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DEW calls for wider debate on global economic downfall

Mar 25 (DN) Sri Lanka Communist Party Secretary D.E.W. Gunasekara said that there should be a wider debate in society on the huge economic downfall in the world. He said that most developed countries have experienced a downturn in their economy since 2004. The economic growth in the EU and the US are just 1% and 2% respectively, while in Japan it is only 0%. “More than 70% of our exports are channelled to the West. more..

Bus lane a work in progress amid dangers and shrinking space

Mar 25 (ST) Designated bus lanes will be the way to go, officials believe, after a week-long trial run. But private drivers and motorbike riders say they are competing for shrinking road space and that turning into side streets has become a challenge. A driver also warned of possible fatal accidents when children rush across bus lanes to board school vans. Drivers also demand that politicians build better roads first. more..

Shocking details emerge on Joseph Camp

Mar 25 (SL) Shocking details have emerged about Joseph Camp in Vavuniya, said to have been used to torture detainees during and after the war. International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) led by a former member of the UN panel on Sri Lanka, Yasmin Sooka, have in their possession witness statements, photographs and other details on the alleged torture camp. A case study by ITJP on the camp quotes, more..

Rajinikanth cancels SL trip following protest

Mar 25 (ENS) Following stiff opposition from Tamil outfits, megastar Rajinikanth on Saturday announced he has cancelled his visit to Sri Lanka next month to inaugurate a housing scheme. He had also sought an appointment with the Sri Lankan President to discuss the fishermen's issue. As part of his visit, organised by Lyca Productions, Rajinikanth was expected to speak at a public meeting and plant tree saplings. more..

Video: Prison bus converted into bullet-proof Black Maria

Mar 25 (DM) In the wake of the recent attack on a prison bus in Kalutara, officials of the Kegalle prisons have transformed an ordinary prison bus into a bullet-proof vehicle at a cost Rs. 0.7 million in less than ten days under the instructions of Minister D.M. Swaminathan. It was reported that after the Kalutara shooting that killed two prison officers and five prisoners, Minister Swaminathan had provided funds to more..

Supplementary estimate to introduce new domestic airline

Mar 25 (DN) A Supplementary Estimate presented to Parliament last morning revealed that the govt had decided to introduce a new domestic airline. The approval of Parliament was sought through the Supplementary Estimate to spend Rs. 1.05 billion for the domestic airline which is to be set up as a public private partnership and also for the double tracking of a railway line in the Polgahawala- Kurunegala section and more..

Russia: enduring friend

Mar 26 (SO) President Sirisena’s journey to Moscow last week would have been more than a state visit to an enduring, friendly world power. In Moscow is also his alma mater, the Maxim Gorky Literature Institute, where he studied political science after his diploma in agriculture at Peradeniya. A budding communist activist in his youth, the President would have found little difficulty (even if he has forgotten his Russian) in empathising with the vicissitudes of post-communist Russia. more..

Ballot Vs. Bullet and The DS formula

Mar 26 (SL) The address of the Opposition and the Leader of the TNA, Rajavarothyam Sampanthan, to a conference on Counter Terrorism held in New Delhi, is of significance not only for its contents but also for the spirit in which it was delivered and the sincere expression of a desire for a United Sri Lanka where all its people can live together as free and equal citizens. Sampanthan as a Tamil political leader had gone through the rigours of one of the most ruthless violent political conflicts of a more..

100 years of outstanding performance

Mar 26 (SO) One of the leading schools in Sri Lanka’s famed gem city, a school that prides itself for being an institution imparting early education to the world’s first woman PM Sirimavo Bandaranaike or Sirima Ratwatte as she was then known, is poised to celebrate its centenary this year. Ferguson High School, Ratnapura, a missionary English medium school established on March 27, 1917 had only 3 students at its inception. more..

Indo-Pacific enter the bear

Mar 26 (CT) When Premier Narendra Modi went to Moscow for talks with Russian President V. Putin, in Dec 2015, the latter presented Modi with an 18th century sword from Bengal that belonged to the Najafi Dynasty, and according to some, not something that evokes fond memories in the minds of Hindus of India. Shortly after they signed agreements to boost Indo-Russian cooperation in the all important and globally significant defence and nuclear energy fields, besides agreements more..

