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Anti-Glyphosate campaign halted

Feb 11 (CT) The closure of Strategic Enterprise Management Agency (SEMA), which operated under the purview of Presidential Secretariat, led to the anti-Glyphosate campaign being halted. MP Ven. Aturaliye Ratana Thera charged that there isn’t a State mechanism to promote organic agriculture and to make public aware of harmful effects of Glyphosate-based herbicides and other toxic agrochemicals. Although the Government has lifted the ban on Glyphosate for tea and rubber, more..

UNP is facing a natural death: Pavithra

Feb 11 (AD) MP Pavithra Wanniarachchi says that the UNP does not support holding provincial council election in fear of defeat. Knowing their inevitable defeat at the elections is also UNP facing a natural death, she stated. She mentioned this attending a party event of SLPP held in Mulkirigala. She points out that there are no projects that had commenced and completed within the ruling period of the current govt. "The only economic policy of the UNP led govt is taxation of the people," she said. more..

Parents file petitions in appeal court against education ministry circular

Feb 11 (CT) Parents of children attending various governmental schools in the country have filed four petitions in the Court of Appeal seeking a Writ of Certiorari, to quash a provision included in a recently issued circular by the Ministry of Education which prevents parents who are past pupils, from being elected into the Executive Committees of their respective School Development Committees. more..

Video: Rookantha appointed UNP’s Dambadeniya organiser

Feb 11 (DM) The UNP today appointed popular singer Rookantha Gunatilleke as the organiser of the Dambadeniya electorate. Meanwhile, former SLFP deputy minister Lalith Dissanayake was appointed as organiser for the Aranayake electorate and SLFPer Tilina Bandara Tennekoon as organizer for Pahathadumbara. Former minister Amara Piyaseeli Ratnayake’s son Manjula Bandara was appointed UNP organiser for Wariyapola while Udaya Wijenayake was appointed for Hiriyala. more..

Attack on ATMs: The use of the eyeball test involving vigilance is the best

Feb 11 (FT) It seems that the genetic code of modern Homo sapiens is not different from that of other species. The latter is guided not by thinking but by instincts. Similarly, Homo sapiens is still embedded with the gene of fear that compels it to fight or flight when faced with fear-stricken situations. That emotion is necessary for safety and survival. But in the modern world, Homo sapiens who is called man the wise does not have to resort to either course without subjecting more..

The bond-gate cover up continues

Dealing with notorious Makandure Madush

Feb 11 (CT) In the backdrop of attempts made to arrest and bring back former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran from his hideout abroad to Sri Lanka over his alleged involvement in CB Bonds scam remaining futile, the extradition of underworld kingpin Makandure Madush and his gang from Dubai has now thrown another challenge to the law enforcement officials of Sri Lanka. The underworld bigwig and his men are wanted in connection with not only big time drug dealings but also for more..

Tallest building outside Colombo planned

Feb 11 (EN) A 35-story residential and shopping tower complex in Ja-Ela north of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo has been given the go head by the state investment promotion agency. Bellevue Residencies (Private) Limited, a joint venture between MAGA construction and Chandima Karandawala, a civil engineer resident in Nice, France will build the tower, Board of Investment said. The 15.4 million dollar tower will be the largest building outside the capital Colombo, the BOI said. more..

EPF had funded Perpetual deals after avoiding auctions: Auditor General

Feb 11 (EN) Employees Provident Fund (EPF) had used its cash to finance bond purchases of a controversial primary dealer in bonds through short term loans, after bidding for smaller volumes at the primary auction, AG has revealed. EPF had then bought bonds from the secondary market at higher prices (lower yields), the AG said. Perpetual Treasuries, a primary dealer in gilts, was involved in SL's largest securities scam more..

Video: Special HC rejects Gotabaya’s objection challenging jurisdiction

Feb 11 (AD) The objection filed by former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa challenging the jurisdiction of the Permanent High Court of Trial-at-Bar to hear the case over the D.A. Rajapaksa Museum has been rejected. This decision was issued when the case was taken up before the Special HC three-judge bench comprising Judges Sampath Abeykoon, Sampath Wijeratne, and Champa Rajaratne this morning. more..

Applications called for executioner position

Feb 11 (AD) The Department of Prisons says applications are being called for the recruitment of two new executioners from today (11) onwards. Accordingly, persons aged 18-45 years, who have passed the G.C.E. O/L examination along with two credits, are eligible to send in their applications for the position, says the Media Spokesman of the Prison and Prison Commissioner Thushara Upuldeniya. more..

Vocational training for Tuk-tuk drivers

Feb 11 (CT) If the taxi and three-wheeler industry continues in this same manner for several more years, the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) emphasised that a number of severe social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental problems could arise in the country. NAITA pointed out that the lower-middle class and the lower-class youth without any educational background or vocational training more..

Drop in Dengue cases, deaths last year

Feb 11 (DN) A 7% decrease in the number of dengue cases and 90% decrease in the number of dengue deaths had been observed last year when compared with the previous year (2017), a Health Ministry spokesman said. The studies conducted so far had revealed that around 30% of the total number of dengue patients are schoolchildren. “The prevalence of Dengue can go up again with the ongoing rains and more..

