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'SL targets US$ 5 bn FDI in next three years'

Jan 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka is targeting five billion US dollars worth of foreign direct investments (FDI) in the next three years, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade said. “We are targeting 5-6 billion US dollars in FDI the next three and I am quite optimistic that we will get there,” Minister Malik Samarawickrama said. “It will no doubt be a challenge with the prevailing global climate but we are very positive because more..

Key Buddhist intellectuals meet President

Jan 18 (PSL) A group of leading Buddhist intellectuals met President Maithripala Sirisena at his Official Residence, yesterday. National Buddhist Think Tank members will provide support in building the modern SL State, which ensures the good governance on the basis of Buddhist principles. The main responsibility of the Buddhist Think Tank is to provide intellectual support in decision making pertaining to governance of the country. more..

SL Thawheed Jamaath distributes copies of Quran in Sinhala

Jan 18 (Island) SL Thawheed Jamaath (SLTJ) has expressed willingness to provide Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) with copies of the Holy Quran translated into Sinhala. "We have also written to all non-Muslim MPs that they could receive a copy of the Holy Quran by contacting us," SLTJ Spokesman, Abdul Razick said. Razick said many issues could be sorted out amicably if non-Muslims, too, cared to read the central religious text more..

New rush hour traffic plan for vehicles leaving Colombo

Jan 18 (DM) In a bid to reduce traffic congestion during evening rush hour, Police said a new traffic plan will be implemented from January 21 for vehicles leaving Colombo. The new plan will be implemented from 5 to 6.30 p.m along J'pura Road and 4.30- 6.30 p.m at the Pittala Junction in Dharmapala Mawatha. Police said of the three lanes used to travel between Aurveda Junction towards Nawala, one lane would be strictly more..

New political party in the offing

Jan 18 (DN) A new political party is in the making, political affairs analyst Mohan Samaranayaka said. Meanwhile, NFF leader, MP Wimal Weerawansa had reportedly confirmed moves to set up a new political party before the forthcoming provincial poll. He had said, that a new political front will be established for certain by the joint opposition, and that former President Rajapaksa had intimated to them his approval for its creation. more..

Shares fall to 19-month low on rising rates

Jan 18 (Reuters) Share index fell about 2% to near 19-month low on Monday due to rising yields and as investors sold their stocks to settle margin trading. The main stock index ended 1.89%, or 121.59 points weaker, at 6,324.61, its lowest close since June 27, 2014. The market has lost about 8.3% this year through Monday's close due to foreign outflows triggered by global concerns related to China's economy. "On one hand, large quantities of foreign selling is available in the market. more..

If the Premier cares about media freedom, here is something he can do

Jan 18 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has criticized the media over its conduct during the Rajapaksa regime. In other words, is blaming the victim for the rape. At the Thai Pongal festival in Jaffna, he accused the media of going shopping for the infamous 18th Amendment and warned the media not to spoil the ongoing constitutional process. There is little evidence that the media, save the State-owned ones supported the 18A. Perhaps, Sinhala media which caters to largest more..

Minister karunarathna paranawithana

Sri Lanka’s new budget improves outlook for operators: Fitch

Jan 18 (MWL) Fitch Ratings revised the outlook for Sri Lanka’s telecoms sector to stable from negative as the government’s new budget scrapped recurring taxes that could have diluted operators’ EBITDA margin by an average of 6-7%. Dialog Axiata’s and Sri Lanka Telecom’s (SLT) 2016 EBITDA margin should dilute by only 1-2 per cent following the new budget, due to changes in their revenue mix and lower revenue from profitable international gateway operations, the ratings agency said. more..

Constitutional reforms: A brief survey of our past & present

Jan 18 (CT) Following my request addressed to the Swiss Ambassador to invite to Jaffna the Swiss Institute for Federalism of Fribourg, Switzerland for a series of Seminars and Conferences on devolution of power, Davide Vignati, First Secretary, Political Affairs of the Embassy of Switzerland, Colombo contacted Dr. Eva Maria Belser who is here, Director of Institute who confirmed her availability. It is she who identified Professor Nico Steytler from Cape Town and Maurizio Maggetti to accompany more..

Ex-Tamil Tigers go jobless in Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (IRIN) Almost 7 years after the end of Sri Lanka's decades-long civil war, the majority of former Tamil Tiger rebels are struggling to find jobs despite billions of dollars of extra investment in their regions. Sivalingam Ruvendradass, who spent three years in a govt rehabilitation programme, which is compulsory for former Tamil Tigers and provides them with education and vocational training, more..

