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Act will remove brand pressure from drug prescribing

Mar 9 (ST) Govt will move fast on reforms following the long-awaited passing of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority Act embodying the Senaka Bibile drugs policy to ensure the public has quality affordable medicines. Act was passed on Friday by a majority vote. “Public can be assured of quality medicines, a smaller choice of good medicines, and prices should come down a little in short term and decrease further,” more..

Private sector workers remind PM of promised salary hike

Mar 9 (Island) Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZ&GSEU) has written to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on March 6 calling for a wage hike of Rs. 2,500 a month. Joint Secretary of the FTZ&GSEU, Anton Marcus has said the union perturbed and disappointed in the way the govt has addressed the issue of wage increase for the private sector workers. "We have previously made it clear that it is the private more..

Court acquits General Sarath Fonseka

Mar 9 (AD) The Colombo High Court today acquitted General Sarath Fonseka of all charges in harbouring Army deserters case. Verdict was delivered by High Court Judge Devika Tennakoon. Second accused Senaka de Silva has already been acquitted of all charges. Attorney General indicted the two accused with 41 charges that also included charges of mutiny, insubordination and harbouring army deserters more..

UK help to trace hidden assets

Mar 9 (DN) Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe has held negotiations with the Serious Fraud Office in London to seek assistance in tracing hidden assets in the UK, belonging to Sri Lankan politicians. Rajapakshe said he visited the Serious Fraud Office, during his recent visit to UK. “They expressed willingness to support us in investigating bribery and corruption. They said they were willing to come to SL and have further discussions. more..

Wimal summoned to bribery commission

Mar 9 (AM) NFF Leader and Former Minister Wimal Weerawansa arrived at the Bribery Commission a short while ago. Weerewansa was summoned by the Bribery Commission to obtain a statement on his assets. It is in the grapevine that he Bribery Commission had received several complaints on illegal acquisition of assets by Weerawansa, including two houses in Kaduwela and Hokandara areas. more..

Foreign travel restriction on Gota

Mar 9 (AD) The Galle Magistrate’s Court today issued a directive to the Department of Immigration and Emigration to temporarily impound the passports of four persons including ex-Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and former Navy Commander Vice Admiral Somathilake Dissanayake. The CID detained a ship carrying 12 container loads of weapons on 18 January. CID launched investigations into floating armory more..

President to discuss constitutional amendments with UNP & SLFP

Mar 9 (DM) President Maitripala Sirisena, who is expected to return to the country this week, is expected to meet the UNP and the SLFP for crucial talks in an effort to arrive at a consensus on the proposed constitutional amendments. The President will return to the Island on March 12 after his State visit to Britain. It is learnt that he will meet the two main parties at the end of Indian PM Modi’s visit to SL from March 13 to 15. more..

A task force to assist commission on violence against women

Mar 9 (GDI) Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe participating in the International Women's Day celebrations held in Anuradhapura on Sunday emphasised that the new govt's good governance policy brings with it a commitment to protect country's women from social and domestic violence, harassment towards women, and the hazards they face from drug and alcohol related issues. more..

Dayan Jayatilleka’s Cyanide Capsule

Mar 9 (CT) Of the 100 days package of pledges the most fundamental one has just been released in the name of Section 19 (A) Amendment to our constitution. The electorate has given an endorsement to the need for a major shift of our governance- a governance that had gone haywire and wild. The root cause has been rightly perceived as flowing from a constitution that had been originally designed and subsequently gerrymandered to become a burden to the people. more..

Public opinion and media; Twin swords of a democracy

Mar 9 (CT) It is the sad truth of journalism that newspaper owners, electronic media barons, editors and journalists are disliked most when politicians come to power. Since independence there has always been a rocky relationship between the media and those in authority in successive govts. Very few govts like a free media. But that had also been for a short time. When the truth becomes bitter, they tend to hate the media. They dislike the media when their policies or performances more..

Kachchativu the focal point of fishing

Mar 9 (CT) between two governments continuously for several decades. The fishermen of Tamil Nadu blame their govt while our very own locals blame the local govt. South Indian fishermen blame the Tamil Nadu Govt for not imposing harsher and practical laws that would provide a proper solution whereas the local Northern fishermen blame the local govt for being ignorant of the entire issue for the sake of maintaining good international relations with India. more..

