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New legislation in pipeline to protect environment

Mar 21 (Island) Sri Lanka should further strengthen its legal framework relating to environmental conservation to protect its nature, Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premajayanth said yesterday. He said that the current environmental laws were not strong enough to cope with the rate of present environment destruction. He also noted that the country would increase its forest cover up to 35% from 29% at present by the end of 2020. The Forest Department statistics showed that more..

Gratuity payment from nearest bank day after retirement

Mar 21 (Island) Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne told Parliament that decision to provide the gratuity payment to public servants through banks was taken as it would enable the pensioner to obtain their monies from the nearest bank on the day following their retirement. He was responding to a series of questions raised by JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake who alleged that the govt was planning to deprive the pensioners of their gratuity while making a special statement to parliament more..

Sri Lanka policy rates steady; inflation, credit growth benign

Mar 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka is holding a policy rate corridor at 6.5 to 8.0%, the Central Bank said amid benign credit growth and inflation. Credit to govt had expanded by 68.3 billion rupees in January 2014 but the proceeds of a sovereign bond sold in January is expected to have reduced credit to the state in February. Credit to private sector has grown 5.2% in the year to Jan 2014, from 7.5% in Dec 2013 mostly due to falling gold-backed loans more..

'No one asked for foreign monitors'

Mar 21 (Island) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that they would not bring foreign observers to monitor the Western and Southern PC elections scheduled to be held on March 29. He said that local monitors as well as officials of the Elections Department were enough to observe the poll. "This time no one asked for foreign observers like opposition parties did on previous occasions," he said adding that there was no need to bring monitors from abroad even if a request was more..

Ruki barred from speaking to media

Mar 21 (CG) Human rights activist Ruki Fernando has been barred by court from speaking to the media in relation to his recent arrest. The TID had obtained the court order and the order was served on him yesterday. The court order comes just days after Fernando and another activist were set free following their arrest over the weekend. Ruki Fernando and Catholic Priest, Father Praveen Maheshan, were produced before a Magistrate and released a few days ago. more..

SL and human rights: Never a good time

Mar 21 (Economist) It was with an incredible sense of bad timing that the govt of Sri Lanka arrested a couple of prominent human-rights workers this week—just as the UNHRC in Geneva goes to work sifting through its murky record for some sign of progress. Activists now fear a wider crackdown by the president, Mahinda Rajapaksa. His regime has grown increasingly defiant in the face of an American-led resolution that seeks more..

Move to compromise strength of proposed high voltage line from Sampur

Mar 21 (Island) The tender for a high voltage transmission line connecting the proposed Sampur Coal Power Plant to the National Electricity Grid has run into controversy as some members of the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) have recommended an offer that does not comply with key technical criteria. A top official said the bidder in question had offered transmission towers that are significantly weaker in strength. Other TEC members including its chairman have more..

Ranmenika visits gallows where her husband was hanged

Mar 21 (SM) Thirty nine years after D.J. Siripala, better known as Maru Sira, was hanged at Bogambara Prison, his wife had visited the place where her husband breathed his last after being convicted for the murder of one Seeman. Ranmenika had first met Siripala 45 years ago, at an illicit liquor den she had run in Anuradhapura after being widowed. Seeman, a brother of her first husband, had been killed in a dispute with Siripala. By that time Ranmenika had married Siripala. more..

Video: 'Wigneswaran more dangerous than Prabha'

Mar 21 (DM) UPFA Colombo district candidate Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said today Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran was more dangerous than LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. “Prabhakaran fought with weapons but Wigneswaran fights using the constitution, the law and international support to divide the country while enjoying his perks as Chief Minister,” he said. more..

World T20: Netherlands stuns Ireland to enter Super 10

Mar 21 (CI) Netherlands pulled off one of the best chases in Twenty20 cricket, chasing 190 in 13.5 overs to break the hearts of their opponents Ireland and Group B rivals Zimbabwe, who were watching with bated breath, to progress to the Super 10 of the World T20. Netherlands needed to achieve the formidable target in 14.2 overs to vault from No. 3 to No. 1 in the group on net run-rate, which meant they had to bat in high gear throughout. Stephan Myburgh gave Netherlands belief more..

