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Unbelievable loss!

Mar 28 (FT) SriLankan Airlines’ industry code UL can now stand for Unbelievably Loss-making judging by the shocking figures revealed in Parliament last week. As of March 2015, accumulated loss of the national carrier was a staggering Rs. 128 billion while SriLankan is also saddled with Rs. 76 billion in outstanding debt. These shocking figures and incidents of reckless borrowing and procurements were revealed more..

Man killed by Military Intelligence found alive

Mar 28 (Island) Kathiravel Thayapararajah, who was believed to have been abducted and killed by the Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) in Sept. 2009 has surfaced recently at Tiruchi special camp, where he spearheaded a successful campaign to secure the release of his wife Udayakala and their three children. A section of the media as well as some local and foreign NGOs accused the DMI more..

National Delimitation Committee defends procedure, denies favouring any party

Mar 28 (Island) The National Delimitation Committee (NDC) aka Jayalath Dissanayake Committee emphasised that President Sirisena had accepted the delimitation of new wards in accordance with Local Authorities (Amendment) Act No 22 of 2012. President directed the issuance of the relevant gazette on the recommendation of Karu Jayasuriya, the then minister in charge of the Local Govt portfolio, more..

Tamils of Sri Lanka are still stuck between a bloody past and hope

Mar 28 (QZ) On Friday evenings, vans and tuk-tuks usually form long queues before Jaffna’s only shopping mall. There’s a hint of exquisite perfume in the air. Mothers in kurtas mind their colourfully attired children. Single young men sporting oversized wrist watches zip around on motorcycles. Though rare, one can even sight a few women in high heels. Multiplexes screen the latest Indian blockbusters. more..

'President hoping to become PM'

Mar 28 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena is hoping to become the PM under the new Constitution, JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva claimed. Silva said the executive presidency will be completely removed from the new Constitution. “President hopes to be a candidate for the post of PM for the next elections. He is already strengthening the SLFP for this,” he said. However, the division of SLFP was now a problem more..

FCID in Singapore over Krrish project

Mar 28 (DM) A team comprising the FCID and the Attorney General’s Departments left for Singapore last week in connection with the investigations relating to the controversial Krrish Square mixed development project. The FCID has commenced an investigation into the Krrish Square project that was initiated during the previous govt. US$ 650 million Krrish Transworks Tower project was planning to construct four high-rises more..

Need for a better communications strategy

Mar 28 (CT) The govt has begun to respond to the mounting criticism of its handling of the economy by explaining the background to the current economic crisis. The difficulty of the govt to deliver economic benefits to the general population for more than a year since it assumed office is the biggest drawback it is facing at the popular level. Last week, minister Malik Samarawickrama gave a clear explanation of the govt’s position on the economy in parliament. He pointed out that there were both more..

Upgrading Palaly Airport

Mar 28 (CT) Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka Director Athula Jayawickrama has announced the plans to upgrade the Palaly Airport in Jaffna with Indian assistance. Palaly Airport was originally established for reconnaissance purposes by the British and later it became popular with local passengers travelling between North and South. For the past three decades Palaly remained as the nerve centre of all military operations in the North. Men and materials for military purposes more..

Ada Cartoon

Central Bank expected to raise key policy rates

Mar 28 (Reuters) The Central bank is expected to raise its key interest rates by at least by 25 basis points on Tuesday, a poll showed, as it seeks to reduce downward pressure on the fragile local currency. Seven out of 13 economists surveyed expect Central Bank to raise both its standing deposit facility rate (SDFR) and it standing lending facility rate (SLFR): four expect 50 basis point increases in both rates while two expect 25 basis point increases in both rates. more..

Mihin Lanka to begin daily Colombo - Muscat service from today

Mar 28 (GDI) Mihin Lanka will begin operating daily flights on the Muscat-Colombo route from Monday providing enhanced connectivity to South Asia and the Far East. Mihin Lanka launched service on the Muscat-Colombo sector from October 25 last year after its sister airline, SriLankan Airlines ceased operations on the route. Deepal Pallegangoda, country manager of Mihin Lanka in Muscat said, "We are increasing the frequency from five flights a week to daily. more..

