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IMF money unavoidable

Feb 14 (CT) The International Monetary Fund (IMF) bail-out package is unavoidable and is needed for international confidence-building, Australian National University Professor of Economics Prema-chandra Athukorala said. Delivering a speech under a theme of Sri Lanka's Post-Conflict Development Challenge: Learning from the Past, at Saegis Campus, Kohuwala on Thursday, Athukorala said that approving an IMF package is a greater measurement of the health of our economy. more..

Disciplinary action against MR?

Feb 14 (SO) Disciplinary Committee of the SLFP will initiate action against 30 MPs for violating party discipline. The SLFP Central Committee, when it met on Friday, decided to delegate full authority to the Disciplinary Committee of the party to take action against MPs breaching party discipline, irrespective of their positions in the party. “Internal discipline is important in a political party. At this point, my primary objective is to more..

N’Eliya DS rejects request to fell 3,700 trees

Feb 14 (ST) At a meeting of the Environment Committee of Nuwara Eliya DS held recently Helen Meegasmulla, the District Secretary turned down a request by five plantation companies to cut down 3,700 trees in their respective plantations. Earlier the Divisional secretaries of Nuwara Eliya and Ambagamuwa, the Central Environmental Authority and the Plantation Ministry had approved a request from the companies to cut down the trees, pending approval of the District Secretary. more..

64 new projects to be launched at a cost of Rs. 10 billion

Feb 14 (Island) In a significant impetus to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry, Minister Harin Fernando announced that plans are afoot to implement 64 new projects at a stupendous cost of Rs.10 billion for the development of this key sector this year. He made this disclosure at ICT Industry Open Forum - 2016, where common problems confronting the ICT industry were discussed and suitable solutions evolved in an open healthy dialogue with more..

NMRA Chairman declines reappointment, says not too keen

Feb 14 (Island) The former Chairman of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) has declined an offer to be reappointed to the top position of this powerful apex body in the pharmaceutical industry as he is apparently upset over his unexpected removal earlier by the minister. The abrupt marching orders came as a shock to Lal Jayakody, an eminent professor of pharmacology, health officials pointed out. more..

Screens to alert passengers of medical aid at airport

Feb 14 (ST) Health Ministry is planning to have digital led displays to advise passengers of the availability of medical help at the BIA in times of a threat of carrying contractible diseases. Quarantine Director said that tender procedures are on to order three 60 inch televisions to be displayed in strategic areas of the BIA to advise inbound passengers who may come from countries that have seasonal outbreaks of contractible diseases including MERCS and Zika. more..

Suhada Gamalath likely to get diplomatic posting

Feb 14 (SO) Solicitor General Suhada Gamalath, the senior most officer in AG's Department, is likely to receive a diplomatic posting following the appointment of Jayantha Jayasuriya to Attorney General's post, govt sources revealed. However, there are no immediate vacancies in any of SL foreign missions, it is learnt. Gamalath who was also offered the option of being appointed to Supreme Court before the nominations were given to Constitutional Council, had declined the offer, more..

SB defies Ravi K

Feb 14 (CT) Over Rs 77 million collected by Ministry of Social Empowerment and Welfare by deducting Rs 100 from every Rs 2,000 allowance paid to senior citizens who are above 70 years of age, was ordered to be halted with immediate effect. In accordance with a circular issued by Minister S.B. Dissanayake on 12 Jan this year, nearly 386,000 elders who are eligible to receive this allowance of Rs 2,000 had more..

Foreign Ministry delays PRECIFAC probe

Feb 14 (CT) The PRECIFAC has decided to investigate the actions of over 1,000 persons who have engaged in foreign business by using diplomatic passports. Most of these persons are identified as relations of the Ministers of Rajapaksa Govt, said a senior officer of the investigation division of PRECIFAC. PRECIFAC Secretary, Lacille de Silva said information has been sought from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about persons who had obtained diplomatic passports illegally. more..

Arcelor Mittal to build 65,000 houses

Feb 14 (CT) The first phase of the housing project to build 65,000 houses for the IDPs of the North and East began after the project received Cabinet approval on Wednesday. The govt has initiated the first phase of a plan to build 65,000 houses for the people affected by war in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the project proposal was presented before the Cabinet by Minister D. M. Swaminathan of the Ministry of Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Religious Affairs. more..

