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ACF slams Power Ministry

Feb 9 (CT) Anti-Corruption Front (ACF) says that the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy is once again shamelessly trying to mislead the Cabinet led by the President, by purchasing Diesel Power Generators for Rs 5,000 million in order to buy a unit of power at Rs 40. Advisor of the ACF Keerthi Tennakoon said that an advertisement was published in Daily News newspaper, on 29 Dec 2016, for the purchase of 60 MW of additional power for a period of six months. more..

I will not let anyone politicize this post: AG

Feb 9 (DM) Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe is now at the centre of much controversy, with certain MPs and Ministers expressing their views of him and some even having gone to the extent of criticizing his findings on the Bond Scam, saying it is not independent. The most recent announcement by Minister Kiriella in Parliament that the AGs report had been rejected by the World Bank added further criticism from others as well. more..

WFP Executive Director visits Sri Lanka

Feb 9 (WFP) Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Ertharin Cousin, travels to Sri Lanka on Friday at the invitation of the Govt to attend the launch of the National Strategic Review on Food Security and Nutrition, which will help shape and inform the country’s ongoing efforts to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG2) of zero hunger. The launch will bring together  Govt, NGOs and civil society, academia,  the private sector and UN agencies. more..

New Constitution: Govt intends going in for referendum

Feb 9 (DM) The Govt intends to go in for a referendum with the consent of all parties including the SLFP on the new Constitution, Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament today. He came out with this remark when joint opposition MP Wimal Weerawansha questioned about a statement made by Minister Mangala Samaraweera that the govt would go for a process of devolution of power. The MP claimed the minister had made such a statement to the foreign media. more..

Speaker tells authorities to look into Sumanthiran’s security

Feb 9 (CG) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya informed the authorities today to look into the security of MP M.A. Sumanthiran. The Hindu newspaper had reported recently that the Prime Minister’s office sent a message to the TNA MP about a serious security threat to his life that Sumanthiran needed to be aware of. A well-placed source in the Govt, on condition of anonymity, had told The Hindu that such a message was delivered to Sumanthiran. more..

Private mini-hydro: Energy generation or willful destruction?

Feb 10 (CT) In an article published in Ceylon Today titled Small Hydropower Developers Cry Foul, dated Jan 29, Thusitha Peiris and Anil Makalande of the Mini Hydro Developers Association have made baseless allegations that Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka (RPSL) is a foreign funded NGO aiming to destroy the hydropower sector. Such accusations made through the media with no facts to prove their veracity are clearly an attempt to distort the facts and mislead the public. more..

That SAITM problem: What to do and what not to do

Feb 10 (CT) Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) is a regulatory body. Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) is a union. The former has to comply with the law, the latter can campaign against the law. The former is (supposedly) free of politicking, the latter (again, supposedly) is not. It is to be expected, then, that when the Court of Appeal rules in favour of a private medical school, the latter rises up, encourages the University student movement in the country to campaign against it, more..

'We will continue our struggle against SAITM'

Feb 10 (CT) General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva says the SAITM Judgment had been delivered upon the legal facts presented before Court. He also states However, it does not negate the fact that SAITM provides substandard education to their students. Q: JVP led socialist students union staged an intense protest against the establishment of SAITM, as the Court of Appeal has directed the SLMC to give provisional registration more..

Reaching out with love and kindness

Feb 10 (DN) There is a popular Sinhala saying Colombata kiri gamata kekiri (Milk for Colombo and cucumber for the village), which highlights the great disparity in state education between Colombo and the more remote areas of the country. Things have not changed much since then and now, for many remote schools. There is a great disparity in development activities between Colombo and the rest of the country. The facilities in the urban schools far exceeds the more remote schools more..

Kala Pola 2016: Celebration of art

Feb 10 (DN) Organised by The George Keyt Foundation and the John Keells Group, Kala Pola 2016 took place, recently. Over 300 registered artists and over 22,000 visitors flocked into Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7 which was adorned with a variety of art ranging from breath-taking paintings and life-like portraits to abstract art and intricate sculptures. The Chief Guest was German Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Dr. Jürgen Morhard, Chairman and Trustees more..

