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Health minister irritated by exposing Lens mafia

Feb 22 (DN) Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne has informed the Health Ministry Secretary Anura Jayawickrama to take disciplinary action against the Coordinating Officer of the Vision 2020 Programme for providing information to media, according to the Health Ministry Media Secretary. Minister had stated that the doctor who coordinated the Vision 2020 programme was not an ophthalmologist but an ordinary doctor. more..

Japan tightens entry requirements for Sri Lankan students

Feb 22 (GT) Japan has decided to tighten its entrance requirements for overseas students from five countries including Sri Lanka, as part of its efforts to prevent illegal immigration. Japanís Immigration Bureau notified nearly half of the countryís Japanese language schools in February, in which at least 10 students were either expelled or dropped off in 2015, to adopt stricter policies for overseas students from five countries, namely, China, Vietnam, Nepal, Myanmar, & SL. more..

Rs.51 billion loss due to drought: CEB

Feb 22 (NR) The CEB says it will incur a 51 billion rupee loss in order to generate power as a result of the prevailing drought. Addressing a media briefing, CEB Chairman Anura Wijepala called for the support of the public in order to reduce the money required to generate power during this period. He said the 51 billion rupee loss will be incurred during the period from the next 6 months. Anura Wijepala called on the public and state institutions to assist the CEB during this critical time. more..

GMOA to launch token strike against SAITM

Feb 22 (NR) GMOA says a token strike will be conducted in the North Central and Eastern Provinces tomorrow opposing the SAITM. Additional Secretary of GMOA Dr. Haritha Aluthge said the token strike will be conducted from 8am to noon. Two massive protests will be held in Ampara and A'pura tomorrow evening while all branches of the province will join in. Continuation of the token strike will depend on the outcome of 4 hour more..

President meets SLFP electoral organizers

Feb 22 (PMD) A meeting between President Sirisena and the SLFP electoral organizers was held at Presidentís House, today. During the meeting it was discussed in detail regarding the contemporary political affairs as well as regarding the progress of local development activities. Many suggestions were presented by the electoral organizers in this regard during the meeting. President pointed out the importance of working unitedly to fulfill the responsibilities of the SLFP more..

Changes Soon in economy: Amaraweera

Feb 22 (CT) UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera says a few decisions related to economic issues will be taken shortly by President Sirisena in order to free the country from its current economic crisis. He said these decisions will be similar to the appointment of the new CB Governor who replaced the controversial former CB Governor Ajruna Mahendran who is yet embroiled in the CB Bond scandal. Asked what precise changes will be carried out in economy, he declined to elaborate. more..

Video: Preaching Prez: President asks IGP to look into Uni ragging

Feb 22 (DM) President Sirisena said he had directed the IGP to take necessary action against those involved in ragging in universities with the co-ordination of university authorities. Referring to the ragging by some students of the Peradeniya University, President said it was a disgrace to free education and the universities for senior students to rag the freshers. He said this when participating at the 75th anniversary of more..

JVP queries why govt acquired Wijeweeraís property at Ulapane

Feb 22 (Island) JVP demanded to know from the govt in parliament yesterday as to how and why it acquired the property that belonged to the partyís founder leader Rohana Wijeweera at Ulapane and the reasons for not returning them to the family members of Wijeweera. Incumbent JVP leader and Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the rightful owner of the land was Wijeweera and now the house and land should be owned by the Wijeweera family. more..

Ambassador Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya presents credentials

Feb 22 (GDI) Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Brazil Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya, concurrently accredited to Colombia presented his credentials to Juan Manuel Santos Calderůn, President of Colombia at the presidentīs palace in Bogota on 16th Feb. At the Presentation of credentials Gen. Jayasuriya conveyed greetings of President of SL and briefed the significant developments taken place under the unity govt.†† He also congratulated the President on winning the Nobel Peace Prize and more..

Census of Public and Semi Govt Sector Employment: Preliminary Report issued

Feb 22 (GDI) Department of Census and Statistics (DCS), on 17 Nov 2016 conducted the Census of Public and Semi Govt Sector Employment 2016 which is the eighth in a series of censuses conducted by the Department. Preliminary Report based on the summaries prepared manually at institutional level immediately after the census which covered both the public sector and the Semi Govt sector has been prepared by DCS. more..

