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3 Russian naval ships at port of Colombo

Mar 29 (SLN) Three Russian ships Admiral Panteleev, Pechenga and SB-522, arrived at the port of Colombo on 28th March 2015 for replenishment and relaxation of their crews. Admiral Panteleev is an anti-submarine ship commanded by Captain 1st Rank Aleksey V. Antsiferov. Pechenga is a replenishment vessel while SB–522 is a salvage tug. The ships, belonging to the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy were ceremonially welcomed by the SL Navy in accordance with naval traditions more..

UN Special Rapporteur arrives today on a six-day visit

Mar 29 (AD) UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparations, and Guarantees of Non-recurrence, Pablo de Greiff, will arrive in Sri Lanka for a six-day visit, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said. “Greiff will arrive in Sri Lanka today. He plans to meet with senior officials of the Govt and political parties. He looks forward to discussing with Sri Lankan leaders on various issues of mutual concerns,” the Ministry sources said. Earlier, Minister Mangala Samaraweera addressing more..

Sri Lanka pledges political solution in war-torn north

Mar 29 (AFP) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has pledged a political solution for the island's war-torn north, where ethnic minority Tamils have long demanded greater autonomy. During a two-day visit to the Tamil heartland of Jaffna, Wickremesinghe also repeated his govt's promise of national reconciliation six years after the island's ethnic war ended. "If you want a stable and secure country, we must have a political solution more..

Inside story of how Maithri defeated Mahinda

Mar 30 (CT) Review of Revolution of the Era: The Inside story of how Maithri Defeated Mahinda by Asoka Abeygunarwardana. I have never voted in an election despite the fact that it was my right and my franchise to do so. I refrained because I was not entirely convinced of the truthfulness of modern representative democracy when the word Demokratia (demos / kratos) meaning “people’s power” and direct democracy said that any citizen of a nation or community or group who wished more..

100-Day Program: A second commentary

Mar 30 (Island) A commentary by the Citizens’ Movement for Good Governance (CIMOGG) regarding the 100-day Program of the govt was published in the SUNDAY ISLAND of March 8. The key points made there were: 1) No bill, other than one concerned with dealing with a national emergency, should be presented to Parliament on an urgent basis because such a procedure would not allow sufficient time for stakeholders and other members of the public to consider and more..

MiG 27 deal crash lands

Mar 30 (SO) The govt is to launch an international probe to verify the whereabouts of the island's former envoy to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga, who is now reported missing, while a special inquiry is already underway to ascertain the financial loss caused to the State by the purchasing of four MIG aircraft in 2006. While the former ambassador whose involvement in a highly questionable sale of 4 Ukraine-built MIG 27 more..

Citizens as stakeholders in governance

Mar 30 (SL) In history there occasionally arises a great opportunity to make life better for humankind; if such an opportunity is ignored, it can never be recaptured, as there can be no rewinding of time. Such a lost opportunity will continue to cloud our future for a long time to come. We see this phenomenon in the current political situation. Though the current situation may appear to be political turmoil and chaos, proper management by politicians and relevant parties has the ability more..

National leaders, new and old

Mar 30 (SL) Pro-LTTE, pro-separatist websites could not have done a greater disservice to the larger Tamil cause just now than projecting Northern Province Chief Minister Justice C V Wigneswaran as our new national leader. It may in a way be a greater disservice to Justice Wigneswaran, too, who may not share their present views about him, and mostly definitely, their cause for a separate Tamil State. Despite being suave and gentlemanly, Wigneswaran has always been straight and more..

'All those accused are now in the govt'

Mar 30 (SL) While allegations and concerns had been raised against several members of the former Govt, those very people are now in the Govt of President Sirisena. The NFF accused the govt of being not interested in bringing any of the culprits to book, but charged that they just used all these issues including corruption and drug importers as a means to get rid of Mahinda Rajapaksa. NFF spokesman Mohammed Muzammil said that more..

Giving ear to the public roar in January 2015

Mar 30 (ST) Admitting that the passionate yahapalanaya breast-beating of the Maithri campaign in the run-up to the presidential poll was nothing more than an election slogan has become inevitable in the wake of the recent formation of a so-called national govt. What else is one to say when one-time Rajapaksa loyalists of exceeding ill fame are welcomed into a grotesquely swollen Cabinet as UNP Ministers turn all shades of quite unbecoming purple trying to justify these more..

