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Video: 15th is also a holiday for the New Year

Apr 11 (DM) Friday the 15th of April has been declared a public holiday. Minister Vajira Abeywardena said that this decision was taken based on a consensus of President and PM considering requests made by various parties and for the convenience of the people. He said that while announcing that Friday would be a public holiday, he would like to make a fervent appeal from the entire public sector workers to have links with more..

U.S. Embassy launches the interview waiver program (IWP)

Apr 11 (USE) The U.S. Embassy in Colombo today launched the Interview Waiver Program (IWP) for eligible visa applicants. Program allows eligible applicants to renew their visas without appearing for a personal interview. IWP may be used only by applicants who have previously traveled to the United States and are renewing B1/B2 visitor visas issued after April 2008. First-time applicants are not eligible. U.S. Embassy in Colombo will accept applications only from Lankans & Maldivians more..

Govt bows down to reality: Wimal

Apr 11 (DM) The Joint Opposition said today the Govt was eventually compelled to go behind China for assistance to revive Sri Lanka’s economy despite their vituperative anti-Chinese campaign in the pre-election period. NFF Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa said anti Chinese sentiments were whipped up at that time to send the previous govt home. “The Govt has realised that its so called masters won’t give a dime to them and therefore had turned towards China. more..

ICC bans Kusal Perera for four years

Apr 11 (AD) Kusal Janith Perera has been banned for four years by ICC for using banned substance. He has been banned after failing a doping test during an earlier home series against Pakistan, Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said. He stated that govt will appeal to reduce the suspension period, which could be maximum 4 years. “The second sample (B Sample) of Kusal Janith has also tested positive for banned substances,” more..

Leaderless nation that lives in hope

Apr 12 (CT) Look around and pick a leader capable of pulling the country fallen into an awful rot; landing in the bin is a responsibility shared. To reach a level of sensibility is the initial task-not to touch greatness, bespoken on political platforms. It discounts politicians that enjoyed/s power – in past and present tense. Virtually impossible based on their past performances. Don’t be nihilistic-think differently. Make an effort to retract the slide downhill, before climbing an anthill. more..

Hilmy Cader’s fine advice to exporters

Apr 12 (CT) In a recent forum and discussion on the country’s exports organised by MTI Consulting and Daily FT, MTI Head Hilmy Cader threw a formidable challenge at exporters. He said that the country is doomed if exports do not grow in line with the growth in global trade and the exporters should wake from the deep slumber in which they have been savouring complacently. That was not a traditional wake-up call. Instead, it was a powerful shake-up that leaves them with no alternative. more..

The pill overload

Apr 12 (SO) The population boom, followed by the surge in communicable and non communicable diseases has resulted in a visible spike in medicinal drug dependency in Sri Lanka. With demand often exceeding supply, most patients find themselves pushed to the wall when forced to fork out thousands of hard earned rupees for a handful of drugs which may or may not cure them of their complaints, depending on more..

Populist measures lead to economic crisis

Apr 12 (ST) Last week’s column discussed the burden of foreign debt during the last regime, when it doubled from US$ 21.4 billion to US$ 43 billion. The foreign debt that was about 60% of GDP at the end of 2014 is a continuing burden to the new govt that took over in 2015. Some misinterpretations on foreign borrowings of the present govt, such as the currency swaps, have been clarified. The Finance Ministry or the Central Bank should make a detailed statement of the foreign loans more..

Rajapaksa conspiracy to create a rift between RW and MS

Apr 12 (SL) An unscheduled meeting that took place last week between PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President, MP Mahinda Rajapaksa managed to create ripples in political circles, especially among members of the SLFP. Rajapaksas have now resorted to the latest conspiracy of trying to drive a wedge between the PM and President Maithripala Sirisena. Divide and rule has been the policy of the Rajapaksas that was clearly witnessed during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s first term in office. more..

'Country’s national security cannot be compromised'

Apr 12 (SL) Although the JVP too assisted for a change in the govt from the previous regime, they were not naïve enough to believe that the current govt will be squeaky clean, said JVP Uva Provincial Councillor Samantha Vidyarathna. He said that the JVP raised the issue of corruption of the previous regime and they do it with the current regime too. However, he said that these same rogues of the previous regime more..

