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S.Korea, China banks keen to set up branches here

Mar 7 (DN) Leading banks in South Korea and China are keen to set up branches in Sri Lanka, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said. He said that the present political climate and high economic movement is prompting them to look at setting up branches in Sri Lanka. The proposed financial centre too is receiving world attention and several global top names are keen to be a part of it. He said that more credit should flow to the rural areas so that micro entrepreneurs more..

Mini- budget will impose further hardships on the public: Herath

Mar 7 (DN) Govt's proposed mini-budget to broaden the tax base will impose further hardships on the public, JVP MP Vijitha Herath said. He said these tax revisions would increase public protests against the govt. Herath said the economic burden on the people increased from the previous budget too, adding that the govt was planning to present another mini-budget in March to revise the taxes with the aim of increasing govt income. "We do not see that govt has a comprehensive plan to more..

Call for implementing death penalty renewed ahead of Seya murder case judgment

Mar 7 (Island) Member of a special parliamentary committee Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopull called for the immediate implementation of the death penalty at least in special cases like the rape and murder of five-year-old Seya Sedewmi. Negombo High Court will deliver the verdict on that case on March 15. Seya Sedewmi was abducted, raped and killed during last September. more..

Outcome of A Letter

Mar 7 (DM) Minister Lakshman Kiriella, who is in the centre of a controversy over issuing of a letter to a Head of the Dept of Political Science at the Uni of Kelaniya requesting him to employ a person known to the minister as a Temporary Lecturer in Political Science has been justifying his action in so many ways. He first argued that he had asked the university authorities to appoint the person only if the latter was qualified, which was correct according to the initial reports. more..

Political Slips, slithers and skids

Mar 7 (DM) Ordinary people making enormous, medium sized, small and not- worth-worrying-about mistakes all the time is no surprise; they are just being human. And their omissions, commissions and gross errors usually do not hurt anybody else but them. There are exceptions of course, when family, friends and associates also get hit by one person’s neglect, indiscretion or idiocy. However, slip-ups of politicians are different stories altogether. Even if one politico drops a marble more..

Sivarathri: The night when the Force awakens

Mar 7 (DM) As is common in Hinduism, Maha Sivarathri has many different explanations about the observation. However, first and foremost Maha Sivarathri is NOT a festival but a religious observation. One may wonder why it is called Maha Sivarathri, instead of just Sivarathri. By the way it is Siva not Shiva. True enough, every month there are Sivarathris called Matha Sivarathri (Monthly Siva Rathri). So, the special one came to be known as more..

Mixed feelings on ETCA

Mar 7 (SL) With PM Wickremesinghe and President Sirisena putting a full stop to the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India, the spotlight is now focused on the much-debated Indo-Sri Lanka Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA). With more and more discussions brimming on the matter, the new govt seems persistent with pursuing the agreement. more..

Russia committed to ensuring SL’s security

Mar 7 (Island) Russia says that ensuring security, stability and minimizing tensions were the cornerstones of its military cooperation with Sri Lanka. Defence Attache at the Russian Embassy, Colonel Dmitry Mikhaylovsky addressing a ceremony to mark Defender of the Fatherland Day in Colombo last week said that long standing ties between the two countries was based on trust and sincere friendship between more..

Cracks appear in Yahapalanaya

Mar 7 (DM) By all accounts, the Yahapalana govt is going through a rough patch. Some folks quip, tongue-in- cheek that the Joint Opposition’s coconut dashing has begun to work. Whatever the otherworldly forces behind the fallout, this is bad show. The UNP stalwart and the Minister Lakshman Kiriella was on record berating in abusive language a journalist after the former was exposed in influence peddling in an academic more..

Prasanna continues to defy SLFP leadership

Mar 7 (Island) The SLFP Minuwangoda Balamandayala yesterday unanimously decided to align with the Joint Opposition and demanded that President Maithripala Sirisena return the leadership of the party to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The outfit also demanded the immediate reinstatement of UPFA MP Prasanna Ranatunga as the SLFP organiser of Minuwangoda electorate. SLFP Minuwangoda Balamandayala met more..

