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Lankan education system, government jobs kill entrepreneurship

Mar 4 (ST) While Sri Lanka’s start-ups and millennial entrepreneurs are facing a massive challenge in sustaining the industry, the root cause is the country’s education system and govt jobs, say some  industry experts. The Business Club of the Sunday Times organised a panel discussion on Startups-The Age of Entrepreneurship at the Kingsbury Hotel in Colombo. Four industry experts -John Keells Holdings Deputy Chairman and PickMe Chairman, Ajit Gunewardene, more..

Mr. Kunu gets a kick out of ensuring nothing goes to waste

Mar 4 (ST) He was introduced as Mr. Kunu at a recent seminar at the British Council where five game changers talked about social change through social enterprise. Chinthaka Abeysekera lives up to that name. No, he is well-groomed and his presentation was full of substance not rubbish – although that last word is what will make him a millionaire soon. That is if the calcified bureaucracy in this country gets their act together and more..

Online program to register fishing vessels biennially from 2018

Mar 4 (GDI) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has instructed Fisheries Dept to make arrangements to implement an online program to register fishing vessels from 2018. Fishing vessels at present are registered annually and it has become a huge inconvenience to fishermen. They have to travel all the way to Colombo from the hinterlands such as Jaffna, Batti, Ampara & Mannar to get their fishing vessels registered. Hence, Minister has focused on implementing an alternative program. more..

Seva Prasadini Abhises Ulela held under patronage of President

Mar 4 (PSL) The Seva Prasadini Abhises Ulela organized by the Ministry of Sustainable Development to mark the World Wildlife Day which falls today, was held under the patronage of President at the BMICH, today (3). President presented an Excellent Service Awards to ten persons during the event, in which the employees and the officials who worked with commitment to protect the wildlife were felicitated. Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera presented a special more..

JICA kicks off study for Colombo-Malabe elevated LRT

Mar 4 (LBO) SL office of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has commenced the preparatory study for the first elevated Light Rail Transit (LRT) line in SL between Colombo and Malabe. Study will address key aspects such as current and projected traffic patterns, environmental & social impacts, economic viability, financial implications, optimization of route, inter-modal connectivity, more..

New Zealand food safety Minister to lead trade delegation to Sri Lanka

Mar 4 (Scoop) NZ Food Safety Minister David Bennett is today travelling to Sri Lanka with a New Zealand business delegation to further strengthen ties between the two countries. “NZ’s relationship with SL is stronger than ever, so this is an exciting time to travel with some of our business leaders and create new opportunities for our nations,” Mr Bennett says. “SL’s economy is thriving, with the potential for NZ to increase not only its commodity trade, but other sectors including aviation & healthcare.” more..

Prez Chief Guest at the SLIIT Convocation

Mar 4 (PSL) President Sirisena participated as the Chief Guest of the Annual Convocation of SL Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) in Malabe, today(3). Students who successfully completed the courses at the SLIIT received the degree certificates from the President. President also presented awards to the students who have shown outstanding performance. Chairman of SLIIT, Professor Lakshman Ratnayake, Managing Director, Professor Lalith  Gamage and many others more..

Bonus money cemented in concrete

Mar 4 (NS) A sum of Rs 450 million given at the time of divestiture of a Swiss Cement Company one of the biggest in the business to the new owners as bonus of appreciation to be distributed amongst the workers, has been solely shared by the top management. None of the workers have been beneficiaries of the bonus, but has been shared by few other selected high personnel. It is further revealed that the workers have protested more..

Govt to sign two agreements with Indonesia during President’s visit to Jakarta next week

Mar 4 (FT) Sri Lanka will sign two bilateral MoUs with Indonesia during President Maithripala Sirisena’s official visit to Jakarta next week, a statement on cabinet decisions said. Accepting an invitation extended by Indonesia to attend the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Leaders’ Summit and conduct a state visit, President Sirisena will visit Jakarta on 7-8 March. An MoU between the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia and the Ministry of Fisheries of Sri Lanka more..

Two Navy personnel arrested over abduction of 11 youths are remanded

Mar 4 (ITN) The two officers of the Navy apprehended with respect to the abduction of 11 youth in the year 2008 have been remanded until the 13th of this month. These youths had been arrested in the Kotahena and Dehiwala areas. It has not yet been revealed whether these youths are still living or dead. Commodore Sumith Ranasinghe and Naval rating Lakshman Udayakumar suspected to be involved in the abduction were taken into custody by the CID last evening. more..

