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'Govt has shown they aren’t capable of delivering'

Feb 1 (DM) The battle for Local Govt Elections is heating up. An election should benefit the people, irrespective of symbols like the Pohottuwas, Beetle leaves or Elephants through which they come into power. Several decades down the line, people are still hoping for a better country. Sharmila Gonawela is contesting from the Bambalapitiya Ward for the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) under SL Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) ticket. more..

TNA wants solution on par with Oslo Declaration

Feb 1 (DM) TNA in its manifesto for the forthcoming local govt election said that that the solution it seeks with regard to the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka was similar to what was in the Oslo Declaration. This was the joint declaration by the representatives of the then UNF govt and LTTE at the third round of peace talks between the two parties in 2002. UNF delegation headed by Professor G.L. Peiris and LTTE delegation more..

Sri Lanka state-railways lose 70% of reserved land to squatters

Feb 1 (EN) Department of Railways, set up during British rule had lost 80% of 14,000 land reservations which have been underutilized to squatters, which include ex-railway workers. Of the total reservation about 10% (1,400 acres) had been given for use to various parties under leases, a note by Minister Nimal Siripala said. Of the balance about 80% (about 72 percent of the total or 10,000 acres) were taken over by squatters. more..

'Ravi K suspension as Assistant Leader: Damage control measure ahead of LG polls'

Feb 1 (Island) Chairman of SLPP Prof. G.L. Peiris said that the UNP was engaged in last minute face-saving measures ahead of the Feb. 10 countrywide local govt polls to avert defeat. He emphasized that the much delayed decision to suspend Karunanayake from exercising his duties and responsibilities as the Assistant Leader of the ruling party was nothing but a desperate bid to deceive the electorate. more..

'Arjun Aloysius, a confidante of MR'

Feb 1 (DN) Deputy Power and Energy Minister Ajith P Perera yesterday stressed that Perpetual Treasuries Director Arjun Aloysius who was involved in the Central Bank Bond issue, was a close confidante of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Perera told the press that Arjun Aloysius was not a member of UNP and this person was allegedly involved in financial misappropriations during the previous regime too. more..

An insider’s guide to Sri Lanka’s Tea Country

Feb 1 (Vogue) "A tree is a wonderful living organism, which gives shelter, food, warmth, and protection to all living beings,” says my Black Tomato guide Amith, as he reads from the plaque of a towering banyan tree. “It even gives shade to those who wield an axe to cut it." The quote, attributed to Gautama Buddha, serves as a dose of wisdom for all who enter SL’s revered tea country, area ripe with golden shower trees, more..

Top economist stresses economic stability, reform process amid upcoming LG polls

Feb 1 (FT) With a major election coming up in 2020, a top economist insisted that it was critical to maintain the economic stability created in 2017, cautioning that there was limited time in getting much-needed reforms through. “If politics overrides the stability that the economy has created during last year, Sri Lanka will not be able to get the economy further as we will not be able to create the financial buffer the economy needs to have more..

United States and Sri Lanka to celebrate 70 years working together

Feb 1 (USE) February 4th marks the 70th anniversary of Sri Lankan independence. It also marks the70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Sri Lanka. In honor of this milestone, U.S. Embassy in Colombo will launch a series of programs over the course of the next twelve months. Encompassing cultural events, educational opportunities, and community engagements that will involve Sri Lankans more..

Den Of Thieves and Robbers

Feb 1 (CT) In SL's 70-year post Independence history, only two VIPs have been punished for bribery and/or corruption or similar acts of misdemeanour. First was in the early 1960s when an MP from Kurunegala was unseated on a bribery charge and the other, nearly two decades later in 1982, when UNP MP for Hewaheta Anura Daniel of the powerful J.R. Jayewardene Govt was dismissed after Customs found undeclared gold bars in his luggage after a return trip from Singapore. more..

Taking democracy to the economy & society

Feb 1 (FT) The urgent need in SL, given the present circumstances, is to move firmly and committedly towards social democracy. Simply said, social democracy is about extending democracy from the political to the economy and society. Do we have democracy? Formally speaking, we do have democracy in the political sphere since 1931 when the universal franchise and a legislative council were introduced to this country, yet deformed with imperfections and wilful assaults. more..

