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Sniffer dogs join search for Sri Lanka landslide victims

Oct 31 (ABC) Sniffer dogs are being used in the search for bodies buried under tonnes of mud following a landslide in central Sri Lanka this week. Rescue operations were suspended on Thursday due to fresh rains, but resumed at daybreak with a team of sniffer dogs joining hundreds of troops already at the site. Although officials have estimated that around 100 people lost their lives on Meeriyabedda tea plantation, more..

JHU to abstain from first round of vote on budget 2015

Oct 31 (AM) The JHU, a constituent party of the ruling UPFA, has decided to abstain from the first round of voting on the Budget 2015, which is scheduled for tomorrow. A spokesman of the party said that the party has made the decision as discussions between the govt and JHU have still not arrived at a settlement. Another round of discussions between the govt and the JHU is scheduled for next week. more..

Rathana thera renews warning to Mahinda

Oct 31 (CG) JHU MP, the venerable Athureliya Rathana thera, speaking at a rally in Nugegoda last night organised by the JVP, renewed his warning to the Govt of President Rajapaksa, saying is ready to leave if the Govt fails to take the correct path. Speaking in front of a large crowd, Athureliya Rathana thera said that there is no basis for the President to say the Executive Presidency must remain if the threat of Eelam still remains. more..

UN Committee accused of being biased

Oct 31 (CG) The UNHRC has been accused of being biased by the Govt. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that the Committee had failed to note murders carried out by the LTTE in its review of Sri Lanka. Responding to a question raised at the post cabinet press briefing today, Rambukwella questioned as to why the UNHRC did not note the killing of nearly 700 policemen by the LTTE during the war. more..

UNP accuses govt of not allocating funds for Northern and Eastern provinces

Oct 31 (Island) UNP MP D.M. Swaminathan accused President Rajapaksa of not allocating funds for the Northern and Eastern Provinces through the Budget 2015. He was participating in the second reading stage debate on budget 2015. UNPer demanded to know why Northern and Eastern Provinces were being treated as ‘no man’s land’. He alleged that govt had deprived the TNA run NPC of required funds. more..

Bishop of Badulla decries bid to blame Koslanda victims

Oct 31 (Island) Bishop of Badulla Rt. Rev. Dr. Winston Fernando strongly condemned statements attributed to various govt politicians that lives wouldn’t have been lost due to Wednesday’s landslide at Koslanda if those living in areas prone to landslides had moved out as requested. He said that it was unfair for anyone to propagate such an opinion when those facing the risk were never provided with alternative land. more..

SAITM fights back groups attacking it

Oct 31 (CT) The South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) Parents' Collective (PC) whilst suing the All Ceylon Medical Officers' Association (ACMOA) for Rs 50 million would also consider taking legal action against the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). Convener of the SAITMPC, Gemunu Wijeratne said, the SLMC has delayed SAITM's application for accreditation and the Secretary of ACMOA, more..

JVP challenges Ranil

Oct 31 (CT) Stating that it was an election he was bound to lose, JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake challenged UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to abstain from contesting at the coming presidential election. Dissanayake voiced these sentiments onstage at a protest rally (concerning the illegitimacy of President Rajapaksa contesting for a third presidential term) of the People's Movement for Democracy in more..

Fishing in banned waters

Oct 31 (SL) With the European Union (EU) deciding to impose a sanction on Sri Lankan fisheries products, there is lot of agitation created especially among the fisher folks. Some fisher groups who will be affected by this decision recently protested in front of the Ministry of Fisheries who received them with hostility. Convener of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement and the human rights activist Herman Kumara said more..

Lanka at the tipping point

Oct 31 (ST) It is late evening and the rain is pouring outside. Nishantha Jayalath, 43, is playing with his two little children while listening to a Sinhala song. From his house we can faintly smell the stench from the garbage mountains nearby. Mr. Jayalath is living within 500m of the Karadiyana Waste Management Facility (KWMF). When he purchased the plot of land 10 years ago, Jayalath did not know what he was signing on for. more..

