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Hikkaduwa Coral Reef facing imminent destruction

Feb 4 (CT) Coral reef at Hikkaduwa is facing destruction, and therefore, prompt action must be taken for its conservation and re-growth, Deputy Minister Sumedha Jayasena said when she met a group of representatives of the environment and animal rights organizations at the ministry recently. With a view to protect the Hikkaduwa Coral Reef, Hikkaduwa was proclaimed a National Park on 19 Sept 2002. The coral reef within the Hikkaduwa National Park serves as a habitat and more..

Chinese leaders congratulate Sri Lanka on anniversary of founding

Feb 4 (Xinhua) Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday congratulated Sri Lanka on the 68th anniversary of the founding of country. In a message addressed to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Xi said that China-Sri Lanka relations, with a long history, have grown ever stronger and that both peoples have benefited from friendly cooperation between the two countries. Xi recalled that during President Sirisena's visit more..

Post Independence Sri Lanka: Key lessons and challenges

Feb 4 (DM) We celebrate the 68th anniversary of the country's political independence on the 4th of this month. The period that we have completed is as long as the average life span of a Sri Lankan citizen today. Some of us were not even born when the country gained independence but have lived during the post independence period as children, youth and adults. In other words, we have witnessed many things that happened during the period, be it political change, social and economic development, more..

Prior registration with SLBFE for overseas job seekers a must

Feb 4 (DN) Govt will not accept any responsibility for those who leave for foreign employment without prior registration at Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE) from this year, Minister Thalatha Athukorale said. "President's manifesto incorporates a programme for protecting migrant workers and their families which is known as Shramika Surakuma. All migrant workers should be registered with their nearest Divisional Secretariat to get any benefits from this scheme. more..

War against Dengue and Zika

Feb 4 (CT) On top of this, we now have a newcomer on the block, which is none other than the Zika virus carried by the same vector as dengue. Aabid Kareem soon found out that his neighbours' sewage drain was washing into the storm water drain next to his home and the stagnant and polluted water was becoming an active breeding ground for mosquitoes. When he called up the CMC, Director Drainage to complain, he was told that while his more..

'Tea plantation workers to get wage hike'

Feb 4 (CT) Minister Navin Dissanayake said that they are taking steps to increase the daily wages of plantation sector workers to between Rs 750 – Rs 775 from their present wage of Rs 620, to address the continuing issues regarding the manpower crisis of the tea industry. "There are some trade unions that want to increase the daily wage to Rs 1,000 but I think this might cripple the industry. But we are trying to negotiate a salary between Rs 750 – 775. But for this to work out both sides more..

Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives hold anti-terror exercises

Feb 4 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan and Maldives troops have joined Pakistan in anti-terror military exercises in the country's northwest, Pakistan military said on Thursday. The two-week long exercise was focused on counter-terrorism operations and sharing of field combat experience of the three armed forces. The Pakistan military said a large number of friendly countries have requested Pakistan Army to organize training for their troops in the state-of-the-art Counter Terrorism Training Center more..

Video: Sri Lanka needs to be brave and open up, says Harsha

Feb 4 (LBO) Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Harsha de Silva said that closing boarders in fear will not help small countries like Sri Lanka to move forward. “Look at Vietnam they are opening up and signing the Trans Pacific Partnership – they brought in close to 15 billion dollars in foreign direct investments alone last year and Sri Lanka barely managed a billion,” he said. “Opening up has helped Singapore, Hong Kong and is also helping more..

Video: Shiranthi brings Yoshitha’s meals

Feb 4 (DM) Former First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa today visited her son Yoshitha at the Welikada Prison with his meals after he declined the meals provided by the Prison. Five suspects including Yoshitha Rajapaksa, remanded on charges of financial irregularities at the CSN, had declined to consume the meals since Monday. Prison official said they had been granted permission to obtain all three meals from home. “Declining food provided by Prisons Department and bringing them from more..

GMOA to seek ban on Lanka E News

Feb 4 (AM) The GMOA recently hit out at the LankaEnews website, revealing that it had already complained against the web site to the IGP and the cyber crimes division, and was intending to request the website to be banned in Sri Lanka. GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that the website had accused him of being silent over the recent media reports of a kidney racket. He was attacked based on a false argument and he was not given the right of reply, Padeniya said. more..

