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Sri Lankan rupee forwards fall on importer dollar demand

Nov 20 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee forwards ended weaker on Thursday due to dollar demand from importers, but moral suasion by the central bank limited its fall, dealers said. The local currency is under pressure as imports continue to rise on stable foreign exchange and low interest rates, they said. The rupee will likely remain weak due to rising seasonal imports, at least through November and then start to inch up in December on remittances, they added. more..

Eris and Elections

Nov 20 (CT) In modern parlance it would be called a prequel – to the Trojan War. Eris, Goddess of Discord, appears uninvited at the wedding banquet of Peleus and Thetis and throws the eponymous apple amongst the assembled guests, seeding collision, strife and war. Mahinda Rajapaksa may have intended to do an Eris vis-ŕ-vis the Opposition with his decision to have an early presidential election. But his gambit seems to have backfired. Opposition is indubitably at loggerheads, but more..

Mahinda declares Presidential election

Nov 20 (CG) President Rajapaksa has signed the proclamation declaring a Presidential election next year. In the proclamation, President has noted his intention to seek another term in office. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya has confirmed he received the proclamation. JHU had this week resigned from its Govt positions in protest over holding election next year before implementing key constitutional changes. more..

Govt is confident of Maithripala

Nov 20 (CG) Govt said it was confident that Minister Maithripala Sirisena will not join the opposition despite rumors he was not happy with the Govt. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that Sirisena was present at the SLFP Central Committee meeting last night and had not made any indication of leaving the Govt. The SLFP had unanimously backed the proposal to nominate President Rajapaksa as the govt candidate more..

JHU undecided

Nov 20 (CT) UPFA constituent, the JHU said it was undecided on whether to support a common candidate, contest by themselves or maintain a neutral stance at the upcoming Presidential Election. National Organizer of the JHU, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe added that the Party was now embarking on discussions regarding their Party's proposals with fellow UPFA constituents, the LSSP, CP, DLF, NFF and the MEP. more..

JVP interested in reports of a govt minister becoming common candidate

Nov 20 (AM) The JVP has stated that the party was watching the developments on the reports which claim that a Minister of the govt may be the common candidate. JVP MP Vijitha Heart has said that the party will take a decision taking into account how the political environment evolves in the country. However, JVP will not support Ranil Wickremesinghe as the common candidate under any circumstances, he has added, more..

CEB squanders Rs. 20 mn on South Korean sojourn

Nov 20 (Island) Having represented Sri Lanka at a recent conference in South Korea organised by the Association of the Electricity Supply Industry in the East Asia and the Western Pacific (AESIEAP), an influential private association, CEB General Manager Shavindranath Fernando has undertaken to host its 2018 confab, which is expected to cost the Sri Lankan taxpayer as much as Rs. 500 mn. more..

While opposition seeks its common candidate parties leaving UPFA shakes govt

Nov 20 (DM) The opposition, grappling with an arduous task to find a candidate acceptable to all, received a new lease of life after the JHU broke ranks with the govt on Tuesday. For the first time after the war victory, UPFA was shaken by the fact that one of its allies left it, making somewhat of a challenge to the unstinted popularity it enjoyed so far at electorates, particularly in the non-urban areas. JHU took this decision on Monday more..

'I'm a bit disappointed not to get that Test average up to 50'

Nov 20 (CI) Q: Has there been a moment since you retired when you have questioned your decision? A: Not really, never. I think that's a good thing because then I know I made the right call. It's always a tough decision to make. You never know when is the right time. But I've always felt that I would get the hint from within me, and then I just needed to ask the right questions of myself. A few things I had to process, one being that more..

Oluvil Port: Down the drain!

Nov 20 (CT) The COPE, in its latest report said, although the construction work of the Oluvil Port had been completed by spending Rs 6,780 million received from the DANIDA Agency of Denmark and Rs 444 million from the SLPA, its operations had not commenced even at the date of the examination on 4 June, this year. Further, it has been revealed that the Port can accommodate only smaller vessels due to its low depth more..

Lust and foul murder in the dead of night

Nov 20 (ST) It was one of the most puzzling and grotesque crimes – the young woman whose body lay naked beside a stream had vanished noiselessly in the night while her mother lay sleeping in the same room. Now, as detectives prepare to go to court, details of the tragedy are emerging. The alarm was raised on the morning of May 26 this year when Nadisha Warapitiya, a 23-year-old undergraduate, was found missing more..

Business sinking at Floating Market

Nov 20 (SL) The floating market on the jade green canal of Bastian Mawatha in Pettah is indeed picturesque. The large boats docked along the landing look charming against the backdrop of the railway tracks with the odd pelican preening itself on the still water. However, the market is oddly enervated. Business for the traders who have rented out spaces is slow. When The Sunday Leader walked on to the first boat, more..

