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Chinese companies urge Sri Lanka to be consistent in investment policy

Mar 20 (Island) Amid suspension of the Colombo Port City Project by the Sri Lankan govt, Chinese companies have called for consistency in investment policy. Deputy Director General of China’s Western Region Department at the National Development and Reform Commission, Ou Xiali said in Beijing on Tuesday that the Sirisena administration’s decision to suspend the Colombo Port City Project (CPCP) which was being constructed by the Chinese Communication Construction Company, more..

Five young Sri Lankans for Intel’s global science competition this year

Mar 20 (ST) Five Sri Lankan students were selected to take part in the 65th Intel Science and EngineeringFair (ISEF) 2015, the world’s largest international pre-college science competition scheduled to be held in Pennsylvania, USA in May. The selected students were winners in their respective categories at the Sri Lanka Science and Engineering Fair (SLSEF) held recently in Colombo. M. Sivatharshan from Hartley College, Jaffna and Subodha Sewwandi of Bomiriya Central more..

'Police are mixing up civil and criminal cases'

Mar 20 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said today that the police are mixing up civil cases and criminal cases for political ends and that we should be careful about it. Mr. Rajapaksa said this when he visited former deputy minister Sarana Gunawardane at the Mahara prisons this morning. He said arresting people in this manner in connection with civil cases could not be considered good governance. more..

NHSL celebrates its 150th anniversary today

Mar 20 (Island) The National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) celebrates its 150th Anniversary today. Director NHSL Dr Anil Jasinghe said that the NHSL situated on a 32-acre block of land was the largest teaching hospital in Sri Lanka and the final referral centre in the country consisting of 3,000 beds, 75 wards, 35 operating theatres and 12 intensive care units. Dr. Jasinghe added that it was the training centre for undergraduates and post-graduate trainees of the Faculty of Medicine. more..

Uga opens Rs 200 m Residence in Colombo 2

Mar 20 (DN) Uga Escapes, Sri Lanka's premier boutique resort operator opened its fourth property Residence in Colombo 2, demonstrating its commitment to luxury tourism sector yesterday. Uga Escapes Managing Director Priyanjith Weerasooria said the company has revamped this Colombo mansion into a luxurious 11 suite hotel with an investment of Rs 200 million. The property comprises a gym, bar, private dining room and swimming pool. more..

Drug czar bigger than Wele Suda netted

Mar 20 (Island) Sri Lankan drug kingpin with international links, Mohammed Siddique, who is believed to have supplied 70% of heroin used in Sri Lanka, was brought to Colombo yesterday from Pakistan, where he was arrested recently. A special CID team was interrogating the drug dealer. He would be produced before the Magistrate today and a request made to courts for a detention order. more..

Govt considers pardoning woman who scratched Sigiriya mirror wall

Mar 20 (Island) The Presidential Secretariat has called on the Ministry of Justice and Labour Reforms to find out whether a presidential pardon could be granted to Sinnathambi Utheny, imprisoned for scratching and damaging Sigiriya Mirror Wall, Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said. He said that directive had been issued on a request he had made to President Sirisena. "While acknowledging that we are all bound to protect our national archaeological heritage, we also need to acknowledge that more..

Missing Persons' Commission reviewed just 2,000 complaints

Mar 20 (CT) The report of the Presidential Commission to Investigate Complaints of Missing Persons, scheduled to be handed over to President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday, was put off for today, as the President was not available. Chairman of the Commission, former High Court Judge, Parakrama Paranagama, said the report will be handed over to the President during the next few days. Former President Rajapaksa appointed a three-member committee on 14 August 2013 to inquire more..

Dalai Lama in Sri Lanka Soon?

Mar 20 (Island) Dalai Lama is likely to pay his first-ever visit Sri Lanka soon, according to Banagala Upatissa Thero, President of the Mahabodhi Society of Sri Lanka. Thero is here along with two other Maha Nayakas and other monks to attend a dialogue on Vinaya (code of conduct) between high-ranking Theravada monks from Sri Lanka and their counerparts from the Nalanda tradition. It is the first such dialogue more..

