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Sri Lanka to open second Chinese funded highway

Oct 24 (Xinhua) President Rajapaksa will open the country's second highway built with Chinese funding this weekend ahead of a crucial Commonwealth summit. President's Office confirmed that President Rajapaksa will declare the highway open on Sunday morning amidst much celebrating. The new expressway will cut travel time from the airport to the capital's outer limits to less than 20 minutes. more..

Rebuilding the Post-War North

Oct 25 (EPW) As the NPC led by CM C.V. Wigneswaran convenes on Oct 25th, economic problems have come to the fore in the North. Street wisdom in Jaffna rightly understands the market’s devastating impact after the war as well as much needed investment in factories and new avenues of employment. While these economic challenges also exist in the rest of the country, the North was for decades disconnected from the market and did not accumulate capital necessary for investment. more..

Face to face with killers

Oct 25 (SL) Journalists are a different species entirely. Well, I would say that but consider the inherent risks. Actuaries would be foolish if they did not load the risks when being asked to insure the life of a journalist practising that rather peculiar art in Sri Lanka. That is to say, because – for whatever reason – journalists have been at the receiving end of a number of attacks on their person, they have been threatened, cajoled, beaten up, threatened, insulted by having their parents more..

Local and foreign tourists flock to Hamilton Canal

Oct 25 (SO) Sri Lanka as a country rich in natural water ways and also man-made canal and tanks has a proven history of using them for commercial purposes and also for transportation. There is historical evidence to support the fact that King Vira Parakramabahu VIII, of the Kotte era during the 15 th century, used the canal on the West coast leading to Negombo harbour, a famous harbour during that era, to transport precious more..

Rajapakse administration’s choices with the TNA

Oct 25 (GV) The Rajapakse Administration’s desire to host the a global event, the CHOGM suddenly forced the Administration to do something which was anathema to its decision making hard line Sinhala nationalist brain trust, which was to have to heed and take note of international opinion and global standards, especially on ethnic minority and human rights. They just could not have the luxury of straddling the world stage ceremoniously as CHOGM hosts and ignoring international more..

CHOGM is choking the govt

Oct 25 (CT) The CHOGM has been dominating the national discourse in the past few weeks. The media, print as well as electronic, in the constant exchange of opinions and commentaries, have been disgorging one after the other, the pros and cons of Sri Lanka's moral justification to host the 'Summit' of the countries of the Commonwealth fraternity. The miserable performance of the External Affairs Ministry at the diplomatic level in Europe and its failure to draw competent more..

Prabhakaran and I

Oct 25 (CT) Member of the NPC, M.K. Sivajilingam, said that former LTTE leader, V Prabhakaran, had at one stage tried to commit suicide after all the top cadres of the LTTE deserted him. Here he talks about his early association with the late LTTE leader and the events that led to him being sworn-in as a member of the NPC at Vellamullivaikkal. Q: What was your relationship with V Prabhakaran? A: He was my cousin. more..

An electric rail track system linking Jaffna to Colombo

Oct 25 (CT) Just after the end of the civil war that cost the nation immensely, this same open invitation was originally extended to the President Rajapaksa in 2009 to set up a fast electric rail track linking Jaffna to Colombo, which sadly saw no light of the day. It is very unfortunate that the govt had no vision to tap the wealth of resources (foreign funding that was waiting to be awarded to the battered nation) that were at its disposal just after the war, to make this challenging proposal a reality. more..

On 23rd anniversary of Northern Muslim exodus in Sri Lanka

Oct 25 (CT) Sri Lankan Muslims of Northern Province still vividly remember those dark days in their life. It was at the end of October 1990 that Muslims of Northern provinces were abruptly asked to leave their own homes and properties within the time limits of few hours. They were also asked not to take any valuable items with them. They were not allowed to take even their hard earned money or jewelleries. They were not allowed to sell their properties and belongings to anyone. more..

Mobitel, Education Ministry launch ‘iCard’

Oct 25 (DM) The National Mobile Service Provider, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel, along with the Ministry of Education today inaugurated the implementation of the student iCard project amongst schools in Sri Lanka. Royal College, Colombo is the first school to start using the iCard for attendance monitoring. The ceremonial handing over of the first few iCards to students of Royal College was carried out by minister Bandula Gunawardene. more..

