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China says docking of submarines in Sri Lanka not unusual

Nov 3 (IT) China has said that the docking of its submarines in Sri Lanka was common practice and not unusual, following concerns voiced in Indian strategic circles over two recent visits of People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) submarines. Defence Ministry in Beijing said on Monday that it "is an international common practice for navy submarine(s) to stop for refuelling and crew refreshment at an overseas port," more..

Mock drill in Trinco to deal with tsunami

Nov 3 (CT) Disaster Management Centre (DMC) of the Ministry of Disaster Management conducted a tsunami simulation exercise (mock drill) at Kanijaveli Sinhala Maha Vidiyalaya, to create awareness among the people living in the coastal areas in the Trincomalee District. All three communities were alerted on preparedness over the early warning system and how to safeguard them from the disaster of the magnitude of a tsunami. The exercise was also centred round quashing more..

'Close down degree boutique at Malabe'

Nov 3 (LT) All Ceylon Medical Officers’ Association (ACMOA) states it appreciates the decision of the Sri Lanka Medical Council to reject the application made by Malabe private medical school on the 31st requesting the council to recognize it as an institute issuing degrees. The request to visit the medical school too has been rejected by the Medidcal Council. General Secretary of the ACMOA Dr. Jayantha Bandara said, “Recently a memorandum was handed over by trade unions more..

Sports Minister orders immediate probe into women’s cricket sex scandal

Nov 3 (AD) Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has instructed SLC to appoint an investigative committee, led by a retired female judge, to probe the shocking allegations of the SL women’s team management and national selectors seeking sexual bribes from players. The sex scandal had rocked SLC after recent media reports revealed that women players allegedly complained of demands from certain selectors to be ‘satisfied’ if they more..

Sri Lanka makes further progress on financial sector consolidation: Central Bank

Nov 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka Central Bank says that further progress was made by banks and finance and leasing companies (NBFIs) on the financial sector consolidation process, during the month of October this year. Media Release: The Bill to facilitate the proposed merger of the three banks, viz., DFCC Bank, National Development Bank and the DFCC Vardhana Bank, was passed in Parliament. The joint internal committees worked closely to ensure that the integration of more..

SLTB has not made EPF contributions to the tune of Rs. 7.6 bn - union

Nov 3 (Island) Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) had not paid Employees Provident Funds (EPF) contributions since 2010 though it had to contributed Rs.160 million per month, All Ceylon Transport Workers’ Union (ACTWU) alleged. Up to 2014 the SLTB had contribute around Rs. 7,680 million as EPF contributions, it said. Liyanage added that EPF benefits were the legitimate rights of all the employees and no organisation should be allowed to avoid the EPF contributions. more..

'Third term candidacy issue will turn the country into a pool of blood'

Nov 3 (AM) JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake has said that President Rajapaksa’s third term presidency will turn the country into a pool of blood! Speaking at a public meeting organized by the JVP in kantale, he asserted that the country is moving towards a political nightmare that would destabilize the country. “As citizens of the country it is our choice to measure what is good for the country and what is bad; it is evident that more..

President Rajapaksa condemns terrorist attack in Indo-Pakistan border

Nov 3 (AM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has condemned the suicide bomb attack in the India – Pakistan border crossing which left over 50 injured and 100 injured. President tweeted a short while ago that he is concerned about the attack while conveying his condolences to the families of those who died from the attack. The blast hit near the checkpoint at the Wagah near Lahore which is the only border crossing between Pakistan and India. Currently many terrorist groups more..

President opens Vision of a Nation Photo Exhibition

Nov 3 (GDI) A rare photographic exhibition titled “Vision of a Nation” (Rataka Dekma) consisting of a large number of photographs recording the invaluable services to the country performed by Leaders of the Nation after gaining independence on 4th Feb 1948 was opened by President Rajapaksa on Saturday. This 3-day exhibition open to the public will be held at the Independence Square, Colombo 7 from 9am to 7pm. The Creative Director of the exhibition presented by more..

Video: Ex-CJ case: CB ordered to file report

Nov 3 (DM) A Central Bank Director was today directed by Court to file a report on December 17 after checking with the NDB whether it could allow the former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake’s lawyers to inspect the user logins of her accounts without making any payment. Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya made this direction sequent to State Counsel Dilan Ratnayake appearing on behalf of more..

