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Sri Lanka 2nd in SAG Tennis

Feb 12 (Island) Sri Lanka tennis team emerged second with six bronze medals behind India at the 12th South Asian Games. India won 5 golds and 5 silvers and no bronze medals. Out of the 10 bronze medals, 4 were won by Pakistan, third place winner. All Assam Tennis Association, Chachal, VIP Road, Guwahai was the venue for tennis of SAG this year. Sri Lanka’s Harshana Godamanna lost to Aisam Qureshi, seeded 3rd and a current world rank of 1,213, in 2nd round/quarter-final 6-4, 7-6 (1). more..

Suranjaya wins 200 metres gold at SA Games

Feb 12 (Island) Vinoj Suranjaya clocked 21.00 seconds, his personal best, to win the gold medal of the men’s 200 metres while Sri Lanka’s men’s and women’s 4x400 metres relay teams had to settle for silver at the South Asian Games. Sanjeewa Lakmal won silver with a time of 3:54.16 seconds in the men’s 1,500 metres. Gayanthika Abeyratne (4:25.75s) and Nilani Ratnayake (4:26.70s), trainees of Sajith Jayalal, shared the silver and bronze in the women’s 1,500 metres. more..

Swimmers seek more support

Feb 12 (CT) A total of 21 SL swimmers competing at the South Asian Games (SAG) together with a 450 plus contingent produced a total of 39 medals including 12 gold, 16 silver and 11 bronze medals. Mathew Abeysinghe and Kimiko Raheem were the stars while the rest too produced medals. Abeysinghe also broke Bolling's record of six gold medals, set in 1991, at the start of SAG said "now it's high time for authorities to look at more..

Sri Lanka port cargo volume hits new high

Feb 12 (EN) Container volumes at Sri Lanka’s Colombo port hit a new high of 22,422 twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) a day Tuesday, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) said. The port handled 22 vessels with 10 of them by the state-run SLPA terminals. Of the total 22,422 containers handled at Colombo port Tuesday, 9,875 had been done at SLPA terminals with the rest at the two private terminals. Previous highest volume of 22,186 containers a day was in 28 of April 2015, more..

Hayleys posts Rs. 1.5 billion in Q3 profits

Feb 12 (Island) Hayleys PLC posted Rs. 1.5 billion in Profit before Tax (PBT) for the quarter. PBT for the nine months ending Dec 2015 was at Rs. 4.2 billion, whilst turnover reached Rs. 67.6 billion. Transportation and Logistics, Purification, Agriculture, Construction Materials, Industrial Inputs and Leisure segments of the business recorded growth during the period under review. Group's results also reflect the challenges faced by Plantations & Hand Protection sectors during more..

Sri Lanka IT professionals insist on greater transparency in ETCA

Feb 12 (LBO) IT professionals have raised concerns over the lack of transparency and industry involvement in formulating the proposed Indo-Lanka Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement. President of SL Information Technology Professionals Association Indika Gamage said that govt has placed a huge commitment without reputed statistical or contextual data to back the signing of ETCA. more..

Foreign policy implementation should be led by the Foreign Ministry

Feb 12 (DM) Sunday Times had a headline recently that said with immediate effect that a Committee headed by Charitha Ratwatte a one time UNP Chairman will oversee the working of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). The committee would be called the Global Affairs Committee. While this story is still to be officially confirmed, there is no question PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s understanding of international politics is outstanding and he is held in high esteem by senior politicians more..

Migrant labour reforms: Tackling the Family Background Report

Feb 12 (DM) The factors driving migration are many; some migrate in search of better economic opportunities, whilst others are forced to migrate owing to conflicts, natural disasters, etc. In the case of Sri Lanka, temporary labour migration of workers in search of greater opportunities and a better life continues unabated, with over 300,000 leaving the country each year in search of employment abroad. Of these, nearly 40% are females, with the vast majority (80%) being domestic workers, more..

Video: Doing our best to live up to expectations of PM: Harsha

Feb 12 (LBO) Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva assures that although there is some frustration at PMs level with regards to Foreign Ministry performance, they are doing their utmost to prove themselves. “We are a new and liberal govt and we need to get on with it. Most importantly the foreign office must deliver the message of the govt” he said. “There are two sides to this story. There is a certain level of frustration at PMs level and more..

