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Earlier News items

Last updated on January 12h 2014

Kabir Hashim appointed UNP Chairman
The United National Party (UNP) working committee decided today to appoint Kegalle District MP and UNP Leadership Council member Kabir Hashim as the party’s new chairman.

UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake told Daily Mirror that Mr. Hashim would replace Kurunegala District MP Gamini Jayawickrama Perera who wished to resign from the post. Mr. Perera had expressed a desire to resign from the post several months ago and it hand over to a younger person. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka new 5-year sovereign bond pricing will help private firms: Standard Chartered
A 6.0 percent benchmark yield on a billion US dollar sovereign bond will help corporates seeking foreign finance this year, Standard Chartered Bank said.

Sri Lanka sold the bond following some uncertainty in international markets as the Federal Reserve's dangerous easy money policies which had encouraged risky behaviour were expected to end and US Treasuries yields edged up. (Lanka Business Online)

Sri Lankan officials deny NDP MP victim of ‘political intimidation'
Sri Lanka’s official representatives in Canada are accusing a New Democrat MP of attempting to embarrass the Asian country’s government by claiming she faced political intimidation during a visit there.

Earlier this month, Rathika Sitsabaiesan said in a brief statement she was warned by Sri Lankan officials during her private visit that she could be arrested and deported. (Globe and Mail)

Sri Lanka, Palestine to increase business relations
Sri Lanka has extended an invitation to Palestinian businesses to explore the investment opportunities present in the country following the end of the war four years ago, a statement from the President's Office said here on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is on a two-day visit to Palestine, extended an invitation to members of the Palestinian business community to visit Sri Lanka when he met with them. (China Beta)

Sri Lankan Prime Minister apologizes to Buddhist monks
Amid calls for his resignation from protesting Buddhist organizations over his remarks on a monk leader, Sri Lanka's Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne today apologized to the country's Maha Sangha for his insulting comments.

Prime Minister's Coordinating Secretary delivered a letter of apology from the PM to the activists of the Buddhist organization Sihala Ravaya protesting outside the PM's office in Colombo. (Colombo Page)

UN resolution on Sri Lanka will seek fresh international probe: US
The US will seek an international probe into alleged rights abuses in the final months of Sri Lanka's civil war against the LTTE under a third resolution at the UNHRC, a top American diplomat said here today.

The US Ambassador-at-Large at the Office of Global Criminal Justice, Stephen J Rapp, conveyed this to the main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), at a meeting, MA Sumanthiran, a senior TNA legislator, said. (Economic Times)

Tense situation outside PM’s office
A tense situation is reported near the Prime Minister’s office as the ‘Sihala Ravaya’ members attempt to forcibly enter the premises, Ada Derana reporter confirms. Police have blocked the protestors from entering the Premier’s office which resulted in the tense situation. (Ada Derana)

Sri Lanka reaches 2014 tourism target after data revision
Sri Lanka said it had received 1.27 million tourists, topping a 1.2 million target for 2014 after changing the method of calculation, as concern grows over the credibility of state data.

Up to November Sri Lanka welcomed 1,016,228 million tourists, and had to get 200,000 tourists in December to reach the target, which would have been almost double the 122,000 arrivals in the month in December. (Lanka Business Online)

SPC Chief govt. whip joins UNP
Southern Provincial Council Chief Government Whip Justin Galappathi (UPFA) and his son are to resign from their respective seats and join the UNP

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Galappathi said that only a government under the UNP could serve the people.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka's main opposition party to hold crucial meeting today
The Working Committee of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) will meet today to take several crucial decisions, party sources say.

UNP leaders are expected to take a decision about the vacant positions of the party's newly established leadership council.(Colombo Page)

Dubai boots out Sri Lanka-born American over parody video
A Sri Lanka-born American who has been held in the United Arab Emirates for nine months in connection with a satirical online video about youth culture in Dubai was expected to be released soon, the US State Department said Tuesday.

Shezanne Cassim, 29, was arrested in April, six months after he and others uploaded a spoof documentary to the internet, AP reports.(The Standard)

Police crackdown on Jaffna underworld
Acting on information elicited from an underworld figure in the North, police arrested 12 persons in a series of raids over the past 36 hours ending 6.00 am yesterday.

It was the first major operation undertaken by law enforcement agencies in the Jaffna peninsula since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.(The Island)

Sri Lanka Customs seizes another 16,000 liters of illegally imported ethanol
Sri Lanka Customs today seized another 16,000 liters of ethanol that was imported illegally.

The illegal alcohol was recovered from the Customs clearance center in Orugodwattta. The contraband was imported via Colombo Harbor hidden in a container claimed to contain palm oil.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka raises $1.27 bn in debt sale despite IMF warning
Sri Lanka said Tuesday it had raised US$1 billion (S$1.27b) through a sovereign bond issue despite a warning by the International Monetary Fund against increasing its foreign borrowing.

The central bank said the five-year bond, offering an annual six per cent yield, was more than three times oversubscribed within hours of opening Monday.(Asia One)

Sacked rebel councilor of Sri Lanka main opposition to contest elections
Maithri Gunaratne, the sacked provincial councilor of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) says he would not contest the upcoming provincial council election unless he is granted nomination by the party.

Gunaratne, who was sacked from the party along with Western Provincial Councilor Shiral Lakthilleka for violating the party constitution and directives, is subjected to disciplinary action. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan parliament to receive motion calling for the removal of the Bribery Commission Chief
Sri Lanka said Tuesday it had raised US$1 billion (S$1.27b) through a sovereign bond issue despite a warning by the International Monetary Fund against increasing its foreign borrowing.

The central bank said the five-year bond, offering an annual six per cent yield, was more than three times oversubscribed within hours of opening Monday. (Asia One)

Sri Lanka prints first Asian sovereign bond deal in 2014
The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is the first sovereign off the block in the Asian G3 bond market in 2014, pricing on January 6 a US$1 billion offering for five years.

The Reg S/144A deal was priced at par with a similar coupon and yield of 6%. This was at the tight end of the final price guidance of between 6% and 6.125%, and 25bp inside the initial guidance of 6.25% area.(The Asset)

Pakistani Christians seek asylum in Sri Lanka
In recent years, Sri Lanka has been one of the main sources of asylum seekers arriving in Australia.

But mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka has its own asylum seeker issue - with an increasing number of Pakistani Christians arriving to claim refugee status.(SBS)

Sri Lanka sells one billion US dollar bond at 6.0-pct
Sri Lanka has raised a billion US dollars from a 5-year sovereign bond at 6.0 percent.

A source close to the deal said the offer had generated over 3.0 billion US dollars in orders from investors and it had been closed in the early hours of today, in Sri Lanka time.(Lanka Business Online)

Japanese, Sri Lankan plays to be staged in city
There are many reasons to celebrate if you are fond of world theatre. For the first time in the city, theatre aficionados will be able to catch Japanese, Israeli and Sinhalese plays at the National School of Drama-organized Bharat Rang Mahotsava at Rabindra Bhavan here.

The five-day festival, which will start on Saturday, promises offbeat and critically acclaimed plays from Japan, Israel and Sri Lanka, along with interactive sessions with directors and playwrights.(Times of India)

Police apprehend Jaffna criminal gang
Sri Lanka police have apprehended an underworld criminal gang emerged after the end of the war in Jaffna in the Northern Province.

Kopai and Atchchuvely police stations arrested seven members of this underworld gang after thorough surveillance. The police also seized several weapons including hand grenades and seven motorcycles.(Colombo Page)

Is J Jayalalithaa using fishermen issue as a bait for votes?
Indian fisherman from Tamil Nadu are repeatedly arrested by Sri Lankan govt for, what they claim, fishing in their waters. At present over 200 fishermen are in the custody of Sri Lankan authorities.

While Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa continues to blame the Centre for its ' meek and passive approach to this serious issue' she herself continues to drag her feet on resolving the issue (Lanka Business Online)

Is J Jayalalithaa using fishermen issue as a bait for votes?
Indian fisherman from Tamil Nadu are repeatedly arrested by Sri Lankan govt for, what they claim, fishing in their waters. At present over 200 fishermen are in the custody of Sri Lankan authorities.

While Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa continues to blame the Centre for its ' meek and passive approach to this serious issue' she herself continues to drag her feet on resolving the issue (Lanka Business Online)

Ranil calls for Arab spring to oust govt.
Opposition Leader and UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called for Arab Spring in Sri Lanka this year to overthrow the government. Speaking during the UNP Bala Mandala meeting in Katubedda, Mr. Wickremesinghe called for a joint effort of all political forces in the opposition to join hands to change the government.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka chambers ask for probe on official statistics
Sri Lanka's key business chambers have called for a probe on official statistics following reports on how an official was allegedly asked to boost gross domestic numbers in a court filing.

"If such doubts were to persist, it would lead to a lack of credibility on a range of published data & have serious implications on investor confidence & country ratings," business chambers said in a joint statement. (Lanka Business Online)

JVP demands arrest of PM
Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne, too, should be arrested like OIC of the Wellampitiya Police station on drug charges, the JVP said yesterday.

Addressing a media conference at the party head office in Pelawatte, JVP Parliamentary Group Leader Vijitha Herath said that the police had arrested Wellampitiya OIC for keeping 42 g of heroin in his possession, but Prime Minister was still free even after issuing letter to release a container of 262 Kg of the substance.(The Island)

Sri Lankan President's intended Jumbo gift to Israeli President raises concerns among his staff
Staff at the office of Israeli President Shimon Peres are reportedly in a state of confusion to find room for a jumbo that will be gifted to the Israeli President by Sri Lankan President who will be visiting the country following his visit to Palestine.

According to a report in Times of Israel President Rajapaksa has made it known that he would like to present President Shimon Peres with a pachyderm, as a gift between friends. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan currency steady
The Sri Lankan rupee ended steady on Monday in dull trade, but dealers expect the currency to gain due to inflows from a new dollar bond.

The spot rupee ended unchanged at 130.70/75 per dollar.Sri Lanka on Monday issued a price guidance at 6.25 percent area for an offering of new five-year US dollar-denominated bonds. (Arab News)

Sri Lanka police to take stern action against VIP labels, tinted glass on vehicles
Sri Lanka police announced today that the law would be implemented strictly with immediate effect against vehicles displaying VIP or VVIP labels on the windscreen.

The Police headquarters has also directed police to implement the regulations regarding tinting vehicle windows. (Colombo Page)

State doctors of Sri Lanka threaten to launch an island wide strike
Doctors attached to Sri Lanka's state sector have threatened to commence an island wide strike action demanding the implementation of the Service Minute agreement of government doctors.

The Government Medical Officers' Association (GMOA) says the Public Service Commission (PSC) has delayed the implementation of the Service Minute of government doctors and the union will resort to trade union action if the PSC does not implement the Service Minute before the end of January. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan Chambers want ‘credibility of the statistics’ investigated
Sri Lanka’s Joint Chamber of Commerce urges authorities to investigate the doubts cast by certain parties on the ‘GDP growth rates’ published by the state agencies.

“If such doubts were to persist, it would lead to a lack of credibility on a range of published data & have serious implications on investor confidence & country ratings”, said a statement issued by the Joint Chambers.(News 360)

Political sycophants above the law: JVP
Criminal activities such as the killings at Kotakethana in Kahawatta and the incident where a container carrying 261 kg of heroin was detected by Customs are known to be backed by politicians, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) alleged today.

“A mother and a daughter were killed at Kotakethana in a case involving the peddling of heroin. But Minister John Seneviratne’s Coordinating Secretary who is alleged to have been engaged in peddling heroin sin the area, has been released,” JVP MP Vijitha Herath told a news conference today. (Daily Mirror)

US to fund Avian Flu Surveillance project in Sri Lanka
The United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is to provide Rs.110 million for implementation of a National Avian/Pandemic Influenza Surveillance Programme in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is considered to be in high risk category for H5Nl Avian influenza due to its geographical location, existence of a considerable poultry industry and its popularity as a destination for migratory birds. (Poultry Site)

Work on Safari Park completed
Sri Lanka’s first safari park at Ridiyagama in Hambantota will be declared open in April this year.

The construction work at the first Safari Park started in 2008 under the direction of The National Zoological Department. The park covers a land extent of about 500 acres and it contains a public entertainment zone extending to about 69 acres. (Govt. News Portal of Sri Lanka)

Lankan court extends remand of TN fishermen
A Sri Lankan court on Monday extended till January 20 the remand of 111 Nagapattinam fishermen arrested by the Lankan Navy last month and lodged in a jail there.

The fishermen were produced before a Trincomalee magistrate court which extended their remand, S. Amstrong Fernando, Pamban Nesakarangal Trust, president and a representative of the fishermen, told PTI from Sri Lanka over phone. (The Hindu)

US sends envoy to Sri Lanka to discuss war crimes claims
A top US envoy will travel to Sri Lanka on Monday to discuss allegations of war crimes ahead of a UN review of Colombo’s human rights record, officials said.

US Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice Stephen Rapp will spend five days in Sri Lanka discussing rights and reconciliation following the decades-long separatist war, the US State department said. (Arab News)

Sri Lanka to display the wreckage of the LTTE destroyed aircraft
Sri Lanka is planning to display the salvaged wreckage of the Lion Air Antonov 24 which was destroyed by a LTTE missile attack 15 years ago to the public.

Police Media unit said the proposed public display will be held on the 11th and 12th January at the Jaffna Public Grounds. (News 360)

Army court martial imprisons officer for attempting to rob bank
A General Court Martial (GCM) of Sri Lanka Army has sentenced an officer for two years of rigorous imprisonment and dishonorably discharged for attempting to rob a bank.

Captain A.M.U Samarakoon of Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force was charged for bringing the Army into disrepute by attempting to rob a bank while disguised as a Muslim woman. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka’s defeat of LTTE Terrorism : Did Tamils want LTTE eliminated?
There is one question that if honestly answered would provide the only solution to burying the past and getting on with the future and that is for Tamils to finally ask themselves whether they are happy the LTTE is no more and whether they want to continue to be part of plots to resurrect a terror period that some are working towards achieving?

Did the Tamils not want the LTTE eliminated? Was the country mistaken to think that the Tamils wanted LTTE eliminated?(Lankaweb)

Sri Lanka, India face flooding threat from Cyclone
Tropical Cyclone One (01B) will affect Sri Lanka with heavy rain and gusty winds through the rest of the weekend and into the first part of next week bringing the threat for life-threatening flooding and mudslides.

Waves of rain were already falling across communities such as Trincomalee, Mannar and Anuradhapura this weekend, and the rain will continue to fall through Tuesday of the upcoming week.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lankan Tamils – Learn Lessons from what happened to Sudan
Is it just a coincidence that virtually all the world’s current conflicts finds its roots to either British divide or rule policies or the policies of other European colonial rulers! Sudan’s case is no different.

It is time people woke up to realities. The handful of nations being used as the big bullies in a new wave of military interventions on the pretext of solving conflicts devise their plans irrespective of religion, ethnicity, race but solely on realizing profit through plunder.(Lankaweb)

Sri Lanka to decide on Jan 9
Asian Cricket Council’s (ACC) decision of Bangladesh remaining as the host of the Asia Cup should relax Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) with their concern of security, believes cricket experts. This will also give the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) the momentum to convince SLC of going through with the bilateral series scheduled to begin on January 27.

The BCB chairman of media and communication Jalal Younus informed that the BCB president Nazmul Hasan and the BCB CEO had a meeting with SLC yesterday and so far any negative is unlikely.(Dhaka Tribune)

US official for war-crimes issues to visit Sri Lanka
The U.S. ambassador at large for war-crimes issues, Stephen J. Rapp is scheduled to arrive in the island next week for a five-day official visit and will meet several government and civil society leaders for talks.

Rapp, the Ambassador-at-Large, Office of Global Criminal Justice will travel to Sri Lanka from January 6 to 11, the Office of the US State Department Spokesperson said.(Ada Derana)

Sri Lankan government challenged by ruling party members in local government bodies
Sri Lanka's Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) says the government is being challenged by ruling party members in local government bodies.

JVP parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake told a news conference that even after being threatened and warned of being sacked, the local government members continue to defeat the budgets of the local government bodies.(Colombo Page)

2014: Year of elections in Sri Lanka and elsewhere, but no major changes in sight
2013 has quietly faded away and 2014 is upon us without much of a bang. It always happens that way despite the hype that most of us go through during the heady week between Christmas and New Year.

There is much speculation and hype about 2014 being yet another Sri Lankan election year – with potentially three, four or five elections packed in one year.(Sunday Island)

Sri Lanka to develop 20 towns in 2014 in addition to the capital
Sri Lanka Ministry of Defence and Urban Development has planned to extend the urban development plans to include 20 more towns island wide.

TUnder the 2014 Urban Development Plan towns of Homagama, Jaffna, Eheliyagoda, Diyatalawa, Imaduwa, Urubokka, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Narammala, Panduwasnuwara, Anuradhapura, Matara, Dankotuwa, Bandarawela, Weeraketiya, Rambukkana, Nugegoda, Meegahakivula, Bulathsinghala and Moratuwa towns have been selected for the development.(Colombp Page)

Sri Lankan restaurant owner promotes eco-friendly cooking
Down south on the beach in Induruwa, a pot full of vegetables and chicken is being boiled without firewood or gas.

This spectacle is amazing at first glance, but the cook, a restaurant owner, makes inquirers start thinking what wonders one can do with the rays of the sun.(The Nation)

No Iranian Oil For Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan Government has been informed by the United States that it cannot import crude oil from Iran, despite some sanction being lifted recently, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources said.

Petroleum Resources Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa has had several rounds of talks with the US Embassy in Colombo, while the Sri Lankan Embassy in Washington has held talks with the US Government.(Sunday Leader)

President leaves for the Middle East on a state visit
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa accompanied by First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa left the island this morning for a state visit in the Middle East, the Presidential Spokesman and International Media Unit said.

President Rajapaksa will visit Jordan, Palestine and Israel during his official trip.(Colombo Page)

UNP Leadership Council gives ear to reformists
One of the leading UNP reformists, Southern Provincial Councillor Maithri Gunaratne has been given an appointment to meet UNP Parliamentarians Kabir Hashim and Lakshman Kiriella, both members of the Leadership Council (LC) on Sunday(5th)

Gunaratne told The Island yesterday that the reformists had requested nominations to contest on the UNP ticket and that both Hashim and Kiriella had responded by agreeing to meet him first and subsequently Shiral Lakthilaka the Western Provincial Councillor later.(The Island)

WPC polls: Hirunika yet to decide
Discussions are underway between several political parties regarding the candidature for the Western Provincial Council elections of Hirunika Premachandra, the daughter of slain Presidential Advisor Baratha Lakshman Premachandra, sources said.

The Daily Mirror learns that several rounds of discussions had been held between government MPs and Ms. Premachandra where she has been urged to contest on the UPFA ticket. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka Coast Guard educates fishermen in lifesaving
Sri Lanka Coast Guard has conducted a awareness program for the fisherman in life saving and survival techniques.

Coast Guard personnel attached to Sothern Region 'Rohana' at Mirissa conducted a lifesaving awareness programme for fishermen in Kottegoda Lunukalapuwa area on Tuesday (31st December 2013). (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka offers to host Asia Cup, World Twenty20
Sri Lanka is ready to step in and host the Asia Cup one-day tournament and the World Twenty20 if the two events are pulled out of violence-plagued Bangladesh, a top official told AFP on Friday.

The Asia Cup had been scheduled to be held between February 24 and March 7 in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, which has been hit by violent protests and strikes in the build-up to Sunday's general election. (AFP/Google)

Sri Lankan rupee, stocks up on rate cut, positive outlook
The Sri Lankan rupee traded firmer on Friday due to inflows on a day of dull trade, dealers said, a day after the central bank cut its reverse repurchase rate and said it expected the rupee to gain in the medium term.

Dealers also said the bond market was active after the central bank slashed the standing lending facility rate by 50 basis points to 8 percent before the market opened on Thursday, in a move to reduce commercial banks' interest rate spreads. (REUTERS)

Sri Lankan Airlines statement: Our pilot did not lose control over his aircraft
An incident on Sri Lanka Airlines on the first of January started rumors the airline captain lost control over the aircraft.

SriLankan Airlines denies this and released a statement. (eturbonews)

London bound UL flight nosedives
National carrier Sri Lankan is investigating the circumstances under which a London bound flight rapidly lost altitude causing panic among passengers as well as the crew on Wednesday afternoon.

Sources alleged that the aircraft had nosedived from about 35,000 feet to about 10,000 before the Captain of UL 503 managed to regain control of the craft which took off from the Bandaranaike International Airport in the afternoon. (The Island)

Sri Lanka's governing party ally to take legal action against Prime Minister
Ally of Sri Lanka's governing party, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) plans to take legal action against Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne for slander.

The party demands Rs. 1 billion in damages if the Prime Minister failed to apologize in public for allegedly making derogatory remarks on JHU Leader Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thero (Colombo Page)

32 TN fishermen detained by Sri Lankan navy: Fishermen leaders
In continuing midsea detention of Indian fishermen, another batch of 32 persons were arrested today by Sri Lankan Naval personnel while fishing off Dhanushkodi.

The fishermen of nearby Mandapam were fishing in the Gulf of Mannar Sea near Dhanushkodi at the time of the arrest, fishermen association officials said here. (Business Standard)

President to discuss budget defeats with the chairmen of defeated local governments
President Mahinda Rajapaksa today will meet with the heads of the local governments whose budgets were defeated to discuss the issue.

The President is expected to discuss at length the reasons for the defeats in those ruling party controlled local government bodies. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan monks distribute necessities among Gaya counterparts
Buddhists from Sri Lanka distributed items of daily needs to monks in the holy town of Bodh Gaya in Bihar this week.

Bodhgaya is regarded as a holy spot since Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment under a tree and it still exists although in a pitiable state, even after thousands of years.(Business Standard)

End of the road for Malinga?
Sri Lanka’s cricket administrators, selectors and everyone who matters including the country’s political hierarchy have finally run out of patience with Lasith Malinga’s indifferent performances since of late for his country’s national team and have taken a collective decision to send the star bowler a strong signal about his future with the Sri Lanka team by dropping him for the forthcoming Bangladesh tour.

Informed sources told “Daily Mirror” that a lot of new changes will herald the new year for Sri Lanka team following a crucial meeting of top level officials of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), where some radical decisions had been taken. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka ships 0.14 mn units of smartphone in 3Q, 2013
The Sri Lanka mobile phones market recorded sales (shipments) of over 0.69 million units in 3Q (July-August) 2013. This was reported in the Sri Lanka Mobile Handsets Market Review, 3Q 2013, by CyberMedia Research.

In the overall Sri Lanka mobile handsets market, Nokia emerged as the leader with a 27.2 percent share, followed by Samsung at second position with 17.4 percent and Micromax at third position with 16.1 percent, in terms of sales (unit shipments) during 3Q 2013.(CIOL)

Rumesh Ratnayake: Sri Lanka’s pacer who engineered their first Test victory against India
Sri Lanka’s wiry seamer Rumesh Ratnayake could produce a burst of decent pace and swing the ball around the corners to trouble the best in the business. But his career was blighted by constant injuries. Bharath Ramaraj looks back at his career.

When a formidable New Zealand lineup took on the then minnows of Test cricket, Sri Lanka at Christchurch in 1983, everyone expected New Zealand to leave no stone unturned in their effort to make mincemeat of Sri Lanka. (Cricket Country)

Sri Lanka removes car import curb
Sri Lanka has lifted a 100 percent cash margin requirement to import cars with immediate effect, as the exchange rate came under appreciating pressure, and the monetary authority held it down.

The Central Bank said the restriction imposed on August 30, 2013 has been removed. (Lanka Business Online)

UPFA constituent alleges escalation of robberies, violence in Jaffna
The Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) is pushing for additional police presence in the Jaffna peninsula claiming an escalation of robberies, violence and what the UPFA constituent calls anti-social activities.

Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda, who is also the leader of the EPDP, emphasised the need for new police stations and posts in the Jaffna electoral district.(The Island)

Sri Lanka included in new GSP of European Union
Many EU GSP beneficiary economies have witnessed an end to their benefits on 1 January 2014 with the activation of the new GSP scheme. However, some notables, including Sri Lanka, could smile vis-à-vis their shipments to world’s largest economy.

Despite the reduction of the number of countries enjoying EU GSP in June 2012, starting January 1, 2014, Sri Lanka has clinched 10 more years of this promising lifeline from the world’s largest trading bloc. (Lanka Business Today)

Stage crash ends Sri Lanka's five-star New Year bash
Dozens of party-goers were hospitalised in Sri Lanka on Wednesday after a stage collapsed at the five-star Colombo Hilton hotel during New Year celebrations, organisers of the festivities said.

At least 30 people were hospitalised with fractures, cuts and burns following the collapse of the outdoor stage, hurling some 700 people to the floor a few feet below, sparking fires and smashing glasses, a spokesman said.(New Straits Times)

Rathika Sitsabaiesan not under house arrest in Sri Lanka, Canadian officials say
Reports by media in Sri Lanka that NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan is under house arrest in the island country are "false," according to the Canadian High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan media had reported late Tuesday night that the Scarborough-Rouge River MP was on a fact-finding mission in the country and was placed under house arrest.(CBC News)

Sri Lanka gives priority to develop 10 sports in the next four years
Sri Lanka Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage said that a four-year programme is underway from today to develop ten sports.

The Minister said the aim of the programme is to achieve a top level in Asian standards in these sports within these four years.(Colombo Page)

Ottawa 'following closely' reports that NDP MP was detained in Sri Lanka
The Canadian government says it is following closely reports that a New Democrat MP from Ontario was under house arrest in Sri Lanka.

Lynne Yelich, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, tweeted late Tuesday night: “Sri Lankan authorities have clarified with us there is no arrest warrant for RathikaS. We will continue to follow closely until she is home.”(CTV News)

Leadership Council of Sri Lanka's main opposition party to discuss future directions tomorrow
The Leadership Council of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) will meet tomorrow (January 01) to discuss the future actions of the party and elections that are to be held from 2014.

UNP parliamentarian Karu Jayasuriya will chair the Council meeting that will be held at the party headquarters. (Colombo Page)

Indians using SL war to secure British citizenship: UK denies claim as baseless
Some Indians have obtained UK citizenship by claiming they were war displaced from Sri Lanka’s Northern Province.

After furnishing documents containing false information they have received British passports. Well informed sources told The Island that the practice continued even four years after the conclusion of the conflict.(The Island)

Mangala’s house burgled
UNP parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera’s residence at Panadura is reported to have been burgled last afternoon, police said.

They said there was nobody in the house at the time of the incident.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka Inflation At 22-Month Low In December
Sri Lanka's inflation sharply slowed in December to its lowest level in 22 months, data released by the Statistics Department revealed on Tuesday.

The Colombo Consumers' Price Index rose 4.7 percent year-on-year in the final month of the year, following a 5.6 percent increase in November. Headline inflation slowed sharply for the second straight month and was the lowest since February 2012.(RTT News)

Sri Lankan President asks public to place their trust in government in the coming year
Having won freedom and peace for the Sri Lankan people, the government is committed to give them progress and happiness, too, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said today.

President Rajapaksa in his New Year message today said Sri Lanka has stepped into the development decade with dedication and the people are already enjoying the newly built highways, airports, power plants, ports, roadways and beautification of cities.(Colombo Page)

‘We don’t select presidential candidates at cocktails’ – UNP
‘All UNP monks want Sajith to join LC’
All Buddhist monks affiliated to the UNP would very soon tell Sajith Premadasa that he should join the Leadership Council(LC) without creating conflict and dissension, a senior member of the party predicted yesterday.

Former Minister and Kolonnawa UNP organizer, Karunasena Kodituwakku, addressing a news conference in Colombo, said that Sajith’s condition for accepting his appointment to the LC, which was a request from all monks in the party, would soon be fulfilled.(The Island )

Cuba pledges support to defeat any UN resolution
Cuba, a key ally of Sri Lanka, has pledged its support to defeat a possible resolution at the March session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Cuban Ambassador Indira Lopez Arguelles in an interview told Daily Mirror that Cuba, as a matter of principle was opposed to any country-specific resolutions because such resolutions were against the spirit of international law.(Daily Mirror )

Apps to alert fishermen about maritime border
Concerned over the rising cases of fishermen being apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) Centre has developed a mobile application that would alert the fishermen about a few km from the actual point.

This application has been developed to safeguard the fishermen from Nagapattinam to Tuticorin when they proceed in boats for fishing as IMBL is located closer to their coastline as compared to other districts of Tamil Nadu. There about seven lakh fishermen in the State, of which nearly three lakh are in these districts, said S. Velvizhi, MSSRF principal scientist.(Govt. News Portal of Sri Lanka )

Jaffna-born Canadian woman MP here on fact finding mission
The government expects a spate of visits by Eelam activists and foreign politicians, having close relationship with the pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora, to the Jaffna peninsula in the run up to the next session of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March 2004.

A senior official said that some of them were likely to visit the Northern Province on tourist visa. The official was responding to a query by The Island after the Jaffna born Canadian MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan was seen with Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) members in the Jaffna peninsula over the weekend. She is here on a tourist visa.(The Island)

Over 20% of Sri Lankan households use internet
About 11.4 percent of households in Sri Lanka have internet access at home and another 9.2 percent go online through other means, according to the state statistics service.

The highest internet penetration was in the Colombo district at 26.9 percent of households(telecompaper)

Three Burger King restaurants to open in Sri Lanka
Burger King Worldwide, Inc. announced the opening of three Burger King restaurants in Sri Lanka.

These restaurants, the first in Sri Lanka, opened on December 28, 2013 and are located in Rajagiriya, Mount Lavinia and Colpetty.(Wall Street Jurnal)

Manmohan to contact TN on holding Indo-Sri Lankan fishermen talks
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday told a delegation of fishermen associations from Tamil Nadu that he would contact the Tamil Nadu government this week for arranging talks between the fishermen representatives of India and Sri Lanka on fishing issues so as to end the incidents of attacks and arrest of Indian fishermen on high seas by the Lankan naval personnel at Indo-Lanka maritime border.

He gave this assurance when the fishermen delegation, led by Congress MP from Cuddalore, K.S. Alagiri, explained to him how the lives of Tamil Nadu fishermen had been affected severely as over 280 fishermen from Tamil Nadu were now in Sri Lankan jails. (The Hindu )

Sri Lanka to switch to 92-octane from January 2014
Sri Lanka will start selling petrol with an Octane count of 92 from January 2014 and will discontinue 90-octane fuel, petroleum minister Anura Yapa said.

Minister Yapa said state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the second player Lanka IOC will both sell 92-Octane petrol. (Lanka Business Online )

India fears terror attacks on its diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka
In the wake of Bangladesh executing Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Qadir Mullah, for war crimes committed during the 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, India fears Islamic terrorist groups targeting Indian interests in the region, including Sri Lanka.

A gravely concerned Indian External Affairs Ministry has urged several South Asian countries, including Sri Lanka to provide enhanced security to Indian diplomatic missions.(The Island )

Sri Lankan youth stages his own abduction to seek asylum in Australia
Sri Lanka police have arrested a Tamil youth from Jaffna for staging his own abduction and misleading the police.

The police say the 22-year-old youth from Jaffna has claimed that he was abducted by four men in a white van while hiding in a friend's house in Mullativu.(Colombo Page )

Sri Lanka to sign US $ 2 BN worth FDI deals
The Investor Services Department of the Board of Investment (BOI) has now been relocated at the 6th Floor of the World Trade Center , Colombo 1. Minister of Investment Promotion Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena formally opened the premises recently.

The Investor Services Department presently facilitates nearly 1000 BOI companies, by processing imports, exports documentation and verification of import and export cargo.(The Island )

Sri Lankans ‘need not flee’
The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia says Sri Lankans no longer have any reason to flee to Australia as the country moves towards reconciliation.

Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe attended a Sri Lankan community event at the weekend, paying tribute to the contributions of Sri Lankans to Wagga, where about 100 Sri Lankan families call home.(Daily Advertiser )

Vice Chairman post considered for the Leadership Council of Sri Lanka's main opposition party
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) plans to consider a proposal to set up a new post of Vice Chairman in the party's Leadership Council.

The proposal was made following a discussion between a group of former UNP parliamentarians and a senior Buddhist monk in the United Bhikku Front. (Colombo Page )

Excavation at mass grave in Sri Lanka suspended
A Sri Lankan court today suspended the excavation at a suspected mass grave found in a former conflict zone where the army battled Tamil Tiger rebels, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) whose remains will now be scrutinised by archaeologists.

