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President appoints committee to address issues in tea industry

Feb 14 (AD) President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a Special Committee to present solutions after studying the short and long term issues related to the tea industry, including the wage issue of the estate workers. The President’s Media Division (PMD) said this committee was appointed yesterday (13) during a special discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat regarding the wage issue of the plantation workers. more..

Navy-STF thwart illegal migration attempt

Feb 14 (DM) Navy and STF today arrested 24 Sri Lankans including two alleged masterminds behind the human trafficking racket when they were attempting to illegally leave for the Reunion Island via sea route. Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said the 22 suspects were arrested at a lodge in Siyambalanduwa following a tip-off. SP said at the time of their arrest, the suspects were planning to leave for the Reunion Island via sea route. Three women and four children were among those arrested. more..

Dialog, LECO to launch Lanka’s first IoT based Smart-Grid Solution

Feb 14 (Island) Dialog Axiata, Lanka Electricity Company (LECO) and Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy announced the deployment of an innovative Internet of Things (IoT) enabled smart-grid solution to introduce Prepaid Electricity Metering to SL at the GSMA Mobile for Development Utilities Asia Industry Forum 2019. The event was inaugurated by Minister Ravi Karunanayake. The solution, developed in collaboration with the Dialog Mobile Communications Research Lab at Uni of Moratuwa, more..

Constitutional Council a corrupt and biased institution: Wijeyadasa

Feb 14 (DM) Former Minister and MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said the Constitutional Council (CC) was one of the most corrupt institutions in the country and stressed the need to abolish it. He said that it was clear that the CC did not take correct, impartial and reasonable decisions when making recommendations. “President is not allowed to appoint the Appeal Court President. In most instances when the CC made approvals, it has not taken correct, impartial and reasonable decisions. more..

Taxpayer’s money should not be used to pamper planters: Activists

Feb 14 (Island) The 1000 Movement, a collective of trade unions and grassroots activists who are keen to have the daily wage of estate workers increased to Rs. 1,000, alleged that the govt was attempting to help maximise the profits of estate sector companies at the expense of the average taxpayer. Chinthaka Rajapakshe, moderator of the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR), said that the govt would allocate money from the 2019 budget to give the workers a Rs. 50 wage hike. more..

Two youngsters arrested for taking photos on a stupa in Mihintale

Feb 14 (AD) Two young men have been apprehended over taking photographs while standing on a stupa at Mihintale Raja Maha Viharaya. Reportedly, a 20-year-old and an 18-year-old have been arrested in this manner. According to the Police Media Spokesperson, the youngsters, apprehended by the Archaeological department officials, have been handed over to the Mihintale police station. They arrestees are slated to be presented before Anuradhapura Magistrate’s Court. more..

Growth of beedi a great source for taxation to enhance State revenue

Feb 14 (FT) There is need for greater regulation and control of the beedi industry to prevent under-aged smoking and enhance revenue to the State, finds a report released by the Social Development Network (SDN), which adds that the beedi trade can no longer be considered a cottage industry given its extent and reach. A survey carried out by the not-for-profit organisation estimates over 2.5 billion sticks of beedi to be manufactured annually, employing 8,000 families islandwide. more..

Bugs become a menace on trains: Railways Official

Feb 14 (DM) The Railways Department had received complaints from several commuters that there were bugs inside compartments. Dematagoda Railway Motive Power Sub Department Senior Mechanical Engineer Sarath Bandara said, the several commuters had been bitten by blood-thirsty bugs and it could pose a big threat for the service. The sub Department had been tasked with cleaning the infested compartments by the Railways following the complaints. more..

Asanka Nanayakkara

Sri Lanka now needs visionary leaders

Feb 14 (FT) In Sri Lanka, our political leaders have forgotten that we had elected them to represent our interests, care for our welfare and to drive the country to greater heights. It is sad that they had forgotten that aspect altogether. It appears they think that they have been elevated to such dizzy heights to further their interests and of their kith and kin. The success of all political leaders depends on their ability to run governance well. The problems of governance that more..

