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Japan supports govt efforts to jobs

Feb 4 (FT) Japan will support efforts by SL Govt to create one million new jobs by increasing investment opportunities, a statement from Finance Ministry said. Minister Ravi Karunanayake during a meeting with Japanese Ambassador Kenichi Suganuma outlined the Govt’s plans to increase job opportunities in the country and strengthen relations between the two nations. Ambassador noted SL is increasingly catching the attention of other countries as an attractive investment destination. more..

FR filed seeking immediate LG polls

Feb 4 (Island) Eighteen petitioners who are former chairmen, deputy chairmen of a number of local authorities in the District of Galle and Matara, yesterday complained to the Supreme Court, against the failure of the Commissioner of Elections, Minister of Local Govt and Provincial Councils and a few connected authorities to hold the scheduled local authorities polls in those areas. The petitioners complained that the secretaries of the local bodes should not exercise the powers of more..

Rudderless port: Boycott cripples

Feb 4 (Island) A simmering dispute between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the port users over unconscionable increases in port entry permit charges yesterday came to a boil with most port users boycotting the Colombo Port despite a last minute assurance by the SLPA Acting Chairman to reduce the charges later this month. The Island reported on Jan 8 the impending confrontation. more..

Unlocking new opportunities for potential partnerships

Feb 4 (AN) The Sri Lanka Investment and Business Conclave 2016 is scheduled to take place from March 8 to 10 at the Cinnamon Grand Colombo. Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in association with Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Board of Investment of SL, Department of Commerce, SL Export Development Board, SL Convention Bureau and Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network will be organizing the event. more..

Pakistan removes Import Trade Price on Sri Lankan MDF Boards

Feb 4 (GDI) The Sri Lanka-Pakistan talks held in November 2014 has resulted in a new trade concession for Lankan exporters and boosted bilateral trade between both countries. The first relief as a result of post-November talks is the removal of Import Trade Price slapped by Pakistan on Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF Board) exported from Sri Lanka to Pakistan. Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF Board) is one of the major exporting products to Pakistan from Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka I-Day to have anthem in Tamil

Feb 4 (Hindu) The SL govt will stick to its decision to have the national anthem rendered in Tamil too at the official event marking the 68th Independence Day here on Thursday, amid objections from certain sections. In 2010, the rendering of the national anthem in Tamil became an issue as the then Mahinda Rajapaksa government had toyed the idea of allowing only the Sinhala version to be sung. more..

'No Zika patients found in Sri Lanka to date'

Feb 4 (DN) No patients down with Zika were found in Sri Lanka so far, while the IDH and the MRI are now ready to face Zika. Screening is presently done at the BIA for all passengers (both foreigners and Sri Lankans) arriving from affected countries and a special counter has now been open at the BIA for this task, said Health Services Director General Dr. Palitha Mahipala. According to Dr. Mahipala, testing would commence at the Medical Research Institute from next Friday. more..

Saudi Arabia major supporter of Lanka’s development drive

Feb 4 (AN) As Sri Lanka celebrates its 68th Independence Day today, its ambassador Azmi Thassim reiterated his country’s commitment to strengthen the strong ties between the island and the Kingdom. “Saudi Arabia is significant not only because it is home to nearly 500,000 Sri Lankans but also it is a holy land for the Muslims who make up nine percent of the country’s 21 million population,” the envoy said, pointing out that a large number of Sri Lankan Muslims regularly visit more..

TID commences investigation against KP under three Acts

Feb 4 (DN) Attorney General informed Court that the Terrorist Investigations Division (TID) has commenced a comprehensive investigation against LTTE's former Leader of International Wing Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP under three Acts, including the Prevention of Terrorism Act, Penal Code and Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist Financing Act over his alleged terrorist involvements. more..

Germany speeds up repatriation of state's Sri Lankan refugees

Feb 4 (TOI) Madhivanan fled war-torn Sri Lanka in 1990 as a 12-year-old and arrived in Rameswaram. In 2006, he returned to Sri Lanka, but was forced to come back to India when civil war broke out between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the LTTE. On February 9, Madhivanan, now a father of three children, aged 13, 11 and 5, will return to Trincomalee. "We are leaving this month because we want to enroll our children in a school there," he said. The repatriation of Madhivanan and more..

