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Sri Lanka FDI up in 2014 with SOE borrowing

May 3 (EN) Sri Lanka's foreign direct investment rose 17% from a year earlier to US$ 1,685 million in 2014 helped by US$ 175 million borrowed by a loss-making state-run firm, official data show. Companies registered with the Board of Investment, the state investment promotion agency has received US$ 782 million in the form of equity and loans from shareholders and related parties down from US$ 887 million, a year earlier. more..

FSP justifies Ajith Kumara’s abstention

May 3 (NS) Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) justified the independent MP Ajith Kumara’s abstention from the voting for the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which was passed in Parliament last Tuesday. Identifying the MP as one of their members, FSP’s Pubudu Jayagoda said that the country has an issue about the democracy and it has nothing to do with the Executive Presidency, but the new liberal economic policy. Jayagoda said that both the parties cheated the general public more..

Let us build a righteous society with spiritual purification: PM

May 3 (GDI) Let us fill our lives with morals, loving kindness and wisdom in this month of Vesak where the entire environment looks fresh and serene to celebrate thrice blessed day for Buddhists as it commemorates the birth of Buddha, his attaining Enlightenment and his passing away into Nirvana. Meth Sithin Guna Wadamu (Cultivate Compassion) has been announced as the theme of State Vesak Festival, in this year, PM Ranil Wickremasinghe says in his Vesak message. more..

1,400 prisoners released under general amnesty

May 3 (AD) The Department of Prisons says that a group of 1,400 prisoners will be given a general amnesty in lieu of the Vesak Poya Day which marks the three noble events of Buddha’s life. Accordingly steps have been taken to release prisoners representing all prisons in the country. Sri Lanka is celebrating the Buddhist festival of Vesak, which commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Buddha. more..

Getting closer to Dharma will help build a society of maithriya, goodwill: President

May 3 (GDI) It is with the much tranquility of devotion that I send this message on the occasion of the Triple Festival of Vesak, which comes with the Buddha's message of compassion to all beings, President Maithripala Sirisena stated in a message to mark Vesak. The message: "Having tarried through innumerable eras in Samsara to achieve the Tenfold Perfection, Vesak Day marks triple events in the life of the Buddha, with his birth at Lumbini as a prince of the Sakya Clan of Bharatha; more..

The proposed visit of the Dalai Lama and the issue of sovereignty

May 3 (Island) Several weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a conference organized by colleagues in the University of Delhi and presided by His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. The conference itself was on how children’s secular education could be transformed in order to bring in values of compassion and caring sorely lacking in contemporary models of education. In my introductory talk I dealt with the significance of Jataka tales in molding more..

Kerry backs justice for war-hit Tamils

May 3 (AFP) US Secretary of State John Kerry ended a visit to Sri Lanka Sunday after pledging support for minority Tamils following decades of ethnic war, a local Tamil politician said. Kerry met heads of the TNA, the main political party from the ethnic minority, a day after holding talks with President Sirisena. "He (Kerry) said he will do his best to support us to resolve outstanding issues," TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said. more..

BBS to register new party

May 3 (SL) The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) is to form a new political party and has already spoken to the Elections Commissioner in this regard. However, the Election Commissioner has informed the BBS that since an election which was gazetted for a Pradeshiya Sabha, has been postponed, new political parties cannot be registered. BBS Chief Executive Officer Dilantha Withanage said that the BBS had asked the Elections Commissioner to register the new party of the BBS. more..

Talks between Somawansa and Seelarathana

May 3 (SL) A secret discussion has reportedly taken place between former JVP leader Somawansa Amarasinghe and Janasetha Permuna leader Battaramulle Seelarathana thero. At this meeting they have discussed the forthcoming General Election and the prevailing political situation of the country. It is learnt that Amarasinghe has agreed to carry out his future political activities with the Janasetha Peramuna. Asked for a comment in this regard, the leader of Janasetha Peramuna, more..

International Arbitration in Sri Lanka soon

May 3 (SO) The first ever International Arbitration Centre in Sri Lanka will be opened on May 7. The centre will be housed in the World Trade Centre in Colombo, a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said. Earlier, the Ministry said that the opening was to be held on April 30 which was postponed due to a minor construction delay of the centre. Funded by the Govt the construction work was coordinated through Ministry of Justice. more..

