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Treasury ignores AR/FRs to import 1000 pickup vehicles for state agencies

Oct 12 (ST) Overlooking AR and FR (Administration and Financial Regulations), the Treasury is to import 1000 pickup vehicles for state agencies (Ministries, Departments, Corporations and state institutions) on the eve of the 2015 budget bypassing tender procedures. Treasury has picked United Motors Lanka this time to purchase these 1000 vehicles without the usual process of calling for tenders and more..

Sri Lankan community gets together for its first-ever business forum in Doha

Oct 12 (GT) With the aim to amplify the existing market knowledge of Sri Lankan entrepreneurs and guide them towards prospective opportunities, the first-ever Sri Lanka Business Forum in Qatar was held at Radisson Blu on Thursday. The event was organised by the Sri Lankan Business Council (SLBC) under the patronage of Sri Lanka Embassy and Sri Lanka Coordinating Committee (SLCC). Headed by Sri Lankan Ambassador to Qatar Jayantha Palipana, forum’s chief objective more..

Legislation next

Oct 12 (ST) Parliament will next week pass legislation to restrict alienation of lands in Sri Lanka to foreigners, foreign companies and certain institutions with foreign shareholding. Chief Govt Whip Dinesh Gunawardena said the concerns that were raised by several companies after the Bill was presented to the House last month had been addressed. “Their concerns have been cleared. There were some misinterpretations about the provisions of the Bill but Finance Ministry has more..

Church in the loop on snap polls

Oct 12 (Island) Sri Lanka’s plans for a snap presidential election in January, just days before a scheduled visit by Pope Francis, have been conveyed to church authorities, official sources said yesterday. There was no formal word from the Vatican about elections getting in the way of the January 13 - 15 visit, except a three-paragraph statement which had a passing reference to 'Holy Father’s upcoming visit' to Sri Lanka. more..

Nishantha unaware of COPE’s proposal to fly together

Oct 12 (NS) Despite a recommendation made by the COPE to consider the possibility of amalgamating Mihin Lanka with SriLankan Airlines, officials indicated that no such plans are currently on the table. COPE, in its interim report issued in early August, revealed that a proposal to amalgamate the two airlines, was discussed and a directive had been issued to Mihin Lanka officials to send a report to the committee within two months on the stand of the institution in relation to the matter. more..

President can stand for third term, invoke SC’s consultative jurisdiction – Choksy

Oct 12 (Island) Mr. K.N. Choksy, PC, the eminent lawyer now living in retirement, expressed the following opinion on whether or not President Rajapaksa can stand for a third term and whether he could refer this matter to the Supreme Court for its opinion under Consultative Jurisdiction provisions of the Constiution. Mr. Choksy answered in the affirmative to both questions. He said: "Two related issues have arisen in public discussion. "The first is whether a citizen twice elected as more..

Travel restrictions as President visits North

Oct 12 (ST) Govt has imposed an indefinite travel ban on visits by foreign passport holders including tourists to the North. The Army’s Media Director said that the restrictions had been imposed in view of threats posed by some foreign passport holders who were acting in a manner detrimental to national security. The announcement came as President Rajapaksa today begins a three-day visit to the north where he will take part more..

Red light from Athuraliye Rathana thera

Oct 12 (SL) JHU MP Athuraliye Rathana Thera has issued a warning to the Govt saying if they do not implement amendments to the Constitution as put forward by him he will resign from the UPFA together with several other powerful ministers. He said that if according to the proposed amendment, the powers vested with the Executive Presidency is not curtailed and the 17th Amendment is not reinstated prior to the upcoming Presidential Election, they will resort to more..

TNA under fire for boycotting Northern welfare programs

Oct 12 (SO) Northern Province CM C.V. Wigneswaran and the TNA came under fire from Minister Dew Gunasekera for boycotting President Rajapaksa’s visit to the North tomorrow to inaugurate the resumption of the Yal Devi train service to Jaffna and participate in several people’s welfare programs. President’s visit is basically to fulfill some important LLRC recommendations such as payment of compensation to people who sustained losses & distribution of land deeds more..

President going ahead with January poll, questions over Pope’s visit

Oct 12 (ST) UPFA MPs caught a glimpse last Friday of how opinions clashed at the highest levels over an unexpected issue that haunts the Govt — the alleged assault on Chris Nonis, then SL High Commissioner to the UK by Monitoring MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena, at a dinner party in New Jersey. President Rajapaksa, who chaired the meeting of Govt Parliamentary Group on Thursday mimicked Nonis humorously and declared more..

