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Sri Lanka’s chances to retain Asia Cup, ICC World T20 look slim

Feb 21 (CC) Sri Lanka may be the defending champions of Asia Cup and also the ICC Word T20, but looking at the side picked for the two tournaments, it looks almost certain that they will not be able to defend either title this time around. For starters, it will be Lasith Malinga leading the side. Granted, Malinga did a phenomenal job taking over captaincy in the middle of the ICC World T20 2014 and leading Sri Lanka to the title, but things have changed drastically since then. more..

China wants 1,000 acres in H’thota

Feb 21 (DM) China had requested for a 1000 acre block of land in Hambantota to set up an investment zone, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He said more Chinese investments were coming in to Sri Lanka. “A Chinese company is interested in starting a ship building project in Hambantota as well,” he said. While citing that the Andhra Pradesh State Govt had given a 10,000 acre block of land to China, he said Sri Lanka would lose investors if it misses opportunities. more..

Govt says it has strong international support

Feb 21 (CG) Govt says it has strong international support as a result of the measures taken to establish democracy in the country. UNP MP and Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that the Govt has been able to bridge the gap between all communities. He urged the public to protect the Govt and give it time as it rebuilds the country. Minister said that UNP could have formed a Govt on its own after the Parliamentary election last year. more..

Palaly Airport project to go ahead

Feb 21 (SO) The development of the Palaly Airport as a regional airport is next in line under the government’s infrastructure development program for the Northern Province, Minister D.M. Swaminathan said. Commenting on the objections raised by NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi said the govt will go ahead with the proposed project. Early last week, the Chief Minister and certain NPC Ministers raised objections to the project more..

Domestics challenge gazette notification

Feb 21 (SL) Domestic Workers Union has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the omission of local domestic workers from the gazette notification that was published on January 18. They state that the minimum wage for those drawing a monthly salary should be Rs. 10,000 and the minimum daily wage should be Rs. 400. The gazette notification also states that the stipulated minimum wage is applicable for all those who have a written or a verbal agreement with the employers. more..

By last night, 7000 Indian and Lankan pilgrims on Kachchativu island

Feb 21 (ST) More than 7,000 devotees from India and Sri Lanka had gathered in Kachchativu by last night to attend annual St. Anthony’s mass to be held today. The pilgrims had started arriving shortly after noon and more are expected this morning. Around 300 priests and nuns were among the crowd. Earlier in the day around 500 Lankan devotees who had set out for the feast from Kurikattuwan jetty were stranded for hours more..

Under-utilised projects of former regime to be put to use

Feb 21 (SO) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said President Sirisena and Ministers from SLFP and UNP had agreed to work together to use the development projects, implemented during the previous regime and idling now. A plan would be put into place to use them, he said. Wickremesinghe said as the then Opposition Leader, he criticised the way the former govt led by Mahinda Rajapaksa invested public money on projects, with no immediate benefit to country. more..

Air Force says jets over Jaffna for training

Feb 21 (SL) Sri Lanka Air Force said the fighter jets seen over Jaffna last week was part of a training exercise. Air force spokesman, Group Captain Chandima Alwis said the training exercise was conducted together with the Sri Lanka Navy. Jaffna media reports stated that the air force jets seen over former LTTE controlled areas in the North last week had created fear among the residents in the area. The residents were used to hearing sounds of fighter jets over the area during the war. more..

US$ 50m underground pipeline to transport jet fuel to BIA: CPC

Feb 21 (ST) Govt is to construct a US$ 50 million underground pipeline to transport aviation fuel from Muthurajawela storage facility to Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), said Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Chairman T.C. Jayasinghe. Tenders will be called for within the next two weeks for the project scheduled to start in June and end within an estimated two years from the date of commencement. more..

Locations to be identified for power plants

Feb 21 (SL) Minister Ranjith Siyabalapitiya has instructed the Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA) to identify large areas/locations to set up 500MW solar power plants. He has told officials that his ministry is ready to assist them with helicopters in identifying locations that they can use for constructing large solar power plants. He has met officials of the CEB, SEA and Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) to review the plan in this regard and stressed the importance of more..

