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Festina lente: Sri Lanka’s story at UNHRC

Mar 2 (DN) When the national unity govt came to power in January 2015, many believed it would be the end of the international community’s concerns over alleged war crimes and accountability mechanism. Many international players pushing for accountability in Sri Lanka, including the US and the UK, had a friendly approach towards the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration as the new government claimed it was ready to ensure rights of all ethnic and religious minorities. more..

Devolution with de-merger?

Mar 2 (SL) In Colombo recently, Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar reportedly told the TNA leadership to look for alternate solutions instead of sticking on to the re-merger of the North and the East. A sage advice this, considering not only the majority Sinhala sensitivity and the SL State sensibilities, but also of the larger Tamil cohesiveness and that of the Tamil-speaking people in the East in particular. To be fair to moderate Tamils whose numbers are in a majority and more..

SAITM issue

Colombo Dockyard to get US$180mn Sri Lanka coastguard deal

Mar 2 (EN) Cabinet had given nod for a 180 million US dollar order for coast guard vessels from Colombo Dockyard Plc, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. Colombo Dockyard will build three 85 metre off-shore patrol vessels for the coast guard. The OPV will be based on a hull design by VARD Marine of Canada. They will be capable of deep and shallow water operations. Colombo Dockyard is a publicly traded company in Sri Lanka, majority controllled by Onomichi of Japan. more..

Hundred years from Trinity’s Asgiriya to St Anthony’s, Katugastota

Mar 2 (Island) On the 10th and 11th of March Trinity College, Kandy and St Anthony’s College, Katugastota will play its centenary cricket match at a place the two schools call a neutral venue, Pallekelle cricket stadium. Of course, neutrality is good for the game of cricket and for the spirit of the two schools from the hills. Here, I am trying to write a neutral article but who knows I may become biased at times yahapalanaya style. Trinity-St. Anthony’s encounter was always important to us in Kandy. more..

Sri Lanka dethrone Pakistan in West Asia Baseball Cup

Mar 2 (DT) Six-time champions Pakistan failed to defend their West Asia Baseball Cup title as they suffered a shock 4-2 defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in a thrilling finale here on Wednesday. Playing on home soil and defending their title for a fifth consecutive time, Pakistan came into the match as hot-favourites but were dealt an upset defeat as Sri Lanka avenged losses in 2011 and 2012. Pakistan’s two home runs came off more..

Editorial: Trump’s yahapalanaya

Mar 2 (Island) The unfolding political drama in the US is very interesting. We once expressed concern about so many American state officials and diplomats coming here after the 2015 change of government. No, we didn’t buy into various anti-US conspiracy theories concocted by defeated politicians who usually see more devils than vast hell can hold. We were actually concerned about the risk of the American democracy getting exposed to dirty, infectious Sri Lankan politics through more..

Kithruwan returns after serving suspension

Mar 2 (Island) One of the most promising young batsman, Kithruwan Vithanage has been named in Sri Lanka ‘A’ squad to take on England ‘A’ in the five match one-day series after SLC considered an appeal by the player and ended his suspension early. The former Royal College batsman was banned from all forms of cricket for one year last June after being involved in a late night brawl in a restaurant. While SLC dealt severely with Kithruwan, board failed to go more into details more..

North and East protesters in Colombo demand homes not camps

Mar 2 (Roar) Gathered from across N&E, around 250 protesters travelled overnight to Colombo yesterday (28) to protest military occupied lands in front of the Presidential Secretariat during a Cabinet meeting. Police officers initially objected to protesters’ attempts to rally outside Presidential Secretariat, trying to disperse crowds with warnings that the area was a high-security zone, despite ostensibly being a pavement. more..

Sri Lanka in a bid to double Cinnamon exports by 2020

Mar 2 (Island) The govt could double cinnamon exports by 2020 if it focuses on Research and Development in cinnamon, in a proper manner, because Sri Lanka’s cinnamon is supposed to be  the best in the world, which has a ready market, Minister Daya Gamage said. "The cinnamon industry has a huge export market potential, but has done very little research on the sector. The govt has now taken keen interest to develop the sector with the strengthening of research activities with more..

