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I’m not happy Yoshitha is in jail

Feb 26 (CT) Minister Daya Gamage, said he had sympathy for Mahinda Rajapaksa over his son Yoshitha's arrest. Gamage also said, being a father, he can understand the pain felt by Rajapaksa. He asserted that it was not political victimization as depicted by the opposition, but the practical course of law, which should be applied to all, equally. Q: What is the progress you have made in promoting industries in rural regions? more..

Rajapaksa’s new experiment

Feb 26 (SO) Will the once-mighty UPFA finally fragment? Moves to form a new break-away political party are gathering momentum but the SLFP dissident MPs who make up the bulk of the UPFA rebel group say they are yet undecided. The news media recently reported about the moves by the UPFA rebel MPs, who like to call themselves the Joint Opposition in Parliament, to form a new political party to contest the upcoming local govt elections. more..

Finger pointed at the military?

Feb 26 (SL) Seven years and one month after the Founding Editor of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge assassination, the Police Headquarters last week released a draft sketch of two suspects of Wickrematunge murderers seeking public assistance to make a breakthrough. According to police, the sketches were drawn based on the statements given by witnesses. The suspects are believed to be around 35 years to 40 years. The suspect in the first sketch according to more..

Bimal Rathnayake

GSK launches dedicated website in Sri Lanka to share knowledge with doctors

Feb 26 (Island) GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Pharmaceuticals has launched an online information resource exclusively for medical professionals in Sri Lanka, taking its commitment to the fraternity to a new level. Accessible to doctors who register and receive a username and password, is the first dedicated website for healthcare professionals by a pharmaceuticals company in Sri Lanka. Designed to support doctors in their daily practice by providing information more..

UNP discusses broad alliance under UNF banner

Feb 26 (Island) UNP said that it was in discussions with various parties to strengthen United National Front (UNF) in the run-up to the local govt elections. General Secretary of UNP and Minister Kabir Hashim told the media that the recent MoU that the UNP led UNF had entered into with the Democratic Party headed by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka was part of the ongoing process of broadening the UNF, which had already exhibited its support base at the last Parliamentary Polls. more..

He climbed every mountain for a university in the hills

Feb 26 (ST) Doyen of the Press in Sri Lanka and a pivotal figure in the movement to obtain Independence, D.R. Wijewardene whose 130th birth anniversary is commemorated on Feb 23, was one of the behind-the-scenes architects in the setting up of the country’s new university in Peradeniya. In this unpublished biography Life of Richard Wijewardene, educationist W.T. Keble traces DR’s masterly campaign more..

Illicit drugs and schoolchildren

Feb 26 (Island) It is common knowledge that certain illicit hallucinogenic drugs like Ecstasy are being used by young people belonging to the upper classes at fashionable house parties, perhaps unbeknown to their high society parents. There were also a few newspaper reports about children attending tuition classes being introduced to such drugs. However, it was indeed shocking to read newspaper reports about a school boy smuggling heroin in his underwear more..

Editorial: Children in clutches of Drug Mafia

Feb 26 (Island) Our report on Wednesday about 551 children arrested for drug related offences during the last five years has been greeted with dismay by readers. It was based on a statement Minister Gayantha Karunathilake. There is reason to believe that the actual number of children in the clutches of the Drug Mafia could be more. It was also reported the other day that a student had been nabbed while he was selling drugs concealed in his underwear to other children in a school bus. more..

'Even President has not seen ETCA draft'

Feb 26 (Island) The GMOA has spearheaded opposition to the proposed Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India. This opposition was based on the information that the govt had communicated to the GMOA about the proposed agreement. Politicians at all levels MPs, political party leaders, and even the cabinet appear to have been kept completely in the dark about this agreement a draft of which more..

A storm is brewing!

Feb 26 (DN) Local govt polls, the lowest level election contested by political parties in this country usually attract scant attention except in the major cities where prestigious mayoralties are at stake. This year though, these elections have taken on a larger than life significance mostly because of political events that are unfolding in the post-Jan 8 scenario. Having had presidential and general elections in 2015, Sri Lanka is not due for a major national election at least until 2019, more..

