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Power Deputy Minister decries subsidised electricity for the poor

Mar 23 (Island) Nearly half of the population which contributed to the national economy had to bear the burden of the other half when paying electricity bills owing to the relief provided to those who consumed less than 90 units of electricity per month. Deputy Minister Ajith Perera said: "It is unfair for the consumers who use electricity for production purposes and contribute to the well-being of national economy to pay for more..

Activist fined for screening No fire Zone in Malaysia

Mar 23 (NST) Activist Lena Hendry was today fined RM 10,000 in default one year's jail by the magistrate's court for screening a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war without prior approval from the Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF). Lena, 32, dressed in a red top and black jeans, looked at her friends and supporters in the public gallery in disbelief, when magistrate Mohd Rehan Mohd Aris, imposed the fine. She was convicted of showing the documentary on Feb 21. more..

French aid agency arm mulls more equity investments in Sri Lanka

Mar 23 (EN) Proparco, the private sector arm of Agence Franēaise de Dévelopment (AFD), France’s development agency, is looking for investment opportunities in Sri Lankan companies as it expands investments in equities, an official said. Proparco is focusing investments in sectors like renewable energy, energy efficiency, and the agri-business value chain keeping the best environmental and social practices in mind, said Yatin Kundra, Senior Investment Officer of Proparco. more..

Greek Bond purchases revealed

Mar 23 (CT) Purchase of Greek Bonds, by the Central Bank, during the time Ajith Nivard Cabraal was the Governor of the Bank, was revealed. H.K. Karunaratna, the Secretary to the Central Bank Monetary Board, in his evidence said a gathering at the Central Bank decided to buy Greek Bonds worth 30 Million Euros, which amounted to Rs 3 billion. Justice Jayawardana: Although that subject is not in our mandate I like to ask witness, more..

Wimal's hunger strike continues

Mar 23 (DM) MP Wimal Weerawansa is continuing the hunger strike that he started in the remand prison, Prisons Commissioner General said. Weerawansa began the fast on Wednesday morning by refusing to eat his breakfast provided to him at the Magazine Prison. The MP was arrested by the FCID in January for the alleged misuse of state vehicles. NFF party members said Weerawansa had commenced the fast against what he called political revenge by the govt. more..

Arjun’s cohorts attack Journalists

Mar 23 (CT) Kalkudah Police have arrested two employees of a distillery, over the attack on two regional journalists. The journalists were attacked when they went to report on a distillery that is being constructed at Kalkudah in Batticaloa. The two suspects will be produce before the Valaichchenai Magistrate's Court today. Two regional journalists, Puna Moorthy Shashidharan and Nallathamby Nithyanandan had been obstructed in their duties on Tuesday and were assaulted. more..

Docs allege attempt to intimidate SLMC

Mar 23 (Island) Govt Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) has urged govt to ensure a credible investigation into an alleged attempt to intimidate the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) now embroiled in SAITM controversy. GMOF President Dr Rukshan Bellana said that those who had damaged the car of SLMC member Dr. Chandana Atapattu by attacking it with stones, while it was parked at his residence, should be dealt with appropriately. more..

Energy Secretary Dr Batagoda surrenders to court

Mar 23 (AD) Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy Dr. B.M.S. Batagoda today surrendered to the Colombo Magistrate’s Court through an attorney, after an arrest warrant was issued on him for failing to appear before the court.  Colombo Chief Magistrate Lal Ranasinghe Bandara had issued the arrest warrant yesterday (23) for failing to appear before the court to provide a testimony in the bribery case filed against former Deputy Minister Sarana Gunawardena. more..

SL Muslim clerics say women are not equal to men, defend marriage before puberty

Mar 23 (CT) In an alarming submission made to several parliamentarians and other conservative groups with regard to proposed amendments to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA), the All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulama (ACJU) has said that they agree with the Hadith No people will ever prosper who appoint a woman in charge of their affairs and therefore a woman isn’t worthy of being appointed a Qazi (judge). The ACJU is the main body of theologians of Muslims in Sri Lanka. more..

Ready to help MS to consolidate power: JO

Mar 23 (DM) Joint Opposition (JO) today said it was ready to support President Maithripala Sirisena to topple the Wickremesinghe govt and consolidate the powerdrawing together all anti-Ranil UNPers. JO member MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara said they were geared up to break the unity govt and know how to rule the country. He claimed during the period of the unity governance, most of the people’s fundamental rights were torn down. more..

Injured Kusal Perera ruled out of first 2 ODIs

Mar 23 (CI) Kusal Perera has been ruled out of the first two ODIs against Bangladesh, after sustaining a hamstring strain during Wednesday's warm-up match in Colombo, manager Asanka Gurusinha confirmed. The strain - to his left thigh - was a very minor one, Gurusinha said, and though there was a chance Kusal could be fit enough to play in the second ODI in Dambulla on March 28, the selectors have chosen to keep Kusal in Colombo while the team travels to Dambulla. more..

