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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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

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..

Why pangolin’s armour is now its greatest weakness

Feb 24 (ST) The world’s most trafficked animal is the pangolin or scaly ant-eater, and global demand is making this animal rarer in Sri Lankan forests, with cruel revelations of its slaughter. Police following a tip-off last week found a live pangolin inside a freezer of a Chinese restaurant in Kollupitiya. Pangolin flesh is considered a delicacy by the Chinese living in many East Asian countries so the pangolin in the freezer would have met more..

More than just Ayurveda: Alternative medicine in Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (Roar) Alternative medicine is a popular but often contested form of treatment. Despite the concerns surrounding it, these methods of treatment are gaining more and more popularity, with homeopathy being recognised as the second most widely practiced form of alternative medicine in the world. According to Dr. Mass Usuf, Naturopath and Senior Vice President of the National Association of Homoeopaths & Affiliates more..

Dual dilemma of Govt

Feb 24 (DM) LG Elections were held. Results baffled many a political activist; especially those who were backing the coalition Govt consisting of UNP and SLFP. The most surprising element of the whole enterprise was the miserable performance of the official SLFP, political party which had its birth, growth and full fruition during its turbulent journey in the socio-political seas in the country; political party that was founded by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike as an alternative to the then UNP; more..

From Eden to hell; Horrors facing children

Feb 24 (DM) The legendary leader Nelson Mandela has said there can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children. Statesman Frederick Douglass has emphasised it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken people, while evangelist Charles R. Swindoll has said each day of our lives, we make deposits in the memory banks of our children. They are so loving and lovable because of their innocence and devastating honesty. more..

Looters as Rulers: PM designs way forward

Feb 24 (FT) Seeking to regroup swiftly after the LG polls setback, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday reinforced his intention to prioritise and fast-track policy implementation with the appointment of a top ministerial committee, while pledging to remain within the framework provided by the people’s mandate. “People have given us a mandate, and we have to deliver. We cannot deviate from that at any point. more..

New Cabinet to swear-in tomorrow

Feb 24 (DM) Higher Education and Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella and Public Enterprise Development Minister Kabir Hashim may swap their portfolios in the Cabinet reshuffle likely to take place tomorrow. The UNP had has decided to re-arrange the portfolios assigned to it under the National Unity Govt, party sources said. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is said to have requested Mr Kiriella to accept the post of Public Enterprise Development in the reshuffle. more..

UN resident coordinator in Sri Lanka Una McCauley passes away

Feb 24 (UN) It is with deep sadness that the United Nations in Sri Lanka announces the sudden passing away of its Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in SL, Ms. Una McCauley. Ms. McCauley, 54, was on medical leave, undergoing treatment. As the first female UN Resident Coordinator in SL, Ms. McCauley was a bold, inspiring, and strong leader. As the most senior UN Official in the country, Ms. McCauley led the UN Country Team of 21 Resident and more..

Zeid calls on UNHRC to explore other avenues for accountability in Sri Lanka

Feb 24 (SL) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has called on the UNHRC to explore other avenues that could foster accountability in SL. In his report on SL to the 37th session of UNHRC, which meets in Geneva from 26 Feb to 23 March 2018, HC reiterates his appreciation for the constructive engagement of Govt of SL with the OHCHR and UN human rights mechanisms since Jan 2015. more..

Ariyasinha asked to attend UNHRC sessions

Feb 24 (Island) SL’s Permanent Representative in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha has been asked to continue to be there till the conclusion of UNHRC sessions scheduled to commence on Monday. The sessions will continue till March 31. Earlier, Aryasinha was instructed to return by the end of this month. Aryasinha will be replaced by career diplomat A.L.A. Azeez. Outgoing human rights chief Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein is scheduled to present a mid-term assessment on implementation of more..

Police advice to Udayanga

Feb 24 (Island) Police headquarters has issued a public appeal to Sri Lanka’s former ambassador in Ukraine Udayanga Weeratunga to face judicial-police inquiry without trying to clear himself through Facebook posts. Police spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekera, in a statement issued yesterday assured Weeratunga, now on the run, the police wouldn’t thwart his efforts to clear his name. But, as a Sri Lankan, Weeratunga should abide by local laws, Gunasekera said. more..

