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No legal snag for Unity Govt: Speaker

Feb 23 (DN) Legal experts had advised that there was no issue with the continuation of the Unity Govt when the related parties, have expressed their willingness to continue, observed Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in Parliament. He said he was advised that it was required to submit a written agreement to ensure the legitimacy of the said govt. He added however, that he would look into the matter again to decide if the two parties of more..

Cabinet reshuffle likely today: Malik

Feb 23 (DM) The govt hopes to have a Cabinet reshuffle today after discussion between President Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe, Minister Malik Samarawickrama said that President and PM would decide on the changes to be made. When asked about the possible changes, he said the two leaders would decide. The minister, who is known to be a confidant of the PM, said the two leaders met yesterday to discuss the modalities. “They will have another round of talks tomorrow (23),” more..

Prez and Ranil discuss political situ; Sampanthan meets Prez on development

Feb 23 (CT) President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe were involved in a lengthy discussion, at the President's Office in the Parliamentary Complex at noon yesterday, on the Cabinet reshuffle and the prevailing political situation, according to informed political sources. It is learnt that the Cabinet reshuffle may be delayed for a while. Ministers Malik Samarawickrema and Kabir Hashim also participated in the discussion. Prez Sirisena also held a special discussion more..

Getting ready for more scams ?: Govt pressures CB to endorse controversial NPP

Feb 23 (Island) On the instructions of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is also minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, his deputy, Dr. Harsha de Silva has initiated talks with the Governor of CB Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy to iron out differences over proposed controversial National Payment Platform (NPP). Dr. Coomaraswamy has been called for a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) on more..

Language and culture; the beauty is in the variety

Feb 23 (DM) After more than ten days of panic, tension and ill-educated guesswork, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya declared in Parliament yesterday that the National Government would continue despite the huge protest vote against it at the Local Council elections on February 10. On Wednesday, following demands by the Opposition, Prime Minister and United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe announced in Parliament the National Government would continue. more..

France and Sri Lanka: The dangers of cohab politics

Feb 23 (DM) SL’s political crisis following LG polls election setback for the ruling coalition has brought to surface the vagaries of political cohabitation peculiar to the presidential cum parliamentary govts or hybrid govts. Political cohabitation is a form of governmental arrangement between the executive president and a rival party prime minister. French call this arrangement La cohabitation -- and it is in France that cohabitation became a political concept after 5th Rep. Constitution was adopted. more..

Crisis spontaneous or stage-managed?

Feb 23 (DM) The Govt and the Opposition wasted a whole fortnight just for their power struggle leaving many Govt institutions at a standstill following the 10 LG Elections. One can imagine the situation considering the usual lethargy and incompetence prevailing in the State institutions. It was the JO which contested the LG elections under the name of SLPP that initiated the mess by a totally irrelevant demand for Govt to resign. more..

Child protection in Sri Lanka: Lapses at NCPA pose questions about competency

Feb 23 (DM) Protecting the rights of every citizen is a necessity. But where do children place themselves in this picture? Children – those who should be nurtured to take the mantle of this world forward- are in most instances the neglected lot. Child protection also takes a similar stance. Sri Lanka ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on July 12, 1991 and has since taken measures to implement the rights of children more..

IUSF opposes admission of SAITM medical students to KDU

Feb 23 (Island) IUSF yesterday warned the govt that they would surround Parliament and the President’s House if the govt did not withdraw the decision to enrol the SAITM medical students at Kotelawala Defence University (KDU). The federation urged the govt to enrol the SAITM students at state-run universities instead of the KDU, which IUSF referred as another private uni, owned by the govt, selling degrees. more..

Akila promises to conduct fitness tests on participants in leadership programmes

Feb 23 (Island) Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told Parliament that steps would be taken to conduct physical fitness tests for school principals before they underwent the leadership training programmes. Answering JO MP Dullas Alahapperuma’s question on a recent incident where a principal died during a leadership training programme, he said that he would take necessary action after ongoing investigations were over. more..