SL Press Institute calls for a free press on World Press Freedom Day

May 3 (Island) As we all know the World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference. This has provided opportunity for us to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; assess the state of press freedom throughout the world; defend the media from attacks on their independence and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty, more..

Fifth successive fully-fledged Computer Lab donated

May 3 (Island) The fifth successive fully-fledged, Computer Laboratory with internet and other modern facilities was donated to Uduhawara Vidyalaya at Uduhawara, Welimada under the continuing ESOFT-Sirasa E-Thilina community service initiative, recently. ESOFT Metro Campus, which has launched the E-Thilina community service oriented initiative in partnership with Sirasa TV, donates a fully-equipped Computer Laboratory every month to a deserving school. more..

Kerry advices Tamil and Sinhalese leaders not to widen ethnic divide

May 3 (ENS) US Secretary of State John Kerry, who left SL on Sunday after a day’s visit, had urged Tamil and Sinhalese leaders not to exacerbate the ethnic problem in the island nation by taking extreme and inflexible positions but to work towards a mutually acceptable settlement. Kerry told a delegation of TNA prior to his departure, that US will continue to pursue the question of war crimes & accountability at UNHRC, more..

Sri Lanka Navy hands over of 14 fishing trawlers to India's Coast Guard

May 3 (ANI) The Sri Lanka Navy has handed over of 14 Indian fishing trawlers to the Indian Coast Guard. The trawlers were earlier released on the orders of a local court, and the Sri Lankan Navy has handed them over to the Indian Coast Guard Ship 'ANAGH' at the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) North of Delft on Thursday. 75 Indian personnel including repair teams had arrived in Sri Lanka onboard 14 trawlers on April 28 to salvage these released trawlers. more..

CAA directs private hospitals to issue detailed bills

May 3 (DM) The Consumer Affairs Authority has directed that all private hospitals should issue a comprehensive bill mentioning the price, details of medicinal drugs and equipment used for patients, a CAA official said today. The move has been taken following a string of complaints received by the CAA from Doctors and as well as patients, CAA Chairman Rumi Marzook said. “Some private hospitals, doctors, channeling centres and outpatient departments (OPDs) are issuing bills in more..

Indian origin Tamils aiming to double representation in reformed parliament

May 3 (ENS) Indian Origin Tamils (IOT), who are 4.16% of the Sri Lanka population of 20.3 million, are aiming to double their representation in a reformed Lankan parliament. As on date, there are seven IOT MPs in the House of 225 members. The community is aiming to have up to 14 MPs in a parliament of 255 members to be elected under a new electoral system which is currently under discussion. more..

SL hopes make tourist paradise an investors’ paradise, Mangala tells Kerry

May 3 (Island) Sri Lanka, now a middle-income country, can no longer afford to rely solely on foreign aid.  It is in our govt’s best interest to attract foreign direct investment as part of a broader strategy to kick-start the economy, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said welcoming U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to the External Affairs Ministry in Colombo. "SL has been considered a paradise for tourists for many years, but our govt is now also keen to make SL an investor’s paradise," more..

TNA MP Sumanthiran visit families in newly released areas

May 3 (Island) TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran visited families in the recently cleared areas in Velikamam North, which is in the periphery of the high security zone. Families who fled this area 20 years ago return to find that they are in the middle of a jungle with no access and an irregular water supply. Families are seen returning to places which were their homes to find roofs gone and walls unstable, the TNA said in a press release. As living is not a possibility in the present situation more..

Anura Kumara Dissanayake

Mangala says Sri Lanka is an outlier in the age of the Arab Spring

May 3 (Island) Non-violent Sri Lankan struggle for freedom encompassed Sri Lankans of all races, religions, classes, castes and creeds in a ‘Rainbow Revolution’ that led to the elections of January 8 and a subsequent return of democracy to Sri Lanka, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said welcoming U.S. Secrtetary of State John Kerry to the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations. "In the context of her peaceful democratic transition, SL is an outlier in the age of the Arab Spring more..