Fighting for recognition: The role of women on Sri Lankan tea plantations

Feb 26 (FT) Sri Lanka is facing a turning point in its history after years of conflict. While demilitarization and the release of prisoners across the island continues, one group remains largely absent from the current political agenda: women. In particular, women farmers who have continued to produce one of the island’s largest exports, tea, but who remain underpaid and unheard, and lack opportunities to pursue positions of power in their communities. Sri Lanka is renowned for its famous Ceylon tea, more..

Malinga marks return with match-winning spell against UAE

Feb 26 (CI) At the innings break, UAE would have had hopes of a fourth straight win in the tournament, having restricted Sri Lanka to 129 for 8. Those hopes, however, were snuffed out in the first over as Lasith Malinga struck twice to wreck UAE's chase and ultimately lead his side to a 14-run win. Malinga marked his return to international cricket with a haul of 4 for 26. The UAE bowlers had done well to restrict Sri Lanka for more..

Union Bank records notable growth in 2015

Feb 26 (Island) Union Bank and its subsidiaries concluded the year 2015 with a notable business performance; reflected by a 226% increase in post-tax profit that signals the strong growth momentum mobilised within the year. The principal source of income from the Bank's fund based operations escalated to Rs. 2,022 Mn in 2015. This is an increase of Rs. 259 Mn or 15% compared to Rs.1,763 Mn recorded in the previous year. It is a noteworthy achievement, more..

Seylan ups pre-tax profit by 24% to Rs. 5.7 b

Feb 26 (CT) Seylan Bank reported a 24.25% increase in Profit Before Tax to reach Rs. 5,777 million for the year ended 31 Dec 2015. The bank reported a record profit after tax figure of Rs. 3,831 million for the year ended 31 December 2015. This is an impressive 24.44% growth in PAT compared to the Rs. 3,079 million reported in 2014. Net Interest Income increased from Rs. 11,165 million to Rs. 11,825 million, a 5.9% increase for the 12 months ended 31 December 2015. more..

Malinga hints at retirement after World T20

Feb 26 (CI) Two wickets in his first over and two more in his second spell was how Lasith Malinga marked his comeback into competitive cricket after more than three months. Figures of 4 for 26 helped Sri Lanka beat the UAE by 14 runs but the performance didn't entirely make him happy. Instead, Malinga said that he is on his last legs and might even consider announcing his retirement from T20Is. more..

Malinga makes immediate impact

Feb 26 (CI) Sri Lanka's batsmen swept, reverse swept, switch-hit and scooped out a giant hole to jump into. They had been 49 for 0 after six overs but finished on 129 for 8. What a mess. So out came their captain Lasith Malinga in the defence like a man possessed. Rohan Mustafa was lbw the very first ball of the chase, Mohammad Shahzad was bowled off the last ball of the first over, and Sri Lanka's dismal first innings was all but wiped from memory. more..

'Minus Malinga, we could've won this game'

Feb 26 (CI) No one would be surprised if Shere Bangla Stadium has sunk a few inches into the ground since the time it was built, bearing the weight of tens of thousands of people every time Bangladesh play. Today, though, there were vast pockets of empty seats and if the stadium could sigh in relief, it would have been heard as loud as thunder. It was perhaps the best representation of the kind of cricket expected from UAE against Sri Lanka. Most people were behind Afghanistan more..

Video: COPE flexes muscle: Ranjan

Feb 26 (DM) Raids would be conducted islandwide on corrupt officials and malpractices in Govt Departments, State Committees, Banks, and State Boards, including all Govt institutions soon, Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said. Committee On Public Enterprises (COPE) would conduct the investigations, he said. He said that no reports were published by the previous COPE Committees. more..

A fully fledged public market for Thirukkovil

Feb 26 (CT) A fully equipped public market at Vinayagapuram in Thirukkovil, built with UNDP assistance was ceremonially vested with the people on Wednesday, fulfilling a long felt need of the general public of Thirukkovil and Thambiluvil suburbs. The ceremony to mark the opening of the market was chaired by the secretary to the Thirukkovil Predeshya Sabha, A. Chandrakumar and was attended by Assistant Regional Commissioner of Local Govt A.D.M. Rafee, more..

