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Sri Lankan shares, led by financials, snap seven-day losing streak

Mar 10 (Reuters) Shares rose more than 1% on Thursday, set for their best day since late January, rebounding from a 7-session losing streak that saw the bourse lose about 5.5%. Bourse hit their lowest level in about 27 months on Wednesday as a govt move to hike VAT and reintroduce capital gains tax to qualify for a $1.5-billion IMF loan weighed on sentiment. Market was hit especially hard in the past two days, falling, 3.2%, after PM announced tax moves to break out of a debt trap. more..

How can you justify holding persons under the PTA any longer

Mar 10 (CT) This is what the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs said. I quote; “Review and repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and replace it with anti-terrorism legislation in line with contemporary international best practices.” “Review and repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act”. That was what you said to UNHRC, on 14 Sept, 2015 in your opening speech, Hon. Minister. Today we are five months down the road. How can you hold persons in custody continuously under that Act more..


Cell phone jamming in prisons

Mar 10 (CT) Prisons Department has decided to install cell phone jammers in all prisons countrywide in order to prevent inmates from communicating with each other and those outside prison walls via mobile telephones. Prisons Department has resolved technical glitches in such jammers installed in certain prisons in Colombo in the recent past, before deciding to install a new set of cell phone jammers that could block communication between inmates, suspects, and those outside. more..

Video: Sandeep’s friends hoping for justice

Mar 10 (DM) The Justice for Sandeep a collective comprising friends of Sandeep Sampath Gunawardena, the victim in the questionable accident in Rajagiriya, said today that they were being accused of making false allegations on the instigation of MP Udaya Gammanpila. They said this was not true and rejected these allegations. The collective said it wouldn’t repeat the same statements made on the day after the accident if the statements were false. more..

S&P lowers Sri Lanka outlook to negative, confirms 'B+/B' ratings

Mar 10 (EN) Standard & Poor's ratings agency has lowered the outlook on Sri Lanka’s 'B+' long-term sovereign credit rating to negative from stable, citing rising fiscal and external imbalances. It confirmed the 'B+/B' ratings and the 'B' short-term credit rating and left its transfer and convertibility risk assessment on SL unchanged at 'B+'. “Sri Lanka's external and fiscal performances have underperformed our expectations,” more..

Govt blames AG Dept. for delay in investigation

Mar 10 (Island) The govt had not been able to go ahead with the investigations into the alleged conspiracy hatched on Jan. 8, 2015 to suspend the presidential election results as the Attorney General’s Department had delayed giving further instructions, Parliament was told. Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said the govt was awaiting advice from the AG on how to proceed with the investigations into the incident. Minister said so in response to a question raised by MP Udaya Gammanpila, more..

How a hacker's typo helped stop a billion dollar bank heist

Mar 10 (Reuters) A spelling mistake in an online bank transfer instruction helped prevent a nearly $1 billion heist last month involving the Bangladesh central bank and the New York Fed, banking officials said. Unknown hackers still managed to get away with about $80 million, one of the largest known bank thefts in history. The hackers breached Bangladesh Bank's systems last month and stole its credentials for payment transfers, two senior Bangladesh Bank officials said. more..

Video: Could have built palaces instead of houses with money wasted: PM

Mar 10 (AD) Maithripala Sirisena was elected as President on Jan 8, 2015 to give back the people their rights which were stolen during the previous decade, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. “Actually we still do not know what have been stolen. We are now looking at (what has been stolen). So far we have found Rs 1,000 billion,” he said, addressing an event in Colombo to unveil the 5-year plan to uplift living standard of people more..

Wildlife Department helps Jumbo in distress

Mar 10 (CT) But according to Wildlife officials, villagers and farmers wanted the elephant removed from the wewa area because he used to go to the paddy fields insearch of food. But while the villagers feared for their lives, Wildlife officials feared for the elephant's life because the gunshot wounds on his legs were serious and the animal was finding it hard to walk. President Maithripala Sirisena had instructed the Wildlife Department officials to remove the elephant immediately from the area more..

