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Sri Lanka releases 86 Indian fishermen to coincide with Modi's visit

Mar 13 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka on Friday released 86 Indian fishermen as a goodwill measure to mark the visit of Indian PM Narendra Modi to the island nation. A court in the northern province of Jaffna set free 43 Indians while a court in the eastern province of Trincomalee freed 43 others. President Maithripala Sirisena had earlier this week ordered the release of the Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody to coincide with Modi's visit. The navy had arrested the 86 Indian fishermen for poaching more..

Lankan PM breaks tradition by receiving Modi at airport

Mar 13 (ENS) PM Ranil Wivckremesinghe broke tradition to receive Indian PM Narendra Modi at the airport. Minister Lakshman Kiriella was to do the honours as the Minister-in -Waiting, but at the last moment, perhaps in deference to the importance of the visit, the first state visit by an Indian PM in 27 years, Lankan PM himself undertook to receive him. "Frankly we did'nt expect the Lankan PM to be there. Normally it is the duty of the Minister in Waiting to receive such dignitaries, more..

India to help Sri Lanka develop regional petroleum hub; IOC signs pact

Mar 13 (PTI) India will help Sri Lanka develop its Trincomalee town as a regional petroleum hub and Indian Oil Corp has reached a joint-development pact with Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), said PM Narendra Modi. The agreement as well as a task force to implement it, were announced after a meeting between Modi and President Maithripala Sirisena here. "Today, Lanka IOC and CPC have agreed to jointly more..

China media: Sri Lanka investment

Mar 13 (BBC) According to reports, newly-elected Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to revisit some deals signed with China by his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa. The suspension of the port city project in Colombo and subsequent protests by Sri Lankan workers have gained wide attention in Chinese papers. Mr Sirisena's govt said that the project was launched "without relevant approvals from concerned institutions". more..

Tamils in Canada urge Modi to pressure SL

Mar 13 (IANS) Welcoming Indian PM Narendra Modi's visit to Colombo, a leading Tamil group in Canada - home to the largest Tamil diaspora outside Sri Lanka - has urged him to put pressure on new President Maithiripala Sirisena to resolve the dragging ethnic issue. "By undertaking (the first bilateral) visit after 28 years by an Indian leader to Sri Lanka, Modi has shown his personal commitment to resolving the issues faced by the people in Sri Lanka, particularly the Tamils more..

PM Modi pays homage to martyred Indian Army soldiers at IPKF Memorial

Mar 13 (ANI) PM Narendra Modi became the first Indian Head of Govt to pay homage at the IPKF memorial in Colombo this evening. In a ceremony marked by solemnity, poignancy and reflecting the best in terms of military tradition, PM Modi walked up to the memorial accompanied by senior defence officers and placed a floral wreath at the base of the memorial. He then stood in silence as the Last Post was sounded as a mark of more..

Narrow-minded interpretation of Modi's SL visit drives no wedge between China, India

Mar 13 (Xinhua) Some foreign media's narrow-minded interpretation of Indian PM Narendra Modi's visit to Sri Lanka as a move to tame China's influence over the Island nation is driven by outdated geopolitical and confrontational mindset in contrary to the global trend of peace and development. As the first official visit by an Indian prime minister to Sri Lanka in nearly three decades kicked off on Friday, some brooked no delay to babble on New Delhi's attempt to mitigate Beijing's growing influence more..

Bird-flu like ailment spreading in South

Mar 13 (DM) Health authorities in the south are perturbed that an unidentified ailment similar to Bird Flu (Apian Influenza) is spreading in the Hambantota and Tissamaharama areas. They said four patients suffering from this ailment in Tissamaharama were receiving treatment at the Hambantota General Hospital. The staff of the hospital has also taken precautionary measures prevent the disease from spreading. A spokesman for the Hambantota Medical Superintendent’s Office said more..

Ex-Sea Tiger Leader released on bail

Mar 13 (AD) The former leader of the LTTE Women’s Sea Tiger Wing, Jeyaganesh Pakeerathy, who was arrested at the airport last week while attempting to leave the country for France, has been released on bail by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court. Producing her before the country when the case was taken up today, the Terrorism Investigations Division (TID) said that indictments will be filed against Pakeerathy and therefore more..

TNA wants India as 3rd party: Modi to be told

Mar 13 (CT) TNA said that they would communicate to the visiting Indian PM, Narendra Modi, on the need for Indian mediation as a third party, which they feel is essential to resolve the ethnic crisis in the island nation. A special group of representatives led by TNA Leader, R. Sampanthan, is due to meet PM Modi in Colombo today. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that they will also point out to the Indian PM that the 13th Amendment alone was inadequate to solve the problem. more..

