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Financial fraud cases likely against officials including Gota and PBJ

Feb 23 (ST) The Attorney General’s Department is examining 25 files relating to misappropriation of public funds by powerful politicians and top officials of the previous regime including former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and former Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera. The FCID has completed investigations into these 25 cases and has submitted relevant files to the AG’s Department for necessary action, sources from the AG’s Department said. more..

Video: Elephant slaps a man in the face for taking a video on his selfie stick

Feb 23 (MO) The selfie stick is a device many people just cannot stand the sight of. Well it appears some elephants feel the same way too as this one tonne animal proves smacking a man taking a video from one round the face. The beaming holidaymaker, on a trip in Sri Lanka, is slapped by the elephant's trunk as he tries to move closer for a better shot. At a park on the island many tourists can be seen gathered round the elephant at the start of the video. more..

Google confirms balloon did not crash

Feb 23 (FT) Google has confirmed the first Project Loon balloon, which floated into SL’s stratosphere on Monday, did not crash but was landed as planned. Google Vice President and Project leader for Project Loon Mike Cassidy notified Information Communication and Technology Agency (ICTA) head Muhunthan Canagey. “We just completed a Project Loon LTE connection test from one of our balloons to our tester’s devices on more..

Farmers to block roads in Colombo soon

Feb 23 (NS) JVP is presently engaged in rallying farmers island-wide to conduct a protest cum march to Colombo with the intention of blocking all (six) main entry roads to Colombo. JVP North Western Provincial Councilor and the National Organizer of the All Ceylon Peasants Federation, Namal Karunaratne said that although the last time the farmers came to Colombo, they had managed to surround the Temple Trees, Govt had still not felt the plight nor heeded the voice of the farmers. more..

ADB President arrives

Feb 23 (FT) Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao arrived in Sri Lanka last night on a two-day official visit. He was received by Minister Ravi Karunanayake on arrival at the BIA. Today he will call on President and PM as well as sign several new financing agreements with the Govt. Some of the new projects include a Rural Electrification Project of $70 million, an SME Credit Line of $100 million and a Local Govt Enhancement Sector Project of $40 million. more..

DIGs removed incriminating pages in CIB

Feb 23 (CT) Two former DIGs have removed pages from books which included notes regarding investigations carried out into the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge. It is said that notes on a number of important sections of information revealed in connection with the persons who had been given the contract to murder Wickrematunge, which were contained in certain pages of Crime Investigation Books (CIB), more..

A People in search of an identity

Feb 23 (DM) There was a time when the SL Muslims were officially called Ceylon Moors in English and Lanka Marakkala or Lanka Yonaka in Sinhala. Nationality of many elder Muslims is still mentioned in their Birth Certificates as Ceylon Moors or Lanka Marakkala. However, the younger generation of those Muslims, prefers to call its nationality in official documents as Sri Lankan Muslims. A similar change of mind can be seen within the Tamil people living in the hill-country plantation areas. more..

Majestic Navam Perahera of Gangaramaya

Feb 23 (DM) It was transformed into a fully fledged Maha Viharaya with national and international recognition by Venerable Dewundara Jinaratana Nayake Thera, a pupil of Venerable Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera. Jinaratana Nayake Thera was liked and admired by Buddhists and non-Buddhists in the area and was able to transform the avasaya into a large temple complex within a very short period. Today, Gangaramaya is a popular place of Buddhist worship with three main features, more..

Storm clouds hover over national carrier

Feb 23 (SL) There is much concern in SriLankan Airlines circles as to the manner in which the national carrier is being pushed into becoming a further debt-ridden institution. It is alleged that the Board of Directors have divided into two groups and do not see eye to eye over certain decisions that have adversely affected the national carrier. Sources said that it is disheartening to know that the Director Board is allowing Rajapaksa loyalists more..

Dilemma over Danno Budunge

Feb 23 (DM) The recently concluded 68th Independence Day celebrations made headlines as the performance by the talented SL-British soprano Kishani Jayasinghe was heavily criticized in certain television stations and some social media. The criticisms were based on the fact that she performed the perennial song Danno Budunge in operatic style. Kishani has a record of performing in various international venues and she was the first more..

