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Emergency heart surgery for Rajitha in Singapore

Feb 20 (Island) Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne was to be flown to Singapore for an emergency heart bypass surgery from Lanka Hospitals yesterday night after he was admitted to the hospital with chest pains. Medical sources revealed that Dr Senaratne had come to Lanka Hospitals Thursday night complaining of chest pain and he had returned home after being treated. Sources said Minister had returned to Lanka Hospital yesterday morning complaining that the chest pain persisted. more..

Midwives to take hypertension message to villages

Feb 20 (ST) A COBRA strike against high blood pressure, the No. 1 killer in the world, is poised for launch among the rural folk in the Puttalam district in Sri Lanka in April, under an international research collaboration made possible by a large grant from the UK. The three-year Control of Blood Pressure and Risk Attenuation – Bangladesh, Pakistan and SL (COBRA-BPS) trial is to be implemented with a two million pound more..

Inland Revenue Dept to investigate SriLankan Airlines’ crew allowance fraud

Feb 20 (CT) Inland Revenue Department says that SriLankan Airlines has been practicing illegal methods to defraud EPF/ETF and Tax payments. SriLankan Airlines has over the years been paying flying meal allowances in the billions of rupees annually to both its pilots and cabin crew at overseas hotels for long trips and also as a payment locally for short trips which is not highlighted in their salary slips. Also Pilots and Cabin Crew have not been paying taxes to the govt for these more..

Ceylon Tobacco Company Dec net down; sales plunge q-o-q

Feb 20 (EN) Profits at Ceylon Tobacco Company, fell 8% to 1.84 billion rupees in Dec 2015 quarter from a year earlier, while revenues and taxes to the govt were back to levels seen last year. CTC reported earnings of 9.79% per share for the quarter. In the year to Dec earnings were 56.7 rupees per share on total profits of 10.6 billion rupees which were up from 8.6 billion rupees. In the Dec quarter gross revenues fell marginally to 23.70 billion rupees from 23.738 billion rupees more..

Other professionals back docs, oppose ETCA

Feb 20 (Island) The United Professional Movement (UPM) condemned PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s verbal attack on GMOA. UPM spokesman Charted Engineer Gamini Nanda Gunawardana said that the GMOA was only one of the 45 professional bodies opposed to Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) to be signed with India next week. He said the PM had singled out one individual over a matter that more..

Milinda Prashna Book to be launched next week

Feb 20 (Island) A book containing a selection of articles from the weekly column, Milinda Prashna, will be launched next week. The column by Milinda Moragoda has been running in the Daily Lankadeepa since 2012 and is simultaneously published in Moragoda’s blog, The print edition is published by Godage Publishers. To mark this event, Sirasa TV will broadcast a special one-hour programme on Poya day (22), at 4 pm. more..

RDA on Colombo-Kandy track

Feb 20 (NS) Road Development Authority (RDA) will commence work on the third section of the Central Expressway (formerly known as the Colombo-Kandy Road), which concerns the stretch between Pothuhera and Galagedara, by mid this year. Director General of the RDA, M. Pushpa K.L. Gunaratne said the RDA was continuing with its usual programmes in the Northern Province. The Central Expressway is divided into four stages, with the first stage from Kadawatha to Mirigama, more..

PRECIFAC to reveal more names

Feb 20 (CT) PRECIFAC said that it would be revealing the names of several politicians and heads of State departments who have been accused of acts of fraud and corruption committed during the former govt. Secretary to the Commission, Lacille De Silva said that even now there are public officials and politicians who have allegations of corruption against them and that the Commission would be naming such individuals and revealing more..

Sajith axes officials neglecting duties

Feb 20 (NS) Four officials attached to National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) in A'pura have been transferred to Colombo after they had failed to prepare necessary documents and cheques for loan applicants. An event was recently held in Anuradhapura to provide Rs. 50,000 loan to those whose houses were damaged and needed repairs. Minister Sajith Premadasa who attended the event as the Chief Guest was to hand out the loans to 53 beneficiaries. more..