Ranil says police service is politicized

Nov 3 (CG) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today accused the police service and State officials of being politicized in preparation of a Presidential election. Speaking in Parliament, Wickremesinghe said that the role of the police is to protect the State and not the Govt. However he said the police was clearly protecting the Govt and not acting in a fair manner when the opposition holds events. He said that recently when UNP staged a rally in Colombo the police had refused to more..

Koslanda Tragedy: Estate unions blame govt and employers

Nov 3 (CT) Ceylon Estate Service Staff Union has squarely put the blame on the govt and Maskeliya Plantation Company for the loss of life in the Meeriyabedda-Koslanda landslide. They also strongly rejected the govt's position that the people's reluctance to relocate from danger areas as the cause for the loss of life. The union has also pointed out that as most of the staff housing units are in dilapidated and precarious state, further destruction of unprecedented level could occur if more..

Avail extradition treaty to bring back 5 fishermen

Nov 3 (PTI) A petition seeking a direction to the Indian High Commission in Colombo to avail the extradition treaty between India and Sri Lanka and bring back five fishermen, now in a jail in the island nation, to the central prison here, was filed at Madras High court bench here today. A petition seeking a direction to the Indian High Commission in Colombo to avail the extradition treaty between India and SL more..

CCTV footage leads cops to conman who preyed on ME returnees

Nov 3 (Island) Police have arrested a 39-year- old person for stealing baggage belonging to unsuspecting women returning from the Middle East over the past several months. Police identified the suspect as Kanapathipillai Ashok Kumar, a resident of Rajaela in the Kantale police area. Plainclothesmen apprehended the suspect at the BIA as he approached a woman at the arrivals terminal. Police identified the suspect with the help of CCTV footage of his forays to BIA earlier. more..

Storing Kosalanda dead Advance refrigeration needed - JMO

Nov 3 (CT) Advanced refrigeration facilities will be required to store and identify victims of the landslide in Meeriyabedda, Koslanda, JMO of the Badulla hospital Dr. H.T.K. Wijeweera said. JMO added that since it has almost been a week after the tragedy occurred, those who are buried under the mud will be in various state of decomposition. Therefore, it is vital that bodies and body parts recovered from the site should be held in an advanced refrigeration facility, so that there is time to identify them. more..

Uproar over the JVP leader’s speech

Nov 3 (CG) An uproar broke out in Parliament today when JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake began to speak and made comments on some Government MPs. The chair eventually was forced to suspend sittings for five minutes after he was unable to bring order in the House. During his speech, the JVP leader accused the Bribery and Corruption Commission of not being independent. He said that there are several complaints more..

Pope’s visit: Vatican delegation here

Nov 3 (Island) The three representatives from the Vatican who have arrived in Sri Lanka are scheduled to meet Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and other officials in Colombo today regarding Pope Francis’s visit, according to Fr. Cyril Gamini. Vatican officials are to inform the Vatican whether the present situation in Sri Lanka is suitable for a Papal visit. According to reliable sources, the Pope is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka from January 13 to 15. Another team from the Vatican is to more..

Canada ‘saddened’ by Sri Lanka landslide

Nov 3 (LR) Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird expressed sadness over the landslide in Koslanda Sri Lanka and offered condolences. His message was relayed on twitter, and re-tweeted by another Senior Minister, Jason Kenney. On Friday, Deepak Obhrai parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs addressed the tragedy in parliament in Ottawa. “On Wednesday a devastating landslide in Sri Lanka destroyed over 63 homes, damaging over 140, with 192 people missing more..

Sri Lanka, India begin joint military exercise

Nov 3 (PTI) Indian and Sri Lankan special forces today began a nearly three-week military exercise in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency in island nation. A contingent of Indian Army's Special Forces troops together with Sri Lankan STF and commandos, along with Navy and Air Force personnel are taking part in the training exercise - Mithra Shakthi at Uva-Kudaoya Commando Regiment Training School. more..

Stop tournaments at school level!

Nov 4 (CT) My topic in the last two columns has been the potential dangers Sri Lanka are to face during the post Sangakkara - Mahela and possibly Herath era. As it's plain as one's nose that Sri Lanka is least prepared for this retirement. It's the responsibility of all persons, who matter at both SLC and the schools association, to ensure that proper planning is in place to arrest the situation now, for the future of the game. At the very outset of this column one has to admit that more..

