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'Prepaid bus cards soon: Bus travellers hassles to wane'

Oct 1 (SO) Moves are underway to introduce prepaid cards for bus passengers. Various problems regarding the issue of tickets in private buses can be solved after the introduction of the new system. The GPS technology will operate from Nov 1 to monitor private buses. Steps have been taken to issue permits on new routes, Private Transport Minister C.B. Ratnayake said. Q: Can you tell us about Sisu Seriya, Gem Seriya and more..

Sri Lanka’s dynastic politics and Comrade Number Eleven (XI)

Oct 1 (CT) When President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, visited India, an Indian Doordharshan television newsreader kept referring to the President as “President Eleven Jinping!” Either the newsreader had an irrepressible sense of humour, or whole episodes of human history that passed that worthy by; she did not know that Latin was no longer the ‘lingua franca’ of the world and ‘Xi’ was pronounced somewhat like ‘Shki’ in English, rather than the numerical 11! more..

Assets built on bilateral credit: Who should thank whom?

Oct 1 (CT) Recognising a help and expressing gratitude for it is a worthy human gesture. This applies to groups, societies, or even countries. Non recognition of a helping hand given is considered unkind and disgraceful. Worse is when parties unrelated are praised when the true helper is elsewhere unrecognised. In Sinhalese tradition, such behaviour is deplored, and the expression underlying such an attitude is Gangen diya bee muhudata aawadiema, or more..

News from Jaffna

Referendum necessary to empower 18th amendment?

Sept 30 (SM) A referendum should be held to empower the 18th amendment says Dr. Jayampathi Wickramaratne. He was speaking at a public forum held yesterday (29) by the “Lawyers for a Just Society”. Though the 18th Amendment removed the constitutional provisions that barred an individual to hold office more than two consecutive terms as Executive President, some legal experts are of the opinion that the new provisions do not apply to the past. more..

Gammanpila says earlier agreements with President are not valid anymore

Sept 30 (AM) WPC Minister Udaya Gammanpila has stated that the JHU has to once again hold talks with prospective presidential candidates like it did in 2005. He said that the JHU will be looking forward to support a candidate who will accept its policies and serve the nation and country. Gammanpila made these comments on Sunday at the Kandy District Convention of the JHU. Gammanpila also reminded that prior to the 2005 Presidential Election, the JHU held a meeting at Nugegoda titled more..

'23 projects with Rs. 68 b investment approved for North'

Sept 30 (FT) BOI has approved 23 projects with an envisaged investment of Rs. 68 billion specifically for Northern Province. With the BOI setting up an office in Jaffna in 2010, a considerable amount of business and industrial activity has taken place since the end of the conflict. “Private sector investment approved by the BOI for post-war Northern Province is Rs. 68.2 billion via 23 projects, especially in agriculture & fisheries. more..

UDA tries settling adamant '34 Watta' residents offers five dilapidated houses

Sept 30 (CT) The last group of Wanathamulla's '34 Watta' residents, comprising 25 persons, were allegedly offered alternative houses within the same locality by UDA. JVP Western Provincial Councillor and lawyer, Sunil Watagala, said that the residents now occupy five houses in the same locality. And, the UDA had offered them another five houses in the same area. This last group are those who refused to vacate their premises. The others, comprising over a hundred families had left their more..

'Commission for Missing Persons is more interested in livestock than people'

Sept 30 (CT) Commission for Missing Persons is more interested in livestock than people, NPC member Thurairasa Ravikaran said. He elaborated stating, "When the people come to complain about who they have lost, they ask them, 'do you have chickens? Do you want goats? Commission has become a joke". He was referring to standard question asked by the Commissioner: "What is your livelihood? Have you been given any goats or chicken?" at the end of every hearing. more..

Govt plays down views of BBS

Sept 30 (CG) Govt today played down the views expressed by the BBS and insisted that it stands for coexistence among all communities. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that Govt did not endorse the views of the BBS expressed at a conference. He said that if anyone felt threatened by the views expressed by any group or individual then there is a legal system in place where concerns on such issues can be addressed. more..

'BBS assembly insulted Islam and Al-Quran'

Sept 30 (AM) CPC member Azad Sally has said that the BBS insulted Islamic faith and Quran at the BBS general assembly which was held on Sept 28. Sally said that the BBS general assembly was not a Buddhist gathering for peace. "BBS general assembly was held with the blessing of the govt and the while Sri Lanka denied entry to the world renowned preacher of peace Dalai Lama, they granted access to Virathu monk who is responsible for the deaths of Muslims in Burma”, more..

World Children's Day National event under President's patronage

Sept 30 (GDI) Sri Lanka will mark World Children's Day with a national event at the Maharagama Youth Centre tomorrow under the patronage of President Rajapaksa. The ceremony, held under the theme 'Protect Us with Love' is organised by the Child Development and Women's Affairs Ministry. Minister Tissa Karaliyadda said it has been designed with the aim of raising public awareness on the importance of ensuring the well being of children and their social rights. more..

