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Editorial: Hungry Ghosts

Oct 21 (Island) The Opposition is doing everything in its power to prevent President Rajapaksa from contesting the next presidential election expected to be held in a few months. They are trying to do to him what the government has already done to former war winning Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who has been disqualified from contesting elections in time for the presidential contest. Some politicians are even threatening to move the SC against President Rajapaksa’s more..

Memories of Yal Devi in times of yore

Oct 21 (Island) The resumption of the train service to Jaffna after 24 years has evoked in me the fond memories of the Yal Devi and its sister train, Uttara Devi in the 1960s, when I served in Anuradhapura as a Land Development Officer. Anuradhapura was even then a popular station especially for public service officers both from the North and South who were unable to get stations of their choice closer to their places of residence. The main reason was that the express train service provided by more..

A parting of ways

Oct 21 (Island) JHU MP Athureliye Rathana Thera announced last week that his party would do everything in its power to defeat President Rajapaksa at the forthcoming presidential election unless the Constitution was amended, curbing the powers of the presidency and reintroducing the 17th Amendment. Yet back in 2001, the JHU was the only party in Parliament that voted against the 17th Amendment. more..

Institutional credibility a must

Oct 21 (CT) The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in its flagship publication released yesterday said Sri Lanka must improve the credibility of its institutions. "To sustain continued economic prosperity, Sri Lanka must institute reforms that would reallocate factors of production across sectors of different productivity. Here, the quality of a country's institutions matter. Incentives built into institutional structures determine whether they act as rent seeking entities, influencing more..

SriLankan & SLNSS seal ground-breaking CA

Oct 21 (Island) The Management of SriLankan Airlines sealed a new productivity based collective agreement with the Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya (SLNSS), for a period of three years (2014-2017) with the aim of providing enhanced incentives and benefits for the SriLankan employees. The agreement comes into being when the Airline is embarking on a new journey, with its wide-body fleet renewal starting from this month. The Airline views this as a vital move more..

'Monetary policy on even keel'

Oct 21 (FT) Just days ahead of Budget 2015 the Central Bank yesterday downplayed its effect on monetary policy, insisting possible relief to the public would not impact its long-term targets of low inflation and sustainable growth. Explaining the rationale behind the country’s current monetary policy stance, Central Bank Deputy Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe told a gathering at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce more..

BASL ready to help govt

Oct 21 (DM) Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) said it was ready to help if the Govt takes up the legal battle in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to reintroduce the proscription on the LTTE. While condemning the Foreign Ministry’s failure to maintain the LTTE in the European Union’s proscribed list, the BASL said in this hour of need it was prepared to share the knowledge of its eminent members to defend the country. “I note with shock and anger that the proscription of the LTTE more..

Govt settles banks, but edges out private sector

Oct 21 (CT) Credit issued to the govt by domestic banks and the Monetary Authority eased significantly in August with credit to the private sector picking up, latest data showed as affluent borrowers including the govt enjoy sharp reductions in lending rates, at the expense of ordinary borrowers and fixed-income earners. During August, the govt paid back domestic banks Rs 36.8 billion and borrowed Rs 4.3 billion from the Monetary Authority, the Central Bank. more..

Minister waxing green, tea factory owners seeing red

Oct 21 (Island) At the Sri Lanka Tea Factory Owners Association (SLTFOA) AGM recently Chief Guest, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said his interventions in the industry had brought unparalleled improvement. 2013 had recorded the highest crop on record. He further said comparative crop returns from Sept 2013 to Sept 2014 had already indicated an increase of 19%. ‘Currently, all pointers were that 2014 would more..

Kaushal five-for gives SL A slender lead

Oct 21 (CI) Offspinner Tharindu Kaushal's 5 for 73 gave Sri Lanka A a slender lead of 15 runs in the first innings after they were bowled out for 166 by West Indies A in Matara. Sri Lanka A ended the third day on 63 for 4 in their second innings. Sri Lanka A were 137 for 6 at the start of the day but could add only 29 runs to the overnight score, with Shannon Gabriel picking up three of the last four wickets to end with 5 for 29. Kithuruwan Vithanage went on from 36 to 54 and was the last wicket to fall. more..

TNA sending out confusing signals to India?

