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Sri Lanka ramps up fuel imports as drought hits hydropower

Feb 8 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's fuel imports in January jumped to double typical monthly levels, with the country rushing to plug an energy shortfall as severe drought hits its hydropower output, industry sources said. The South Asian nation is suffering its worst drought in over 40 years, dragging hydro's share of Sri Lanka's power mix to below 11% in 2016 from an annual average of about 35%, said Senthil Kumaran, senior oil analyst more..

Video: Police vehicle knocks down pedestrians in Batti

Feb 8 (DM) A vehicle driven by a police officer had knocked down two women in front of the Batticaloa Police Head Quarters today on the Batticaloa –Trincomalee Road causing them serious injuries, the Police said. The injured were admitted to the Batticaloa Teaching Hospital. Investigations had revealed that the vehicle was coming out of the Police Quarters when it knocked down the two pedestrians. SP Kirthi Ratnayake, who visited the scene conducted preliminary investigations. more..

Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing celebrates Independence day

Feb 8 (GDI) 69th Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka was celebrated at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing on 4th Feb 2017 with more than 250 participants from the Sri Lankan community in China and Chinese well wishers. This event was graced by Kong Xuanyou, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and higher officials from the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Also Sri Lankan Buddhist monks Most Venerable Walgampura Dewananda Nahimi more..

Video: Should give space for private universities as SAITM: Akila

Feb 8 (DM) Govt should give some space to establish private universities such as SAITM in the country as all the school leavers couldn’t be enrolled into State Universities; Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said. Minister said he was the only person to adjourn a debate in Parliament against SAITM. “Former President Rajapaksa was the person who brought SITAM to the country and we are adopting his baby. I rose against SITAM in Parliament more..

Eight cases of H1N1 virus confirmed in Bibila

Feb 8 (AD) Eight confirmed cases of patients infected with H1N1 virus have been reported from Bibila Hospital, which has quarantined and another 22 or so patients suspected to have been infected by the virus. Director of the hospital Dr. Sunil Senarath said that the first case with regard to this was reported on Feb 1 and that a sample was sent to the Medical Research Institute (MRI) in Colombo. It was confirmed by the institute that it is in fact the H1N1 influenza virus. more..

Aloysius buying up Ministers, Media: JVP

Feb 8 (CT) JVP politburo member Wasantha Samarasinghe alleged that Perpetual Treasuries head Arjun Aloysius was handing out various privileges and gratifications to Ministers and certain media personnel out of the Rs 15 billion that was pilfered from the EPF Department in the CB Bond scam. He alleged that Aloysious has provided trips to Disneyland in the US for families of certain Ministers. Samarasinghe charged that Aloysius had also provided special star class hotel facilities more..

JVP questions govt over Welikada Prison riots

Feb 8 (NR) JVP today questioned the govt over the death of a group of inmates of the Welikada Prison during riots that broke out in 2012. Responding to a statement by Anura Kumara Dissanayake, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said the govt will take necessary steps based on the recommendations provided by a committee appointed in 2015 to look into the matter. MP said a committee was appointed more..

Police and Forensic Science University to be established soon

Feb 8 (GDI) The cabinet paper on Police and Forensic Science University will be presented to the cabinet in the near future said Minister Sagala Ratnayaka. He made these comments while engaged in a tour to inspect the land for the proposed Police University at Attidiya yesterday (7). He said the govt has decided to establish the Police and Forensic Science University and the main aim of establishing the university is to provide an opportunity for people in the field more..

People paying the price for govt corruption: SL to raise US$2.5b through foreign loans

Feb 8 (AFP) Sri Lanka’s Central bank today announced plans to raise US$2.5 billion in foreign loans, a month after Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said the country was struggling under a gigantic debt trap. The nation is struggling to repay billions of dollars borrowed by its previous govt for white-elephant projects. Central bank Governor Indrajith Coomaraswamy said the country will issue US$1.5 billion in sovereign bonds and raise another US$1 billion through a syndicated loan. more..

SAITM shooting: Attempt to divert mounting protest? JVP

Feb 8 (DM) JVP alleged that the govt was attempting to put the blame of the shooting at the SAITM CEO on the student unions and civil society groups and urged it to conduct a broad investigation over the incident and reveal the culprits. JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the SAITM issue should not be allowed to be suppressed through this sort of drama. “The govt is trying to put the blame on student unions and civil society groups over more..

