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Maritime bridge between SL and India?

Feb 25 (SL) Both Sri Lanka and India are eager on going ahead with the proposed US $ 3.6 billion maritime bridge linking the two countries, The Sunday Leader reliably learns. The relationship between Sri Lanka and India has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride, with its own ups and downs, the relation has been varied from the stance of the govts which came into power from either side. more..

Suicide rate drop aided by change in poison use

Feb 25 (ST) Sri Lanka has made progress in bringing down the number of suicides after being a country with one of the highest suicide rates in the world in 1996 – yet every year, for the past five years, more than 3000 people have taken their lives. Men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women in Sri Lanka, with economic burdens brought on by poverty -the main reason for deaths. more..

Sri Lanka govt urged to be more transparent in new economic pact with India

Feb 25 (EN) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has called for more transparency over a new economic pact with India, attributing misinformed opposition to free trade to lack of consultation that could stymie potential gains to consumers and firms in Sri Lanka. Island's top business chamber said that it welcomes the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India and suggested more..

Maldives minister insists 'very solid' case against Sri Lanka sniper

Feb 25 (Haveeru) Home minister Umar Naseer rejected claims Thursday that the second assassination attempt on the president which involves a Sri Lankan sniper is unfounded, and insisted that the case is very solid. Confirming the arrest of the Sri Lankan sniper for the first time, police said in a statement in November that the 27-year-old man was arrested on Oct 24. He has been remanded by the Criminal Court. more..

Auckland Zoo delighted by new elephant offer, but animal rights activists angry

Feb 25 (Stuff) Auckland Zoo says it is delighted to accept the gift of a Sri Lankan baby elephant, but the move has left animal rights activists outraged. PM John Key, on a two-day visit to Colombo, announced the zoo and the SL Govt had agreed the zoo will get a five-year-old female elephant named Nandi. A spokeswoman for Auckland Zoo said it was the "next step in a long-standing and carefully planned programme of more..

Road opening: I get death threats: Asgiriya Mahanayake

Feb 25 (DM) Asgiriya Chapter Mahanayake Ven. Galagama Sri Atthadassi Thera said yesterday he was intimidated with death threats from various factions as he objected to the reopening of the road opposite the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy. “I receive letters from various factions threatening me with death,” the thera said. The Thera, making a special statement, said that he and Asgiriya Chapter were more..

Fonseka takes oath as Regional Development Minister

Feb 25 (AM) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka took oath as the Minister of Regional Development a short while ago before the President. Fonseka took oath before President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s house in Colombo. Fonseka was appointed as a MP before Speaker Karu Jayasuriya on Feb 9. This came after the UNP signed a collective agreement with the DP led by the former Army Commander at Temple Trees. more..

Thajudeen was murdered; Court orders CID to arrest suspects

Feb 25 (AM) Colombo Additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris today announced his decision of the magisterial inquest into the death of Wasim Thajudeen and confirmed that his death appears to be a murder. He also ordered the CID director to take necessary steps to arrest the suspects regarding the murder. Magistrate said that considering the two JMO reports, Govt Analyst's Report, the reports by Gentech, UCSC and more..

Now, UNP accused of using state transport without making payment

Feb 25 (Island) JVP led trade union yesterday accused the present govt too of using the state owned transport system for their political work without paying at least an advance payment. General Secretary of the All Ceylon Railway Employees’ General Union S. P. Vithanage said the present govt led by the UNP moved courts against using Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) buses by to the UPFA political campaign under the Mahinda Rajapaksa govt. more..

Sri Lankan shares fall for 3rd day as investors shun risky assets

Feb 25 (Reuters) Shares fell for a third straight session on Thursday to a 22-month closing low, as investors shunned risky assets and an interest rate hike last week continued to dampen sentiment. Local shares also tracked losses in Asian shares as crude oil prices seesawed and Chinese shares dived, rekindling anxiety about the impact of high market volatility on the global economy on the eve of a G20 meeting in Shanghai. Benchmark share index closed 0.24%, or 15 points, more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Fundamentalism in Muslim girls school

Feb 25 (CT) Fundamentalist Islam creeping in a leading Muslim School in Colombo shrieked a recent caption in one of the Colombo based news portals. School in question Ilma International Girls School located in Colombo. A leading and established private Muslim Girls’ School in the country. Motto of Ilma International Girls’ School reads thus in the school’s website Qul, Rabbi Zidni Ilma which is an excerpt from the Noble Quran .i.e. Say! O My Lord, Advance me in knowledge (Ch20: Verse114) more..