"We have found layers and layers of skeletal remains. We now feel that further excavations will not be possible without the expertise of archaeologists," Judicial Medical Officer Dhananjaya Waidyaratne said.(NDTV )

Indo-Lankan Ties in 2013 Affected by Tamil Issue
India-Sri Lanka ties in 2013 were affected by differences over alleged rights abuses in the war against the LTTE and giving political rights to Tamils, even as Colombo held provincial polls after 25 years in the Tamil-dominated north as part of reconciliation.

THosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November brought Sri Lanka back in international spotlight with some leaders boycotting the summit over the country's human rights record.(Outlook India )

Sri Lankan Navy Detains Another 22 Tamil Nadu Fishermen
At least 22 fishermen from Jagadapattinam in Pudukottai district in Tamil Nadu were detained by the Sri Lankan navy, while fishing in the Palk Strait on Sunday.

The fishermen had reportedly ventured into sea in six boats from the town a day before and were scheduled to return on Sunday, before the Sri Lankan navy personnel arrested them for trespassing its territorial waters. They were immediately taken to Kangesanthurai Port, along with their boats, officials told PTI.(Int. Business Times )

Main opposition names two new members to the Leadership Council
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) sources say that the party has decided to appoint two new members to the party's newly established Leadership Council.

The party sources say names of parliamentarians D.M. Swaminathan and Rosy Senanayake have been proposed to the Council chaired by the parliamentarian Karu Jayasuriya.(Colombo Page )

Modernized Racecourse Grandstand opens for public
The renovated Colombo Racecourse grandstand was declared open by the Speaker of the Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa Thursday evening (26th) at a ceremony held at the Racecourse Ground.

Secretary Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Chairperson of MOD Seva Vanitha Unit Mrs. Ioma Rajapaksa also attended the opening ceremony.(Govt. News Portal of Sri Lanka )

Big heroin bust: All network members identified, say police
Police last week claimed that all members of the network involved in smuggling 261 kilograms of heroin into Sri Lanka have been identified but refused to reveal who they were. Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana also confirmed that investigators were not targeting an official in the Prime Minister’s office who attempted to get the contraband released by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. “He is not under investigation,” SSP Rohana said.

“We have identified the network that was involved,” SSP Rohana told the Sunday Times. “They are Sri Lankans from areas like Moratuwa, Panadura, Hikkaduwa and Galle but most of them are not in the country.” (Sunday Times)

Drug trafficking Pakistan national king pin to be brought to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka police sources say that the king pin of drug trafficking between Sri Lanka and India who is now in Pakistan custody will be extradited to Sri Lanka next week.

The Pakistani national will be produced in court in the case of smuggling over 150 kilos of heroin hidden in cans of lubricant in a shipping container. (Colombo Page)

Major changes in top Army positions
Reporting the first major changes in the top ranks of the Sri Lanka Army in the recent times, six Major Generals in the Army including Jaffna Security Forces Commander Mahinda Hathurusinghe have been transferred with effect from January 1, 2014, military sources said.

Accordingly, Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe has been appointed as the Adjutant General (AG), Army Headquarters. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka to launch Rs. 4 bn campaign to promote tea
An aggressive campaign to promote Sri Lankan tea in sophisticated global markets will be launched early 2014 with a Rs. 4 billion (US$ 30 million) budget, a senior industry official said last week.

It is true that these plans were in place earlier, but were not activated due to inadequate funds, Hasitha de Alwis, Director Promotions, Sri Lanka Tea Board, said. (Sunday Island)

Sri Lanka's Southern Expressway extension to Matara will be opened on January 31
The extension of the Southern Expressway from Galle to Godagama in Matara will be declared open on the 31st of January, the Ministry of Highways, Ports and Shipping announced.

The four-lane 35-kilometer extension of Sri Lanka's first ever expressway was constructed at a cost of US$ 180 million with the funds from EXIM Bank of China. (Colombo Page)

Singapore man deported from US in LTTE arms plot
An Indian-origin Singaporean has been deported home from the U.S., after he had completed a jail term for offences related to trying to buy arms worth $900,000 for Sri Lanka’s outlawed separatist group LTTE.

Balraj Naidu Ragavan, 51, returned to Singapore on December 16 after serving almost four years in a U.S. prison, The Straits Times reported on Saturday. (The Hindu)

Arrested Indian national to be deported by Sri Lanka
An Indian journalist, who was arrested in Sri Lanka while filming a military installation in a former LTTE stronghold, is set to be deported.

Thamil Prabakaran, a 24-year-old Tamil Nadu resident, was handed over to immigration authorities after being quizzed by the police's Terrorism Investigation Division, police spokesman Ajith Rohana said today. (Business Standard)

Sri Lankan culture goes on display at high commission
IT IS a terracotta artwork that took three months to complete, stands 6.3 metres tall, weighs 1750 kilograms and contains 380 tiles.

The newly installed clay mural at the Sri Lankan high commission has been created by one of that country's leading artists, Professor Sarath Chandrajeewa. (Canberra Times)

Tamil National Alliance to push for international probe into Sri Lanka war crimes
Sri Lanka's main Tamil party has said it will push for an independent international probe into alleged war crimes committed during the final phase of the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) legislator Suresh Premachandran said that his party would push their case when the UN Human Rights Council meets next March in Geneva. (NDTV)

Muslims protest in Colombo against illegal transfer of burial ground lands
A group of Muslims in Sri Lanka have commenced an agitation campaign against an allegedly illegal transfer of lands belonging to the Muslim burial ground in Maligawatte.

The group held a protest in Maligawatte demanding the block of land of the burial ground that has been illegally transferred to a private company. (Colombo Page)

President undertakes visit to Israel, Palestine
President Mahinda Rajapaksa accompanied by a top delegation, would shortly visit Israel and Palestine, a Presidential Secretariat official said.

He said the four day tour in January would involve a number of discussions with a special focus on strengthening economic ties with the two countries. President Rajapaksa would spend two days in Israel and the other two days in Palestine. (The Island)

British couple arrested in Sri Lanka for assaulting hotel employee
Sri Lankan police had arrested a British couple vacationing in Sri Lanka for assaulting an employee working in the hotel the couple were staying in Unawatuna, Galle in the South.

The British couple had been arrested on Thursday night for assaulting the employee. (Colombo Page)

‘Sri Siddhartha Gautama’ wins best movie award
The much-hyped epic Sinhala movie ‘Sri Siddhartha Gautama’ which enjoyed a successful run in Sri Lanka, won the award for the best film in the World Cinema section at the second Delhi International Film Festival in India which concluded a short while ago, the film’s director Saman Weeraman told the Daily Mirror.

Navin Gunaratne who produced the film on behalf of the Light of Asia Foundation was also given a special award for his role as producer. (Daily Mirror)

Japan PM's visit to war shine condemned in Sri Lanka
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's controversial visit to the Yasukuni Shrine and the adverse impact this visit will have on China-Japan relations was described as "deplorable" by officials in Sri Lanka on Friday.

Secretary General of Sri Lanka-China Friendship Association Sumathi Dharmawardana told Xinhua that Abe's visit on December 26 deserved the severest condemnation. (Global Post)

TN political parties demand release of arrested Indian in Sri Lanka
Political parties in Tamil Nadu and journalist associations today sought Centre's intervention for release of an Indian national arrested in Sri Lanka.

MDMK leader Vaiko appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure the safe return of the man hailing from Tamil Nadu, arrested on Thursday. (First Post)

Sacked provincial councilors of Sri Lanka opposition party request party memberships again
Renegade members of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) who were sacked for violating the party constitution and directives are re-seeking their memberships from the party to contest provincial council elections.

Southern Provincial Councilor Maithri Gunaratne and Western Provincial Councilor Shiral Lakthilleka who were sacked from the UNP have requested the party's Leadership Council to give them back their party memberships. (Colombo Page)

Borderlands Circumnavigates Sri Lanka by Kayak to Celebrate 10th Anniversary!
Sri Lanka’s leading adventure company, Borderlands, will be marking its 10th year in the country by organizing the first ever planned circumnavigation of the island by kayak, with Mount Lavinia Hotel playing host to the inaugural paddle.

This unprecedented challenge will be tackled by experienced sea kayakers, Ian Pexton and David Rowland, who will begin their paddle around Sri Lanka on the 15th of December. (Daily Mirror)

State owned dairy producer loses Rs. 200 million due to strike
The state owned dairy milk company in Sri Lanka, Milco (Pvt) Ltd., has said that the strike action by the company's employees has caused a Rs. 200 million loss to the institution.

Milco employees have launched a strike action accusing bribery and corruption in the company's Board of Directors and have called on the government to take immediate action against the Board members. (Colombo Page)

Pro-Tiger TN ‘journo’ sneaks into Pooneryn
An Indian passport holder arrested at Pooneryn on Sunday afternoon for taking pictures of troops was brought to Colombo for questioning.

A senior security official alleged that the South Indian identified as Thamil Prabhakaran was a close associate of Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) Jaffna district MP Sivagnanam Sritharan. (The Island)

Chinese investor buys into Sri Lanka's Blue Diamonds
Xia Liqiang, a Chinese investor has bought a 17.8 percent stake in a Sri Lanka listed jewellery company.

Capital Trust Securities, a Colombo based broking house said in a stock exchange filing that its client Xia Liqiang had bought 18.4 million shares in Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide Limited. (Lanka Business Online)

Maruti considering to set up an assembly plant in Sri Lanka
Indian automobile manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India is considering the possibility of setting up an assembly plant in Sri Lanka where the company already has a very big market share.

Maruti, which is a subsidiary of Japanese automobile manufacturer Suzuki, is undertaking a feasibility study for setting up the assembly facility in Sri Lanka, reported Autocar India magazine.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka can solve its own problems, Foreign Minister says
Sri Lanka is fully able to undertake the tasks set out by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and to guarantee the rights of its citizens, Foreign Minister G. I. Peiris told Prensa Latina in an interview.

"We have the institutions, the resources and the will to take forward the rebuilding of our country, continue strenghtening our economy, and ensuring a decent life for all, no matter their religion, ethnicity or political affiliation," Peiris said.(Prensa Latina)

Census Dept. rejects TNA claims
The Department of Census and Statistics today said the census carried out into the human and material losses incurred due to the conflict, was done according to international standards and norms with every aspect of loss being looked into.

Rejecting the Tamil National Alliance statement regarding the procedural lacuna, the department’s Director General D.C.A Gunawardena told the Daily Mirror that the claim was “ a political gimmick”.(Daily Mirrort)

Another step to make Sri Lanka a poverty-free land
The initiative to raise the living standards of 1.8 million families and thereby benefit five million persons, the Divi Neguma Department, will begin operations from Friday January 3. Religious ceremonies island-wide will mark the occasion.

The department’s main objective is to make Sri Lanka a poverty-free country for which purpose food security will be ensured and micro finance, physical and social infrastructure facilities will be provided to strengthen livelihoods and development at community level.(Lanka Business Today)

Sri Lanka Speaker to open second stage of Colombo Racecourse development project today
Speaker of Sri Lanka parliament Chamal Rajapaksa will declare open the Stage II of renovated old Racecourse in Colombo today, 26th of December.

Colonial era Colombo Racecourse was converted into a luxury shopping plaza last year under Colombo city beautification project implemented by the Urban Development Authority.(Colombo Page)

Heroin racket: PM’s son benefited from suspects – Monks
President of the National Sangha Council (NSC) Ven. Rajawatte Wappa Thera yesterday alleged that the provincial council election campaign of Prime Minsiter D. M. Jayaratne’s son, Anuradha Jayaratne, in  September, had been funded by those who brought in a container where heroin was subsequently found concealed in cans of grease.

Addressing the media at the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress Auditorium, at Bauddhaloka Mawatha, with National Organiser Ven. Pahiyangala Anandasagara Thera and Wattahene Vijitha Thera of the NSC, Ven. Wappa thera said that they had received information, from people in the area, that the PM’s son had spent millions of rupees to get the highest number of preferential.(The Island)

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress to contest independently at provincial council elections next year
Ally of Sri Lanka's ruling alliance, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has decided to contest separately at the provincial council elections to be held next year.

The party said it will contest separately in the Western and Southern Provincial Council elections expected to be held in March next year.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka lets Australian hotelier Geoffrey Dobbs back in after flag furore
The Australian owner of one of the world's most exclusive hotels given temporary permission to return to his adopted Sri Lankan homeland after being barred in a spat over the national flag.

The Australian owner of one of the world's most exclusive hotels has been given temporary permission to return to his adopted Sri Lankan homeland after being barred in a spat over the national flag. (Radio Australia)

Health sector trade unions in Sri Lanka protest against Health Ministry
Sri Lanka's joint council of the health sector trade unions have held a protest against the government's inaction to some of their long standing demands.

The joint council of health sector trade unions of the nurses, Professions Supplementary to Medicine (PSM) and paramedics held the protest in front of the Ministry of Health building today. (Colombo'page)

Nishantha Ranatunga defends SL's new stadiums
Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga has responded to criticism of the board's financial management, saying expensive stadiums in Hambantota and Pallekele were built with the wider national economy in mind, and not simply with a view to making a profit for the board.

The two new grounds and extensive renovations for the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo condemned SLC to a debt of almost $70 million. (ESPN)

Sri Lanka bans hotelier Geoffrey Dobbs for flying national flag upside down
Sri Lanka has barred the Australian owner of an exclusive hotel from returning to his adopted homeland after he flew the national flag upside down.

Geoffrey Dobbs, who is also the organiser of an international literary festival in the tourist city of Galle, was turned back at Colombo airport for the second time in five days, the officials said. (News.com)

Chinese bookstore begins a new chapter in Sri Lanka
For many Chinese, Colombo is a great place to shop for jewelry and tea, but for Li Yong, the Sri Lankan capital is the location of the latest in his chain of Chinese bookstores.

Li's company, Kunming Xinzhi Group, is China's largest private book retailer, with 58 outlets around the country. It opened its fifth overseas bookstore in late November in Sri Lanka. The 450-square-meter shop is the first in South Asia, but others have opened in Phnom Penh, Vientiane, Kuala Lumpur and Mandalay in Myanmar during the past two years. (Ecns)

Opposition MP Harsha de Silva to lead UNP at Sri Lanka's Western PC elections
National Leader of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP), Ranil Wickremasinghe has proposed the name of Economist and UNP parliamentarian, Dr. Harsha de Silva to head the party at the Western Provincial Council poll.

The Western Provincial Council and Southern Provincial Council are expected to be dissolved later this month and the polls are likely to be held in March next year. (Colombo Page)

Rajapaksa regime will never increase wages - Ranil
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe today stated that the ruling government under President Mahinda Rajapaksa will only continue to decrease the salaries of workers in the country and that it will never increase them.

Public servants and private sector employees expect to have some money in their hands at the end of the year, due to expenses during the holiday season and for the new school term starting the following year, he said. (Ada Derana)

President recognizes Sri Lanka's highest achievers at this year's GCE A/L examination
President Mahinda Rajapaksa Monday recognized the students, who scored highest marks at this year's GCE Advanced Level Examination, at the Temple Trees.

Addressing the event, the President said the children in the North, who were given cyanide capsules at one time, are now given the opportunity to further their education with the restoration of peace. (Colombo Page)

Thalatha condemns LC, pushes for three-member ‘high command’
UNP Reformist Thalatha Atukorale, MP, yesterday asserted that a ‘high command’ comprising Ranil Wickremesinghe and former deputy leaders, Karu Jayasuriya, MP and Sajith Premadasa, MP, would have served the crisis-ridden UNP better than the recently formed Leadership Council (LC) consisting of nine members sans Wickremesinghe.

Ratnapura District MP Atukorale said that she declined the invitation to join the LC as she felt it couldn’t have spearheaded the UNP recovery.(The Island)

Sri Lankan government signs agreement with WFP to build resilience in adapting to adverse weather conditions
The government of Sri Lanka has signed a US$ 8 million agreement with the World Food Programme (WFP) to build resilience in adapting to adverse weather conditions.

The agreement for 'Addressing Climate Change Impacts on Marginalized Agricultural Communities Living in the Mahaweli River Basin of Sri Lanka' was reportedly signed between the Environment and Renewable Energy Ministry Secretary, B.M.U.D. Basnayaka and WFP Deputy Country Director, Mads Lofvall. (Colombo Page)

Steps to be taken to ease Colombo traffic-Gota
Defence Secretary Goatabaya Rajapaksa said that studies being conducted with a view to easing traffic congestion in the Colombo city, with the introduction of a mass transit system being seriously considered as a solution.

Speaking at the inauguration of Work in Sri Lanka Conference this morning Mr Rajapaksa also said that much work is also being done to regain Colombo’s former reputation as the Garden City of the East.(Daily Mirror)

Opposition Leader expresses concerns over Sri Lanka's staggering debt, questions development expenditures
Leader of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickremasinghe today expressed concerns over the country's staggering debate and questioned the government's expenses on infrastructure development.

Addressing an event at the party headquarters Sirikotha today, Wickremasinghe said the increase in government borrowings has pushed the country into a debt trap and there are doubts over the monies spent on development work. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka’s textile & garment exports surge 47% in Oct’13
Sri Lanka’s earnings from textiles and garments exports grew by 46.8 percent year-on-year to US$ 436.4 million in October 2013, which was the highest monthly value of export of garment and textiles ever recorded, according to a Central Bank of Sri Lanka press release.

“Exports of garments to both the EU and USA, which are Sri Lanka’s major export destinations, recorded remarkable growth rates of 53.2 percent and 43.4 percent, respectively in October 2013, reflecting the recovery in those economies as well as seasonal demand,” says the statement. (fibre2fashion)

Sri Lanka to evacuate its nationals from South Sudan
Sri Lanka has decided to evacuate some 75 migrant workers from South Sudan and said no new workers will be deployed in the politically troubled country.

"At the moment we are working with the Sri Lankan embassy in Egypt to track down and return Sri Lankans working in South Sudan. The external affairs ministry is also assisting us in this matter," Xinhua quoted foreign employment bureau spokesman M. Randeniya as saying Monday. (daijiworld)

Trapped gem miners in Sri Lanka found dead
The two gem miners, who were trapped underground in a gem mine that collapsed in the gem mining town of Sri Lanka were found dead today, the police said.

The two men got trapped yesterday afternoon about 30 feet underground when the gem mine in Angammana, Ratnapura collapsed and flooded with water. (Colopmbo Page)

Sri Lanka US$74mn water supply system deal to US firm
Tetra Tech Inc, a US based firm said it had won a 74 million US dollar contract from Sri Lanka to build a water supply and treatment plant.

The US Export-Import Bank is financing the deal. (Lanka Business Online)

Sajith alleges LC useless but ready to join it if...
Having attended the 55th annual convention of the party at Sirikotha on Saturday, UNP MP Sajith Premadasa yesterday alleged that the Leadership Council (LC) headed by Karu Jayasuriya hadn’t been vested with real powers to deal with the existing crisis in the party.

MP Premadasa insisted that the LC should be constitutionally empowered to replace Ranil Wickremesinghe as the leader of the party without further delay. He continued to shun the LC as it lacked even the basic powers required to revive the party, he added. (The Island)

Sri Lanka President's cameraman dismissed for shoplifting
Sri Lankan President's Media Unit has dismissed a video cameraman of the unit as punishment for shoplifting a camera from a duty free shop at the Dubai airport, local media reported.

The cameraman was reportedly caught when he was trying to steal a camera worth Rs. 400,000 at Dubai Airport. The shop employees have observed the theft and it was also recorded in the shop's security camera. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka IMF rep gets warm send-off
Sri Lanka's resident representative from the International Monetary Fund, Koshy Mathai got a warm send off from authorities in the island at the end of four years and the first completed program in the island's history.

"We had a good program, we had a very interesting outcome and after that we had some adventurous times in our country's economy," Governor Nivard Cabraal said at a farewell organized by the Central Bank. (Lanka Business Online)

Four proposals approved at UNP convention
Four proposals including the setting up of a leadership council, which were presented to the 55th UNP convention held at Sirikotha, were unanimously approved a short while ago.

The setting up of a new mechanism to bring the party into a victorious path including the forming of a leadership council, scrapping of executive presidency, urging the government to provide relief to the people by curbing corruption and wastage and establishing a government which provides relief to the people are among the proposals which were approved at the convention. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka tourism launches a ‘song’ to attract visitors
Sri Lanka Tourism has launched a song titled ‘Paradise Calling’ to promote the Island across the world to attract visitors to the country.

The song has been written by veteran song writer Kelum Srimal and directed by the musician duo ‘Bathiya and Santhush’. (News 360)

New mass grave found in Sri Lanka four years after war
An unmarked mass grave has been found in Sri Lanka's former war zone, the first discovery of an unmarked gravesite since troops defeated Tamil rebels more than four years ago, police said Sunday.

Construction workers in the coastal district of Mannar stumbled on at least 10 skeletal remains buried at a location where they were laying a new water pipe, said police spokesman Ajith Rohana.(Global Post)

Sri Lanka’s War had Witnesses : Indian Journalist B. Murali Reddy
Firstly Sri Lanka’s war did have witnesses. The witnesses were however NOT – Gordon Weiss, Francis Harrison, Channel 4, the Darusman Panel, Charles Petrie and a whole list of others who have promoted themselves as witnesses when they are not because they were never inside the war zone.

They were only passing between themselves a version they have contrived that fits well within a different agenda that has nothing to do with what they claim it is. (Lankaweb)

Family of murdered British aid worker in Sri Lanka still awaiting justice
Mohammad Zaman Shaikh woke up on Christmas Day 2011 feeling sick and uneasy. He had slept badly but couldn't say precisely why. All he knew was that something wasn't right.

When, at 10am that morning, the police knocked on the door of the family home in Rochdale with the news that his 32-year-old son, Khuram, had been murdered in Sri Lanka, Zaman initially assumed they had made a mistake. (The Guardian)

Sri Lanka to investigate mass grave in former war zone
Sri Lanka will tomorrow launch a magisterial inquiry into a suspected mass grave found in a former conflict zone where the army battled Tamil Tiger rebels.

The suspected mass grave in the northeastern district of Mannar is the first one found after the end of the military campaign against the LTTE four years ago. (Business Standard)

Nagapattinam fishermen go on indefinite fast
The fisherfolk of the district on Saturday launched an indefinite fast demanding the release of those arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy.

The fishermen were on indefinite work boycott for the seventh day, demanding that the government announced a date for talks between the fishermen of the two countries. (The Hindu)

Know about IAF's Operation Poomalai in Jaffna, Sri Lanka
On the 4th of June 1987, India stopped the siege of Jaffna by the Sri Lankan army. It was a humanitarian intervention but also a symbolic gesture.

And the Sri Lankan president Jayewardene took this action as a military one, calling it “a naked violation of our independence”. (India TV News)

Pakistan support in elimination of terrorism acknowledged: National Assembly speaker meets Sri Lanka President
Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan Sardar Ayaz Sadiq paid a courtesy call on Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo, on Saturday. During the meeting, they agreed to further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two friendly countries and stressed upon the need to work closely in the regional and global context.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa acknowledged the support extended by the government of Pakistan during Sri Lankan war against terrorism, and said Pakistan's unflinching support during the three decade internal conflict had immensely helped in the elimination of terrorism from Sri Lanka. (Business Rrecorder)

Sri Lanka passes 2014 budget, aims to cut deficit to 36-yr low
Sri Lanka's parliament passed the 2014 budget by a 95-vote majority on Friday, approving a plan to reduce its fiscal deficit to a 36-year low of 5.2 percent of gross domestic product amid opposition allegations of economic data manipulation.

The budget was passed with 155 votes for and 60 against in the legislature in which President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling party has a more than a two-thirds majority. (REUTERS)

Sri Lanka passes 2014 budget, aims to cut deficit to 36-yr low
Sri Lanka's parliament passed the 2014 budget by a 95-vote majority on Friday, approving a plan to reduce its fiscal deficit to a 36-year low of 5.2 percent of gross domestic product amid opposition allegations of economic data manipulation.

The budget was passed with 155 votes for and 60 against in the legislature in which President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling party has a more than a two-thirds majority. (REUTERS)

Sri Lanka appoint Farbrace as Coach
Sri Lanka have appointed Paul Farbrace as head coach on a two-year contract after Yorkshire released him from his position as second-team coach.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) initially interviewed four candidates for the job and from that, drew up a shortlist of Marvan Atapattu and Mark Davis before making a late decision to talk to Farbrace. (Cricket World)

Sri Lanka to buy advanced medical equipment from Japanese grant
Sri Lanka is planning to buy advanced medical equipment to improve the Island’s health care facilities through a Rs. 520 million (US$ 39 mn) Japanese grant.

The grant comes through the ‘Non Project Grant Aid’. (News 360)

Ravi calls for investigation into sports sector losses
If the sports sector has recorded losses of US $3 million according to Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, an investigation needs to be conducted in order to reveal whose pockets that money was put into, UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake stated.

MP Karunanayake said that Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had revealed a US $3 million loss in the sports sector while also revealing an even greater amount of corruption. (Ada Derana)

No such person works for President – GL
Alleged attempt by presidential aide to sell artefact
No person by the name of Dhammika Premalal Raigama had worked as a coordinating secretary to the President, at the President’s office, External Affairs Minister Prof G. L. Peiris told Parliament yesterday (19).

Prof. Peiris said that the UNP’s Matara District MP had on Wednesday told parliament that a person by the name of Dhammika Premalal Raigama working in the President’s office had tried to sell an artefact for Rs. 350 mn. "There is no such person by that name." (The Island)

Ravi wants Sajith to contest Southern polls
United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Ravi Karunanayake said today he was prepared to contest the elections to the Western Provincial Council (WPC).

He urged UNP front-liner Sajith Premadasa to take over the leadership of the Southern Province and pose a challenge to the Government at the upcoming Provincial Council Elections. (Daily Mirror)

LSSP celebrates 78th Anniversary
Sri Lanka's oldest political party the Lanka Sama Samaja Party celebrated its 78th anniversary yesterday. A special function in connection with the anniversary will be held on Sunday at the N.M. Perera commemoration hall in Ruwanwella.

The theme of the function will be “National Unity and Good Governance for Establishing Industrial Development for the People”. (Gov. News Portal of Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka’s controversy hit glove making factory to be shifted
Sri Lanka based Dipped Product PLC, a glove maker has decided to shift its controversy hit factory located in Weliveriya to the Biygama BOI zone.

In a stock market disclosure, the firm announced that it is compelled to move the factory from the present location as protest by certain villagers are preventing it from resuming operations of the existing plant. (News 360)

Speaker of Pakistan National Assembly arrives in Sri Lanka
Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq arrived in Sri Lanka Thursday on a two days official visit.

The invitation to Pakistan's Speaker was conveyed by the Deputy Speaker of Sri Lankan Parliament Chandima Weerakkody, during his recent visit to Pakistan. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka currency near 2-month high
The Sri Lankan rupee rose to its highest level in nearly two months on inward remittances and exporter dollar sales, dealers said.

The spot rupee LKR= ended at 130.70/75 per dollar, its highest close since Oct. 25 and firmer than Wednesday’s close of 130.80/85.(Arab News)

Sri Lanka bans over 1,000 porn websites
SL Government banned over a thousand websites hosting obscene content last week.

Websites hosting obscene images and videos as well as websites featuring pornographic films produced in Sri Lanka have been banned, the Director-General of Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, Anusha Pelpita, told local media.(Khaleej Times)

Sri Lanka's biggest Christmas tree will be unveiled at the Kilinochchi town tomorrow.
The biggest Christmas tree erected in connection with the Christmas festival will be unveiled in Kilinochchi town tomorrow evening. The height of the tree constructed by the army is 100 feet. Army spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya told the national radio that it was erected on behalf of the Christian devotees in the area. (SLBC)

Sri Lanka's private sector retirement fund lost billions due to irregular investments, opposition alleges
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) says that the private sector retirement fund, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has incurred losses amounting to billions of rupees due to irregular investments of its monies in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE).

UNP parliamentarian and economist Dr. Harsha de Silva told parliament that the irregular investments in the CSE had cost EPF to lose Rs. 8.1 billion at present market rates. (Colombo Page)

Special Sri Lanka panel to probe war-disappeared people
An independent committee will be appointed to investigate the fate of over 11,000 people who disappeared during Sri Lanka's brutal three-decade civil war, an official said here Thursday.

The special commission will be headed by a retired high court judge, Xinhua reported. (Zee News)

Sri Lankan honoured by The Queen
The former Head of the Guard Force at the British High Commission (BHC) in Colombo Tuan Ismail was awarded an honorary MBE by Her Majesty The Queen in the Birthday Honours List of 2013.

The British High Commission in Colombo said that his award was presented by The Prince of Wales at a personal and special ceremony during his visit to Sri Lanka this year.(The Nation)

Driving Sri Lanka’s tourism industry vision
Peer-to-peer market needs accommodations, cars/parking, eating and experiences. Sri Lanka is well represented in the accommodations with rooms and houses across the country and rates ranging from US $ 10 to US $ 695 per night.

Also, accommodations feature private gardens and micro campsites. Micro camp facilities are not found for Sri Lanka in these sites. For eating, many restaurants in Colombo and Kandy and even in Anuradhapura are featured. With quality restaurants now in many cities in the country, such places too need to be featured in these sites.(Daily Mirror)

New ID law is sign of govt. working against Muslim community - Salley
UNP Central Provincial Council member Azath Salley stated that laws preventing Muslim men and women from wearing caps and hijabs for their identity card photographs were signs of the government working against the Muslim community of the country.

He said that the Muslim community will have no choice but to engage with the international community regarding the continued agenda against the Muslim community in Sri Lanka.(Ada Derana)

Man arrested for holding tribute ceremony for Prabhakaran in Malaysia
A man was arrested while six others have been asked to surrender after a non-governmental organisation (NGO) they were said to belong to held a ceremony to mark Tamil Tigers chief V. Prabhakaran's birthday in Kulim, Kedah in Malaysia on Saturday.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar (pic) said the man, who was arrested in Kedah on Monday, was being investigated under Section 4 (1)(a) of the Sedition Act 1948 for allegedly inviting the public to attend the ceremony to pay tribute to the late Prabhakaran.(Daily Mirror)

Drop in heroin haul weight puzzles many; police see nothing strange
Many an eyebrow has been raised over the mysterious reduction in the weight of heroin seized on August 30 and sent to the Government Analyst.

The Customs on August 30 seized 261 kg and 292 g of the narcotic but the Government Analyst’s report has put the quantity down at 130 kg. The stock of heroin was handed over to the Police Narcotic Bureau by the Customs on an order issued by the Maligakanda Magistrate Court on August 31.(The Island)

Tetra Tech Awarded $74 Million Contract for an Integrated Water Supply Program in Sri Lanka
Tetra Tech, Inc. announced today that it has been awarded a $74 million contract principally financed by the United States Export-Import bank for the Sri Lanka National Water Supply and Drainage Board.

Tetra Tech will design and oversee the completion of a new water supply treatment plant, including storage tanks, pumping stations, a dam and impoundment reservoir, water intake structures, and transmission and distribution pipelines for the city of Badulla and surrounding communities of Ella and Haliela.(Market Watch)

Sri Lanka: Most child friendly government in the South Asia
Sri Lanka has identified as the most child-friendly government in the South Asian region, according to a new groundbreaking report which measures the child-friendliness of the South Asian governments.

This fact has been revealed by the South Asian Report on the Child-Friendliness of Governments compiled by the South Asia Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIEVAC) with the help of “Save the Children” and other stake holders, according to a study carried out during the past few years.(Sri Express)

7,000 vacancies in the Sri Lanka's apparel sector
The government of Sri Lanka says that there are thousands of vacancies in the country's apparel sector.

Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told parliament that there are 7,000 vacancies in the apparel sector and that people are yet to be found to fill them.(Colombo Page)

Ravana,Vijaya, Tissa Hindu kings – TNA MP
Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians yesterday said, in Parliament, that Sri Lanka was originally a Hindu nation and its national anthem should be sung in Tamil.

If Lanka’s national anthem could not be sung in Tamil in the North, there was no point in singing it in Sinhala there.(The Island)

Geetha eying SPC chief minister post
Bentara-Elpitiya UPFA organiser Geetha Kumarasinghe today said that she was going to contest the upcoming Southern Provincial Council (SPC) election with the sole motive of becoming its chief minister.

“A provincial council membership is nothing to me. I don’t need to strive to become a mere council member, Ms. Kumarasinghe said.(Daily Mirror)

Prime Minister's office pitted against ruling party ally over heroin controversy
Deepening the dispute between Sri Lanka Prime Minister's office and the coalition party of ruling alliance, Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) over the heroin controversy, the PM's office today questioned the sincerity of JHU's request for the PM to step down.