Editorial: ‘Problem factories’

Oct 25 (Island) Terrorism is a thing of the past and no lives are lost in terror strikes or war. But, there are other dangers people have to live with. At least four or five persons are killed in road accidents daily while dozens of others are injured, and a mystery kidney disease continues to snuff out lives in the North Central Province. It is said to be spreading to other areas. Food items are contaminated with harmful substances. As if these problems were not enough people have grave health risks more..

Women are to make laws and policies, not only tea

Oct 25 (CT) Sri Lankan women have been enjoying universal franchise since 1931; they represent 52% of the population; but the question arises as to why women have not been voted enough to elect more women into politics in SL. Sri Lanka produced the world's first female PM, (Sirimavo) in 1960; SL had its first female Executive President (Chandrika) in 1994, but the highest number of women representation in the Parliament has never risen beyond 13 out of 225 seats. more..

Kenya to play seven Twenty20s against Sri Lanka A

Oct 25 (CI) Kenya will play seven Twenty20s against Sri Lanka A in Colombo ahead of the World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Dubai. The series, which begins on Sunday after being organised at short notice, will also serve as match practice for several Sri Lanka players, ahead of NZ's limited-overs tour of the country. Sri Lanka Twenty20 captain Dinesh Chandimal will lead the A team, as he did on NZ A's recent tour, more..

Union Bank gains on foreign investor interest

Oct 25 (FT) Stock market activity on Union Bank of Colombo got a boost yesterday following a mere disclosure that there is foreign institutional investor interest in the company. UBC announced that it has received an indication of interest from a global institution in making an investment in UBC. “However, the indication of interest is not an offer of whatever nature relating to an investment in UBC,” the bank added. Furthermore, it was stated that the investment will be subject to more..

TGIF: A place to forget traffic jams

Oct 25 (ST) When Cargills got in touch with Thank God Its Friday (TGIF) in May last year, it didn’t expect to strike a partnership with this global chain so quickly and open a restaurant by this year. “In May 2012 we recognised that the Sri Lankan market was growing. Then things such as CHOGM were also planned at the time. We realised the upside potential and the business sense to starting a restaurant,” Donald Mc Queen, International MD Asia–Pacific for TGIF says, more..

Assault on student: AG will indict Vass Gunewardene in HC

Oct 25 (Island) The writ application filed by a mother and son requesting the Court of Appeal to direct the Attorney General to indict DIG of Police Vass Gunewardene for abduction and assault was withdrawn yesterday following the Court being informed that the AG would, in due course, indict Gunewardene in the High Court. Senior State Counsel A. Navavi, appearing for the Attorney General, who was made the first respondent more..

CHOGM ideal platform to flaunt SL progress: Sri Lanka Banks’ Association

Oct 25 (Island) The Sri Lanka Banks’ Association (SLBA) is highly optimistic on the upcoming CHOGM as it is confident that the event will bring an array of opportunities for not only the banking sector, but for the entire business community, the Sri Lanka Banks’ Association said in a statement. With the CHOGM scheduled to take place in Colombo in mid-November this year, Sri Lanka will come under the spotlight as over a 1000 delegates are expected to arrive in the country. more..

Elections Commissioner’s dead letter

Oct 25 (DM) A mason’s assistant received a disturbing warning letter from the Commissioner of Elections instructing him to furnish a declaration of assets before Oct 31, for having contested the recent central PC elections as a candidate of the New Democratic Party. Yapa Podiappuhamy of Rambukkana, had received a registered letter, marked “Priority Services,” signed by Elections Commissioner instructing him to submit the above declaration before the date specified or face more..

Witness protection bill approved

Oct 25 (CG) Cabinet has approved a witness protection bill proposed by Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem and it will now be refereed to the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Legislation for its recommendations before it is presented to Parliament. The ‘Assistance and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses’ bill will create a balance in the criminal justice system of SL between the rights of the accused, the rights more..

Private sector pension fund among budget proposals from regional SMEs

Oct 25 (ST) The regional chambers of commerce in Sri Lanka have responded to a call in August from the Ministry of Finance and Planning for budget proposals from the various stakeholders. The budget is to be presented on Nov 21, a few days after the conclusion of the historic CHOGM in Colombo. According to a statement issued by Asia Foundation, the government has identified the Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) sector as a key driver of economic growth. more..