Sri Lanka tea exporter diversifies away from troubled Middle East

Mar 9 (EN) Finlays Colombo has said it will reduce reliance on tea exports to the Middle East where terrorism has affected distribution and warned of lower prices this year because of trouble in key Gulf markets and Russia. "The single biggest inhibitive factor for the tea division was the relentless turmoil in Syria and Iraq," Finlays Colombo Chairman, Mr. Kumar Jayasuriya said. The Syrian conflict, in its third year, has had a sustained toll on infrastructure and civil life while more..

WC 2015: Bangladesh beat England

Mar 9 (CI) England are out of the World Cup, their abject challenge foundering once again with Bangladesh their latest tormentors, inflicting their fourth defeat in five, by 15 runs. After a high-octane finale, Bangladesh can delight in qualifying for the final stages of a major tournament for the first time, a breakthrough after so many lean years that cannot be overestimated. England, after fulfilling what will now be a hollow final match against Afghanistan, more..

Sri Lanka waiting and watching on Chandimal

Mar 9 (CI) Dinesh Chandimal will be monitored for 48 hours before a firm decision is taken on his further participation in the World Cup. However, early diagnosis of his hamstring tweak suggests he may be unavailable for three weeks, Sri Lanka's team manager Michael de Zoysa has said. Chandimal tweaked a hamstring in his right thigh when attempting a tight second run in the 41st over of Sunday's match against Australia. more..

Former PM says he knows nothing about 15 missing vehicles

Mar 9 (Island) Former PM D. M. Jayaratne said that he had handed over all vehicles used by him to the police security officials and knew nothing more. Asked to comment on recent statements made by Minister Karu Jauasuriya that he would inform the Cabinet of Ministers of the issue of 15 vehicles assigned to PM Jayaratne, former Premier said that he had been asked about 22 vehicles. "I know only of the official vehicle I used. I handed over that one and all other vehicles to more..

Polls group makes key proposals

Mar 9 (CG) A leading local election monitoring group has issued a set of proposals as part of its “March 12 Declaration” in order to effect a positive and constructive change in the prevailing Political Culture. The PAFFREL said that after its close and long standing interactions in the political sphere, they are convinced that a broad approach, other than conducting free and fair elections, was required to bring about change in the political system. more..

Ban on full-face helmets suspended

Mar 9 (DM) The recently announced ban on full-face helmets due to a series of armed robberies had temporarily been lifted on a directive made by Minister John Amaratunga amidst another motorcycle heist reported from Athurugiriya a short while ago. Minister said a number of requests from the public led to the temporary lift on the ban. “As a Parliamentarian representing the public we should always listen to their woes and the ban was lifted as a result. more..

TNA wants equal treatment, not division of country: Sajith

Mar 9 (Island) Minister Sajith Premadasa says that LTTE groups in the West are now protesting against TNA leaders and burning their effigies as TNA has agreed that unitary status of Sri Lanka should be preserved. He said Opposition alleged that TNA had supported Maithripala Sirisena during the presidential election as part of a strategy to divide the country. "Now it has been proved otherwise. LTTE activists in London are burning the effigies of TNA MPs Sampanthan and Sumanthiran. more..

TID has no evidence against Jeyakumari: CHR

Mar 9 (CT) Center for Human Rights and Research (CHR) stated that the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) has no proper evidence against Balendran Jeyakumari who has been detained for almost one year. Executive Director of CHR Rajithe Keerthi Tennakoon stated that during the court hearing last Friday the TID had reported that the AG's Department had not informed them on how to proceed with the case. An appeal for the release of Jeyakumari and her 13-year-old daughter was more..

Video: Akila Viraj disputes Rajitha's claims

Mar 9 (DM) Denying the statement made by Minister Rajitha Senaratne that the Cabinet had decided to hold the next general election under a new electoral system, his colleague and UNP official Spokesman and Deputy General Secretary Akila Viraj Kaiyawasam today said the Cabinet had not made such a decision. Minister Kariyawasam told a media briefing in Colombo that no final decision had been made on the election reforms yet. more..

Sri Lanka hotel investments showing bubble signs

Mar 9 (EN) Sri Lanka's post war tourism boom has drawn a host of new investors some of whom could get "burned" because of bad marketing and planning and policy inconsistency, a top hotelier has warned. Hiran Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing Hotels group, said the island's tourism industry was able to compete on a level playing field only now, with the end of its 30-year ethnic war. But the risks of investing in tourism had been increased by bad planning, more..

