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FDI falls short of target by US$ 540 M-Up 9% to US$ 1.46 billion

Mar 21 (FT) Foreign direct investment (FDI) to Sri Lanka fell short by US$ 540 million to achieve the govt's US$ 2 billion goal set for last year, however the inflow rose 9% to US$ 1.46 billion from US$ 1.34 billion in 2012. Despite the country failing to attract set FDI goals for 2012 and 2013, Ministry of Investment Promotion has increased this year's target to US$ 2.5 billion. Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena more..

Launch of ‘Hambantota Youth Business Programme book’ published by HDCC

Mar 21 (Island) The Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce (HDCC) launched its publication, "Hambantota Youth Business Programme (HYBP)" A story from southern Sri Lanka about youth, poverty, conflict, ambition, a prince and lives changed for good, which traces the lives of  beneficiaries of HYBP and captures the history and progress of HYBP, on the March 13 in Colombo. The Past Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Dr. Anura Ekanayake, made more..

Du Plessis, Steyn doubtful for opener against Sri Lanka

Mar 21 (CI) South Africa's T20 captain Faf du Plessis and pace spearhead Dale Steyn are in doubt for the team's opening World T20 match against Sri Lanka on Saturday. The pair both have hamstring injuries which kept them out of South Africa's final warm-up match against Pakistan on Wednesday. A final call on their availability will be taken on Saturday afternoon, shortly before the match. Steyn mildly aggravated the right hamstring strain he suffered during the third Test more..

Sri Lanka, India celebrate Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC)

Mar 21 (HCI) The annual get-together of the ITEC alumni and Sri Lankan students who studied in India as well as Sri Lanka under various scholarship schemes of the Govt of India was held on Wednesday, at Hotel Taj Samudra. Minister S.B. Dissanayake graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. About 300 alumni of Indian educational and training institutions, coming from various parts of SL, attended the reception. more..

HC moved for medical aid to jailed Lankan

Mar 21 (Hindu) The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the State government to file its response on a petition seeking to provide medical assistance to R. Chenturan, Sri Lankan national who was protesting against his detention under the Foreigners Act and lodged in Central Prison, Vellore. The Bench comprising Justices V. Dhanapalan and G.Chockalingam also asked authorities to reply within two weeks on a habeas corpus petition filed by Mangayarkarasi, wife of Chenthuran who more..

Editorial: Pinnawala baby farm

Mar 21 (Island) There is nobody to take the blame for a recent attempt to send a baby elephant to a foreign zoo as part of an animal exchange programme. That deplorable move ran into stiff resistance and had to be abandoned. A deputy minister who drew heavy flak for that abortive attempt has denied his involvement. During this festive season with days to go for the traditional New Year, politicians and bureaucrats are playing the national game—passing the buck. more..

Foreign experts to inspect former CJ’s bank details

Mar 21 (DM) Counsel for former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake told court that a defence team including foreign experts would be examining the computer data of the NDB bank pertaining to the accounts of the former CJ and therefore they need a longer period for the purpose. Considering the submission by defence counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty, Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya allowed time till April 30 to more..

Thousands of undetected HIV positive cases in Sri Lanka

Mar 21 (Island) Director Sexually Transmitted Diseases Unit (STD) Dr. Sisira Liyanage warns that some expatriate SL workers could be HIV positive. Some migrant workers avoided timely medical attention due to social stigma, he said. Although around 1,845 AIDs positive cases had been detected in SL till end of 2013, STD Unit suspected that there could be over 5,000 AIDS positive cases in the country. Though around 310 persons had died of AIDS from 1989 up to 2013, more..

GVR Lanka commences construction of iconic Dynasty Residence in Kandy

Mar 21 (FT) GVR Lanka Ltd. announced that it has commenced construction of the iconic, first mixed development real estate project in Kandy, Dynasty Residence. The ground breaking ceremony was held at the site down Lady McCullum Drive, in close proximity to the majestic Mahaweli River and the famed ‘elephant bath’ recently. Chief Guest at the ceremony Governor of Central Province Tikiri Kobbakaduwa and the Chairman of GVR Lanka Mahasen Samaravijaya performed more..

