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Gas price reduction a polls ploy - Opposition

Oct 11 (CT) Opposition political parties claimed that the govt had reduced the price of a cylinder of gas in view of the upcoming presidential election and that the prices of reduced items would be doubled if President Rajapaksa was to win the election. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said it was clear that this concession was given because the UPFA Govt knew that people were extremely frustrated about the high price of essential items. "However people should know that if Rajapaksa wins the prices more..

UNP refrains from questioning govt.’s intention out of respect for Catholics – John

Oct 11 (Island) Chief Opposition Whip MP John Amaratunga, who joined Presidential delegation to extend official invitation to Pope Francis to visit Sri Lanka yesterday said that UNP did not intend to question the govt’s "honesty of purpose and misuse of the Papal Visit to ulterior political ends respecting the concerns of the Catholics in the country". In a statement issued to media MP Amaratunga said: "The founding spirit of the formation of the UNP was national unity. more..

PB asks pensioners to invest in capital market

Oct 11 (DM) Country’s Treasury Secretary asked the pensioners who live on interest received on fixed deposits to invest their money in the stock market as going forward, further lowering of interest rates is inevitable. According to Dr. P.B Jayasundera, country’s burgeoning capital market offers an attractive investment alternative for those suffering from lower interest rates on their bank savings. more..

Santa comes again!

Oct 11 (Island) These are interesting times. The govt has risen from a deep slumber and realised that oil and gas prices have dropped in the world market and the benefits thereof should be passed on to the public. In some Bollywood movies, villains get reformed after a right royal thrashing. The same is true of powerful govts. The thundering slap the UPFA suffered at the hands of Uva voters a few weeks ago is beginning to have the desired impact. The govt has awoken to the fact that more..

UNP wants talks with the DP, TNA, JVP

Oct 11 (CG) The UNP says it wants to have talks with the DP led by Sarath Fonseka, the TNA and the JVP on forming a coalition to back a common candidate at the next Presidential elections. UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera said that the UNP feels it needs to work together with the opposition as well as members of the SLFP who want a change of Govt. However, he says the UNP feels the common candidate can only be from the UNP and no other party. more..

Fags up in price

Oct 11 (CT) Govt has increased the price of cigarettes by Rs 1-2 effective yesterday (10). The price of Dunhill and Benson and Hedges was increased by Rs 1 while the price of a Gold Leaf cigarette was increased by Rs 2. The new prices of cigarettes are Rs 35 for Dunhill, Rs 33 for Benson and Hedges and Rs 30 for Gold Leaf. On 6 Oct, govt raised the tax on tobacco and cigars to Rs 7,000 a kg from Rs 5,500 a kg. more..

Seized Sri Lanka Boat Mystery Solved, 6 Held

Oct 11 (NIE) ‘Q’ branch police claimed to have solved the mysterious case of a boat that was seized from Kannupadu near Thankatchimadam last week with the arrest of six Sri Lankan Tamils, including four of a family, here on Thursday. Cops also seized eight kg ganja from them. Last week, the ‘Q’ branch officials had seized an abandoned fibre glass boat and were on the lookout for the travellers. On Thursday, the officials picked up on suspicion six persons loitering around the area. more..

'Bill to regulate & promote private universities'

Oct 11 (CT) A new bill titled 'Quality Assurance and Accreditation Framework Act' is to be passed in Parliament to regulate and promote non-State universities in SL, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. He made the announcement at a workshop on 'Innovations in Higher Education for Knowledge based Economics and Economic Growth in the SAARC Region'. He added that govt was focused on promoting non-State education in an attempt to make SL an educational hub in South Asia. more..

Wigneswaran seeks Delhi’s active role in devolution talks

Oct 11 (Hindu) Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council has sought India’s active participation in its negotiations with the Sri Lankan government for greater devolution of political rights to the island’s Tamils. The Sri Lankan government did not view the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) as a partner in addressing concerns of the war-ravaged North, Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has said in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Nurses, Matron lock horns

Oct 11 (Island) Public Service United Nurses Union accused the Matron of the Elpitiya Base Hospital of harassing its members. Deputy President of the PSUNU, D. Boralessa alleged that the matron was manipulating their roster according to her whims and fancies by turning away nurses reporting to duty. Alleging that it had even affected the overtime of some nurses, he warned that he would take the issue up with the Health Ministry if the Hospital administration failed to look into the matter. more..

