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President steps in to fix fertilizer subsidy crisis

Feb 29 (FT) President stepped in to avert a crisis in agriculture with an assurance that the fertiliser subsidy would be continued for the farming community without any hindrance. “I will be personally dedicated to fulfill the highest responsibility in providing the fertiliser subsidy for the farming community,” President said whilst addressing a special meeting held with relevant Ministers and the MPs as well as more..

Heads of mission summoned for meeting end March

Feb 29 (DN) Heads of Missions abroad have been summoned for a meeting at the end of March. They are to meet the President and the PM to discuss policy. Each mission will be assigned specific deliverables, according to new govt strategy, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said. "Every mission must deliver. Over the last so many years there were neither targets nor a specific plan." A proper implementation strategy and deliverables is to be developed in discussion with Foreign Minister more..

Lankan Tamils deride TN poet Vairamuthu’s bid to write on their struggle

Feb 29 (ENS) Sri Lankan Tamils, whether living in the island or overseas, have a dim view of TN poet and lyricist Vairamuthu’s intention to write a kavyam (epic) on the Lankan Tamils’ liberation struggle. While acknowledging Vairamuthu’s capabilities as a lyricist, poet and writer, Lankan Tamils wonder if he is driven by the right impulses. They doubt if he has the requisite empathy and sincerity to truly reflect the depths of the struggle. Vairamuthu had been declaring his intention more..

Universities short of about 2,000 students

Feb 29 (Island) Universities can enrol 2,000 more students on the basis of the 2014/15 intake, but the govt has chosen to leave those slots vacant, undergraduates complain. Convener of IUSF said that though the govt had promised to increase the university intake by 10% that pledge had been reneged on. "We brought the vacancies in universities to the notice of authorities several time, but no action has been taken to fill them," more..

CNCI concerns on proposed ETCA with India

Feb 29 (Island) The members of the Ceylon National Chamber of industries (CNCI) has expressed their concerns regarding the proposed ETCA Agreement to be signed with India. Tissa Seneviratne, chairman CNCI stated that we have expressed our common understanding on this matter and written paper articles earlier. Undoubtedly, we need economic partnerships to grow our economy but it should be carried out in a healthy manner without letting the country into traps. more..

JVP leader calls for creation of youth force in tune with reality

Feb 29 (DN) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said they should develop a youth force in the country who are in tune with reality, as opposed to a society steeped in myths and unscientific mindsets. He was addressing the third convention of the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) held yesterday at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium. JVP leader said that today they were living in a society filled with myths and unreality. "We should conserve our traditional myths to give an idea about more..

Govt will end disparity in sharing benefits of development: President

Feb 29 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says the people in some area did not receive the benefits of the development due to some policies followed by the previous govt. “The current govt pays a prominent attention take the under developed areas towards development by ending the dissimilarities in sharing of the benefits of the development occurred throughout a decade”, he added. more..

Govt to evaluate projects worth 60 b before payments are made

Feb 29 (DN) An estimated 60 billion rupees of outstanding payments for projects are to be settled following proper evaluation by a special committee appointed by Finance Ministry. A circular requesting for details of outstanding payments to contractors outstanding as at Dec 31, 2014 has been sent to all ministries already. All contracts will be first evaluated to determine if they have followed due procedures to award the tenders. Cabinet has approved the proposal to appoint a 3 member committee more..

CB to set five separate units to fund rural micro sector

Feb 29 (DN) The Central Bank (CB) will introduce five separate units to rural areas in a bid to fund micro sector entrepreneurs, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said. He said that the rural sector should have more credit facilities and this unit will be created to simplify lending. "We are also requesting banks to open up branches in rural areas in a bid to provide more credit facilities to the micro sector." He said that the rural sector could have better returns by investing in the agricultural sector more..

Hakeem before PRECIFAC soon

Feb 29 (CT) Minister Rauff Hakeem would be summoned before the PRECIFAC. Lacille de Silva, Secretary to PRECIFAC said that minister will be summoned for questioning in connection with an allegation of allocating of over Rs 150 million for fully refurbishing offices to be occupied by International Arbitration Centre in the World Trade Centre in Colombo, Fort, without Cabinet approval. Earlier reports have claimed Minister had more..

