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Crowded wards, staff shortages, inadequate ICUs in most hospitals

Mar 3 (SO) Dengue fever is up- already exceeding the 5,000 mark in the first one and a half months of 2017. A total of 10,205 cases have been reported in Jan and another 4,975 this month, with Western Province accounting for more than half the number. Colombo Municipal area showed a total of 5,786 for the months of Jan and Feb as of Feb.23. Jaffna district had a sudden spurt in the disease in January (558 cases) bringing its total more..

After Sampur

Mar 3 (GV) It has been five months since the Sampur Coal power project has been terminated. Those who protested against the project celebrated their victory. Now the matter has been forgotten, and there is little to no analysis on whether or not the true objectives behind the decision to terminate the project have materialised. Nor have there been subsequent attempts to provide a glimpse into the economic and environmental impact of this decision. Sampur project officially came to an end on more..

Athletes finally get their allowances

Mar 3 (CT) After six months of forming new athletic pools the Sports Ministry finally distributed financial allowances to 27 athletes and 20 coaches ayesterday. Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said the payments will continue monthly from this month onwards. Although athletic pools were formed in October last year for the Asian Championship, they won't be getting allowances from Oct 2016 to Feb 2017. According to the pools, Olympian marathoner, Anuradha Indrajith Cooray, more..

Sri Lanka and its cheap labor pool

Mar 3 (Nikkei) When it comes to labor costs, Sri Lanka is a bargain, considering the size of its economy, according to statistics from the Japanese trade promotion organization known as JETRO. Since the island's civil war ended in 2009, Sri Lanka's economy has been expanding. Its per-capita GDP for 2015, as reported by Central Bank of SL, was $3,924 - higher than the $3,377 in Indonesia, more..

St. Peter’s hold edge over St. Joseph’s

Mar 3 (CT) St. Peter's hold a slight edge over St. Joseph's when the two teams clash in their annual 83rd Battle of the Saints cricket encounter for the Rev. Fr. Maurice Le Goc Challenge Trophy at the P. Sara Oval today and tomorrow. Peterites last won it last year under Vinu Mohotti when victory was awarded to them by the Josephian Rector for disrupting the match early. This year too the Joes face a stiff challenge with the Peterites proving to be more impressive during this season so far. more..

Security forces to combat underworld: Ajith

Mar 3 (NR) Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera says security forces have implemented a programme of high standards to combat underworld activities. Individuals involved in several criminal activities have been identified and will be arrested. He said society’s attention was drawn to criminal activity after recent incidents within prisons adding that what needs to be remembered is that the culprits who had brought in weapons to the Mount Lavinia Magistrates Court have been apprehended. more..

Linguistic slights spur ethnic division in SL

Mar 3 (Economist) From its gleaming new headquarters, Jaffna’s police force serves around 100,000 people. The vast majority of the local population are Tamils or Tamil-speaking Muslims; fewer than 50 locals are members of Sri Lanka’s biggest ethnic group, the Sinhalese. But the vast majority of the city’s 532 police officers are Sinhalese; only 43 are Tamil, and very few of the rest speak the Tamil language well. more..

Applications open for Janashakthi National Civilian Bravery Award 2017

Mar 3 (FT) Janashakthi Insurance, a leading insurance provider in Sri Lanka announced recently that it will continue its partnership with the Foundation for Civilian Bravery Sri Lanka for the Janashakthi National Civilian Bravery Award 2017. This is the 23rd year this award, which recognises civilians who voluntarily risk their lives while saving or attempting to save others from peril, will be awarded. Recognising the importance of inculcating and promoting selflessness more..

CBK joins advisory leadership of regional university empowering women

Mar 3 (FT) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga has accepted an invitation to join the eminent international Council of Patrons of the Asian University for Women (AUW) in Chittagong, Bangladesh. The university, which is the product of east-west foundational partnerships (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Open Society Foundation, IKEA Foundation etc) and regional cooperation, serves extraordinarily talented women from 15 countries across Asia & Middle East, more..

