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Sri Lanka’s first artificial football ground opened in Beddegana

Mar 14 (DN) Sri Lanka's first ever artificial football ground was declared open by Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara at the Beddegana National Football Centre recently. The Rs. 75 million facility has been funded by the world football governing body FIFA and has facility to play matches under any weather condition. To mark the opening of the new facility, a friendly soccer match between Sports Ministry team led by Minister Jayasekara and Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) team was played. more..

Livelihood development for Jaffna District under reconciliation initiatives

Mar 14 (FT) The Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, under the direction of President Sirisena as the Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation, has initiated livelihood development programs to support conflict-affected communities which cover internally displaced persons, refugee returnees, women-headed households, rehabilitated ex-combatants, families of missing persons and low income families. more..

Uni Executives quit additional duties to support non-academic staff strike

Mar 14 (Island) Members of the University Executive Officers’ Association have decided to withdraw from extra duties in solidarity with striking non academic staff. Secretary of the Association, Registrar of Uva Wellassa University M. Careem said they had written to Minister of Higher Education, Kabir Hashim and the Chairman of UGC requesting them to address the grievances of non academic staff members. Non academic staff unions claim that although they have been striking for 2 weeks more..

Sri Lanka says unhappy with Facebook's hate-speech response

Mar 14 (EN) Sri Lanka banned Facebook after the social media website failed to respond favourably to repeated govt complaints against the spread of anti-Muslim hate speech, telecom minister Harin Fernando said. He said Facebook was slow to take down offensive content despite repeated complaints from the Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Team (SLCERT) which was under his ministry. "We were not very happy about the response rate. The lack of quick action was the problem," more..

Video: Regulations needed to stop misuse of cloud apps: JHU

Mar 14 (DM) Govt should introduce new regulations to regulate cloud applications like Facebook or WhatsApp to prevent their improper use, JHU General Secretary and Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He said the restrictions imposed on social media could be removed now as the tense situation was under control and the Govt had taken measures to restrict access to social media to prevent the propagation of hate speech more..

Sagala wants social media unblocked

Mar 14 (DM) Minister Sagala Ratnayake in a tweet said that the recent ban on social media creates a negative impact on many industries including the IT, E-commerce and tourism sectors. “Social media ban makes a negative impact on many industries. Apart from general frustration it creates, such blanket bans will take a heavy toll on the economy and hamper IT, E-comm & tourism sectors. What the govt must promote is a responsible use of social media with checks and balances,” he said. more..

Seeduwa Crimes OIC arrested

Mar 14 (Island) Seeduwa Crimes OIC had been arrested yesterday allegedly in the act of accepting a bribe of Rs 25,000 and a bottle of wine, from a Katunayake businessman the police station, SSP Priyantha Chandrasiri, Director of Bribery Commission’s Investigation Division said. Bribery sleuths arrested him at the Police station while he was allegedly obtaining the bribe. OIC is said to have taken the bribe to lead an investigation in favour of the businessman, more..

What action against forgotten Mahendran?

Mar 14 (DM) The SLPP said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe should reveal the course of action which would be taken against Arjuna Mahendran who was ordered to report to the CID on March 8 but failed to do so. SLPP Chairman G.L. Peiris said former Central Bank governor Arjuna Mahendran had failed to report to the CID on two occasions though he was ordered by the Courts do so over the bond scam investigation. more..

Business confidence intact in February

Mar 14 (FT) LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) increased by a single basis point to 128 in February, latest edition of business magazine LMD reports. Nielsen’s Managing Director Sharang Pant notes that “businesses are probably wary of the impact on the economy stemming from the results of the LG elections”. He also points out: “Business leaders continue to highlight that consumption especially in urban Sri Lanka is still subdued on account of high inflation.” more..

Measures to lift Social media ban: President

Mar 14 (DN) Measures will be taken to lift the temporary ban imposed on several social media including Viber and WhatsApp soon, President Sirisena said. Several social media were banned a few days ago following the recent incidents reported from Kandy. However, it is reported that a few days will be required for the ban to be lifted,” President said. President addressing the SL community in Japan, said that people should not misuse social media, especially Facebook. more..

