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Dancing in the dark

Mar 30 (Island) What a great solution to the prevailing power crisis. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe wants all state bodies to have their own generators, as it is at Temple Trees, to overcome the present sweat and darkness at home and work. This is certainly better than the Minister of Power, Ravi Karunanayake, telling us to keep two lights switched off to ensure continued power supply. This amnesiac minister must have forgotten air-conditioners more..

Beans from Balangoda

Mar 30 (ST) It was a field research in Balangoda area carried out by a team of researchers and assisting students. One of the researchers, Chandini and her two assistants were waiting to interview a farmer. It was their first interview planned in the early morning hours of that day. The farmer who had a piece of cloth around the head covering his nose and mouth, was spraying pesticides to his early morning harvest of beans before it was loaded for transporting to the wholesale market. more..

Kiriella says Rs. 5.3 b roads built in Kandy

Mar 30 (FT) Minister Lakshman Kiriella states that he has built Rs. 5,386 million roadways for the Kandy District while he was serving as the Minister. The Minister stated this during the debate of the expenditure heads of the Highways and Road Development and Petroleum Resources Ministry. “I wish to make a brief account on the development work undertaken while serving as the Highways Minister. MP Mahindananda had stated last week that I have not even built a toilet in Kandy. more..

Lord Naseby lauds Marapana’s statement at UNHCR

Mar 30 (DM) Lord Naseby said the UN for its part will have to submit proposals of how to get persons like Adele Balasingham and other senior LTTE officers settled in UK, Canada, USA or elsewhere to fully co-operate if a Truth and Reconciliation mechanism is to happen. He said he carefully observed every stage of this year’s meeting of the UNHCR. “I wish to congratulate Foreign Affairs Minister and delegation leader more..

Sri Lanka firms with sustainable reporting could draw Australian investment: envoy

Mar 30 (EN) Sri Lankan companies could attract state and private funds from Australia in the future if they publish reports on environmental, social and governance (ESG) indicators, a diplomat said. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade had so far only provided aid to Sri Lanka, but is in the process of changing its country strategy to invest in businesses as well, Australian High Commission First Secretary (Development) Thomas Davis said. "I assure you that the businesses who do not more..

Two Australian Navy ships depart from Trinco harbor on completion of training visit

Mar 30 (SLN) Two of the four Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships - HMAS Success and HMAS Parramatta, which arrived in Sri Lanka as part of the Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019, departed from the Trincomalee harbour on successful completion of their training visit on 27th March. SL Navy bade customary farewell to the departing ship at the harbour premises. During their stay in the island, the crew members of both ships engaged in a number of exercises of the Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 more..

Kottawa-Makumbura Multimodal Transport Centre opens tomorrow

Mar 30 (FT) The Kottawa-Makumbura Multimodal Transport Centre – the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, providing seamless access for passengers to connect among transport modes – is to be declared open tomorrow. President Maithripala Sirisena, with the participation of PM Ranil Wickramasinghe, Ambassador of Japan to SL Akira Sugiyama, Minister Champika Ranawaka and officials of JICA & Govt of SL, will be present more..

Visakha in convincing 49-10 win over Sujatha

Mar 30 (DN) Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo under 19 netball team defeated Sujatha Vidyalaya, Nugegoda by 49 goals to 10 in their inaugural netball encounter Battle of the Golds for the Clara Motwani Challenge Shield worked off at Race Course Grounds yesterday. Melony Wijesinghe opened scoring for Visakians and the first quarter of the encounter ended with 14-4. Visakians added nine goals in the second quarter while Sujatha were able to obtain only 2 goals and score read 23-6 at half time. more..

Fix the fundamentals first

Mar 30 (Island) T20 cricket is a great entertainer. It entertains mainly those whose appreciation of the game is either marginal or none at all. It can be a great draw card to pull in the unconverted, but connoisseurs out of step with reality, find watching the peeling paint off their kitchen walls far more exciting. This game can offend their sensibilities. Winning or losing a T20 tells us zilch about a team’s standing in cricket. This game is not about consistency; it is about a lottery. more..

TRC intervenes in Rajitha-GMOA battle over SMS project

Mar 30 (Island) GMOA has accused Minister Rajitha Senaratne of trying to stop an SMS campaign launched by the trade union. GMOA Secretary and spokesman Dr. Haritha Aluthge said that the SMS project was primarily meant to alert its 20,000 membership of the latest developments. Dr. Aluthge alleged that Dr. Senaratne and his associates had interfered with the campaign with the Minister lodging a complaint with TRC recently more..