At a press conference today, Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne's office asked the JHU to resign from the cabinet portfolios instead of pressing the Prime Minister to resign over the heroin issue.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka approves Packer's Crown resort without casino -minister
Sri Lanka has approved Australian Crown Resorts Ltd's $400 million complex along with two similar projects, but without any explicit permission to operate casinos at them, the island's junior investment minister said on Tuesday.

However, Crown's chief, gambling tycoon James Packer, would still be able to operate a casino in his mixed-development project through his local partner, the minister said.(REUTERS)

Australian man arrested in Sri Lanka over alleged rape of mentally disabled girl
Sri Lankan police say they have arrested an Australian man who is alleged to have raped a mentally disabled girl in the country three years ago.

Police say they arrested the 56-year-old Victorian man when he returned to Sri Lanka in recent days. (ABC)

Sri Lanka revives state firm with Chinese ships
Sri Lanka will revive its defunct state-run shipping company by introducing two new cargo vessels bought from China, the government said Tuesday.

The Ceylon Shipping Corporation will buy two 64,000-tonne bulk carriers that will also be used to train Sri Lankan crew, Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told reporters.(AFP/Google)

Sri Lanka eyes third place in ODI team cricket rankings
International Cricket Council: December 17, 2013 - Fourth-ranked Sri Lanka can hope to move up a place to third on the Reliance ICC ODI Team Rankings table if it beats Pakistan in a five-match ODI series, starting on 18 December in Sharjah.

But for that to happen, Sri Lanka (110 ratings points) will need to win the series against sixth-placed Pakistan (100 ratings points) by 4-1 or better. Irrespective of the outcome of the series, Pakistan will remain in sixth position. (Boxscore)

Refurbished Taj Samudra targetsbusiness travellers to Sri Lanka
Taj Samudra, Colombo, has re-opened its doors after extensive renovation costing $20 million.

The property overlooks the scenic Galle Face Green and the Indian Ocean, and is situated at the heart of the city’s business hub. It has 300 rooms of which 71 rooms and 15 suites have been renovated. A new category called the Taj Club rooms has been introduced, along with a Tata Suite or presidential suite. (The Hindu)

Main opposition to complain to Bribery Commission on Colombo Night Races
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) plans to lodge a complaint with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption against the Colombo Night Races that were held last weekend.

UNP Western Provincial Councilor Mujibur Rahman told a news conference that there were questions over the legality of the Colombo Night Races. (Colombo Page)

Bigger fish may have escaped: Keheliya
Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella today declined to comment on the alleged involvement of Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne in the heroin container controversy and claimed there was the possibility of some of the bigger fish getting away.

“The heroin container was in Colombo for transshipment. The coordinating secretary has asked that only two months’ tax be waived. Therefore, my impression is that there may be bigger fish that got away unnoticed. The brains behind this racket have not been arrested,” he told journalists at the weekly Cabinet news briefing.(Daily Mirror)

Over 10,000 health workers to get appointments in Sri Lanka health service
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa will handover appointment letters to 10,400 health service personnel at a function to be held at the Sugathadasa indoor Stadium today.

According to Minister of Health Maithreepala Sirisena, 6,025 nurses, 1,990 doctors for paramedic services and 2,000 nurses who have completed their training will get their appointments from the President.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka offers harbors to foreign fishing vessels
Sri Lankan government is offering the island's fisheries harbors to foreign vessels from Asian countries, including China, in a bid to prevent European countries from exploiting fishing resources in the Indian Ocean, an official said here on Tuesday.

Under the plan, fishing vessels from China, Dubai, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam will be invited to engage in fishing in the international waters in the Indian Ocean and export their products via the fisheries harbours in Sri Lanka, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. (XinhuaNet)

Singapore's Calamander invests US$10mn in Sri Lanka hotel
Singapore-based Calamander group has invested 1.35 billion rupees (10 million US dollars) to acquire and upgrade a hotel in Sri Lanka.

Calamander had bought Unawatuna Beach Resort just off Galle in Southern Sri Lanka for around one billion rupees in 2011 and rebuilt it by investing another 350 million rupee (Lanka Business Online)

Police arrest over 50,000 on drug charges in 2013
Sri Lanka police have arrested over 51,000 people this year on drug related offenses across the country.

Police media spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana and police have also seized over 300 kilograms of drugs during island wide raids conducted by the police, Police Narcotics Bureau and Special Task Force. (Colombo Page)

Fishermen launch indefinite strike
Fishermen of Nagapattinam taluk on Sunday launched an indefinite strike demanding the release of fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy.

About 700 fibre boats of Nagapattinam taluk did not venture out. (The Hindu)

Showcause notice issued over Eelam memorial
Tamil Nationalist Movement leader P Nedumaran has moved the Madras high court challenging the validity of a local body’s show-cause notice saying that a memorial built in memory of Mullivaikkal victims in Sri Lanka had been constructed in deviation of approved plan.

A division bench of Justice Satish Kumar Agnihotri and Justice K K Sasidharan, before which the petition of the 81-year-old leader came up for admission on Monday, adjourned it to Tuesday for further hearing.(Ada Derana)

JHU warns heroin case will haunt UPFA at PC polls
Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) leader Ven Dr. Omalpe Sobitha thera yesterday warned that the government’s complicity in the lucrative heroin trade could become a major political issue at the forthcoming polls to the Western, Uva and Southern provinces, unless punitive action was taken against those involved in the abortive bid to smuggle in heroin from Pakistan.

The Customs made the detection in late August following a tip off from Pakistan Police Narcotics Division (PPND). (The Island)

Coal smoke kills Lankan in Saudi
An Indian and a Sri Lankan suffocated to death while asleep after leaving a coal fireplace lit in their room in Saudi Arabia, newspapers said on Tuesday.

Police said colleagues found the two dead in the morning while another Sri Lankan roommate was rushed to hospital in serious condition in the northwestern town of Hail. (Daily Mirror)

Belarus ratifies double taxation agreement with Sri Lanka
The Belarus government today announced that it has ratified an agreement with Sri Lanka to avoid double taxation on income.

The House of Representatives ratified the agreement between the Government of Belarus and the Government of Sri Lanka on the avoidance of double taxation and prevention of tax evasion with respect to taxes on income, Belarus official news agency BelTA reported. (Colopmbo Page)

Tamil Nadu starts search operations to arrest LTTE suspects in hiding
Indian police said a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee, who arrived today by an illegal boat service, has been taken into custody for questioning and a massive hunt launched for other refugees.

Police said the refugees had arrived at Arichalmunai near Dhanushkodi from Sri Lanka and police with the help of the Coast Guard managed to nab a person, Santhan, who confessed that he had come along with some others by paying 100 thousand rupees as ferry charge.(Hiru News)

Annual Sri Pada pilgrim season in Sri Lanka begins from today
The annual Sri Pada pilgrim season will begin from today, the Unduvap Full Moon Poya Day which falls on December 16.

A series of religious activities to mark the beginning of the season were held at the Sri Pada temple in Galpoththaawala, Ratnapura on Saturday. (Colopmbo Page)

HC directs to implead Govt officials as respondents
The Madras High Court today directed to implead the Defence Secretary, Secretary of External Affairs and Deputy Director General of Indian Coast Guard as respondents on a petition seeking to cancel the proposed sale of two war ships to Sri Lanka.

Justice V Sudhakar and Justice S Vaidhyanathan of Madurai Bench also posted the case for hearing to January 7 next year. (Business Standard)

Sri Lankan religious leaders say they learnt forgiveness and reconciliation from Mandela
The former British colony marks the passing of the anti-apartheid leader with a special event organised by an interfaith organisation at the South African High Commission in Colombo. Buddhist, Catholic, Christian and Hindu leaders offer a special prayer for the late president.

Sri Lanka "must nurture the values ​​of forgiveness and reconciliation" as exemplified and promoted by Nelson Mandela, said Buddhist, Catholic, Christian and Hindu leaders from the Inter-Religious Peace Foundation (IRPF) at a special ceremony held last Wednesday in honour of the late leader and first post-Apartheid president of South Africa.(Cross Map)

Sri Lanka Airlines bomb threat: Alan Patey to appear in court charged with making hoax
A 49-year-old man will appear in court today charged over an alleged bomb threat hoax that led to an aircraft being diverted.

Alan Patey, of no fixed address, will appear at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court later this afternoon.(The Independent)

No plans to change T20, ODI captains, says PCB chief Najam Sethi
There were no plans to change Pakistan‘s Twenty20 (T20) or One-Day International (ODI) captains and no decision has been taken yet on the next coaching panel of the team, acting Pakistan Cricket Board chief Najam Sethi said on Sunday.

Sethi at a press conference here retorted to questions about changing the national T20 and ODI captains and said such talk was mere speculation.(Cricket Country)

DMK: Move UNHRC for probe into killings of Sri Lanka Tamils
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general council meeting on Sunday urged the Government of India to move a resolution in the United Human Rights Council (UNHRC) seeking a credible international inquiry into killing of Tamils, war crimes and human rights violations in the last leg of the civil war in Sri Lanka.

Besides, it wanted India to facilitate a referendum among the Sri Lankan Tamils to find a permanent political solution. (The Hindu)

Government to purchase over 2,000 new buses for state transport sector
The Sri Lankan government has decided to purchase over 2,000 new buses for the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) fleet while selling the non-economical and unserviceable buses to pay dues to the EPF and ETF accounts of the Board's employees.

The government has reportedly agreed to a recommendation made by Transport Minister Kumara Welgama to purchase 2,200 new buses for the SLTB from next year. (Colombo Page)

Pakistan, Sri Lanka strengthen security relations
Visiting Pakistani Naval Chief had discussions with his local counterparts on improving security relations between the two countries over the weekend, the official navy website said on Monday.

Pakistani Naval Chief Admiral Mohammad Asif Sandila, NI (M) visited Sri Lankan Naval Headquarters for the discussions, the report said.(Global Times)

Sri Lanka dismisses EP concerns
Sri Lanka today dismissed a resolution passed by the European Parliament Thursday asking the Sri Lankan government to implement the recommendation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee in full.

Responding to the resolution in a media briefing today, the government spokesman Minister of Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella said there is no need for the pressure from outside for Sri Lanka to do what's best for the people and the country. (Colombo Page)

Heroin haul: Now, JHU tells IGP to probe PM and aides
he Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) has said the massive drug smuggling bid from Karachi was a national crime and urged the IGP to conduct a full scale investigation and prosecute the culprits.

Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana told The Island yesterday that JHU leader Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobitha Thera had, on Thursday, written to the IGP N. K. Illangakoon urging him to conduct a full scale investigation into the attempt to smuggle into the country a large stock of heroin from Pakistan as it was a ‘national crime’. He (The Island)

Sri Lanka road and port projects take off
Colombo-based trader and frequent flier Mohamed Fahim says he loves his new drive time between the city and Bandaranaike International Airport.

"At least once month, I go abroad to purchase fancy items from Chennai and Bangkok. Then, I ship them to Colombo. Time is very important for a businessman like me," Fahim told Khabar South Asia. (Khabar)

Sri Lanka's Fisheries Minister to visit India next month to discuss fishermen issue
Sri Lanka's Fisheries and Aquatics Resources Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne will visit New Delhi next month to hold discussions on the fishermen's issue.

The Sri Lankan Minister is expected to meet India's Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar to discuss the nagging issue of fishermen from both sides crossing into each other territories. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka square series to maintain top ranking
Pakistan squandered the opportunity to dethrone Sri Lanka at the helm of the International Cricket Council's Twenty20 International rankings in Friday's series decider at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in the United Arab Emirates.

Largely dominant and ultimately triumphant in Wednesday's first T20I, the chance to upstage the top-ranked opposition was lost. Instead, the talented Kusal Perera and spin duo Sachithra Senanayake and Seekkuge Prasanna turned the tables en route to a convincing 24-run victory. (Cricket 365)

Residents file petition at Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission against demolition of their houses
A group of residents in a suburb of the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo has filed a petition at the Human Rights Commission against the demolition of their houses.

The residents, belonged to the Organization for Protecting the Ownership of Houses in Wanathamulla, have filed a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition at the Commission against the demolition of their houses in the Wanathamulla area. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka must prepare to welcome Narendra Modi as India’s next Prime Minister
We acknowledge the support of Dr. Subramaniam Swamy over the years for being the sole Indian voice against LTTE in support of Sri Lanka’s role to eliminate LTTE terrorism.

We are glad he is a key member of the winning team steering Mr. Modi to take over India in 2014 as its Prime Minister. It is time India had a leader and not a puppet. (Lankaweb)

Sanga named ODI Cricketer of the Year
Kumar Sangakkara has been crowned as ODI Cricketer of the Year - 2013 by the International Cricket Council (ICC), while Mahela Jayawardane won the Spirit of Cricket Award.

Australian skipper Michael Clarke was named as the best cricketer in the world in 2013.(Daily Mirror)

People don’t want ‘sound and fury’ - Akashi
Visiting Japanese special envoy Yasushi Akashi said today that it was not only the International Community but also Sri Lankans who are anxiously “waiting for action and not just sound and fury”.

Responding to a question on corruption, good governance, the adherence to the rule of law and the Government’s commitment to all stakeholders including the International Community to address these concerns, Mr. Akashi said the Government should not repeat such failures on commitments.(Daily Mirror)

UN FAO accused over Sri Lanka kidney illness
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has been blamed for the spread of a kidney disease which has affected nearly half a million people in Sri Lanka.

Scientists believe the illness is caused by pesticides and fertilisers. (BBC)

Multinational relocates partly to Sri Lanka from China
A top Japanese conglomerate is relocating part of its selected foam operations to Sri Lanka from China and began operations this week, a statement from the Industry and Commerce Ministry said in Colombo Friday.

The company is also considering plans to set up world class automotive component production in Sri Lanka, with latest Japanese technology. (NZ week)

Organ harvesting in China, situation in Sri Lanka and Central Africa
Parliament passed three separate resolutions on Thursday, asking for an immediate end to the practice of organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China; calling on the Sri Lankan government to implement the recommendation of the Reconciliation Committee in full; and condemning the violence and human rights violations in the Central African Republic (Europeaan Parliament)

Sri Lanka state sector employees to get 25 percent more bonus this year
Sri Lanka's Cabinet has given approval to increase the year-end bonus paid to the state sector employees by 25 percent this year.

Employees of state institutions, corporations and government owned companies will get 25 percent more than the last year's bonus. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka rupee at over 1-week low on importer dollar demand
The Sri Lankan rupee closed at its lowest level in more than a week on Thursday on importer dollar demand ahead of a long weekend, but the market was sluggish as most investors were in a holiday mood, dealers said.

The spot rupee was at 130.90/95 per dollar at 0550 GMT, its lowest closing level since Dec. 2. It closed at 130.80/90 on Wednesday.(REUTERS)

Sri Lanka captain vows strong comeback against Pakistan
Sri Lanka's T20 skipper Dinesh Chandimal has promised a strong fightback in the series decider against Pakistan on Friday after losing the opening T20 of the series.

"We will put our heart and soul and come back strongly," the Sri Lanka captain reassured fans from Dubai. (Island Cricket)

Sri Lanka hopes to spur offshore E&P activity
In an aggressive bid to develop indigenous hydrocarbon resources, Sri Lanka is set to lease 13 blocks in the Cauvery and Mannar basins next year, along with six ultra-deepwater "joint study" blocks to the east and south of the island nation, each ranging from 18,000 to 26,000 sq km (6,950 to 10,040 sq mi).

The blocks in the Cauvery basin range in size from 2,403 sq km (928 sq mi) in the shallow waters of the Palk Straight, between Sri Lanka and India, to 4,566 sq km (1,763 sq mi) in deepwater to the northeast of Sri Lanka. (Offshore)

India may follow Sri Lanka in banning terminal handling charges
A budget proposal by Sri Lanka to ban container shipping lines from collecting terminal handling charges (THC) from customers is bound to have reverberations across the waters in India, where a similar trade practice has been a contentious issue between the lines and the shippers (exporters and importers) for many years.

“In order to prevent monopoly pricing in the shipping trade, no shipping line will be permitted to levy terminal handling and other charges in addition to freight and specified international charges for container cargo. Relevant prohibition will be made effective through amendments to the Finance Act, effective from January 2014,” Mahinda Rajapaksa, President and finance minister of Sri Lanka, told the Sri Lankan Parliament in his 21 November budget speech. (live mint)

Minister Aluthgamage did not threaten wife - Police
The Police,today, cleared Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage of the allegation levelled against him by his wife -- that he was trying to harm her.

Issuing a special statement, the Police Media Unit said that, consequent on a letter to the IGP, from the wife of the minister, Mrs. Asha Aluthgamage, accusing Mr Aluthgamage of trying to harm her and saying that her life was under threat, a special police investigation had been launched. It said no substantial evidence had been found to confirm the allegation.(Daily Mirror)

Court dismisses petition by opposition MP against media company
A Sri Lankan court yesterday dismissed a petition filed by a United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian against a media company.

Matara Additional Magistrate Manjula Tilakaratne has dismissed without subjecting to the cost, a case filed by the UNP parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera against the Sirasa media institution. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka detains, releases over 220 Indian fishermen
The Sri Lankan Navy Wednesday detained over 220 Indian fishermen and later released them, unconfirmed reports said.

"Over 220 Indian fishermen were detained by the Sri Lankan Navy and taken to Sri Lanka. As of now, we are told that all the fishermen have been released. We are trying to confirm that. Fishermen in around 15 boats have confirmed they have been released," an official of the Tamil Nadu fisheries department told IANS over phone from Nagapattinam, around 320 km from here. (daijiworld)

Development strategy needed for IDPs in Sri Lanka: UN envoy
While Sri Lanka has made progress in the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) after the end of the civil war in the north in 2009, it still has to do more as many of them live in precarious conditions, a UN special envoy has said.

"After having made impressive strides in rebuilding infrastructure destroyed during the conflict, post-conflict reconstruction in Sri Lanka should also focus on addressing durable solutions for all IDPs and those who have returned to their areas of origin on a comprehensive basis," said Chaloka Beyani, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights of IDPs. (Business Standard)

Anti-SL campaign by PPT and TNA targeting UNHRC 2014
A huge anti-Sri Lanka campaign has been activated, targeting the March 2014 UNHRC sessions in Geneva by local and global elements headed by the so-called ‘Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal’ (PPT) in Germany and the TNA, National Freedom Front (NFP) leader and Constructions, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Wimal Weerawansa said today.

Addressing the media at the party office at Battaramulla, Minister Weerawansa said the objective of the two anti-government entities was to keep the allegations of human rights violations alive and incite member countries to pass another resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. (Daily Mirror)

SL navy turned Bay of Bengal into an 'open-air prison': Karunanidhi
Slamming Sri Lanka and India over the issue of repeated instances of arrest of Indian fishermen, DMK president M Karunanidhi today said the navy of that country had turned Bay of Bengal into an "open-air prison," and charged New Delhi with allowing that.

Referring to yesterday's incident of Sri Lankan navy retaining 100 of the over 200 Indian fishermen it had arrested, Karunanidhi said DMK MPs had immediately raised the issue in the Parliament on his directions. (Business Standard)

Sri Lanka among top 20 most giving nations
Sri Lanka has been ranked as the 10th Most Giving Nation in the World in 2012, according to the Charities Aid Foundation. - See more at: http://www.nation.lk/edition/breaking-news/item/23537-sri-lanka-among-top-20-most-giving-nations.html#sthash.EFilWO5f.dpuf (The Nation)

Sri Lanka main opposition party to name 2014 as the year the government is ousted
The Working Committee of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) decided to suggest four major proposals to the upcoming general assembly.

Accordingly, UNP Working Committee decided to legalize and empower the newly established Leadership Council, make the party statements in one voice, abolish executive presidency and to demand the government to relieve the people from escalating cost of living. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka rupee steady near 5-week high; stocks slip
The Sri Lankan rupee traded flat on Wednesday, hovering near its five-week highs in sluggish trade as many investors were on holiday mood, dealers said.

The spot rupee was traded flat at 130.80/85 per dollar at 0526 GMT, which was near a level last traded on Nov. 7. (REUTERS)

Polls chief in bid to dispel fears among political parties
The Election Secretariat has launched a novel project to dispel fears among political parties, that the electoral process, particularly the counting procedure, could be manipulated to the advantage of the ruling SLFP-led coalition.

Authoritative Election Secretariat sources told The Island that the Election Department intended to brief political parties separately in the run-up to Provincial Council polls in the Western, Uva and Southern Provinces next year. (The Island)

Pak Navy chief to arrive in Sri Lanka tomorrow
Close on the heels of a visit by the Indian Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi, Pakistan's Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Asif Sandila will arrive in Sri Lanka tomorrow.

During his four-day visit, Sandila will hold discussions on bilateral cooperation with his counterpart Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage, the Pakistani High Commission here said. (Business Standard)

Sri Lanka Dual Citizenship to become a reality soon
Sri Lanka’s much-awaited Dual Citizenship Act is all ready to become a reality soon when it would be ready for implementation within a few weeks from now.

Amendments to the Immigration Act that facilitates the dual citizenship process were held up by the Legal Draftsman, which delayed the processing of dual citizenship applications by Sri Lankan expatriates. The Act needed to be amended to accommodate the newly recommended tougher screening procedures. (Truthdive)

Sri Lanka president due in Kenya to boost bilateral ties
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is due in Kenya on Wednesday for a three-day state visit to boost bilateral ties and celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of independence.

Kenya's Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued in Nairobi that President Rajapaksa will also grace a business forum which brings together captains of industry from both countries in Nairobi. (Global Post)

Minister’s foot in mouth over Basil ad
Civil Aviation Minister Priyankara Jayaratne was in a spot in Parliament today, when he claimed that the enlarged photograph of Minister Basil Rajapaksa was included in a full page newspaper advertisement as part of the Mattala International Airport’s publicity campaign.

Minister Jayaratne, in response to a question by JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, said Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited had published an advertisement in a Sinhala newspaper at a cost of Rs. 225,000, to publicise and market the new airport on March 6, 2013. (Daily Mirror)

110 fishermen held by Sri Lankan Navy
The Sri Lankan Navy on Wednesday arrested 110 Indian fishermen off Sri Lanka’s eastern coast for allegedly fishing illegally. It also confiscated their 15 trawlers

According to sources in fishermen’s associations in Tamil Nadu, the arrested fishermen were largely from Nagapattinam and Karaikkal. (The Hindu)

Government in talks with India to amend FTA
The Sri Lankan government has started fresh talks with India, in a bid to bring changes to the existing Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as the controversial Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) has not come to fruition due to protest from various quarters, a top bureaucrat disclosed.

Investment Promotion Ministry Secretary M.M.C. Ferdinando said the objective of these discussions was to look at how the FTA could be re-structured to make it more favorable to Sri Lanka.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka PM's Coordinating Secretary removed over heroin controversy
Sri Lankan Prime Minister's Coordinating Secretary Keerthi Weerasinghe who has allegedly issued a letter requesting a tax exception on a container that was found to contain the largest heroin haul in the country.

Weerasinghe has been removed from all positions he held at the Buddha Sasana Ministry, which comes under the Prime Minister's authority, Buddha Sasana Ministry in a communiqué issued today announced.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan temple shot takes first place in smartphone travel photo competition
With 67 per cent of us using our mobile phones as a camera on holiday, it was only a matter of time until a competition honoured the 21st Century photography phenomenon.

The 'Best Photo Taken on a Smartphone' contest, launched by Celebrity Cruises, encouraged amateur photographers to submit their holiday snaps and has announced that a shot of the Gangaramaya Viharaya Temple, taken in Colombo, Sri Lanka, has taken top place.(Daily Maill)

Sangakkara says Sri Lankan team inspired to go for victory in upcoming Pak series
Sri Lanka`s veteran batsman Kumar Sangakkara is hoping the memories of his side`s Twenty20 World Cup semi-final win over Pakistan last year will inspire them to victory in the upcoming series in the UAE, according to reports.

According to Gulf News, the 36-year-old was a member of the Sri Lanka side that beat Pakistan by 16 runs, successfully defending a total of just 139 at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo last October.(Zee News)

Church warns of 'foreign intervention' in Sri Lanka
The Catholic church Wednesday warned Sri Lanka's government of foreign intervention unless it works towards reconciliation and addresses allegations of war crimes against Tamil separatists.

Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, said he was urging President Mahinda Rajapakse and the main ethnic Tamil party to hammer out a political settlement or risk an international probe. (AFP/Google)

US to keep close watch on Sri Lanka's human rights record
The US is keeping a close tab on Sri Lanka to see that it develops a credible justice mechanism to address allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, a top American official has said.

"We do also continue to be concerned about on going issues regarding restrictions on freedom of the press and expression, on the erosion of the rule of law and violence against religious minorities," US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said yesterday in Washington. (Indian Express)

Sri Lankan Airlines CEO aims for Chinese market
Kapila Chandrasena, 48, says the two nations, with very ancient cultures, have a lot in common. He believes Chinese visitors will make the island nation a popular destination once they learn about its beauty, its people and its culture, as well as the airline's services.

While Sri Lankan Airlines has boomed in the Chinese market in recent years, its Director and Chief Executive Officer Kapila Chandrasena is not content with the status quo. The 48-year-old expects to make the company a gateway to open up the travel market of the island country to China. (ecns)

Sri Lanka's Attorney General warns of losing investments if country is rife with corruption
Attorney General of Sri Lanka, President's Counsel Palitha Fernando has warned that the country might stand to lose on the foreign direct investments if it is identified as being rife with bribery and corruption.

Addressing an event in Colombo, Fernando said that it is the ordinary citizens in the country who stand to suffer due to bribery and corruption. (Colombo Page)

Good news soon for Sri Lankan expatriates…
The Legal Draftman's Office said they have received the draft of the amended Dual Citizenship Act Bill from the Attorney General's Department, and it will be ready for implementation within weeks.

The bill had been passed by the Attorney General, Palitha Fernando, with his observations, which will be soon included in the draft bill, Legal Draftsman, GAS Silva, told Ceylon Today.(Emirates 24/7)

Sri Lanka invites investors for first economic zone in post-war north
Sri Lankan government is calling on investors for the first investment zone in the former war-torn north of the country, an official said here on Tuesday.

Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development along with the Industrial Development Board (IDB) has extended an open invitation to interested investors and industrialists to benefit from the new post-war opportunity at the Achuchuveli Industrial Zone . (Global Post)

Pakistan, Sri Lanka in Dubai for World T20 tune up
Sri Lanka and Pakistan will use their two-match series in Dubai starting on Wednesday to size each other up ahead of the World Twenty20 in three months' time.

Pakistan, fourth in the Twenty20 rankings, are also aiming to topple Sri Lanka from the top of the standings by winning both matches, the second of which takes place on Friday. (cricbuzz)

Sri Lanka Tamil party protests inside Northern PC to win 10 demands
Sri Lanka's major Tamil political party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has carried out a protest inside the Northern Provincial Council to win 10 demands.

Among the 10 demands was the need to address issues faced by displaced people in the resettlement process. (Colombo Page)

Research and Markets: Sri Lanka Oil and Gas Markets Outlook to 2025
The report provides comprehensive analysis and forecasts of the Sri Lanka oil and gas market between 2000 and 2025. Covering the entire value chain of the industry, the report analyzes each of the oil and gas segments in Sri Lanka including upstream sector, pipeline, refinery, LNG and storage sectors.

Further, detailed information on new fields, blocks, pipelines, refineries, storage assets and LNG terminals along with the investments required, current status of the projects and commencement feasibility are provided, highlighting the growth potential and feasibility of projects. (Fort Mill Times)

Sri Lankan-based app for children finds a home in Kitchener
Using three small plush toys — a cow, a rabbit and a duck — young children enter a magical world on their parents' tablets and learn about rational thinking, problem solving, numbers, colours and shapes along the way.

Welcome to Qboo — the brainchild of a startup called Kreyonic, which has roots on the other side of the globe. (The Record)

Even China says SL govt. corrupt: Ranil
Even China, the country that provides the largest amount of loans to Sri Lanka had charged that the Sri Lankan government was corrupt, main Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said at a seminar held on the 2014 budget at the Jathika Sevaka Sangama Headquarters today.

He said a Chinese national newspaper had highlighted that corruption in Sri Lanka, Malawi and Morocco government sectors was on the rise. (Daily Mirror)

Working Committee of Sri Lanka main opposition party meets
The Working Committee of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) will discuss the proposals to be presented at the party's next convention when the committee meets today (10).

The Working Committee will meet under party leader Ranil Wickremasinghe and the members will discuss the proposals for the UNP convention to be held on the 21st of this month.(Colombo Page)

Navy builds another 02 Inshore Patrol Craft for Sri Lanka Coast Guard
Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage ceremonially handed over 02 Inshore Patrol Craft (IPCs) constructed by the Navy to the Sri Lanka Coast Guard at the Port of Colombo on 10th December 2013.

Director General of the Sri Lanka Coast Guard, Rear Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, Commander of the Western Naval Area, Rear Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe and senior officers of the Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Coast Guard were present on the occasion.(SL Navy)

No laws in Sri Lanka preventing female Muslim students from covering their faces - minister
The Higher Education Ministry of Sri Lanka has said that there are no rules or regulations that would prevent female Muslim students from covering their faces.

The announcement by Deputy Higher Education Minister Nandimithra Ekanayake was made at a time when the Moratuwa University recently imposed a ban on the niqab worn by female Muslim students.(Colombo Page)

Exploration for graphite in Sri Lanka
MRL Corporation (ASX: MRF) has started field exploration on initial targets at Wallagala in Its Warakapola graphite project, Sri Lanka, after executing land access agreements.

It has also started a preliminary environmental impact statement on the initial exploration target areas, which cover about 42 hectares.(proactiveinvestors)

LPL Chairman Sandagiri removed
Retired Navy Commander Admiral Daya Sandagiri has been removed from the Chairmanship of Lanka Phosphate Ltd. (LPL) over the controversial purchase of a phosphate fertilizer grinding machine from China at a cost of Rs. 560 million.

The UNP recently claimed, in Parliament, that LPL had imported a paddy milling machine from a mill in China at a cost of Rs. 560 million and commissioned it at the Eppawala fertiliser phosphate deposit to increase its production.(The Island)

Members of Rajapaksa family have become trillionaires after taking office
After Mahinda Rajapaksa became President, the people in his family became trillionaires while more than Rs.8.5 trillion has been separated for them, Secretary of the United National Bhikkhu Front Thiniyawala Palitha Thero stated.

Speaking at a press conference held today (December 9) in Colombo, he said that the President’s daily expenditure is about Rs.20 million.(Ada Derana)

Lankan worker rejects paltry compensation
A Sri Lankan worker who lost his leg while working refused Monday to accept SR5,000 as compensation from his Saudi sponsor.

Ruwan Chamara Herath, 29, suffered a serious accident while driving a vehicle without headlights. He claimed his sponsor forced him to drive the vehicle at midnight even though he knew that the headlights were not working, Herath alleged.(Daily Mirror)

Japanese peace envoy, President discuss current developments in Sri Lanka
Yasushi Akashi, the representative of the Government of Japan for Peace-Building, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Monday held discussions on Sri Lanka's current developments.

Akashi, who arrived in the Island on Sunday on a six-day official visit from 8th to 13th December, met Sri Lankan President this morning at the President's House.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka government turns schools to ICT centres to close digital gap
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) and ITU have initiated a digital inclusion project to transform 33 schools into community ICT centres.

The ‘Connect a School, Connect a Community’ project will benefit over 8500 students from remote areas with low connectivity and digital literacy.(futureGOV)

Kalabushana awards ceremony on Dec.15
The Kalabushana Awards Presentation Ceremony which is organized by the Department of Cultural Affairs for the 29th successive year will be held under the distinguished patronage of Hon. T.B. Ekanayaka Minister of Culture and the Arts at “Nawarangahala” Royal College , Colombo 07 on 15th December 2013.

289 Sinhala ,Tamil and Muslim artistes who have rendered a great service for the advancement of the literature and the arts of Sri Lanka and who have reached the age of 60, spending their eventide of life will be felicitated and awarded on this occasion.(Govt. News Portal of Sri Lanka)

Robbing the victory of Sri Lanka’s Ranaviruwan through Commissions – Latest Stratagems
When the country has allocated Rs.59million to send its delegation to Geneva in March 2013 to defend the country against mounting human rights allegations the simple question is why has it been so difficult to defend the country against terrorists – banned by the very nations making the allegations?

Why has it been difficult for official representatives to derive a strategy that clearly provides with documentary proof what LTTE did over 30 years (both at home and abroad) and what the Government has been doing post-war to uplift the lives of people in areas that the LTTE terrorists held owing in large measure to a bogus cease fire agreement that was heralded by some nations of the so called international community.(Lankaweb)

Robbing the victory of Sri Lanka’s Ranaviruwan through Commissions – Latest Stratagems
When the country has allocated Rs.59million to send its delegation to Geneva in March 2013 to defend the country against mounting human rights allegations the simple question is why has it been so difficult to defend the country against terrorists – banned by the very nations making the allegations?

