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Sri Lanka to release all Indian fishermen before Thai Pongal

Jan 5 (FT) As a good will gesture to strengthen its friendship with India, the govt has decided to release all Indian fishermen in custody before Thai Pongal Day on 15 January. Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that govt has no interest in keeping the Indian fishermen in prison but want to discourage them intruding into SL waters. “It has become a menace. Business is operated by some of TN politicians, who own the trawlers,” more..

Microsoft Sri Lanka hosts inaugural conference on Teaching with Technology

Jan 5 (DN) In line with its commitment to uplift ICT education in the country, Microsoft Sri Lanka hosted a conference between educators and technology experts to create awareness on using technological tools to educate young children. Held in participation of 150 schools and private educational institutes, the event focused on creating an End-to-End Experience of Teaching with Technology. This event acted as a preliminary introduction to the Lets Teach With Technology (TWT); more..

Over 20% of India’s Bajaj’s revenue in SL

Jan 5 (ST) A newly introduced taxi hailing app for local three wheel vehicles, also known as tuk tuks, is promising customers the ability to connect with taxi drivers within a few minutes. This mobile application, named the Tuk Tuk App, which was launched by the Tuk Tuk Network, “makes it easy to get any ride across cities in Sri Lanka with the largest network of registered taxis and three wheelers in the country”. It is downloadable via Google Play Store for Android devices as well as Apple App Store. more..

'No need of Apex Body to SLC'

Jan 5 (CT) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara strongly objected to a proposal made by the govt to form an apex body to monitor Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). Jayasekara said if such a body is formed he would resign from his post. "I'm going to support this elected body 100% and work with a good backbone, and if I can't I'll just go home" said Jayasekara. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had discussed with the ICC and the ICC had agreed to more..

Maj. Gen. Jayasundera granted bail

Jan 5 (CT) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya yesterday ordered retired Major General Bandara Jayasundera to be released on cash bail of Rs 10,000 and on two personal bails of Rs 500,000. Jayasundera who was present before PRECIFAC is alleged to have provided false evidence to PRECIFAC who are investigating corruption and large scale frauds allegedly having taken place at Rakna Lanka Private Limited. Jayasundera was summoned before the PRECIFAC more..

'Colombo Port to be among top 20 soon'

Jan 5 (DN) Port and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranathunga said he plans to bring the Colombo Port to be among the top 20 global container ports. He said every possible step has been taken to facilitate all employees and staff of the institution to perform their fullest duty towards Sri Lanka Ports Authority without disputes and as same as the previous year. Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Dammika Ranathunga said the institution is by now acquiring a rapid progress. more..

'Turkish gov’t employing Sri Lanka model with curfews'

Jan 5 (TZ) With its harsh security policies and curfews, Turkish govt is applying Sri Lanka model in its fight against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in southeastern provinces of Turkey, main opposition CHP Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrýkulu said. He noted that there have been more than 300 days of curfews in 17 districts of different provinces in the Southeast, where people are prevented from leaving their homes more..

Graft shadows lurk as Sri Lanka heads into the year

Jan 5 (TP) After an event-filled 2015, Sri Lanka’s 12-month-old coalition government heads into the New Year on a promise of speeding up probes against corrupt politicians and officials and resurrecting an economy swamped in debt. A mixed bag of reviews has greeted the administration headed by former political foes — President Maithripala Sirisena from the SLFP and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe from the UNP — on its completion of a year in office. Colombo’s respected Sunday Times more..

Govt pushes to set up Sri Lanka's first Land Bank in March

Jan 5 (DN) With primary focus on converting vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties in the country to assets, and putting them to productive use for community revitalisation, govt is on the look out for creating land banks in Sri Lanka. Minister T.B. Ekanayake said action was afoot to set up the first land bank in Sri Lanka by the end of March. "We are planning to have one land bank in every district," he said. "The envisioned land banks will be created as public entities pursuant to more..

Video: 'My wife threatened to divorce me if I gave my Peacock Mansion to MR'

Jan 5 (DM) My wife threatened to divorce me if I gave my Peacock Mansion to former president Rajapaksa, Entrepreneur A.S.P. Liyanage said. He arrived at Bribery Commission to make a statement in connection with his offer to hand over the Rs.830 million worth Peacock Mansion at Rajagiriya to former president Rajapaksa. He said, main reason for not giving his mansion to Mahinda Rajapaksa was his wife’s insistence. more..