PM inspects Hambantota airport and port

Feb 20 (CG) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today inspected the Hambantota airport and port and several other projects in the area. Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva and Ports and Shipping Minister Arjuna Ranatunga accompanied the PM during the inspection tour. Both projects were termed as white elephants by the UNP when it was in the opposition. However now the UNP led Government has decided to develop the Hambantota airport and port. more..

Hospitals instal extra protection to cope with dengue surge

Feb 20 (ST) Hospitals have been forced to change operational methods to cope with a steady flow of dengue sufferers with numbers expected to rise further in the next few weeks. State and private hospitals around the country are coping with at least 175 dengue patients admitted daily over the past six weeks. More than 7,350 dengue cases have been reported in the past six weeks, with eight deaths. The regular outbreaks of dengue more..

Four monks remanded over Homagama court unrest

Feb 20 (AD) Homagama Magistrate’s Court today remanded four Buddhist monks who had surrendered in connection with the tense situation outside the court premise recently, till March 1. Ven. Biyagama Suseema Thero, Ven Pitigala Dhamma Vineetha Thero, Ven. Matuwagala Dhammasiri and Kirama Devinda Thero surrendered to Homagama Police last evening and were produce before the magistrate today. The monks were accused of rioting outside the Magistrate Court on Jan 26 more..

Proper results possible by introducing talented women to politics: Musthapha

Feb 20 (DN) Proper results can be achieved by introducing talented women to politics, Minister Faiszer Musthapha said. He said politicians and political parties also have a responsibility to introduce talented women to politics. Musthapha said this at a conference held on Improving female representation in Local Government Institutions in Colombo. Minister said by introducing an act to improve female representation in Local Govt Institutions, it is clear that female more..

TN fishermen to lay siege to SL Dy High Commissionon Feb 29

Feb 20 (PTI) Fishermen from eight coastal districts in Tamil Nadu have decided to lay siege to the SL Deputy High Commission at Chennai on Feb 29, demanding release of 29 fishermen from the state, lodged in prisons in the island nation. They have also demanded release of 78 fishing boats. A decision to this effect was taken yesterday at a meeting of fishermen's panchayat leaders of Nagapattinam, Karaikal, Tiruvarur, more..

Brendon McCullum slams fastest Test century on lively pitch

Feb 20 (CI) He's not going quietly. Brendon McCullum blasted into history with the fastest Test hundred of them all to leave Australia speechless and grant New Zealand a first-innings foothold on an unforgettable day at Hagley Oval. Arriving at the crease with the hosts a floundering 32 for 3 in the 20th over of the innings, McCullum launched an immediate counterattack in the lead-up to lunch. On resumption he stepped things up further in the company of a similarly fearless Corey more..

Don’t make Sri Lanka an Indian colony: Protest in London

Feb 20 (ST) Calling upon the Sri Lankan community in London to protest against the current danger to their motherland, a new movement named Sri Lanka Solidarity Movement staged a demonstration opposite Sri Lankan High Commission on Friday voicing opposition to attempts to make the country a colony of India and foist a federal constitution on it in the name of constitutional changes. They said the protest was not against any political party but an attempt to raise awareness of more..

CID gathers fresh evidence

Feb 20 (NS) According to information from unofficial sources, the Homicide Unit of the CID is presently gathering some new evidence in relation to the murder of ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen, before going overseas to have the CCTV footage examined, Attorney-at-Law representing the Thajudeen family, Sathar Misbah said. It was recently revealed at the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court that although a month had more..

Requests protection for participants

Feb 20 (NS) The commanders of the security forces have assured the Consultation Task Force (CTF) of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms that all stakeholders who participate in the consultation process would not be questioned or intimidated, Secretary of the CTF, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu said. He added that the CTF had met with security forces commanders in both, Colombo and Jaffna, and had raised the concern regarding the practices of placing under more..

Excavations restarted near suspected Mannar mass grave

Feb 20 (AM) Excavation for suspected human skeletal remains in an abandoned well in Thiruketheeswaram, Mannar was started on yesterday, followed by a case filed in Mannar Courts by residents of Mannar. Attorney at Law V. Rajakulendran said that excavation was unable to complete since the well began to submerge. He further stated that court ordered to funnel out water to a pit dug nearby the well, and begin excavation again on 4th April. more..

