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Seylan Bank PAT surges to Rs. 2.2 b, 47% growth over last year

Nov 4 (FT) Seylan Bank recorded an impressive performance with profit before income tax reaching Rs. 3,490 million for the nine months ended 30 Sept 2014. Profits after tax reached a record Rs. 2,253 million, a 47% increase compared to the Rs. 1,536 million reported in the corresponding nine-month period. The quarterly PAT figure (Q3) of Rs. 1,041 million was an improvement of 95% compared with Rs. 534 million reported in the corresponding three months of last year. more..

Japan confers prestigious decoration on Merrick Gooneratne

Nov 4 (Island) Govt of Japan announced the conferment of "Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette" upon Merrick Gooneratne in recognition of his invaluable contributions in promoting Japan and SL relations. A congratulatory message was sent by Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, on 3rd Nov upon the announcement stating: "Please accept my sincerest congratulations on the conferment of ‘The Order of Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette’, more..

'Papal visit should take place before national level poll'

Nov 4 (Island) In spite of the UNP on behalf of the Opposition urging the government to conduct the presidential election after the scheduled papal visit, the Catholic Church is strongly opposed to such a move. The Catholic church was of the opinion that a national level election shouldn’t be held immediately after the proposed papal visit to ensure the Holy Father’s visit wasn’t exploited by any political party. more..

Escape from hell

Nov 4 (IMC) Tears stream down Valarmathy's face as she relives the memories of being stuck in a cramped fishing boat, with no food or water, and only the faint hope that one day soon her family would reach Australia. It took 41 days for Valarmathy her husband Nawfeer a former professional soccer player, and their four children Nitha (15), Santh (13) Priyanga (7) and Prithika (5) to reach Christmas Island. She said her family - Sri Lankan Tamils - were forced to flee more..

NICs for polls Apply early

Nov 4 (CT) In view of a possible Presidential Election in January of next year, the Commissioner General of the Department of Registration of Persons has asked that all applications for National Identity Cards (NICs) be sent to the Department as soon as possible. Commissioner General R.M.S. Sarath Kumara said, "The media has been reporting a lot about a Presidential Election in January, I am not sure if there would be one, but I have launched this programme to be prepared just in case." more..

'No referendum to extend Parliament'

Nov 4 (CT) The Govt said Parliament will not be extended through a referendum, before, or following the Presidential Election. Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said the govt has had unpleasant experiences, following the only referendum held so far (a reference to the UNP held referendum) and was still reeling from its effects. It was the view of the SLFP and the UPFA that no referendum would be held, Yapa said, more..

What we promised the world in Colombo

Nov 4 (HP) In May, Sri Lanka held the World Conference on Youth 2014, bringing together 1500 youth delegates, govt representatives, UN officials, and other relevant stakeholders. With the underlying theme of 'Mainstreaming Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda', the conference served as a venue for young people to review the progress of the Millennium Development Goals, which will soon expire in 2015, and contribute to the development of the world's next development agenda. more..

S.B. accuses CBK of always being late

Nov 4 (CG) Minister S B Dissanayake today said that Govt officials often fell sick under former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s tenure as she was often late for State events. Speaking in Parliament today, Dissanayake said that during her term as President, if an event was at 10am she would turn up at 3pm. However he said incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa is never late for any event and is also open to meet even opposition Parliamentarians at any given time. more..

'Hold presidential poll after papal visit'

Nov 4 (Island) Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga, urged the govt to hold the presidential election after the conclusion of the Pope Francis’s visit scheduled to begin on Jan. 13, 2015. MP Amaratunga made the request in Parliament on behalf of the Opposition. MP Amaratunga stressed that having a presidential election during the period of the papal visit was a great injustice caused to both the Pope and more..

Smuggling ring between India and Sri Lanka

Nov 4 (TOI) Susai Vaz, a country boat fisher man in Pamban, says smugglers are constantly on the prowl along the coast looking for prospective fishermen to ferry gold or narcotics across the water. "But they know that I am not the one they want," says Vaz. But not all have the determination of Vaz who hails from a traditional fishing community of Rameswaram. Fishermen here acknowledge that smuggling of gold, silver and drugs - and kerosene during the civil war - has been an more..

