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Are graduates unemployable?

Oct 31 (CT) Many including Minister of Higher Education and his officials such as the Secretary and the UGC Chairman, many Vice-Chancellors, lecturers and politicians are puzzled with an issue coined as ‘graduate unemployability’. Research data show that the ‘graduate unemployability’ prevails across all the disciplines taught at the universities that fall within the UGC purview. The Ministry of Higher Education has shouldered the burden of joblessness of graduates for more..

CHOGM and the Indian conundrum

Oct 31 (FT) The decision by Indian Premier Manmohan Singh to remain mysterious about his CHOGM attendance, with the summit getting underway in two weeks, is causing nervous flutters in uncanny places. The first of these, although appearances can be deceptive, is Temple Trees – the unofficial residence of President Rajapaksa. In reality, the Rajapaksa administration has much to crow about in terms of VIP attendance at more..

The Walapatta theft

Oct 31 (Island) There have been many media reports in the recent past of the Customs and the police foiling surreptitious attempts by Sri Lankans and foreigners to smuggle out large amounts of Walapatta. The latest detection has been reported from Elpitiya, where the police nabbed two persons carrying 24 kg of Walapatta on Monday. The illicit harvesting of the endemic sub canopy tree has all the trappings of an organised racket which has been going on for a long time. more..

Maduranga explains why he did not accept award

Oct 31 (Island) Asian Athletics Championship silver medalist Sachith Maduranga, who quit athletics recently, was not present to collect a handsome cash award of rupees one million at the awards presentation held at the Olympic House yesterday. When contacted, Maduranga said that it was unbecoming of him to accept a cash award after quitting athletics. "I thought it was inappropriate to accept such an award since I have quit athletics," the former Anandian told The Island. more..

Cricket legends to join Botham during charity walk

Oct 31 (Island) Several leading cricket stars are expected to join Sir Ian Botham’s charity walk from Killinochchi to Seenigama spreading over eight days. The walk titled ‘Beefy’s Big Sri Lankan Walk’ is in aid of the charity Foundation of Goodness is planning to establish in north. Sri Lanka cricketers Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara and Chaminda Vaas are trustees of the charity run by Kushil Gunasekara. more..

So now we know the truth about EU GSP+

Oct 31 (ST) This week, the Govt of Sri Lanka admitted for the first time, the financial losses that the country has been subjected to as a result of losing the EU GSP Plus facility in 2010. At the time that we bartered away this facility, what was told to us was quite a different story. Shrugging off prophecies of severe impact on the apparel industry, ministerial spokesmen boasted that Sri Lanka did not actually need this facility and that its removal would not cause major financial impact. more..

Whence it comes whither it goes!

Oct 31 (CT) Political leadership in Sri Lanka has made its appearance in many ways and its diverse manifestations have appeared on the country's horizon, enthralling some and dejecting others and betraying yet another segment of supporters. The culture of politics has changed and with that change, the culture of leadership has undergone unrecognizable changes leading one analyst after another to ponder what qualities and traits define the concept of modern political leadership. more..

Tea auction brews 20 all-time high prices

Oct 31 (FT) This week’s tea auction produced over 20 all-time high prices or equalled best levels in a trend reflecting improved demand for the country’s black gold. Buyers paid premium prices for both high and low grown teas. This week’s auction offerings declined to 6.3M/kgs from 6.8M/kgs in the previous week. There was good demand. Ex-estate offerings declined to 1M/kgs this week from 1.1M/kgs in the previous week. more..

LOLC launches innovative tourism project

Oct 31 (FT) LOLC Leisure yesterday laid the foundation for ‘Phase 1’ of what it described as “mega tourism development” in Beruwala. The traditional ceremony took place in the presence of Ministers Kumara Welgama and Rohitha Abeygunawardena, alongside other dignitaries and Directors of LOLC Leisure. Minister Welgama said: “In the post-conflict tourism landscape of Sri Lanka, this long-awaited mega tourism development in Beruwala is another vital step, not only in more..

Lanka’s first workforce smart card coming

Oct 31 (Island) The first ever smart card for a Sri Lankan workforce is fitted with no less than NFC touch technology-yet another new leap in electronic payments in Sri Lanka. And the state sector outlay for the initiative is a surprisingly minimal of $7600! "I am pleased that our hard work of past several months to finalise this smart card has shown good results, with the lowest costs! We thank our partners Channel 17 and Mobiltel. It is time we compensate our workforce well, and more..

