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2010 Panama village evictions: ITE finds clear case of HR violation

Jan 2 (CT) The International Tribunal on Evictions (ITE) has ruled that the Panama village eviction constituted a clear lack of free, prior and informed consent of the local communities and that it was a human rights violation. ITE has also issued a deadline to the Govt for the implementation of its recommendations. Issuing its verdict and recommendations, Jury of the 6th Session of ITE urged the authorities more..

Apeksha Hospital to receive long awaited PET scanner on Jan. 25

Jan 2 (DM) The long awaited Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner which was purchased by public contribution will be arrive at the Maharagama Apeksha Hospital on January 25, Kadijah Foundation President Dr. M S H Mohamed said. High tech state of the art machine which costs around Rs. 202 million was a Siemens brand product of Germany with a capacity of performing over 100 scans per month. more..

Sri Lanka has 45,000 drug addicts: DDCB

Jan 2 (Island) It has been estimated that four kilos of heroin are consumed by 45,000 addicts in Sri Lanka. Dangerous Drugs Control Board (DDCB) Chairman Prof. Ravindra Fernando said the addicts consumed an estimated 1,478 kilos of heroin annually. Heroin is mostly smuggled into the country in Indian and Pakistani fishing vessels. Cannabis is illegally grown in an estimated 500 ha in the Eastern, Uva and Southern provinces more..

Over 180 beggars to be rehabilitated

Jan 2 (DN) Within the next few days, nearly 181 beggars from Colombo are to be sent to the rehabilitation centre set up in Rideegama in Ambalantota, where they will be rehabilitated so that they may be gainfully employed later. Project Director, Ranjith Meegaswatte reiterated that the project is aimed at giving beggars a better lease of life through education, community engagement, empowerment and self-employment. more..

Keeping hunger at bay

Jan 2 (CT) CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy speaking at a recent seminar in Colombo said that if the island's poverty cut-off rate is raised to US$ 3.50 (Rs 537.43*) per individual, per day, Sri Lanka's poverty rate will increase to nearly 30%. "The situation is akin to a man just keeping his nose above the water," Governor said. That is not something to be proud of, it is not sustainable, he pointed out. Coomaraswamy further said that the current poverty headcount calibrated at more..

IGP's long wait at Sri Dalada Maligawa

Jan 2 (DM) Police Chief Pujith Jayasundara had to wait for a long time at the special guests gate leading to the special closet in the first floor where the Sacred Tooth Relic is deposited when he visited the Sri Dalada Maligawa to pay homage during the New Year. The IGP who was dressed in a white sarong and a white long sleeved shirt carrying a tray of flowers had to wait there to enter the special closet as the gate was not opened. After some time, he was able to enter and more..

Rusiripala Tennakoon

Is there any point in getting the SLFP together again?

Jan 2 (FT) Sri Lanka, paradise, is never short of drama. Unfortunately, the ordinary people and their urgent needs for a better life are being ignored by moves and counter moves, conspiracies, rackets, deals and whatnot of the rotten political class which saw its rise to peak under the hopeless regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa, his family, cabal and cohorts. Never before has the island witnessed this phenomenon of a political class so cut off from the people. more..

Robbers throw chili powder and steal Rs 14.5 million

Jan 2 (AD) Over Rs 14 million in cash has been stolen by robbers armed with chili powder from a small lorry transporting the money cigarette whole sale agent to be deposited at a bank in Nuwara Eliya this morning. Police said that three suspects had arrived in a three-wheeler and blocked the path of the lorry at Park Road, Nuwara Eliya at around 8.20am today. They had broken one of the windows of the vehicle before throwing chili powder at the face of the lorry driver and the passenger more..

Parliament will have more ageing MPs in 2018

Jan 2 (DM) Sri Lanka will see more ageing MPs in Parliament in 2018 as most of them will be 70 years during this year while only a few others will be nearing that age, parliamentary sources said. As per the data of the official website of Sri Lankan Parliament, three MPs will reach the age of 70 years in 2018. As a result the total number of MPs who had reached the age of 70 years in SL Parliament will exceed 20 in number this year. more..