Rift in the TNA

May 3 (SL) A rift has emerged in the TNA over moves to register it as a political party with the Department of Elections. Leader of the EPRLF, Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran accused the ITAK of not being cooperative on registering the alliance. “All the other coalition parties in the TNA except ITAK want to register it as a political party. However they failed to give us a reason as to why they did not want TNA to be registered,” Premachandran said. more..

Probes into deaths of livestock in 4 districts

May 3 (DM) Over 200 deaths of cattle and buffaloes have been reported during the last five months in four districts including Anuradhapura, Batticaloa, Polonnaruwa and Ratnapura, Department of Animal Product and Health (DAPH) said. DAPH Director S.A. Sivasothy said the deaths of cattle and buffaloes were natural but the Department had already launched investigations into the deaths. more..

A Wesak thought

May 4 (CT) This was not planned before this morning. When I was awaken this morning with no particular feeling, I realized it was Wesak. Then the serene image of the Buddha came to my mind. It was a symbol of peace and harmony. The secret behind that serenity perhaps was the harmony between the mind and body. That harmony is a product of the practice of meditation, without inflicting pain to the body or the mind. I tried to focus on a similar practice, which I first came to more..

The three stooges in a long hot summer

May 4 (CT) John Kerry was right, but only half right, when he commended Samaraweera for noting that true sovereignty can only be protected by asserting our multiethnic, multi-religious, multi lingual character. Both Kerry and Samaraweera forgot the flip side, namely that the estimable values of multi-ethnicity, multilingualism, multi-religiosity and pluralist multiculturalism can be successfully defended by those who have national legitimacy of successfully defending national sovereignty. more..

The Monk and the Man who changed history

May 4 (SO) With repeated election victories since 2005, the Rajapakse regime had shown signs of being an unstoppable force by early 2012. Finding a leader to arrest the rapid authoritarian trend was the biggest challenge for those who fought for democracy in Sri Lanka. The regime too, by hook or by crook, successfully sidelined almost all such potential contenders and many frustrated and hopeless democracy activists more..

Maithripala’s finest hour

May 4 (ST) If President Maithripala Sirisena serves the full term of his presidency, and may divine providence enable him to do so, men may still say this was Maithripala’s finest hour. With the passing of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution by a majority of 212 out of 225 votes on Tuesday night, which dramatically reduced the far flung ambit of presidential powers, Maithripala Sirisena not only kept his promise to the nation, but also reserved to himself a lasting place in world history more..

Marvelling at Sri Lanka’s constitutional reform like no other

May 4 (ST) For those of us privileged, (if I may be forgiven the sarcasm), to witness the live Parliamentary telecast of Tuesday’s committee stage process on the 19th Amendment, the raucous scenes were beautifully illustrative of the mockery that passes for lawmaking in Sri Lanka today. For the first time perhaps, a sneaking sense of sympathy emerged for the minority UNP Govt as it struggled hopelessly to push even through even basic clauses on good governance. more..

'We are looking at a mutually beneficial system'

May 4 (SL) The third and final reading of the19th Amendment to the Constitution at the committee stage was passed in Parliament with a two-third majority last week completing the passage of the bill. The bill was passed with 212 votes in favour and one against in the 225- member legislature, to slash the powers of the Executive Presidency and to limit a President’s terms. However Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa more..

Consequences of 19A yet to unravel

May 4 (NS) After much debate and deliberation which kept the nation guessing until the eleventh hour, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution which considerably reduces the powers of the Executive Presidency was passed by an overwhelming majority in Parliament late on Tuesday night. The political consequences of the event are yet to unravel. However, the next step in this exercise is to replace the current Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system with a hybrid of more..

Time for transition from Arahath to President

May 4 (NS) Maithripala Sirisena was elected by the voters to be the President of Sri Lanka. Sirisena overcame the obstacle of the incumbency by erecting the broadest political tent the country has ever seen. It seemed as if everybody except the Rajapaksa clan were part of the Sirisena grand coalition. The grand coalition of distinct and disparate groups was a clear indication of Sirisena’s realization that he needed to unify the opposition to beat the incumbent. more..

