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Electoral reforms and emerging consensus on constitution

Feb 27 (NS) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s decision to accept all amendments put forward by the SLFP to the resolution on the Constitutional Assembly seems to have changed a situation that would have become a deadlock of the whole process. The SLFP has made use of the opportunity to request inclusion of electoral reforms as the first subject to be discussed in the Constitutional Assembly. If agreed, it is a clear sign that the process is going to start without delay. Need for electoral reforms has been more..

Microsoft sees brighter future in developing Sri Lanka

Feb 27 (FT) István Papp, Vice President of Sales, Marketing, Services, IT and Operations Group for Microsoft Asia Pacific, is currently in Sri Lanka, engaging with local partners, customers and industry representatives in order to gain insights into the Sri Lankan economy and technological landscape. Even amidst a tight schedule, István shared few thoughts on company’s transformation under Satya Nadella, more..

Aisa Cup: Bangladesh beat UAE

Feb 27 (CI) Like SL on Thursday, Bangladesh were given a scare by UAE before their efficient bowling attack led the hosts to an easy win in Mirpur. Mahmudullah's last-gasp effort with the bat and two wickets were backed up by Mustafizur Rahman and Mashrafe Mortaza. Their wickets shook the opposition's confidence to a point from which they never recovered. The win keeps the hosts alive in the Asia Cup, but they would have liked a more comfortable path to picking up the 2 points. more..

Aftermath of war

Feb 27 (NS) Last week saw the entire Northern Province virtually coming to a standstill over the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Vavuniya. Public blocked the main A-9 highway demanding justice for Harishnavi who was brutally raped and murdered. This is the second largest public reaction after a similar incident in May last year, where another school girl, Vithya, was raped and murdered in Punguduthivu. Northern Province, until the recent past was plagued with the 30-year-old war more..

Annual prize giving of Defence Services College held under patronage of President

Feb 27 (PSL) Annual Prize giving ceremony of the Defence Services College, Colombo, was held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena, today (26). Students of the Defence Services College warmly welcome the President when he arrived at the venue. President presented awards to the students who showed outstanding performance in the fields of education as well as the sports. more..

Sri Lanka in talks with Citi for US$500mn syndicated loan

Feb 27 (EN) Sri Lanka is in talks with Citibank to syndicate a 500 million US dollar term loan, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said. He would prefer to float the loan after negotiating a deal with the IMF, which will help reduce interest rates. IMF team is expected to arrive in the island in late March or April to work out plan to trim budget deficit. Mahendran said an IMF program would be a confidence booster for investor who would know that Sri Lanka was following more..

Pakistan Women reaches out to assist physically challenged Sri Lankans

Feb 27 (FT) A delegation from the Pakistan Women’s Association of Sri Lanka (PWA) visited the oldest charitable organisation in Sri Lanka yesterday to extend support for physically disabled Sri Lankans. The PWA outreach project was aimed to assist physically challenged individuals with provisions of prosthetic, orthotic and orthopaedic appliances to overcome their disabilities. The project will be implemented through the Friend-in-Need Society. more..

New guidelines to courts to combat sex crimes

Feb 27 (NS) Ministry of Justice is planning to introduce new guidelines to be followed by judges of all courts in sentencing convicts, especially sex offenders. The move comes in the wake of increased crimes and sexual abuse of minors where many under-aged girls have been brutally gang raped and killed in the recent times. 16-year-old Vithya Sivaloganathan was abducted, brutally raped by a gang on her way to school more..

SL - India: The bonds should grow stronger

Feb 27 (DN) With the divisions in SLFP and UPFA moving in the direction of an inevitable breakup of both the party and the alliance, the political debate is moving away from party issues to national issues; but with a lot of untruth and inconsistency coming from those opposed to matters of current importance. As the battle of the Rajapaksa family to save whatever is left of its image recedes to the background of the political debate, with legal procedures against crime, more..

How Coach sees sprinter Himasha Eshan

Feb 27 (ST) Sri Lanka returned triumphantly from the South Asian Games, recording the best medals tally ever at the event’s history. Notable among the medalist was sprinter Himasha Eshan, who broke the SL record in the 100metres that stood for 17 years. In the process he also shattered the SAG record. Himasha Eshan was coached by Chaminda Perera who also coached the winner of the 200metres gold medal Vinoth Suranjaya. Both Eshan and Suranjaya were also part of more..