SAITM u’grads write to President: Pleased with enrolment to KDU

Feb 24 (CT) Student Action Committee of the Faculty of Medicine of the SAITM has written to President Sirisena requesting that all students, currently at the SAITM, be enrolled in the KDU sans discrimination. Presidential Media Unit on 21 Feb said that a decision was taken at a meeting held with President Sirisena, where it was decided to enroll about 1,000 students who were currently studying at the SAITM to more..

Alleged corruption at SriLankan, Mihin: Team of lawyers to assist Presidential Commission

Feb 24 (DN) A team of lawyers representing Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya PC, has been appointed to assist the PCoI to Investigate Allegations of Fraud and Corruption at SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka. “A six member team of lawyers including Additional Solicitor General Niel Unamboowe, has been appointed to assist the Commission’s activities following a request made by the Presidential Commission,” the Attorney General said. more..

High Court rejects first accused objections in RADA fraud case

Feb 24 (FT) Colombo High Court Judge Vikum rejected the objections raised by the Counsel for the accused appearing for former MP Tiran Alles in the Rs. 200 million RADA fraud case who had claimed that the 15 days’ period given to the defence to examine the computers was insufficient. Claiming that as the time given to examine the computers was insufficient, Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty appearing for the first accused said that it is contravening Section 7 of the evidence Ordinance more..

Govt succumbs to pressure from UK: Prez fails to prevent recall of military attache

Feb 24 (Island) The govt has, under heavy pressure from the UK, carried out its decision to recall SL’s military attache in London, Brig. Prinyankara Fernando, despite a presidential intervention. When the government announced its decision to recall the brigadier, following an incident where he allegedly made a throat slitting gesture in front of a group of British LTTE supporters of Sri Lankan origin, in London, on Feb. 04, more..

GI pipes case against Basil fixed for trial

Feb 24 (DN) A case filed against former Minister Basil Rajapaksa and former Director General of Divi Neguma Department Kithsiri Ranawaka for allegedly misappropriating Rs.36.5 million of funds belonging to the Divi Neguma Department, was yesterday fixed for trial by the Colombo High Court. Accordingly, the case was fixed for trial on June 4 by Colombo High Court Judge A.A.R. Heiyanthuduwa. The Court was informed that the prosecution has already handed over several documents pertaining to more..

ISAC: 1500 athletes participating

Feb 24 (CT) Over 1500 athletes are taking part at the 18th International Schools Athletics Championships 2018 and a total of 23 Int'l Schools are participating in the event featuring 106 events for girls and boys. The ISAC event got off to a start at the Diyagama Sports Stadium yesterday with Kenari Gamage of Lyceum Int'l School Wattala winning a Gold medal in a time of 15.71 sec in the U-14 Girl's 80M Hurdles with Matheeshi Wettasinghe of Lyceum Panadura in second place more..

Elected NOC’s new president: Subramaniam to the post by six votes

Feb 24 (DN) The former president of the SL Tennis Association Suresh Subramaniam was elected president of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) at the annual general meeting held after nine years at Olympic House yesterday. Subramaniam beat President of the Rowing Association of SL Rohan Fernando by a majority of six votes. Subramaniam received 18 votes while Fernando had to settle for 12 votes. more..

Reparations essential to achieve reconciliation: Tittawella

Feb 24 (DM) Reparations are essential in leading to a process of reconciliation and it should be done in parallel to a process on truth, justice, and non-recurrence, Secretary of the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM), Mano Tittawella said. He said this in view of the two-day int'l conference organised by the SCRM, International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Migration Agency on reparations for conflict victims. more..

‘Indo-Lanka FTA win win situation for both sides’

Feb 24 (DN) Acting Indian High Commissioner to SL Arindam Bagchi said the Indian govt has been focusing on reducing existing trade barriers and improving market access through FTAs between India and Sri Lanka. Bagchi expressed hope that trade negotiators, to this end will come up with win-win solutions for both sides. “It’s a give and take process, I’m well aware that our negotiators will come up with win-win solutions for both parties.” The acting High Commissioner was speaking at more..