Behold, bemoan the mirage of change

Mar 30 (ST) A nation’s outrage burst in full flow last Sunday evening when President Sirisena thought fit to induct 26 members of the SLFP as Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers of his govt, rolling out the red carpet of welcome to a questionable coterie of the Rajapaksa regime the people held in opprobrium and had voted never to see returned to power again. It was not so much that Maithripala had flouted one pre-election promise not to increase the Cabinet to more..

'A dangerous deviation'

Mar 30 (NS) Dr Dayan Jayatilleka who is an expert in many fields expressed his ideas regarding the present political developments in the country. He did not agree with the formation of a National Govt, suspending the normal competitive functioning of the two-party system. He considers this move as a dangerous deviation and said that Sri Lanka doesn’t have such a requirement. He also questioned why the SLFP bothers to assist more..

Editorial: What’s up MR’s sleeve?

Mar 30 (Island) President Mahinda Rajapaksa, while he was ensconced in power, thought his predecessor Chandrika Kumaratunga would dree her weird in retirement without troubling him. He did not know her. She bode her time and made a stunning comeback by engineering his downfall. He did now know what hit him! President Maithiripala Sirisena, having defeated Rajapaksa in January thought the latter would resign himself to his fate. He, too, thought wrong. more..

Port City Project: Investor’s interest cannot supersede Sri Lanka’s national interest

Mar 30 (CT) The Port City Project has been the subject of a great deal of discussion in the media in the past several weeks. The discussion has primarily centred round the issues of whether the proper procedures and approvals have been followed as well as the impact on the environment which is likely to result from this massive project. Absent from the discussion has been the more fundamental issue of whether this Port City is something that the country needs. more..

'If Ranil leaves, the SLFP will step in and continue'

Mar 30 (Island) PM Rajiva Wijesinha is no stranger to controversy. A State Minister in the yahapalana government that took office in January, he was the first to cross the floor and rejoin the opposition. Though he has fallen out with what he describes as a UNP government, he remains combatively loyal to president Maithripala Sirisena. In this interview, Rajiva speaks to C.A. Chandraprema about the difference between RW and MS. more..

Deheragoda’s absence a blessing for others

Mar 30 (ST) Cool climes of Diyatalawa will be heated to the roaring of motors when the 23rd edition of Fox Hill Supercross flags off on April 18, 2015. The event is organised and conducted by the SL Military Academy (SLMA) and the SL Auto Sports Drivers Association (SLADA). This is a much looked forward event by motor sports enthusiasts. Dinesh Deheragoda, the reigning champion will be a notable absentee at this year’s event as he is preparing to take part in the more..

SL's new govt questions poverty indicators

Mar 30 (EN) Sri Lanka's new govt wants to reassess existing poverty indicators and go beyond income measurements, Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva said. "I am not happy with poverty measurements in Sri Lanka," he declared at a recent forum, noting that he does not believe the numbers actually reflect existing poverty levels. According to a new UN report on how the island had performed in meeting the Millennium Development Goals and govt surveys, the estate sector saw a sharp more..

Sri Lanka to re-examine statist, nationalist land laws that block investment

Mar 30 (EN) Sri Lanka will re-examine land laws which prevent people from owning larger tracts of lands and foreigners and investors from using them to create higher value, officials said. R Paskaralingam, special advisor to Sri Lanka's PM said the govt would look at the land use ceiling as well as foreign ownership. "The govt is looking at the ceiling on land and also foreigners owning land," Paskaralingam told a business forum more..

People’s Bank posts best-ever results in 53 years

Mar 30 (FT) Notching a host of record-breaking numbers, People’s Bank closed 2014 with an impressive performance, attesting that it continues to remain the Pulse of the People. Posting the milestone of Rs. 1 trillion on its balance sheet, only the second bank in Sri Lanka to do so, People’s Bank also notched the best profitability for a year-end, since its inception in 1961. Augmenting its balance sheet of Rs. 1 trillion, this year’s profit before tax inclined 67.2% to Rs. 17,231 m, more..

Creative Solutions holds Hackathon

Mar 30 (DN) Creative Solutions in collaboration with Cambio Software Engineering recently completed a successful 24 hour Hackathon titled Innovate 2k15. It was enthusiastically participated by eight teams from both Creative Solutions and Cambio Software Engineering. Cash prizes worth Rs. 300,000 including an individual prize for the most socially active participant were on offer. A panel of adjudicators consisting of software architects and businessmen scored the teams more..