His attributes for the high post challenged

Mar 2 (DM) The high posts committee of the Diyawanna council had asked a head of a certain govt statutory body connected to marine transport to appear before it following a number of complaints that the latter did not possess even the elementary qualifications for the post he was holding. Every time the head of the authority was asked to appear before the committee, the latter had been informed that the man was abroad. This worthy had been playing truant thus emboldened by more..

Dedicated Jet A-1 fuel line for BIA

Mar 2 (FT) Govt this week decided to construct a dedicated Jet A-1 fuel pipeline and tank farm to supply aviation fuel to int'l and domestic aircraft at the BIA. The project, which is estimated to cost $ 46 million (Rs. 6.9 b), is to run parallel with Phase II Stage II of the BIA development project, which was approved by Cabinet a few weeks ago. Plans to increase jet fuel production with growing demand alongside a reduction in more..

SLT Group records healthy growth in profits

Mar 2 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom released its Group and Holding Company Financial Results for the year ending 2016, which revealed a healthy revenue growth by 8.5% and profits up by 28.6% compared to 2015. Group comprises of the holding Company and eight subsidiaries including Mobitel, the mobile arm. Group recorded a net profit of Rs.4.8 billion with a marked increase of 28.6% year on year. This growth was driven by an increase in revenue of both Fixed ICT and Mobile segments more..

CCC forms Dairy Association

Mar 2 (DN) Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has formed the Dairy Association of Sri Lanka to facilitate the sector to deliberate and lobby issues and concerns with policy makers. Association will serve as the central forum for consensus building among different stakeholders within the dairy industry and promote the local dairy industry to make it more competitive. The membership of the Association will comprise of individuals or firms engaged in farming, producing, processing, more..

Govt mulls doubling Trinco oil tank farm project size with India

Mar 2 (DM) Govt is currently inquiring whether the joint venture proposed to be formed with the Indian govt with regards to the Trincomalee oil tank farm could be doubled in size, minister Chandima Weerakkody said. “For the oil farms we have appointed E&Y to prepare a business plan. Now TOR (terms of reference) are confirmed. Presently they’re into the job (but) we’re also looking at whether we can reserve 60 (tanks),” more..

Sri Lanka, IFC to develop sustainable finance roadmap

Mar 2 (LBO) President Maithripala Sirisena has urged the financial sector and other stakeholders to work towards sustainable development, during the Sri Lanka Sustainable Finance Workshop hosted by the Central Bank, IFC, and IFC-supported Sustainable Banking Network (SBN). The workshop brought together over 160 representatives from govt, the financial sector and int'l organizations to share information and propose ideas on Sri Lanka’s sustainable finance journey. more..

SriLankan Airlines expects to receive over $ 2.5 m from PIA at month’s end

Mar 2 (FT) SriLankan Airlines confirmed that it expected to receive a payment of over $ 2.5 million towards the end of this month for the A330 aircraft wet leased to Pakistan’s national carrier in August last year. “The wet lease with Pakistan Airlines (PIA) has come to an end. They paid us the block hours for the future when we leased the aircraft in August last year, but there is reconciliation of about $ 2.5 million plus out of the total $ 3 million due from 8 February. more..

Price of surgical equipment slashed by USD 8 mn: Rajitha

Mar 2 (Island) Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne has received an assurance from a major importer to slash the price of surgical equipment, a linear accelerator, previous govt had ordered, by USD 8 mn. Minister, issuing a media statement, alleged that the original order had been placed at the behest of the leaders of the previous govt. Minister was responding to allegations against him levelled by the JO earlier in the day more..

Video: Australian appears in court over case involving Udaya

Mar 2 (CG) An Australian National appeared before the Colombo High Court today over a case involving MP Udaya Gammanpila. Australian Brian Shaddick had accused Gammanpila of committing fraud and depriving him of assets and interest to the tune of about 15 million US Dollars. The fraud had allegedly been committed by Gammanpila as a Director of the Digital Nominees Company which is headed by Shaddick. Gammanpila had allegedly committed the fraud by using a false affidavit. more..

Better capital allocation with integrated stock markets, Sri Lanka forum told

Mar 2 (EN) The integration of South Asian stock markets was discussed at a forum in Sri Lanka whose regulator said more interconnected markets would ensure the region remains a growth hotspot with better allocation of capital and efficient sharing of risks. The region should work towards developing a regulatory environment which encourages stock exchanges to embrace integration, said Thilak Karunaratne, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. more..

