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A costly negligence at Hambantota port

Mar 3 (SL) There were complaints from several vehicle importers that their brand new vehicles which were imported to the country through the Hambantota port were badly damaged due to the negligence and irresponsibility of the port drivers while offloading the vehicles from the ships. The accidents had occurred mainly due to irresponsible driving at speeds ranging from 70 to 90 km per hour when the vehicles were offloaded to the dock. more..

Yahapalanaya unseals Ascharya deception

Mar 3 (DM) Many a tightly sealed lid is being opened with vigour, steam and importantly tonnes of inexhaustible determination. A multitude of weapons are being deployed at suspicious sites and on cankering vaults both locally and in distant lands. It’s a hive of activity and work is reassuringly in progress. Huge clobbers are meted out with weapons of diabolical thrust by an entire battalion of chivalrous soldiers. Sahodarayas from the Hela Urumaya fame, the rotund and more..

Need for better public transport

Mar 3 (DM) The need for a better public transport system has been long felt. But the previous administration seems to have got it wrong despite spending billions on physical infrastructure. Their solution to mitigate traffic congestion was to build expressways and widen the existing road network. But the problems still remain. A lot more vehicles are now being driven on the Sri Lankan roads and in 2014 we have imported US $ 900 million worth of vehicles and US 44.6 billion worth of fuel more..

Sri Lankan doubts on loans, submarines seen as rebuff to Beijing

Mar 3 (Reuters) If last week's visit to Beijing by Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera was meant to allay fears that the island nation's new government was distancing itself from China, it failed. If anything, Samaraweera's comments on the prospect of Chinese submarines using Sri Lanka as a stopover on long-distance westward missions and of bankrolling it through big loans underlined Colombo's hardening position, experts said. more..

'Dinesh Gunawardena committee proposals mathematically wrong'

Mar 3 (AM) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake stated that the mixed electoral system proposed by the Dinesh Gunawardena Committee is a politically distortive system which is not suited for Sri Lanka. He revealed that even though the report carried former minister Gunawardena's name, the electoral system proposed by it was written by some university lecturers. Dissanayake further stated that he event appeared at the parliamentary standing committee on electoral system and more..

On what Feltman conveyed in Sri Lanka, Spox says Colombo presser only

Mar 3 (ICP) Nine days after the UNHRC under Joachim Rucker granted HCHR Zeid's request to withhold the already delayed report on war crimes in Sri Lanka, the UN on Feb 26 added Jaffna as a stop to the Sri Lanka visit by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's highest political official Jeffrey Feltman. That came two days after ICP asked if Feltman would go to Jaffna, site of protests of the delay, and was told "Colombo only." Now it appears that Feltman will belatedly answer questions about more..

'Executive presidency to be abolished in April'

Mar 3 (Island) The govt says that it would abolish the Executive Presidency by April if all political parties extended their support unconditionally. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the Maithripala Sirisena administration would submit its constitutional reforms draft to Parliament on March 1 and intended abolishing the Executive Presidency by April. Asked, about conflicting signals emanating from the govt, Senaratne said that they were more..

More revelations over Navy unit

Mar 3 (CG) More details have begun to emerge in the investigations over a Navy unit believed to have been involved in abducting youth and their parents in 2008 and 2009. SSP Ajith Rohana said that the CID had questioned a former Navy spokesman on Saturday as he was believed to be the supervisor of the Navy men who were allegedly involved in the abductions. Investigations had been launched after former Navy Commander Wasantha Karanagoda raised suspicion on the Navy unit. more..

UN assures North CM on report

Mar 3 (CG) UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, who visited Jaffna, had assured the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C V Wigneswaran that the report compiled by a UN-led team following investigations on the war in Sri Lanka, will be submitted to the UNHRC in September. Wigneswaran said that he had raised concerns with the visiting UN official over the decision to postpone the report from the March session of the UNHRC to the Sept session. more..

