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Tourism industry tapers down impact of communal clashes

Mar 20 (FT) Considering the adverse impact of the upheaval that took place in the country, Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga yesterday (19) said Sri Lanka may miss the 2.5 million tourist arrival target this year as well. “There could be a slight impact to the 2.5 million tourist arrival estimate of the country this year. However, it can also pick up in the next couple of months,” he told journalists yesterday. more..

‘Sri Lanka to slash aircraft landing charges’

Mar 20 (DN) The Colombo International Airport will soon see a reduction of landing charges, said Minister of Christian Affairs and Tourism John Amaratunge. Speaking at a press conference with some of the leading stakeholders of the industry yesterday the Minister said that this is mainly to bring the Colombo airport charges in line with other neighbouring airports and also woo more airlines to fly to Colombo. Minister also said that the Ampara airport too would be opened very soon more..

RPC tea production declines 33%

Mar 20 (CT) The total tea production of the Regional Plantation Companies (RPC) has declined to 33%, while RPC Replanting declined to 35% from 2005 to 2016, mainly due to the deterioration of good agricultural practices, Secretary to the Ministry of plantations revealed at a Tea Forum last week. According to J.A. Ranjith, most of the RPC tea indicators have slumped to a colossal level, questioning the sustainability of the industry. Total tea production of the RPC sector Ranjith said more..

People need to identify politicians who only think of power not the country: President

Mar 20 (PSL) President Sirisena says some are working according to their personal agendas to gain political power and they are not interested in strengthening the peace and reconciliation or in solving the issues of the country. President further said that the people should recognize these people who only consider their political power without giving priority for the country. He made these remarks participating in more..

Business Times wins important ruling against SLBFE

Mar 20 (ST) Business Times (BT) on Friday won an important ruling by the Right to Information (RTI) Commission against a refusal of SL Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) to release information on MOUs or bilateral agreements with three countries. When the matter came on Friday, Commission was informed that BT Editor had been informed on March 15 by the SLBFE on its willingness to release this information. Based on that, Commission concluded appeal hearing. more..

'Sri Lanka needs int’l exhibition centre'

Mar 20 (DN) Sri Lanka needs to set up an international level exhibition centre said Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, declaring open the International Printing Exhibition. Participating as the Chief Guest at the opening of the International Printing Exhibition, Minister Dr. Amunugama said that an international level exhibition centre is necessary for Sri Lanka and that action should be taken towards that end. The International Printing Exhibition was held recently at more..

Most Sinhalese happy about recent riots: EC

Mar 20 (DM) Dismissing the popular view on the attitude of a majority of Sinhalese towards the attacks on Muslim-owned properties and mosques during the recent riots in Ampara town and Kandy District, Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya claimed they seemed happy about what happened. "The claim that a majority of Sinhalese were against the recent attacks on Muslims is wrong," he said. more..

Below 50% daily turnover at CSE; economic growth hitting rock bottom

Mar 20 (Island) The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recorded below 50 percent of daily turnover yesterday. The turnover was one of the lowest in the recent past which stood at Rs. 396.5 million. The Census and Statistics Department withdrew the 2017 full-year and fourth quarter gross domestic product data on Friday, a day after posting the country’s worst economic growth in 16 years, The on going UNHRC session and many other factors affected the market too, analysts said. more..

Sri Lanka confident of high tourist arrivals despite travel advisories

Mar 20 (Xinhua) Tourism Minister John Amaratunga expressed confidence in the country attracting over 2.5 million tourists in 2018. Amaratunga said he urged the embassies to lift travel restrictions issued against Sri Lanka and assured the island was now safe for tourists. "My ministry will write to the embassies briefing them that the state of emergency has been lifted and the situation is now normal. Despite cancellations this month due to the violence, we are confident the numbers will pick up more..

Damages to houses & businesses in Kandy: Rs 8.5B paid as compensation to 130 victims

Mar 20 (CT) By yesterday evening, Rs 8,594 million had been paid in compensation to 130 victims, of the mob violence, which destroyed houses and businesses in Kandy, earlier this month. Secretary for Minister for Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Shane Dullewe said that the full amount of the compensation paid will be revealed today. Minister M.H.A. Haleem was also in Kandy yesterday to oversee compensation process. more..

