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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..

A failed World Cup campaign

Mar 27 (NS) Last week The Nation quite appropriately said that the World Cup quarter-final clash with South Africa would be the Moment of truth for Sri Lanka of how good a team they were in the tournament. Their 9-wicket loss to the Proteas does not come as a surprise because for too long it has been their batting that has carried them thus far. On the day the batters failed to put up the expected numbers on the board, Sri Lanka were more..

Do we have an India policy?

Mar 27 (Island) Do we have an India policy? Or are we merely dealing with situations ad hoc? Perhaps, I repeat ‘perhaps’ the only time when we had a consistent ‘India policy’ was under SWRD and Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike ——- Can we forget how India took back almost half a million people of recent Indian descent from our hill country and also withdrew her claim to Katchchtivu? How we related to India after 1978 is a story of absolute disaster. The price we have paid is enormous and more..

Editorial: Whither 19A?

Mar 27 (Island) 19th Amendment Bill currently before Parliament is likely to suffer the same fate as President Kumaratunga’s draft Constitution (2000) which was literally burnt in the House. It was alleged that Kumaratunga had incorporated some provisions into it without the concurrence of other stakeholders. JHU MP Ven. Ratana Thera said something similar about the 19th Amendment the other day in Parliament. JHU which went flat out to topple Rajapaksa administration more..

'UNP is united and stronger than ever'

Mar 27 (FT) Western Provincial Councillor S.M. Marikkar who polled highest votes at the last PC poll is upbeat of party’s prospects in the upcoming General Election. However he warned that expeditious fulfilment of the pledges made to people in the run up to Presidential election is key. In a no holds barred interview, Marikkar makes a critical assessment of the status of national politics so far. more..

President walks 13 plus tightrope

Mar 27 (NS) Every Sri Lankan govt since independence has had to deal with its counterpart in India. Sometimes, these relations reached dizzy heights and at other times, they deteriorated to the point where the two countries were engaged in a diplomatic war of words. Indo-Lanka relations were at their zenith when Sirima Bandaranaike and Indira Gandhi were at the helm of their countries. The two ladies, both daughters of two Prime Ministers, had a great personal chemistry between more..

National Security is not a football

Mar 27 (NS) There were two key decisions made by the new Govt with respect to long-standing complaints raised by elected representatives from areas populated by a majority of Tamils. The first was to appoint a civilian as the Governor of the Northern Provincial Council. The previous Governor was officially a civilian, but he was also an ex-soldier; highly decorated and by most accounts highly competent in handling civilian situations (he did a fantastic job at the Relief Camps more..

'Even the UNP is only looking at how to grab power'

Mar 27 (CT) The Coordinating Secretary to the President, Attorney-at-Law Shiral Lakthilaka, in an interview spoke of two pressing issues - the need to prosecute cases of corruption with more vigour and to go for a national govt with a win-win situation. The country now has the latter, but now the question is whether a govt with the same old faces would be as interested in pursuing the corruption of the past. more..

President Sirisena must arrest SLFP’s retreat to the past

Mar 27 (Island) The contours of a national unity govt or a grand coalition govt of the two major parties took on more definition a few days ago when over twenty SLFP seniors were inducted as cabinet ministers, state and deputy ministers in the Administration of President Maithripala Sirisena. The move is a vivid picture of what a post election national govt would look like. President Sirisena and the NDF coalition promised a new Sri Lanka in one hundred days. more..

Sri Lankan National Anthem: Symbolism, nationalism, racism and other stories

Mar 27 (GV) To write a piece of this nature while holding an academic position in a state university is quite a controversial move. Those who read this piece purely for the sake of critiquing it might find ample fuel in it to provoke the fires. Some may perceive this to be a nationalistic piece. Hence, I feel the need to explain a few basics before I delve into the topic at hand. Yes, I am a nationalist. But what is nationalism? For me, I am a Sri Lankan. Not a Sinhalese. more..

Excessive use of chemical fertilizers contaminate groundwater in Jaffna

Mar 27 (SO) Fast paced agricultural development in the Jaffna District is evolving into a serious health hazards because of the unchecked use of chemical fertilizers. Already there has been a marked increase in the number of kidney patients in the district, attributed to water being contaminated with chemicals. Researcher in Charge of Jaffna Agriculture Dept, T Karunainathan, confirmed that ground water has been contaminated more..

Chandrika Chinthana, National Govt & 19A

Mar 27 (CT) Blackadder fans will know what I mean when I say that Chandrika and Ranil have come up with a plan of truly Baldrickian cunning. They let it slip while speaking on separate occasions after the formation of the so-called National Government. Ranil said that the change that had been initiated, promised to take us back to 1948 or 1951 and reverse what had befallen us since. The uninitiated may wonder what the reference to 1951 was. It is all very simple. That’s the year SLFP was more..

Why a Referendum is necessary for 19A

Mar 27 (CT) There are politically important and serious reasons why this piece of legislation called the 19 Amendment has to go before the people for their direct approval, before it becomes law. 1. There was no transparency, no accountability in the drafting process. It is an accepted democratic practise to have the process of drafting a constitution as an open, people based process. This left the people totally out of it in every way. 2. This parliament lacks any legitimacy more..

Sri Lanka promises port project to resume after problems sorted: China

Mar 26 (Reuters) China said on Thursday that Sri Lanka's visiting president had promised work would resume on a controversial Chinese-backed port development in Colombo that his administration had earlier suspended. Citing a lack of govt approvals, Sri Lanka halted the $1.4 billion port city project, straining ties with its biggest investor. China defends the project, saying it is in line with local laws and any cancellation more..

Xi, Sirisena discuss trilateral cooperation with India

Mar 26 (PTI) The Chinese and Sri Lankan presidents on Thursday discussed prospects of trilateral cooperation with India to address New Delhi's security concerns in the Indian Ocean besides ways to boost defence cooperation including personnel training and providing military hardware to Colombo. Making his first visit to China to re-balance pro-Beijing policies pursued by the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime, new SL President Maithripala Sirisena held talks for more..

Anger of UPFA Ratnapura elected reps boils over national govt

Mar 26 (Island) UPFA Ratnapura District MP Janaka Wakkumbura said that there was no meaning in having an Opposition leader whose own MPs were holding ministerial positions in the govt. He said that it was wrong for the UPFA members to accept ministerial portfolios in the new govt. "The so-called 100-day programme is in a shambles. It seems that our colleagues who accepted ministerial portfolios in the new govt will have to whitewash the current regime and they will be employed to justify more..

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