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Maithree Gunaratne appointed competent authority of Mineral Sands Cooperation

Feb 8 (FT) Maithree Gunaratne yesterday claimed that he was today appointed by the President as the competent authority of Mineral Sands Cooperation after being sacked from Lanka Coal Company (LCC).  Last month the Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya sacked the Board of Directors of the LCC, including Chairman Maithree Gunaratne. The Minister stated that the move came after taking into account the facts, recommendations and conclusions of the report submitted by more..

UDA regains sweeping building powers

Feb 8 (CT) Urban Development Authority (UDA) has re-acquired several of its former powers which had been vested in local govt institutions through a special circular in the year 1985, regarding constructions in urban areas. These powers were re-vested in the UDA effective 1 Feb 2017. Accordingly, issuing of Conformity Certificates for construction of buildings that have been identified as having an impact on the general public, more..

Treasury Secretary likely to get an extension

Feb 8 (CT) Sri Lanka's low profile Secretary to the Treasury and Ministry of Finance, Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga is likely to get an extension when he reaches 60 years of age within a few months, Ministry of Finance sources said. Ministry of Finance sources said that he had already submitted his retirement papers to the government. "Following the government regulations, he has submitted the retirement papers. But he is highly likely to get an extension," the source said. more..

India Education Fair 2017 open to public

Feb 8 (HCI) India Education Fair 2017, organised by SAPE Events & Media Pvt Ltd, was jointly inaugurated on Tuesday (7) by Hon. Karu Jayasuriya, Speaker of Parliament of SL and Shri Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka at Galadari Hotel, Colombo. Speaking at the occasion, Karu Jayasuriya appreciated the Higher Education facilities in India and recalled the long lasting relationship between India and Sri Lanka in the field of education.  more..

Speaker overrules Prime Minister

Feb 8 (CT) A verbal clash ensued in Parliament when Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake and JO MP Indika Anuruddha delivered opposing opinions about alleged irregularities relating to a land excavation project in the Divulapitiya Electorate. Argument was initiated when Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake, rose to respond to an oral question posed by MP Anuruddha concerning the Divulapitiya PC. more..

Israel mulls direct air links with Colombo

Feb 8 (DN) Sri Lanka and Israel are looking at establishing direct air links between the two countries and firstly exploring the possibility of arranging charter operations commencing next summer. This is subsequent to a discussion Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga and Sri Lankan Embassy officials had with leading tour operators in Tel Aviv, while attending the 23rd annual International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM 2017) at Tel Aviv Convention Centre. more..

Ruhuna U. closure due to clash with villagers

Feb 8 (Island) Undergraduates of Ruhuna University blamed its authorities and Matara police for their inability to protect students from attacks carried out by a group of villagers as the universities main campus in Wellamadama had been closed indefinitely once again on Saturday evening due to clashes with surrounding villagers. The university administration had to close the university on Feb. 04 after undergraduates forcibly occupied the area opposite the administration building more..

Mahendran hits back

Feb 8 (DM) Former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran said a group of disgruntled Central Bank employees closely allied with a former Governor lobbied for his removal because he cancelled all the tamashas and excessive foreign travel enjoyed by a few of his select cronies. “During my period as Governor, I cancelled all the tamashas and excessive foreign travel enjoyed by a few select cronies of a former Governor. more..

Shooting in Malabe: PM to table report

Feb 8 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe assured Parliament that the govt would inform the House of the progress in investigations into the shooting in Malabe on Monday night in which the CEO of the SAITM, Dr. Sameera Senaratne, was targeted but escaped unhurt. PM said he would direct the IGP to inform the people of the progress of the investigation through the police media unit. PM made this statement in response to a Point of Order raised by JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake. more..

GMOA presents national front against SAITM

Feb 8 (DM) GMOA said a national front would be launched with regard to the SAITM in Malabe by making the political parties of the country aware of the matter. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said that they have discussed the matter with the Joint Opposition members including former president Rajapaksa and the JVP during recent days. “We have already written to President Sirisena on the effects of the ruling directing the SLMC to register SAITM's MBBS graduates. more..

