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Dilmah Tea packed fresh in Carbon neutral facility

Mar 19 (Island) Dilmah has successfully fulfilled the pledge made in 2014 by its founder, Merrill J. Fernando, to become a Carbon Neutrality facility by 2017, further strengthening its commitment to reduce the company’s impact on the environment. "Through initiatives such as Greening Batticaloa and Biochar Application, Dilmah was able to actively reduce our carbon footprint to zero, thus marking a momentous net zero release of Carbon into the atmosphere," a company news release said. more..

Aloysius may get big tax concession

Mar 19 (ST) Under a budget proposal effective this year, Arjun Aloysius’ liquor manufacturing firm W M Mendis and Co. is likely to receive a 100 percent capital allowance for locating its proposed four billion-rupee alcohol distillery at Kalkudah in the Batticaloa district. The 2017 budget grants a 100% capital allowance on fixed investment of not less than US$ 3 million in fixed assets in the Uva and Eastern Provinces. more..

President, PM hold key discussion

Mar 19 (SL) President and PM had a key discussion on Friday covering a gourmet of issues. Sources at the President’s office said that the meeting was routine but govt members said that the possibility of making changes to the cabinet was likely to have been discussed. The economy and issues within the govt had also been discussed at the meeting on Friday. The meeting also took place as the UNHRC was meeting in Geneva with Sri Lanka to be discussed this week. more..

JVP requests Govt to protect Che’s tree

Mar 19 (ST) The JVP will request the Govt to take steps to protect the historic Mahogany tree in Horana planted by Argentinean revolutionary leader Ernesto Che Guevara, said MP Dr Nalinda Herath. The request comes in the wake of an incident where the tree was nearly felled this week. Dr Herath said that, previously too, the Party had requested protection for the tree. The timely intervention by Police saved the tree from being cut down by illicit timber fellers. more..

BIA on alert for H1N1 patients from Maldives

Mar 19 (ST) BIA’s quarantine division has stepped up surveillance for passengers with H1N1 influenza amid reports of a major increase in the number of people affected by the disease in the Maldives. Quarantine Director said that during the week, upto 300 incoming passengers were referred to the health desk, and about 105 showed symptoms of H1N1 influenza. Certain regulations were followed during high-risk situations. more..

Sexual harassment probe on State TV

Mar 19 (SL) Media Ministry has called for an investigation into alleged sexual harassment of some employees at State TV. The investigation was launched after some employees at Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) wrote to SLRC Chairman Ravi Jayawardena saying they were being sexually harassed by a top official. When contacted, Jayawardena said that he had directed the matter to the Media Ministry to ensure an independent investigation is conducted. more..

Govt entertains unsolicited project proposals

Mar 19 (ST) SL govt entertains unsolicited proposals made to implement mega development projects with high foreign investments beneficial for the country under a new procurement system on the lines of Swiss Challenge process, Finance Ministry sources said. Under the Swiss Challenge process an unsolicited project proposal made by a company to the govt is to be put forward for public opinion and other interested parties are given an opportunity  to make counter proposals if there are any, more..

Visa restrictions on foreign religious scholars

Mar 19 (CT) Govt has restricted visas for foreign religious scholars and preachers owing to security and other reasons. It has been decided that all visa applications of foreign religious scholars and preachers will be sent to Defence Ministry for vetting prior to approval, Immigration & Emigration Chief Nihal Ranasinghe said. It is aimed at preventing the teaching and practice of religious fundamentalism throughout the country, more..

Video: Oil tanker hijacking: Sri Lankan crew’s return home delayed

Mar 19 (AD) SL crew members of Aris 13, the oil tanker hijacked and later released by Somali pirates, would possibly have to wait for more than a week in order to return back home to their loved ones following their traumatizing experience. The ship’s second engineer Dileepa Ranaweera said that the welcoming ceremony organized today for them at the Port of Bosaso has also been pushed back to tomorrow (19). He stated that the heads of the shipping company are expected to arrive more..

SriLankan CEO says A330 lease to PIA was transparent process

Mar 19 (AD) SriLankan Airlines today said that the wet lease of its A330 aircraft to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), a deal which is being investigated by authorities in Pakistan, was a transparent process and that the tender strictly followed govt procedures. Pakistan has barred Bernd Hildenbrand, the first foreign national chief executive of the state-owned national airline, from leaving the country as the govt begins an investigation into a plane-lease contract. more..

