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Talks underway for Sri Lanka’s first Four Seasons hotel

Jan 9 (DM) A meeting was held last Friday at the Ministry of Special Assignments under the chairmanship of Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama to discuss a project proposal for the establishment of a six-star hotel of the reputed international hotel chain, Four Seasons.  It will be the first Four Seasons hotel in Sri Lanka. This project envisages an investment of US $ 50 million, a Special Assignments Ministry statement said. A number of international hotel and resorts operators, more..

Mahinda accuses govt goons of attacking H’tota protesters

Jan 9 (Island) It had become evident once again from the Saturday police crackdown in Hambantota that civil liberties were being curtailed former President Rajapaksa told the prelates of Malwatte and Asgiriya on Sunday. He paid his homage to Sacred tooth Relic and called on Mahanayke of Asgiriya Most Venerable Warakagoda Sri Guanaratne Thera. Protest was launched at H'tota by the people of the area against the proposed handover of 15,000 acres to the Chinese. more..

Bond Scam Profits: Perpetual Treasuries total assets go up to Rs. 23 b.

Jan 9 (ST) Perpetual Treasuries (PTL), Primary Dealer in govt securities, who is at the centre of Treasury Bond (TB) controversy, has upped its after-tax profits from Rs 5.1 billion for the year ending March last year, to Rs 6.8 bil by end Sept 2016. This puts PTL’s total assets by Sept 2016, at over Rs 23 bil, up from around Rs 11.8 bil by March 31. Its income from trading activities has gone up from Rs 5.5 bil by March, 2016, more..

Video: Daisy Forrest released on bail

Jan 9 (DM) Ms. Daisy Forrest Wickramasinghe, the great aunt of Yoshitha Rajapaksa, was released on bail by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court today over the controversial land case in Mt. Lavinia. She was released on a cash bail of Rs.25,000 and two sureties of Rs.1.5 million each. FCID has informed the court that the investigations into the case has been finalised but they were yet to record a statement from Ms. Wickramasinghe. Magistrate, who said if the investigations are completed more..

'Development in North, South & upcountry'

Jan 9 (NR) Minister Palani Digambaram says the govt is in the process of developing the North, South and the Hill Country. Speaking at an event in Hatton Minster said certain factions are attempting to disrupt development projects that are underway. He said the govt will face all challenges in the journey towards development. Minister said some factions are protesting and making false statements adding that no matter what protests they hold they cannot topple this government until 2020. more..

SL is creating a new Constitution and people have spoken – more than 7,000 of them

Jan 9 (Scroll) Sri Lankan activists will tell you that the island has a commission culture. In the last 15 years alone, people have stood up and testified before dozens of committees – some, such as the Udalagama Commission, investigating human rights abuses, and others, such as the Mahanama Tilakaratne and Paranagama Commissions, looking into abductions and disappearances. more..

Convicted of murder: Six cops sentenced to death

Jan 9 (DM) Six police personnel including a sub inspector attached to the Kandaketiya Police were sentenced to death by Badulla High Court Judge Rohan Jayawardane today after they were found guilty of murdering a youth and assaulting four others at Meegahakiula in Angurukaduwa in 2014. Those convicted are as follows: Kandaketiya Police SI G. Somaratne, Constables P.D. Pathmakumara Gamage, R. Pushpakumara, M.G. Abeyratne, police assistant D.M. Wijeratne and more..

Laugfs group maritime subsidiary first to register ship at H’tota port

Jan 9 (DM) Diversified conglomerate Laugfs Holdings is set to mark another monumental milestone by being the first to register a vessel at the Hambantota Port, a company statement said.  The announcement was made together with the purchase of another LPG vessel under Laugfs Maritime, in its plans to rapidly expand its vessel fleet.  This latest LPG carrier was acquired for an investment of over US$ 2.8 million, and is registered under the Sri Lankan flag as Gas Courage. more..

Setting up industries in Hambantota commendable: Chamal Rajapaksa

Jan 9 (DN) Setting up factories in Hambantota with foreign investment is commendable, JO MP Chamal Rajapaksa said in Parliament today. He made this observation while joining in the debate that took place following a special statement made by JO member Dinesh Gunawardena today. Rajapaksa added that the harbour was constructed not to keep it without setting up of factories: more..

