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'Personal security not needed for Rajapaksa'

Feb 26 (ST) The telephone calls from Singapore appeared urgent. Unable to reach Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, this was why Udith Lokubandara MP, who serves as Personal Assistant to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, left hurried messages at his office to call back. Not sure what the issue was, Minister Samaraweera telephoned. Mr. Lokubandara, a UPFA (Mahinda faction) MP for Badulla more..

Justice for North and East

Feb 26 (NS) There is at present an acute shortage of Tamil-speaking High Court Judges in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. In a statement issued by the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), President’s Counsel Geoffrey Alagaratnam in relation to the recent appointment of High Court Judge, R. Kannan and the private bar’s role in it, Alagaratnam said that the representations made especially by more..

Ragging: The ugly truth

Feb 26 (CT) Ragging is a form of verbal, physical or psychological abuse of newcomers, widely experienced in educational institutions, especially local universities. Despite the fact that this act – otherwise known as hazing or bullying – is illegal in the country, we are said to be the worst affected. For instance, take the most recent incident into consideration. 15 second year students from the Agriculture Faculty of more..

Protests mount over protestful city

Feb 26 (ST) Authorities are overwhelmed by a barrage of street protests, which in turn is causing severe hardship to the public and negatively impacting on the country’s already fragile economy. Law enforcement agencies, particularly the Traffic Police, are finding themselves hard pressed to handle the sheer number of almost daily protests. According to police, there are on average, 2 protests in Colombo City on any given working day. more..

Sri Lanka short of cowboys

Feb 26 (EN) State-run National Livestock Development Board (NLDB), is facing a severe shortage of farmworkers, Chairman H W Cyril said amid broader labour shortfalls in other sectors of the economy. "We have 500 vacancies for farm workers in our farms," Cyril told a forum in Colombo, organized by Fonterra, a New Zealand based dairy firm. "It is very difficult to find a person to work in farms. One thing is the salary is low." more..

No amnesty but provision to bring back legitimate foreign money

Feb 26 (ST) Govt will allow Sri Lankans holding undeclared funds in foreign banks to repatriate them to Sri Lanka if they have earned them through legitimate channels. The decision to attract such funds was made by the apex body headed by President Maithripala Sirisena. This body now monitors the workings of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM). President reviews the CCEM’s discussions and decisions. more..

Startling details emerge in Keith Noyahr abduction probe

Feb 26 (SL) The much awaited details into the abduction and brutal assault on senior journalist Keith Noyahr is now unfolding and in a dramatic turn of events, it had now come to the limelight how the abductors had telephone conversations with then Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa whilst Noyahr was in captivity. Meanwhile a U.S. State Department document made public via Wikileaks reveals more..

Central Bank violated law on past issuances of Treasury bonds

Feb 26 (SO) Ministry of Finance yesterday issued a clarification on the controversial gazette notification issued on the 1st of January 2015 on the issuance of Treasury bonds. The contents of this gazette also figured during the inquiry conducted by the Special Presidential Commission on Friday. Ministry statement: This gazette contains authorization given under section 4 of the Registered Stock and Securities Ordinance to more..

Power crisis: No tax cuts for fuel, but emergency measures

Feb 26 (ST) The use of furnace oil and diesel for power generation due to the prevailing drought will cause the CEB a loss of Rs. 51 billion over the next six months, a senior official said yesterday. Power and Renewable Energy Ministry Secretary B.M.S. Batagoda told the Sunday Times this projection had prompted the CEB to request the Finance Ministry to remove the Value Added Tax (VAT) and the Customs duty on fuel. more..

Is China a threat to Sri Lanka & Indian ocean region?

Feb 27 (CT) While two high level delegations from Beijing were visiting Colombo it was strange indeed to see a full page article in the Daily News of 22 Feb 2017 (Tripartite Agreement with India, Japan Mooted, p 4), suggesting that China might well be a threat to Sri Lanka, and Sri Lanka would do well to align with India and Japan to counter this threat. That it was a state-run newspaper that published it while the Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister was visiting and a high level delegation from more..

13 A, Indian model and Problem of interpellation

Feb 27 (CT) Many Sinhalese, possibly even a majority, seem favorable to the idea of solving the Tamil ethnic problem through devolution on the basis of 13th Amendment, though in a truncated form without land and police powers. Many Tamils, possibly even a majority, could be favorable to 13 A with some modifications of land and police powers. So a Sinhalese- Tamil consensus on a modified form of 13 A seems feasible. The consensus among the experts seems to be that appropriate more..