'Careful when criticizing young cricketers'

Mar 3 (DM) Former SL coach Dav Whatmore said that care should be shown when criticizing the current crop of young national team cricketers, since the team was going through a rebuilding phase. He said that criticism should be more objective and that more opportunities and support should be provided to young cricketers. “Clearly they are in a rebuilding phase, and it’s not easy to cover two great players more..

Stuck in a shitty situation

Mar 3 (FT) The majority of us living and working in Colombo take access to decent, usable toilets for granted. That is until we venture out of our regular routes. Finding a toilet can be a daunting task even in Colombo, but not impossible. A number of eateries, malls and shopping arcades offer much needed refuge to those who are desperate to answer natures’ calls. When we venture out of the city, it is a different story altogether. There is of course roughing out when we go camping, more..

JO going solo without SLFP

Mar 3 (CT) Joint Opposition (JO) will be contesting the forthcoming LG Elections on its own and will not be in truck with the SLFP. "We will be contesting on our own under the Lotus Flower Bud symbol and will not be in truck with the SLFP as we will not want to be tricked the second time, "Chairman of Podujana Peramuna Prof. G.L. Peiris said. He also said that they will be seeking the cooperation of the other political parties which are a part of the UPFA, Prof. Peiris said. more..

SLFP sees conspiracy to split up party

Mar 3 (FT) The SLFP yesterday accused unnamed members of colluding with the rival UNP in an attempt to break up the party. Minister and UPFA Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera said that the party was aware of certain agreements that have been reached with the objective of helping the UNP form its own govt. “Those who wish for a UNP-only govt know that such a victory is possible only in the event the SLFP is split. more..

If allegations on bond issues during previous regime are false, challenge them in court: FM

Mar 3 (Island) The Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake challenges a former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to go before courts if the vital details, he exposed to the media, how the previous regime influenced the bond issues, are false. The minister pointed out that issues of the kind should not be discussed in places of worship or on political platforms. He said that the judiciary has been freed today to enable any faction to seek justice from any Court against injustice, if any. more..

Bandaragama karting track will be in international standards soon

Mar 3 (Island) Arguably one of the best carting experts in the region, Richard Lim from RL Karting, Malaysia, is to provide his expertise to the upcoming international-level karting track at Bandaragama. David Pieris Group of Companies will have their already existing carting track at Bandaragama expanded in near future to international standards. Lim expects the best karting will be held at Bandaragama owing to the upcoming facility. He said so in a media briefing held recently. more..

Lawyer’s statement recorded on impeachment of Chief Justice

Mar 3 (Island) The CIABOC has recently recorded a statement from attorney-at-law Nagananda Kodituwakku regarding the circumstances leading to the impeachment of Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake on Jan 11, 2013. Dr. Bandaranayake was reinstated on Jan 28, 2015 and she retired the following day following the change of govt on Jan 8, 2015. more..

Sri Lanka Tourism plans aggressive push at ITB Berlin next week

Mar 3 (FT) Sri Lanka Tourism is set to create another milestone in the international travel market by participating in the InternationaleTourismus – Borse (ITB) Berlin, which will be held from 8-12 March in Messe, Berlin. It is an annual event which takes place in March, where Sri Lanka has been a regular participant. ITB is also one of the most important events on the international tourism calendar and also the world’s largest tourism trade fair. There will be approx 120 representatives more..

Templeton funds flee Colombo

Mar 3 (CT) US based Templeton Fund is learnt to have withdrawn investments from Sri Lanka amounting to one US$ 1 billion last year and another US$ 475 million within the first two months of this year, out of Sri Lanka. Central Bank says a sum of US$ 1,475 million have been taken from the country by the Templeton Fund as at 28 Feb this year. This forex withdrawal has imposed on the govt the need to purchase dollars in order to boost Central Bank reserves by US$ 30-40 million. more..

'Sri Lanka to co-sponsor UN resolution'

Mar 3 (Hindu) Even as Sri Lanka prepares to co-sponsor a UN resolution at the ongoing UNHRC session, seeking more time to fulfil its obligations, the country’s Tamil leadership has called for a time-table and strict monitoring of govt initiatives. Currently working on a draft with the U.S., the U.K. and Montenegro, Sri Lanka will soon submit a resolution that, it hopes, will give an extended deadline for the war-battered country to more..

Is something cooking?

