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Sri Lanka keen on educational exchange programme with France

June 5 (Island) Sri Lanka was very keen to have proper higher educational exchange programme with France, Higher Education Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said on Wednesday. He expressed this view at a meeting with French Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jean- Marin Schuh at the Ministry premises. Ambassador and the Minister discussed several matters related to higher education in Sri Lanka. Minister told the top French diplomat that it was the most appropriate time to strengthen more..

CEA mulls networking state institutions to protect environment

June 5 (Island) Efforts to conserve the environment must involve the participation of all citizens from workers to policymakers, said Chairman of the Central Environment Authority (CEA) Prof. Lal Mervin Dharmasiri. Explaining his plan, Prof. Dharmairi said that the CEA was striving to develop a strategic system to set up a network of all the governmental authorities to protect the environment. It was difficult to monitor all environment related activities because of the lack of financial more..

India, Sri Lanka fishermen problem needs bottoms-up solution: Envoy

June 5 (IANS) The long-drawn fishermen problem between India and Sri Lanka - that has often threatened to spoil ties - needs a "bottoms-up solution rather than one imposed from above," says Sri Lankan envoy, Sudharshan Seneviratne. The fishermen problem, that has recently seen some harsh language used by Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera - with India voicing its displeasure - more..

Sri Lankan national charged with murdering Bangladeshi man

June 5 (BERNAMA) A Sri Lankan national was charged in the Magistrate’s Court here today with the murder of a Bangladeshi man. Thaluka Kuhanige, 19, is charged with murdering Reazul Saha, 43, at the five-foot walkway of Restoran Candy Bar, Persiaran Pulai Baru 2, Taman Muda in Simpang Pulai here between 6 pm and 7 pm last May 19. The charge, under Section 302 of the Penal Code, carries the death sentence upon conviction. However, no plea was recorded after more..

Unauthorised staff rooms: Akila- Dayasiri on collision course

June 5 (CT) Chief Minister of North- Western Province Dayasiri Jayasekara has in opposition to an order issued by Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam declared open a newly constructed staff room in the Narammala Mayurapada National school. Construction of the staff room was begun on a concept created by Jayasekara to which the Education Minister had made a string of objections and ordered it be stopped. There are 31 newly constructed staff rooms in the Province and more..

President likely to attend UNHRC session in September

June 5 (Xinhua) President Maithripala Sirisena has informed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that he wishes to attend the UNHRC sessions in September when a crucial report on Sri Lanka is expected to be submitted. During a telephone conversation on Thursday, the president said that he wishes to travel to Geneva to attend the September sessions after the establishment of a new govt in the island nation. more..

Dr.Ray's family gifts Kitfox to Air Force Museum

June 5 (CT) The aircraft that was discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Narahenpita earlier this year was donated by the family of Late Dr.Ray Wijewardene to the Air Force Museum yesterday, at an event that revived memories of the esteemed aviator cum engineer, who assembled the aircraft himself 25 years ago. Kitfox Model 2 aircraft stirred controversy when it was found in Narahenpita in the immediate aftermath of Presidential Election 2015 in an abandoned warehouse. more..

DPF, NUW, UPF to ally with UNP

June 5 (DM) In the wake of three upcountry Tamil parties deciding to join hands with the UNP, Arumugam Thondaman-led Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) said it would continue as an ally of the UPFA. Democratic People's Front (DPF), National Union of Workers (NUW) Upcountry People's Front (UPF) had earlier formed an alliance and decided to contest the election under elephant symbol of UNP. CWC Leader Muttu Sivalingam said his party would stick with UPFA. more..

Pakistan’s Army Chief arrives in Sri Lanka

June 5 (GDI) Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif is arriving in Sri Lanka, this afternoon, on a long overdue visit, on the invitation of his Sri Lankan counterpart Lieutenant General A W J C De Silva. The 4 day visit will be General Sharif’s first visit to Sri Lanka. General Raheel Sharif will be received at the BIA by Sri Lankan Army Commander A W J C De Silva, High Commissioner of Pakistan more..

Crashed drone owner identified

June 5 (CT) Owner of the remote controlled Quad copter drone that crashed into a private property in Ahangama was identified when he turned himself in to the Police yesterday. Owner had admitted to owning and flying the crashed drone. A complaint was recorded at the Ahangama Police last Tuesday after a remote controlled Quad copter drone crashed into a home garden. Square-shaped drone was one and half feet in both length and width and has a video camera attached to it. more..

