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Welikada prison riots: Fresh push for justice

Jan 18 (SL) A fresh push for justice has been made over the Welikada prison riot and the push is being made by a journalist. The Human Rights Commission in Sri Lanka (HRCSL) last week recorded a statement from a journalist over the 2012 riot. The statement was recorded from journalist Kasun Pussewela after he had filed a petition at the HRCSL. Pussewela had sought an investigation into the incident saying there was ample evidence more..

US$ 125 Mn credit to modernize agriculture

Jan 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka has signed a 125 million dollar credit with the World Bank to support and promote commercial and export-oriented agriculture, with focus on higher value agriculture products, such as fruits and vegetables. Under the project, investments to improve productivity and diversify production patterns through modern agriculture technology demonstrations in key areas and support new institutional arrangements more..

Dehiwala Zoo making positive changes: Tony and Sanju chimps get a family!

Jan 18 (NG) In 2012, in partnership with The Jane Goodall Institute, Phoenix Zoo created a unique position to promote international animal welfare. Hilda Tresz, Behavioral Enrichment & Int'l Animal Welfare Coordinator, is responsible for developing and overseeing the Zoo’s Behavioral Enrichment program, but also extends her work beyond the Zoo through an intenational role of helping zoos improve animal care. more..

Leasing vehicles: AG goes ahead with controversial arrangement

Jan 18 (Island) Many an eyebrow has been raised over the Auditor General’s Department leasing 25 double cabs from a private company close on the heels of the Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Ministry turning down a similar deal on the basis it would amount to an illegal transaction. Secretary to Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Ministry has declined to authorise a 5-yr agreement to lease 58 vehicles for MPs. more..

Over 14 appointees to overseas embassies from outside the foreign service

Jan 18 (ST) A businessman who was once handpicked by the former administration to head Sri Lanka’s embassy in Nigeria, has been officially named ambassador-designate to Qatar. ASP Liyanage was nominated by President Maithripala Sirisena. Qatari Govt is yet to be notified. He is the latest in a number of political appointments made to the highest levels of Sri Lanka’s diplomatic corps. more..

PUCSL introduces installment plan for electricity connections

Jan 18 (CG) Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator, has introduced a guideline to identify information for an installment payment system for those who are not able to pay the connection charge for a new electricity connection, in terms of Section 27 of SL Electricity Act, No. 20 of 2009 as amended. “Sri Lanka has named year 2017 as the year for eradicating poverty in the country. more..

Sri Lanka has to swallow cyanide pill to get GSP+ restored: JO

Jan 18 (Island) Sri Lanka had to comply with 58 conditions within the next four months to obtain the GSP+ tax concession again betraying the country to European Union, JO claimed. Former Minister G.L. Peiris said the EU had proposed same conditions to restore the GSP+ concession to the Rajapaksa govt, but the then govt declined to follow through. "As the External Affairs Minister at the time, I participated in more..

Cabinet decides not to de-criminalize homosexuality

Jan 18 (ENS) The cabinet has decided not to de-criminalize homosexuality, cabinet spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said here on Wednesday. But asked if there is a possibility of homosexuals being arrested under the existing law which criminalizes homosexuality, Senaratne said there is little likelihood of arrests as people indulge in homosexuality indoors, and therefore, it cannot be proved. more..

New Muslim Cultural Center in Colombo

Jan 18 (PSL) In the way Sinhala, Muslim and Tamil leaders in this country played their role and fulfilled their mission during the struggle for national freedom, everybody should get together to perform the today’s duty to build the country by taking it towards development”, says President Sirisena. He was speaking at the ceremony to open newly built Muslim Cultural Center of Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs more..

Govt sitting on a power keg

Jan 18 (CT) Western Province Chief Minister Isuru Devapriya had castigated the JVP alleging it was responsible for the aborted violence at the launching ceremony of Chinese Development Zone Project in Hambantota. UPFA's General Secretary went one better, claiming that the objective of the violent protest demonstration was to trigger a Killing as quoted in a daily last Friday. If we are to go by what these two men, who know what's going on inside these political parties, more..

Two years of Yahapâlanaya: Is development a mere mirage?

