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Commodities Exchange to be launched soon

Feb 23 (CT) The concept of a Commodities Exchange would be launched in Sri Lanka soon which will also have concessionary funding from the World Bank worth US$ 6.5 million where warehouses for the storage of grains and cereals would be constructed. There is initially the construction of a massive warehouse in Galenbindunuwewa in the Anuradhapura District where cereals and grains could be stored, more..

EDB unveils srilanka servicexport.com

Feb 23 (Island) As Sri Lanka's top service exports -ICT- started moving towards crucial US dollar one billion mark this year, the country's apex exports body EDB announced a major initiative on 17 Feb to further diversify exports beyond merchandises and to move for service exports. "srilankaservicexport.com is the first, specialised web portal for all our service exporters and a one stop for them to link with international partners. This portal is absolutely free for exporters" more..

Research companies, PR, ad agencies for promoting Lanka's global image

Feb 23 (CT) The govt would be bringing in Research Companies, Ad agencies and PR organizations to see how best the country and its image could, in the future be showcased to the world as a top end tourist destination. Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Rohantha Athukorale, addressing a news conference, said that Sri Lanka's tourism industry, which is at US$ 1.7 billion, should grow up to between US$ 8-10 billion and should be around 24% of GDP. more..

EPF, Foreign reserve investments directly under CB Governor

Feb 23 (CT) In a new strategic move, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has incorporated a new division named as the Risk Management Division which would manage the risk of investments into the Employees' Provident Fund and Foreign Reserves which would be placed direct under Governor Arjuna Mahendran. Sources also said that there have been sweeping changes under the new hierarchy. more..

Take action against fraudsters: JVP agitations throughout island

Feb 23 (LT) JVP is to hold agitations throughout the country to protest against the failure of the govt to take legal action against politicians and officials who had committed large scale frauds and had been involved in corruption during the Rajapaksa regime. The series of agitations will be launched with an agitation opposite Fort Railway Station in Colombo on the 26th. The JVP, within the period of last month, has forwarded information regarding large scale frauds, corruption and misappropriation more..

SLFP Youth Front rebranding not to attack Namal, says new Chief

Feb 23 (FT) SLFP said that changing the leadership of the youth wing of the party and renaming it was not done to attack the Nil Balakaya stalwart MP Namal Rajapaksa. Newly appointed SLFP Youth Front President MP Shantha Bandara said that MP Rajapaksa is also a committee member of the SLFP Youth Front and that the SLFP did not take the decision to rename the youth wing of the party to attack MP Rajapaksa who is the eldest son of former president Rajapaksa or to attack more..

3rd week running: Elder citizens wait for elusive 15%

Feb 23 (ST) More than three weeks after the Govt promised a higher interest on deposits of Sri Lanka’s senior citizens after last month’s interim budget, the offer remains an elusive promise. It has caused a lot of anxiety among elder citizens, some calling for news on any forward movement. Treasury officials are still to take a decision on directing the Central Bank on this new scheme on senior citizens’ interest rate of 15% more..

Japanese investors lay out additional US$ 1.5m on Asia Leisure Galle project

Feb 23 (Island) Asia Leisure, a fully owned subsidiary of Asia Capital PLC (ACAP), last week announced that Japan Capital would put US$1.5 million more into ACAP's latest hotel project in Galle. The hotel project was announced late last year with a total investment of US$14 million being made by Asia Capital and its Japanese partners. The property which is expected to be the largest hotel property in the Southern town of Galle will be built on 2-acres of fine beach front real estate and more..

Rat fever: Weeragula on alert as disease claims two

Feb 23 (DN) Health Ministry's Epidemiology Unit officials have classified Weeragula in Gampaha district as a high-risk area for rat fever as two deaths have been reported from the area while 16 others who contracted the disease are receiving treatment at the National Hospital. The officials believe that the disease is spread from a paddy land named Seruvila, located in the area. Seruvila paddy land is currently inundated with flood-waters which flowed down stream after Attanagalu Oya breached more..

'No one gives us any chance in any tournament'

Feb 23 (CI) Q: What's the feeling in the team like after a slow start? A: We just have to realise that it's a long tournament. A World Cup is five to six weeks and you have to build your campaign. We have been telling the boys to be patient and pace themselves. We've been playing good cricket throughout the last year and this year as well. The preparation in NZ could have been better, but given the injuries and everything that we had, more..

Colombo Port City Project – more noise

Feb 23 (Island) The material advances and rise in living standards in recent years in China and in South Korea can be attributed to a large extent to their reliance on and encouragement of Science and their domestic scientific cadres. Were, one would like to enquire, independent local scientists consulted during the preparation and review of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) of the proposed CPCP? One has not noted much evidence for that in the reports in the local newspapers. more..

Limited operations against corruption

Feb 23 (Island) A retired public official has written to us, endorsing views expressed by former IGP Frank de Silva in a recent letter on bribery and corruption. The latter stressed, among other things, the fact that the onus was on the higher echelons of the public service to take action against corrupt officials under them. Both writers have put forth cogent arguments which deserve the attention of the government leaders, public officials and anti-corruption activists. Leaving country’s battle against corruption more..