Anura Kumara accepts Wijeyadasa's challenge for debate

Mar 9 (AM) JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake accepted Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s challenge for an open debate on the issue concerning the passport of Avant Garde Security Services owner Nissanka Senadipathy. Making statement on his Official Facebook Page, Dissanayake said that if Rajapakshe insists on a debate he was ready to accept the challenge. Meanwhile, he slammed Rajapakshe by saying that it was unethical to visit people who are in remand custody as the justice minister. more..

Video: Colombo uni academics occupy VC office

Mar 9 (DM) Academics of the Colombo University have occupied the Vice Chancellor's office in protest over their call for him to resign. FUTA spokesperson Dr. Nirmal Dewasiri said that they initiated their protest about an hour ago and added they are planning to continue occupying the VC office until the authorities respond to their call. "We called for the VC's resignation about a month and a half ago. However he hasn't responded to our demand. more..

Disciplinary action after President returns

Mar 9 (DN) A senior MP, who is also a Central Committee member of the SLFP, said that a decision would be taken on disciplinary action against SLFP members who participated in the political rally in Kandy, following President Maithripala Sirisena's return to the country. MP Dilum Amunugama, Provincial Councillor Samanmalee Sakalasooriya and a group of PC and PS members of the SLFP joined the rally in Kandy held in support of former President Rajapaksa. more..

'Tata housing project to be reviewed'

Mar 9 (PTI) Sri Lanka has said that a USD 400 million housing project by Indian conglomerate Tata group is being reviewed, weeks after the country's new govt said it was looking for a fresh start into the first-of-its-kind township plan. "We are also examining a housing project by Indian conglomerate Tata. The Tatas come in and say they will put in USD 250 million, but they put in USD 20 million, use our land, and sell it back to us for a higher price. How does that work?" more..

Karunanidhi condemns Ranil Wickramasinghe’s remarks on Indian fishermen

Mar 9 (PTI) Slamming Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickramasinghe for his remarks that Indian fishermen may be shot if they intruded into Lankan waters, DMK on Monday said it amounted to a slap on PM Narendra Modi’s face ahead of his tour to the island nation. “It is not proper for the Lankan Prime Minister to give an interview amounting to a slap on the Indian PM’s face ahead of his goodwill tour,” DMK president M. Karunanidhi said. more..

Sri Lanka qualify for World Cup quarter finals

Mar 9 (ICC) Bangladesh has qualified for the quarter-finals of the ICC World Cup 2015 following its victory over England at the Adelaide Oval on Monday. Bangladesh’s victory means Sri Lanka has secured the fourth and final spot from Pool A in the last eight stage of the tournament. Bangladesh will play its quarter-final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday, 19 March while Sri Lanka, as previously announced, will play its quarter-final at Sydney Cricket Ground more..

Ex-Miss Sri Lanka shelters sex abuse victims

Mar 9 (AAN) While beauty pageants may be infamous for the stereotypical queen who simply waves and smiles, the industry has also crowned some remarkable women. Four years after she was named Miss Sri Lanka, Stephanie Siriwardhana is now in the process of opening up a shelter for sexually abused girls. “In Sri Lanka there’s a huge stigma. Once these girls are raped, especially if [they are] 11 or 12 and have had [a child], the family rarely wants [them] back,” more..

'Sri Lanka is not anti-China but mainland firms won’t get carte blanche'

Mar 9 (SCMP) Sri Lanka’s new leadership is not targeting China and only wants its help to fight corrupt deals orchestrated by the last government, the island nation’s finance minister said, even as he ratcheted up rhetoric against Chinese companies he said were once given “carte blanche” in his country. “Sri Lanka is trying to do what Xi Jingping is doing: Root out corruption. We are not against China but against the Chinese companies manipulated by more..

Petition to UK against MS protest

Mar 9 (CG) A petition was handed over to the British High Commission in Colombo today against moves by some groups in London to protest against the ongoing visit of President Maithripala Sirisena (MS). The group which handed over the petition stated that Sri Lanka is now at peace and there should not be any attempt to create mistrust between the communities in Sri Lanka. President Sirisena is in London to take part in the Commonwealth Day event and will meet the Queen and also PM David Cameron. more..

