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Mangala meets UNDP head in New York

Feb 23 (AD) Minister Mangala Samaraweera today met with the head of the United Nations Development Progamme (UNDP) Helen Clark in New York. The pair reportedly discussed assistance under the UNDP to Sri Lanka’s development journey. “Met #SriLanka Foreign Affairs Minister Samaraweera; in NYC for #UNDP50 this week. @UNDPSriLanka an important partner,” Clark wrote on Twitter. Minister Samaraweera is scheduled to attend the UNDP 50th Anniversary more..

Video: PM questions basis for opposing yet undrafted trade agreement

Feb 23 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says people should have not needlessly fear the proposed trade agreement with India as it will only increase the number of job opportunities for Sri Lankans. “Look closely at Sri Lanka’s business history. Are there any businesses which fell apart due to foreign and local competition? Apart from a very few, there are only businesses that flourished in the face of foreign and local competition,” he said. more..

Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation to get 33rd Niwano peace prize

Feb 23 (PRN) The Niwano Peace Foundation will award the 33rd Niwano Peace Prize to the Centre for Peace Building and Reconciliation (CPBR) in Sri Lanka for its work to build trust and social ties that are key to reconciliation and peace in a country torn by the long civil war that ended in 2009, An award presentation ceremony will take place in Tokyo on May 12 at 10:30 a.m. In addition to an award certificate, CPBR representatives will receive a medal and a cash prize of 20 million yen. more..

Anandasangaree wants the release of the Tamil political prisoners

Feb 23 (AT) Secretary General-TULF has urged the President Maithripala Srisena to release the Tamil political prisoners under the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. At the time this letter urging the release of the Tamil prisoners were sent to the Sri Lankan President, Fifteen LTTE suspects detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) are planing to stage a fast unto death. Anandasangaree writes that “It is with deep regret that I wish to point out to you that those detained under the PTA more..

ADB President announces scaled-up support for Sri Lanka to over $2 billion for 2016-2018

Feb 23 (AD) Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao today met with President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Minister Ravi Karunanayake, and reaffirmed ADB’s strong commitment to support Sri Lanka’s continued development. Mr. Nakao shared with the government ADB’s plans to scale up its operations in Sri Lanka. Together with the govt, ADB is building a strong pipeline of projects more..

Economic growth: No-go without proper public finance

Feb 24 (SL) Recent financial research conducted by several lending agencies and research organisations have revealed that even though Sri Lanka shows a certain level of economic growth, areas such as public finance, political instability and improving external finance, raises many concerns. A good example of this came in the wake of the change of regime in January 2015. Even though, the former govt ended the three-decade long civil war, the regime change came in the limelight of more..

Judiciary faces tough test amidst calls for foreign judges in war crimes court

Feb 24 (Island) Against the backdrop of UN expressing serious doubts over quality of SL’s judges, and judicial impartiality, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) moved the Supreme Court against the leader of DP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka’s appointment as a UNP National List. War veteran contested the August 17 parliamentary polls on the DP ticket. DP failed to secure a single seat though Fonseka is on record as having said, in the run up to election, that his party would win more..

Tharanga fighting the odds to be in the game

Feb 24 (CT) Q: Haven't seen you in the team for a long time. How about your past performances? A: The 3-day leg of the Premier Tournament is over, and now the Super Eight, the 4-day version, kicked off last week. I have scored three hundreds this season and believe I am the second highest run scorer so far. I was amongst the runs for the last two years and hope to continue the good work. Q: Tell us what happened in the previous versions of more..

Media at it, and at media

Feb 24 (SL) It’s anybody’s guess why former President Rajapaksa has taken his time, targeting his successor-govt on the question of media freedom. Maybe, it also signals the next phase in his fight with the back to the wall, where he would be spared nothing and he could spare nothing. It was PM Ranil Wickremesinghe who launched the new government’s early criticism of the nation’s media, both print and electronic. Having relied more on the social media than traditional forms in a way, more..

Why Sri Lankans fear India on the ECTA?

Feb 24 (CT) Ruler is only a Trustee of a Nation and there is every reason to be cautious in dealing with the rest of the world on behalf of the country in trust- especially when the previous experiences have shown adverse results for not being cautious. Sri Lankan Kings did business with the rest of the world when the visitors voyaged this beautiful Island in the Indian Ocean via SEDA MAWATHA the famous traditional naval route, from Mediterranean, Persia, China, East Asia, India and the west on more..

