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Modi may address Sri Lanka Parliament

Oct 6 (CG) PM Narendra Modi may address the Sri Lankan Parliament when he visits the country soon, a senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said in a tweet. Swamy drew strong criticism from Tamil Nadu political parties when he last visited Sri Lanka and in his tweet he questioned the critics on the Premier’s Sri Lanka visit. “PM Namo will be visiting Sri Lanka and addressing the SL Parliament. Now what will those crazies who were foaming at my Colombo visits say?” Swamy said in the tweet. more..

Bishop and CM discuss land grab in Mannar

Oct 6 (CT) The most critical issue the people in the District of Mannar face today is the forced acquisition of their land. This grave concern was taken up by the Bishop of Mannar, Rev. Rayappu Joseph at a meeting with the Chief Minister (CM) of the North C.V. Wigneswaran. This land-grabbing had gone on incessantly and unabated within the Mannar District. Bishop Rayappu Joseph said his discussions with the Northern CM mainly more..

Enemies of the President’s promise: Sleepy

Oct 7 (CT) Perhaps the saddest influence on President Rajapaksa was his Foreign Minister, G L Peiris. There were two main reasons for this influence. One, commonly known, was the hold he had on the President’s eldest son, Namal, who had been elected to Parliament in 2010 and who saw himself as his father’s successor – a prospect made possible when, soon after that Parliament was elected, after a few crossovers from the opposition made a two thirds majority possible, more..

The energy trap – II

Oct 7 (CT) What are real environmental, ecological and health issues that arise from the use of coal? We, the public have never been told of the dangers and problems that could arise from the use of coal to provide our power needs. Now let us look at the experience of those countries offering us coal fired power plants. The Chinese, it seems are constantly protesting the ill effects of coal-fired power plants. 1. May 2011: Protests against coal mining operations break out in Inner Mongolia more..

Peace changes people's lives in North

Oct 7 (SO) With the restoration of peace the lives of the people have changed. Those who lived in fear are free today. People look for jobs, education, development and a better life. Fulfilling these aspirations became a significant part in the reconciliation process. LLRC made a number of suggestions to fulfill the demands of the rising nation. Equal opportunities in employment is recommended in it and the number of venues more..

Ranil's 'wedding gift' to Akila

Oct 7 (CT) UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe has two MPs who are intimate with him. They are Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and Sagala Ratnayake. Sagala got married sometime ago to a girl from the Wijesundere family but his marriage went on the rocks after a month. Now, Akila is going to tie the knot on 21 Oct. The 41 year old Akila was promoted as Deputy General Secretary of the Party in the recent reshuffle of party positions and this elevation is viewed as the wedding gift from more..

Hurtling on to the wrong side of history

Oct 7 (ST) Are the ruling elites in a state of denial over the signs of people’s discontent, manifested in the results of the recent Uva provincial council election? Does the govt feel it is on the back foot, and is this discomfiture resulting in an acceleration of serial blunders in the areas of media and diplomacy? Spurred by a shift in the balance of political forces signalled in Uva, the UNP appears to have finally shaken itself out of decades-long malaise, put up a semblance of more..

Taking slum out of cityscape

Oct 7 (NS) UN has designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day with the objective of encouraging the world to reflect on the state of towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter. Shanties and slums first made their appearance in the early days of the industrial revolution. The mindset of people began to change once industrial cities were established in Europe after 1840. more..

Sustaining tourism boom to achieve targets

Oct 7 (ST) Tourism is booming. There has been a progressively increasing trend in tourist arrivals since 2010. The target of 2 million tourists in 2015 and 2.5 million in 2016 is ambitious, but achievable, if conditions remain favourable for travel in the country, prices are competitive and global economic conditions are on an uptrend. The surge in tourism is evident from the uptrend in tourist arrivals since 2010. In 2009, the year the war ended, tourist arrivals were a mere 447,090. more..

Editorial: A hero’s proposition

Oct 7 (Island) Newly elected Uva provincial councillor, Harin Fernando, says he is confident that UNP Leader Ranil Wickemesinghe can win the next presidential election if Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa is named as the party’s prime ministerial candidate. He seems to think the people will vote at the next presidential election exactly the way they did in Badulla at the recently concluded Uva PC polls. Harin has taken up an issue others are wary of addressing for obvious reasons. more..

