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Can SL overcome half strength South Africa?

Mar 22 (Island) Sri Lanka have a perfect opportunity to square the three match T-20 series against South Africa at Centurion today with the hosts at half strength. Cricket South Africa has released their IPL contracted players leaving J.P Duminy to lead the side and the tourists will be looking to end their tour on a positive note. After winning the Test series 2-0, Sri Lanka were whitewashed 5-0 in the ODIs that followed. With South Africa at half strength for the last two games of the tour, more..

Parallel construction of Central Expressway to offset delays

Mar 22 (FT) Construction of the Central Expressway Phase I will have multiple sections commencing simultaneously to cut down delays, the RDA said yesterday, even though funding for the project remains gridlocked. The country’s third expressway, designed to link the hill capital of Kandy with Colombo and the expressway network, is likely to get further delayed, as funding for Phases I and II is yet to be confirmed. more..

Automation to cut managerial jobs in Sri Lanka’s logistics sector: ILO

Mar 22 (EN) Adoption of high levels of automation in Sri Lanka’s logistics businesses anticipated by experts could lead to loss of some jobs, a new study by the International Labour Organization has found. “Growth in logistics will lead to increased labour demand, but high automation adoption will eventually lead to displacement,” said the report on future of work in Sri Lanka, done for the ILO by India’s Tandem Research. Logistics is marked as a crucial sector under more..

SLPP-SLFP agree on 20 points

Mar 22 (Island) The SLFP and the SLPP yesterday agreed on 20 key points, according to sources. The members of the two parties who participated in the talks, which was the second round, said, they had paid special attention to the basic framework of the alliance to be forged against the UNP. They said that as there was no point in forming an alliance only targeting an election, hence they had agreed on policies. The spokesmen for the two parties said the talks were successful more..

SL slips badly on UN World Happiness index

Mar 22 (Island) Sri Lanka has been ranked 130th on the UN’s latest World Happiness Report that studied 156 countries, it is a decline of 14 spots. Sri Lanka was also among the five countries that experienced the highest decline since 2005-2008 in the index. Finland topped the list for the second consecutive year, followed by Denmark and Norway. South Sudan was ranked at the bottom of the index. more..

Mastercard offers overseas hospital discounts for Sri Lankan cardholders

Mar 22 (EN) Mastercard said it was offering Sri Lankan cardholders a range of discounts at top hospitals in Asia, such as Singapore’s Raffles. The credit card company said that savings of up to 40 percent were available in its partnership with Global Health and Travel and Fullerton Health on medical packages at hospitals in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. “Mastercard has an extensive suite of benefits and privileges uniquely created more..

Harin appoints Interim Committees for 7 sports

Mar 22 (CT) Sports Minister Harin Fernando appointed Interim Committees for seven sports, to look into matters and make necessary efforts to conduct their respective Annual General Meetings as soon as possible. All these sports, which could not conduct their AGMs due to various issues, were more or less at a standstill. Hence, Minister has come forward to select suitable officials who are attached to Govt Services to run these respective bodies until their AGMs are conducted in a more..

Finance Ministry wants to issue liquor licenses on a large scale: Excise TUs

Mar 22 (DM) Excise trade unions have raised serious concerns over an attempt by the Ministry of Finance urging the department to issue liquor licenses on a large scale to several hundred presently unlicensed hoteliers and innkeepers in the Matara District on an urgent basis, during a special two-day mobile service to be held in Weligama over the weekend. A programme has been organised by the Ministry of Finance with more..

Asia prepares for crop battle with Fall Armyworm

Mar 22 (DN) An insect that can infest and damage hundreds of hectares of maize fields, literally overnight, is sweeping across Asia, alarming smallholder farmers and threatening livelihoods, but the damage can be limited, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported yesterday. Fall Armyworm is native to the Americas. However, since 2016 it has been aggressively moving ever eastwards, sweeping across Africa, and making landfall for the first time in Asia last summer. more..

Parliament full of digital luddites; laptop use 20%

Mar 22 (EN) Less than 20 percent of Sri Lankan legislators use their official laptops or have registered e-mail addresses, and many opposed the govt's digitalisation attempts, a minister said. "We have laptops on our parliament tables but less than 20% have used it," Minister Harin Fernando said. He was speaking at the Institute of Policy Studies' New Thinkers' Symposium 2019 which was held under the theme Technology and Economic Transformation. more..

