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Kerry urged to push Sri Lanka to repeal PTA, free prisoners

Mar 14 (CG) US Secretary of State John Kerry has been urged to push Sri Lanka to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), release political prisoners and return land held by the army. The chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs Edward Royce has written to Kerry saying he supports the increased diplomatic engagement with the SL Govt. He noted in the letter that the Govt led by President Sirisena had made several more..

Online hearing begins on Reconciliation Mechanism

Mar 14 (DM) The Consultations Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms, appointed by the PM, has opened online submissions in order to seek the views of stakeholders, experts and the general public on the design of the reconciliation mechanisms. The reconciliation mechanisms planned by the Govt include an Office of Missing Persons; a Truth, Reconciliation, Justice and Non-Recurrence Commission, an accountability mechanism and an Office of Reparations. more..

Indian President happy about present situation in Sri Lanka

Mar 14 (DN) A special meeting was held between Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Minister Ravi Karunanayake at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Saturday. During the meeting, the Indian President said that he is happy about the present situation in Sri Lanka and was hoping to visit Sri Lanka in the near future. Indian President and Karunanayake also discussed about the economies of the two countries. President Mukherjee agreed to provide Indian assistance and share their more..

Port City officially informed it can resume work from today

Mar 14 (Xinhua) Govt today officially informed Chinese investors of resuming the construction of multibillion dollar Port City project in the capital, one year after its suspension. Ministry of Ports and Shipping, in an official letter to CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd, said that the company could resume the construction of the project immediately. "At its meeting held on March 9, 2016, Cabinet has granted approval for the project more..

Peace-making in Sri Lanka: Challenges, Aspirations & the future

Mar 15 (CT) Winning peace after war in deeply divided societies is daunting. It is daunting, because such peace-seeking efforts deal with the forces attached to the war and conflict, and thus their need to be genuine compromise at elite level to seek political settlements. For this reason, it is better to seek peace without engaging war and violence. But when war was fought and casualties were recorded with blood and pains, the path to peace is daunting. This week, the regime in Colombo more..

Mass media supported myths & fallacies: A modern scourge

Mar 15 (CT) Our contemporary cyber-scientific age is riddled with intriguing contradictions and human-made follies that belie the advances in technology. The mass-media-driven consumer culture and entertainment industry has fueled the growth of primitive superstitions, myths and new age beliefs that are the very antithesis of science. The dire need to promote a rational discussion on science, technology and equitable social development in a market-capitalist environment more..

TNA strikes a positive note

Mar 15 (CT) The TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran expressed his views on various issues faced by them in the present political atmosphere. He touched on the topics on national issues as well as on Tamil political scene. Q: A few days ago TNA met in Colombo and discussed on holding talks with the Govt on political issues. Could you brief us on the discussion? A: It was a discussion based mainly on Constitutional Assembly more..

A sigh of relief in doubtful moments

Mar 15 (CT) Is the preparation of Sri Lanka going into the World T20 right? Is the team in the correct frame of mind, with the former captain showing his displeasure and citing injury and resigning! Also the former set of selectors being axed with no reason or time given! These appear to be factors that can make one think that Sri Lanka is in the doldrums not knowing where to go! Besides the team named for World T20 also had two changes made, and a brand new captain and a vice captain appointed! more..

Will they clean up the mess from our diplomessy?

Mar 15 (ST) So it was another mess-up by that once-sacred institution that houses the brains that oil our diplomatic machine. Last Sunday this newspaper referred to the embarrassing episode when the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and his aides on an official visit to Colombo were almost stopped from leaving the hotel they stayed-in for non-payment of their final bill. Fortunately the communications network in this country worked better than internal communications system more..

Always breaking down! Always breaking down!

Mar 15 (SO) Lakvijaya Power Station also known as the Norocholai Coal Power Plant was shut down on nearly 30 occasions since it was commissioned in 2011, Chairman, CEB Anura Senaka Wijayapala said. "Most of the time the breakdowns were due to technical faults in the auxiliary equipment brought down from China," he said. "However we experienced these issues only in Phase I of the project, which as we all know more..

Challenges before Good Governance

Mar 15 (DN) Reports of a series of killings attributed to underworld elements have sent shock waves amongst all Sri Lankans, whether living in Sri Lanka or outside. Almost everyone was speculating as to what these killings aimed to achieve. Some thought the killings were mainly directed towards witnesses of serious crimes being investigated, or already brought to court. There was also speculation that the rise of the underworld could lead to further crimes, including attacks by various political factions more..