Sri Lanka creates panel to stem sexual abuse of women

Feb 22 (AFP) Sri Lanka will set up a special panel to tackle widespread sexual abuse and exploitation of women including thousands of war widows, the government said Wednesday. The establishment of a new National Commission on Women comes amid warnings that women from the Tamil minority face widespread sexual exploitation by officials in their own community as well as from the military. The commission will have powers of prosecution, said the government in a statement. more..

Sri Lanka to grant higher compensation for victims of elephant attacks

Feb 22 (Xinhua) Cabinet on Wednesday approved to grant a higher compensation to victims of wild elephant attacks in the island country. Compensations would be paid for damages caused by wild elephant attacks on individuals and properties. Following a proposal made by Wildlife Minister Gamini Jayawickrama PereraĀC govt decided to increase the compensation paid for human deaths and permanent disabilities from the current Rs. 200000 to Rs. 500ĀC000. more..

SL investigators in Hong Kong to find asylum seekers who sheltered Snowden?

Feb 22 (SCMP) Two local lawmakers are calling on the police to investigate claims that SL police investigators were in Hong Kong looking for the asylum seekers from the country who sheltered American whistle-blower Edward Snowden in the city. ďThe families [one family of four and one individual] are very afraid of SL govt, in particular SL CID and the military, as these bodies have been cited for their human rights abuses by UN,Ē more..

Five NFF MPs to function separately in Parliament: Wimal

Feb 22 (DM) Leader of NFF Wimal Weerawansa today said that five members belonging to his party will function independently in opposition and that they should be recognized as a separate party in Parliament. Mr. Weerawansa said he has informed the Speaker about this decision in writing earlier and the latter had failed to heed the request. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya who responded said Mr. Weerawansa had only handed him a letter but did not make a public statement about it. more..

JHU wants district quota system victims accommodated

Feb 22 (Island) JHUís Media Secretary Anuruddha Karnasuriya said that the students who were deprived of entering the medical faculties of state universities due to the District Quota System had to be given the option of entering the respective medical faculties by paying the cost or enter the faculties they were chosen to. He believed that there were around 1,200-1,500 students who fail to enter the state medical faculties due to the District Quota system yearly. more..

Private higher education: Moratuwa dons tolerant

Feb 22 (Island) University of Moratuwa Teachersí Association (UMTA) says it will not oppose the establishment or the existence of private higher education institutions that award degrees because it believes that paid or unpaid, education in a hassle-free environment is a basic human right. UMTA President Dr. Rangika Halwatura said that, however, ensuring the quality of the products of the private institutions and more..

Delay to establish OMP raises hard questions

Feb 23 (SL) The govtís failure to establish the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) has led to civil society asking hard questions, especially since civil society backed the govt at the last elections expecting a solution on the missing persons issue. State Minister Ruwan Wijewardene says the issue of investigating missing persons is not an easy task. He says some case may take a few weeks while others may take months or even years. ĒIt is hard to give a definite time or answers for this matter more..

AG silent on corrupt CA Sri Lanka†

Feb 23 (CT) By what perverse logic does Chandra Jayaratne described as a good governance activist expect a corrupt CA Sri Lanka to Safeguard the Integrity of the Auditor General Ė Gamini Wijesinghe under attack by powerful vested interests threatened by his demand for accountability for alleged egregious wrongdoing? He does so in his independence day letter to the President and Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka captioned ďAn Appeal to Safeguard more..

Sri Lankaís safety ratings first in South Asia : No acute shortage of ATCs

Feb 23 (SO) The issue of the shortage of air traffic controllers in the country has been sorted out with discussions held with relevant authorities, a spokesman for the Air Traffic Controllersí Association said, in response to a media report, that there is a threat to security related to air traffic control due to a dearth of air traffic controllers in the country. ďThe matter relating to the dearth of air traffic controllers have been solved, more..

Sellamma & her struggle to reclaim her house and land in Puthukudiyiruppu

Feb 23 (GV) Sellamma is 83 years old. She has a house in Puthukudiyiruppu (PTK) East, Ward no. 7, in the Mullaitivu district in the Northern Province. Itís opposite the PTK Divisional Secretariat (DS). But for more than two weeks, she has been braving the hot sun and cold nights on the street, opposite her house. Because her house and land is occupied by the Army. In fading light of evening, and beyond an Army watchtower, she showed me her house. I was tempted to take a photo of her house, more..

