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'Constitution should meet nation’s aspirations'

Oct 9 (FT) Constitution should meet the aspirations of the nation, not those of an individual or a political party, stressed Udaya Gammanpila. Gammanpila, who is in political limelight following his challenge to UNP’s Harin Fernando, pointed out: “In our Constitution, whatever features that had been tailor-made to meet personal needs of any president, politician or political party are bad features & should be amended at the earliest more..

The King and I

Oct 9 (ST) It was in early 1956 that I was introduced to a young man named Gamini Fonseka. I was one of the first to be hired to work on the production of “Bridge on the River Kwai”, that was to be filmed on location in Ceylon. Since I had no experience in films, except that I was a serious enthusiast and the fact that I was ready to work for no pay at all or a pittance, I was hired on a weekly basis to be an assistant to Eddie Fowlie, the Property Master of the film, until the real official Assistant arrived more..

Top hotels join Green Hotels Competition

Oct 9 (CT) Nearly 40 hotel firms including top notch leisure sector operators such as John Keells, Aitken Spence, Serendib Hotels, Taj Group, Tangerine, Asian Leisure and Aliya Hotels showed a keen interest to take part in the annual 'Green Hotels Competition', organized for the first time by the Hotels Association of Sri Lanka affiliated to Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Recently, the association organized a seminar at The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to create awareness among more..

Branson tells he will invest in Sri Lanka if the conditions are right

Oct 9 (FT) “For me, it’s the people – the warmth, the welcome. You don’t get that everywhere, but I’ve always sensed that Sri Lankans have a very charitable and personable side. It’s a great place,” Sir Richard Branson tells LMD, in an exclusive interview which features on the business magazine’s October cover. Branson has been to the country several times, and he has apparently developed a taste for Ginger Beer along the way. more..

New Starco Sri Lanka solid tyre factory opens

Oct 9 (TP) Starco has opened a new solid tyre manufacturing facility in Sri Lanka. The new facility, which has a capacity of 100,000 tyres per annum, replaces the original Starco facility in the country three years after starting production, and Starco states that the success of the venture has led to the need for a larger, more modern and better equipped factory. Starco continues that much attention has been paid to employee health and safety and welfare A Sri Lankan ceremony, more..

Business leaders to brainstorm 2015 Budget with Finance Ministry tomorrow

Oct 9 (FT) Under the aegis of Daily FT and Colombo University MBA Alumni Association, the country’s top business leaders will brainstorm the upcoming 2015 Budget with Finance Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera and his team over breakfast tomorrow. The unique event, held for the third consecutive year with the support of Standard Chartered Bank, will bring business and industry leaders to a common table along with Finance Ministry officials to list their key expectations from the upcoming Budget. more..

Church in Lanka launches 100 days of special preparation for the Pope's visit

Oct 9 (VR) Sri Lanka is gearing up for the great occasion of the Papal visit to their nation. The Catholic Bishops Conference is launching a number of programmes. A special programme centred on the preparation of the Catholics in Sri Lanka with 100 days ahead of the event in the island nation was organized In Colombo. That would mean 100 days of deep spiritual preparation, with Masses, vigils, works of charity, during which more..

Microsoft lauds community service spirit

Oct 9 (CT) Rotaract Club of Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus has been presented with two prestigious awards for its valuable contribution to the community over the past two years. Rotary International awarded the club with the distinguished "Presidential Citation". The citation is presented to Rotaract clubs which have answered the call to actively work to change lives. The second was a Commendation Award for the Best Rotaract Project in 2013 in Rotary District 3310, more..

Be the Change campaign launched

Oct 9 (CT) The Centre for Sustainability (CFS) an ancillary body of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Science of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura together with their private sector partners and sponsors, launched the "Be the Change" campaign with a focus of making Sri Lanka a "Greener and Cleaner" place for the future. In fast developing countries such as Sri Lanka, due to urbanization, rapid development of socio-economic activities of the public, recreation more..

Mega confab today to celebrate capital market’s 5 years of post-war success

Oct 9 (FT) Sri Lankan capital market has experienced exponential growth in the post-war period and garnered interest from numerous international investors keen on exploring the potential of this promising frontier market. Celebrating this period of abundance, the CSE and the SEC are hosting the Capital Market Conference 2014 today. Event will be inaugurated by President Rajapaksa and has attracted nearly 90 international high-net more..