SAITM throws down gauntlet

Feb 8 (FT) With the ongoing SAITM saga taking a dramatic turn when the institute’s CEO escaped an attempt on his life on Monday, controversial institute announced its renewed resolve to forge ahead insisting they were ready to face any exam set by a Govt authority. However, questions remain on the purpose of the alleged shooting as well as on matters pertaining to the academic qualifications of SAITM graduates. more..

SAITM: Extra judicial methods won’t overturn Court Ruling

Feb 8 (DM) Appeal Court on Jan 31 ruled that a petitioner, an MBBS graduate student of the SAITM had the legal right to be provisionally registered by the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) on the basis that she had fulfilled the necessary requirements laid down by the Medical Ordinance. This has resulted in the GMOA and university students protesting against SAITM claiming they are protesting against the Health Ministry and not against the Court Ruling, because the ministry had not expressed more..

GOSL duty-bound to protect rights of all citizens, whatever their status

Feb 8 (DM) De-criminalising is de-colonising. Repealing Article 365 and 365 (A) of Sri Lanka’s Penal Code is not just supporting the de-criminalising of same sex sexual conduct between consenting adults, it plays a key role in erasing archaic colonial attitudes which are still residual in our country. The recent rejection by the Govt of certain clauses that were included in the National Human Rights Action Plan recommending the repeal of Articles 365 & 365 (A) of Penal Code, more..

State sector manpower workers in limbo

Feb 8 (ST) Despite political promises during elections and continuing protests and strikes, issues related to Manpower Workers (MW) stand still in the backdrop of Government efforts to create new job opportunities. “The concept of MW that was started a few years back, is now well established in the country, especially in the Free Trade Zones. The lack of security in their jobs, salary anomalies, the inability to make long term plans and more..

'Absence of self critical assessment despite 20 year in power left SLFP in predicament'

Feb 8 (DM) Former Minister, and former Chairman of the COPE and leader of the Communist Party of SL, DEW Gunasekara discussed the current political situation in the country, the Bond scam and US policy on Sri Lanka under Trump administration. He shared the following. Q: You requested during a recent media briefing that President appoint a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the Bond scam. more..

Sarath N. Silva reveals how he helped Rajapaksa in murder trial

Feb 8 (AD) Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva says that while magistrates acted with judicial mentality in the past, that is not the case presently.  Addressing a gathering during the launch of a book authored by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s media secretary Rohan Weliwita on Tuesday (7), he also spoke about certain murder charged which had been leveled against Rajapaksa when he was still an MP. more..

'Schools for drivers island wide'

Feb 8 (NR) Deputy Minister Asoka Abeysinghe says steps are being taken to construct driver’s education schools across the country. He said, the law enforcement officers will not hesitate to take stern action against individuals who drive without their licences and registration. He said the govt has laid special tracks for individuals to take up driving lessons. Govt is also constructing a new track in Werahara and it will be opened promptly. more..

President opens One Earth Arboretum

Feb 8 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena declared open One Earth Arboretum (urban forest garden), established by Dilmah Tea in Katubedda today (7). One Earth Arboretum is a biodiversity experience that is designed to present the aesthetic, functional and psychological value of nature in an engaging and educational facility. This was established by Dilmah founder Merrill J. Fernando at a cost of Rs. 250 million more..

Finger printing for more offences

Feb 8 (DM) Making false allegations, child abuse, offences under the Immigration, Emigration Act, and computer frauds will be among the new offences that require the suspects to be finger printed following the amendments to be introduced to the Prevention of Crimes Ordinance (POCO). The Cabinet has approved the amendments submitted by Justice Ministry to amend POCO to include new crimes to be fingerprinted before trial. more..

Jayasuriya calls for a long term strategy

Feb 8 (DM) Chairman of National Cricket Selectors Sanath Jayasuriya urged local cricket authorities to work out a long term strategy which will help players perform better outside their comfort zone. Jayasuriya, a legendary Sri Lankan cricketer admitted that Sri Lankans have historically struggled in South African conditions but said he was disappointed by how tamely the players squandered their chances. more..