'We look for consensus with Somawansa'

May 4 (CT) Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Leader of the JVP said, “The departing of a comrade who shouldered a large responsibility is felt deeply by the party. Therefore, we will try to reach a compromise.” Q: The biggest loss to the JVP in recent times is the resignation of former Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, who had been a member of the party since 1971. Can you comment? A: He sent a letter to the party and more..

Editorial: May Day blues

May 4 (Island) What we saw on Friday was no celebration of the International Workers’ Day; it was a show of strength by political parties. Politicians bellowed rhetoric and made some platitudinous remarks about the labour movement and workers shamelessly provided them with a captive audience. The UNP unarguably held the biggest rally with the UPFA dissidents’ coming second. The third biggest was the JVP event; it was by far the most attractive. The SLFP rally came a poor fourth and more..

An introduction to Buddhism and Buddha

May 4 (Island) The Buddha, the founder of the great religious philosophy of Buddhism, lived in North India over two thousand and five hundred years ago and was known as Siddhattha (Siddhartha = one whose purpose has been achieved). Gotama (Sanskrit= Gautama) was his family name. His father, King Suddhodana, ruled over the land of the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu on the Nepalese frontier. His queen was Mahamaya, a princess of the Koliyas. On a full-moon day of May, more..

Lumbini: The chosen garden

May 4 (CT) Vesak is the most important religious festival celebrated in Sri Lanka. For Sri Lankans the Vesak festival has added significance due to religious, cultural and national connotations. First it marks the birth of an Indian Prince who was later to become Buddha, one of the greatest sons of India. Second it marks the day on which the Prince attained enlightenment and became the Buddha. more..

Message for a globalized World

May 4 (Island) Over the past three decades the world has been dramatically transformed in ways that none but a handful of prophets and visionaries could have foreseen even a hundred years ago. From a multitude of loosely connected nation-states it has quickly evolved into a tightly knit global community linked together by rapid means of transportation and instantaneous media of communication. Old barriers of space and time have dropped away, confronting us with new vistas more..

An immutable law of economics

May 4 (PF) With the end of the 100 days, moves are currently afoot to complete the constitutional amendments and electoral reform. Elections are also on the horizon. The Pathfinder Foundation is of the view that once these important measures are completed, high priority should be attached to the imperatives for urgent economic reforms. Recent developments have made this even more important. The Central Bank’s recent 50 basis point reduction of its key policy rates and more..

Looking back with no regret

May 4 (CT) He was an actor, singer, and teacher. He performed on stage and on screen. Not all his performances were perfect or watchable but a great many are relished even today. His presence lent credence to whatever was being filmed. It rarely took away. That's Daya Alwis' legacy. Perhaps it is this that numbed those who heard of his death. Acting wasn't his only thing of course. more..

Commemorating Vesak

May 4 (FT) In Sri Lanka, every year two significant religious events are remembered with special issues of stamps. One is Vesak in May and the other is Christmas in December. Vesak commemorates the Birth, Enlightenment and Passing away of the Buddha. Looking back, the first ‘special’ issue of Vesak stamps was in 1969. The Post & Telecommunication Department released three stamps. Two of the three stamps – 4cts and 35cts – depicted Vajrasanaya (seat of Enlightenment) more..

Gestetner jumps into new stride

May 4 (Island) Gestetner of Ceylon PLC unveiled its new corporate logo last week at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo, signifying the flow of end-to-end solutions offered by the Company, culminating in the growth it envisions for the future. A trusted and respected company in Sri Lanka for over 70 years and industry pioneer in Sri Lanka, Gestetner's portfolio includes the world's leading office automation brands, providing confidence, reliability and value for money. more..

Bishop Rayappu Joseph at ICU

May 4 (CT) Catholic Bishop of Mannar, Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, who had fainted in his vehicle on his way to meet the visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry was rushed to the Colombo National Hospital yesterday. The Mannar Bishop was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the Colombo National Hospital. The Bishop is out of danger and he is being treated at the neurology unit for an internal bleeding in the head. more..