Docs out for higher education secy.’s scalp

Nov 4 (Island) GMOA decided to write a letter to President Rajapaksa seeking the removal of Higher Education Ministry Secretary Dr. Sunil Jayantha Navaratne, who had, it said, failed to issue the amended gazette notification on degree awarding status of non-state institutes. GMOA Executive Committee member Dr. Narth Wijesuriya alleged that Dr. Navaratne had issued a gazette notification on Aug 22, 2013 recognising some non-state organisations as degree awarding Institutes. more..

'Overturning of travel restrictions: TNA and NPC not doing enough'

Nov 4 (CT) TNA and members of the NPC are not doing enough to overturn the travel restrictions to the North, imposed on foreigners and members of the Diaspora, Bishop of Jaffna Reverend Dr. Thomas Savundranayagam said. He added that from time to time the govt enforce such temporary policies in the belief that people from abroad who wanted to see their kith and kin were engaged in dividing the country. more..

President reveals plans to streamline Sri Lanka police service

Nov 4 (FT) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that a service constitution would be introduced to streamline Sri Lanka’s police service in the future. The measure is expected to resolve issues related to promotions, salary increments and training opportunities. Addressing a meeting of police officers at the Temple Trees Saturday, the President assured that he will never allow the diminishing of the police service, which protects law and order in the country. more..

Missing Persons' Commission: Over 19,400 cases reported

Nov 4 (CT) Presidential Commission, to investigate complaints on missing persons, held its second day of public sittings in the Mullaitivu District yesterday. A total of 231 cases of missing persons are scheduled to be heard by the Commission through the four-day sittings. Since the establishment of the Commission, on 15 August, 2013, it has to date received in excess of 19,471 complaints, inclusive of 5,000 complaints from relatives of missing security forces personnel. more..

Koslanda tragedy: Media Secy, police spokesman concerned over ‘hasty coverage’

Nov 4 (Island) Media Secretary Charitha Herath cited recent media coverage of the Koslanda landslide tragedy as a glaring example of inadequacy on the part of both print and electronic media. Herath alleged a section of the media had been in such an inordinate hurry that unsubstantiated casualty figures were given wide publicity. Herath asserted that in spite of having the state-of-the-art equipment, media hadn’t more..

JHU’s emphatic no to executive presidency

Nov 4 (DM) JHU MP and the Pivithuru Hetak founder the Ven. Athureliye Rathana Thera has ideologically taken on the protagonists of the executive presidency in the UPFA head on. At a meeting organised by the Peoples Movement for Democracy in Nugegoda on Thursday the Thera said the unlimited powers of the executive president were the main causes for terrorism to originate in the country. Countering a claim by President Rajapaksa that the executive presidency was essential more..

End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists

Nov 4 (DM) The United Nations has designated November 2 as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists’. It is important for an industry usually averse to introspection to acknowledge the deaths of journalists who have died in pursuit of the news that feeds our work. Recent atrocities have catapulted the deaths of two American journalists in particular on to front pages worldwide, yet the murders of James Foley and Steven Sotloff more..

Democracy in post war Sri Lanka – 2014

Nov 4 (SL) A study carried out by the CPA on Democracy in Post war Sri Lanka sees 24.5% of Sri Lankans say that after the end of war Sri Lanka is much more democratic while 34.2% say that it is ‘somewhat more democratic.’ Accordingly 10.2% say that it is remained the same and 20.5% said that they were not sure. Almost 50% of the Up Country Tamil community believe that Sri Lanka is much more democratic after the end of war more..

If our proposals are not implemented, Will decide to quit alone or with others

Nov 4 (DM) While the controversy ridden coal deals have become the talk of the town, former Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka comes out with many revelations and allegations of corruptions related to power and energy. Mr. Ranawaka who is also the Technology and Research Minister hints at the crucial decisions his party, the JHU has to take if the UPFA Govt fails to implement their proposals. more..

Brace for more landslides with climate change

Nov 4 (ST) The risk of landslides is intensifying with the extreme weather patterns caused by climate change, the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) has warned. “We are already experiencing intensified rainfall in concentrated periods of time and this is believed to be linked to climate change, so we are heading for a period where there will be more landslides,” said Dr. Gamini Jayatissa, NBRO research scientist. more..

