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SriLankan Airlines: Soaring beyond blue skies

Feb 4 (KT) SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka and member of the reputed oneworld alliance, takes pride in spreading the legendary Sri Lankan warmth and hospitality across the world with award-winning service. The airline, with its recent operational refocus, looks to consolidate its presence in the region and beyond with a sustainable connectivity map. Accordingly, the SriLankan launched 11 new destinations focused on the Asia-Middle East region last November. more..

Editorial: Independence

Feb 4 (Island) Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka celebrates its 69th Independence Day on a grand scale today. We are sure to be treated to fiery oratory by glib politicians who will wax eloquent on what they may call achievements of the country under their watch. They will also blabber about our glorious past and invariably wrap themselves in the flag in a bid to cover up their failures, which are legion. This, we have witnessed for the last so many decades under successive govts. more..

Freedom from Secrecy

Feb 4 (FT) Right to Information (RTI) Act came into effect yesterday, bringing with it what advocates hope will be an era of open govt, a culture of accountability and active citizen participation in the way the country is governed. The right to information was enshrined as a fundamental right through the 19th Amendment that was enacted in April 2015, and the RTI Act came into law in June 2016. Seven months later, citizens can now apply for more..

Drug menace goes to rural Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (CT) On 10 Dec, 2016, the Police Narcotics Bureau busted a bid to smuggle in an astounding Rupees 14 billion hoard of cocaine, 928 kg were detected at the Colombo Port, concealed in polythene sachets wedged between several teak wood planks in a container marked Mediterranean Shipping that had been unloaded from the vessel S S Fabiola. The ship had left Ecuador, on an anonymous tip-off the Police obtained an order from Colombo Magistrate and made successful more..

Microfinance model ventures into Pakistan

Feb 4 (Island) LOLC Group inked a historic joint venture with Pak Oman Microfinance Bank Limited to introduce LOLC’s exceptional and globally accepted Microfinance model to the people of Pakistan. Having observed LOLC’s uniquely effective microfinance business model and its success stories in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Cambodia, Pak Oman Microfinance Bank Limited which is a joint venture between the Republic of Pakistan and Sultanate of Oman, more..

Four hour doc strike cripples hospitals

Feb 4 (Island) GMOA yesterday condemned the attack and arrest of medical students who were on a protest to safeguard the quality of medical education and the rights of patients. Union which staged a four hour protest yesterday morning against the attack on medical undergradutes, said the students had only been a part of a peaceful protest against the conspiracy to legalise SAITM which they alleged had more..

Sri Lanka: Sense of serenity

Feb 4 (KT) Travel destinations in Sri Lanka provide an array of holiday experiences from sun-kissed beach holidays to a marathon of wildlife watching, adrenaline pumping adventure sports, and pilgrimages to some of the oldest cities in the world. Its spicy food, exotic fruits and array of sweetmeats are found nowhere in the world. Sri Lanka is recognised as one of the 34 biodiversity hotspots in the world. The country has the highest amphibian species density in the world with more..

Deputy FM says opening fire at street demos not an option for govt

Feb 4 (Island) Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva has sent us the following statement in response to our page one news report headlined Govt can open fire at street demos: Harsha published in yesterday’s edition of The Island: "The Island should be much more responsible in reporting sensitive matters. The story has been presented in a way to make the reader feel as if I said opening fire was an option being considered by our govt to deal with demonstrations. more..

Norway ready to assist in accordance with int’l procedures

Feb 4 (Island) Norwegian embassy has indicated Norwegian readiness to assist an ongoing investigation into the alleged involvement of Norway based Tamil diaspora elements in an attempt to assassinate TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran. Minister Champika Ranawaka recently alleged that Norway based eelam activists had been behind the assassination bid. Acting on information provided by an ex-LTTE cadre, police have so far more..

Maithripala Sirisena and SL's false dawn

Feb 4 (Forbes) During a time when we’ve seen democratic backsliding across the globe, Sri Lanka was a purported political success story. A pair of elections in 2015, including the surprising ascension of Maithripala Sirisena as president, were supposed to put the country on a positive course and roll back a decade of increasingly authoritarian, nepotistic rule by strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sirisena was sworn into office on January 9, 2015. Two years on, now is an auspicious time to more..