Video: PM suppressing media: Gammanpila

Feb 23 (DM) No PM in the history of Sri Lanka has suppressed the media like current PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila said. He said that there was no one strong enough to object to Mr. Wickremesinghe’s statement asking the media to toe the line. He said in 1982, when former president R Premadasa criticized a certain print media institution, all the media institutions stood against it. more..

President opens 9th National Scout Jamboree in Jaffna

Feb 23 (PSL) “Children in the North and the South have the same human blood. Therefore, everybody should get together to build up the nation disregarding racial, linguistic and religious differences”, says President Maithripala Sirisena. The President made these remarks at a ceremony held in Jaffna Central College grounds today (22) to officially inaugurate the 9th National Scout Jamboree. more..

USAID helps Polonnaruwa dairy farmers increase milk sales

Feb 23 (USE) Representatives from the Embassy of the US and senior Sri Lankan officials presided at the Feb 18 signing of a MoU between dairy farmers, CIC Dairies, and Milk Industries of Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd. MoU will help dairy farmers in Polonnaruwa to increase their milk sales. Minister of Rural Economic Affairs P Harrison joined USAID Acting Mission Director Reed Aeschliman at the ceremony, where farmers also received more..

Port City Project : Govt proposes amendments

Feb 23 (DM) The Govt has more or less given the green light for the Colombo Port City Project, but with the original agreement amended with a reduction on the land extent to be reclaimed from the sea and without any part of this area granted on a freehold basis, a minister said yesterday. The original agreement, signed by the previous regime, sought to reclaim 233 hectares from the sea adjoining the Colombo Port. more..

Bountiful Maha means there’s rice to sell, give and keep

Feb 23 (ST) Great harvests of Maha season paddy are already being collected in the north and east, and with a glut expected, the govt is preparing to sell current stocks of rice abroad and make a donation to the World Food Organisation. Authorities are desperately trying to clear government storehouses of paddy bought from the last season to make way for new stocks. In order to give all farmers a chance to sell their paddy more..

Boat turned back to Sri Lanka

Feb 23 (AAP) Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has admitted that Australian border protection authorities recently turned an asylum seeker boat back to Sri Lanka. Mr Dutton gave few details beyond saying this occurred in the last couple of weeks. "We determined that those people aren't refugees and then they go back to their country of origin. We have a good relationship with Sri Lanka as we do with Indonesia," he said. more..

Video: Cecille Kotelawala’s bail plea rejected

Feb 23 (AD) The Colombo High Court today further remanded former Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kotelawala’s wife Cecille Kotelawala till April 27. Attorneys representing Mrs Kotelawala submitted a bail application on behalf of their client when the case was taken up, however it was rejected by the court. Cecille Kotelawala, who was evading courts, was arrested by immigration officials at BIA upon returning to Sri Lanka on Feb 5. more..

Gangaramaya Prelate advises PM, MR

Feb 23 (DM) Hunupitiya Gangaramaya Temple's Chief incumbent Ven. Galaboda Gnanissara Thera yesterday called for the end of confrontational politics in SL and gave a piece of advice to both PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to work towards the betterment of the country. “This govt has brought the country close to embarking on a fruitful journey towards development more..

Combating Colombo City Congestion

Feb 23 (CT) To merely say that Colombo and its immediate suburbs are congested morning, noon and night, is as obvious as saying that grass is green and the sky is blue on a clear and dry day. What it effectively means is that the City of Colombo (Zones 1- 15) comprising Municipality areas have a resident population of around 800,000.There is another 3 million who account for the Commuter Population, i.e. people who come to the city for employment, business, education and more..

Addressing bilateral trade with Serophobia & Misogyny: No way forward

Feb 23 (CT) In Dec 2015, a medical doctor-turned politician and serving MP, Nalinda Jayathissa, demonstrated an appalling level of homophobia and transphobia in an interview with the Daily News. Several commentators and analysts highlighted the ignorance and insensitivity of these assumptions, all the more worrying when they came from a young MP representing a party with a non-negligible support base among educated youth, especially in university student circles. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Kumar Gunaratnam re-remanded till 1 March

Feb 23 (DN) Activist of the FSP Premakumar Gunaratnam alias Kumar Gunaratnam was re-remanded till 1 March when he was produced before Kegalle Magistrate today. Gunaratnam who possess the Australian citizenship, was arrested on Nov 4 by the Kegalle Police at Anguruwella for staying in the country in violation of Immigration and Emigration laws without a visa and later handed over to Controller of Immigration and Emigration to seek a court order for his deportation. more..

