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'Conducive environment vital for talks'

Sept 18 (SO) I was elected as ITAK President a week ago for two years. The founder leader of ITAK was S.J.V. Chelvanayakam. He was elected twice. The next President was C. Vanniasingam. Then N.R. Rajavarothiam from Trincomalee and thereafter Dr. E.M.V. Naganathan. New ITAK president, Mavai Senathirajah indicated that the Tamil coalition justified the demands in the 15 resolutions passed at the recently more..

Privatizing public goods: From Polisi-Cepeks to Wellawa-Boys

Sept 18 (CT) A few weeks back, I was in Bogor, a city in Indoensia, which is called ‘The Rainy City’ due to its high rainfall throughout the year. Each time I travel to Indonesia, I see something new, which is actually a few countries clubbed together, given the vastness of the geography and the rich and unique diversity of each region. Indonesian cities are densely populated. City streets are overflowing with never-ending processions of cars, busses, motor cycles and scooters. more..

Of academics and pawns in political chess games

Sept 18 (NS) Elections bring out the worst in people, we are compelled to conclude. Perhaps, following from that oft-quoted quotable-quote ‘power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely’, both power-aspirant and power-holder are either corrupt or are just a shade off corruption that a touch here and there is too tempting. Naturally, incumbents, having tasted power, fight to keep it. Their ‘bad’ is more visible and therefore comment-attracting. A few years ago we had VCs of several universities more..

Colombo Port City Development launched

Sept 17 (IL) The first stage of the proposed offshore city in Colombo, the Colombo Port City Development Project was launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Rajapaksa at a grand ceremony this morning. The memorial plaque set up in connection with the inauguration of the first stage of the project was unveiled by the two leaders. This will be the largest foreign direct investment of 1.5 billion US$ for the land development that more..

Dayasiri is playing it safe claims Ranjan

Sept 17 (CG) UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake claims North Western Province Chief Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera is keeping his options to rejoin the UNP open. Ramanayake said that Jayasekera, a former UNP MP, has lashed out at everyone in the UNP except MP Sajith Premadasa as he is seen as the future leader of the party. “He speaks against me, Harin, Ranil, everyone except out future leader Sajith Premadasa,” he said. He claims Jayasekera wants to rejoin the UNP whenever the UNP more..

Sri Lanka builders to certify 'green' building

Sept 17 (LBO) The Ceylon Institute of Builders, an organisation of professionals in Sri Lanka's construction industry, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore to obtain technical assistance to promote and develop the green built environment in Sri Lanka. Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is a statutory body established under the Building and Construction Authority Act of Singapore. more..

India will grill Sri Lankan over LTTE links

Sept 17 (CG) Days after the arrest of Arun Selvarajan by the Indian National Investigating Agency (NIA) and reports about his alleged connections with politicians, the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought permission from a court to quiz the Sri Lankan national about his possible links with the LTTE. The specialised wing of the CBI, the Multi Disciplinary Monitoring Agency, has filed a petition in special court more..

Fuel price reduction not sufficient: LPBOA

Sept 17 (DM) Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne said the three-rupee price reduction on diesel was meant to deceive the people and that it would in no way be helpful to the people. He said this tiny reduction would not benefit people at a time when world market fuel prices had come down. He said they could consider a reduction on bus fares if the govt took steps to provide concessions on tyres after having discussions with tyre manufacturers. more..

Sri Lanka July trade deficit widens 55.2% y/y

Sept 17 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's trade deficit in July widened 55.2 percent to $890.6 million from $573.7 million a year earlier, mainly due to higher imports of fuel, central bank data showed on Wednesday. July exports gained 11.1 percent from a year earlier to $954.7 million, while imports jumped 28.8 percent to $1.85 billion. For the first seven months of 2014, the trade deficit narrowed 11.5 percent to $4.44 billion from $5.01 billion a year earlier.

Gotabaya praises CMC

Sept 17 (DM) Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday praised the CMC for cooperating with the UDA in carrying out development projects and faulted some other local govt bodies for not providing the necessary support to do so. He told a workshop at Water’s Edge oraganised by UN Habitat that the govt had completed the first phase of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Preparedness plans successfully. more..

GMOA: 7,000 docs demand ouster of rebels

Sept 17 (Island) About 7,000 members of the Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) have signed a petition calling for the ouster of the six rebels. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said that the six-member GMOA rebel group had been trying to sabotage the activities of the association for a long time but in vain. The GMOA had, acting on the recommendation of the General Committee, filed a case against the six members demanding Rs. 500 million in damages, he said. more..

Video: Illicit fags worth Rs.100mn seized

Sept 17 (DM) The Customs Revenue Task Force (RTF) today seized 4 million sticks of cigarettes valued at Rs.100 million shipped from Hong Kong, Customs Spokesman Leslie Gamini said. The container was seized on July 3, had been declared as ‘Industrial Chilling Machines since no one had come to claim it until the container was opened today,” he said. “The illicit cigarette packets branded Top Mountain were packed skillfully in nine wooden packages inside the forty-foot container,” more..

