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Former Chief of Defence questioned over MIG 27 deal

Mar 27 (AM) A statement is currently being recorded from Former Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Roshan Goonetileke by the Financial Fraud Investigation Division over the MiG aircraft transaction. The Police Financial Fraud Investigation Division recently commenced a fresh probe into the alleged financial misappropriations that had been committed in the purchase of four MiG airplanes from Ukraine more..

In definace of party ban more than 25 SLFP MPs at pro-Mahinda rally

Mar 27 (Island) More than 25 SLFP MPs attended yesterday’s Bring Back Mahinda rally at Ratnapura. Tens of thousands of people braved heavy rains to throng the Ratnapura town in support of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is under pressure from his loyalists including a section of SLFP MPs to contest the next parliamentary election as the UPFA’s prime ministerial candidate. The rally was jointly organised by MEP, NFF, more..

Sri Lanka, China FTA third round of talks soon

Mar 27 (EN) Sri Lanka and China are to hold a third round of talks on a free trade agreement soon following President Maithripala Sirisena's state visit to China that ends Friday, a foreign ministry statement said. Sirisena held talks with Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China and also met Li Keqiang, Premier, and Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China. more..

Colombo Port City : 'British experts dispelled environmental concerns'

Mar 27 (Island) Constructor of the half completed Colombo Port City Project, China Harbour Engineering Company says that it had even consulted British experts with regard to environmental concerns, even though the company was not bound to do so in a Private-Public partnership. Project stands suspended following Sirisena-Ranil govt calling for a review of the agreement with previous administration. more..

‘No Indian fishers will be allowed in SL water’

Mar 27 (Island) Acting Foreign Minister Ajith P. Perera denied Indian media reports that Sri Lanka had agreed to allow Indian fishing vessels to enter the Sri Lankan waters 83 days per year for the next three years. Minister Perera stressed that the govt hadn’t changed its position on the contentious issue of poaching. He was responding to foreign media reports that Sri Lanka had agreed to share its waters with Indian fishing fleet. more..

Vibushika released from probation

Mar 27 (AM) Kilinochchi Magistrate Court on Thursday (26) ordered the release Balendran Vibushika from probation with immediate effect. Vibushika, the daughter of Balendran Jeyakumari, was transferred to probationary custody in a children’s home in Kilinochchi after her mother’s arrest in March 2014. Jeyakumari was detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) with no chargers filed. more..

Premier Li asks Sri Lanka for continuous, stable policy for Chinese investors

Mar 27 (Xinhua) Premier Li Keqiang asked Sri Lanka to maintain its continuous and stable policy, and provide good environment for Chinese investors. He made the comments during a meeting with visiting Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena at the Great Hall of the People. Li said China would continue to encourage companies to invest in Sri Lanka and participate in infrastructure and industrial construction. more..

Two deaths in custody this month: Three cops on the mat

Mar 27 (ST) At least three policemen including two sergeants have been interdicted in connection with two separate cell deaths that took place at the start of this month, pending further investigations but a rights group while condemning the incidents has called for tougher action and transparency in the probe. During the initial investigations the police claimed that in both incidents the victims had apparently hanged more..

Spitting venom then: Sitting pretty now

Mar 27 (DM) Politics in the Sri Lankan context has always been a drama worth watching. The various defections, mud-slinging and defamatory remarks politicians throw at one another are entertaining. The recent presidential elections provided a platform for many of these activities to take place in public. Many were overly-confident of a victory for former President Rajapaksa for a third term but things happened otherwise much to more..

Kshenuka’s appointment raises concerns

Mar 27 (SL) The govt has come under severe criticism from numerous quarters for the appointment of former external Affairs Ministry’s Secretary, Kshenuka Seneviratne as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Thailand. According to sources, appointment was made as Seneviratne is a senior foreign ministry official and she cannot be left at the ministry without an appointment. However the JVP has strongly condemned govt for overlooking more..

Some thoughts on Good Governance

Mar 27 (DM) Governance in broad terms encapsulates the importance of transparency, predictability, accountability, stakeholder participation, rule of law, anticorruption, independence of the judiciary and media freedom, among others. Sri Lanka has suffered substantially in upholding many of these values in recent years largely due to the adoption of undemocratic and often ill-conceived policies and practices in implementing development programmes. more..

Taking the bull by the horns

Mar 27 (DM) Amid public criticism of the Govt’s delay in taking action against former VIPs who were allegedly involved in large scale corruption, the Police announced on Wednesday they would seek a court order for former minister Basil Rajapaksa to return to the country for questioning. Mr. Rajapaksa, political strongman in the former regime of his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, was the Minister of Economic Development, which ran the Divi Neguma Department – a subject of much controversy. more..

Ranil lists immediate priorities for Sri Lanka

Mar 27 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday shared with editors and owners of media the list of immediate priorities for the country in the national interest, noting that the interim Govt had thus far delivered results whilst some would take more time. In his first formal interaction with the media since assuming duties as PM following the game-changing victory of common Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena on 8 Jan, more..

