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Eight former LG heads to defy party instructions

Feb 14 (DM) The eight former local authorities’ heads, facing disciplinary inquiries by the SLFP, said they would defy the party’s instructions. Addressing a group press briefing, they were again critical of the present SLFP leadership. “Someone who acted with the UNP to defeat our candidate at the election is now calling for explanations from us. Explanations have to be called for those who acted with UNP, not from us,” more..

Conflicts have arisen among different groups of resource users: Minister

Feb 14 (Island) Sri Lanka has always given priority to the fishing Industry and considered it as a key sector in the social and economic development of the country. In terms of providing, the much needed animal-based protein requirement of the country, and also in providing employment and income opportunities to the population, the contribution of the fisheries sector has been most valuable, Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Fisheries said last week. more..

Police investigate kidney racket on Health Ministry tip-off

Feb 14 (ST) The police this week said that they have started investigations into the kidney racket on a request by the Health Ministry. ASP Ruwan Gunasekera declined to comment in detail on the investigation but said the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) is visiting all hospitals where the kidney transplants have taken place as alleged in the Indian media reports. He also said the doctors allegedly involved in irregular activities in the transplantation process performed in those hospitals more..

Lankan tycoon’s Lycamobile given 14 days to submit accounts

Feb 14 (ST) Lycamobile, a giant telecom company founded by a Sri Lankan businessman and investigated in Sri Lanka for business transactions with the former administration, has been given 14 days to submit its overdue accounts for 2015 or face the possibility of being struck off British company register. A spokesperson for Companies House, registrar of British companies and an executive agency of British govt, more..

Cases filed on 778 people during crackdown on dengue

Feb 14 (CG) Cases have been filed on 778 people during a crackdown launched by the Ministry of Health on the spread of dengue in the Western Province and seven identified districts. The Health Ministry said that during a three day program which ended yesterday officials were able to identify several mosquito breeding grounds. Accordingly notice was issued on 5656 people and cases were filed against 778 people for having mosquito breeding grounds in their property. more..

'Foreign production companies and business tycoons wooed to invest in film industry'

Feb 14 (Island) Film Location Services has wooed business tycoons associated with Hollywood and also those from the Emirates to invest on a US$ 60 million film shot in SL. Chandran Rutnam, an internationally acclaimed film director who heads Film Location Services, as its Chairman, said that shooting on his latest film Solar Eclipse started last week and is expected to be completed within four months. The film will be screened internationally, he said. more..

What would happen if the gamarala loses his grip? asks Mahinda

Feb 14 (AD) The decision by several SLFP members to work together with the ruling UNP is unacceptable, says former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The observation was made during a meeting organised by a group of SLFP local council members in Negombo on Sunday. Quoting the Sinhala folk tale of the gamarala going to the heaven, Rajapaksa said “they are trying to see the heaven by hanging on to the elephant’s tail. more..

Danuna Tillakaratne sends letter of demand to justice minister

Feb 14 (AM) Danuna Tillekaratne, former son-in-law of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, sent a letter of demand to Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, demanding Rs 25 million as damages for his reputation. In the letter of demand, Tillekeratne says that he has been wrongly accused by Rajapakshe in several TV programmes regarding Rs 88.7 million deposited in his accounts. Tillakaratne recalled that Rajapakshe had repeatedly made a claim that he had made a request from Rajapakshe to more..

We agreed to disagree on some issues says UNP leader

Feb 14 (CG) Prime Minister and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today said that the UNP and the SLFP agreed to disagree on some issues. He said that both main political parties must work together to take the country forward. The Prime Minister said that while working together both parties must also look at strengthening the parties individually. The Prime Minister was speaking at an event held in Kandy today in remembrance of former President D.B. Wijetunga. more..

Sirisena appoints left-liberal Reginald Cooray as Northern Province governor

Feb 14 (ENS) In a progressive step welcomed by Tamil leaders, President Sirisena appointed Reginald Cooray, an acclaimed leftist liberal and a veteran SLFP politician, as Governor of Tamil-majority Northern Province. 1947-born Cooray succeeds former civil servant HMGS Palihakkara, who voluntarily demitted office last week on completion of his short term fixed by an agreement between him and Sirisena govt. more..

