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PM says no decision on port city

Feb 6 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament today that a final decision has not been taken on the port city project at Galle Face. Responding to a question, the Prime Minister said that a committee and a cabinet sub-committee have been appointed to look into the project. He said that after the new Govt took office he had obtained all the documents related to the Chinese funded project. more..

UNHCR official in talks with Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (CG) A top official from the UNHCR held talks in Sri Lanka on issues related to refugees and asylum seekers. A UNHCR delegation headed by Ms. Josefa Ojano, Deputy Director, Asia and the Pacific Bureau met the State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene at the Ministry premises last evening. Ministry of Defence said that during the meeting cordial discussions were held on matters of mutual relevance. Deputy Director, Protection Operational Support of UNHCR Louise more..

Election monitors press for polls for 11 local bodies in N&E

Feb 6 (Island) Following the Elections Department announcement of the dates for elections to Pudukuduirippu and Maritimepattu PS, local election monitors called for elections to more than ten local govt bodies in the Northern and Eastern Provinces including Jaffna and Batticaloa Municipal Councils whose terms had expired about two years back. Executive Director of the PAFFREL Rohana Hettiarachchi said that terms of 11 local govt bodies in N&E Province had ended two years back. more..

China welcomes Sri Lanka's decision to go ahead with port project

Feb 6 (PTI) China today welcomed new Sri Lankan govt's decision to go ahead with the controversial USD 1.5 billion Colombo Port City project funded by it, calling the country an important partner in implementing its mega Maritime Silk Road project in South Asia. "We regard Sri Lanka as an important cooperative partner in promoting belt and road initiative in South Asia," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters. more..

A capsule look at World Cup highlights

Feb 6 (AP) A look at the previous 10 editions of the cricket World Cup. 2011 Final: India def. Sri Lanka by 6 wickets: India's victory in the final at Mumbai was described by legendary Sachin Tendulkar as the highest point of his illustrious career. India, winner of the World Cup in 1983 at Lord's, became the first country to lift the trophy on home soil — the tournament was co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Pakistan was also due to host some matches but was removed as co-hosts after more..

Call to probe latest death in policy custody

Feb 6 (EN) A citizens' rights group has called for a probe on the latest death of a suspect in policy custody in Sri Lanka, who is said to have jumped out of a police jeep and drowned in a lake. "This explanation of the Police is suspicious due to several improbabilities and this explanation resembles the explanation given by the police in respect of several deaths of suspects while in police custody during the last three years," Lawyers for Democracy, a citizens rights group said more..

PM to seek Sumane’s help on lost vehicles

Feb 6 (CT) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that neither he nor the President could find proper documentation on vehicles belonged to the former President, thus contemplating on seeking the help of soothsayers on the matter. He said this in response to JVP Leader Anura Kuamara Dissanayaka who sought an answer from the govt on complete inventory of vehicles belonging to Presidential Secretariat. more..

JVP inquires into land grabs in Colombo 7

Feb 6 (CT) JVP complained to the police about a four and a half acre block of land in Colombo 7 being illegally acquired by a former senior official to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development. JVP Western Provincial Councillor, Sunil Watagala, said the true owners of the land were languishing in poverty and the present habitants have not been able to provide proof of ownership. The senior officials had forcibly obtained the land situated on Bauddhaloka Mawatha stating that more..

Student dies during school marathon

Feb 6 (NS) A 15-year-old student of Bolana Maha Vidyalaya in Ambalantota died this morning while taking part in the marathon conducted as part of the school's annual sports meet. Police said the victim, a Grade 10 student of the school, had fallen down while running during the marathon and had died after being admitted to the Ambalantota hospital. The victim has been identified as Chamodh Sathsara, a resident of Ruhunu Ridiyagama, Ambalantota. more..

Govt keen on FTA with China

Feb 6 (DM) Chinese Special Envoy Liu Jianchao, who is also the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, after meeting Sri Lankan leaders, said the new Sri Lankan Govt was keen on entering into a the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China. The new Govt has decided to review all China-funded projects in Sri Lanka and continue with the previously initiated dialogue with China on the signing of the proposed FTA. more..