Tamil doctor 'was pressured to recant war reports by Sri Lanka'

Mar 21 (BBC) A doctor who worked in Sri Lanka's combat zone in the final days of the civil war has told the BBC he was forced by the govt to recant his claims about casualty figures. Dr T Varatharaja was one of five doctors who spoke regularly to the media during the war, giving far higher casualty figures than the govt. The doctors were arrested and later said the rebels had forced them to lie. more..

Thonda settles estate dispute

Mar 21 (Island) Minister of Livestock Arumugam Thondaman has intervened to settle a dispute at the Gonamutawa tea factory between hundreds of protesting plantation workers and the management company Agrapatana Plantations Ltd and help resume operations without any further delay. Plantation management sources said due to the prevailing drought there was less work on estates and the situation would be back to normal next month. more..

Marian musical performed at SL basilica

Mar 21 (CNA) The Archdiocese of Colombo celebrated its recent “children’s day” with the performance of a newly-created musical recounting the period in Mary’s life from the Annunciation until the birth of Christ. “It pictures a kind of moral dilemma, and thoughts that may have passed in the mind of Mary from the time of her consent (at the Annunciation), with the consequences seeming to contradict the law of Moses,” Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando, the writer and director of more..

'Talks only if Sri Lanka releases fishermen'

Mar 21 (Hindu) Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said the next round of talks between TN and Sri Lankan fishermen, scheduled for March 25, can take place only if all the Indian fishermen apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy on Wednesday are released. In a letter to the PM, Manmohan Singh, she said the latest incident definitely required his personal intervention. She exhorted him to take concrete and decisive more..

Poultry cartels rule the roost

Mar 21 (Island) The Gazette notification issued by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) with regard to prices of chicken parts (legs, breasts, wings, thighs etc.) two years ago has not yet been implemented by traders including supermarkets much to the annoyance of consumers who cannot afford the prices charged at present. Consumers complain that they are mostly forced to purchase a full chicken weighing 1 Kg and 600 to 700 grammes which cost them Rs. 670, while more..

More foreign unsolicited applicants for hangman’s job

Mar 21 (Island) Three British nationals have applied for the post of Hangman at the Prisons Department which fell vacant again after the recently recruited Sri Lankan quit his post within a week of being appointed. Though the Britons had applied they would not be considered for the post as only Sri Lankan nationals were eligible. There have been 15 other applications. Earlier this month, two Australians applied for the post of hangman through e-mail, but were not considered more..

US Foreign Relations Committee backs UNHRC resolution against SL

Mar 21 (CG) The Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Menendez, has written to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, backing the resolution at the current session of the UNHRC that calls for an international investigation into Sri Lankan war crimes committed during that country’s civil war. In the letter, Senator notes “that the Committee is concerned with the deteriorating more..

Polls Chief urges people to exercise their franchise without fail

Mar 21 (Island) Elections Chief Mahinda Deshapriya has asked people to exercise their franchise on March 29. He said that their motto was ‘Vote is your right’. "We have already asked the public and private institutions to grant their employees leave in the Southern and Western Provinces to cast their vote," Deshapriya said. He said that campaigning should end at midnight on March 26 and police would be deployed to remove propaganda materials from 6.00am the following day. more..

Ambassadors of Korea and Palestine pay farewell calls on President Rajapaksa

Mar 21 (AT) The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Jong-moon Choi and the Ambassador of Palestine Anwar Al Agha paid farewell calls on President Rajapaksa yesterday at Temple Trees. Mr. Choi thanked President for his support and also stated that the President’s state visit to Korea in 2012 was a success in strengthening relations between the two countries. For example, there are now direct flights between the two nations and about 25,000 Sri Lankans are working in Korea. more..

House in chaos as Azwer takes Chair

Mar 21 (DM) Parliament sessions took a chaotic turn today when UPFA MP A.H.M Azwer took the chair as the presiding officer amidst strong protests by UNP MPs who charged that there was an agreement that MP Azwer would not be allowed to preside over sessions. Mr. Azwer took the chair when Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa left the chair asking anyone to nominate Mr. Azwer to the chair. But UNP MP Eran Wickremeratne raised more..

