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65,000 houses project may be re-tendered in small packages

Oct 17 (ST) French steel giant ArcelorMittal’s US$1 billion (Rs.146 billion at today’s exchange rate) bid to singly erect 65,000 prefab dwellings in Sri Lanka for the war-affected in the North and East has suffered a blow. Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) headed by the PM recommended this week for the project to be re-tendered in smaller packages. Decision–which will be put to the Cabinet more..

Daily power cuts till Friday: CEB

Oct 17 (DN) The CEB this morning released the full list of areas that will be affected by the power-cuts it intends to impose the next five days. CEB announced that power supply would be disrupted in certain areas for two and a half hours in the morning, and an hour in the evening. The announcement came on the heels of the Ministry of Power and Energy warning yesterday that power-cuts were imminent to manage demand. more..

Exports, imports decline; BOP in surplus

Oct 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s exports fell 4.4% to US$ 891.2 million in July, while imports also fell at a faster 6.6% to US$ 1,432.8 million from a year earlier, official data showed. The trade gap shrank 10% to US$ 541.6 million from a year earlier. The Central Bank said the subdued performance in agri and industrial exports, owing to lower international commodity prices and lower domestic supply, mainly contributed to exports decline. more..

Wiggy, Sampanthan under death threat?

Oct 17 (CT) Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran revealed that he had received an e-mail in Sinhala, from a person in Balapitiya around the end of September and later, a telephone call, presumably from the same person, claiming that he had come to know of a conspiracy to get a contract killer to assassinate Sampanthan, on payment of Rs 25 million and blame it on the LTTE, to make out the organization is still active. more..

Prices of 47 drugs will be reduced on Friday

Oct 17 (ITN) An announcement on the reduction of prices of 47 drugs will be made on Friday. This was revealed by Health Services Director General Dr. Palitha Mahipala said. He said that they have already prepared the gazette notification and directed to the legal draft section. They have informed that by Thursday they would be able to complete the entire process and provided to Health Ministry. more..

Video: Norochcholai breakdown a result of new shoddy contractor: JVP

Oct 17 (DM) Stating that breakdown of Norochcholai power plant was a result of giving the construction contract to a party which had done a shoddy job, JVP MP Vijitha Herath said an investigation has to be carried out to determine who was at fault. He said it is obvious that the contractor had constructed the plant at a low quality and they had no expertise in the field. As a result power plant had broken down on several occassions. more..

Travel agents renew call to abolish minimum rates

Oct 17 (FT) Travel agents have welcomed the Govt’s move to abolish minimum room rates though city hotels have objected, prompting Tourism Minister John Amaratunga to hint that the current status quo would remain in place for two more years.  “There were proposals made to remove the minimal rate of Colombo City Hotels. We said we will consider it and we will implement it. However, we have not decided anything. more..

CNH to stop accepting unidentified bodies

Oct 17 (DM) The Colombo National Hospital (CNH) had decided to stop accepting unidentified bodies to the mortuary following the Hospital’s morgue becoming full with unidentified and unclaimed human bodies, Deputy Director of the CNH Dr. Anil Jasinghe said. He said that he had informed Western Province DIG of Police regarding the decision. Dozens of unclaimed bodies were kept in mortuary freezers more..

Aduruppu street gold heist solved

Oct 17 (Island) The Peliyagoda Police Crime Division sleuths took into custody a stock of gold jewellery and four suspects who a jewellery shop at Aduruppu Street, Colombo on Saturday. Police have found that the robbery was masterminded by a sub inspector of police attached to the Western Province Intelligence unit. The investigators traced him but he managed to escape following a gun fight with the police. more..

Tea industry stakeholders decry cess fund take over moves

Oct 17 (Island) Tea industry stakeholders are opposing govt's move to take over a cess fund charged from exports to promote Ceylon tea globally and have demanded that in the alternative the cess be suspended. "This promotional fund belongs to the exporters, which they contributed to out of their cash flow. It is illegal and improper for the fund to be taken over by the govt, chairman, Tea Exporters Association Rohan Fernando said. more..

