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China wants SL govt to honour Port City Project agreement

Mar 24 (Island) With less than two days left for President Maitripala Sirisena’s arrival here on an official visit, China says Sri Lanka should honour the Colombo Port City Project agreement. Asked whether China was genuinely agreeable to the Sri Lankan govt’s call for a re-negotiation of the terms under which previous administration had finalised Port City Project, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao replied more..

Sri Lanka aims to stop importing fossil fuels

Mar 24 (EN) Sri Lanka's new govt wants to stop imports of fossil fuel, replacing it with indigenous natural gas and renewable energy, a senior official said. Suren Batagoda, Secretary, Ministry of Power and Energy said a new national plan aims to cut energy use and reduce emissions. "Now we're thinking of 100% clean indigenous energy, including Mannar Basin gas resources which we're positively trying to develop." more..

JVP calls for urgent NEC meeting

Mar 24 (CG) The JVP has called for an urgent meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) to discuss the latest political developments following the appointment of new cabinet members. A statement by the JVP said that the NEC was scheduled to meet today but the meeting had been postponed. JVP, which had raised concerns over the inclusion of several SLFP members in the cabinet, demanded that the NEC convene urgently. more..

19A a Constitutional Coup: JHU

Mar 24 (DM) The 19th Amendment presented by the government and the reforms were a result of a Constitutional Coup by one person who could not win elections to retain power, the JHU lashed out today. JHU General Secretary and Minister Champika Ranawaka said the objective of the newest reforms was to create the Executive President powerless and to make the Prime Minister powerful going against Yahapalanaya. more..

What JR couldn't, Maithri did!

Mar 24 (CT) Sri Lanka's two main political parties, the SLFP and the UNP, for the first time in history, has united to form a national govt. The first time the formation of a national govt was mooted was by then then opposition leader J.R. Jayewardene at the height of the JVP insurrection in April 1971. However, this proposal was rejected by the then PM and SLFP/UF leader Sirima Bandaranaike. The next time the proposal to form a national govt was made was 17 years later in 1988. more..

Sri Lanka to grow 7% in 2015, driven by consumption: ADB

Mar 24 (EN) Sri Lanka's economic growth will slow to 7% in 2015 from 7.4% a year earlier amid political uncertainty, and will be mainly driven by consumption, ADB said. "Composition of GDP is likely to see a shift from investment to consumption in 2015," Tadateru Hayashi, ADB's Senior Country Economist for SL said. "Price reduction of food and fuel will encourage private consumption and a shift towards, recurrent expenditure in the budget will increase govt consumption." more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

EC to decide FPP & PR fusion

Mar 24 (CT) Due to the dissatisfactions owing to the misrepresentation of the First Past the Post (FPP) electoral system existed before 1978 and the bad experiences and distressing consequences of Proportional Representative (PR) electoral system, which gradually eroded the foundation of the democracy in Sri Lanka, a realization is now dominantly prevailing in the country that the elections should be held based on a combination the FPP and the PR systems. more..

Power demand hits new peak of 2210.4 MW

Mar 24 (EN) Sri Lanka's power demand hit a new night peak of 2210.4 MegaWatts on March 23 amid hot weather, breaking a record held for nearly two years. New record was the highest since the 2,164MW peak demand reached on April 8, 2013. New daytime peak of 1,859.4MW was also reached on March 18. Peak demand is reached usually in the hot weather months of March or on Vesak Day, a Buddhist religious holiday where households and temples use power to light up decorations. more..

SL exports flat, remittances, down in January

Mar 24 (EN) Sri Lanka's export revenues rose 0.9% to US$ 703.8 million in Jan 2015 from a year earlier, with prices falling in items like tea, despite volume increases. Imports rose 1.6% to US$ 1,681.6 million, widening trade deficit expanded 2.7% to US$ 772 million from US$ 752 million a year earlier. In Jan the balance of payments recorded a deficit of US$ 696.5 million, against surplus of US$ 732.9 mil last year. more..

Dilemma over Opposition Leader post

Mar 24 (CG) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa is to decide on the post of opposition leader after some opposition political parties today objected to SLFP member Nimal Siripala de Silva continuing as opposition leader. The JVP, MEP and NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa said the opposition leader cannot be from a political party which is in the Govt. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe later said he had no objections to the Speaker deciding who the opposition leader should be. more..