Succeeding in the 4IR Era: Opportunities and Challenges for Sri Lanka

Mar 30 (IPS) IPS’ New Thinkers Symposium saw researchers from several think tanks presenting their work on broad topics, under the theme of Technology and Economic Transformation. They highlighted the need for dynamic and innovative thinking to succeed in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), in the areas of agriculture, megatrends, social security, trade, and e-governance. Nimesha Dissanayaka of IPS stressed the importance of embracing more..

Sri Lanka appoints new Honorary Consul in Montréal, Quebec

Mar 30 (CT) Sri Lanka has appointed Claude Gagnon as its Honorary Consul in Montréal, for the province of Quebec in Canada. Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Canada, M.A.K. Girihagama, handed over the Commission of Appointment issued by the Govt and Sri Lanka and the Exequatur granted by Canada to Claude Gagnon on 26 March at the High Commission in Ottawa. Making brief remarks on this occasion, High Commissioner, Girihagama underlined the important role more..

Stronger legislative framework to attract oil and gas companies

Mar 30 (DN) Sri Lanka needs a strong legislative framework to attract investors in the oil and gas industry. Therefore Industry stakeholders urged the authorities to speed up the passing of the Petroleum Resources Act to woo more investments to the country at the oral public consultation held on the proposed National Policy for Gas held at the BMICH on Mar 28. Saliya Wickramasuriya an expert in the industry more..

Visas-on-arrival and visa-free travel now possible for in-bound tourists: Minister

Mar 30 (Island) Visa – on – arrival and visa – free travel in Sri Lanka are now possible for all in-bound tourists, Minister John Amaratunga said. He was addressing a press briefing at the recent launch of the Sancharaka Udawa: The Travel Tourism Fair, where a number of measures were announced to facilitate local tourism. The Travel and Trade Fair organized by Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators ( SLITO) would be held June 7 and 8 at the BMICH Exhibition Center. more..

Undergrad arrested for computer hacking and demanding ransom

Mar 30 (DN) Trincomalee Police yesterday arrested a University IT student for allegedly hacking into the computer system of a software company providing services to overseas clients and caused a loss of over Rs.19 million to the company. Police investigations revealed that the computer system of the company has been hacked for over 5 hours, by this student in question. Police said the university undergrad in question has also demanded a ransom of Rs. 5 million from the company owner. more..

Prez restores balance in envoy appointments

Mar 30 (GDI) While the opposition assailed the govt for overloading the lucrative foreign postings with political appointees, the strong measure taken by Prez Sirisena to restore the healthy ratio between foreign services officers and political appointees in overseas missions almost went unnoticed. This week, President appointed 14 new ambassadors and high commissioners to represent Sri Lanka abroad and more..

'SL not ready to scrap scholarship exam yet'

Mar 30 (IPS) While the ultimate long-term objective should be to abolish the Grade Five Scholarship Examination, at the moment, Sri Lanka is not ready for such drastic action, an education policy researcher noted recently. IPS Research Officer, Ashani Abayasekara, assessing the effectiveness and the relevance of the scholarship exam, highlighted that Sri Lanka should improve the quality of schools and teachers across the island, before moving on to abolish the exam. more..

Sancharaka Udawa expo from June 7

Mar 30 (DN) The 9th edition of Sancharaka Udawa the premier Tourism and Travel Exhibition, organized by Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) will get underway at the BMICH, Colombo from June 7-8, 2019. And for the first time, Sri Lanka Travel Mart will be held in concurrent with Sancharaka Udawa exhibition in order to create an additional impetus to attract more tourists to Sri Lanka. more..

'Hybrid Court: Follow IIGEP example'

Mar 30 (CT) The Hybrid Court could be constituted following the example of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) under the Chairmanship of Justice Bhagavathy, former Northern Province Chief Minister and former Supreme Court Judge C.V. Wigneswaran said. “Having already granted nearly four years by Resolutions Numbers 30/1 and 34/1, the granting of a further 2 years through more..

Mannar Basin - Oil and gas exploration to begin next year: Hashim

Mar 30 (DM) Oil and gas exploration in the Mannar basin will begin next year and the agreement will be signed with a prospective investor on a production sharing basis, Petroleum Resources Development Minister Kabir Hashim told parliament yesterday. He said bidding was invited to find a prospective investor and that 12 local and foreign companies have already submitted bidding papers. "We opened a round of bidding on Jan 6. It will continue till May 7 to find a prospective investor. more..

