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Editorial: Suffering in vain

Feb 26 (Island) Most of us frown on the use of terms like ‘asses’ and ‘swinish multitude’ to refer to ordinary people who are thought to act irrationally, if not idiotically. But, there are no other words to describe former TN Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s followers, some of whom have gone so far as to commit suicide to demonstrate their love for her. In what may be described charitably as an act of stupidity one of her loyalists has recently crucified himself to show actress turned politician more..

Access Engineering in Djibouti

Feb 26 (DM) Access Engineering PLC has further extended its international presence by opening a branch office in the Free Zone of the Republic of Djibouti to explore possibilities of road and port constructions in Djibouti. “We are exploring the possibilities of road and port construction in Djibouti. We already have an engineer posted there to go through and process projects as and when they come,” Access Engineering Managing Director Christopher Joshua said. more..

Cutting edge genomic diagnostics now in SL

Feb 26 (NS) Medical history was created in Sri Lanka when Credence Genomics, the Country’s first and only commercial Biotechnology venture, equipped with Next Generation Sequencing technology was launched on Friday. The farsighted team behind this pioneering venture comprised Dr. Vaz Gnanam, Raj K. Omprasadham, Ananda Atukorale and Malaka Talwatta. They have succeeded where few have dared to venture. more..

Brandix felicitated for donation of 3,321 units of blood in 2014

Feb 26 (CT) The National Blood Transfusion Service (NTBS) has felicitated the Brandix Group for the donation by its employees of 3,321 units of blood in 2014, the largest donation by a single corporate entity in the country in the year. This is the fifth year in succession that Brandix, Sri Lanka's single largest apparel exporter, has been acknowledged as the largest donor of blood among private sector organisations that donate annually to the NBTS. Brandix began an organized blood collection more..

Hakeem appoints Harvard, MIT alumnus as new DG at UDA

Feb 26 (FT) Minister Rauff Hakeem has appointed Nayana Mawilmada as the new Director General of the Urban Development. Mawilmada is an urban development specialist with extensive experience planning, facilitating, and managing large-scale urban development, real estate and infrastructure projects across 15 countries. His diverse experience ranges from advising the Parliament of East Timor to leading numerous urban sector investments for the Asian Development Bank. more..

'Ports and Customs to work round-the-clock from March 1'

Feb 26 (Island) Ports and Customs would provide 24-hour services from March 1, thus, endeavouring to bring the best out of Sri Lankans to boom the country’s economy while ensuring transparency and good governance, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. ‘The govt would ensure that the country would not fall into jeopardy though the previous govt led it into jeopardy, he added. Karunanayake who was the Chief Guest at more..

What’s wrong with a Buddhist monk as Lanka Hospitals director? – Ravi

Feb 26 (AD) What is wrong with a Buddhist monk being in a company’s Board of Directors, questioned Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. He was responding to a question from the media on the appointment of a Buddhist monk, Venerable Theeniyawala Palitha Thera to the Board of Directors of Lanka Hospitals PLC. When pointed out that it is a first in the history of the Colombo Stock Exchange, Minister Karunanayake replied, “Yes, we are a government which creates records.” more..

Minister Dissanayake vows actions against absent officials

Feb 26 (AD) Minister Navin Dissanayake has said that stern action will be taken against some key officials who did not attend a meeting between the Minister of Sports and the Heads of the National Sports Associations which was held this afternoon (25) at the Ministry of Tourism and Sports Auditorium. The observation was made when the heads of the associations discussed this issue with the Minister, where he assured to take prompt action to resolve the matter immediately. more..

GSP+, fisheries recovery, stronger FTAs under focus in 100-day push

Feb 26 (FT) The recovery of export streams and markets damaged through neglect and weak international relations is a major priority in Sri Lanka’s 100-day Global Trade Blueprint, which was unveiled for the first time in Colombo. The new Govt also revealed that Sri Lanka’s exports as a share of GDP, is not at a low of 15% as generally believed but is at 20%. “Reapplying for the GSP+ facility of the EU, more..