Sajith says 49% of families in Hambantota District are homeless

Mar 24 (Island) About 49% of families in Hambantota District were homeless though the airports, harbours and international conference halls had been constructed in the area under the former govt, Housing and Samurdhi Minister Sajith Premadasa said yesterday. Addressing a press conference, Premadasa said Hambantota, which was the hometown of ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa, had 87,000 homeless families out of a total of 177,000 families in the District. more..

Buddhist groups slam government move to allow Sri Lankan anthem in Tamil

Mar 24 (TG) Several Buddhist groups in Sri Lanka have attacked the govt for allowing the Sri Lankan national anthem to be sung in Tamil. The groups accused the govt of acceding to LTTE sentiments. Ravana Balaya said it is organising a massive protest against the govt's decision. Group said the anthem cannot be sung in two languages as stated in the constitution, accusing President Maithripala Sirisena of pandering to Tamils, more..

Sri Lankan shares near 7-month low

Mar 24 (Reuters) Shares fell for a second straight session on Tuesday and closed at their lowest in nearly 7 months, led by banks amid political uncertainty while investors waited for cues on interest rates. Main stock index ended 0.63%, or 44.37 points, weaker at 6,997.93, its lowest closing level since Aug. 28 and below the key psychological support level of 7,000. It had lost 4.37% in the past 17 sessions. "This is due to political uncertainty after the formation of national govt," more..

Finance minister threatens Gotabaya

Mar 24 (LBO) Minister Ravi Karunanayake has threatened to send a letter of demand to former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa for what he calls false charges being leveled against him. In a media release issued by minister Karunanayake, he says he will send a letter of demand to Rajapaksa demanding two billion rupees for the defamation." Former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has provided false information about the construction of my house in a newspaper interview. more..

ICRC helps Sri Lanka probe missing

Mar 24 (CG) International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has reiterated its commitment to the Sri Lanka govt’s efforts to clarify the fate of persons who went missing during the past conflict and offered concrete proposals to establish an independent domestic mechanism for it. During his five day visit to SL, ICRC director of operations Dominik Stillhart met with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera more..

New Zealand into World Cup final

Mar 24 (CI) Incredible, just incredible. Amid scenes of rare passion, of the like New Zealand has never seen for a cricket match, Grant Elliott played the innings of his life to carry his adopted country into the World Cup final against the land of his birth. With five needed off two balls, but effectively four because a tie would have been enough for New Zealand due to them finishing higher in their group, Elliott pulled an injured Dale Steyn high over mid-on to ensure NZ's adventure would stretch more..

Ranil sad over Lee Kuan’s death

Mar 24 (CG) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today expressed sorrow over the death of Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of Singapore who guided its development into a modern, stable nation as well as one of the world’s richest. Wickremesinghe made a speech in Parliament when sittings began today and recalled the meetings he had with Lee Kuan Yew in the past. PM Wickremesinghe also called for closer ties between Sri Lanka and Singapore to remember the late Lee Kuan Yew. more..

Hirunika Premachandra hits out at govt

Mar 24 (AM) Western Provincial Councilor Hirunika Premachandra stated that would not hesitate to leave the govt if the change everyone, including her, expected was not happening. Posting a statement on her Facebook page she stressed that she was among the very few and the only woman who left the previous govt to support Maithripala Sirisena. He declared himself as the common candidate despite death threats more..

'National Govt formed before March 22'

Mar 24 (AM) FSP Propaganda Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda said that Sri Lanka had a national govt even before March 22. What happened on that day was the lifting of the veil behind which all involved parties hid behind until now, he added. The fact that a national govt was effectively in existence is evident by the voting patterns seen in the parliament in the recent weeks. The interim budget, the drug policy bill and some other bills received almost unanimous approval in the parliament. more..

Directing people on the wrong path

Mar 24 (CT) EPDP General Secretary Douglas Devanada said that selfish politicians are involved in directing people to the incorrect path for their own agendas. He pointed out that these politicians have spread different stories and have directed the people on the wrong path. People are now confused whether they are telling the truth. "We should find ways to bring a bright future to the people. They should follow proper steps to solve the issues of people. They should follow proper steps to more..

