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CICT attracts first-ever 16,000+ TEU ship

Nov 20 (FT) The Port of Colombo delivered on its promise of establishing Colombo as the regional maritime hub when the brand new 16,000+ TEU ship MV MSC New York berthed at Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) yesterday. The terminal is owned and operated by China Merchants Holdings International Company (CMHI). CICT General Manager Tissa Wickramasinghe said: more..

'State institutions need to be people-friendly'

Nov 20 (ST) Smooth workings of a govt could be ruined if officials in govt offices in a remote area don’t handle the public in a people-friendly manner. Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President, made this comment while speaking at the media briefing to mark the launching of facility to view ETF Information. He said that once a politician in England has said that the popularity of the govt based in London depends on the attitude of the police constable on the road, towards the people. more..

More than 5,000 foreign students in Sri Lankan universities - SB

Nov 20 (Island) More than 5,000 foreign students were studying in Sri Lanka at present at the state universities and degree awarding institutions, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. He said that govt expected to increase it to 100,000 by 2020 under the govt’s programme to become the Asia’s education hub. "Students from the Middle East come here for higher education due to problems they face in the West," he said, adding that students from India, the Maldives and Pakistan also come to SL more..

US$ 45 bn worth ITC Group’s investment in SL spurred by Indian authorities

Nov 20 (Island) ‘We were encouraged by Indian authorities at the highest level to make a significant investment in Sri Lanka and that is one of the reasons we have decided to make an outlay of US $300 million in our maiden overseas foray in the hospitality sector, Y.C. Deveshwar, Chairman ITC Ltd. said in Colombo. Deveshwar who heads ITC businesses in India with a market cap of over $45 billion said so more..

NSB profit soars to Rs. 6 b in 9 months

Nov 20 (FT) Savings giant NSB said it has recorded a profit before tax of Rs. 6 billion for the nine-month period ended 30 Sept 2014, a rise of 492% from Rs. 1 billion recorded in the corresponding period last year. Net profit recorded an increase of 679% to Rs. 3.5 billion from Rs. 445 million recorded in the same period last year. Bank mobilised Rs.45 billion deposits during the nine-month period, recording a growth of 7.5%. Savings deposits accounted for a large share in mobilisation, more..

Indo-Lanka FTA study team here

Nov 20 (DN) In a new development in the ongoing Indo-Lanka trade dialogue, an independent survey team has arrived in Colombo to map barriers to FTA trade. The first round of this bilateral study will conclude in early 2015. "After the FTA was entered into, bilateral trade improved tremendously. I welcome your efforts to identify aspects where improvements are needed in our Free Trade dialogue" said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen addressing visiting independent study team more..

Let the games begin…

Nov 20 (FT) ‘At the stroke of the midnight hour’ on 20 Nov, President Rajapaksa, who turned 69 years old on Tuesday was tipped to finally rubber-stamp and reveal the world’s worst kept secret. On 19 Nov 2014, President Rajapaksa completed the mandatory four years in office before he was constitutionally empowered to call snap elections for the presidency. Speculated for months nationally and internationally, prefaced by more..

As experiment and fusion

Nov 20 (NS) On the eve of writing this submission, Aslam Marikar, whose Twenty First Century Monk played to a packed audience last week, was not ‘available’ for comment. But, his production had left a various impact on part of Colombo’s theater-goers when it was unveiled at the Punchi Theater, Borella. The ‘manipulation of comedy’ in the discussion of ‘social and domestic alienation’, for instance, had captured the mind of a viewer seated immediately next to me. more..

Editorial: Power corrupts

Nov 20 (Island) Power corrupts as Lord Acton has famously said. But, it is not only political power that corrupts; the public supply of electricity also does. CEB is a glaring example. Even some ministers have shed light on its crooked power deals. Now, it is reported that the participation of 25 CEB engineers at a recent conference organised by the Association of the Electricity Supply Industry in East Asia and the Western Pacific, in South Korea, has cost the public Rs. 20 million. more..

