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Army spies arrested over Lasantha murder

Feb 21 (AJ) SL police have arrested five military intelligence officers on suspicion of killing a well-known anti-establishment newspaper editor and orchestrating attacks on other journalists and dissidents under the former regime, according to a legal source. Lasantha Wickrematunge, a sharp critic of ex-President Rajapakse, was assasinated by unidentified gunmen while driving to work in Colombo in January 2009. more..

Sri Lanka blames traders for rice shortage

Feb 21 (EN) Ministry of Industry and Commerce has blamed opportunistic traders for a shortage of rice after drought drastically reduced crops and local millers protested against selling at govt controlled prices. SL needs 200,000 tonnes of rice monthly and the govt’s Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute had found 400,000 MT of rice were available in the retail market system. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said that in addition, 86,000 tonnes of rice have been imported. more..

SLT certified to construct Tier 3 internet data center

Feb 21 (CT) As Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) was aiming to instigate the construction of a new state-of-the-art Internet Data Centre that would enhance the provision of a secure and reliable data hosting facility to SL, Uptime Institute recently awarded SLT with the design certification required to carry through the initiative. Having received the go-ahead from the global data centre regulatory body, SLT is set to construct a state-of-the-art and energy efficient Data Centre with Uptime Tier 3 Certification. more..

Glyphosate committee report heads to Cabinet

Feb 21 (FT) A report giving recommendations on the controversial glyphosate ban is expected to be taken up for discussion at the Cabinet meeting this week and could lead to a change in the present Govt stance. In December PM Ranil Wickremesinghe appointed a committee to study the glyphosate ban, which was headed by Western Region Megapolis Project Chairman and PM confidante Ajita de Costa. more..

Winning series in Australia special: Asela

Feb 21 (Island) SL’s hero in the T-20 series win over Australia, Asela Gunaratne has hailed his team’s victory as a special moment. The tourists won the first game at the MCG off the last ball and sealed the series in Geelong on Sunday thanks to Gunaratne’s exploits after being 40 for five chasing a target of 174. "We had a chance to win the series, and if we had missed that chance, it would have been a big waste. I was really happy. Winning a series in Australia is something special," he said. more..

Sri Lanka ‘A’ collapse again, lose by 195 runs

Feb 21 (Island) Sri Lanka ‘A’ lasted just over a session on the final day of the first unofficial Test against England ‘A’ as the tourists secured a massive 195 run win at Pallekele yesterday. Set a daunting target of 365 runs, SL resumed on 41 for two and lost overnight batsman Roshen Silva in the second over of the day when he was caught behind by Ben Foakes off the bowling of Tom Curran. None of the batsman with the exception of opener Udara Jayasundara showed resistance more..

Foreign Secretary appreciates Indian-origin Tamils for being in the SL mainstream

Feb 21 (ENS) Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar expressed his happiness about the Indian Origin Tamils (IOTs) being in the Sri Lankan national mainstream, fully participating in governance and securing benefits for themselves, Mano Ganeshan, leader of the TPA, said after meeting the top Indian official. According to Ganeshan, Jaishankar conveyed to him that India will henceforth give special consideration to more..

Trinco port development: Economic and security concerns

Feb 21 (Island) Trinco Port could be developed to support sea connectivity. But if development of the East is to be focussed it is necessary to develop domestic aviation facilities. Govt has recently opened Batticaloa Domestic Airport and hope to expand its service, most likely to reinforce tourism developments. Taking the distance and time taken by foreigners to visit the East from BIA, it will be essential to develop air travel for tourism, as much as sea transportation for trading. more..

TRI hit by shortfall in scientific personnel

Feb 21 (Island) Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka (TRI), the country's premier research institute on tea, is now facing a crisis of not having adequate high quality research personnel to do high quality research and development for the benefit of the sector. "At present, TRI is facing an issue of attracting high quality professionals, who could do quality research on the tea industry, which is now the need of the hour due to the emergenceof new diseases and climate changes in the country, more..

'Make Tamil mandatory for SL lawmakers'

Feb 21 (PTI) Knowledge of Tamil language should be made legally compulsory for all SL lawmakers so that they can understand the problems of all communities, a minister said. Minister Mano Ganesan said MPs should have bilingual capability, meaning they should know Tamil besides Sinhala, spoken by the majority of the population. Ganesan, who comes from the minority Tamil community, said legislators who can more..