Video: Basil granted bail

Mar 10 (DM) Minister Basil Rajapaksa and former Director General of Divi Neguma Department R.R.K. Ranawaka were granted bail by the Colombo High Court when the case against the alleged misappropriation of Divi Neguma funds was taken up today. They were ordered to be released on a cash bail of Rs 500,000 each with two surety bails of Rs.5 million. Colombo High Court Judge also issued an order to impound their passports and also ordered them to report to Cinnamon Gardens more..

Audio: Fonseka wants international monitors for war probe

Mar 10 (CG) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka called for international monitors and foreign advisers to be invited to be involved in the investigation over the war. Speaking in Parliament, he said that international participation is vital in order to ensure there is transparency and credibility in the investigation. “I led the war in line with the accepted laws and regulations. It was in line with Geneva protocols.” more..

Senior academics tell govt to expel Indian HC for undiplomatic comments

Mar 10 (Island) 67 top university academics registered their vehement protest against Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha for his recent comments on the Joint Opposition overstepping limits of diplomatic propriety and urged the govt to declare him a persona non grata. A media statement under the title, Is Sri Lanka the 30th state of India? issued by National University Teachers Association Sri Lanka (NUTA) states: "We wish to register our vehement protest against the statements more..

Sally’s resignation causes bureaucratic wrangle

Mar 10 (Island) Resignation of UNP member of the Central Provincial Council Azath S. Sally from the CPC caused a minor bureaucratic wrangle on Monday. Deputy Chairman of the CPC S. B. Ratnayake told the Provincial Council meeting that Sally had addressed the letter of resignation to chief secretary of the Provincial Council. Provincial Chief Secretary had sent the letter to the provincial council and the letter of resignation did not comply with the Provincial Councils Act. more..

'Killing Rajiv Gandhi was LTTE's biggest mistake'

Mar 10 (IANS) Assassinating former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi was the Tamil Tigers' biggest mistake, a new book quotes the late LTTE ideologue Anton Balasingham as saying. Balasingham told Norway's former Special Envoy to SL Erik Solheim that LTTE leader V Prabhakaran and his feared intelligence chief Pottu Amman initially denied their involvement in the killing. But they admitted the truth to Balasingham more..

Navy to probe Yoshitha's foreign visits

Mar 10 (DM) Navy will have to carry out an investigation on the foreign visits of Yoshitha Rajapaksa, State Minister for Defence Ruwan Wijewardene told Parliament. State Minister Wijewardene who was responding to an oral question raised by JVP MP Nalinda Jayatissa, said the investigations had to be carried out once Mr .Rajapaksa was available for it after the ongoing court proceedings. Mr. Rajapaksa had undertaken 27 foreign tours during his career in the Navy. more..

Shangri-La resort to open in SL in June

Mar 10 (CIT) The 300-room beachfront resort will span 145 acres, including tropical gardens, an 18-hole golf course, an artisan village and a range of dining, event and entertainment options. The resort will feature a multipurpose events space of more than 2,525sqm in size. Its outdoor pavilions will have the capacity for up to 1,000 delegates, while a range of smaller conference rooms will also be available. Other facilities include CHI The Spa at Shangri-La, which will boast treatment rooms and more..

US, China condole over the demise of Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter

Mar 10 (CG) US and China today expressed condolences over the demise of the Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter Most Venerable Galagama Sri Aththadassi Thero. US Ambassador to SL Atul Keshap said that he was privileged to meet and hear the views of the Most Venerable Thero, and Sri Lankans and Americans who knew him respected the late Mahanayake’s ceaseless efforts to improve the lives of all Sri Lankans more..

Sri Lanka's $40bn megapolis plan is bold -- but achievable?

Mar 10 (Nikkei) Sri Lanka's 6-month-old coalition govt, led by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, has grand plans for a $40 billion redevelopment of the country's capital and its surrounding districts. But while the project may look good on paper, officials face significant obstacles in realizing the 15-year vision. Western Region Megapolis Planning Project comprises 150 smaller projects, including the controversial Chinese-funded Colombo Port City development. more..

New media outfit guns for Gammanpila, GMOA?

Mar 10 (Island) A new outfit, the National Forum for Journalists yesterday said some ministers had taken the liberty to scoff the media when they are contacted to verify some information with regard to discrepancies in their respective ministries and some had gone to the extent of threatening media personnel with dire consequences. The President of the forum Sisira Withanage claimed that one reason for the defeat of the previous govt was abductions and repression of journalists more..

