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Sri Lanka to ink FTAs with Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh

Mar 29 (DN) Sri Lanka is close to concluding two more bilateral trade agreements, an Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement with India and a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China. “This will be followed by FTAs with Thailand, Bangladesh and Malaysia, said Minister Malik Samarawickrama. He further added that Sri Lanka is close to concluding two more bilateral trade agreements, more..

National Civilian Bravery Awards 2018 to honour Sri Lanka’s selfless heroes

Mar 29 (FT) The Foundation of Civilian Bravery Sri Lanka and leading SL insurer, Janashakthi Insurance, have joined hands for the third consecutive year to present the Janashakthi – National Civilian Bravery Awards 2018. The 24th edition of the awards will honour and celebrate selfless acts of bravery committed by Sri Lanka’s unsung heroes. With the grand awards ceremony set to be held on 14 June, the Foundation of Civilian Bravery SL invited civilians from across SL more..

SriLankan Airlines offers African access in deal with Air Seychelles

Mar 29 (EN) SriLankan Airlines said it has entered into an agreement with Air Seychelles that will enhance the route networks and provide greater travel options to passengers of both airlines. The deal, with effect from 1st April, enables SriLankan Airlines passengers connect to Johannesburg and Mauritius. “For SriLankan’s passengers, this will allow easy access to three new destinations in South Africa, Mauritius & Madagascar via Seychelles,” Suren Ratwatte, CEO of more..

'UNP ready for drastic changes in govt'

Mar 29 (DM) If the SLFP Ministers of Yahapalana Govt propose to the other coalition partner UNP to effect drastic changes in the Govt including the replacement of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, before April 4, the UNP was ready to consider them positively, Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said. In response to a question on the remarks made by Minister S.B. Dissanayake to the media that the No-Confidence Motion more..

Google’s womenwill programme-launch in SL

Mar 29 (Island) Google started Womenwill as a global initiative to help make a difference in bridging gender gaps and empowering women worldwide, by focusing their resources, time and technology to erase these gaps. Google’s aim is to support and develop programs so women in every market can connect to the information they need and the tools to make the most of it - to help them learn, succeed, and be heard. There are four program areas where we work to erase gender gaps, more..

Business mission from NZ to arrive in April

Mar 29 (Island) A group of 20 delegates representing 13 innovative New Zealand companies will arrive in Colombo on 2nd April for a 3-day visit to continue forging business and trade links with Sri Lanka. The delegation, led by New Zealand Trade Commissioner for Sri Lanka, Ralph Hays, builds on the momentum of previous missions and strengthens New Zealand’s relationship with Sri Lanka ahead of the New Zealand High Commission opening in Colombo in 2019. more..

'Implementing UN resolution: Progress slow'

Mar 29 (DM) Though Sri Lanka has achieved some small recent progress in terms of implementing UN resolutions, British Minister for Asia and Pacific Mark Field said the progress had been slower than they would have anticipated or liked. He expressed these views during a debate held in British Parliament on March 20 over the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in SL. Responding to other members’ queries during the debate, more..

Don't fall prey to fraudsters: Vehicle importers

Mar 29 (DM) Vehicle Importers Association Lanka (VIAL) today said that there was a racket of cheating customers, claiming that they could import provide vehicles less than the market prices from their showrooms. Addressing the media VIAL President Indika Sampath Merenchige said fraudsters collect cash advances for vehicles from public and when they unable to deliver for those low-prices carry out sinister campaigns against various trading associations. more..

Batticaloa Airport offers free landing charges for six months

Mar 29 (DN) The newly opened Batticaloa Airport (Code: BTC) will offer free landing charges for a period of six months, said Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva. “This is to woo more operators to fly to Batticaloa,” said Minister De Silva at the opening of the airport.” The Minister said that by the end of the year an aviation school too would be built enabling youth in the region to enter the high paying aviation sector. Meanwhile the first civil flight Fly Southern to Batticaloa domestic airport arrived Tuesday more..

'Reviving education in North will take years'

Mar 29 (DM) It would take at least another ten years to revive the fallen education system in the North, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said today. He expressed this sentiment during a ceremony held at Temple Trees distribute permanent appointment letters to nearly 400 teachers in the North last morning. “The whole system of education in the North had fallen today. What have to do is to lay foundation stone more..

