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Ten reasons to invest in Sri Lanka
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. (Forbes)

Stop blaming the buried; take measures to protect the unprotected! – JVP tells Govt.
The government 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 government 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. (LankaTruth)

Official death toll rises to 192: MR visits Koslanda
Official death toll of the massive landslide in Koslanda and Haldummulla has risen to 192.Badulla District Secretary Rohana Keerthi Dissanayake has made an announcement disclosing a name-list of 192 people who died in the landslide incident which occurred early yesterday.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, accompanied by Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa, has arrived at Koslanda a short while ago, President’s media unit said. President Rajapaksa has visited the camps of the displaced in the area and has also monitored the progress of rescue missions that are still underway. (Asian Mirror)

US help not sought for Sri Lanka landslide rescue
The United States said Wednesday that government of Sri Lanka has not made any specific requests for assistance in search and rescue operations after an early morning landslide in the upcountry plantations area believed to have buried about 300 people.

Responding to a media query whether the U.S. Embassy in Colombo been in touch with the local authorities, Jen Psaki, Spokesperson of the State Department said that she is not aware of any specific requests that have been issued. (Colombo Page)

7 new frog species reported from Western Ghats and Sri Lanka
A team of researchers from India and Sri Lanka has discovered seven new species of golden-backed frogs in the Western Ghats-Sri Lanka global biodiversity hotspot, throwing new light on the highly distinct and diverse fauna in the two countries.

The results of the decade-long survey published in the latest issue of Contributions to Zoology, an international journal brought out by the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands, show that the frogs in Sri Lanka and those in India belong to distinctly different species. (The Hindu)

SLFP – JHU talks in deadlock
Ongoing high profile talks between the SLFP and the JHU to resolve a simmering dispute over the latter’s constitutional and political reform proposals primarily meant to dilute presidential powers have failed to produce the desired results.

Proposals dealt with far reaching political reforms and a range of other contentious issues, including police and land powers contained in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. (The Island)

President expresses condolences to victims of landslide disaster
Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe united in expressing their sympathies to the landslide victims and bereaved families in Haldummulla of Badulla District today.

Offering his "deep condolences' for the victims of the massive early morning landslide today place in the Miriyabedda village in Haldummulla, the President said he has instructed officials to provide immediate relief to those affected by the landslide. (Colombo Page)

UNP MP alleges Pera Prof polluting Mahaweli waters, defends right to call academician thakkadiya
UNP Matara District MP Buddhika Pathirana yesterday alleged in Parliament that Mahaweli waters had been contaminated by a controversial garbage disposal project at Gohagoda in Kandy run by a professor attached to the University of Peradeniya.

MP Pathirana claimed that the project belonged to the professor though he pretended it was a university undertaking. The MP added that the company had been registered at the address of the professor's official residence. (The Island)

Government plans to attract Buddhist monks – JVP
Government was seeking the support of Buddhist monks for the forthcoming Presidential Elections by offering them foreign tours to be had in the coming weeks, the JVP alleged.

JVP Western Provincial Councilor K. D. Lal Kantha said, they had learned that the government had planned to send the chief incumbents of about 100 temples on tours to Asian Buddhist countries. (Ceylon Today)

Opposition Leader of Sri Lanka expresses sorrow and calls for help for landslide victims
Expressing his sorrow in a media statement the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe requested all Sri Lankans to come forward and help the victims of the massive landslide that struck the MeeriyaBedda village in Koslanda, Haldummulla of Badulla district

Addressing a media briefing held in Colombo today, the Opposition Leader said that everybody should rally together to rescue the landslide victims irrespective of any differences. (Colombo Page)

300 feared missing as mudslides hit Sri Lanka tea region
Mudslides triggered by monsoon rains swept through a tea-growing region of Sri Lanka on Wednesday, killing at least 16 people and leaving around 300 more feared missing, disaster officials said.

The landslides hit a well-known tea plantation east of Colombo in the morning, with some homes buried in 30 feet (nine metres) of mud, officials said. (Yahoo News)

India-Sri Lanka Foundation invites project proposals for consideration
The India-Sri Lanka Foundation, an organization fostering relations between the two countries through economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation, has invited proposals for funding projects in several areas, the High Commission of India in Colombo has said in a recent release.

According to the Colombo Page web site, the foundation has invited proposals in areas such as education, art and culture, archaeological studies, agricultural research, science and technology, information technology, health, development studies and gender studies. (Business Standard)

Polls chief office not fully independent
Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma says the Office of the Commissioner of Elections is not fully independent.

Addressing the media in Colombo today, Sharma also said that the Commonwealth will monitor the next national elections in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)

Sri Lanka’s Propaganda finds a home in Washington
Sri Lanka’s powerful defense secretary and brother of the president, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has recently published a lengthy article in a policy-oriented journal called PRISM.

The publication of this article, particularly at a time when the Sri Lankan government has been under the microscope for alleged war crimes and ongoing human rights abuses, raises a number of questions. (International Policy Digest)

UNP MP complains of night club in sacred city
The first ever night club in the Anuradhapura sacred city had been established in the vicinity of Sri Maha Bodhi and Ruwan Weli Seya, UNP Anuradhapura District MP P. Harrision told Parliament yesterday.

MP Harrison, raising a question on massage parlours in Anuradhapura, requested the government to remove the night club from its current location as it desecrated the holy city. The MP requested Minister of Indigenous Medicine Salinda Dissnayake to look into the matter and take remedial action. (The Island)

Sri Lanka is a tourist's cup of tea
The country has had 23.1% more visitors than last year, thanks to its beverage and ?exchange rate that go down well with visitors.