UK to be put on notice on student murder

Oct 31 (DN) The External Affairs Ministry called for a comprehensive report on the killing of a Sri Lankan Student in Yorkshire. Ministry has informed the Sri Lankan mission in London to look into every detail with regard to the murder and the steps taken by the British Govt to investigate it. Ministry will take further steps through diplomatic channels with regard to the murder based on the report of the SL mission in the UK. more..

Big draw for biggest Sri Lanka brand push!

Oct 31 (FT) The biggest trade, tourism and investment exposition in history continues to draw increasing numbers of participants – including one from Canada as of yesterday. “As of now 660 Lankan and international exhibitors have confirmed for the ‘Reflections of Sri Lanka’ event. We now have more than 800 expected buyers as well,” said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. He was addressing his top officials, acknowledging the updates on ‘Reflections of Sri Lanka’. more..

SLC on ‘Rs. 2.5 million Colts dole’

Oct 31 (Island) This is with reference to your article in today’s Island under the headline ‘SLC doles out 2.5 million to Colts’. Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to state that the National Development Committee had requested from the Executive Committee of SLC for certain funds for the development of Infrastructure in the below said areas: - Colombo District Cricket Association – for development of BRC premises - Rs. 1.38 million; CCC and SSC – 1 million each; Colts – 2.5 million. more..

FUTA: Branches of foreign universities are of no use

Oct 31 (Island) In the wake of the JVP -led Socialist Student Union (SSU) handing over a petition against setting up a branch of a UK based university in Sri Lanka, the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) claimed that the university at issue was not among the top British higher educational institutions. FUTA President Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that the University of Central Lancashire had been opened in 1992. more..

Kollupitiya’s Liberty Plaza opens Liberty Arcade with novel features

Oct 31 (ST) The Liberty Plaza, a well-known landmark in the heart of Kollupitiya, has now been transformed into an international style shopping centre on par with some of the best malls in the world. “Liberty Arcade, an extension of the mall, promises to be a haven for avid shoppers, while also serving as a trendy hangout spot with many entertainment activities for Colombo’s growing urban population,” the owning company, Colombo Land, said in a media statement. more..

No blasts near Maha Bodhi Centre – Monk

Oct 31 (Island) Ven. Kalawane Mahanama thera, the monk in charge of Chennai Maha Bodhi Centre, yesterday scotched off rumours that there had been a bomb explosion near the centre. There had been a petrol bomb attack on the Mailapur and Mandaweli post offices in Chennai, where four bombs exploded. The suspects in connection to the blasts have already been arrested. He said that those incidents had taken place six kilometres away from the Maha Bodhi Centre. more..

Five-judge Bench reserves order

Oct 31 (CT) The five-judge Bench appointed to hear the case challenging the appointment of Chief Justice, Mohan Peiris, yesterday after hearing the Attorney General's submission, reserved its order. The Bench comprised Justices Saleem Marsoof, Chandra Ekanayake, Sathya Hettige, Eva Wanasundara and Rohini Marasinghe. CPA and Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu filed the petition. PM D.M. Jayaratne, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, more..

Mervyn back in good graces?

Oct 31 (CT) President Rajapaksa, moments before the inauguration of the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway, was heard inquiring from the ministers and MPs, who were present at the ceremony, "Where is the owner of Kelaniya?" It didn't take long for the VIPs, who were present, to realize that the President was searching for Minister Mervyn Silva. The latter, who was at the back of the group of VIPs, upon hearing the President's voice, began jostling through the crowd towards the President, more..

Bangladesh-SL sign deal on power plant

Oct 31 (EB) Bangladesh Power Development Board (PDB) has signed an agreement with Lakthanavi Power Ltd, a Sri Lankan firm, to set up a 52 MW dual-fuel power plant in Jangalia under Commilla district within next 15 months. The Sri Lankan firm will set up the power plant with capacity of 52.2 MW. Gas and furnace oil would be use here as a primary fuel, however, when it will run through gas, the govt will buy per unit of electricity at Tk 4.25 and when it uses furnace oil, the tariff will be more..