Customs launches Single Window system

Jan 5 (DN) Sri Lanka has been linked up with high tech Single Window programme implemented worldwide to facilitate the export-import process of the country. This move has been initiated by Minister Ravi Karunanayake in line with the international regulations of the World Trade Organization and World Customs Organization to increase the efficiency of Customs related activities. The process is carried out using state of the art technology with relevant activities being coordinated through more..

Godahewa and two others further remanded

Jan 5 (DN) Former Chairman of SEC Nalaka Godahewa, SEC former Deputy Director General Dhammika Manjira Perera and Sports Director at Tharunyata Hetak Organisation Ronnie Ibrahim held in remanded custody for allegedly misappropriating Rs. 5 million belonging to the SEC were yesterday ordered to be further remanded till January 13 by Colombo Fort Magistrate. When the three suspects were produced before Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage, the FCID informed Court that more..

Video: Raviraj killing: Navy intelligence officials involved alleges Crown Witness

Jan 5 (DM) While giving evidence relating to the inquiry on the killing of former TNA MP Nadaraja Raviraj led by the DSG, the crown witness of the inquiry, Sampath Prithiviraj, revealed that the alleged killing was planned by officials attached to the Navy intelligence office located in the Gangarama, Laundrywatta area at that time. The witness was earlier a suspect in the incident and later turned a witness to the case. more..

Lanka Sathosa linking with top corporates in business-boosting plan

Jan 5 (Island) Lanka Sathosa, which targets middle income consumers who account for almost 70% of the population, is planning to tie-up with top corporates and SME sector companies to increase its coverage while ensuring the availability of these companies' goods in Sathosa outlets. "Every month we are looking at a tie up with a top corporate sector entity or an SME sector entity to launch their products at Lanka Sathosa outlets island wide in order to take Sathosa outlets to next level, more..

Strike postponed due to positive responses from govt says GMOA

Jan 5 (CT) GMOA announced that they decided to postpone the trade union action due to the positive responses received from the govt regarding their demands. GMOA Assistant Secretary, Dr. Naveen de Zoysa said, various govt officials including ministers responded positively to their demands at the discussions held during previous weeks. "General committee meeting was held yesterday with the participation of more than 300 members who were satisfied about the results more..

Video: Thilanga threatens legal action against Arjuna

Jan 5 (DM) The newly elected Sri Lanka Cricket President Thilanga Sumathipala said today he would take legal action against former SLC President Arjuna Ranatunga over certain statements Ranatunga had allegedly made. Sumathipala was elected as SLC President with 88 votes defeating SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga by 56 votes on Sunday. Jayantha Dharmadasa and K. Mathivanan were elected Vice-Presidents of SLC more..

Editorial: Beggars partying in a graveyard

Jan 5 (Island) A group of beggars had a party on New Year’s eve in a cemetery at Nawagamuwa, we are told. They boozed, ate and sang till midnight, when firewater ran out. Sozzled to the gills, some of them swam across the nearby river and fetched some more moonshine to keep their spirits up. Subsequently, a heated argument over a missing mobile phone led to a brawl which left one of the revellers dead. Most people must have hastened to condemn the mendicants involved in more..

Techno-based campuses to tap village talent

Jan 5 (DM) While more than 4.5 million children are back to school and into a new world of digital education through which they could attain unlimited knowledge with the press of a button, the General Certificate of Education (A/L) Examination results were announced on Sunday—the most heartening news being that of the six students getting highest marks in different streams, as many as five were from outside the privileged and highly favoured Colombo District. more..

Road to new constitution begins this week

Jan 5 (SL) President will on Saturday submit a resolution seeking approval to convert Parliament into a Constitutional Assembly as a first step to make key constitutional reforms. Constitutional expert, MP Jayampathy Wickremeratne said that while in the past a Parliament Select Committee had been tasked with proposing constitutional reforms, this time the entire Parliament will take part in the initial process. more..