Anton Jones passes away

Feb 21 (DM) Veteran singer Anton Jones who has excelled in the Sri Lankan music scene for more than five decades, passed away today at the age of 79, Sri Lanka Singers Association announced a short while ago. Anton who was born on June 3, 1937 in Hulstdorf, had released almost 40 cassettes and 10 CDs. Anton Jones who had also worked as a stenographer for a state bank for 35 years, became popular following hits like Mini Gawuma, Kanthoruwa Kanthoruwa, Maru Sira, more..

Arrest me if you can!

Feb 21 (CT) Former Ambassador to Russia Udayangana Weeratunga appointed by his cousin, former President Rajapaksa, challenged the Govt and demanded they meet him either in Ukraine or at the Russian Foreign office to bring to a closure the allegations against him with regard to the arms deal he is alleged to have had with the pro Russian rebels in Ukraine several years back. “My financial assets have been frozen more..

Video: Rohitha Rajapaksa releases first song

Feb 21 (AM) Former President's third and youngest son Rohitha Rajapaksa has releaded his first song and video track titled Manmula Wela. The song tells the story of a lost love and its lyrics and the melody are also by Rohitha Rajapaksa. He is a Post Graduate student, reading for his Mathematical Optimization of Space Debris Mitigation and Strategy Analysis. Pasan Liyanage of Redfox has produced the track while the video was created by Zero Gravity Creatives. more..

'Chamal Rajapaksa witnessed MR handing over party leadership to Sirisena'

Feb 21 (AM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa handed over SLFP leadership to President Maithripala Sirisena after discussions at the Speaker's residence, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said. He said that no one made threats and everything happened in an amicable manner. He revealed that there were a number of party seniors at the Speaker's residence when Sirisena arrived there. Rajapaksa, Sirisena and the then Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa went upstairs. more..

Greed and need at heart of Thotalanga evictions

Feb 21 (ST) The govt tried to explain why it sent in dozers to demolish scores of makeshift homes amid scenes of shrieking women confronting police, explaining most of the residents had other homes. Almost 350 residents of unauthorised homes built down Ferguson Road, Thotalanga, an area known as Kajima Watte, were evicted by UDA this week amidst disputed claims that authorities had given prior notice. more..

Basil comes in from the cold to build MR’s nest on SLFP branch

Feb 22 (ST) Basil Rajapaksa has been out in the cold for some time but when the heat is on and the family sweat begins to flow from every pore, blood not only becomes thicker than water but turns viscid to become sticky syrup hard to remove. It’s time for the prodigal sibling to return home to the family fold. For a man who is out on bail after having served time in remand for over three months last year on a charge of misappropriating Divi Neguma Funds; for a man who last week invoked more..

The great culture of Tamils oppressing & killing Tamils

Feb 22 (CT) Chelvanayakam and Prabhakaran are two sides of the same Tamil coin : Chelvanayakam laid the ideological and the political foundations for the Vadukoddai war and Prabhakaran executed it. Chelvanayakam was acclaimed as the father of the Tamils (Thanthai) and the separatist movement and Prabhakaran became the first born son of the Vadukoddai Resolution that took to violence with fiendish glee. Chelvanayakam promised to give more security to the Tamils by passing more..

'New party will strengthen the govt'

Feb 22 (SO) With a new political party in the making and the country heading for LG elections, Sunday Observer sat face to face with Minister S.B. Dissanayake to talk about the future of SLFP and the govt and the upcoming elections, in the light of the new political party that will be initiated by former President Rajapaksa. Q: What impact do you think the Mahinda Rajapaksa breakaway faction have at the upcoming LG elections? more..

Strange relationship

Feb 22 (CT) This is an anthology of twenty one short stories dealing with various topics and various places in Sri Lanka and a few in Toronto. An overview of the backgrounds of some of the stories in this collection is given by the author himself in the foreword. The readers will have an idea of the customs and traditions of Sri Lankan Tamils and their efforts to preserve them, wherever they are living now. I went through all the stories and found that the author has painted a vivid picture of more..

Matthew Abeysinghe’s most frightening moment

Feb 22 (SO) Record setting Sri Lankan swimmer Matthew Abeysinghe had to throw in everything he had as he was faced with a choice to either give up anchoring the 4X100 relay event at the concluded South Asian Games in Guwahati, India or put an end to the seemingly eternal dominance of the host country. Abeysinghe found himself virtually lost at the deep end, the last man while the rest of the competitors were way ahead when he took the final lap in the 4x100 freestyle relay. more..