Double celebration for New Year

Apr 12 (CT) This week, in which we celebrate the Aluth Avurudda, marks the 60th Anniversary of the socio-cultural and political revolution of April 1956. The historic victory achieved at the 1956 General Elections by political and national forces of Sangha, Veda, Guru, Govi, Kamkaru which rapidly developed within a short span of time to topple the govt. There are many parallels between the 1956 revolution and the 2015 silent revolution in which the political and national forces rallied round more..

A cash-strapped nation on a splurging spree

Apr 12 (ST) In our student days there was a commonly used Sinhala phrase – clean suit empty pocket. That succinctly conveyed the image of a well-clad individual without a cent on his person. If this pithy Sinhala phrase came to mind last week it is on reading three news reports that suggest that empty pockets do not stop our politicians and officials who cling to them like blood-sucking leaches, conducting themselves as though this country is so richly endowed that more..

Laxman Yapa Abeywardena

Teen buried alive while helping demolish house wall

Apr 12 (DN) A 13-year-old student died when a wall of a house he went to help demolish, collapsed, burying him under the rubble on April 10. The deceased was identified as Samith Dilshan of Weraherayagama, Ambanpola, a grade 9 student. The owner of the demolished house had hired Dilshan to help remove old bricks from a dilapidated wall promising to pay him according to the number of bricks removed. But the wall which had got damp following heavy rains had collapsed on him, more..

Editorial: Who guards the guards?

Apr 12 (Island) The public is kept guessing who the next police chief will be. Some names have reportedly been recommended and the Constitutional Council (CC) is expected to endorse one of them. Nay, the CC will rubber-stamp a presidential decision shortly. What else can the CC be expected to do when most of its members are united by a common political agenda? The CC has not fulfilled two vital constitutional requirements in keeping with the 19th Amendment. more..

Time of joy, hope and new beginnings

Apr 12 (NS) Aluth Avurudda 2016 will soon be upon us. But few might be aware that Avurudu coincides with the New Years in many other Southern Asian calendars, including: Assamese New Year, or Rongali Bihu (India’s Assam state), Bengali New Year or Pohela, Boishakh (Bangladesh and India’s West Bengal state), Burmese New Year or Thingyan (Burma), Khmer New Year, or Chol Chnam Thmey (Cambodia), Lao New Year, more..

Samsung Electronics and ministry offer specialised technical courses

Apr 12 (Island) Samsung Electronics Sri Lanka, following its partnership with the Vocational Training Authority and as a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, is set to produce engineers specialising in repairs of televisions, washing machines, microwave ovens, refrigerators, air conditioners audio visual devices & mobile phones. The foundation for this ground breaking initiative named Samsung ARISE (Samsung Advanced Repair & Industrial Skills Enhancement) more..

Contractors told to avoid costly litigation with better mitigation

Apr 12 (EN) Construction firms will find it more cost effective to comply with biodiversity safeguards despite their costs than face the prospect of more expensive litigation should things go wrong, experts say. “When we suggest these measures (safeguards), engineers think they are not necessary and are an unnecessary cost,” said Saranga Gajasinghe, Consultant to ADB. “But if the public goes to court (over environmental issues) their projects can be more costly,” more..

Avurudu Preparations in Pettah

Apr 12 (DN) Every country has one specific festival it identifies with age old customs. For Sri Lankans, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, or Avurudu, is one such festival. As preparations for the New Year festival begins around the country, Daily News hit the street of Pettah to get the views of people and vendors about how they prepare for Sinhala & Tamil New Year. Common sight in Pettah is people flocking around street vendors, more..

Chinese investors eager to come here

Apr 12 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe managed to attract a large number of Chinese investors to Sri Lanka to establish more infrastructure projects and this will lead to competition amongst the investors, Minister for Housing and Construction Sajith Premadasa said yesterday. He added, "We went to China to find investors to create an industrial village in Hambantota. However, there are several investors who want to establish three or four industrial villages in Sri Lanka. more..

Bustling, fast developing Jaffna revisited

Apr 12 (Island) Four women friends and I travelled by train and stayed four days at Thalsevana Resort almost on the beach at Kankasanturai. We returned revived in body and spirit and with hope that lasting peace is possible notwithstanding suicide kits and bombs found in Chavakachcheri. New buildings, especially new Hindu kovils were seen in very many places, islands of Kayts and Karainagar included. A few ruins hurt the eye, but with time, they too will disappear taking away traces of the civil war. more..

