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SOCs to be given powers to summon CMs and ministers

Feb 16 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the proposed 17 sectoral oversight committees should be vested with the powers to summon not only public officials but also chief ministers and ministers of the provincial councils. Addressing the inaugural session of the 3-day workshop to increase MPs’ awareness of sectoral oversight committees to be set up in Parliament, PM said that his govt more..

US way to stop political interference in the Supreme Court

Feb 16 (DM) A three-day workshop began in Parliament yesterday to educate MPs on the full restoration of parliamentary democracy by making Parliament to be like a virtual govt with all MPs playing a proactive role in making laws and implementing them. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in his opening speech said one of the goals was to give more power to parliamentary select committees or oversight committees so that even backbenchers in govt and Opposition could take part actively more..

First birth centenary of President D. B. Wijetunge

Feb 16 (DM) SL’s third Executive President Dingiri Banda Wijetunge, was born in a village near by our last kingdom, on Feb 15, 1916. As a fitting tribute to this grand politician and pleasant peasant Leader, President Sirisena unveiled his portrait at the Parliamentary complex this week, while a commemorative ceremony took place under the patronage of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe in Kandy yesterday. D.B. Wijetunge was born and bred at Polgaha Anga, a hamlet close to Gampola more..

The majority say; Thank you, Yahapalanaya

Feb 16 (DM) The Yahapalanaya govt came to power with a promise to apprehend those involved in corruption, thuggery and murder. But later a public outcry developed when no one was arrested or charged with any offences for a considerable period. Now that a series of arrests had been made in the name of Yahapalanaya what do citizen have to say? Following are the comments which were sent to us by our readers more..

Water levels drop and fears rise for crops

Feb 16 (ST) Despite intermittent rains last month, experts fear the three-month-long dry weather conditions will strangle power generation, agriculture and drinking water supplies as authorities struggle with limited water in reservoirs, rivers and water treatment plants. Children walking under scorching sun, men and women carrying cans and pots long distances searching for drinking water, farmers crying more..

O/L Syllabus: sub-standard

Feb 16 (CT) Marise, 18, will be sitting for Advanced Level exam next year. Although she passed her Ordinary Level examination remarkably well, she says she is struggling with her A/Ls in the commerce stream. She feels that choosing Civics instead of Commerce for O/Ls was a colossal disadvantage, because O/L Commerce sets the base to some extent for those who want to study in the Commerce stream for A/Ls. more..

Sri Lanka: A systematic country diagnostic

Feb 16 (WB) The Systematic Country Diagnostic is a comprehensive assessment of constraints and drivers of progress towards the twin goals of ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity. It is an important input to how the World Bank Group engages with its client countries. Sri Lanka is in many respects a development success story. Growth has averaged over 6% per year in the past decade and more..

Sri Lanka banks raise deposit rates 200bp

Feb 16 (EN) Sri Lanka's commercial banks have raised deposit rates around 200 basis points over the past six months, as credit demand picked up, despite money printing by the central bank to enforce a 50 basis point rate cut earlier in the year. One year fixed deposit rates in February 2016 range around 8.25% to 8.75% up from around 6% to 6.5% in Sept 2015, according to newspaper ads & online announcements. more..

UN Rights Chief finds people in N-E still live in fear

Feb 16 (SL) High on the agenda during the visit by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein last week was to push for international participation in the domestic accountability process. And following four days of talks in Colombo, Jaffna, Trincomalee and Kandy, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein found that war affected families want an international role. He also said that the element of fear once seen in Sri Lanka more..

'Joint Opposition of wanting to have the cake and eat it'

Feb 16 (Island) Minister Lakshman Kiriella has said even though the Joint Opposition (JO) wants to be recognized as a separate group, it is wary of leaving the SLFP. He made the statement at the Rattota electorate UNP Bala Mandalaya meeting in the Matale District on Sunday. He said: "If the JO wants to be recognized as a separate group, they must state very clearly that they have left the SLFP. But, they are not prepared to do so. more..

