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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)


රජයේ සේවක අවම මාසික ආදායම 25,000යි
ජල ගාස්‌තු පළමු ඒකක 25 සියයට 10 කින් අඩු වේ‌
රජයේ සේවක විශේෂ දීමනාව මූලික වැටුපට එකතු කර අවම වැටුප රුපියල් 15,000 ක්‌ දක්‌වා වැඩි කිරීමටත්, සෑම රජයේ සේවකයකුගේම ජීවන වියදම් දීමනාව රුපියල් 2200 කින් ඉහළ දැමීමටත් ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා ඊයේ (24 දා) සිය අයවැය කතාව ඉදිරිපත් කරමින් යෝජනා කළේය.

මේ අනුව රජයේ සේවකයන්ගේ අවම මාසික ආදායම රුපියල් 25,000 දක්‌වා වැඩි වන බව ද ජනාධිපතිවරයා ප්‍රකාශ කළේය.(දිචයින)


අයවැය අදහස් උදහස්
රටේ සෑම අංශයකටම සෑම ජන කොටසකටම සහන සලසන සුවිශේෂී අයවැයක් ලෙස මෙවර අයවැය යෝජනාවලිය හඳුන්වා දිය හැකියි. කම්කරුවා, ගොවියා රාජ්‍ය සේවකයා ආදී සියලුම වෘත්තිකයින් පිළිබඳව මෙම අයවැය හරහා අවධානය යොමුකොට ඔවුන්ට අවශ්‍ය සහන මේ හරහා ලබා දී තිබෙනවා..

රටේ සෑම ක්ෂේත්‍රයක් කෙරෙහිම අවධානය යොමු කරමින් එම සෑම ක්ෂේත්‍රයකම ප්‍රගමනයට හේතුවන ආකාරයේ මෙවැනි අයවැයක් ඉතිහාසයේ මින් පෙර කෙදිනකවත් ඉදිරිපත් කර නැහැ.(ලක්බිම)

අය-වැය 2015 මේක ඡන්ද ගුණ්ඩුවක් නෙවෙයි මේක දන්සලක්
මෙවර අය-වැය, ජනතාවාදී අය-වැයක් මිස ඉදිරි මැතිවරණය ඉලක්ක කරගත් ඡන්ද ගුණ්ඩුවක් නොවන බව සමුපකාර හා අභ්‍යන්තර වෙළෙඳ කටයුතු අමාත්‍ය ජොන්ස්ටන් ප්‍රනාන්දු මහතා කියයි.

එය ශීත කාමරයක සිට ගෙන ආ අය-වැයක් නොවන බව පැවැසූ ඇමැතිවරයා රාජ්‍ය සේවකයන්ගේ වැටුප් වැඩි කිරීම, බඩු මිල අඩු කිරීම වැනි සහන රැසක් යටතේ සමස්ත ජනතාවගේම ආර්ථිකය ශක්තිමත් කිරීමට ආණ්ඩුව මෙවර අය-වැයෙන් අපේක්ෂා කළ බව කීය.(මචිබිම)


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)

රජයේ සේවක අවම මාසික ආදායම 25,000යි
ජල ගාස්‌තු පළමු ඒකක 25 සියයට 10 කින් අඩු වේ‌
රජයේ සේවක විශේෂ දීමනාව මූලික වැටුපට එකතු කර අවම වැටුප රුපියල් 15,000 ක්‌ දක්‌වා වැඩි කිරීමටත්, සෑම රජයේ සේවකයකුගේම ජීවන වියදම් දීමනාව රුපියල් 2200 කින් ඉහළ දැමීමටත් ජනාධිපති මහින්ද රාජපක්‍ෂ මහතා ඊයේ (24 දා) සිය අයවැය කතාව ඉදිරිපත් කරමින් යෝජනා කළේය.

මේ අනුව රජයේ සේවකයන්ගේ අවම මාසික ආදායම රුපියල් 25,000 දක්‌වා වැඩි වන බව ද ජනාධිපතිවරයා ප්‍රකාශ කළේය.(දිචයින)

ජනාධිපතිවරණය ප්‍රකාශ කරන්න එපා!
ජවිපෙන් මැ.කො. ට ලිඛිත ඉල්ලීමක්‌
ජනාධිපතිවරණයක්‌ ප්‍රකාශයට පත් කිරීම වළක්‌වන ලෙස ජනතා විමුක්‌ති පෙරමුණ ඊයේ (23 දා) මැතිවරණ කොමසාරිස්‌ මහින්ද දේශප්‍රිය මහතාගෙන් ලිඛිතව ඉල්ලා සිටියේය.

