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Sri Lanka, Pakistan mull currency swap, investment deal

Jan 6 (EN) Pakistan is considering a currency swap agreement with Sri Lanka and setting up a joint investment company, the visiting PM of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif said. The two countries have also agreed to broaden their free trade deal to include investments and services sectors, he said at the launch of a Pakistan trade show in Colombo during his three-day visit to the island. “The understandings we have reached today should bring new vigour and vitality to our relations,” he said. more..

Sri Lanka includes services in FTA with Pakistan, but not in pacts with India

Jan 6 (ENS) Sri Lanka has agreed to the inclusion of services in its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Pakistan, while opposing the inclusion of this sector in the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India. PM Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan & SL have agreed to the inclusion of Services and Investments in their bilateral FTA. more..

Parliament has no right to formulate a new Constitution: Nalaka Thero

Jan 6 (AD) The current Parliament has no right to form a Constitutional Council to formulate a new Constitution, President of the National Movement to Protect Soldiers Ven. Bengamuwe Nalaka Thero says. The observation was made at a press conference held in Colombo this afternoon (5). “Some politicos, who had been rejected by the people at the election, are still in Parliament. Thus, the present Parliament does not represent the voice of the people”, said Nalaka Thero. more..

Sanken to build two hotels in Maldives

Jan 6 (DN) Sanken Overseas will invest over US$ 330 million to build two Resort hotels in Maldives, Fiji and an energy project in Africa. In addition the company has undertaken to build four other resorts in Maldives to the value of US$ 300 million. Sanken Overseas CEO B.B. Kalupana said the resort branded as Havodda Amari Resorts will be opened on January 14. The property will be managed by the Onex Hospitality group and will have two suites, 58 water villas and 60 beach villas. more..

Postpone signing of agreement: GMOA

Jan 6 (DM) GMOA requested President Sirisena to postpone the signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Trade Agreement until a national policy on trade agreements was worked out. In a letter to him, the GMOA said that trade agreements should be drafted while maintaining the country’s identity and security, and that they should benefit the country and its citizens. GMOA general secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said the shortcomings in an agreement had to be more..

Wheat flour price increase by some companies

Jan 6 (DN) The prices of wheat flour have been increased by some flour companies and this price revision has been effective from January 1. Accordingly, a kilo of what flour has been increased by Rs. 2, despite the Govt stipulated controlled price being in force. A controlled price of Rs. 87 has been imposed on a kilo of wheat flour though a kilo of flour is sold in many areas at Rs. 89. CAA Director Information Chandrika Thilakaratne said that she was not aware of any wheat flour price hike more..

Mahela leads Strikers to win over Scorchers and top of Big Bash table

Jan 6 (Guardian) Sri Lanka great Mahela Jayawardene powered the Adelaide Strikers to the top of the BBL ladder with a comfortable 36-run win over the Perth Scorchers on Tuesday. The Strikers posted 174-2 after winning the toss and electing to bat before cleaning up the Scorchers for 138 off 17.2 overs. Jayawardene (57 of 37) was promoted to open the batting for the Strikers in place of the omitted Craig Simmons and delivered his most aggressive innings for the tournament. more..

Sri Lanka likely to sign FTA with US: PM

Jan 6 (DN) Sri Lanka hopes to sign a Free Trade Agreement with US in the future, PM Wickremesinghe said. He said this after launching the Pakistan Single Country trade Exhibition together with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at Temple Trees. PM said Sri Lanka could be a gateway to countries such as Pakistan in its endeavour to enter US market using this FTA. “SL hopes to sign FTAs with Singapore, China more..

Sumathipala to represent Sri Lanka at ICC

Jan 6 (DN) The newly elected body of Sri Lanka Cricket held its inaugural meeting at SLC headquarters on Monday and appointed its Executive Committee for 2016/17. President: Thilanga Sumathipala, Vice Presidents: Jayantha Dharmadasa, K. Mathivanan, Secretary: Mohan de Silva, Assistant Secretary: Ravin Wickramaratne, Treasurer: Shammi Silva, Assistant Treasurer: Lalith Rambukwella. Members: Bandula Dissanayake (Chairman Tournament Committee), more..

