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Environmentalists up in arms over mini-hydro plants

Feb 16 (SO) With the increasing demand for electricity and exploring new avenues of power generation, sometimes we forget what the limit is or the lines that need not be crossed. Is electricity so important that we must get it at whatever cost? For many reasons mini-hydro plants were opted for, in order to circumvent the power crisis. But, the impact it has made socially, economically and most importantly environmentally is catastrophic. more..

Unique place to witness masterpieces of days gone by

Feb 16 (DN) After nearly two and a half years of renovations, one of the most iconic places to visit in Colombo was the Colombo National Museum which was open to the public with a modern look into the past. Colombo National Museum with its modern face lift was also known as the largest museum in Sri Lanka, re-opened to the public on Feb 6, 2017. The Museum also celebrated its 140 years on Jan 1, 2017. This 140 year old museum is surrounded by a well maintained compound of around 7 acres. more..

Corrupt governance leads to destruction

Feb 16 (CT) At the time that we received our independence, the founding fathers, who were engaged in politics, had been mostly respected, wealthy, educated people par excellence. Among them were politicians of the calibre of C.W.W. Kannangara, Ponnambalam Ramanathan, and Sir Razeek Fareed. It's hence unfortunate that after the 1970s the flood-gates were opened to everyone to run for political office. Was it because there was no min. standard of educational qualification more..

CTSU to protest SAITM ruling-on the streets

Feb 16 (CT) General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers' Services Union Mahinda Jayasinghe during an interview with Ceylon Today said that although the Courts have passed judgment to accept SAITM, they will take the issue to the streets rallying all genuine supporters against it. He further added that the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was merely an opportunist, and not a genuine supporter of SAITM. more..

Younger the heart stronger the flame

Feb 16 (NS) A recent video of a couple of teenagers making out in a Sri Lankan public school went viral for all the wrong reasons. Not to confuse romance with sexual behaviour, but making out is nothing new to Sri Lankan public mixed schools. The only novelty here is Facebook and Youtube. School romances are as old as Dhammi and Sugath of Golu Hadawatha or Kusum and Nimal of Gehenu Lamai. “Sexual behaviour during adolescence is nothing new”, said Peradeniya Uni, Medical Faculty, more..

When Radio Ceylon was King of airwaves!

Feb 16 (DN) Today, Monday Feb 13 is World Radio Day. United Nations General Assembly (UNESCO) invites all radio stations and supporting organisations to join in the celebrations which it says is a chance to pay tribute to the medium and to express our gratitude as to how it helps shape our lives! World Radio Day was first celebrated in 2012, following its declaration by the UNESCO General Conference. It was subsequently adopted as an International Day by the organisation. more..

Wijedasa Rajapaksa

Mapping Sri Lanka's connection to the controversial human zoo

Feb 16 (DM) What makes a person Sri Lankan? To understand it is important to consider the impact colonialism had on our cultural notions of Lankanness. Even though this question underpins many of the political debate post-independent Sri Lanka has been grappling with, Natalie Soysa highlights how the question impacts people on an individual level – specifically to a small group of Ceylonese who were shepherded to Europe as exhibits during the era of the human zoo. more..

Free City Walk in Amsterdam

Feb 16 (Island) My friend suggested we join a Free City Walk and tour Amsterdam. I never thought it would be interesting but decided to join. However, our journey was interrupted by the arrival of the Belgium king to Amsterdam. I never knew that Belgium had a king and heard even the Dutch king too had come out to greet him. I thought kings were people from the past. Anyway after the kings and kingmakers left, Amsterdam and the streets were cleared and we met the Free City Walkers more..

Vision 2020 losing sight of its objectives?

Feb 16 (Island) People’s Movement for Patients Rights (PMPR) warned that donors would not continue supporting the Vision 2020 project if it was withdrawn from the purview of the Health Ministry. PMPR Spokesman, M. Chandralal said the donors had received written information that the programme would be handed over to the College of Ophthalmologists of SL and carried out under the purview of the National Eye Hospital. more..

Yahapalana cooks brawl;  people starve

Feb 16 (Island) The yahapalana administration is like a soup kitchen where cooks are brawling while the poor are desperately waiting outside to dull the pangs of hunger. The term, national unity govt, is a misnomer. Ministers, representing the two main parties, which have opted for a political marriage of convenience, are at daggers drawn. They clash at the drop of a hat, levelling as they do, very serious allegations against one another. On-going dispute over corruption at PMB is a case in point. more..

