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The man with a plan

Aug 3 (Island) When I met Mr. Karu Jayasuriya, it was not at an ordinary time. We met at 10 pm at his residence after he had attended a wedding. My plea for a time in time for this weekís issue of the Sunday Island was accepted without much ado. I was glad to meet him for I had searching questions for a man I had thought had slept with his partyís enemy. However, I left late that night, a convert - for what I discovered was more..

ĎI am ready to give a good fightí: Harin

Aug 3 (Island) Harin Fernando, UNPís Chief Ministerial candidate for the forthcoming Uva PC poll, said that he was ready to take up challenges on behalf of his party and give a good fight to ensure victory. "The people of Badulla have been clamoring for a change for a long time and I am positive they will support me to bring about this change", he said. When pointed out that he would lose his pension by resigning as an MP, Fernando replied, "I am willing to make any sacrifice and face challenges more..

Sri Lanka's exports to India grow 10-fold

Aug 3 (SO) Since the launch of the Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISLFTA), Sri Lanka's exports to India have increased by over 10-fold from US$ 49 million in 1999 to US$ 543 million in 2013, Indian High Commissioner Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha told the 17th AGM of the Exporters Association of Sri Lanka (EASL) in Colombo last week. He said that bilateral trade during the first six months of this year and Sri Lanka's exports from January to June 2014 have been around more..

Dominoís look at Rs. 3 bn. expansion in SL over five years

Aug 3 (Island) Dominoís Pizza unveiled plans to invest a hefty Rs. 3 billion on a comprehensive expansion initiative over the next five years in Sri Lanka. "This will be a groundbreaking financial commitment on a vibrant South Asia market, which translates into more than four-fold of the Rs. 800 million (around US$ 6.7 million) invested in Sri Lanka so far", says Ajay Kaul, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Jubilant FoodWorks Limited. more..

Six Independent groups in the fray for Uva PC polls

Aug 3 (SO) Six Independent groups have made security deposits to contest the forthcoming Uva PC elections. While one Independent group has made the deposit for the Badulla district, five Independent groups made deposits for the Moneragala district. Only one registered political party has handed over the nominations to contest the Uva PC polls so far. the Maubima Janatha Party, has handed over their nominations to contest the Badulla district. Accepting nominations will resume tomorrow more..

Mervyn draws criticism on Nallur visit

Aug 3 (CG) Minister Mervyn Silva has been accused of disrespecting sacred ground during his visit to Jaffna today. The Jaffna media said the Ministerís convoy had driven on an area used by devotees to worship at the Nallur Hindu Temple. According to the Jaffna based Uthayan website, Minister Mervyn Silva had gone to the Temple today while on a visit to Jaffna. The convoy with the Minister had driven onto the sand in front of the historic Temple which is used by devotees to pray. more..

Anuraís Will case goes to SC

Aug 3 (DM) Supreme Court granted leave to appeal against the judgment of the Colombo Civil Appellate Court which refused to accept a photocopy of an alleged last Will as evidence to the testamentary action filed by Ms. Sunethra Bandaranaike claiming the property of the late Anura Bandaranaike on the basis of intestacy. The leave to appeal application would be heard in the SC on Sept 12. Wasantha Samarasekara a personnel more..

Stowmarket couple take on gruelling 12,000 km bike ride to Sri Lanka

Aug 3 (BFP) A couple from Stowmarket are taking on a daunting 12,000km cycle challenge from London to Sri Lanka to raise money for the charity Kickstart. Dental nurse Leanne Pemberton, 27, and carpenter Paul Snuggs, 26, head off on their mammoth bike ride today, riding the first leg of the trip to Dover. From there, they will head through Europe to Greece where they will stop off for a half-way break. After a quick ferry ride to Turkey, the pair hope to cycle through Iran to Dubai where more..

President to open National NDT Centre in October

Aug 3 (SO) President Mahinda Rajapaksa will open the National Centre for Non-Destructive Testing (NCNDT) in October, another giant leap in the field of science and technology in Sri Lanka, Chairman Atomic Energy Authority Dr. Ranjith Wijewardena said. Non-Destructive Testing or popularly known as NDT is the science of testing materials to reveal hidden defects without damaging the materials. These materials could be iron, steel and aluminium or solids like concrete. more..

U.N. says Sri Lanka illegally returning Pakistani asylum seekers

Aug 3 (Reuters) Sri Lanka must stop deporting Pakistani asylum seekers, a practice banned under international law, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Saturday. Sri Lanka began arresting asylum seekers and refugees on June 9 and has since detained 214 Pakistanis and Afghans in two asylum centers, UNHCR said. Authorities in Colombo said the influx of illegal immigrants in the past year had become a burden on more..