Pro-LTTE group member accosts Mangala in Geneva

Mar 1 (FT) Moments after a speech on Tuesday in which he blamed extremists on both sides of the ethnic divide for stalling reconciliation process, Minister Mangala Samaraweera was briefly accosted by a member of a pro-LTTE group at the Palais des Nations, the building that houses United Nations in Geneva. Minister was walking out of Room XX where UNHRC sits after his speech was filmed by Tamil Diaspora representative when more..

Jaffna public servants say armed gangs threatening them

Mar 1 (DM) Some public servants in Jaffna staged a demonstration opposite the Jaffna District Secretariat alleging that the presence of armed gangs is creating a fear psychosis making it difficult to carry out their duties. They demanded an assurance of safety from the govt. The public servants said the recent disclosure by Assistant Lands Commissioner of Batticaloa about a land grab had resulted in him being shot and injured. "Immediate action should be taken to arrest more..

Faizer all praise for Visakhapatnam smart city initiatives

Mar 2 (Hindu) Minister Faiszer Musthapha has lauded people’s participation in deciding priorities for smart city projects and development. He has praised the vision for development of the State and termed the city beautiful. He led a team to the city following a visit by an Indian delegation to Colombo. Lankan team was here to study the process of selecting smart city projects. Evincing interest in various initiatives, Mr. Musthapha asked details about pollution and preventive measures taken, more..

Sri Lanka to introduce Performance Indicators for SOEs in line with IMF loan

Mar 2 (LBO) Sri Lanka will introduce key performance indicators to five state owned enterprises (SOEs) operating in the island for a period of three years commencing this year. Enhancing oversight and financial discipline of SOEs was a major concern raised by the IMF in order to grant the Extended Fund Facility. Accordingly, CEB, CPC, Water Board, Airport & Aviation Services & Ports Authority will be subjected to new process. more..

SAITM issue: Sabaragamuwa docs strike

Mar 2 (Island) Doctors of the Sabaragamuwa Province staged a 24-hour token strike yesterday crippling the OPD services and the clinics in all hospitals. Provincial Director Health Services (PDHS), Sabaragamuwa, Dr. Kapila Kannangara said steps had been taken to carry out emergency admissions and all other emergency services. He said that doctors had also done ward rounds in affected hospitals to ensure that there were no patients requiring emergency treatment. more..

SAITM will not be closed: Rajitha

Mar 1 (CT) The govt will not close down the South Asian Institute of Technology and Management (SAITM), Minister Rajitha Senaratne said yesterday, commenting on the recent controversies surrounding the institute. He added that the Deans of Medical Faculties, of State Universities, will provide him with a report on their solution to solving the issue. The Deans will also meet representatives of Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) for further discussions. Court of Appeal, on 31 Jan, directed SLMC more..

SAITM shooting: Police trace calls to PS member

Mar 1 (CT) Police investigations have revealed that several telephone conversations took place between the CEO of SAITM Dr. Sameera Senaratne and the Pradeshiya Sabha member who is suspected of collusion in the alleged fake assassination attempt on Senaratane. Police are trying to trace several telephone conversations which they hope will reveal more about the staged assassination attempt. more..

Global law experts recommend International Criminal Court if SL continues to fail to act

Mar 1 (FT) Within hours of Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Smaraweera’s address to the UNHRC, a group of renowned foreign legal experts, speaking at a news conference in Geneva, recommended that Sri Lanka be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it failed to take steps to implement UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1, including establishing a hybrid war crimes court with the participation of international judges and prosecutors. more..

President turns down invitation to open Super Prison

Mar 1 (DM) President said he would not participate in the opening of the newly built Prison Facility known as Super Prison in Angunukolapelessa, scheduled to be opened on March 16. He said a lot of money had been spent on the prison that was built with many facilities. He said that even though he had received invitation to declare the facility open, he declined it because rather than opening a prison it was worth to open a school, which would provide education to children. more..

Govt urges patience, says OMP ready to go in 2-3 months

Mar 2 (FT) The permanent Office of Missing Persons (OMP) should be ready to go in two or three months, SL Govt announced in Geneva yesterday, urging victims and activists to be patient as frustration mounts about the pace of its progress on reconciliation and justice. Govt had already allocated Rs. 1.4 billion for the OMP in its 2017 budget and the Office will be operationalised once the subject is assigned to a Ministry, more..

