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Sri Lanka besieged with sub-standard public transport

Oct 15 (CT) The Ministry of Private Transport Services has announced a 7% bus fare hike, effective 1 Nov. The Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA), which represents the interests of private bus owners, has finally agreed to the proposed hike, after insisting on an increase of 10%. Nonetheless, the commuters will eventually get a shock when fares increase and the ripple effect of the hike would result in an increase in prices of all essential goods and services. more..

Six petitions against TNA manifesto to be called on Oct. 30

Oct 15 (Island) The six petitions filed in the Supreme Court against the TNA election manifesto published for the recent NPC elections, will be called before the Supreme Court on Oct 30. Petitioners, Gunadasa Amerasekera, Venerable Rengamuwe Nalaka Thera, Ravikumara the President of the Jaffna Buddhist Congress and three others, have complained that the manifesto has said that the Tamils of the North need a separate state and that is in violation of the Constitution of Sri Lanka, more..

‘Economic diplomacy at the helm’

Oct 15 (DM) Q. The Ministry of External Affairs and the Diplomatic Corps of the country draw quite a lot of flak over its failure to stave-off criticism of the country at international forums in the post-war period. What is your response to these criticisms and how has the Ministry formulated its polices to deal with this challenge? A: An important thing which the public should understand is the change which has taken place in Sri Lanka’s more..

Sri Lanka think tank releases policy report

Oct 15 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Institute of Policy Studies has released its annual 'State of the Economy' policy report. This year's report 'Sri Lanka’s Transition to a Middle Income Economy.' The report covers areas of international trade, exports, state investments and spending and other policy issues. A full statement on the report released by IPS is reproduced below: The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS), apex think tank on socio-economic policy issues has been publishing the State of the Economy report more..

Suspected treasure hunters remanded

Oct 15 (Island) Udadumbara Police during a mid-day operation last Friday rounded up a gang of nine engaged in illicit digging for treasure in Kobonilla sector in Meemure in the knuckles forest reserve. The nine suspects from different parts of the country were produced before the Teldeniya acting magistrate Sarath Premakumara who remanded them till October 23. The nine suspects including at least two who had served in the army were Palitha Jayasundara (Watapana), more..

Prince Charles confirms Sri Lanka visit

Oct 15 (IL) Prince Charles has confirmed that he will visit Sri Lanka and represent Her Majesty The Queen at the 2013 CHOGM next month. The visit was confirmed in an official press release issued from Clarence House. Full release - Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will make a nine day visit to India next month before moving on to Sri Lanka where The Prince will represent Her Majesty more..

'This is a society not only the poor but even the affluent have no freedom'

Oct 15 (LT) When considering what is happening in the present society it is evident that not only the poor but those who are affluent too cannot live peacefully at present says JVP MP Vijitha Herath adding that a genuine and strong people’s force is required to liberate the masses from the shackles. Mr. Herath said this reminding the incidents where reputed businessmen were murdered, abducted in white vans and at a time media suppression is being carried out. more..

Karu comes forward to solve the Matara clash

Oct 15 (SM) Former Deputy Leader of the UNP Karu Jayasuriya has personally intervened to mediate the dispute between the "pro and anti Ranil" UNP groups that turned into a clash in Matara on Oct 5. Expressing his views, Mr. Jayasuriya said that he is going to raise this matter at the discussion which is going to be held today with Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sajith Premadasa. A group of UNP seniors have already pleaded a couple of influential Buddhist monks including Ven. Sobitha thero, more..

Mangala out on bail

Oct 15 (DM) UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera and two others who surrendered to court this morning were released with two suties of Rs 100,000 each by the Matara Magistrate today. The two others released on bail were Devinuwara UNP Organiser H.R. Wimalasiri and Balapitiya UNP Organiser Kamal Soysa. Six others, including Southern provincial councillor Chandana Priyantha, who also surrendered to more..

Govt says North stable

Oct 15 (CG) The govt says there is stability and growth in the North and the East of the country. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said this when he met Peter Burian, State Secretary for Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic. Minister briefed the Slovak State Secretary on the initiatives undertaken by the Govt of Sri Lanka following the end of the conflict. He highlighted the vast development projects that have been completed in the North and the East, more..

