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Navinda Ranga leads all the way to win March Edition in Nuwara Eliya

Mar 24 (ST) Veteran Amateur Golfer Navinda Ranga, came to his own at the beautiful Nuwara Eliya Golf Club Course (NEGC) leading all four rounds of the Lectra SL Golf Grand-Prix 2019, March Edition winning two strokes from another veteran B.A. Sanjeewa, who was eight strokes ahead of Sisira Kumara the winner of the February edition played at the RCGC in Colombo. Chanaka Perera the reigning SL Amateur Golf Champion, secured 4th place with 313 Gross aggregate more..

Video: President hands over proposal to declare Tripitaka as a World Heritage

Mar 24 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena handed over the proposal seeking to declare the Theravada Tripitaka, the sacred scripture of Buddhists, as a UNESCO World Heritage to the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer. It was officially handed over during the national ceremony to announce the proposal made by Sri Lanka to the UNESCO to declare the Theravada Tripitaka as a World Heritage, more..

Dhammika calls for rethink of policies for growth

Mar 24 (FT) Well-known businessman Dhammika Perera stressed that Sri Lanka needs to focus on growth that creates jobs and promotes innovation to move forward from the country’s current middle income status. Speaking at the Fireside Chat, Perera pointed out that it was important to focus policy on how to create jobs as it was the most tangible method of experiencing economic growth. He drew examples from the US where economic development is measured and more..

SLT: From Rainbow Pages to SLT muve car rides

Mar 24 (ST) Turning Sri Lanka’s traditional taxi service upside down, Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), through its digital subsidiary company – the publisher of SLT Rainbow Pages – is set to offer car ride–sharing services. Sri Lanka Telecom Digital Info Services (Pvt) Ltd is now diversifying its business portfolio from the publishing of telephone directories to its latest addition of car pooling for the digital era using a mobile app developed by an Australian IT company, SLT sources revealed. more..

Lankan businessman seeks buyer for palatial Boeing 747

Mar 24 (ST) One of the few surviving Boeing 747 VIP palatial aircraft that generated interest from the likes of John Travolta and placed on the market by a SL businessman in the US, is now likely to be picked up by a tobacco billionaire. Entertaining offers in the range of US$6-9 million the aircraft that is like a palace with an owner’s master bedroom and shower; a lounge and conference room with gold plating and inlays in the wooden tables, more..

Move to set up EPZs across country hailed

Mar 24 (SO) The govt’s move to set up Export Processing Zones (EPZ) across the country will help attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) for export oriented manufacturing industries which would increase foreign exchange earnings and employment opportunities for youth, said exporters and industry heads. National Chamber of Exporters Immediate Past President Ramal Jasinghe said the setting up of Export Processing Zones (EPZ) in Bingiriya and Mirijjawela is an initiative under more..

CB: 8.5% of EPF in stocks

Mar 24 (ST) Approximately 8.5%, of the EPF’s Rs.2 trillion portfolio, would be invested wisely in the stock market, CB Governor Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy has assured trade union leaders. This came at a meeting on Wednesday between CB officials and trade union leaders including Leslie Devendra, Wasantha Samarasinghe and Palitha Athukorala. CB officials led by the Governor promised to provide weekly updates of the return on investment once EPF funds are invested. more..

Central Expressway: Japan imposes tough conditions for big loan

Mar 24 (ST) Japan has imposed tough conditions, including the cancellation of the project, if bribery or corruption is involved, to award the US$ 1 billion commercial loan for the third phase of the Central Expressway project to build the 32 km Pothuhera-Galagedara stretch, a senior official said. The conditions include cancellation of the project and repayment of the loan, if any of the contracting parties is found guilty of bribery charges. more..

Pulmoddai mineral sand deposits will not be transferred: Rishad

Mar 24 (DM) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said recently that neither the govt nor this Ministry has approved the transfer of the profitable Pulmoddai mineral sand deposits. “As we celebrate the 61 year anniversary of Lanka Mineral Sands Ltd (LMSL), it is very important to note that neither the govt nor this Ministry has approved any Cabinet Memorandum related to sale or transfer of the profitable Pulmoddai mineral sand deposits which is under LMSL, which in turn is under us. more..