නිදහස පොදු ජනතාවට උරුම වී තිබේ ද?

Janashakthi Insurance confirms sale talks, buyback, after price surge

Feb 1 (EN) Sri Lanka's Janashalthi Insuranace Plc, has confirmed that it was in talks sell its general insurance unit after a surge in trading volume and price and said it plans to buyback shares after the sale. Janashakthi said its board had authorised the sale of all shares of is fully owned unit Janashakthi General Insurance Plc to an undisclosed party. "The terms of the sale are yet in the final stages of negotiation," the company said in a stock exchange filing. more..

Bribes that candidates offer to voters

Feb 1 (Island) Buddha statues, copies of the Quran, copper foils engraved with Rathnamali Gatha are among the bribes in kind provided to electors by various candidates contesting the Feb 10 LG polls, says the elections monitor PAFFREL. PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi said their monitors had reported the attempts by candidates to provide various forms bribes to the voters throughout the country. The list of items being distributed contained galvanised roofing more..

Dhananjaya, Mendis lead strong SL reply

Feb 1 (CI) Mahmudullah's 83 not out heaved Bangladesh to 513, before the two big hopes of Sri Lanka's top order - Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Mendis - wiped 187 runs off the deficit together, and remained unbeaten at the close of play. Though the spinners had a little more purchase, this was, in short, another batting day in Chittagong. Rangana Herath did impose himself on the match for the first time and more..

Labour Ministry to spend Rs. 500 m for development of Sabaragamuwa Province

Feb 1 (DN) Labour, Trade Union Relations and Sabaragamuwa Development Ministry plans to spend Rs. 500 million allocated from the budget for the development of the Sabaragamuwa Province to address the needs of the public. Minister W.D.J. Seneviratne said he is expecting to get more funds from the President for essential development projects of the province. He said all development activities of Sabaragamuwa Province would be implemented with the aid of UPFA members more..

SLFP calls for multiple-day Parliament debate

Feb 1 (NR) The SLFP today called on the Speaker of House Karu Jayasuriya to allocate a minimum of three days to debate the reports compiled by the Bond Commission and the PRECIFAC. Speaking during a media briefing in Colombo today, Minister Dilan Perera said the debate should not be restricted to one day. The State Minister said there is no point in holding a namesake debate on the Bond Commission. He noted the President requested to hold the debate before the Election, more..

Another Concrete Money Spinner!

Feb 1 (DM) The Wilpattu forest reserve made headlines with massive deforestation practices taking place over the past few years. Although these activities seem to be in a dormant stage as at now, the necessary damage has already been done. Last December, the Auditor General issued a comprehensive report on the illegally deforested Wilpattu Forest Reserve. Following this report, the Dailymirror initially reported on more..

'After Feb 10 it will be back to unity govt'

Feb 1 (Island) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said regardless of the outcome of Feb 10 LG polls, national unity govt would continue in keeping the popular mandate received by President Sirisena at Jan 2015 presidential poll. He said that though the SLFP and UNP squared off at the LG polls they should be subsequently united for the betterment of the country. Minister, addressing a gathering at the Kolonnawa Rajamaha Viharaya, said the President and the PM understood each other well. more..

Jack Ma’s Alibaba partners with Sri Lanka’s Supreme Global Holdings

Feb 1 (LBO) Supreme Global Holdings, and Alibaba Group owned Alitrip which is now called Fliggy, launched the Sri Lanka Pavilion in Fliggy’s tourism platform that will target to bring a million new Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka every year. The grand launch was made in Beijing, Tuesday. Alibaba, setting new standards in its globalization moves also launched an online visa center for Sri Lanka establishing ease of travel. This move will allow Chinese consumers to stay more..

President would not allow anyone to divide the country

Feb 1 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena emphasized that even though allegations leveled against him that he is attempting to divide the country, under any circumstances he would not allow anyone to divide the country. He made these remarks addressing a public rally held in Sevanapitiya, Polonnaruwa, today. Addressing that gathering, he further said that today, the people of the country will not become victims of more..

What’s said at election time shouldn’t be taken seriously: Ravi

Feb 1 (DM) UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake said whatever the President or the PM said during this election period should not be taken seriously. He said that was a matter to be considered after the election. “What is said by the President or the PM during election time should not be taken seriously. We will have to consider these matters in the future,” he told journalists during an election campaign. He said this in response to a question about the Marapana Committee recommendations more..