'NPC will prevent police service derailing'

Feb 24 (CT) Gamini Navaratne, Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police has served as the key Election Operations Officer of the Police Department for 15 years. He joined the police service in 1982 as an Assistant Superintendent of Police. Navaratne who holds a science degree from Peradeniya University, served as an assistant lecturer for one year. He served another year as a science teacher of a govt school. more..

Timely tribute to Sandya Ekneligoda; A wake up call to Gajan Ponnambalam!!

Feb 24 (CT) Disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda on 24th Jan 2010 has captured the attention of the media and the international Human Rights Organizations to such a scale due to the determined effort of Prageeth’s wife Mrs. Sandya Ekneligoda. For the past six years, she has with relentless determination and in the face of unimaginable pressures, pursued justice over her husband’s disappearance. The now ousted semi-Gestapo regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa in a dastardly more..

Sri Lanka’s victims demand and deserve credible justice

Feb 24 (GV) “The regime has changed, but the system remains the same; how can we expect justice from them?,” asked a Tamil nun who survived the brutal conflict between the Sri Lankan Govt and the Tamil Tigers in Vavuniya district in Northern Province. Her sentiments echo a growing sense of skepticism shared by many in the country’s north and east in the willingness and ability of the Sri Lankan State to deliver justice and accountability for victims of the conflict and their families. more..

Gomin Dayasiri

Transforming manpower employment to decent work of greater quality

Feb 24 (IPS) This is how a manpower worker was voicing the uncertainty of his future. These workers and their families lack stability and security to make long-term decisions and plan their lives due to the uncertain nature of their jobs and low wages. The discrepancies faced by manpower workers are evident by protests carried out by them in Sri Lanka. With the aim of exploring ways to transform manpower employment to decent work of greater quality, this article explores some hidden more..

Editorial: Kerry goes to Hollywood

Feb 24 (Island) US Secretary of State John Kerry has recently sought Hollywood advice as regards his country’s war on IS terror. He had a brainstorming session with several famous studio executives there, we are told. Hollywood has always striven to safeguard US national security interests through its creations; its ties with Capitol Hill are as old as Beverly Hills. It has produced many flicks lionizing the US troops engaged in invasions and demonizing their enemies and, above all, more..

Fillip for cancer care in Anuradhapura

Feb 24 (SO) A five-storeyed cancer unit will get off the ground in Anuradhapura shortly. The unit will be built as a full-fledged cancer treatment centre, bringing under one roof cancer treatment facilities scattered in different parts of A'pura Teaching Hospital. The cancer treatment unit at present is congested, with numerous complaints being forwarded to the medical authorities over the lack of proper space for patients. more..

Requiem for Morals and Ethics

Feb 24 (GV) Given the manner in which this land is touted as the Miracle of Asia by some, living in a state of utopia, as well as branded and marketed as a Buddhist country; the cradle of Theravada Buddhism, first-time visitors to this land may be pardoned, if they expect to see, the majority of its citizenry claiming to be Buddhists, walking around with halos, over their heads. The reality behind this facade of pious sobriety is, a much depraved society, manifesting all its ugly forms, more..

HNB delivers highest-ever profits

Feb 24 (FT) HNB Group as recorded a pre-tax profit of Rs.16.2 billion and a post-tax profit of Rs. 11 billion for the year ended 31 December 2015, while the Bank posted a profit before tax of Rs. 15 billion and a profit after tax of Rs. 10.4 billion for the same period. This is the first time the Bank surpassed the Rs. 10 billion landmark in PAT, driven by a more than 25% growth in both advances and deposits. Commenting on the performance during 2015, CEO Jonathan Alles said: more..

Takehiko’s thumbs up for Sri Lanka!

Feb 24 (FT) The visiting Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao expressed optimism over Sri Lanka’s future prospects on the strength of good governance, strategic geographic location and progressive policies but cautioned the country needs to tackle the high Budget deficit and reforms to bolster rapid socio-economic development. “SL has great potential to become an upper middle income country soon,” more..