UNP to launch island-wide propaganda campaign

Aug 3 (Island) UNP National Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe will launch an island-wide propaganda campaign in preparation for the presidential poll, UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake, MP, said. "We will decide on an appropriate date to launch the campaign", he said. "As we cannot decide when the Presidential Elections will be held, we can only strengthen the party at all levels and educate the masses on the situation in the country", he noted. more..

Prasanna, de Silva star in SL A win

Aug 3 (CI) New Zealand A's batsmen crumbled against the spin of Seekkuge Prasanna in Cardiff and fell short of the Duckworth-Lewis target of 136 by 14 runs in their tour game against Sri Lanka A. New Zealand A made a blazing start to the chase with a flurry of boundaries and were 61 for 1 in the seventh over but Prasanna struck in each of his four overs to reduce the team to 96 for 6 after 15 overs. The Sri Lanka A bowlers kept the pressure on the lower order and bowled NZ A out for 121 more..

C4ĀĆs Macrae willing to share war info

Aug 3 (CG) The producer of the controversial documentary videos on Sri Lanka aired by BritainĀfs Channel 4 television, Callum Macrae, says he is prepared to fully co-operate with the UN led investigation on the war in Sri Lanka. Macrae had produced a series of videos related to the war, including the ĀeNo-Fire ZoneĀf series which alleges war crimes were committed during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lankan magician honored in India

Aug 3 (Island) Veteran magic maestro, Lt. Col. Ronald de Alwis was felicitated at the Choo Manthar 2014 International Magicians Convention at the Harihara Kalabhavan in Secunderabad, in the State of Telangana, India, recently. He was invited by magician and illusionist Samala Venu, President of the Magiciansí Academy based in Hydarabad, to the event, which was attended by 400 top magicians from Las Vegas, Thailand and India. With chief guest, Minister Nayani Narsimha Reddy, more..

President mediates Sanga- Nishantha clash

Aug 3 (SM) President Rajapaksa has interfered in the disheartened situation between the legendary batsman Kumar Sangakkara and SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga. The situation emerged following the statement made by the former skipper Kumar Sangakkara to 'The Island' claiming that the cricket authorities plotted against him. Sangakkara had stated that the cricket authorities were carrying out a personal agenda against him and there was an attempt to victimize him. more..

Tamil asylum seekers were taught how to 'pilot lifeboats back to India'

Aug 3 (Guardian) Nine of the 157 Tamil asylum seekers detained at sea for nearly a month by the Australian govt were taught how to pilot orange lifeboats, lawyers for the group said. The nine adults and along with two children were shown the orange lifeboats and told that they would be put in them and would need to navigate them to India, the lawyers said. Although only one or two could understand, they were instructed in more..

Its back! And this time itís bigger, better, harder, stronger!

Aug 3 (CG) Its back! And this time itís bigger, better, harder, stronger! After a record breaking music sensation last year, SUN FM once again brings back an iconic revelry that now turns into a series, Sri Lankaís Largest International Music FestivalÖ SUNFEST 2014!!! Sun FM, Sri Lankaís leading English entertainment radio station, is renowned for introducing high-end international artist such as Arash, RIO, Artful Dodger, Guru Josh and Edward Maya; at memorable events that more..

Nimal Siripala says traditional SLFP is the main force behind Rajapaksa govt

Aug 3 (AM) Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said the SLFP rank and file was the main force behind forming the present govt and not the coalition partners of the govt. He has said one should not undermine the contribution of traditional SLFP supporters as they were the main reason behind the election victory of President Rajapaksa. He has made this remark while commenting about the decision made by constituent parties of the govt to distance themselves from election campaign more..

Major highways on pillars in and around Colombo

Aug 3 (ST) A major highway project to build elevated roads Ė built on pillars ó in and around Colombo city and thereby reduce traffic congestion is to be launched next year. The project estimated to cost US$ 300 million (Rs. 39 billion) will provide for elevated roads from Kaduwela to Colombo Fort, from the Kelaniya Bridge to Kirulapone junction and an access road to Colombo, Ports and Highways Project Minister Nirmala Kotalawala said. more..