Paba’s stalker bailed out

Jan 18 (Island) Computer engineer Ratnapitiya Randeep of Boralesgamuwa, who allegedly entered the house of former UPFA MP and tele-drama actress Upeksha Suwarnamali popularly known as Paba was bailed out by Homagama Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake yesterday on a surety bail of Rs. 50,000. The incident occurred on Jan. 14. Paba, contacted for comment, said yesterday that the person who was bailed out had been coming behind her offering to marry her. more..

Fowzie to spearhead reconciliation at school level

Jan 18 (Island) The govt will soon introduce sessions in schools to promote integration and reconciliation among all communities. Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said it was a long-term strategy with short and medium-term aims to bring all communities together. The project would get underway with President Sirisena’s blessings, Fowzie said. Schoolchildren would be encouraged to promote national integration with the help of their teachers & speak on it at school assemblies. more..

Entire world blesses the program of the new govt: President

Jan 18 (PSL) Despite local criticism, the entire world is blessing the program of the new govt, says President Maithripala Sirisena. Therefore, what we should do today is not to waste time by giving answers to the criticisms of the political opportunists but to fulfill the responsibility, undertook for the country and the people, he added. President today (17) made these remarks ceremonially commencing more..

Royal send-off for expat Sri Lankan driver

Jan 18 (E24|7) A Saudi royal family went out of their way and gave a warm farewell home party to its non-Muslim Sri Lankan private driver after 33 years of service. Several royal figures broke protocol to attend the party which was held at Prince Abdul Raman bin Farhan Al Saud’s palace in the capital Riyadh on Thursday. Sabq newspaper identified the 76-year-old driver as Watti but said he was nicknamed Samy by the royal family as a gesture of affection for him. more..

SL mulls special investment zone for China

Jan 18 (EN) Sri Lanka is looking at the possibility of a special investment zone for Chinese companies in the island's South, International Trade and Development Minister Malik Samarawickrama said. Sri Lanka will have a series of investment promotion forums in next several months to draw foreign direct investments to the country. A special investment zone for Chinese investments in the Southern area of Hambantota is on the cards, Samarawickrama told reporters in Colombo. more..

Peace & reconciliation cannot be built only through constitution and laws: President

Jan 18 (PSL) “Building of the peace and reconciliation among the people in the country cannot be done only through enacting laws and adopting a new constitution. It can only be done through the religious philosophy”, says President Sirisena. “Therefore, I request every religious leader to come forward to take forward the program commenced by the govt to build the peace and brotherhood by alleviating fear and suspicion among every more..

ONUR and Northern Province schools host Thai Pongal Festival series

Jan 18 (FT) The Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) along with Northern Provincial Council’s Ministry of Education on Friday organised a series of Thai Pongal festivals at several schools in the province, inviting students from other faiths and cultures to join the Tamil students, to create awareness and to respect the diversity Sri Lankans are blessed with. The schools involved were Ramanathan College, Jaffna, Chemmalai Maha Vidyalaya, Mullaitivu, more..

Video: Mother involved in fatal accident further remannded

Jan 18 (DM) The suspect woman, who had allegedly committed the offense of aiding and abetting the 15 year-old her son to drive a car, during which a 10-year-old girl and her 47-year-old mother were fatally run over on a pedestrian crossing on the Baseline Road last Saturday night, was further remanded till January 28 by the additional Magistrate today. The suspect Shakila Banu Farook was alleged to have been teaching her son on driving, while the accident had occurred. more..

Central Bank, commercial banks oppose Finance Minister’s no-questions policy

Jan 18 (ST) Central Bank officials have opposed Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s request for a no-questions asked policy on depositing large scale remittances while commercial banks are rigidly sticking to tough anti-laundering and anti-terrorism financing laws on foreign currency transfers. CB’s Exchange Control Department has expressed opposition to a request from Finance Ministry for officials to use their own discretion more..

Racing star noticed to appear in HC

Jan 18 (DM) Colombo High Court today noticed Sri Lanka’s only motor racing star Dilantha Malagamuwa and two others to appear in Court on March 23 to face charges against them for allegedly defrauding US $ 600,000 from a Japanese national. High Court Judge Kusala Weerawardena issued this notice on the accused to appear in Court, when she found that the accused were not present in court today when the case was called for hearing even after summons were issued on the suspects. more..

