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'Restore damaged religious places'

Feb 18 (DN) Places of religious worship damaged during the war including Temples, Kovils, Churches and Mosques should be rehabilitated and restored to there previous status, Malwatte Mahanayake Thera Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayake Thera said. He said the majority of places of worship damaged are Buddhist temples which should be restored to their previous status. more..

President calls for national movement to form new govt

Feb 18 (PMD) Bringing forth a new national movement to form a new govt and a new set of programs for the betterment of the country is the main responsibility of all those who love the country today, said President Maithripala Sirisena. The President made these remarks participating as the chief guest at the 22nd Annual Conference of Mahajana Eksath Peramuna held in Colombo today (17). This year is an election year, more..

Govt seeks US$ 48mn credit line from India to develop KKS port

Feb 18 (DM) The govt will obtain a US$ 48 million credit line from India for the development of Kankesanthurai Port, an official said. Secretary to the Northern Development V. Sivagnanasothy said that the Cabinet approval had been secured to proceed with the development of this port in the north for commercial purposes. He said further talks would be conducted with the Indian authorities for the development of it. more..

US says Sri Lanka has important role in Indo-Pacific region

Feb 18 (FT) The United States last week said it attaches great importance to Sri Lanka in the Indo- Pacific policy, given the island nation’s strategic geographic location and economic potential. "We view Sri Lanka as a critical partner in the region and located at the nexus of the Indo-Pacific, Sri Lanka has the opportunity to shape the region’s future," US's Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Acting Principal more..

Productive workers in SL trapped between neo-serfdom and Samurai graduates

Feb 18 (EN) Sri Lanka's toiling workers in the private sector who stand on their own feet are an unfortunate lot, caught between a neo-feudal Hamu elected ruling class who want to block their entry to the services sector and Samurai un-employed graduates who have created an entitlement culture and are skimming off the fat of the land. The shameless attempt to block less-affluent youth into the three wheeler taxi more..

Sinharaja plunder: Slovak Govt. pays biggest ever fine of Rs. 10.85m

Feb 18 (ST) The Slovak Govt paid a fine of Rs 10.85 million imposed on five Slovak nationals found guilty of illegally collecting endemic animal and plant species from the Sinharaja Rainforest. Environmentalists say the fine is the largest ever imposed under the Fauna & Flora Protection Ordinance. Slovak Govt Officials, who were present in court on behalf of the five men, paid the fine imposed on them and secured their release. more..

Marie Colvin: Courageous journalist who lost an eye in Sri Lanka and her life In Syria

Feb 18 (DM) Journalists in the line of duty are required to write about different people from all walks of life but it is very rarely that they write about themselves or fellow journalists. It is accepted as part of a scribe’s lot in life. As far as the fourth estate is concerned, it goes with the territory. Sadly, if at all we do write about a journalist, it is only after he or she passes away. It is against this backdrop therefore that I write this week about more..

Generational challenges of Northern reconstruction

Feb 18 (DM) A decade after the war, the North continues to be mired in a social and economic crisis, with little light at the end of the tunnel. The liberals address this crisis by increasingly resorting to attitudinal, behavioural and cultural explanations. The vocal Tamil nationalists in turn are either in denial about the crisis or reduce it to victim-hood that requires external intervention for deliverance. Both explanations are historical, problematic and even dangerous. more..

Oh, the times we live!

Feb 18 (DM) On Friday, US President Donald Trump declared a state of national emergency in the US. President is in search of a means to provide himself with funds to construct a 230-mile long wall between the US and Mexico. It is quite clear what he is trying to do. Just a few days ago, House of Representatives which is the legal body responsible for the allocation of funds to various programmes, refused to make a budgetary allocation of around $ 8 billion to him (Trump) to build a wall more..

UPFA cites German envoy’s comments, urges Prez to scrap power deal with China

Feb 18 (Island) Alleging that the country would suffer a staggering loss amounting to Rs 90 bn in case the Consortium of GCL China Windforce and RenewGen was allowed to go ahead with the construction of 300 MW Combined Cycle Dual Fuel (Liquid Fuel/Natural Gas) Power Plant in Kerawalapitiya, SLFP-led UPFA, called for Prez Sirisena’s immediate intervention to scrap the deal. MP Bandula Gunawardena accused more..

