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Face the Nation

Sri Lanka women to host Pakistan in March for ODIs, T20Is

Feb 27 (CI) Sri Lanka women's team will host their Pakistan counterparts in three ODIs and three T20Is from March 20 to 31, Sri Lanka Cricket has announced. The tour will be Sri Lanka's first bilateral series since their drubbing in the West Indies last October when they were whitewashed across three ODIs and T20Is. It will also be their first match against Pakistan since the World Cup in England last year. That match saw Sri Lanka come out on top in a 15-run thrilling win more..

Ranil’s Radical Road To Ruin

Feb 27 (CT) Let’s face it. Mahinda Rajapaksa equated power with control. Under his rule, we contained our discontent. But we retained our sanity. Mahinda did not mock our sanity. He did not insult our intelligence. He intimidated his critics. He did not ridicule them. In year 2014 this writer desperately wanted him out. Today in 2018 this writer frantically awaits his return. The tyrant and his enforcers are preferable to tricksters and rip off artists. Political Power is the ability to form, reform or more..

St. Anthony’s Feast-Katchatheevu

Feb 27 (CT) Some 5,000 Indian pilgrims along with 8,000 locals landed on the Katchatheevu Island yesterday to celebrate the annual St. Anthony's feast, a senior naval official said. The foreign pilgrims mainly from South India were escorted to the Island from the IMBL after a head count, Naval Spokesman Cmdr. Dinesh Bandara said. For the first time, at this traditional event, a High Mass Sung in Sinhala along with Tamil more..

Editorial: Of those cardboard Lee Kuan Yews

Feb 27 (Island) Every adult Singaporean will get a bonus of between 100 and 300 dollars, depending on his or her income. Govt of Singapore has decided to share the benefits of the country’s surplus budget in 2017 with the public. In the 1960s, Singaporeans may have thought such a payout would be possible only in a country like SL. In this land like no other, which is never short of cardboard Lee Kuan Yews of all political stripes bellowing empty rhetoric, such a windfall is only will-o’-the-wisp. more..

Sri Lanka Preschools are no more!

Feb 27 (Island) Not an item of fake news or even cause to panic. According to the World Bank’s 50 million dollars Project administered by The Secretariat at Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, all preschools are now Early Childhood Development Centres. However, the title preschool will not magically disappear and the better known title Montessori will continue to be used by the majority of their clientele. Theoretically, though not necessary in practice, Sri Lanka should be more..

Life is not just a beach for some as Port City emerges

Feb 27 (ST) At 87, Prof B.L. Panditharatne is quite frail and his one-hour long analysis on the Proposed Development of Colombo Metropolis, Western Province and the Colombo Port City this week was understandably studded with personal reflections which while interesting, wasn’t really newsworthy. For instance: “When I did my doctorate there was only one building in Colombo which was more than 100 feet, Akasa Kade. more..

CB Chief urges Bank CEOs to grant collateral-free loans to young entrepreneurs

Feb 27 (FT) At a recently held meeting of the CEOs of the commercial banks operating in Sri Lanka, Central Bank Governor Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy drew the attention of the banks’ CEOs to the difficulties faced by potential young entrepreneurs with vocational training, in obtaining loans from formal banking institutions to commence or improve their businesses, due to their inability to meet collateral requirement. Dr. Coomaraswamy at the meeting said: more..

Video: Komaali Kings: 40-year revival of Sri Lankan Tamil cinema?

Feb 27 (AJ) Producers of the first Tamil film to be made in SL, in more than 40 years, hope it is the start of a homegrown revival. Tamils normally watch movies made in India, because the local industry has been crippled by decades of war and lack of experienced movie makers. Last Friday, Komaali Kings, a full-length commercial feature, premièred in 50 theatres — across the island. “Response has been great so far, and we are hoping to release it in India, and in parts of Europe & Canada,” more..

Port Authority’s Rs. 13.2 billion profit surge, a windfall from Hambantota Port deal

Feb 27 (Island) If not for the sudden gain Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) received from the Hambantota Port deal, it wouldn't have been able to post its historic profit of Rs. 13.2 billion for the financial year 2017, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said. "If the Hambantota Port deal hadn't materialized, the SLPA would have had to pay Rs. 10 billion from its earnings for the loan obtained for Hambantoata Port and more..

