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Cabinet divided on school uniforms, fertiliser and glyphosate ban

Apr 1 (ST) Whether material or cash should be given to schoolchildren for uniforms has become a controversy among UNP Cabinet ministers. At the weekly ministerial meeting last Tuesday, Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa said the present practice of issuing cash coupons was not working and was riddled with corruption. He said President Maithripala Sirisena should send an independent team to different districts and more..

'No power cuts despite 18-month delay in LNG tender'

Apr 1 (Island) The inordinate delay in awarding the crucial 300MW LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) tender for the past one and half years has caused concern amongst industry players, who warned that the dragging of feet on this critical national issue could translate into power disruptions in time to come. However, Power and Energy Ministry Secretary, Dr. Suren Batagoda assured that there won’t be any power cuts more..

Ministerial Committee recommends Railways Dept. be a closed service

Apr 1 (ST) A Ministerial Committee has recommended that the Railways Department (RD) be allowed to function as a closed service, so that, it can function more independently and address salary issues as well as internal administrative issues. Committee comprising Secretaries of the Ministry of Public Administration, Transport, Health, Posts & Postal Services, representatives of the Salaries & Cadres Committee, more..

'January 2015 Presidential election : BJP IT expert advised Rajapaksas'

Apr 1 (SO) After three years of claiming that India helped the common opposition to victory in January 2015, a top Rajapaksa administration official openly admitted last week, that India’s Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) social media team had extended assistance to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s re-election campaign to win a third presidential term. Former Media Ministry Secretary, Dr. Charitha Herath admitted on the social media network, more..

Ranil likely to make the great escape

Apr 1 (SL) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to come out victorious on April 4 when the no-confidence motion against him is debated and a vote is taken. Sources said that no matter what the SLFP formally decides with regards to its stand on the vote, some SLFP members are expected to either back the PM or abstain from voting, resulting in him obtaining enough votes to outnumber the joint opposition. more..

Protest march to oust Ranil

Apr 1 (CT) Attorney-at-Law Maithri Gunaratne, who has organized a march, from Kandy to Colombo, in a bid to force PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to resign from his post before the No-Confidence Motion is taken for debate on 4 April, was arrested by the Kadugannawa Police, during the march for being in possession of two shotguns. He was later released on bail. Police said that Gunaratne, when produced before more..

CPC loses Rs. 266 million a week: Fuel pricing formula urgently needed

Apr 1 (ST) The Govt has no funds to keep propping up the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), though it has chosen to keep selling fuel at current prices even after a petrol and diesel hike by rival Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC), a senior Treasury official said. The latest fuel crisis is very difficult to control, said the official, who did not wish to be identified. Losses in power and public transport sectors, among others, are colossal more..

Mangala confronts war legacy, pledges economic relief

Apr 1 (SO) Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera visited Puthukudiyirippu in the Mullaitivu District yesterday, where the LTTE and Govt forces waged the final controversial battles in Sri Lanka’s 26 year civil war, confronting the brutal legacy of conflict and offering livelihood support and economic relief for war-affected communities. Samaraweera, who is on a 3-day visit to the Northern Province to raise awareness more..

Putin Gotabaya in context: Pun intended

Apr 2 (CT) Ironies abound. Three years in to his presidency on 15th July 1979, Jimmy Carter made his famous speech about a crisis of confidence that his nation faced. He spoke of how the isolated world of Washington politicians set a nation adrift. When a nation hopes, dreams and vision of its future are muddled, it becomes a crisis of confidence. It was a decade later that that indomitable soldier and patriot Lieutenant Colonel Gotabaya Rajapaksa permanently migrated to that country of more..

Riot Control: Then and Now

Apr 2 (CT) Two very interesting, informative and constructive contributions by retired senior Police officers of yesteryear, Merril Gunaratne (Lessons from Sinhala Muslim unrest in Beruwala 1991 – Sunday Island, March 11) and Gamini Gunawardane (Change outdated system of police riot control – The Island, March 27), shortly after reading Tarzie Vitachchi‘s publication, Emergency ’58, for the second time prompted this writer to pen this piece. This is a comparison of the way more..