'People will back SLFP at the next poll'

Feb 23 (SL) SLFP MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena stated that if an election is held the people will certainly back the SLFP. He said that the SLFP has never lied to the public and had won the trust of the people. He also charged that PM Ranil Wickremasinghe’s govt had misled, lied to the public and violated their rights and trust. Q: A lot of SLFP seniors were seen attending rally in Nugegoda. Does this mean there is a split more..

Tamil Genocide resolution of NPC

Feb 23 (CT)The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) passed a resolution on 10 Feb urging the UN to probe alleged genocide of Tamils committed by all successive govts of Sri Lanka in the post-independence history. It was presented by the Chief Minister (CM) Wigneswaran, himself. Two days later, the CM visited President Sirisena with the Governor of the Province. According to the media, the CM had explained the circumstances under which the resolution was passed and more..

Wigneswaran roasts his ethnic nuts over Lanka’s crackling racial fire

Feb 23 (ST) If it came as a surprise that the Northern Chief Minister Vishvalingam Wigneswaran had helped write the now infamous genocide resolution, had presented it and had it passed by the NPC unanimously, resolving that the Sinhalese are a demon tribe of barbaric genocidal racists bent on exterminating the Tamil people from the face of Lanka, then what astonished was the implication that this once sober judge who graced the Supreme Court bench and delivered more..

Ocean 12 making waves in Australia

Mangala globe-trots to calm global pressure

Feb 23 (CT) While there is storm in the political centre stage with the Mahinda Rajapaksa loyalists successfully conducting a mass rally in Nugegoda attended by a mammoth crowd recalling Mahinda to take command of the prime ministerial portfolio of the next government, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera is in the air travelling from one destination to the other to calm down the pressure of the UNHRC which is armed with a war crimes report against Sri Lanka. more..

Release the Udalagama Commission report

Feb 23 (ST) Talking with a Kashmiri lawyer in New Delhi on Saturday morning, I realized anew that the universal problem of justice for the disappeared cannot be met purely by law reform or by the prosecution of a few low-level offenders. Experiences throughout the world show that these are superficial measures, designed to placate and mollify in the short term. Inevitably moreover, such actions are influenced by political expediency rather than by genuine intent to reform. more..

'No change in Sri Lanka after polls'

Feb 23 (SL) Recent decision taken by the UNHRC to defer a report based on investigations conducted on the war in Sri Lanka has drawn opposition from the Tamil Diaspora. Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) is of the opinion that some countries erroneously believe that the recent election in Sri Lanka has ushered a change. TGTE leader V. Rudrakumaran said that there is genuine fear that once the report on Sri Lanka, more..

Popular call for MR’s return

Feb 23 (NS) President Maithripala Sirisena was in India this week mending diplomatic fences there but all eyes were focused on Nugegoda on Wednesday where a campaign to compel the UPFA to nominate Mahinda Rajapaksa as its prime ministerial candidate was launched. Rally was organized by four leaders of UPFA, Wimal Weerawansa, Dinesh Gunewardena, Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Udaya Gammanpila who represented some of the smaller parties of the alliance but had a high profile more..

Sharmal or Dinesh for Manila singles

Feb 23 (SL) The last of the three much touted US$ 10,000 ITF Futures events concluded yesterday, and it’s not surprising that no local player was ever in contention for a title, as was the case in the first two tournaments as well. The early elimination of our players, though, is no cause for shedding tears of disappointment, expected they were anyway. But what was gnawing, especially after the first two weeks, was the straight-sets defeat of all of our young Davis Cup prospects in more..

'Call for task force to resolve EP lands issue'

Feb 23 (SO) State Minister of Health, General Secretary of SLMC and veteran MP M.T. Hasen Ali explained to the Sunday Observer in an interview the measures being initiated under the 100 day program of the Govt to sort out many of the long unresolved problems of the Muslim community, including their major land problems in the Eastern province, the re-operation of the Oluvil Port in Ampara as an economic hub of the more..

6% for education, how do we use it?

Feb 23 (CT) I am very pleased as an Academic and a member of FUTA that we initiated the “6% for education” march with a hundred days of protest which had finally materialized. I consider this as one of the most significant social issues that we had undertaken over the recent past. But getting that alone is not enough, but the educational system would have to utilize it for those activities which were blocked by the limitation of funds in a systematic and a rational approach so that more..

Nugegoda, Nazism of SL & its genocide

Feb 23 (CT) It was after World War I. All Germans were experiencing the bitter truth of defeat. Germany had lost millions of men and large volumes of material for the war it had started. If it was a factor which hurt the Germans most, there shouldn’t have been a World War II. But what hurt Germans most was the collapse of the concept that Germans are the ‘master race’, a race which is superior to all other races, in terms of both intelligence and physical strength. more..