SriLankan Airlines operates special charters for South Asian Games

Feb 4 (GDI) SriLankan Airlines will operate a series of special charter flights between Colombo and Guwahati, India, to carry Sri Lanka’s national athletic contingent for the 12th South Asian Games 2016, SriLankan Airlines said in a release. The five special flights on Airbus A330 aircraft will operate from Colombo on the 3rd, 5th, 9th, 15th and 17th of Feb to carry 260 passengers, who includes athletes, officials, members of the National Olympic Committee, Sri Lankan media personnel, more..

SAG hockey team in quandary

Feb 4 (CT) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara highly criticized the action of hockey player Diluka Weerasuriya, who had gone to court against the SL hockey team and its 5 member selection committee, where Jayasekara claimed Weerasuriya had violated the Sports Law, while also having misled the court. Colombo District Judge issued an enjoining order preventing national men's Hockey team from participating in SAG more..

Joint Opposition seeks to meet UNHRC Chief

Feb 4 (DM) The Joint Opposition had requested for a meeting with the visiting UNHRC Chief Zeid Al Hussein to express their opinion on the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka, Joint Opposition’s Foreign Affairs Expert G.L. Peiris said on Wednesday. He said that the Joint Opposition would express their displeasure over the UNHRC Chief’s selective approach towards Sri Lanka. “His approach to Sri Lanka is different to the approach on other countries and we see his actions as biased. more..

'Sri Lanka looks to expand cooperation with Jordan in trade, tourism'

Feb 4 (JT) Several steps will be taken this year to tap the potential to strengthen Sri Lankan-Jordanian cooperation in various areas, according to SL Ambassador Abdul Latiff Lafeer. Sri Lanka and Jordan, which established diplomatic ties in 1965, enjoy solid relations and trade exchange is steadily growing, Lafeer said on the occasion of the Sri Lankan national day, which the embassy marks on Thursday. However, the potential remains high for exploring new areas of cooperation, more..

Sri Lanka faces alarming disparity in income equality: Poll

Feb 4 (FT) The latest nationwide survey reveals that a massive majority (82%) of those polled feel that wealth distribution in Sri Lanka is inequitable, while 10% dispute this claim and 8% are unsure. Respondents say that the gap between the rich and poor continues is as wide as ever, with only 7% saying it as fair – a whopping 86% disagree with this view and another 7% remains on the fence. However, over the need to do more to reduce more..

MR laments foreign interference

Feb 4 (Island) Ex-President in his Independence Day message laments the increasing interference by foreign powers in the affairs of the country since the last presidential election. He vows to fight for the country’s interest even if all his family members are to be imprisoned. Rajapaksa says in his message: On Feb 4, 2016, we celebrate 68 years of independence. Back in 1948 after having waited 450 years to be masters of our own destiny, Sri Lanka became independent under more..

Basil quizzed for six hours

Feb 4 (CT) Former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, appeared before the FCID yesterday where he was quizzed from 10 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. in connection with a series of allegations including the purchase of a one acre and a half extent of land and house in Orugoda, Gampaha for a sum of Rs 30 million, construction of two buildings worth Rs 80 million, purchasing 17 acres of land for Rs 64 million in Malwana and purchasing another house valued Rs 120 million. more..

Gota says no harm in forming new party if SLFP fails in its duty

Feb 4 (Island) There was no harm in forming another political party to fulfil the expectations of the people if the SLFP failed in its duty by the public, said former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse when media personnel asked for his views on the formation of new political party. Former Defence Secretary was in Kandy to pay homage to the sacred Tooth Relic and call on Mahanayake Theras of Malwatte & Asgiriya. more..

Malwatte senior monk wades into anthem issue

Feb 4 (Island) Attempts to sing the National Anthem in Tamil is an unwelcome move and it could not be approved, observed the Most Venerable Anunayaka (Deputy Mahanayane) of Malwatte Chapter Dimbulkumbure Wimaladhamma Thera at Galketiya Purana Vihare of Embilmeegama, Peradeniya. Thera said some politicians had consented to allow the National Anthem to be sung in Tamil. But, the move in the guise of maintaining communal harmony could not be approved in anyway. more..

