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Full face helmets ban: Law not enforced

Mar 20 (DM) Responding to several isolated incidents happening regarding the controversial full face helmets ban, Police Spokesman DIG Priyantha Jayakody said so far the law has not been enforced as there is a Supreme Court hearing regarding the issue. He said so when questioned on the information received that several police officers had threatened those who wear the full face helmets forcing them not to do so. “The court has given an interim order regarding the issue more..

Madame arrested after chase

Mar 20 (CT) A woman, whose driving antics endangered the life of a Police Constable, was arrested, after a chase by a civilian and remanded. On 10 March, around 11.30 p.m., Police Constables Upul (71060) and Pradeep (84770), of the Cinnamon Gardens Police were on patrol duty along Gregory's Road, close to Independence Square. Although this is a one way road, they spotted a hybrid car being driven along it in the opposite direction. The policemen signalled it to stop, more..

Colombo’s pro-West tilt brings Chinese Defence Minister post haste to Sri Lanka

Mar 20 (ENS) Concerned about Sri Lanka’s lurch towards the US and the West, China is sending its Defence Minister Gen. Chang Wanquan to Colombo for a 3-day trip beginning on Sunday. The hurriedly planned visit will be part of a tour of some countries in the region (not in the Indian subcontinent). He will meet all the top govt leaders and also interact with the officers of the Defense Staff College. more..

Cigarette smuggling: Customs on lookout for Chinese king-pin

Mar 20 (DM) Customs Department is on high alert to track down a leading Chinese cigarette-smuggler operating in Sri Lanka and said to be linked to the detection of Chinese cigarettes at the BIA in the past three months, a senior official said. He said the attempts to smuggle Chinese cigarettes into the country through the BIA had been masterminded by this person and that every time contraband cigarettes were detected, the mystery man is supposed to provide funds to pay the fines. more..

Noise pollution: Arrest warrant on Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera

Mar 20 (DM) An arrest warrant was today issued on Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera as he was not present in court when a noise pollution case filed against him for the high level of noise emanating between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. from the loudspeakers of the Alan Mathiniyaramaya Temple in Polhengoda was taken up for hearing. A complaint was filed in Colombo Chief Magistrate's Court earlier by four residents of the area complaining about the high level noise pollution suffered by more..

Video: Team under ex-head of intelligence was behind Lasantha’s murder

Mar 20 (AD) A team functioned under former Director of the State Intelligence was behind the assassination of Lasantha Wickrematunge, CID informed the Court on Monday. CID officials told the Mt. Lavina Magistrate’s Court this group under ex-Director Major General Kapila Hendawitharana has functioned as a dedicated team to carry out attacks against journalists and media organizations as well. more..

Arrest of Indian fishermen to continue despite alleged shooting

Mar 20 (CG) Govt says Indian fishermen will continue to be arrested if they poach in SL waters despite the recent shooting incident. Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said today that while Indian fishermen have been released their boats have not. He said the Govt is also looking at resolving the Indo-Lanka fishing dispute in a diplomatic manner and talks will be held as scheduled next month. The Minister also said that while investigations are ongoing, more..

Court stops auction on Basil’s alleged land in Malwana

Mar 20 (DM) The auction of the property on River Bank Road in Malwana connected to a case against former minister Basil Rajapaksa was suspended by Pugoda Magistrate today when the case was taken up on a motion filed by the FCID. Court had earlier ordered that the 16-acre block of land be auctioned after Mr. Rajapaksa and three other suspects in the case refused to accept the ownership to the land. On the Attorney General’s directive to the FCID the Department of Valuation that more..

Chinese Defense Minister called on President

Mar 20 (PSL) Minister of Defense & State Councilor of China General Chang Wanquan who is on a official visit to Sri Lanka called on President Maithripala Sirisena today. President who recalled the long term relationship between Sri Lanka and China thanked for the support given by China for the independence and national security of Sri Lanka. He also extended thanks for the Chinese govt for the training opportunities more..

'I am working hard but not allowed to deliver'

Mar 20 (DM) Minister Harin Fernando said though some people accused him of disregarding his voters, he was not allowed to work despite trying hard for it. Minister was speaking at an occasion in Badulla. "These days, some people accuse me of disregarding those who voted. They say I am not to be seen after getting their votes. I tried my best to work for them, yet, I am not allowed to do so. I will remain patient for a couple of months and see and will either resign from this or work for you", more..

