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Sri Lankan stocks end lower on global woes, rising rates

Feb 12 (Reuters) Shares edged down for the fifth straight session on Friday to close at a more than three-week low, in line with weaker regional peers, as investors stayed off risky assets on concerns over rising domestic interest rates. Asian shares fell for a sixth straight session on Friday as concerns about the health of European banks further threatened a global economy already under strain from falling oil prices and slowdown in China and other emerging markets. more..

U.S. Ambassador visits historic Grand Mosque in Colombo

Feb 12 (USE) Assalaamu alaykum to all of you. It is a great honor and privilege for me to come here to learn not only about the Grand Mosque, but also to learn about the 1200 years of history, of rich history of Islam in SL. Islam is a religion that has brought great culture and great understanding to the world. It has brought its views and its message to many different parts of the world: to Southeast Asia, to South Asia to more..

Govt to introduce post graduate course for Medical Nutrition this year

Feb 12 (Island) The Health Ministry in Collaboration with the Post Graduate Institute of Medicine (PGIM) is in the process of introducing a post graduate course in Medical Nutrition. Director PGIM, Prof. Janaka de Silva said that the course was scheduled to commence this year. PGIM was currently conducting an MSc programme in Nutrition, he said. Convenor Curriculum Development for the Course, and Consultant Medical Nutritionist, Dr Renuka Jayatissa said with the MSc course more..

IT sector salaries at entry level up on average: survey

Feb 12 (DM) Salaries of Sri Lanka’s IT and Business Process Management (BOM) sectors at the entry level have seen an uptick, a survey said. According to a compensation and benefit survey carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the country’s IT sector, salaries at entry level on average witnessed a higher rate of increase in comparison to those at senior positions. “... budgeted estimates for 2016 indicate likelihood of witnessing further upward movement of these pay levels,” more..

UN more than willing to accommodate Lankan govt's concerns

Feb 12 (ENS) The UN appears to be more than willing to accommodate the concerns of the Sri Lankan govt in regard to fulfilling the commitments that the latter had made to the UNHRC in Sept-Oct last year. The recent statements of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence, Pablo de Greiff, indicate an awareness of more..

Govt ready to obtain views of opposition regarding proposed pact with India

Feb 12 (Island) Minister Malik Samarawickrama told Parliament that the govt was ready to obtain the views of the opposition parties on the content of the proposed Economic and Technology Corporation Agreement (ETCA) with India. Responding to a question raised by Colombo District UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila, the Minister said the government would present its content to Parliament, intellectuals, professionals and the members of the business community. more..

Bahu wants JVP to haul corrupt Minister before the Commission

Feb 12 (DN) Newspapers reported that a very powerful minister who held a Ministerial portfolio during the previous regime was called to the Bribery and Corruption Commission on eight occasions but he did not turn up. He is postponing appearing before the Commission using his powers he holds in the current regime. Now it is up to the JVP to bring him before the law, Leader of the NLF, Dr. Wickramabahu Karunaratne said. He said that this powerful Minister in this Govt and more..

Citizens propose minimum educational qualifications for politicians

Feb 12 (EN) Sri Lankan citizens, long used to politicians with more brawn than brains, have proposed that a new constitution in the making stipulates minimum educational qualifications for candidates seeking election to legislative bodies. According to a report by the Citizens Initiative for Constitutional Change, citizens proposed a minimum A/L qualification for Parliamentary and Provincial Council candidates. more..

OUSU demands to reopen the OUSL

Feb 12 (DN) Open University Students’ Union (OUSU) staged a protest today demanding the authorities to reopen all the faculties of the Open University (OUSL). The protest demonstration was staged in front of the OUSL. However, the authorities have taken steps to reopen the Education faculty of OUSL today. “A protest was staged by the IUSF earlier, but the authorities didn’t show any positive response to our demands. Although the Education faculty was reopened today, more..

Cabinet approves 65,000 houses

Feb 12 (CT) The Cabinet on Wednesday approved a 65,000 housing project for Internally displaced people of the North and East. The govt has initiated the first phase of a plan to build 65,000 houses for the people affected by the war in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. The proposal was tabled by Minister D. M. Swaminathan. Earlier reports suggested that an unnamed Cabinet Minister who was expecting political and financial gain, was eyeing the tender award for this project. more..