Why has it been difficult for official representatives to derive a strategy that clearly provides with documentary proof what LTTE did over 30 years (both at home and abroad) and what the Government has been doing post-war to uplift the lives of people in areas that the LTTE terrorists held owing in large measure to a bogus cease fire agreement that was heralded by some nations of the so called international community.(Lankaweb)

JHU calls for the arrest of PM
Prime Minister D. M Jayarathne should immediately resign or he should be arrested immediately if he fails to divulge the name of the official who had asked for the clearance of a container which had 131 Kg of heroin, the Jathika Hela Urumaya said.

Leader of the JHU Ven. Omalpe Sobhitha Thera yesterday said that the Prime Minister was duty bound to reveal the names of the officials who were involved in urging the release of the container.(Daily Mirror)

Buddhist monk organization in Sri Lanka warns UNP MP Sajith Premadasa rebelling against party
A powerful Buddhist monk organization of Sri Lanka's major opposition United National Party (UNP) severely warned party rebel Sajith Premadasa to refrain from acting against the party unity.

General Secretary of United Bhikku Front (UBF) Bopitiye Dhammissara Thero said today at a press conference held in the party headquarters Sirikotha that Premadasa would have to face stern action unless he compromises with the newly appointed Leadership Council.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka declares mourning period ahead of president attending Mandela's funeral
The Sri Lankan government on Monday declared a two-day mourning period in respect of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, ahead of Sri Lanka president attending the funeral as the Commonwealth Chair.

The Government Information Department under the Media Ministry announced that Tuesday and Wednesday would be days of national mourning during which the national flag will be flown at half-mast. (Global Post)

Opposition MP calls for a parliamentary committee to investigate Sri Lanka's coal power plant
Main opposition United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Ajith P Perera says the government needs to appoint a parliamentary select committee (PSC) to investigate the Norochcholai coal power plant that has broken down in over 20 occasions since its installation in 2011.

The frequent breakdowns in the coal power plant have resulted in the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) incurring massive financial losses. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka oil bill: 'We need an alternative'
A jubilant Petroleum Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa told a local radio station that Sri Lanka would have a huge advantage if the sanctions on Tehran were eventually lifted. Responding to a question by an opposition member about the government's seeming inability to bring down petrol prices, Yapa told parliament it was due to the fact that the country's petroleum sector has been badly hit by the sanctions on Iran.

The nuclear accord between Iran and the six world powers was, therefore, not only good news for Tehran, but also Sri Lanka, a country severely affected by international sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic. Iran accounted for almost 93 percent of the country's oil needs and had even offered a seven-month credit to Sri Lanka to settle the oil bill. (Aljazeera)

Racism and communalism can achieve nothing – President
Nothing can be achieved by promoting racism and communalism. This is clearly seen in the tremendous development achieved by the education sector in the Jaffna region after the liberation of the entire area from the clutches of LTTE terrorists.

This was stated by President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing a function held at the Wijithamuni Soyza Cultural Hall after opening the new building complex of the Bibila Pradeshiya Sabha. The President said that this achievement in Jaffna is not the result of the efforts of LTTE terrorists or the Tamil National Alliance but due to the efforts of the government and he is very proud of it.(Govt. News Portal of Sri Lanka)

Infant dies after 3-year-old feeds him
A toddler in Sri Lanka fed her infant brother solid food that allegedly resulted in his death.

According to a report in Lankadeep, the 27-year-old mom was busy in the kitchen after having served breakfast to the family, when the tragedy occurred. (Emirates 24/7)

"Aged' Sri Lankan MP Calls Singh 'Old Fool"
A senior Sri Lankan ruling party MP, J R P Suriyapperuma, told Parliament last week that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was an “old man” and a “fool”, who would soon be overthrown by the Indian people, according to media reports.

“The Indian Prime Minister, who promised to attend CHOGM and did not come, has been rejected by the people at the election held in five Indian states. The old man (nakiya) will be thrown out of office soon. This fool has gone and created a new state in India now,” Suriyapperuma, who is four years older than Singh, said at a Committee Stage debate on the Ministry of External Affairs. (Indian Express)

Sri Lanka informs diplomatic community of current developments in the country
Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris and Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga briefed Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to Sri Lanka on current developments.

Minister Peiris informed the diplomatic community of a series of events involving the professional, academic and business communities and their role in working with the government in implementing the objectives of the recently concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), the government media unit said. (Colombo Page)

Ship suppliers call for stronger lobbying eyeing 2015 budget
Sri Lanka’s ship supplier industry must look to float a common bond in order to increase its lobbying power and push for concessions not granted with Budget 2014, according to Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Harbour Master, Captain Ravi Jayawickrama.

Also known as a bond of association, a common bond is formed when individuals gather share capital into a common pool for the purpose of lending among members.(Daily Mirror)

Immigrant Expo aims to help newcomers find what they need to get started, including a job
Despite years of work experience with international companies, Sanjee Wijenaike knew she was going to have to “start from scratch” when she immigrated from Sri Lanka to Canada.

Wijenaike, her husband and then three-year-old daughter, moved to Burnaby in 2010. Both Wijenaike and her husband are well educated, each holding a master’s degree from institutions in the United States.(Vancouver Desi)

Sri Lanka unemployment up amid higher female participation
Sri Lanka's unemployment rate had risen to 4.5 percent in the first half of 2013 from 3.9 percent a year earlier, reversing several years of labour market tightening official data showed.

The total number of unemployed had risen to 401,000 for the first half of 2013 from 324,000 a year earlier, with female unemployment rising to 7.0 percent from 5.9 percent a year earlier a central bank report said, quoting a statistics office survey.(Lanka Business Online)

Protection money paid for chanting pirith – monk
With extortion rampant in the Pettah area, all traders are forced to pay protection money to groups operating there, Chairman of the Deshamamaka Three wheel Operators’ Association, Ven. Uvathenne Sumana Thera says.

Addressing a press conference at the Sri Bodhirajarama Maha Vihara in Maligawatte, Colombo, on the recent fire in the Pettah, which destroyed over one hundred shops belonging to small traders, Sumana Thera said that not even a pirith chanting vehicle was spared by the extortion gangs. "The extortionists even obtain Rs. 4,000 per day from the vehicle bearing the Ransivigeya used for chanting pirith." (The Island)

October exports hit record high
Sri Lanka’s earnings from exports in October 2013 reached US dollars 1,041 million, the highest ever monthly value recorded in the history of Sri Lanka’s exports, the Central Bank said last week. This growth was led by industrial exports followed by agricultural exports. Earnings from industrial exports in October 2013,

which account for more than 74 percent of total exports, increased by 34 percent on a year-on year basis to US dollars 771 million mainly due to higher export of textiles and garments. On the other hand, (The Nation)

World’s smallest wild cat gets special attention at SGNP
The world's first conservation captive breeding programme for the Indian rusty-spotted cat, the world's smallest wild cat species, is set to begin at Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in Borivali. Officials from Germany's Frankfurt zoo, which has a similar programme for the Sri Lankan species of the cat, are likely to visit the park in February to guide the programme.

"Weighing between 1 and 1.6 kg, the rusty-spotted cat, with its short fur marked with rust brown spots, is found only in India and Sri Lanka. We are the only centre in the country that has captive bred rusty-spotted cats," said Vikas Gupta, chief conservator of forests, SGNP. (Indian Express)

Professional Web Journalists' Association in Sri Lanka speaks against blocking of local news website
The Professional Web Journalists' Association (PWJA) of Sri Lanka says that the blocking of a local website is part of a 'selective curbing of access to internet news.

Issuing a statement on the blocking of SriLankaMirror website, Convener of the PWJA, Freddy Gamage noted that over half a dozen websites from Tamilnet, Sri Lankan Guardian, LankaeNews that carry news and information on Sri Lanka and interactive participation by readers have been blocked from resident Sri Lankan citizens and in this selective curbing of access to internet news, the latest victim is SriLankaMirror. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan Parliament condoles death of Nelson Mandela
The Sri Lankan Government and Opposition both expressed condolence, in Parliament on Sarturday, on the death of Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president who led the peaceful transition from white-only rule, after a long illness.

Nelson Mandela, emerged from prison after 27 years to lead his country out of decades of apartheid. He died Thursday night at age 95. (Govt. News Portal of Sri Lanka)

India, Lanka enjoy unbreakable bonds, says Indian envoy
India and Sri Lanka are linked by an unbreakable historical bond as they share a common religion in Buddhism, the Indian High Commissioner here said today.

Y K Sinha was addressing a gathering at the opening of the Indian Gallery at the Temple of Tooth, the foremost place of Buddhist religious worship in the central town of Kandy today. (Business Standard)

Sea Street thrives on Black Market Gold
In a shocking revelation, market sources claimed that more than 50 percent of the Sea Street jewelery shop owners are involved in trading “black market gold”.

Referring to it as ‘Sea Street gold mafia’, the sources said that their major source of income is dealing in black market gold and that the jewelery industry is just a cover-up. (The Nation)

Lankan barbers come together
Small-time barbers across the country are banding together to form a potent force and fight for their rights, a spokesperson of a new association said.

The Sri Lanka Barbers Association will be launched at the BMICH on Monday with some 200-300 barbers attending with discussions on ways of looking after the interests of some 60,000 barbers across the country.(Sunday Times)

Sri Lanka military owes over Rs. 10 billion to the food suppliers
Contractors who supplied food to Sri Lanka security forces say that they have not been paid for over a year for the food supplies.

The military owes over Rs. 10 billion to a number of leading supply contractors of the country for the food supplied, Sunday Lankadeepa newspaper reported.(Colombo Page)

Tourism can do without casinos, take an example from Maldives
- Sobitha Thera -
Chief incumbent of the Kotte Naga Viharaya, Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera, said last week that despite objections from the Mahanayakes, other religious leaders and opposition parties, the government was determined to go ahead with the establishment of six casino zones, but it should stop and take note of the good example set by the Maldives.

The Maldives had been able to attract over a million tourists in 2012, most of who were big spenders, and had already topped that figure this year without establishing a single gaming center.(Sunday Island)

Sajith calls for unity among all parties to save SL
United National Party Parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa today said that all political parties in the country should join hands to form an all party movement and come to an agreement in order to face and defeat the upcoming resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“We, the UNP strongly believe that if there is a domestic issue, it should be solved internally and not internationally. It is our duty to come together to save the country. If the resolution is passed next March at the UNHRC, the consequences could be adverse. There will be sanctions. Therefore I suggest that all parties should come together to face threats posed by international forces,” he said. (Daily Mirror)

Cairn India bids for block in Sri Lanka
Cairn India has bid for one oil and gas exploration block in Sri Lanka while ONGC Videsh did not bid for any of the 13 blocks on offer in that country mainly due to poor prospectivity.

Bids for 13 offshore exploration blocks offered in the Sri Lankan Licensing Round, only the second in its history, closed on November 29. Sri Lanka received just three bids at the close with Cairn being the only major explorer bidding, industry sources said.(Oman Tribune)

Sri Lankan Catholics bid farewell to former apostolic nuncio
The bishops, priests, and religious of Sri Lanka celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving Dec. 2 to show appreciation for their former apostolic nuncio, who has been appointed nuncio to Ivory Coast.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo and president of the Sri Lankan bishops' conference, thanked Archbishop Joseph Spiteri for his valuable contributions to the Catholics of Sri Lanka, where he had been apostolic nuncio since February 2009. (DFW Catholic)

Farbrace to be Sri Lanka coach
Former Sri Lanka team Assistant coach Paul Farbrace will take over as the next Sri Lanka coach from Graham Ford, after the series against Pakistan in December-January.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Executive Committee ratified his appointment unofficially last evening and decided to call Farbrace for a routine interview, which will take place on Monday at the SLC Headquarters. (Daily Mirror)

BoI not to entertain registrations of new private schools in Sri Lanka
Education Minister of Sri Lanka Bandula Gunawardena says the government's investment promotion agency, Board of Investment (BoI) will not entertain registration of new private schools in future.

Gunawardena told parliament that the BoI has stopped registering any more private schools in the country. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan HR Situation and Canada’s Mr. Obhrai
It appears that Canada has found another bone to pick with Sri Lanka and is again misusing the concept of human rights. Mr. Obhrai who represented Canada at the recent Commonwealth summit in Colombo now claims that he was deprived of air transport to Jaffna.

There are many accusations made against Sri Lanka by Canada without any basis. If Cameron was able to go without any problem, why would the third string representative from Canada be not allowed to go? (Lankaweb)

Sri Lanka rupee steady at over 5-wk high; upward pressure remains
The Sri Lankan rupee traded flat on Friday at a more than five-week high as inward remittances and exporter dollar conversions offset importer dollar demand, but the rupee is still under upward pressure, dealers said.

The spot rupee was traded flat at 130.80/85 rupees to a dollar at 0700 GMT, hovering around its highest close since Oct. 25. It has gained nearly 0.32 percent in five straight sessions through Thursday.(REUTERS)

Mandela: “a profound icon of peace and a beacon of light for freedom” – President Rajapaksa
Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the late President Mandela was a profound icon of peace and a beacon of light for freedom.

In a condolence message sent to the South African President Jacob Zuma, Rajapaksa also said Mandela’s leadership to the South African independence struggle was exemplary.(News 360)

Sri Lanka's Frontline Socialist Party to hold a massive protest
Sri Lanka's new leftist Front Line Socialist Party (FLSP), a splinter party of main Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), announced that the party would hold a massive protest and a conference on Tuesday, December 10 to demand the government to release the two missing activists of the organization.

The FLSP alleges that the two activists, Jaffna District organizer of the "Movement for Peoples Struggle" Comrade Lalith Kumar Weeraraju and Comrade Kuhan Maruganandan have been abducted by the Sri Lankan security forces.(Colombo Page)

Gang robs diamond watch worth millions
Negombo police said that a gang, which entered the mansion belonging to the late parliamentary speaker Susil Munasinghe, had robbed his wife’s diamond studded wrist watch worth Rs4 million along with other jewellery from the house, ‘Lankadeepa’ reported.

According to police investigations, the robbery had taken place at the residence of JE Inoka Nilmini Jayalath in Negombo between on Monday.(Emirates 24/7)

Indian Coast Guards Detain 82 Sri Lankan Fishermen In Last 10 Days
Twenty-six Sri Lankan fishermen were arrested over the past two days for allegedly fishing illegally in Indian waters, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

The latest arrests bring to 82 the number of fishermen arrested from Sri Lanka in the last ten days.(Bernama)

Woman torches home after arguing with owner
A 48-year-old woman allegedly torched a house in Sri Lanka while she was in an inebriated state.

The woman was an employee in a factory and resided in the worker's quarters near the mill.(Emirates 24/7)

Sri Lanka warned on negative effects of import substitution
Sri Lanka's drive towards trade restrictions and import substitution may hurt the country, as autarky has consistently failed elsewhere, an International Monetary Fund official has warned.

"It is not a matter of opinion. It is not a matter of IMF doctrine," IMF resident Koshy Mathai told reporters in Colombo. (Lanka Business Online)

Sri Lanka stocks end tad weaker; rate decision awaited
The Sri Lankan bourse slipped on Thursday from a near two-week high with gains in financials offset by losses in shares of palm oil companies, and as investors waited for clarity from the monetary policy rate decision scheduled early next week.

The main stock index fell 0.04 percent, or 2.34 points, to 5,780.58, slipping from its highest close since Nov. 22(Business Rrecorder)

Leading Sri Lankan contemporary art on show in HK
Sovereign Asian Art Prize winner Pala Pothupitiye of Sri Lanka is exhibiting his works for the first time in Hong Kong this week in “Serendipity Revealed,’’ which also showcases prominent Sri Lankan contemporary art.

Pothupitiye’s works are being displayed alongside that of fellow Sri Lankan artist Anoli Perera.(The Standard)

Maj. Gen. Dias denied Aussie visa over C-4 allegation
On the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations, propagated by the UK media outfit, Channel 4 News, Australia has refused to allow Major General Jagath Dias join an ICRC project in Australia this month.

Authoritative sources told The Island that the Australian High Commission had informed the Gajaba Regiment veteran of its decision. Asked whether the Australian HC had given any specific reasons for rejecting the officer’s visa, sources revealed that an attempt was made to persuade him to withdraw his application (The Island)

SL to launch Satellite in UNESCAP project
Sri Lanka will become a member of the elite ‘Satellite Club of Nations’ when it launches its first satellite in two years under its ambitious ‘Small Satellite Mission’ programme, Technology and Research Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said.

This is a direct result of selecting Sri Lanka as the pilot country by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP) for the five year plan carried out to measure the sustainability of utilizing space technology for sustainable development on a proposal made by Minister Ranwaka. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka's Cinnamon Air expands network
Cinnamon Air, a domestic Sri Lanka based airline said it had added a sixth destination to its network with scheduled services started to Sigiriya.

The flight from Sri Lanka's international airport in Katunayake will use Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft. (Lanka Business Online)

French NGO's allegations of 2006 massacre is a move for an international probe on Sri Lanka - Army
The Sri Lanka Army said the recent allegation by a French charity that Sri Lankan security forces killed 17 of its aid workers in 2006, without providing the evidence they claimed to have, is a move to bring an independent international investigation against Sri Lanka.

The Army said if the NGO had evidence in its possession it should have provided that to the Sri Lankan government to aid in the domestic investigation without waiting for seven years to level allegations in a press release. (Colombo Page)

Gentle oil lamps or rough burning tires for Jaffna?
I write in response to the Tamilnet article - ‘Students protest against Colombo's discriminatory closure of Jaffna University forwarded to me by a leading member of the Tamil Diaspora.

As per this article ‘The Sri Lankan State through its administration kept the universities across the island closed while the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) took place in Colombo. (Sri Lanka Guardian)

DMK for probe into war crimes in Sri Lanka
The DMK has issued a notice seeking a discussion, under Rule 193 in the Lok Sabha, against the human rights violations and war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan defence forces against Tamils during the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. (The Hindu)

Sri Lanka deploys medical team to Philippines to asset typhoon victims
Sri Lanka has made arrangements to send medical assistance to Philippines to help the victims of the Typhoon Haiyan.

Sri Lanka will send a 23-member medical team comprising specialist doctors, nurses and support staff. (Colombo Page)

United National Party will never lead Sri Lanka because…..
There is one reason and one reason alone that explains why the United National Party will never lead Sri Lanka and no one needs to be splitting hairs or having conventions to find out. UNP will not win elections because it does not command the Buddhist vote.

The tragedy is that it does not even care to consider championing the Buddhist cause. The reason is plain and simple and explains why over the years it has forgotten the arithmetic realities of how parties can win elections and why parties win elections. (Lankaweb)

Separate body to address housing and livelihood issues in Eastern Province
The Eastern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka will set up a separate authority to address housing and livelihood issues in the area.

The Council has decided to create a Housing Development Authority to implement the housing development programme for the province. (Colombo Page)

Dav Whatmore eyes winning farewell in Sri Lanka
Pakistan head coach Dav Whatmore is hoping to end his tenure with the team on a high note as the side left for a gruelling series against Sri Lanka in the United Arab Emirates.

"The way the team played in South Africa I am pretty confident I will be able to end my contract with Pakistan cricket on a high and winning note and go out a satisfied man," the former Australian player told PTI before team departure last night. (thatsCRICKET)

Police deploy thousands of Tamil speaking officers to the North and East
Sri Lanka Police have deployed thousands of Tamil speaking officers to the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

Police Media Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana told the media that 900 Tamil police officers and 1,500 Sinhala police officers fluent in the Tamil language have been deployed to police stations in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. (Colombp Page)

Lankan Journalists detained at Mumbai airport
Two Sri Lankan journalists who were on an assignment to India had to undergo harassment by an Indian Immigration officer at the Mumbai International Airport when they were briefly detained and questioned despite possessing a valid visa and other documents

Daily Mirror journalist Lakmal Sooriyagoda and Daily News journalist Sara Pathirana arrived at the Mumbai International Airport on December 1 on a Jet Airways Flight No. 9W 255 and proceeded to the Immigration Counte (Daily Mirror)

Ghost train travels 12 km without driver in Sri Lanka
An incident of a train engine automatically starting and travelling about 12 kilometers without the driver was reported from Sri Lanka.

The runaway train engine, which was docked at the Railway Yard in Dematagoda has started automatically in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday and proceeded without a driver on the southern railway track. (Colombp Page)

Training to SL forces: Centre should avoid taking policy decision, says G.K. Vasan
The Union Government should not take a policy decision to impart training to Sri Lankan Forces, said Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan at Chennai on Thursday.

Speaking after inaugurating a male ward at the Port Trust Hospital, Mr Vasan said that the Union government is not in a position to compromise with Sri Lanka on its stand. (The Hindu)

Sri Lankan PM's office hit by heroin scam
Sri Lankan Prime Minister DM Jayaratne's office has been hit by a huge drugs scam, after drug traffickers obtained a letter written by his co-ordinating secretary to authorize a heroin shipment.

A letter dated 23 August was obtained from the prime minister's office duly signed by a secretary, who said he would be "thankful on behalf of the Hon Prime Minister," if action was taken to waive import charges from the shipment.(Business Standard)

Sri Lanka ICT literary gets boost from Intel
Intel, a technology company, has teamed up with Sri Lanka's state the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka to boost IT literacy in the island.

ICTA chief executive Reshan Dewapura said an agreement was signed with Intel to provide free training of its 'Easy Steps' basic technology literacy program starting with operators of 'Nenasala' information kiosks that are spread around the country. (Lanka Business Online)

US should re-imburse Sri Lanka its oil import losses - says Minister Wasu
Today is the 4th day of the committee stage debate of the budget debate. Expenditure heads of Highways, Ports, naval and civil aviation, power and energy, petroleum resources Ministry will be taken for debate today.

Parliament convened today at 9.30 am under the patronage of speaker Chamal Rajapaksa.(Hiru News)

Dubai-based Lankan couple seek help to save newborn
A Dubai-based Sri Lankan couple is seeking help to pay the mounting hospital bills of their newborn son undergoing treatment for a respiratory problem.

Mohammad Hussain Samath, 49, said his wife Prinsley Parera, 39, delivered their first child on November 27 shortly after which he ran into breathing difficulties. “He was admitted to the Iranian Hospital where he was on ventilator support but was later shifted to University Hospital in Sharjah.”(Ada Derana)

Sri Lankan HR situation like ‘elephant in room’ – Canada
SLAF Chief Air Marshal Harsha Abeywickrama yesterday rejected allegations that foreign delegates who were here to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) last month, had been deprived of the opportunity to fly to Jaffna citing security reasons.

Air Marshal Abeywickrama insisted that the government had ensured swift transportation of all those who sought to visit former operational areas. Among those who had availed themselves of the facility were the British delegation led by Premier David Cameron and a group of foreign journalists, he said.(The Island)

SL regrets Singh cancellation
Sri Lanka has described as “unfortunate” Manmohan Singh’s absence from last month’s Commonwealth meeting in Colombo and denied information about a visit by the Prime Minister announced by finance minister P. Chidambaram last week.

“It was unfortunate that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo,” Sri Lanka’s high commissioner in India Prasad Kariyawasam told The Telegraph over a fortnight after the November 15-17 conclave. (Daily Mirror)

Marxist movement in Sri Lanka says government actions lead for separatism in the North
A movement affiliated to Sri Lanka's Marxist party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), says the government's actions pave the way for separatism to continue in the Northern Province.

Co-convener of the People's Wall of Comradeship, parliamentarian Sunil Handunnetti said that even almost five years after the end of the war, the government is continuing to act in a manner that further polarizes communities and pave the way for separatism in the country. (Colombo Page)

Sri lanka is not a gold smuggling hub
Indian business publication ‘The Economic Times” states that international gold smugglers are using Sri Lanka as the main hub for their smuggling activities.

Elaborating further the article on the Economic Times stated that gold smugglers bring gold in to Sri Lanka from Dubai and then smuggle the gold to India, Thailand and Singapore and that a majority of the gold smuggled are hidden within the human body. (Hiru News)

US funds hospital in Sri Lanka's north
The US will provide a USD 525,000 for the construction of a new hospital in the former LTTE territory in Sri Lnaka's north.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has funded the hospital at Palai in the Kilinochchi district at a cost of USD 525,000 or Sri Lankan rupees 69 million. (Business Standard)

PC Minister should apologise to all SL Artistes: SLASA
The Provincial Council minister who assaulted popular singer Saman de Silva should apologise to the entire school of artistes in the country, Sri Lanka Singers Association (SLASA) Joint Secretary Madumadhawa Aravinda said.

Speaking at a news conference convened to brief the media regarding the alleged assault on the popular singer Saman de Silva by the Southern Provincial Council Minister Bindu Weerasinghe during a musical show in Borella last Saturday night, Aravinda said they would not rest until the Provincial Council Minister apologises.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka stocks closer higher
Sri Lanka stocks closed higher Wednesday with diversified stocks gaining amid foreign buying ending two days of losses, brokers said.

The Colombo benchmark All Share Price Index closed 9.80 points higher at 5,782.92, up 0.17 percent. The S&P SL20 closed 4.11 points lower at 3,165.05, up 0.13 percent.(Lanka Business Online)

Opposition leader of Sri Lanka's Northern PC arrested for the murder
The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of Sri Lanka police has arrested five suspects including the Opposition leader of the Northern Provincial Council for the murder of the Chairman of Delft Pradeshiya Sabha.

Police Media Spokesperson, SSP Ajith Rohana told media that opposition leader of the Northern Provincial Council K. Kamalendran of the EPDP and the wife of the victim were among the arrested suspects. (Colombo Page)

Women are the worst affected: Rosy
While claiming that the 2014 budget was an attempt to please the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Rosy Senanayake said today the women in Sri Lanka were the most affected from the budget.

“Women constitute the majority in Sri Lankans. But the budget has neglected them, especially female employees who work overseas and in the state sector,” Ms.Senanayake said.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka calls for standard terms for employment and insurance of migrant domestic workers
Sri Lanka today called for efforts to introduce standard terms for employment of migrant domestic workers and closed cooperation between the labor sending and receiving countries to ensure their insurance and protection.

Addressing an international dialogue on migrant workers today, Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris noted that the efforts to work on standard terms for employment was a vital necessity and its adoption would solve close to 90 percent of the problems faced by workers and that a rights based approach should be an important essential feature in the dialogue.(Colombo Page)

UNP: Govt. changing Colombo demography for political gain
UNP Matara District MP Mangala Samaraweera accused the government of changing Colombo’s demography for its political gain.

Samaraweera, commencing the third reading stage debate, on Budget 2014, under the headings of Ministries of Defence and Urban Development yesterday, said lands in the city were being acquired on the pretext of development. (The Island)

Military presence is the main problem-CM to UN envoy
The biggest problem faced by the Northern Province residents was the presence of the army, which was pivotal in creating other problems, Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran had told the visiting UN Special Rapporteur Dr. Chaloka Beyani.

The UN Special Envoy, who visited Jaffna today had meetings with the Northern Province Governor Major General (Rtd) G. A. Chandrasiri at his residence, Jaffna Government Agent Sundaram Arumainayagam at his office and the Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran at his residence. (Daily Mirror)

Devananda extends invitation to Wigneswaran again
EPDP leader and Minister Douglas Devavnada yesterday said he expected the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to attend the District Development Council (DDC) meetings in Jaffna and Killinochchi in the New Year, though it had boycotted recent meetings.

The Jaffna District MP told The Island that the Government Agents in Jaffna and Killinochchi would consult Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran to explore the possibility of having DDC meetings after Thaipongal. The minister expressed confidence in the TNA agreeing to join him at the discussion table. (The Island)

Sri Lankan elephant amnesty will lead to poaching, warn conservationists
Environmentalists have responded with alarm to a proposed amnesty permitting the registration of illegally captured elephants in Sri Lanka.

Recent reports in Sri Lankan media have outlined the proposal, stating that during the amnesty period it would be possible to register elephant calves for a fee of about $7,600. (MONGABAY)

October trade gap sShrinks
Sri Lanka's trade deficit narrowed in October from the same month last year as export earnings hit record levels, while import expenditure declined, data released by the central bank showed on Tuesday.

The trade deficit shrunk 38.9 percent to $494.3 million from $808.8 million in the same month last year, a report from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka showed. Export earnings continued to increase during the month, extending the trend from June. (RTT News)

Sri Lanka's forces accused of massacring aid workers
A French charity has accused Sri Lanka's security forces of killing 17 of its aid workers in 2006, and demanded an international inquiry.

Action Against Hunger (ACF) said it had been awaiting the outcome of Sri Lanka's own inquiries but they had turned into a "farce". (BBC)

Sri Lanka post program assessment by IMF
Sri Lanka's inflation is easing and has weathered recent external turbulence well but the country has to be careful about external borrowing and effects of recent rate cuts, the International Monetary Fund has said.

In the first post-program monitoring discussion with Sri Lanka, the IMF has also warned against a rise in bad loans. (Lanka Business Online)

Advantech Wireless—Sri Lanka Success
Advantech Wireless Inc. has announced that its Transcend(tm) 800B Point-to-Point Microwave Radio System operates successfully in Sri Lanka.

“This is an important milestone for our microwave product line,” said Pierre Cardinal, Vice President Global Sales at Advantech Wireless.(Satnews)

US: Patience with Sri Lanka could ‘wear thin’
International patience could wear thin with Sri Lanka unless it takes action to address allegations of atrocities during the island nation’s civil war, the top U.S. diplomat for South Asia said Tuesday.

Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal stopped short of endorsing a deadline set last month by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said he would call for a U.N.-backed inquiry into allegations of war crimes unless there was progress on postwar reconciliation by March. (Washington Post)

Sri Lanka drops to 91st place on 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index
Sri Lanka, with a score of 37 points out of 100, has been ranked at the 91st place among 177 countries this year in the Transparency International's annual global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released today.

Sri Lanka has become more corrupt this year dropping 12 notches from last year's 79th place rank. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan Tamil party rejects allegations of supporting rebels
Sri Lanka's main Tamil political party, the Tamil National Alliance, on Tuesday rejected allegations it supported the Tamil Tiger rebels during the war.

In an address to Parliament, Tamil National Alliance leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan said that his party only looked to work with the rebels to secure a political solution to the conflict but never supported the atrocities they had committed. (Global Post)

Sri Lanka eager to resume Iran oil imports
Sri Lankan Petroleum Resources Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa says his country is willing to resume crude oil imports from Iran amid speculations over Iran sanctions relief.

“We are still not sure what sanctions will be lifted but our refineries are built to suit Iranian oil so if things go well we will consider the option of importing oil from Iran once again,” Yapa was quoted as saying on Tuesday. (Press TV)

Dangerous Ideas and Strategies that hoodwinked Sri Lanka
At some stage or the other the people of Sri Lanka would need to sit down and carefully deliberate over exactly what and who contributed and continues to contribute towards steadily reversing the great victory of the Ranaviru in defeating terrorism in Sri Lanka in May 2009.

Some agreements that had either been authored or agreed to sign on behalf of Sri Lanka have virtually sealed Sri Lanka’s fate. Before we accuse external sources of attempting to destabilize the country we need to look inward, without bias and identify objectively from a country-centric point of view the persons who had been responsible for the troubles that Sri Lanka now faces. (Sri Express)

High demand for oil beds in Sri Lankan seas
The Secretariat for Petroleum Resources Development stated that the new crude oil beds in Mannar and Chauvery Bays were in high demand at the auction.

Petroleum Resources Development Secretary General Saliya Wickramasuriya told our news team that several leading Indian companies are among the bidders. (Hiru News)

Elderly neighbour forces 11-year-old boy to drin
Sri Lankan police arrested 11-year-old school boy who in an intoxicated state began damaging household goods when the police arrived at his residence, ‘Lakbima’ reported.

An elderly neighbour, who instigated the boy to consume liquor, was arrested. (Emirates 24/7)

Packer's Crown resort-casino in Sri Lanka faces further delay
A $400 million Sri Lankan resort and casino complex planned by Australia's Crown Ltd faces additional delays and is unlikely to be approved before the end of the year, a top government official said on Tuesday.

The new delay comes after opposition politicians alleged Crown's chief, gambling tycoon James Packer, was getting concessions not given to local entrepreneurs. (REUTERS)

Sri Lankan Prime Minister says a visit by the Indian PM to North will be good
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka D.M. Jayaratne says that a visit to the North by Indian Premier Manmohan Singh will be good for him to see the development that has taken place in the Northern Province following the end of the war.

