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With eye on China, India to step up military ties with Sri Lanka and Maldives

Oct 21 (TOI) India will further step-up defence cooperation with Sri Lanka and Maldives, including assistance in "capacity-building" of their armed forces through both training and supply of equipment, in tune with the overall policy to steadily boost military ties with countries in Indian Ocean to counter China's strategic inroads in the region. Defence minister Arun Jaitley on Monday held a meeting with visiting Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakshe, more..

Dhoni opts out of first three Sri Lanka ODIs

Oct 21 (CI) MS Dhoni has opted out of the first three ODIs against Sri Lanka, citing the need for a break to freshen up ahead of the tour of Australia and the World Cup. Virat Kohli will stand in as captain, and Wriddhiman Saha, who scored a century in the IPL final earlier this year, will take care of wicketkeeping duties. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been rested, making way for Varun Aaron. Sri Lanka are touring India as a replacement for West Indies, whose players refused to more..

Nutmeg production hit by blight

Oct 21 (Island) Destruction of the nutmeg plant by a blight in the Kandy district has caused alarm among the nutmeg producers and the authorities of the district. The blight has already caused heavy damage to the nutmeg production in the district. It causes the leaves of the nutmeg plant to drop and the nuts shrink. As the crop failed the nutmeg producers of the district have lost their revenue by many folds this season. Nutmeg is a popular cultivation and money spinner in the Kandy district more..

Drought drives 42% crash in crop production in Sri Lanka

Oct 21 (TRF) An 11-month drought, considered by experts to be the worst in recent history, has forced sharp increases in food prices in Sri Lanka – and the worst may be yet to come, according to recent updates. Rice, the island’s staple food, has seen double digit price hikes in all varieties compared to a year ago. Some of the more popular varieties such as Samba have recorded price increases of 30% compared to a year back, according to govt statistics. more..

Pharmacy dispensing pain killers to kids raided

Oct 21 (Island) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) yesterday raided a pharmacy situated in Wolfendhal Street, Colombo 13, which dispensed vitamin B12 syrup and painkillers without doctors’ prescription. Media Secretary of the Ministry of Co-orporatives and Internal Trade, Nipun Ekanayake said that vitamin B12 was prescribed by doctors as an energy giver and to increase the apatite of patients, while the pain killer was a tablet given to patients following surgeries. more..

More rain consigns game to draw

Oct 21 (CI) A rain-hit game was further interrupted on the fourth day by showers, allowing only 25 overs of play and the game meandered to a draw. In that time, Sri Lanka A's batsmen could not get going once again, as the team went from an overnight 63 for 4 to 161 for 9. The innings was in particular strife at 103 for 7, but Niroshan Dickwella and Tharindu Kaushal produced cameos to ensure they lasted the day. For West Indies A, part-time offspinner Jermaine Blackwood finished more..

Protesters demand higher salaries in SL

Oct 21 (Xinhua) Trade unions affiliated to Sri Lanka's opposition took to the streets, demanding a salary increase, an official said on Tuesday. Hundreds of protesters representing trade unions affiliated to the main opposition party, the UNP, gathered in downtown Colombo. They were demanding an increase of 10,000 rupees in salaries for all 1.3 million of Sri Lanka's public workers in the govt's budget presentation on Friday. more..

Mohan De Alwis: new Sri Lanka Consul General in Toronto

Oct 21 (LR) Mohan De Alwis Sri Lanka’s new Consul General here says he is keen on developing trade ties with Toronto, home to one of the largest expatriate communities. De Alwis who comes from a strong business background was the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation’s CEO prior to his appointment to Toronto. “I look forward to working with all Sri Lankans in the Greater Toronto Area,” De Alwis said. “I hope to bring about togetherness and harmony among the Sri Lankan community.” more..

