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The problem of circumventing Geneva

Feb 18 (Island) In a mood of heady euphoria following on the election victories in 2015 the Govt went to the extent of co-sponsoring a Resolution at the UNHRC that according to the Pathfinder Foundation had an unprecedented 23 introductory paragraphs that set the stage for 20 operational paragraphs. Govt has subsequently found, unsurprisingly, that it is difficult to implement some of the massive commitments it has made. In some cases, it might even be impossible to do so. more..

EX-CO fails to reach decision

Feb 18 (CT) An emergency Executive Committee Meeting summoned by the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) ended its deliberations without reaching any decisions, thus preventing the FFSL from convening its AGM. EXCO meeting was conducted on Wednesday and the previous meeting was held in Nov 2016. Executive Committee of the FFSL had not been able to decide on the number of votes to be allocated to the respective football leagues & left without reaching any decisions. more..

PM Modi to renew links with Buddhism during his visit to Sri Lanka in May

Feb 18 (ENS) Indian PM Narendra Modi will be renewing his links with Buddhism when he visits Sri Lanka as one of the chief guests at the United Nations Vesak Festival to be held here from May 11 to 13. Minister of Justice and Buddha Sasana, Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, said on Friday that several heads of govt and state have been invited for the landmark event recognized by the UN, and that Modi has confirmed his participation. more..

HNB becomes first bank to launch POS acceptance of UnionPay cards

Feb 18 (Island) HNB announced a new partnership with UnionPay International, to accept card payments from one of the largest payment networks in the world. A press release said: Through the new agreement, Sri Lankan merchants who operate HNB Point-of-Sales (POS) devices will now be able to accept UnionPay cards, empowering businesses across the island – particularly with regard to the formal and informal hotel sector, traditional crafts, jewelry and restaurants more..

Unravelling SAITM conundrum

Feb 18 (DN) The medical degree of SAITM continues to be in the centre of controversy. Recent decision of the Court of Appeal legalizing the degree has given a new impetus to the agitation against SAITM as well as encouraged the SAITM authorities to aggressively pursue their own agenda. Though several key ministers are vociferously stating that the issue is finally settled with the Court verdict and nothing further could be done by any one or any organisation, agitation is unlikely to wane off. more..

Sweet and sour indo-china investment menu

Feb 18 (NS) In the wake of massive Chinese investments in Malaysia and other South Asian countries, analysts have said India would want to scramble towards possibilities in Sri Lanka. While China has placed its money bags on the table to invest in Sri Lanka, it has said that fast tracking projects on the part of Sri Lanka would encourage future investors. Delivering the 13th Sujatha Jayawardena Memorial Oration more..

Pressure mounts on Sri Lanka to remove anti-LGBTQ laws as part of EU trade deal

Feb 18 (HRC) Efforts to decriminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity in Sri Lanka, an island state off the southern coast of India, appear to be gaining steam as the country negotiates a preferential trade deal with the EU. Sri Lanka is one of 72 countries around the world that criminalize same-sex acts. Signing this kind of trade agreement with EU generally requires compliance with certain human rights conditions, such as removing laws that discriminate against LGBTQ people. more..

J L Morisons to build USD13.5mn drug manufacturing plant

Feb 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s J L Morison Son and Jones (Ceylon) has resolved to make an investment of US$ 13.5 million US in constructing a new pharmaceutical manufacturing plant. The company said that this research and manufacturing facility will be located within the SLINTEC Nano Technology Park in Pitipana, Homagama. “The proposed plant will significantly enhance the manufacturing capacity of the company while complying with global regulatory standards,” the company said. more..

CBK seeks sacking of party dissidents

Feb 18 (EN) Former president Chandrika Kumaratunga has called for the immediate sacking of dissidents within her SLFP in a bid to neutralise the Rajapaksa faction. She said the Joint Opposition which is rallying behind former president Rajapaksa was splitting the SLFP and should be stopped. "I sacked many people for much less than this (supporting another party) when I was the president of the party," more..

NITF gets reinsurance cover for agriculture

Feb 18 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s National Insurance Trust Fund says they have procured a reinsurance program for its agriculture insurance schemes. “This reinsurance programme will provide support to agricultural insurance schemes funded by NITF including the recently launched National Agricultural Loan Protection Scheme,” NITF said. “The cover has been arranged on a stop loss basis which is typically the method adopted to obtain reinsurance for agricultural insurance.” more..