TISL calls for six changes to RTI bill

Apr 12 (FT) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has called for improvements in six key areas of the Right To Information (RTI) Bill, which was tabled in Parliament recently. In a post published on their website TISL recommends removing the explicit reference to the Attorney General’s Department as the ambit of the section adequately covers lawyer-client privilege from section 5(1) (f). more..

Nine people fined for killing hawk

Apr 12 (DM) Nine people who plead guilty of inflicting injuries on a hawk and killing it were fined Rs.50,000 each by the Galle Additional Magistrate today. The accused, Kaluwahandi Sisira, Chaminda Kumara, Nalaka Weerasinghe, Kapila Prabhath, Ruwan Kumara, Sampath Weerasinghe, Udaya Ravindu, Jayalath Pathirage Suresh and Dimuthu Prasanna killed a hawk after pulling off its feathers. Police arrested the first and second accused and the others surrendered to court. more..

Sun directly over Sri Lanka

Apr 12 (DN) The Sun will be moving directly over Sri Lanka from April 5 to 14, a Meteorology Department spokesman said. He said the Sun would be directly over the latitudes of Sri Lanka during this period, due to the apparent northward relative motion of the sun. The spokesman said this is a usual biannual phenomenon. The nearest towns of Sri Lanka over which the sun will be overhead today are Padawiya, Madhu, Nanaddan and Nochchikkulam about 12:11 noon. more..

Not banned yet, official hearing in May: Kusal Janith

Apr 12 (DM) Kusal Janith Perera has said that he has not been banned yet and the official hearing into the doping charges against him is to be held in May. Media reports quoting Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera this evening said that the ICC has imposed a four year ban on Kusal Janith for allegedly using banned substance. After these reports, former Captain Mahela Jayawardane tweeted; “Spoke to Kusal. He is suspended more..

‘Come down to earth... development should be village-based’

Apr 12 (Island) 'Although mega growth ventures are being loudly spoken of in Sri Lanka at present, local development should be village-based. You got to get down to earth when speaking of development, you need to start from our villages with grassroots advancement which addresses the legitimate needs of the ordinary people, founder, Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne said. He said that rather than think mega, Sri Lanka ought to envision and help to bring into being more..

PM meets Huawei VP Yao Weimin

Apr 12 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe met and talked with Huawei Vice President Yao Weimin in Beijing. PM said, "ICT and digitalization is the first priority of govt economic development plan. We know Huawei is a leading global ICT company, we are happy to have Huawei helping build ICT capacity in Sri Lanka, and we encourage Huawei to increase investment in Sri Lanka in the future". Yao Weiming said "Huawei is glad to bring its global experience in ICT innovation and more..

India-Sri Lanka bridge on cards: Gadkari

Apr 12 (IANS) India and Sri Lanka could soon finalise an agreement for building a bridge connecting both the countries, union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday. "The project is under consideration, it is under discussion. But nothing has been finalised," said. He said discussions have been held on the issue with SL President Sirisena and PM Wickremasinghe. The Sri Lankan side is also interested in the project, he said, more..

Local study to increase daily intake of essential vitamins through rice

Apr 12 (ST) A pilot study on rice fortification in Sri Lanka to increase the daily intake of vitamins amongst the population is to be undertaken by UN World Food Programme (WFP) office in Colombo. WFP Sri Lanka has invited expressions from organisations to conduct the study with an April 15 deadline for submissions. “Given that the typical Sri Lankan diet comprises rice as a staple, increasing the micronutrient density of rice through fortification has great potential to increase more..

Grand celebration planned in Qatar to mark Lankan New Year

Apr 12 (GT) Sri Lankan expatriates are all set to welcome the dawn of Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Bakmaha Ulela 2016, in traditional style. The grand celebrations, featuring multiple recreational activities attracting a large number of community members, are organised by SL Coordinating Committee (SLCC) under the patronage of SL embassy in Qatar. Bakmaha Ulela or the New Year marks the harvest of a year’s hard work, ploughing of fields for a new crop to bring prosperity and growth. more..

