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Govt to issue statement on controversial CB bonds today

Mar 6 (DM) The Economic Affairs and Policy Planning Ministry will issue a statement today regarding a controversial bond issue of the Central Bank. The statement will be issued in the wake of allegations that a party having close links to Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran had unfairly benefitted from the bond issue. The Central Bank had issued 30-year bonds. Their interest rate had later shot up, allegedly giving disproportionate benefits to this party. more..

Cabraal-Sajin in hot water over questionable PR deals

Mar 6 (DN) The Foreign Ministry is to launch a comprehensive inquiry into questionable PR deals between the ministry and foreign public relations companies under the previous govt. Top level ministry sources said that former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivad Cabraal and former Monitoring MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena had been identified as the main brokers of such questionable agreements with foreign PR companies. more..

Sri Lanka has nothing to fear against Australia: Murali

Mar 6 (AAP) Muttiah Muralidaran believes Sri Lanka's cricketers have nothing to fear in Sunday's World Cup clash with Australia in Sydney. Sri Lanka, beaten World Cup finalists in 2007 and 2011, is being widely tipped to lose the weekend's clash and do little damage in the knockout phase. Muralidaran, who has had a foot in both camps given he worked as a spin consultant for Australia last year, says that may not be the case. "Once again SL is set to be a threat at the business end of a major event," more..

Indo-Lanka Customs Cooperation Pact on

Mar 6 (DN) In a landmark event in Indo-Lanka trade history, both countries are now moving to ink a pioneering Customs Cooperation Agreement. This will opening the door for much larger trade volumes. The first ever Commerce Secretary level talks between both countries in new Sri Lankan era held in Colombo, has revealed that an otherwise routine bilateral trade flow is now being transformed into an unprecedented 'integrated trade and investment push' on Sri Lanka. more..

Govt halts $1.5 b Port City project

Mar 6 (FT) Adding a new twist to a controversial topic, Cabinet yesterday suspended the $ 1.5 billion Port City project, demanding the Chinese company submit its approvals within two weeks. Multinational China Communications Construction Company subsidiary China Harbour Engineering Company is creating the new island off Colombo’s harbour, which was started during former President Rajapaksa’s decade in power. more..

US hopes Sri Lanka keeps promise

Mar 6 (CG) United States (US) today said it looks forward to receiving the report on Sri Lanka during the September session of the UNHRC and hope to see evidence in it of the Sri Lankan govt’s actions to promote human rights, reconciliation, and accountability in Sri Lanka, consistent with its promises of cooperation noted in the report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Speaking at the UNHRC after High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein presented his annual report more..

SLFP decides to form National Govt

Mar 6 (CT) SLFP Central Committee yesterday decided to set up a national govt, SLFP Central Committee member Faizer Mustafa said. Mustafa, speaking to CT, shortly after the Central Committee meeting, said that the agreement by SLFP MPs to support a National Govt is another progressive step taken under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena. SLFP Central Committee had discussed the upcoming General Election, National Govt and the rally to be held in Kandy today, more..

Shocking proposal for 100 Cabinet, State and Deputy Ministers

Mar 6 (Island) JVP has opposed special provision for a 45-member cabinet and 55 deputy ministers/state ministers following the next general election to facilitate the formation of a national govt. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, said that his party was agreeable to formation of a national govt though it wouldn’t be party to such an arrangement under any circumstances. JVP, however wouldn’t endorse what he called more..

Sri Lanka postpones setting a foreign direct investment target

Mar 6 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s 100 day administration has taken a back seat in setting a foreign direct investment goal for this year after authorities failed to meet their targets in the recent past. Board of investment which comes under the purview of the investment promotion ministry dejected after it sets a target of US$ 2 billion for 2013 and US$ 2.5 billion for 2014. “There is no need to set unrealistic targets and also we don’t want to sell the country for the sake of foreign investments,” more..

Sri Lanka slaps 90-day detention on France-bound woman

Mar 6 (AFP) Sri Lankan authorities on Thursday extended by 90 days the detention of a suspected former Tamil rebel fighter arrested as she was returning to her home in France. Murugesu Pakeerathy, 41, was arrested on Monday when she was at the airport with her eight-year-old daughter, a French national, and initially detained for 72 hours pending investigations by an anti-terrorism unit, said SSP Ajith Rohana. “We have now got a detention order under the Prevention of Terrorism Act more..