The pictures lie. Mist does not descend on the hills of Sri Lanka’s tea country; it just sits there — permanently. So when the bony but bold silhouette of a woman emerged from it, she did not look like an illusion. (Mail & Guardin)

Wellard strikes Sri Lankan dairy deal
The dairy industry continues to make the news, with Wellard this week announcing it had secured two contracts that, in total, will supply 22,500 dairy cattle to Sri Lanka.

The two Wellard contracts, which are worth almost $100 million, have been signed with the Sri Lankan Department of Economic Development (SLDED) and will involve up to five shipments of Friesian-Jersey cross heifers during the next two years. (Farm Weekly)

Gender gap widens in Sri Lanka in 2014 on lack of political empowerment
TSri Lanka's gender gap increased over the last year and gender equality ranking declined from a 55 in 2013 to a 79 this year out of 142 countries , a report released today by the World Economic Forum showed.

The World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2014 showed that Sri Lanka has been slipping from its privileged position in the top 20 since 2010. Sri Lanka fell from closing 74.6 percent of the gender gap in 2010 to 69.0 percent this yea (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan asylum-seeker killed in England
The Croyden Guardian reports that the 43-year old Sri Lankan asylum-seeker was crossing the street near his home when he was mowed down and hit by a driver of a BMW car according to the police.

The victim, Jeyaratnam Kandiah was pronounced dead after the crash.(News 1st)

Tamil Nadu fishermen observe fast in Sri Lankan prison
Twenty-four fishermen from Tamil Nadu, arrested by Sri Lankan Navy on charges of violating International Maritime Boundary Line and lodged in a prison in Jaffna, are on a fast since yesterday demanding their release.

The fishermen are demanding their immediate release along with their boats, according to T Sasuraja, president, Rameswaram Fishermen’s Association.(The Hindu)

Top UN team to visit Jaffna while here
The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED), which begins a three-day focused country visit to Sri Lanka, today (Tuesday), will also visit Jaffna, the UN office in Colombo said.

The official mission to Sri Lanka, which will stress the importance of a comprehensive approach to countering terrorism in accordance with the principles of the rule of law including human rights, as requested by the Security Council, will be undertaken through engagement with the Government and include a visit to Jaffna.(Colombo Gazette)

Sri Lanka Telecom expects $30.6 mln profit in 2014 -govt
Sri Lanka's leading fixed line telephone operator Sri Lanka Telecom will post a net profit of 4 billion rupees ($30.58 million) in 2014 and 4.2 billion rupees next year, a document tabled in the country's parliament showed on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka Telecom, in which the government is the major stakeholder, is also expecting a net profit of 4.43 billion rupees in 2016, a document presented to parliament by the Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology showed.(REUTERS)

'JHU Has Still Not Decided To Leave Govt:' Rathana Thera Says After Meeting MR
JHU Parliamentarian Athuraliye Rathana Thera - who met President Mahinda Rajapaksa for a special meeting this evening - said that the JHU has still not decided to leave the government.

" The government also wants us to stay and we too need to bring the government to the right track" Rathana Thera, who took part in a political talk show on TNL, soon after the meeting said.(Asian Mirror)

EU responded positively to Sri Lanka’s proposals- Rajitha Senaratne
Minister of Fisheries Rajitha Senaratne states that members of the European Union have been informed of the proposals put forward by Sri Lanka with regard to the EU’s recommendation on Sri Lanka’s fishing industry.

The Minister stated that the EU has responded positively in this regard.(News 1st)

Drought or deluge, farmers must learn to adapt
Leading climatologists say Sri Lanka’s farmers must adapt to increasing intensity of weather patterns, whether heavy rains or severe drought, both of which are now simultaneously hitting the agricultural sector.

The current combination of drought and heavy rain is producing tons of unsaleable rotting vegetables in some parts of the country while in drought-hit areas paddy farmers face the bleak prospect of the year’s main crop, Maha, without enough water.(Fresh Plaza)

One arrested for collecting signatures on blank UN war crimes complaint forms
Acting on information received from the public, the police have arrested a person tasked by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to collect signatures on blank ‘UN war crimes complaints forms’ in the Vanni region.

A senior security official said that the suspect had undergone compulsory LTTE combat training for about a month during the war.(The Island)

Moody’s says Budget 2015 signals continued deficit reduction; debt burden a concern
International rating agency Moody’s yesterday that the 2015 Budget presented by President and Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday signalled continued fiscal deficit reduction.

“Authorities were able to more than meet their target for the budget deficit in 2014, and aim to bring the deficit lower in the next year. Continued deficit reduction is premised on stronger economic and higher tax revenues, as expenditures will rise further in 2015. Success in hitting the targeted deficit reduction in 2015 would bring Sri Lanka’s fiscal deficit, which has historically been very high relative to rating peers, more in line with the median for similarly-rated countries,” Moody’s said.(Daily FT)

Sri Lankan govt plans garment units in resettled villages
The Government of Sri Lanka has planned to establish new garment factories in resettled villages in the Northern part of the country, with an aim to provide employment opportunities for the youth, the official government website reported.

In Sri Lanka, resettled villages are those where internally displaced people during the war and refugees have settled after the end of the war with the LTTE.(fibre2fashion)

TNA has turned Northern PCredundant - Opposition
The ruling Tamil National Alliance (TNA) of the Northern Provincial Council had failed to carry out any of its promises made in their election manifesto even after one year in office, Opposition Leader of the Council Sinnadurai Thavarajah alleged yesterday.