Wimal Weerawansa’s wife arrested

Feb 22 (AD) Shashi Weerawansa, wife of former Minister Wimal Weerawansa, who was under investigation for allegedly submitting forged documents to get a diplomatic passport, has been arrested by CID, SSP Ajith Rohana said. “CID apprehended Shashi Weerawansa at a private hospital in Malabe, this evening,” SSP added. A manhunt had been launched to locate Weerawansa, after CID officers found that suspect has fled more..

Ranil to summon media owners

Feb 22 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says he plans to summon the owners of local media to warn them against attempting to create communal disharmony in the country. Wickremesinghe said that he will also invite media rights groups to attend the meeting for them to raise concerns they have over the owners of the local media. The PM said that some Sinhalese language newspapers have been publishing reports which give the impression that there is an attempt by the LTTE to revive more..

Yoshitha wants to join his father's security division: Ruwan

Feb 22 (DM) State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said Yoshitha Rajapaksa, the son of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had requested authorities to attach him to his father's security division. In an interview with the BBC Sandeshaya, Minister Wijewardene said that the request had been made to President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. However, he said that no action had been taken with regard to the request as yet. The Minister also said that more..

Abbott’s close link with Rajapaksas was a mystery: Ranil

Feb 22 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that Australian PM Tony Abbott’s close relationship with the Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksas was ‘a mystery’ to Sri ­Lankans, and that Australia’s ­new Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, would be unlikely to get the warm welcome received under the previous ­govt. He also said that the Australian govt’s silence on alleged human rights abuses was the price it paid to secure co-operation from more..

UNP-SLFP joint strategising for future Parliament

Feb 22 (SO) The top leadership of the two main political parties in govt, the SLFP and UNP, are currently in close consultation in moves to clarify leadership positions and begin strategising for the planned parliamentary elections later this year, the Sunday Observer learns. Even as cabinet ministers and their teams work overtime to implement the ‘100-day program’, senior party officials are already engaged in talks to strengthen and build their parties to prepare for the complex challenge of more..

Japanese assistance to move Analog electronics to digital mode in Sri Lanka

Feb 22 (Island) Two Japanese parliamentarians , President, New Renaissance Party, member of the House of Councilors, Arai Hiroyuki, and Government Parliamentarian, Shimpei Matsushita, met with the media in Colombo last week. Invited by Chairman, Sri Lanka – Japan Friendship Association, Medagama Sunil Gamage, Arai Hiroyuki, said their visit was, at this stage of Sri Lanka’s economic development, important to further cement friendly ties between both countries. more..

Sri Lanka’s leader grapples with release of political prisoners

Feb 22 (NYT) Paintings at Temple Trees, this country’s White House, are still leaning against walls waiting to be hung, and the gated grounds are no longer teeming with guards and stewards who served the home’s previous occupant like supplicants at a royal court. But more than a month after taking over this iconic home after a shocking electoral triumph, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said in an interview more..

New replacements for recalled diplomats soon

Feb 22 (NS) Govt hopes to soon finalize the appointments of a majority of diplomats who would be replacing the recalled ‘political appointees’ as Heads of Mission. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ajith P. Perera, stated the govt hoped to finalize the majority of the appointments of the Heads of Mission within the next two weeks. These appointments need to be ratified by the Parliament’s Committee on High Posts. Ministry of Foreign Affairs has so far recalled 65 non-career diplomats more..

Udaya to register Pivituru Hela Urumaya

Feb 22 (SL) WPC MP Udaya Gammanpila says that he will seek approval of the Election Commissioner at the end of this month to register his Pivituru Hela Urumaya party. However new political parties will not be registered on February 28 since there is an election at the Maritimepattu Pradeshiya Sabha. Gammanpila further said since he was not a member of the SLFP he would seek to contest the general election via the Pivituru Hela Urumaya after he gets it registered. more..

Spike in dengue cases in Colombo

Feb 22 (NS) There is a one and half fold increase in the number of dengue cases in Colombo, when compared to last year, and a twofold increase in the number of cases, island-wide. “There were 470 cases in Colombo by this time last year, and there have been 628 cases so far this year. We cannot be complacent about this,” CMC Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni said. Out of the 3,538 houses inspected by CMC on Feb 19 more..

Will Rs. 200mn monthly levy on booze manufacturers wipe out small-timers?

Feb 22 (Island) The imposition of a minimum Rs. 200 million monthly levy on liquor manufacturers by the interim budget has evoked mixed reactions in the industry, with some players welcoming the move, but many others warning that it would sound the death knell to small-time businesses. The provision for the new taxation on all liquor and beer producing companies was made to "discourage the small-time operators and rationalize the number of manufacturers", Finance Minister, more..

Sri Lanka’s tourism sector nets US$ 1.7 Billion in foreign exchange

Feb 22 (Island) Chairman Tourism Promotion Bureau, Rohantha Athukorale, said that although tourism earnings in foreign exchange was US$ 1.7 billion in 2014, its potential was not exploited more enthusiastically. "The value chain was substantial. Its growth currently could be said to be minimal subject to what Sri Lanka had to offer. Areas that had still not been explored included beach boys, three wheelers, hotel operators, and our natural advantage of literally the sand, sea, wild life, more..

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