All Lankan migrant workers in safe houses to be brought home

Feb 16 (Island) Minister Thalatha Athukorala has ordered that all Lankan migrant workers who have taken refugee in safe houses be brought back home immediately. Minister issued this order after the govt had brought down over 100 stranded migrant workers from Kuwait on Saturday. SL Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) said the decision to bring back all migrant workers subjected to harassment in Kuwait had been taken more..

Shivaji calls for process with India, US, EU, UN mediation

Feb 16 (CG) TNA NPC member M K Shivajilingam has called for a political solution for the Tamils to be created through a negotiated process between Sinhalese and Tamil leaders mediated by India, USA and the EU along with the UN. He said that the mediating parties can function as witnesses and guarantors to the implementation of the solution. He made the proposal in his submission made to Public Representations more..

Germany impressed by change in political landscape in Sri Lanka

Feb 16 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in Berlin last evening starting his four day state visit to Germany. Amongst the Sri Lankan delegation were Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama & Primary Industries Minister Daya Gamage. more..

Mega Development Projects need disclosures

Feb 16 (CT) The govt has undertaken two ambitious projects. The first is the US $ 1.4 billion Chinese funded Colombo Port City Project and the other is the Western Province Megapolis Project, encompassing transformation of the three districts of Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara into a major hub which, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe believes, will make it the best city in South Asia. Colombo Port City Project was the brainchild of the Rajapaksa Govt, which the UNP, PM Ranil more..

German national arrested for allegedly harassing 9 yr. old girl

Feb 16 (DM) A 60-year-old German national was arrested by the Jaffna Police for allegedly sexually harassing a nine year old girl yesterday. Police said the man had allegedly called the child, who was passing by his house, after her evening class and tried to kiss her in his bedroom. When she had screamed for help, the neighbors had intervened and the child was allowed to go home. The foreign national had given the child some money to pacify her. Police said the parents of the child more..

Minister Harin Fernando

Shares fall for seventh straight session

Feb 16 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended lower for the seventh straight session on Tuesday as rising domestic interest rates and global economic worries dampened investor sentiment. Sri Lanka's main stock index ended down 0.19% at 6,254.16, its lowest close since May. 7, 2014, after erasing early gains. It has fallen 2.35% in the last seven sessions. "Market is down because there is not much of an economic direction and also due to the global market volatility," more..

PM’s Security Division humiliates journalists

Feb 16 (Island) Prime Ministerial Security Division officials yesterday humiliated journalists who were covering the inauguration of the Sectoral Oversight Committees workshop, where British Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart happened to say that Sri Lankan journalists were very powerful and would not toe the line of the rulers of the country. The three-day workshop for MPs commenced at the Committee Room I of the Parliament Complex with the participation of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

'We have to get out of South Asian mentality'

Feb 16 (AD) World Bank is assisting the Sri Lankan govt in its efforts to double the GDP by 2025 the latest and to become a high-income country within a decade after that, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said today. He was addressing an event held in Colombo to unveil the findings of a Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) carried out by the World Bank Group, to identify the key constraints to sustaining progress in ending poverty and more..

Judiciary should not be subject to perks

Feb 16 (CT) At a time we celebrate 68 years of Independence with pomp & glory, it seems most media is focusing headlines on Rajapaksas, Gnanasaras, Wele Sudas, Weerawansas and Ministers. Our pressing issue of Sri Lanka’s judiciary is conveniently ignored though it is under heavy pressure to restore its independence and integrity from inside and out. We don’t want a justice system that undermines its independence and compromising its integrity, permitting more..

Principal claims disgraced ex-provincial councillor great benefactor of school

Feb 16 (Island) Principal of Navodya Vidyalaya, Navagattegama Malcolm Peterson said he had been compelled to invite the former UPFA North Western Provincial Councillor Ananda Sarath Kumara for the school’s inter-house sports meet as he was a benefactor of the school and one of his children was studying there. Sarath Kumara was earlier convicted of forcing a female teacher of the same school to kneel down in the school playground for admonishing Provincial Councillor’s daughter. more..

