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Tea herb tour Another first in Sri Lanka's tea industry

Apr 3 (CT) For the first time in Sri Lanka, The Tea and Herb Company Ltd, has launched The Colombo Tea & Herb Tour. A refreshingly new concept that takes you through a journey into the world of fine Ceylon tea, with a detailed look at the machinery in the factory and the packaging process to a walk through a storage warehouse that contains approximately 10,000 kgs of tea. Visitors are welcomed with the Real Berry Iced Tea more..

MR is suffering from Raaja Una: Harrison

Apr 3 (CT) Minister P Harrison has said former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is suffering from රාජ උණ (an obsession with royalty) that cannot be cured by any type of medication. While making these remarks during a press conference, Minister had said MR should take cues from the results of the recent Presidential election and realize that people have in fact rejected him. “Every other President before him retired – but he, after holding an arbitrary election even before his term ended more..

Lankan President to visit Pakistan

Apr 3 (PTI) President Maithripala Sirisena will arrive in Pakistan on Sunday for his first official visit to the country, the govt said on Friday. The invitation for the visit was extended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Sri Lankan President will be in Pakistan from April 5-7. Foreign Office said that during the visit, Sirisena will meet his counterpart Mamnoon Hussain who will host a state banquet for the SL president. Sharif will also hold official talks with Sirisena. more..

Switzerland will work with Lanka

Apr 3 (CG) President of the Swiss Confederation, Simonetta Sommaruga has said that her Govt is keen to work closely with the new Govt in Sri Lanka. She said this when she met Sri Lanka’s new Ambassador to Switzerland, Karunatilaka Amunugama, when he presented his letter of credence to Sommaruga at the Federal Palace in Bern. During his interaction with President Sommaruga, Ambassador Amunugama more..

CID detection at BIA: Customs keeps mum

Apr 3 (Island) CID sleuths at the BIA on Wednesday arrested two men and two women who attempted to smuggle out unfinished gold jewellery and foreign currencies worth over Rs. 6 mn to Bangalore. ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said that the suspects had been arrested around 4.25 p.m. and the CID had recovered from their possession unfinished 871.08 grammes of gold jewellery worth over Rs. 2.46 million and US dollars 18,100 amounting to Rs. 3.97 million. more..

8 Sri Lankans safely leave Yemen

Apr 3 (Xinhua) The Sri Lankan govt on Friday said that eight of its nationals had safely left Yemen as fighting intensifies in this country. Out of the eight, three had reached Djibouti in the early hours of Friday while five others were on their way via sea. The govt this week said it is making arrangements to evacuate at least 100 of its citizens stranded in Yemen as fighting escalates between the Houthi rebels and the Saudi military forces. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with the more..

Cairn pulls out of Sri Lanka gas field

Apr 3 (EN) Cairn India has withdrawn from Mannar Basin natural gas exploration following the global petroleum price slump, and Sri Lanka is to look for other oil companies to drill deposits found by the firm. Cairn made known their stance on the Mannar Basin gas during talks with govt in Colombo last month. "Cairn had indicated they are pulling back from exploration worldwide and want to focus on enhancing oil production more..

Massive fire destroys factory in Sri Lanka

Apr 3 (Xinhua) A massive fire broke out at a shoe factory in Colombo on Friday, causing severe damage to the building, ASP Ruwan Gunesekara said that several fire trucks had reached the scene and were trying to douse the flames. He said no injuries had been caused but the building had been completely destroyed. "The first started around 11 a.m. and several fire trucks are at the scene trying to douse the flames. We are trying to investigate the cause of the fire," more..

UNP behind moves to get MR back: Rajitha

Apr 3 (DM) UNP is also behind moves to bring back former President Rajapaksa into active politics again, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said today. He said it was in the nature of the UNP to seize opportunities whenever possible. “The UNP did the same in 1980. They supported Mr. Rajapaksa and a group of SLFP members against Sirimavo Bandarnaike,” he said. Dr. Senaratne said in politics there were no eternal enemies and the UNP was today following the concept, more..

'Sri Lanka probing mid-sea arms deals'

Apr 3 (EN) Sri Lanka is probing reports of mid-sea sales of captured Tamil Tiger weapons to African rebels during the Rajapaksa administration, minister Rajitha Senaratne said. Probe is part of an investigation into Avant Garde Maritime Services, a private maritime security company providing sea marshals to merchant ships for protection against pirates off Somalia. Govt is investigating the company and its floating armouries, more..