Sri Lanka regulator to prosecute wrongdoers in Treasuries scam

Jan 5 (EN) Central bank would prosecute those involved in a Treasury securities fraud that may run into billions of rupees, while police investigations are also underway, officials said. The central bank said Monday it would take-over the management of Entrust Securities Plc, a regulated primary dealer in govt securities, to prevent a systemic crisis due to any inability of the firm to repay clients. more..

Video: Meethotamulla protest: Lawyers, Police clash compels court to adjourn

Jan 5 (DM) Court adjourned for ten minutes amid heated arguments between the Police and the lawyers for the aggrieved party when the case, on the attack on those protesting against the dumping of garbage at Meetotamulla, was taken up for inquiry today. Magistrate Mohamed Mihiran left the bench during the heated inquiry between the two parties accusing each other of insulting the Court. In this case, the Kolonnawa UC Chairman more..

Stick to No Fly Zone over Sigiriya

Jan 5 (CT) Govt has decided to take action against the plane that flew above the Sigiriya violating the No Fly Zone. According to experts planes flying over Sigiriya are harmful to the rock. They also opine that the recent collapse of a part of the Sigiriya rock was due to such planes. Director General of Central Cultural Fund, Prof. Prashantha Gunawardena said that the possibility of several helicopters flying above the rock perhaps more..

Two IT parks for Pallekele & Achchuveli

Jan 5 (DN) Sri Lanka would set two IT parks in Pallekele Export Processing Zone and the Achchuveli Industrial Zone Jaffna said Minister Malik Samarawickrama. He said that in addition new economic zones would be set up in Hambantota, Kuliyapitiya, Kilinochchi, Meerigama, Trincomalee and Avissawella. The existing zones in Kandy (Pallekele) and Mirigama would be redeveloped. Minister said that through these zones more..

Life Event to provide details to CMC in 4 days

Jan 5 (DM) Live Events Ltd which organised the controversial Enrique Iglesias concert, and is facing an allegation of non-payment of entertainment taxes and are yet to produce the documents pertaining to the printing and sales of the tickets, had assured to provide all details to the Colombo Municipal Council within four days, sources close to Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil said. more..

Put it to the people prior to referendum: JVP

Jan 5 (DM) JVP said a draft constitution prepared by the Constitutional Assembly should be first placed before the people so that they could comment on the proposals before proceeding with a referendum. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that requesting people to submit their own proposals for the new Constitution would be futile. He said if the govt took action to place a copy of the draft constitution before the people more..

Guptill and Henry seal series for NZ

Jan 5 (CI) Martin Guptill's measured tenth ODI hundred helped drive New Zealand to 294 for 5, but it was fast bowler Matt Henry, in his third outstanding turn in the series, who clinched the match and the series for New Zealand with 5 for 40. Sri Lanka had been in sight of their target, with 58 required from 40 balls, before Henry struck thrice in ten deliveries to swing the match definitively in NZ's favour. more..

Docs to give govt a breather

Jan 5 (Island) The GMOA yesterday following the meeting of its Central Committee announced that it would wait a little longer and allow authorities more time to meet its demands. Assistant Secretary of the GMOA, Dr. Haritha Aluthge said they had received favourable responses from President Maithripala Sirisena, Minister of Health, Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of International Trade, Malik Samarawickrama and several MPs. more..

Nawaz Sharif thanks SL, invites Maithripala

Jan 5 (CG) Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif today thanked Sri Lanka for the support extended during Pakistan’s most difficult times. He also invited President Maithripala Sirisena to visit Pakistan at an early date so that the relations of mutual trust and confidence can be further enhanced. The Pakistan PM said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka enjoy excellent relations, based on mutual respect and shared interests. more..

Realpolitik behind Gunaratnam’s detention

Jan 5 (CT) According to the Hindu newspaper, Kumar was active in the JVP in the late eighties and rose to prominence because of his command of Tamil, Sinhala and English. After his brother Ranjitham, a JVP activist, was killed in 1989, Kumar was arrested during a state-sponsored crackdown. He was released under a deal struck during the Premadasa regime that involved targeting the Indian Peace Keeping Force. For a brief period in 1994 he re-surfaced during the elections, when more..