Oct 21 (EAR) In a single stroke, Northern Province CM C V Wigneswaran seems to have sent out confusing and contradictory signals to India. On the one hand, he wants India to play an active role in finding a ‘political solution’ to the ethnic problem in SL. On the other, he boycotted the India-funded Colombo-Jaffna railway inauguration. It was the second Wigneswaran-type ‘boycott’ of India, citing the presence of President Rajapaksa as the reason, however justified or otherwise that be. more..

Govt foisting Tiger labels on UNP to serve election agenda: Karu

Oct 21 (FT) UNP has hit out against allegations by the Govt that the main opposition party had been involved in a recent court ruling lifting sanctions against the LTTE in the European Union, calling it petty politicking for the forthcoming election season. UNP LC Chairman Karu Jayasuriya said in a statement issued that the European Court of Justice ruling relaxing the terror controls on the LTTE was a failure of the Govt, which should more..

NSACP to educate cops

Oct 21 (CT) The National STD/AIDS Control Programme (NSACP) has commenced a programme where they will educate policemen and high risk groups. Policemen will be educated on why they should not hinder the activities of organizations that distribute condoms,. While high risk groups will be educated on Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), Dr Sisira Liyanage, Director of NSACP said. Rate of HIV infection is ten times more among male homosexuals than all other groups. more..

National consensus on political reform fast gaining ground says UNP

Oct 21 (Island) The proposed 19th Amendment to the Constitution presented by the JHU backed Pivithuru Hetak was a progressive step towards national reconciliation since it did not make any reference to the abolition of the 13th Amendment, the UNP said. UNP MP R.Yogarajan observed that the Pivithuru Hetak proposals presented by its convener Ven. Rathana Thera had placed emphasis on the need to abolish the executive presidency, reintroduce the 17th Amendment more..

All concerned concurred with decision to tour India: SLC

Oct 21 (WI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said it had followed due procedures when agreeing to the short five-match ODI tour of India that will begin in November, and said the decision was taken in the best interest of the game after West Indies cut their tour of India short prematurely. When disagreements between the West Indies players and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) forced a dramatic exit for the Caribbean side, more..

Dubai’s The First Ferry eyes Sri Lanka

Oct 21 (GDI) The First Ferry a Dubai based international boutique design office with offices in London, Singapore, Hong Kong and India and known for their cutting-edge style and classy designs is looking to start operations in Sri Lanka. Prateek Chaudhry, skipper and founder of The First Ferry said, “I and my team of holistic designers have worked round – the – clock to propose and implement exceptional ideas posed by unique site situations for the BPG office. more..

Fishers protesting EU ban pelted with stones

Oct 21 (CT) A tense situation arose, when 300 fishermen gathered to protest opposite of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ministry at Maligawatte, Colombo, were pelted with stones. Three injured fishermen were hospitalized. Fishermen from Negombo gathered in protest against EU decision to ban imports of Sri Lanka fish. The fishermen demanded that the ministry take instant action to remedy the situation. All Island General Fisheries Federation President, more..

Chennai theatre vandalised for screening Vijay's controversial film Kaththi

Oct 21 (NDTV) Uncertainty shrouds the Diwali release of actor Vijay's Kathi in Tamil Nadu. Vandals, allegedly belonging to pro Tamil groups targeted Satyam Cinemas, a popular multiplex in Chennai before it was to commence online booking for the controversial film. An unidentified group allegedly broke glass panes and threw crude kerosene bombs inside the complex. However no one was injured. more..

Sri Lanka has to play to its strengths: Kuoni UK Chief

Oct 21 (FT) The largest wholesale tour operator in the UK has commended the post-war tourism infrastructure progress, but emphasised Sri Lanka needs to play to its strength to increase the flow. Kuoni Managing Director UK Derek Jones who was in Colombo recently, in an interview, said: “Sri Lanka needs to play to its strengths. For leisure travel, it is in a competitive market. We sell 88 destinations around the world so there is a lot of choice for outbound customers. more..

U'grads to protest in Colombo: Demand Mahapola bursary be doubled

Oct 21 (CT) IUSF has demanded that the govt, in Budget 2015, take measures to increase the Mahapola scholarship and the students allowance quota to a minimum of Rs 5,000. IUSF said that the current Mahapola scholarship bursary of Rs 2,500 had not been increased by a cent for nine years, thus forcing students to take up employment in the evening in order to make ends meet. Some of their other demands are to put a halt to privatizing education, 'put a stop to charging of money more..