Video: MR given security which he did not provide Chandrika

Mar 24 (DM) Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had been provided with comprehensive security which included 21 vehicles and 213 officers. Contradicting the claim of President Rajapaksa who recently said that his security was decreased, Senaratne detailed the security provided to Rajapaksa. “He didn’t provide any security to his predecessor Chandrika Bandaranaike and more..

Court to decide on Malaka Silva's night club ban on Friday

Mar 24 (AM) Order on whether Malaka Silva would be allowed to enter night clubs was fixed for Friday by Colombo Additional Magistrate this morning. Counsel appearing for Malaka Silva further moved court that restriction imposed on Silva from attending in public gathering in an aggressive manner be removed. Minister Mervyn Silva’s son, Malaka Silva, was hospitalized in the wee hours of Nov 1, 2014, after being allegedly assaulted in a night club in Bambalapitiya. more..

Man steals judge’s wallet in Court

Mar 24 (DM) A man who entered the chambers of Matara District Judge is reported to have stolen her wallet and with the cash and credit cards had bought jewellery and food items worth Rs. 65,000. Police said the preliminary investigations had revealed that he had entered the judge’s chamber while she was engaged in court proceedings. The judge having found her wallet and the contents missing had immediately informed the bank and deactivated the credit cards. more..

Tensions between Derana, MTV

Mar 24 (CG) A tense situation arose this evening between the staff of Derana TV and MTV/Sirasa when an MTV crew had gone to the Derana office. MTV/Sirasa reported that the crew had visited the office to obtain a comment on a land at Fort which the Maharajah Group, the owners of MTV/Sirasa, said belongs to them. Derana TV had last night quoted the UDA as saying that the land did not belong to the Maharajah Group but more..

Rijiju assures assistance to Sri Lankan refugees in India

Mar 24 (ANI) Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju, on Tuesday assured the govt's assistance to Sri Lankan refugees, who have been residing in TN for more than two decades. Rijiju was meeting the refugees in Gummidipoondi town, over 45 kilometres from Chennai. "Central Govt is ready to extend whatever possible necessary help you want, but at the same time we need inputs from the state govt, so it has to be a combined effort of the state and Centre," Rijiju told the refugees. more..

Bribery commission sue former Minister Rohitha Bogollagama

Mar 24 (HN) The Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption filed a case against former Minister Rohitha Bogollagama concerning a financial irregularity committed in 2006. Accordingly, the Colombo Chief Magistrate ordered former Minister Bogollagama to appear in court on the 4th of April. In addition, the court seized the passport of Bogollagama until the next court date. Bogollagama held Ministerial portfolio of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion in 2006. more..

Sri Lanka, Qatar agree to boost ties

Mar 24 (CG) Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamimi bin Hamad Al Thani and President Sirisena today agreed that the there is immense potential for bilateral cooperation between the two countries. They identified the areas such as trade and commerce, investment, power and energy, gas and oil exploration, tourism and sports for future close cooperation between the two nations. President and Emir of Qatar held bilateral discussions at more..

Ratgama PS Chairman shot dead

Mar 24 (AM) Chairman of Rathgama Pradeshiya Sabha Manoj Pushpakumara Mendis was shot dead at a hotel in Hikkaduwa Monday night, police said. Mendis was taken to the hospital immediately after the shooting which took place during a social function at the hotel. However he succumbed to his injuries shortly after being admitted. Mendis was aged 37. Two more persons were reportedly injured in the shooting. Hikkaduwa Police have launched an investigation into the incident. more..

Doctors cancel strike after talks

Mar 24 (CG) Govt doctors who were to go on strike today over the failure by the new Govt to meet some of their demands have cancelled the strike following talks with the Govt. The Govt Medical Officer’s Association (GMOA) had earlier said that it had put forward some demands to the Govt which had not been met over the past 8 weeks. As a result the GMOA had decided to launch a strike today at all Govt hospitals. However talks had been held last night between the GMOA, more..