Consumer confidence picks up in 4Q

Feb 26 (DM) Consumer confidence in Sri Lanka has picked up in the 4th quarter of 2014 and January 2015, according the Consumer Confidence Index of The Nielson Company. The index rose from 65 index points in October 2014 to 75 in November, and eventually to 84 in January, approaching the all-time high of 87 achieved in December 2011. The index tracks consumers’ confidence in the job market, status of their personal finances and their readiness to spend. more..

External sector was stable in 2014: CB

Feb 26 (FT) Central Bank yesterday confirmed that the country’s external sector remained stable during 2014 with continuous inflows being recorded in the Balance of Payments (BOP). “Foreign exchange inflows to the country in terms of exports, tourist earnings, workers’ remittances, foreign direct investments (FDI) and other inflows to the financial account recorded a noteworthy growth during the year,” the Central Bank said. Although the increase in imports towards end of the year exerted more..

Arjuna may contest cricket board polls

Feb 26 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan cricketer turned politician Arjuna Ranatunga on Wednesday said that he may consider contesting the elections for the national cricket board if the need arises. The Minister for Ports, Shipping and Aviation who was a national cricket captain when Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996 said that he is ready to contest the cricket board elections in order to further improve the game in Sri Lanka. more..

CID interrogates Vaas Gunawardane

Feb 26 (DM) The CID is reported to have recorded four-hour long statement from former Monitoring MP Sajin de Vaas Gunawardane on a complaint made by the Voice Against Corruption (VAC), an organisation spearheaded by the JVP. Mr. Gunawardena said that he was interrogated by the CID from 9 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. and would have to report again next week to record a further statement. Bribery Commission is also expected to question him next week. more..

Chandimal likely to make a return today

Feb 26 (DM) Sri Lanka are unlikely to effect any changes to the side that played the last game against Afghanistan, apart from calling-in Dinesh Chandimal to replace the injured all rounder Jeevan Mendis for today’s game against Bangladesh to be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Mendis was ruled out of the tournament today by the event technical committee due to the hamstring injury he sustained on Tuesday while opener Upul Tharanga reached Melbourne to take Mendis’ place more..

Gunaratnam will not be surrendered: FSP

Feb 26 (DM) FSP Politbureau Member Pubudu Jagoda said Kumar Gunaratnam would not be surrendered to the Immigration and Emigration Department despite its calling for his surrender. Mr. Jagoda said Mr. Gunaratnam would not be surrendered to the Immigration and Emigration Department since it was a political matter and added they would resolve it with the ministry concerned. He said they had submitted more..

Sri Lanka to push for US free trade deal

Feb 26 (EN) Sri Lanka wants push for a free trade deal with the United States and also use foreign policy to gain economic benefits for the country, Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said. "The US FTA (Free Trade Agreement) is something we need to aggressively push we have already started talking to some people on it," de Silva said. He said in the meantime bilateral discussions on the United States-Sri Lanka Trade Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) should continue. more..

SLFP to decide its future today

Feb 26 (CT) General Secretary of the SLFP, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said, a decision will be taken at the Central Committee meeting today, in connection with the future political stand point of the party. In response to an inquiry, the General Secretary further said yesterday, a final meeting will be held by the committee appointed by the party and will discuss the draft amendment to the Constitution drawn up by the govt. Several important decisions are to be taken during the Central Committee meeting, more..

Govt denies printing money for state workers’ allowances

Feb 26 (Island) Amidst queries raised by the Opposition, the govt denied printing money to meet the increased expenditure resulting from the recent allowances for the public sector. Deputy minister Harsha de Silva told a news conference in Colombo that the Maithripala Sirisena administration did not intend going down the disastrous road taken by the previous regime which had left the country mired in debt for generations to come. more..

Now, CID to grill Wimal over ‘two dates of birth’

Feb 26 (Island) CID would grill former UPFA Minister and NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa soon over his alleged ‘two dates of birth’ which came to light while probing his wife’s diplomatic passport issued as per an allegedly falsified birth certificate, SSP Ajith Rohana said. SSP claimed there was no link between the police acting swiftly to arrest Weerawansa’s wife and the Nugegoda rally last week demanding that former President Rajapaksa be made the UPFA PM candidate more..

