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No escape for traumatised Pakistani refugees

Feb 16 (SL) Young choir members sing hymns in Negombo. They are singing for strength and patience in difficult times. Unlike Sinhala or Tamil, the languages spoken on this island nation, they’re singing in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan. There are Christians who fled Pakistan to seek asylum in Sri Lanka. One woman, who asks that I don’t use her name, tells me a story about being united in love but divided in faith. more..

Education Ministry’s progress hampered by political interference: Akila

Feb 16 (DN) Political interference especially at provincial level have badly hampered the smooth functioning of the education sector, Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said. “Such interference has affected many sectors in the education field, such as, teacher transfers, placement of qualified principals, fulfilling teacher shortages etc. He said so addressing Provincial & Zonal education Directors at Isurupaya. more..

Perpetual to purchase SriLankan, Mihin Airlines: JO

Feb 16 (DM) Joint opposition recently claimed that there was a plan to purchase State owned institutions such as SriLankan and Mihin Air by Perpetual Treasuries. Prof. G L Peiris said that they had reason to believe that the company was attempting to take over several large-scale State institutions. He claimed that Perpetual Treasuries, that was currently embroiled in a major controversy surrounding the CB bond issue, more..

TNA denies hand in controversial HC appointment

Feb 16 (Island) TNA has strongly denied JO accusation that it influenced recent appointment of Ramanathan Kannan of the private bar as a High Court judge. Raghu Balachandran, TNA leader R. Sampanthan said that there was absolutely no basis for the accusation. Former Minister G.L. Peiris accused Maitrhrpala- Ranil administration of elevating a relatively junior lawyer to the rank of a High Court judge more..

Minister takes up dispute over Mullaitivu air base with Prez

Feb 16 (Island) The military-held civilian owned land would be released wherever possible, authoritative security officials said. They were responding to ongoing protests in Mullaitivu demanding the immediate releasing of Keppapulavu land in one-time LTTE bastion. Minister D.M. Swaminathan has made representations to President Sirisena, on behalf of protesting Keppapulavu residents. more..

Govt will fulfill its responsibility of protecting & nourishing Buddhism: President

Feb 16 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena says the Govt will fulfill its responsibility of protecting and nourishing Buddhism in a more realistic and practical manner not limiting it to written words about the place of Buddhism in the Constitution. He made these remarks participating in a religious ceremony to unveil the 36-foot high Samadhi Buddha Statue at Nape Bodhirukkarama Viharaya in Kegalle, yesterday. more..

NFF steps up protests seeking Wimal’s release

Feb 16 (Island) The NFF alleged that its leader MP Wimal Weerawansa had been put behind bars in a bid to silence one of the strongest critics of the yahapalana administration. NFF spokesperson Mohamed Muzammil said that the party with the backing of the JO would continue protests until the govt released MP Weerawansa now in remand prison on a charge of causing losses to the state by releasing vehicles whereas two other MPs Lasantha Alagiyawanne (UPFA) & Arsu Marasinghe more..

VC election in Jaffna: Will the North’s wilted intellectual life bloom once more?

Feb 16 (CT) Colombo Telegraph reliably learns of moves to suppress the application of Prof. Sam Thiagalingam, the sole external candidate for the post of Vice Chancellor at the University of Jaffna. Prof. Thiagalingam, whose application was posted in the US on 27th Dec and received on 17th Jan, a day after the deadline, is an eminent scholar in Biomedical Sciences. An alumnus of the University of Jaffna, he is currently teaching in the School of Medicine in Boston University, USA. more..

මන්ත්රී දිනේෂ් ගුණවර්ධන

Reform by consensus

Feb 16 (CT) Our Cabinet has been built up from the wrong end. Its carder has not been fixed on the workload available but on the number required for the govt to remain in power. That has resulted in producing what is called in indigenous rustic parlance a pissige palaamalla – a grab bag of a mad woman. The bag contains much that is superfluous, repetitive and rotten. That makes even the useful, dysfunctional and ineffective. To my mind that breakdown is the roots cause of prevailing more..

