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Sri Lankan gov't grants approval to construct breakwater of Colombo Port City

Mar 19 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's cabinet on Wednesday approved the construction of a breakwater for a Chinese funded port city project which had been suspended by the govt earlier this month. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the decision was taken, following a request made by PM Ranil Wickremasinghe, when the cabinet convened for its weekly meeting Wednesday evening.The entire project had been suspended by more..

CA directs AG to be present in court over Colombo Port City project

Mar 19 (Island) The Court of Appeal yesterday directed the Attorney General to be present in court on April 29, 2015 and inform the Court of the decision the state has taken in respect of the Colombo Port City Project. This direction was made pertaining to a Writ Application filed by Environmental Justice Private Ltd, which has complained that the respondents, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the Central Environmental Authority, the Director General Coast Conservation more..

Buddhist monks from India, Sri Lanka hold dialogue on spiritual traditions

Mar 19 (ANI) Buddhist monks from India and Sri Lanka started a two-day dialogue in New Delhi beginning on Wednesday to discuss their respective spiritual traditions, values. The monks held detailed discussion on several topics ranging from the numbers of standardized offences in the code of conduct of the ordained Buddhist monk known as 'Bhikkhu' and his lifestyle. Approximately, 50 monks from the two countries participated in the first day of the dialogue. more..

Circular on Tamil national anthem unconstitutional: BBS

Mar 19 (DM) The BBS today emphasised that issuing a circular to let the National Anthem be sung in the Tamil language violates the constitution. General Secretary of the BBS, Ven. Galagodaththe Gnanasara Thera said the entire statement, made by the Leader of the DPF Mano Ganesan was unconstitutional and President Maithripala Sirisena could not issue a circular because it was against the constitution. more..

Court orders sponsor to pay maid SR68,000

Mar 19 (AN) A high court judge has ordered a Saudi sponsor to pay his Sri Lankan housemaid SR68,000 in back wages owed for the past 13 years. The high court in Hail, ruled that the sponsor must pay Seda Cader Ismail Asia Umma, 59, the money and her airfare home to Colombo. She is currently staying at the Women’s Welfare Camp in Hail, under police protection. The Saudi sponsor, Mubarak Al-Qahtani, has launched an appeal against the judgment at the final court of appeal in Riyadh. more..

Another suspect found hanging in police cell

Mar 19 (Island) A 38-year-old suspect who was arrested on Tuesday night by the Ja-Ela police was found dead inside the police cell in the early hours of yesterday. The Police Media Unit said that the suspect, a drug addict, had been arrested by the police for robberies in the area. He had committed suicide inside the cell using the cord of the pair of shorts he was wearing. There had been two suspects inside the cell but they had been asleep at the time of the incident, PMU said. more..

'President has no power to gift jumbos'

Mar 19 (Island) President doesn’t have the power to make grants and dispositions of elephants, the AG’s Department has written to Deputy Minister Vasantha Senanayake. This follows a letter written to the Attorney General’s Department by the deputy minister, citing the powers and functions of the President of Sri Lanka, spelt out under Article 33 of the Constitution. The letter added: "On the question of where the President’s more..

Over 20 school children poisoned in Jaffna

Mar 19 (Xinhua) Over twenty school children were hospitalized in Sri Lanka's northern town of Jaffna on Thursday after being poisoned from consuming water from the school tank, the police said. According to police officials, 27 school children had been rushed to a nearby state hospital by the school authorities after they fell ill. Police said that two poison bottles had been found from the water tank and the school management had lodged a complaint with the local police. more..

Calf seized from a house at Kandalama

Mar 19 (DM) A baby elephant was removed from a house at Kandalama in Dambulla this morning by the Dambulla police. A permit issued in 2012 to a person named Viraj Roshan of Pannipitiiya to rear the baby elephant was produced by those held the calf. They said the present owner of the calf was Jagath Premalal of Matugama and that he would produce the renewed permit. Police said the suspects and the calf would be detained until the valid documents were produced. more..

DM feels left out

Mar 19 (CT) Former PM D.M. Jayaratne complained to the Deputy Speaker that the Opposition does not allocate time for him to participate in debates, despite being a senior member in Parliament. Chief Opposition Whip, John Seneviratne, said in response that 10 minutes of the debate time had been allocated for Jayaratne. Minister Lakshman Kiriella, too said he was willing to give five minutes of govt's time for Jayaratne. more..