An open letter to President Sirisena

Feb 7 (CT) I thank you, Mr. President for your bold attempt and resolve to bring back rule of law, good governance, minimize corruption and bring to book perpetrators of vices that were lacking in our country for the last decade. This is what the majority of Sri Lankans had silently prayed for, during the tenure of the last regime, which allowed political goons to override any sense of rule of law. Your attempt, with the support of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to propel the govt with support of crossovers from more..

Slander originated by External Ministry!

Feb 7 (CT) Why is Sri Lanka under the scrutiny of the International Community today? Some will say because of war crimes. Others will say genocide and crimes against humanity, etc. But having been involved in Human Rights and International lobbying for decades, we say that aggressive and racist elements within Sri Lanka’s Ministry of External Affairs, who play at double standards and duplicity, are also the cause of the international spotlight. We have seen many Presidents, Prime Ministers, more..

'We need rulers who feel art'

Feb 7 (CT) Channa Deshapriya, who made TV commercials for President Maithripala Sirisena's election campaign, explains the difficulties he underwent during the campaign. Q: Why did you support the propaganda campaign of presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena? Was it because it is your profession or was it really for a change towards good governance? A: The social need exceeded the professional limits. more..

Impact of minority votes

Feb 7 (NS) A certain minister in the present govt is reported to have said that the vote of the minorities did not make any impact in the final outcome of the recently concluded presidential election. He has said that was insignificant, vote base of the minorities being only 12%, it did not make any difference whatsoever. It was rather amusing to note, because anyone with an iota of intelligence would know that it was not so. When one considers the total number of votes polled by each candidate anyone could more..

If good governance is to flourish

Feb 7 (NS) An election has come and gone. The saying goes that good brooms sweep well. And that, by itself, may not mean much but we have to ensure the basics are right. First on the list of good governance has a three-sided meaning. Firstly, all systems must be in place. Secondly, it is essential to maintain the Rule of Law. Thirdly, Transparency of all actions must prevail. When it comes to new development and work, six matters should fall into place. Firstly, a good public service. more..

Why Lenin should be read

Feb 7 (NS) The Socialist Workers’ Union (SWU) attached to the JVP held a commemorative event “Read Lenin: The great man who changed the world” to mark the 91st death anniversary of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin on Jan 22, at the Viharamahadevi Open Air Theater. The keynote speaker was JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva. An abridged translated version of his speech is given here. more..

Tamil Tigers revelled burning Sri Lanka soldiers with a garland of tyres

Feb 7 (CT) The young pilot was praying when the heinous act was carried out, according to some media reports. The gruesome video was not shown on many international news channels because of its forbiddingly horrible content. They were probably following their own unwritten decision not to show such videos because they would be aiding the ISIS which uses them as propaganda tools. Unlike the ISIS' beheading of Kenji Goto, a Japanese journalist, which set off a wave public outrage in Japan more..

Construction industry says marginally affected by budget

Feb 7 (ST) Sri Lanka’s construction industry says it has been marginally affected by Thursday’s budget. Surath Wickramasinghe, President – Chamber of Construction Industry, Sri Lanka (CCI), said in a statement that if the interim budget has concentrated more on the immediate benefits of the public at large under the Govt’s 100 day programme to meet their essential needs, it should be commended. The industry is also pleased that cement prices have been reduced by Rs. 99 which more..

Wele Suda opens a can of worms

Feb 7 (SO) For those who are not so familiar, ‘Scarface’ is a popular crime fiction film based on a Cuban refugee who arrives in Miami and rises to become a powerful drug kingpin. Although this is not an attempt to infuse heroism to a local narcotics dealer who was captured recently, the story of the most influential drug lord Wele Sudha has semblance to the blockbuster. Samantha Kumara alias Wele Sudha or Badowita more..

Editorial: The Port City U-ey!

Feb 7 (Island) The cantankerous grandees of the present administration, while in the opposition, berated the Rajapaksa govt for having turned Sri Lanka into a ‘Chinese colony’. Prior to the Jan. 08 presidential election some of them condemned the Port City project being built by the Chinese as an environmental disaster. On Dec. 16 2014, the then Opposition Leader Wickremesinghe told a group of tourism industry officials at a meeting that he would stop the Port City Project if more..

Transferring Presidential records and memorabilia etc.

