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Iraq ready for direct Ceylon Tea, also 13 other Lankan products in one go

Mar 4 (Island) Iraq, the top Middle Eastern buyer of Ceylon Tea, has thrown its state controlled market doors wide-open to Sri Lanka for the first time agreeing for import of Ceylon Tea to the country directly -and also removed its import ban on Sri Lankan cocopeat with immediate effect on Feb 25. "The two-day-long trade talks held in Baghdad is a great success! It also resulted in Iraq lifting ban on our coco peat, opening their markets wider for Pure Ceylon Tea and 13 new Sri Lankan exports" more..

British Council joins hands to look into the FUTURE, beyond 2020

Mar 4 (Island) The British Council recently announced at a press conference that the organisation will be hosting ‘FUTURES –Social Innovation Forum’ on 21 and 22 March, which is part of the organisation’s global development work. Keith Davies, Country Director, British Council Sri Lanka, said: "The UK has an estimated £24 billion social enterprise industry and has come to be regarded as a global leader in this field of social innovation. British Council supports the development and more..

GL to address HRC high level segment on Wednesday

Mar 4 (IL) Minister G.L. Peiris who leads the Sri Lanka delegation to the 25th Session of the UNHRC arrives in Geneva on Tuesday, and is scheduled to deliver the Sri Lanka National Statement at the High Level Segment of the HRC on the morning of Wednesday. The 3 day High Level Segment began today with statements by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, President of UN General Assembly John W. Ashe, more..

Apple Nuwan wanted for Negombo heist has not fled country, says investigator

Mar 4 (Island) ‘Apple Nuwan’, a suspect wanted in connection with the Rs. 10.14 million robbery on Feb 17 at a jewellery cum money exchange shop in Negombo had not left the country but was continuing to evade the police, a high ranking police officer said. It was being rumoured that he had left the country in order to mislead the investigations, the officer said. Police team investigating the daylight robbery were still of the opinion that suspect was hiding somewhere as his passport more..

On UN vote, India’s ‘own interests’ supreme

Mar 4 (IE) With India election-bound, PM Manmohan Singh, who has ruled out his return to office, arrived Monday in Myanmarese capital to go through the motions of a regional summit and touch base one last time with leaders of a grouping that seeks to bridge South Asia with ASEAN. Singh flew out of New Delhi for Nay Pyi Taw, for the third BIMSTEC summit — the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, more..

Polls chief holds crucial talks today

Mar 4 (Island) Commissioner of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya will hold a crucial pre-poll meeting with the Secretaries of the mainstream political parties and leaders of independent groups at the Elections Secretariat, Rajagiriya this morning at 10 a.m. Commissioner would raise the continuing violation of election laws including the misuse of state resources, illegal party offices, propaganda material, said Deputy more..

Politics contaminates policy decisions

Mar 4 (CT) Policy decisions are contaminated with political interest and address the needs of only a narrow segment of society, said University of Colombo Professor of Economics Dr. Priyanga Dunusinghe. He said, "Usually, polices are decided or designed by technocrats who analyse the cost benefit of policies, whether it be economic policy, sectoral policy, national economic policy or trade policy, and weigh the cost as against benefit and select the best policy accordingly. more..

Jayalalithaa vows to modernise armed forces

Mar 4 (Hindu) Making obvious her ambition for a role in national politics, AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa on Monday vowed to modernise the defence forces by enhancing their capabilities on a par with those of super powers. Launching a scathing attack on the UPA govt and criticising its economic, diplomatic and defence policies, she said funds for modernisation of defence forces were steadily curtailed over the years. Ms. Jayalalithaa assured voters that the AIADMK would ensure that more..

SLMC High Command meets on Thursday

Mar 4 (CT) High Command of the SLMC is due to meet in Colombo this Thursday, to discuss the recent controversy surrounding the Party as well as its Leader, Minister Rauff Hakeem. Several political parties, particularly the NFF, led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa, accused Minister Hakeem of having requested Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to vote against Sri Lanka during the UNHRC Session, which is currently underway more..

ITB Berlin to showcase Lanka's tourism

Mar 4 (DN) The world's largest hospitality exhibition, ITB Berlin will begin tomorrow with the largest event delegation from SL leisure sector participating. Event will attract over 10,000 stalls and over 100,000 visitors and travel agents and most of the SL companies will market their existing properties and also expose their ongoing properties to the world market from this event. Sri Lanka Tourism would be represented by Director General, Dr. D.G. Jayaweera and junior officer M. Dilini. more..