Video: Unauthorised structures along coastal belt demolished

Feb 12 (DM) All unauthorised structures along the coastal belt from Dehiwala to Mount Lavinia were demolished today by the Coast Conservation Department (CCD) with the help of the Police and the Army. These unauthorized structures were demolished after giving prior notice to those who would be effected by it. Among the structures that were taken down were restaurants and trade-stalls and that the owners had been advised more..

Sri Lanka regulator appoints special auditor for jewellery exporter

Feb 12 (EN) Sri Lanka’s capital markets regulator has appointed Ernst & Young to audit the accounts of Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide after getting complaints its board of directors had misled shareholders and investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission said it got complaints regarding interim accounts for the September 2015 quarter and that the directors had misused “for the benefit of related parties” money from a recent rights issue. more..

TNA MP moves bill to ban bottom trawling

Feb 12 (ENS) A bill seeking a total ban on the destructive fishing method known as bottom trawling was moved by the TNA MP, M.A.Sumanthiran, in the Sri Lankan parliament on Wednesday. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that the bill will be to sent to Lanka’s nine Provincial Councils for their comment. Sumanthiran said on Thursday, that since fishing is a Central Subject as per the 13 th. Amendment of the Lankan constitution, there is no requirement that the consent of every Provincial Council more..

Video: MR opens new political office

Feb 12 (DM) Amidst speculations of the founding of a new party, former President Rajapaksa's new political and public relations office was opened at Nelum Mawatha, Battaramulla a short while ago. Rajapaksa and the Joint Opposition was using Abhayaramaya in Narahenpita as the venue for media conferences. However, there is an ongoing court case against the use of Abhayaramaya for political work. more..

No objections to Coorey as NP Governor: Sivajilingam

Feb 12 (DM) TNA Northern Provincial Councillor M.K. Sivajilingam said today they were not opposed to the appointment of Reginald Coorey as the Northern Province Governor because he was an experienced politician but they would have preferred a Tamil or a Muslim as the Northern Province Governor. He said in the past the govt had appointed a Sinhalese as the Northern Province Governor. “Personally we have no objection to the appointment of Reginald Coorey but more..

SLFP MPs, ministers must be here or there: MR

Feb 12 (DM) Ex-president and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa said today he hoped the SLFP MPs and ministers, who had joined the govt, would soon make up their mind as to which side they belonged. “The people voted for the SLFP to be either in the Government or in the Opposition,” he said at the opening of his public relations office at Nelum Mawatha in Jayanthipura, Battaramulla. Mr. Rajapaksa said there was no real opposition in Parliament though more..

SLFP to suspend party membership of 7

Feb 12 (AD) Central Committee of the SLFP has decided to suspend the party membership of seven Chairmen of Local Govt bodies with immediate effect. The committee, which convened today in Colombo under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena, has decided to commence disciplinary inquiries regarding the local councilors for allegedly acting against the party and its leadership. Central Committee also more..

Abortion racket in the plantations bared

Feb 12 (DN) A NGO conducting a programme to promote abortion among plantation sector women is reported to have distributed a sticker giving the names of several abortion clinics and their contact numbers throughout the plantation areas, Kotagala MOH Dr Janath Abeygunawardene has lodged a complaint to the IGP about this abortion racket requesting him to order an investigation to identify the culprits behind the racket. Reports said this organization had distributed more..

Govt assures commitment to consultation process

Feb 12 (CG) Govt assured that it remains committed to the consultation process takes place which will be used to make the final decision on the shape and form of the reconciliation mechanisms. Minister Mangala Samaraweera, speaking in Jaffna today, said that a Consultation Task Force will review and analyse the people’s input from across the island and will present Govt with a report that will also be made public. “I am aware that there are many here today who still have fears and doubts. more..

'Sri Lanka willing for international probe on war crimes'

Feb 12 (TOI) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday made it clear that his govt was not averse to international participation in investigating the alleged war crimes in his country, but said "final judgment will be made by the internal judicial system." Wickremesinghe who was in Guruvayur to offer prayers at the famous Sree Krishna Temple made these observations while talking to reporters. PM said representatives of the neighbouring more..