Sri Pada chock-a-block

Feb 23 (Island) Over 500,000 pilgrims had visited Sri Pada via Nallathanniya and Kuruwita over the weekend. Long lines of vehicles stretched along the Nallathnniya-Maskeliya road from the Maussakele Junction towards Norton Bridge for nearly ten kilometers. As the Nallathanniya township lacks ample parking space vehicle transporting pilgrims from all parts of the country have to park on either side of the main road. Although a shuttle bus service was in operation from Nallathanni, more..

Germany confident Sri Lanka will regain GSP from EU

Feb 23 (CG) Germany is confident Sri Lanka will regain the GSP plus trade concession from the European Union (EU) and the German Govt will give its full support in that regard. A German diplomat said that the process for Sri Lanka to regain GSP plus from the European Union will take some time and is likely to be completed by the end of this year. Diplomat said that Sri Lanka has to meet some conditions to regain GSP plus more..

SLPA extends 10% discount to Myanmar transshipment cargo

Feb 23 (Island) SL Ports Authority has decided to grant a ten percent discount for the shipping companies engaging in transhipment of Myanmar containers through the Colombo Port to attract more business from that region. Minister Arjuna Ranatunga granted approval for the new decision at a meeting with SLPA officials. During the meeting, Minister said govt was also seeking new investment opportunities in Myanmar due to the emerging peaceful political situation in that country. more..

Rajitha to undergo surgery tomorrow

Feb 23 (AM) Minister Rajitha Senaratne, who was admitted to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, will undergo a surgery tomorrow. Minister’s Media Secretary Nipun Ekanayake said that this is not an emergency surgery as stated by some media. Test reports revealed that two blood vessels were partially blocked and the surgery will be carried out to remove these blocks. It also added that prior diagnosis of the condition made it possible to take medical treatment before it turned serious. more..

Gnanasara thero released on bail

Feb 23 (AD) General Secretary of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organisation Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara thero has been released on bail by the Homagama Magistrate’s Court. He was produced before Homagama Magistrate Ranga Dasanayake and released on a personal bail of Rs 200,000. Three cases including the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, Gnanasara thero’s contempt of court and the threatening of more..

SL to apply for GSP+ benefits in 2 weeks

Feb 23 (EN) Sri Lanka plans to apply for tax free preferential access to the European Union in about two weeks, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said in Colombo after visiting Germany. President Maithripala Sirisena visited both Germany and Austria last week. Minister said a trade delegation from Austria was expected at the end of March and from Germany in the first week of May. Firm covering renewable energy, waste disposal were interested in doing business in SL, he said. more..

FSP members served Summons

Feb 23 (CT) Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) leader Pubudu Jagoda and 11 other party members were issued notices to be summoned before Fort Magistrate's Court, by Fort Magistrate, Additional District Judge Priyantha Liyanage. Accordingly Pubudu Jagoda, Duminda Nawagamuwa, Dhammika Priyadarshana, Senaveera Gunetilake, Sanjeewa Bandara, Thanne Gunananda Thera, Sooriyawawa Sulila Thera, Tampitiye Sugathananda Thera, Rantambe Jinaratana Thera, more..

President discusses about the issues in film industry

Feb 23 (PSL) A discussion between President Maithripala Sirisena and the members of the Association of the Sinhala Film Artists was held today at the Presidential Secretariat. The discussion was based on the current issues of the film industry in Sri Lanka. Artists who pointed out that the Sinhala film industry has been protected even at a grass root level for more than six decades, due to the state patronage and the encouragement, more..

Trade union calls on transport ministry to take over control of private buses

Feb 23 (AM) The All Ceylon Transport Workers Union wrote to President Maithripala Sirisena to order the private buses to be taken under the supervision of the Transport Ministry. The trade union, in a letter sent to the President, pointed out that the proposal was first put forward by the Private Bus Owners' Association Chairman Gamunu Wijeratne in 2013. The Rajapaksa govt was not able to carry out this measure at the time, the letter pointed out. The letter added that more..