Not invited for any event or party: MR

Jan 9 (DM) Former president Rajapaksa said today that he did not receive an invitation for the ceremony to mark the commencement of President Sirisena's second year in office that was held today at the BMICH nor to take up the leadership of any new political party. He also took a swipe at the govt on the incident that took place on Saturday in Hambantota during the inauguration of the Hambantota industrial zone saying that attacks on the protesting villagers point to the collapse more..

Video: H’tota clash: 32 suspects re-remanded

Jan 9 (DM) 32 suspects, who were arrested on charges of violating court orders and damaging public property during a protest in Hambantota, were further remanded till Jan 16 by the Hambantota Magistrate Court today. At least 41 persons were arrested for damaging public properties during the protest held against the Ruhunu Development Project in Hambantota on Saturday. 13 suspects were arrested by Hambantota Police, 21 by Ambalantota Police, 4 by Suriyawewa Police more..

UNP rejects allegations of planned attack

Jan 9 (NR) UNP MP Nalin Bandara says govt vehemently rejects the allegation that a group of demonstrators were intercepted in Mirijjawila, Hambantota and were attacked by individuals affiliated to the government on Saturday. He said it was not a pre-planned attack adding over 10,000 youth peacefully attended the ceremony. MP Bandara said allegations have been leveled against UNP claiming that thugs from UNP attacked more..

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh FTA on the cards

Jan 9 (DN) Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are considering to inking a free trade agreement between the two countries. Attention was drawn towards this initiative during a meeting held between Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Bangladesh High Commissioner Riaz Hamidullah at the Finance Ministry on Friday. The discussion was centered on the benefits to be tapped by both countries from such an important regional trade agreement of this nature. In addition, strategies to minimize more..

25% of bus drivers are drug addicts: LPBOA

Jan 9 (DM) Lanka Private Bus Owners' Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne said today said some 25% of the bus drivers were drug addicts who drove the buses after imbibing in ganja also known as cannabis. “This will result in the bus industry collapsing and an increase in the number of accidents,” Mr. Wijeratne said. "There are several drugs and pills in the market which drivers are known to use and most of the accidents occur when they fall asleep at the wheel." more..

H’tota IPZ was former regime’s plan: Ranil

Jan 9 (DM) The industrial zone in Hambantota was originally planned by the previous regime led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Saturday. Speaking during the inauguration of the Southern Industrial Zone, the PM said the present government was also following the former regime in setting up the zone. "Previous regime actually got into an agreement to set up the zone in 2014" more..

Video: No need for Western attire: MS says

Jan 9 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena said today he would cancel the circular issued by a former president making it mandatory for high-ranking public servants to be clad in western attire when reporting to work. He said in future it would not be necessary to wear the blazer and tie except on special occasions should the need arise. “I attended an annual Pirith ceremony held on December 31 in Polonnaruwa. It was almost midnight when I arrived at that place. more..

SL vows to invest more to promote tourism

Jan 9 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka will spend more money in upgrading tourist sites to ensure better facilities and access for visitors this year, local media reported on Monday. Janaka Sugathadasa, secretary of the Ministry of Tourism Development, said the Treasury had allocated 680 million rupees to develop tourist-related infrastructure. "We need to provide more facilities, better access to facilities and new and alternative facilities for tourists," he said. Tourism authorities will also work closely with more..

Abolition of 18th Amendment, a bigger victory than the passing of the 19th: Prez

Jan 9 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena said that the National Unity govt will stay to fulfill the mandate it received two years ago on this day from the 6.2 million people who voted for the pledge in the election manifesto to form a consensual govt. He further said that he is not worried about statements or actions of those who are wanting to topple the govt this year. Speaking at a colorful function held at the BMICH to mark more..

Sri Lankan ministers, diplomats attend reception on board PMS ships

Jan 9 (TN) A colorful reception was arranged last evening on board at visiting Pakistan Maritime Security Ships Hingol and Basol who are currently in Sri Lanka for a 4-day port call as a reflective of strong multifaceted relationship and engagement between the two brotherly countries. The reception was attended by large gathering of guests which included SL Ministers, diplomats, senior officers of armed forces, top Govt functionaries, business and media personalities, members of Pakistani more..