Sri Lankans to get visa on arrival in India

Mar 13 (EN) India will give Sri Lankans the visa on arrival facility in a bid to strengthen ties between the two neighbours and improve contact between the peoples, Indian PM Narendra Modi said. "People are at the heart of our relations," Modi declared in a speech soon after talks with President Sirisena during a two-visit to the island that began Friday. "We have taken a number of decisions to encourage people to people contacts, improve connectivity, and increase tourism," he said. more..

Modi pushes for India, Sri Lanka to ink CEPA

Mar 13 (IANS) PM Narendra Modi on Friday said cooperation among South Asian nations would be of huge benefit to all members and pushed for India and Sri Lanka to ink the long-pending Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Addressing the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the prime minister also said that India's large economic size should not be a cause of worry as a stable and peaceful neighbourhood is more..

PM Modi meets Sri Lanka Tamil leaders

Mar 13 (ANI) PM Narendra Modi on Friday met Sri Lankan Tamil leader R Sampanthan to discuss national questions pertaining to the Tamil people. "All matters of relevance were discussed, particularly the unresolved national questions pertaining to Tamil people which cannot be delayed any further," said R Sampanthan after meeting PM Modi. Meanwhile, a leading Tamil group in Canada has reportedly urged the Prime Minister to put pressure on recently elected Sri Lanka President more..

Modi bats for federalism in SL parliament

Mar 13 (ENS) Indian PM Narendra Modi told the Sri Lankan parliament here on Friday that diversity, when promoted, can be a source of strength to a nation. "I believe in cooperative federalism," Modi told the 225 member House in a message of great significance to Sri Lankan leaders who are struggling to come to grips with the issue of giving equitable political representation to different ethnic groups, particularly the Tamils, the largest minority. Modi stressed the need for all communities more..

Video: Modi offers Indian help to Sri Lanka

Mar 13 (CG) Indian PM Narendra Modi today said that India stands ready to help Sri Lanka move forward and assured that it would share a strong economic tie with its closest neighbor. Addressing the media soon after his official ceremonial welcome in Colombo, Modi said that he was delighted to be in Sri Lanka and was honoured that President Maithripala Sirisena had chosen India as his first official overseas visit. more..

The Modi visit & Sri Lanka’s direction

Mar 14 (CT) Prime Minister Modi is much admired and rightly so as a charismatic, strong, visionary Asian leader. His visit to Sri Lanka and his speeches here could be said, at first blush, to be a triumph for India’s ‘soft power’ projection. The thing about ‘soft power’ however, is that it is uneven, and one must draw the distinction between how it works at the level of the elite and how it works or fails to at the level of the masses. PM Modi’s public pitch int he presence of Sri Lanka’s President, more..

Justification of Colombo Port City project

Mar 14 (CT) A number of arguments have been put forward very recently to try and justify the construction of the Colombo Port City. Some argue that the Colombo Port City was a ‘business venture’ done with the view to make Sri Lanka the most competitive and preferred maritime and logistic hub in Asia. Hence, the construction of the Port City should be continued on a revised technical plan of the experts. Since 25% of the work Colombo Port City project is completed, more..

'In counterterrorism, there are no shortcuts'

Mar 14 (CT) Q: What is your full name? A: I am known to most by the name Nimal Lewke. Q: When and where were you born? A: I was born in 1952 in Kandy. Q: Who were your parents? A: My father, Cyrus Lewke, was a doctor and my mother was Lila Bandaranaike. Q: What about your family? A: There were seven children in my family and I was the fifth. I have two brothers and four sisters. Q: Tell us about your schooling days. more..

Nationalism, Ethnicity and Conflict

Mar 14 (GV) I read with appreciation, the contents of the article of DBS Jeyaraj under the title “Imperative need to support Tamil Moderates in the struggle against Extremists” (Daily Mirror of March 7), though I have some reservations regarding the title. I am also happy to read DBS’ report of the two resolutions passed unanimously on Sunday, March 1 by the Central Working Committee of the ITAK, the lead political party of the TNA. The first resolution reiterates some of the urgent and major more..

Recommendations on Drug Regulatory Bill

Mar 14 (SL) The National Medicinal Drugs Regulatory Authority (NMDRA) Bill of 2015 was presented in Parliament on March 3, 2015. This is one of the actions within the 100-Day Plan, which includes promises made at the recent election. We have to appreciate this initiative by the current govt in bringing this hidden topic to the limelight. Minister of Health and the govt are hurrying this matter along within this set time frame, but other political parties, civil society organizations more..