'I don’t have a good working relationship with Arjuna'

Feb 22 (CT) Deputy Minister of Ports and Shipping Nishantha Muthuhettigama said even though there was no satisfactory working relationship between the Minister Arjuna Ranatunga and himself and many misunderstandings and miscommunications as well, both try to work together for the ministry and the country. Q: What are your duties as the Deputy Minister of Ports and Shipping? more..

In a Nutshell

Feb 22 (SL) Guess who is back in business these days? It’s none other than the one time monitoring angel of all that was external in the former regime, Sour-gin. Reports reaching Colombo is that Sour-gin has recommenced business activities and this time around from My-three’s hometown in the Parakarama Land. The former blue eyed boy of Ma-hinder who turned truant and joined the Yahapalanaya lot promising to spill the beans about the former Royals, it is learnt, has decided more..

Protect freedom of the wild ass

Feb 22 (SL) The TV anchorman, who revealed his temptation at hurling a gadol baage - half brick – on Sri Lankan operatic soprano Kishani Jayasinghe, has been hit by a ton of bricks. Kishani Jayasinghe, recipient of high international acclaim as a soprano, gave a spell-binding rendition of the old Lankan favourite Danno Budunge in operatic style at the Independence Day cultural celebrations on Galle Face Green, which was not to the liking of a Sinhala TV presenter. more..

Satana Sirasa

CSE doing better than most regional stock exchanges says CSE, CEO

Feb 22 (SO) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has not recorded a net foreign outflow and its performance is not as bad as many regional Stock Exchanges, CEO, CSE, Rajeeva Bandaranaike said. Despite a tough global environment the CSE has performed well unlike other markets in the region such as the Chinese, Hong Kong and Singapore markets, which recorded a significant fall in the recent past, he said. CSE recorded a 10-12% fall in recent weeks which market analysts attribute more..

Triumph & Disaster: Rajapaksa Years - Part I

Feb 22 (Island) At first, they sought to wield influence through their support to the LTTE. The presence of pro-Western UNP govts under the Presidency of CBK was also reassuring. Rajiva’s book is replete with facts and figures demonstrating the mutually-reinforcing relationship that existed in particular between the CBK-Ranil Wickremesinghe regime, the LTTE, Western powers, sections of the UN, and interventionist NGOs – both national and international. more..

Today is Navam Poya: What Meditation is not

Feb 22 (DN) Meditation is a word. You have heard this word before, or you would never have picked up this book. The thinking process operates by association, and all sorts of ideas are associated with the word meditation. Some of them are probably accurate and others are hogwash. Some of them pertain more properly to other systems of meditation and have nothing to do with Vipassana practice. Before we proceed, more..

Editorial: ETCA and mandates

Feb 22 (Island) The GMOA has annoyed many a govt leader by opposing the controversial Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) to be signed with India. Hardly a day passes without some self-important ruling party potentate venting his spleen on doctors. Minister Lakshman Kiriella has told the Sunday Divaina, that the govt does not care about those who are without a popular mandate and is planning to make a public display of its strength by holding a rally next month. more..

The Lackey tag and a prime minister’s anger

Feb 22 (ST) These are curious times indeed. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his supporters who treated the SL media and the legal system as their family hunting ground are struggling to emerge as newfound libertarians. We witness with enormous skepticism their strutting and fretting on the political stage to protect the propriety of appointment to the Office of the Attorney General and (quite piquantly) to safeguard media freedoms. It was once a great game of Rajapaksa regime more..

SLC claims that they owe no money for the Sooriyawewa project

Feb 22 (ST) Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Mohan de Silva is of the view that they do not have monetary obligations for the construction of the Sooriyawewa Stadium, in Hambantota. De Silva said “Initially, the cricket ground which was to be developed in Hambantota was not an elaborate one. It was going to contain only the basics which were needed to host an international game. more..

Indian fishworkers’ forum wants 4th round of bilateral talks to be held soon

Feb 22 (Hindu) National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) said the fourth round of bilateral talks between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka should be held without any delay. Chairperson of NFF, M. Elango said Sri Lanka had detained 81 boats of fishermen from TN and Union Territory of Puducherry since last February and 27 fishermen have been under the custody of SL authorities. “The boats are all beyond repair. Since all these were bought through private loans, the fishermen owners who are of more..

