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Renewed commitment required to overcome present gloom 

Feb 20 (CT) A year ago a contractor whom I spoke to rejoiced that corruption was much reduced under the new govt. He said that the minister in charge of his area of work had merely asked for a donation to be made to support a public institution. Though this donation had nothing to do with the contract, he was happy to oblige, as it was for a public cause and not for the minister’s personal pocket. When I met this same contractor last week he was a disillusioned man. He said that business was good, more..

PM and Parliament Mafia bankrupting SL

January tea output falls 15.3% y/y

Feb 20 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's tea output fell 15.3% in January due to adverse weather, poor application of fertilisers and a govt ban on pesticides. "Mainly it is the weather; in addition to that, other factors like (poor application of) fertiliser and (govt ban on) weedicide also impacted," said Sri Lanka Tea Board Director-General S.A. Siriwardena. He did not gave a forecast for 2017 and the board said needs to study the weather pattern before forecasting 2017 tea production. more..

Video: Wimal further remanded until 6 March

Feb 20 (AD) Former minister Wimal Weerawansa, who was arrested on charges of misusing state vehicles, has been further remanded until March 06 after being produced before the Fort Magistrate’s Court on Monday.  NFF leader was arrested by the FCID on Jan 10 after he arrived to give a statement pertaining to allegations of misusing state vehicles.   Weerawansa has been accused of misusing several vehicles belonging to the Presidential Secretariat Office, during his tenure as more..

'Inflation spike in Feb not demand-driven'

Feb 20 (EN) SL's spike in 12-month inflation to 5.5% Feb 2017 was due to statistical and supply issues, and was not driven by demand, which can be corrected by higher interest rates, CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. He said CB watched the current account deficit of the balance of payments and inflation. There was a widening of the trade deficit due to the import of a dredger and 12-month inflation in capital rose to 5.5% in Jan more..

The runaway bride

Feb 20 (DN) A grand wedding reception held at a leading hotel in Aluthgama had a sad ending for the bridegroom, parents of both parties and the invitees when the bride suddenly went missing after the nuptials and other traditional ceremonies, recently. The parents of the bride had found a suitable partner for their daughter and planned to give her away in right royal style by arranging a grand reception at a leading hotel in Aluthgama. They had spent over Rs. 1.7 million for the tamasha. more..

Payagala boat capsize victims identified

Feb 20 (NR) The bodies of seven persons who drowned last morning when a boat capsized in Payagala have been identified by relatives. The relatives have requested for the remains to be handed over. However, Beruwala Police said the bodies cannot be released without the completion of the post- mortem examination. Police said the bodies will be handed over to relatives following the post-mortem examination and with the consent of the Judicial Medical Officer. more..

Video: Ban big matches: Prelates

Feb 20 (DM) A group of leading Buddhist Monks today called for the ban of school big matches saying that the matches acted like a platform for promotion of alcohol among students leading deterioration of social values. Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera, the Founder of the Sri Bodhiraja Foundation, said that the big matches should be banned in the name of morality. “The Principals and authorities, including more..

Perpetual Treasuries pettition fixed for March

Feb 20 (NR) Court of Appeal today decided to take up a petition filed by Perpetual Treasuries Company and two other affiliated primary dealers against a decision taken by the Central Bank to restrict its activities over ongoing investigations into the issuance of Treasury Bonds. Accordingly a two member bench comprising Judges Vijitha Mallagoda and S Thurairajah today decided to take up the petition on the 3rd of March. Monetary Board of the CB on the 7th of Nov 2016 decided to more..

Ordeal ends for Lankan Seafarers

Feb 20 (CT) Nine SL Seafarers held captive for 152 days by Yemeni rebels arrived at BIA on Saturday. They are residents of Kegalle, Kotahena, Kottawa, Ragama, A'pura, Avissawella, Weliveriya and Alawwa. Vessel with 7000 metric tons of gasoline was heading for Germany from Dubai when it was grabbed by the rebels at the Hodeida Port in Yemen on Sept 14, 2016. They were released with the assistance of Indian Embassy in Yemen along with the cooperation of SL Consulate in Oman. more..