NIC at 15 years under amended Registration of Persons Act

Mar 7 (ST) Registration of Persons Act will be amended for the compulsory registration of every citizen of Sri Lanka, as well as the introduction of new age limit for the issuance of National Identity Cards (NIC). The age of registration under the proposed laws is 15, down from the present 16. Wide changes to the Registration of Persons Act No 32 of 1968 will also see the introduction of biometrics and compilation of more..

Sri Lanka to get $1.5-bln IMF loan to avert balance of payments woes

Mar 7 (Reuters) Sri Lanka will receive a loan of $1.5 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to boost foreign exchange reserves and avert a balance of payments problem, a govt minister said on Monday. Sri Lanka's finances are under scrutiny after ratings agency Fitch last week downgraded its sovereign rating by a notch, to B+, spurred by a ballooning fiscal deficit, rising foreign debt and sluggish growth prospects. more..

Norochcholai plant built below international standards

Mar 7 (CG) Govt says the Norochcholai coal power plant has been built below international standards and that is one reason it cannot handle lightning. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said that three power generating units at the coal power plant had shut down as a result of lightning recently and this affected the electricity supply in the entire country. “When lightning strikes Polpitiya all three units at the Norochcholai more..

Jayalalithaa urges Modi to intervene to free fishermen in Sri Lanka

Mar 7 (TOI) A day after 29 Tamil Nadu fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lanka navy, chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his personal intervention to secure the release of all the Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody. "There is an urgent and imperative need to ensure that our fishermen are not arrested and abducted in the high seas. Proactive action needs to be initiated at more..

Sri Lankan hotels lure back migrant staff, mull foreign workers

Mar 7 (EN) Sri Lankan hotels are luring back staff who went to work abroad after local training and are considering hiring foreign workers to fill wait staff vacancies as worries grow that a labour shortage could stymie growth. About 4,000 new hotel rooms are expected to come on line in the next few months as new hotels under construction open their doors while more are planned with sector growing strongly since more..

National question can be solved only by power sharing

Mar 7 (CT) On Jan 25 this year Opposition and TNA Leader R. Sampanthan left for London and then to the Scottish capital Edinburgh accompanied by his trusted lieutenant Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran, MP. Sampanthan’s visit to Scotland coincided with the government taking steps to draft a new Constitution. Both Sampanthan and Sumanthiran participated at a constitutional workshop held to explore possible alternatives for political solution to the ethnic issue in SL. more..

Salley looks back nostalgically at Gota’s management style

Mar 7 (Island) Chairman of the Shaikh Usman Waliyullah Shrine and Masjid, popularly called the Devatagaha Mosque, has complained to authorities that immediate action must be taken to halt an unauthorised structure within the mosque premises. "I have lodged a complaint with the Cinnamon Gardens Police Station and even written to the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) and the Urban Development Authority (UDA), but there has been no action," Reyyaz Salley said. more..

පැතිකඩ දේශපාලන වැඩසටහන

Video: MS mistakenly addressed as MR

Mar 7 (DM) Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture B. Wijerathne mistakenly addressed President Maithripala Sirisena as former president Mahinda Rajapaksa this morning, during his welcome address at the launch of the national program for a toxin-free nation. However, he apologized and rectified his mistake the next moment. The event was held coinciding with the Wasa Wisa Nethi Jathika Pola, or the Poison-free Agricultural Educational Trade Exhibition at BMICH. more..

Wanted thief arrested

Mar 7 (Island) Athurugiriya police last Friday arrested a man wanted for a series of thefts. The suspect, a 52-year-old resident of Vidyala Junction, Hokandara, is a father of two. The suspect living with his family in Anuradhapura had moved to Hokandara and rented a room to commit burglaries and thefts in the area. A drug addict, he had funded his drug habit with money he received from the sale of stolen articles, police said, adding that he needed at least Rs. 8,000. more..

HIV rumor: Akila says child will be admitted to new school

Mar 7 (DM) Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said today the Govt had decided to provide a school for the six-year-old boy, who was deprived of a school over rumours that he was HIV infected, and to meet his expenses throughout his schooling. He said the child’s mother would be provided with a new home near the child’s School. While criticizing various posts against him on social media web sites, Mr. Kariyawasam said more..