Many close relatives of ministers are at SAITM: SAITM Chairman

Feb 4 (DM) Chairman of South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) in Malabe Dr. Neville Fernando said not only Minister Senaratne’s daughter-in-law, but also the daughters and daughters-in-law of other ministers in the current government are also studying at the SAITM. Even though there is heavy criticism of the educational qualifications of those who study at the SAITM, he said that they had students with better grades -- ‘A’ levels with 3 ‘A’ s who were unable to enter more..

Prado Deal: JVP repeats allegations, challenges Ravi to open debate

Feb 4 (Island) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake has accused Minister Ravi Karunanayake of interfering in Customs operations thereby causing massive revenue losses to the govt. MP Dissanayake reiterated the accusation at a public meeting in Sooriyawewa on Tuesday. JVPer challenged Finance Minister for a live TV debate to discuss the circumstances under which the Customs had released vehicles more..

Freedom without responsibility is a bluff

Feb 4 (DM) Independent SL’s first PM D. S. Senanayake -- widely respected as the father of the nation -- made an extraordinary contribution to the sustainable development specially in the agricultural sector with the revival of the historic Parakrama Samudra, which had a 14-km-long bund and launched the first major Laksapana Hydro Electric Power Project. DS, as he was affectionately known, also gave high priority to the principle of unity in diversity among people of all races, religions. more..

The veil and the Arabanisation of SL Muslims

Feb 4 (DM) Girls too young to understand the essence of religion adorn the Nikab. Some forced due to cultural imposition, and others too young to know why. Madrasas spread across the island ignore history, art culture, literature and theology which form the core of religious education. Instead the focus is on rituals and taboos. Kattankudy, in the East, is but one example of cultural alienation and segregation. Effects of the alienation and archaic practices which the majority of Muslims more..

Sachithra: Too good to be kept down

Feb 4 (CT) Q: Tell us your involvement with the game these days? A: Just after the premier season, SLC has organized a Super T20 Tournament. I am currently representing my club. Q: How important is this kind of tournament for newcomers? A: All know that the season coming up is full of T20 cricket, so this kind of tournament is very important to give the players maximum match practice. Q: You represent the Kandy Team. more..

‘President should be questioned, if outsiders appointed’

Feb 4 (DM) The legal expert and respected civil servant Prof. Nihal Jayawickrama said that according to the 19th Amendment, the Constitutional Council should question the President if outsiders are appointed bypassing the most senior officers to top posts. The internationally renowned independent legal consultant said a complicated situation had arisen as procedures had not been formulated with regard to more..

Tax evasion charges levelled at finance companies renting cars

Feb 4 (DM) Several leading licenced finance companies are using creative accounting to avoid paying Value-Added Taxes (VAT) and Nation Building Taxes (NTB) on car rentals and leases, the country’s Finance Minister was informed. “Currently, large finance companies are not subject to any taxes for offering operating leases and rent-a-car facilities. They are doing this under the guise of finance leases,” Kings Rent-a-Car Managing Director more..

Fisheries Corporation facing stormy weather

Feb 4 (SL) The cash strapped state owned Ceylon Fisheries Corporation is faced with a massive debt amounting to Rs. 689 million, which is continuing to escalate. Amongst many allegations leveled against the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation, much commotion has been created about the allegation that the Corporation had not remitted the employees their EPF and ETF monies for over four years. The initial allegations were made by more..

Freedom flushed down Railways toilet

Feb 4 (ST) Sri Lanka celebrates 68 years of independence from colonial rule this week but the Railways Department seems to have missed the message. In scores of railway stations across the country — from Colombo Fort and Mt Lavinia to Nanu Oya and Badulla —Sri Lankans are being condemned to decrepit, dirty toilets while non-Sri Lankans are offered clean, tiled toilets sign-boarded For Foreigners or For the Use of Foreigners. more..

Private finance company agrees to pay back misappropriated CEB funds

Feb 4 (Island) Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that a private finance company involved in the misappropriation of over two billion rupees in EPF funds belonging to the CEB employees, invested in Treasury bonds in 2009, had agreed to pay back the money. He said that four investigations had been held to find out how the company had withdrawn the money without the approval of the CEB. more..

