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Basil inspects Kottawa-Kaduwela Expressway

Jan 10 (MED) Minister Basil Rajapaksa on Saturday inspected the 11 km Kottawa-Kaduwela Expressway scheduled to be opened next month. It is a section of the Outer Circular Highway located in Colombo Metropolitan Region and passes through Colombo and Gampaha districts. Highway runs around 20 kms away from City centre of Colombo, connecting radial routes and has a total length of 29.2 km. more..

UPFA Hambantota big shot granted bail in assault case

Jan 10 (Island) Walasmulla Magistrate yesterday bailed out two suspects including the former Southern Province Minister, Rohana Priya Upul when they were produced before him for allegedly assaulting UNP candidates on Thursday. Deputy team leader of the Hambantota District UPFA candidates at the forthcoming PC election, Priya Upul and the other suspect had been arrested around 11.00am yesterday by the Middeniya police, police media spokesman’s office said. more..

JKH hopes casino controversy will fade away

Jan 10 (ST) While construction of the US$820 million -worth Beira lakeside development project by John Keells Holdings’ (JKH) is on track, the group is hoping the controversy relating to casinos would be resolved as soon as possible, a company official said. “We have started building the Waterfront project,” he told the Business Times, adding that they are talking to two international gaming operators to run the intended casino but progress has been stalled by unclear laws. more..

Police acting in biased manner --PAFFREL

Jan 10 (CT) The role played by police during the run up to this year's Western and Southern provincial Council polls remains questionable, states PAFFREL Executive Director, Rohana Hettiarachchi. He said despite the Election Commissioner's prompt action concerning such issues, he too was reliant on several external institutions as well as mechanisms in order to combat such occurrences. more..

It is not Cricket

Feb 10 (DM) Cricket is no longer the gentlemen’s game. If anyone was in doubt, the confirmation came on Saturday from Singapore where the Executive Board meeting of the ICC took place. At that meeting, eight out of the ten full member countries voted for the change of the ICC constitution and its financial regulations. The changes would alter world cricket in an unprecedented magnitude. Most people are naturally averse to change, but unfortunately more..

C.R. de Silva former AG was a friend in need

Feb 10 (DM) “A friend in need is a friend indeed”: this is an adage I always used whenever I mentioned the name of my friend C.R. de Silva, former Attorney General of Sri Lanka. I first met Chithra Ranjan de Silva at the High Court of Gampaha in 1973, when he was the State Counsel. I was the Officer-in-Charge at Dompe Police Station and that was the era when the Administration of Justice Law (AJL) was introduced with the setting up of High Courts in Sri Lanka. more..

Mayor Muzza’s ‘epiphany’ warms cockles of UNP rebels’ hearts

Feb 10 (Island) Prominent UNP reformist and former Western Provincial Councillor Shiral Lakthilaka is of the opinion that Colombo Mayor A. J. M. Muzammil has suddenly realised that the party needs reforms and, therefore, decided to resign from its Working Committee. Lakthilake said that when the reformists agitated for reform vis-a-vis dictatorial action of National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Colombo Mayor had, more..

Impending breakdown in relations can bring tragic consequences

Feb 10 (SL) The issue of war crimes committed in the closing stages of Sri Lanka’s war has been discussed internationally for the past five years. Even before the end of war there were concerns expressed internationally about civilian casualties. This is what prompted visits to Sri Lanka by many international leaders, including the Foreign Ministers of India, the UK and France. There are two reasons why the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka more..

An appointment made under a cloud

Feb 10 (DM) The students of the Sri Lanka Law College were recently faced with a distraction; the buzz created by aspersions cast on the integrity of the head of the institution. This would hardly be viewed as an anomaly in Sri Lanka, in which many of these occurrences are commonplace. It was, however an incident that caught the public attention since scrutiny of heads of educational institutes is seldom seen in comparison to more..

Hectic bid to make Lakvijaya run again

Feb 10 (ST) The top management of China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) is still in Sri Lanka as efforts continue to get the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant in Norochcholai running again. The President, Vice President and General Manager of CMEC arrived in the country a week ago and will be joined today by a delegation from China’s Ministry of Trade. They are scheduled to hold talks with Power and Energy Minister more..