When Sri Lanka went to cuckoo land

Feb 10 (CI) Late one weeknight in Sept 1982, a South African lawyer called Colin Rushmere flew into Colombo. He had flown from his home town of Port Elizabeth up to Johannesburg, then on to Hong Kong and Sri Lanka. The timing of his arrival in Colombo was no accident: the hour was sleepy, and as expected, customs officials were bleary-eyed. His most important item of luggage was a briefcase, a constant companion. more..

On Keppapulavu

Feb 10 (GV) Feb 9 marks the tenth day of protests in Keppapulavu, a village in Mullaitivu, where residents are demanding the return of their land. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is meeting with representatives of the Keppapulavu protests – but the struggle for the return of their land has been ongoing for years. Groundviews compiled the reportage on the issue, in tandem with the recent hunger strike by families of the missing in Vavuniya. Click here to view the story, more..

Waste not, want not

Feb 10 (CT) A significant feature in extracts of the recent COPE report published by this newspaper yesterday covering the period from year 2014 of the Mahinda Rajapaksa era up to 2016 in the Maithripala – Ranil Yahapalana Govt was that a mere 15 key State institutions or State-managed institutions were responsible for the waste of Rs 110 billion in taxpayers' money. This wastage is equivalent to 0.98% of GDP as at 2015 according to latest available annual data, more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Statement by women’s rights organisations, activists on NHRAP

Feb 10 (GV) We, a collective of Sri Lankan individuals and organisations working for the advancement of the human rights of women, are unanimous in our concern about the disturbing news that certain provisions in the National Human Rights Action Plan, critical to women’s rights and gender equality, are at risk of being dropped. Reports in the mainstream media referred to calls from a few members of the Cabinet to drop selected clauses in Women’s Rights chapter which recommend more..

Dialog Axiata December net doubles to Rs1.25bn

Feb 10 (EN) Dialog Axiata said December 2016 quarter net profit rose 102% to Rs1.25 billion from a year ago but was much lower than the previous quarter after a tax hike slowed sales and earnings growth. Group sales in the quarter grew 13.7% to Rs22.8 billion, according to interim accounts filed with the stock exchange. Dialog Axiata's net profit in the September 2016 quarter was Rs2.8 billion. Earnings per share for the quarter were 15 cents. The share was last traded at Rs10.60. more..

Australia’s tourism skills development to start in East

Feb 10 (LBO) Under the skills for inclusive growth program Australia will provide around 1.6 billion rupees in aid and technical assistance, to strengthen Sri Lanka’s tourism sector through training. “A profitable and sustainable tourism industry requires more than natural and cultural assets, which Sri Lanka has in abundance, it requires high-level hospitality skills,” said Bryce Hutchesson, Australian high commissioner. more..

State Finance Minister defends AG

Feb 10 (FT) Launching a strong defence of the Auditor General (AG), Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena found fault with those who were trying to influence the work carried out by the officer. “If anyone is trying to influence the AG and claims that he is not supposed to carry out his duty, it is completely wrong,” he told journalists. Noting that the AG was an independent official, the Minister said he was only liable to respond to the Parliament and not answerable to any individual. more..

How to avoid Illegal abortions

Feb 10 (CT) The number of illegal abortions has risen in recent years. In 2003 Sri Lanka had an average of 2,000 abortions a day and by 2016 it shot up to an average of 5,000 abortions a day according to reliable medical sources. The majority of the abortions are performed on unmarried women between 20-30 years. Such abortions can have serious repercussions on the women causing infertility. Studies have revealed that induced abortions at any period of gestation are more..

Striking staff: SLC door always open for discussions: Thilanga

Feb 10 (CT) Employees, who served at SLC on contract basis and being deployed at Provincial Cricket Associations, began a protest outside their cricket stadiums requesting for permanent appointments. Protests that started by Dambulla Stadium employees, was joined by workers in five other int'l cricket stadiums. About 100 employees from Dambulla, R. Premadasa, Sooriyawewa & Pallekele joined the protest. more..

