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'India will give its fullest support to Sri Lanka’s policies'

Feb 6 (PMD) Indian Foreign Minister Mrs. Sushma Swaraj says the govt of India solidly thanks Sri Lanka for its policies behind the reconciliation and the development. She says India admires the speech recently delivered by President Sirisena in the Parliament, stating that he would take the country towards development while bringing about the peace and reconciliation among every community. more..

Chinese FM and Mangala have brief talks at airport

Feb 6 (CG) Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had brief talks at Katunayake airport today. The discussion took place at the airport while the Foreign Minister of China was on transit. Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said that Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Wang Yi had a fruitful discussion. “Foreign Minister of China Mr Wang Yi was on a short transit visit in Colombo. Foreign Minister and I had fruitful discussions with him,” more..

Prime Minister speaks of four revolutions

Feb 6 (ITN) PM Ranil Wickremasinghe says that D.S. Senanayake, S.W.R.D. Bandaranayake and J.R. Jayawardena made three revolutions in Sri Lanka’s history. He said that the Govt led by President Maithripala Sirisena is prepared to make the 4th revolution by eradicating poverty and building Sri Lanka’s economy. PM Ranil Wickremasinghe mentioned this during a meeting with Kurunegala District UNP Members. During the function at Minister Akila Wirja more..

PRECIFAC cornering Damayanthi

Feb 6 (CT) PRECIFAC has ordered the Secretary to Ministry of Home Affairs to file a complete report on its Additional Secretary Damayanthi Jayaratna who is alleged to have fled the country, after being found guilty of fraud and corruption. PRECIFAC Secretary Lacille de Silva said that the responsibility of taking legal action against the accused for having left the country while still serving in the Ministry lies with the Secretary to more..

Korean help for SL's fishing industry

Feb 6 (DN) Sri Lanka's fishing industry will be developed with Korean assistance. Korea will assist many development projects connected to the fishing industry, Fisheries State Minister Dilip Wedaarachchi said. He said two Korean companies have agreed to set up fishing harbours and maintain them for five years. "This project will save money for the Sri Lankan govt. A project will be commenced in March with Korean assistance to develop the Kirinda fishing harbour," Wedaarachchi said. more..

Toxic frog joins elite endemic club

Feb 6 (ST) Mihintale is recognised as one of the world’s oldest wildlife sanctuaries, so it is fitting that a new frog found to be endemic to Sri Lanka has been named after Mihintale to honour its ancient values. “On top of being a historic sanctuary, Mihintale is also the point of unison for two ancient cultures, when Mahinda Thera (Son of Indian Emperor, Asoka) met Dewanampiya Tissa (king of Anuradhapura) in 246 BC. Hence we named the frog Microhyla mihintalei”, more..

More raids but less seizures of heroin last year

Feb 6 (ST) Despite numerous raids carried out in the country in 2015, the quantity of heroin seized by the police was only 46 kilograms, a figure much lower than in previous years. ASP Ruwan Gunasekera said that although the police have been very active and had conducted several raids throughout last year arresting around 26,992 suspects in heroin related cases, major hauls of heroin have not been detected. more..

Unilever Sri Lanka factory gutted; Will strive keep customers supplied

Feb 6 (EN) Unilever Sri Lanka said it will strive to maintain supplies after a part of its main factory complex in Sri Lanka was gutted by fire on Feb 4. "We will strive to maintain supplies of products to our consumers," Unilever said. The factory produced popular foods such as Astra margarine and personal care products such as Signal toothpaste and Pears baby products. Though multi-national firms have production capacity in other countries and have the capacity to import them, more..

Over 25,000 new cancer patients detected last year

Feb 6 (DN) Over 25,000 new cancer patients were detected in Sri Lanka last year. Of this, over 13,500 new cancer patients were detected at Maharagama Cancer Hospital, Health Services Director General Dr. Palitha Mahipala said. Between 15,000 and 20,000 new cancer patients are being detected every year from Sri Lanka. The majority of the newly detected cancer patients are over 50 years and the main causes for cancer are smoking, alcohol, lack of exercises and unhealthy food habits. more..

Sri Lankan nationalists protest UN rights chief's war crimes visit

Feb 6 (Reuters) Hundreds of hardline nationalists gathered outside United Nations’ office in Colombo on Saturday to protest against a visit by the UN human rights chief who will assess Sri Lanka’s progress in prosecuting alleged war crimes. The UN says both Sri Lanka’s military and the Tamil Tiger rebels most likely committed war crimes during a 26-year war which ended in 2009. A UN resolution calls for post-war reconciliation and more..