Special World Bank team here to probe mega scale financial frauds

Mar 6 (DN) A special team from the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) of the World Bank is in Sri Lanka to help the govt probe mega scale financial frauds and locate the assets stashed away in foreign countries, allegedly by politicians and officials of the former govt. StAR team arrived on Wednesday on a govt invitation. StAR is a partnership between World Bank Group and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) that more..

Walk the talk like world's poorest President

Mar 6 (DM) In an era when President Maithripala Sirisena is setting an unprecedented example in servant leadership with a simple and humble lifestyle or alpechchathavaya, Sri Lankans who often prefer models from developed countries would do well to learn from what happened in the small South American State of Uruguay during the past five years. The 79-year-old Jose Mujica was the President of Uruguay from 2010 to this year. A former urban guerrilla fighter with the more..

To build a bridge between two fractured societies

Mar 6 (DM) Several posts on social media by a group of young journalists who visited Jaffna on their own made ‘my day’ a couple of days ago. This was the day I was expecting to happen – mainly to build the bridge between two fractured societies in one country. Visiting another part of the country by a group of Colombo based journalists would certainly not make news within the media sector but this visit made waves within social media as it was the first of its kind by a group of young journalists who more..

Panama land grab exposed

Mar 6 (SL) The new Govt which came to power after the Presidential elections held last month has further exposed the forceful taking over of land in Panama when the former Govt was in power. The Sunday Leader had in 2013 exposed how the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN), Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) and the police Special Task Force (STF) forced villagers in Shasthrawela, Ragamwela, Ulpassawela, Horowkanda & Ella in Panama more..

Govt more interested in MPs' privileges than other issues: JVP

Mar 6 (CT) If President Maithripala Sirisena does not dissolve Parliament on 23 April and call for a general election, it would mean that he has sided with those who tried to defeat him by any means at the 8 Jan election, JVP Leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. He added that the govt is more concerned about maintaining the privileges of MPs than any other pressing issue in the country. Govt is planning to dissolve Parliament on more..

Take basic precautions, say health officials as seasonal flu spreads

Mar 6 (ST) Don’t panic but take basic precautions against seasonal flu, stressed top health officials, as Influenza A/H1N1 spread rapidly in neighbouring India. Dispelling concerns about the spread of so-called deadly swine flu, Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Paba Palihawadana was quick to point out that what was spreading in India was Influenza A/H1N1 and swine flu was a misnomer. Pointing out that usually there could be more..

Sajin Vass: A character with a bizarre past

Mar 6 (DM) A number of Ministers of the previous regime are facing allegations of corruption today. Such allegations were often levelled at certain govt politicians at the Opposition election propaganda rallies held ahead of the last Presidential poll. Sajin de Vass Gunawardena was one of the govt politicians who became the butt of the sleaze accusations. Sajin never held a Ministerial portfolio. He started his Parliamentary career as more..

Fishermen talks after mid-March

Mar 6 (EN) The Indian Ministry of External Affairs is working on fixing a fresh date for holding third round of talks between fishermen of Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu after the State govt informed that it would be difficult to host it on March 11 as proposed by the island nation. The Tamil Nadu govt received a communication from the Ministry conveying Sri Lanka’s proposal to hold the talks in Chennai on March 11. more..

'Supporting LTTE a criminal offence in UK'

Mar 6 (Island) The British High Commission in Colombo says that supporting the LTTE is a criminal offence in the UK. A British HC spokesperson said: "The LTTE is a proscribed organisation in the UK. Showing support for the LTTE by fundraising, waving flags and other means is a criminal offence. In instances where this has occurred, the matter is referred to the UK Police." The spokesperson was responding to a query more..

India, Sri Lanka discuss economic issues

Mar 6 (PTI) Ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit here, India and Sri Lanka have discussed the implementation of a free trade pact and stepping up economic cooperation, while addressing issues of trade imbalance. Discussions on economic issues were held between the Sri Lankan side and a visiting Indian trade delegation headed by Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher. Enhanced Indian investments in Sri Lanka would boost more..