'India misread our ties with China'

Feb 8 (Hindu) India misinterpreted the Rajapaksa administration’s relationship with China, but is silent on the current govt’s engagement with the rising super power, MP Namal Rajapaksa, the eldest son of former President Rajapaksa, said. “We always made sure that SL soil or waters was not used against any other country. And we maintained that during my father’s time on a strict basis,” he told The Hindu. more..

'GMOA, SLMC should follow court order'

Feb 8 (DM) Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella, in an interview, stresses the need for promotion of private investment in higher education in Sri Lanka to create more and more opportunities for students. He says a Court Order regarding SAITM should be respected by all. Q: How do you see the future of private education in the backdrop of the court ruling in recognition of degrees obtained from the SAITM? more..

Foreign Ministry defends opening of consular office in Jaffna

Feb 8 (Island) Opening of a Regional Consular Office of the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Jaffna was meant to facilitate the people in the North and to ease the congestion in the Colombo office, Foreign Affairs Ministry clarified. Official said that it would open another office in the South too. Asked whether it was possible to establish a consular office within SL territory, he said it could to provide convenient consular services to the public. more..

Gammanpila hints at media oppression during MR’s regime

Feb 8 (NR) UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila has acknowledged media oppression during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s tenure as the Head of State however said the present administration is strategically pressurising media outlets. He said once the incumbent govt came into power it is visibly using very different and supposedly better methods. He added that during the tenure of the UPFA led govt if anyone in the govt was angered by the media they would go and hurl stones at the media more..

People discuss the film Usawiya Nihandai

Feb 8 (CT) The film by Prasanna Withanage titled Usaviya Nihandai (The Court is Silent), is being shown not in cinema halls only, but also at popular gatherings. I had the privilege of attending four such gatherings in different parts of the country, in Panadura, Negombo and two showings in different parts of Kandy. In each instance,about 30-40 persons watched the film, and discussed it among themselves. The stories in this film have been known to the public for a long time. more..

සරත් ෆොන්සේකා එක්ක තරහ ඇයි?

Govt failed to address public concerns: MR

Feb 8 (NR) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has accused the govt of failing to address concerns of the masses. Commenting on recent reports of an impending Cabinet re-shuffle, the Former President said issues concerning the public cannot be solved through cabinet re-shuffles. Responding to questions raised by the media following an event held in Colombo, MP Rajapaksa said the present administration always looks for opportunities deviate from pressing issues of the public. more..

A draconian move to bury justice

Feb 8 (Island) The govt is in a mighty rush to bury justice by hurrying it, so to speak. Justice hurried is justice buried, they say. It is reportedly going hell for leather to set up a Criminal Justice Commission (CJC), camouflaged as a tribunal to inquire into corruption to deal with high profile financial crimes. The proposed outfit is to be vested with powers to mete out punishment, we are told. The ill-conceived govt move is an indictment on the judiciary whose independence, impartiality and efficiency more..

New laws allocating separate areas for protests

Feb 8 (DM) New laws will be introduced with regard to protests soon, Minister Sagala Ratnayake informed Parliament. Minister who was speaking during an adjournment debate in the House said the govt will introduce new laws while safeguarding the people’s right of association and expression which are guaranteed by Constitution. Police will be trained more professionally to handle protests & civil disturbances. more..

President appoints four member committee to Lakehouse

Feb 8 (GDI) President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a four member committee headed by Retired SC Judge Nimal Dissanayaka to look into streamlining the work of the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. The other members of the committee are Raja Premadasa, V.D. Dahanayaka and lawyer Chandrasiri Seneviratna. The committee will look into the shortcomings in the administration and management, finances, as well as staff administration. more..

Dates fixed for trial over Shashi Weerawansa’s passport

Feb 8 (AD) Colombo Magistrate’s Court has set aside dates to hear the case against former Minister Wimal Weerawansa’s wife, Shashi Weerawansa, who has been charged with providing false personal information in order to obtain a diplomatic passport.  Chief magistrate today issued notice on three witnesses in the case to appear before the court on May 25, 30 and 31 in order to give testimonies. Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris, appearing for the Attorney General, more..