'Police seemed to be clueless during Dharga Town clash'

Nov 4 (AM) Lawyer Shiran Nurdeen, who appeared on behalf of the suspects who were arrested in connection with the clash in Dharga Town on Saturday, said the Police did not take measures to prevent the incident. The lawyer said it was the Army who stepped in and resolved the issue without turning it into a major clash while the Police appeared to be clueless. He also added the Police turned a blind eye to a complaint lodged by more..

Mahinda S explains efforts to curb refuse tea mafia

Nov 4 (Island) The ISO standard black tea particles extracted from refuse tea would be sold at the tea auction to control the refuse tea mafia in the country, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said. A bin number would be given at tea auction only to black tea particles extracted from refuse tea suitable for human consumption. For any variety of tea to qualify for the tea auction it has to meet international standards more..

TNA rejects claims on links to suspect

Nov 4 (CG) The TNA refuted claims it is linked to an individual who was arrested recently for distributing blank forms in the North to obtain statements for a UN led investigation on Sri Lanka. A TNA statement said that some media reports have falsely suggested that the TNA, through a senior TNA official named Alva Pulle Vijendrakumar alias Sun Master, is involved in a scheme to provide fabricated evidence to OHCHR investigation more..

'Chinese submarines: No talks with India'

Nov 4 (CT) The govt will not be having talks with India regarding the presence of Chinese attack submarines in Sri Lankan waters, Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said. Chinese submarines are both diesel and nuclear-powered and some can fire ballistic missiles. Whilst one docked in the Colombo Port on 15 September, the other is in Palk Straits waiting to dock at the Colombo Port. This expansion of Chinese presence in SL, more..

New Zealand and Sri Lanka strengthen ties through milk and cricket

Nov 4 (Yahoo) Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has finished the first leg of a six day mission to Sri Lanka and India this week, promoting trade and New Zealand’s co-hosting of the Cricket World Cup in 2015. Mr Guy met with President Rajapaksa and several Sri Lankan Ministers over the last two days. "Our two countries are building a stronger relationship through the NZ-SL Dairy Cooperation Arrangement (DCA). more..

Special committee to set up Koslanda relief operations

Nov 4 (Island) Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera yesterday said a special committee had been set up to handle the distribution of relief among the victims of the Koslanda landslide. No one other than people’s representatives, govt officials, members of the security forces, the police and journalists would be allowed to visit the area where search and relief operations were underway. more..

Court rejects bail application for Malaka

Nov 4 (CG) The Colombo Magistrate’s Court today refused to release Minister Mervyn Silva’s son Malaka Silva on bail and further remanded him till Nov 11 over an incident which occurred at a night club over the weekend. The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) is investigating the incident involving Malaka Silva. Statements had been recorded from eyewitnesses at the RnB night club at Duplication Road in Colombo where more..

Save Our Children!

Nov 4 (CT) People who drive down Baseline Road are frequently accosted by a beggar at the Low Level Road Junction, carrying a child. There's another beggar who frequents Borella Junction, who also carries a child. They do so in plain view of the public, and the authorities. Traffic policemen see them, but do nothing. OIC's of police stations drive by without giving them a second look. Even officials of organizations such as the National Child Protection Authority and more..

Movement for democracy overwhelms SL

Nov 4 (CT) “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”. Absolutely true and Sri Lankans know it. It is also said that “Threat of revolt is the final guarantee of all freedom”. This too is a proven truism. Both together make a potent amalgam. It may show its strength in Sri Lanka in a short while, the same way it did in 1994. From where comes a renewed momentum? From a convergence of wholesome factors. For over three decades all Sri Lankans to the last citizen have been chafing against restraints more..

Berlin celebrates Deepawali

Nov 4 (IL) The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Berlin with the participation of well over 150 Sri Lankans based in Berlin, commemorated the Hindu religious festival, Deepawali on Friday the 31st October 2014 at the Sri Ganesha Hindu Temple, Kreuzberg, Berlin. The participants were a cross section of Singhalese, Tamils and Muslims as well as Germans. This was another valuable intative by Ambassador Amunugama to bring all SL more..

Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.44%

Nov 4 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed lower with diversified, beverages and telco stocks losing ground amid strong foreign selling. All Share Price Index closed 32.26 points lower at 7,320.89, down 0.44%. The S&P SL20 closed 18.44 points lower at 4,086.25, down 0.45%. Turnover was 1.99 billion rupees, up from 1.69 billion rupees a day earlier with 60 stocks closed positive against 128 negative. The aggregate value of all off-the-floor deals represented 4% of the daily turnover. more..