Addressing a media conference for the first time at the Government Information Department, he said that the NPC celebrated one year on October 25 but so far the TNA had failed to fulfill any of the needs of the people there.(The Island)

Commonwealth Secretary-General, Sri Lankan President discuss CHOGM objectives
Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Mr. Kamalesh Sharma and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Monday discussed the reforms and objectives agreed upon at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 that took place in Colombo last November.

Mr. Sharma met the Sri Lankan President at Temple Trees this morning to brief the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office on the ongoing work and progress of objectives agreed upon at CHOGM 2013.(Colombo Page)

GL's problem is not his inability He does not exercise his ability
The General Court of the European Union (EU) also known as the Court of Justice of the EU on 16 October annulled measures taken by the Council of the EU by lifting certain restrictions placed against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), namely the designation of them as a terrorist organization and the freezing of their funds.

The Court in addition ordered the Council of the EU, which lost the case filed by the plaintiffs, the Tamil Eelamist pro-LTTE Diaspora, to pay its own costs and the costs of the LTTE. Although, the Court decision will come into effect only after three months, the defendants, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the European Commission were ordered to bear their own respective costs.(ceylontoday)

United India keen on entering Sri Lanka
Public sector general insurer United India as part of its plans to have presence overseas, was keen on setting up its first office in Sri Lanka, a top official said today.

“We are looking at Sri Lanka. We have not yet finalised. It is still in the early stages..”, United India Insurance Company Ltd Chairman and Managing Director, Milind Kharat told reporters here.(The Hindu)

Visit of Commander of Srilanka Navy Chief Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera
Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera, Commander of the Srilanka Navy is on an official visit to India from 26 to 30 October 2014. The visiting Chief was accorded a Guard of Honour on his arrival at the South Block.

He thereafter called on the CNS, Admiral RK Dhowan and is scheduled to meet officials in the Ministry of Defence and the National Security Adviser.(Business Standard)

Australian woman’s screams scare off stampeding elephant
A terrified Australian woman scared a stampeding elephant away with her bloodcurdling screams.

Liz Jacobs stopped the rampaging pachyderm in its tracks after it gave chase to her Sri Lankan safari tour Jeep.(Ada Derana)

LTTE assets could be used for election: UNP
The main opposition United National Party (UNP) today charged that the government may use LTTE assets in its campaign for a Presidential Election via Kumaran Pathmanathan (KP) following the lifting of the European Union General Court’s ban on the LTTE.

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said no one had denied KP of being the current leader of the LTTE and therefore he would have easy access to the LTTE funds and assets(Daily Mirror)

'Strident Tamil Nadu Limits India's Options in Sri Lanka'
Two US foreign policy scholars, Mark J Gabrielson and Joan Johnson-Freese, have said that Tamil Nadu’s strident opposition to closer relations with Sri Lanka will limit India’s options in countering China’s threat from the southern flank.

In a note published in the journal of the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute dated December 2012, Gabrielson and Johnson-Freese said: “Tamils living in India, motivated by continuing animosities over Sri Lankan Tamil rights..(The Nation)

SB slams Amnesty for backing protest
Higher Education Minister S B Dissanayake today slammed the international human rights group Amnesty International for issuing a statement in support of the university students who staged a protest near parliament recently.

The Minister said that a responsible human rights group like Amnesty International must first study the Sri Lankan university system and be fully aware of the background.(Colombo Gazette)

Global Rubber Conference 2014 inauguration today in Sri Lanka
Global Rubber Conference (GRC) 2014, one of the world's leading conferences on natural rubber opens today in Sri Lanka

The four-day international event will be held from 27 to 30 October 2014 at the Cinnamon Grand in Colombo.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka and China to sign an MoU to strengthen tourism promotional prospects
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Zhongshan Municipal Tourism Bureau of China recognizing the importance of further enhancing tourism promotion on friendly exchanges and cooperation between Sri Lanka and Zhongshan City in China will be signing an MoU on Tuesday (28) at the Taj Samudra Hotel. The objective of signing of the MoU is to strengthen the promotional prospects.

With the signing of the MoU the Parties agree to enhance mutual understanding and friendship through strengthening regular information exchanges, support each other’s tourism promotion events.(Govt. News Portal of Sri Lanka)

12 foods to try in Sri Lanka
The Teardrop of India or Pearl of the Indian Ocean are among many nicknames for Sri Lanka.

But a more accurate description of the gorgeous nation might be the Island of Rice and Curry.(WDSU News)

TNA’s Ananthi wants UN probe deadline extended
Accusing the military of suppressing information as regards war crimes allegedly committed by the military during the last phase of the Vanni assault, Northern Provincial Councillor, Ananthy Sasitharan has urged Geneva-based Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to extend the deadline for the completion of the ongoing investigation.

Ananthy has made her appeal to OHCHR through three senior external experts, namely Martti Ahtisaari, Silvia Cartwright and Asma Jahangir tasked to advise and support still unidentified war crimes investigation team.(The island)

Why President Mahinda Rajapakse should be re-elected for the third time ?
When Sri Lanka was still a British Colony we were told that we should be like the English men. They said the white men were punctual, authoritative, honest, fair, just and reasonable.