Who’s Who of Sri Lanka: The lives and times of forty eight personalities

Jan 5 (DM) Who’s Who of Sri Lanka is the kind of title which might actually put prospective readers off. But this book edited by Chandrabhanu Samaraweera, a very interesting foray into the lives and times of forty eight personalities who have made their marks in the social, political and artistic spheres from the 19th century on. Many of them are now forgotten. If not, it isn’t clear any more why they became famous in their own times. Some, perhaps many, will recognize the names and more..

Derana 360: MP Kavinda Jayawardana

Avoidance of Double Taxation : Romania-Sri Lanka pact in the offing

Jan 5 (Island) Romania and Sri Lanka are working towards finalising a MoU on Avoidance of Double Taxation and a programme of cooperation in various fields ranging from tourism to science and media. Romanian ambassador to SL Dr. Victor Chiujdea addressing a ceremony to mark his country's National Day in Colombo recently said that they were in the process of updating the legal framework of bilateral relations. Discussions, he revealed, were continuing for the early completion of more..

Taylor's throwback shot, Dilshan's failed scoop

Jan 5 (CI) It can sometimes take a special delivery to dismiss Kane Williamson, but today a very ordinary one got him out, thanks to a little misfortune from the batsman. Williamson aimed a pull to a leg-side long-hop from Tillakaratne Dilshan, but managed only to get the bottom of his glove to the ball. He should have been safe nonetheless, as the ball seemed headed straight down, but Williamson got his thigh in the way, and the ball bounced off his pad and behind the wicket, where more..

Sri Lanka seeks ways to turn El Nińo pain into gain for farmers

Jan 4 (Reuters) Rice farmer Darmarathana is used to periodic flooding in his low-lying village of Galella. The 60-year-old has lived all his life on the flood plains of the country’s longest river, Mahaweli, in Polonnaruwa District. “It used to be maybe twice, three times a year the road would go under, but the last year has been insane,” said the paddy farmer. In his recollection, Galella has never been flooded with the same frequency more..

NTUF to appoint Special Committee to look into Pension replacement

Jan 5 (Island) National Trade Union Front said a special committee would be appointed within the next two to three weeks to discuss the proposed fund to replace the existing pension for those who enter govt service from this month. Assistant General Secretary, Saman Jayasekara said the committee would comprise govt and trade union representatives from health, postal and railway sectors. Govt has refused to reverse its decision to scrap the non contributory pension scheme more..

Nation duty bound to protect Sigiriya: Akila

Jan 5 (DN) The historic Sigiriya is a national heritage. We should protect it for the future generations and it is our prime duty and responsibility, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said. He expressed these sentiments when he visited Sigiriya and inspected the recent damages said to have occurred there. "During the past regime, the management had ignored the instructions given by the archaeological experts, which resulted in several damages to the historic Sigiriya," more..

'Wigneshwaran being carefully watched'

Jan 5 (DN) Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan slammed at his party stalwart, Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran stating that the latter's conduct was being carefully watched. "The unique opportunity the country has been given to solve the national issue should not be spoilt by taking rigid and strident postures," Opposition Leader said, lashing out at the conduct of Northern Province Chief Minister. more..

Henry's explosive start in ODIs

Jan 5 (CI) 4: Bilateral ODI series won by New Zealand at home in the last five series; their only loss came against South Africa. In the five home series prior to January 2014, they had won only one. 12: Number of losses for Sri Lanka from 15 completed games in their last three away bilateral ODI series since November 2014. They played five ODIs against India in India, then seven in New Zealand last year (one washed out) and five in this series (one washed out). more..

I will not yield to threats: Gammanpila

Jan 5 (Island) Leader of the PHU, MP Udaya Gammanpila said that the govt had failed to deliver what it had promised to the masses and violated the Constitution from the very first day by appointing a new prime minister while there was already one. He said the govt was on a witch-hunt against its opponents and the FCID was used for that purpose. He said that following CB bond scam the stock exchange had virtually collapsed and the rupee had to be devalued to cover up the losses. more..

Army denies reports of torture camps in Valikamam North

Jan 5 (CT) The Army has denied reports, on the existence of torture camps, in the areas released a week ago in Valikamam North. 700 acres of land area has been released for the resettlement of IDPs by the security forces in the North. President Maithripala Sirisena is expected to officially hand over the documents confirming the land ownership of their original lands, at a function coinciding with Thai Pongal celebration on 15 January, more..