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TNA dismisses secret talks with govt. in Geneva

Mar 31 (Island) TNA rejected claims that secret talks had been held in Geneva between the TNA and the govt prior to the vote on the US-led resolution on Sri Lanka. TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran said that there was absolutely no basis for these reports in certain local media though he had met Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UNP in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha at the diplomatic mission. more..

PC Polls: 'UPFA vote base has decreased'

Mar 31 (Island) The UPFA govt had used the UNHRC resolution to poison the minds of the people and abusing the entire state machinery but its vote base had decreased tremendously,the UNP said yesterday. Colombo District Chairman Ravi Karunanayake MP said the results clearly indicated that the anti-govt vote had increased and it was the beginning of the end for the corrupt and dictatorial Rajapaksa regime. more..

'Sri Lanka grateful for Saudi support at UN'

Mar 31 (AN) The Sri Lankan govt praised Saudi Arabia’s crucial support in its fight against terror and civil war between the majority Sinahlese and ethnic Tamil communities in Sri Lanka during a voting session at the UNHRC in Geneva on Thursday. “We are grateful for the Saudi support at the key UN vote which concluded in Geneva last week,” Abdul Hameed Mohamed Fowzie, senior minister for Urban Affairs said on Sunday. more..

Dissecting the voters’ verdict

Mar 31 (CT) In Sri Lanka, minor elections do not always serve as a barometer of the popularity of an incumbent govt. That is especially true when the public is increasingly wary of regular polls, which are conducted in the absence of a credible political alternative. The lukewarm public interest in the just concluded PC Elections was symptomatic of the increasing public apathy in politics. But, strange enough, the results of the two elections also provide some interesting insights into more..

The post-election scenario: Lessons & options for govt & opposition

Mar 31 (CT) A famous soliloquy in the history of Hollywood movies in Don Siegel’s iconic film Dirty Harry begins with Clint Eastwood, playing Inspector Harry Callahan says “I know what you’re thinking— did he fire six shots or only five…” In similar vein I can tell what the strategists of the Opposition are thinking after the PC election: “when we add the total vote of the ethnic and religious minorities to the 25% plus that the UNP has got, we can get the 50.1% we need to beat Mahinda Rajapaksa”. more..

Call for economic reforms after ‘surprise’ growth

Mar 31 (CT) The ‘surprise’ GDP growth numbers for 2013 released by the Census and Statistics Department has prompted an economic think tank to reiterate its call for timely reforms. Sri Lanka needs to introduce structural reforms and attract more foreign direct investment and boost exports in order to achieve sustainable growth and avoid overheating and dragging the country into a debt trap, economists warn. more..

Sri Lanka stocks close flat

Mar 31 (LBO) Stocks close flat Monday with thin foreign activity on the bourse. All Share Price Index closed 3.86 points lower at 5,968.31 down 0.06%. S&P SL20 closed 1.25 points higher at 3,279.92, up 0.04%. Turnover was 464.39 million rupees, down from 3.29 billion rupees last Friday with 74 stocks close positive against 105 negative. Commercial Bank closed 10 cents higher at 123.00 rupees with market transactions of 48.80 million rupees contributing to 11% of the daily turnover. more..

Majority of N&E children have eye problems

Mar 31 (Island) A majority of children in the North and East were suffering from many forms of eye complications therefore the Health Ministry had decided to equip the hospitals of the affected areas with necessary medical equipment needed to treat them, the Health Ministry said. Dr. Palitha Maheepala said that people, especially school goers in the Jaffna, Mulaithivu and Kilinochchi districts were beginning to develop eye complications due to some unknown reasons. more..

Not voting in favour of Sri Lanka resolution could hurt Congress prospects

Mar 31 (PTI) Has Congress scored a self-goal for its victory prospects in TN with India abstaining from voting in favour of a US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in UNHRC for alleged human rights violations? The answer seems to be 'yes' since party veterans themselves are questioning the move in the backdrop of the April 24 Lok Sabha polls, even as their hopes of a possible tie-up with DMK seem to have dashed with its chief more..

Sri Lankan rupee ends steady; likely to gain on inflows

Mar 31 (Reuters) Rupee ended steady on Monday despite early importer dollar demand and stocks-related outflows, as banks were reluctant to trade the local currency beyond 130.70 per dollar due to moral suasion by the central bank. Currency is likely to gain due to expected inflows from remittances in early April. The spot rupee closed steady at 130.70/75 per dollar. However, the rupee forwards edged up due to remittances, exporter and bank dollar sales ahead of the festive season. more..

