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Sri Lanka president prepares budget with eye on election

Oct 23 (Reuters) Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to present on Friday a populist election budget for 2015 that manages to contain borrowing thanks to an expected pick-up in the pace of economic growth. The 68-year-old leader, who is also finance minister, will seek early re-election in January for an unprecedented third term, his party said on Monday, seeking to pre-empt any decline in support after nearly nine years in power. more..

Polls law violations: UNP asks EC to act against President

Oct 23 (Island) The UNP yesterday challenged the Elections Commissioner (EC) Mahinda Deshapriya to take action against President Mahinda Rajapaksa as concrete evidence was available that he had flouted election laws. Assistant UNP Leader Ravi Karunanayake told The Island that the EC had once questioned what he could not do now but could have done if the 17th Amendment to the Constitution had still been in force. more..

MR says he is disturbed over terrorist acts in Canada

Oct 23 (AM) President Rajapaksa has expressed his concerns over increasing terrorist activities in several countries, including Canada. The President, in a twitter post a short while ago, expressed his concerns and disappointment over this matter, stating every party should work together to being this to a halt. “Very disturbing to see increasing terrorist acts in many countries, now in Canada.Must unite as equal partners to fight menace,” more..

Delisting Tigers: UK still studying EU court ruling

Oct 23 (Island) Following the General Court of the European Union decision to delist the LTTE, key EU member, UK is now closely studying the judgment. The court also directed the defendant, the Council of European Union to pay the costs. The Council of the European Union was the defendant, supported by the Netherlands, the UK and the European Commission. A spokesperson for the British High Commission in Colombo said more..

Rs 32.4B in foreign investments exit Govt. securities market

Oct 23 (CT) Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) statistics show that Rs 32,368.3 million (Rs 32.4 billion) in foreign investments have exited from the govt securities (Treasury (T) Bonds, T Bills) market in the past one and half months. Foreign investments in govt securities in the review period had declined by 6.5% (Rs 32.4 billion) to Rs 469.1 billion causing pressure on more..

Rudra seeks EU backing for Tamil issue

Oct 23 (CG) The head of the Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, has urged the European Union to support to Eelam Tamils in their continuing struggle for justice. In a statement to the media, Rudrakumaran said that the TGTE and Tamils around the world welcome the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union annulling the ban on the LTTE and salutes the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for more..

Political cart before the developmental horse?

Oct 23 (SL) During the District Development Progress Review Meeting of the Northern Province (NP) held last Monday (13) in Jaffna, which the TNA boycotted, the President said that all politicians are duty bound to protect and safeguard the laws of the country and the people, without pursuing petty political agenda. According to the Jaffna District progress report, the Govt has invested Rs 89, 021.2 million in seven key sectors since more..

Zeid refers to Lanka probe in UN report

Oct 23 (CG) UN High Commissioners for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has made a reference to Sri Lanka in his report submitted to the UN General Assembly’s main body dealing with social, humanitarian, and cultural issues (Third Committee). The High Commissioner presented a report and made a statement yesterday on the work of his Office (OHCHR) between August 2013 and July 2014, under his predecessor, Navi Pillay. more..

G20 UNP pacifies excluded MPs

Oct 23 (DM) UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake received numerous telephone calls last week, inquiring about the exclusion of some MPs from the G 20, the team appointed by the party hierarchy to work out the campaign strategy for the snap presidential election to be conducted in January. The G 20 met for the third time last Friday. Right at the commencement of the meeting, Mr. Attanayake said he did not have a say in increasing more..

Indian firms eye opportunity as Sri Lanka focuses on development

Oct 23 (LM) When the train “Queen of Jaffna” arrived in the city of Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka, home to the ethnic Tamil population, last week after a gap of almost 24 years, it not only marked a significant milestone for the country, but also for India’s contribution to rebuilding infrastructure in the island nation that has been ravaged by a three-decade-long civil war between government troops and Tamil rebels. more..

Knowing when to compromise for a greater principle

Oct 23 (DM)This missive is addressed to Ranil Wickremesinghe and Champika Ranawaka, the Leaders of the UNP and the JHU respectively. But it is not a “for your eyes only’ memorandum. Whoever wishes to read it could read the letter and draw his or her own conclusions and make their own assertions. The country is evidently heading for a crucial election. Presidential Election which everyone is talking about and getting ready for, is no election to elect Provincial Councillors or Pradesheeya Sabha members more..

Lies and lies: who takes the responsibility for lives?

Oct 23 (DM) With the cost of living soaring to the highest levels, millions of people are suffering because their healthcare bills often are much more than their expenses for food, clothing, household utilities and education. One visit to a consultant at a private hospital often costs at least Rs. 5000 and if tests, some of them nonessential, are prescribed, the bill could be more than Rs. 10,000. All the needs of life are important while healthcare is often a matter of life or death. more..

Pope's visit: No response to Cardinal's letter

Oct 23 (CT) Confusion reigns heavy over next January's planned visit of Pope Francis, with the Catholic Church at crossroads, following the delay by the govt to confirm, whether the presidential election is likely to coincide with the Pope's visit. Catholic Church spokesman Rev, Cyril Gamini said that Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has written to President Rajapaksa asking the latter to inform the church about the date of election, more..

