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Brig. Priyanka Fernando recalled to Sri Lanka

Feb 21 (AD) The Minister Counsellor (Defence) attached to the Sri Lanka High Commission in London, Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, has been recalled to Sri Lanka by the SL Army. Accordingly, He will arrive in Sri lanka today or tomorrow. A video appeared on social media depicting Brigadier Priyanka Fernando making certain gestures aimed at members from the Tamil community who were engaging in a protest more..

'No decision to increase gas prices yet'

Feb 21 (DM) Govt has not been decided to increase the price of domestic gas in the upcoming days until the pricing formula is finalised, Minister Rishard Bathiudeen said. He said several requests had been made to the Ministry by the two main gas companies (Litro and Laugfs) for immediate price increase. “Ministry cannot approve any sudden price increase for domestic gas. The gas had become an essential consumer item and therefore the govt had decided not to increase the prices despite more..

2014 Aluthgama riot: Govt to compensate victims in March & April

Feb 21 (CT) Govt has decided to make compensation payments to victims of the 2014 Aluthgama-Beruwala riot, in March and April of this year, sources at the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs said. Media Secretary to the Minister, said that the Cabinet Paper submitted by Minister D.M. Swaminathan had received approval and the Treasury had approved the funds as well. The process was delayed due to recent LG polls. more..

25% women reps not possible in 10 LG bodies

Feb 21 (DM) Elections Commission Mahinda Desapriya said 25% woman representation could not be maintained in at least ten local govt bodies because of a lacuna in the Local Authorities’ Elections Act. Though the Act stipulates that each of the councils should be made up of 25% woman representatives, the parties that contested the polls in these ten local bodies appear to have found it difficult to nominate women candidates. more..

14 hump nosed lizards born at Dehiwala Zoo

Feb 21 (CT) National Zoological Gardens has for the first time recorded the birth of 14 baby Hump Nosed Lizards. The baby lizards hatched in Feb 2018 and were separated from their parents as soon as they were born. Assistant Director of National Zoological Gardens, Dehiwala, said that the baby Hump Nosed Lizards were separated from their parents because they have to be given a special diet. "The baby Hump Nosed Lizards are fed a diet that consists of small insects and supplements. more..

No one can change women’s quota: CaFFE

Feb 21 (DM) No one had the power to alter the 25% female representation in the Local Councils, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon said. He also said that the number of members did not increase due to the 25% quota for women. He said the crisis transpired on account of the ineffective decision to change the First Past the Post (FPP) and the Proportional Representation (PR) systems from 70% - 30% to 60% -40% after the delimitation. more..

National Govt is still valid: PM

Feb 21 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaking in Parliament today, assured that the National Govt is still valid and that the agreement between the UNP and the UPFA has not been rescinded. UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera, who also delivered a statement in Parliament, confirmed that the National Govt is still intact and that the UPFA has not left it. Responding to a question regarding the composition of national govt, PM said that more..

Int'l Mother Language Day celebrated in SL

Feb 21 (DM) Today is the International Mother Languages Day as declared by UN. International Mother Language Day organized by various Sri Lanka, int'l institutions and the Bangladesh High Commission was celebrated in Sri Lanka at the Vihara Mahadevi Park today under the aegis of Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. Minister of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Mano Ganesan and State Minister A.H.M. Fowzie were also present. more..

UNICEF: US newborn survival rate nearly same as Sri Lanka

Feb 21 (HN) Five newborn babies die every minute on Earth, an alarmingly high statistic as up to 80% of them are preventable, according to a new report from UNICEF. That’s 1 million children who die on the same day they’re born and about 2.6 million who are stillborn around the world. The United Nations’ children’s agency found that in America, a baby’s risk of dying as a newborn is just barely lower than the risk in Sri Lanka or the Ukraine. Babies’ odds of dying as infants are more..

'Cabinet approved National Audit Bill will be in Parliament soon'

Feb 21 (DM) The new National Audit Bill has just been approved by the Cabinet, and would be presented to Parliament soon, according to a minister, who stressed on the importance of quality audits in Sri Lanka. “The Audit Bill, which was hanging over the fire for a long time, and causing the Auditor General great concern, was approved by the Cabinet and will come to parliament very soon,” Minister Sarath Amunugama said. more..

