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Not a zero-sum game

Mar 28 (Hindu) With his state visit to China just weeks after PM Narendra Modi’s trip to Sri Lanka, President Sirisena appears to be trying to balance relations with the two countries that have the greatest influence in the island nation today: India and China. Since taking charge, several decisions by Mr. Sirisena’s govt have given China cause for concern, in particular the suspension of the $1.4-billion Colombo port project. His govt has said it would re-examine Chinese projects signed by more..

Fitch affirms HSBC Sri Lanka at AAA(lka)

Mar 28 (Reuters) Fitch Ratings Lanka has affirmed HSBC Sri Lanka Branch's (HSBCSL) National Long-Term Rating at 'AAA(lka)'. The Outlook is Stable. KEY RATING DRIVERS HSBCSL's rating is at the highest end of the National Rating scale and reflects the credit profile and financial strength of The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HKSB; Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR): AA-/Stable). The rating is tied to HKSB's IDR because of HSBCSL's legal status more..

Main opposition, SLFP, heading for a split

Mar 28 (ENS) SL’s main opposition party, the SLFP, appears to be heading for a split following three mass rallies staged by party rebels at Nugegoda, Kandy and Ratnapura in the recent past. The Ratnapura rally, held on Thursday, was the most successful of them all, attracting 27 party MPs, besides over 400 members of local bodies from various parts of the country. The large movement towards rebels’ side took place more..

ADMO Solar signs agreement with SLT

Mar 28 (CT) ADMO Solar, a leader in advanced energy technology, initiated a partnership with Sri Lanka Telecom, facilitating special packages and services related to solar power systems to its premium customers under their customer loyalty programme. ADMO Solar under the flagship of Vinseth Engineering Ltd is the division that caters for solar power electricity systems, hot water systems and has established a name in the industry for its innovative approach to solar power options. more..

SLFP senior says disciplinary action against those who attended Ratnapura rally

Mar 28 (FT) Treasurer of the SLFP, Minister S.B. Nawinna, has said that the party would take disciplinary action against any representative who violated party directives. Nawinna made this comment in reference to SLFP members who participated in a rally in Ratnapura organised by a group in the UPFA in support of former President Rajapaksa. SLFP had directed its party members not to attend rallies organised by coalition members of former ruling party without party approval. more..

MR could be implicated in probe against ex-SL envoy: Govt

Mar 28 (Island) Acting Foreign Minister Ajith P. Perera said that even President Rajapaksa could be implicated in the on-going investigation into SL’s former ambassador to Moscow Udayanga Weeratunga allegedly supplying weapons to Ukrainians fighting the elected govt there. He said that Weeratunga had gone missing since Sri Lanka received two complaints from Ukraine as regards diplomat’s conduct. more..

Another violent school match at SSC

Mar 28 (NS) On yet another occasion, violence at an inter-school match tarnished the image of the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) ground in Colombo which was once touted as the Lord’s of Sri Lanka. The match involved a so-called big match cricket encounter between DS Senanayake and Mahanama last Sunday. It happened when violent supporters of Mahanama invaded the field when DS Senanayake was poised to score one run and win the match with the scores levelled on 175. more..

‘No expired rice stocks’: Lanka Sathosa

Mar 28 (FT) Lanka Sathosa Chairman Kiran Atapattu denied several reports that alleged that expired rice which was unsafe for human consumption were found at the Lanka Sathosa storage facility. He made his denial in a statement where he said that media reports had focused on stocks that were earmarked to be discarded rather than the fresh quantities kept for consumption. The following is his statement. Lanka Sathosa, under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce notes more..

President Sirisena’s brother dies

Mar 28 (CG) Priyantha Sirisena, the brother of President Maithripala Sirisena, has succumbed to the injuries he suffered following an attack this week. Sirisena was in critical condition and was receiving treatment at a private hospital where he succumbed to his injuries this morning. He was 40 years old. The man who attacked Priyantha Sirisena had been arrested after he surrendered to the police on Thursday. more..

People's Leasing FCID quiz MR's man again

Mar 28 (CT) Former President's Chief of Staff, Gamini Senarath was once again interrogated for three hours yesterday morning by the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) in connection with irregularities alleged to have taken place at the People's Leasing Company. FCID had recorded a statement from Senarath who was also the chairman of People's Leasing Company, pertaining to alleged financial rackets in the PLC during the UPFA regime. more..