COPE reveals Rs110bn loss from 15 public institutions

Feb 8 (LBO) COPE today presented its third interim report to the Parliament. The interim report which covers the activities from 1 May 2016 to 31 Aug 2016 is based on the inquiries carried out in 15 state-owned institutions. COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti presenting the report before Parliament said that the total loss incurred by these 15 institutions was over 110 billion rupees. “These are not losses, rather uneconomical and more..

Govt identifying people’s needs: UNP

Feb 8 (NR) The General Secretary of the UNP Minister Kabir Hashim says persons who failed to address concerns of the general public while in power have no right to request a mandate again. Addressing an event held in Mawanella today he said the govt is in the process of identifying the needs of the people. The Minister directing attention to opposition politicians said those who were part of the previous govt and wish to intervene at present, have no right to do so. more..

Rajapaksas beaten by Lanka journalists

Feb 8 (LT) Lanka journalists who were charged of baseless accusations by Rajapaksa regime have been acquitted by Courts today. Three Lanka journalists were abducted while they visited the Bewaraliya estate at Deniyaya belonging to retired president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brother-in-law on 2nd Sept, 2009 to prepare an article regarding a mansion being built in the estate using state resources. Three journalists Ravindra Pushpakumaraa, Shalika Wimalasena and more..

Sri Lanka to give priority to constitution drafting over accountability mechanisms

Feb 8 (ENS) The govt will give priority to drafting a new constitution for the country over setting up war crimes accountability mechanisms like the Judicial Mechanism and the Truth-Seeking Commission, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. He said that the new constitution, which is the basic law of the land, would guarantee democracy, equality and fair play – conditions which are essential for national reconciliation. more..

Women’s WC Qualifiers: Weerakkody, Manodara fifties set up Sri Lanka win

Feb 8 (ICC) The last time Sri Lanka Women had won a ODI without Shashikala Siriwardene in its line-up was on Jan 30, 2002. She was more than a year away from making her debut back then. Not a part of the current squad because of an injury, Siriwardene, the face of women’s cricket in the country, watched with pride from the member’s stand of the NCC on Wednesday (8) as Sri Lanka beat Ireland Women by 146 runs in a Group A game of Women’s World Cup Qualifiers 2017. more..

Monetary Board curtails activities of Perpetual Treasuries

Feb 8 (AD) Monetary Board of the Central Bank has decided to curtail certain activities of Perpetual Treasuries, the controversial primary dealer at the centre of the CB bond scam. Governor of CB Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy stated that two internal inquiries regarding the bond issue are currently ongoing and that the IGP has been notified to conduct a police investigation. He further added that the actions taken against the perpetrators are proportionate to the violations identified more..

Sri Lanka’s external situation manageable, but more FDI needed: Governor

Feb 8 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s external debt situation is manageable. However, the current challenge is to increase inflows from exports and FDI, CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. “The external debt situation, in our view, is manageable. Sri Lanka has never defaulted on a payment. But the challenge for the country is to create non debt-creating inflows.” “Our short term borrowings are relatively high, we would like more..

Pakistan sends rice for drought affected people in Sri Lanka: FM

Feb 8 (Xinhua) Pakistan on Wednesday sent 25 tons of rice for the people of drought-hit Sri Lanka, which is facing the worst drought in four decades, the Foreign Ministry said. An aircraft carrying the rice has left for Sri Lankan capital Colombo, ministry said in a statement. Pakistani govt and people "stand shoulder to shoulder with the brotherly people of Sri Lanka in this hour of need and will continue to provide all possible support to them," statement said. more..

Govt won’t deprive Mahinda of his civic rights: Rajitha

Feb 8 (Island) Minister Rajitha Senaratne has strongly denied the govt deciding to deprive former President Mahinda Rajapaksa of his civic rights. He stressed that the govt wouldn’t under any circumstances intervene in the judiciary. A ministry statement quoted Dr. Senaratne as having said: "We are perturbed over the long delay in conducting investigations into mega corruption cases, especially MiG 27 deal, Dubai bank accounts, killing of national rugger player Wasim Thajudeen. more..