ජනාධිපතිවරණය ප්‍රකාශයට පත් කිරීම ව්‍යවස්‌ථා විරෝධී හා නීති විරෝධී බව සඳහන් කරන එම පක්‍ෂය ආණ්‌ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්‌ථාවේ 31 (2) වගන්තිය සහ 31 (03) වගන්තිය අනුව එය තහවුරුවන බව සඳහන් කරයි.(දිචයින)

නොරොච්චෝලෙට බාල ගල් අඟුරු පාඩුව කෝටි 150ක්
නොරොච්චෝ‍ලේ විදුලි බලාගාරයට ප්‍රමිතියෙන් අඩු ගල් අඟුරු ගෙන්වීම නිසා ලංකා විදුලි බල මණ්ඩලයට 2012 වර්ෂයේදී රුපියල් එකසිය පනස් කෝටි හැත්තෑ ලක්ෂ හතළිස් හතර දහසක (1507,044116.25)ක අලාභයක් සිදුව තිබෙන බව විදුලි බල හා බලශක්ති ඇමැතිනී පවිත්‍රාදේවි වන්නිආරච්චි මහත්මිය පාර්ලිමේන්තුවේදී ඊයේ (23) ප්‍රකාශ කළාය.

එම අවධියේ විදුලිබල ඇමැතිවරයා තමන් නොවන බව පැවැසූ ඇමැතිවරිය තමා අමාත්‍යාංශය භාරගත් පසු මේ පිළිබඳ මාධ්‍ය මගින් දැනගන්නට ලැබිම නිසා ඒ ගැන පරීක්ෂා කිරීමට රහස් ‍පොලීසියට භාරදුන් බවද කීවාය(ලක්බිම)

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)

2 Heroin Peddlers from Lanka Held
In an inter-state joint police operation, the anti-narcotics wing of the Delhi Police and the Chennai city police nabbed two Sri Lankans and a Chennai resident from a hideout at Poonamallee, on Friday night.

According to police sources, the three were part of a gang involved in international heroin smuggling. (Indian Express)

2 Heroin Peddlers from Lanka Held
In an inter-state joint police operation, the anti-narcotics wing of the Delhi Police and the Chennai city police nabbed two Sri Lankans and a Chennai resident from a hideout at Poonamallee, on Friday night.

According to police sources, the three were part of a gang involved in international heroin smuggling. (Indian Express)

Some people have completely misconstrued the Chapter on corruption, says Prof. Indraratna
The Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA) convened a special forum to fete Prof. A. D. V. De. S. Indraratna who completed a decade’s service to the institution as its Chairman.

Indraratna pioneered teaching economics in the University, switching from English to Sinhala. Before he retired from the faculty as its Dean, he is credited with teaching over 20,000 students, who eventually contributed to the economic wellbeing of the country. He was also responsible for teaching the subject to universities in Sierra Leon.(Sunday Island)

Arjuna Ranatunga: 1996 World Cup victory changed cricket in Sri Lanka
Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lanka captain, said that the 1996 World Cup victory changed the way the sport was played in Sri Lanka. Ranatunga was the captain of the Sri Lankan team that made history in 1996 and clinched the title against all odds.

They weren’t considered favourites, but they went on to beat some of the strongest sides on their path to victory.(Cricket Country)

Ocean Lady migrants from Sri Lanka still struggling 5 years later
Journalist Maran Nagarasa still recalls vividly the sense of elation aboard the Ocean Lady five years ago this week when he saw a plane flying overhead with a Canadian flag. “I was sure God had arrived to save us,” he said.

But that feeling soon turned to fear as he and the 75 other Sri Lankan Tamils on board faced armed border guards and RCMP officers. On Oct. 17, 2009, they were arrested, jailed and interrogated. Eventually, most were released to await hearings before Canada’s refugee board.(CBC news)

Northern farmers look for markets in South for organic products
General Manager (GM) of the Vavuniya North Fruit Growers Cooperative Society (VNFGCS) Uthayasooriyan Kirupakaran yesterday appealed to traders, supermarket chains and exporters in the southern parts of the country to come forward to help them market their organic products.

