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Day 1: Sri Lanka dominate, South Africa batting woes continue

Feb 21 (CI) Incisive bursts from seamers Vishwa Fernando and Kasun Rajitha ambushed South Africa's batting line-up and raised Sri Lanka's hopes of becoming the first-ever Asian side to clinch a Test series in South Africa. After Sri Lanka were asked to bowl on a grassy St George's Park pitch, Vishwa and Rajitha claimed three wickets each to dismiss the hosts for 222 about 45 minutes into the post-tea session. more..

Criticizing CC challenges autonomy of independent commissions - PAFFREL

Feb 21 (AD) Criticisms levelled by politicians at the Constitutional Council (CC) challenges the autonomy of independent commissions, says the PAFFREL. Issuing a statement, Executive Director of PAFFREL Rohana Hettiarachchie stated that this could damage people’s trust placed on the major independent institutions of the country. The statement suggested that politicians should resolve their concerns regarding the Constitutional Council through intellectual dialogues. more..

Managing fiscal deficits can increase investments in health and education

Feb 21 (WB) What happens when a population pyramid no longer resembles a pyramid so much as a rectangle? Sri Lanka is confronting a profound demographic shift, due to falling fertility rates and rising life expectancy. The base of the population pyramid – consisting of young people – is shrinking, while the number of elders is growing. By 2050, it is projected that the proportion elderly (23%) will surpass that of the youth (17%). “The pyramid is losing its shape,” said Fernando more..

CC goes above Legislature, Executive, Judiciary: Prez

Feb 21 (DM) President Sirisena said today the Constitutional Council (CC) had gone above all three arms of the govt; the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. He made this remark during an adjournment debate on the CC held last evening in Parliament. He said the CC had rejected 14 names of judicial officers – without any given reason – which he sent to be appointed to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. more..

Group of Sri Lankans on pilgrimage in Israel deported

Feb 21 (AD) A group of SL Catholic devotees visiting religious sites in Israel have been deported to SL. They were deported based on a tip-off given by the Israeli intelligence service. 43 of the pilgrims were deported last evening while 10 devotees of the group were deported this morning. Israeli govt has informed that another 18 persons of these devotees are to be deported this evening. These devotees have been identified as residents of Kuliyapitiya, Vennapuwa and Mirigama areas, more..

Change CC composition to keep politicos aside: Jayampathi

Feb 21 (DM) The composition of the Constitutional Council (CC) should be changed in order to keep politicians out of it, Govt MP Jayampathi Wickramaratne told parliamen. Speaking during an adjournment debate in the House, he said the CC solely comprised of non-politicians during its inception in 2001 when the probation govt was formed by UPFA and the JVP. “The JVP, a party which got the opportunity to nominate a member to CC, appointed an SLFP supporter. more..

Vets up in arms over Cabinet Paper

Feb 21 (CT) Veterinary Surgeons yesterday called for the Health Ministry to withdraw the Cabinet Paper which reclaimed the Rabies Eradication Programme from the Department of Animal Production and Health (DAPH). Fielding questions, at a Media briefing held at the Organization of Professionals Associations, in a bid to safeguard the country’s anti rabies campaign, Vice President of the State Veterinary more..

India finances IT incubator in Jaffna

Feb 21 (EN) India is giving a 250 million-rupee grant to set up an information technology incubator in Jaffna as part of US$ 560 million given in grants so far. "This project is part of Govt of India’s continued efforts to assist and cooperate with Govt of SL in people-oriented development projects," High Commission of India said. "The Business Centre would provide opportunities and enhance the enabling environment for ICT and other professional services in the Northern region." more..

SL yet to decide on liberalising shipping

Feb 21 (EN) Govt has not yet decided on a budget proposal to liberalise the shipping sector by removing foreign ownership limits on ship agency and freight forwarding businesses, Minister of Ports & Shipping Sagala Ratnayaka said. “Liberalisation is good as it will improve competition but I have to be convinced it won’t harm local industry,” he told a news conference where a new ports new website - www.news.slpa.lk – was activated. “I’m responsible to ensure the people of SL get the best deal” more..

Tourist satisfaction levels fall

Feb 21 (CT) Tourist satisfaction levels have seen a marked decrease vis-à-vis the general quality of service at bars, restaurants, laundries, spas and rooms during the course of last year. In a survey begun in the First Quarter (1Q) of last year and running through all the Four Quarters of that year, while 55% of the tourists surveyed rated the quality of service at bars, restaurants, laundries, spas and rooms as being excellent, more..

SriLankan and Cargills Bank tie up to deliver enhanced convenience for air travellers

Feb 21 (FT) SriLankan Airlines and fast expanding Cargills Bank signed an agreement to enable payments to be made at Cargills Bank branches and Cargills Food City outlets island-wide for online bookings made through wwwsrilankan.com, to provide even greater convenience to air travellers. SriLankan’s Book Now Pay Later is a unique solution which brings utmost convenience to air travellers through a synergy of online booking and payments through wide range of touchpoints. more..

