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Video: Kerry tells Mangala US happy with reconciliation efforts

Feb 26 (CG) United States has hailed the reconciliation efforts of the Sri Lankan govt in the past year saying it has been very impressive. US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking to reporters after meeting with his SL counterpart Mangala Samaraweera, said that Sri Lanka has taken very impressive continuing steps towards reconciliation. Kerry said that his meeting with Samaraweera was taking place on the eve of more..

Jaffna University imposes code of ethics: Bans beards, denims, T-shirts

Feb 26 (AM) University of Jaffna's administration and Senate decided to implement a code of ethics for the university students and staff. Accordingly, the following instructions have been given by the university authorities. Wearing denims and T-shirts are banned during the lectures; Every Fridays women should wear sari; Students and Academic staff are not permitted in the class rooms if they have beard; It was not clear if more..

NGO funds not revealed for a decade: Govt

Feb 26 (Island) The government has not received financial statements from NGOs in respect of funds received from overseas donors for ten years, Parliament was told. Minister Mano Ganesan, said the National Secretariat for NGOs hadn’t received the required information. The Minister was responding to a query raised by UPFA MP Dallas Alahapperuma. He sought details as regards funds received by NGOs since 2000. more..

Repeal PTA soon!

Feb 26 (CT) Last week, the Centre for Human Rights raised concerns about repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), claiming that by dragging their feet on repealing the PTA and taking legal action against those detained under the PTA, the AG's Department and the Ministry of Justice are harming the credibility of the govt. The issue came up again in the backdrop of a hunger strike by 12 PTA detainees demanding release from prison. PTA, in the recent past, was regarded as more..

Muslims reject outright call for a Muslim province

Feb 26 (CT) Dismissed with outright contempt. This was the common response of Muslims all over to SLMC Chairman Basheer Segu Dawood’s demand for a separate Muslim Province. During a discussion on the proposed constitution in Kattankudy on Saturday 20 February 2016 Segu Dawood had said Muslims cannot give up their demand for a separate Muslim Province. As rightly pointed out by former Minister Imthiaz Bakeer Markar this was a totally outdated and unwanted demand irrelevant more..

Anura Kumara Disanayake

Sri Lankan shares steady near 22-month low

Feb 26 (Reuters) Shares ended steady on Friday, hovering near their 22-month closing low that hit in the previous session, while last-minute trading in conglomerate John Keells boosted the turnover, brokers said. Bourse hit a 22-month low on Thursday as investors shunned risky assets, and an interest rate hike last week continued to dampen sentiment. Benchmark share index closed up 0.02%, or 1.34 points, at 6,203.98, little changed from its lowest close since April 29, 2014, more..

Exclusive review: Tri, Sri Lanka

Feb 26 (CNT) Koggala Lake is dark glass. Pre-dawn, the jungle on the far shore is smudgy with steam, but in the mirror-lake, each frond is distinctly drawn. The sun rises, the image inverts. It's important to catch the precise moment when the lake gives the day back its edges. It helps that I can practise this ritual from my bed at the just-opened Tri sanctuary in Sri Lanka's deep south, though I didn't come here for enlightenment. I first came to this island as a student, for the beach parties, more..

'Sri Lanka no longer a poor country, discussions with IMF constructive'

Dec 26 (LBO) Sri Lanka is no longer a poor country, and must rely on markets for its funding needs, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said. An endorsement of the IMF, in this regard, would be valuable, he added. “We have had very constructive discussions with the IMF,” he said. “Govt and Finance Minister gave their frank assessment of the economy and the problems they had inherited. more..

BoC branch in Seychelles: Govt to decide its fate soon

Feb 26 (Island) Govt is exploring the possibility of continuing with a branch of country’s premier state bank, Bank of Ceylon (BoC) established in the Seychelles during the previous administration. Deputy Minister Eran Wickremeratne told Parliament that the govt was carrying out a feasibility study in this regard. Minster said that a decision would be made on the basis of the feasibility study. He denied allegations there had been malpractices in the process of recruitment of trainee officers. more..

