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Sri Lanka Ports Authority gains early profit from new terminal

Apr 21 (EN) Sri Lanka Ports Authority has begun earning profits in the first year from its stake in a new Chinese-built deep-water container terminal in Colombo port. SLPA Chairman Lakdas Panagoda said Colombo International Container Terminals Ltd., (CICT), a joint venture between China Merchants Holdings (International) Co., Ltd. (CMHI) and SLPA, was doing very well in its container handling business. "We only have a 15 percent share in CICT which has brought us more..

Sri Lanka, Japan to formulate FTA

Apr 21 (GDI) Sri Lanka and Japan plan to formulate and sign a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries to enhance bilateral trade. The Sri Lanka-Japan Business Co-operation Committee says that they are preparing for a possible FTA between Lanka and Japan in 2015. The fact was revealed at a meeting held in Colombo by the Sri Lanka-Japan Business Co-operation Committee under the patronage of Japanese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Nobuhitho Hobo. more..

Maithri, Mahinda agree to meet

Apr 21 (CG) President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa have agreed to meet to discuss several issues, the SLFP said today. SLFP said that Rajapaksa agreed to a request made on behalf of the party to meet the President at a mutually agreed location. Former Minister T.B. Ekanayake said that the date for the meeting will be set once the agenda is fixed. “The former President agreed to meet at a more..

Revisiting the Mahinda factor

Apr 22 (CT) Mahinda Rajapaksa is the most famous former president this country has known. The numbers that go to Medamulana and attend his rallies prove this. It doesn’t mean he’s making a comeback or that he’s ready to, of course. There were some 6.2 million who voted against him, and while 5.7 million supported him it’s difficult to see whether that number has increased or decreased in light of what’s happening now. For the moment, everything seems uncertain. more..

Electoral Reforms In Sri Lanka

Apr 22 (CT) We finally have some legislative language to start a discussion on electoral reforms. Kudos to the SLFP for doing a draft on the 97th day of the 100-day program. What was the govt doing all this time is a good question, but, for the moment let us think positively and focus on improving the draft. Frustrated by the lack of action by the govt half-way into hundred day program, a group of us joined by CaFFE started a campaign to jump-start electoral reforms using an evidence-based approach. more..

Nimal Mendis: Dared to dream

Apr 22 (SO) Veteran music director, Singer Nimal Mendis passed away on April 16th. Recently I got in touch with Nimal Mendis, a veteran composer of hits such as Master Sir, Nim Him Sewva and Ganga Addara. He was living in Britain for many decades travelling to and from Sri Lanka to write those hits that have proved extremely popular. When I emailed him I received the following reply. "Thank you very much for your email. more..

Without Boards

Apr 22 (CT) It was Nelson Mandela who once said that Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Undoubtedly, education is what makes the society a better place. Though the right for education exists, still there are children who do not receive proper education. In the local context, there are many issues with regard to education that needs to be addressed. It is the responsibility not only for the government, but also for the society to attempt to more..

Inadequate export performance with undiversified export structure

Apr 22 (ST) Despite high economic growth, the country’s export performance has been inadequate in recent decades. Although the structure of exports changed from one of exporting primary agricultural commodities to a more diversified one in which manufactured exports are significant, manufactured exports are highly concentrated on garments. The country’s export performance and export structure are discussed today as a backdrop to next week’s discussion on needed policies to more..

What would you do, if you lost the next election ?

Apr 22 (CT) Politics is not an eternal vocation. The political situation in the country changes every now and then. One does not make it one's life. We must not become a representative of the people on our own volition. That is up to the discretion of the public. The people expect a service from us. With their consent we have to serve our country. We must develop it. People will decide whether we come into power next time or not. more..

On works of art and the debris of life

Apr 22 (CT) He was ushered, carefully and lovingly. Held tight around the waist, aided with a walking stick, the usher carried a relieved smile, bliss had just touched his heart and soul. The heavens above had poured out mercy on this soul; his shoulders seemed strong as he helped this lonely old man who I assumed was his 'old man'..... So my day starts all afresh, sitting in the passenger seat of my private vehicle, I stalk the streets early morning while travelling to work. more..

