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Editorial: The safety of bond scam witnesses

Mar 31 (Island) Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya has dropped a bombshell. He declared that witnesses, giving evidence before the presidential commission of inquiry probing bond scams, were without protection and the IGP had to be held responsible should harm befall them. He has apparently sought to support his argument with Chairman of the presidential commission of inquiry K.T. Chitrasiri’s statement on Tuesday that the IGP had not heeded a commission request for more..

Protecting Sri Lanka’s Dugongs

Mar 31 (SL) Fishing communities in Puttalam, Kalpitiya once practiced illegal methods, especially when it came to fishing gear that threatens Dugong-a large marine mammal, and sea grass habitats have chosen a number of alternatives thanks to the conservation initiatives of UNEP. We spoke to a cross section of the community on the progress in their latest initiatives. 22-year-old, Upeka Thanamali says she is very happy to see her father & brothers giving up illegal fishing methods. more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Women’s groups outraged by statement on Muslim marriage

Mar 31 (SL) Women’s Action Network (WAN) said it was appalled and deeply disappointed by recent statements by Rizvi Mufthi, President of All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama (ACJU) in a recent interview, that the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) is perfect in the present state and does not require changes. With religious leaders invoking tradition to block fundamental rights, WAN called on the State to step in and ensure that Muslim women and children are not second-class rights holders. more..

How Expack embarked on a mission to create social value

Mar 31 (Roar) When a business is caught up in day-to-day work, it’s easy to forget that they do not exist in isolation and are, in fact, closely intertwined with the immediate community they operate in. Leading packaging solutions provider, Expack, is acutely aware of the importance of creating social value beyond CSR, and has amplified its community engagement activities in recent years. The clarion call for businesses to create social value has gained strength in recent times. more..

Sustain Lanka National Celebration will commence today at BMICH

Mar 31 (PSL) Sustain Lanka National Celebration, organized in parallel to the three year plan for a Toxin Free Nation, a concept of President Maithripala Sirisena and in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals announced by the UN, will be held from March 31st to April 4th at the BMICH. The inauguration ceremony of Sustain Lanka National Celebration will be held under the patronage of Prez Sirisena today at 10 am more..

Statistics for a Better Tomorrow

Mar 31 (Island) It is a great pleasure to address you, on this Stat Day organized by the Stat Circle of the University of Colombo. I thank the Stat Circle for inviting me as the guest speaker for important occasion. Since you have chosen Statistics for a better tomorrow as the theme of this year, I would like to focus my speech on importance of using statistics for a better tomorrow. Statistics play a crucial role in planning, implementing and monitoring of development programs. more..

The Ramanathan Kannan affair

Mar 31 (Island) The controversy over appointing Ramanathan Kannan, a member of the private bar from Batticlaoa, as a High Court judge over the heads of many senior District Court judges and officials of the Attorney General’s Department, is now coming to a head with an emergency general meeting of the Judicial Services Association being called for tomorrow. According to members of the legal fraternity, this is the first time the JSA is holding a meeting of this nature. more..

Leaked email helped Hathuru

Mar 31 (CT) Bangladesh's Head Coach Chandika Hathurusinghe who changed the fortunes of Bangladesh cricket by transforming them from minnows to a top competitive team revealed an interesting story about how a leaked email exchanged between former SL captain Kumar Sangakkara and SLC helped to shape up his career after he was unfairly sacked by SLC years ago. "I was sacked with two months' salary. more..

Presidential Sports Award on May 19

Mar 31 (DN) Presidential Sports Awards Ceremony has been organized on the direction of Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara and on the instructions of President Sirisena for May 19 at BMICH. At this ceremony, life time awards will be presented by the President to Sri Lankans who made the most substantive contribution or achieved success to SL sports of that year including Kreedabhimani, Kreeda Deshoththara, Kreeda Keerthi, Kreeda Lanka Pradeepa, Kreeda Bhushana, Kreeda Rathna more..

Health Ministry deals a blow to the RTI

Mar 31 (Island) Decent Lanka 2015, a civil society group, has written to the Chairman, Right to Information (RTI) Commission about denial of provision of some basic information by a Deputy Director General (DDG) of the Ministry of Health (MoH). It released to the media a letter dated 06 March 2017 addressed to the Information Officer/ DDG (Medical Services 1) explaining how she denied the information. They also released the duly filled form, as per the provisions of RTI Act, more..

