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The WEF & The Davos propaganda

Mar 1 (CT) World Economic Forum (WEF) became front page news in Sri Lanka in January when PM Ranil Wickremesinghe decided to become the first Sri Lankan leader to accept an invitation to attend the WEF annual winter sessions in Davos Switzerland. SL Information Department did some creative repositioning and produced the following factoid on the official govt news portal of Sri Lanka – “This is the first time Sri Lanka has been invited to attend the annual meeting of the WEF, more..

SLMC for pluralism, or racism

Mar 1 (CT) A recent statement made by SLMC Chairman and MP, Basheer Segudawood sparked quite an outrage among the people of all communities. It implied a separatist view. Dawood seems to have gone into hiding ever since, thereby effectively depriving Journalists of any clarification regarding the statement. At a discussion held in Kattankudy recently, Dawood had gone all out iterating that a Muslim Province will give a motherland & self-determination to Muslims. more..

Pitched into controversy

Mar 1 (SO) A different rendition of Danno Budunge, an inspirational and popular Buddhist devotional song from John de Silva's Sirisangabo Nurtya has not only caused so much controversy in the past two weeks, but also made the artiste, Kishani Jayasinghe, a target of hate speech by some. Her performance, in her own words, a respectfully spiritual, was fawned upon by some, but has also opened a new discussion on more..

Spa a thought for the minister, will you

Mar 1 (ST) This country has been independent for nearly 70 years. Yet no minister in all that time had opened a health spa for the benefit of the nation – at state expense that is. Some say this is absolute gall. Still others say it is innovative genius. Those who hold the latter view say there is sufficient evidence to prove the urgent need to open spas in every electorate so that ministers, deputies and assorted types who enter parliament could be given free head massages to stimulate more..

In a Nutshell

Mar 1 (SL) The battle for supremacy between My-three and Ma-hinder has even reached the social media platform. It was some time back that the media teams of both My-three and Ma-hinder engaged in a battle to record the highest number of Likes in their respective pages in the most famous book in cyber space. While Ma-hinder’s team boasted of the highest number of Likes on the page following the last battle for supremacy, My-three’s team last week made a comeback stating more..

Don’t blame it on Norwegians

Mar 1 (CT) Mark Salter, author of To End a Civil War: Norway's Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka, who is based in Sweden, will be in Colombo on 3 March 2016, to launch the book at an event co-hosted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES). Lately, he has been travelling in Europe and North America launching the book with former Norwegian peace negotiator who has become more..

Media and politics: The terrible twins!

Mar 1 (FT) The ironies inherent in the regular lambasting of the so-called free media by the political establishment, particularly when ensconced in power, and the media’s inevitable self-righteous responses, will not be lost on any independent observer. Criticisms levelled at one could just as easily be thrown back at the accuser. After all, in the way they have evolved here, the two institutions are very similar; they could well be a mirror reflection of the other, twins; discredited, self-promoting, more..

Editorial: MS on MR’s mistakes

Mar 1 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena has gone on record as saying the 18th Amendment was one of the major mistakes his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa made. One cannot but agree with him. However, the main reason for Rajapaksa govt’s fall was, in our book, the arrogance of power; it is a kind of brain fog that blinds politicians and govts to reality. Affected by it the Rajapaksa administration failed to factor in the anti-incumbency sentiments and the alienation of minorities when more..

Vijitha Herath

Clarity and certainty in government’s economic policies important

Mar 1 (ST) The govt’s economic policies must be unambiguous and certain. At present there is much confusion in economic policies. Nov 5, 2015 Economic Policy Statement of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has not been implemented in the budget that followed. Consequently there is uncertainty and confusion about the govt’s economic policies. At a time of serious economic difficulties, as at present, there is a need for clarity in economic policies to foster business confidence and more..

Tracking incremental progress on the Transitional Justice agenda

Mar 1 (GV) Last week, SACLS released a report titled From Words to Action: A Road Map for Implementing Sri Lanka’s Transitional Justice Commitments. This report unpacks the TJ package contained in UNHRC Resolution 30/1, classifies the commitments made by the government of Sri Lanka through the co-sponsoring of Resolution 30/1, and breaks them down into tangible, operational, and objectively verifiable steps. After investigative missions—such as OISL—report to UNHRC, more..