'Postponing Polls a violation of franchise'

Feb 23 (CT) Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya says that while the elections to six Provincial Councils are scheduled to be held in September, any attempt to postpone them would constitute a violation of the people's franchise. He said if the Local Authorities, which are to be established on the results of the 10 Feb elections, are to operate properly, the elections to Provincial Councils too have to take place more..

Sri Lanka at 70: Looking back and forward

Feb 23 (WB) Like many Sri Lankans across the country, I joined Sri Lanka’s 70th Independence Day festivities earlier this month. This was undoubtedly a joyful moment, and proof of the country’s dynamism and stability. At 70, Sri Lanka has accomplished a lot in its seven decades as an independent nation. The country’s social indicators, a measure of the well-being of individuals and communities, rank among the highest in more..

No joy from rains for coconut growers, suffering farmers in five districts

Feb 23 (ST) More than 280,000 people, including farmer families, who are suffering due to the drought in five districts Puttalam, Kurunegala, Mannar, Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa, will not be able to expect relief until at least the April inter-monsoonal rains, the weather forecasters say. The unprecedented drought also spells danger for the coconut industry in two leading growing areas Kurunegala and Puttalam. more..

Naming 8,689 LG Members Gazette out on 3 March

Feb 23 (CT) The 8,689 members, elected at the recently held Local Authority elections, will be announced through a Gazette Notification on 3 March, the Election Commission said. The EC has written to all secretaries of political parties and independent group leaders to submit a list of all members who were elected, on or before 3 March. Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya noted that if this more..

Sri Lanka bonds flat, concern that Mangala may change

Feb 23 (EN) Sri Lanka bond yields were flat and the rupee was steady, but stock were weaker though there were concerns that Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera who had the confidence of the private sector, may change, dealers and analysts said. Stocks were trading marginally lower after one hour of trading Friday. "Mangala Samaraweera and Indrajit Coomaraswamy had managed to bring back confidence," more..

Army committee to probe Diyathalawa bus explosion

Feb 23 (NR) Sri Lanka Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake has appointed a 5 member committee, to probe the explosion which occurred inside a bus in Diyathalawa. The committee is headed by the Central Security Force Commander. Army Media Spokesman Brigadier Sumith Atapattu said the committee has been appointed according to the general guidelines of the Army. 19 people including 12 security forces more..

Akila says suspension of tablet PC project temporary

Feb 23 (Island) The suspension of the project to provide tablet computers for G.C.E A/L students was only a temporary, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told Parliament. He made the announcement during the Oral Question Round. Responding to JO MP Dullas Alahapperuma, who wanted to know why the govt had decided to scrap the project, minister said that the Cabinet believed there were several other priorities in the education sector to fulfil prior to the implementation of that project. more..

Shouldn’t Govt prevent parliamentary system from decay and destruction?

Feb 23 (FT) The wrong people teach us the best lessons. As a clever nation, we had always used our ballot and chased the wrong people away when they nosedived. Despite taking a few progressive steps, such as improving the democratic space, the Govt of Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe is a good case study for bad governance. There is disappointment and disillusionment all over. They have wasted three years in office. In Parliament too there appears to be major confusion. more..

පාලකයින් හිතන්නේ තමන් ගැන පමණයි

Sri Lanka expects 2018 Maha paddy output to rise 57% after rains

Feb 23 (EN) Sri Lanka is expecting to a paddy output in the main Maha cultivation season to rebound 57% from a year earlier to 2.32 million kilograms with better rainfall, though it will be 17 below the peak cultivation. Department of agriculture said 601,000 hectares of paddy had already been sown by December 2018, or 74% of the targeted 814,000 hectares. Last year only 542,000 hectares was sown by the end of the season and over 70,000 hectares were damaged by drought. more..

Kuwaiti amnesty for Lankans extended

Feb 23 (NR) The general amnesty period announced by the Kuwait govt for Sri Lankans residing without a valid travel document has been extended by two months. Accordingly the general amnesty period will be extended till the 22nd of April. The general amnesty period announced on the 22nd of Jan concluded yesterday. Ministry of Foreign Employment said more than 4000 Lankans registered at SL Embassy in Kuwait in order to leave for Sri Lanka during the amnesty period. more..

