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Sri Lanka forex reserves rise to US$7.0bn in September

Sep 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's forex reserves rose to US$ 7 billion by Sept 23, up from 6.3 billion in July, boosted by capital inflows. State-run NSB raised US$ 750 million in Sept. In money market excess rupee reserves of banks rose to 80 billion rupees, as a result of the Central Bank releasing fresh rupees to the economy by purchasing dollars. The loan will boost imports and expand the trade deficit as the money is loaned out and the recipients, including the state, spend it. more..

Maithripala reveals tobacco industry attempt to bribe him

Sep 25 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena said the tobacco industry had attempted to bribe him to block the issuance of the special gazette notification which made it mandatory for companies to print pictorial warnings covering 80% of the principal display area of each packet of cigarette. The money offered to hime was sufficient for 14 generations to live in clover in a first world country, the minister said. more..

DMK MP moves SC seeking protection of Indian fishermen

Sep 25 (PTI) A DMK MP today filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Centre to protect Indian fishermen from being attacked by Sri Lankan Navy and secure release of those languishing in jails there. The PIL seeks directions to the Centre, the Ministry of External Affairs, Director General of Indian Coast Guard and the Tamil Nadu govt to "find a permanent solution to create a conducive atmosphere for the fishermen to fish in Indian waters/traditional area without fear." more..

Report on Welikada Prison riots released

Sep 25 (CT) The report of the three-member committee to investigate the Nov 2012, Welikada Prison riots in which 27 prisoners died, was handed over to the Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera. He said, "The Chairman of the Committee handed the report and we are making an appraisal, based on its contents. "We will thereafter make the necessary recommendations, while we will also not hesitate to take appropriate action to enforce the law against the wrongdoers." more..

World needs no policing - President

Sep 25 (UN) Citing his efforts to ensure that economic growth benefits all segments of society in his own country, President Rajapaksa called on the UN to study the international community’s failure to improve the lot of the impoverished worldwide. “According to World Bank projections, by 2015, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia will be home to approximately 40% of the developing world's population living in extreme poverty,” more..

Give the people a credible alternative

Sep 25 (DM) History has clearly shown that one of the vital factors for a vibrant democracy is a strong Opposition which plays not only an active but a pro-active role, so that the people could make an informed choice at presidential, parliamentary or local elections. The results of last Saturday’s elections to the Central and North-Western Provinces underline the time-tested fact that those who are united will be strong, and those divided will fail. The UPFA govt is a patch-work coalition more..

Sunila Abeysekera: Comrade, fearless defender, activist and a feminist

Sep 25 (DM) Virginia Woolf said “As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.” The whole world was Sunila Abeysekera’s country as she never focused only on one country and her participation in protests did not happen only in one country, she talked and lobbied issues of human rights violations not only in Sri Lanka, but in the universal globe. In our lifetime how many of us grew up hearing “mind your own business,” but how could more..

Sea programming

Sep 25 (Hindu) Thirty km south-west of Colombo port, the S.S Worcestershire lies some 60 m deep. It is one of an estimated 200 wrecks that garland the island of Sri Lanka. Fascinated by its history, eager to rise to the challenge of a technical dive, Dharshana Jayawardena would later recall his descent to the ship: “As always, a first glimpse of a deep ship is bone-chilling thrilling. more..

Impossible dream comes true after the war

Sep 25 (DM) “I thought all this would be impossible before the end of the war. I could not even dream of getting married to a girl because of the life I led before the war ended” said Murugaiyya Sashikumar (33) just minutes after entering into a wedded life with his wife Jeyrasa Mary. Though it seemed like any other wedding ceremony, the stories of their lives are extraordinary as Sashikumar has fought for the LTTE, gone through more..

Polls: A serious challenge to govt

Sep 25 (SL) As you are aware, there have been several reports of incidents of voters being told by various individuals that ballots cast at the forthcoming election – including party preference and candidate preference – can be traced. This practice has been especially prevalent in the Northern Province and specifically in remote villages such Thirunagar, Barathipuram and Selvanagar in the Killinochchi District. more..