Command responsibility

Mar 26 (Island) Newspapers reported that 3 non-commissioned officers (NCOs) of SL Army have been arrested and remanded over Rathupaswela shooting in August 2013. This followed protestors alleging that a factory in the area manufacturing rubber gloves had polluted ground water in the neighborhood rendering their well water unsafe for drinking. They blocked traffic movement on the Kandy road resulting in the deploying of troops who fired on demonstrators killing 3 & injuring 26. more..

'Politics broke up my marriage'

Mar 26 (SL) JO member Geetha Kumarasinghe has been accused of having a dual citizenship and as a result not suitable to continue to hold her seat in Parliament. However She dismissed the allegations. Kumarasinghe said she is confident the issue will be resolved by court. Q:  What is the truth behind your dual citizenship issue? A: I deny  these allegations. Media institutions have been showcasing this as a grave issue. more..

SL in superpower geopolitical gymnastics

Mar 26 (ST) Marshal Josip Broz Tito of the former Yugoslavia is credited with the famous quote of yesteryear that Non-Alignment meant signalling left and turning right. Or maybe it was the other way around, but the drift was clear. Today, Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), launched in the 1950s and which went on from strength to strength till the mid-1970s in the midst of the Cold War period is no longer relevant. Sri Lanka, one of the pioneers of this movement is now in the forefront of more..

Running against the wind

Mar 26 (ST) My dear Thilanga, I thought I must write to you to congratulate you on our latest cricketing achievement – losing a test match last week to Bangladesh, the youngest test playing country which gained test status nearly two decades after we did. It was also the first time we lost a test to a younger test playing nation! In terms of being an achievement, I suppose this must be second only to winning the World Cup under Captain Cool over two decades ago. more..


UNHRC resolution: Govt in trap of its own making

Mar 26 (Island) UNHRC resolution which was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka and passed without a vote last Thursday has given the govt two years to deliver on the commitments made in UNHRC Resolution No: 30/1 of Oct 2015. Unlike in previous years, this year’s UNHRC resolution did not generate much heat in Sri Lanka because the expectation was that the govt would be given a further period of time. However, this extention of time to deliver may be more to the detriment of the govt than more..

Participation does not mean sitting in judgement in a hybrid court

Mar 26 (SO) After a hectic week at the 34th session of UNHRC in Geneva, Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration is now in a position to heave a sigh of relief as the resolution on Sri Lanka granting a 2-year extension was passed without a vote at the Council, on Thursday. This means SL will have two years to fulfil its international obligations in terms of accountability and reconciliation, as per UNHRC resolution passed in Oct, 2015 – a month after unity govt’s rise to power. more..

Why Chinese Defence Minister met Maithri hours before his Russian visit?

Mar 26 (CT) If there were any allegations about President Sirisena and his Yahapalana Govt aligning towards the West, in total contrast to the Rajapaksa Administration, he took it upon himself to clear the air during his Russian visit. Though it was often referred to the stronger and special bond Russian President Vladimir Putin had with his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa, President Sirisena is the first more..

Tamim's highs, and a first for Bangladesh

Mar 26 (CI) 5: Wins for Bangladesh in 39 ODIs against SL - they have lost 33 while one was washed out. However, this is their first win when batting first; their previous four victories had all come in chases. This is also their second win against SL in Sri Lanka, after the three-wicket triumph in Pallekele in 2013. 324/5: Bangladesh's total, their third-highest in ODIs, and their best away from home. Their two higher totals - 329 and 326 - have both come against Pakistan in Mirpur. more..

Shakib's calm, Tharanga's surrender

Mar 26 (CI) A collision that could've hurt real bad: Sri Lanka had a number of boundary line errors. Not running hard enough, diving over the ball and letting it go through the legs figured prominently among those. It started with a collision that could have turned dangerous. In the fourth over, Lakshan Sandakan and Sachith Pathirana pursued a Tamim Iqbal clip through square leg. While they couldn't stop the boundary, they clattered into each other. Somehow, they managed to more..

'Transition period no longer an excuse'

Mar 26 (CI) SL can't continue to use being a team in transition as an excuse for poor performances said wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal following his team's 90-run defeat to Bangladesh. Having conceded 324 for 5, including 109 runs in the last 10 overs, Sri Lanka never had the measure of the chase. Only Chandimal made a half-century and only one partnership reached 50. This was also their sixth consecutive ODI loss after having more..