How Prabhakaran’s wife, children escorted back to Vanni

Mar 1 (CT) Former Commandant of STF Senior DIG Nimal Lewke revealed for the first time as to how he and the STF ended up providing security to a VIP LTTE group that included Madivadini, wife of LTTE Leader Prabhakaran and his two sons. Q: Where are you from? A: Kandy. Q: Your parents? A: My father was Siron Lewke, a doctor by profession. My mother was a Bandaranaika from Udukawela Walawwa of more..

Sri Lanka Table Tennis team off to Perfect World 2016 Championship

Mar 1 (Island) Sri Lanka Table Tennis team comprising of five men and three women along with their manageress and coach left for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Saturday. They will take part in the Perfect 2016 World Team Table Tennis championship. The championship was scheduled to commence on Feb 28. Both men’s and women’s teams are qualified to play in third Division. Men’s team: Rohan Sirisena (Captain – Stag TT Academy), Udaya Ranasinghe (Vidyartha), more..

Friend flees, leaves Lankan family drowning in debt

Mar 1 (KT) A struggling businessman who says a debt-riddled friend sold him a sinking dream, is warning others to be more vigilant when it comes to too good to be true offers. In 2010, Sri-Lankan toy seller, Pathiraja Wasam Stanley, acted as a guarantor to a German friend who was struggling to repay debts of Dh230,000 to an old business partner. Despite not having the cash in his account, Stanley was assured by the friend that he would return to Germany, sell his assets, more..

SL dismisses sovereign rating downgrade

Mar 1 (EN) Sri Lanka's Finance Minister and Central Bank Governor has dismissed a rating and outlook downgrade by Fitch deeper into junk status, saying it was an isolated action by one agency and markets had already factored in the bad news. Fitch Ratings Tuesday downgraded Sri Lanka's credit from BB-, three levels below investment grade to 'B+' or four levels inside junk bond status. more..

ETCA: Dialogue is what is required

Mar 1 (Island) The secrecy and the heat surrounding the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA), have left both supporters and opponents in a state of confusion and frustration. As a result, many of the local professional bodies fear Indian professionals would flood Sri Lanka and take away the limited lower middle level jobs. On the other hand the Prime Minister argues that it will pave the way to create a million new jobs. more..

Asia Cup: Pakistan beat UAE

Mar 1 (CI) UAE's decision to bat seemed a bit like someone doing away with the veggies so they could get to the meat quicker. All their captain Amjad Javed hoped for was "120 to 130" runs; they got 129. Pakistan tried to sink their teeth into the target and suddenly found it was more than they could chew. The top three fell by the time the fourth over of the chase began, but Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal buckled down and took Pakistan to a seven-wicket victory in Mirpur. more..

Malinga to continue as non-playing captain?

Mar 1 (CT) The role of Lasith Malinga may have reminded one of Davis Cup Tennis, as he was criticized even before the Asia Cup Twenty20 Cricket Tournament had started in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He had stated that he is touring as the non-playing captain and had admitted he is not 100 per cent fit, while also saying he had used pain killers and was given an injection when he played against the UAE. more..

Strokes killer number three in Sri Lanka

Mar 1 (DN) Strokes is killer number three in Sri Lanka. The third highest number of deaths in Sri Lanka are due to strokes, Health Services Director General Dr. Palitha Mahipala said. Dr. Mahipala said Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) are one of the main health issues in Sri Lanka. Heart disease, strokes, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases are the main NCDs affecting the population, he said. Dr. Mahipala said three main factors cause NCDs among people. more..

Why you should go to Sri Lanka now

Mar 1 (Forbes) After being mostly off limits to travelers for 26 years while a civil war raged between Tamil separatists and the Buddhist Sinhalese govt, Sri Lanka has been climbing the lists of tourism hot spots since the war’s end in 2009. There are various reasons: the UNESCO designated archeological ruins of kingdoms spanning 2000 years, the lush beauty of terraced mountain tea plantations and rice paddies fringed by coconut palms, safaris to see leopards & elephants more..

Courts issues stern warning to Hirunika

Mar 1 (DM) 3-member trial-at-bar bench hearing the case involving Bharatha Lakshman killing, issued a stern warning to MP Hirunika Premachandra over her irresponsible conduct in courts, saying she would be charged for contempt of court if she tarnished the dignity of the court. Bench made this remark after Ms. Premachandra entered the court chamber midway while the hearing was in progress, ignoring the practice of making more..