Jayaratne told the media in parliament that he personally did not have any objection to Singh visiting the Northern Province on the invitation of Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran. (Colombo Page)

Delhi move on Lanka stokes Tamil anger
The southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has opposed New Delhi’s offer to train Sri Lankan naval officers.

The opposition is the latest instance of continuing friction between Tamil Nadu and New Delhi over India’s relations with Sri Lanka. (Aljazeera)

Sri Lanka signs up US$1.9bn in foreign investments
Sri Lanka has signed up 105 investment agreements worth 1,942 million US dollars so far in 2013 and 870 million US dollars of foreign direct investments have flowed in by the third quarter, officials said.

Investment promotions minister Lakshman Abeywardene said third quarter FDI was up 41 percent from a year earlier. (Lanka Business Online)

A divine time in Sri Lanka
It is a performance that would impress a professional mime artist. The platform guide for Sri Lanka Railways at the maniacally busy Colombo Fort station cuts through all language barriers with a skill he has held all his life. He is deaf and mute.

His technique is simple. As soon as he sees a puzzled look on the face of a tourist wandering through the entrance, he plants himself in front of them.(The West)

Sri Lanka's first language lab inaugurated at Gampaha
The project to set up nine language laboratories in the nine Provinces of Sri Lanka was officially launched at Gampaha by Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development and Y.K. Sinha the High Commissioner of India at a function held at Kimbulgoda Maha Vidyalaya in Gampaha on Monday.

Prasanna Ranatunga, Chief Minister of Western Province, Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Dy. Minister of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing & Common Amenities, S.T.Kodikara, Secretary, Education Department and several other senior government officials participated in the event (Govt. News Portal of Sri Lanka)

Despite strains, India, Sri Lanka deepen naval ties
India and Sri Lanka have agreed to a slew of naval cooperation measures to target pirates and terrorist groups operating in the Indian ocean, highly-placed government sources have told The Hindu.

The measures were discussed at an unpublicised meeting between Sri Lanka’s permanent Defence Secretary, Lieutenant-Colonel Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and India’s National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon on Thursday. (The Hindu)

Sharma welcomes SL census
Last week’s announcement by the Government of Sri Lanka that it will conduct a national census to determine the extent of the loss of life during the country’s 26-year old civil war, is a welcome step, Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma said.

This will advance the process of post-conflict reconciliation sought in the national Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation report. (Daily Mirror)

U.N. envoy in Sri Lanka
The U.N. special envoy on human rights of internally displaced persons arrived in Sri Lanka on Monday to examine the status of people rendered homeless by the country’s three-decade civil war.

Chaloka Beyani, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, said he intended to meet all stakeholders during his five-day visit. (The Hindu)

Wife of Sri Lanka's former Army Commander to contest as chief ministerial candidate for Western Province
Former Sri Lanka Army Commander, Sarath Fonseka's wife, Anoma Fonseka is likely to contest as the chief ministerial candidate of the Democratic Party at the Western Provincial Council election that is to be held next year.

Anoma Fonseka told the media that the Democratic Party is yet to make a final decision on the matter. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka opposition against Manmohan Singh visiting Jaffna
Sri Lanka must not allow Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit the country’s former war zone in the Tamil-dominated north, since he declined to attend the CHOGM summit, the main opposition UNP said on Monday.

Speaking in parliament, United National Party’s (UNP) senior leader John Amaratunga expressed vehement opposition to Singh visiting the island’s war-torn north.(First Post)

Sri Lankan government alleged of presenting false statistics about country's poverty level
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) alleges that the government has presented false statistics about the level of poverty in the country.

UNP parliamentarian Sajith Premadasa says the government is misleading the public with its statistics.(Colombo Page)

Russian couple wins a free Sri Lankan ‘Holiday Package’
A Russian couple who arrived in Sri Lanka for a 17 day holiday on Saturday morning was surprised when they were handed over a 6 night / 7 day free holiday package by the Island’s tourism official.

The move, part of Sri Lanka’s efforts to celebrate its recording breaking feat during the year 2013, which saw the Island receiving the highest number of tourists per annum.(News 360)

UNP heading for unity at long last or is the bubble waiting to burst?
With several provincial and national elections expected to be held in the coming months, it appears the UNP is at long last moving towards uniting the pro and anti-Ranil factions, amidst a looming threat that the dissident group led by Sajith Premadasa would continue to rock the boat.

The Leadership Council (LC) headed by Karu Jayasuriya managed to ‘tame’ two leading dissidents last week with vociferous parliamentarians Palitha Range Bandara and Asoka Abeysinghe denying anti-Ranil comments attributed to them in the media, after the party had dropped disciplinary inquiries against them.(Sunday Island)

JVP on the verge of another split
Sri Lanka's Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is likely to split again sources affiliated with the party say.

According to the sources close to the JVP say that the new split may occur due to ideological conflict in the party over coalition politics.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan immigrant killed by truck
Police say a 71-year-old Sri Lankan immigrant who worked as a New York Police Department traffic enforcement agent has been killed by a truck as it pulled away from a parking spot in midtown Manhattan.

They say Kalyanarat Ranasinghe was pinned under the wheel and declared dead at the scene on Saturday afternoon. They say the 43-year-old driver of the truck remained at the scene.(NECN)

Tourism arrivals up 17%, revenue over $ one billion
Tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka have achieved a growth of 17 per cent up to November this year with the total revenue surpassing 1 billion US$. The numbers have already gone past the record-breaking number of 1,005,605 tourists last year.

To mark the achievement, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) held a special program at the Bandaranaike International Airport on Saturday, November 30, where it presented a surprise gift to a Russian couple, who arrived in the island on holiday.(Lanka Business Today)

Is Sri Lankan culture losing to growing Western influence?
The thing is culture is not something that is easily defined. It is not just the way we are educated and brought up. It is very much a social construct. It is what we make of it, comprised entirely of what is accepted as social norms, attitudes and values.

So then, what exactly is our culture? Are we a nation of Kandyan dancers and tea drinkers? Or are we more than that?(The Nation)

Traumatic Brain Injury among the Sri Lankan Combat Veterans
A significant number of Sri Lankan soldiers sustained head injuries during the Eelam War that lasted from 1983 to 2009.

These head injuries mainly occurred due to gunshot wounds, mortar blast injuries, grenade explosions and artillery blasts.(Lankaweb)

IT Experts Warn Of Phone Hacking
In a startling revelation, IT security experts claimed that 99 per cent of sophisticated phones used in Sri Lanka are vulnerable to phone hacking.

This includes top level politicians, senior officers of armed services, high profile government officials and all the other parties who deal with highly confidential information, they warned.“Sri Lanka,” an information security expert said, “is a country that pays zero attention to phone security. And that makes the country vulnerable to phone hacking.” (Sunday Leader)

Prabhakaran’s household to be left out in Lankan war losses census
The household of Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), will not be included in the on-going Sri Lankan island-wide census on human and material losses inflicted by the civil wars in the country since 1982.

Explaining, the Director General of the Department of Census and Statistics, D.C.A.Gunawardena, told the media here, that there was no one in Prabhakaran’s family now alive to answer the enumerators’ queries about the losses it had suffered. (Indian Express)

A poet with ‘blurred’ vision
There was a man - an innocent man - who left the shores of Sri Lanka following the 1983 riots. He was Tamil and happened to be a poet. In fact he was considered as one of the brilliant Tamil poets ever to be born in Sri Lanka. He sought refuge in Norway and became a Norwegian citizen. Then he came to India and became an actor – an award winning one.

After two decades this man returns to his homeland; Sri Lanka. He comes under tourist visa and visits Jaffna, once his hometown and pays respect to his mother’s monument. She died some years ago. Then he gets in touch with his “old acquaintances” in Jaffna including some representatives of the Tamil National Alliance – a political party in the democratic stream that overtly and covertly promotes separatism. (The Nation)

Police arrest over 800 suspected of swindling
The Sri Lanka Police have arrested over 800 individuals suspected of swindling money from people.

Police Media Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana told the media that Fraud Investigation Bureau (FIB) has taken into custody 841 suspects for allegedly swindling money to the tune of Rs 930 million from various individuals in the country. (Colombo Page)

Expat seeks compensation for lost limb in the line of duty
A Sri Lankan driver here has accused his sponsor of failing to compensate him for losing a limb while on duty.

Ruwan Chamara Herath, 29, said he had a serious accident while driving a vehicle without headlights. He claimed his sponsor forced him to drive the vehicle at midnight even though he allegedly knew that the headlights were not working. (Arab News)

The new world order
Myanmar and Sri Lanka top the list of must-do destinations, industry experts agree. (Sydney Morning Herald)

No need for international probe in Sri Lanka: Sanath Jayasuriya
Former Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya Saturday dismissed recent calls for an international probe into allegations of war crimes by government troops just before the end of the three decade-long civil war in the country.

"There is no need for any international probe because we have our own judicial system and the process of law is going on," Jayasuriya said during an interaction with the media here. (dna)

Leading opposition party monk criticizes party's Leadership Council
A leading Buddhist monk from an affiliated organization of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) has criticized the newly appointed Leadership Council of the party.

National Organizer of the United Bhikku Front (UBF), Ven. Ulapane Sumangala Thero has criticized the Leadership Council saying that the new committee chaired by UNP MP and former deputy leader Karu Jayasuriya will not be able to bring the required upliftment of the party. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka CHOGM press centre destroyed by fire
A fire today engulfed the international press centre that was set up for the CHOGM summit held here earlier this month.

"An electrical short circuit has caused the fire which has now been brought under control," police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said. (Business Standard)

India holding 154 Sri Lankan fishermen and 29 boats in custody
India is currently holding 154 Sri Lankan fishermen and 29 boats in custody, Sri Lanka said today.

Sri Lanka's Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that Sri Lankan fishermen are detained in Indian jails longer than their Sri Lankan counterparts in Sri Lanka's jails.(Colombo Page)

UNP MP urges legalising of Maveerar Day
UNP National List parliamentarian R. Yogarajan said in Parliament yesterday that the Tamil people should be permitted to commemorate the Maveerar Day.

He said the Maveerar Day was held not only to commemorate the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran but also to remember all those who perished in the conflict.(The Island)

India offers to train Sri Lankan Navy officers
The Indian Navy has offered to train Sri Lankan Navy officers, said a statement issued by the office of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday.

The announcement followed a meeting between the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral D.K. Joshi, and Mr. Rajapaksa, which discussed important maritime issues in the Indian Ocean region.(The Hindu)

Sri Lanka axes 100 pct surcharge that has halted all gold imports
Sri Lanka scrapped a 100 percent surcharge on gold imports and cut import duty with immediate effect, officials said on Friday, after measures imposed in mid-2013 to curb purchases of the metal from abroad halted them completely in the third quarter.

Apart from removing the customs surcharge, the government cut import duty to 7.5 percent from 10 percent, partly to help the island's struggling jewellery industry, officials said.(REUTERS)

Second reading of Sri Lanka's 2014 budget passed in parliament, opposition votes against
Sri Lanka parliament today passed the second reading of the 2014 Appropriation Bill with a majority of 99 votes.

In the division that was taken, 154 votes were cast in favor while 55 votes were against it.The opposition the United National Party, the Tamil National Alliance and the Democratic National Alliance have voted against the budget.(Colombo Page)

Tough Australian policy fails to discourage Sri Lankan asylum seekers
Heightened border surveillance in Sri Lanka, as well as recent agreements between Australia and Sri Lanka to divert and deport would-be asylum seekers, have slashed the number of Sri Lankans reaching Australia’s shores by boat, say Australian authorities.

Yet these measures have failed to discourage an increasing number – mostly from the island’s former conflict zones in the north and east – from attempting the dangerous journey.(IRIN)

Dharshan Weerasekera exposes Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry’s deficient legal work
Lawyer Mr. Dharshan Weerasekera’s highly analytical and insightful article titled “Illegality of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s approach to Sri Lanka’ appearing in ‘Foreign Policy Journal’ of 19 March 2013 and published in several Lankan internet websites and mainstream newspapers i.e. Daily News (November 28 and 29, 2013) in the last few days, has reinforced the huge public disappointment bordering disgust at officials appointed to defend our nation internationally.

For over 4 years we have seen Sri Lanka being subject to deplorable foreign and local overtures which our supposedly ‘legal luminaries’ and other loud mouthed ‘intellectuals’ (some with Oxbridge qualifications) enjoying plums of office, hobnobbing with the jet set, moving in and out of six star hotels abroad at public expense, excessive air plane travel using first class tickets, and enjoying the sweet life with undue privileges, should have pointed out and not allowed the nation’s President, its armed forces and the entire nation to be humiliated in the international arena, diplomatically snubbed and admonished as the ‘guilty party’ without a proper trial conducted at least according to rules of natural justice.(Sri Express)

Sri Lanka detains three for paying tribute to LTTE rebels
Three persons arrested in northeast Sri Lanka for commemorating the achievements of LTTE rebels were produced in a court today.

Police said they were arrested at Murukkandi in Mannar district on November 26. They were presented before a local magistrate.(Outlook India)

India is struggling with bowling, says former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga
Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga feels India might find it difficult to defend their World Cup title in 2015, scheduled in Australia and New Zealand, due to the team's weak bowling resources.

"India look very strong in their batting, but I don't know whether their bowling is good enough to win a World Cup," he said on the sidelines of the 'Wills Realtors' event in Mumbai last night.(Indian Express)

'The Last Phase' documentary about Sri Lanka's conflict screened in EU Parliament
"The Last Phase", a documentary, produced by an independent film crew, carrying the true story of a former female combatant and her family, as well as the ordeal they went through during the last couple of months of the conflict in Sri Lanka, as a human shield of the Tamil Tigers, was screened Thursday (28th) at the EU Parliament in Brussels for the first time.

The event was hosted by the Chair of the Friends of Sri Lanka Group in the EU Parliament Mr. Geoffrey Van Orden, Member of the European Parliament representing the Conservatives of UK.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka says ‘nothing to hide’ as counts war dead
Sri Lanka said it had “nothing to hide” on Thursday as it began compiling a death toll from its war against Tamil separatists, after allegations of mass killings of civilians.

While rights activists expressed scepticism at the project, organisers said it would reveal the true cost of one of Asia’s bloodiest conflicts which ended when troops routed the Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009.(Daily Times)

PIL declaring Lankan High Commission non grata dismissed
A division bench in the Madras High Court bench in Madurai on Thursday dismissed a public interest litigation filed seeking the declaration of the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India as a persona non grata (an unwelcome person) as per Article 9 of the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations, 1961, on the grounds that the petition is not maintainable.

In their order, Justices M. Jaichandren and S. Vaidyanathan observed, “Directions relating to foreign policies and with regard to diplomatic relationships involving foreign countries cannot be issued by this court. It is for the Union of India to consider and to decide such issues as policy decisions.”(The Hindu)

Norway appreciates Sri Lanka’s efforts to restore normalcy in North
Norway has expressed satisfaction over the measures taken by the Sri Lankan government to restore normalcy in the North of the Island after the end of the war.

This satisfaction has been expressed when the Norwegian ambassador in Sri Lanka Ms. Grete Løchen met President Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning in Colombo. (News 360)

Sri Lanka's Tamil party distances itself from MP's praise on slain LTTE leader
The major Tamil party of Sri Lanka, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has said that the comments made by one of the party's parliamentarians in the House about LTTE Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is not the stance of the party.

TNA Leader R. Sampanthan has told a local English daily that TNA MP S. Sritharan's comment praising the LTTE and its slain leader was not the stance of the TNA. (Colombo Page)

Australia extends ban on LTTE
The Australian government on Tuesday extended its ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) for a further period of three years.

The announcement was made by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop who said that the threat of terrorism in Australia is “real and enduring.” (Daily Mirror)

Commonwealth a toothless old hag – Mangala
UNP Matara District MP Mangala Samaraweera told Parliament yesterday that the government was so bankrupt that it had sought to gain some political mileage by holding CHOGM 2013, which had become a flop.

Participating in the Second Stage debate of the Budget 2014, Samaraweera said the CHOGM 2013 was a failure. "Executive leaders of 31 out of 52 countries did not attend the summit. CHOGM 2013 would go down in the annals of the Commonwealth as the summit which the least number of heads of government attended. Not even the heads of African countries came here to attend the summit. Only 21 heads of government, with executive powers, arrived here. The CHOGM 2013 was a loss suffered by the government," former Foreign Minister said.(The Island)

Death of local government politician in Northern Sri Lanka may be suicide
Sri Lanka police suspect the shooting death of a local government politician of the ruling alliance party in the Delft island (Neduntheevu) is a suicide.

Daniel Rexiyan (Rajeev), Delft Divisional Council Chairman and a senior member of the ruling coalition party Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) led by Minister Douglas Devananda, was found injured with gunshot wounds to the head on Tuesday at his residence. (Colombo Page)

Fukushima accident had no impact on Sri Lanka’s marine environment
With technical support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Sri Lanka has successfully established a baseline data for marine radioactivity around the island.

In the process, it has also been determined that there had not been any direct impact on its marine environment due to radioactive releases from the Fukushima accident.(daily fusion)

Cameron’s crocodile tears over Tamils
British Prime Minister’s visit to Sri Lanka has created some political controversies in Sri Lanka and Britain. His call for international investigations about war crimes in Sri Lanka has indeed, generated a great deal of political debates.

I shall evaluate this issue from some ethical and moral perspectives in this piece of writing. I shall be objective in my writing without any bias. The opponents and proponents of war crime investigations have recorded their arguments in many Newspapers and social networks. I shall examine this issue little bit differently.(Sri Guardian)

Indian naval ship arrives at Sri Lanka port on goodwill visit
An Indian naval ship arrived at Sri Lanka's Colombo Port Wednesday on a goodwill visit aimed at enhancing the mutual cooperation between the navies of Sri Lanka and India.

Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions ceremonially welcomed the Indian Naval ship INS Shivalik at the port.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka eyes up poultry export markets
"The Sri Lankan government should provide incentives for poultry producers to export their products to earn much needed foreign exchange for the country", Yakooth Naleem, managing director of Bairaha Farms, and joint coordinator of the Poultry Producers Forum, told local media, the Business Times..

At present an average of 10,000 MT of chicken meat and 100 million eggs are being produced monthly and per capita consumption is 6kg. Sri Lanka has the capacity to export at least 300,000 kg or 300 Metric Tons (MT) of chicken meat monthly.(World pPoultry)

Proud Sri Lankans – Buy Sri Lankan – Be Sri Lankan
The importance of culture, values, traditions, customs are all integrated into how a country’s identity is identified. It is this identity that gets passed down from generation to generation continued to preserve and protect what is held precious to the natives whose identity becomes a key part of who they are and what their country stands for. No country or countrymen should barter that identity or compromise upon it.

Placing the countries and people of the world into a global village has created a global economy giving windows of opportunity for manufacture, distribution, import and export of both goods and services(Lankaweb)

Women's movement in Sri Lanka protests sexual violence against women
A women's movement in Sri Lanka yesterday marched in the Sri Lankan capital to protest sexual violence against women in the country.

Hundreds of women carrying placards in all three languages- Sinhala, Tamil and English marched from Rajagiriya to Borella Cemetery junction demanding justice for women and to stop violence against women.(Colombo Page)

Country kings excited about Sri Lanka
Some of their biggest hits include ‘Let your love flow’ and “If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me” and now Sri Lanka will have a rare opportunity to see them perform those songs and more live on stage.

Chart topping, award winning country musicians, The Bellamy Brothers, will be in Sri Lanka next February with the venue to be announced soon.(Colombo Gazette)

Parliament: TNA MP condemned for lionising dead Tiger leader
The government and the Opposition joined forces in Parliament yesterday to condemn a speech delivered by TNA Jaffna District MP S. Sritharan, praising the dead LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. He said that Prabhakaran was a national hero and called upon Tamils to commemorate his death.

MP Sritharan was condemned by MPs of both sides for attempting to deliver the Mahaveera commemorative lecture in Parliament.(The Island)

Kandy expressway to begin in Jan
The construction work on the northern expressway linking Colombo to Kurunegala, Dambulla and Kandy, will begin in January, Minister Nirmala Kotalawala said yesterday.

Under the first phase, the proposed expressway will be linked to the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway and will extend up to Kurunegala via Ederamulla and Meerigama, and then extended up to Katugastota in Kandy. The next phase will be the construction of the highway up to Dambulla.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka main opposition restarts disciplinary probes against pardoned MPs
The Leadership Council of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) today decided to re-summon the parliamentarians pardoned several days ago before a disciplinary committee.

Puttalam district MP Palitha Range Bandara and Kurunegala district MP Ashok Abeysinghe are now accused of making erroneous statements to media and have been asked to appear before the Council tomorrow. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka avoids EU fishing sanctions
Sri Lanka has been named as a country that made progress over curbing illegal fishing by the European Commission, allowing the country to export to the European Union at least until next March.

Sri Lanka was previously hit with a yellow card earlier, and fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratne has lobbied EU officials and explained the steps being taken to curb illegal fishing. (Lanka Business Online)

Farah 3: Customs duty not paid for the scrap metal
The Custom Duty amounting to more than Rs.38 million on the scrap metal from the recently dismantled Jordanian-owned ship Farah-3 off the Mullaitivu coast have not been paid so far, Daily Mirror learns.

The Customs Department said it was not aware as to the identity of the buyer to whom the ship was sold.The ship which was first taken into custody by the LTTE was later used by the military before it was transformed into a ‘sightseeing’ wreck for tourists visiting the war zone. (Daily Mirror)

Russia is to establish a university in Sabaragamuwa
Russia is to establish a higher education institute in Sabaragamuwa affiliated to their Institute of Economics Management and Law situated in Kazan.

A team of Russian Educationists who toured Sabaragamuwa recently has said they have identified Sri Lanka as a fast developing country ideal for foreign investment. They have said that the Sabaragamuwa Province in particular has high potential for educational development.(Govt. News Portal of Sri Lanka)

Sri Lankan farmers threaten to take to the streets for their demands
Farmers associations in Sri Lanka say that the government through its actions is extorting the hard earned monies of the farmers.

National Organizer of the All Ceylon Farmers' Federation, Namal Karunaratne said that there are 959,000 farmers in the country and the joint farmers' association submitted a set of six demands of the farming community to the government asking to address their issues.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka court suspends Coca Cola for 3 months
A Sri Lankan court on Tuesday banned the sale of Coca Cola in the country for three months for not following regulations, local media reported here.

The Court order was issued to Pure Beverages (Pvt) Ltd., Biyagama, after the company was found distributing for sale, a bottle of Coca Cola, which did not mention the date of production or expiry, or the batch number as required by local law.(XinhuaNet)

Sydney Thunder sign Tillakaratne Dilshan for Big Bash League
The ambitious rebuild of Sydney Thunder after two years of Big Bash League woe has continued with the signing of swashbuckling Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan.

The Thunder's decision to strongly pursue the 37-year-old after he announced his Test retirement last month, freeing him for the majority of the BBL from late December to January, was rewarded by his acceptance of its offer. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Second biggest SAARC partner pushing $ 240M investments to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s second largest trade partner in SAARC is bullish, aims at heavy industry sectors here and has even earmarked an investment quantum destined for Sri Lanka.

“Pakistani investors have a preference for Sri Lanka due to logistics and developing infrastructure. We now ready with $ 240 Mn in investments earmarked specifically for Sri Lanka” announced an eager Tarek M. Khan, President of Pakistan Sri Lanka Business Forum (PSLBF) on 12 November in Colombo. (Lankaweb)

Sri Lanka rupee at over 6-week low on importer dollar demand
The Sri Lankan rupee traded slightly weaker at a more than six-week low on Tuesday due to thin importer dollar demand and as banks traded the greenback at a higher level.

"The rupee is under pressure. Banks started trading at 131.15 after authorities tolerated a five cent increase from 131.10 level," a currency dealer said on condition of anonymity. (REUTERS)

Cyclone Lehar no threat to Sri Lanka
Severe Cyclonic storm Lehar situated idly over the Southeast of the Bay of Bengal at present poses no risk to Sri Lanka according to the Meteorological Department, however the severe cyclone is expected to make landfall in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday noon.

“Because of the effects of Lehar, we expect minimal thundershowers in the North provinces, however slight showers will persist over parts of the Western, North Werstern, Uva, Central, Southern and Sabaragamuwa later in the evening today,” said Jeevan Karunaratne, meteorologist at the department. Meanwhile the Andhra Pradesh government is gearing up to face the "very severe cyclonic storm" Lehar, which is now compared to cyclone Phailin in intensity. (The Nation)

Future of Sri Lanka Oil Refinery Markets to 2020
-The Future of Sri Lanka Oil Refinery Markets to 2020" from OGANALYSIS is a compulsory guide for all the companies interested in Sri Lanka refining markets.

The report provides complete analysis into the Sri Lanka refining industry amidst the rapid developments in the recent past. All key trends, drivers and challenges of investing/ entering/ operating in the industry are detailed. (MENA FN)

Marinas to give strong boost to yachting in Sri Lanka
Yachting in Sri Lanka is about to get a strong boost with the establishment of marinas to service this global pleasure sport.

Sri Lankan entrepreneur Indhra Kaushal Rajapaksa has teamed up with marina professional Simon Arrol and Sebastian Devonshire to launch Marina Lanka - a new company dedicated to servicing the pleasure boating industry. (Colombo Page)

GR reiterates commitment to non-aligned policy, appreciates Aussie support
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday stressed that Sri Lanka wouldn’t be aligned with China or India at the expense of its non-aligned foreign policy practiced for many decades.

Dismissing allegations that the Hambantota port was part of a strategic Chinese security project targeting India, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa explained that the Chinese support for the new port was commercial in nature. Having reiterated Sri Lanka’s commitment to work closely with both India and China, the war veteran declared that the country would remain neutral in the future. (The Island)

SL raises concern over Sethu project
With the court case on the Sethusamudram project being listed to be taken up in court in India today, the government of Sri Lanka raised its concerns on it both in terms of adverse environmental impacts and the possible damage on Ram Sethu, a sacred symbol which united India and Sri Lanka in the context of culture and legend.

The Ram Sethu case has been listed for hearing today in the Indian Supreme Court. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka main opposition party's Leadership Council to re-invite Sajith and Thalatha
The newly appointed Leadership Council of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) will discuss today the ways to settle issues with the resigned members, party sources said.

Popular UNP leader Sajith Premadasa rejected the membership of the Leadership Council presided by former party rebel Karu Jayasuriya on the ground that Jayasuriya betrayed the struggle for wider reforms. (Colombo Page)

Govt: 7,400 children became victims of abuse in 2012
Child Development and Women’s Affairs Minister Tissa Karalliyadda told Parliament yesterday that 7,418 children had become victims of abuse in 2012.

Of those incidents, the highest number––1,174––had been reported from the Colombo district, he said. (The Island)

Sri Lankans not ready to live under aggression - President
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today said that Sri Lanka is a country which immensely values the freedom and sovereignty and its citizens are not ready by any means to live under the fears of invasion or aggression.

Speaking at a ceremony to unveil a statue of the national leader of Vietnam Ho Chin Min at the Colombo Public premises this morning the President said Mahinda Chintana programme was developed with the experiences of independent struggle of the Sri Lankan people. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka bans remembrance of Tamil Tigers
Sri Lanka's military on Monday announced a ban on any commemoration of the island's defeated Tamil Tiger rebels following reports that sections of the ethnic Tamil minority were planning to hold events.

The military said any event was banned because the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) - better known as the Tamil Tigers - was still a proscribed organisation, four years after the army defeated the group to end a decades-long separatist war. (Straits Times)

No need to change SL foreign policy: Gota
Refering to relations with China and India, Sri Lanka said today there was no reason to change its current non-aligned foreign policy.

China’s support for the Hambantota Port is commercial in nature, and should not be misconstrued as fitting the “String of Pearls” paradigm. Sri Lanka has always pursued a non-aligned foreign policy. We continue to provide logistical and other support to ships including naval vessels or warships belonging any country that call over at our ports. There is no reason for this state of affairs to change in the future,” Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka stocks close lower
Sri Lanka stocks closed 0.29 percent lower with diversified stocks losing ground amid low foreign activity on the bourse, brokers said.

The Colombo benchmark All Share Price Index closed 17.05 points lower at 5,775.67, down 0.29 percent. The S&P SL20 closed 14.94 points lower at 3,182.94, down 0.47 percent. (Lanka Business Online)

International alert launches film series on Sri Lanka’s diaspora
A series of short documentary films exploring the nature of diaspora engagement with Sri Lanka has been released by the independent peace building organisation International Alert. For details visit: www.international-alert.org/diasporadiaries.

Produced by award-winning film-maker Kannan Arunasalam, ‘Diaspora Diaries’ provide a unique glimpse into the complex relationship of each individual with their country of heritage.(Colombo Gazette)

Sri Lankan hospital shares e-Health success story
Dompe hospital kicked off the second phase of its eHospital project with the recent launch of its Online Appointment System as part of the local administration’s efforts to improve patient-care and experience in the village hospital.

Bandula Ranathuga, project manager at the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils told FutureGov that patients can simply call Hotline 0711-370370 and follow operator instructions to get an appointment. The patient will then receive an SMS from the hospital detailing the time he could visit the physician or doctor concerned. (Future Gov)

SriLankan Airlines calls upon the services of AKKA Technologies for the interior design of its planes
SriLankan Airlines, Sri Lanka's national airline, partners AKKA Technologies, European market leader in the field of aeronautical engineering, to enhance the cabin amenities and interiors of its planes.

The award-winning national carrier that has a route network of 65 destinations in 35 countries ranging from Europe, Middle East to Far East will be joining oneworld global travel alliance early next year. (Hispanic Business)

Rights, realism and duplicity: the two faces of Rajapaksa
When Sri Lanka's former President J R Jayewardene was accused of showing scant respect for human rights in the early days of the country's separatist war, he said in the 1980s, "All is fair in love and war." Quoting the 16th century English poet John Lyly, the erudite president was able to silence some of his critics.

But President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who last week assumed the title of Commonwealth chairperson-in-office, has no such excuses. He is being cornered.(Aljazeera)

Sri Lanka to begin island wide survey on dead and disappeared during conflict
Sri Lanka's Department of Census and Statistics will conduct an island wide census to assess the human and property damages occurred during nearly three-decade long civil war conflict.

This Census which has to be completed within six months will be launched on Thursday November 28. (Colombo Page)

Pardoned UNP rebels demand Ranil’s head
The two UNP parliamentarians, Ashok Abeysinghe (Kurunegala District) and Palitha Range Bandara (Puttalam District), who despite having the disciplinary inquiries against them dropped by the party hierarchy last week demand that Ranil Wickremesinghe resign from the party leadership and from the Leadership Council .

Abeysinghe told The Island yesterday (24) that the UNP’s popularity had hit rock bottom and the party could not be marketed as long as Wickremesinghe remained at its helm. He said that party supporters, not only in the Kurunegala District, but all over the country, had indicated that they would never vote for the UNP again if Wickremesinghe remained the party leader.(The Island)

Fitch: Sri Lanka Continues Gradual Fiscal Consolidation
Sri Lanka's 2014 budget highlights continuing success in gradual fiscal consolidation, says Fitch Ratings. It also signals a strong statement of commitment to medium-term debt reduction.

The ability to maintain the fiscal consolidation trend provides support to Sri Lanka's' 'BB-'/Stable sovereign rating. At the same time, both its fiscal deficits and government debt burden still stand at relatively high levels. (REUTERS)

Indian Foreign Policy: No Intervention Please
As India continues its rise as a regional and global power, many academics are calling for a shift in its non-committal foreign policy.

India is at a crossroads, raising the question: What is an appropriate direction for India’s foreign policy future? Promoting human rights and democracy abroad, however, should not be part of the answer, at least for now. (The Diplomat)

10 kg of gold seized from 42 Sri Lankan nationals
Air Intelligence Unit of Customs today seized over 10 kg of gold ornaments approximately worth over Rs three crore from 42 Sri Lankan nationals, who arrived here from Colombo.

The ornaments were concealed by the passengers - 28 women and 14 men - in their persons, a Customs press release said. (Business Standard)

Northern people asked to express solidarity with the government to develop their areas
A junior minister in the Sri Lankan government has called on the people in the North to express solidarity with the government and work towards developing their areas.

Deputy Resettlement Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan has been quoted in the local media as saying that the people in the North should come forward to develop their rural areas and express their solidarity with the government. (Colombo Page)

China says no change in stance on Sri Lanka
China has reiterated its support for Sri Lanka, stating that the country has made progress in promoting human rights and towards national reconciliation.