Once again SL cheats int'l community

Feb 15 (CT) Over the last year, Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon has become an international playground for China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, USA, UK and EU countries. Except for two or three, all the others supported regime change and now they are competing to have their share of gain. Some are progressing well! Unfortunately, neighbouring India, accused by the former President as being a country in favour of regime change, has not received its reasonable dividend. more..

Gamman Pillars

Feb 15 (CT) MP Dilan Perera said something interesting recently at one of those ubiquitous press briefings. What he took great pains to enunciate momentarily confused me. Referring to an action of a colleague known for his noisy political aspirations in the muddied milieu of turbulent politics of Sri Lanka, Mr. Perera mentioned for some odd reason two strange and incomprehensible words and attributed it to this individual .i.e. Gamman Pillars. An awkward yet hilarious set of words that more..

Appointing Sri Lanka's 29th AG

Feb 15 (SO) Appointment of 29th Attorney General has been the centre of much discussion and debate in the political arena, for some months. Speculations on who was to succeed Yuwanjan Wijethilake when he retired in early January were rampant from last year. One of the main concerns regarding the pending appointment was how to restore public confidence in the role of AG, which has significantly eroded more..

Editorial: CC: Hobson’s choice

Feb 15 (Island) The manner in which the new Attorney General (AG) was appointed has left a bad taste in many a mouth. What is at issue is not the suitability or otherwise of the new AG but why the acting AG was so blatantly overlooked. Initially, President Maithripala Sirisena sought to shift the onus for appointing the AG to the Constitutional Council (CC) by referring three names thereto. But, the CC sent them back to him, requesting him to choose one of them as it was empowered more..

IMF loan essential to resolve BOP crisis

Feb 15 (ST) The govt has asked the IMF for a bail out facility to resolve the current balance of payments crisis. A loan facility is urgently needed owing to the critical state of the balance of payments. This crisis in the external finances has been brought about by the mismanagement of the economy over several years. In similar situations in the past, govts resorted to a rescue package from the IMF. In 1977 the govt obtained a Structural Adjustment Facility (SAF) to more..

'No discussions in SLFP to form a new party'

Feb 15 (SL) Minister Duminda Dissanayake says that there is no discussions in the party to form a new party. He said the only objective of the party and its members is to win the forthcoming Local Council Elections. He also said that over 15 political parties have expressed their willingness to join hands with the SLFP and discussions have already been carried out with eight parties. He also said that they dined and more..

In a Nutshell

Feb 15 (SL) The group that calls themselves the joint opposition last week made their way to Seenigama seeking divine intervention against the moves by the yahapalanaya to catch the thieves of the past regime. The event commenced with the group organizing a robbery to steal coconuts to be dashed at the temple. They then marched to Seenigama and made their way to the boats to carry them to the temple that is located in an island a little off the shore. The group was taken by more..

Religion-race as opiate of the people

Feb 15 (SL) Many a time we have noted that politics in this resplendent isle gets fruitier and nuttier. Last occasion we said was when the black coats of Hulftsdorp in their legal attire were smashing coconuts around the streets of the Supreme Court and other lesser temples of justice around. Fun and games spread far and wide into the provinces where the provincial legal practitioners followed suit of their Colombo counterparts. Purpose of smashing coconuts on the roads was to invoke more..


Why these displays of acute legal incompetence?

Feb 15 (ST) As President Sirisena and Constitutional Council (CC) played a virtual game of catch the ball if you can with each other over the appointment of SL’s 29th AG this week, Rajapaksa-led section of the opposition engaged in raucous antics over not being allowed to sit as a separate group in Parliament. Perversely, this fracas took place precisely when a shamefully overdue amendment increasing female representation to local govt bodies was being passed in House. more..

The Poetess who wrote on film

Feb 15 (Island) Some time back I watched Loku Duwa on TV. The film ran for more than two hours, but like all good films which run for that long, it didn’t sag. It tells the story of Punna (Geetha Kumarasinghe in one of her better roles), the eldest daughter in a middle-class family, who (as per tradition) sacrifices much for her siblings and gets little to nothing in return. She’s then nearly married to a man she herself loves (played by Jackson Anthony), but he turns out to be a thief. more..

