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Look into our woes, urge Ampara farmers

Feb 5 (N) Problems faced by Ampara district farmers in selling their paddy should be looked into, members of the Uoorakkai Farmers' Committee of Thambiluvil said. They said action should be taken by the officers to solve these problems or else they would be compelled to give up paddy cultivation in the future. It is alleged that paddy farmers of Uoorakkai Kandam face several issues when selling paddy to the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB). Uoorakka Farmers' Committee president more..

Many more proposals on new constitution expected

Feb 5 (Island) Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms expects many more submissions but it has only six Tamil-speaking members to handle the anticipated load today and tomorrow at Vavuniya, which has a population of 179,000, a majority of whom are Tamils. "Although we expect many written and oral submissions in Vavuniya, I’m confident we can manage with my six efficient Tamil speaking members," Chairman of Public Representations Committee on more..

Kidney racket: Minister to get final report today

Feb 5 (AD) The final report prepared by the five member committee appointed to investigate into alleged kidney transplant racket involving Sri Lankan doctors will be handed over to the Health Minister today. The committee was appointed by the Director General of Health Services Dr Palitha Mahipala on Jan 23. The composition of the three-member committee initially appointed was changed under the instruction of Minister Dr Rajitha more..

Sri Lankan shares steady in dull trade

Feb 5 (Reuters) Shares ended steady on Friday in thin trading volume as investors awaited cues on the macro economy amid a rise in interest rates and as global economic concerns dented sentiment. The main stock index ended 0.03% firmer at 6,404.64. Stockbrokers said local participation was low as some investors were on holiday in the short trading week. Markets were closed on Thursday for independence day. "Interest rates are slowly picking up and the market is concerned over that," more..

'Over 1,400 uni enrollments yet to take place'

Feb 5 (NS) Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF) observed that a total of 1,412 vacancies remained in State Universities for the enrollment of undergraduates. Convener of the IUSF, Lahiru Weerasekera said that in the University of Sabaragamuwa alone there were 715 seats yet to be filled. The batches have already started educational activities and therefore there is no point in enrolling students three to four months once the first semester is over, he explained. more..

I didn't influence Embilipitiya widow: Ven. Omalpe Thera

Feb 5 (DM) Rejecting allegations that Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera influenced the wife of Embilipitiya man, who died in a fall, by giving her money, Thera said he only tried to help the woman after a donor from England offered to donate money to the victim’s family. Thera said a donor, Udaya Peiris, who lives in England, had asked the thera over the phone whether he could help the Embilipitiya victim’s family after which more..

Philippines, Sri Lanka sign MOU on political consultations

Feb 5 (CG) Sri Lanka and the Philippines signed a MOU in Manila aimed at forging greater cooperation and further enhancing relations between the two countries with the Philippines’ Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Rosario stating that the MoU was “an important step towards further deepening the Philippines’ engagement with Sri Lanka.” Philippines’ Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Rosario – who holds the Cabinet portfolio of Foreign Affairs – and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to more..

SL-born CEO to receive $11.1 million in one-time payout

Feb 5 (DM) Sri Lankan-born Alere CEO Namal Nawana would receive about $11.1 million in one-time payouts after the Alere’s acquisition completed by Abbott Laboratories, according to media reports. Nawana took over as CEO when Alere founder and former CEO Ron Zwanzger resigned in 2014. He was born in Sri Lanka and raised in Australia. He holds an Honors degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters of Medical Science degree from the University of Adelaide in Australia and more..

TN parties express concern over Lankan Prez's stand

Feb 5 (PTI) DMK and MDMK expressed concern over President Maithiripala Sirisena's reported statement that his country's new constitution will not have the concept of Federation, saying it will affect the ethnic Tamils. Seeking India's intervention in the matter, DMK President M Karunanidhi said Sirisena had in a recent meeting of the SLFP categorically stated that there will be no place for the concept of Federation in new more..

Joint Opp. wants to work independently

Feb 5 (DM) Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya has been requested by Joint Opposition parliamentarians to allow them to work independently in Parliament, MP Kumara Welgama said today. “Personally, I have not yet decided whether to join a new party. But, I will be continuing my work with the Joint Opposition. However, we have requested the Speaker to allow us to continue our parliamentary affairs in an independent manner,” MP Welgama told reporters while leaving more..

