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Over 1,500 Tamil Nadu fishermen chased away by Lankan navy

Feb 6 (PTI) More than 1,500 TN fishermen were chased away by the SL navy while they were allegedly fishing close to the Katchatheevu islet, a state mechanised boat association claimed on Tuesday. The fishermen from here had ventured into sea in 383 boats yesterday and were fishing near Katchatheevu when Sri Lankan naval personnel came to the spot and drove them away, it said. Following this, all of them returned to the shore this morning without a catch, more..

Video: Law will be enforced on Mahendran as well: Kavinda

Feb 6 (DM) The law will be enforced on Central Banks former governor Arjuna Mahendran in the same way it had been enforced on SL's former ambassador to Russia, Udayanga Weeratunga, who was arrested by Interpol, UNP MP Kavinda Jayawardene said yesterday. “You can see how the Interpol arrested former Udayanga Weeratunga over the weekend. Arjuna Mahendran will also be dealt in the same way because the rule of law would more..

Are party leaders scared to amend Section 80? PM

Feb 6 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who kicked off the adjournment debate on the PCoI and PRECIFAC reports in Parliament today, questioned whether political party leaders were prepared to amend the Section 80 of the Constitution. PRECIFAC in its report has recommended that Section 80 of the Constitution be amended to provide for the stripping of a person's civic rights if found guilty of serious crimes. "Are the party leaders prepared to amend Section 80 of Constitution more..

On the trail of Sir Thomas Lipton: staying on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka's Hill Country

Feb 6 (DT) A thick carpet of emerald tea plantations cloaks Sri Lanka’s Hill Country. On the southwestern side of the region lies the lovely golden valley, Bogawantalawa, where amidst a sea of tea, planters’ bungalows overlook mirror-still Castlereagh Lake. Across on the eastern side of the uplands, the landscape is different: tea gardens mingle with pine forests and merge into a natural landscape of crags and mini mountains, lakes and tumbling waterfalls. It was to this less-visited corner of Hill Country more..

Video: Free Wi-fi before end of 2018: Premier

Feb 6 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday vowed to provide free public Wi-fi facilities before the end of the year. He said that the facility would be implemented in April for the first time and each village would be connected by the end of the year. While addressing a UNP election rally, he said operating a mobile phone without Wi-fi facility had become one of the biggest issues. “Everyone has a smart phone but more..

Confidant of winning 250 LG bodies: SLPP

Feb 6 (DM) The SLPP said today it was confident of winning 225 to 250 LG bodies out of 341. SLPP national organiser Basil Rajapaksa said the people who are disgruntled with the UNP should vote for the SLPP instead of any of the other parties. “It is the SLPP and Mahinda Rajapaksa who are upholding SLFP principles. We will continue to preserve them,” he said. Responding to UNP and SLFP threats that the government will withhold funds to LG bodies which were won by the SLPP, more..

Schools closed on Friday due to LG polls

Feb 6 (AD) Ministry of Education says that all government schools will be closed on Friday (9) in view of the 20187 Local Authorities Election being held the following day. In addition to this 19 schools and two colleges of education will be closed from tomorrow (7) until Friday (9) as they will be used for accepting and distributing ballot boxes and other necessary documents related to the election. (See below for list of schools) All schools will be reopened for studies on February 12. more..

7-member team to bring back Udayanga W.

Feb 6 (AD) A seven-member team will fly to Dubai tomorrow for inquiries on former SL Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga, who was arrested in Dubai, Police Spokesman said. Weeratunga was reportedly detained at the Dubai international airport when he tried to leave for the US, due to a warrant issued for his arrest. Police want to bring him back to SL to face criminal charges over the 2006 MiG purchase deal. more..

LG elections: A national fight for local power

Feb 7 (Island) The LG election scheduled for coming Saturday is notable for four main reasons. One is the doubling of members to be elected. The second is the introduction of a mixed system that combines wards and a list. The third is the introduction of a women’s quota of 25%. The fourth is the campaign itself, because there is no clear favourite to win the election outside the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Voters may express strong disapproval of politicians. But come Saturday most will vote. more..

Election forecasting in a land of chaos!

