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Storm in a teacup or real fire nipped in the bud?

Feb 23 (Island) Timely action by an employee of the House Keeping Department of Parliament averted a fire which could have destroyed its Chamber on Monday. The employee had noticed smoke whirling from a high-powered wall lamp below the public gallery above last rows of the MPs’ benches. He had alerted others and police had come there to remove all local and foreign visitors from the public gallery. At the time a group of schoolchildren were sitting in the public gallery, sources said. more..

Sri Lanka hunting refugees who sheltered Snowden in Hong Kong

Feb 23 (BBC) SL asylum seekers living in Hong Kong fear they are being illegally pursued by police after sheltering the US whistleblower Edward Snowden in the city. Criminal investigators from SL are believed to have visited Hong Kong looking for them, their lawyer said. SL police have denied the allegations. Law enforcement authorities from mainland China or other countries have no jurisdiction in Hong Kong. more..

Customs wins case against adulterated palm oil imports

Feb 23 (Island) Court of Appeal ruled that Palm Oil importer Sena Mill’s claim that the Company did not import palm oil but has imported Crude Palm Fatty Acid is baseless and unfounded. Dismissing the Writ Application, Court also rejected the claim made by the importer that the overzealous Superintendent of Customs, Sudath Silva unduly harassed the Company to impose penalties enabling him to claim cash rewards. In its judgment the Court ordered the palm oil importer Sena Mills to pay the cost more..

Hong Kong asylum seekers who sheltered Edward Snowden in fear

Feb 23 (SCMP) The asylum seekers who sheltered former US intelligence contractor turned whistle-blower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong have said they fear for their safety, after ­reports that SL police had been in the city looking for them. “I felt very scared and nervous, maybe they can arrest me, I don’t know what they would do, because they are cruel,” Supun said, describing his feelings after he was told about the presence of SL agents in the city where he has filed a protection claim. more..

UN wants further release of military held land in north

Feb 23 (FT) A UN Special Rapporteur has called on the Govt to continue and step up the release of the remaining 6,124 acres of the land currently held by the military in the North as well as other lands and coastal areas occupied by the military. Rita Izsák Ndiaye, the Special Rapporteur on minority issues who undertook a mission to Sri Lanka from 10 to 20 October 2016 in her report to the UNHRC also said that more..

Case against Keheliya adjourned till March

Feb 23 (NR) Case filed against Former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella over the misuse of state funds has been postponed to the 16th of March. The ruling for the counter-objection filed by the CIABOC against the objection filed by Attorneys representing MP Rambukwella will be announced on the 16th of March. Case was filed against Former Minister and two others for misusing state funds amounting to 990,000 rupees during the period leading up to the 2015 Presidential Election. more..

Process to legalise SAITM flawed: Dayasiri

Feb 23 (NR) Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara says the process that the Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education is following when legalising the SAITM has certain flaws. He said an investigation into the matter is being conducted though the Committee on Public Enterprise. He said while SAITM was carrying out its operations, UGC conducted an investigation. Minister said the UGC is the body that provides approval to any higher educational institution according to the gazette. more..

Formal request needed to resign from UPFA

Feb 23 (NR) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera says a formal request should be made if MPs representing the NFF want to resign from UPFA. He said UPFA has not received a request in this regard thus far. The matter must be notified not to the Speaker but to UPFA. Minister speaking as secretary of UPFA said if MP Wimal Weerawansa is willing to tender in his resignation from the party tomorrow, party is willing to accept it. more..

ISAC will be held as planned: Lyceum

Feb 23 (DM) The International Schools Athletic Competition (ISAC) organised by the Lyceum International School will be held as planned on February 25 despite rumours of a security threat at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Diyagama where the competition is to be held, Lyceum Director Nikitha Grero said. He was responding to an anonymous email allegedly sent to some International School Principals claiming security threats at the ISAC scheduled for Feb 25. more..

Sri Lankan ambassador interested in global role discussion at two sessions

Feb 23 (CD) Sri Lankan Ambassador to China, Karunasena Kodituwakku said he is interested in discussions at the coming two sessions concerning China's international role. He said: "The volume of China’s international trade and foreign direct investment in other countries is becoming a critical factor for many countries." China is likely to become the most important development partner of many emerging countries in Asia, Africa and Europe in 2017, Kodituwakku pointed out. more..