Fisheries ministers clash

Feb 5 (AM) Fisheries State Minister today hit out at Fisheries Cabinet Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, saying that although the Cabinet Minister does not have confidence in him, he enjoys the confidence of the President, PM and the people of Hambantota. Speaking at a press conference, Wedaarachchi said that he was disturbed by the claim by Amaraweera that he is incompetent. Wedaarachchi pointed out that he had stood up to the challenges by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa more..

'World begins to take notice of Lanka’s Indian origin Tamils'

Feb 5 (ENS) After concentrating for decades on Tamils living in North and East SL, also known as Sri Lankan Tamils, the international community, including India, has now begun taking notice of the Indian Origin Tamils (IOT), observes Mano Ganeshan, leader of the TPA and Cabinet Minister for National Coexistence. Ganeshan said: “The growing attention is due to the emergence of TPA; the way the govt is more..

Sri Lanka sells Rs 20.7bn in bonds; 2041 bonds at 12.15%

Feb 5 (EN) Sri Lanka has sold 20.6 billion rupees in bond with a 25 year bond maturing in January 01, 2041 sold at a weighted average yield of 12.15 percent, up from 12.09 on January 1. The debt office sold 10.45 billion rupees of 14 year bonds maturing on 15.05.2030, at an average yield of 11.66 percent after offering only 3.0 billion rupees. The debt office sold 10.25 billion rupees of the 2041 bond after offering 5.0 billion rupees. Bids for 4-year bonds were rejected. more..

Tamils ready to take ten steps if Sinhalese took one: Vigneswaran

Feb 5 (AD) Chief Minister of Northern Province, C.V. Vigneswaran, today expressed appreciation of the govt’s decision to sing the national anthem in Tamil at the Independence Day ceremony held in Colombo. He stated that although it is a very small action in the name reconciliation it should be appreciated and that now a background has been created to foster unity and brotherhood between communities. SL has taken a major step towards reconciliation of the Tamils, by allowing more..

Video: Report on kidney racket handed over to minister

Feb 5 (DM) The investigative report, of the five-member committee appointed to look into the alleged kidney racket involving Sri Lankan doctors, was handed over to Minister Rajitha Senaratne a short while ago. Health Ministry Spokesman Nipun Ekanayake said the ministry will request for police assistance to conduct further investigations into the case. He said action would be taken by the Health Minister based on the report. more..

Thoughts on Ranil’s attack on media

Feb 6 (CT) Today’s communalized local mainstream media is the result of decades of racist policies and politics which contributed for the unfortunate current communal divide in the country. Even today neither politicians who used racism to achieve or remain in power since independence in 1948 nor the media which thrive on chauvinism under the guise of protecting religion, culture and the community, learnt any lesson. Over the years today certain sections of the print and electronic media more..

When can we celebrate freedom day in SL?

Feb 6 (CT) Recently when I made an Independence Day appeal to all the religious leaders of the country to come to the fore and help the present Govt to achieve peace and reconciliation on the basis of truth, justice accountability, a good friend of mine alerted me to the absence of the theme freedom in my appeal. In the context of our Independence Day Celebrations today and of the way in which we celebrate, there are many questions overlooked largely by our population and our leaders. more..

National security was stable under MR

Feb 6 (CT) Mervyn Silva and many more crossed over to the Yahapalana (good governance) Govt expecting political benefits and they are the reason the SLFP has split from Alliance, SLFP MP Shehan Semasinghe said. Q: What do you think of the Yahapalana (good governance) Govt? A: The govt was formed saying there will be good governance but ask the people if Yahapalana Govt has benefitted them or not. more..

Why fret over National Anthem

Feb 6 (NS) It is ironic that 67 years after independence we have still not been able to get our fundamentals right. Classic example is the controversy over singing the national anthem in Tamil. We are unnecessarily preoccupied with emotive issues of language and religion and too little time is devoted to the vital matter of achieving economic and social wellbeing of the people. Chauvinistic elements backed by some politicians seem to think that singing national anthem in more..