Mahason Balakaya office raided

Mar 14 (DM) TID had recovered several office equipments and propaganda materials, which were used in propagating hate speech, from a office at Naththaranpotha in Kundasale last morning following the information received during the interrogation of the head of Mahason Balakaya. SP Ruwan Gunasekara said, based on a statement made by the prime suspect Amith Weerasinghe (26), resident of Digana, more..

Threat to food security in Sri Lanka

Mar 14 (DM) When the father of our nation D.S. Senanayake went ahead with his ambitious plans for farmers as Minister of Agriculture in the State Council of Ceylon, he was met with resistance by cynics. The naysayers attempted to discourage D.S. from promoting paddy cultivation insisting it was far cheaper to import rice than to invest on paddy here. However DS being the far wiser statesman and forward thinker went ahead with his plans renovating neglected irrigation systems and creating more..

Sarath Fonseka dreaded by Rajapaksas and feared by everyone

Mar 14 (DM) There was so much of hope, at least amongst the ordinary folks, that Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka would be appointed Minister of Law and Order. The logic behind such hope is quite legitimate and sound. Sarath Fonseka, when he was the Commander of SL Army, delivered the goods. Fighting against one of the most dreaded terrorist armies in the world-the LTTE-and its charismatic leader Prabhakaran, Sarath Fonseka not only exhibited raw gallantry and bravery, more..

Love not hate: Acts of kindness and solidarity during the Kandy riots

Mar 14 (Roar) Recent spate of violence against Muslims in Kandy-Digana areas catapulted SL into a state of emergency. Country it seemed, was enveloped in fear and hate—which is when people from the Sinhala community not just condemned the violence, but also went out and actively protected their brethren. We think it is important to highlight acts of solidarity during these trying times, just as much as it is to report more..

'Recent violence manipulated to destabilize country'

Mar 14 (DM) Eminent Buddhist monk Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera, speaks about the current status of the country in the aftermath of violence in Kandy. The prelate said all the communities should be united to build the country. Q: How do you view violence that erupted in the Kandy district? A: I look at it from a different perspective. Sri Lanka is under a huge, cultural, social and economic invasion from international elements. more..

‘Peace & unity should be in everyone’s heart’

Mar 14 (DM) Dharmasiri Bandaranayake, maverick of Sinhala cinema and theatre, has attempted to portray the reality of the state in every production. From Hansa Vilak to Bawa Duka, Bawa Karma and stage plays such as Eka Adipathi, Dhawala Beeshana and Makarakshaya have addressed issues from the 1980s riots to the dogma of Buddhism in Sri Lanka to other issues of national and political importance. more..

Govt officials not taking it seriously: BC

Mar 14 (DM) The Bribery Commission has felt the urgent need to amend the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Act as many govt officials and their departments do not take it very seriously to facilitate such mandatory personal data annually. A top official of the CIABOC said except for a very few state departments like the three armed forces and the police, the rest do not maintain their registers of personal assets of its staff members. more..

President visits modern waste management centre in Tokyo

Mar 14 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena, who is on a state visit to Japan, made an observation tour of modern waste management centre in Shinagawa in Tokyo, today. The city of Tokyo over 9.3 million people produces 11,000 metric tonnes of waste daily and there are 23 centres for the purpose of waste management. The waste management centre located in Shinagawa, processes 600 metric tonnes of waste daily. more..

Buildings can be rebuilt, but not broken hearts

Mar 14 (ST) Helpless and hopeless. These are the words used by members of the Muslim community to describe their feelings in the aftermath of this week’s wave of communal violence that swept across several areas in the Kandy District. The swiftness and the ease with which the attacks were carried out have left them in shock and disbelief. The damage caused to Muslim business establishments & houses has been extensive more..

PM in closed-door meetings with Maha Nayake Theras

Mar 14 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is reported to have held closed-door meetings with Maha Nayaka Theras of the Asgiriya and Malwathu Chapters in Kandy last morning. Sources close to Asgiriya Maha Nayake, the most Ven. Warakagoda Gnanaratana Thera and Malwathu Maha Nayake, the most Ven. Tibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera said PM had brief meetings with the two prelates before returning to Colombo. more..

Did Sri Lanka's Facebook ban help quell anti-Muslim violence?