Flood-affected villages in Batticaloa receive clean water and sanitation assistance

Mar 19 (USE) United States inaugurated today a clean water assistance program for at-risk communities in the Batticaloa district. Govt Agent for Batticaloa Ms. P.S.M. Charles also attended the ceremony. Many local residents still face significant challenges brought by intense flooding in the past few years, requiring long-term solutions to ensure stable, clean water and sanitation access. “Batticaloa is one of the most disaster-prone districts in Sri Lanka, so many people here are more..

Largest nurses union threatens trade union action over unfulfilled promises

Mar 19 (Island) Public Service United Nurses Union (PSUNU) yesterday warned they would resort to a two-day sick note campaign early next month (April 2 and 3) to win six demands including the implementation of nurses promotions after 12 years of service. Spokesman for the largest trade union R.K. Batuwita said that the PSUNU had held discussions with Health Minister, Rajitha Senaratne and his officials on Feb. 6, during and they had agreed to meet the union demands. more..

JHU wants to amend the 19th amendment; breakaway PHU mulls court action

Mar 19 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s govt ally JHU said they have put forward an observation paper to address the issues in the draft 19th amendment. JHU spokesperson Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe told LBO that the draft amendment has breached the consensus they arrived. “This gazette has violated the consensus arrived after the party leader’s meeting and the cabinet meeting held 15th Sunday,” more..

Bharatha Lakshman Killing: AG requests trial-at-bar

Mar 19 (AM) The AG’s Department on Wednesday requested Chief Justice K. Sripavan to appoint a Trial-at-Bar for the case on the killing of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. The Attorney General filed indictment against 13 suspects including UPFA MP Duminda Silva in High Court on March 3, on 17 charges including the killing of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, Dharshana Jayathilake, Mohamed Azmy and Manimel Kumaraswamy and inflicting gunshot injuries on Premachandra's more..

Murali baffled by Sri Lanka selections

Mar 19 (ICC) To say the nine-wicket loss to South Africa in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 was a bad day for Sri Lanka cricket is a massive understatement. And although I do not want to be critical, the reality has to be faced that while much of the pre-match talk was of South Africa’s past record of choking, when the crunch came it was Sri Lanka that was found wanting right across the board. I give South Africa full credit for the way they played as, having lost the toss, their fast bowlers were more..

Police stop jumbo demo outside parliament

Mar 19 (AFP) Sri Lanka's police Thursday blocked a protest involving dozens of elephants as their owners demanded legal recognition to use the sacred animals at Buddhist pageants and cultural events. Police put up barriers at the main access roads to parliament, but half a dozen elephants, travelling in trucks, managed to slip through the blockade. Akmeemana Dayaratne, a Buddhist monk who organised the protest, more..

General Fonseka promoted Field Marshal

Mar 19 (AM) General Sarath Fonseka has been promoted to the rank of Field Marshal by President Maithripala Sirisena with effect from March 22. When contacted, Presidential Media Director Chaminda Sirimalwatta said that the official ceremony will be held on March 22. In a recent interview, General Sarath Fonseka said that he will be awarded the rank in a couple of days’ time. There were speculations on the promotion of General Fonseka as Field Marshal for some time. more..

SL cancels Access US$85mn airport contract

Mar 19 (LBO) Katunayake BIA runway overlay and related work tender that was awarded to Access Engineering, a local construction company has been annulled by cabinet due to lack of transparency, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. “No proper procurement procedure has been followed when awarding this contract,” he said. “Minister (Arjuna) says they (Access Engineering) have no experience.” It has been confirmed that the award of this contract was made without following more..

Fixed price for tea and hoppers

Mar 19 (AM) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) introduced a fixed-price for three food items sold at canteens. Accordingly, the price of a cup of milk tea would be Rs. 25, plain tea Rs. 10 and a price of a hopper would be Rs. 10, the CAA said today. The price of 12.5 kg gas cylinder was reduced by Rs. 300 to Rs. 1,596 on January 29 from the interim budget of the govt. In early February, following the interim budget, the All-Island more..

SL launches new product: Ramanya Trail

Mar 19 (SLT) Post the visit of Indian PM Narendra Modi and the different agreement signed with President Maithripala Sirisena, the energetic Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau launched the Ramayanaya Trail targeting the India market together with 26 companies from the private sector. Whilst managing existing products we also want to launch new products so that we keep Sri Lanka Tourism contemporary said Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Bureau Rohantha Athukorala. more..