Rs 225 M revenue loss to Govt

Feb 14 (CT) An arbitrary decision taken by new Board of Directors of Rakna Arakshaka Lanka appointed by Yahapalanaya Govt to write off 50% of taxes payable to the govt by Avant Garde Security Services Ltd., for fiscal year 2015 will cause a Rs 225 million revenue loss to the govt. This was revealed when a top parliamentary watchdog committee examined the books of Rakna Arakshaka Lanka last week. more..

War Crimes and War Heroes: Horns of Sri Lanka’s dilemma

Feb 14 (Island) Even for those of us who are not (western) classists, it would makes sense to know that the resolution of a dilemma in logic and rhetoric involves either taking the left horn, the right horn, or going in between the two, not to mention (rhetorically) distracting the proverbial bull. Transcending from the precocious world of ancient Greece to the pernicious world of contemporary Sri Lankan politics (where good things can still happen from time to time more..

A Bold and timely gesture to forge unity

Feb 14 (Island) This year austerity was rather stretched with a huge parade at Galle Face Green. Never mind. There must be a show on February 4. A major theme or point emphasized, (it being honey in my liberal ear), was that we are all Sri Lankans first and foremost and then we could acknowledge being Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Moor, Burgher. President gave words to this very important concept while also saying that the human rights matter presented by Geneva would be dealt with, more..

Govt rules out general amnesty

Feb 14 (SL) The Govt has ruled out a general amnesty to address the political prisoner issue which looks like erupting once again anytime soon. Minister Mano Ganesan said that Govt is seriously looking at the political prisoner issue but the idea of giving the prisoners a general amnesty is out of the question. TNA has been pushing for the release of the political prisoners and the issue was also discussed with UN High Commissioner more..

'ETCA will not impact local fishing industry'

Feb 14 (SO) The proposed Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) will not impact the local fishing industry, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. “However, we are vigilant to see that there are no loopholes in the agreement which might affect the fishery industry. Govt is keen to have talks with its Indian counterparts to seek a permanent solution to the fishing issue. He said with the recent visit of External Affairs Minister more..

Noel’s body still in mortuary

Feb 14 (CT) The body of Noel Ranaweera (34) exhumed 2 April 2015, remains in a vault of the Ragama mortuary unattended with many claiming this underscores the culture of human rights violations besetting the country. Noel met his fate when a truck ran over him in Moscow, Russia, on 11 June 2014. The family alleged that his death was the result of a pre-planned murder. more..

Govt faces critical phase: Good and bad news from Zeid’s visit

Feb 14 (ST) There was both good and bad news for the Govt during the four-day visit to Sri Lanka by the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. The good news was Zeid’s demonstrated willingness to address what the Govt of Sri Lanka believes are contentious issues. Main among them is the participation of Commonwealth and foreign judges, prosecutors and investigators in more..

Sri Lanka tax policy that promotes hard alcohol use is shocking: beer maker

Feb 14 (EN) Sri Lanka's largest beer maker who has seen sales fall as taxes on soft alcohol were raised in quick succession late last year says the current tax policy which is making hard alcohol more attractive to consumers is shocking. The firm said in October tax on mild beer (lower alcohol content) was raised by 27% and strong beer by 32%. In November taxes on strong beer was raised by another 29%. more..

The confusing drama behind AG’s appointment

Feb 14 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena recommended and Constitutional Council (CC) approved on Wednesday the appointment of Jayantha Jayasuriya as the Attorney General (AG). He succeeds Yuvanjan Wijeyatilake who retired in December last year. Suhada Gamlath, Solicitor General who also served a stint as Secretary to the Ministry of Justice, was acting thereafter. Naming a new AG saw the CC sharply divided. more..

'War Crimes Probe: Sri Lankan govt looking at various options'

Feb 14 (Island) The Sri Lankan govt was looking at various options within the limits of what they have defined as their preference in the manner in which war crimes accusations against the previous Rajapaksa regime and the LTTE should be investigated. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein revealed in Colombo last week that with regard to the call by his office for a Hybrid Court to inquire into more..

