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Rare blue sapphire fetches Rs.40 million

Nov 3 (DM) A rare blue sapphire fetched Rs.40 million at the first-ever gem auction conducted by the Gem and Jewellery Authority of Sri Lanka (GJASL) in Ratnapura. Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said Tuesday’s auction, which marked the Authority’s 40th anniversary was a huge success and netted a total income of Rs.55 million. He said the auction was attended by registered gem miners from Akmeemana, Bibile, Beruwala, Ratnapura, Elahara, Pelmadulla and Colombo and more..

Muzammil begins with a complaint to police

Nov 3 (Island) One of the first acts of the Mayor of Colombo A.J.M. Muzammil, when he assumed duties on Tuesday (1), was to direct Municipal Commissioner Mrs. Bhadrani Jayawardene to lodge a complaint with the Cinnamon Gardens Police against a room being forcibly taken over for the Leader of the Opposition and even its keys being taken away on October 31. The Leader of the Opposition is Milinda Moragoda of the UPFA. more..

'New teachers will have to serve in remote areas'

Nov 3 (DM) Education Minister Bandula Gunawardene said new entrants to the teacher service from next year would have to serve at the school they are appointed to and under no circumstances would they be permitted to seek transfers to schools of their choice. He said that many teachers were in the habit of seeking transfers to schools in town areas without the least concern for the children attending schools in remote areas. more..

Colombo Night Races on December 16 and 17

Nov 3 (DM) The Colombo Night Races and the Electric Peacock Festival are ready to set the streets of Colombo with an event this city has never seen before will be worked off on December 16 and 17 at the Galle Face Green and For t areas. Both organisers have accepted the challenge to provide a weekend like never before, filled with fast cars and stellar music acts. The big event will kick off with this years ‘Electric Peacock Festival’which would be held on Dec 16 near more..

'Katunayake FTZ attck: Investigations not yet over'

Nov 3 (DM) When the rights petitions of the aggrieved workers of the Katunayake Free Trade Zone complaining of police assault came up before the Supreme Court, the Solicitor General told Cour t that the investigation is pending and assured that the investigation would be completed within a month. solicitor General Palitha Fernando informed Court the Confidential Interim Repor t has been filed with the Registrar of more..

Indian prisoners in Sri Lanka send SOS to Jayalalithaa

Nov 3 (IANS) Anguished by what they say is New Delhi's apathy, Indians jailed in Sri Lanka want Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa to intervene and seek their extradition to India. A spokesman for 34 Indian prisoners -- 27 from Tamil Nadu and seven from Kerala -- said they were being ignored though India and Sri Lanka signed a pact in June on exchange of sentenced convicts. An almost sobbing Indian prisoner told IANS over mobile more..

Chinese deny talks with CEB to purchase Norochcholai Plant

Nov 3 (Island) Senior officials of the China Machinery and Engineering Corporation yesterday denied having held any discussions with the CEB to purchase the Norochcholai Power Plant in Puttalam, amidst widespread speculation to that effect. CMEC Senior Official Lnong Ludong said that after the completion of the first phase (300 MW) they were now providing technical assistance for more..

‘Expropriation Bill’ is evil?

Nov 3 (FT) UNP yesterday alleged the upcoming “Expropriation Bill/Act” was evil and urged the Govt to withdraw it if it truly values democracy, economic freedom and prosperity in the country. UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva flanked by MPs Ajith Perera and Ruwan Wijewardena exposed the dangers of the impending new legislation, which the Government is tabling in Parliament next Wednesday as an urgent Bill. more..

Fresh from Sri Lanka

Nov 3 (TW) In a corner of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth in the Sri Lankan city of Kandy where, the legend goes, Buddha's tooth resides, the celebrity chef drops to his heels and reflects on his past. Peter Kuruvita has already placed his flower offering on the temple's shrine, listened to the ritual drumming and now he finds a moment of stillness to receive some comfort, understanding and connection to his childhood and the father who taught him to value the three things that matter to him more..

Sri Lanka rejects all bids at Treasures auction

Nov 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's state debt office rejected all bids at a Treasuries auction Wednesday after rates rose for several weeks running. Outright rejections of bids have in the past coincided with tight liquidity coming from defence of a dollar peg. LBO's economics columnist fuss-budget recently warned the market to expect entire auction rejections. "In the past, the market has seen outright rejections of entire Treasuries auctions, when balance of payments pressures more..