"When the farmers receive good prices for their produce, the rural economy will improve and the beneficiaries will be the ordinary people."(Fresh Plaza)

SL losing the ‘cold-war’, says Dr. Jayatilleka
Recent verdict by a European Union court to strike down anti-terrorism sanctions against the LTTE prognosticates that Sri Lanka is likely losing the ‘cold war’ against it, which emerged following the 2009 war victory, Political Scientist, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka said.

Dr. Jayatilleka made the observation during an interview with Ada Derana, last afternoon.(Ada Derana)

Northern trains earn Rs. 3 mn in four days
The Railway Department has earned over Rs. 3 million in four days from trains running along the newly-restored northern line to Jaffna, Superintendent of Railways G.W. Sisira Kumara said.

He said the average income from the air-conditioned inter-city express was Rs. 5 lakhs. “This is a generous income. We get a fair income from the normal express trains as well,” he said(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka's Defense Secretary to visit New Delhi
Sri Lanka's Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa will visit New Delhi early next week for high-level talks with India's National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval.

Sources in New Delhi have confirmed the visit, but had declined to provide details of the meeting, Indian daily The Hindu reported. (Colombo Page)

Unawatuna: Sri Lanka's Idyllic Beach
"Welcome to Sri Lanka", said the passport officer as he stamped the Sri Lankan visa on our passports. "Honeymoon?", he asked.

"No. Our first wedding anniversary" my husband replied. (News Hub)

SF eligible to contest? decision today
The General Secretaries of all the registered political parties will be meeting the Election Commissioner, Mahinda Deshapriya, for a special meeting, this afternoon.

Sources close to the Election Department said that the party Secretaries will be informed on future elections and the voters’ registries. (Ada Derana)

UNP appoints G20 to lead party's election campaign
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) has appointed a committee called the 'Group 20 or G 20' to lead the party's election campaign for much anticipated presidential election.

The appointments to the G20 had been made at the last working committee meeting. (Colombo Page)

Restrictions on travel to North aimed at rigging presidential election - UNP
This week’s sudden directive that foreign nationals and organisations have to obtain Defence Ministry permission to visit the North clearly indicated that the government was preparing the ground to rig the next Presidential Election,the UNP charged yesterday.

Vice Chairman of the UNP Lakshman Kiriella told The Island that the new regulation was aimed at preventing unbiased foreign monitors from observing the presidential election. (The Island)

Sarath Fonseka disfranchised
The name of Sarath Fonseka the former army commander and the leader of the Democratic Party is to be removed from the voters list by the Election Commissioner on the instructions of the Attorney General.

This decision had been taken after the Elections Commissioner requested Attorney General for a ruling on whether Mr. Fonseka was entitled to vote. (Daily Mirror)

SL recieves US $ 700m from World Bank
The government has been granted US dollars 700 million in soft loans from the World Bank for several development programs, following the IMF and World Bank meetings held in Washington last week.

International Monetary Cooperation Senior Minister and Finance and Planning Deputy Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama who represented Sri Lanka at the above meetings noted that Sri Lanka had successfully obtained(Daily News)

Sri Lanka identifies 85 bowlers with suspect bowling action in schools
Sri Lanka has identified 85 school cricketers bowling with suspected illegal actions in its campaign to clean up the cradle of the sport in the country.

The bowlers include 60 spinners and 25 seamers, Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement on Thursday. (Lillooet News)

EU court lifts LTTE sanctions
European Union (EU) judges struck down anti-terrorism sanctions imposed on the Tamil Tigers by the European Union, citing a technicality, but said on Thursday that the assets of the Sri Lankan group should remain frozen for the time being.

The bloc's lower court said a decision by EU leaders in 2006 to place the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on a list of terrorist organisations had been based on "imputations derived from the press and the Internet" rather than on direct investigation of the group's actions, as required by law. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka Army officers to receive French language lessons
Sri Lanka Army has requested the assistance of the French Embassy to conduct French language lessons to its officers.

The Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake made this request when the Defence Attaché (Non Resident) for Sri Lanka from France, Commander Loic Bizot called on him on Wednesday at the Army Headquarters (Colombo Page)

Moves to patch up with Nonis
Moves are a foot with the use of certain channels to re-instate Dr. Chris Nonis as the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Britain after the last month’s incident that led to Dr. Nonis to submitting his resignation, Daily Mirror learns.

A minister told Daily Mirror on condition of anonymity that attempts are being made to persuade Dr. Nonis to forget what happened and continue as the High Commissioner but he is said to have been non-committal up to yesterday. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka restricts access to war zone
Sri Lanka's defence ministry has announced new curbs on foreigners, including journalists, visiting the island's former war zone and said the action was to protect "national security".

Foreign passport-holders will require approval from the defence ministry if they want to travel to the battle-scarred northern province, military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said on Wednesday. (3 News)

Australian company renews Sri Lanka graphite licenses, starting exploration
Bora Bora Resources Limited, an Australian graphite exploration company, has renewed two key exploration licenses for graphite mining at the Matale/Kurunegala Graphite Project in central Sri Lanka for an additional two years.

The Sydney-based graphite explorer said in a disclosure to Australian Security Exchange today that the company is poised to continue a much anticipated exploration at the exciting Kingfisher prospect after it successfully renewed the licenses. (Colombo Page)

Govt. trying to hide borrowings: Harsha
The main opposition UNP today charged that the government had adopted a fraudulent approach of hiding the borrowings made by various state institutions from the 2015 budget.

UNP National List MP and Economist Dr. Harsha De Silva told a news conference that expenditures pertaining to projects done using funds generated from foreign borrowings made by a number of ministries and borrowings made by state institutions from private banks were not going to be shown in the budget this year. (Daily Mirror)

Party leaders of Sri Lanka's ruling coalition meet
A meeting of the party leaders of Sri Lanka's ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is being held in the evening of October 15, government sources said.

The meeting is held under the patronage of leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Colombo Page)

Jt. Opposition front, not UNP, to select common candidate
The UNP said yesterday that the joint opposition’s common candidate would be selected by consensus after it had formed a broad coalition of parties committed to the abolition of the executive presidency.

"We have not yet decided who our Presidential candidate will be", Senior UNP MP Joseph Michael Perera said, adding that the party could not do so because in the first place an election had not been announced and secondly the common candidate would have to be picked by the Joint Opposition Front. (The Island)

Party leaders of Sri Lanka's ruling coalition meet
A meeting of the party leaders of Sri Lanka's ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) is being held in the evening of October 15, government sources said.

The meeting is held under the patronage of leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka trying to avoid European fisheries ban
Sri Lanka will address European Commission concerns about its fishing industry to avert a possible import ban, an official said Wednesday.

Fisheries Ministry spokesman Narendra Rajapaksa said it is confident of being able to avoid the ban on fisheries products. (Yahoo News)

Lankan Al-Quaeda suspect deported to SL
Malaysian authorities yesterday deported the Lankan who is suspected of having indirect links with Al-Qaeda and planned terror attacks in India.

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said the man was sent back to Colombo for further investigations. (Daily Mirror)

Pakistan committed to further deepen 'historically bonded' relations with Sri Lanka
Pakistan says it is committed to further deepen the historically bonded relationship with Sri Lanka through enhancing parliamentary and economic cooperation with the island nation.

Speaker of National Assembly of Pakistan Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has made this assertion to the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka Air Chief Marshal (R) Jayalath Weerakkody who called on him in Parliament House, Tuesday (October 14). (Colombo Page)

Work on Northern Expressway to start next month
Construction work on the Northern Expressway would start in November, Highways Project Minister, Nirmala Kotalawala said.

The Northern Expressway, from Enderamulla in Gampaha to Dambulla would be constructed in four phases and consist of four lanes initially. Chinese and local contractors would jointly undertake the construction of the expressway projects to the North as well as Kandy and was estimated to cost around Rs. 300 billion, Minister Kotalawela said. (Daily Mirror)

India was the 'obvious place' to send 157 Sri Lankan asylum seekers: Immigration
The federal government has said it acted lawfully when detaining 157 asylum seekers on board a Customs boat for a month, telling the High Court that India was an "obvious place" to send them.