Lanka stalls IOC plan to hit back at India

Oct 31 (TOI) SL may be starting the process of downgrading ties with India. Indian Oil Corporation's (IOC) Lankan arm, Lanka IOC, which leased oil storage tanks at Trincomalee, has hit a dead end as it attempts to set up a joint venture with CPC for about 84 tanks. Coming months after Rajapaksa govt decided to "repossess" a number of unused tanks, the move is being seen by some as retaliation for India's recent moves. more..

Expressway yields Rs. 11.3 m in 3 days

Oct 31 (DN) Toll fees from the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway (EO-3) has brought in a record income of over Rs.11.3 million within first three days of its commencing operations, Minister Nirmala Kothalawala said. The collection was from 6 pm on October 27, the time the road was opened for public, to 7 am yesterday. More than 41,415 million vehicles have entered the Colombo-Katunayake expressway through three interchanges of Peliyagoda, Jaela and Katunayake. more..

Poultry giants accused of gobbling up small timers

Oct 31 (Island) Small and medium scale poultry industrialists faced the risk of being wiped out from the market within the next six months, All-Island Poultry Association (AIPA) president Dr. D.D. Wanasinghe said. Dr. Wanasinghe, who is scheduled to resign from his post, at the end of December this year, said that some large scale poultry industrialists had formed an association called the Poultry Industry Forum (PIF). He said that his organisation has been registered with more..

'Those who wanted to take oaths at Vellamullivaikkal exposed'

Oct 31 (DN) President Rajapaksa said the people were able to realize the motives of those elements who tried to take oaths at Vellamullivaikkal where the murderous terrorist responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in the country, perished. He also said certain elements made desperate attempts to turn Vellamullivaikkal, where the most ruthless terrorist who deprived the freedom of all communities living in the more..

TNA to submit HR report to British PM

Oct 31 (CT) The TNA is expected to submit a detailed report on the human rights situation in the North and East and on the Alliance's stance with regard to the Tamil issue, during the TNA's meeting with British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who is expected to visit Jaffna during his visit to Colombo next month. According to TNA spokesperson, Suresh Premachandran, the British Premier has already expressed his willingness to visit the North and see the situation for himself. more..

Presidential probe into missing persons

Oct 31 (Island) A special presidential commission, investigating into complaints regarding missing persons, will meet in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu next month. Secretary to the commission H.W. Gunadasa said that the commission would continue to accept complaints despite the deadline expiring today. He said: "We have received about 2,000 complaints so far. Due to almost all complaints being in Tamil, we have a difficulty in translating. But, we are going ahead with investigations." more..

GR welcomes Cameron’s Jaffna visit

Oct 31 (Island) Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said those campaigning for an international war crimes tribunal against Sri Lanka would try to exploit British Premier David Cameron’s forthcoming visit to the Jaffna peninsula next month. The UK premier’s visit would be a platform for the human rights groups as well as the LTTE rump to reiterate unsubstantiated allegations against the army during the last more..

Congress Core Group discusses CHOGM

Oct 31 (Hindu) The Congress Core Group discussed at length on Wednesday whether PM Manmohan Singh should attend the CHOGM next month in Colombo: union foreign minister Salman Khurshid and National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon were called in to brief the members of the Core Group on the issue. This comes against the backdrop of a resolution passed recently by the TN govt in the state assembly, demanding that India “completely boycott” the CHOGM meeting more..

Sri Lanka's appeal for clemency help 'Waterloo Suresh' a reduced jail term

Oct 31 (AT) The US District Court in Brooklyn, New York did not heed to the Govt of Sri Lanka's appeal to the State Department to abandon the prosecution of Suresh Sriskandarajah for his role to provide military technology to Tamil Tigers, but it seemed that the Court listened to the 'extraordinary request' by Sri Lanka to sentence him to just mere two years behind bars. A Canadian citizen Sriskandarajah, well known as Waterloo Suresh because of his educational and community involvement in more..

Wigneswaran invites Manmohan to visit Jaffna

Oct 31 (Hindu) While a decision is still to be taken on whether the Prime Minister will attend the CHOGM in Colombo, Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has invited Manmohan Singh to visit Jaffna. In a message to Dr. Singh, Mr. Wigneswaran thanked the Prime Minister and India for “persuading the Sri Lankan govt” to hold the NPC elections under the 13th Amendment. He underlined that he had won the elections in more..