Revisit yahapalana fundamentals before it’s too late

Mar 2 (DM) Former Test Cricketer Ranjan Madugalle, long before he became a match referee, once talked of fundamentals, both in cricket and life. It was a story about values. He said whenever he suffered a drop in form, he returned to the fundamentals such as the stance and the back lift. Similarly, he advised the young boys he was addressing, ‘when you are in doubt, when you feel there’s something wrong, it is useful to go back to your basics, think about your values, and more..

Claims and counter claims of intransigence

Mar 2 (DM) Leader of the Opposition and the senior citizen of Tamil Nationalism R. Sampanthan in an adjournment motion has made some interesting points as follows: “All people who lived in Sri Lanka, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion, or any other difference, whether Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim or Burgher made their fullest contribution to the achievement of independence. It is almost 70 years since Sri Lanka attained Independence from Colonial Rule. more..

Sujatha Balika Vidyalaya, Matara faces allegations of corruption

Mar 2 (SL) Corruption and irregularities in local schools is a topic that is much discussed at present. However, only a handful of such corrupt activities have been detected by the authorities with evidence. With the recent revelation of several corrupt activities in some well-known schools in the country, topic has once again gained public attention. Allegations have been raised against administration at Sujatha Vidyalaya more..

'Country plunged into a State of Confusion due to contrasts within govt'

Mar 2 (DM) Q: As a Buddhist monk, how do you look at the current political situation of the country? A: It is apparent that there is confusion in the country due to contradictory views prevailing within the ranks of the govt. The PM says one thing and the President another on the same matter. Alongside, others within the govt express their own contrasting opinions. For example, those belonging to the SLFP advocate only changes to more..

Drought-hit Gampaha District walks miles, digs deep for water

Mar 2 (ST) Gampaha District, which has been relatively free of the drought, is the latest to be affected by it, with villagers compelled to travel 5 to 10 km to fetch drinking water or, for bathing and washing clothes. Residents of Mirigama, Millawa, Pasyala, Muruthawela, Kal Eliya & Bolakanda are among those severely affected. Residents complain of having to travel far from their villages, daily spending an additional Rs 300 more..

SL's fielding needs long-term solutions: Ford

Mar 2 (CI) Sri Lanka's fielding woes are deep-rooted, and will only be fully solved through long-term emphasis on fielding in junior and emerging cricket, coach Graham Ford has said. Once considered the best fielding side in Asia, Sri Lanka's fielding standards have declined substantially through the last few years, across all formats. A lack of catching ability behind the wicket has been repeatedly exposed on the most recent tours more..

Appoint Ravi as cultural minister: Bandula

Mar 2 (DM) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake will be better off with another portfolio like that of Cultural Affairs or Buddha Sasana Affairs, the joint opposition said. It said the minister should resign as he had made baseless allegations that former president Rajapaksa was responsible for the controversial bond sale issue. “If he didn’t resign, President should remove him. Country's economy will be saved if instead of more..

National ceremony Uththamabiwandana held

Mar 2 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena signed the historic gazette notification proclaiming 82 brave sons of Motherland, who were named as traitors by British Govt for fighting for the freedom of the Motherland, as patriotic national heroes, at the Magul Maduwa in Kandy, yesterday. Even though it is a national responsibility to revoke the Gazette issued by British Govt declaring the national heroes as traitors, it was neglected more..

In SL, displaced Tamils fight to go home

Mar 2 (Hindu) “When I lie down here at night, I imagine being under the roof of my home,” says Singarathinam Sellamma (83), seated among a small group of people outside the divisional secretariat in Puthukkudiyiruppu here. For about 25 days now, representatives of 49 families have been taking turns and fasting at the entrance of the govt’s administrative unit in the small town, staying put under a roadside shelter. more..

Sri Lanka under no obligation to foreigners to get GSP+: Harsha

Mar 2 (EN) Sri Lanka is confident of regaining the GSP+ trade deal giving duty free access to the European market in May and under no obligation to foreigners in getting the concession, only its own people, a minister said. “Things are moving very well. We are on track,” Deputy Minister Harsha De Silva, said. “Sri Lanka will do what we have undertaken to do and we re doing what we are doing for ourselves,” he told a forum. more..