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21 hospitalized after clashes in Hambantota

Jan 7 (AD) At least 21 persons including 3 police officers were injured and hospitalized as a result of the clashes which broke out during the protest in Hambantota today. A majority of the individuals admitted to the hospital had sustained injuries from pelted stones.  Sri Lankan police used water cannons to try to break up violent clashes Saturday between govt supporters and villagers marching against what they say is a plan to take over private land for an industrial zone more..

E-tickets to combat tourist racket at Sigiriya

Jan 7 (NS) Department of Archaeology has called for a national policy decision to be taken with regard to conditions imposed on the granting of tourist visas including in relation to a flat fee or set price to be charged for the purpose of sightseeing. In the case of Bhutan a daily cost of US$ 265 was obtained from a tourist as a condition for being granted a travel visa that covers visiting any place of attraction within the country. In SL, tourists and locals alike have to make payments at each site separately. more..

'BIA shut down a setback for tourism'

Jan 7 (CT) Minister John Amaratunga said temporary 3-month shutdown of BIA for renovation is a tremendous setback for tourism which is nearing peak levels right now, but added that the Tourism Ministry has set a target of four million arrivals by 2020 with colourful promotional events in the pipeline this year. He added that officials had told him it was a must operation to uplift BIA's standards to global levels and added that there are more..

Amaraweera flays farmer boss

Jan 7 (Island) Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera yesterday said the govt had paid Rs. 8,640 million as installments and interest to China for the loan to build the Hambantota Port. The future installments would follow as below. 2017: Rs.9,350 million, 2018: Rs.9,950 million, 2019: Rs. 17,260 million, 2020: Rs. 17,000 million, 2021: Rs.16,650 million, 2022: Rs.17,910 million, 2023:Rs. Rs.1740 million, 2024: Rs.16,910 million and 2025: Rs.12,290 million. more..

Tattoo needle can be dangerous

Jan 7 (Island) Director National STD/AIDS Control Programme, Dr Sisira Liyanage urged tattoo lovers to take precautionary measures as the needles used on them could be infected. He said a woman had recently tested HIV positive and according to what she told her doctors a contaminated tattoo needle may have caused the infection. 95% HIV/AIDS cases were due to unsafe sex, 4% cases were transmitted from mother to child while one percent was transmitted through blood more..

EU team on fact finding visit

Jan 7 (CT) A 7-member team, made up by top trade union representatives and industry watchers, based in the European Union, is set to visit the country in early January on a fact-finding mission, that will take them inside the country's export industrial zones to ascertain the rights and the working conditions of employees. The visit comes shortly after the SL case to regain GSP+ trade concessions was taken up for review more..

Sleepy drivers on a crash course

Jan 7 (ST) Sleepy drivers are deadly drivers and they are being asked to wake up to the destruction they are causing to human lives. Physicians and experts on transport issues, say that lack of sleep impairs the ability to drive and that those who are exhausted should not be allowed to take the wheel. They also say passengers should watch out for warnings signs such as when a driver begins to nod and can’t keep the vehicle steady. As for policing, law enforcers propose shift work more..

Audit Bill in Parliament soon: Speaker

Jan 7 (CT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said measures will be taken to table the National Audit Bill in Parliament soon to ensure Govt Auditors can carry out their work with confidence. While noting that the silent role played by audit officers in protecting public money should be commended, he emphasized the need to approve the National Audit Bill soon to add more powers to State audit officials. Speaker Jayasuriya also stated that it was thanks to the audit officials who are fearlessly more..

India opposes Sri Lanka’s bid to shape ETCA to suit political exigencies

Jan 7 (ENS) Negotiations between India and Sri Lanka on an  Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) hit the hard road at an officials-level meeting held here on January 4 and 5. Sri Lanka side was pressing the Indians to make certain concessions explicitly to enable it sell the pact to the SL masses who tend to imagine that ETCA would be a rank give away to the Big Brother across the Palk Strait. more..