If UNP had helped defeat LTTE

Mar 4 (CT) If the UNP had set aside political differences and worked with the govt to defeat the LTTE, govt would not be able to claim they brought peace to Sri Lanka, JHU Legal Advisor Udaya Gammanpila said. He stated that the current UPFA Govt would not be able to claim that they brought peace to the land, and people would not cast their votes for the govt, on the grounds that they defeated the LTTE, if the UNP had also helped overcome terrorism in the country. more..

Rs. 85 mn of drug dealers to be confiscated

Mar 4 (DM) Rs. 85 million belonging to two drug dealers is to be confiscated, following investigations after the arrest of a Liberian national possessing 30 kilogrammes of heroin, police said. Following information obtained from the arrested Liberian two more people were arrested with 10 kilogrammes of heroin in the Hikkaduwa area. The two main suspects were identified as Wasantha Mendis from Moratuwa and Vidura Soyza more..

JVP accuses Govt. of violating election laws

Mar 4 (CT) JVP has accused the govt of having convened meetings in several areas of the Western and Southern Provinces with the massive participation of State officials and heads of departments, which the Party states is a violation of Election Laws. General Secretary of JVP, Tilvin Silva, charged that meetings had been held in Kalutara and Galle yesterday under the aegis of Minister Basil Rajapaksa, while two more meetings have been scheduled for today in Matara more..

Canada says Lanka failed to act

Mar 4 (CG) The Canadian Govt told the UNHRC at the ongoing 25th session, that Sri Lanka had failed to take genuine steps for accountability and reconciliation. Lynne Yelich, the Canadian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Consular said that in the absence of credible actions by the Govt of Sri Lanka, Canada supports the call for an international inquiry mechanism. Yelich said Canada regretted the Sri Lankan Govt’s unwillingness to engage constructively on the substance of various more..

Tamil Nadu politics likely to cast shadow over India’s vote at UNHRC

Mar 4 (TOI) Having twice voted against Sri Lanka in as many years, it is only expected that the shrill notes of Dravidian parties in the election season would nudge the UPA to vote for a UN resolution later this month, accusing the neighbour of human rights violations against Tamils. As the issue hots up with PM Manmohan Singh likely to meet Lanka president Rajapaksa on the sidelines of BIMSTEC summit, govt refused more..

Time for UN to unmask the criminals of Sri Lanka war

Mar 4 (DH) IN early 2009, as many as 40,000 civilians were killed in the final days of Sri Lanka’s civil war, having been herded into an area about the size of Central Park and subjected to relentless shelling. No one has been held accountable for these crimes, and even now the govt in Colombo remains intent on burying the past. Only an international commission of inquiry stands any chance of rectifying this omission. So the UNHRC meeting, it should seek an investigation. more..

Salman Khurshid says India working for welfare of Lankan Tamils

Mar 4 (TOI) Foreign minister Salman Khurshid linked India's engagement with Sri Lanka with the humanitarian and development work India was doing for Tamils in the Northern Province, rebuffing reservations expressed by Dravidian outfits about the bilateral talks that PM Manmohan Singh is to have with SL President Rajapaksa. Khurshid said India was constructing homes, schools and hospitals in Northern Province and he was sure that Tamils wanted the development work. more..

Pillay’s office to investigate Lanka: US draft resolution

Mar 4 (FT) A first draft of the third and toughest US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC calls for an investigation into alleged abuses by both parties to the conflict to be led by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Navi Pillay. The draft resolution, which was in circulation yesterday, rules out an investigation by a Commission of Inquiry, but sets the stage for a Pillay-led probe to be more..

Paying lip service against narcotics

Mar 4 (DM) UNP seems to have chosen the narcotics issue as its campaign theme for the PC elections. One of the popular statements of the UNP leaders on the election platform has been that it is hard for one to find a packet of milk powder in the market, but it is quite easy to get hold of a packet of heroin from anywhere in the country. UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe suggested that UN officials dealing with the narcotics issue should be invited to the country to address this menace. more..