Key population of HIV epidemic in Sri Lanka

Apr 22 (Island) HIV prevalence in Sri Lanka is remaining low prevalence when you compare with some countries. Prevalence less than 1% from population epidemic call low prevalence if it is more than 1%, it call as high prevalence countries. Sri Lanka prevalence among population even less than 0.1% percent. In some sub Saharan countries it was higher than 40% among normal population. Most of these high prevalence countries HIV new infection reporting was remarkably reduced, more..

'Two nations one country'

Apr 22 (CT) All Ceylon Tamil Congress Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said, a federal arrangement that recognizes Tamils as a distinct nation would solve the ethnic problem within a united Sri Lanka. "Why is it extremism to say that Sri Lanka is not a Sinhala-Buddhist country, it is not only for the Sinhalese but the Tamils, Muslims and the Up Country Tamils. Why is insisting that Sri Lanka belongs to its entire people more..

Editorial: An unwanted battle

Apr 22 (Island) Blunders of the Rajapaksa govt, more than anything else, enabled Maithripala Sirisena to become President. The incumbent administration has, through its ill-advised action, facilitated former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s comeback! A decision by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) to summon former President Rajapaksa jolted UPFA parliamentarians into staging a fast in Parliament on Monday. more..

SLFP battle-lines drawn for May Day showdown

Apr 22 (ST) This New Year dawns on a note of uncertainty for many politicians, with an extremely fluid situation prevailing in parliamentary politics. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution is up for debate tomorrow (20th) and the day after (21st) but it seems unlikely that a vote on it will be taken. Party leaders who met on Friday were unable to reach agreement on the electoral reforms which, the SLFP insists, should be introduced at the same time as the 19A. The Parliamentary Select Committee on more..

Linking universities and industry to build an innovative knowledge economy in Sri Lanka

Apr 22 (WB) Sri Lanka’s future in the global knowledge economy of the twenty-first century hinges critically on the country’s intellectual and human capital. To reach the level of a prosperous middle-income country, the country needs research and innovation capacity to stimulate dynamic economic development. “The ability of people to think and act creatively, work industriously and productively, innovate and evolve new more..

Small car imports from India and China surge amid credit pick-up

Apr 22 (EN) Imports of small cars from India and China, which began to rise sharply from December as credit picked up, surged further in March following a tax cut, an analysis of vehicle registry data shows. Registrations of of Maruti/Suzuki cars from India was up nearly 1000% from a year earlier to 2,531 units in March 2015 compared to 234 in March 2014, an analysis by JB Securities shows. March Maruti registrations were also sharply up from the 1,363 units in January, more..

New Peacock Estate claim highest yield among large tea farms

Apr 22 (EN) New Peacock Estate in Pussellawa, in Sri Lanka's central highlands has recorded a yield of 3,008 kilograms per hectare in 2014 elevating it to top position among large tea farms, the owning company said. Elpitiya Plantations, a unit of listed Aitken Spence group said the 260 hectare tea estates the output came despite bad weather in the last four months of 2014. "Undertaking of best practices in agriculture as emphasized by the management, making available more..

Ven. Sobitha Thera cautions President, Govt about saboteurs

Apr 22 (DN) Cautioning the govt and President Maithripala Sirisena that some MPs are all set to sabotage the implementation of 19 Amendment, the Chairman of the NMJS Ven Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera yesterday insisted that a General Election must go ahead. Thera said that a country cannot move forward with MPs who undermine the people's aspirations and act without any regard or respect to their expectations or more..

Underground cable project to cost more than estimated

Apr 22 (Island) The ongoing construction of the underground cable project of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) would cost much more than the initially estimated Rs. 32 billion, according to senior government officials. Senior engineers told The Island Financial Review that shortly the project would hit the second stage. However, going by the current expenditure the cost would end up 20 per cent more than the initial estimate. The project was launched in 2013. more..

Toyota Lanka kicks off first Toyota Hybrid Family Day

Apr 22 (Island) Vehicle lovers were given the opportunity to experience some of the most popular hybrid models last weekend with Toyota Lanka having hosted the Toyota Hybrid Family Day. Facilitating for the first time an event of this nature, the Toyota Hybrid Family Day, for which the participation was on invitation only, took place on March 21 at the TAJ North Lawn. The event was attended by over 600 potential buyers and their families. more..