Doctors reattach school boy's severed forearm

Mar 28 (DM) Colombo National Hospital Doctors have successfully re-attached a 15-year-old boy’s right forearm after it was severed in an accident at Balummahara. CNH Chief Nursing Instructor Pushpa de Soysa said 7-hour long surgery was performed soon after the boy was brought to the hospital with the severed part of the forearm. “Plastic surgery was successfully completed by our doctors and staff and now the teenager is in a stable condition at a post-surgery ward,” more..

Sri Lanka fires fresh salvo at Chinese firm over Port City project

Mar 28 (SCMP) Chinese company involved in the controversial US$1.4 billion Colombo Port City project has failed to furnish the necessary documents within the two-week deadline set by the new govt, which is also reviewing other Chinese projects including a high-profile telecommunications tower, finance minister Ravi Karunanayake said. He also said President Xi Jinping surprised SL President Sirisena on more..

Who really leads The Opposition?

Mar 28 (DM) One of the biggest problems that have plagued democracy in Sri Lanka according to many political commentators is the lack of a credible opposition. 1978 Constitution while giving exceeding and dictatorial powers to the President when taken in totality made a weak opposition inevitable. Current PM and long-serving former Opposition Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe was perhaps unfairly criticized for being ineffective when in fact his position was a product of a system more..

Lee’s five powerful lessons for Lanka

Mar 28 (DM) All that man wants is freedom from fear and hunger. The entire gamut of human rights stems from these two basic freedoms which ensure man’s right to life, property and dignity. In a society where there is freedom from fear and hunger, there is little place for destructive politics. This was the essence of the social contract Singapore’s founder and great statesman Lee Kuan Yew conceived and sustained. In this social contract, State was honest and expected from its citizens discipline and more..

Extend GSP+ to FTA: JAAF

Mar 28 (NS) Sri Lanka’s garment industry umbrella body – the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) says that while GSP+ tariff concession will assist the industry in the short-term, the long-term desire of the industry is to elevate the trade relations to that of a Free Trade Arrangement (FTA) as it will provide stable long-term market access with predictability. Addressing a six-member EU delegation at a working luncheon held more..

Child abuse raises its ugly head

Mar 28 (SL) With the recent report of a 16-year-old girl’s death in the Vanni after being gang raped, it has once again raised concerns over the plight of children in our country and their safety. However, the new State Minister for Child Development Rosy Senanayake has vowed to take all measures needed to protect the children of this country. Child abuse comes in four different forms such as physical, sexual, psychological or more..

Display price list or face jail

Mar 28 (ST) Shop owners and eating house operators including those who run canteens have been ordered to display a price list of items on sale or risk heavy fines and jail terms upto six months, CAA Chairman Rumy Marzook said. He said that in terms of a new regulation, prices of food items — from bakery products to hoppers, string hoppers and beverages such as cool drinks, processed fruit drinks, tea, milk tea, coffee more..

No extra funding for probe team

Mar 28 (CG) The UNHRC was told that extra funding will not be required for the investigations team on Sri Lanka appointed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as a result of the decision to postpone the consideration of the report on Sri Lanka. The Programme Support and Management Services of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the decision to postpone the submission of the more..

History of the National Anthem of Sri Lanka has been Mired in Controversy

Mar 28 (DBS) A very effective message regarding the contentious issue of the national anthem being sung in Tamil also was sent out early this week to the nation in general and the Tamil people in particular in the form of exemplary concrete action by the triumvirate comprising President Maithripala Sirisena, Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

Sri Lanka activists in court seeking independent probe for bond deal

Mar 28 (EN) Sri Lankan governance activists have petitioned Supreme Court for independent probe for alleged insider dealing in a bond sale and sought better processes to improve gilt auctions in the future. G Usvatte-aratchi, A C Visvalingam and Chandra Jayaratne have gone to court saying their fundamental rights have been violated. The Monetary Board of the Central Bank, Governor Arjuna Mahendan, his son-in-law more..