U.S. and Sri Lanka expand partnership for economic growth and poverty reduction

Mar 10 (USE) Representatives from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent U.S. development agency, are visiting Sri Lanka this week to begin a partnership to overcome key challenges to economic growth and poverty reduction. Delegation met with President Sirisena, PM Wickremesinghe, and other top cabinet ministers, along with a cross-section of industry, civil society, development partners more..

DM says no funds spent on Wimal’s son

Mar 10 (DM) No state funds were spent on former minister Wimal Weerawansa's son though he was included in the SL delegation to the Global Urban Forum at Colombia in April 2014, Deputy Minister Indika Bandaranaike told Parliament. He said this in response to a question asked by JVP MP Nalinda Jayatissa whether Mr. Weerawansa’s son had accompanied the then minister, Housing Ministry Secretary & National Housing Development Authority Chairman to the Forum in 2014. more..

Video: Yoshitha & 4 others further remanded

Mar 10 (AD) Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Rohan Weliwita, Nishantha Ranatunga and two others, who were arrested on charges of money laundering, have been further remanded until March 24 by Kaduwela Magistrate’s Court. Yoshitha was taken into custody for questioning about dealings at CSN on Jan 30. Channel’s Chairman Rohan Weliwita, former CEO Nishantha Ranatunga, Ravishan Dissanayake and R.M. Fernando were also arrested following interrogation on the same day. more..

President promises action to eradicate Kidney disease

Mar 10 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says that he will fulfill the national responsibility of saving people from the kidney disease with a commitment under a sustainable program without limiting it to a dialogue. He made these remarks addressing a ceremony to celebrate the World Kidney Day held at the Maithripala Senanayake National School, Madawachchiya, today. President further said as a person who has witnessed more..

Sri Lanka appoints panel to probe media harassment under Rajapaksa

Mar 10 (PTI) President Maithripala Sirisena today appointed a committee to probe the harassment of media personnel under the regime of his powerful predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa. A notice from the President's office said that all journalists who suffered harassment and loss of property under Rajapaksa must report to an Additional Secretary under Sirisena by mid June. Media freedom in Sri Lanka was rated low when the former president was at the helm for a decade. more..

Video: MR visits Ven. Uduwe Dammaloka Thera

Mar 10 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today went to the Mahara prison to visit Ven. Uduwe Dammaloka Thera, who was remanded on charges of illegally keeping a baby elephant in his possession. Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera arrested for allegedly possessing a baby elephant without a valid licence was yesterday ordered to be remanded till March 17 after being produced before Colombo Additional Magistrate. Ven. Dhammaloka Thera was arrested by the CID over more..

Zeid tells UNHRC next few months important for Sri Lanka

Mar 10 (CG) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today told the UNHRC that the next few months will be important for Sri Lanka. Addressing the Council during its 31st session after submitting his annual report, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that Sri Lanka is on its own journey towards accountability, reconciliation and durable peace. He said that important steps have been taken to reform more..

Dead man’s spirit on the staircase

Mar 11 (CT) Whether one likes or not, personal experiences of many people with the spirits account for its existence. Buddhists believe that once a person dies, the creature's iva (living essence or the soul) wanders about for three months in a limbo situation before it enters into another life in the process of reincarnation! Christians call it the purgatory. This belief leads Buddhists to perform the three month's alms giving to transfer merit to the departed soul to help it move into more..

Have we found a solution to LG conundrum?

Mar 11 (CT) Have we found a solution to our local govt (LG) conundrum with the recent women’s representation bill adopted on 9 Feb? Perhaps nearly, but not really. The local govt system has been in the doldrums for some years or decades now, and the recent hiccups have added to the drama in unmeasurable terms. Problems are both structural and political. All local govt bodies expired by 15 May 2015, and some of them much earlier. There are delays in conducting elections more..