'SLFP crossovers only a temporary measure'

Apr 3 (CT) Though the recent expansion of the Cabinet was troublesome, it was only a temporary measure, said Deputy Minister for Investment Promotion and Highways Eran Wickremeratne Wednesday. "We are not happy about it but it is temporary as we would be going for elections soon," said Wickremeratne addressing a media briefing. On 22 March 26 SLFP MPs crossed over to the government and accepted portfolios in the current Cabinet to form a national govt. more..

Central Provincial Council in crisis

Apr 3 (Island) The Central Provincial Council was facing a serious crisis, according to Group Leader of the Democratic Party (DP) in the Council Attorney-at-law Asanka Tilakaratne. He said while the Chairman of the Provincial Council had been jailed for violating election laws, a group of over thirty members of the council made up of ruling UPFA and the Opposition led by the UNP was pressuring the provincial Governor to replace the incumbent UPFA Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake with more..

Video: Commission to prepare electoral reforms: JVP

Apr 3 (DM) The Executive Council has decided to set up a commission to prepare a new electoral process to be implemented soon, a JVP council member revealed yesterday. JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said this decision was made after his strict warning that his party would withdraw from the Executive Council. He also said the Executive Council decided to make further amendments to the 19th Amendment more..

Indian couple found dead in hotel

Apr 3 (PTI) An Indian couple was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a hotel here today, prompting Sri Lankan police to launch an investigation. The police found the bodies of a 30-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman in the hotel room in Wellawatta in the Colombo metropolitan area where they stayed after their arrival in the country on March 27. The post mortem on the bodies has been postponed till tomorrow, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said. more..

SL to go ahead with joining China led AIIB

Apr 3 (EN) Sri Lanka will go ahead with joining the China-led Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB), in which the island became a founding member last year, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. The AIIB will have an authorized capital of 100 billion US dollars and 50 billion in subscribed capital, with members contributing based on their gross domestic product, with 70 to 75% of the capital stock allocated to regional members and 25% to non-regional members. more..

Sri Lanka new rulers to enact laws to punish those who make Hate Speech

Apr 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s new rulers’ plans to revise the Penal Code that would make Hate Speech, a punishable offence, minister Rajitha Senarathne said. “Those who make hate speech will be punish by two years in prison,” Senanrathne said. The LLRC which was appointed to look back to the armed struggle underwent by Sri Lanka, has observed hate speech and literature relating to ethnicity and religion exacerbate ethnic and more..

Rajitha refutes Tissa’s claim

Apr 3 (DM) Minister Rajitha Senaratne today denied former Minister Tissa Karaliyadda’s claim that a UNP minister had forced him to relinquish his deputy ministerial post. Minister Senaratne said Tissa Karaliyadda had not been satisfactory with the portfolio given to him. “He himself told me that he was a senior politician and therefore the deputy ministerial post was not enough,” he said. Buddha Sasana and Democratic Governance Deputy Minister Tissa Karaliyadda charged more..

National Poson Festival at Mihintale and Thanthirimale

Apr 3 (GDI) The Govt has decided to hold this year’s National Poson Festival centering the Mihintale and Thanthirimale sacred sites. The Poson Week will be held from the 31st of May to 06th June. This was discussed by the Poson Committee headed by Chief Incumbent of the Ruwanweli Chaithyarama temple, the Ven. Pallegama Hemarathana Thera. According to Anuradhapura District Secretary D.P.G. Kumarasiri around two million devotees are expected for this year’s Poson season. more..

China pats Sri Lanka for not permitting Dalai Lama's visit

Apr 3 (PTI) China lauded the new Sri Lankan govt for not allowing the Dalai Lama to visit the Buddhist-majority country disregarding the wishes of its influential monks to invite the Tibetan spiritual leader. Reacting to reports that Sri Lankan govt would not like to displease the Chinese govt by inviting Dalai Lama, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said that Beijing is firmly opposed to the visits by the Dalai Lama," she said. more..

Sri Lanka arrests 37 Indian fishermen

Apr 3 (PTI) At least 37 Indian fishermen were today arrested by Sri Lankan navy for allegedly poaching in the country's waters, a day after President Maithripala Sirisena said he had issued instructions to seize boats that violate the country's territorial waters. SL Naval spokesman Commander Indika Silva said 37 Indian fishermen were arrested and five boats were seized off the island's northern coast in Point Pedro this evening. Fishermen have been taken to Kankesanturai port for further action, more..