World T20: Sri Lanka, Pakistan ahead of rest

Mar 21 (CI) Defending champions West Indies have slipped to sixth in the ICC Twenty20 rankings since the previous World T20. The runners-up in 2012, Sri Lanka, have been the most consistent team in the format since, and are ranked No. 1. Rankings, however, do not reflect the relative strength of T20 teams as much as they do in the longer formats. Ireland, who are No. 9 and are playing the qualifier to get to the main draw of the World T20 - beat the defending champions not so long ago. more..

Manhunt to catch terror suspect Gopi

Mar 21 (CT) The Army has decided to strengthen security in the Jaffna Peninsula and the Northern Province as part of the manhunt launched to arrest, J.G. Selvanayagam alias Gopi, and his colleagues who according to intelligence reports, is trying to revive the now defunct LTTE. The Army had taken a decision to once again commence checking all vehicles, vehicle owners and their identity cards that are entering and exiting the North, with effect from Wednesday, 19 March. more..

BBS invites Ashin Wirathu Thera to visit SL

Mar 21 (CT) The man that Time Magazine dubbed 'The Face of Buddhist Terror,' Leader of the 969 Movement in Myanmar, who is notorious for his anti-Islam rhetoric, Ven. Ashin Wirathu Thera, will be arriving in the island on an invitation by the BBS. BBS General Secretary, Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera said, "There is no need for a hullabaloo yet. We will let the relevant people know in due course. more..

Polls: Lawmakers and lawbreakers

Mar 21 (DM) The standards of party politics and especially canvassing for preferential votes during the campaign for the Western and Southern PC elections appear to have reached their worst levels since the new Constitution was adopted in 1978. Election monitors and media reports say some candidates involved in inner party rivalry for preferential votes are openly and blatantly violating election laws by giving inducements or gift-wrapped bribes to voters. more..

Rarely do politicians apologise to Judiciary

Mar 21 (DM) It is not often that Sri Lankan politicians apologise to the Judiciary. That however happened last week and the man who did so was Minister Rishard Bathiudeen, who apologised to the Court of Appeal and the former Mannar Magistrate. Apology brought to an end a long tug-of-war between the Minister and the judiciary, a conflict that even preceded the tussle between the ruling UPFA and former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake. Dispute first arose in July 2012 when it was alleged that more..

War for water in Kithulgala

Mar 21 (ST) Kithulgala is Sri Lanka’s premier white-water rafting location but a hydro-power project threatens the future of this tourist attraction. CEB is building the Broadland Hydropower Project on the Kelani River as a run-of-river (ROR) type power plant. ROR plants need little or no water storage but under this project the Maskeli Oya and Kehelgamu Oya, the main tributaries providing water to the Kelani, will be blocked by dams to more..

Time to start rebuilding trust in the North

Mar 21 (SL) The sense of normalcy in the North is getting stronger. To the visitor from outside Jaffna seems no different from any other town or city. People walk about freely, kids go to school and play games on the side streets and in parks. It is like being one of those foreign visitors to Colombo who wonder what the problem is when they see one of Asia’s prettiest cities in the making. The visible vestiges of the war are fast receding. more..

'Menace of poaching handled diplomatically'

Mar 21 (DM) Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Jagath Jayasuriya said the menace of poaching is handled diplomatically by India and Sri Lanka without leaving any room for violence or organised crimes. “The poaching issue is being addressed at another higher level of dialogue called Joint Working Group of Fisheries, involving officials of respective line ministries of both Govts,” he said while speaking at more..

Public Admin. Minister says not his job

Mar 21 (Island) Taking action against the ministry secretaries who got on to political stages in support of candidates contesting the March 29 election was a duty of the President and the matter did not come under his purview, Public Administration and Home Affairs Minister W. D. J. Seneviratne told Parliament on Wednesday. The minister, participating in the debate on increasing the fuel allowances of chairmen of the NPC and more..

UNICEF concerned over Lanka’s water safety

Mar 21 (CG) While being impressed with the national figures of the number of people who have access to water, UNICEF today raised concerns about vulnerable groups of children and their families who do not have access to water, as well as water safety in general. Almost four years after the world met the global target set in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for safe drinking water, and after the UN more..

France closely monitoring Sri Lanka

Mar 21 (CG) The French Govt is closely monitoring the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, French Foreign Ministry said. France says it currently supports the drafting of a resolution at the UNHRC, in order to remind the authorities of Sri Lanka of the need to implement measures to ensure national reconciliation, which requires respect for human rights under all circumstances and actions to combat impunity. more..

