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MICE tourism targets 150,000 visitors

Oct 19 (SO) The MICE – Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences, Exhibitions and Events sector targets around 150,000 visitors to the country by the end of this year, CEO, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) Vipula Vanigasekera said. He said the number of meetings and conferences will increase to 365 this year and 375 next year compared to 325 last year. The number of exhibitions will increase from 95 last year to 110 this year and 120 in 2016 and employment opportunities from more..

Govt strongly defends resolution at UNHRC

Oct 19 (CG) Govt strongly defended the resolution on Sri Lanka adopted at the UNHRC recently and rejected claims that it was a threat to Sri Lanka’s National interests. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that anyone in Sri Lanka who opposes the resolution is indirectly backing proposals made against Sri Lanka by TN Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. He said that Jayalalithaa and former TN Chief Minister more..

Port City EIA report soon

Oct 19 (SO) Govt agencies seem to be moving towards a final approval of the Port City project, currently stalled due to high ecological risks, but environmental groups cry foul claiming that they had not been consulted as required by the environmental impact assessment process. Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Report on the US $1.4 billion Colombo Port City Project will be released between October 20-25 and referred to a technical committee consisting of officials from 25 institutions more..

Adivasi youth joins Navy

Oct 19 (DN) Sri Lanka Navy created history by recruiting an Aadhivasi youth into its 223rd intake. The passing out parade of the intake of 366 recruits was held under the patronage of Rear Admiral J.J. Ranasinghe at Sri Lanka Navy Ships Nipuna in Galle on Saturday. Among the large crowd present at the passing out ceremony was the great grandfather of Naval recruit Prasanka Jayawardana, Aadhivasi youth. Unaapaana Varige Heenbandiyala aththo of Dambana, Mahiyanagana more..

GSP+: X’mas gift looms for Sri Lanka!

Oct 19 (FT) Along with the universal cheerfulness of Christmas, the month of December could bring further joy for Sri Lanka as it seeks to succeed in its quest to win back the crucial GSP+ benefit. Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka Head David Daly, said that senior officials from Brussels were preparing to hold talks on GSP plus with local stakeholders this December. The delegation is to meet in Colombo to discuss more..

Three Lankans achieve career-best rankings

Oct 19 (DN) Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne and Dhammika Prasad achieved career best ICC Rankings after the opening Test match against West Indies. Chandimal played a dominant role in SL's innings victory where he scored a knock of 151 in the first innings, which has given him a lift of six places for a career-best 22nd spot. Karunaratne's knock of 186 in the first innings has also vaulted him into ten places to a career-high 28th position in the ICC Player Rankings for Test batsmen. more..

Tea factory owners request working capital facility

Oct 19 (DN) The Sri Lanka Tea Factory Owners Association initiated a request to the govt, for a working capital facility, similar to that granted in 2009, during the Iraqi crisis, said Gaya Samarasekera former Chairman Sri Lanka Tea Factory Owners Association. He was speaking at their AGM at Waters Edge. “The adverse market conditions in the last 22 months, have compelled our members to resort to excessive borrowings, to meet the working capital requirements,” he said. more..

Let bygones be bygones, Colombo urges Beijing, as Chinese loans take their toll

Oct 19 (SCMP) Sri Lanka is urging China to put their disputes behind them and help the South Asian nation through one of its worst financial crises ever, caused partly by excessive Chinese loans contracted by the previous govt of Beijing ally Mahinda Rajapaksa. “Chinese loans are a big part of our problem. A bulk of the govt expenditure goes into servicing them,” Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. more..

Setting up of Independent Commissions should be open to public

Oct 19 (FT) The establishment of independent commissions should be open to the public and completed within the next three weeks, the grouping of civil activists, DecentLanka2015, has said in a statement. Following is the full statement issued by the grouping signed by Attorney-at-Law Neville Ananda, Attorney-at-Law Sujeewa Dahanayake, social activist Muditha Karunamuni, journalist Kusal Perera, trade union leader Anton Marcus and Attorney-at-Law Srinath Perera: more..

