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Kalutara campaigns watch the red lines

Feb 8 (ST) In Kalutara District, where election campaigning is usually intense, activities have continued without major incidents of violence. As a Sunday Times team visited the district this week, candidates appeared to be conscious of the number of supporters following them – a scene not observed in previous elections where as many 100 followed the candidates. This year instructions have been given that a candidate can only more..

Female genital mutilation not acceptable: UN

Feb 8 (DM) Female genital mutilation was not acceptable in the 21st century, said Jayathma Wickramanayake, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, speaking at an international forum in Gambia on strategies to combat the practice. She said it was not acceptable and this was done in the name of tradition, culture, and religion or in the name of ensuring that women were to take on subservient roles to men more..

Lankan elephants will die off by 2045: AG

Feb 8 (Island) According to an estimate made by the Auditor General’s Department, the elephant population of Sri Lanka will die out by around 2045, Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe said. "Around 250 elephants die a year on average and after we compared that number with birth rates, its quite likely that our elephant will be extinct in another few decades. However our Wildlife Department does not seem to care." more..

Attempt to alienate Udawattakele land

Feb 8 (DM) Officials of the Forest Conservation Department are perturbed by the decision of a senior forest conservator to alienate a 90 perch block of land of the Udawattakele forest reserve to a leading hotel in Kandy. The officials said the officer concerned had instructed the Divisional Secretary, Kandy Four Gravets and Gangawata Korala to proceed with the required documentation to release the block of land more..

RTI Commission states: Certain public authorities evade giving info

Feb 8 (CT) Right to Information (RTI) Commission informed that in certain instances, public authorities which have defaulted on giving information that should be legitimately provided, by way of adopting evasive tactics such as frequently requesting for time extensions to submit information, are regrettably institutions that should be at the forefront of promoting the values of RTI in enhancing education and civic participation in more..

UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador highlights importance of reproductive health and rights

Feb 8 (FT) UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, award-winning actress, and writer Ashley Judd arrived in Sri Lanka on 3 Feb with the task of highlighting the importance of reproductive health and gender rights across the country. During her time in SL, Judd visited the country’s first ever maternity hospital, where she engaged with pregnant mothers and new-born babies to gain more knowledge on UNFPA’s more..

Tamil group urges action on Sri Lankan Brigadier Priyanka Fernando

Feb 8 (LBO) A group called Transnational Govt of Tamil Eelam has urged UK Govt not to allow Brigadier Priyanka Fernando from leaving to face war crimes charges in UK. Fernando making throat-slitting gestures at protesters outside the SL High Commission in London on SL’s Independence Day sparked debate. Fernando, who was suspended by Foreign Ministry over the alleged incident, has been reinstated on the instructions of the Prez more..

Election duty evaders will be dealt with legally: Deshapriya

Feb 8 (DN) Legal action will be taken against any public servant who shirks election duties, the Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya said today. It states that the Constitution has provisions to impose a jail sentence of not more than three years and/or a fine not exceeding Rs 100,000 against any public servant who evades or neglects election duties. The Commission has issued the press statement after receiving more..

Road travel getting riskier

Feb 8 (CT) Road accident statistics, compiled by the computer division of the Traffic Police, reveal that a Sri Lankan is killed in a road accident every three-and-a-half hours and two are critically injured. This is a clear indication that road travel is becoming increasingly dangerous and hazardous. Compared to road deaths in the pre-1970s, the risk of road deaths faced by Sri Lankan's has nearly trebled. In 2009, Colombo had recorded 33,094 accidents with 2,413 casualties. more..

Lost in translation

Feb 8 (FT) Last week, I had the joy of meeting up with an old friend domiciled in the US. A professor of philosophy at an American university, he had come down to participate in a forum at the Galle Literary Festival, the glamorous shindig of the SL literati. His busy schedule allowed only for all too short a meeting in Colombo, a chat, and a hurried meal. The rest of his stay was spent at the old Dutch Fort in the South, now turned into a touristy heritage site, exploring the wonders of the written word. more..