Thorough security checks in Parliament on Oct. 23

Oct 21 (Island) Rest rooms, lockers of MPs and the whole Parliament complex would be inspected on Thursday in view of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s budget speech on Friday, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa announced in the House yesterday. On the day the President is scheduled to deliver the budget speech, galleries of Parliament would be restricted strictly to invitees. The car park of the MPs would be kept closed and the vehicles of MPs would be directed to the relevant car parks. more..

Video: Balasuriya vows to combat drugs and crime

Oct 21 (DM) Former IGP Mahinda Balasuriya who assumed duties today as the new Law and Order Ministry Secretary vowed to combat drugs and organised crime in the country. “We have identified that these factors are a main obstacle that prevents people from carry out their day to activities. We will take steps to arrest drug traffickers and criminals who are involved in these activities,” he said. more..

Govt urged to have a regulatory friendly environment to facilitate SMS’s growth

Oct 21 (LBO) Govt urged to create a friendly regulatory framework to drive the growth of the small and medium enterprises in the island, chamber chief said. “Tilt the policy framework in favor of SME’s,” Suresh Shah, Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said. “This is only fair since many other factors are tilted against them,” “Let the policy framework facilitates growth of firms both into the SME sector and out of it. Most importantly make it easy for SME’s to do business and grow.” more..

Agriculture: Old is best

Oct 21 (CT) Research, conducted by a group of Ruhuna University undergraduates, has shown that traditional agriculture methods give better productivity than that where chemicals or artificial fertilizers are used. Ravi Dickmadugoda, an undergraduate involved in the research, said they were involved in related research work for a period of three months. It was also found that rice produced by using traditional agriculture methods was more nutritious. more..

Ganasara thera says BBS will not contest presidential election

Oct 21 (AM) Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara thera denied media reports claiming that the BBS will contest the forthcoming presidential election. Gnanasara thera said such reports were false and they are aiming to create a confusion. “BBS has no intension of presenting a candidate for the presidential election and we have not extend our support to any political party”, more..

Akila enters wedlock

Oct 21 (Island) The govt yesterday congratulated UNP MP Akila Wiraj Kariyawasam on his entering into wedlock with Utthara Wijenayake. MP Kariyawasam’s wedding was held at Mount Lavinia Hotel yesterday and a large number of Opposition MPs had attended the wedding before coming to Parliament. Senior Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama commencing Second Reading debate on Land Bill said: ‘I have something special to say before commencing the debate. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.7%

Oct 21 (LBO) Stocks closed 0.72% lower with banking stocks losing ground despite net foreign buying, brokers said. All Share Price Index closed 52.29 points lower at 7,161.16, down 0.72%. The S&P SL20 closed 25.09 points lower at 3,983.07, down 0.63%. Turnover was 898.24 million rupees, up from 864.49 million rupees a day earlier with 35 stocks closed positive against 160 negative. First Capital Holdings closed 2.50 rupees lower at 50.40 rupees more..

The gang rape of a 14 year old school girl...

Oct 21 (CT) Ceylon Today records a shocking story of how a 14 year old girl was gang raped by 'influential' men who managed to get bail in Court for a non-bailable offence under the Penal Code. Police had not objected to bail for the 'influential' except for the cashier of the hotel who was remanded. According to police, cashier had only concealed information that a minor was brought to the hotel. He had not raped the girl. more..

The danger of the third term: South Korean experience

Oct 21 (CT) UNP General Secretary, Tissa Attanayake, appears to be quite naïve to talk about the winning prospects of the UNP leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, against President Rajapaksa, without challenging the ‘illegality and immorality’ of the incumbent contesting for a third term. As many have already pointed out, his statement was an indirect legitimation of Rajapaksa candidacy for a third term. Then the party had to do some damage control. more..

Save the pensioners from disaster

Oct 21 (CT) The lowering of interest rates on fixed deposits has affected the pensioners very badly. Their only source of income, the interest paid on their commuted pensions and EPF monies invested as fixed deposits in banks, has drastically reduced pushing them into penury and helplessness. That is at a time when they need money for life sustaining vitamins and medication, the prices of which have gone sky high as are the prices of other essential items which they cannot do without, more..