Sri Lanka ‘A’ collapse on day one

Feb 18 (Island) Sri Lanka ‘A’ top order collapsed and were 29 for four at stumps on day one of the first unofficial Test against England ‘A’ at Pallekele International Stadium yesterday. After the tourists were bowled out for 316, Sri Lanka ‘A’ innings was in total disarray as three wickets fell for 12 runs and Roshen Silva was last man out in what was the last ball of the day. The hosts are trailing England ‘A’ by 287 runs. Surprisingly in form batsman Ron Chandraguptha was left out more..

FR case against PM dismissed

Feb 18 (CT) Supreme Court upheld the preliminary objections raised by President's Counsel, Kanag Iswaran and Deputy Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratna and dismissed a Fundamental Rights Application filed against PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. Bench comprised Justices, Priyasath Dep, Upali Abeyratna and Anil Goonaratna. Nagananda Kodituwakku had filed this application citing the AG, PM and Speaker as respondents more..

Women's WC Qualifier: South Africa beat SL

Feb 18 (ICC) The Sri Lanka baila was vigorous, the dancing cheeky, the drums merry. But where the home team could have embraced that carefree attitude, it paid the price for poor shot selection and squandering a solid start. On the 35th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s first day of Test cricket, on the same ground where Arjuna Ranatunga and Somachandra de Silva took on the likes of Graham Gooch and David Gower, the women’s team couldn’t prevent a nine-wicket loss at the hands of South Africa. more..

Sri Lankan Dance Academy of NY

Feb 18 (RTD) In recent years, the Tompkinsville neighborhood of Staten Island has earned the moniker Little Sri Lanka, in honor of the vibrant immigrant community that has developed in this New York City borough since the first Sri Lankan family arrived in the late 1960s. Now numbering about 5,000 people, this is believed to be the largest Sri Lankan enclave in the United States, attracting crowds to its excellent restaurants and, more recently, receiving enthusiastic notice for more..

4 anti-SAITM vehicle parades paralyse Fort

Feb 18 (Island) Heavy traffic jam created in the Colombo Fort area yesterday due to four separate vehicle parades organised by university students reached Colombo demanding the government to abolish or take over SAITM. Convener of the IUSF, the organising body of the protesting vehicle parade, Lahiru Weerasekera told The Island they started the vehicle parades on Feb. 15 and reached Colombo yesterday. more..

New honorary consul for Sri Lanka in Hawai

Feb 18 (SLE) At a well-attended ceremony at the Pacific Club of Hawaii, Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam extended a warm welcome to Bede Dhammika Cooray as the new Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka for the state of Hawaii. The presentation of the commission of appointment to the new Honorary Consul was preceded by a celebration to commemorate 69th Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka with the participation of senior representatives of Hawaiian administration, more..

Foundation of Goodness Empowerment Centre opens in Mathagal, Jaffna

Feb 18 (DN) Here is a reconciliation story that makes a difference. When Rajiv and Kiran Radhakrishnan in the UK offered their ancestral property inheritance to be gifted for the community to benefit, after having followed closely the Foundation for Goodness humanitarian endeavors it resulted in the opening of Foundation of Goodness’ 7th Village Heartbeat Project Empowerment Centre in Mathagal, Jaffna. This is the kind of example that we need to showcase and bear testimony to more..

I am the first President who declared asset to the country: President

Feb 18 (PSL) President Sirisena says he is the only President who declared asset to the country. “If the politicians and govt officers openly fulfill their responsibility no problem will arise. That example should come from the top”, he said. President was speaking at the ceremony to inaugurate Right to Information Act held at Temple Trees. “There was no demand for me to present my asset statement. But I did it last 2 years”, more..

Slow start for manufacturing, services in Jan

Feb 18 (FT) The country’s manufacturing and services sector have had a slow start in the New Year with a key index showing marginal decline in January. Manufacturing Sector Purchasing Managers Index  (PMI) has  recorded an index value of 56.2 in January, down by 2.1 index points compared to Dec 2016. “The deceleration in PMI indicate that manufacturing activities expanded at a moderate pace in Jan 2017 largely attributable to post seasonal realignment of business plans more..

