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From Students to Criminals...

Feb 21 (CT) Every now and then, there occurs an event that makes one lose all hope in humanity. We have a talent of making ourselves miserable in numerous innovative ways. On these few days, we are sure that the Hell is empty and all the devils are here on Earth. The latest addition to human ineffability was reported yesterday. 15 students from the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya were arrested last Sunday by the Peradeniya Police for severely ragging 8 first year students more..

Ports Authority refutes COPE report

Feb 21 (NR) The Ports Authority has sought to explain a 38,000 million loss at the Authority as cited in the Committee on Public Enterprise report tabled in Parliament on the 8th of January this year. Issuing a statement the Communications Unit of the Authority said in 2015 it cumulated a loss of 14,156 million rupees. However the Ports Authority added the suggestion in the COPE report that a 37,166 million rupee loss was incurred tarnishes the name of the body. more..

Video: Govt must counter CBK remarks: GL

Feb 21 (DM) Former Minister G.L. Peiris said the Govt should counter the remarks allegedly made by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga that SL’s armed forces personnel continued to sexually abuse war victims. He said the remarks made by the ex-President, who heads the Office for National Unity & Reconciliation (ONUR), were of serious nature and could be used against SL forces at the upcoming UNHRC session in Geneva. more..

Cops caught with Baby Austins after meditation

Feb 21 (EN) Wildlife officials arrested two police officers who were on a hunting expedition inside the Wilpattu national park and seized two turtles known among hunters as A35, or Baby Austin. The two officers from the Puttalam division were travelling across the Wilpattu to Anuradhapura on an excursion when wildlife authorities searched them on Saturday and found the live flapshell turtles, a shot gun and live ammunition. It was the first arrest of police officers after more..

Families of Payagala victims to be compensated

Feb 21 (NR) Cabinet has approved the provisions of 100,000 rupees to the next of kin of the victims of the Payagala boat capsize on Sunday. The Cabinet also approved a 20,000 rupee compensation fee for those who sustained injuries in the boat capsize. Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa speaking in Parliament this afternoon said circulars in this regard have not been issued, adding he tabled a Cabinet paper before the Ministers today in order to obtain approval for compensation. more..

SC terminates contempt proceedings against Namal

Feb 21 (DM) Supreme Court today terminated contempt of court proceedings against MP Namal Rajapaksa. Bench observed that though the Respondent Namal Rajapaksa had jeopardized law and order earlier, now he is acting in accordance with the law. Court was of the view that in view of the undertaking given by the Parliamentarian that he is willing to fully cooperate with investigation by the Bribery Commission, more..

Navy made to earn dollars owing to foreign reserve crisis: JO

Feb 21 (Island) JO spokesman MP Bandula Gunawardena says the Navy has been compelled to earn USD 20 mn during the last 15 months by providing services to foreign enterprises owing to a rapid depletion of Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves. Foreign reserves had currently dropped to USD 5.4 from a healthy USD 8.2 bn in the run-up to the Jan 2015 presidential poll, he said. MP warned of dire consequences due to economic mismanagement causing investor confidence in SL. more..

Dead rubber last shot for makeshift home XI

Feb 21 (CI) Adelaide Oval concludes Australia's home international season the day after the drop-in pitches have been removed from the MCG, and the night before the Test team starts a series in India. These two events say much about how football has encroached upon the traditional Australian season, and also about why the international schedule is in serious need of greater context and better organisation. If there was anything particularly vital about this series, it was the opportunity more..

Sri Lanka rated Mostly Unfree in new report

Feb 21 (LBO) Sri Lanka slipped to be rated as a Mostly Unfree country this year in the Index of Economic Freedom, with the lack of govt integrity and judicial freedom contributing towards the slip, a new report showed. US-based Heritage Foundation, in their annual Index of Economic Freedom, said that economic reforms undertaken to improve Sri Lanka’s macroeconomic stability and potential for growth include strengthening more..

New time table for trains

Feb 21 (GDI) Department of Railway introduced the edited railway time table yesterday at the Ministry of Transport and Civil Avaiation. The railway time table was revised by the department after 11 years. The new time table has been prepared by the Railway Departmet due to the increased number of train services, and newly added railway stations. Currently, 396 trains and 25 rail buses run daily. Commuters will be able to buy the new time table from next month at the main railway stations more..

