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Sri Lanka Tourism gathers momentum at key Italian Travel Fair

Mar 3 (CT) Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau championed 18 top company representatives in the travel and hotel sectors operating in the Italian market to show case Sri Lanka Tourism at the BIT International Tourism Exchange held from 12– 14 Feb 2015 at Fiera Millano, Italy. BIT (Borsa Internationale Tourisme) is the largest exhibition in the world of the Italian tourist products and contains a comprehensive collection of the best international tourism products from over 120 countries more..

Gammanpila on Maithri govt, Tamil separatism and Rajapaksa’s return

Mar 3 (FT) Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader and former Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila claims the present Govt had mega lies about mega deals and accuses the coalition of cheating people to fraudulently secure their vote. “That is the biggest fraud that took place in this country. Therefore people are now impatiently waiting for Parliamentary election to punish those cheaters for deceitfully stealing their vote,” more..

Removal of a Chief Justice from office

Mar 3 (Island) The removal of former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake from office has tarnished the image of Sri Lanka both internationally and nationally. Whether the measures initiated by the former govt for the removal of CJ were driven by political motivations or whether opposition to it was also driven by political considerations is not of relevance. What is of relevance to the image of Sri Lanka is not the intent but whether the procedures as required by the Constitution more..

SLT December quarter net down 37%

Mar 3 (EN) Sri Lanka Telecom said December 2014 net profit fell 37% to 958 million rupees from a year ago with a firm suffering a foreign exchange loss for the period which also saw higher finance costs. Group sales in the quarter rose 9% to 17 billion rupees, interim results filed with the stock exchange showed. Basic earnings per share were 53 cents. SLT's mobile unit, Mobitel, reported sales rose 13% to 7.92 billion rupees in the fourth quarter compared with 2013. more..

State Minister Rosy Senanayake seeks ILO assistance to eradicate child labour

Mar 3 (FT) State Minister of Child Affairs Rosy Senanayake recently sought assistance from the International Labour Organization (ILO) to help eradicate domestic child labour in Sri Lanka. Senanayake met with Global Action Programme Project Director Bijoy Raychaudri to discuss the way forward for Sri Lanka’s child labour policy. The meeting took place at the Ministry of Child Affairs and was also attended by more..

Sri Lanka tea export earnings fall sharply in January, volumes up

Mar 3 (EN) Sri Lankan tea export earnings fell sharply in January 2015 from a year ago owing to lower buying power in key markets but volumes increased, with demand recovering in some Middle Eastern countries hit by political troubles. Turkey emerged as the largest importer of Ceylon tea followed by Russia and Iraq, Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers said. Other noteworthy importers were UAE, Iran and Libya. Markets in the Middle East had earlier been affected by political uncertainty more..

Estate Worker unions to meet on wage hike negotiations

Mar 3 (ST) Negotiations at the upcoming Collective Agreement for Sri Lankan plantation workers would ensure they get a reasonable and decent hike in their salaries, a govt politician said. State Minister for Plantation and Industry K. Velayutham, who is also the General Secretary of the Lanka Jathika Estate Workers’ Union, said that they would be conducting discussions with nearly 70 unions prior to meeting with the relevant authorities to increase wages of estate workers as a joint effort without biases. more..

Sri Lanka's credit, current account deficit to be watched: Fitch

Mar 3 (EN) Sri Lanka's credit growth, any widening of the external current deficit that would be worsened by expansionary activities of the state would be watched. SL is now rated 'BB-', three levels below 'BBB-' investment grade with a stable outlook, by Fitch, helped by strong growth, a gradual reduction in the budget deficit and an unblemished debt servicing record, Sagarica Chandra, head of Asia Pacific Sovereigns at Fitch. more..

Independence Day celebrated in Palestine

Mar 3 (FT) The Representative Office of Sri Lanka in the State of Palestine celebrated Sri Lanka’s 67th anniversary of Independence on 4 Feb. The event was held at the Grand Park Hotel in Ramallah with the participation of senior officials, members of Diplomatic Corps, a large number of Palestinian friends of Sri Lanka, representatives of the business community and Sri Lankan expatriates. State of Palestine Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Tayseer Jaradat was the Chief Guest more..

