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Veggie glut at Dambulla plunges prices as low as they can go

Feb 24 (ST) A vegetable glut in the market has led to a drastic price drop, with farmers who bring their produce to the Dambulla Economic Centre finding it difficult to obtain a fair price, but consumers say prices at retail shops are still high. The current vegetable harvest has been excellent, with large stocks of vegetables being brought from all over the country to the Dambulla Economic Centre on a daily basis, especially from more..

Academics urge proper planning in heritage city

Feb 24 (ST) Scholars, who discussed Kandy city development projects at a recent workshop, have called on politicians and planners to give due consideration to the city’s heritage and the environment in its development. University of Peradeniya Vice Chancellor, Professor Upul B. Dissanayake said Kandy has had a continuous cultural pattern and this should be considered in any development plans. more..

Brig. Priyankara fiasco: UK says taking the incident very seriously

Feb 24 (DM) A minister of the UK has spoken to Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana regarding the incident involving SL Military Attache Brigadier Priyankara Fernando who displayed his shoulder flash bearing the national emblem to pro-LTTE protestors in London on Feb 4. The Brigadier displayed this as a warning, during a demonstration on Feb 4 by LTTE activists in front of Sri Lankan High Commission in London. more..

Gama Hada Gamu rural drug prevention programme launched

Feb 24 (PSL) Drug usage is the main cause of increase in rural poverty, stated the President. President Maithripala Sirisena stated that the addiction to harmful drugs among lower income household has a main factor for the increase in rural poverty. Therefore, to irradiate this menace, a special programme with the support of all the sectors, including the government in power is essential, the President said. more..

World Bank praises SL Health service

Feb 24 (AD) The World Bank praises the public health service in Sri Lanka by saying that There are few if any other low or middle-income countries that have public health service like in Sri Lanka, simultaneously achieved strong health outcomes, good financial protection and low cost. In a publication of the World Bank on universal health care study series titled Sri Lanka: Achieving Pro-Poor Universal Health Coverage without more..

Sri Lanka to release all Indian fishermen

Feb 24 (DN) Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Mahinda Amaraweera has granted permission to release the rest of the Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody. Fisheries Ministry Spokesman said that Sri Lankan govt recently released 109 of the 129 Indian fishermen who were arrested on charges of poaching in the country’s territorial waters. The Minister granted permission to release 20 fishermen. more..

Aloysius, Palisena admitted to prisons hospital

Feb 24 (NR) Perpetual Treasuries Limited owner Arjun Alosiyus and CEO Kasun Palisena, who were arrested and remanded over the controversial Central Bank Bond Issuance, have been admitted to the prisons hospital. The duo was admitted to the prisons hospital upon medical directives. A specialist Doctor attached to the Colombo National Hospital is due to examine both individuals in this regard. more..

Udayanga on the run, passports impounded in Dubai

Feb 24 (DN) Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to Russia Udayanga Weeratunga and his wife are reportedly on the run after Sri Lankan authorities had taken measures to have a red warrant issued against him. However, a source closely associated with this investigation said he did not have a passport as his passport had been impounded by the Dubai Police. Responding to posts by Weeratunge on social media, more..

Wooing The Farmer

Feb 24 (CT) Mahinda Rajapaksa's sweeping LG polls win earlier this month is reminiscent of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike's landslide Sinhala Only win of 1956. Of the 16 of the 25 electoral districts he won, the majority population was Sinhala Buddhists. The only district where this was not was Trincomalee, which comprises a mix, led by the Muslims, followed by the Tamils and then the Sinhalese. The districts which Rajapaksa won were Colombo, Galle, Trinco, A'pura, Moneragala, more..

In the end, there was nothing

Feb 24 (FT) Much more than a storm in a tea cup! To a non-discerning person, it all seemed like the final battle of the counter revolution. President Sirisena was up in smoke trying to oust PM Ranil Wickremesinghe for no articulated reason. He asked good old Karu but Karu said, Nope! He asked Sajith but Sajith said, Nope! The JO boys thought they at last, were seeing a political Nirvana as the cases against them are sure to fall. Govt must resign! they cried. more..

Is NPP trying to raise its ugly head again?