Sri Lanka corporates receptive to ‘disruptive’ software: DELL

Oct 9 (Island) Sri Lankan corporate sector has a receptive mind to adapt to enhanced business-computing-solutions in spite of the fact that they disrupt the existing systems, DELL Country Manager Lakshamindra Fernando said recently speaking at a ceremony held at the BMICH where DELL unveiled its most advanced and easy-to-manage portfolio of PowerEdge servers. ‘Sri Lankan corporate sector tops all its South Asian counterparts in installing more advanced systems as they are unveiled more..

Rags to riches was ‘eggs to riches’ for Otara

Oct 9 (Island) Odel Founder Otara Gunewardene Tuesday disclosed how her family’s profitable egg business got her up and running to build Odel from a car-boot sale to a business empire which ultimately fetched her family over Rs.2.5 billion for their shareholdings. Gunewardene revealed this during her speech as Chief Guest at the launch of the Young Members Forum (YMF) of the Ceylon Chambers of Commerce (CCC) held at the Kingsbury. more..

US, Sri Lanka biz ties get fresh boost

Oct 9 (FT) Economic ties between Sri Lanka and the United States will get a boost next week when the two countries meet in Colombo for official levels talks on trade and investments. The fresh engagement is the 11th US-Sri Lanka Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks scheduled for 14-15 October. The last dialogue took place in 2012 with no talks last year under the bilateral TIFA which was established in 2002. more..

Rail workers strike

Oct 9 (CT) An islandwide train strike began at midnight yesterday, after a meeting with Secretary to the President, Lalith Weeratunga, on their salary anomalies, was turned down. All night mail trains, expected to run last night, had already been cancelled in anticipation of the strike. Furthermore, Joint Trade Union Alliance (JTUA) Convenor, Janaka Fernando, opined that although the strike was to be launched islandwide, it was likely that a few trains would continue to run. more..

Indian tourists among top five visitors to SL

Oct 9 (PTI) Sri Lanka is fast becoming a favourite destination for Indian tourists who were among the top five visitors to the country during the month of August. Tourist arrivals show a very healthy growth of 13.8% from 123,269 in 2013 to 140,319 in August this year. The top five sources of tourist arrivals in August were India, the UK, China, Germany and France. Together they had accounted for 47.6% of total arrivals. As a result the earnings from tourism increased by over 22% to USD 202.7 million more..

'Largest Cabinet in the world with the shortest Budget debate'

Oct 9 (FT) UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne blasted the Govt feasting with the largest Cabinet in the world for its attempts to rush through the 2015 Budget within the shortest span of time. “President Rajapaksa administration is trying to ram the 2015 Budget through Parliament by deliberately cutting the debate short. This is yet another attempt to undermine democracy and Parliament and in the process the rights and freedoms of people,” more..

President to attend land permits distribution in Kilinochchi

Oct 9 (DN) In a bid to solve the land issue in the Northern Province, more than 19,200 lands permits are to be issued among the people in the area at a ceremony to be held in Kilinochchi under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday, Sri Lanka Freedom Party Organizer for Kilinochchi District Geethanjali Naguleshwaran said. This is the first time that a large number of people are assured of their right to own a piece of land, by the govt, she said. more..

Long wait of JEDB workers end: Govt to settle all dues

Oct 9 (DN) The Jantha Estate Development Board (JEDB), is planning to pay EPF and ETF dues and gratuity payments to workers amounting to Rs.1,141 million which have remained outstanding since 2001. Around 85 workers from two estates will receive their incentive payments, bonuses and gratuity dues amounting to a total of Rs.10 million plus from Minister Dayasritha Tissera today, which will be the first step in the distribution of retirement benefits to workers. more..

Judge Sri Lanka according to challenges it has faced, Ambassador Aryasinha asks UN

Oct 9 (IL) Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Leader of the Sri Lanka delegation to the UNHRC Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha asked the UNHRC to “judge Sri Lanka in proportion to the challenges Sri Lanka has continued to face as a country emerging from a 30 year terrorist conflict". Ambassador made this observation in responding to comments made during the consideration of Sri Lanka's more..