Govt denies foreign currency crisis

Feb 27 (FT) Govt refuted allegations by Opposition members of a foreign currency crisis in the country. Minister Niroshan Perera told Parliament that foreign currency reserves stood as US$ 7.7 billion as at 9 Jan 2015. “The estimated foreign exchange reserves position as at 26 Nov 2015 was US$ 7.3 billion. This is a decline of US$ 0.4 billion. It was caused due to foreign debt payments, settlement of the matured more..

Growing demand for tea in Palestine

Feb 27 (FT) Ceylon Tea is very popular in Palestine and there are a number of leading importers in the main cities. Even though statistics do not show the actual imports of Ceylon Tea from Palestine, the importers are importing tea through Ashdod harbour in Israel. All financial transactions including opening of letter of credits are done in Jordan. Compared to other countries, Palestinians are facing immense difficulties in importing tea. However, they are importing tea from more..

Power should be used for the betterment of the people: President

Feb 27 (PSL) Most issues in the society are arisen due to some people who act thinking they won’t die. Therefore, everybody who comes to power should act with the understanding that they would lose power at any given time”, says President Maithripala Sirisena. He was speaking at the annual meeting of the Maithri Mithuro Organization at Galle Face Hotel yesterday (25). “The power should not be used for power itself. It should be utilized for the betterment of the people”, he said. more..

Video: NTUC determined to foil govt bid to sign ECTA

Feb 27 (DM) Chairman of the NTUC K.D. Lalkantha stated that they would defeat govt’s move to sign the Indo-SL Economic and Technology Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECTA) if it is to be finalized despite opposition from various quarters. He said; “Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe said the present regime were going to sign the ETCA at any cost as they had the numbers in Parliament. more..

Budget deficit heading for a blowout

Feb 27 (NS) SL is heading for a blowout budget deficit in 2016 with statistics in Jan 2016 indicating that govt’s tax revenue collected from motor vehicle imports are freezing sharply, a top analyst cautioned. Treasury is targeting to raise around Rs 280 billion in 2016 with 2015 being a record year, in which the state coffers collected a mammoth Rs 230 billion in taxes from importation of motor vehicles, significantly higher than previous record of Rs 134 billion achieved in 2011. more..

Colombo badly hit by Dengue fever

Feb 27 (NS) National Dengue Control Unit (NDCU) has planned a 3-day emergency programme to go from house to house in areas badly hit by dengue, especially in the Western Province and City of Colombo. Programme will be conducted on March 10-12. Director of the NDCU, Dr. A.H.M. Thawfeek said upto last week; they were receiving 1,000 cases per week. District of Colombo is where most of the cases are reported from, and then it is from Districts of Gampaha, Jaffna, Galle and Kandy, more..

SLTB to take over issuance of vehicle emission certificates

Feb 27 (Island) Deputy Minister Ashok Abeysinghe told Parliament that the issuance of vehicle emission certificates would be taken over by the Sri Lanka Transport Board Depots. He said Cleanco Lanka Private Company and LaugfsEco Sri Private Company had been authorized to issue vehicle emissions certificates. The two companies had earned Rs. 8,596,434,123 by issuing such certificates since 2008. more..

JICA supporting USD 300 mn water supply project for Western Province

Feb 27 (Island) Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is to support a major water supply project to the tune of US$ 300 million for the Western Province, targeting Colombo and its suburbs, to facilitate on-going development projects, Chief Representative for JICA in Sri Lanka Kiyoshi Amada said. "Colombo is now developing at a rapid pace and going to be a future business hub in the region along with the megapolis project. Therefore, the proposed water supply project would help more..

Punjab commends Sri Lankan cooperation for dengue eradication

Feb 27 (PT) Punjab Chief Minister’s Adviser on Health Khawaja Rafique said that the cooperation of Sri Lankan experts in the treatment of dengue patients and eradication of dengue virus in Punjab was commendable. He was addressing an international conference for treatment of dengue patients and eradication of dengue in Colombo. SL President Maithripala Sirisena specially attended the conference whereas SL ministers, govt officers, medical specialists and delegates from more..

