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Moves to cancel local contracts already offered for Northern Expressway

Feb 24 (AD) The former govt has selected local contractors for the Northern Expressway project, considered the largest such projects in Sri Lanka, not on a competitive and open basis and hence action would be taken to cancel these contracts, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. He said that when the suspended construction work of the Northern Expressway project is resumed, instead of the current contractors, more..

Sri Lanka keeps rates unchanged amid rocketing credit, currency pressure

Feb 24 (EN) Sri Lanka's Central Bank said it would keep policy interest rates unchanged as private credit hit new highs, consumer prices rose and the rupee came under pressure, and the state cut taxes and raised public sector salaries. Central Bank said private credit growth hit a historic high of 76.5 billion rupees in Dec 2014. "With low nominal interest rates and improving business confidence, it is expected that more..

BBS monk is considering politics

Feb 24 (CG) BBS General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara thero says he is considering entering politics and may contest the General elections. BBS monk said that he has been asked several times to enter politics. Thero said that he is taking the request very seriously and may contest the General election. Meanwhile, BBS condemned the statement made by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, critical of some newspapers. more..

Rabies on the rise

Feb 24 (CT) Due to increase in stray dogs and cats, rabies is rapidly increasing in main cities and suburbs with State hospitals reporting a large number of cases. In Horana, according to statistics, nearly five hundred persons have been treated for rabies in the first 45 days this year. Of them, 121 were children under the age of 12. Hospitals claimed that numbers were increasing every month with the stray dog population on the rise in busy townships. Medical authorities stated that more..

Road blocks in IHR mechanisms: What implications for Sri Lanka?

Feb 24 (CT) There is no arguing, international human rights mechanisms are frequently ineffective or topsy-turvy. If you are convinced Gotabaya, Mahinda and some members of the military should be scrutinised for war crimes, either nothing will happen or, like the mills of god the process will grind excruciatingly slowly. Foreign Minister Mangala, in an about turn for the UNP, is on a whirlwind world cruise attempting to defer tabling of the UNHRC Report. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

WC 2015: West Indies beat Zimbabwe

Feb 24 (CI) An ODI double-hundred should feel monumental. This one felt inevitable. The fastest ODI double-hundred should feel exhilarating, like a rollercoaster ride. This felt like a quiet drive home from a suburban Tupperware party. That's what Chris Gayle does. He makes a double ton seem inevitable after going 19 months without an ODI century. This was the fifth double-century in ODIs, and it came exactly five years after Sachin Tendulkar first reached the landmark. more..

Sri Lankan caught swallowing gold

Feb 24 (CG) Sri Lanka national who landed in Kochi airport was admitted to Govt Medical College, Ernakulam, on Monday after he attempted to smuggle gold into the country by swallowing it. The person, identified as Muhammad Suwair, landed in Kochi by a SriLankan Airlines flight from Colombo on Saturday and was intercepted at the exit gate of the arrival hall while attempting to escape through the green channel. He showed signs of discomfort, which raised suspicion among officials. more..

Poor interest in the PS elections

Feb 24 (CG) Local election monitors say there is very little interest in the elections to be held in the Puthukudiyiruppu and Maritimepattu Pradeshiya Sabhas in Mullaitivu District on Feb 28th. PAFFREL said that so far no violence or violations have been reported before election day. However it noted that there is very poor interest among voters and very few pocket meetings and poster campaigns have been held. more..

President Sirisena a new broom for SL

Feb 24 (SMH) Maithripala Sirisena's surprise election as Sri Lankan President on Jan 8 has paved the way for a significant departure from the policies of his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa. In acknowledgement of the support of members of disaffected minority groups, including Tamils in the north, Sirisena has undertaken to write down farmers' debt, increase the health and education budget, and fight corruption. Fifty or so political appointees to Sri Lankan diplomat posts more..

Consumer Affairs Authority nabs traders over 800 consumer rights violations

Feb 24 (Island) Consumer rights violations by traders are on the increase and the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) had taken action to bring the culprits to book, a CAA official said yesterday. Reduced prices on essential items and cement, given by the recent interim budget have been effective since February 20 onwards, he said. Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen has commended the CAA officials for the detection of 800 price violations. more..

