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Elephants, Tourism & Cruelty to animals

Feb 9 (CT) In Sri Lankan tourism, riding an elephant has become one of the key attractions. Due to this we find many elephants in the country being victims of cruelty and inhumane treatment in the name of tourism. While there are set guidelines on the treatment of elephants, they are visibly not followed, and the laws on cruelty to animals in Sri Lanka dating back to 1907 fail to address this issue in an effective manner. This in turn highlights the need for effective laws to address more..

After darkness at noon, deception in daylight

Feb 9 (CT) The best and the brightest of the academic and activists who supported the common candidacy of President Sirisena have decided to refresh Presidential remembrance of his covenant on good governance announced prior to the Presdential election. The three page letter in elegant, eloquent Sinhala seems to suggest that promises not kept are deemed as broken. Their sense of disillusionment is expressed with extreme economy, an indication that they still cling to more..

A Day in the Life of constitution-making

Feb 9 (SO) On the lawn and in the shade of trees in the sunlit compound, people waited to transact whatever dealings they had come for with the local bureaucracy. It was a typical busy Monday mid-morning at the Gampaha District Secretariat and most of the local citizenry seemed unaware of the historic proceedings taking place inside the oldish, colonial-style, Secretariat building, an event that would touch all of their lives as citizens once more..

An appeal to democratic forces

Feb 9 (GV) The great electoral victory won by democratic forces on 8th January 2015 against the anti-democratic, corrupt, murderous, and authoritarian family rule is in jeopardy. Rajapaksa family and cronies have begun to regroup in order to reverse the democratic gains we have made. This appears a real threat at present. If these attempts are not halted the country will be flung into an abyss and the people will again face the situation that prevailed during 30 years of barbaric war. more..

The High Commissioner for Human Rights visit to Sri Lanka raises hopes for victims

Feb 9 (GV) This week, the UN’s top human rights official, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein – the High Commissioner for Human Rights – is visiting Sri Lanka. He will see a country that has changed considerably since his predecessor Navi Pillay came to the island in 2013. Since then, the increasingly authoritarian govt of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was voted out of office. The new govt, led by President Sirisena, has taken notable steps to change SL’s course on human rights. more..

'Clause on Buddhism in the constitution should not be changed'

Feb 9 (SL) Minister Lakshman Seneviratne said the clause on Buddhism in the Constitution should not be changed adding that this is the only country for Sinhalese Buddhists. He said that instead of removing the clause on Buddhism, other religions too should be given equal rights. He said that Tamil people and Sinhalese can live together in harmony and it's the politicians who want separate governance & not the Tamil people. more..

In a Nutshell

Feb 9 (SL) The busy bodies in the group that call themselves the joint opposition it seems are busy stealing coconuts these days. Last week the opposing ones decided to dash coconuts in the Seenigama Devala against the khaki coats investigating all that is wrong in financial fronts. One smart Morning type said that one million coconuts will be dashed to secure the release of former Royal Yo-shitter, little realizing that such a move would result in a shortage of coconuts in country. more..

Ranil takes on the media Brahmins

Feb 9 (SL) Ranil Wickremesinghe has pelted stones at Lanka’s demi-gods and the gods have taken to quite an ungodly act: pelting back not only stones but hurling mud, rumours and calumny against Ranil for his sacrilegious act. We feel inclined to raise at least one and a half cheers – instead of the full throated three – at Wickremesinghe’s performance for we do not go all the way with what he said. We must confess that despite being a professional scribe loyal to the profession for more..

Hiru TV: Balaya

68 years after independence: A tale of missed opportunities?

Feb 9 (ST) The celebration of 68 years of independence three days ago had an additional significance. It was also a celebration of regaining democracy, the rule of law and freedom from autocratic rule a little over a year ago. This significant political change is an opportunity to pursue pragmatic policies to achieve the nation’s full economic potential and enhance human development. However we celebrated it at a time of economic instability and uncertainty. more..

Dickwella replaces injured Dilshan for first T20

Feb 9 (CI) Wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella has been added to Sri Lanka's squad as cover for Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was ruled out of the first T20 against India with a hand injury. Dilshan did not travel with the team to India on Saturday. He will instead spend a few days recovering from injury at home, before joining the side mid-series. He is expected to be available for the second match, in Ranchi, on Feb 12. This injury is an aggravation of an old complaint for Dilshan, more..