Relationship between Development and Religion

Mar 4 (DM) For many decades now, the concept of development has been a goal sought after by countries around the globe. Though this concept strives to improve human welfare, quality of life, and social wellbeing in a region or community, development’s first and foremost emphasis in Sri Lanka, appears to be that of economic growth and infrastructural development. While these can certainly add to human welfare, quality of life, and social wellbeing, perhaps it is worth more..

'I will respond to Muzammil after PC polls'

Mar 4 (DM) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said that he would respond to all the allegations levelled at him recently by Colombo Mayor A.J.M Muzammil, when the PC elections are over. He said that he could not answer on allegations on the Nomination Committee as it was not solely under him. “If I carried out the entire procedure by myself then I need to answer. But when the outcome of the Nomination Committee was not what I more..

Geneva and beyond…

Mar 4 (SL) While the TNA and the Diaspora are on a mission to initiate an international investigation against Sri Lanka on war crimes allegations, the people who actually suffered immense hardships and atrocities for the past 30 years are engaged in a battle to rebuild their shattered lives. The NPC recently passed a resolution seeking an international investigation against Sri Lanka, which many believe has become the prime objective and agenda more..

Silli arguments rage while public struggles with costs

Mar 4 (ST) With the skyrocketing cost of living, essential food items have come under scrutiny with MPs going shopping for food items at Lak Sathosa outlets to argue rival cases about the financial pressures facing the public. Last week, UNP MP Karu Jayasuriya stated at a meeting that essential food items worth Rs. 5,000 could be fitted into a five-rupee “sili sili” polythene bag. Minister Johnston Fernando at a press conference more..

'Country cannot be developed without Sinhalese, Tamil & Muslim unity'

Mar 4 (LT) “This country can be developed only with national unity. We should strive to build unity of Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim people. The country could go forward only if there is unity among different communities. All communities should feel they are equals in the society. No one should be intimidated and should feel he or she is a son or a daughter of the land,” said Leader of JVP Anura Dissanayaka more..

Awareness programmes on the use of Social Media

Mar 4 (DM) A broad programme has been formulated by the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to create awareness among parents, teachers and students on the use of the Internet and Social Media Websites, such as facebook, twitter, in a manner that will be beneficially to all, CERT|CC Information Security Engineer Roshan Chandragupta said. He said for the past two years, CERT in collaboration with more..

Wildlife Minister promises to use worldwide technologies to tackle bio theft

Mar 4 (Island) The Wildlife Department will do everything in its power to tackle acts of bio piracy and all available advanced technologies will be used for that purpose, Minister Wijithamuni de Zoysa says. He said that there were many technological hiccups but introducing them would be the key. The introduction of drones with the support of National University Singapore to map the country’s parks with a special focus on illegal more..

Health Minister vows to name Drug Mafiosi

Mar 4 (Island) Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena yesterday threatened to publicise the names of the Drug Mafia responsible for sabotaging attempts to introduce a price control mechanism for all pharmaceuticals. He said that though the Health Ministry in collaboration with the Consumer Affairs Authority wanted to introduce a price control mechanism, elements behind the drug mafia had blocked its implementation. more..

Sri Lankan Navy arrests 32 Indian fishermen

Mar 4 (Hindu) Thirty-two fishermen who had gone for fishing in eight mechanised boats from Jegadapattinam on Monday, were arrested by Sri Lankan naval personnel. They were scheduled to return home on Tuesday. Fishermen of Jegadapattinam who were staying away from fishing since February 13 as a token of solidatiry for firming up the second round of talks with the Sri Lankan fishermen representatives, however, more..

Eternal vigilance is vital- MR

Mar 4 (DM) President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that although terrorism is no more in Sri Lankan shores, there is a need to ensure that it would never raise its ugly head again. “Eternal vigilance therefore is vital, particularly as terrorist organizations have extensive international networks. Undoubtedly, the cooperative spirit which exists within our Grouping on addressing this issue will continue,” he said. “Terrorism, wherever in the world, more..

PM Manmohan meets Lankan President

Mar 4 (NDTV) Talking to the Sri Lankan govt will always remain a priority, irrespective of domestic compulsions - that's the essential message of the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at the BIMSTEC summit here in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar. BIMSTEC is the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, a tongue twister of a name for a grouping which features Bangladesh, Bhutan, more..