SL’s main tourism fair to attract more visitors

Feb 27 (ST) Aimed at attracting large numbers to visit the travel industry’s eighth edition of the travel and tourism trade fair Sancharaka Udawa in Colombo from May 4-5 the outbound travel market will be present this year with attractive offerings. Organised by SL Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) in collaboration with the SL Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), the fair this year will feature over 250 exhibitors and aims to attract over 10,000 visitors to the event more..

Exchange rates: Surge in buying demand

Feb 27 (ST) Last week Sri Lanka’s exchange rate hit a record low with the US dollar being traded at over Rs. 155. As some reports were saying, it was for the first time in the Sri Lankan history! Obviously, when the rupee exchange rate rises all the time, every day can be a first time. I remember an old joke about how a politician claimed the credit for the rising rupee – dollar rate: It is our govt that gave the highest price for the dollar! Today, let’s understand in-depth who determines the exchange rate more..

Indigenous Tamil film awes SL cine-buffs

Feb 27 (Hindu) Almost every Kollywood production finds an eager audience among Tamil movie buffs in Sri Lanka, but for the first time in 42 years, viewers are flocking to cinemas to catch a film made by one of their own. Last Friday, Komaali Kings, a full-length commercial feature, premièred in 50 theatres — across the island. “The response has been great so far, and we are hoping to release it in India, and in parts of Europe and Canada,” more..

The lip service of a polythene ban

Feb 27 (FT) The ban on polythene that is equal to or less than 20 microns, in Sept 2017, was a point of debate, of course, at the time it was implemented by the Govt. Besides the question of its efficacious enforcement, one can contemplate as to whether it has at least managed to reach the territories of the contemporary socio-political debates, given that the parley now surrounds the more interesting events, such as the LG elections and of course the squabble over the changing political undercurrents. more..

Sri Lankan Business and Investment Promotion in Melbourne

Feb 27 (MFA) State Govt of Victoria, in association with the Consulate General of SL in Melbourne and the Aus-Lanka Business Council, organised a well-attended networking reception to recognise mutual opportunities for trade and investment between Sri Lanka and the State of Victoria on 23 February 2018 at the Investment Centre of Victoria in Melbourne. The event was hosted by Philip Dalidakis, MP, and Minister for Trade Investment, Innovation and Digital Economy, Small Business, & Int'l Education more..

SAITM students urge President to ensure no discrimination

Feb 27 (FT) Despite commending President Sirisena on his ruling regarding the SAITM issue, SAITM students nonetheless called on the President to ensure that all SAITM students are transferred to the KDU without discrimination. SAITM Students Action Committee (SSAC) urged the Govt to transfer all students of SAITM despite differences in qualifications. “We strongly urge, with respect, that all students more..

Forgive, forget spirit at Katchatheevu fest

Feb 27 (DC) A spirit of forget and forgive, to foster reconciliation and bonhomie between the Tamils and Sinhalese in Sri Lanka marked the two-day annual thanks-giving festival by fishermen and others from both countries at the St Antony’s church in Katchatheevu islet in Palk straits on Saturday. While 1,950 fishermen-pilgrims from Rameswaram and nearby coastal hamlets in Tamil Nadu participated in the festival, nearly 5,250 pilgrims came for the festival from the Sri Lankan side this year. more..

Sajith to head UNP?

Feb 27 (CT) A senior UNP MP said that if the Party's current Deputy Leader and Minister Sajith Premadasa is not given the Party's leadership with overall authority within a month, around 40 to 60 of the Party's Parliamentarians will quit their electoral organizer positions and all other posts. He said that Party Leader and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had already consented to the move and that it will be submitted for the approval of the Party's Working Committee shortly. more..

MR cannot be Opposition Leader based on LG poll results: Amaraweera

Feb 27 (DN) The recent success at the LG Election does not qualify former President Rajapaksa to become the Opposition Leader, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said. He pointed out that there is no legal provision for such an appointment. He explaining the legal position behind such a situation pointed out that all MPs representing the SLPP are members of UPFA. “UPFA & SLFP Central Committee decided to join unity govt in 2015 more..

Major promotion drive finalized for Colombo Port

Feb 27 (CT) Formal agreement was finalized between Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), Colombo Int'l Container Terminal (CICT) and South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT) to promote the Colombo Port, according to Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe. "We have negotiated a hallmark agreement between the three operators in the Colombo Port to promote the Port collectively. I see this as a huge achievement; the three operators coming together is a win-win situation for all players. more..