China further called on the international community to desist from taking measures that ‘may complicate the issue’ and instead, help create an external environment conducive to the country’s stability. (Hiru News)

Five Russian naval ships arrive at Sri Lanka port untry
Sri Lanka Navy, in accordance with naval traditions, ceremonially welcomed five Russian naval ships arrived at the Port of Colombo on Sunday.

The five Russian naval ships of the Pacific Fleet arrived at the Port of Colombo for replenishment and crews' relaxation, Sri Lanka Navy said. (Colombo Page)

India would be better off engaging with Sri Lanka
Who would have thought a neophyte Australian foreign minister could get policy right on Sri Lanka while India's prime minister scores yet another foreign policy own goal in his backyard?

Julie Bishop rejected calls for Australia to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo on November 15, insisting that Sri Lanka's human rights record is better advanced by engagement than isolation. Prime Minister Tony Abbott duly attended. (Canberra Times)

Sri Lanka police record an increase in the number of criminals in the country
The Sri Lanka Police have recorded an increase in the number of Island Reconvicted Criminals (IRCs) registered and unregistered.

According to the available records the number of IRCs has increased up to 555,284, senior police sources have revealed to local newspaper Ceylon Today.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka police record an increase in the number of criminals in the country
The Sri Lanka Police have recorded an increase in the number of Island Reconvicted Criminals (IRCs) registered and unregistered.

According to the available records the number of IRCs has increased up to 555,284, senior police sources have revealed to local newspaper Ceylon Today.(Colombo Page)

Exotic plant named after Malani Fonseka
"I feel I have held hands with Mother Nature today," smiled Malani Senehelatha Fonseka when the new plant, "Nepenthes Malani, was named after her a few days ago.

"It’s a significant milestone in my life after 50 years in the film industry and is as much a tribute to the Sinhala film and its fans as much as a personal compliment to me," the much loved artiste said amidst the applause of an intimate gathering which was privy to the momentous occasion.(Sunday Island)

Australia returns 79 people to Lanka
The Australian government has returned all the 79 Sri Lankans who had arrived illegally in Australia by boat last month, the Australian high commission (embassy) in Colombo said yesterday.

The high commission said the last six Sri Lankans joined the group of 73 this week, who were returned last month after arriving illegally by boat and being screened out of a protection assessment process, reports Xinhua. (Gulf Times)

Why Sri Lanka
Check the world map. Count how many countries are surrounded by the sea with one main land. They are only sixteen. Geographically almost 90 percent of the countries are attached to another country by land or they consist of many tiny islands. Sri Lanka is not. So the speciality, peculiarity of Sri Lanka starts with it.

The island was first inhabited 34,000 years ago after the arrival of Balangoda Man. Sri Lanka has 2500 years of recorded history and heritage. It has an unbroken list of 182 great Kings, Queens and rulers since 543 BC starting from King Vijaya. (Sri Express)

Rs.1 bn supplementary estimate to cover CHOGM expenses
The government yesterday submitted a supplementary estimate to the tune of Rs. 1,089,819,500 for Parliamentary approval to cover expenses incurred by several departments and ministries for the CHOGM 2013.

The supplementary estimate was presented to the House by Chief Government Whip and Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena (The Island)

Sri Lankan government to resolve land issues in Jaffna
Ally of Sri Lanka's governing party, the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) says that the unresolved land issues of the people in Jaffna will be resolved.

Deputy Chairman of Parliamentary Committees, parliamentarian Murugesu Chandrakumar has said that people in Jaffna who are in need of deeds for their lands will receive them without any issue. (Colombo Page)

David Cameron challenged to justify arms sale to Sri Lanka
David Cameron must explain why the government has allowed machine guns and assault rifles to be exported to Sri Lanka despite his recent highlighting of the country's human rights abuses, the head of the Commons weapons watchdog has said.

Sir John Stanley, chairman of the arms export control committee, said the government has a "questionable" approach on arms exports to Sri Lanka (The Guardian)

‘Decision on CHOGM won’t hit Sri Lanka ties’
Only time will tell how diplomatic ties with Sri Lanka would shape up as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo held earlier this month.

But the prospects of both countries tiding over this hiccup in ties were positive. There is a commonality of interest on many issues and both countries would continue to engage closely with each other, well placed sources said here on Thursday. (The Hindu)

Military to probe blocking of foreign media
Sri Lanka's military promised on Friday to investigate why AFP journalists were prevented from working in the country's former war zone this week by soldiers who said they were under orders to restrict the media.

An Agence France-Presse (AFP) video journalist and a photographer were obstructed in the Northern province by local military officials on Monday who said they were following directions from their commanders. (Straits Times)

Sri Lankan court grants bail to alleged murderers of a British tourist
A Sri Lankan court has granted bail to a governing party local government politician and five others accused of murdering a British national and sexually assaulting his girlfriend in Tangalle, Hambantota in 2011.

The Colombo High Court has granted bail to the chairman of Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Sampath Vidanapathiranage and five others after they have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.sha de Silva told a news conference. (Colombon Page)

A casino-friendly anti-people budget: UNP
Underscoring the fact that the 2014 budget had failed to encourage the export industry, which is vital for Sri Lanka’s development, the United National Party (UNP) said today it was basically a casino-friendly, anti-people budget.

“Only one per cent of the people with a casino culture have benefited from the budget whereas the others have been neglected by the Government. Had the government considered the voices of average citizens before drafting the budget, it would have heaped more taxes on casinos. A 99 per cent of the people in Sri Lanka have nothing to expect from this budget,” UNP MP and well-known economist Harsha de Silva told a news conference. (Daily Mirror)

Lafarge Mahaweli Cement sets up affordable-housing programme
A affordable-housing programme, which has been successfully implemented around the world by the Lafarge Group, will now be introduced to Sri Lanka, enabling low-cost yet safe construction.

Recipients of the loans will be selected through Sanasa Development Bank 's societies, according to the Lafarge plan, providing 75 housing loans initially, with the number expected to increase up to a 100. The Lafarge affordable-housing programme, which is initiated in the Gampaha district, has the potential to be extended across the country. (CN Cemnet)

Sri Lankan president calls for national unity
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called for national unity to defeat any attempt to destabilise the country.

Speaking in parliament after presenting the national budget for 2014, Rajapaksa said Thursday that despite the army defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels four years ago, groups that were backing the rebels still remain active, Xinhua reported. (Business Standard)

UNP reformist condemns party’s anti-national conduct
Leading UNP reformist and Southern Provincial Councilor Maithri Gunaratne on Wednesday condemned the UNP boycott of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Gunaratne told The Island that the UNP could have made use of that opportunity to highlight the undemocratic ways of the Rajapaksa government before the leaders of the Commonwealth instead of boycotting it. He said that the UNP could have raised the very questionable expenditure and got the government to curtail it. The party had ceased to live up the people’s expectations, he added. (The Island)

Sri Lankan president calls for national unity
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has called for national unity to defeat any attempt to destabilise the country.

Speaking in parliament after presenting the national budget for 2014, Rajapaksa said Thursday that despite the army defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels four years ago, groups that were backing the rebels still remain active, Xinhua reported. (Business Standard)

Sri Lanka's opposition political parties boycott government's 2014 budget presentation
Several opposition political parties in Sri Lanka today boycotted the government's 2014 budget presentation as a mark of protest against the failure to deliver promises given to the people.

The main opposition United National Party (UNP) and Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) boycotted President Mahinda Rajapaksa's budget speech this afternoon. The seats on the opposition sides in parliament were empty. (Colombo Page)

Resolution against Murali
A resolution condemning the statement made by former National Cricket Player Muttiah Muralitharan was unanimously passed at the monthly meeting of the Chavakachcheri Urban Council today.

The resolution which was proposed by Councillor P. Sritharan and seconded by Councillor Kishore, was adopted with all members unanimously voting for it. (Daily Mirror)

President presents development budget
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, presenting his government’s ninth consecutive budget in Parliament yesterday, offered a Rs. 1,500-7,800 monthly allowance to state sector employee, Rs. 7,500 monthly allowance to veterinary surgeon, proposed an allocation of Rs. 1,000 million to strengthen the farmer pension scheme and setting up of five holiday bungalows for artistes among other reliefs.

The UNP and JVP boycotted the budget speech and Opposition benches had only the MPs of the TNA and a single MP of the Frontline Socialist Party. (The Island)

Iran sends Submarine to Sri Lanka
A submarine-escorted naval fleet set sailed from southern Iran for Mumbai and Colombo on Wednesday.

As if Asia’s waters weren’t crowded enough with subsurface vessels, Iran has deployed one of its heavy submarines to South Asian waters as part of a larger naval fleet, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency, which has close ties with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka Navy arrests 20 Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters
Sri Lanka Navy has arrested 20 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu on Thursday for allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters and seized their boats.

SLNS Udara attached to the Northern Naval Command and Sri Lanka Coast Guard on routine patrol arrested the 20 Indian fishermen and 5 trawlers on 21st November. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka's largest trade exhibition with Chinese participants attract $1 bln investment
Sri Lanka has attracted investment of $1 billion from the largest ever trade exhibition held on the sidelines of the Commonwealth leaders summit that also included 42 Chinese companies, a statement from the Industry Ministry in Colombo Thursday.

A 100-member Chinese delegation attended the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) while 42 representatives from Chinese companies participated in the trade exhibition on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that ended Sunday.(Global Times)

Sri Lanka budget focuses on strengthening education, health services and agriculture
President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance presented the 2014 budget in parliament.

The budget proposes an amount of Rs 1.542 billion rupees for government expenditure for the next year while aiming for more than 7.5 percent annual economic growth in the next three year.(Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka: Are terrorists rewriting laws of war?
Sri Lanka ended one arm of the terrorists in May 2009. The other more powerful arm remains at large, remnants in hiding locally while others are more vociferously and openly engaging foreign politicians and influencing diplomatic relations as well.

Their links to terrorism have taken second place with the strength of their propaganda placing them in a position to determine electoral politics in those countries thus signaling future calamities if unchecked. (Lankaweb)

Sri Lanka raises telecom levy, ups taxes on foods, removes VAT exemptions
Sri Lanka has raised a tax on telecom services and imposed import taxes on a series of foods and other goods to help favoured businessmen and removed value added tax exemptions.

A tax on telecom services which include voice calls has been raised to 25 percent from 20 percent, but broadband services will continue to be taxed at a lower 10 percent, a budget for 2014 said. (Lanka Business Online)

Gota briefs Pope on Sri Lanka
Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has briefed Pope Francis at the Vatican and also conveyed to him an invitation from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Sri Lanka in the near future.

The Defence Secretary visited the Vatican yesterday as a Special Envoy to the President, the Permanent Mission to Sri Lanka in Geneva said in a statement today. (Colombo Gazette)

Sri Lanka disappointed, but understands compulsions -Kariyawasam –
Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, Prasad Kariyawasam says the absence of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) would not hamper the relationship between both countries.

In an interview with The Economic Times of India, Kariyawasam saidSri Lankawas disappointed that Singh could not attend the meeting but added that the situation behind his decision was understandable. (The Nation)

Sri Lanka state carriers to get US$200mn bailout
State-run SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Lanka will be given 200 million US dollars bailout in the 2014 budget, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

SriLankan will get 150 million US dollars and Mihin Lanka will get 50 million US dollars. (Lanka Business Online)

Sri Lanka Tamil party sets conditions to take part in the Development Committee of Northern Province
Sri Lanka's major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which administrates the Northern Provincial Council says that it will not participate in the Northern Province Development Committee.

The TNA did not participate in the Committee meeting held on November 19 and wrote to the committee setting conditions to guarantee their participation. (Colombo Page)

Extended holiday for Jaffna u’grads to prevent protests
Prabhakaran’s birth anniversary commemoration
Security authorities are on alert following reports of pro-LTTE elements planning a large scale protest in Jaffna next week, to commemorate slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s birthday, which falls on November 26.

A senior security official told The Island that an attempt was being made to involve undergraduates of the Jaffna University in the protest early next week. Responding to a query, the official alleged that several university workers were involved in clandestine preparations for the protest. "We have identified those planning the protest campaign. Some of them are exerting pressure on the university administration to re-open the university immediately." (The Island)

From Sri Lanka, questions about wars
The real question in the debate over India’s Sri Lanka policy isn’t whether it is pragmatic or ethical. It goes, instead, to the heart of the ethics of the wars our country fights, and will fight in years to come.

Florence-on-the-Elbe, they used to call the historic German city of Dresden, before it began to turn to ash that evening in February 1945. Inside of days, the United Kingdom and the United States bomber command dropped some 3,900 tonnes of ordnance over the city, creating an inferno which would claim an estimated 25,000 lives. (The Nation)

Sri Lanka aims to reduce deficit in next year's budget while accelerating economic growth
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Finance Minister will present the budget proposals for the next year to parliament Thursday, November 21. The President will deliver the budget speech in parliament tomorrow.

According to the appropriation bill the government expenditure for the next year amounts to Rs. 1.542 trillion. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan Dhammika Perera's Master Plan
Dhammika Perera didn’t become one of Sri Lanka’s richest people by luck. It was actually by design.

Back in 1999, when he was 32, he developed a 20-year plan for his fledgling businesses with the help of a mentor.(Forbes)

Police arrest 4 police officers for taking bribe on a murder
Sri Lanka police today arrested four police officers including an Officer-In-Charge (OIC) for taking a bribe to hide evidence on a murder case.

The Colombo Crimes Division acting on a tip arrested the OIC of Talangama Police Crime Unit, a sergeant and two constables for taking 20 million rupees as a bribe. In return, the officers have undertaken to hide the evidence against the suspect of the murder of a former Special Task Force inspector.(Colombo Page)

SL have a fantastic chance at the 2014 World T20” - Graham Ford
Sri Lanka’s coach Graham Ford believes that after finishing as the runners-up in two of the last three editions of the ICC World T20, the team has a good chance of winning the trophy next year.

Although Ford himself would not be with the Sri Lankan team by the time the T20 carnival begins in Bangladesh next March, he believes that the team is ‘right on track’ in its preparations for the tournament.(sportpulse)

Sri Lanka funeral for murdered pizza delivery man
The funeral of a pizza delivery man who was killed in Sheffield as he worked his final shift has taken place.

BBC correspondent Charles Haviland said more than 100 family and friends attended the funeral in Sri Lanka. Two people have been charged with his murder and are due in court in June.(BBC)

No business for countries to intervene in others' affairs: PM Lee
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says countries cannot force reconciliation on Sri Lanka, nor is it their business to intervene in another country's affairs.

Lee was speaking to Singapore media at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo.(Govt. News Portal of Sri Lanka)

Govt. paved the way for Int’l HR probe: UNP
The main opposition United National Party (UNP) said today the manner in which the Government acted and reacted to the international community before and during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) had pushed the country closer to a division.

UNP parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella told that it was the Government, which in its May 26, 2009 joint statement with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, gave an undertaking to hold an internal inquiry into human rights violations in keeping with international HR standards and Sri Lanka’s international obligations.(Daily Mirror)

M Karunanidhi criticizes Prime Minister's response to war crimes in Sri Lanka
Continuing his tirade against India's participation in the Common Wealth Summit at Colombo, DMK Supremo M Karunanidhi today deprecated Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's response to the alleged war crimes by Sri Lanka unlike the strong stand spelt out by Britain.

Though Dr Singh skipped the meet without declaring the reason for such a decision, India which was represented by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's team did nothing on Tamils issue unlike British Prime Minister David Cameron.(NDTV)

Sri Lanka state revenues down in first half, current expenses flat
Sri Lanka's state revenues were down 7.6 percent to 481.7 billion rupees in the first half of 2013 with tax revenues down 5.1 percent to 458.7 billion rupees, official data showed.

Data released by the Central Bank showed that Treasury had kept current spending at 589.1 percent up only one percent nominally from a year earlier. (Lanka Business Online)

Northern PC appoints committee to address problems faced by Muslims resettling in the North
The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) of Sri Lanka has decided to address the issues faced by the Muslims who are trying to resettle in the North following the end of the war.

The Council has appointed a special committee to look into the problems of the Muslims resettling in the North. (Colombo Page)

Gold chains seized from Sri Lankan national
Air Intelligence Unit today seized two gold chains worth Rs 6 lakh from a Sri Lankan national, who arrived here by a Lankan flight this evening.

The passenger, Mohammed Zarook Syed Ahamad, had concealed the gold underneath his collared shirt as if it was a normal wear in order to hoodwink the Customs Department and passing through the green channel, a Customs press release said. (Business Standard)

Police teargas Nintavur protesters, arrest 20
Protesters, who blockaded the Kalmunai-Akkaraipattu road for 36 hours, at Nintavur, were finally driven off yesterday by the police, using teargas.

The Nintavur town was turned into a mini battlefield as protesters attacked the police with stones and sticks, while burning tyres on roads. (The Island)

Murali bowls doosra at Channel 4
Sri Lankan cricketing legend Muttiah Muralitharan said today that Channel 4 had lost its credibility in his eyes due to airing an edited clip of an interview which distorted the context he spoke in.

“It was unethical for them to edit three minutes of a 45 minute interview and air it. Channel 4 lost all credibility in my eyes” he told Daily Mirror online. (Daily Mirror)

World Heritage Stamp Of Sri Lanka Launched At Unesco, Paris
The launching of the Sigiriya World Heritage UNESCO stamp by La Poste, French postal administration, was celebrated by the Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO on 7th November, during the 37th session of the General Conference at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France.

Sigiriya is the second Sri Lanka- UNESCO World Heritage site to be selected for the publication of a stamp by French postal administration after issuance of Sri Lanka-Sacred City of Anuradhapura in 1985. (Sri Express)

Sri Lanka main opposition apologizes to Buddhist monks, promises inquiry into assault
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) today apologized to the Buddhist extremist movement Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) for any insult or inconvenience caused by the party to Buddhist clergy.

Hundreds of Buddhist monks and laymen gathered outside Sirikotha today to protest against the last week's attack on BBS members including its leader Ven, Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera. (Colombo Page)

David Cameron 'breached protocol' in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka's government has accused David Cameron of breaching protocol on his visit to the country, during which he raised concerns over alleged human rights abuses against Tamils.

A senior source told the BBC that the prime minister had "brushed aside" an official and had failed to acknowledge a dance reception.(BBC)

Murali is right to say that- Cameron
British Prime Minister David Cameron has said Sri Lanka’s former cricketing star Muttiah Muralitharan was right in saying that as a proud Sri Lankan he was keen to paint a fair picture of Sri Lanka.

“What he wants, as a proud Sri Lankan is to ensure that a fair picture is painted of his country, and he is right to say that,” Mr. Cameron said when responding to a question asked by a fellow lawmaker in the British Parliament.(Daily Mirror)

IMF sees stable 6.5 pct growth for Sri Lanka this year, 2014
The International Monetary Fund expects Sri Lanka's economy to grow at 6.5 percent this year and in 2014, less than the central bank's forecast, a senior Fund official said, and remains concerned about medium-term risks from high budget deficits.

Naoyuki Shinohara, deputy managing director of the IMF, said measures taken by the government to achieve macroeconomic stability were commendable, but it still needed to build a policy buffer to address unexpected events in future.(Chicago Tribune)

Sri Lanka to import copra as coconut production declines
Sri Lanka Ministry of Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development has decided to import 30,000 metric tons of copra for coconut oil production to relieve the coconut oil manufacturers who are facing a shortage of raw material and to minimize the impact on the industry.

The escalation of price of coconuts has resulted in the vast majority of the production going for nut sales as the production of coconut has declined in Sri Lanka this year.(Colombo Page)

Why is Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister keeping mum when Britain is humiliating Sri Lanka on our soil?
Why did the President of this country have to end up defending the nation when those enjoying plush positions and virtually in orbit 24x7 roaming Western shores remain absolutely nonplussed about how to respond when the Prime Minister of Britain breaching all protocols insults us on our soil?

Why has the External Affairs Minister or the Ministry not responded in any way to the snubs that have come pouring from Cameron both prior, during and even after his departure from Sri Lanka? (Sri Express)

Glasgow 2014 ‘can shine light on Sri Lanka abuse’
President of Sri Lanka’s attendance at the Glasgow Commonwealth games next year will be “an opportunity to shine the light” on human rights abuses in his country, according to a Downing Street spokesman.

Following a statement by David Cameron defending his controversial attendance at the Commonwealth heads of government summit in Sri Lanka last week, his spokesman insisted that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa would be allowed to attend the Commonwealth Games next year and a subsequent service of commemoration for the start of the First World War as the chairman of the heads of government for the international organisatio (The Scotsman)

Sharma defends Cameron
The Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma, on Sunday defended British Prime Minister David Cameron, saying that the latter had not abdicated his duties by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which concluded in Colombo that day.

Answering a question, during his last press conference at the BMICH, Sharma said it was not correct to accuse PM Cameron of having roamed without even attending CHOGM’s executive sessions. (The Island)

Kenya refutes Cameron's threat over SL
Kenyan Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Amina Mohamed said Saturday that no country can import stability from outside, and there will be nothing better than homegrown solutions to a country's own problems.

Mohamed made the remarks when she was asked to comment British Prime Minister David Cameron's ultimatum that Britain will push for an international probe into alleged war crimes by the UN Human Rights Council if Sri Lanka does not address human rights issues that include the killing of civilians during the last phase of civil war by March next year. (Daily Mirror)

Chinese makes its presence felt at CHOGM summit in Sri Lanka
Though not a member of the Commonwealth, China made its presence felt at the CHOGM by providing millions of dollars in aid to Sri Lanka to refurbish the summit venues, besides striking lucrative commercial deals worth $ 1.5 billion, official media here reported today.

Much of the infrastructure for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo was funded by China, including a $ 292 million highway connecting the capital’s international airport to the main city, that whisked thousands of delegates, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. (FIRSTPOST)

Sri Lanka's Tamil party discusses national issue with South African President
Leaders of Sri Lanka's major Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has met South African President Jacob Zuma on the sidelines of the just concluded Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet.

During the meeting with Tamil leaders, President Zuma who was in Colombo to participate in the Commonwealth meeting has discussed the role South Africa could play in finding a solution to the national problem. (Colombo Page)

Bodu Bala Senato hold a protest outside UNP headquarters tomorrow
Sri Lanka's Buddhist extremist movement Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) said that they would stage a massive peaceful demonstration Tuesday in front of Sirikotha, the headquarters of the main opposition United National Party (UNP).

The BBS said that hundreds of Buddhist monks and laymen will gather to protest against the attack on BBS members including its leader Ven, Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera who had gone to view the human rights exhibition organized by Samagi Balawegaya at Sirikotha. (Colombo Page)

Chinese firm signs $500 mn tourism deals in Sri Lanka
A Chinese company has signed up to build two hotels and a golf course with investment exceeding $500 million on the sidelines of the Commonwealth summit here, a Chinese daily reported Monday.

China Harbor Engineering Co (CHEC) signed the agreements to build the golf course at a resort in the southern Sri Lankan town of Mattala. (Business Standard)

Australia backs Sri Lanka’s record at Commonwealth Meet
Australia appeared sympathetic towards Sri Lanka, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott praising the Sri Lankan government's effort to bring about reconciliation after the country's three decade-long civil war against separatist Tamils. The Australian prime minister was speaking as he handed over the chairmanship of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to Sri Lanka.

In doing so, Mr Abbott stuck a discordant note from traditional allies, UK and Canada, both of whom have been stridently critical of Sri Lanka's human rights record and slow pace of reconciliation effort. Australia, meanwhile, said Sri Lanka had made significant and promising progress in these areas of international concern. (Int. Business Times)

UNP says no to Cameron’s call for int’l inquiry
The main opposition United National Party (UNP) said today it opposed the British Prime Minister’s call for an international inquiry into alleged war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan Army.

It said it was also opposed to any attempts to take Sri Lanka’s case before any kind of international court.(Daily Mirror)

China asks SL to protect and promote human rights
In a surprise move, China today asked Sri Lanka to "make efforts to protect and promote human rights", backing calls by India, Britain and other countries at the CHOGM summit in Colombo to address allegations of rights abuses against the country's minority Tamils.

"Due to the differences in the economic and social development of different countries, there could be differences on human rights protection," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a media briefing in Beijing.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lankan military commander turned diplomat challenges Channel 4 film director for a debate
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Major General Shavendra Silva has challenged Channel 4 Film Director Callum Macrae for debate on allegations of war crimes against the country.

Silva has told a local English weekly that a few years ago, when Sri Lanka's Representative to the UN, Palitha Kohona, was invited for the screening of the film that levels allegations of war crimes against Sri Lanka, he (Silva) was offered the seven minutes that was allotted to Kohona to speak since Kohona had felt that Silva was the right person to refute Macrae's allegations. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan military commander turned diplomat challenges Channel 4 film director for a debate
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Major General Shavendra Silva has challenged Channel 4 Film Director Callum Macrae for debate on allegations of war crimes against the country.

Silva has told a local English weekly that a few years ago, when Sri Lanka's Representative to the UN, Palitha Kohona, was invited for the screening of the film that levels allegations of war crimes against Sri Lanka, he (Silva) was offered the seven minutes that was allotted to Kohona to speak since Kohona had felt that Silva was the right person to refute Macrae's allegations. (Colombo Page)

Commonwealth nations to help postwar Sri Lanka
Leaders including South Africa's president said Sunday that they are ready to help Sri Lanka achieve postwar healing, as the island nation closed a Commonwealth summit held amid international outcry over its human rights record.

The summit was dogged by constant attention to Sri Lanka's refusal to allow international inquiries into alleged atrocities committed during and after its 27-year civil war, which ended in 2009.(Seattle pi)

Sri Lanka's use of gift boats will be ‘worked through’, says Scott Morrison
The federal government will work with Sri Lanka to establish how its gift of two Australian patrol boats will be used. The vessels are being given to Sri Lanka to support its efforts to stop asylum seekers heading to Australia.

The Bay-class patrol boats, recently retired from Australian service, will be used to intercept asylum-seeker boats before they leave Sri Lankan waters. But the immigration minister, Scott Morrison, cannot say whether Sri Lanka will use the boats for purposes other than to "stop people coming to Australia illegally by boat".(The Guardian)

Gandys brothers return to Sri Lanka for first time since losing parents in 2004 Boxing Day tsunami
It was a question filled with hope, asked by an abandoned child at an orphanage in Sri Lanka, that once translated into English silenced the grown-ups in the room.

But Rob Forkan answered without hesitation. ‘We took small steps, asked for help when we needed it, and eventually we got there. And you can all do that too,’ he smiled.(The Metro)

Commonwealth leaders end difficult Sri Lanka summit
Leaders of Commonwealth nations have issued a final statement at the end of a summit making no mention of alleged human rights abuses by host Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's president has defended his record, saying the country needed more time to heal the wounds of civil war. (BBC)

Participation at CHOGM in Sri Lanka out of respect for the body
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said his participation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka is out respect for the body.

"This is about the Commonwealth, coincidentally Sri Lanka is the host," he said in response to some quarters in Malaysia objecting to his presence at the Chogm because of Sri Lanka's human rights record.Speaking to Malaysian journalists, Najib said the event should be seen as "Chogm in Sri Lanka" and not "Chogm on Sri Lanka". (New Straits Times)

Singapore not to take sides on Sri Lanka rights issue
Singapore vowed not to "take sides" on Sri Lanka's human rights issue, media reported Sunday.

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa that more time was needed to heal the wounds after a prolonged civil war in the south Asian island nation ended in 2009, Xinhua reported citing a news portal."We are observers and don't take sides," said Lee. (Two Circles)

Sri Lanka praises Key, gifts elephant
Prime Minister John key appears to have won over his Sri Lankan hosts during this weekend's Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting and New Zealand is being rewarded - with an elephant.

The unusual gift is being signalled as a symbol of the two countries friendship. (One News)

Sri Lanka, 'impossible journalism' and Channel 4 News
As the controversial Chogm in Sri Lanka comes to an end, Channel 4 News Editor Ben de Pear reveals why he is pulling his team of the country in the face of intimidation.

Today, Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa closed what has been a controversial Chogm summit. The final communique avoided any mention of human rights - one of the central principles of the Commonwealth - instead agreeing to cooperate on a number of issues, including poverty reduction, trade and youth affairs.(Channel 4)

Commonwealth puts on united front
Commonwealth leaders signed agreements Sunday on issues such as poverty and development as they staged a show of unity after a summit in Sri Lanka dominated by a bitter dispute over war crimes.

After a three-day meeting in Colombo, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse announced a declaration had been signed by the Commonwealth's 53 member nations after a summit which he said had been characterised by "fruitful discussions". (Daily Mirror)

Australia gives Sri Lanka boats to tackle asylum-seekers
Australia said Sunday it would give Sri Lanka two patrol boats to tackle people-smuggling in the Indian Ocean, but the government came under fire for collaborating with Colombo.

Canberra is hoping that boats can be detected before they leave the island's waters as the Australian government intensifies efforts to deter asylum-seekers arriving by boat, a sensitive political issue.(Global Post)

Did PM misread the spin in Sri Lanka? Island's cricket hero says David Cameron is 'misled' over Tamil north
Sri Lanka's most famous cricketer and symbol of the country's post-civil-war reconciliation triggered acute embarrassment for David Cameron yesterday when he said that the Prime Minister had been "misled" over the plight of the Tamil people.

Mr Cameron's historic trip to the north of Sri Lanka on Friday, in which he became the first world leader to meet Tamil refugees and visited a newspaper whose journalists had been assassinated by government forces, prompted a showdown with the country's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, at the Commonwealth summit. (The Independent)

Gota slams Cameron for politicking in Colombo to placate LTTE rump back home
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday alleged that UK Premier David Cameron was playing politics in Colombo to placate the LTTE rump back home.

Cameron’s strategy was obviously influenced by the UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF), British Tamil Forum (BTF) and Tamils against Genocide, he said. (The Island)

Cameron meets Murali
Visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron met world famous Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan in Colombo, the BBC reported.

Spin bowler "Murali" backed the prime minister's decision to travel to Sri Lanka but said he had been misled about the situation in the country. (Daily Mirror)

Key: Sri Lanka 'is a country that is evolving'
Prime Minister John Key said he will set out his concerns about human rights issues "pretty directly" when he has his formal meeting with Sri Lanka's President later today, but said overall the relationship between the two countries was improving.

Mr Key is due to meet with Mahinda Rajapaksa mid-afternoon. (New Zealand Herald)

Sri Lanka gov't rejects British call for international human rights probe
Sri Lanka flatly denied the need for an international investigation into its controversial human rights record here on Saturday that was proposed by British Prime Minister David Cameron if issues are not addressed by March 2014.

Sri Lanka's Head of Parliament and Cabinet Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva emphasized Sri Lanka is a sovereign country and therefore will resist attempts for an international investigation. (XinhuaNet)

Prince of Wales rounds off Sri Lanka tour with a cup of tea and the Hokey Cokey
Prince of Wales takes part in rendition of Hokey Cokey with disabled children, before rounding off his tour of Sri Lanka with a cup of tea on a plantation.

He rarely needs to be asked twice to show off his dancing skills, so there was no stopping the Prince of Wales when he walked into a classroom of children doing the Hokey-Cokey in Sri Lanka. (The Telegraph)

Leaders of Sri Lanka, South Africa discuss truth commission
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has shown interest in learning more about the South African model of restorative justice when he met the President of South Africa Jacob Zuma at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Centre Friday.

The South African President, who is in Colombo to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 met President Rajapaksa on the sidelines of the summit for discussions on bilateral relations. (Colombo Page)

Prince of Wales rounds off Sri Lanka tour with a cup of tea and the Hokey Cokey
Prince of Wales takes part in rendition of Hokey Cokey with disabled children, before rounding off his tour of Sri Lanka with a cup of tea on a plantation

He rarely needs to be asked twice to show off his dancing skills, so there was no stopping the Prince of Wales when he walked into a classroom of children doing the Hokey-Cokey in Sri Lanka. (The Telegraph)

Sri Lanka slowly adjusts to life in the fast lane
Change is everywhere in Sri Lanka. Wildly beautiful, the country emerged from civil war in 2009 and is now re-establishing itself as a tourist destination.

Alongside the supermarkets, new leisure facilities, improved roads and upmarket hotels and resorts are being developed around the country. Some 114,000 Britons visited in 2012 and, with British Airways having restarted flights in April 2013, after a 15-year cessation, that number looks likely to increas. (The Telegraph)

Sri Lanka slowly adjusts to life in the fast lan
Change is everywhere in Sri Lanka. Wildly beautiful, the country emerged from civil war in 2009 and is now re-establishing itself as a tourist destination.

Alongside the supermarkets, new leisure facilities, improved roads and upmarket hotels and resorts are being developed around the country. Some 114,000 Britons visited in 2012 and, with British Airways having restarted flights in April 2013, after a 15-year cessation, that number looks likely to increas (The Telegraph)

Sri Lanka to make more arrests: More sailors linked to people smuggling ring
More Sri Lankan navy sailors are under suspicion of people smuggling and face possible arrest as police continue their investigations into widespread naval complicity in the illegal people trade from the island.