Controversial Kaththi screened in Tamil Nadu

Oct 23 (CT) Tamil superstar Vijay's new film Kaththi (knife) was released amidst prolonged protests yesterday, Deepavali day, sans the controversial Lyca tag being displayed on the movie and posters in Tamil Nadu. Claiming that Lyca International has contacts with the Sri Lankan Govt and does business with it, students and several film industry groups protested over the release of the movie directed by A.R. Murugadoss, who became famous with his Oscar nominated movie Lagaan. more..

Budget tomorrow

Oct 23 (CT) With a Presidential Election in sight, most likely in early January, President Rajapaksa will present Budget 2015 in the Parliament tomorrow. The Appropriation Bill, which is also referred to as the first reading of the Budget was presented to Parliament by Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne recently. Accordingly, the second and third voting will be held on 30 Oct and 18 Nov. According to the Appropriation Bill, estimated govt expenditure is Rs 1.812 trillion for next year. more..

Shots fired inside Canada parliament

Oct 23 (Reuters) At least one gunman entered Canada's parliament buildings on Wednesday and many shots were fired just outside the room where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was addressing a meeting of legislators. Harper was safely removed from the building but parliament was locked down. Eyewitnesses said at least 30 shots were fired in dramatic scenes in the heart of the Canadian capital. more..

Access Engineering nears completion of Kandana Water Treatment Plant extension

Oct 23 (FT) The extension of the Kandana Water Treatment Plant under the Kalu Ganga Water Supply Project is implemented by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board and funded by the Japan Bank for International Development (JBIC). Access Engineering PLC along with Salcon Engineering Berhad of Malaysia is proceeding with the construction works related to the expansion of present water treatment plant. Once completed, by the end of the first quarter 2015, more..

GMOA confident its proposals included in tomorrow’s budget

Oct 23 (Island) GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that twelve proposals it had made to the govt had been included in the budget to be presented tomorrow. He said the proposals submitted would pave the way for a sustainable health care system if systematically implemented. The proposals submitted are: Initiating a mechanism to combat the onslaught of Non Communicable Diseases in a cost-effective manner as the current approach to prevent NCDs were ad-hoc; more..

IUSF to hold bigger protests

Oct 23 (CT) The IUSF, whilst accusing the govt of apathy, with regard to the students' struggles, and granting their demands, also charged that the State had approved the recent brutal attack on undergraduates. "In the coming weeks, we shall field a wide front comprising students, teachers, health officials, fishermen, farmers, workers and trade unions, and take to the streets to fight for our rights," IUSF Convener more..

Fishers demand justice for attack

Oct 23 (CT) Fishermen, who participated in the recent protest, opposite the Fisheries Ministry in Colombo, are demanding justice for the four fishermen who were injured in the protest, a spokesman for the protesting fishers said. All Island General Fisheries Federation (AIGFF) Convener, Ratna Gamage, explaining Tuesday's incident, which caused injuries to these fishers said, around 300 fishermen from Negombo were only carrying out a peaceful demonstration. more..

Green groccer’s body found with throat slit

Oct 23 (Island) On a call received by the police emergency unit, Mount Lavinia Police recovered the body of a 43-year-old vegetable trader with his throat slit inside his shop at the Bakery Junction at Attidiya yesterday morning. Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said that the victim, W. Wasantha Kumara of Panadura, a father of two children, had been drinking with a friend of his on Tuesday night inside the shop after his wife had gone back home in the evening. more..

LTTE ban: SL to assist parties to the case

Oct 23 (DM) While claiming that it was surprised at some of the recent statements on the outcome of the case filed by the LTTE in 2011 at the General Court of the European Union, Sri Lanka said it would continue to assist the parties to the case in their future course of action over the court decision. “The Ministry of External Affairs is surprised at some of the recent statements on the outcome of the case filed by LTTE in 2011 more..

SL celebrates two years without Malaria

Oct 23 (UCSF) Sri Lanka has not reported a local case of malaria since October 2012, according to the Sri Lankan Anti-Malarial Campaign. If it can remain malaria-free for one more year, the country will be eligible to apply to the World Health Organization for malaria-free certification. This remarkable success was achieved rapidly and largely during a protracted civil war. As recently as the year 2000, Sri Lanka had over 100,000 cases of malaria. more..

Remanded for posing as Namal’s secretary

Oct 23 (Island) The Police Special Investigation Unit (SIU) on Tuesday (October 21) arrested a 37-year-old suspect, who had posed off as a secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s eldest son and cheated a person out of Rs. 240,000, promising approval for a restaurant with a permit to sell foreign liquor there. Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said a complaint had been received by the SIU on Monday (October 20) and the arrest made on the same day. more..

Close range firing of tear gas against international protocols says undergrads

Oct 23 (CT) Not heeding the international manufacturer Norinco's warnings on the metal tear gas canisters stating that they should never be fired at close range or directly at persons, police opened fire at close range at the unarmed students who protested in front of Parliament on Tuesday. SSP Ajith Rohana said, the police anti-riot squads and STF personnel fired tear gas at close range at students who were behaving in more..