India Infoline completes sale of 76% stake in Lankan unit

Mar 21 (PTI) India Infoline Ltd (IIFL) on Friday said it has completed the sale of its 76% stake to Sri Lankan subsidiary IIFL Securities Ceylon. "IIFL Holdings informs further to its intimation. it has completed the divestment of its 76 per cent stake in its Sri Lankan subsidiary namely IIFL Securities Ceylon Ltd which is engaged in stock broking activities at Colobmo Stock Exchange to its Sri Lankan JV partner Priyani Ratnagopal," it said in a regulatory filing to the BSE. more..

Sri Lanka Tamils subjected to horrific abuse after 2009 civil war, says report

Mar 21 (Guardian) Horrifying details of sexual and physical abuse, including forced oral sex, anal rape and water torture, have been documented in a new report on Sri Lanka’s treatment of Tamils after the end of the 2009 civil war, which includes testimony from returned asylum seekers and raises further questions about Australia’s deportation of Tamils. The report from the UK Bar Human Rights Committee, more..

'Another external intervention won’t help Tamils’ cause'

Mar 21 (Island) The TNA-controlled NPC has been warned that even if external powers intervened in Sri Lanka as demanded by the political grouping, that wouldn’t help realise its aspirations. Opposition member of the NPC and Jaffna District SLFP Chief Organiser, Angajan Ramanathan has cautioned his colleagues against pursuing an agenda detrimental to the country. Ramanathan was addressing NPC session on March 18 in the wake of a resolution passed by the TNA consisting of more..

Chennai police arrest three Sri Lankans, including man wanted by Interpol

Mar 21 (TOI) The Chennai police on Friday arrested three men in connection with a credit card scam. One of the arrested men is wanted by Interpol as the Sri Lankan police have issued a red corner notice against him. Based on the confession of Sivanesan alias Prem, a Sri Lankan Tamil, arrested by Central Crime Branch sleuths a few days ago for allegedly using a skimmer to steal data from credit card users in the city, police teams led by CCB deputy commissioner of police S Jayakumar and more..

India to back UNHRC motion on Lanka

Mar 21 (IE) India will vote in favour of the resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, the UPA govt is learnt to have decided in possibly its last major foreign policy decision. The vote is expected on March 28 in Geneva. This is the third time when Delhi has decided to vote in favour of the resolution, and sources said the decision has been taken in view of “diplomatic” as well as “political” considerations in mind. While India is okay more..

Tamil women want info on SL's war missing

Mar 21 (AP) Hundreds of Tamil women demanded information on Friday about relatives who have been missing since SL's civil war, defying widespread military surveillance, threats and the possibility of arrest. The protesters held a peaceful rally in Mannar and issued a 10-point memorandum to the UN high commissioner for human rights. The letter asked the commissioner to help obtain information about their relatives and determine who was responsible if they are dead. more..

Speaker says MPs free to display placards in chamber

Mar 21 (Island) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday that the MPs of both the government and the Opposition had a right to display placards in the House. He said that bringing in such posters into the chamber was not a problem and if the govt too wanted to come with posters and hold them up in the chamber they too were free to do so. Speaker Rajapaksa said this in response to a point of order raised by UPFA MP A.H.M. Azwer, who said that the UNP MPs had smuggled in more..

'There is no evidence of chemical weapon usage in Sri Lanka'

Mar 21 (GDI) Dr Rohan Perera, Director, National Authority for the Implementation of Chemical Weapons Convention (NA CWC) in Sri Lanka, firmly states that Chemical Weapon related substances or chemicals that could be converted into chemical weapons have not been brought into Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is one of the first member states and signatories to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons more..

A paradigm shift for agricultural development

Mar 22 (NS) Even during the best of times, public sector research and extension had not been very effective in reaching out to the poorest farmers. With present government policy being heavily biased towards more ‘entrepreneurial’ farmers, and with the current messy state of agricultural extension, there is even a lesser chance of poor farmers receiving support from public sector research and extension services. As such, alternative strategies capable of reaching out to poor farmers are urgently called for. more..

The Palace of Nations reflects

Mar 22 (NS) I’ve had a long life. An illustrious life too. I am almost 100 years old. I am a building. Now I am not to blame for the less-than illustrious things that take place inside me and I am not answerable for things that happen outside either. I am just brick and mortar. Nice to look at. I give respectability for things that happen inside. Well, I don’t ‘give’ as in there’s no volition involved, but simply on account of being within me all kinds of jokers confer upon themselves more..