JHU extends support to electoral reforms in national interest

Apr 22 (FT) General Secretary of the JHU, Minister Champika Ranawaka, said that they would support electoral reforms in the national interest even if it placed the party at a disadvantage. “The current electoral system is the most effective and efficient system. It has presented so many advantages and benefits for us all over the past elections. But being a selfless party we can’t only consider our benefits but the national interest, hence more..

Italo Lanka wins contract to supply Litro Gas cylinders

Apr 22 (DN) For the first time in Sri Lanka, a local company will manufacture gas cylinders for local companies. A purchasing contract will be signed with Litro Gas Company this week. "Our company is the first local company to manufacture gas cylinders for Litro Gas and the company uses Italian technology and expertise," Italo-Lanka Gas Cylinders Manufacturers Chairman W.P.J.P Siriwardhana said. He said the company started ten years ago and was shut down for four years. more..

Sri Lanka to become first tropical country to eradicate Malaria

Apr 22 (GDI) In another achievement of Sri Lanka’s free health service, it was slated to be declared the first tropical country in the world that had eradicated Malaria, by end of 2015, by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Director General Health Services, Dr. Palitha Mahipala said this declaration was possible as not even a single case of Malaria was reported since 2012 October. If Sri Lanka is lucky enough to remain malaria free up to Oct 2015, the country will be eligible to apply to WHO more..

Kabir Hashim accused of animal cruelty

Apr 22 (CT) The Highways and Investment Promotion Minister's statement that no danger was posed to the elephants at a New Year celebration held in Mawanella recently, was challenged by a reputed elephant expert who said that it was animal cruelty. While Minister Kabir Hashim responded to criticism over the use of live elephants for the traditional New Year game 'pinning the elephant's eye' (aliyata aha thabima), more..

Sri Lanka Tourism targets Riyadh, Damman

Apr 22 (DN) Sri Lanka Tourism has focused on building brand Sri Lanka in Riyadh and Damman with focus on the Middle East market. Overall thrust by Sri Lanka Tourism was in the backdrop of the overall numbers increasing by 13.6% and the Middle Eastern market increasing business by 20.1% with Saudi Arabia way up at 37.8% and UAE at 16% and Oman at 42.1% but we are very concerned that these numbers don't reflect the overall occupancy of the formal sector. more..

Corruption galore at NPC Ministries

Apr 22 (CT) Deputy Chairman of Northern Provincial Council (NPC) Antony Jeyanathan is up in arms against corruption and malpractices believed to have taken place in the ministries and other institutions which are under the purview of the NPC. According to Jeyanathan he is in the process of preparing a report to be submitted to Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran on the alleged bribery and corruption charges in the NPC ministries and key institutions. Jeyanathan who is also the head of more..

EU team to visit to review ban on fish exports

Apr 22 (FT) A European Commission delegation is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka in June to review the ban on fish exports from SL to the European Union. A team attached to the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries section of the European Commission has reportedly planned a visit to Sri Lanka in June to find out how the fisheries sector is implementing a series of recommendations put forward by the Commission which more..

Haroon Lantra no more

Apr 22 (DN) Haroon Lantra who tantalized generations through his legendary voice died yesterday morning. He was 83. Haroon Kumar Lanthra is an A grade singer. Born in September 1931, Lantra had sung over 500 songs and most of them were for Sinhala films such as Senasuma Kothanada, Gopalu Handa, etc. His song Sulang Kurullo of Sinhala film Senasuma Kothanada became popular. Meanwhile, former Minister A.H.M. Azwer issuing a condolence message on more..

Dansalas must register with CMC

Apr 22 (CT) All dansalas held in the Colombo Municipal area should be registered with the Health Department of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), Chief Medical Officer of the CMC Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni said. He said that organizers of dansalas should obtain their registration from the Chief Public Health Inspector (PHI) of the CMC. He noted that this action was taken to ensure food safety during the Vesak week. "Medical officers and PHIs would inspect the cleanliness of more..

