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Lanka Coal Company board of directors, chairman removed

Jan 17 (AD) Board of Directors of the Lanka Coal Company, including the Chairman Maithri Gunaratne, has been removed by Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya. A statement issued by the ministry today stated that after considering the facts, recommendations and conclusions of the report submitted by AG to the Parliament’s Sectoral Oversight Committee on Energy on 2016.12.30 regarding the coal purchases made by more..

Who is afraid of a new constitution?

Jan 18 (CT) I have simply plagiarized the title from the theme on which the People’s Power (PP) and the National Movement for a Just Society (NMJS) have organized a public meeting on this Wednesday. Whatever the speakers are going to say at that meeting, the theme is sharply accurate in capturing the questioning minds of the ordinary masses on the dubious twists and turns of politicians and other public figures on the question of a New Constitution. Who is afraid and why? more..

Peoples participation in governance

Jan 18 (CT) I have simply plagiarized the title from the theme on which the People’s Power (PP) and the National Movement for a Just Society (NMJS) have organized a public meeting on this Wednesday. Whatever the speakers are going to say at that meeting, the theme is sharply accurate in capturing the questioning minds of the ordinary masses on the dubious twists and turns of politicians and other public figures on the question of a New Constitution. Who is afraid and why? more..

Changing traditions of Pongal festival

Jan 18 (DN) Jaffna was quiet the night before Thai Pongal: shops closed early, streets emptied and restaurants shuttered. Strolling through the silent lanes, one could get the idea that the city had been deserted. But just after sundown the fireworks began, literally. Groups of teenage boys flitted in and out of alleys equipped with sparklers and small firecrackers, setting up their gear & then fleeing the scene with big smiles more..

Hitting a classical note with ease

Jan 18 (ST) It was always there, says Gehan Cooray, trying to pinpoint the exact moment he knew he wanted to pursue a career in the performing arts.  Opera singer/ filmmaker/ actor, he effortlessly launches his long lean frame into an elegant Cleopatra pose on top of a table (making it look completely natural) and it’s easy to see that he was born and not moulded into his profession. In a week’s time, music lovers can watch Gehan take the stage for Music from the Heart. more..

A man of hope who realised his dream

Jan 18 (ST) Sunday Hindi movie on the black and white television screen installed in the first SOS Children’s Village in Greenfields, India in the late ’60s by J.N. Kaul, was not only the highlight of each week but an occasion which called for brotherhood and merry-making. With food to pass around and blankets to nestle in, it was more a family carnival chuckles Siddhartha Kaul, President, SOS Children’s Villages Int'l, reminiscing about his earliest memories of community feeling. more..

Interview: Deconstructing the CTF Report

Jan 18 (GV) Excerpts from an interview with the Chairperson of the Consultation Task Force for Reconciliation Mechanisms (CTF) Manouri Muttetuwegama on their recently released report. Q: What do you think are the most important points that people should focus on in the recently released CTF report? A: Firstly, it’s a matter of pride to CTF, how honestly people came and expressed their concerns to us. more..

Time to scrap mini hydro power plants

Jan 18 (SL) Environmentalists warn that it is high time that the Power and Renewable Energy Ministry scrap mini hydro power plants in the country. The negative impacts  of Mini hydro plants is huge for a biodiversity hotspot country like ours. When considering the long term impacts it is advisable to put an end to such projects Hemantha Withanage, Executive Director, Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) blamed the Sustainable Energy Authority of Sri Lanka for misguiding the nation saying more..

H’tota Port issue: Controversy continues!

Jan 18 (SL) The govt’s recent decision to lease out the Hambantota Harbour over to a Chinese company has given rise to much tension in the Hambantota district. Although the formal agreement on the matter had been scheduled to be signed on Jan 7, it has now been postponed until further notice. It is said that the signing of the agreement has been postponed due to the fact that the contract document had not been drafted in a way that would be favourable for the Ports Authority. more..

Keheliya Rambukwella

Editorial: Obama’s swansong

Jan 18 (Island) President Barack Obama has, towards the latter part of his second term, shown a tendency to get increasingly maudlin. Tears welled up in his eyes the other day while making his farewell speech. Last year, he refused to speak at his daughter Malia’s graduation lest he should get too emotional. In 2015, he was seen wiping away tears during a fascinating performance by Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. It is toe-curling to see grown up men, especially political leaders, more..