Budding designers

Mar 21 (ST) It’s that time of year when students of design at the Moratuwa University have their graduation fashion show and exhibition. There will be 39 students taking part this year- a veritable pool of budding young talent. “Every year the final year students end with a catwalk collection. They find themselves a suitable concept through market research. Each student has to showcase six outfits. We will also be awarding seven awards more..

Wife kills husband in a fit of rage

Mar 21 (SO) Marriage is said to be a hallowed institution meant to be nurtured and valued but now newspapers are full of bizarre stories of husbands killing wives or vice versa. It was a warm morning when Aluthoya Weerasinghe married Nadeesha Samanmalee. It was not love at first sight for the two of them but all the same they married and life was going on as usual for the two of them. Although there were many differences Nadeesha ignored all of them and carried on regardless and more..

Winds of change in Jaffna

Mar 21 (SO) The war radicalized Jaffna and it was inevitable that we could never again return to the good old Jaffna we knew. There were signs of a new Jaffna emerging imperceptibly even during the war years. I have visited Jaffna 13 times in the last five years. But nothing signified the change better than the international symbol I saw in Jaffna when I visited the place last in January 2014. For the first time ever I saw one of the best international symbols in the heart of Jaffna. more..

Lankan Thamilians, Canadian Thamils

Mar 21 (CT) There are about 300,000 Thamilians living in Canada. A majority of them are of Lankan origin. They mostly live in the mega city Toronto, numbering over 200,000. The Thamil Diaspora in Canada includes Sri Lankan, Indian, Malaysian, South African, Guyanians, Trinidadians, Tobagonians, and Fijians. Lankan Thamils went to Canada in large numbers. between 1984 and 1992. They are now citizens of Canada. The upper middle class, the middle class more..

Findings of the disappearance commissions

Mar 21 (CT) Two Disappearance Commissions were appointed by President Chandrika Kumaratunge, shortly after she was elected president in November 1994. The one for the Central Zone covering the North- Western, North-Central, Central and Uva Provinces was headed by retired high court judge, Mr. T. Suntheralingam. The other for the Southern Zone covering the Western, Sabragamuva and Southern Provinces was headed by the human rights activist and lawyer Mrs. Manouri Muttetuwegama, more..

Time to end SLMC’s ‘cat on the wall’ politics

Mar 22 (CT) The SLMC, which was established under the symbol of tree by late M.H.M. Ashraff in 1981, is presently in dire straits under the leadership of Minister of Justice, Rauff Hakeem, over its alliance with the UPFA. Late Ashraff, once addressing a commemorative ceremony for late TULF Leader, A Amirthalingam, said that he learnt his alphabets in politics under the guidance of Tamil Federal Party leaders. SLMC was established when the Tamil militancy was gathering momentum more..

ජනිත් විපුලගුණ

Editorial: Jayalalitha’s threat

Mar 22 (Island) New Delhi has turned down Beijing’s request that four of its warships be allowed to enter the Indian waters to search for the missing Malaysian aircraft which had 150 Chinese nationals on board. India has cited national security reasons for its decision. This is how India acts even in a situation where all countries must sink their differences and cooperate fully with China and Malaysia to trace the missing plane. But, India wants thousands of its fishing craft allowed to enter more..

The flight paths of coconuts and astrologers

Mar 22 (Island) Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 remains in the headlines due to the vast mystery it has so far produced by vanishing from all known air routes, and the likely tragedy involved. While the news from Australia gives some hope of at least knowing what may have happened to this flight and taking the mystery out of it, there are other matters of interest this vanishing flight has given rise to. Within days of the mystery of this flight deepening, one saw the emergence of more..

SL v SA Review: Sri Lanka bank on tested formula

Mar 22 (CI) "It can all change in one over" is the line sold by Twenty20 hype-men, but in 18 months of T20 efficiency, Sri Lanka have clung to a different truth. The format is fickle, but not unpredictable, they've felt. It shifts rapidly, but it is not immune to forethought. It's swayed by fortune, but not defined by it. Sri Lanka's best tactician Mahela Jayawardene put it this way: "The key to T20 is making fewer mistakes than the opposition." more..

Can young South Africa lay jinx to rest?