Thai - Sri Lanka FTA to triple bilateral trade

Feb 21 (DN) Minister Samarawickrama meeting with Board of Trade in Thailand. SL and Thailand are in the process of formulating the envisaged Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries. Thailand’s Deputy PM Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak proposed to visiting Minister Malik Samarawickrema the relationship be elevated to a strategic economic partnership, as a precursor to its conclusion. FTA and deepening of economic ties with Thailand are all aimed at tripling bilateral trade more..

Minor parties want LG polls under PR system

Feb 21 (DM) Minor parties supporting the govt had told PM Ranil Wickremesinghe that local govt elections should be held according to the Proportional Representation (PR) system. Leaders of these parties, including Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA), Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), All Ceylon Muslim Congress (ACMC), EPDP, TNA and United Socialist Party (USP) had said so when they met PM more..

Was Asoka Peiris a political fall-guy: JVP

Feb 21 (DM) Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake today asked in Parliament whether the removal of delimitation committee chairman Asoka Peiris from his post as Chairman of Lanka Mineral Sands (LMS) was an act of political victimization. He said Mr Peiris found out about his removal LMS Chairman only after he returned after testifying about the company before the committee on public enterprises. Mr. Dissanayake said Mr Peiris was an efficient and a capable public servant more..

Statement recorded from CB Governor over bond issue

Feb 21 (DM) Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy today arrived at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to record his evidence on the controversial Central Bank bond issue. Meanwhile, the public hearings on the bond issue are being held at the commission office in the Courts Complex at Court Avenue from today. The CoI is comprised with Supreme Court Judges K. T. Chithrasiri and P.S. Jayawardena, and retired deputy auditor general K. Velupillai. more..

Video: Gotabaya responds to allegations regarding Kotelawala medical faculty

Feb 21 (AD) The decision to build the Faculty of Medicine at the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University was taken following an advice from Prof. Carlo Fonseka, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said. “Some may raise accusations saying I forcefully established the faculty. But then Prof. Carlo Fonseka would be able to answer to those allegations against me, because it was him and other professors more..

Cannot ban big matches: Minister

Feb 21 (DM) In response to the call made by a group of Buddhist monks to ban school big matches, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam today said they cannot do so. Minister said the call was not new and there had been requests in the past as well to ban big matches. “We can’t ban school big matches. It is not a practical move to tackle students’ undisciplined actions,” he said. However, minister said they have had a discussion with school Principals recently to take preventive measures more..

UK govt condemns destruction of SL church

Feb 21 (PJ) The Govt has condemned an attack on a church in northwest Sri Lanka, adding that the UK regularly raises concerns about human rights offences against Christians with the country's Prime Minister. The church building was destroyed by Buddhist militants on 5 January. Christians claimed they were threatened by the mob, allegedly led by a Buddhist monk. Some 200 witnesses said the mob carried sticks, iron bars and knives before ransacking the building. more..

Representatives of US Congress called on President

Feb 21 (PMD) A bi-partisan group of Representatives of the US Congress visiting Sri Lanka paid a courtesy call on President Maithripala Sirisena today at the Presidential Secretariat. Accordingly, Congressman Peter Roskam (Chair – Republican), Congressman David Price (Democrat), Congressman Gerald Connolly (Democrat) and Congressman Adrian Smith (Republican) met the President. more..

Dehiwela-Wellawatte Railway line closed for repair

Feb 21 (DM) Costal railway line between Dehiwela and Wellawatte would be closed for three days from Thursday (23), to replace the old bridge, Railways Department said. “The coastal railway line between Dehiwela and Wellawatte would be closed from 10 a.m. on Thursday to Monday at 4 a.m.,” Railways Superintendent Wijaya Samarasinghe said. He said the project had been initiated under the instructions of Railways General Manager B.A.P. Ariyaratne. “Trains arriving from Matara, Galle, and more..

Video: Rathana Thero can rejoin party if he retracts statement: JHU

Feb 21 (AD) Co-Chairman of JHU, Ven. Hedigalle Wimalasara Thera says MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera can rejoin the party if he retracts the initial statement he made when announcing his decision to sit independently in parliament. He said that Thera can resolve any other existing issues thorough discussion. However, he said, that the central committee of JHU has currently reached a decision that a disciplinary inquiry was necessary regarding the MP and that a committee has more..