Mixed views on new political alliance

Feb 6 (NS) It is a prerequisite that SLFP Members unwilling to contest the forthcoming Local Govt and Provincial Councils elections under the leadership of Chairman of the Party President Sirisena form a new political party prior to forming and joining a new political alliance with the joint Opposition parties, MP Udaya Gammanpila said. General Secretary of the PHU Gammanpila said he had in the media presently only heard MP Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and more..

Zeid’s arrival and the chaos of yahapalanaya

Feb 6 (Island) Over the past couple of weeks, President Sirisena in interview with Channel 4, expressed contradictory views on the appointment of foreign judges in the proposed war crimes court in SL. Though it has not been unusual for members of the govt to express contradictory views on many matters, this latest episode look place in the run-up to a much-publicised visit to SL by UN Human Rights more..

Can Sirisena-Ranil combine save jumbos?

Feb 6 (SL) 359 African tusks blood ivory estimated at Rs 368 million were smashed to dust in a special machine on Galle Face Green on Thursday after religious observances, in the presence of Minister Gamini Jayawickreme Perera. Sadhu! Sadhu ! would be the devout cry of lovers around the world of those magnificent beasts who were slaughtered by despicable racketeers aiming to sell the ivory at fabulous prices to adorn necks, ears and fingers of Hong Kong ladies without a conscience. more..

A defence of war crimes and war criminals?

Feb 6 (SL) The fact that the hounds from hell are baying for the blood of South African Yasmin Sooka should surprise no one given the fact that this same bunch accused two other South Africans with similar credentials, the late Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu, of being Tiger collaborators! It is not a matter for any surprise that the very same people who are organizing a thinly-disguised Super Race project called Sinha Le, continue their support of BBS’s well-financed project which had more..

Boston Lanka: February 05, 2016

Sri Lanka’s Nationalist hate is an illiberal European Import

Feb 6 (EN) A Hungarian camerawoman trips a desperate Syrian refugee running into the country across the border with his little kid in his arms. In SL, a Sinha Le campaign targeting minorities is taking off again as the country celebrates independence from British rule. What is the connection? Although Sri Lankans call it Independence Day or nidahas dinaya, marking the peaceful breakaway from British rule, what people in the island received was not freedom, but self-determination. more..

Editorial: Blues of the Blues

Feb 6 (Island) Speculation is rife in political circles that the SLFP/UPFA dissidents will form a new political party. Former President Rajapaksa himself is reported to have said something to this effect recently. Political parties are born out of politicians’ insatiable thirst for power which can be defined as the ability to influence and control others. Power is as addictive as heroin and those who have lost it behave like hapless druggies going cold turkey having chased the dragon for years. more..

The megapolis promise

Feb 6 (SO) The initial stage of the megapolis plan got under way on Friday with the launch of the structural plan for the Western Megapolis Development Project, first of its kind in the country. It is is expected to be completed by 2030. Launch marked the completion of the first phase of the mega development drive to be expanded in the next 15 years, with investments over US$ 40 billion. more..

UN role in Sri Lanka’s accountability process

Feb 6 (Island) After several contradictory statements from the President, the PM, and spokespersons, finally the Prime Minister has very correctly stated that the "Constitution does not permit foreign judges to sit in judgment" (The Island, Feb 2). Elaborating further, the PM stated: "If we are to permit foreign judges to sit in judgment then our Constitution has to be amended with the consent of the people at a referendum". It would also need a 2/3 approval of Parliament. more..

The nutty world of gods in politics

Feb 6 (Island) The nut heads are at it again. With all their talk about the increasing unpopularity of the yahapalanaya govt, the Joint Opposition, if they are joined about anything, it is a certainty that their aims could not be achieved without the help of the Gods. It is a sad mistrust in the political wisdom of the people, that they seek divine help in whatever campaign they have to defeat the govt. But what is more important is their thinking about God or any deities. more..

SF says on war path against power hungry Rajapaksa clan

Feb 6 (FT) Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka said that his Democratic Party reached a collective agreement with the UNF mainly to form a strong political alliance to fight the Rajapaksa clan coming into power again. He said the new alliance with the UNF will be a strong anti-Rajapaksa movement similar to the alliance which was formed during the Presidential elections in 2015, in which former President Rajapaksa was defeated. more..

