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Hilton, Hyatt sales in limbo due to legal catch

Mar 18 (ST) The govt’s move to sell Hilton and Hyatt Colombo Hotels will likely be postponed till an amendment to a vital piece of legislation is made, according to Attorney General’s (AG) Department sources. Fifteen local and foreign companies responded to the Ministry of Public Enterprise Development’s call for Requests for Proposals (RFP) to act as the transaction advisor (TA) in the scheduled divestment process for more..

The legacies of nationalism and racism in SL

Mar 18 (SO) Racism is a political theme that has attracted a great deal of public attention in Sri Lanka last week. The attacks on the life and property of Muslim citizens in several locations in the Kandy District by Sinhalese mobs has provided the context for renewed public attention on the negative and destructive consequences of racist politics. There seems to be two opposing responses to these particular events of racism. The first, which is being openly expressed, condemns racism and more..

Registrar of Companies open all 7-days

Mar 18 (ST) The govt is making it easier and quicker to start a business in Sri Lanka by opening the office of the Department of the Registration of Companies (DRC) for business registration and other functions on all seven days of the week barring public holidays. Turning a new page in the country’s history, the operations of the 38 year-old department are now being carried out on week days during normal duty hours and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 2 pm, more..

Web based businesses suffer from social media blackout

Mar 18 (SL) Web based businesses operating from Sri Lanka took a major hit following the recent social media blackout. Sunday Leader learns that several small businesses operating on Facebook and well as others who depend on traffic via Facebook suffered financially. Govt imposed a temporary ban on access to popular social media websites and platforms following the communal clashes in Kandy. more..

Over 30% drop in WA arrivals, 100s of cancellations

Mar 18 (ST) Sri Lankan hoteliers busy at the ITB Berlin travel fair last week are now facing a new challenge of overcoming the impact of the week-long Kandy crisis that led to over 5000 room nights cancelled and of over 30 per cent of the West Asia traffic. Tourist Hotels Association President Sanath Ukwatte told the Business Times that at a THASL meeting held on Friday according to reports from about 50 hotels in Kandy there were cancellations of over 5000 room nights more..

‘Can’t compare SL refugees and Rohingya’

Mar 18 (Hindu) Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, who fled the war in the island nation in the 1980s, stood on a different footing from the Rohingyas who seek shelter from persecution in native Myanmar. Any comparison between the two is misconceived, the Centre has told the Supreme Court. Centre was responding to comparisons made by the Rohingya in the Supreme Court between their plight and the relief facilities given to the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees. more..

Legal battle royale over Corruption Court

Mar 18 (SO) Legal heavyweights will continue to battle it out in the country’s apex court, as the Govt’s proposal to set up a special high court on corruption through amendments to the Judicature Act is taken up before a bench headed by Chief Justice Priyasath Dep tomorrow. Strong backers of the January 2015 mandate for reform and good governance have come out in support of the bill to set up the special corruption court, after more..

Army troops take lead in cleaning trouble-torn Digana-Kengalle road patch

Mar 18 (SLA) Members of the Security Force Headquarters, Central (SFHQ-Cen) of the Army who have now been entrusted the arduous challenge of rebuilding and renovating all damaged properties in the recent communal riot-affected areas of Digana, Akurana, Galaha, Katugastota, Menikhinna, Ambetenna, Poojapitiya and a few other places in the Kandy district formally commenced clean-up work on both sides of Kandy- Mahiyangana road this morning (16). more..

Nidahas Trophy final: Sri Lankan fans to turn towards India

Mar 18 (CT) After an unacceptable ugly behavior by the Bangladesh team led by Shakib Al Hasan on Friday, there was serious doubt about the availability of a full squad Bangladesh team for the finals. But lenient charges by ICC of a mere 25 per cent fines on skipper Shakib and substitute player Nurul Hasan has ensured that Bangladesh will have a full strength team for today’s final of the Nidahas Trophy T20 Tri-series to be played against India at R. Premadasa Stadium. more..

State of Emergency lifted

Mar 18 (NR) Prez Sirisena has signed the gazette notification lifting the State of Emergency imposed due to the unrest in the Kandy District recently. The gazette was issued by the Secretary to the President on the orders of the Head of State. The gazette read, Maithripala Sirisena as the President of SL with immediate effect revokes the proclamation issued by him in terms of the powers vested in him by Section 2 of more..