Embilipitiya clash: final report delayed

Jan 18 (DM) The final investigation report into the death of the youth in Embilipitiya, which was to be released today was not released as scheduled as the investigations were not yet concluded. Interim report into the incident was handed over to the IGP N.K. Illangakoon last Saturday and the final report would be submitted after January 27. “Several inquiries into the incident are yet to be recorded and the final report would be finalized after the initial inquiries are completed,” Police officer said. more..

Video: Proposed act attempts to promote Mahayana Buddhism: Gammanpila

Jan 18 (AD) PHU General Secretary and PM Udaya Gammanpila opposed the move to introduce an act named Theravada Bhikkhu Dialogue to monitor and take disciplinary action against monks who break Vinaya rules. Gammanpila stressed that the govt attempts to formulate the new act in a bid to prevent the Buddhist monks from entering into politics. “This dialogue will only be applicable for Theravada Buddhist monks. more..

SL Tourism invests in a lucrative promotional campaign to attract South Korean tourists

Jan 18 (SLT) Together with Korean Broadcasting Systems (KBS) & Sri Lanka mission for Republic of Korea, SL Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) the nation's catalyst for tourism promotions, has taken the initiatives of promoting Destination Sri Lanka in Republic of Korea by inviting for a media team of their one of the top rated travel programs called Everywhere K. SLTPB will be hosting to this media team during their 10 days Familiarization Tour program in Sri Lanka covering more..

Video: Canteen Chief nabbed near President’s House

Jan 18 (DM) Canteen Owners Association Organiser Asela Sampath had been arrested by the Cinnamon Gardens Police today in the vicinity of the President’s House at Wijerama in Colombo. Mr. Sampath however had claimed he was on his way to the President’s residence to inform him on hazardous food. ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said that Asela Sampath, and the wife were arrested on the charges of behaving suspiciously near house of President Maithripala Sirisena. more..

Bra saga continues: CCD commences investigation on Enrique concert

Jan 18 (CT) IGP has ordered the police to conduct an investigation over a drunken woman throwing her bra at singer Enrique Iglesias, selling of alcohol without a licence and other activities that have harmed Sri Lankan culture. These incidents occurred at the now infamous Sex and Love concert on 20 Dec 2015. The investigation commenced after Ven. Budugala Jinawansa Thera of Hela Budu Sawiya, lodged a complaint requesting IGP more..

Man tried in Germany for backing LTTE

Jan 18 (AFP) A Sri Lankan-born man went on trial in Germany today charged with membership of the rebel group the Tamil Tigers which Germany considers a terrorist organisation. The 53-year-old German national, identified only as Yogendran G by the court, is accused of having raised funds from 2007-2009 for the LTTE in and around the northern city of Hamburg. The LTTE committed a string of attacks against civilian targets and national infrastructure during the country's more..

Thisara Perera to retire from Test cricket

Jan 18 (AFP) All-rounder Thisara Perera will retire from Test cricket, but will continue playing one-day international and Twenty20 games, officials said on Monday. The 26-year-old sent his retirement letter to Sri Lanka Cricket confirming the end of his Test career, an official from the board said, asking not to be named. Perera, who has played six Tests since his debut against England in 2011 at Cardiff, has scored 203 Test runs and collected 11 wickets after giving away 653 runs. more..

Politically appointed directors defy Ranil

Jan 18 (EN) Dozens of politically-appointed directors of state enterprises have ignored repeated calls by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to resign and allow the reconstitution of boards. PM's office had summoned 160 directors of state enterprise to a meeting at Temple Tress today, but less than 50 had even turned up and only one agreed to step down. "A few months ago, they were asked to resign so that Minister Kabir Hashim can reconstitute more..

Sri Lanka releases 106 Indian fishermen

Jan 18 (ENS) Sri Lankan govt on Monday ordered the release of 106 Indian fishermen who were in its custody on charges of poaching in Lankan waters. Three fishermen arrested by the Lankan Navy on Sunday will also be released simultaneously. Release orders for 55 fishermen had already been issued by the magistrates’ courts of Jaffna and Mannar, while the process of release of remaining 51 fishermen is expected to be completed on Monday. more..