Pune win a big boost: Chamara

Feb 12 (TI) The victory over India at Pune in the opening match of the T20I series has given Sri Lanka the extra confidence on the road to the World T20, senior batsman Chamara Kapugedera said. “The win was a big boost and equally impressive was the way the junior players performed for the team. The young players who have played here will benefit from it. Forget about the juniors, even some of us senior players hadn’t played in India for a long time… So it’s very good,” more..

It's perfect time to stun Mary Kom: Anusha

Feb 12 (PTI) Sri Lanka's first woman boxer to win a gold in an International meet, Anusha Kodituwakku today threw an open challenge to India's MC Mary Kom, saying she is confident of winning against the five-time world champion at the 12th South Asian Games. The London Olympics bronze medalist is coming back from a long layoff and she's yet to get back to her best and the Lankan experienced boxer today said it's the perfect time to stun the Indian boxing queen. more..

'No final decision on purchasing aircraft'

Feb 12 (DM) SL Air Force said that it had not taken a final decision to purchase aircraft from India, Pakistan or any other country. SLAF Spokesman said they were still carrying out feasibility studies to make a decision on purchasing multi-role fighter aircraft to replace its MiG and Kfir fleet. “We are looking at options but we have not pushed to purchase Indian Tejas or China-Pakistani JF-17 fighter jets as claimed previously. more..

State Vesak festival in Hambantota

Feb 12 (NS) Cabinet has approved the proposal to hold this year’s State Vesak festival at the premises of Naigala Rajamha Viharaya in Hambantota. The proposal was made by Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe. Naigala Rajamha Vihara is a historically and archaeologically important place of worship situated in the Weeraketiya DS in Hambantota District. A special committee had already been appointed to handle all arrangements pertaining to the State Vesak festival and more..

Smoke bomb goes off at BIA

Feb 12 (DM) A smoke bomb had gone off at the BIA this evening (11), inside the hand held baggage of a transit passenger, airport sources said. No one was injured as a result, they said. They said the bomb was found inside the bag of the passenger from Bangladesh who was bound for Doha. Airport security staff had detected the bomb when the bag was passing through the scanner and it had gone off as they were inspecting it. The passenger had arrived on Mihin Lanka flight MJ 502. more..

US to promote investigative journalism in SL

Feb 12 (PTI) US has decided to give a grant of USD 500,000 to organisations in Sri Lanka that will promote investigative journalism and build the capacity of journalists in the country. Objective of such a massive grant, State Department said, is to increase the capacity of SL media and strengthened investigative journalism. Grant would not be given to journalists directly but to the organisations which can work with them more..

Tough decisions against SLFP dissidents

Feb 12 (DN) The SLFP is to take tough decisions against party dissidents at a crucial Central Committee meeting to be held today at the Presidential Secretariat under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena. Tough decisions are expected to be taken against SLFP dissidents who are supporting former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and trying to make divisions in the party by making statements against the party and its leadership at this meeting, reliable sources said. more..

MR opens political office

Feb 12 (CT) UPFA MP Mahinda Rajapaksa will open a new political office at Nelum Mawatha, Jayanthipura, Battaramulla today for use as a base to stage his political come-back campaign. Though Rajapaksa is entitled to an official residence and office being a former President he has to date not received those facilities. With a Court injunction placed on conducting of press conferences and other political meetings at Ambhayarama Temple at Narahenpita, Rajapaksa has decided more..

UN special rapporteur on truth and justice asks Sri Lanka not to be hasty

Feb 12 (ENS) Pablo de Greiff, UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence, has said that SL should not be hasty in trying to meet its commitments to UNHRC in regard to issues of transitional justice. “There is no country that can accomplish all this is a short period of time. Sri Lanka has embarked on an ambitious process that should not be prepared, let alone implemented, in haste,” more..

Sri Lankan maid sentenced to be stoned will return next year

Feb 12 (DM) 45-year-old Sri Lankan woman whose death sentence by stoning for adultery, was commuted by Saudi govt last December, will return to SL in the middle of next year after completing her term of imprisonment, Foreign Employment Bureau (FEB) stated. The woman had been working in Saudi Arabia as a housemaid when she had been convicted for adultery with a SL youth employed there. As a result of SL govt’s intervention pleading sympathetic consideration in the case, more..