HNB in landmark deal with ADB

Mar 30 (Island) HNB entered into a landmark agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to raise USD 100Mn by way of a 7 year senior debt. This is the largest transaction by ADB with a SL private sector bank and the funds raised would be deployed towards infrastructure development projects with special emphasis on renewable energy, power and irrigation which are key sectors in economic resurgence of SL. more..

SL's apparel exports readying to cross $ 5b

Mar 30 (DN) Within a day after Sri Lanka and EU successfully joining in Colombo for the redux of the sought after GSP Plus to boost its apparel exports, comes yet another coveted technical breakthrough extended through a surging EU economy and this support stream connects not only to Lanka's finished apparels but even its manufacturing core itself-opening along with it a new market destination even beyond EU called as the next economic supermodel of the world, as revealed on 25 March. more..

Mobile phone sales soar in 2014

Mar 30 (DN) Sri Lanka's mobile phone market has witnessed considerable growth in terms of sales in 2014 with the overall mobile phone market reaching one million mark in the fourth quarter, 2014. According to IDC, the demand for smart phones has shown an increased growth and contributed about 22% to the overall mobile phone market. On global basis, the customers' preference is moving towards smart phones from feature phones and Sri Lanka is no exception. more..

Unwarranted taxes and ambiguous policies: Business community disheartened with Govt

Mar 30 (SO) The business community is displeased with the Govt's business policies incorporated in the interim Budget and the negative image it has created about the country to foreign direct investors. Super Gains Tax imposed on large companies with retrospective effect has stirred a hornet's nest among big corporates which accuses govt of being unfair when certain companies made large undue profits under Rajapaksa regime. more..

Karu says govt looks to private sector-led growth

Mar 30 (FT) Minister Karu Jayasuriya last week said that management professionals and business education played a key role in building the economy. “Management is going to be our theme. Management professionals are a readily employable group and play a lead role in contributing to the economic development of Sri Lanka. As a Govt, we only believe in providing the infrastructure, because we are looking at a private sector led growth,” he noted. more..

Cleaning of Castlereigh Reservoir commences after 67 years

Mar 30 (GDI) The cleaning of the Castlereigh Reservoir which makes a vital contribution in the generation of hydropower has commenced after 67 years. The Norwood Police said that operations have been launched for the apprehension of those who dump garbage into the Reservoir. The garbage that has collected in the Reservoir had not been cleared since its construction in the year 1948. A massive damage is caused to the environment due to the garbage dumped by residents more..

Reinstating GSP Plus: ‘Lanka needs to improve human and labour rights record’

Mar 30 (SO) The European Union delegation which began discussions on reinstating the GSP Plus trade concessions to Sri Lanka has called upon the govt to turn commitment to reality in adhering to the UN conventions. “We want Sri Lanka to improve its record on human and labour rights, good governance and environmental concerns to be eligible for the new GSP Plus trade concessions,” EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka, more..

Woman surrenders to police after hacking husband to death

Mar 30 (Island) A woman surrendered to Rambukkana police after hacking her husband to death on Friday. The suspect, Hevayalage Susantha Jayatissa (38), confessed to the police that her husband Neville Karunaratne (42) of Vahumpura Gedera, Malakariya in Rambukkana used to come home drunk every night and assault her. Unable to bear up his cruelty any longer she had hacked him with a large knife, she told the police after surrendering with the weapon. more..

CAA must declare assets – consumer protection groups

Mar 30 (CT) In view of the unhygienic foodstuff, that is being sold to consumers by supermarket chains, and the failure on the part of the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) to take legal action against the offenders, Consumer Rights Protection National Organization (CRPNO) demands that CAA declare their assets. Chairman of the CRPNO, Ranjith Withanage said some popular supermarket chains were selling food, especially fruits and vegetables like cucumber in various stages of rot, more..

Peaceing together fisher formula

Mar 30 (ENS) Although leaders of Indian fishermen and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs have given a positive spin to the third round of talks between the Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen held in Chennai recently, Lankan fishermen said that they had only agreed to consider the demands, not accept them. While Indian fishermen said that amicability and trust have been added after Mahinda Rajapaksa was toppled more..