Disclose source, if you receive more than Rs. 200,000

Feb 14 (ST) The Central Bank has tightened regulations to monitor inward remittances exceeding Rs. 200,000 – with Sri Lankans being required to provide to their receiving banks the source of their funds. This comes in terms of new Customer Due Diligence (CDD) Rules gazetted by the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Bank. The move runs counter to a claim by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanyaka in Oct last year more..

'Saved Mahinda Rajapaksa from war crimes court'

Feb 14 (PTI) President Maithripala Sirisena on Saturday claimed that his victory in the elections saved his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa from being hauled before an international war crimes court. “He (Mr Rajapaksa) was publicly lamenting that he was to be taken before a war crimes court and executed on an electric chair. The people who voted me against him have prevented that,” Mr Sirisena said, more..

Vehemently against Bhikku Kathikawath Bill

Feb 14 (CT) Committee member of the Asgriya Chapter of the Siyam Nikaya Ven. Dr. Medagama Dhammananda Thera said that his Chapter stands against the proposed Bhikku Kathikawath Bill. Up to 60 members of the Committee of the Asgiriya Chapter met Friday, 12 February in the temple premises and decided to officially oppose the Bhikku Kathikawath Bill. The Asgiriya Chapter also decided that they could not agree to more..

Sinha Le, Anyone?

Feb 14 (Island) It beats the Grimm’s Tales and the Arabian Nights hollow, that story of a princess who runs away from her home and mates with a lion. Not a lion-like man, not a member of a tribe named after the king of beasts, but an actual man-eating lion. Great Chronicle (Mahavamsa) takes considerable pains to make the point. The princess, described by Bhikku Mahanama as fair and amorous, gives birth to twins. Sihabahu is so named because his hands and feet are formed like a lion’s. more..

Constitutional divides

Feb 14 (Island) You would think that for a country that has embarked upon a historic process to create a new constitution, society and polity would be greatly animated with discussions around ideas, opinions, fears, aspirations, hopes and challenges related to what should and should not be considered or included in the final text. And yet, to date, public interest in and input into the process hasn’t taken off. Many, surprisingly even in Govt, haven’t even heard of Public Representations Committee more..

RTI shelved to protect govt

Feb 14 (CT) Right To Information bill (RTI), one of the key promises of Yahapalanaya regime prior to consecutive elections, has been shelved due pressure from officials and Ministers who insist that they should safe guard the govt, high ranking govt sources confirmed. RIT which was drafted and had been presented to the cabinet has not been presented, due to the need to water down the contents, significantly impacting essence more..

Media ministry alert over attempt by CSN

Feb 14 (SL) Media Ministry is alert over attempts by the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) to change hands and appoint a new management. The attempt follows the recent controversy over alleged money laundering involving its current top management who are now behind bars. Deputy Media Minister Karunaratne Paranavitana said that CSN may attempt to install a new management in order to redirect the negative publicity it is receiving and cushion its financial losses. more..

Probe sought on song by Iraj

Feb 14 (SL) An investigation has been sought on a song produced by singer Iraj Weeraratne, the CID said. CID sources said that a court order was sought last week to have the police investigate the song. Colombo Fort Magistrate had ordered the police to investigate the song Manusatha following a concern raised when a case was filed by the CID on a Muslim group was heard. Muslim group had been accused of defaming Buddhism. However when the case was heard the Muslim group alleged more..

SriLankan to ink deals with Qatar, Maldives

Feb 14 (SL) SriLankan Airlines, in an ambitious plan to resuscitate the cash-strapped airline and turnaround country’s flagship carrier, is likely to strike two breakthrough deals with Qatar Airways and the Maldives Govt in the near future. Sources close to the negotiations said that Qatar Airways management was very positive towards the deal. In addition, Maldives govt, which lacks a national carrier and due to its limitations of space and more..

Citizens propose executive power sharing by Cabinet, not concentrated in PM

Feb 14 (EN) SL’s powerful presidency should be scrapped but executive power should not be concentrated in the PM and instead shared among Cabinet ministers, according to a report by Citizens Initiative for Constitutional Change. New govt, formed after presidential and parliamentary polls that ousted Rajapaksa regime last year, has called for public views and recommendations for the new Constitution with abolishing the executive presidency a key, & long-standing proposal. more..

