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Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Oct 13 (ST) Canada’s delegation to the CHOGM in Colombo will be led by Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary (Deputy Minister) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He represents Calgary East for the Conservative Party of Canada. Canadian PM, Stephen Harper last week reiterated he would not attend. The main reason he claims is the Govt’s bad human rights record. Canada has also listed the impeachment of more..

'Iran to forge closer ties with Sri Lanka'

Oct 13 (ST) Iran will continue to expand its relations with Sri Lanka and hold inter-religious dialogues with leaders of various religions and beliefs, in order to eliminate misunderstanding, said Ayatollah Muhammed Ali Tashkiri, advisor to the Spiritual Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Ayatollah Ali Tashkiri who is presently in the country, told the Sunday Times that President Hassan Rouhani is determined to expand relations, more..

'Allocation for higher education increased by 114%'

Oct 13 (SO) Minister S.B. Dissanayake said the allocation on the Higher Education sector from 2005 to 2013 has been increased by 114%. When President Rajapaksa took office in 2005, the allocation for the Higher Education Ministry was Rs. 63,000 million. This allocation has been increased to Rs.136,000 million. The student intake of universities which was 9,000 in 2005 has now been increased to 26,000. more..

New UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka presents credentials

Oct 13 (GDI) Ms. Una McCauley has assumed office as the new Representative for UNICEF in Sri Lanka. Ms. McCauley presented her credentials to the Minister G.L. Peiris on the 11th of Oct. "It is a great privilege to be able to serve the children of this Nation through UNICEF's Child Rights mandate" said Ms. Una McCauley. "Sri Lanka has made great strides in realizing the rights of children and continues to build on its more..

Hi-tech highway ready for takeoff

Oct 13 (ST) Sign boards giving advance warnings to motorists about road conditions ahead, facilities to monitor vehicle flow throughout the journey and road side communication posts for motorists needing assistance, are some of the features of the Katunayaka Expressway that opens in two weeks. Finishing touches to the 45 billion rupee project were underway this week, before President Rajapaksa opens the expressway more..

High drama at posh boutique hotel

Oct 13 (ST) The Board room drama at the multi-million rupee boutique hotel in Wadduwa took a new turn this week when the CEO and Deputy Chairman Anura Lokuhetty claimed that armed men entered the hotel early Friday morning, assaulted staff members, abducted him in a white van, kept a pistol to his head, stole his documents and dumped him on the road. He says he had to be hospitalised due to the injuries he suffered. more..

Justice for victims of crime

Oct 13 (ST) The Government will set up a National Authority for the protection of victims of crime. This is one of the major highlights of an Assistance and Protection of Victims of Crime (NAPVC) Bill that will be introduced in Parliament. The proposed Authority will be empowered to “provide assistance and redress to victims of crime upon an application.” It will be in the form of compensation from a special fund to be more..

CBSL knew CIFL was in a nosedive in 2011

Oct 13 (ST) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) knew of a crisis at Central Investments and Finance Ltd (CIFL) as far back as 2011, even stating in internal reports that the Company was “operating as a ponzi scheme”. Matters only came to head in July 2013, when CBSL acknowledged “prevailing liquidity and management issues of CIFL” and appointed People’s Leasing and Finance as the Company’s managing agent. more..

CEB incurs Rs 3.6 B loss

Oct 13 (CT) The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has incurred an additional loss of a whopping Rs 3,600 million to date due to the non functioning of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant (NCPP), which has been closed since last August, the National Electricity Consumers' Movement (NECM) charged yesterday. The power plant was initially closed for three weeks for maintenance. However, it has remained closed since then. more..

TNA détente with MR; but cracks erupt within

Oct 13 (ST) President Mahinda Rajapaksa had a thoughtful gift for C.V. Wigneswaran after he swore him at three different times last Monday morning. The first was as an elected member of the NPC, the second as its Chief Minister and the third, as a minister of the PC cabinet. All three oaths were taken in Tamil. He then handed to the newly anointed Chief Minister a statue of Lord Sri Vinayagar. more..