TNA’s directionless & Docile leadership

Feb 9 (CT) TNA – composing EPRLF, TELO, ITAK and PLOTE Led by leaders Suresh Premachandran (EPRLF) Selvah Adaikalanathan (TELO) R. Sampanthan (ITAK) and T. Siddharthan (PLOTE) was formed in 2001 to present a unified approach and stand to face the problems of Tamils ever since they began in 1958. Out of this, the dominant partner is the ITAK or Federal Party as it was called during the 50s and 60s. OF the total of TNA’s parliamentary members elected in 2015 more..

An accommodation with the realities?

Feb 9 (FT) The European and the African have an entirely different concept of time. We climb into the bus and sit down. At this point there is a risk of culture clash, of collision and conflict. It will undoubtedly occur if the passenger is a foreigner who doesn’t know Africa. Someone like that will start looking around, squirming, inquiring, when will the bus leave? What do you mean, when? the astonished driver will reply. The bus will leave when we find enough people to fill it up more..

'President is a prisoner of his own govt'

Feb 9 (CT) President Sirisena is a prisoner of his own govt, thus, is unable to make unwavering decisions said UPFA MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, a member of the JO. He went on to say that President is trapped amidst a plethora of indecisive situations, where he feels obliged to the powers in the UNP, that made him President and is unable to trust anyone else. President is dillydallying he said, and added more..

Should Sri Lanka Roll Over in Geneva?

Feb 9 (DN) The 47-member UNHRC has a mandate to hold no fewer than three regular sessions a year, for a total of at least ten weeks. These sessions take place in March (four weeks), June (three weeks) and Sept (three weeks). Further, if one third of the Member States requests, HRC could decide to hold a special session at any time, to address human rights violations and emergencies. That was how the 11th Special Session of the HRC was convened to consider the situation in Sri Lanka in 2009, more..

Trump’s sanctions on Iran: A backward & dangerous move

Feb 9 (CT) President Trump’s pre-election condemnation of the 2015 Obama-Iran deal and his subsequent resolve to scrap that deal and reimpose sanctions against Iran all of which was music to Israel has taken the operational phase after Iran’s latest missile test. Irrespective of whether that test contravened conditions set by the Obama deal or not unilateral sanctions imposed on companies and individuals who deem to have connections with Iran, and Iran’s determination to ignore more..

Cyber crime, to make a quick buck : Hackers move faster than the law

Feb 9 (SO) Cyber crime will soon be a billion rupee business in Sri Lanka, if no legislative measures are introduced to penalize culprits using the means of others to make a good living, cyber security experts said. Computer data hacking today, is a trillion dollar crime the world over, with the number rising at a rapid pace due to inadequate laws to curb crime and bring the fraudsters to book. more..

SAITM vs GMOA :Hypocrisy over Hippocratic Oath

Feb 9 (DN) An issue that would have, in the ordinary course of events, become a debate for professional bodies and the legal system to engage in, is quickly snowballing into a political hot potato: the controversy over the SAITM. What has triggered the current debate is last week’s ruling by the Court of Appeal directing Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) to provisionally register graduates who have been awarded their medical degrees from SAITM. The much awaited verdict has led to howls of more..

Independence, sustainable development and the role of professionals

Feb 9 (FT) “It is not enough to have just a politically independent India. What is also needed is to have an Indian nation where every citizen will have religious and political rights (sic “and economic rights”), so that every person will have equal opportunity to develop.” “Independence is no doubt a matter of joy. But let us not forget that this independence has thrown on us greater responsibilities. By independence, we have lost the excuse of blaming the British more..

SAITM Issue JVP Press

Tough 3Q but Hemas Group ups 9-month earnings by 26% for Rs. 2.4 b

Feb 9 (FT) Hemas Holdings said Group revenue for the first nine months of FY 2016/17 rose by 12.9% to achieve Rs. 31.9 billion compared with the same period a year ago, while operating profit reached Rs. 3.3 billion and earnings Rs. 2.4 billion, a growth of 18.3% and 26.1% respectively. However, during the third quarter, Hemas said it had seen increasingly challenging operating conditions across most sectors. Increasing VAT rates and the introduction of VAT at hospitals, more..

