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Editorial: Rathana Thera’s karma

Feb 17 (Island) Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) big guns fought quite a battle to oust President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015. Today, they have ganged up against Ven. Athureliye Rathana Thera. They say he, as a UNP National List (NL) MP, has no right to remain independent in Parliament and must resign forthwith. Interestingly, Rathana Thera as well as other JHU heavyweights endorsed defections from the Rajapaksa govt to bring the present administration to power! more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Bambalapitiya flats redevelopment project: Promoter conceals information from govt

Feb 17 (Island) In an article titled, Bambalapitiya Flats redevelopment project: Govt taken for a right royal ride? published on 3 Feb 2017, we highlighted certain concerns about the Bambalapitiya flats redevelopment project. Singapore registered company promoting this project UTL Global Projects Pte Ltd is a nominal company with no real estate or construction expertise or the financial resources to be able to take on a project of this magnitude. This company had misled the govt into more..

SAITM a bad idea: MFSAC

Feb 17 (DN) As the debate rages around SAITM’s place in Sri Lanka’s medical training hierarchy, students from public medical faculties are speaking up against the private institute, claiming that it threatens to decrease both the quality of the country’s public education and healthcare. Members of the Medical Faculty Students Action Committee (MFSAC) shared their concerns and noted that, since the Institute’s founding, the quality of its training has been suspect. more..

No faith in the SLMC: Dr. Neville Fernando

Feb 17 (DN) The Court of Appeal issued an order on January 31 stating that medical students of the SAITM could register with the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). The Court of Appeal issued the order after a case was filed by a SAITM student. The SLMC however is yet to decide on the SAITM students who have passed the MBBS exam as Medical practitioners in accordance with the court ruling. more..

SL favourites against weakened Australia

Feb 17 (Island) Struggling Sri Lanka will be relieved that they will not have to think of containing Steve Smith or David Warner or wonder about facing Mitchell Starc as all three players alongside several other Australians will not feature in the T-20 series that gets underway today at the MCG. The game stars at 2.10 p.m. Sri Lanka time. Starc, Warner and Smith are all in Bombay ahead of Australia’s four-match Test series against India that starts next Thursday. more..

Sweet deal for Bibile Sugar!

Feb 17 (FT) With a new Singaporean investor on board, the longstanding proposal to launch a sugar development project by Bibile Sugar Industries got the green light from the Govt this week. The project was initially proposed and approved by the Cabinet in 2006, never took off with original Chinese investor backing out. However with the entry of Singapore’s Gazelle Ventures, with local partner IMS Holdings, linked to Islandwide Marketing Services, the project was revived.  more..

Two-match unofficial test series against England Lions today

Feb 17 (DN) Finding a successor to the great Rangana Herath will be one of the top priorities for Sri Lanka when their ‘A’ team prepares to take on the touring England Lions team in a two-match unofficial test series commencing at Pallekele International Stadium today. Master class Herath has taken on the mantle as the champion spinner for his country following the retirement of the great Muthiah Muralitharan six years ago. more..

ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifiers: High riding Sri Lanka take on South Africa today

Feb 17 (Island) Sri Lanka will be fancying its chances against South Africa in familiar conditions at the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 on Friday after pulling off a 5-wicket win over Pakistan in its first match in the Super Six stage, which has instilled more interest in the proceedings. A win will take Sri Lanka closer towards qualification for the Women’s World Cup in England and Wales in June, while South Africa will make it with a triumph since the result will eliminate more..

Plantation Minister in Russia in major tea promotion drive

Feb 17 (DN) Plantation Minister Navin Dissanayake is currently in Russia to launch a major tea promotion campaign in the Soviet States. Minister also held discussions with Russia’s Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev on getting greater access for Ceylon tea into the Russian market. Minister said that Russia is the highest tea during nation in the world consuming over 175 million kgs per year. They also prefer black tea and also to consume loose tea (tea bags). more..

President requests all University Student Associations not to engage in ....

Feb 17 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena requested all Student Associations from universities not to engage in activities which disrupt their education, till solutions were provided if there is any issue,as currently the Govt is being engaged with all the relevant parties to provide a satisfactory solution to every party regarding private medical colleges.   He made these remarks during a meeting with representatives of University Student more..

