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Alleged kidney racket: Suspended sentence for three Indians

Feb 17 (DN) Three Indians who pleaded guilty for over-staying in Sri Lanka without having valid visas and escaping from lawful custody, were yesterday sentenced to one year's imprisonment suspended for five years by the Colombo Chief Magistrate. Apart from the suspended imprisonment, three Indians were ordered to pay a fine of Rs. 100,000. However, two Indians who did not plead guilty to the charges were ordered to be more..

Malaysia Airlines flight to Colombo turns back due to technical problem

Feb 17 (TS) Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH179 en route to Colombo on Thursday made a turn back to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) due to technical problems. MAS said the aircraft, which departed from KLIA at 10.10pm, was forced to turn back when its auxiliary power unit (APU) was unable to start. "Aircraft landed uneventfully at 1.50am (Friday)," it said in a statement. APU is a backup power unit that is required to be switched on when an aircraft crosses over water. more..

Video: A son missing, a family in turmoil

Feb 17 (ICRC) When Punchibanda watched his son leave to join the army in 1995, he could not have imagined the heartache he would have to endure five years later. In 2000, he and his wife were informed that their son was missing. After a desperate and futile search that lasted four months, they received news one day that their son's remains had been recovered. The ICRC is contributing to address the needs of families of missing people in Sri Lanka, and advocating for and providing more..

T20: SL claim last-ball win over Australia

Feb 17 (CI) Australia's best of the Big Bash League took Sri Lanka to the final ball. The hosts and their three debutants fought to the finish against the visitors in front of a raucous crowd at the MCG, but a win offered Sri Lanka the chance to wrap up the series at Kardinia Park on Sunday. Perth Scorchers' Andrew Tye was left with six runs to defend from the final over, and one from the final ball. Chamara Kapugedara surveyed more..

Asela's send-off, Tharanga's bittersweet day

Feb 17 (CI) 19 years and 475 senior-level matches after his state debut, Michael Klinger finally got the chance to walk out to bat for Australia, at his old home ground, the MCG, no less. Opening the batting alongside Aaron Finch, Klinger took a moment to look around the ground as he got his bearings, and stood at the non-striker's end as the acting captain took the first ball of the match. When a single took Klinger to the pointy end, his first assignment was far from the easiest more..

Sri Lankan refugee

Feb 17 (CT) This newspaper's lead story yesterday was PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's appeal to SL asylum seekers in Australia to return to the island with the promise that they won't be persecuted. '...Come back. All is forgiven...,' he's said, on his recent tour to Australia. Refugees from SL, first entered the country's lexicon after the events that took place in the country's political and economic landscape 40 years ago in July '77, in a watershed general election held then. more..

Shamindra Ferdinando

Confrontations with Colonialism: Resistance, revivalism & reform under British rule in SL

Feb 17 (CT) In the last ten years or so, Prof. P V J Jayasekera has been working on revising his doctoral dissertation for publication as many friends had insisted that it should be offered for public consumption. Finally the first volume of it is out. We are not a historians so we possess neither the subject knowledge nor the capacity to comment on the wider field the book is grappling with. Hence this is just a reader’s response. Confrontations with Colonialism: Resistance, Revivalism and more..

RTI commission committed to building a strong and independent RTI operation 

Feb 17 (CT) Right to Information Commission has stated that it is committed to building a strong and independent operation with the expertise and capacity to support all seekers and providers of public information. Issuing a Media Statement, it has further stated that the five-member body, though still operating in an interim capacity with a skeletal staff from temporary premises (2- 203-204, BMICH, Colombo -07, Ph- 011 2691625) intends have a strong policy of proactive public engagement. more..

Rice market pressure easing as imports start arriving at retailers

Feb 17 (GDI) As imported rice volumes began feeding into domestic retail and wholesale channels, Minister of Industry and Commerce began making surprise visits to learn about the market status first-hand on the eve of 15 Feb. “There is no shortage of rice in the market as speculated” said Minister Rishad Bathiudeen on the eve of 16 Feb. He accompanied by officials of the Consumer Affairs Authority, was addressing the media and more..

Govt Printer receives delimitation report

Feb 17 (AD) The Government Printer says that the Delimitation Committee report has been received and that it will be gazette within the day. The final draft of the Delimitation Committee, with the signatures of all five members, was handed over to the Provincial Councils and Local Govt Minister Faizer Mustapha on January 17. Submitting the report for publication as gazette had been delayed for a month due to certain technical errors. more..

Rs.10,000 for farmer families as relief aid

Feb 17 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena has given instructions to the officials to provide an allowance of Rs.10,000 per month for all agricultural family who are affected by the prevailing dry weather condition over the island. President further instructed to appoint a Committee comprising District Secretaries, Grama Niladharis and Samurdhi Officials to collect comprehensive information on affected families and after getting more..

