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JHU to continue opposition to Casino gazette

Oct 23 (DM) JHU General Secretary and Minister Champika Ranawaka a strong opponent of the Casino Bill at this week’s Cabinet meeting, made a fervent appeal to the authorities urging them to avoid making Sri Lanka a Casino and a Heroin Hub. He told the media, there were signs that instead of the five-hub concept propagated initially by the UPFA govt it was turning more towards anti-Buddhist and anti-social forms of development. more..

'Terrorists have no right to cemeteries'

Oct 23 (Island) No democratic government could allow a banned terrorist organization, such as the LTTE, to lay claims to tombs or monuments, Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Mahinda Hathurasighe said yesterday. He added that the rhetoric of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on the issue was quite different to what the educated former Supreme Court Judge Chief Minister of the Northern Province C. V. Wigneswaran, who was well aware of his surroundings, said. more..

Nawaz, Manmohan likely to meet in Colombo next month

Oct 23 (BR) PM Nawaz Sharif and Indian PM Dr Manmohan Singh are expected to meet in Colombo during the third week of next month on the sidelines of 23rd CHOGM. Pakistan officials say CHOGM will be held on 13-16 Nov and would be attended by all the heads of governments of Commonwealth countries. However, the CHOGM website indicates that the meeting will be held from Nov 15-17. This will be a second meeting between the Pakistan and Indian premiers in less than two months time. more..

More Congress leaders oppose Manmohan’s participation in CHOGM

Oct 23 (Hindu) More Congress leaders in Tamil Nadu are opposing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s participation in the CHOGM scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka. It was Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan who first raised the issue and subsequently met the Prime Minister and made a strong case for shifting the venue of CHOGM out of Sri Lanka, citing what he called the anti-Tamil stand of the Sri Lankan govt. more..

Boycott Colombo meeting, say rights activists

Oct 23 (GN) India must boycott the CHOGM to be held inSri Lanka, next month, say human rights activists who are opposing Sri Lankan president Rajapakse being depicted as the hero in the ‘War on Terror.’ Spearheading a campaign to mobilise public opinion across the country is the charismatic German-born Indian, Dr Gabriele Dietrich, Professor Emeritus from the Centre of Social Analysis, Madurai, and a member of the National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM). more..

President to reveal country’s next ICT strategy today

Oct 23 (FT) President Rajapaksa will present the country’s next ICT strategy to world-renowned ICT visionaries and content developers when inaugurating the WSA 2013 today at the Presidential Secretariat. The President will officially present this new strategy, the ‘SMART Sri Lanka’ initiative, during his keynote address at the World Summit Award 2013 this evening. It is only apt that this announcement of great national importance is made by President Rajapaksa himself. more..

Muzammil takes over Bhadrani's powers

Oct 23 (CT) In what can be termed as a revolutionary change in the running of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil on Monday recalled and vested in himself all the powers that have been delegated to Municipal Commissioner, Bhadrani Jayawardhana. When the Finance Standing Committee of the CMC met at Town Hall at 3:00 p.m., Mayor Muzammil tabled a motion recalling and vesting in him all the powers more..

NPC ready to meet on Friday

Oct 23 (CG) The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) is all set to meet for the first time on Friday with its new building being declared open today. Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran took part in customary Tamil events at the new building in Kaitady, Jaffna this morning. Religious observances were also followed after the new building was blessed ahead of Friday’s inaugural sitting of the council. The building was constructed in a short space of time, more..

Sri Lanka’s MERS alert on KSA-bound flights

Oct 23 (AN) The Sri Lankan govt is warning passengers heading to Saudi Arabia to take precautions against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which has infected 119 people and caused 51 deaths in the Kingdom. An official said that the advisory was for all Middle East passengers. The officer distributed brochures on the virus in Sinhalese, Tamil and English languages to all outbound and inbound Middle East passengers. more..

Budget 2014: Debt ceiling lowered

Oct 23 (Island) The processing of Budget 2014 commenced with Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva presenting the Appropriation Bill, to Parliament yesterday, with total govt expenditure increasing by 30% from last year’s Rs. 1,335 to Rs. 1,542 billion for 2014 with the biggest allocation being made to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development - Rs 253 billion. The current year’s defence budget is Rs. 289 billion. more..

Where have the young people gone?

