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Ravi says no final decison on Ranil's candidacy at Presidential polls

Oct 13 (AM) UNP MP Ravi karunanayake today stated that the party has not made any final decision on its presidential candidate. He made this revelation in a context where multiple media reports have confirmed that the UNP is to field its National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as its candidate at the forthcoming presidential election. Spokespersons of the govt have already stated that the presidential election will take place in more..

Basil Fernando’s A confession of a lawyer

Oct 14 (CT) When I picked Basil Fernando’s Nitignayekuge Papochcharanaya hewath Mage Kathawa (A Confession of a Lawyer or My Story), admirably written in excellent Sinhala, I got what I reasonably expected. It is a narrative of Basil’s transformations from a curious village boy from Palliyawatta, Wattala, to an internationally reputed human rights advocate now living in technologically advanced city of Hong Kong. Why he lives in Hong Kong is part of the story. more..

Can Mahinda Rajapaksa win again?

Oct 14 (CT) Significance of the recently concluded Uva election was its implications for the presidential vote, which will materialize sooner than later followed by the general election to the national legislature. Uva confirmed that the incumbent president’s chance of winning a third term will not be as easy as it was originally contended. It was widely believed that President Rajapaksa, who has the authority conferred by the constitution to call for a fresh presidential election after more..

Smart pension scheme for pensioners

Oct 14 (SO) Pensions Department has launched a smart pension scheme for retired senior citizens to empower them economically with the help of information technology said Director General of the Pensions Department, Sunil Hettiarachi. Govt pays Rs 10 billion for approximately 543,552 retired senior citizens every month and retirees increase by two thousand every month the Director General said. more..

Abolish preferential voting system

Oct 14 (NS) Recently, it was highlighted in the National Press that polls laws are to be amended with the limited objective of relaxing provisions related to campaigning. Our immediate response to this exercise is why not legalize ‘Kasippu’ (Illicit liquor) also at the same time because the police is unable to eradicate the menace? As we know, the existing election laws pertaining to curtailment of propaganda campaigns by candidates are the result of a very democratic and more..

The practice of honor killing in an early Buddhist society

Oct 14 (NS) If you told me that Buddhism causes dilemmas to rulers who are required by tradition to uphold social norms that enshrine killing such as war, hunting judicial homicide and honor killing, I will snigger. As I snigger, I’ll be thinking of the earliest Buddhist societies such as the Vajjis and the earliest Buddhist royal disciples such as Pasenadi Kosala. The theory of a social dilemma causing Buddhism is outlined in “Betraying Buddhism and Undermining Sri Lanka”, an article by Tisaranee more..

Punch-up highlights cracks in Lanka’s foreign service

Oct 14 (NS) There is no denying that the morale of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service (SLFS) has been hit hard by such fiascos and the unprecedented numbers of political appointees that are being parachuted to fill top vacancies at important consulates. The fact that tensions between certain prominent members of the diplomatic corps has surfaced so publically should also be taken into account by those in power. more..

Crawling in Colombo

Oct 14 (Island) Traffic congestion in Colombo has taken a turn for the worse with the police and city planners groping for a solution. They have launched several programmes to deal with the unwieldy problem but are still scratching the surface. Motorists heaved a sigh of relief when the Marine Drive, or part of it, was constructed at long last. But, sadly, it does not serve the intended purpose owing to bungling on the part of the traffic police and politicians. more..

Preparing for elections with carrot and stick

Oct 14 (Island) During the Uva provincial council election last month President Rajapaksa thanked the visiting Chinese President for having bestowed economic assistance on the country and reduced the price of petrol and electricity. This time there was no Chinese President to share the credit with. But President Rajapaksa directed that the price of cooking gas should be reduced. The government is aware that economic considerations loom large in the minds of the majority of the electorate. more..

'ISIS or AQIS can capitalize on emerging BBS faultline'

Oct 14 (CT) Q: A controversial Buddhist cleric from Myanmar Wirathu announced that he is joining hands with hardline monks in Sri Lanka, alleging that their religion is under threat from Islamic jihadists. Addressing a convention in Colombo of the BBS or Buddhist Force, they said that they would work together to protect their common religion. Could such move be considered a 'threat' to Muslim fundamentalist groups? more..