Bandula Gunawardana goes to court against Active Liability Management Bill

Feb 24 (DM) Former Deputy Finance Minister Bandula Gunawardane filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking its Special Determination on the Bill titled Active Liability Management presented to Parliament and placed on the Order Paper on 19.02.2018. He laments that the said Bill is drafted in a manner to abrogate the powers of the CB and shift such powers (directly and/or indirectly) to the Minister and alleges this amounts to more..

No more involvement with NOC: Hemasiri F.

Feb 24 (Island) Versatility is not the word! Secretary to PM (Sirimavo Bandaranaike) to chairing SL Telecom and the National Airport & Aviation, from the northeast war front, where he was a military officer, to the head of postal dept, and from being a leading marksman in Asia to his lifelong passion for railway, Hemasiri Fernando is more than a multifaceted personality. Yet his forte is holding Presidency of the National Olympic Committee (NOC); that too for two long decades, more..

Nestlé achieves Rs. 37.6 bn sales in 2017

Feb 24 (Island) Nestlé achieved revenue of Rs. 37.6 billion (up 3.1% over 2016) and a net profit of Rs. 3.6 billion for the full year ending 31 Dec 2017. Revenue for the fourth quarter was Rs. 10 billion (up 15.6% over Q4 2016) with a net profit of Rs. 1.2 billion. The severe drought and floods, resulting in weak consumer confidence and decline in consumer demand, adversely impacted results. Growth rates were further eroded by an increase in VAT, which coupled with unprecedented increase in more..

SriLankan staff backs restructuring

Feb 24 (FT) Calling for an immediate end to the politicisation of the national carrier, the trade union collective of SriLankan Airlines yesterday urged the Govt to carry out an immediate, transparent restructuring of the troubled enterprise. Addressing a media briefing at the HQ of Airline Pilots Guild of SL, trade union collective stressed on the need to carry out the proposed restructuring program with a commercial view. more..

Paper on fertilizer subsidy to next Cabinet

Feb 24 (FT) The Agriculture Ministry is set to present a paper at the next Cabinet meeting proposing an increase in fertilizer subsidy to match the market price. Following discussions between the Agriculture and Finance Ministries, the fertilizer subsidy given to farmers will be increased by at least Rs. 500 per 50kg bag. At present the Govt provides only Rs. 2,500 per fertilizer bag with a total subsidy of Rs. 25,000, when market price has increased to over Rs. 3,000 per bag. more..

Commercial Bank ends 2017 on strong footing

Feb 24 (FT) Commercial Bank of Ceylon has posted profit before VAT and NBT of Rs. 28.064 billion for the year ending 31 Dec 2017, reflecting growth of 18.14%, a performance the Bank attributes to substantial core business growth through adherence to the fundamentals of pure banking. Gross income increased by 24.10% to Rs. 115.594 billion, bolstered by interest income of Rs. 103.034 billion, up Rs. 22.296 billion or 27.62% primarily due to a significant growth in the Bank’s loan book more..

Labrooy feels Hathurusinghe mantra is working

Feb 24 (ST) Sri Lanka’s chief cricket selector Graeme Labrooy is of the opinion that cricket is mainly a game of self confidence and through the approach of new cricket Coach Chandika Hathurusinghe, who has taken the reigns for four years, Sri Lanka’s national cricket is well on its way to recovery. Speaking on Sri Lanka’s next phase and if the side is moving towards taking up the challenge for the 2019 World Cup, more..

Nawalapitiya Interlude

Feb 24 (Island) Our family left Kandy, our childhood haunts, and moved to Nawalapitiya when our father, D. T. Devendra was appointed Principal of Anuruddha College. It was a wrench leaving the wonderful town, and the friends and neighbours so much a part of our lives. It was heartbreaking for me to leave Dharmaraja, the school where I grew up, and my boon companions since Baby Class. Kandy in 1942 was on a war footing. Blackouts and air-raid drills were part of our lives. more..

Review: Public writing on Sri Lanka, Vol. 111

Feb 24 (Island) I AM SURE many of us would share the same sense of guilt on reflecting that as children we enjoyed Red Indian films in which the Native American was made out to be a savage, bent on rape, mayhem, and the collection of scalps. We were blind to the fact the Native Americans were fighting for their lands and survival. Ironically, at the end of such films, with the Native American wiped out, we came away elated that right had triumphed. I was compelled to revisit such misguided more..

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