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Govt renders National Audit Bill toothless

Mar 13 (Island) The govt had further diluted the proposed National Audit Bill making it ineffective. Officials said that the latest amendment had made the proposed piece of legislation wholly useless and it wouldn’t yield the desired results. The Bill was aimed at tackling public sector corruption, sources said. National Audit Bill was to be introduced on Feb 19, 2015 at the beginning of the 100-day programme of Sirisena-Wickremesinghe govt. more..

What’s sauce for goose is sauce for gander

Mar 13 (DM) Uma Maheswaran, the late leader of the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) once described the armed struggle as being an extension of the political struggle by other means. But many of the actions committed during this so-called war of liberation by both the liberationalists and the forces of the State ranged against them, show that such actions cannot be simplistically referred to as more brutal forms of diplomacy. more..

134 years of criminalization is enough

Mar 13 (DM) Ceylon’s colonization by the British rule had a sizeable impact on what we now deem as cultural and social norms in SL today. When the British established themselves in this country, they brought in their morals and culture which contrasted dramatically with what we Sri Lankans practised pre-colonization. With colonization, British forced upon us Victorian Christian morals and laws and almost completely wiped out our own social & governance structures without any consultation more..

Labour force 8.4 mn in 3Q with 36.5% female

Mar 13 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s labour force for the third quarter 2016 is estimated to be 8.4 million with 36.5% females contributing to the working population. As per the Labour Force Survey, the overall labour force participation rate for the third quarter is 53.8%, while this is 75% and 36.1% for males and females respectively. The labour force is defined as the currently economically active population aged 15 years and over. more..

Massive heroin ring bust

Mar 13 (CT) Law enforcement agencies have increased pace of operations after the recent spike of underworld activities. IGP ordered all police stations islandwide to launch operations in search of weapons carried by the underworld goons. Accordingly, a team from Grandpass Police was dispatched recently to a location which is notorious as a nerve centre of underworld. Police team clad in civvies was deployed on Nagalagam more..

Forced birth control? Dambulla debacle

Mar 13 (CT) A recent media debacle revealed that the Dambulla Base Hospital authorities were refusing to discharge maternity ward patients until they agree to contraceptive methods. Several women and their husbands have complained to the hospital management that mothers who had given birth were not allowed to leave the hospital until they agreed to contraceptive methods. more..

Special guards unit to protect travelling inmates

Mar 13 (ST) The Prisons Dept (PD) intends to form a special Unit dedicated to guarding prison inmates while being transported to courts and back. According to a proposal made to Minister D.M. Swaminathan, this Unit will comprise of about 100 officers, who will receive specialised training from agencies including the STF. The PD intends to recruit the new guards from a batch of 350 who are due to be appointed to the Dept. more..

Customs working hand in glove with illegal vehicle assembler

Mar 13 (SL) Following the seizure of illegally manufactured 26 luxury vehicles from a vehicle assembly plant in Minuwangoda on Jan 31 by the Walana Anti-Corruption Unit of the Police Department together with the SL Customs, the aggrieved party filed a case in the Minuwangoda Magistrate Court seeking the court to affirm that the seizure is illegal. Meanwhile allegations have been leveled against the Director General Customs more..

Meeting between Finance Minister,Central Bank CEOs & Primary dealers strange

Mar 13 (DM) The meeting that was attended by Finance Minister where Central Bank CEOs and primary dealers also asked to be present, three weeks after I received a phone call from CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran to accept a bid for Rs. 10 billion was an abnormal occurrence, said Superintendent of the Public Debt Department of the CB Ms. U.L Muthugala, giving evidence before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to more..

New constitutional and legal reforms to destroy the nation: MR

Mar 13 (AD) The reason why the government is pursuing some of the agenda with great enthusiasm while completely ignoring the constitutional pledges they gave to the people is obviously because they have other, more important masters to please than the people of this country, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said. “I invite all SLFP members in the govt, and Mps of the UNP as well, to read the five documents mentioned here and more..