Mar 14 (AJ) Rioters were already on the streets when authorities in Sri Lanka blocked access to the internet. The mob – angered by the death of a Sinhala Buddhist man who was beaten by a group of Muslim men – swept through neighbourhoods in the South Asian nation's central Kandy district for a third day on March 7, setting fire to and vandalising mosques and scores of Muslim homes and businesses. more..

Govt to set up new institution to monitor social media: Harin

Mar 14 (DM) The govt is discussing setting up an institution to monitor social media usage, Minister Harin Fernando said. He said this measure would be aimed at preventing posts which provoke hate against any community or religion. “The govt will not block social media such as Facebook but there will be strict monitoring, which will be aimed at preventing postings which provoke hate among communities and religions. more..

Outsourcing of land mapping: Surveyors on strike in protest

Mar 14 (CT) The entire State surveyors sector has decided to initiate a three-day strike, with effect from today, till 16 March, to express their opposition to the decision taken by the Govt to hand over the mapping of the country's lands for a four-year period to the Trimble Inc. in the United States. As a result of the token strike around 750 surveyors countrywide will be opting out of work during this period. more..

Web-Based Industries

Mar 14 (CT) Since the internet was exploited commercially in the early 1990s, it has become a popular media tool. Apart from being a social media tool, it also became a political tool, responsible for ousting some of North Africa's and Middle East's long-standing despots in 2011, beginning with Zine El Ali of Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Muammar El Gaddafi of Libya. Social media also has its negative aspects. It can be used as a tool to spread anti-social messages of hate/racism. more..

Nations Trust Bank deploys robotics

Mar 14 (EN) A digital banking platform, data analytic and robotics is helping Nations Trust Bank increase productivity and expand without incurring huge infrastructure and environmental costs, the bank told shareholders. In 2017, Nations Trust launched FriMi which allows customers to open savings accounts from their mobile phones without visiting a branch. "We believe this is a game changer which will shape the future of banking in Sri Lanka," says Renuka Fernando, CEO at Nations Trust. more..

Upul Jayasuriya

Will the State banks take the plunge along with SriLankan?

Mar 14 (FT) The extraordinary gazette notification appointing the Presidential Commission of Inquiry was issued on 2 February. The COI comprises three senior judges, a retired Deputy Auditor General and the Director General of the SLAAS Monitoring Board. The commission is expected to investigate, inquire into and report on inter alia the following: Alleged irregularities in connection with SriLankan Airlines, Sri Lankan Catering and Mihin Lanka during the period from 1 Jan 2006 to 31 Jan 2018 more..

Rs 7 bn revenue loss: CJ urged to re-list case involving CIABOC

Mar 14 (Island) Public interest litigation activist and attorney-at-law Nagananda Kodituwakku has filed a motion requesting Chief Justice Priyasath Dep to relist contempt of court case regarding failure on the part of the CIABOC to inquire into MPs abusing tax free permit scheme to deprive the govt of revenue to the tune of Rs. 7 bn. Kodituwakku alleged that in spite of CIABOC’s assurance given to Supreme Court on March 16, 2017 that it had initiated an inquiry into large scale permit abuse, more..

Porn sites with Sri Lankan stars return as Facebook remains shut

Mar 14 (EN) Sri Lanka may have blocked accessed to social media sites such as the Facebook, but the online crackdown appears to have had a flip side with hundreds of porn sites making a comeback. While 6.2 million people using Facebook through internet service providers in Sri Lanka could not access their pages, the pornographic sites banned many years ago for featuring SL men and women suddenly visible to local audiences. more..

Koggala EPZ earns USD122 Mn in 2017

Mar 14 (LBO) Board of Investment’s (BoI) Koggala Export Processing Zone (KgEPZ) contributed US$ 122 million worth of exports earnings in 2017, emerging as a major economic centre in the South and an important contributor to the economy. The working population in the zone currently stands at 14,070 of which 80% are women, the BoI said. The Koggala EPZ has been declared a bonded area for hub operations benefiting from access to the Southern Expressway and it is only 1˝ hours more..