World Moto keeps on rolling with SL MoU

Feb 24 (PI) The wheels of tech firm World Moto just keep turning as the firm said it was now set to roll out its ground-breaking motorcycle meter product in SL. Firm has inked a MoU for distributing Moto-Meter throughout SL. CEO Paul Giles told investors: "Moto-Meter is a truly unique product that blends the distinct usage profiles of both meters and smartphones, and it is this unique proposition that is continuing to win praises and commitments from the companies who contact us. more..

Eashan to compete at World Indoors

Feb 24 (CT) Himasha Eashan, the regaining South Asian Games (SAG) Gold Medallist and South Asian record holder of the 100m will compete at the forthcoming IAAF World Indoor Championships to be held from 17-20 March in Portland, USA. Eashan who clocked an amazing 10.28 seconds to shatter both the Sri Lanka and South Asian record of 100m at SAG was not included in 5-member SL team for the concluded Asian Indoor Athletics Championship in Qatar which raised the eye brows of many. more..

SLMC clarifies Dawood’s statement

Feb 24 (NS) SLMC informed that they were not for the division of the country. General Secretary of SLMC, Hasan Ali said that Segu Dawood had never talked of a separate State but only about a separate Province with a Muslim majority centered round the Ampara District. “M.H.M. Ashraff’s name and likeness has been somewhat abused during the last 15 years by many politicians for their own political agenda. more..

Global credit issuers approve Sri Lanka’s Epic security software

Feb 24 (EN) Sri Lanka’s Epic Technology Group said the top three international credit card issuers, Visa International, Mastercard and American Express Global, had certified its secure payment software, enabling it to market the product globally. "We have reached maturity in the software industry," said Nayana Dehigama, Chairman of Epic Technology Group. "Our Access Control Server Solution has been certified by int'l card issuers to provide secure payment processing." more..

Former Asian Games record holder now bed-ridden

Feb 24 (CT) Former Sri Lankan athlete W. Wimaladasa who was a household name after he won the 400 metres at the Asian Games to set up a record, is now almost in an immovable condition due to an accident last year. He was in hospital for nearly one and half years taking treatment for his injuries. Wimaladasa is being cared for by family members who attend to all his personal needs. Wimaladasa is unable to walk due to a leg injury suffered in the accident. more..

551 school children arrested for drug abuse since 2010

Feb 24 (FT) During the last five years, 551 school children have been arrested for drug related offences and were directed to treatment and rehabilitation programs before being released back to society. However, the growing drug menace is increasingly using school children for trafficking and the target market poses a danger, which is difficult for law enforcement to tackle alone, acknowledged Minister Sagala Ratnayaka. more..

Field Marshal gives our cricketers plenty to chew on

Feb 24 (DN) Usually it is the national cricketers who are held in high esteem and are the main attractions in front of cricket fans who want to be seen with them or be a part of. But last Thursday at the Sri Lanka Cricket conference room it was the national cricketers turn to play the part of a cricket fan when they were met by the country’s highest ranked military officer Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. Field Marshal was invited by SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala to address and motivate more..

Fonterra farmers heading to Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (RNZ) A group of dairy farmers will travel to Sri Lanka later in the year to work with local farmers there on a new demonstration farm being set up by Fonterra. The farm, which is near capital Colombo, will open later this month and a Fonterra spokesperson said it would help it and its partners to increase local milk collection, improve milk quality and lift farmer incomes. Fonterra has been operating in Sri Lanka for 38 years and four of its suppliers are going as volunteers. more..

Harsha rejects GMOA allegations

Feb 24 (DM) Rejecting the allegations by the GMOA on govt’s decision to set up an ambulance service operated by an Indian organisation, Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva said today that it would not pose a threat to national security as alleged by the GMOA and would instead be beneficial to the people. Dr. De Silva said no one would object to such a meritorious act, which would be of immense help to the people who more..

Salinda D. to sue Ranjan R.

Feb 24 (NS) MP Salinda Dissanayake will file a suit against Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake seeking Rs 50 million in damages for defamation for making false accusations. Ramanayake has given many false details and information to the media about me allegedly obtaining a land belonging to the State illegally, then allegedly leasing it to the Lankaputhra Development Bank, subsequently allegedly obtaining Rs 50 million from Bank privately and then allegedly defaulting on payment, more..

