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Indian, Sri Lankan fishermen repatriated

Jan 11 (PTI) 51 Indian and 3 SL fishermen were on Tuesday repatriated to their respective countries in line with the decision taken at recent ministerial-level talks held in Colombo, a Fisheries official said. SL Navy handed over the 51 fishermen from TN, arrested over the past few months, to the Indian Coast Guard at the IMBL in the Palk Bay. Similarly, the 3 SL fishermen, released from the Puzhal Prison in Chennai on Jan 8, were handed over to the Sri Lankan Navy at the IMBL, more..

SL Briefing: Political jostling; an oily mess

Jan 11 (Wire) Former President Rajapaksa dominated the news cycle in the emerald isle over his opposition to leasing of land to the Chinese in Hambantota and his intention to bring down SLFP-UNP govt this year. In his weekly column, Sunday Times’ political editor had the most comprehensive laundry list of the ongoing name-calling between the SLFP and UNP. The verbal fights have become so bitter that UNP ministers have accused President Sirisena’s brother of running the rice mafia. more..

Video: No instructions to probe IGP's phone conversation: Ministry Sec

Jan 11 (DM) Law & Order Ministry Secretary Jagath P Wijeweera said he was not instructed to conduct an investigation into the controversial phone conversation where IGP Pujith Jayasundara was involved in reference to an arrest by FCID. Responding to a question he said that he had not received instructions from either the President or the Parliament in writing to conduct an investigation into the incident. more..

Apeksha IVF sign MoU with Indian firm on infertility treatment

Jan 11 (TOI) Manipal Assisted Reproduction Centre (MARC) at Kasturba Medical College and Hospital, Manipal signed an MoU with Apeksha IVF and Research Center, Sri Lanka for treatment, research and development programmes at Kasturba Hospital. MoU will help Sri Lankans with fertility problems as Marc offers a wide range of treatment programs for sub-fertile couples seeking assisted conception. Specialists at Marc will train embryologists in SL as part of this project. more..

Sri Lanka to support Nepal rebuild Rato Machhindranath Temple

Jan 11 (HT) SL Ambassador to Nepal, WS Perera, said Sri Lanka would help Nepal rebuild the Rato Machhindranath Temple in Bungamati and the Ananda Kuti Vihar in Swayambhu. The two significant Buddhist heritage sites of Kathmandu Valley were destroyed in the 2015 April earthquake. In a meeting with the Deputy PM and Minister for Home Affairs Bimalendra Nidhi at the Ministry of Home Affairs today, the envoy showed her concerns over the reconstruction of the heritage sites, more..

CBK calls for talks on foreign judges et al on judicial mechanism

Jan 11 (Island) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has called for extensive discussions on far reaching recommendations, including the participation of foreign judges and other personnel in proposed war crimes probe, made by Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation (CTFRM). The outfit also called for abolition of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), demilitarization of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, more..

It’s my way or the highway, Shermila tells lottery agents

Jan 11 (Island) Chairperson of National Lotteries Board Shermila Perera said that lottery agents would not be paid anything more than the current four-rupee commission. She said she would not give in to that unreasonable demand. She said that neither President nor PM nor Finance Minister had asked her to pay them a higher commission. Asked whether the agents would be paid a higher commission, he said if Lotteries Board was to pay the agents more it would have to close down. more..

$ 2 million grant from KOICA to improve living conditions in Sri Lanka

Jan 11 (FT) The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has signed a grant agreement with the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) to implement a one year project in Sri Lanka’s central province to improve the living conditions and skills of communities in plantation settlements. The Govt of Korea through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is providing funding of USD 2 million to implement the project entitled more..

Big changes to counterterrorism framework

Jan 11 (FT) Govt has brought major revisions to the framework of a proposed counterterrorism law that will replace the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), to bring the draft in line with international best practice and SL’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). A revised draft was submitted to Cabinet by PM yesterday. Initial draft of proposed Counter-Terrorism Act (CTA) more..

Maithri next Presidential candidate: SB

Jan 11 (DM) SLFP Chairman President Maithripala Sirisena would be the next Presidential candidate of SLFP, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said. He said party’s women and youth councils and trade unions attached to the SLFP demanded that President Sirisena should be fielded as Presidential candidate and added that however he had not expressed his views on the matter. Minister said that even though he as the common candidate had vowed not to contest as presidential candidate again, more..