A seriously ludicrous expansion

Oct 13 (CT) The news is stale now. One of the smallest countries on Earth, with a population of just over 20 million and an area of 65,000-odd square kilometres has the biggest Cabinet in the world. We are surely creating Guinness World Records in the arena of governance, but sadly these records only stand out as badges of shame as far as the international community is concerned. At a time when the country’s economy is in the doldrums and the various govt extravagances have not more..

Airline ticketing agencies to be registered

Oct 13 (NS) The Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka (CAASL) has called all unregistered ticketing agencies in the country to register with them. The registration process would be conducted by the Air Transport Division of the CAASL. According to CAASL Director General and CEO, H.M.C. Nimalsiri, the decision to register such agencies was prompted with the intention of ensuring the protection of air travellers. Under this program, any ticketing agency found to be operating illegally without more..

WikiLeaks: UNP leader under fire from within his party – 2004 US Ambassador

Oct 13 (CT) “UNP leader and former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is under fire from members of his own party who are seeking to clip his wings and/or remove him as party leader. The discontent stems from the view of many party members that Wickremesinghe led the party poorly in the April election in which the UNP was defeated” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington. The related leaked cable is from the more..

Heading for a Higher Trajectory: China – Sri Lanka People-to-People Relations

Oct 13 (Island) Following an invitation extended by Mr. Milinda Moragoda, Founder of the Pathfinder Foundation (PF), a high-level delegation led by Mme. Yan Junqi, Vice-chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (Deputy Speaker), Chairwoman of the Central Committee of the China Association for Promoting Democracy (CAPD) and Vice President of CPAPD will be visiting Sri Lanka from Oct. 13-15. During her visit, Mme Yan is expected to call on more..

Tributary overlordship and Cakravarti figures in pre-British Lanka

Oct 13 (CT) Darshani Ratnawalli has recently deployed one motif within my book Sinhala Consciousness in the Kandyan Period, 1590s to 1815 in a perceptive and telling manner. The motif is the concept of “tributary overlordship.” Details from Robert Knox and Philippus Baldaeus are presented in useful ways by Ratnawalli to underline the weight of this concept in the political relations between “centre” and “periphery” in the 17th and 18th centuries. more..

CB to encourage mergers of financial institutions

Oct 13 (ST) Over the next year, the Central Bank will encourage mergers and consolidations within the banking and non-banking financial institutions sectors, said Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal. His comments to the Sunday Times come amidst fresh efforts by the regulator to set more stringent standards for finance companies. Last week, four new directions were issued by the Monetary Board in an effort to tighten controls. more..

Wigneswaran calls for unity

Oct 13 (CG) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has called for unity in the North, especially among the Tamils and Muslims. Speaking after visiting a Mosque in Jaffna, Wigneswaran said that Tamils and Muslims must join hands to make a change in the North, the Jaffna Tamil media reported. Muslim groups in the North, especially in Mannar had, prior to the Northern Provincial Council elections, raised concerns over the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) winning the elections. more..

Mauritius mulls air links with Lanka

Oct 13 (SO) Trade between Sri Lanka and Mauritius increased by 5.6% to US $ 6.93 million last year from the previous year's volume, statistics of the Department of Commerce revealed. Sources confirmed that the existing low levels of trade are an indication of the untapped potential in bilateral trade. Mauritius, poised to become an ocean economy, is bullish on direct air links with Sri Lanka. Among Sri Lanka’s leading exports to Mauritius are coloured woven cotton fabric, diamonds, food and more..

'Youths of today have to fight the same imperialism Che fought against'

Oct 13 (LT) Speaking at a youths rally held at Anueradhapura yesterday the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva said the only youths’ organization in Sri Lanka that raises its voice against imperialism is the Socialist Youth Union adding that Che also fought against the same capitalism and imperialism. He said, "All comrades here would like to be like Comrade Che. At this moment I remember a statement made by more..

Laugfs Group’s Southern Petroleum partners LIOC in new fuel station in Galle

Oct 13 (ST) Southern Petroleum (Pvt) Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Laugfs Holdings Ltd, opened its newest fuel station in partnership with Lanka IOC PLC (LIOC) in Galle last week. This was a partnership under a MoU signed by the two parties recently pertaining to the addition of petrol variants by LIOC at standalone auto LPG filling stations owned and operated by Laugfs. The new fuel station is the first one to be established under this MoU and many more fuel stations have more..