SLT Group posts Rs 3.7 bn profit

Mar 1 (DN) Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT) released its Company and Group financial performance during the year 2015. The group comprises of the holding Company Sri Lanka Telecom PLC and 8 subsidiaries, including the mobile arm Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd. During the year 2015 the group was able to identify strong technology opportunities, accelerated programmes and remain in a strong position in the market place. All segments of the group contributed to a 5% year on year revenue growth more..

New traffic scheme for Kandy

Mar 1 (Island) A new traffic scheme on Peradeniya Road (Sirimavo Bandaranaike Mawatha) and William Gopallawa Mawatha will be implemented from this afternoon. Peradeniya Road will be open for vehicles bound for Kandy only from 3.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. every day from today. Vehicles proceeding in the direction of Peradeniya from Kandy will be diverted via William Gopallawa Mawatha from 3.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. Temporary traffic scheme was being executed to ease the traffic congestion more..

Strange animal species found in Sinharaja

Mar 1 (DM) A new animal species was discovered in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve this evening by Wildlife officials, the Wildlife Ministry said. The officials had rushed to scene following information received around 4 pm about a strange kind of animal in the forest. The animal was found after an extensive search in the Panapola Kosgulana area between Weddagala and Pothupitiya in Sinharaja forest reservation. more..

Thailand sends first team to study Lankan industries, investment

Mar 1 (AT) In a breakthrough for Sri Lanka’s incoming industry FDIs, Thailand, for the first time, has sent a team of its specialized officials to study SriLanka’s rapidly changing industry and investment outlook-and the first official Thai study team comes from the powerful Thai BoI Office itself. “More Thai businesses have inquired about Sri Lanka from us. As a result we decided that we need to study SL potentials sector-wise” revealed Executive Director of Thai Office of BoI, Werapong Siriwon. more..

Drink the excellent Tea from Sri Lankan estate trying to change the brew business

Mar 1 (Saeur) Sri Lanka, a small island off the southern tip of India, shimmers with natural beauty. Sandy beaches stretch forever and high green hills cascade toward the warm Indian Ocean. And from the Buddhist temples on high hills down to the sea-level remains of a Dutch colonial fort, verdant slopes show off the country’s most notable export. Tea is big business in Sri Lanka, and the local tea trade sings a siren call to tourists. Guide books recommend trips to plantations. more..

Major shake up in SLFP organiser posts: Mahinda loyalists axed

Mar 1 (DN) MPs Prasanna Ranatunga and Dilum Amunugama have been removed from their posts of SLFP chief organiser of Minuwangoda and Senkadagala electorates respectively in a major shake up of SLFP organiser posts in keeping with the powers vested in President Maithripala Sirisena in his capacity as the SLFP chairman. In their place, Prasanna’s brother Ruwan Ranatunga has been appointed more..

Joint statement on first annual US – Sri Lanka partnership dialogue

Mar 1 (USDS) The following statement was released by Govts of Sri Lanka and the US after the first annual U.S. – Sri Lanka Partnership Dialogue held on Feb 26, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Begin Text: Sharing a commitment to democracy, rule of law, and shared prosperity, the United States and Sri Lanka convened the inaugural Partnership Dialogue on Feb 26, 2016 in Washington, DC. Both nations highlighted the growing bilateral cooperation between Sri Lanka and United States and more..

Sri Lanka seek answers against in-form India

Mar 1 (CI) India, seven wins from their last eight T20s, are fresh from a high-octane triumph against their greatest rivals. Sri Lanka, having lost six of their last eight T20s, have been comprehensively beaten by a team they used to lord it over. It seems like a distant memory but Sri Lanka did defeat India in a World T20 final, in the team's last bout at this venue. That will seem more distant still, if Sri Lanka continue to play as they recently have. India's batting outlasted sublime Mohammad Amir more..

Avant Garde: CID seeks Interpol assistance

Mar 1 (CT) CID has decided to obtain the assistance of Interpol regarding future investigations into the Avant Garde incident which created much controversy within the country. While the CID has uncovered the fact that Avant Garde Maritime Company of which Nissanka Senadhipathi was Chairman, have agreements with 194 companies in 44 countries to provide maritime services, CID is investigating via obtaining more..