Car crashes killing two youth

Nov 4 (Island) Two youth aged 25 died on the spot at Medahamulla, in the Muniwangoda police area, when their speeding car skidded off the Divulapitiya-Minuwangoda Road and crashed into a lamp post and a mango tree in the early hours of yesterday. Minuwangoda police investigating the accident said that the driver and four others had been returning to their homes after a wedding reception. The police said the JMO had confirmed that the driver had been under the influence of liquor. more..

Ayurvedic graduates work in brothels

Nov 4 (CT) Ayurvedic medical graduates have been pushed to taking up jobs in brothels, masquerading at massage parlours, as the govt has not recruited any graduate in the past seven years, Ayurvedic Medical Officers' Association (AMOA) said. "As these graduates have no other options they join these establishments. The fact that a qualified ayurvedic degree holder is employed at such a place, gives the owner more..

Hakeem goes tough on UPFA govt

Nov 4 (AM) Minister of Justice and Leader of SLMC Rauff Hakeem said his party would not take 'positions' or 'privileges' into consideration when making decisions on the presidential election. Addressing a public meeting in Potuvil, Hakeem had said the present govt had done nothing for the Muslims of Sri Lanka. "We will only think about the Muslim community of the country when making a decision," Hakeem said just months ahead of the presidential election. more..

Naming President in petition: SC calls for written submissions

Nov 4 (Island) A five-Judge bench of the Supreme Court yesterday gave parties time till Nov. 10, 2014 to file written submission as regards whether the Supreme Court could consider Article 35 of the Constitution along with Article 126 (4) of the fundamental rights chapter to allow the discharge of a respondent who had been unduly made a respondent in a fundamental rights violation application filed before court. This was said when the fundamental rights violation application more..

Modi govt 'playing' with lives of Indian fishermen: Vaiko

Nov 4 (PTI) Slamming the NDA govt on fishermen issue, BJP ally MDMK on Tuesday said it is "playing with the lives of Indian fishermen" and its UPA-like approach towards Sri Lanka had emboldened Colombo to treat them (fishermen) with disdain. Alleging that Modi govt was "playing" with the lives of Indian fishermen, MDMK founder Vaiko said, "I ask the Modi govt...why are you insisting with defence ties with Sri Lanka more..

Sri Lanka presidential election no bar to Pope's visit: Bishop of Trincomalee

Nov 4 (PTI) The scheduled visit of Pope Francis to Sri Lanka will take place despite the speculation of a snap presidential election, Bishop of Trincomalee has said. Kingsley Swamipillai, the Bishop from the eastern port district of Trincomalee, said that the proposed election will have no bearing on the papal visit. "The election, whenever it will be held, will be of no hindrance to the visit", Bishop Swamipillai said yesterday after attending a high level meeting wherein the arrangements for the pope's visit more..

VCK cadre held for burning effigy of Rajapaksa

Nov 4 (AM) A section of members of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) were arrested after they burnt an effigy of Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa in Thiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, on Monday. The VCK cadre has taken this step to condemn the death sentence handed out to five TN fishermen by the Colombo High Court recently. A group of 31 VCK functionaries headed by the party’s urban district secretary Arasu set afire an effigy of Mr. Rajapaksa near the central bus stand more..

Indian envoy in Sri Lanka assures 'unstinted support' to fishermen

Nov 4 (PTI) India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka today met the five Indian fishermen, who have been sentenced to death by a court here for alleged drug trafficking, and assured them of "unstinted support" by the government to secure their early release and repatriation. Indian envoy Yash Sinha, who visited Welikada Prison in Colombo this morning, met the five fishermen at the Superintendent's office where he more..

'More than 50,000 CKD patients in the country'

Nov 4 (Island) Health Secretary Sudharama Karunaratne said there were about 23,975 patients suffering from kidney failure in Sri Lanka. The highest number of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients—more than12,412—had been reported from the North Central Province, she said, adding that n the Polonnaruwa District alone there were about 4,819 CKD patients. In the Kurunegala District there were about 1,200 CKD patients and the Badulla District had 3,214 CKD patients. more..