Majority Sri Lankans do not follow Family Planning

Feb 23 (DN) The majority of Sri Lankans do not follow proper family planning methods, sources from the Family Health Bureau said. A recent survey has showed that 45% of Sri Lankan women do not follow a family planning method. This often leads to illegal and risky abortions. The number of maternal deaths reported during the last two years is 150. A significant number of maternal deaths were the results of risky sexual intercourse during pregnancy, the sources revealed. more..

Google loon to fill Sri Lanka coverage gaps, billed by existing operators

Feb 23 (EN) Broadband internet from Google Loon floating telecom transmitters will be available and billed through existing operators but customers will also be able to choose the service, an official said. Google balloons now being tested over Sri Lanka will beam a LTE (Long Term Evolution) or 4G broadband that is already being used by operators. In New Zealand, Google was testing WiFi service with a unit of Vodafone. more..

Shares close lower on rate hike, global woes

Feb 23 (Reuters) Shares closed lower on Tuesday, led by large caps, as investors shunned risky assets in line with weaker global markets and after the country's central bank raised interest rates last week. The central bank on Friday raised its key policy interest rates by 50 basis points from a record low, to prevent demand-driven inflationary pressure, signalling a rise in the local interest rates. The recent recovery in riskier assets fizzled out on Tuesday, with a fall in stocks, more..

JVP to mobilize youth to Fight for Rights

Feb 23 (AM) JVP will mobilize a group of youth who fight for their rights, JVP MP and Socialist Youth Union (SYU) National Organizer Bimal Rathnayake. “We need to form a group of youth who fight for their rights. SYU is working on to build a youth movement with voluntary action”, he said. “The youth in our country is cheated on and abused. They have not protected properly. Their future has been taken away from them. Therefore, a group who advocates of their rights should be created”, he said. more..

Geraldton doctor convicted of killing husband fears deportation to Sri Lanka

Feb 23 (ABC) Lawyer for a Geraldton doctor who bludgeoned her sleeping husband to death with a mallet after years of abuse says his client believes she will be deported to Sri Lanka once she is released on parole. Chamari Liyanage, 36, stood trial for murdering her husband Dinendra Athukorala in their home in June 2014, but a Supreme Court jury convicted her of the lesser charge of manslaughter. more..

Strict ban on polythene, plastic in national parks, wildlife sanctuaries

Feb 23 (DN) Sustainable Development and Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera instructed the officials to maintain a strict ban on the use of polythene and plastic inside national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The minister after visiting the Mirijjawila Wildlife Park during the weekend, instructed the ministry secretary to strictly enforce the ban on the use of plastic and polythene shopping bags to protect wildlife and reduce litter, pollution and overall waste. more..

Sri Lanka national consumer prices down 0.7% in January

Feb 23 (EN) Sri Lanka's country-wide consumer prices fell 0.7% in the year to Jan 2016 helped by a steep fall in food commodities in January. Vegetables (a non-trade item) and rice prices also fell with the National Consumer Price Index falling 0.7% during the month. The central bank printed large volumes of money but they were dissipated in the forex market through imports of cars and other items. Global commodity prices have fallen over the last year as the dollar strengthened, more..

Germany backs proposed India- Lanka economic pact

Feb 23 (ENS) Top German diplomats stationed here think that it will be in the long term interest of Sri Lanka to enter into the proposed Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India. The diplomats said that if a small country like Lanka is to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), it will have to serve a larger market. In Lanka's case it will make sense to serve India which is the nearest large market. more..

SL maid jailed for brokering heroin deal

Feb 23 (GT) A maid who brokered a botched bid to smuggle heroin into Kuwait was jailed for ten years and fined Dhs50,000 plus deportation on Tuesday. The Asian maid, FS, 32, was arrested with two compatriot drivers on June 11 after police learnt that she had handed them a consignment of 3.2kg for smuggling. At the Criminal Court on Nov.11, she and both drivers MK, 40, and AD, 34, were charged with illicit possession of heroin. She denied. The drivers argued that it did not belong to them. more..