Eleven of the oldest missionary-established schools in Jaffna

Apr 2 (Roar) Education in SL is said to have begun in the 3rd century BC, when the Sanskrit language came to the island with the establishment of Buddhism at the hands of Arhanthà Mahinda Thera, during the reign of King Devanampiyatissa. By the 6th century BC, monasteries and temples became the educational centres in SL, but this changed when the Portuguese conquered the maritime regions with the purpose of commandeering more..

TNA and EPDP: Formerly at loggerheads now allies

Apr 2 (CT) A new trend in the Northern political scene has emerged with the TNA and the EPDP joining hands in forming the Local Govt bodies in the Province. Not only in the North and even in the Eastern Province the EPDP has extended its support to the TNA. The TNA was in its early stages known as even the political arm of the LTTE. The TNA and the EPDP remained at loggerheads until both sides joined hands in forming the Local Govt bodies in the North & East in recent days. more..

The NCM and what’s next?

Apr 2 (SO) The stage is now set for the drama, while rehearsals are going on full steam ahead: the real show will be performed on Wednesday when the motion of no-confidence against PM will be taken up in Parliament for debate and then put to a vote. It is not every day that Parliament in our country debates a motion of no confidence against its PM. This is only the third motion of no confidence submitted against a Premier in seventy years of post-independence parliamentary history. more..

'We have to end this PM’s authority'

Apr 2 (CT) MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara says, “If a caretaker govt is appointed and action is taken towards holding a General Election, and if Ranil Wickremesinghe comes into the Opposition and tries to obstruct such a caretaker govt, I have to mention that we will support such a govt.” Q: You brought in the no-confidence motion against the PM despite knowing that it will be defeated? A: No. There's a very different political situation now. more..

Editorial: Shylock doing an Oliver Twist

Apr 2 (Island) The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) says it will go belly up soon unless a pricing formula is put in place urgently in view of what it calls its escalating losses due to oil price increases in the world market. It suddenly remembers the pricing formula when international oil prices go up; when the prices plummet as they did during the last couple of years it conveniently forgets the much-talked-about pricing mechanism. It was only the other day that Convener of the CPC more..

There’s a bad moon on the rise

Apr 2 (ST) Ranil on the cross, JO searching for 113 nails to crucify him; and guess who’s giving them the hammer to drive the nails home? It’s there in the koha’s avurudhu caw, it’s there humming in the buzz of the bees, it’s there in the breeze, in the rustle of the leaves, and it’s found and murmurs on the quivering lips of the people: There’s a bad moon on the rise for Lanka. On this Easter Sunday morning as the world celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe finds more..

රනිල් විශ්වාසභංගය පැරදුනොත් මෛත්රීට ...

The underworld, Rajapaksa and yahapalanaya power games

Apr 2 (ST) Former President Rajapaksa, now busily wrapping the reformist garb of a changed political persona around him, has had the audacity to complain this week that the underworld is now more active than during his Presidency. But the truth is that the underworld was managed and used at the time to protect the Rajapaksa political project. Those inconvenient to the family in power were disposed of while favorites were nurtured for use whenever the occasion presented itself. more..

Whose govt are they voting on?

Apr 2 (Island) Minister Vajira Abeywardana may have displayed a certain UNP nervousness on facing the no-trust motion, when he said that it was not necessarily against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and his team, but also against SLFP partner, President Maithiripala Sirisena. Leave aside the UNP apprehensions that the SLFP as a party or party MPs may vote with the JO motion, he has also exhibited a certain level of constitutional ignorance, which can question his continued choice for more..

Mangala tackles debt-traps in the North

Apr 2 (SO) Kicking off a three day official visit to the North, Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Friday declared a six month moratorium on loans of Rs. 50,000 or less obtained by Northern Province residents from all licensed financial institutions and announced several initiatives to support livelihoods and overcome indebtedness in the war-ravaged region. In what many described as the first visit by a high level Minister more..

Eve of the no-confidence motion: scenarios on and after April 4th

Apr 2 (Island) The no-confidence motion is the very last chance for the system to self-correct. If it fails, and the PM wins, confrontation will be the order of the day and stability will be a mirage. If the PM prevails in Parliament on April 4th, who benefits? If he loses and the no-confidence wins out, who benefits? What is the scenario if the PM wins? 1. The PM and by association, the govt, will remain delegitimized by the bond scam. 2. The govt will be either more divided than ever or devoid of more..