Shouldn’t investigators have courage: to stand against political interference?

Oct 17 (DM) The President in a hard hitting speech denounced the steps taken by the CIABOC, CID and FCID to take the former Defence Ministry Secretary and three former Commanders to Court and had said that he had not known that there were such cases pending until that morning! However, there had been several instances where the relevant investigations became publicly known. Media gave wide coverage and highlighted these well during my days too in the PRECIFAC.  more..

Refugees, Migrants and the UN mandate for keeping peace

Oct 17 (DM) The United Nations (UN) established on 24 Oct 1945, was set up to promote international co-operation in the aftermath of World War II in an effort to prevent such large-scale conflicts breaking out in the future. UNHCR was established by the UNGA on Dec 14, 1950, and began work a fortnight later, on Jan 1, 1951. It was given a three-year mandate to help find a solution to the problem of the near 1 million European refugees displaced in the aftermath of World War II, more..

MPs’ duty free car permit racket: SC to be moved against several state institutions

Oct 17 (Island) Attorney-at-law Nagananda Kotituwakku said that Supreme Court would soon be moved against Commissioner General of Motor Traffic for illegal transfer of duty free vehicle permits issued to MPs to new owners who had absolutely no right to benefit from tax exemption. Kodituwakku said that the SC would also be moved against the CIABOC and the Finance Ministry. Duty free permits issued to MPs had been used to more..

Confederation of Indian Industry to support Sri Lankan SMEs

Oct 17 (DN) India’s powerful multinational and industry group Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) announced their direct support to Lankan SMEs and industries in an unprecedented offer on October 12 in Colombo. “Within India, there are so many economic changes that could be advantageous for Sri Lanka. What is important is that this is also a new opening for Lankan industries and SMEs” said the Governing Council Member of Finance Facilitation Center of the powerful Indian more..

Indian extile mills look at promoting warehouse in Colombo for cotton

Oct 17 (Hindu) If all goes on the expected lines, textile mills in the southern States are expected to import more cotton this year (Oct 2016 to Sept 2017). They are looking at promoting Colombo as a hub where international sellers and shippers can stock cotton and supply to the mills in south India and also to buyers in other Asian countries. Such a project is expected to bring down the transport cost substantially for the mills in the South compared to the cost incurred now for more..

China, Sri Lanka vow to deepen cooperation within Belt and Road framework

Oct 17 (Xinhua) Chinese President Xi Jinping met with President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday, vowing to deepen bilateral pragmatic cooperation within the Belt and Road framework. Two leaders met on the sidelines of 8th BRICS summit in the western Indian state of Goa. China-SL relations have seen positive and healthy development momentum, said Xi, noting that China will work with Sri Lanka to carry forward more..

Yali Pibidena Yala gets underway

Oct 17 (CT) Minister of Wildlife should take immediate action against those who misused State money under the guise of 'Yala' development projects during Rajapaksa regime, Minister Sajith Premadasa said. He made these remarks at a public event which was held to open three new projects in Yala under the concept of Yali Pibidena Yala. The expenditure incurred on the Project was Rs 199 million and Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera declared open these new projects last Friday. more..

Sirisena raises thorny fishermen issue

Oct 17 (Hindu) President Sirisena asked PM Narendra Modi to find a firm solution to the thorny fishermen issue. He made the demand during a meeting with Mr. Modi where the two leaders reviewed bilateral cooperation in a whole host of areas, including energy and health. There was a discussion on the thorny issue of fishermen. President Sirisena said he wanted a firm solution on the issue. Mr. Modi agreed with him and said “we must find a proper solution to this long more..

Sri Lanka’s heads for uneasy new political trajectory

Oct 17 (EN) President and PM will return home this week from India and Belgium respectively to pick up the political pieces after President's controversial remarks that deepened a split in uneasy unity govt. Our Political Correspondent takes a look at options for the two leaders and possible outcomes for SL as it grapples with an economic crisis and faces international scrutiny of its pledges to war crimes accountability. more..