Independent Media Council in the offing

Mar 31 (DN) Mass Media and Parliamentary Reforms Ministry is engaged in drafting new legislation to set up an Independent Media Council, Deputy Minister Karunarathna Paranavithana said. New legislation would be titled Independent Council for News Media Standards Act. He said several models of media regulation have been proposed in this regard, adding that the model which would be most suitable to SL context more..

Global giant Dentsu acquires Grant Group in Sri Lanka

Mar 31 (FT) Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) yesterday announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the Grant Group, the largest independent creative agency and the pioneer of modern-day advertising in Sri Lanka. The acquisition will see the formation of Dentsu Grant, a powerhouse in advertising that combines the 59 years of local leadership with DAN’s global footprint and expertise across creative, strategy, digital, experiential and other marcom platforms.  more..

Extract from Sangakkara’s email which was written to SLC back in 2010

Mar 31 (CT) "I am writing to place before you my honest view on the contribution of Chandika Hathurusinghe to national cricket and his value towards ensuring its sustained success. This is in no way meant to argue or debate the termination of his contract, or the inquiry preceding it, but to simply implore all of you to offer a talented and capable coach of proven ability a second chance to further not only his personal career, but also to enrich the current and future performances more..

'Global recession coming, SL must cash in'

Mar 31 (FT) A prolonged global recession is looming in 2017-2019, a top international economist warned yesterday but urged Sri Lanka to convert it into an opportunity by becoming competitive to lure Chinese and other international firms to relocate their factories. Popular Lankan-born economist Dr. Howard Nicholas almost kept a packed Lankan Economic Forum in suspense with his presentation, which backed his prediction more..

NSB notches Rs. 16 b in operating profits

Mar 31 (Island) NSB’s operating profit at Rs. 16.1 billion recorded 4% increase as compared to previous year. These reported profits were achieved despite lower interest margins on account of an elevated market interest rate scenario. The growth in its traditional lines of business enhanced fee based income and improvement in credit quality of its asset portfolio resulting in lower provisioning being the main contributory factors leading to this growth in profitability, a press release said. more..

Peace Air offers Euro 15 bn credit to govt

Mar 31 (DN) A credit line of Euro 15 billion (US$ 1631 b) to the Sri Lankan govt has been arranged by Peace Air Company. This loan is being arranged through Switzerland Bank and is coordinated by a Fund Management company in London. Peace Air Chairman Gamini Wettasinghe said that the loan will be for a period of 25 years with a grace period of five years. The interest rate will be less than 2%. Wettasinghe said he has informed President Sirisena about this offer and more..

PM kicks off the future of retail banking in SL

Mar 31 (FT) PM officiated over the launch of a digital banking solution provided by Manipal Technologies, India, in Colombo. Digital bank branches are an innovative solution to cater to the changing needs of the banks and their customers. It provides banks and financial institutions with an easy front-end solution to convert their traditional banking system into a cashless, technology-driven and easy-to-use digital bank branch. more..

Sri Lanka Tea Cup to boost island as a cycling destination

Mar 31 (DN) Ending Sri Lanka's long term top notched cycle race drought, Lanka Sportreizen (LSR) in collaboration with the Cycle Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL) and Sri Lankan Airlines will conduct the Sri Lanka Tea Cup - Coast to coast cycle road race from April 6 to 9, covering nearly 325kms on vastly varied terrain, bridging the island nations East coast and West coast, cities Pasikuda and Negombo. This was revealed to the media during a press briefing at WTC recently. more..

Mahamaya Girls College clinches CA Sri Lanka’s 2017 Business Plan Championship

Mar 31 (Island) Mahamaya Girls College, Kandy clinched the championship of the 2017 CA Sri Lanka Business Plan competition, beating six other leading schools in the country. The winning team will fly to Australia in May 2017 and will represent Sri Lanka at the BlueShift Int'l Business Case Competition organised by Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. First runner up at the grand finale was Richmond College, Galle while Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo came in as the second runner up. more..