Govt. intensifies anti-narcotics campaign

Feb 10 (Island) The govt will hold a workshop on Monday at Welikanda in Polonnaruwa attended by Minister Maithripala Sirisena as part of its anti-narcotics campaign. The theme of the workshop is Mathin Thora Samajayak (A society free from intoxicants). Minister said that the year 2014 had been declared the year of Matin Thora Samajayak. Apart from smoking and liquor consumption, the younger generation was tempted to use more..

Boorish Major turned govt. politico arrested

Feb 10 (Island) Army Chief Lt. Gen. Daya Ratnayake said that the ex-army personnel contesting the forthcoming PC polls shouldn’t wear uniform of any type under any circumstances. Anyone abusing the uniform should be prepared to face the consequences, he said. Lt. Gen. Ratnayake insisted that the Military Police would take necessary action to prevent ex-personnel from using the uniform for political purposes. more..

CTC ends 2013 with 6% dip in volumes but Govt. revenue up by 8% to Rs. 76.5 billion

Feb 10 (FT) Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) has ended the 2013 financial year with a 6% dip in volumes but Govt enjoyed an increase in revenue by Rs. 5.4 billion to a record Rs. 76.5 billion. “2013 was yet another challenging year,” CTC said. “Despite the volume decline, the company was able to increase its contribution to Govt revenue to Rs. 76.5 billion (Excise, Income Tax & other levies), up by Rs. 5.4 billion more..

Jaffna fishers criticize Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi

Feb 10 (CT) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa Jeyaram, and DMK Leader, M. Karunanidhi, came in for severe criticism from the President of the Jaffna Peninsula Federation of Fishermen's Societies (JPFFS), A. Emiliyampillai. He said if these two leaders were truly sympathetic towards the Sri Lankan Tamils, they should prevent the Tamil Nadu fishermen from damaging the livelihood of the island's Northern fisher folk. more..

Govt. to lobby African support

Feb 10 (DM) With the March sessions of the UNHRC not too far ahead, the Govt hopes to send a ministerial delegation to South Africa to lobby support from countries in the region to defeat a likely US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka. South Africa is known to have influence over the UNHRC member countries in the African region. However, the dates for the visit and the composition of the delegation have not been finalised. more..

Resolution on SL presented to US Congress

Feb 10 (CG) A resolution on Sri Lanka submitted last week to the US Congress and now being considered by the Committee on Foreign Relations, is likely to get to the next stage. According to an agency tracking the resolution, there is a 73% chance it will go to the next stage and be taken for a vote to decide if it should be adopted. Submitted by Senator Richard Burr, the resolution has five co-sponsors in Congress and more..

The scourge of child abuse

Feb 10 (CT) The media has time and again highlighted the rising trend in child abuse in the country, pointing out that our culture of hushing up such occurrences and delays in the laws in handling such cases, had contributed to child abuse being committed with impunity while the victims are reluctant to complain against such violations and offences. The reports have also pointed out that poverty is a major factor that contributes to the increase in the number of such offences, more..

Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.5%

Feb 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka shares end 0.51% down Monday with tobacco and telco stocks losing ground amid net foreign selling. All Share Price Index closed 31.45 points lower at 6,110.27, down 0.51%. The S&P SL20 closed 14.87 points lower at 3,354.43, down 0.44%. Turnover was 1.32 billion rupees, up from 1.28 billion rupees last Friday, with stocks of 157 firms closing in the red against 52 gainers. JKH closed 50 cents lower at 228.90 rupees with 494.33 million rupees of two off market transactions more..

What to do about incompetent state enterprises in Sri Lanka

Feb 10 (LBO) SriLankan Airlines is expected to lose 25 billion rupees in 2013-14. In the previous year, it lost 22 billion rupees. This annual loss by one state-owned enterprise is more than double the amount doled out by the govt in one year as Samurdhi payments. Lakvijaya coal-fired power station in Norochchalai has been shut down 26 times since being commissioned in 2011. Many explanations have been given including more..

The expensive tragicomedy that is Lankan foreign policy

Feb 10 (CT) Neither convincing, nor interesting, it falls between several stools. The moustachioed president who flashes a wide grin in the most inappropriate places and waves his hand (conspicuously clasping a gold-talisman) as he looks around for the next word; his brother, the defence secretary, whose attempt at presenting a benign mien is as convincing as a barracuda at its Sunday-pleasantest; the glib bureaucrats performing the most amazing verbal-gyrations to keep up more..