Thoughts on historic singing of national anthem

Feb 13 (CT) Singing of the National Anthem in both Sinhala and Tamil languages on National Independence Day is of crucial significance due to several major factors. First of all, it is a singular achievement for all progressive and democratic forces throughout the country and the world who had stood, and continue to stand for, the principles of equality, dignity, autonomy and security of all citizens of Lanka. It is an achievement for all those who respect unity in diversity, more..

Time for Tamil politicians to think of suffering Jaffna Muslims

Feb 13 (CT) Despite criticism at the slow pace of fulfilling election promises, tribute should be paid to President Sirisena for allowing the singing of the Tamil version of national anthem during the island’s 68th Independence Day celebrations. Addressing the ceremony to mark the event he called on all citizens to work collectively in harmony, friendship and brotherhood to face the decades ahead. This was a welcome gesture especially at a time when desperate racist political forces more..

A murder being unravelled

Feb 13 (SO) CID investigations into the disappearance of cartoonist cum journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, which was moving at a slow pace is now a hot topic, with the lable patriot and traitor on those connected to the incident. Investigations during the Rajapaksa regime appeased those in favour and humiliated others who opposed the regime. As the investigations progress, certain people are perturbed as to what is beginning more..

Non-interfering but emphasizing on realities

Feb 13 (CT) In comparison, the visit made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein to Sri Lanka a few days ago was more cordial than the visit made by his predecessor Navanethem Pillay in August 2013. During Navanethem Pillay's visit to the island in August 2013, former President Rajapaksa was away from the island touring Belarus. It was when Navanethem Pillay was completing her visit to the island that Mahinda Rajapaksa who returned from more..

Editorial: Remembering a great leader

Feb 13 (Island) A portrait of the late President D.B. Wijetunga was unveiled in Parliament on Thursday to mark his birth centenary. It will shine like a jewel in the Diyawanna Augean Stables, the cleaning of which requires many a statesman like him. The loss of DB, as he was fondly known to one and all, is felt more than ever. It is only matured, patriotic leaders of his calibre sans greed for power who are equal to the task of hoisting the country from the present mire of dirty politics. more..

Anuradha dejected over poor organizing

Feb 13 (CT) Marathoner Anuradha Indrajith Cooray ended the day in disappointment and dejection as he was placed second after leading the marathon up to the last 100m. This unfortunate incident was due to a miscommunication and mismanagement of the organizing committee as well as Sri Lanka team management. Cooray who was leading the race with ease was told that they should run a lap inside the stadium after more..

Secret behind Fonseka’s re-entry

Feb 13 (CT) Whenever Sarath Fonseka emerges in politics, those opposed to him appear excited and confused. Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka is a sensation in every field he treads because those who envy him view this character as a sensational figure, may be with fear. Fonseka is outspoken and that had been to his disadvantage on many occasions. Be that as it may, when Sarath Fonseka was engaged at Temple Trees signing the agreement with Ranil Wickremesinghe, more..

Death threat on democracy

Feb 13 (NS) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s shocking revelation to the Parliament that he received a death threat demanding that he give recognition to the Joint Opposition as an independent group in Parliament is perhaps a first of its kind in the history of our parliament. The call could have been originated not necessarily by an MP representing the Joint Opposition. It could well have been made by anyone sympathizing with the cause of the Joint Opposition or merely by an outsider more..

JVP press conference

Upali Wijewardene a native son whose vision embraced the world

Feb 13 (Island) It was almost 33 years ago on 13th Feb 1983 that Phillip Upali Wijewardene founder Chairman of Upali Group of Companies considered the business tycoon of Asia disappeared in his Private Learjet plane with his business associates and staff. Upali was on his way to Sri Lanka to celebrate his 45th birthday which as on 17th Feb. This incident sent shock waves throughout almost the entire world. Govt of SL took steps to trace him via SL Navy and 7th Fleet of U.S Navy more..

Constitution making: Avoiding the pitfalls of past mistakes

Feb 13 (SO) The govt has promised a new constitution this year. It was only last year that the current constitution was updated. Although the project was announced with much fanfare in the wake of victory, it fizzled out unceremoniously, leaving behind a makeshift document. Presumably, it is that fiasco that has prompted the rulers to usher in 2016 with a brand new constitution. In doing so, it would be wise to reflect on the reasons that sabotaged last year’s effort. more..

