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Tourist arrivals up 36% in September

Oct 3 (EN) Tourist arrivals in to Sri Lanka continue to grow strongly with the numbers rising 35.9% in Sept 2015 from a year ago. Tourist arrivals for the nine months to Sept were up 18.8% from a year ago. India regained the top position among source markets from China in Sept 2015 with the number of visitors rising 41.5% to 27,233 while Chinese visitors rose 54% to 20,502. Tourist arrivals crossed the 1.3 million mark. more..

Enter the Banana Skipper butterfly; bad news for banana farmers

Oct 3 (ST) Butterflies are beautiful, innocent creatures loved by all. But the larvae of the latest addition to Sri Lanka’s list of butterflies could become a pest to banana plants, warns the young butterfly enthusiast who discovered it. Tharindu Ranasinghe had observed the larvae of this butterfly, identified as Banana Skipper, for the first time, on Sept 6, in his home garden in Kandumulla in Yakkala. more..

Thousands of lives at risk Kelani river contamination

Oct 3 (SL) The Kelani River Basin (KRB) is home to over 25% of the country’s population. It is the primary drinking water source for millions of people in the Western, Sabaragamuwa and Central Provinces. Large number of industries, businesses and Local Authorities depend on the resources and services of the KRB. It has been contaminated with detrimental chemicals which are unhealthy for human consumption. more..

Gamini Fonseka, Lester James Peries and the milestone movie Nidhanaya

Oct 3 (DBS) Sembuge Gamini Shelton Fonseka, known generally as Gamini Fonseka – the uncrowned monarch of Sinhala cinema – passed away at the age of 68 on 30 Sept 2004. Gamini was one of my favourite actors since the age of eight when I first saw Ranmuthuduwa, a film starring him at the Gamini theatre in 1962. In later life I had the opportunity of meeting and interacting with my boyhood hero. more..

For the first time UNHRC reported a plethora of LTTE Atrocities

Oct 3 (DM) Former President Rajapaksa has called on the govt to reject the report of the investigation carried out by the OHCHR on the alleged war crimes and serious violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by the security forces and the LTTE during the war. What the former president and his loyalists have not explained was the outcome of such a rejection of the report as well as the US initiated resolution on Sri Lanka for which Sri Lanka was a co-sponsor. more..

Elders not too old to take up challenges

Oct 3 (DM) The famous American cowboy entertainer Gene Autry in 1931 sang a beautiful song about That Silver-Haired Daddy Of Mine. Later popular singers like Jim Reeves also sang this heartfelt if not heart breaking song with tens of millions of copies being sold The last memorable verse goes like this, “If I could recall all the heartaches, Dear old daddy, I’ve caused you to bear; If I could erase those lines from your face and bring back the gold to your hair; If God would more..

'Sri Lanka saved from Electric Chair'

Oct 3 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said that the country had achieved a great victory at the UNHRC by managing to exclude the electric chair, an international investigation, and a hybrid special court from being included in the United States sponsored resolution. Addressing the media for the first time since his return from Geneva, President outlined that the resolution was a suggestion and not an order. more..

Sri Lanka resolution has 38 co-sponsors

Oct 3 (CG) The resoluton on Sri Lanka submitted to the UNHRC and adopted without a vote on Thursday had 38 co-sponsors as of yesterday, the last day of the 30th session of the UNHRC in Geneva. The deadline for more co-sponsors to add their names to the list is Oct 16. Albania, Australia, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Sri Lanka, Macedonia, UK and Northern Ireland and the United States of America were the original sponsors and co-sponsors. more..

Video: Two new national parks to be declared this month

Oct 3 (DM) Banks of Kala Wewa and Balalu Wewa are to be declared as national wild life parks by the Ministry of Wildlife on Oct 17. The area has a high density of flora and fauna and a number of tourists visit the area on a daily basis. It is reported the banks are home to some of the largest elephant herds in SL. At least about 50 tuskers are among those herds. It is also said that Minister Sajith Premadasa who is a frequent visitor of the area had named each and every tusker in the herd. more..