ගාලු සාහිත්ය උළෙලේ සම්මානලාභී අමන්දා ජයතිස්ස

TV Derana switches footage to whitewash SL’s defence attaché in London

Feb 8 (CT) The television station Derana has used footage related to a demonstration against Sri Lanka over the treatment of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the SL Navy to gloss over the recent incident at the same place where Brigadier Priyankara Fernando, attached to the mission made a throat-cutting gesture. The television station showed footage of Fernando engaging with protestors over the issue of Tamil Nadu fishermen, but Derana made out that it was in fact footage related to more..

UNP saved MR from being charged for war crimes: Mangala

Feb 8 (DN) It is the UNP government that made representations in Geneva and saved former President Mahinda Rajapaksa from being charged for war crimes,” Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. The Minister was addressing a public rally at Uyanwatta, Matara last evening. “The Government was not only successful at Geneva, but we were also able to regain the GSP plus status and also had the ban on fish exports to the EU revoked,” the minister said. more..

Sinhalese princess Padmavati: A real or fictional character?

Feb 8 (Roar) Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat (changed from the previously named Padmavati following protests in India), is in cinemas in Colombo and is a tale of love, honour, valour, dignity, and sacrifice. A Rajput king falls in love with a Singhal (presumably Sinhalese, but definitely Sri Lankan) princess, and takes her back with him to Chittor, where their love withstands the greed of a Khilji sultan. more..

SL extends lower maize tax for one month

Feb 8 (EN) Sri Lanka has extended the period of a 10 rupee a kilo tax on maize till the end of Feb 2017, after it was first cut for six months from July 2017. Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera lowered series of taxes going up to 70 rupees a kilo in August 2017 for six months, amid a drought which was pushing up chicken feed prices. Critics say the import taxes as well as import licenses were giving allowing a political-business nexus, to earn enormous profits. more..

Sri Lankan food festival in Karachi

Feb 8 (PO) Avari Towers Hotel is pleased to announce that Sri Lankan Food Festival will be held from 7th – 9th Feb, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Sri Lanka and in association with Sri Lankan Airlines. Two experienced Sri Lankan chefs from the Galadari Hotel are scheduled to arrive in Karachi specially to prepare authentic and traditional Sri Lankan cuisine for the festival, providing a chance for food lovers in Karachi to taste traditional food from Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka to eliminate corporal punishment from schools

Feb 8 (AD) National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) say it has initiated a programme to eliminate Corporal Punishment meted out to children in all settings. NCPA hopes to sensitize Principals and Teachers on the contents of the circular relating to the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment, its Chairperson Marini de Livera said. Awareness Raising methods such as street-drama, interactive workshops and discussions more..

Ex Additional Secy of Presidential Secretariat released on bail

Feb 8 (NR) Former Additional Secretary to the Presidential Secretariat KD Gunaratne, arrested on charges of financial misappropriation has been released on bail. He was arrested over financial discrepancies reported while purchasing vehicles for the Presidential Secretariat in 2010. Former Additional Secretary KD Gunaratne was released on a 50,000 rupee of cash bail and two 500,000 rupees of surety bail. The order was issued by Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne. more..

Initial arrangements for Election complete

Feb 8 (NR) Elections Commission says preliminary arrangements for the conduct of the 2018 Local Authority Election have been completed. Additional Elections Commissioner RMAL Ratnayake said, election officials for 13,374 polling centres will be deployed tomorrow. Ratnayake added the officials are instructed to follow guidelines issued by respective Returning officers. Additional Elections Commissioner also noted that distribution of official polling cards has also concluded. more..

Sri Lanka on top after 14-wicket first day

Feb 8 (CI) Besieged batsmen, violent turn, wicked offcutters, fielders around the bat, and a hail of dismissals. It was as if this Mirpur pitch was on a mission to compensate for five days of boredom in Chittagong. No fewer than 14 wickets fell on a treacherous day-one surface, and by the end of it, Bangladesh were the side in the poorer position. They finished on 56 for 4, still 166 runs short of Sri Lanka's 222. more..