Special traffic plan around Colombo tomorrow

Feb 24 (NR) A special traffic plan will be in place around Colombo Fort, Colpetty and Wellawatte from 5am to noon tomorrow. The Police headquarters said the special traffic plan is being implemented owing to a global triathlon being held tomorrow. Accordingly vehicular movement will be restricted along the Chaithya Road in Fort, Galle road from the Galle Face junction to the Colpetty junction, Colpetty Station Road and along Marine Drive till Wellawatte. Police advised the public and motorists to more..

Ranil officially shifts to damage-control gear

Feb 24 (CT) PM and Leader of UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe admitted today that the results of the LG elections demonstrate that the people have not been in favour of the programme the party has implemented since coming to power. He made this confession at a meeting held at Temple Trees with several UNP ministers and Dy ministers Sajith Premadasa, Navin Dissanayake, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Sagala Ratnayaka, Iran Wickramaratne, Harin Fernando, Ajith Perera more..

'Brigadier Priyanka recalled to ensure safety'

Feb 24 (AD) Minister Counsellor (Defence) attached to the SL High Commission in London, Brigadier Priyanka Fernando was recalled to Sri Lanka due to security concerns, Army Commander-in-Chief Mahesh Senanayake said. Brigadier Priyanka Fernando was summoned to the country before the completion of his time of service, said Senanayake. He made this statement while participating in the opening of more..

New frontier of cooperation in infrastructure and connectivity between Indonesia & SL

Feb 24 (FT) Indonesia’s Minister of Public Works and Housing Basuki Hadimoeljono has said that a new frontier of cooperation in infrastructure and connectivity with SL has emerged following Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s official State visit to SL last month. Speaking at the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Independence and 65 years of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and SL last week, Minister Hadimoeljono – a senior Minister in more..

Water in Kalu Ganga unfit for human consumption

Feb 24 (DM) The water in the Kalu Ganga was unfit for human consumption as it was mixed with sea water, NWSDB said. It said the saltwater intrusion had taken place following the prevailing dry weather and had inconvenienced residents living along Kalu Ganga. The people in Wadduwa, Waskaduwa, Kalutara North, Nagoda, Bombuwala, Piliminawatte, Payagala, Maggona, Beruwela, Aluthgama, Dharga Town and Benthara, should abstain from drinking water from the Kalu Ganga but can use it for more..

2564 arrests during 4-hour police raid

Feb 24 (NR) Police headquarters says a total of 2564 suspects have been arrested following an island-wide crackdown launched by 16,256 police personnel this morning. The four-hour raid was carried out following instructions issued by the IGP, between 2 and 6 this morning. 4735 cases were also filed against perpetrators. Accordingly 741 suspects involved in various crimes, 720 persons named in warrants and more..

Coconut production down 18.6% in 2017

Feb 24 (EN) Sri Lanka's coconut production dropped 18.6% to 2.449 million nuts in 2018 amid a drought, from 3.011 million a year earlier, data showed. A severe drought in 2017 reduced output. Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said that in Kurunegala, a top coconut producing area, about 100,000 trees had died. Coconut, however is an indirectly traded item and is subject to international prices due to exports of coconut products and also imports of close substitute like oil. more..

Police deny bus explosion victim disappeared

Feb 24 (CT) Reports of the alleged disappearance of an injured civilian, in the Kahagolla bus explosion were denied by the Police. Police Media Spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekara said that the numerous reports that had surfaced, following the explosion, are fallacious statements, made in an attempt to disrupt public order. He denied all claims of an individual who was among the injured 19 passengers in the Kahagolla, Diyatalawa bus fire going missing from the Diyatalawa Hospital. more..

GTF attempts to get Brigadier Fernando’s family removed

Feb 24 (SL) The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), an influential Tamil diaspora group in the UK, is attempting to have the family of the Defense Attaché to the Sri Lanka High Commission in London, Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, removed from the UK. GTF spokesman Suren Surendiran has written to British Home Secretary Amber Rudd thanking him for returning Brigadier Fernando to Sri Lanka. “However, we understand that Brigadier’s more..

'Cabinet reshuffle will take place tomorrow'

Feb 24 (NR) Minister Mano Ganesan says the long-awaited Cabinet reshuffle is likely to take place tomorrow. When inquired Minister Ganesan said he has been requested to be present at the Presidential Secretariat at 11am tomorrow. Minister noted the reason to be called during a weekend holiday to the Presidential Secretariat, is likely to be for a Cabinet reshuffle. Meanwhile NewsRadio also made inquiries from State Minister Dilan Perera regarding the matter. more..