Sri Lanka to get more Swiss investments

Mar 3 (EN) Swiss companies want to invest in Sri Lanka with an economic mission due in May prceded by the visit of Switzerland's foreign minister later this month, the Swiss envoy in Colombo has said. An investment 'roundtable' discussion has been proposed involving potential Swiss investors, officials of Swiss firms already in the island, Board of Investment and Commerce ministry, Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn, Ambassador of Switzerland to Sri Lanka, said. more..

SL's slow Asian death technique thwarted

Mar 3 (CI) At times on those steamy floodlit nights at Premadasa Stadium, pitch appears to be laced with poison when Sri Lanka are defending a score. Teams often begin well against the hosts; openers cracking boundaries, required rate heading south. But SL bide their time. They are in collusion with the clay. Eventually, there will come a time, they know, when the toxins in the surface begin to seep through batsmen's shoes. more..

Minnows bring heart and soul to World Cup

Mar 3 (Stuff) The Black Caps have had a whirlwind tournament so far, and it is wonderful to see them at this stage with four wins from four games. They show no signs of slowing down. But this has seemingly been a far-from-perfect tournament. Media and former cricket players say that outside NZ games there has not been a lot of excitement. Bat has dominated ball for the majority of the tournament, with massive hundreds and lightning-fast scores being made almost every game. more..

Japan for genuine reconciliation

Mar 3 (CG) Japanese govt yesterday said it hopes to see genuine reconciliation in Sri Lanka and added that it will offer support in that regard. Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takashi UTO, speaking at the UNHRC, said that Japan supports efforts being made towards national reconciliation by the new Govt of President Maithripala Sirisena. He welcomed the constructive dialogue between Sri Lanka and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. more..

Wele Suda's main agent arrested

Mar 3 (CT) The CID has arrested drug kingpin Wele Suda's main agent in Sri Lanka, Suras Ahmed on Sunday, said SSP Ajith Rohana. CID cracked down on Ahmed, while he was relaxing at a chena plantation at Moragaswewa, Habarana. When Ahmed was produced before Colombo Chief Magistrate, yesterday, he issued a detention order for 7 days to enable CID to continue interrogation of the suspect. more..

Donor support no excuse for avoiding economic reforms

Mar 3 (Island) IMF tends to be the refuge of countries that have mismanaged their economic affairs. In this context, it is important to recall that Sri Lanka has had to obtain balance of payments support from the IMF on a number of occasions. Each time, the causes have had more to do with domestic policy weakness rather than external shocks. On previous occasions, IMF support, combined with the assistance of the donor community, has enabled SL to get over more..

Rauf, Sajith, Navin paint picture of a dynamic construction industry

Mar 3 (Island) Ministers Rauf Hakeem, Sajith Premadasa and Navin Dissanayake painted a dynamic picture of the future of the construction industry at the Architect 2015 inaugural ceremony held at the BMICH. Three ministers waxed eloquent on their ambitions in the country’s Built Environment from the same podium in three different perspectives; Minister Hakeem in urban development, Minister Premadasa in housing programmes and Minister Dissanayake in more..

State to prepare missing persons’ final list

Mar 3 (DN) Govt is in the process of preparing a final list of missing persons during the final phase of war, with the assistance of the UN and several other parties, External Affairs Ministry said. “There are various documents with regard to ‘missing persons’ prepared by various parties on an unofficial basis and that has already created a lot of confusion over the matter. Several parties have come up with conflicting statistics more..

Situation of IDPs unchanged: KP

Mar 3 (CT) Kilinochchi Sencholai Children's Home Director, Kumaran Pathmanathan, aka KP, said the living standards in the camps for the IDPs have not changed during the past six years and the situation in the welfare centres remain the same, as the last time he visited them. He made the comment at a sports event, organized by the Kannaki Sports League on Sunday in Chunnakam-South. Pathmanathan was the chief guest at this event. "Many do not know my identity. more..

Duminda transacted through other channels!

Mar 3 (CT) Banks and several financial institutions informed Colombo Chief Magistrate, Gihan Pilapitiya that Colombo District SLFP MP, Duminda Silva did not conduct his accounts and financial transactions through their channels. Earlier, Samantha Perera alias Wele Suda, a notorious drug lord considered as among the most leading drug dealers in Sri Lanka claimed that he had links with Duminda Silva , and of the earnings from his heroin deals, a part was paid to Duminda Silva. more..