'Sri Lanka's Tusker population under threat Because they don't breed in captivity'

Oct 7 (CT) The fear of losing Sri Lanka's tusker population in another 40 to 50 years as predicted by some elephant experts was recently challenged by a Wildlife Expert. Wildlife Expert and former Deputy Director Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) Dr. Nandana Atapattu said that the wild elephant birth rate in Sri Lanka is the best in Asia and that the country will have at least one or two tuskers even after 100 years. more..

Looking towards new concepts at budget time

Oct 7 (CT) The annual presentation of the budget in Parliament is one aspect of transparency and accountability to the citizens of a country. Although it is publicly unknown how much of people's ideas would have been incorporated into the upcoming budget, the govt's efforts in attaining people's ideas into budget making is commendable. However, what we hear in the weeks and days prior to the budget period about economic development, reduction of poverty and achieving a higher level of more..

Govt’s tightrope walk between international pledges and electoral pressures

Oct 7 (Island) While in the United States to attend the UNGA, President Rajapaksa assured the international community that he would look after the Muslim people in the country when he met the Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The meeting took place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Discussing religiously-motivated incidents that have occurred in the recent past, which he described as isolated incidents more..

Commercial Bank ranked ‘The Strongest Bank in Sri Lanka’

Oct 7 (FT) Commercial Bank of Ceylon has added another prestigious international accolade to its collection, being adjudged ‘The Strongest Bank in Sri Lanka in 2014’ by The Asian Banker, a leading provider of strategic intelligence on the financial services industry. The award is based on a detailed and transparent scorecard that ranks commercial banks on six areas of balance sheet financial performance: the ability to more..

Bright Sparks light up a rainy evening

Oct 7 (ST) The 2014 edition of the Colombo Fashion Week Resort Wear show dawned bright and early on Wednesday, October 1. The good weather did not last too long, however, and by 7.30 p.m. the ramp and everyone on it had been rained on. That didn’t stop CFW founder Ajai Vir Singh and his team from blazing ahead with their show, and the first Bright Sparks segment of the Resort Wear edition introduced six relatively new faces to the industry at Jetwing Blue, Negombo. more..

An unending battle?

Oct 7 (FT) SCENES of Sabaragamuwa students being pelted with water cannons as they protested against the presence of Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake at a hostel building opening was watched by thousands of bemused people on Sunday. It was perhaps the strongest indication yet that the incredibly complex problems of this contentious sector are still very much bubbling. Dissanayake true to character told those gathered at the ceremony held amidst a student boycott, more..

'Clamp brake on illegal copper exports to India'

Oct 7 (Island) 'The govt should clamp a brake on illegal copper exports to India, to save millions of rupees in foreign exchange, says a top businessman with a sound Research and Development background. Orange Electric MD Kushan Kodituwakku said that loads of copper are being exported to India at a cheap rate and in turn when importing, they have to pay a higher price. President Rajapaksa himself intervened and more..

Fitch affirms Standard Chartered Bank, Sri Lanka branch at ‘AAA’

Oct 7 (FT) Fitch Ratings Lanka has affirmed Standard Chartered Bank, Sri Lanka Branch’s (SCBSL) National Long-Term Rating at ‘AAA(lka)’. The Outlook is Stable. SCBSL’s rating is at the highest end of the National Rating scale and reflects the credit profile and financial strength of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB; AA-/Negative). SCB’s rating is higher than Sri Lanka’s Long-Term Local and Foreign Currency Issuer Default Ratings of ‘BB-’/Stable, and as a result, SCBSL’s rating on more..

CMC launches project to purify slaughterhouse waste water

Oct 7 (Island) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) said it was in the process of setting up a Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) to purify water used at the Dematagoda abattoir. A spokesman for the CMC said that the plant would be set up at a cost of Rs. 25 mn from budgetary allocations passed by the council recently. Slaughter house was set up 1865 to provide fresh meat for British soldiers. At present the waste water from the slaughterhouse was diverted to the Dematagoda Canal. more..

Central Bank Governor answers question from public

Oct 7 (LBO) Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal held a question and answer from public on 24th September, 2014 via twitter, a social network. First part with 59 Questions and Answers sets out the live Twitter exchange between 10.00 a.m. and 11.00 a.m. with the Governor on 24th Sept 2014. Second part contains the answers of the Governor for questions that could not be answered during the above 1-hour session. more..