Banks ordered to pay 15% interest to 60+ depositors

Feb 26 (EN) Central Bank has ordered banks to pay 15% interest for term deposits of up to a million rupees, held by those over 60 years of age, giving effect to an election promise. Senior citizens who opened fixed deposits up to 2.5 million rupees before the 16.01.2015 under an earlier scheme would also get 12% interest. A statement by the Central Bank said the rule applied to all banks. The Rajapaksa administration gave a bond to for state banks to cover the extra interest, but more..

UN defends its decision to defer Sri Lanka war crime probe report

Feb 26 (PTI) The UNHRC defended its move to defer the release of a report into alleged war crimes committed during Sri Lanka's civil war as a very rational decision taken in a relatively unique case. President of the UNHRC Joachim Rucker said that the decision to defer the release of the report on the human rights violations in Sri Lanka to September of this year was very rational. Speaking ahead of 28th session of the UNHRC, more..

Next 50 days fast approaching

Feb 26 (DM) It’s not quite fifty days since Maithripala Sirisena became President, but we are closing in on the half-way mark of the 100-Day Programme. It is a good time as any to assess the situation. What was pledged was a national govt. UPFA still has the parliamentary majority by quite a margin but remains unrepresented in the decision-making process. In this context it is a good sign that the coalition’s major partner, SLFP (of which Maithripala Sirisena is now the leader), has decided to make the idea more..

Remembering the victims of intolerance

Feb 26 (DM) I was deeply saddened earlier this month to hear of the death of the marvellous Engish actress Geraldine McEwan. I had got to know her 30 years earlier, shortly after I joined the British Council, when she toured Sri Lanka with her one-woman Jane Austen show. I had been determined to take the tour all over the country, but by then we were advised not to go to Jaffna. So we went instead to Batticaloa, where we found a most appreciative audience. more..

All norms bypassed when importing fuel

Feb 26 (SL) Following Ceylon Petroleum Corporation’s (CPC) firm decision not to accept the consignment of 30,000 MT of substandard diesel and sending the stock back to the supplier- Unipec Singapore (Pvt) Limited, a clear signal has been sent across to all other fuel suppliers that unlike during the previous regime, substandard fuel will not be accepted under the new govt, the UNP affiliated Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS) said. more..

Bill to deter unregulated fishing and lift EU fishing ban

Feb 26 (ST) When the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Amendment) Act was taken up in Parliament for debate on Tuesday, both Govt and Opposition legislators welcomed the new laws to impose heavy fines on those violating international fishing regulations. The EU-IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) fishing ban which was announced on Oct 14 last year, came into force three months later on Jan 14 this year. more..

JVP accuses UNP Deputy Leader of trying to score brownie points

Feb 26 (Island) The JVP urged the electorate not to be deceived by UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa’s political gimmicks. MP Premadasa had been trying to outshine his ministerial colleagues by declaring that he was serving the people without even receiving a monthly salary, the JVP said. Having declared in Kurunegala recently that the govt saved Rs. 357,000 a month as he had refused to accept his salary as well as more..

Vaas and Atapattu become MCC Members

Feb 26 (Lords) Sri Lankan pair have received the honour in recognition of their achievements during playing careers that spanned nearly 800 international matches. Opening bowler Vaas took 355 wickets from 111 Tests at an average of 29.58. He has an unbeaten Test century to his name and averaged 24.32 with the bat in the five-day game. Vaas was a ODI stalwart, taking 400 wickets from 322 matches at an average of 27.53. more..

Tamil community optimistic of a just solution

Feb 26 (DN) The Tamil community is confident that a National Govt to be formed after the next Parliamentary Election will resolve the ethnic issue within two years, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran said. He said that President Maithripala Sirisena during his Presidential Election campaign had promised to resolve the ethnic issue within two years under a National Govt. "From the way this Govt acts we are confident that the present govt is sincere and more..

China's new ambassador vows to pursue Strategic Cooperative Partnership

Feb 26 (Island) China's new ambassador to Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang vowed to pursue the finalisation of a Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the two countries, which was discussed during President Xi Jinping's official visit to Colombo last September. Xianliang who arrived on Tuesday, emphasised that he was committed to implementing the agreements that had been reached during Jinping's historic visit and also pursuing the more..