Owner wants Court to recover baby jumbo

June 5 (CT) The Human Rights Commission has begun a disciplinary inquiry into actions of officers of the Wildlife Department, who confiscated from several people elephants owned by them on fake licences. Chamali Chaturani, the wife of Ali Roshan, had lodged the complaint against the Wildlife Department. The complainant had alleged in her complaint that on 15 April when the Polo programme was conducted at the Oruwala Steel Corporation playground, though there were 12 elephants more..

SLC awards local broadcast rights to state-owned Rupavahini

June 5 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket has awarded local terrestrial broadcast rights for the next three years to the state-owned Rupavahini Corporation, declining a substantially higher bid from Carlton Sports Network (CSN). The board said it had evaluated the overall strength of the bids, and found Rupavahini to be a more reliable option. "We looked at the finances and the long-term implications when we evaluated both bids," an SLC official said. more..

Employers and employees should manage EPF funds

June 5 (CT) Workers and employers are very strong stakeholders who should be part and parcel of the management of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) or at least the monitoring of the fund, the Employers' Federation of Ceylon (EFC) noted. Ultimately is this a superannuation benefit which one can rely on for one's retirement, Director General of the EFC Ravi Peiris queried. What is the return the govt gives on the investment? He questioned. This money belongs to the people; not to the govt more..

Stakeholders get tough with interim committee

June 5 (DM) The stakeholders of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), who have opposed the appointment of an Interim Committee by Sports Minister to run the administrative affairs of the local cricket body, have reiterated their stance to the Minister saying that SLC will not be liable or responsible for the actions of the interim committee. The stakeholders, who are made up of affiliated clubs and associations and make up the membership of SLC, and whose votes determine who gets elected into executive more..

President vows to fulfill his promises given to people

June 5 (PMU) “It was I who gave promises to people regarding abolishing Executive Presidency, strengthening of democracy and establishing good governance as well as amending the electoral system. Therefore, I am the one who is responsible for fulfilling those promises,” said President Maithripala Sirisena. I would not let any force or person to demolish the progressive steps taken to fulfill those tasks, more..

A reply to the Israeli Ambassador

June 6 (CT) When the Israeli ambassador to Sri Lanka Daniel Carmon said that Israel was built from scratch we can assume he was being selective in his choice of history. A lot of nations have been built from scratch. Take Singapore, for example. Lee Kuan Yew built his nation from nothing to what it is today without any foreign aid or handouts. Israel has been lucky in that quarter having received millions of dollars in aid and outright grants from the U.S since its creation. more..

Beauty & The Beast

June 6 (CT) I was shocked to read Visakha Tillekeratne et al comments about Rosy Senanayake, who happened to be the Minister of Child Affairs in this Yahapalana regime. For me, who had been a longstanding observer of Mrs Senanayake, (I have never met her in my life) she was a prominent campaigner for the rights of women and children. But I think she played that role of an activist – many years before becoming a politician and a minister – with a dignity and standards. more..

Tainted waters

June 6 (SO) Flowing through the city of Colombo the Kelani River is an invaluable source of fresh water. Yet, sewage waste, industrial effluents, unused batteries and various poisonous and polluting substances are dumped or discharged into this magnificent water course rendering it one of the most polluted. The Kelani River is the primary source of drinking water of millions of people living or working in Colombo. more..

Northerners fear hidden hand at work

June 6 (CT) The Northern Provincial Council is fortunate to have the senior most Civil Servant C.V.K. Sivagnanam, as its chairperson with the vast experience in the day-to-day issues pertaining to the administrative as well as the social issues in the peninsula and Northern Province at large. The administration of the Jaffna Municipal Council from the time Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiyappah was assassinated in 1976, Sivagnanam who was the Commissioner of Jaffna Municipal Council more..

Maithripala Sirisena and Chandrika option

June 6 (NS) On Nov 4, 2003, then President, Chandrika Kumaratunga took over three key ministries from the ruling UNP. Defence, Interior and Media portfolios were handed over to MPs belonging to her party. Move effectively led to a governance crisis that in turn precipitated dissolution of Parliament a couple of months later. What is important here as that when Chandrika seized these ministries she had lost governing legitimacy because her party had been ousted at the 2001 more..