Govt faces fiery questions on women’s rights at UN

Feb 23 (FT) Govt of Sri Lanka faced tough questions from the UN women’s rights watchdog in Geneva yesterday, as it presented its four yearly periodic report and pleaded with the Committee to acknowledge advances and improvements on the condition of women in the country. “By all means push us and if we are not doing enough, you are free to say so,” Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to UN in Geneva told experts more..

An appeal to all Sri Lankans on formulating a new constitution

Feb 24 (CT) This is in response to the article of Dr. Laksiri Fernando on An Appeal To Tamil Political Leaders On The New Constitution. Instead of appealing to Tamil Political Leaders, Dr. Laksiri Fernando should have appealed to the Sinhala political leaders because the Sinhala political leaders have a long history of being obstinate and even going back on agreed proposals. The intellectuals among Sinhalese are not better. Despite these reservations, more..

Appointing judges from unofficial bar: BASL President in hot water

Feb 24 (CT) The thorny issue on the appointment of the High Court judge from the private Bar is brewing fast at a rapid phase, with conflicting statements, from various sources. Justice R Kandiah Kannan is appointed from the Batticaloe Private Bar allegedly on the recommendations of the Bar Association, which is the only statutory body of Attorneys- at –law in Sri Lanka established in 1974 with the merger of then professions Advocates and Proctors creating a powerful professional body more..

Bestowing Karuna to the tamils

Feb 24 (NS) Former Tamil Tiger renegade, ex-minister and onetime vice president of the SLFP, Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman made a fresh comeback into politics on February 11 when he launched the Tamil United Freedom Front (TUFF). He explained the need for a fresh political force to represent the Tamils and accused the TNA of being pre-occupied with internal strife while more..

Women’s labour force participation in SL

Feb 24 (IPS) Feb 20th, 2017 marks the anniversary of the World Day of Social Justice. This commitment, made by the UN in 2007, is rooted in the ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalisation and focuses on guaranteeing fair outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work. Unsurprisingly, an important focus of this commitment is the economic empowerment of women and girls. more..

But journalists can never be silenced

Feb 24 (DN) Almost nine years ago, in May 2008, the country was rocked by the news that a reputed journalist, Keith Noyahr, then the Associate Editor of ‘The Nation’ newspaper had suddenly gone missing. Alarm bells rang throughout the media establishment as they feared the worst for their colleague, a tenacious, hardnosed newshound who was highly respected by his peers for his professionalism as much as he was liked for his effusive, gregarious personality. more..

'I have no issues with the Minister'

Feb 24 (CT) Deputy Minister of Petroleum Resources Development, Anoma Gamage says that Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) Chairman was removed by the Minister, as the chairman acted arbitrarily, "The chairman made decisions on his own and treated employees in a degrading way" Q: We have heard that there is a cold war between you and the line Minister, what are your comments? A: We have absolutely no problem. more..

Stemming the culture of violence in schools

Feb 24 (DN) On Wednesday, last week, a group of students from Ananda College and Nalanda College clashed outside the premises of D. S. Senanayake College, in Colombo. Borella Police arrested 15 boys in the brawl that left as many as 8 injured, and damaged 6 vehicles. The students were later released on a bail of Rs. 100,000 by the Alutkade and Maligakanda Magistrates. DIG Priyantha Jayakody later warned of the implications: “when students spill out onto the street and more..

Man versus Elephant

Feb 24 (GV) I hear compensation due for an attack by a wild elephant will increase to rupees 500,000 from the current 200 K in Sri Lanka. Henceforth, if you are unlucky enough to be speared or trampled by a savage tusker—I wonder if this applies only to islanders or whether the visitor’s next of kin can also apply– your family can claim the equivalent of US$ 3,300. I salute Parliament for its humane insurance plan. Yet I ponder motives for attacks, electric fences, shooting of father and mothers, more..


Tax hike on milk imports no solution to boost local dairy industry: Fonterra

Feb 24 (DM) As Sri Lanka continues to struggle in improving its dairy industry, the leading global milk processor, Fonterra, stressed tax hikes on milk imports are not the way forward to boost the local capacity as such moves would eventually lead to a scarcity of milk and milk-based products, given the growing demand. “It is not the way to go about it. We will be happy if we can source every drop of milk from this country. But currently we (local sourcing) can meet only 30% of the demand. more..