Beauty products sales strong at Sri Lanka’s Sunshine group pharmacies

Mar 7 (EN) Sri Lanka’s Sunshine Holdings says strong sales of beauty products at its Healthguard pharmacies justify plans to expand the chain with a shift to becoming more of a wellness retailer. Healthguard expects to more than double its outlet network – consisting of standalone Full Service stores and Express stores located within leading supermarkets – from 24 at present to 50 by 2018. Eight new Full Service and Express outlets have been opened from more..

Maha Shiva Rathri helps enhance spiritual discipline: President

Mar 7 (PSL) President Sirisena says Maha Shiva Rathri which is celebrated by the Hindus world over enhances the spiritual discipline and continues the materiel life in a righteous manner with the divine blessing. Issuing a message, he added that the rituals performed by Hindu devotees on this day symbolize their wish for coexistence with each other. “Such rituals which have been practiced since ancient times always stood for peaceful and non-violent existence of the humans”, more..

Video: Ranawaka was at home; not in vehicle: JHU

Mar 7 (DM) JHU said today its General Secretary, and Minister Champika Ranawaka was not in his vehicle at the time of the Rajagiriya accident. “Minister Ranawaka was at his official residence at the time of the accident,” Party National Organiser Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe said. He said certain media institutions and MPs such as JHU breakaway Udaya Gammanpila and Wimal Weerawansa were attempting to tarnish the image of Minister Ranawaka by misusing incident. more..

Show no mercy to underworld

Mar 7 (CT) Police Department has worked out an action plan to deal with the underworld menace under the command of Senior DIG, Pujith Jayasundera. The shooting incidents have increased in recent months in Colombo and suburbs creating a fear psychosis among innocent civilians. Following the very recent shooting incidents which had resulted in the killing of an underworld gangster known as Kamburupitiye Harsha at Obeysekarapura, Welikada on 3 March and more..

SL forex reserves rise to US$6.56bn in Feb

Mar 7 (EN) Sri Lanka's official foreign reserves increased US$ 274 million to US$ 6.56 billion in February 2016, from a month earlier, official data show. The value of the Central Bank's gold stock rose to US$ 881.5 million from US$ 797.5 million a month earlier. Sri Lanka has lost foreign reserves steadily over the last year as dollars were sold to mop up excess import demand triggered by debt monetization. Liquidity data shows interventions continuing in February. more..

I would take any decision in proper time for betterment of country: President

Mar 7 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says that the responsibility of the rulers who love the country and the people as well as scholars and intellectuals is to provide most appropriate things to the people. He added he would take any decision for the betterment of the country and the nation in the proper time. President made these remarks at the inauguration ceremony of the Toxin Free Nation (Vasa Visa Nethi Ratak) more..

HIV controversy: Legal and medical experts say rights of mother and child violated

Mar 7 (CT) Former Chairman of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) Prof. Harendra De Silva has declared that both authorities and the media have failed in their duty over the controversy surrounding the six year old child from Kuliyapitiya who is rumoured to be HIV+. Prof. De Silva said that this is not the first time authorities have faltered on such a matter. “According to the STD policy in Sri Lanka ‘the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS are promoted, more..

Over 100 foreign investors at Sri Lanka business forum

Mar 7 (EN) More than 100 foreign investors from around 20 countries are visiting Sri Lanka to take part in an investor forum organised by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, starting Tuesday. Datuk Azzat Kamaludin, chairman of Dialog Axiata in Malaysia, will deliver the keynote speech at the Sri Lanka Investment and Business Conclave. It said the forum will see the participation of 125 plus potential investors from 27 countries and 130 Sri Lankan business executives representing more..

Audio: I will inject myself with the blood of the child: Ranjan

Mar 7 (DM) He would have injected himself the blood sample of the child, who had been rumoured to have congenital HIV/AIDS, Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said. “If it is necessary to prove that the child had not infected with HIV/AIDS, I have would have done so to demolish the rumours among the people of Kuliyapitiya,” he said. “If anyone challenges to prove that the child had been infected with HIV/AIDS, I will inject a blood more..

Amended PTA handed over to Minister of Justice

Mar 7 (CT) President's Counsel Romesh De Silva, Chairman of the Law Commission said that the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), which was amended so as to protect human rights was handed over by the Commission to Minister Dr. Wijedasa Rajapaksa. He also said in addition, the amended Act was also sent to Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Malik Samarawickrema. He said PTA was amended in a manner that would not be a hindrance to Police investigations more..