Disgrace to the country; Disgrace to the UNP: Ranil’s Watergate?

Apr 2 (Island) Richard Milhouse Nixon has earned a place in history, not for the right reason though: he is the only US president to have resigned from post, which he did to avoid the impending ignominious impeachment. The scandal that ended the career of an otherwise very successful US president, Watergate, has now become synonymous with political cover-ups. Nixon, the 37th US President, credited with ending the American involvement in the Vietnam war, visited China in 1972 more..

Medal potential Sri Lanka shooter to aim sans coach

Apr 2 (ST) While the Sri Lankan contingent for the Commonwealth Games 2018 reach Gold Coast, Australia in portions, the shooting team, including three athletes and its manager, is set to leave the country this Thursday. The three-member shooting team is said to have a potential silver medalist in Suranga Fernando, who has impressively performed at recent events conducted by National Shooting Sports Federation more..

Anna-Marie Ondaatje ready to create history in Gold Coast

Apr 2 (ST) She is 17 years old and on the cusp of making history. Anna-Marie Suzanne Quint Ondaatje is a senior international level rhythmic gymnast. She holds the enviable distinction of being the first woman gymnast to represent SL, which will also be making its debut in rhythmic gymnastics, at the 2018 Commonwealth Games to be held on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, from April 4 to 15. In a sport where most gymnasts begin their training as flexible tots as early as 4 years, more..

Colombo Light Rail to commence operations by 2025

Apr 2 (AD) The Govt says that it is expected to commence the operation of the Colombo Light Rail (CLR) system by the year 2025. Action is being taken by the Govt to implement a project on Light Rail Transit System (LRT) to establish an efficient and effective passenger transport system in the Colombo Megapolis area. Under this 7 LRT lines have been planned to be constructed and in this respect priority has been given to the LRT line running within Colombo and more..

'All should work collectively to build a better society for young generation'

Apr 2 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena emphasized that all should fulfill their respective duties collectively to build a better society and country for the young generation of the country. He made these remarks addressing the closing ceremony of the Jathika Yowun Puraya 2018 held at the Livestock Development Centre in Nikaweratiya, yesterday (31). The Jathika Yowun Puraya organized annually by the National Youth more..

Thirimanne saves the day for Colombo

Apr 2 (Island) Test discard Lahiru Thirimanne put up a grand show making an unbeaten hundred in the Inter-Provincial four day match against Galle at Suriyawewa yesterday. In reply to Galle’s massive 476 all out, Colombo were facing an uphill task when they were reduced to 171 for six, still needing 106 runs to avoid follow on. But Thirimanne, who was axed from the Test side after the tour of India in December, combined with the tail to help the side to post 333 all out. more..

Another C'wealth Games for Waidyatilaka

Apr 2 (CT) P.H.D. Waidyatilaka the only Int'l Technical Official for Athletics in SL has been invited to officiate as an ITO at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia to be held from 8 to 15 April. Officiating at Commonwealth Games as an ITO is nothing new for Waidyatilaka. Although he is no more in the IAAF panel of ITOs he has been invited to officiate as an ITO at the Commonwealth Games. When he received the invitation from the Int'l Association of Athletics Associations (IAAF), more..

Video: Political leaders views on NCM

Apr 2 (AD) State Minister Ajith P. Perera says that MPs of the UNP in the govt who vote in favour of the no-confidence motion against PM, will be removed from the party. UNP Working Committee unanimously agreed to vote to defeat the no-confidence motion, he said, adding, that UNP MPs who disregard that decision and support the motion will be sacked from the party following a disciplinary inquiry. more..

Dinesh goes close to world record

Apr 2 (CT) Paralympics medal winner Dinesh Priyantha went close to achieving the World Record when he achieved 63.70 metres in the F46 javelin throw event at the Para Asian Games trails worked off at Diyagama on Saturday. The World Record is held by India’s Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia with a distance of 63.97 achieved last year. Javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia became the first Indian athlete to clinch two gold medals at the Paralympics after he broke his own world record to clinch more..