President inaugurates Police Mobile Service to resolve people's problems

Mar 28 (PSL) President Sirisena says the objective of the new govt is to convert the Police service into a real people-friendly service. He was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the program of the first large scale integrated police mobile service carried out by the Presidential Secretariat, Ministry of Law and Order and the Department of Police yesterday (27) in Polonnaruwa. This program emphasizes the requirement of more..

Sri Lanka hosts travel bloggers to boost destination on social media

Mar 28 (EN) Sri Lanka will host its second gathering of travel bloggers in June as part of an effort by the tourism industry to promote the destination using social media. “The craft of travel blogging and writing encourages others to travel more than advertisements and other forms of media,” said Krishan Balendra, president of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, which is hosting the event. “The travel industry has evolved. Travel blogging is one of the most essential tool for marketing,” he said. more..

MR held early election as he failed to deliver: MS

Mar 28 (DM) Former President Rajapaksa had failed to find solutions to the problems the country was facing, and that was why the former Govt called for a Presidential Election two years before the predecessor’s term ended, President Maithripala Sirirsena said. “Former President called for elections two years in advance because they were unable to deliver solutions to the problems the country was facing. People voted me in with the hope that I would deliver what I promised,” more..

'Walking track not removed by Megapolis Ministry'

Mar 28 (DM) Megapolis and Western Development Ministry was not behind Sunday night’s removal of the walking track at Mabola in Wattala, Minister Champika Ranawaka said today. He said the walking track was not constructed by his ministry and hoped that those who removed it would take measures to rebuild it. “The media reported on Sunday about the removal of a walking track in Mabola. more..

Sri Lanka strongly condemns terrorist attack in Lahore

Mar 28 (CG) Govt today strongly condemned the dastardly terrorist attack targeting innocent civilians in Lahore, Pakistan yesterday. “Govt and the people of Sri Lanka wish to express our deep condolences to the families of the victims and our thoughts and prayers for the speedy recovery to those injured by the attack,” Foreign Ministry said. Sri Lanka stands in support and solidarity with the Govt and the people of Pakistan in their steadfast commitment to eradicate terrorism. more..

Wattala jogging track destroyed

Mar 28 (Island) A jogging track constructed by the previous govt at Wattala was destroyed on Saturday night to the dismay of area residents. Residents said the track had been removed to build a road at the behest of a property developer with political connections. The Wattala police, contacted for comment, said that they knew nothing about incident. Meanwhile, Media Spokesman for the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development Dhanushka Ramanayake said that more..

Probe into gun-running activities of Vasantha

Mar 28 (CT) Police Narcotics Bureau is conducting investigations into whether Vasantha Mendis, who had been an underworld leader and a large scale drug dealer in the South and later fled to Thailand and remained in hiding there for a period of three years, was returned to the island subsequent to being taken into custody by Interpol, was involved with international terrorist groups and engaged in purchasing firearms. more..

Women's World Twenty20: Sri Lanka bow out by beating South Africa

Mar 28 (CI) Sri Lanka Women captain Chamari Atapattu willed and rallied her side to a 10-run victory over South Africa Women in Bangalore, in the last league match of the World T20. Atapattu first stroked her maiden T20 fifty, which contained five fours and one six, even as he partners toppled around her. Atapattu then brought herself into the attack in the defence of 114 and her second over resulted in two wickets. She ran to her right from her follow through, more..

Four Maldivians arrested in Sri Lanka for drug smuggling

Mar 28 (Haveeru) Four Maldivians who tried to smuggle three kgs of heroin to Sri Lanka were arrested by the neighouring country’s police on Saturday. ASP Ruwan Gunasekara was quoted by a Sri Lankan newspaper who said police arrested a Maldivian couple who tried to smuggle three Kg of heroin outside the airport as a result of a long term investigations with the Maldivian authorities in order to thwart the ongoing narcotics trade between Sri Lanka and Maldives. more..