Private auditors for ADB projects in SL

Mar 14 (EN) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is considering having private auditors to audit projects it funds in Sri Lanka given capacity constraints in the Auditor General’s department. This is because of delays in meeting audit deadlines in projects, according to a new report designed to support fiduciary risk assessments of projects financed by the ADB. ADB loan agreements state a deadline for the submission of audited project financial statements to the donor. more..

Video: Daily income of state telcos surged after social media blocked: President

Mar 14 (LBO) President Maithripala Sirisena says daily income of state-owned telecommunication sector players have jumped significantly after restricting access to several social media sites. According to President, daily income of Sri Lanka Telecom and TRC alone has been increased by over 200 million rupees. “Officials from big foreign companies now coming to Sri Lanka saying that this is a huge loss to their companies,” more..

23 Indians arrested in Colombo

Mar 14 (AD) Twenty-three Indian nationals have been arrested in Colombo for violating immigration laws. The Department of Immigration and Emigration stated that the suspects were arrested at three separate locations in Hettiweediya following an operation carried out this morning (14). Assistant controller (investigations) M.G.V. Kariyawasam stated that they were arrested for entering the country on tourist visas and engaging in businesses and employment. more..

26 deported Lankans land at BIA

Mar 14 (DM) 26 Sri Lankans, deported by Australia and Switzerland arrived at the BIA this morning.The 26 Sri Lankans had gone to Australia and Switzerland illegally. “15 Sri Lankans were sent to the BIA at 6.20 this morning from a special flight from Australia, while another eleven Lankans arrived at the BIA at 9 this morning from Switzerland by special fight,” an official said. A large group of security personnel from these countries were also present on the aircraft. more..

Restrictions on WhatsApp to be lifted from midnight

Mar 14 (NR) Restrictions imposed on messaging app WhatsApp will be lifted as of midnight today. Secretary to the President Austin Fernando said relevant officials have been issued necessary directives to ensure the restrictions are lifted. Temporary restriction of access on Viber was lifted yesterday as the initial step in lifting the temporary ban on social media. The decision to lift the ban on the two messaging apps was taken after more..

SL safe for British tourists operators insist

Mar 14 (TTG) Tour operators have moved to reassure agents and clients over travel to Sri Lanka after a week of violent clashes and rioting in the Kandy district. A state of emergency was declared on March 6 following anti-Muslim violence, in which mosques and businesses were targeted. While this state of emergency is expected to end this week, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said the skirmishing on the outskirts of the city had delivered tourism a great blow. more..

Depression moving towards Arabian Sea

Mar 14 (DM) As the depression to the South-west of Sri Lanka is now located around 550km away from Colombo and likely to move towards the Arabian Sea, its effect to the country will gradually decrease, the Meteorology Department said this morning. Department said that several spells of showers would occur in the Northern, Eastern, North-central, Uva and Southern provinces while showers or thundershowers may occur elsewhere after 2pm. According to the Weather Report issued at more..

Sri Lanka's silent port reveals China's ever tighter grip

Mar 14 (Nikkei) The front gate of southern SL's Hambantota port was uncharacteristically deserted. Over the course of nearly an hour one mid-February afternoon, only a few vehicles passed by a lonely teahouse by the entrance. "Around this time, there were always 10 to 15 people having tea here," lamented Wilson, the teahouse owner. "But nobody comes since last December, when the govt sold this port to China." more..

Sri Lanka's pro-trade body urges swift action against hatemongers

Mar 14 (EN) National Chamber of Exporters says it's concerned the recent communal unrest would be a setback to the island's efforts to improve cross-border trade and investments, urging the govt to quickly provide compensation to Muslim victims and punish hatemongers firmly and swiftly. "It's disconcerting that this civil unrest, although short lived, occurred at a time the country was embarking on trade negotiations to establish several trade and economic partnership agreements and more..

NCPA receives 1,532 complaints of child abuse within two months

Mar 14 (Island) National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) yesterday said it had received 1,532 complaints of child abuse during the first two months of this year. NCPA Chairman, Lawyer, Marini De Livera said the complaints were of physical, mental, sexual and of gross negligence of children. Amongst them were 364 complaints of mental and physical cruelty to children. Livera said 241 complaints were of failure to provide compulsory education to children and 95 related to negligence. more..