Video: If ambulance service is launched SL would come under RAW influence

Feb 27 (DM) MP Wimal Weerawansa warned that spies representing Indian Intelligence Agency (RAW) would have free reign to come to SL if an Indian Emergency Ambulance Service was allowed to come into the country. “Most of those recruited for the proposed Ambulance Service would be in favour of India. It will be operated countrywide and therefore, spies from RAW would be able to gather details of persons living in more..

India clean sweep SL in women T20I series

Feb 27 (CI) India Women's spinners stifled the Sri Lanka Women batting, squeezing them to 89 for 9 in their 20 overs, before the top three knocked off the target in 13.5 overs to complete a nine-wicket thumping in the third T20I in Ranchi. The win secured a 3-0 series sweep for India. Left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht was the standout bowler for India, claiming 3 for 17 in her four overs, while offspinners Anuja Patil and Deepti Sharma took 3 for 30 in eight overs between them. more..

Regulation of school vans fails: NCPA

Feb 27 (NS) Attempts to regulate school vans in view of curbing sexual abuse of students that occurs inside school vans has failed due to the lack of capacity, National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) remarked. Deputy Chairman of NCPA, Sajeeva Samaranayake said that ideally a Matron or a mature adult woman should at all times accompany the children when travelling in school vans. They should also be made aware of the problem of sexual abuse in the context where such incidents more..

Speaker to complain to PM about Ministers’ failure to be present to answer queries

Feb 27 (Island) Speaker Karu Jayasuriiya said that he would complain to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe against ministers who failed to be present in Parliament during the question hour to answer queries raised by the Opposition MPs. He said so when JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake informed the Chair that Law & Order Minister had not been present in the Chamber when a question related to promotions of junior police officers more..

Singing of National Anthem in Tamil challenged in SC

Feb 27 (DN) Three residents in Kelaniya area filed a Fundamental Right petition in the Supreme Court challenging the govt's decision to sing the National Anthem in the Tamil language during the Independence Day celebrations. Petitioners cited President Maithripala Sirisena and the Attorney General as respondents. Petitioners sought a declaration that National Anthem shall be sung in Sinhala language with Sinhala words in accordance with the Third Schedule of the constitution. more..

Key praises links between NZ and SL

Feb 27 (DN) New Zealand PM John Key urged NZ and SL businesses to take advantage of the growing commercial opportunities between the two countries. "Our commercial ties have expanded well beyond the traditional dairy links to opportunities in sectors such as food and beverage, aviation, education, specialised manufacturing and the creative industries," Key says. "NZ and SL companies can and will be doing more andmore together, promoting jobs, economic growth and higher incomes more..

CID meets Police Top Brass

Feb 27 (CT) The country's Judiciary having determined last Thursday that the death of rugby star Wasim Thajudeen was a murder led to an emergency meeting of Police top brass being convened by the CID. A top Police Officer said that the CID was investigating how a defender carrying four high-ranking security forces personnel had reached Kirulapona on the day and time that the former rugby player was murdered. more..

The planet belongs to all living creatures, not just to us

Feb 27 (DM) Amid the growing incidence of cruelty to animals including the latest multi-million rupee rackets on the capture of a baby elephant, the cabinet has approved the long-delayed Animal Welfare Bill and sent it to the Legal Draftsman’s Department to include the provisions proposed by animal welfare movements also. As for the existing laws against cruelty to animals, the last amendments were made in 1955. The prevention of cruelty to animals Ordinance more..

Sex is a dirty word: Yes or No?

Feb 27 (DM) Victor Ivan, founder editor of the Ravaya newspaper, had recently discussed a taboo subject in two ground breaking articles. This is in response to President Maithripala Sirisena’s outraged remarks after a female fan threw a bra at pop icon -Enrique Iglesias. His writing here is ground breaking because, as I recall, Ranga Jayasuriya (One of the Daily Mirror columnists) is the only other journalist to have written about the sexual dilemmas of Sri Lankans in recent times. more..

Why is NMRA a bitter pill for Rajitha to swallow?

Feb 27 (SL) Although it is now more than one year since former Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena was elected as Executive President, the highly regarded Prof. Senaka Bibile Drug Policy of the early 70s which President Sirisena promised to re-implement is yet to see the light of day. It is alleged that Health Ministry’s delay in implementing this drug policy is due to the action of persons with vested interests. more..