Rathana thera drops some bombshells

Mar 3 (Island) Govt would close illegally run liquor bars before the next Vesak Poya Day, said Ven. Athureliya Rathana Thera, who heads the Presidential Committee against Dangerous Drugs. Speaking at National Dangerous Drugs Control Board Thera said he had asked President to appoint a team to conduct a survey on the number of bars belonging to politicians and find out how they had obtained licences. more..

Duminda transacted through other channels!

Mar 3 (CT) Banks and several financial institutions informed Colombo Chief Magistrate, Gihan Pilapitiya that Colombo District SLFP MP, Duminda Silva did not conduct his accounts and financial transactions through their channels. Earlier, Samantha Perera alias Wele Suda, a notorious drug lord considered as among the most leading drug dealers in Sri Lanka claimed that he had links with Duminda Silva , and of the earnings from his heroin deals, a part was paid to Duminda Silva. more..

Situation of IDPs unchanged: KP

Mar 3 (CT) Kilinochchi Sencholai Children's Home Director, Kumaran Pathmanathan, aka KP, said the living standards in the camps for the IDPs have not changed during the past six years and the situation in the welfare centres remain the same, as the last time he visited them. He made the comment at a sports event, organized by the Kannaki Sports League on Sunday in Chunnakam-South. Pathmanathan was the chief guest at this event. "Many do not know my identity. more..

State to prepare missing persons’ final list

Mar 3 (DN) Govt is in the process of preparing a final list of missing persons during the final phase of war, with the assistance of the UN and several other parties, External Affairs Ministry said. “There are various documents with regard to ‘missing persons’ prepared by various parties on an unofficial basis and that has already created a lot of confusion over the matter. Several parties have come up with conflicting statistics more..

Rauf, Sajith, Navin paint picture of a dynamic construction industry

Mar 3 (Island) Ministers Rauf Hakeem, Sajith Premadasa and Navin Dissanayake painted a dynamic picture of the future of the construction industry at the Architect 2015 inaugural ceremony held at the BMICH. Three ministers waxed eloquent on their ambitions in the country’s Built Environment from the same podium in three different perspectives; Minister Hakeem in urban development, Minister Premadasa in housing programmes and Minister Dissanayake in more..

Donor support no excuse for avoiding economic reforms

Mar 3 (Island) IMF tends to be the refuge of countries that have mismanaged their economic affairs. In this context, it is important to recall that Sri Lanka has had to obtain balance of payments support from the IMF on a number of occasions. Each time, the causes have had more to do with domestic policy weakness rather than external shocks. On previous occasions, IMF support, combined with the assistance of the donor community, has enabled SL to get over more..

Wele Suda's main agent arrested

Mar 3 (CT) The CID has arrested drug kingpin Wele Suda's main agent in Sri Lanka, Suras Ahmed on Sunday, said SSP Ajith Rohana. CID cracked down on Ahmed, while he was relaxing at a chena plantation at Moragaswewa, Habarana. When Ahmed was produced before Colombo Chief Magistrate, yesterday, he issued a detention order for 7 days to enable CID to continue interrogation of the suspect. more..

Japan for genuine reconciliation

Mar 3 (CG) Japanese govt yesterday said it hopes to see genuine reconciliation in Sri Lanka and added that it will offer support in that regard. Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takashi UTO, speaking at the UNHRC, said that Japan supports efforts being made towards national reconciliation by the new Govt of President Maithripala Sirisena. He welcomed the constructive dialogue between Sri Lanka and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. more..

Minnows bring heart and soul to World Cup

Mar 3 (Stuff) The Black Caps have had a whirlwind tournament so far, and it is wonderful to see them at this stage with four wins from four games. They show no signs of slowing down. But this has seemingly been a far-from-perfect tournament. Media and former cricket players say that outside NZ games there has not been a lot of excitement. Bat has dominated ball for the majority of the tournament, with massive hundreds and lightning-fast scores being made almost every game. more..