Filling of Moragahakanda reservoir today: Boats ready to rescue wild animals

Jan 11 (CT) Environmentalists said a large number of animals could be lost when filling of Moragahakanda Reservoir with water begins at 11 a.m. today. Project is a major one that will boost livelihoods and agriculture. Wildlife officials said the Reservoir which is thrice as large as the Parakrama Samudra will inundate a large land area of about thirty square kilometers which will include the jungle that is home to elephants, leopards and bear. Animals will be deprived of an area of more..

Video: PM's Constitutional Proposals based on my draft in 2000: CBK

Jan 11 (DM) Former president Chandrika Kumaratunga said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is to introduce a new Constitution based on the Constitutional draft presented by her in Parliament in 2000 but defeated by the then UNP. “It was defeated in Parliament by those who thought I will become very popular if my attempts to bring peace and stability to the country through a new Constitution had succeeded,” she said. more..

Is the govt making MR’s New Year resolution a reality?

Jan 11 (DM) Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced his New Year resolution a little too prematurely, days before 2017 dawned when he pledged to bring down the govt. Last week, his self-anointed cronies put up a good show in Hambantota, though he himself kept way from the scene so that he would not offend the Chinese. Protests at the launching of the Hambantota export zone, where villagers clashed with police highlighted yet again one of the often talked about more..

Toppling the

Jan 11 (CT) Within three weeks we've had growing indications of politically stoked aggression by unruly mobs, egged on by members of the Joint Opposition, threateningly boarding two foreign ships in the Hambantota Harbour, and last weekend intentionally clashing with the Police in a bid to thwart govt's initiatives to achieve economic growth while simultaneously making a desperate attempt to lift the country out of massive public debt burden bequeathed to it by the Rajapaksa regime. more..

Delimitation Drama Continues

Jan 11 (SL) The delimitation drama continued on Friday with Minister Faizer Mustapha saying he was expecting the report from the National Delimitation Commission that afternoon but it did not happen. Chairman of the Committee Asoka Peiris had informed the Secretary to the Ministry that the final report was ready and can be handed over to the Minister last Friday afternoon. However the Ministry later said it was informed by more..

'Large scale rice millers operate Mafia'

Jan 11 (DM) Minister  P. Harrison remains optimistic about the govt and its stability despite some odds. He also speaks about the rice shortage, plans for imports and development work undertaken. The excerpts of the interview: Q: How do you look at the future of the govt in the context of the Minsters taking on each other? A: Two political parties that engaged in hostile politics for over 60 years have now come together for more..

Sugar crisis likely, huge stocks stuck at port

Jan 11 (ST) Sri Lanka could face a serious sugar shortage soon due to delays in the customs clearance of around 3,000 containers carrying stocks, sugar importers warned. The containers have been held up at the Colombo Port for months because of suspicion after  detection of containers carrying cocaine in sugar cargo. The delays were also due to the imposition of an additional import tax of Rs. 6 a kilo. more..

'JO engaged Lankans in USA against Hillary becoming President’

Jan 11 (DM) Joint Opposition MP Bandula Gunawardene in an interview with the Dailymirror, speaks about the status of economy, future challenges and the global situation. Q: How do you analyse the end result of the implementation of the current budgetary provisions? A: If you look at the country’s status of economy in 2017 from an objective and economic point of view, you can foresee a number of challenges lying ahead. more..

Captain of ship carrying 492 Tamil migrants continues testimony

Jan 11 (VS) A prosecutor suggested Tuesday that a man accused of helping smuggle 492 Tamils into Canada in 2010 was ripped off when he ended up being the captain of the vessel that brought the migrants across the Pacific Ocean. Lesly Emmanuel, one of four men on trial, on Monday testified that he had paid US$15,000 as a deposit to be a passenger aboard the MV Sun Sea when it left Thailand for Canada in July 2010. more..

Goon attacks in Hambantota: PM’s guards disable Hiru drone chip

Jan 11 (Island) The memory chip of the Hiru TV drone, containing aerial visuals of the Hambantota violence had been disabled by the PM’s Security Division which seized it on Saturday during the Hambantota protest, News Director of ABC Sudeva Hettiarachchi said. He said the drone has been given back to them without the memory chip by Saturday evening after the intervention of Information Department officials. more..