Rathana thera drops some bombshells

Mar 3 (Island) Govt would close illegally run liquor bars before the next Vesak Poya Day, said Ven. Athureliya Rathana Thera, who heads the Presidential Committee against Dangerous Drugs. Speaking at National Dangerous Drugs Control Board Thera said he had asked President to appoint a team to conduct a survey on the number of bars belonging to politicians and find out how they had obtained licences. more..

UN assures North CM on report

Mar 3 (CG) UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, who visited Jaffna, had assured the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C V Wigneswaran that the report compiled by a UN-led team following investigations on the war in Sri Lanka, will be submitted to the UNHRC in September. Wigneswaran said that he had raised concerns with the visiting UN official over the decision to postpone the report from the March session of the UNHRC to the Sept session. more..

More revelations over Navy unit

Mar 3 (CG) More details have begun to emerge in the investigations over a Navy unit believed to have been involved in abducting youth and their parents in 2008 and 2009. SSP Ajith Rohana said that the CID had questioned a former Navy spokesman on Saturday as he was believed to be the supervisor of the Navy men who were allegedly involved in the abductions. Investigations had been launched after former Navy Commander Wasantha Karanagoda raised suspicion on the Navy unit. more..

'Executive presidency to be abolished in April'

Mar 3 (Island) The govt says that it would abolish the Executive Presidency by April if all political parties extended their support unconditionally. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the Maithripala Sirisena administration would submit its constitutional reforms draft to Parliament on March 1 and intended abolishing the Executive Presidency by April. Asked, about conflicting signals emanating from the govt, Senaratne said that they were more..

On what Feltman conveyed in Sri Lanka, Spox says Colombo presser only

Mar 3 (ICP) Nine days after the UNHRC under Joachim Rucker granted HCHR Zeid's request to withhold the already delayed report on war crimes in Sri Lanka, the UN on Feb 26 added Jaffna as a stop to the Sri Lanka visit by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's highest political official Jeffrey Feltman. That came two days after ICP asked if Feltman would go to Jaffna, site of protests of the delay, and was told "Colombo only." Now it appears that Feltman will belatedly answer questions about more..

'Dinesh Gunawardena committee proposals mathematically wrong'

Mar 3 (AM) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake stated that the mixed electoral system proposed by the Dinesh Gunawardena Committee is a politically distortive system which is not suited for Sri Lanka. He revealed that even though the report carried former minister Gunawardena's name, the electoral system proposed by it was written by some university lecturers. Dissanayake further stated that he event appeared at the parliamentary standing committee on electoral system and more..

Sri Lankan doubts on loans, submarines seen as rebuff to Beijing

Mar 3 (Reuters) If last week's visit to Beijing by Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera was meant to allay fears that the island nation's new government was distancing itself from China, it failed. If anything, Samaraweera's comments on the prospect of Chinese submarines using Sri Lanka as a stopover on long-distance westward missions and of bankrolling it through big loans underlined Colombo's hardening position, experts said. more..

Need for better public transport

Mar 3 (DM) The need for a better public transport system has been long felt. But the previous administration seems to have got it wrong despite spending billions on physical infrastructure. Their solution to mitigate traffic congestion was to build expressways and widen the existing road network. But the problems still remain. A lot more vehicles are now being driven on the Sri Lankan roads and in 2014 we have imported US $ 900 million worth of vehicles and US 44.6 billion worth of fuel more..

Yahapalanaya unseals Ascharya deception

Mar 3 (DM) Many a tightly sealed lid is being opened with vigour, steam and importantly tonnes of inexhaustible determination. A multitude of weapons are being deployed at suspicious sites and on cankering vaults both locally and in distant lands. It’s a hive of activity and work is reassuringly in progress. Huge clobbers are meted out with weapons of diabolical thrust by an entire battalion of chivalrous soldiers. Sahodarayas from the Hela Urumaya fame, the rotund and more..

A costly negligence at Hambantota port

Mar 3 (SL) There were complaints from several vehicle importers that their brand new vehicles which were imported to the country through the Hambantota port were badly damaged due to the negligence and irresponsibility of the port drivers while offloading the vehicles from the ships. The accidents had occurred mainly due to irresponsible driving at speeds ranging from 70 to 90 km per hour when the vehicles were offloaded to the dock. more..