My (typical) Pera story: A response

Mar 23 (CT) I was alarmed and deeply concerned after reading Sarath Bandara’s (typical) Pera story about his difficult path to become a doctor in SL. He says typical probably because this is the normal path taken by most of the students in SL. His article highlights general issues regarding getting a good school for secondary education, university admission process, and particularly the delays in each step from O/L exam through university admission, internship appointment & beyond. more..

Kremlin Guard of Honour for Prez Sirisena

Mar 23 (PSL) President Sirisena was received with a Guard of Honour at the Kremlin’s Alexander Garden when he visited the Red Square to place a wreath at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier. It was a touching moment for the President – a son of a soldier who served in the 2nd World War- when he placed the wreath at the war memorial dedicated to the soldiers killed during the WWII. Military Commandant of Moscow more..

Amnesty for Lankans illegally residing in Saudi

Mar 23 (NR) Saudi Arabia has announced a general amnesty period for Sri Lankans illegally residing in the country. The general amnesty period which commences on the 29th of March is scheduled to be in effect for 3 months. The amnesty period was announced for individuals residing in Saudi Arabia without a residential visa and for those who arrived in the country illegally. Accordingly, Saudi govt said foreign nationals leaving the country during the amnesty period will not be scrutinized when more..

Questions over new storm water drainage system for Colombo

Mar 23 (Island) The govt could not assure Parliament that the construction of the proposed underground drainage system would not lead to an environmental disaster. In answer to a question raised by JVP MP Dr Nalinda Jayatissa, Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna said that the project had been launched to solve the problem of flash floods in the city. Geo Data SPA institute in Italy had been selected to provide consultancy services and prepare the plans. more..

සිනමාවේදිනි සුමිත්රා පීරිස්¯

Sri Lanka to decriminalize foreign exchange control violations

Mar 23 (EN) Sri Lanka has drafted a new law to regulate foreign exchange inflows and outflows, which will revamp existing law, Minister Gayantha Karunathilake said. The new law will end criminal penalties, and instead impose civil penalties for violations. Finance Minister will also have powers to intervene to protect the economy. Sri Lanka enacted a draconian exchange control law in 1952 after a money printing central bank with a soft dollar peg was set up more..

Boys will be boys...To this extent?

Mar 23 (CT) It should be noted, if by any chance our readers have been out of touch with the latest trends around the town, that the increased traffic in your major urban area might not be the result of yet another protest by university students, but the result of school children and past students of Colombo schools parading in celebration of their traditional inter-school cricket matches. And due to the chance thought of a random merry Andrew who came up with the term March Madness more..

I am a Minister by name only: Harin

Mar 23 (DM) Q: Is it true that as expressed by certain UNP Ministers and MPs, that this is the result of two different ideologies being represented in the govt? A: There is some truth in that. It is opportune to come out of this political frame even though it is an arduous task. This is something unusual for many. Viewing from outside it is natural that there are issues, but overall; leaving aside this system of change of govt, more..

Constitution making: JO boycotts Steering Committee meeting

Mar 23 (Island) The Constituent Assembly Steering Committee responsible for preparing a draft constitutional proposal met, for the first time, without a single MP from the Joint Opposition (JO) with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe presiding. An MP who attended the meeting said that yesterday’s meeting of the committee had been held after a lapse of several months and though it was expected to meet regularly to steer the process of more..

Pakistan says relations with Sri Lanka based on mutual trust

Mar 23 (PHC) High Commissioner of Pakistan in SL Maj. Gen. (R) Syed Shakeel Hussain has said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka are located at two global strategic junctions on the land and maritime silk route respectively that had always been the meeting places of global civilizations, trade & cultures. Importance of both countries has increased tremendously in modern times for promoting cultural, civilizational and trade more..

Sri Lanka awards long awaited Bandaranayke Airport duty free tender

Mar 23 (LBO) Ministry of Transport & aviation has successfully concluded the Core Category Duty Free tender for the Prestigious BIA which has been awarded to Flemingo Duty Free at 40% revenue share. Core Category Duty Free contract was tendered for the first time since inception. Tender was for two spaces, one being occupied by the World Duty Free Group and The Second by Flemingo Duty Free. more..

'45% of country’s expenditure for road development'

Mar 23 (DN) 45% from the capital expenditure of the country consists of expenditure incurred to develop the road system, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. Speaking at a media briefing on the review of the pilot project to dedicate priority lanes for buses, he said: “according to the pilot project, 22% of bus passengers, 43% of private vehicles and 37% of three-wheelers are in favour with extending the bus lane.” more..

Deadly dengue epidemic brings Kinniya to its knees

Mar 23 (ST) Badly-equipped hospitals are overwhelmed by hundreds of suspected cases of dengue haemorrhagic fever in the wake of an epidemic in Kinniya in the Eastern Province. Outpatient departments are stretched, hospital authorities complain. Following appeals from the Muslim community and 13 deaths in two weeks, a dozen doctors have been sent to Kinniya. Ministry of Health on Friday assigned the doctors. more..