Focus on China for expansion of tea exports

Nov 20 (CT) Akbar Brothers Ltd was incorporated in 1972. Significantly, in the same year, the father of these founders retired from the Chairmanship of Hebtulabhoys & Co. and joined his sons, making available his 40 years experience in the highest echelons of the tea industry. Moreover, the flourish thus set, kept up its momentum for the company to become the largest tea exporter in the country. more..

Synthetic development, commodification of the body

Nov 20 (GV) In modern day governance, there are certain principles that peace-loving people expect the rulers to implement. One of them is accountability. Accountability for the actions, expenditure, decisions, and appointments that governments make. In advanced democratic societies, there are mechanisms to ensure accountability with vested powers to seek and collect information, summon officials before parliamentary committees, investigate, and more..

Will Mahinda's Indian fishing trump card boomerang?

Nov 20 (CT) It was reported last week that President Rajapaksa and Indian PM Narendra Modi discussed the issue of the five Indian fishermen convicted by a Colombo Court for drug offences and sentenced to death. Though there were rumours earlier that Modi telephoned Mahinda, New Delhi reports indicated that it was Mahinda who had telephoned and expressed the desire to speak to Modi. Mahinda is reported to have told Modi that he was prepared to grant presidential amnesty more..

'SLMC labelled as Al-Qaeda'

Nov 20 (CT) SLMC General Secretary M.T. Hasen Ali speaking on the demand for a 'Coastal District' said "Everyone thinks we are asking for a 'Muslim Eelam'. We have been labelled as Al-Qaeda, without knowing the subject well. We don't have any grudge with the Sinhalese. We are requesting for Kalmunai, Sammanthurai and Pottuvil electorates to be formed as Kalmunai District under one administration according to the proposal more..

Divided we stand-United we fall

Nov 20 (SL) Bloody hell! I had awoken inside an old bush. Behind me I recognised the Diyawanna Oya flowing serenely with its pink and white lotuses. Ahead of me from Parliament Road came an ear shattering din. A massive procession was on the entire road. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Ranil, Mahinda, Buddhist monks, Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, Wigneswaran, Dinesh Gunawardene, Champika Ranawaka and a whole host of bitter political rivals were holding hands, smiling more..

Common in Math and Buddhism

Nov 20 (NS) Sabbe Sankhara Anicca: Volume of a Ball is Impermanent, written by Colombo Uni, Math Dept Senior Lecturer, Dr. W Ramasinghe is not simply a book on mathematics or religion. It is a 156 page book that attempts to bring mathematics and religion together with a touch of culture. Author presents a personal philosophy as understood by him through his knowledge of mathematics and Buddhism. Sabbe Sankhara Anicca or the theory that ‘everything is impermanent’ more..

The West turns to Buddhist meditation

Nov 20 (SO) In the modern world, dominated as it is by angst, the unshaken mind is a rarity indeed. Stress affects all. Tempers are short. Violence lurks everywhere. Hatred, jealousy and intolerance have escalated into epidemic proportions. Irresistibly persuasive modern media, through their sophisticated messages, ensnare consumer-masses into a fairy world of unending expectations. more..

The political philosophy and praxis of K. Pathmanabha

Nov 20 (CT) EPRLF Leader K. Pathmanaba’s 63rd birthday is today. Comrade Pathmanabha was first of all a revolutionary, a Marxist-Leninist, a national liberationist and a humanitarian socialist. If we were to forget his characteristics we would then also forget his contribution. Pathmanabha was not just another leader of the Tamil national movement cut down by the LTTE. He was more, and this we should always remember. Comrade Pathmanabha political career goes back to more..

Until 3 months ago, I thought Mahinda would understand the need for change

Nov 20 (CT) My mother, had she lived, would have been 89 today. Mahinda Rajapaksa is 69, and today is also the 9th anniversary of his election to the Presidency. Given that the Constitution prescribes 6 year terms, it seems absurd that he is thinking of cutting short his Presidency yet again, and submitting himself for election for the third time. Given how exhausted he was during the Uva Campaign, it is worrying that he keeps going on and on with such campaigns, without reflecting on more..

