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Port City: Extra land for public use

Feb 27 (DN) The new agreement between the Sri Lankan govt and China for the Colombo Port City and Financial City has renegotiated extra land for public use. According to the new Port City agreement, the new park area will be eight times larger than the Galle Face Green. Apart from this, the project will also create a 3 km-long beach area (13 hectares) for public use. Only 35% of the reclaimed land will be occupied by buildings. more..

UDA sets up special unit to check corruption

Feb 27 (Island) In response to ever increasing complaints of officials soliciting bribes and touts fleecing people who seek various services such as approval for building plans and certificates of conformity from the Urban Development Authority, Chairman of the authority has opened a special service unit on the ground floor of Sethsiripaya in Battaramulla, a press release issued by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Province Development said yesterday. more..

Sampanthan meets French delegation

Feb 27 (NR) Leader of the Opposition and the TNA MP R Sampanthan today met with a delegation of Senators from France at the Opposition Leader’s Office in the Parliamentary Complex. The TNA said Opposition Leader Sampanthan briefed the delegation on the formulation of the constitution, stating that the new Constitution should possess features that will provide more powers to Provincial Councils concerning matters of socio-economic development. more..

UNHRC opens, Zeid’s annual report notes SL

Feb 27 (CG) The 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council opened in Geneva today with UN Secretary General António Guterres and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein calling on the Council to ensure the rights of all communities are protected around the world. The session will see Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein submit a report on SL and a discussion also taking place on the progress more..

Strategy for an anti-Sri Lankan constitution

Feb 28 (CT) Hon. Sampanthan’s 90 minute (written) speech during the recent adjournment debate (22) on the Constitution was historicist, in the sense that he invoked a great deal of political history. But his argument was a-historical and illogical. Tamil nationalists, including Mr. Sampanthan himself spurned the many offers made by successive SL (OK, Southern or Sinhala) administrations from that of President Premadasa through President Kumaratunga to President Rajapaksa. more..

Political mayhem

Feb 28 (CT) English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic, George Orwell expressed his views on social injustice and tyranny in 1948, as follows: "The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears, and it was their final, most essential command!" Sometimes one wonders whether such statements congruently fit into our current political climate. The word politics, derived from the Greek term Politika, relates to the affairs and activities, as regards a country is concerned, more..

Geneva Resolution : Sri Lanka awaits extension to fulfil obligations

Feb 28 (SO) In the backdrop of rumours that SL may be given an extension of time to fulfil her obligations under the Geneva Resolution 30/1, the final report of the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on SL remains inaccessible. This comprehensive report on SL’s progress mandated by the 2015 Resolution will outline the High Commissioner’s verdict on Sri Lanka’s progress on transitional justice commitments it has more..

A massive trade deficit in 2016, yet a current account surplus in BOP

Feb 28 (ST) The trade deficit in 2016 is estimated to be a massive US$ 10 billion. However the current account in the balance of payments is likely to be in surplus as worker remittances, earnings from tourism and other services would more than offset this trade gap. Furthermore, to achieve a current account surplus net current income out flows for the year would have to be moderate. The trade deficit expanding each successive year is symptomatic of fundamental weaknesses in the economy. more..

And so let us prey!

Feb 28 (ST) That master craftsman of the private tuition world, former minister and now the economics guru of the Joint Opposition, Bandula Gunawardena, recently supported vehemently the offering of perks and privileges to our elected — and even selected — representatives of the people. News reports said that, at a media conference a few days ago, Gunawardena was adamant that low (oops, sorry for that) lawmakers should not be deprived of legitimate perks and privileges endorsed by parliament. more..

'Sinhalese and Muslims also suffered'

Feb 28 (CT) Centre for Human Rights and Research (CHR) released a report last week on the state of Transitional Justice in SL. One of the striking features of this report was that CHR's insistence that the suffering of Sinhalese and Muslims who were affected by the conflict must be recognized and govt should recognize their right to return. This is not usually the stance taken by many NGOs who try to ignore the fact that Sinhalese & Muslims also more..

