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Towards smaller trade deficit and balance of payments surplus

Mar 3 (ST) The prospect of reducing the trade deficit to about US$ 6 billion this year presents an opportunity to generate an overall balance of payments surplus that could increase foreign reserves, reduce foreign borrowing and decrease foreign debt. These could be achieved provided the economy is managed sensibly and there are no negative external shocks. Increased export earnings, especially in the fourth quarter of last year, give rise to expectations of an improved more..

Sri Lanka killer kidney disease linked to Monsanto weedicide, phosphate fertilizer

Mar 3 (LBO) A herbicide developed by US-based Monsanto and contaminated fertilizer may be behind an epidemic of mystery kidney disease in Sri Lanka and South America where rice and sugarcane is grown, a research study has suggested. The paper by Channa Jayasumana (Rajarata Uni), Sarath Gunatilake (California State Uni) and Priyantha Senanayake (Hela Suwaya) has been published more..

German Ambassador visits North

Mar 3 (FT) German Ambassador Dr. Juergen Morhard paid an official visit to Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu from 24-25 February. He visited German-funded micro projects and met representatives of the NPC as well as representatives of the civil society. Commenting at the conclusion of his visit Ambassador Morhard said: “I was pleased to meet some of the beneficiaries of the projects supported by the Embassy and to learn the impact of these initiatives on day-to-day life. more..

Biz confidence plummets in February

Mar 3 (FT) “Business confidence falters yet again, amid concern over shrinking consumer purchasing power and its adverse impact on business volumes and profits,” pioneering business magazine LMD says, in its March edition. “Free falling by 15 basis points to 124 in February, the latest LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) has dropped to below its 12-month and all-time averages,” it explains. The journal quotes Nielsen’s Managing Director Shaheen Cader, who says that more..

Cost of living more worrying than Geneva issues, BT poll

Mar 3 (ST) Sri Lankans are more concerned about cost of living and making ends meet than any international issues, was one comment received when the Business Times (BT) sought the views of people on the US-backed resolution against Sri Lanka at this month UNHRC meeting in Geneva. Below is cross section of the comments received in the email poll. On whether the resolution; would create chaos: - No one is concerned about more..

NM crafts fisheries training vessel for Seychelles

Mar 3 (Island) Neil Marine (NM), a company approved by BOI and accredited ISO 9001: 2008, has reached a high degree of excellence in boat building and marine engineering services in Sri Lanka. The brainchild of Neil Fernando,NM has just completed building a fisheries training vessel for the Seychelles Fishing Authority, named NMF 54, on a design provided. During a recent tour of the Neil Marine boat-building workshop in Negombo, The Island Financial Review interviewed more..

Sampath Group records Rs. 4.79 b pre-tax profit for 2013, despite challenges

Mar 3 (FT) Sampath Bank has recorded a profit before tax of Rs. 4.79 b for year ended 31 Dec 2013 with the bank recording a profit before tax of Rs. 4.5 b. The post-tax profit of the Group and the bank for the same period amounted to Rs. 3.64 b and Rs. 3.43 b respectively. Sampath said 2013 another challenging year, with a moderate growth due to many challenges posed by the external market forces, which included excess liquidity, lower credit demand and worldwide decrease in gold more..

Jayalalithaa demands release of fishermen before talks in Colombo

Mar 3 (Hindu) While giving her nod for the second round of talks between fishermen from TN and Sri Lanka on March 13 in Colombo, CM Jayalalithaa demanded the release of 121 Tamil fishermen arrested by the SL Navy before the talks. All of them were arrested after the first round of talks that were held in Chennai on Jan 27. State govt press release said a letter had been sent to the Joint Secretary for External Affairs for more..

EX–DP media coordinator continues to fire away at Gen. Fonseka

Mar 3 (Island) The former Media Co-ordinater of the Democratic Party Sanjeewa Samarasinghe said that its Leader former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka’s only ambition was not to win any election, but to take revenge from President Rajapaksa and oust him as the former army chief felt that the President was solely responsible for his imprisonment. Samarasinghe said yesterday that allegations made against him by the DP of financial misappropriation were completely false and more..