UN staff remembers Una Mccauley’s legacy

Feb 27 (DM) Members of the UN staff in SL came together to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of the life and legacy of Late UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in SL, Ms. Una McCauley. She passed away on Friday, while on medical leave, undergoing treatment. Her untimely demise has been a shock to the UN Family, who dearly miss her charismatic leadership & friendship. Funeral service is planned to take place Friday in Colombo. more..

Peace Corps to Re-establish Program in SL

Feb 27 (PC) Sheila Crowley, Acting Director of U.S. Peace Corps, and Minister Tilak Marapana signed a new bilateral agreement to re-establish a Peace Corps program in Sri Lanka. U.S. Ambassador to Atul Keshap and PM Ranil Wickremasinghe witnessed the signing at Temple Trees. The announcement coincides with the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between US & SL and underscores long history of partnership more..

Outsourcing hospital laundering to India Govt should withdraw decision: Weerawansa

Feb 27 (CT) The National Freedom Front (NFF) yesterday demanded that the Govt immediately withdraw the decision to outsource the laundry service of local hospitals to an Indian company. Addressing a media briefing at the NFF Head Office, Party Leader and MP Wimal Weerawansa stressed that the Govt is trying to establish what is in the Economic and Technology Co-operation Agreement (ETCA), even before signing the agreement between the two countries. more..

Groups fighting for Badulla Principal accuse CM, others of intimidation

Feb 27 (Island) CM of Uva Province Chamara Sampath Dassanayake, who is facing a Human Rights Commission probe for allegedly making Badulla Tamil Girls’ School Principal, R. Bawani kneel before him, has sent her a letter of demand for tarnishing his reputation. In this letter the CM has demanded Bawani to pay him Rs. 500 million. Civil Society Groups and Trade Unions say that Chamara Sampath has been attempting to intimidate his victim ever since the incident was published more..

Mahendran not in Singapore address

Feb 27 (DM) An international courier service, which was tasked to hand over the Notice issued by the Colombo Fort Magistrate, to former CB Governor Arjun Mahendran who is in Singapore, had reportedly informed the CID that Mr. Mahendran was not present in the given address in Singapore, informed sources said. Recently, Colombo Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne issued a notice to be handed over to Mr. Mahendran more..

ITAK to attend UNHRC session

Feb 27 (NR) The Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) says they will send a five member delegation to the 37th session of the UNHRC that commences in Geneva, Switzwerland today. Speaking at a media briefing in Vavuniya leader of the party MP Mavai Senathirajah said the TNA also consented to the move. Meanwhile the ITAK confirmed that member of the TNA MP S Sridaran travelled to Geneva with the intention of participating in the UN Human Rights session. more..

‘Police, military personnel under pressure to implicate me falsely’

Feb 27 (Island) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has categorically denied The Sunday Island page one lead story headlined Police cover-up in Lasantha murder emerge after key arrest, on Feb. 25, as baseless. Rajapaksa also denies as false the claim that "the court has already been told that the military intelligence was involved in the killing and that the then head of military intelligence Kapila Hendavitharana was heading a killer squad and he reported directly to more..

Split permanent, SLPP going it alone at future polls

Feb 27 (Island) Chairman of the SLPP Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday told the media that the SLPP-led Joint Opposition would got it alone at the next Provincial Council polls as well as subsequent Presidential and parliamentary elections. He said so in response to query whether the warring SLFP factions were likely to reach an understanding ahead of critical polls for six PCs expected to be held later this year. more..

Does Cabinet reshuffle serve any purpose?

Feb 27 (DM) Even Cabinet ministers, leave alone ordinary govt supporters will be unable to explain Sunday’s Cabinet. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa seems to have viewed it from a common man’s perspective when he described it to journalists in Kandy as a pointless reshuffle. With news that another Cabinet change involving the SLFP ministers is in the offing, it is not clear as to why the govt resorted to a Cabinet reshuffle in stages or on a staggered basis. more..