Matara District clinches overall best results of O/L exam

Mar 30 (Island) Overall best results of the GCE (O/L) examination 2018 was reported from the Matara District followed by Hambantota and Colombo Districts. 79.89% students qualified for GCE (A/L) from the Matara District while 79.24% students from the Hambantota District. 77.73% students qualified for the A/L from the Colombo District. Examination Commissioner B. Sanath Pujitha said that all-island overall percentage of qualify to A/L is 71.66. The other district percentages are more..

'Govt responsible for power cuts'

Mar 30 (DM) UPFA MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage said the power cut was an organised act and said the govt should take the responsibility for it. He told parliament that the govt did not have a national policy to meet the electricity demand of the country. "We will have to face serious power shortages in the coming days if this drought situation continues. But the govt has no plan to face this situation," the MP said. more..

Sajith to be honoured by Malwatte Chapter

Mar 30 (DN) The Malwatte Chapter of Siyam Sect will confer Minister Sajith Premadasa with a honorary title of the Sasana Deepana Abhimani Sri Lanka Janaranjana at the Malwattu Maha Viharaya tomorrow in recognition of his enormous service to the nation and the Buddha Sasana. Vinsath Wargika Karaka Sangha Sabha of the Malwatte Chapter headed by Mahanayake Most Ven. Thibbotuwawe Sri Sidhartha Sumangala Thera has unanimously decided to confer Minister Sajith Premadasa more..

Aussie aid of Rs. 58 mn for CKDU research

Mar 30 (DN) Australian Govt has provided Rs.58 million to implement the scientific research project on Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology (CKDU) in Sri Lanka. It was announced yesterday by the members of the Presidential Task Force on the Prevention of Kidney Diseases and the members from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization. A MoU on CKDU research was signed between Sri Lanka and Australia on May 25 in 2017 during Prez's official tour in Australia. more..

PM dismisses defeat of expenditure heads

Mar 30 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday denied that the defeat of several expenditure heads in Parliament on Thursday created any serious threat for the Govt and dismissed its repercussions by pointing out it was only a loss of Rs. 320. The expenditure heads for Ministry of Internal and Home Affairs and Provincial Councils and Local Govt and the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development more..

Human rights and the right to the truth

Mar 30 (DM) This week the UN marked the Int'l day for the right to the truth concerning gross human rights violations and for the dignity of victims. In a statement, the world body says, the right to the truth is often invoked in the context of gross violations of human rights and grave breaches of humanitarian law. The relatives of victims of summary executions, enforced disappearance, missing persons, abducted children and torture victims, require to know what happened to them. more..

Empowering the elderly in Sri Lanka

Mar 30 (DM) Sri Lanka boasts of one of the most advanced free health care systems in Asia. Whatever the drawbacks are, our govt health system is well standardised and attempts to integrate high tech medical advancements. Our life expectancy at birth is 77 years which is better than Russia (71), India (69), China (76) and even Malaysia (75). We also have one of the fastest growing elderly populations in the world because of better health standards. In the following paragraphs, more..

Cinematic triple gems among the films of Lester James Peries

Mar 30 (DM) Lester James Peries is regarded by many including this writer as SL’s greatest film director. The birth centenary of the master film maker born on April 5, 1919 will be commemorated this week. Lester as he was generally known passed away last year just 24 days after his 99th birthday. His first death anniversary falls on April 29 this year. It had been for long my hope and prayer that SL would be able to celebrate more..

Destructive local trawlers vacuuming the livelihoods of fisherfolk

Mar 30 (ST) After Sri Lanka began taking a tough line on destructive Indian bottom trawlers in SL waters, small-scale fishermen in the north are up in arms against local trawler owners. According to groups of fishermen, some 600 mechanised trawlers are operated by local fishermen from Gurunagar, Point Pedro, northern islands of Jaffna peninsula and Pallimunai, Pesalai of Mannar. These fishing folk accuse local trawler operators more..

Illegal sand mining thrives with political cover

Mar 30 (ST) The failure of the authorities to enforce the law on illegal sand mining operations due to pressure from Pradeshiya Sabha members has led to an increase in such rackets across the country. A group of fishermen from Bopitiya who had embarked on a two-day religious pilgrimage to the Madhu Church last week had found that sand at Sagarasirigama fishing port had been illegally mined during their absence. more..