Monks remanded further over Homagama court incident

Feb 16 (CG) A group of monks were today ordered to be remanded further over the recent incident at the Homagama court. Gnanasara Thero was remanded till Feb 23 by Homagama Magistrate today. Meanwhile the General Secretary of the Ravana Balaya, the Venerable Ittekande Saddhatissa Thero and the President of Sinhala Ravaya the Venerable Akmeemana Dayarathana Thero are among 11 people ordered today to more..

SL aviation contingent Bor commended

Feb 16 (MoD) Special Representative of Secretary-General and Head of UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Ms Ellen MargretheLoj paid an official visit to UNMISS Bor compound of Jonglei state of South Sudan recently. During her visit she was briefed on SLAF, contingent, its operational aspects, achievements and tasks to be accomplished in future. SL Aviation contingent was highly commended on maintaining standards and successful missions demonstrated within more..

New Airport to be built in Haputale

Feb 16 (GDI) Plans have been drawn up to construct an Airport in the Haputale area for the purpose of landing light aircraft under the programme of promoting the internal airport network, the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation revealed. According to the Ministry, the new Airport is planned to be built in the Sewood Estate at Kotalagala in Haputale. It is intended to put up a runway which is 1.2 km long and 75 metres wide. The work is expected to cost Rs.700 million. more..

Indian fishermen plundering Sri Lanka's fishing resources: JVP

Feb 16 (PTI) Indian fishermen are plundering Sri Lanka's natural fishing resources and violating its sovereignty by poaching into the country's waters, JVP has alleged. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the continuous poaching by Indian fishermen was a violation of Sri Lanka's sovereignty. "When we speak of sovereignty we only speak about the land. Our seas are being violated and our fishing resources are being more..

Court of Appeal allows HRC time till March 31 to file objections

Feb 16 (Island) Court of Appeal yesterday allowed the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), time till March 31 to file objections to the Writ Application filed by SSP Pradeep Panamaldeniya of the Police Headquarters Colombo. Petitioner has requested the Court of Appeal to set aside the finding by HRCSL that the police had violated the fundamental rights of Higher National Diploma in Accountancy students during a protest on Oct 29, 2015 near the UGC. more..

Duration of Commission on missing extended by three months

Feb 16 (CG) The term of the Presidential Commission on Missing Persons has been extended by three months, the Government Information Department said today. The Commission had yesterday said it expected a short extension of the duration of its term in office to complete some of its unfinished work. The duration of the commission’s term in office ended yesterday. The power to extend the duration of the commission is in the hands of the President. more..

Video: Police fire tear gas at protesting unemployed graduates

Feb 16 (AD) Riot police used tear gas to disperse a demonstration by the unemployed graduates’ associations near Lotus Road in Colombo, a short while ago. The protest march, demanding that the govt fill the vacancies in the public sector with unemployed graduates, commenced from the Technical College Junction and they were scheduled to handover a letter to the PM’s Office. more..

Video: SLFP to convene disciplinary committee soon

Feb 16 (AD) The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) would convene its disciplinary committee to take action against the dissident party members, a source said. SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake said that the members however will be given the opportunity to show cause for not taking disciplinary action against them. The Central Committee of the SLFP has decided to suspend the party membership of seven Chairmen of Local Govt bodies with effect from February 12 as well. more..

Govt conveniently forgets issues of masses in the North: JVP

Feb 16 (LT) Singing the national anthem in both Sinhalese and Tamil is a good move though the govt has forgotten serious issues confronted by the Tamil masses says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. This was stated by the General Secretary of JVP when he participated at a ceremony held yesterday (13) to declare open the public coordinating office of the JVP for Jaffna District. Speaking further at the new office at No 298, Kandy Road, Jaffna Mr. Tilvin Silva said, more..

Does a bribery hand prevent Rohitha’s arrest?

Feb 16 (LT) A case has been filed against former Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardene at Colombo High Court under Bribery Act. However, he has not been arrested despite Clause 30 of Bribery Act which states “All offences under this Part of this Act shall be cognizable offences for the purpose of the application of the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act” which has drawn the attention of legal sector say reports. more..

