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Official death toll rises to 192: MR visits Koslanda

Oct 30 (AM) Official death toll of the massive landslide in Koslanda and Haldummulla has risen to 192. Badulla District Secretary Rohana Dissanayake has made an announcement disclosing a name-list of 192 people who died in the landslide incident which occurred early yesterday. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, accompanied by MP Namal Rajapaksa, has arrived at Koslanda a short while ago, President’s media unit said. more..

SLMC in underhand move to legitimize SAITM

Oct 30 (CT) The IUSF and MFSAC charged that the politicized Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC), was going back on its former stance regarding the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), was now planning to legitimize it. Convenor of the IUSF Najith Indika and Convenor of the MFSAC Ryan Jayalath said, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, of the Kelaniya University Prof. Nilanthi Silva, more..

More than 500 soldiers rushed to Koslanda

Oct 30 (SLA) A contingent of more than 500 soldiers of the Army serving 11 Division of the Security Force Headquarters - Central (SFHQ-C), have been currently conducting rescue operations of the landslide-affected Koslandawatta-Meeriyabedda estate areas of Haldummulla Divisional Secretariat since Wednesday morning. SFHQ-C, on being informed of the catastrophic situation by nearby Army detachments under more..

US says Sri Lanka has not sought its help

Oct 30 (ANI) The United States has said that the Govt of Sri Lanka has not made any specific requests for assistance in search and rescue operations in the aftermath of Wednesday's landslide, which is believed to have buried about 300 people. Responding to a media query whether the U.S. Embassy in Colombo been in touch with the local authorities, Jen Psaki, Spokesperson of the State Department, said. more..

UNP pledges to remove legal barriers on Fonseka after next presidential election

Oct 30 (AM) UNP General Secretary Tissa Aththanayake has said that the UNP will do justice to former Army Commander and DP Leader Sarath Fonseka within 72 hours when a UNP president ascends to power. UNP General Secretary has made these remarks in a context where an understanding is building between the two parties where the next presidential election is concerned. "UNP will remove all legal bartiers more..

TNA and opposition in agreement to conserving land of last king of Jaffna

Oct 30 (Island) The Chief Minister (CM) of the Northern Province (NP) requested the EPDP Opposition Leader of the NPC S. Thavaraja to resubmit his resolution urging the Council to take steps to protect and preserve the land of last King of Jaffna Sangiliyan at the next sessions of the NPC on Wednesday. S. Thavaraja said that he had submitted the above resolution when the NPC met for the 18th time on Tuesday. more..

Parliament united in grief over Koslanda

Oct 30 (CG) Parliament today condoled over the deaths following the massive landslide at Koslanda in the Badulla district yesterday. Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that all the relevant ministries have been instructed to take appropriate measures to assist in the rescue operations and help those affected. UNP MP John Amaratunga also expressed deep sorrow over the deaths saying it was the worst natural more..

'Don’t deal with pro-LTTE TNA'

Oct 30 (SL) Veerasingham Anandasangaree, Secretary General of the TULF, has written to Indian PM Narendra Modi and SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to say that they should talk to the TULF rather than the TNA, because the latter is nothing but a vestige of the separatist LTTE. He has pointed out that since the LTTE’s military decimation in May 2009, the TNA has been acting at the behest of dominant pro-LTTE more..

Infrared cameras soon on trains to prevent elephant deaths

Oct 30 (ST) New thermal cameras are to be installed on trains to detect elephants 1km away and prevent collisions, and the Railways Department is taking cognisance of driver suggestions during a pilot project to have an effective system running next year. The resumption of train services to the north has increased the risks of collision with elephants, said Locomotive Engineers’ Union General Secretary more..

Dissent and crosstalk among MPs in the run-up to snap polls

Oct 30 (DM) Govt’ s preparations for a snap presidential election are gathering momentum at the moment with the opening of election co-ordinating offices at each electorate and engaging its political allies to mobilise their fullest possible support. A number of the organisers of the UPFA have already opened offices in their respective electorates for the co-ordination activities of the election campaign once it is declared shortly more..

In India, life is one long holiday

Oct 30 (DM) Anyone visiting India at any time of the year could be forgiven for believing that we Indians hardly work. There is rarely a month without a single day or several when banks are shut, consumers crowd malls, gridlock chokes the streets and overall productivity takes a back seat. The worst thing is that one can’t even drown one’s sorrows on such days; the majority of public holidays are ‘dry days’ with liquor shops downing their shutters and restaurants closing their bars. more..

The politics of breastfeeding

Oct 30 (DM) About Rs.1.5 million from public funds is spent for a day when the devalued, undermined and often bypassed Parliament meets for debates. This devaluation, which seriously affected the sovereignty of the people began with the enforcement of executive presidential system in 1978. Today, after Rajapaksa Govt patched up a 2/3 majority by offering privileges to other parties and specially after enforcement of 18th Amendment, Parliament is like a rubber stamp. more..

Worse tragedy since tsunami: Over 250 buried alive

Oct 30 (Island) More than 250 persons laid buried under tonnes of earth while a dozen bodies had been recovered by last night after a landslide flattened a village at Meeriyabeddawatta in Koslanda in the Badulla District yesterday morning in the worst natural disaster since the boxing day tsunami in 2004. A joint rescue operation was underway with the army, police, air force and the district administration participating with more..