Jailed or killed, no one can destroy the Rajapaksas: Gota

Feb 9 (FT) Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the second most powerful man among the Rajapaksa clan during the previous regime, asserted that no one could politically destroy the Rajapaksas even if they were jailed or killed. Former Defence Secretary, said that the family had been in politics for over 80 years and that all attempts to wipe them out would be a failure as people still hoped to bring Mahinda Rajapaksa back into power. more..

Sri Lanka and UNHRC

Feb 9 (Island) The long and convoluted saga of the West's efforts aimed at regime change and the ongoing story of neo-colonialism in Sri Lanka, related by my friend Neville Ladduwahetty, in the well-researched article titled "UN Role in Sri Lanka's Accountability Process" in your esteemed newspaper on February 6, should be required reading for both our country's decision makers as well as your interested reading public. As he relates it and the facts support, more..

Editorial: Premature applause

Feb 9 (Island) There has been a mixed reaction to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Hussein’s visit, as expected. Efforts are being made in some quarters to lionise him while his critics are all out to demonise him. Much publicity has been given to a claim that the UNHRC chief rejected Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran’s request for UN intervention to secure the release of LTTE suspects in custody. He is reported to have pointed out the need for more..

Sri Lanka targets five Gold medals

Feb 9 (CT) The athletics competition of the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) 2016 will commence today, with a card of 10 finals where five top Sri Lankan athletes will be in action and will start their campaign as favourites to win Gold medals in their respective events. Himasha Eashan (100m), Indunil Herath (800m), Manjula Kumara Wijesekara (high jump), Nimali Liyanarachchi (800m) and Chamali Priyadarshani (long jump) are more..

The politics of punishing war crimes in SL

Feb 9 (Island) Two days ago the national anthem was sung in Tamil for the first time at the official celebration of independence day since independence in 1948. Six years ago the govt’s own regional director for education in the Tamil north, Markandu Sivalingam, was assassinated by unidentified gunmen for disagreeing with President Rajapaksa’s directive to ban the singing of the national anthem in Tamil at official functions.United Nation’s High Commissioner for more..

Seagulf Shipyard to invest US$ 40 mn on three projects

Feb 9 (DN) Seagulf Shipyard (Pvt) Ltd will invest over US$ 40 million to build shipping yards and for maritime related activities for 2016. These investments will be made in Trincomalee, Galle and at their yard in Modera. Seagulf Shipyard Managing Director Sarath Obeysekera said that they have already invested US$ 3 million to build a ship building facility in Modera. “We offer about 100 employment opportunities and will infuse a further US$ 7 million with a Malaysian partner to more..

SAARC mulls regional energy regulatory authority

Feb 9 (FT) SAARC energy regulators are planning to set up a regional body to promote cross-border trade among member countries. “There is a consensus that a Central Regulatory Authority would be created for the smooth implementation of the energy cooperation agreements in the South Asian region,” SAARC Secretariat Director Ali Haider Altaf said at the inauguration of 2nd meeting of SAARC more..

Fish prices up Rs 100

Feb 9 (CT) Food inflation continued to bite, at least as far as the sample captured by Central Bank (CB) in the week ended on Friday showed. For instance, marine fish, discounting inland water fishery, probably a key source of animal protein, due to religious sentiments, where there may be an aversion to the consumption of poultry, though, probably a cheaper substitute of protein than fish, saw a year on year (YoY) increases in their prices, at least in the sample captured by CB more..

Independence Day celebrations in Ottawa

Feb 9 (FT) Sri Lanka’s 68th Independence Day celebrations were held at the Official Residence of the High Commissioner in Ottawa on 4 Feb 2016. It was attended by a large number of SL Canadians representing all communities. Religious discourses on the theme of national unity were delivered by the Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic and Islamic clergy. Speaking on the occasion, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada, Ahmed Jawad highlighted the progress made by Sri Lanka over the years more..

Five crucial pieces in Sri Lanka's T20 puzzle

Feb 9 (CI) Sri Lanka rose to No.1 in the T20I rankings when Graham Ford was coach and won the World T20 after Ford's first tenure ended. He has begun his second stint in charge of a far less settled T20 unit, with another global tournament in the coming weeks. These are just five of the many questions Sri Lanka may seek answers to during this three-match joust with India. Who will partner Tillakaratne Dilshan at the top? more..