Sri Lanka worker remittances getting diversified: CB Governor

Feb 26 (EN) Growing migrant worker remittances from countries like Australia and from Eastern Europe could compensate for the fall in remittances from the Middle East, hit by the slump in oil prices, central bank governor Arjuna Mahendran said. Central bank said worker remittances, which help shore up the balance of payments, fell 0.5% to 6.9 billion US dollars in 2015 from the year before when it had grown by 10%. “Even in the worst of times, in the last 25 years we’ve never seen a dip more..

Mahinda responds to Ranjan’s accusations over luxury plane

Feb 26 (AD) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today issued a statement in response to the allegations leveled against him by Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake, regarding a luxury cubicle worth four million US Dollars to be fixed inside an aircraft. The following release was issued with the signature of Sheron Samaranayake, on behalf of Rohan Welivita, the Media Secretary to the former President. more..

Prisons, Customs to be given sniffer dogs

Feb 26 (CT) Prisons and Customs Departments are to be provided with sniffer dogs shortly. Director of the Police Sniffer Dog Division Police Inspector Sisira Weerakoon who attended an official passing out parade of sniffer dogs after a training period held at the Police Ground, Kandy, told this newspaper that following a request made to the IGP by both departments the dogs are to be assigned. He said that following a directive from the IGP, 24-hour mobile sniffer dog units, more..

Another power failure in Colombo & suburbs

Feb 26 (DM) A day after the four-hour countrywide blackout, another sudden power failure was reported from several areas in Colombo and its suburbs. Power supply to some areas in Dehiwala, Mount Lavinia, Attidiya, Kawdana, Piliyandala, Ratmalana, Matugama, Panadura, Borupana and Maharagama had broken down. Western Province Deputy General Manager said arrangements were being made to restore power supplies in some two hours. “Cause of the power failure has still not more..

Tamils dispute govt’s claim about Tamil Buddhists in Sri Lanka

Feb 26 (ENS) Tamils are disputing the govt’s claim that there are 22, 254 Tamil Buddhists in the country. Most Tamils feel that this is a gross exaggeration. Minister Mano Ganeshan, said that the claim might have been made for propaganda purposes, to show the dominant Sinhalese-Buddhists that significant inroads have already been made into the largely Hindu Tamil minority. But the govt’s claim is based on the 2012 census, more..

Tissa’s allegedly forged documents: CID probe concluded; AG advice sought

Feb 26 (Island) Parliament was yesterday informed that the CID had completed an investigation into former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake’s alleged involvement in preparing forged documents in the run-up to the presidential polls in January 2015. The forged document alleged a secret deal between Maithripala Sirisena and the TNA. Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said the CID report had been handed over to the Department of Attorney General for further instructions. more..

Sri Lanka based swimming instructor gets UK Empire Medal

Feb 26 (CG) Christina Fonfé was presented with the British Empire Medal in recognition of her work with the Sri Lanka Women’s Swimming Project (WSP) by British High Commissioner in SL, James Dauris. WSP is a community drowning reduction program that teaches underprivileged women and teenage girls how to swim, as a basic survival skill and aims to empower them to teach their own children to make them safe near water. Project specifically addresses the cultural barriers more..

SLC unhappy with Mahela's England consulting role

Feb 26 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has taken a dim view of Mahela Jayawardene's resumption of a consulting role with England for 10 days of the forthcoming World T20. SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala labeled Mahela's temporary job sad and disappointing, even while his board rejected the clustered provincial first-class tournament Mahela had played a leading role in devising last year. more..

'Use electricity sparingly between 6pm-10pm'

Feb 26 (DM) CEB Chairman Anura Wijepala today requested consumers to use electricity sparingly between the peak hours of 6pm and 10pm until Monday because of the breakdown at Lakviajaya Coal Power Plant (LCPP) in Norochcholai. LCPP broke down in the wake of yesterday’s countrywide power failure. He said LCPP would begin functioning from tomorrow and it was expected to reach the usual capacity by Monday and until then the public were requested to use electricity wisely. more..