'Mahinda R. can contest from SLFP'

Mar 20 (CT) If former President Mahinda Rajapaksa wishes to contest at the upcoming elections under the SLFP ticket, SLFP will grant him that opportunity, said SLFP MP Mahinda Amaraweera. This comment was made at a press briefing in the wake of reports that the Former President has expressed interest to contest under the ticket of the Labour Party. "However we should go for elections after the electoral reforms take place. The preferential voting system must be abolished. more..

Did vested interests bring down yields?

Mar 20 (CT) Theories abound in relation to Wednesday's Treasury (T) Bill primary auction, where yields unexpectedly fell sharply, when the market in fact was expecting yields to continue to climb. Wednesday's T Bill primary auction saw the weighted average yields (WAYs) of 91 and 182 day (three months and six months) maturities fall sharply by 31 and 44 basis points (bps) each to 6.79% and 6.87% respectively and that of the 364 day (one year) maturity by 38 bps to 6.99%. more..

Ravi reveals shocking ethanol import figures

Mar 20 (Island) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that there were four sitting MPs who had been involved in ethanol business under the previous regime. Minister, answering a question from JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, said that the names of those MPs could not be revealed to the House. However, he said that he was ready to reveal to MP Dissanayake names of those who conducted ethanol business. more..

Impressed by India's Right to Information Act, Sri Lanka hopes to have its own

Mar 20 (ET) In a major step towards political reforms, Sri Lanka has taken cue from India and hopes to introduce Right to Information Act (RTI) through a Constitutional Amendment that is likely to come in place on April 22. The govt hopes to introduce what erstwhile Rajapaksa govt failed to do during its decadelong rule to empower Lankan citizens through the 19th amendment of the Lankan Constitution aimed at political reforms. Sirisena govt had promised sweeping political reforms more..

Minister of Justice Wijedasa Rajapaksa joins MR to sympathize with Sarana

Mar 20 (LT) Minister of Justice visited today (19) former Deputy Minister Sarana Gunawardene, who has been remanded regarding a financial fraud. Minister Rajapaksa has visited the former deputy minister while he was on an inspection tour to Mahara prison. A few moments before Minister visited the suspect former President Rajapaksa too has visited him. Minister of Justice visiting a person who has been charged of frauds, corruption, ransom taking and murders is highly suspicious say more..

New Defence Secretary under probe: Avant garde takes dramatic turn

Mar 20 (CT) Sensation surfaced over the controversial, and stalling, Avant-Garde floating armoury probe yesterday when news broke of the conduct of Defence Secretary B.M.U.D. Basnayake coming under scrutiny in relation to the case. Minister Rajitha Senaratne disclosed that there was a problem in connection with the Defence Secretary. Basnayake's credibility came under conjecture in January when controversy-cloaked dealings more..

Opposition questions CB Governor's citizenship, visa status

Mar 20 (CT) The UPFA demanded to know from the govt how a Singaporean citizen who under Singaporean law cannot have dual citizenship was made the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala De Silva, moving the adjournment motion on the controversial issuance of Treasury bonds, alleged that as a Singaporean citizen Arjuna Mahendran cannot have dual citizenship and called on the govt to table the visa status of Mahendran in Parliament. more..

Rajitha promises to support Mahinda if ...

Mar 20 (Island) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said he would help former President Mahinda Rajapaksa become Prime Minister if the SLFP nominated him as its Premier candidate at the forthcoming general election. Answering a question at the Cabinet press briefing, Dr. Senaratne said that Rajapaksa was a veteran politician but his family members had ruined him. Senaratne said Rajapaksa knew that he would not be able to win if he contested the election from a separate party. more..

Task force to seize illegal assets abroad

Mar 20 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena has decided to establish a 13-member Special Presidential Task Force (SPTF) to track down and seize illegally acquired assets in other countries owned by Sri Lankans and transfer them to the govt. Cabinet approval for the task force had been granted. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said SPTF would probe matters relating to money laundering and assets acquired unlawfully & kept outside Sri Lanka more..

Safeguard consumer rights

Mar 20 (DM) The people of Sri Lanka got together on January 8 to send a repressive govt home. Now it is time they get together to demand their rights as consumers. Though Sri Lanka is the first country to recognise and enact consumer laws in Asia, the country doesn’t have any consumer protection movement or a proper govt body with adequate powers to protect consumer rights. The new govt and its interim budget brought in a number of concessions. more..