President plays more assertive role in Govt and Party

Mar 19 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena is making a fresh bid to re-organise the SLFP. The latest effort comes at a time when a faction continues to support former President Rajapaksa, and it being at a significant juncture. Growing challenges and plunging popularity of the govt have compelled the President, as the formal leader of the SLFP to consolidate his position and his own power base – more..

Is this a one-term govt?

Mar 19 (Island) The Joint Opposition is like a bull elephant in musth, but the disruption and uproar it is creating are not insanity without strategy. Racial intolerance and religious extremism, a toxic mix, is a calculated tool for a purpose. The purpose is not hidden; it is frankly declared, flaunted and avowed: "Bring down the govt by the end of the year". Documents (eg Vasu’s letter to JO MPs on 28 Dec 2016) and a profusion of press reports (cranky GL, joker Bandula, profane Wimal and more..

Recognizing the yahapalanaya party

Mar 19 (Island) Arjuna Mahendran, the former Governor of the CB, is reported to have transferred out some 500 members of his staff.  Govt is all set to demarcate specific areas for protests.  Govt got some egg on its face with the appointment and removal of judges.  There’s the bond issue scandal.  The big boys in the Govt ranted and raved about Port City and the Hambantota Port when in power, and all but showed the middle finger to China while campaigning to oust Mahinda Rajapaksa.  more..

Verbal Karate over sports director: President rescinds appointment

Mar 19 (ST) An ongoing clash in their common constituency spilled over to the Cabinet on Wednesday and it required the intervention of President Maithripala Sirisena. He directed that the appointment of a Director of Sports be rescinded and a fresh appointment be made. Initiating the appointment was Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam. His colleague Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, both from opposite more..

Families relieved after Somali criminals free oil tanker hired by native traders

Mar 19 (ST) Tuesday was a day of mixed emotions for the family of Anthony Nicholas, the captain of the oil tanker Aris 13 seized and released by Somali pirates because it had been hired by Somali traders. It was also the 10th death anniversary of Nicholas’s wife. “He spoke to us on March 6 and 7 and he sounded very cheerful at the time. But towards the end of the conversation he told us to pray for him. That was the last time more..

Aris 13 crew uncertain of early return

Mar 19 (SO) The Sri Lankan crew of the UAE-managed oil tanker, Aris 13, now in Somalia’s commercial capital Bosaso were still uncertain of their return to Sri Lanka, despite a dramatic rescue aided by Combined and EU maritime forces on Friday. The Chief Officer Ruwan Sampath of the Comoros-lagged bunkering tanker, seized by pirates off Somali coastal city Alula last Monday, said they were ready to sign off after a days of ordeal more..

Railway opts for US locomotives

Mar 19 (SO) A multi million US dollar tender has been awarded to General Electric (GE), an American multinational conglomerate, for the purchase of 12 locomotives to service the upcountry routes. However, railway experts said, that the Sri Lanka Railway (SLR) will soon buy second-rate diesel locomotives at an exorbitant price without making use of this opportunity to acquire new generation engines. more..

UK insists on credible war crimes probe

Mar 19 (Island) While the govt says that there are variations to the manner in which allegations of war crimes against the security forces and the LTTE could be investigated, the UK yesterday emphasized the importance of independent and impartial institutions to ensure credibility of the process. Asked as to what the UK's position was in the light of recent statements by leading figures in the SL govt more..

Cabinet suspends plan to re-recruit top public servants

Mar 19 (ST) The Cabinet has put on hold a decision it took last month to re-recruit retiring public sector officials to senior positions paying them allowances more than thrice their salaries at retirement. Under the proposal, retiring ministry secretaries, senior professors and similar professionals were to be offered a monthly allowance of Rs 350,000 in addition to transport facilities and fuel and telephone allowances. more..

Gota, Navi Pillay clash over clash over

Mar 19 (CT) Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi pillay said, that when she met former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa during her visit to SL and urged him to maintain investigations to establish where about of missing persons, he had stated, These people do not want to accept that their families are dead. She said Rajapaksa then called her to a meeting with a Sinhalese father, more..