ONUR celebrates Thai Pongal in schools to foster national unity and reconciliation

Feb 17 (FT) In a meaningful initiative to bring the people of Sri Lanka closer together and understand each other’s diversity and different cultures, Office of National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) celebrated the Thai Pongal festival in schools in 7 provinces; Northern, Eastern, North Western, Western, Sabaragamuwa, Central and Southern. A total of 51,706 students in 549 schools in the provinces covering 53 Zones & 112 Divisions participated in Thai Pongal celebration. more..

'Trinco harbour economic developments appallingly slow'

Feb 17 (DN) The Trincomalee harbour in today’s strategic maritime context would be ideal for functioning as a commercial hub and as a centre for regional maritime security architecture focusing the Bay of Bengal, Eastern Province Governor Austin Fernando said. Speaking at the first round of Trincomalee Consultations held in Colombo, organised by the Pathfinder Foundation, Fernando said security is an important prerequisite to economic development. more..

Prez reveals why he removed Mohan Peiris

Feb 17 (DM) President Sirisena revealed, that the first action he took using his executive powers was to remove former chief justice Mohan Peiris, when he came and begged him not to remove him from his post and expressed his willingness to do anything he wanted. The president disclosed how Mohan Peiris visited him at his residence after he assumed duties on Jan 9, 2015 and promised to take action in his favour and implored him more..

Sajith to declare open Jayavigama today

Feb 17 (Island) The Jayavigama model village at Devagiriya in the Vilgamuwa Divisional Secretariat will be ceremonially declared open today at 9 a.m. by Minister Sajith Premadasa. It will be the 19th model village to be completed under the Udagammana programme. Jayavigama consists of 25 housing units and they have been built utilising low interest loans provided by National Housing Development Authority with community participation on blocks of land provided gratis by the govt. more..

IPS and WEF co-curate Transformation Map for Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (FT) Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF) recently co-curated a Transformation Map for Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Transformation Map was presented to PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and the accompanying high-level delegation at the recent WEF Annual Meeting which took place in Davos, Switzerland in January, 2017.  The WEF’s Transformation Maps are a dynamic system of contextual intelligence covering more..

‘Principals reluctant to act due to human rights concerns’

Feb 17 (DM) School Principals of leading Colombo schools, several of whom were forced to discipline students who were found to have been part of clashes that occurred on Wednesday, said that they had been put in an awkward position as a result of strictures imposed by institutions such as the Human Rights Commission (HRC) with regards to student discipline. These principals had conveyed this to Education Minister Akila more..

CAA to get 20 sniffer pups

Feb 17 (CT) Cabinet approved the purchase of 20 sniffer dogs that would be deployed at the BIA at the cost of Rs 12.5 million. The purchase is a part of an endeavour to ensure the security of the civil aviation sector which has become 'increasingly attractive to criminals and terrorists.' "The deployment of sniffer dogs at airports as a secondary screening measure to augment security arrangements. Properly trained sniffer dogs and their handlers can be used to detect drugs, explosives, mobile phones, more..

CSN Writ Application re-fixed

Feb 17 (CT) Court of Appeal yesterday fixed 16 March, for Mention, the Writ Application filed against the suspension of the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) channel. The Bench comprised Justices Vijith Malalgoda (President) and S. Thurairaja. Rohan Welivita a Director of CSN had filed the Writ Application against the Media Ministry, stating that the latter had suspended the telecasting licence without conducting a reasonable inquiry. The respondent has filed objection stating more..

Protests in Melbourne Against PM

Feb 17 (CT) Several protesters from the Sinhala and Tamil Diaspora attempted to disrupt PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's law oration at the Deakin Law School yesterday. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had been invited to provide the annual law oration at the Law School of Deakin University – same University that conferred on him an honorary Doctorate earlier this week, at Deakin Edge, Federation Square in Melbourne. more..

PRECIFAC requests extension till March 2018

Feb 17 (FT) The anti-corruption commission, which has completed nine final reports on fraud, corruption, the misuse of state funds and abuse of power during the previous regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa, expects another extension till 15 March 2018. The PRECIFAC, which was granted one extension in March 2016, has already handed over nine final reports on serious fraud and corruption to President Maithripala Sirisena. Its second extension ends on 15 March this year. more..

