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Sri Lanka wait on Angelo Mathews's fitness for tri-series

Feb 26 (CB) There was good news for Sri Lanka as the injured trio of Kusal Perera, Dushmantha Chameera and Nuwan Pradeep returned to competitive cricket over the weekend, but the authorities are still waiting to hear on the fitness of captain Angelo Mathews. All four players sustained injuries during the recently concluded tour of Bangladesh and weren't available for the two match T20I series. more..

Govt fast tracks OMP operation before UNHRC sessions

Feb 26 (ST) Ahead of UNHRC sessions scheduled to begin next week, the Govt has decided to fast track some of the key commitments it made to the international community. These include bringing into full operation the work of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) and introducing legislation to make enforced disappearances a criminal offence. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that the Constitutional Council had recommended more..

Yuthukama campaign backs push for early polls

Feb 26 (Island) In support of efforts to secure an early general election in the wake of Feb. 10 LG polls, civil society organisation Yuthukama will launch a campaign today with a meeting at the Public Library at 3.30 pm. Yuthukama convenor Gevindu Kumaratunga said that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration was making a brazen bid to continue with its 2015 mandate meant to divide the country on ethnic lines more..

Polls Chief assures women female quota won’t be pruned

Feb 26 (Island) Head of the Elections Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya, has promised that the 25% quota for women in local councils will not be changed. He gave this assurance when he met a group of female local council candidates on Friday. Rita de Silva, who successfully contested the recent election on the SLFP ticket said: "Many women were placed on the Additional List and most of them actively more..

'Feb 10 slap hard enough to burst govt’s eardrum'

Feb 26 (Island) United Progressive Alliance (UPA) leader Minister Mano Ganesan told a media conference in Kandy that the Feb 10 local govt election outcome was a thundering slap which was hard enough to burst the govt’s eardrum. Asked for his observations on the local govt election results, Minister Ganesan said he agreed with Minister Champika Ranawaka, who had likened it to a slap on the govt. more..

G-24 Technical group meeting at BMICH tomorrow

Feb 26 (DN) The two-day Technical Group Meeting of the G- 24 countries will be inaugurated by Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera at 9 am tomorrow, at the BMICH. Over 45 delegates consisting of Secretaries of the Finance Ministry and Governors of the Central Bank or their representatives at very senior level from member countries, will participate at the two-day technical committee meeting. more..

Perumal is back: Ready to contest all future elections

Feb 26 (CT) Former initial Chief Minister of the North-East Provincial Council Varatharaja Perumal said that he is prepared to contest all elections to be held in the future under the Social Democratic Party of Tamils for the N&E Provinces. At the same time he emphasized that the mixed system of elections is much better than the proportional representation system but that the shortcomings that exist therein should be corrected. more..

Video: Tissa’s case: Summons re-issued on President and PM

Feb 26 (AD) The Colombo High Court today re-issued summons on the President and the Prime Minister to appear before the court with regard to the case against former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake. Attanayake has been charged with making public a forged document alleging a secret agreement between then Common Candidate Maithripala Sirisena, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe & TNA leader Sampanthan more..

Number-twisting game may be self-pleasing but not in accord with economic laws

Feb 26 (FT) LG elections that concluded on 10 Feb have shaken the ruling UNP to its foundation. UNP had exuded confidence from all pores of winning the elections at the ward level, exploiting the advantage it had got from a possible split of anti-UNP votes between the newly formed SLPP and the old SLFP. This strategy again, according to many, was a machination carefully orchestrated by its leadership for quite some time. However, its confidence was totally shattered when it found losing almost more..

Video: Three rescued, one missing after car topples into canal

Feb 26 (AD) One person is reported missing while 3 others were rescued after a car toppled into the Viyana canal on Badulla-Mahiyangana road this morning, the Police spokesman said. A car traveling from Badulla to Mahiyanganaya had veered off the road and toppled into the Viyana canal near the 17th Mile Post Junction at around 6.20am this morning. Three persons including the driver of the car and a woman have been rescued after the incident while one of the passengers is still missing. more..