Mudslinging to discredit NOC: Hemasiri

Feb 26 (DN) Chairman of the National Olympic Committee Hemasiri Fernando has accused a certain section of the media for indulging in a mudslinging campaign to discredit the NOC and tarnish the image of the country. Fernando was responding to accusations made against him and the NOC by a daily newspaper that they had taken employees of the NOC at state cost for South Asian Games held in Guwahati, India recently. Fernando admitted that a few staffers of the NOC were more..

Central Bank in balancing act!

Feb 26 (FT) Despite the unfortunate rise in interest rates the Central Bank declined to rule out a future rate hike later in the year and insisted negotiation with IMF was crucial to reassuring the financial world of Sri Lanka’s stability to reduce possibility of a sovereign ratings downgrade. Fiscal consolidation remains the single biggest concern for Central Bank, admitted Governor Arjuna Mahendran, but insisted more..

Frontline Socialist Party will fight ETCA

Feb 26 (DN) Frontline Socialist Party convener Pubudu Jagoda said their party is totally against the draft of the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA), to be signed between Sri Lanka and India. Addressing the media yesterday, Jagoda said the ETCA would cause severe negative consequences to the country and economy and therefore the Frontline Socialist Party will take every available measure to stop the signing of the agreement. more..

Cecille’s gold to be auctioned

Feb 26 (CT) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya yesterday ordered the CID to seek assistance of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA), in order to estimate the exact financial value of a large stock of gems and jewellery worth millions of rupees belonging to Cecille Kotelawala, the wife of former Chairman of Ceylinco Group, Lalith Kotelawala. The stock of gold items belonging to Cecille Kotelawala, who is currently in remand, will be auctioned soon. more..

Countrywide power outage: Probe underway

Feb 26 (Island) Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that a special investigation was underway to establish the cause of Thursday’s countrywide power outage. Yesterday’s outage was the second countrywide power failure within five months. However, both Minister and CEB asserted that lightning and resultant technical faults had caused the power failure. The power failed at approximately 2 pm and gradual restoration more..

CB bond scam: COPE to examine reports by DEW and PM’s committee

Feb 26 (Island) Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran and several senior officials of the CB yesterday appeared before the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) in respect of ongoing investigations into an alleged bond scam. The parliamentary watchdog committee would expedite investigations into alleged irregularities which occurred soon after the presidential polls in January 2011. Sources said that a report on investigations would be tabled in Parliament shortly. more..

Special luxury unit worth $4 m was ordered to be fixed on aircraft: Ranjan

Feb 26 (DN) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa spends his time at courts, commissions and prisons because of his own fault. "When COPE took up the case of SriLankan Airlines, we found that a special luxury unit worth US $ four million had been ordered to fix on an aircraft. It takes two days to fix and another two days to uninstall it," he said. Addressing the media at Sirikotha, he said President Maithripala Sirisena rejected it. more..

Wigneswaran opposes Tamil-Sinhalese marriages

Feb 26 (ENS) CM of Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, touched off a new political controversy when he said in Jaffna, that he does not favor Sinhalese-Tamil marriages before the Tamils get equal rights in the country. He was responding to Provincial Governor Reginold Cooray's suggestion at the National Scouts Jamboree, that Sinhalese-Tamil marriages be encouraged to bring about national reconciliation. more..

Public servants' minimum basic salary to be doubled

Feb 26 (DN) All measures are in place to double the minimum basic salary of the public service within the next five years, Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara said. "At present the govt spends Rs 800 billion to pay salaries and pensions for state sector employees as the govt which granted the highest salary hike for the public service in Sri Lankan history," he added. "Accordingly now we are spending 40% out of whole national income to pay salaries and pensions of the govt employees. more..

Ven. Dhammaloka Thera files petition to avoid arrest

Feb 26 (DM) Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera had filed a fundamental rights petition seeking the Supreme Court to issue an Interim Order preventing the police from arresting him, allegedly for illegally keeping a baby elephant in his possession. He was also seeking a declaration from the Court that the action of the Respondent Police officers in attempting to arrest him and singling out him, constitute an imminent violation of his fundamental rights to equality and equal protection of more..