Abductors’ identity still a mystery

Oct 13 (CT) The police are in the dark over the identity of the kidnappers, who allegedly abducted a wealthy businessman who is also a close confidant of controversial Minister Mervyn Silva, and the businessman’s bodyguard in Maradana last Tuesday. The kidnappers have reportedly questioned the two men over their alleged involvement in the drug trade and warned them to sever their relationship with Minister Silva, who has reportedly fallen out of favour with the high more..

LPBOA to sue Minister and NTC Chairman

Oct 13 (AD) President of the Lanka Private Bus Owner’s Association (LPBOA), Gemunu Wijeratne today said that they will take legal action against the Minister of Private Transport Services and the Chairman of the National Transport Commission (NTC) for “ruining” the private bus industry. He charged that there is no proper process to administer the private bus industry in the country and that at least the schedule system more..

Govt. to buy landmark SCB building

Oct 13 (ST) The Govt is to take over a historic landmark in Colombo — the Standard Chartered Bank building overlooking the President’s House. President Rajapaksa told the ministers recently the building was being occupied by staff of the Presidential Secretariat and Presidential Security Division (PSD) personnel. Since 2006 it had been on rent to the President’s Office. He said the owner of the building had advertised on the internet for the sale of the building for Rs 1139.77 million. more..

President insists on protocol

Oct 13 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has insisted that Ministry Secretaries follow protocol and not try to play down the importance of the subject Minister. The President had noted that on a number instances some Ministry Secretaries failed to respect their Ministers at public events. “President Rajapaksa has noted one such incident when he was watching television where he saw the Secretary taking the lead role at a function while the Minister was also there,” President’s office said. more..

Police officer blocks vehicle parade over Rathupaswala

Oct 13 (AD) Gampaha ASP Chandana Kodithuwakku has allegedly forced a group of activists to abandon a vehicle parade to spread awareness regarding the drinking water issue in Rathupawala. An organization for the protection of water had organized a vehicle parade today, to educate the public regarding the Rathupaswala water crisis, after the glove factory at the center of the recent controversy in more..

Now a mini zoo for CHOGM delegates

Oct 13 (ST) A mini zoo in Battaramulla is among government’s plan for entertaining CHOGM visitors according to the Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation Ministry. The mini zoo will be set up on a 3.5 acre plot of bare land adjacent to the Folk Arts Centre (Jana Kala Kendraya) in Battaramulla where a model Sri Lankan village showcasing the country’s cultural heritage will be setup. Referring to the mini zoo, director of the National Zoological Gardens of Dehiwala, Anura de Silva said more..

Two drug dealers nabbed

Oct 13 (CT) An alleged drug dealer alias Kudu Arnold, who is reportedly a close associate of drug kingpin Wele Suda, was apprehended by the Valana Anti Vice Squad today in Moratuwa. The police have found 8050 milligrams of heroin stocked inside several pouches which was in the possession of the suspect. The police have also seized a trishaw that was used by the suspect to smuggle drugs. A detention order was issued on the suspect today by the Moratuwa Magistrate's Court. more..

When chlorine reigned on Penrith Estate

Oct 13 (ST) Residents of Penrith Estate in Puwakpitiya-Avissawella panicked on Wednesday night when a strong smell accompanied by fumes emanated from the water supply station within the estate. Villagers recalling that night, said that around 8.30 they heard a loud rumbling sound from the station as if a heavy iron container had fallen from a height. They saw smoke rising from the station accompanied by a strong odour that more..

The pressure to perform

Oct 13 (CT) Educating the young so that they might better handle the country’s future is not only a Sri Lankan problem but an issue the world in general has been grappling with. From the intense competition in India to Singapore, to the famously crumbling public education system in America, the issue is the same. What is the best way to educate the young? Sri Lanka boasts of 9,600 public schools in the country, offering free education, so that every child regardless of his/her more..

Prasanna the organizer of Kelaniya?