CB Governor to appear before Treasury bond Commission of Inquiry on Tuesday

Feb 17 (FT) Governor of the CB, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, has been directed to appear on Tuesday before the Commission of Inquiry (COI) appointed to look into irregularities in respect to the issuance of Treasury bonds, including the controversial CB bond issue of Feb 2015. Secretary to the Commission, Sumathipala Udugamasuriya, has written to Dr. Coomaraswamy asking him to appear before the COI at 10.30 a.m. at its office located at Adhikarana Mawatha at Hultsdorf. more..

Australia and Sri Lanka sign new partnership agreement

Feb 17 (LBO) Australia and Sri Lanka have signed a new development cooperation partnership during PM Ranil Wickramasinghe’s visit to Australia. “The new partnership sets a new direction,” the Australian High Commission said releasing a statement. “As Sri Lanka’s economy grows, Australia will support the Govt’s reform agenda including ensuring that economic growth is inclusive.” more..

Indian Foreign Secretary to visit Sri Lanka

Feb 17 (DNA) Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar will travel to Sri Lanka over the weekend to discuss implementation of various decisions taken during the recent visits here by the President and PM of the island nation. Aim of Jaishankar's visit is to discuss economic cooperation and to pursue various initiatives discussed between the leadership of the two countries. "Foreign Secretary is going to Colombo over this weekend to discuss economic coperation with Sri Lanka and more..

SAITM controversy: SLMC decision today

Feb 17 (Island) Sri lanka Medical Council will decide today whether to move the Supreme Court against the Appeal Court decision to provide provisional registration to SAITM medical graduates. The Chairman of SLMC Prof Carlo Fonseka yesterday said his personal opinion was that the SLMC should appeal, however the medical body were having discussions in that regard. He said officially the number of members in the SLMC should be 25 but now there were only 21. more..

'UN & EU pledge to help reconciliation in SL'

Feb 17 (DM) Chief Minister of the Northern Province C. V. Wigneswaran had been informed by the United Nations and the European Union that they had pledged their cooperation to promote reconciliation between all communities in Sri Lanka. Coordinator to the UN Una Makoli and Ambassador of the EU Toolai Margue had indicated this during a meeting with the Chief Minister on their tour of Jaffna on Wednesday. more..

Ravi to file defamation lawsuit against Udaya

Feb 17 (FT) Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that he would file a defamation lawsuit against JO MP Udaya Gammanpila for making baseless allegations and trying to tarnish his image. Minister said that he would teach Gammanpila a lesson to be remembered, adding that taking him to courts would be the most appropriate response. “We are not beggars like him. I came into politics from a professional background. I am engaged in politics with good intentions to serve the country and more..

Sri Lanka, Victoria State to strengthen ties

Feb 17 (DN) An agreement was reached to further strengthen relations between Sri Lanka and the State of Victoria in Australia during talks PM Ranil Wickrmesinghe held with Victorian PM Daniel Andrews on February 16 concurrent to his four day official visit to Australia. During the talks, two Prime Ministers expressed the view that relations between Australian states and Sri Lanka would help further cement and strengthen bilateral friendship and relations between the two countries. more..

Yahapalana associate slams diesel mafia

Feb 17 (Island) A group of influential CEB officials has been accused of exploiting a sharp drop in hydro power generation capacity to go for emergency power purchasing agreement at exorbitant cost under controversial circumstances. Keerthi Tennakoon of the Anti-Corruption Front (ACF) said that the politically influenced group had manipulated the entire process to its advantage. ACF campaigned for Maithripala Sirisena more..

Milk of Human Kindness

Feb 17 (DM) As part of the all-inclusive and eco-friendly development strategy, National Govt has also launched a mission for SL to produce the nutritious food we need in our own country. This will be done instead of importing junk foods and processed rubbish at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign exchange. One vital area is fresh milk, known to be highly nutritious and essential especially for pregnant mothers and children after at least 1 & preferably 2 years of breast feeding. more..