Horror in the Hills

Nov 4 (CT) Deepavali, the festival of light, is celebrated extensively by the Indian origin estate workers in the central hill region. Almost every year, the plantation workers engage in a tug-of-war with their estate managements over their pay increases and bonuses during the Deepavali festival period. In the early hours on Deepavali day, the estate workers and their family members don new clothes and take part in the religious rituals conducted at the small shrines built by them near waterfalls or more..

Security Forces transform Colombo to a greener place

Nov 4 (SO) A little over five years after the eradication of terrorism, Sri Lanka today is one of the most peaceful countries in Asia, and is in the midst of a wide ranging economic transformation through rapid economic growth. In a situation such as this, while maintaining national security and ensuring that our hard-earned peace is maintained remains the primary duty of the military, there are other roles too that it has to play. more..

Meeriyabedda landslide tragedy: Politicians fail to prevent, despite professional warnings

Nov 4 (CT) This is not the time to say, “We told you so.” But when is it not the time to warn of potential but preventable disasters, such as floods and landslides? We mourn the dead at the Meeriyabedda estate and feel the pain of those who have lost their parents, siblings and spouses. We must also raise the alarm that more flooding and landslide disasters are in the offing if preventative actions are not taken, and not taken promptly. Preventing disasters, epidemics, and more..

Now that representative democracy has become a mockery, solution may lie ...

Nov 4 (CT) This writer had an opportunity to observe a Budget debate in the old parliamentary building at Galle Face in 1974 when N.M. Perera, popularly known as NM, was the Minister of Finance. In that Parliament, the Govt party had been swollen to such an extent, as it has been today, that some of the Govt party backbenchers had to be accommodated in the backbenches of the Opposition side of the House facilitating them to effectively sandwich the Opposition. more..

'13% of national income spent on pension payments'

Nov 4 (CT) The Department of Pensions was established 112 years ago. However, initially, it was operating as a branch of the Finance Ministry. It was set up to pay pensions to the British civil servants, who were working in the estates here and to pay widows', widowers' and orphans' allowance, which is commonly known as W&OP. However, in 1970, the Sirima Bandaranaike Govt established this as a separate govt department. more..

The problem of missing persons will continue until addressed

Nov 4 (SL) The govt has been and continues to be hostile to the UN investigation into human rights violations that took place in the last phase of the war. It describes this as politically motivated to weaken the sovereignty of the country. The govt has also been able to create opposition to the investigation in most of the Sri Lankan people by claiming that this is a plot against the country’s unity and intended to strengthen the LTTE. As a result the general population is oriented to more..

Drought, A menace to Tea and Rubber profitability

Nov 4 (DM) Economists have reported that drought occurring frequently could have a pervasive impact on the economy of the country. The prospect of an improvement in the trade balance, and consequently a significant overall balance of payments surplus is always threatened by drought conditions. Agricultural production and hydropower generation can be affected adversely. Drought conditions have in the past affected tea and rubber production adversely and coconut output during more..

Coming back home for the love of elephants

Nov 4 (ST) Dr. Shermin de Silva’s parents moved to the United States when she was just nine, and growing up in California meant she had opportunities to follow her dreams, it also meant she grew up a little distanced from her extended family. “A lot of people move away from Sri Lanka and don’t return,” she smiles. “I decided to do things the other way around!” Her work with the elephants of Uda Walawe means she gets to come back to SL more..

Editorial: Fish or cut bait

Nov 4 (Island) It is only shifting tectonic plates or collapsing mountains that can jolt our politicians’ latent conscience at least momentarily. In the immediate aftermath of the tsunami catastrophe in 2004, they, in a rare moment of unity came together, lit candles and held hands in public, vowing to help the survivors rebuild their lives and the country rise above the waves. But, their unity was short-lived. Within days of making that solemn pledge they were back at one another’s jugular. more..

Minimizing collateral damage due to human rights problems requires new approach

Nov 4 (Island) Sri Lankan Airlines flight was full of tourists. But when the flight landed in Colombo nearly all of these passengers set off for the transit lounge. Their destination was not Colombo, which was only a stopover on the way to Maldives. That night Colombo airport was quite empty. The airport’s duty free shops were quite empty too. The staff at these shops stood outside their shops competing with each other to bring in the few passengers who had disembarked and more..