Leading Austrian companies ready to invest in Sri Lanka

Feb 20 (PSL) Austrian Chamber of Commerce states that several leading companies in Austria are ready to make several investments in Sri Lanka. Chamber of Commerce stated it at a business meeting headed by President Sirisena held yesterday in Viana with participation of the members of the business communities of Austria and Sri Lanka. The meeting aimed at increasing of the bilateral relations of the two countries more..

Is India there or not?

Feb 21 (SO) Is Sri Lanka located adjacent to the Indian sub-continent or, not? The way some Sri Lankans seem to see their physical surroundings, our little island is either adjacent to Singapore (or, China) or, next door to Europe. Visit a fine dining restaurant and ask for Continental fare and you will be offered European cuisine not Indian or other cuisine of the sub-continent to which we are geographically adjacent. Some Sri Lankans fly all the way to the Alps or further west to more..

Keep politics out of public institutions

Feb 21 (CT) On Friday, former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayaka was acquitted of all charges in the three cases filed against her by the CIAOBC. Dr. Bandaranayaka was accused of not declaring her assets for the 2010-2012 period, while functioning as the Chief Justice, which was one of the main charges brought against her in the impeachment motion by the then govet MPs. There was a huge controversy concerning the impeachment as well as about the charges against the former CJ. more..

'People want a new political party'

Feb 21 (SO) With a new political party in the making and the country heading for Local Govt elections, Sunday Observer sat face to face with former Minister Kumar Welgama to talk about the future of SLFP and the govt and the upcoming elections, in the light of the new political party that will be initiated by former President Rajapaksa. Q: What impact do you think, the Mahinda Rajapaksa breakaway faction would have at upcoming more..

Capital taxes

Feb 21 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s remarks last week on the need for capital taxes will hopefully be accepted even by those who will have to pay them if they eventually come to pass. Being human, they are unlikely to cheer any such proposal. But if they are honest, they will have to agree that any reasonable imposition will not be unaffordable even if it does mean an abbreviation to some extent of conspicuous lifestyles. There has been a plethora of tax relief offered particularly in more..

Racism and religious fanaticism: Hope and prayer of the new party?

Feb 21 (SL) Former President Rajapaksa has said last week that a new party was required because those in the Opposition were supporting the govt and that there was no real Opposition today. Politicians have short memories. President Rajapaksa would undoubtedly like to forget many of his actions when he was lord and master over Sri Lanka for nine years. However hard he tries to forget, he cannot erase from his memory the state of the Opposition during his term as president. more..

'We believe external elements are pressurising the govt'

Feb 21 (SL) UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa says the country is stagnant in terms of development and certain people who believed in good governance could be wondering if this is what they voted for. “Other than political revenge and trying to cover up the inadequacies of the govt this regime has failed in every aspect,” he said. Current regime is trying to stop the joint opposition by putting them behind bars, but Rajapaksa assured that more..

Important role for oversight committees

Feb 21 (ST) Parliamentary Oversight Committees began their work this week, but alas, it was not a very auspicious start. Many MPs did not attend the inaugural meeting. Long advocated by PM as what he calls turning the whole Parliament into a Govt, scheme is an extension to National Govt now in power and in place. It is not an entirely new or innovative project though. Back in the days of the State Council prior to Independence, Executive Committees of the Council were established more..

Jauntily hopped sides

Feb 21 (ST) My Dear Sarath, I thought I must write to you to clarify certain statements that you have been making from time to time. That is because some people say that you have become just another politician, while others say that with advancing years, you seem to be losing your marbles! I will try and explain why. It is always nice to see you back in the limelight, silver hair and all, because you never fail to say something that gets talked about. And that is why, seeing you after sometime, more..

Hiru TV Balaya

Opposition builds up to the creeping Indianisation of Sri Lanka

Feb 21 (Island) It was the GMOA that blew the lid off one of the govt’s closely guarded secrets – economic and technical cooperation pact that was being planned with India. They published on their website the draft of the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement that had been given to them by the govt. For the first time, the public and even the media became aware of what the govt was negotiating with India. The term negotiated would be misnomer in this case because more..