Mar 22 (CI) The song is sung, the words are worn, the record is broken. But we will say it one more time because we have to: this is South Africa's chance to claim a major trophy. Just as it was last year at the Champions Trophy, the year before that at the World T20, the year before that at the fifty-over World Cup and the year before that at another World T20. They didn't then, so many wonder how they will now. Heading to a competition with the toxic mix of expectation that they might win more..

Chandimal eyeing opponents' spin weaknesses

Mar 22 (CI) Sri Lanka will look to use their opponents' deficiencies against spin to their advantage at the World T20 in Bangladesh, captain Dinesh Chandimal has said. Their spinners' form in the recently-concluded Asia Cup, which Sri Lanka won, augured well for the team, Chandimal said. "The way our spinners bowled in the Asia Cup and [the fact that] the pitches will assist them [means] we have a good chance in the tournament," Chandimal said ahead of his side's opening game, more..

EC bans propaganda via SMS and phone calls

Mar 22 (DM) EC Mahinda Deshapriya said that propaganda messages transmitted via telephone calls and SMS were a contravention of election laws and service providers had been instructed not to send out such messages without the consent of the subscribers. “Several complaints are being received about recorded propaganda messages of candidates contesting the elections being transmitted through telephone calls of various telephone networks,” more..

World T20: India beat Pakistan

Mar 22 (CI) You don't often know what to expect in big India-Pakistan matches, but Pakistan are on to a disturbing trend of predictability of late. They work themselves up into a frenzy, try too many things, make too many mistakes, and India coolly stand in a corner doing little things right and stroll their way to a win. In the previous World T20 match between these two sides, Pakistan batted in a similarly nervous manner, got bowled out for 128, and lost despite a valiant attempt with the ball. more..

Pathfinder Foundation signs MoI with Vivekananda International Foundation

Mar 22 (FT) Pathfinder Foundation recently signed an MOI with the Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi. This follows a recent meeting Pathfinder Foundation Founder Milinda Moragoda had with the foundation’s Director Ajit Doval in New Delhi. Two foundations will work towards enhancing economic relations between the two countries; deepening civilisational links, including the exploration of the possibility of promoting mutually beneficial cooperation between more..

Remittances rise 13% to $6.8 billion

Mar 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka’s economy grew a weaker-than-expected 7.3% last year, central bank said as it kept interest rates at multi-year lows as it looks to boost private investment and lending. Sri Lankans employed abroad sent home $6.8 billion over the year, up 13% from 2012 while earnings from tourism jumped 35% to $1.4 billion in 2013. Last year’s expansion was much stronger than the 6.3% recorded in 2012 thanks to a pick-up in exports and foreign remittances. more..

Sri Lanka hotel show and confab to showcase new tech, draw talent

Mar 22 (LBO) A hotel supplies exhibition in Sri Lanka and an international hoteliers' conference in June will showcase the latest energy saving technology and also help draw talent to the fast growing industry, officials said. The three day Hotel Show 2014, billed as the largest such event is South Asia is to kick off on June 14 is with over 300 domestic and international vendors and suppliers exhibiting at Colombo's BMICH exhibition and conference hall. more..

'WB help for solid waste management issue in Colombo City'

Mar 22 (DN) The govt will solve the solid waste management issue in the Colombo City with World Bank assistance, Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said. He said a permanent solution for the waste management issue in the city has already been planned and a high level team of the World Bank was in the country to carry out a special study over this project. The Secretary added that this project which is estimated to cost US $ 90 million, more..

Norwegian GSP+ opens $100 Bn market for Sri Lanka

Mar 22 (Island) As bilateral trade soared by a strong 26%, Norway, the gateway market to Scandinavia and the third highest par capita market in the world called Sri Lanka on March 18 to step forward and grab promising opportunities available with it. " There are many niche markets for your products and new opportunities are available in Norway. New Norwegian GSP plus involves low middle income countries with less than 75 million population. more..

New Vice Chancellor at Kelaniya University

Mar 22 (DN) President Rajapaksa appointed Professor Sunanda Madduma Bandara as the new Vice Chancellor of University of Kelaniya. Prof. Bandara is a Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Kelaniya as well as the Director General of the Economic Development Ministry. He had his education at Mailapitiya Maha Vidyalaya and entered University of Kelaniya from Thalathuoya Hewahata Central College, Kandy, and graduated with a Special Degree in Economics. more..