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Opening our minds to thrive with our neighbours

Mar 27 (GV) We can feel diminished by the tragic events that happened in SL when our neighbours were targeted in the anti-Muslim riots or we can consider it an opportunity for everyone to take action. The extremism seen in the Wahabbi movement, and the emergence of extremist Tamil nationalist and Sinhala-Buddhist movements pushed by demagogues are reaching vulnerable and fearful people. In the absence of the correct knowledge, they can be lead to think that their community more..

A turning tide for rice crops this year?

Mar 27 (SO) After consecutive drought conditions destroyed rice crops in the country’s agricultural heartlands, driving rice prices up and putting a major strain on the national economy, climate experts and farmers are finally expecting a good yield this Yala season, with rains forecast to fall on schedule this monsoon. However, experts warn that with changing weather and climate patterns, focus for agricultural communities more..

Origin of religion & extremism

Mar 27 (CT) It is the general belief that religion is the backbone of discipline that helps creating a peaceful society. This assertion has been built on another belief that there is an omnipresent observer or a supernatural force who monitors a person’s good and bad deeds. It is also believed that the force protects the man from disasters if he does right things which pleases the ‘force’ or punish him if he does wrong. These system of beliefs is the reason for above assertion. more..

So does anybody tell the President

Mar 27 (ST) These last couple of weeks in Sri Lanka have been exciting, comic and sad. Mob rule in the guise of ethno-religious differences and confrontation has brought shame and disgrace to a country trying to keep western rottweilers from chewing up Sri Lanka’s misled and misleading politicians who were made to believe that a pat on the dog’s head and a bone to its mouth are sufficient to win their friendship and keep them at bay. The stirring of ethnic and religious antagonism more..

'I do not play double games'

Mar 27 (CT) Deputy Secretary of the SLFP, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe says false propaganda was spread and religious and racist problems were created. “If the Facebook ban had not been imposed there would have been more problems”, he said. Q: There is news that you will be joining the UNP? A: What nonsense! I joined the SLFP 12 years ago. It was on 25 Jan 2006 that I joined the Govt of Mahinda Rajapaksa and more..

Sri Lanka lagging behind other developing countries

Mar 27 (CT) Free Trade Agreements are a global trend, and all countries are increasingly using them as an engine of trade-led growth and strategic partnerships. According to the World Bank, more than 50% of world trade is conducted under trade agreements. Fast-growing South East Asian countries have an average of 8 FTAs per each country. Neighbouring India has 15 such agreements in force, and 13 more are in the pipeline. more..

Silver linings in the economy: Increased agri & industrial production and export growth

Mar 27 (ST) Despite the recent gloom cast by the communal violence that threatened several key sectors of the economy, there are some bright spots emerging in the economy. Improved paddy harvests, prospects of increased tea production, increased industrial production and a further growth in exports are favourable developments that should result in higher economic growth this year. On the other hand, the setback to tourism, decreasing remittances, lower foreign investment and more..

Face the Nation

Public Banks in the Context of Subordinate Financialization

Mar 27 (Island) The CBEU has had a proud and celebrated history of struggles that helped immensely record so many victories to improve the conditions of the working class in general and the bank employees in particular. The topic I have selected for my address this afternoon is Public Banks in the Context of Subordinate Financialization. In this talk my theoretical argument is based on Marx’s Theory of Money. However, Marx’s Theory of Money is not fully more..

Editorial: Tortoise worship

Mar 27 (Island) A Western Province education pundit has drawn a great deal of flak from teachers’ trade unions—and rightly so—over a controversial letter he has sent to the principals of PC-run schools in the province, directing that politicians be invited to school functions and treated with respect. We thought respect was something to be earned and not bestowed upon anyone. The education officer concerned may have sought to curry favour with his political masters by issuing that letter, but, more..

MoD develops Braille to Sinhala Converter

Mar 27 (CT) Just because you are visually impaired you are not second to anyone, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Kapila Waidyaratne PC said, while officially handing over the newly developed Braille to Sinhala character recognition and translation software to the Principal of the Blind School in Ratmalana, Desman Perera, during a ceremony at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 21 March. more..

