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Sri Lanka election monitors alarm at escalating violence in run-up to voting

Aug 27 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan election monitors voiced alarm at escalating violence in the run up to provincial elections next month with over 20 opposition party offices attacked this week. Election monitors, including the PAFFREL and CaFFE, have released statements calling on the Elections Commissioner and police chief to take action to stop the violence in the Uva province. "Opposition offices were set fire and gangs are reported to be more..

UPFA slam police on Badalkumbura

Aug 27 (CG) The ruling UPFA today accused the police of failing to control the violence which erupted in Badalkumbura on Monday night. UPFA General Secretary Susil Premjayanth said that if the police had taken immediate action the situation could have been controlled. He said that people injured in the incident could not be taken to hospital immediately owing to a violent gang remaining in the area at the time. The JVP had said a group of JVP supporters were attacked in Badalkumbura more..

SL rupee firmer on exporter dollar sales

Aug 27 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee was a tad firmer on Wednesday as exporter dollar sales outpaced importer demand for the greenback while dealers expect the local currency to remain steady for the rest of the year after positive comments by the central bank chief last week. Central bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said last week the banking regulator would intervene in the thinly-traded market whenever needed to keep the rupee stable. The rupee was trading at 130.18/20 per dollar more..

Minister Basil inaugurates Achchuvely Industrial Estate in Jaffna

Aug 27 (GDI) The Achchuvely Industrial Estate in Jaffna district was inaugurated by Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Y.K. Sinha, High Commissioner of India, at a function held at Atchchuvely today. In his address, Minister Douglas Devananda, noted that the Govt of India has been providing assistance for a variety of projects covering different sectors to help the people of Sri Lanka. High Commissioner, in his remarks, more..

PSM strike continues

Aug 27 (Island) A countrywide strike launched yesterday by the Professions Supplementary to Medicine (PSM) to win several demands disrupted hospital services. Director of the National Hospital, Dr. Anil Jasinghe said that OPD patients had been asked to obtain their drugs from Osu Sala. Patients had been directed to private institutions for laboratory tests, X-rays etc, he said. The situation was the same in Anuradhapura, Kurunegala Matale and several other hospitals. more..

'Dambulla hitting Pettah, we are idling'

Aug 27 (AD) Business in the wholesale market has greatly decreased since most now go to the Dambulla Economic Centre to buy their essential commodities, says the secretary of the Pettah Essential Commodities Importers’ Association. secretary G. Nathan said, “By now, the onion harvest from Dambulla is entering the market. So, most go to Dambulla to buy their stocks of onions and hence they don’t come to the Pettah. Since the other essential food items are also sold at more..

Mathews defends off-colour seamers

Aug 27 (CI) Sri Lanka's batsmen have cranked up their consistency, with captain Angelo Mathews milking a purple patch that began last December. However their bowling has not kept up. Pakistan were unable to overhaul a target of 311, but they had exploited the hosts' pace attack to get off to a flier before the slower bowlers pulled things back. Lasith Malinga has also failed to summon the usual threat he does. Nuwan Kulasekara's last ODI more..

Catholic Bishops call for end to ISIS carnage

Aug 27 (Island) The Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka has called for immediate international intervention to stop ongoing carnage in Iraq and Gaza Strip. The following is the full text of a statement issued by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith and His Lordship Bishop Valence Mendis on behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference: "The persecution of religious minorities in Iraq, mostly Christians is increasing. The region of Mosul, which is the ancient city of Nineveh more..

COPE questions on 17 officials of SLC

Aug 27 (SM) The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has reportedly questioned regarding Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) appointing 17 officials for the maintenance activities of cricket grounds when maintenance of cricket grounds have been already assigned to security forces. It has been also revealed that the SLC spends Rs 4 million on these 17 officials. However, responding to COPE SLC has stated that for the cricket grounds only the mandatory officials have been employed. more..

Packer plan for Sri Lanka Crown casino faces fresh delay on legal hitch

Aug 27 (Reuters) Australian gambling tycoon James Packer's Crown Ltd is facing months of new delays in building a planned $400 million Sri Lanka hotel and casino resort due to unspecified legal issues. Packer, one of Australia's richest men, first obtained Sri Lanka cabinet approval for the project nearly a year ago. But terms of the approval were altered in the face of strong opposition from some Buddhist leaders and more..