PM mulls code of conduct for ships

Feb 18 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe delivering the keynote address at the Deakin University Law Faculty on Thursday. PM said Sri Lanka is willing to take a lead role in organising a conference to bring together all parties concerned to ensure freedom of navigation and peace in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). PM said the best way to solve the issues in the IOR would be to formulate a code of conduct for naval ships operating in the region. The lecture held at the Federal Square in Melbourne, more..

Prez admits severe criticism of recent HC appointment justified

Feb 18 (Island) Former Law Professor G.L. Peiris said that yahapalana govt owed an explanation to the public regarding the controversial appointment of Ramanathan Kannan as a High Court judge. Kannan functions as HC judge of Civil Appellate Court, Jaffna. Matale-born Kannan of the private bar in Batticaloa received his appointment early this month. Kannan had served Attorney General’s Department for a decade more..

Indian authorities seize pregnancy termination tablets being smuggled to SL

Feb 18 (Hindu) Sleuths of Rameswaram Customs Preventïve Unit have seized about 1.88 lakh tablets, mostly pain killer and pregnancy termination tablets loaded in a country boat for smuggling to Sri Lanka via the sea route on Friday. Acting on a tip off and on the direction of Assistant Commissioner of Customs Vijayakumar, a special team seized the tablets found in nine packs and kept in six travel bags in the boat at the Mundhalmunai seashore, near Pamban. more..

Progress is being made to stop corruption: Survey

Feb 18 (FT) The latest monthly poll conducted by research firm Kantar TNS, for business magazine LMD, reveals that 50% of the people say progress is being made to stop corruption. Respondents back up this claim by stating that officials are being assigned to act to identify corruption and take necessary action, alongside the establishment of the FCID and moves to strengthen institutes working to protect the law. However, 45% oppose this view, while the rest (5%) are unsure. more..

Ranawaka stands his ground against PCs intruding into UDA powers

Feb 18 (Island) Stern legal action would be taken against illegal and unauthorised constructions countrywide from June, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. During the launch of the construction of an entertainment centre at Waters Edge Rajagiriya on Thursday, Minister said around 1800 illegal and unauthorised constructions in Colombo City alone had been identified by a survey conducted by his Ministry. more..

Let's renew our commitment to social justice

Feb 18 (DM) Monday, Feb 20 is World Day of Social Justice on the theme, Preventing Conflict and Sustaining Peace Through Decent Work. For Sri Lanka’s National Govt it is a day of deep significance because restoring social justice by creating a just society was the key promise when it won an historic victory on Jan 8, 2015. In the economic strategy outline for this year, the Govt says it will pursue a process of sustainable development that will be eco-friendly more..

Political parallels between SL-TN

Feb 18 (DM) The astounding rapidity in the turn of events taking place in the southern Indian State of Tamil Nadu after the death of the State’s Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram does not allow anybody to surmise as to what is going to happen next. However, now that V.K. Sasikala, the confidante of Jayalalithaa had been sentenced to four years in jail in the verdict of a disproportionate assets case, the situation is likely to calm down soon. Recent events took place in the State more..

Reusable bags diktat doubles plastic imports

Feb 18 (ST) Environmentalists and industrialists last week claimed that the govt’s strategy to reduce the heavy use of polythene used by the public by dictating the production of thicker, reusable bags. In fact, thicker bags will produce more plastic waste in the environment and require more resin. Various types of resin are used to make packaging. They said the dormant 2007 legislation that was revived in January 2016 more..

NARA to investigate complaints

Feb 18 (DN) National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) has been asked to investigate whether the hot water pumped out of the Norochcholai Coal Power Plant and into the sea is affecting marine life in the area. Environmental groups and the fisher community have complained to Fisheries Ministry about the damage caused by the hot water from Norochcholai & asked that NARA investigate more..

Prices of 38 cataract lenses regulated

Feb 18 (DN) The prices of 38 varieties of eye lenses (involving 38 private companies) have been regulated and as a result the prices have been reduced in large scales, offering a huge relief to the people. The price of the entire package of eye lens has been reduced. Accordingly, it is expected that the prices of eye surgeries too will go down, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. He said that prices have been reduced from Rs. 26,900 to more..