Govt passes new laws restricting sale of land to foreigners

Oct 21 (FT) New laws were passed yesterday in Parliament making necessary provisions to stipulate restrictions on the sale of land to foreigners. New regulations cover foreign companies and certain institutions with majority foreign shareholdings subjected to certain exemptions. According to Govt, new laws were needed to continue development policies being promoted in the backdrop of a globally-integrated more..

Ranil off to Singapore

Oct 21 (DM) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe left for Singapore on a two day visit, his office announced. Statement said he was expected in the country on Thursday. However UNP MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha told Parliament that Mr. Wickremesinghe would be meeting some ministers from the Sri Lankan govt during his visit. “The situation is such in this country that it is not safe for our leader to meet Cabinet Ministers of the Sri Lankan govt in this country. more..

Secret deal at Kirimandala Mawatha

Oct 21 (Island) The land of the Milco factory at Narahenpita has been transferred to a well-known private company for a Mixed Development Project. It has already been announced that Milco factory will be shifted to Badalgama. The deal however is being kept a top secret by officials concerned at Milco (Pvt) Limited and Ministry of Livestock and Rural Community Development under the purview of Minister Arumugam Thondaman, who was not contactable over the past few days. more..

Unfinished war in Sri Lanka threatens paradise regained

Oct 21 (Reuters) In the fishing village of Oori, two mothers await news of their young daughters who were taken to a care home three months ago after their alleged rape by members of SL navy. In a lawyer's office in the town of Mannar, a middle-aged woman sobs uncontrollably as she recounts her five-year struggle to find her son, one of thousands of cases of young men and women who disappeared after being picked up by soldiers. more..

Was temple elephant euthanized? It broke a leg in fall from backhoe

Oct 21 (CT) Environmentalists allege that an elephant belonging to Devram Vehera was euthanized on Friday, after the animal fell and broke its front leg, when an attempt was made to lift him with a backhoe, after being sedated, failed. The fall caused the leg to break, sources told Ceylon Today. The temple is located in Pannipitiya. The elephant was in musth at the time of its death. The animal was lying on the ground after apparently being over sedated. more..

'Budget 2015, a people-friendly development oriented one'

Oct 21 (DN) Budget 2015 that is to be presented to Parliament on October 24, 2014 will definitely be a development oriented and people-friendly budget, Minister Susil Premajayantha said. He said that as usual the President discussed with trade unions, employees, media, businessmen and all other groups representing various social levels before preparing the budget proposals. “Therefore budget 2015 will strengthen the development drive of the govt and will definitely provide relief to more..

Indo-Lanka MoU sought to bring back Tamil refugees

Oct 21 (ENS) A Sri Lankan Tamil refugee rehabilitation organisation which has been working in TN and Sri Lanka for the past 30 years, has sought a MOU between Sri Lanka and India to facilitate and expedite the return of the refugees to the island nation. In a letter to President Rajapaksa, S C Chandrahasan, Treasurer of the Organization for Elangai Refugees’ Rehabilitation (Ceylon), pointed out that around 65,000 Lankan Tamil more..

Govt. doing nothing to counter ECJ ruling

Oct 21 (DM) The European Court of Justice (ECJ) while striking down anti-terrorism sanctions imposed on the LTTE by the European Union has attributed its ruling last week to the decision by the EU leaders in 2006 to place the LTTE on a list of terrorist organisations being based on “imputations derived from the press and the internet” rather than on direct investigation of the group’s actions, as required by the law. Needless to say that this is a preposterous situation, since a bloc of dozens of more..

Research, Development...

Oct 21 (DM) Daniel Bell, a well -known American sociologist, used the phrase, ‘post-industrial society’ to refer to highly developed countries like the US, Japan and Germany. Much of the labour in these countries had moved away from agricultural and industrial activities in favour of service industries. This transition did not necessarily lead to a decline in industrial and agricultural production because labour was replaced by modern machinery and other labour saving methods of more..