Airtel Lanka in negotiations to acquire Etisalat operations; Hutch also mulling sale

Oct 14 (CT) Global telecommunications giant Airtel is negotiating to buy the Colombo operations of Etisalat, and negotiations are taking place in the UAE. However, Bharati Airtel Lanka Ltd., CEO Suren Gunawardena, when contacted declined to comment. "This is the reason for the UAE's telecommunications giant Etisalat being negotiated with by Airtel while simultaneous negotiations are going on with other global corporates as well," top telecommunication industry sources said. more..

'Standards' can help Sri Lankan SMEs access new markets

Oct 14 (Island) Standards are a critical element of today's society; they provide a common and repeatable basis for doing things and help bring order to the world we live in. They also play a vital role in the economy, by facilitating business interaction and access to markets. The products we consume today are no longer made in one country; rather they are made in the world. Before ending up with the end consumer, they pass through many countries where people or parts add value more..

Karu speaks out on behalf of Sabaragamuwa students

Oct 14 (FT) UNP LC Chairman Karu Jayasuriya issued a statement yesterday on the issue faced by the Sabaragamuwa University students: What was unleashed at the Pambahinna junction along the Colombo-Badulla main road on a group of Sabaragamuwa University students is by no means an action by a civilised Govt of a civilised nation that values basic human dignity. Launching of peaceful demonstrations is an inherent right more..

Chinese battery manufacture to expand operations in Sri Lanka

Oct 14 (Island) Leoch International Technology Limited, a Chinese sealed acid battery exporter is to expand its Lankan operations aiming for a bigger share of the 3.2 billion dollars in Indian battery market, an official said. "Our Phase I investment in Sri Lanka is 9 million dollars and at the point of entry to Sri Lanka, we have informed there will be a second phase," Sam Teo, Manager HR and and second in command of Bata-Ata Leoch Lanka operations said. more..

13 October, is International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR)

Oct 14 (FT) 13th of October in each year is International Day for Disaster Reduction. With the approval of UN General Assembly, the first day of IDDR, started in 1989. The purpose of the day is to encourage govts and communities to create a disaster reduction culture including the concepts of disaster preparedness, prevention and mitigation. The UN is of the view that each individual in a society has an important role to play in disaster reduction and mitigation process. more..

'JKH’s Waterfront to put SL on world map'

Oct 14 (FT) World-renowned designer and architect Cecil Balmond expressed confidence in the Waterfront, Sri Lanka’s largest private sector investment, as being an icon for the region and one that would put the nation on the world map. Balmond, designer of the newest project by John Keells Holdings (JKH) said: “The Waterfront is very unique. It will be a big icon for the region and not just Sri Lanka. From an architecture and more..

Time to return to old school norms

Oct 14 (ST) Even as India is stridently taking steps to further strengthen her democratic institutions and Prime Minister Modi and his cabinet are declaring their assets for all to see online on Modi’s website in a welcome display of transparency, Lanka finds herself still stuck in the rut of corruption and shows all the signs that she is quite content to remain in its mire and conceal its shame in the bog of hypocrisy holding it as a suitable substitute for democracy. While Lanka hails human rights as more..

Military presence in Northern Province

Oct 14 (EAR) The Northern Provincial Council has asked the Sri Lankan defence forces to vacate from their province. According to the TNA leaders the army occupies nearly 25 per cent of the total land area in the province. But according to the Sri Lankan ministry of defence the total area under the forces in NPC is less than five per cent. Isn’t the army justified in occupying a small portion of land in a former conflict zone? What are your comments? This is a slightly complex question linked to post war more..

Bureaucracy bungles in the East

Oct 14 (CT) Bureaucratic bungling and tight-fisted banks in the once conflict-torn Eastern Province are hampering growth and development in the region, businesses lament. "Small and medium businesses are not supported. They continue to struggle for survival. For example, the Rs 250,000 interest free loan facility promised in the last budget to businesses headed by women has not been received by anyone in the East," more..

Maithree wants Sajith as candidate

Oct 14 (CT) If the power of deciding the next UNP presidential candidate is given to the Party's Working Committee (WC), he will not support the candidate they choose, former Southern Provincial Councillor, Maithree Gunaratne said. He also said that the government has already commenced the presidential election campaign although the Opposition, specially the UNP, is still undecided on what to do. "However we can't support a candidate nominated by the UNP WC. more..