Fooling the masses with cabinet reshuffle

SriLankan Airlines says flights delayed, congestion at airport

Feb 26 (EN) SriLankan Airlines said it was experiencing flight delays and congestion at Colombo’s international airport owing to what it called a combination of unforeseen events, including a bird strike which damaged an aircraft. Issuing an Urgent Travel Alert it advised passengers to check in for their flights online, to contact the national carrier’s 24-hour call center on 011-97331979 or their travel agent before going to the Bandaranaike International Airport. more..

A praiseworthy, humanitarian task

Feb 26 (CT) Govt has announced it would welcome failed asylum seekers who want to return to the Island voluntarily. This decision by the Govt is praiseworthy and could go a long way towards accommodating the Tamil diaspora in the peace building process in the Island. According to a high ranking Foreign Ministry official, Govt is prepared to accept thousands of SL asylum seekers, particularly those from the Northern and Eastern Provinces who failed in their effort in seeking asylum in more..

Five of SL’s most favourite romantic movies

Feb 26 (Roar) Sri Lankans are a passionate kind. And for all their conservative leanings, they are also very passionate about romance. You only need to get on a long distance bus to hear the sorrowful, musical wailings of one jilted lover after another over the TV/stereo system. However much we like to poke fun at our artistic obsession with romance, especially in the movies, there are, nevertheless, some works that more..

Myanmar donates 300 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka flood victims

Feb 26 (GNL) A ceremony to donate 300 tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka’s flood victims was held by the government and the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) on 24 Feb at Pinlekoethwe rice mill in Dagon Seikkan Indistrial Zone. Dr Than Myint, Union Minister for the Commerce Ministry, and other officials, along with Mr. K.W.N.D Karunaratne, SL’s Ambassador to Myanmar, and officials from the MRF attended the event. The donation is a humanitarian aid for victims of the flood more..

SLPA receives Global Ports Forum’s Year 2018 Award

Feb 26 (GDI) Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) was awarded the Ports Authority of the Year 2018 Award by the Global Ports Forum (GPF). The fourth GPF awards ceremony, followed by the conference forum, was held last week at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. SLPA Marketing and Business Development Chief Manager Upul Jayatissa and Communication and Public Relations Chief Manager Nalin Aponso received the award on behalf of SLPA from more..

UNHRC session will be challenging: Prathiba

Feb 26 (NR) In line with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al Hussein urging UNHRC to continue to play a critical role in encouraging progress in accountability and reconciliation in SL, Former Commissioner of SL Human Rights Commission Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa says UNHRC session that gets underway today will be challenging for SL. He said UNHRC session will be challenging on several grounds. more..

PM will hold Law and Order only for a week

Feb 26 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe will hold the Minister of Law and Order only for a week, informed sources said. PM was appointed as the Minister of Law and Order previously held by Minister Sagala Ratnayake at the Cabinet reshuffle last afternoon. Sources said a new Law and Order Minister will be appointed at the second round of the reshuffle. Accordingly, there is a chance that a women MP who already holds a Cabinet ministry would be appointed to the post. more..

Supreme Court prevents hearing of case against former CJ

Feb 26 (AD) Supreme Court has issued a stay order preventing the Colombo Magistrate’s Court from hearing the case filed by the Bribery Commission against former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris. In connection with an investigation conducted by the CID pertaining to certain financial irregularities which had occurred in the Lanka Electricity Co. (LECO), the Bribery Commission filed a case in the Magistrate Court of Colombo on Jan. 18 against Abdul Hammed Nawaz more..

Corrupt probing Corrupt: PM appoints committee to expedite action on corruption

Feb 26 (AD) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a 3-member committee of ministers to examine ways of expediting cases on corruption and fraud, the PM’s Office said. Committee is comprised of Ministers Rajitha Senaratne, D.M. Swaminathan and Ajith P. Perera while the Secretary to the Ministry of Law and Order will serve as the secretary to the committee. Decision was taken during a special discussion held at more..