Two brokerages in hot water

Mar 18 (ST) Two stockbrokers have been suspended by the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) from buying shares for non-compliance with capital adequacy with a few more expected to be reined in, industry sources said. They are however allowed to sell shares. The suspension was imposed on Nation Lanka and Navara Securities until they bridge the gap in their capital adequacy levels. Nation Lanka was suspended last year while the latest is Navara Securities. more..

301 suspects detained over Kandy violence

Mar 18 (ST) Police have so far arrested 301 suspects connection with the recent bout of violence in Kandy. Of the suspects now being held, 196 are from the Kandy District. Out of the total, 168 suspects have been arrested under emergency regulations imposed on March 6. Meanwhile, Govt announced that from Monday, it will begin paying compensation to people affected by the violence, while a cleanup of the area is now being undertaken by the army. more..

MiG fraud: FCID finds startling new details

Mar 18 (ST) A near 3-year investigation by the FCID into the procurement of MiG-27 fighter jets for SLAF has bared some startling details. Firstly, what was touted as a Govt-to-Govt Agreement between Ukrinmarsh, a military goods export firm in Ukraine, and the Commander of the SLAF, has turned out to be a fraudulent document. FCID has said that the Ukranian Prosecutor General has confirmed that there has been a financial more..

Public asked to complain against intimidation

Mar 18 (NR) Ministry of Law and Order has requested the public to lodge complaints against any incidents of intimidation or being threatened by a group or individual before relevant authorities. Issuing a statement the Ministry said several institutions have been established in the country to lodge such complaints. Accordingly complaints can be lodged by contacting the Police Commission on 1960 or 011 5107 722. Complaints can also be lodged at SL Human Rights Commission on more..

Arjuna a notable absentee at cricket celebrations

Mar 18 (SL) Former SL cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga, under who SL won the 1996 Cricket World Cup, was a notable absentee at an event held last week to celebrate 70 years of championing cricket in Sri Lanka. The event was held to coincide with the Nidahas trophy being played in Sri Lanka with the participation of India and Bangladesh and the host country Sri Lanka. Ranatunga and SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala have been at war in the recent past and that could be more..

Private bank bypasses CBSL freeze on PTL, Rs 400m of OD settled

Mar 18 (ST) The Attorney General’s (AG) Department has moved the Fort Magistrate’s court to issue an order on Perpetual Treasuries, Arjun Aloysius and Kasun Palisena to tender to court a comprehensive assets declaration in terms of a prepared template which includes references, not only to ownership, but to beneficial interest. Magistrate reserved the order after Defence Counsel Jeewantha Jayatilleke objected. more..

Mahasohon chief, 9 others remanded till 29 March

Mar 18 (CT) Leader of the Mahasohon Balakaya, Amith Weerasinghe and nine others, who were arrested by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID), were remanded till 29 March. Eight suspects were remanded by the Theldeniya Magistrate and other two by the Galagedara Magistrate. Weerasinghe had told the Police that the Facebook page of the Mahasohon Balakaya had 143,000 followers. A high ranking Police Officer said that all extremist racists and religious organizations, operating in more..

British Council empowers teachers to develop professional edu partnerships

Mar 18 (Island) British Council’s Schools programme has been designed to help education systems to develop 21st century skills in children. This is by developing capacities of teachers, head teachers and policy makers on effective teaching of 21st century skills in their classrooms and schools for setting up a sustainable platform for children to practice these skills in their schools and in social life. The fast expansion of technology, innovation and globalisation is also shaping its needs. more..

No-confidence motion against PM: Another political crisis waiting to happen

Mar 18 (ST) Strong undercurrents are once again rocking the shaky relations between the two coalition partners — SLFP & UNP. This is notwithstanding a deceptive lull & momentary distractions. They were caused first by the ethnic violence in the central hills. Though the violence is now under control, despite solemn pledges to end it in a week, State of Emergency continues creating confusion in world capitals, more..

Looking back at Kandy in 1915

Mar 18 (Island) The recent clashes in Digana and other places in the Kandy District brought back memories of what my mother narrated about the 1915 Muslim riots as they called the disturbance in Kandy and surrounding areas. She was a child living in a village in Peradeniya when the carol cart with persons singing Vesak gee was stoned when it passed the Meerakkam Palliya at the rear end of (then) Castle Street on Vesak night. A clash ensued. This was after the trouble in Gampola more..