Reconciliation through marriage

Feb 25 (CT) Reconciliation and ethnic harmony have become the most marketable words in Sri Lanka today – with politicians and the media dropping them around quite liberally, at every opportunity they can grab. With the defeat of a regime that did little to promote peace and social justice in a country which has experienced a three-decade war, the new govt has almost made it fashionable to be liberal in one's perspective towards a member of another community. more..

Island-wide blackout lasting hours

Feb 25 (DM) The entire country plunged into total darkness following a major power failure this afternoon and the Engineers of CEB were struggling to detect the cause for the breakdown. Power & Energy Ministry Secretary Dr. Suren Batagoda said a disruption on the main line from Polpitiya in Lakshapana to the Kolonnawa main grid seemed to be the cause of island wide blackout experienced this afternoon. more..

Yoshitha Rajapaksa further remanded

Feb 25 (AD) Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Rohan Weliwita, Nishantha Ranatunga and two others, who were arrested on charges of money laundering, have been further remanded until March 10 by the Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court. A bail application submitted by the attorneys representing the dependents was rejected by the court, when the case was taken up today. Yoshitha was taken into custody by authorities for questioning about dealings at a private TV channel, CSN on Jan 30. more..

22,254 Tamil Buddhists and 11 Tamil monks in the country

Feb 25 (Island) There were 22,254 Tamil Buddhists and 11 Tamil Bhikkus in the country, Parliament was told. A document tabled in response to a question, Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said that a census regarding Tamil Buddhists had not been conducted by Ministry of Buddhasasana or the Department of Buddhist Affairs. Yet according to the results of the census carried out by the Department of Census and Statistics in 2012, the country had 22,254 Tamil Buddhists and 11 Tamil monks. more..

Video: GMOA to stay away from talks with govt

Feb 25 (DM) Govt Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said today it would temporarily stay away from all discussions with the govt until a national policy regarding international trade was formulated; the govt reached a firm stance without making contradictory statements on the ECTA and back away from its hostile attitude towards the GMOA. GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said the decision was taken following more..

MP Dilum throws challenge to govt

Feb 25 (Island) UPFA) MP Dilum Amunugama has challenged the Yahapalana govt to announce the date of holding the local government election for the Joint Opposition to disclose the name of the political party that will contest under the leadership of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. MP Dilum Amunugama made the declaration on Tuesday afternoon after signing the petition gathering one million signatures urging protection for security forces personnel held in custody. more..

TNL – Dialog Asia Cup deal is clean: Dilith

Feb 25 (CT) Amidst speculations that nepotism came in to play in Dialog TV awarding the telecasting rights of the T20 Asia Cup to TNL TV, the Chairman of the channel, Shan Wickremesinghe, has claimed that his channel received the telecasting rights from Dialog after several other television channels had turned down the offer made by Dialog. Shan Wickremesinghe, brother of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe further noted that suddenly everyone is making a big fuss more..

Sri Lanka vying for MoU on Tea with Iran to boost exports

Feb 25 (NS) The 11th round of Iran-Sri Lanka trade talks wrapped successfully on 24 February in Colombo. The first trade talks to be held with Sri Lanka by a post-sanctions Iranian administration, the tightly scheduled one-day Colombo sessions deliberated on a multitude –but critical- gamut of issues that spanned from trade, energy to mining, culture and health. “The five committees completed their work based on more..

Sri Lanka beer drinkers to switch to arrack after tax hike: Fitch

Feb 25 (EN) Arrack drinkers who were switching to beer until last year would now move back into the hard alcohol after the finance ministry hiked taxes on strong beer by 70% over the last year years, Fitch Ratings said. "We expect the trend of drinkers switching to beer from hard liquor to reverse in 2016, as taxes on the alcohol content in strong beer have caught up with those on hard liquor (spirits) after increases in excise taxes in Oct and Nov 2015," Fitch Ratings said. more..