Talks on cabinet re-shuffle underway: PM

Feb 23 (NR) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe says discussions are underway with the Prez to implement the much-awaited cabinet re-shuffle. Promising a definitive change, he said following LG Elections, future activities of the govt will be conducted according to the people’s mandate. PM meanwhile stressed steps will be taken to amend prevailing issues within the UNP. UNP Leader met with several senior more..

Construction of sanitary landfill at Aruwakkalu to begin this month

Feb 23 (Island) Construction of a sanitary landfill in Aruwakkalu will begin at the end of this month to ensure that garbage disposal in Colombo will be smooth, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, S.K.A.P. Devarajah says. She said garbage would be transported to the site by train initially, but in 10 months the garbage would be moved by road. "The garbage issue in Colombo has been a longstanding one and the Ministry of Megapolis believes more..

Dr. Neville Fernando pleased with President’s decision

Feb 23 (DN) the SAITM Founder Dr. Neville Fernando said that he is pleased with President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to admit SAITM students to the Kotelawala Defence University (KDU). In his statement Dr. Fernando thanked the President for requesting the KDU to accept SAITM students, who are now desperate about their future. President Sirisena instructed all current SAITM students to enroll in the KDU medical Faculty, on Feb 21. more..

India and France invite SL President to Solar Alliance Conference

Feb 23 (PMD) Indian PM Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel macron invited President Maithripala Sirisena to attend the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Founding Conference and Solar Summit scheduled to be held in New Delhi on 11 March. President has accepted the invitation. The invitation to grace the Conference, signed by Premier Modi and President Macron, was handed over today to Prez more..

Court amends bail condition for former Magistrate Thilina Gamage

Feb 23 (NR) Colombo High Court rejected a request made by former Colombo Additional Magistrate Thilina Gamage, accused of being in possession of an elephant calf without required documents, to remove a bail condition in the case. The attorneys representing the suspect filed a request for an order to remove the bail condition imposed on former Magistrate to record a statement before the CID once a month. The request was rejected by Colombo HC Judge Manilal Waidyathilaka. more..

Artificial rain but no commission games

Feb 23 (CT) Some of the greatest achievements of mankind have occurred within the past several centuries, and it's important that we take a moment to reflect upon them. After all, each has paved the way for modern life as we know it. Incredible feats of bravery and ingenuity have liberated many people around the world, creating unity – or discord - in ways once unimaginable. All of humanity's achievement can be boiled to a single aspect; conquering nature. more..

Drug kingpin D. Manju shot dead

Feb 23 (DM) Prominent underworld figure and drug kingpin 31-year-old Dhadallage Manju alias D. Manju a resident of Peliyagoda, was killed during a shoot out with the STF personnel in Wattala today around 1.30 p.m., Police said. The victim is alleged to have opened fire at the STF officers when they searched suspicious vans in Hekitta, Wattala following a tip off. Manju was shot dead in a return fire. Two more suspects taken into custody more..

New Delft Jetty declared open

Feb 23 (Island) Second stage of Delft Jetty Project, which was successfully completed under the auspices of the Northern Naval Command was declared open by Rear Admiral Jayantha de Silva and the District Secretary of Jaffna, N. Vethanayahan on Feb. 21. The construction work of stage II commenced after the successful completion of the stage I and the Navy undertook the entire construction project by providing manpower and transporting building materials from the KKS more..

Top 10: Sri Lanka's best coastal retreats

Feb 23 (DT) An insider's guide to the greatest beach-side retreats in Sri Lanka, from breezy rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking curvaceous coastlines, to infinity pools peering over waves sliced by surfers, in locations including Weligama, Hambantota and Yala National Park. KK Beach: Galle’s curvaceous coastline is home to a string of beaches, yet Habaraduwa’s two-mile champagne-coloured strand, flanked by high-end villas, is picture postcard-pretty. KK Beach is fresh and more..

SAITM students to KDU: Only part of the solution: GMOA

Feb 23 (DM) While welcoming the government’s decision to enroll SAITM students to Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU), the GMOA yesterday said it was an important decision. Presidential Media Unit on Wednesday said this decision was taken at a meeting held with President Maithripala Sirisena where it was decided to enroll about 1000 students who were currently studying at the SAITM to the the medical faculty of KDU more..