Motion to remove CIABOC DG: 116 MPs place their signatures

Apr 22 (CT) A motion signed by 116 members of the Opposition MPs was handed over to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa yesterday demanding the removal of the incumbent Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC). The motion alleged that Director General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe is acting in an arbitrary manner and also has included more..

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage earns Rs.243 million

Apr 22 (GDI) Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage has earned Rs. 243 million of income during the first three months of 2015, the Zoological Gardens, Director General Anura de Silva said. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is situated northwest of the town of Kegalle, halfway between the present capital Colombo and Kandy in the hills of central Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka wildlife department in a 25 acre coconut property near the Maha Oya river. more..

India beat Sri Lanka in T20 Deaf Asia Cup

Apr 22 (TN) Indian deaf cricket team Tuesday beat Sri Lankan team by 18 runs after a tough battle in the second match of the 1st Twenty20 Deaf Asia Cup 2015 being played here at the Lahore City Cricket Association (LCCA) ground. Indian captain Imran Sheikh won the toss and opted to bat first. They managed to score 128-6 in the allotted 20 overs. Indrajeet Yadav remained the most impressive batsman of the Indian team as he hammered unbeaten 68. more..

Don't use Parliament to protect thieves: PM

Apr 22 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe requested opposition members not to use Parliamentary privileges to protect thieves and persons engaged in corruption. He made this observation in Parliament joining a debate following a statement by UPFA MP Wimal Weerawansa. PM said the people in the country demand to reveal the names of those engaged in corruption. He said the people wanted to know this since more..

End of road for substandard bottled water

Apr 22 (DN) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has questioned 77 bottled water producers registered with the Health and Indigenous Medicine Ministry, Ministry sources said. Out of the 77 bottled water manufacturers, the output of around 15 producers had various issues, including changes in the PH value, presence of microorganisms and high levels of free ammonia. Inspections were carried out by the govt analyst and the Medical Research Institute (MRI). more..

Toddler killed by hot potato curry

Apr 22 (CT) A toddler aged two years and three months who had accompanied his parents to an almsgiving held at a relative's house, died after falling into a container of hot potato curry. The dead toddler, Venula Ekanayake, was a resident of No. 131, Meegahahena, Girandurukotte. He and his family had participated at an almsgiving held at Palama Handiya in Minipe on 7 April. His mother had gone into the kitchen to serve food to feed the toddler and the child had followed her. more..

Basil returns from US to face police financial crimes probe

Apr 22 (Island) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, MP, will appear before the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) today. Immediately after having returned from the US, MP Rajapaksa declared his readiness to face the on-going investigation. The former SLFP National Organiser returned from the US in the wake of FCID seeking to record a statement from him regarding his alleged involvement in misappropriation of more..

'Speaker has no right to summon Bribery officials'

Apr 22 (Island) Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe said that Speaker had no powers to summon the officials of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to Parliament just because MPs staged a protest. Summoning CIABOC officials to Parliament amounted to interference in the commission’s duties. "If a present, position or treatment is given by a presidential candidate during the time of presidential election that could be interpreted as bribe giving. more..

President should be firm: JVP

Apr 22 (DM) President Maithripala should act firmly in order to get the 19th Amendment to the Constitution passed, the JVP said today. JVP Propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath said that President Sirisena should act firmly in getting the 19th Amendment passed in Parliament in accordance with the pledge given to the people and he is responsible for the situation that had arisen today. “The President should not allow SLFP MPs to act in the way they have acted up to now. more..

Sittings suspended twice

Apr 22 (Island) Sittings of the House was suspended by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa twice yesterday owing to MPs causing noisy disruptions after sittings commenced ending a 23-hour hunger protest by the Opposition demanding that the govt immediately put an end to what they called a political witch hunt against Opposition politicians, including former President Rajapaksa and ex-defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. more..

The RTI as a constitutional guarantee

Apr 22 (DM) The new govt, led by President Maithripala Sirisena promised the country in general and the journalists in particular, that it would enact a Right to Information (RTI) Bill and ensure media freedom in the country. While the stakeholders were looking forward to the RTI being introduced as an ordinary Bill, it comes as a constitutional right through the 19th Amendment. One might argue in favour of the govt’s decision to introduce the RTI as a law of the country, but doing so more..