Northern journalists affected by conflict to receive compensation

Feb 21 (Island) Finance and Media Ministry has initiated a project to provide relief to journalists in the Northern Province affected by the war and various post-war situations. A team from Colombo comprising Jayantha Pathirana, M. Hussein and M. Thireskumar met relevant authorities in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar and Vavuniya as well as senior representatives of media organizations to explore ways and means of providing compensation. Those, affected during 2005-2015 are eligible more..

'Public cannot blame me: I have tried my best to save Cricket'

Feb 21 (AM) Former SL captain Arjuna Ranatunga said the SLC election has become a gamble. Speaking to the media after his defeat to Ravin Wickremaratne who became the new Vice Chairman of SLC, Ranatunga said he tried his best to defeat the mafia that was running the country's cricket administration. All candidates backed by former SLC Chairman Thilanga Sumathipala secured key positions more..

Former Army Chief says Fonseka on a different path

Feb 21 (Island) Retired General Daya Ratnayake acknowledged there could have been shortcomings on the part of the war-winning administration in defending the armed forces at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and handling of high profile investigations such as those into wartime disappearances. Gen. Ratnayake said that it was the responsibility of those who were in power today to address accountability issues properly if there had been shortcomings. more..

Video: Body of missing youth recovered from Maussakelle reservoir

Feb 21 (AM) A group of divers of SL Navy have recovered the remains of a youth, who had been missing since Feb 19, from the Maussakelle reservoir. The deceased is a 30-year-old bachelor named Pathum Liyanage residing in Maskeliya area. The relatives of the youth had informed the police of this disappearance. Reportedly, the youth had left the house at around 7.30 a.m. following a telephone call he had received. The youth was captured in the footages of a CCTV camera on the roadside. more..

New SLC management already on collision course with sports minister

Feb 21 (AM) Newly-elected President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Shammi Silva hit out at former SL cricketers Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena accusing them of interfering in the cricket administration. Addressing his first press briefing after being elected as the new SLC President, Silva said Sri Lanka was the only country where former cricketers would interfere with the administrative work. more..

Video: We are happy if Gotabaya contests for Presidency: Kavinda

Feb 21 (AD) An internal rift has arisen between SLFP and SLPP regarding the presidential candidate, says UNP MP Kavinga Jayawardena. According to Jayawardena, both he and the party will be happy if Gotabaya Rajapaksa enters the election. Yet there a chance of SLFP and SLPP entering a coalition allowing the president to contest at the election as well, he added. In such case, only one of either Gotabaya Rajapaksa or President Sirisena will be able to contest, MP stated. more..

Management faculty of J’pura closed indefinitely

Feb 21 (NR) The Faculty of Management of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura has been closed indefinitely. Vice Chancellor of the University Professor Sampath Amaratunga said the decision was reached owing to undue pressure exerted on first year students by a group of senior students. The Vice Chancellor said three months have lapsed since first year students entered the University adding complaints have been lodged with the Administration of harassment. more..

Shipping ministry dumps defunct Oluvil port on fisheries ministry

Feb 21 (EN) Ports and shipping ministry has decided to transfer the eastern port of Oluvil, which got silted from the time it was opened, to the fisheries ministry, Minister of Ports & Shipping Sagala Ratnayaka said. “Yesterday, we decided on Oluvil. It is difficult to be used for commercial operations and is only useful for fisheries,” he said. “We decided to hand it over to the fisheries ministry.” Oluvil port, with an eight-metre depth, more..

Cannot curb drug menace by killing drug users: Mahinda Deshapriya

Feb 21 (AD) Allowing convicted criminals to be public representatives is a more prominent issue than the drug menace, according to Chairperson of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya. He expressed these views addressing the media at a conference held in Galle. When a journalist questioned him on using a blood test to check for drug usage of parliamentarians, Deshapriya responded saying that they were all naïve arguments. more..

Indian HC in Colombo replies to Pakistan PM’s remarks on Pulwama terrorist attack

Feb 21 (Island) Indian High Commission in Colombo said that "India is not surprised that the PM of Pakistan refuses to acknowledge the attack on our security forces in Pulwama as an act of terrorism. PM of Pakistan has neither chosen to condemn this heinous act nor condoled with the bereaved families. Disclaiming any link between the terrorist attack and Pakistan is an oft-repeated excuse by Pakistan. The Pakistani PM has ignored claims made by the Jaish-e-Mohammad, as well as by the terrorist, more..

Prof. Liyanage Amarakeerthi

JVP deserves a chance

Feb 21 (FT) However much and in whichever manner one shuffles the pack of cards in SL politics, five jokers constantly appear right at the front: an incompetent Ranil Wickremasinghe (RW), a schizophrenic Maithripala Sirisena (MS) and sanctimonious Rajapaksas – Mahinda (MR), Gota (GR) and Basil (BR). These are the ones who are desperately on the run looking for some electoral configuration to win the forthcoming election race and capture the presidency & prime ministership. more..

Milk Japan

Feb 21 (CT) Japan, shunned by the Rajapaksa regime in favour of China, its arch enemy, is coming back strong by launching space programmes in the Island, previously the exclusive domain of the Chinese, thereby gaining a psychological victory over its East Asian foe. Yesterday, this newspaper reported that SL’s first nano satellite, developed by the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies with support from Japan, would be launched by the middle of the year. more..