Sri Lanka lags behind having preferential market access

Oct 17 (DN) Sri Lanka is far behind other South Asian countries in working out duty free or preferential market access to other countries, said Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Malika Samarawickrama. He said that 84% of SAARC exports have duty free access to the world at large. India has preferential market access to ASEAN, Japan, South Korea through various FTAs and CEPAs it has signed during the last decade. Pakistan too have similar agreements. more..

Duped woman sells herself to settle decamped lover’s loan

Oct 17 (Island) A story of a mother of one duped by her lover trying to earn Rs. 180,000 to settle a loan by engaging in the world’s oldest profession is reported from Galle. The story came to light when the police raided a brothel at Makuluwa area in Galle recently. The police took the woman and the person suspected to be the manager of the place. The woman (27) from Negombo area is a mother of 22-month-old child. She lives with her child in a room rented in Galle town after more..

Sri Lanka committed to set up BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Center: President

Oct 17 (PMD) President Sirisena reiterated the commitment of govt to establish a BIMSTEC Center for Technology Transfer Facility to contribute to the collective drive for economic advancement. “To take Sri Lanka to the next stage of development, the vision of my govt is to create a knowledge based competitive social market economy which is integrated with the world”, he said. President made these remarks, more..

Young actress killed in accident

Oct 17 (Island) Young teledrama actress Kaveesha Ayeshani Premaratne was killed when her car collided with a bus at Jubilee Post, Nugegoda in the early hours of yesterday. The police said that the 24-year-old had been driving the car when the accident occurred. She succumbed to her injuries after being admitted to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Kalubowila. Her car had collided with a stationary vehicle, the police said, adding that further inquiries were being made. more..

Capital Trust Residencies launches in Kotte

Oct 17 (Island) With the successful launch of two high-end luxury apartment complexes in Vajira Road, Colombo 4 and Thimbirigasyaya Road, Colombo 5, Capital TRUST Residencies is launching its latest projects – Fortress on Kotte Road, Ethul Kotte and Altitude on Epitamulla Road, Pita Kotte, bringing a world class luxury living experience to the heritage city of Kotte. Capital TRUST Residencies, is renowned for creating elegant living spaces for home owners more..

Sri Lanka seeks investment in health sector

Oct 17 (GT) Sri Lanka is exploring the possibility of attracting investments from Qatari entrepreneurs and govt agencies in its health sector, island nation’s Minister Rajitha Senaratne said in Doha. The minister, who is on a two-day visit to Qatar, said he had held discussions on investment prospects in his country with Qatar Minister for Finance Ali Sherif al-Emadi. “While apprising Qatar Minister of the areas where more..

CSE opens branch in Ambalantota

Oct 17 (Island) CSE Chairman Vajira Kulatilaka officially opens Ambalantota branch with Rajeeva Bandaranayake- CEO of the CSE. The Ambalantota branch of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) was officially opened to the public by CSE Chairman Vajira Kulatilaka today. The branch located at No. 52, Hambantota Road, Ambalantota improves the CSE’s branch coverage and adds to branches in Matara, Kandy, Kurunegala, Negombo, Jaffna, Anuradhapura and Ratnapura. more..

President holds bilateral discussions with Indian Premier

Oct 17 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena who is in India to participate BRICS Outreach Summit held bilateral discussion with the Indian Premier Narendra Modi at the Taj Exotica Hotel in Goa today (16). PM Modi who warmly welcomed President Sirisena stated that the President’s participation to the BRICS Outreach Summit is a great strength for him, for India and also for the entire BIMSTEC region. He further stated that Sri Lanka has a significant role in the South Asian Region at the moment. more..

Chamal, Ridma, Hashini beat odds on grass-less track to break records

Oct 17 (Island) Chamal Kumarasiri of D.S. Senanayake MMV, Meerigama, Ridma Nishadi of Dharmasoka College, Ambalangoda and Hashini Prabodha of Holy Family Convent, Wennappuwa beat severe odds to break meet records on a dilapidated track on day four of the All Island Schools Games Athletic Championship here at Bogambara on Sunday. Kumarasiri, an Asian Youth Championship medalist, broke his own meet record when he cleared 15.52 metres to win more..