Woman arrested for selling rented vehicles using fake documents

Mar 3 (CT) A woman selling vehicles using fake documents after renting vehicles from rent a car stations,has been arrested by the Anti Vise Squad, SSP Ajith Rohana said. Six suspects including the woman were arrested for selling vehicles rented from a rent a car station by using fake documents. Suspect woman has appeared in three names and she has had fake identity cards in her possession. Investigations revealed that she had received the support of a driver employed at more..

A food crisis waiting to happen

Mar 3 (Hindu) Ketheeswaran’s crops have never failed this way. Walking along his field which sprouts harvest-ready paddy and some rough-edged weeds, he directs his workers who are operating the harvest machines for the season’s paddy yield that, he says, has fallen drastically. “I usually get 450 bags after Mahabogam [the main harvest season of Sri Lanka] but have barely managed 140 this time.” It is around noon and the sun is right on top. more..

Pavithra asks people to rally round President

Mar 3 (Island) People should resolve to demonstrate to the international community at the upcoming PC election that the majority of the people were for the leader of the country, Assistant Secretary of the SLFP and Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said. Addressing a series of election propaganda rallies yesterday at Kirindiwela, Dompe and Biyagama areas in the Gampaha District, she said that at a time certain sections of the international community were bent on discrediting Sri Lanka, more..

Cinnamon exports rise by 6.4% to $ 129.5 mn

Mar 3 (DN) Ceylon Cinnamon, which is Sri Lanka’s second global brand, has secured its trademark in two more leading markets-with one more country application in the registration process. ”I commend the EDB’s Agro division for their efforts on this initiative” said Bandula Egodage (CEO, EDB) on 27 Feb. Egodage was addressing the monthly review meeting of EDB last week when he was informed by EDB’s agro division of the latest development on Ceylon Cinnamon. more..

Cuba to support Sri Lanka at the UNHRC

Mar 3 (HT) High Commissioner, Navi Pillay, of UNHRC will introduce a resolution at its 25th session recommending that SL promote reconciliation and accountability with the minority Tamil people. Pillay will ask HRC to establish “an international inquiry mechanism to further investigate the alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and monitor any domestic accountability processes.” more..

Children’s home employee arrested for child molesting

Mar 3 (Island) Maharagama police arrested an employee of a children’s home there on Saturday evening for asexually abusing three underage boys. The employee, a 28-year-old from Matugama area, had been sexually abusing three boys living in the children’s home by luring them with marbles, police said. The victims were between 12 and 13 years of age. The victims have been admitted to the South Colombo Teaching Hospital Kalubowila for medical examination. more..

Wilgamuwa Chairman and Fmr Chairman arrested with ganja

Mar 3 (CT) Chairman of the Wilgamuwa PS, UPFA member, Jayantha Weerasekera, and former chairman of the PS, Ranjith Kumarasinghe, were arrested on Saturday by the Police, for allegedly being in possession of, and transporting, 275 gm of cannabis. The two suspects were arrested in their official vehicle, near the Embilgamuwa Nippon Bridge in Wilgamuwa, in the Matale District. They were allegedly visiting a cannabis cultivation site inside the Wasgamuwa National Park, more..

President ignores ministers’ concerns

Mar 3 (CT) President Rajapaksa had failed to address the concerns expressed by five ministers and a parliamentarian over the upcoming UNHRC sessions in Geneva, the Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara, said. Leader of the DLF, Nanayakkara said that, Ministers, Prof. Tissa Vitarana, D.E.W. Gunasekara, Rajitha Senaratne, Reginald Cooray, MP Navin Dissanayake, and he, had signed a petition highlighting more..

Hosting IPL matches in Sri Lanka ruled out

Mar 3 (PTI) The suspense over the venues for this year’s IPL is all set to end on March 5 when the BCCI will take a decision on the matter in a meeting here, Board vice-president Rajiv Shukla revealed today. “The BCCI president has been authorised to take a decision,” Shukla told reporters, adding that the matches may not be played in the country because of the general elections due in April-May. The Home Ministry has already made it clear that in view of the Lok Sabha elections, more..