Children being used for various election activities: NCPA

Feb 1 (AD) National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) requests that no children are used by political parties and independent groups related election work. “It has been reported that children are being used for various activities related to the upcoming elections in violation of the rights of these children. NCPA views this matter very seriously,” its Chairperson Marini de Livera said. NCPA urges the general public to provide information over its 24 hour ChildLine 1929 if such incidents occur. more..

The Bohras: Plucky Business Barons

Feb 1 (Roar) Bohras are hard to miss: the men are unmistakable in their snow white robes, luxuriant beards and caps of gold lace and the women in their dainty dresses of pastel hue. Bohras stand out everywhere, but not just because of their appearance. They have made a mark for themselves as business barons. In fact, business is in their blood. Their very name bears out this fact. It derives from Gujarati word Vohru (trader). more..

Sri Lankan food festival in Islamabad

Feb 1 (DT) To celebrate the rich diversity of the culture of Sri Lanka, the Islamabad Marriott Hotel (IMH) is hosting a two-day Sri Lankan Food Festival in collaboration with the Sri Lankan High Commission. The festival, that will kick off at the hotel on Saturday (3), will attract food enthusiasts from the twin cities. Reflective of the vibrant Sri Lankan culture, the food festival will offer a slice of Sri Lankan cuisine that combines traditional flavours with a unique flair. more..

A meeting between President and the ADB Board of Directors

Feb 1 (PMD) A meeting was held between President Maithripala Sirisena and a delegation of Board of Directors of ADB (Asian Development Bank) at the Presidential Secretariat, yesterday (30). The discussion was mainly about ADB grants and the progress of the ADB funded project in Sri Lanka. ADB representatives appreciated Moragahakanda-Kaluganga multipurpose project, that directly help alleviate poverty and raise living standards of those living in agro-economy based areas. more..

Sri Lanka signs the Framework Agreement on International Solar Alliance in New Delhi

Feb 1 (MFA) High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in India, Chitranganee Wagiswara signed the Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) on 31st Jan at the Ministry of External Affairs of India in New Delhi. The signed documents were handed over to Mr. Nagaraj Naidu, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs of India. Once the Agreement is ratified, Sri Lanka will become a founding member of more..

Navy Sampath on the run Police seek public assistance

Feb 1 (CT) The Police have sought the assistance of the public to locate a suspect involved in the alleged abduction and murder of 11 youth carried out by Navy personnel between 2008 and 2009. The Police Media Spokesman said that public assistance has been requested to track down one suspect. The Police require the assistance of the general public to locate Hettiarachchi Mudiyanselage Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi aka Navy Sampath, who has evaded arrest. more..

Police conduct special operation 1,670 suspects arrested

Feb 1 (CT) A total of 1,670 suspects were arrested for various offences during a four-hour island-wide special operation conducted by the Police yesterday (31). The Police Media Spokesman, issuing a communiqué, stated the four-hour operation commenced at 11:00 p.m. on 30 January and continued until 3:00 a.m. yesterday. The special operation, which covered Police divisions island-wide, was ordered by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Pujith Jayasundara. more..

Minimum period of leave granted for voters

Feb 1 (AD) In terms of Section 84 A (1) of the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance, the leave necessary to employees for the purpose of voting should be afforded by their respective employers, without loss of pay or their private leave, says the Elections Secretariat. It said that this should necessarily be implemented at the Local Authorities election, which is to be held on Feb 10. Paragraph 12.3 of Chapter XII of Establishment Code, more..

PM says UNP not prepared to topple the govt

Feb 1 (NR) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says the present govt, as promised, has established national peace and reconciliation in the country. Speaking at a rally in Ampara, Premier Wickremesinghe said the UNP will continue to safeguard it’s identify and collectively work for the betterment of the country. Premier said, “We will continue to work cordially at govt level. However during elections we contest separately as parties. We have to safeguard our party’s identity. more..

Speaker’s Office denies speculation on debate

Feb 1 (NR) The Office of the Speaker has refuted media reports pertaining to the scheduled debate pertaining to the reports by the Bond Commission and the PRECIFAC. In a statement, the Speaker’s Media Division said, the party leaders agreed to debate the report on Tuesday without violating election rules. However the Office said the debate on the matter can be held for several days. A special gazette has been issued to convene Parliament on Tuesday. more..