Duty on imported rice to be increased from Rs.35 to Rs.50

Feb 12 (Island) Customs duty on a kilogram of imported rice would be increased from Rs. 35 to Rs.50 govt said. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that duty hike had been proposed by Minister Ravi Karunanayake. Gazette Notification No. 1952/10 dated Feb 1, 2016 issued under the Revenue Protection Act to increase customs duty on a kilogram of imported rice from Rs.35 to Rs.50 was approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday, and it had been submitted for parliamentary approval. more..

New AG: CC’s role limited to endorsing president’s choice

Feb 12 (Island) The Constitutional Council (CC) has only endorsed a presidential recommendation in appointing Jayantha Jayasuriya as Attorney General. President Sirisena recommended him for the post and sought the CC’s approval. Earlier he had submitted three names expecting the CC to pick one of them, but one half of the CC refused to do so, reminding the President that the onus was on him to recommend a name, more..

Sarath Fonseka and parliamentary politics

Feb 12 (DM) Even his strongest critics will admit that Sarath Fonseka was THE MAN to lead the Army in the national effort to rid the country of the scourge of terrorism. He was clearly a necessary element but certainly not a sufficient one. He believes otherwise of course. However if you imagine Fonseka as Army Commander during a Chandrika Kumaratunga presidency heavily under the sway of LTTE sympathizers disguised as federalists or under Ranil Wickremesinghe, you would quickly conclude more..

Peaceful youth revolt in the US

Feb 12 (DM) At the primaries for the United States presidential election in November this year, an unprecedented youth revolution is emerging with young adults both females and males supporting the 74-year-old democratic party candidate Bernie Sanders. In the New Hampshire primary election last Tuesday, Mr. Sanders -- who has vowed to dismantle Wall street and corporate America -- trounced the veteran front-runner Hilary Clinton with a 22 per cent majority. more..

BBS actions raise questions on buddhist discipline

Feb 12 (SL) The recent incident involving the General Secretary of the BBS organisation Ven. Galagodatte Gnanasara Thera has become a topic that has come up for discussion in society. The case regarding the disappearance of veteran journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, who disappeared on 24h January 2010 is currently being taken up for hearing at the Homagama Magistrate Court. As it is a special case, more..

Karu hands probe to security officials

Feb 12 (CT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya will meet top security officials today to discuss the death threats he had received asking him to recognize the Joint Opposition as an independent group. He said he had informed his security officials of the death threats he received via the phone on the very same day and they were in the process of taking necessary action immediately. "Threats and intimidation are not new to me. more..

Tragedy at sea: Skipper survives to tell tale

Feb 12 (ST) It was a routine day at sea for Leelasena Wanigabadu (59) as skipper of the fishing trawler Sagara Putha-3. He and his crew were on their third day into a 15-day-long fishing stint after taking off from the Galle fishing harbour. Skipper Wanigabadu, with around 40 years of experience as a fisherman and five crew members were off Pothuvil when the sea turned rough. “It was nothing unusual and we decided to anchor more..

European parliament delegates meet Jaffna Commander

Feb 12 (GDI) Two delegates of the European Parliament during a tour to the Jaffna peninsula called at the Security Force Headquarters - Jaffna (SFHQ-J) and had a brief exchange of views with the newly-appointed Commander, SFHQ-J, Major General Mahesh Senanayake on Wednesday. During the cordial meeting, Major General Senanayake presented a brief account on the current security status and fast developing more..

President discusses issues related to coconut & Palmyrah products

Feb 12 (PSL) A group of representatives of the Colombo Trade Association and the Federation of the coconut and Palmyrah products Co-operative Societies of the North and North West met President Maithripala Sirisena today (11). During the discussion the representatives apprised the President regarding the issues and problems pertaining to their respective businesses. The entrepreneurs requested the President to more..

IMF puts conditions to decide on Sri Lanka’s request

Feb 12 (CG) The IMF says approving Sri Lanka’s request for fresh funding will depend on some key conditions. Gerry Rice, Director at the IMF Communications Department said that the authorities in Sri Lanka have expressed interested in a Fund supported program as one option to address the balance of payments, pressures that they face. Rice said that the IMF is considering the options and that will depend more..