Lack of trust in Police compels deployment of separate TID team to Kandy

Mar 20 (FT) Due to lack of public faith in the Police, a special team from the Terrorist Investigations Division is to be deployed to Kandy to round up the remaining suspects involved in the riots that occurred in the Kandy district this month, UNP MP Mujibur Rahuman said. He said that this decision was taken yesterday, during a special meeting held at Temple Trees between PM Wickremesinghe, Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara, AG Jayantha Jayasuriya, senior officials of govt and more..

Bond report debate and PC delimitation report submission postponed indefinitely

Mar 20 (FT) The continuation debate on the report of the CB bond scam, as well as the presenting of the Delimitation report for the Provincial Council election, which were both part of Parliament’s agenda for the week, have been postponed indefinitely. JO Parliamentary group leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena said that the decision to postpone the debates on these two key reports was taken at the Party Leaders’ meeting, chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, held yesterday. more..

'State does not intend to establish separate High Court'

Mar 20 (Island) The schematic classification of offences in the Bill to Amend the Judicature Act referred to serious financial and economic crimes of a very serious nature. If the new Bill was enacted a group of specialised High Court Judges would hear such cases, said Additional Solicitor General, Yasantha Kodagoda, PC in the Supreme Court. At the outset ASG Kodagoda said that with creation of Provincial High Courts, more..

Kandy Violence: 8 acquitted, 16 further remanded

Mar 20 (CT) Eight, of the 24 suspects arrested and remanded over the recent violence reported from Teldeniya and Digana, were acquitted by the Teldeniya Magistrate’s Court yesterday (19). Of the 24 arrests made in Teldeniya earlier this month, for their alleged involvement in spurring the riots, racially motivated violence and over the death of an individual, 16, who were produced before the Teldeniya Magistrate’s Court yesterday were ordered to be further remanded until 2 April. more..

Harsha says no need for JO to get involved in UNP restructuring

Mar 20 (FT) State Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva dented Joint Opposition enthusiasm saying the latter need not get involved in UNP restructuring and dismissed any connection between it and the proposed no-confidence motion on Prime Minister and party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. Following efforts by the party to approach the restructuring of the UNP, almost all prominent members had agreed on the reorganisation of the party, Dr. Harsha de Silva said. more..

No-faith motion against PM in the balance

Mar 20 (Island) Joint Opposition (JO) has appealed for President Sirisena’s support for the no-confidence motion (NCM) to be moved against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Top JO spokesman G.L. Peiris and UPFA MP Gamini Lokuge yesterday made the appeal to the President. Prof. Peiris and Lokuge underscored the pivotal importance of the warring SLFP factions reaching a consensus on the move against PM. more..

‘No legal basis to approach ICJ against SL’

Mar 20 (Hindu) The Central govt on Monday told the Madras High Court that there is no legal basis for India to invoke the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) since there is no treaty, including human rights treaties, under which the alleged attacks by Sri Lankan Navy against Indian fishermen could be established as human rights violation. The submission was made in a counter-affidavit filed before the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul more..

PC’ attempt to grab doctors gets GMOA goat

Mar 20 (Island) The Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) warned it would resort to a strike if the North Central Provincial Council attempted to bring doctors serving in the Province under the provincial health service. GMOA Ex-co Member Dr. Nalinda Herath revealed that the Secretary of the North Central Province (NCP) had, in a letter, informed the Provincial Director Health Services (PDHS) that the Council had taken a decision to absorb doctors under its purview. more..

PM asked to name a successor

Mar 20 (DM) The committee appointed to look into the reorganization of the UNP in its report had recommended that Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe should name a person who would take over the party leadership as and when he steps down from the leadership. A member of the committee said it had come out with this suggestion as its members were of the opinion that it would be easier for the party to move forward when more..

Impunity: A cat closing its eyes drinking milk

Mar 20 (DM) The title from my school days refers to a cat thinking that when it sees no one, it is safe. Likewise, our rulers seem to think that blocking out Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. ensures that no one can see us or our friends bashing our Muslim brethren and enjoy that barbaric moment as we act out our Mleccha (barbarian) instincts. With firm action, the riots should have been stopped on day one. Instead, social media showed the police, the STF no less, laughing at one of the victims. more..