T20: Ashwin's 4 for 8 gives India series

Feb 15 (CI) In his first three overs, bowled at the start of the match, R Ashwin bowled India to their first bilateral T20I series win at home. India bowled Sri Lanka out for their lowest total, 82, to retain their No. 1 ranking, which was on the line in the series decider. Ashwin's 4 for 8 was the best figures for an Indian in T20Is, beating his own 4 for 11. Ashwin's immediate impact was crucial because the pitch turned square, and more..

Dhoni's Richards moment

Feb 15 (CI) Runs. That's what everybody saw on the Visakhapatnam pitch before the match. It looked white, was hard, didn't have moisture nor cracks. This was expected to be the routine Twenty20 pitch that remains the same throughout the duration of the match. The decision at toss in these evening games is always a balancing act: do you bowl in dew or do you bat on a pitch that has become even slower and started to turn more? Here India made the easier call because not much turn was expected. more..

Ashwin produces India's best T20 figures

Feb 15 (CI) 0: Bilateral series wins for Sri Lanka in India, across all formats. This was their 18th bilateral series in India - India have won 14 and four were drawn. This was only Sri Lanka's second bilateral T20I series in India. The first was drawn 1-1. 82: Sri Lanka's total in this match - their lowest in T20Is. Their previous lowest total was 87 against Australia in Bridgetown in the 2010 World T20. This is the 2nd-lowest total by any team against India in T20Is; lowest is 80 by England in Colombo more..

Growing rift between Wigneswaran and the establishment in Colombo

Feb 15 (ENS) Ideological and political rift between Nothern Province CM C.V. Wigneswaran and the govt appears to be widening, with Wigneswaran’s efforts to maintain cordiality being half-hearted and perfunctory. The Tamil Peoples’ Council (TPC), which Wigneswaran had created in Dec 2015, had proposed a constitutional scheme for Sri Lanka which no govt in Colombo would touch with a barge pole. more..

HNB finances $ 18 m for Hela’s strategic buy of Foundation Garments

Feb 15 (FT) HNB’s Corporate Banking business, following a very successful 2015, has announced the $ 18 million financing of Hela’s strategic acquisition of Foundation Garments. With a lending portfolio of over Rs. 250 billion, HNB’s Corporate Banking business is the largest amongst all local and foreign private commercial banks with a diversified portfolio comprising working capital, trade financing and project financing businesses. The businesses in 2015 grew its asset book by more..

Chevron Lubricants Asia Pacific leaders meet in Colombo

Feb 15 (FT) The annual Chevron Lubricants Asia Pacific leadership team-meeting is being held this year at The Kingsbury in Colombo from 14 – 17 February. This is the first of its kind to be held in Sri Lanka, where a diverse group of functional leaders and country heads of Chevron’s Asia Pacific region and a few global leaders come together. The purpose of the meeting is to take a look back on a successful journey and develop the game plan for 2016 and beyond. more..

Confusion again on special interest rates for senior citizens

Feb 15 (ST) Even after nearly three months of the approval of the 2016 budget, the Govt is yet to enact revenue bills and issue necessary circulars, gazette notifications and guide lines to implement its proposals including the special interest rates for deposits from senior citizens. There is also a lot of confusion over some budget proposals. Central Bank has sought guidance from Finance Ministry to implement more..

Top Nepal group to seal cement deal in SL

Feb 15 (ST) CG Group Chairman Binod Chaudhary, Nepalese billionaire, is likely to spend more money focusing on the construction of a cement manufacturing facility in Sri Lanka. Having already invested in the hospitality industry, Mr. Chaudhary has plans to open a cement manufacturing facility in the North East of the country. This is expected to come under the group’s CG Cement unit that would look at exploiting the potential for the increased demand for cement in the country, more..

Singer launches business school

Feb 15 (NS) Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC, one of the nation’s largest and most successful diversified companies recently forayed into the education sector, offering a diverse range of training and development programmes for the corporate sector through its newly established Singer Business School. A subsidiary of the Singer Group, the Singer Business School (SBS) leverages Singer’s heritage built over 164 years and its unmatched power as the No.1 brand for ten consecutive years. more..