UNP's downward slide hits near rock bottom

Sep 25 (CT) The UNP, which has a miniscule vote base, had obtained only one per cent of votes in all five districts in the Northern Province, which is an indication of the depths to which the party has fallen, party seniors said. UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake, was the Coordinator of the campaign in the Northern Province. In the ,90s, the UNP had a very large vote base in the North, but last week's election results showed the Party has not been able to more..

Drug Regulatory Authority prefers ‘pain killers’ to prevention and cure

Sep 25 (ST) Over 10 drug manufacturers have recorded two or more incidents of quality failures in 2012 and 2013, with some pharmaceutical companies guilty of more than seven to eight quality failures. In the last year alone there have been over 100 recorded cases of quality failures, while this year the number exceeds 70 cases by end August. However, the Cosmetics, Devices and Drug Regulatory Authority more..

Eateries come under Microscope ahead of CHOGH

Sep 25 (Island) The Public Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council said it had inspected over 15 restaurants and eateries in Fort in view of the CHOGM in November. PHD Chief Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam said that teams had inspected the restaurants in the Dutch Hospital, the World Trade Centre, the City Hotel and several other eateries in the vicinity. CMC wanted to prevent food poisoning during the CHOGM. more..

EC plays down Puttalam issue

Sep 25 (CG) Elections Commissioner (EC) Mahinda Deshapriya says there is no need for a re-poll following the discovery of a bundle of counted ballot papers at a school in Puttalam. Addressing the media, he said that the abandoned ballot papers had not harmed the final results of the elections. He said that if there is a call for a re-poll in the Puttalam district then only the court can issue an order to that effect. more..

Over 400 u’grads squat inside Kelaniya Uni

Sep 25 (Island) More than 400 undergraduates of the Kelaniya University are still occupying the Students’ Centre, located in a section of the University Sports Pavilion, claiming that it is not safe to return to the outside hostel. President of the Students’ Council, Kingsley Gunaratne, said that their hostel at Polhena, 1.8 km away from the university’s main complex at Dalugama, had been attacked by a gang more..

Unforeseen problem delays N’cholai resumption

Sep 25 (Island) The first 300 MW coal fired power plant at Norochcholai scheduled to be back in operation on Sept. 28, would be delayed by another five or six days as the main cooling water intake is filled with molluscs and shells, a top a official said. Divers are clearing the shells and as soon as their work was over the plant would be back in operation by Oct. 5. The plant was closed down for one and a half months more..

'Don’t give arms to the Northern Youth once again'

Sep 25 (GDI) The Govt has gained immense strength in facing various external threats because of the correct choice the people of Northwestern and Central Provinces made at the elections held last week. The Govt’s success in restoring democracy in the North after three decades is also a major victory. This was stated by the Minister Basil Rajapaksa after laying foundation stones for the construction of the new more..

Dayasiri's victory

Sep 25 (CT) In a political field that is showing a phenomenal dearth of vote-getters, with the exception of perhaps President Rajapaksa, Dayasiri Jayasekara who was forced out of the ranks of the UNP, emerged an all conquering people's hero in last Saturday's PC elections. What stands out – there are many records that Jayasekara smashed en route to his momentous victory – is the extraordinary number of UNP supporters he appears to have lured into following him. more..

The way forward for the TNA for peaceful resolution of the political problems of Tamils

Sep 25 (CT) There was a storm created during the election campaign by the TNA Manifesto which referred to their demand for federalism. This was interpreted or misinterpreted to the Sinhalese masses as a revival of the demand for a separate State. Such interpretation no doubt was useful to mobilize the support of the Sinhalese voters in the NWP and the CP elections. The TNA denied that they wanted a separate state. But even a sober politician like Minister Vasudeva more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Exporters moving beyond labour arbitrage

Sep 25 (LBO) Sri Lanka's high end apparel and information technology firms are moving beyond labour arbitrage to leverage knowledge and supply chain efficiencies, officials said. "Labour arbitrage is not necessary, the way we see it," Udena Wickramasuriya, group director at Brandix a top Sri Lanka based apparel group that also has operations in India said. "We see asset productivity being important in the next few years." He was addressing top executives at an LBR-LBO CFO forum more..

