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Full rugby and weightlifting contingents in spite of Ministry cuts

Feb 10 (ST) Sri Lanka will definitely be represented at rugby at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in April this year, according to SLRFU’s vice president Lasitha Gunaratne. At the same time the weightlifting squad also may get the green light to go ahead with its full contingent of eleven lifters, though it had earlier been pruned down to six. Last week a five-member selection committee under former national athlete Sunil Gunawardena drastically pruned down SL’s C'wealth contingent, more..

No unauthorised settlements in Wilpattu Forest Reserve: AG

Feb 10 (FT) Attorney General has asserted to the Court of Appeal that the Wilpattu Forest Reserve has not been deforested and no unauthorised resettlement has been carried out. State counsel appealing for the Attorney General told the court that the people displaced by the war have been resettled in an area outside of the Wilpattu Forest Reserve and the resettled area was not a protected forest area. more..

Children seen carrying ballot boxes in Polonnaruwa

Feb 10 (DM) A child was seen carrying ballot boxes from the polling centre situated at Pulathisipura National College of Education to another polling centre in Polonnaruwa. The distribution of ballot boxes commenced this morning and 295 polling centres have been installed with 3,500 officials being assigned for election duty in the Polonnaruwa District. When contacted Polonnaruwa Govt Agent Ranjith Ariyaratne said he was unaware about using children to transport ballot boxes due to more..

Sri Lankan man accused of murdering wife in Quebec won't get new trial

Feb 10 (CP) A Sri Lankan man charged with killing his wife but set free after his legal proceedings took too long will likely never get a new trial in Canada, Quebec’s appellate court ruled Friday in its decision to dismiss the Crown’s appeal. Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingham was deported in July, rendering the Crown’s appeal moot as there is no factual basis to believe such a trial could plausibly happen, Justice Allan Hilton wrote in the 4-1 decision. He was charged with 2nd-degree murder more..

CB working on moving out of EU’s blacklist of money laundering risk countries

Feb 10 (FT) Central Bank’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) yesterday confirmed that it would take steps to have Sri Lanka removed from the European Union’s list of countries at risk for money laundering, though any change before November would be unlikely. “The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has put Sri Lanka on a grey list from November last year and generally the European Union (EU) follows it. more..

Minister Fowzie’s granddaughter assaulted in Court premises

Feb 10 (CT) Complaints Lodged With Court Police, Women’s and Children Bureau, National Authority for The Protection of Victims of Crimes and Witnesses Minister A.H.M. Fowzie’s granddaughter – Attorney-at-Law Fathima Hafsa lodged three complaints for intimidating and assaulting her in Court premises this morning against Dr. Shazli Mowjood who is on bail and allegedly carried on these acts in breach of bail conditions. Three complaints were lodged with Court Police, more..

Leaders should be able to sell reforms to the ordinary people: Harvard economist

Feb 10 (Island) 'Reforms are best served when political leaders are good at communicating them to the ordinary people in a convincing way, whether they be fiscal consolidation, monetary policy, public spending, collection of state revenue, tariff frameworks or signing of free trade agreements, a Harvard economist said at Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of Int'l Relations and Strategic Studies, Colombo, in an invited address Professor Robert Lawrence, faculty chair of the Practice of more..

Absorb SAITM students into State medical faculties: MFSAC

Feb 10 (DM) Medical Faculty Students’ Action Committee (MFSAC) urged the govt to absorb students belonging to the SAITM into State medical faculties in order that they can continue with their medical education. MFSAC Convener Ryan Jayalath said that the authorities should provide medical education to qualified SAITM students at existing State medical faculties and make them graduates of the Wayamba and more..

24 Athletes fly to Indonesia

Feb 10 (CT) Team of 24 athletes took wing to Indonesia on Thursday night to compete in the test event ahead of Asian Games, Road to 18th Asian Games 2018. Team includes the entire Elite National poolists comprising the recent medallists at the Asian Indoor Athletic Championship except for athletes who are training outside Sri Lanka. Around 1000 participants from several countries will compete in the eight sports test events which AASL saw as an opportunity for National athletes more..

Two city hotels up for sale?