'Only Wigneswaran wants North-East merger'

Feb 17 (Island) Western Province Chief Minister Isuru Devapriya assured that there were no threats to national security and the Northern and Eastern Provinces were free from terrorist threats. He said no acts of terrorism had been reported from those two provinces so far and the country’s overall security had not been affected. However, he stressed that Central govt should take steps to allocate necessary funds to PCs more..

SLMC to appeal court verdict on SAITM

Feb 17 (AD) Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) has decided to appeal against the ruling of the Appeals Court regarding the private medical college in Malabe.  SLMC chairman Prof. Carlo Fonseka said that the members of the medical council convened today and decided to submit an application to the Supreme Court within the next 42 days. Court of Appeal ruled that SAITM is legally eligible to issue medical degrees more..

Sri Lanka must have foreign judges in war crime investigation: HRW

Feb 17 (SBS) Sri Lanka must employ international judges and prosecutors to ensure accountability during trials of those responsible for alleged war crimes against mostly Tamils, Human Rights Watch Australia's director Elaine Pearson said. Ms Pearson's call, which echoes a recommendation in a 2015 UNHRC report of the OHCHR investigation of SL, comes as SL PM Ranil Wickremesinghe this week visited Canberra. more..

We are ready for common accreditation exam: SAITM Chairman

Feb 17 (DM) Amid a simmering crisis over the recognition of medical degrees offered by SAITM, its Chairman Dr. Neville Fernando says that he had complied with all the requirements in conducting this degree programme. Q: Over the current crisis situation, what is the way forward for SAITM? A: In spite of all the protests, SAITM will go on. I started it not to make money. If I wanted money, I would have started a fixed deposit and more..

Honey bees are not aggressive, says expert

Feb 17 (ST) South Africa contested against Sri Lanka in the third one-day international on February 4 dressed in pink to raise awareness of breast cancer, but it was bees that grabbed the attention. Bees invaded the ground forcing players and umpires to lie on the ground before they took cover in the dressing rooms. A local bee keeper, Pierre Hefer, came to the ground armed with a tub of homemade honey comb to attract the bees. more..

'Elites want presidency back for themselves'

Feb 17 (FT) Defending its recent calls for President Maithripala Sirisena to be the party’s nominee for the next presidential election, the SLFP said that Sirisena was not obligated to consider the opinions of anyone outside of the party’s central committee. Party spokesman Dilan Perera attributed recent attempts by some quarters to discourage the president from running for a second term to an issue of class difference, more..

Japanese expert says Sri Lanka should befriend India and Japan to counter China

Feb 17 (ENS) Dr. Satoru Nagao, Lecturer in Security Studies at the Law Faculty of Gakushuin University in Japan, advices Sri Lanka to cultivate good relations with India and India-friendly countries like Japan, to counterbalance its relations with China which could cause tension in the South Asian region. Delivering a lecture on the impact of China’s rise on Japan, US, India and Sri Lanka at the Institute of National Security Studies here more..

Good Governance in free markets means corruption with racism

Feb 17 (DM) “Yes, it is true that there is rampant corruption in the Govt even now as we inherited a corrupt system from the last administration and practices of that regime were yet there,” Minister Malik Samarawickrama had accepted in an interview with Ceylon Today on Feb 12. What he tries to convey is that, the system inherited and they, the Got are two totally different entities running the country. That it is the system inherited that is corrupt but not their Govt. more..

Milk of Human Kindness

Feb 17 (DM) As part of the all-inclusive and eco-friendly development strategy, National Govt has also launched a mission for SL to produce the nutritious food we need in our own country. This will be done instead of importing junk foods and processed rubbish at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign exchange. One vital area is fresh milk, known to be highly nutritious and essential especially for pregnant mothers and children after at least 1 & preferably 2 years of breast feeding. more..

Yahapalana associate slams diesel mafia

Feb 17 (Island) A group of influential CEB officials has been accused of exploiting a sharp drop in hydro power generation capacity to go for emergency power purchasing agreement at exorbitant cost under controversial circumstances. Keerthi Tennakoon of the Anti-Corruption Front (ACF) said that the politically influenced group had manipulated the entire process to its advantage. ACF campaigned for Maithripala Sirisena more..

Sri Lanka, Victoria State to strengthen ties

Feb 17 (DN) An agreement was reached to further strengthen relations between Sri Lanka and the State of Victoria in Australia during talks PM Ranil Wickrmesinghe held with Victorian PM Daniel Andrews on February 16 concurrent to his four day official visit to Australia. During the talks, two Prime Ministers expressed the view that relations between Australian states and Sri Lanka would help further cement and strengthen bilateral friendship and relations between the two countries. more..

Ravi to file defamation lawsuit against Udaya

Feb 17 (FT) Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that he would file a defamation lawsuit against JO MP Udaya Gammanpila for making baseless allegations and trying to tarnish his image. Minister said that he would teach Gammanpila a lesson to be remembered, adding that taking him to courts would be the most appropriate response. “We are not beggars like him. I came into politics from a professional background. I am engaged in politics with good intentions to serve the country and more..

