said. "Nevertheless, in the short term, with the current growth momentum we will be on line more..

'India needs more time to resolve fishermen's issue'

Nov 21 (CT) BJP Global Convener, Vijay Jolly, says although India appreciates Mahinda Rajapaksa releasing the five convicted fishermen, BJP does not want the Indian fishermen to be harassed, arrested or prosecuted during the two-year moratorium demanded by the Govt of India. Q: President Rajapaksa has agreed to pardon and release the five Indian fishermen serving a death sentence in Sri Lanka without any conditions; more..

Truth or falsity, or is it the communal divide?

Nov 21 (FT) Any intelligent person will agree that communal politics have been the bane of this country. Instead of looking at issues from a national point of view, the communal perspective encourages a narrower approach, each group claiming as large a piece of the pie as an entitlement, indifferent to the consequences to the whole. It reduces men to the lowest definition; their particularities are emphasised while ignoring commonalities with the rest. The idea of a nation ought to bind people together more..

Editorial: Of that elephantine dilemma

Nov 21 (Island) Everybody knew there would be a snap presidential election early next year and now President Rajapaksa has announced it officially. SLFP has unanimously decided that he will be the presidential candidate. Who will be fielded by either the UNP or the Opposition to face President Rajapaksa? The UNP’s kept on saying it would reveal the name of its candidate immediately after a presidential election was declared. Speculation is rife that UNP is likely to announce more..

Arjuna bats for common candidate

Nov 21 (FT) Sportsman turned politician Arjuna Ranatunga, who is currently in the political spotlight following his name being proposed for the highly-discussed common candidate, affirms he can pose a challenge to President Rajapaksa at the upcoming presidential election. An Opposition MP, the former Cricket Captain says: “When you look at some of the leaders who have run the country, I am not second to them. more..

EU sanctions on SL fisheries sector - Part 2

Nov 21 (Island) In part one of this two part article based on an interview The Island staffer C.A. Chandraprema had with minister Rajitha Senaratne, we dealt with the eight conditions that the EU had imposed on this country if the proposed sanctions on the fisheries sector were not to be activated. In this part, a closer look is taken at the ‘huge vessels’ that Sri Lanka had authorised to fish in the Indian ocean which the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries more..

BOI approves Renuka's Rs 2B project

Nov 21 (CT) As experts predict a major demand for modern commercial space in the heart of Colombo, Renuka Hotels and Cargo Boat Development Company yesterday signed an agreement with the country's investment promotion agency to construct a Rs 2 billion office complex in Colombo 2. Renuka Lands, a joint venture between Renuka Hotels and Cargo Boat Development Company, in a statement said that it would construct a modern rentable office building in Colombo. more..

Cook seeks revenge in return series

Nov 21 (Island) Early this year, during the English summer, Sri Lanka and England were involved in a highly competitive series. Sri Lanka emerged winners in the ODI series 3-2 and went onto win the Test series 1-0, their first ever series win on English soil. The teams will renew that rivalry in a seven match series that gets underway next week in Colombo. England captain Alastair Cook addressing a media briefing yesterday more..

Land grabbing and pricing

Nov 21 (CT) Who decides pricing in agriculture and how? This precipitates a situation where the vegetable and paddy farmer has to get into debt during the period (in paddy, the Yala and Maha seasons) of production. They either have to obtain loans through banks or privately, failing which they resort to pawning jewellery and possessions. As a result of incurring debts, post-production, the farmer has to dispense or dispose of the produce to the market place at whatever price more..

Plight of Sri Lankan women

Nov 21 (Island) During the second reading of the budget debate the horrible plight of Sri Lankan women in the Middle East came into focus. It was even alleged by a MP that fathers were trading their daughters and husbands their wives for money; and that most of these hapless women end up in slavery in the Arab World. It also transpired during the same debate that they receive paltry salaries ; and the numbers seeking Middle East employment are also dwindling. more..

The ghosts of the colonial past

Nov 21 (Hindu) At the end of a back-breaking day, only one question awaits tea plucker Velu Parameswari: 'How many kgs?' That is all dorai (supervisor) asks every day, said the 47-year-old, who began plucking tea as a 16-year-old. Despite working 22 days in October, all she made for the month was LKR 800, most of which was deducted to repay her outstanding loan. “My husband is also a plucker,” she said, more..