500 more dual citizenships to SL expatriates

Feb 21 (DM) Minister S.B. Nawinna said the Govt hoped to issue nearly 25,000 dual citizenships to expatriate Sri Lankans on the basis that it would give an opportunity to Sri Lankans domiciled in foreign countries to contribute to the development of their Motherland. He said this at a ceremony to distribute 500 dual citizenships to expatriate Sri Lankans. “For several decades you may have lived in a foreign country without an opportunity to give back something to your Motherland. more..

Immediate steps to revoke licenses

Feb 21 (DN) In the wake of the boat tragedy in Katukurunda on Sunday which claimed 11 lives, Minister Mahinda Amaraweera ordered relevant officials to take immediate steps to revoke licenses issued to fishing vessels which transport passengers while violating guidelines issued by the ministry. He said the ill-fated vessel was a multi-day fishing boat with a capability to carry four or five fishermen plus the fishing gear, but it had carried 30 plus passengers, far exceeding its capacity. more..

Sri Lanka sets up WTO-backed major national mechanism for export compliance

Feb 21 (FT) Recording a pioneering initiative in SL’s exports history, the country is moving to set up the first-ever national level mechanism to overcome a daunting modern global trade issue it faces – sanitary and phytosanitary compliance (essentially export quarantining and other technical barriers). “Dept of Commerce is ready to set up a National Committee on SPS and TBT to overcome our export compliance issues, especially more..

British Council connects classrooms for 21st century teaching skills

Feb 21 (Island) British Council in SL hosted media and guests at an event to celebrate UK-SL Partnership Dialogue under the theme of Responsible Education for the 21st Century. The event was held at the Mahaweli Reach Hotel in Kandy on Thursday (16). This initiative is linked to British Council’s Schools Programme, which aims to connect the UK and Sri Lankan school sectors to enrich education, promote global citizenship and build international trust and understanding. more..

Minister requests proposals to further develop Cey-Nor

Feb 21 (GDI) Minister of fisheries and Aquatic Resources Mahinda Amaraweera has given directives to the officials to bring forward proposals and projects to further develop Cey-Nor as a profit earning public entity. The progress review meeting of Cey-Nor was held recently under the patronage of the minister. There, it was brought to attention that during the past five years, Cey-Nor has lost a significant amount of profit due to management deficiencies. more..

Govt to direct market SriLankan to global airlines

Feb 21 (DM) SL will not be going for a 2nd round of bidding to seek a partner for the state-run SriLankan Airlines, as priority will be given to market the airline directly to global airlines, Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. His superior, Minister Kabir Hashim, in mid-January said if a candidate from the first round of bidding could not be shortlisted within a fortnight, PM had instructed a 3-member committee to call for fresh bids. more..

Arrested soldiers suspended

Feb 21 (CT) Army personnel who were arrested in connection with the abduction and assault of senior journalist and The Nation Deputy Editor Keith Noyahr have been suspended from duty. Five Army personnel have been remanded over the incident. Two Army Corporals were remanded on Sunday until 3 March after being produced before the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate's Court. Earlier (18), an Army Major and two soldiers arrested in connection to the incident were remanded till 23 of this month. more..

Udith Narayan to perform in Sri Lanka

Feb 21 (DN) Udith Narayan Live in Concert is a unique concept created to reach the masses and an opportunity to all Sri Lankans to witness a concert of an international flavour. This is a first event in Sri Lanka ever to happen in the entertainment industry and it’s surely going to take Colombo by storm. It is due to take place on March 11 at Galle Face Colombo. The event will showcase power packed sound and lighting system with an array of entertainment acts with vibrant segments. more..

Parliament Mafia bankrupting SL: Each minister costs taxpayer an arm and a leg

Feb 21 (Island) Former CB Governor Dr. W.A. Wijewardena said that tangible measures were urgently needed to restrict taxpayers’ money being spent on members of cabinet. He said that yahapalana administration experiencing severe difficulties on the economic front couldn’t afford to squander funds under any circumstances. Responding to JO MP Bandula Gunawardena’s declaration that lawmakers couldn’t be more..

