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Sri Lanka tourism starts to recover from political crisis hit

Jan 16 (EN) Bookings at Sri Lankan hotels have started to recover in January 2019, industry officials said, after being hit from a political and economic crisis triggered by President Maithripala Sirisena in October, just as the peak tourism season was starting. Sanath Ukwatte, head of The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, an industry lobby group, said bookings have bounced back in January after a weak December, especially more..

‘Politics in education & health sectors damaging’

Jan 16 (NR) Minister Thalatha Athukorala says the politicisation of the country’s education and health sectors has severely affected the public. Speaking during an event at the Nivitigala Yatagara school today, Minister noted that all persons who benefited from the free education system should serve the country. She also bemoaned the conduct of the doctors in the recent past. The Minister said having benefiting from the country’s free education system, several doctors engage in strike actions more..

Duterte, Sri Lanka’s Sirisena recognize threat of illegal drugs

Jan 16 (GMA) President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he and his Sri Lankan counterpart Maithripala Sirisena recognize the threat posed by illegal drugs in their respective nations. Speaking at a media conference following his meeting with Sirisena in Malacañang, the President said the Philippines and Sri Lanka have common challenges, shared interests, and are "united by our desire to provide greater peace, progress and prosperity for our peoples." more..

‘Health service activities won’t be investigated’

Jan 16 (NR) Minister Rajitha Senaratne claims Prez has assured him that a Presidential Commission will not be appointed to investigate activities of the health service and Ministry of Health. GMOA recently claimed that Prez had agreed to appoint a Commission to probe activities of the Ministry during the past four years. In response Minister categorically denied the claim and said the Prez acknowledged that more..

'Whale watching overexploited'

Jan 16 (CT) Ocean Scientists and the Centre of Ocean Resources Analysis Sri Lanka (CENORA-SL) expressed their concern about overexploitation of commercial whale watching in Sri Lanka. According to a Scientist of the NARA, Upul Liyanage, regulations for the commercial whale- watching industry exist, however, the authorities fail to implement the said regulations properly. “Mirissa is an area where whales can be spotted throughout the year. more..

Govt. held hostage by the TNA: Wimal

Jan 16 (NR) Leader of the NFF MP Wimal Weerawansa claims that the present govt has been taken hostage by the TNA. Terming the TNA separatists, MP Weerawansa said the proposed new Constitution will pave way to a divided Sri Lanka. He stressed Cabinet decisions are also being sanctioned to please the TNA. MP charged that the govt has commenced the process of enacting a federal Constitution stating that TNA MP MA Sumanthiran in Jaffna claimed that more..

Any alliance must be led by the SLFP: Party organizers

Jan 16 (DM) A group of SLFP organisers said that they would only support an alliance headed by the SLFP and its leadership. Southern Provincial Council Minister Dayawansa Ariyathilaka said that the SLFP had acted as the main force of all the alliances it got into so far and the other parties had to pay heed to the opinion of the main force. “SLFP has formed govts so far as an alliance, but played the role of the main force. more..

Video: Presidential polls: Rohitha challenges Akila to resign if UPFA candidate wins

Jan 16 (DM) UPFA MP Rohitha Abeygunawardana yesterday challenged UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam to resign from parliament if the UPFA candidate wins the presidential election. He said he would also bet his parliament membership. “I will not ask you to bet your portfolio because when the UPFA candidate wins the presidential election, your ministerial post will be worthless,” he said. Minister Kariyawasam is reported to have told a politburo meeting in the Nikaweratiya more..

CID issues summons to Namal, Wimal & Shashi

Jan 16 (NR) Summons has been issued for MPs Namal Rajapaksa and Wimal Weerawansa including the wife of MP Weerawansa Shashi Weerawansa, to appear before the CID over a statement made by the arrested Indian national pertaining to the VVIP assassination plot. The CID today informed Court that summons has been issued for the trio to be present before the CID this week, based on a statement by the Indian. The CID is expected to record statements from the trio. more..

'Possibility of holding PC polls under old system'

Jan 16 (DM) Non-cabinet Minister Ajith P. Perera said he would speak to Minister Vajira Abeywardana to see if there is the possibility of presenting a motion in Parliament to hold PC polls under the old system as soon as possible. Non-cabinet Minister, who represented the UNF at party leaders meetings with the Elections Commission, told the Daily Mirror that he was aware that the Cabinet of the 51 day Rajapaksa govt more..

New ambulance bonanza for state hospitals

Jan 16 (Island) Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne is to preside over a ceremony to mark the distribution of 132 ambulances worth Rs 2.5 billion, to 132 hospitals across the country on January 18. The event will take place at the Colombo Municipal Council ground. These ambulances have been manufactured by Ford motor company and more than 100 more will be distributed later. Another 100 ambulances, manufactured by Benz company, will also be distributed among hospitals. more..

Former DIG Nalaka de Silva further remanded

Jan 16 (AD) Former DIG Nalaka de Silva, who was arrested by the CID in connection with an alleged assassination plot targeting the President and former Defence Secretary, has been further remanded until 21st January. The former Director of the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) was arrested by the CID on Oct 25, 2018, over a suspected plot to assassinate Prez Sirisena and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He was arrested after a police informant, more..