'We have to act against Ministry of Finance'

Oct 15 (LT) “No one can silence me; we have to act against the Ministry of Finance as well.” This was stated by the Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at a ceremony held at Pamunuwa recently. Speaking further he has said, “Some ask us over the phone why we are silent. I tell them we are not silent. I can’t be made silent easily. The Madiwela paddy land that belonged to farmers during the Sri Jayawardenepua Kingdom and was liberated from the Portuguese was taken over by the govt during more..

Audio: UNP to decide on CHOGM

Oct 15 (CG) The UNP has decided to rethink its stand on the CHOGM in light of what the party says is political revenge being meted out against the opposition. Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe says the orders to arrest MP Mangala Samaraweera was part of an attempt to make Samaraweera a political prisoner. He said that the orders to arrest the MP came from the “top” and was not based on the initial more..

Video: New Eelam agenda being carried out step by step - NFF

Oct 15 (AD) A new Eelam programme is being carried out step by step by the TNA, the National Freedom Front (NFF) charged. NFF Media Spokesman, Mohommed Muzamil stated that the TNA was furthering its Eelam agenda by using its newly won powers based on separatism. He explained that the TNA was planning to establish a Provincial Council based on separatist power as the first step to further this agenda. Quoting C.V. Vigneshwaran, Muzamil stated that the more..

Storm over UUP peer's praise for Sri Lankan president

Oct 15 (BT) A UUP peer has been criticised over remarks praising Sri Lankan president and alleged war criminal Mahinda Rajapaksa. Lord Dennis Rogan lauded the regime of President Rajapaksa – who is alleged to have been responsible for the massacre of thousands of Tamils in 2009 – saying that his govt had brought “harmony” to the troubled island. He made the comments following a seven-day fact-finding mission to the country, which suffered a bloody 26-year civil war more..

Video: UNP claim government conspiracy behind arrest of prominent members

Oct 15 (AD) The remanding of several UNP organizers and members is part of the govt’s plan to weaken the opposition party, the UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake stated. He said that seven UNP organizers have been arrested including Weligama organizer Gayan Sanjeewa, who has been remanded, as well as Matara organizer MP Mangala Samaraweera. Balapitiya organizer Kamal Soyza, more..

Members of Chinese peace and disarmament group call on President Rajapaksa

Oct 15 (GDI) The Vice President of the Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament Mrs. Yan Junqi, who is also the Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, called on President Rajapaksa this morning. While commending President Rajapaksa for the “achievements made under your leadership,” Mrs. Yan expressed her interest in working to further strengthen bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and China. more..

Four detained under NSA for luring Tamil refugees to Australia

Oct 15 (PTI) Four persons, including three Sri Lankan refugees, have been detained under National Security Act on charges of attempting to lure Tamil refugees from the island nation to go to Australia illegally. The 'Q' Branch wing of police in the city arrested P Shivashankar, Yo Srijayan, T Sathish Kumar, all Sri Lankan Nationals and T Veeramani of Madurai and on interrogation they said to have confessed that they have taken money and gold ornaments on the promise of more..

Parties urge TN govt to pass resolution against India’s participation at CHOGM

Oct 15 (TOI) Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) leader S Ramadoss and Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) president and MP Thol Thirumavalavan urged the TN state govt to pass a resolution in the state assembly against the India's participation at the CHOGM scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka. In separate statements, both leaders alleged that the Rajapaksa govt committed war crimes during the final phase of civil war in 2009. more..

CHOGM 2013: Peer Pressure

Oct 15 (FP) Meetings of the Commonwealth of Nations, an international grouping made up primarily of countries that were once parts of the British Empire, are generally sedate affairs. The group's summits tend to evoke the genteel aura of afternoon tea. Controversies rarely surface. But 2013 threatens to depart from the rule. The next Commonwealth summit, set to take place in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo next month, looks like it's going to be a doozy. more..

Apparel exports to top US$ 4 bn this year

Oct 15 (DN) Sri Lankan apparel exports would reach the US$ 4 billion level this year said Yohan Lawrence, President of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association. Speaking at the 31st Annual General Meeting at Cinnamon Lakeside he said that a year ago when he took office the industry was in a difficult situation. "Apparel exports were on the decline (they were about 7% down on the year), and there wasn't much to look forward to. Against this expectation I believe we stand today in more..