Corruption and confusion

Feb 23 (CT) The COPE began its investigations on Friday 5 June and we met every day the following week, except on the Friday Ė again my fault, for I had arranged another trip, our High Commission in Delhi having succeeded in getting visas for Azerbaijan. During the weekend I read the reports the bank had prepared on the whole business and found the situation even worse than I had thought. Because of Mahendran's actions, the interest the country had to pay on bonds had shot up, more..

'LG elections should be under new system'

Feb 23 (CT) CT interviewed, JVP MP, Bimal Rathnayake who spoke of JVP standpoint regarding the proposed election reforms. He stressed, that JVP is not against holding the LG elections, but do not want the elections to be conducted in an unfair manner. JVP urged the govt to come up with a fair election system and hold the election as per such system and noted that it is not only the JVP that is against this proposed system. more..

The reshuffle story and politics behind

Feb 23 (NS) To be or not to be, that was the question about the much awaited cabinet reshuffle. In the end, it was not to be. A few days prior to the Independence Day celebrations, Minister and General Secretary of the UPFA Mahinda Amaraweera announced at a public rally that there would be a Cabinet reshuffle shortly. Thereafter, speculation took over, as it is wont to happen in SL political circles. The names of some ministers, some of them holding key portfolios more..

Editorial: Appointments and extensions

Feb 23 (Island) Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, who turned 55 yesterday couldnít have asked for a better birthday present; his term has been extended by six months by President Sirisena! His extension has come as no surprise. Numerous as the failings of the yahapalana leaders are, they cannot be considered a bunch of ingrates. Last December, the Navy Commander helped crush a workersí protest at the Hambantota Port and, went out of his way to pounce on a journalist more..


Sri Lankaís inapt constitution & Several national problems

Feb 23 (CT) Recent revelations, particularly after the formation of the national unity govt in 2015 committed to good governance indicate that the long-drawn-out ethnic problem is not the only national problem that has denied the environment for peaceful co-existence of ethnic majority and minority communities and steady national development that benefitted all, particularly the poor and under privileged citizens. The members of the ethnic minority Tamil community soon after more..

Volkswagen is Sri Lankaís National Car

Feb 23 (Island) Japanese, our dear friends, had got angry with Sri Lanka. They questioned why Sri Lankans had become so ungrateful. Japanese ambassador questioned, "Havenít you forgotten that we gifted you a 1001 bed hospital at Sri J'pura Kotte? If itís mismanaged, is it our problem? Have you forgotten that we introduced television to Sri Lanka and Rupavahini is our gift. We even let you show Oshin and make money off the programme". Dear PM Ranil Wickremasinghe responded, more..

The digital dilemma

Feb 23 (E) Conversations about the future of telecoms have acquired two phrases in the last few years: IoT or the Internet of Things and OTT or Over-The-Top content. Telcos and the technology sector had IoT and OTT in the horizon long before the popular nomenclature was established. Soon enough, everything from cars to household appliances and industrial machines will be connected to the internet. more..

COMBank makes 2016 spectacular year

Feb 23 (FT) Commercial Bank of Ceylon, continuing its trailblazing performance, reported profit before income tax (PBT) of Rs. 20.051 billion for 2016, marking the end of a spectacular year in which it made history as the first private bank in Sri Lanka to surpass a trillion rupees in assets. Profit before VAT grew by 18.58% to Rs. 23.755 billion, an increase in the financial VAT rate from 11% to 15% for four of the 12 months reviewed had resulted in bankís VAT expense for full year increasing by 28.17% more..

The catch-trick and no-Zing bails

Feb 23 (CI) Aaron Finch hadn't scored when he tried to tug a delivery from Lasith Malinga through midwicket. It was not the best-timed stroke, and the ball flew at catchable height and speed in the close vicinity of Dilshan Munaweera. To the relief of Finch, the chance went quickly to ground, reprieving him and allowing Australia's stand-in captain to go on to a muscular 53. At the same time, it illustrated the one area in which SL have not excelled this series - struggling to hold their catches. more..

Tamil Naduís apolitical Jallikattu stir inspires Sri Lankan Tamil agitators

Feb 23 (ENS) SL Tamils agitating for the last 20 days on the issue of forced disappearances and non-return of lands by the military, have, for the first time, kept the movement apolitical and did not involve any political party. They were apparently inspired by the successful apolitical mass agitation in TN to get the ban on Jallikattu (bull taming) lifted. ďHaving watched on Tamil Nadu satellite TV channels the participation of more..