In a separate case on Wednesday, the Federal Court in Brisbane dismissed an application to allow a baby born in Australia to asylum-seeker parents to apply for a protection visa. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Sri Lanka: ICRC marks 25 years of humanitarian work in the country
On 16 October, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will mark the 25th anniversary of its humanitarian activities in Sri Lanka.

"During the past quarter century, the ICRC has striven to protect and assist people detained in connection with the uprising of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, and subsequently those who were affected by the conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, such as detainees, displaced people and returnees," said Cherine Pollini, head of the ICRC delegation in Sri Lanka. (ICRC)

Won’t leave the country: SF
Democratic Party (DP) Leader Sarath Fonseka today rejected claims that he would leave the country in 2017 and vowed he would even spend his last moments in Sri Lanka.

“As I said when I first entered politics, I will do politics for at least 10 years. Unless someone attempted to kidnap me and forcibly take me away to another country, I won’t leave Sri Lanka,” he told a news conference in Colombo. (Daily Mirror)

Exposé: Centre for policy alternatives defrauded and hoodwinked donors
He was on his way home from work when someone threw acid on his face. He had to swallow acid to keep breathing, even though it damaged his lungs. Not only was he seriously disfigured he also lost an eye in the attack.

Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) conferred the National Integrity Award on him in 2004 for his fearless service as an Audit Superintendent in the Auditor General’s Department. (Colombo Telegraph)

TNA in quandary over post-war Indo-Lanka partnership
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is in a quandary over the ongoing large scale Indian funded projects meant to facilitate post-war reconciliation process.

The five-party TNA on Monday (October 13) boycotted the inauguration of the 38 km Pallai-Jaffna railway line with the participation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Indian High Commissioner, Y.K. Sinha joined President Rajapaksa at the inauguration ceremony. (The Island)

Sajith against MR’s third term
United National Party (UNP) Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa had pledged to back a people’s struggle to prevent the incumbent president from contesting for a third term.

Mr. Premadasa who was speaking at a programme organised to distribute drinking water to the drought victims in Hambantota said a peoples’ struggle is needed to prevent the incumbent president from contesting for the third term and that he will back such a struggle. (Daily Mirror)

nt face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="5" color="#3333FF"> Sri Lanka's government MP vows to defeat President if Constitution not amended before election
Athuraliye Rathana Thero, a parliamentarian of the Sri Lankan government and the Convener of Sri Lanka's Pivithuru Hetak National Movement, said that he would do everything to defeat incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa if he tried to hold Presidential election without amending the constitution.

Rathana Thero, a member of the government coalition party Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) said that it was a mistake of his party to vote for the 18th Amendment to the Constitution which paved way for third term election of a President and also abolished the independent commissions introduced by the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan military to return Tamil civilians' gold
Sri Lanka's military Tuesday announced it would return unspecified quantities of gold jewellery recovered from a battle site dating to the crushing of separatist Tamil Tiger rebels more than five years ago.

Security forces have identified 2,377 "legitimate claimants" and 25 of them were handed back their gold ornaments by President Mahinda Rajapakse, who visited the island's northern province at the weekend, the military said in a statement. (Zee News)

Historic lighthouse in Sri Lanka's north gets a facelift
The old dilapidated lighthouse in Kankasanthurai has received a facelift from the Sri Lanka Army engineers.

This historic colonial era landmark in the Jaffna peninsula erected in 1892 during the British rule remained unattended for years during the war and was at the verge of dilapidation. (Colombo Page)

India may clear new sea route to SL
The vexed Sethusamudram project - which proposes to provide a navigable shipping channel across the Palk Straits between India and Sri Lanka - could see the light of day with the Centre set to clear an alternative route that avoids dredging through the Ram Setu.

Sources told HT that the Union cabinet will very shortly give its nod to the proposed new alignment, which will not damage the Ram Setu structure (Daily Mirror)

Doctors' association holds a protest march against Sri Lanka's private medical college
A doctors' trade union in Sri Lanka held a protest today against the country's only private medical college and demanded the government to take over the school.

The Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) affiliated union, Sri Lanka's All Ceylon Medical Officers' Union, held a protest against the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) in Malabe, a suburb of the capital Colombo. (Colombo Page)

Train service back in former Sri Lankan war zone
Cheered by tens of thousands of people, a train decorated with banana plants and colorful flower garlands arrived in Sri Lanka's northern Tamil heartland on Monday, 24 years after the "Queen of Jaffna" was suspended due to civil war.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa bought a ticket and boarded the train for the last 43 kilometers (27 miles) of the journey and opened several railroad stations along the way. (Star News)

Illegal fisheries: red card for SL
In its fight against illegal fishing activities worldwide, the European Commission (EC) has today proposed to ban imports of fisheries products from Sri Lanka to tackle the commercial benefits stemming from illegal fishing.

Issuing a statement, the EC said that the move comes after four years of intense dialogue with the country after which it could not demonstrate that it sufficiently addressed illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka re-opens rail link between Colombo and former war zone Jaffna after 24 years
More than two decades after its destruction in Sri Lanka's civil war, the rail link between the capital Colombo and the northern city of Jaffna has reopened.

Sri Lankans excitedly crowded into Jaffna station to welcome the blue train 'Yaal Devi' (Jaffna Queen), heavily garlanded with flowers, amid hopes it will give a boost to reconciliation efforts. (ABC News)

India Up From 66 to 55 on Global Hunger Index, Trails Nepal and Sri Lanka
The number of hungry people has declined in India with its score on the Global Hunger Index .

improving to 55th position in 2014 due to progress made in addressing underweight issue in children, says a report. The country's score is better than Pakistan (rank 57) and Bangladesh (57) but it still trails behind Nepal (44) and Sri Lanka (39). (NDTV)

Election illegal: JVP
Political forces should come on a common platform to oppose the incumbent President from contesting the Presidential polls which was illegal, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) said.

“This is a completely illegal and unconstitutional move and therefore all democratic forces should oppose this attempt of the incumbent to contest for a third term,” JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva told a news conference today. (Daily Mirror)

Pakistan inaugurates housing project for war affected families of Sri Lanka's Northern Province
The ground-breaking ceremony of Pakistan Housing Project for the rehabilitation of war affected homeless people of Sri Lanka's Northern Province was held in Puthukudiyiruppu village of Mannar District

Pakistan has provided US$ 1 million to build 230 houses for the homeless people in the villages of Puthukudiyiruppu, Narikkadu and Moddaikadai in Mannar District. (Colombo Page)

Abolish the executive presidency without elections: UNP
The Government should move towards scrapping the Executive Presidency without holding a Presidential Election, the United National Party (UNP) said today.

UNP Parliamentarian Joseph Michael Perera told a media briefing that the government should peruse a course of action to scrap the Executive Presidency given the statement made by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Sunday that he was ready to scrap the Presidency if those who called for the division of the country gave up Eelam demand. (Daily Mirror)

Indonesia, Sri Lanka joint efforts to tackle human smuggling
Indonesian and Sri Lankan foreign ministers met here on Monday, discussing ways to stepup efforts in addressing human smuggling issue and boosting bilateral trade, which is targeted to reach one billion U.S. dollars next year.

Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa met with his Sri Lankan counterpart Gamini Lakhsman Peiris at Marty's office. (Hindustan Times)

MP: Gifted by Sri Lanka, Bodhi tree at Sanchi wilting for lack of care
The famous Bodhi tree near Sanchi world heritage site is dying and wilting. Not being taken care of properly by the state government, the leaves of the tree looked withered and pale. Also, lack of water has killed most of the potted plants around it and the soil around this sacred tree has cracked.

This Bodhi tree has grown from a sapling that was planted by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on September 21, 2012 at the site of the International University of Buddhist and Indic Studies, just a few kilometers from Sanchi world heritage site. (Hindustan Times)

In Pictures: Sri Lanka opens Tamil rail ties
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photo:Lahiru Kannangara
Sri Lanka will re-open its northern rail line that will connect the city of Jaffna to the capital, Colombo, nearly a quarter of century after bloody civil war shut it down.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will formally inaugurate the rail services along the 358km route on Monday.The "Queen of Jaffna", a once-popular train linking the Tamil-majority north to the rest of the island nation, stopped operation in 1990 after it came under attack by the Tamil rebels who wanted separate homeland for the minority community. (Aljazeera)

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