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Sri Lankan nationalists protest UN rights chief's war crimes visit

Feb 6 (Reuters) Hundreds of hardline nationalists gathered outside United Nations’ office in Colombo on Saturday to protest against a visit by the UN human rights chief who will assess Sri Lanka’s progress in prosecuting alleged war crimes. The UN says both Sri Lanka’s military and the Tamil Tiger rebels most likely committed war crimes during a 26-year war which ended in 2009. A UN resolution calls for post-war reconciliation and more..

Over 25,000 new cancer patients detected last year

Feb 6 (DN) Over 25,000 new cancer patients were detected in Sri Lanka last year. Of this, over 13,500 new cancer patients were detected at Maharagama Cancer Hospital, Health Services Director General Dr. Palitha Mahipala said. Between 15,000 and 20,000 new cancer patients are being detected every year from Sri Lanka. The majority of the newly detected cancer patients are over 50 years and the main causes for cancer are smoking, alcohol, lack of exercises and unhealthy food habits. more..

Unilever Sri Lanka factory gutted; Will strive keep customers supplied

Feb 6 (EN) Unilever Sri Lanka said it will strive to maintain supplies after a part of its main factory complex in Sri Lanka was gutted by fire on Feb 4. "We will strive to maintain supplies of products to our consumers," Unilever said. The factory produced popular foods such as Astra margarine and personal care products such as Signal toothpaste and Pears baby products. Though multi-national firms have production capacity in other countries and have the capacity to import them, more..

More raids but less seizures of heroin last year

Feb 6 (ST) Despite numerous raids carried out in the country in 2015, the quantity of heroin seized by the police was only 46 kilograms, a figure much lower than in previous years. ASP Ruwan Gunasekera said that although the police have been very active and had conducted several raids throughout last year arresting around 26,992 suspects in heroin related cases, major hauls of heroin have not been detected. more..

Toxic frog joins elite endemic club

Feb 6 (ST) Mihintale is recognised as one of the world’s oldest wildlife sanctuaries, so it is fitting that a new frog found to be endemic to Sri Lanka has been named after Mihintale to honour its ancient values. “On top of being a historic sanctuary, Mihintale is also the point of unison for two ancient cultures, when Mahinda Thera (Son of Indian Emperor, Asoka) met Dewanampiya Tissa (king of Anuradhapura) in 246 BC. Hence we named the frog Microhyla mihintalei”, more..

Korean help for SL's fishing industry

Feb 6 (DN) Sri Lanka's fishing industry will be developed with Korean assistance. Korea will assist many development projects connected to the fishing industry, Fisheries State Minister Dilip Wedaarachchi said. He said two Korean companies have agreed to set up fishing harbours and maintain them for five years. "This project will save money for the Sri Lankan govt. A project will be commenced in March with Korean assistance to develop the Kirinda fishing harbour," Wedaarachchi said. more..

PRECIFAC cornering Damayanthi

Feb 6 (CT) PRECIFAC has ordered the Secretary to Ministry of Home Affairs to file a complete report on its Additional Secretary Damayanthi Jayaratna who is alleged to have fled the country, after being found guilty of fraud and corruption. PRECIFAC Secretary Lacille de Silva said that the responsibility of taking legal action against the accused for having left the country while still serving in the Ministry lies with the Secretary to more..

Prime Minister speaks of four revolutions

Feb 6 (ITN) PM Ranil Wickremasinghe says that D.S. Senanayake, S.W.R.D. Bandaranayake and J.R. Jayawardena made three revolutions in Sri Lanka’s history. He said that the Govt led by President Maithripala Sirisena is prepared to make the 4th revolution by eradicating poverty and building Sri Lanka’s economy. PM Ranil Wickremasinghe mentioned this during a meeting with Kurunegala District UNP Members. During the function at Minister Akila Wirja more..

Chinese FM and Mangala have brief talks at airport

Feb 6 (CG) Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had brief talks at Katunayake airport today. The discussion took place at the airport while the Foreign Minister of China was on transit. Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said that Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Wang Yi had a fruitful discussion. “Foreign Minister of China Mr Wang Yi was on a short transit visit in Colombo. Foreign Minister and I had fruitful discussions with him,” more..

'India will give its fullest support to Sri Lanka’s policies'

Feb 6 (PMD) Indian Foreign Minister Mrs. Sushma Swaraj says the govt of India solidly thanks Sri Lanka for its policies behind the reconciliation and the development. She says India admires the speech recently delivered by President Sirisena in the Parliament, stating that he would take the country towards development while bringing about the peace and reconciliation among every community. more..

SL envoy says hard choices had to be made

Feb 6 (CG) Sri Lanka was at a crucial juncture where hard choices had to be made, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada, Ahmed A. Jawad said. He said this at an event held at the Official Residence of the High Commissioner in Ottawa to mark Sri Lanka’s 68th Independence Day. It was attended by a large number of Sri Lankan Canadians representing all communities. Religious discourses on the theme of national unity were delivered by the Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic more..