Attempt to sideline popular leaders: Dilum

Mar 1 (DN) MP Dilum Amunugama expressed disappointment over his removal as the SLFP organiser of the Senkadagala electorate in Kandy. Amunugama said that there was an attempt to sideline popular leaders and appoint less capable ones in their place. "Such attempts will only drive the party to defeat at future elections," he added. Amunugama, a vociferous leader of the so-called joint opposition, said he had come to know about his removal through the media. more..

Joint Opposition won't form new party: Vasu

Mar 1 (DM) MP Vasudewa Nanayakkara said that after the announcement of the forthcoming local govt elections, the joint opposition would contest the election under a symbol belonging to one of the six parties in the joint opposition. He said the joint opposition did not want to form a new political party and denied rumours about forming a new political party. He alleged the SLFP's problem was that the party was captured by those who had no public support. more..

Unaccounted Rs. 5.4 b bill from MR-era bloats 2016 Budget

Mar 1 (FT) Minister Ravi Karunanayake revealed that they have found an additional unexpected expenditure of Rs.5.4 billion, which will shoot up total govt expenditure to Rs. 1.15 trillion. This unexpected expenditure was disclosed by a letter sent by Minister S.B. Disannayake. “We certainly knew when we took over economy that it was absolute disaster, but we never knew that it would come to this situation. more..

Singapore to help Sri Lanka in restructuring its foreign ministry

Mar 1 (CNA) Singapore will provide help to Sri Lanka as its govt undergoes restructuring, said Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). In response to a media query, an MFA spokesperson said Singapore will offer capacity-building assistance for the restructuring of Sri Lanka’s foreign affairs ministry. “MFA hosted a two-day study visit in Jan 2016 for senior officials from SL Ministry of Foreign Affairs, covering areas such as planning, human resource and training,” more..

World's largest Ekanite found in Welimada

Mar 1 (DN) Sri Lanka may have yet again unearthed the world's largest Ekanite a naturally radioactive gemstone. The stone unveiled to the media in Ratnapura yesterday consists of 498 Carats. Stone was found from a quarry in the Welimada area. A 161 Carat Ekanite stone found in Eheliyagoda in 1985 was thought to be the largest such gem in the world previously. Ekanite is an uncommon mineral notable primarily as being among the very few gemstones that are naturally radioactive. more..

'I have authority to direct universities'

Mar 1 (Island) Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) has, in a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena, accused Minister of Higher Education Lakshman Kiriella of an attempt to have a particular individual appointed a temporary lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Kelaniya. Minister has made a written request to the Kelaniya University in this regard, university lecturers claim. more..

Child denied school admission over AIDS rumour

Mar 1 (DM) t is not clear as to what extent the heart rending incident, where a boy is being harassed by the education authorities with regard to his admission to a school over a rumour that his father had died from HIV/AIDS, has attracted the interest of the leaders. Going by the media reports the incident has failed to invite the attention of the President or the Prime Minister or the Education Minister or the health authorities, and the NGOs that have been engaging in creating HIV/AIDS awareness more..

What does dashing coconuts signify?

Mar 1 (DM) Why do Hindus use coconuts in their rituals? is a pertinent question at this juncture in our country as some MPs of the Joint Opposition dashed 100,000 coconuts at the Seenigama Devalaya against the FCID. It is learnt that breaking of nuts by the Joint Opposition members was to invoke a divine curse on yahapalanaya Meanwhile it was also learnt that a counter ritual was performed by the Govt to make the coconuts null and void. I do not know how deep rooted or more..

Lingering sore in a fast-healing Jaffna

Mar 1 (ST) It’s a showpiece of human misery and suffering in this northern capital where the ravages of a near three decades of separatist war have almost disappeared. Nestled amidst lush green tobacco and onion fields in Chunnakam, eight kilometres away from this town, are rows of small houses. Rusty zinc sheets form the roof as well as walls. Some are also made of flattened old tar barrels. For 15 long years this refugee camp more..

Twists and turns in elephant tale

Mar 1 (SL) Illegal sourcing of elephants from Sri Lankan forests and the illegal possession of such animals has been a hot topic in recent times. Possession of unregistered elephants is a punishable offence in SL. Since Jan 2015, spontaneous raids carried out by the Department of Wildlife have uncovered 30 cases of illegal possession of such unregistered elephants and the animals have now been placed under more..