Defeat conspiracy against Sri Lankan judges

Jan 18 (Island) There has been a concerted effort by NGOs, both here and abroad, to look down upon our judges and attack, in a most dastardly manner, the judiciary. When this attack began, we were ruled by a govt, which was considered anti-Western, pro-Russian and left leaning. So, it was a Western agenda to destabilise the three branches of govt— executive, legislature and judiciary. There were enough and more reasons for the general public to be dissatisfied with executive & legislature. more..

H1N1: Proper screening vital

Jan 18 (CT) Last week, it was reported that three patients at the Nephrology Unit of the Kandy Teaching Hospital died due to the influenza virus, H1N1. Accordingly, three deaths were reported from Ward 69 of the Kandy Teaching Hospital and subsequent to the incident, the ward was closed to stop the spread of the virus. Later, the patients of the ward were transferred to a special unit by the hospital administration. more..

Cricket mourns death of singer Deepal Silva

Jan 18 (Island) Cricket has lost one of its true fans with the death of singer Deepal Silva. Deepal was a huge cricket fan and never missed a game when the national cricket team was involved. It is said that he didn’t accept shows if they clashed with cricket matches. After hearing his death, former captain Sanath Jayasuriya tweeted. "Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of a legend of Sri Lankan music. Deepal Silva, you will be missed. May you attain nibbana," he tweeted. more..

Finding a second wind

Jan 18 (CI) India pulled off an astonishing chase in Pune, recovering from 63 for 4 to hunt down 351 thanks to a 200-run stand between Virat Kohli and Kedar Jadhav. ESPNcricinfo picks out a few other successful chases - and a tie - which came courtesy of memorable recoveries. Australia beat West Indies by one wicket, Sydney, 1996 (38 for 6 chasing 173): New Year's Day, 1996. As Sydney tried to shake off a collective hangover, it appeared Australia were staggering towards defeat. more..

'No grouses with majority community against Tamils'

Jan 18 (ANI) Highlighting the changes taking place in Sri Lanka between the majority and Tamils, Field Marshal turned politician Sarath Fonseka on Tuesday said that there are no grouses with the majority community in the northern SL regarding the 13th amendment. "We have given that message to the majority community in the south also. There are no grouses with the majority community with the people in the north now. more..

CSN vs. TRC case: CA further extends status quo till 17 Feb

Jan 18 (FT) The Court of Appeal further extended its order to maintain status quo till 17 Feb in respect to the licenses issued for four frequencies allocated to Calton Sports Network (CSN) by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC). The bench comprised Justices Vijith K. Malalgoda (President/CA) and S. Thurairajah. The Court of Appeal on 12 Dec granted time till 17 January to Mass Media Ministry Secretary and TRC to file objections in respect of the writ petition more..

SL is paying past bills, planning for future

Jan 18 (EAF) 2015 was a major turning point for Sri Lanka as a nation. It was a year that saw the Sri Lankan people reject a corrupt and authoritarian regime led by Mahinda Rajapaksa and move decisively towards democracy and communal reconciliation. The new govt under President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe also signalled a return to Sri Lanka’s traditional balanced foreign policy, away from its previous tilt towards China. more..

SAGA of New Robber Barons in Hambantota

Jan 18 (Island) Why the US and India have not yet raised an issue over the decision of the govt to lease out Hambantota Port to a Chinese company for 99 years has surprised many. SL govt has also decided to grant China 15,000 acres in the vicinity of Hambantota Port. Since it is hard to find the real causes of the deafening silence on the part of India and the US, one may attribute it to two factors either in combination or alone. more..

Diaspora behind conditions for GSP+: JO

Jan 18 (FT) The Joint Opposition slammed the Govt for considering what it termed as conditions that would be harmful to the country to regain GSP+ and claimed diaspora communities were responsible for the European Union (EU) holding Sri Lanka to 27 international conventions. SLPP Chairman G.L. Peiris charged that the EU was attempting to get involved in the internal matters of Sri Lanka and alleged it would be beneficial to the aspirations of Tamil diaspora groups. more..