Priyantha’s cremation today

Mar 30 (DN) Cremation of Priyantha Sirisena, 43, will take place at the Public Cemetery, Polonnaruwa today. Sirisena also called Weli Raja was the brother of President Sirisena. He who lived at Laksha Uyana, Polonnaruwa was attacked with an axe by a friend on Thursday night following an argument. He was rushed to Polonnaruwa Hospital and air lifted to Colombo in a critical condition. He died at a private hospital on Saturday. Sirisena leaves his wife Geethanjali Samankumari and 3 children. more..

Legal action taken against 7,266 mosquito breeders during Dengue Control Week

Mar 30 (Island) About 54,929 mosquito breeding grounds and 4,405 high risk places infested with dengue larvae had been detected and about 7,266 persons prosecuted during the on-going Dengue Control Week. Health Ministry Media Spokesman said that during the Dengue Control Week, Ministry with the assistance of Public Health Inspectors and Ministry officials had so far detected many places and taken legal action against those responsible for facilitating mosquito breeding. more..

Ex-Tigers involved in anti-govt activism under surveillance

Mar 30 (ENS) Cadre of LTTE who have been rehabilitated and sent back into society after the war in North SL, seem to be free from systematic surveillance, so long as they are not involved in any anti-govt activism. S Yogeswari (name changed), who has been taking part in demonstrations highlighting the disappearance of LTTE cadre who had surrendered to army, said she lives in fear because of close surveillance. more..

Priyantha Sirisena killing: Wife says husband had lent heavily to killer

Mar 30 (CT) Geethanjali Samankumari, wife of President Maithripala Sirisena's brother Priyantha Sirisena who was axed to death by a suspect now in Police custody, insists that her husband's gruesome killing was a crime planned by several conspirators. "I have never before seen the garage owner. This was an organized conspiracy. My husband had told me that this garage had been built with his money. Besides that, he had also lent large sums of money to the garage owner. more..

Opposition leader tussle: Hakeem backs Sampanthan

Mar 30 (CT) Leader of the TNA R. Sampanthan is the most qualified to become the Opposition Leader, the SLMC said. SLMC General Secretary Hassan Ali said SLFP and SLMC MPs hold ministerial portfolios. Thus the TNA has the highest number of MPs in the Opposition and only racist elements can say that Sampanthan is not suitable to hold the position of Opposition leader. Ali added that Sampanthan should not be denied the position because he is a Tamil, more..

Ex-CDS sees conspiracy to deprive him of due promotion

Mar 30 (Island) Former Chief of Defence Staff and former Air Force commander Air Chief Marshal Roshan Gunathilake said that he believed that there was a conspiracy to launch a smear campaign against him over a controversial MIG deal to deprive him of the post of Marshall of the Air. Air Chief Marshal Gunathilake said that the government had felicitated the former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka by promoting him to the rank of more..

Gold gets into Customs officer’s socks in toilet

Mar 30 (Island) A smuggler who had brought Rs. 13.3 million worth of gold from Dubai was nabbed during the early hours of Saturday when he attempted to take out the contraband with the help of a customs officer. The smuggler from Kalmunai having returned to Colombo with about three kilos of gold jewellery handed over the contraband to the customs official in a toilet. Thereafter the customs officer stuffed the gold inside his socks. While two of them were walking out of the airport more..

SL security forces should be geared: PM

Mar 30 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Saturday that the Sri Lankan Security Forces should be geared to face the future terrorist threats across the borders of the country. Speaking at the Palali Security Base, Mr. Wickremesinghe said the Sri Lankan Army, Navy and the Air-force should be modernized and equipped to face these threats. “We will have to think of the new roles that our forces will have to play when the South Asian region develops,” he said. more..

Kshenuka’s appointment on hold

Mar 30 (DN) Appointment of Kshenuka Seneviratne as the SL Ambassador to Thailand has been put on hold as she is yet to be summoned before the Committee on High Posts in Parliament. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said a final decision on the matter would be taken based on the recommendations of the Committee on High Posts. He said Seneviratne’s appointment was not taken up at last High Posts committee meeting and more..

National drug regulatory bill: An insight

Mar 30 (DM) National Drug Regulatory Authority Bill was subjected to an evolutionary process before it was passed in Parliament recently. The long fight to instil justice in the field of pharmaceuticals was won by Dr. Senaka Bibile who was the founder of the Senaka Bibile Essential Medicines concept. Up until now, this policy was amended to be what it is today. However, since the enactment of this new policy was part of the 100-day programme under the good governance regime, its contents and more..