Sri Lanka partners with Pakistan to tackle drug trafficking

Mar 19 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka's govt has pledged deeper cooperation with its Pakistani counterpart to tackle drug trafficking, an official said here on Thursday. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be reached to by the two countries to combat the problem, which has increased over the past year. "We came into power pledging to wipe out the drug menace and arrests of drug possession has increased over the past two months, " Minister Rajitha Senaratne told reporters. more..

'Sri Lanka tracking US$2bn hidden during last regime in Dubai'

Mar 19 (EN) Sri Lanka has found three bank accounts in a Dubai bank belonging to a leading family connected to the former regime which had two billion US dollars in hidden assets, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. "We have learned that some of the money has been withdrawn after the election was lost," Senaratne said. He said accounts were found in Dubai National Bank. One family member had 1.046 billion dollars. more..

Ranil The Caesarist deals with L’Affair Arjun

Mar 20 (CT) Carl Sandburg – the Pulitzer winning biographer of Lincoln Carl Sandburg once noted that a politician should have three hats. “One for throwing in to the ring, one for talking through and one for pulling rabbits out if elected”. Soon after the Presidential Election Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe threw his first hat into the ring. On Monday March 17th he used the second to speak through. No doubt if elected PM, he will use his third. Besieged by growing demands for accountability more..

Modi’s new Indian days & Great wall of India

Mar 20 (CT) Let’s take a good look at a few recent Indian and Sri Lankan headlines. Senior BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy said “God does not reside in Mosques and churches which are only places of worship and God only resides in temples”. There is an increase in the number of attacks on churches. In some places right wing Hindus have forcibly converted Muslims and Christians into Hindus at the threat of death. Muslim families in Agra and Christian families in Gujarat and Kerala more..

Modi's visit : A strategic move to ensure power devolution

Mar 20 (SO) Given almost all previous state visits by leaders of our giant neighbour that revolved round the issue of North and East Tamils, it is unwise to contemplate that PM Narendra Modi would give this issue less prominence during the high profile visit to Sri Lanka. Although the mounting China influence in its backyard may have prompted the Indian leader to undertake the visits to the three strategic island nations that dot Indian ocean, more..

Need for new delimitation under mix of FPTP and PR systems

Mar 20 (CT) Now there seems to be a clamour among our politicians for reform of the voting system. Should we go back to the first-past-the-post system (FPTP) or continue the Proportional Representation (PR) system or a combination of the two as suggested by a Committee of the previous regime under Dinesh Gunawardena who recommended a ratio of 2:1 with 140 seats being filled on the first-past-the-post system and 70 on PR and 15 from the national list. more..

Editorial: Much ado about nothing

Mar 20 (Island) Many an Indian politician has vented his spleen on PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who recently issued a dire warning to those engaged in illegal fishing in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters. He is reported to have said the Indian poachers even run the risk of being shot. There is absolutely nothing wrong with what he has said. No less a person than Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker (AIADMK) M. Thambidurai, on Wednesday, took up PM Wickremesinghe’s warning to Indian fishers more..

Guaranteed price for rice and paddy

Mar 20 (CT) All Ceylon Peasants' Federation (ACPF) took another drastic step in support of the legalization of the guaranteed price for rice and paddy on 9 March, when a large number of farmers came to the capital in their loin clothes. Amude protesters, in front of the Fort Railway Station, requested the govt to take immediate steps to fulfil their requests, which is for the betterment of the agricultural sector of the country. more..

South Asia’s arms race, an obstacle to fence-mending

Mar 20 (Island) Indian PM Narendra Modi emphasized the vital importance of the ease of doing business among India and her neighbours during his recent tour of Sri Lanka and a couple of other smaller Indian Ocean states and none could quarrel with the soundness of this viewpoint. Close economic cooperation among the countries of South Asia is a key to a degree of shared prosperity among the SAARC Eight and one could only urge the relevant countries to drink deep of this more..

Can the change in constitution stop the mega dealers & wheeler dealers?

Mar 20 (Island) S.K.K. Sooriyaarachchi was one of the most powerful MPs of the then SLFP govt. He won the Mahara Seat by a huge majority. He was appointed Minister of Industries by the Sirimavo Govt. Somapala Gunadheera became his secretary. When the ‘job quota’ system replaced the labour exchange, Sooriyaarachchi was given his quota. The Secretary had to approve the quotas and issue letters of appointment. Gunadheera found that most of the candidates were barely qualified. more..