Sri Lanka still has ‘serious levels’ of hunger

Oct 15 (DM) Sri Lanka still has ‘serious levels’ of hunger and stood at the 43 position on the Global Hunger Index 2013. The number of hungry people has dropped in India with its score on the Global Hunger Index improving to 63rd position in 2013, but the country still lags behind China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The GHI report has jointly been prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and more..

Chandimal 165 drives big Sri Lanka A lead

Oct 15 (CI) Dinesh Chandimal's 162 from 197 deliveries led Sri Lanka A to a commanding position in the second four-day match, which they now lead by 146 runs with two wickets still remaining in their first innings. Chaturanga de Silva also hit 76 from 90, and combined with Chandimal in a 148-run stand that took Sri Lanka A well beyond Development XI's 265. Only Seekkuge Prasanna among the bowlers reaped satisfying rewards for day two's toil, taking 3 for 67 more..

Harper snubs Sri Lanka while sending delegation to hobnob in China

Oct 15 (NP) Stephen Harper may not have time for Sri Lanka, but his govt is all over China. Mr. Harper announced last week he would boycott a gathering of Commonwealth countries in Colombo out of dissatisfaction with the host country’s human rights record. Ottawa’s concern over rights violations doesn’t extend to China, however. Despite a rights record that easily matches or surpasses Sri Lanka’s for abuses, the federal govt is sending Governor General David Johnston and his wife more..

'India's meek response on fishermen emboldens Sri Lanka'

Oct 15 (PTI) TN Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Tuesday claimed that India's "meek and pusillanimous" response to the repeated attacks on its fishermen has emboldened Sri Lankan Navy to carry out more such attacks. In a letter to PM Manmohan Singh, copies of which were released to the media here, she said: "The meek and pusillanimous response of the govt of India to these repeated attacks have emboldened the more..

Remembering everyday mothers this Mothers’ Day

Oct 16 (NS) Today is Mothers’ Day. Today is everyday mothers’ mothers’ day, mothers’ day of everyday grandmothers and everyday great grandmothers. Today I remember two mothers, two grandmothers and one great grandmother and the mother, grandmother and great grandmother all rolled into one, Joyce Gunatilleka, 82 -years-old, mother of five, grandmother of 11 and great grandmother of 4. She passed the SSC and got through the teaching exam. more..

Manmohan Singh’s servility to Churchillian rule book

Oct 16 (NS) Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is in charge of both the military as well as urban development. During the 2008-9 final battle against the LTTE, it was he (as Secretary of Defense) who orchestrated the campaign against V Prabhakaran, a devout Christian who headed the Tamil Tigers. Although then army chief Sarath Fonseka attempted to grab the credit for the victory of the Sri Lankan Army against the LTTE, the fact remains that until political and administrative cover more..

Second 'E' grade road opens on Oct 27

Oct 16 (SO) When Sri Lanka had its first expressway experience in 2011, with the opening of the Southern Expressway the first 'E' grade road in the country, the people were eagerly awaiting that experience and were ready to go on the expressway believing it would be their only opportunity to be on it. But within a short time expressways have become a part of their daily life as they now see the construction of expressways be it the more..

The TNA's post-election strategy

Oct 16 (CT) The TNA surprised the world by winning the Northern Provincial Council election on 21 September 2013, with about 80% votes. The Party secured 30 of the 38- member Provincial Council seats. An election conducted in the predominantly Tamil North after the end of the war suggested a clean sweep for the TNA. Yet, according to the views of the government, the Province was considered crucial for the protection and national security of the country. more..

Violations of women’s reproductive rights

Oct 16 (GV) This report, TSA’s fourth, outlines the findings of the organization’s Sept 2013 field mission on coercive contraception clinics in Kilinochchi District. In early September of this year, activists in Kilinochchi discovered that public health workers had administered the sub-dermal contraceptive implant, Jadelle, to women from Veravil, Keranchi, and Valaipaddu during a nutrition clinic. After publishing accounts from these women, TSA traveled to Kilinochchi for more..

A livelihood endangered

Oct 16 (CT) The freshwater fishing industry is in dire straits due to the dwindling fish population in thousands of inland reservoirs, especially in the dry zone. Padaviya Wewa (reservoir) is a wondrous creation of the ancient kings. It was renovated in the 1950s and currently covers an area of 5,587 hectares, stores 85,000 acre feet of water and irrigates 13,800 hectares of land. It is only second to the 100,000 acre feet Kala Wewa, in size. more..

