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Govt pick-pocketing country: Dinesh

Feb 10 (CT) The Joint Opposition is currently engaged in a desperate campaign to be recognized as an independent party of the opposition with the backing of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Leader of the Joint Opposition, MP Dinesh Gunawardena said, they would continue the struggle to be recognized as an independent group in Parliament. Q: Why is the Joint Opposition asking for recognition as more..

Editorial: Not-so-good governance

Feb 10 (Island) Good governance consists in respecting peopleís verdicts at elections. Their franchise is not to be trifled with. One of the main flaws in the present Constitution is the provision for abusing the National List (NL) mechanism to appoint defeated candidates to Parliament at the expense of those whose names are presented to the people at parliamentary polls. The UNP has appointed Democratic Party Leader Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to Parliament via the NL. more..

Accolades for President and PM

Feb 10 (Island) For me the highpoint of our 68th Independence Day celebrations came when I heard a group of children singing our national anthem with great feeling and enthusiasm, in Tamil. The heart of our anthem is its enchanting melody imbued with a flavor of Tagorean music. It was composed by Ananda Samarakoon, an alumnus of Tagoreís Shanthinikethana. Being a direct translation of ASís rather long-winded lyrics, Tamil version of anthem enshrines nothing but ASís sentiments, more..

Roshan Ranasinghe

Kassim family to invest in IT businesses after divesting more Expolanka shares

Feb 10 (ST) Having sold most of their shares in Expolanka PLC, the Kassim family is gearing to expand their new business , under the Aberdeen brand and invest in IT related businesses, Sattar Kassim, a family member said. Mr. Kassim, who is a shareholder at Expolanka said that the family will invest in next generation businesses such as IT through Aberdeen Holdings, a diversified conglomerate with interests in commodity trading, packaging, aviation, solar energy, more..

Provincial Councils

Feb 10 (Island) Provincial Councils were set up in February 1988, under the Provincial Councils Act no 42 of 1987, as a requirement of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Each province had a Governor, Chief Minister and Councilors. The Governor, appointed by the President, ranked above the Chief Minister. Governor could take decisions without consulting the Chief Minister or the Provincial Council. His decision was final and could not be questioned in court. more..

Should Lankans worry about Zika?

Feb 10 (SO) As the Zika virus spreads its tentacles in the Latin Americas and African countries, speculation on how it impacts on human health has given rise to fresh fears. Announcement by the WHO early this week, did nothing to allay those fears. The WHO on Jan 29 declared Zika to be a public health emergency of international concern. The WHO that the virus which caused mild fever, rashes, red eyes more..

New high for Sri Lankan seamers

Feb 10 (CI) 2: Totals lower than 101 for India in T20Is - 74 against Australia at the MCG in 2007-08 and 92 against South Africa in Cuttack in 2015-16. The 92 all out against South Africa was India's last home T20I before this one. It is only the fifth time India has been bowled out in T20Is. 2: Sri Lankan bowlers who took two wickets in the first over of their T20I career in today's match - Kasun Rajitha (making his debut) and Dasun Shanaka (bowling for the first time in his T20I career). more..

Sri Lanka's pole-thin co-operative

Feb 10 (CI) Sri Lanka unearthed a skinny quick with serious potential in Dushmantha Chameera last year. In this match, Chameera may have played a role in finding another just like him. The second ball of Kasun Rajitha's career stopped slightly on Rohit Sharma, who spooned the ball just wide of the bowler. Chameera made quick ground moving to his right from mid-off, and dove athletically, both feet off the ground, to secure the catch. That first wicket sent Rajitha into raptures, more..

T20: SL seamers topple India on green track

Feb 10 (CI) Kasun Rajitha, Dushmantha Chameera and Dasun Shanaka - SL's lanky seam-bowling labour force - came upon a thoroughly surprising green Pune deck, and wound up delivering their team a surprisingly thorough victory. Three quicks took eight wickets for 59 between them, to blow India away for 101. Sri Lanka's inexperienced batsmen were rarely at ease in pursuit, but did well enough to get to target more..