Judiciary must be clean & transparent: Prez

Feb 16 (DN) President Maithripala Sirisena said that he has always been an advocate that all affairs relating to the judiciary must be clean and transparent. President was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the National Law Conference 2017 at Galle Face Hotel in Colombo. President stressed that he had never made arbitrary decisions when it comes to appointments in the judiciary. President said the recent appointment of a High Court judge which led to controversy more..

President appoints Chamath Palihapitiya as Digital Ambassador of Sri Lanka

Feb 16 (FT) Chamath Palihapitiya, a Sri Lankan-born businessmen and investor in the Silicon Valley, was appointed as the ICT Ambassador of Sri Lanka by President Maithripala Sirisena to promote Sri Lanka in the Silicon Valley as well as to provide necessary support to bring down the latest technology from the Silicon Valley to SL. Palihapitiya first joined AOL and paved his way through the ladder to become head of AOL’s more..

South Asian stock exchange officials to meet in Colombo

Feb 16 (LBO) Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) will host the executive committee board meeting for the current term of the South Asian Federation of Exchanges (SAFE) on 27th of Feb. “The event will strengthen cooperation among our exchanges and create opportunity for cross-border investment linkages,” Vajira Kulatilaka, chairman, SAFE and CSE said. “Collaboration of our fellow exchanges will play a vital role in accelerating economic integration in South Asia going forward.” more..

Hayleys 3Q16 profits grow by 8%

Feb 16 (Island) Hayleys PLC’s profits after tax rose by 8% Year-on-Year (YoY) to reach Rs. 1.1 billion during the quarter ended Dec 31, 2016 (3Q16). Revenue during the quarter increased by a sharp 27% YoY up to Rs. 30 billion buoyed by strong performances across in the Group’s Agriculture, Construction Materials, Transportation & Logistics, and Hand Protection segments, while Operating profits expanded by 24% YoY, reflecting strong growth in core operating activities. more..

'Protests might deter Chinese investors'

Feb 16 (EN) China’s envoy to SL, Yi Xianling, said Chinese firms will not take land for an industrial zone and Chinese-managed port in the island’s south against the people’s wishes but warned investors could lose patience if protests against the projects continue. He said China’s proposed One Belt, One Road initiative to revive the Maritime Silk Route stands to benefit Sri Lanka given its position on the main trade route across Indian Ocean. more..

Tea hub in SL only a proposal, say exporters

Feb 16 (ST) Tea exporters who succeeded in getting the tea hub status and blending of teas in Sri Lanka passed in two successive budgets say the proposal is yet to get implemented due to strong opposition from sections of the industry. Govt authorities have noted that they have not had any discussion on this subject. Plantation Ministry Secretary Upali Marasinghe said that there is no blending discussion underway. “We have done our best to get the setting up of the tea hub passed but more..

SL cricketers to complain about raw ordeal

Feb 16 (Island) As if the 3-0 whitewash in the Test series and the 5-0 drubbing in the subsequent ODI series in South Africa weren’t bad enough, the national cricket team was made to go through another rough ordeal as they took a long route to Australia instead of taking a direct flight. As there was little time between the series in South Africa and the current one in Australia, it had been decided by SLC to fly the team from South Africa to Australia instead of coming back home. more..

China Silk Road project in Sri Lanka delayed as Beijing toughens stance

Feb 16 (Reuters) China will delay a planned $1.1 billion investment in a port on its modern-day Silk Road until Sri Lanka clears legal and political obstacles to a related project, sources familiar with the talks said, piling more pressure on the island nation. Heavily indebted Sri Lanka needs the money, but payment for China's interests in Hambantota port could be delayed by several weeks or months, the sources added. more..

Domestic tournament launched with new format

Feb 16 (CT) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officially launched a limited over tournament on a new format on Tuesday at R. Premadasa Int'l Stadium. The new format will see the 23 clubs (comprising over 250 players) involved in the Premier League, ODIs and T20s competing against each other and will consist of 64 matches. The main aim of this new format is to unearth fresh talent. President of SLC Thilanga Sumathipala pointed out that every exceptional cricketer should be given a just and more..