'We seized our island back from the navy'

Feb 11 (BBC) Last year, a flotilla of 40 fishing boats set sail from northern Sri Lanka with a mission to seize back their island from navy occupation. The BBC's Ayeshea Perera reports the extraordinary story of how they did this without any bloodshed. On 23 April, a peculiar sight would have greeted a casual observer standing on the coast of northern Sri Lanka's mainland, near the village of Iranamata Nagar. more..

Those who criticize, ridicule judiciary should be punished: PM

Feb 11 (DM) Those who criticize and ridicule the judiciary should be punished, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said over the weekend. PM expressed this sentiment during the opening of a new Pradeshiya Sabha in Niyangama, Galle on Saturday. “One can give his or her opinion on certain judgements but it is not fair to ridicule judges by talking of their ethnic group religion caste or creed,” he said. more..

'Children should not be burdened with pre-school education'

Feb 11 (DM) Director General of Cultural Affairs Anusha Gokula said the best education system in the world was in Vietnam and Finland where the children would not be burdened with pre-school education at the age of four years and that they are made aesthetic and sensitive to beauty through activities at home instead. Addressing a programme based on the theme of Art of Living organised by the Cultural Unit of more..

Bio piracy on the rise in Sri Lanka

Feb 11 (Island) Environmentalists warn of an increase in efforts to steal valuable genetic resources from SL. Commenting on the arrest of a group of Slovakians who made an abortive attempt to smuggle out insect samples from Sinharaja forest, environmentalist Sajeewa Chamikara said that bio piracy had been going on in Sri Lanka for decades. "There are many attempts at synthesizing medicines using compounds made from plants. more..

2 years on, RTI reaches out to the provinces

Feb 11 (ST) As Sri Lanka marked two years since the inception of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, on Feb 3, this year, the RTI Commission (RTIC) announced the commencement of public sittings and the hearing of appeals in the country’s provinces. On Jan 19, the RTIC held its first public sitting and hearing of appeals in Panama, Ampara, in the Eastern Province, attended by the District Secretary, Ampara, and the Divisional Secretaries of more..

EC’s Advocacy for Non-violence: Fine-tuning the UN Programme

Feb 11 (DM) Article 3 of our Constitution declares our sovereignty: “In the Republic of Sri Lanka sovereignty is in the People and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the powers of govt, fundamental rights and the franchise.” It provides in Article103(2) for an independent EC to oversee the exercise of our franchise: “The object of the Commission shall be to conduct free and fair elections and referenda.” It adds in Article104B (2) that “It shall be the duty of the Commission to more..

Venezuela crisis and US interference in Latin America

Feb 11 (DM) Venezuela today is in the grip of a political, economic and humanitarian crisis. The ‘Guardian’ reports that as many as three million of its people, a 10th of the population have fled the country. Its economy is shrinking fast and the IMF has predicted that hyperinflation could hit 10,000,000% this year. With food and medicine shortages widespread, there has been a surge in levels of malnutrition and the re-emergence of diseases such as malaria and diphtheria. more..

SriLankan Airlines making mega deals sans tenders, AG clearance: COPE report

Feb 11 (EN) SriLankan Airlines has been run as a virtual private company, by passing state procurement processes, a parliamentary probe has revealed, though tens of billions of rupees of losses from the deals are then covered by tax payers. SriLankan Airlines had terminated leases for A350 aircraft with Aercap, a leasing company, extended a lease and procured new aircraft at the amde time without more..

Sri Lanka to purchase Mi-17 Helicopters from Russia for UN missions

Feb 11 (SN) Sri Lanka is negotiating with Russia the purchase of a new batch of Russian Mi-17 helicopters, which the country will use in UN peacekeeping missions, SL Ambassador to Russia Dayan Jayatilleka said. He recalled that Mi-17s were on the agenda of a SL senior defence officials' visit to Moscow in early Sept 2018. While negotiations are underway, no specific document has been signed yet, and the number of helicopters that SL is going to purchase has not been defined, more..

Asela Sampath resigns due to death threats

Feb 11 (AD) The Chairman of the Restaurant Owners’ Association of Sri Lanka Asela Sampath has resigned from his post as the chairman. Holding a press conference, he stated that he has resigned due to the death threats he had allegedly been receiving. He says that certain parties acted against him after his association, too, attempted to cut down the food prices following the decrease of food prices during the days Mahinda Rajapaksa held the premiership. more..

Angoda Lokka nabbed in Dubai

Feb 11 (DN) Dubai Police yesterday had arrested drug smuggler Angoda Lokka, an associate of Makandure Madush who fled the scene when Dubai Police arrested Madush and another 16 suspects last Tuesday. He has been arrested by the police when he was hiding at another hotel in Dubai, STF said. The blood samples had revealed Angoda Lokka was under the influence of Hashish. more..