Damaged Adikarigoda mosque restored to its former glory

Oct 23 (MoD) Cementing the existing religious amity further and setting an example for continuous harmonious living, the Army-renovated badly damaged Masjidun Noor Mosque alias Adikarigoda Mosque at Aluthgama was reopened and facilitated again for conduct of prayers during a simple ceremony Friday evening, giving pride of place for religious observances. In June this year, ethnic tensions that erupted in Beruwala-Aluthgama areas caused extensive damages to the mosque, more..

A’pura period Buddha’s footprint found at Kosgoda temple

Oct 23 (Island) Anuradhapura Period stone slab on which the Buddha’s footprint is carved has been found from Ganegodella Purana Rajamaha Vihara in Kosgoda. Director General of Department of Archaeology Dr Senarath Dissanayake told The Island that artifacts of early Anuradhapura Period were rare in the South. "Both feet of the Buddha have been carved on the surface of the stone slab and between them is a carving of chatra (an umbrella or parasol) indicating that it more..

Sri Lanka Army to assist Bangladesh Army to set up a women corps unit

Oct 23 (SLA) Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake, currently in Bangladesh at the invitation of Bangladesh’s Chief of Army Staff, General Iqbal Bhuiyan began his itinerary on Sunday by placing a floral wreath at the Shikha Anirban (Eternal Flame) memorial at Dhaka Cantonment in Bangladesh. Next, was his visit to the Senakunja, Station Headquarters, Dhaka Cantonment where a smart contingent of more..

Risky business of price controls and guaranteed prices

Oct 23 (DM) The anticipated national elections have spawned a spate of misguided and unaffordable claims and counter claims. There have been calls for price controls for ‘essential commodities’ and a higher guaranteed price for paddy farmers as well as the introduction of a guaranteed price for fish. When considering such requests, it is important to learn from the mistakes of the past. Repeating policies, which have undermined the development of the country and ultimately imposed more..

SLASSPA holds first-ever Private Security CEO forum

Oct 23 (FT) The Sri Lanka Security Service Providers Association (SLASSPA), together with representatives of around 200 private security firms, held its first-ever CEO forum on Tuesday to discuss several key issues pertaining to the security sector. Bren Security Country CEO and President of SLASSPA Major A.U.T. Aluvihare, in his opening address, stated that the forum was organised in order to build a unity amongst the private security firms in the country so that more..

Sri Lankan visas to Omanis up by 72%

Oct 23 (TOO) There has been about 72% growth in the number of Sri Lankan visas issued to Omanis from January 1 to September this year, said an official of the Sri Lankan embassy in Muscat. "In 2013, the number of Omanis who visited Sri Lanka was 7,643. This year till September the figure reached 10,772. Sri Lanka is becoming the most sought after destination for Omani tourists," N.L.A. Haleem, the charge d'affaires at more..

Opportunities await Thai investors in SL

Oct 23 (BP) Since the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009, the govt has been steadily rebuilding, with infrastructure development across the island from expressways to road and rail networks and deep-sea port expansion. As well, tourists are returning in large numbers and this has spurred demand for hotels including many new luxury properties. Another highly significant event took place last week when the rail link between Colombo and the battle-scarred northern city of Jaffna reopened for more..

Dumith-led consortium upbeat over Asia Securities buy

Oct 23 (FT) The former Credit Suisse Asia Pacific Managing Director and COO Dumith Fernando-led consortium is upbeat over the opportunity to lead Asia Securities Ltd. to the next level and finds exciting times ahead in Sri Lanka as a frontier market. Dumith, who will own 75% stake in Asia Securities along with three others, last week signed the Sales and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Asia Capital to acquire control of one of the top stock-broking firms in the country. more..

'SLC ruining our chances in World Cup'

Oct 23 (Island) World Cup winning former SL captain Arjuna Ranatunga has questioned the scheduling of the five match ODI series against India next month. Sri Lanka agreed to fill the void created by West Indies pulling out of Indian tour and Ranatunga fears the series could burn out the players. With the India series scheduled out of the blues, Sri Lanka will now play 19 ODIs ahead of the World Cup, which is 4 months away. more..

Banning killer chemicals

Oct 23 (Island) There are different schools of thought as regards the causes of the killer kidney disease that snuffs out at least a dozen lives daily in the North Central Province and some other parts of the country. Experts stick to their hypotheses and theories like limpets, refusing to budge, and it is not likely that they will ever see eye to eye and adopt a consensual approach. However, their concern about the poor patients and dedication to their research regardless of their conclusions more..

SL, vice chair, UNESCAP’s ICT committee

Oct 23 (Island) Sri Lanka was selected as a vice chair of the UNESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) Information and Communication Technology Committee last week. The bearer of this great honour for Sri Lanka is the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) CEO Reshan Dewapura. Dewapura was unanimously selected by ESCAP as one of the two vice chairs of its ICT Committee. Dewapura’s selection for the next two years occurred at more..

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