PC polls 2014: UNP candidate’s vehicle damaged in first firearm related incident

Feb 10 (Island) First election related incident involving a firearm was reported from Beliatta yesterday with a vehicle of Hambantota District UNP candidate allegedly being shot at around 3.00am. According to a complaint lodged by the UNP candidate Athula Senaratne, one of the doors of his double cab (50-4079), parked in the garden of his residence on Aranwela Road was damaged by a gunshot. He has told the police that he switched on lights of his home when more..

Sri Lanka exports up 6.3%, imports down 6.2% in 2013

Feb 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka's exports rose 6.2% to $10.38 billion in 2013 from a year earlier and imports fell 6.2% to $17.99 billion. In December 2013 exports rose 13.2% from a year earlier to $986.1 million with industrial products up 15.2$ to $741.2 million, continuing trend seen in the last quarter amid a recovery in development markets. Apparel rose 26.9% to $453.9 million, rubber products rose 22.4% to $93.9 million. more..

Wanawasala residents catch 12 ft. Croc

Feb 10 (Island) A massive 12-foot mugger crocodile (crocodile of the marsh) was caught by residents of Wannawasala around 3.00 a.m. yesterday. A large number of people visited the area to get a glimpse of the killer animal which, often came there to drag away dogs and other small animals, according to an eyewitness.s. Residents said that despite numerous calls to the Department of Wildlife Conservation to remove the beast, the officials had failed to take it away till 2.00 p.m. yesterday. more..

SL's experienced hands lead from the front

Feb 10 (CI) Among the less-explored facts of Sangakkara's Chittagong performance was that he was on the field for all but 43 overs of the 437-over Test. That he is among the fittest members of the team at 36 is almost a more emphatic statement about his enduring hunger than his colossal returns. He was a constant source of encouragement to inexperienced batsmen at the other end, most memorably prodding Kaushal Silva through the 90s in Mirpur. more..

Banks to benefit from consolidation: S&P

Feb 10 (LBO) Sri Lanka's banks could benefit from a regulatory move for consolidation, despite heightened short term risks, Standard & Poor's, a rating agency said. Central bank is pushing banks and finance companies to merge, to reduce the total number in operation and make remaining ones bigger. "We believe Sri Lanka's plan to consolidate its banks could have positive implications for the industry over more..

Protest at Law College

Feb 10 (DM) Law College students today staged a protest over the suppression of their fundamental rights with regard to the entrance examination and other exam irregularities. Students belonging the ‘Students Society for the Protection of Legal Education’ said there was a significant reduction in the number of entrants to Law College, the exam results were being withheld and that one of the test papers had been released prematurely. They said only 177 students were permitted to more..

Wickramabahu on bogus candidates on his party list

Feb 10 (Island) Leader of the NSSP Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne claimed that the nominations of two retired female teachers submitted by his party to contest in the Gampaha District at the march 29 WPC Elections were found by the Elections Department to be fraudulent and the Police would deal with them under the law. He said that the Retired Teachers Association with whom the NSSP worked together for a long period had requested nomination for some of more..

Video: Large number of applicants wanted UNP nomination: Karu

Feb 10 (DM) UNP was compelled to leave out several capable people from its nomination lists to contest the elections to the provincial councils because of the large number of applicants seeking nominations on the party ticket, the UNP Leadership Council (LC) said. LC Chairman Karu Jaysuriya told journalists the party would ensure that these applicants have a stable political career in the future. He said there were a large number of more..

SL rupee down on foreign equity outflow

Feb 10 (Reuters) Sri Lanka rupee ended weaker on Monday on foreign equity outflow in the absence of intervention by state banks, and dealers expect the currency to ease further on lower interest rates from next month. The spot rupee ended at 130.75/80 per dollar, weaker than Friday's close of 130.60/70. "There were outflows from equity selling. We did not see any intervention from state banks," a currency dealer said. The market saw a net foreign outflow of 3.72 billion rupees more..

Commander attends DEFEXPO India 2014

Feb 10 (SLN) Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage is on an official visit to New Delhi to attend the 08th International Land, Naval and Internal Homeland Security Systems Exhibition, Defexpo India 2014, held from 6th to 9th Feb. The biennial event is being organized by the Indian Ministry of Defence and the Govt of India. The Navy Commander has been able to meet and exchange pleasantries with a number of distinguished personnel attending Defexpo. more..