Foreign investment to Sri Lanka exceeds 1 bln USD in first nine months

Sept 30 (Xinhua) Foreign investments to Sri Lanka have surpassed US$ 1 billion mark in the first nine months of 2014 amidst inflows to the country's booming tourism industry. Sri Lanka's govt has targeted US$ 2 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the past two years but failed to achieve the goal. Despite the end of a three-decade war in 2009, Sri Lanka has lagged behind in attracting FDI. more..

'No gem mining licences for foreigners'

Sept 30 (Island) Minister Susil Premajayantha has assured that Sri Lanka will not issue gem mining licences to foreigners or foreign companies. Addressing a special discussion recently Premajayantha said that though the foreigners could engage in the local gem trade, they could not get involved in gem mining as partners of joint ventures. Minister said he had asked the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) to take immediate action to strengthen the rules and regulations. more..

Wimal loses another key member to the SLFP

Sept 30 (AM) Wimal Weerawansa’s NFF has lost another principal member to the SLFP. Accordingly, Mahawa PS Member Mahinda Bakmeewewa defected from the NFF with some of his followers and joined the SLFP. The group had met Minister of Art and Culture T.B. Ekanayake and obtained SLFP membership. Bakmeewewa has said that he joined the SLFP since he wanted to serve his followers better. NFF, which itself was formed after breaking away from JVP, has seen a number of more..

Video: 'Govt already violating election laws'

Sept 30 (DM) UNP LC Chairman Karu Jayasuriya said they would complain to Elections Commissioner on the alleged election law violations committed by the SLFP even before a presidential election had been declared. He said 8 prominent govt officials and 62 chairmen of govt institutions had participated at the opening of the SLFP election propaganda office at Barnes Place on Sept 25 in view of the upcoming presidential election. more..

Shashindra takes oaths as Uva CM

Sept 30 (GDI) The victorious UPFA leader of the Uva Province took oaths as Chief Minister of the province this morning before President Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat. In the Uva PC election held on Sept 20, he polled over 96,000 votes in the Monaragala District. This is the second time Mr Shashindra Rajapaksa was elected Chief Minister in Uva. He held the post until the dissolution of the Provincial Council three months ago paving way for fresh elections. more..

EC has no say in policy matters – UNP

Sept 30 (Island) UNP said that the 21-member Election Committee established last week under the Chairmanship of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe would, in no way, dilute the powers of the Leadership Council (LC) headed by MP Karu Jayasuriya. UNP Working Committee (WC) member R.Yogarajan said that the Election Action Committee was a temporary body meant for the Presidential and Parliamentary Polls likely to be held early next year and it would not interfere with the LC more..

New power tariff formula proposed

Sept 30 (CT) National Electricity Consumer Movement (NECM) said the CEB was at crossroads to deal with the loss of Rs 65 billion that would arise with the 25% discount on all bills. The discount, announced by President Rajapaksa, begins on 17 Sept. Treasury has refused to foot the deficit, and as such, the CEB has announced its decision to give the discount only to consumers who use less than 300 units per month. more..

NFF dissident says Weerawansa should take the blame for Uva result

Sept 30 (AM) Udaya Kumara, former NFF member who did not receive nomination from the UPFA ton contest the Uva PC election alleged that NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa should take responsibility for the party's failure at the PC election. Weerawansa's party, which contested alone for the Uva election from Badulla District, failed to secure a seat from the province. NFF contested with the UPFA for the district of Moneragala. Udaya Kumara asserted that result of Uva reflects Weerawansa's inability more..

Navy detects 1.730 kilos of gold hidden in fishing boat

Sept 30 (Island) Naval troops attached to SLNS Uttara of the Northern Naval Command in a predawn raid conducted on September 29 on a tip-off, took into custody 1.730 kilos of gold, which had been hidden inside a fiber glass dinghy on the beach at Madagalthurei. It is suspected that the eight gold biscuits and four gold pieces were to be smuggled to India. The gold would handed over to Customs officials for further investigations, the Navy said.

Keheliya says yes and then no on Nonis

Sept 30 (CG) Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, was put in the spotlight today after he said that Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Britain Dr. Chris Nonis had resigned from his post over a “personal dispute” with a Govt MP, but later withdrew that statement. He was asked to comment on reports that Dr. Chris Nonis had resigned after he was allegedly assaulted by Monitoring MP Sajin de Vass Gunawardena at a function in the US. more..

MR wants 76 Indian fishermen released

Sept 30 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa today ordered the release of 76 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody. The order, which officials at the Indian High Commission in Colombo confirmed, comes a couple of days after Rajapaksa met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York, when Modi is said to have raised the issue of their release. The group of fishermen to be released includes different batches arrested in early September on charges of engaging in illegal fishing. more..

Private Medical College students withdraw petition

Sept 30 (Island) Undergraduates of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) have informed the AG and subsequently the Supreme Court that the Minister of Higher Education has agreed to allow them undergo clinical training in state-run hospital. They have filed a motion in the Supreme Court on September 23, informing the Court that they wish to terminate the fundamental rights violation application against the Minister of Higher Education and Connected authorities. more..