History made at Galle Face

Feb 7 (SO) The Galle Face Green, as it has been known since late British colonial times, was once the battleground of Sri Lankan forces that laid siege to the early European colonial fortress of Colombo. That was in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when Colombo and much of coastal Sri Lanka groaned under the exploitative burden of colonialism. Later, military units of successive occupying European colonial powers used this area as a cavalry exercise ground. more..

Hussein and Swaraj arrive a day apart

Feb 7 (CT) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in Sri Lanka, a day apart. Both visitors are to discuss with officials of the government about steps taken towards reconciliation and the progress made regarding the resolution adopted at the UNHRC last year, a resolution Sri Lanka co-sponsored. Farhan Haq, the Deputy UN Spokesman said that "during his visit, the High Commissioner will discuss more..

Yoshitha’s Waterloo

Feb 7 (SO) A week ago, it was curtain fall of sorts for Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa, when the Kaduwela Magistrate remanded him till February 11, in connection with serious financial fraud. Though there had been many allegations floated about, until the Court decision, everything appeared to be mere hearsay with no evidence to demonstrate actual complicity of any Rajapaksa family member. more..

Independence and beyond

Feb 7 (Island) Minister Sarath Amunugama, delivering the welcome address at the Independence reception hosted by President Maithripala Sirisena at President’s House in Colombo last Friday, noted that at the time then Ceylon won Independence from the British on Feb. 4, 1948, this island of ours had a population of 6.1 million people (some estimates place it slightly higher). This had grown nearly fourfold today and challenges today’s youth face are far different more..

Reconciliation in practice at independence day parade

Feb 7 (SL) Perhaps the most poignant moment of Independence Day parades for a long time was at the tail end of the 68th Independence Day Parade when a bevy of beautiful girls clad in white saree sang serenely in Tamil, the National Anthem as the country’s leaders – Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims – stood still. It was a moving moment not only to hear the National Anthem sung in a national language, Tamil, a language which had been conveniently ignored for long years although more..

'Rajapaksa regime gave room for thugs to rule the country'

Feb 7 (SL) JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa says that for true reconciliation to take place, the minorities should be made to feel that they are also given the opportunity to engage in the decision making process and activities related to the country. “This is the way to creating a peaceful country where everyone are made to feel included and no one is left out,” he said. He said that the govt needs to follow a moderate approach more..

Rocky honeymoon for RW And SF

Feb 7 (SL) The recent arrest of former President Rajapaksa’s second son, Navy Lt. Yoshitha Rajapaksa, was cast to the shadows last week by the latest move in the country’s political scene – the signing of a MoU between UNP Leader PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and DP Leader, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. The signing of MoU was perhaps confirmation of the recent rumor that Fonseka will be appointed to parliament to fill the vacancy created by demise of Minister M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardena more..

Zeid Al Hussein’s supervisory role in SL

Feb 7 (Island) UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Al Hussein arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday. In the days prior to his arrival, it appeared as if a divergence of opinion had emerged between the President and the PM about the implementation of last September’s UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka. One of the key demands in that resolution was the institution of a war crimes tribunal in Sri Lanka with the participation of foreign judges, prosecutors and investigators. more..

'Reconciliation is the most important factor in finding a solution'

Feb 7 (SL) UNP MP Kavinda Jayawardena says that reconciliation is the most important factor in the whole process of finding a lasting solution to the national problem. “There is no point in implementing resettlement and all these changes without knowing why we are doing it,” he said. He said the country went through a 30 year terrifying war and right after the war the govt had to implement many reconciliatory measures more..

Independence Day celebrations and hopes for the future

Feb 7 (SO) You must be knowing by now that this feline, though nursing streaks of cattiness in her nature, is a softie at heart and optimistic, bordering on naïvety. She sees the glass always half or more full; she places trust in humanity and even has faith in politicians, of course of those she considers sincere and that means a fair number in the present firmament. She’s bold enough to say she places faith and trust to do good by the country on the President, the PM and such as more..