Volkswagen affair: German embassy played significant role until project went awry

Jan 11 (Island) BoI Chief Upul Jayasuriya has said that German embassy in Colombo had been directly involved in abortive bid to bring in German car maker Volkswagen, though the diplomatic mission sought to distance itself from the project. Jayasuriya said both German Ambassador Dr Jurgen Morhand and deputy head of mission Dr Michael Dohmen had been involved in talks beginning early 2015. more..

Video: Right to Information (RTI) Act comes into force on Feb 3: Gayantha

Jan 11 (DM) Right to Information (RTI) Act would be fully operative from Feb 3 enabling people to obtain any information from the govt, Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said. He said this at a special meeting with Information Commission Chairman, committee members and media ministry members at the parliament premises yesterday. “As promised by this govt to bring in the RTI Act before it came to power it had taken steps to present more..

'I didn't ask the Delimitation Committee to drag the report'

Jan 11 (DM) The Delimitation Committee report has drawn much attention from many segments of society and now it has evolved into a controversial issue. Minister Faiszer Musthapha spoke extensively on the many charges levelled against him by his critics. Q: The report of the Delimitation Committee has created much sensation, can you actually tell what the present position is? A: I received an intimation, while I was abroad, more..

Adopt task force’s justice proposals: HRW

Jan 11 (HRW) Sri Lanka’s govt should promptly implement recommendations on transitional justice proposed by the Consultation Task Force (CTF) in a report released on Jan 3, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The report reflects the first broad survey of Sri Lankan citizens on their aspirations for truth and justice, as called for by the Oct 2015 resolution of the UNHRC. Key among the task force’s recommendations is the creation more..

Wilpattu deforestation controversy

Jan 11 (DM) The controversy over the alleged deforestation in the Wilpattu area by certain politicians has now resurfaced. It had been dragged on for the past three to four years intermittently creating media debates, without the authorities attempting to settle the issue for good. This has thus created a situation where politicians and rabble-rousers can have field days in media talk-shows. While pointing the finger at Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, the environmentalists argue that more..

The farce that is Yahapâlanaya: Two years on and failing

Jan 11 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will do well to remember the deceit of Madame Chandrika Kumaratunga in April 2004. The current President Maithripala Sirisena could repeat history as pressure mounts on him to save his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP-Maithri Faction). The SLFP-M, as per media reports has connived and has decided not to abolish the Presidential system. They have proposed to forward President Sirisena again for a second Presidential term at the next elections. more..

Yahapalana Coal tender scam

Delay in doctors’ transfers: GMOA rebuts ministry allegation

Jan 11 (DN) GMOA rejects the allegation made by the Health Ministry ​against the GMOA ​in connection with delaying doctors' transfers, GMOA Secretary Dr. Navin De Zoiysa said. GMOA consisting of over 18,000 Medical Officers has taken steps to implement the annual transfers of 2017 on time according to the rules and regulations. GMOA has taken steps with due representations to Minister Rajitha Senaratne and Ministry Secretary Anura Jayawickrama to achieve this target, he said. more..

National Sports and Physical Fitness Promotion Week declared

Jan 11 (PMD) The week commencing 6th Feb to 12th Feb has been declared as the National Sports and Physical Fitness Promotion Week with the aim of creating healthy, happy and energetic Sri Lankan generation. In parallel to this event, numerous Sports and Physical Fitness Promotion programmes are scheduled to launch across the country. A discussion in this regard was held at the Presidential Secretariat, today (10) under the patronage of President Sirisena and more..

'Rajapaksa supporters hindering Hambantota development to retain political grip'

Jan 11 (DN) Mahinda Rajapaksa supporters are hindering the development plans of the govt to retain their power in Hambantota by hook or by crook, UNP MP Mujibur Rahman said. He said once the agreement is signed on the Hambantota port project, a committee will be appointed to look into the progress in which former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa will also be one of the members. Rahman said Rajapaksa’s supporters fear more..