Fire at Singer Mega showroom

Jan 2 (DM) A fire broke out at the Singer Mega showroom building at De Kretser Place in Colombo 4 on Duplication road, this evening, Colombo fire brigade sources said. They said the four-storey building was completely gutted by the fire and five fire trucks were deployed to douse it. They said within two hours the fire was completely doused. The cause for the fire had not been ascertained yet and the extent of damage was not determined. The security guard at the Singer Mega building more..

Jumbo in Temple festival causes furore

Jan 2 (CT) EPDP has complained about an elephant being brought to a temple festival in Kondavil claiming it was an election law violation, since it is the party symbol of the UNP. "It is a breach of election laws to use the elephant in the temple parade and it amounts to polls propaganda," the EPDP had claimed. However, the Police and regional election officials dismissed the complaint as silly saying if that was the case they would have to demolish each and every single house since more..

Troubled ETI given liquidity support; capital injection expected: CB

Jan 2 (EN) ETI Finance and Swarnamahal Financial Services with 35,000 depositors have run into a liquidity crisis requiring regulatory intervention but if a deal to sell assets through it they can be turned around, CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. ETI Finance had deposits of 33.5 billion rupees from about 33,000 depositors and Swarnamahal Financial Services had 2.5 billion rupees of deposits from 2,300 depositors. more..

Romania expands collaboration with Sri Lanka in banking finance sectors

Jan 2 (Island) Romania, which assumes Presidency of the European Union in Jan 2019, has decided to expand collaboration with Sri Lanka, in the banking and finance sectors, among many other areas. Talks commenced when Governor of National Bank of Romania, Dr. Mugur Isarescu paid an official visit to Colombo last year, Romania’s Ambassador to SL Dr Victor Chiujdea said. He said that during the visit of State Minister Vasantha Senanayake to Romania for bilateral political consultations last year, more..

'No objection to use of my image on posters'

Jan 2 (DM) Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a letter to the Elections Commission (EC) has said, he has no objection to political parties and independent groups contesting the LG polls using his image on posters and cutouts. Mr. Rajapaksa informed EC Chairman Mahinda Desapriya that he was well aware that posters and cutouts with his image were being used by these political parties. However, Mr. Rajapaksa said it was up to the EC to take action if anyone violated the law more..

PRECIFAC final report handed over to Prez

Jan 2 (AD) Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed to investigate into Serious Acts of Fraud and Corruption handed over its final report to President Maithripala Sirisena, a short while ago. It is an important step in our fight against corruption, President tweeted, while announcing the receiving of the report. The report, consisting of 1135 pages, was handed over at the Presidential Secretariat by the chairman of more..

Sri Lanka finance company resolution delayed by political influence

Jan 2 (EN) Resolution of SL's troubled finance comanies had been held back by politics but the regulator has now been given the go ahead to act independently, CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. "There has been regulatory forbearance in the past due to politics," he Coomaraswamy told reporters, responding to questions why no action had been taken in the past. This week the CB barred ETI Finance and Swarnamahal Financial Services from more..

First shipment of imported coconut kernel expected on Friday

Jan 2 (Island) Minister Naveen Dissanayake said, in order to control the escalating price of coconuts, Ministry had decided to import coconut kernel. He said the country’s coconut output was not sufficient for domestic consumption as factories purchased most of it for the production of coconut based products. "Price of coconuts have increased as a result." he said adding that a decision had been taken to import coconut kernel to be used for coconut based products so that more..

'Action to be taken against candidates bribing people'

Jan 2 (NR) Chairman of Elections Mahinda Deshapriya says strict legal action will be taken against Local Govt Elections candidates who distribute monetary or material subsidies funded personally or from public money as part of their election campaign. Chairman Deshapriya pointed out according to the Elections Ordinance distributing subsidies during election campaigning is entirely illegal and is considered a bribe. more..

More casualties this New Year from road accidents

Jan 2 (Island) The National Hospital said there had been 512 incidents including road traffic mishaps and firecracker related incidents on 30 and 31 of Dec. National Coordinator (Training) at the National Hospital Pushpa Ramyani de Zoysa said that last year a total of 479 incidents including RTA had occurred. Of those injured, 194 had been admitted to hospital, she said, adding that 117 of them had been road accident victims. In 2016 there were 113 victims of road accidents. more..

