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Cargills profits surged to Rs 1.2 bn

Feb 11 (DN) Cargills Ceylon, reported a turnover of Rs 18.0 billion for the third quarter ending on Dec 31, 2015. Group Gross profit for the nine months ended was Rs 5.7 billion while Operating profit reached Rs 2.4 Billion. Net profit for the nine months was Rs 1.2 billion. Retail business saw a strong turnaround for the nine months ended backed by a positive consumption. Environment reinforced by strong focus on enhancing service levels and driving efficiency across the value-chain. more..

New leisure brand Zinc Journey debuts

Feb 11 (FT) SL’s quest to reap higher yield in tourism has got a big boost with Nepalese billionaire Binod Chaudhary expanding his hotels and resorts footprint in Sri Lanka in partnership with Galle Face Hotels Group, Jetwing and Watawala Plantations as the first step. Via CG Hotels and Resorts, which at present has 5,400 rooms in 74 hotels in 63 destinations, multi partner initiative launched the latest hospitality brand more..

Landmark partnership between LAUGFS and AIRMAN, Japan

Feb 11 (Island) LAUGFS International, a subsidiary of LAUGFS Holdings has successfully acquired the authorized dealership for AIRMAN in Sri Lanka. At a launch ceremony, LAUGFS International opened doors to an exclusive showroom featuring AIRMAN products. The show room was declared opened by LAUGFS chairman W.K.H. Wegapitiya, LAUGFS Managing Director Thilak De Silva and AIRMAN Director General Manger Overseas Business Hitoshi Watanabe, more..

British Hypocrisy, Amal Clooney and Saving Julian Assange

Feb 11 (Island) The United Kingdom, which was once upon a time known as the British Empire for its illegal occupation of faraway lands, slavery, thuggery, divide and rule, plunder of wealth and other atrocities, later had to reluctantly become a part of the United Nations, which is housed at a building in New York and in Geneva, among other countries. I say reluctantly because this island of the United Kingdom was totally opposed to the United Nations. more..

Ishara creates new record in Pole Vault

Feb 11 (CT) Sri Lankan athletes produced another 4 Gold medals on the second day of athletics, as both the 4x100m men and women relay teams, together with Ishara Sandaruwan in the pole vault event and 800m runner Indunil Herath, shone at the 12th South Asian Games continued at Guwahati, India yesterday. Sandaruwan, SL record holder of the pole vault event, created history breaking South Asian Game's record set by more..

Geetha et al given time by Appeal Court

Feb 11 (DM) The Court of Appeal granted actress turned MP Geetha Kumarasinghe and three others time till March 5 to file objections in Writ Application challenging her appointment and/or election as the Member of Parliament. The matter was taken up before the Bench comprising Justices Vijith K.Malalgoda (P/CA) and P. Padman Surasena. Petitioners are W.W.E. Buweneka, J.K. Amarawardhana, A.C. Gunasekera, J.K. Wijesinghe and Prasanna Deepthilal. more..

Ceylinco expands in insurance with double-digit growth

Feb 11 (FT) SL’s twin insurance giants, Ceylinco General Insurance and Ceylinco Life Insurance announced excellent results for the year ended 31 Dec 2015, recording yet another remarkable year. Ceylinco Insurance Jt. CEO Ajith Gunawardena announcing the results of Ceylinco General Insurance, said: “During 2015, company recorded a premium income of Rs. 13.5 billion, recording an impressive growth of 11.4%, which signifies an increase of Rs. 1.4 billion over previous year. more..

MR's PSD officers probed for money laundering

Feb 11 (AM) Colombo Chief Magistrate ordered General Managers of 79 commercial banks and financial companies to submit a report to the CID regarding three security officers of former President Rajapaksa, including Captain Tissa Wimalasena. The other two are Damith Ranasinghe and Wanniarachchi Neville. Reports are to inform CID if the three individuals have deposited money in their institutions or acquired property more..

Sicille ordered back to CNH

Feb 11 (CT) Fort Magistrate ordered Prisons Department officials to immediately transfer Sicille Kotelawela to the Colombo National Hospital (CNH) if they had removed her from the CNH to the Prison Hospital. Magistrate made this order after having perused a complaint lodged with Fort Magistrate's Court by Ms.Kotelawela's attorney. When the case was called on 9 Feb, Fort Magistrate ordered the suspect to be removed from Durdans Hospital where she was being treated to CNH more..