GR agrees to clear Kandy hospital land of encroachers

Mar 31 (Island) Defence and Urban Development Ministry Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has promised to take immediate action to evict all illegal occupants who have encroached on the Kandy hospital premises. President of the GOMA Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that on behalf of the GMOA he had held a discussion with Defence Secretary on the issue and explained to him that about 26 acres out of the hospital-owned 58 acres had been illegally occupied by encroachers. more..

'Election victory mandate against UNHRC resolution'

Mar 31 (PTI) President Rajapaksa has described his party's victory in the provincial polls as a mandate against the UN rights resolution on his country. "People have given a clear message that no international interference would be tolerated," Rajapaksa said in a statement. His ruling UPFA coalition retained the control of both western and southern PCs with reduced majorities. President said that he was only concerned about the more..

Pro-Tamil outfit brings out book on Modi, compares Gujarat with Sri Lanka

Mar 31 (ENS) Deconstructing the BJP prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Save Tamils Movement, a pro-Tamil outfit, has come out with a book titled Modi —Vezhicchathin Nizhalil. The book, which delves into Modi’s alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, was released at an event here on Sunday, by the general secretary of the Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, Kovai Ramakrishnan. Receiving the first copy of the book, more..

Indian Coast Guard to hand over 17 fishermen to Sri Lankan Navy tomorrow

Mar 31 (ANI) Indian Coast Guard will hand over 17 Sri Lankan fishermen released from jail and their 10 boats to Sri Lankan Navy at the international maritime boundary line on Tuesday. This move comes after President of Sri Lanka Rajapakse ordered the release of Indian fishermen who had been detained for poaching on Friday. Rajapakse asked officials to immediately release all fishermen who had been arrested for allegedly violating the island's territorial waters. more..

Vaiko slams Centre's stand in UNHRC

Mar 31 (PTI) Condemning UPA Govt for abstaining during the voting on US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in the UNHRC, MDMK leader Vaiko, an ally of NDA, wondered whether it would have adopted a smiliar approach had the victims been Keralites. "Would the Govt have decided to abstain if what happened to Tamils in Sri lanka happened to Keralites ?" he asked addressing an election campaign meeting in his more..

World T20: Netherlands humiliate England

Mar 31 (CI) There is a great deal of competition for the lowest point in the history of English cricket. They have been defeated by Ireland and Netherlands, bowled out by a chicken farmer in Zimbabwe and whitewashed by India, West Indies and Australia. They were even knocked out of the World Cup they hosted in 1999 before the theme song was released. But defeat at the hands of Netherlands - the second time they have lost to them in two meetings following more..

Destruction of Sinharaja & catchment areas

Mar 31 (LT) A private hydro power station is being built at Lankagama area destroying Sinharaja forest reserve and water sources of Gin Ganga by a businessman with the approval of Sustainable Energy Authority say organizations to protect environment. The infrastructure for the power station is being constructed and the concrete channel that has been built to bring water to the power station has destroyed the catchment areas of the Gin Ganga and Sinharaja forest more..

US, Sri Lanka continue defence ties

Mar 31 (CG) The US and Sri Lanka are continuing defence ties despite the verbal feud between both countries regarding the US sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka adopted at the UNHRC last week. A 20 member US delegation is scheduled to attend a workshop in Colombo which begins tomorrow co-hosted by the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and US Pacific Command on behalf of more..

Anarkalli: I did it like a lady

Mar 31 (DM) Actress Anarkalli Akarsha said that she would continue to engage in politics despite her failure to garner enough votes in the preferential list in the Matara District. “I don’t see this as a downfall or a defeat. Engaging in politics is not an easy task, but somehow I did it for four and half years in the Galle District,” she said. “I clearly asked voters in Matara to vote for the party and the party won the election. I will continue my political battle aspiring even to enter the Parliament in future,” more..

India and Sri Lanka: Playing the Long Game?

Mar 31 (TD) In a controversial move, India abstained from a U.S.-sponsored resolution on human rights in Sri Lanka at the UN last week. India had supported similar resolutions in 2012 and 2013, but abstained after the new resolution appeared much tougher on Sri Lanka than prior versions, calling for an independent international investigation of alleged war crimes committed by Sri Lankan forces in their war against the LTTE. In explaining its reasoning for the abstention, Ministry of External Affairs more..