Editorial: Bang, bang, bang

Feb 28 (Island) The country is not yet free from terrorism. Thankfully, JVP and LTTE were defeated militarily in 1989 and 2009 respectively, but the law-abiding citizens are still living in fear of a different brand of terrorism. The underworld has emerged stronger than ever. In what looked like a scene from a Hollywood action flick, a group of unidentified gunmen opened fire on a prison vehicle in Kalutara yesterday morning. Seven persons including a notorious underworld character, more..

Upholding children’s rights

Feb 28 (CT) According to media reports, incidents of child abuse have multiplied during the past few years. They indicate that most children in the rural sector have been exploited to satisfy the needs of paedophiles. Sri Lanka is fast becoming a destination for sex tourism mainly targeting children. There have been several instances where even four-year-old girls were raped and murdered by drug addicts and sex maniacs. Sometimes grandfathers have raped granddaughters. more..

Face the nation

Car permits abuse: JVP lawmakers cannot plead for ignorance of law 

Feb 28 (CT) Dishonest SLFP and UNP MPs have already conceded that they have abused govt tax revenue under the guise of tax-free permits. The State Minister of Finance recently said that he has been doing it for a long time whilst Bandula Gunawardane, MP declared that there is nothing new about cash-trapped MPs selling their car permits. MP Udaya Gammanpila was also caught red handed after the vehicle imported on his permit registered by a private company. more..

Celebrating 50 years of graduation as medical doctors

Feb 28 (Island) On the 4th of June 1962, 158 young men and women, who had secured admission to the University of Ceylon, to pursue a career in Medicine, entered the portals of that great institute of learning – The Faculty of Medicine, Colombo. We had gained entry purely on merit on the performance at the GCE A/L Exam. There were students from across the island from Chilaw to Batticaloa, from Pont Pedro, Chunnakam, Tellipalai to Galle, from Pannipitiya to Matale. more..

Sri Lanka's new information law puts corrupt officials in crosshairs

Feb 28 (Nikkei) Since November 2012, the students of St. Joseph's College, an all-male secondary school in Colombo, have watched a landmark tower rising over their backyard. The construction work rattled some of the classrooms closest to the Lotus Tower, as the 350 meter freestanding structure is called, and put paid to the students' former habits of scampering across the grounds behind the school to fish in a nearby more..

10,000 illegal buildings in Colombo

Feb 28 (NS) Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has acknowledged recent revelations made by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development attesting to the existence of over 10,000 illegally constructed buildings within the Colombo City limits. A Ministry survey has identified approximately 1800 such buildings between Bambalapitiya and Wellawatte alone. It is reported that serious irregularities have taken place in the process of granting approval for such constructions. more..

SLSRFA jokes continue

Feb 28 (CT) Inter-school league rugby tournament may have kicked off during the weekend, but it just made Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association (SLSRFA) look even more ridiculous as they were left with a series of unanswered questions. Isipathana managed to just edge out Rajans in a mud-field in Bogambara, but still unaware of the amount of points they gathered off the opener, while Royal, who held on to score a narrow win over Joes, are still wondering whether they have more..

Ranil-Mahinda-Sagala secret talks in S'pore?

Feb 28 (LeN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Law and order minister Sagala Ratnayake met with ex  deposed president Mahinda Rajapakse on the 17th in Singapore. This was  a secret meeting, based on reports reaching Lanka e news inside information division. While the PM was in Singapore after concluding his tour of Australia, the Machiavellian ex president Rajapakse too was there citing medical attention grounds, and more..

CA Sri Lanka Business Plan competition

Feb 28 (SO) Royal College, Colombo recently won the Colombo B regional round at the Business Plan Competition organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka), beating several other leading schools in the district. St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa, was adjudged first runner-up and Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya became the second runner-up at the second regional round held recently which brought together a total of six schools from Colombo. more..

HNB triumphs as most profitable private sector banking group

Feb 28 (FT) Hatton National Bank (HNB) said yesterday an outstanding performance throughout 2016 on every front culminated in the bank as a group posting the best financial results in its history. Group Profit Before VAT, NBT and Taxes grew by 41.3% to Rs. 27.1 billion while Profit Before Tax (PBT) reached Rs. 22.5 billion with a 39.2% growth. Group Profit After Tax (PAT) witnessed exceptional growth of 41.2% to be recorded at Rs. 15.7 billion. more..