Envoys, G.L discuss counter moves

Aug 27 (CG) Minister G L Peiris met Sri Lankan Ambassadors based in Europe and discussed initiatives to counter campaigns against the country, using human rights and other issues as political tools. At the SL Embassy in Rome, Minister Peiris met with several of the country’s Ambassadors in the region for a comprehensive review of their work. The envoys attending the discussion were Karunaratne Hangawatte, Ambassador in France, Karunatilake Amunugama, more..

Lankan biz throng at Colombo's first Seychelles forum

Aug 27 (GDI) “Today’s event can be a stepping stone for more bilateral trade between both countries, which is an urgent need at this moment. The total bilateral trade has been low at only $3.7 Mn. Today’s initiative therefore is a major step in this direction” said Rishad Bathiudeen addressing the inauguration of “Seychelles Trade and Investment Forum-Sri Lanka: Fostering Economic Partnership” event organised by the EDB on Wednesday (27) in Colombo. more..

Rights groups demand protection for Sri Lanka war crimes witnesses

Aug 27 (AFP) International rights groups have demanded protection for potential Sri Lankan witnesses at a UN-mandated war crimes investigation into the island’s ethnic war which ended five year ago. Six organisations in a joint letter expressed alarm over alleged intimidation, threats and reprisals against those likely to engage investigators probing the bloody finale to Sri Lanka’s Tamil separatists war. more..

Stand up against extremism – The killer weed and worse than ‘Ebola’

Aug 28 (CT) Africa these days has been battling with EBOLA, a severe, infectious, often fatal disease in humans and primates with no apparent cure in sight. Many have been dying while the desperate medical researchers are frantically searching for a cure , to stem this tide. In the UK, I have heard of another battle; botanists trying to stop the spread of an invasive killer which has been ‘eating’ the gardens and ruining lives. It is the deadly Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica), which more..

Banning Glyphosate: Shooting the sentinel to save the weeds?

Aug 28 (CT) A news item states that the Task-force on Kidney Disease of unknown origin (CKDU) has got the govt to ban Glyphosate, a harmless herbicide, in agricultural provinces like Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and Badulla. “Doing something” about CKDU has become a political necessity. But glyphosate is the sentinel that stands guard against weeds clogging up our plantations. Minister Abeywardena says that according to agricultural experts “country’s economy would collapse more..

Month-long Nikini Maha Festival

Aug 28 (SO) With peace pervading in the country, an influx of devotees from all walks of life is anticipated and Hindus in large numbers will converge on the outskirts of the ancient and legendary Shri Munneswaram Ishwara Maha Devale two miles off Chilaw for the month-long Hindu festival. Pilgrims from India too make a beeline to the temple to seek favours and blessings from the deities. Unlike the previous years, more..

Gagging the third voice

Aug 28 (CT) We claim to be living in a democracy. In the words of politicians, it is a value we fully embrace. Regular elections are an indicator that the President of the country uses to project Sri Lankan democracy. But we fail in something in between, as we contradict normative democratic values way too often. In the interest of public participation it is heartening to note government's effort to obtain public views and opinions in the making of the upcoming budget. more..

Court orders Liquidator to file comprehensive report on Touchwood assets

Aug 28 (FT) The case for the winding-up of Touchwood Investments PLC was called in the Commercial High Court of Colombo yesterday. Heated arguments between the Counsel for the Petitioner, Company and Liquidator continued for nearly two hours when the case was taken up. Court ordered the Company on the last occasion to hand over all the documents, books of account, and all other documents pertaining to the assets of the Company to the Liquidator by 25 Aug 2014 more..

From Fashion Week ramp to exciting world stage

Aug 28 (ST) It was a select gathering invited to sit back on the couches that lay scattered around the Colombo Hilton’s Grand Ballroom as four young ladies took to the stage last Sunday at the Lite87FM Miss Universe Sri Lanka 2014. This year’s competition crowned four young hopefuls who will go on to be global ambassadors for Sri Lanka at several international pageants. Crowned, sashed and decked in bedazzling more..

For an inclusive constitutional process

Aug 28 (SL) Despite claims to the contrary by the SLFP leader of the ruling UPFA the controversy over the need and demand for abolishing/down-sizing Executive Presidency has refused to die. The latest to join issue, if it could be dubbed so, are two partners in the UPFA, as has been the case in the recent past. The traditional Left ally in the Govt, MEP leader and Minister Dinesh Gunawardane has said that Parliament does not have adequate powers to participate in governance. more..