GMOF takes Hirunika, Ranjan to task over their silence

Feb 26 (Island) GMOF said it was disturbed by the silence of MPs Hirunika Premachandra and Ranjan Ramanayake on the admission of Arjun Aloysius and Kasun Palisena to prison hospital. GMOF President, Dr. Rukshan Bellana, issuing a statement said "About one year ago both these MPs through media condemned former MP Duminda Silva being treated in the prison hospital. They humiliated the prison hospital doctors and demanded that they be transferred. more..

Aloysius and Palisena file revision applications for bail

Feb 26 (AD) The attorneys representing the owner of Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) Arjun Aloysius and CEO Kasun Palisena today filed revision applications seeking bail before the Colombo High Court. Officer-in-charge of the CID’s financial crimes division, the director of the CID and the Attorney General have been named as respondents in the petition. The petitioners point out that their bail application was rejected by Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court, under public property act. more..

Top economist sheds light on political realities in Sri Lanka

Feb 26 (DM) Sinhala Buddhist community has a cultural need to depend on a larger than life figure to continuously save them and cleanse the country, which is why the people voted for the Mahinda Rajapaksa faction instead of the coalition partners of the current government, according to a leading economist. “There is a trait in the particularly hierarchical Sinhala Buddhist society of yearning for the Big Man, coming to cleanse the country more..

Polls monitor warns: PC polls to be delayed using minor party proxies

Feb 26 (Island) The govt was trying to delay the provincial council polls, scheduled for September, on the basis of some objections raised by smaller parties, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) warned yesterday. Executive Director of CaFFE, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said that during the last few days leaders of some minor parties had been demanding that the PC polls be held under the old system and not the new mixed system, which, they said, created problems. more..

Dhammika Perera’s plan to attract four million tourists

Feb 26 (AD) What has to be done immediately if to increase the tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka from the current two million to four million arrivals is to increase the number of budget airlines into Sri Lanka, said Sri Lanka’s topmost entrepreneur Dhammika Perera while addressing the Evening With a Corporate Leader event organized by the Colombo School of Business Management. Mr. Perera further said, “For instance, Thailand has a tourist arrival of some 26 million. more..

Video: PM may use Law and Order portfolio to shield Mahendran: GL

Feb 26 (DM) While claiming that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had no moral right to be appointed as the Minister of law and Order, SLPP Chairman G.L. Peiris claimed that the PM would make use the new portfolio to protect CB’s former governor Arjuna Mahendran who is implicated in the bond scam. He said that the PM would do whatever was possible to prevent Mr. Mahendran from coming to SL because the PM was aware that if Mr. Mahendran more..

Video: SAITM students warn of uproars

Feb 26 (DM) The Student Action Committee of SAITM today warned of uproars if they were left out of options to get their issues addressed by the authorities. Convener Shanaka De Saram said it appeared that the govt only listen to university students with aggressive behaviour, and therefore SAITM students too would consider such action. Mr. De Saram said that it welcomed the Govt’s decision to transfer the SAITM students to the KDU but should enrol all the SAITM students to it. more..

Gotabaya’s case hearing postponed

Feb 26 (NR) The Colombo Magistrate’s Court today ordered the evidence hearing of the case against Former Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa and seven others to be postponed to the 26th of March. The case was filed against the group by the CIABOC for incurring a loss of 11.4 billion rupees to the government by allowing Avant Garde Maritime Services Company to illegally operate a floating armoury. The order was issued by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lal Ranasinghe. more..

UNP MPs ready to bring no-confidence against PM: Range Bandara

Feb 26 (AD) Minister Palitha Range Bandara says that several UNP members including himself are ready to bring a motion of no-confidence against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. “We need to make a complete change in the UNP. Starting with the leadership. Without doing that this party cannot go forward, no matter what Cabinet reshuffle is carried out or what generations are created,” he said. He urged party’s leadership to listen to more..

SF to be Law, Order Minister despite opposition from top cops

Feb 26 (SL) Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka is to be appointed as the next Law and Order Minister in two weeks time, despite some strong opposition from senior Police officers, cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said. Senaratne said that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed Law and Order Minister for two weeks. He said that in the next cabinet reshuffle Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka will get the post. Senaratne said that while senior Police officers do not want Fonseka to get the post more..