The real evil

Mar 18 (Island) The women, they said, were alone as the men would be at prayers. Some commented on the youth and beauty of the women, noting how attacking them would be somehow pleasing to the eye. In other groups, an assorted array of knives was an invitation to bring whatever weapon possible to join a mob in cleansing an area of Muslims. Defiling Islam was common, and in some cases it seemed like a competition amongst those participating in the discussion as to how best more..

Kandy unrest and social media ban: German Chancellor calls off visit

Mar 18 (ST) Though the Kandy District’s one time trouble spots remain calm, the State of Emergency continues. Many are the not-so-good stories that are unfolding, both for the Govt and its leaders. The latest is how German Chancellor Angela Merkel called off a visit to Sri Lanka. This was to take place after she attended the international solar summit in New Delhi. President Sirisena too took part in the same event, but more..

‘Why the hysteria? Rs.12 billion of Perpetual Treasuries funds has been frozen’

Mar 18 (Island) With Rs.12 billion of Perpetual Treasuries funds frozen, one cannot understand the ongoing hysteria that has been generated, says Minister Rajitha Senaratne. He said that unlike under the previous Rajapaksa regime, the current govt had acted promptly on findings of the PCoI into the issue of Treasury Bonds in 2015 and 2016 leading to the arrest and remand of Perpetual Treasuries owner Arjun Aloysius and more..

Silent heroes give glimmer of hope

Mar 18 (CT) The recent tension between two communities paved the way for anti-Muslim violence which first arose in the Ampara District and then took an unexpected turn spreading to the areas of the sacred city of Kandy where more than 500 shops, residences, vehicles and mosques belonging to Muslims were damaged. While hatred and violence set the area ablaze, there were acts by silent heroes which gave glimmer of hope more..

JVP to launch anti-racism movement

Mar 18 (SO) The JVP is set to launch a political movement against racism and communalism, its leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. The party has taken this decision following the recent troubling events which unfolded in Kandy leading to loss of life, injuries and extensive property damage. According to Dissanayake, the national movement will commence with a series of rallies aimed at eradicating racism and communalism. more..

No more chains on their legs, they’ve been set free!

Mar 18 (CT) Elephants in chains and showing signs of severe stress will soon be a thing of the past at the National Zoological Gardens in Dehiwala. After much criticism by Environmentalists, Animal Welfare Activists and visitors to the Dehiwala Zoo, these elephants finally have been granted a large area where they can roam around without large and heavy chains tied to their legs. Dehiwala Zoo commenced operations in 1939 more..

Medical dons warn ongoing strike further blow to medical studies

Mar 18 (ST) Urging that speedy measures should be taken to resolve the trade union action of the non-academic staff of the state universities, Kelaniya University Faculty of Medicine Teachers’ Association (KUFMTA) has expressed serious concern over the disruption of academic activities of the medical faculties. In a letter to Minister Kabir Hashim, the KUFMTA has noted with dismay and concern that a solution has not more..

Sri Lanka to launch cannabis plantation in Anuradhapura , Polonnaruwa

Mar 18 (AD) Health Ministry has decided to launch a cannabis plantation project in Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts. Accordingly, the plantation project will commence in 1000 acres in a bid to export the drug to the US for medicinal use, Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. Currently, Ayurvedic practitioners obtain legal cannabis from the govt as a windfall from seized illegal cannabis, which is often poor quality more..

BMW ends up in canal after crashing into two vehicles

Mar 18 (DM) A BMW reportedly driven by a powerful Minister’s relative hits two vehicle and ends up in canal. A BMW car, which was reportedly driven by a UNP Minister’s son, had ended up in a canal at Thalawathogoda in Battaramulla last morning after crashing into two other cars, sources said. Eyewitnesses had said they saw the BMW car leaving a nearby night club around 6 a.m. on Saturday and crashed into more..

Lankan delegation heads to Geneva tomorrow

Mar 18 (SO) A high-level Sri Lankan delegation heads to Geneva tomorrow, where it will attempt to show progress on its human rights commitments, amid mounting calls for more political will to implement reconciliation and accountability measures set out in UNHRC Resolution 30/1 that the country co-sponsored in Sept 2015. In Geneva, Sri Lanka will unveil a host of measures taken over the past year to reckon with a violent past more..