'Port projects are open for any country'

Oct 21 (ST) Any country was free to bid for the proposed third terminal at the Colombo Port and the many other terminals that are being planned for Hambantota Port, said Priyath B Wickrama, Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman. “We know that,” he said, when asked whether he was aware that India was concerned about China’s growing foothold in SL - particularly the country’s ports. But the process is open. more..

Jaffna: Arriving in style!

Oct 21 (SL) Huge crowds gathered spontaneously and to some of the onlookers the Yaal Devi was a novelty after 24 years. The diaspora media organisations were working overtime – Rajapaksa’s visit to the North was a singular achievement for the President. He smiled, he chatted, he tried his Tamil language skills, he ate their food, he donned the customary pagri and he punched the hundreds of hands that were more..

Alcohol stifles family peace in Mullivaikkal

Oct 21 (CT) "Krishna Anandan," she said as she proudly introduced herself and welcomed us to her compound; a notice board with "Rs 350 per kilo of broiler chicken" written on it stood outside her gate. Anandan is a resident of Mullivaikkal West, the village where the last stages of the war took place and though the people are doing their best to get life back on track, the dark clouds of the war haunt them when they more..

UNP MPs attacked at ports authority training school

Oct 21 (AM) A group of UNP MPs who visited the training school of Sri Lanka Ports Authority in Slave Island have come under attack. UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne said that they went on a fact finding mission to the Ports Authority Training School to see whether state resources were being used for the presidential election campaign. Wickramarathne said they had received information that resources of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority were more..

Roshan Mahanama is fourth match referee to officiate in 200 ODIs

Oct 21 (NDTV) A former captain and member of the Sri Lanka squad that won the 1996 ICC Cricket World Cup, Mahanama represented his country in 52 Tests and 213 ODIs between 1986 and 1999, in which he scored 2,576 and 5,162 runs, respectively. Roshan Mahanama became the latest member of the ICC's elite panel of match referees to reach the 200-mark milestone in ODI when he officiated the first ODI between more..

Lankans smothering in lead poison – Study

Oct 21 (Island) A recent study by the Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) reveals that lead in household dust and at half of the 18 schools where samples were taken contained was beyond tolerance limit, CEJ Environment Officer Chalani Rubesinghe said the study has shown that scraping of leaded paint could contribute up to 600 microgrammes per square foot of the toxic dust whereas scientific studies revealed that more..

Theiveegan’s mother prevented from leaving

Oct 21 (DM) Sundaralingam Rajithamalar, the mother of Suntharalingam Gajatheeban, alias Theiveegan was prevented at the BIA in the early hours today when she was about to leave for Canada, sources said. Accordingly, she was prevented from leaving the country although she had valid visa due to the ongoing inquiry against her slain son, Theiveegan, who was shot dead during a clash with the Army along with Gobi more..

Swamy urges Modi to nominate President Rajapaksa for Bharat Ratna

Oct 21 (AM) Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has urged Indian PM Narendra Modi that his govt confer Bharat Ratna on SL President Rajapaksa, under whose leadership the LTTE was eliminated. "This elimination of the LTTE must be recognised in India as a welcome contribution to our national security,” he said in a letter to Modi. It was also reported that Modi has acknowledged receipt of Swamy's letter. more..

Party leaders, forced to back down on decision due to public displeasure

Oct 21 (Island) Amidst mounting public displeasure on MPs not attending parliament sessions, party leaders decided to revise their previously reached agreement that quorum as well as prior notification was not required in the House for any vote to be taken during the budget debate. Party leaders had previously agreed not to call for abrupt divisions in the House during the budget debate for the convenience of all parties. more..

EU insists ruling on LTTE not political

Oct 21 (CG) The European Union (EU) today insisted that the court ruling on LTTE sanctions in the EU is not a political decision taken by the EU governments but a legal ruling of a court. On 16 October 2014 the General Court of the European Union annulled measures taken by the Council of the European Union against the LTTE, namely the designation of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation and the freezing of LTTE funds. more..

Save the pensioners from disaster

Oct 21 (CT) The lowering of interest rates on fixed deposits has affected the pensioners very badly. Their only source of income, the interest paid on their commuted pensions and EPF monies invested as fixed deposits in banks, has drastically reduced pushing them into penury and helplessness. That is at a time when they need money for life sustaining vitamins and medication, the prices of which have gone sky high as are the prices of other essential items which they cannot do without, more..