Sri Lanka rupee firmer on cbank direction

Sep 25 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee ended firmer on Wednesday as the central bank asked certain banks not to trade above 132.00 per dollar, dealers said. The rupee spot closed at 131.95/132.05, compared with Tuesday's close of 132.18/22. "The moral suasion was seen," said a currency dealer asking not to be named. Two other dealers confirmed the move. Central bank officials authorised to talk to the media were not available for comment. more..

Vote reveals Sri Lanka’s unavoidable truth: Other voices must be heard

Sep 25 (G&M) The results are in for the provincial election in Sri Lanka’s northern most province, the area around Jaffna, and they are clear as a bell: nearly 80% of voters, despite much evidence of harassment, cast their ballots for the TNA. The TNA has long been a parliamentary voice for Tamil nationalism, with a close, but complex, relationship to the LTTE and the military struggle. When the fighting was on, it was often hard to see more..

Did top prisons officer give false evidence in Court?

Sep 25 (Island) A senior official of the Welikada prison is alleged to have given false evidence in Court, early this month, in connection with the escape of an LTTE prisoner, while working in the Matara Vesak zone last May. Prisons intelligence which probed the escape has found that the top official reported to the Court on September 13, in writing, that the jailer in charge of the prisoner had been interdicted and other officers who served with him had been disciplined. more..

High Commissioner of Pakistan hosts Sri Lankan businessmen

Sep 25 (AAP) The High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Maj Gen Qasim Qureshi hosted the Sri Lankan businessmen participating in Pakistan EXPO 2013 along with the officials of Export Development Board Sri Lanka here on Wednesday. Ten companies from Sri Lankan representing various sectors such as tea, herbal cosmetics, commercial paints, bicycles, fruits and vegetables, textiles and pharmaceuticals sectors will attend the largest EXPO of Pakistan, from Sept 26-29, more..

Sri Lanka's borrowings should be with eye on sustainability: IMF

Sep 25 (PTI) The IMF has said Sri Lanka's external borrowings should be in line with economic sustainability. "New external borrowings should also be done with a close eye to sustainability and the need to ensure that investments generate the resources needed to service these obligations", Todd Schneider, the IMF's mission leader said today at the end of the team's visit. The mission was here for post-programme monitoring discussions more..

Docs warn of all out strike

Sep 25 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) warned that it would launch a countrywide strike if the govt failed to implement the doctors’ service minute. GMOA Spokesman Dr. Naveen De Zoysa alleged that the Health Ministry had failed to introduce amendments made by a circular issued in June 2006. The ministry’s failure would affect doctors’ promotions and cause a drop in the number of medical officers doing postgraduate studies, he said. more..

Eranga, Lakmal in Sri Lanka A one-day squad

Sep 25 (CI) Test fast bowlers Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal have been named in the Sri Lanka A squad for the first two one-dayers against New Zealand A, in Pallekele. Offspinning allrounder Ramith Rambukwella and legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna are the other entrants to the squad that is currently in Dambulla for the second four-day match. Fast bowlers Nuwan Pradeep, Vimukthi Perera and Madura Lakmal, and allrounder Dilruwan Perera, made way for the new additions, from the more..

IUSF complains of death threats

Sep 25 (Island) The Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) clained that one of their activists had been threatened with death, at his residence in Kurunegala on Monday night, by a group identifying themselves as Defence Ministry officials. IUSF Convener Sanjeewa Bandara said that Chinthaka Rajapaksha’s parents and brother had been questioned and threatened by the group at his home in Nikawewa in Kurunegala. more..

Sri Lanka stocks closer lower, rupee stronger

Sep 25 (LBO) Stocks closed 0.19% lower on Wednesday and the rupee gained some ground on dollar selling, while moral suasion was also present, brokers and dealers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed 10.85 points lower at 5,783.62, down 0.19% after gaining 0.2% the previous day and the S&P SL20 closed 8.82 points lower at 3,205.48, down 0.27%. Turnover amounted to 582.78 million rupees, down from 816.9 million the previous day, more..