Feb 10 (ST) Two major properties (in Colombo) of a large conglomerate are in the market for sale, according to leisure industry sources. This is a bid to fund their largest projects todate. The project costs for this large construction which is their magnum opus have run out with the group facing funding issues, the sources said. They added that one of the properties was for sale for a couple of years but it didn’t fetch the correct price. The second, more popular property, is also now in the market. more..

62 candidates arrested for violating election laws

Feb 10 (DN) Sixty two candidates had been arrested by the police so far while several of them are liable to lose their seat, even if they win, in the event they are found guilty. Further they could lose their voting rights for up to seven years, according to the police, Police Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said. He said the Police had taken all measures to ensure a safe, fair and peaceful election today. more..

High ticket costs keeping Bangladeshi tourists away, says High Commissioner

Feb 10 (FT) Comparatively high travel costs are preventing Bangladeshi tourists from visiting Sri Lanka, Bangladesh High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Riaz Hamidullah, said on Thursday. Pointing out that India received more than 1.5 million Bangladeshi tourists last year alone, Hamidullah said that Sri Lanka was overlooked as a travel destination by the growing middle class in his country due to high airfares. “This has been a concern raised by a lot of people. more..

Defence Attaché indiscretion Overseas Lankans to rise in support

Feb 10 (CT) Representatives for the Global Sri Lanka Society (GSLS) said that they have decided to support Defence Attaché of the SL High Commission in London, Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, after he was spotted making a throat slitting gesture towards protesters who thronged the Embassy Office in London on 4 Feb, when Sri Lanka celebrated its 70th Independence anniversary. GSLS said that, several LTTE sympathizers and those supporting the proscribed outfit were more..

AG counter attacks, vows not to give up cleaning op

Feb 10 (Island) Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe said that those who had accused him of taking sides in LG polls campaign were way off the mark. Wijesinghe said that those who had found fault with him for addressing the contentious issue of national debt on the eve of the Feb. 10 polls publicly endorsed his position vis-a-vis the treasury bond scams involving the Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) and various other more..

Take valid ID to vote

Feb 10 (Island) The Election Commission (EC) says no one will be allowed to vote today unless he or she produces valid proof of his or her identity. Only the following will be accepted at polling centres: the national identity card, passport, driving licence, retired government servants’ identity card, identity card issued by the Department of registration of persons to clergy or the temporary identity card issued by the Elections Commission. EC also says the use of mobile phones, cameras, more..

Spot makes pyrrhic gains ahead of Polls

Feb 10 (CT) Benchmark spot strengthened for the second consecutive market day yesterday, on the back of weak demand as the market decided to make their next move after today's LG Polls, market sources said. As a result, the spot strengthened by between 15 to 20 cents over the close on 8 Feb to finish the week at Rs 154.20/25 to the US Dollar in two way quotes on thin volumes, they said. Meanwhile, a year ago on 9 Feb 2017, with the spot then controlled at Rs 150.75 to the Dollar, more..

AG draws flak for timing of national debt claim

Feb 10 (Island) Alleging that Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe has issued a controversial statement in respect of national debt beneficial to the ruling coalition ahead of the LG polls, National Polls Observation Center (NPOC) has urged National Election Commission and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of SL to inquire into the official’s conduct. NPOC National Organizer Rasanga Harischandra said that more..

Kandy polling work not properly organised; causing problems for appointed officers

Feb 10 (Island) Ballot boxes and polling cards of 925 polling booths in Kandy district were issued on Friday at the Ranabima Royal College, Gannoruwa amidst a tense situation among the officers appointed for duty at the polling booths. Firstly the officers gathered at the school expressed their displeasure over the delay in the handing over of the ballot boxes and papers. The officers were told to be present at the school as early as 6.00 in the morning for arrangements to commence handing over more..

Poll monitors from 4 countries

Feb 10 (DM) Ten election monitors from four countries have arrived in the country to observe today's country-wide LG elections. An official from the Elections Commission said these election monitors had arrived on the invitation of the Elections Commission and they comprised four Indians, two each from South Korea, Indonesia and Maldives. He said the foreign monitors had started their work by observing the issuance of ballot boxes yesterday and would visit polling booths in more..