Sri Lanka stocks close up 0.4%

Mar 4 (LBO) Stocks close 0.38% higher Tuesday with index heavy John Keells and Ceylon Tobacco Company extending gains. All Share Price Index closed 22.61 points higher at 5,936.62, up 0.38%. The S&P SL20 closed 7.53 points higher at 3,221.42, up 0.23%. Turnover was 371.32 million rupees, up from 259.65 million rupees a day earlier. Foreigners bought 114.15 million rupees worth shares while selling 107.80 million rupees of shares. 101 stocks closed up, 67 going down. more..

West’s draft resolution: Reject or engage?

Mar 4 (CT) If (and only if) the ‘leaked’ draft of the US-UK resolution, scooped by the website Colombo Telegraph, is accurate, it represents both a trap and a last best chance for Sri Lanka. The purported draft does not call for an INTENATIONAL independent inquiry. It calls for an independent and credible inquiry. More accurately it calls upon the Govt of Sri Lanka to institute such an inquiry. If the Govt fails to do so, the draft resolution points to the 28th session as the moment when more..

Korea-Sri Lanka Travel & Tourism Club launched

Mar 4 (IL) The Korea-Sri Lanka Travel & Tourism Club was launched at the Millennium Hilton Hotel in Seoul on 14th Feb. The club was created to enhance the cultural and economic relationship between Sri Lanka and South Korea. One of its main goals is to promote tourism, a core area of growth for Sri Lanka-Korea relations. The chief guest of the event, minister Basil Rajapaksa, met with more than 100 Korean and more..

Russia and Ukraine: Sovereignty Vs big power politics

Mar 4 (CT) The world is reliving a cold war era confrontation. Russian troops and pro-Russian self defence units have taken control of the military and govt nerve centres of the Crimean peninsula, in a move that has a historical parallel to the Soviet invasion in Hungary and Czechoslovakia, in the heydays of communism. The Western world appears to have little leverage over the events unfolding in Ukraine. NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who addressed the media more..

Dayasiri awaits probe report

Mar 4 (Island) Wayamba Province Chief Minister, Dayasiri Jayasekara said that he was waiting for the report on the suicide of a student of Sir John Kotalawela College, Venusha Imandi, after being allegedly censured by the Principal of the school. He said that an impartial investigation was still being carried out into her suicide by a three-member committee. Principal had been temporarily transferred out of the school by the Provincial Education Ministry pending the investigation, more..

Tamil Diaspora slam draft resolution

Mar 4 (CG) Tamil Diaspora has criticized the US draft resolution on Sri Lanka, submitted to the UNHRC yesterday, saying it fell short of expectations. The British Tamils Forum (BTF), a London based Diaspora group which has been having several discussions with the Govt and opposition in UK on the Sri Lankan issue, said the resolution effectively calls for more of the same as past resolution. more..

SLFP candidates told not to expect help if they break law

Mar 4 (Island) General Secretary of the SLFP and Minister Maithripala Sirisena, told all UPFA candidates contesting March 29 polls not to expect govt protection after violating election laws in pursuit of preferential votes. IGP had been asked to take stern action against all law breakers Minister Sirisena said. Candidates had been informed before and after handing over nominations that they should not indulge in illegal activities which brought the UPFA to disrepute. more..

Sri Lanka rupee steady amid state bank dollar buying

Mar 4 (Reuters) The rupee traded steady on Tuesday as two state banks bought dollars from remittances and exporter conversions. The spot rupee was at 130.60/65 per dollar at 0740 GMT. The currency has risen 0.34% in the last four sessions. "The market is smooth and we will intervene only when there is high volatility," an official from the central bank told Reuters. The central bank on Monday said it bought a significant volume of dollars to keep the currency steady. more..

South Africa backs local solution

Mar 4 (CG) South African Govt said it supports a durable solution in Sri Lanka which can be reached by Sri Lankans themselves. South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Emily Nkoana-Mashabane, speaking at the UNHRC today, noted that UNHRC has been seized with the issue of SL for a while. She said that it is important for international community to allow SL to find each other and out of this find solutions. more..

Lankans in Ukraine not affected

Mar 4 (CG) Sri Lankans living and studying in parts of Ukraine have not been affected by the violence in that country, External Affairs Ministry said today. Sri Lankan Mission in Moscow is in touch with the Sri Lankans and is keeping the Ministry updated on the situation affecting Ukraine. Contrary to some media reports, authoritative sources said that there are no moves at this moment to evacuate any Sri Lankan students studying in a part of Ukraine. Earlier there were reports saying that 13 students more..