Land owned by MR’s security chief dug-up

Feb 26 (DM) A block of land in Medamulana belonging to Major Neville Wanniarachchi, who was former president Rajapaksa’s chief security officer, was dug up using a backhoe in search of buried cash, jewellery and weapons. About 20 STF personnel had been deployed for the digging amid high security to prevent any trespasses. The Colombo Chief Magistrate recently ordered CID and FCID to conduct investigations into frauds and corruptions allegedly committed by more..

Joint opposition given space to speak in Parliament

Feb 26 (CG) The joint opposition has been allowed to speak in Parliament as the joint opposition, following an agreement reached between party leaders in Parliament. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya congratulated the joint opposition today on the space they have been given to speak in Parliament. He said the issue was resolved after negotiations and there was no need to have heated arguments over it like over the past few weeks. more..

'Growing tobacco use hampers sustainable development'

Feb 26 (Island) Deputy Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala has said that growing use of tobacco was one of the primary reasons for the developing world being deprived of an opportunity to achieve sustainable development. Addressing the South Asian Speakers’ summit in Dhaka, recently, National List MP Sumathipala said that South Asia had been a victim of its failure to meet sustainable development goals (SDGs) meant to save resources for future generations, too. more..

Claims Rs. 500 mn paid to ex-wife as compensation

Feb 26 (Island) Joint Opposition alleged in Parliament that the govt was planning to arrest ten MPs during March. UPFA MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage claimed that govt was trying to suppress the genuine Opposition by arresting its MPs. The former Minister urged the ruling coalition not to propagate lies meant to discredit the Joint Opposition. Referring to a recent media report the MP alleged the govt was using the press to label them as thieves before arresting them. more..

Sri Lanka awaiting Paypal's response to start inward remittances

Feb 26 (EN) Sri Lanka is awaiting Paypal's response after exempting the payment system from the country's exchange controls, to start inward remittances, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said. Sri Lanka was left out of Paypal's network of countries where inward remittances could be made because the island's exchange controls did not allow refunds to be made, Mahendran said. more..

Red notice from Lal Kantha

Feb 26 (LT) Despite PM Ranil Wickremesinghe saying ECTA agreement between India and Sri Lanka would be signed whatever opposition is placed against it, the people and the trade union movement in the country would never allow it to be implemented says the President of National Trade Union Center (NTUC) K.D. Lal Kantha. He said the attempt to implement ECTA would be defeated and island wide protests would be launched whatever bold words Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe uses. more..

Two new envoys present credentials

Feb 26 (PSL) An Ambassador and a High Commissioner presented credentials to President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat, today (Feb. 26). They were: H. E. Bryce David Hutchesson – High Commissioner for Australia. H. E. Elizabeth Sophie Mazella di Bosco Balsa – Ambassador of Federative Republic of Brazil. Secretary to the President P. B. Abeykoon and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Harsha de Silva were also present at this occasion. more..

Push for establishment of an OHCHR Office

Feb 26 (CG) The UNHRC is to be urged to push Sri Lanka to establish an office linked to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Sri Lanka. In a written statement submitted to the UNHRC for its 31st session which begins next week, Amnesty International has urged the Council to encourage the Sri Lankan authorities to affirm and deliver on the national and international human rights more..

285 drivers held for noise pollution

Feb 26 (DM) 285 drivers have been held by the Environmental Police Unit of the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) during a noise pollution control programme carried out recently. The programme held in collaboration with the Motor Traffic Department aimed at creating awareness on the use of extra vehicle horns. In total, 338 vehicles have undergone tests during noise pollution control programmes held in Pettah, Galle, Kandy, Ratnapura, Anuradhapura and Ratmalana. more..

Sri Lanka's embrace of China investment heightens regional geopolitical risk

Feb 26 (Nikkei) Sri Lanka has reversed its earlier decision and decided to allow Chinese investment in a port development project near its capital, Colombo. Situated off India's southern tip, Sri Lanka serves as an important stopover on the sea trade route from Asia all the way to the Middle East. Early last year, Sri Lanka decided to drop its pro-China policy out of fears over Beijing's growing influence. Colombo's flip-flop, however, may have grave ramifications for Japan, more..

