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Hidden message of Narendra Modi

Mar 24 (CT) Narendra Modi's recent visit to Sri Lanka was the first official visit of an Indian PM for the last 28 years. It was presented as a diplomatic victory of the present govt. However, the unpleasant incident that took place 28 years ago along with the message hidden in statements made by Modi in Sri Lanka justifies the absence of Indian Prime Ministers for the last 28 years. Rajiv Gandhi was the last Indian Prime Minister to make an official visit to Sri Lanka. more..

'Things will not get better until Ranil resigns'

Mar 24 (CT) Former State Minister for Higher Education Professor Rajiva Wijesinha sat in the Opposition benches in Parliament last week objecting to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and what he perceives as a 'betrayal of the 8 Jan triumph of good governance'. Ceylon Today spoke to the former Minister to discuss his objections to the actions of PM Wickremesinghe and what current administration could do better more..

Achieving water security in increasing urban settlements

Mar 24 (Island) World Water Day 2015 was celebrated on March 22 under the theme Water and Sustainable Development. In this article to mark the day, Chatura Rodrigo and Athula Senaratne highlight the importance of Integrated Urban Water Management in meeting the demand for water in a fast urbanizing Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is fast becoming urbanized with low density urban sprawl and ribbon development along the main roads of the country's coastal areas. more..

Implications of massive foreign debt for management of external finances

Mar 24 (ST) The much larger foreign debt than originally disclosed and the need for further borrowing that will increase foreign debt servicing costs, makes it imperative to contain the trade deficit by restraints in imports and a vigorous thrust in exports. For quite some time this column has argued that the extent of foreign indebtedness was too high and that the country was heading towards a foreign debt trap. The response of the previous administration to this concern was that more..

Gota denies any prior knowledge

Mar 24 (CT) In this wide ranging and incisively probing no-holds-barred interview, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa admits intentions of entering national politics; says he first heard of Prageeth Ekneligoda only after his disappearance, adding that Rajapaksa govt had no issues with him. He said Police could not find any clues to Ekneligoda's disappearance and urges present govt to continue with investigation. more..

MRP on cement locally canned fish set

Mar 24 (CT) Ministry of Finance announced the promise given by the govt to bring down the price of cement and to safeguard the interest of the locally canned fish industry has finally been met. After much negotiation with the industry leaders it has been decided to bring down the MRP (Maximum Retail Price) price of Cement to Rs. 870 with immediate effect. It was also announced that Cement Corporation and Singha Cement has decided to allow an ex factory price at more..

Sri Lanka mulls national pensions scheme

Mar 24 (EN) Sri Lanka's new govt wants to create a national contributory pension scheme that will include workers not covered by existing retirement benefit plans. With the island's population aging and people living longer, effective measures to take care of the elderly were essential, Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva said. "People are living longer. Soon one quarter of the population will be over the age of 60. It means a greater burden on younger people to look after older people. more..

CBSL delays releasing key FX data

Mar 24 (CT) New govt's commitment to YahaPalanaya or good governance has received a blow when it seemingly continues to hide or delay in revealing key economic data, a practice it began last month. Those currently pertain to Central Bank of Sri Lanka's (CBSL's) intervention in the foreign exchange (FX) market and Govt foreign debt servicing commitments. The latest of such data available in regard to CBSL's intervention in more..

Vavuniya health employees demand permanency

Mar 24 (CT) Vavuniya Urban Council health sector employees staged a protest recently opposite the council offices demanding that they be absorbed into the permanent cadres. Among those agitating, last Saturday, for permanency of employment, were seven employees who were not offered permanent jobs over a long period of time. The crux of their grievance was that their applications for permanency had been rejected by the Northern Health Ministry. These seven employees have been retained more..

HNB recognised as Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka again

Mar 24 (FT) HNB was once again recognised as the Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka for the seventh time by the prestigious The Asian Banker at the Asian Banker Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards ceremony held recently in Singapore. The International Excellence in Retail Financial Services program is the most rigorous, prestigious and transparent awards programme for retail banking in Asia Pacific, Central Asia, Middle East and Africa. Programme evaluates over 250 banks more..