'Sri Lanka's drought won't hit budget deficit'

Mar 4 (Reuters) The worst drought to hit Sir Lanka in 40 years may cost the govt up to 40 billion rupees ($264.7 million), but shoud not worsen the fiscal deficit, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said on Friday. Sri Lanka has already decided to import its staple food -- rice -- after local rice farmers were forced to abandon cultivation due to severe water shortages. In a investor note on Thursday, Moody's said weaker economic more..

SL trade concession use seen inadequate

Mar 4 (EN) The use of trade concessions such as the European Union’s GSP scheme by Sri Lankan exporters is inadequate possibly owing to lack of awareness and insufficient value addition under rules of origin (ROO) criteria, an official said. “Our department issues about 500 ROO certificates per day and we provide a one day service,” said Sonali Wijeratne, Director General of the Department of Commerce. “But the utilization rates of GSP by exporters varies. more..

Russian Embassy seeking release of Russian citizens detained in Sri Lanka

Mar 4 (SN) The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Sri Lanka and to the Maldives will seek the release of Russian nationals detained in Sri Lanka, the embassy said in a statement. On Friday, media reports emerged about nine Russians having been detained in Sri Lanka. "In connection with information spread by the media, we inform that the Embassy is in close contact with the Migration service of SL in order to resolve the situation and free the detained," Russian Embassy said. more..

Sri Lanka gets two-year extension in first draft of UNHRC resolution

Mar 4 (FT) Sri Lanka has obtained a two year extension to tackle post-war reconciliation and allegations of war crimes, according to a first draft of the UN resolution that is likely be adopted at UNHRC at its 34th Session. According to the zero draft of the resolution in circulation late yesterday, Sri Lanka’s next major report on progress made on implementing the 2015 resolution by High Commissioner for Human Rights will be at more..

Chandimal finds form with 190 in warm-up

Mar 4 (CI) Dinesh Chandimal has made a strong return to runs, while Bangladesh seam bowlers Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman made promising starts to their tour of Sri Lanka as well, in the two-day practice match in Moratuwa. Chandimal's 190 not out off 253 balls followed a chastening tour of South Africa in which his highest score in 12 int'l innings was 36. He had been omitted from the ODI XI towards the end of that tour, and was later told by chief selector Sanath more..

Railway station masters threaten to strike

Mar 4 (DM) Railway station masters have decided to stage a two-day token strike from March 7 midnight, Railway Station Masters Association (RSMA) said. Their main demand was to seek permanent appointments in higher ranks; especially railway station masters. The authorities had failed to make permanent appointments for station masters in main railway stations since 2004. “There are vacancies for railway station masters in more than 60 main railway stations in the country, more..

'Had guts to dismiss UN demand for foreign judges'

Mar 4 (PTI) President Maithripala Sirisena has said he had the guts to dismiss a UN demand seeking foreign judges to probe the alleged war crimes committed during the conflict with the LTTE. "I have shown the strength of my backbone," he said while addressing the executive committee meeting of his SLFP held yesterday. His comments are being seen as a response to criticism by his own SLFP party. more..

In first-ever visit to Sri Lanka, IMF chief to preach austerity

Mar 4 (Dawn) Battling difficult fiscal and monetary conditions alongside an ongoing drought that is spiraling up inflation, Sri Lanka is set to face further prescriptions for austerity measures when the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde visits the country on March 21. Following up to the IMF’s loan of $1.5 billion and the sale of some state-owned assets by way of equity swaps, Lagarde, the first-ever IMF head to visit the country, is expected to impose further terms and conditions. more..

Police to provide SFT guards for high profile prisoners

Mar 4 (FT) In an attempt to curb the recent surge in organised crime, the Police announced an island-wide crackdown on arms proliferation, along with moves to provide STF security to high profile prisoners, and surveillance of ex-convicts and released suspects. Refuting claims that the security situation of the country has been compromised, Police yesterday insisted that law and order has been maintained throughout. In an apparent response to the recent comments made by more..