Video: Bus hits transformer; four dead, many injured

Feb 18 (AD) Four people have been killed in a bus accident in Mahawewa area on the Chilaw-Puttalam main road while many others have been injured. A Colombo bound private bus from Vavuniya had veered off the road and collided with a transformer, according to the police. The injured persons have been admitted to Chilaw and Marawila hospitals for immediate treatment. Reason for the accident has not been identified yet. Marawila police are conducting further investigations on incident. more..

Ranjan challenged to name ministers taking cocaine

Feb 18 (Island) Minister Kabir Hashim has challenged UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake to name those who the latter has accused of using cocaine. Responding to a media query, over the weekend, following a public event, Hashim said that the party would take action if Ramanayake revealed the names. The MP made the latest allegation though PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had advised him to be cautious when addressing the media. Sources said PM had summoned Ramanayake following more..

Video: PM admits to Sri Lanka committing war crimes?

Feb 18 (AD) According to TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has made a statement that both parties had committed mistakes in the civil war. He made these comments addressing the youth conference of the ITAK party in Jaffna. He says that there were war crimes – international crimes – had happened during the war; especially towards the end of the war. However, in general, it is a well-known truth that more..

Work silently without boasting: PM

Feb 18 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said persons who can work properly and efficiently do not make a big voice unlike those who can’t work properly. PM made these remarks while participating in a religious ceremony at the Sedawatta Veheragoda Viharaya yesterday. PM opened several constructions put up from his personal funds at the temple including the golden fence, the Sangavasaya and the Dining Hall. PM laid the foundation the stone for Buddha Mandiraya, more..

Probe into leopard’s death

Feb 18 (DN) The Wildlife and Conservation Department has commenced an investigation on the death of a leopard after its carcass was found in the Lindula, Hatton area last Saturday. The 4 feet 7 inch long leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) was found by Haggala Wildlife Department Range officials. The leopard caught in a trap was found dead by Wildlife officers. Two leopard deaths were reported during last month. The leopard was found dead on a tea estate around 7.30 a.m. last Saturday. more..

Customs apprehend 12 tons beedi leaves container: Main suspect given bail

Feb 18 (CT) The suspect who was allegedly the mastermind behind the attempted release of a 12-ton beedi leaves container, from the Customs last December, via forged documents, without paying the Duty, has been summoned to appear before the Aluthkade Magistrate’s Court, today. The suspect, named Nurdin Ahmed, had used forged documents, claiming that the container had women’s garments imported from more..

Dialog Axiata profits wiped out in kitchen sink quarter

Feb 18 (EN) Dialog Axiata Plc reported losses of 2.5 billion rupees at company level and was barely in the black at group level as the firm threw in write-downs and on top of forex losses and a write back into the December quarter. The group reported earnings of 01 cent for the quarter, down from 39 cents a year earlier. For the year to December 2018 the group reported earnings of 92 cents per share, on total profits of 7.56 billion rupees, down from 11.04 billion a year earlier. more..

Lakdhanavi, too awarded 300 MW plant

Feb 18 (Island) Power, Energy and Business Development Ministry has strongly denied allegations that Chinese consortium was awarded the Kerawalapitiya tender. Ministry spokesman Sulakshana Jayawardena emphasized that GCL Windforce and RenewGen was a joint venture involving local company, Chinese and US firms. Therefore, there was absolutely no basis for claims a Chinese consortium had been given the Kerawalapitiya project. more..

Free postal facility allowances doubled

Feb 18 (CT) An Extraordinary Gazette notification has been issued by Minister of Post M.H.A. Haleem increasing annual free postal facility allowance for MPs and for the members of Provincial Council. According to the Gazette notification, annual free postal facility given to the MPs has been increased to Rs 350,000 from Rs 175,000 while the free facility given for PC members has been increased from Rs 24,000 to Rs 48,000. more..