Feb 7 (Island) The office of Executive President was established in 1977 by the then PM J R Jayewardene, in terms of the Second Amendment to the 1972 Constitution certified on 20th Oct, 1977. Subsequently, it was incorporated in the 1978 Constitution, entitled The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. In 1981, by National Archives Act of 1981, President JRJ established the Presidential Archives Division as a branch office and repository of the National Archives. more..

Rubber hits the skids; oil price drop shakes market

Feb 7 (Island) Regional Plantation Companies largely operating at ‘nose’ level would shortly face the possibility of sustaining losses in rubber production. Additionally, dependence on local absorption of natural rubber is proving highly risky from a business viewpoint. Larger companies which depended on natural rubber, the tyre industry, for instance, have now reduced production. Besides, rubber imports from Malaysia, Indonesia and more..

Where are we going?

Feb 7 (Island) The occasion of the 67th anniversary of our Independence prompts questions such as Where are we going? Where have we gone wrong? What should we do to get on to the correct path? And so on. Such questions that arise on the occasion of anniversaries are probably related to the deep human desire for self-renewal, on the part of individuals, societies, and nations. These questions have a particular urgency today because the present National Day comes shortly after more..

The Age of Elephant Houses

Feb 7 (Island) Although the flavour of Elephant House ice cream, and the fuzz and taste of Elephant Brand soft drinks are still with us, the once popular restaurant and catering service of Elephant House wound up many years ago. There are many who still remember the service at Fountain Café, that stood out in Colombo as a restaurant well known for its ice cream and short eats with nostalgia for such flavour in food, drink and courteous service. Yet, quite unknown to us there has been more..

No joy for CSE fixers

Feb 7 (DN) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that he will not hesitate to take legal action against stock holders in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) attempting to crash the market by deliberately interfering in its free and fair operation, through various manipulations. He said that a handful of those individuals who are reluctant to pay Super Tax imposed by govt through its interim budget are aiming at collpasing the market. more..

Legalize euthanasia

Feb 7 (CT) Since the 1950s, Sri Lanka has seen a dramatic rise in the number of suicide. Suicide, in itself, could be deemed legal in Sri Lanka on the grounds that there is no provision in the Penal Code preventing a person from doing so. However, any such person who assists a person in suicide would be punished by virtue of Section 299 of the Penal Code of Sri Lanka which reads: "If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with death." more..

1,000 farming families graduate from Ceylon Tobacco project in Kilinochchi

Feb 7 (ST) Sustainable Agriculture Development Programme (SADP), a project by cigarette producer Ceylon Tobacco, has celebrated another milestone when 1,000 families from Kilinochchi graduated having completed the programme. SADP is the flagship CSR programme of CTC which the company in a public statement says is moving towards alleviating poverty. The successful completion of the 30 month programme means that families are now able to adequately meet more..

NFF questions new govt decision on Colombo Port City Project

Feb 7 (Island) The new govt owed an explanation to the country as regards its decision to go ahead with the Chinese-funded Port City Project, NFF, a constituent of UPFA said. He said it had before the presidential election vowed to scrap it. NFF spokesperson Mohammed Muzammil was reacting to Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne’s declaration that the new govt would go ahead with the Colombo Port City Project. more..

Sri Lanka should withdraw telecom tax absorbing proposal: policy expert

Feb 7 (EN) Sri Lanka should withdraw a budget proposal ordering telecom firms to absorb a 25 percent tax which makes no difference to state revenues, but gives body blow to the finances and future investments of the sector, a top regional expert has said. "The proposal that the mobile operators should pay the 25% tax on voice calls currently paid by mobile users should be withdrawn," Rohan Samarajiva, head of LirneAsia, a regional policy research body said. more..

Virtusa announces sound third quarter fiscal 2015 results

Feb 7 (Island) Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ GS: VRTU), a global business consulting and IT outsourcing company that combines innovation, technology leadership and industry solutions to transform the customer experience, reported consolidated financial results for the third quarter fiscal year 2015, ended December 31, 2014. Revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2015 was $123.0million, an increase of 4.5% sequentially and 22% year-over-year in reported currency. more..

JVP alleges UPFA trying to silence it

Feb 7 (Island) JVP yesterday accused the UPFA of trying to silence it by not allocating it time for the debates in Parliament. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake raising a point of order said: "The UPFA used to keep us down and not allowed our voice to be heard when it was in govt. It tries doing the same even after coming to the opposition. We will not allow the UPFA to undermine our voice." MP Dissanayake said that he was more..