Bingiriya EPZ construction to commence in March

Feb 11 (DN) The construction of the Bingiriya Export Processing Zone (EPZ) would commence on March 4, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He said that it would be the largest Export Processing Zone in SL, spanning over 600 acres of land and which would be much larger than the Katunayake and Biyagama Industrial Zones. The Bingiriya EPZ would be developed in three phases. First phase is to cost Rs.1.3 billion, while factories would be set up on 300 acres of land during the first phase. more..

Video: Sudu Hakuru Sumith shot dead in Thanamalwila

Feb 11 (AD) A shooting incident in Thanamalwila town has killed one person and injured another. Reportedly, four gunmen who had arrived on 02 motorcycles had opened fire at around 12.20 pm this afternoon (10). A 42-year-old male has been killed in the shooting incident. A 22-year-old has been admitted to the Hambantota hospital over injuries. The deceased person is identified as Sudu Hakuru Sumith aka Wasantha, who has been considered the main suspect of a murder that took place more..

Madush and group of 25: News freeze

Feb 11 (CT) The Police Media Unit has not been informed so far about legal procedure, which is supposed to have taken place in Dubai, with regard to notorious underworld drug kingpin Makandure Madush and the group arrested along with him. Several reports were circulated that Madush was expected to be produced before Dubai Courts on Sunday along with others who were arrested, by the Dubai Police on 4 Feb. more..

Liquor licences online

Feb 11 (ST) The Excise Department will soon introduce an online scheme to issue new licences and also to renew licences to sell local and foreign liquor, a senior official said. The move will also enable people requiring permits to buy, transport and store stocks beyond the permissible quantity of 7.5 litres for functions. Scheme is being supported by a World Bank programme aimed at minimising the use of illicit liquor by streamlining the registration process and making the process easy. more..

Sunil Handunnetti: Quoted correctly, Interpreted wrong

Feb 11 (DM) On Oct 15, we reported the following claim made by MP Sunil Handunnetti: 74% of the population of Sri Lanka lives a rural lifestyle/in a rural setting. According to the data from the Department of Census and Statistics, the percentage of the population classified as living in the rural sector is 77.4%. Handunnetti seems to have quoted this statistic (approximately) correctly. Although his quotation of the data is correct, his interpretation is not. more..

'JVP will field presidential candidate if 20-A falls through'

Feb 11 (Island) The JVP would be compelled to field its own presidential candidate if it failed to secure the passage of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, JVP politburo member and trade union wing leader KD Lalkantha said. Addressing a meeting, at Medawachchiya, on Friday, Lalkantha said: "We have not given up our struggle to get the 20th Amendment to the Constitution passed in Parliament. more..

Nonexistence of pig fat in Halal certified milk powder: HAC

Feb 11 (FT) The recent controversy purporting the possible existence of pig fat amongst other adulterants in imported milk powder marketed in Sri Lanka, has seemingly caused a great deal of angst and distress amongst many consumers. A majority of these milk powder brands are certified by the Halal Accreditation Council (Guarantee) Limited (HAC), SL. The HAC, through its process of pre and post certification audits, has verified the products in question, from the very source of origin more..

Video: No point forming national govt to increase minister posts: Harsha

Feb 11 (AD) There is no point in forming a national government to increase the number of ministerial posts, says Minister Harsha de Silva. It is more suitable if the rest resign from their posts and give their posts to those who want ministerial posts, he pointed out. He says is it is more suitable if any minister is willing to give up their post to other MP who wish for ministerial portfolios. However, he does not mean that a national govt should not be made, he said. more..

Ratmalana Airport in over Rs.800 million upgrade

Feb 11 (ST) Ratmalana Airport will be handed over to civilian operations this month, establishing clear cut demarcations as per civil aviation requirements and after upgrading facilities with an investment of Rs.825 million. In two weeks’ time the Ratmalana Airport will be officially handed over by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to the Airport and Aviation Services (AASL) allowing for clear demarcations between the civil & military more..

Hemas operating profit soars 46%, bottom line up 19%

Feb 11 (FT) Hemas Holdings PLC has reported a consolidated revenue of Rs. 48 billion for the nine months ended 31 Dec 2018, up 37.8%, primarily driven by our acquisition of Atlas. Group operating profit stood at Rs. 4.3 billion, a growth of 45.8%. The profit attributable to equity holders of the parent at Rs. 2.5 billion was up 19.2%. Hemas delivered year-to-date organic revenue growth of 15.7% and a recurring organic operating profit growth of 2.6%, excluding Atlas performance and more..

COPE proceedings opened to media

Feb 11 (FT) Media personnel will be allowed to observe Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) proceedings under special approval from the Speaker, the Govt confirmed the Parliament. COPE Chairman JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti believes such a move will enable the public to be aware of the difficulties COPE faces to summon retired public service officers to appear, conduct an inquiry, collect evidence and to reach a decision within a limited timeframe using insufficient resources. more..

Dhammika Perera prescribes policy dose

Feb 11 (FT) A data-based approach to policymaking was advocated by well-known businessman Dhammika Perera to rapidly expand Sri Lanka’s economic growth, with special emphasis on education. Perera, speaking at an event organised by National Intellectuals Organisation (NIO), last week gave detailed ideas of what should be included in a national policy, which could be implemented by the Govt. more..