Paradise packed with professionals

Aug 28 (SL) Preparations were afoot for 51st celebrations of the campus alumni. Last year too you celebrated in grand style are you making this an annual event, like the one on Victory over Terrorism? Doddering campus cynic, Kankendiri queried. Don’t be a disgusting pessimist. There is much to celebrate. Didn’t you see on the front page that Colombo University is being ranked the 24th best in entire South Asia? Pera is 31st and Moratuwa 32nd, Jolly Juwal cried out pulling more..

Echo chamber symphonies

Aug 28 (FT) Subramanian Swamy is the new celebrity in Sri Lanka. In the capital, he travels in tinted jeeps with a security detail, presumably because he has been a vocal critic of the LTTE. Swamy is mobbed by reporters eager to hear his views on Indo-Lanka relations and the Tamil issue. He is afforded lengthy television and print interviews, in which he never minces his words. He is vociferously anti-TN and Tamil diaspora, more..

Editorial: Beauty of principle

Aug 28 (Island) Water is said to be life. So is food. More than 25,000 people are said to die of starvation daily in all parts of the world, especially in poverty-stricken Africa. Paradoxically, thousands of others die due to overeating and the kind of food they consume. Noncommunicable diseases caused by gluttony and harmful substances in food, among other things, are on the rise globally. They account for about 65% of deaths in this country. The situation has taken a turn for the worse due to more..

Challenges to a rising nation Part–II

Aug 28 (Island) If you ask me what is the real damage that these people are doing to this country? These good Samaritans who say it is their love for this country, nothing else. It is altruistic. It is that that drives them and motivates them to bring resolution after resolution against this country, for three consecutive years. What is the real harm that they are inflicting on this nation? My answer is the following: the real harm is this, that wittingly or unwittingly they are denigrating more..

UNP between a rock and a hard place

Aug 28 (Island) In this interview, UNP reformist Maithri Gunaratne speaks to C. A. Chandraprema about the present status of the negotiations to have Sajith Premadasa appointed Deputy Leader of the UNP and the most suitable candidate to challenge Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next presidential election. Among the other matters discussed is the minority vote trap the UNP has fallen into. Q: We have been hearing rumours more..

For the love of the game

Aug 28 (CI) One of my earliest memories of cricket goes back to the year 1992. It was an Australia v Sri Lanka match played at the P Saravanamuttu Stadium in Colombo. Australia batted first and got around 250 in their 50 overs. The Sri Lankan openers that day were Roshan Mahanama and Hashan Tillakaratne. Both got out within the first few overs. Asanka Gurusinha at No. 3 made a painstakingly slow fifty. Aravinda de Silva came at No. 4 and smashed the Aussie attack more..

Why Mahinda went to Houston?

Aug 28 (CT) Mahinda's sudden visit to Houston in America has stirred the curiosity of many Sri Lankan watchers of the developing political scene. In January 2011 also Mahinda went on an unscheduled visit to Houston quite suddenly raising a whole host of speculations. To an inquisitive media the government sources at the time disclosed that the President was on a private visit to see his brother Dudley Rajapaksa who was an American citizen living in Houston. more..

USD 20 bn export target by 2020: Aiming to be mediocre

Aug 28 (DM) The govt has a target to increase exports to USD 20 billion by 2020 (a doubling from 2011). This target is presented as ambitious. This insight argues the opposite. The 2020 target is rather mediocre, and it’s aiming too low. Yet, even with such a low bar, it may still be out of Sri Lanka’s reach. There are two main reasons for the target’s mediocrity. First, the target means that Sri Lanka is planning for exports’ share of GDP to fall. more..

'Lagoon Bungalows: Ideal prescription for tourist industry'

Aug 28 (Island) A veteran in the  exhibition and hotel  industry yesterday called for  the establishment of lagoon  bungalows, which he said would be the ideal prescription for Sri Lanka’s tourist industry. Chairman of Connaissance De Ceylan Events and Travels, Maalu Maalu and Aliya  Resorts and Spa, Chandra Wickramasinghe  told "The Island" on the sidelines of the first edition of  Food & Hospitality  Asia – Maldives (FHAM 2014) International Culinary Challenge & Exhibition more..

DFCC Bank, NDB Bank merger before November budget

Aug 28 (CT) The merger of the three major banks – DFCC Bank, DFCC Vardhana Bank and the NDB Bank will be completed prior to the 2015 national budget, billed to be presented in Parliament in November. Top sources from the Central Bank, and the two development banks, while confirming this, said that the amalgamation will see the movable, immovable assets and the human resources being brought under one banner, though a common name for the bank has not been determined yet. more..