SL's slow Asian death technique thwarted

Mar 3 (CI) At times on those steamy floodlit nights at Premadasa Stadium, pitch appears to be laced with poison when Sri Lanka are defending a score. Teams often begin well against the hosts; openers cracking boundaries, required rate heading south. But SL bide their time. They are in collusion with the clay. Eventually, there will come a time, they know, when the toxins in the surface begin to seep through batsmen's shoes. more..

Sri Lanka to get more Swiss investments

Mar 3 (EN) Swiss companies want to invest in Sri Lanka with an economic mission due in May prceded by the visit of Switzerland's foreign minister later this month, the Swiss envoy in Colombo has said. An investment 'roundtable' discussion has been proposed involving potential Swiss investors, officials of Swiss firms already in the island, Board of Investment and Commerce ministry, Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn, Ambassador of Switzerland to Sri Lanka, said. more..

Independence Day celebrated in Palestine

Mar 3 (FT) The Representative Office of Sri Lanka in the State of Palestine celebrated Sri Lanka’s 67th anniversary of Independence on 4 Feb. The event was held at the Grand Park Hotel in Ramallah with the participation of senior officials, members of Diplomatic Corps, a large number of Palestinian friends of Sri Lanka, representatives of the business community and Sri Lankan expatriates. State of Palestine Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Tayseer Jaradat was the Chief Guest more..

Sri Lanka's credit, current account deficit to be watched: Fitch

Mar 3 (EN) Sri Lanka's credit growth, any widening of the external current deficit that would be worsened by expansionary activities of the state would be watched. SL is now rated 'BB-', three levels below 'BBB-' investment grade with a stable outlook, by Fitch, helped by strong growth, a gradual reduction in the budget deficit and an unblemished debt servicing record, Sagarica Chandra, head of Asia Pacific Sovereigns at Fitch. more..

Estate Worker unions to meet on wage hike negotiations

Mar 3 (ST) Negotiations at the upcoming Collective Agreement for Sri Lankan plantation workers would ensure they get a reasonable and decent hike in their salaries, a govt politician said. State Minister for Plantation and Industry K. Velayutham, who is also the General Secretary of the Lanka Jathika Estate Workers’ Union, said that they would be conducting discussions with nearly 70 unions prior to meeting with the relevant authorities to increase wages of estate workers as a joint effort without biases. more..

Sri Lanka tea export earnings fall sharply in January, volumes up

Mar 3 (EN) Sri Lankan tea export earnings fell sharply in January 2015 from a year ago owing to lower buying power in key markets but volumes increased, with demand recovering in some Middle Eastern countries hit by political troubles. Turkey emerged as the largest importer of Ceylon tea followed by Russia and Iraq, Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers said. Other noteworthy importers were UAE, Iran and Libya. Markets in the Middle East had earlier been affected by political uncertainty more..

State Minister Rosy Senanayake seeks ILO assistance to eradicate child labour

Mar 3 (FT) State Minister of Child Affairs Rosy Senanayake recently sought assistance from the International Labour Organization (ILO) to help eradicate domestic child labour in Sri Lanka. Senanayake met with Global Action Programme Project Director Bijoy Raychaudri to discuss the way forward for Sri Lanka’s child labour policy. The meeting took place at the Ministry of Child Affairs and was also attended by more..

SLT December quarter net down 37%

Mar 3 (EN) Sri Lanka Telecom said December 2014 net profit fell 37% to 958 million rupees from a year ago with a firm suffering a foreign exchange loss for the period which also saw higher finance costs. Group sales in the quarter rose 9% to 17 billion rupees, interim results filed with the stock exchange showed. Basic earnings per share were 53 cents. SLT's mobile unit, Mobitel, reported sales rose 13% to 7.92 billion rupees in the fourth quarter compared with 2013. more..

Removal of a Chief Justice from office

Mar 3 (Island) The removal of former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake from office has tarnished the image of Sri Lanka both internationally and nationally. Whether the measures initiated by the former govt for the removal of CJ were driven by political motivations or whether opposition to it was also driven by political considerations is not of relevance. What is of relevance to the image of Sri Lanka is not the intent but whether the procedures as required by the Constitution more..