Mahendran’s extradition: Singapore media reports false: PMD

Mar 22 (DN) President’s Media Division in a statement said local media reports, based on a report published by Singapore media, quoting an unnamed Singapore Foreign Ministry spokesman on Sri Lanka’s request to extradite former CB Governor Arjun Mahendran are misleading. The PMD said media reports stating that Singapore rejected Prez’s allegation it was sheltering the former CB chief as Colombo failed to provide more..

Opposition slams merging Vocational Training and Industry Ministries

Mar 22 (FT) The Govt proposal to merge the Skills Development and Vocational Training Ministry with the Industry and Commerce Ministry attracted criticism yesterday in Parliament, with the Opposition questioning the practicality of connecting training with a Ministry that has no link to education. Highlighting the questionable move to bring vocational education under the industries and commerce sector, the Opposition lawmakers disapproved govt’s alleged efforts to take out more..

JVP raises S’pore snubbing President’s statement

Mar 22 (Island) The JVP yesterday in Parliament queried the Govt’s stance on the response from Singapore to President Maithripala Sirisena’s allegation that it is sheltering former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran. "The President addressing a Bribery Commission event said that he appealed to the Singaporean Prime Minister to return former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, but that was not heeded. Now Singapore has given a diplomatic response. more..

House at sea over Oman oil refinery project

Mar 22 (CT) Opposition, asked whether the Cabinet was misled and tricked when presenting the Cabinet Paper on the proposed oil refinery project in Hambantota, which is going to be a joint venture with Oman. UPFA MP Kanchana Wijesekera questioned about the US $ 3.8 billion project, as the Govt of Oman had denied that it is going to be a part of it. He said in Parliament that three days ago, Minister Nalin Bandara had more..

Leave no one behind, urges Opp. Leader

Mar 22 (Island) Opposition Leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa called on Sri Lankans to unite to make the nation more inclusive and socially just by leaving no one behind. Issuing a press release to mark the World Down syndrome day, Rajapaksa said that, "the theme chosen for this year leave no one behind, is a theme derived directly from the 2030 UN agenda for sustainable development. All people with Down syndrome must be given equal opportunity so that they are able to live fulfilling lives. more..

New analytical unit established

Mar 22 (FT) The Govt has established a new analytical unit to improve scientific analysis and infuse it to decision making, Non-Cabinet Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva told Parliament. According to de Silva, the new unit has a group of professionals who have graduated from local universities analysing data to be used when the Govt is making crucial decisions. “We have started an analytic unit for the Govt. It is a profession that has much demand in the world. This is a new move. more..

India wants 13A fully implemented

Mar 22 (DN) India yesterday insisted on the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that meets the aspirations of the Tamil people. Permanent Representative of India in Geneva Ambassador Rajiv Chander while taking a positive note of the setting up of three structures with the PM of Sri Lanka chairing the apex Ministerial Action Group to implement the HRC resolution noted the constructive engagement more..

Your optics are all wrong and they do matter…

Mar 22 (DM) One does not have to look beyond the banners. They tell the whole story. Either both Ranil Wickremasinghe and Mangala Samaraweera are ignorant or they are dishearteningly insensitive, or maybe both. If it’s ignorance, then one can understand, may even forgive them for, but if it’s insensitivity, they shouldn’t be in politics. The banner included among the written content, photographs of Ranil Wickremasinghe, our PM and the Leader of the UNP and of Mangala Samaraweera, more..

Eccentric electioneering: Why only a Rajapaksa? Part 1

Mar 22 (DM) Winning the first in serial elections is imperative; more valued than a singular triumph of an electorate, district or province. Win the first leg, by hook or by crook. If more elections are in the offing win the safer one. A strong party combine is in the making or an existing party combine has become a political force to be reckoned with. Such a candidate or party, on obtaining an overall majority, can govern without hitching on to another. Coalitions just won’t work. more..

Suspicion throttles SLPP-SLFP talks

Mar 22 (DM) Bilateral talks between SLPP and SLFP hit a snag over the move by the latter to be absent during the Budget vote after its Second Reading in Parliament. The SLFP MPs, barring four of them, were absent during the vote in contrast to the collective decision to vote against it. SLFP & SLPP function under banner of UPFA in Parliament. SLFP decision evoked an angry response from the rank & file of SLPP. more..