Non-payment of ITN bills etc: MR to face public trial

Oct 3 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been summoned by a special presidential commision again over his alleged failure to pay over Rs. 103 mn to the State-run ITN for carrying his advertisements during the last presidential polls campaign will commence on Oct 15. Well informed sources told The Island that former President Rajapaksa had been requested to be present at the PRECIFAC at 9 am. more..

Indonesian retail giant to enter Sri Lanka

Oct 3 (NS) Mitra Adiperkasa (MAP), one of Indonesia’s largest franchise operators for foreign fashion and food brands is expected to expand its operations to Sri Lanka in the near future. Opening of the MAP Chain in Sri Lanka was revealed by the former president of the SL-Indonesia Business Council, Jatinder Biala at the council’s 22nd AGM. Chain operates 1,900 stores, over 150 brands and employs more than 23,000 employees in 65 Indonesian cities. more..

A new Ministry of Presidential Coordinator?

Oct 3 (CT) A new ministerial portfolio is to be created in order to represent the President at local and foreign State and diplomatic events, under the title Ministry of Presidential Coordinator. It is reported that this Special Coordinator of the President, who will be a minister, will be assigned the tasks of participating at certain official functions on behalf of the President and participating in diplomatic events as the Special Representative of the President, and acting as more..

Dinesh says Sri Lanka must present its case to war crimes court

Oct 3 (Island) MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena, MP, yesterday, said that the country could bring to the notice of the war crimes court envisaged for Sri Lanka, the circumstances under which the armed forces had brought the LTTE to its knees in May 2009. Reiterating his strong opposition to external intervention meant to undermine Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, Opposition heavyweight said that the country could make more..

NCPA informs police about girl assaulted by two youth

Oct 3 (DM) The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) said today the information it had obtained on the young woman attacked by two youth, as seen in a video gone viral in social media websites, would be sent to the Police Child and Women's Bureau for further investigation. On Wednesday which was also the World Children’s Day, a video showing two young men assaulting the young woman while another person was recording the incident went viral on Facebook. more..

People in Mannar to benefit from combating flooding, groundwater contamination

Oct 3 (NS) In a bid to help communities improve groundwater conditions and increase their resilience to floods related threats, the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), in partnership with the Mannar District Secretariat and the Mannar Urban council, facilitated a series of community consultations. The result of the consultations has led to joint development of solutions for the problems faced in the district. This is of particular importance as the residents of Mannar face more..

Govt level talks mooted to solve Indo-Lanka fishing issue

Oct 3 (NS) Following the refusal by Sri Lankan fishermen’s associations to hold any further talks with their Indian counterparts, regarding the longstanding fishing dispute between the two countries, authorities will now attempt to resolve the issue at govt level, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. He said he met with representatives of Northern fishermen’s associations last week where the issue was discussed at length. more..

Screening for terrorists isn't fear-mongering

Oct 3 (TS) Critics of PM Stephen Harper often accuse him of using the so-called politics of fear and division, especially when it comes to immigration and Canada’s national security. It is a favourite line of attack against the Conservative govt. But is Harper really fear-mongering to attract votes, or is he simply being honest with Canadians about the threats we face? During the recent foreign policy debate, for example, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair criticized the Harper govt’s refugee policy and more..

Sri Lankan envoy convenes workshop

Oct 3 (TP) The new Sri Lankan Ambassador Prof Dr W M Karunadasa took part in a workshop on We Sri Lankans in Qatar and role for the motherland at the SL embassy yesterday. Representatives of some 25 Sri Lankan community forums in Qatar took part. Prof Karunadasa, a renowned academic, has authored more than 20 books on international relations and a few are part of educational syllabus in his country. He said he feels pride for having been given responsibility to foster relations more..