No frills for Mihin, no frills at BIA

Mar 24 (ST) While SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Air would merge according to state plans, the budget carrier would however operate mainly to carry pilgrim traffic, Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said. He noted that while the merger would take place Mihin Air would primarily cater for pilgrim traffic adding that the carrier had performed better than the national carrier. The report on the merger would be released on March 31, he said more..

Traffic arrangements for Qatar King’s visit

Mar 24 (CT) Emir of Qatar, Tamimi bin Hamad Al Thani's will arrive late afternoon today. The Emir is on a short tour and will stop at the Presidential Secretariat to sign some agreements. Thereafter, he will meet with President Maithripala Sirisena. Consequent to the visit traffic movement will be restricted in some parts of Colombo and near suburbs. From 1.30 to 2.30 in the afternoon all roads including the Katunayake Expressway, Baseline Road, Old Orugodawatta via Borella, more..

SEC swamped with complaints over stock trades

Mar 24 (ST) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has received a substantial number of complaints during the past two months pertaining to share market misconduct. “We have received files full of complaints. Some are with names and some anonymous,” a source said. She said these complaints range from manipulation, insider dreading, pump and dump, stockbrokers and investment advisors misleading smal shareholders, trading on accounts under 3rd party names, more..

Sri Lanka to set up clearing house for capital markets transactions

Mar 24 (CT) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has signed an agreement with BTA Consulting (BTA) of the UK to provide Consultancy and Project Management services to set up a Clearing House which will act as a Central Counterparty (CCP) for settlement of securities, including shares, corporate debt, Govt Securities and any other financial market instruments transacted in Sri Lanka. more..

More tie-ups between Sri Lankan and Kiwi businesses mooted

Mar 24 (Island) New Zealand Trade Commissioner for New Delhi and Colombo Kevin Mckenna, recently visited the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to discuss ways and means of exploring potential investment and trade opportunities between Sri Lanka and NZ. During the discussion held with Mangala Yapa, CEO of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Mckenna said that New Zealand is keen on enhancing commercial ties with Sri Lanka. He highlighted the importance of making a more..

Noritake, first-ever porcelain company in Sri Lanka to launch Bridal Registry

Mar 24 (Island) Noritake Lanka Porcelain recently launched its Bridal Registry and thus goes on record as being the first-ever porcelain company in Sri Lanka to do so. Managing Director of Noritake Lanka Porcelain Yoshinari Shimaya said, "The launch of this Bridal Registry is the result of continuous requests we have had from numerous customers over a long period of time. Very often bridal couples are flooded with gifts they might never use. more..

Video: I will contest only under an SLFP-led alliance: MR

Mar 24 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that if he was going to contest an election in the future it would only under an alliance led by the SLFP. He said he didn’t want to contest from any other political party, despite several other political parties inviting him to do so. “Those parties have the right to make such a request from me,” the former President told the media after a meeting with a group of UPFA provincial councillors at more..

Two Supreme judges decline to hear Mohan Peiris petition

Mar 24 (DN) Justice Priyasath Dep and Justice Eva Wanasundera informed the Supreme Court that they were not willing to take part in the hearing of the petition seeking a Writ of Mandamus against Mohan Peiris over a tax issue. They made their position clear when the petition was taken up at the Supreme Court yesterday before Chief Justice K. Sri Pavan, Justice Priyasath Dep and Justice Wanasundera. The petition filed in the Supreme Court sought an order - a Writ of Mandamus more..

Govt in a dilemma to increase private sector wages

Mar 24 (FT) The Govt urged the private sector to come up with a solution where both parties could agree upon productivity measures that will bring stability to the labour force. Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday said that the Govt was now facing a real dilemma as they were unable to deliver the promised salary increments for private sector employees. He pointed out that it was important to bring in the equation of labour and wages in sustaining a stable labour market. more..

Now, private bus operators threaten action against govt

Mar 24 (Island) The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) President Gemunu Wijeratne, addressing the media yesterday, blamed the government for not taking action against what he called bogus trade unions in the private bus industry. Wijeratne said that a Buddhist monk had formed an unregistered trade union of private bus conductors and drivers and collected Rs.1,000 from each bus. "Is it good governance?" he asked. more..