Maithripala is offered PM post amidst crossover rumours!

Nov 19 (AM) As a surprise move just hours ahead of the possible announcement of the presidential election, Minister and SLFP General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena has been offered the position of PM, a highly placed govt source told Asian Mirror, under the strict conditions of anonymity. However, the minister, who is one of the most senior-most members of the cabinet, has still not responded to the offer positively. more..

'People's faith in the JHU will increase a thousand times'

Nov 19 (AM) JHU Chairman Athuraliye Rathana Thera has said that the decision by the JHU to leave the govt will increase the faith of the people 'by a thousand-fold.' He maintained that "we relieved ourselves from our responsibilities with the Alliance govt. We have taken a political decision where the JHU will act independently in the Parliament." He also added that people including scholars, intellectuals and the public by their thousands have embraced them with respect after decision more..

'A common candidate will be found in a week or so': Nandana Gunathilaka

Nov 19 (AM) Former Panadura UC Chairman and SLFP Kalutara District Organizer Nandana Gunathilaka has stated that a suitable common candidate for presidential election will be hopefully decided upon roughly within another week. He added that the candidate should be able to represent different opinions and attract votes from different ethnic and religious communities. Gunathilaka strongly criticized the economic policies of the present govt and emphasized the need more..

A Series of religious ceremonies island wide held to mark President's B'day

Nov 19 (GDI) A special Bodhi Pooja was conducted Tuesday evening at the Bellanwila Rajamaha Vihara. Chief Incumbent of the Bellanvila Rajamaha Vihara Ven. Bellanvila Wimalaratana Nayaka Thera conducted religious rites and invoked blessings on the President. Maha Sangha including Mahanayake of the Uva Syamawansika Maha Nikaya, Dr. Ittepane Dhammalankara Nayaka Thera chanted Seth Pirith and invoked blessings more..

NPC adopts motion on Tamil detainees

Nov 19 (CG) Northern Provincial Council (NPC) today adopted a motion calling for the release of Tamil political prisoners who have been in jail for several years without a proper trial. The motion was submitted by the chairman of the council C.V.K Sivagnanam and was adopted unanimously. In the motion, the NPC called on President Rajapaksa and the Justice Minister to release the detainees. It noted that several Tamil political prisoners have been in jail for between 8-15 years more..

Gammanpila leaks his letter of resignation

Nov 19 (AM) Jathika Hela Urumaya Legal Advisor and former Western Province Minister Udaya Gammanpila has made his letter of resignation from his ministerial portfolios available to media. He has sent the letter today to the Governor of Western Province Alavi Maulana. In this letter, he has confirmed that the JHU has yesterday decided to leave the UPFA on principle grounds, putting an end to the confusion that was created earlier today in the press conference called by the party. more..

Heart-warming to hear that Sri Lanka released fishermen, says BJP

Nov 19 (ANI) BJP termed the release of 5 fishermen on death row in SL as 'heart-warming', adding that the action will help improve the ties between the two countries. "Reports of the Tamil fishermen being released are extremely heart-warming. PM Narendra Modi spoke to President Rajapaksa some time ago. Govt authorities and Ministry of External Affairs have also offered to give all kinds of possible help to the fishermen," more..

Man arrested at BIA for molesting a British woman

Nov 19 (AD) A 47-year-old man was arrested at the BIA this morning for allegedly molesting a British woman in onboard a SriLankan airlines flight. The suspect has been identified as a Sri Lankan born British citizen who is a resident of Batticaloa. The person was arrested following a complaint lodged by the British woman with the airport police post. The incident had taken place while the 27-year-old woman was on her way with her boyfriend for a three week visit in Sri Lanka. more..