Gammanpila on Maithri govt, Tamil separatism and Rajapaksa’s return

Mar 3 (FT) Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader and former Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila claims the present Govt had mega lies about mega deals and accuses the coalition of cheating people to fraudulently secure their vote. “That is the biggest fraud that took place in this country. Therefore people are now impatiently waiting for Parliamentary election to punish those cheaters for deceitfully stealing their vote,” more..

Sri Lanka Tourism gathers momentum at key Italian Travel Fair

Mar 3 (CT) Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau championed 18 top company representatives in the travel and hotel sectors operating in the Italian market to show case Sri Lanka Tourism at the BIT International Tourism Exchange held from 12– 14 Feb 2015 at Fiera Millano, Italy. BIT (Borsa Internationale Tourisme) is the largest exhibition in the world of the Italian tourist products and contains a comprehensive collection of the best international tourism products from over 120 countries more..

Editorial: No rotis, please!

Mar 3 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena is in the same predicament as a pregnant woman being forced to push and deliver by a bunch of clockwatching midwives in a mighty hurry. He is coming under increasing pressure to deliver on his promise to change the Constitution and the electoral system before April 23, when Parliament is expected to be dissolved. Leader of the NMJS Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera has, at a recent meeting, expressed his displeasure at more..

'Unethical for UNP to dissolve Parliament'

Mar 3 (CT) Former UPFA Minister, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, claims the UNP Govt in office has no majority and it is unethical for such a govt to talk of dissolving Parliament as the current House had been elected by the people for six years. Sharing of power is a good idea; Yapa said that if a minority cannot form a govt, it should invite the majority in the opposition to form a govt. Yapa is the General Secretary of SLFP. more..

Human Rights and 50 days of Sri Lanka’s new Presidency

Mar 3 (GV) It’s now 50 days since Sri Lanka’s new President took oaths on 9th Jan 2015. This is an attempt to reflect on the first 50 days of the new Presidency. It’s not meant to be comprehensive assessment of the 50 days, but a reflection based on my personal experiences, what I’ve seen and heard in my travels around the country interacting with various people and also what I’ve read. There were three striking things for me in terms of the oath taking ceremony itself. more..

Can South Africa succeed where India and Norway had failed?

Mar 3 (SL) Now that a new Govt has settled down to work in Colombo, an official South African team is back in the country, trying to take forward their post-war truth and reconciliation efforts from where they had left under the predecessor regime of President Rajapaksa. All told, the present double-barrel gun comprising President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe should be the welcome change that any peace facilitator in Sri Lanka could do with yet South Africans’ job more..

I've been framed! Squeals Malaka

Mar 3 (CT) "My father was on the verge of a crucial political decision and this was blocked by a particular official, framing me for a crime that I did not commit". The notorious night crawler that he was, that is until the Courts restrained him from entering night clubs. Ceylon Today spoke to the young and free-spirited Malaka Silva, the son of MP Mervyn Silva. There is much more than the so called 'Bad Boy' image attached to him. more..

Still on the drawing boards

Mar 3 (NS) The delay in implementing the electoral reforms has given rise to several questions as to whether the coming election should be held under the existing electoral system; the present preference voting system or whether it should be replaced with a mixed system. According to the agenda of the 100-Day program of the new govt, electoral reform has been given priority. Before the Presidential election, Maithripala Sirisena as a candidate pledged to introduce a mixed system, more..

Ranil’s comments on Media raise eyebrows

Mar 3 (NS) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe last week, raised eyebrows by publicly accusing several Sinhala language newspapers of being in the payroll of former President Rajapaksa and attempting to create communal disharmony. Stating that he would be calling a meeting of media heads and their owners to discuss the situation, Wickremesinghe went onto say that he would ‘see to it’ if any of those he invites did not turn up and called on the public to conduct ‘occupy’ style protests at more..