Jan 18 (CT) 8th January 2015 for most people in Sri Lanka was a new dawn, a new President followed in July with the formation of a National Unity govt, with a promise of good governance and all that goes with the new broom. There were all sorts of promises and mega plans for the nation. Also a promise to bring to account all those robbed the country during the previous regime. Here we are two years down the line; what have we achieved. Not much, to say the least. more..

Fairly fales for the People; Deals for Ministers

Digital Economic Policy will be implemented in 2017: Harin

Jan 18 (NR) Minister Harin Fernando explained the seven pillars introduced by the govt in order to establish a digital economy in SL. Accordingly, Minister said the present administration mapped out what it wanted to achieve within the next 5 years. He said key areas the govt focused on were digital connectivity, a National Digital Identification for all citizens, a national payment platform, a single platform for the govt to connect, digital security, digital legislation and digital education. more..

Driving licence to include driver’s will to donate their organs

Jan 18 (AD) A proposal by Minister Rajitha Senarathne to amend forms of obtaining and renewing driving licences by including a declaration to declare the will of drivers to donate their organs and to indicate that will on the driving licence card has been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. “With the development of science and technology, organ and tissue transplantation gives many benefits to patients. Living humans as well as brain dead or dead via circulatory death may donate organs more..

Man behind Yahapalana Corrupt deals

Jan 18 (CT) Minister Malik Samarawickrama, who is also a very close associate of PM has been accused of playing dirty games in the Yahapalanaya govt in his attempts to serve his very own personal agendas, by openly flaunting regulations and letting his henchmen run riot and call the shots. According to highly placed sources, Samarawickrema has been pushing for the formation of the Agency for Development, more..

President’s visit to Iran rescheduled

Jan 18 (NR) President Sirisena has postponed a scheduled visit to Iran that was due to commence on the 21st of Jan. The proposed visit has been rescheduled for February. The PMD attributed the postponement to urgent commitments of the Head of State. President was also scheduled to visit Russia later month following his tour of Iran. Earlier Iranian media reported, the proposed visit was delayed over a dispute pertaining to an unpaid crude oil consignment owed to Iran by Sri Lanka. more..

Action taken to arrest tri forces deserters

Jan 18 (MoD) Authorities have begun taking legal action against tri forces deserters who have failed to obtain legal discharge during the General Amnesty that ended on 31st Dec (2016), states Military Spokesman Brigadier Rohan Seneviratne. Tri forces personnel who are considered as Away Without Official Leave (AWOL) were provided two opportunities during last year to seek legal discharge. Police and the Department of Immigration and Emigration have commenced more..

Govt to take over land leased out for VOA

Jan 18 (DM) Govt has decided to terminate the agreement with the American Embassy and take over the block of land which was leased out to the embassy to set up a Voice of America (VOA) transmission station. American Embassy has informed SL Govt that it wished to hand over the land and the other assets before the expiration of the lease agreement. PM, in his capacity as Minister of National Policies & Economic Affairs, more..

Man killed in shootout at Wasgamuwa National Park

Jan 18 (DM) A 38-year-old man was killed at the Wasgamuwa National Park during a shootout between wildlife officers and a group of hunters, who had allegedly entered the park last night, Police said. A wild life officer has also been arrested in connection with the shootout which took place when officials launched a search operation following a tip off. The three individuals were asked to surrender but had opted to open fire. A suspect who was injured during the shootout more..

Police ordered to end probe into Rs.12bn cocaine haul

Jan 18 (NR) The Colombo High Court today ordered the Police Narcotics Bureau to conclude investigations into the 12 billion rupee haul of cocaine promptly. The order was issued by Colombo High Court Judge Lal Bandara. Additionally, Court ordered the Police Narcotics Bureau to produce the suspects arrested in connection to the seizure before Court. Producing details before Court the Police Narcotics Bureau said extensive investigations are being carried out. more..

SL slams credit squeeze on 3-wheelers, cars

Jan 18 (EN) SL has slammed a credit squeeze on three wheelers, which has stepped into a breach left by low quality, highly regulated bus service and provided a better service to passengers, while literally creating millions of jobs. Central Bank giving effect to a budget proposal said banks would only be allowed to provide 25% of credit to the value of a three wheeler. Sri Lanka has more than a million three wheelers on the road, more..