Woman goes missing; suspect arrested

Nov 21 (Island) Wakare police recently arrested a suspect wanted in connection with a missing 22-year-old woman from Puliyankandaladi. The victim’s mother has complained that the missing woman had left home saying she wanted to go the bank. She has told police that following the disappearance of her daughter she had received six calls on her mobile phone from strangers. Meanwhile, an aunt of the missing person received a call from an unknown person, asking her to come to a hotel in more..

Sri Lanka Embassy donates books on Buddhism to University of Warsaw

Nov 20 (DN) Officials of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Warsaw on the request of graduate and undergraduate students following Anthropology, Sociology and Philosophy courses at the University of Warsaw, donated books on Buddhist philosophy and Buddhism to the main library of the University of Warsaw. The event was organised under the patronage of the Post-graduate Institute of Pali and Buddhist Studies. International Buddhist Foundation, Geneva, President Ven. Halyale more..

Sri Lanka hosts World Packaging confab for the third time

Nov 21 (FT) Bringing global packaging honour to Sri Lanka, the World Packaging Confab kicked off in Colombo for the second time yesterday, in the backdrop of a rise in packaging-related exports and FMCG packaging sales. “The upward trend in per capita consumption and the average packaging cost of FMCGs reporting 10-15% sales growth shows the strength of packaging development in Sri Lanka. more..

A host of archaeological sites discovered in North

Nov 21 (Island) Archeology Department has so far discovered 341 ancient sites neglected due to the war in the Northern Province. Director General of the Department Dr. Senarath Dissanayake said that of them 125 sites had been found in the Mullaitivu District, 68 in the Vavuniya District, 66 in the Mannar District, 15 in the Kilinochchi District and 67 in the Jaffna District. Action had been taken to explore the Sapumalgaskada and Ruwanmaduwa areas in the Vavuniya District, Dr. Dissanayake said, more..

University schols from China for Central Province students

Nov 21 (ST) A delegation visiting Sri Lanka from Chengdu municipal government in China has come to an agreement with the locally-based Sri Lanka- China Trade and Investment Promotion Chamber to grant scholarships to selected schools in the Central Province, to attend 19 universities in China, according to a chamber statement. The statement also noted that this granting of scholarships was part of a series of events held in Kandy to commemorate the 65th National Day of China, more..

Wanted: Sri Lanka leader to unite Capitalists, Kim Jong-Il fans

Nov 21 (BN) To oust President Rajapaksa, opposition parties are working to pick a candidate who can please free-market capitalists, Tamil separatists and admirers of the late North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il. Rajapaksa’s opponents may agree on a common challenger as soon as today, according to Arjuna Ranatunga, a lawmaker with the DNA, one of three major opposition groups. Rajapaksa, in power since 2005, more..

Professorial unit of Anuradhapura hospital destroyed by fire

Nov 21 (Island) A fire that destroyed the Professorial Unit of the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital yesterday morning had been caused by an electrical short circuit, Anuradhapura SSP Mahesh Senaratne said. Preliminary investigations had indicated that it was an accident, he added. The official said that investigations were continuing. Having alerted the police and Anuradhapura air base, hospital authorities moved those receiving treatment in Wards 60, 61, 62, 63, 64 and 65 to safety. more..

Editorial: Diplomacy wins the day

Nov 21 (Hindu) The unconditional release by Sri Lanka of five fishermen sentenced to death by a court in that country on charges of drug smuggling is a welcome development. Sri Lanka must be commended for taking this large-hearted step. It is not often that nations set aside their own laws and procedures, as well as domestic political considerations, to make exceptions for nationals of another country; three Sri Lankans convicted in the same case remain on death row. more..

Govt brands Solheim a liar

Nov 21 (DM) Govt branded the Development Assistance Committee (OECD) Chairman and former Norwegian Sri Lanka peace negotiator Eric Solheim ‘a liar and a supporter of terrorists’ who was in cahoots with the LTTE. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said Eric Solheim who had a soft spot for separatist terrorists always acted against the Sri Lankan govt and armed forces. “It was he who arranged to transport more..

UNP should pick common candidate – UTUA

Nov 20 (CT) The UNP should have the majority say in picking the common candidate since that party is the major political force in the Opposition, the United Trade Union Alliance (UTUA) said. Chief Convener of the UTUA, J.S. Kuruppu, said militarization will be the endgame of the Presidential Election. Kuruppu added, even though the National Movement for Social Justice had spearheaded the discourse concerning the need for the abolishing the Executive Presidency, a fact which the joint Opposition more..