Fallout of political instability in Sri Lanka

Feb 27 (DM) Good international relations are founded on political and economic stability in the countries concerned. If there is policy confusion and policy paralysis in a country, foreign investors’ interest in it tends to wane. And the confidence of foreign Govts about entering into economic and political agreements with that country begins to wear thin. Sri Lanka now appears to be the grip of political uncertainty which in turn has led to economic uncertainty. more..

Why wasn’t Sarath Fonseka appointed law and order minister ?

Feb 27 (DM) The latest Cabinet reshuffle was a disappointment. Even some UNP MPs have gone on record calling it a joke, others mutter the same in private. If anything at all, this is another proof of how indecisive President Sirisena has become. He is being dragged here and there by his Maharaja advisers, who are preoccupied with discrediting UNP leadership and SLFP heavyweights, who even after coming in a distant third more..

Putting your child into state school: Why it’s a mess

Feb 27 (Roar) Every year, thousands of parents send off applications for their child’s grade one admission. Annually, over 300,000 students seek placement in State-run schools—of which there are only 11,000. In a severely underfunded education sector, getting a good school—which ideally means a national school in the city as opposed to a Maha Vidyalaya—ensures better privileges for students. more..

'Sinhala Only Act destroyed peaceful SL'

Feb 27 (FT) Sri Lanka must have a Sedition Act or Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act to prevent people insulting other people, especially different ethnic groups, Prof. Rohan Gunaratna of S. Rajaratnam School of Int'l Studies, Nanyang Technology Uni, Singapore, said. “Unfortunately, Sri Lankan leaders played ethnic and religious politics, seeded hatred and division and the country was dragged back 30 years,” he said. more..

'National Unity Govt should forge ahead'

Feb 27 (DM) Minister Gayantha Karunatilake, speaks about current political situation and the future of his party. Q: How do you rate the outcome of this election which saw the defeat of your party? A: Of course, people have given a clear verdict against us. We have to admit it humbly. On the one hand, we received such a warning signal when we were halfway through our term. If we waited for the last minute without such a more..

Murder suspect shot dead inside bus

Feb 27 (Island) Two underworld figures who boarded a private bus at Mirijjawila in Hambantota yesterday shot dead one of their rivals returning from Tangalle High Court after a murder trial. The gunmen fled in a car. The victim was with his wife at the time of the incident. The deceased was Chandana Prasanna (33) of Ethimale. According to police, the victim was identified as an accused in the killing of a person in Ranna in 2011. more..

Inquiry into Lasantha’s killing in a muddle

Feb 27 (DM) A gang that arrived in motorcycles was seen stabbing with pointed rods. Alleging that the evidence relating to the killing of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickremathunge had been concealed several big shots in Sri Lanka Police being handcuffed and taken into custody was observed during the past two weeks. Among them was a DIG. News to the effect that suspects in the Lasantha Killing had been more..

Alarm over likely backdoor entry of women cronies to local councils

Feb 27 (ST) Women activists and civil society organisations have expressed serious concerns that the additional nomination list or second nomination list, which would be decided by political party hierarchy and independent group leaders, would lead to unelected candidates and cronies of politicians being nominated through the back door at the expense of the quota for women in local bodies. The Elections Commission, meanwhile, more..

Delayed reshuffle due to some UPFA ministers going abroad: Duminda

Feb 27 (DN) he Cabinet reshuffle for those representing the UPFA was delayed due to several ministers having flown overseas, SLFP General Secretary Agriculture Minister Duminda Dissanayake yesterday said. “The delayed reshuffle will take place within the next two weeks,” he also said. Minister Dissanayake also said if the reshuffle took place at the same time it would have been proper and methodical. more..

MR fires salvo at liability management bill, Audit chief

Feb 27 (EN) Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa bas slammed a law that allows SL to borrow more money this year to repay large volumes of loans that are maturing later, and has also question comments by auditor general on debt. He said the proposed law gives powers for the executive to raise saying it undermines the authority of the parliament. He also claimed that the executive has unrestricted power in using the money borrowed. more..

'Sri Lanka, emerging nations faces higher interest rates, tighter global credit'

Feb 27 (EN) Sri Lanka and emerging nations faces tighter credit conditions and higher interest rates, with policy rates in developed nations set to rise faster than expected, Minister Managala Samaraweera said. "We have seen signs of robust recovery in advanced economies, steadily firming inflation outlook and improving labour market conditions," he told a forum of Finance Secretaries & CB Governors of 24 developing nations more..