India offers help to Sri Lanka to help landslide victims

Oct 30 (PTI) India today offered assistance to Sri Lanka to help hundreds of people affected by the landslide in Uva province of that country. Indian High Commissioner Y K Sinha spoke to Minister G L Peiris and offered the assistance to deal with the landslide disaster which took place this morning. Around six line houses of plantation workers collapsed in the disaster and Sri Lankan Army was already undertaking disaster relief. As per reports, over 200 persons have gone missing. more..

'Promises but no allocations in the Budget'

Oct 30 (FT) The total expenditure budgeted for 2014 was Rs. 2,084 billion. Adjusted for inflation it would be Rs.2, 196 billion. The Budget allocation for 2015 was Rs.2, 210 billion therefore the actual increase is Rs. 14 billion. The shortfall from the actual allocation and the required allocation amounts to Rs.169,741 m. There were many promises that were made in Budget 2015. The costed initiatives would require an allocation of Rs. 182 billion. However, the real increase in allocations in more..

SLFP – JHU talks in deadlock

Oct 30 (Island) Ongoing high profile talks between the SLFP and the JHU to resolve a simmering dispute over the latter’s constitutional and political reform proposals primarily meant to dilute presidential powers have failed to produce the desired results. Proposals dealt with far reaching political reforms and a range of other contentious issues, including police and land powers contained in the 13th Amendment. more..

'Will Temple Trees turn hostel for u'grads?'

Oct 30 (CT) "Is the govt going to provide hostel facilities to 25,000 undergraduates at Temple Trees?" IUSF Convenor Najith Indika asked, at a press conference. He was responding to President's budget proposal to provide hostel facilities to 25,000 undergraduates by next year. IUSF asked the people to not be fooled by the 2015 Budget as there was no programme in place to implement any of the proposals put forward by it, especially with regard to higher education. more..

Kalpitiya -tourism and encroachers

Oct 30 (ST) It’s been over a decade since government undertook to transform Kalpitiya into a tourist destination. Kalpitiya Integrated Tourism Resort Project is easily one of the biggest tourism projects undertaken by any govt to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination. Under the project industries are to be established in 14 fishing islands in Kalpitiya. The ownership of the islands have been vested in the state. This tourist destination was to include several areas of more..

UN humanitarian wing on standby to aid Sri Lanka after landslides

Oct 30 (Xinhua) The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that heavy rains have caused landslides in Badulla in central Sri Lanka, and the UN humanitarian agencies are on standby to help Sri Lanka after the disaster, a UN spokesman said. "The National Disaster Management Center reports that at least six people have died, 300 people are missing and 150 houses are destroyed," more..

Ambulance officials allege burst tyre shows truck was at fault

Oct 30 (ST) A probe into last week’s ambulance accident in which a doctor and another hospital employee were killed in Puttalam after a collision with a truck has taken a twist with strong protests by health sector workers that police had failed to carry out a proper investigation. Police initially blamed the ambulance driver for the accident, in which three persons were injured, saying the driver had fallen asleep. They have now said it was the fault of the truck driver whose more..

Govt plans to attract Buddhist monks – JVP

Oct 30 (FT) Govt was seeking the support of Buddhist monks for the forthcoming Presidential Elections by offering them foreign tours to be had in the coming weeks, the JVP alleged. JVP WPC member K.D. Lal Kantha said, they had learned that the govt had planned to send the chief incumbents of about 100 temples on tours to Asian Buddhist countries. It was an attempt to secure the monks' assistance at the coming election, because many Buddhist monks were disappointed with more..

Like LTTE wartime clearance – Sumanthiran

Oct 30 (CT) TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran compared the newly implemented travel restrictions in the North to the era when the LTTE held sway in the province. The recently imposed travel restriction to the North can be compared to those that were in place during the war, when the LTTE held military control over the north of the county, Sumanthiran said. Speaking at Tuesday's budget debate, Sumanthiran said that during the war, more..

Moved by Buddhist monk’s work at Yala, family donates bowser

Oct 30 (ST) Moved by the plight of the animals at the Yala National Park a family from Nawala, Rajagiriya has donated a brand new water bowser to the park. Elephants, deer and monkeys were badly affected by the nine-month drought prevalent in the Hambantota District. Many died of thirst and their carcasses were found in different parts of the park. In a bid to assist these animals the Sithulpawwa Rock Temple Chief Incumbent Ven. Mataramba Hemarathana Thera more..

Mixing Budget debate with Uva polls violations

Oct 30 (FT) The second reading debate of the Appropriation Bill took a different turn when Opposition lawmaker Ranjith Madduma Bandara highlighted election law violations at the recent Uva PC Election. According to the minister, the Govt distributed gifts and drought relief due for the last 18 months shortly before the elections to “bribe” voters. “Using public money worth Rs. 730 million, the Government distributed gifts among the voters in the region. more..