Sunrise magazine for senior citizens

Mar 29 (FT) Sunrise Senior Foundation (SSF), formed a year ago with a series of noble objectives to help, guide and be a mentor to SL’s ageing population, will soon re-launch its magazine, Sunrise. The magazine, printed on quality paper and containing top-notch editorial content, will be edited by a senior SL journalist, and will cover a range of stories beneficial to the elderly community, their families, as well as companies and institutions that provide products catering to this community. more..

Slovakia’s auto industry calls for SL rubber

Mar 29 (DM) The SL rubber sector is set to expand as Slovakia, the global leader in car production, has called for the sourcing of SL rubber and rubber products – especially rubber tyres – for its record-setting automobile manufacturing industry. This was expressed by visiting Slovak Finance Minister Peter Kazimir at a discussion held with the Minister Rishad Bathiudeen in Colombo on 28 March. “We want to diversify our rubber intake and to this end want to expand the sourcing from more..

Vajira reads the riot act to President

Mar 29 (Island) UNP warned President Sirisena and the SLFP that the no-confidence motion (NCM) moved against UNP leader and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe would boomerang on them. Minister Vajira Abeywardena said the SLFP shouldn’t take political advantage of the JO-led NCM at the expense of the UNP. He said the SLFP had violated the 2015 mandate received by Prez Sirisena by throwing its weight behind the JO move more..

Cabinet nod for bill to curb hate speech and cyber bullying

Mar 29 (FT) Reeling from the chaos of the recent communal clashes that enveloped parts of the country, a bill to monitor and control cyberbullying and hate speech titled Protection of Human Dignity and Social Harmony was given Cabinet approval this week. This bill will also address the issue of Surreptitious efforts to create social unrest and religious and communal disharmony among the people. The Bill was presented by Minister Thalatha Athukorala, who in a Cabinet memorandum more..

Committee to look into electronic voting malfunction

Mar 29 (DM) The party leaders have appointed a committee to look into last week’s system error while voting using the electronic voting system, Deputy Secretary-General of Parliament Neil Iddawala said yesterday. “We are awaiting a response from the company that provided the electronic voting system,” he said. Mr Iddawala said that once the committee, headed by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thilanga Sumathipala, made its recommendations, party leaders would decide on the next step. more..

Best results of 2017 G.C.E. O/L exam

Mar 29 (DM) Examinations Dept announced that the GCE O/L exam results-2017 had been released and could be viewed and downloaded from its website Commissioner Department of Examinations Sanath Pujitha said that six students had been placed joint first countrywide with same marks that were the highest whilst nine candidates were classified as receiving the second position countrywide. more..

Controversial NGO bill withdrawn

Mar 29 (Island) A draft bill seeking to amend the Voluntary Social Service Organizations (Registration and Supervision) Act No.8 of 1998 had been withdrawn on the directive of Prime Minister Wickremasinghe and Minister for Co-Existence Mano Ganesan on Tuesday, Rohana Hettiarachchi, PAFFREL said yesterday. He said that the decision had been taken following a discussion between the Premier, Minister Ganesan and several civil society representatives at Temple Trees on Tuesday. more..

Welikada prison riots: IP Rangajeewa arrested

Mar 29 (DN) IP Neomal Rangajeewa of the Police Narcotics Bureau was arrested yesterday evening by the CID over the Welikada prison riots that occurred in 2012, SP Ruwan Gunasekara said. He said that Rangajeewa had been asked to report to the CID for a statement and having recorded the statement, he was arrested. AG’s Department had earlier given their approval for the arrest of Rangajeewa with regard to the killing of several prisoners at the Welikada prison in 2012. more..

President brings CB under Finance Ministry purview

Mar 29 (FT) In a major and contentious move, President Maithripala Sirisena, issuing an Extraordinary Gazette notification last evening, removed Central Bank from the purview of Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs and returned it to the Ministry of Finance. Security and Exchange Commission of SL too was transferred to the Ministry of Finance. According to the Gazette, Monetary Law Act more..

Restore political stability & get down to work

Mar 29 (DM) In the aftermath of the sensational results at the Feb 10 LG elections and the Kandy district ethnic or religious violence which compelled the Govt to declare a State of Emergency for 10 days, SL has been plagued by political instability with serious consequences including a body blow to vital foreign investments and the tourism industry. Though the Kandy district crisis has been settled to a large extent, attention is now focused on the motion of no-confidence against PM more..