BBm invests US$ 50m on quartz refining

Oct 14 (DN) Blue Bay Mineral International Private Limited (BBM) will be investing over US$ 50 million to set up a second plant to refine and process quartz powder to 99.99%. This will be in collaboration with one of the world’s leading computer giants, Asus computer of Taiwan and another German Company. The investments will come in two stages. BBM Managing Director, Keerthi Wickramaratne told ‘Daily News Business’ that BBM was formed and incorporated in June 2008 at Kandy, more..

National Geographic, IFC, EU and Norway boost geotourism in Eastern Province

Oct 14 (FT) National Geographic Maps will promote the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka as a world-class natural and cultural destination. The project seeks to improve the contribution of tourism to local economic growth by promoting geotourism, a form of tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a destination – its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents. more..

Fashion Bug honours little artists of Sri Lanka at Roo Siththam 2014

Oct 14 (Island) The awards ceremony and prize distribution of "Roo Siththam", an all-island, annual, Childrens art competition organized by Fashion Bug was held at the Bishops College Auditorium recently in commemoration of world children’s day. "Roo Siththam" is the signature annual event pertaining to "Sisu Dirimaga"- Fashion Bug’s social sustainability platform dedicated to education and the up liftment of Sri Lankan students. This year the competition yielded over 45,000 entries more..

Two cops assaulted

Oct 14 (CT) Two policemen, who attempted to raid an illegal liquor distribution centre, in Liyankele, Arachchikattuwa, were assaulted and tied to a tree by villagers. Chilaw Police had to deploy another team to negotiate their release, with the angry villagers. The two policemen were admitted to Chilaw Base Hospital. The assaulted policemen were attached to the Community Police Service of the Chilaw Police Station. One of the policemen was identified as Inspector Prabath Bandula more..

Threatening SMS to Sajin

Oct 14 (DM) A Moratuwa University senior lecturer was yesterday remanded by Mount Lavinia Chief Magistrate when produced in Court by the Colombo Crime Division for allegedly threatening Monitoring MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena by SMS. Senior lecturer Duminda Perera was remanded till Oct 17. Police said he was arrested following investigations on a complaint made by MP on several short messages he had received more..

Two ruling party politicos in fisticuffs

Oct 14 (CT) A home and home battle ensued at a meeting of the Kotmale Pradeshiya Sabha due to an argument between Deputy Minister V.S. Radhakrishnan and Central Provincial Councillor, M. Rameshwaran which turned violent. As a result the meeting was adjourned. The incident took place when Rameshwaran, a UPFA politico, protested against the manner in which Rs 3 million of public money was allocated for a project to build a bridge in the area. more..

Rs 139 B paid as pensions in 2013

Oct 14 (CT) The Department of Pensions spent Rs.139 billion to pay pensions to 526,990 citizens in 2013, the Annual Performance Report 2013, of the Department of Pensions showed. Out of those who had received pensions, most were civil servants – 299,819. The number of widows and orphans pension receivers was 133,248, while pension receivers from the armed forces was 65,224. Meanwhile, 2,529 pirivena teachers are also included in the total of 521,699. more..

SL still has serious levels of hunger-Index

Oct 14 (DM) Sri Lanka still has ‘serious levels’ of hunger although the number of hungry people has declined with its score on the Global Hunger Index improving to the 39th position in 2014. Sri Lanka stood at the 43rd position on the Index last year. In India, the number of hungry people has declined with its score on the Index improving to the 55th position in 2014 due to progress made in addressing underweight in children. more..

Plea against Swamy over boat row

Oct 14 (ENS) A private complaint has been lodged against BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on charges of conspiracy and causing damage to property, holding him responsible for the damage caused to boats of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy. R C Kuppan, a fisherman and resident of Nochikuppam, filed the complaint with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on Monday. The petition alleged that the Lankan Navy was attacking the fishermen in Indian waters, damaging more..

Batticaloa men booze heavily

Oct 14 (CT) Residents in the Batticaloa District spend Rs. 400 million a month on alcohol, District Secretary P.S.M. Charles said. Around 66 alcohol outlets are currently operating in the district and the high consumption of liquor is affecting the livelihood of people. "Due to the increased alcohol consumption, families are adversely affected," she said. Traditionally, men are the breadwinners of Batticaloa families and their increased alcohol consumption has adversely affected family. more..