Sri Lanka to commence commercial exploration for natural gases by 2018

Feb 24 (GDI) Officials of Cairns India will hold discussions with Sri Lankan authorities this week on commencing exploration work for natural gasses in the Mannar Basin. Cairn Lanka, which made gas discoveries in two of the four exploration wells it was awarded, expects production from the country's offshore gas fields starting as early as 2016. Minister Champika Ranawaka said natural gasses have already been discovered more..

Sirisena govt violates basic democratic obligations without sharing draft bills: FF

Feb 24 (CT) “To present key Bills on the national drug policy, electoral reform and the 19th Amendment without even sharing them on the official Govt website so that citizens can be privy to the drafts, would violate a basic democratic obligation in good governance”, says Friday Forum. Issuing a statement today on transparency and public consultation within the 100 day program, the Friday Forum urges the Govt to achieve a better balance between implementing more..

Sri Lanka's new fuel administration seeks to end distribution rackets

Feb 24 (EN) New management in charge of Sri Lankan petroleum utilities have recommended changes to shipments and storage and distribution, seeking to end manipulation that increased costs and caused inefficiency. Officials of Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Limited (CPSTL), a state-owned storage facility, told Minister Champika Ranawaka that shifting shipments and new storage and alternative distribution methods could sharply reduce costs. more..

Sri Lanka call up Tharanga to cover Mendis

Feb 24 (CI) Sri Lanka are waiting on the fitness status of legspinning allrounder Jeevan Mendis, who pulled a hamstring in Melbourne on Tuesday. Mendis is awaiting an assessment from the ICC's doctors after which his reports may be forwarded to the Event Technical Committee. As a precautionary measure, opener Upul Tharanga has been asked to join the squad in Melbourne, on the request of Sri Lanka's selection committee, more..

Video: Radaliyagoda gets bail

Feb 24 (DM) Former ITN Deputy General Manager Sudarman Radaliyagoda, who was remanded in connection with the telecast of defamatory advertisement during the 2015 Presidential election, was today released on bail by the Colombo Additional Magistrate. Mr. Radaliyagoda and two other suspects were released on personnel bail of Rs.500,000 each. Mr. Radaliyagoda was remanded on February 10 on a complaint made by the Police Children & Women’s Bureau. more..

Seven re-remanded with Choka Malli

Feb 24 (CT) Former Deputy Minister of Electricity and Power, Premalal Jayasekara, also known as Choka Malli and seven other suspects were re-remanded until 3 March. The decision was made by the Pelmadulla Magistrate yesterday (23) during the examination of the case against them. Jayasekara and the other suspects were arrested for shooting at several UNP supporters who were preparing a stage in Kahawatte, prior to the 8 January elections, killing one person. more..

Tamils hold anti-UN protest in Jaffna

Feb 24 (DPA) Tamil academics, politicians and activists staged an anti-UN protest Tuesday in northern Sri Lanka for its decision to delay a report on alleged crimes committed during the civil war. Protestors demonstrated in Jaffna town, demanding the publication of the report by next month. Lecturers from the University of Jaffna said a delay in publishing was an injustice to relatives of victims killed in the final stages of the war more..

19 SL fishermen arrested by Coast Guard

Feb 24 (Hindu) A crew of 19 Sri Lankan fishermen was apprehended by Indian Coast Guard personnel, Tuticorin on Tuesday on the charge of illegally fishing in Indian waters. The fishermen in four boats werr held during patrol at sea. Official sources from ICG, said that they were held for crossing the Indian Maritime Boundary Line. While patrolling by ICGS ‘Vaibhav’, the Sri Lankan fishermen, who strayed in to the Indian waters, were caught 53 nautical miles east of Kanyakumari coast more..

Malaka pleads to visit night clubs

Feb 24 (DM) Counsel Asela Rekawa appearing for former Minister Mervyn Silva’s son Malaka yesterday requested Colombo Additional Magistrate Aruni Attygalle to relax the ban preventing Malaka from visiting night clubs. The ban was imposed by Magistrate A.M. Sahabdeen while releasing Malaka on bail in the case connected to the assault on a British national. Counsel said his client had adhered to the restrictions imposed on him by the court and had cooperated with the Court and more..