The shocking truth about the economy

Oct 31 (DM) As the people of Sri Lanka are brought into a revival of patriotism and pride in preparation for the CHOGM in Colombo, a widely respected economist in a centre page interview in the Daily Mirror yesterday warned that the country was precariously on a mountain of debts after debts and debts within debts. The economist, frontline UNP MP Harsha de Silva said Sri Lanka’s economy appears to be on an unsustainable path because the Rajapaksa regime was borrowing and more..

‘Same old ways will be disastrous for govt.’

Oct 31 (DM) The Commonwealth Summit is the biggest gamble of the President and his govt, locally and internationally. By pleading with the Royal Palace and the Commonwealth Secretariat, the govt has managed to make sure that the Colombo Summit goes ahead as planned. The PM-level boycotts by North American Canada and the giant India cannot be compensated by the two Ashes rivals in cricket, Australia and England. So the countdown is on for a weeklong more..

A spread of political butter and a squash of orange

Oct 31 (DM) The TNA relies heavily on the govt of India to push for a further power devolution arrangement in SL, building upon the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. The TNA has been in constant touch with the leaders of the Congress who call the shots in New Delhi. Indian leaders including PM Dr. Manmohan Singh have repeatedly said that they would like to see a comprehensive implementation of the 13th more..

Child abuse in Vavuniya?

Oct 31 (SL) Following the latest sordid episode of child molestation reported from Vavuniya where a young man in robes is accused of committing the crime, questions have been raised as to whether there are loopholes in the law in the country that prevents or delays action being taken against the perpetrators. Sumithra Fernando, Attorney-at-Law, Women-in-Need (WIN) said that the laws are in place and added that the laws more..

Bad news: No more ‘playing’ truant for Lankan schoolchildren

Oct 31 (ST) The good old days of ‘playing truant’ from school (in common parlance known as ‘cutting’ school) are over for the modern-day school kid. On Thursday, the Ministry of Education in collaboration with mobile service provider, Mobitel, introduced a clock-in scheme under an ‘iCard’ project starting with Royal College. The scheme will be introduced in Colombo schools before moving to the provinces. more..

CHOGM media center to cater to over 1000 journalists

Oct 31 (LB) The state-of-the-art media center, being established to facilitate the coverage of next month's CHOGM in Colombo will cater to the needs of over 1,000 media personnel, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has said. The Media Center, located at the BMICH in Colombo, the main venue for the CHOGM, will be the central location for all media during the summit. Minister Rambukwella, who inspected the center on Wednesday, more..

Bhikku undergrads protest in Fort against Free Education Zones

Oct 31 (Island) The JVP affiliated Inter-University Bhikku Federation (IUBF) yesterday protested opposite the Fort Railway Station against setting up of ‘Free Education Zones’ in Sri Lanka to facilitate private investors in the education sector. Convener of the IUBF, Kimbullewe Chandananda Thera said that the protest had ended peacefully and they would take it to the other parts of the country. The present govt had started the privatisation more..

Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka jump 75% in first nine months of 2013

Oct 31 (Xinhua) The number of Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka have boomed by over 75% during the first nine months of this year, recording one of the highest growth rates for the lucrative industry, official date showed here on Thursday. Sri Lanka's tourist arrivals jumped by 26.2% in September this year compared to the same period last year, according to data released by State-run Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority. more..

New Zealand FM to visit Jaffna

Oct 31 (Xinhua) New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully is to travel to the predominantly Tamil northern region of Sri Lanka next month to see first-hand civilian life since the end of the country's long civil war in 2009. McCully said he would make the trip while attending the CHOGM in Colombo from Nov. 10 to 17. "New Zealand has a strong interest in the progress being made on reconciliation and devolution in the north and more..

UK for probe on sexual violence

Oct 31 (CG) The British govt says it will press the Sri Lankan Govt to investigate all human rights abuses, including the shocking allegations of acts of sexual violence committed during and after the conflict. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague says he and Prime Minister David Cameron will urge the govt to allow free expression and to stop intimidation of journalists and also bring about reconciliation and political reform. more..

Sri Lankan gov't wants fast completion of China funded coal power plant

Oct 31 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's govt has requested faster completion of a Chinese funded 1.35 billion U.S. dollar coal power plant to push forward its development plan, the Power and Energy Ministry said. The Norochcholai power plant is being built in three phases at a cost of 1.35 billion U.S. dollars, which is being funded through a loan from the Chinese govt. It is the first coal powered electricity generating unit in Sri Lanka more..