'New electoral system does not reflect people’s aspirations'

Feb 27 (SO) JVP Leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake says, only the upcoming LG elections should be held under the old electoral system without postponing it further. He said, new LG electoral system is distorted and doesn’t truly reflect the people’s aspirations. This electoral system definitely forces other political parties to align with one of the two major political parties, UNP or SLFP, since it has been formulated to completely ward off more..

Socio-economic rights in Sri Lanka's constitution may backfire on the poor

Feb 27 (EN) Inserting socio-economic rights into a constitution has backfired on the poor in several developing countries that tried it, a political scientist has warned as Sri Lanka considers following on the same path. Well intentioned people generally wanted to constitutionalize socio-economic rights after looking at areas like Scandinavia, where people have high living standards and the state appear to have a hand in it, which seems to be lacking in developing countries. more..

Buddhism is not for banning

Feb 27 (SL) A few well known Buddhist monks caused panic among tens of thousands (or even more) schoolboys last week by calling for a ban on Big Matches that are to be played in the coming weeks. These big matches are the most joyous of events in the schoolboy calendar. Those who have gone through the rituals of collecting funds to buy their flags, rosettes, golliwogs, pocket money and went singing past girls schools in packed jalopies to the venue off the match to enjoy unbridled more..

The new age of business

Feb 27 (LMD) In November last year, Sri Lanka’s leading listed company John Keells Holdings (JKH) announced the appointment of Krishan Balendra and Gihan Cooray to its board of directors. The move was in line with the group’s succession plans in the light of forthcoming retirements in its hierarchy in the next 12 to 24 months, and JKH’s efforts to develop a pool of young and talented individuals to whom more..

Tears and meditation are poor substitutes for systemic police reform

Feb 27 (ST) When leaving his position as Chairman of the National Police Commission (NPC) to assume an academic appointment overseas last month, Professor Siri Hettige’s reported observation that NPC is unable to control the police force and that the Commission has had to seek appropriate powers, attracts a peculiar kind of public scrutiny. One may well question as to why the outgoing Chairman woke up to this basic realization at the singular point of leaving the post. more..

‘Spring-clean SLFP and get rid of the rotten to win polls’

Feb 27 (ST) Mother knows best! Matriarch of the SLFP, the twice elected former President Chandrika Kumaranatunge struck a blow for all right thinking members of the party her father SWRD founded when she declared last week that the SLFP must break free from joint opposition crooks and murderers and go it alone with a new set of above board faces. “All the crooks and murderers are with Mahinda Rajapaksa, “ she told a group of foreign correspondents in no uncertain terms. more..

The good, the bad and the ugly of Matthew

Feb 27 (NS) The living legend’s career spans many milestones in film making. He started his career in film making with The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957 and his newest According to Mathew is premiering in April this year. His 60-year- career transcends the 1950s, the golden age of Hollywood, during which he had the distinction of working with the likes of Sir David Lean, Steven Spielberg and Hitchcock. more..

Editorial: Of that hankie ban

Feb 27 (Island) Schoolchildren are no longer allowed to carry their handkerchiefs, of all things, when they visit Parliament, we are told. This ban has come following an incident where a student’s handkerchief which accidentally fell from the public gallery of Parliament landed on a lamp below, causing a minor fire early last week. Such is the concern MPs have for their own safety! What is this world coming to when politicians enjoy the freedom of the wild ass to storm schools more..

Build a modern State on Colvin’s Foundation

Feb 27 (Island) When meeting to commemorate the 28th death anniversary of Dr. Colvin R de Silva, at 3 pm on Monday (27) at the Public Library Auditorium, Colombo, one can not only marvel at his political achievements as the leader of the LSSP, but also at his foresight based on his Marxist analytical skills. As the leader of the LSSP he correctly described the state of the country, the direction of future developments, the forces at work and the way out in 1978, describing the 1977 UNP Govt as more..

SLAF’s costly procurement plans

Feb 27 (Roar) SL Air Force put on a spectacular display on Independence Day, but appearances could be deceptive. Is the SLAF fit for purpose and value for money on an island at peace and facing no military threats from its neighbours? These questions are especially relevant as the Air Force pursues a multi-million-dollar procurement programme to upgrade its fleet with 8-12 modern Multi Role Combat Aircraft. more..