Sri Lanka to have its own gas : Further oil exploration in Mannar basin

Feb 15 (SO) Petroleum gas is available in two of the four blocks which have been explored in the Mannar basin, Minister Chandima Weerakkody said. Sri Lankans can use their own petroleum gas within the next 5 years, he said. Exploration was done by an Indian company at a cost of US$ 300 million. Ministry was planning to call for global tenders for oil exploration in another block by the end of this month or in March. more..

Building an educated workforce to bridge the skills gap

Feb 15 (Island) In an increasingly more globalized world, higher skills and higher order-competencies are extremely important skills that make it possible to use new technologies and perform difficult tasks more efficiently. Demand for job specific skills accompany structural changes in an economy - a transformation from agricultural into manufacturing and services, a shift from labour intensive to more knowledge intensive industries, an expansion of Information & Communications Technology more..

Economic Forum foundation for future investment: Deva Aditya

Feb 15 (DN) Economic Forum funded by the George Soros Foundation was a roaring success and it laid the foundation for future aggressive investment, said Niranjan Deva Aditya, Member of the European Parliament. He said some of the top world think tanks were in Sri Lanka for the summit and their vision enables Sri Lankan decision makers to look at investment and economic development in a more boarder and positive view point. A large cress section of the sociality including more..

Winning 25 gold medals is nothing to boast about: NOC chief

Feb 15 (DN) Sri Lanka National Olympic Committee chairman Hemasiri Fernando has said that winning 25 gold medals at the ongoing 2016 South Asia Games by our athletes is nothing to boast about. Referring to the 1991 SA Games, Fernando said that Sri Lanka won 44 gold medals in 10 sports categories. "On this occasion with over 700 athletes participating in 23 sports we won only 25 golds so it is no great achievement," more..

BT exposure sees one team heading for study at Harvard University

Feb 15 (ST) A Business Times (BT) exposure on the cost-effectiveness and viability of sending two separate govt teams for a high-level Harvard University course has resulted in the authorities deciding to send one delegation. Hence only the top level 7-member team from the PM’s Office took part in the Feb 7-12 study course aimed at kicking off the country’s ambitious economic development track. Plans to send another team of Finance Ministry officials for same study tour was cancelled more..

West Indies beat India to win first Under-19 Cricket World Cup

Feb 15 (CI) West Indies' mix of high-speed hustle with the ball and patience with the bat help them beat pre-tournament favourites India by five wickets in a tense final in Mirpur to lift their maiden Under-19 World Cup title. India, who were bowled out for 145, held their own and fought till the end admirably until Keemo Paul and Keacy Carty's ice-cool approach helped West Indies eat into the target and eventually cross the line with three balls to spare. That meant India lost a Youth ODI for the first time since more..

Tamil leaders hail new NP Governor

Feb 15 (DN) TNA and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan welcomed the move by President Sirisena to appoint Reginald Cooray as the Northern Province Governor. Hailing Cooray as a progressive man, Sampanthan said he is in agreement with the appointment. “Chief Minister C.V. Wigneshwaran is also in agreement with the choice,” he said. TNA spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran too hailed the new comer. more..

Police presence in Kotakethana reduced

Feb 15 (Island) Residents of Koatakethana village in Kahawatte where 18 women were murdered mysteriously since 2008 are again in a panic following a government decision to transfer out large number of police personnel from the area. The police had not taken action to deploy enough personnel to engage in routine duties such as patrolling the area, residents complained. They said the decision to reduce police presence would endanger their lives. more..

25 university students injured in accident

Feb 15 (Xinhua) At least 25 university students were injured in an accident on Sunday when the bus they were travelling in collided with a container truck, police said. The accident occurred on the Bandarawela, Haputale main road, in the misty hills of the Uva Province. The students were all females who were on their way to a local university. Students and the drivers of the bus and truck were all rushed to nearby hospitals. Two of the students are reported to be in critical condition. more..

Going for German goodies!

Feb 15 (FT) For the first time in 43 years a SL Head of State will undertake a visit to Germany today where President Sirisena and his delegates will upgrade relations, appraise Germany of the political changes achieved locally and seek investment opportunities including discussing assistance to regain GSP+. Minister Ravi Karunanayake told reporters ahead of the planned visit that delegation will focus on investment more..