Feb 7 (CT) Can you predict the outcome of a toss of a coin, given enough data and a sufficiently large computer? Can you predict the outcome of the next election if we are given enough opinions polls and a sufficiently large computer? These are of course the sort of questions that might interest many people on the eve of a national election, in a country like Sri Lanka where political fever can end up in blue murder. We all know of astrologers, soothsayers, and election forecasters claiming to predict more..

Will probe corruption: Arnold

Feb 7 (CT) ITAK Jaffna District Mayoral Candidate Emmanuel Arnold said issues within the TNA coalition and criticism against the party will not affect its victory at the upcoming LG elections. Q: What are the main promises given in your election manifesto? A: Towards a Clean Green City is our motto. Right to Art and Culture, Solid Waste Management, Drinking Water Facilities and Public Health, Infrastructure Development, more..

Sri Lanka/Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (GV) The passports I held were all similar. Bound in black worn leather; scented with that particular smell of aged books; tattered and stained with age apart from the gold stamped emblems on the front covers. A story 66 years old, to be precise. From the British royal coat of arms, a reminder that we were once a colony, to the Emblem symbolising the Dominion of Ceylon to the familiar gold insignia of Sri Lanka we have all come to know and identify with. more..

A double bind: Reflecting on women’s lived realities on Independence Day

Feb 7 (GV) As Sri Lanka marks 70 years since Independence, yet again gearing up for an overt display of pageantry that stands as an annual reminder of our own militarised past and present, we are in need of a rigorous rethinking of how we perceive this day, beyond sovereignty from the coloniser. The discourse around nationhood, citizenship, and decolonisation, that remains very much a part of interpreting the fourth of February continues to be framed through a patriarchal more..

'Far reaching plans for Colombo City Progress'

Feb 7 (Island) Having served as the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) for 14 years, Dr Pradeep Kariyawasam has not only a vast experience in controlling the city’s dengue situation, but also a knowledge of several other issues which, ails the health and wellbeing of the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. That was probably one of the reasons why the SLPP chose him to contest as more..

Sovereignty of the people and the franchise

Feb 7 (DN) The 1978 Constitution declares in Article 3 that in the Republic of Sri Lanka sovereignty is in the people and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the power of government, fundamental rights and the franchise. The exercise of the sovereignty of the people is laid down in Article 4 which sets out the structure of govt as the legislature, the executive and the judiciary and the manner in which the sovereignty of the people is to be exercised in respect of them. more..

Nitty-gritty of Securities Exchange Act

Feb 7 (DN) In the early part of this year, the Legislature will consider the promulgation of the new Securities Exchange Act, which will provide the legal framework for the regulation and supervision of the capital market. It was 30 years ago, in 1987 when the first piece of legislation was introduced in the form of the Securities Council Act No. 36 of 1987, which established the Securities Council and identified its objects as being (a) the creation and maintenance of a market more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Towards making Colombo a clean, capable & chromatic city

Feb 7 (CT) A Municipal Council or City Council as it’s known in the west is much more than a sewer management, road management or garbage management institution. Though most residents and members of the public remember and associate the council with such services and for good reason too. But this institution is much more, it has to be. Doubtless, the above are very important tasks performed by the Colombo Municipal Council. Importantly the garbage. more..

Editorial: When pot calls kettle black

Feb 7 (Island) A parliamentary debate was on at the time of writing with the govt and Opposition big guns booming. They were vehemently hurling barbs at one another, using as they did the reports of two presidential commissions which conducted separate probes into fraudulent bond transactions under the present govt and corruption during the previous dispensation. Unfortunately for the govt the bond scams have eclipsed corruption and abuse of power on the watch of its opponents. more..

Lanka’s princess who sparked fierce protests

Feb 7 (DN) Nearly ten months after the movie Baahubali 2 juggernaut took centre stage, the much awaited movie Padmaavat has now come to theatres with a bang. Padmaavat, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s magnum opus dedicated to Rani Padmini of Chittor who is believed to be a Lankan princess, has courted so much of controversy in India that nobody believed that it will come to the cinema halls so soon. more..

Galle Face Hotels steps into Maldives with JV with giant China Harbour

Feb 7 (FT) Ceylon Hotels Maldives Ltd. (CHML), a subsidiary of Ceylon Hotels Corporation Plc and a member of the Galle Face Group of Companies, has entered into a 50:50 Joint Venture with Zhen Hua Engineering Company (ZHEC), a group company of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC). Although CHEC and Galle Face Group already have business interests in the Maldives, this JV provides a strong competitive platform for both parties to enter into the Maldivian leisure sector. more..