New Director General at Insurance Board

Oct 7 (FT) Damayanthi Fernando has been appointed as the new Director General of the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka, the regulator of the insurance industry. Prior to her appointment as the Director General, Fernando served as the Acting Director General for seven months as well as the Director Legal of the Insurance Board. She has regulatory experience of nearly 16 years at the Insurance Board and the SEC. Fernando, a lawyer by profession, took oaths as more..

More than US$ 5B from tea by 2020

Oct 7 (CT) Chairman of Tea Exporters' Association, Rohan Fernando said it is easy to surpass five billion dollars target set by 2020 if tea exporters harness the potential of tea exports. "In 2010 when the EDB launched the vision for Sri Lanka we were confident in stating that the tea exports will target to reach an annual turnover of 5 billion dollars by 2020. It was treated with the same lukewarm response as the target of one billion we projected to cross several years ago. more..

UNP condemns attack on Chris Nonis; calls for impartial inquiry

Oct 7 (FT) UNP LC Chairman Karu Jayasuriya in a statement condemned the alleged attack on SL’s envoy in UK Dr. Chris Nonis and called for an impartial inquiry. Full Statement: The physical assault by Sajin Vass Gunawardena, MP is a clear reflection on the country’s tragic situation. This is the first ever time since Independence that a parliamentarian has resorted to such demeaning behaviour – attacking a diplomat who was on more..

Tourism promotional event at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Stockholm

Oct 7 (AT) The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Stockholm, Sweden organized a Tourism Promotional Event at the Embassy premises on 25 Sept. The event was jointly organized by the Embassy and Gränslösa Resor AB - Journeys beyond Borders, a travel company arranging specially designed travel tours for nature and culture loving people in Sweden. This event was organized as a knowledge sharing session for a group of Swedish tourists who have shown their interest to explore culture, nature more..

Sri Lanka seeks help to rescue fishermen

Oct 7 (CG) Sri Lanka has sought assistance from Myanmar and ships using the sea route between Sri Lanka and Myanmar to assist several Sri Lankan fishermen said to have got caught to a storm. The Fisheries Ministry said that some 35 boats have reportedly got caught to a storm near the seas of Myanmar and are now stranded. Ministry spokesman said that the exact number of fishermen on the 35 boats was still not known but on average at least 5 fishermen travel in one boat. more..

No light from MR for industries!

Oct 7 (FT) The commercial and industrial sector will continue to be in the dark as far as the recent Presidential announcement of a 25% cut in electricity tariff is concerned, with some speculating there will be no relief and others hinting at a longer wait. Last month President Rajapaksa announced an immediate reduction of 25% in electricity tariff during a speech at the commissioning of the Norochcholai more..

1H fiscal numbers good

Oct 7 (CT) Revenue and grants received by the govt during the first half of 2014 grew twice as fast as expenditure growth, leading to a decline in the fiscal deficit from a year ago, recent data analyzed by Ceylon FT showed. Fiscal deficit for the first six months of this year fell 1.71% to Rs 378.3 billion, down from Rs 371.8 billion a year ago, latest Central Bank data showed. Revenue and grants grew 10.89% to Rs 543.6 billion with tax revenues increasing 9.71% to Rs 484.4 billion. more..

Lara, Jayasuriya dazzle in Qatar

Oct 7 (TP) Captain Brian Lara starred as the World XI defeated Asia XI by five runs in an exciting Eid T20 Cricket Festival tie watched by 10, 000 avid enthusiasts at the West End Park Stadium in Doha. The exhibition game yesterday was all about the cricket passion as the past and current stars showed their class to amuse fans who turned out for the match an hour before kick-off. Iconic cricketers from Australia, West Indies, England, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and more..

India puts Jaffna train back on rails

Oct 7 (Hindu) The iconic Yal Devi Express from Colombo to Jaffna will resume its run on Oct 13, some 25 years after the link was suspended during the height of the Sri Lankan civil war. IRCON, an Indian Railways subsidiary, restored a section of the line from Omanthai to Pallai in the Northern Province, damaged during the war, with a $800-million line of credit from India. Nearly 4,000 people, 400 of them skilled labourers from India, more..

'FSP behind Sabaragamuwa Uni. unrest'

Oct 7 (CT) The Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) was behind Sunday's Sabaragamuwa University unrest, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Nandimithra Ekanayake said, vowing to take stern action against students who protest. He also said that the ministry did not order the police to use water cannon, but to use adequate force against those who broke the law which was within the power of the police. "I don't think police overreacted and we did not ask police to use force," he said. more..