Prez commences state visit to Philippines

Jan 16 (PSL) President Sirisena commenced a four-day state visit to the Philippines, marking the first invitation extended to a SL Head of State to undertake an official visit to their country, during the period of 58 year diplomatic relationship between SL and the Philippines. Prez arrived at the Ninoy Aquino Int'l Airport in Manila, yesterday. at the Airport, Prez was warmly received by a special delegation, including the Trade and more..

Children build our future: Akila

Jan 16 (DN) Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said children of the country are its future and therefore, every step will be taken to improve their knowledge. He said the govt, therefore, will make a few changes to the education system of the country. Minister was addressing the gathering at the opening ceremony of the laboratory constructed for St. Bernadette's Model School, Polgahawela. Minister said the govt had improved the education in the past couple of years. more..

Spread of fall armyworm; Not an act of sabotage: Harrison

Jan 16 (DM) Agriculture Minister P. Harrison said the spreading of fall armyworm (Sena Dalambuwa) among food crops was not an act of sabotage. He said that the allegation the govt had infected the crops with fall armyworm to help the pesticide supplying companies to market their products was false. “This pest was first detected when MP Mahinda Amaraweera was the Agriculture Minister. Therefore, those who accuse us of committing an act of sabotage should question more..

China firm completes Port City sea reclamation for US$700mn

Jan 16 (EN) CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd, a unit of China's CCCC group has completed reclaiming 269 hectares of sea off Sri Lanka's capital Colombo, three months ahead of schedule and is now engaged in surface development and building utilities. China ambassador, Cheng Xueyuan, said China had spent US$ 700 million in reclamation work over 28 months, employing 4,000 Sri Lankans. more..

Mahinda’s appeal against CA interim order to be heard on Feb 6

Jan 16 (AD) The Supreme Court has ordered to take up the appeal seeking the void of an interim order issued by the Court of Appeal, suspending the former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Cabinet of Ministers from functioning, on Feb 6. The appeal filed by the former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and the members of the former Cabinet Ministers were taken up before the three-judge bench consisting of Chief Justice Nalin Perera, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena and Justice T.B. Dehideniya today. more..

Hambantota port diversifies into cement industry cargo

Jan 16 (EN) Hambantota International Port has handled its first shipment for the cement industry, enabling a manufacturer to enjoy economies of scale of using larger vessels, as the harbour diversifies its bulk cargo business. Ihe bulk carrier, Ithaca Patience, docked at Hambantota recently to discharge 27,150MT of slag cargo, an additive used in the manufacture of cement. “The operation was successfully completed with high levels of efficiency, peaking at 11,000 MT on some days,” it said. more..

Video: Violent assault on Angunukolapelessa inmates caught on CCTV

Jan 16 (AD) Several video clips containing violent assault on a group of inmates at the Agunukolapelessa Prison have been disclosed. Holding a press conference today, the Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners, revealed the CCTV footage obtained from a security camera set inside the prison premises. Reportedly, the assault had taken place on the 22nd of Nov 2018. The committee pointed out that the inmates more..

Prelates ask govt to solve economic problems instead of new constitution

Jan 16 (Island) The govt must strive to solve the economic problems the people were faced with instead of trying to introduce a new Constitution, Mahanayakes of the Asgiri and Malwatta Chapters told State Minister of Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene yesterday. The minister visited the Chief Prelate of the Asgiri Chapter, Most Ven Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana There and the Chief Prelate of the Malwatta Chapter, Most Ven. Thibbatuwawe Sri Siddartha Sumangala Thera, yesterday. more..

SLT trade unions on token strike demanding removal of Prez’s unqualified brother

Jan 16 (CT) Trade unions of Sri Lanka Telecom have launched an island wide token strike today over several demands including the removal of current SLT Chairman Kumarasinghe Sirisena, brother of Prez Sirisena. SLT trade unions allege that under Sirisena’s watch the institution had lost Rs. 50 billion due to short-sighted decisions and wasteful expenditure. They said a handful of senior officials working hand in glove with Kumarasinghe Sirisena are responsible for the current state more..

'මනූෂ අපේ පැත්තට එන්න සල්ලි ගත්තේ නෑ'

Naming & Shaming

Jan 16 (CT) Yesterday, this newspaper quoting an Asian Development Bank report said that women shy away from the garments and tourism industries, the country’s second and third largest foreign exchange earners for various reasons. Among some of those were the aversion to work on shifts, stigma and the question of safe transport. Much of this stigma may be associated with women having to work in shifts in those sectors, and, from a secondary perspective, as tourism industry more..

FCCISL on Govt’s road to FTAs

Jan 16 (FT) The policy debate towards negotiations on Free Trade Agreements (FTA) has been intensified after SL signed a Free Trade Agreement with Singapore in 2018. Almost two decades ago, SL entered into its first-ever FTA with India, followed by a similar trade pact with Pakistan. After a period of long silence, negotiations are currently underway with an open-ended list for negotiation of more FTAs, the rationality of which has come under heavy criticism without the backing of more..