Monitors and Polls Chief differ

Mar 31 (CT) Elections observers and monitoring bodies lamented voter apathy, citing reasons ranging from the elections being a one horse race to the people also being frustrated and disillusioned by politics. The Department of Elections, however, vehemently disagreed. Elections Commissioner, Mahinda Deshapriya said, “My job is to conduct the elections. I am not a politician to worry about low or high voter percentage. more..

SL inflation unchanged at 4.2% in March

Mar 31 (LBO) Sri Lanka's consumer prices rose 4.2% in the 12-months to March from a year earlier, with inflation unchanged from the 4.2% a month earlier, data from the state statistics office showed. Prices barely rose during the month. The widely watched Colombo Consumer Price Index rose 0.1% or 0.1 index point to 177.9 points during the month. Both food and non foods rose 0.1%, the state statistics office said. Sri Lanka's inflation has been muted amid weak credit growth more..

Police arrest 14 J’pura Uni students

Mar 31 (AD) 14 students of the Sri J'pura University have been arrested by Mirihana Police in connection with an incident which had taken place within the university premises on February 24. One person was injured and hospitalized following a clash between students and security personnel at the University of Sri J'pura on February 24. A group of students from the university hostel had reportedly attacked the security post at the entrance at around 8.10pm with stones and other missiles. more..

Ready to support a common candidate: SF

Mar 31 (DM) DP Leader Sarath Fonseka said today his party was prepared to support a common opposition candidate at the next presidential election if a suitable candidate was selected. “We are not prepared to support anyone but we will support a common candidate, who has a good track record,” former Army Commander said. He said his party was ready to support a joint effort by all opposition parties to topple this govt more..

SL attracts high end French tourist group

Mar 31 (eTN) The growing demand from incentive Travelers in the MICE tourism segment had increased quite sharply over the past years who are travelling mainly for the purpose business and investment. Sri Lanka Tourism has identified MICE segment as a key driver of tourism growth and a contributor for overall economic development of Sri Lanka. As a result of the Wonder of Asia promotional campaign initiated by Ministry of Economic Development and SL Tourism more..

Witness reveals all in Khuram trial

Mar 31 (CG) The manager of the Tangalle resort gave evidence today during the trial on the murder of British tourist and Red Cross worker Khuram Shaikh. Giving evidence at the Colombo High Court, the resort manager, Tharanga Peiris, revealed how she saw Khuram and his Russian girlfriend being assaulted by the men charged over the incident. She said that the suspects were involved in a brawl with another man when Khuram attempted to intervene despite her advise for his to stay away. more..

Wigneswaran slams the President

Mar 31 (CG) The Chief Minister of the Northern Province C V Wigneswaran today slammed the Govt and President Rajapaksa, saying they are showing no interest is solving the National issue. Wigneswaran said that there seems to be no attempts made by the Executive to work towards a lasting political solution except to blame the TNA for not coming forward to participate in Parliamentary Select Committee process. more..

Driving licence for monks rejected

Mar 31 (CG) Appeal Court today rejected three petitions filed by Buddhist monks against a decision taken by the Motor Traffic Department to refuse issuing driving licences for monks. Motor Traffic Commissioner had rejected the applications by the monks seeking to obtain driving licences. As a result the three monks filed a case some four years ago and an appeal was filed again before the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal noted that issuing driving licences to monks more..

Rs 1.4 million stolen from Seeduwa bank

Mar 31 (AD) Police today revealed that a total of Rs 1.4 million in cash has been stolen from a private bank in the Liyanagemulla area in Seeduwa, following an armed robbery which also resulted in the bank’s manager being hospitalized with stab wounds. It was initially reported that the robbers had stolen only Rs 50,000 from the bank, however police now say that an additional Rs 1,350,000 has also been robbed from the bank. The bank’s manager who was stabbed by one of the robbers, more..

Herath's 5 for 3 leads Sri Lanka into semis

Mar 31 (CI) Rangana Herath sprung from Sri Lanka's dugout, watched his team-mates collapse, then crafted a Twenty20 spell of astounding quality to slam New Zealand into a wall, claiming five wickets for three runs as Sri Lanka defended 119 and made the semi-finals. He arrived at the bowling crease in the third over, delivered a wicket maiden first up, and had three scalps before New Zealand scored a run off him. more..