No confidence motion: Numbers game is on!

Mar 29 (DM) It has been reported that the Joint Opposition (JO) and the youngest political party the SLPP whose de-facto leader is the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has handed over a No Confidence Motion (NCM) against the PM from the UNP/UNFGG on Wednesday (21) signed by 54 members of the JO /SLPP as well as 3 Junior Ministers of the SLFP/UPFA. It was surprising that the former President who was the prime mover and shaker of the NCM had not signed. more..

'Judicature (Amendment) Bill is nothing but political vendetta'

Mar 29 (DM) SLPP Chairman G.L. Peiris, discusses the implications of the Judicature (Amendment) Bill. Q: The govt says the purpose of this Bill is to cleanse politics of corruption in this country. Then why do you oppose to it? A: Judicature Bill has nothing to do with catching thieves. It is a canard. This has nothing do with eradication of bribery and corruption from our society. Objective of this legislation is entirely different. more..

'Rosy Senanayake believes Colombo could be better than Singapore or Malaysia'

Mar 29 (DM) Colombo’s first female Mayor Rosy Senanayake assumed duties last week and is in the process of ‘setting things right’ at the CMC. During the run-up to the elections, Senanayake presented an elaborate manifesto addressing various issues in and around Colombo. One of her primary focuses includes developing underserved development areas. “The beauty of Colombo is that it’s a multi-religious, more..

The streets of Pettah and what you can find in them

Mar 29 (Roar) Pettah is a chaotic, crowded smorgasbord of sights and sounds. But it is also the go-to place for a variety of items, from plastics to mechanical parts. While it is difficult for the uninitiated to navigate the bustling streets of Pettah, each of the streets is known for specific items, and with a little help it is easy to find your way around. But first, a little history. Pettah, in local parlance, refers to the Pettah Market, more..

Police ask why BMW in canal crash had garage plates

Mar 29 (ST) The luxury BMW vehicle’s owner cum driver who was arrested 48 hours after he hit two vehicles and landed in a canal in Thalawathugoda last week is facing four charges including driving with a garage number despite having registered the vehicle. Businessman Mohamed Hussain, 47, was produced before the Kaduwela Additional Magistrate Prasanna Alwis and remanded until this coming Tuesday as more..

Arbitrary search of witness’ house: Prisoner’s wife complains to NPC

Mar 29 (CT) The wife of an eyewitness, to the 2012 Welikade prison killings, yesterday lodged a complaint with the National Police Commission (NPC) over the alleged arbitrary and illegal search of her house in the night on 27 March. Shamila Liyanarachchi is the wife of Senarath Liyanarachchi, who is serving time and a witness to the events, which took place on 9 and 10 Nov 2012, which claimed the lives of 27 prisoners. more..

Vehicle Importers: Can’t meet Euro IV standards by July 1

Mar 29 (DM) Ceylon Motor Traders’ Association (CMTA) claimed that they required more time for transition on Govt’s decision to change to importing vehicles compatible with the Euro four standards from July 1. CMTA Chairman Reeza Rauf said the Govt had decided to ban the import of vehicles, which did not comply with Euro 4 standards with airbags and seat belts and below the emission levels or its equivalent. more..

WCD to take over Muthurajawela

Mar 29 (CT) The officials of Govt institutions, involved in the recent events in connection with the Muthurajawela wetland, have agreed that the wetland should be taken over by the Govt and its control handed over to the Wildlife Conservation Department (WCD). This decision had been taken on 27 March following extensive talks between officers of Dept of Wildlife Conservation, Central Environmental Authority (CEA), more..

Bank of China opens first branch in Sri Lanka

Mar 29 (Xinhua) Bank of China opened its first branch in Colombo on Wednesday. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was Chief Guest at the ceremony said the opening of Colombo branch was an important step in strengthening the island's economy and it opened a new chapter in the modern history of bilateral relations. "Bank of China is opening in Sri Lanka at a time when Colombo is transforming into a megapolis. more..