The big stink and the cover-up

Feb 27 (SL) At a time when Environment Minister, President Maithripala Sirisena himself, is making a concerted effort to protect the environment, it is questionable as to why the North Western Provincial Environmental Authority (NWPEA) is issuing Environmental Protection Licenses (EPL) to factories that are disposing hazardous waste in a careless manner thus polluting the environment. more..

GPO to stamp its return with a grand old look

Feb 27 (ST) It will be business as usual by March at the 120 year-old General Post Office (GPO) in Fort, after a lapse of 10 years, Post Master General D.L.P. Rohana Abeyaratne said. The grand old dame is getting a facelift estimated to cost over Rs. 200 million, with the aim of regaining its former colonial grandeur before all its functions are brought back under one roof. The GPO was built by the British in the 1890s. more..

Argument in Jaffna between Minister Samaraweera – General Gallage

Feb 27 (DBS) Sunday Times revealed details last week about an incident of friction between a senior cabinet minister and a senior military official that had occurred in Jaffna a few weeks earlier. Sunday Times Political column scored a scoop by referring to an exchange of words between minister Mangala Samaraweera and Army 51 division commander Major-General Chagi Gallage and the subsequent transfer of military official more..

'We will not leave party if President forms a SLFP led govt'

Feb 27 (DN) Former Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage yesterday said that they would not leave the party if President Maithripala Sirisena forms a SLFP led govt by appointing former President Rajapaska as the Prime Minister. "We will not leave the SLFP if the President forms a SLFP led govt," he said. He said that the common opposition will take a right decision, after the election is declared by the govt. more..

Automatic shutdown cripples Norochcholai for at least three days

Feb 27 (Island) Electricity generating activities at Norochcholai Power Plant had been crippled yet again due to Thursday’s countrywide power outage, resulting in a reduction of 900MW from the national power grid supplied by it, Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. He said that it would take about three days to re-start operation of Norochcholai Power Plant and till then consumers were asked to conserve electricity. more..

UNP, SLFP confident of a 2/3 majority for amended resolution on forming CA

Feb 27 (Island) The govt said the once hotly disputed resolution for setting up the Constitution Assembly could now be adopted with far reaching amendments with a two-thirds majority in the House. Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said that the SLFP leadership wanted to reach a formal understanding with those SLFPers in the Joint Opposition in respect of amendments proposed by the UNP hence the decision to put off more..

Prez urged to formulate national policy on bilateral agreements

Feb 27 (DN) GMOA appealed to President Maithripala Sirisena to take the lead in formulating a national policy on bilateral Agreements. In a letter to the President, signed by GMOA President, Dr Anurudda Padeniya and its Secretary Dr Nalinda Herath, the union warned it would boycott all meetings held regarding the Indo-Lanka Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) unless govt stopped making contradictory more..

UPFA general secretary Prof. Vishwa Warnapala passes away

Feb 27 (AM) UPFA General Secretary Prof. Vishwa Warnapala passed away at a private hospital in Colombo at the age of 79. He entered politics from the SLFP and was appointed a national list MP in 1994. He also served as the Minister of Higher Education under the presidency of Chandrika Kumaratunge. He assumed duties as UPFA General Secretary in August 2015, following the removal of its founding General Secretary more..

Mahela brushes off SLC president's criticism

Feb 27 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene has brushed off criticism from SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala, contending that his ten-day consulting role with England is largely geared toward player development and not toward providing specific tactical information. He has also said Sumathipala's questioning of his ethics was laughable. "My role with England is to help develop their cricketers, and to help with how they more..

Repeal PTA soon!

Feb 27 (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..

Why is Jaffna University imposing an authoritarian dress code?

Feb 27 (CT) A new dress code for students has been promulgated by the Faculty of Arts at the University of Jaffna. It seems to assert Hindu cultural norms on the rest of the student community. This code comes at a time when an important debate rages in CT on whether there is racism and casteism among Tamils especially at the University of Jaffna. The interest in the subject is so intense that there have been nearly 300 comments. With Uni of Jaffna placed under a microscope by that article, more..