Development issues for Policy Review

Mar 15 (Island) Newspapers have reported the proposed arrival later in March of an IMF mission to negotiate a $ 1 Billion Stand-by Facility for Sri Lanka, as well as a Govt request to World Bank for a $ 500 million budgetary support loan. Asian Development Bank (ADB) has also announced a $2 billion loan program for 2016-18. This note presents some areas of administrative, financial and socio-economic activity, which should be the subjects of policy focus on all sides, before these more..

SL wins 15 medals ahead of Rio Paralympics

Mar 15 (DN) Anil Yodhapedige and Amara Karunatilleke emerged as Sri Lanka's golden duo at the inaugural IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships in Dubai. Karunatilleke produced another sensational performance outclassing her rivals in the women's 200m T44/47 final with a personal best of 27.89 on the final day of the competition in Dubai on Saturday. "I'm happy to come to Dubai and to win two gold medals more..

Editorial: Power crisis

Mar 15 (Island) Sunday’s power outage has left the govt groping in the dark once again. It occurred even before the high-powered committees recently appointed to probe the previous power failure in February had submitted their reports. The latest power outage has come at a time the govt is making a much-advertised effort to provide every household with electricity before the traditional New Year next month. Every family needs electricity and the govt’s concern is to be appreciated. more..

Attracting foreign direct investment vital for economic development

Mar 15 (ST) Getting adequate foreign direct investment (FDI) of the right types has eluded the country for many decades. While former communist countries like Vietnam have attracted sizeable amounts of FDI, Sri Lanka continues to get an inadequate flow of FDI. The statistics of the amount of FDI received are flawed as they contain other capital inflows. Even the exaggerated figures are low and inadequate. The country has reached a turning point when the attraction of more..

Hafeez, Thirimanne offer ailing teams some respite

Mar 15 (CI) Pakistan's top order moved into better touch in their only World T20 practice match, as Mohammad Hafeez composed 70 not out from 49 balls, to help set up a 15-run victory over Sri Lanka. New addition Ahmed Shehzad's 18 off 19 balls was the lightest and slowest contribution from Pakistan's top three, but it was nevertheless part of a steady foundation. SL's emergency no. 3, Lahiru Thirimanne, more..

China a driver of global growth with capital exports, not a drag: official

Mar 15 (EN) China is driver of global growth by capital exports, and is current account surplus is also narrowing due to growing service sector imports, Jin Zhongxia, Executive Director for China, IMF explained. "Exports of capital from China offsets the overall current account," Jin told an economic forum in New Delhi co-hosted by the IMF and India. "We are creating jobs and economic opportunities by exporting capital." For years China's central bank sterilized liquidity curbed domestic credit more..

Balancing the scales: taming supermarket buyer power

Mar 15 (Island) Accompanied by the rise in per capita incomes and overall improvements in living standards, supermarkets are increasingly accounting for a growing share of grocery trade in many developing countries around the world. Trend is such that, in many of these instances, a large share of these grocery markets are increasingly being concentrated amongst a handful supermarket chains, which in effect has led to an imbalance of power in the groceries supply chains, more..

SC terminates FR filed by Kuliyapitiya child’s mother

Mar 15 (DN) Supreme Court decided to terminate its proceedings into the Fundamental Rights petition filed by the mother of the child in Kuliyapitiya who was denied a school based on false HIV rumours, in view of the steps taken to admit him to Trinity College in Kandy. When the petition was taken before Chief Justice K. Sripavan and Justice Eva Wanasundara, Attorney General informed Court that Education Ministry has informed more..

Investments trump trade agreements in run for growth, says official

Mar 15 (FT) South Asian nations should focus more on attracting investments rather than focusing only on bilateral trade agreements to increase the region’s growth prospects, noted a Pakistani official. “Investments are the key to reinvigorate economies,” Pakistan High Commission in Colombo Counsellor (Political) Hasan Ali Zaigham said at the SAARC Entrepreneurs Forum organised by FCCISL in Colombo recently. He pointed out that SAARC had been unable to attract FDIs from more..

Lost crab spider rediscovered after 129 years in the Knuckles range

Mar 15 (DN) Crab spiders of the genus Cebrenninus were first collected in Sri Lanka by E. Simon at an unspecified area of the Central Province over a century ago. The species was never found in subsequent zoological surveys conducted in the island and faded into obscurity. The rediscovery of this species 129 years later is the result of an island-wide survey of spiders undertaken by the National Institute of Fundamental Studies led by scientist Professor Suresh P. Benjamin. more..