Bitter gourd seeds cure cancer: Research

Mar 20 (DM) A research conducted by the Peradeniya University has revealed the potentiality of bitter-gourd seeds in destroying cancer cells. Prof. Jayantha Rajapaksa of the Veterinary Faculty engaged in the research said during his one-year research it was possible to discover the Alpha Steric Fatty Acid (ASFA) contained in bitter-gourd seeds which was capable of suppressing cancer cells. There is a general belief among people that bitter gourd has medicinal value for diabetes but more..

SL drops 3 places in World Happiness Index

Mar 20 (NR) Sri Lanka has dropped to 120th in the 2017 World Happiness Index, an annual ranking which assesses countries in terms of happiness and well-being rather than from an economic perspective. In the report published last year which took into consideration the years between 2013 to 2015 Sri Lanka was ranked 117th and in the latest report dropped 3 spots. more..

New rules to prevent buildings near power lines

Mar 20 (EN) Sri Lanka’s energy sector regulator has announced new building rules to protect the public from danger posed by electricity transmission networks, with minimum distances to be enforced and permission from utilities needed to approve construction. Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) said the new regulation will prevent the construction of new buildings too close to power lines. A safety clearance certificate from CEB or LECO will be required for new buildings, more..

Video: President, PM summoned to testify in Tissa’s trial

Mar 20 (AD) The case filed against former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake for allegedly preparing a fraudulent document has been postponed to 17 July by the Colombo High Court. The case was fixed for July after the State Counsels sought a new date since the first two witnesses in the case, President and PM, were not present at the Court. The Counsels appearing on behalf of the witnesses have apprised the Court that the President and the PM have informed that more..

Sri Lankan media react angrily after test loss to Bangladesh

Mar 20 (AP) Some 135 years after English cricket was declared dead and the Ashes shipped to Australia, Sri Lankan cricket was killed off by a newspaper mourning the loss to Bangladesh, the youngest test-playing nation. The Island newspaper on Monday published an obituary for SL cricket following the loss. RIP Sri Lanka, read the headline. The paper carried a notice saying: "In affectionate remembrance of SL cricket which died more..

Jailers taking Easy Cash for services rendered to prisoners transpires in evidence

Mar 20 (Island) It has been revealed that prison inmates get their relatives to transfer money to the bank accounts of jailers so that they could enjoy extra facilities including access to telephones. This came to light at last week’s magisterial inquiry into the killing of underworld kingpin, Aruna Udayanga alias Ranale Samayan and four other inmates and two jailers in a recent attack on a prison bus in Kalutara. It was revealed at an inquiry in the Kalutara Magistrate court on Thursday more..

US drone strike kills militant behind attack on Sri Lankan cricket team

Mar 20 (ET) A militant wanted for involvement in attacks on GHQ and Sri Lankan cricket team was killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan. Qari Yaseen was said to be involved in the attack against SL Cricket Team in 2009. Drone strike carried out in Barmal District targeted Yaseen and three accomplices who were travelling in a vehicle. Yaseen belonged to the Lodhran district of Punjab and was part of various terrorist attacks carried out in Pakistan. more..

Wrong to give Sri Lanka more time on accountability: Wigneswaran

Mar 20 (PTI) It was not right to give Sri Lanka more time to address the issue of accountability over the alleged war crimes committed during the civil war, CM CV Wigneswaran said today. SL govt has sought two more years from the UNHRC to deliver on the accountability mechanism. He said "UN must see first what good the govt has done so far". "Without doing that and granting time for some political reason does not see correct to me," more..

The opportunity in Geneva for a fresh start

Mar 21 (CT) The draft resolution on Sri Lanka that is currently before the UNHRC gives SL the additional two years that the govt sought to deliver on commitments made 18 months ago. The extended time frame to be granted to SL reflects the confidence that the international community reposes in the good faith of the govt headed by President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe. It also reflects the absence of other viable options with regard to hastening transitional justice process in SL. more..

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, A dangerous man?