The President Mahinda Rajapakse earned the displeasure of the West ever since he eliminated the terrorists despite all efforts of the West to save them. It is since then they began to espouse the cause of the pro-terrorist Tamil diaspora to divide Sri Lanka to set up a separate Tamil Eelam State, by accusing the President, his Government and the Armed Forces for violation of human rights and war crimes. (Lankaweb)

Austria - Sri Lanka relations at unprecedented high
Austria’s relationships with Sri Lanka have reached unprecedented highs in the recent times, observed Chief Government Whip, Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Sunday (Oct 26).

Participating in the celebrations held at the Hotel Galadari in Colombo to mark the Austrian National Day, the Minister said that Sri Lanka and Austria shared common values and ideals and enjoyed strong bilateral ties since the establishment of diplomatic relations 60 years ago. “This year we are celebrating the diamond jubilee of this relationship with events in Colombo and Vienna,” he said. (Govt. News Portal of Sri Lanka)

Geneva issue: Susil refuses to play CID role/B>
Declining to comment on a simmering controversy concerning the External Affairs Ministry, UPFA General Secretary as well as Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premjayantha yesterday said that he couldn’t perform the duties of the Criminal Investigation Department

A smiling Premjayantha said that he wouldn’t intervene in a matter which wasn’t his responsibility. He was responding to a series of questions as regards a recent statement attributed to External Affairs Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris.(The island)

Lanka Coal has not followed tender procedure since 2012 - Mr Ranawaka
Mr Patali Champika Ranawaka, Technology, Research and Atomic Energy Minister, said that since 2012 the Lanka Coal Company (LCC) which was the sole importer of coal to Sri Lanka had been doing so without adhering to proper tender procedure.

Mr Ranawaka was responding to the Power and Energy Minister Mrs Pavithra Wanniarachchi at a press conference held at his Ministry premises yesterday. (COAL GURU)

Sri Lanka to raise gaming tax to 10 pct of turnover
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa (pictured) has proposed to impose a US$100 entrance fee for the country’s casinos and raise the gaming levy to 10 percent of turnover. The proposals were set out in the 2015 budget announced on Friday.

The budget document did not give any further details on the casino entry levy, including whether it would apply only to Sri Lankan residents or also to foreigners. (GGR Asia)

Sri Lanka's recovery: Are new roads the way forward?
Better, faster, smoother roads have been a central part of the government's efforts to rebuild Sri Lanka after a long and brutal civil war and the 2004 tsunami. The BBC's Jasmine Coleman takes a trip along some of these roads to see whether the distances between places - and people - have been bridged.

The road north of Trincomalee takes you past hollowed-out homes - bare concrete stumps between here and the beach. (BBC)

Travel Experiences You’ll find only in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka seems to be at a tipping point. Five years after the end of its quarter-century-long civil war, tourists are being lured back to Sri Lanka by friendly locals and an abundance of natural and man-made beauty.

This petite island nation—totaling just 25,000 square miles but including the 4.5 million-resident city of Colombo—offers everything from leopard safaris and surfing to ancient temples and complex curries. Here, four experiences that would be challenging, if not impossible, to find anywhere else. (Wall Street Journal)

CID investigates possible sabotage at Sri Lanka's coal power plant
The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of Sri Lanka Police has commenced an investigation to ascertain whether a possible sabotage action has taken place in the Lakvijaya Coal Power Plant in Norochcholai.

According to a document tabled Saturday in parliament by the Power and Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, the CID is investigating whether salt or a chemical akin to salt had been introduced into the condenser system of the thermal power plant. (Colombo Page)

Security Plan in Place for Sri Lanka Players During India Series: Police
Keeping in view the security lapses during last year's India-Sri Lanka match and incidents of Tamil Tiger racists attacking Lankan cricket lovers in London, the city's Commissionerate Police on Friday assured a foolproof safety plan for players and spectators.

"Full-proof security would be provided to the players of both the teams from the airport to hotel. The police will take control of the stadium and hotels two days before the first ODI at Cuttack on November 2," police commissioner RP Sharma said. (NDTV)

Sri Lanka seeks massive Chinese loan for Southern Expressway extension
The Sri Lankan government is seeking a massive Chinese loan for the Southern Expressway extension project up to Hambantota, much more than the money spent for the first phase of the Expressway from Kottawa to Galle, official sources revealed.

China’s EXIM Bank has agreed to provide funds for the construction work which will be carried out on the directions of the Ports and Highways Ministry, a senior government official said. (Sunday Times)

Budget debate kick starts in Sri Lanka parliament
The debate of the second reading of the 2015 budget proposals of Sri Lanka government commenced today in parliament.

Opposition United National Party (UNP) MP Ravi Karunanayaka said the government had only given a salary increase of Rs. 2923 to the public sector employees despite much hype about the salary increase. (Colombo Page)

UNP fully supportive of pushing through JHU’s 19th Amendment— Ranil
UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said in Parliament that his party would fully support the passing of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution proposed by JHU’s Ven Aturaliye Ratana Thera to reduce the powers of executive presidency if the government brings it as an urgent Bill in November this year.

Wickremesinghe, raising a point of order, demanded to know the government’s position on the proposed 19th amendment to the Constitution. "There were some stories on websites that the Government plans to introduce the 19th Amendment proposed by JHU MP Ven. Aturaliye Ratana Thera to Parliament next month. The UNP supports this Bill but we would like the government to discuss it with us before it is presented to the House." (The island)

India conveys concern at China presence in Sri Lanka
India has expressed serious concern to Sri Lanka over China’s increasing military presence on the island, it is reliably learnt.