Public servants should be responsible: President’s Secretary

Jan 2 (NR) Secretary to the President Austin Fernando has emphasized the responsibilities of public servants to serve the masses with utmost efficiency, transparency, honesty and commitment. PMD said the statement was made to staff members of the Presidential Secretariat this morning. Secretary to the President said public servants should totally commit to implement the policies of the govt in accordance with public service regulations in a transparent manner. more..

Ravi K’s critique of Central Bank: An instance of rendering blame unto Caesar?

Jan 2 (FT) Former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake is reported to have pronounced that the Central Bank is absolutely corrupt and inefficient (available here). This is an important revelation since it has come from a former Finance Minister. He has also opined that the current economic slump in which the growth rate for 2017 has fallen even below the historical average of 4% is entirely the handiwork of the bank. more..

International award to President in recognition of anti drugs campaign

Jan 2 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena has been given a special award in recognition of his relentless campaign to eradicate drug menace, which is a major international problem. This award, which was awarded by the Anti Drug Non-Governmental Organizations Conference held in Macao in China in November 2017, was handed over to President Sirisena today (2) at the Presidential Secretariat by President of the Federation of Anti Drug NGOs, Sarath M Samarage. more..

Sri Lanka enjoys success at 25th TT Warsaw Travel Show

Jan 2 (DM) Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau recently participated at TT Warsaw International Travel Show 2017 together with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Warsaw, Poland with key travel industry members from Sri Lanka. International Travel Show TT Warsaw is a leading Polish and one of the most important trade shows in the Central and Eastern Europe targeted at the tourist industry. This participation further highlighted Sri Lanka’s potential to be a popular travel destination among more..

CSE optimistic of 2018 with continued positive trends

Jan 2 (FT) The country’s capital market is hopeful that following positive policy reforms in 2017, foreign investor interest will continue, with sizable investments lined up to take-off ground in 2018. “We will certainly be encouraged by policymakers implementing investment friendly reforms aimed at growing business confidence and the investment climate,” Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) Chairman Ray Abeywardena said. more..

Govt's future at stake if SAITM not abolished: GMOA

Jan 2 (DM) GMOA warned that the govt's future was at stake if SAITM was not abolished as promised. GMOA Assistant Secretary Naveen de Zoysa said they would resort to trade union action if the govt attempted to use short cuts to register bogus degree holders. He said the next week would be critical to the govt and the ministers if they failed to keep their word and pointed out that if the govt continues with its double standards the GMOA would resume its countrywide anti-SAITM fight. more..

Prez. Sec. assures to give PCoI report: JVP

Jan 2 (DM) JVP said today the Presidential Additional Secretary B.K.S. Ravindra had assured them that a copy of the PCoI report would be given to them as soon as possible. JVP MP Nalinda Jayatissa said as such the additional secretary who functions as information officer was duty bound to provide the report within 14 days under the Right to Information Act (RTI). He told the media after submitting the application to the presidential secretariat to obtain copies of the PCoI and more..

China boosts investment in SL mega-project

Jan 2 (AFP) China will invest $1 billion in the construction of three 60-storey buildings at a mega-project near SL’s main port, Colombo said, as Beijing aims to boost its influence in the Indian Ocean. Deal follows an earlier Chinese investment of $1.4 billion to carry out reclamation work for the wider Colombo Int'l Financial City development, strategically located next to Sri Lanka’s harbour, only deep sea container port in the region. more..

The 15%

Jan 3 (Island) As the patina of three years colours yahapalanaya, 2017 too comes to an end. Comprehensive reform initiatives, done best and easily in the first half of a new govt, will now be conducted in some shape and form over 2018. It is unclear now what measure of success they will enjoy. The New Year begins with an electoral litmus test, and does not let up. The former regime has already and openly called it a measure of confidence in the current govt. more..