North Koreans refused entry to Sri Lanka

Mar 19 (SL) The government last week refused to approve visas for four North Koreans to attend a seminar in Katunayake, organisers of the seminar said. The seminar held on Friday was organised by the Sri Lanka – North Korea Friendship Association. President of the Sri Lanka – North Korea Friendship Association Duminda Welpola told The Sunday Leader the North Koreans were among foreign delegates invited for the seminar. more..

Landmark Bangladesh win in 100th Test

Mar 19 (CI) A win on foreign soil against a strong home side was Bangladesh's dream for a long time. They achieved it in their 100th Test by beating SL by 4 wickets at P Sara Oval - their first Test win against the hosts - in a performance that saw them dominate large periods of the game. They had plenty of nervy moments though, especially after Shakib Al Hasan was dismissed with 29 still required in 191-run chase. more..

Bond issue: 26 MPs want to give evidence

Mar 19 (ST) Commission of Inquiry (COI) looking into the issue of treasury bonds from Feb 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 has received eight written representations. Written submissions have been sent in response to a public notice by the COI. It has also received a letter signed by 26 MPs requesting an opportunity to give evidence before the COI. Meanwhile, COI continued its sittings and several senior CB officials gave evidence. more..

The story of a latent management trick

Mar 20 (CT) At our drinking session in the Bridgetown pub yesterday, my regular partner, the Sri Lankan Tamil fellow Sivapuranam Thevaram, and I were joined by our countryman friend Polgahawela Aarachchige Don Soloman Rathmana Thanthiriya Bandarawela, known to anyone phonetically challenged as Pol. I might have introduced him before in these pages, but if not, from the length and structure of his name, you might easily infer he is from the Sinhala tribe in SL. more..

Ballot Vs Bullet

Mar 20 (CT) The choice should not be difficult, looked at superficially. But our experience shows that the Choice is not that easy. It is quite difficult, why is it not that easy? It is because Human Society is so complex, so diverse as to necessitate that Governance is structured so as to meet such complexity and diversity. It is the mode and the manner of Governance that decides the Choice between the Ballot and the Bullet. Governance in a country, is based upon country’s Constitution. more..

'Speaker refused our request'

Mar 20 (CT) Former minister and current MP of JO Dinesh Gunawardena made news last week when he was suspended from Parliament, after a controversial verbal battle with Speaker Karu Jayasuriya. In the fallout of the incident, we witnessed the august House taking some dramatic turns – even the govt members walked out of the session, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the proceedings. CT interviewed the man more..

Right to protest and destabilize the country

Mar 20 (NS) Peaceful protests are an accepted way of bringing wrong doings or injustices to public notice with the idea of getting the authorities to remedy or rectify them. Right to peaceful protest is enshrined in the Constitutions of almost all democracies. However, what has been going on in Colombo over the last many months, in the eyes of many Sri Lankans, is far beyond the boundaries of peaceful protest. Hardly a day passes without some protest causing huge traffic jams and more..

What’s next on Dr. Death’s list?

Mar 20 (ST) In defiance of the Court of Appeal’s judgment ordering the SL Medical Council to register SAITM medical graduates and thus enable them to practice medicine, the GMOA, began their battle last month in earnest, determined to give no quarter; bent on claiming their pound of flesh, even with the loss of innocent blood. It was to defend their monopolistic citadel, which securely and comfortably camped a 17,000 strong battalion of doctors, against a small invading force of 60 SAITM more..

'Dinesh only UPFA’s Deputy Leader'

Mar 20 (CT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said, he appears for the rights of the JO to the maximum of his powers, considering it as his duty. "Not only they, but the Inter Parliamentary Union also praised me for that." Q: You have said an attempt to safeguard the dignity of Parliament proved futile. Why was that? A: Our Parliament is now 70 years old. We have both successes as well as drawbacks in this period. more..

Love conquereth all

Mar 20 (SO) Oh dearie me! What a brouhaha about a man in love. Admitted: a liaison of late autumn with early summer. But what harm if both are willing – the man in his seventies and the woman in her thirties. Cheers we should say and drink to their health and continued joy of shared love now made lawful and conjugal. However, every Garden of Eden, even if song filled and flowing with that which cheers if not milk and honey, harbours a serpent and the serpent hisses and stings. more..