Shangri-La to build third hotel in Sri Lanka

Feb 11 (DN) Shangri-La, Asia Pacific's leading luxury hotel chain, is looking at building a third hotel in Sri Lanka. This was disclosed by Vice President of the group, Madhu Rao who met Minister Ravi Karunanayake yesterday. He had indicated that they are happy with the investment climate in Sri Lanka and would look at reinvesting in Sri Lanka. "This would be by way of another hotel and other investments," a Finance Ministry official said. The first hotel in Hambantota would be opened more..

'No salvation for corruptionists, fraudsters'

Feb 11 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Parliament that persons who were involved in corruption and financial fraud will have no salvation from the wrongs they have committed. He said that the Yaha Palana govt will never let these corruptionists and hypocrites to escape from crimes they committed to the nation. He was responding to a question raised by JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, more..

BMICH compensates Dr. Samanmalee

Feb 11 (FT) Former President and current Chairperson of Bandaranaike National Memorial Foundation Chandrika Kumaratunga presenting a letter of goodwill to Dr. Samitha Samanmalee who was injured at the BMICH premises in 2008 whilst being a medical student. Compensation awarded by District Court was mutually and amicably settled in the High Court of Civil Appeals without proceeding with the appeal filed by BMICH upon the intervention of Kumaratunga more..

India’s Oberoi hotels group keen to return to Sri Lanka

Feb 11 (EN) India’s Oberoi hotels group wants to return to Sri Lanka and is interested in partnering with owners of island properties that are well located, a senior company official said. “Anyone wants to speak to us of great locations they have, we would love to partner with them,” Kapil Chopra, President of The Oberoi Group told a tourism forum in Colombo. “We’re open to equity partnerships, management contracts, we’re open to buying out owners,” he said. more..

Matthew Abeysinghe breaks Julian Bolling’s record for most golds

Feb 11 (Island) Swimmer Mathew Abeysinghe clinched his seventh gold medal at South Asian Games at Guwahati, India yesterday to break Julian Bolling’s long standing record at the regional games. Bolling’s tally of six golds in the 1991 games when Colombo hosted the event stood for 25 long years. Abeysinghe took to the pool yesterday having already collected five gold medals. He finished first in the 400 meters medley to more..

How empire and disaster shaped Sri Lanka’s botanical gardens

Feb 11 (FT) Storms, civil war and a tsunami cannot dim the appeal of botanical gardens. Nor can their colonial past. I have just been verifying this heartening truth by a targeted visit to Sri Lanka, punctuated by offering marigolds and a lilac-blue water lily before a tooth supposed to have belonged to Buddha. Sri Lanka now has five botanical gardens and five more are being planned. Those who scorn botanic gardens in the former British empire as if they are items of obsolete colonialism more..

Sri Lanka and the Philippines sign MoU on Political Consultations

Feb 11 (GDI) Sri Lanka and the Philippines signed a MOU in Manila recently, aimed at forging greater cooperation and further enhancing relations between the two countries with the Philippines’ Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario stating that the MoU was “an important step towards further deepening the Philippines’ engagement with Sri Lanka.” The Philippines’ Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario – who holds Cabinet portfolio of Foreign Affairs - and more..

Short of options, Sri Lanka turns back to Beijing's embrace

Feb 11 (Reuters) Just over a year after a new leader was elected and Sri Lanka's business ties with China came under close scrutiny, Colombo is reversing course by resuming a stalled port project and naming Beijing as the front runner for a new special economic zone. India is nervous about losing influence over the island nation off its southern tip, while China's push into the Indian Ocean, and the possibility of dual purpose more..

Defence Secretary briefs EU Parliamentary delegation on progress of military matters

Feb 11 (FT) An EU Parliamentary delegation, led by Member of the European Parliament and Chairman of the Friends of Sri Lanka Group Geoffrey Van Orden, and including MEP Morten Messerschmidt, met the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi at the Ministry premises on Tuesday. During the meeting cordial discussions were held on issues related to development in Sri Lanka since January 2015, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement. more..

Athletic statisticians urge officials to accept Himasha’s 10.26 secs. as record

Feb 11 (Island) Murali Krishnan, representing athletics statisticians of the region has requested the technical delegate and the competition director of the South Asian Games athletics championship to consider Himasha Eshan’s 10.26 seconds as the new Games record. Himasha Eshan’s 10.26 seconds performance in the men’s 100 metres heats was not accepted as the record performance due to the wind gauge not functioning in the particular heat on Tuesday. more..