Oil politics: The secret US-Saudi deal

Oct 31 (DM) Is oil a bane or a boon? A blessing or a curse? If there had been no oil, would we have reached the advanced stage that we are in today in industrial development? There would not have been aircraft. Neither would there have been rockets going to the moon and Mars or launching satellites. No oil, no internet, and, of course, no social media. On the other hand, if oil had not been discovered, the Earth would have been a better place to live in. It would have been comparatively peaceful. more..

Koslanda catastrophe: Thundering wakeup call from voiceless people

Oct 31 (DM) In Sri Lanka’s worst natural disaster since the 2004 Tsunami, at least 300 people are feared dead after a huge mudslide or landslide washed away hundreds of tea estate linerooms in Koslanda near Diyatalawa on Wednesday morning. Eyewitnesses said they heard what sounded like a thunderbolt from a nearby mountain and the catastrophe erupted around 7.30 am. At least 75 children had already left for school and yesterday—as troops and others continued more..

Nearly 200 buried alive: Hopes of finding survivors fade

Oct 31 (Island) Hopes of finding survivors in the landslide-hit village in Haldummulla in the Badulla District were fading, Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. "No survivors have been found so far and I don't think there could be any survivors," he said after visiting the place for the second day. "Bad weather is hampering search and clearing operations; rescuers are digging through mud", more..

Coal fraud: 'Why Minister Pavithra is not complaining to Bribery Commission'

Oct 31 (Island) UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe yesterday queried as to why Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi was not complaining to the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption regarding the Rs1500 million fraud that she claims had taken place in connection with coal purchases during the tenure of her predecessor Minister Champika Ranawaka. "Both Ministers say a fraud has taken place but none of them have gone to the Bribery commission regarding this," more..

Sirisena ready to be PM

Oct 31 (CT) SLFP General Secretary, Minister Maithripala Sirisena, said he is ready to accept the position of Prime Minister, if the President is willing to entrust him with that responsibility. Minister made this statement at a media conference held at the SLFP Headquarters yesterday. He was responding to a question posed by a journalist regarding a resolution passed at the SLFP Polonnaruwa Asana Bala Mandala, declaring that Sirisena should be appointed the Prime Minister. more..

Shock and anger over death penalty

Oct 31 (Hindu) “My four-year-old son was saying that his father will return home tomorrow and get him an ice cream, but his hopes have been shattered,” said Jansi Rani, 32, wife of R. Wilson, one of the five fishermen awarded death sentence by the Colombo High Court on charges of drug trafficking. Staging a road blockade at Thangachimadam along with scores of men and women protesting against the verdict, more..

Stop blaming the buried; take measures to protect the unprotected! – JVP tells Govt.

Oct 31 (LT) The govt attempting to put the blame on the buried without coming up with a programme to resettle people in safe areas is not a civilized act states the JVP. A press release issued by the Political Bureau of the JVP states govt should take immediate measures to provide relief to the affected families and provide safe places to those who live in places that have been identified as risk areas. Press release: Stop blaming the buried; take measures to protect the unprotected! more..

GL explains lifting of EU ban on LTTE in Parliament

Oct 31 (FT) Minister G.L. Peiris came out with a different perspective in Parliament on the proscription lifted by European Union allowing the LTTE to operate within the 28 EU member countries. Putting the record straight and rejecting charges of failure or negligence by the Govt of Sri Lanka which could have aggravated matters and forced the European Court of Justice to lift the ban, he said: “Many hold different but wrong interpretations on the lifting of the proscription. more..

Grief in a teacup

Oct 31 (FT) Cacophony from the relief camp is deafening but amidst the noise S. Parameswari sits in a daze after four of her family members were buried alive in the massive landslide that instantly cemented its place as one of history’s worst natural disasters. But her stoic expression cracks as she describes how the trees on the mountain top started to move suddenly in the early hours of Tuesday. “I screamed to my family, more..