Fifteen schools will remain closed from 30 August to 12 September

Aug 3 (CT) Govt schools will commence their second term holidays from today (Aug 1) and are scheduled to reopen for the 3rd term on Sept 1. Muslim schools will be closed on 4th of this month and will be reopened on 5th of Sept. Meanwhile, the GCE A/L exam and the Grade 5 scholarship exams will be held during school vacations. According to the Examinations Department the first stage of marking of answer scripts will take place from Aug 30 to Sept 12. more..

Cops bust heroin distribution racket in Colombo

Aug 3 (AD) The Panadura- Walana Central Anti-Vice Squad has successfully busted a heroin distribution racket operating within the city of Colombo, after uncovering information regarding the illegal trade, resulting in the arrest of three suspects. Acting on a tip-off, the special police unit arrested two suspects who had arrived at the car park of a private company in Darley Road, Colombo in order to deliver heroin to a buyer. Around 25 grams of the illegal substance was found in the possession of the suspects, more..

Wide-scale abuse of DPL bags

Aug 3 (ST) CID detectives have been called in to probe a scandal in the External Affairs Ministry involving the abuse of diplomatic bags. The move came as the Ministry sent on compulsory leave the Director General, the Director and ten other officials who were dealing with bags and dispatches in its Consular section. Widespread abuse of the use of diplomatic bags has been reported in recent times. more..

High Court bid to move asylum goalposts

Aug 3 (TA) IMMIGRATION Minister Scott Morrison is seeking a High Court ruling that could reshape Australiaís interpretation of the Refugee Convention by demanding that asylum-seekers change their behaviour, and even their jobs, to avoid ≠persecution. The ministerís legal strategy could clear the way for more ≠asylum-seekers to be deported on the grounds that they can control some of the circumstances that lead them to flee their countries. Case centres on a 49-year-old Hazara truck driver whom more..

BASL takes pictures of Upul Jayasuriya's followers

Aug 3 (AM) Giving a new twist to the controversy involving "followers" of Bar Association President Upul Jayasuriya, the BASL said today that an unidentified person had come to the office of the BASL President and had been waiting for him on July 31. Minutes later they fled away in an unregistered vehicle that was parked near Viharamahadevi Park. The BASL announced that it was followed by another incident where three men in civilian clothes were waiting outside more..

Pakistan official in Colombo moved out amid pressure from India

Aug 3 (DC) Amid mounting pressure from India, Pakistan is understood to have quietly withdrawn its official from its High Commission in Colombo following an allegation against him that he was involved in conspiracy to target the US and Israel consulates in south India at ISI's behest. Counselor (Visa) Amir Zubair Siddiqui had been withdrawn even before NIA's request under Mutual Assistance Legal Treaty (MLAT) reached more..

Namal Rajapaksa goes to school(s)

Aug 4 (ST) Why was parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa allowed to promote a Carlton Rugby tournament in government schools, during school hours? This week, the younger Rajapaksa, together with a singer, visited three leading national schools Ė Visakha Vidyalaya, DS Senanayake Vidyalaya and Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya Ė with the permission of their principals. The visitors reportedly distributed promotional T shirts, sang and asked the students to dance. more..

Tuk-Tuk drivers are the political pulse of SL

Aug 4 (CT) Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, in one of his articles, referred to his father Mervyn De Silvaís comment: ďthe road to Temple Trees runs through the paddy fieldsĒ of SL. In the days when politics was not overburdened by skulduggery and heavy handedness, Mervyn De Silvaís comment was very appropriate. It is a fact, even now, that the village vote plays an important part in who runs the country. Whatever constrains faced by the present day paddy field voters in their decision making, more..

'UNP sure of victory at a National Election'

Aug 4 (SO) The UNP founded by its leader D.S. Senanayake way back in 1946, had been a formidable political force since its inception till about the beginning of the new century. However, it experienced ups and downs in between but never remained in the Opposition for more than one parliamentary term prior to 1994. Since then its performances in the national politics has suffered badly mainly due to atrocities committed by more..

Is Shashindra black or white?

Aug 4 (CT) Country's best lyricist, late Premakeerthi de Alwis, who was gunned down by an unknown assassin 25 years ago, had a road named after him beside the radio complex he haunted during his lifetime. Handing over the book on the life and times of Premakeerthi, his wife Nirmala told the President, who was the Chief Guest, that the real killers of her husband were often seen in the area adjacent to the road named after her husband and asked him to bring them to book. more..

Uva provincial councilís elections: Acid test for popularity

Aug 4 (NS) The battle lines are being drawn for the last in a series of PC elections. The polls in the Uva province in September will serve as a crucial barometer to both the govt and the opposition who are keen to test the political waters before the general and presidential elections. The two national elections are due only in 2016. However, there have been indications that the ruling UPFA is keen to press home the advantage of being the frontrunner and stage the two elections more..