MP’s Coordinating Sec. accidently shoots himself

Feb 14 (DM) Coordinating secretary to MP Weerakumara Dissanayeke has been hospitalized after he accidentally shot himself in Anuradhapura last night. The weapon belonging to one of Dissanayakes’s security personnel accidently fired when the 49-year-old secretary, B.M. Amarasinghe, attempted to examine the weapon at the parliamentarian’s office. The victim was admitted to the Anuradhapura hospital with two gunshot wounds to his arm and leg. more..

Tsunami early warning system in the ocean not functional in Sri Lanka

Feb 14 (Island) The govt is actively involved in reducing risks and dangers stemming from natural disasters, says Deputy Minister Dunesh Gankanda. He said that equating disasters to risk reduction is an active area for managing such risks effectively. "However, do not conclude that we, as a government, could stop such disasters. Our mission is to reduce the severity of its intensity and address aftermath of human suffering". more..

President to be given report on North land issue

Feb 14 (SL) President Maithripala Sirisena is expected to be given a report this week on the civilian land and property being occupied by the military. State Minister M.L.A.M. Hizbulla said that steps are being taken to resettle the remaining war affected families soon. He said that once President studies the report on the land occupied by the military in the North, final decision on the resettlement will be taken. President is expected to take final decision by the end of this month. more..

Sri Lanka fetes independence, interdependence with Korea

Feb 14 (KH) Sri Lankan Embassy held a National Day reception in early February to celebrate the 68th anniversary of independence from Britain and the development of ties with Korea. While Sri Lanka has made significant progress as a democracy, the country also had to face “formidable challenges, including a conflict that ravaged the nation for three decades,” said SL Ambassador to Korea Manisha Gunasekera in a speech. Located in the Indian Ocean, the lush, tropical island more..

Passport left in toilet: Dark moon for SL MPs

Feb 14 (ST) A group of Sri Lankan MPs missed the opening day of an Inter-faith conference in South Korea after one MP left her passport in the Seoul International airport toilet and the delegation was not allowed entry into the country. The group of 17 MPs had arrived in Seoul to attend the International Conference of Parliamentarians for Peace, an event sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation run by the widow of the late Rev. Sun Moon. more..

PM gets tough with CEB officials

Feb 14 (SL) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has warned officials of the CEB that he will be forced to take measures on his own to implement proposals related to the power sector if they fail to do the needful. PM said that renewable and non conventional energy sources are the way forward for the betterment of the energy sector and the country and not more coal power plants. Speaking at a Cabinet Sub Committee in Parliament, after analyzing the Power and Renewable Energy more..

Over 100 stranded SL Kuwaiti workers return

Feb 14 (SO) The govt brought down over 100 workers who were stranded in Kuwait yesterday morning, Media Secretary to Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorale said. The group reached Sri Lanka in two SriLankan Airlines flights, UL230 and FZ551. Many of them were from Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Galle, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Kandy. "Ministry provided the transport cost for 54 of them, as they did not have money to go back home," more..

Sampur to get green light

Feb 14 (SO) Central Environment Authority (CEA) after a lapse of over a year has finally granted approval under stringent conditions to implement the Trincomalee (Sampur) Thermal Power Plant project. Prof. Lal Dharmasiri, CEA Chairman said that approval for Environment Impact Assessment report, submitted in January was granted conditional approval. Authoritative source, however, said CEA was compelled to more..

Venezuelan arrested after swallowing cocaine at airport

Feb 14 (CG) A Venezuelan national was arrested at the Katunayake airport and has been admitted to hospital after she swallowed cocaine. The Venezuelan, a 62 year old female, was arrested by the staff of the Customs Narcotics Unit after she arrived from Brazil via Dubai. She is suspected to have swallowed 87 pellets of cocaine weighing more than 500g, the customs department said. Customs officers produced the foreigner before the Negombo Magistrate who remanded her for 14 days. more..

Unattended lands prime source of dengue breeding grounds, says PHI’s Union

Feb 14 (ST) Unattended lands – some of them purchased as investments with the owners living overseas – have also turned be one of the main mosquito breeding grounds contributing to the spread of dengue, the Public Health Inspectors’ Union) said. PHI’s Union President Upul Rohana said the PHIs were facing difficulties taking action against owners of unattended lands due to difficulties in tracing their owners. He explained that when a property with over grown grass and more..