Renuka Agri sells Richlife to group unit

Feb 7 (EN) Sri Lanka’s Renuka Agri Foods has sold its 50% stake in Richlife Dairies Limited to Shaw Wallace Ceylon Ltd., a group unit, for 605 million rupees, a stock exchange filing said. Richlife Dairies makes milk-based and fruit-based food and beverages under the brand names Richlife and Cheers. Renuka Agri Foods, an exporter of coconut products and tea, in 2012 bought a 76% stake of the diary firm for 505 million rupees and the remaining stake for 100 million the next year. more..

Toronto man accused of threatening hundreds

Feb 7 (TS) A 51-year-old Toronto man faces numerous charges for allegedly threatening to kill an assortment of government, military and police officials in Ontario. Toronto Police say they began investigating the accused after receiving “numerous” criminal harassment complaints from across the province. “He has been threatening everyone from top politicians to senior Toronto Police officers and even high-ranking military personnel,” Det. Cheryl Jones, of 42 Division, alleged Friday. more..

Minister Wijewardene visits Northern Province

Feb 7 (MoD) The State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene arrived at the Northern Province while commencing his first official visit to the Military Establishments today (6). Chief of Defence Staff, Tri-Forces Commanders, Security Forces Commander - Jaffna and the regional heads of respective forces welcomed the Minister on his arrival at the Palaly Air Port. In the outset of the proceedings of the visit, more..

Two men arrested on suspicion of having LTTE links

Feb 7 (CT) TNA MP T. Ariaynethran urged the govt to reveal the reason for the arrest of Kandasamy Karunanidhi and Bhaskaran Thamodhiram who arrived from Qatar and Dubai on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. According to the MP, K. Karunanidhi (36) who hails from Mamangam, Batticaloa was arrested at the BIA on Monday as he arrived from Qatar. He is a father of one child and from a low income family. Thamodiram (29), father of one child, who hails from Kokkaddicholai more..

Sri Lankans express solidarity with Kashmiris

Feb 7 (Island) A seminar titled "Kashmir Dispute in the Regional Perspective" was held in Colombo, last evening, to express support for the Kashmiri people on the occasion of Kashmir Solidarity Day. The event was attended by a large number of participants including diplomats, members of academia, dignitaries, Pakistani community based in Sri Lanka and a large contingent of media personnel. Prominent scholars including Mr. Jamal-ud-Din Chairman Kashmir Study Group, more..

Shashi Weerawansa, Duminda Silva to be arrested soon

Feb 7 (CT) Police are expected to take into custody Shashi Weerawansa, wife of Wimal Weerawansa, on the charge of forging a diplomatic passport and arrest politician Duminda Silva for trafficking drugs, in the near future. SSP Ajith Rohana said, the police will arrest the two suspects in the near future but a date has not been specified. He added, 50% of the investigations by CID has been completed in the case of charges more..

Sri Lanka expats celebrate independence day in Muscat

Feb 7 (TOO) Hundreds of Sri Lankan expatriates gathered at the Sri Lankan Embassy in Muscat to celebrate the country's 67th Independence Day, on Wednesday morning. N.L. Abdul Haleem, charge d'affaires at the embassy, unfurled the Sri Lankan national flag and read out the address of the President Maithripala Sirisena. Eminent Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka, Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, was present in the embassy during the celebrations. The other dignitaries who were present more..

Impounded boats will be returned: forum

Feb 7 (Hindu) The Rameswaram fishermen are elated as the new regime in Sri Lanka, headed by Maithiripala Sirisena, has decided to release their impounded boats, according to the Alliance for the Release of Innocent Fishermen (ARIF). ARIF President U Arulanandham told The Hindu on Friday that the new govt has agreed to release all the 86 boats, impounded during the arrest of fishermen on charges of poaching into the Sri Lankan waters since June last year. more..

Ranil checkmates Rajitha over Port City deal

Feb 7 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday, in a special statement in Parliament, clarified that the biggest ever foreign investment project – Colombo Port City – had not been given the go-ahead as yet but was still under review. Clarification by PM came after Minister Rajitha Senaratne on Thursday disclosed that the $ 1.4 billion project, to be funded and built by Chinese, had been given the green light. more..