Video: Seneviratne appeals for change in ministerial portfolio

Mar 31 (DM) Labour and Trade Union Relations Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said he would be pleased if he was given some other ministerial portfolio instead of labour, as he could perform better. He said he had already made a request to President Maithripala Sirisena for a change in the ministerial portfolio. “I served as the Labour Minister for four long years, and was later given the same portfolio. more..

Parents up in arms as SLTA fires foreign tennis coach

Mar 31 (DN) The bosses of Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) have been at loggerheads with the parents of tennis players after they announced the firing of the Association’s foreign head coach Eric Peterson. With the SLTA higher-ups giving notice of early contract termination to coach Peterson, who was hired from Netherlands on a two-year contract to take charge of tennis players in Sri Lanka, the parents of tennis players training under Peterson, have openly expressed more..

Sri Lankan diplomat mourned in Saudi

Mar 31 (AN) Members of SL community and diplomats mourned the death of Faizer Mackeen, SL consul general in Jeddah, who passed away at a city hospital in the western province on Saturday. His funeral took place after noon prayers in Makkah attended by people from all walks of life including the SL Ambassador Azmi Thassim. Mackeen’s body was brought from the hospital morgue to Al-Amoudi Mosque, opposite the SL Consulate, for the funeral prayer, and for people to pay their last. more..

'Govt remains committed to hybrid tribunal'

Mar 31 (Island) Having repeatedly vowed not to allow foreign judges and other experts in proposed judicial mechanism to address accountability issues, President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces had allowed the govt to reiterate Sri Lanka’s commitment to Geneva Resolution 30/1 meant to bring in foreign personnel, Joint Opposition leader Dinesh Gunawardena, MP, said. more..

ASP Lorenz assigned to CID for bond probe

Mar 31 (AD) ASP N.V. Lorenz has been temporarily assigned to Criminal Investigations Department (CID) by the IGP for investigations by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into CBSL bond issue, Police said.  President Maithripala Sirisena appointed a Commission of Inquiry to investigate and inquire into the issuance of treasury bonds.  ASP Lorenz has been appointed to the CID to assists in the investigations regard the treasury bond scam. more..

Gallivanting politico gets an earful

Mar 31 (DM) A powerful young purohita in yahapalanaya received a severe reprimand from Number One the other day. This young purohita from Rajarata, who by the way, handling a big secretarial job in his party, had been found doing more globe-trotting than any productive work in his office in the recent past. On hearing about the purohita’s endless foreign jaunts draining a sizable amount of public funds, Number One had taken him to task at a recent meeting of the top team. more..

'Sharp drop in voter registration due to electorate apathy'

Mar 31 (Island) Chairman of the National Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya has attributed the sharp drop in voter registration in the latest electoral list to the inordinate delay in holding local govt polls. Govt has put off LG polls for more than two years purportedly over the delay in finalisation of the delimitation process. Comparing electoral lists for 2015 and 2016, he pointed out that there were only 196,000 new voters. more..

CERT warns of dangerous computer virus carried by emails

Mar 31 (DM) The Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) today warns computer users to beware of a dangerous computer virus received in many forms as it was fast spreading throughout the internet and there was a risk of it infecting any computer through emails. Speaking to Daily Mirror, CERT Chief Information Security Engineer Roshan Chandragupta said the virus mainly infected to computers through emails. “Five incidents have been reported in the country so far more..

Counsel for Perpetual Treasuries insists CB directives not effective beyond 31 March

Mar 31 (FT) Senior Counsel for Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. S.A. Parathalingam yesterday notified the Court of Appeal that that the directives of the Central Bank imposing restrictions on the company expired on 31 March and were not effective beyond that date. President’s Counsel Parathalingam submitted the petition mentioned today for the second and third petitioners to provide information pertaining to the formation of the petitioners’ companies. more..

Declaring four forest areas as reserves: No political or religious motive

Mar 31 (CT) Strongly denying the presence of any political or religious motive behind declaring four forest areas, located near the Wilpattu North Sanctuary, President Sirisena has made it clear that none of the Muslim religious places, villages or houses, in which the people live and have legal rights to would be acceded to the govt as claimed by certain parties. President signed a Gazette Notification declaring 4 forest areas, more..