Biggest cruise ship calls at Hambantota

Feb 6 (Island) The biggest cruise ships in the World, MS Rotterdam will call at the Hambantota Port for the first time tomorrow. With the arrival of MS Rotterdam, the number of passenger ships that had been received by Hambantota port would be increased to 14. The increasing number of tourist vessels calling at the Hambantota port would add to the country’s economy. "Kirinda, Kataragama, Sella- Kataragama are studded with many places of archaeological importance. more..

Video: India must take action to stop bottom trawling – TNA tells Sushma

Feb 6 (AD) A delegation of the TNA, led by Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, today met with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Colombo and discussed the immediate needs of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, TNA leader said that the matter of land issues, the excessive presence of the military particularly in the North, resettlement, rehabilitation, livelihood, housing and so on more..

Over 700 flock to SL Independence Day celebrations in New Delhi

Feb 6 (Island) A record number of more than 700 prominent Indian citizens and foreign diplomats attended Sri Lanka’s 68th National Day celebrations in New Delhi today. A reception-cum-lunch was hosted by SL High Commissioner to India Esala Weerakoon and his wife Krishanti at the high commission. Welcoming the guests, Weerakoon said the year 2015 was marked by bilateral visits by top leaders of both countries. While President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe and more..

IGP says no basis for allegations

Feb 6 (ITN) IGP N.K. Ilangakoon says there is no basis for allegations levelled against the Police. The IGP pointed out that police get praised and blamed during the process of protecting law and order. He mentioned this while declare opening the residential patients building of the Kundasale Police Hospital. IGP N.K. Ilangakoon said that they work always according to the conscience. He said that they will not protect individuals or officers who have committed offences. more..

Along the SL coast, it's a haven for turtles

Feb 6 (ENS) No where else can one see such a plethora of thematic tours as in the sun-kissed island nation of Sri Lanka. With wildlife biodiversity in plenty and protection of habitats, this island is a haven for nature tourism. Be it land mammals or marine animals, people flock to see them in their natural surroundings and it is heartening to see the involvement of the local communities who have become protectors of more..

Sarath Fonseka won't be given law and order ministry: UNP confirms

Feb 6 (AM) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka will not be given Ministry of Law and Order, highly placed govt sources confirmed. They said Fonseka would be given responsibilities with regard to the welfare of war heroes and their families. It was widely speculated that Fonseka would be given the Law and Order ministry, overlooking the Police Department and other institutions concerning the law and order. "There is no decision to place the Law and Order Ministry under Fonseka. more..

Matthew wins gold and sets new record; Machiko grabs silver

Feb 6 (AD) Sri Lanka’s Matthew Abeysinghe won a second gold medal at the 2016 South Asian Games in the men’s 100m butterfly swimming event. Matthew Abeysinghe won a Gold medal in the men’s 200m freestyle swimming event and managed to set a new South Asian record. It is SL’s first gold medal at 12th South Asian Games which is being held simultaneously in Guwahati and Shillong in India from Feb 6 to 16. Abeysinghe was clocked at 1:52.28 which is a new South Asian record. more..

Sri Lanka pickpockets rob nut crooks

Feb 6 (EN) Dozens of politicians and their supporters had their pockets picked while they dashed coconuts at the Seenigama temple to invoke curses on the FCID. The mass coconut dashing was off to an inauspicious start when police arrested three people who had allegedly stolen coconuts from a nearby plantation to be used at the unorthodox ritual. Meanwhile, the organisers of the mass-curse event used loud speakers to appeal for more..

CEB nabs 2,704 power pirates

Feb 6 (Island) CEB Special Investigations Unit had nabbed 2,704 power pirates last year. The CEB had collected over Rs.170 million from the raids throughout the country, the ministry said in a media statement. Of that amount Rs.160 million has been recovered as lost revenue and Rs.13 million as legal costs, the ministry said. The govt had been able to provide continuous electricity supply to 98% of the people and hoped to reach the 100 percent mark by April 2016, the statement said. more..

Fonseka Vs Rosy for the vacant seat

Feb 6 (CT) UNP leadership is not yet decided on the possible candidate to fill up the vacant national list position, whilst the party members stay divided on the issue, party sources said. Two potential candidates to fill this vacancy are Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka and Rosy Senanayake, it is learnt. Both were unsuccessful candidates at the last general election where Fonseka’s entire party received only 28,626 votes from the total country and 5238 votes from the Colombo district. more..

Neighbour takes Prasanna to task

Feb 6 (SL) A neighbour residing next to the Former Western Province Chief Minister/UPFA MP Prasanna Ranatunga, Ranjeevi De Silva, complains about being inconvenienced and harassed by the actions of the MP, who she claims is using his powers to intimidate and push his way around the neighborhood. Ranjeevi had even on prior occasions complained and The Sunday Leader reported on the MP allegedly occupying more..

What ails bus transport?

Feb 6 (CT) Buses are an essential part of passenger transport in Sri Lanka. It is not only just the cheap transport. It is also the most effective mode of transport for a small country with a high population density. The current ownership and management structure dates back to the late 1970s. This model of single bus ownership is now outdated and not suitable for a bus population of over 20,000. This is manifest in the number of issues that have remained unsolved for many years even though more..