Douglas accuses TNA of cheating Northern voters

Sep 25 (Island) A majority of Tamil speaking people in the Northern Province had been cheated by the TNA at the just concluded PC election, EPDP General Secretary and Minister Douglas Devananda said. He said that this time, too, the majority of Tamil speaking people had been taken for a ride by the TNA by calling upon them to vote for their alliance to send out the army from the North and resettle the people where the army camps were now located, develop the North. more..

BCCI has cleared Thisara Perera's name of match-fixing: SLC

Sep 25 (PTI) Sri Lanka Cricket on Wednesday said that the BCCI has cleared its allrounder Thisara Perera of alleged match-fixing in this year's IPL. "Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to announce that the alleged match-fixing charges referred to Thisara Perera in a certain Indian Newspaper, has been totally refuted by the Anti Corruption Unit of the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI)," SLC said in a statement. more..

EPC Opposition Leader hails TNA's victory

Sep 25 (CT) The historical victory of the TNA in the Northern Province can certainly strengthen the long-standing political ambitions of the Tamil speaking people in the Eastern Province. "In the near future, the political structure of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) can expect some changes," C. Thandayuthapani, Opposition Leader of the EPC said in a statement to the media. Thandayuthapani is also the leader of the 11 TNA Councillors in the EPC. "I express my heartfelt thanks to more..

India, Lanka discuss trafficking

Sep 25 (CG) Sri Lanka and India today discussed joint efforts to curb potential threats of drug trafficking, arms and human smuggling in the Palk Bay and the Palk Straits. Joint staff level talks between the Sri Lankan and Indian Navies began at the Navy Headquarters today and will continue till tomorrow. A wide range of issues of bilateral importance were discussed with a view to strengthen the friendly ties between the Navies of the two neighbouring countries. more..

India urges Sri Lanka to share power with Tamils after poll

Sep 25 (AFP) India urged Sri Lanka on Wednesday to share political power with ethnic minority Tamils after their victory in local council elections, in a bid for “genuine reconciliation” after a decades-long war. The opposition Tamil alliance swept to victory at the weekend in the first regional council elections in the island’s battle-scarred north. The vote was welcomed internationally as an initial step towards reconciliation between more..

Crucial decisions after President’s return; SLFP CC also to meet

Sep 25 (Island) A very crucial Central Committee meeting of the SLFP would be convened during the first week of October following the return of President Rajapaksa after addressing the 68th sessions of the UN General Assembly, Administrative Secretary of the SLFP S.H. Ariyasena, said. There was a strong possibility of President Rajapaksa having a cordial meeting with the victorious Chief Ministerial candidate of the TNA C. V. Vigneswaran on his return. more..

TNA claims supporters attacked

Sep 25 (CG) The TNA claims several of its supporters have been attacked following the PC elections in the North. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that in one such incident there was a grenade attack on the house of a TNA supporter in Mullakam. “No one was injured in the attack. But this could be seen as an attempt to intimidate TNA supporters,” he said. That there was also an attack on another TNA supporter during which his motorcycle was set on fire. more..

Female vote-winner likely to be sidelined

Sep 25 (TA) Her advocacy for Sri Lanka's disappeared, and a violent midnight attack on her home ahead of last weekend's historic elections, made Ananthi Sasitharan a prominent face of the victorious TNA campaign. Ms Sasitharan was the party's second highest vote-winner in the NPC elections, behind chief minister-designate CV Wigneswaran, and the only woman elected to the 38-seat council. more..

Sharma, GL to brief Ministers

Sep 25 (CG) Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma and Foreign Minister G.L Peiris will brief Commonwealth Ministers tomorrow on the preparations for the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka. The briefing will take place at the twelfth meeting of Commonwealth foreign affairs ministers in New York alongside the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly, the Commonwealth Secretariat said. The Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting will also bring foreign ministers more..

Ferryhill school's link with overseas school

Sep 25 (NE) Youngsters at a Ferryhill school broadened their horizons when teachers travelled more than 5,000 miles to take their lessons. Two members of staff from a school in Weligama, in Sri Lanka, spent a week at Cleves Cross Primary School, in Ferryhill, as part of a project that links the two schools. Through the connecting classrooms grant from the British Council, Cleves Cross paired up with compatriots in Weligama to develop global awareness among children and more..