Oct 23 (DM) While towers and skyscrapers, five-star hotels, super-highways and infrastructure development projects are going on at an accelerated pace, most Sri Lankans appear to be unaware or not taking urgent action to protect our most precious treasure – the younger generation. The National Child Protection Authority Chairperson Anoma Dissanayake and other prominent personalities spotlighted vital factors on this issue during a popular television talk show last Sunday. more..

Are we ready to embrace a New Industrial Revolution?

Oct 23 (DM) According to the Mahawansa chronicles, when Prince Vijaya and his 700 strong men disembarked in Lanka, Princess Kuveni was spinning cotton under a giant tree. It proved the fact that our ancestors by then had known how to spin cotton to produce clothes. It also was a fact that ancient China and India, over 2000 years ago, had been using hand-operated spinning wheels. Thereafter, Egypt and Arab countries had made use of the same methodology. more..

Unions demand 6% of GDP for education

Oct 23 (SL) Several education unions have expressed their lack of faith in the govt responding to their demands in view of the budget for the year 2014. The education unions have been pushing the govt for some time to increase the basic salary of the govt servants. General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) Joseph Stalin said, “When President Rajapaksa was reappointed to his seat, he promised the unions that he would more..

Norochcholai limps despite overhaul

Oct 23 (Island) Due to unresolved technical problems, the Norochcholai coal fired power plant has failed to contribute its maximum output of 300MW. This has forced the CEB to purchase expensive power, spending Rs. 30 million a day, from private producers. An energy sector official said that since its operations recommenced on Oct. 16, the plant had been contributing only 180 MW. "What is puzzling is this has happened after more..

SB lambastes Premadasas for ethnic turmoil, UNP crisis

Oct 23 (Island) Had President Ranasinghe Premadasa allowed the EPRLF-run first North East Provincial Council to function, the Eelam conflict wouldn’t have taken such a destructive course, Higher Minister S.B. Dissanayake asserted. He said that President Premadasa had joined forces with LTTE leader V Prabhakaran instead backing the first NE Chief Minister Varatharaja Perumal’s administration. more..

Sri Lanka looks to expand oil and gas related university courses

Oct 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's petroleum exploration office and the university system is looking to expand petroleum related courses as the country's oil and gas industry is beginning to taking off, officials said. There is already one working exploration block operated by Cairn India which may start producing by 2017 and another bidding round is expected to conclude next months for more offshore blocks. more..

UK reiterates need to engage

Oct 23 (CG) Britain has reiterated the need to engage Sri Lanka on human rights issues by attending the Commonwealth summit next month instead of boycotting the event. Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Govt and Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Warsi said that Britain’s priorities for the CHOGM include discussions on the post-2015 global development framework and enhancing more..

Gaming resort operators unfazed by impasse

Oct 23 (DM) The two parties who are to construct mega gaming resorts in the heart of Colombo said yesterday that they were not disturbed by the govt’s delay in passing the required laws in parliament pertaining to the setting up of such resorts. The two gazette notices offering tax concessions to the Australian gaming mogul James Packer’s US $ 400 million integrated resort and John Keells Holding’s (JKH) US $ 650 million more..

New Casino Bill in House before Budget 2014

Oct 23 (CT) The Casino Bill (Strategic Development Project Bill), which was rejected at the Party Leaders' Meeting on Monday night, will be tabled in Parliament again, after making amendments to it before Budget 2014, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, told journalists yesterday. The minister was talking to the local and Colombo-based international media at the Govt Information Department, on the sidelines of a news more..

Selectors' payment increase chopped

Oct 23 (CT) Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has stopped an unprecedented salary hike proposed by cash-strapped Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to its national selectors. SLC which is struggling to make ends meet, having incurred a debt of Rs. 3.2 billion after hosting the 2011 Cricket World Cup, decided to increase the allowances of three selectors, who were designated as non-fulltime, by a hefty sum putting them more..

Sri Lanka's Jan-Sept foreign inflows jump 45% y/y to $890 mln

Oct 23 (Reuters) Sri Lanka attracted $890 million in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first nine months of 2013, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said, a jump of 44.8% year on year. The inflows, which also includes foreign loans by companies registered with the island nation's investment body, were $614.7 million in the first nine months of 2012. They grew to $1.34 billion by the end of 2012, with infrastructure-related more..