TN leaders hail Lee as champion of Tamils

Mar 24 (ENS) State’s political leaders condoled the death of Singapore’s revered leader Lee Kuan Yew, claiming him as their own, one who supported the liberation struggle of Eelam and condemned the Sri Lankan govt for committing genocide. DMK leader M Karunanidhi recalled Lee’s support for Tamils and said the Singapore leader had asserted that Tamils in Sri Lanka would attain their goal of a free nation. Lee was behind the declaration of Tamil as one of the three national languages of Singapore. more..

Talks only if SL frees fishermen, warns TN

Mar 24 (ENS) The Tamil Nadu govt on Monday night announced that the third round of fishermen- level talks between Tamil Nadu and Lankan fishermen representatives would begin here at 11 am on Tuesday, based on the assurance given by Colombo that it would release 54 fishermen from Tamil Nadu who were arrested on March 21. “If Lanka fails to release the fishermen as promised, the talks will be stopped immediately,” an official release here said. Meanwhile, U Arulanandam, president, more..

Colombo orders release of 54 fishermen

Mar 24 (Hindu) Sri Lankan govt on Monday ordered the release of the 54 Indian fishermen arrested early Sunday by the Navy on charges of poaching. The decision comes a day ahead of the scheduled third round of talks between fisher leaders from India and Sri Lanka, to be held in Chennai. The 10 trawlers seized, however, were being held by Sri Lanka. On Monday, fishermen in Rameswaram launched an indefinite strike more..

Valikamam water contamination issue

Mar 24 (CT) Valikamam-South Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman T.Prakash said the people should be made aware of the water contamination in the area due to the oil leak. They should be clearly advised as to whether they can or cannot consume the water for drinking purposes since the committee interim report states that the contamination had not reached health threatening levels. He said the people were confused as to whether the water was safe to drink or not. more..

Sri Lanka invited to join Budapest Cybercrime Convention

Mar 24 (DN) In a historic ICT policy achievement, Sri Lanka has now become the first country in South Asia to be invited to join the Budapest Cybercrime Convention. This was communicated in a letter sent to the Secretary Foreign Affairs recently by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. It was consequent upon a decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Budapest Convention on Cybercrime is also known as Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime. more..

'Follow UN conventions on restitution of refugee properties'

Mar 24 (ENS) Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V.Wigneswaran, has asked the govt to follow the Pinheiro Principles and other UN conventions on the restitution of properties of displaced Tamils. He was speaking at a function in Jaffna in which President Maithripala Sirisena gave back to civilians, 425 acres in Jaffna peninsula which army had appropriated. PM Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika more..

TB hits out at Gandabba ministers

Mar 24 (DM) Former Minister T.B. Ekanayake today termed a group of SLFP MPs, who accepted the ministerial portfolios on Sunday as Gandabbayo (people serving transition periods) and said that these ministers couldn’t say a word against the UNP. “We had a few Gandabbayos in our side and they couldn’t even win their seats. By way of giving these ministerial portfolios, the current govt was trying to remain in power for one more year,” MP said addressing an event in Ambanpola. more..

Mahapola bursary upped

Mar 24 (DN) The govt has decided to increase the Mahapola bursary from Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 5,000 starting from June, a media release from the Prime Minister's Office states. The government decided to extend this assistance one month ahead of schedule under its 100 Day programme. Parallel to this, the government has also decided to increase the student allowance to those not receiving the Mahapola Scholarship bursury from Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 2,500. more..

Dual citizenships from Yesterday

Mar 24 (CT) Minister John Amaratunga said the issuing of dual citizenships which was suspended by the previous regime from 26 Jan 2011 is now made public that anyone can now apply from yesterday onwards. The new procedures have been laid down and the said amount to be paid has also has been laid down. The condition from which the citizenship retention and dual citizenship would be granted. "Conditions are now available to more..

Udayanga of arms deal fame at large

Mar 24 (CT) Former Russian envoy Udayanga Weeraratunga who was accused of selling arms to pro-Russian rebels by the Ukrainian Govt has not yet been found, Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera told Ceylon Today, yesterday. Weeratunga, reportedly the nephew of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa also ran a tea business from the embassy premises Perera said. The pro-Russian rebels have been fighting largely in the province of Donetsk, the eastern part of the country. more..