Vladimir Putin has spoken

Mar 31 (DM) Russian President Vladimir is known to be a strong man. That strength was amply demonstrated recently in action taken to blunt protests organized by the Opposition. Putin doesn’t rant and rave like those who have made it a habit of blaming their ills on Russia or those who have been quiet when the USA gets down and dirties the elections held elsewhere and are now upset that Russia may have done some tweaking at home last November. He is a man of action, more..

A clash with UNHRC in the making

Mar 31 (DM) Considering the contradictions between the Govt’s dealings with the international players in respect of human rights and its media statements issued for local consumption, one would wonder whether it is the int'l community or the people of this country or both or itself that the Govt is going to hoodwink. Last week the Govt cosponsored another resolution on SL at the UNHRC as it did in 2015. This year’s resolution was nothing but a move to give two more years more..

'We’ve been agitating for social change'

Mar 31 (DM) Nicola Grinstead is the Chair of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and the Deputy Chief Executive of the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. She was here in Sri Lanka to celebrate the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association’s centenary year. Ms Grinstead explained the importance of Girl Guides in our society especially in a day and age where women are still fighting gender stereotypes more..

MS formed govt with thieving lot: Lalkantha

Mar 31 (DM) Former JVP stalwart K.D. Lalkantha said that President Sirisena formed a govt with a cabinet with a thieving lot and acceded his presidential supremacy to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. He said though President Sirisena assumed office as the President, he was merely acting as a normal citizen having relinquished his powers to PM. “President was appointed by the people’s votes & should help on their issues. more..

Disabled soldiers demand an urgent solution

Mar 31 (SL) Disabled soldiers have continuously raised the issue of govt’s failure to solve the discrepancies that have occurred in their pensions.  They were also compelled to protest on the streets demanding the govt to solve their problem. Following the most recent protest carried out by war veterans, the Director of the Pensions Department said that that they have decided to temporarily halt the govt’s decision to reduce more..

Sri Lanka vehicle registrations crash, tax policy said unfair, warped

Mar 31 (EN) Vehicle registrations fell sharply in Feb from the previous month with mini-trucks and three-wheelers used by small businesses among the worst hit by highly iniquitous and distortionary taxes and import restrictions. Sri Lankans pay between 26% to 175% more for a car compared with Philippines, similar lower middle income country, whose GDP per capita of US$ 3,000 is lower than SL’s which is US$ 4,000, more..

Kinniya dengue cases rise, while anti-mosquito struggle continues

Mar 31 (ST) Intense mosquito control measures are continuing in Kinniya, which is in the grip of a dengue epidemic. “We identified and got rid of possible mosquito breeding places. These sites had been overlooked by the public because they didn’t know such places could turn into breeding sites,” said Dr Preshila Samaraweera, consultant community physician at the National Dengue Control Unit. Health officials will continue to more..

Vehicle mania of good governance bursting at the seams

Mar 31 (LeN) while a supplementary estimate has been tabled in parliament on the 24 th  requesting a further allocation of Rs. 370 million to meet the deficit  in respect of the cost of import of vehicles  for ministers, the deputy minister of media Karunaratne Paranavithana going   even beyond that  to take measures to get down a super luxury jeep spending (wasting) Rs. 43 million of public funds for himself is a matter for rude shock more..

Govt invites international players to explore oil and gas here

Mar 31 (Island) Petroleum Minister Chandima Weerakkody said the govt had invited oil companies to invest in the appraisal and development of gas discoveries in the M2 offshore block in the Mannar Basin. Weerakkody said that the investors had been called for the appraisal and development of gas discoveries in the M2 offshore block in the Mannar Basin according to international oil exploration rules and regulations. more..

‘I told others Governor’s decision would make us walk out of the bank in the buff’

Mar 31 (Island) Assistant Governor of the CB Sepala Ratnayake yesterday testifying before the Special Presidential Commission said, "We were in a hopeless situation after Deputy Governor of the Central Bank and Chairman of the Tender Board P. Samarasiri on the instructions of the then Central Bank Governor Arujuna Mahendran had decided to accept bids over Rs. 10 billion despite his (Ratnayake’s) strong objections. more..