Sri Lanka remittances up 8.8% in January

Apr 2 (EN) SL's worker remittances rose 8.8% from a year earlier to US$ 729.4 million in Jan 2018, after ending 2017 with total inflows down 1.1% to US$ 7,164 million as oil prices fell and labour markets tightened. SL's South Asian neighbours have seen steeper downturns of remittances with sharp falls in labour exports especially to Saudi Arabia as construction projects stalled. Exports of Pakistani workers to Saudi Arabia fell from a peak of 522,000 in 2015 to 462,000 in 2016 more..

TNA and SLMC decisions today

Apr 2 (CT) The TNA and SLMC will decide on their stance, on the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, today. Both parties will have their respective high rankers’ meetings today in order to decide on their position on the motion. TNA MP, M. A. Sumanthiran had said that the TNA members would go through the content of the motion during the meeting and arrive at a decision. more..

Judge slams immigration officer’s overzealous approach in Tamil refugee case

Apr 2 (TS) A federal judge has criticized an immigration officer for imposing a virtually impossible standard in assessing the danger faced by a failed Tamil refugee if he was to be deported to SL. The case involves GTA man Suresh Nagarasa, who claims he was tortured by SL authorities on two occasions, a statement that is backed up by letters from a Sri Lankan legislator and justice of the peace. Despite the claim, an immigration officer, identified by the court only as B. Au, more..

New Zealand business delegation in Colombo to deepen trade ties

Apr 2 (Island) A New Zealand business delegation representing 13 innovative companies arrives in Colombo today on a 3-day visit to boost forging business and trade links with Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is an increasingly important partner for New Zealand in South Asia, evidenced by the recent visits from New Zealand businesses and the New Zealand High Commission scheduled to open in Colombo next year. "With one of the highest per capita incomes in South Asia and a growing urban population, more..

Looters as Rulers: My ministry will work with Finance, National Enterprise Dev. Min: PM

Apr 2 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe today said Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs will work with the other ministries such as Finance and National Enterprise Development to assist small and medium business which keeps the economy going. “Ministry of National Polices and Economic Affairs will work with the other ministries such as Finance and National Enterprise Development to assist small and more..

Video: Apeksha Hospital’s PET Scanner vested with the public

Apr 2 (AD) The PET Scanner purchased for the Apeksha Hospital in Maharagama, with public funds collected through a campaign supported by Manusath Derana, was officially vested with the people today (1). The long-awaited scanner, which was flown into SL on Dec 24 last year, formally came into operation at a ceremony held at the hospital with the participation of Minister Rajitha Senaratne. An initiative was launched by the National Cancer Institute in Maharagama more..

ONUR to implement Rs. 500 million worth irrigation project in the N&E

Apr 2 (ONUR) The Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) in partnership with the Department of Agrarian Development is planning to implement its annual Minor irrigation improvement project in the Northern and Eastern provinces. The commencement of the Rs. 500 million worth project mainly aiming to renovate 120 minor irrigation tanks and channels, will be held in Jaffna on the 2nd of April, with the participation of Chairperson of the ONUR, Madam Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

Incident at Lingaraja Temple: Can’t understand why I was refused entry: Minister

Apr 2 (DM) Minister of Buddha Sasana Gamini Jayawickrama Perera referring to the incident where he was not allowed to enter the Lingaraja Temple in Odisha, said that he does not understand why this happened to him. He said he was forced to face this embarrassment during a tour organised by the Kalinga International Foundation at Bhubaneswar on March 16. Minister explained that the temple authorities had not allowed him to more..

JO plans series of protests against new tax laws

Apr 2 (Island) The Joint Opposition (JO) will commence a series of protests against the new Inland Revenue Act which took effect yesterday, MP Sisira Jayakody says. He said the withholding tax on interest from fixed deposits and savings accounts had been increased from 2.5% to 5% and that would deal a body blow to many Sri Lankans, especially senior citizens. "We have millions of pensioners who depend on interest from fixed deposits and savings accounts. They will be greatly affected. more..

Minister seeks German business delegation’s assistance at upcoming Investment Forum

Apr 2 (Island) Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, recently asked the German Industry and Commerce delegation who established an office in Sri Lanka, to assist the country at its global investment forum to be held in September or October this year. He made this request while speaking as chief guest of the event where the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce announced the opening of its office in Colombo. more..