19A before parliament in March

Feb 24 (CG) The National Executive Council (NEC) which met today, has decided to submit key proposals on constitutional reforms before Parliament next month. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the proposals will include amendments to the constitution in order to curb the Presidential powers, which was a key promise given by President Maithripala Sirisena during his Presidential election campaign. more..

No faith in domestic probe: Bishop of Mannar

Feb 24 (AD) The Bishop of Mannar, Dr Rayappu Joseph, today said that a domestic investigation into allegations of human right violations cannot be trusted and that is the reason the Tamil people placed their faith in an international probe by the UN. “However, we were deceived by the UN,” he said, speaking to reporters following a protest held in Jaffna against the deferring of the UNHRC report on Sri Lanka. The protestors handed over a letter to the Rt Rev Dr Rayappu Joseph, more..

U.S. sends demining equipment

Feb 24 (CG) The United States (US) has sent demining equipment worth nearly 300 million Sri Lankan rupees, the US Embassy in Colombo said today. Lieutenant Dave Chesson from the U.S. Embassy delivered the donated equipment today to assist with demining efforts in the former war-affected areas of Sri Lanka. The shipment is a part of continuing US assistance with demining efforts across the country since 2009. Major General Lasantha Wickramasuriya, more..

Police on the trail of another drug kingpin

Feb 24 (DM) Police said that an investigation has been launched to arrest Mohommad Makeem, another drug kingpin who was alleged to have links with ‘Wele Suda’ in connection with drug smuggling on an international level. SSP Ajith Rohana said the 47-year-old Mohommad Makeem Siddhik was currently abroad trafficking in drugs either from Pakistan or Dubai. “Siddhik is one of the main drug dealers and he is exporting more..

Singapore's Surbana to help re-design Sri Lanka mega city

Feb 24 (EN) Singapore will help update a plan to build a 'megapolis' in Sri Lanka's Western Province which was originally conceived over a decade ago, visiting Foreign Minister K Shanmuganathan said in Colombo. An administration from 2001 to 2004 headed by PM Ranil Wickremasinghe conceived a plan to create a large metropolitan region expanding outwards from Colombo to Avissawella north and Pandadura to the south, but it was mostly forgotted after he was ousted in 2004 elections. more..

Prof. Kapila Dahanayaka to head Uma Oya investigation

Feb 24 (AM) Govt has decided to appoint a committee to study the Uma Oya multipurpose development project which was commenced by the previous govt. The committee appointed by the govt will be headed by Prof. Kapila Dahanayaka, a Senior Professor of Geology. The committee will also include nine members who have experience in related fields. Project was initiated by the former govt in order to transfer water from the river to the Lunugamwehera Reservoir and provide water more..

World Bank reaffirms its commitment to support Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (WB) World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region Annette Dixon said the Bank would partner with the govt to help shape and implement policies aimed at reducing poverty, improving shared prosperity and promoting sustainable growth. During her visit, Dixon met with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, the Finance Minister, and Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and more..

Yet another suspect dies in police custody, a witness too

Feb 24 (AD) In yet another incident where suspects die while in police custody, a 35-year-old father of three, who was arrested for alleged possession of illegal liquor, has died at the Hambantota General hospital. A special police team led by ASP T.B. Jayasundara has arrested six cops attached to the Sooriyawewa Police station in connection with the murder incident. This case has grabbed more attention with a 70-year-old person, who reportedly eye witnessed victim was being assaulted by more..

Shahsi transferred to Prisons hospital

Feb 24 (DM) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya today ordered the prison authorities to transfer former Minister Wimal Weerawansa’s wife Shashi, from the private hospital in Malabe to the Prison Hospital. On a motion filed by the Prisons Department, the Magistrate also directed the prison authorities to obtain a medical report from the Prison’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and seek his advice on whether Ms. Weerawansa needs to be admitted to the Colombo National Hospital. more..

Singapore says will back Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (CG) Singapore says it would continue to cooperate with Sri Lanka at international forums, the President’s office said today. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Law of Singapore K. Shanmugam, who met resident Maithripala Sirisena today, also praised the new Sri Lankan government’s efforts for development and reconciliation. President Sirisena said Sri Lanka, as a middle-income country is keen to study more..