Sri Lanka seeks to strengthen ties with Saudi

Feb 4 (AN) Sri Lanka looks forward to further strengthening ties with the Kingdom, especially in the fields of employment, trade, investment and tourism, island’s Ambassador Azmi Thassim said on the eve of his country’s Independence and National Day on Saturday. “Appreciating the long-standing relationship with Saudi Arabia, our country wholeheartedly supports Vision 2030 under the wise leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and the NTP 2020 more..

Independence day messages

Feb 4 (DN) Many freedom struggles of humankind have aggrandised the story of human progress. The nation is indebted to our forebears, whose selfless sacrifice of sweat and blood have brought about the freedom in which we breathe today, states President Sirisena in an Independence Day message. The message adds: “We Sri Lankans too have inherited a long history of such struggles, that brings forth memories of more..

Independence in retrospect

Feb 4 (DN) Sri Lanka which is popularly known as Pearl of the Indian Ocean and also as the Granary of the Orient is endowed with nature's blessings in abundance. She was also known as Thambapanni in the distant past and later as Serendib and eventually as Ceylon. About two thousand and six hundred years ago, this island was occupied by tribes called Yakka, Naga and Deva. It is chronicled that Prince Wijaya together with 700 of his friends, this island was occupied by more..

Sri Lanka is open for business: ambassador

Feb 4 (VNS) Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon, gained its independence from the British on 4th February 1948. The next day, a British newspaper editorial predicted a bright future for the country, expressing confidence that it would no doubt become the Switzerland of the East. Then, it was considered a model Commonwealth country with good education standards, a civil service largely consisting of trained locals with experience in representative govt. Unfortunately, the country was not able to more..

Cabinet reshuffle in the offing

Feb 4 (DN) A Cabinet reshuffle is in the offing but the date will depend on the President, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. “There is a certain opinion among the public that there needs to be a Cabinet reshuffle. A similar view exists within the party,” Minister said. He however added that the govt would not be toppled anytime soon. “It is a joke to think that a govt can be toppled in two years,” he said even though more..

Errant traders beware

Feb 4 (NS) In a bid to tackle increasing number of consumer complaints with regard to errant traders, and to strengthen its raiding teams islandwide, Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) has decided to establish a centralized raiding unit in Colombo which would be operative from April. “We hope to be in operation by the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. This unit will be established to strengthen our regional team who work in various districts. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen has stressed that more..

SA U-19s beat SL U-19s by 49 runs

Feb 4 (Island) South Africa Under-19s beat Sri Lanka Under-19s by 49 runs in the second Youth ODI at Recreation Ground, Oudtshoorn in South Africa on Friday. Nipun Ransika took four wickets to restrict the hosts to 220 runs in 50 overs after the tourists decided to field first but Sri Lanka’s batsmen failed to challenge hosts. While Prince of Wales batsman Vishwa Chathuranga top scored with 40, Ashen Bandara made 39 runs. Scores: SA U19s 220 for 8 in 50 overs more..

Video: GMOA to seek int'l intervention on SAITM issue

Feb 4 (DM) GMOA said it would even seek international intervention to revise the ruling directing the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) to register SAITM's MBBS graduates. GMOA spokesman Naveen de Soyza said that they would not allow this injustice to continue because it violates standards upheld by SLMC. “Minister Rajitha Senaratne would not have permitted the legalization of SAITM by overruling SLMC recommendations, more..

FTA with will benefit future development activities in Sri Lanka, says India

Feb 4 (FT) The High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu yesterday said that the signing of the proposed free trade agreement between India and Sri Lanka would empower the ongoing development activities in the island. New High Commissioner expressed these views when he met Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake at the Ministry of Finance yesterday. Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu told the Finance Minister during the meeting that more..

Govt to flood market with rice

Feb 4 (CT) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera asserted that rice prices would drop to below Rs 72 a kilo within the next two weeks, and the govt would teach local rice millers an unforgettable lesson. "We have ordered more rice imports in order to ease the burden that hikes in prices of local rice varieties has subjected the consumer to. Several ships with large rice consignments are already on the way," he added. Minister said that local rice mill owners had hidden large stocks of rice more..