Ultranationalist Buddhist rhetoric in SL

Mar 27 (NST) A recent road accident involving a Sinhalese truck driver and four Muslim men in Kandy district, quickly spiralled into violent conflict after news that the driver died of his injuries days later. Attacks by mobs on Muslim homes and properties prompted the SL govt to declare a state of emergency. This recent spate of anti-Muslim attacks in Sri Lanka is neither new nor random. Anti-Muslim sentiments have risen in the country due to the spread of ultranationalist Buddhist rhetoric, more..

Cricket the noble art by Sunil Wettimuny

Mar 27 (DN) Perhaps the three of the greatest players ever to play at one time in Sri Lanka were S.S. Jayawickrema, F.C. de Saram and M Sathasivam. They would have been prominent in any company, in any age, against any opposition. They were batsmen of the classic mould, orthodox for the main part of their makeup but so possessed of genius that each would on occasion do the unusual. A visible mark of their popularity and entertainment value was the huge crowds more..

Provincial tournament: Old wine in old bottles?

Mar 27 (ST) For the longest time, SL's nemesis has been its weak first class system which is the ridicule of both local and international experts. They have questioned Sri Lanka Cricket’s rationale for fielding as many as 24 first class teams when, ideally, it should have been a third of that number in proportion with the country’s population. For many years, there had been only 12 teams. This was bumped up to 24 for reasons best known to more..

Recurring losses compelling price rises in petrol and diesel says Lanka IOC

Mar 27 (Island) LIOC has been incurring heavy losses on sale of petrol since Jan 2015 and diesel since Sept 2016. LIOC has incurred huge losses during the last 4 consecutive quarters and cumulative loss has touched LKR 1,304 million. Despite prices of petroleum products going up significantly, selling price of petrol & diesel has not been revised which has resulted into heavy losses to oil companies. Increase in taxes and depreciation of SL rupee has also significantly affected more..

Sri Lankan spice exporters slam India

Mar 27 (LBO) SL’s Spices & Allied Products Producers’ & Traders’ Association slams India for introducing a minimum import price for pepper adding another barrier to trade. The association said India introduced a minimum import price for Pepper of Indian Rupees 500 per Kg which works out to US$ 7,700 per metric ton. As the SL Pepper market is around US$ 4,600 it is not feasible for importers in India to import Pepper because of this minimum import price, the association charged. more..

Vehicle registrations rebound after duty cuts

Mar 27 (ST) SL’s vehicle registrations in January this year recorded a rebound compared to Dec 2017 specifically in the small car segment, motor cycles and heavy trucks following the duty cuts in the 2018 budget. In the car segment registrations in January there were 5,306 units significantly up from 3,394 units in December and 3,487 units, 12 months ago. The brand-new segment recorded 840 units in the month up more..

Netherlands farmers and Sri Lankan doctors

Mar 27 (ST) Sandra was born to a Sri Lankan mother, and adopted by a Dutch mother. She was a 12-year old child, when I met her and her foster parents, some time ago in the Netherlands. Sandra’s foster parents wanted me to help her. I was there on a scholarship, studying for my doctorate at the Free University of Amsterdam and living in a quiet and beautiful city by the North Sea – The Hague. Sandra and her parents had come to Sri Lanka, searching for Sandra’s biological mother. more..

New Zealand to invest in SL fisheries sector

Mar 27 (CT) High Commissioner of New Zealand to Sri Lanka Joanna Kempker has said that she will encourage New Zealand investors to invest in Sri Lankan fisheries projects. The High Commissioner has given this assurance during a discussion with the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Amaraweera at the Minister's official residence recently. During the discussion, a number of bilateral issues of mutual interest to Sri Lanka and New Zealand were discussed. more..

Watery grave for 8 bulletproof vehicles and LTTE vessel

Mar 27 (DM) Navy today (26) dumped in mid-sea 8 bulletproof vehicles earlier used by former presidents and a vessel seized from LTTE. Vehicles and the vessel had been dumped in the seas off the Western Coast with the approval by the govt. Those bulletproof vehicles and the vessel were severely damaged and the best solution was to dump them in the sea. This is not the first time that such a procedure was carried out. more..