Mar 3 (DM) Former strongman spent a few days in Lion City recently. Reports said that he was on a visit to the city nation for medical consultation and treatment. Meanwhile, Number 2 in yahapalanaya who too was on a foreign tour had a stop-over in Lion City on his way back home while the former strongman was still there taking treatment. Incidentally, there was a story doing rounds that Number 2 had a one-on-one meeting with the former strongman while they were in Lion City. more..

Attackers fired 60 rounds to guards’ one

Mar 3 (CT) Investigations have revealed that the gang that attacked the Black Maria, killing five prisoners and two Prisons Officers, had fired at least 60 rounds at the vehicle, while the prison officials had only been able to fire back once during the drama which unfolded at Ethanamadala in Kalutara last Monday. Attack resulted in the deaths of noted gangster Samayan, who along with four of his accomplices, were being transported to Kaduwela Magistrate's Court from the Kalutara Prison. more..

Gazette notifications on bond issues: PM calls for details from 1999

Mar 3 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had directed the Central Bank to submit a report to him containing Gazette notifications relating to Treasury Bond issues up to the end of last year. PM had asked the Central Bank to provide a detailed report on Treasury Bond issues, executed by way of Gazette notifications, of such issues made in one year, but notified by Gazette only in the following year. more..

Separatist groups capable of arming 15,000 terrorists within 48 hours: JO

Mar 3 (DM) Separatist groups have gathered information regarding 11, 000 rehabilitated and released Tamils and yet another 4,000 Tamils who did not surrender to the army, and have sufficient hidden arms and ammunition, enabling them to create a group of terrorists within 48 hours, joint opposition warned. Former MP, Sarath Weerasekara said that the background has been created by Unity govt for separatist groups to roam freely in the country, putting country at risk. more..

President to soon clarify Govt’s stance on Constitution

Mar 3 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena will soon make clear what the govt’s stance on the Constitution is, UPFA General Secretary Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said, as the question of the referendum remained unanswered between the two major political parties in the country. Confusion has been rife over the nature of the changes proposed to the Constitution with the SLFP insisting that only amendments that do not need a referendum would be made while the UNP has been firm that more..

Govt says no new laws to include foreign judges in special court

Mar 3 (FT) Govt will not enact new laws to incorporate foreign judges and lawyers into a local judicial mechanism to address allegations of war crimes, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told a UNHRC side event in Geneva on Wednesday. “But with or without foreign judges, mechanism the Govt comes up with will be credible,” he vowed, in response to a question posed to the delegation on the controversial issue. more..

Young voices for the wilderness

Mar 3 (DM) Today is World Wildlife Day with the vision being to celebrate and raise awareness on the world’s wild animals and plants. On December 20, 2013 the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed March 3, the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This year’s theme is Listen to the Young Voices based on the fact that almost one quarter of the world’s population is aged between 10 and 24. more..

Ven. Rathana Thera’s statement

Mar 3 (DM) He says that “there is no need for Policemen to carry weapons in the North, as they were only needed to prevent thefts and other minor offences,” at a time when sophisticated weapons are used in almost all robberies. Pushes for Police and Land Powers for the North; The Thera’s statement likely to disturb the JHU, which thinks differently; The party calls for his resignation after his decision to act independently in Parliament. JHU MP Ven. Athureliye Rathana Thera, more..

Village tank project provides lessons for restoration

Mar 3 (ST) Sri Lanka is famous for its irrigation heritage, but only the marvels of large tanks built for irrigation draw attention, while small village tanks are ignored. In many cases village tanks function as a cascade system – so using wrong methods to restore them ignoring specific functions of associated components can do more harm, according to experts who discussed the issue recently in Colombo. more..

'SL needs to remarket public transport'

Mar 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s public transport needs to be developed and marketed as an attractive technologically savvy mode and an alternative to using private vehicles, rather than a low cost product used by the poorer sections of society, a senior official said. “Change is required in Sri Lanka to think across modes of transport and plan for seamless flows,” T. Sivakumar, head, Dept of Transport & Logistics Management, more..