Mar 21 (CT) The problem with political nationalists is that they are qualitatively and temperamentally inferior to other nationalists. I neither subscribe to nor do I oppose elevating a nationalist campaign through the Parliament, but I am wary of career politicos who seem to use rhetoric to get power and then belittle those who helped them. That is why, as a citizen of SL and an observer of its political shifts, I am also wary of those touted as the salvation for the problems afflicting this country. more..

BRT the solution to ease traffic congestion in Colombo

Mar 21 (SO) In the past week, daily travellers passing Rajagiriya on their commute to work experienced a new phenomena as a trial priority lane for public transport buses was introduced by the Minister of Megapolis and Western Development. Buses on the route were given priority over private vehicles in a one kilometer stretch spanning Welikada junction to Ayurveda junction during the trial period. more..

Policies to overcome persistent balance of payments difficulties

Mar 21 (ST) The persistent balance of payments (BOP) problems of the country must be resolved to ensure economic stability and long-term economic growth. Short-term measures like currency swaps, short-term borrowing and sale of assets could resolve the immediate crisis, but long-term measures are needed to stabilise the external finances. The Govt must address the inherent weaknesses in the balance of payments and resolve them in the next few years. more..

To hell with the rules and the laws too

Mar 21 (ST) There was never a dull moment. For three months or so I witnessed close-up how our once-blessed isle worked or, more often, did not appear to work at all. That was no illusion. The mounds of stinking garbage are accumulating in some part of the capital while the minister responsible for the subject is seen by an increasingly angry public as spitting out verbal garbage on why the local govt elections, long overdue, are still not being held. more..

'Exporters to EU must be educated on Brexit'

Mar 21 (CT) Europe has been one of our biggest export markets for decades, and it still is, even after the loss of the GSP + concession in 2010. Ceylon Today spoke to Srinath Fernando, General Manager of European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ECCSL) to discuss the current situation of the EU market, the issues faced by our exporters and what the govt should do to take advantage of probable resumption of GSP+ concession. more..

Nation with first female Prime Minister still pushes for women's role

Mar 21 (KT) Sri Lanka is a middle income country with a high Human Development Index comparable with developed countries. The country since gaining independence in 1948 has followed a combination of welfare state policies including universal free education and free health care which has resulted in the elimination of gender- and class-based discrimination in access to education, and upward social mobility of both women and men across social strata. more..

A couple of days free of Parliamentary high jinks

Mar 21 (Island) We are glad; sad also. We watch TV news with a sense of relief that verbal fights bordering on fisticuffs as enacted in Parliament are not added on to the dismal news given us on the various TV channels. The Speaker, bless his upright ruling, adjourned Parliament for a couple of days. Maybe he hoped tempers would simmer down in the interim, but if he also hoped that decency would take root in the obstreperous MPs, he will be surely disappointed. more..

Ramesh Pathirana

Mangala and MR cross swords over latter’s statement

Mar 21 (CT) Minister Mangala Samaraweera crossed swords with former President Rajapaksa over his recent statement. The latter called for politicians in SLFP and UNP in government to protect our country from dangerous amendments to the Constitution. Samaraweera disagrees. Ex-President's statement titled, Constitutional and Legal Reforms to Destroy the Nation cautions these proposed amendments as, "firstly, punishing the armed forces for winning the war, secondly more..

Dilemma of protecting freedom of expression

Mar 21 (CT) Sri Lanka is not the only country grappling with the issue of safeguarding individual liberty and freedom of expression on one hand and protecting the freedom of public mobility on the other hand. This is an issue we have seen not only in the fellow South Asian democracies such as India and Bangladesh, but also in the Mother of Democracy, the UK and self-acclaimed protector of democracy, the US. The latest news is from the US where more anti-protest laws are being pushed by more..

Life under Sirimavo

Mar 21 (Roar) Thus began a 1961 Time magazine piece on the world’s first female PM. The article goes on to discuss the controversial Sinhala Only Act dreamt up by her late husband S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike in 1956, and defiantly enforced by his weeping widow at the turn of the decade. Much has been written since then about her undeniably significant role in the fast-deteriorating relations between the Sinhalese and Tamil more..