Court rejects all 15 interim orders against Ceylinco Insurance

Oct 19 (FT) In a landmark case in which shareholders Global Rubber Industries Ltd., Prabash Subasinghe and Global Sea Foods Ltd. sought 15 interim orders against insurance giant Ceylinco Insurance Plc, the Commercial High Court turned down all of these. This was one of a series of cases which involve Ceylinco Insurance PLC, Prabash Subasinghe and his two companies Global Rubber Industries Ltd. and Global Sea Foods Ltd. in various courts. In this case, Global Rubber, more..

'Death toll in last stage of War uncertain'

Oct 19 (Hindu) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has acknowledged that there are no definite figures regarding the final estimate of casualties in the last stage of the Eelam War, which concluded in May 2009. “No one knows. Even UNHRC couldn’t say,” he said. He also hinted that tally could be less than 40,000, figure originally mentioned in a report of the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts in March 2011. more..

Bayliss keen for Mahela return

Oct 19 (OS) Trevor Bayliss is eager to utilise Mahela Jayawardene's expertise again by welcoming the Sri Lanka great back into the England coaching setup. Jayawardene was employed as a batting consultant by Bayliss on a short-term basis in the UAE but flew home after the draw against Pakistan in the first Test. The 38-year-old worked alongside batting coach Mark Ramprakash, sharing his invaluable knowledge of what it takes to succeed with the bat on pitches in Asia. more..

Lankan appointed juror in Denmark

Oct 19 (CT) Chairman of the Centre for Peace and Social Development in Jackland Denmark T. Tharmakulasingam who hailed from Jaffna has been appointed as a Juror of the Western High Court. Tharmakulasingam has been living in Vejen, for the past 31 years and functioned as a Juror of the District Court of Denmark. Born in Karavetti, Jaffna, Tharmakulasingam has written several articles and translations, including Danish writer H.C. Andersen's stories from Danish into Tamil. more..

Conflicting reports on Avant Garde vessel

Oct 19 (DN) Navy and Police have come up with conflicting statements on the controversial vessel carrying a consignment of arms for Avant Garde. ASP Ruwan Gunasekera said that there were issues related to the serial numbers of some weapons found in the floating armoury and the related documents. Despite this, AG has now instructed IGP to conduct investigations on Avant Garde issue under Money Laundering Act more..

I defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa: SF

Oct 19 (DM) While claiming that there is no good governance as expected in the country, Filed Marshal Sarath Fonseka claimed that he is the one who defeated former President Rajapaksa. “There is no Yahapalanaya as expected by the public. If the Govt wants to go ahead with the path that the people expected, it (Govt) should defeat the supporters who were with Mahinda Rajapaksa in the previous regime,” Fonseka said while addressing a party meeting in Batticaloa. more..

STF join search for Kotakethana phantom

Oct 19 (CT) Police STF has commenced investigations to locate and arrest a knife wielding suspect who had terrorized a mother and a daughter in the Kotakethana area. Senior Police officers said that this 62-year-old widow and her 30-year-old daughter were terrorized by this unidentified suspect last Saturday evening. According to the Police, there is Police Security Post that the Police officers have to report to when they report to and forth from work. At around 7:00 p.m. last Saturday, more..

MR to challenge PRECIFAC’s legality

Oct 19 (FT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is likely to challenge the legality of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into Serious Acts of Fraud, Corruption and Abuse of Power, State Resources and Privileges (PRECIFAC) in Court of Appeal. Sources close to Rajapaksa said that his team of lawyers was now looking into the possibility of going before Court of Appeal against PRECIFAC, more..

Ancient graves during pre-Wijeya era found

Oct 19 (DM) Several more graves were found in the ancient cemetery at Ibbankatuwa in Dambulla that would run as far back as the Pre-Wijeya era, Post Graduate Institute of Archaeology revealed. Senior lecturer of the Post Graduate Institute Ranjith Bandara said it was of significance that the history of the graves would run as far back as the Pre-Wijeya era. He said clay pots and small vessels were among the findings that contained in the articles used by the dead. more..

Suspect in Nasheed’s lawyer stabbing spotted in Colombo

Oct 19 (MI) A young man wanted by Interpol on a charge of stabbing a lawyer who represents former President Mohamed Nasheed has been spotted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, according to a credible source. Shafraz Ibrahim, 23 years, of Karankaage, Raa Atoll Inguraidhoo, was spotted at Sosun Villa, a property owned by the Maldivian government, playing football with members of the Maldivian student community in Colombo. The Maldives Educational And Cultural Center (MECC) is located at Sosun Villa. more..