19th A before Parliament today

Mar 24 (CT) Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe will present the 19th Amendment, which seeks to curb certain powers of the Executive Presidency to Parliament today (24). In addition to the establishment of independent Commissions, the 19th Amendment will also re-establish the Constitutional Council which would make key appointments including those to the apex, superior Courts of the Judiciary. A Council of State will also be set up under the 19th Amendment. more..

Joint Cabinet adopts 19A in toto

Mar 24 (DN) Cabinet yesterday decided to adopt the 19th Amendment to the constitution without amendments. With this new development, President would be the Head of State and the head of the Security Forces. There is no mention in the 19th Amendment about head of the govt and the constitutional amendment is silent about the matter. However, a senior Minister said that for all tactical purposes the interpretation would be that the more..

Take a leaf from Lee

Mar 24 (DM) With Sri Lanka entering a historic period through the formation of a National Govt for the first time since independence, Singapore’s legendary PM Lee Kuan Yew who passed away yesterday at the age of 91 would be the ideal model for political leaders including Ministers, MPs, provincial and local council members. With uncharacteristic sternness, President Maithripala Sirisena said last week he expected all those in his govt to act according to their conscience. more..

Today is World TB day Tuberculosis

Mar 24 (DM) Tuberculosis has plagued mankind since the time of the ancient Egyptian civilization. This seemingly innocuous micro-organism, mycobacterium tuberculosis, one of mankind’s most vicious enemies, has survived for millennia; flourishing at times of war, famine and natural disasters; going underground when living conditions and nutrition improve. No country or person is immune from the disease-widespread illegal and legal migration, wars, famines, refugees, more..

Celebrated novelist to be awarded at BBC

Mar 24 (FIUSM) The University’s creative writing program, in accordance with the Writers on the Bay reading series, will be honoring published writer, Michael Ondaatje, with the 2015 Lawrence A. Sanders Award in Fiction. The program presents the award to one author each spring and, this year, Ondaatje, novelist and poet, will be its sixth recipient. According to Julie Wade, assistant professor in the Department of English and more..

In Sri Lanka, elephants and humans struggle to live in close quarters

Mar 24 (CL) Elephants in Sri Lanka can have the demeanor of cranky wedding guests in a slow buffet line. They munch away at grass and leaves, kicking their heels back in annoyance at the pure white egrets standing behind them. Cross their path in a safari vehicle and you might get a raised trunk and a trumpeted warning: I’m walking here! But these feisty Asian elephants have a problem: Their turf is dwindling. more..

Railway travails: Begging, vending to be banned

Mar 24 (ST) Beggars and vendors are to be prohibited from begging or selling anything on trains or in railway stations, mainly due to health reasons and the nuisance caused to commuters. Lightning raids would be carried out from this week to arrest such persons on charges of violating the Railway Ordinance. Twice-monthly raids had started last year but had not been successful because they were not sustained due to lack of staff. more..

Jumbos' overseas travel to be curbed!

Mar 24 (CT) The Deputy Minister of Sports and Tourism has said he plans to curb Sri Lankan elephants from being sent overseas after environmentalists have complained about animal cruelty. Environmentalists have explained that Dehiwela Zoo officials and Ministry officials had ignored the stress that Anjali would have to undergo during the hazardous journey to the Auckland Zoo in New Zealand and also Auckland Zoo officials more..

Govt coffers deprived of billions

Mar 24 (SL) Govt coffers have been deprived of generating revenue amounting to billions of rupees allegedly by way of continuous vehicle registration frauds at Department of Motor Traffic, official said. Department is accused of not taking any action against fraudulent officers, despite the continued malpractices that had taken place. “Ongoing scams have already made the country to lose billions of rupees over the years,” more..

Simple rice-cooking hack could reduce calories by 60%

Mar 24 (Telegraph) It sounds too good to be true but a simple change to the way rice is cooked could reduce its calorie content by 60%. Scientists in Sri Lanka have discovered that cooking rice with a teaspoon of coconut oil then refrigerating it for 12 hours more than halves the number of calories absorbed by the body. The change remains even if it is reheated. Researchers from the College of Chemical Sciences in Colombo, say more..