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Technocratic cabinet with an iron fist

Mar 1 (CT) The anti-Muslim violence in Ampara, breaking out soon after a cabinet mini-reshuffle in which the Prime Minister has taken over the law and order portfolio, is going to test not only his personal resolve to act decisively against unruly elements in society, but also the coalition’s governing ability after its debacle at the local polls. It appears that there is a hidden hand operating outside the law to hasten the dissolution of the parliament by creating maximum chaos. more..

This is a low-and-odour govt

Mar 1 (CT) Law and Order. This seems to be the one thing that the yahapalana govt has cottoned onto in the aftermath of the election rout. And I don’t mean that in a good way. UNP in particular has climbed down and fast from grand pronouncements of victory (no less!). Party bigwigs bragged about going solo (i.e. shedding SLFP), then acknowledged defeat. Party leader himself said that the people had rejected the party’s programme and vowed to correct flaws (which ones, he did not say). more..

Digital-learning in rural schools push forward

Mar 1 (SO) The Smart Schools project is a sustained long term program to raise IT literacy levels of schoolchildren in Sri Lanka, and augment their learning via digital education. The project seeks to expose traditional classroom teachers and students to the latest digital learning technology and systems, stimulating wider use of IT in schools. Sunday Observer team visited two rural schools in the Horana and Moronthuduwa more..

New look policy

Mar 1 (DN) The much awaited Cabinet reshuffle finally took place last Sunday but has left in its wake more uncertainty. It has not been the stabilising factor that it was touted to be for the National Unity govt which is grappling with the losses encountered at the recent LG elections. The elections were a loud wake-up call for both partners in the govt, the UNP and the SLFP because their common rival, the newly formed SLPP swept the polls and captured 45% of the vote. more..

Restore Sinhala Buddhist culture

Mar 1 (CT) It would do well, on Medin Full Moon Poya Day, to ponder deep on the restoration of the country's Buddhist heritage and culture. Although the official introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka, as a political/diplomatic act, by Emperor Dharmashoka took place in 247 BCE (Before Common Era), the fact that the Buddha visited the country three times during His ministry of forty-five years from 588 to 543 BCE leaves no doubt that Buddhism was known to the people of this country e more..

Tree planting goes hi-tech with Thuru

Mar 1 (CT) What if tree planting is a trendy practice where you can share images of a tree that you have planted on social media, and earn points for the number of trees you plant? What if you are too busy to spend time on watering and caring for plants, but can contribute or donate to a tree planting project and watch your plant grow and still earn points? Well, all of this is now possible via mobile app Thuru – idea stumbled upon by more..

Medin Full Moon Poya Day falls today

Mar 1 (DN) When the Buddha visited Kapilavatthu for the first time after his Enlightenment he stayed at the Nigrodharama monastery. There he expounded the Dhamma to his relatives. King Suddhodana thought that the Buddha, being his own son, would not go anywhere, but would surely come to the palace for almsfood the next day; but he did not specifically invite the Buddha. However, the next day, he ordered alms-food to be prepared for him and his bhikkhus. more..

Psychotherapy of the Buddha’s approach

Mar 1 (DN) Leading men in the psychological field like Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Otto Rank and Adler used hypnosis as the basis for examining the cause, but gave up developing the concept of Free Association, another skill that the Buddha practiced as well. The Buddha attached lot of importance to development of cooperation and attachment between therapist and patient; quite a few modern psychologists have professed this line of treatment. Psycho and neuro-pathological complications more..

Prasanna Ranatunga

Yahapalana hyper-debt regime to take on even more mega-debt

Mar 1 (Island) In a recent article titled Yahapalana govt as a hyper-debt regime, Prof. Milton Rajaratne has pointed out that even though the yahapalana govt accuses Rajapaksa govt of having imposed an immense debt burden on the country, the present govt too has borrowed surprising amounts of money. Rajaratne points out that by the time Rajapaksa rule ended on 9 Jan 2015, the total govt debt stood at Rs. 7.3 trillion and the debt burden of the country, as a percentage of GDP, stood at 71.3%. more..