Swamy urges Modi to nominate President Rajapaksa for Bharat Ratna

Oct 21 (AM) Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has urged Indian PM Narendra Modi that his govt confer Bharat Ratna on SL President Rajapaksa, under whose leadership the LTTE was eliminated. "This elimination of the LTTE must be recognised in India as a welcome contribution to our national security,” he said in a letter to Modi. It was also reported that Modi has acknowledged receipt of Swamy's letter. more..

Party leaders, forced to back down on decision due to public displeasure

Oct 21 (Island) Amidst mounting public displeasure on MPs not attending parliament sessions, party leaders decided to revise their previously reached agreement that quorum as well as prior notification was not required in the House for any vote to be taken during the budget debate. Party leaders had previously agreed not to call for abrupt divisions in the House during the budget debate for the convenience of all parties. more..

EU insists ruling on LTTE not political

Oct 21 (CG) The European Union (EU) today insisted that the court ruling on LTTE sanctions in the EU is not a political decision taken by the EU governments but a legal ruling of a court. On 16 October 2014 the General Court of the European Union annulled measures taken by the Council of the European Union against the LTTE, namely the designation of the LTTE as a terrorist organisation and the freezing of LTTE funds. more..

Theiveegan’s mother prevented from leaving

Oct 21 (DM) Sundaralingam Rajithamalar, the mother of Suntharalingam Gajatheeban, alias Theiveegan was prevented at the BIA in the early hours today when she was about to leave for Canada, sources said. Accordingly, she was prevented from leaving the country although she had valid visa due to the ongoing inquiry against her slain son, Theiveegan, who was shot dead during a clash with the Army along with Gobi more..

UNP MPs attacked at ports authority training school

Oct 21 (AM) A group of UNP MPs who visited the training school of Sri Lanka Ports Authority in Slave Island have come under attack. UNP MP Eran Wickramaratne said that they went on a fact finding mission to the Ports Authority Training School to see whether state resources were being used for the presidential election campaign. Wickramarathne said they had received information that resources of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority were more..

Roshan Mahanama is fourth match referee to officiate in 200 ODIs

Oct 21 (NDTV) A former captain and member of the Sri Lanka squad that won the 1996 ICC Cricket World Cup, Mahanama represented his country in 52 Tests and 213 ODIs between 1986 and 1999, in which he scored 2,576 and 5,162 runs, respectively. Roshan Mahanama became the latest member of the ICC's elite panel of match referees to reach the 200-mark milestone in ODI when he officiated the first ODI between more..

Lankans smothering in lead poison – Study

Oct 21 (Island) A recent study by the Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) reveals that lead in household dust and at half of the 18 schools where samples were taken contained was beyond tolerance limit, CEJ Environment Officer Chalani Rubesinghe said the study has shown that scraping of leaded paint could contribute up to 600 microgrammes per square foot of the toxic dust whereas scientific studies revealed that more..

Alcohol stifles family peace in Mullivaikkal

Oct 21 (CT) "Krishna Anandan," she said as she proudly introduced herself and welcomed us to her compound; a notice board with "Rs 350 per kilo of broiler chicken" written on it stood outside her gate. Anandan is a resident of Mullivaikkal West, the village where the last stages of the war took place and though the people are doing their best to get life back on track, the dark clouds of the war haunt them when they more..

Jaffna: Arriving in style!

Oct 21 (SL) Huge crowds gathered spontaneously and to some of the onlookers the Yaal Devi was a novelty after 24 years. The diaspora media organisations were working overtime – Rajapaksa’s visit to the North was a singular achievement for the President. He smiled, he chatted, he tried his Tamil language skills, he ate their food, he donned the customary pagri and he punched the hundreds of hands that were more..