Sri Lanka police unleash secret weapon

Feb 16 (EN) Police chief Pujith Jayasundara tacitly admitted that his leadership had failed, but asked his men to adopt a new tactic - meditation - to improve service delivery and better enforce law and order. Jayasundara, who had been criticised for publicly saying that the law could be bent but not broken, sobbed in front of over 100 senior officers at police headquarters on Wednesday morning admitting that he had largely failed. At the end of his emotional confession, IGP ordered that more..

Malinga set for return against new-look Aus

Feb 16 (CI) On Friday (17), two different teams will represent Australia in two different matches on two different continents. The country's best cricketers - Steven Smith, David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood et al - will begin a three-day tour game in Mumbai ahead of the first Test against India. But the match considered a full international is the one that will take place in Melbourne, where Aaron Finch will lead more..

SL rupee bond exodus by Templeton: Fin Min

Feb 16 (EN) An exodus from Sri Lanka's rupee bond markets was mainly caused by the Templeton Investment Group, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said as the country's rating outlook was upgraded by Fitch on improving state finances. "When you say exit…you know very well it is one guy, that is Templeton," he said. He said Templeton came in at an interest rate of 14.85%. The group started to buy heavily into Sri Lanka rupee bonds after the 2008/2009 balance of payments crisis more..

Govt looking for win-win deal with China

Feb 16 (CG) Govt says it is looking for a win-win deal with China on investments to the country. Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that the Chinese govt feels Sri Lanka is giving a positive response to its requirements. “Chinese govt feels we are genuinely responding to their requirement. As a result we are giving the answers to their pro-active response,” he said. He said that positive discussions are still ongoing on investing in the southern Hambantota city and more..

Delimitation report to be gazetted tomorrow

Feb 16 (DM) Minister Faiszer Musthapha announced that the long-awaited demarcation report compiled by National Delimitation Committee will be gazetted tomorrow. The issuance of the demarcation gazette was delayed after Minister claimed of numerous errors in the report that was submitted to the Ministry on the 17th of Jan. Accordingly, Ministry commenced the process of amending the demarcation report more..

Creating jobs for O/L dropouts

Feb 16 (CT) Despite the slew of attacks on the govt ever since it took office two years ago leading to the govt getting embroiled in serious issues relating to financial wrongdoing, one is struck by the obvious warmth with which President Maithripala Sirisena greeted PM Ranil Wickremesinghe when the latter arrived at the Independence Day celebrations at Galle Face. It might have made close observers from among govt's critics, including some MPs in the Joint Opposition vanguard who more..

Asian Paints to acquire SL firm Causeway

Feb 16 (Nikkei) Asian Paints has agreed to buy Sri Lanka's Causeway Paints in an all-cash deal that will allow India's largest paint maker to foray deeper into the island nation. As part of the deal, Berger International, an indirect unit of Asian Paints, has entered into an agreement with Causeway Paints Lanka to buy a 100% stake in the company for an undisclosed amount. Asian Paints, which has operations in more than 19 countries, has been steadily expanding its presence in markets more..

Sri Lanka’s constitution making process is in the doldrums

Feb 16 (ENS) The process of drafting a brand new constitution for Sri Lanka is in the doldrums though many steps had already been completed and the process was in the final stages early last month itself. The six subcommittees on various subjects had submitted their reports based on the widest possible public consultations. Steering Committee had considered these reports and drafted its own report which was to be more..

Sri Lanka Navy earnings tick USD 20 m from OBST Operations

Feb 16 (SLN) SL Navy earned the national coffers over USD 20 million to-date, since taking over the duty of facilitating On-board Security Teams (OBST) 15 months ago. Duty undertaken was an extension of maritime security operations in which the Navy got actively involved in keeping our waters safe and secure for maritime commons and freedom of navigation. At the existing exchange rate, earnings amount to a staggering Rs. 3 billion, through OBST operations from mid Nov 2015. more..

Australia will be formidable force: Tharanga

Feb 16 (CB) Upul Tharanga, stand-in SL captain, observed that despite Australia missing some of their key players for the upcoming three-match Twenty20 Int'l (T20I) series, they have enough firepower in their ranks to put up a good show. Tharanga also noted that most of the players in the Australian set-up partook in the just-concluded Big Bash League (BBL) 2016-17 and performed well. The mainstays of the Australian line-up - David Warner, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc and Co. more..

