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HDFC Bank signs for Intellect core platform

May 13 (FR) Intellect Design Arena Limited, the world's first full-spectrum banking and insurance products company for the digital age, today announced that HDFC Bank of Sri Lanka, (51%) govt owned Licenses specialized Bank in Sri Lanka has chosen Intellect's Digital Core (Core Banking Solution) to transform its core banking operations in the region. Solution, packaged with an integrated set of products from the Digital-ready Intellect suite of products, will drive Operational, more..

Minister meets SLC Stake Holders

May 13 (DM) SLC stake holders met recently at the SSC in Colombo to discuss the future of the game after the minister denied them the opportunity to elect SLC office bearers democratically in the annual election and instead opted to appoint an interim committee. At the meeting where 68 of the 87 stake holders were reportedly present, they decided to request a meeting with the minister. Minister also met the ICCís Chief Executive more..

Cigarette sales up 11% in first quarter

May 13 (EN) Sri Lanka's cigarette sales rose 11% in the first quarter of 2015, with tax revenues to the state up 20% from a year earlier to 21.3 billion rupees, Ceylon Tobacco Company said. The firm said stronger sales could be attributed to a "higher level of consumer confidence and an increase in disposable income." The firm said they also noticed volume growth in Beedi a type of low priced product made mostly by small time manufacturers. "Volume growth in un-regulated low priced products more..

UK ready to investigate Sanga complaint

May 13 (LR) The UK Home Office says it was ready to investigate a claim of rude treatment towards Sri Lankan cricketer Kumar Sangakkara by a customs officer at London Heathrow Airport on May 8. ďBack in London last night. Had a horrendous experience with a rude, patronising and extremely discourteous UK immigration officer,Ē Sangakkara wrote on twitter following the harrowing incident. Sangakkara, who traveled to the UK for the past 15 years, said it was the first instance he received rude treatment, more..

Security breach raises concerns about Sirisena's safety

May 13 (ENS) Sri Lankaís security experts are deeply concerned about the security of President Maithripala Sirisena following an incident in which his security was seriously breached and another in which lack of alertness on the part of his security staff was evident. Experts point to politicization, a lack of professionalism and the general absence of security consciousness for the glaring lapses. more..

Nigerian defense team observes Sri Lanka Navy operations

May 13 (SLN) A 20-member study team from the Nigerian National Defence College headed by Commodore Chukwuka Chiejile visited the Naval Headquarters in Colombo on 12th May. Head of the team paid a courtesy call on the Chief of Staff of the SL Navy Rear Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, who welcomed the study team on behalf of the Commander of the Navy. They held cordial discussions on matters of mutual interests and exchanged mementos to mark the occasion. more..

Joint Biz Chambers welcome Finance Ministry Forum on Ease of Doing Business

May 13 (FT) The Joint Business Chambers of Sri Lanka in a statement yesterday welcomed and endorsed the timely initiative taken by the Ministry of Finance to engage in a series of discussions with the public institutions and private sector to address the issues concerning the improvement of Sri Lankaís Ease of Doing Business Ranking, which was now at 99 amongst 189 countries. The chambers are encouraged by the continuous efforts of the Govt based on suggestions made by more..

President orders release of 37 Indian fishermen

May 13 (ENS) President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday ordered the release of all the 37 Indian fishermen in custody in north Lanka following a meeting he had with a group of six Indian fishermen led by N. Devadas and Yesuraja, both from Rameswaram. President told the Indian fishermen that he wanted the thousand years of cordial relations between the fishermen of TN/Puducherry and North Lanka to continue, and more..

Woman pleads not to send her to Sri Lanka

May 13 (CG) A Sri Lankan woman in Cromer, England, who claimed she was raped and then tortured with cigarettes by security forces in Sri Lanka has pleaded with the Home Office not to send her back. Her husband said he escaped from the soldiers after being shot and wounded and came to Cromer in 1998. The alleged victim recently joined her husband in the seaside town. The coupleís background was revealed at an Immigration and Asylum Tribunal in Birmingham. more..

JAAF pushing for TIFA, GSP revival

May 13 (CT) Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) is vigourously pushing for the revival of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with the United States, which began in 2002 and also the reinstatement of the Generalized System of Preferences with the European Union. "Sri Lanka was looking forward towards better relations with the USA with the view to reviving the original policies of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which was in 2002. more..