Social entrepreneurship as a means of rural development

Feb 6 (FT) “Social entrepreneurs are pragmatic leaders who want to be innovative but understand the need to work within their means. They have a social mission that may range from helping slum children working in sweat-shops in developing countries to addressing poverty and environmental degradation. They are innovative and proactive in identifying greater opportunities to create social value.” These are some of the thoughts presented by Professor Jay Weerawardena of more..

A shift from Sinhala Only

Feb 6 (CT) 68th Independence Day celebration of SL was unique with President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe remaining steadfast in giving due place for singing the National Anthem in Tamil. It was for the first time in several years the word to word Tamil version of the National Anthem mingled beautifully with the breeze of the Galle Face Green. The historic venue where the National Flag was hoisted for the first time on 4 Feb in 1948 was Independence Square. more..

Sri Lanka hockey team arrives

Feb 6 (CT) The controversial Sri Lanka men's hockey team, under an enjoining court order arrived in Assam, India as scheduled for the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) which started yesterday at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, in Guwahati India. The above mentioned enjoining order issued against the Sri Lanka men's hockey team, preventing them from participating in the SAG, was lifted by the Colombo District Court Judge, more..

Parliament introduces a Prime Minister's Question Time

Feb 6 (DN) Parliament has introduced a Prime Minister's Question Time to its agenda from the next sitting week to facilitate an opportunity for backbenchers to directly ask questions from the Prime Minister. Deputy Secretary General of Parliament Neil Iddawala told the Daily News yesterday that four MPs would be allowed to ask four questions during the allocated time. He said the new feature was added as of a proposal by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Australia says border protection measures remain in force

Feb 6 (FT) The Australian Government yesterday said its tough border protection measures to stop illegal people smuggling and ensure the sovereignty of Australia’s borders remain in full force. The decision by the High Court of Australia means that regional processing continues – this is a key element of Operation Sovereign Borders policy. Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said Australia remains resolute in its commitment to counter people smuggling more..

Sri Lanka opposition invoke curse with forbidden nuts

Feb 6 (EN) Police began investigating the theft of coconuts from a plantation in the Galle district ahead of a mass ritual organised by Rajapaksa-regime loyalists to cast a curse on the govt. Police said they received a complaint from the owner of the plantation that a trailer load of nuts from 90 trees had been stolen and towed away in a tractor belonging to local Pradeshiya Sabha, or council. "We are told that nuts were stolen more..

Constitutionality of Buddhist Temporalities bill challenged in SC

Feb 6 (DN) Six Special Determination petitions challenging the Bill titled "Buddhist Temporalities (Amended)" were yesterday filed before the Supreme Court pleading court to make a determination that clauses of the said Bill are inconsistent with the constitution. Six petitioners including Sisira Kumara Manikdiwela and Ven. Madugastalawe Wimalabuddhi Thero sought a declaration that bill shall become law only through a two-third majority in Parliament. more..

Sicille Kotelawala also in hospital

Feb 6 (CT) Sicille Kotelawala, former Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala's wife, is currently under medical care at a private hospital in Colombo after her arrest on Thursday at the Bandaranaike International Airport immediately on arrival from abroad. A Police source said Sicille Kotelawala, who was evading Court, was arrested by Immigration officials at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake upon returning to Sri Lanka on Thursday night. more..

Rajapaksa family: Crashing fall from grace

Feb 6 (BBC) Much of the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, is set in Sri Lanka. But the island has seen something of a modern epic in the past year or so, with the crashing fall from grace of the family which once appeared to run most aspects of life there. Once Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the presidency a year ago, his successor set about unravelling the network of power the Rajapaksas had built. In the latest examples, this week former president's wife more..

Full stop to racism: Faiszer

Feb 6 (DN) No politician will be able to engage in politics using racism in the future, Minister Faiszer Musthapha said. He said the National Anthem was sung in Tamil for the first time in 1949. Speaking at an Independence Day ceremony at Jinthupitiya, Colombo on Thursday, Musthapha said after the end of terrorism which lasted for 30 years, racism was spread. "As a solution, the masses handed over this country to President Sirisena. He promised the people that he would create co-existence more..