President’s pragmatic approach

Mar 20 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena in his maiden meeting with the heads of media institutions spoke of difficulties. He confessed that until he became President he hadn’t realized what a difficult situation Sri Lanka was in, internationally that is. This much he had gathered, he said, when he met Indian PM Narendra Modi (in India), British Prime Minister David Cameron, Queen Elizabeth as well as other important foreign dignitaries including UN officials. more..

Thera defends controversial Dhana

Mar 20 (DM) Pitiduwe Siridhamma aka Siri Samantabhadra Thera of the Siri Sadaham Ashram of Bellantara is well known as a controversial Buddhist monk in the country. The Thera caused a sensation recently when he reportedly served a variety of meat at a massive alms giving held at his Ashram as part of his birthday celebrations. Following are excerpts from an interview with Sunday Lankadeepa. more..

Another grade one admission scam

Mar 20 (SL) Following last week’s The Sunday Leader expose on Grade One Admission Scam, this newspaper has received evidence on how students have been admitted to a leading school in Matara without following the admission criteria allegedly over financial benefits. Investigations carried out by the Auditor General’s Department on Grade One admissions, had led to the latest revelations and more..

China pins hopes over Sri Lanka

Mar 20 (CG) The Chinese Govt said it hopes Sri Lanka properly deals with the port city issue and also protects the rights and interests of Chinese companies. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said that China was aware of reports that the SL govt has decided to approve the construction of the Colombo port city breakwater. “We believe that the Sri Lankan side, while safeguarding the fundamental interests more..

Will Chinese investors quit if Port City comes to a standstill?

Mar 20 (AD) The temporary suspension of the Port City project in Colombo has put lot of Chinese investors in uncertainty regarding the Sri Lankan investment policy. The Sri Lankan media delegation currently visiting China was faced with a series of questions from Chinese investment giants such as China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), which is constructing Sri Lanka’s port city project, and investment groups such as more..

Swaminathan alleges attempt to undermine Indo-Lanka relations

Mar 20 (Island) Minister of Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M. Swamithan yesterday warned of on-going efforts to disrupt cordial relations between India and Sri Lanka. Minister Swaminathan alleged that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s statement pertaining to Indian fishing fleet poaching in Sri Lankan waters had been misinterpreted by some interested parties hell-bent on disrupting bilateral relations. more..

No agreement for compensation due to accidental radiation

Mar 20 (ST) It was seen as the most significant bilateral agreement signed during President Sirisena’s visit to New Delhi in Feb. Some Indian analysts even spun it as a preemption of Chinese ambitions in Sri Lanka. But neither India nor SL released the full contents of their deal on “Cooperation on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy”, breeding suspicion in some quarters that uranium enrichment was also being planned. more..

Body and limbs found in Colombo: Investigations on to unravel mystery

Mar 20 (DN) Three special police teams headed by ASPs in charge of Welikada, Mirihana and Dematagoda Police Stations are conducting investigations to solve the mystery of human body parts and a naked body of a man found in several areas in Colombo, ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said. Samples of the parts found in Dematagoda and Nawala and of the body found in Diyawanna Oya behind Parliament have been sent for DNA more..

Video: We will not hesitate to banish those who scuttle reforms: JHU

Mar 20 (DM) JHU said yesterday that they would not hesitate to send home those who were trying to scuttle political reforms just as they sent one president home. JHU general secretary, Minister Champika Ranawaka said they would not allow any constitutional changes to be made which could be detrimental to the unitary state and security of the country. Mr. Ranawaka said they were of the opinion that the excessive powers of the executive more..

Rajitha Senaratne and Son issued notice by Colombo HC

Mar 20 (AM) The Colombo High Court today issued notice on Minister Rajitha Senaratne and his son Eksath Senaratne to appear before the court on April 02 in connection with the case filed against the alleged abduction of an underage girl. At a press conference held on March 15, the girl’s father, Gamini Ranasinghe, alleged that his daughter was abducted by Eksath Senaratne, a son of Heath Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne. more..