SriLankan Airlines says aircraft lease to PIA most profitable

Feb 10 (EN) SriLankan Airlines said a wet lease of an Airbus A330-300 aircraft to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) under which it gave both the aircraft and the crew had been the most profitable deal done by the national carrier recently. The aircraft, given for six months on Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance (ACMI) basis, will rejoin the SriLankan fleet after it is repainted in the national carrier’s livery within the next couple of weeks, a statement said. It gave no financial details of the deal. more..

Today is Navam Poya Day

Feb 10 (DM) The monk order hails from Sariputta and Moggallana, according to scriptures. Both arahants, especially Sariputta, bear tales of inspiration. How they became chief disciples is an interesting tale, as laid down in Bhikkhu Nanamoli’s The Life of Sariputta: Having approached, the friends saluted the Blessed One reverentially and sat down at one side. When they were seated they spoke to the Blessed One, saying: “May we obtain, O Lord, the ordination of the Going Forth more..

Asoka Peiris sacked

Feb 10 (CT) Competent Authority of the Lanka Mineral Sands Company, Asoka Peiris, has been removed with immediate effect. Peiris has been removed following an order received from the top echelons of the govt, but that no reason for his sacking has been intimated to him. Peiris was also the Chairman of the Delimitation Committee, while he was also a senior public official besides having worked as a Secretary to a Ministry. more..

Art of friendship

Feb 10 (DN) Friendship can at times be one of the most difficult aspects of our lives while at other times the most helpful. In Buddhism, friendship is an extremely important factor, perhaps even more so than you might expect. Whatever kind of life you have, your friends are both a part of it and a reflection of it. Work or school associates, sports teammates, companions in religious community – in all of these, there is some degree of choice. You accept a job, join a team, more..

A slight mishap

Feb 10 (DM) The Speaker’s chair went tumbling today when a presiding member who was sitting on it stood up to give it to another presiding member in Parliament last afternoon. MP Ananda Kumarasiri who was at the chair stood up to make way for MP Shehan Semasinghe who was to take it, but the chair went tumbling before Mr Semasinghe could sit on it. The chair was lifted up by some employees who were on duty in the chambers at the time. more..

Govt to probe leaked audit report of former CB Governor

Feb 10 (FT) Govt is to probe the leaked Central Bank audit report of former Governor Arjuna Mahendran, which alleged embezzlement which a senior State Minister described as second only to the infamous bond. State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told journalists the audit report was disappointing for the Govt which was voted in for good governance hence the matter would be probed and Mahendran was answerable. more..

Mobile animal health clinic for cattle farmers in Kilinochchi District supported by FAO

Feb 10 (FT) Under the Agro-Economic Development Project funded by the Govt of Canada, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with Department of Animal Production and Health (DAPH) in the Northern Province has introduced animal health mobile clinics in Kilinochchi District to ensure good dairy management practices as well as to increase the milk production in the district. FAO’s initiative to provide mobile animal clinics provides more..

Shady CB land deals abroad? MPs demand PSC probe

Feb 10 (CT) Several Parliamentarians have called on Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to probe expenses incurred by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka when purchasing properties abroad. The MPs have asked that a PSC be appointed by the Speaker to look into the purchasing of a building to house the Sri Lankan Embassy in Brazil as well as the buying of an office for the United Nations permanent representative in the US. more..

Muslims and moderates jittery as Eluga Tamil goes east

Feb 10 (FT) Mohammed Ibrahim, a 40-year-old Kattankudy businessman, looked up after the gunfire stopped. Dozens of men, who had been kneeling, face down in prayer just like him only moments ago, lay unmoving around him. On 3 Aug 1990, Tiger cadres wielding machine guns and hand grenades stormed into two mosques in Kattankudy in the Batticaloa District during Friday night prayers and opened fire. more..

Govt to strengthen public service

Feb 10 (FT) The Govt yesterday acknowledged the importance of the public sector, calling it a vital pillar to strengthen the country’s economy. State Finance Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena pointed out that in a country where the public service is driven by a welfare policy, strengthening the Govt service was critical for economic development.   “The President and the SLFP are of the view of strengthening the public sector to improve the economy,” he said. more..