Ruwan praises Defence Attaché Priyankara

Feb 8 (DM) State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene today lauded Minister Counsellor (Defence) Brigadier Priyankara Fernando of the Sri Lankan High Commission in UK, for giving a signal to the pro LTTE Diaspora members whom he said are not genuinely interested in the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. “My preference is for Brigadier Fernando as he had given the right signal to pro LTTE Diaspora,” he said. The Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a request to recall him. more..

Price wrangling over Mattala

Feb 8 (FT) Sri Lanka and India are currently negotiating over the proposed joint venture for Mattala airport, with the Govt Valuer proposing $320 million, and India offering about $295 million, but talks are likely to be completed in three months, Minister Malik Samarawickrama said yesterday. “We will not go below the Govt Valuer’s price,” Minister said. About three rounds of preliminary discussions have already taken place with the Technical Evaluation Committee submitting more..

Video: Udayanga Weeratunga says he was released by Interpol

Feb 8 (AD) Former SL Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga says that he has been released by Interpol as there are no internationally leveled charges or a red notice against him. Weeratunga was reportedly detained at the Dubai international airport on Feb 4 when he tried to leave for the US, due to a warrant issued for his arrest. However, issuing a statement today to Sri Lanka media and through social media, more..

Ethiopia looks forward to greater cooperation with Sri Lanka

Feb 8 (GDI) Tsegab Kebebew, Director General of Asia and Oceania Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia said that Ethiopia looks forward to have greater cooperation with Sri Lanka in the political, economic, tourism and cultural fields in the near future. Kebebew was speaking at an event held at the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Ethiopia to celebrate the 70th anniversary of independence of Sri Lanka. Addressing the invitees, SL’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Sumith Dassanayake highlighted more..

600 election complaints: CMEV

Feb 8 (NR) Election Watchdog, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence says several complaints have been received of violation of election regulations during the silent period announced ahead of the 2018 Local Authority Elections by the Elections Commission. Speaking to NewsRadio, National Coordinator of the CMEV Manjula Gajanayake said the Elections Commission and the Sri Lanka Police will accordingly take strict action against any perpetrators. more..

IPL-style T20 League in SL slated for 2018

Feb 8 (CI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has confirmed that an IPL-style T20 tournament in Sri Lanka is in the offing, with the board stating that plans are also underway to resurrect the Sri Lankan Premier League later this year. SLC, meanwhile, is looking at next month's Nidahas Trophy as a testing ground of sorts for maximising Sri Lankan cricket's international exposure, ahead of the launch of any domestic T20 league. more..

White elephants have driven debt higher

Feb 8 (Island) The infrastructural projects save a few had become white elephants and caused an increase in the national debt, Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe said. He said the Norochcholai Lakvijaya Power Station and the Expressways were economically feasible but their profits were offset by the huge losses incurred by other projects. "Lakvijaya Power Station accounts for almost 50% of the total power supply and the expressways help the govt rake in about Rs. 7 billion. more..

TNA predicts victory in 46 Local Councils

Feb 8 (Island) TNA says it is confident of winning around 46 of the 58 councils at the Feb 10, LG elections. Asked about some Tamil political groups ganging up against the TNA, the alliance’s National List MP M. A.Sumanthiran said his party would not face much of an opposition in the North and East. He observed that various noises were being made, but the majority of Tamils were with the TNA since it had taken principled stands on various issues without playing to the gallery. more..

Bangladesh pay for overly watchful approach

Feb 8 (CI) It is still quite early to gauge how much difference Kusal Mendis' 68 will make in the Dhaka Test but on the first day, his adventurous approach already made a telling impact in SL's innings. It was that kind of a pitch where a really good ball was going to get you so Mendis probably thought it was best to collect some runs before that one delivery came. His tactics to work the wrists over the ball and drive through and more..

Eliya highlights Yahapalana sins

Feb 8 (Island) Eliya organisation blamed all woes facing the country in the last three years on the current govt and called on people to deliver their verdict accordingly at Saturday’s poll. Ven. Medagoda Abhayatissa Thera, Chief Incumbent of Sunethradevi Pirivena, Pepiliyana issuing a statement on behalf of Eliya said: "This election is by no means an ordinary LG poll and has wider ramifications than electing village level functionaries to keep the streets and drains clean and more..