Cabinet approves US$1.5bn development bond issue

Jan 11 (LBO) Cabinet approved a proposal to borrow US$ 1.5 billion from the issuances of development bonds this year. Borrowings from domestic sources is estimated to be at 1,129 billion rupees and foreign sources is estimated to be 450 billion rupees. The domestic borrowings will mainly consist of the issuance of treasury bonds and development bonds. In terms of foreign borrowings, cabinet approval has been granted on 13 Dec 2016 to raise funds through a foreign currency more..

'No agreement on a new electoral system'

Jan 11 (NR) The JVP has rejected reports of party leaders agreeing to the proposed new electoral system for the upcoming Local Govt Election. Speaking to the BBC World Service, JVP leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said Minister Faizer Mustapha is spreading false rumour pertaining to the matter. A party leaders meeting was held on Monday under the auspices of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Discussions were held pertaining to holding the Local Govt election promptly. more..

Allow future leaders to emerge: MR

Jan 11 (NR) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today called on the SLFP to allow future leaders to emerge to take the country forward. In response to calls made by several SLFP Ministers recently urging President Sirisena to contest the 2020 Presidential Elections, Former Rajapaksa said futures leaders should receive a platform in the political sphere. He took to his official twitter account to host a question and answer session. more..

GMOA cranks up agitation against private medical college

Jan 11 (Island) GMOA warned that the country’s medical students would refrain from going in for lectures calling upon the govt to stop new enrolment at the Malabe Private Medical College. GMOA Secretary Dr Naveen de Zoysa said the students were scheduled to stage a lecture boycott on Friday to pressure the govt to stop new enrolments for Medicine at Malabe. Unless the govt heeded their demand they would be compelled to resort to continuous protests from next Monday. more..

Access Engineering invests in Rs10bn mixed development

Jan 11 (LBO) Access Engineering has invested 2.295 billion rupees in a joint venture to build a mixed development project at Colombo 15. The joint venture, Hotel 10 (Private) Limited, comprises of Mustafa’s PTE LTD, China Harbour Engineering Company (Lanka) Limited and Access Engineering. Company said that they entered into a supplementary agreement with BOI. Development will take place on a 5 acre land situated at No.250, Srimath Ramanathan Mawatha, Col 15. more..

'Govt gives breakdown of land for UPFA projects'

Jan 11 (NR) The govt says those opposing the Hambantota Investment Zone received over 10,000 acres in land during the UPFA led govt in the same area. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said loans were also obtained from the Mahaweli Development Authority. He citing a few examples of the land given over by the former govt said, the Airport construction took 707.4 acres of land, the first phase of the Hambantota port 2,707 acres, the second phase 1,203 acres. more..

AG tells court DNA test being conducted on Thajudeen’s bones

Jan 11 (Island) Attorney General informed the Colombo High Court that the bones of murdered ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen were being subjected to a DNA test and the report would be submitted to the court shortly. The hearing of the anticipatory bail application filed by retired Chief JMO  Prof. Ananda Samarasekera will be postponed until then. Senior State Counsel Dilan Ratnayake appeared for the AG. High Court Judge R. Gurusinghe fixed the next date for March 10, 2017. more..

'Misunderstanding led to Hambantota unrest'

Jan 11 (DN) The lack of knowledge of the people on the agreements of the Hambantota projects led to the unrest, said the President of the SLFP Youth Front, Shantha Bandara. He said although development programmes in Hambantota were commendable, lack of knowledge of the clergy and civilians regarding the projects and agreements, led to such a situation. He added that not only the Buddhist priests but civilians too have the right to understand what was taking place. more..

Uncapped Thikshila de Silva for SA T20Is

Jan 11 (CI) Uncapped batting allrounder Thikshila de Silva has been named in Sri Lanka's squad for the T20 series against South Africa, which starts from Jan 20. Thikshila is yet to play international cricket in any format; the other new member of the T20 squad is the left-arm wristspinner Lakshan Sandakan, who has played 3 Tests and an ODI. Legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay, who impressed in World T20 last year, more..

Sri Lanka faces steep rise in dengue cases

Jan 11 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka has seen a steep rise in dengue cases with a thousand people detected with the virus in the first 10 days of January. According to programs carried out by the National Dengue Prevention Unit and the Health Ministry, over 2 million premises were checked for possible dengue breeding grounds last year. Out of these numbers, over 40,000 premises with dengue larvae were found, while over 450,000 premises were found to be possible dengue breeding grounds. more..