PM to take finance portfolio?

Feb 4 (EN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is under pressure from his party to take the finance portfolio and head off internal dissension, sources close to the leadership said. Stalwarts within the ruling UNP have been speculating about cabinet changes amid unrest over Finance minister Ravi Karunanayake's style of leading fiscal policy, sources said. "PM is likely to take over the finance portfolio and get a deputy minister to run more..

Let us build bridges, no walls

Feb 4 (DM) “Where the mind is without fear and the head held high, Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments; By narrow domestic walls Where words come out from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection; Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; Where the mind is led forward by thee; Into ever-widening thought and action; Into that haven of freedom, my Father, let my more..

D.S.: Architect of SL's independence

Feb 4 (DM) SL’s first PM  D.S. Senanayake entered the National Legislature in 1924. He was relatively unknown in the country and was pushed into prominence by elder brother F.R. Senanayake, who was a very popular and an active figure in the social and political arena. Many were surprised and taken aback to see D.S. entering the political arena, because they expected his brother F.R. to fit the role. Perhaps the only person who had faith in DS’s capability was none other that F.R. himself. more..

Humphead wrasse killing stirs calls for protection and spearfishing ban

Feb 4 (ST) Declare the endangered humphead wrasse as a protected species in Sri Lanka and ban spearfishing, researchers of aquatic resources, diving groups and conservationists demand. An environment lawyer says spearfishing can be banned under existing laws. Outrage grew after pictures emerged showing a human-sized humphead wrasse, (cheilinus undulates) also known as Napoleon wrasse, more..

Angry villagers rattle weak-kneed regulator over mini-hydro disasters

Feb 4 (ST) Villagers troubled by the damage to the environment caused by mini-hydro power projects joined environment groups on Monday to take their anger to the doorsteps of the Central Environment Authority. More than 200 villagers from different parts of SL were among the protesters who denounced the projects. “We decided to protest as a last resort. Remaining waterfalls will be destroyed by upcoming hydro projects, more..

The oil spill again!: 'No cause for alarm'

Feb 4 (SO) Thursday’s incident of a bowser carrying 33,000 litres of diesel toppling over , allegedly spilling part of its contents into the Mahaweli river published in the front page of our sister paper the Daily News, brings up the issue of how safe our water bodies are from such toxic chemicals that somehow seem to find their way into them either accidentally or by negligence. The front paged news report, more..

NARA to undertake study on fish stocks

Feb 4 (DN) A study on Sri Lankan fish stocks is to be undertaken for the first time by the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) to assess the country’s fisheries resources. The last study was undertaken in 1982, NARA Chairman Dr. Anil Premaratne said at a media briefing yesterday. “We have observed a great reduction in the coastal fisheries industry over the last several years. more..

Restrictions on public protests: Law and Order Ministry to consult AG

Feb 4 (Island) Law and Order Ministry Secretary Jagath Wijeweera said that a proposal to restrict public protests to two locations in the city was still under discussion. Asked whether the govt was in a hurry to bring in new regulations in the wake of regular protests in the city, Wijeweera said that the AG had to be consulted. He declined to indicate when consensus could be reached on proposed restrictions on public protests. more..

Will Norway hand over Diaspora Tiger leader Nediyavan to Sri Lanka?

Feb 4 (DBS) What was your first military operation? was a question posed to V Prabhakaran in a media interview many years ago. The LTTE Leader replied Alfred Durayappah. Prabhakaran was of course referring to the popular former mayor and ex-MP for Alfred Thangarajah Durayappah who was gunned down within the Jaffna peninsula on July 27th 1975. Prabhakaran and three others Kalapathy, Kirubakaran more..

50% drop in Indian poaching incidents

Feb 4 (DN) There has been a 50% reduction in incidents of poaching by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. “We have seen fewer cases of bottom trawling ever since we increased the arrests of Indian fisher boats. This has been especially effective since we decided not to return the boats. Earlier, even though the boats were confiscated, they were returned, so trawling continued,” more..