'Take over all assets of LTTE instead of harassing Sinhalese businessmen'

Nov 3 (DM) UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today requested the govt to bring in legislation to acquire all assets which belongs to LTTE all over the world instead of laws to take over enterprises of Sinhalese businessmen. Mr. Wickremesighe who was speaking at a seminar organised by the Eksath Lak Wantitha Front, for the wives of three wheeler owners said the govt should take over these assets belongs to the LTTE so that they could be used to more..

Editorial: The 18th amendment repeat telecast

Nov 3 (DM) It may be true that the Executive and the Legislature execute the power people entrust to them through elections. Even though they seem to be the highest bodies of power, both democratically and theoretically, ultimate power always lies in the hands of the country’s citizenry. Ideally, appointing them, assessing their work or sending them back should be people’s call. Yet, in third world democracies such as ours, the roles are reversed. more..

Sri Lanka Govt urged to reacquire privatized Institutions

Nov 3 (GDI) The Economic Analysts and Academics state that the Mahinda Chinthana and the Mahinda Chinthana – Vision for the Future policies strengthening the national economy can be sighted as an important policy that has changed the country’s economic path and strengthened the economy. They have commended the practical steps being taken to strengthen the Public Sector by the govt, particularly in the economic sphere. These Analysts and Academics say that although more..

WikiLeaks: Sampanthan-Fonseka secret pact revealed

Nov 3 (CT) “Sampanthan provided a copy of the program signed by Fonseka to Ambassador, noting that we were one of a few foreign missions to receive a copy.” the US Ambassador to Colombo wrote to Washington. Sampanthan hoped his announcement would not only galvanize Tamil to vote Fonseka but also would convince others that Fonseka had a real chance of winning. A leaked US diplomatic cable recount details of a meeting the embassy had had with more..

Sri Lanka Government urged to reacquire privatized Institutions

Nov 3 (GDI) The Economic Analysts and Academics state that the Mahinda Chinthana and the Mahinda Chinthana – Vision for the Future policies strengthening the national economy can be sighted as an important policy that has changed the country’s economic path and strengthened the economy. They have commended the practical steps being taken to strengthen the Public Sector by the govt, particularly in the economic sphere. These Analysts and Academics say that although more..

Senior SLFP men act saboteur for installation ceremony

Nov 3 (LT) An attempt to have a pageant for the installation ceremony to be held on the 19th November spending a large amount of money collected from state institutions has been stalled due to a move by senior men in the SLFP state sources in Presidential Secretariat. It is also revealed that a certain group in the government is attempting to find a ‘patriotic’ theme to elevate the image of the President to come over this impasse. Rajapakses have got information that several senior more..

Sri Lanka News Debrief - 03.11.2011

Sevanagala Sugar, to be taken over by govt., earned Rs. 300 m profit

Nov 3 (SM) Sevanagala Sugar in Ampara, an affiliate of Daya Group of Companies, is being planned for government takeover under a draconian law despite the company having made a Rs. 300 million profit for the current financial year, says its chairman Daya Gamage. The govt is going to use the Expropriation Act, to be placed before parliament shortly, to suppress local businesses, especially those belonging to UNP-backed businessmen, he alleges. Mr. Gamage, who is also the more..

'Sustainable development, a challenge for developing countries'

Nov 3 (GDI) During the Leaders’ Forum of the 36th session of the UNESCO General Conference held on last Saturday (Oct 26), Hon. Prof. Tissa Vitarana, Senior Minister for Scientific Affairs, made a statement based on the theme of the discussion “How does UNESCO contribute to building a culture of peace and sustainable development”. Speaking at a plenary addressed by President of Serbia Boris Tadic, Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Kenya and First Lady of more..

Japanese volunteers support development efforts at grass-root level

Nov 3 (GDI) Eight Japanese volunteers arrived in the country recently, with the aim of providing their expertise to improve and add value to activities carried out by various public institutions in the country. These volunteers are in Sri Lanka as a part of JICA’s ongoing Volunteer Dispatch Programme. They possess a variety of skills covering several technical fields. This new group of volunteers was introduced to their host organizations at more..