Litro Gas posts record growth in 2015

Feb 10 (Island) The national LPG (liquid petroleum gas) company marks 2015 a record year posting gross profits of over Rs.6 billion with significant increases in volumes (22%) and market growth (acquiring a total 485,548 new connections). The market leader has grown its reach, to make LPG available in all areas of the island through a network of over 5,000 dealers. "It is of utmost importance that Litro Gas be available in all rural areas" the chairman, Shalila Moonesinghe said. more..

Mass transit essential for Colombo to succeed: UDA DG

Feb 10 (FT) The critical role earmarked for joined-up public transport in Colomboís development and what can be done to boost lending for housing were two topical issues explored by senior figures at the UDA in recent interviews they gave to the global research, publishing, and consulting firm Oxford Business Group (OBG). The UDAís Director General Nayana Mawilmada told OBG that Sri Lankaís inadequate public transport system was largely to blame for the huge rise witnessed in vehicle imports. more..

Sri Lanka to ink oil exploration deal with France's Total

Feb 10 (FT) Total S.A., of France, one of six super major oil and gas firms, will sign an agreement next week with SL Govt to explore for offshore oil and gas. Cabinet approval was granted to the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat to ink the deal early February which could see Total commence off shore exploration activity off the eastern coast in April or May this year. "They will start by investing about more..

Jeevan bags second gold

Feb 10 (CT) Cyclist Jeevan Jayasinghe produced his second gold medal at the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) as he finished first in the men's 100km Road Race in Guwahati, India yesterday. Jayasinghe clocked two hours 25 minutes and 28 seconds for the gold medal. In other events of the day, weightlifter Ishani Anushka added another silver medal for Sri Lanka in the 75kg plus category. Ishani lifted a total weight of 173kg (snatch 77, C&J 96) for the medal. more..

Plans for dollar listings on CSE

Feb 10 (Island) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is now in the process of allowing foreign companies/investors to invest in US dollar denomination instruments in the stock market to make the market attractive globally, its chairman Vajira Kulathilaka said. "We are now preparing rules and once the SEC gives the approval we could go ahead with plans to promote foreign listings and investments in CSE in US dollar denomination, which would apply to only foreign investors, more..

Video: X Factor star Roshani meets her Sri Lankan birth mother

Feb 10 (MO) At just six-weeks-old, Roshani Priddis was adopted by Australian couple Bruce and Narelle Priddis after her Sri Lankan mother and father were unable to care for her due to extreme poverty. The now 28-year-old lived a loving, comfortable childhood in Tamworth, New South Wales, where she chased her dreams of becoming a singer. But despite this, the former X Factor star felt as though something was missing and more..

Finnish delegation in town to explore biz opportunities

Feb 10 (DM) A business delegation consisting of eight representatives of leading Finnish enterprises and banks paid a visit to the Board of Investment (BoI) to study Sri Lankaís business climate and examine the potential for investment by Finnish enterprises in the country. Business delegation was led by Finlandís Ambassador to SL Rauli Suikkanen. The delegation consisted of members from Federation of Finnish Technology Industries, FIM, Duodecim, Future Group Oy and PAM. more..

$ 15 b windfall if tourism rethinks its model

Feb 10 (FT) Sri Lankaís tourism proposition needs to go for a complete shift to bring in a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 60% which will in turn translate to a $ 15 billion opportunity by 2018 year-end. At the current state of affairs tourism earnings CAGR will be contracted to 30% which is $ 7 billion, if the proposition remains unchanged, a report by Capital Alliance Holdings (CAL) research arm showed. A focal lagging point which could obstruct targets is the discrepancies between more..

Video: We will continue our struggle: Dulles

Feb 10 (DM) Joint Opposition MP Dulles Alahapperuma said today that they would continue their struggle inside and outside parliament until the identity of the joint opposition was recognised, for the sake of the peoplesí rights. MP Alahapperuma said they had to stage a protest in parliament after their repeated requests during the last six months to recognise the joint opposition MPs as a separate group in parliament was not acceded to. more..

First kidney transplant operation in Polonnaruwa

Feb 10 (DN) The first kidney transplant operation was successfully conducted at the Polonnaruwa General Hospital on Monday by a medical team led by consultant surgeon Dr. Joel Arudachelvam under the direction of hospital director Dr. Sampath Indika Kumara. The patient is Lakshman Samankumara, 35, a resident of the Unagalawehera Settlement Scheme. Dr. Kumara said following special attention paid by President Sirisena towards kidney patients, a Special Presidential Task Force more..