Microsoft to support digitalization in SL

Jan 18 (NR) President of Microsoft International Jean-Philippe Courtois has expressed support to improve computer literacy and fast-track digitalization in Sri Lanka. Speaking to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Sri Lankan delegation on the sidelines of the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, President Courtois spoke of the necessity and importance to direct attention pertaining to the creation of a paperless work environment. more..

Sri Lanka to expand regulatory Raj; three wheeler regulator next

Jan 18 (EN) Sri Lanka is getting ready to set up yet another regulatory agency at tax payer expense, this time to regulate three wheelers and private vans transporting school children, with a committee of bureaucrats tasked with the matter. The proposal to expand the regulatory Raj with new bodies to oversee the two types of vehicles were contained in the budget for 2017. The cabinet had approved a proposal by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has set up a committee to more..

President presided over a special ministerial discussion on drought relief preparations

Jan 18 (PSL) A special discussion was held today under the patronage of President Sirisena, to look into the preparations at Ministerial level to provide essential reliefs to the public during the impending  drought situation. President has given instructions to appoint a special committee comprising Secretaries of Ministries of Power and Energy, Mahaweli and Water Supply, to make quick decisions in the process of more..

SL to regularize small commercial vessels

Jan 18 (LBO) Cabinet has decided to regularize small commercial vessels that have been in service as well as new vessels including pleasure vessels used for profit or reward. Accordingly, commercial vessels, which are cargo and passenger vessels of less than 24 meters, but five meters or more in length, which carry not more than 100 passengers, or provide overnight accommodation for up to 20 passengers, engaged in domestic voyages are covered under this new regulation. more..

Supreme Court grants leave to proceed

Jan 18 (DN) Supreme Court granted leave to proceed in the fundamental rights application filled by the Lankaputhra Development Bank Chairman against the Central Bank. A two-judge Bench headed by the Chief Justice granted leave to proceed in the fundamental rights application filed by Lankaputhra Development Bank Chairman Lasantha Goonewardena, against a decision of the Central Bank Director, Bank Supervision (DBS). The application challenges the determination of more..

With drought looming, Sri Lanka tries something new: preparing

Jan 18 (TRF) With rainfall in many areas just a third of that last year and many water reservoirs far below normal levels, Sri Lankans have begun holding traditional ceremonies to invoke rain – some with the participation of President Maithripala Sirisena. But this time, national officials are also doing something new to prepare for what many fear could be the worst drought in decades: Developing plans, in advance, to deal with it. more..

Apart from NTBs in other countries, Sri Lanka domestic barriers also affect export

Jan 18 (ENS) Apart from Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) in other countries, domestic trade barriers of various kinds also hamper Sri Lanka’s agricultural exports, reveals a recent study done by Verite Research, a Colombo-based think tank. Briefing the media on the findings of the study, economists Nishan de Mel and Subhashini Abeysinghe said that it would be wrong to point an accusing finger only at the NTBs in other countries for Sri Lanka’s poor performance in agricultural exports. more..

No crisis in Indo-Lankan ties as long as cricket is on: PM

Jan 18 (PTI) With cricket being seen as a religion in India and Sri Lanka, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has said there cannot be any crisis between the two countries as long as cricket is played between them. Speaking at a WEF session on harnessing regional cooperation in South Asia, he said Sri Lanka prefers to deal bilaterally with its larger trading partners outside South Asia as well as those within the region. Nevertheless, he said, intra-regional relations of various kinds continue to more..

China, Sri Lanka construct Friendship Village for landslide victims

Jan 18 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka and China have started to construct the Aranayake China-Sri Lanka Friendship village in Central Sri Lanka to provide shelter for the landslide victims, the Chinese Embassy said in a statement Wednesday. China's Ambassador to SL Yi Xianliang, Sri Lankan Ministers Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and Ranith Siyambalapitiya attended the ceremony to jointly launch the friendship village, statement said. more..