Sri Lanka to participate in Expo Milano 2015

Mar 27 (GDI) Sri Lanka govt will participate in the universal exposition World Expo 2015. Expo Milano 2015 World Trade Fair that will be held from 1st May to 31 Oct, at World Avenue and Biodiversity Park in Milan, Italy with the objective of promoting Trade and Tourism. Participation consist of Export Development Board, Tea Board, National Gem & Jewellery Authority, National Crafts Council, Dept of Commerce together with SL Tourism under auspicious of Ministry of Industry & Comm. more..

Money grubbing JPs beware

Mar 27 (Island) Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe has instructed his ministry officials to nab justices of peace who sell their services and to impose severe punishments on them. The ministry has received information of justices of peace who charge money from people to issue affidavits and to certify documents. Some justices of peace have offices in front of various state sector organizations to ply their trades. It is illegal for a JP to charge money from people for the services they render. more..

PM kicks off 3-day first official visit to North

Mar 27 (Island) In the wake of the govt giving up a section of the Jaffna High Security Zone (HSZ) last Monday, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will undertake a 3-day visit to examine the situation in the Northern Province. Premier will commence his visit today with religious observances at Naga Viharaya. Premier will briefly meet TNA MPs representing the Northern Province, security forces’ top brass in the North, civil society more..

President's Fund gives Namal Udugama Rs. 1 m for treatment

Mar 27 (DN) On the special approval of President Maithripala Sirisena, the President's Fund has provided Rs. one million to vocalist Namal Udugama for treatment for a liver problem. Although the normal entitlement due to a patient suffering from a liver problem is Rs. 400,000 this has been increased to Rs. one million as a special favour to the vocalist. The release also denied as false and baseless a statement made by vocalist Madhu Madava Aravinda that President promised only more..

Let’s show our unity to the enemies of the nation: Mahinda

Mar 27 (Island) Former President Rajapaksa, in a statement read out at yesterday’s rally in Ratnapura, called upon the people to stand united against enemies of the nation as the separatists were still active. Rajapaksa said sinister forces had emerged stronger since Jan 08. "The time has come for us to tell them in no uncertain terms that though they have engineered electoral losses we are strong in politics. We must make it very clear to them that they cannot rob us of our courage to fight back. more..

Basil to return soon

Mar 27 (DM) Former minister Basil Rajapaksa has said that he would return to Sri Lanka soon and would assist in the ongoing police investigation into allegations made against him. A spokesman of Mr. Rajapaksa saidthat a court order sent to Mr. Rajapaksa’s residence in Korathota, Gampaha had been accepted. Earlier, a tense situation had prevailed when the court order was sent to Mr. Rajapaksa’s Medamulana more..

Machine to test DCD & Melamine

Mar 27 (DN) For the first time in Sri Lanka the Triple Quadrupole Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (LCMSMS) testing machine would be introduced to Sri Lanka from next month enabling the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) to locally perform tests on DCD and Melamine in imported milk powder. In addition it would also be able to provide globally accepted test reports on quality of tea and fish exports as and when required. "Another advantage of this sophisticated machine more..

Mihin Lanka to commence flights to Kolkata

Mar 27 (DN) Mihin Lanka, national low-cost carrier will expand its operations to Kolkata, India with effect from June 15. The strategic expansion of Mihin Lanka's network is in line with its five-year business plan to expand its route network. The airline introduced an Airbus A319 to its fleet in March 2015, and the new aircraft will service Kolkata and will also support increasing frequencies to some of the airline key routes - Dhaka, Madurai, Lahore, Gaya and Varanasi. more..

President’s bro critically injured in axe attack

Mar 27 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena’s brother P.G. Priyantha was airlifted to the National Hospital, Colombo following an incident in Polonnaruwa, where he was attacked with an axe on the head. The police described the assailant as one of his friends. The victim had been at the house of the suspect’s parents, trying to settle a dispute when he came under attack, police spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekara told The Island last night. more..

'Sri Lanka is the reason why I play cricket'

Mar 27 (MEN) Lancashire are enjoying a 10-day pre-season training camp in Sri Lanka – and new vice captain Steven Croft admits he would not be where he is today if it wasn’t for the cricket-mad country. Croft and his Red Rose team-mates are preparing for the new season in the sweltering heat of Colombo, a place where the 30-year-old all-rounder once called home. In 1993, Croft’s father accepted a job in the city and took Steven with him. A mad keen Blackpool football fan, more..

Samurdhi officers decry delay in paying EPF

Mar 27 (CT) The Samurdhi Development Officers' Union (SDOU) has written to Minister Sajith Premadasa, outlining the grievances of the Samurdhi officers who had been denied their EPF payments despite having several meetings with the minister. General Secretary of the All Ceylon Managers' Association, Chamara Kaluge said, "We spoke to the minister on three occasions. Of the 25,101 employees who were integrated to the Divi Neguma Department, last govt had not paid more..

Atul Keshap named US envoy to Sri Lanka

Mar 27 (IANS) After Rahul Verma, who is the US ambassador to India, yet another Indian American has been named the country's envoy by President Obama. Atul Keshap, a senior Indian-American foreign service official, has been named as ambassador to Sri Lanka. "I am honoured that these talented individuals have decided to serve our country. They bring their years of experience and expertise to this administration, more..

