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Baby jumbos become collateral damage in Sri Lanka's cold war

Oct 21 (EN) A deepening crisis within Sri Lanka's unity govt threatens to undermine a crackdown against high profile individuals, including monks and a magistrate accused of stealing baby elephants, official sources said Friday. The alleged partisan police action against those illegally bringing up baby elephants had also figured as justification for President Maithripala Sirisena's outburst against PM Wickremesinghe's govt. more..

PM concludes successful visit to Belgium

Oct 21 (NR) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe concluded a successful five day official visit to Belgium for preliminary discussions on regaining the GSP Plus tax concession from the European Union. During his visit, PM Wickremesinghe and the Sri Lankan delegation met with several leaders and businessmen in Brussels including Prince Laurent of Belgium, Belgian PM Charles Michel, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, President of European Commission Jean Claude Junker, more..

Video: Ambulance driver keen on coconuts ignores serious patient

Oct 21 (DM) An ambulance driver transporting a patient in a critical condition from the Embilipitiya district hospital to the Ratnapura hospital for further treatment is alleged to have stopped the vehicle at a spot where coconuts were being sold. This episode went viral and by noon today more than 128,000 visiting this social media website. Sabaragamuwa Provincial Director of Health Services said the driver was immediately transferred to Ratnapura Deputy Health Officers Office. more..

Budget 2017: President gets more: Education and Defence less

Oct 21 (Island) The govt presented to Parliament its estimated expenditure for the next year in which the expenses of President’s office rose by three times while defence allocation has been pruned down. Appropriation bill presented to Parliament by Minister Ravi Karunanayake has estimated total govt expenditure of over Rs 1,819 billion. Amount is a decrease when compared with govt expenditure in 2016 of Rs. 1,941 b. more..

Fitch sees strong growth for Sri Lankan telcos despite higher taxes

Oct 21 (EN) Higher use of data services should help Sri Lankan telecommunications firms like Dialog Axiata and Sri Lanka Telecom grow strongly, Fitch Ratings said, maintaining a stable outlook on the sector. “The stable outlook reflects Fitch's expectation of data-led high-single-digit revenue growth in 2017, despite re-introduction of VAT,” it said in a report on the sector.“We expect data's contribution to revenue to rise to around 18%-20% in 2017 from around 15% in 2016, more..

India- Sri Lanka joint military training exercise Mithra Shakthi

Oct 21 (MoD) Mithra Shakthi, 4th India - SL Joint Training Exercise will commence at the Regimental Headquarters of Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (SLSR) on Monday. The Exercise is designed to enhance understanding of transnational terrorism, inter-operability skills, conduct of joint tactical operations, sharing of each other's experiences etc. Indian contingent of 45 army personnel, including 6 officers will take part in the two- week long Exercise with their local counterparts more..

Tense situation in Kalpitiya as fishermen clash: STF called in

Oct 21 (DN) Protests by fisherman along the north-western stretch of the island took a turn for the worse this morning, when local fishermen in Kalpitiya clashed with fishermen they claim are using illegal methods to fish in their waters. The fishermen from Kalpitiya say these fishermen use illegal Laila, Surukku and bottom-trawling methods to fish, destroying the seabed, the eco-system and the Kalpitiya fisherfolks' natural resources. more..

Low-priced medicinal drugs from midnight

Oct 21 (AD) Gazette notification to reduce the prices of 48 varieties of essential pharmaceutical drugs has been signed by the Minister Rajitha Senaratne. Price reduction will come into effect from midnight today.  Prices will be reduced up to 85% while the 48 items include the drugs used for diabetes, heart disease, and other related diseases. Gazette was to be issues on Sept 31, however the National Drug Control Board had requested for another two weeks to sort some technical issues. more..

Chief Magistrate issues notice on Wildlife DG, CID

Oct 21 (Island) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya issued notice on the Director General of Wildlife and the Director of the CID Special Unit returnable on Nov 4. This notice is pertaining to a notice filed by the Centre for Eco Cultural Development, complaining that the aforesaid respondents had failed to abide by an order of the Magistrate dated Feb. 1, 2016. In this motion the complainant explained that the Director CID had failed to take into the custody of more..

Inflation picks up to 4.7% in September

Oct 21 (EN) Nationwide inflation in Sept 2016 picked up to 4.7% from 4.5% in August, on a year-on-year basis. The National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) rose 0.2% to 113.5 index points in Sept 2016 after falling in the two previous months. The uptick in the NCPI came from both the rise in prices of food commodities and non-food items.  The moving average inflation for the month of Sept 2016 was 3.8%, up from 3.6% in August 2016. more..

Foreign national taken into custody at BIA

Oct 21 (NF) A Chinese woman who allegedly attempted to smuggle a stock of gems overseas has been taken into custody by Customs at the BIA. Customs said the suspect had attempted to smuggle 247 gems of 14 different types, allegedly concealed in her luggage. They added, the total value of the seizure exceeds Rs.11.6 million. The arrest was made on Thursday night when the suspect was to smuggle the stock of gems to Shanghai, China. Further investigations are being conducted. more..