Political prisoners reject TNA request and continue protest

Mar 7 (CG) Tamil political prisoners today reject a request by the TNA to suspend a fast and continued their protest for a 15th day. The TNA requested the political prisoners to suspend the fast after assuring them that the issue will be discussed in Parliament tomorrow. However 14 political prisoners on hunger strike rejected the request and continued with the protest today. Prisoners, some who have been in jail for years without being charged, are demanding that their cases be expedited. more..

TPA seeks non-territoria council for Tamils outside N&E

Mar 7 (DM) Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA), a political party representing Tamils of the Indian origins, has proposed the setting up of a non-territorial council with legislative powers to fulfill the aspirations of the Tamil people living outside the North and the East. Out of a population of 3.2 million Tamils some 1.6 million live outside these two provinces. TPA Leader and Minister Mano Ganesan said this was one of the proposals more..

Independence Square /Lewd behavior not allowed: Navinna

Mar 7 (DM) Cultural Affairs Minister S.B. Navinna said lewd behaviour was not allowed in and around Independence Square in Colombo because it was a public place. However, he said, couples who behaved could be there. “Wedding couples also use this area for photographs after getting permission. That is alright. There are warnings against lewd behaviour anyhow,” he said. Asked whether he had received an order from the top to take action against the two security officers who had ordered more..

Two arrested with gold worth Rs. 34.5 mn in Jaffna

Mar 7 (DM) Two persons were arrested by the Navy when they attempted to smuggle out 6.94 Kg of gold worth Rs. 34.5 million to India yesterday at Madugal, Jaffna. Navy Spokesman Captain Akram Alavi said the suspects were attempting to transport the gold in a fishing boat disguised as fishermen. “The navy was able to identify the racketeers in a raid and arrested the suspects who were resident of Jaffna with the five gold bars,” he said. Captain Alavi said the suspects along with more..

Malinga requests to step down as WT20 captain

Mar 7 (CI) Lasith Malinga has offered to step down as Sri Lanka's T20 captain, after concerns over the slow recovery of a knee injury have grown. The board is yet to make a final call on whether a change of leadership is needed, but Malinga has handed the board a letter voicing reservations about keeping the job when he cannot guarantee his availability for SL's full campaign. An MRI scan on Monday confirmed more..

Refugee’s death triggers protest

Mar 7 (Hindu) The suicide of a 48-year-old inmate of the Sri Lankan refugee camp in Uchapatti near Tirumangalam here on Sunday afternoon triggered a protest by scores of refugees and others demanding action against a retired Revenue Inspector, Duraipandian, for alleged abetment of suicide. The inmate, S. Ravindran was electrocuted after he touched a live wire of the high-tension electric tower he had climbed. The protestors did not allow the officials to take Ravindran’s body to more..

Thailand seeks to establish FTA with SL

Mar 7 (Bernama) Thai Deputy PM, Somkid Jatusripitak, will lead a trade delegation to Sri Lanka where he will convey the kingdom's intention to establish a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombo. He said the delegation, which would include several key ministers from commerce, industry and transport as well from the private sectors, will visit Sri Lanka from March 9 to 12. "Even though Sri Lanka is a small country, we should not forget that it has an FTA with India more..

'Indian HC should be removed'

Mar 7 (DM) Opposition MP Udaya Gammanpila asked President Maithripala Sirisena to request the Indian govt to recall its High Commissioner to SL, Y.K. Sinha, for what he called interference in domestic affairs. He said this while criticising a statement made recently by Mr. Sinha that he was surprised by former president Rajapaksa and the Joint Opposition’s stance on the proposed ETCA between India & SL. more..

Fertilizer subsidy: Where the govt blundered

Mar 7 (CT) There seems to be a contradictory position taken by President Maithripala Sirisena, and his Govt, vis-a-vis its agricultural policy. On the one hand, we have President Maithripala Sirisena saying that SL should attain self-sufficiency in rice and food, being predominantly an agricultural economy and we have his own govt slashing the fertilizer subsidy, where Minister Ravi Karunanayake claims that paddy cultivation was not economical as importing rice was cheaper! more..