Home Minister calls new LG polls system a national crime

Mar 29 (Island) Minister Vajira Abeywardena said that the newly introduced LG election system that had resulted in doubling of the number of councillors was nothing but a national crime. He said that the modification of the system should never have happened and was a serious mistake on their part. UNPer said so in response to a media query. He said that the UNP and the SLFP were primarily responsible for the situation. more..

Sri Lanka arrests top prison official over jail massacre

Mar 29 (EN) Police announced arresting a senior prison official in connection with the 2012 massacre of 27 inmates at the high security Welikada jail. Prisons Commissioner Emil Ranjan Lamahewage was taken into custody from his official residence near the prison on Wednesday night, day after a police inspector was also taken into custody. Lamahewage was in charge of the maximum security prison as its superintendent more..

Exchanging mutilated currency notes: Deadline extended

Mar 29 (DM) Central Bank having considered the requests from the public and the difficulties faced by them in exchanging willfully-defaced currency notes at licensed commercial banks (LCBs), has further extended the time period for exchanging such currency notes until further notice. The CB informed the public to submit such currency notes to its Head Office or Regional Offices located at Anuradhapura, Matale, Matara, Trinco, Nuwara Eliya, Kilinochchi or send the same by registered post to more..

Time to unite to act wisely rather than keeping silent lips and murmuring hearts

Mar 29 (FT) No matter what we believe, no matter whom we follow, no matter where we come from, no matter for how long we have inhabited this land, no matter what we do, no matter how rich our history is, we must live in harmony and ensure the safety of every living being on this land. We must practice zero tolerance for extremism and violence. The most important issue is how strong we are in living together while respecting each other’s diversity. Rhetoric will not play any substantive more..

Azath Salley

Case against four ex-Customs officials fixed for June 6

Mar 29 (DN) Colombo High Court yesterday fixed a case filed against four ex-senior Customs officials for June 6, in connection with the largest ever recorded bribe nabbed by the Bribery Commission. Director General of the CIABOC filed indictments against Assistant Customs Superintendent Upali Perera, Customs Superintendent Wasantha Wimalaweera, Customs Superintendent Upali Wickremasinghe and Customs Superintendent Sudeera Jinadasa for allegedly being more..

Pone seram, cohibes

Mar 29 (CT) One might not recognize the opening line to this essay but given the subsequent line in the 1st century poem by Roman poet Juvenal - sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes: There! There is that spark of recognition! The phrase is translated: Bolt her in, constrain her! But who will guard the guardians? Even though Juvenal is satirizing moral behaviour and marital fidelity, one can always find another interpretation, given one’s context and current affairs. more..

Price of milk powder & gas to be revised?

Mar 29 (NR) The govt says a final decision will be reached in the coming week pertaining to revisions in prices of milk powder and gas. Relevant companies have requested the govt to increase the price of a domestic gas cylinder by 275 rupees and a kilogram of milk powder by 100 rupees. However Director at the Ministry of Industries and Commerce Indika Ranathunga said there was no necessity to increase more..

Four held at BIA with cigarettes, booze and mobile phones

Mar 29 (AD) Four Sri Lankan passengers were apprehended by Custom Officials at BIA with 333 cartons of foreign cigarettes, 11 mobile phones and some other goods earlier today. The suspects have arrived in the country from Dubai by flight FZ557 at 1.30am. Total value of the seized goods amounted to Rs. 3, 419,150. The first suspect (25); a resident of Ambanpola Kurunegala was nabbed with 80 cartons of cigarettes two bottles of foreign liquor worth Rs. 804,500. more..

Ranil tells Sajith: Get ready to play a bigger role in party

Mar 29 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has told UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa to be prepared to play a greater role in the party in the future. PM had told this to Mr. Premadasa during the UNP working committee meeting this morning. Minister Premadasa who was responding to a question raised by journalists after the working committee meeting whether he was willing to take over the party leadership said he is prepared to accept any responsibility given to him more..

Arrest warrant re-issued on Arjuna Mahendran as CID seeks red notice

Mar 29 (AD) Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court today re-issued an arrest warrant on former Governor of CB Arjuna Mahendran. The court re-issued the warrant as the prosecution is currently working on getting a Red Notice from Interpol for his arrest. CID informed the court today that it has filed an application seeking a red notice from Interpol. Meanwhile the owner of Perpetual Treasuries Arjun Aloysius and CEO Kasun more..