Puttalam Booruwa on verge of extinction

Feb 24 (ST) Puttalam district, famous for its herds of donkeys -originally brought to the country by either the Portuguese or Arab traders as beasts of burden- they lost their use when the means of transportation improved. Herds of these owner-less animals are found in Mannar and Kalpitiya and are commonly referred to as Puttalam Booruwo by local people. Large numbers of owner-less, donkeys roam around Kalpitiya, attracting tourists. Sadly, their numbers are rapidly decreasing more..

The changing streets of Slave Island

Feb 24 (Roar) It’s widely believed that Slave Island was actually an island back in the day—and housed kaffir slaves brought down by the Dutch during their reign in Sri Lanka. It was also a predominantly Malay locality, as the Dutch brought down Malays from Indonesia for govt jobs and housed them in Slave Island; hence the names Malay Street and Java Lane. In more recent history, the area is a microcosm of what Sri Lanka more..

Dappula appointed acting AG

Feb 24 (DN) Solicitor General Dappula de Livera PC has been appointed as the acting Attorney General until March 5. Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya PC is presently out of the country on official duty. Dappula de Livera has over 32 years of experience as legal counsel and has served as State Counsel for Attorney General’s Department. He is a member of the National Commission Against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons in SL as well as the Task Force established by more..

RTI request for MMDA report: Justice Ministry excuse unacceptable TISL

Feb 24 (CT) Following the submission of Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act Reforms Committee report on 22 Jan, several women's rights activists filed a Right to Information request (RTI) for the release of the report and it was reported on 21 Feb that the Ministry of Justice was unable to grant this request. The reply sent by the Ministry of Justice stated that they were unable to release the report at the moment due to there being a "difference of opinion among the committee members more..

Women Lawyers’ Assoc too condemns criminal proceedings against ex-CJ

Feb 24 (Island) Sri Lanka Women Lawyers’ Association (SLWLA) has condemned the criminal proceedings filed against former Chief Justice Mohan Pieris PC and judge of the Court of Appeal, Justice A.H.M.D. Nawaz in respect of an opinion tendered by them on Dec 10, 2010 in their then positions, respectfully of Attorney General and Deputy Solicitor General. A press release said their association had unanimously resolved to more..

Whither Lotus Bud?

Feb 24 (CT) Leader of the Opposition and TNA Leader R. Sampanthan, has unmasked former President Rajapaksa's hidden political agenda during the debate last Monday in Parliament. The thoroughly analytical speech made by Sampanthan has clearly pointed out where former President Rajapaksa stands in the present political scenario holding up his party SLPP's symbol Lotus Bud. Lotus which blooms in the muddy reservoirs is the only flower found in various types of more..

'CMC sessions at BMICH due to renovations'

Feb 24 (NR) The New Mayor-elect of Colombo Rosy Senanayake says Municipal Council sessions will be held at the BMICH over the next few months, due to renovations at the Colombo Town Hall. Rosy Senanayake said the number of councillors within the Colombo Municipal Council has increased to 119 from 55. The new Mayor-elect noted the annual income of the Colombo Municipal Council is 15 billion rupees adding projects of various Ministries could be carried out with the funds. more..

More support needed for palmyra as elephant barriers

Feb 24 (ST) Hardy palmyra trees endowed with sharp, saw-tooth-like fronds and rough trunks, should get more attention in being adopted as a natural barrier against crop-raiding elephants. While the trees take about eight years to grow fully, their rough exterior features can be a deterrent if planted in rows in a zig-zag pattern. Some NGOs have also suggested barriers of bee hives. Elephants are wary of bees. Researchers have played back more..

GMOA seeks parliamentary approval for minimum standards for medical education

Feb 24 (Island) GMOA yesterday urged the govt to get parliamentary approval for minimum standards of Medical Education (MSME). GMOA Secretary Dr Haritha Aluthge, responding to President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision on Wednesday (21) to absorb the SAITM medical undergraduates who had fulfilled the required education qualifications into the Medical Faculty of the Kotalawela Defence University (KDU-MF), said there was much more to be done. Dr Aluthge said an expert committee should more..