Earl of Wessex Prince Edward and Countess of Wessex visit Kandy

Feb 1 (SL) Earl of Wessex Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex visited Kandy on Thursday. The Royal couple paid their respects at the Temple of the Tooth, visited the Royal Botanical Gardens and met students from Trinity College and the Girls’ High School Kandy. At the Royal Botanical Gardens the Royal couple planted a tree to formally commemorate Sri Lanka’s 70th Anniversary of Independence and more..

If Gotabaya is jailed & Mahinda is disbarred

Feb 2 (CT) Henry Kissinger and Oliver Stone, who had very little in common, are both credited with originating the saying just because you are paranoid it doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you and its variation which goes even if you are paranoid you can have real enemies. The same goes for garrulous gasbags. Just because someone is a garrulous gasbag it doesn’t mean they can’t tell the truth or aren’t telling the truth. Minister Rajitha Senaratne is possibly the biggest gasbag more..

Even fish have an ethnicity!

Feb 2 (CT) If you take a trip to the wholesale fish market in Trincomalee you would hear fish mongers shouting Tamil fish, Sinhala fish or Muslim fish. This may get you wondering since when do fish at sea start carrying an ethnicity. Well, the answers to this question could possibly lie in Gayathri Lokuge's PhD Thesis Even Fish have an Ethnicity: Livelihoods and Identities of Men and Women in War-affected Coastal Trincomalee, which was published in Colombo recently. more..

'Sri Lankan politics needs a radical shake-up'

Feb 2 (Island) Gunasekera cut his political teeth under the tutelage of the late Minister Lalith Athlathmudali. He is a former MP, Deputy Mayor of the Dehiwela Mt Lavinia Municipal Council, former Chairman/ Managing Director/Executive Director National Lotteries Board, Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd (Lake House), Ceylon Shipping Lines Ltd , Ceylon Port Services Ltd, Sri Lanka - Libya Agricultural Development Co, more..

70 years of independence: A balance sheet

Feb 2 (CT) Freedom adds more value to the freed when it is taken from the master instead of given by him. While India fought and won its freedom Sri Lanka received it in a platter. When the British, the then super power, discovered oil under the sands of Persia and the Arabian Desert, and when Winston Churchill decided to switch British naval power from coal to oil, India lost its economic and strategic value and even became a financial liability. Gandhi’s demand for independence and Jinnah’s more..

Towards a National Economic Policy

Feb 2 (DN) Except among professional economists and the like problems of the country’s economy are hardly the subject of public discourse. Even students of economics and their teachers are concerned more with text book content and they shun practical or applied economics. This situation has become a boon for politicians and pseudo-economists to pontificate on economic issues superficially and even weave grandiose development projects which never materialize. more..

'UNP, SLFP & Flower Bud all have deals'

Feb 2 (CT) JVP politburo member K. D. Lalkantha says that our country is one of the most corrupt in the world. "If people vote for the UNP, SLFP and the Flower Bud this time too, Sri Lanka will become the most corrupt country in the world." Q: Is Lalkantha disillusioned with the JVP? A: We are the JVP. We will not get disillusioned with ourselves, ever. So, there is nothing to be said about these naive thoughts made up by those who are more..

Sri Lanka: 70 years independence

Feb 2 (DN) Sri Lanka achieved independence seventy years ago. What does this mean? What we achieved was self-govt – the ability to elect our own rulers; but as a society did we become freer? We are no longer administered by rulers appointed from afar but is the citizenry free? Representative, constitutional democracy is the best means known for keeping rulers accountable. Contrary to popular belief its real benefit is in removing bad leaders, not in choosing good ones. more..

Editorial: Draining the swamp

Feb 2 (Island) The new electoral system seems to have more than one father. Several political parties have claimed the credit for it. The previous system has become fatherless. The SLFP would have us believe that it fathered the new system, under which Feb. 10 local govt polls are to be conducted. It tells us Mahinda Rajapaksa stifled it while he was the President and after the 2015 regime change, the UNP was not keen on changing the previous system introduced by the JRJ govt. more..