SL leader to renegotiate China deals on visit

Mar 24 (AFP) Sri Lanka's new president will use a visit to Beijing to renegotiate more than $5.3 billion-worth of Chinese deals signed by his predecessor, a minister said Tuesday, calling it a strategy of economic self-defence. President Sirisena has already suspended construction work on a major Chinese-funded land reclamation project commissioned by his predecessor Mahinda Rajapakse, who relied more..

Get it right now or pay the price

Mar 25 (CT) Mr. Deputy Chairman of Committees, as I rise to speak on this Order that has been placed for approval, I cannot but recollect the time when the Hon. Minister of Justice and Labour Relations himself, seated on this side, opposed the extension of this Order when it came up two years ago. In fact, that Order had lapsed before it came up for extension and it was he, who pointed out to the House, that that Order could not be extended because it had lapsed and the Order had to more..

The oldest modern may go primitive!

Mar 25 (CT) The Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka is set to elect its next president on Saturday 28th of March 2015. The Annual Report of the Council of the RASSL for 2014 and 170th year informs the membership of the society that Dr. Hema Goonatilake wife of the Present President Dr. Susantha Goonatilake wishes to succeed her eminent spouse as President of the Society. Dr. Hema Goonatilake is currently a Vice President of Society and doubles as Honorary Editor. more..

Namo, Namo...: A matter of language

Mar 25 (SO) In what is being described as a radical reconciliatory move by most media, President Mathripala Sirisena on Wednesday announced his decision to remove the unofficial ban on signing the national anthem in Tamil. The decision is to be publicised through a circular sent to all govt institutions. The issue of the national anthem was raised by the leader of the DPF, Mano Ganeshan, at the National Executive Council meeting. more..

Charged for marrying 14-year-old girl

Mar 25 (CT) Logeswari had not yet completed her schooling by the time she entered wedlock with her fiancé Raman. It was shocking news to Logeswari's parents that their tender daughter had got married. She had not even attained the legal age for marriage. Logeswari had just completed 14 years of her life and had recently celebrated her 15th birthday. Raman and Logeswari live in the same area at Mudalaikkerni of Jaffna. Raman's first encounter with Logeswari took place while more..

Constitutional reform: A Liberal wish list

Mar 25 (GV) The Sri Lankan constitutional reform process has been ebbing and flowing, but in recent weeks, the promise of 8th January seemed to be more ebbing than flowing in the usual morass that our political class is uniquely capable of producing. But if some reports are to be believed, then it seems as if the Troika of President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe, and former President Kumaratunga, are rallying to save the reform mandate from dying an inglorious death. more..

'RAW didn't topple Mahinda'

Mar 25 (CT) "This is what the Tamil people expect. Whatever mode is used to probe the allegations, what's relevant is the legitimate rights of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka, including the right to live in dignity and better livelihoods. That's what's needed to be addressed. Their livelihood needs and aspirations should be solved but not as a matter of political expediency. I cannot stress this more but Tamils of TN are equally wounded more..

Rediscovering our kinship and common history

Mar 25 (GV) As the new administration has begun to unpack promises made during a hasty election campaign, it is clear that they are constrained by their own political capacity, the limitations of a minority govt and more generally by what is politically feasible at present. Within the govt, ministerial appointments have had to exceed the bounds that were promised in order to accommodate and retain the diverse – and unlikely – coalition that now controls the executive. more..

Procurement Commission in the 19th Amendment: Will it slow Govt to a crawl?

Mar 25 (FT) Many believe that procurement of goods and services by Govt is pervaded by corruption. One proposed remedy is to regulate it through a Constitutional body known as the National Procurement Commission (NPC). Though a relatively uninteresting topic in the context of the high-profile changes included in the 19th Amendment, it could have significant impact on the working of Govt and deserves attention. The NPC is to have five members, of whom three should more..

'Maithri is a majestic man'

Mar 25 (CT) Minister Rajitha Senarathna spoke to Ceylon Today to discuss 100-day programme, future plans of govt and whether it can come to an agreement with the SLFP regarding the constitutional amendments. Q: How about the 100 days programme of the govt? A: It is going on very well. Some objectives have been achieved. For instance, the Tobacco Act and Pharmaceutical Act of my Ministry have been passed. more..