Thai experts arrive in Sri Lanka to create artificial rain

Feb 21 (Xinhua) A team of Thai experts have arrived in Sri Lanka to look at the possibility of creating artificial rain in severe drought-affected areas of the island country. The group which consists of Thai engineers visited the Castelereagh and Maussakele Reservoirs in the catchment areas of the Central Highlands to seek the possibilities of creating artificial rain as water levels in these reservoirs had seen a drastic drop. Team also plan to visit the main Victoria, Randenigala & Kotmale Reservoirs. more..

48 hours in Colombo: What to see and do in Sri Lanka's largest city

Feb 21 (TV3) No longer just the urban gateway to Sri Lanka, Hannah Stephenson discovers Colombo has enough war-torn history, colourful temples and culinary delights to make it worth a stop-off. Visitors to Sri Lanka are often in such a rush to head for beaches, whale-watching tours, tea plantations and elephant safaris, that they don’t stop for a second glance at its commercial capital Colombo. Big mistake. While at first sight, it may seem like a sprawl of a city, with its honking tuk-tuks, more..

EU urges Sri Lanka to honour commitments on OMP

Feb 21 (SL) European Union (EU) says SL Govt must honour their commitments on the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) and Transitional Justice. In a tweet, the EU office in Sri Lanka said that without clarity about the fate of their missing or disappeared loved ones, many Sri Lankans will not be able to participate in national reconciliation. The families of the disappeared from Kilinochchi yesterday marked one year of more..

CID wants INTERPOL Red Notice on Mahendran

Feb 21 (CT) The CID has made a request to the International Police (INTERPOL) to issue a Red Notice on former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, a senior Police official told Ceylon Today. Informed sources confirmed that the request to the INTERPOL was made following his failure to present himself before the CID on 15 February, as ordered by the Colombo Fort Magistrate. It was reported that the notice had been sent to Mahendran's residence in Singapore as well. more..

Japan's Taisei Corporation gets contract for Central expressway’s 3rd phase

Feb 21 (EN) Japans' Taisei Corporation has won the bid to build part of an expressway to central Sri Lanka for which a 100 billion yen has been arranged, minister Gayantha Karunathilake said. Taisei will build a 32.5 kilometre section of the Central Expressway, running from Pothuhera to Galagedera. The cabinet of ministers had approved the award of the contract. Japan's Tokyo Mitsubishi Bank had already agreed to provide a loan of up to 100 billion yen for the project. more..

Swiss AG demands harsh penalties for LTTE masterminds

Feb 21 (DM) In the indictment plea in the Tamil Tigers’ trial, in Bellinzona, which lasted for almost two days, Swiss Attorney General Juliette Noto has requested that the 12 Tamils be found guilty of participating or supporting the LTTE. The federal prosecutors are clear that the accused Tamils have financed terrorism and supported a criminal organization with the Tamil Tigers. For most of the 13 defendants, federal prosecutor attested more..

Bouncing back from LG election drubbing

Feb 22 (CT) After Mahinda Rajapaksa's fledgling SLPP handed out a shocking defeat to both the UNP and the SLFP in the LG elections, the three-way political power game has become more complex than before. A gloating Rajapaksa, past master in political manoeuvring, is demanding fresh elections after dissolving the Parliament, though he knows it would not happen as both the SLFP and UNP would never oblige him. For Prez and PM, more than power, credibility has become the main issue. more..

Many things go into constitutions

Feb 22 (CT) Constitution of SL, which had undergone 18 amendments earlier, was amended for the 19th time during the 100 day interim govt period under the Premiership of Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe. Mr. Wickremesinghe’s party, the UNP, was a minority party in the Parliament at the time. The majority required for the amendment of the Constitution was secured with the help of President Maithripala Sirisena. Major changes effected among others, by this amendment were as follows; more..

Chaos at the Top: What happens when the President and the PM are at odds

Feb 22 (Roar) The recent local govt elections caused a massive stir in political circles, and exacerbated the rift between H.E. the President and H.E. the PM. The situation has quietened since, and everyone has seemingly decided to continue on with the unity govt. But questions of what causes this furore and what would happen if the President and the PM no longer work with each other remain. If the first & second citizens are undermining more..

Corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure in Sri Lanka

Feb 22 (CT) Corporal punishment in any form is a violation of Human Rights. Banning corporal punishment was a main issue discussed at the recently convened meeting of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. While corporal punishment is used as a means of maintaining discipline, it is indisputable that it is a violation of the fundamental rights of a child. According to a press release published on 30th Jan, Chairperson of the National Child Protection Authority declared that more..

Subramanian Swamy’s love-hate relationship with Sri Lanka

Feb 22 (CT) Dr. Subramanian Swamy, who attempted to raise the Indian National Flag on the island of Katchchathivu, to claim the island as Indian territory on 4 February 1988 is now back in the news, with his statement that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa should become President soon. It cannot be said that the good old law professor, of world famous Harvard University, is not aware of the Sri Lankan Constitution that bars a President from contesting for a third term. more..

Moragahakanda-Kaluganga Project: Drinking water for Northern people

Feb 22 (SO) Moragahakanda reservoir will transfer the much needed water for agriculture and drinking water purposes to the dry zone areas of the North Central and Northern Provinces, during the course of its implementation in the coming years. In its final phase, the surplus water in the Mahaweli Basin will be diverted to the Chenmadukulam Tank in the Kanagarayan Kulam basin. The project is funded by the ADB. more..

New editors. Plus ça change.

Feb 22 (GV) I am very pleased to announce that Raisa Wickrematunge has taken over as Editor-in-Chief of Groundviews. She is joined by Amalini de Sayrah as Co-Editor. Raisa has worked with me at Groundviews since October 2015. Amalini joined the civic media team at the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) – the institutional anchor of Groundviews – earlier the same year. Raisa and Amalini share a range of skills, experience and interests completely aligned with the civic more..

World’s first woman Prime Minister

Feb 22 (DN) In July 1960, we really surprised the world, as makers of the first woman Head of State, by voting Sirimavo Bandaranaike to power. The world wondered how it happened in Ceylon; a record that will remain unending in mankind’s history. The London’s Evening News, reporting in bold letters in front page, on July 21, 1960, wrote, “There will be a need for a new term, shall we call her Stateswoman?” It was after six years since this extraordinary happening for another nation more..

Mano Ganesan

139th Battle of the Blues emphasis on producing result

Feb 22 (CT) The Battle of the Blues between two mammoth institutions in Sri Lanka, Royal College, Colombo and S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia for the prestigious Hon. D.S. Senanayake Memorial Shield, will commence from 8-10 March at the SSC grounds in Colombo. This was revealed at the press conference on Tuesday. Once again SL's premier connectivity provider, Dialog Axiata, has extended their support for the fourth consecutive year as the official sponsor. more..

Bombay Mere Hai - I

Feb 22 (Island) For various reasons, I decided to travel to Mumbai (Bombay) again and do that in a hurry. I have had very pleasant memories of Mumbai and it was time for me to visit the city of dreams, and lost dreams of many Indians and others again. I had no intention of contributing to the fat salary of a useless CEO of SriLankan Airlines, so I decided to travel by Jet Airways of India and contribute to the economy of India instead. It always makes me happy to meet with the viewers of Pathikada. more..

My favourite musical right here in Colombo

Feb 22 (ST) I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest fan of musicals. Sure, I like a bit of Les Mis now and then. And Phantom’s not too bad either. But, let’s get one thing straight. I LOVE The Sound of Music. It’s curious that the release of the 1961 Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway production, the musical following the life of Maria Von Trapp and her time taking care of 7 children during World War II was met with less than favourable reviews. more..

Picking winners: Myths and realities

Feb 22 (ST) Quite often we have heard a popular argument from laypersons’ comments to policy references: “The govt should support or protect the production of that activity or this activity in order to make the country developed.” Similarly, we have also heard that “when we have so much potential in this area of production, why can’t the govt stop imports and encourage domestic production?” Along the same lines, there are sometimes policy studies towards attempting to identify more..

Editorial: Who is telling the truth?

Feb 22 (Island) It is being argued in legal and political circles that the incumbent administration and its Cabinet are illegal because the MoU between the UNP and the UPFA to form a national government was valid only for two years from 2015. The validity or otherwise of this vital document is of crucial import. The number of Cabinet ministers cannot exceed 30 unless there is a national government, according to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. more..