Pakistan to invest in Cement, Sugar plants

Jan 6 (EN) Pakistani companies will invest in building cement and sugar factories in Sri Lanka under a series of investment deals signed during PM Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the island. Eight agreements were signed with total investments exceeding 700 million US dollars. Gharibwal Cement Ltd. of Pakistan signed a deal with Maxton Holdings of Sri Lanka to set up a cement plant in the island. Two Sri Lankan firms are to develop hydro power plants in Pakistan. more..

Pakistan to sell JF-17 Thunder aircraft to SL

Jan 6 (DT) Pakistan to sell eight combat JF-17 Thunder aircraft to SL under an agreement signed during PM Nawaz Sharif’s visit. Multi-roll fighter aircraft is the joint production of Pakistan and China. Defence officials accompanying the PM said that both countries signed eight agreements related to defence, security, anti-terrorism, trade and science and technology and Pakistan would provide eight JF-17 fighter jets to Sri Lanka more..

Editorial: Strange bedfellows falling out

Jan 6 (Island) The JVP has started kicking the govt it has been kissing for months. It is going to stage a protest on Jan 8, when the first anniversary of defeat of the Rajapaksa govt and President Sirisena’s first year in office will be celebrated. What has prompted it to do so? JVP’s smooch-and-spurn method is not of recent origin. In 1970, it was supportive of an SLFP-led coalition, which captured power in Parliament. It then took up arms to topple that administration in 1971. more..

Risk of using universal socket outlets

Jan 6 (Island) Recently, a child aged 2 years in Hambantota area died by electrocution when the child inserted a screw driver into an unshuttered socket outlet of an extension cord connected to a wall socket outlet in the house. Another child aged 11 months in Halmillawewa village was reported dead by electrocution within 2 or 3 days of the first incident when he tried to pull an exposed wire connected to a socket outlet in the house. In both these accidents, it is evident that more..

Costly legal consulting from NR

Jan 6 (SL) Startling revelations have come to light that Gowers International, also known as NR Associates, a law firm owned by MP Namal Rajapaksa, had allegedly earned millions of rupees from govt departments and semi-govt institutions by providing legal consulting during the former Rajapaksa regime. Namal Rajapaksa took oaths as an Attorney-at-Law in Dec 2012 after a much controversial law exam and established more..

'Gammanpila will soon raise white flags'

Jan 6 (DM) Minister Harin Fernando said he saw MP Udaya Gammanpila dressed in black and carrying a black flag. "But before long he will have to raise a white flag to mark the end of the joint opposition, which has nowhere to turn now. I can only feel sorry for him," he said. He said bankrupt politicians of Gammanpila’s ilk were trying in vain to extricate the joint opposition from its present predicament. more..

'No danger to frescoes from plaster collapse'

Jan 6 (ST) The conservation process of restoring the layer of plaster which collapsed close to where the Sigiriya frescoes are situated, has been completed U.P.Wathuge, Acting Assistant Director of the Archeological Department said. The plaster had peeled off on Monday as moisture has seeped into it. The problem is that that lime plaster, which is used to bond with the rock, tends to weaken due to differences in texture and gravity. more..

Separate lane for passenger transport buses

Jan 6 (DN) A separate lane will be allocated for passenger transport buses to run speedily, as a solution to the traffic condition in Colombo, Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said. "Traffic congestion in Western Province, where majority of vehicles are registered, is likely to increase further and we expect the average commuting speed in Colombo, which is currently 12kmph, will be reduced further to 8 kmph by 2018. more..

Top IMF official pledges support

Jan 6 (DN) IMF Executive Director Dr. Subir Gorkan pledged that he would get his organisation's support for the govt's development thrust. Dr. Subir Gorkan, Executive Director on the board of IMF representing India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka met Finance Minister Karunanayake at the Finance Ministry. This was the first overseas visit by Dr. Gorkan since being appointed as an IMF Executive Director in November last year. more..

SEU engineering undergrads return to lectures

Jan 6 (DN) Undergraduates of the Engineering Faculty of the South Eastern University pledged to participate in lectures from tomorrow after agreeing to and expressing satisfaction with the measures taken by the Higher Education Ministry to sort out the issues related to academic activities of the faculty. Engineering undergraduates have been refraining from participating in lectures for over two months more..