LG polls delay stalls UPFA break-away party

Feb 21 (SO) In an interesting turn of events, former President Rajapaksa last week took part in a Vijaya Kumaratunga commemorative event organised by the SLMC. Although Rajapaksa and Kumaratunga were party colleagues in the blue camp during the late 70s and early 80s, they were never on the same page about issues concerning the party and the country-at large. In fact, they took diametrically opposite views about many matters when the SLFP, led by former PM Sirimavo Bandaranaike, more..

'People are free to express their opinions and demonstrate'

Feb 21 (SL) Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that UNP is a progressive party, and it maintains the highest level of democracy. This he said has paved the way for people to express their opinions freely without fear of being abducted or killed. He said that some bankrupt politicians are trying to interpret the cordial relations the govt maintains with the opposition parties as oppression. more..

Protests and protests

Feb 21 (SO) This feline went to bed on Tuesday, Feb 16 night completely shattered, yes shattered. Mercifully, not a personal problem shattering her but a national calamity which could worsen. A national crisis affects this cat since so many are involved and the brunt of it is on the less privileged. If you are born as a human or even as an animal, problems, hazards, ill-luck and ill-health are inevitable. But one cannot stand when people in all their cussedness, sometimes puppet-stringed from outside, more..

Ghosts from the past haunt MR and SF

Feb 21 (SL) Grand plan of the joint opposition led by former President Rajapaksa of forming a new political party is currently at a standstill owing to several issues. Although the group during the early part of the week tried to gain some momentum through the meeting of local govt representatives held in Negombo last Sunday, emergence of the true details of the participants at the meeting resulted in the Rajapaksa clan failing to achieve the anticipated mileage from the programme. more..

Surprise guests at Marriot Hotel amounts to breach of security?

Feb 21 (CT) The presence of certain controversial individuals in the close proximity of President Maithripala Sirisena on few occasions during his historic State visit to Germany kept the atmosphere heated among the Sri Lankan delegation even though the actual Berlin remained as low as 100 - 70 Celsius. The President and the Lankan delegation arrived in Berlin by Qatar Airways QR 77 flight on 16 Feb 2016 at around 6:45 in the evening and more..

The real fastest man

Feb 21 (CT) Himasha Eashan shattered the Sri Lanka record and South Asian Games record with an amazing 10.28 seconds in the 100m finals and became the fastest man of South Asia during the recently concluded 12th South Asian Games, while his training partner Vinoj Suranjaya De Silva clocked an amazing 21.0 seconds in the 200m to seal the Gold medal. The two sprinters later joined the 4X100m relay team to produce another Gold medal for Sri Lanka. The saying goes: more..

Thrilling Asia Cup Memories

Feb 21 (Island) The Asia Cup brings back many sweet memories. Sri Lankan fans have loads of happy memories of the regional tournament as their team emerged champions on five occasions. India have won the trophy five times as well with Pakistan emerging winners twice. All previous 12 editions of the Asia Cup have been 50 over formats. The Asian Cricket Council has changed the format this time around making it a T-20 competition to allow Asian teams prepare better for the World T-20. more..

SAG exploits in retrospect

Feb 21 (ST) Rs 150 Million has been spent by Sports Ministry towards the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) which concluded in India. This sum has been allocated from the Sports Development Budget for the years – 2015 and 2016. This is reported to be the highest amount spent by Sri Lanka in the history of the SAG or any other international meet. This money is estimated to have been spent on training the teams, more..

Curtain falls on cricket selectors’ tour opera

Feb 21 (SO) A merry-go-round by Sri Lankan cricket selectors that went on for years almost unstoppable has been brought to a screeching end after it was realised millions of rupees had been busted on foreign jaunts. The ruling means the coach and captain on tour will be entrusted with the task of deciding on players in consultation with the selectors who will have to function from their home desks and not permitted to accompany teams. Selector-on-tour syndrome unfurled into a roaring business more..

(Mis) Manager lets Sri Lanka down

Feb 21 (CT) In a competition such as South Asian Games, track and field, where Sri Lanka participated with a contingent of 69 athletes, which was larger than host country India's contingent, Team Manager plays a vital role in the success of team's mission. But the track & field Team Manager, Colonel Manjula Perera's actions, or rather non-actions, may have cost SL at least two gold medals during the competition, which was highlighted by many experts during and after the competition, more..