Sri Lanka to seek Maldives assistance to find missing fishermen

Jan 9 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka said that it will seek assistance of the Maldives Security Forces to locate four SL fishermen who had gone missing in the seas off Oluvil. Six fishermen went missing after they set out to sea on Dec. 24, triggering a search operation launched by local authorities. Officials from the Fisheries Ministry said two fishermen were found last week and they remained in custody of Maldivian authorities. SL had sought help of the Maldives Security Forces to locate the remaining four. more..

TNA to support Sri Lanka’s constitution-making despite internal dissent

Jan 9 (ENS) TNA, which is the official Opposition in parliament and the ruling party in the NPC, will continue to support the ongoing process to draft a new constitution for SL despite internal dissensions. The TNA, which met twice last week, decided to accept leader R. Sampanthan’s advice that despite doubts about a getting a favorable outcome from the constitution-making process, process should be supported more..

Master Sir, will you be my friend!

Jan 10 (ST) Going through the tea market report of a reputed tea broker the other day, I was surprised as to the composition of the countries that have become Sri Lanka’s main tea buyers. Surprise may not be the right choice of words. Probably puzzled would be a better one. Scanning the list of 15 plus key importing countries, I could not find the United Kingdom (UK) on the list? What no UK? The country from where 17- year-old Scottish lad James Taylor (no relation of US folk singer James Taylor) more..

Editorial: Mahinda sets cat among pigeons

Jan 10 (Island) Former President Rajapaksa has set the cat among the pigeons. On the eve of 2017 he said his New Year resolution was to topple the govt. The yahapalana leaders are doing their damnedest to convince the public that their bête noire is only daydreaming. PM has sought to make light of Rajapaksa’s threat and President Sirisena has seen red. He insists that so long as the Speaker is on his side, there is no way anyone could dislodge the govt, which he says, will go on till 2020. more..

'Disappointed with many decisions of govt'

Jan 10 (CT) Former State Minister Priyankara Jayaratne says that he called the SLFP Committee members of his electorate for a discussion at which they unanimously urged him to resign. "I represent the interests of the voters in Anamaduwa. They insisted that I take this decision". Q: You tendered resignation from your portfolio to President Maithripala Sirisena a week ago. What's the real story behind the decision? more..

When a CB governor speaks like a governor

Jan 10 (CT) When a Governor of a central bank speaks like a Governor, he is sure to receive two types of response. His candid speech will build private citizens’ confidence in central bank actions which in turn helps the Govt in power to attain its growth objectives. But it could also anger his political masters if they are just concerned with short-term political gains and not about long-term sustainable economic achievements. This is exactly what has happened Central Bank Governor more..

Hail our petty potentates, hail our misled people

Jan 10 (ST) Each time at the dawn of a new year our rulers enact a ritual farce. They address the nation and tell the people of their great achievements in the previous year or two and what they hope to achieve in the days ahead. These messages are replete with pious platitudes on good governance – a more recent addition to the cornucopia of bogus politics – and what the future holds for the populace. The people know what the future holds. more..

This Environmental Destruction of Wilpattu must stop!

Jan 10 (CT) This week our focus is on the continuous environmental destruction of forest cover near Wilpattu National Park which has been going on since 2009. Ceylon Today spoke to Sajeewa Chamikara who has been at the forefront to protect this ecologically sensitive area. Q: In the recent past the discussion regarding the environmental destruction that takes place in Wilpattu was renewed. more..

Reminiscences of Dr. C.G. Weeramantry

Jan 10 (CT) This columnist devotes his weekly column to pay tribute and homage to a Sri Lankan born and globally acclaimed, and hallowed legal luminary, widely treated across the globe with almost reverential respect, also an epitome of academic and professional excellence while widely acclaimed not only for his limitless humility but also his gracious charm, who passed away due to natural causes on 5 January 2017 at the ripe of age of 90. Sri Lankabhimanya Christopher Gregory more..

Govt turns a blind eye

Jan 10 (CT) Lottery agents and sellers called off their strike after President Maithripala Sirisena gave them an assurance that he will look into their grievances Friday. However, yesterday they said they still did not get a positive reply from the President yet. January 2017 began with a massive protest organized by lottery agents and sellers against the increase of the price of a lottery from Rs 20 to Rs 30 without the increase in the commission for lottery agents and sellers. more..