The importance of FDI

Oct 12 (CT) Foreign direct investments (FDIs), according to Central Bank, declined by 2.7% year on year to US$ 916 million last year. This was despite the fact that Sri Lanka's previous, protracted terrorist war had been over more than 4˝ years ago by then. At present, it's nearly 5˝ years since this war was over. But there is no reliable information as to how FDI has been 'faring' in the current year, now in its 10th month, though various figures have had been touted by the authorities. more..

Presidential election & abolition: Rajapaksa’s achilles heel and Ranil’s dilemma

Oct 12 (Island) It is fair to say that abolishing the executive presidency was not a high priority for the voters in Uva. If at all the question would have been the farthest from their minds. As was famously said by a Canadian politician in a different context, people do not think about the constitution while waiting in bus queues. In 1970 and in 1977, the voters hardly paid attention to the constitutional changes that were on the agenda when they massively voted in govts that more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Oct 12 (ST) A growing tendency towards catching baby elephants and registering them through “various unscrupulous means as tamed elephants or tuskers” has come to light. That home truth comes from Wildlife Resources Conservation Minister Vijith Vijayamuni Zoysa. The reason for this, he says, is the failure to update registration procedures for the past 23 years. Hence, the Minister wants new regulations formulated by more..

BA rejects politics behind Sri Lanka move

Oct 12 (CG) British Airways says the decision to cancel flights to Sri Lanka was not related to political issues in Sri Lanka but purely on non-profitability. Following the recent announcement by British Airways that it was cancelling flights to Sri Lanka from next year, some diaspora groups had attempted to give the impression the move was relate to concerns over Sri Lanka’s human rights record. more..

No deal with govt to permit Gunaratnam's return

Oct 12 (CT) The Front Line Socialist Party (FSP) rejected allegations that their Party Leader, Prema Kumar Gunaratnam, who has been declared persona non grata, has now come to an agreement with the govt to enable him to return to the country. "We have tried many times to bring our Party Leader back to Sri Lanka. Even now we are trying. However, we have not reached an agreement with the govt in this regard. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism welcomes 100,000th Chinese Tourist of year 2014

Oct 12 (GDI) The 100,000th Chinese tourist to visit Sri Lanka in the year 2014 was welcomed at the BIA in Katunayake. Accordingly Ha Yeon and /Chen Yu Hua from Shanghai arrived at the BIA by UL 867 at 5.30am this morning. Speaking to the media they said that they decided to visit Sri Lanka when they saw the publicity programmes and bus branding by Sri Lanka Tourism in the city of Shanghau. more..

USAID and Northern farms providing employment & creating markets in Vavuniya

Oct 12 (USE) Manpreet Anand, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the USAID, opened a new agricultural processing factory in Marukarampalai, Vavuniya yesterday. This project was established through a public-private partnership between USAID, the development agency of the US govt, and Northern Farms, a Sri Lankan agribusiness. New factory is well-equipped with modern machinery, increasing the production more..

PSC to probe allegations against former CDDRA director

Oct 12 (Island) In an unprecedented move, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to conduct its own preliminary inquiry into four stipulated allegations against a senior medical administrator in the Health Ministry. This is a rare initiative, perhaps the first in recent memory concerning the govt institution involved, as the PSC generally acts on the recommendations of domestic inquiries conducted by the organization itself more..

Gem miners put Horton Plains under threat

Oct 12 (NS) An illegal gem mine encompassing a staggering 75 acres inside Horton Plains has been allowed to operate under the very noses of authorities. The mine is located less than 10 kilometers from the Bogawantalawa Estate, nestled between the estate and Kirigalpoththa. It is learnt that workers from the Bogawantalawa Estate are being used as labor for mining activities. Not only has the mine been operating for years, more..

Email against Sajin: CID called in

Oct 12 (ST) CID detectives have been called in to probe an email allegedly critical of Monitoring MP Sajin Vass Gunawardena. Detectives have recorded statements from P.M. Amza, former Director General of Economic Affairs, and Prasanna Gamage who was attached to the SAARC Secretariat. Both officials have been relieved of their responsibilities. As revealed in the Sunday Times of Sept 28, the two career Foreign Service more..