President instructs officials to increase paddy storage facilities before next season

Mar 15 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena has given instructions to the officials to increase the paddy storage facilities across the country to purchase the paddy from next season onwards without any delay. He has given these instructions during a Special Coordination Committee Meeting of the Polonnaruwa district held at the Teachers Training College Polonnaruwa, today (14). President further instructed officials to submit a report more..

Dependency is bad for growth of sports

Mar 15 (CT) An alarming controversy is deepening about the recent debacle faced by SL at the Asia Cup. With the appointment of the new President to the SLC, accusations having been growing from certain quarters about unwanted finger poking from Sports Minister in tow with the new president, into affairs of SLC beginning with phone calls to officials as pointed in recent press reports. Up to 1966 until V.A. Sugathadasa became Sports Minister the country had no specific Sports Ministry. more..

Airtel-Dialog deal likely to see light of day

Mar 15 (ST) The much-discussed (and denied) merger deal between Bharti Airtel’s wholly-owned Sri Lanka unit and Dialog Axiata, the Malaysia-based Axiata group’s telecom arm, is likely to go through this year, Datuk Azzat Kamaludin, Dialog Axiata Chairman said. On the sidelines of the inauguration of the Sri Lanka Investment and Business Conclave 2016, where he delivered the keynote address, Mr. Kamaludin said that Dialog was in discussion with Airtel in this regard. more..

Army to protect CEB facilities; Engineers rule out sabotage

Mar 15 (Island) The govt has decided to deploy the army to protect key CEB facilties. Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya told the media that he could not rule out sabotage. But, CEB Engineers’ Union President Athula Wanniarchchi, issuing a media statement, ruled out sabotage. He said the transformer which had exploded at the Biyagama Grid Substation was 30 years old. "Any doubts about a sabotage will be cleared more..

Himasha takes wing today with Thread Works gear

Mar 15 (CT) Fastest man in South Asia and record holder of the 100m, Himasha Eashan, and his coach Chaminda Perera will take wing to USA today for the forthcoming IAAF World Indoor Championship where he will compete in the 60m sprint event. He has received clothing sponsorship from Dr. Gehan De Soysa, CEO of Thread Works. Eashan who was promised the sun and the moon when he won the Gold Medal at the South Asian Games last month along with so many sponsorship promises, more..

33 envoys toured in Poḷonnaruwa

Mar 15 (PSL) A group of foreign representatives, including 33 Ambassadors and High Commissioners visited underdeveloped areas in the Poḷonnaruwa district today (14) with the aim of providing aid to developing these areas. The delegation commenced their tour from the Medirigiriya, Meegaswewa area and they inspected the areas like Wadigawewa, Godapoththa, Palliyagodalla. President Maithripala Sirisena hosted a lunch for the delegation in Poḷonnaruwa. more..

Telephone records of Champika

Mar 15 (CT) Colombo Additional Magistrate (Traffic) Chandana Kalansooriya allowed the Welikada Police to check the cell phone records of Minister Champika Ranawaka, who is alleged to have been involved in a hit-and-run incident which caused a life-threatening injury to a 24-year-old youth at Welikada on 29 Feb. He made the order following the submission of a motion to Court by Welikada OIC more..

Nuwan Zoysa out to inspire SL women

Mar 15 (AA) Former Sri Lanka pacer Nuwan Zoysa is facing a strange predicament, and it has nothing to do with his on-field job. Zoysa is the bowling coach of the Sri Lankan women’s team at the World T20 here, and is finding it hard to strike a balance on how to “teach the girls” in an effective manner. “The cricket part is just fine,” says Zoysa as the team went through a training session here on Monday ahead of their opening match against New Zealand, “but since these are girls, more..

FSP leader further remanded

Mar 15 (Island) Kegalle Chief Magistrate yesterday further remand, till March 24, leader of the FSP Kumar Gunaratnam for violating immigration rules. ASP Kegalle gave evidence yesterday. Defence will be called to give evidence when the case is taken up again on March 24. Gunaratnam, who is an Australian citizen, was arrested on Nov 4 by the Kegalle Police at Anguruwella at his mother’s house for staying in the country in violation of Immigration and Emigration laws without a visa. more..