Political fallout of LG polls

Jan 3 (Island) Sri Lanka is expected to hold the nation-wide LG elections on Feb 10, 2018. Usually, local body elections are low key affairs. However, this election is important as a mid-term appraisal of the performance of President Maithripala Sirisena- PM Ranil Wickremesinghe govt. It would also provide an indication of the future developments likely to affect the fortunes of political parties and their leaders. Over 15.8 million people will be exercising their votes, on a single day, more..

Down a rabbit hole and the magic unfolds

Jan 3 (ST) You can easily put up a five-storey building inside it. At its widest areas, it is about 75 metres in length, 72 metres in width and 16 metres in height, is how underwater explorer Dharshana Jayawardena recollects his encounter with a massive underground cave chamber. It is inside the belly of a mountain range, on the way underground to a mysterious lake called Ravana’s Nil Diya Pokuna off Ella, a place entwined more..

Hollow nationalism & SAITM Struggle

Jan 3 (CT) The resumption of rumblings over the SAITM issue, due to concerns about a double-cross by elements of the Govt, generated commentary which was revealing. From the Sinhala ultranationalists, where there should be solidarity, there was only resentment, exposing the hollowness of the ideology and discourse. It is not without reason that Nietzsche warned against ressentiment (French for resentment) and ideologies that arise from it. more..

Yahapalana’s three-year report card

Jan 3 (Island) It’s the end of the year, nearly three years from January 8, 2015 and an opportunity to draw up two balance sheets. Today I will focus on the acts of commission and omission of the Sirisena-Ranil duumvirate and next week take a sharp look at LG elections slated for February. The latter will be a significant pointer, so I will keep you salivating for a week. Commentators agree that more than local administration hang on the results, therefore I assure you it’s worth the wait. more..

'Govt is reasonably unpopular'

Jan 3 (CT) Leader of PLOTE Dharmalingam Sithadthan said that at this juncture, there is a belief that Rajapaksa may do well at the upcoming elections. If that happens, then the whole process of finding a political solution for the national question will be disturbed or even shelved. "Definitely no Sinhala leader will go against the will of the Sinhala people, in such a situation there will be no hope for the Tamils to go forward in more..

Editorial: Paradise lost?

Jan 3 (Island) Our report yesterday that Sri Lanka had about 45,000 drug addicts, and counting, must have sent a chill down all parents, given the increasing incidence of drug addiction among schoolchildren and the youth. We have quoted Head of the Dangerous Drug Control Board (DDCB) Prof. Ravindra Fernando as saying that 1,478 kilos of heroin are consumed here annually. Police have been combating the drug menace against tremendous odds all these years. more..

Understanding why MR was defeated

Jan 3 (CT) Surrounded by cronies and not listening to those who mattered is the explanation Nalaka Godahewa gave in an article in Ceylon Today on why Mahinda Rajapaksa lost. I found it most interesting, with added value from the fact that Godahewa was close to the former President, and indeed came to his rescue when both Indrani Sugathadasa and Tilak Karunaratne resigned as Chairs of the Securities Commission. As it had been made clear that both thought there was more..

JVP Press Conference

2017: Year of slow economic growth but great expectations

Jan 3 (ST) This year’s economic achievements were modest and inadequate. In the background of slow economic development and inability to implement economic reforms needed to boost the economy, the govt’s vision of prosperity in 2025 is a dream. Natural disasters impacted adversely on the economic performance this year, but the economic growth of only around 4 percent that is likely, cannot be attributed to these alone. The structural weaknesses of the economy persisted with more..

Official secrets & De-mystifying the law through RTI

Jan 3 (CT) It has been close to nine months since the Right to Information Commission of Sri Lanka commenced hearing appeals under the RTI Act, No 12 of 2016. The Act was operationalised on Feb 3, 2017 and the first appeal came before us in late April 2017. Since then, it is evident that the thirst for information has had no boundaries and no barriers, class, community or race as the case may be. Appellants include farmers seeking information on the issuance of land permits from more..

A fresh start: Prison Dept’s support programme for parolees

Jan 3 (CT) A majority of prisoners, unless serving a life sentence, return to their communities one day. However, they are highly susceptible to reoffending after release, if correctional authorities do not adopt integration programmes during incarceration and offer post-release services. It can also be observed that ex-prisoners are often faced with economic, social and psychological challenges such as not having a means of living, more..