Legal action sought against Provincial Councilors over claims on genocide

Sept 30 (AM) A writ application filed before Court of Appeal yesterday sought a writ of mandamus ordering the IGP and AG to take necessary legal action against 28 members of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) and five Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) members for forwarding an alleged malicious and false statement about Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights High Commissioner, urging to determine if genocide has taken place in SL. more..

Importance of PSC and 13 A

Sept 30 (CT) Indian Premier Narendra Modi and President Rajapaksa, who met on the sidelines of UNGA sessions in New York focused attention on the ethnic crisis in the island nation. Modi stressed the need to resume the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) process when Rajapaksa briefed him that the PSC was the best way to find a durable solution to the crisis. Acknowledging Rajapaksa's view point, Modi told Rajapaksa that the early resumption of the stalled PSC process would more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.2%

Sept 30 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed 0.19% higher with conglomerate John Keells gaining despite continued strong foreign selling. All Share Price Index closed 13.98 points higher at 7,252.14, up 0.19%. The S&P SL20 closed 19.30 points higher at 4,038.30, up 0.48%. Turnover was 4.29 billion rupees, up from 3.46 billion rupees a day earlier with 91 stocks closed positive against 98 negative. John Keells Holdings closed 2.70 rupees higher at 253.70 rupees with 17 off-market transactions more..

UK High Commissioner Chris Nonis resigns

Sept 30 (ASL) It is yet to be confirmed whether Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Chris Nonis, is resigning after a major dispute and assault by Sajin Vass Gunawardena, the Monitoring MP for the Ministry of External Affairs. According to Colombo Telegraph, this incidence took place at an event organized by newly-appointed Director of Sri Lankan Airlines, Dilan Ariyawansa, in light of UN Assembly more..

An open letter to President: Be the change!

Sept 30 (CT) The Sri Lankan Lion roared at the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly reminding the global community that “…, in order to gain the confidence and goodwill of the international community as a whole, but one of the essential requirements was consistency of standards across the board without any perceptions of selectivity or discrimination. It is in this context that the current functioning of the system needs fresh examination in order to enhance its credibility. more..

Women’s Affairs Ministry asks NGOs help to eliminate discrimination against women

Sept 30 (Island) The Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Affairs (CDWAM) said it had consulted NGOs on how to end discrimination against women. Spokesman for the CDWAM, said Ministry officials had met with representatives of NGOs late last week at Sethsiripaya. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Women and Media Collection, Institute of Human Rights, Neelan Thiruchelvam Trust, and Lanka Mahila Samiti were among them. more..

Faiszer meets Middle East Ambassadors to discuss FDI

Sept 30 (FT) Deputy Minister of Investment Promotion Faiszer Musthapha held a meeting yesterday with the Ambassadors of Middle Eastern nations as well as various stakeholders from the public and private sectors to discuss Foreign Direct Investment from the Middle East region. According to BOI, investment from Middle East region totalled $121.3 million in 2013, which was around 10% of the FDI inflow. more..

JVP to sue CM and Ministry Secretary

Sept 30 (CT) The JVP will take legal action against the Secretary to the Ministry of Economic Development and the former Chief Minister of Uva, Shasheendra Rajapaksa, for reportedly engaging in mass scale bribing of voters. JVP Western Provincial Councillor, Sunil Watagala said they have begun consultations on the best action against those men, who distributed money among the voters of Moneragala, under pretext of drought relief. more..

Three eventful days for President in North

Sept 30 (Island) President Rajapaksa will be in the North for three days from Sunday October 12 to inaugurate several development projects. He will declare open Mahindodaya Science laboratories in schools and inaugurate the train service between Jaffna and Colombo after a lapse of almost 30 years. The govt of India has provided funds for reconstructing of the railroad and restoring rail services to the Northern Province. more..

Unions seek probe

Sept 30 (CT) Katunayake Free Trade Zone Commercial and Industrial Employees' Association ( KFTZCIEA) has written to local and international authorities requesting an investigation into the food poisoning related death of a woman working at multinational apparel factory - Next Manufacturing. The union has complained to the Katunayake Police, Angunakolapellessa Police, Labour Behind the Label, IndustriALL, more..

UK Deputy HC she says was monitored

Sept 30 (CG) The British Deputy High Commissioner in Colombo Laura Davies claims she was “watched” during a visit to the East recently. In a blog posting on the British High Commission website, Davies said that some of the people she had met during her visit were having follow-up visits or phone calls. “But it gradually became impossible to ignore the fact that I was being watched. Worse, it was clear that the people I was meeting were more..

Restrictions on lead content in paints not enforced

Sept 30 (Island) Samples of decorative paint with excessive lead content would be sent to Italy for testing shortly, Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) Executive Director Hemantha Withanage said. He said more samples would be collected from traders and manufacturers in a bid to make Sri Lanka a lead free nation. "We have collected samples from more than 30 locations. We believe that most of the traders and more..

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