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Sri Lanka expects 2018 Maha paddy output to rise 57% after rains

Feb 23 (EN) Sri Lanka is expecting to a paddy output in the main Maha cultivation season to rebound 57% from a year earlier to 2.32 million kilograms with better rainfall, though it will be 17 below the peak cultivation. Department of agriculture said 601,000 hectares of paddy had already been sown by December 2018, or 74% of the targeted 814,000 hectares. Last year only 542,000 hectares was sown by the end of the season and over 70,000 hectares were damaged by drought. more..

පාලකයින් හිතන්නේ තමන් ගැන පමණයි

Shouldn’t Govt prevent parliamentary system from decay and destruction?

Feb 23 (FT) The wrong people teach us the best lessons. As a clever nation, we had always used our ballot and chased the wrong people away when they nosedived. Despite taking a few progressive steps, such as improving the democratic space, the Govt of Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe is a good case study for bad governance. There is disappointment and disillusionment all over. They have wasted three years in office. In Parliament too there appears to be major confusion. more..

Akila says suspension of tablet PC project temporary

Feb 23 (Island) The suspension of the project to provide tablet computers for G.C.E A/L students was only a temporary, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told Parliament. He made the announcement during the Oral Question Round. Responding to JO MP Dullas Alahapperuma, who wanted to know why the govt had decided to scrap the project, minister said that the Cabinet believed there were several other priorities in the education sector to fulfil prior to the implementation of that project. more..

Army committee to probe Diyathalawa bus explosion

Feb 23 (NR) Sri Lanka Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake has appointed a 5 member committee, to probe the explosion which occurred inside a bus in Diyathalawa. The committee is headed by the Central Security Force Commander. Army Media Spokesman Brigadier Sumith Atapattu said the committee has been appointed according to the general guidelines of the Army. 19 people including 12 security forces more..

Sri Lanka bonds flat, concern that Mangala may change

Feb 23 (EN) Sri Lanka bond yields were flat and the rupee was steady, but stock were weaker though there were concerns that Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera who had the confidence of the private sector, may change, dealers and analysts said. Stocks were trading marginally lower after one hour of trading Friday. "Mangala Samaraweera and Indrajit Coomaraswamy had managed to bring back confidence," more..

Naming 8,689 LG Members Gazette out on 3 March

Feb 23 (CT) The 8,689 members, elected at the recently held Local Authority elections, will be announced through a Gazette Notification on 3 March, the Election Commission said. The EC has written to all secretaries of political parties and independent group leaders to submit a list of all members who were elected, on or before 3 March. Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya noted that if this more..

No joy from rains for coconut growers, suffering farmers in five districts

Feb 23 (ST) More than 280,000 people, including farmer families, who are suffering due to the drought in five districts Puttalam, Kurunegala, Mannar, Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa, will not be able to expect relief until at least the April inter-monsoonal rains, the weather forecasters say. The unprecedented drought also spells danger for the coconut industry in two leading growing areas Kurunegala and Puttalam. more..

Sri Lanka at 70: Looking back and forward

Feb 23 (WB) Like many Sri Lankans across the country, I joined Sri Lanka’s 70th Independence Day festivities earlier this month. This was undoubtedly a joyful moment, and proof of the country’s dynamism and stability. At 70, Sri Lanka has accomplished a lot in its seven decades as an independent nation. The country’s social indicators, a measure of the well-being of individuals and communities, rank among the highest in more..

'Postponing Polls a violation of franchise'

Feb 23 (CT) Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya says that while the elections to six Provincial Councils are scheduled to be held in September, any attempt to postpone them would constitute a violation of the people's franchise. He said if the Local Authorities, which are to be established on the results of the 10 Feb elections, are to operate properly, the elections to Provincial Councils too have to take place more..

Akila promises to conduct fitness tests on participants in leadership programmes

Feb 23 (Island) Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told Parliament that steps would be taken to conduct physical fitness tests for school principals before they underwent the leadership training programmes. Answering JO MP Dullas Alahapperuma’s question on a recent incident where a principal died during a leadership training programme, he said that he would take necessary action after ongoing investigations were over. more..

IUSF opposes admission of SAITM medical students to KDU

Feb 23 (Island) IUSF yesterday warned the govt that they would surround Parliament and the President’s House if the govt did not withdraw the decision to enrol the SAITM medical students at Kotelawala Defence University (KDU). The federation urged the govt to enrol the SAITM students at state-run universities instead of the KDU, which IUSF referred as another private uni, owned by the govt, selling degrees. more..

Child protection in Sri Lanka: Lapses at NCPA pose questions about competency

Feb 23 (DM) Protecting the rights of every citizen is a necessity. But where do children place themselves in this picture? Children – those who should be nurtured to take the mantle of this world forward- are in most instances the neglected lot. Child protection also takes a similar stance. Sri Lanka ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on July 12, 1991 and has since taken measures to implement the rights of children more..

Crisis spontaneous or stage-managed?