Looking through the looking-glass: No sign of daylight

Feb 16 (ST) There is never a dull moment in this little Wonder of Asia. Either there is a radicalised bunch of kids trying to change the world, shouting their throats hoarse and dry, or else, it would be a bunch of know-alls trying to drill some sense or nonsense into the political blockheads but, are driven back by a kaki-clad swarm of lawmen just trying to keep their jobs intact. On Tuesday morning, it just appeared out of thin air. Our Dambulla Correspondent Kanchana Ariyadasa more..

JO accuses Ravi K of involvement in Vehicle Lanka’s illegal business

Feb 16 (FT) The Joint Opposition (JO) yesterday challenged Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake to an open debate over the Vehicle Lanka Ltd. issue, which it claimed had led to a loss of Rs. 6.6 billion for the State. JO MP Udaya Gammanpila alleged that Karunanayake had misled the Cabinet by granting approval for the import of Vehicle Lanka Ltd. vehicle spare parts by concealing the accurate nature of the business from the Cabinet. more..

Big Match fever begins on 24-25

Feb 16 (CT) 54th Battle of the Brothers, big match between Isipathana and Thurstan, is scheduled to take place on 24-25 Feb at the SSC Grounds. A media conference was held as Isipathana and Thurstan got together prior to the battle. Thurstan College Principal, wished both teams the best of luck and made a few comments on Thurstan Team. "Whatever the result maybe, I take this moment to wish both teams the best of luck. Play to your full potential and I hope we can build more..

Sri Lanka supports Qatar's Unesco candidate

Feb 16 (TP) President of SL Maithripala Sirisena has announced his country's support to Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari, Cultural Adviser at the Emiri Diwan and Qatar's candidate for the post of Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), during a meeting in Colombo. During the meeting, SL President hailed the distinct relations between the two countries, and expressed keenness to further developing them in all fields. more..

President steps in to break deadlock in constitutional negotiations

Feb 16 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena has stepped into break a deadlock in constitutional negotiations, holding a round of tripartite talks with UNP, TNA and his own SLFP late last month. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe attended the tripartite discussions, together with UNP Chairman Malik Samarawickrema and Party General Secretary Kabir Hashim. TNA Leader R. Sampanthan attended with TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran. more..

Sri Lanka’s psychosocial counselors look to their peers to improve care

Feb 16 (AF) Two years after Sri Lankans voted to elect a new coalition govt, and eight years after the bloody, three-decade long ethnic war ended, reconciliation efforts to rebuild the country are beginning to have positive, tangible impact on the daily lives of citizens, particularly in the North and East. Beyond investments in infrastructure and economic growth, however, new govt has also made efforts to recognize and address the psychosocial issues that continue to affect people more..

Homagama docs protest against Minister twisting arm of SLMC

Feb 16 (Island) Doctors of the Homagama Base Hospital staged a lunch hour protest yesterday against Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella’s efforts to intimidate the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) into registering the MBBS qualified graduates of the Private Medical College in Malabe. GMOA Assistant Secretary, Dr Haritha Aluthge said that over 500 doctors attached to the Homagama Base Hospital and its staff staged the protest demanding the Minister halt his intimidation. more..

Lasantha’s murder; SC holds Army officer’s rights violated

Feb 16 (DM) Supreme Court held that the fundamental rights of an Army Officer attached to the Intelligence Unit, who had been arrested and detained under the pretension of being a suspect regarding the murder of Journalist Lasantha Wickramathunga, have been infringed and awarded Rs.100,000 as compensation. Bench comprised Justices Sisira J. De Abrew, Upaly Abeyrathne and Anil Gooneratne. more..

Sri Lanka not focusing on Aust T20 line-up

Feb 16 (AAP) SL coach Graham Ford insists his side's focus will not be on an Australian Twenty 20 line-up robbed of stars by overlapping schedules. Due to a clash with the Test series in India, Steve Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Wade and Glenn Maxwell are all absent from the squad to face Sri Lanka. Ben Dunk, Michael Klinger, Billy Stanlake, Jyhe Richardson, Ashton Turner and Tim Paine have been thrust into contention for the three-match series more..

SL may sell US$1.5bn sovereign bond in Mar

Feb 16 (EN) Sri Lanka may go to market with a sovereign bond to raise up to US$ 1.5 billion as early as next month, with the US Federal Reserve poised to raise rates again. This week Sri Lanka's cabinet of ministers approved the proposal by the finance ministry to sell the bond. Sri Lanka is also negotiating a syndicated loan of up to US$ 2 billion. Sri Lanka is expected to tap Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC and Deutsche Bank to help arrange road shows to update investors, more..