Zeid chides Sri Lanka on slow progress and lack of commitment on war crimes court

Mar 4 (FT) Sri Lanka has shown little commitment to setting up a special judicial mechanism to prosecute alleged war crimes, UN said in a new report released in Geneva that criticises the Govt for its slow pace of progress on post-war reconciliation and justice. In a hard-hitting report to 34th Session of the UNHRC currently meeting in Geneva, UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Al Hussein said the Govt had prioritised only more..

For SAITM, don’t make poor patients suffer

Mar 4 (DM) Despite the continuing crises such as the debt-ridden economy, lack of direct foreign investments and soaring cost of living, national govt to a large extent is restoring democratic rights. Civic conscious citizens need to be aware of the moral law that rights are linked to responsibilities. To the extent we fulfil our responsibilities, only to that extent could we claim or fight for our rights. Similarly to the extent we fail in our responsibilities, to that extent we forfeit our rights. more..

SLMC needs overhaul

Mar 4 (DM) SLMC by law mandated to enter and make inquiries at recognised universities and institutions to ascertain if such universities and institutions conformed to prescribed standards The Ceylon Medical Council, instituted under colonial rule and later renamed and improved as SL Medical Council (SLMC), is legally mandated to take care of the community’s and the people’s health. Legally it can sue and be sued. Sadly SLMC official website does not say what its vision and mission are. more..

Renewable energy sources in the country a necessity

Mar 4 (SL) A top govt official alleged that he suspects a mafia working to block renewable energy sources in the country. Chairman of Sustainable Energy Authority Keerthi Wickramaratne who is an ardent nature lover and works for the betterment of the environment firmly denied that they had given any approval for mini hydro plants that would have a negative impact for the surrounding biodiversity, particularly the fauna & flora. more..

Expressways up for sale: JO

Mar 4 (Island) The National Assets Protecting Centre (NAPC) led by Joint Opposition yesterday claimed that the govt was planning to hand over the management of expressways to a foreign company as part of the privatisation drive under the Sirisena – Wickremesinghe rule. Ratnapura District MP Ranjith Zoysa said the govt had already lined up 34 public ventures including the Hambantota Port for divestiture. more..

Cinnamon: From exotic to curative

Mar 4 (ST) He was heavily into tea before but now he has turned his sights on something which attracted much attention from east and west to this teardrop island aeons ago. Spices they came in search of to Ceylon in the Old World amongst which was the much-sought after cinnamon or kurundu. Housewives break off pieces of this spice and stir into steaming curries to get that extra zest, without a second thought. more..

'Judicial inefficiencies hurting investments'

Mar 4 (EN) Sri Lanka's treasury has failed to honour a court order for nearly seven years underscoring the problems investors faced in enforcing contracts and seeking justice, board of investment chief Upul Jayasuriya. Sri Lanka's ease of doing business has suffered largely due to delays in enforcing contracts, unusually long time taken to conclude trials and failure to effectively enforce court rulings, Jayasuriya said. more..

$100m Kantale sugar deal turns bittersweet

Mar 4 (FT) Caned by bitter FDI numbers, the beleaguered Board of Investment (BoI) made a desperate plea to Govt institutions and agencies to cooperate with them to implement investments, highlighting delays in the $100 million Kantale Sugar factory project, but insisting they could display a turnaround by December if support is given. Controversy has been swirling around the Sugar factory, which after being closed more..

Sand mining: Ranjan denies issuing letter to renew permit

Mar 4 (DM) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake, who refused to issue a letter requesting the extension of a sand mining permit, said that his secretary had issued it without his knowledge using the seal which has his signature. “A secretary in my office has issued that letter using the seal and my letter head when I was not in the office. I have given a seal which carries my signature to my office at Divulapitiya as I often go out of office. more..

UNHRC should monitor undertakings, justice efforts: HRW

Mar 4 (HRW) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights decried Sri Lanka’s slow progress on its reform pledges in his report to the UNHRC, Human Rights Watch said. High Commissioner Zeid Al Hussein acknowledged certain positive developments, but said that the govt failed to adopt a time-bound comprehensive strategy on transitional justice, and called on the council to continue monitoring Sri Lankan compliance more..

Ven. Rathana Thera to remain an independent MP

Mar 4 (N) Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera said he had no intention of joining any political party in the future. Thera made the decision to sit as an independent MP in Parliament recently. “I have not decided on any political party and I have no political ambitions at present. I want to build a wide national movement which will bring together different groups under one platform,” said the Thera, who at present has taken on more..