"We will move to arrest about another eight to 10 men," Inspector of Police PSC Sanjeewa said in the coastal city of Matara. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Sri Lanka to make more arrests: More sailors linked to people smuggling ring
More Sri Lankan navy sailors are under suspicion of people smuggling and face possible arrest as police continue their investigations into widespread naval complicity in the illegal people trade from the island.

"We will move to arrest about another eight to 10 men," Inspector of Police PSC Sanjeewa said in the coastal city of Matara. (Express Tribune)

Pakistan offers to build sugar mills in Sri Lanka
In a bid to strengthen bilateral economic ties with Sri Lanka, Pakistan on Thursday offered to build sugar mills in the island nation.

The offer was extended during a meeting between premier Nawaz Sharif and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, a statement released on Friday read. (Express Tribune)

Cameron mbbed by Tamil protesters
David Cameron has been mobbed by 250 Tamil protesters in north Sri Lanka, who claim their relatives have been murdered by the state.

In chaotic scenes, the Prime Minister's convoy was surrounded by demonstrators all trying to show him their family pictures and tell their stories of suffering in the country's 26-year civil war. (Key103)

Prince Charles opens CHOGM Summit

Prince Charles has kicked off the Commonwealth summit at a colourful opening ceremony in Sri Lanka, declaring his "admiration" for the way the country has rebuilt after a devastating tsunami in 2004.

Reflecting on the Boxing Day disaster that killed 35,000 Sri Lankans, the Prince of Wales, who last flew to the country weeks after the tsunami struck, said: "I visited communities affected by the disaster and met many of the relief workers, who were doing so much to help rebuild broken lives and livelihoods. (Sky News)

Sri Lanka has shown enduring energy and commitment - Kamalesh Sharma
As one of the eight original founding members of the modern Commonwealth, Sri Lanka 'has shown enduring energy and commitment as a member of our global Commonwealth family,' stated Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma, delivering his speech at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2013 (CHOGM) opening ceremony this morning.

"That involvement now intensifies as the Commonwealth entrusts to Sri Lanka the leadership role and responsibility of serving as Chair-in-Office," he added. (The Nation)

Bishop says Sri Lanka making progress
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Sri Lanka should be praised for its efforts in moving on from its three-decade long civil war.

Ms Bishop is in the Sri Lankan capital for a meeting of Commonwealth foreign ministers, ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) starting on Friday. (Sky News)

Sri Lankan diplomat says rights criticism a 'proxy propaganda war'
Sri Lanka's high commissioner to Britain has blamed criticism of his country's human rights record on a "proxy propaganda war" being carried out by those who funded the nation's "terrorist conflict."

The prime ministers of Canada, Mauritius and India have withdrawn from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, or CHOGM, beginning in Colombo on Friday, amid concerns about the rights situation in Sri Lanka after its 28-year civil war with separatist Tamil rebels. (CNN)

‘Will say Ayubowan,not shake Charles’ hand.That’s how I would greet King,Queen or beggar’
President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that he would not only discuss 2009, but also the entire 30-year Sri Lankan war with Britain’s Prince Charles, who is in Colombo for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Asked by a British journalist, during a press conference at the BMICH, if he would, when shaking hands with Prince Charles, "at least now admit that his Security forces had committed war crimes" during the last stages of the battle with the LTTE in 2009, the President replied, "I would not shake his hands, I will say Ayubowan whether it’s a King, Queen or beggar. That is the way I would greet the Prince. Since he is coming to see me, we will not only talk about what happened in 2009, but the entire 30-year conflict. I also have some questions to ask." (The Island)

Sri Lankan president hits back at critics
Mr Rajapaksa, who will chair the 53-nation meeting, said he has "nothing to hide" from his critics.

"We are very open, we have nothing to hide," the president told reporters on the eve of the sum (ABC)

Cameron joins Prince at Sri Lanka summit amid war-crimes dispute
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron will today confront Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa over allegations of human-rights abuses and the treatment of the country’s Tamil minority.

Cameron, who arrived in Sri Lanka late last night for a Commonwealth summit, will visit the north of the island, where the United Nations estimates 40,000 civilians were killed during the final months of the island’s 26-year civil war that ended in 2009. (Bloomberg)

India will stand by you, Foreign Secy tells Tamil National Alliance
Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa said today that he is willing to probe the complaints of human rights violations if they are presented through the country's established legal system.

Addressing the pre- Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) press conference along with the Commonwealth Secretary-General Mr. Kamalesh Sharma on the eve of the summit, the President said the complaints on the alleged human rights violations need to follow the legal system established by Sri Lanka. (Colombo Page)

Tanzania hails Sri Lanka's post civil war transformation
Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Mr Bernard Membe, has praised Sri Lanka for its remarkable transformation that is projected to open new ventures with Tanzania.

Addressing Tanzanian press, Mr Membe said Sri Lanka's quick transformation since the end of its civil war in 2009, removed any obstacles to its development. (Allafrica)

Sri Lankan van driver lodges complaint against Channel-4 video team
A van driver in Sri Lanka has lodged a complaint in police against Britain's Channel - 4 team in the country saying that the journalists hadn't paid his charges for hire.

The van driver has transported the six member crew of Channel - 4 from Anuradhapura to Colombo yesterday after they had to cut short their trip to Kilinochchi and returned to Colombo when thousands of protesters blocked the train the crew was travelling from proceeding to north. (Colombo Page)

Recent election in Sri Lanka's Northern Province a "positive step": Shanmugam
Singapore Foreign Affairs and Law Minister, K Shanmugam, who is now in Sri Lanka, said the recent election in the country's Northern Province was a positive step for its reconciliation and peace process.

Speaking at the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers Meeting ahead of the Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Mr Shanmugam said Sri Lanka had honoured its commitment to hold elections in the Northern Province in September -- with the election being deemed credible by observers. (Channel News Asia)

Pakistan PM greets Sri Lankan people, govt for hosting Commonwealth Summit
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Thursday congratulated the government and people of Sri Lanka for hosting important Commonwealth Summit in their country.

In his special message on the occasion of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, he expressed his confidence in the leadership of Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa and said that Commonwealth would become a stronger and more cohesive organization under his leadership, said a press release received here. (APP)

Sri Lankan opposition boycotts Commonwealth summit
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) is boycotting the Commonwealth leaders' summit after a pro-government group attacked the party's headquarters here Thursday, an official said.

The UNP's headquarters on the outskirts of capital Colombo was the venue for a human rights exhibition on the many people who have disappeared during the country's protracted conflict. (Business Standard)

Sri Lanka to sign $2 bn worth investment deals muggling racket
Sri Lanka is set to sign investment deals worth $2 billion on the sidelines of the Commonwealth summit here Thursday, an official said.

Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told reporters that the deals would be signed with an Australian company and two Chinese companies, Xinhua reported. (Business Standard)

Sri Lankan navy officer accused of being key player in people-smuggling racket
The alleged linchpin of Sri Lanka's biggest people-smuggling racket is a decorated naval officer who briefed Australia's border protection chief and its high commissioner to Sri Lanka on how to stop human trafficking.

But the Australian government has refused to comment on what information it might have shared with the accused officer, Lieutenant-Commander Sanjeewa Annatugoda. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Sri Lanka says "nothing to hide" despite pressure before summit
Sri Lanka's president defended his government's human rights record on Thursday, saying he had "nothing to hide", but on the eve of a Commonwealth summit in Colombo he faced fresh questions over the treatment of ethnic minority Tamils.

Mahinda Rajapaksa said a system was in place to deal with rights violations, amid allegations of abuse four years after a civil war against Tamil separatists ended. The concern prompted Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to skip the summit. (REUTERS)

Sri Lanka sets up temporary shelters for overstaying migrant workers in Saudi Arabia
The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) has set up several temporary shelters in Saudi Arabia for the overstaying Sri Lankan migrant workers who could not meet the deadline set by the Saudi Arabian government. to leave the Kingdom before the amnesty period ran out.

Sri Lankan migrant workers have now gathered in camps after they had failed to leave Saudi Arabia before the November 4 deadline set by the Saudi government for them to leave without a penalty. (Colombo Page)

Indian PM didn't mention Tamil sentiment in letter cancelling visit: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today expressed satisfaction over External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid attending the Commonwealth summit.

"I am satisfied," he told a press conference when asked whether he was satisfied with the level of Indian participation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meet that opens in Colombo tomorrow.(NDTV)

Prince Charles Faces Sri Lanka Test On Birthday
When Prince Charles celebrates his 65th birthday by slicing into a specially baked cake at the British High Commission in Colombo later today, one wonders what he'll wish?

That possibly his biggest stand-in role yet as heir in Sri Lanka goes well? Or that he wishes he'd never been asked to represent the Queen at a Commonwealth meeting fast being overshadowed by issues of human rights? (Sky)

Sri Lanka accuses Canadian government of ‘placating’ Tamil Tigers as row over Commonwealth summit grows
Canada and Sri Lanka traded shots Wednesday in the build-up to the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Colombo, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper is boycotting over the island nation’s human rights record.

After MP Deepak Obhrai laid a wreath in northern Sri Lanka “in memory of all innocent Sri Lankan victims of violence,” Colombo responded by accusing him of paying tribute to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels. (National Post)

Britain uses Hikkaduwa confab to flay Sri Lanka
The government yesterday accused the UK of pursuing an anti-Sri Lanka agenda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Authoritative government sources said that State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hugo Swire lambasted Sri Lanka at the final session of the Commonwealth People’s Forum (CPF) held at Chaaya Tranz, Hikkaduwa. (Bernama)

Sri Lanka In Top Gear To Welcome Heads Of Government For 2013 CHOGM
Sri Lanka is on top gear to host heads of government and delegates for the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) as they congregate in the country's capital for the high-profile meeting to discuss global and Commonwealth related issues.

The Sri Lankan government is going all out to prevent any hiccups for the staging of the biennial meeting from Nov 15 to 17. (Bernama)

Dwindling aid slows Sri Lanka
When the first trains in almost two and a half decades started running through this war-ravaged town in Sri Lanka in mid-September, Sinngamuththu Jesudasan could not resist the temptation to go and have a look – repeatedly.

The last time the 62-year-old had seen a train on the track in Kilinochchi was somewhere in the late 1980s. “They suddenly stopped,” Jesudasan told IPS, staring motionlessly at the blue train speeding on the track towards Kilinochchi. (Daily Mirror)

Spectacular Sri Lankan wedding is the world's biggest ever, with 126 bridesmaids, 25 best men, 20 page boys and 23 flowers girls
Planning a wedding is a major undertaking for any couple... but not for Nisansala and Nalin from Sri Lanka who married this week at a Guinness World Record breaking ceremony near the capital city of Colombo.

The bride and groom had a staggering 126 bridesmaids - easily beating the previous record of 96 held by a Thai couple - all dressed by Nisansala's sister-in-law Champi Siriwardana, who first suggested they go for the world record bid. (Daily Mail)

Sri lanka urges ‘genuine’ wealth partnerships
President Mahinda Rajapaksa says developed countries should be sensitive to matters affecting developing nations for genuine and credible creation of wealth partnerships.

Mr Rajapaksa said when global tensions escalated due to political and economic disagreements among wealthy and advanced nations, those who suffered most were the developing and emerging nations. (Ukzambians)

Demonstration against Sri Lanka opposition MP's media conference with Channel 4 journalists
A tense situation has erupted outside Sirikotha, the headquarters of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National party after demonstrators protesting the party's media conference yesterday with the controversial Britain's Channel 4 journalists.

A large crowd gathered outside the party headquarters this afternoon to protest against the media conference held by the UNP Parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera with a group of media personnel from Channel 4 including the controversial movie director Callum Macrae. (Colombo Page)

Khurshid arrives in Sri Lanka for CHOGM summit
Notwithstanding the demand of political parties in Tamil Nadu for complete boycott, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid arrived here today on a five-day visit to represent India at the CHOGM Summit.

Accompanied by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, he arrived in a special aircraft and was received at the Bandaranaike International Airport by Sri Lankan Deputy Minister for Civil Aviation Gunaratne.(The Hindu)

Sri Lanka can tap Chinese and Indian middle classes, says Packer
Sri Lanka could be turned into a preferred destination for wealthy Indian and Chinese tourists, said Australian gambling tycoon James Packer on Wednesday as he promoted his plan to develop a $400 million dollar casino resort in Colombo.

Crown Resorts Chairman Packer was speaking at a Commonwealth forum on Wednesday after Sri Lanka's main opposition party this week attacked his Colombo casino plans, saying that he does not hold the proper licence. .(REUTERS)

Channel-4 journalists sent back to Colombo
Channel -4 journalists including Callum Macrae, who were heading to the North were sent back to Colombo in a special vehicle by the police saying it was being done for security reasons after their train was blocked at Anuradhapura Railway Station by a group of protesters.

Meanwhile Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the safety of the Channel 4 journalists was of paramount importance and that travel restrictions would be imposed taking into account their safety.(Daily Mirror)

Canadian files torture complaint against Sri Lanka to UN Human Rights Committee
During the three years he was detained by Sri Lanka’s anti-terrorism police, Roy Samathanam was handcuffed in painful positions, slapped, kicked, struck with T-56 rifles, beaten with pipes and threatened with death.

The 43-year-old Canadian is expected to announce Wednesday at a press conference in Toronto he had filed a formal complaint with the UN Human Rights Committee in the hope of bringing those who tortured him to account.(National Post)

Sri Lanka to sign $2 bln FDI deals including port city - minister
Sri Lanka will sign $2 billion worth foreign direct investment (FDI) deals, including the $1.3 billion investment from China Communications Construction Co Ltd to build a port city, the island nation's investment minister said on Wednesday.

Along with the port city, Sri Lanka will sign two mixed-development projects totalling $700 million on Thursday, Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardhena told reporters in Colombo.(REUTERS)

Sri Lanka poultry group in profits amid revenue drop
Sri Lanka's Ceylon Grain Elevators group, which has operations in feed-milling said it returned to profits in the September 2013 quarter helped by lower soya prices despite a drop in sales.

The group reported earnings of 99 cents per share. For the nine months to September the group reported earnings of 2.26 rupees per share on total profits of 184 million rupees.(Lanka Business Online)

You can't judge us: Sri Lanka tells commonwealth countries
Sri Lanka says no commonwealth country has the right to judge others, as another nation boycotted this week's summit in Colombo over human rights concerns.

Mauritius is joining India and Canada in refusing to send a leader to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka, which is accused of human rights abuses against its Tamil minority and the killing of tens of thousands of civilians during its 2009 defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels.(The Australian)

Cameron asks to meet Sri Lanka's Rajapaksa as Chogm boycott grows
David Cameron is pressing for a formal meeting with Sri Lanka's president to bring up allegations of war crimes and abductions by government forces, as he prepares to visit the country for the Commonwealth summit on Friday.

Downing Street sources said the Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, had not yet agreed to a private meeting with Cameron after the prime minister promised to use the summit to visit the country's troubled north and bring up allegations that state troops were involved in the killing of civilians, the disappearance of opponents and intimidation of the media.(The Guardian)

PM Harper’s rep lays flowers for Tigers
Canadian MP Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Human Rights, yesterday laid flowers at the Elephant Pass cemetery on his way back from Jaffna.

A senior government official alleged the flowers had been for those who died fighting for the LTTE, a proscribed organisation in Canada.(The Island)

C4 News won’t change its strategy - Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva
Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative in New York, Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva, yesterday said that the UK media outfit, Channel 4 News, could have visited the country two years ago as an invitation was extended to it in late July 2011.

The invitation was given in accordance with the government policy that the international media including those who had been extremely critical of the government as well as the armed forces should be given the opportunity to see the post-war recovery process, the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the army’s celebrated 58 Division told The Island.(The Island)

National MP praised Sri Lankan govt - Shearer
It beggars belief that National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi praised the Sri Lankan government’s approach to the Tamil crisis as "impressive" despite worldwide condemnation of its human rights record, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.

"It appears John Key’s softly, softly approach on Sri Lanka and human rights has infected his caucus.(Voxy)

Sri Lanka opposition slams govt over CHOGM
The Sri Lankan government has turned the CHOGM into an extravaganza to showcase the Rajapaksa regime, the main opposition UNP claimed today.

While the government purports to host a summit on behalf of Commonwealth that is committed to the values of democracy, human rights and good governance, it was opposed by many nations and organisations, the United National Party said in a statement. (Business Standard)

Channel 4 Director Callum Macrae faces a media briefing in Colombo
Director of Channel 4 Callum McRae who is in Sri Lanka to cover the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting also arrived at the press conference accompanied by 3 other representatives of Channel 4 to cover the press conference.

In response to a question raised by local journalists, Callum McRae stated that if he receives further evidence he is prepared to create another documentary regarding Sri Lanka. (Hiru News)

MR invites C4 men for a cuppa
In what appeared to be a consolidation of the charm that President Mahinda Rajapaksa is renowned for, while dismissing questions posed by Channel-4 journalist when he was about to board the car after the opening of the Commonwealth Business Forum invited them “for a cup of tea”.

During a brief rendezvous with the journalists who is currently in Sri Lanka to cover the CHOGM, Rajapaksa said that he was not concerned about alleged war crimes in the country. (Daily Mirror)

PM missing CHOGM will be a signal of foreign policy paralysis
With the Congress red-flagging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's participation at the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo out of populist electoral considerations, the country's foreign policy has hit an all-time low.

Under pressure from the DMK as well as ministers within the government, a divided Congress core group has impressed upon the PM not to visit Sri Lanka. (Times of India)

Sri Lanka Commonwealth Biz forum the largest ever
A Commonwealth Business Forum underway in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo is the largest in the history of the organization, and can be an opportunity to solve employment and skills challenges, officials said.

Secretary General of the Commonwealth Business Council, Peter Callaghan said with 1,500 delegates from around 90 countries the three day business forum will be the largest in the history of the event. (Lanka Business Online)

Sri Lanka’s Post-Conflict Development – What the World Leaders Saw and Said
The fault lies partly with foreign Governments and International Humanitarian and UN Agencies whose offices were virtually next door to the LTTE offices.

What begs an answer is why none of LTTE’s calculated, premeditated murders never went beyond a standard diplomatic statement while in stark contrast no sooner LTTE ground force and leader were eliminated these same entities unable to openly mourn a friend next opted to punish the nation that destroyed terrorism. (Sri Express)

Sri Lanka allows Channel 4 to cover CHOGM
Britain's Channel 4, whose staff was blacklisted in Sri Lanka after it produced a documentary on alleged war crimes in the nation, was on Monday allowed into the country to cover the CHOGM summit amidst protest by nationalist groups.

"We have given then a chance to correct themselves. They did a lot of damage through their misinformation campaign. We branded them mercenaries," Keheliya Rambukwella the Minister of Information said. (Zee News)

Opposition parliamentarians lodge complaint with police against James Packer
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) has lodged a complaint with the police against Australian gaming tycoon James Packer.

The complaint alleges that Packer was to engage in an illegal gaming business in Sri Lanka and calls on the police to conduct an investigation into the matter since the Australian billionaire will be in the country to participate in the Commonwealth Business Forum. (Colombo Page)

Five-day protest to greet British PM’s Jaffna visit
A five-day protest campaign gets underway in Jaffna today (12) ahead of UK Premier David Cameron’s visit to the peninsula.

The British delegation is scheduled to visit Jaffna on Friday (15), on the first day of the three-day Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The delegation is scheduled to fly there and return on the same day. (The Island)

Indian Media criticise Singh's ‘diplomatic error’
Media in India see Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's boycott of the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka as a "diplomatic error", the BBC reported.

Mr Singh cancelled his visit and decided to send his foreign minister instead due to political pressure from regional Tamil parties in India. (Daily Mirror)

Man kills wife with sword then commits suicide after heated argument over her parents
Panduwasnuwara police in Sri Lanka said that a young man in anger smashed his 21-year-old wife on the head with a sword and later hanged himself at a public cemetery in Thoragalla, ‘Mawbima’ reported.

According to the police, the 23-year-old man from Ambagahawewa in the Panduwasnuwara police division was angry with the wife’s parents because they had opposed their marriage. (Emirates 24/7)

Sri Lanka opens Economic Museum showcasing financial history
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Monday opened the renovated historic Central Point Building in Fort and the Sri Lanka Economic Museum established in the premises.

More than a century old Central Point Building in Chatham Street in Fort was partially damaged during the suicide bomb attack on Sri Lanka's Central Bank in 1996. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka should aspire to be role model to other nations - Dr. Jemilah Mahmoud
Sri Lanka should aspire to be a role model to other nations facing similar challenges, Dr. Jemilah Mahmoud, founder of MERCY Malaysia, said delivering the keynote lecture at the Commonwealth People's Forum 2013 this morning.

Delivering her keynote lecture under the theme 'The role of civil society in post-2015 development architecture', she welcomed President Mahinda Rajapaksa's speech on strengthening human rights and press freedom at the inauguration ceremony of the People's Forum yesterday (The Nation)

Northern Provincial Council to release its Policy declaration today
Sri Lanka's newly elected Northern Provincial Council will release its Policy Declaration today when the Council meets for the first time after the inaugural session.

The Governor of the Northern Provincial Council G.A Chandrasiri this morning will release the Policy Declaration of the council which has been prepared mainly under the guidelines of the Mahinda Chintana Policy Manifesto. (Colombo Page)

Summit is being opened in Colombo, Sri Lanka, by Prince Charles
The Prime Minister has refused to boycott this week’s controversial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in Sri Lanka, despite a second major nation pulling out in protest over human rights issues.

According to Foreign Secretary William Hague, Britain believes it can have ‘more impact’ by engaging in face-to-face talks with the country’s president, who has been accused of persecuting the country’s Tamil minority and political opponents.(Daily Mail)

Manmohan Singh's absence not a setback for CHOGM: Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka on Sunday said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's decision not to attend the CHOGM summit here was not a setback and it understood the domestic political compulsions behind the move.

"It will not affect the success of CHOGM," Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister GL Peiris said after Singh wrote a letter to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa saying he will be unable to personally attend the summit from November 15.(Economic Times)

Sri Lankan government to facilitate journalists' visit to North
The Sri Lankan government said that media personnel who are in Sri Lanka to cover the Commonwealth Summit in Colombo this week can visit any part of the country with prior notification.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) Media Center at the BMICH has made arrangements to provide facilities to accredited journalists to visit the former conflict areas in the North and East.(Colombo Page)

Commonwealth chief arrives for Lanka summit
Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma flew into the Sri Lankan capital today, marking the arrival of the first dignitary for the CHOGM 2013.

Sharma, a former Indian diplomat, has been criticised for allegedly siding with Sri Lanka over human rights abuse charges, an issue that has cast a cloud over the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). (Business Standard)

Lee Rhiannon, Jan Logie released after being detained in Sri Lanka
Australian Senator Lee Rhiannon has been released from the custody of Sri Lankan government officials and allowed to leave the country.

She was not charged, neither formally deported, though the Sri Lankan government maintains she and the New Zealand MP Jan Logie broke visa laws, a charge Ms Rhiannon denies. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Gotabhaya on war crimes allegations:
‘Produce evidence or shut up’

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that the UK-based LTTE rump had been engaged in an expensive project to embarrass Sri Lanka ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) next week.

Rajapaksa was reacting to representatives of three organisations, namely the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), British Tamil Forum (BTF) and Tamils against Genocide meeting British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday (07) to pressure Britain to boycott the 23rd CHOGM summit in Colombo. (The Island)

Sri Lanka human rights worries may overshadow 2014 Games
The Commonwealth Games in ­Glasgow risk being overshadowed by a human rights row if Sri Lanka's president becomes chairman of the 53-nation organisation, Labour has said.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander called on David Cameron to push for a review of whether Mahinda Rajapaksa should be granted the position when he meets fellow leaders. (Herald Scotland)

Sri Lanka human rights worries may overshadow 2014 Games
The Commonwealth Games in ­Glasgow risk being overshadowed by a human rights row if Sri Lanka's president becomes chairman of the 53-nation organisation, Labour has said.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander called on David Cameron to push for a review of whether Mahinda Rajapaksa should be granted the position when he meets fellow leaders. (Herald Scotland)

NADRA wins Sri Lanka ID Card project
The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) has won the Sri Lanka ID Card project.

Various International IT firms participated in this international competitive bidding process. (Business Recorder)

Sri Lanka Navy assists repatriation of 22 released Indian fishermen
Sri Lanka Navy escorted 22 Tamil Nadu fishermen, who were released by a Sri Lankan court recently, and handed them over to the Indian Coast Guard Friday.

A Sri Lanka Navy Ship 'Udara' attached to the Northern Naval Command and two SLN Inshore Patrol Crafts attached to North Central Naval Command had escorted the fishermen and handed over to the Indian Coast Guard Ship "Raj Kamal" at the International Maritime Boundary Line off Thalaimannar on 08th November. (Colombo Page)

Amid anti-Lanka clamour, Cong leaders fail to decide on PM's trip
Amid growing political controversy over India’s participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meet in Sri Lanka, Congress top brass on Friday deliberated on the issue. A decision, however, is yet to be taken on whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will attend the November 15 event.

A meeting of the Congress core group headed by party president Sonia Gandhi with the Prime Minister by her side deliberated over the issue for more than an hour. (Hindustan Times)

Sri Lanka rejects sanction-busting Iranian oil
Sri Lanka announced Friday it had rejected a shipment of Iranian crude oil it said may have been supplied in violation of US sanctions against the Islamic state.

The state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) said the cargo had been due to be delivered late last month but it had refused the shipment over worries it might be violating US sanctions. (Global Post)

Police not to allow protests along the routes used by CHOGM delegates
No protests will be allowed along the routes that will be used by delegates participating in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that commenced next week, Sri Lanka Police said.

Police Spokesperson SSP Ajith Rohana said that protests that block the main roads will not be allowed until the summit concludes, as it is considered a violation of human rights of another person as of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan students protest closing universities
About 2,000 Sri Lankan university students blocked traffic as they shouted slogans outside the capital's main railroad station Friday to protest a government decision to close state universities during a summit of leaders from Commonwealth countries next week.

University authorities announced Wednesday that a one-week vacation would be given to students during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which will be held Nov. 12-17 in Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital. They asked students to move out from dormitories, saying they need to be renovated.(Miami Herald)

SL should withdraw from C'wealth: JVP
The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today said that Sri Lanka should withdraw from the Commonwealth because the objective of the organisation, which had not changed in the course of history, was to maintain their colonial masters’ status.

“It is not appropriate for us to be a member of the Commonwealth anymore. We are a sovereign country. To remain a member of the Commonwealth and giving so much prominence to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and its chairmanship indicates that Sri Lanka continues to remain a colony,” JVP MP Vijitha Herath said.(Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka opens its first and only botanical garden established in the dry zone
Sri Lanka on Thursday opened its first and only Botanical garden established in the dry zone.

The garden is located in Mirijjawala of the southern province along the Colombo – Kataragama main road. (News 360)

Sri Lanka denies refusing visas to rights delegation
Sri Lanka on Friday denied refusing visas to a delegation from an international human rights group ahead of a Commonwealth summit in Colombo, saying its permission had not been sought for the overseas visitors.

Sri Lanka hosts the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting next week and human rights groups have urged a boycott by leaders to put pressure on the government, which faces allegations of extra-judicial killings, harassment of minorities and the detention of politicians and journalists. (REUTERS)

China cashing on India’s Sri Lanka woes
Even as the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was finding it hard to make up his mind over attending the CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting) to be held in Colombo in two weeks from now, China is making the best use of the situation to strengthen its presence in Sri Lanka.

China’s intention is obvious: profit from India’s discomfiture in Sri Lanka to occupy India’s strategic space in the island nation. (Sri Lanka Guardian)

Coast Guard apprehends 4 more Lankan fishers, Rameswaram fishers urge for their release
Indian Coast Guard apprehended four Sri Lankan fishermen and their fishing vessel off Kanyakumari coast on Wednesday night. Within a period of two months, the Coast Guard have detained 59 Sri Lankan fishermen.

Though the arrested Lankan fishers claimed that they lost their way and was stranded in Indian waters, the fishermen sources here say that their counterparts from the Island nation is after tuna much like them, who are after prawns and squids. They feared that Lankan fishers' detention will backfire on them. (Times of India)

Sri Lanka to be self-sufficient in eggs by 2014
The government has taken measures to make Sri Lanka self-sufficient in production of chicken eggs by next year, the Ministry of Economic Development says.

According to the Ministry, the Divi Neguma National Programme launched by the Ministry under the President's future vision program is a success in producing sufficient eggs for public consumption and the government will take measures to stop egg imports from 2014. (Colombo Page)

CHOGM 2013: Low level Canadian delegation expected to visit Jaffna
Speculation is rife that a low level Canadian delegation, arriving here for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo next week, too, would seek to visit the Jaffna peninsula.

External Affairs Ministry sources told The Island that Commonwealth countries with large population of Tamils, of Sri Lankan origin, were likely to send their delegations to Jaffna. The government was ready to facilitate such visits in accordance with the post-war policy of openness, sources said. (The Island)

India has a lot to gain by attending the CHOGM in Sri Lanka
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has much to gain — and practically nothing to lose — by attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) beginning on November 15 in Colombo.

If Singh lets Tamil parties, and Western interests, hold him back from CHOGM, he would be denying himself many opportunities, besides exposing the UPA government’s lack of political will and diplomatic skill. (DNA)

India disappoints Callum Macrae
Expressing his “disappointment” at Indian authorities not granting him visa to come to India for screening of his documentary based on war crimes in Sri Lanka during civil war, filmmaker Callum Macrae said the world was looking at India to lead the search for justice and not silence those who have evidence of crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka.

The situation is especially bizarre as Sri Lankan authorities have categorically told him that he will get visa for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. (DNA)

President declares open Magam Ruhunupura International Conference Hall
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today ceremonially declared open the Magam Ruhunupura International Conference Hall in the port city of Hambantota.

Magam Ruhunupura International Conference Hall (MRICH) situated in a 28 acre plot of land in Siribopura, Hambantota, is Sri Lanka's second international conference hall. (Colombo Page)

Katunayake highway the most expensive in the world: UNP
UNP parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera said today his party would write to the Guinness Book of Records requesting it to include the Katunayake Expressway as the most expensive expressway in the world.

“The government has spent Rs.45.7 billion for the construction of the 25.8 km-long Katunayake Expressway at a cost of Rs.1.8 billion per kilometre. This is the only expressway in the world to have spent such a massive amount of money. So we are going to request the Guinness Committee to include the Katunayake Expressway in next year’s GuinnessBook of Records”, Mr. Samarawera said. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka: SLPA moves in right direction
The Sri Lanka Ports Authority has recorded its ever highest daily container volume, which is 9,884 TEUs on the 2nd November 2013. The previous highest volume of 9,659 TEUs was reported by the SLPA on the 24th June 2013.

By the end 31st October 2013, Sri Lanka Ports Authority had handled a cumulative throughput of 2,080,253 TEUs for the period up by 7.5% compared to the total container throughput of 1,936,394 TEUs for the same period last year. (Dredging Today)

Chairman of Sri Lanka's Reconciliation Commission passed away
The Chairman of Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and former Attorney General, President's Council C. R. de Silva passed away this morning after a lengthy illness.

A leading lawyer, de Silva also served as the Solicitor General of Sri Lanka. (Colombo Page)

Student’s ear drum bursts after assault
A teacher at a school in Aralaganwila allegedly hit a student so hard that his ear drum got damaged and cracked open. The boy was brutally punished by the teacher for getting his snack on a polythene packet. At the time the incident occurred, the boy was having his lunch.

Wilyaya Central College has banned students from bringing polythene to school to prevent environmental pollution. However, the teachers had not been authorised to punish students, Sukith Ranasinghe, the school Principal told the media. (Emirates 24/7)

CHOGM 2013: Demos won’t be allowed
A senior government official yesterday said that precautions would be taken to thwart possible protests against some of those delegations coming here for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) next week.

Asked whether the police would be deployed to break up protests in Colombo or Jaffna, where British Premier David Cameron was scheduled to visit, accompanied by key members of his delegation, the official said that protesters wouldn’t be allowed to interfere with the CHOGM schedule under any circumstances. (The Island)

Commonwealth leaders are free to visit any part of Sri Lanka
The state leaders attending the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo are free to visit any part of the country, Sri Lanka's Ministry of External Affairs said today.