Govt looking to get JVP's support for Presidential Election?

Oct 12 (AM) In an interesting turn of events, certain media reports have stated that the govt is looking to get the support of the JVP ahead of the forthcoming Presidential election. It has been reported that two key members of the SLFP are to hold discussions with the JVP with regards to this matter. The JVP had earlier decided not to support a common candidate and not to contest the election if President Rajapaksa was contesting. more..

Security forces to return gold pawned in ‘LTTE banks’

Oct 12 (NS) Sri Lankan security forces will engage in another humanitarian mission today (12) when they return the pawned gold in so-called LTTE banks during the war period to its owners under the directives of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Security forces revealed to The Nation that huge amount of gold which had been left behind will be returned to owners at a function in Kilinochchi graced by President Rajapaksa this morning. more..

Muzzling of the budget debate

Oct 12 (Island) Rajapaksa administration is trying to ram the 2015 budget through parliament by deliberately cutting the debate short, in yet another attempt to undermine democracy, Parliament and in the process the rights and freedoms of the people of this country. Article 148 of the Constitution specifies that Parliament has full control over finances. The most important scheduled debate in Parliament is the Budget debate. A citizen cannot be taxed a single rupee without Parliaments approval. more..

International Human Rights: Dispelling Myths

Oct 12 (Island) Kofi Annan took up the report and introduced some elements into the Heads of State summit held in 2005. It had been cut down to include humanitarian intervention only in the case of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide- not natural disasters- and only allowed the use of military force through endorsement by the Security Council under Chapter 7 where Russia and China would also be present with their vetoes. This placated the heads of state gathered there more..

President can contest thrice, claims Wimal

Oct 12 (NS) Minister Wimal Weerawansha claims that the Opposition and some organizations are, at the bidding of western forces, making a useless argument that “Mahinda can’t contest thrice”. “The best thing which the Opposition should do is to go before the Supreme Court and seek a determination. But, they don’t do it, instead they hold lectures and seminars just to satisfy the western forces who don’t want to more..

Extend UN inquiry on Sri Lanka: TDI

Oct 12 (ENS) Tamizhar Desiya Iyyakkam chairman Pazha Nedumaran on Saturday said the period of inquiry by the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Sri Lanka should be extended. Briefing newsmen at a press conference here, he said the term of the committee, constituted to look into the issues of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, will end this month. Sri Lankan president Rajapaksa had not cooperated with the enquiry and also no enquiry could be undertaken in Tamil Nadu. more..

Report on Welikada riots ready for parliament scrutiny

Oct 12 (NS) The final report on the probe pertaining to the unrest within Welikada prisons premises has been completed and will be handed over to the Parliamentary Consultative Committee appointed to analyze the report at the next meeting, Secretary, Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms G.S. Withanage said. The committee which probed into the incident had completed the report less than a month ago. However, the date for the next meeting was yet to be finalized. more..

Presidential order ignored Campsites set up in Kumana Park

Oct 12 (CT) Environmentalists have voiced concern over the Wildlife Director's failure to take action against the Kumana Park Warden, for allowing campsites to be set up within the park. According to reliable sources, until 13 August 2014 Eco Team (Pvt) Ltd had campsites at the Kumana National Park with the knowledge of the Park Warden. Ceylon Today has received photos of Eco Team (Pvt) Ltd and their campsite at more..

GTF says UK meet sent clear message

Oct 12 (CG) The UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF), says its meeting with the British Govt last week indicated the international community had disregarded the ban imposed by the Sri Lankan Govt. British Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth office, Hugo Swire had talks on Sri Lanka last week with a group of Tamil organisations including the GTF. Following the talks Swire affirmed Britain’s strong commitment to the investigation on Sri Lanka by the OHCHR. more..

Hakeem finds himself in a political dilemma

Oct 12 (AM) The SLMC Leader, Minister of Justice Rauff Hakeem is reportedly in a political dilemma due to pressures from his party and the govt. According to local media, the rank and file of his party is demanding him to take a crucial political decision regarding the Presidential Election. However, the govt has reportedly indicated that if Hakeem’s party ceases to support the govt it will be difficult to accept it back. Rauff Hakeem had criticized the govt on several occasions, more..