Mahida Plus (+) or Minus (-)

Nov 20 (DM) Next Presidential Election will be fought on the wavelength of a Mahinda Plus (+) to a Mahinda Minus (-); with the waveband set on his eight-year regime. To be precise: Will Mahinda, be good or bad personally for you in the next few years? It is the ultimate question that will decide the election. Colombians will lose the election again on pressing with the perennial issue that sails above the head of the voters, that fails to ignite even a feint touch of interest amongst ordinary voters, more..

Politics in the run-up to presidential election

Nov 20 (DM) Politics in the run-up to the upcoming presidential election is becoming ever more interesting. On Tuesday JHU announced it had on a matter of policy decided to act independently of the UPFA led by President Rajapaksa and also announced that Minister Champika Ranawaka and Western Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila had relinquished their portfolios. Before this announcement on Tuesday, JHU stalwart and MP Ven. Athureliya Rathana Thera made public more..

Mahinda: SLFP candidate

Nov 20 (CT) SLFP Central Committee, last night, unanimously decided to field President Rajapaksa as the Party's candidate at the next Presidential election, Party sources said. They said Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva proposed the name of Party Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, while it was seconded by PM D.M. Jayaratne. The SLFP Central Committee appointed several election campaign committees at electoral and district level to more..

Presidential Poll: Official word awaited

Nov 20 (DN) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday said he is awaiting President Rajapaksa's proclamation to proceed with the preparatory work for the 2015 presidential poll. "I shall receive the proclamation with instructions to conduct the Presidential Election 2015, either by midnight today or tomorrow," he said. Asked what will be the date of election, the Commissioner said, "Well I would say that it will not be Jan 2, 2015 for it happens to be a Friday". more..

Basil trying to resolve JHU crisis

Nov 20 (CT) It is reported that Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa is intending to intervene to resolve the political crisis that has arisen as a result of members of the JHU resigning from their posts in the government. Whist no one has been appointed to the position vacated by Former Western Province Agriculture Minister Udaya Gammanpila, Western Province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga is presently overseeing the duties of the position. more..

Joint opposition front to be formed on Friday

Nov 20 (Island) The Joint Opposition Front (JOF) to contest the next Presidential Election was expected to be formally established on Friday. The parties to the MoU based on a six-point programme, would include the UNP, JHU, National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ), Democratic Peoples Front (DPF), Nava Sihala Urumaya (NSU), National Unity Alliance (NUA) and Eksath Janatha Peramuna (EJP). more..

Lankan refugees attempt mass suicide

Nov 20 (CG) Twenty Sri Lankan Tamil refugees lodged at a camp attached to the Trichy Central Prison made a mass suicide attempt on Tuesday, consuming sleeping pills inside the camp. All 20 inmates were taken to hospital immediately. Their condition is stable now. Prison officials said about 26 Lankan Tamils, who are facing trial under various charges including illegal entry and petty crimes, were on a hunger strike for three days seeking speedy trial which is delayed by first years more..

Schools being used for polls propaganda

Nov 20 (CT) Over 2,000 schools, administered by Western and Central Provincial Councils, have been instructed to hold meetings with the participation of Provincial Councillors, parents and students, in a bid to carry out election propaganda, Mahinda Jayasinghe, Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers' Service Union (CTSU), said. "The ministry is giving cheques of between Rs 50,000 and 150,000 to schools administered by the Western Provincial Council, to colour wash the buildings. more..

Are you the common candidate?

Nov 20 (DM) Minister Maithripala Sirisena said that there was talk going around that he was going to resign from the govt. Minister had gone to the Gampaha residence of Editor Karunatilaka Suriyaarachchi as a representative of President Rajapaksa and the Govt, to express his condolences. While there a journalist questioned the minister on the reports that he was ready to leave the govt and become the Common Candidate more..

Sangakkara on CNN’S Talk Asia

Nov 20 (CG) This month on CNN’s ‘Talk Asia’ Anna Coren sits down with the former cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara. In their candid conversation they talk openly about his life, cricketing career, World Cup ambitions and retirement plans. Sangakkara also discusses the devastating three-decade long civil war in Sri Lanka where “a lot of people paid the ultimate price with their lives for that conflict” and his parents’ brave actions in protecting the lives of their Tamil friends. more..

Rishad picks Anushka as Industry Adviser

Nov 20 (CT) A young economist in a Colombo think-tank has been hand-picked to advice on Sri Lanka's industrial portfolio development. "I welcome you to assist our Ministry of Industry and Commerce. Now let's get to work!' said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, after appointing Economist Wijesinha as his Special Adviser on Industrial Development and Youth Entrepreneurship. Anushka Wijesinha is a Research Economist at Industry, Competitiveness and Regulatory Policy Unit of IPS in Colombo. more..

UNP WC urged to nominate Ranil

Nov 20 (Island) An influential section of the UNP is bringing pressure to bear on the party Working Committee to nominate its National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to contest the upcoming presidential election with newly appointed Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, MP, playing a significant role. Convenor of UNP trade union organisation at the CPC Ananda Palitha said that there shouldn’t be a further delay in unanimously naming more..