Kenya denies lobbying Africa to boycott C'Wealth summit

Oct 23 (Xinhua) The Kenyan govt on Tuesday denied reports that it was lobbying African countries to boycott the 23rd CHOGM to be held in Sri Lanka from Nov. 15 to 17. A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade said Kenya has already embarked on preparations for the summit and no doubt will be represented at high levels of govt. "The ministry, therefore, wishes to confirm that Kenya takes its membership more..

Revving up the halal issue

Oct 23 (CT) The Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) is at it again. After a period of self-imposed hibernation, the chief protagonists of the anti-Muslim segment of political social activism set off on a motorcade from Kirulapone to Kandy yesterday morning, for an Adishtana Pooja in front of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. The aim of the Pooja is to protest against the much maligned halal certification. In an extravagant show of strength and pomp, something that is demonstrably opposed to Buddhist principles more..

Sri Lanka stocks down 0.4%, rupee up

Oct 23 (LBO) Stocks continued to sustain losses closing down 0.41% with the rupee gaining against the US dollar on export conversions and foreign inflows into the debt and equities market. All Share Price Index fell 24.32 points to 5,900.90, down 0.41%, after peaking at an intraday high of 5,930.96. The S&P SL20 closed 7.50 points lower at 3,265.08, down 0.23%. Turnover amounted to 481.31 million rupees, down from 983.09 million a day earlier, with shares of 109 firms losing against 45 gainers. more..

Severity, brutality of crimes increase though numbers dip

Oct 23 (ST) Kumara Ramanayaka, 57, retired Warrant Officer of the Sri Lanka Air Force, was attending a religious ceremony in his village in Yakatuwa, Minuwangoda, last Sunday, when there was a sudden electricity failure plunging the place in darkness. He then decided to return home on his motorcycle, as only his wife and two children were at home. Besides, he also had a large number of electronic items including television sets, more..

Khuram Shaikh and Weliweriya: Lessons in resistance

Oct 23 (CT) Indictments were filed against Sampath Chandrapushpa and other alleged murderers/rapists of Tangalle, 22 months after Khuram Shaikh was hacked to death and his Russian girlfriend gang-raped. Sampath Chandrapushpa was the Ruling Family’s choice as the Chairman of the Tangalle Pradesheeya Sabha. The Rajapaksas used every trick to prevent their henchman from being indicted. Time and again justice was promised – and denied. There was even a Defence Ministry-initiated more..

Two teenagers remanded for abduction, rape

Oct 23 (Island) Two teenagers who allegedly abducted a mother of two at knife point, in a three wheeler and then raped her in a forest area have been arrested by the Kuliyapitiya police. The suspects, aged 17 and 19, allegedly abducted the 41-year-old victim as she was going to get her passport renewed to go abroad for employment again. She had come back to Sri Lanka after working abroad for some time. The two suspects were produced before Kuliyapitiya Magistrate more..

Sri Lanka records strong tourist and remittance earnings

Oct 23 (Xinhua) Strong tourist and remittance earnings have bolstered Sri Lanka's foreign inflows, pushing the island's reserves to 6.3%. The Central Bank said in its latest report earnings on account of workers' remittances rose by 16.3%, year-on-year, to 570 million U.S. dollars in August 2013 from 490.1 million U.S. dollars in August 2012. For the first eight months of 2013, cumulative inflows from workers' remittances stood at 4.3 bil more..

Sri Lanka starts TomoTherapy treatment

Oct 23 (LBO) Sri Lanka's Ceylinco Healthcare Services said it had commissioned a 500 million rupee facility which can provide precise radiation treatment, targeting cancer patients in the country and the region. Ceylince Healthcare chairman R Renganathan said its TomoTherapy machine was the most modern technology available and it can treat even smaller cancers precisely. Treatment costs are to start from 200,000 rupees to be at break-even levels, he said. more..

Island of flavour

Oct 23 (Hindu) Despite the many similarities with South Indian food and multi-cultural influences, Sri Lankan cuisine is on an island of its own, say speciality chefs P.L. Mithrananda and Niranjan Priyadarshana of Taj Samudra, Colombo, who are in the city as ambassadors of their native cuisine. Take, for instance, rice hoppers, what we in Kerala call appam, and what they, in Sinhala language, call appa. The Sri Lankan appa (which, incidentally, also comes plain or with an egg in the centre) more..

Cairn in discussion with govt. to commercialise Dorado well

Oct 23 (DM) Cairn India is currently in discussions with the Sri Lankan govt to commercialize the Dorado well in the Mannar Basin, probably including a pipeline from the well to Norochcholai. However, the pipeline is not expected to serve Norochcholai power plant in the short-term, instead will add to power generation in Colombo. “We are still in the exploration phase. However, plans are now underway to begin more..