JVP press conference

The Unity Govt’s two years of disappointing economic performance

Jan 10 (ST) Much was expected of Unity Govt’s two year regime but too little achieved. There have been improvements in governance but economic policies have been uncertain, confusing and ineffective. The economic performance in the last 2 years has been disappointing. Compared with an annual average economic growth of 6.4% in 2010-15, the last two years annual average economic growth is likely to be about 4.5%. Economic growth slipped to 4.7% in 2015, is expected to be around 4.5% in 2016. more..

The President’s Fund, the Development Lottery and Mahapola

Jan 10 (Island) In this article I place on record for future reference some significant facts and events about three institutions which have over the years become household names amongst our people. Firstly, I speak of the President’s Fund, next the Development Lottery and third the Mahapola Higher Educational Scholarship Scheme. Financially, all three are closely connected to each other. During the ten year period 1977 to 1986 I was the Secretary to the Ministry of Plan Implementation. more..

SL bowling coach Ramanayake enthused by Kumara's progress

Jan 10 (CI) Of young players that have emerged for Sri Lanka over the past few months, perhaps none has been as surprising as the coming forth of Lahiru Kumara. He had had an excellent run in the Under-19 team, but when Test selection came for a tour of Zimbabwe, he merely appeared a placeholder quick until the more experienced bowlers returned from injury. Then, in his first match in South Africa - and third overall - more..

Malinga unavailable for SA T20Is and ODIs

Jan 10 (CI) Lasith Malinga will be unavailable for the forthcoming T20 and ODI series in South Africa after a bout of dengue forced a setback in his return from injury, Malinga's management team has confirmed. A bone bruise in his left knee had forced Malinga to withdraw from the World T20 and the IPL last year, and though he had returned to training as early as September, he had been increasing his workload in careful increments in order to regain match fitness without aggravating the injury. more..

Jet Airways starts second route to Sri Lanka

Jan 10 (Anna) Jet Airways has launched only its second route to Sri Lanka. On 5 January the Indian carrier began four times weekly flights on the 710-kilometre route between Bengaluru (BLR) and Colombo (CMB). The route will be flown by the airline’s 737-800s and frequency will increase to daily from the end of March. Competition comes from SriLankan Airlines which already serves the city pair with daily flights. Announcing new service Jayaraj Shanmugam, CCO, Jet Airways, more..

Maithrimeter: measuring progress on the 100 day programme, 700 days later

Jan 10 (Manthri) Maithripala Sirisena was sworn in as 6th Executive President of SL on 9th Jan 2015. His campaign was driven by the promise of a 100-day program that pledged short-term relief and long-term structural reforms. The promises made were to be completed by the 100th day of President’s tenure. While many of these promises have now been fulfilled, but certain key promises remain incomplete 730 days later. more..

Sri Lanka forced to practice indoors after rain affects practice pitches

Jan 10 (CI) Sri Lanka were forced to train indoors at the Wanderers Stadium on Monday, after weekend rains had seeped through the covers and made the outdoor practice pitches unusable. Though there was no rain, overcast conditions did little to aid the drying of the surfaces on Monday, and there is a chance both teams' training will be affected on Tuesday as well. The South Africa squad does not officially convene till Tuesday, and as such, have not trained yet in Johannesburg. more..

Dealing with state involvement requires joint UNP-SLFP solution

Jan 10 (CT) The reality that Sri Lanka is a country in transition was brought to the fore once again when the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms presented its final report to the govt. Task Force members expected their report to be presented to President Maithripala Sirisena in view of its importance. They delayed issuing their report for several weeks on account of the difficulty of obtaining a time when the President could be present. more..

Tamil MP’s family awaits justice but hopes fade

Jan 10 (Hindu) It was the Christmas weekend last year. Praviinaa Raviraj woke up and looked at the newspapers. All accused released, the front-page headlines screamed. Beneath was a photograph of her father Nadarajah Raviraj — a Tamil legislator killed in 2006 — alongside that of three naval intelligence officers, celebrating with their families, following their acquittal in the case. “It just didn’t feel right,” the 25-year old said. more..

Shashikala: Queen of Sri Lanka cricket

Jan 10 (DN) Shashikala Siriwardene started to play cricket at the age of six at Kotikawatte, a suburb of Colombo in Sri Lanka. She had the unstinted support of her father even at that tender age and with that guidance she has never looked back. She was only a slip of lass, but packed into her tiny frame it was evident that she had loads of guts, coupled with determination and dedication which enabled her to reach stardom thus far. The sudden success she gained by leading Sri Lanka more..