Official sources in New Delhi told The Hindu that Sri Lankan Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s India visit last week was for a meeting in this connection. (The Hindu)

India releases stamp on Anagararika Dharmapala
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday released a commemorative postage stamp on Anagarika Dharmapala, a Sri Lankan Buddhist revivalist and writer, at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"The release of the commemorative postage stamp on Anagarika Dharmapala will contribute towards further strengthening the bilateral ties between India and Sri Lanka and bring the two nations closer," said President Mukherjee. (Daily Mirror)

Amunugama admits misprints in Budget proposals
Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. Sarath Amunugama admitted in Parliament yesterday that there were misprints in the Budget proposals presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday.

Minister Amunugama was responding to DNA Colombo District MP Sunil Handunnetti, who pointed out glaring mistakes in the tables of financial allocations made to government departments and institutions printed in the annexure of the budget proposals. (the island)

Sri Lanka's Northern Province CM's visit to India not yet decided
Indian government officials are trying to work out a schedule for Sri Lanka's Northern Province Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi next month.

An NGO, People's Union for Civil Liberties has said that Chief Minister has been invited to give a public lecture on November 9 and he has accepted the invitation. (Colombo Page)

BJP acting against Tamils, openly aiding Sri Lanka, alleges Vaiko
Slamming BJP government's policy vis-a-vis Sri Lanka, party's Tamil Nadu ally MDMK on Saturday said that it was acting against the minority Tamils and warned that this may have its repercussions in the future.

Party founder Vaiko took objection to senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's demand that India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, be conferred on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, saying the saffron party cannot ignore its responsibility by just distancing itself away from Swamy. (First post)

Buddhist monk who abducted a 9-year-old boy in Sri Lanka remanded
A Buddhist monk who was arrested for allegedly abducting a nine-year-old boy from the Batuwita area in Horana has been remanded by the court until 7th November.

The abducted child was found unharmed near the Jethawana ramaya Stupa in Anuradhapura, a day later, Friday morning, Police Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana said. (Colombo Page)

Central committee of Sri Lanka coalition party JHU meets to discuss whether to support the budget
The central committee of Sri Lanka ruling party's coalition partner Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) will meet Saturday to discuss the budget and the future political strategy, JHU sources said.

JHU sources indicated that the party would discuss whether to abstain or vote against the budget. (Colombo Page)

Kamalesh Sharma arrives in Sri Lanka
Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma has arrived in the country on Saturday.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the purpose of his visit is to follow up on the progress of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which was held in Sri Lankan last year. (News 1st)

Kamalesh Sharma arrives in Sri Lanka
Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma has arrived in the country on Saturday.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the purpose of his visit is to follow up on the progress of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which was held in Sri Lankan last year. (News 1st)

UN working with Sri Lanka on concerns
The United Nations (UN) says it is working with the Sri Lankan Government to address post war issues, including rising incidents of violence against religious minorities that have taken place since the beginning of this year.

Subinay Nandy, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Sri Lanka, said that as one looks at the breadth of the UN’s work with Sri Lanka, one can see a strong emphasis on the peace and reconciliation agenda. (Colombo Gazette)

Something for everybody
Budget 2015
President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday presented his tenth budget in Parliament. Having presented the budget for the next fiscal year, a smiling President Mahinda Rajapaksa asked the opposition, "How is the Budget presented by a godaya [a country bumpkin]?"

He was responding to a UNP MP who had claimed that the country was being ruined by a cabal of ‘country bumpkins’. Earlier, the government advanced the presentation of the budget by about one month in view of an early presidential election expected during the second week of January next year. (The Island)

Budget is a fraud – State sector gets 3124 while private sector gets 375 – nothing for estates!
The demands of the working people have been completely ignored in the budget proposals presented to Parliament today (24th) by Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Minister of Finance, despite bragging that the working masses have been given a massive increase in their salaries says the President of National Trade Union Center (NTUC) K.D. Lal Kantha.

Releasing a communiqué on behalf of the NTUC Mr. Lal Kantha says the state sector salaries have been increased by Rs.3124 but the increase for the private sector is only Rs.375. However, the estate sector has been completely ignored says Mr. Lal Kanatha. (LankaTruth)

Actual salary increase for public servants only Rs. 760 – UNP
Recurrent expenditure going down, budget lacks futuristic policies
The ‘Presidential Election’ budget presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday had made a song and dance about increasing the minimum salary to Rs. 15,000 but the actual difference was only Rs. 750 the UNP said.

Pointing out that the budget proposals were a desperate attempt to fool the people in the run-up to the next presidential election by targeting every segment of society, UNP MP’s Harsha de Silva and Eran Wickremeratne told The Island that the increase in the minimum salary to Rs. 15,000 had been given wide publicity without mentioning what it was now. (The Island)

Rajapaksa seen boosting handouts before Sri Lanka vote
South Asia’s fastest growth rate will allow Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to boost spending on pre-election handouts without halting the country’s record improvement in public finances.

The government, which last month cut petrol and diesel prices and slashed electricity tariffs by 25 percent, will probably also raise salaries for state employees and delay policies such as tax increases, Eurasia Group predicted. (Bloomberg)

Sri Lanka hires up in Washington amid war crimes probe
The government of Sri Lanka has hired its eighth Washington firm this year as it awaits the results of a United Nations human rights investigation into alleged war crimes.

Levick is subcontracting through Liberty International Group, a government affairs firm owned by former Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), to represent the semi-autonomous central bank of Sri Lanka. (THE HILL)

2015 Budget presented in Parliament
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his capacity as the Minister of Finance and Planning, presented the National Budget for the fiscal year of 2015 to Parliament a short while ago.