'PM, Leader of the House can respond to questions directed at Champika'

Nov 20 (Island) For the first time in parliamentary history an expenditure head of a ministry was taken up during a committee stage debate in the absence of the subject minister and his deputy. JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawaka had given up the Science, Technology and Atomic Energy portfolio on Tuesday over a dispute between his party and SLFP, Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga told Parliament. Govt had not appointed a deputy to Ranawaka, MP Amaratunga said, more..

Sri Lankan chef Kusuma Cooray presents Ocean to Plate

Nov 20 (UH) Kapiʻolani Community College’s Professor of Culinary Arts Kusuma Cooray blends the exotic flavors of her native Sri Lanka with a local Hawaiʻi flare in her new cook book, Ocean to Plate: Cooking Fish with Hawaiʻi’s Kusuma Cooray. Ocean to Plate takes readers on the a culinary journey, from buying the freshest and tastiest fish, to choosing a recipe that compliments its natural flavors, to preparing a meal with ingredients that are certain to arouse the taste buds. more..

Girl stayed whole night ‘alone’ in player’s hotel room in Sri Lanka

Nov 20 (PO) The individual no.3, a senior India player who has been in Team India for some years and named in the Mudgal committee report is “safe” as far as his involvement in having a lady in his hotel room in Sri Lanka during the 2010 Asia Cup. The lady, believed to be an executive of the management company, which looks after other players as well, didn’t sleep with the player but she stayed in room alone whole night till 4 AM. more..

To distribute term test papers: New, inconvenient system introduced

Nov 20 (CT) A new method adopted by the Western Province Education Ministry in distributing term test papers to schools has greatly inconvenienced a number of principals who are finding it difficult to conduct the term tests, the Ceylon Teachers' Service Union (CTSU) said. "Although the ministry distributed all the exam papers for schools at once, now they are only handing over exam papers that are needed on a particular day through zonal education offices," said Mahinda Jayasinghe, more..

Coin shortage expected to ease with entry of special series

Nov 20 (Island) The Central Bank has pumped in Rs. 300 million to mint Rs. 500 million worth of coins, constituting a new series of 25 coins of the Rs. 10 denomination, portraying the 25 administrative districts of the island. Bank’s Currency Department, Superintendent, Deepa Seneviratne said that they had minted two million 10-rupee coins for each district. She strongly believes with sufficient stocks of coins entering the market, the shortage of coins would ease. more..

Hambantota Port to have a Chinese navel base: report

Nov 20 (LBO) The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy is to build 18 naval bases in various regions in the next 10 years including in Sri Lanka, a media report said. Namibian newspaper quoting Chinese media reports said Hambantota Port is among the three navel bases that will be established in the northern Indian Ocean. However Sri Lanka’s defence ministry refuted reports that claimed China is planning to establish a naval base in SL. more..

Project underway to reconstruct railway track between A’pura and Omanthai

Nov 20 (Island) Following the restoration of train services from Colombo to Jaffna last month after a 24-year lapse, the Department of Railways has taken steps to reconstruct the 62-km track, 62 km between Anuradhapura and Omantai under an Indian Line of Credit. Subsequent to the commencement of the reconstruction of the Northern and Talaimannar railway lines, the construction work along sections of the track from Omantai to Pallai and from Medawachchiya more..

Sri Lanka-Thailand launch diamond jubilee celebrations of diplomatic relations

Nov 20 (FT) The celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Thailand is being launched today. The two countries established formal diplomatic relations on 20 Nov 1955. Sri Lanka and Thailand have a long history of close religious, cultural and trade links fostered over several centuries. Buddhism has played a pivotal and catalytic role over several hundred years in binding the two countries together, and relations have been further consolidated more..

CICT attracts first-ever 16,000+ TEU ship

Nov 20 (FT) The Port of Colombo delivered on its promise of establishing Colombo as the regional maritime hub when the brand new 16,000+ TEU ship MV MSC New York berthed at Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) yesterday. The terminal is owned and operated by China Merchants Holdings International Company (CMHI). CICT General Manager Tissa Wickramasinghe said: more..

'State institutions need to be people-friendly'

Nov 20 (ST) Smooth workings of a govt could be ruined if officials in govt offices in a remote area don’t handle the public in a people-friendly manner. Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President, made this comment while speaking at the media briefing to mark the launching of facility to view ETF Information. He said that once a politician in England has said that the popularity of the govt based in London depends on the attitude of the police constable on the road, towards the people. more..

More than 5,000 foreign students in Sri Lankan universities - SB

Nov 20 (Island) More than 5,000 foreign students were studying in Sri Lanka at present at the state universities and degree awarding institutions, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. He said that govt expected to increase it to 100,000 by 2020 under the govt’s programme to become the Asia’s education hub. "Students from the Middle East come here for higher education due to problems they face in the West," he said, adding that students from India, the Maldives and Pakistan also come to SL more..