SLC licking wounds after the blow in Singapore

Feb 10 (DM) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Executive Committee will have an emergency meeting this evening to discuss the aftermath of Saturday’s ICC Executive Board meeting in Singapore where 8 of the 10 ICC Members voted for new proposals to change the governance and financial control of the world cricket’s governing body. “The SLC team which took part in Singapore meeting would describe what happened to the ex-co and more..

India arrests 25 Sri Lankan fishermen for illegal entry

Feb 10 (Xinhua) Indian authorities Monday said that they have arrested 25 Sri Lankan fishermen for illegally entering into the country's territorial waters off the coast of southern state of Tamil Nadu. Sri Lankan fishermen were initially nabbed by the Indian Coast Guard, which has also seized their five boats and some 5,000 kg of fish, and later handed over to the Tamil Nadu police. "The Sri Lankan fishermen were illegally fishing in Indian waters 48 nautical miles east of Velankanni. more..

Prisoner dies during jamboree

Feb 10 (Island) A prisoner attending a special Scouts’ Jamboree for selected prisoners at Nuwara Eliya died on Saturday afternoon. Dadigama Ajantha Kumara, a drug-addict aged 49-years from Thaldena Prison camp was among the trainees. On Feb 8 he fell sick and was admitted to the Nuwara Eliya hospital where he died. Post-mortem is to be held today. Minister Gajadeera declared Feb 8 of every year as the prisons’ Scout day. Jumboree was visited by Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera, more..

Traditional crafts given a new boost

Feb 10 (CT) In the rustic environs of Horana, not far from Colombo lies the Vesmuhunu Gammanaya, the four traditional wooden mask carving crafts villages in Horana. Gammanaya will be officially declared open at a ceremony tomorrow by the chairman of National Crafts Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL), Buddhi Keerthisena. The NCCSL has constructed several workshops with the aim of developing the more..

Sadeera leads Sri Lanka U-19 to victory

Feb 10 (WI) If India Under-19’s primary aim was to tick all the boxes in their first practice game against Sri Lanka Under-19 while building up to the ICC U-19 World Cup, they would have been disappointed with how the match transpired at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Monday. The batsmen failed to build their innings and the bowlers failed to provide early breakthroughs as Sri Lanka registered a five-wicket win, chasing down India’s 209 all out in 48.5 overs. more..

Former MP quit JVP and joins SLFP

Feb 10 (GDI) The former Matara district MP of the JVP Premasiri Manage has quit JVP and joined the SLFP. Manage has been offered a position of SLFP district organizer of Matara and also has been appointed as a coordinating secretary of President Rajapaksa. Mr. Premasiri represented the Matara district in parliament from 2004 to 2010 by obtaining the third highest number of preferential votes of 101,558 votes from the Matara district in the 2004 General election. more..

'Defeat attempt to fill Parliament & PC’s with kith & kin'

Feb 10 (LT) “You have prodded the green and blue bags alternatively for 66 years but failed to find anything worthwhile. For a change do not prod our red bag but untie it to see what is inside. For, looking only at the surface would not make any changes,” said the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. Speaking at a propaganda meeting, he said, “Think as citizens of this country without making politics as a religion. more..

Importers get Chinese bicycles in India via Sri Lanka, Bangladesh

Feb 10 (PTI) Chinese bicycles influx goes unhindered despite "heavy" import duty as importers are bringing such China-made products via countries such as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh by paying "lower" custom charges. Dubbing this practice as "escape route", industry insiders say that some bicycle importers are importing cheap Chinese bicycles via other countries by "circumventing" the law, resulted into a blow to the domestic bicycle makers. more..

Norochcholai restored after 30 days

Feb 10 (Island) The first coal fired power plant at Norochcholai was reconnected to the national grid yesterday after a staggering 30-day breakdown, and experts said that by today the plant would be able to add its much needed full capacity of 300MW. CEB Additional General Manager, M.C. Wickramasekara said that they had been able to sort out the problem on Saturday night. The latest problem caused the CEB to incur an additional expenditure to the tune of billions of rupees on expensive more..

50 bodies discovered in SL mass grave

Feb 10 (PTI) Skeletal remains of at least 50 people have been dug out from a mass grave discovered in northeastern Sri Lanka, amid speculation that the remains were of Tamil civilians who had disappeared during the war with the LTTE. SSP Ajith Rohana said further digging will be continued with the deployment of a team from CID to assist in investigations. Three more skulls were found on Monday, Rohana said. more..