Sugathadasa Staidum repairs to be completed within one month

Oct 23 (GDI) Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage assured that Sugathadasa Stadium to be repaired within one month. Accordingly, the Ministry of Sports took the decision to close Sugathadasa stadium from Oct 15 to Nov 15 for maintenance due to the damages to the track. Minister Aluthgamage has immediately ordered the officials to contact the contractor, a local agent (Gahakola Landscaping) of a German company GmbH & Co KG, IM Hengstfeld, in this regard. more..

Etihad Airways to double Sri Lanka flights

Oct 23 (E24|7) Etihad Airways is to increase its Abu Dhabi-Colombo service from seven flights per week to a double daily schedule from February 16, 2014. Operated with an Airbus A320 aircraft fitted with 16 Pearl Business Class seats and 120 Coral Economy Class seats, the new service will add over 1,900 seats per week on the Abu Dhabi-Colombo route. The new flights will also offer a 46 per cent increase in the number of connections to key destinations in the U.K., Europe, Africa and more..

‘Reflection of Sri Lanka’ to draw 70 nations

Oct 23 (MEA) The Govt is to host a massive and ambitious promotional exhibition coinciding with the CHOGM themed “Reflection of Sri Lanka: Exploring the Wonder of Asia – Trade Tourism and Investment Exhibition in Colombo, which will attract representatives from 70 nations. The exhibition, which will be held at the Jana Kala Kendraya in Battaramulla from 13 -17 November will also see 1000 buyers both from the more..

HNB’s grand tax evasion

Oct 23 (SM) Hatton National Bank has been involved in a large scale tax evasion where it has not paid mandatory company taxation to the govt, reports say. The tax advisor to the bank Charted Accountant R. Gajendran’s GAJMA & CO is said to be a main partner in this fraud. Meanwhile, reports say that in order to thoroughly investigate the complaints received against the particular company the Central Bank has taken steps to direct the investigations to the Finance Ministry. more..

Premier slams opposition

Oct 23 (CG) PM D.M Jayaratne today slammed the opposition for always criticizing the govt and pointing shortcomings of the govt but not solutions to address those shortcomings. Speaking in Parliament today the Premier said that the country needs an opposition which does not only just criticize but also makes suggestions to the govt. “The duty of the opposition is to show the path the govt must take and not just criticize the govt always. You can’t allow the country to fall like a party falls,” he said. more..

Video: Govt. increases its Ministers like turtles laying eggs - UNP

Oct 23 (AD) The manner in which the govt increases the numbers of Ministers in this country is similar to turtles laying eggs, UNP MP P. Harrison stated. Speaking at press conference held today in Colombo, he claimed that the govt’s aim is no longer to serve the people but to ensure prosperity for its henchmen. He said that the govet has given priority to gambling and will strengthen the casino industry as well as prostitution in the country. more..

GAC rig move brings Hercules Triumph from Sri Lanka to India

Oct 23 (zawya) GAC Sri Lanka has completed the movement of offshore drilling rig Hercules Triumph from the port of Trincomalee to India. The rig, owned by Hercules Offshore, Inc., USA, is now safely anchored at Kakinada, ready to start drilling operations for CAIRN Energy at the RAVVA offshore oil field. GAC Sri Lanka, part of global shipping, logistics and marine services provider GAC Group, chartered three anchor-handling tug boats - SCI URJA, SCI Ahimsa and Mahaweli - to more..

EAM not spending for Sajin

Oct 23 (CG) The External Affairs Ministry (EAM) is not spending for the overseas visits of the External Affairs Ministry Monitoring MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena, Minister G.L Peiris told Parliament today. Responding to a question raised by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake, Minister Peiris said that MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena has also not undertaken overseas visits on behalf of the Ministry. MP Karunanayake said that there are so many allegations being raised against some of more..

Aussie PM praises Sri Lanka

Oct 23 (DM) Australian PM Tony Abbott has praised Sri Lanka for the support rendered in one of the major Australian national issues of human smuggling, which has drastically reduced illegal boat arrivals from SL. Abbott made this comment when SL High Commissioner Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe paid a courtesy call on the PM to formally hand over the invitation for CHOGM from President Rajapaksa to the PM of Australia, more..