More landslide threats

Oct 31 (CT) The National Building Research Organization (NBRO) yesterday identified several areas that are vulnerable to landslides in the next 24 hours, as heavy rains continued in the hill country and other low-lying areas. NBRO Director for Landslide Research and Risk Management, R.M.S. Bandara, said landslide warnings were issued for the Badulla, Nuwara Eliya, Ratnapura, Kalutara, Kandy, Matale and Kegalle Districts. "We pointed out certain areas in those districts and more..

Lanka Hospitals awarded prestigious JCI accreditation

Oct 31 (FT) Lanka Hospitals last week announced that it has received the highly prestigious JCI accreditation and its gold seal of approval after a rigorous onsite evaluation by an international surveyor team of most experienced and skilled healthcare experts, elevating the hospital to an exclusive group of healthcare organisations worldwide that have met every stringent clinical quality standard set by Joint Commission International (JCI), the recognised leader in more..

UNP demands tough action against sexual predators in SLC

Oct 31 (CT) The alleged sex scandal of Sri Lanka Women's Cricket team has gone to parliament as well when UNP MP Ajith P Perera moving a motion demanded that all possible measures be taken against the related parties who are alleged to be behind the said sex scandal. Ajith P Perera also had explained the scale of the allegation while demanding an inquiry according to criminal law of the country and to take more..

Man bites roommate's finger during argument

Oct 31 (E24|7) A Sri Lankan worker allegedly bit his roommate’s finger during a heated argument and caused him six per cent permanent disability, the Dubai Criminal Court heard. SS, 29 is also accused of consuming alcohol. According to the records, on June 28, the accused was consuming alcohol in his room when a dispute broke out between him and the victim KK, 54, Pakistani driver. “A dispute broke between us and then he rushed towards me and bit my right hand’s index finger,” more..

Sitsabaiesan honours slain Canadian soldier Cpl. Nathan Cirillo

Oct 31 (LR) Parliamentarian Rathika Sitsabaiesan honoured slain Canadian solider Cpl. Nathan Cirillo as his hearse drove past Toronto on route to be repatriated last Friday. She joined residents of Scarborough to line the 401 overpass at McCowan road as the motorcade passed through the busiest stretch of highway in the world. “We are country of love and it is absolutely unfortunate that Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s life was taken too quickly from us,” Sitsabaiesan told more..

Opposition lays the blame on govt.

Oct 31 (Island) Govt could make excuses but it should accept the responsibility for its failure to save the lives of people who perished in the Koslanda disaster, Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga said in Parliament yesterday. Chief Opposition Whip, addressing Parliament soon after the Chief Government Whip made a special statement on the scope of the disaster and the action taken by the govt, said that the Opposition wished to more..

Sri Lankan dairy farming gets FAO boost

Oct 31 (FT) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is providing technical and financial to the Ministry of Livestock and Rural Community Development (MLRCD) to exploit productivity in dairy cattle in selected districts. The total project period will be two years starting from September 2014 and the Department of Animal Production and Health (DAPH) will be implementing technological interventions to make the medium scale dairy farming profitable and encompass more..

Qatar investors in Sri Lanka to explore investment opportunities

Oct 31 (FT) Investment Promotion Deputy Minister Faizer Mustapha early this week met with a three-member delegation from Qatar Holdings (QH), one of gas-rich Qatar’s main state investment funds, led by QH Head of Industrial and TMT Investments Mohammad Saif Al Suwaidi. At the meeting, which was held at the Investment Promotion Ministry and attended by the Government including the Sri Lanka Tourist Board, Board of Investment, Urban Development Authority and more..