Asia Pacific Brewery changes name to Heineken Lanka Limited

Feb 21 (Island) Asia Pacific Brewery (Lanka) Ltd changed its corporate identity to Heineken Lanka Limited with effect from Feb 13, 2017. The change in the corporate identity is to better reflect the relationship with the HEINEKEN Group and the presence in Sri Lanka as a full-fledged subsidiary of the HEINEKEN Group. Commenting on the corporate identity change, Managing Director of Heineken Lanka Ltd, Dusty Alahakoon said, "We are delighted to change our corporate identity more..

Thrilled Mathews urges Sri Lankans to whitewash Australia

Feb 21 (CB) Injured captain Angelo Mathews says he is jubilant that the Sri Lankans have completed a series win in Australia and has urged the team to complete a whitewash. Sri Lanka recorded back-to-back thrilling wins off the last ball at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Geelong on Friday and Sunday to clinch the three-match Twenty20 series with the final game to be played in Adelaide on Wednesday. "I missed the opportunity to be there, but I was extremely happy for the boys," Mathews, more..

'India will not press for merger of North, East provinces'

Feb 21 (ENS) India will not be pressing SL to merge the Northern and Eastern Provinces to form a single Tamil-majority, Tamil-speaking province as envisaged by the India-SL Accord of 1987, the Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar told the TNA. He was reacting to a demand made by the leader of the EPRLF Suresh Premachandran, that India should honor its promise to keep the North and East united. more..

Keith Noyahr’s assailants should be brought to book

Feb 21 (DM) Nine years later, in two separate incidents five army personnel were arrested during the past few days for the inhuman assault on former Daily Mirror Deputy Editor and The Nation Newspaper Associate Editor Keith Noyahr on May 11, 2008. This follows similar arrests of Army intelligence officers after the defeat of the former regime at the presidential election on January 8, 2015 for the brutal killing of former Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickramatunga, more..

Economic lethargy: Rajapaksa will be sorely missed!

Feb 21 (DM) A few years back under the former regime, it was not a nice spectacle when slum dwellers in Colombo were evicted by gun-toting soldiers to make room for development activities. Decent people were right to feel outraged. However, many of those folks might not have noticed it yet. But, this govt’s manifest indecisiveness in economic development is becoming far more disastrous than its predecessor’s highhandedness. Running a country is not about having big ideas. more..

Democracy is sometimes three steps forward, two steps back: German Envoy

Feb 21 (FT) Germany’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jorn Rohde is a strong believer in how pluralism and multi-culturalism can build successful and peaceful countries. Ambassador Rohde addressed the controversy surrounding the regaining of GSP+ concessions that are tied to certain human rights and democratic conditions, saying the decision to apply for the import duty concessions is purely SL’s decision as a sovereign state. more..

Dickwella suspended over showing dissent

Feb 21 (CI) Niroshan Dickwella has been suspended for two limited-overs matches after a Code of Conduct breach during Sunday's Twenty20 win over Australia in Geelong. Dickwella will therefore miss Wednesday's final match in the T20 series at Adelaide Oval, having been found guilty of showing dissent at an umpire's decision. Umpire Simon Fry gave Dickwella out caught-behind when the batsman tried to scoop a delivery from more..

Estate workers demand change

Feb 21 (SL) In the 19th century, the plantation sector in Sri Lanka was set up by the colonial rulers to meet the export market. Initially, Sri Lanka only provided the land resources required for the plantations while the capital was supplied by the British who brought in Indian workers to cover the labour force. Since many local Singhalese were reluctant to withdraw from their traditional cultivations and work in these plantations, more..

Deal with SAITM in isolation of private medical education issue, says academic

Feb 21 (ST) For the third week running, the issues surrounding the SAITM turned explosive – street protests by state sector students — while SL Medical Council finally decided to appeal against an earlier court ruling to provide provisional registration to a SAITM student. SLMC decision on Friday to appeal to Supreme Court came 17 days after the Court of Appeal ruling which has been favoured by some and opposed by others. more..

Thilanga enjoys president’s patronage through Chaturika’s route !

Feb 21 (LeN) Yet another  villainous methodology adopted by Deputy speaker Thilanga Sumathipala who is guilty of monumental misuse of  vehicles and  funds of the cricket association while being its administrator, in order to secure patronage and protection  of  president Sirisena  became clearly visible  at the Kettarama stadium on the 14 th. At the inauguration of the first round of the inter club limited over cricket tournament, a sum of more..