That painful defeat to Bangladesh

Mar 26 (Island) Sri Lanka’s humiliating defeat to Bangladesh last week in the second Test at P. Sara Oval has brought intense criticism. It must be reminded that when the Sri Lankan side was going through a tough time in South Africa, the criticism wasn’t that extreme. A team in transition playing world’s number one ranked team in tough conditions was bound to go through hard times. But the defeat to Bangladesh, the youngest Test playing nation was hard to accept. more..

Only SLC opposes Manohar at ICC

Mar 26 (CT) ICC Chairman Shashank Manohar submitted his resignation, but just 10 days later he had agreed to withdraw it and continue in his post, supposedly persuaded by a vast majority of the ICC Board of Directors to remain. The push to bring him back began immediately after the announcement of his resignation on the morning of 15 March, as a host of ICC Directors along with ICC Management - led by CEO Dave Richardson - got into a huddle. Majority quickly agreed that they could not more..

Bangladesh beat SL by 90 runs in first ODI 

Mar 26 (CI) Bangladesh carried forward the momentum from their historic win in their 100th Test by making a rousing start to the three-match ODI series in Dambulla. Tamim Iqbal, with his eighth hundred, and Shakib Al Hasan fashioned their formidable score of 324 for 5 before a combined effort from the bowlers and fielders shut Sri Lanka out for 234 in 45.1 overs. This was the first time Bangladesh had posted a 300-plus total more..

Money printing spree ahead of Avurudu

Mar 26 (ST) Sri Lanka has printed currency worth Rs.217 billion to service cash-strapped public finances during the period of January 1 to February 17, official data showed. The Treasury has found it difficult to maintain the cash flow for the payment of public sector salaries and other state expenditure as government revenue is far below present expenditure, official sources said adding that interest rates in Treasury bill sales have also been increased. more..

Naming and shaming

Mar 26 (ST) It was chance encounter with a sociology professor during a walk at the Weli Park at Nugegoda that triggered the thoughts behind today’s column. Prof: Hi Feizal, How are things? Me (FS): Well, while there is freedom of expression which is a huge plus, there are still issues in governance. Prof: Absolutely. Things are moving too slow and corruption still persists apart from what happened in the past. Maybe the corrupt should be named and shamed. Me: But will it work? more..

Hedging Deal: MR withdrew Rs. 400 million from Central Bank

Mar 26 (SL) Former President Rajapaksa withdrew over Rs. 400 million from the Central Bank for the controversial hedging deal, Auditor General’s Department has found. A new report by the AG’s Department found that the Rajapaksa led administration withdrew money for the hedging deal without Monetary Board approval. Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), which imported some 26 million barrels of oil at a cost of $2 billion in 2007, more..

German Travel Association mulls holding next AGM in Sri Lanka

Mar 26 (DM) Deutscher Reise Verband (DRV), also known as German Travel Association, may hold its annual general meeting (AGM) in Sri Lanka with the participation of over 800 of its members. Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga was quoted as saying in the statement that Sri Lanka Tourism with the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and Sri Lanka Convention Bureau would provide all required facilities to make the event successful. more..

One lakh turns into one million for DLB lottery winners

Mar 26 (ST) For decades the Development Lotteries Board (DLB) has been dedicated to uplifting lives in Sri Lanka and has contributed to development in the country through its marketing and corporate social responsibility endeavours. Recently it made a record breaking change and relaunched the popular product Lakshapathi by rebranding it as Dasalakshapathi. The objective of revitalising the brand is to offer loyal consumers greater opportunities to win a bigger prize, more..

Chinese elbow out other contractors in Central expressway deals

Mar 26 (ST) While Japanese funding has been offered for part three of Central Expressway and with that Govt is obliged to hire Japanese contractors, there are allegations that a powerful Chinese firm is behind the soon-to-be awarded Japanese bidder. Taisei Corporation, with which the govt is having negotiations, is backed by China Harbour and Engineering Company (CHEC). CHEC is also handling Colombo Port City more..