PCs to take back powers from UDA

Feb 16 (Island) Provincial Councils (PC) would introduce a controversial convention very shortly to reinstate the powers that had been removed from them by the UDA, Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya said. He said the charter would be introduced by the PCs if the Minister Champika Ranawaka did not take necessary steps to reinstate the powers taken back by the UDA within the next few days. more..

Man fleeing from jumbo encounters ghost

Feb 16 (DM) One fine night a person was returning home alone after attending a funeral home in the village. After hearing the sound of an approaching elephant he started to shimmy up a tree in panic. While he was climbing up the tree he heard someone calling out to him from the top of the tree saying climb slowly and later felt his hand being grabbed by someone. He was so terrified by what had occurred that he rapidly descended from the tree screaming. more..

President & IUSF to discuss SAITM

Feb 16 (NR) A special discussion is scheduled to take place shortly between President Sirisena and the IUSF pertaining to the SAITM. Convenor of IUSF Lahiru Weerasekara said the federation expects to submit several proposals regarding SAITM to the President. Lahiru Weerasekara said the IUSF expects to be made aware of the govt’s stance on SAITM by President. IUSF Convenor said the federation had called for a discussion with the President on SAITM on several occasions, more..

Waters Edge breaks ground for mega sports centre

Feb 16 (AD) Situated on the outskirts of Colombo and surrounded by the tranquil waters of the Diyawanna, Waters Edge Battaramulla is known globally for its breathtaking views and plethora of restaurants that serve up gourmet cooking from around the world. It is also a preferred choice for those who desire breathtaking venues for special events that are located throughout the landscape of the property. more..

Sri Lanka to play Scotland in preparation for Champions Trophy

Feb 16 (CB) Sri Lanka will take on Scotland in two 50-over games ahead of the Champions Trophy in England, Cricket Scotland announced on Thursday (16). Two teams will meet on May 21 and May 23 at the County Ground in Beckenham. This will the first meeting between the two sides since the World Cup in 2015, where centuries from Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakaratne Dilshan handed Scotland a 148-run loss. Grant Bradburn, the head coach of Scotland, was understandably pleased with more..

PMC parents to move court against SLMC

Feb 16 (Island) Private Medical College Parents Society Ltd said it would move court against Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) for its refusal to provide provisional registration to SAITM students after the Appeal Court gave a ruling to that effect. Secretary of the Society Anura Dhanaratne said the society would have a meeting with the Health Minister and the Justice Minister and outcome of the meeting would decide when to move court against the SLMC. more..

GMOA warns of TU action over SAITM

Feb 16 (DM) The GMOA today threatened to resort to major country-wide Trade Union (TU) action next week if the govt failed to resolve the issues regarding SAITM. GMOA Secretary Dr. Naween De Soysa said that the Health and Higher Education Ministers’ actions had forced them to take the decision. However, he said the discussions they had with the relevant authorities did not yield a positive outcome. more..

Police vow stern action against unruly students

Feb 16 (DM) DIG Priyantha Jayakody said police would not hesitate to take stern action against students and supporters who violate the law during the upcoming big match season. He said police did not try to take stern action during previous traffic law violations by students and that they could not allow such incidents to happen continuously. He said students could conduct their vehicle parades but there should be a limit. If any student group or supporters violate any traffic rule more..

I will stand against legalising abortion: Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith

Feb 16 (DN) Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Ranjith said that he would stand against legalising abortion, if the government intends it to introduce it as law. ‘Abortion is considered a sin. The Ten Commandments of the Holy Bible clearly states that we should not kill,’ he said. Archbishop was speaking at the Lady of Lourdes feast at the Holy Cross Church, Kalutara. Archbishop said that the church body should commit to a religious life and also help other people of different faiths. more..

New Constitution: JO members step down from sub committees

Feb 16 (DM) JO members including MPs Bandula Gunawardane, Keheliya Rambukwella and Tharaka Balasuriya today resigned from the Sub Committees attached to Constitutional Assembly. Mr. Gunawardane said that they officially rejected the reports produced by the 6 Sub Committees and added that they had participated in this procedure with good intention. “It has been proved that these Sub Committee reports would directly affect more..