Shipping industry mystified over unopened Hambantota port proposals

Mar 21 (EN) Proposals to make investments at Hambantota port in southern Sri Lanka, which critics have dubbed a white elephant for not having enough business, have remained unopened despite being received last year, an industry official said. Rohaan Abeywickrama, former chairman of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, said the port’s only business is vehicle transshipment, which was not enough to repay loans taken from China to build the harbor. more..

M.A. Sumanthiran on SL politics, Tamil affairs, and Indo-Lankan ties

Mar 21 (TD) M.A. Sumanthiran is a lawyer, MP and member of the ITAK, a Tamil political party. The Diplomat‘s Taylor Dibbert spoke with Sumanthiran about SL politics, Tamil affairs, and India-Sri Lanka ties. The Diplomat: Sustained militarization and land issues pose significant challenges for civilians residing in Sri Lanka’s Northern and Eastern Provinces. How much progress has been made in these areas since Maithripala Sirisena assumed the presidency in January 2015?  more..

SriLankan Airlines faces fresh turbulence

Mar 21 (FT) SriLankan Airlines is facing fresh turbulence from multiple issues, including accusations of directors abusing privileges to upgrade tickets and management coming under fire to show results ahead of a board meeting later this month. The management and the board of directors at SriLankan continue to fly divided with the former accusing the directors of voting for a move to purchase cheap economy class tickets and more..

Editorial: Geneva bungling

Mar 21 (Island) A determined effort is being made in some quarters to dupe the public into believing that the 2015 UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka, co-sponsored by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe regime, does not call for a hybrid war crimes tribunal. This claim, based on some perverted logic, does not stand up to scrutiny. The aforesaid UNHRC resolution welcomes the GoSL ‘proposal to establish a judicial mechanism with a special counsel to investigate allegations of violations and more..

Former players tie up for betterment

Mar 21 (CT) For the first time in the history of badminton former National players have got together and are likely to contest as a team at the forth coming badminton elections scheduled to be held on 24th March. Past national players namely Nishantha Jayasinghe contesting for the post of president and Clarence Homer will be nominated for the post of general secretary while Rohan de Silva and Duminda Jayakody are also contesting for the post of vice presidents respectively. more..

Cricket’s top brass meet after shock defeat

Mar 21 (Island) SL Cricket’s top brass including President Thilanga Sumathipala, Chairman of Selectors Sanath Jayasuriya, captain Rangana Herath, Coach Graham Ford and Cricket Manager Asanka Gurusinha will meet today to do a postmortem after the national cricket team’s shocking defeat in the second Test against Bangladesh. Fears of Bangladesh turning the tables on Sri Lankans have been there for sometime more..

Wimal re-remanded

Mar 21 (Island) Colombo Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday re-remanded, till April 3, leader of the NFF and UPFA  MP  Wimal Weerawansa. The FCID has complained that Weerawansa abused state vehicles under the last government, causing a loss to the state amounting up to 90 million. During a previous hearing the Magistrate refused to grant him bail on the basis that, an ASP report had not been submitted to support the allegation against Weerawansa. more..

Stakeholders identify 15 tourism priorities

Mar 21 (LBO) Key public and private sector tourism stakeholders in Sri Lanka have identified 15 priority projects to boost and sustain tourism growth over the next three years. A full day workshop to identify these priorities was held at Temple Trees last week. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, Tourism Development Minister, John Amaratunga, and Deputy Tourism Minister, Arundika Fernando participated in the workshop conducted under the Govt’s Economic Delivery Programme. more..

CSE forum tells Sydney time to invest is now

Mar 21 (FT) Australia’s most populous city Sydney was told yesterday that it was time to invest in SL given the future upside supported by progressive policies in place or planned under a unity Govt. This message was conveyed at the Invest Sri Lanka forum organised by Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in partnership with several stakeholders at Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney. Over 150 Australian citizens, companies, more..

New UNFPA representative takes up office

Mar 21 (FT) Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday accepted the credentials of Ritsu Nacken, the new representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Sri Lanka. Presenting her credentials, Nacken said: “Building on the nearly 50-year partnership between Sri Lanka and UNFPA, we are committed to continue supporting the Govt in ensuring reproductive rights of women and young people in line with the Sustainable Development Goals framework.” more..