This is the 10th budget presented by Rajapaksa after assuming duties as President cum Finance and Planning Minister in 2005. It is also the 69th Budget of post Independence Sri Lanka.(Ada Derana)

Three Lankan spies Chargesheeted in India
India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a preliminary chargesheet against three Sri Lankan nationals, who were arrested over alleged espionage attempt, in Chennai city court on Thursday, the New Indian Express reported.

Filing the charge-sheet against Zahir Hussain, Siva Balan and Mohammed Saleem, the NIA submitted that investigations are still pending against six other accused, including two Pakistan’s embassy officials in Colombo(Daily Mirror)

China gives India assurance on Lanka
China does not want to overstep into India’s sphere of influence by bringing Sri Lanka and Maldives into the maritime New Silk Road, according to an official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the New Indian Express reported.

“We don’t want to get into India’s sphere,” said Luan Jianzhang, Deputy Director General of Policy Research Office at the CPC Central Committee’s International Department. The International Department is mainly concerned with overseeing relations with foreign political parties.(Colombo Gazette)

Sri Lanka hires up in Washington amid war crimes probe
The government of Sri Lanka has hired its eighth Washington firm this year as it awaits the results of a United Nations human rights investigation into alleged war crimes.

Levick is subcontracting through Liberty International Group, a government affairs firm owned by former Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), to represent the semi-autonomous central bank of Sri Lanka. (THE HILL)

Canada terror attack: Situation similar to post-1983 crisis in northern SL – Gotabhaya
Regretting the loss of lives due to unprecedented terrorist attacks in Canada during the week, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said the situation there was very much similar to that of Sri Lanka in the early 80s.

The Defence Secretary likened the threat faced by Canada to the situation that prevailed in the northern region before the LTTE ambushed an army patrol on the night of July 23, 1983 and claimed the lives of 13 servicemen.(The Island)

Foul coal deal costs CEB Rs. 1.5 billion
The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) had suffered a loss of Rs. 1,507,044,116.25 due to substandard coal imported for the Norochcholai coal-fired power plant in 2012, Power Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi told Parliament yesterday.

Minister Wanniarachchi said: "This loss was due to a massive fraud which took place before I assumed duties as the Minister of Power and Energy. It happened during the tenure of my predecessor. Investigations are underway and I am ready to take action against anyone irrespective of their positions."(The Island)

Sri Lanka President prepares budget with eye on election
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to present on Friday a populist election budget for 2015 that manages to contain borrowing thanks to an expected pick-up in the pace of economic growth.

The 68-year-old leader, who is also finance minister, will seek early re-election in January for an unprecedented third term, his party said on Monday, seeking to pre-empt any decline in support after nearly nine years in power.(REUTERS)

SLC ruining our chances in World Cup – Arjuna
World Cup winning former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has questioned the scheduling of the five match ODI series against India next month. Sri Lanka agreed to fill the void created by West Indies pulling out of Indian tour and Ranatunga fears the series could burn out the players.

With the India series scheduled out of the blues, Sri Lanka will now play 19 ODIs ahead of the World Cup, which is four months away.(The Island)

Sri Lanka celebrates two years without Malaria
Sri Lanka has not reported a local case of malaria since October 2012, according to the Sri Lankan Anti-Malarial Campaign. If it can remain malaria-free for one more year, the country will be eligible to apply to the World Health Organization for malaria-free certification.

This remarkable success was achieved rapidly and largely during a protracted civil war. As recently as the year 2000, Sri Lanka had over 100,000 cases of malaria.(UCSF)

Delisting Tigers: UK still studying EU court ruling
Following the General Court of the European Union decision to delist the LTTE, key EU member, UK is now closely studying the judgment.

The court also directed the defendant, the Council of European Union to pay the costs.(The Island)

Sri Lanka clinches Silver at Asian Para Games in South Korea
Sri Lanka’s Dinesh de Silva claimed the silver medal in the men’s singles table tennis final match at the Asian Para Games in Incheon South Korea.

He faced David Jacobs of Indonesia in the final. Jacobs took gold winning the match, 3 sets to 1, 11-6, 11-5, 7-11, 11-9.(News 1st)

Opposition, unions demand pay increase
Trade unions, opposition politicians and activists have protested to demand Sri Lanka’s include substantial pay increases in the annual budget presented this week.

Demonstrators opposite the country’s main railroad station Tuesday warned of a general strike if authorities failed to fulfill their demands for a $76 increase in the monthly salary for government employees and a relief allowance of $38 a month for workers in the private sector.(AP)

Indian firms eye opportunity as Sri Lanka focuses on development
When the train “Queen of Jaffna” arrived in the city of Jaffna in northern Sri Lanka, home to the ethnic Tamil population, last week after a gap of almost 24 years, it not only marked a significant milestone for the country, but also for India’s contribution to rebuilding infrastructure in the island nation that has been ravaged by a three-decade-long civil war between government troops and Tamil rebels.

Several sections of the 339km long railway line linking capital Colombo to Jaffna were built by Ircon International Ltd, an Indian government-controlled company that specializes in transport infrastructure. Ircon is executing four rail projects in Sri Lanka worth almost $800 million.(live mint)

Rajapaksa 'politically vulnerable' ahead of early Sri Lanka polls
Nearly two years ahead of schedule, Sri Lanka will go to the polls in January, with Mahinda Rajapaksa set to run for a third term; a move likely triggered by the President's fading popularity, says analyst Alan Keenan.