Hard choices: Governor or governance?

Mar 20 (FT) Controversy on the conduct of Governor of the Central Bank in connection with the recent bond issue continues to dominate discussions in financial and political circles. Unfortunately, govt has allowed it to spiral, clouding its overall program in creating a culture of good governance. Equally unfortunate is that govt has failed to comprehend the fundamental lesson that one does not dig when in a hole, more..

Storm in a port

Mar 20 (Economist) At a cost of $1.4 billion, Colombo port city is Sri Lanka’s biggest foreign-financed project. The idea is to reclaim land from the sea and build fancy houses on it. The state-owned China Communications Construction Company won the contract from the ports ministry, run by the then president, Mahinda Rajapaksa. The megaproject fits neatly into China’s plans for what it calls a new maritime Silk Road to increase trade across the Indian Ocean. more..

Over 200 community members from Kayts come together to mark Women's Day

Mar 20 (CT) Over 200 community members from the Kayts Divisional Secretariat Division in Jaffna, came together to celebrate International Women's Day (IWD), at an event hosted by the Kayts Divisional Secretariat office in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This initiative is part of UNDP's efforts to support the economic empowerment of women. Speaking at the event, Sundaram Arumainayakam, the Govt Agent of Jaffna stated that more..

SEC backs investors' association to protect minority rights

Mar 20 (EN) Sri Lanka's capital markets regulator is helping to form an investors association with the aim of better protecting the rights of shareholders, particularly minority interests. "We get a lot of complaints (from minority shareholders) but there's very little we can do," declared Tilak Karunaratne, chairman of the SEC. Forming an investors association that could act on behalf of individuals and groups of minority more..

'Delaying UN report: This govt's greatest achievement'

Mar 20 (CT) Revealing that Sri Lanka was on the verge of being in a dreadful situation if the UNHRC had released its report on alleged war crimes committed during the last phase of the war, Former Minister Mahinda Samrasinghe said, the greatest achievement by the incumbent govt thus far, was convincing the UNHRC and US to postpone the resolution for another six months. "Various people may say various things but as a person who frequented Geneva and faced US sponsored more..

President praises Vietnam’s rapid agricultural growth

Mar 20 (PRIU) President Maithripala Sirisena said Vietnam’s rapid agricultural and industrial growth is a good example for other developing countries such as Sri Lanka to emulate. He said that Sri Lanka would like to follow the successful Vietnamese methods of utilization of modern technology to enhance agricultural growth. The President made these observations when the Vietnamese Ambassador, Madam Phan Kieu Thu paid a courtesy call at the Presidential Secretariat. more..

World Cup debacle bitter, but not unexpected

Mar 20 (Island) Sri Lanka crashing out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage was a bitter pill to swallow, but given the happenings lead up to the event it wasn’t unexpected. This is the first time after two consecutive World Cup finals, Sri Lanka will not feature in a World Cup final. This is also Sri Lanka’s worst World Cup campaign since 1999. In the 14 nation competition, Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, Scotland more..

Sri Lanka launches third ICT survey

Mar 20 (GDI) As ICT exports are projected to top $1Bn this year, Sri Lanka has launched the latest ICT Value Survey to find the national hi-tech exports it achieved in 2013/14-and all the ICT exporters are encouraged to actively take part in it. “We have recognized the ICT industry to be a key player in our exports. We a looking for $1 billion exports this year” said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. He was acknowledging the update on ICT exports by top EDB officials on the latest ICT Value Survey. more..

Kabir Hashim outlines 6 focus areas to develop capital market

Mar 20 (FT) Minister Kabir Hashim this week outlined six areas the capital market must focus on for future development and asserted that Sri Lanka needs a strategised plan to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). “There is a clear need to restructure our investment policies, while having consistent policies to win the trust of investors,” he told the inauguration of the 3rd Capital Market Conference 2015 under the title Consolidation, Innovation and Initiative organised by more..

Plantations in crisis; estates suffer Rs. 2.85 b losses in 2014

Mar 20 (FT) Plagued by plummeting tea prices, a rubber market at an all-time low and high production costs, 19 Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) collectively made a staggering loss of nearly Rs. 2,850 million on rubber and tea in 2014. By end of 2014, on average RPCs were making a loss of approximately Rs. 30 on each kilogramme of tea sold, with average cost of production at Rs. 455 with Net Sales Average at just Rs. 425. more..