Sri Lanka TV anchor responds to report on Facebook post

Mar 24 (EN) Derana TV anchor Chapa Chapabandara has responded to our report headlined Facebook takes down SL TV anchor's posts justifying NZ massacre. Chapabandara says his comments were misinterpreted with ulterior motives. His full comment in Sinhala posted on his Facebook page translates as: "Dangerous shooting in New Zealand! They must be thinking they can feed us poison and live in fun! Huh… CHAPA, March 15, 2019" The report was based on more..

Constitutional Council confirms Kodagoda as Appeal Court president

Mar 24 (Island) Constitutional Council (CC) yesterday approved the nomination of Yasantha Kodagoda as President, Court of Appeal, ending a months-long bitter backroom tussle over the key judicial position. Additional Solicitor General Kodagoda, 54, received unanimous support of the CC chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, official sources said after a day of dramatic events involving the top job. more..

I preferred animal underdogs: Snake expert

Mar 24 (SCMP) Herpetologist Dr Ruchira Somaweera turns over his arm, revealing an impressive scar running about 30cm along a vein on his left forearm. “That’s not a scar ... that’s a scar!” he laughs, mocking the “That’s not a knife … THAT’s a knife!” quote made famous by Australian actor Paul Hogan in the 1986 action-comedy Crocodile Dundee. Somaweera’s scar is from a snake bite (he’s been bitten a couple of times by highly venomous snakes). more..

SL’s heightening war on the drug menace

Mar 24 (Hindu) Prez Sirisena’s controversial announcement last month that drug traffickers in SL would be executed drew international attention. Renewing an older pledge, he sought to lift a four decade-long moratorium on capital punishment in the island, modelling his strategy for combating the drug menace on that of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who he had met in Jan. Human rights watchdogs condemned Prez Sirisena’s decision and urged him to reconsider it, more..

Huge oil refinery at H’tota: Controversies and major questions over project

Mar 24 (ST) The son of a controversial Indian politician from the DMK is a director in, not just one, but two companies recently incorporated in Sri Lanka. The second was set up ostensibly to implement a US$ 3.85 billion (Rs 685.5 billion) oil refinery project in Hambantota. But the initiative is mired in confusion. The SL Govt first announced the involvement of the Omani Ministry of Oil and Gas. However, Oman swiftly denied more..

Australian navy ships arrive in Sri Lanka for Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019

Mar 24 (SLN) Four Australian ships belong to the Royal Australian Navy HMAS Canberra, HMAS Newcastle, HMAS Success and HMAS Parramatta arrived in Sri Lanka today (23) to participate in the Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019. HMAS Canberra and HMAS Newcastle entered to the port of Colombo while HMAS Success and HMAS Parramatta entered to the port of Trincomalee. The ships were welcomed by the Sri Lanka Navy in accordance with naval traditions on their arrival. more..

Sri Lankan officials say Oman Minister has arrived for refinery project launch

Mar 24 (Reuters) Oman's oil minister arrived in Sri Lanka on Saturday to participate in the launching of a $3.85 billion oil refinery project, govt officials in Colombo said, three days after Oman said it had not yet agreed to invest in the facility. The arrival of Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy could mean that the project - Sri Lanka's biggest foreign direct investment deal - is back on track. However, there is no immediate sign of a formal deal involving Omani investment. more..

Gota wins presidential nomination from SLPP and its allies

Mar 24 (ST) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be the candidate for SLPP and its opposition allies at this year’s prez election, Sunday Times is able to confirm today. It has also been confirmed that he submitted an application through the US Embassy in Colombo on March 6 to renounce his US citizenship. He is due to travel to Los Angeles next week to attend a wedding. He will seize that opportunity to more..

Ranil, Rajapaksa election moves and Sirisena’s spoiler trump car

Mar 24 (Island) A political wisecrack attributed to President Johnson suggests that the first skill in politics is to be able to count – count the votes in the legislature, that is. Lyndon Johnson was a past master working up narrow legislative majorities in the US Congress and the Senate both before and after becoming US President. He knew the importance of counting. Prez Rajapaksa, an otherwise astute and even cunning politician, has come up short in counting votes on more..

Setting the record straight on Geneva

Mar 24 (Island) "…Sri Lanka’s military strategy has drawn attention and even inspired govts also fighting insurgencies and other armed groups to consider emulating it (e.g., Myanmar, Nigeria, Thailand and Turkey), but the more important impact is a diplomatic one. Sri Lanka’s discursive strategy could be perceived as a model by such govts, for it kept international pressure at bay for the greater part of the war and ensured an endorsement by the UNHRC right after the end of the war…" more..