Case for Facebook social media ombudsman

Mar 20 (DM) Social media has been a medium of communication on computer mediated technology created to sharing information with individuals, clusters, and social groups, cheap, accessible and fast, until the ground breaking innovative introduction of Face Book by Mark Zuckerberg, a student of Israeli origin at Harvard, innovated for the students of the Harvard University that spread like wild fire all over the world due to innovations of the product. Facebook (Fb), is used by 3 billion more..

'OMP is for reconciliation not to satisfy anyone else'

Mar 20 (DM) The Office on Missing Persons (OMP) is one of the main transitional justice mechanisms, the others being a truth commission, an office on reparations and a judicial mechanism to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of human rights. The OMP intends to promote justice and bring closure to those whose loved ones have gone missing. With the recent appointment of the Chairman and more..

'There should be a controlling mechanism on social media not a ban'

Mar 20 (DM) Information Technology Expert Dr. (Eng.) Lalith Liyanage speaks to Daily mirror about the importance of having a controlling mechanism on the social media sites. Dr. Liyanage is the CEO of Lanka Logistics and Technologies Ltd. which comes under the purview of the Ministry of Defence. Q: As an IT expert, how do you see the importance of social media on public life? A: I am a chartered electrical engineer and more..

'Negotiations best way to overcome crisis'

Mar 20 (CT) Maldives State Minister Dunya Maumoon announced her resignation from President Abdul Yameen’s Govt maintaining that it is only through putting aside anger and hatred and being willing to listen and talk that the country could overcome the challenges of today. “Resignation is not an easy decision and I walk away with a heavy heart. Walking away does not solve the nation’s problems. more..

‘Personally against No Confidence Motion

Mar 20 (NR) General Secretary of the SLFP Minister Duminda Dissanayake says he is strongly against the No Confidence Motion said to be tabled against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. He said this was not the stance of the party but his personal opinion. Minister said SLFP has not arrived at a final decision pertaining to supporting the No Confidence Motion against the PM. He added the govt’s failure at the LG election more..

Speaker Jayasuriya urged not to certify protection against disappearances Bil

Mar 20 (Island) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has been urged by the Joint Opposition (JO) not to certify the hastily enacted Bill for the protection against enforced disappearances. JO spokesman Colombo District MP Gamini Lokuge said that they had requested Speaker Jayasuriya to allow a fresh debate and a vote on the Bill. Lokuge said Speaker Jayasuriya had allowed PM Ranil Wickremsinghe to manipulate the legislative process. more..

Colombo’s first female Mayor Rosy takes oaths

Mar 20 (CT) UNP’s Colombo Mayoral Candidate Rosy Senanayake was sworn in as Mayor of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) at the Temple Trees yesterday. The swearing-in of Deputy Mayor Thulba Mohamed Iqbal also took place yesterday. Senanayake was declared the first female mayor of CMC by order of the Gazette Number 2062/51 issued on 17 March. Gazette also officially declared the names of more..

SL: Little action on promised justice, reforms

Mar 20 (HRW) SL govt should announce a time-bound plan to carry out its pledges to the UNHRC since October 2015, Human Rights Watch said today. At an interim update before the Council this week on progress towards fulfilment of its human rights commitments, UN member countries should press Sri Lanka to ensure justice and accountability for the tens of thousands of victims of the country’s brutal civil war. more..

Sirisena urged to rise as a statesman

Mar 20 (Hindu) Reminding President Maithripala Sirisena of the unstinted support that Tamils extended to him in 2015, senior Tamil politician and Leader of Opposition R. Sampanthan on Monday urged him to rise as a statesman and resolve Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem. “We want a statesman to rise in this country who can say, ‘I resolved the country’s national question’ and we think you can do it, we think you should do it more..