Prisoners’ rights group lodges complaint at CID

Jan 16 (CT) A prisoners’ rights group lodged a complaint at the CID regarding CCTV footage-based evidence, showing incidents of alleged torture/cruel/inhuman/degrading treatment and/or punishment, which took place in November 2018, at the Angunakolapelessa Prison. In their complaint, the Committee for Protecting the Rights of Prisoners, led by Chairman, Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera and Secretary, more..

Some UPFA ministers yet to hand over official residences

Jan 16 (DM) Some of the UPFA ministers who left the govt last year are yet to hand over their official residences. A new govt was formed after Oct26, 2018 when UPFA left the govt. A UNP govt was formed again later on Dec 16, 2018 with the swearing in of Ranil Wickremesinghe as the PM. A spokesman from the govt said a difficult situation had arisen as a result of failure by former UPFA Ministers to hand over their official more..

Grade 5 Schol exam places heavy pressure on children - Study

Jan 16 (Island) Children are under tremendous pressure to do well in studies at a very young age, and they are without playtime owing to the highly-competitive Grade Five Scholarship Examination, a recent study has revealed. The study carried out by Dr. P.M. Jayawardena, a paediatrician by profession, has revealed that heavy pressure affects hippocampus of brain, associated with memory and education, and takes its toll on more..

Brit surfer, 36, dies while out surfing with pals in Sri Lanka

Jan 16 (DM) A British photographer and travel writer described as an inspiration who touched so many people's lives has died while surfing off the coast of Sri Lanka. Jon Lewin, 36, is believed to have suffered a seizure in the water while on holiday and doctors were unable to revive him. His devastated girlfriend Immy Clifton, who he was on holiday with, paid tribute to soulmate Jon in a heartbreaking Facebook post. more..

Probe against CDS to continue: CID

Jan 16 (NR) CID today informed Court that the investigation pertaining to the case filed against the Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, who allegedly aided the chief suspect in the abduction and disappearance of 11 youth Navy Sampath to abscond from arrest, will continue. CID informed Court of the ongoing investigation when the case was taken up for hearing before Colombo Fort Magistrate more..

GMOA eyeing national list seats, says GMOF

Jan 16 (Island) The objective of the GMOA ruling members was securing a couple of national list seats in Parliament and not the welfare of doctors or patients, says President of Govt Medical Officers Forum (GMOF) Dr. Rukshan Bellana. He blamed the GMOA for not addressing real issues the doctors were faced with and instead addressing political issues such as the SL- Singapore Free Trade Agreement, ETCA & other such issues more..

302 national schools without principals

Jan 16 (DN) Ceylon Teachers Union Chief Secretary Joseph Starling claims that there are no permanent principals for 302 National Schools countrywide. Speaking on a statement made by the President at a recent Cabinet meeting that there is no permanent principal for Thurstan College for eight years, said that principal shortage is reported not only at the Thurston College but also at 302 national schools for years. more..

Rajitha alleges occurred during MR regime

Jan 16 (CT) Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne alleged there had been large-scale fraud in purchasing linear accelerators during Prez Sirisena’s tenure as the Health Minister, under the Govt of former Prez Mahinda Rajapaksa. He said there had been Media reports of linear accelerators imported for the Apeksha Hospital for Cancer Patients, Maharagama, and the Galle and Batticaloa Teaching Hospitals not being put to use. more..

10,000 brick & mortar type houses for NE: 1st phase of 4,750 units starts with Thai Pongal

Jan 16 (FT) The Ministry of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development, Vocational Training, Skills Development and Youth Affairs under the leadership of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as Minister of this Ministry initiated action is to construct 10,000 brick and mortar/cement sand blocks type traditional houses in the conflict affected N&E Provinces more..

With prolonged grief, the families of the missing cry out for help

Jan 16 (ST) Limbo – this is the tragic state in which many family members of the missing are living, with no hopes and aspirations for the future, only despair and heart-rending sadness. For the first time in SL and the world, two Psychiatrists have taken the time off their busy schedules to sit down and talk to the families of the missing or disappeared in their own homes in the south. “Many broke down and wept even so many years later,” more..

Scorecard: President Sirisena’s first 4 years

Jan 16 (DM) The election of President Maithripala Sirisena four years ago on Jan 8 was a watershed moment in Sri Lankan politics. However, since then, it has lost its allure. This year’s anniversary was, by and large, abandoned by its early supporters. As he enters into his final year, the president himself looks as if he is destined to a single term. Yet, by any account, President Sirisena’s first four years count as one of the most transformative; in terms of building independent institutions, more..

Political power & privileges are impermanent

Jan 16 (DM) In this modern era where the globalised capitalist market economic system prevails to a large extent, all our religions call us to a different way of life rather than wanting more and more or those who have USD 100 million wanting to multiply it to USD 1000 million. In contrast, all our major religions call us to be gradually liberated from our slavery to selfishness, self-centredness, greed and other vices like envy or jealousy that make us try to get to the top by fair means or foul. more..

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