New Police Commission Chairman appointed

Jan 18 (NR) PH Manathunga has been named the new Chairman of the National Police Commission. PH Manathunga accepted his letter of appointment from President Maithripala Sirisena this evening. The post was previously held by Professor Siri Hettige. However Professor Hettige tendered in his resignation to the Constitutional Council earlier this month. Professor Hettige attributed the resignation to an overseas teaching assignment for a period of two months. more..

Timely jump saved his bacon

Jan 18 (DM) A Diyawanna member who had reportedly escaped from being hauled before the FCID by making a timely political pole-vault has become the butt of much teasing by his colleagues at the council lobby and the library, they say. During the previous regime, this member held a high position in a statutory body which came under the purview of a Minister who happened to be the leader of a minor political party.  However, he made a big fuss over a steel-related issue and switched more..

EU rejects reports of imposing 58 conditions on Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (NR) The European Union has reiterated that the ratification and implementation of 27 international conventions signed by a succession of the govt are the only criteria on which Sri Lanka’s application to rejoin the GSP+ tax concession is being assessed. The Joint Opposition recently alleged that the international community imposed several conditions on Sri Lanka if it is to receive the GSP+ trade concession. more..

Sri Lanka bans Swarnamahal Financial Services related party transactions

Jan 18 (EN) Sri Lanka’s markets regulator has prohibited Swarnamahal Financial Services (SFS) from related party transactions including write-off of outstanding debt, saying it was in ‘dire’ financial straits with negative net asset value of over a billion rupees. Securities and Exchange Commission said SFS had extensive related party transactions without required checks and balances. The firm was also guilty of repeated non-compliance with mandatory corporate governance requirements more..

Church destroyed in Sri Lanka

Jan 18 (AN) "No attack can stop us. We shall continue to love God and pray under a tree," said Kamal Wasantha, leader of a small Christian community in Sri Lanka. He spoke to AsiaNews after their prayer hall was destroyed last week by some Buddhist thugs, headed by a local monk, who are still free. Despite this, the community harbours no desire for revenge. “We have not cursed them,” Wasantha said, “and shall not attack them in retaliation. Judgment belongs only to God. more..

'No global trade war despite rising tensions'

Jan 18 (BN) Tensions between the U.S. and China are unlikely to escalate into a global trade war, even as geopolitical friction intensifies across Asia, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He said President-elect Donald Trump’s election pledge to bring back jobs and revive U.S. manufacturing has more to do with Mexico than with China. "I can’t see a major trade war," Wickremesinghe said in an interview more..

Four brothers to Maithri/Ranil combo

Jan 19 (CT) The defection of Maithripala Sirisena from the ranks of the SLFP has only one parallel in history. That was when C P de Silva, the then second-in-command of the SLFP-led govt of Sirimavo Bandaranaike and 13 MPs crossed over from the govt ranks to the Opposition and voted against the governing coalition at the time. That was in 1964. The so-called double doctors in the caliber of N M Perera, Queen’s Council-level legal luminaries such as Colvin R de Silva and more..

Unity of Muslims in Sri Lanka

Jan 19 (CT) “Negative and vicious forces are currently engaged in serious attempts to destroy the unity of Muslims to alter the current political stability, said SLMC Leader and Minister Rauff Hakeem recently. The reference by the veteran Muslim politician could have been directed not only at those orchestrating implied treacheries from within but also perhaps alluding to the notorious ones indulging in traditional sniping, genre characterized by remote-control ploys through agents within more..

No rain no grain

Jan 19 (DN) Blue skies and drying reservoirs are to be a regular feature in the foreseeable future as we are to brace ourselves for one of the worst droughts in our recent history. As water bodies dry up district after district, the Ministry of Disaster Management as of yesterday has estimated that thus far 111,329 families in the districts of Trinco, Kandy, Kalutara, Hambantota, Monaragala, Badulla, A'pura, Jaffna, Mannar, Batticaloa and more..

Let us build the stadium – begin the games

Jan 19 (CT) A wonderful incident occurred at the beginning of the week on Social Network websites. That is the five questions an individual had asked on a Q & A Session on MP Namal Rajapaksa's Facebook Page. Those five questions are as follows: From which university did you obtain your Law Degree? Name five teachers who taught you during that Degree Course. Name five persons who studied for that Degree together with you? What are the Exam Hall and your index number under more..