Mali needs us

Mar 22 (ST) Corporal S. Kumarasinghe keeps a matchbox-sized piece shrapnel in an empty jam jar in his bag. It was the shard that lodged in his right knee when an explosion in the path of the armoured personnel carrier (APC) he was sitting on threw him off and left him unconscious in a dangerous area of the troubled East African nation of Mali. His right leg was badly injured. Another piece of shrapnel punctured his right lung. more..

Unscheduled power cuts?

Mar 22 (DM) While stressing that the technical issue in the unit 2 generator of the Norochcholai coal power plant has been fully restored, Power and Energy Ministry Media Spokesman Sulakshana Jayawardena said power outages could still be experienced due to the prevailing dry weather conditions. Technical issue occurred in the unit 2 generator at the Norochcholai coal power plant had nothing to do with prevailing power outages. more..

Parliament congratulates Speaker

Mar 22 (Island) The govt and Opposition MPs, yesterday, congratulated Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in Parliament on the honorary title Sasana Keerthi Sri Deshabimani conferred on him by the Malwatte Chapter of the Siam Sect. Minister Gayantha Karunathilake, taking the floor at the commencement of the sittings, said that the Speaker deserved that honour. "We are extremely happy that the Speaker was honoured by more..

Aquifer Management Systems revitalise resettled communities

Mar 22 (Island) Muthun Murugaiya provides water for 15 families. The 60-year-old has the only working well in the neighbourhood in his front garden. Just feet away, the community well lies dry – groundwater is low in the village of Veemankamam in Sri Lanka’s Jaffna District. During the dry season there is a not a drop to be had. Muthun must pump water up for his neighbours, and he does this service happily and for free, more..

Navy hierarchy was aware of abductions in Colombo, suburbs: CID

Mar 22 (DM) The CID today told Colombo Additional Magistrate Shehani Perera that the Navy Hierarchy including former Navy Commander Jayantha Perera and Intelligence Division Director Ananda Guruge had knowledge about the abductions that took place in Colombo and suburbs during 2009. CID OIC Nishantha Silva also told the Magistrate that they were conducting further investigations on the matter. more..

DEW: Where are those who made song and dance about Chinese debt?

Mar 22 (Island) Sections of the Sri Lankan community who shouted that the country had got into a Chinese debt trap were silent when consecutive govts borrowed at 7% interest rates from international bond markets, General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Communist Party, DEW Gunasekera said, recently giving a lecture on the China-Taiwan issue at the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS) recently. more..

DMK leader Jagathrakshakan’s family linked to record FDI in Sri Lanka

Mar 22 (Hindu) A Singapore-based company in which stakes are held by the family members of former Union Minister of State S. Jagathrakshakan of the DMK has been linked to a record foreign direct investment of $3.85 billion in an oil refinery in Sri Lanka. However, the recent announcement by SL’s Board of Investment (BOI) on the record deal has run into a controversy after Oman, which the Board said was an investor more..

Video: Beliatta PS Opposition Leader succumbs to gunshot injuries

Mar 22 (AD) Beliatta PS Opposition Leader and UNP member Kapila Amarakoon, who was admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds on March 20th, has succumbed to injuries early this morning. A relative of Amarakoon had found him lying on the bed injured with gunshot wounds on March 20th. He was initially admitted to the Tangalle Hospital, however, later transferred to Karapitiya Teaching Hospital for further treatment. more..

Loan of US$ 989 million from the EXIM Bank of China for Central Expressway Project

Mar 22 (AD) Govt of SL has accorded high importance to the development of infrastructure including expressway network with inter-connectivity as it will directly contribute to the economic growth and will have indirect effects in raising the productivity and efficiency in different economic sectors. To complement the existing expressway network, Central Expressway Project (CEP) has been initiated with a purpose of more..

Geneva Won, Now Polls

Mar 22 (CT) SL’s human rights obligations are currently being debated in Geneva led by Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). OHCHR is an adjunct of the UN. The biggest funder of the UN, contributing to 22% of its budget and 28% of its peacekeeping budget is the USA. In 2017, the USA pumped US$ 8.5 billion for the upkeep of the UN, according to available data. Meanwhile, UN’s allocation for the OHCHR for 2018/2019 is $ 201.6 m, which represents 40% of its total budget. more..