JO says govt rogues gallery now contains more than ten

Feb 16 (Island) The Joint Opposition accused the CIABOC silent on their seven complaints lodged against govt ministers, including PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Kandy District MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage said they lodged the eighth complaint against a government minister at the CIABOC and the CID yesterday. He said UPFA MP Udaya Gammanpila complained yesterday against Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake for losing Rs. 6500 million due to a car assembly facility. more..

Thajudeen Murder: Ex-crimes OIC released on bail despite concealing evidence

Feb 16 (CT) Former Narahenpita Crimes OIC Sumith Perera was released on bail today by the Colombo High Court despite covering up the murder of Wasim Thajudeen. The court which released the suspect on a cash bail of Rs. 100,000 and three personal sureties of Rs. 1 million each, ordered that the ex-Crimes OIC hand over his passport to the Court. Perera was granted bail when his revision bail application was taken up today. Perera was arrested by the CID in April last year on charges that more..

Video: Google loon may leave Sri Lanka, corruption accusation baseless: Harin

Feb 16 (DM) Sri Lanka’s controversial Google loon pilot project may be withdrawn from the country as a result of a spectrum issue with the Int'l Telecommunication Union, minister Harin Fernando said. he said that Sri Lanka has so far delayed facilitating pilot tests by allocating the required spectrum of 700 MHz. “Google is ready, but unfortunately in SL things do not move the way that we wanted,” he said. more..

Women: Careers in local govt

Feb 17 (CT) When my mother asked me to marry my wife, I had not seen her; not even a photo of hers. She was then B.Sc., M.Sc. I said to myself, “She is obviously serious about things. She will help bring up good children.” We both said yes. We met first on a Sunday and were married by Wednesday. We have both done well. My wife did her doctorate under Nobel Laureate George Olah. But she moderated her career between being a professor, mother of 5, and wife. more..

Big brother is watching you

Feb 17 (NS) It was a scene straight out of an old spy movie. But these guys were nothing like the KGB. They were clumsy, peeping from behind trees, following people around, asking questions. They were everywhere in plain sight, spying on anyone who they pegged could behave naughtily. They were uniformed but who in their right mind would want to behave romantically with a loved one with a uniformed guard watching one’s every move. But we were made long before we were through more..

Our National flower still embedded in muddy waters

Feb 17 (ST) The pomp and pageantry are over. The wisps of smoke from the 21 gun-salute have wafted away, carried hither and thither by the gentle winds blowing across the sea at Galle Face Green. 69th Independence Day celebrations drew to an end on Feb 4 but there is a matter of national importance still embedded in muddy waters, awaiting resolution. It is the matter of the National Flower of Sri Lanka into more..

Deliver promises first, and then welcome refugees back!

Feb 17 (CT) The current PM Ranil Wickremsinghe’s comments on refugees reported in the news media fly in the face of facts. Despite the relaxation of the social and political environment under the new regime led by President Maithripala Sirisena and the PM, the repressive machinery and logistical approach of the governance system towards its political critics and opponents have not changed. This is evident from the incidents that have taken place in Sri Lanka recently, more..

Passengers ripped-off by bus crews and eateries

Feb 17 (NS) Long distance bus journeys usually involve making a pit stop for refreshment at an eatery. A video that recently went viral on Facebook exemplifies how this routine has evolved into a side business. Footage is of an argument between the owner of an eatery and bakery in Parakaduwa and a consumer who questioned the price he had to pay for two packets of milk purchased. Shop owner in question states that it is the price he has always charged; nobody else has questioned so far. more..

'Traders have imported rice under local branding'

Feb 17 (CT) Minister Duminda Dissanayake says the SLFP is waiting to see what stance former President Mahinda Rajapaksa would take at the Local Govt elections. "We are watching to see whether he supports the SLFP or not," he said. Q: The issue regarding the new office complex for the Agriculture Ministry, surfaces from time to time in the media, and this time it is with a price tag loss of over Rs 800 million to govt. more..

Battle for mini hustings reaches fever pitch

Feb 17 (DN) Slowly but surely, the country is inching its way towards what could be a vital test of political popularity for the major political parties- the Local Govt elections. The polls will not alter the balance of power in Parliament but are likely to play a critical role in redefining political alliances both within the SLFP as well in the National Unity govt the SLFP has in partnership with the UNP. These elections have been due for some time now but have been postponed on the grounds that more..