Turning a blind eye at Yala

Mar 14 (CT) Visitors on top of vehicles and some with cameras in their hands are a common site inside the Yala National Park these days. "Visitors blatantly violate the park rules while on a safari on a regular basis and climb on top of vehicles to get a better look at the animals. These visitors openly violate the rules governing the National park and in the presence of trackers. But wildlife officers have turned a blind eye towards this ongoing more..

Has the Indian Housing Project become a debt trap?

Mar 14 (GV) Following the end of the armed conflict, people returned to their areas of origin in the conflict affected areas with limited, and in some cases no resources, to re-build their lives. This forced them to access new and freely available credit to re-establish a habitable space and restart livelihoods. Due to inexperience managing debt, and the inability of most, whose livelihoods are dependent on the agricultural and fishing sector, to compete with their vulnerabilities in an open and competitive more..

Positive aspects of the illusive 19th Amendment to the Constitution

Mar 14 (FT) We are now at a crucial juncture as far as our constitutional law is concerned as the ruling coaling is busy these days to bring an amendment to the Constitution, promised during the last presidential election. Thought the election promise large focused on the abolition of the executive presidency, the number of politicians in the current ruling coalition promised fare more positive amendments to the Constitution, towards the accountability and good governance. more..

21st century maritime silk route story with SL

Mar 14 (CT) SL Govt temporarily and immediately suspended the 1.5 billion US$ Chinese-funded Colombo Port City Project on 5 March, and the China Communication Construction Company which had undertaken the project has been "advised to be present within two weeks for the approvals that had been obtained from the relevant institutions for the implementation of the project" according to minister, Rajitha Senaratne. more..

Rethinking the Ethnic Imbroglio

Mar 14 (Island) It is widely accepted that the election defeat of President Rajapakse shows the maturing of our democracy. But it does not signify a final and definitive victory of democracy: the impressive pro-Rajapakse rallies at Nugegoda and then at Kandy attest to the continuing wide appeal of racist neo-Fascism in Sri Lanka. We should not, however, jump to the facile conclusion that democracy therefore is not really congenial to the national ethos. We must bear in mind the travails that democracy more..

Modi's visit brings back memories of visits by famous personalities

Mar 14 (CT) A day after President Maithripala Sirisena returning to the island after attending the Commonwealth Day celebrations in London, Indian PM Narendra Modi arrived in Colombo on a two-day visit, becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to Sri Lanka since the late Indian leader Rajiv Gandhi visited the island in 1987 to sign the Indo-Lanka Accord, which paved the way for India's involvement in the internal politics for the past 28 years. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru onwards almost all Indian more..

New regime clean on abuse of power, but other concerns remain

Mar 14 (ST) Most Sri Lankans have given the thumbs-up to the new transitional Govt agreeing that there has been little of no abuse of power during its 2- month existence, according to a opinion poll conducted this week. The poll on The progress of the new Govt also revealed that most people were in favour of polls being held as scheduled in or around June, instead of a postponement as promoted in some political quarters. more..

Editorial: Dogfight over new electoral system

Mar 14 (Island) The SLFP and the UNP are clashing over electoral reforms. They are like two dogs at the same bone. They seldom agree. The SLFP wants the next general election held only after the implementation of the proposed electoral reforms. But, the UNP is determined to have Parliament dissolved on April 23 and the general election held in June, electoral reforms or no electoral reforms. President Sirisena is in a dilemma because he is practising political polygamy. more..

Avoiding bleeding of forex market

Mar 14 (FT) There were two shocking items in the Sri Lankan media during the past few days that caught the attention of the observers which focuses on Sri Lankan policy issues: First, is that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has sold over $ 700 million during the five-month period from the end of August 2014 to January 2015 to defend the exchange rate; this has prevented the exchange rate from depreciating more than 2.5% against the USD during the same period. more..

How psychology has helped Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign

Mar 14 (Island) ​One of the great success stories of Sri Lankan cricket is their coaches’ ability to think out of the box. Sri Lankan coaches have encouraged players with unorthodox styles and those players have gone on to become world beaters. A study done by an Australian University recently showed that players such as Malinga, Muttiah and Jayasuriya would have been over coached had they been in places like more..