Anura Yapa questioned over CPC losses

Mar 20 (AD) UPFA MP Anura Priyadharshana Yapa is being questioned by Police Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in connection with the Rs 35 million in losses incurred by the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), during his tenure as Minister of Petroleum Industries. Govt had incurred the losses as a result of the small ship hired from the Luna Shipping Company to carry out ship-to-ship transfer of fuel after a buoy was damaged more..

Polls, it's all about the rupee

Mar 20 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena seemingly threw cold water on the UNP's demand for dissolution of Parliament on 23 April 2015, by saying reforms first and parliamentary election second. Under the present Constitution, President is empowered to dissolve Parliament after the latter has been functioning for at least a year. The present Parliament was elected in 2010 and can go on till next year when it completes its six-year term. However, the UNP has threatened to resign more..

The lessons Sri Lanka should learn from South East Asian financial crisis

Mar 20 (CT) South East Asia has come a long way since the financial crisis crippled the region nearly two decades ago. Even after the region has recovered from the crisis, post-crisis economies are still running at around 2-6% less than in the two decades before the crisis. The crisis affected economies are still confronting complex reform challenges. During the last three decades certain Asian nations like South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Jaffna HSZ land release: PM appoints exploratory committee

Mar 20 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a three-member committee to examine the fullest extent of land, currently under the custody of Security Forces in the High Security Zone (HSZ) in the Northern Province, that could be released to the legitimate owners, Resettlement Minister D.M. Swaminathan revealed. Committee comprises Resettlement Ministry Secretary, Ranjini Nadarajapillai, Secretary to Ministry of Land, Dr. I.H.K. Mahanama and Defence Secretary more..

National average on wasting off a startling 19.6%

Mar 20 (Island) Sri Lanka has failed to take adequate action to meet the required nutritional achievement to curb under nutrition and malnourishment though it has achieved many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), an expert says. Representative and Country Director of the World Food Programme, Ismail Omer said that the country was experiencing a high level of under nutrition, especially wasting off, in which the national level had reached a startling 19.6%. more..

Govt formulates National Agriculture Policy

Mar 20 (Island) A new National Agriculture Policy (NAP) would be formulated soon to replace the existing one to uplift the agriculture sector by attracting more youth, Agriculture and Irrigation Ministry, Additional Secretary Dr. D.B.T. Wijeratne said. He said that the country was still using traditional farming methods while rest of the world had upgraded the sector with new technology. "In SL we cannot expand the farming area more..

Stocks gain marginally, Access down 10%

Mar 20 (EN) Sri Lanka's benchmark stock index ended marginally higher Friday in thin trade with Access Engineering tumbling further, down 10 percent after it lost a big contract to repair the international airport's runway, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 7,054.58, up 7.88 points (0.11%) while the S&P SL 20 index, which tracks the top 20 largest and most liquid stocks, ended at 4,016.90, down 2.58 points (0.06%). Turnover was a low of 370 million rupees. more..

Exposé: Worst of MR-Sajin cronies still run foreign ministry

Mar 20 (CT) In a tragicomic turn of events the worst cronies of the former regime and in particular the cabal that surrounded the corrupt and inept Monitoring Minister of the Foreign Ministry, Sajin Vass Gunawardena are still ruling the roost at the Ministry. In a supremely ironic twist Deputy Minister Ajith Perera, who championed good governance and accountability while in opposition has been compelled to defend the appointment of Kshenuka Seniwiratne, former Foreign Secretary more..

PM Modi's Jaffna visit interference in Sri Lankan affairs: Chinese Think Tank

Mar 20 (PTI) Terming PM Narendra Modi's visit to Tamil-dominated Jaffna as interference in Sri Lanka's affairs, an official Chinese think tank today said the recent incidents in Sino-Lankan ties are sufficient to merit Beijing's attention. "PM Modi's trip to Sri Lanka has courted attention from media outlets of many countries including China, with most of them believing New Delhi has gained the upper hand when Colombo halted more..

Sri Lanka to allow car imports by individuals with restrictions

Mar 20 (EN) A 1.5 million rupee annual fee for car imports, seen as an undermining of economic freedoms of less affluent Sri Lankans may not completely prohibit citizens from importing cars individually. Individuals will be allowed to import cars without the 1.5 million rupees penalty provided they keep the car without transferring to another person for four years, according proposals giving effect to a revised budget presented on Jan 29. A nominal transfer to a leasing company is more..