UPFA plans to buy four UNP members-JVP

Sept 17 (CG) Former MP and JVP Chief Ministerial candidate Samantha Vidyarathne for the Uva Provincial council election says that the JVP is the only decisive force in the election fray and people should not vote for both the main parties which failed time to time in their tenures. He said that both the main parties of the country; UNP and the SLFP have failed in their efforts in the development process of the country. more..

Cinnamon Grand on moving guests to accommodate Chinese delegation

Sept 17 (Island) A spokesperson for the Cinnamon Grand, said that some of its guests had been shifted due to the last minute increase in the number of delegates accompanying the Chinese President XI Jinping staying at the hotel. The official said that the hotel had been left with no option but to request some guests to move from the wing they were staying to another. She was responding to a query by Island why the hotel had accepted bookings for those premium rooms though it knew more..

Xi says China regards Sri Lanka as all-weather friend

Sept 17 (Xinhua) China regards Sri Lanka as an all-weather friend and partner, Chinese President Xi Jinping said here Wednesday when meeting with Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa. China appreciates Sri Lanka's stance to support China on the issues of Taiwan and Tibet, said Xi, adding that China supports Sri Lanka's efforts in safeguarding independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and will contribute to Sri Lanka's economic and social development as always. more..

Chinese president calls for implementation of cooperative projects with Sri Lanka

Sept 17 (Xinhua) Chinese President Xi Jinping met here Wednesday with Sri Lankan Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, calling on the two sides to implement and expedite major cooperative projects. Recalling his fruitful talks with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Xi said they have reached broad consensus on deepening bilateral relations and charted the course for the future development of China-Sri Lanka ties. more..

Govt says subsidies prevent introduction of pricing formula for fuel

Sept 17 (Island) The govt said yesterday that it was difficult to introduce a price formula for fuel prices without eliminating subsidies on diesel and kerosene. With the subsidies the two fuels were sold at a loss by the CPC at present. Some trade unions have claimed recently that oil prices in the world markets including Europe, Singapore and West Asia had been reduced six times in the recent past, but the CPC did not pass on the reduced prices to the local consumers. more..

Govt throws festivities and parents are made to pay

Sept 17 (CT) While the govt basked in the glory of staging a grand welcome for the Chinese President who arrived in the island yesterday, part of the financial burden of the festivities had been forced upon the parents of children who participated in the welcome event. Over 2500 children were stationed along Colombo – Katunayake expressway under the hot sun to perform a dance yesterday morning as part of the welcome for the Chinese President who drove out of the BIA. more..

Minister calls for proper assessment of GM products

Sept 17 (Island) Bio-tech mega countries had a special responsibility to ensure that the potential impact of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on human health and environment was assessed carefully before they were released to the market, Minister Susil Premajayantha said. Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Second Annual South Asia Bio-safety Conference, he said that the neighbouring India and Pakistan more..

Cultural Minister’s funny shoe fashion during top level diplomatic event

Sept 17 (AM) Just a day after the country’s Chamber of Commerce announced that Sri Lankan manufactured ‘Footwear’ exports have doubled during the year 2013 compared to what was exported in 2012, Sri Lanka’s Cultural Minister T.B. Ekanayake was seen wearing funny shoes at a top level diplomatic meeting in Colombo yesterday. The meeting was also attended by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chinese President Xi Jinping who was on a brief visit to Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka rupee trades steady on central bank’s moral suasion

Sept 17 (Reuters) Sri Lankan rupee was little changed on Wednesday as moral suasion by the central bank averted a fall amid sustained importer dollar demand, forcing dealers to trade in currency forwards. The rupee was traded at 130.28/32 per dollar at 0510 GMT, compared to Tuesday's close of 130.31/40. Dealers said moral suasion by the central bank prevented trades above 130.28 and forced trading in forwards. "Nothing is being traded above 130.28. There is importer dollar demand, more..

Pope confirms canonization Of Joseph Vaz

Sept 17 (AM) Pope Francis today signed off on Sri Lanka’s first saint, once again bending the Vatican’s to bypass the usual requirement that a second miracle be confirmed foreign media reported. Francis is expected to canonize Blessed Joseph Vaz, a 17th-century missionary, during his January visit to Sri Lanka. Pope Francis is due to arrive in the island on Jan 13 and will leave for the Philippines two days later. more..

Polls Chief bans campaigning via phones

Sept 17 (Island) Elections Department warned candidates contesting the Uva PC election to refrain from sending messages via telephones to voters without their consent as it was illegal. Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya said that complaints were being received that recorded propaganda messages of candidates contesting the election were conveyed through telephone networks. Complaints were also being received about SMS messages sent to telephone subscribers more..

Follow UK’s example: Hold that referendum on independence in the North&East

Sept 17 (CT) The world’s oldest democracy has proven it’s also the world’s foremost and robust democracy – that Scotland will decide its fate, whether it becomes an “independent country” in a referendum on 18th, September 2014 is in itself a triumph for democracy, whatever the outcome – that the UK govt (and the Westminster Parliament), despite campaigning hard for a “NO” vote, did not place obstacles but bowed to the Scottish people’s aspirations articulated in the 2011 more..