Tamils protest Sri Lanka's Independence Day

Feb 4 (TG) Tamils in the North-East have protested on Sri Lanka's 69th Independence Day, as a large security forces parade was held in Jaffna. Jaffna Magistrate's Court had banned protests obstructing the road, but despite demonstrators confining themselves to the sides, police obstructed the civilians from moving. Family members of the disappeared and of political detainees attended the protests and more..

Sri Lanka eyes China free trade deal this year, PM to visit in May

Feb 4 (Reuters) Sri Lanka aims to finalize a free trade agreement with China this year and the country's prime minister will visit Beijing in May, the Sri Lankan ambassador said on Saturday, amid rising concern in the South Asian nation about Chinese investment. Hundreds of Sri Lankans clashed with police at the opening last month of a Chinese-invested industrial zone in the south, saying they would not be moved from their land. more..

Video: President calls on politicians, state officials to be honest and committed

Feb 4 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena today called upon all sections of the society to work with determination and commitment to win economic freedom through achieving the goal of sustainable development and poverty alleviation.  “This goal will be achieved through the commitment of intellectuals, the strength of the labour force of workers and peasants, active participation of the youth of the nation as well as more..

How much is our freedom shared by all?

Feb 5 (SO) At noon on the 4th of Feb 1948, Sri Lanka regained its sovereignty as an island society after nearly four centuries of European colonial domination. Yesterday, 69 years on, we celebrated that anniversary and national achievements so far, while keenly aware that much more needs to be done. President Maithripala Sirisena himself, in his Freedom Day address to the nation yesterday, pointed out the several aspects of this freedom that we already cherish, but noted that more..

Independence: Abuse and Responsibilities

Feb 5 (SL) When thinking of the Independence of a nation it is prudent to reflect on the past to get a perspective on the present state of affairs as well as the direction in which the nation is heading. Our ancient stupas, creations of the hydraulic civilisation the remains of which still cause amazement, are remembered as creations of fabled monarchs of those times. But the true creators of those massive monuments were never accorded a place in history – those who built them with their tears, more..

Ranjan Ramanayake shoots from the hip

Feb 5 (NS) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake who has been in the spotlight these days for some of his acts spoke to Weekend Nation with regard to his intervention to stop environmental destruction in the Gampaha district and the clash with a divisional secretary that ensued. Q: By now, most environmentally destructive actions which took place in the Gampaha district have been stopped. more..

Independence or debt-dependence

Feb 5 (ST) As the Jayamangala Gaatha and Sri Lanka Maatha in both Sinhala and Tamil were sung, the spit and polish of the military parade, parachute jumps, the fly-pasts and fireworks display celebrating the 69th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence concluded, it is time to sober up and face up to the realities facing this country’s seventh decade of regaining freedom. It was political independence that the people achieved in 1948. The umbilical cord with colonial rule more..

Phoney baloney

Feb 5 (ST) My dear Ranjan, I am writing to you because everyone is talking about you these days, although I am not sure it is for the right reasons. I am told that all this fuss is about a few words you spoke over the phone to an official. If a few words from you can make such an impact, you must be a very important man now! At least you must be happy that people take you seriously now. We have known you and heard of you for many years. That was mostly as an actor. more..

'We are not going to sling mud'

Feb 5 (SL) As the country is poised to go through some rapid development, Ministry of Mega polis and Western Development is playing a key role in the process. Minister Champika Ranawaka says the govt is following a strategy to develop all the cities in the country in the same manner as Colombo. Q: The govt seems to have failed to fulfill most of the promises made during the last election. How do you see this? more..

Of power and arrogance

Feb 5 (NS) Power does peculiar things to people. It corrupts some, it makes others insufferably arrogant. Of course, there many examples in SL that justify this observation. To that long list, one can now add the name of Ranjan Ramanayake. Ramanayake initially made a name for himself as an actor. With his cherubic good looks, he was often the hero and almost never the villain. Then, as some actors are wont to do, he took to politics. Ramanayake’s political party has always been the UNP. more..