GSP concession likely between March and May 2017: PM

Oct 21 (GDI) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that Sri Lanka would be able to regain the GSP Plus concession to the country between March and May next year if the current economic and political reforms implemeted after the President Sirsena assumed office are continued without any change. Addressing local media on Thursday after the discussions held at the European Parliament, he added that the implementation of development programs together with whole country under more..

Five Jaffna policemen in custody for two student’s deaths

Oct 21 (DN) Five policemen have been arrested in Jaffna for the deaths of two university students. It is reported that the CID have been called in to ascertain if the police were involved in the deaths.  The postmortem on the two university students is currently ongoing. There are reports that angry university students have surrounded the Jaffna Hospital – at which morgue the postmortem is taking place. The report filed by Jaffna Police more..

Sri Lankan shares edge up on foreign buying, turnover hits near 3-wk high

Oct 21 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended slightly firmer on Friday, edging up from their lowest close in 1 month hit in the previous session, as foreign investors bought risk assets ahead of a flurry of corporate results and next month's national budget. Sri Lanka's quarterly earnings season started last week but the bulk of locally listed firms will not report until late Oct or early Nov. National budget is scheduled to be presented on Nov 10. Colombo Stock Exchange ended 0.08% firmer more..

Chanuka Ratwatta granted bail

Oct 21 (CT) Chanuka Ratwatte and four others were granted bail today by Colombo Fort Magistrate. They were each released on a cash bail of Rs. 300,000 and two sureties of Rs. 2 million per suspect. They were arrested and remanded for misappropriating funds amounting to Rs. 4.2 billion which belonged to over 350 investors at Entrust Securities. Apart from Ratwatte, the other four board members who were granted bail were Dharmapriya Dasanayake, Romesha Senarath, Sanjeewa Dayaratne more..

Teenage fast bowler Lahiru Kumara bags Test spot

Oct 21 (CI) Lahiru Kumara, 19-year old fast bowler, has received a first call-up to the Sri Lankan Test squad to tour Zimbabwe in October. He made his first-class debut this month, and two matches in, he is set to travel with the seniors to participate in international cricket. A well-built right-arm seamer from Kandy, Kumara's selection has come on the back of an 11-wicket haul in a Youth Test in Northampton. His 7 for 82 & 4 for 52 more..

Sri Lanka mini-hydro power plants seen threat to forest eco-systems

Oct 21 (EN) The construction of mini-hydro power plants pose threats to SL’s forest eco-systems, two environmental scientists told an international research symposium, calling for changes to regulations to ensure more safeguards. The scientists have recommended that mini hydro power plants must not be established within forest reserves and that no diversions be allowed from immediate upstream of waterfalls. Small  hydropower plants alter water flow in streams, more..

Country has less than half required anaesthesiologists

Oct 21 (Island) The College of Anaesthesiologists and Intensivists of Sri Lanka (CAISL) said that the country had only 130 anaesthesiologists for the large number of surgical specialties available in the govt sector hospitals. Addressing the media at its Office in Colombo, CAISL President, Dr Kanishka Indraratna, said that under the circumstances there was one anaesthetist available for 50,000 patients. The country’s requirement was for 300 consultant anaesthetists. more..

ජනාධිපති නීතිඥ හේමන්ත වර්ණකුලසූරිය

Religious discrimination by staff-short Jaffna Engineering

Oct 21 (CT) Jaffna VC Vasanthi Arasaratnam recently admitted that there is no place for Christians there. Around 2002, Jaffna advertised Professor Electrical-IT-Civil. I applied. VC Balasundarampillai immediately cancelled the advertisement and readvertised only Civil saying the new Dean must build buildings. Recently, they hired a Hindu Electrical Engineer as the first Dean without advertisement, violating the Universities Act on transfers. I could not apply. more..


Oct 21 (CT) Two factors came out of Minister Malik Samarawickrama's speech at the inauguration of the 37th National Conference of Chartered Accountants, a body that comes under the President, which took place at the BMICH. Speaking of his own foray into entrepreneurship, minister said that what made it possible was the creation of an enabling environment and of having banks willing to take a risk. What, however, was unsaid was the availability of trade deals that allowed this to happen. more..

SLC's dirty sex secret

Oct 21 (DM) Female ex-employee reveals the rampant abuse by frustrated officials at Cricket's head office. Sexual demands, groping, touching, lude comments and verbal abuse of helpless and silent female employees are common occurrences inside the glamourous offices of SLC according to the official testimony of a former female Executive officer of the country’s most internationally recognized corporate body. more..

Usawiya Nihandai allowed to be screened

Oct 21 (AD) The Colombo District Court today lifted the enjoining order imposed against the screening of Usaviya Nihadai (Silence in the Courts), a documentary film by award winning Sri Lankan film director Prasanna Vithanage. District Judge M.A. Gunawardena postponed the case till Jan 19.  When the case was taken up yesterday, court stated that the decision on whether the enjoining order will be withdrawn or not more..

'President responsible for simmering crisis over CIABOC affair'

Oct 21 (Island) Alleging that President Maithripala Sirisena had caused a serious crisis at the CIABOC, the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) yesterday stressed that the President was now responsible for ensuring its smooth functioning. President Maithripala Sirisena castigated the CIABOC, FCID and CID at an event attended by the military top brass at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) on Oct 12. more..