SAARC Region Anaesthesiology Meeting to be held in Colombo

Feb 24 (CT) 12th SAARC Associations of Anaesthesiology meeting will be hosted and conducted by College of Anaesthesiologists and Intensivists of SL in Colombo. This would be held in combination with the 33rd Annual Academic Congress of the college. It has been 25 years since the establishment of SAARC AA, and presently all SAARC country associations of anaesthesiology are members of it. Theme of the meeting would be Improving Outcome after Anaesthesia and more..

Bellanwila Anunayake Thero slams ETCA, Indian expansionism

Feb 24 (Island) The inauguration of People’s Commission to formulate a policy framework for international trade and treaties appointed by Professionals’ National Front was held last Wednesday at the SLFI. The need for such a policy framework arose as a result of the numerous discussions Professionals’ National Front had with the govt about ETCA and the need to be guided by a set of criteria in entering into trade treaties. more..

SAITM: A verdict still in the making

Feb 24 (Island) On Jan 31, 2017 the Court of Appeal judged that an MBBS graduate of the SAITM has the legal right to receive provisional registration from the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). The Court’s decision was based on SAITM having received degree awarding status from the UGC, Minister of Health’s decision not to take action on SLMC’s recommendation, the absence of a legally-binding set of standards under which the SLMC evaluates undergraduate medical programmes, more..

Editorial: Go to the jungle

Feb 24 (Island) How civilised a nation is can perhaps be judged by the cleanliness of its public toilets. Sri Lankans boast of a glorious past and what is described as a hydraulic civilisation. They also take pride in the fascinating engineering feats of their forebears such as vast irrigation reservoirs and huge dagobas. Excavations in archeological sites continue to throw up many surprises. Interestingly, ruins of ancient toilets have been unearthed in places like A'pura & Polonnaruwa. more..

Education Minister to remove ECA evaluation reports from schools

Feb 24 (DM) Education Ministry had taken a decision to do away with the Extra Curricular Activities (ECA) Evaluation report that school-teachers need to submit on their pupils. Minister of Education Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that after taking note of the difficulties faced by school-teachers when drafting these evaluation reports, the Ministry had decided to remove the old method and formulate a new one. more..

New entrant to Colombo bourse banks on expansions, Trump for future growth

Feb 24 (FT) Leading brush manufacturer B P P L Holdings Limited, (Beira Group), which will be entering the Colombo Stock Exchange next month, is hoping that its planned expansion projects, coupled with friendly policies from Donald Trump, would help expand its top line in the future. “So far, we have supplied wholesalers and professionals, but the volume growth is now limited. We will be going for retailers and households and we’re engaging with global offices of retail chains. more..

Singer SL reports strong growth in 2016

Feb 24 (Island) Singer SL announced its results for the year ended December 31, 2016. The results showed excellent growth. Group Revenue increased 21% over the previous year to Rs. 46.9 Billion and Group Net Profit increased 91% to Rs. 2,358 Million. The growth in Revenue and Net income is primarily due to the significant initiatives and expansion undertaken by the Group including; the launch of Singer’s own Credit Card with Visa; ; the launch of the new Singer Vista Smart TV range; more..

Basil’s Malwana land for sale

Feb 24 (DN) A 16 acre land in Malwana said to be owned by former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Thirukumar Nadesan is up for sale. Following a Court order, property is to be auctioned on March 29. The minimum bid has been set at Rs.208 million after the valuation department valued the property at Rs.208 million. Pugoda Magistrate courts recently ordered to auction the disputed 16 acre land and house in Malwana after more..

The Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement Of July 1987

Feb 24 (Island) According to the CIA document, President Jayewardene is said to have disclosed to a visiting American diplomat in February 1988 that he was compelled to seek Indian intervention because Sri Lankan troops twice refused to execute his order to take Jaffna. In actual fact, such intervention occurred in somewhat different circumstances. The ascent to office by Rajiv Gandhi saw a shift in Delhi’s stance towards terrorist turbulence in Sri Lanka. more..

Drought-driven inflation expected soon

Feb 24 (Island) Although the World Bank predicts that Sri Lanka's inflation level would increase this year and the next, the country's inflation is not that high right now. It is now at a moderate level. But due to the drought conditions the agriculture sector would be badly affected, creating some reflationary pressure to the country in the days ahead, Professor of Economics, University of Colombo, Dr. Sirimal Abeyratne said. "This inflationary trend would have ripple effects among all sectors. more..