UNHRC: Sri Lanka’s countermove fails

Mar 24 (ST) Days ahead of the UNHRC’s 40th sessions in Geneva, the behind-the-scenes goings-on in Colombo were tense. Last Sunday saw two Presidential Secretariat meetings chaired by President Sirisena. One was with Sri Lanka’s newly arranged joint SLFP-UNF delegation led by Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana. Another was with a delegation from the TNA led by its leader R, Sampanthan. more..

Crisis in Jaffna Teaching Hospital

Mar 24 (CT) The Teaching Hospital, Jaffna, is faced with a general crisis stemming from the shortage of medical officers and nurses. Director of the Hospital, Dr. T. Sathiyamoorthy said that most nurses who were given appointments at the Hospital were from the Southern part of the country and those who completed their 3-year stint at the Hospital had transferred back to the South. Dr. Sathiyamoorthy said that steps could be more..

'The 52-day govt set up by President reversed progress of Sri Lanka by years'

Mar 24 (Island) The 52-day govt set up by the President with the support of Joint Opposition reversed the progress of the country by years, UNP MP Manusha Nanayakkara told Parliament. MP said: We are still reeling from the shock and ripples caused by the decision of the President to form a govt with the help of the opposition on Oct 26. As a result of the move, the country was dragged back by years. more..

No toilets at Colombo Port for luxury cruise liner tourists

Mar 24 (ST) The Colombo Port has no toilet facilities for the thousands of tourists who are increasingly calling over on luxury cruise liners. There are only two lavatories located in a decrepit passenger terminal on Queen Elizabeth Quay which was built in the early 1950s for the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. Edifice is now abandoned and the toilets are sometimes used by female vendors who sell souvenirs nearby, more..

Demand to go up 40% in five years: Experts warn of serious water issue in Colombo

Mar 24 (SO) The current requirement of fresh water in Colombo will increase by around 40-50% in the next five years due to the rising number of hotels, home stays and apartments in the city, warned engineers and experts in water management at a water forum organised by the Institute of Engineers of Sri Lanka (IESL) in Colombo last week. Colombo needs around 300,000 cubic metres of water per day, more..

Athlete’s arrest and detention raises a hidden story?

Mar 24 (SO) Several eyebrows have been raised and questions asked over the arrest and detention of female sprinter Rumeshika Ratnayake who was on her way to the USA to follow a one month High Performance training course early this week. While it has already been reported that the National Olympic Committee (NOC) has accused the Athletics Association of SL of attempting to stall the progress of Ratnayake more..

JVP raises appointment of new Finance director at Lake House

Mar 24 (Island) A director of the controversial Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) has been nominated to a top financial position of the govt-controlled Lake House, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told parliament yesterday. He said the new media minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, had nominated as finance director of Lake House a person whose passport had been impounded by courts over the bond scam investigation. more..

Police unearth another plot to assassinate Tamil politico

Mar 24 (SO) Twelve suspects were arrested in connection with a plot to assassinate an active Tamil politician, the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) told court last week. Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne allowed the CCD to detain the 12 suspects for questioning about the alleged assassination plot. The arrested persons included members of the underworld and persons with connections to the LTTE. more..

Basil approved Wilpattu clearance in 2012: Kiriella

Mar 24 (SO) Minister, Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament that the then Economic Development Minister, Basil Rajapaksa had given permission for Rishard Bathuideen to clear the Wilpattu Jungle in 2012. Basil Rajapaksa on the instructions of the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa had given 2,800 acres to Rishard Bathuideen. However, this is now being given much publicity as a project launched by the incumbent Govt. more..

Oman oil minister excited to be part of Sri Lanka oil refinery project

Mar 24 (Reuters) Oman’s oil minister said on Sunday he was excited to be part of a Sri Lanka oil refinery project, an indication plans for the sultanate’s involvement may be back on track. The comments by Mohammed bin Al-Rumhy came after an Omani official last week had denied the Middle Eastern country had agreed to invest in the project. Rumhy joined PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at the laying of the foundation stone for the planned $3.85 billion more..

Bogeymen rmerging as Saints; Cronyism & 2020

Mar 25 (CT) If cumulative total of promises made by all govts of cronyism since 1953 were fulfilled, Sri Lankan economy would have been ranked number one. Sri Lankans would have been the richest and happiest in the world. Furthermore, country’s name would have changed into Shangri-La. What a paradox, the same men and their siblings have begun to hoodwink the masses by revamping the same promises for unsuspecting voters with the hope of winning next presidency. more..