'UN & EU pledge to help reconciliation in SL'

Feb 17 (DM) Chief Minister of the Northern Province C. V. Wigneswaran had been informed by the United Nations and the European Union that they had pledged their cooperation to promote reconciliation between all communities in Sri Lanka. Coordinator to the UN Una Makoli and Ambassador of the EU Toolai Margue had indicated this during a meeting with the Chief Minister on their tour of Jaffna on Wednesday. more..

SAITM controversy: SLMC decision today

Feb 17 (Island) Sri lanka Medical Council will decide today whether to move the Supreme Court against the Appeal Court decision to provide provisional registration to SAITM medical graduates. The Chairman of SLMC Prof Carlo Fonseka yesterday said his personal opinion was that the SLMC should appeal, however the medical body were having discussions in that regard. He said officially the number of members in the SLMC should be 25 but now there were only 21. more..

Indian Foreign Secretary to visit Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (DNA) Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will travel to Sri Lanka over the weekend to discuss implementation of various decisions taken during the recent visits here by the President and PM of the island nation. Aim of Jaishankar's visit is to discuss economic cooperation and to pursue various initiatives discussed between the leadership of the two countries. "Foreign Secretary is going to Colombo over this weekend to discuss economic coperation with Sri Lanka and more..

Australia and Sri Lanka sign new partnership agreement

Feb 17 (LBO) Australia and Sri Lanka have signed a new development cooperation partnership during PM Ranil Wickramasinghe’s visit to Australia. “The new partnership sets a new direction,” the Australian High Commission said releasing a statement. “As Sri Lanka’s economy grows, Australia will support the Govt’s reform agenda including ensuring that economic growth is inclusive.” more..

CB Governor to appear before Treasury bond Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday

Feb 17 (FT) Governor of the CB, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, has been directed to appear on Tuesday before the Commission of Inquiry (COI) appointed to look into irregularities in respect to the issuance of Treasury bonds, including the controversial CB bond issue of Feb 2015. Secretary to the Commission, Sumathipala Udugamasuriya, has written to Dr. Coomaraswamy asking him to appear before the COI at 10.30 a.m. at its office located at Adhikarana Mawatha at Hultsdorf. more..

PRECIFAC requests extension till March 2018

Feb 17 (FT) The anti-corruption commission, which has completed nine final reports on fraud, corruption, the misuse of state funds and abuse of power during the previous regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa, expects another extension till 15 March 2018. The PRECIFAC, which was granted one extension in March 2016, has already handed over nine final reports on serious fraud and corruption to President Maithripala Sirisena. Its second extension ends on 15 March this year. more..

Protests in Melbourne Against PM

Feb 17 (CT) Several protesters from the Sinhala and Tamil Diaspora attempted to disrupt PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's law oration at the Deakin Law School yesterday. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had been invited to provide the annual law oration at the Law School of Deakin University – same University that conferred on him an honorary Doctorate earlier this week, at Deakin Edge, Federation Square in Melbourne. more..

CSN Writ Application re-fixed

Feb 17 (CT) Court of Appeal yesterday fixed 16 March, for Mention, the Writ Application filed against the suspension of the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) channel. The Bench comprised Justices Vijith Malalgoda (President) and S. Thurairaja. Rohan Welivita a Director of CSN had filed the Writ Application against the Media Ministry, stating that the latter had suspended the telecasting licence without conducting a reasonable inquiry. The respondent has filed objection stating more..

CAA to get 20 sniffer pups

Feb 17 (CT) Cabinet approved the purchase of 20 sniffer dogs that would be deployed at the BIA at the cost of Rs 12.5 million. The purchase is a part of an endeavour to ensure the security of the civil aviation sector which has become 'increasingly attractive to criminals and terrorists.' "The deployment of sniffer dogs at airports as a secondary screening measure to augment security arrangements. Properly trained sniffer dogs and their handlers can be used to detect drugs, explosives, mobile phones, more..

‘Principals reluctant to act due to human rights concerns’

Feb 17 (DM) School Principals of leading Colombo schools, several of whom were forced to discipline students who were found to have been part of clashes that occurred on Wednesday, said that they had been put in an awkward position as a result of strictures imposed by institutions such as the Human Rights Commission (HRC) with regards to student discipline. These principals had conveyed this to Education Minister Akila more..

IPS and WEF co-curate Transformation Map for Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (FT) Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF) recently co-curated a Transformation Map for Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Transformation Map was presented to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the accompanying high-level delegation at the recent WEF Annual Meeting which took place in Davos, Switzerland in January, 2017.  The WEF’s Transformation Maps are a dynamic system of contextual intelligence covering more..

Sajith to declare open Jayavigama today

Feb 17 (Island) The Jayavigama model village at Devagiriya in the Vilgamuwa Divisional Secretariat will be ceremonially declared open today at 9 a.m. by Minister Sajith Premadasa. It will be the 19th model village to be completed under the Udagammana programme. Jayavigama consists of 25 housing units and they have been built utilising low interest loans provided by National Housing Development Authority with community participation on blocks of land provided gratis by the govt. more..