Trade unions to move SC against Bills seeking to provide relief to workers

Feb 12 (Island) Following the presentation in Parliament two bills to set the national minimum monthly wage and to pay budgetary relief allowance to the private sector employees, Private Sector Trade Union Alliance (PSTUA) said that they would move the judiciary against the two bills as there were several lapses therein. Leaders of the private sector trade unions which represent the National Labour Advisory Council and more..

Teacher kneeler invited as chief guest to sports-meet

Feb 12 (DM) Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) has requested the Education Ministry to inquire as to why the Navagaththegama Navodya School Principal had invited former UPFA North-Western provincial councillor Ananda Sarath Kumara -- who was remanded for forcing a female teacher to kneel down before him last June -- for the school’s inter-house sports-meet. CTU General Secretary Joseph Stalin said politician who was charged with more..

Govt considers including iris recognition in new IDs

Feb 12 (Island) Govt is considering including iris recognition which is an automated method of biometric identification that uses mathematical pattern-recognition techniques of one or both of the irises of an individual’s eyes, in the proposed digital national identity card, Minister S.B. Nawinna told Parliament. UNP MP Buddhika Pathirana pointed out that including finger prints of NIC holders was now out-dated and the developed countries more..

Mahinda ready to slit his throat if allegations are proven

Feb 12 (CG) Former President Rajapaksa says he is ready to slit his throat if allegations that he has millions of US Dollars hidden in foreign accounts are proven. Rajapaksa said this when he opened his new office in Battaramulla today. Minister Mangala Samaraweera had last year claimed that Rajapaksas hold assets worth over USD 18 billion in foreign countries. Rajapaksa said that if the allegations are true then more..

Ministry says fishermen agree to ban on illegal fishing methods

Feb 12 (Island) The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Ministry announced that the local fishermen had agreed to a circular banning the illegal fishing methods of using Laila and Surukku nets from February 21. Ministry media spokesman W.M.D Wanninayake said that after Feb 21, the length of the net should not exceed 225 m, the width of the eyes of nets should not exceed two and half inches, height should not exceed 25m and the nets should include a pocket. more..

Shaky strategic management dissipates FCID’s purpose

Feb 12 (CT) Remanding VIPs on reports from the FCID is the hottest topic today. In April, last year, Mr. Basil Rajapaksa (BR) was arrested at the airport on his return from a sojourn abroad and remanded on some charges little known to the people who witnessed the ailing ex-minister carried between hospital and Court in an ambulance, creating deep sympathy in the public mind. A judicial hearing into BR’s alleged crimes has not begun in earnest so far while the sympathy created for more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Wele Suda still in business: CID

Feb 12 (DM) In a facts report on the money laundering inquiry against Samantha Kumara alias Wele Suda and seven others, the CID informed Court that Wele Suda had continued to speak to drug dealers through a mobile phone and was involved in drug trafficking while in the Welikada prison. It sought court permission to record a statement of an inmate Suranga Sampath on the incident and informed Court that Wele Suda could be penalized under 1979 Prevention of more..

Don’t go beyond boundaries

Feb 12 (CT) Parliament was informed on Wednesday (10) that certain clauses in the Bhikku Kathikawath (Registration) Bill, which led to many controversies, were inconsistent with some provisions in the Constitution, thereby making it necessary to seek the approval of the people at a referendum along with a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Supreme Court has determined that certain clauses of the Bill are inconsistent with Articles 9,10,12,109, & 14(1) of Constitution. more..

FM seeks approval to pay Sobitha Thera's hospital bills

Feb 12 (DM) A supplementary estimate was presented to Parliament to seek its approval to spend a sum of Rs 17.2 million to settle the outstanding bills for the emergency medical treatment of the late Venerable Maduluwawe Sobitha Nayaka Thera in Singapore. This amount is to be spent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sought approval of the House to spend Rs 18.8 million to purchase more..

Vijayakala denies refusing to hoist national flag

Feb 12 (AD) State Minister of Child Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran today categorically rejected as completely untrue reports claiming that she refused to hoist the Sri Lankan national flag at a function in Jaffna. The State Minister said that neither was she invited to hoist the national flag nor did she refuse to do so. She charged that such news is being created to espouse racism and blamed certain racist MPs in parliament over the issue. Maheswaran stated that she would deliver more..