WSA Chief praises Mahinda for his farsighted and mature leadership

Oct 25 (FT) World Summit Awards Chairman Professor Peter Bruck praised President Rajapaksa for his mature and farsighted wisdom in leading the country. “President Rajapaksa has shown maturity of wisdom in taking the country towards the high goal of making Sri Lanka a country of peace and a regional knowledge hub,” the WSA Chairman said. He expressed this view while participating at the inauguration of the WSA 2013 conference held at The Kingsbury in Colombo yesterday. more..

CEB under mounting pressure to reduce tariff

Oct 25 (Island) Transparency International (TISL) urged the Public Utilities Commission, to bring down electricity prices in the forthcoming revision without succumbing to CEB manipulations. TISL Senior Manager, Shan Wijethunge said that his outfit would take up the matter with CEB GM, Shavinath Fernando. "We will certainly ask him to consider not burdening the consumers due to their miscalculations." more..

Major losses in apparel sector from loss of GSP Plus: Govt.

Oct 25 (FT) Losing the General Scheme of Preference (GSP) Plus benefits in August 2010 has caused closure of 25 apparel factories, forcing almost 10,000 people out of work, with the total loss to the country exceeding Rs. 782 million from apparel exports, the Govt revealed yesterday. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena revealed the figures in Parliament yesterday, in response to a question for Oral Answers raised by DNA MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake. more..

'Sri Lanka violating Commonwealth values'

Oct 25 (Hindu) Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday justified the Tamil Nadu Assembly’s resolution against India’s participation in CHOGM, saying that the Sri Lankan govt had completely violated the core values of the Commonwealth. Recalling the Commonwealth charter signed by Queen Elizabeth that “we are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other ground” Ms Jayalalithaa said Canadian PM more..

'Sri Lanka to embrace SMART vision'

Oct 25 (DN) Sri Lanka has already drawn up the next phase of the e-Development Master Plan - SMART Sri Lanka, to take the country to the new level of ICT development, reflecting the national goals of accelerated economic growth and the elimination of poverty, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President was speaking at the inauguration of Global World Summit Award Conference at the Presidential Secretariat. more..

Video: Free speech under attack in Sri Lanka, activists warn

Oct 25 (BBC) Journalists and activists in Sri Lanka are accusing the government of threats, intimidation, and violence against those who criticise the authorities. In one case, seven staff members of a Tamil newspaper were killed and others severely beaten. Printing presses were destroyed by armed men. Meanwhile the Commonwealth heads of government, who subscribe to freedom of expression in the Commonwealth Charter, are preparing to meet in Sri Lanka. more..

Allowance increments for assistants abruptly stopped - CTU

Oct 25 (CT) Allowance increments for teaching assistants in the Northern Province, during the election period, have now been withdrawn, the teachers’ unions charged. According to the Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU), teaching assistants in the Northern Province were paid a sum of Rs. 6000, but were given an increment in July. “In July, Aug and Sept they were paid a sum of Rs. 10,000, which is Rs. 4000 more than what they initially receive. However, this was stopped by this month, more..

It’s India’s internal matter: Sri Lanka

Oct 25 (Hindu) The Sri Lankan govt officially refrained from commenting on the TN Assembly resolution passed on Thursday, with sources observing that it was India’s “internal matter”. (The resolution has called for “total boycott” of the CHOGM in Colombo). Though there has been considerable speculation on PM Manmohan Singh’s participation in the meet in Nov, the SL Foreign Ministry has not made any official statement more..

Sri Lanka DFCC raises US$100mn: Sources

Oct 25 (LBO) DFCC Bank has raised 100 million US dollars from an international bond at yield around 9.6%. The DFCC deal went to the market with a price guidance of 9.625%, and faced tough conditions in the market and took more than two days to close. According to initial plans DFCC was hoping to raise 250 million US dollars. Most of the money was expected to be loaned to the state and some used to roll-over maturing debt. The bonds were rated 'B' by S&P and 'B+' by Fitch. more..

Lankan court jails LTTE member for 2006 bus bombing

Oct 25 (PTI) A Sri Lankan court today (24) sentenced a a member of the LTTE to five years in prison for a bomb attack on a bus in 2006 which killed 68 people. The High Court of Anuradhapura sentenced the member of the Tamil rebel group for signalling his accomplice to trigger the bomb on June 13, 2006 at Kebithigollewa in the North Central province. The blast also injured at least 65 people. In 2006 the LTTE carried out a spate of attacks on buses and military transport vehicles more..