Undecided on Prez polls - JVP

Oct 7 (SM) The JVP is yet to take a final decision with regard to the upcoming Presidential elections, chief secretary of the party - Tilvin Silva says. He was responding to queries on what the party stance was, pertaining to the preparations for the Presidential elections, fielding a common candidate by the party and backing a common candidate. Noting that the President was unable to contest for a third time in office in accordance to the constitution, Tilvin Silva further added that more..

UAE visa issuance centre in SL inaugurated

Oct 7 (KT) Acting Under Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Mohammed Mir Al Raisi, inaugurated the first consular section and visa issuance centre outside the UAE in a ceremony in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo in the presence of Sri Lankan Minister of External Affairs, G.L. Peiris. Al Raisi expressed appreciation for the efforts to develop the bilateral relations between the UAE and Sri Lanka in various spheres. more..

Lawyers slam CJ for accompanying MR

Oct 7 (CT) Lawyers' Collective yesterday slammed the Chief Justice, Mohan Peiris, for compromising the independence of the judiciary by hobnobbing with politicians and being part of the recent State delegation to the Vatican. The delegation, which was headed by President Rajapaksa, also included UPFA MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena (who though yet to be formally charged, is alleged to have recently assaulted former Sri Lanka High Commissioner to the UK Dr. Chris Nonis more..

Mervyn says he is fit to be a President

Oct 7 (CG) Minister Mervyn Silva says he is the most suitable candidate to contest for President after President Rajapaksa and the others in the Rajapaksa family. Minister also said that some members of the SLFP are out to remove him from the party. He told ‘Sirasa News’ that he will reveal the names of those who are after him from within his own party, at the right time. He also said that past SLFP leaders admired him, including the current leader President Rajapaksa. more..

Every Sri Lankan will own a decent house by 2016, President pledges

Oct 7 (FT) President Rajapaksa pledged to provide a decent house to every shanty dweller in the country by 2016. He said the Govt’s position is every citizen of the country should own a decent house within the next two years and the Govt has taken significant measures to fulfil that goal. President was speaking at the national ceremony held yesterday at Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium to mark World Habitat Day, which falls on the 1st Monday of Oct. more..

Yala closure extended till Oct.15 due to severity of drought

Oct 7 (Island) Wildlife Conservation Department (WCD) said that the Yala National Park would remain closed for visitors until Oct 15 due to the severe water scarcity resulting from the drought affecting the wild animals. The park would reopen on Oct. 16. The Yala National Park, which was closed on Sept 1 was to be reopened on Oct 1. The department officers with the support of Irrigation Department, Water Board, NGOs and private sector were engaged in refilling the water holes in more..

Despite resigning, Nonis continues to visit the High Commission

Oct 7 (CT) Colombo Telegraph learns that Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to the UK, Dr. Chris Nonis, despite resigning from his position last Monday (29) continues to visit the High Commission premises. Sources claim that he had visited the High Commission last weekend and had accessed his computer and backed-up/deleted files etc. Colombo Telegraph also learns that a key to the High Commission premises is still in his possession and continues to use his official vehicle. more..

Int’l school students can do GCE A/L at Govt. schools

Oct 7 (DM) A circular, which permits principals of State Schools to admit international and private school students who had successfully completed their GCE O/L will be issued this week putting an end to the uncertainty and heated arguments on this matter, a Senior Education Ministry Source said. This comes in the wake of a directive from President Rajapaksa to Minister Bandula Gunawardana directing him to issue more..

We only have one planet – let’s save it

Oct 7 (DM) In the afterglow or should we say the aftermath of World Animal Day last Saturday, we need to ponder deeply on the latest World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report which warns that the overall number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish had declined by 52 percent between 1970 and 2010. The main culprits are humans, all of us, who have been wiping out animals through hunting or slaughter, fishing, deforestation, pollution and various forms of habitat destruction. more..

Why SWRD is not the villain some blame him to be

Oct 7 (DM) A bitter irony in our independent history is that many well- intentioned policies went awry. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike whose 55th death anniversary fell on September 26 is conveniently blamed for one such decision- The Sinhala Only Act, which, by the very omission of the Tamil language, discriminated against Tamil and Muslim minorities, whose grievances – coupled with political aggrandisement by the Sinhalese leadership-- culminated into a civil war. more..