Sri Lanka ends 2016 with US$ 6.062 bn in forex reserves

Jan 7 (EN) Sri Lanka ended 2016 with 6,062 billion US dollars in forex reserves, up 418 million dollars from November's 5,644 million dollars but down from the January level, official data show. Forex reserves in December was down 1,229 million dollars from 7,292 million dollars in January. The central bank started 2016 with 79 billion rupees of Treasury bills in its holding but printed money steadily up to mid-March to keep interbank markets flushed with liquidity. more..

The slithery unwelcome stranger and a pipe snake that escaped death

Jan 7 (ST) Holidaymakers in Nuwara Eliya this season were in for a rude shock when a strange slithery visitor was spotted at the iconic Lake Gregory e. Many who flocked there suggested it could be a Cobra and a confirmation later by snake experts that it was infact a juvenile cobra caused shivers that had nothing to do with the weather, to many. “But if you leave a Cobra alone you don’t need to worry,” said one expert. Although the Cobra (Naja naja) is a lethally venomous snake, more..

Video: China expects to invest US$ 5 billion in Hambantota industrial zone

Jan 7 (AD) China expects to invest US$ 5 billion in the Hambantota industrial zone in the next 3-5 years, creating 100,000 jobs in the country, Chinese Ambassador Yi Xianliang said. He was speaking during the opening ceremony for the industrial zone near the port city of Hambantota on Saturday. Govt has signed a framework agreement for a 99-year lease of Hambantota port with a company in which China will have 80% ownership. more..

Polls observer flays UNP Member

Jan 7 (CT) CaFFE has requested the UNP member and senior lawyer Abdul Satar Misbah to sign the report of the delimitation committee in a bid to complete it. In a letter to senior lawyer Misbah, CaFFE Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon noted that it is a surprise that Misbah did not sign the final report of the committee. "As far as our understanding is concerned you agreed with the rest of the members of the committee. In that context, it is a surprise for us that you did not sign it," more..

Docs thrash out pros and cons of abortion

Jan 7 (ST) The hills of Kandy came alive, not with the sound of music, but with arguments and counter-arguments on two major and controversial but timely issues surrounding life and death. Abortion and euthanasia, were the burning topics discussed in friendly debates by doctors that took up the whole morning of Wednesday, in an event organised by the forward-thinking Mid-country Psychiatrists at the Tourmaline Hotel. At the end of the debates, jury was still out, like in the country, more..

Video: Our goal is to create a Southwestern economic strip: PM

Jan 7 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says that the development programme launched today in Hambantota under the leadership of President Sirisena will be even bigger than former President J.R. Jayewardene’s Mahaweli Development Programme. PM was speaking during the opening ceremony for the industrial zone near the port city of Hambantota on Saturday. Police used water cannons to try to break up violent clashes more..

President’s decision on Wilpattu will not hamper resettlement process: Badurdeen

Jan 7 (DN) Industries Development Minister Rizad Badurdeen said the decision taken by the President relating to the Wilpattu Sanctuary will not hamper the resettlement process of Muslim and Sinhala families, affected by the war. Minister refuted the allegations that he had cleaned 17,000 acres of forest to settle Muslim people. War affected Muslim and Sinhala families in Mannar District are living in their own land. He said he has not violated any rule of the country relating to lands. more..

Clashes erupt as Sri Lankans protest China port deal

Jan 7 (AP) Police used water cannons to try to break up violent clashes between govt supporters and villagers marching against what they say is a plan to take over private land for an industrial zone in which China will have a major stake. The clashes took place as PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was attending an opening ceremony for the industrial zone near the port city of Hambantota. Govt supporters, armed with clubs, first attacked protesters organised by the opposition and led by Buddhist monks more..

Sri Lanka unveils special zone to attract Chinese industries amid protest

Jan 7 (ENS) In the midst of rioting against the Sino-SL deal over the Hambantota port, China on Saturday categorically stated that it is committed to executing its projects in the island despite hostile propaganda by the local opposition parties. Speaking at the launch of the China-backed Southern Economic Development Zone in Hambantota, the Chinese Ambassador, Yi Xianliang, said that no negative force can stop China’s more..

The need to be the change

Jan 8 (SO) Some called it a revolution, but a war and corruption-battered nation did not see it quite that way even if they did vote for a significant political change two years ago. Today the current coalition govt marks the second anniversary of the presidential election that brought it to power. National Unity coalition, officially named the United National Front for Good Governance (UNFGG), is the second such coalition in Sri Lanka in which the political parties in the coalition control, more..