Gota’s presidential candidacy & The UNP’s Sirisena Nikâya

Mar 25 (CT) This year’s Presidential election is tipped to be one of the most dramatic national elections in SL—and for no other reason but for the possibility that Gotabaya Rajapaksa will be the Prez candidate of the SLPP-led alliance. In anticipation, Rajapaksa camp is seen vigorously promoting Gotabaya, whose dual citizenship with the US has proved an impediment to any ambitions of the presidency. But an English language newspaper owned by a businessman more..

Questions over CIABOC Shangri-La tamasha

Mar 25 (SO) Just a day after the grand tamasha that took place at the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel, to launch the National Action Plan for combating bribery and corruption, CIABOC, promptly went before the Colombo Magistrate, and, based on technical grounds, withdrew cases filed against MP Johnston Fernando. The cases pertained to his failure to disclose his assets and liabilities for four years, commencing 2011. more..

Karannagoda order and Geneva spectacle

Mar 25 (ST) Accountability in Sri Lanka was always about the working of the criminal law. And Justice was always about the clash of the non-equals with the more than equals. In that clash, seldom have the non-equals triumphed in this country, as bitter lessons of our legal history so persistently teach us. Those who are appalled at the recent ruling of the Supreme Court preventing the arrest of ex-Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda in connection with an ongoing investigation into more..

Geneva expenditure

Mar 25 (CT) Sri Lanka’s Geneva engagement has now turned into a several millions of rupees affair even after the three decades of ruthless separatist war came to an end ten years ago in 2009. Sri Lanka’s military expenditure remained very high with the country almost becoming a failed state with spending hugely on military hardware. The end of war with the annihilation of the LTTE was considered a blessing for the country and expectations were very high towards more..

'TNA protecting this Govt unconditionally'

Mar 25 (CT) MP and UPFA member Dulles Alahapperuma says “We should get together through an extensive alliance to defeat the extremist non-patriotic, foreign-friendly UNP Agenda”. Q: The official discussion on establishing a new alliance together with SLFP and SLPP has already been held. What were the responses received from SLFP at the discussions? A: Discussion was held in an extremely friendly & successful manner. more..

UNHRC’s message rings loud and clear

Mar 25 (SO) SL emerged from the UNHRC sessions in Geneva this week relatively unscathed, with the Council granting the country’s request for a 2-year time period to implement the recommendations of a resolution it co-sponsored. This is despite strenuous efforts from the Eelam lobby to exert more pressure on Sri Lanka by wooing Western nations and the UN hierarchy- and the lack of a cohesive policy in Colombo where two factions of the Govt were pulling in different directions. more..

Sri Lanka’s vehicle conundrum

Mar 25 (ST) At a motor show at the BMICH Colombo last week, there were gleaming new vehicles on display in the hall for connoisseurs and those with deep pockets to not only take a look but take their pick from the best of the best. From the mid-range of Toyota Yaris, Hyundai, Nissan, Honda, Perodua, Suzuki and Mitsubishi to the high-end like BMW, Porsche, Audi, Land Cruiser, MG, Mercedes Benz, Volvo, Range Rover and Jaguar; the cars, SUVs and trucks were up for grabs, more..


Tsunami Sonali finds love and bliss marrying Potter actress Fiona Shaw

Mar 25 (ST) Sonali Deraniyagala caught the heart of the nation and made it weep in a wave of tears 14 years ago when an underground rumble off the shores of Indonesia sent shockwaves to hit Lankan shores and leave thousands dead in its wake. On Boxing Day, not even six hours after the Christians had celebrated Christmas and switched the lights off their Christmas trees after unwrapping the gifts family and friends had bestowed upon them, all of Lanka from east to west, north to south more..

Heavens change Peterite chase

Mar 25 (SO) Rain clouds hovered and poor light conditions compelled the umpires to call off play in the 45th Battle of the Saints limited overs cricket encounter as the run chase of St. Peter’s College was halted for no fault of theirs that gave St. Joseph’s College the win at the SSC ground. When the match was brought to a sudden end the Peterites were progressing at 175 for 5 in reply to 250 made by the Joes. It meant the Peterites were just 10 runs short of the required target (185) more..