Voices from Sri Lanka, a memoir, ethical musings and a fictional tale

Mar 14 (IANS) Crisp and sharp reportage of how Sri Lankans are returning to their normal lives after 30 years of civil war, a message of love and inspiration for readers through a brave memoir, dealing with important ethical issues of our time and a work of fiction - IANS Books This Weekend is a balanced lot. Take a look. Book: Sri Lanka: The New Country; Author: Padma Rao Sundarji; Publisher: Harper Collins; Pages: 322; Price: Rs. 499. The 30-year civil war in Sri Lanka which ended in 2009 more..

‘Rajapaksa should be tried for war crimes’

Mar 14 (Hindu) Cadres of Tamil nationalist parties staged a demonstration in front of the Railway Station here on Friday condemning the UN for postponing the war crimes investigations against Sri Lanka. Many speakers at the protest demanded that the former SL President Rajapaksa should be tried for his role in the killings of Tamils in the island nation. Manithaneya Makkal Katchi leader M.H. Jawahirullah alleged that during his term Mr. Rajapaksa’s actions had caused killings of more..

CNBC Launches on Dialog Television

Mar 14 (CNBC) CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, announced a new carriage deal with Sri Lanka's biggest direct-to-home platform, Dialog Television. The business news channel is now available on Dialog Television's channel 41. "We're excited to bring CNBC's first in class content to Sri Lanka through Dialog Television," said Jacqueline Lam, Vice President of International Distribution, CNBC. "Our focus is on delivering accurate more..

Hemas likely to foray into healthcare in Bangladesh

Mar 14 (DM) Hemas Holdings is exploring the possibilities of entering the healthcare sector in Bangladesh. According to sources, the group is evaluating the purchase of a hospital in the South Asian neighbour. This is not Hemas’ first foray into Bangladesh, having set up a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) business a few years back. The funds for this expansion are expected to be tapped from a Rs.4.12 billion rights issue the company has already announced. more..

Sri Lanka chamber suggests system to solve business disputes with India

Mar 14 (EN) The head of Sri Lanka's top corporate chamber Friday called on India and Sri Lanka to set up a mechanism to resolves business disputes between them to enable greater economic integration. Suresh Shah, Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said Sri Lankan businesses have consistently spoken of three challenges when doing business with India. "They are mutual recognition of standards, non-tariff barriers and testing procedures," he said. more..

Anger and frustration over 15% interest rate

Mar 14 (ST) Scene at a local bank in Colombo: An officer desperately tries to calm an elderly man who vents his frustration over the controversial 15% scheme, shouting, ’I have been cheated. I won’t vote for this Govt again’. Outside the city, a 70-year old woman with a Rs. 400,000 fixed deposit and within the prescribed limits of the Rs. 1 million aggregate in all banks, is told by a bank clerk that new interest rate applies only to older loans! more..

Coca-Cola wins sliver at the HRM awards

Mar 14 (DM) ​The Association of Human Resource Professionals (HRP) recently awarded Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka a silver award at the prestigious HRM Awards 2014 event. Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka won the award for consistently adhering to industry best practices in Human Resource Management (HRM). The award was presented by Chamara Perera – Head of IT of Sri Lankan Airlines to Priyantha Ranasinghe -Country HR Manager, Coca-Cola Beverages SL more..

Small shareholders complain to SEC over malpractices by their brokers

Mar 14 (ST) ​A 5-member team representing the Small Investors’ Association (SIA) of Kurunegala has complained to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the injustices and malpractices by their stockbrokers and some regulators. The host of complaints range from opening margin accounts without their consent, trading on these accounts without their consent, misleading them on the type of shares they should trade on, trading on their on-line accounts more..

Video: We are going after Rajapaksa’s stolen assets: Mangala

Mar 14 (Hindu) In the first govt response to the outrage in India over Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe’s controversial comments on the “right to shoot” fishermen who trespass, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera defended the comments. He spoke on the comments, India-Sri Lanka talks, and the legal process against former president Rajapaksa in an interview to Diplomatic Editor Suhasini Haidar. more..

SL has 3rd highest debt-rollover ratio in 2015

Mar 14 (EN) Sri Lanka has the third highest debt-rollover ratio measured against GDP this year, after Japan and Pakistan, among Asia-Pacific sovereigns rated by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services. Pakistan and Japan will face the highest debt-rollover ratios, including short-term debt, of rated sovereigns, reaching 25% and 75% of GDP this year, the rating agency has calculated. Sri Lanka was third with a debt-rollover ratio of 17.1% of GDP, S&P's said in a new report. more..