Video: IPPBA says traffic fines adding up to 5000%

Feb 21 (DM) Committee appointed by President Sirisena on the Rs. 25,000 fine for seven traffic in its report stated that the fines should been increased to a total of up to 5,000%, Inter Provincial Private Bus Association (IPPBA) President Sarath Kumara said. He said that if the committee recommendations were adopted by the Govt, all the private bus associations, including other transport services would resort to more..

Shylock’s error & The resolution of conflicts

Feb 22 (CT) I had written this short essay some time ago  and was not quite sure where to publish. After reading Prof. Laksiri Fernando’s recent essay An appeal to Tamil political leaders on the new constitution I have concluded it should appear in Colombo Telegraph. Drama is founded on conflicts of one kind or another.  It typically begins with the presentation of various characters who soon find themselves in a situation of conflict and as the drama precedes this conflict is developed more..

The state of our polity: A state in disarray

Feb 22 (CT) Pier Paolo Pasolini, the most controversial filmmaker to emerge from post-war Italy, had an interesting comment to make about protestors. Apparently he’d observed the May 1968 protests in France and the tussles which University students and the police had waded through against each other. Now Pasolini was not wont to political correctness and he spoke his mind whether or not those he criticised were his ideological comrades. That is why he was controversial and more..

Significance of Mother Language

Feb 22 (SO) International Mother Language Day will be held on Feb 21, starting at 9 am at the Vihara Mahadevi Park, Colombo. This year’s program has been organized by the Bangladesh High Commission in Sri Lanka, together with, Ministry of National Co-existence Dialogue and Official Languages, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Sri Lanka Scouts and the Colombo Municipal Council. Bangladesh High Commissioner, more..

Investment in knowledge

Feb 22 (DN) Knowledge has become the driving force of economic performance and hence knowledge production has become a necessary condition for improving national competitiveness in a globalized world. The term higher education usually encompasses university education as well as other branches of tertiary professional and technical education. University education, which in Sri Lanka dominates higher education. Country’s higher education has to be continuously upgraded more..

The lure of alternative facts and the danger of democratic deconsolidation

Feb 22 (GV) President Donald Trump’s senior counsellor Kellyanne Convey came up with a superb Orwellian term when she dubbed Presidential spokesman Sean Spencer’s outright lies about inauguration crowds as alternative facts. Alternative facts are not just the propagandistic lies govts tell people; they are also the comforting lies govts and people tell themselves. Basing political calculations and political decisions on alternative facts is often a suicidal exercise, as Mahinda Rajapaksa more..

Dr. Sivamohan reiterates preference for foreign intervention

Feb 22 (CT) TNA MP Dr. Sivapragasam Sivamohan said that a similar set up to South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission will not be suitable for SL; therefore an international inquiry on war crimes must be established. "The set up in South Africa is different to the situation in SL. Majority communities of South Africa are black but in SL Tamils are a minority, therefore the truth and reconciliation commission will be biased. more..

New hope to control Chronic Kidney Disease

Feb 22 (DN) Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in Sri Lanka has been a major public health problem and receiving increased global attention because of a significant increase in the prevalence of the disease. The term unknown etiology is referred, because the disease is not associated with any known risk factors such as aging, diabetes, hypertension, and nephrotoxic drug usage but suspected to be environmental causes. As the CKDu occurs in settlements where groundwater is more..

Hurtful Tamils should not be Party pawns

Feb 22 (NS) A group of residents in Mullaitivu took to the streets last week demanding that their homes and lands be given back to them. The protests which commenced on January 31 lasted for 14 days until President Maithripala Sirisena agreed to solve the issue. They did not demand a political solution, but a solution for their basic need. They protested, urging the govt to release their homes and lands that were occupied by Air Force personnel. Everyone needs a home to come back to. more..

Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan

Shortfalls in the implementation of Sri Lanka’s official languages policy

Feb 22 (GV) The Official Language Act of 1956 replaced English as the official language of then-Ceylon with Sinhala, failing to give recognition to the Tamil language. It was only three decades later, in the 1987 13th Amendment to Article 18 of the Constitution, that both Sinhala and Tamil were granted recognition as official languages of Sri Lanka. In 2009, a further twenty years later, Gazette 25 laid down the National Language Policy, stating regulations that state offices and more..

Is Sri Lanka heading towards child labour free status?

Feb 22 (Island) Not all children’s work is bad. Many children work. They do household chores around the house, help in shops or farms. Such work can help children learn new skills, develop responsibility, manage their resources, and gain experience which might be helpful in their future social responsibilities. However, not all work has a positive effect on children’s lives. Some forms of child labour can damage children’s health, hinder their education and have major psychological effects. more..

Thonda’s bulls travel in luxury while his people suffer

Feb 22 (SL) While the estate workers continue to suffer and demand better wages, Uva Province Minister, Senthil Thondaman is taking his bulls around in air-conditioned comfort. Thondaman’s Jallikattu bulls that struck gold at the famed Alanganallur event in Madurai were reported to be enjoying the luxury. However Thondaman said that people, especially those from the upcountry should not find fault when it comes to treating more..

Editorial: Maithri’s ire

Feb 22 (Island) Politicians are a peculiar lot. They think no end of themselves and never own up to their lapses. Of them, one may say, with apologies to Bernard Shaw, those who can, do, and those who can’t, bash the media. Politicians who are capable of living up to people’s expectations can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Hence, we often have most of those at the levers of power venting their spleens on journalists to cover up their failures which are legion. Yahapalana leaders seem to believe more..

Junior Football tourney next month

Feb 22 (ST) The South Asia – Japan Under 16 Football Tournament is organised by Japan Football Association along with Football Federation of Sri Lanka for the first time in Sri Lanka. The four countries participating in this tournament are Nepal, Bhutan, Japan and Sri Lanka. The Japan Football Association initiated this programme and proposed FFSL to conduct this programme in Sri Lanka under the slogan Sport for Tomorrow programme which was designed by the Japanese Govt. more..

Domestic cricket in chaos

Feb 22 (DN) Domestic cricket in SL has been thrown into chaos with Sri Lanka Cricket unable to get their much vaunted and spendthrift Major limited-over tournament off the ground when Negombo Cricket Club obtained a stay order last Friday to suspend the tournament because of their unfair exclusion from it. The much hyped Major limited overs tournament was launched in a glitzy ceremony at Premadasa Stadium last week more..

DLB considering online lottery for Millennials

Feb 22 (Island) Development Lotteries Board (DLB) Chairman Romesh Jayawardana says that the DLB is exploring ways to launch an online lottery which will appeal to the new Millennials or Generation Y who are not too keen on purchasing paper-based traditional lotteries. Millenials or Generation Y are the young people born in 1980s-1990s and in early 2000. "A survey conducted by undergraduates of the Uni of Colombo revealed that young people would find an online lottery more appealing. more..

Whatmore rubbishes favouritism claims

Feb 22 (Island) Dav Watmore, the consultant coach of S. Thomas’ Mount Lavinia rubbished speculations of favouritism in selection to the First XI cricket team. Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning coach, who joined Thomians as a consultant coach at the start of this year said that he was confident that the players in the squad deserved their places. "I have heard stories of favouritism in selections. That’s utter nonsense. I can assure you that everyone has been selected on merit. more..

What looms for loon

Feb 22 (NS) Minister Harin Fernando last week confirmed that Google was exploring other options to pilot and implement Project Loon as there have been certain inefficiencies recently in relation to getting the required spectrum for the trials. When inquired about the current status of the project, he said that the TRC was lobbying with International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for clearance to allocate the MHz pair more..

NDB Bank records PAT of Rs. 3.2 billion for 2016

Feb 22 (FT) National Development Bank recorded a post-tax profit (PAT) of Rs. 3,170 million for its financial year ended 31 Dec 2016, a 10% reduction over 2015’s PAT of Rs. 3,511 million. While core banking operations improved during the year, leading to a growth of 8% in total operating income up to Rs. 13,151 million from 2015’s Rs. 12,209 million, at a profitability level, this improved performance was affected by one-off specific provisions made for few customers and more..