Corruption probes push Rajapaksas to the wall

Feb 7 (SO) While the group led by former President Rajapaksa continues to pander to the most chauvinistic sentiments of the Sinhala-Buddhist community in their bid to regain power, President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, in a bold political move, allowed the Tamil version of the Sri Lankan national anthem to be sung at the state Independence Day ceremony. President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe and former President Kumaratunga, three leaders who initiated more..

Maithri-Ranil prevent Shiranthi being arrested

Feb 7 (CT) At the end of an eventful week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein arrived in the country last morning to begin his four-day official visit to assess the human rights situation in the country and the progress of reconciliation efforts. Unlike his predecessor Navanethem Pillay who arrived in Sri Lanka in August 2013 using her mandate, Hussein arrived in the country on an invitation by more..

Geneva: Ambiguity continues

Feb 7 (ST) The address by the Head of State on Independence Day is a much looked forward to occasion, for it outlines the Govt’s road-map for the ensuing year. Our Political Editor gives some detail of the diplomatic and political activity that took place as President Maithripala Sirisena prepared the text of his speech. Such activity on the eve of February 4 was necessitated due to the power play that unfolded in the fortnight before Independence Day. President and the PM seemingly took up more..

Will Sonny come home?

Feb 7 (ST) My dear Mahinda maama, I am writing to you because I know this is a difficult time for you and despite leading the nation for ten years and winning a war against the most ruthless terrorist organisation in the world, I know you must be struggling to come to terms with the idea of a son being arrested and sent to prison. These days you must be confused because it is as if Yoshitha’s arrest is the most important issue in the country — not celebrating our independence, not the rising cost of living more..

Revenue Bills delay and Tax Revision trigger a cash flow problem

Feb 7 (ST) The Govt is facing an immediate cashflow problem owing to suspension of VAT and NBT revision and the delay in the passing of revenue bills in Parliament and issuing necessary circulars, gazette notification relating to amendments made in 2016 budget in an unprecedented manner. Just two months into the 2016 budget, it has been revealed at a recent Treasury meeting that the govt is facing a cashflow problem. more..

Thisara only Sri Lankan player picked up at IPL auction

Feb 7 (CI) On a day when 94 players were sold for a total of Rs 136 crore* at the IPL 2016 auction in Bangalore, it was a bunch of Indian uncapped players who drew the most attraction and a good chunk of the cash too. Top among them - and one of four men who walked away with a contract worth a million dollars or more - was Pawan Negi, a left-arm spinner who can tonk the ball down the order, who was sold for Rs 8.5 crore to Delhi Daredevils. South African allrounder Chris Morris was the other more..

Colombo beat Galle to win domestic T-20 title

Feb 7 (Island) Fat bowler Shaminda Eranga finished with match winning figures of four wickets for 27 runs while Shehan Jayasuriya struck an unbeaten 62 as Colombo Commandos led by Milianda Siriwardana cruised to an eight wicket victory over Galle Guardians in the final of Super T-20 Provincial Tournament played under lights at Premadasa Stadium on Friday. Dinesh Chandimal’s Galle side put into bat posted a below par total of 143 and in reply Colombo chased down the target easily more..

Lyca offers $123M for Hutch

Feb 7 (CT) UK-based mobile virtual network operator Lycamobile has offered US$ 123 million to buy Hutchison Telecom Lanka, sources close to negotiations said on Friday. "We were having a MoU with Hutchison parent company to buy its Sri Lankan operations for US$ 123 million. Our MoU is still valid and our request for approval from TRCSL-Telecommunications Regulatory Commission in this regard is still pending more..

Sending the wrong signals

Feb 7 (Island) Rising fast bowling sensation Dushmantha Chameera’s performance in the recent tour of New Zealand has got many excited. Chameera emerged as the standout performer from either side among the bowlers in the bilateral series and the 24-year-old with more experience could turn out to be a match winner. Dhammika Prasad too came up with some steady performances throughout last year and when he returns from injury the team’s new ball pair looks formidable. more..

Apparel industry to draw up 5-year plan

Feb 7 (ST) The apparel industry is currently in the process of drawing up its third five year plan that is being discussed among key stakeholders. With preparations underway to draft the next five year plan the industry is carrying out discussions on a number of issues particularly the trade concessions with the European Union (EU), a new US backed trade partnership with 12 countries, and the bilatral trade agreement with the Chinese authorities. The industry is awaiting the regaining of more..

A violation of the constitution?