"There will be presidential elections in January," Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said on October 20, failing to name an exact date. The move is seen as an attempt by President Rajapaksa to seek a fresh six-year mandate amid signs of fading popularity.(DW)

Kidnapped child found in Dambulla 10-months after
A two-year-old child who had been allegedly abducted by a beggar in Ambalangoda was found 10-months after from the Dambulla town, as a result of an intensive search mission launched by child’s grandmother, this morning (22).

The beggar (42) who said to have kidnapped the child at the Ambalangoda bus station has been taken into police custody. According to the police, the suspect had drugged the grandmother and later kidnapped the child, in December, 2013.(Ada Derana)

Promotions pay off as Chinese arrivals to Sri Lanka surge
Sri Lanka this month welcomed its 100,000th visitor from China, reaping the fruits of promotion campaigns targeted at the Chinese.

Chinese tourist numbers to Sri Lanka have soared in the past four years from just 10,340 in 2010 to over 100,000 now.(TTG Asia)

‘No third term for Mahinda - No illegal presidential elections!’
A leaflet campaign under the theme ‘No third term for Mahinda’ , No illegal presidential elections organized by the JVP commenced from Fort Railway Station yesterday (21st). The campaign would be carried out throughout the island states the media unit of the JVP.

JVP’s campaign states that Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa cannot contest the forthcoming presidential election and if he contests the presidential election would be illegal.(LankaTruth)

Sri Lanka tells the United Nations that LGBTIs are protected in its constitution
The Sri Lankan Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has admitted for the first time this month that its constitution protects people from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Representatives of the government made the admission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee after being questioned on the issue.(Gay Star News)

Dh139,000 stolen from Sri Lanka cricket great Aravinda's house in Colombo
Former Sri Lanka cricketer Aravinda de Silva's home has reportedly been burgled and cash including foreign currency worth Rs.5.1 million (approximately Dh139,000) stolen.

Aravinda, a former Sri Lanka captain, has lodged a complaint to the police that his house at Pedris Road in the city of Colombo after discovering the burglary on his return from a trip abroad, Daily Mirror reported.(Emirates 24/7)

Slain Tiger’s mother stopped from leaving for Canada
LTTE members and supporters active overseas had launched a special project to secure asylum for close relatives of dead LTTE cadres, a senior security official alleged yesterday.

The official was responding to a query by The Island regarding the arrest of Sundaralingam Rajithamalar (57), mother of Sundaralingam Kajeepan alias Thevihan killed during an army operation at Vedivachchikallu, south of Nedunkerni last April.(The Island)

BBS to enter politics
General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero said that their organization will bring forward suitable candidates for the next General election.

The observation was made at a press conference held in Colombo, this morning. (Ada Derana)

Seachill slams EU ban on Sri Lanka, as UK importers will turn to Maldives
UK processors Icelandic Seachill, Direct Seafoods and New England Seafood expressed disappointment over the EU’s red card decision – especially as some of those importers are engaged in fisheries improvement there, reported seafood business news website Undercurrentnews.

The ban will mainly impact imports of fresh and chilled yellowfin tuna or swordfish from Sri Lanka, largely for the foodservice sector, with total imports to the EUvalued at €74 million.( Govet. News Portal of Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka: Cherished signs of yore
"Move one small step to your left," suggests a senior hotel executive."Now you're standing exactly where it happened."

The bloodstains disappeared many years ago but I'm assured I'm where the victim knelt when he was executed.(New Zealand Herald)

Protesters demand higher salaries in Sri Lanka
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 United National Party (UNP), gathered in downtown Colombo.(Shangha Daily)

Sri Lanka enacts ban on foreigners buying land
Sri Lanka passed legislation banning land purchases by foreigners, a move the government said would curb tax evasion but critics said could hinder its offshore investment ambitions.

The Land Bill adopted by parliament late on Monday prohibits foreign individuals, companies and locally incorporated firms with over 50 percent foreign ownership from buying land in the South Asian island nation.( REUTERS)

Drought drives 42 percent crash in crop production in Sri Lanka
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 percent compared to a year back, according to government statistics (TRF)

Sri Lanka claims interest from Japan, China, in wake of EU ban
Sri Lanka’s fisheries minister said Japan and China, and two ‘major’ foreign companies, have already expressed interest in sourcing fisheries products from Sri Lanka, reported Colombo Page.

Sri Lanka will be cut off from its main seafood market, the European Union, starting next January as part of the EU’s drive to crack down on illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. (undercurrentnews)

Dairy farmers in Sri Lanka to get 20,000 milch cows
Sri Lanka and Australia signed an agreement on October 16 to import 20,000 milch cows for uplifting small and medium scale dairy farmers under a programme to make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in liquid milk by the year 2016.

Importing Australian milch cows of superior breeds to uplift dairy farmers and improve the livestock industry began two years ago in accordance with President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Mahinda Chintana Vision. (Lankaweb)

A parting of ways
JHU parliamentarian Athureliye Rathana Thera announced last week that his party would do everything in its power to defeat President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the forthcoming presidential election unless the Constitution was amended

The JHU was the only party in Parliament that voted against the 17th Amendment. (The Island)

With eye on China, India to step up military ties with Sri Lanka and Maldives
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, the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to discuss ways to expand the bilateral military relationship. On Tuesday, Jaitley will hold similar discussions with Maldivian defence and national security minister Mohamed Nazim, who is on a three-day trip to India. (Times of India)

Govt to take appropriate action on LTTE ban
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) organisation could consolidate but the government could not be “very sure” about it, the General Secretary of UPFA Susil Premajayantha said at a media meeting held at the SLFP Headquarters in Colombo today.