Close on the heels of Naseby disclosure, British Royals at Colombo military parade

Feb 7 (Island) Sri Lanka last Sunday (4) celebrated her 70th anniversary of her independence from the UK with an armed forces parade, at Galle Face with the participation of Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex and the Countess of Wessex. The royal couple represented Queen Elizabeth II. In a message to President Maithripala Sirisena, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Queen Elizabeth II, declared: "The relationship between our two countries has continued to more..

Chittagong pitch rated below average by ICC

Feb 7 (CI) The Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium pitch has been rated below average by the ICC for its performance in the first Test between Bangladesh and SL. As a result, the Chittagong ground has received one demerit point which will remain on its record for a -year period. According to the ICC, if the venue reaches a total of five demerit points during the 5-year period, it will be suspended from hosting any int'l cricket more..

The UNP’s heart, mind and other body parts

Feb 7 (Island) There’s a pithy Sinhala saying that probably predates Sigmund Freud’s notion of the slip that reveals the deliberately concealed truth: කට බොරු කිව්වත් දිව බොරු කියන්නේ නෑ (even if the mouth lies, the tongue does not). So we are talking about mouths and tongues. And we are talking about the UNP. Official campaign slogan of UNP at the forthcoming LG elections is ‘ගම හදන ආණ්¯ඩුව’ (govt that develops the village). more..

Death of a prelate and elephants in captivity

Feb 7 (Island) One of the most notable news stories in the past few days, (even overshadowing the ongoing election rhetoric) was the untimely death of a scholar monk, the most Venerable, Professor Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera, supposedly due to some form of altercation with the temple elephant. The facts are hazy, shrouded in many versions, ranging from an attack by the elephant, to an accidental fall, which led to the prelate’s demise. Whatever the correct story may be, more..

Sports Minister promises to send full team

Feb 7 (Island) A majority of Sri Lanka’s 30 strong top track and field athletes aiming for Asian Games glory are about to miss a golden opportunity of competing at the very Games venue months ahead of the quadrennial event after authorities directed to prune the original squad due to lack of funds. A pool of over 30 track and field athletes are currently training here and abroad aiming for Commonwealth Games and more..

Sri Lankan banks can overcome capitalisation hurdle: S&P

Feb 7 (FT) Sri Lanka’s banking industry will face several challenges in the coming year but should fare well nonetheless, according to a report titled ‘Despite Some Bumps, Sri Lanka’s Banks Should Have A Steady Ride In 2018’, published last week by S&P Global Ratings. “Sri Lanka’s banks will have to shore up capital to meet the needs of aggressive growth and increasing regulatory requirements,” said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Deepali Seth Chhabria. more..

55% of LG Poll complaints on abuse of State resources: TISL

Feb 7 (FT) Program for the Protection of Public Resources (PPPR), the election monitoring arm of Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), has been receiving complaints from across the country in the run-up to the local govt elections. In many instances these complaints relate to the misuse of public property falling under the purview of the central govt. TISL said 55% of all complaints referred to the PPPR relate to the misuse of fixed and movable assets, human resources and more..

UNCIEF report reveals digital gap and risky behaviour among children online

Feb 7 (FT) In addition to revealing what it called a significant digital divide among young Sri Lankans, a new UNICEF study has highlighted disconcerting statistics on children engaging in risky behaviour online. A report released by UNICEF, titled Keeping Children Safe and Empowered Online: A study on SL’s digital landscape, indicated that 46.3% of some 5,000 children polled had communicated with strangers online. more..

ICTA empowers Import Export Department to fast-track trade

Feb 7 (CT) Facilitating trade is key to enhancing a country's standing in the global economy and improve overall competitiveness. Over the years, Sri Lanka has taken various initiatives to simplify and rationalize procedural complexities for both imports and exports putting in place effective mechanisms. Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) in collaboration with the Import and Export Control Department (IECD) recently developed an online licence issuing and debiting system more..