Google Loon: Who is to blame for the delay?

Feb 9 (GV) In a news report published in the Daily Mirror on 23 January 2017 (PDF here), Telecommunication Infrastructure Development Minister Harin Fernando is quoted explicitly noting that though the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) and the Cabinet had approved the much touted Google Loon project, delays around introduction and implementation “is caused by the ITU”. Groundviews sought clarification from the ITU over Twitter. more..

Moulding metallic hydrogen

Feb 9 (NS) Prof Ranga Dias, although currently a Post doctoral fellow at Harvard University, never really applied to Harvard. They invited him, three times. He missed out on the first two meetings due to work and other engagements, but was able to attend the third meet. His Ph.D work at Washington State Uni in the field of extreme condensed matter physics, specializing in superconductivity, insulator metal transitions more..

Media harassment at Women’s WC qualifiers

Feb 9 (DN) The ICC women’s World Cup qualifiers that commenced in Sri Lanka to select four teams for the big event in England next June continues as an event that is not worthy of its name as an ICC status tournament when considering the facilities extended to the media personal. Even though this is an international event, only one overseas journalist from India is present at the venues to cover the matches. The facilities provided to all media personal were very unsatisfactory. more..

The failing of multiculturalism

Feb 9 (CT) In the play The Ivory King who created a kingdom in the north we are told that Aava, a saber-toothed tiger, was one of the king's three pets. Some attribute the story as being inspired by Hindu mythology. Aava was one of the seven beasts who served the Ivory King. Each of these beasts was given a specific task. Those who have analyzed the story line contend that "we know of only 3 beasts that remain of the seven: Aava, Lud and Zallen. Aava's task was to protect more..

Max retail price for rice comes into force

Feb 9 (FT) Ushering in much-needed order to the domestic rice market, the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) issued a Maximum Retail Price (MRP) order for three varieties of rice yesterday while the Minister in charge issued a stern warning to errant sellers across the country. The order was effective yesterday and was gazetted last midnight under Extraordinary Gazette No. 2005/24. “The CAA will act on errant traders more..

Australia lowers travel advisory for Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (CT) Australian Govt has lowered its degree of Travel Advisory to level 1 for Sri Lanka recently. Level1 is the lowest level in the Australian Travel Advisory. Thus, Sri Lanka Tourism entered another turning point in the tourism industry with this initiative. Sri Lanka has now achieved a notable hallmark in the tourism sector, proving that it is a safe destination to travel and also has an interesting travel experience. Travel Advisory is periodically updated by Department of Foreign Affairs more..

England Lions arrive for SL tour

Feb 9 (DN) Sri Lanka ‘A’ team coach Avishka Gunawardena said he hopes to fulfill his duties to the best interest of the country and make the forthcoming series against England Lions a success. The former attacking batsman who represented Sri Lanka in six Tests and 61 ODI’s stated that he is very happy to provide the opportunity to some youngsters to enter the national squad during his period as ‘A’ team coach. The England Lions series will consist of four-day matches and more..

Sri Lanka worries about Indian Trojan horse

Feb 9 (ENS) For decades before and after Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948, India’s relations with the island nation were political and adversarial. But since the second half of the 1990s, there has been a gradual shift to trade, development assistance and investment, in that order. While India has been wanting to build bridges with Sri Lanka, veering from two decades of exclusive involvement with the intractable Tamil question, more..

Parliament lifts land lease tax on foreigners from Jan 08

Feb 9 (EN) SL's legislators approved changes to the land alienation law in Sri Lanka that removed a 15% nationalist tax on land leased to foreigners with effect from Jan 8, 2017. Foreigners were barred from owning free hold land during the Rajapaksa regime and the tax was imposed on leases during the Rajapaksa regime. Under changes, foreigners, foreign companies & locally incorporated companies with more than 50% foreign ownership will be allowed to lease land without a penal tax. more..

'Getting Century in South Africa was one of my dreams'

Feb 9 (CT) Skipper Upul Tharanga took the spectators back down memory lane to the time he opened with Sanath Jayasuriya by scoring a blistering century in Newlands, his 14th ODI ton, where he made SLC aware of his class as an opener which Sri Lanka missed throughout the last three years. Tharanga who last scored a century in July 2013 prior to this, smashed a 25 ball fifty adding 100 for the opening stand in just 10 overs, and smashed 7 sixes in his 90 ball 119 inning, more..