Cinnamon Red pioneers lean luxury for contemporary travellers

Aug 28 (Island) The first of September heralds a brand new chapter for the Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts chain as the country’s first ever ‘lean luxury’ hotel opens its portals to pioneer a completely new lifestyle experience in city hospitality. Keenly attuned to the empowered contemporary traveller who’s needs are discerning, detailed and exact, Cinnamon Red combines unique ambience and elegant interiors to fulfil more..

Transparency issues deter investors

Aug 28 (CT) A senior European Union official highlighted unclear investment policies and transparency as key challenges that held back foreign direct investment (FDI) to Sri Lanka as there were no clear evaluation mechanisms. While large scale projects, including the strategic development projects in Sri Lanka, were compromising the transparency of project evaluation as a result of rent-seeking. Sri Lanka failed to attract the required FDIs during the last two years, more..

Katchatheevu Issue: A contentious islet

Aug 28 (DC) Much like Rudyard Kipling’s often (partially, and thus erroneously) quoted line “...East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet...”, so too it seems New Delhi and Chennai will never see eye to eye on Sri Lanka. The widely divergent views on the island neighbour were further widened by the attorney-general’s opinion that Katchatheevu island, ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974, cannot be retrieved unless there is action by the armed forces. more..

Bank of Ceylon to consult foreign firm in restructuring bid

Aug 28 (Island) ‘We will soon be talking to a foreign consultancy firm in order to restructure the Bank of Ceylon and raise it to truly global standards, Senior Banker and Bank of Ceylon (BOC) General Manager D M Gunasekara said. he revealed this as the Bank of Ceylon, ‘Sri Lanka’s leading state bank replete with strength, trust and stability’ held a gala dinner at the Hilton, Colombo to pay tribute to its esteemed corporate clients more..

Pakistan’s new Defence Attache greets Commander

Aug 28 (SLA) The newly-appointed Defence Attaché to the High Commission of Pakistan in Colombo, Colonel Mohammed R Irshad Khan, paid a courtesy call on the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnyake at his office, Tuesday (26). The meeting discussed possibilities for Regiment to Regiment exchange programmes between Sri Lanka Army and Pakistan Army as new initiatives for broader understanding among different corresponding Regiments in Pakistan Army. more..

Cricket in a Spin over Chucking

Aug 28 (WSJ) It hasn't been much fun recently being an international spinner. In the past few months no fewer than five bowlers, all of them off-spinners, have been reported by on-field umpires to the International Cricket Council for suspect bowling actions, in which their arm appears to extend by more than the legal limit of 15 degrees. In other words, they have been accused of chucking. The spinners in question are all from different countries: Sohag Gazi of Bangladesh; Prosper Utseya more..

Jaffna industrial estate promises jobs

Aug 28 (Hindu) After over two decades of remaining shut over civil war, a once-thriving industrial zone near Jaffna is abuzz with activity yet again. Atchchuvely Industrial Estate, which India has helped revive with a Rs.10 crore investment, seems to have raised expectations among locals who have returned to their village after being dislocated multiple times during the war. V. Sivasubramanian remembers the days he toiled at the more..

MAS Holdings partners MillenniumIT

Aug 28 (CT) MillenniumIT, a leading technology solutions provider and Microsoft License Specialist (LSP) recentky announced- the signing of a Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise Agreement with MAS Holdings – the largest licensing agreement of its kind in Sri Lanka. MAS Holdings will soon be able to take advantage of Microsoft's cloud services to enable their global workforce of over 50,000 people to collaborate more efficiently, and at the same time reduce costs. more..

Lankan footballers off to Seychelles

Aug 28 (ST) The newly picked 23-member Sri Lanka football team left for Seychelles yesterday to play two international friendly matches. The captaincy of the side has been laid upon Navy SC midfielder E.A. Sanjeewa and this will be a great opportunity for the Sri Lankan footballers to gather momentum after being regrouped. The present Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) hierarchy disbanded the national football pool after their poor performance at the South Asian Football Federation more..

Norochcholai out again

Aug 28 (Island) Norochcholai power plant stopped power generation yesterday evening. Its first turbine had to be shut down due to technical problems again depriving the national grid a further 300 MW of electricity. The breakdown occurred while senior engineers were struggling to restore its second turbine after maintenance. The boiler of the third turbine scheduled to be commissioned next month has also developed a leak. more..