SLFP Seniors to meet President

Mar 28 (DM) Against the backdrop of emerging political challenges, the SLFP seniors holding posts in the govt are planning to meet with President Sirisena to discuss how to deal with the situation, it is learnt. Newly appointed Secretary of SLFP-led UPFA Mahinda Amaraweera was booed by part supporters in Baddegama last Saturday during an address. Also, former Secretary Minister Susil Premajayantha more..

Man bites Sub-Inspector’s genitals

Mar 28 (DM) A Sub Inspector had his genitals bitten when he tried to stop a group of drunkards at a railway level crossing in Kosgoda last night. Two individuals had been arrested following the incident, the Police said. The other was arrested for obstructing the inspector in carrying out his duty. The Sub Inspector and a number of Police officers had asked the two suspects, who were drinking alcohol near a railway crossing, to leave the premises. more..

India's Exim Bank to set up branch in SL

Mar 28 (Island) After setting up a representative office in Bangladesh early this month, Export Import (Exim) Bank of India is now looking to open a branch office in Sri Lanka shortly. It is also planning to open representative offices in Nepal, China and Ivory Coast as well in a bid to make India's aid model effective. Exim Bank of India currently has overseas presence in six places: Washington DC, London, Singapore, Yangon (Myanmar), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) and Johannesburg (South Africa). more..

President visits US Navy’s USS Blue Ridge

Mar 28 (SLN) President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Maithripala Sirisena on visited USS Blue Ridge, in the port of Colombo today. President was warmly received onboard by the senior officer of the ship, the Commander of the US Navy’s 7th fleet, Vice Admiral Aucoin and of the Commanding Officer of Blue Ridge, Captain Kyle P. Higgins. Commander of SL Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, more..

Huawei launches Experience Store in Colombo

Mar 28 (Island) Huawei, Sri Lanka's fastest growing smartphone announced the launch of its new Experience Store in the heart of Colombo, at Majestic City level 2, showcasing their commitment to the country. The Experience Store was inaugurated by Shunli Wang - CEO Huawei Sri Lanka, Henry Liu - Country Head Huawei Device Sri Lanka and representatives of Singer Sri Lanka PLC. The new Experience Store features latest technology from Huawei and will provide more..

Thamilini claims CID visited LTTE areas posing as journalists

Mar 28 (CG) A book written by the former head of the LTTE women’s political wing S Thamilini, claims that some CID officers had visited areas which were once under LTTE control posing as journalists. In the book, she claims that she recognized some of the CID officers following her arrest and interrogation at the end of the war. She said that those CID officers had met her and other LTTE members when parts of the North were under LTTE control. The book Oru Koorvaalin Nizhalil more..

Lankan duo depart to attempt record setting climb

Mar 28 (ST) Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala and Johann Peiris set off today to attempt to be the first successful Sri Lankans to scale the 8,488m climb to the summit of Mount Everest. The highly experience duo who have been training together for the past four years for this event said they were very confident about their abilities and had the utmost faith in each other and the globally renowned mountaineering company more..

Didn’t file bail application, yet court granted bail: Dhammaloka Thero

Mar 28 (AD) Venerable Uduwe Dhammaloka Thero today admitted to the fact that he did not own a valid license to keep the elephant calf that found at his temple in Polhengoda. The observation was made in response to a question made by a reporter at a press conference. Dhammaloka Thero stressed that he had urged the relevant authorities to take the ownership of the elephant calf since he did not own the license. “Or I would not ask them to take the elephant calf,” he added. more..

Future decline of electricity will not affect the National Grid

Mar 28 (DM) The Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Rajith Siyambalapitiya said the CEB would manage the supply of electricity so as not to affect the National Grid even in an event of future decline in the generation of electricity that may arise due to the low water level in the reservoirs caused by the lack of rain. The Minister expressed these view at a ceremony held in connection with the forming of School Power Societies in the Eastern Province recently. more..