The widely debated land grabbing at Wilpattu

Mar 3 (SL) Renowned ecologist cum ornithologist Prof. Sarath Kotagama, stressed that if anybody tells him that there is a problem within the Wilpattu National Park, he is willing to take the challenge and fight for it and do something. However, if this is happening outside, it is a different story. Expressing his candid views  about the widely discussed/ debated land grabbing at one of the country’s leading national parks, more..

Health Ministry Deputy DG refutes JO’s allegations over vaccine imports

Mar 3 (DM) Deputy Director General (Dental Services) of the Health Ministry Dr. Jayasundara Bandara refuted all allegations levelled against the ministry by the joint opposition (JO) over the importing of vaccine Taxacad -- known as Hearticad in Sri Lanka -- that is given to the breast cancer patients. Dr. Bandara said Health Minister had not incurred a financial loss to the ministry as the JO claims so. more..

Elevation of Mankulam as NP capital runs into environmental snags

Mar 3 (DN) Environmental concerns have been raised over the Govt’s plan to develop Mankulam as the capital city of Northern Province. UPFA MP Douglas Devananda said water scarcity and the human elephant conflict in the area could be aggravated due to depletion of forest cover as a result of development of the city. He urged govt to implement the development plan taking utmost care to minimize possible environmental damage. more..

Sri Lanka wins most Popular Destination Award at Chinese Travel Fair

Mar 3 (LBO) Sri Lanka has won the most Popular Destination Award for the second consecutive year at the GITF Travel Fair in Guangzhou, China. The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Guangzhou in partnership with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau participated in the Guangzhou International Travel Fair (GITF) with 19 travel and tour agents. Two tourism roadshows and B2B exchanges were also organized more..

Sri Lanka dodges questions on women’s rights at UN committee

Mar 3 (HRW) If there were any doubt where women’s issues rank in the Sri Lanka govt’s list of priorities, it was laid to rest last week in Geneva. When the Sri Lanka delegation appeared before the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) on Feb 22, it should have been well-prepared for the occasion. It was the country’s eighth periodic review, and the questions that the committee would raise more..

'SAITM CEO and suspect made several calls'

Mar 3 (DM) A number of telephone conversations had been exchanged between the former SAITM CEO Dr. Sameera Senaratne and a Kotikawatte Mulleriyawa PS member who was the alleged main suspect in the shooting incident in Malabe, police investigations have revealed. Earlier, police said Dr. Senaratne allegedly staged the shooting which took place in Malabe to falsely portray that his life was in danger. more..

Extension of Geneva deadline irks TELO

Mar 3 (Island) The Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) has alleged the four-party TNA is in a severe crisis for want of a cohesive strategy to address contentious issues. The TNA comprises ITAK, PLOTE, EPRLF and the TELO. TELO National Organizer M.K. Sivajilingam said that the coalition partners were pulling in different directions because political affairs were being handled in an ad hoc manner. more..

Housing complex of 396 houses vests with public by President

Mar 3 (PMD) “Every govt should give prominence for people’s essential requirements; food, housing, health and education. The low income families have to face many problems due to the politicians who worked for their private agendas without identifying that matters of priority”, says President Sirisena. He was speaking at the occasion to vest 2nd phase of Laksanda Sevana Housing complex in Salamulla, Kolonnawa more..

Petitions against Lanka E-News editor to be amended

Mar 3 (NR) Supreme Court today ordered the 14 petitions tabled against the Chief Editor of Lanka e-News website Sandaruwan Senadeera over allegations of publishing false information and thereby insulting the judiciary, to be amended and tabled in Court on the 16th of May. Case was taken up before a three member bench Buwaneka Aluwihare, Kithsiri De Abrew and Anil Gunaratne. President’s Counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya tabling facts in Court said the residential more..

Eliminating ragging: Who is willing to do what it takes ?

Mar 3 (CT) It is good to observe the prevailing public uproar following the arrest of student thugs of the University of Peradeniya for ragging new entrants in a torture house they had set up for this purpose. However as someone who has seen it all before and can look back on a lifetime of frustrating endeavor against ragging ( an unfortunate euphemism for human torture in the campus), one may be excused for being somewhat skeptical about the ultimate outcome of the current hue and cry more..

Faraz Shauketaly and Bandula Jayasekara