Poor fielding let Bangladesh dominate

Mar 20 (CT) The second Test match - which happens to be the 100th Test for Bangladesh - is beautifully poised with both teams (depending on how they progress) having a good chance of winning it. At the time of writing the Bangladeshi's couldn't be blamed if they felt that they were the ones in front, though it's their batsmen that will have to shoulder the responsibility if the result turns out to be anything different. There were two crucial points in the Bangladesh innings that more..


Yet another imaginative proposal to privilege the police

Mar 20 (ST) Tortuous dance of some in Govt to ensure that a suspect in police custody is not allowed legal counsel at the earliest opportunity is indeed painful to observe. Latest amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure Act suggested by Ministry of Justice reflects this reluctance exceedingly well. Now, instead of the earlier harebrained proposal that the access to legal counsel can be given to a suspect only after police interrogations are concluded, we have more..

Western remedies for Sri Lanka's ills: Lessons from history

Mar 20 (Island) Sri Lanka commemorated a dark day in its long and proud history earlier this month. We recalled the cession of our sovereignty to King George III of Britain following the signing of the Kandyan Convention on 2/3 March, 1815 in the historical Audience Hall. On 1 March, 3017, in the same Audience Hall, President Sirisena made the much belated pronouncement to remove from the list of traitors in the govt Gazette those who had valiantly but vainly struggled against more..

Combined Naval Forces supported by 31 nations put on alert

Mar 20 (SO) Our next stop is Somalia. This is not a safe area. But don’t worry, the international naval forces are there and we don’t expect anything bad to happen, the Chief Engineer, Jayantha Kalubowila, of Aris -13, the UAE managed bunkering tanker, told his wife in Sri Lanka. The seasoned seafarer’s predictions, made minutes before the vessel left Djibouti shore on March 8, was destined to prove wrong this time. more..

Editorial: The cost of killing savage killers

Mar 20 (Island) Last week’s reduction of the murder conviction of Royal Marine Sergeant Alexander Blackman, currently in jail for shooting an injured Taliban terrorist in Afghanistan in 2011, to manslaughter is of interest to all countries faced with accountability issues. Five judges of the Court Martial Appeal Court in London overturned the original judgment against Blackman on grounds of diminished responsibility. They held that Blackman had suffered from quite exceptional stressors. more..

Tamil leadership marred by internal battles

Mar 20 (NS) Debate on a suitable mechanism to probe allegations of war crimes during the final stages of the war has once again intensified with UNHRC sessions underway in Geneva. One party calls for int'l involvement while the other objects to it. Govt too has said that it would not allow international judges to be part of the mechanism. Minister Mangala Samaraweera stated that SL’s Constitution will have to be amended if foreign judges are to be allowed to be part of the mechanism. more..

'Poor catching, batting cost us, not complacency'

Mar 20 (CI) Rangana Herath, the SL captain, said he was confident of defending 191 in the fourth innings, although they would have liked more runs to work with. Herath has been the central figure in each of Sri Lanka's five most recent home victories, when they have bowled out visiting sides for 171 (West Indies), 161, 183 and 160 (Australia), as well as dismissing Bangladesh for 197 in Galle. more..

Sixteen years, 18 tries, one win

Mar 20 (CI) In 2001, Bangladesh first played a Test against Sri Lanka. Sixteen years on, there are a host of milestones to celebrate in the same country. 3: Wins for Bangladesh in 46 away Tests prior to their 4-wicket win over SL at P Sara Oval. Their previous win away from home was against Zimbabwe at Harare in 2013. Their two other away wins came during their tour of West Indies in 2009. 9: Wins by Bangladesh in 100 Tests. Their previous win was against England at Mirpur in October 2016. more..

How a team meeting changed Bangladesh

Mar 20 (CI) It was an hour-long meeting that prompted a change in attitude, body language and energy over the five days at the P Sara Oval. The meeting was an effort to trigger introspection after the 259-run defeat in Galle, and the disappointments of the first three months of 2017. Coming into this Test, early 2017 had been an extension of the heartbreaks of 2016 for Bangladesh. Close calls had left them with nothing, most infamously in Bangalore last year, where they conjured up more..