Rohana ends title drought at DGC

Oct 11 (AA) Memories of a maiden appearance at the Delhi Golf Club would have returned on Friday. Anura Rohana, then a promising golfer from Colombo, narrowly lost out to Ashok Kumar for the title in an all-India amateur meet here. Fifteen years and more later, Rohana — now a regular on the PGTI circuit — finally ended that long wait for a title at his favourite course. On the day, the 41-year-old won the `1 crore Bilt Open by two strokes, crushing the hopes of overnight leader more..

Railway workers restrained from striking

Oct 11 (CT) The Colombo District Court issued an Interim Injunction on 26 Trade Unions of the Railway Department preventing their members from joining the ongoing strike. District Judge Sujatha Alahapperuma issued this order after considering a plaint filed by three railway commuters. Court also ordered the unions not to harass or influence any persons who iare engaged in their duties. more..

SL signs Minamata Convention on Mercury

Oct 11 (AT) Dr. Palitha Kohona, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, signed the Minamata convention on Mercury on behalf of the Govt of Sri Lanka on 8th Oct at the UN Headquarters in New York. The Minamata Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. It was concluded at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland. more..

Video: Railway strike called off

Oct 11 (DM) The railway strike launched by the Professional Railway Trade Union Alliance (PRTUA) was temporarily called off today and train services will resume at 7 a.m. tomorrow. PRTUA President Janaka Fernando said they decided to call off trade union action following the court order. He said Treasury Secretary P. B. Jayasundara had met trade union leaders and assured his fullest support to resolve their issue. Mr. Fernando said they would resume their trade union action unless more..

'Nonis gate-crashed the party'

Oct 11 (CT) Sri Lanka's former High Commissioner to London, Dr. Chris Nonis, gate-crashed the private dinner party, to which he was not invited, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said. He said that though Dr. Nonis went uninvited, he was welcomed. The media also blew the incident out of proportion as the incident took place at a private dinner party. Govt would not have condoned the incident if it happened at an official function. more..

Mental Illness: Let’s all be mindful of our attitudes

Oct 11 (DM) With the Health Ministry’s latest surveys showing that as many as 2.3 million Sri Lankans are suffering from mental disorders, we join the world and the World Health Organisation in marking World Mental Health Day. The Angoda-based National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) will conduct a mental-health walk today from 7.00 a.m. at Diyatha Uyana in Battaramulla. From today till Monday the institute will also conduct an exhibition significantly tittled more..

Corruption, the bigger picture

Oct 11 (CT) On Thursday, this newspaper's editorial focus was on a school principal, of a rural school in the island, being nabbed by the authorities after accepting a bribe of Rs 300,000 to admit a child to his school.In the developing scenario, Transparency International (TI), an INGO, has ranked Sri Lanka as a 'corrupt' country. In last year's TI's Global Corruption Index, in the public sector, on a descending scale, from 'least corrupt' to 'highly corrupt,' SL has been ranked 91st out of 175 more..

Phenomenal influence of cinema on politics in India’s Tamil Nadu state

Oct 11 (DBS) South Indian state of TN has been ruled alternately by two “Dravidian” political parties since 1967. One is the DMK under the command of nonagenarian Muttuvel Karunanidhi. The other party currently in the saddle is the AIADMK which is led by Jayalalithaa Jayaram who was removed from chief ministerial office due to being convicted for corruption. Both the DMK and AIADMK face an uncertain political future more..

SLC loss for 2013 was Rs.1.1 billion

Oct 11 (Island) Sri Lanka Cricket had incurred a loss of Rs 1,111 million in 2013, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena informed Parliament. Minister Gunwardena, on behalf of the Minister of Sports, responding to a question raised by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake, said that the Sri Lanka Cricket had earned a profit of Rs. 368 million in 2014. SLC targeted net surpluses of Rs 116 million and Rs 165 million in 2015 & 2016 respectively, more..

Rice and food prices soar

Oct 11 (CT) The World Bank's Food Price Watch Report, in its September 2014 issue, stated that as of August 2014, global food prices have hit a four-year low, but local food prices continue to soar with rice taking the lead. Global food prices had reduced due to a 19% drop in wheat and 21% in maize prices between April and August 2014. Researchers at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research Institute (HARTI) stated that more..