Access International plays lead role in the development Male International Airport

Feb 10 (Island) Access International has embarked on yet another large-scale international project, positioning its capability as a leader in its chosen field of Aeronautical Infrastructure Projects. The project encompasses the relocation of two ground based flight navigational aids; Doppler Very-High Frequency Omnidirectional Range (DVOR) and the Instrument Landing System (ILS), at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) Male, Maldives, which plays a significant role in paving more..

Himasha, Rumeshika fastest athletes

Feb 10 (CT) Sprinters Himasha Eashan, Rumeshika Rathnayake together with middle distance runner Nimali Liyanarachchi and Team Captain Manjula Kumara struck gold for Sri Lanka on the opening day of the track and field events of 12th South Asian Games (SAG) in India. Eashan (20) created history as he shattered 17-year-old SAG record (10.37s) as well as a 17-year-old SL record set by Chinthaka de Soyza (10.29s) more..

Dashing Dinesh regains his wallet...

Feb 10 (CT) Picking my wallet was not a big deal, while the pockets of all citizens have been picked by the govt, said Leader of Joint Opposition Dinesh Gunewardena. Report of picking MP Gunewardena's wallet went viral on Saturday while he was participating at a coconut dashing ritual organized by the Joint Opposition at Seenigama Devale premises. MP Gunewardena's wallet was later discovered at a shop close to the Devale premises, with all the valuable documents still intact. more..

Japanese youth ship returns after three years

Feb 10 (Island) A Japanese cruise ship Nippon Maru, carrying a contingent of over 243 youth of various nationalities, as part of the Ship for World Youth (SWY) programme, being run by the govt of Japan will arrive in Sri Lanka on Sunday after three years. On Jan. 28, the ship left Yokohama Port carrying 243 youths from 11 countries including Japan, Sri Lanka, India, Bahrain, NZ, Russia, UAE and Australia. Having docked in India from Feb. 9 to 12 and will arrive in Colombo Port on Sunday more..

Uproar in House

Feb 10 (CT) Parliament sittings came to an abrupt end soon after Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill, seeking to increase the percentage of female representatives in local govt bodies, was passed midst booing from Opposition benches. Pandemonium prevailed as MPs of the Joint Opposition stormed the Well of the House demanding that they be assured their right to act as an independent group in Parliament. more..

Ex-President sees appointment of Fonseka as MP becoming legal issue

Feb 10 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the appointment of leader of the DP and former Army Commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as an MP via the National List would become a legal issue. Rajapaksa said it was likely that a member of the UNP would raise objections and resort to legal action. He said Dr. Ravinath Fernando, taken into custody along with his son Yoshitha on money laundering charges had been transferred to the Bogambara prison as more..

Dy Speaker says Jt. Opposition disrupting parliament sessions an act of terrorism

Feb 10 (Island) Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala said that disruption of Parliament sessions by the Joint Opposition was an act of terrorism. Addressing a press conference at his office in the Parliamentary Complex soon after the House was adjourned abruptly following a protest staged by MPs of the Joint Opposition, the Deputy Speaker said: The terrorists used to disrupt parliament by shooting and bombing. Today, the Joint Opposition disrupted the session. more..

CC waits till President reveals his choice to appoint new AG

Feb 10 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that the Constitutional Council would make a final decision with regard to the appointment of a new Attorney General once the President informed the council of his nominee. Responding to a question raised by MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena with regard to the current crisis situation consequent to the failure on the part of the govt to appoint an AG, PM said that more..

President is strict against those who violate Party discipline

Feb 10 (ITN) A meeting was held last night between President Maithripala Sirisena and Ministers and Deputy Ministers representing the SLFP. State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena pointed out that the President, at this meeting, emphasized that stern action would be taken against those who breach the party discipline. He further stated that the President announced that if another party was to be formed it would amount to treachery against the party. more..

UNICEF, NCPA Launch FB Campaign

Feb 10 (CT) UNICEF together with the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) launched an online campaign yesterday to mark Safer Internet Day by encouraging safe and optimal use of the internet. Internet penetration and access is increasing rapidly in Sri Lanka, especially among young people. However, the associated risks and safety measures that must be taken online are not widely known. Around half of the 3.1 billion internet users worldwide live in Asia. more..