Tax concession on bulk Mackerel not on

Feb 4 (CT) Minister Ravi Karunanayake has vetoed the cabinet decision to impose a special commodity levy on imported canned fish and Mackerel. On 28 Jan, Minister Rajitha Senaratne announced that Cabinet had made a decision to impose, "special tax concessions for the bulk import of Mackerel only for local canned fish producers and also to allow the concession for imported canned fish only if they comply with set standards". more..

690 prisoners freed in view of freedom day

Feb 4 (ITN) 690 prisoners are freed today under a general amnesty granted by the President. President has granted this amnesty in view of SL’s 68th Independence Day. The amnesty has been given to prisoners who have been imprisoned for minor offences. Accordingly he said that 690 prisoners are being released from prisons throughout the country. They included 76 inmates from then Welikada Prisons, 80 from the Mahara Prisons and 31 prisoners from the Bogambara Prisons. more..

More SLFP ministers come out against FCID

Feb 4 (Island) Former Presiden Rajapaksa and his family members should be protected, Minister Vijith Wijayamuni Zoysa said. He however stressed that although it was important to protect the former first family no one could exceed the court decisions nor comment on court proceedings. If there were any allegations against someone it should be cleared through the court itself, he noted. Politicians should not take the law into their hands as in the case of former CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, more..

Video: Where is genuine freedom? FSP

Feb 4 (DM) FSP today questioned whether there was genuine freedom in the country as pledged by the Good Governance and said the freedom had become a privilege limited to the accomplices of the Govt. Staging a protest in Pettah (Colombo), the FSP said the govt came into power promising to take action on the incidents such as the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, political activists Lalith and Kugan and more..

'Sampanthan had tears in his eyes when National Anthem was sung in Tamil'

Feb 4 (AM) Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan had tears in his eyes when the Tamil translation of the Sri Lankan national anthem was sung during the state independence day ceremony, a Cabinet Minister who attended the event said. This was the second time the Tamil translation of the national anthem was sung during a state independence day ceremony. First occasion was the first independence clay cementation in Colombo, held under the auspices of former PM D.S. Senanayake. more..

Indian SC refuses to give urgent hearing on plea on Ram Sethu

Feb 4 (PTI) Supreme Court refused to accord urgent hearing on a plea of a BJP leader seeking a direction to the Centre that it should clarify its stand on mythological Ram Sethu. A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi asked BJP leader Subramanium Swamy, who has filed the plea, to come before the court if the Centre touches the mythological bridge. "There is no need for urgent hearing. If they do not touch Ram Sethu, then you need not worry," more..

Sicille Kotelawala arrested at BIA

Feb 4 (DM) Former Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kothelawala’s wife Sicille Kotelawala was arrested by the Immigration and Emigration Department officials at the BIA this afternoon on her arrival from Dubai. Immigration and Emigration Controller General M.N. Ranasinghe said she was handed over to the CID. Ms. Kothelawala, a Director of the Golden Key Credit Card Company, left the country following company’s collapse. more..

TNA welcomes anthem in Tamil

Feb 4 (EN) Sri Lanka’s main opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) welcomed the national anthem being sung at national day celebrations as a giant step towards reconciliation in a country emerging from decades of Ethnic war. TNA legislator and spokesman M. A. Sumanthiran said he hoped that same spirit will be maintained in resolving the long-standing demands of the Tamils to have a greater degree of autonomy in the regions where they are concentrated. more..

Rear Adm Weerasekera blasts govt. for persecuting war heroes

Feb 4 (Island) Govt had no moral right to celebrate the Independence Day as it was harassing and insulting the security forces personnel who had defeated terrorism, former deputy minister Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera said. He said govt was also harassing former President Rajapaksa, who had led the security forces to victory against the LTTE in spite of international pressure. "When we celebrate independence, we cannot forget the roles played by the security forces more..

Zeid to meet victims of human rights violations in Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (CG) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein will have talks with the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C V Wigneswaran and also meet victims of alleged human rights violations. Formally announcing the visit to SL, Foreign Ministry said that accepting an invitation extended by the Govt in Feb 2015, UN High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein will undertake a four-day official visit to Sri Lanka. more..