Govt approved Wilpattu resettlement underway

Mar 13 (NR) Minister Rishad Bathiudeen says resettlement activities around the Wilpattu Forest are being conducted under prior approval of the govt. He said any deforestation activities underway in Wilpattu, will be carried out with approval of the govt. Minister said the no one talks of the plight of these people in Geneva, Europe, India or the Muslim nations adding that cutting down trees and using that space for housing is wrong. more..

Govt and JVP cross swords over Extension of defence pact with USA

Mar 13 (CT) Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) signed between US and Sri Lanka on 5 March 2007, completed 10 years on 5 March 2017. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva said that the agreement would be extended for another period of 10 years. Deputy Minister Dr. de Silva said the discussions are now underway with the Ministry of Defence headed by President Maithripala Sirisena. more..

'SL to sell-down SOEs through stock market'

Mar 13 (EN) Sri Lanka would use the stock market infrastructure to sell down stakes in state-owned enterprises, which will enhance transparency, after political consensus has been achieved within the ruling coalition, Deputy State Enterprises Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. "Actually, we have set in place the process to market some of these institutions that are completely owned by the govt," Wickramaratne said. more..

Well done Sri Lanka!

Mar 13 (CT) The significant victory gained by Sri Lanka against Bangladesh in Galle, showed impressive signs that Sri Lankan cricket is now back on track, with a good, young lot under the captaincy of Rangana Herath. The 1996 World Cup victory paved the way for Sri Lanka to reach great heights in the cricketing world. Apart from the magnificent team work, several individuals in the Sri Lankan cricket team became icons in the international cricket arena. more..

For an island, internationalism is a strategic imperative 

Mar 13 (CT) Will a JO govt be primitive nationalist or Smart Patriotic? What foreign policy direction will it take? Prof Nalin de Silva, co-ideologue together with Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekara of the Sinhala ultra-nationalist and borderline racist Jathika Chinthana, has devoted a long blog post on his site Kalaya, just reproduced in, to attacking my ideas on Smart Patriotism presented at the recent Viyath Maga annual convention. Apart from an attack on me, he has also attacked more..

පරම්පරා තුනක නර්තන මහිම 3

138th battle of Blues: Jolly PM Ranil Wickremesinghe declares his next move

Mar 13 (CT) A jolly PM Ranil Wickremesinghe declared that his next move is to stay in power. He declared that in an interview on stage at the Stallions Tent on day three of the annual 138th Battle of the Blues at the SSC grounds. Amidst the jolly banter and usual Royal – Thomian camaraderie displayed at the annual event, the cheerful Prime Minister contributed by leaving those present in stitches of laughter. Minister Ravi Karunanayake was also present on stage. more..

Govt nurses to continue strike if demands are not met

Mar 13 (NR) Public Services United Nurses Association says they will engage in continuous trade union action until officials provide acceptable solutions to their demands. Chairman of the Association Venerable Muruthetuwe Ananda Thera said they hope to engage in extensive discussions with relevant officials. Ananda Thera said trade union action launched today has thus far been successful. Ananda Thera added that the strike action has been successful thus far. more..

Corporate earnings growth slowed in 4Q2016

Mar 13 (EN) Earnings growth of Sri Lankan listed companies slowed in the fourth quarter of 2016 from the previous quarter with profits driven mainly by the banking sector as interest rates rose and demand for loans remained high, a new research report said. Overall market earnings of firms on the Colombo bourse increased 8.1% to Rs62.3 billion in 4Q2016 from a year ago following an increase of 25.4% year-on-year to more..

Only one protest a week in Colombo

Mar 13 (DM) Govt would allow only one protest a week in Colombo soon, a top official said. The Govt also would impose new laws to stop hindrances caused by public protests held daily in the Colombo City. “Govt is also focusing on a plan to restrict the protests to one a week, until laws are formulated,” an official said. “Govt has decided on new laws after SLFP and UNP MPs and other Govt MPs met PM at the Parliament complex and requested to take measures to minimise more..

Thalatha sees reasons to take revenge from all 51 JO members

Mar 13 (Island) Minister Thalatha Atukorale says that in addition to Joint Opposition (JO) leader Dinesh Gunawardena, suspended for one week from Parliament, there are other members who deserved similar treatment. Minister urged MP Gunawardena to behave like a Royalist from a good family. She said the govt had found it difficult to arrest those who had helped themselves to public funds during the previous administration as stolen monies were deposited in offshore accounts. more..