SLBA mulls changes to Constitution

Jan 18 (CT) The Sri Lanka Badminton Association (SLBA) authorities are putting in much effort to get certain points included in the Badminton Constitution of 2015/10 amended according to the sports regulations stated in Gazette Notification No. 1990/23 dated 27 Oct 2016. Accordingly, SLBA has summoned a meeting of the Executive Committee for the 27th of this month and is scheduled to amend five points. Even though the Constitution of 2015 states that the Presidency of the Association more..

Sri Lanka is making its contribution to economic integration in South Asia: PM

Jan 18 (FT) Sri Lanka is making its contribution to the economic integration in South Asia by making Sri Lanka the hub of Indian Ocean, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. Addressing a press conference at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday along with Ministers Malik Samarawickrema, Ravi Karunanayake and Harin Fernando, PM said with SL’s hub concept, more..

SC directs corrupt CEB officer to pay Rs. 1.1 m compensation to Dikhena resident

Jan 18 (FT) The Supreme Court recently directed an Assistant Investigation Officer of the CEB as well as the CEB to pay compensation to the tune of Rs.  1.1 million to a resident of Dikhena, Pitigala for having violated his Fundamental Rights by levelling false charges against him of tapping electricity illegally as well as for soliciting a bribe to drop these charges. The Court directed that petitioner Sunil Seneviratne be paid Rs. 725,000 by CEB official who was the first Respondent in the case more..

Northern Naval Command conducts a specialized field medical clinic in Delft Island

Jan 18 (SLN) Northern Naval Command conducted a large-scale specialized field health clinic at the community cultural centre in Delft Island on 12th Jan. Accordingly, this field medical clinic was successfully held under the patronage of the Commander Northern Naval Area, Piyal de Silva and in partnership with the staff members of the Teaching Hospital, Jaffna and Regional Director of Health Services, Jaffna. More than 483 patients in the isolated Delft Island more..

Recommendation of GSP +to Sri Lanka: EU denies laying down any conditions

Jan 18 (DN) Head of the Political, Trade and Communication Section of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) in Sri Lanka Paul Godfrey denied that the EU laid down any conditions as such to Sri Lanka - 58 conditions in total as some news reports have been suggestive of – to recommend GSP+ to Sri Lanka. Godfrey said the European Commission in Brussels recommended granting GSP+ preferences for Sri Lanka more..

Youth Climate Summit travels to Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (ADE) Adirondackers have traveled across the globe to contribute to Sri Lanka’s first Youth Climate Summit, taking place Friday through Sunday. Wild Center Director of Programs Jen Kretser and Adirondack Youth Climate Program Coordinator Katie Morgan, both of Saranac Lake, are attending the summit with college students and Youth Climate Summit alumni Jack Gallagher and Amanda Bruha. “We’re really excited because we really want to listen and learn,” Kretser said. more..

SL-Thai FTA study to conclude by August

Jan 18 (FT)  A preliminary study looking into the feasibility of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Sri Lanka and Thailand is projected to conclude by August, according to a statement released by Industry and Commerce Ministry, which looks at increasing trade between the two countries including sugar imports.  During his visit to Thailand to take part in the Asia Pacific Ministerial Talks, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen met his counterpart Thai Minister of Commerce Apiradi Tantraporn. more..

Mega coal controversy: LCC Chairman who blew the whistle sacked

Jan 18 (DN) The tussle between key players in the power and energy sector came to a head yesterday, when Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya dissolved the board of directors of the Lanka Coal Company (LCC) on the advise of Secretary Dr. Suren Batagoda. Batagoda said he had written to the Minister, prompting him to dissolve the board of directors at the LCC and call a shareholders meeting, to look into issues. more..

Former Dy Minister issued notice to give evidence

Jan 18 (Island) Colombo High Court Judge yesterday issued notice on the former Deputy Minister Wasantha Senanayake to be present in court on March 16 to give evidence at the trial against the Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka thera, who is indicated on an allegation of abuse of public property. Consequent to a joint investigation conducted by the CID and the Department of Wildlife, a baby elephant was taken into custody on Jan. 28, 2015, from Allen Mathiniyaramaya. more..

SL agrees to follow Saudi recruitment system

Jan 18 (AN) A Sri Lankan labor delegation has agreed to follow Saudi Arabia’s Musaned online recruitment system following a meeting with senior officials. A 4-member Sri Lankan team headed by G.S. Withanage, secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Employment, met with Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Development Ziyad AI-Sayegh in Riyadh. Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim said the two parties agreed to follow the Musaned system since it is fast and efficient. more..