Video: JO defends scholarships given to students to enter SAITM

Feb 9 (DM) Joint Opposition (JO) today defended the awarding of full scholarships to students to study medical degree offered by SAITM during the previous govt’s tenure. Prof. G.L. Peiris said awarding a scholarship to study a degree was different from recognizing the degree as an authenticated profession. He made these remarks as a response to a question whether it was appropriate to award scholarships to more..

Cabinet approves increasing the allowance of Principals

Feb 9 (ITN) Cabinet has granted its nod to increase the allowance of Principals. Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said Teacher Assistant Allowance will be increased to 10,000 rupees. He revealed of plans to recruit 1093 graduate teachers. There are 10,161 schools in the island. Cabinet approval has been received to increase the allowance of Principals of these schools from 2500 rupees to 6500 rupees. Teachers Assistance allowance will be increased from 6000 to 10,000 rupees. more..

India- Sri Lanka Foundation invites project proposals for consideration

Feb 9 (HCI) India - Sri Lanka Foundation (ISLF) was established by a MoU between govts of India and Sri Lanka in 1998 in order to foster India-SL relations through the enhancement of economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation and to promote greater understanding between the people of the two countries. India-SL Foundation now invites project proposals, in the areas of Education, Art & Culture, Archaeological Studies, Agricultural Research, Science & Technology, more..

Sri Lanka political crisis manifests through Lake House

Feb 9 (EN) Sri Lanka's festering tensions between the President and the PM came out into the open again, this time over the administration of the strategically-important Lake House publishing enterprise. In a surprise move, President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday night appointed a four-member committee to investigate Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited which is better known as Lake House, a subject under the Media minister. more..

US cooperation agreement amendment considered

Feb 9 (NR) The Cabinet of Ministers has considered the amendment of cooperation agreements with the United States. The US has agreed to increase the provision of financial contributions according to agreements signed with the government in 2011 for implementing two development programmes. The programmes include Strengthened Partnership for Domestic Reform & Social Integration and Increased Equitable Economic Growth and Public Financial Management. more..

Video: If private tuition is okay why not SAITM, asks SB

Feb 9 (DM) What was wrong in obtaining a degree from a private university if it was permissible for the medical students to enter State universities by attending to private tuition classes, Minister S.B. Dissanayake said today. He said that the students who were not eligible to enter State universities could obviously have the ability to obtain a degree through private universities, with the aid of a scholarship or a loan scheme. “The students who are struggling on the roads against SAITM more..

Swashakthi to bolster 25,000 MSMEs

Feb 9 (FT) National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry launched the Swashakthi loan scheme aimed at developing and generating employment at 25,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which is essential for real economic growth. The launch was held under the patronage of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Ministers Niroshan Perera, Chandrani Bandara and more..

MR's ex-security chief's case fixed for Mar 7

Feb 9 (DM) Counter objections by the Bribery Commission for the five cases filed against Major Neville Wanniarchchi, former security chief of former President Rajapakse, was fixed for March 7 by Colombo Additional Magistrate. The prosecution requested time to file counter objections, against the preliminary objections filed by the defence on a previous occasion. BC filed five cases against Wanniarchchi for allegedly not declaring his assets and liabilities from 2010 to 2014, more..

Sri Lanka woos Middle East market at IMTM

Feb 9 (SLT) Renewed efforts are being made to position Sri Lanka as an attractive destination for the outbound Middle East tourism market. The star performer for Sri Lanka in the Middle East market last year was Israel, which grew by an impressive 33.4% year-on-year in a scenario where overall growth from the region was 6.5%. In order to consolidate this growth trend SL Tourism is paying special attention to the Israeli outbound market which is estimated at 16 million travellers, more..

Two wrongs do not make a right: VAC

Feb 9 (DM) The financial misappropriation allegedly committed by former CB governor Arjun Mahendran could not be swept under the carpet just because he alleged that his predecessor was also involved in such misappropriations, Voice Against Corruption (VAC) today charged. In response to the claims made by Mr. Mahendran, VAC Convener Wasantha Samarasinghe said that the audit report more..