Singapore to revise master plan for Sri Lanka's Megapolis

Oct 19 (ST) Singapore will handle the revised master plan for Sri Lanka's Megapolis, an ambitious plan to develop the country's Western Province, which includes Colombo, into a massive urban agglomeration, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. "Singapore's Cesma did the planning in 2004, but it was not followed up by President Rajapaksa," he said, referring to former HDB design subsidiary which later morphed into Surbana Jurong. more..

Participatory democracy and participatory development

Oct 19 (DM) Though most people are unaware of it and others choose to ignore it, world poverty alleviation is a high priority issue because until and unless there is a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources, there is no justice and thereby there will be no lasting peace. That is one of the main reasons why we are seeing so many wars, wars within wars, various forms of terrorism and uprisings in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas. For instance the US invaded Afghanistan on more..

Compensating victims of racial hatred

Oct 19 (Island) About 130 families affected by the 1983 anti-Tamil violence had been given freehold land, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne informed the media on Thursday. This is a baby step in the right direction belated as it may be. Thousands of Tamil civilians perished or lost their property at the hands of organised goons with links to the then JRJ regime in 1983. No govt has cared to probe that systematically carried out pogrom, and only a handful of victims have been compensated. more..

Villagers struggle with water contaminated with salt and pesticides

Oct 19 (ST) Villagers struggling for the past 10 years over a water supply tainted with salinity, pesticide residues and mud – and sometimes no water at all – lost their patience and resorted to violent protests this week but their problems are still far from resolution. “The water we receive passes through 22 irrigation tanks and all the paddy fields along the way before we receive it at the Bandagiriya tank. more..

'Megapolis needs to overcome several challenges'

Oct 19 (LBO) Minister Champika Ranawaka says that if the Megapolis mega development project is to be successful then it must address several social, environmental and economic obstacles that lie ahead. “One is the social problem where we have over 100,000 slum dwellers in the Western Province,” he said. “We need to change their livelihoods & life patterns, to do this you need participatory development.” more..

TULF seeks commission to probe Amirthalingam’s killing

Oct 19 (CG) TULF has urged the Govt to appoint a Presidential commission to investigate the assassination of the former leader of the opposition Appapillai Amirthalingam. In a letter to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, Secretary General of the TULF V. Anandasangaree said that now is the best time to investigate the assassination of the former leader of the opposition. “Please have a special Presidential commission to more..

90% LTV from today; Ravi K instructs CB

Oct 19 (DM) In an interesting turn of events, Minister Ravi Karunanayake has sent formal instructions to Central Bank asking the monetary authority to revise the vehicle financing Loan-To-Value (LTV) up to 90% from the current 70% with effect from today. He said that the 90% LTV would be effective from today but the banking and financial sector is yet to receive the formal directive from the Central Bank. more..

Navy at sea over MV Avant Garde

Oct 19 (SL) Administration of the SL Navy has come under criticism for their failure to provide the MV Avant Garde vessel with the required facilities to enter the Sri Lankan waters from the Red Sea even after receiving Defence Ministry approval. MV Avant Garde had made a request to the Defence Ministry through Rakna Arakshaka Lanka on Sept 22 seeking three marine security officers and necessary weapons for the vessel’s security more..

Govt will develop country while winning confidence of all communities: President

Oct 19 (PSL) The new Govt is committed to develop the country while winning the confidence of all communities in the country, said President Maithripala Sirisena. He further said that the govt has received enormous support in this regard in nationally as well as internationally. Development programs of the new govt will be implemented with vigorously from next January, he added. He made these observations more..

Demands for bribes made Sri Lanka lose investments under former regime

Oct 19 (EN) Sri Lanka lost important foreign investments because of demands for bribes by officials linked to senior figures of the former Rajapaksa regime, the head of investment promotion agency said. “One investor said adios when an upfront bribe was demanded for 25 million dollars,” said Upul Jayasuriya, chairman of BOI. He said a very respected senior architect had described the demand for the bribe from the investor more..