SB likely to get same treatment: IUSF

Oct 9 (DM) Following the incidents at the Sabaragamuwa University where Minister S.B. Dissanayake was forced to leave through an alternate route on Sunday, IUSF said he would likely to get the same treatment at other universities as well in future. “It is likely that Minister Dissanayake will face the same fate he faced at Sabaragamuwa Uni in other universities. Students were only raising their voice for their rights and against low standard hostel built in campus,” more..

Rs. 302 cr. for Sethusamudram works

Oct 9 (Hindu) Bright days are ahead for the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) with the Ministry of Shipping deciding in-principle to pay off Rs.302 crore towards the outstanding amount for dredging operations undertaken at the Sethusamudram Project. An expert committee has recommended the payment after approval by the Union Cabinet. Confirming the development, DCI Chairman said that their financial health would improve substantially once they received the amount. more..

SF: ‘Ranil asked for my support at presidential poll’

Oct 9 (Island) Leader of the DP, Gen. Sarath Fonseka said his party had not decided yet to go it alone at the Presidential election scheduled to be held early next year or support another opposition candidate. He revealed UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had held discussions with him and sought his party’s support at the presidential election. He said that UNP Deputy leader Sajith Premadasa was not a suitable more..

Balance of payments surplus grows to $ 2.15 b; gross reserves to $ 9.2 b

Oct 9 (FT) Aided by robust inflows, the country continues to enjoy a strong Balance of Payment (BOP) surplus as well as healthy gross reserves. During the period from January to August 2014, the BOP is estimated to have recorded a surplus of $ 2,150 million compared to the deficit of $ 66 million in the corresponding period of 2013. By end August 2014, Sri Lanka’s gross official reserves amounted to $9.2 billion, while total foreign assets, which include foreign assets of the banking sector, more..

TN Chief Minister slams Sri Lanka for detaining stranded fishermen

Oct 9 (PTI) Accusing the Sri Lankan Navy of detaining stranded Indian fishermen, TN Chief Minister O Panneerselvam urged PM Narendra Modi to secure the immediate release of all 24 fishermen lodged in jails in the island nation, and their 75 boats. Citing the arrest of four Rameswaram fishermen two days ago, he expressed concern over a new trend followed by SL Navy in arresting fishermen whose boats develop mechanical snag and sought quick intervention to halt this. more..

SB’s puppets wreak havoc on Colombo campus – dons

Oct 9 (Island) Lecturers of the Colombo University Arts Faculty will refrain from teaching from today in protest against the unruly behaviour of a section of undergraduates and Faculty Students Union. The Faculty Board including all department heads would meet today to discuss their conditions to resume work. Dean of the Colombo Arts Faculty, Prof. Athula Ranasinghe said that the teachers had decided to put an end to more..

Tiger claws: The breast is bad for business

Oct 9 (DM) With Sri Lanka still embroiled in a crisis over the large-scale import of powdered milk valued at a staggering Rs.140 million a day, an important event at Toronto in Canada has brought to centre-stage the behind-the-scenes economic neocolonialism of some transnational powdered milk companies. At last month’s Toronto International Film Festival, Oscar-winning director Danis Tanovic took to the stage to resounding applause following the screening of ‘Tigers’ more..

How education system marginalises society

Oct 9 (DM) This article is based on a talk given at a seminar titled, “A More Just and Democratic Society” held in Jaffna on September 21, 2014 to commemorate Rajani Thiranagama. “…. Talents and ability are not confined to any social class or group and any social system must provide for their emergence by the provision of equal educational opportunities...” (Govt of Ceylon, 1943). Kannangara reforms of the 1940s, and later initiatives that sought to improve access to education to more..

Gifting the wildlife away

Oct 9 (SL) While senior officials in the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) are being accused of illegally registering elephants, astonishing revelations show how the Minister of Wildlife Resources Conservation, Vijith Wijayamuni Soyza had gifted mounted ivory tusks to many temples in the Monaragala District – tusks that had been lying at the stores of the DWC’s head office at Battaramulla. more..

Papal visit SLFP in a dilemma over setting date for election

Oct 9 (DM) The SLFP, the largest and key ally of the govt, is now caught in a dilemma in selecting a date for the snap Presidential Election in January. The party, headed by President Rajapaksa, initiated actions both overtly and covertly that gave rise to speculation that a snap election will be conducted during the early part of next year. In fact, the President asked the SLFP Central Committee members to get ready for such an election. more..