Lakmal, Pradeep return to bolster SL T20 pace ranks

Mar 1 (CI) Fast bowlers Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal have returned to the SL T20 squad after recovering from injuries, but wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella has been omitted in favour of Dhananjaya de Silva for the upcoming tri-series at home. Legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay, who was with the T20 team in Bangladesh, was also left out, with SL naming just two specialist spinners - Akila Dananjaya and Amila Aponso - in addition to Jeevan Mendis, legspinning allrounder. more..

'Sad to see Dickwella out but he is in our plans'

Mar 1 (CB) As Sri Lanka started off their week-long training camp ahead of the Nidahas Trophy in Colombo, former captain Mahela Jayawardene was present for the session. Jayawardene, under whom Sri Lanka reached the ICC World T20 final in 2012, has expertise in the shortest format of the game as he coaches Mumbai Indians currently. Having started off the session with a 15-minute pep talk, the former skipper was more..

Battle of Maroons powered by Dialog Axiata

Mar 1 (DM) 89th Battle of the Maroons Inter-school Big Match between the traditional rivals Ananda College and Nalanda College sponsored by Dialog Axiata and played for Dr. N.M. Perera Memorial Challenge Trophy is scheduled to be worked off on March 3 and 4 at the SSC Grounds in Maitland Place. One Day encounter between the two schools played for the P.D.S. Kularatne Challenge Trophy will be worked off on March 18 at the same venue. This time too, the Big Match is organised by more..

Chamil and Roshita Carrom Champs

Mar 1 (CT) Sri Lanka Carrom Federation (CFSL) celebrated their Diamond Jubilee (60th Anniversary) and the finals of 50th National Championship on 25 Feb at the Hilton Residence, Colombo. Chamil Cooray of Seylan Bank won the National Championship for the 14th time beating former 2012 World Champion Nishantha Fernando of SL Navy 2-1 (25/19, 15/25, 25/21), while Joseph Roshita of SL Navy won the National Championship for the 6th time beating Yashika Rahubaddha of SLAF. more..

Dickwella dropped for Nidahas Trophy

Mar 1 (CB) Selectors have dropped Niroshan Dickwella from the squad for the Nidahas Trophy. The 15-member squad that was announced on Wednesday will be led by Dinesh Chandimal in Angelo Mathews's absence with the returning Kusal Perera likely to take over the wicketkeeping duties from Dickwella. Seamer Suranga Lakmal has been named as Chandimal's deputy. Asitha Fernando, Sadeera Samarawickrama, more..

Editorial: A dangerous hyperloop

Mar 1 (Island) It is reported that serial entrepreneur Elon Musk is planning to build a hyperloop between Washington DC and New York to enable a trip between the two cities in less than half an hour. Amidst what has come to be known as the tubular tizzy Musk’s futuristic vision has generated, comes the news of a hyperloop project in Sri Lanka, of all places. It is the brainchild of none other than Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. There is a difference, though. more..

Stage III of Trincomalee Industrial estate receives Cabinet nod

Mar 1 (CT) Cabinet approved the proposal presented by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen on 27 Feb to commence infrastructure development for stage III of the Trincomalee Industrial estate. Stage III of the Trincomalee Industrial estate would be the largest of three stages which will encompass 50 acres of land, while the previous two stages combined had an area of 50 acres. The funding for the development of infrastructure would come from the 2018-2020 budget allocation. more..

JVP Press Conference

Many areas receive 100mm of rain

Mar 1 (DM) Several areas in the country, particularly the Eastern Province, had received heavy rainfall, some over 100 mm yesterday, the Dept of Meteorology reported. Batticaloa received the highest rainfall of 129mm, while Kiran and several other areas received a rainfall of 100mm of rain. Bentotawatte received 60mm of rain, while Batuwangala had received 88mm of rain last morning. “Showers were experienced in most areas of the country, except for North yesterday” more..

New Law and Order Minister next week

Mar 1 (DM) A new Law and Order Minister would be sworn in next week, sources close to PM said. New Minister of Law and Order was to be sworn in this week but it was delayed because of the tense situation in Ampara. Currently, the Law and Order Ministry comes under the PM. “The incumbent Law and Order Minister, who is the incumbent PM, is engaged in dealing with the situation in Ampara and therefore the swearing-in of the new Minister had to be postponed to next week,” more..