Confrontation at Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields screening in Oslo

Oct 25 (Island) British documentary maker Callum Macrae, during a recent visit to Oslo, where he denounced the forthcoming CHOGM in Colombo, was told by a Tamil, of Sri Lankan origin, that the Britisher was making it difficult for the Tamil community to reconcile with the Sinhalese. Macrae is expected in Colombo to cover CHOGM 2013. Having shown the much hyped Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields in Oslo last Friday, more..

SLC a burden on the country – Weerawansa

Oct 25 (Island) Calling Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) a burden on the nation, Minister Wimal Weerawansa criticized SLC, during a media briefing yesterday, for defaulting payments. SLC is holding discussions with government officials to write off a whopping debt they owe to the tune of 3.2 billion rupees to the State Engineering Corporation and Sri Lanka Ports Authority. "SLC is a body that has defaulted payments. But I see they are raising the wages of their employees (selectors). more..

Mayor given cold-shoulder

Oct 25 (Island) Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil is a disappointed and angry man after being completely ignored at the Gamini Dissanayake Commemorative ceremony, at the Mahaweli Centre, last morning. 19th death anniversary of the former UNP Minister fell yesterday. The organisers completely ignored the First Citizen of Colombo. He was not even given a seat. Mayor said that he had made all the arrangements for the ceremony, but found that a seat had not been reserved more..

Wigneswaran begs to differ

Oct 25 (CT) NP Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran, said police and land powers will come under the purview of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC), in due time, in accordance with the Constitution. It is the duty of the Central Govt to extend the necessary support and assistance to the NPC, he said, asserting that though the Central Govt expects the NPC to support it, it is not prepared to devolve powers to the NPC. more..

No clarity in Centre’s stand

Oct 25 (Hindu) Hours after the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a resolution urging PM Manmohan Singh not to attend next month’s CHOGM in Sri Lanka, South Block on Thursday did not officially give any indication of the Centre’s thinking. However, speaking on anonymity, highly placed officials felt the legislators had missed a vital point — that there was a popularly elected govt in the Tamil-majority Northern Province which should be given the leeway to negotiate greater more..

'Boycott CHOGM, tell Sri Lanka that Malaysia won't tolerate inhumane acts'

Oct 25 (MC) In the year 1976, Malaysia along with other counterparts like India, Liberia, Mauritius, Philippines, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Swaziland and Yugoslavia courageously withdrew their participants from the Miss World pageant as a sign of protest against the apartheid system exercised in South Africa with the presence of a black Miss South Africa and a white Miss South Africa. Malaysia may have been a small country but it sent a strong message that it dared to stand on the same platform as more..

Gota tells Wigneswaran: You can't order Police

Oct 25 (CT) Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, clearly stated that maintaining law and order in the Northern Province is the responsibility of the Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran, but added that the Chief Minister has no power to issue orders to the police. He said the Leader of the TNA, R. Sampanthan, has to establish peace and unity instead of making meaningless statements. Rajapaksa made these comments when he more..

Leaders suffering from moral narcissism

Oct 25 (DM) World leaders in political, religious or other areas, are elected or appointed to these high and powerful posts, essentially to serve the people, give servant leadership and work for the common good of all without seeking personal gain or glory. Unfortunately those who are in these high posts and especially those who stay on for several terms, tend to allow themselves to be infected by a disease known as narcissism – excessive or morbid self-love. On Wednesday Pope Francis in a more..

Packer and ills of gambling

Oct 25 (DM) The govt encountered a rare spot of bother this week over regulations aimed at creating a new casino in Colombo-and the man at the centre of the controversy is Australian business magnate, James Packer. Packer’s plans to set up a 450-room hotel and casino complex at D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha in the heart of the city at a cost of 400 million dollars ran into trouble with even partners of the ruling UPFA protesting strongly. Faced with such opposition, the govt hurriedly announced that more..

Champika mincing no words

Oct 25 (DM) The National Anthem is sung by one with pride and dignity about his or her country, and altering it without a complete appraisal can offend the sensitivities of a nation. Respecting such sentiments, the proposal made by Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara earlier to compose a common National Anthem with lyrics from both Sinhala and Tamil was nipped in the bud. Refreshing the discussion on the National more..