'We are considering ministry proposals'

Feb 16 (DM) The SAITM said they were considering the proposals set out by Ministry of Higher Education and UGC and that they would have further discussions with the relevant authorities. SAITM Chairman Neville Fernando said in a statement that the SAITM would cooperate and support the government’s future measures applicable to non state medical education with a broader objective of ensuring more..

Govt cadre review and shuffle on the cards

Feb 16 (FT) With plans of reassigning govt servants according to present requirements, Cabinet yesterday gave its approval to conduct a major review of cadres employed at all public institutions to determine the optimum cadre level for each institution and forecast cadre requirements for 2020. The move comes after concerns were raised on the speed of delivery of services by officials in the public service. Highlighting that despite recent expansions in the public sector to more..

Raviraj’s wife appeals to CA for re-trial without jury

Feb 16 (FT) The wife of slain TNA MP Nadarajah Raviraj filed a revision application seeking the Court of Appeal to revise and set aside the order of the High Court judge allowing the request of the accused for the case to be tried before a jury as well as his verdict of acquitting the accused. Sasikala Raviraj is petitioning the Court of Appeal to find the accused guilty of all or several of the offences they are accused of and passing sentence on them according to the law. more..

Union action if SAITM not addressed: State Medical faculties

Feb 16 (NR) Presidents of the Faculty of Medical Teachers Associations of the eight medical faculties under the UGC says it will launch a trade union action if the SAITM issue is not identified as a threat to free education. Issuing a statement, the Faculty of Medical Teachers Associations said the SAITM issue was discussed at length for the safety of patients and the wellbeing of undergraduates of state medical faculties. more..

Culture of openness and accountability through RTI

Feb 16 (DM) Coinciding with Independence Day on Feb 4, instead of only impressive talks and military parades, Sri Lanka also had the privilege of the historic Right to Information Act coming into operation -- guaranteeing to the people their fundamental right to information about what is done with billions in public money and resources. The Daily Mirror in an editorial on Feb 3, the day on which the RTI Act came into operation called for adequate financial and other resources more..

A cannot and will not govt

Feb 16 (DM) When the govt’s staunchest apologists voice disappointment it is a sure sign that things are more than pretty bad. According to one yahapalanist, public perception is that the Govt has not (cannot?) tackle corruption, has not (cannot?) deliver visible development and has not corrected war-related injustices. The last of these is of course of the easy-to-say kind, not because correction is hard but injustice is poorly defined and in most cases slanted to the point of perversion. more..

'Multiculturalism will not harm Sinhala-Buddhist identity'

Feb 16 (DM) In the backdrop of the ongoing Constitution-making process, civil society activist Sudarshana Gunawardane, who advocates pluralism and multiculturalism, says such concepts will not harm the entrenched traditions of the country. Gunawardane, who is also the executive director of Right Now Collective for Democracy, made these remarks in the context of fear over attempts to dilute Sinhala-Buddhist more..

'Sinhalese culture and Theravada Buddhism have inseparable link'

Feb 16 (DM) Leading medical teacher Dr. Channa Jayasumana, attached to Rajarata University who has done extensive studies about history, says the Sinhalese protected Theravada Buddhism more than anyone. In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Dr. Jayasumana said there were sinister attempts to dilute the Sinhala Buddhist identity. Q: There are attempts to identify Buddhism away from the Sinhala culture. more..

One-track minded railway not exploring toilet alternatives

Feb 16 (ST) Rail passengers and the general public are not convinced that the Sri Lanka Railways cannot provide and maintain hygienic toilets for their use considering the availability of such public facilities in the city of Colombo managed by private companies, which also use them to advertise their public service. The bulk of SL Railways revenue — billions of rupees — is spent on salaries, not for improving services, more..

Bopage, Kalansooriya cross swords on RTI

Feb 16 (DN) Challenging the Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media and Parliamentary Reforms, Nimal Bopage’s comment that he was not aware of the setting up of an Independent Media Regulatory Commission, subject Minister, Gayantha Karunathilake yesterday said it was his secretary who helped formulate the Cabinet Paper on the subject and they together submitted it to Cabinet for approval on 22 November 2016. more..