Jazz: Wycliffe Gordon in Colombo to jazz up #USASL70

Feb 24 (SO) The American jazz sensation Wycliffe Gordon and the U.S. Embassy Colombo will celebrate 70 years of partnership between the United States and Sri Lanka (#USASL70) through a series of jazz shows in Sri Lanka. The legendary Wycliffe Gordon and His International All Stars will visit from February 24 to 28 to stage performances, free of charge, in Colombo and Galle, and bring this truly American music genre to Sri Lanka. The shows will be held as follows: more..

UN migration agency, Sri Lanka explore ways forward on conflict victim reparations

Feb 24 (IOM) IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the SL Secretariat for Coordinating the Reconciliation Mechanism (SCRM), are today hosting a two-day (22-23/2) international conference on reparations for conflict victims in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This is the first such conference to be held in Sri Lanka since the end of the country’s long-drawn-out conflict in 2009. The conference follows a UNHRC Resolution more..

Leadership must demonstrate vision, action

Feb 25 (SO) Readers will begin their Sunday as concerned citizens, awaiting announcements about a Cabinet re-shuffle, a significant political action by the National Unity Govt in response to the outcome of the recent LG polls. The emerging map of political control of local bodies is an indicator of the people’s political preference. And, incumbent leaders must respond decisively if they are to retain the confidence of citizens. Elections to govt bodies at the lowest rung of political management of more..

Shock & Awe

Feb 25 (CT) Opposition and TNA Leader, Colombo educated Jaffna Tamil R. Sampanthan has advised President Sirisena to stabilize the Govt. His statement comes in the backdrop after the UNP, SLFP combined Unity Govt, traditionally SL's largest and second largest political parties respectively, were virtually torn asunder by the entry of a new third force, Mahinda Rajapaksa led SLPP and its shock landslide win at the recently concluded LG Polls, gaining the majority vote in 249 of more..

'NU Govt should continue until 2020, to fulfil pledge given to country'

Feb 25 (SO) SLFP General Secretary and Minister Duminda Dissanayake says, as dignified politicians committed to implement what they pledged to the people, his personal view is that they should implement the decision reached following the Aug 17, 2015 Parliamentary Election and continue the Unity Govt until 2020. He said, that was a new concept introduced by the two main parties to change the direction of the country. more..

Our increasingly dysfunctional Elections Commission

Feb 25 (Island) After the recent local government elections, political discourse has been dominated by the overwhelming victory of the SLPP against all odds to emerge as the single largest political entity in the country. The aftershocks of that political tsunami are still continuing even as we pen this column. SLFP ministers in the govt are still in a state of shock after their abysmal showing at the LG elections and some have not been seen at Cabinet meetings since that day. more..

Reshuffle repair?

Feb 25 (Island) Few analysts were venturing guesses on what the cabinet reshuffle expected to be completed today will bring us. Signs are that PM Wickremesinghe will make some changes on the UNP side but there have been no hints that President Sirisena, whose SLFP/UPFA fared worse that the UNP at the local election, will do likewise. Wickremesinghe has made some mea culpa noises after the results were declared; but not so Sirisena who has laid all the blame at the UNP’s door. more..

'Yameen is cleaning up decades of elite rule'

Feb 25 (CT) Ambassador to the Maldives in SL, Mohamed Hussain Shareef tells Ceylon Today that his Govt had to declare a state of emergency because the Supreme Court (SC) issued a jaw dropping ruling to release persons involved in the alleged kidnapping of a SC judge, high profile corruption and attempts to kill President Abdulla Yameen. He says the international community, including SL does not know more..

Populist measures or economic stability

Feb 25 (ST) As the President and the PM dilly-dallied over appointing a new Cabinet of Ministers, it does not mean that the country was exactly waiting with bated breath for the outcome. It only means that there is a serious power struggle within the Govt of 2015, and with two more years to go, the country is not going to see much good come out of the political chicanery at the highest levels. While the hard bargaining was going on all of the past fortnight in immediate aftermath of LG election results more..

All by my lonesome

Feb 25 (ST) My dear Maithri, I thought I must write to you because everyone is talking about the mess you have got yourself into following the LG elections. We are all confused about what is going on because what is said today is not what happens tomorrow – and, being the big boss, most people blame you for that. To begin with, Maithri, you would have to accept that you were given a very harsh message by the voters – the same voters who voted you in to office with a resounding majority just over more..