'Geneva Resolution encapsulates pledge in 100-day programme'

Feb 4 (Island) The Foreign Ministry says the Oct 1 Geneva Resolution encapsulates what was promised by the new administration during its 100-day programme and subsequently stated at UNHRC on Sept 14 last year. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Colonne was responding to a query whether UNHRC or some members of the Geneva-based body had sought clarification from the Foreign Ministry as more..

Video: Will safeguard country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity: President

Feb 4 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena said today he will safeguard the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity when dealing with the UNHRC resolution which has demanded accountability and reconciliation after the ethnic civil war. “I pledge to the nation that I will safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country when working on the UNHRC resolution,” president Sirisena said addressing the nation at more..

Video: Celebrations end with National Anthem sung in

Feb 4 (DM) SL’s 68th Independence Day celebrations were concluded a short while ago with the singing of the Tamil translation of the National Anthem. Responding to this, Minister Eran Wickramaratne said “A new journey begins by reinstating the singing of National anthem in Tamil in addition to Sinhala.” Minister Harsha de Silva said “A first in my lifetime. After many years the independence day celebrations more..

Video: Black flag campaign in Vavuniya

Feb 4 (DM) A group of Tamils in Vavuniya held a black flag campaign this morning saying the Tamils in the Northern Province were unable to celebrate the 68th Independence Day in freedom. The protest was launched by the Collective of the Families of Disappeared Persons and the citizens committee in Vavuniya district. “Even though the war has come to an end, many Tamils are detained as political prisoners. more..

Are we independent?

Feb 4 (CT) Today Sri Lanka celebrates its 68th Independence Day. It supposed to celebrate achieving political independence from the British rule which governed the country over a century. The word independence reflects many aspects of a society. It is not merely being a sovereign State and not being ruled by another country. Independence also reflects the economic independence, liberty, political independence and many others. The question we should ask ourselves is that more..

Mystery killing of elderly woman

Feb 4 (Island) A mysterious killing took place at Sivallawa, Ethanawatta in the Wariyapola police area on Tuesday night. A 66-year-old mother of two sons was found dead with her neck severed. She had been sleeping on a mat inside the living room of a small house. "They are a poor family and their house is without doors and windows," the Police Media Uni (PMU) said. The victim identified as Podi Manika had gone to sleep around 11.00 pm, ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said yesterday. more..

Chainless haven for elephants

Feb 4 (CT) Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) has constructed an elephant hoarding ground close to the Udawalawe Elephant Transit home to keep the elephants illegally captured from the wild. The illegal capturing of elephants from the wild, allegedly by some tame-elephant owners in the past, created headlines in the media after investigations revealed that the animals were illegally registered and licences more..

Enthusiastic response from citizens: PRCCR

Feb 4 (CT) The Chairman of Public Representation Committee on Constitutional Reforms Lawyer Lal Wijenayaka said to Ceylon Today that the committee had received 191 comments from Kandy District alone. He said that the people of Kandy District had shown interest similar to the enthusiasm the people of Colombo regarding constitutional reforms. The sessions of public consultation on the constitutional reforms were held in Kandy and Gampaha Districts on 1 and 2 February respectively. more..

Independence of 1948 revived

Feb 4 (DM) We remember that the Independence of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was then known) was gained on Feb 4, 1948. The UNP was founded on 6 Sept 1946 by amalgamating three right-leaning pro-dominion parties from the majority Sinhalese community and minority Tamil and Muslim communities. It was founded by Don Stephen Senanayake, who was in the forefront in the struggle for independence from the United Kingdom, having resigned from Ceylon National Congress more..

68th National Independence Day

The face of despair & The black day that is Sri Lankan independence day

Feb 4 (CT) Sinhalese and some self-deprecating Tamils will be celebrating the 68th anniversary of Sri Lankan independence on Feb 4, 2016. On the other hand in stark contrast, Eelam Tamils who have their dignity, self-pride and self respect intact will be marking it as a Black Day. If independence is explained in the dictionary as self-government, self-rule, home rule, separation, self-determination, sovereignty, autonomy, freedom, liberty, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, etc., more..