'Port projects are open for any country'

Oct 21 (ST) Any country was free to bid for the proposed third terminal at the Colombo Port and the many other terminals that are being planned for Hambantota Port, said Priyath B Wickrama, Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman. “We know that,” he said, when asked whether he was aware that India was concerned about China’s growing foothold in SL - particularly the country’s ports. But the process is open. more..

Research, Development...

Oct 21 (DM) Daniel Bell, a well -known American sociologist, used the phrase, ‘post-industrial society’ to refer to highly developed countries like the US, Japan and Germany. Much of the labour in these countries had moved away from agricultural and industrial activities in favour of service industries. This transition did not necessarily lead to a decline in industrial and agricultural production because labour was replaced by modern machinery and other labour saving methods of more..

Govt. doing nothing to counter ECJ ruling

Oct 21 (DM) The European Court of Justice (ECJ) while striking down anti-terrorism sanctions imposed on the LTTE by the European Union has attributed its ruling last week to the decision by the EU leaders in 2006 to place the LTTE on a list of terrorist organisations being based on “imputations derived from the press and the internet” rather than on direct investigation of the group’s actions, as required by the law. Needless to say that this is a preposterous situation, since a bloc of dozens of more..

Indo-Lanka MoU sought to bring back Tamil refugees

Oct 21 (ENS) A Sri Lankan Tamil refugee rehabilitation organisation which has been working in TN and Sri Lanka for the past 30 years, has sought a MOU between Sri Lanka and India to facilitate and expedite the return of the refugees to the island nation. In a letter to President Rajapaksa, S C Chandrahasan, Treasurer of the Organization for Elangai Refugees’ Rehabilitation (Ceylon), pointed out that around 65,000 Lankan Tamil more..

'Budget 2015, a people-friendly development oriented one'

Oct 21 (DN) Budget 2015 that is to be presented to Parliament on October 24, 2014 will definitely be a development oriented and people-friendly budget, Minister Susil Premajayantha said. He said that as usual the President discussed with trade unions, employees, media, businessmen and all other groups representing various social levels before preparing the budget proposals. “Therefore budget 2015 will strengthen the development drive of the govt and will definitely provide relief to more..

Was temple elephant euthanized? It broke a leg in fall from backhoe

Oct 21 (CT) Environmentalists allege that an elephant belonging to Devram Vehera was euthanized on Friday, after the animal fell and broke its front leg, when an attempt was made to lift him with a backhoe, after being sedated, failed. The fall caused the leg to break, sources told Ceylon Today. The temple is located in Pannipitiya. The elephant was in musth at the time of its death. The animal was lying on the ground after apparently being over sedated. more..

Unfinished war in Sri Lanka threatens paradise regained

Oct 21 (Reuters) In the fishing village of Oori, two mothers await news of their young daughters who were taken to a care home three months ago after their alleged rape by members of SL navy. In a lawyer's office in the town of Mannar, a middle-aged woman sobs uncontrollably as she recounts her five-year struggle to find her son, one of thousands of cases of young men and women who disappeared after being picked up by soldiers. more..

Secret deal at Kirimandala Mawatha

Oct 21 (Island) The land of the Milco factory at Narahenpita has been transferred to a well-known private company for a Mixed Development Project. It has already been announced that Milco factory will be shifted to Badalgama. The deal however is being kept a top secret by officials concerned at Milco (Pvt) Limited and Ministry of Livestock and Rural Community Development under the purview of Minister Arumugam Thondaman, who was not contactable over the past few days. more..

Ranil off to Singapore

Oct 21 (DM) Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe left for Singapore on a two day visit, his office announced. Statement said he was expected in the country on Thursday. However UNP MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha told Parliament that Mr. Wickremesinghe would be meeting some ministers from the Sri Lankan govt during his visit. “The situation is such in this country that it is not safe for our leader to meet Cabinet Ministers of the Sri Lankan govt in this country. more..