Police crackdown on deafening musical horns

Mar 30 (ST) Police have begun an island-wide operation to remove loud musical horns, with 800 vehicles being pulled over just in the Colombo Fort-Pettah area on Thursday and Friday. Vehicle owners who agreed to remove the offending horns and hand them over to the police were given warnings and released. Those who resisted face court on charges of violating the Motor Traffic Law, DIG Traffic Ajith Rohana said. more..

Bottlenecks, booze, speed turn highway into death trap

Mar 30 (ST) At 1.45a.m. on Monday, a weary group of travellers refreshed themselves with a cup of tea at a café at Nagawilluwa, 125km from Colombo on the highway to Puttalam, and climbed back into their van on a dark roadside to continue their journey to Jaffna – but five of them had only minutes to live. A tip-truck carrying clinker from Colombo to the cement factory in Puttalam crashed into a lorry parked on the road and more..

Lacille slams House over absenteeism

Mar 30 (Island) One-time Director General of Administration, Parliament Lacille de Silva said that all political parties represented in Parliament should take responsibility for the pathetic situation in the House today. Those who always demanded more perks, privileges and rights owed an explanation why taxpayers funds were squandered on parliament when lawmakers didn’t bother at least to attend the budget debate, more..

US seeks to enhance SL Navy’s capabilities to ensure free & open indo-pacific

Mar 30 (FT) The US seeks to enhance military engagement with Sri Lanka, particularly with the country’s Navy as the island nation remains a significant strategic opportunity in the Indian Ocean, to ensure a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, a top US military official told Congress on Wednesday. At the House Armed Services Committee hearing on US National Security Challenges and US Military Activities more..

Govt to appoint more non-Cabinet and state ministers

Mar 30 (DM) The govt is expected to make changes to the Cabinet by appointing a few more non- Cabinet and state ministers. Currently, the Cabinet comprises 30 members including Prez and PM with many of them holding more than one portfolio. The govt has held discussions to reduce the number of portfolios held by some ministers and assign them to four SLFP MPs who have joined the govt. The MPs are Lakshman Seneviratne, more..

Construction of cold storage complex in Dambulla commences

Mar 30 (EN) Sri Lanka has begun constructing a 5,000 tonnes climate controlled warehouse at the country's main farmgate vegetable exchange in Dambulla in the central province with grant funding from India. “During the periods when there is an excess harvest, farmers had to throw the excess harvest for elephants to eat," Minister of Economic Reforms Harsha de Silva said at a ceremony to start the warehouse. more..

Video: Court allows to detain Kanjipani Imran for 3 months under PTA

Mar 30 (AD) Colombo Additional Magistrate today granted permission for the CCD to detain and question organized criminal gang leader Mohamed Najeem Imran alias Kanjipani Imran for a period of 3 months, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The orders was issued following a request made by the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD), which had produced Kanjipani Imran before Colombo Magistrate’s Court today. more..

Keeping the lights on in our democracy

Mar 31 (SO) The nation was stunned in December, the newly sworn in Minister of Power and Energy pledged that if the crippling power cuts that gripped the nation were not ended within six months, he would resign his ministry forthwith. This was a promise made not in Dec 2018, when the incumbent Minister Ravi Karunanayake assumed office. No. This episode dates back 17 years to Dec 2001, when the UNP formed a govt and named former Colombo Mayor and Party Chairman Karu more..

Fish rots from the head down

Mar 31 (CT) A distant connection of mine whose family belongs to the floating vote, on Friday asked me whether I had heard of Rip Van Winkle. The political insinuation of his question was: A person who feels that the present Govt will win the next national election, namely the Presidential Poll due before 9 Dec, would be like Rip Van Winkle, who, once he wakes up, would be the only person to be surprised at its defeat. Govt has been on the defensive, since its shocking and humiliating more..

Pre-dawn arrests thrust Bond Scam back into spotlight

Mar 31 (SO) In the clearest sign that the CID investigations into the Feb 2015 treasury bond scandal are fast reaching a conclusion, sleuths last Monday (25) arrested five additional suspects, including four board directors of Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL) and a retired senior Central Bank official. Last February, when PTL owner Arjun Aloysius and CEO Kasun Palisena were arrested by the CID, they were charged more..