'Local and foreign HR Committees no beauty contests'

Aug 4 (CT) Sri Lanka would not have faced a crisis situation if the LLRC recommendations on the ethnic issue were implemented at the right time. Then, the issue of an international inquiry on war crimes and human rights violations would not have arisen. The delay only paved the way for the UNHRC to build pressure on the government. The LTTE has been crushed. It is time to build confidence with the Tamil people. more..

View from Ritigala - by mahasona

Aug 4 (NS) CJ has excused himself from a particular case because he has received many petitions on the matter. Now if thatís all it takes to get a judge off a case, itís very simple. Gahapang gahapang pessam as the Freddie Silva song goes! Maithripala Sirisena wants all women to be born again as men. If his wish comes true, the world will end in one generation, unless someone comes up with a way for man to unite with man and produce a child (a male, as per Maithripalaís preference). more..

Member allocation in Uva Province

Aug 4 (CT) The Elections Commissioner recently decided to reduce the number of Provincial Councillors allocated for the Badulla District by three and allocate those to Moneragala District instead. The UNP, after vigorously campaigning against this decision for a while, decided to challenge the Commissioner before Court. The petition filed by Chief Ministerial Candidate of the UNP for the Uva Province, Harin Fernando, was rejected by Court stating that the petition had no legal basis. more..

Vanda Thwaitesii blooms from extinction

Aug 4 (ST) A chance encounter with a Landmaster carrying logs for a bakery furnace has led to the uncovering of an orchid which has been hidden from human view for more than 150 years. Researcher and environmentalist Ajantha Palihawadana with a passion for native orchids was on his way to the east when he overtook the Landmaster packed with logs at Kurunegala. As he was wont to do, whenever he saw large trees more..

Editorial: One-and-a-half cheers

Aug 4 (Island) On Friday night, the police rescued a little boy who had been abducted by a gang on Monday. The CID was called in as no breakthrough had been made until Friday morning and the mission was accomplished in record time. All four abductors who had demanded a ransom of Rs. 10 million for releasing the child were also arrested. The police deserve praise for another successful operation. Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana boasted, at a media conference, on Saturday, more..

Sri Lanka set to play one spinner in Galle

Aug 4 (Island) Sri Lanka could play just one spin bowler in the first Test against Pakistan that gets underway at the Galle International Stadium on Wednesday. The fact that Pakistanís batsmen play spin bowling well could prompt the hosts to leave out either Dilruwan Perera or Rangana Herath. Both bowlers bowled exceptionally well in the drawn SSC Test against South Africa last week with Herath finishing with nine wickets and Perera claiming eight wickets. more..

When tuskers walk with pride

Aug 4 (NS) The Kandy Esala Perahara put Sri Lanka among the most happening countries in the world, in terms of cultural pageants, when it unfolded another chapter on August 1. As many as four million people, inclusive of foreigners, are expected to witness this spectacle. Historians and tourism analysts rate the pageant as the chief among all cultural events held in the island. The large number of elephants parading the more..

Sri Lanka branding campaign in Europe kicks off next month

Aug 4 (ST) Sri Lanka Tourism is currently working on its advertising campaign in Europe in three key markets next month while plans were also on for promotions in India and Russia after concluding China. Spending over Rs.1 billion for the promotions this year up from last yearís Rs.800 million, Sri Lanka would be continuing its focused campaigns into India, China and Russia, an advertising campaign and other travel fairs and industry promotions as well, tourism officials said. more..

Harry J pumps Rs. 250 m more capital into Continental Insurance

Aug 4 (FT) Distilleries Company has infused Rs. 250 million in fresh capital into its fully-owned subsidiary Continental Insurance Lanka Ltd, in a vote of confidence on the industryís prospects. The infusion of additional capital bringing the total at Continental Insurance to Rs. 750 million by business tycoon Harry Jayawardena-controlled entity comes in the midst of a separate move by premier blue chip John Keells Holdings (JKH) announcing plans to divest control of its General insurance business via more..

Former war zone Drinking its troubles away

Aug 4 (IPS) Back in the day when the separatist LTTE ran a de-facto state in Sri Lankaís Northern Province, alcohol consumption was closely monitored, and sternly frowned upon. But after govt forces destroyed the militant group in 2009, ushering a new era into a region that had lived through three decades of civil conflict, strict rules governing the brewing and sale of spirits have lost their muscle. Plagued by poverty, trauma and more..