SL ranked above all neighbours in Human Development Index

Nov 3 (GDI) Sri Lanka has ranked above all neighbours in South Asia in the UNDP's Human Development Index report, released yesterday. Human Development Report 2011 placed Sri Lanka at the 97th position in the medium human development category for the quality of life of its citizens. Sri Lanka’s Human Development Index (HDI) has progressively increased up to 0.691 in 2011 compared to 0.658 in 2010. This increase is mainly due to favourable social indicators of literacy and life expectancy. more..

Five arrested in Wadduwa

Nov 3 (DM) Five suspects were arrested by the Wadduwa police in connection with the clash which took place in the Delduwa area in Wadduwa where one was killed and nine others were injured due to a hand grenade explosion, police media spokesman Ajith Rohana said. “The suspects, including several passengers were taken into custody over the clash which took place following the explosion as the people had thought that the hand grenade was thrown by the passengers of the bus and more..

Sangakkara and Dilshan make it Sri Lanka's day

Nov 3 (CI) On a painful day for Pakistan off the field with three of their players getting jail terms for their involvement in spot-fixing, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan made it a tough day for them on the field as well as Sri Lanka reached 245 for 2 by stumps. On a track where the bowlers had little help, Sri Lanka turned in the sort of performance they needed to stand a chance of leveling this series. more..

Agro Expo 2011 Exhibition inaugurated

Nov 3 (GDI) "There is a big demand for skilled labour in the country since all the sectors in the economy are experiencing a boom", said Minister Basil Rajapaksa. He was addressing a gathering at the inauguration ceremony of the Agro Expo-2011 exhibition held at the Naiwala Advanced Technological Institute premises today. Garment and textiles manufacturing sector has many vacancies but there is a gap between labour supply and demand as labour supply is not enough to match the more..

Sri Lanka stocks end down 0.9-pct

Nov 3 (LBO) Stocks slumped Thursday, a day after being pushed up almost three percent on news a regulator who had been cracking down on fraud had been removed, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.85 percent to 6,397.19, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.62 percent to close at 5,707.98, according to stock exchange figures. Turnover fell to 882 million rupees. An initial public offer by People's Leasing Company to raise 70 million US dollars more..

Sri Lanka army to run cricket stadiums

Nov 3 (BBC) The armed forces in Sri Lanka are to take over maintenance of the country's most prestigious cricket stadiums. The country's heavily indebted cricket board says it can no longer afford to carry out the task. The sports ministry has announced that the army, navy and air force will each look after one stadium. However, some Sri Lankans expressed concern at the move, with one opposition MP saying that the military was "taking over everything". more..

Sri Lanka trying to swap Chinese infrastructure loans to equity: minister

Nov 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka wants to swap debt to equity at some of its Chinese funded projects to reduce repayment pressure in the future, minister Sarath Amunugama said. Sri Lanka is in talks with China to swap the debt taken to build a coal power plant in Norochcholai in Northwest Sri Lanka, he told a forum on taxation organized by Sri Lanka's Institute of Policy Studies. "We are trying to negotiate it, starting with the Norochcholai project but move to others also," more..

Duminda Silva is above the law - AHRC

Nov 3 (SM) Duminda Silva is above the law, says the Asian Human Rights Commission. This is not due to any constitutional status that he has, as for example, the President of Sri Lanka who is by virtue of article 35 of the Constitution, above the law, the AHRC says in a statement. In the case of Duminda Silva he is above the law only because the president or his brother, the Secretary of Defence, Gotabhaya Rajapakse has placed him above the law. more..

Did Hirunika’s statement made authorities send Duminda abroad?

Nov 3 (LT) President Mahinda Rajapaske visiting Parliamentarian Duminda Silva in Sri Jayawardene Hospital with five senior ministers only a day before the court hearing into the murder of four including Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, an advisor to President on trade union affairs and secretly sending away Duminda Silva, a main suspect of the incident, without even holding a preliminary judicial inquiry is a main topic discussed by ruling party politicos. more..

Education - could do better in the east

Nov 3 (IRIN) The decades-long conflict has ended in Sri Lanka, but the damage to the country's educational system lingers, particularly in the disaster-prone east, say families and experts. Home to about 1.5 million people, Eastern Province is one of the hardest-hit areas in Sri Lanka by both natural and manmade disasters. Education advocates say schools lack teachers, funds, infrastructure - and attention. "Education for us is like another war," said Nirmala Rani, 15, more..