Pakistan warns on critics of Sri Lanka

Oct 3 (NS) Pakistan making a special statement says that those who have been critical of Sri Lanka’s effort to overcome terrorism and separatism funded from abroad would do well to look at their own track record on the so-called war on terror. Permanent Representative of Pakistan Zameer Akram made these observations in a statement to the media on Friday commenting on the Report of the OHCHR on Sri Lanka. more..

SC refixes 2 cases filed by Tissa, Somaweera

Oct 3 (Island) Supreme Court re-fixed for support on Oct 16, the two fundamental rights petitions filed by Professor Tissa Vitharana, Leader of LSSP and Somaweera Chandrasiri, Vice President of MEP against the appointment of some defeated UPFA candidates as National List MPs. The petition said the people’s franchise had been violated. Petitioners wanted the Court to direct the Commissioner of Elections cited as first respondent to rectify the irregular and unlawful practice. more..

Lankan resolution historic and pragmatic

Oct 3 (ENS) In a pragmatic move, which has sound geo-political and economic basis, the Sri Lankan national govt of major parties, headed by President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe, on Thursday co-sponsored with the US and an overwhelming majority of the UNHRC, a resolution which ties Colombo to far-reaching institutional reforms for bringing about reconciliation and accountability. Among the reforms, one which will have an immediate impact on the ethnic question is more..

Healthcare spend below par: Study

Oct 3 (NS) Although Sri Lanka is just a few years away from reaching the higher-middle-income band, under the current growth trajectory the country’s per capita healthcare spend of a mere US$ 102 in the year 2013 is significantly below the average per capita for higher-middle-income countries, a new report by Fitch Ratings highlighted. The average per capita for higher-middle-income countries, is at US$ 465 which indicates more..

Plantation ministry to build about 30 tea outlets for local market

Oct 3 (LBO) Plantation ministry is planning to build 20 – 30 tea houses around Sri Lanka to sell export quality tea to local market who drinks dust tea being a nation of tea growers. “We have spoken about a concept that we wanted to introduced to the tea board,” Minister Navin Dissanayake, said. “Although we export pure Ceylon tea Sri Lankan here do not get the benefit of drinking the good quality tea.” He was responding to a question asked by a reporter is to why the local consumers more..

Otara Foundation launches public appeal to govt. to enact new Animal Welfare Bill

Oct 3 (Island) The Otara Foundation is to press the govt to enact the new Animal Welfare Bill by mobilising mass public support for the legislation via a 100,000 on-line signature campaign launched to mark World Animal Day, celebrated globally on October 4. The new Animal Welfare Bill was intended to replace Sri Lanka’s antiquated Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1906, but has been pending enactment since 2006. Now, concerned citizens can support more..

Marked decrease in dengue cases

Oct 3 (Island) Epidemiology Unit said that the number of dengue patients reported in the Country from the beginning of the year till Thursday (1) was about 21,070 as compared to 32,362 reported during the corresponding period last year. The highest number of cases this year have been reported from Colombo (6735), Gampaha (2938), Kalutara (1063), Batticaloa (1326), Jaffna (1287), Kurunegala (988), Kandy (875), more..

Uphill task for Sri Lankan marathoners

Oct 3 (Island) Sri Lanka’s female marathoners will face an uphill task in matching last year’s record breaking feat of Geethani Rajasekara when they compete with top class runners in the Colombo Marathon which routes from Colombo to Negombo on Sunday. Leading local runner Geethani Rajasekara who discovered her potential at the last Colombo Marathon with a new national record is not taking part in the 2015 edition which is set to start in close proximity to BMICH at 6am on Sunday. more..

HIV/AIDS on rise amongst Sri Lankan youth

Oct 3 (Xinhua) Health Ministry warned that the number of HIV/AIDS case was on the rise amongst the youth in the island nation. Health authorities had identified some 160 people diagnosed with HIV-AIDS as of October this year alone. National STD Eradication Unit Director, Sisira Liyanage asserted that the majority of these victims were between the age group of 25 to 45. The spread of the disease was due to the tourism industry, use of drugs, homosexual behavior, and immigration. more..