'High interest rates taking toll on SME sector'

Feb 7 (DN) Small & medium business sector too is having a negative impact due to the bond issue, said President Chamber of Small & Medium Industries, Mohideen Carder. He said due to the Bond issue banks were forced to increase interest rates and as a result it’s no longer practical to look at bank borrowing for reinvestment or for new ventures. “Interest rate which was around 11% has now shot up to almost 18% and the SME sector borrowings for investment are now not practical. more..

Gota flays Rajitha for mudslinging

Feb 7 (Island) Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has issued a statement from the US, in response to a news item published in the newspapers based on a statement made by Minister Rajitha Senaratne, that questioning of SL’s former ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunge at the Dubai airport, while he was on his way to the US to meet him (Gotabhaya) and that the incident had jolted the Rajapaksas. more..

Bond debate to continue after LG polls

Feb 7 (FT) Parliamentary debate on the report of PCoI into the Treasury Bond scam would continue after the LG elections have concluded. Parliament JO group leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena told the Daily FT that the decision to extend the debates on the Bond report and reports of the PRECIFAC, was taken by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya at yesterday’s Party Leaders’ meeting. “Following requests from the Opposition that the debate on the Bond report not be limited to one day, more..

Unregulated development in Wilpattu

Feb 7 (FT) Court of Appeal yesterday issued notices on the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Bishop of Chilaw and two others returnable for 6 March. The bench comprising justices Padman Surasena (CA President) and Shiran Gooneratne issued notices sequent to a writ petition lamenting the alleged clearing and disturbance caused to the Wilpattu National Park and unregulated development activities as well as human intrusion for the festivities of a small jungle Catholic shrine more..

Ukraine requests Abu Dhabi to return Udayanga

Feb 7 (DM) Ukraine authorities had reportedly requested the Abu Dhabi authorities to handover former Sri Lanka envoy to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga to Ukraine as he holds Ukrainian citizenship. Weeratunga who was detained in Dubai on Sunday (4) while in transit to the US was later transferred to the authorities in Abu Dhabi by the Immigration and Emigration officers as per an INTERPOL warrant issued. more..

PM says Bathiudeen played major role in forming good governance govt

Feb 7 (FT) The PM acknowledged the important role played by Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen in forming the good governance govt. “People living in these areas should get their native land back. They raised an issue of the historical Wilpattu Forest reserve being destroyed by these homeless people,” said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe while addressing an election campaign meeting in support of candidates from the ACMC contesting elections to local govt bodies under the UNF. more..

SL Army reopens KKS-Point Pedro road for public transport after 28 years

Feb 7 (SLA) Adding one more historic moment to the ongoing process of reconciliation, ethnic harmony and infrastructure development in the North, Security Force Headquarters - Jaffna (SFHQ-J), amidst cheers of civilians re-opened the main road patch that runs between Kankesanthurai (KKS) - and Point Pedro (PPD) along the AB - 21 road in the peninsula for public transport this morning (6) after absence of 28 years. This road that bypasses the main entrance of the SFHQ-J more..

Mahinda dares govt to deprive him of his civic rights

Feb 7 (Island) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has queried whether the UNP-SLFP coalition wanted to deprive him of civic rights for bringing the nearly 30-year war to a successful conclusion. Had they been trying to find fault with me for rapid development after the eradication of terrorism, Rajapaksa asked a cheering crowd at SLPP rally in Katunayake. Rajapaksa warned the govt that denial of his civic rights wouldn’t be an easy task. more..

JVP won’t help deprive anyone of civic rights

Feb 7 (Island) JVP said in Parliament that it would not back moves to strip anyone of his or her civic rights. "We won’t be a cat’s paw in anyone’s hands," JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. Participating in the adjournment debate on reports of PCoI & PRECIFAC, he said that his party would not support making use of parliament to launch witch hunts. "Parliament is not a place where you hear cases and impose punishments. This parliament has a history of doing so. more..

SL minister counsellor in London suspended

Feb 7 (DM) Minister Counsellor (Defence) attached to the Sri Lankan High Commission in London has been suspended after a video, which showed him behaving in an offensive manner, was emerged and circulated on social media. In a statement, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said today the authorities in Sri Lanka have taken serious note of videos being circulated on social and web-based media of the alleged incident involving the Minister Counsellor (Defence) behaving in an offensive manner. more..