'I am not an elephant rogue'

June 6 (CT) Diyawadana Nilame Nilanga Dela Bandara says, Nihal Ferdinandus, who served at the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, was making allegations against him by using newspapers and websites, due to a personal vendetta. "He has also made a false complaint against me and the FCID summoned me to record a statement. Media gave wide publicity for it." Q: When were you elected as the Diyawadana Nilame? more..

Editorial: Desecrating temples

June 6 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has drawn heavy flak for using Buddhist temples for what his critics call political work. Politicians who desecrate places of worship by using them for political purpose are doomed to fail, Media Minister Gayantha Karunatileka has said. Rajapaksa has sought to defend himself by claiming that his religious programmes are free from partisan politics. Nobody will buy into the former President’s claim. He is obviously carrying out a grassroots more..

Vadamarachchi: Was JRJ a traitor? – III

June 6 (Island) Why did President JR refuse to extend the Vadamarachchi operation and go all out for a military victory over the LTTE? I believe that the explanation is that he had already been engaged in a tripartite conspiracy with India and the US – a benign conspiracy with the best of intentions behind it – to solve the ethnic problem. The Peace Accords of 1987 and the coming of the IPKF troops were the consequences of that conspiracy. The dispatch of the flotilla and the air drop were parts of more..

'No hurry to dissolve Parliament'

June 6 (CT) Minister Rajitha Senaratne says that even if the UNP was in a hurry to dissolve Parliament the SLFP will not do so until the 20th Amendment wass passed. Q: President Maithripala Sirisena has declared that, former President Rajapaksa will not be given nomination to contest as the PM candidate from the UPFA led by the SLFP. Does it mean that there is no use of talking further about a Maithri-Mahinda union? more..

Nimali, Gayanthika looking to bring honour

June 6 (DN) Lankan camp will be looking to bag their first medal at the ongoing Asian Athletics Championships when the two friend from Suriyawewa who are arch rivals on track, Nimali Liyanarachchi and Gayanthika Abeyratne, compete in the heats of the women's 800 metres today. The duo, trained by veteran coach Sajith Abeysekara have always competed shoulder to shoulder in the event, and both of them have clocked below the 2 minute 5 seconds mark. more..

Exclusion of private sector and NGOs untenable

June 6 (NS) Draft Right to Information – Farcical? Exclusion of Private Sector, NGOs & Crucial Restrictions – Untenable. The very fact the Draft Right to Information is not officially available in the public domain questions its bona fides. To postulate that it was formulated in some measure of secrecy may not be far from the truth. It would appear that the only major outside input solicited by its framers was from large Colombo based NGOs – most of them close to the current Wickremesinghe more..

Controversial SLFP pamphlet: Megenath Sithanna: Pakshaya Rekaganna

June 6 (Island) Last Wednesday TV viewers saw quite a drama on the prime time news broadcasts at an SLFP press conference held by the party’s national organiser, parliamentarian Thilanga Sumathipala and three other MPs. A pamphlet purportedly published by the SLFP had been distributed to mediamen at that press conference. It was titled Me genath Sithanna: Pakshaya Rekaganna with a picture of more..

Google I/O Extended Sri Lanka 2015

June 6 (NS) National Mobile Service Provider Mobitel hosted Google I/O Extended Sri Lanka for the third consecutive year for 2015 with a registered participation of an overwhelming number of more than 3000 Google enthusiasts who had the opportunity to experience the largest ICT confab ever held in the country. Google I/O is an annual developer-focused conference held by Google in San Francisco, USA, featuring a wide range of highly technical, in-depth sessions more..

Sri Lanka condoles the loss of lives in Ghana

June 6 (GDI) Govt is deeply saddened by the tragic deaths that occurred as a result of a fire that erupted in a petrol station in Accra at a time when the people of Ghana were already traumatized and trying to cope with torrential rain and floods, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said. "Sri Lanka offers its condolences to the families of the victims of this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected at this difficult time," Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement. more..

7% growth in 1H 2015, predicts CB Governor

June 6 (FT) Concurring with growth projections made by international monetary organisations, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran is confident Sri Lanka’s economy will average around 7% during the first half of 2015, with growth picking up in subsequent years. “By the end of six months this year, we will average around 7%. There’s nothing to worry,” a confident Governor said. “I think things are looking good. more..