Development Finance Bank to be established: PM

Mar 27 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that a list of changes would be brought to the private sector with the establishment of the Development Finance Bank, as well as to amend the Inland Revenue Act, which is to come into effect on 1 April. PM said that a separate Bank to assist development and emerging business ventures would be set up with the assistance of four leading Banks in the country. “We will be establishing a Development Finance Bank to provide financial assistance more..

Ranjit Fernando to head SriLankan Airlines?

Mar 27 (CT) Former banker Ranjit Fernando, a close associate of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, is tipped to be appointed as the new Chairman of the ailing national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, sources said. Sources also revealed that existing directors Rakhita Jayawardena and Harendra Balapatabendi might remain on the new Board, which is expected to be appointed within a few days. Current Chairman Ajith Dias and six directors of the board offered to resign late last year, in support of restructuring plan. more..

Freedom of expression vs right to dissent

Mar 27 (CT) Human Rights Commission of SL (HRCSL) pointed out that criticism of a community or a religion does not necessarily constitute the spreading of hatred or incitement to violence. Chairperson of HRCSL, Dr. Deepika Udagama, said that Sri Lanka is mulling the possibility of introducing new laws to control hate speech (especially online) and could learn from excellent freedom of speech and expression more..

Video: Crimes have increased due to govt’s incapability: Gotabaya

Mar 27 (AD) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa charged that crimes have increased in the country due to the incapability of the govt. “These (crimes) have to be controlled or else every day we see people are being shot,” he said, speaking to reporters in Colombo after a court hearing today (26). He stated that shootings are now being carried out by individuals on motorcycles and not white vans. “They told lies and destroyed the system which was in place and more..

Over 55,000 development projects launched in three years with zero propaganda

Mar 27 (FT) Project Management, Youth Affairs and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said over the past three years, Govt has launched over 55,000 development projects in various part of the country and that it has spent over Rs. 1 million on each project. “It is tragic that we have failed to communicate this effectively to the public. Development communication must be at the heart of govt propaganda,” he said, addressing a meeting on developing infrastructure in rural areas. more..

GMOA opposes appointment of Chief Epidemiologist

Mar 27 (DM) The entire Epidemiology Unit has been defunct due the Health Ministry’s arbitrary appointment of a medical administrator to the post of Chief Epidemiologist, GMOA said. GMOA said it strongly oppose the appointment of the medical administrator as Chief Epidemiologist who does not have sufficient knowledge or experience to function in that position. Former Chief Epidemiologist Dr. Paba Palihawadana was appointed as more..

Restructure UNP or 27 of its MPs will back no-faith motion against PM: Range

Mar 27 (CT) State Minister Palitha Range Bandara yesterday said the UNP had to be restructured or 27 UNP MPs would either vote for the no-confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to be tabled on April 4 or abstain from voting. Bandara said no other UNP leader had been humiliated in that manner. Bandara was speaking at a meeting of the newly elected LG members in Anamaduwa. He said, "I may be expelled from the party and stripped of the state ministership. more..

Govt to create three BOI zones

Mar 27 (DN) The govt will speed up creating three new Board of Investment (BOI) zones at Bingiriya, Mawathagama, Milleniya and Charlimount (Matara). A budgetary allocation of Rs. 2.5 billion has beeng approved to develop these new zones. This was disclosed at a BOI held investor facilitation and networking event at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel to engage in a dialogue with investors in Sri Lanka who have re-invested in Sri Lanka. By confirming their trust in Sri Lanka and in the Board, more..

'JHU won’t back No-Confidence motion'

Mar 27 (FT) JHU asserted that they would not be supporting the No-Confidence motion brought against PM by JO. JHU General Secretary & Minister Champika Ranawaka said that the No-confidence motion was based on unfounded charges. “No-Confidence motion is based on issues arising from CB bond scam. However, Govt has taken effective action in this regard and even apprehended some of those involved,” more..

SL plans to seek extradition of fugitives

Mar 27 (GT) The intelligence unit of police in SL has confirmed that fugitives wanted for serious crimes such as former diplomat Udayanga Weeratunga and underworld don Madush, who have been issued Interpol red notices and wanted by police for years in connection to serious crimes, are living in a Gulf country. In the past, a number of Interpol red notices, blue notices and international warrants have been issued for about 15 Sri Lankans including underworld dons, narcotics traffickers who more..