Latin America comes in search of more Ceylon Tea; says big potential

Nov 4 (FT) The first-ever delegation from Latin America is in town to buy more Pure Ceylon Tea, saying the region has great potential for the fresh brew with right customer awareness. A 31-member delegation from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay and Colombia has arrived in Sri Lanka with the objective of exploring and learning about Ceylon Tea so it can be promoted effectively in that continent. more..

Does foreign employment through an agency minimize vulnerability?

Nov 4 (CT) Female domestic workers are highly vulnerable to adverse situations at the destinations to which they migrate, ranging from issues such as non-payment of agreed wages, to physical and sexual harassment, to confiscation of passports by employers, and denying of communication with family in Sri Lanka. It leads to physical and emotional trauma among female domestic workers. Is there a way to minimize these female domestic workers' vulnerability? more..

‘Logistics hub aim hindered by lack of skilled local personnel’

Nov 4 (Island) "We have invested in the development of infrastructure, such as, ports, airports and road networks but our lack of focus on building a base of qualified professionals in Logistics and Transportation may hinder our ambition of becoming a logistics hub in the region, Gayani de Alwis, Vice Chairperson, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Sri Lanka said. "We have the necessary hardware to a significant degree, but where’s the software, more..

No bribes in 2015 budget – Treasury asserts

Nov 4 (ST) Sri Lanka’s latest budget hasn’t given any ‘bribes’ as is popularly believed, but it has looked at all aspects, a top Treasury official said, dispelling that Budget 2015 is full of handouts. “This is not a standalone or a one-off budget but a continuity of consistent pragmatic and prudent policies pursued since 2005,” Deputy Secretary to the Treasury S.R. Attygalle told the Ernst & Young’s post-Budget forum this week. more..

Two monks rock the presidential boat

Nov 4 (SL) Monks in politics is an issue which Buddhists down the years have lost their equanimity and shaken fists at each other. But monks have been in the thick of contemporary Sri Lankan politics since Independence never mind history of 2500 years et al and making their appearance in the political theatre when the occasion demanded. Perhaps Mahatma Gandhi’s saying: ‘Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is,’ is relevant in this instance. more..

Faiszer Musthapha to address Indian Economic Summit

Nov 4 (FT) Deputy Minister Faiszer Musthapha will attend the India Economic Summit (IES) today in New Delhi, India. The World Economic Forum in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will host the India Economic Summit in New Delhi from 4 to 6 November under the theme ‘Redefining Public-Private Cooperation for a New Beginning’. He will address the meeting today on the topic ‘Tourism and Tourism-Related Investment Opportunities in Sri Lanka’. more..

Planters Association to find alternate land for new houses in landslide prone areas

Nov 4 (FT) The Planters’ Association of Ceylon in a statement said yesterday that it will soon identify alternate land for the construction of new houses for estate residents living in landslide prone areas. PA statement: The Planters’ Association of Ceylon expresses its deep regret over the loss of lives caused by landslides in the Koslanda area last Wednesday and reaffirms its steadfast commitment to assist other more..

Polish diplomat visits Ceylon Chamber

Nov 4 (Island) Poland, a member of the European Union wants to enter the Sri Lankan dairy sector, with possible joint venture partnerships, its New Delhi based Ambassador Tomasz Lukaszuk told during a meeting he held with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Tomasz Lukaszuk met with Mangala P. B. Yapa, the Secretary General and CEO of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce at the Chamber on October, 28. The ambassador said that Poland has a very strong dairy sector which can be more..

Sri Lanka bowling has to improve: Murali

Nov 4 (TI) Sri Lanka got off to a worst possible start in the five-match ODI series. But according to Muttiah Muralidharan, the debacle was more due to the pressure of chasing a huge total. Speaking on the sidelines of the Vision 2020 camp at the JU Salt Lake Campus ground, on Monday, Muralidharan said: “The pressure of chasing 364 got to the Lankans. It’s always difficult when you chase such a huge total, irrespective of the conditions. The visitors’ bowling wasn’t good enough, more..

'Tamil Nadu fishermen on death row in Sri Lanka will be freed'

Nov 4 (PTI) TN Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Monday assured the families of five fishermen who were sentenced to death by a Sri Lankan court that they will be freed through appropriate measures. The family members of P Emerson, R Wilson, P Augustus, J Langlet and K Prasath of Rameswaram called on Panneerselvam here today. They apprised the Chief Minister about their plight and sought help. more..