Shed party differences, join hands to draft new Constitution, Sampanthan tells MPs

Feb 25 (Island) Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan called upon all MPs to shed their political differences and extend their fullest cooperation to accomplish the task of drafting a new Constitution. He made that request in Parliament when an argument broke out between JVP MPs and Minister W. D.J. Seneviratne in the middle of the speech of MP Sunil Handunnetti. Opposition Leader asked govt members not to disturb and delay the resolution to convert Parliament into a Constitutional Assembly. more..

ACF, CaFFE take ex-AG, Justice Minister to task

Feb 25 (CT) Anti Corruption Front (ACF) slammed the Attorney General's Department (AGD) and Ministry of Justice accusing them of being responsible for delaying the process of justice that needs to be executed against those guilty of mass financial irregularities in the State sector during the tenure of the former govt. ACF said "The AGD and the Ministry of Justice are the main reasons why those who are responsible for more..

Gnanasara Thera files FR

Feb 25 (NS) Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court on Feb 25. CEO of the BBS, Dr. Dilanthe Withanage said that the monk was citing injustice meted out to him by his recent arrest. The monk will also raise problems in the entire judicial process in the said application, he noted. The monk is presently on bail for being in contempt of court concerning an incident which occurred at the Homagama Magistrate’s Court, more..

Court orders non- stop hearings

Feb 25 (CT) Colombo High Court Judge ordered continuous hearings up to conviction of the case filed by the Attorney General against Sakvithi Ranasinghe and 11 Directors of Sakvithi Finance for misappropriation of a sum of Rs 1.62 billion in depositor investments. The case will be called on 27 April 2016 for continuous hearings to conclusion. The AG had indicted Sakvithi Ranasinghe and 11 Directors of the said firm on 10 counts of having allegedly misappropriated a sum of over more..

Colombo financial centre to be governed by British law

Feb 25 (EN) A planned Colombo International Financial Centre will be governed by British law and Sri Lanka's exchange control laws would also be relaxed, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. "We want to position Sri Lanka as a mini-financial centre," Karunanayake said. "That is why we want to have a Colombo International Financial Centre, showcasing the Hong Kong model with a British legal system." more..

Joint Opposition wins bulk of demands, suspends agitation

Feb 25 (Island) Joint Opposition had decided to suspend its agitation campaign in Parliament as the Speaker and the govt had agreed to redress its grievances, DLF Leader MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara said. MP Nanayakkara said that the President and the PM had agreed to permit the party leaders of the Joint Opposition to make special statements in Parliament under the provisions of the Standing Order 23-2. The President and PM had given their consent at a meeting on Tuesday, MP said. more..

President participates in international conference on dengue

Feb 25 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena participated in the International Conference on Dengue and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever 2016, held at the BMICH, yesterday. The conference was organized by the Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health. This international conference will bring together renowned scientists, clinicians, researchers and scholars with a common interest and concern in the global dengue situation, and will provide an opportunity to professionals more..

Govt signed agreements to bring new technology into SL: President

Feb 25 (PSL) “Govt has signed agreements with a large number of developed countries in the world to bring the new technology into the country by making opportunities for Sri Lankan younger generation to move forward with the new generation in developed countries, without being failed”, says President Maithripala Sirisena. He was addressing the gathering of the annual convocation of SLIIT in Malambe today. more..

Ranawaka says Castro follows Maithri, Ranil

Feb 25 (DM) Minister Champika Ranawaka said Cuban leader Fidel Castro seemed to be following the policy of President Maitripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, when he extended an invitation to United States’ President Barak Obama to visit Cuba in June. He said the Cuban leader had come to terms with global realities, and decided to afford a red carpet welcome to the US President. He said the Cuban leader had taken such an approach after he witnessed the plight that more..

Mahindananda's bank accounts to be probed

Feb 25 (LT) Colombo Chief Magistrate has ordered the CID to carry out a comprehensive investigation regarding an incident where former Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had said to have illegally earned a large amount of money and assets by misappropriating state funds and assets. Chief Magistrate ordered yesterday to get reports from local and foreign banks to help in the investigation. Chief Magistrate made this order when a complaint made to the CID by the convener of more..