Sri Lanka could accept international actors in war crimes probe

Feb 26 (Reuters) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said he is willing to consider international participation in investigating possible war crimes during the 26-year Tamil insurgency. "I think it is only fair that the victims of the war would want some form of guarantee that the new courts will deliver justice and accountability in a fair manner, and for that we are willing to consider the participation of international actors," more..

O! judgment thou art fled to brutish beast

Feb 26 (DM) Though the new National Govt appears to be making every effort to restore the rule of law, one of the gravest evils—violence, rape and murder of women and girls—seems to be still rampant. On Wednesday there was a hartal in the Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Vavuniya districts to demand tough action including the death penalty for the person or persons responsible for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old schoolgirl in Vavuniya. Most schools and shops were closed while more..

Sri Lanka: Classified as Developing Country too long? Why?

Feb 26 (DM) Nearly four decades ago, prior to the commencement of economic reforms and trade liberalization, the then Chinese rulers maintained policies, that kept their economy very poor, stagnant, centrally-controlled, vastly inefficient and relatively isolated from the global economy. After opening up to foreign trade and investment and implementing free market reforms since 1979, China became one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It is now world’s largest economy more..

LG election debate: Who is in a spot ?

Feb 26 (DM) Normally, a ruling alliance is never hesitant to conduct a local authorities’ election. Going by past experience, such elections have always been advantageous to the party in power. In fact, it had been clean sweeps for the ruling side. For the first time perhaps, the next local authorities’ election, which is overdue, has assumed a new significance, a phenomenon not witnessed in politics before. more..

Yoshitha and Co. further remanded

Feb 26 (CT) Navy Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa and four other suspects arrested on charges of money laundering at the CSN channel were further remanded yesterday for a period of 14 days by Kaduwela Magistrate Dhammika Hemapala. The five suspects have already spent 26 days in remand prison since their arrest by the FCID on 30 January. The five suspects who were remanded without bail were more..

Rape & murder of 14-year-old Harishnavi

Feb 26 (DN) Kengatharan Mathiny opened the door to her home and entered calling out to her daughter Harishnavi, but what greeted her froze her in her tracks: the body of her daughter swung from the roof of their house. Fourteen-year-old Harishnavi had refused to go to the school that morning. She had been displeased with the state of her uniform, which was old and tattered. Her mother, a teacher at Vipulanantha College, Vavuniya more..

Indian fishermen poach in Sri Lankan waters, and it is illegal. Period.

Feb 26 (ST) It is time for Sri Lanka to stand up boldly and tell the world that fishermen from Tamil Nadu, the southern state of India, are poaching its precious marine wealth. Every week, we come across news reports about J. Jayalalithaa, chief minister of Tamil Nadu writing letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that Sri Lanka Navy is harassing fishermen from her State, who fish in their traditional waters in the Palk Strait. more..

Yahapalanaya: Sweet transaction brings him sweet profits

Feb 26 (DM) The hero of this story is a purohita well known for his political shenanigans. Several state-owned factories turning out a sweet product indispensable to every household come under the purview of his Ministry. This sweet product is usually released to the market in metric tons. One of these factories the other day had a stock of about 2,000 metric tons of the stuff ready for release to the market. more..

Appointment of members for Sectoral Oversight Committees

Feb 26 (FT) Members for some of the Sectoral Oversight Committees were appointed yesterday at Parliament. These committees are empowered to examine all Bills, resolutions, treaties, reports and other matters relating to subjects within their jurisdiction. Deputy Ministers Harsha de Silva, Arundika Fernando, Karunarathna Paranawithana, Nimal Lanza, UPFA MPs Bandula Gunawardane, Lakshman Senewiratne, Vasudeva more..

Education ministry considers regulating international schools

Feb 26 (SL) The Ministry of Education is going to bring in an Act to regulate international schools in the country. The decision has been taken because the Ministry has received many complaints about many international schools that they do not provide education for their students properly. These international schools follow London syllabuses that do not consist of history and mother language, the complainants have pointed out. more..