Don’t allow Wickremasinghe threat to queer pitch of Modi’s Sri Lanka visit

Mar 9 (TOI) Even as PM Narendra Modi prepares to undertake this week what will be the first visit by an Indian prime minister to Sri Lanka in a quarter century, Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremasinghe struck a discordant note in warming India-Sri Lanka ties by saying that Indian fishermen entering Sri Lankan waters will be shot. While the regime transition in Colombo – from President Rajapaksa’s hardline nationalist govt to the more liberal and conciliatory approach more..

Maithri: I belong to all

Mar 9 (DM) Forming a national govt in Sri Lanka was not an easy task as we aspired because our political culture was such that political parties always attempted to undermine and weaken the other, President Maithripala Sirisena said in London today. He made these remarks when he met a delegation from a Maithri Support Group in UK affiliated to the UK branch of the UNP at his hotel, Park Lane Hilton. “I am the common candidate and I am common and belong to all. more..

Batting quality means there’s still plenty to be positive about: Murali

Mar 9 (ICC) It may seem like an odd thing to write after losing a match by 64 runs, but I am feeling very positive after Sri Lanka’s defeat against Australia. After conceding a mountain of runs, the batsmen once again showed their quality, and for 40 overs Angelo Mathews’ men really kept the opposition on their toes. And in Sangakkara, Sri Lanka have the number one one-day batsman in the world at the moment. You can talk all you like about Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers or more..

India working with Sri Lanka to repatriate thousands of Tamils

Mar 9 (AFP) India said it was working with Sri Lanka’s new govt to repatriate thousands of ethnic minority Tamils who fled the island during nearly four decades of separatist war. Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said discussions were ongoing for the return of 100,000 refugees from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, which is separated from Sri Lanka by a narrow stretch of sea. “We had agreed when Sri Lanka’s foreign minister was here (India) in January to find ways by which more..

India flays Sri Lanka PM for justifying firing on fishermen

Mar 9 (IANS) India criticised Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe for justifying the firing on fishermen from India and sought a "permanent solution" to the dragging row. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told parliament that she was in Colombo when Wickremesinghe made the controversial remarks, days ahead of Indian PM Narendra Modi's visit to Sri Lanka. "He said two things... one, that the Tamil fishermen released by the (Sri Lankan) president, more..

The President in the 19th Amendment

Mar 10 (CT) The Mathripala Sirisena manifesto promised to implement a programme to stabilise the country in two stages, and the first of those stages is the Hundred Day programme which would be devoted to solving urgent issues. Among those matters that were signposted for reform during the first stage is the abolition of the executive presidential system with unlimited powers and replacing it with a new constitutional structure including an executive that would be more..

The nationalist turn: A necessary detour?

Mar 10 (CT) Apart from the fact that it helps in getting a little more interest on one’s modest savings within the banking system, being a ‘senior citizen’ (over the age of 55) helps in other ways too. One is much less interested in defending oneself against attacks in the media or even in explaining oneself. When encountering a misplaced personalized critique (‘The Mark Antony of Nugegoda’ by Sarath De Alwis, CT, March 9) the predominant sentiment apart from more..

‘Death threats kept me away’

Mar 10 (CT) “Former Secretary of Defence threatened and criticised me over my training lecture even as I was returning from that lecture in Katana”, recalled former Police spokesman Prashantha Jayakody who recently returned from Australia, where he fled during the previous regime. On his return, Jayakody said that his concern was to see justice in the society. “Being a police officer if I had to face this much of agony what could have been the fate of a normal citizen? more..

Snags hit constitutional reforms

Mar 10 (NS) As the general election draws near, it appears as if the understanding between the two major political parties, the UNP and the SLFP is slowly dissipating as both parties contemplate the prospect of wresting control of Parliament. This week, the SLFP was reportedly insisting on enacting electoral reforms along with proposed amendments to the Constitution that would diminish the powers of the Executive Presidency, in keeping with the pledge given by more..

British School in Colombo accused of discrimination

Mar 10 (NS) The British School in Colombo has been accused of engaging in unethical educational practices by trying to force some students to sit for their International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exam as private candidates rather than from the school. The students concerned had reportedly underperformed at the recently held ‘mock examinations’ and it is alleged that the school is trying to force these students to sit as private candidates more..