Gotaís FR application before Supreme Court today

May 13 (Island) The fundamental rights violation application filed by former Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, will be supported before the Supreme Court today, May 13. The petition has requested the court to declare the gazette No. 1901/20 of Feb. 13, 2015 ordering the setting up of the Financial Crime Investigation Division null and void. Petition also requests the court to restrain the respondents, PM Ranil more..

Surge in Dengue cases in Jaffna, Batti, Kurunegala and Ratnapura

May 13 (GDI) The number of dengue related cases reported so far this year stands at 13,423 and the count includes 3,847 patients from Colombo, 1,778 from Gampaha and 645 patients from Kalutara, a Health Ministry's Epidemiology Unit revealed. The Unit stated that the Jaffna, Batticaloa, Kurunegala and Ratnapura districts have seen a surge in the number of Dengue patients. There may be a rise in dengue cases with the onset of the inter-monsoonal rains. more..

Natural gas production begins by year end

May 13 (DN) Natural gas production in Sri Lanka will start by the end of this year, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He said a strong legal framework is needed for oil and gas production in Sri Lanka. Ranawaka said without a strong legal framework, Sri Lanka cannot attract investors to begin oil and gas production in Sri Lanka. He said fuel prices will not be increased under any circumstances. The minister said even though there is a significant increase in fuel and gas prices in the world, more..

PNB detects another heroin haul

May 13 (Island) Acting on a tip-off the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) took into custody 8.5 kilos of heroin with a street value of more than Rs. 80 million. Eight parcels containing over one kilo of heroin each had been smuggled into the country by sea from India at Toduwawa in the Marawila police area. Mastermind of the drug trafficking who is said to be having a number of heroin cases in Indian and Sri Lankan courts, has been identified and more..

JVP calls for Environmental Crimes Investigation Division

May 13 (FT) The JVP yesterday said that they would urge the Govt to create an Environmental Crimes Investigation Division to investigate environmental crimes that took place during the rule of the previous regime. JVP Politburo member K.D. Lal Kantha stated that the Govt should conduct a proper investigation on the North Wilpattu sanctuary deforestation incident. ďDuring the past regime many forests and lands were destroyed due to various development projects. more..

Sri Lankan relief contingent in Nepal returns home to a warm welcome

May 13 (SLA) Having kept the Sri Lankan National Flag flying nearly for 16 days while showing earthquake-affected Nepalese that ĎWe are also concerned as part of the relief solution to themí, the Sri Lankan tri-service rescue and relief contingent, returned home Monday to a warm welcome at BIA. Rescue and relief contingent, comprised of 14 officers, 127 other rankers of the tri-services and 4 civil medical consultants, was commanded by Major General Maithri Dias. more..

'Resettlement wonít affect Sampur power project, Trinco harbour'

May 13 (Island) Eastern Province Governor Austin Fernando said that the on-going resettlement programme wouldnít affect the proposed Sampur coal-fired power project. Fernando insisted that the govt would ensure the project would go ahead as planned. The coal power plant is a joint venture between the CEB and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) of India. Asked whether the resettlement project would undermine more..

Local bodies whose terms lapse will be placed under special commissioners: MS

May 13 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena said today that the 334 local bodies whose terms would lapse on Friday would be placed under special commissioners. Speaking at the opening of the Rajitha Senaratne Playground and the Pradeshiya Sabha complex in Beruwala, he said the local govt elections would be held this year after the general elections. He said the local govt polls would be held under the new ward system. He said he intended appointing Divisional Secretaries as more..

TNA members to commemorate May 13-19 as Tamil Genocide Week

May 13 (DM) A few TNA members of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) announced that the period May 13 to 19 would be marked as Tamil Genocide Week and began commemorating the dead with a function in Mullavaikkal in Mullaitivu District where the final battle was fought in 2009. The military defeated the LTTE on May 19 -- which is marked and celebrated as Victory Day in the south. TNA NPC member M.K. Sivajilingam said that he regarded this period as the genocide week. more..