Medical education: Minimum standards revised despite SLMC recommendations

Feb 8 (DM) The GMOA said the Cabinet had amended the minimum standards for medical education despite Minister Rajitha Senaratne’s request to approve the minimum standards recommended by the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC). GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said that the recently issued gazette notification on minimum standards for medical education cited two credit passes and one simple pass at the GCE A/L exam as the entry criterion. more..

Placing Finance Ministry under President ruins fiscal discipline: AG

Feb 8 (Island) One of the main reasons for the deterioration of fiscal discipline in the country was the President taking over the Finance Ministry, Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe said. "This made the Finance Ministry Secretary lose his head. He wouldn’t even respect a minister and after a while violating the fiscal regulations became the order of the day. Things have become better now after Prez Sirisena let go of more..

The Brigadier Intervention

Feb 9 (CT) The conduct of [now suspended] Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, Defence Attaché of the High Commission of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the UK has already made viral headlines not only in the UK and SL, but also across the world. Brigadier’s throat-slitting intervention, intended at Tamil nationalist/ secessionist protesters who were protesting on the National Day of Sri Lanka, has resulted in many a debate on social media and beyond. more..

Lies, Damned Lies & Statistics

Feb 9 (CT) Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe’s revelations about SL’s national debt cast doubt on all published statistical data from govt sources on the economic status of the country. Favourable statistics on employment growth, inflation control and economic growth are three most popular figures on which the rulers rely to trumpet their regimes economic success. If those figures look extremely unfavourable, then political pressure may compel the experts who produce the data to do more..

Tea Board determined to spruce up industry

Feb 9 (SO) The tea industry regulator will go to the highest extent to spruce up the industry even to the point of shutting down factories that do not comply with standards, in order to maintain the quality of Ceylon Tea, as made clear in no uncertain terms by the chief of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda in this interview with the SO. Q: What are your observations on the present status of the tea industry? more..

Phenominal sense and sensibility

Feb 9 (DN) It is the incumbent president. He epitomizes strong understanding and cool judgment. A prismic view of the political behaviour of the recent past of the country and the great many speeches the SL electorate listened to drive home the idea that the incumbent president seems to be on the grooming for a genuine leader for the country which has been eroded by mass scale ransacking of the public coffers in broad daylight. President strongly understands the status quo of the debt-ridden more..

Reflections on Sri Lanka’s 70th anniversary of Independence

Feb 9 (GV) Seven decades have passed since the Pearl of the Indian Ocean broke free from the bondage of colonial rule. For a country that was subject to one of the longest periods of foreign occupation from 1505 to 1948, SL (then Ceylon) had a remarkably smooth transition to the Parliamentary system of democratic governance. In contrast to many other colonies both in the region and beyond, there was no violent struggle for independence nor was the transfer of power marred by more..

'You can’t have a social revolution and leave out over 50% of the population'

Feb 9 (FT) Women in politics have sparked many controversies and are often greatly undermined. Likewise, Sri Lanka traditionally has very low female participation when it comes to the local elections because women aren’t given the opportunity to engage as effectively and are consistently sidelined. Addressing these matters and sharing her take, gender activist Sharanya Sekaram spoke to Daily FT in order to spread more..

Missing links education & human resources!

Feb 9 (CT) Prosperity is simply a state of being that becomes a status that is identified through signs that come linked with the crucial aspects of living standards that shall vary from one place to another. Measuring living standards is now a matter that has become more cosmopolitan resulting in the emergence of a system of values which are, in turn, based on the presence of physical features that denote the needs of human beings. Food, shelter, clothing and public health are the most more..

Book Review: Vavuniya voyage

Feb 9 (DN) This slim memoir spanning a few months in 1971 is noteworthy for its insider view on the failed first insurrection of the JVP or more exactly its repression somewhere remote from Colombo and the southwest, by a principal participant. The author was then Govt Agent, that is the top-most administrative official, in undivided Vavuniya (before Mullaithivu had been carved from it). This Tamil majority northern district was sprawling & forested and populated by poor peasants and more..