Mid-sea fight threatens to jeopardise bilateral talks between TN, SL fishermen

Mar 3 (TOI) Fishermen in the region, who were looking forward to a new round of talks between their representatives with Sri Lanka, are in a state of suspended animation as a mid-sea fight seems to have turned the tides. They were hoping that bilateral talks would begin on March 5 once the state govt received clearance from the Centre. However, last Thursday, Lankan navy apprehended 86 fishermen from Karaikal and more..

Long overdue Animal Welfare Bill up for Cabinet approval

Mar 3 (ST) Animal Rights activists are hopeful that the long overdue Animal Welfare Bill will be enacted under this Govt’s 100-Day programme. Animal Rights Activist and Attorney-at-Law, Lalani Perera who was a member of the Law Commission sub-committee that drafted the Bill, said the new Laws seek to replace the existing Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance enacted over a century ago by the colonial rulers, more..

Today is World Wildlife Day: Conserve wildlife heritage for the future

Mar 3 (DM) At its 68th session the UN General Assembly decided to proclaim March 3rd the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES adopted on March 3, 1973), as World Wildlife Day (WWD). The WWD was proposed by the Thailand Govt at the CITES’ Sixth Meeting of the Conference of the parties held in Bangkok in 2013 and the very first WWD more..

20% salary increment for Water Board employees

Mar 3 (DM) The National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) had taken steps to pay 20 per cent of their basic monthly salary from today as an allowance until the Cabinet approves a salary increase. NWSDB Director Mahilal de Silva said the allowance payable for the current month was credited to the employees’ bank accounts and noted that the Salary Anomalies Adjustment Commission recommendations, more..

Namal hopes the President will resolve the fishing crisis

Mar 3 (DM) UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa said he hoped that President Maithripala Sirisena would resolve the fishing crisis because the postponing of talks would affect the northern fishermen the most. “Former President Rajapaksa and Indian PM Narendra Modi worked closely to resolve the Indo-Sri Lanka fishing crisis. I hope President Sirisena will find a lasting solution to it, but the postponing of talks will only affect northern more..

Dewasiri alleges deals between govt and defeated leaders

Mar 3 (Island) Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri has warned a widening gap between the govt and civil society organisations could undermine President Maithripala Sirisena’s 100-day programme. Recollecting the role played by civil society organizations in ensuring Opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena’s victory at the presidential election, Dr. Dewasiri expressed concern over what he called rifts among more..

'We took principled political position'

Mar 3 (DM) General Secretary of Communist Party and Chairman of COPE spoke to Daily mirror on the current political situation in the country. Q: Do you have any idea on who instructed former President Rajapaksa to go for a Presidential Poll two years in advance and why? A: I don’t know who gave him the idea to go for an early Presidential Election. What appears to me was that it was his own decision. more..

BMICH promises to pay

Mar 3 (DM) BMICH which was ordered by the Colombo District Court to pay Rs. 187 million as compensation to Dr. Samitha Samanmali, said that it would definitely pay the amount despite its financial problems. BMICH director general Mallika Karunaratne said the funds would be collected by any possible means – such as loans or in rent though they were not capable of paying the amount at the moment. more..

Video: Secret Navy unit probed

Mar 3 (DM) Hinting at the white van abductions several years ago, the Police yesterday revealed an ongoing CID investigation into the disappearance of 11 youths, who were allegedly abducted by a special unit functioning under the Sri Lanka Navy. Police said they have found evidence of 11 missing youths including two Sinhalese, two Muslims and seven Tamils in the areas of Kotahena, Mutwal, Dehiwela and Wellawatta, more..

Kandyan Convention and all that

Mar 3 (CT) Yesterday marked the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Kandyan Convention that ceded the Kandyan Kingdom to the British. It was signed by the Kandyan chieftains. The last king of Kandy, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe had been captured by the British a month earlier, i.e. in Feb 1815. He played no part in the signing of that Convention. The British landed in Sri Lanka in 1796 and six years later chased out the Dutch who were ruling the island's Maritime Provinces. more..

Dilemma facing by SL Tamil refugees in TN

Mar 3 (CT) On the 24th of Feb, the Loyola Institute of Social Science Training and Research (LISSTAR) Loyola College, Chennai had organized a one day seminar on ‘United Convention on Refugees and Statelessness’. I was invited to moderate a session on Life in Exile – Experience sharing by a panel of Refugees; it included two Eelam Tamil refugees, a Tibetan, a Bhutanese and a couple of African refugees. One of the panelists, a young student in his mid 20s, works for OfERR more..