Remove apparel quota to India: Exporters

Feb 22 (DN) SL Apparel Exporters Association Chairman Felix Fernando requested Indian govt to either improve the existing apparel quota system to a sizable amount or remove it. “This will give the SL apparel exporters more confidence in doing business in the Indian subcontinent,” he said. “Since quota restrictions have been imposed, we can export only a certain quantity. The existing apparel quota is not sufficient enough for more..

Frontier Research outlines new Forex Act

Feb 22 (LBO) SL’s new Foreign Exchange Act came into effect last year after the Parliament passed it with amendments. The new law removed criminalisation of violations of the exchange control act and associated prison sentences. New Act covers matters including classes of capital transactions, opening and maintenance of accounts, permitted investments and granting of loans and advances. It also has provisions about capital transactions undertaken outside Sri Lanka by more..

Eshan Pieris sweeps up first F4 SEA win

Feb 22 (Island) The 2017-18 FIA Formula 4 South East Asia Championship (F4 SEA) – fueled by Petron, witnessed Eshan Pieris’ first ever win for Sri Lanka at the Sepang Int'l Circuit. After an intense battle in Race 2 of the penultimate event, the 20-year-old stood atop the podium. As the national anthem was played proudly Eshan basked humbly in the glory of his maiden victory. Eshan was poised to be the front runner of the FIA-certified Championship, as he was the fastest in more..

National inflation slows to 5.4% in January

Feb 22 (EN) Inflation in SL, as measured by National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) slowed to 5.4% in Jan 2018 from 7.3% in Dec 2017, on a year-on-year basis. The slowdown was mainly owing to the high base that prevailed in Jan 2017 as well as the monthly decline in food prices in Jan 2018. Change in the NCPI, compiled by the Dept of Census and Statistics, decreased to 7.6% in Jan 2018 from 7.7% in Dec 2017. more..

Progress review meeting of Ministry of Mahaweli development and environment held

Feb 22 (PMD) Progress Review Meeting to examine the progress of the projects and of future development plans conducted under the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment was held under the patronage of the President Sirisena today (21) at the Ministry of Mahaweli Development. Detailed discussions were held regarding the special development plans conducted under Ministry of Mahaweli Development where President Sirisena stressing on the importance of improving more..

NOC election: Badminton and Hockey cannot vote

Feb 22 (CT) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara said SL Badminton Association and SL Hockey Federation will not be eligible to vote at the forthcoming National Olympic Council (NOC) Election. He further said that he has informed this to the independent election committee who will monitor the NOC Elections. SL Badminton is run by an interim committee and it was gazetted last month and they are not eligible to vote, while SL Hockey Federation is facing a legal issue, so they also have issues in voting, he said. more..

Glyphosate ban on tea likely to be relaxed

Feb 22 (CT) As a sequel to earnest requests from the tea sector, the Glyphosate ban is expected to be relaxed. National Economic Council meeting held on Monday this week had discussed the lifting of the prevailing Glyphosate ban exclusively on tea production on the request of tea planters to the plantation Ministry. Planters' Association of SL, Chairman, Sunil Poholiyadde said last year that tea production had dropped by more..

Learning a bitter truth in defeat

Feb 22 (DM) The results of the recent local poll had left the former madam in a state of shock, they say. What had greatly shocked and dismayed her was the party’s defeat in her very ancestral area, long considered a pocket borough of the family. The madam’s shock had given way to fury when she discovered that most hangers-on and domestic aides had disappeared as the election results were trickling in. Addressing a few faithfuls who had remained behind, she had said: more..

Susanthika backs Rohan’s team

Feb 22 (CT) Susanthika Jayasinghe, only living Olympic medallist of the country, came forward to voice her support for the team led by Rohan Fernando, who is contesting for the post of President of the National Olympic Committee. Jayasinghe who won a Silver medal in the 200m at the 2000 Olympic Games, is the only female to win a sprinting Olympic medal from Asia. She states that the forthcoming election is the need of the era to bring the much needed change by installing more..

CB Chief calls on Govt to stay the course

Feb 22 (FT) Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy called on the Govt to stay the course to avoid any downside risk to economic stability, and the framework that has been carefully put in place to meet the urgent needs of the people. Emphasising the fact that stabilisation of economy doesn’t necessarily win elections, he said it was important still to pursue the journey and urged the people to now press on politicians with more..