Sri Lanka mulls globalising of SMEs via highly-active food sector

Mar 1 (FT) Sri Lanka is mulling linking its considerable SME base to global markets through a highly-active industry sub-sector. SMEs, a core sector of the SL economy creating more than 50% of employment, have their biggest presence in the food processing sub-sector. “There is a great number of micro and SME enterprises active in this industry. In fact we believe that more than 40% of our SMEs are in the food processing sector,” more..

Citi rating model tops Sri Lanka as most attractive frontier market

Mar 1 (Island) Andrew Howell, frontier markets strategist at Citi says Citi has used data to build a rating model for the leading frontier markets, which gives investors a macro view of prospects for 12 countries. The model currently shows SL, Romania and Kenya as the most attractive markets based on six key metrics: earnings momentum, price momentum, valuation, macro growth and imbalances and monetary policy. "We thought SL was cheap, but it turns out it’s really cheap," more..

New Study exposes how CTC lures local farmers into growing tobacco

Mar 1 (Island) Ceylon Tobacco Company was luring local farmers into cultivating tobacco by providing material and loan facilities and functioning as a direct buyer of their produce, a new research conducted by the Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention (PTFDP) and the Centre for Combating Tobacco (CCT) at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, has revealed. The research, conducted on the tobacco cultivation in Sri Lanka and its social impact, more..

USAID YouLead and Microsoft launch YouthWorks to increase employment ...

Mar 1 (USE) USAID YouLead program and Microsoft Sri Lanka signed a partnership to launch the new YouthWorks information technology portal at the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training in Colombo. Portal will provide career guidance, technical and vocational courses, a mentorship platform, job placements, and a variety of other tools to support SL’s young job-seekers & entrepreneurs. more..

Govt yet to decide on CCEM

Mar 1 (CT) Govt is yet to take a final decision on the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) headed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. It was earlier reported that President Maithripala Sirisena had disbanded the said Committee. Minister Rajitha Senaratne denied such reports. He added that although a few suggestions were made in this regard during the Cabinet meeting held on 27 February, no final decision had been taken regarding the fate of the CCEM. more..

Dayasiri’s absence a tell tale sign?

Mar 1 (FT) For the third consecutive week, SLFP Cabinet Co-spokesperson Dayasiri Jayasekara avoided media at the cabinet press briefing, raising questions on his absence. His Cabinet colleagues and Co-spokespersons UNP seniors Rajitha Senaratne and Gayantha Karunathilaka failed to answer when asked if the Sports Minister’s absence was due to the continuing rift between the Coalition parties. The two ministers instead attempted to make light of the situation, more..

'Drift toward shared prosperity has begun'

Mar 1 (Island) Over the past two and a half years, Sri Lanka switched from economic instability to stability on the strength of correct economic policies and reforms, and now the country has entered a growth phase where all Sri Lankans – not just a select few – would be able to enjoy a fair share of the prosperity, Minister Eran Wickramaratne said. "The CB whose independence has been reinstated is pursuing more..

No arrests in Ampara clash

Mar 1 (FT) Authorities are yet to arrest anyone involved in Monday’s clash in Ampara, which left three injured and several establishments damaged. Police media spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekara, told the Daily FT that while the investigations were ongoing into the violence, no suspects had been arrested. “So far we have not been able to arrest anyone responsible for the clash. Our officers are carrying out investigations as we speak and we hope to apprehend suspects soon,” he said. more..

Sampanthan condemns Ampara violence

Mar 1 (CT) Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan condemned the ugly incidents that took place in Ampara recently. He urged the Government to take stern action against the perpetrators of the violence in Ampara and to take adequate measures to prevent such incidents being repeated. "We have witnessed such incidents in the past and we have experienced the repercussions of such unacceptable behaviour and actions. I appeal to the people in Ampara and other areas to remain calm and more..

'Cabinet reshuffle fell below expectations'

Mar 1 (FT) A subdued Rajitha Senaratne yesterday admitted that the cabinet reshuffle did not go as many anticipated, saying that more significant changes were expected by Govt Ministers, including him. The reshuffle, which saw only a few members of the UNP being reassigned ministries, fell well below expectations, he said. He also confirmed rumours about a move to reassign the Law and Order Ministry, which was more..