Darker side of Southern Projects

Jan 8 (CT) The delay in entering into the agreement with the firm China Merchant on the amended Hambantota Port 99-year lease has run into snags which the Chinese investor wants ironed out immediately. Reports say it wants the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to also be a signatory to the agreement as an attesting witness to the project about which the ports authorities have not been too happy. The agreement, set to have been inked today as one of the govt's significant more..

Economy reaches pre take-off position within two years of governance

Jan 8 (SO) The National Unity Govt of President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has embarked on a long-term development to become a higher middle-income country by year 2025. This envisages creating a strong, diversified, resilient and competitive economy. But, the efforts of successive govts have not brought the desired results, and had kept Sri Lanka lagging behind other countries in Asia. more..

Delimitation a lam duck

Jan 8 (NS) Local Govt Institutions Delimitation Appeals Committee on the Demarcation of Boundaries has seriously questioned whether their report would be an answer to the myriad problems faced in this regard. An official inside the Delimitation Committee who did not wish to be named as he was not authorized to go public, said that the mandate of the Committee whose appointment was gazetted in 2013 was limited with regard to resolving all problems more..

Vokswagen and Hambantota

Jan 8 (Island) In March last year the Fortune magazine ran an article simply titled Hoaxwagen illustrated with a photo of a spanking new Volkswagen car spewing a cloud of noxious black smoke from its tailpipe. No explanation of what that article was all about was necessary. The whole world by then knew all about how a renowned automaker, whose legendary Beetle held the world in thrall for several decades, had in the words of one writer incinerated its reputation by more..

'Wrong people being questioned on Lasantha’s murder'

Jan 8 (SL) Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has once again come under the spotlight. Having held a key bureaucratic position in the Rajapaksa regime, rumours have begun to circulate about his possible entry into active politics. However, responding to these claims, former Defence Secretary says he has not made any decisions to enter politics. He also says the FCID has become a political hunting ground for more..

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Volkswagen!

Jan 8 (SL) Social media was a buzz last week after the authorities were forced to clarify not one but two matters which drew wide publicity. One was about the world’s largest Christmas tree and Galle Face and the other the vehicle manufacturing plant in Kuliyapitiya. While much hype was made over the construction of the world’s largest Christmas tree at Galle Face, it was found last week that the record is yet to be formally recognised as SL has not sought recognition from Guinness World Records. more..

Arjuna’s role in the Hambantota deal

Jan 8 (Island) As we write this on Saturday, Hambantota town has become a battleground with thousands of policemen on the streets with barricades and riot gear. Reports are coming in of confrontations between the police and protestors with tear gas and water cannon being used. Signing of the final agreement for the privatisation of Hambantota Port was to take place yesterday in Hambantota but it was cancelled by Minister Malik Samarawickrema who said last Thursday that more..

Face the Nation

UNP, SLFP need to come to the centre

Jan 8 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena must be wondering what on earth happened to the time that has so swiftly gone by since his surprise election victory exactly two years ago. He now finds two-fifths of his term is already over, with precious little to show for it. He assumed the high office he holds under exceptional circumstances. He brought with him some fellow travellers disgruntled for the indifferent treatment in the old Rajapaksa regime, but Mr. Sirisena rode to power more..

The devastating story of Brett Schultz –man who destroyed Sri Lanka in 1993

Jan 8 (Island) The year 1993 saw a lot of turmoil in the country. President Premadasa was assassinated in May while the popular Lalith Athulathmudali had been gunned down two weeks before that. Had it been England, Australia or New Zealand, a cricket series a few months after those killings would have been called off. But the South Africans kept to their word and three months after those two high profile assassinations, they toured Sri Lanka. Captain Arjuna Ranatunga and coach Duleep Mendis more..

Yahapalanaya to continue struggling in a swamp

Jan 8 (CT) Just one week into the newly dawned year, Yahapalana Govt, and its stakeholders appear to be in a swamp without being able to proceed in any direction. Though they managed to hide differences of opinion between the camp led by President and PM well under the carpet for two years, the tug-o-war of the hierarchies could no longer be hidden as it has come to the limelight on many occasions in the last few weeks. more..