Malik and Sagala off to China

Feb 29 (DM) Ministers Malik Samarawickrama and Sagala Ratnayake will leave for China today to have a dialogue with their Chinese counterparts and the other Chinese govt officials. Informed sources said that the two ministers will have a dialogue with the Chinese officials on number of Chinese funded development projects including the Colombo Port City. Sources from govt sighted the visit of the two ministers as a perquisite to the PM's visit to China in April this year. more..

Bail application hearing today

Feb 29 (CT) All bail petitions to decide whether the suspects including Yoshitha Rajapaksa be released on bail or not will be taken up for hearing today at the Colombo High Court. Yoshitha Rajapaksa and the other suspects have been remanded in connection with an incident suspected to be an offence under the Money Laundering Act. The relevant bail petitions have been presented by the five suspects, Yoshitha Rajapaksa, CEO of the CSN Channel Nishantha Ranatunga, more..

Separate COPE reports on key institutions

Feb 29 (DN) COPE has decided to produce separate individual reports on its findings on several key public institutions in which serious flaws have come to light. COPE chairman and JVP MP Sunil Handunetti said that these reports would be tabled in Parliament in May. The institutions on which separate reports are to be tabled include the CEB, SriLankan Airlines, Rakna Lanka and the Central Bank. more..

Antibiotics: A friend turning enemy

Dec 29 (DM) SL’s private health sector has apparently suffered a major heart attack and by-pass surgery is needed. Imagery and realities apart, President Sirisena-- deeply committed to the restoration of a patient-friendly health service – yesterday went to his home-base of Polonnaruwa to open the cardiology unit of the renovated district hospital there. As for the heart attack, some of the serious symptoms were exposed at a seminar held by Sri Lanka Medical Association more..

ETCA hush-hush fuels doubts

Dec 29 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was spot on when he chided those who were raising a hue and cry about the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement (ETCA) with India. His point was simple: how can you object to something that does not exist? Correct. There’s no ETCA yet. That’s the catch. Yet, and it works both ways. Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva responding to those who have expressed various concerns about ETCA has affirmed his PM’s position. more..

'We will not put Professionals in trouble'

Dec 29 (DM) Some believe the proposed Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India is a watershed moment for the one-year-old coalition govt and SL’s economic future. Others envisage ETCA as the Waterloo of the govt. Opposition in the country has mounted against the trade deal that proposed to open trade in services between the two countries. Odd silence of the organs of the govt more..

CB erred in good faith, admits Governor Mahendran

Dec 29 (ST) Central Bank (CB) Governor Arjun Mahendran admitted Thursday that the Bank had “genuinely with good faith … erred” over a gazette notification, exclusively highlighted in Sunday Times, which was angrily denied the same day by Minister Ravi Karunanayake as well as another CB official as being false. “…In the Central Bank we genuinely with good faith erred by repeating the old number which actually was set a long time more..

'Corruption kept Sri Lanka stagnating as a developing country'

Dec 29 (SL) The PRECIFAC is expected to submit its fourth interim report to President Maithripala Sirisena shortly. The latest report will deal with some 27 cases most of which are almost complete. Some of the cases have reached 98% progress level and others between 65 and 90%. Corrupt activities at SriLankan Catering, fraudulent activities of some officials at Mihin Lanka, corruption at Lanka Sathosa, misuse of State assets of more..

Environmentalists oppose gift of elephant

Dec 29 (DM) Environmentalists opposed the govt’s announcement to gift an elephant calf to New Zealand during recently concluded visit of New Zealand PM John Key. They urged the govt to follow India and stop the practice of gifting animals to foreign countries as it is cruel. Environmental lawyer Jagath Gunawardana, said gifting living creatures like elephants on the whim of politicians should be stopped soon. more..