Pension scheme for Professional drivers

Feb 18 (CT) Allianz Life Insurance Lanka, recently launched a special pension scheme to empower all self-employed professional drivers of the nation. This special scheme is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka and was launched with the direction and support of the National Road Safety Council. The ceremony took place recently at Ragama with the presence of Minister of Arjuna Ranathunga along with members of the National Road Safety Council, and more than 400 professional drivers from more..

Sampath Bank ups 2018 PBT by 10.5%

Feb 18 (FT) Sampath Bank has recorded a Profit before Tax (PBT) of Rs 18.3 b for the year ended 31 December 2018, up by 10.5% against Rs. 16.6 b earned in 2017 after making necessary adjustments as per the SLFRS 9 new accounting standard which required impairment provisioning to be shifted from the incurred credit loss method used previously to the more forward-looking Expected Credit Loss method (ECL), which has attracted higher impairment provisions. more..

Mannar mass grave: Carbon dating results to be released on Wednesday

Feb 18 (Island) The report on radiocarbon dating tests, conducted on the bone samples found in the mass grave in Mannar, has been received. It is to be submitted to Mannar Magistrate, on Wednesday. Florida-based Beta Analytic Radio Carbon dating lab, on Feb 16, issued its dating report on five of the six samples of bone fragments, retrieved from the Mannar grave. Skeletal remains of 323 persons had been unearthed from more..

CTC net up 15%; says beedi boom amid tax hikes

Feb 18 (EN) Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC), a unit of British American Tobacco said net profits for the Dec 2018 quarter grew 15.7% to 5.2 billion rupees, despite a tax driven price increase in August reducing volumes. The firm reported earnings of 28.11 rupees per share for the quarter. In the year to December the firm reported earnings of 90.77 rupees on total profits of 17.04 billion rupees up from 14.5 billion rupees a year earlier. CTC said revenues with taxes grew 7.5% to 37.8 billion rupees, more..

13th Colombo Big Data Meetup held

Feb 18 (CT) The Colombo Big Data Meetup community hosted industry professionals, big data enthusiasts, academics and students at the 13th Colombo Big Data Meetup held at the Virtusa auditorium, recently, a media release stated. The interactive sessions, powered by Virtusa, are aimed at apprising participants of the latest developments in Big Data tools and technologies. NorthBay Solutions Chief Technology Officer, Laxmikanth Malladi, who counts over 15 yrs’ experience more..

Fall Armyworm will return: Agri Min DG

Feb 18 (CT) The Fall Armyworm (Sena Caterpillar) is impossible to eradicate and it will definitely come again in the next yala season, Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture, W.M.W. Weerakoon said. He said that the Fall Armyworm menace had lessened to a great extent, due to action taken. He said that no huge destruction had taken place to the corn harvest or any other crop due to the Fall Armyworm and more..

SLNS Sayurala plays its part at recently concluded exercise AMAN-19

Feb 18 (SLN) SL Navy Ship (SLNS) Sayurala left for Pakistan from the Colombo harbour on 2nd Feb to take part in the naval exercise AMAN 2019, the biennial exercise hosted by the Pakistan Navy. The multilateral naval exercise AMAN 2019 was held in Karachi, Pakistan from 8th to 13th Feb, with the participation of 44 countries along with a large number of ships and air craft belonging to them. The purpose of the exercise was to promote cooperation and interoperability between more..

Court of Appeal to hear cricket elections appeals on Wednesday

Feb 18 (ST) The cricket elections scheduled for Feb 21 now hang in the balance after three candidates filed action in the Court of Appeal challenging the Sports Minister’s decision to appoint an Appeals Advisory Committee. The cases are fixed for Feb 20. Mohan de Silva and Ravin Wickremaratne have challenged the committee’s rejection of their nominations while Shammi Silva has challenged Jayantha Dharmadasa’s eligibility to contest election. more..

