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French support for health sector

Apr 11 (DN) French Ambassador Jean Marin Schuh and Economic Counsellor Hugues Reydet extended their fullest support to upgrade Sri Lanka's health sector. They said so when they met Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Deputy Health Minister Fizal Kasim and Health Services Director General Doctor Palitha Mahipala at the ministry. A Health Ministry spokesman said discussions focused on several key topics such as bilateral cooperation in the field of health sector, Dengxavia, more..

A novel way to defend Arjuna

Apr 11 (Island) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga’s media spokesperson, Thameera Manju has vowed to run naked at the Galle Face Green if port unions could prove specific charges of waste, corruption as well as nepotism against Minister Ranatunga. Manju said if unionists failed to prove allegations, they should be prepared to run naked at Galle Face. Unions recently launched a work-to-campaign demanding new year payments as more..

Modern Integrated Farm declared open

Apr 11 (CT) A Modern Integrated Farm reconstructed at a cost of Rs 5 million set apart by the Provincial Ministry of Agriculture was ceremonially declared open by the Opposition Leader, R.Sampanthan, at Mandoor in the Batticaloa District on Saturday in the presence of a large gathering of the officials of the Agriculture Department and Provincial Ministry, Eastern Province. The opening ceremony was also attended by Chief Minister Hafees Ahamed, more..

Police to probe abuse of journalist in Negombo

Apr 11 (Island) Police headquarters has given the go ahead to the Negombo Police to investigate a complaint by The Sunday Times journalist Quintus Perera accusing business tycoon Harry Jayawardena of abusing and threatening him at the recent launch of Heritance Negombo. The police have sought statements from those who had been present at the launch, including journalists. Heritance General Manager Ranjan Stanislaus is among them. more..

Sri Lanka eyeing Chinese investments with law reforms: PM

Apr 11 (AFP) Sri Lanka will bring legal reforms to encourage much needed foreign investment, as the cash-strapped island tries to turn its $8 billion Chinese debt into equity, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said Sunday. PM, who returned home Sunday after a three-day visit to China, said streamlined regulations and a free trade agreement would be in place to increase economic ties with Beijing. more..

New rise for farmers

Apr 11 (DM) Agriculture has been an important part if not the heart of Sri Lanka’s culture and civilization since ancient times. With modern technology and new processes like regenerative agriculture offering the farmers the opportunity to touch new dimensions, the National Government on Saturday announced practical steps to revive the dignity of farmers who once were kings but now find themselves in mud holes. Kiribath and other food items made of rice flour are a tasty part of more..

A question of security for war heroes

Apr 11 (DM) In wars, people, the media and politicians refer to war heroes. The thirty-year war against LTTE terrorism was also a war during which time the country heard the term war heroes used over and over again. It continues to echo in our ears even today. “Acts of heroism are different from acts of bravery. Heroes go beyond what is expected of them. And acts of heroism require bravery, but there are many acts of bravery that are not considered heroic. more..

Lack of funds hampers national co-existence ministry

Apr 11 (SL) Lack of adequate funds is hampering work at the Ministry of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages. Minister in charge, Mano Ganesan, said that the lack of funds for the subjects of national coexistence and official languages scare him. Ministry was established after the new govt took office with the promise of ensuring the issues between the communities are addressed. more..

CEB contract workers’ protest outside Ministry goes into National New Year

Apr 11 (ST) Over 300 CEB contract basis workers serving as billing officers are planning to spend the Sinhala and Tamil New Year in front of the Power and Renewable Energy Ministry premises next week. The workers have already spent 11 days in a protest in front to the ministry premises but no solution has been provided by the Govt to their outstanding issues, the convener of the Billing Officers’ Union Chathura Viraj said. more..

Preserving Avurudu traditions, a prime responsibility

Apr 11 (DN) When the sun moves from the Meena Rashiya (House of Pisces) to the Mesha Rashiya (House of Aries) in the celestial sphere, Sri Lankan Sinhalese and Tamils together will begin celebrating their Aluth Avurudda and Puththandu. The timing of the Sinhala and Tamil Aluth Avurudda coincides with the New Year celebrations of many traditional calendars of South and Southeast Asia. Festival has close semblance to Tamil Aluth Avurudda, more..