Oct 13 (SM) A group of Govt members of the Kelaniya Local Council have made a request to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to appoint Mr. Prasanna Ranatunga, the Chief Minister of Western Province, as the organizer of Kelaniya electorate. Since the resignation of Minister Mervyn Silva from the organizer post of Kelaniya, it still remains vacant, without any permanent organizer. However, it is the Western Province Chief Minister who is the "acting organizer" in Kelaniya at the moment. more..

Race on for effective treatment or vaccination against deadly dengue

Oct 13 (ST) While the National Dengue Eradication Week ends today, in the state-of-the-art Centre for Dengue Research (CDR) of the Sri Jayawardhanapura University, vital information is being gathered in the race towards finding either a treatment for this deadly viral disease or a vaccination against it. A majority of people who are infected with the dengue virus do not fall ill and, in a first in the world, the CDR has developed more..

Mother, daughter dead after jumping in front of Yal Devi

Oct 13 (AD) A woman and her daughter were killed after being hit by the Yal Devi train, which was traveling from Killinochchi to Colombo today. The woman had reportedly jumped in front of the train with her two daughters in the Thinawala area, between the Veyangoda and Pallepola railway stations, at around 1.00pm today, the Railway Control Room said. Police said the woman and one daughter were killed instantly while the other girl had not come into contact with the speeding train. more..

Grero’s appointment is a red light to education – LTSU

Oct 13 (LT) Appointing a leading education businessman as the deputy minister of education is a serious challenge aimed at free education and the arbitrary decision by the President is vehemently opposed states Lanka Teacher Services Union (LTSU) in a media release. The Union points out the conduct of Mr. Mohan Lal Grero as the Monitoring MP of the Education Ministry has revealed vividly his attitude towards education in this country. His attitude regarding education is to move it more..

Neth Setha Eye Hospital

TNA deeply indebted to the President

Oct 14 (SL) Elections for the Central, North-Western and Northern Provinces have come and gone. Election results show that the rural populace of the country is still with the UEFA. The metropolitan, middle and upper middle classes, and the business classes, generally the least nationalist of the population are still with the UNP. Within this backdrop, the TNA should be eternally thankful to the President, and his entire team that won the war because without this victory TNA (ITAK) more..

Lot to play for in first Davis Cup tie

Oct 14 (SL) Sri Lanka has been a Group Two Davis Cup competitor in three of the past four competitions, the last two years consecutively. The popular public perception would so likely be that, after spending three of the post-2010 years in Group Two it’s time Sri Lanka tennis made a move up to Group One. That of course is the logical extension to the ambitions of the SLTA and the national players, but truth be told, elevation isn’t easy; it’s singly the sternest challenge more..

Education sector most corrupt

Oct 14 (CT) Sri Lanka's education sector has never had a clean bill of health, especially with regard to corruption as it has been ranked as one of the most corrupt institutes by the report published by the COPE. Educationalists in the country claim such acts of corruption occur within the sector, mainly because of the lack of funds, and secondly, because of the politicized system through which educational authorities, principals, more..

Mangala did a ‘Rathupaswala’ in Matara

Oct 14 (CT) Mangala Samaraweera, the ‘Communications Head’ of the UNP had to show his ‘machismo’ in his own hometown. He could not tolerate the challenge that his leader was confronted with in his own backyard. And so he went to work. He had to defend his leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, from being humiliated beyond words. The ‘master-strategist’ who once brought the JVP to the fold of the UPFA to ensure certain victory for Mahinda Rajapaksa and who is alleged to have more..

Mangala tirade on Matara attack almost derails COPE Report debate

Oct 14 (ST) A two-day Parliamentary debate on the report of the COPE which took place on Thursday and Friday became another routine debate with no concrete proposals for punitive action against those faulted with wrongdoing within the State sector. While the COPE debate continued much along partisan lines, the infighting within the UNP which exploded into a street fight in Matara a few days earlier, also took centre stage, with the Party’s Matara District MP Mangala Samaraweera more..

Greg Chappell not averse to have an initial discussion

Oct 14 (ST) Eleven cricket coaches have applied for the post of head coach of Sri Lanka’s national team amidst an overture from former Australian cricketing great Greg Chappell appearing on the horizon. The position fell vacant with the resignation of head coach Graham Ford. Early last week the Sri Lanka Cricket met at a special executive committee meeting to scrutinise the eleven names that were in contention – more..