Sri Lanka expects inflation at 4 to 5% in 2016

Dec 29 (EN) Sri Lanka is expecting to generate inflation between 4 to 5% during 2016, as lagged effect of money supply expansion shows results. "Though headline inflation has shown some deceleration in these months it will gradually increase to 4 - 5% towards the end of the year," Central Bank's head of economic research K M M Siriwardana said. "Key observations made by CB is the excessive growth of broad money to 17.8, more..

One week shopping bonanza for consumers

Dec 29 (Island) Sri Lankan consumers are in for a seven day shopping bonanza this year, thanks to a campaign launched by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA). Thousands of business outlets will provide customers with discounts, benefits and other offers during Reward the Consumer Week organised by the CAA from March 14 to 20. CAA would launch an awareness campaign in Kandy and 25 other locations more..

President appoints new SLFP organizers

Dec 29 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena appointed new SLFP organizers to electorates and districts, today. Event took place at the Official Residence of President. Secretary to the President, P.B. Abeykoon and the General Secretary of SLFP, Duminda Dissanayake were also present on the occasion. Following are the appointments made by President Sirisena in his capacity as the Chairman of SLFP, more..

North Lankan fisheries minister pleads for give and take to end fishing row

Feb 29 (ENS) B.Deniswaran, Minister of Fisheries in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, believes that the row over fishing in the sea between India and Lanka can end only when the fishermen of the two countries sit across a table and discuss the issue with an open mind and in a spirit of give and take. Reacting to the demonstration of TN fishermen in front of the Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai on Monday, more..

Unemployed graduates want to discuss their problem with President, PM again

Dec 29 (Island) Unemployed graduates who are performing Sathyagrahas at Colombo Fort, Matara and Kandy demanding jobs in the public sector have asked for a discussion with President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister Ravi Karunanayake to discuss their grievances again. Convener of Combined Association of Unemployed Graduates Dammika Munasinghe said more..

Yoshitha suspended from Navy to assist FCID probe

Dec 29 (CG) Yoshitha Rajapaksa has been suspended from the Navy to assist the investigations being conducted by the FCID. Navy said that Yoshitha Rajapaksa has been suspended with effect from Feb 28 on the recommendations of Ministry of Defence. Yoshitha Rajapaksa is currently in remand prison and is being investigated for alleged money laundering in connection to the case filed against CSN. more..

Need for both external & internal champions of the reconciliation process

Feb 29 (CT) At the next session of the UNHRC this March the govt will need to present an update of its progress with regard to the resolution passed in Oct 2015. There has been some progress made by the govt. More and more land in the North taken over by the military during the war is being returned, although about half of it still remains under military control. There has been a marked improvement in the freedom of movement and freedom of speech experienced in all parts of the country, more..

Petition filed seeking the establishment of a Kidney Bank

Feb 29 (DN) A writ petition was today filed in the Court of Appeal seeking an order directing the Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne and the Director General of Health Services to establish a Kidney Bank or some other mechanism similar to a blood Bank, to facilitate willing donors and kidney patients in need. This was filed considering the urgent need of action to support kidney patients around the country in the backdrop of increasing chronic kidney decease. more..


Appreciative new move by CIABOC

Feb 29 (CT) Director General of CIABOC, Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe, has announced that the CIABOC is planning to bring revisions to the Assets and Liabilities Act in an effort to publicize the assets of Parliamentarians and government officials who become mega rich overnight. The law-abiding citizens of the country have criticized the CIABOC as being not effective enough in dealing with the bribery or corruption allegations against politicians and influential officials. more..

Navin says for four years he did nothing

Feb 29 (Island) Plantation Minister Navin Dissanayake has revealed that he functioned as State Administration and Reforms minister during the previous administration for a period of four years without having a single institution under his purview. Acknowledging that he had nothing else to do during that period except learn about public servants and finding ways and means of changing their attitude, Minister Dissanayake said, urging workers to work with dedication. more..

U.S. Embassy promotes education in North

Feb 29 (USE) Senior representatives from the Embassy of United States provided new school facilities and educational opportunities across the Northern Province last week, a sign of continued U.S. commitment to the social welfare of all of the people of Sri Lanka. Led by Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Andrew C. Mann, U.S. Embassy representatives opened new classroom buildings, donated books, and introduced more..