Entrepreneurs to get boost from President’s Germany visit

Feb 13 (FT) Cabinet this week approved a slew of agreements to be signed during President Maithripala Sirisena’s visit to Germany, which kicks off on Monday, where the Government is expected to push for increased engagement for economic growth including assistance for regaining GSP+. During the Cabinet meeting held last Wednesday, members approved a MoU between SL and German Association more..

Colombo soon to see indigo

Feb 13 (ST) HSBC Colombo Fashion Week is to paint Colombo blue later this month. Indigo is this year’s inspired theme as the country’s largest fashion festival returns to the ramp for the 13th time. Announcing its arrival, President of CFW Ajai Vir Singh unveiled an exciting collection of events that will unfold from Feb 20–26. Celebrated Italian designer Gaetano Navarra of Milan Fashion Week fame will be at CFW this year along with the popular Bangladeshi designer Bibi Russell. more..

Mathew became a superstar: Julian Bolling

Feb 13 (NS) Sri Lanka’s swimmers proved to be a sensation at the ongoing South Asian Games (SAG) in India and according to one of the team’s coaches Julian Bolling the Sri Lankans swam faster because they encountered competition, unlike back at home. Bolling, one of four coaches who accompanied the swimmers, praised all the swimmers and refused to single out any member as the find of the tour. In an email interview Nation did with Bolling, he stressed that the authorities should more..

India thrash Sri Lanka to level series

Feb 13 (CI) On a dry surface in a dusty Ranchi ground, India's top order moved into customary home form, and their bowlers exposed a fragile Sri Lanka top order. Shikhar Dhawan was bruiser-in-prime, unleashing an early shellacking that brought him 51, and set the team on course to a big total. They reached 196 for 6, thanks to helpful hands from the top five, which today included a pinch-hitting Hardik Pandya. more..

Aitken Spence records Rs. 1.1b as PBT in 3Q

Feb 13 (FT) Leading conglomerate Aitken Spence posted its interim results to the CSE. The blue-chip’s financial results for the quarter that ended on 31 December 2015 saw profit-before-tax decrease by 25.3% to Rs. 1.1 b while profit attributable to equity holders decreased by 26.7% to Rs. 637 m. Revenue for the quarter fell by 14.6% to Rs. 6.7 b. The diversified group’s nine-month results showed profit-before-tax decreasing by 28.3% to Rs. 2.6 b and profit attributable to more..

Dhoni's quick hands, and the low full toss fusillade

Feb 13 (CI) Thisara Perera had had a modest evening with the ball until he was called upon to bowl the penultimate over, which completely turned his figures around. He bowled two wides amid his first three deliveries, and then the wickets came. Hardik Pandya slapped a shin-height full toss to long-on, before Suresh Raina lap-swept the next full toss aerially to short fine leg. Yuvraj Singh only just came to the crease, but tried to smack Perera's final ball out of the ground. more..

Possession of baby elephant: AG names Uduwe Thera as a suspect

Feb 13 (DN) Attorney General (AG) has given instructions to CID that Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera be named as a suspect and necessary steps be taken to produce him in Court for allegedly possessing a baby elephant without a valid licence. AG observed that there are sufficient evidence to initiate criminal proceedings against Ven. Dhammaloka Thera under Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance. more..

V-Awards to fete volunteers

Feb 13 (DN) V-Awards was initiated to recognise SL's volunteers islandwide, who are engaged in volunteer activities out their own free will to increasepositive changes in the society. It being the 3rd edition of honouring inspiring acts of volunteerism, Grand Finale of V-Awards 2015 will be held today at Nelum Pokuna Theatre. Renowned personalities such as Kumar Sangakkara, Pooja Umashankar and Lahiru Perera have endorsed this endeavor as Goodwill Ambassadors. more..

Storm clouds gather over a nation

Feb 13 (AA) In a country where astrological predictions continue to determine the life of many and politicians hardly make important moves without consulting their favourite soothsayer, superstitions often sway people. So when President Sirisena's band of faithfuls were preparing the nation to celebrate the completion of his first year in office on Jan 8, a music video eulogising him suddenly surfaced in public. Not only did Sri Lanka's plethora of electronic media air it, more..