Sri Lanka says EU LTTE ban to remain

Mar 28 (CG) The Govt says it has managed to convince the European Union (EU) to maintain a ban on the LTTE despite an earlier EU court decision to lift some sanctions on the group. Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith Perera said that efforts of the new Govt headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had ensured the rebels remain on the latest list of banned groups issued by the EU. more..

Udayanga Weeratunga goes missing

Mar 28 (DN) Former SL Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga whose service was terminated based on two complaints by the Ukrainian govt, has gone missing, said Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera. He said that following the termination from his eight year service in Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga neither returned to Sri Lanka in keeping with the proper procedure nor submitted his diplomatic passport. more..

28 Missions still Headless

Mar 28 (NS) 28 Sri Lankan overseas missions remain headless over two months after the political appointees who were serving in those positions were recalled to Colombo. In late January, the govt of President Maithripala Sirisena recalled 29 Heads of Mission, all of whom had been appointed by the Rajapaksa regime as political appointees. Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P. Perera said Ministry was still in the process of finalizing replacements more..

Some DPL passport holders asked to explain

Mar 28 (DM) Defence and Urban Development Ministry is reviewing the issuance of DPL passports and have requested some of the DPL passport holders to explain the rationale for obtaining this class of travel document entailing many privileges. Assistant Controller, Department of Immigration and Emigration said that the department had asked certain DPL passport holders to explain how they had obtained a DPL passport and more..

The Bond Issue goes to Supreme Court: Full Text of the petition

Mar 28 (CT) A team of professional and experienced bankers and treasury managers and Good Governance activists Dr G. Usvatte-Aratchi, Dr. A.C. Visvalingam and Chandra Jayaratne yesterday have submitted a petition to the Supreme Court the controversial Treasury Bond issue. (a) The Monetary Board to carry out an independent inquiry by a competent panel of professionals well versed in the rules, systems, procedures and processes applicable to the public debt management more..

A Troika without credibility & A merry-go-round for people

Mar 28 (CT) What’s important in all these quotes are their inherent contradictions, ambiguity and deceptions in saying what should be told to the people, not being told straight and direct. PM Wickremesinghe tells NDTV’s Srinivasan Jain, the difference between Rajapaksa and his govt is that, his govt would engage the UNHRC. President Sirisena is quoted by Al Jazeera as saying there will not be any outside investigators. Does he then mean, not even UNHRC engagement as more..

Full Text: Amendments proposed to the gazetted 19th amendment

Mar 28 (CT) Pproposed amendments give effect to the changes to the 19th Amendment agreed to by the Cabinet after the 19th Amendment Bill was Gazetted. According to new amendment, the executive presidency will be abolished but the President will have certain powers. President will no longer be the Head of Govt. The phrase Head of Govt will not appear in the Constitution, which was the case during the Soulbury and First more..

Local residents speak on Priyantha Sirisena's murder

Mar 28 (AM) Local residents in Polonnaruwa spoke to Asian Mirror on various claims circulating in certain websites on the murder of Priyantha Sirisena, and said that the dispute which led to the incident was ongoing for some time. Priyantha Sirisena, a younger brother of President Maithripala Sirisena and a well known businessman in Polonnaruwa, passed away early this morning after being attacked on the back of his head with an axe on Thursday. more..

Need to rebuild investor confidence

Mar 28 (CT) Sri Lanka needs foreign direct investments (FDI) for many reasons. They are required to strengthen its foreign reserves, currently built, mainly on debt, and increasingly being buttressed with foreign commercial loans. Due to the drying up of foreign aid, both in the form of grant aid and concessional loans, Sri Lanka's infrastructure, some of which are white elephants, like the Mahinda Rajapaksa Hambantota seaport and the Mahinda Rajapaksa Mattala airport, more..

UN reform must benefit all countries

Mar 28 (IPS) U.N. anniversaries are occasions for stocktaking – not all of it positive. But there is a lot of good that the U.N. has done and is doing and there are many good, dedicated people working silently but effectively within the U.N. system where I have also worked for a part of my long diplomatic career. It is however, sadly, not always the moral compass of humankind such as when raisons d’etat dictate the U.N. Security more..

Avurudu flu: Avoid crowds, don’t infect others

Mar 28 (ST) With the holiday season approaching, health officials have warned that large gatherings — whether they are family get-togethers, crowded buses, musical shows or avurudu celebrations –could be feeding or breeding grounds for flu viruses. Sri Lanka has not been affected by the A(H1N1) influenza outbreak that claimed a number of lives here in 2009 and is now spreading rapidly in India. But health officials are urging the people to take basic preventive measures and more..