Playing with history

Mar 22 (FT) First of all, I was delighted to note a counter criticism ‘A reply to Victor Ivan’s What went wrong with Sri Lanka? published in the Financial Times on 11 March in response to my article which appeared in the same newspaper on 22 Feb. I always welcome open debates and intellectual dialogues on academic issues. However, I was rather disappointed, and my satisfaction soon disappeared when I noticed that it had been written under the pseudonym Avocado Collective, more..

Prof. Mohan De Silva

CCTV: Motorcyclist carrying bamboo pole run-over by bus

Mar 22 (AD) A man carrying a bamboo stick on a motorcycle has died after he was run over by a bus on Negombo-Mirigama main road at around 5.40 a.m. this morning (22). The accident was caused as the victim had failed to take control of the motorcycle and swayed to the centre of the road when a bus, which had come from behind, ran over him. The motorcyclist had succumbed to injuries on the spot, however, he was admitted to Mirigama hospital afterwards. more..

Video: Police baton charge protesters in Puttalam

Mar 22 (DM) Police baton-charged a group of people who were protesting at the Puttalam town a short while ago over the Aruwakkalu Hygienic Solid Waste Disposal Project (AHSWDP). The people were protesting against the project saying that a drain has been excavated to release waste to the lagoon. Megapolis and the Western Development Ministry introduced the Metro Colombo Solid Waste Management Project (MCSWMP) through which it intends to carry out Sanitary Land Fills more..

Debate over creeping services protectionism in Sri Lanka hots up

Mar 22 (EN) Sri Lanka is seeing creeping protectionism in services trade with a taxes being charged on electronic payments to limit competition with domestic online firms, even as the country tries to dismantle existing protection given to crony hard goods producers. Sri Lanka has upped a tax on credit card payments to 3.5% through a so-called Nation Building Tax, when a good or service is purchased online and stretched it to more..

UNP to hold May Day rally in Colombo

Mar 22 (AD) The Working Committee of the UNP has decided to hold the party’s May Day rally in Colombo. The decision was taken at the committee’s meeting held yesterday. UNP Trade Union Secretary MP Palitha Range Bandara stated the rally will centralize Colombo and the specific location of the rally would be decided soon. It was proposed to hold the rally in front of the Colombo Municipal Council, however, this is subject to change, the parliamentarian further said. more..

Namal permitted to travel overseas

Mar 22 (DN) The Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayasinghe today fully lifted the travel ban imposed on MP Namal Rajapaksa and three others. Magistrate made this order after considering the request made by defence counsels. The four accused, Namal Rajapaksa, Sudarshana Bandara, Nithya Samaranayake and Sujani Bogollagama who functioned as the directors of Gowers Corporation were present in court when the case was taken up before Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court. more..

Court decides to hear petition against Rishad Bathiudeen

Mar 22 (AD) The petition filed against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, seeking the prohibition of deforestation at Vilaththukulam forest reserve in Wilpattu National Park, has been scheduled to be heard on June 28th. The petition was taken up before Court of Appeal Judge Arjuna Obeysekara today. Fourth respondent of the petition Minister Rishad Bathiudeen is continuously clearing this forest reserve, Attorney Nagananda said more..

Iraqi national held at BIA with fake British passport

Mar 22 (AD) An Iraqi national, who attempted to fly to the United Kingdom using a fake passport, has been detained at the BIA. He was held by the officers of the Immigration and Emigration Department attached to the BIA this morning (22). It was reported the detainee initially flew to Dubai from Iraq and subsequently arrived in Sri Lanka at around 12.50 a.m. early this morning. The Immigration and Emigration officers have questioned the said Iraqi national on suspicion. more..

Jaffna MC receives Japanese assistance

Mar 22 (Island) Japan has granted USD 83,432 (approx. Rs. 15 million) for "The Project for Providing Secondhand Waste Collection Trucks in Jaffna" through its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP). The grant contract was signed on 19th March 2019 at the Ambassador’s Residence in Colombo, between Akira Sugiyama, Ambassador of Japan and His Worship E. Arnold, Mayor of Jaffna Municipal Council, according to Japanese embassy press release. more..