BJP hails Modi’s policy on Lanka

Apr 3 (CG) India’s ruling BJP, in a resolution passed on India’s foreign policy, at its ongoing two-day national executive meeting in Bengaluru, said that India’s policy on Sri Lanka had suffered several ups and downs in the last three decades due to a short-sighted approach by the previous govt, guided by domestic political ambitions. These, it said, “damaged our bilateral relations leading to strategic problems in the immediate Indian Ocean neighbourhood”. more..

Sri Lanka tea and rubber price guarantees to cost Rs4.1bn a quarter

Apr 3 (EN) Cabinet of ministers have approved a plan to provide guaranteed prices by paying a subsidy to small rubber and tea farmers for three months starting from April 1. The price guarantee promised in the 100-day plan of the Maithripala Sirisena election platform will be made effective by paying the difference between the domestic market price and the election promise. For RSS 01 and 02 grade rubber the govt will more..

Angelo Mathews to miss Delhi Daredevil’s IPL opener against CSK

Apr 3 (PTI) Last year’s wooden spooners Delhi Daredevils will have to go into a tough IPL-8 opening encounter against the formidable Chennai Super Kings on April 9 without the services of star all-rounder Angelo Mathews. Sri Lankan captain, who is one of the biggest buys and is likely to be an automatic choice among the four overseas players, will have to sit out as the TN govt over the last two seasons had banned all Sri Lankan sportspersons from competing in events in the state. more..

SL intensifies scrutiny of Chinese projects

Apr 3 (Reuters) Sri Lanka ordered a review of 35 investment projects on Friday, most of them awarded to Chinese firms by the previous administration, suggesting ties remain fragile despite Beijing's attempts to assuage concerns. China has pledged US$1 billion in new grant money to Sri Lanka to address complaints that its investment was aimed at furthering its own strategic interests rather than Colombo's. The main dispute is over a port city project in Colombo that more..

Indian fishermen regret SL prez's stand

Apr 3 (PTI) Local fishermen's associations expressed regret over President Sirisena's remark that he has clearly instructed the island nation's navy to seize boats that violate the country's territorial waters. Fishermen's Association leaders N J Bose and N Devadass said that these remarks were regrettable, coming at a time when the next round of their talks are to be held in Colombo to sort out the issue and that SL President should more..

A preface to post January 8th media in SL

Apr 4 (CT) “Any change in the media there (in SL) after Jan 8 ?” asked the head of a renowned and respected media training institute across the Palk Straits, a few days ago. I guess my answer to his pointed question except for details in this here, was no different to this. There are two sides to this single question. First is to know if the new govt is into controlling media by some means to it’s advantage, to which the general answer would be No. Next is to know if the media on its own more..

Electoral reform proposals

Apr 4 (NS) The Parliament is due to consider electoral reforms as a part of constitutional reform process for good governance. We consider that it is vital that the reforms be based on the needs of the people, to work for the people and with the participation of the representatives of all interest sectors of the people, as an active democracy. This calls for its composition to be representative of vital interest sectors, enabling it to decide on priorities for the whole nation. more..

National Authority for the protection of Roping in the culprits

Apr 4 (SO) A new Authority is to be set up soon to give effect to the newly introduced Witness Protection Law, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said. A separate Authority will soon be set up under the Justice Ministry. "The Authority is vested with powers to ensure that the Act will be implemented in the correct manner. It is now legal and is just a matter of implementing it" Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said. more..

Wigneswaran: A judicial politician with a mission on his own

Apr 4 (CT) After retirement from the Supreme Court Bench, Justice C.V. Wigneswaran was hesitant to enter the political field which was once said to be an asylum of scoundrels. However his deep dedication to the causes of which culminated in a genocidal war propelled him to plunge into politics. There was a fresh breathing with his entry which was welcomed by the Tamils, as he would live up as an honest and bold politician quite differently from many others. When I met him at his residence in Colombo more..

Wealth of a New Nation

Apr 4 (NS) Our children and Port City: Our children, from kindergarten upwards, are learning to love a pencil case more than their motherland. This, however, is not the tragedy. This is exactly how we want them to grow up. When they grow up, they can become politician. In the very least they can find jobs in the Port City. Who can afford to lose a job in these global village times? We cannot blame the SLFP MPs who accepted ministerial portfolios. They too want to be ministers until they die. more..