CSE takes Road Shows to Singapore

Mar 1 (Island) Colombo Stock Exchange in partnership with the Securities Exchange Commission and Singapore-Lanka Business Commission has taken its Road Shows to Singapore. Entitled Invest Sri Lanka, the Forum would be inaugurated by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Four Seasons Hotel on Friday. He is scheduled to arrive in Singapore this morning. The Road Show is being held as a sequel to the modern Free Trade Agreement that was signed more..

Arjuna Mahendran will be arrested: Rajitha

Mar 1 (DN) Former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran will be arrested for sure, said Minister Rajitha Senaratne, adding that people ask questions Mahendran’s arrest, but nobody talks about the initiatives taken to arrest Udayanga Weeratunga. Addressing the Cabinet press conference yesterday at the Govt Information Department, the Minister said that even the media reported on the bond scam continuously and not about the corruption that took place under the former govt. more..

New Inter-Religious Peace Committee revives Ampara

Mar 1 (FT) Ampara is fast returning to normal, the Industry and Commerce Ministry said in a statement, with efforts being made to establish an inter-religious peace committee to quell community tensions. “The suggestion to immediately form an Inter-Religious Peace Committee (IRPC) for Ampara city is a great step to unite the worried people of Ampara,” Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said, following a visit to Ampara more..

More powers for Bribery Commission to prosecute

Mar 1 (DN) Cabinet approval has been granted to empower CIABOC to file cases based on facts revealed by the Commissions of Inquiry. Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said the decision to transfer the power of filing cases based on facts revealed by the Commissions of Inquiry to the Bribery Commission was approved by the Cabinet. Accordingly, Director General of the Bribery Commission will be given the power to file cases under the Bribery Act or Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law more..

Fresh initiatives to promote wellness tourism sector

Mar 1 (DN) Wellness tourism sector has been identified as one of the key sectors for development and promotion in the National Export Strategy and accordingly, a plan of action has been developed with key stakeholders, said Indira Malwatte, CEO of SL Export Development Board. EDB has taken various initiatives to promote the SL wellness industry to gain more international recognition for this sector and promote the country as a destination for high quality wellness service, more..

Rental Scam: Health Ministry to rent building for 2 years spending over Rs 200 mn

Mar 1 (Island) Editor's Note: If you go over the Cabinet papers your can see how these corrupt ministers are coming up with various programs just rob people's hard-earned money. The cabinet has endorsed a proposal by health minister Dr. Rajith Senaratne to rent Medi House (Pvt) Ltd-owned building at Sangaraja Mawatha, Colombo 10, to house his Ministry for 2 years at a monthly payment of Rs. 9.07 million. more..

Be eco-friendly citizens: Don’t use plastics

Mar 1 (DM) Most of us have a tendency if not a temptation to prefer what is easy and comfortable. Opting for plastics is one of these dangers. We need to become aware of the catastrophic effects of plastic and the throw-away culture whereby we just discard plastic cups and straws, bottles, bags and other items without using biodegradable items or going through of giving the plastic items for recycling. According to the ABC, most people believe life without plastics is unimaginable. more..

Inhibitions on the Way forward for Govt

Mar 1 (DM) The routine discussion of papers went on as usual during the first half of Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, the first time after the reshuffle on Sunday. But the second half, meant for the discussion of currently important matters, turned out to be stormy as President Sirisena, backed by some Cabinet Ministers, showered criticism on the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) headed by PM. CCEM was established shortly after formation of the 100-day govt more..

'India was not interested in building ports or highways in Sri Lanka'

Mar 1 (Hindu) Former SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that India was not interested in building ports and highway projects in his country when it was first offered. “We offered India first - port/highways. But somehow they were interested in building the port at Hambantota. The govt did not want it at that time because it was war time I think,” he told reporters here on Wednesday. His response came to a question on more..

Principal’s death: Two Secretaries, 11 officials on the mat

Mar 1 (DM) The Education Ministry has interdicted two Additional Secretaries and 11 officials in the Education Ministry following the inquiries conducted over the death of Ambalantota Suchi National School Principal while participating in a training programme. The Education Minister had also instructed the Ministry Secretary to take disciplinary action against the officials regarding the incident. more..