Local Govt elections today

Feb 10 (FT) Over 15 million people expected to vote countrywide in today’s LG election that will be crucial to the future of the coalition Govt. 175,000 public officials will be on duty at a total of 13,374 voting centres set up across the island covering 340 local authorities and 4,917 wards. A record 57,252 candidates will be contesting this election, largest number in SL voting history, for 8,325 seats in various local authorities. more..

Square pegs in round holes

Feb 10 (DM) As Sri Lanka, conducts its biggest ever LG elections today, we need to reflect on the fact that poverty, unemployment, youth disillusionment, social and institutional degradation and disintegration, and environmental despoliation continues relentlessly to haunt the world and our country. All this takes place in the backdrop of widening gaps between the super-rich and rich, rich and the middle-class and, the middle-class and the desperately poor, neglected, lower class. more..

Top women professionals need to come into politics

Feb 10 (DM) In today’s crucial and countrywide elections to 341 local councils, a significant feature will be the 25% representation for women for the first time since Sri Lanka achieved universal adult franchise more than 80 years ago. While acknowledging this as a positive first step towards gender equality which is vital for the evolution of a just and fair society most people and social analysts complain they are still not aware who the women representatives are. more..

'Sri Lanka needs a good balancing act'

Feb 10 (DM) Sri Lanka, strategically positioned in the Indian Ocean, is well in the spheres of attention of the world powers. China, on the one hand, has linked up with Sri Lanka for Strategic Partnership Cooperation. Envisaged here is the collaboration for China’s Belt and Road Initiative that seeks to enhance greater connectivity with the rest of the world. Against the backdrop, there is the emerging ally of the US, India, more..

How not to get a date for Valentine’s Day

Feb 10 (Roar) Valentine’s Day is coming up—a day for love and romance and chocolates and over-priced dinners at garishly decorated hotels. If you do have a significant other, that is. If you do not, it’s probably better for your bank account if you stay home and Netflix and chill. By yourself. But if you do want a date in time for Valentine’s day, we have a few suggestions for how you should not go about it. Whatever plans you have inside of your more..

China's insatiable love for Pangolins puts island on alert

Feb 10 (DM) The talk of the town among wildlife enthusiasts in SL is that the pangolin is under threat! The earliest evidence relating to the existence of this animal dating back to the Pliocene and Pleistocene Epochs suggests that the pangolin has survived for a very long time. Researchers have found pangolin fossil from rocks during these periods in Cape Province, Africa. But as at today they are walking faster towards extinction. more..

NCPA Chairperson and Ministry locked in tussle

Feb 10 (DM) Chairperson of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) Marini de Livera stressed she would not attend any illegal board meetings or succumbed to pressure to anything that was detrimental to the interests of the NCPA Livera referring to a board meeting which had been convened by the Secretary to the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (WCAM) on Wednesday (7), at Ministry premises, said it contravened more..

SL's uneasy coalition faces local vote test

Feb 10 (EN) Brisk polling was under way in Sri Lanka Saturday in the LG elections seen as a crucial test for the uneasy coalition of President Maithripala Sirisena. Long queues formed as polling began at 7.00 am along the north western, western and southern provinces while enthusiastic voting was also noted in the northern province according to officials and poll monitors. Saturday’s vote is the first conducted by the newly-established more..

PM asks local investors to open their pockets

Feb 10 (CT) Foreign investors will open their pockets only after local investors open theirs, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said on 8 Feb. Speaking at a Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CASL) function, he said that foreign investors are first looking at the Govt of Sri Lanka and the private sector before making their next move. Wickremesinghe, however, said that because of govt's huge debt servicing commitments, more..

Bankrupting Sri Lanka: Govt’s net borrowings up 121%

Feb 10 (CT) Govt's net borrowings in the calendar year to 8 Feb, in Rupee terms, increased by a massive 120.63% (Rs 177,393.78 million) to Rs 324,450.99 million, year on year, interpretation of official data showed. Last year, during the same period, Govt's net borrowings amounted to a mere Rs 147,057.21 million. The probable reason in increased borrowings may be adduced from what PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, more..

Leading Buddhists thank Naseby for putting the record straight

Feb 10 (Island) The Buddhasasana Karyasadhaka Mandalaya (BKM), an independent non-governmental national level organization comprising of 14 leading Buddhist monks and Presidents of 14 national level Buddhist organizations, has written to the Lord Naseby, House of Lords of the UK, thanking him for pointing out to the British Parliament that it is incorrect for the British govt to prejudge Sri Lanka in terms of more..