Wallapatta smugglers running rampant

Apr 4 (NS) Despite the best efforts of authorities, well-organized groups of Wallapatta smugglers continue to operate throughout the country, chopping down trees in their dozens as they seek to expand an already lucrative racket. After a brief period of inactivity, smugglers have again commenced operations, including inside the Sinharaja Forest and the Sripada Forest Reserve, with large numbers of Wallapatta more..

Cold war between Reid Avenue boys

Apr 4 (CT) Catholic Bishop of Jaffna Rt. Rev. Thomas Savuntharanayagam generally briefs the media, and local and foreign dignitaries who meet him in Jaffna, on trends in the Northern Province including humanitarian issues in the peninsula. Bishop Rev. Savuntharanayagam, being a religious dignitary who has personally experienced the long-drawn-out traumatic experiences with death and destruction caused by the three decades of war in the peninsula, is considered as more..

'Kya Karun? What shall I do?'

Apr 4 (FT) There is an element of tragedy pervading the frenetic campaign by elements of the former Govt to revive the political career of Mahinda Rajapaksa, defeated President. Only 3 months back, even before his second term was over, the people voted Rajapaksa out with quite a convincing majority. In a democratic culture, this is not a startling event. After all people’s needs, attitudes and ideas change and with it a change of leadership becomes desirable, if not essential. more..

I'm not a killer: Karuna

Apr 4 (CT) Former Deputy Minister V Muralidharan alias Karuna says that he was not involved in the killings of Bhikkus in Aranthalawa, attacks on border village and the killings of 600 police personnel when he was in the LTTE. Q: Are you sad that you lost the position of Vice President of the SLFP? A: I did not lose that position. It remains the same. It is a lie that has been spread around by sections of the media including websites. more..

Editorial: Too many leeches

Apr 4 (Island) Governments in the modern world need to be like computers; they should get smaller and more efficient. Parliamentarians here have proved that the country can manage with a much smaller Parliament. The Speaker has a hard time trying to have quorate sessions as MPs are more absent than present in the House even during crucial debates. There have also been occasions where the MPs billed to open debates did not turn up. It has now been revealed that more..

Hindutva India and the Ethnic Problem

Apr 4 (Island) This article is really in continuation of my two previous articles (Island of Mar 21 and Mar 28) in which I covered the implications of what transpired during PM Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka. A third article covering the same ground might seem redundant, or at least excessive considering that no one else is now writing on that subject. Actually I am writing this article because I have come to a novel conclusion that had not occurred to me earlier. It is that there has been a paradigm shift in more..

Lahore politician involved in Lankan racket

Apr 4 (SL) The Special Investigation Unit of the Immigration and Emigration Department recently succeeded in revealing a full-scale human smuggling racket in which attractive female teenagers were being smuggled into Sri Lanka from Pakistan to be employed in the sex trade. Following the raid carried out recently, in which five Pakistani female teenagers between the age group of 16 and 25 were arrested, more..

Constitutional Profits in the Business of Politics

Apr 4 (Island) The first week of April is one of historical importance in Sri Lanka. Easter Sunday, April 5 1942 saw the first air attack on the island by the Japanese, later described as the Battle of Ceylon in World War II. Much later, April 5, 1971, saw the beginning of the first insurgency by the JVP, when at dawn that day its cadres attacked the Wellawaya Police Station, and the previous evening a group of JVP cadres were arrested at Vihara Maha Devi Park in a plot to assassinate PM more..

Sri Lankans lack confidence in speaking English despite advanced technology

Apr 4 (ST) A majority of Sri Lankans who have chosen ICT as their future career have ended up in failure for the simple reason that they have (English) language constraints. Speaking proper English has become the problem when one looks at the students who pass out from national and private universities in the country. There is vast knowledge, mind-blowing innovations and brilliant presentation skills, but all that comes to zero when communicating in English. more..

Working towards a mine-free Sri Lanka

Apr 4 (FT) Today marks the International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action as well as 10 years since the declaration of such a day for the world. UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Subinay Nandy shares his thoughts on the importance of this day and Sri Lanka’s own success. Every year, mines, explosive remnants of war, and unexploded ordnance, kill or injure thousands worldwide. more..