Sweeping changes in income tax system from April 1

Mar 18 (ST) Enhanced fines and penalties, including an increase in jail terms, and new areas of taxation, are among the highlights of the new Inland Revenue Act to be implemented from April 1, a senior official said. The Inland Revenue Department’s Deputy Commissioner General, Nadun Guruge, said there would be key changes relating to income tax to achieve the Govt’s target of Rs. 800 billion a year. Under the new Act, those evading payment more..

An acquiescent Buddhist clergy, An inept govt

Mar 19 (CT) Much has been said and written of the recent tragic and unrelated events which took place in Ampara and Kandy. Mobs of Sinhala Buddhists attacked Muslim citizens, their homes, businesses, and mosques. A few retaliatory attacks by Muslim mobs too have been reported. The trigger mechanism for the outburst in Ampara was supposedly wanda pethi, sterilization pills mixed with food and served in a Muslim owned restaurant to reduce Sinhalese community in numbers. more..

Psychology Yes; But does Avant-Garde physics have a bearing?

Mar 19 (CT) This is the second of a two-part essay on Marxism and science. In Part 1 last week, I focussed on Darwin’s and Marx’s common methodology and concluded that the latter was as much science as natural selection. Darwin too left many questions unanswered, most important, the mechanism of inheritance. The gap was closed when genetics arrived. Furthermore, statistical mathematics made quantitative reasoning possible. Natural selection plus genetics now goes by more..

Families of the missing Protests continue as OMP starts work

Mar 19 (SO) Inside the makeshift tent by a dusty roadside in Kilinochchi, an elderly woman, Kulasinhan Sagunthalai, says, seeing her daughter again is her only remaining desire. She is my only child. Sagunthalai was separated from her daughter in 2009, during the final stages of war, at Mullivaikkal. ”Security forces separated the parents and children of displaced families & we were taken to different camps” more..

A rumour or two away from being engulfed in flames

Mar 19 (SO) The ban on social media platforms in the wake of the communal violence that erupted in the Central Province and Ampara has had the critics of the government up in arms. How dare a government that promised unbridled media freedom do this, they ask? On the face of it, it seems to be a valid question. However, it must be viewed in the context of the circumstances. And, we must ask ourselves the question, have we learnt anything at all from the dark events of July 1983? more..

A fragile democratic balance and emergency over-reach

Mar 19 (ST) The abnormal has become normal once again as Sri Lanka quietly and almost gently slipped back into a nation-wide State of Emergency, imposed by the Govt as a reaction to recent attacks by Sinhalese mobs on Muslim shops and residences in Kandy. The fragile nature of the democratic balance in this troubled country is best illustrated by how Sri Lankans naturally accepted the return of the emergency without demur. In a country where emergency law had virtually replaced more..

Online businesses hit below the belt: By govt’s sweeping social media blackout

Mar 19 (CT) One of the complaints regarding social media restrictions following the Kandy unrest came from the business fraternity, particularly those who indulged in solely online business. In today’s commercial environment, Information Technology (IT) has a key role to play thanks to the evolution and eventual dominance of social media platforms. These platforms are somewhat of a boon to small time more..

Oh, our race!

Mar 19 (SO) Siripala slipped into his mood of thoughtfulness. Anyone who knew Siripala would tell you that this mood is one of a kind. With furrowed eyebrows, he sipped the cup o’ tea his Haminey gave him. “I say Haminey, do you know our race is going to be extinguished by these thambi fellows ?” he suddenly leaped up from that armchair and asked. “So I’ve heard, that’s the talk around town no Siri,” Haminey shouted back from the kitchen. “How do you think these people are going to get more..

Editorial: Lions, Tigers and asses

Mar 19 (Island) Friday was a sad day for cricket. Some visiting Bangladeshi players, ably assisted by their hosts, brought the gentleman’s game into disrepute in Colombo; together, they made a public display of their infantilism. Needless to say they failed to conduct themselves like grown-ups. They almost came to blows and their despicable misconduct was unbecoming of sportsmen. Men are supposed to evince some maturity and behave themselves in public unlike harum-scarum more..

Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations: SL