Reduced charges benefit only big users, say consumer rights groups

Oct 9 (ST) The Govt’s decision to reduce electricity charges by 25% is set to benefit only high end users, consumer rights groups charged. President Rajapaksa announced recently that the electricity bill of consumers will be reduced by 25%. On Sept 26 the Treasury made a proposal that the benefit of the 25% reduction will be given only to those using up to 300 units. But, soon after, several persons including Cabinet ministers raised more..

People’s Choice Award: Mathews nominated

Oct 9 (ICC) This year’s fifth LG People’s Choice Award sees five players from five different countries nominated to win the only award voted for by the public at the annual LG ICC Awards. The quintet of players nominated for the award are England women’s captain Charlotte Edwards, Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, India fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, SL captain Angelo Mathews and SA fast bowler Dale Steyn. more..

FSP to pay its leader’s visa fine

Oct 9 (Island) Senior members of the JVP-splinter group Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) will meet officials of the Immigration and Emigration Department today to settle a fine on behalf of their leader Premakumar Gunaratnam who now uses the name, Noel Mudalige. Two senior FSP members, its General Secretary, Senadheera Gunatilake alias Opatha Mahattaya and Central Committee Member Jude Silvapulle more..

Basil says will not take UNP challenge lightly

Oct 9 (DM) Minister Basil Rajapaksa said the ruling party would not take lightly the challenge posed by the UNP to have a national election next year. He was responding to speculation that a snap presidential election would be held early next year. The minister said the ruling UPFA, as a political party, was prepared for a national election at any time, but refused to say when this election would be held. more..

Many stranded due to railway strike

Oct 9 (DM) A large number of commuters have been stranded due to the ongoing island wide railway strike which was launched by the Professional Railway Trade Union Alliance (PRTUA) last night. Railway authorities said that less than 15 trains out of 108 are in operation. Twenty five trains have been deployed despite trade union strike today to facilitate those who were returning to Colombo after the Hajj festival. more..

President considers early election, ally says, amid signs of fading popularity

Oct 9 (Reuters) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa could hold a snap election in January, nearly two years before he has to, a close ally said, amid signs his popularity is fading among people who criticise his party for abusing power. Rajapaksa, 68, came to power in 2005 and retained the presidency in 2010 on a wave of popularity after the military defeated Tamil Tiger separatists in 2009, ending a 26-year-old civil war. more..

Sarath N Silva lashes out at Mohan Peiris over trip to Vatican

Oct 9 (AM) Former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva has lashed out at present Chief Justice Mohan Peiris over his inclusion in the Presidential delegation that visited Vatican, Rome, early this week. “By being a member of the Presidential delegation, the Chief Justice has shown his biases,” the former Chief Justice, who backed the impeachment process against CJ-42 Shirani Bandaranaike, had told BBC Sandeshaya on Sunday. more..

Sri Lanka external trade expands in August

Oct 9 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports rose 7.9%, to 991.3 million US dollars in August 2014 from a year earlier with 85.6% contribution of apparel exports, official data showed. Apparel exports grew 17% to 428.6 million US dollars in August 2014, the Central Bank said. Exports of machinery and mechanical items had risen 17.6% to 32.1 million US dollars and rubber products had risen 6.1% to 82.4 million US dollars. more..

Corrupting our children

Oct 9 (CT) Two days ago, the Principal of Siridhamma College in Labuduwa in the Galle District was arrested by sleuths of the Bribery Commission, while reportedly in the act of accepting a bribe of Rs. 300,000/- from a parent to admit a child to grade 1 of the school. For decades, Sri Lankan society has turned a virtual blind eye to the corruption that pervades our education system. It has become accepted for parents to pay massive sums of money to school principals to admit more..

Sri Lankan rupee tad weaker on foreign bond sales, imports

Oct 9 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee traded weaker on Thursday due to dollar demand from foreign bond sellers and importers, dealers said. The spot currency traded at 130.40/45 per dollar at 0643 GMT down compared with Tuesday's close of 130.32/36. Both the stock and foreign exchange markets were closed on Wednesday for a Buddhist religious holiday. "Rupee is weaker on bond sales. There were some bond sales," said a currency dealer asking not to be named. more..

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