Is Modi a role model for President Sirisena?

Feb 25 (CT) Indian media experts write in patronizing and condescending tones about how Sri Lanka’s newly elected President Mr. Sirisena should emulate PM Modi or use Modi as a role model? I think not. Indians and Modi should look at Mr. Sirisena and use him as a role model. They do have one similarity in the sense neither was well known until thrust into the limelight by elections. Modi was a local figure in Gujarat (served 3 terms as Chief Minister) until he took over the more..

Setting a course correction to the SL Navy

Feb 25 (LG) While the honeymoon period of the newly elected president and his installed government is coming to an end there are signs that good governance is once again a possibility in Sri Lanka. However even though the President, Mr. Maithripala Sirisena is moving in the right direction some of his ministries in his govt are drinking old wine in new glasses. It was reported that, on an occasion held near to his birth place, President said that even he was confused with the delay in more..

FUTA threatens strike action against academic duo

Feb 25 (SO) The FUTA is poised to take drastic action against the academic duo Dr and Prof Hirimburegama who were appointed to two plum positions in the education sector by the former regime. Kshanika Hirimburegama recently relinquished her post as UGC Chairperson under pressure while husband Dr Kumara Hirumburegama who still holds the position as VC, Colombo University. more..

Political discretion & Sri Lanka’s genocide against Tamil

Feb 25 (CT) On the ashes of WWII the world had the moral duty to become conscious of the extent to which human violence and hatred went, so far as committing to eradicate the Jews. Despite the macabre events being so clear to the eyes, no words could fulfil the description of the ferocious crimes committed. The horror and cruelty of inhumane acts, such as the Holocaust, cannot and must not repeat in the future. For this reason Raphael Lemkin, a Polish jurist of Jewish more..

Need for a university in the plantations

Feb 25 (CT) One of the dreams of the youth in the plantations is to enhance their education abilities, to secure opportunities in higher education as experts in the field have continuously promised to establish a university in the plantations in order to fulfil the aspirations of the plantation youths. With the change in the govt, up country trade unions have approached the Ministry of Higher Education with various proposals to enhance the higher education process for the students in estates. more..

Wimal confident MR will return as PM

Feb 25 (CT) NFF Leader, Wimal Weerawansa says that they are trying to arouse popular demand that Mahinda Rajapaksa be nominated as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the SLFP. Q: When will former President Rajapaksa join you on your platform aimed at bringing him back into active politics? A: I believe he will appear on our stage. Q: Has he given a date? A: We have not discussed that much. more..

Editorial: Rogues as partners?

Feb 25 (Island) Power is to a politician what heroin is to a druggie. Some ministers of the previous govt are having withdrawal symptoms and desperate to savour power once again. SLFP’s recent proposal for a national govt must have warmed the cockles of their hearts. The best way to catch a thief is to set a thief, as they say. This is possible in politics only if there is a formidable Opposition to keep a watchful eye on the party in power. A national govt will enable all MPs to get together and share the cake more..

The right to know but how much

Feb 25 (ST) If the schedule has been kept, the long awaited Right to Information (RTI) Bill should have already been tabled in parliament when this column appears. The new Govt has received plaudits from near and far for having presented so quickly legislation that should have been in the statute books at least two decades ago if only those who governed this country previously had had the political will and courage to do so. Over the years the public’s right of access to information more..

SLMC - TNA marriage in the East

Feb 25 (CT) Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) Opposition Leader and TNA member, Singaravelu Thandayuthapani said they have decided to join hands with SLMC to serve all communities without any difference in the province. "We will not neglect the Tamil people. We have reached this decision through our party leadership. I believe all will understand our motive when we actually function as a part of the EPC Govt. more..

'Religious diversity, a gift for people of SL'

Feb 25 (AN) "Using the gift of religious diversity to bring benefits to the people of Sri Lanka". Kumara Illangasinghe, Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala, tells AsiaNews that this is what motivates him in his appointment as ambassador of former Ceylon to the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. With him, a total of 63 personalities have been selected from all over the world. Ten from Asia - five from India, two from Pakistan and one each for Sri Lanka, Nepal and Russia. more..