Beggaring the people; enslaving the nation

Oct 16 (CT) Nine new deputy ministers were sworn in on the 10th. Bus and train fares went up on the 12th. The UPFA has 161 MPs; of these 105 – i.e. two-thirds – are ministers, project ministers or deputy ministers. Installing powerless ministers/deputy ministers is a standard Rajapaksa antidote to one of most potent potential challenges to familial rule – dissent/rebellion within the SLFP. New deputy ministers mean more unproductive expenditure on salaries and perks, more..

Australian labor party elects a new leader!

Oct 16 (CT) Just before the public announcement this afternoon, I received the email signed by Chris Bowen, Acting Leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), saying, “With a Caucus vote of 63.95% and membership vote of 40.08% which totals 52.02%, the new Leader is Bill Shorten.” I received this email not as ALP member, but as a Labor supporter. I write this news to mainly a Sri Lankan audience not to compare ‘apples and oranges,’ as some might argue, but because of the unresolved more..

'No promises, which we can’t deliver'

Oct 16 (NS) Sarath Ekanayake, assumed duties as Chief Minister of the Central Province on Friday. Ekanayake, who was Chief Minister earlier, was reappointed to the post once again after the UPFA victory at the recently concluded CPC election. There was controversy surrounding his appointment as he came second in the preferential votes list, with some stating the Chief Minister’s post should go to the candidate who got the more..

Editorial: Jumbos punching Packer

Oct 16 (Island) The press has recently carried pictures of govt politicians fawning over Australian Casino tycoon, James Packer, who was here last week. They went out of their way to make him feel important for obvious reasons. Pictures showed a happy Packer flashing a thousand watt smile. However, UNP MP Dr. Harsha de Silva has claimed that the Opposition was able to make him return empty-handed by blocking a govt move to rush legislation through Parliament to grant more..

Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation rating confirmed at 'AAA': RAM

Oct 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation's 'AAA' rating has been confirmed by RAM Rating Lanka with a stable outlook, on its strong market position and state ownership. SLIC has become the second largest premium writer in life in 2012, up from third in 2011 with 22.51% of gross written premium. It also accounted for 40% of industry assets. Its share in the general insurance segment had fallen to 24.4% in 2012 from 25.6% in 2012. But life in the life segment its share grew to more..

'Separate Police Force for every province will create chaos'

Oct 16 (NS) Newly appointed Chief Minister of the North Western Province Dayasiri Jayasekara says that there was no need to grant Police and Land powers to provincial councils, adding that they were used as propaganda acts by certain Tamil politicians. He squashed speculations that he would crossover to the UNP in the event of a leadership change in the party. “As a leader, President Rajapaksa has a great personality. more..

Formalise taking of oaths

Oct 16 (Island) It is reported that a member of the NPC has taken oaths before a medical doctor in Mullavaikkal. It is not known whether this particular member went to the Mullativ District to take his oaths in order to pay his respects to the terrorists and their leader Prabhakran who were recognized by the west as an invincible outfit and a world class expert in guerrilla warfare respectively. Some members of the NPC belonging to EPRLF, TELO and TULF earlier threatened to more..

HDFC Bank embarks on first debenture issue

Oct 16 (Island) Housing Development Finance Corporation Bank (HDFC Bank) notches yet another historic milestone in its thirty year history, debuting an Rs 1 Bn Debenture Issue, with expectations of increasing it by a second Rs 1 Bn in the event of full subscription. The entry by this state owned Bank, adds crucial impetus to the Bank’s ethos of being ‘The Housing Bank’, which serves a market segment to who the primary need of shelter has remained elusive due to economic and social diktats. more..

Dilshan could be target of BBL teams

Oct 16 (SMH) Dashing Sri Lanka batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan is set to re-emerge as a Big Bash League target after his retirement from Tests. Dilshan had not been considered for this season's Twenty20 tournament because he was expected to be unavailable until the last week of January – just before the finals – due to international duty. But last week the opener announced his immediate retirement from Tests. more..

NDB and CCC boost the Tea sector

Oct 16 (Island) NDB together with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and the Sabaragamuwa Chamber conducted a special business forum in Ratnapura targeting the Tea sector; with the objective of fostering linkages between Colombo based enterprises and regional businesses. The workshop conducted by industry heavyweights and specialists was received with much enthusiasm by those in the sector; and was attended by a majority of the private more..