Will have political implications

Apr 11 (CT) Govt's suggestion to convert debt into equity for existing infrastructure projects would most likely have serious political implications while country may lose its assets, senior economist Dr. Lalithasiri Gunaruwan said. The country needs a strategic approach to debt and Balance of Payment (BoP) management, he added. In any case, having greater Chinese equity here would irritate Indians, who are likely to put more..

Forex reserves drop to US$6.2bn in March

Apr 11 (EN) Sri Lanka's forex reserves dropped US$ 254 million to US$ 6,220 million in March 2016 from a month earlier, with reserves without a swap from India Reserve Bank of India falling to US$ 5,120, the lowest seen during the current currency crisis. The previous low without the US$ 1.1 billion in swaps was reached in January with US$ 5.2 billion. With the swap reserves hit a low of US$ 6,301 million in January 2016, more..

FTZGSEU demands right to strike as a fundamental right

Apr 11 (Island) The Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZGSEU) plan to mobilise its members for the coming May Day to demand from the govt to equate the national minimum living wage with that of the fixed salary of MPs. Each wage earner should have his or her monthly national living wage equal to the monthly fixed salary of Rs. 54,000 paid to an MP, the FTZGSEU has said. more..

President participates in Aluth Sahal Mangalyaya

Apr 11 (PSL) The greatest traditional agricultural ritual of Aluth Sahal Mangalyaya was held yesterday (10), in front of the sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura, with participation of President Maithripala Sirisena. President joined the Aluth Sahala Mangalyaya, after engaging in religious activities at the sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. He offered a bowl of toxin free local maiden rice to Maha Sanga at this occasion. more..

EU gives preliminary approval for lifting of fishing ban

Apr 11 (DN) The Eurupean Union (EU) has given preliminary approval for the lifting of the fishing ban imposed on Sri Lanka. The order to remove the ban will be submitted to the EU Parliament. Once this is approved the EU will inform Sri Lanka in writing that the ban had been lifted. A Sri Lankan Govt delegation headed by Secretary to Ministry of Fisheries has conducted the final round of discussions in Brussels last month. more..

Sri Lanka government forms panel to enable voting rights for migrants

Apr 11 (TOO) Sri Lankan migrant workers may soon have a say in the elections happening back in their home country as the Lankan parliament unanimously approved last Wednesday the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to formulate a mechanism to enable them to vote. According to the official orders uploaded on parliament’s website, MP Sunil Handunnetti moved the motion seeking more..

Sri Lanka to assemble Volkswagen diesels for domestic market

Apr 11 (EN) BoI said Senok Automobile (Pvt) Ltd, will be given land to build a plant that will assemble diesel Volkswagen cars for the domestic market for three years. The agreement with the BoI was signed by Chairman Upul Jayasuriya and Senok Automobiles President Noel Selvanayagam for a section 17 agreement. The plant will assemble 1000 cc to 2000 cc engine capacity diesel vehicles including SUV, more..

RPCs appeal to govt to appreciate what they are doing to reduce global warming

Apr 11 (Island) The Forestry and Timber Certification Foundation (FTCF) urges the govt to appreciate the contribution by Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) of Sri Lanka, which help reduce global warming. FTCF claims that RPCs have initiated several projects to protect the bio-diversity. "We request President Sirisena to establish a mechanism for the govt to value our contribution to reducing the carbon footprint. The RPCs are really doing this and it will be ideal if more..

Five necessary transformations & The legacy of madam Bandaranaike

Apr 11 (CT) The statesmanlike speech delivered extempore by President Maithripala Sirisena at the commemoration of former PM Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s 100th birth anniversary on April 7 brought out at least five areas of transformation that the country continues to go through. The president who was the chief guest at the ceremony began his speech with an appreciation of Madam Bandaranaike’s late husband SWRD Bandaranaike who preceded her as the country’s PM. more..

පැතිකඩ දේශපාලව වැඩසටහන

Sri Lanka shares end flat

Apr 11 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended steady on Monday, with big gains in Lanka Orix Leasing Company Plc erasing early losses as concerns over macroeconomic stability continued to weigh on sentiment, dealers said. The benchmark stock index ended unchanged at 6,275.62, at its highest close since Feb. 12 hit on Friday. "We are passing through a very uncertain period and there were retail activities in the market," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Equities Ltd. more..