A/L qualified residents of estates as Teacher Assistants for Estate schools

Mar 28 (ST) Govt is in the process of recruiting 3,000 A/L qualified- 3 Passes, persons from the estate to be posted as Teacher Assistants, exclusively to estate sector schools, said Education Ministry Secretary Upali Marasinghe. Appointments will be given by the end of this month. “Interviews are now being conducted for the applications we called earlier,” he said. Reason for making such appointments to this sector is because education standards in the estates have dropped. more..

New Zealand in form, but Australia formidable at home

Mar 28 (CI) New Zealand are electrifying, but Australia are clinical at home. The visitors are unbeaten, but the hosts have big-tournament pedigree. The teams have largely kept things classy, sure, but on both sides of the Tasman, there is an edge to this final. In the New Zealand media, the Australia side has been described as arrogant and self-absorbed. On talkback radio, David Warner's potty mouth has become a lightning-rod for more..

Gangaramaya to provide meals at affordable prices

Mar 28 (ST) Gangaramaya Temple, Colombo 2, is organising a programme, with the assistance of food suppliers, to provide nutritious and wholesome meals at affordable prices to workers, a press release from the Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo said. The programme will be inaugurated on March 25, at 11.30 a.m. at the Seemamalakaya adjoining the Gangaramaya Temple, with free lunch, as in a Dansala, while lunch and dinner would be sold at cost price from the following day onwards. more..

PM refutes claims on secret military camps

Mar 28 (AM) PM Ranil Wickremasinghe stated that there were no secret army camps in the country at present. He made this observation at a discussion with local representatives in Jaffna. TNA MP Suresh Premachandran recently declared that there was a secret camp named Gota Base within the Navy Camp in Trincomalee. Meanwhile, answering another question, Wickremasinghe added that the government hopes to end investigations on disappeared persons within six months. more..

'Sri Lanka to ease entry barriers for FDI'

Mar 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka needs to ease foreign investment entry obstacles to attract more foreign direct investment, finance minister Ravi Karunanayake says. He made this comment while delivering a keynote address at the 18th Asian Investment Conference organised by Credit Suisse. The conference is an exclusive business gathering in the Asia Pacific region attended by prominent political, economic, financial, and academic more..

Police tries to arrest victim

Mar 28 (NS) Neurosurgeon Dr. Maheshi Wijeratne who allegedly attacked a woman last month (Feb 28) at a hotel in Colombo has filed counter charges against the person she attacked, the victim’s family claims. Victim Rhonda de Ley said the Police had attempted to arrest her last week on the charges of assault based on a statement made by Dr. Maheshi Wijeratne to the Police. “A statement had been made to the Police claiming my sister had attacked Dr. Maheshi’s mother” said brother of the more..

Obama honours Sri Lankan science mentor

Mar 28 (IANS) An Indian-American and a Sri Lankan-origin scientist and teacher are among fourteen individuals and one organization named winners of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). Andhra University graduate Murty S. Kambhampati, a professor of biology at Southern University at New Orleans, and Sri Lankan origin Tilak Ratnanather, an associate professor in the biomedical engineering department of the more..

LTTE’s suicide cadres turn a new leaf, females face social rejection

Mar 28 (ENS) In a startling revelation, the Sri Lankan Commissioner General of Rehabilitation Maj. Gen. Jagath Wijetilleke said that 6 to 7% of the 12,346 cadres of the LTTE who had surrendered to the Sri Lankan armed forces at the end Eelam War IV in May 2009, were members of the dreaded suicide squad called the Black Tigers. The squad contained females as well as males. more..

Payment delays by Govt. badly hit small and medium contractors

Mar 28 (ST) The cash-strapped Sri Lanka State Engineering Corporation’s (SEC) delay in paying over Rs.1 billion of outstanding payments for 11 small and medium scale construction firms has brought the housing development programme for under-served settlements in Colombo and suburbs to a standstill, a top official of the SEC disclosed. The construction of housing units at Kalinga Mawatha in Colombo 5, Angoda Hospital premises land and hospital quarters at Mandawela more..