Fisheries Minister beckons foreign companies

Jan 6 (Island) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera made an open invitation to Sri Lankan businessmen to partner foreign companies to carry out fishing operations in international sea under the Sri Lankan flag. He said that the foreign vessels would be granted permission only if they had local partners. Foreign trawlers could not engage in fishing in the seas off SL coast and they should engage in fishing only in international waters. more..

Gota frowns on TNA-Blair talks on accountability etc

Jan 6 (Island) One-time Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa alleged that former British PM Tony Blair had talked about accountability issues in Sri Lanka, whereas the UK was yet to release its own war crimes investigation report that dealt with alleged atrocities committed by British forces during six-year deployment in Iraq. UK quit Iraq in 2009. He said that Blair himself had been under investigation as he ordered the British more..

Muzammil takes Enrique concert bosses to task

Jan 6 (DM) The bosses of Live Events, who organized the controversial Enrique Iglesias concert in Colombo, facing allegations of swindling the CMC of Rs 29 million in revenue in a major ticket scam, on Monday at a meeting with Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil, said that the show incurred losses to them. He said that three persons, one representing the Live Events board director Kumar Sangakkara and another more..

Sharif rings Modi from Colombo

Jan 6 (Island) Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif yesterday telephoned his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi from Colombo, and promised prompt and decisive action against the terrorists behind the attack on the Pathankot airbase. Modi pressed for immediate steps on specific and actionable information provided to Pakistan. Modi had received a call this afternoon from Sharif regarding the terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase, more..

A study of study tours

Jan 6 (DM) JVP members of Uva PC have refused to join a group of members of their council, who were to undertake a foreign study tour claiming that it would be an utter waste of public funds. JVP Provincial Councillor Samantha Vidyarathna had stated that the funds allocated for the proposed study tour was more than the amount the Council had allocated for many important projects in the Province. Council had allocated Rs. 1 million for youth affairs, Rs. 15 million for sports, more..

Case against Hirunika Premachandra on alleged illegal occupation of building

Jan 6 (AM) The case regarding the alleged illegal occupation of an office building filed against UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra and her mother was fixed to be heard on March 29 by the Colombo District Court. The plaintiffs, Roshan Wickrama and Ruwan Wijesekara, have filed this case regarding a building in Kolonnawa against Sumana Premachandra and Hirunika Premachandra. Plaintiffs said that they have handed over this building to late Bharatha Lakshman more..


Sri Lankan shares end at over 3-week low

Jan 6 (Reuters) Shares fell for a third straight session on Wednesday and closed at their lowest level in more than three weeks as an expected rise in yields of govt securities eroded investors' appetite for risky assets. The yield on 91-day t-bill rose 14 basis points to a more than two-month high of 6.59% at a weekly auction on Wednesday, after the central bank increased statutory reserve ratio by 150 basis points with effect from Jan. 16. The main stock index fell 0.4%, or 27.65 points, more..

Ceylonese-Sri Lankans and an ugly gene

Jan 6 (DM) Tommo, a pussycat and Ooty an owl, both employed as vermin controllers at the Wallside Restaurant and Bar were chatting over their beers courtesy the Wallside management. While the pussycat puffed on a coffin nail he had filched from a customer at the bar to accompany the beer, the owl drew the brew through a straw; it was the design of his beak you see. “One thing, our governors’ approaches to most things don’t change, do they? I don’t think they will ever,” meeowwed pussy more..

Floating armoury: Gujarat graveyard for controversial Avant Garde vessel

Jan 6 (Island) One of the vessels, Mahanuwara used by Avant Garde Maritime Services (AGMS) as a floating armoury during the previous govt is to be scrapped. A spokesperson for the owners, Sri Lanka Shipping Company Pvt Limited said that the tug would be scrapped today at Allang in Gujarat. The source said that the decision to send the vessel to graveyard had been taken before authorities seized the vessel early this year. more..

Sri Lankan crisis centre worker wants fair go for Down Syndrome daughter

Jan 6 (ABC) A Sri Lankan man who works in a Christian crisis centre in remote Western Australia is appealing to the Federal Govt to give his daughter, who has Down Syndrome, a fair go. In 2014, the Immigration Department approved a temporary work visa for nine-year-old Eliza Fonseka's parents, but not for the girl, because of concerns her condition could incur significant health care costs. Last year Eliza's father Angelo Fonseka moved to Shark Bay, 800 km north of Perth, more..