President invites American investors to SL

Oct 3 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena invited American investors to come to Sri Lanka without any fear, stating Sri Lanka is now a most suitable country for foreign investments. The President, who made an official visit to New York to participate in the 70th session of the UNGA made this invitation when he met American investors yesterday (1). He said the goal of the new govt is to make SL a paradise for investors before long. more..

Sri Lanka’s access to 2.5 bn market, key to attract FDIs: Economist

Oct 3 (DM) Sri Lanka’s marketing campaign to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) to the country has to tell the world that Sri Lanka has a 2.5 billion market. “Sri Lanka already has an FTA with India which is a 1.2 billion market, and we’re negotiating an FTA with China which has 1.3 billion. We should market to the world that Sri Lanka has access to a 2.5 billion market,” Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. He noted that either FDIs could be attracted to set up companies to more..

Geneva 2015: From the quasi savagery to civilisation

Oct 3 (Island) Sri Lanka is on the brink of a revolutionary transition from quasi savagery to civilisation. My main focus in this article is on the domestic dimension of our ethnic problem and not on its international dimension. My argument that we are on the brink that I have mentioned is premised on one incontrovertible fact: all civilized societies have sanctions against crime and in so far as a society has a culture of impunity it is to that extent a quasi savage or a totally savage society. more..

UNHRC chief Zeid Al Hussein

Oct 3 (Island) The report on Sri Lanka by OHCHR was taken up for discussion by the UNHRC on Wednesday. In introducing the OHCHR report on Sri Lanka to the Council, Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Al Hussein was unrelenting in his criticism of Sri Lanka. Even though he did say that this report on SL was being released in circumstances very different to that in which it was mandated, he engaged in more..

Police give new meaning to DNA

Oct 3 (Island) Dirty Nasty Action – that’s what our police take DNA to be. If the huge public outcry over the brutal rape and murder of little Seya Sadewmi, calling for the arrest and punishment of the person or persons involved has moved to the background, there is a need for another outcry – this time against the police, and a strong protest at that. It is a demand for justice for the 17-year-old boy and the 33- year-old father of one, made the focus of public hatred and calls for revenge, more..

The unique difference in economic governance: President got it!

Oct 3 (CT) All good hopes will be dashed if the good-governance govt failed in economic governance. Establishing democracy is good but it is not everything; people hope for better economic governance too. In New York, I just got two minutes to explain this to President Maithripala Sirisena in a formal event when he was in New York in order to attend the UN’s General Assembly. He was so attentive and quite a few times nodded in assenting during my speech. more..

It’s not all gloom and doom for Kaushal’s doosra

Oct 3 (NS) Fast rising off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal has been cleared of bowling his off-breaks but not his doosra which the ICC feels is not within the legal parameter of 15 degrees. However Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is of the view that by working proactively with the ICC and other biomechanical experts Kaushal has a good chance of getting this particular delivery also cleared. This new found confidence comes from the report more..

Nepotism isn’t a label

Oct 3 (NS) There’s something in politics called context. Words are defined and redefined endlessly, and as such how one word holds true for one political moment may be quite different to how it’s defined in another. Relevance factors in, too, which is probably why countries have multiple meanings for ally and enemy; those terms being defined according to geopolitics and not to how saintly or beastly countries are in their dealings. Nepotism is different. It’s timeless. Space-less. more..

Bye Obama, hello Putin

Oct 3 (NS) What does it take to defeat terrorism? Well, the answer will vary depending on who is being asked the question. Here in Sri Lanka, for years, no decades, the dominant cry was address and eliminate the conditions which cause people to take up arms. In other words, it’s like cleaning up breeding grounds to deal with the Dengue mosquito. If those, who consider methodologies such as suicide bombers, human shields and of late summary execution that is videotaped and more..