Elevated highway from Peliyagoda to Fort

Oct 14 (FT) Cabinet last week approved preliminary work towards building an elevated highway from Peliyagoda to Colombo Fort to ease traffic congestion and improve mobility. As per the approval, a MoU will be signed between HASS Joint Venture, Australia and the RDA to obtain detailed proposals. Plans include constructing a new bridge over the Kelani River and an elevated highway from Peliyagoda to Colombo Fort. more..

PAFFREL calls for elections law reforms

Oct 14 (CT) With the need for election law reforms taking centre stage, PAFFREL has requested the Commissioner of Elections to hold the presidential, parliamentary and local govt elections, every five years, on one single day. Recommendation comes as a result of an analysis PAFFREL had done of 42 past elections, conducted during the past 25 years. PAFFREL has also proposed that an elections calendar, which cannot be changed by whoever is in power, be created and maintained. more..

DFCC is to become a public limited company

Oct 14 (LBO) Govt presented a Bill in Parliament on 10th Oct that provides for the registration of DFCC Bank as a public limited company incorporated under the Companies Act with the name DFCC Bank PLC (Company). The bill will become law once parliament passes it and it is certified by the Speaker, company says in a stock announcement. The proposed law will enable the company to come into being on a date to be specified and continue to carry on its business as a licensed bank more..

157 Tamil asylum seekers to have challenge heard in High Court today

Oct 14 (ABC) The validity of an Australian law used to detain 157 Tamil asylum seekers at sea in June will be under the spotlight in the High Court in Canberra today. The group, which included 50 children, set out from Pondicherry in India after fleeing Sri Lanka some time earlier. They were intercepted at sea and taken aboard the Australian Customs ship the Oceanic Protector. Lawyers for the 157 Tamils, now held in Nauru detention more..

SC grants metal dealer leave to proceed with case against police

Oct 14 (Island) Supreme Court has recently granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights violation application of a metal trader of Ratmalana, who has alleged an unauthorised raid on his business premise on Feb. 2, 2013 by some officers of the Mt. Lavinia police station. Petitioner, Don Nishantha, has requested the court to order the Mt Lavinia Inspector, the SSP and the IGP, to disclose to the court the names of officers who had taken part in unauthorised raid. more..

Undergrads promise to behave: All quiet on Thunmulla front

Oct 14 (Island) Lecturers of the Colombo University Arts Faculty resumed academic work yesterday on a written assurance from students to abide by university rules and regulations and respect their teachers. Members of the Faculty Students’ Union had signed a letter last Friday agreeing to seven conditions. They undertook to desist from, among other things, harassing any student physically or mentally. Colombo Arts Faculty dons stopped conducting lectures from last Thursday more..

Stop delaying development for petty political agendas: MR tells NPC

Oct 14 (AM) President Rajapaksa, at the District Development Committee meeting in Jaffna today, urged the TNA led NPC to stop delaying development work in the North due to petty political agendas. “Politics and development are two different things. Mixing people's well being and politics will hinder development in the province,” the President said addressing the Development Committee meeting which he chaired more..

Yal Devi, Gold & Title Deeds

Oct 14 (DM) President Rajapaksa yesterday re-inaugurated the Yal Devi train service to Jaffna after a lapse of more than two decades. He also handed over to the owners the gold jewellery that had been pawned in the Thamileela Waippakam or the Tamil Eelam Bank operated by the LTTE during its heyday. Title deeds for lands were also handed over to the people at the ceremony in Kilinochchi on Sunday. Unfortunately the majority of the northern people’s elected representatives to more..

Saving the top seven

Oct 14 (DM) The Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) has officially named seven wild animals as “Top Seven Wild Sri Lanka” at the Department’s 65th Anniversary which was commemorated on 1st Oct. Top Seven Wild Sri Lanka include: the Asian Elephant (Elephantus Zeylonicus Maximus), the Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya), the Sloth Bear (Melursus ursinus), the Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), the Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus), more..

Why Sri Lanka needs a sexual revolution

Oct 14 (DM) The plight of a sex worker in Ratnapura, who was assaulted by a cop in public and now has her mother remanded over trumped up charges of prostitution is microscopic of the evils that beset Sri Lankan society. When the victim complained, the police refused to press charges against their ilk and tried to bribe the woman to withdraw her complaint. Failing that, they orchestrated a demonstration by the local more..