SL’s brand value to reach US$ 79 b in 2015

Mar 27 (DN) For the first time Sri Lanka’s brand value of US$ 79 billion would surpass the country’s GDP of US$ 79 billion in 2015, said Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Rohantha Atukorale. Speaking at a press conference to announce Sri Lanka’s participation at the world’s largest trade show, EXPO Milano 2015 from May 1 to October 15 in Italy, he said that this is due to the fact that Sri Lanka is being aggressively promoted by SriLankan Airlines along with more..

3 Sri Lankan Tamils held for migrating people

Mar 27 (TOI) The Tamil Nadu 'Q' branch police on Wednesday arrested three Sri Lankan Tamils for illegally migrating the refugees from the special camps to Australia. Police identified them as Dhushyanthan, 29, Lingeswaran, 30 and Vijayaraj, 28, from a house in Pozhichalur near Pallavaram. Based on a specific tip from one of the refugees, who paid money to them, police nabbed them. The 'Q' branch sleuths registered a case and remanded them in judicial custody. more..

Arjuna cautions on nominations

Mar 27 (CG) Minister Arjuna Ranathunga urged President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe not to grant nominations for opportunistic and corrupt persons who cross over from major parties when they are not able to secure nominations in their own parties. Arjuna Ranathunga said that the people should be able to select the best people from good candidates and he believes that in upcoming parliamentary election this would more..

Humanitarian action and protection: Lessons from Sri Lanka

Mar 27 (GIG) Live debate addresses the protection dimension of humanitarian action in the SL Civil War. Some observers argue that the end phase of this long-standing war illustrates the limited capacity of the international relief system to protect civilians. Is the relief system’s lack of agency to blame for failing to safeguard humanitarian space and protected status for civilians? Did this aggravate the shortcomings of intergovernmental crisis management and human rights machinery? more..

Focus on frontline trade, energy issues

Mar 27 (CT) The first-ever official joint meet between Vietnam and Sri Lanka to be held in Colombo since the historic official trade linkages in Hanoi opened in August 2014, will commence tomorrow with a call to quadruple trade levels to US$ 1 Bn – and Vietnam has also announced the removal of its own regulatory lines that stymied eager Lankan tea exporters to its 90 million huge market, as revealed on 25 March. "When compared to the future target of one billion dollars bilateral trade that we want more..

'New regime elected by Sri Lankans, no involvement of UK or US agencies'

Mar 27 (ST) Two British Universities will be set up in SL next year under an overseas plan to enable SL students to pursue studies here and for those who cannot afford to proceed to UK for higher studies. Students will be able to read for a British degree while in Sri Lanka, said British High Commissioner John Rankin addressing British Scholars Association recently. There were 8000 SL students studying in UK some time ago, but more..

Citi Women’s Day celebrations spotlight reality of Wonder Women

Mar 27 (DN) Citi Sri Lanka took a pioneering turn in celebrating International Women's Day by inviting Mind Adventures’ to perform an original theater production, Wonder Woman, scripted and directed by celebrated theatre personality Tracy Holsinger. Joining Citi worldwide to honor women in the forefront of progress and diversity under the theme Connecting Women. Inspiring Change. Making Progress, Citi Sri Lanka pushed the boundaries of theatre with Mind Adventures, more..

Angel investors offer fresh funding for start-ups

Mar 27 (EN) A Sri Lankan angel investor group has called for fresh business proposals from start-ups looking for funding and mentoring support. It was launched by Blue Ocean Ventures and the Indian Angel Network (IAN) in partnership with the Lankan Angel Network (LAN), a statement said. “What sets Venture Engine apart is that entrepreneurs are granted the opportunity to interact directly with investors," said Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Co-Founder of Blue Ocean Ventures. more..

Govt probing previous regime's CB investments in EPF

Mar 27 (CT) Govt is currently probing the transaction of Central Bank's investments EPF in the Colombo Stock Exchange. "All these transactions are heavy probe in a true spirit of transparency and good governance and we are determined to complete the findings within these 100 days," top official and political sources said. A cloud of controversy was looming over these transactions of the previous regime which also prompted more..

Confusion and delays mar populist Budget

Mar 27 (NS) Despite the interim Budget 2015 presented by the Finance Minister in Parliament being passed almost six weeks ago, Sri Lanka’s research analysts last week pointed out that there is still a great amount of confusion and delay regarding several interim proposals affecting economic policy direction. In some cases, the analysts said that although the companies are following the guidelines provided in the interim budget, official gazettes are yet to be published. more..

Ranil rants, raves and knots himself up

Mar 27 (NS) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has come out with a lengthy speech on the vexed matter of Treasury Bonds. He has defended Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, pledged an investigation in the interest of affirming that there was no wrongdoing, defended the composition of the panel appointed to investigate and cast aspersion on several individuals and groups. It is good that Wickremesinghe has broken his silence on this issue. more..

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