Court dismisses Yoshitha’s application

Feb 29 (AD) Revision application for Yoshitha Rajapaksa and four others including Nishantha Ranatunga was dismissed by the Colombo High Court today. Application was dismissed when it was taken into consideration before High Court Judge A.A.R. Heiyanthuduwa this morning. Former President Rajapaksa with his attorneys filed the bail application for his son Yoshitha Rajapaksa on Feb 17. Yoshitha, Rohan Weliwita, Nishantha Ranatunga and two others, who were arrested more..

Lasantha assassination: 40 military intelligence personnel quizzed

Feb 29 (DM) The Criminal Investigation Department has questioned more than 40 Military Intelligence personnel during the past few weeks in connection with the assassination of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge. According to Police Headquarters sources, intelligence officers of various ranks including colonel, major, captain and other rankers like sergeant, corporal and private had been summoned for questioning from time to time and had their statements recorded. more..

Sri Lanka downgraded by one level to 'B+'; outlook negative: Fitch

Feb 29 (EN) Fitch Ratings has downgraded SL by one notch to 'B+' from 'BB-' with a negative outlook at the lower level, on falling foreign reserves, high debt maturities and lack of policy coherence. SL's sovereign rating is now four levels below the lowest investment grade rating. Sri Lanka external liquidity ratio was too far below BB and even B rated countries, Fitch said. "Sri Lankan sovereign faces increased refinancing risks on account more..

Dual citizenship for 2,500 applicants

Feb 29 (DM) Immigration and Emigration Department said that dual citizenship certificates will be issued to 2,500 Sri Lankans living abroad at a ceremony at BMICH on March 15. Department had received more than 20,000 dual citizenship applications so far and they had already issued certificates to 4,200 of them. The fee to be paid by the primary applicant requesting for dual citizenship was increased to Rs. 300,000 in the 2016 budget. However, the amount paid by the applicant’s more..

Burglar enlarged on bail

Feb 29 (CT) The person who damaged doors and windows of the residence of the Trustee of the Seenigama Dewala Sarath Deeganthuwahandi (45) and robbed cash and furniture worth approximately Rs 100,000 was ordered to be released on a surety bail of Rs 7,500 and Rs 100,000 by Balapitiya Magistrate Rajindra Jayasuriya on Saturday. The person who was thus released on bail is Palitha Ariyaratne (24) resident of Gonapinuwala in Hikkaduwa. The Meetiyagoda Police said more..

School empties amid Aids rumours

Feb 29 (BBC) A school in western Sri Lanka has been emptied of all but one pupil amid false rumours that the boy has Aids. Parents removed their children from the Kurunegela school last week, despite the six-year-old having a certificate proving he does not have the disease. His mother said many other schools had rejected him because her husband's death had been wrongly blamed on Aids. more..

Three suspects turn state witnesses

Feb 29 (CT) Three murder suspects in the ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen murder case have agreed to turn State witnesses, a top CID source revealed. He said that the CID had broken through dramatically in its probe identifying 16 suspects in the Narahenpita killing, among them are a few senior police officers who have agreed to turn State witnesses. "We are also about to arrest several govt officials including a former medical specialist and several other police officers who have been guilty of more..

Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Dhara Wijayatilake as CEO

Feb 29 (EN) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said it has appointed Dhara Wijayatilake, as Chief Executive who headed the Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, an affiliated body. She was appointed after Mangala Yapa, who was CEO since Nov 2014, resigned to become the head of the govt's proposed Agency For Development under the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade. An Attorney-At-Law Wijayatilake was the first woman to be appointed as Secretary to a Ministry more..

Wigneswaran asks for Indian help for a federal solution

Feb 29 (PTI) India might intervene again in Sri Lanka to help the Tamil minority and provide a federal solution to the ethnic reconciliation problem, a media report quoted the country’s Northern Province Chief Minister as saying. C V Wigneswaran, who is himself a Tamil, made the remarks in Jaffna on Sunday while addressing a group of academics, who had returned to the north after their educational pursuits in India. more..