'Govt ensured peaceful environment for education'

Oct 30 (DN) Children today have the opportunities to pursue their studies without any fear or suspicion and achieve their targets in life under the tenure of the present govt, said Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. "During the time of terrorism in the North and East, the education of tens of thousand of schoolchildren was in jeopardy," he said. The minister was speaking as the Chief Guest at the annual prize distribution more..

Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce welcomes Budget 2015

Oct 30 (FT) The Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) is in full praise of the Budget 2015 as it has recognised the needs of Sri Lankan women entrepreneurs. WCIC President Rifa Mustapha commended the Budget as a balanced and all-encompassing one. She said that the Budget had provided a vision for the future. Welcoming the measures announced in the Budget to further extend the Regional Development Bank’s (RDB) Women Enterprise Credit Scheme (WECS) facility more..

Fishermen protest over lack of budget concessions

Oct 30 (CT) A protest, organized by southern fishermen, at the Matara bus terminal, against the govt's budget for 2015 and demanding concessions, was brought to a halt through an order issued by the Matara Magistrate's Court on 28th Oct. National Organizer of the All Island General Fisheries Federation, Ratna Gamage said that the fishermen were protesting against the lack of direct concessions to the fishing community in the Budget 2015. He said that the Budget has not more..

Sri Lanka opt for Trevor Penney as assistant coach

Oct 30 (PTI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has opted for Trevor Penney, who till recently was involved with the Indian team, as an assistant to the national coach Marvan Atapattu. SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said Penney has been considered for both roles, Atapattu's understudy and the job of fielding coach. Appointment is subject to SLC Executive Committee ratification. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has opted for Trevor Penney, more..

UNP MP alleges Pera Prof polluting Mahaweli waters

Oct 30 (Island) UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana alleged in Parliament that Mahaweli waters had been contaminated by a controversial garbage disposal project at Gohagoda in Kandy run by a professor attached to the University of Peradeniya. MP Pathirana claimed that the project belonged to the professor though he pretended it was a university undertaking. The MP added that the company had been registered at the address of the professor's official residence. more..

Jaffna among leading railway stations, earning higher income

Oct 30 (DN) Jaffna is among the leading railway stations with relatively high earnings. For instance the income netted by the Yal Devi within 13 days exceeded Rs. 7.5 million. The Yaal Devi resumed operations to Jaffna after a lapse of 24 years on the October 13, under the auspices of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The train operates eight trips daily between Jaffna and Colombo. The passengers display a keen enthusiasm to travel in the Yal Devi. Jaffna Station Master K. Rajanayagam said more..

MOU with China to boost rubber industry

Oct 30 (GDI) The Sri Lanka Rubber Research Institute has signed a MoU with China’s state-owned CETC International for the development of the RRI. The collaboration with CETC will include infrastructure development, upgrading of essential equipment and technical assistance. The proposed laboratory complex is expected to provide facilities to all stakeholders in the rubber sector including the SME sector, more..

Kerala ganja Rs 150,000 per kilo

Oct 30 (CT) A clandestine Kerala ganja (cannabis) operation goes on between India and Sri Lanka, and police have uncovered that those behind the business are brothers and former classmates of underworld leaders. A high ranking police officer revealed that a relative of underworld leader Titan (who died in an encounter with the police STF a few years ago) was in the Kerala ganja gang. He was using the sea route along the coastal strip of Sri Lanka to carry out his business. more..

IPS releases ‘Sri Lanka: State of the Economy 2014’ report

Oct 30 (Island) If there is one overarching feature of the shifts in economics, geopolitics and society in the 21stCentury, it is the rise of Asia says the ‘Sri Lanka: State of the Economy 2014’ report – the annual flagship publication of the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS). Unraveling the core theme ‘Rising Asia: Opportunities and Challenges for Sri Lanka’, this year’s report takes a comprehensive look at the potential economic benefits for Sri Lanka from more..

China to get high dividends from Colombo Port City

Oct 30 (ST) China Communications Constructions Company (CCCC), a Chinese govt owned company is to get high dividends from the Colombo Port City Project, which covers 233 hectares to be completed in eight years in two stages. It is located alongside the breakwater of the Colombo Port Expansion Project towards the Galle Face Green. However there were still unanswered questions on how this project which proposes to give more..

Haycarb reports first half turnover Rs 5.2B

Oct 30 (CT) Haycarb PLC reported a turnover of Rs 5.2 billion for the six months ended 30 September 2014, up three per cent from a year ago. Profit before tax fell 36% to Rs 362 million and profit after tax reached Rs 304 million, down 35% from a year ago, interim financial results showed. Haycarb Managing Director Rajitha Kariyawasan said, "The continuing trend of high raw material prices in Sri Lanka and India combined with the inability to transfer the resultant cost increase more..

Planters want more from workers

Oct 30 (CT) The Planters' Association of Ceylon issuing a statement said, a marginal increase of at least 2kg in the daily plucking average of each tea plucker could significantly boost Sri Lanka's entire plantation industry and benefit all stakeholders by bringing down the skyrocketing unit cost of production of tea by nearly 7%. "The sustainability of the sector and the livelihoods of the plantation communities are in the hands of the workers and the unions," it said. more..

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