The Ministry said that many of the dignitaries attending the summit had requested permission to visit other areas of the country including the North. (Colombo Page)

Tracking blue whales in Sri Lanka
The deep waters that surround Sri Lanka’s coastline are becoming known for their rich diversity of marine-life, in particular cetaceans, where one can have the opportunity to observe a great diversity of species

Since May 2008, it has become known that it is the best place for seeing the largest animal to have ever graced our planet, the mighty Blue Whale.(Colombo Gazette)

A boycott of Sri Lanka would be wrong
Next week, the Prime Minister and I will travel to Sri Lanka for the latest Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The 53 Commonwealth countries together represent two billion people – nearly a third of our world’s population – and some of its fastest-growing economies.

Despite its significance, most discussion of the summit has centred on its location. In particular, because of Sri Lanka’s poor record on human rights, some people are calling for a British boycott. (The Telegraph)

Jaffna cushion for Manmohan Singh's Sri Lanka trip?
The ministry of external affairs on Wednesday said the decision-making process on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Colombo for a Commonwealth summit was in "advanced stage" with indications of Jaffna being a major destination.

Sources said if the PM's visit is announced, Singh's itinerary will include a significant Jaffna component in a bid to signal India's strong commitment to the rehabilitation and safety of Tamils in northern Sri Lanka.(Timres of India)

Britain will demand new inquiry into Sri Lanka's disappeared, pledges Hague
David Cameron will urge a “thorough” investigation into the fate of thousands of missing people in Sri Lanka when he attends a Commonwealth summit in the country, William Hague has promised.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph on Thursday, the Foreign Secretary endorses a call made by this newspaper for a new inquiry into disappearances in Sri Lanka. (The Telegraph)

Police recover C-4 explosives from Vavuniya
Sri Lanka police have recovered a cache of explosives suspected to be used in a subversive act from Vavuniya in Tamil dominated Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

The explosives cache of 13 kilos of C-4 explosives was found hidden in a lorry which had been abandoned near a vehicle check point in Vavuniya.(Sri Lanka Guardian)

The Big Deal of Cameron at the CHOGM
When a nation hosts the CHOGM summit and more importantly tipped to be its leader for the next two years, prior to Mauritius 2015, a “greater compliance” to the core values as outlined by the Commonwealth’s New Charter is called for. “We can do it, but you can’t “is the underlying message to Sri Lanka and other small nations.

David Cameron can discuss already agreed items on the agenda for the Colombo summit. As far as the Commonwealth Secretariat is concerned, it is undisclosed. It may very well include:(Sri Lanka Guardian)

Sri Lankan Tamil movement says Sinhalese should be allowed to live in Jaffna
A Tamil movement in Sri Lanka says that Sinhalese who wish to live in the Jaffna peninsula should be allowed to do so.

The Jaffna Tamil Buddhist Association says Sinhalese should not be prevented from living in Jaffna. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lankan man who duped people by promising visas to Canada arrested
Sri Lanka Police has arrested a person who has duped money from people promising them Canadian visas.

The suspect has been arrested from the Ja-ala area on Tuesday. (News 360)

Handing over powers to leadership council is a historic move, Sri Lanka main opposition leader says
Despite the discontent expressed by the Maha Sangha over his nominees to the leadership council, the leader of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) Ranil says that it was a historic move to hand over powers to the leadership council in order to save the country.

Addressing media after the crucial Working Committee meeting, Wickremasinghe said that the party for the first time will be administered by a leadership council instead of one leader. (Colombo Page)

‘The absence of the Indian PM [from CHOGM] would subtract from its space in Sri Lanka’
The CHOGM is important in that it signals a breaking of an attempted blockade of Sri Lanka and the Rajapaksa administration by powerful elements in the Tamil diaspora, Tamil Nadu, the Western media and the international human rights community.

However it is a mixed blessing, because there is also a spike in the criticism of Sri Lanka due to the holding of the meeting. Sri Lanka's higher profile has meant it is a bigger target. (Indian Sri Express)

Sri Lanka: What are the names of the ‘40,000 dead’ – Where did they live and where are their relatives?
What is preposterous is that the sources for these guestimates come from LTTE sources. Leaving aside the exaggerations behind these claims what must not escape anyone’s attention are a few simple questions a) Where are the 40,000 or even 125,000 bodies of the supposed dead? b) What are their names – the dead must surely have names and those claiming anyone is dead must surely know who the dead person is c) where did these dead live – give a list of addresses and d) who are the relatives of the dead and on what grounds can they claim it was the Armed Forces who killed them.

This again brings us back to the question, where are the dead bodies, at least the skeletons and how did the army manage to bury so many dead bodies without a single video footage landing in the hands of Channel 4 (Sri Express)

Controversial Channel 4 director gets on arrival visa to Sri Lanka despite being denied Indian visa
Sri Lanka has approved on arrival visa to Callum Macrae, the controversial Director of Channel 4 documentaries on Sri Lanka's war to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Minister of Mass Media Keheliya Rambukwella has confirmed to Ceylon Today that Macrae has been granted on arrival visa to enter the country to cover the mega event despite being denied a visa to enter India by Indian authorities. (Colombo Page)

Cameron wants to visit Jaffna paper
The British government is pushing for a visit by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to the office of the Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper.

Cameron is leading a British delegation to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to be held next week while the Queen is represented by Prince Charles.(The Island)

I did not betray the party members: Karu
UNP Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya today denied allegations that he had betrayed party members.

“People are at liberty to hold their own opinions on this appointment. The Chairmanship of the Council was given to me like all the previous posts. I did not ask for it,” he told a news conference today. (Daily Mirror)

Supreme Court asked to interpret 18th Amendment regarding presidential election
The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka will be asked to give an interpretation on the 18th Amendment to the Constitution on the holding of a Presidential election.

The local media reported that the government will seek an interpretation on the holding of a presidential election during the second term of office of an incumbent President. (Colombo Page)

Two Tamil Nadu fishermen drown as Sri Lanka navy chases boat
Two fishermen drowned and three others were injured when their boat capsized while being chased allegedly by Sri Lankan naval vessels off this coastal town.

Thirty others were arrested for reportedly crossing the International Martime Boundary Line, officials said. (Times of India)

Sri Lanka fruit and vegetable exports led by banana and cassava
Sri Lanka's fruit and vegetable exports have been led by banana and cassava in recent years, which are grown commercially in large extents of land, which is vital to grow the industry, an official said.

Sri Lanka's Fruit and Vegetable Producers Processors and Exporters Association is expecting to boost exports of 88 million US dollars by 2015 from 32 million US dollars in 2012, vice president Indira Malwatte said. (Lanka Business Online)

Sri Lankan court re-affirms permission to send skeletal samples from mass grave to China
A court in Sri Lanka has re-affirmed permission to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) amidst objections to send samples of skeletal remains from the Matale mass grave to China for radiocarbon dating tests.

The Matale Magistrate's Court has asked the CID to send seven samples of the skeletal remains uncovered from the mass grave to China for testing when the case was taken up for hearing. (Colombo Page)

Just two massacres for PM Cameron’s consideration
Given the unending torrent of unsubstantiated accusation against our security forces and the abuse resorted to against the good name of our country by the British government and some of the British Parliamentarians—a few of whom are alleged to be in the pay of the foreign LTTE—I regard it appropriate to resurrect just two, out of many, massacres committed by the colonial British on the Kandyan freedom fighters.(The Island/Opinion)

10 killed after Sri Lanka bus plunges off cliff
At least 10 people were killed and 18 others were injured when a bus skidded off a road and plunged down a cliff in central Sri Lanka, police said Tuesday.

A police statement said the bus from a state-owned company was traveling along a mountain road in the central hill town of Bandarawela when it veered off the road and fell down a 350-foot (105-meter) precipice Monday night. (New Zealand Herald)

Murali to inaugurate cricket pitches in former LTTE stronghold
Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan will be inaugurating the new cricket pitches laid in a stadium in the former LTTE stronghold of Kilinochchi.

He will declare open cricket pitches developed by the governing body Sri Lanka Cricket at the Kilinochchi central college tomorrow. (Business Standard)

Sunil Gavaskar and Sourav Ganguly join Ian Botham in charity walk across Sri Lanka
Former India captains Sourav Ganguly and Sunil Gavaskar on Monday, joined England cricket legend Sir Ian Botham on Beefy's Big Sri Lanka Walk on the fourth and toughest day yet of the fundraising trek for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation across the country.

The 25 miles from Kandy to Pinnawala was twice the distance completed the previous day and the heat was approaching 45 degrees to make things even tougher. (Cricket Country)

Indian PM condoles Lankan diplomat's death
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today condoled the demise of Sri Lankan diplomat Gamini Corea, saying his work in the field of economic development were of immense significance not only for the island nation but also for developing countries.

Singh also recalled his over three decades of friendship with Corea and said it was a privilege that the late diplomat was a member of the South Commission during the time he served as its Secretary General. (Business Standard)

Veteran Sri Lankan economist Gamani Corea passes away
Veteran Sri Lankan economist Gamani Corea — one of the chief architects of Sri Lanka’s first national plan in the late 1950s — passed away here on Saturday. He was 87.

A highly regarded economist, Dr. Corea was also a seasoned diplomat, who held key positions such as Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1974 to 1984. (The Hindu)

Sri Lanka looks to export 200,000 tons of surplus rice
After achieving self-sufficiency in rice last year, Sri Lanka is looking to export about 200,000 tons of surplus rice in the international market, according to the Chairman of the Paddy Marketing Board .

The PMB chairman says that Sri Lankan farmers have increased rice acreage due to the end of the war and production has also increased due to fertilizer subsidies. (Oryza)

Matara clash: UNP goes to HRC to obtain redress
The United National Party (UNP) today filed a complaint at the Human Rights Commission over the arrest of several of its members in connection with the Matara Clash on October 5.

“The Matara police have arrested some UNP members who had nothing to do with the clash. We see this as an attempt to destroy the party,” UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said. (Daily Mirror)

10,000 Sri Lankan migrants return on Saudi amnesty
As many as 10,000 Sri Lankan migrant workers have returned home on an amnesty provided by the Saudi Arabian government while efforts are being made to bring home some 6,000 others who failed to meet the deadline, an official said here Monday.

The amnesty period offered by the Saudi Arabian government for overstaying foreigners, mostly unskilled workers, ended Sunday. (Business Standard)

Commonwealth meet protest: 45 workers arrested in three places in Tamil Nadu
As many 45 persons belonging to different pro-Tamil outfits were on Monday arrested for attempting to picket trains and bus-stand in nearby Tirupur and Udhagamandalam, demanding that India should not participate in the CHOGM scheduled in Sri Lanka this month.

Twelve workers of Adi Tamilar Katchi attempted to barge into the Tirupur Railway Station but were prevented by police, before they could reach the track, police said. (Indian Express)

Government decides to import 92 Octane petrol
The Petroleum Resources Ministry of Sri Lanka has decided to import 92 Octane petrol instead of 90 Octane petrol, Petroleum Resources Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said.

Accordingly the state-owned petroleum distributor, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) will order the 92 Octane petrol from January next year. (Colombo Page)

President Rajapaksa never betrayed his countryman
External Affairs Minister G.L.Peiris stated that Sri Lanka should follow South Africa for reconciliation at the South Africa-Sri Lanka Dialogue held recently. He must be unaware of what happened in South Africa. Nelson Mandela, to gain his release from prison, sacrificed the future of his own people, the Blacks and was rewarded with the Noble Peace Prize.

That was not what President Rajapaksa did to liberate Sri Lanka from the terrorist LTTE. He defeated the LTTE, wiped them out from Sri Lanka. He did not follow the path of Mandela, which Chandrika Kumaranatunge tried to do in the PTOMS agreement with the LTTE, where the LTTE was accorded a greater place than the Government of Sri Lanka. (The Nation)

Spell-binding Sri Lanka: Ancient temples, holy shrines and Elephants
From glorious white sand beaches to dense jungle, Sri Lanka is littered with palaces and tea plantations... What more could you want?

"Sri Lanka? Isn’t it just India designed by the Swiss?” asked my most travelled friend. (Mirror)

Tamil civilians killed by LTTE
When propagandists can project a terrorist organization and a terrorist leader as martyrs and there are people who accept this version despite evidence showing the exact nature of their terror – there is cause for concern.

No organization or leader who has turned the gun on people they claim to protect or worse to have formed their organization to represent them cannot by any definition qualify for that role.(Sri Express)

Sri Lanka says documentary on TV presenter killing ‘fabricated’
Sri Lanka on Saturday dismissed a latest video documentary released by Britain's Channel 4 as "fake", saying attempts are being made to discredit the army ahead of the Commonwealth conference.

"It is nothing new for Channel 4 to discredit Sri Lanka at important times such as UN Human Rights Council sessions and the forthcoming Commonwealth conference," military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya said.(Indian Express)

UNP reformists adopt three-point reform plan
UNP reformists yesterday decided that after the appointment of the proposed leadership council, the term ‘UNP Leader’ would be replaced in the party’s Constitution with ‘Leadership Council’ (LC).

The UNP present leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, could appoint three members to the LC and Hambantota District MP Sajith Premadasa and Gampaha District MP Karu Jayasuriya should have powers to appoint the balance four to nine-member the Council, the UNP rebels said. (The Island)

Jayalalithaa to have bigger role if Modi comes to power: Sri Lankan analyst
Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, a leading Sri Lankan strategic analyst and a former ambassador, has warned that an Indian government led by Narendra Modi will not bring any relief to Sri Lanka as Modi will not only be tougher than the present administration but will also give Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa a great role in national affairs, including foreign policy

“There must be no illusions that our problems will cease or abate with a change of administration in Delhi. A Modi administration will be more robust and tough-minded in its reactions to perceived Chinese and Pakistani influence in India’s neighbourhood.(Indian Express)

Sri Lanka Army to court martial soldier arrested for robberies
Sri Lanka Army on Saturday immediately suspended from service a soldier, arrested on suspicion for involvement in a number of robberies.

The Army Commander Lieutenant General Daya Rathnayake has directed the Directorate of Legal Services in the Army to convene a Court Martial without delay. (Colombo Page)

Kin of Lanka kidnap victims press British PM for talks
Relatives of the victims of abductions blamed on Sri Lankan authorities have called on British Prime Minister David Cameron and other western leaders to meet them during the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Colombo later month.

“Sri Lanka is not worthy of this summit but I ask the leaders who come here to meet us too, the relatives of the disappeared,” Sandhya Eknaligoda, 50, said. (Gulf Times)

If Manmohan attends CHOGM, will he go to Jaffna too?
If Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh does decide to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo (November 15-17), there is a strong possibility of his going to Jaffna, too.

He may choose to visit Jaffna, the capital of the Northern Province, in response to a warm invitation from Justice CV Wigneswaran, the judge-turned-Chief Minister of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC). (Sunday Island)

UN Slams Lankan Prisons
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo says in some Sri Lanka’s prisons, cells are infested with rats; they often lack beds, mats and pillows; and there are no fans even when temperatures climb to dangerous levels.

Manjoo has said this in a report on the ‘Causes, Conditions and Consequences of Women’s Incarceration’ submitted to the UN General Assembly, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said. (Sunday Leader)

A Vietnamese delegation to arrive in Sri Lanka looking for trade opportunities
A 17 member Vietnamese business delegation will arrive in Sri Lanka during mid-November to explore business opportunities in the Island nation.

The delegation is looking to hold discussions with local firms dealing with products such as Agricultural machinery, engines and parts, rice reaper, paddy seeder, power tillers, Diesel engines, handicrafts, medicines and chemicals, oil, gas and petroleum, power cables, sugar and vegetable processing machines etc. (Hiru News)

Buddhist group: Don’t allow religious and ethnic lines to worsen
Isolation between races and cultures will lead to mistrust and fear as groups grow more separate, warns an international Buddhist group.

The chairman of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), Dr Harsha Kumara Navaratne, from Sri Lanka, said isolation would happen if a country allowed religious and ethnic lines to worsen. (The Star)

China, India and the United States as seen from Sri Lanka
For Sri Lanka, the myth (of the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka) is also an object lesson as to how we should conduct our Foreign Policy. Given our location, and the cultural links we share, we need to see India as our primary source of reference in our relations with the world.

We need then to be aware of our links with Asia, and the common problems we face in developing commercially and industrially when the West is so far ahead of us and has competitive advantages. (Sunday Leader)

China, India and the United States as seen from Sri Lanka
For Sri Lanka, the myth (of the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka) is also an object lesson as to how we should conduct our Foreign Policy. Given our location, and the cultural links we share, we need to see India as our primary source of reference in our relations with the world.

We need then to be aware of our links with Asia, and the common problems we face in developing commercially and industrially when the West is so far ahead of us and has competitive advantages. (Sunday Leader)

Sri Lanka's core inflation continues to decline
Sri Lanka's core inflation, which captures underlying long-term trend of the inflation, has continued its declining trend in terms of both year-on-year and annual average basis over the last few months, the Central Bank said.

The year-on-year core inflation which was over 7 percent during the first two months of the year, decelerated to 2.6 per cent in October 2013, reaching the lowest rate ever recorded since its introduction in 2007. (Colombo Page)

Lanka has nothing to hide and willing to engage with the world – Udaya Gammanpila
The Sunday Leader spoke with Udaya Gammanpila, Minister of Agriculture, Agrarian Development, Irrigation, Trade and Environment in the Western Provincial Council, about perceived Indian interference in the affairs of the Sri Lankan state.

Gammanpila observed, “As we are a semi colony our struggle against India is in fact a liberation struggle.(Sunday Leader)

Lanka’s Northern Province CM praises India
Sri Lanka’s Northern Province Chief Minister C V Vigneswaran has praised India for its efforts in securing the provincial council elections in his country.

“After 30 years of war and 4 years of peace, we were able to gain an election for the north. India’s attention was important there,” newly elected Vigneswaran told reporters after meeting a European Union delegation yesterday. (The Hindu)

Ian Botham cheered by fans as he begins charity walk in Sri Lanka
England cricket legend Ian Botham was cheered on by hundreds of Sri Lankans on Friday as he began a 100-mile trek from the island's war-ravaged north to its tsunami-battered southern coast.

The Englishman promised to combat the sapping heat with plenty of night-time "rehydration" before he set off from Kilinochchi, a key battleground in Sri Lanka's 37-year ethnic war. (Cricket Country)

Sri Lanka, India navies discuss maritime issues at IMBL meeting
Sri Lanka and India have held the 23rd International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) meeting in the mid seas Friday to discuss maritime issues common to both countries.

The IMBL meeting between the two navies was held onboard the Indian Naval Ship INS Sukanya at the Indo-Sri Lanka Maritime Boundary Line off Kankasanthurai on 01st November 2013. (Colombo Page)

Australian unionists Jacqui Park and Jane Worthington arrive home
Two Australian unionists have arrived in Sydney after Sri Lankan authorities questioned them at length for attending a press freedom workshop.

Jacqui Park and Jane Worthington from the International Federation of Journalists went to a Free Media Movement in Colombo on Wednesday. (ABC News)

Britain is a glossy apple...but the core is rotten....
There are a series of awful ironies about his murder. He had come to Britain from his native Sri Lanka two years ago, with soaring hopes and plans. Within a year he had completed his IT degree at Sheffield Hallam University and was preparing to set up an IT business with friends.

He and his parents saw our country as a land of safety and opportunity. It afforded him neither. Thavisha died in broken Britain; a potent symbol of its disintegration into shocking and gratuitous lawlessness.He had been funding his studies by delivering pizzas, and it was on his final shift as a Domino’s driver – on his way to his last-ever house call – that he was killed. When he failed to make this last delivery, colleagues were alerted. They found him slumped, dying in his vehicle.In the words of one of his cousins, Britain was a ‘glossy apple – but with a rotten core’.(Mail Online)

Five elections due in 15 months
The government has decided to hold five elections within 15 months, beginning January next year, Election Secretariat sources said yesterday.

There would be two national elections, two provincial council elections and a local government election, they said. (The Island)

Former Deputy Leader of Sri Lanka main opposition re-enters the party Working Committee
Karu Jayasuriya, the former Deputy Leader of Sri Lanka main opposition United National Party (UNP) has decided to accept the membership of party Working Committee that has been offered to him.

He was out of the UNP's highest executive body after he failed the bid for the party leadership at a Working Committee election held in December 2011. (Colombo Page)

Cheery facade hides Sri Lankan leader's tough message
Down in the deep south of Sri Lanka, where life usually moves at a leisurely pace, there is one small town that is less tranquil.

Hambantota - population 20,000 - is expanding fast. There is a vast new deep-water port, built with $360 million of borrowed Chinese cash; a new 35,000-seater cricket stadium; a huge convention centre; and a $242 million international airport. (New Zealand Herald)

UNP MP challenges Investment Promotion Minister for a debate on casino bill
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian, Economist Dr. Harsha de Silva has challenged Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena for an open debate on the government's casino issue.

At a media briefing today Dr. de Silva said the government and the Minister were hiding the truth about setting up casinos in Colombo. (Colombo Page)

PM may attend Commonwealth summit
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina may attend the Commonwealth Head of Governments Meeting in Sri Lanka from November 15 to 17.

“The prime minister is very likely to attend the Commonwealth summit for one day as Sri Lanka requested her to join the event several times,” a foreign ministry official said. (Dhaka Tribune)

Two arrested for murdering of Sri Lankan student in UK
Two persons have been arrested in connection with the murder of a Sri Lankan student in the British city of Sheffield, police said today.

A 25-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy are in custody after being arrested separately on suspicion of murder, police said. (Business Standard)

SL to take up student’s killing with Cameron
The Government is expected to check on the progress with regard to the investigations into the killing of a Sri Lankan student in Britain when Prime Minister David Cameron visits Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), a top official said today.

Meanwhile External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunathlike Amunugama said the government was concerned about the investigations and had urged British authorities to expedite the investigative process and arrest the suspects. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lankan Muslim organization calls to resettle Muslims and Sinhalese evicted from North
A Muslim organization in Sri Lanka, the Muslim Brotherhood has called for the resettlement of Muslims and Sinhalese evicted from the Northern Province.

The organization has said that steps should be taken to resettle the Muslims and Sinhalese who were evicted from the North by the terrorist organization during the war. (Colombo Page)

India construction expo seeks Sri Lanka participation
Organizers of India's Excon 2013, touted as South Asia's largest construction equipment fair say Sri Lanka's construction industry and component makers can benefit from taking part.

The show will have 900 exhibitors including 200 construction equipment makers from outside India. (Lanka Business Online)

Three Tamil Nadu fishermen attacked and looted by Sri Lankans
Three fishermen from Nagapattinam travelling in three separate boats were allegedly attacked by Sri Lankan fishermen on Wednesday night.

On their return on Thursday, they complained about the incident to the coast guard authorities here claiming that the Sri Lankan fishermen had taken away their entire catch and tore off the fishing nets.(Times of India)

Chinese investor to begin port city development in Sri Lanka
A mega development project to build a $1.43 billion port city along the shoreline of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo will be put for cabinet approval next month with construction expected to begin in December, an official said here on Thursday.

The project, which aims to reclaim a 230 hectare site from the sea to build a mini-city that is expected to include a Formula 1 racetrack, is projected by the Sri Lankan government to attract $15 billion in investment for the country. (Global Times)

Congress gives nod to Manmohan Singh's Sri Lanka visit, but govt still undecided
The Congress has given a go-ahead to prime minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Colombo for the Commonwealth Government Heads of Government Meeting on November 16-17, saying it has opted for national security interests over domestic political interest.

The issue was discussed at the party’s core group meeting on Wednesday after the Tamil Nadu assembly passed a unanimous resolution last week urging the PM to skip the meeting over Sri Lanka’s alleged human rights violations. (DNA)

Sri Lanka inflation rises to 6.7 percent in October 2013
Sri Lanka's year-on-year inflation as measured by the Colombo Consumers' Price Index (CCPI) increased to 6.7 percent in October 2013 from 6.2 percent in the previous month, the Central Bank figures released on Friday showed.

However, the inflation on an annual average basis, decreased to 7.6 percent in October 2013 from 7.9 percent recorded in September. (Colombo Page)

Manmohan set on Sri Lanka visit
Despite opposition from parties in Tamil Nadu, it appears likely that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will travel to Colombo to attend the Commonwealth Summit.

The government had dithered for some time over the visit as these parties warned of "consequences" for hurting Tamil sentiments because of the island nation's alleged war crimes against ethnic Tamils. (Daily Mail)

Sir Ian Botham to begin Sri Lanka charity walk on Friday
Sir Ian Botham will get his 160-mile charity walk in Sri Lanka under way on Friday morning.

The Sky Sports commentator is attempting to cover the distance in eight days to raise money for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. (Sky Sports)

Sri Lankan boat arrivals: enhanced screening, diminished protection
Since October 27 last year, more than 1,070 Sri Lankan boat arrivals have been returned to their home country.

In the most recent repatriation last week, 73 of 79 Sri Lankans who arrived in Australia in the same boat were sent back. (The Conversation)

Lankan caretaker swindled X-Files star
Rs. 10.6 million belonging to popular X-Files actress Gillian Anderson and her husband had been misappropriated by the Sri Lankan caretaker in charge of their property, the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) submitted before a Colombo Court.

In the case at the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court, the Sri Lankan caretaker Anura Weeraratne Bandara was charged with having misappropriated Rs.17.8 million from the Sri Lankan properties owned by Ms. Anderson. (Daily Mirror)

London medics save Sri Lankan children’s lives
Children in Sri Lanka slept out overnight as they queued for life-saving treatment from London doctors and nurses.

A team from Evelina London children’s hospital operated on 20 children with complex heart conditions, including newborn babies and young adults who went undiagnosed as children. (London Evening Standard)

Over 42 Chinese companies to attend mega exhibition at Sri Lanka's Commonwealth summit
Eighty-one foreign companies including 42 from China will arrive in Sri Lanka to attend a mega trade exhibition being held on the sidelines of a major Commonwealth summit, an official said Thursday.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be hosted by Sri Lanka from Nov. 10 to 17. (Global Times)

Sri Lankan government told to improve country's image before the international community
Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) says the government should look at improving the country's image before the international community.

UNP spokesperson, parliamentarian Gayantha Karunathilaka said the government was paying much emphasis to the hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo next month but the real necessity was for the government to work towards building confidence among members of the international community and to improve the country's image in the international arena. (Colombo Page)

SL placed 60th in World Prosperity Index
Sri Lanka has come to the 60th position in the World Prosperity Index above neighbouring India in 106th spot, Nepal at 102 and Bangladesh at 103.

In the 'Prosperity Index' ranking of 142 countries compiled by London-based Legatum Institute Sri Lanka has moved up eleven places to 60th in overall Prosperity since 2009. (Daily Mirror)

Sri Lanka hotels profits may be squeezed by rising labour costs
Shortfalls of labour amid fast growth in Sri Lanka’s tourism sector may squeeze profits and undermine industry attempts to boost product quality, an official said.

"We will seriously need to see how we can halt the current shortage of staff," Jayantissa Kehelpannala, president of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka said.(The Island)

India, Australia back CHOGM in SL
Australian and Indian foreign ministers say they will not follow Canada in boycotting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka due to concerns over the country's human rights issues.

Speaking at a press conference with her Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid in Perth on Thursday, Julie Bishop said it was important to engage with Sri Lanka as it rebuilt itself in the aftermath of a bloody 30-year civil conflict.(Daily Mirror)

Construction of Sri Lanka's Southern Railway begins
A groundbreaking ceremony at Beliatta on October 28 launched construction of the 26·8 km first phase of the 115 km Southern Railway project.

The extension of the line from Matara to serve Kekanadura, Babarenda, Wavurukannala and Beliatta is scheduled to open in 2016.(Railway Gazette)

Sri Lankan court extends judicial remand of 39 Tamil fishermen
A Sri Lankan court today extended the judicial remand of 39 fishermen of Karaikal and Rameswaram, arrested by the Sri Lankan navy last month for allegedly fishing in their waters, fishermen association sources said.

Four fishermen of Rameswaram were arrested on October 4, while 35 belonging to Karaikal were arrested on October 14 and lodged in Vavuniya and Jaffna prisons respectively in the island country.(NDTV)

New Zealand FM to visit Sri Lanka's Tamil region
New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully is to travel to the predominantly Tamil northern region of Sri Lanka next month to see first-hand civilian life since the end of the country's long civil war in 2009.

McCully said Thursday he would make the trip while attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo from Nov. 10 to 17.(Global Time)

Consumer Affairs Authority earns Rs 86 million in fines this year
The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) of Sri Lanka has earned Rs. 86 million in fines during the first ten months of the year.

The agency which is under the Ministry of Cooperatives and Internal Trade has collected Rs 86 million in court fines from 27,853 raids carried out on errant traders island wide. (Colombo Page)

GR welcomes Cameron’s planned Jaffna visit
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said those campaigning for an international war crimes tribunal against Sri Lanka would try to exploit British Premier David Cameron’s forthcoming visit to the Jaffna peninsula next month.

The UK premier’s visit would be a platform for the human rights groups as well as the LTTE rump to reiterate unsubstantiated allegations against the army during the last few weeks of a 30-year war, the Defence Secretary told The Island.(The Island)

PM Cameron assumes that, ‘Sri Lanka is still a British Colony’
British PM David Cameron had told Nobel Laureate Aung Sang, that he would have ‘very tough questions’ to President Rajapakse during the CHOGM. He had also said that, “…I am not happy with their human rights reord… I am not happy with what they have done following the conflict…” Cameron should note that Sri Lanka is no longer a British Colony.

And that Sri Lanka as well is not happy with the human records of the UK, USA, Canada and so on. He would ofcourse have been happy if the LTTE rump were allowed to carry on the wishes of the tigers. The gamble here is for Tamil diaspora.votes. (Lankaweb)

Sri Lanka to deport 2 int'l media activists
Sri Lankan officials say they will deport two international media rights activists for participating in a meeting on press freedom while visiting the country on tourist visas.

Immigration chief Chulananda Perera said the activists from the Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists were found attending the meeting in Colombo on Wednesday. (NECN)

Removal of army camps from Sri Lanka's north will not be a reality, President says
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa today stressed that the demands for removal of army camps from the North made by some elements will never be a reality.

Addressing the 23rd convocation ceremony of the Sri John Kothalawala Defence University (KDU) held at the BMICH today, President Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka made history in successfully defeating terrorism and continues to do so as a country managing the post-conflict period as well. (Colombo Page)

19 Indian fishermen released by Sri Lanka court
A Sri Lankan court on Wednesday released 19 Indian fishermen on completion of their judicial remand period.

The fishermen, said to be from Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu, were arrested in September 2013 for alleged illegal fishing activity near the Delft islands off Jaffna. (The Hindu)

Senior leaders of Sri Lanka's main opposition party to discuss restructuring on November 1st
Senior leaders of Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) will meet on November 1st to discuss the proposed reforms to restructure the fractured party.

The discussion will be held between UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe and former deputy leaders and parliamentarians Karu Jayasuriya and Sajith Premadasa. (Colombo Page)

Expats swamp deportation center as deadline nears
Thousands of expatriates are in a frenzy to record biometrics and complete paperwork in the few remaining days ahead of the deadline for legalization, which has resulted in chaos at the deportation center in Jeddah.

Monday was the last day for Pakistan and Sri Lanka expats, while Tuesday was the last day for India, which saw huge crowding. (Arab News)

Sri Lankan immigrant spared deportation as judge rules she no longer fits definition of a terrorist
The unsteady sand of who is considered a terrorist in Canada has once again shifted in favour of a Tamil woman living in Toronto, whose politician husband was assassinated in Sri Lanka while attending Christmas Eve mass in 2005.

Weeks after Joseph Pararajasingham, a member of parliament in Sri Lanka, was shot dead, Canada granted residency to his widow, Sugunanayake Joseph, who was injured in the attack, to protect her safety. Bill Graham, Canada’s former foreign affairs minister, praised her husband at a memorial service as a “man of peace.” (National Post)

Sri Lanka one of the most improved economies in Doing Business
Sri Lanka is one of the 29 economies in the world that improved the most in the ease of doing business, according to a new global survey by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and World Bank comparing 189 countries.

Sri Lanka ranked 85th out of 189 countries surveyed in the Doing Business 2014 dropping two notches form the 2013 rank of 83. (Colombo Page)

Sri Lanka opens first private air terminal
Sri Lanka opened its first private sector-operated domestic air terminal at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) recently.

The new ter minal has been developed by Saffron Aviation (Pvt.) Ltd which operates Cinnamon Air.(Daily Mirror)

No room for bilateral issues - govt
There wouldn’t be room for bilateral issues at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) next month, an authoritative official told The Island yesterday.

"The CHOGM is primarily to discuss issues pertaining to the Commonwealth, therefore bilateral issues cannot be accommodated in the formal agenda," the official said. (The Island)

Sri Lanka free of terror's shadow and