Deyata Kirula attendance breaks all previous records

Mar 3 (DN) The eighth Deyata Kirula exhibition in Kuliyapitiya which concluded on Saturday was marked by a record turnout of visitors. The exhibition commenced on February 21 under President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s patronage. The eight Deyata Kirula exhibition recorded a turnout of over 3.2 million by Saturday evening, the Deyata Kirula exhibition organising committee sources said claiming this surpassed all previous Deyata Kirula events in term of attendance. more..

South Africa urged to shun Sri Lanka, back US resolution

Mar 3 (Island) An influential South African organization working closely with pro-LTTE groups are stepping up pressure on the African National Congress (ANC) to abandon its role in the post-war national reconciliation process in Sri Lanka and vote for the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Solidarity Group (SGPJ) comprising South African Tamil Federation, Tamil Coordinating Committee, World Saiva Council more..

Cricketing nightmares through crystal ball

Mar 3 (DM) A few interesting developments in world cricket during the past week could send a chill down the spines of many in a cricket-mad country. Cricket is the only sport in which Sri Lanka can be termed world class and it is no mystery why it has become an essential part in the lives of the islanders. Being a subject so close to their heart, cricket is a hot topic among Sri Lankans. It’s even so in the hallowed chambers of parliament, where cricket’s importance has been highlighted, taking it beyond more..

Dilemma in disciplining students

Mar 3 (DM) Anyone involved in the education of children or teenagers understands that sound disciplinary measures and consistent application is instrumental in the development of young minds. Corporal punishment in primary and secondary schools is a significant issue in Sri Lanka. Today many teachers use corporal punishment inside classrooms. Some of the recent events analysed are as follows. A student of Dudley Senanayake Vidyalaya, Narahenpita committed suicide as more..

'I am a strong UNPer, will fight to see UNP back in power'

Mar 3 (DM) Mayor of the CMC, A.J.M. Muzammil made politically controversial statements soon after the refusal of his wife Feroza Muzammil’s nomination as a candidate for the WPC elections. He said under the existing system of the party, the UNP will surely lose the upcoming elections. He said it is not the leadership to be blamed, but certain other people who attempted to carry out a monopoly in the party. more..

CEB mandarins to be brought under tighter leash

Mar 3 (Island) In the face of mounting complaints against top notch of the CEB, Minister Pavithra Wanniarchchi has instructed officials to inform CEB Chairman W.B. Ganegala and GM Shavindranth Fernando of their foreign travel in advance. Island has recently reported that a deputy GM in charge of the Norochcholai Plant I and Project Director of Norochcholai Plant II went overseas while both plants were out of order. more..

Sri Lanka inflation at 2.5% in February by citizen index

Mar 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka's inflation in February 2014 was measured at 2.5% by an index compiled by private citizens, coming below the 4.2% indicated by the state statistics office. The CAL Urban Index, compiled by Capital Alliance Research, a Colombo based consultancy, uses price data from around the country while the Colombo Consumer Price Index compiled by the state statistics office uses prices in the capital. more..

Caught in the torrent … tragic drownings are preventable

Mar 3 (ST) Bodies of 20-year-old Rishmi Samanali and 12-year-old Rashmitha Madusanka lie on the sea bed off the Dikowita coastal area in Wattala, a few days after a strong current dragged the brother-sister duo out to sea, leaving their family in grief over the sudden loss. On the evening of Feb 23, Samanali and her family were bathing in the sea. Others later came back to shore but she had insisted in staying in the water more..

Witness claims grave dug by LTTE

Mar 3 (CG) A witness has made a statement to the police claiming the suspected mass grave found in Pudukudiruppu last week was dug by the LTTE in February 2009. SSP Ajith Rohana said that the witness, identified as Gopal Kodiswaran, had claimed that he was a resident of the area and on 9th February 2009 he was told that the LTTE was to bury some people at the location where the grave was found last week. more..

'Public kept in the dark on Geneva issue'

Mar 3 (CT) The govt has kept the public in the dark on the impending resolution against Sri Lanka, at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva and the dangers it holds for the country, alleged Minister Wimal Weerawansa. He said that the Geneva issue cannot be tackled by those at Temple Trees alone. What was required was to host a broad discussion on the matter with the participation of all levels of Sri Lankan society, something which he said more..