Al Ansari Exchange partners with SriLankan

Feb 27 (TTN) Al Ansari Exchange, the UAE-based foreign exchange and worldwide money transfer company, said it has signed an agreement with SriLankan Airlines, the country's national carrier, to facilitate ticket payments. As per the terms of the agreement, SriLankan Airlines customers will now be able to make payments through more than 170 UAE-wide Al Ansari Exchange branches. The service will be available during the second quarter of this year onwards. more..

House arguments cost an arm and a leg

Feb 27 (SO) The above revelation was made by an ex Deputy Guv of the Central Bank, and reported in a daily newspaper of Tuesday (21). He said that according to his reckoning, each Cabinet Minister costs the country, and that means you, me and the next citizen, whether we have tax files in our names or not, a cool Rs 8.5 million a month. That is a stupendous amount. Multiply that by the number of Ministers and Deputies and that adds to say a 100, which means Rs 850 million a month. more..

Hiring athletes for ISAC is new trend

Feb 27 (CT) Absorbing champion athletes from govt schools by granting them scholarships and various other benefits with the prime intention of increasing the medal count at International Schools Athletic Championship (ISAC), has been a much discussed topic in the ongoing ISAC 2017, as Lyceum Int'l School Wattala took an early lead with a mammoth points margin from day one with medals from their new imports. more..

Sri Lanka: An island to treasure

Feb 27 (YEP) After an eye-opening tour, Adam de Boinod defies anyone not to fall in love with the tropical idyll that is Sri Lanka. I have to go back. It’s so uplifting to be part of this harmonious triangle of mankind, animal and nature. And, of all the tropical islands I have visited, Sri Lanka has the most heady mix of exoticism. I arrived at my first hotel, the Wallawwa, which calls itself my house near Colombo. It’s a great hideaway and resting spot being only 15 minutes drive from the airport. more..

Lions face final-day battle for survival after Rayner's marathon

Feb 27 (CI) England Lions face a battle to avoid defeat in their second four-day match in Dambulla against a Sri Lanka A side battling to square the series. Sri Lanka A took a commanding lead of 195 then took two wickets early in the Lions' second innings. When bad light stopped play with 23 overs of the day's allocation remaining, the Lions had been reduced to 32 for two, with Haseeb Hameed and Tom Alsop both undone by the early introduction of spin. more..

Bangladesh tour: Acid Test amid new Big 3 scheme

Feb 27 (ST) I think it was roughly about a year-and-a-half ago, I was talking to the then Sri Lanka Cricket Interim Committee Chairman Sidath Wettimuny. Like at present, there was uncertainty, with some of the Mahela-Sanga-Dilshan trio either already retired or, about to hang their international boots. As a result, there was a dark cloud looming over Maitland Place. I was sceptical and not comfortable with the playing XI of tomorrow. more..

Colombo port ranking up 3 notches to 23

Feb 27 (FT) Colombo port has improved its ranking by 3 notches to be placed at 23 in 2016. The ranking has been compiled by Alphaliner, a global specialist in liner shipping. In 2014 Colombo port was ranked 27th. Colombo port handled 5.2 million TEUs in 2015 while last year it rose by 9.6% to 5.7 million TEUs. Minister Arjuna Ranatunga attributed the improvement to positive measures taken by the new Govt to develop the overall Port of Colombo which includes terminals by private sector as well. more..

Purnima seals triple gold medals

Feb 27 (CT) Purnima Gunaratne, who is famous for her high jumping abilities in the schools athletics arena, sealed triple gold medals with two new meet records at the International Schools Athletic Championship continued for the second day at Diyagama yesterday. Purnima from Leeds International School Panadura cleared 1.75m in her pet event, the high jump for girls under-20 category, to set a new meet record, after leaping 5.69m in the long jump to set another meet record. more..

Video: Suspect dies in custody, 5 cops arrested

Feb 27 (AD) Five cops including a Sub Inspector have been arrested after a suspect died while in custody at the Peliyagoda Police station. Four police Constables are also among the arrested cops. Police Media Unit announced that 41-year-old man had succumbed after admitting to Colombo National hospital. Police say the suspect was hospitalized following an illness he suffered while police was escorting him to find a hidden weapon. more..

Married woman, 15-old-boy arrested in guest house

Feb 27 (Island) Navagamuwa Police arrested a 22-year-old married woman while in a guest house with a 15-year-old schoolboy on Friday. She had taken the boy to a lodge at Kaduwela with his consent, the police said. Both the boy and the woman are from Biyagama. The woman had given a phone call to the boy and asked him to come to the Kaduwela town and taken him in a three wheeler to a lodge, police said. The parents of the boy who grew suspicious had followed him to the guest house, more..