Noose tightens around ex-JMO in Lasantha murder probe

Mar 26 (SL) Investigations being conducted by the CID into the murder of Lasantha Wickremetunge has led to more evidence being gathered which could lead to the arrest of the former Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of the Colombo South Teaching Hospital Dr. Sunil Kumara. The latest autopsy report on Wickrematunge’s assassination had revealed that he died as a result of injuries sustained from a sharp object to the right side of the head and not gun-shot wounds. more..

Sports Ministry plans to dissolve SLBA elections?

Mar 26 (ST) The Sports Ministry aims to dissolve the Annual General Meeting and elections of the Sri Lanka Badminton Association (SLBA) most probably during the coming week. The reason for this is that the AGM is not in keeping with the Sports Law. According to the Sports Law, the annual audit report should have the approval of the Auditor General. This approval has not been obtained as yet. The Sunday Times inquired from a top level senior Sports Ministry official who said more..

Offshore websites in Sri Lanka visa scam

Mar 26 (CT) Thousands of foreign visitors arriving in the country are being ripped-off by several off-shore based websites who are handling Lankan landing visas in exchange for staggering fees, while the authorities in Colombo remain helpless, it was revealed. An unknown number of websites or even more are currently in operation and are known to be handling thousands of Sri Lankan visit visas to unsuspecting foreign clients, more..

Govt to spend Rs 4.4 b on Divi Udana

Mar 26 (SO) The Treasury has allocated Rs. 4.4 billion to implement a major loan scheme called Divi Udana aimed at developing eight different economic sectors. Some of the key segments under Divi Udana include large and small scale agriculture industries, SMEs, poultry trade, solar power, low-income housing, school transport services and media sector, Director General of the Finance Department of the Finance Ministry Priyanka Atapattu told the Business Observer. more..

BIA runway overlay completed

Mar 26 (ST) Overlay work on the runway at the BIA was completed ahead of schedule last week but re-opening for all flights would take place as planned on April 6. The airport has been closed during the day (8.30 am to 4.30 pm) since January 6, and opens only at night. When the BIA resumes full operations on April 6, the runway will be able to accommodate A380s since the width of the runway has also been increased to 75 metres from an earlier 60 metres. more..

Hambantota deal: Major changes in final draft

Mar 26 (ST) China Merchant Port Holdings Company Ltd (CMPort) which has clinched majority shares of the Hambantota Port joint venture company will sell a quarter of them within the first ten years to a SL party at a fair value determined by an independent valuer, final draft of the concession agreement between the company and SL Ports Authority states. At the start, CMPort will hold 80% of shares while SLPA will have 20%. more..

Wiggie wants role in reconciliation process

Mar 26 (SL) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran yesterday called for his inclusion or that of a member of the Northern Provincial Council in the reconciliation process. Speaking at an event in Tellipalai, Wigneswaran said that the Tamils in the North have been agitating for their participation in the processes adopted for reconciliation. “Reconciliation demands the participation of those affected freely and dignifiedly. Our participation does not mean our officials. more..

6 SL migrant workers gone missing in Saudi

Mar 26 (SL) Some six Sri Lankan migrant workers have gone missing in Saudi Arabia, according to complaints made by their relatives to the SL Bureau of Foreign Employment. An investigation had been launched to locate the missing persons. Among those gone missing are M.H. Rifnaz of Akkaraipattu, A.S.M. Sujahan of Ratnapura, P.G. Kamani of Giriulla, K.P.K. Chandrawathi of Athimale, N.F. Rita of Kalladi and Mohamed Riyaz of Galenbindunuwewa and more..

Lankan Test player interviewed by ICC anti-corruption unit

Mar 26 (ST) At least one Sri Lanka national cricketer was interviewed by the ICC’s Anti-Corruption officials in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s defeat to Bangladesh in the second Test at the Sara Oval last Sunday. It all began with an overseas telephone call that the player in question received. However. it has been still termed as a fan-call from someone living in the US. When inquired from Lakshman de Silva who is ICC official handling anti-corruption matters more..

Agreements with Asian giants to precede FTA with Bangladesh

Mar 26 (Island) Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are scheduled to commence talks on a free trade pact, no sooner on going negotiations  for comprehensive economic partnerships with India, China and Singapore are concluded. Agreement in this regard, was reached during a meeting between PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Bangladesh High Commissioner to SL, Riaz Hamidullah in Colombo recently. Bangladeshi Counsellor Maleka Parveen said that HC Hamidullah had requested more..