Darin shatters Sri Lanka records

Feb 10 (CT) National Power lifting Champion and Asian bronze medalist Darin Weerasinghe and a team of eight took part at the Annual National Independence Bench Press Championship organized by the Sri Lanka Power Lifting Federation held on 4 February at Bandaragama. Darin broke the Sri Lanka bench press record in his first attempt with 195kg and went onto do a 200kg lift which was given the 3 green lights by the referees indicating it as a good lift. more..

Ravi complains of mole in CB

Feb 10 (DN) Minister Ravi Karunanayake in Parliament complained of leaking inside information of Central Bank to the media. He expressed his concerns that certain high ranking officials of the CB were behind this move. Speaker said he would bring this matter to the attention of CB Governor. Minister quoting a news article in a Sunday paper said; “Article carried under the title 'Request to appoint outsider more..

CEB gets ADB funding for 100MW wind farm

Feb 10 (EN) CEB has secured funding from the Asian Development Bank for a 100 MegaWatt wind farm in the north western district of Mannar, Deputy Power Minister Ajith Perera said. He said tenders to build the plant is expected to be floated in the next two months, Perera told parliament. Mannar location was estimated to be able to generate 375 MW of wind power. The balance 275 MW will be developed with private capital. These will be awarded by competitive tender, Perera told parliament. more..

Sandakan to be replaced for the final clash

Feb 10 (CT) Sri Lanka's premier spinner in the limited over series in South Africa, Lakshan Sandakan will be rested for the final ODI between Sri Lanka and South Africa to be played at Centurion today. The Chinaman bowler who made his debut in the last home series against Australia impressed claiming four wickets on his debut T20 match against South Africa in Johannesburg before he went wicketless in the last two ODIs played at Johannesburg and Cape Town. more..

Sanath Jayasuriya resigns?

Feb 10 (CT) Selection committee chairman Sanath Jayasuriya has forwarded his resignation for the second time in recent times due to continued interference on selections. Jayasuriya earlier forwarded his resignation last year prior to the selection of the squad to South Africa, to the Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara but the Minister had sorted out the concerns of Jayasuriya and he continued to work as chairman. more..

Tharanga delighted about Malinga’s return

Feb 10 (CT) Sri Lanka's new T20 captain, Upul Tharanga was delighted about the return of the country's premier fast bowler, Lasith Malinga to the T20 team that will play a three-match T20 series in Australia. Tharanga who had lead SL in two ODI series' in Zimbabwe and now in South Africa is given the responsibility of leading SL team for the Australian tour ahead of former World T20 winning skipper Malinga as the regular skipper Angelo Mathews is ruled out due to injury. more..

Fresh move to revive the gentlemen’s game

Feb 10 (DM) A major shake-up of the popular game’s national team is in the offing, they say. This is due to come as a sequel to a collective complaint made by several prominent members saying that they had found the conduct of a certain mate intolerable and they did not want to play in the same team with him any longer. According to informed sources, the authorities of the gentlemen’s game had to press hard these unhappy players to participate in the recent foreign tours and more..

FR petition flays Trinco oil farm deal

Feb 10 (CT) Ceylon Petroleum Minor Workers' Union filed a Fundamental Rights Application in the Supreme Court stating that the SL Govt had to pay considerable sums of money to the Lanka-Indian Oil Company for storing oil in the China Bay installation tanks which are entirely owned by SL Govt. The Union further states that the China Bay Tank Farm needs to return to absolute State control in the interests of securing control over more..

COPE wants more clout

Feb 10 (DM) COPE has asked for more powers including authority to conduct public hearings, its Chairman Sunil Handunnetti said. Committee has presented these proposals on to the committee appointed by Speaker to look into the amendment of standing orders. "COPE has asked for the amendments of standing orders for it to conduct public hearings and to open the sessions to the media," he said. COPE had for the amendments to standing orders so that it could summon more..

Wakeup call from COPE: Ministry Secys found wanting

Feb 10 (CT) Sunil Handunnetti, Chairman of COPE emphasized that, as the final officers responsible for accounting in Govt Ministries, Departments and Corporations, Ministry Secretaries should make politicians understand flaws in unlawful decisions taken by them. If not, finally the Ministry Secretaries will have to be held responsible for the illegal decisions taken by politicians, he said. He said that they had also sought Speaker's permission for COPE to hold public hearings in the future. more..