Sivajilingam commemorates LTTE dead at Mullivaikkal

May 13 (CT) Residents of Mullaitivu said that, former LTTE Leader Prabhakaran's brother-in-law, present NPC member M.K. Sivajilingam together with a group of people have held a commemoration function yesterday in memory of slain former leader of the LTTE and other LTTE members who died in the war, at Vellamullivaikkal in Mullaitivu in 2009 in the final war. Commemoration function was held on the beach close to where more..

Wilpattu: Action must follow Decree

May 13 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena has issued a Special Decree that prohibits clearing the area surrounding the Wilpattu National Park and allocating land. The decree comes into force with immediate effect and is applicable to the districts of Mannar and Vavuniya. The President has ordered the Secretary, Ministry of Environment to take the necessary steps to implement this immediately and also informed all State officials to give the programme their fullest support. more..

Go fly a kite

May 13 (DM) No one trusts politicians in Sri Lanka anymore. In addition to a growing budget deficit there is also a growing trust deficit between the politician and the citizen which extends and permeates into every level and relationship in society. Victims of Human Rights violations consider politicians to be responsible for the violence and pain they have undergone and continue to experience daily. Civil society in general considers politicians to be an unreliable corrupt bunch. more..

Skeletal remains have no connection to 1989-1990 disappearances: PCI

May 13 (ST) The skeletal remains recovered from the Matale mass grave have no connection whatsoever to the disappearances during the period 1989-1990, the Presidential Commission of Inquiry has concluded, based on the scientific analysis done at a reputed laboratory in the USA, that found the Āgskeletons belong to an era prior to year 1950Āć. However, the Commission found sufficient evidence to accept that the persons more..

Pakistan Army Chief to arrive in Sri Lanka

May 13 (SLA) Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) of the Pakistan Army General Raheel Sharif, NI (M), heralding a new era of goodwill, understanding and military co-operation, arrives in Sri Lanka today at the invitation of his Sri Lankaís counterpart, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva. During his five-day long stay, General Raheel Sharif is expected to pay courtesy calls on President Sirisena, PM, State Minister of Defence, more..

Cattle deaths: Authorities play it down

May 13 (SL) Over 210 cattle and buffaloes are reported to have died in the districts of Anuradhapura, Batticaloa, Polonnaruwa and Ratnapura since December last year, according to the Department of Animal Production and Health (DAPH). Director of Animal Health Dr S.A. Sivasothy of DAPH said that the deaths of cattle and buffaloes were no reason to panic, as it is well within the normal figure of expected livestock deaths. more..

President says he will use executive powers to protect environment

May 13 (FT) President Sirisena said that the Govt would consider the impact on the environment before commencing development projects as environmental protection had not been given consideration for several projects initiated recently. Delivering the keynote address at a seminar organised by the Environmental Association of the Law College held on Monday in Colombo, President said it was important for everyone to realise more..

Rs. 200 mn compensation for properties affected by Uma Oya development project

May 13 (Island) The Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau and the Govt Valuation Department detailed to carry out a damage assessment to pay compensation to properties affected by the Uma Oya multi-purpose development project, including 1,500 houses, have recommended the payment of Rs. 200 million to the project developer. Mahaweli Development and Environment Ministry Secretary, Engineer, more..

Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya picked as ambassador to Brazil

May 13 (Island) Govt has designated Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya as Sri Lankaís ambassador to Brazil. He will appear before the parliamentary high posts committee shortly. Former armoured corps officer confirmed him being named for a diplomatic posting. The then Maj. Gen. Jayasuriya succeeded war winning army commander Lt. Gen Sarath Fonseka a few months after the conclusion of the war more..

Sri Lanka briefs diplomats on moves to restore democracy

May 13 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has briefed diplomats based in the country on moves to restore democracy, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said it has decided to have regular briefings for diplomats and the media based in Sri Lanka. The Ministry has appointed an official spokesperson to hold regular briefings and interactions with the media and diplomatic community. more..

SC Judge refuses to hear Gotaís petition

May 13 (AD) Supreme Court Judge Buwaneka Aluwihare says that he will withdraw from the bench considering the fundamental rights (FR) petition filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa on Monday filed the application challenging the legality of establishing the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID). It was considered before a three-member judge bench comprising Justices more..