Dananjaya takes five as SL clinch series

Feb 10 (CI) Bangladesh plunged, Sri Lanka's spinners soared and the Mirpur Test tore to its conclusion midway through day three, the visitors triumphing by 215 runs. Debutant Akila Dananjaya was prime destroyer. He scythed rapidly through the Bangladesh lower-middle order, taking 5 for 24 to make it eight wickets on debut - the best performance by a Sri Lankan on debut. Charge to victory was also sweet for Rangana Herath, more..

PM says new electoral system peaceful

Feb 10 (EN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said the pre-poll period for local govt bodies, had been peaceful following electoral reforms and fully under the control of an independent commission, allowing people to cast their votes freely. "We did not see the acts seen during the time there were preference votes. There was no violence," PM said in a statement. He said there were no irregular inducements to voters more..

Local elections

Feb 11 (Island) By the time you read this newspaper, the total picture of how the LG elections countrywide went for the different contenders would be known. The overall results were not out when we went to press and what we are able to offer in terms of results is much less that a total picture due to exigencies of press times. The electronic media is at a distinct advantage over the print medium in this respect and most people will learn the results over the radio and television while more..

Post Polls

Feb 11 (CT) Sri Lanka has come a long way since the 1977 Parliamentary Poll held 41 years ago which election, post polls, was marred by violence. But since then Sri Lanka has held scores of plebiscites in the form of LG elections, such as the one which concluded yesterday as well as provincial council elections, presidential elections, parliamentary elections and one referendum. However, none of those elections, post polls, has been blighted with violence, at least of a serious nature. more..

Ven. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera, a nature lover

Feb 11 (SO) The untimely death of the most Ven Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera earlier this week has deeply saddened the nation. A respected prelate, his loss has now been overshadowed by various rumours regarding the cause of his untimely death. Despite the repeated denials of the Bellanwila Raja Maha Viharaya and by the priest himself prior to his death, rumours continue to circulate that his death was caused by more..

Elections peaceful; how did women’s quotas, hybrid voting work?

Feb 11 (SO) The biggest, ever, exercise in republican democracy on this island is under way with the voting phase accomplished yesterday with the lowest levels of disruption and violence in decades. Several generations of citizens, with their experience of many varied elections past will appreciate the very marked down turn in disruption and violence per election since the National Unity coalition took governmental power. By tomorrow, citizens will know their governmental and more..

The Auditor General’s revelations about public debt

Feb 11 (Island) On Wednesday Feb 7, the day on which campaigning closed for the LG elections, the Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe called a media conference and made several explosive statements about Sri Lanka’s state of indebtedness. His statement received wide publicity over all TV channels. The Auditor General distributed a document titled Public Debt Management in Sri Lanka dated Feb 2, 2018 to journalists at this media briefing. more..

Abandoned mental health patients find a home at NIMH

Feb 11 (CT) "How is this? Beautiful, isn't it?" While taking my hand, she pointed at a beautifully constructed pond. In the crystal clear water, there were a few lotus blossoms. The flowers were swaying in the wind and ornamental fish were swimming and resting under the lotus leaves. "Yes, it is very beautiful and modern looking," I replied. She smiled warmly. But there was also sadness behind that smile. more..

Diplomatic muddle

Feb 11 (ST) My dear Brigadier, I thought I must write to you this week, although most people hadn’t heard of you just a week ago. Now however, you have become instantly famous. Everyone is talking about you and what you did in London on independence day – much more than what you did at the height of the Eelam war! All this fuss is because you were at our HC in London when some protestors staged a demonstration in support of Eelam and were saying their hero was Prabhakaran. more..

Yesterday’s National Referendum

Feb 11 (ST) Yesterday’s country-wide LG elections were anything but about pot-holed council roads, street lighting, clogged waterways, garbage disposal or combating dengue. Neither had it to do with issues that are not in the domain of local councils but impact the lives of rural voters such as providing fertiliser to farmers or jobs for the jobless. For the political leadership of this country, however, it was an unofficial national referendum on the three-year-old National Unity Govt. more..