Govt gets to make call on hybrid court: Zeid

Feb 10 (FT) Taking the wind out of ultra-nationalist sails, UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Al Hussein acknowledged it is up to the SL govt to implement a hybrid court including international judges to address allegations of war crimes, but insisted any justice mechanism should focus on victims of the countryís three-decade conflict. He acknowledged positive steps have been taken by SL govt but noted the formation a hybrid court more..

Servant leadership: walk the talk

Feb 10 (DM) As we move into the eco-friendly, all-inclusive development year 2016, Govt leaders need to be conscious of some of the main dangers or temptations facing them. It applies to religious, business and civic society leaders also. The first and most dangerous is the desire or temptation to misuse or abuse power. We saw this to a horrible or monstrous extent when the rule of law broke down, a family dynasty emerged & public funds amounting to billions of rupees were plundered. more..

Post Independence Sri Lanka: Key challenges and policy responses

Feb 10 (DM) We celebrated the 68th anniversary of the countryís political independence on the 4th of this month. The period that we have completed is as long as the average life span of a Sri Lankan citizen today. Some of us were not even born when the country gained independence but have lived during the post independence period as children, youth and adults. In other words, we have witnessed many things that happened during the period, be it political change, social and economic development, more..

'Money laundering is a serious crime'

Feb 10 (DM) With the arrest of Yoshitha Rajapaksa, the topic of money laundering has resurfaced. Deputy Minister Eran Wickremaratne, shared his views on money laundering, its seriousness and the laws which have been implemented to monitor such corrupt practice. Q: When investing in mega projects, banks give loans to companies and they accumulate huge debts. How are these transactions monitored? more..

'I have a Democratic Right to be an MP'

Feb 10 (DM) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, the newly appointed MP, took oaths yesterday under the UNPísí elephant symbol to fill in the national list position left vacant following the passing away of the late Minister M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardene. In a candid interview with the Dailymirror, Field Marshal Fonseka expressed his views on the appointment, his eligibility to be an MP and his political career so far. more..

Confusion over Gambian model cleared

Feb 10 (Island) Chairman of the Presidential Commission inquiring into alleged abductions and disappearances, retired High Court judge Maxwell Paranagama said that a reference to Gambian model in the report on the Second Mandate of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry had been misinterpreted to suggest that the Commission proposed a hybrid court. He said that nothing could be further from the truth. more..

Prison Hospital: A chance for some to escape hard labour?

Feb 10 (SL) Several well-known persons have been transferred to the prison hospital after being arrested and remanded whilst some feel that it is a luxury given to only a select few. In the recent past, after Yahpalanaya began tracking down law offenders of the previous regime many political and influential individuals accused of the misuse of power and public funds were remanded and bailed out. more..

Govt mulls updating laws to deter illegal organ transplants

Feb 10 (FT) In an attempt to crack down on the illegal organ transplant racket and to discourage Indian nationals from using Sri Lanka for unlawful surgeries the Govt plans to amend the Transplantation of Human Tissues Act No. 48 of 1987. Deputy Minister Faizal Cassim, highlighted the limitations of the current legal system and the inadequate provisions in the Transplantation of Human Tissues Act No. 48 of 1987 more..

2015 budget deficit tops 6.0% of GDP by November

Feb 10 (EN) Sri Lanka's budget deficit has topped 690 billion rupees by Nov 2015, higher than a revised out-turn of 675 billion rupees presented to parliament in Nov but monthly revenue collections have seen steady gains, official data shows. In a budget for 2016 presented in Nov, the 2015 out-turn forecasted a deficit 6% of gross domestic product, far higher than the 499 billion rupees (4.4% of GDP) originally planned more..

Fisheries Ministry casts the net wide: No more Laila and Surukku

Feb 10 (ST) The Fisheries Ministry has given a grace period till Sunday Feb 14, for fishermen to abandon the banned fishing gear and switch to environmental-friendly gear and warned tough action would be taken against those defying the ban. The warning comes days after the govt announced it would strictly impose the ban on the use of destructive fishing methods known as Laila and Surukku. more..