CM, Ministers sport black armbands

Feb 24 (CT) Chief Minister of the Western Provincial Council Isura Dewapriya and his Ministers as well as ruling party members of the Provincial Council attended yesterday's Council meeting sporting black armbands. A former minister and a member of PC Mahesh Almeida said, everyone including the Chief Minister wore black armbands to mark their protest against the injury inflicted on PC member Jagath Kumara and damages caused to two vehicles which were parked within the premises. more..

GMOA sceptical about India-aided ambulance service

Feb 24 (DM) Govt’s decision to set up an Indian run ambulance service was heavily criticized by the GMOA today (23). GMOA questioned why a cabinet paper seeking approval for the setting up of an Indian ambulance service was not presented by Minister Rajitha Senaratne. GMOA Secretary Dr. Nalinda Herath said when the country already had plenty of ambulance services run by the govt, private companies and NGOs, more..

'Megalopolis project should be aggressively marketed'

Feb 24 (DN) Sri Lanka has nearly one million three wheeler drivers and this is an unproductive workforce for SL, KPMG Managing Partner, Reyaz Mihular said. Speaking at the Capital Market Conference, he said the youth think that owning a three wheeler is a product achievement but it's not so. They should look for better skilled jobs. He said that today due to intense competition they find it hard to keep a qualified IT youth in the same job as they are grabbed by other companies. more..

Basil’s FR plea postponed

Feb 24 (CT) Supreme Court postponed hearing of the second Fundamental Rights application filed by former Minister, Basil Rajapaksa, for 28 March 2016. Rajapaksa's petition states that media announcements of a new political movement or party had triggered moves to have the petitioner and other members of Rajapaksa family arrested. Rajapaksa filed this petition against the police officers of the FCID seeking the intervention of Court to prevent his arbitrary arrest by the FCID. more..

'ETCA will not affect Lankan Service sector'

Feb 24 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe informed Parliament that the Sri Lankan Service Sector will not be affected by the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India. PM said the agreement will not allow Indian migrant workers to be employed in Sri Lanka and vice versa except for sharing of expert knowledge. "The agreement will be signed by the middle of this year," more..

New party to bring back Rajapaksa delayed with LG polls postponement

Feb 24 (FT) Formation of a new political party to centralise all Mahinda backers who want former President Rajapaksa returned to power has suffered a delay due to the postponement of LG elections, PHU Leader Udaya Gammanpila said. He said the Joint Opposition would also establish a separate alliance comprising new political forces including the SLFP’s new party. However he said the formulation process of the new alliance has been delayed due to postponement of LG elections. more..

Uva docs stage their protest against Minister’s comments

Feb 24 (Island) Doctors of Uva Province staged a protest yesterday against what they called derogatory comments made by Badulla District MP, and Minister, Harin Fernando on GMOA and its President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya. Uva Provincial Coordinator of the GMOA, Dr. Palitha Rajapaksa said doctors from 11 branch unions including Mahiyangana, Moneragala, Diyatalawa, Wellawaya and Welimada had taken part in the protest held during the lunch hour. more..

Bond Scam: COPE summons CB top brass

Feb 24 (Island) The COPE has requested top officials of the Central Bank including its Governor Arjuna Mahendran to appear before the committee tomorrow to respond to queries with regard to the bond scam. The COPE headed by JVP MP Sunil Handunetti had commenced investigating into the Central Bank bond scam and the officials would be questioned over the findings made by the sub-committee investigating it, sources said. more..

ETCA: Indian delegation to visit Colombo

Feb 24 (Hindu) A delegation of officials from India will visit Colombo on March 4 to hold talks with Sri Lankan officials regarding the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA), Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament on Tuesday. During the discussion, the two countries would exchange their draft, and Parliament and all parties would be taken into confidence before finalising the agreement, the Prime Minister said. more..

Asian Cricket Cup: Dy Speaker says TNL given telecasting rights by host nation

Feb 24 (Island) Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala told Parliament that it was the host country of the Asian Cricket Cup that had given the telecasting rights to the TNL channel. He was in the chair when NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa demanded to know how the TNL had secured the right to telecast the Asia Cup tournament. Weerawansa asked the govt how it could justify having done so while accusing the CSN of obtaining similar rights in a fraudulent manner. more..