Indian Foreign Secretary urges TNA to unite to fight for Tamils’ rights

Feb 20 (ENS) Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar has urged TNA to unite to fight for the Tamils’ rights, including their rights under the proposed constitution, and cooperate with India in the economic development of Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces. Meeting the TNA top brass ahead of his meetings with the SL President and PM here on Monday, Jaishankar asked Tamil leadership about their concerns more..

Video: 15 Peradeniya uni students arrested for ragging their juniors

Feb 20 (AD) The police have nabbed fifteen university students in the wee hours of this morning after they caught ragging a group of junior students inside a house in Galaha, Peradeniya. The undergraduates, all second year students of the University of Peradeniya, were apprehended during a search operation carried out at around 1 am, an official said. Police launched the search after university’s proctor received a tip-off that eight junior students of the Agriculture Department were more..

Sri Lanka drought seen hitting consumer goods, finance firms

Feb 20 (EN) Severe drought in Sri Lanka that has curtailed production of rice and other crops and deprived almost a million people of drinking water will affect consumer goods and finance companies, according to a new report. The drought, believed to be the worst in 40 years, will have a significant impact on first quarter economic growth and some impact on second quarter performance. Household incomes in agriculture dependent areas would be affected, according to the more..

Govt turns down all JO proposals on new Constitution: Vidura

Feb 20 (DM) Govt had turned down all proposals made to the Subcommittee on Centre-Peripheral Relations by Joint Opposition (JO), depriving the opportunity to establish the unitary nature of the State in the process of making the country’s new Constitution, JO claimed. JO’s subcommittee representative MP Vidura Wickramanayake said that on behalf of the group he produced 14 suggestions with the support of MP Sanath Nishantha, more..

MR on Mohan Peiris removal ON

Feb 20 (CT) Former President Rajapaksa said that the incumbent govt had disregarded standard procedure when it decided to sack the former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris. Rajapaksa made this remark yesterday while commenting on the controversial removal of Peiris, an incident which has resurfaced following President Maithripala Sirisena's public criticism of the former CJ. President Maithripala Sirisena stated at a public gathering, that Peiris was removed due to his dubious ethics. more..

Adhere to safety regulations: Amaraweera

Feb 20 (NR) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera says strict action will be taken against those who violate rules in place pertaining to passenger transport by sea. He said there are a number of areas to look into pertaining to passenger transport. Minister issued a statement today over the boat capsize in Payagala yesterday that led to the demise of 11 persons. He said maximum capacity on board a vessel, sea conditions and safety equipment all contribute to maintaining the steadiness of a vessel. more..

Fourth SAARC Public Procurement Conference commenced in Colombo

Feb 20 (PSL) Fourth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference commenced under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo today. Conference will continue until Feb 23 in Colombo and Kandy. The Conference is an annual learning, knowledge and experience sharing, and networking event for the Heads of Public Procurement Agency or Authority of the eight member countries of the SAARC; more..

Whatmore returns to Sri Lanka, this time to coach school team

Feb 20 (CB) Sri Lanka's cricket team has been coached by over a dozen foreign coaches including Sir Gary Sobers (1981-1983). But not even the greatest all-rounder of all time earns the admiration and attention of locals that Dav Whatmore gets. The World Cup winning coach, who had two stints with the Sri Lankan team from 1995-1997 and 1999-2003, has returned to Colombo again. This time he has been employed by S. Thomas' College, Sri Lanka's most prestigious school. more..

‘Ancient Lankans offered their wives as slaves to temples’

Feb 20 (Island) A recent study on ancient Sri Lankan epigraphy dating back to the 5th and 7th centuries AD have uncovered a peculiar practice in vogue during that time of laymen offering their wives and family members as slaves to temples and then pay for their release to accrue merits. The study carried out on special type of inscriptions commonly known as Vaharala inscriptions found that kings, ministers, rich as well as those engaged in artisan professions offering various persons more..

Sri Lanka may stop hydro power generation by end April

Feb 20 (LBO) Sri Lanka will have to stop hydro power generation by the end of April if the prevailing dry weather condition continues, power minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said. Minister participating in Kegalle Development Committee meeting stated that priority has to be given to save water for drinking and not for the electricity generation. Govt has already decided to use Castlereigh & Mawussakale reservoirs only to more..