Video: Shammi Silva elected SLC President

Feb 21 (AD) Shammi Silva has been elected as the President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for the year 2019/2021. The election commenced at 10 a.m. this morning at the Ministry of Sports. Reportedly, Shammi Silva has served as a Member of the Executive Committee of SLC in 2014. The SLC election was initially scheduled to be held on Feb 2, 2019, however, it was postponed by two weeks, on the advice of the AG more..

Spice imports suspended

Feb 21 (Island) Cabinet had suspended the import of several spices including pepper, nutmeg, mace, tamarind and areca in order to protect local farmers, Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara said in Parliament. Commencing the debate on two Orders under SL Export Development Act, Bandara said that spices had been re-exported by some unscrupulous elements, taking advantage of tariff relief under free trade agreements. more..

Will reveal names of eight politicians’ sons who use drugs: Ranjan

Feb 21 (DM) I will reveal 8 names of sons of prominent politicians who were involved in drug smuggling and used drugs, State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said. He said the sons of current ministers, former ministers and those who left politics were included in the list. “I hope to submit the names in writing to the Speaker in the near future. Some names are already known to the people and legal actions have also been more..

Sri Lanka repairing damage from coup, maintaining market confidence: FinMin

Feb 21 (EN) Sri Lanka's has rebuilt confidence among investors over the past two months with sovereign bond yields falling over 200 basis points, and talks are under way with the International Monetary Fund to resume its program, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. "It has taken a great deal of hard work to bring us back to stability after the cataclysmic disruptions to the economy during that period," he said. more..

Video: List of MPs allegedly using cocaine not submitted yet: Speaker

Feb 21 (AD) Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya says that State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake has not submitted the list of MPs, who allegedly consume illegal drugs, thus far. Parliament convened at 10.30 a.m. this morning (21) and the Speaker informed this to the house delivering the announcements at the commencement of the session. State Minister Ramanayake had recently made a controversial statement that more..

LTL refuses govt contract for LNG power plant

Feb 21 (CT) In a dramatic turn of events, the Lanka Transformers Limited (LTL), said that they will not accept the contract awarded by the Govt to build a 300 Megawatt (MW) Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Power Plant, as the offer violates the Sri Lanka Electricity Act. The LTL alleged that the contract was offered arbitrarily without calling for tenders, thereby violating the Act, which insists that a proper tender procedure must be followed more..

Estate workers daily wage issue: Women’s org slams Thonda and Vadivel

Feb 21 (Island) The Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) and the Lanka Jathika Estate Workers Union (LJEWU), which are led by MP Arumugan Thondaman and State Minister of Plantation Industries Vadivel Suresh respectively, are betraying the Govt by justifying that the Rs 730 daily wage for estate workers is satisfactory and that all workers had agreed to accept that wage. This was alleged by the Women for Rights organisation, more..

GMOA against internships for SAITM graduates

Feb 21 (DN) The GMOA will declare an islandwide trade union action when the first step is taken by the Health Minister to offer internships to SAITM graduates, GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said the Health Ministry plans to appoint SAITM graduates as interns. Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) Chairman Prof. Harendra De Silva appointed by the Health Minister is doing his best to legalise it through the SLMC. more..

Waiting, waiting and waiting for a roof above their heads

Feb 21 (ST) Four years ago, the Govt promised mass-scale housing for the North and East’s war-displaced. It has still not delivered, leaving some of the country’s most underprivileged families in limbo. One of the main reasons for the protracted delay is an unshakeable fixation with prefabricated houses — first steel, now concrete — which their promoters insist will be so much quicker to build. The irony cannot be lost. more..

SriLankan-Mahin probe: Double evaluation costs taxpayer dear

Feb 21 (Island) The top management of the SriLankan Airlines in Sept. 2011 had appointed a procurement committee to select an international aviation consultant in contravention of the procurement manual in use at that time, was told yesterday. Yasantha Dissanayake, Head of Financial Management at SriLankan told the PCoI that the procurement committee comprised CEO Kapila Chandrasena and two others. more..

Constitutional Council and the poverty of independence, intellect and integrity

Feb 21 (DM) Many years ago, before the 17th Amendment was implemented, I ended my weekly column to the Sunday Island newspaper mentioning the number of days since the said amendment was passed and asking why the independent commissions had not been appointed. Around the same time, I pointed to the various flaws of the 17th Amendment and urged lawmakers to correct the same. Some years later, my friend Pradeep Jeganathan, who is one of the best minds more..

So much of narcotics seized: Where do they end up?

Feb 21 (DM) Saturday’s Daily Mirror carried an expose headlined, Who was behind the arrest of Makandure Madush. The article gives a new take on the story that is continuing to create headlines and take centre-stage with startling new revelations on a daily basis about Sri Lanka’s on-going battle against narcotics. It is replete with details as to who played the key role and what took place behind the scenes leading to the arrest of the notorious drug-kingpin and several of his accomplices more..

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