Here’s the powerful minister who avoided Bribery Commission

Feb 16 (LT) Mr. Rajitha Senaratna, a powerful Minister of yahapalana govt, has refrained from appearing before the CIABOC for the tenth time. CIABOC has summoned Minister Senaratna on moves he is said to have committed while he was a minister of the previous regime. Minister Senaratna had been summoned to CIABOC on several occasions but he had avoided going to the Commission saying he had to participate in a discussion or attend a ceremony with more..

SB proved President mis-used executive powers: Gammanpila

Feb 16 (AM) Minister S.B. Dissanayake proved by his statements that President Maithripala Sirisena mis-used executive powers, PHU General Secretary Udaya Gammanpila said. He argued that Dissanayake’s comments, if they are true, confirmed that arrests are made on political decisions taken by the President and PM. “According to Dissanayake, President has said that arresting Namal Rajapaksa and Sriyanthi Rajapaksa was prevented by a decision made by him, with PM. more..

President visits Holocaust Memorial & Jewish Museum

Feb 16 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena who arrived in Berlin this morning visited the Holocaust Memorial and the Jewish museum in the evening. Holocaust Memorial in Berlin has been built to memorize the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. This, which has been designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold holds the names of approximately 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims. Building began on more..

Cecille Kotelawala to appear before court on Feb. 23

Feb 16 (AD) The Colombo High Court today ordered to produce former Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala’s wife Cecille Kotelawala before Court on February 23. The directive was issued after a motion filed by an attorney was taken into consideration by High Court Judge Manilal Waidyatilaka, Ada Derana reporter said. Cecille Kotelawala, who was evading courts, was arrested by immigration officials at the BIA in Katunayake upon returning to Sri Lanka on February 5. more..

Permission sought to commemorate LTTE Mahaviru Day

Feb 16 (AM) Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms received a proposal seeking legal permission for the commemoration of the dead LTTE soldiers on Mahaviru Day. The proposal was presented before the committee yesterday at the Jaffna District Secretariat by a resident of Sulipuram, Jaffna East. Chairman of the committee, Lal Wijenayake said that the commission was accepting public views and comments on new constitution at Jaffna, today as well. more..

Basil files FR to preempt FCID arresting him

Feb 16 (DM) Former minister Basil Rajapaksa today filed a fundamental rights petition stating that the FCID is planning to arrest him and have him remanded without bail alleging that he had amassed wealth illegally. He said an investigation of B-reports and further reports filed in Magistrate’s Courts by the FCID reveal that the author/authors of the reports, contrary to the provisions of Article 13(5) of Constitution more..

Indian Women thump SL in first ODI

Feb 16 (CI) Fifties from Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur, followed by Poonam Yadav's four-wicket haul shaped India Women's 107-run rout of SL Women in the first ODI in Ranchi. After being inserted, Mandhana anchored the first half of the innings with an 81-ball 55 that included eight fours. After she fell at the end of the 27th over, Harmanpreet took charge of the innings with her 61-ball 50. Captain Mithali Raj also chipped in with a handy 49 that helped lift India to 245 for 6. more..

Welgama granted bail

Feb 16 (DM) Former Transport Minister and UPFA MP Kumara Welgama was granted bail by the Colombo Chief Magistrate today over illegally paying Rs.3.2 million to the former Vice Chairman of the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB). He was released on a cash bail of Rs 25,000 and two sureties of Rs. 1 million by Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya. The Magistrate didn’t sign the charge sheet against the MP today due to the preliminary objection raised by the Defence Counsel. more..

Most of Sri Lanka's poor in urban areas: WB

Feb 16 (EN) Most of Sri Lanka's poor are in cities or near cities, though poverty has fallen in recent years helped by the end of a war, urbanization, higher produce prices and a move from farming to industry and services. Though the official poverty rate is 7% about 40% of the population earned were near poor sustained on less than 225 rupees a day. Those close to the poverty line could slip back into poverty, a report more..