The exotic far North: Jaffna and its Islands

Oct 11 (HP) I've been to Sri Lanka a couple of times, but never been able to get to the North and Jaffna, in particular. During the war it was home to fierce fighting between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan military but it's now very much open for business. I'm on the intercity express from Colombo, a 6 hour journey, and the line has just been opened all the way to Jaffna. As I move northwards, I can see evidence of new track more..

Govt. defeats Wijeyadasa’s anti-tobacco Bill

Oct 11 (Island) An attempt by UNP Colombo District MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe to introduce a Bill to amend laws paving way for the printing of 80 percent pictorial warnings on the surface of cigarette packets was defeated by the govt with a majority of 14 votes yesterday. The Bill received 13 votes in favour and 27 votes against. The UNP and DNA voted for the motion. JHU’s Minister Champika Ranawaka, who was more..

Unusual weather pattern prompts alert as lightning deaths rise

Oct 11 (ST) The Meteorology Department this week issued a bad weather warning of a disturbed weather pattern that will include heavy showers and lightning in the next few days in Colombo, Kalutara, Galle and Matara – while extreme drought continues in other parts of the country. Localised strong winds could even blow away roofs and branches and uproot trees, the department said. If the winds make landfall in a cone shape, more..

'Nonis – Sajin – Kshenuka Inquiry : Don’t mix up private and official disputes'

Oct 11 (Island) Minister Keheliya Rambukwalle appealed to journalists not to mix up private and official disputes. He said that the alleged assault on Sri Lanka’s former High Commissioner to the UK, Dr. Chris Nonis by UPFA MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena, was at a ‘private’ function in New York. "Please do not mix up disputes that arise at private and public gatherings. Arguments between politicians and officials more..

SLC to bust Rs.9 mn on World Cup tickets

Oct 11 (DM) Former Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Upali Dharmadasa has protested a planned move by SLC to purchase match tickets estimated to cost Rs. nine million for next year’s World Cup to be held in Australia/New Zealand and distribute them free of charge among SLC ex-co members. SLC Treasurer Nuski Mohamed has also voiced his displeasure over the move which had reportedly been approved by SLC President more..

I am the common candidate says MR

Oct 11 (CG) President Rajapaksa says he is the only common candidate in Sri Lankan politics as several political parties are behind him. Speaking at a function in Polgahawela, the President said that all others who claim to be the common candidate and want to contest the next Presidential elections are, in reality, just individual candidates as they do not have the backing of most political parties and the public. more..

Pakistan hospitality, terrain impress Sri Lankan riders

Oct 11 (Dawn) A group of six Sri Lankan riders -- three on as many heavy motorcycles and three on a jeep -- who are on an adventure motorcycle ride expedition from Germany to homeland Sri Lanka could not cross Wagah on Friday as the time for crossing the border (3:30pm) had run out. The group will now cross the border at 9:30am today. Though the group arrived at the crossing well before the time, more..

BBS – Wirathu agreement: Declaration of war on Muslims in Sri Lanka and South Asia

Oct 11 (CT) Anti Muslim Sinhala racist outfit BBS, which does not represent the mainstream Sinhala Buddhists, but had done considerable damage to pit Sinhalese against Muslims in the name of Sinhalese and Buddhism, together with Myanmar’s convicted criminal Ashin Wirathu, have declared war on Islam and Muslims in Sri Lanka and in South Asia. As part of this program the two sides, BBS and 969, also signed a special agreement aimed at creating South Asia free of what they described as more..

The politics of (university) violence

Oct 11 (CT) The news that a section of the faculty of University of Colombo had decided to stop their academic engagements to bring an end to the on-going rather inhuman ragging within their university (and other higher education institutions) is disturbing and welcoming. Disturbing because ragging of such cruel nature should still exist, welcoming as the faculty members have decided to address this seriously. Universities are not only about earning a degree or helping towards that. more..

Etisalat in talks to sell its Sri Lankan unit

Oct 11 (ST) The UAE’s largest telecoms operator, Etisalat, has begun initial talks with several international telecom operators, including India’s Bharti Airtel, over the potential sale of its Sri Lankan unit. A source close to Etisalat said that Airtel was one of several operators to approach the company. Etisalat began its operations in Sri Lanka in 2010, after acquiring a 100% stake in Tigo, a subsidiary of Millicom International Cellular, for $155m. more..