Bishop of Mannar describes travel restrictions to the North as strange

Oct 31 (CT) The imposition of travel restrictions to the North, for foreigners and members of the Tamil Diaspora, creates a dangerous situation for the country when the international community is antagonized in this manner, Bishop of Mannar, Dr. Rayappu Joseph said. Explaining that this move was symptomatic of the govt's ill will towards the Tamil people, he added, if the govt has any suspicions concerning certain persons more..

Sri Lanka’s youth unemployment at 17%

Oct 31 (ST) A new UNDP report has noted that local youth employment, which it indicated to be 17%, is an area of concern for Sri Lanka. According to a recently issued Asia Pacific media statement, which outlined some regionally relevant contents, the report commented, “a lack of decent, well paid jobs – especially for youth – is a major challenge in Asia and the Pacific. In many countries of the region, youth unemployment is relatively high: 23% in Iran, 22% in Indonesia, 17% in Sri Lanka, more..

Vehicle importers stall

Oct 31 (CT) Vehicle importers are still not clear how the new tax proposals announced in the 2015 Budget would affect pricing, and one dealer says, taxes on hybrid vehicles should have been increased. "The special integrated tax may not have a huge impact on the industry. However, it is still too early to make certain of this as the tax structure is still not very clear. It may have a big impact on vehicles already imported under the previous tax structure and dealers would more..

Ten reasons to invest in Sri Lanka

Oct 31 (Forbes) From an investor’s point of view, the case for Sri Lanka is getting strong. In the rear view mirror, yet still lurking and causing hesitation for some, are the Sri Lankan Civil War that ended in 2009 and the market bubbles that followed the war’s end through 2011. While there are risks to investing anywhere, Sri Lanka has one of the best cases for an economy with the stars aligned in its favor. more..

Don’t isolate West Indies – Arjuna

Oct 31 (Island) Former Sri Lanka cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga has urged cricket authorities to help West Indies revive their cricket rather than penalizing them. The ICC Board Meeting scheduled for November 10 will discuss West Indies’ abandonment of their tour of India and the way forward. West Indies face suspension from the ICC if the BCCI lodges a complaint with the governing body. Indian cricket authorities have threatened to take legal action against WICB. more..

FDIs reach US$ 1.5B: Minister complains as BoI forecasts govt. target would be missed

Oct 31 (FT) On the way to reach US$ 2 billion foreign direct investment this year, Sri Lanka received US$ 1.5 billion during the first 10 months of this year surpassing last year's 12-month achievement of US$ 1.39 billion. Despite failing to achieve targeted FDI goals during the last two years, falling short by US$ 160 million and US$ 610 million to achieve targets of US$ 1.5 billion and US$ 2 billion in 2012 and 2013 respectively, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. more..

Central Bank says country’s Doing Business ranking has improved

Oct 31 (FT) Central Bank yesterday said Sri Lanka’s ranking in the Doing Business Index has improved in both relative and absolute terms and explained how though the latest release of the global list by the World Bank-IFC showed otherwise. In a statement, the Central Bank said according to the latest Doing Business Ranking published by the World Bank Group, Sri Lanka is ranked in the 99th position out of 189 countries in 2015 more..

Narrative-Narrator Dilemma

Oct 31 (NS) Both the English and the Sinhala written and electronic media are inundated with speculations and narratives of the possible presidential election. The debates of a common candidate, ‘uncommon candidate’, thoughts of jumping the ship, breaking the governing coalition, unconstitutionality of a third term for the incumbent president, rivalries within the parties, accusing the left-wing parties of betrayal, NGO financial frauds, TNA’s foreign propitiations, more..

Editorial: Avoidable disasters

Oct 31 (Island) Wednesday’s deadly landslide which wiped out an entire village burying about 200 persons alive in Koslanda came as no surprise. Described as the worst ever natural disaster since December 2004, when massive waves barreled across the Indian Ocean and had a disastrous landfall, the collapse of the mountain slope had been predicted. Landslide warnings had been issued well in advance for several years but no action had been taken to evacuate people living in the area, more..