BASL poll put off over appointment of HC Judge

Feb 20 (DM) The election to decide the next President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has been postponed until further notice, Association Secretary Amal Randeniya said. The election was scheduled to be held tomorrow. However, it has been postponed owing to a dispute with the Judicial Services Association regarding the controversial appointment of High Court Judge Ramanathan Kannan. The dispute arose after a decision taken by the Judicial Service Association (SLJSA) more..

Amid international pressure, govt. is hunting war heroes: PHU

Feb 20 (AD) Amid pressure from the international community, this govt is sacrificing war heroes, the PHU alleged today. PHU leader Udaya Gammanpila while speaking to reporters, pointed out the govt intends to sacrifice war heroes in a bid to reduce pressure from the UNHRC, Tamil Diaspora groups and Non-Governmental organizations. “The separatists will only be satisfied if a swarm of soldiers were put behind bars before the next UNHRC session in March,” he said. more..

Video: SF should not have been jailed: Namal

Feb 20 (DM) Joint opposition MP Namal Rajapaksa said he personally believed that imprisoning former army commander Sarath Fonseka should not have happened because he and his family members even conducted Bodi Poojas when he was injured in the bomb blast. He said Mr. Fonseka was not dragged to the court by politically insulting him like what happens today. “He was imprisoned through a legal procedure over more..

IPL Bidding: Sri Lanka top of the flops

Feb 20 (EN) England players attracted megabuck bids in the Indian Premier League auction Monday, while Sri Lankan players emerged top of the flops with even Afghan players doing better. England all-rounder Ben Stokes set a new record for a foreigner by joining the Rising Pune Supergiants for more than $2 million while Sri Lanka's lone player, Angelo Mathews did not proceed beyond the $300,000 base price. Mathews was taken by Delhi Daredevils for 20 million Indian rupees while in contrast more..

Fresh power hike soon

Feb 20 (CT) The govt will be compelled to increase the tariff on electricity in the coming months due to the decision taken by the CEB to purchase privately produced electricity at Rs 30 a unit, ACF Advisor Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said. He added that a unit is sold to the consumer at Rs 16 a unit. "This was a common practice that benefitted CEB mafia which consisted of senior CEB and Ministry of Power officials," he said. The govt will spend Rs 600 million within six months to pay for the electricity more..

Diesel mafia: CEB Unions to take TU action

Feb 20 (CT) Engineers' Union of the CEB (CEBEU) has decided to take powerful labour action to mark their protest against what they allege is "the conspiracy of a few leaders of the govt to appease their business associates in terms of the decisions on the power and energy sector which could affect an entire country adversely." Accordingly, CEBEU has made an appointment for a discussion with President Sirisena on 21 Feb more..

SAITM & Private medical schools

Feb 21 (CT) SAITM, the abbreviation for Sri Lanka’s newest private university, South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine, has been denoting a derogatory meaning in Sri Lankans’ present local vocabulary. It is a private initiative, done at private costs, to offer a solution to one of Sri Lanka’s chronic problems relating to medical education. That problem is the failure of the Government to meet the aspirations of all students seeking to continue for a medical degree at a State university. more..

Editorial: Justitia in distress

Feb 21 (Island) President Sirisena finds himself in an unenviable position, trying as he does his best to justify the appointment of a member of the private bar as a High Court judge at the expense of many deserving District Court judges. He says he has only acted on a Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) recommendation and the proper process was followed in making the controversial appointment. But, Judicial Services Association (JSA), on the warpath, would have none of it. more..

Sri Lanka RTI law, third best out of 110 countries : Hang on to it and put it to use

Feb 21 (SO) Although it is still in its infancy, the civil society and the general public have begun to have apprehensions about the RTI law, a highly anticipated and much hyped piece of legislation expected to empower people and promote good governance. The media outlets highlighted how ill prepared the public offices were to cater to the RTI demands, not just those in lower strata but those at topmost level as well. more..