Video: President has not made any political deals: Faiszer

Feb 25 (AD) Minister Faiszer Musthapha says that he is not of the view that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa would do anything which would lead to the SLFP splitting. “He always wanted to protect the SLFP. I’m of the view that Rajapaksa wouldn’t take any measures to sabotage our activities,” Musthapha added. He also went on to say the Govt would not be able to hold the LG election any time soon owing to yet more..

Old Bo tree falls on Cab - woman killed, six injured

Feb 25 (DN) A woman died and six others were injured when an old Bo tree along Aluthgama-Dhammananda Mawatha in Kandy adjoining the Bogambara prison premises fell on a Cab around 1 p.m. yesterday. The deceased was proceeding towards the Bogambara grounds with her husband and three children when the tragedy occurred. The husband and the three children were admitted to the Kandy hospital in a critical condition. Two persons travelling in the Cab were also injured. more..

TISL wants fast tracking of Right to Information Act

Feb 25 (DN) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) yesterday requested the govt to present the Right to Information Bill to Parliament and approve it quickly. TISL Executive Director Ashoka Obesekara said that the govt should follow immediate steps to approve the Right to Information Bill in its actual form without making any changes to the Bill. Making changes to its content or reduce its articles will cause harm the standard of the Bill, he added. "If the govt has no confidence to approve this more..

Former Minister, Ex-SriLankan Chairman under probe

Feb 25 (DN) The PRECIFAC conducting investigations into mass scale financial irregularities running into millions of rupees allegedly committed by former Minister Priyankara Jayaratne and former Sri Lankan Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe at Sri Lankan Airlines and Sri Lankan Catering Services, including the misuse of Sri Lankan planes has uncovered information relating to the activities which caused a loss more..

A Letter to Basheer Segu Dawood

Feb 26 (GV) Dear Basheer Segu Dawood, Following your Media address about the Muslims’ demand for a separate Muslim Province, I consider it my responsibility as a Srilankan Muslim, since you allege that I’m with you for a separate Muslim Province, to clarify a few misunderstandings and call your attention to some major flaws in your statement. You said Muslims cannot give up their demand for a separate Muslim Province. Since when did you Sir, become the mouthpiece of more..

How ready are we?

Feb 26 (NS) “In 1948 where were we and where was Japan? We were a leading nation in 1948 and Japan which had far more potential was destroyed but they knew how to rebuild their nation. While Japan emerged from the rubble, we lagged behind. How much has really gone to our people? The rich became richer. We need to move out of the South Asian mentality and look at South East Asian models now. If we are to modernize our rural economy we need to give our farmers more..

Govt allowing fishermen issue to drag out of fear

Feb 26 (CT) TNA Vanni District MP Charles Nirmalanathan pointed out that the Sri Lankan Govt is scared of the Indian Govt and thus have dragged the Indo-Lanka fishermen talks, further aggravating the situation. Q: Recent information reveals that the Tamil Nadu Fishermen have continued to make use of trawlers for fishing despite warnings and almost all resources in Palk Strait and SL sea are thoroughly destroyed. more..

The US must pay more attention to Sri Lanka’s transitional justice debate

Feb 26 (TD) The unexpected election of Maithripala Sirisena in Sri Lanka’s January 2015 polls has resulted in the Barack Obama administration’s fervent desire to turn the page on what became a strained, bitter bilateral relationship under the reign of the previous president. Mahinda Rajapaksa had been in power for nearly a decade and oversaw the decisive military defeat of the Tamil Tigers – ending a civil war which lasted from 1983-2009. Rajapaksa’s proclivity for corruption, more..

Kandy traffic issue: Options and solutions

Feb 26 (CT) There have been several newspaper articles over the past few months about the traffic problem within the parameters of Kandy town. Those articles effectively drew the attention of responsible authorities to the urgent need of addressing traffic problems in Kandy. Writers of many of those articles very correctly brought up the problems of loss of time caused by traffic jams, air pollution from exhaust fumes and fuel evaporation, diseases created by pollution in Kandy town more..