SC rejects FR against Arjuna Mahendran

May 13 (AD) Supreme Court today rejected the Fundamental Rights (FR) petition seeking an independent inquiry into the controversial Central Bank Treasury bond issue and itís Governor Arjuna Mahendran. Mahendran, who was accused of being involved in irregular activities in the bond issue due to his son-in-lawís family firm securing 50% of the said Rs.10 billion bond, has returned to work after a committee more..

Govt to go ahead with two major road projects: China welcomes move

May 13 (Island) Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang has welcomed Sri Lankaís decision to carry on with the Outer Circular Highway phase III (OCH III) between Kadawatha and Kerawalapitiya and Southern Expressway Extension Projects. At a discussion held with Minister Kabir Hashim at the Ministry on Sunday regarding Chinese-funded development projects. Hashim denied allegations that more..

HRC takes up alleged abduction case involving ministerís son

May 13 (Island) Human Rights Commission will take up the alleged abduction of a girl by Minister Rajitha Senratneís son, Eksath. Recently, UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka, Una McCauley urged State Minister Rosy Senanayake to help resolve the conflict allowing the girl to be handed over to her parents to pursue her secondary education. Ministry officials said that on March 16, 2015 the girlís father had contacted the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) and requested that more..

Corpus Christi in Sri Lanka will be a day of prayer for persecuted Christians

May 13 (AN) The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka (CBCSL) will mark the feast day of Corpus Christi (7 June) with a day of fasting and prayer in solidarity with persecuted Christians around the world. The bishops made their announcement in a statement signed by Conference president, Card Malcolm Ranjith, and its secretary general, Mgr Valence Mendis. ďOn this day in which we commemorate the supreme sacrifice of the life of JesusĒ in which he shed more..

Central Bank takes charge of repaying Golden Key depositors

May 13 (EN) Central Bank will take over the task of repaying depositors of Golden Key Credit Card Company, an unregulated finance firm that collapsed six years ago, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. ďThe responsibility of repaying depositors is now with the Central Bank,Ē he said after a meeting with depositors, hundreds of whom had flocked to the finance ministry Wednesday. The depositors had during talks with Finance more..

Sri Lanka index slips from 10-week high

May 13 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended slightly weaker on Wednesday, slipping from more than 10-week high hit in the previous session, led by diversified shares as political uncertainty weighed on sentiment. The main stock index ended 0.19% weaker at 7,245.05, slipping from its highest close since Feb. 27 hit on Tuesday. It had gained 4.98% since the central bank cut key rates on April 15, while yields on t-bills have fallen 46-61 basis points since then. more..

Sri Lanka: Living in a skeptical age

May 13 (CT) Last week saw our genial, rustic peasant President and the patrician Prime Minister indulging in matters sublime. What emerged from it all is that Maithripala Sirisena is clearly the representative of the purpose, the promise and the potential of the SLFP. Both addressed a gathering of Literati at the book launch of Upul Shantha Sannasgala Ė Tuition Master, prolific writer, public thinker and media celebrity. They differed greatly in style and content. more..

Help at last for Sri Lanka war widows

May 13 (IRIN) Almost six years after Sri Lankaís bloody civil conflict came to an end, an underreported legacy of the fighting is finally being acknowledged: the extraordinarily high number of war widows struggling to make ends meet. Sri Lankaís new govt, estimated last month that Northern Province, which bore the brunt of the three decades of conflict, has an astonishing 50,000 families headed by single women. more..

Wilpattu encroachments

May 13 (CT) Wilpattu National Park (WNP) encapsulating three districts and three provinces in the country is Sri Lanka's biggest nature reserve. Established as a National Park by Sri Lanka's previous colonial masters on the eve of World War II, the park occupies a land area of 1,317 sq.km. It comprises 2% of the island's total land area of 65,610 sq.km. The British, because of their love for this land and of its wilds established several nature reserves before their departure in 1948. more..

Contractors without legally binding agreements will not get a cent

May 13 (Island) The govt says that some development projects have been suspended not just due to corruption but also because proper procedures were not followed by the previous administration. Deputy Minister Eran Wickremeratne told The Island that there was a misconception in certain quarters that some projects which commenced during the tenure of the Rajapaksa regime had been put on hold only due to corruption. "There could be several reasons. more..

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