G.L briefs diplomats on developments

Nov 19 (CG) External Affairs Minister G L Peiris today briefed diplomats from South Asian and SAARC countries and from the Middle East on the developments in Sri Lanka. South Africa had also attended the meeting at the External Affairs Ministry at which the Govt had reiterated its concerns over the UN led investigation on Sri Lanka. Yesterday the Minister had accused the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of double standards. more..

Sri Lanka releases all 5 Indian fishermen

Nov 19 (Yahoo) Sri Lanka on Wednesday released the five Indian fishermen facing death penalty after President Rajapaksa commuted their sentence. The move comes after PM Narendra Modi spoke with President Rajapaksa on the issue a few days ago. Earlier, India had also filed an appeal in the SL Supreme Court challenging the high court verdict awarding the death sentence to 5 Indian fishermen for alleged drug trafficking. more..

Mervyn says will not interfere in case

Nov 19 (CG) Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva says he will not interfere in the court case over his son Malaka Silva who was arrested and is now in remand over an assault incident. The Minister was asked in Parliament today why he is unable to secure his son’s release from jail being such a powerful Minister. JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti noted that the Minister had this week forced a bar to be closed following protests by the public in the area and yet is unable to free his son. more..

Asian monitors invited for the election

Nov 19 (AM) Asian monitors have been approached and invited for the Presidential elections expected to be held in January, the People’s Action For Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) said. PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said that 35 Asian monitors will be deployed for the polls apart from local monitors and other international monitors. Among Asian monitors expected in SL are monitors from India, Thailand, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan. more..

'I feel sorry for the President'; Rajiva to follow JHU path

Nov 19 (AM) UPFA MP Dr. Rajiv Wijesinha said he would not be in a position to support President Rajapaksa if the govt did not respond to his proposals. He said his proposals with regard to strengthening good governance and democracy have been sent to the govt months ago. "But, my letters have not elicited any response," the MP said. He said in no uncertain terms that he would not President Rajapaksa at the more..

Sudden cabinet meeting hours before the announcement of presidential election

Nov 19 (AM) President Rajapaksa has convened a sudden Cabinet meeting at the Presidential Secretariat this afternoon just hours ahead of the announcement of the Presidential election. Govt sources confirmed that Presidential election will be announced tonight by the President. Election according to highly placed political sources will be held on Jan 2 or Jan 3. At the special Cabinet meeting today the President is to brief the Minsters about the forthcoming Presidential Election. more..

UNP: Tea board funds allocated for cricket

Nov 19 (Island) While tea smallholders underwent a lot of hardships without enough funds, the funds meant for them had been misused by the Tea Development Board, the UNP said in Parliament yesterday. UNP MP Thalatha Atukorale, opening the committee stage debate on Budget 2015, under the expenditure heads of the Ministry of Plantations Industries, said that Rs. 15 million had been allocated from the Tea Development Fund for the development of Kingswood College Cricket. more..

UNP wants January elections put off

Nov 19 (CG) UNP today urged the Govt to reconsider holding the Presidential elections in January next year. UNP MP John Amaratunga urged PM D.M Jayaratne to conduct the elections after January. He said that Catholics in Sri Lanka are looking forward to the arrival of Pope Francis to Sri Lanka. However he said holding of elections in January may affect the visit if the environment is not peaceful. more..

Osaka court orders that child be returned to Japanese father in Sri Lanka

Nov 19 (Kyodo) The Osaka Family Court on Wednesday ordered that a 4-year-old child taken to Japan by its mother be returned to Sri Lanka to live with the father, in accordance with the Hague convention on child abduction. It’s the first such decision by a Japanese court since the country joined the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in April. Both parents are Japanese citizens in their 30s and 40s, the father’s attorney said. more..

Portfolios deserted by ministers come under the purview of the President

Nov 19 (GDI) Chief Government Whip and Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said this morning in Parliament that once minister resigns from his or her post, the portfolio automatically goes under the purview of the President according to the provisions of the Constitution that had been prepared by the UNP. If any MP has a question with regard to such a ministry, the Prime Minister or the Leader of the House would respond to that question on behalf of the President. more..