Legislate for Whistleblowing

Feb 14 (CT) Prison Reforms Minister Thalatha Atukorale was quoted in this newspaper’s yesterday’s edition as having said that Prisons Department officers and Police officers were among those detained by Dubai Police early this month. She was probably referring to the arrest of drug peddler Makandure Madush in Dubai earlier this month. Prisons comes under Atukorale while Police controversially functions under SLFP/UPFA Leader and Prez Maithripala Sirisena. more..

Video: CID reveals Nalaka de Silva’s ties with Madush & Amal Perera

Feb 14 (AD) The CID has informed the court yesterday that former DIG Nalaka de Silva, who was arrested in connection with the alleged VIP assassination plot, has had close ties with singer Amal Perera and Makandure Madush. CID further said that investigations are being carried out with the international police to unveil more information on the nexus between Makandure Madush, Amal Perera and former DIG. more..

SL Consulate in Dubai not willing to appear for Amal, son

Feb 14 (DM) Counsel Shabdika Wellappili, who went to Dubai yesterday to represent well-known singer Amal Perera and his son Nadeemal, said the Sri Lankan Consulate in Dubai had rejected a request made by him to allow his to appear for them on behalf of the Sri Lankan Govt. The Counsel said the request was rejected because it did not think it appropriate for him to be allowed to appear just for two of the accused. more..

Young murder suspect trips up in bid to erase bloody trail

Feb 14 (ST) A young man from Homagama may be involved in three murders — a class mate’s, a driver’s, and a Japanese woman’s — police believe. The suspect Sandun Senanayake, 25, is in remand custody. He is believed to have taken hurried lessons from a friend to drive, while the body of the car’s driver lay in the back seat, police say. The suspect wanted to learn quickly so that he could drive a long distance and get rid of the body, more..

Sri Lanka labour supply to shrink, female workers can fill gap

Feb 14 (EN) SL's labour supply will decline over the next few decades which will lead to slower growth, but getting more female workers to the labour force will help mitigate the shock, officials said. Out of the total workforce, only about 35 to 36% are women, a phenomenon that has not changed much over the last 20 years. Sri Lanka has a labour force of 6.67 million. Changing policies can help ease the entry of more..

ICJ deeply concerned by President Sirisena’s resolve to resume executions in Sri Lanka

Feb 14 (ICJ) The ICJ has called on Sri Lanka’s President, Maithripala Sirisena, to retract his recent pronouncement that executions would resume in the country notwithstanding a moratorium on capital punishment that has lasted 43 years. The last execution was carried out in Sri Lanka in 1976. “Resuming executions would be an egregious violation of Sri Lanka’s obligations under international human rights law, more..

'Branches of the Pera and Moratuwa Universities in the Maldives'

Feb 14 (CT) It has been agreed to establish branches of the Universities of Peradeniya and Moratuwa in the Maldives, said Minister Rauf Hakeem. He was participating as the Chief Guest at the annual sports meet held at the Yahalatenna Muslim Vidyalaya in the Kandy District. Addressing the gathering, Minister mentioned that it has been agreed, with the Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, to establish more..

UNP steps up pressure on Prez over report on assassination conspiracy

Feb 14 (Island) Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara said that the UNP was continuing with its efforts to accommodate a group of SLFP lawmakers in the Cabinet. The Puttalam District MP emphasised that the UNP was going ahead with the project though it couldn’t be realised last week. UNPer said that ministerial portfolios would have to be offered to five or six SLFPers willing to switch their allegiance to the govt. more..