New measures to improve ease of doing business

Feb 18 (DN) Encouraged by last year’s success in advancing in the Ease of Doing Business rankings, the Govt is set on expediting the automation process aimed at improving systems in key institutions, to further improve the country’s ranking this year. “We have been able to jump 11 places last year, to reach 100 out of 199 places in 2018. I wish it was more, but this is still a huge improvement, this year we expect it to be more..

ICC Test Player Rankings: Perera advances 58 places after monumental effort

Feb 18 (DN) SL batsman Kusal Perera has advanced an astonishing 58 places in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Player Rankings after a memorable performance helped his team score a thrilling one-wicket victory over South Africa in Durban. Perera’s gain is one of many from the first of two Tests between the two teams, even as Australia fast bowler Pat Cummins has overtaken Kagiso Rabada to take the top spot among bowlers without taking the field as the South Africa fast bowler more..

Attack on MFCs and Govt’s knee-jerk response

Feb 18 (Island) Leading businessman, Dudley Sirisena (DS) President’s brother, at a recent meeting in Polonnaruwa is reported to have said that Micro Finance Companies (MFCs) are like leeches that suck blood of the poor people’s livelihood income, and consequently, the rural economy is in a serious state of indebtedness unable to repay their micro loans. This indebtedness malady is reported to be so critical that the vulnerable rural farming community, especially women who were more..

Kusal Perera bats with body, heart and soul in innings of a lifetime

Feb 18 (CI) That vein. The vein on Dale Steyn's forehead has come alive. He is mid-pitch, biceps taut, knees bent, fists clenched, face red, practically on fire, screaming. Mitchell Johnson had three furious seasons. James Anderson nicks entire top orders off. But let's not kid around. If there is a sight that has struck fear into the heart of the planet's batsmen in the last 15 years; if there is a vision that shakes them to their soul, it is this. Steyn. His vein. more..

Kavindu and Shelinda hog the limelight

Feb 18 (ST) Kavindu Bandara of Lyceum, Wattala and Shelinda Jansen from Gateway, Colombo stole the limelight on the second day of the 19th Annual International Schools’ Athletics Championships (ISAC) which continued at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo. Bandara put up a splendid performance to set up a new meet record in the Under-20 Boys’ 200 metres while returning a time of 22.08 seconds. He shattered the previous record of 22.28s which was established by Hamzan Aroos more..

Minister brands badminton a family business

Feb 18 (SO) Minister of Sports Harin Fernando branded the Sri Lanka Badminton Association as a family business along with several other sports bodies in what some analysts say has been a long overdue public assessment of sports organisations in the country. But independent observers are skeptical and contend that nothing is likely to change given the numerous remarks and branding made by Minister Fernando’s predecessors. It is well known and spoken of in sporting circles more..

'Wanted to compete every hour, every session'

Feb 18 (CI) Having come straight from a disastrous tour of Australia, following another very poor one of New Zealand, all Sri Lanka had aimed to do in Durban was compete. Where in Brisbane and Canberra, SL had virtually been played out of the game by the end of the second day, they were much more tenacious at Kingsmead. At 90 for 5 in the first innings, in response to South Africa's 235, SL were in danger of giving up a lead of more..

Requiring two-thirds majority for Parliament to dissolve itself

Feb 18 (Island) Under Article 70 (1) in the Constitution before the introduction of the 19th Amendment, Parliament could, at any time, pass a resolution by a simple majority requesting the President to dissolve Parliament. However, after Article 70(1) was amended Parliament cannot under any circumstances be dissolved until the lapse of four and a half years of its five year term unless Parliament requests the President to dissolve Parliament by a resolution passed by more..

Tabs, private schools and new engineering faculties

Feb 18 (DN) I have come across three noteworthy announcements made by the govt. The decision to give Tabs to students in schools. * Use a loan of $ 145 million acquired recently from ADB to establish Engineering Faculties of four existing universities. The decision to allow leading private schools to establish branches in areas outside Colombo. How many Tabs the govt can afford to give at this time when our country is having a forex problem and is struggling to pay back massive loans? more..