SAITM says not responsible for 26 confiscated human body parts

Oct 21 (DM) The Chairman of SAITM and its Teaching Hospital in Malabe, Dr. Neville Fernando said that SAITM would no longer be responsible for the 26 human body parts recently confiscated by the CID from the SAITM laboratory during a search operation to locate the missing body parts of murdered ruggerite Wasim Thajudeen. He said CID had dispatched several boxes containing 26 human body parts without applying more..

Sugathadasa Stadium to be fully restored by next February

Oct 21 (DN) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said that the Sugathadasa Stadium will be fully restored into a modern sports complex by next February. Minister making an inspection tour of the stadium said that a new artificial running track, ground renovation and a new lighting system will be implemented very soon. Minister stated that a fully equipped sports facility is a long felt necessity among sports personnel. more..

Video: I will donate money from alleged offshore account, if found: MR

Oct 21 (DM) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that if anyone found the US$18 billion that govt alleges he has stored in secret offshore accounts, he would use it to remove the tax imposed on medicine and use the money to give relief to patients. He said that it was not fair to impose taxes on medicines and hospital charges. Those facilities should be given to people without charging a tax, he said. more..

Public get a bellyful of endless street demos

Oct 21 (ST) Long traffic queues, patients missing their medical appointments, bus and taxi drivers losing income and people being held up on the roads in the scorching sun are becoming a way of life in various parts of the country due to a string of protests during the past few weeks. Last month alone, 24 protests were held in Colombo while this month has seen nine protests to date while dozens of others have been held more..

Life expectancy: Women beat men in SL

Oct 21 (Island) Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) revealed SL women lived 6.6 years longer than their male counterparts. The life expectancy of females in Sri Lanka was 78.6 years at present, while males lived only 72 years on average according to the findings of latest surveys. She was addressing a media awareness programme on newly published indicators organised by the DCS together with Ministry of more..

Weerawansas becoming millionaires within months

Oct 21 (SL) Controversy surrounds the purchase of building blocks in Hokandara, post 2008, by Shashi Weerawansa, spouse of NFF leader and former Minister Wimal Weerawansa. It has been revealed that Shashi Weerawansa alias Ranasinghe Randunu Mudiyanselage Shirsha Udayanthi had spent nearly Rs. 8.2 million to purchase four plots of land to her name from Alubogahawatte/ Delgahawatte. more..

President’s outbursts on CID, FCID and BC: Damage control underway

Oct 21 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena’s outburst against the BC, CID and FCID rattled politics. It eventually led to Bribery Commission Director General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe tendering her resignation.   Her resignation has not yet been accepted. All indications are that it will be accepted shortly. This is the second such main incident in which a govt official succumbed to pressure, being unable to perform further in office. more..

Get the lines straightened out Jayampathi

Oct 21 (DM) Dr Jayampathi Wickramaratne, who is described as someone playing a pivotal role in the constitution-making process in his capacity as a member of the steering committee on the subject, has offered some thoughts on the progress of the initiative in an interview. He has offered a nutshell version in the following terms:  “There is some agreement on electoral reforms -- a mixed member proportional system. On the executive, the President’s position is clear that more..

Water: Let’s not duck our responsibilities

Oct 21 (DM) With the North East monsoon starting, it would be a good time to reflect again on water and we hope it would not be like the cliché of pouring water on a duck’s back. President Sirisena disclosed this week that while about 40% of Sri Lanka’s people did not have access to fresh drinking water, a shocking reality was that in cities and urban areas about 45% of the fresh water supplies were being wasted. President assured that with hundreds of millions of rupees being allocated for more..

COPE: UNP MPs try their best to take Mahendra off the hook

Oct 21 (Island) UNP team within Parliamentary watchdog committee COPE fought a losing battle for 7 hours yesterday against JVP and SLFP over the report on former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s involvement in the treasury bond scams. UNPers, from 11 am to 6 pm yesterday, tried their level best to absolve Mahendran’s of wrongdoing, but failed to change the content of the COPE Chairman’s report, more..

Drug price reduction: Govt claims big pharma has fallen in line

Oct 21 (Island) Health Ministry said the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) had pledged to support its move to reduce the prices of 48 drugs from midnight today. Ministry Spokesman, Nipun Ekanayake said the SLCPI had announced its decision at a meeting with Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne on Wednesday evening. SLCPI had reviewed Minister Senaratne’s efforts to amend drug trade in accordance with Prof. Senaka Bibile’s drug policy in favour of patients. more..

Video: Mihin Lanka should not be disbanded: Arundika

Oct 21 (DM) Deputy Minister Arundika Fernando said that he would request President and the PM not to shut down Mihin Lanka. He said shutting down Mihin Lanka was not a good idea. It is hard to create a brand name like Mihin Lanka in the airline industry and the airline had been operated as a profitable service while serving domestically,” he said. “People with expertise in airline services should be appointed to the top posts rather than filling them with unsuitable individuals. more..