Dinesh breaks coconuts

Feb 6 (CT) Dinesh Gunawardena, MP is an old friend and neighbour of mine. A good man he is, and I always respected him. His Dad was a youthful hero for me. However, it is with a mixture of amusement, bemusement and dissapointment that I observe his behaviour since the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa. The newspapers report that he has organised a trip to the Seeni Devale in a little island in the South noted for occult practices and black magic performed by desperate persons to more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Three NCP Ministers summoned by Presidential Commission

Feb 6 (Island) PRECIFAC has recently summoned three North Central Provincial Council Ministers who are alleged to have misappropriated funds in purchasing 12,500 multipurpose filters to provide drinking water to kidney patients in the province. Among those are Health Minister K.H. Nandasena, Irrigation Minister H.B. Subasinghe and Agriculture Minister R.M.P.B. Ratnayake. The Commission has summoned as witnesses N.H. Mahesh, an officer attached to State Trading Corporation, more..

President sends greetings to China ahead of Chinese New Year

Feb 6 (Xinhua) President Maithripala Sirisena has sent his greeting to Chinese govt and its people for the Chinese New Year which falls on Feb. 8. "It is with great pleasure that I extend my warm good wishes to everyone celebrating the Chinese New Year in the People's Republic of China and around the world," Sirisena said. "The celebration of the Chinese New Year is steeped in history, tradition and custom and is the most important celebration for Chinese people in many parts of the world." more..

Sri Lanka requests IMF bailout to tackle budget deficit

Feb 6 (AFP) Sri Lanka has made a formal request for an IMF bailout package to aid its struggling economy after a sharp slowdown in growth and with its budget deficit widening, officials said Saturday. The IMF confirmed the island nation had asked for assistance, but did not give details on the value of a potential programme or say whether it would grant the request. "The IMF has received a request for a program with Sri Lanka," more..

UNP, SLFP agreed on UN resolution

Feb 6 (DM) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the UNP and the SLFP were on the same wave length with regard to the Geneva resolution on Sri Lanka. He said the Govt was confident that Sri Lanka could convince UNHR High Commissioner Zeid Ra-ad Al Hussein that Sri Lanka was on the right track in addressing the concerns raised by the UNHR on Human Rights violations when he visits Sri Lanka today. more..

Dual citizenship for domiciled Sri Lankans

Feb 6 (DN) Minister S.B. Navinna invited all Sri Lankans domiciled overseas to witness for themselves the change and social transformation that has taken place in the country after the new govt came into power. Thousands of Sri Lankans have been made permanent residents of foreign countries due to many reasons that included the conditions that prevailed in the country in the past such as education, employment & marriage. more..

JVP petitions against Sampur power plant

Feb 6 (Island) JVP yesterday complained to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) against proposed Sampur coal-fired power plant, claiming it would adversely affect thousands of people resettled in the area after the war. Convener of JVP led Voice of Eastern People (Negenahira Janatha Handa) organisation Arun Hemachandra said the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project had more..

'Sri Lanka against bottom trawling'

Feb 6 (DN) SL govt will emphasise to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that Sri Lanka in no way accepts bottom trawling by Indian fishermen in SL waters, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. He said that in a situation where SL govt banned a variety of fishing nets, known by locals as Laila and Surukku which is far less harmful than bottom trawling, the Sri Lankan Govt cannot tolerate bottom trawling. more..

Swaraj offers Sri Lanka help to set up IT park

Feb 6 (ENS) Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has told her SL counterpart Mangala Samaraweera that India is ready to assist Sri Lanka set up an Information Technology (IT) Park to attract foreign investments. Swaraj disclosed this after inaugurating an exhibition of India's achivements in the IT sector chistened The Rise of Digital India here on Saturday. She had mooted this idea at the 9th meeting of more..

Top UN human rights official arrives

Feb 6 (AP) The top U.N. human rights official arrived Saturday in Sri Lanka on a four-day visit aimed at reviewing the measures taken by the island-nation to investigate alleged atrocities committed during the long civil war that left tens of thousands dead. The visit by Zeid Raad al-Hussein follows last year's resolution at the U.N. human rights body that required foreign judges to assist Sri Lanka in the investigation. more..

Forged asylum papers: BASL insists that Britain should reveal names

Feb 6 (ST) The Bar Association of SL has asked British High Commission to disclose to the Supreme Court and to the BASL the names of persons who, claiming to be attorneys-at-law, have provided false documents or certifications to Sri Lankans seeking asylum in Britain. BASL has also said British HC had not divulged the particulars of such persons “despite BASL having previously requesting the officials of HC to do so”. more..

India needs to urgently engage with Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora groups:GTF

Feb 6 (ENS) India has so far, kept powerful Diaspora groups at an arms length, preferring to deal with the main Tamil political party TNA for engagement with the community. Spokesperson of the London-based Global Tamil Forum, Suren Surendiran said that India should urgently open a formal dialogue with Lankan Tamil diaspora groups to strengthen moderate voices at this critical juncture in the reconciliation process. more..