UNHRC Resolution: Confusion over who committed to foreign judges

Mar 23 (DM) Ahead of the vote on yet another resolution on SL at the UNHRC tomorrow, an intense debate has taken place on the move for the inclusion of foreign judges in a judicial mechanism to hear accountability and human rights issues during the war time. The new resolution, to be put to vote tomorrow, is just a rollover seeking to extend the timeline given for the govt of SL to deliver on its commitments in previous resolution more..

SAITM students request fair and expeditious solution to predicament

Mar 23 (DN) Students of the SAITM in a press release issued today, called for a fair and expeditious solution to the current predicament that deprive us from completing our internship training to be fully registered medical practitioners. As graduates and students of the MBBS programme at the SAITM, we sincerely urge authorities to provide a fair and expeditious solution to our current predicament, which has and more..

Govt has stopped fighting corruption for its survival: JVP

Mar 23 (Island) The govt had, for its political survival, betrayed the aspirations of the very same people who elected it to power, JVP said. People had voted in the present govt to punish those who misappropriated public funds. One of the main election promises was to bring the culprits to justice. Initially, the govt had looked somewhat keen to make good on its promise, but, now, it had suspended its operations against the corrupt more..

Stock market crashes

Mar 23 (CT) Investor losses went past the Rs 100 billion mark and the benchmark ASPI fell below the 6,000 point level at yesterday's stock market trading, as panicky investors continued to flee the bourse in a sea of rising interest rates, made worse due to speculation that the Central Bank will raise its key interest rates at tomorrow's monetary policy review. Yesterday's investor losses alone were Rs 19.74 bil due to stock market crash. more..

Yahapalana machinations subvert transitional justice

Mar 23 (DM) These are UNHRC days. These are Yahapalana-UNHRC days which are therefore very different from the Rajapaksa-UNHRC days. Both regimes use the same lexicon when it comes to reconciliation. Back then too we heard talk of truth, reconciliation and what not. There are of course differences. The previous regime created conditions to enable such talk simply by defeating the LTTE. This regime says, rhetorically, that it wants to go beyond the rhetoric. more..

Portfolios: Privilege subject over number

Mar 23 (DM) There’s talk in political circles that a cabinet reshuffle is imminent. This can mean many things. If it means that those proven to be incompetent are replaced by those likely to do a better job, it would be a good move. If it means that people with competence in particular fields will get subjects relevant to expertise, it’s good. If it’s about shifting the incompetent and corrupt to different spheres of authority it is not good. If it’s about changes calculated to keep intact a coalition more..

Govt pledges to stay the course at UNHRC

Mar 23 (FT) As JO members led demonstrations outside the UN building in Geneva, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva told the UNHRC convening inside that Govt was determined to stay the course in delivering justice and reconciliation to its people, as the country recovers from a three-decade long civil war.  Deputy Minister told the council that SL had been working on the draft resolution providing a 2-year extension more..

UNP MP sets petition record in House

Mar 23 (FT) UNP lawmaker Buddhika Pathirana yesterday made a record by moving the highest number of public petitions presented by an MP in Parliament at a single sitting. Moving a record number of 33 public petitions, MP Pathirana revealed his plans to set another record as an MP.  “I would set a Guinness World Record by becoming the Parliamentarian who raised the highest number of questions for oral answer in the Parliament of Sri Lanka,” he said. more..

Vital for SL to send message that impunity is no longer tolerated: UN rights chief

Mar 23 (UN) Presenting an oral update on the rights situation in Sri Lanka, top UN official said that a general lack of trust in the impartiality of the justice system in the country regarding past violations and continuing unwillingness or inability to address impunity reinforces the need for international participation in a judicial mechanism. “It is important for the country's future to send the signal that impunity is no longer tolerated,” Zeid Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for HR, told UNHRC. more..

Zeid calls for foreign judges but Sri Lanka says it will avail of foreign expertise

Mar 23 (ENS) Zeid Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the UNHRC on Wednesday, that Sri Lanka must appoint foreign judges to the judicial mechanism it is to set up to try war crimes cases. But the Sri Lankan Representative, Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva, avoided using the term foreign judges in his reply, and instead said that Sri Lanka will take foreign expertise and assistance. more..

London attack: Five dead in Westminster terror attack

Mar 23 (BBC) Five people have died and at least 40 were injured after an attacker drove a car along a pavement in Westminster, stabbed a policeman and was shot dead by police in the grounds of Parliament. The dead officer has been named as PC Keith Palmer, 48, a husband and father. PM Theresa May said the attack was sick and depraved and struck at values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech. The attacker has not been named by police. more..

Rajinikanth to unveil housing scheme in Jaffna

Mar 23 (Hindu) Actor Rajinikanth will hand over to Tamils keys to 150 homes built for them by Gnanam Foundation on April 9 in Jaffna. While the rehabilitation of displaced Tamils is still a contentious issue, actor Rajinikanth’s visit to Jaffna is likely to attract a huge crowd as he is also expected to speak at a public meeting organised in Jaffna. Foundation, which has been named after Lyca Group chairman S. Allirajah’s mother, has constructed at a cost of Rs. 22 crore. more..