Regulating Financial Services for the Poor

Oct 17 (IPS) Microfinance is an important tool in addressing poverty and vulnerability.  Sri Lanka has a long history of microfinance dating back to the early 20th century. At present, Sri Lanka’s microfinance sector comprises a range of different institutions including co-operative societies, NGOs, microfinance companies, development banks, and special state programmes like the Divineguma community-based banks. Despite a large number of microfinance providers, more..

SL Women lose Plate final; Japan champs

Oct 17 (DN) Sri Lanka women’s rugby team gave a spectacular display but lost in extra time to Singapore by 12 points (2 tries, 1 conversion) to 7 (1 try, 1 conversion) in the Plate championship final of the Asian Rugby Sevens Series 3rd and final leg played at the Racecourse Int'l Stadium yesterday. For the SL Women Tuskers centre Anusha Attanayake scored the solitary converted try. In the semi-finals Sri Lanka annihilated the hapless Indians by a huge margin of 32 points to nil. more..

Teen sensation Fazil youngest National Snooker Champ first time out

Oct 17 (ST) 19-year-old Mohamed Fazul Mohamed Fazil had the honour of becoming the youngest National Snooker Champion in the history of the sport in Sri Lanka. He achieved this feat at the recently concluded 64th National Snooker Championship held at the Billiards & Snooker Association headquarters’ tables at Sugathadasa Hotel, Colombo. The brilliance of his achievement was that, this was his maiden appearance more..

Aung San Suu Kyi praises Sri Lanka’s democratic transformation

Oct 17 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena met the Foreign Minister of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi today (16) in the sidelines of the BRICS Outreach Summit. The President commended the service rendered by Aung San Suu Kyi who led a long term struggle for democracy. He also invited her for an official visit to Sri Lanka. Aung San Suu Kyi who commended the democratic transformation being occurred in Sri Lanka, expressed her satisfaction over political journey of President Sirisena. more..

Asia Capital partners Japan’s Belluna for $ 50 m luxury apartment complex in the city

Oct 17 (FT) Asia Capital PLC, in collaboration with Japanese foreign investor and partner Belluna Co. Ltd., last week launched an exclusive apartment development project in the upscale Union Place location at a project cost of over $ 50 million (Rs. 7.3 b).  Luna Tower – Four Four Seven is a 200-apartment building located centrally at Union Place, offering speedy and convenient access to the commercial and entertainment areas of Colombo. Its unparalleled location offers more..

Asia Rugby 7s: Sri Lanka flops at home: Finish fourth; HK champs again

Oct 17 (DN) Sri Lanka lost to China for the second time in the Asians Rugby Seven’s Series-3rd leg when they were beaten 21 (3 tries, 3 conversions) to 22 (4 tries, 1 conversion) in the play-off for third/fourth place at the Racecourse Int'l Stadium yesterday. Sri Lanka who finished second in the first two legs thus had to be satisfied with fourth place with China taking third spot. Sri Lanka at one point led 21-7 but conceded the game more..

The rebranding of Mahinda as the born again ultimate liberal

Oct 17 (ST) The scarlet satakaya is still there but gone is the strident oratory, the purpled emotive prose that made 5 million people worship at his altar last year, as the liberator of the nation, Dutugamunu style. Mahinda Rajapaksa has at long last come to realise that beating the hackneyed drum of Sinhala chauvinism will no longer suffice to ensure a return to power without the support and vote of all sections of Great Lankan public. No doubt he has come a long way to arrive at this milepost. more..

Bank’s legal officer in sexual harassment case

Oct 17 (DM) A legal officer in a State bank had been accused of sexually abusing two women employees in the same office. The two victims have already lodged a complaint with the Mirihana Police, the Police said. According to one of the victims the suspect had accused the victims of filing petitions to the management against him and threatened them. “He came so close to me almost leaning against my body and abused me while scolding me with filth. This is despite me explaining to him more..