Video: Govt to set up agri marketing unit to help farmers: PM

Feb 28 (DM) Govt is hoping to set up a national agricultural marketing authority to help farmers, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. He told those who had gathered at the opening of a new office of Rural Economy Ministry that Govt would get the private sector involved in it as well. “Ministry of Rural Economy has to move away from traditional thinking and on move in this direction is the setting up of a national agricultural more..

UFOs over Dimbulagala Monastery?

Feb 28 (CT) A number of farmers from the Dimbulagala area claim that they saw rays of bright light from the sky over the Dimbulagala Forest Monastery yesterday (27) morning. They claim that several objects, with flashing bright lights, descended near one building of the Monastery and then suddenly disappeared. A number of farmers who were guarding their cultivations against wild animals in Dimbulagala, Namal Pokuna, and Dalukona witnessed the same incident. more..

Lobby talk on crossovers

Feb 28 (DM) Most Diyawanna members usually trade barbs across the floor during debates in the chamber, but when meeting in the council lobby, they greet one another cordially and exchange light-hearted banter forgetting party differences. The main topic that Diyawanna members from both sides discuss at their lobby encounters these days is the possible pole-vaults from one side to the other. The other day at such an encounter, a govt member addressed several JO members in a derisive more..

First ever Marines of SL Navy pass out

Feb 28 (SLN) 164 Marines including 6 officers and 158 sailors, belonging to the first ever SLN Marine Battalion, established following a visionary concept of the Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne, passed out at Naval Base SLNS Barana in Mollikulam today (27), on successful completion of their training. The inauguration ceremony of Marine Battalion together with insignia pinning was graced by President more..

SriLankan welcomes first A320neo aircraft

Feb 28 (DM) SriLankan Airlines yesterday received its first A320neo Airbus aircraft, which the airline expects to utilize to gain more traction in the Asian and Middle Eastern markets under the airline’s new strategic focus in becoming a major regional player. Second A32Oneo aircraft is scheduled for delivery in April 2017, followed by two A321neo aircraft in the second quarter. A third A321neo is to arrive before the end of 2017, with the fourth A321neo is due in the first quarter of 2018. more..

CTC’s financial performance in 2016 highlights significant dip in govt revenue

Feb 28 (FT) Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) said that its contribution to Govt revenue through excise tax fell to Rs. 87.4 billion during the year ending 31 Dec 2016. Company notes that the dip in its tax bill was a result of an unprecedented 43% price increase due to an excise increase in October and the introduction of 15% VAT in November. The company delivered record excise gains for the Govt of Rs. 72.6 billion during the first nine months - a 16% increase compared to 2015.  more..

Herath to lead Sri Lanka, Pushpakumara called up for Bangladesh Tests

Feb 28 (CI) Rangana Herath will captain Sri Lanka in the Tests against Bangladesh, while prolific domestic left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara joins him in the squad, Sri Lanka Cricket has announced. These are the only squad details released so far, however. It is likely the remainder of the squad has not been picked yet - an earlier release stated the selectors were not due to meet until Tuesday. more..

National Stroke Day Walk commenced under patronage of President

Feb 28 (PSL) The National Stroke Day Walk was commenced from the Vihara Mahadevi Park in Colombo under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena, today (26). The National Stroke Association of Sri Lanka organized the walk with the aim of prevention of strokes by educating the public on the disease. The President also appreciated the service rendered by the National Stroke Association of Sri Lanka to eliminate the disease from the country. more..

Religious philosophy is the only way to heal society: President

Feb 28 (PSL) “The only way to heal the current society which faces only the competitiveness by repressing the humanity, human love and discipline is the religious philosophy”, says President Maithripala Sirisena. He pointed out the importance of the contribution of the Mahasangha and other religious leaders in drawing the young generation towards the religious places and building a better country. The President was speaking at the ceremonial opening of the golden fence and more..