Docs urge govt not to lift ban on glyphosate

Mar 27 (Island) GMOA urged the govt not to lift the ban on glyphosate. GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said the present govt had imposed the ban on the harmful weedicide on account of the increasing incidence of the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), which had become a major health problem in rural SL. Previously, confined to North Central and Uva provinces, it was now prevalent in the Northwestern, Eastern, Southern and Central provinces, and parts of Northern province, more..

100-man SLA contingent for Lebanon delayed pending HRCSL clearance

Mar 27 (Island) The deployment of 101 member SL Army contingent in Lebanon under UN command has been delayed pending clearance by Human Rights Commission of SL (HRCSL). The delayed contingent is part of 150 strong Twelfth Force Protection Company (FPC) for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). The Army headquarters had received instructions from the UN that officers and men assigned for overseas deployment more..

‘Our men are suffering from chicken pox, mental illness’

Mar 27 (Hindu) Poignant scenes were witnessed at the Collectorate here on Monday when family members of fishermen detained in Sri Lankan prisons after they were arrested by the SL navy on charges of illegal fishing, made tearful pleas to the Collector to secure the release of the fishermen, stating that they were incarcerated for more than 100 days and suffering from illness. In all, 27 fishermen – 19 from Rameswaram and eight from Pudukottai — were detained in SL prisons more..

SLFP & UNP govt politicos to support Namal

Mar 27 (CT) Several Members of SLFP Govt faction and many UNP members have met with the JO in order to express their support to the No-Confidence Motion against the PM, said UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa. He added that the JO will benefit from enormous support in the Parliament and was confident that the motion will go through much to the chagrin of the PM. “Although it is too premature to mention the names of several UNPers who have spoken to us about No Confidence Motion, more..

Udayanga Weeratunge arrested in Dubai

Mar 27 (DN) Former Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunge had been arrested by the Dubai authorities yesterday, Ravi Waidyalankara, Senior DIG in charge of the FCID said. He said that the Dubai authorities had arrested him based on the investigations and submissions made by the FCID. Currently, the FCID is in discussion with the Dubai authorities with regard to handing Weeratunga over to the SL authorities. more..

Eradicate corruption prior to mouthing platitudes

Mar 27 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has told the newly-elected UNP local council members, at their swearing-in ceremony at Temple Trees on March 19, that people had elected them not to see those who came on bicycles leaving office in Benz cars. Interestingly his main rival, former President Rajapaksa had also expressed similar views to the newly-elected local councillors of the SLPP from the districts of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Ratnapura at their swearing-in ceremony more..

PM’s no-confidence vote and yahapalanaya’s divided loyalties

Mar 27 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is facing a no-confidence motion submitted by the Joint Opposition and signed by some of the ministers in his own govt. He may survive the vote, but the wrangling between the UNP and SLFP in the unity govt would continue till the remainder of its term, or more likely till the President gets his chance to dissolve the govet. That would be one and a half years from now, by when the current Parliament completes four and a half years. more..

'We have no National Policy to combat bribery and corruption right now'

Mar 27 (DM) The Dailymirror discussed bribery and corruption, its prevention and prosecution of suspects with the Director General of the CIABOC, Sarath Jayamanne PC. Q: The public, the media and politicians charge more often than not that the CIABOC has failed to bring before the law those big time perpetrators like politicians and top officials in the public sector who had allegedly engaged in bribery and corruption. more..

'Four SLFPers signing no-faith motion reflects party’s mood'

Mar 27 (DM) Disaster Management Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, who is a senior member of SLFP, speaks about political developments in the wake of a no-confidence motion against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Q: As a senior Minister representing SLFP, what is your view on the no confidence motion? A: This is not against him personally, according to my understanding. After the results of the local polls were announced, more..

Floating storage regasification unit: Expert says Sri Lanka must call for open tender

Mar 27 (ST) Sri Lanka must call for an open, transparent tender for its first floating storage regasification unit (FSRU), a global oil and gas industry expert said, warning that plans to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a single source could saddle the country with long-term overpriced contracts leading to high, not cheaper, electricity prices. Govt signed a MoU with India & Japan for an LNG terminal & FSRU in Kerawalapitiya. more..