PCoI probe: Many an eyebrow raised over credit cards issued to Mihin

Feb 14 (Island) Bank of Ceylon had issued two credit cards and three supplementary cards to Mihin Lanka in 2007 and a number of high value purchases, especially hotel charges in exotic locations, had been made with them, the PCoI was informed, yesterday. The credit card expenses were borne by Mihin Lanka, Nirmal Edirisinghe, Executive attached to the credit card division of the bank told the PCoI, referring to documents. more..

Carbon dating results to be received today

Feb 14 (Island) Results of radiocarbon dating tests conducted on the bone samples found from the mass grave in Mannar are expected to be received today. The Florida- based Beta Analytic Radio Carbon dating lab has informed Mannar Magistrate’s Court via email that they would be able to submit their dating report on the samples of bone fragments recovered from the Mannar grave, on Feb. 14 or later. more..

LNG power project: German Envoy concerned about contract to China

Feb 14 (DM) German Ambassador Jorn Rohde expressed concerns about the award of the contract for the execution of the LNG power project in Kerawalapitiya to a higher bidder. The Cabinet decided on Tuesday to award the contract to a Chinese-led consortium to implement the project. However, the local company Lakdhanavi was denied the contract despite it being the lowest bidder. For Lakdhanavi, German company Siemens AG more..

A charade: National Govt

Feb 14 (DM) The UNP led by Ranil Wickremesinghe is facing the prospect of Provincial Council elections, which it is likely to lose if they are held now. Politics in this country is a disappointment for multiple reasons. However, at times, things further degenerate into an in-your-face insult to the basic intellect of its people. The latest shenanigan of this kind is the govt’s on-going ploy to form a National Govt, farcically enough, by signing a MoU with the only SLMC MP more..

Let’s return to our traditional ways of farming

Feb 14 (DM) Exactly ten days ago Sri Lanka celebrated its 71st Anniversary of Independence. But in the hustle and bustle and the pomp and pageantry of the Independence Day celebrations it appears that the life and times of our nation’s founding father, Don Stephen Senanayake, the most outstanding political leader ever produced by the country since Independence, had been glossed over. It is essential that on Independence Day the rulers of this country re-commit themselves more..

Aloysius was at Rohitha Rajapaksa’s wedding mass: UNP

Feb 14 (Island) UNP asked its political rivals why Treasury Bond scam suspect, Perpetual Treasuries owner, Arjuna Aloysius, had been invited to the church wedding of Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa’s youngest son, Rohitha to Tatyana. Those who had worked overtime to tarnish the image of the UNP by claiming links between its members and the then CB Governor, Arjuna Mahendran, and his son-in-law more..

Cabinet approval for NFTH to operate as Colombo East Teaching Hospital

Feb 14 (DN) Cabinet approval has been granted to continue the operations of Dr Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital (NFTH) as the Colombo East Teaching Hospital. Accordingly, it will operate in parallel with Colombo East Base Hospital (Mulleriyawa Hospital). Approval was granted based on a proposal made by Minister Rajitha Senaratne. The proposal was to continue the activities of Dr Neville Fernando Hospital as a line Hospital of the govt like Sri J'pura General hospital. more..

Digital SME platform launched with Singapore backing

Feb 14 (CT) Backed by a Singaporean firm’s grant of powerful database software, Sri Lanka began work on the first national digital databank of its SMEs and entrepreneurs on 12 Feb. The initiative, called NEDA-EMS, pioneered by the country’s apex entrepreneurship agency, National Enterprise Development Agency (NEDA), shall execute a nationwide centralised database of all SMEs and entrepreneurs, thereby boosting the performance of this critical economic sector very significantly. more..

PM launches Citra, Sri Lanka’s first Social Innovation Lab

Feb 14 (FT) The Citra Social Innovation Lab, co-developed by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research and the United Nations Development Program, was officially launched under the auspices of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday. As Sri Lanka’s first Public Sector Innovation Lab, Citra works to strengthen institutions, build capacities of the public sector, and re-engineer public service delivery through more..