'Hanwella violent protest politically motivated'

Mar 21 (Island) IGP N. K. Illangakoon and Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order Maj. Gen. Nanda Mallawarachchi said that the Horana protest demanding the closing down of a rubber factory, where duty conscious OIC of the Borella police station, Chief Inspector Prasad Siriwardena died, was politically motivated and the police were conducting investigations into the incident. This was revealed as the top officials were discussing more..

'Geneva crisis cannot be resolved through arrogance'

Mar 21 (FT) UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya issued the following statement: The Geneva Human Rights Issue is pushing Sri Lanka into a crisis-corner. The Rajapaksas are trying hard to exploit this situation to win votes in the upcoming PC elections. They claim that the Geneva-initiative by some leading powers in the world is a ‘conspiracy’ against the Rajapaksas. The stark truth is that the Geneva-crisis could certainly cause a more..

MR refutes allegations by Chandrika

Mar 21 (CG) President Mahinda Rajapaksa has denied allegations raised by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga that the Govt is monitoring her movements. Secretary to the President Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, in a letter to Kumaratunga, responded to the accusations put forward by her toward the Govt of harassment through illegal surveillance. “His Excellency the President notes that the many allegations more..

SLMC: ‘Muslims want us to join the TNA’

Mar 21 (CT) General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Hasan Ali, stated that even though the SLMC has been with the government for so long the issues faced by Muslims are yet to be resolved. It is therefore the hope of the Muslim community that the SLMC joins with the TNA. He added that though five years have elapsed since the war ended, the govt had failed to address the issues of the Muslims. more..

TNA’s volte-face

Mar 21 (CT) Our yesterday's lead story reported that the TNA is willing to hold talks with the Govt of Sri Lanka without preconditions. It is, indeed, a commendable decision on the part of the TNA. The TNA-controlled Northern Provincial Council (NPC) announced for the first time that should President Rajapaksa agree for talks without preconditions, the TNA would reciprocate. The NPC also held a lengthy session on Tuesday where the issue regarding the talks between more..

'STOP – The unfinished war against Tamils'

Mar 21 (CT) As recent reports of the maltreatment of the young Tamil girls recruited into the exclusively Sinhala army make headlines, attention to the long and systematic use of sexual violence and abuse draws attention at the 25thsession of the UNHHRC. Amnesty International organized a well-attended side event entitled, ‘An unfinished war: Torture and sexual violence in Sri Lanka from 2009-2014’. The principal presenter was the prominent women’s rights activist Ms.Yasmin Sooka, more..

BBS now slams Rishad Bathiudeen

Mar 21 (CT) The BBS excoriated Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, for building separate Muslim zones and villages for the internally displaced by desecrating the sanctity of the Wilpattu National Park. They allege that he has entered into contracts with Middle Eastern NGOs. The contracts of which though not available on any govt website are found on the following websites belonging to Middle Eastern NGOs: more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.4%

Mar 21 (LBO) Stocks close 0.39% higher partly reversing previous losses with diversified and beverage stocks gaining amid thin foreign participation. All Share Price Index closed 23.31 points higher at 5,937.87 up 0.39%. The S&P SL20 closed 14.11 points higher at 3,246.02, up 0.44%. Turnover was 251.35 million rupees, down from 263.33 million rupees a day earlier with 120 stocks close positive against 62 negative. Tokyo Cement closed 50 cents higher more..

Rupee ends steady on late dollar sales

Mar 21 (Reuters) Rupee ended little changed on Friday as early importer dollar demand was offset by dollar sales by private banks in late trade after two state banks defended the currency by selling the greenback at 130.65. Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said on Wednesday that the rupee would be stable throughout this year due to rise in inflows through exports and remittances into the island nation. The spot rupee ended at 130.62/65 per dollar, little changed from more..

'Resolution a threat to reconciliation'

Mar 21 (CG) The Govt has told Muslim Countries represented in the UNHRC, that the new draft text of the US resolution on Sri Lanka is a threat to National reconciliation. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe briefed the countries representing the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the current situation in Sri Lanka at the Palais des Nations in Geneva yesterday, a Govt statement said today. more..