Feb 23 (DM) The Govt and the Opposition wasted a whole fortnight just for their power struggle leaving many Govt institutions at a standstill following the 10 LG Elections. One can imagine the situation considering the usual lethargy and incompetence prevailing in the State institutions. It was the JO which contested the LG elections under the name of SLPP that initiated the mess by a totally irrelevant demand for Govt to resign. more..

France and Sri Lanka: The dangers of cohab politics

Feb 23 (DM) SL’s political crisis following LG polls election setback for the ruling coalition has brought to surface the vagaries of political cohabitation peculiar to the presidential cum parliamentary govts or hybrid govts. Political cohabitation is a form of governmental arrangement between the executive president and a rival party prime minister. French call this arrangement La cohabitation -- and it is in France that cohabitation became a political concept after 5th Rep. Constitution was adopted. more..

Language and culture; the beauty is in the variety

Feb 23 (DM) After more than ten days of panic, tension and ill-educated guesswork, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya declared in Parliament yesterday that the National Government would continue despite the huge protest vote against it at the Local Council elections on February 10. On Wednesday, following demands by the Opposition, Prime Minister and United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe announced in Parliament the National Government would continue. more..

Getting ready for more scams ?: Govt pressures CB to endorse controversial NPP

Feb 23 (Island) On the instructions of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, his deputy, Dr. Harsha de Silva has initiated talks with the Governor of CB Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy to iron out differences over proposed controversial National Payment Platform (NPP). Dr. Coomaraswamy has been called for a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) on more..

Prez and Ranil discuss political situ; Sampanthan meets Prez on development

Feb 23 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe were involved in a lengthy discussion, at the President's Office in the Parliamentary Complex at noon yesterday, on the Cabinet reshuffle and the prevailing political situation, according to informed political sources. It is learnt that the Cabinet reshuffle may be delayed for a while. Ministers Malik Samarawickrema and Kabir Hashim also participated in the discussion. Prez Sirisena also held a special discussion more..

Cabinet reshuffle likely today: Malik

Feb 23 (DM) The govt hopes to have a Cabinet reshuffle today after discussion between President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe, Minister Malik Samarawickrama said that President and PM would decide on the changes to be made. When asked about the possible changes, he said the two leaders would decide. The minister, who is known to be a confidant of the PM, said the two leaders met yesterday to discuss the modalities. “They will have another round of talks tomorrow (23),” more..

No legal snag for Unity Govt: Speaker

Feb 23 (DN) Legal experts had advised that there was no issue with the continuation of the Unity Govt when the related parties, have expressed their willingness to continue, observed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in Parliament. He said he was advised that it was required to submit a written agreement to ensure the legitimacy of the said govt. He added however, that he would look into the matter again to decide if the two parties of more..

National Economic Council tackles food prices, fertiliser and infrastructure issues

Feb 23 (FT) The National Economic Council (NEC), which met under the chairmanship of President Maithripala Sirisena this week, deliberated over multiple issues concerning the cost of living, fertilisers and infrastructure development and agreed to swiftly resolve these problems. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera and NEC Secretary-General and Chief Economist Prof. Lalith Samarakoon were present at the meeting. more..

Sri Lanka’s 4G speed among best in region; still below global average

Feb 23 (CT) Sri Lanka is ranked among the top countries in terms of speed of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) on mobile networks in Southeast Asia, retaining its position as the number one in South Asia; however, Sri Lanka is ranked the third-worst country in the world in terms of availability of 4G LTE connectivity, according to the latest report by UK-based wireless coverage mapping specialist OpenSignal. However, Sri Lanka continues to remain in the bottom 20 countries of the list more..

GMOA welcomes SAITM solution

Feb 23 (Island) The GMOA, welcoming President Sirisena’s decision to absorb students from the Medical School of SAITM into the Kotalawela Defence University’s Medical Faculty said that, however, the issue was far from over. GMOA Secretary, Dr Haritha Aluthge said that govt had to issue a gazette abolishing SAITM medical school once and for all. Dr Aluthge said that rather than handing over infrastructure of SAITM more..

Sri Lankan HC resigns

Feb 23 (Island) SL’s High Commissioner to the UK, Amari Wijewardene, has resigned from her post, well informed govt sources. President Sirisena had accepted her resignation, sources added. Speculation is rife in diplomatic circles that Wijewardene’s resignation is linked to the recall of military attache Brig. Priyanka Fernando under pressure from some British PMs following an incident where he made a throats slitting gesture to a group British LTTE sympathisers more..

Govt ready to revise minimum educational requirement for medical education

Feb 23 (Island) The govt is likely to rescind its decision to make simple passes for Biology, Chemistry and Physics at the GCE A/L the minimum educational requirement for entry into medical education, Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella yesterday (21) said in Parliament. Kiriella said so when JVP MP Nalinda Jayatissa said it was unfair to consider 3S passes as the minimum requirement for medical education, Kiriella said he saw the logic in Jayatissa’s argument. more..