Army felicitates SAG achievers

Feb 22 (CT) Sri Lankan athletes attached to the Army who won Gold Medals at the recent South Asians Games in India were felicitated by the Army, with the Army Commander Crishantha De Silva in attendance, on Saturday at the Military Hospital auditorium, Narahenpita. The ceremony recognized all 65 Army achievers at the SAG (both men and women), who cumulatively bagged 54 medals (5 Gold, 21 Silver, 28 Bronze) and competed in both individual and team events. more..

Tamil youths moving out of plantation sector

Feb 22 (Hindu) Tamil youths living in plantations of Sri Lanka are increasingly moving out of the estate sector. The youths belong to the ethnic group called Indian Tamils or Tamils of recent Indian origin. The estate sector consists of the State-owned plantations which comprise over 1,70,000 hectares, most of which is devoted to tea and rubber cultivation. Plantations were originally set up by British colonists in central parts more..

Nimali dazzles with Silver

Feb 22 (CT) Middle distance runner Nimali Liyanarachchi continued to keep SL flag flying high as she won a Silver Medal in the women's 800m final at the 7th Asian Indoor Athletic C'ships concluded in Doha, Qatar yesterday. Nimali clocked a seasonal best of 2:04.88 seconds to win the Silver Medal in her first attempt at an indoor championship of her career. This was the first time that a SL female athlete had participated in an 800m event in an Indoor Championship. more..

Nobel Laureate at Kadirgamar Institute

Feb 22 (CT) A dialogue on sustainable development led by the internationally renowned Economist and Nobel Laureate Sir James Mirrlees, will be held at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute Auditorium on Thursday. Mirrlees will be speaking at the invitation of the Chairman and Members of the Board of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies. The present Chairman of the Institute is Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera. more..

Northern Province governor welcomes TN fishermen at Kachchativu

Feb 22 (ENS) Governor of Northern Province, Reginold Cooray, welcomed over 3,000 pilgrims from Tamil Nadu who had come to worship at the church of St. Anthony in the island of Kachchativu on Sunday. The Governor was accompanied by his wife and son. The service was conducted by the Catholic Bishop of Jaffna, Rev. Justin Gnanapragasam. Among the distinguished persons in the gathering were more..

Sri Lanka Tourism promotes goodwill among nations

Feb 22 (Island) While Sri Lanka is well on its way to achieving its goal of becoming a one hundred million dollar economy, research has revealed that the best approach to fostering peace and understanding of cultures among nations is to celebrate the beauty of their people. This is the core motivation behind the staging of international beauty pageants. Given that SL is poised in 2016 to cross the 2 million tourist mark- the magic number in tourism, island nation will be staging Ms. Tourism SL-Int'l Pageant more..

PBCC reschedule home series against SL

Feb 22 (AAP) Pakistan Blind Cricket Council (PBCC) has changed the schedule of its home series against Sri Lanka due to World Twenty20 Cup and the expected rains in the month of March. “Sri Lanka were to tour Pakistan in March for T20 and ODI series but now we’ve have rescheduled the series as World T20 Cup is also being held in March. Moreover, we were also forced to make changes in our schedule due to expected rains in next month as forecast by Met office,” more..

ETCA: Prof. Peiris warns of a Trojan horse

Feb 22 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe vowed on Saturday to go ahead with the Indo-Lanka Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) regardless of mouting opposition to the govt move. He said the govt had the required majority in Parliament to achieve its objectives. PM was addressing the media at the Hambantota Port having inspected major projects, including Harbantota airport, more..

ACBOA to reduce price of bread

Feb 22 (CT) All Ceylon Bakery Owners' Association will hold a discussion today with regard to the reduction of the price of bread by Rs 4 in line with the Consumer Week. Chairman of the Association, N.K. Jayawardena, said that a decision will be made at that discussion to reduce the price of bread by Rs 4 only for the duration of the Consumer Week. CAA declared a Reward the Consumer Week from 14 to 20 March to give consumers the opportunity to obtain discounts, benefits and other more..