JVP warns govt may face same fate as former regime

Jan 18 (CG) JVP warned that current Govt will face the same fate as former regime if it fails to listen to the voice of the people. JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said that staging protests or demonstrations is the best way to get a message across to the Govt. “We believe by staging protests the rights of the people can be won,” he said. Silva said that former President Rajapaksa disregarded protests staged by the public and eventually he was sent home at the last Presidential election. more..

Sri Lanka fires academy bowling coach over fixing approach

Jan 18 (PTI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) today sacked academy fast bowling coach Anusha Samaranayake for two months over involvement in an alleged attempt to fix a Test match against the West Indies last October. SLC also barred Gayan Wishwajith from participating in any capacity in SLC or entering any cricket premises in the future. Wishwajith is being investigated by SLC for allegedly approaching several national players for more..

Port City: Can Sri Lankans design their land for their own well-being ?

Jan 19 (CT) The concern of the impact of large high-rises on the environment and health of the citizens of Colombo, can be addressed by an innovative plan proposed to the PM bt the Ministry of Megapolis. They have suggested options to use the filled land to develop a world class gateway to the City of Colombo. Their option 2 (below) suggests a framing of the city of Colombo by a very high net worth, low rise development and series of open areas and attractions that have will move more..

Non-stop attempts to use ethnic nationalism as a political strategy

Jan 19 (CT) The participation of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and visiting British Minister Hugo Swire at the Thai Pongal celebration in Jaffna is an indication of the special attention that is being given to the northern polity by the govt. Top leaders of the govt have been making frequent visits to the north in a way that is unprecedented. During the years of the war it was dangerous for govt leaders to visit the north as they were vulnerable to being attacked more..

I am angry with Media: Hiran

Jan 19 (CT) Hiran Yatovita, husband of UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra, says that he is angry with the media for exerting pressure on the authorities to arrest her. Q: Is it true that you are getting into fights with the neighbours by trying to show the powers of Hirunika Premachandra? A: There is no such thing. The issue was that when I was driving down our lane, my vehicle was blocked by a vehicle coming from opposite direction. more..

Lessening trade deficit vital to avoid worsening balance of payments

Jan 19 (ST) The large expanding trade deficits are the root cause for the balance of payments crisis. In 2015 the trade deficit widened as exports plunged and imports continued to be high. Trade deficit reached US$ 6.9 billion in the first ten months of last year. The trade deficit must be reduced this year to avoid worsening of the balance of payments. 2015 trade deficit is heading towards a massive US$ 8.5 billion owing to a decrease in export earnings by 3.9% in the first ten months of last year. more..

Phantom Belgian star in SL’s Beggar’s Opera

Jan 19 (ST) A nation’s coin of credibility is judged by the stability and value of its currency. The depths to which this nation’s economy has plummeted, the pits of economic perdition to which it has sunk is graphically brought home when its Finance Minister presents to its citizenry the nauseating and humiliating spectacle of an anonymous Belgian dropping a billion dollar note into sovereign Lanka’s begging bowl. During her 68 years of independence, never has Lanka stooped so low more..

'Investigations sans legal action only a show'

Jan 19 (CT) General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers' Union, Joseph Stalin explained about malpractices and scandals in national schools and said corruption which had long been entrenched was now being unearthed and brought to light. Q: Principals of D. S. Senanayake College, Royal College and Kingswood Colleges have been punished suddenly. What has actually happened? A: It is not all of a sudden. There are more persons to be transferred. more..

Rampala era need of hour for Railway Department

Jan 19 (CT) On Monday, it was reported that the Railway Employees' Union had urged the govt to stop privatizing certain sections of the SL Railways and had called upon the govt to enhance the efficiency of the Railway Department. Railway Unions also pointed out that the govt always attempted to outsource certain services when the Railway had the capacity to perform such tasks themselves. In any country, as far as the multifaceted economic aspects are concerned the Railway remains the life line. more..

The illusive rescue of the rupee by an elusive Belgian investor

Jan 19 (FT) According to Reuters, Minister Ravi Karunanayake is reported to have disclosed that an unidentified Belgian investor has promised to give Sri Lanka $ 1 billion by way of a deposit carrying an interest rate of 2%. Minister has opined that it would boost the value of the Sri Lanka rupee which is under pressure for depreciation quite for some time. Without disclosing the full facts, several features relating to the transaction in question have also been revealed by the minister. more..