'UN High Commissioner on Human Rights had exceeded his mandate'

Feb 11 (DN) The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights has exceeded his mandate to talk about full scale power devolution and a govt of a federal model during his visit to Sri Lanka. He has no power to determine the structural format of any govt said MP Wimal Weerawansa. He said both the President and the PM had kept silent permitting the High Commissioner to engage in such idle talk as if there was no one in charge of the country. more..

Rajapaksas official income doesn’t match investment in CSN – Ashu Marasinghe

Feb 11 (Island) The govt demanded to know how the Rajapaksas had acquired Rs. 340 million investment in Carlton Sports Network as their total official incomes since 1970 had been only Rs. 20,839,630. UNP MP, Ashu Marasinghe, said that Mahinda Rajapaksa since the national legislature in 1970 had earned a total salary of Rs.13,550,255 while the official incomes of his sons Yositha and Namal as naval officer and MP was Rs.3,184,720 and Rs. 4,104,385 respectively. more..

Biggest drug bust: Magistrate allows police to detain suspects for questioning

Feb 11 (Island) Balapitiya Magistrate recently allowed the Ambalangoda police to detain three suspects arrested in connection with 20,904 kilos of heroin and 1,100 kilos of kerala ganja taken into custody. On Feb 3, the police took into custody, Mahesh Samantha (37) of Dampewatte, Kanda Mawatha, Madampagama. Officials of the Hikkaduwa Narcotics Bureau, acting on the tip off arrested yet another suspect, Jagath Priyantha (35) of Walawwatte, Kuleegoda, Madampagama more..

Ranil opens new chapter in Parliament with Ask the PM

Feb 11 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday moved to adopt a Commonwealth Parliamentary tradition in the House which allows members of the legislature to question the PM directly. The weekly feature will be included in the Order Paper as Prime Minister’s Question Time. Explaining the new feature introduced in the Sri Lanka Parliament, PM said he expects more MPs to participate. more..

Dengue Control Program in seven districts from today

Feb 11 (GDI) A three day Dengue Prevention Programme targeting seven high risk districts including the Western Province, will commence today. Programme will be conductged in Kegalle, Puttalam, Kurunegala, Vavuniya, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Ampara districts and in Western Province. Decision has been arrived at due to the increase in numbers of dengue related cases in January this year. Over 5,000 dengue related cases and 8 deaths were reported last month. more..

40 Lankan refugees return home

Feb 11 (TOI) Forty Sri Lankan refugees, some of whom have been living in Tamil Nadu since the early '90s, returned to Sri Lanka on Tuesday morning. The voluntary repatriation of these refugees from camps in Cheyyar, Puzhal, Gummudipoondi, Uchapatti, Mandapam, Thirumoorthy Nagar and other parts of Tamil Nadu is supported by Germany, along with the United Nations High Commi-ssioner for Refugees. UNHCR spokesperson Shuchita Mehta told TOI that the refugees, including 17 women, more..

‘President will never accept foreign judges’

Feb 11 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena and the govt would never accept foreign judges in the proposed court to be established in accordance with Oct. 1, 2015 Geneva Resolution to inquire into accountability issues during the final phase of the Vanni offensive, Minister Faizer Musthapha, PC, said. Minister Musthapha insisted that foreign judges wouldn’t be accommodated in the proposed court under any circumstances. more..

Don’t compromise on country first policy

Feb 11 (DM) When President Maithripala Sirisena came out of a virtual nowhere to be elected as the Executive President in the people’s silent revolution of Jan 8, last year he and other govt leaders pledged repeatedly that their policies would go beyond petty party politics and the principle would be the country first, the country second and the country third. Unfortunately after the August 17 General election and during the past few months, President Sirisena has made or has been compelled to make more..

Mayhem in yellow robes or true patriotism?

Feb 11 (DM) He is in the news again. Parading in yellow robes, portraying himself as a martyr of the present day and saviour of Sinhala Buddhists; Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thero, a Buddhist monk whose credentials are more of a homage to a defeated regime of corruption and deceit than a parade of a victorious army, played another one of his infamous ploys, and this time too, came out a loser. The country’s judiciary is no more enslaved by a ruling clan; its pride is no more more..