UNP MP Wijesiri allowed bail

Feb 14 (CT) UNP MP Chaminda Wijesiri and his driver were yesterday, released on strict bail conditions after surrendering to the Bandarawela Magistrate’s Court, over the alleged assault of a Police Constable attached to Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB). The MP surrendered through President’s Counsel Ishan Wickramaratne and that the Court has granted bail despite strong objections from the Police. Wijesiri was allowed bail in Rs 10,000 cash & 2 sureties in Rs 500,000 each. more..

Kanjipani’s accomplice nabbed by STF

Feb 14 (CT) A close accomplice of underworld figure Kanjipani Imran was arrested by the STF yesterday afternoon, in Maligawatte, Police Media Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said. The suspect was identified as 38-year-old Mohammed Nissar Mohammed Asfer. It was further said that the suspect was the caretaker of a building that had belonged to Imran. The Police further suspects that this building was a property purchased through money earned from the illegal drug trade. more..

SL projects 315 m kg tea output this year

Feb 14 (CT) Sri Lanka’s total tea production last year was 303 million kg, which was 1% lesser than the 2017 figure of 307 million kg, Minister Navin Dissanayake said. He attributed this drop in tea production to the drought that prevailed in the first few months of last year, the ban on the application of the weedicide Glyphosate, the work stoppages related to wage hikes, and the excessive rains in the second half of the year. more..

Ministry to cancel emergency power tender

Feb 14 (FT) The Power, Energy and Business Development Ministry is likely to cancel the emergency power purchases tender which closed this week, high level sources confirmed. The tender, which called for bids to supply 100MW of supplementary electricity on short term basis, is likely to be cancelled as the rates given by bidders were too high, the source confirmed. The Ministry called for bids in anticipation of power shortage in the coming months due to drought conditions. more..

Rs 130 mn cheating case: Three claimants compete for three BMWs produced in Court

Feb 14 (Island) Three brand new BMWs, bought allegedly by the first suspect Shanthy Kanagasingam at Rs. 85 million, seized by the CID and produced before the Fort Magistrate were claimed by three parties, the first suspect, the aggrieved parties David and Jacob and Mercantile Investments and Finance PLC. The conflicting claims were made by affidavits, filed by the three parties before Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage. The first suspect in her affidavit claimed that more..

Arrivals from France, Germany fall despite promotion

Feb 14 (CT) Despite a mere 2.2% growth in overall tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka during the first months of this year, several markets posted declines in arrival figures, including two on which the SLTPB spent nearly US$ 1.4 million for promotional activities last year. SLTPB last year gave US$ 697,770.92 to Berlin-based Media Consultant International Holding AG for promotion in Germany, fourth-largest source market for Sri Lanka; more..

Foreign Affairs Ministry opens its second regional consular office In Matara

Feb 14 (MFA) As a part of the initiatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take its consular services to the people, without having to travel to Colombo, the formal opening of the second Regional Consular Office in Matara will take place on Friday (15). Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tilak Marapana and Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Mangala Samaraweera will declare open the office in the presence of Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MPs representing Southern Province. more..

Munchee recognized as Fastest Growing Brand in Bangladesh

Feb 14 (DN) Munchee, the flagship brand of Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL), has once again distinguished itself internationally, receiving the Fastest Growing Brand in Bangladesh 2018 award from United Research Services and Asia One magazine at a recent ceremony held at Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore. In addition, Munchee was honoured as the Fastest Growing Brand Leader in Bangladesh 2018 at the same event. Accepting the awards, Ceylon Biscuits Bangladesh CEO Sridharan more..

Sri Lanka to revive small scale rice millers to boost competition

Feb 14 (EN) Sri Lanka will be providing one billion rupees in financing for the farmers' guaranteed price paddy purchase program through small and medium scale rice millers in order to boost competition and correct govt failure, a minister said. "What we want to make sure is we put in place a set of policies where we try to reactivate competition in the milling market to solve the problem of market failure without causing a govt failure," more..

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