Sri Lanka maize output to rise 32% in 2018 Maha as rains return

Feb 23 (EN) Sri Lanka has raised a maize production forecast for the main Maha cultivation season in 2018 to 243,888 metric tonnes with 79% of the targeted are being cultivated by January as rains returned. The department of agriculture said 69,500 hectares of maize had been sowed up to January 2018, up from only 45,245 in December, when only 153,978 metric tonnes of maize was expected. The 2018 production target is up 32 percent from last year's 163,000 tonnes. more..

EU awards 18 scholarships for sustainable production

Feb 23 (GDI) European Union is awarding 18 scholarships to senior employees working in the public and private sectors, as a part of efforts to support the development of local expertise in sustainable consumption and production. Scholarship recipients are from institutions including Ministry of Mahaweli Development & Environment, Ministry of Power & Renewable Energy, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transport & Civil Aviation, Aitken Spence Plantation Managements, and more..

JO alleges EC yet to finalise elected reps to LG bodies

Feb 23 (Island) The JO alleged that the Election Commission was planning to appoint representatives in contravention of the newly introduced Local Govt Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act No. 16 of 2017. JO member and MP Sisira Jayakody lashed out at EC Chairman, claiming that even though he had boasted of an efficient electoral system, the commission couldn’t even finalise the appointment of representative to more..

Import tax on potatoes up by Rs.29

Feb 23 (NR) The special commodity levy imposed on a kilogram of imported potatoes has been increased by 29 rupees with effect from midnight today. The Ministry of Finance said, accordingly the tax on a kilogram of imported potatoes has been increased from 1 rupee to 30 rupees. The Finance Ministry attributed the decision to increase the import tax to ensure local farmers receive the best price for their produce. Accordingly the tax revision will be in effect until the 31st of March. more..

CPC insists no fuel shortage

Feb 23 (SL) Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) says there is no fuel shortage and that distribution was ongoing as usual. A CPC statement said that fabricated reports are currently being circulated on various communication platforms of a possible fuel shortage in the country. “CPC firmly reassures the fuel supply across Sri Lanka is taking place without any hindrance to operations. CPC requests the public to disregard these malicious reports, which are aimed to create mass public panic and more..

Video: Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday? SF to get Law & Order?

Feb 23 (AD) Cabinet reshuffle is most likely take place on Sunday, according to political sources. However, several ministerial portfolios held by the UNP are expected to change hands in the Cabinet reshuffle. Accordingly, Minister of Public Enterprise Development Kabir Hashim and Minister of Higher Education and Highways Lakshman Kiriella will exchange their cabinet portfolios. However, source said that there will be no more..

CBI to write to SL on sharing child pornography on Whatsapp

Feb 23 (DM) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of India has registered a case against members of a WhatsApp group for allegedly uploading and circulating child pornography videos and that it will write to US, Pakistan, Brazil, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, Mexico and New Zealand and share details of members of the group with investigators there. Dubbing the case a global crime, the agency filed a case under Section 67-B of Information Technology Act and more..

Avant-Garde case: Gotabaya files revision petition

Feb 23 (AD) Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa filed a revision petition before Appeal Court to discharge him and 8 defendants from Avant-Garde case pending before Colombo Magistrate’s Court. Bribery Commission had filed a case against 8 defendants including Rajapaksa accusing them of causing Rs. 11.4 billion in losses to the government by allowing Avant Garde Maritime Services to maintain a floating armoury. Attorneys representing the former Defence Secretary more..

Sri Lanka backslides in pursuing UN commitments: AI

Feb 23 (DM) Though Sri Lanka continued to pursue commitments made in 2015 to the UNHRC, progress of implementing them has been slowed and there was evidence of backsliding, the Amnesty International (AI) said on Thursday. In its country report on Sri Lanka for 2017/2018, AI said commitments made by Sri Lanka in 2015 – through the UN resolution had not been implemented by the end of the year. more..