Adieu Mr. IGP!

Apr 11 (CT) The 33rd IGP N.K. Illangakoon retires from the Police service with a colourful farewell parade at the Police Grounds, Bambalapitiya today. The retiring Police Chief joined the Police Department, after graduating from the University of Colombo, as a Probationary ASP in 1982. Joining the Police Department in the early eighties N.K. Illangakoon had come up in the ladder facing the different aspects of the turbulent situation which had thrown a big challenge, more..

I did not ask for an extension of my term: IGP

Apr 11 (DM) Retiring IGP N.K. Illangakoon said that he did not ask for an extension of his term as IGP as he was determined to retire. Addressing the media, he spoke of the ups and downs of his tenure, stating that even though there were several regrettable incidents which had prompted him to hand in his resignation. “I wanted to resign on several occasions but I realize now that these incidents were resolved over time,” more..

President calls on new Mahanayake

Apr 11 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena visited the Asgiri temple in Kandy to call on the newly elected Mahanayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter, Most Ven. Warakagoda Dhamasiddi Pagnananda Gnanarathana Thero on April 10. The President, inquiring into the well-being of the Mahanayaka Thero, extended his best wishes to him. The newly elected Mahanayaka chanted the Seth Pirith and invoked blessings on the President. Subsequently, expressing his views to the media more..

Constitutional Council embroiled in conflict of interest issue in selecting IGP

Apr 11 (CT) Constitutional Council which has been tasked with selecting the next IGP, is facing a fresh crisis in carrying out its duties owing to a conflict of interest. Highly placed sources said that due to Minister Champika Ranawaka sitting in the council, it has resulted in an issue, as one of the contenders for the post is Senior DIG Pujith Jayasundara, who has been handling the recent investigation concerning the minister who is alleged to have been in a hit and run accident in Rajagiriya more..

Sri Lanka on track for tax reform based EFF deal in two weeks: IMF mission

Apr 11 (EN) The IMF is expecting to reach staff-level agreement on a reform heavy three year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with Sri Lanka over the next two week with wrap talks concluded in Washington. The three year program will focus on getting more taxes by reforming tax laws, improving tax collections by using computerized systems at Inland Revenue which will help the economy to be stable and more..

All religions request ban on private tuition classes on Sundays and Poya days

Apr 11 (Island) Members of the All Religions’ Peace Guild (ARPG) of Ratnapura submitted a request to Sabaragamuwa Province Governor Marshall Perera seeking the latter’s intervention to ban private tuition classes in the province during Sundays and Poya Days. Senior members of the ARPG Ven. Kotapola Sudhamma Thera, Hindu priest Sri Satyanarayan, Rev Anasley Suranga of Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Ratnapura met Governor last week and submitted a written request to more..

Ceylon Dollar Bond Fund records 8.82% dollar return

Apr 11 (LBO) Ceylon Dollar Bond Fund (CDBF) that invests in Sri Lanka Dollar Sovereign Bonds and Bank Bonds has recorded an 8.82% per annum annualized return (10.6% in Rupee terms) during the first quarter of 2016, its managers said. The dollar denominated fund in Sri Lanka is managed by Ceylon Asset Management, while Deutsche Bank is Trustee and Custodian of the fund. The fund has been awarded a B+ rating by Fitch Ratings that mirrors Sri Lanka’s country dollar rating. more..

Beware of Indians: GMOA on Malaria fears

Apr 11 (DM) Speaking on the incident where an Indian national had been diagnosed with malaria in Nuwara Eliya, GMOA warned the public to be cautious, if there were Indian nationals nearby because saying India was one of countries with worst epidemic diseases. The GMOA doctors said in the wake of the country being prepared to gain Malaria-free certification from World Health Organization (WHO) with a zero number of more..

Mwanakatwe woos Sri Lankan investors

Apr 11 (AA) Govt has urged Sri Lankan business executives to take advantage of the investment opportunities in the Multi Facility Economic Zones (MFEZs) in the country, as possible locations for industries. Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said trade and investment figures between Zambia and Sri Lanka had been extremely low hence, investing in the MFEZs would help enhance cooperation and cement bilateral relations for mutual benefits. more..