The story of a Tamil man’s confession

Feb 5 (CT) Would you believe that? Late afternoon of the 68th Independence Day of Sri Lanka an upset middle-aged man with balding head and payaasam belly sat in a bar with me and made a confession. The man is none other than my drinking partner, the Sri Lankan Tamil fellow Sivapuranam Thevaram, and we had met up in the famous pub in Bridgetown, UK, and had just sat down with our glasses of Peroni. Thrilled at my temporary ordainment, I put a hand on his shoulder and said more..

FM Sarath Fonseka not entitled to be a MP

Feb 5 (CT) Death is often not an instance of merriment for any, unless you are one who is aspiring for a parliamentary seat. In this country of dirty politics and sagacious politicos, it is quite easy to manipulate the law to fool the people. However, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. In this particular instance, the death is of a veteran Politico, M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardana, more..

Enter, the Smart Schools

Feb 5 (SO) For a country already awash with smart phones, the development of smart schools islandwide may seem only an extension of the idea. The Minister of Education, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, is determined that it should be much more. He wants to improve conditions and facilities in State schools across the country so that a much bigger choice of schools are available for children climbing the education ladder. more..

Media depicts the animal in human

Feb 5 (NS) World today is exposed to many things, good, bad, useful, and useless. World is networked in such a way that a press of a button will show you what you want and at times what you don’t want. Today the world is dominated by information. Presence of social networking sites has just taken information sharing to a whole new level. Facebook & Twitter, two of the most popular social networking sites, have turned out to be major competitors for mainstream print and electronic media. more..

Tinkering with constitutions and ignoring need for consensus

Feb 5 (NS) The new govt came with promises of constitutional change and much fanfare for political reform to ensure a fair society. All these promised changes are meant to be for the benefit of the people, for better democracy, for empowerment of the people and for lessor politicization etc. They are grand promises and if implemented honestly, should make Sri Lanka a better place to live in. The actual issue is how much of honesty has been displayed by our politicians when it comes to more..

'UNP moving away from family inheritance politics'

Feb 5 (CT) UNP will once again face the public, to elect the grassroots level leadership, at LG election. Puttalam District MP, Ashoka Priyantha, spoke to CT explaining the preparations of UNP, as a politician who began his political journey on being elected at LG polls. Q: How is the UNP, at the grassroots level, preparing to face LG polls? A: UNP is well positioned to win upcoming LG polls as it was in previous general election more..

A 2500 year-old Culture that was!

Feb 5 (GV) The current wave of Sinhala-Buddhist supremacism, and attempts to establish a Sinhala-Buddhist Raj in Sri Lanka, if left unchecked will eventually lead to fragmentation of Sri Lanka into separate states of minorities. It may not happen in the immediate future, but it’s a reality staring us in the face. With the military defeat of the LTTE in 2009 Lankans as a people, were hardly afforded the chance to breathe a sigh of relief, before Sinhala-Buddhist extremists, in the form of BBS, more..

Editorial: Living with Zika

Feb 5 (Island) The whole world is now talking about the Zika virus which is fast spreading. This germ is said to have been named after an African forest where monkeys afflicted with it were first found. Etymologists have described the English word stock as a chain of borrowings. And, this country has, in her small way, made some contribution to it. Prominent among the loan words of Sri Lankan origin are beriberi, tic polonga and kitul. These, one may argue, are associated with more..

Minister Champika Ranawaka

The morning after the political honeymoon: President Sirisena’s future

Feb 5 (GV) With days turning into weeks and weeks into months, President Maithripala Sirisena appeared to have realized that power is ultimately the primary concern of politics and political leadership. What necessarily follows from this is also the realization that, to sustain a good govt in trying times one has to engage in practices which are antithetical to the very idea of good governance. Ever a contradiction to the ordinary mind, this is an uncomfortable reality in politics. more..