Unrest at Gampaha Bandaranayake National School

Mar 3 (DM) The Gampaha Bandaranayake National School has been closed for today following protest demonstrations by the students against the principal, Education Ministry Secretary Anura Dissanayake said. He added that it was unclear as to who had initiated the demonstration at the school and as such the school had been closed for the day. The protest erupted at 7 a.m. today with the participation of more..

Some amendments to Pillay’s report following GoSL representations

Mar 3 (Island) The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has effected some changes to its report on Sri Lanka scheduled to be submitted to the UNHRC sessions scheduled to begin today. Govt sources said that the amendments had been made following Sri Lanka’s responses to the unedited version of the report prepared following UNHRC chief Navy Pillay’s visit to the country last year. more..

UNHRC 2014: War of words begin

Mar 3 (SL) The stage is set and the battle lines have been drawn. The 25th session of the UNHRC begins in Geneva today with a major part of the spotlight placed on Sri Lanka. The opening day of the session will see the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, the United States, Britain and Canada making references to Sri Lanka in their statements during the High Level segment. Britain was to be represented at the more..

Paba ‘officially outshines’ CBK, 43rd CJ

Mar 3 (DM) UNP decried the exclusion of former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and impeached CJ Shirani Bandaranayake from an official list of Women Achievers while it carried the name of UPFA MP Upeksha Swarnamali. UNP MP Ajith P. Perera said that an official publication had been issued by Ministry of Childcare and Women’s Affairs listing top women in the country based on their achievements, more..

Unfit for human consumption

Mar 3 (CT) Instances of traders selling adulterated food items and date expired, rotten products unfit for human consumption, in an organized way, have come to light in the past few months. The discoveries have been made through raids conducted by health authorities and the officials of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) on complaints made by the public. But the problem persists despite the efforts of the authorities, with scant regard for the health of the persons consuming more..

Mr. Hakeem’s Crime

Mar 3 (CT) Independent Sri Lanka experienced her first outburst of anti-Muslim violence in April 2001, in Mawanella. Police apathy and political machinations turned an ordinary difference into a mini-religious conflict. But the psychological climate, in which everyday economic disaffections, political rivalries and business competitions could be transformed into religious-divides, was, in the main, authored by Rev. Gangodawila Soma Thero. Sri Ivor Jennings, writing in 1954, commented on an 'undercurrent of more..

Daily Mirror Dartoon

Sri Lanka rupee ends steady as central bank buys dollars

Mar 3 (Reuters) The Sri Lankan rupee ended steady on Monday as exporter dollar sales and inflows from remittances outpaced demand for the greenback from importers early in the day, dealers said, and the central bank bought a "significant" volume of dollars to defend the currency. The spot rupee ended at 130.60/65 per dollar after touching 130.70 early in the day, little changed from Friday's close of 130.55/60, which was its highest level in more than a week. more..

New hangman awaits order to hang in Welikade

Mar 3 (Island) The new hangman recruited by the Prisons Department will assume duties today at the Welikade prison. Prisons Chief C. Pallegama said in the event capital punishment was re-introduced, the new hangman would be ready to perform the task and he would be guided by two retired hangmen. His basic salary would be Rs 13,000, Pallegama said. The new recruit said, "Under no circumstances will I leave this job and I have made a pledge by signing a prison document." more..

Boston Lanka: Dayan Jayatilleka - Part 2

People smuggling kingpin arrested

Mar 3 (Island) Sleuths of the CID on Saturday arrested a kingpin of human smuggling operations identified as Muhundin at Batticaloa. The suspect is said to have earned millions of rupees by sending thousands of Sri Lankans to Australia on boats. The suspect has been posing as a millionaire businessman based in Batticaloa and engaged in large scale human smuggling operations since 2009. Muhundin has smuggled out the highest number of Sri Lankans and had operated the biggest more..

Sri Lanka stocks down 0.4%

Mar 3 (LBO) Stocks slipped 0.4% Monday dragged down by index heavy John Keells Holdings and Dialog, while the rupee ended stronger against the greenback. All Share Index fell 26.3 points to 5,914.01 points and the S&P SL20 Index fell 9.77 points to 3,213.89 points down 0.3%. Turnover was 259 million rupees. In forex markets the rupee was at to 130.65/70 levels with a state name that usually acts for the Central Bank on the buying side preventing further appreciation, more..