Israel architect Moshe Safdie responds to SL Journalists for Global Justice

Feb 23 (FT) I am writing in response to your reporting on Sri Lankan Journalists for Global Justice write to SL Institute of Architects on famed Israeli architect, dated 16 Feb.†While in Sri Lanka, I did in fact speak to the SL Institute of Architects, where in my speech I unequivocally denied these allegation which first appeared in a commentary in the Sunday Times on 14 February. The authors quote a source commentary article from The Guardian in the UK from 2010, more..

Invigorate inter-religious dialogue and reconciliation

Feb 23 (Island) The former President Chandrika Kumaratunge who spoke recalling how a united people succeeded in gaining Independence made a frank, bold and challenging speech encouraging the participants to continue determinedly on the path of reconciliation among all our people in Sri Lanka and not be discouraged by even that monk who causes misunderstanding, confusion and disturbances. She said that religious leaders could do much in bringing about reconciliation and peace to Sri Lanka. more..

Special Infrastructure Company to lobby for loans and manage mega road projects

Feb 23 (FT) In a bid to raise funds for future development projects, the Govt yesterday gave approval to establish a separate entity to develop and manage critical infrastructure projects, with powers to independently lobby for financial assistance.† The fully Govt-owned entity to be known as the Special Infrastructure Company (SIFCO) will be managed by the Treasury Secretary and the Road Development Authority (RDA). more..

Engaged in a political sport!

Feb 23 (CT) "By virtue of the powers vested in me by Section 25A of the Universities Act, No. 16 of 1978, I, Dissanayake Mudiyanselage Sumanaweera Banda Dissanayake, Minister of Higher Education, having obtained a report under Section 70C of the aforesaid Act in respect of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (Pvt.) Ltd. (SAITM), a company incorporated in SL under the Companies Act, No. 7 of 2007, do by this Order and subject to conditions specified in the Schedule hereto, more..

DFCC records outstanding performance

Feb 23 (FT) DFCCís Profit after Tax (without extraordinary capital gains) in 2016 has crossed the Rs. 3 billion mark for the first time in the bankís history. The financial year ended 31 Dec 2016 was the first full year of operations after the amalgamation of DFCC Bank with DFCC Vardhana Bank, which took place on 1 Oct 2015.†In a statement, DFCC said the expectations were that the amalgamated bank would reach new financial and other thresholds as a result of more..

11 MR-regime closed files of market manipulation reopened by SEC

Feb 23 (FT) Capital market regulator, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday revealed that it had reopened files of 11 market manipulation cases that were closed under the previous regime. ďSome of the cases that were closed two to three years back have been reopened. There are 11 reopened cases right now,Ē SEC Director External Relations and Surveillance Thushara Jayaratne said, responding to more..

Seylan Bank achieves milestone with net profit of Rs. 4 b in 2016

Feb 23 (FT) In the backdrop of challenging external environment, Seylan Bank reported a resilient performance.†Bank recorded a profit after tax of Rs. 4,010 million for the year ended that on 31 December 2016, which is the highest profit reported since its inception. In comparison to 2015, after tax profit grew by 4.7%. Net interest income recorded a moderate growth of 12.03% as a result of the strong balance sheet growth.†Net interest margin contracted from 4.42% in 2015 to 4.19% more..

Korea Eximbank provides clean drinking water to Kurunegala North

Feb 23 (Island) The foundation stone for Deduru Oya Water Supply Project was laid ceremonially on Feb 20 by Minister Rauf Hakeem, ambassador of Korea, Chang, Won-sam and other dignitaries. Project is supported by the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank) with the aim of providing clean and safe drinking water to the people in Mahawa and Polpithigama divisions located towards the Northern part of Kurunegala district as these area are reportedly inflicted with CKD. more..

Controversial HC appointment: Alagaratnam explains BASL role

Feb 23 (Island) Geoffrey Alagaratnam, PC, President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has responded to accusations directed at the BASL in respect of the recent appointment of Ramanathan Kannan as High Court judge. The following is the text of Alagaratnamís statement: "There has been much speculation and allegations related to the above appointment and the role of the Bar Association in relation to it. more..