INTERPOL has issued red warrant on Udayanga: Police

Feb 23 (DM) INTERPOL had issued a Red Warrant on former SL Envoy to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga, naming him as a fugitive wanted by the SL authorities. Ex-diplomat Weeratunga was wanted in connection with certain discrepancies that had taken place in the acquisition of four MiG-27 fighter jets from the Ukrainian arms company Ukrinmash in 2006 and financial misappropriation said to be taken place more..

FR petition to prevent arrest on H’tota hotel project fixed for 7 June

Feb 23 (FT) Supreme Court re-fixed for 7 June to be mentioned the fundamental rights petitions filed by former President’s Chief of Staff Gamini Sedara Senarath, and two others, former SL Insurance Corporation Managing Director Piyadasa Kudabalage and former Commissioner of Samurdhi Neil Hapuwinna. Bench comprised Justices B.P. Aluvihara, K.T.G. Chitrasiri and L.T.B. Dehideniya. Petitioners had sought an order from the SC to prevent the FCID from arresting them more..

2018 Annual Sessions Ceremony of Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) held

Feb 23 (PMD) The Inaugural Opening of the 2018 Annual Sessions Ceremony of Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) held at BMICH with the presence of President Maithripala Sirisena, today (21). The exhibition organized by SLIA for the 36th time is being held concurrently to the main event as A-18 Architecture 2018 till 25th of Feb at the BMICH. More than 290 exhibition stalls and 126 of digital screens to display architecture designs will showcase latest developments in the field. more..

Mixed ending to 2017 external trade

Feb 23 (FT) External performance in December brought a mixed ending to 2017 with exports surpassing $1 billion for the fifth time buoyed by apparel which topped $5 billion and aggressive growth of 42% in seafood, but a year-end run on imports pushed the trade deficit to over $1 billion for the first time since 2012. External sector performance continued to improve in Dec 2017, mainly with higher inflows to more..

Soft loan package for middle income families

Feb 23 (DM) The govt is introducing a soft loan package titled, Middle Income Housing Loan Scheme (MIHLS) with a maximum loan facility of Rs.5 million at a 7% interest rate payable in 25 years as a solution to the housing problems faced by middle income families among public servants and private sector employees. The NIHLS was a 2018 budget proposal and Cabinet approval was granted to the scheme on Tuesday, Cabinet spokesman and Minister, Gayantha Karunatilaka said. more..

JAT Holdings to finance and develop world-class tennis stadium

Feb 23 (Island) Further reiterating its commitment to uplifting sports in Sri Lanka, diversified conglomerate JAT Holdings, recently commenced a joint-initiative with the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA). The foundation stone for the state-of-the-art JAT Stadium at the SLTA was laid at the SLTA premises by Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, during their official visit to SL. Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara, Managing Director of JAT Holdings Aelian Gunawardene and more..

Complaints from Sri Lankan maids drop sharply in recent years

Feb 23 (GN) The number of complaints from Sri Lankan housemaids in Abu Dhabi has dropped considerably in recent years thanks to employers being more sensitised towards their rights, a top Sri Lankan diplomat told Gulf News. “Two years back, there was a time, we had around 30 housemaids in the embassy’s shelter, who had run away from their employers [due to mistreatment]. more..

I am exhausted: EC

Feb 23 (DM) Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said he was extremely tired with all the work he had to do with the LG elections and would prefer to handover his duties to someone else even for a month. While referring to the continuous procedure of elections, Mr. Deshapriya said that he had felt that the time had arrived to get rid of these things. “It is better if I can get a vacation from these proceedings at least for one month by handing over this position for someone else. more..

Ceylinco Life posts net profit of Rs. 6 bn

Feb 23 (Island) Ceylinco Life has posted net profit of Rs 6 billion for the year ending 31st Dec 2017 while reaffirming its market leadership in life insurance industry for the 14th successive year, with premium income of Rs 15.7 billion. Company posted profit before tax of Rs 6.3 billion reflecting a remarkable 70% growth. Net profit growth was even higher, at 95%. Ceylinco Life sold 126,838 new life policies in the year reviewed at an average of 10,570 per month and paid out Rs 6.7 b in net claims more..

Election for Sri Lanka’s highest post in sport will be held today

Feb 23 (DN) The much debated National Olympic Committee (NOCSL) election will be held today at the NOCSL headquarters, commencing 6pm to appoint office bearers who will govern the apex sports body for a four-year term. The two main parties headed by presidential candidates Rohan Anthony Fernando and Suresh Subramaniam seek a majority vote to appoint 12 top officials in the NOCSL. more..

Sri Lanka Wonder of Asia Ironman 70.3 Colombo Triathlon

Feb 23 (DN) A total of 870 participants from 64 countries will take part in the Ironman Triathlon Colombo and the event will attract over 3000 local and out-of-town visitors to Colombo. Organisers target to generate a revenue of over US$3 million in direct economic impact to the country during the period of the triathlon. Average age of Ironman participants is 39 years old with the oldest participant being 81 years and the youngest 19. Percentage of male participants is 77% more..