Presidential term is only 5 years: Legal expert

Feb 18 (FT) The new Constitution was one of two key promises made by President Maithripala Sirisena in the run up to the 8 Jan 2015 polls. The SLFP, too, promised the same in the party’s General Election campaign in August that year. However, the SLFP appears to be shying away from seeking expert advice on this regard and, instead, opting for lessons in economic. That’s the message conveyed when SLFPers met more..

BJP weighing up political split in Rajapaksa camp?

Feb 18 (Hindu) Even as SL’s former President Rajapaksa angles for a political comeback, New Delhi appears to be weighing up possible political shifts in the island, including a split in the Rajapaksa camp. On Feb 10, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, known to be PM Narendra Modi’s point man on Sri Lanka, met President and PM in Colombo, a week before Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar’s scheduled official visit. more..

Many attempts by Diaspora Tigers to foment violence in Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (DBS) The ongoing investigation conducted by the Police Terrorism Investigation Department (TID) into the assassination plot targeting TN MP M.A. Sumanthiran has unearthed more details about the conspiracy hatched by tigerish elements in the Global Tamil Diaspora. Five former members of the LTTE now in custody have divulged much information about how three individuals living overseas had conspired, more..

Australia try to square series on Geelong's debut

Feb 18 (CI) Australia's ostensible home advantage against Sri Lanka was diminished at the MCG on Friday night by two factors: the unsettled and makeshift nature of the Twenty20 team with the Test team concurrently preparing in India, and the enormous amount of support for Sri Lanka from a large Melbourne expatriate population. Both factors will again be at play on Sunday, with a 3rd thrown into the mix, Kardinia Park's debut more..

Army Major, two soldiers arrested over assault on Keith Noyahr

Feb 18 (EN) Sri Lanka's police made a major breakthrough Saturday in their investigations in to the abduction of news editor Keith Noyahr as well as a string of other attacks, disappearances and killings of journalists by arresting at least three military personnel attached to a hit squad which operated from Kohuwela. Police headquarters in a statement said the three military personnel were arrested in connection more..

Colombo International Financial City land reclamation process to be completed by 2018

Feb 18 (DN) The Colombo International Financial City land reclamation process will be completed by 2018 and opportunities will be provided for investment and construction before 2019, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. “The industrial townships in Meerigama and Horana have already commenced. We have identified lands that will be made available for industrial use. There are opportunities for developers to invest in more..

Russian Ambassador speaks up for SAITM

Feb 18 (DM) In the wake of heated arguments over degree-awarding private medical colleges, Russian Ambassador Alexander Karchava defended the SAITM, saying it was being provided professorship by a leading medical academy in Russia . He said bi-lateral cooperation in the education sector was also being promoted by the private sector bringing the two countries even closer. Ambassador said Nizhni Novgorod more..

Will Himasha bring next athletic resurgence?

Feb 18 (CT) Himasha Eshan has been the best hundred metre runner Sri Lanka has ever seen so far up to the 21st century. During 1928 the period when the distances of racers were changed from yards to metres. Until quite a while no Sri Lankan was able to go better than 11.1 secs. But since the 1950s after Navaratnam ran a 10.54, things have been improving and the mark has shifted and today Himasha has established the record at 10.26. In the early days after getting introduced to metres more..

Are the militant Sinhala & Tamil diaspora in Melbourne loosing steam?

Feb 18 (CT) Before movements and institutions fall apart they become objects of laughter. Many thinkers of the past have commented on the valuable function of humour, laughter and mockery in social life, namely that they help to rectify and to correct course. Henri Bergson’s theory of humour amounted to this. Stendhall said that the aim of comedy in theatre is to expose man to the mockery of the audience and thereby induce corrective action. Charlie Chaplin has also remarked more..

Dinesh Gunawardena

Forecast 2016: Sri Lanka

Feb 18 (IPCS) It was less than half a million votes that restored democratic order in Sri Lanka and set the nation in the correct direction three years ago. 8 Jan 2015 saw the dawn of good governance locally and a recalibration of the island’s foreign policy. The draconian 18th amendment to the constitution was scrapped by an (extra) ordinary man who took on the challenge to topple the existing govt. Expectations were and are high to change existing political cultures. more..