SL seeks 2 more years to deliver war probe

Mar 13 (AFP) SL has asked the UN for two more years to investigate war crimes as a previous deadline lapses, Colombo said Monday, fuelling international concerns of a worryingly slow probe. A UNHRC resolution in Oct 2015 granted SL 18 months to establish a credible investigation into abuses committed during the island's 37-year ethnic war. Allegations include claims govt forces killed up to 40,000 Tamil civilians in the final months more..

Body of cadet to be exhumed

Mar 13 (NR) The body of the cadet officer who died under suspicious circumstances during a training session at the Diyathalawa Army Camp will be exhumed today for a second post mortem examination. The body is being exhumed following an order issued by the Gampaha Chief Magistrate. The cadet officer’s death was reported on the 22nd of June 2015. The initial post mortem examination revealed the victim had committed suicide. However the family of the victim raised objections to more..

Illicit distilling inside school canteen

Mar 13 (Island) Excise Department officers have nabbed a person who was distilling hooch inside the canteen of a leading school in Hingurakgoda on Friday. Police also seized 250 litres of semi-brewed liquor, a copper coil and a barrel used for distilling kasippu, a gas cylinder, a gas burner and a stock of moonshine ready for sale. The suspect who ran the canteen had confessed that he had been in the business for quite some time, Excise department sources said. more..

PSUNU token strike a failure: CNH Director

Mar 13 (DM) Colombo National Hospital Director Dr. Anil Jasinghe said today the token strike launched by the Public Services United Nurses’ Union (PSUNU) has not affected the healthcare services at the Colombo National Hospital. Trade union action was launched today morning to urge the govt to resolve the concerns of the members including salary anomalies. Dr. Jasinghe said out of about 820 nursing staff more..

Video: Police use tear gas to disperse crowd

Mar 13 (AD) The police have used tear gas and water to disperse the members involved in the students protest organized by the IUSF. The incident has occurred in the Colombo Fort region,. The attack had occurred as some members had managed to break down the barricades and had tried to forcibly enter the Presidential Secretariat. Heavy traffic congestion was also reported in Borella due to the protest launched by the Inter-University Students’ Federation. more..

Attempts will be made to oust him: Rajitha

Mar 13 (CT) Pharmaceutical and tobacco companies will attempt to secure his removal as the Minister of Health, using whatever means possible, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He was speaking at the opening of a fitness centre, first in the initiative to establish a string of such establishments, in a bid to reduce non-communicable diseases in Sri Lanka. Health ministry has allocated Rs 20 million to each fitness centre for the purchase of equipment. "Non-communicable diseases are a major problem more..

Speaker should resign: Gammanpila

Mar 13 (DM) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya should resign if he loves himself and wants to maintain his dignity, PHU General Secretary Udaya Gammanpila said today. He said Speaker Jayasuriya, who is a respected person, is being severely criticized for suspending Joint Opposition Leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena from Parliament for a week. “The resolve of the Speaker to suspend MP Gunawardena is biased as he didn’t even more..

Korean Foreign Minister to visit Sri Lanka

Mar 13 (CG) Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se will travel to Vietnam and Sri Lanka this week to discuss economic cooperation and joint policies in dealing with a wayward North Korea, his ministry said Monday. Yun will fly to Sri Lanka on Tuesday for a three-day visit marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the countries. The foreign minister will then come back home to attend to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s two-day Seoul visit slated from Friday, more..

TUI said planning to expand operations in SL

Mar 13 (EN) German tour operator TUI AG, one of the largest outbound tour operators in Europe, has said it wants to expand operations in Sri Lanka and help with hospitality training, the Ministry of Tourism Development said. “TUI revealed these plans during a discussion between Minister of Tourism Development, John Amaratunga and top board members of the group that included CEO David Burling and Managing Director, Garry Wilson in Germany last week,” a statement said. more..