Mixed cheer at Distilleries Company

Feb 9 (FT) Distilleries Company saw mixed fortunes in the first nine months of the 2015/16 financial year, with profitability lower despite revenue soaring. In 3Q, Group revenue rose by 36% to Rs. 23.58 billion whilst profit from operations declined by 7% to Rs. 2.2 billion. Cost of sales rose by 27% to Rs. 9 billion. Pre-tax profit was flat at Rs. 2.5 billion and after tax profit rose by 8% to Rs. 1.7 billion. Bottom line rose by 10.7% to Rs. 1.78 billion. In the nine months ended on 31 Dec 2015, more..

Sri Lanka envoy unveils welfare plan for island’s expat workers

Feb 9 (AN) SL Ambassador Azim Thassim told his countrymen in the Kingdom that his mission has chalked out a 20/20 plan to promote bilateral relations with the Kingdom and to work for the welfare of the island’s 500,000 workers in Saudi Arabia. The envoy was addressing the SL community on the occasion of his country’s 68th anniversary of its Independence Day. A large gathering of the Lankan community, including schoolchildren and Saudi businessmen, more..

LG polls in June under mixed system: Minister

Feb 9 (Island) All steps had been taken to hold LG elections in June under a mixed electoral system, Minister Faizer Mustapha said. He said that his ministry would gazette the amendments to the demarcation of electoral boundaries in local govt wards in April. "I have already instructed the committee to issue the Appeal Investigation Report on Demarcation of Electoral Boundaries in Local Govt bodies by April and thereafter more..

We have nothing to fear from India: Coach

Feb 9 (DN) Coach Roger Wijesuriya said his side's impressive win over England left him optimistic about the first semi-final of U19 Cricket World Cup against favourites India in Mirpur today. "India is a strong side, a good all-round side," said Wijesuriya. "We know their strengths. I know Indians play spin well but spin bowling is our strength and we will stick to that. "If we play the way we did against England, there is no reason why we can't turn the semi-final in our favour. more..

Facebook and Google to enter SL in June

Feb 9 (ST) While Sri Lanka being a developing island with many new innovations and technologies evolving, international big players and multibillionaires such as Facebook and Google are eyeing to enter the country in June this year. Minister Harin Fernando made this disclosure at the Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) launch of South East Asia – Middle East – Western Europe 5 (SEA-ME-WE 5) submarine cable system together with the launch of SLT’s Tier 4 National Data Centre, more..

Appeals to Zeild Al-Hussein for release of lands

Feb 9 (CT) Valikamam North Resettlement and Rehabilitation Committee in a memorandum submitted to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeild Al-Hussein has urged him to take steps to allow the displaced people of Valikamam North area to resettle in their own lands and ensure their occupations at the earliest. Memorandum pointed out that only the international community can solve more..

Treasury Secretary spells out ill effects in bailing out failing financial institutions

Feb 9 (ST) A top Treasury official says govt should not bail out failing financial institutions, as it has to be borne by the tax payer’s money. This comment was made by Dr R H S Samarathunga, Secretary to the Treasury, when he addressed the 20th Convocation of the Institute of Bankers. He pointed out that banking and finance business is very lucrative, where these institutions are housed in high rise buildings and employment in these institutions are highly prosperous. more..

Sri Lankan ambassador hosts reception to mark Independence Day

Feb 9 (TP) SL Ambassador Dr W M Karunadasa hosted a reception on Sunday for diplomats and other dignitaries to mark his country’s 68th Independence Day. Reception at the Doha Sheraton was attended by Minister of Culture and Sports Salah Al Ali; Assistant Foreign Minister Mutib Al Rumaihi, Director of Protocol Ibrahim Fakhroo and ambassadors of several countries and other guests. Ministers and the ambassador cut a cake to mark the occasion as SL students performed more..

No obstacle to transfer Sicille to National Hospital

Feb 9 (DN) Submitting a medical report regarding former Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala’s wife Sicille who is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Colombo, CID informed Court that the private hospital has no objection to transfer the suspect to the Colombo National Hospital. Meanwhile, the medical report submitted by the hospital stated that Kotelawala is currently undergoing treatment at cardiac care unit more..