Colombo linked to Jaffna by steel after 24 years

Oct 12 (ST) After 24 years ‘Yal Devi’ is all set to begin its journey to Jaffna from Colombo with pride, linking the North and the South. Since 1990 its services had to be terminated due to the conflict. President Rajapaksa is due to inaugurate the service from Pallai to Jaffna. The service had been operating up to Pallai after the track was gradually repaired from Vavuniya northward in stages. Railway General Manager B.A.D. more..

Water project stalled over Israeli firm’s big bid price

Oct 12 (ST) A multimillion dollar water project has been put on hold by the Cabinet on the grounds that the estimate the Israeli company that submitted an unsolicited proposal to implement it was 103% more than the estimate by Sri Lankan engineers. A Cabinet memorandum submitted last week and referred for reconsideration says that the Standing Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (SCAPC), which includes Treasury officials, had managed to bring down the bid price by more..

Praveeni Perera speaks at Immigrant Women’s Small Business Expo

Oct 12 (LR) Sri Lankan born Praveeni Perera was among top speakers at the Ottawa edition of the Immigrant Women’s Small Business Expo last week at the Canadian Museum of Nature. The expo was hosted by Canadian Small Business Women (CSBW) a Toronto based organization and arrived in Ottawa this year at the invitation of Ms. Perera. Ms. Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting an Ottawa based company which provides training and consulting services in more..

Northern Province has high unemployment rate

Oct 12 (CT) Northern Province has also had one of the highest budgetary allocations since 2009. In 2011, the budget allocated Rs 12,496 million in 2012, the Uthuru Wasanthaya programme was given Rs 8,307 million and in 2013, the govt allocated Rs 8,000 million for development in the North and East. The lion's share of development work has also been carried out by India with their main project, more..

G.L and Indonesia’s Widodo hold talks

Oct 12 (CG) Indonesia’s President-elect Joko Widodo and Minister G L Peiris, had talks in Indonesia today. Widodo and External Affairs Minister, Professor G.L Peiris greeted each other in front of the media before going in for talks. A press conference was expected to place after the meeting held this evening. Having secured 53.15% of the vote, Widodo emerged as the clear winner over his rival Prabowo Subianto who secured 48.85% of the vote during elections held in July. more..

Sumedha quits Uva Council post

Oct 12 (ST) Uva Provincial Council’s Deputy Chairman and UPFA member Saliya Sumedha yesterday quit his post claiming that the position was not sufficient to serve the public. He said he was opting to remain as a member of the council. Mr. Sumedha, son of Cabinet Minister Sumedha Jayasena, in a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa said even his mother had been sidelined from the development work in the district and she could not meet the expectations of the public. more..

Union anger comes to a boil over Budget promises

Oct 12 (ST) Fed up with broken promises of fund allocations in previous budgets public and private sector employees are launching countrywide protests in hopes of winning a series of demands from the Oct 24 Budget. The workers, backed by trade unions, say they will take to the streets or refrain from work until Govt meets their demands. Settlement of salary anomalies, pay rises and allowances are the central claims. more..

Buddhadasa sues Weerawansa's media secretary demanding Rs. 100 Mn

Oct 12 (AM) Filing a lawsuit before Colombo District Court, Mayor of Kaduwela MC G.H. Buddhadasa had claimed a sum of Rs.100 million as damages from NFF Media spokesman Mohammad Muzammil for making defamatory remarks on him. Mayor alleged that the NFF media spokesman had made this statement with wrongful intention to defame him and had given a wrong impression to the general public that he was unconscious about country’s national policies. more..

Seekkuge Prasanna wrecks West Indies A

Oct 12 (CI) Offspinner Shane Shillingford's five-wicket haul to rein in Sri Lanka A after the hosts had made a tremendous start was overshadowed by legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna's performance that wrecked West Indies A's first innings. Prasanna took 5 for 24 in only 15 overs - seven of those were maidens - to leave the visitors facing the prospect of a huge deficit. The West Indies A openers added 44 before the collapse began and they lost seven wickets for 52 runs. more..

MR says Wigi, NPC hampering progress

Oct 12 (CG) President Rajapaksa says the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) administration is hampering development work in the North. Addressing a public rally in Kilinochchi today, the President said that the Govt has plans for the North but the NPC is not allowing some of the work to progress. President said that he expected to lose the NPC elections last year but yet went ahead and held the polls despite more..