England on defensive over Hales

Nov 20 (CI) England have been forced on to the defensive after just a few days in Sri Lanka, with Alastair Cook and Peter Moores having to explain the decision to leave Alex Hales out of Friday's opening warm-up match. Ahead of seven ODIs against Sri Lanka, England appear to have taken the cautious approach once again by promoting Moeen Ali to open alongside Cook. Moeen, like Hales, is still finding his way in ODI cricket but offers a spin-bowling option that has edged him ahead. more..

'If Karu is nominated, I will support him'

Nov 20 (CT) Minister Navin Dissanayake has stated that if UNP Leadershi Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya was to be nominated as the common Opposition Presidential Candidate, he would have no choice but to support him. Dissanayake, who made this statement at a meeting held on 19 Nov at the Nuwara Eliya Town Hall, added that his supporters would not view this decision of his in a favourable manner. more..

'City beautification was a by-product'

Nov 20 (DN) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that his ministry succeeded in identifying and solving a number of issues that plagued the city. “Colombo is becoming a cleaner and beautiful city after these issues were effectively resolved by my ministry,” he said at the launch of the official newsletter of the Defence Ministry A Beautiful Country-Bright Future issued with the Daily News, Dinamina and Thinakaran newspapers in Sinhala, Tamil and English more..

Museum break-in may be a setup

Nov 20 (CT) Police are pondering the possibility that the alleged break-in at the Colombo National Museum is the result of a cold war between the workers and officials of the institution. There were reports of a break-in at the gallery displaying antique clothes and clay artifacts earlier this week and Police think that this might be an attempt to implicate an official. Police have decided to check whether the fingerprints found at the site match those of any worker in the Museum. more..

'It is the SC Opinion as told by Nimal Siripala'

Nov 20 (CT) Despite repeated calls for the Supreme Court Opinion pertaining to the Constitutional legality of a third term for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to be presented in Parliament, the Leader of the House has not complied, the JVP charged. JVP Leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, said what the country knew was the Supreme Court Opinion as told by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. Despite repeated calls for the SC opinion more..

SriLankan Airlines starts operations to Kunming

Nov 20 (Island) SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka and a member of the oneworld alliance, in a move to meet the increasing demands for air services between China and Sri Lanka will be initiating operations to Kunming on December 1, 2014. The national carrier currently operates a total of 15 weekly flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Canton and Hong Kong and with this initiative, will be marking its presence in the South-western China as well. Known as the City of Eternal Spring, more..

Minister promises CEB manpower workers to be made permanent

Nov 21 (CT) Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, assured that nearly 5,000 manpower contract employees working in the CEB will be absorbed into the permanent cadre with effect from 1 Dec. However, at a press briefing shortly before Minister assured contract employees would be made permanent, Secretary, CEB Workers' Union, Ranjan Jayalal, charged minister had already started recruiting workers from the Ratnapura District into the permanent cadre in the CEB, without more..

'Attack on temple only a rumour'

Nov 20 (CT) JHU MP, Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera, said there were no attacks on his temple although he is expecting trouble after the JHU's decision to resign from positions in the govt. Rathana Thera said, there were rumours that the temple would be attacked. "I expected trouble. However, to this date, no one has attempted anything. I am saying this otherwise the govt might say that I am complaining without reason. more..

SB believes Ranil's the best

Nov 20 (CT) Common Opposition has to field Ranil Wickremesinghe as the presidential candidate, as the UNP machinery will only respond properly to him, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. He said that the UNP, which will decide on the common candidate, will eventually propose the name of Ranil Wickremesinghe. "Party must decide who the candidate will be, not outsiders. Though many outsiders have been suggesting the name of Karu Jayasuriya, party cannot base its decision on more..

Ratana Thera stands his ground, refuses to hand over ashram

Nov 20 (Island) The UPFA dissident, the JHU said that it wouldn't hand over Sadaham Sevana at Rajagiriya to the state. JHU leader Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera said as Ven. Atureliye Rathana Thera, MP, had received the land on behalf of the Sangha and the government couldn't demand it back because the JHU had given up ministerial portfolios over some differences with the UPFA. Ven. Rathana dismissed claims that he had handed over the Sadaham Sevana. more..