U-19 World Cup: Charith Asalanka hums his lines, hogs his runs

Feb 9 (IE) Among other things, the Youth World Cup is perhaps the first place where young cricketers have their first real brush with the media. It prepares future stars for lesser innocent times when cameras and microphones will be thrust into their faces and an inquisition will begin. At this stage, however, the press too ceases to be cynical. The chit-chats are friendlier; journalists look genuinely interested in the back-story of their subjects. And they are ready to hype up the good and play down the bad. more..

UN Human Rights chief and defence chiefs have talks

Feb 9 (MoD) Visiting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein met Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Karunasena Hettiarachchi today (8) at the Ministry. High Commissioner, accompanied by a UN delegation had cordial discussions with the Secretary during the meeting. Secretary Hettiarachchi also presented a memento to UN High Commissioner. Ministry officials, Chief of Defence Staff, Commanders of Army and Air Force and Chief of Staff of Navy were also present more..

Ranil appoints cousin as Lankan HC to UK

Feb 9 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, appears to be flouting his own election pledges in his attempt to appoint his cousin Amari Wijewardene as new Sri Lankan HC to UK. Wickremesinghe, who came to power promising to wipe out nepotism, and promote good governance, transparency and accountability, has bypassed much more qualified foreign service officials, and has instead proposed the name of his cousin, more..

BASL says AG must be from the Dept.

Feb 9 (DM) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) said it had consistently taken up the position that the Attorney-General (AG) should ordinarily be selected from the officers of the AG’s department and that such appointment should preferably be in the order of seniority unless there were good reasons for not doing so. In a statement on several media reports pertaining to the appointment of the AG, BASL said it had not expressed any view on any particular individual or the holder of more..

Nishantha Malli's fate due to wrong company: Arjuna

Feb 9 (DM) “If Nishantha Malli was in the company of good guys, he would not have to face to such a scenario. Law should be equal to everyone. No interferences from me. However, I will be with my Malli,” Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said referring to the arrest of his younger brother Nishantha Ranatunga over the CSN case. The minister made this comment to the media after lodging a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on the recently concluded SLC election. more..

Confusion over transfer of Senior State Counsel on Eknaligoda case

Feb 9 (FT) Confusion reigned over the alleged attempted transfer of the Govt lawyer handling Prageeth Eknaligoda disappearance case, one day ahead of its next hearing scheduled for today. Acting AG Suhada Gamlath said that Senior State Counsel Dilipa Pieris had been transferred from the Eknaligoda case. “Dileepa Peiris does not want to continue working on that case. He has been transferred on his own request,” more..

These are not mere numbers, but human lives

Feb 9 (DM) Tamil leaders in the North, according to media reports had requested the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein who was currently on a four-day official visit to Sri Lanka to help them find more than 4,000 of their loved ones missing during the war between the armed forces and the LTTE. In spite of any person agreeing with their plea, the number of persons they had mentioned would raise many questions in the minds of those who are concerned about more..

Using elephants for school parades: Are we being human?

Feb 9 (DM) Compassion for all beings is a message which is conveyed by all religions to the society for every living being on this earth has a right to live. Not only human beings; animals as well. From the ancient times, human beings and animals have been living in peace and harmony and people used to love and take care of them as if they were part of their own family. In the early days people such as farmers who raised cattle and ploughed the fields took care of the animal that was not only more..

More cases against Gnanasara Thero under probe

Feb 9 (SL) Following the arrest of Ven. Galagodatthe Gnanasara Thera on charges of contempt of court, the monk’s finances are being probed now by the law enforcement authorities. Homagama Magistrate issued the arrest warrant on Ven. Gnanasara Thera also for obstructing the court proceedings and threatening the State officials in addition to the charges of contempt of court. It is learnt that the CID has decided to investigate more..

Board coming up to oversee payment of welfare benefits

Feb 9 (ST) The Govt is to start implementing a 14-year-old law called the Welfare Benefits Act that envisages the creation of a Board to oversee payment of all welfare relief benefits such as Samurdhi. Minister Ravi Karunanayake this week signed the gazette to give effect to the Welfare Benefits Act No. 24 of 2002 from Feb 15, 2016. It provides the necessary legal framework for the payment of all welfare relief benefits; more..