Students and Patients to suffer

Apr 11 (CT) Students and patients using the services of private schools and hospitals will suffer greatly if these institutions are subjected to the proposed 15% Value Added Tax (VAT), owners of these entities claim. The people of the country are already facing great economic burdens and this new tax will have an adverse effect on the people, they claim. "There are close to 300,000 students who are studying at these private schools. The proposed 15% tax will affect them directly more..

Video: Ports work-to-rule action called off

Apr 11 (DM) Following PM’s directive to Minister Arjuna Ranatunga to reimburse the festival bonus to the port workers at the Colombo Habour, the work-to-rule campaign of the workers was called off, the Trade Unions’ Collective said today. Protest was launched by the Trade Unions’ Collective comprising 17 trade unions of the Colombo Habour including JSS and NSS against the decrement of Rs. 4,500 from the total amount Rs. 30,000 more..

Ravi predicts enhanced economic growth this year

Apr 11 (Island) With 6% GDP growth forecast for this year, up from 4.8% in 2015, "Sri Lanka is on the move," Minister Ravi Karunanayake maintained in his keynote address at the Asian Investment Conference at Hotel Conrad in Hong Kong last week. Since a new president and prime minister took office at the beginning of 2015, govt had worked to get the country back onto a path of strong economic growth, Minister said. "It was necessary for fiscal consolidation to take place." more..

Finance, industry sectors welcome China's decision

Apr 11 (DN) China's decision to allow its currency Yuan (Renminbi) to be changeable in Sri Lanka has been welcomed by the finance and industry sectors as an important step towards improving bilateral trade, tourism and financial relations between the two countries. The decision followed PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's visit to China on April 7 and 8. Commenting on this move, Commercial Bank Chairman Dharma Dheerasekera said it would be advantageous for Sri Lanka in many ways. more..

Sri Lanka to grow at 5.3% in 2016, 2017: WB

Apr 11 (EN) SL’s economy is expected to grow at 5.3% in 2016 and 2017 driven by increased public investment and postponed investments in 2015 with South Asia remaining the world’s fastest growing region, World Bank said. Led by robust growth in India, South Asia shows resilience in the face of turbulent international markets, with economic growth forecasted to gradually accelerate from 7.1% in 2016 to more..

PM's China visit helps boost economy: Sajith

Apr 11 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s three day visit to China had helped to revive the unsuccessful projects such as the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port and the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport, Minister Sajith Premadasa recently said. Addressing a media briefing, Minister Premadasa said these unsuccessful projects had been constructed using loans at very high interests. “Those projects were like white elephants, as there was no way to make them profitable. more..

Does Rajapakse smell an opportunity?

Apr 11 (MW) Yahapalana is a term that has been much in use in Sri Lanka’s political discourse ever since the present govt came to power early last year. Yahapalana is a Sinhala word, and means good governance. The Sirisena Govt was voted into office in the January 2015 election on a promise of good governance. But one year down the road, the term has acquired other shades of meaning that are not always complimentary, and sometimes sarcastic. Like recently, when Sri Lanka had more..

Video: Bogambara Prison to be luxury hotel

Apr 11 (DM) Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that the building complex that has housed the historic Bogambara Prison for centuries, until last year, would be converted into a luxury hotel. Explaining the future plans to develop the historic City of Kandy, he stated that several underground tunnels would be constructed in and around Kandy to ease traffic congestion that has become a nightmare for motorists in past few years. more..

Sri Lanka praised for ratifying WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Apr 11 (DN) World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh in a letter to Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne congratulated and expressed appreciation in connection with Sri Lanka signing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a ministry spokesman said. According to the spokesman Sri Lanka is the first South East Asian country and the fourth in the world to ratify WHO FCTC. SL signed the convention in 2003. more..

Hong Kong seeks to crackdown on illegal immigrants from Sri Lanka

Apr 11 (CG) Immigration Department in Hong Kong is seeking to add Sri Lanka to a list to crackdown on illegal immigrants entering the country. The assistant director at the Immigration Department in Hong Kong, William Fung Pak-ho said he hopes legislation raising the maximum penalty to 14 years in jail for snakeheads of illegal immigrants from South Asian countries will be passed by July. Under the current Immigration Ordinance, anyone who arranges for unauthorized entrants more..