Good Governance in free markets means corruption with racism

Feb 17 (DM) “Yes, it is true that there is rampant corruption in the Govt even now as we inherited a corrupt system from the last administration and practices of that regime were yet there,” Minister Malik Samarawickrama had accepted in an interview with Ceylon Today on Feb 12. What he tries to convey is that, the system inherited and they, the Got are two totally different entities running the country. That it is the system inherited that is corrupt but not their Govt. more..

Japanese expert says Sri Lanka should befriend India and Japan to counter China

Feb 17 (ENS) Dr. Satoru Nagao, Lecturer in Security Studies at the Law Faculty of Gakushuin University in Japan, advices Sri Lanka to cultivate good relations with India and India-friendly countries like Japan, to counterbalance its relations with China which could cause tension in the South Asian region. Delivering a lecture on the impact of China’s rise on Japan, US, India and Sri Lanka at the Institute of National Security Studies here more..

'Elites want presidency back for themselves'

Feb 17 (FT) Defending its recent calls for President Maithripala Sirisena to be the party’s nominee for the next presidential election, the SLFP said that Sirisena was not obligated to consider the opinions of anyone outside of the party’s central committee. Party spokesman Dilan Perera attributed recent attempts by some quarters to discourage the president from running for a second term to an issue of class difference, more..

Honey bees are not aggressive, says expert

Feb 17 (ST) South Africa contested against Sri Lanka in the third one-day international on February 4 dressed in pink to raise awareness of breast cancer, but it was bees that grabbed the attention. Bees invaded the ground forcing players and umpires to lie on the ground before they took cover in the dressing rooms. A local bee keeper, Pierre Hefer, came to the ground armed with a tub of homemade honey comb to attract the bees. more..

We are ready for common accreditation exam: SAITM Chairman

Feb 17 (DM) Amid a simmering crisis over the recognition of medical degrees offered by SAITM, its Chairman Dr. Neville Fernando says that he had complied with all the requirements in conducting this degree programme. Q: Over the current crisis situation, what is the way forward for SAITM? A: In spite of all the protests, SAITM will go on. I started it not to make money. If I wanted money, I would have started a fixed deposit and more..

Sri Lanka must have foreign judges in war crime investigation: HRW

Feb 17 (SBS) Sri Lanka must employ international judges and prosecutors to ensure accountability during trials of those responsible for alleged war crimes against mostly Tamils, Human Rights Watch Australia's director Elaine Pearson said. Ms Pearson's call, which echoes a recommendation in a 2015 UNHRC report of the OHCHR investigation of SL, comes as SL PM Ranil Wickremesinghe this week visited Canberra. more..

SLMC to appeal court verdict on SAITM

Feb 17 (AD) Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) has decided to appeal against the ruling of the Appeals Court regarding the private medical college in Malabe.  SLMC chairman Prof. Carlo Fonseka said that the members of the medical council convened today and decided to submit an application to the Supreme Court within the next 42 days. Court of Appeal ruled that SAITM is legally eligible to issue medical degrees more..

'Only Wigneswaran wants North-East merger'

Feb 17 (Island) Western Province Chief Minister Isuru Devapriya assured that there were no threats to national security and the Northern and Eastern Provinces were free from terrorist threats. He said no acts of terrorism had been reported from those two provinces so far and the country’s overall security had not been affected. However, he stressed that Central govt should take steps to allocate necessary funds to PCs more..

Rs.10,000 for farmer families as relief aid

Feb 17 (PSL) President Maithripala Sirisena has given instructions to the officials to provide an allowance of Rs.10,000 per month for all agricultural family who are affected by the prevailing dry weather condition over the island. President further instructed to appoint a Committee comprising District Secretaries, Grama Niladharis and Samurdhi Officials to collect comprehensive information on affected families and after getting more..

Govt Printer receives delimitation report

Feb 17 (AD) The Government Printer says that the Delimitation Committee report has been received and that it will be gazette within the day. The final draft of the Delimitation Committee, with the signatures of all five members, was handed over to the Provincial Councils and Local Govt Minister Faizer Mustapha on January 17. Submitting the report for publication as gazette had been delayed for a month due to certain technical errors. more..