Upgraded school opened at Katunayake SLAF base

Jan 6 (Island) Air Force Commander, Air Marshal Gagan Bulathsinghala on Monday declared open an upgraded secondary school with modern facilities at the Katunayake SLAF base. It had previously been a primary school. Commander of Air Force Base Katunayake, Air Commodore Sudarshana Pathirana accompanied the chief guest and other invitees of Education Department to the school. The development project was initiated by Commander of Air Force to provide quality secondary more..

Don’t play your cricket at Ports Authority: Union to Arjuna

Jan 6 (DM) Ports Trade Union today threatened to take action against Minister, Arjuna Ranatunga’s decision to seal Authority’s Communications and Public Relations Division head office and stated Minister would not be allowed to play his cricket at SLPA. Chairman of the All Ceylon Public Workers’ Union of SLPA Chandra Mahagamage said the office was sealed by authorities yesterday citing alleged financial irregularities. more..

Dinesh wants Deshapriya to hold LG polls

Jan 6 (DM) Joint Opposition today urged the Chairman of the Independent Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya to announce on March 31 the holding of the elections for Local Govt (LG) bodies as scheduled. UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardane said since Commissioner Deshapriya was heading an Independent Elections Commission, he should have no obstacle to declare the holding of the election as scheduled. “Independent Commission was appointed not to follow decisions of the govt, more..

Condom use jumps to 6%

Jan 6 (Island) Use of condoms in Sri Lanka has increased from 1.9% to 6%, reveals a recent study conducted by the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine. Study report was presented to Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne by Dr Sisira Liyanage Director National STD/AIDS Control Programme recently. Survey that commenced last year says that condoms have been recognised in the country as the safest measure against the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. more..

Norway to hold talks with ex-President CBK

Jan 6 (CG) The Norwegian Govt is to hold talks with former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Břrge Brende, who will undertake a one-day official visit to Sri Lanka tomorrow, will hold talks with former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the Foreign Ministry said. Norway played a key role in Sri Lanka during the war when Kumaratunga was President. more..

Police face midnight Ninja drama

Jan 6 (Island) Embilipitiya Headquarters Inspector, a sergeant and two constables attached to Embilipitiya police station had come under attack yesterday morning by a group of persons who had been boozing till Monday midnight, disturbing the entire neighbourhood. In a clash with the police, three civilians were injured. Seven persons including four policemen are being treated at the Embilipitiya hospital. One of the injured has been transferred to the National Hospital, Colombo. more..

Video: Basil at FCID again

Jan 6 (DM) Former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa arrived at the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) a short while ago to give a statement in connection with the alleged financial misappropriations in the Divi Neguma Department, Police said. Earlier, Mr. Rajapaksa, Former Economic Development Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayatilaka and former Director General of Divineguma Department, R.R.K. Ranawaka, were arrested over allegations of financial fraud. more..

Sooka claims white vans still operating in SL

Jan 6 (CG) New evidence has emerged of on-going torture and sexual violence by SL security forces one year after a new govt came to power promising a radical clean up. “Sadly Sri Lanka’s notorious white vans are still operating; it’s very much business as usual,” Executive Director of International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) Yasmin Sooka said adding that “this demonstrates there can be no accountability without more..

Chance for Sri Lanka to turn things around

Jan 6 (ICC) With the ICC World Twenty20 2016 two months away, teams are working out their best combinations in the lead-up to the event. Sri Lanka and New Zealand will begin the process on Thursday (7) when they meet in the first of two Twenty20 Internationals at Mount Maunganui. SL will need to win, or at least draw, the series to remain on top of the ICC Twenty20 Rankings, and Dinesh Chandimal's men will be aware of the weight of expectations on their shoulders. more..

Flour price: CAA to take legal action

Jan 6 (DM) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) would take legal action against the companies, which had increased wheat flour prices without the Authority’s approval. Several wheat flour companies announced that they would increase the prices of their products by two rupees per kilogram from yesterday. However, CAA Chairman Hasitha Thilakaratna said there would be no increase in the market price of wheat flour and the control price of wheat flour would remain at Rs.87 a kilo. more..