Looters as Rulers: Don't enter politics seeking riches: PM

Mar 20 (DM) Don’t become politicians who search for luxuries after coming to the field as paupers, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told the newly elected members of the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) yesterday. PM came up with this advice during the swearing-in of new CMC members including the first woman mayor of Colombo Rosy Senanayake at Temple Trees last evening. “You are faced with a task of saving the city dwellers more..

US says concerned about reports of HR violations in Sri Lanka

Mar 20 (AD) The United States has expressed concern over ongoing reports of human rights violations and abuses by members of the security services, and recent attacks targeting members of religious minority communities in Sri Lanka. The UNHRC yesterday adopted the final report of Sri Lanka’s review under the 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, which took place in November 2017. more..

Let there be a stable govt!

Mar 20 (CT) Another week and there is another mention of a No-Confidence Motion in Parliament against the Govt in power. While rumours of such a move have been floating around, last night, the Former President, Mahinda Rajapaksa leant his weight to a No-Faith Motion and told this newspaper that says that the Joint Opposition will hand over the paperwork to move the Parliamentary resolution against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya this week. more..

Maya Ahmad: Sleepless in Sri Lanka

Mar 20 (AN) Lebanese makeup artist and vlogger Maya Ahmad has been soaking up the sun on vacation in Sri Lanka. I do not want to leave this place, Ahmad wrote on Instagram on Monday. Most amazing vacation and the weather was PERFECT! She waxed lyrical about the view of coconut trees and the ocean from her room at Shangri La’s Hambantota Resort on Sri Lanka’s south coast: Waking up to this is priceless! she wrote. A post from her last night in the resort, however, more..

How PM & his cronies bankrupting Sri Lanka

Why do we have to pay for the sins of every govt?

Mar 20 (FT) One of the most common questions asked of me when I meet people at various forums nowadays is, Hey, what is happening to the country? Nowadays, I find that some of the strongest critics of the previous regime and hence those who proactively promoted the Yahapalanaya govt, have now gone silent. People have spoken during the LG elections on 10 Feb. However, the people who are governing our country, whether in power or in the opposition, continue to cause disappointment more..

UNP Parliamentary Group extends fullest support to PM

Mar 20 (DN) UNP Parliamentary Group met PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees yesterday and extended their fullest support to him to continue in his post. UNP Parliamentary Group during the meeting with the PM had said that if the JO were to bring a No-Confidence Motion against the PM in Parliament, they were prepared to defeat it. “Apart from the 10 UNP MPs who are currently overseas on official visits, all other UNP Ministers and MP’s took part in the meeting” UNP member said. more..

Health ministry busts millions of public funds to glorify Rajitha

Mar 20 (CT) Ministry of Health in the guise of a confab on health development initiatives has spent millions of rupees for a tamasha at the BMICH on Marhc 9, that was all about glorifying Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne. According to a Health Ministry official present at the event, the National Conference on Recent Health Development Initiatives was a large gathering of medical administrators with over 2000 invitations more..

Diyawanna Oya accident driver remanded

Mar 20 (NR) Owner of the luxury vehicle that was driven into the Diyawanna Oya has been remanded till the 27th of March. The order was issued by Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court this morning. Suspect who is a resident of Thalangama was arrested after surrendering to Police yesterday and was produced before Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court today. Vehicle was driven into the Diyawanna Oya last Saturday morning after colliding with two other vehicles near a night club in Thalawathugoda. more..

Ariyadasa Cooray removed as NPC Secretary

Mar 20 (DM) National Police Commission (NPC) Secretary Ariyadasa Cooray has been removed from the post with effect from today. Mr. Cooray said he had received a letter from the Commission informing that he was suspended from the post according to a Public Administration Circular. NPC Chairman P.H. Manatunga said according to the Public Administration Circular No 03/2018, which was issued in February, a retired Public Official beyond 60 years of age should not be employed in more..

Sri Lanka political uncertainty puts economic gains at risk, warns CB Governor

Mar 20 (EN) Sri Lanka's fractious unity govt should restore political stability and avoid reversing positive macroeconomic and policy gains which saw record exports, FDI and inflows to the stock exchange, albeit from low bases, warned CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy. Political uncertainty has gripped the island with the uneasy SLFP-UNP coalition growing more unstable and fractious, especially after former President more..