Ronnie's milestone moments

Mar 11 (SO) At 91, SL's longest continuous serving Finance Minister, Ronald Joseph Godfrey de Mel, recollects an old and nearly forgotten era he spent as a young parliamentarian, speaking at debates all through the night and also then as the Finance Minister who introduced open economy to SL. He is the socialist who later converted and introduced capitalism to SL. It is said that de Mel scored highest at Ceylon Civil Service exam. more..

Deadlier than the Male

Mar 11 (GV) I have just read Kishani Jayasinghe’s excellent article My Experience of Independence, published in The Sunday Times. In this, she expresses her perceptions of the barrage of comments she received from some members of the public after her recent performance at the 68th Independence Day Celebrations. She organised the received responses into a hierarchical scale of malice, based on the punishments members of the public felt she should suffer, more..

White Flag killings raised again

Mar 11 (SL) The much talked about and possibly most controversial incident related to the war known as the white flag incident has been brought to the notice of the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons by people who witnessed the final stages of the war. The matter was raised when the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons led by Retired judge Maxwell Paranagama held public sittings in Kopai in the North last week. A woman who appeared before the Commission to more..

'NMRA lacking administrative acumen'

Mar 11 (CT) Minister Rajitha Senaratne explained the delay in implementing National Drugs Policy and National Medical Regulatory Authority (NMRA) was due to a crisis in administration and not due to any foul play as previously thought. Q: New govt introduced National Drugs Policy. But, none of the policies have been implemented so far. What is happening with the policy? A: That is correct because that's what more..

Editorial: Lotus or commode?

Mar 11 (Island) We were under the impression that the architects who designed the Nelum Pokuna MR Theatre had drawn inspiration from ancient Lotus Pond (Nelum Pokuna) in Polonnaruwa. We thought the new theatre had the shape of a lotus. But, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga (CBK) is of a different opinion. She tells us that the theatre resembles a commode of all things! CBK is said to have had a passion for music, dancing and painting, among other things, in her younger days. more..

This Divided Island

Mar 11 (CT) The top Army man in the North, Major General Hathurasinghe, appears in both Padma Rao's book and in Subramaniam's. A Tamil woman tells Ms Rao that Hathurasinghe heard that her baby needed urgent heart surgery and came with a doctor who took the mother and baby to Colombo by plane. The baby was operated on and has been fine since. "Even today, the officers come frequently just to see how she is faring." In Subramaniam's book we see a different Hathurasinghe. more..

Ranjan Ramanayake

Whole-some agriculture for a toxin-free nation ?

Mar 11 (CT) President unveiled a three-year program put forward by the agriculture minister, promising a toxin free nation based on wholesome agriculture. The minsters as well as Ven. Athuraliye Ratana are acting with what they believe are the best interests of the people. That modern agriculture is responsible for an alleged deterioration of public health is a common belief among the more affluent concerned individuals all over the world, and not just in Sri Lanka. more..

A parallel between Sri Lankan woman and her western counterpart

Mar 11 (Island) In divorce, too, western women were in a precarious position. A husband needed only to show evidence of his wife’s adultery to obtain a divorce, her property and custody of their children. The wife had to show evidence of other marital shortcomings besides adultery to get a divorce, for example, cruelty, incest, rape or desertion. Then again, beating one’s wife was LEGAL at the time. Well, the entire world just celebrated the day of the woman on March 8th. more..

'The Muslim community has no leaders, we have only dealers'

Mar 11 (Island) Asath Sally is no stranger to controversy. Outspoken, fearless and with a distinctive tendency to make impulsive decisions, he was arrested by Rajapaksa govt for allegedly making inflammatory statements to an Indian magazine about Muslim radicalisation in Sri Lanka. Salley subsequently publicly took up cudgels with the Buddhist extremist group the BBS and was one of the first to publicly reveal Norwegian more..

Mendis guides Oman to stunning victory over Ireland

Mar 11 (Island) Oman created the first major upset in the World T-20 when they beat fancied Ireland by two wickets in a thrilling last over finish with lower-order batsman Aamer Ali’s 32 run blitz achieving the target with two balls to spare. Oman are coached by former SL captain Duleep Mendis, who was unceremoniously dumped as Sri Lanka Cricket CEO a few years ago. Mendis has done a tremendous job with the Oman side as they qualified for the World T-20 and then went onto beat Ireland. more..