Inside stories: Messy Cabinet reshuffle

Feb 26 (AM) Second Cabinet reshuffle of the unity govt ended up being a damp squib as many ministers were reluctant to accept their new ministries, political sources said. "The initial idea was to introduce drastic reforms through a reshuffle. But, in the end, it turned out to be a disaster," they added. There was a plan to appoint two ministers as Senior Ministers for Special Project allowing two younger members of the ruling party to take up bigger responsibilities. more..

Video: 'Cabinet reshuffle not the solution'

Feb 26 (DM) While claiming that the Cabinet reshuffle was not a solution to the political crisis in the country, Minister Champika Ranawaka said today an action plan to address political, social and economic problems of the people was the need of the hour. “What we need is a certain action plan to address people’s aspirations within a certain time frame. We are not satisfied with a change of Cabinet. more..

You don’t want to burn your fingers a second time: Bring Sarath Fonseka, Mr President

Feb 27 (CT) History does not teach us two lessons; the second one isn’t a lesson; but a deadly, unrelenting, terminal blow. Writers for the broad civil movement of yahapalanaya like us, were absolutely bewildered and stunned when our dear old President was seen playing a tragi-comedy in the style of Sancho Panza in Don Quixote, while evil forces who had set him up via proxies were laughing in the background. The proxies succeeded in part by bringing into the periphery of power their more..

Is the 2015 Geneva Resolution the Framework for Peacebuilding?

Feb 27 (Island) UNHRC’s High Level Segment is in session now, and is due to discuss SL’s progress on the implementation of the Resolutions that this govt eagerly co-sponsored in 2015 and 2017. The report of its progress is due to be presented later in the session, but one of the first reports to be presented at the Council is the Annual Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. SL does not feature heavily in it, this being a general report of activities of the OHCHR during the year. more..

Ratmalana Airport poised for major take off

Feb 27 (SO) A master plan for Airport Ratmalana developed and approved by Cabinet last week has envisioned the positioning of the airport as the Exclusive Gateway to Colombo, Sri Lanka by year 2030. According to the plan which lays out a comprehensive implementation program to achieve this goal, capacities and capabilities at the airport are to be developed under five key strategic areas, namely, corporate jet ops, more..

House in chaos with no sense of purpose

Feb 27 (ST) The unexpected outcome of the LG elections held earlier this month, seems to have left both the Govt as well as the Opposition confused about what exactly they intend to do next. The JO group which operates with the blessings of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, called for a snap general election soon after its excellent showing at the polls, but remained non-committal on the matter when Parliament met this week for the first time after the LG elections. more..

Duplicitous Brits and diplomatic fallout

Feb 27 (ST) When SL’s defence attache’ in London made a gesture running a finger across his throat some of Britain’s MPs with little to do ran to their computers to dash off letters calling for the military officer’s recall. Not to be outdone by politicians who have a symbiotic existence with refugees and former combatants and supporters of an organisation which Britain itself declared as a terrorist group, the striped-pants brigade down Whitehall which calls themselves diplomats rushed to send off more..

Creating rain where there is none

Feb 27 (CT) The Govt, with technical support from Thailand, is to implement a project to generate artificial rain in areas close to hydropower plants. As an initial step, a workshop organized by the CEB together with the Thai Govt's Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation (DRRAA), was held on 19 February at a star-class hotel in Colombo, under the patronage of Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya. more..

An open letter to Prof. G.L. Peiris

Feb 27 (DN) Dear Professor Peiris, I thought I should write to you at this time and at the outset may I congratulate you on the performance of the SLPP, the new political party of which you are the Chairman. The performance of the SLPP was somewhat better than many expected, though as you are well aware, fell far short of what a successful comeback by the Rajapaksa’s would require. The basic political formulae of 2015, that of Rajapaksa verses the rest, still held true and more..

Unseen negatives of human-elephant conflict

Feb 27 (DN) Farmers and elephants have struggled with each other to protect their territory from the other, for the last several decades in Sri Lanka. The struggle has captured the attention of local news channels frequently due to damage to property, destruction of crops and the loss of human life, all of which is collateral damage. This has led the people to constantly ask for a sustainable solution to the problem and the search for such a solution emphasises the necessity of a dialogue on more..