Sri Lanka tea auction prices continue slide

June 6 (EN) Sri Lanka tea prices fell for fifth straight month at the Colombo auctions in May with low grown varieties dropping the most compared with last year. The auction average for the month of May 2015 fell 17% to 396.55 rupees a kilo from a year ago, with the average also down in US dollar terms, Forbes & Walker Brokers said. Prices fell in all three elevations at which tea is grown. The industry has been hit by problems in key markets like Russia and the Middle East. more..

Higher authorities halt Gayamu Gee concert

June 6 (NS) Gayamu Gee, the monthly concert which took place under the auspices of the Ranwala Balakaya, has ended for good. Began about three years ago on the personal initiative of Sahan Ranwala, the event took place on the last Saturday of every month at the Kamatha in the BMICH. However, this has now come to an end after BMICH authorities imposed a ban on the use of sound equipment for the concert. Commenting on the incident Ranwala Balakaya Chief Ranwala more..

EU presents Euro 60 m district program

June 6 (FT) The European Union (EU) yesterday presented a Euro 60 million cooperation program to support four districts in the north and east to reduce poverty and improve infrastructure. Titled the European Union Support to District Development Program (EU-SDDP), the project, which was begun in 2012 and will continue till 2017, focuses on three key result areas including poverty reduction, provision of basic infrastructure for more..

Nearly 400 Army personnel actively contribute to Dengue prevention

June 6 (SLA) The island-wide Dengue prevention programme, launched by the Ministry of Health in close coordination with tri services, Police, Civil Security Department personnel, provincial level health workers, state agencies, community-oriented voluntary organizations, is now fully operational with the backing of nearly 400 Army personnel on a daily basis. Responding to a request of the Ministry of Health, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, Commander of the Army, more..

Ghost voters: Another blotch in the Rajapaksa regime

June 6 (DN) In Sri Lanka’s 2015 Presidential Election, 15,044,490 voters were on the electoral rolls but the number of citizens who were of legal voting age was only 14,449,000 going by the Census data. This amounts to an unaccounted excess of 4.3% in the electoral rolls. This is alarming since the last Presidential election was decided by a margin of 3.7% and previous elections were decided by half as much. This phenomenon of ghost-voters was pointed out soon after more..

Local borrowing surges as new tax bills delayed

June 6 (Reuters) Sri Lanka’s local borrowing through Govt bonds has surged, surpassing the total figure for all of last year, data showed on Friday, as the new Govt struggles to pass crucial tax bills announced in January to finance some populist measures. Govt has borrowed Rs. 378.3 billion through Treasury bills and bonds so far this year until Wednesday, higher than the Rs. 259.8 billion it borrowed in 2014, latest data showed. more..

'Social media and online marketing will boost brand presence'

June 6 (LBO) John Keells Hotels, a leading hotel operator with a portfolio of 11 hotels and 1,336 rooms in Sri Lanka and Maldives says that company’s social media strategy and online marketing strategy will help boost brand presence in the global tourism market. “Our Company remains positive that the newly initiated brand architecture, coupled with the digital and social media strategy, will strengthen our brand presence and help achieve differentiation of our offering in a market more..

PSM tutors call off strike

June 6 (Island) Professions Supplementary to Medicine (PSM) said that tutorial staff at several training schools would recommence lectures after calling off their trade union action which lasted over a month. PSM General Secretary, Saman Jayasekara said the training would commence for 225 Medical Laboratory Technologists on Monday at the training schools situated in Colombo, Kalutara and Peradeniya. He said that 85 Occupational and Physiotherapists had commenced training more..

Writ Application filed to abolish FCID

June 6 (CT) Rev. Elle Gunawansa and Professor Carlo Fonseka yesterday filed a Writ Application in the Court of Appeal requesting the Court to abolish the Financial Crime Investigation Division (FCID). The petitioners filed this Writ Application citing the Inspector General of Police as a respondent and also requested Court to declare the Gazette Notification issued to set up the FCID as illegal. more..

Import taxes on potatoes, big onion reduced

June 6 (GDI) Ministry of Finance has announced that the import taxes on big onions and potatoes have been reduced with effect from midnight Friday. Special commodity levy on imported potatoes has been reduced from Rs 55 to 30 per kilogram and big onions reduced from Rs 30 to 10 per kilogram. The levies on imported potatoes and big onion were raised last month by Rs 15 and Rs. 20 per kilogram respectively. SL currently produces about 50% of the local requirements of these food items. more..