Khaki-clad gunmen open fire on Black Maria killing 7

Feb 28 (Island) Seven persons including five prisoners and two jailers were killed when a group of gunmen dressed in police style uniforms launched an audacious daytime attack on a prison bus at Ethanamadala in Kalutara around 8.30 am yesterday. Among the dead was notorious underworld kingpin Aruna Udayashantha alias Kaduwela Samayan, police said. The prisoners who died in the attack were henchmen of more..

‘Disbanding of prison intelligence unit led to attack on Black Maria’

Feb 28 (Island) Former Minister of Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera alleged that the attack on a Black Maria in Kalutara was a result of the present govt disbanding the intelligence unit of SL Prisons. He said the present govt had assigned the intelligence officers in Prisons to carry out internal tasks. "Under the Rajapaksa govt, we formed an intelligence unit in the Prisons Department to protect suspects, especially when they were transported from prisons to courts and back and more..

Docs’ anti-SAITM strike today in CP

Feb 28 (Island) The govt doctors would stage a strike from 8.00am today in the state hospitals in the Central Province against the SAITM, the GMOA announced yesterday. GMOA Secretary Dr Naveen D Zoysa said the strike in the Central Province was the fifth phase of their struggle to stop what they termed ‘producing of substandard doctors’. A demonstration and protest rally will also be held in the evening with other anti-AITM movements in the Kandy town, he said. more..

Acting Govt Printer drops bombshell

Feb 28 (Island) Acting Govt Printer Gangani Liyanage informed the Presidential Commission of Inquiry investigating the controversial bond sale that the name of former Finance Minister and President Rajapaksa’s name had been included in the gazette No 1895/19 relevant for the controversial sale on instructions from the CB. She admitted that mentioning the name of Rajapaksa as Minister of Finance in the gazette was a mistake more..

Judge rules in favour of Wimal

Feb 28 (CT) Colombo High Court Judge Vikum Kaluarachchi yesterday ordered the head of the Welikada Prison to allow MP and National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader Wimal Weerawansa to attend Parliamentary Committee meetings. Weerawansa is currently in remand custody for allegedly misusing 40 State owned vehicles during the previous regime. The judge made this decision after considering a revised bail application filed by Weerawansa's attorneys. more..

Priyasath Dep new CJ?

Feb 28 (FT) Constitutional Council is said to have recommended Supreme Court Judge Priyasath Dep, PC to be the new Chief Justice to President Sirisena. Recommendation was made after deliberations by the council yesterday. The other consideration was Supreme Court Judge K.T. Chithrasiri, PC. President is scheduled to make the final decision and announce the appointment today. Dep is regarded as the senior most judge in the Supreme Court, hence the recommendation. more..

'Mahendran sold bonds in public auction sans Monetary Board approval'

Feb 28 (Island) Secretary to the Ministry of Finance Dr RHS Samaratunga informed the Commission of Inquiry investigating the controversial bond sale that former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran had opted to sell Treasury bonds through public auction without approval from the Monetary Board. In answer to a question by Senior State Counsel Yasantha Kodagoda, Dr Samaratunga said the former CB Governor had decided on more..

Proper security may have prevented the shooting: Swaminathan

Feb 28 (DM) There was a possibility of preventing the shooting at Kalutara if the police were able to provide sufficient security to the Black Maria, Minister D.M. Swaminathan said. He said the usual practice adopted when transporting leading underworld criminals was under special police protection. “When asked to do so, the Police has informed that they were unable to provide security because of the lack of sufficient police personnel to do so,” the minister said. more..

Governor assured MR not responsible: JO

Feb 28 (DM) The Joint Opposition said Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy has assured that former President and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa had no involvement in the controversial gazette which is said to have resulted in the Bond Sale Scam. Governor had conveyed this to the group of JO MPs who visited the Central Bank yesterday. MPs visited the Central Bank and met the Governor as it had been two years since the controversial Bond Sale Scam had taken place at the Central Bank. more..

Trying to cover-up Bond Scam?

Feb 28 (FT) Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake challenged former President Rajapaksa sue the Govt on the contentious gazette detailing bond transactions during his time in power as it would reveal questionable private placement deals worth billions.   Detailing some of the findings of bond transactions made from 2005-2015, he noted that of the Rs. 7.2 trillion in bonds over 80% were issued on private placement. more..