Legislation for heads of local bodies to continue despite budget defeat

Oct 11 (ST) Parliament will take up for debate five Bills related to local authorities that will allow for heads of these bodies to remain in the office, even after their annual budgets are defeated. The five related pieces of legislation that will be amended are the Municipal Councils Ordinance, Urban Councils Ordinance, Pradeshiya Sabha Act, Local Authorities Elections Act and Local Authorities Filling Vacancies Act. Under existing legislation, heads of local authorities have to resign if more..

Ranil tells Harin: 'Naming prime ministerial candidate not realistic'

Oct 11 (Island) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has told Opposition Leader of the Uva PC Harin Fernando that naming a prime ministerial candidate in the run-up to the forthcoming presidential election is not realistic as the party was campaigning for the abolition of the executive presidency. Wickremesinghe has explained that the UNP needed to adopt a political strategy taking into consideration that the executive presidency will be abolished to pave the way for a govt more..

Army celebrates 65th anniversary

Oct 11 (SLA) Sri Lanka Army, saviour of the Nation and now, the most-sought service provider of the country, marked its 65th Anniversary and the Army Day on Friday, during a colourful parade at MoD grounds. Today’s ceremony is the climax of a series of commemorative ceremonies that got underway beginning the final week of Sept. Chief Guest Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake commenced the programme, more..

Mano and Fonseka discuss elections

Oct 11 (CG) DP leader Sarath Fonseka and DPF leader Mano Ganeshan have had talks on the Presidential elections expected to be held next year. Ganeshan said the meeting took place last evening. At the last Uva PC elections Ganeshan had campaigned in support of the UNP. Fonseka has been non-committal on who he will support at the Presidential elections or if he will contest on his own. Yesterday the UNP had said it wants to have talks with the DP, the TNA and the JVP on more..

Principal faces charge sheet

Oct 11 (Island) Western Province (WP) Education Secretary would charge sheet Principal of St. Joseph’s Balika College, Grandpass, within two weeks for allegedly demanding Rs. 50,000 for admitting a student, WP chief minister’s media secretary Pradeep Anura Kumara said. He said that preliminary investigation into the alleged incident had been conducted by the WP Education Secretary Daya Senarath and disciplinary action would be taken according to the principal’s response to more..

Mahabodhi Temple gets Income Tax notice

Oct 11 (IANS) The Income Tax Department has issued notice to Bodh Gaya's Mahabodhi temple, Buddhism's holiest shrine, for not filing annual return of its income of over Rs.100 crore through donations, an official said Saturday. Deputy Commissioner of IT department Saurav Roy said notice was issued to the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BMTC) for not filing returns. more..

Party leaders agree to extend budget debate by four days

Oct 11 (Island) Party leaders yesterday decided to allocate four more days for the parliamentary debate on Budget 2015. The third reading vote which had earlier been scheduled to take place on Nov. 18 was re-scheduled to 5.00 pm on Nov 24. President Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance will present the tenth consecutive budget of his govt in Parliament on Oct 24. The debate on the Second Reading stage will commence on Oct 25 and continue till Nov 01. more..

Lankans promised palace employment end up as forced labour on construction site

Oct 11 (ST) Over a thousand Sri Lankans are caught up in a modern day slavery racket in Qatar, where they were lured to work in a construction site for 12 hours at a stretch. Promised with employment in a palace in Doha, Qatar, for Rs 150,000 per month, the prospective employees were sent through a local private agency for a fee of Rs 200,000, and ended up working in shocking conditions. Instead of a palace, they were made to work on a construction site of a seven-star more..

Queen of Jaffna to link Sri Lanka's north again

Oct 11 (AP) The Queen of Jaffna, a once-popular train linking the ethnic Tamil's northern heartland to the rest of Sri Lanka before a bloody civil war cut the link 24 years ago, chugs back into service this coming week, reinforcing the govt's authority in a region once controlled by Tamil rebels. For the old, it is a nostalgic piece of the Indian Ocean island nation's past. For the young, the train represents something novel and opens opportunities to more..

Weerawansa pleads with parents to inculcate in their children the love of reading

Oct 11 (Island) Although some were boasting that millions of people visited the Colombo International Book Fair last month, it was not an indication of people enhancing their reading habit as a majority of people bought only exercise books, Minister Wimal Weerawansa said. He said that according to top literary writers in the country, they couldn’t sell even 2000 copies of their books even during the Colombo International Book Fair which was held in parallel to the Literary Month every year. more..