Inter-religious Advisory Committee to advice over cultural & religious issues: President

Feb 26 (PSL) President Sirisena says he would appoint an Inter-religious Advisory Committee to advice the govt on cultural and religious issues would be arisen in the country. President made these remarks at his meeting with multi-religious leaders held today (25). Ven. Bellanvila Vimalarathana Thero recalled that though the proposal on an Inter-religious Advisory Committee was taken into discussions during last regime more..

Hidden truth behind CSN’s money laundering

Feb 27 (CT) Is this the result of practicing politics of hate or of politics of revenge? The answer that is required to be sought in this regard in the first place is whether the CSN channel was started in order to fulfill the role of a media organization or for the purposes of money laundering. The shortest answer that can be given in this regard is something that needs to be asked from the heads of the CSN channel, in that for the past year having spent an investment in excess of Rs 200 million more..

Advancing reconciliation & development

Feb 27 (CT) Last February, soon after the election of President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Election held on 8 Jan 2015, I stood before a similar audience in this great city and outlined our plans and our vision for SL. It has been just a year. But, looking back, it seems as if several years have passed since then. A year on, much has happened and much has been achieved. The relationship between our two countries alone has experienced a veritable renaissance since more..

'Rajapaksa did nothing beneficial for country'

Feb 27 (CT) Neither President nor PM takes the law into their hands. When govt officials conclude investigations, the culprits will be punished, UNP Kurunegala MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha said. Q: What are your thoughts on the productivity of the current govt? A: This is pretty much a stable govt under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. more..

Reaching for the common ground

Feb 27 (NS) In a post-war-scenario, what is more important is for the Govt and the other stake-holders to ensure that they prevent even the smallest spark that would cause another crack between the communities of the country. So far, almost seven years after the end of the war, things have been quite cordial communities except for a few instances. But those issues did not snowball into what we had been facing for 30 years, thanks to measures taken by the law enforcement more..

Remembering the meaning of peace

Feb 27 (Island) It is 2010, and we are travelling down a silent road. This road is as old as my parents, my grandparents, and their parents before them, and yet is has been built anew again and again over the scars and craters of Sri Lanka’s civil war. There is no one else around us. Not a single tree stands, no birds remain to sing. Soldiers flicker by at short intervals, standing watchfully against a deceased enemy. As the sun sets, the dying fields begin to glow red. more..

'Wedaarachchi and I are working cordially'

Feb 27 (CT) Fisheries has been a contentious issue in the recent past with international focus being drawn to it, either through disputes with Indian fishermen or due to the EU banning Lankan fish exports. As external issues gain momentum, strife within the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development and between the minister and his deputy has rocked the boat more than usual. more..

Editorial: Oversight Committees

Feb 27 (Island) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced in Parliament on Thursday the names of the MPs appointed to four out of 16 Sectoral Oversight Committees besides the Committee on Public Finance. Among them are a considerable number of Opposition MPs. UNP-led coalition, while trolling for votes prior to the last general election, pledged to turn the entire Parliament into a govt as it were. We objected to that political project which would have sounded the death knell for more..

Illicit drugs and school children: Part ii

Feb 27 (Island) What can one expect when thugs, racketeers and people of criminal persuasion have a field day in the knowledge that the chances of their being incarcerated are somewhat remote. It is, as a cynic put it, a matter of law and disorder! There have been Presidential Commissions appointed to examine and report on the current state of law and order in the country. The recommendations made in these Commission reports do not seem to have found favour in certain quarters more..

Independence Day celebrations in NJ, USA

New report on Sri Lanka’s transitional justice commitments

Feb 27 (GV) South Asian Centre for Legal Studies (SACLS) held a panel discussion to present their recommendations for a roadmap for implementation of HRC Resolution 30/1, adopted on Oct 1, 2015. Panelists included Attorney-at-Law A.M. Faaiz, Bhavani Fonseka Senior Researcher and attorney from the Centre for Policy Alternatives and TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran. SACLS’s report, From Words to Action: A Roadmap for Implementing SL’s Transitional Justice Commitments, more..