As drought slashes rice harvest, 900,000 face hunger in Sri Lanka

Mar 13 (Reuters) The worst drought in five years has pushed 900,000 people in Sri Lanka into acute food insecurity, World Food Programme (WFP) says. An unpublished survey conducted by govt agencies and relief organizations in February found that both food insecurity and debt were rising sharply among families hit by drought. The country’s rice harvest could be the worst in 40 years, charity Save the Children predicted. more..

Building lives, not only a new bridge at Kelani river

Mar 13 (LBO) Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is keen that relocations from Sedawatta and Wadullawatta communities for the new bridge at Kelani River take place in accordance with National Involuntary Resettlement Policy and JICA guidelines for social and environmental considerations. RDA, implementing agency for the bridge construction project, with cooperation from the UDA has secured apartments for over 400 households in UDA’s Laksanda Sevana more..

Gota fears imminent arrest: Case put off for June 15

Mar 13 (DM) When the fundamental rights petition filed by former defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa was taken up by the Supreme Court today, Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kotagoda said investigations were continuing. He said if there was evidence of a cognizable offence the mandatory requirement was to arrest the offender. ASG appearing for the respondents and the Attorney General told Court that the interim order preventing FCID from arresting him more..

Shangri-La hikes Sri Lankan investment by 60% to $800 mln

Mar 13 (Reuters) Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Asia has increased its investment in Sri Lankan properties by 60% to $800 million, in order to meet demand for larger-than-planned apartments in Colombo, an official said on Monday. The international hotel brand had originally planned to invest $500 million in a 541-room hotel and 390 apartments in Colombo and another 300-room resort in the southern district of Hambantota. more..

Alleged medical malpractice kills mother of three in Kandy

Mar 13 (DM) A man lodged a complaint with the Katugastota Police on Sunday claiming that his wife had died after she was injected with medication at a private hospital in Kandy. The 25-year-old woman, a resident from Kandy and a mother of three, was admitted to the hospital for a surgery. “The patient was in critical condition when she died. She was injected with a low- dose medication prior to the surgery,” hospital sources said. Police are investigating the incident. more..

Ex-SLRC Chairman not ready to apologize; cases fixed for trial

Mar 13 (DM) Four cases filed against SL Rupavahini Corporation former chairman Ariyaratne Athugala, its former Additional Director General Devapriya Abeysinghe and G.D. Sugathapala for allegedly threatening and assaulting four SLRC employees in 2010 were today fixed for trial following parties informed that they would not apologize. When the four cases were taken up before Colombo Chief Magistrate Lal Bandara, Counsel Gunaratne Wanninayake, who appeared for more..

No room will be left for collapse of govt: Prez

Mar 13 (PSL) President Sirisena emphasized that even though some sections of the society entertain the thought that the present govt would collapse today or tomorrow, he would not allow any room for it and he further stated that the Govt will fulfill its duties and responsibilities within the appropriate time frame in accordance with the mandate of the people. He made these remarks addressing the Deranabisheka Ceremony more..

Qatar Embassy delays visa for Kabir’s visit

Mar 13 (CG) Qatar Embassy in Colombo had delayed issuing a visa to Minister Kabir Hashim, for an official visit to Qatar. He was to visit Qatar on an invitation extended by the Qatari Minister of Finance. Hashim was the Minister in attendance to the ruler of Qatar on his last state visit to Colombo. “It will be interesting to see why the Qatari Embassy in Colombo failed in issuing a visa to a senior Minister and that too at the invitation of their Minister of Finance,” more..

'Politics has deteriorated in Sri Lanka'

Mar 13 (NR) Chancellor of Sri J'pura University Professor Venerable Bellanwila Wimalaratane Thera says the political field in the country has strongly deteriorated. Speaking at an event organised in view of the March 12 Declaration, Thera said significant individuals in the country do not receive the opportunity to enter politics. Chancellor said according to the electoral system of the country, independent individuals who have a good character, are educated, and are popular with the public more..

Draft resolution on SL submitted to UNHRC

Mar 13 (CG) The follow-up draft resolution on Sri Lanka was submitted to the UNHRC today. Titled Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka the draft text has, as its main sponsors, Montenegro, Macedonia, UK, Northern Ireland and the US. The resolution calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue to assess progress on the implementation of more..