Anuruddha says Ranjan gave letter to extend permit

Mar 4 (DM) JO MP Indika Anuruddha claimed that while pointing fingers at him about illegal sand mining, Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake had issued a letter to Gampaha District Secretary asking that the sand mining permit of one of his supporters be extended. MP said the deputy minister was attempting to cancel soil and sand mining permits of SLFP supporters in Divulapitiya and to give them to UNP supporters. more..

Divided security apparatus weakens effort to combat overseas LTTE

Mar 4 (DBS) Case No B 85/17 concerning the assassination attempt targeting TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran was taken up at the Kilinochchi courts before Kilinochchi district judge A. A. Anandarajah on Feb 27th. Five former members of the LTTE were again produced in courts as the chief suspects by Police Terrorism Investigation Department (TID). Five ex-tigers are suspected of being involved in a plot instigated, devised and financed by more..

Video: 41 injured after two buses and lorry collide in Gamgamuwa

Mar 4 (AD) At least 41 passengers were wounded following an accident involving two buses and a lorry near the Mahagalkadawala junction on the Anuradhapura-Padeniya main road. A bus transporting a group of garment factory employees and a SLTB bus were involved in the collision, after which 41 injured passengers were admitted to the Galgamuwa Hospital. Six patients who were in critical condition have been transferred to Anuradhapura and Kegalle hospitals.  more..

Anton Balasingham predicted a bloody end for the LTTE

Mar 4 (CT) On March 4th 2017 Anton Balasingham Stanislaus would have been celebrating his 79th birthday. Within the LTTE, Anton Balasingham was the political ideologue—a man who advocated pragmatic solutions. Prabhakaran was the military mastermind. When I interviewed Erik Solheim he described their relationship “as that of a husband and wife,” always needing each other but at the same time always fighting with one another. “Together, when [Balasingham & Prabhakaran] more..

Keerthi Tennakoon

Sport has come a long way

Mar 4 (CT) It was Napoleon who called the English a nation of shopkeepers, but the French ultimately followed them to play professional football. The French until 1932 did not have a professional league; it was in around the 1930s the French wanted to have their own professional league. Likewise, Russians who began their membership in the Olympics in 1911, dissolved the existing Russian Olympic Committee after the revolution and began all over again in the year 1951 as more..

No postman, no University admission

Mar 4 (ST) Lack of a postman at the sub-post office of a remote village, has deprived a deserving student from gaining admission to university. Nayana Sanjeewani from the village of Thelawilla in Suriyawewa, had sat the 2015 GCE A/L Exam in the Arts Stream, from Thelawilla Maha Vidyalaya, and secured 1 A and 2 Bs. Accordingly, UGC had sent her a letter via registered post, informing Nayana she had qualified to enter Rajarata University, and to register with the UGC before Jan 30, more..

TNA welcomes UNHRC report

Mar 4 (NR) TNA welcomes the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the implementation of the 2015 UNHRC resolution, and its recommendations. While the report acknowledges some areas of progress, such as discussions on constitutional reform, it is critical of the govt’s failure to deliver with respect to a number of critical issues. TNA shares the concerns of Report that confidence building more..

Health bigwigs leap to Rajitha’s defence

Mar 4 (Island) Health Ministry officials refuted Joint opposition’s claims of corruption against Health Minister Rajitha Seneratne this week. Director General Health Services (DGHS) Dr Jayasundara Bandara, defending Minister Senaratne at a media conference, said Dr Senaratne had only helped save a large amount of public funds being spent on drugs for breast cancer patients. Dr Bandara said that the company which supplied that particular drug previously had permitted it to be more..

Shashikala Raviraj’s appeal: Notice re-issued on second accused

Mar 4 (Island) Court of Appeal, yesterday, re-issued notice on the second accused in the Raviraj murder appeal. This appellant had not received notice. The Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar by a jury trial, acquitted all the six accused persons, indicted of the murder of former TNA MP N. Raviraj. The wife of Raviraj, Shashikala appealed to the Court of appeal, seeking to set aside the High Court order. The appellant have requested the Court of Appeal to order a re-trial without a jury. more..