“Since the ban imposed on LTTE had been lifted by the EU, they may consolidate their position in the international arena, however, we cannot be very certain about it,” he said. (daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka calls early presidential elections
Sri Lanka will hold presidential elections in January, nearly two years ahead of schedule, the government's information minister says.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is expected to seek a third term at the elections. (BBC)

Coalition party of Sri Lanka ruling alliance to support a common candidate if Constitution is not amended
Coalition partner of Sri Lanka's ruling alliance, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) announced Sunday that the party would present to the President a set of proposals to amend the Constitution.

The JHU at its 11th national congress held in Maharagama Sunday adopted eight resolutions that include political reform, rule, law and judiciary, good governance, economic development, safeguarding Sinhala heritage and Buddhism. (Colombo Page)

Lifting of curbs may help revival of LTTE - Anandasangaree
The European Union Court’s annulment of the EU’s ban on the LTTE will help revive the separatist and terrorist outfit in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, warned V Anandasangaree, President of the Tamil United Liberation Front.

“Pro-LTTE groups both within the island and overseas have received a shot in the arm, and will now openly propagate the LTTE’s cause of separatism and terrorism. The TNA will now up its ante reflecting the LTTE’s demands,” Anandasangaree told Express on Friday. (Ada Derana)

EU ban on Tigers lifted to influence Tamil voters at next presidential election –  Wimal
Following last week’s ruling by the General Court of the European Union that the proscription of the LTTE should be reversed, National Freedom Front (NFF) leader Wimal Weerawansa alleged that the move was meant to ensure UNP presidential candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe would receive the support of pro-LTTE voters at the next presidential election.

The EU announced its decision to proscribe the LTTE on May 30, 2006 in the wake of the then Bush administration campaigning on behalf of Sri Lanka to have the group listed as a terrorist group. The US proscribed the group in 1997. (The Island)

Sri Lanka to construct 537 rural bridges with an investment of US $162mn
Sri Lanka to construct and rehabilitate about 537 rural bridges with a credit facility of 162 million US dollars, provided by The Deutsche Bank AG (London) and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFG Ltd Finance ministry of Sri Lanka said.

The bridges are with lengths of 6 to 30 meters situated island wide. (Lanka Business Online)

Two MPs of minor party in Sri Lanka to join the main opposition UNP
Two parliamentarians of a minor opposition party would soon join the main opposition United National Party (UNP), party sources said.

MPs Arjuna Ranatunga and Tiran Alles of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) led by former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka are expected to join the UNP soon. (Colombo Page)

Vaiko takes potshots at defence secy for praising Sri Lanka
MDMK leader Vaiko has flayed the central government over its suggestion to work closely with the Sri Lankan military, saying the latter is known for ''killing innocent Sri Lankan Tamils'', at a function in the city on Sunday.

Vaiko showed his strong displeasure over a news report which quoted India's defense secretary R K Mathur's statement to Sri Lankan President, ''There are a lot of things we would like to learn from Sri Lanka.'' Mathur is in Colombo for the second annual defense dialogue. (Times of India)

UNP will stage ‘Show of Force’ in Colombo next week – Harin
In preparation for the forthcoming presidential election, the UNP has summoned those in charge of polling booths countrywide to Colombo. They’ll converge at Hyde Park on October 28 afternoon, in accordance with the main Opposition party’s overall strategy meant to be what newly appointed Deputy National Organizer, Harin Fernando called a ‘show of force’.

Pointing out that the Hyde Park meeting would take place less than a week after President Mahinda Rajapaksa presented Budget 2015 on Friday (Oct 24), Opposition Leader of the Uva Provincial Council Fernando said that it was going to be the largest Opposition gathering in Colombo since the conclusion of the war in May 2009. (The Island)

Sixth phase of Divi Neguma domestic agriculture program tomorrow
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will launch the sixth phase of the "Divi Neguma" domestic agriculture program on Monday (October 20) , the Ministry of Economic Development announced.

President Rajapaksa will plant a sapling at the Temple Trees at an auspicious time and launch the 6th phase Monday. (Colombo Page)

Tamil Nadu BJP in a tight spot over Lanka fishermen issue
As Tamil Nadu fishermen continue to be arrested and their boats seized by Sri Lanka, BJP is being accused by them of reneging on its promise to protect their interests after assuming power at the Centre.

The Tamil Nadu BJP had promised a separate ministry for the welfare of fishermen at the Centre during the run up to the Lok Sabha elections. (First Post)

Missing Persons Commission of Sri Lanka to hold public sittings in Mullaitivu District again
The Presidential Commission Investigating Cases of Missing Persons in Sri Lanka will conduct public sittings to hear cases of missing in Mullaitivu District again from 2nd to the 5th of November 2014.

The Commission is hearing cases of disappearances and abductions in Mullaitivu district for a second time due to the large number of complaints it received from the district. (Colombo Page)

India series a chance for fringe players - Jayasuriya
Sri Lanka's chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya has said the five-match ODI series in India would help Sri Lanka to try out their fringe players before the World Cup.

The series was confirmed by the BCCI and SLC the day West Indies players decided to pull out of their tour to India. (ESPN)

Fascinating travelogues of ancient Sri Lanka
The glorious sail that billows across the cover of this book is an apt introduction to its fascinating stories of the many travelers of ancient times who came to Sri Lanka across the seven seas.

The author Hulugalle flourished in a far more leisurely era when newspaper editors were scholars and scholars readily took to editing newspapers (The Nation)

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