Jayasuriya to return as chairman of selectors

Apr 12 (CI) Sanath Jayasuriya is set to take over as chief selector once more, a little over a year after he stepped down from the role. The board has virtually confirmed Jayasuriya's appointment, but is waiting on sports minister's approval before it makes a formal announcement. "In wanting to take SL cricket to a new path, we have put some changes in place," SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala said. more..

Sri Lanka U-15 team retain title

Apr 12 (DN) Defending champions Sri Lanka Schools Under 15 Cricket team retained the title of the International Under 15 Cricket Challenge for Tuanku Ja'afar Trophy which was concluded at the Bayuemas Oval, Malaysia yesterday. Lanka lads beat South Africa Under 15 team by 60 runs in the final. Sri Lanka, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, Thailand and host Malaysia participated in this tournament. Sri Lanka schools Under 15 team is led by Kamil Mishara from more..

'Sri Lanka hopeful of getting IMF assistance'

Apr 12 (Hindu) Setting high hopes on securing assistance from the IMF, Governor of Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran linked it to the revival of fortunes of the country’s economy. Answering questions on the proposed assistance from the IMF, Mr Mahendran, who earlier held discussions with a team of the IMF, said that he was hoping to get between $ 1 billion and $ 1.25 billion. But, “the amount is not so important. Once we have an agreement [with IMF], World Bank, ADB, more..

Is it a clean deal Mr. Clean?

Apr 12 (LT) Media reported that Minister Duminda Dissanayaka was taking steps to lease out a private building at a monthly rent of Rs.1,50,75,000 without following the proper tender procedures. It is revealed that the building belongs to D.P. Jayasinghe Tours owned by film star Sabitha Perera’s husband and the cabinet paper to lease out the building had been presented to the cabinet not by Minister but by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

COPE stops leasing building for Agriculture Ministry

Apr 12 (LT) The COPE has stopped a move to lease out a building owned by a private company for the Ministry of Agriculture spending Rs. 1,50,75,000. Media had reported that despite cabinet approval had been taken for the move to lease out the building carried out without following proper tender procedures was a suspicious deal. It was also reported that the building belongs to D.P. Jayasinghe Tours owned by film star Sabitha Perera’s husband and the cabinet paper to more..

Green decorations: Dayasiri sees red, walks off

Apr 12 (Island) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera walked out of a ceremony held at the Polagahawela town to begin work on a new flyover there protesting against the organisers who had hoisted only green flags and decorations. Minister Lakshman Kiriella was the chief guest at the foundation stone laying ceremony for the flyover to be built with the financial assistance of Spanish govt. Minister Kiriella was present with top govt officials and the representatives of the Spanish govt for the ceremony. more..

New environmental management plan for Port City

Apr 12 (DN) With several conditions now in place for the environmental approval for the Port City, a detailed Environmental Management Plan (EMP) is now being put in place by CHEC Port City Colombo for the proper implementation of the project and mitigate possible environmental impacts. Coast Conservation and Coastal Resources Management Department (CC&CRMD) Acting Director General Prabath Chandrakeerthi has more..

PM to prevent ministers making contradictory statement

Apr 12 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to restrict the task of issuing statements on the govt’s economic policies and agreements only to the cabinet sub committee under the Ministry of National Policy and Economic Affairs. Ministry of National Policy and Economic Affairs comes under the purview of the PM’s office. Sources close to the PM’s office said that the official announcement of the latest decision would be made by Premier Wickremesinghe after the New Year holidays. more..

Hakeem will not speak of SLMC differences

Apr 12 (CT) President of SLMC Minister Rauf Hakeem declared that he was keeping mum over the internal differences among SLMC leaders without giving room for further division in the party. he said that said under the current situation keeping mum is the best way to lead a political party. I do not want to speak on the internal strife in public and in media. I want to lead the party without speaking about the manner some party leaders speak by issuing media statements more..

DEW blows whistle on another CB scam

Apr 12 (Island) Communist Party leader D.E.W. Gunasekera urged govt to give an explanation regarding the issue of treasury bonds by the Central Bank worth Rs. 80 billion on March 29, after announcing that it would issue treasury bonds worth only Rs. 40 billion. Former COPE Chairman Gunasekera stressed that the recent incident was the second biggest financial controversy within a year. more..