Feb 7 (ST) The move to appoint Democratic Party Leader, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to Parliament to fill the vacancy created by the demise of Lands Minister M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardana, is a violation of the Constitution as deemed by legal experts. A senior lawyer explained that Article 91 of the Constitution clearly stipulates that a member of the armed forces cannot be appointed to Parliament. more..

Sri Lankans leave for India after T20 bluff?

Feb 7 (SO) Sri Lanka’s cricketers left yesterday for India to contest three T20 matches but questions were raised on the quality of cricket that was dished out at the so-called Super T20 Provincial tournament played in the city of Colombo where the boundary line was said to have been shortened. The tournament was won by a team called the Colombo Commandos who beat a side known as the Galle Guardians and was a preparation for the Indian series. But with a boundary that measured more..

Yoshitha’s arrest, not unfair: Duminda D.

Feb 7 (SO) Minister Duminda Dissanayake said those who had no idea about the law were saying the arrest of Yoshitha Rajapaksa was a gross injustice but the issue of Carlton Sports Network (CSN) was discussed since Jan 8 last year. ”There was a complaint that there was fraud and malpractices at CSN and we being investigated at present. Earlier, we hailed CSN as being owned by the Rajapaksa family and were happy that MP Namal Rajapaksa and his brother Yoshitha more..

Memorable day for Abeysinghe

Feb 7 (Hindu) Under-rated Sri Lankans sprung a few surprises on their fancied Indian rivals on the opening day of the swimming competitions of 12th South Asian Games at Dr. Zakir Hussain pool here on Saturday. Of the eight gold medals decided during the final session, India finished with four. However, the confidence expressed by the home camp that it would win a lion’s share of the titles stood more..

Estate workers see red over bogus rice

Feb 7 (ST) Upcountry estate workers are being enticed by traders to buy glossy polished red rice unaware that they are buying rice dyed red that is unfit for consumption. They are being cheated into paying more for this rice: normal red rice sells at Rs. 65 a kilo but they pay Rs. 70 for the so-called polished rice. “When we wash the rice at home the water turns red and our hands become stained,” Ganamoorthy Kandasamy, a Hatton resident, said. His experience is shared by several others more..

Basil, Namal next in line

Feb 7 (SL) Former minister Basil Rajapaksa and MP Namal Rajapaksa are next in line to be arrested from the Rajapaksa family following the recent arrest of Yoshitha Rajapaksa. Both Basil Rajapaksa and Namal Rajapaksa are expected to be arrested over the alleged misuse of public funds. The internal air travel fare of former minister Basil Rajapaksa and MP Namal Rajapaksa has reportedly cost Rs. 150 million. According to information received, there is a high probability that Basil Rajapaksa and more..

Gota slams British hypocricy on Julian Assange

Feb 7 (Island) Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that the UK’s outright rejection of the UN ruling that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange be allowed to go free highlighted again British double standards vis-a-vis Sri Lanka. "Obviously, the British do not practice what they preach to us here as well as other international forums regularly," Rajapaksa sarcastically said. Referring to recent statements made in more..

Golden opportunity for Himasha and Rumeshika

Feb 7 (Island) Olympians Indrajith Cooray and Manjula Kumara, sprinter Himasha Eshan and men’s 4x100 metres relay team are the favourites for gold medals in the men’s category, while long jumper N.C.D. Priyadharshani, triple jumper Vidusha Lakshani and sprinter Rumeshika Ratnayake are the closest to golds when the Athletics Championship of the on going South Asian Games commences in two days time. According to reports from India, some of the leading Indian athletes had skipped more..

SL’s Independence Day celebrated in London

Feb 7 (Island) Sri Lankan High Commission in London marked the country’s 68th anniversary of Independence at a solemn event attended by a large number of Sri Lankans belonging to all communities — Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers - representing the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society in Sri Lanka, along with many friends and well-wishers in the UK. The program started with the hoisting of the National Flag by Acting High Commissioner Sugeeshwara Gunaratna more..

New CSN scam unveiled

Feb 7 (SO) A senior public official in the ports sector, under the previous govt is under investigation for a massive tax fraud, involving Carlton Sports Network (CSN) channel, police sources said. CSN reportedly bought television equipment worth £ 14,0000 from Arena Television in Reddhill, Surrey. The value of the state-of-the art television equipment is Rs 30 million. However, when paying Customs duty, more..