Sri Lanka bond market insider dealing allegations to be probed: Ministers

Mar 6 (EN) Alleged insider dealing in Sri Lanka govt securities markets by a firm connected to the family of Sri Lanka Central Bank Governor will be probed, govt ministers said. "We have faith in the governor of the central bank," Deputy Economic Policy Minister Harsha De Silva said responding to questions at a Sri Lanka Law Conference whether alleged insider deals in gilt markets would be probed. more..

UPFA forum of members of PCs and local bodies to defy ban on attending Kandy rally

Mar 6 (Island) The Forum of the UPFA members of the Provincial Councils and Local Bodies will attend the Bring Back Mahinda rally in Kandy today in defiance of the ban imposed on SLFP elected members attending such meetings. The forum comprising UPFA elected members said that ‘none’ could stop their presence at the Kandy meeting. They would not only attend the meeting at Kandy Central Market but also bring people more..

Yoshitha Rajapaksa transferred to Navy HQ

Mar 6 (AM) Former President Rajapaksa's second son Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa, has been transferred to the Navy Headquarters effective from March 09. Navy Media Spokesperson said that it has been decided to transfer Yoshitha Rajapaksa from duties of the security team assigned to his father. This decision was taken based on service purposes he said. Rajapaksa was recently granted permission more..

Muzzling Sirasa and PM's Breach of Privilege

Mar 6 (CT) Media freedom was a subject closely associated with Esmond Wickremesinghe, the father of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Wickremesinghe Senior was internationally hailed when he won the Golden Pen Award for his services to media freedom in Sri Lanka. When moves were formulated by the then SLFP-led United Front coalition Govt in 1964 to take over the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon (ANCL), it was Wickremesinghe Senior who was the then Managing Director (Editorial) of more..

Minister Rishad Bathiudeen says bribery allegations are politically motivated

Mar 6 (LBO) The bribery allegations made against Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen are politically motivated, the minister said in a media release. A complaint had been made against him at the Bribery Commission over allegations of bribery and corruption. “Through the mass media of Sri Lanka, I have learnt of a complaint against me lodged at the Commission against Bribery and Corruption today,” Bathiudeen said in his communique to the Commission. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

What ails our national carrier

Mar 6 (CT) Our national carrier SriLankan Airlines has many critics, a few defenders mostly ex and current staff for emotional reasons and many beneficiaries. Many a time, decisions to withdraw from unprofitable routes have met with resistance and objections from different interest groups who never lost an opportunity to remind the national carrier of its ‘national responsibilities’. Govts of the day are pressurized to change commercial decisions of the national carrier, or else, more..

Jetwing plans hotels in Kandy, Arugam Bay

Mar 6 (EN) Jetwing Hotels group plans to start building new hotels in the island's central hills and on the east coast while a property under construction in the north will be completed by year-end. Hiran Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing Hotels Limited, said the group now owns and manages over 20 hotels, villas and small boutique properties in the island and one in NZ. A number of new hotel projects with local and foreign investment are planned in different parts of the country more..

New drug policy fails to pass muster with ACMOA

Mar 6 (Island) All Ceylon Medical Officers’ Association (ACMOA) General Secretary Dr. Jayantha Bandara rejected the 102-page the new National Medicinal Drugs and Cosmetic Devices Regulatory Act as not being consistent with the original Prof. Senaka Bibile National Drug Policy. He pointed out that Prof. Bibile had never recommended the involvement of the private sector in importing drugs. But, the new Bill had more..

Pavitra says she is ready to face impartial inquiry

Mar 6 (Island) Former Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi, said that she was ready to face an impartial inquiry into unsubstantiated allegations regarding massive losses suffered by the previous govt due to coal imports for the Norochcholai coal-fired power plant. Having requested the newly appointed Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe to speedily inquire into allegations against her, more..