Gunaratne to bat in the middle order in Mathews’ absence

Feb 27 (DN) Asela Gunaratne who excelled in the T20 series against Australia will bat in the middle order in the absence of regular skipper Angelo Mathews and the captaincy will be bestowed on Rangana Herath in the forthcoming two-Test series against Bangladesh according to the chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya. Jayasuriya also said that a few players who have excelled in SL ‘A’-England Lions series in Dambulla will be included in SL side for Test series against Bangladesh. more..

PIA still in arrears of A330 deal with SriLankan Airlines

Feb 27 (ST) Pakistan Airlines (PIA) still owes SriLankan Airlines around US$3 million as delayed payments and lease installments inclusive of extra flying hours of A 330 Aircraft wet leased to Pakistan’s national carrier in August last year. This last invoice sent to PIA by Sri Lankan Airlines after the conclusion of the lease on Feb 9 is yet to be settled, he said adding that aircraft flew more than the contracted number of hours per month more..

Girls’ Junior Fed Cup: Sri Lanka into final

Feb 27 (DN) Sri Lanka girls’ Junior Fed Cup team advanced to the next stage with a crucial 2/1 win over Vietnam at the RT Khana Stadium in New Delhi. Vietnam got off to a good start with Thanh Tran getting the better of Savini Jayasooriya 4/6 7/5 6/3 in a close match but Anika Seneviratne quickly evened the tie beating Minh Ngayanen 6/3 6/0 and then partnered Sathi Silva to overcome Truc Tran and Mai Ngayanen 6/1 6/4 and take Sri Lanka into the final against Pacific Oceania. more..

Mushfiqur optimistic of chance against SL

Feb 27 (CI) Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim has said that his team has a chance to challenge home side Sri Lanka during the two-Test series that begins on March 7. Mushfiqur lined up a number of reasons that would be to the visitors' advantage including the lack of senior players in the Sri Lanka line-up and his side's recent form and experience. For the first time in Tests between the two sides, Bangladesh will be facing a Sri Lanka line-up without Sangakkara, Mahela, Dilshan more..

Sri Lanka likely to okay migration of construction workers from the region

Feb 27 (Island) Sri Lankan construction industry is currently grappling with the problem of an acute shortage of skilled, semi skilled and  unskilled workers, and is likely to get down these categories of workers from other countries in the region. 'At present the country has a shortage of over one million skilled and semi skilled workers & also a 800,000 general labour shortage, which is going to create a major crisis more..

India sacks an official over smuggling gold from Sri Lanka

Feb 27 (TOI) Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) sleuths on Wednesday night arrested a Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) district president after discovering that his car was carrying 11.9kg of smuggled gold bars worth Rs 3.58 crore. Officers said the gold was from Sri Lanka. DRI officers picked up Congress president of Ramanathapuram district S Rajendran, also known as Goodluck Rajendran, from his house in Royappetah on Wednesday night. more..

Dry zone small tank revival seen mitigating Sri Lanka drought impact

Feb 27 (EN) Private sector investments have been encouraged to revive small tank cascade systems in Sri Lanka’s dry zone to mitigate the impact of a severe drought, which has deprived almost a million people of drinking water and cut rice output. Most long-term recommendations to mitigate the impact of disasters like drought are about overall disaster risk reduction, said Visaka Hidellage, Deputy Country Representative of the United Nations Development Program in Sri Lanka. more..

SC dismisses FR petition on right to information

Feb 27 (FT) Supreme Court dismissed what was possibly the first case invoking its jurisdiction on the right to information last week ruling that the information being sought was subject to parliamentary privilege, while legal experts pointed out that the application may have been premature being filed in 2015 before RTI legislation was enacted. In its dismissal, 3-judge bench of the SC said petitioner had failed to prove more..

Lankan student in Wales, refused asylum to be deported

Feb 27 (BBC) Any student seeking asylum should be able to finish their education here, National Union of Students (NUS) Wales has said. The union is supporting a campaign to stop Bangor University student Shiromini Satkunarajah being deported to Sri Lanka. The 20-year-old has been taken to a detention centre after being refused asylum. The Home Office said it considers each case carefully. Miss Satkunarajah, who was born in Sri Lanka but has lived in the UK for eight years, more..