Google Loon for Sri Lanka: A deflated hope?

Feb 24 (RM) Providing internet to Sri Lanka is by no means an easy task. As per the latest statistics, Sri Lanka has a total of 4,560,973 internet subscriptions. Considering that the population of Sri Lanka is 20,810,816, that’s only 21% of the population who have access to the Internet. Speaking of internet, a hot topic that has been rising in the air is Google’s Project Loon and their involvement in Sri Lanka. more..

UPFA MP Abeygunawardena to stand trial

Feb 24 (Island) Colombo High Court Judge fixed for trial on June 5 and 6 the trial against UPFA MP Rohitha Abeygunawardene, who is indicted over his inability to explain how he accumulated money and property amounting up to Rs. 41.5 million during the period 2004-2006. The High Court over-ruled an objection taken by the defence to the request made by the complainant, CIABOC to amend the petition. Time was permitted till the final determination of the hearing to amend the petition, more..

Lanka Bell connects 35,000+ households and businesses

Feb 24 (CT) Lanka Bell, Sri Lanka's iconic telecom operator has achieved a significant milestone by reaching 35,000+ households and businesses with its fourth-generation LTE internet connectivity branded as Bell4G. Within a short duration, Bell4G has raised the bar from serving 15,000 to 35,000+ customers. Moreover, Bell4G enables Lanka Bell to be on par with or supersede the rest in this sphere, swiftly gaining ground as the preferred choice for 4G technology users islandwide. more..

Ex-DIG Anura Senanayake to be quizzed by CID over abductions

Feb 24 (DM) CID told a Colombo Magistrate that their investigations into an incident of abduction of several persons by unidentified groups in Colombo and the surrounding areas in 2009 had revealed that former Western Province DIG Anura Senanayake had prevented the CCD from arresting former Navy Lieutenant Commander Sampath Dayananda. CID said they would record a statement from Mr. Senanayake at the prison premises more..

German Embassy funds Right to women’s political representation in SL project

Feb 24 (FT) On 21 Feb, Ambassador Jörn Rohde signed an agreement for a new human rights project with the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (Asia Committee) – IMADR-AC, granting Rs. 4,126,670 (EUR 27,000) to the project Right to Women’s Political Representation in Sri Lanka. The Ambassador formally handed over the cheque to Dr. Nimalka Fernando, who is the director of the organisation and a renowned human rights activist. more..

Socioeconomic rights won’t make huge difference: political scientist

Feb 24 (FT) Though it may greatly satisfy civil society activists on a superficial level, there is little evidence to suggest that the constitutionalisation of socioeconomic rights will make a vast difference to governance, a senior political scientist with extensive international and South Asian experience said on Tuesday. Delivering a public lecture on the implications of incorporating socioeconomic rights to the proposed new constitution, Prof. Pratap Bhanu Mehta said that more..

Govt insists UL-AerCap deal to cancel A350s was in country’s best interests

Feb 24 (FT) Govt this week reiterated that the deal to scrap the national carrier’s order for four Airbus A350-900 was in the country’s best interests, saving it over $ 200 million. Issuing a statement in response to JO allegations, Minister Kabir Hashim denied that the Govt was planning to pay $ 154 million to the world’s largest airline leasing company, AerCap, for cancellation of 4 commercially unviable Airbus A350s ordered by SriLankan. more..

China, Pakistan Ukraine, Russia, Israel supplied us arms: Gota

Feb 24 (DM) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said China, Pakistan, Ukraine, Russia and Israel were the countries that supplied military equipment in the fight against terrorism at that time whereas India helped immensely in the provision of training for the security forces. In an interview with Daily Mirror, he said 80 per cent of Sri Lanka military’s overseas training had been provided by India over the years, yet it could not supply weapons due to the Tamil Nadu factor. more..

Pair of women's shoes auctioned off for Rs. 310,000

Feb 24 (DM) A pair of women's slippers had been sold for Rs.310,000 yesterday (23) at an auction conducted by the Senehasa Education Resources Research and Information Centre (ERRIC) run by the Ranaviru Seva Authority which comes under the State Defence Ministry. Ashen Ishara Udayantha (18), a hearing impaired youth who was following a training course in manufacturing women's footwear which is a project undertaken by the Vocational Training Unit of the Authority, more..