No difference between Sirisena regime and its predecessor: IUSF

Oct 19 (Island) The incumbent govt is moving in the same direction as Mahinda Rajapaksa regime and employing the very same oppressive methods to silence the voice of the people, the Inter University Students’ Federation says. In a statement signed by its Convener Lahiru Weeraskera, the IUSF says that visuals of Rathupaswala people being mercilessly attacked and shot when they took to the streets more..

‘Release of convicted terrorists not possible unless govt takes policy decision’

Oct 19 (Island) Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe emphasized that convicted LTTEers couldn’t be released unless the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration took a policy decision to that effect. Minister said that about 60 convicts were among approximately 270 detained by successive govts over a period of time. President’s Counsel was responding to persistent demand for the immediate release of political prisoners. more..

Appointment of losing candidates as NL MPs perceived as unethical: EU monitors

Oct 19 (Island) European Union (EU) election observers have, in their final report on Aug 17 Parliamentary election, noted that the awarding of National List seats to losing candidates has come under strong criticism from representatives of domestic observer organisations which have held that the practice is unethical though not illegal. EU monitors have urged political parties to ensure more transparency as regard national list more..

Bogus family background reports: 22 officials on the mat

Oct 19 (Island) Minister Thalatha Athukorala warned of stern action against officials engaged in issuing false Family Background Reports (FBR) for women to take up jobs abroad. She said that 22 Development Officers who had issued false FBRs had been put on the mat. Since inquiries against 16 of them were progressing they had been suspended. Investigation against six had been completed and they had been interdicted by the Foreign Employment Ministry Secretary, she added. more..

Central Bank seen holding rates low on Tuesday to support economy

Oct 19 (Reuters) Central bank is expected to keep its policy interest rates unchanged at record lows for the sixth straight month on Tuesday, a Reuters poll found, as policy makers remain focused on spurring economic growth amid global headwinds. Twelve out of 14 analysts surveyed expected the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to hold steady the standing deposit facility rate (SDFR) at 6% and the standing lending facility rate (SLFR) at 7.5%. All 14 analysts predicted the statutory reserve ratio more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lankan shares end at over 3-month low

Oct 19 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares closed at their lowest level in more than three months on Monday, falling for a fifth straight session as investors awaited cues from govt policies and budget, brokers said. The main stock index ended 0.05%, or 3.39 points, weaker at 7,017.35, its lowest close since July 13. "There is no excitement. There is a lot of clutter regarding what to expect from the budget," said Danushka Samarasinghe, research head at Softlogic stockbrokers. more..

Education: Going beyond 6%

Oct 19 (DM) The government has announced a four-fold increase for education under the budget in 2016. The allocations for education would go up to Rs. 185.9 billion from the Rs. 47.6 billion allocated in the 2015 Budget. That is obviously a lot of money. In the first place, it is a salutary decision, a long awaited one, indeed, on the part of the Govt. However, this money could well be squandered, if it failed to identify the real problems that beset our education system. more..

Air Force’s contribution for national security is laudable: President

Oct 19 (PSL) “The Sri Lanka Air Force, demonstrating its specific skills, weakened the enemy by attacking them directly when the Army and Navy were facing difficult situations in the operation to eradicate LTTE terrorism in the last few decades”, said President Maithripala Sirisena. The President made these remarks participating at the passing out ceremony of commissioning Cadet Officers of the Air Force and more..

Video: Woman chained father to a kennel re-remanded

Oct 19 (DM) Kandy Magistrate today further remanded a 42-year-old daughter who was arrested for allegedly locking her 72-year-old father in a dog cage in Balagolla. The woman was arrested after an officer attached to a police patrolling team had spotted the man was being held inside the cage. The father was living in a cramped cage made of bricks and metal bars, according to the police. Victim has been admitted to the Menikhinna Base hospital. Suspected daughter will be produced before more..

The Economics of Democracy

Oct 19 (GV) “After emergency laws are lifted, constitutions are drafted, and elections are held, policymakers in the Middle East will be faced with a tough practical challenge: how to create economic opportunities for the region’s teeming millions.” This was what two analysts, Bassem Awadallah and Adeel Malik, wrote in October 2012. The importance they accorded to economics in bringing about and sustaining positive political change is valid beyond the Middle East. more..