Omanthai army camp, checkpoint removed

Jan 18 (DM) Vavuniya Govt Agent M.B.R. Pushpakumara said Omanthai Army Camp and Checkpoint on A-9 Road had been dismatled after 25 years and the land occupied by the Army was officially handed over him to be given to its original owners. Camp was set up in 1992 for security reasons and the checkpoint began operations on March 22, 2002 and became well known as one of the important nerve centres more..

Ranil and Xi talk investment in Davos

Jan 18 (FT) Chinese President Xi Jingping yesterday met with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland where discussions on the Hambantota port, investment zone and the Port City projects unfolded. Ahead of Xi’s address at the forum’s opening ceremony, he met with Wickremesinghe, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Serbian PM Aleksandar Vui and Swiss President Doris Leuthard. more..

Angelo confident of bouncing back: Thilanga

Jan 18 (DN) Bouncing back graciously from a crushing defeat, Sri Lanka’s young Test team led by captain Angelo Mathews engaged in a lengthy discussion with president of Sri Lanka Cricket Thilanga Sumathipala yesterday. During the meeting, captain affirmed his team’s commitment to re-strategize for the upcoming T20 and ODI series in South Africa. SLC president convened this emergency meeting at SLC headquarters with the participation of vice-presidents more..

President puts on hold PM's corrupt BOI tyre plant deal

Jan 18 (Island) President has directed cabinet of ministers to put on hold Radial Tyre plant project at Wagawatte, Horana until the return of PM from Switzerland where he was attending the World Economic Forum. President has intervened in the wake of Italian giant Marangoni denying investing US$ 75 million (Rs 11 billion) in a proposed Tyre manufacturing plant under BOI and distancing itself from the project. more..

India funds post of Hindi Professor at University of Kelaniya

Jan 18 (HCI) A MoU was signed on 17 January 2017 between the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the University of Kelaniya to fund the post of an ICCR Professor for Hindi Language at the University. The MoU was signed on behalf of ICCR by Mr. Arindam Bagchi, Acting High Commissioner of India, and by Mr. Sunanda Madduma Bandara, Vice Chancellor, University of Kelaniya. Today’s decision is reflective of the increasing popularity of Hindi in Sri Lanka, more..

Chief Ministers to meet MR

Jan 18 (DN) Chief Ministers of seven Provincial Councils are planning to meet former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss a strategy for the restoration of unity among party circles in view of the upcoming Local Govt polls and Provincial Council elections, SLFP sources said. The idea of meeting the former president had come up at an unofficial discussion among provincial ministers after a formal meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena at Temple Trees recently. more..

Axe hangs over BOI head?

Jan 18 (FT) In a dramatic turn of events after details of two mega investment projects went sour, BOI Chairman Upul Jayasuriya has been thrown in the line of fire with speculation rife over his imminent removal from the State-run body. Speculation in the upper echelons of the business world indicated on Tuesday that the BOI Chairman would be removed from his post after the BOI reportedly objected to some of the features more..

Religions meant to build bridges, not walls

Jan 18 (DM) Worldwide, people this week are celebrating World Religions Day. It is the 67th annual event dedicated to spiritual unity and interfaith dialogue which are vital to find a lasting solution to major crises we are faced with including world poverty alleviation, the battle against climate change and a commitment to non-violence or a peaceful resolution of conflicts without resorting to war.   This important event was started by the Baha’i community, a monotheistic more..

A dividing society; a divided self

Jan 18 (DM) Not only is the govt increasingly divided, I am too. It was almost the end of 2016 and at the society wedding of the year attended by the incumbent President, the PM and two former Presidents (of wildly unequal popularity even in an elite setting), that a very senior retired civil servant posed the following question to me in the buffet queue: Dayan, have you ever seen a government that was quite as stupid as this one? My prompt answer was nope.    more..

'They are the political traitors, not we'

Jan 18 (DM) Minister Malik Samarawickrema disclosed his views about the Ruhunu Development Zone, the Development Special Provision Bill and other matters: Q: Are you satisfied with the performance of the Govt over the past two years? A: Of course I am satisfied with what we have done. When our Govt was formed the economy of the country was in a mess with Rs. 9,500 billion foreign debt. more..