Ex-Police Spokesman set to make special disclosure

Feb 26 (AD) Former Police Media Spokesman SSP Prishantha Jayakody, who left for Australia in 2013 after alleging unduly political pressure during his execution of police duties, is set to return to the country today. He is reportedly scheduled to make a special disclosure after returning to the island. Prishantha Jayakody is to hold a special press conference this afternoon and will make the exposé at the event, more..

Uma Oya Project agreement missing

Feb 26 (CT) It has been revealed at the meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) held on Tuesday, that documents relevant to the first agreement signed between the Sri Lankan and Iranian Govts in connection with the multi-purpose development scheme of Uma Oya, have disappeared. Project was launched with assistance from the Govt of Iran and its development work was later temporarily suspended. more..

SLMC calls for a political solution

Feb 26 (CG) SLMC says real peace can be experienced in Sri Lanka only once a political solution is presented. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem said that while the war has ended there needs to be a political solution which meets the needs of all communities. Hakeem said this when he met a high level South African delegation in Colombo led by SA’s International Relations Deputy Minister Nomaindia Mfeketo. more..

Presidential committee appointed

Feb 26 (CT) The National Executive Council (NEC) which met on Tuesday has decided to appoint a special presidential commission to investigate large scale corruption and fraud. It was subject to discussion at this meeting that it has still not been possible to find out how many large scale development schemes have been launched by the previous govt. It was stated here that foreign countries have agreed to provide copies of more..

Fisher poaching may resurrect terrorism

Feb 26 (CT) Fisher poaching deprives the livelihood of indigenous fishermen. As poaching is illegal, ipso facto, it needs to be stopped. Universally, fisher poaching is considered an illegal activity. The reason why the EU has placed a ban on Sri Lanka's fish exports to that region is because of alleged poaching by Sri Lankan fishers. Yesterday, this newspaper reported of an arrest of 19 Sri Lankan fishermen for poaching in Indian waters. That arrest is justifiable because poaching is illegal. more..

Response to call for comments on right to information bill

Feb 26 (CT) As a public proponent of the Right to Information (RTI), I support the enactment of Right to Information Act. The comments below are intended to improve the legislation, caution against over-reach, and make the law easier to implement effectively. I applaud the call for comments published in the newspapers on 23 Feb 2015 which is very much in the spirit of RTI. I have based my comments on the draft Right to Information bill (LDO 24/2003), downloaded from more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka bank risk capital overstated, floors of key lenders may be raised: Fitch

Feb 26 (EN) Capital adequacy floors for key Sri Lanka banks may be raised by the regulator, and the reported capital ratios of lenders did not fully reflect the risks of some loans, Fitch Ratings has said. Fitch Ratings said report capital adequacy ratios were higher than the 5% for core and 10% with second tier capital, and they were mostly of the core capital. Central Bank is likely to bring additional capital requirements for systemically important banks, Fitch said, under Basel III rules, Fitch Rating said. more..

Army honours World’s End hero, others of rescue team

Feb 26 (Island) Army Commander Lt. Gen. Crishantha de Silva yesterday paid a glowing tribute to Corporal A. M. Sudesh Lalinda of Sinha Regiment (Third Battalion) who had risked his life and limb to rescue a Dutch national named Martin Lawrence Kruf (35), who fell off World’s End at Horton Plains last Saturday. The Army headquarters invited Lalinda’s wife, Nirosha Maduwanthie for the joyous occasion when her Corporal husband was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. more..

Free Wi-Fi access for rail passengers

Feb 26 (DM) Railway passengers would be able to enjoy free Wi-Fi at selected 100 railway stations in the country by April. “We are going to begin this programme next week from Fort Railway Station. By April, there will be almost 100 railway stations with free internet access which lets rail passengers go online via smart phones or tablets free of charge,” Railway Commercial Superintendent Sisira Kumara said. more..

Taskin takes a nap, Herath doesn't

Feb 26 (CI) There were several dropped catches, but the spill in Sri Lanka's 42nd over and its aftermath verged on farce. Sangakkara cut a ball straight to Mominul Haque at point, but though the ball came at chest height, Mominul couldn't hold on. He then became aware of a run-out chance at the bowler's end however, and he shied at the stumps unsuccessfully, only to find there was no one backing up. Taskin Ahmed at long on had his attention elsewhere and didn't see the ball more..