Whom is Percy Mahinda trying to fool?

Jan 8 (SL) Former President Rajapaksa is going around the country blowing his horn that he is going to topple the Unity Govt reminiscent of a schoolboy on his big match day going about town screaming that he is going to win the match. Senior politicians with the aspirations of being held up as statesmen are expected to behave with gravitas and decorum and not behave like schoolboys. Opposition leaders who hope to lead the nation once again do not keep repeating at every street junction more..

Gayanthika stuns sealing cross country title

Jan 8 (CT) Middle distance runner Gayanthika Abeyrathne shocked many when she won the National Cross Country Championship 2017, while Olympic Marathoner Niluka Rajasekara finished in fourth place at Race Course Nuwara Eliya. Gayanthika who only last month decided to run the cross country, clocked 38 minutes and 33 seconds to win the 10km event. Runner who excels in 800m and 1500m said she does not hope to take part in cross country events at int'l level. more..

Sanath laments over Lankan batting woes

Jan 8 (ST) A disappointed Sri Lanka Cricket chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya reiterated that the seven batters in the lineup should learn from their mistakes and strive for a better show at least in the final Test match which is scheduled to begin in Cape Town on Thursday. Jayasuriya said “We selected a side which is a blend of youth and experience. Besides, even the young ones have had their own share of exposure in recent past. more..

Foreign Minister on first UK visit after Brexit

Jan 8 (NR) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera will undertake an official visit to the UK on 9-14 Jan 2017. This is the first high-level visit from SL to UK, since the appointment of the new Govt of PM Theresa May following the Brexit vote in July 2016. The visit reflects the continuing dialogue between SL and UK since resetting bilateral ties in Jan 2015. He is scheduled to meet with the UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson, and other key interlocutors. more..

Colombo’s first five-star international hotel launched after 25 years

Jan 8 (Island) Colombo’s first new international five-star hotel in 25 years, the Movenpick Hotel Colombo, was opened by President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday on a prime Kollupitiya location with its promoters declaring it a "milestone reflecting the country’s new found energy and optimism." The 24-floor property with 219 guest rooms including suites has been promoted by the Softlogic Group, one of the country’s fastest growing conglomerates, headed by Mr. Ashok Pathirage. more..

China's growing presence in Sri Lanka

Most Popular Schoolboy voting begins today

Jan 8 (ST) Dialog 4g-the Sunday Times Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2017 will officially kick off today, with the Sunday Times carrying the first printed coupon (See ST II Pg 28) which our readers could use to make their favourite schoolboy cricketer — Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2017. As it is done customarily, the Dialog 4G-the Sunday Times Most Popular Schoolboy Cricketer of the Year 2017 competition will have the coupons in selected Wijeya Newspapers publications more..

Two long years

Jan 8 (ST) My dear Maithri, I thought of writing to you to congratulate you on completing two years in the top job in Paradise. Just over two years ago when you were Minister of Health and dealing with minor matters such as dengue mosquitoes and warnings on cigarette packets, who would have thought that you would get this far? Many people think that you just got lucky, taking on Mahinda maama at a time when his fame was fading. I don’t agree. If that was the case, more..

In-a-flurry Nimal Siripala flags off work on BIA runway

Jan 8 (ST) Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva was firing shots at almost everyone (in sight) when delivering his speech at Friday’s ceremony held to commence construction work on the resurfacing of the runway at the BIA. He said that the construction of the runway was an important work that would be of national service for future generations, as he flagged off the trucks awaiting to proceed to the site amidst chanting of pirith. more..

Wayside lunch packets, kola kenda under microscope

Jan 8 (SO) In an attempt to halt the spread of food-borne infections currently spreading in the city, the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has stepped up inspections of all wayside food outlets including food sold in carts, such as kola kenda. Assistant Food Inspector, CMC Lal Kumara said from last week, they have been paying special attention to lunch packets sold on pavements and kola kenda (herbal gruel) in carts. To identify the places where they are most likely to be sold, more..