Sri Lanka should not keep central bank out of RTI bill: economist

Mar 28 (EN) Attempts to put operations of Sri Lanka's central bank out of the ambit of a draft Right to Information bill are wrong and will deny economic democracy to the people, a top economist and former central banker has said. W A Wijewardene, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank says through a section of the bill rulers have "denied the citizens the access to a wide range of economic information affecting their lives." more..

Right to Information at long last!

Mar 29 (CT) Last week, the much awaited Right to Information Bill was presented in Parliament seeking the approval of the House to provide for the right of citizens' access to information, to specify grounds on which access may be denied; to establish a Right to Information Commission; to appoint Information Officers and related matters. The Bill was presented to Parliament by Minister Gayantha Karunathilake, who expressed his delight to present the most debated piece of legislation. more..

More thoughts on current orthodoxies

Mar 29 (GV) I very much like Sunil Bastian’s critical perspective on the current SL policy agenda Some Thoughts on Current Orthodoxies, dated 14 March. Let me support his case, from an historical perspective. When Maithripala Sirisena won the Presidential election just over a year ago, there was a great deal of highly justified celebration. At the same time, plenty of people have observed, both on Groundviews and elsewhere, that current political arrangements are fragile. more..

Baby of Medical Faculties takes big strides

Mar 29 (ST) It has come of age taking its place among the vibrant state Medical Faculties in the country, building on the rubble of a controversial private medical college. Faculty of Medicine of the University of Kelaniya which more or less rose like a phoenix from the ashes of the North Colombo Medical College (NCMC) is 25 years old and to showcase its achievements over these two decades and five, its first International more..

Why does the Coffee-Shop Liberal care?

Mar 29 (CT) In a cynical analysis of a recent protest at the Independence Square, Hafeel Farisz dubbed the protestors involved as coffee shop liberals. He certainly didn’t mean this as a compliment. He was not referring to the influence that coffee houses had on the Enlightenment or the liberals who ushered in the age of critical thinking on individual rights and duties of citizens. Instead, he meant this as a criticism, referring to people who gathered together in up-market coffee lounges to more..

Are Tamils horrified by or tolerant of sexual harassment?

Mar 29 (CT) Prof. Vasanthi Arasaratnam, Vice Chancellor of University of Jaffna, claimed in Uthayan Newspaper head-lines to have fired professors following sexual harassment accusations by students. As a woman, I have done all I can, she continued. Her remarks were made the previous day at a function by The Voice of Women to mark International Women’s Day which fell really on 8 March. Speaking further, Arasaratnam said that women are to blame for the increase in more..

'President should give security responsibilities to Gotabaya'

Mar 29 (SL) Veteran diplomat Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, when asked about the underworld activities that have raised its head again, said that one thing that must be said about the Rajapaksa administration is that under the former Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa there was relentless, one might even say ruthless rooting out the gangs and especially drug related gangs. He said that Gang violence was almost more..

Preserving talent way to go

Mar 29 (CT) When this column appears on Sunday the cricket world would know where the Sri Lankans stand with the World T20 title. The game against England is a must win with the last game against South Africa also critical. At the outset and speaking to many knowledgeable students of the game which included ex cricketers, most are of the view that Sri Lanka comprises of a young team which is gaining experience. I believe the assessment is not far from the truth or the ground reality. more..

On the other side

Mar 29 (DN) One evening in Toronto… begins Shyam Selvadurai his introduction to the second anthology of Write to Reconcile, and shares a tale he heard from Ajahn Brahm (see box story: The tale of seven monks by Ajahn Brahm). The tale had offered him inspiration on a platter while he was in the middle of editing the anthology. Selvadurai grasped the key elements of Ajahn’s tale: other side. That concept of hearing the other side viewpoint kept him spellbound. more..

Face the Nation

Bold unwavering policies needed to resolve current economic crisis

Mar 29 (ST) Confusion and uncertainty in economic policies are hampering the resolution of the current economic crisis. Palliatives such as the currency swap with the Reserve Bank of India is easing the stress on the foreign reserves but not providing a solution to the balance of payments problem. Crisis in external finances is symptomatic of fundamental weaknesses in the economy that require bold fiscal measures to resolve. The lack of consistent policies to address them is astonishing. more..