Investigations into killings of journalists dragging

Feb 11 (SL) In the last 25 years about 2,297 journalists and media staff have been brutally murdered and gone missing for doing nothing more than reporting on war, revolution, crime and corruption. Killers continue to act with impunity, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says in a new report. The worsening part of the killing of journalists is that the investigations are dragging and it takes more than five to ten years to bring more..

SL hotel minimum room rates unhealthy

Feb 11 (EN) Sri Lanka’s minimum room rate policy for star-class Colombo city hotels was an unhealthy practice that creates market distortions and is open to abuse, said Ajit Gunewardene, Deputy Chairman of John Keells. "Fixing prices as a govt policy is unhealthy, should not be done, and is not sustainable," declared Gunewardene, whose JKH group is a big hotel operater in SL & Maldives. more..

Govt moves Bill to introduce minimum wage

Feb 11 (Island) Govt presented a Bill in Parliament to set the national minimum monthly wage for all workers in any industry or service at Rs. 10,000, while the national minimum daily wage of a worker will be Rs. 400. Once the law was enacted, it would be mandatory for employers in all industry or service to pay the national minimum wage which should be the wage of a worker after deduction of all contributions of all sorts, more..

Megapolis: An ambivalent project?

Feb 11 (CT) The proposed Western Region Megapolis is driven by the govt as the panacea for the social, political, economic and environmental ills of the country. In their enthusiasm to liberate the country from stagnation, Megapolis is promoted as the change maker to change the destiny of Sri Lanka. It is a welcome gesture by the new govt seeking to connect Colombo with the rest of the world and be part of the global trade more..

JVP oppose 4,000% port fee increase

Feb 11 (Island) Govt’s decision to increase the entrance fees by 4,000 percent at the Colombo Port had caused many hardships to businessmen, JVP leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament. He said, "Under the new govt the entrance fee of the Colombo Port has been increased by 4000%. Nearly 12,000 persons use the ports daily. All these clients have been victimised as a result of this sudden increase. more..

A whale of a problem; Saving sea giants or saving industry

Feb 11 (ST) There was heated debate over the problem of saving whales off Sri Lanka from ship strikes as a three-day forum last week heard the faster speeds at which ships now travel pose a heightened danger to these huge endangered creatures. A major maritime organisation, however, declared none of its members had ever experienced a ship strike on a whale A busy shipping route runs through more..

CID probes handing over of elephants to Gota

Feb 11 (DN) The Attorney General informed Court that the CID has commenced an investigation into incidents where former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had handed over four elephant calves to former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and two other persons through a Presidential Decree (Sannasa). Senior State Counsel Dileepa Peiris with Dr. Awanthi Perera appearing on behalf of the Attorney General more..

SL shows interest in Indian combat aircraft

Feb 11 (IBT) Light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas is the multi-role light fighter that is in development with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and recently showcased its acrobatic skills successfully at Bahrain International Airshow 2016, a first such display outside India. Though the aircraft has been in development for some years now, India's southern neighbour Sri Lanka is said to be interested in LCA Tejas. more..

Investigate, not promote, ex-army chief: HRW

Feb 11 (HRW) The Sri Lankan govt’s appointment to parliament of the former army chief whose forces were implicated in widespread abuses contradicts pledges to investigate alleged war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 9, 2016, the UNP of PM Ranil Wickramasinghe appointed Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to parliament as a national list member for a seat vacated by the death of an incumbent. more..

GMOA dares govt to reveal probe report on alleged kidney racket

Feb 11 (Island) GMOA urged Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne to reveal the content of the report of the 5-member committee which looked into the alleged kidney transplant racket centering on SL and India. GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said that the Director General of Health Services Dr. Palitha Mahipala had said that he had no authority to release the report. He asked Minister to make public the probe report. more..

Children leave their old father naked in piggery

Feb 11 (Island) Gampaha police recently found an elderly father of four left naked in a shed adjoining a piggery by his children. Inspector Edirisinghe of the Gamapaha police with the help of other officers admitted him to hospital. One of the sons of the man is a businessman according to police. When the police asked his children to clean him a woman used hose in the piggery to wash him. All four children were asked to report to the police station and make statements. more..

Rotten political culture in Hambantota needs to be changed

Feb 11 (CT) We need to examine the nature of Sri Lanka’s election system with a focus on the party nomination procedures, who get the nominations at electoral and district levels, and whether the electors are disempowered by electing representatives from major parties to the parliament? The average electors have many concerns about the way their elected representatives (MPs) function once elected to office but these concerns are not often publicly expressed except by the very brave for fear more..