Hakeem recalls ever ready Pakistan support for Sri Lanka

Mar 6 (Island) Minister Rauff Hakeem spoke of the friendly assurance and support that was always at hand from the Govt of Pakistan and of the outgoing High Commissioner Maj Gen Qureshi, during the challenging times that Sri Lankans were facing in the last two years. Acknowledging the latter’s invaluable contribution to strengthening diplomatic ties between the two countries, Minister said, "Sri Lankans have maintained their bilateral visits and relationships with Pakistan even risking their lives." more..

Video: Public opinion can’t be changed with threats: Rajapaksa

Mar 6 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says that public opinion cannot be changed with threats and intimidation and that it is wrong to prohibit SLFP members from attending rallies organized by other political parties. Asked whether he will be attending the public rally organized in Kandy today supporting him to contest the General Election, Rajapaksa jokingly said that he has to “sign at several weddings today.” more..

Stocks hit 1-mth closing low on rising rates

Mar 6 (Reuters) Stocks closed at a one-month low on Friday in a five-session losing streak as investors pulled back amid rising interest rates and political uncertainty ahead of parliamentary elections. The central bank removed a penalty rate of 5% on its repo rate with effect from Monday. The bank has used the measure to discourage commercial banks from parking money with it at an interest rate of 6.5%. The scrapping of the penalty resulted in a rise in t-bill yields of between 86 and 91 basis more..

Tissa files petition against expulsion

Mar 6 (AD) Former Health Minister Tissa Attanayake today filed a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the cancellation of his party membership by the UNP. Former UNP General Secretary, who pledged support to then President Rajapaksa ahead of the Presidential Election, was expelled from the party following a decision taken by the its working committee. On Feb 11, Attanayake was released on bail after being arrested on criminal charges of falsifying documents. more..

Sunday Leader tenders unconditional apology to Gotabaya

Mar 6 (AD) The Sunday Leader has tendered an unconditional apology to former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in courts for a defamatory publication regarding MiG aircraft purchases. The defamation case filed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa against Lasantha Wickrematunge and the Sunday Leader on its reporting on MiG 27 purchase by the Defence Ministry was taken up at the District Court of more..

Casual workers protest against removal by govt

Mar 6 (Island) Former Minister Wimal Weerawansa urged the govt not deprive workers of their livelihood. A group of casual maintenance workers of the Road Development Authority (RDA) employed on the Southern Expressway launched a protest on the rooftop of the Sethsiripaya II building three days ago against their removal by the new govt. MP Weerawansa visited them yesterday morning as the security personnel did not allow other workers to supply protesters with food and water. more..

'Dark era over, all guns in East turned on progress'

Mar 6 (CT) The dark phase of political instability was over and all ethnic communities in the Eastern Province have now engaged in developing the East, Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) Chief Minister, Hafiz Naseer Ahamed said. Ahamed made his comment at a provincial coordinating meeting, presided over by President Sirisena, last Wednesday. Ahamed said that it was of paramount importance to focus attention on realistic development within the Eastern Province. more..

Sri Lanka hotelier says bribery, red tape deterring investors

Mar 6 (EN) A top Sri Lankan hotelier has said corruption and inefficient regulation were delaying or deterring local and foreign investment in the island's fast-growing tourism industry. "If somebody is not willing to pay the authorities and ministries, you can rest assured you will take 12 -18 months, if you are lucky, to get approval," declared Hiran Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing Hotels group. "But you can get it in three months if you more..

Sri Lanka’s chamber signs a MOU with Chinese Tianjin

Mar 6 (LBO) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce signed a memorandum of understanding today with Tianjin province of China to promote trade and investment between both countries. “With the visit of two leaders in our countries, we hopes to take bilateral corporation between Sri Lanka and China to the next level through strengthening ties,” Li Shengli, Deputy Director of Tianjin Commission of Commerce said. He said the trade between Chinese Tianjin and Sri Lanka expanded 10% last year. more..

SLFP urges govt to reactivate development work in provinces

Mar 6 (Island) The SLFP has urged the govt to summon District Development Committees without further delay as all development activities coming under them had ground to a halt during the last 50 days. Addressing the media at the party head office on Wednesday, SLFP National Organiser Susil Premajayantha said that the DDCs’ failure to meet under the new government had caused projects and all activities to come to a standstill at the provincial level. more..