Agricultural development and economic growth essential for food security

Feb 21 (ST) The development of agriculture and economic growth are imperatives for food security. Increased agricultural production would contribute towards increasing food supplies to feed the increasing population, reduce food imports, increase export earnings and improve food security and livelihoods of a significant proportion of the population. Economic growth and a strong trade balance are also needed to ensure food security. Feeding the growing global population, more..

Skirting the Ides of March with more promises

Feb 21 (ST) Had the soothsayer who predicted a sticky end for Julius Caesar been as inaccurate as the one who pronounced an early end for President Sirisena this year, he might have suffered a harder time than an appearance in court. As it turned out the soothsayer was correct and Julius did go down without a fight. He was the victim of a political game that has been played for centuries and is still played with great gusto and even more venom in our own political playing fields as more..

'Rice shortage and high prices: Big mill owners to blame'

Feb 21 (CT) In the recent past there have been many discussions on rice prices. In order to understand the root cause of this issue we interviewed Namal Karunaratne, National Organizer of All Ceylon Peasants' Federation. Q: One of the main topics of discussion in the recent months has been the shortage of rice and the drastic increase in prices. We know that severe drought in 2016 was one of the reasons for the shortage, as production fell. more..

Delightfully imperfect?

Feb 21 (FT) Paul Harris is a British journalist who was ordered out of Sri Lanka in 2001-02. The reasons for his forced departure are clouded in controversy. Strangely, according to Harris, his strong anti-LTTE line was one of the reasons for the sudden withdrawal of the welcome.  In the short period he was here Harris was productive, writing several books, reports and newspaper articles on the country. In Colombo, Harris was based mainly at the Galle Face Hotel –inspiration for the title more..

The truth seekers

Feb 21 (SL) The question: What is the Truth was addressed to Jesus by Pontius Pilate (Prefect of Judea of the Roman Empire). Pilate who appears to have been a reluctant investigator had not waited for Jesus’s reply and walked away. And thus the question asked about 2017 years ago still remains unanswered. Long before that period and ever since then, the question: What is the Truth has been posed on innumerable other subjects but no satisfactory answer has been forthcoming. more..

PC election press conference

The profound impact of caste in contemporary Sri Lanka

Feb 21 (CT) It is a basic tenet of social sciences that a person’s environment has a profound impact on every aspect of their social behaviour, as well as the overall social psyche. When discussing the maladies that affect Sri Lanka, the main topic is usually the failure of politicians and other responsible parties to competently run a functioning system under the legislative, executive and judicial branches. There is no doubt that there have been catastrophic failures in all these aspects. more..

AMR Ramesh visits Jaffna for Aspota

Feb 21 (ENS) AMR Ramesh is a director who doesn’t look at a movie just as a piece of entertainment. So it is not different with his new project called Aspota - The Human Bomb, a movie where the director will revisit the subject of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. Films like Cyanide and Attahasa, showed the director’s will to highlight serious subjects and the amount of time and effort he spent on research before a project goes on the floors. more..

Ruffling judicial feathers

Feb 21 (CT) President Sirisena's appointment of Ramanathan Kannan as a High Court Judge is said to be a violation of the Constitution and judicial service tradition. According to various reports, President himself has said that the appointment was made after a group of lawyers from the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) met him. However, BASL Secretary Amal Randeniya denied any involvement on the part of the BASL more..

Central Bank Data Library goes live

Feb 21 (LBO) The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) today launched a Data Library to the general public via the CBSL external website. Data Library of CBSL is a comprehensive database consisting of time series data on a variety of topics spanning across Real, Monetary, Fiscal, External and Financial sectors. It facilitates numerous data requirements by enabling the creation of own queries, generating tables, downloading and saving them for further reference. more..

IFC invests Rs510mn in Sanasa Bank

Feb 21 (LBO) Sanasa Development Bank (SDB) by way of a private placement has received 510.65 million rupees from International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the proposed fund raising of the Bank. Subscription agreement with IFC for the issue of 3,647,500 ordinary voting shares at 140 rupees per share amounting to a total investment of 510.65 million rupees was executed on Feb 17, 2017. SDB further said that investment by IFC does not require approval under monetary board. more..