Health sector trade unions make common cause to fight proposed changes

Mar 15 (Island) Health Sector Trade unions pledged to rise against the structural change the govt was proposing to introduce to the free health service with the inclusion of the privately owned Indian Emergency Response Ambulance Service without a feasibility study. Secretary of GMOA, Dr. Nalinda Herath said that though the Cabinet had given its approval for the service to be established in SL, it had only given verbal more..

National Development Bank launches pre-paid wallet cum debit card

Mar 15 (TOI) National Development Bank, has launched a pre-paid wallet cum debit card -- iTapIt -- for use among its customers, malls, restaurants, tea plantations and at schools with the technology being provided by an Indian IT firm. NDB's CEO Rajendra Theagarajah said the card was used by bank staff as an in-house canteen payment card. "NDB will focus on marketing the card to large enterprises, govt sectors and allied BFSI organisations like co-operative banks, etc. more..

Thai hotel chain Anantara ramps up operations in Sri Lanka

Mar 15 (DN) Thai-based Minor Hotel Group (MHG) has invested 200 million US dollars to launch its luxury hotel brand, Anantara, in Sri Lanka. Together with Hemas Holdings, MHG launched their first hotel - Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort - last December. The hotel is in pre-opening stage until March 15 this year. Sri Lankan-born CEO of MHG Dillip Rajakarier was instrumental in bringing in Anantara to the island. “It is extremely rewarding to bring the Anantara brand to Sri Lanka more..

Rebel SLFP MPs to defy party order, attend Hyde Park rally on March 17

Mar 15 (Island) Joint Opposition said that all SLFP MPs within its ranks would be attending a rally to be held on March 17 at Hyde Park, Colombo in spite of a warning from the SLFP leadership that disciplinary action would be taken against them. SLFP Vice President Dullas Alahapperuma said that all 39 SLFP MPs including former President Rajapaksa would attend the event. There were 41 SLFP MPs in the Joint Opposition, more..

City-based surgeon gives this Sri Lankan girl new lease of life

Mar 15 (TI) A rare case of scoliosis (curved spine) was surgically corrected in a 10-hour marathon surgery by a city-based neuro surgeon, Dr Damandeep Singh Makkar, at Arora Neuro Centre here. Dr Makkar claimed the procedure was performed for the first time in the city and where use of a neuro-monitor was concerned, it was the first such surgery in Punjab. According to Dr Makkar, Kanchana Herath, 14-year-old daughter of Dr Jagath Herath, an orthopaedic surgeon from Kandy, more..

Sri Lankan consumers demand more responsive electricity utilities

Mar 15 (EN) Sri Lankan customers of two electricity distributors demanded at a consumer rights forum that the institutions be more responsive during power failures and keep customers better informed when power would be restored. The call came the day after Sri Lanka suffered two islandwide power failures with demand for electricity hitting an all-time high the week before. It was the third islandwide power failure in six months and the cause is being investigated with the govt deploying more..

Malinga attacks new selection committee

Mar 15 (DM) Adding a new twist to the controversial selection of World Twenty20 squad, injured speedster Lasith Malinga yesterday made a scathing attack on cricket authorities for his selection to the squad despite a nagging injury. Malinga was initially named captain for the World T20 tournament to defend the title they won two years back, but decided to step down after aggravating his injury during SL’s only win more..

Suranganie Ellawala funeral on March 16

Mar 15 (DN) The death occurred yesterday morning of Central Province Governor Suranganie Ellawala while receiving treatment at the Kandy General Hospital Neuro Surgical ICU. She was 76. Ellawala was appointed as the Ninth Governor of the Central Province by President Maithripala Sirisena on January 27. She was the first woman to be appointed as Governor of the Central Province. Born in 1939 she was the wife of late popular political figure, Nanda Ellawala and a mother of two. more..

Body of Sumith Jayawardena exhumed

Mar 15 (DN) The body of the youth in Embilipitiya who died during a clash with the police is currently being exhumed on Court orders. Earlier, when the case relating to the death of Sumith Prasanna Jayawardena during a clash which occurred at a reception held in Embilipitiya came up, Embilipitiya Additional Magistrate Prasanna Fernando said he would issue an order relating to the request made by the State Counsel to exhume the body for afresh post-mortem examination. more..

President deploys Army at all CEB stations

Mar 15 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena directed that the Army be deployed to provide security at all CEB installations connected to the national grid. An islandwide power outage prevailed for the second consecutive day lasting over eight hours prompting the President to issue a stern directive to deploy the Army to protect all installations connected to the national grid. Meanwhile, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe who more..