Ada Cartoon

Sri Lanka stocks close higher

Sept 17 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks closed higher Wednesday amid strong foreign buying. All Share Price Index closed 3.10 points higher at 7,179.20, up 0.04%. The S&P SL20 closed 0.05 points higher at 3,976.81. Turnover was 2.18 billion rupees, up from 2.06 billion rupees a day earlier with 90 stocks closed positive against 109 negative. John Keells closed 10 cents higher at 258 rupees with seven off-market transactions of 350.81 million rupees changing hands at 258 rupees per share more..

Let's protect and uphold moral values

Sept 17 (CT) Social evils like narcotics, alcohol, prostitution, abductions, extortion, murder, rape, robbery and threats are rampant in the country. In addition, child abuse and abductions are on the rise. Recently two children aged below five were abducted in the Kurunegala District. Last week seven boys were allegedly sexually abused by a Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) member during a school excursion inside a mosque. The suspect PS member is still at large and the police have more..

China's Xi kicks off $1.4 bln Sri Lanka port city development

Sept 17 (AFP) Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday launched the construction of a $1.4 billion port city in Sri Lanka's capital that will give Beijing a firmer foothold in the Indian Ocean region. Xi wrapped up his two-day visit to Sri Lanka by visiting Colombo harbour to kick off building of the port city, before heading to neighbouring giant India. The new city, Sri Lanka's largest single foreign investment, is being built alongside more..

Few national cricketers among regular visitors of Colpetty brothel- Police

Sept 17 (AM) A Police spokesperson said that a few national level cricket cricketers were among 'regular visitors' of the famous brothel house in Colpetty which was raised by Police two days ago. In the recent past there was a serious controversy surrounding discipline of certain young players representing the national cricket team. Police said it did not intend to take the matter any further as it did not come under their purview. more..

MoU with China: CEB engineers get their way

Sept 17 (Island) The MoU between the CEB and the Chinese builder of the Norochcholai power plant complex, China Machinery Engineering Cooperation (CMEC) was signed yesterday according to the terms dictated by CEB Engineers Union. CEB Chairman W.B. Ganegala said that following discussions with the CEBEU, he had agreed to incorporate all recommendations into MoU after convincing CEB General Manager more..

France happy over continuation of RSF case

Sept 17 (DM) The French Embassy said it was pleased to know that the case on the killing of 17 aid workers was being pursued and would like to encourage the Attorney General’s Department in this endeavor. These aid workers attached to the French organisation called ‘Action Contre la Faim (ACF)’ were killed in August, 2006. The embassy said this case remained of utmost importance to the French Embassy in Sri Lanka. more..

Nepal's Foreign Minister Pandey to visit SL

Sept 17 (GDI) Nepal's Foreign Minister Mahendra Pandey accompanied by Mani Ratna Sharma, Under Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal will arrive in Sri Lanka on Thursday to handover an invitation to President Rajapaksa and to govt of Sri Lanka. Nepal will host the 18th SAARC Summit in Kathmandu from Nov 22-27. SAARC has 8 members: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan & SL. more..

Death row prisoners to be rehabilitated

Sept 17 (Island) Minister Chandrasiri Gajadheera said that steps had been taken to rehabilitate 100 out of 980 death row convicts at the Bogambara Prison. The convicts paid a visit to the Sri Dalada Maligawa to pay homage to the sacred tooth relic yesterday. Minister said that the Prisons Department had launched a project to prepare a data base of all convicted prisoners. The names of the convicts, occupation before coming to more..

MoU inked between UCAS China and USJP, Sri Lanka

Sept 17 (GDI) Prof. Wu Yueliang, Executive Vice-President of University of Chinese Academy of Science (UCAS) and Dr. N.L.A. Karunarathne, the Vice Chancellor of the USJP inked a MoU while, an Official Representative from the Embassy of China to Sri Lanka and the Director, WCUP-2014, acted as witnesses on behalf of UCAS and USJP respectively. MoU depicts the educational and scientific corporation between more..

Light rains make no dent in punishing drought

Sept 17 (ST) Despite minor showers in some drought-affected areas over past days more than 1.6 million people continue to suffer from the impact of the arid weather. Many people are still forced to walk or cycle several kilometres to fetch water while farmers have been left idle in most of the drought-hit areas, leaving questions about the next season’s cultivation. Polonnaruwa, Batticaloa, Kilinochchi, Monaragala, Ampara, more..

Infrastructure going on apace in N&E

Sept 17 (SL) Post war, the govt has been developing a good road network and has undertaken large infrastructure development programmes in the N&E. However, according to many, such development had not served to improve the livelihoods or lifestyles of the people in the two provinces as they had been complaining about the lack of job opportunities and livelihood development programmes to help uplift their lives. more..