Police inspectors on VIP security

Nov 3 (DM) Police inspectors had requested the Presidents Secretary Lalith Weeratunga not to allow other persons to carry weapons while accompanying policemen in providing security to VIP’s. They have also requested the appointment of a senior police officer in the police department to coordinate the security of the VIP’s in the government and also in the opposition during parliament by not allowing anyone from outside to be accompanied with security officers or policemen with more..

Govt defends Nationalization bid

Nov 3 (AFP) Sri Lanka defended a controversial move to nationalize “under-performing” private companies and rejected allegations that the move was politically motivated. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the proposed legislation was aimed at improving productivity in companies that received tax and other concessions but were plagued with mismanagement and inefficiency. President Mahinda Rajapakse’s govt is set to introduce more..

SAARC should take on modest projects first: Peiris

Nov 3 (Hindu) The way forward for SAARC will be to prioritise, select a few modest projects capable of being delivered within a reasonable time frame, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris has said. “If that is successful, then that will generate a momentum…Then there will be confidence. It is an institution that has great potential,” he said and added that if very broad themes were taken up, then SAARC would degenerate into “a kind of talk shop. We should not take on too much.” more..

Refugee in walk of thanks to British

Nov 3 (SN) A political refugee from war-torn Sri Lanka is walking from Birmingham to London in aid of Help for Heroes and an orphanage in his homeland. Johannes Shanmugam, aged 48, will walk the equivalent of four marathons in six days and aims to raise over £10,000 for the armed forces charity and Serendip Children’s Home. Johannes, who lives in Cheltenham, passed through Solihull on Wednesday on the 120-mile trek. “Being a Tamil my life was in constant danger more..

Sri Lanka gives new deal to CATIC after hotel plan killed

Nov 3 (Reuters) Sri Lanka awarded China National Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) an $89.6 million contract, barely a week after annulling a $500 million hotel deal with the state-run Chinese conglomerate. The hotel deal was among the largest foreign investments since Sri Lanka won a quarter-century civil war in 2009, and its cancellation was a rare victory for the main opposition UNP, which questioned it in a parliament more..

External Affairs Ministry to be relocated to Battaramulla

Nov 3 (SL) The proposal by Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris to relocate the Ministry of External Affairs at Battaramulla was approved by the Cabinet. Due to the expansion of the functions and responsibilities of the Ministry of External Affairs, the number of operational divisions and staff has increased fourfold over the past two decades, the government said today. The Republic Building where the Ministry of External Affairs is located now requires extensive repairs and more..

Police advice dog lovers

Nov 3 (DM) Dog lovers are advised to carry a bag to collect the feces of the animals as the police can file a case against any dog owner on the basis that the animal polluted the environment, the police said. Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said that although Sri Lanka does not have a law unlike in other countries that pet owners should carry a bag to collect their feces, police can still file a case against such individuals for polluting the environment. He also said that persons in more..

Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee to be dissolved, elections in December

Nov 3 (PTI) The interim committee running Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has to be dissolved mid next month and the first election in seven years would be held, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said in Colombo on Thursday. "The interim committee will be dissolved and the elections will be held before the end of the year," Aluthgamage said. The dissolution came a day after the ICC warned all its member boards of sanctions if more..

State Takeover Bill – Sri Lankan Businesses Forcefully Taken over

Nov 4 (LG) The Govt of Sri Lanka has deemed it lawful to takeover without prior warning or fair reasoning or hearing out companies that they believe to be underperforming or underutilized respectively. Under the normal rules that govern Sri Lanka, for a Bill to become an Act of Parliament, the Bill must be tabled in Parliament firstly, where it can be not only be challenged and properly evaluated, but those who oppose it have sufficient time to argue their case. more..

Let's see, who's on the Winner's Podium today?

Nov 4 (LG) Well folks, up until this morning it was a very close race. Yessir, very close indeed. As the most annoyingly amusing person in Sri Lanka Mervyn the Vermin was winning by a length, having rounded the last bend he was heading for home at a comfortable pace. Having fraudulently obtained money with a bad cheque, threatened staff of the Canadian Embassy at gunpoint and tying a government official to a tree, you would think that nothing could surpass him. more..