The dark side of Mirissa - Apartheid

Feb 5 (Island) I was prompted to write this with the recent concerns raised about segregation in Sri Lanka railway’s toilet facilities. Sri Lankans are second class citizens in their own country, as seen in Mirissa and many popular southern beaches explicitly and openly. It might as well read No locals allowed. In Mirissa the locals are harassed by goons and hoteliers of the area, and even on the public beach area, they have been known to ask local visitors to leave. more..

Sri Lanka is going green

Feb 5 (CT) New research reveals 79% of real estate agents surveyed in Sri Lanka believe interest in green buildings increased between 2014 and 2015. This is according to the recently released Lamudi Real Estate Market Report, which shares insight into sustainability in Sri Lanka. One survey conducted by Lamudi Sri Lanka showed over 64% of respondents consider sustainable features to be significant in the house-hunting process. more..

Super 20 Provincial Tournament final today

Feb 5 (Island) Taking the past games and the form of players into account, Colombo Commandos, led by Milinda Siriwardane, has slight upper hand over Galle Guardians, skippered by Dinesh Chandimal, when the two teams clash today in the final of the Super 20 Provincial Tournament which is scheduled for 7 p.m. under lights at the R. Premadasa Stadium. In a tournament where a stiff competition was evident, Colombo lost only one game which was at the hands of Hambantota Troopers while more..

SLC membership reinstated

Feb 5 (Island) ICC Board held its first meeting of 2016 at the ICC Headquarters in Dubai on 3 Feb. Among the decisions made and reports received were: * Review of the ICC’s constitution and governance structures: The Board considered amendments that had been made to the ICC’s constitution in 2014 and agreed that, in order to avoid any potential conflicts of interest and to follow best practice principles of good governance, it would seek to re-establish as quickly as possible more..

Minister backs Controversial Wijenayake

Feb 5 (CT) Sports Minister defended the decision to go ahead and send a team for the lesser known sport Kho Kho to the South Asian Games with the controversial Athula Wijenayake as its coach, stating if the ministry didn't allow them to participate it would be an injustice to the players. In fact, it was Wijenayake who introduced the sport and trained the team. Wijenayake was the team captain of Sri Lanka's infamous handball team which more..

Basketball in jeopardy

Feb 5 (CT) Basketball at the upcoming 12th South Asian Games to be held in India is thrown into jeopardy after the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) stated that it will not recognise the competition because of 'unacceptable interference by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in the affairs of the Basketball Federation of India'. In a letter addressed to the Basketball Federations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, SL and Maldives whose teams are due to participate more..

Will Indian selection policy play into Sri Lanka hands?

Feb 5 (CT) A number of top Indian athletes including six medal winners at the 2015 Asian Championships will not feature in the Indian athletics team for the 12th South Asian Games (SAG) which begins in India today. This will no doubt be in favour of the Sri Lankan athletes who had earlier beaten India only once in the SAG history - in 1991 when Sri Lanka were the host. According to reports from India, the athletes have been excluded from the team for two reasons. more..

Govt needs to keep hardcore LTTEers under microscope: Gota

Feb 5 (FT) The former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa urged the Govt to strengthen the mechanism to monitor the hardcore LTTEers before releasing the remaining hardcore LTTE operatives in jails. He said without strengthening surveillances with the assistance of the military intelligence agencies, releasing hardcore LTTE cadres will pose a grave threat to the country’s peace and security. more..

Rs 800m Chick Mill upgrade

Feb 5 (CT) Bairaha, together with Crysbro, is engaged in a Rs 800 million venture, to meet the working capital requirements of its feed mill located at Gampola. The two chicken producers operate a feed mill in Gampola under the umbrella Fortune Agro Industries (Pvt.) Ltd. Bairaha in this connection has raised Rs 400 million from Amana Bank and Fortune the balance, from MCB Bank. Fortune is a Rs 1.65 billion investment between the two poultry giants. It was set-up two years ago. more..

City hoteliers want minimum rate maintained

Feb 5 (DN) Colombo City Hoteliers Association President M. Shanthikumar said that the minimum rate for city hotels should be further maintained. "It has sent positive signals to potential investors such as international hotel chains looking at opportunities to open hotels in Colombo. When they know there is a minimum guaranteed price they like to invest. Its like having a minimum buy back price for a product." He said it's this rate that is seeing the investments of top international players like Shangri La more..