'We’ll create people’s movement that could come to power in 2020'

Feb 21 (LT) “It is very clear that both these groups cannot administer this country. We have to create a new political movement for 2020. We, as the JVP has taken the initiative for creating such a movement. We would create the people’s movement that could get power in 2020. Give us power. We would take this country on a new direction,” says the Information Secretary of the JVP Vijitha Herath. He said this participating in a meeting more..

Sri Lanka to modernize procurement with electronic system

Feb 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka will be making its public procurement more efficient and transparent with the introduction of an electronic system. “Electronic Govt Procurement (E-GP) makes public procurement more strategic and serves as an effective innovation to institute procurement reforms,” Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. “It will also boost performance in terms of efficiency, transparency, competition and fairness. more..

Ragging Torture Chamber uncovered

Feb 21 (DN) The 15 students of the Peradeniya University Agriculture Faculty arrested by the Peradeniya Police in connection with the ragging incident were remanded till March 2 when they were produced before the Kandy Acting Magistrate. Eight freshers attached to the Peradeniya University’s Agriculture Faculty who had been subjected to torture in the name of ragging by a group of second-year students of the same faculty by taking more..

Pledge to end Police abuse not met: HRW

Feb 21 (HRW) The Sri Lankan govt has not met its pledge to curtail police abuses prior to the March 2017 session of the UNHRC, Human Rights Watch said today. Security sector reform was one of 25 undertakings by Sri Lanka in the Human Rights Council resolution adopted by consensus in Oct 2015. SL govt has failed to repeal abusive Prevention of Terrorism Act or take serious measures to reduce torture in custody. more..

Decision on private universities issue will be taken in the interest of the country: President

Feb 21 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena says he would take a decision on the issue regarding the private universities in the country including the Malabe SAITM private medical college, taking into consideration the best interests and the productivity of the country. He made these remarks during a meeting with the SAITM Parents’ Association and Dr. Neville Fernando, regarding the prevailing issues on private universities more..

Indian fishermen chased away, fishing nets snapped by Sri Lankan Navy

Feb 21 (PTI) SL Naval personnel allegedly chased away nearly 3,000 fishermen from Tamil Nadu off Katchatheevu islet and snapped fishing nets of 40 mechanised boats. SL Naval personnel cut the nets and chased away the fishermen on charges of entering their territorial waters yesterday, Rameswaram Fisheries department Assistant Director said. Fishermen, who had ventured into the sea from this island town in more than 600 boats, were intercepted by naval men, he added. more..

Malaysian activist found guilty of screening No Fire Zone

Feb 21 (Bernama) A local activist was found guilty by the Magistrate's Court here today of screening a film that had not been approved by the Film Censorship Board. Magistrate said the defence failed to cast any reasonable doubt on the prosecution's case against Lena Hendry, 32, at the end of its case. The court set March 22 for sentencing and extended her bail. Lena Hendry who had formerly worked as a coordinator at the Community Communication Centre (Kosmas) more..

Politicians living a hi-life while SL is in debt

Droughts hits mini-hydropower firms

Feb 21 (EN) Electricity generation by SL’s mini-hydropower companies has been sharply reduced by severe drought that also raises the prospect of looming power cuts, according to a new report. The island’s hydropower capacity, most of which is from large govt hydropower reservoirs, is about 40% of total generation but has been halved owing to lack of rain. “Mini-hydropower plants are not delivering the expected output,” said the Initial Drought Rapid Assessment 2016/2017 more..

Congratulations Mister Prime Minister!

Feb 21 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was conferred an honorary doctorate by Deakin University, Australia. He’s not the first premier thus honored and he probably will not be the last. However, an honor it is and as such warranted media coverage. What was newsy, though, was not the event but a statement he had made that was almost missed; it was an add-on that was at once a de-conferring, so to speak, at the tail end of the report. It was reported thus: more..

Nationwide inflation accelerates to 6.5%

Feb 21 (EN) Nationwide inflation in January 2017 rose to 6.5% from a year earlier, edging up from 4.2% the month before. The National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) rose 1.1% to 119.3 index points in January 2017. “Year-on-year inflation of the food group reported for January 2017 was 6.6% while that for the non food group was 6.5%,” it said. "The reason for the increase in inflation was due to the comparatively lower price levels more..