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Outsourcing of land mapping: Surveyors on strike in protest

Mar 14 (CT) The entire State surveyors sector has decided to initiate a three-day strike, with effect from today, till 16 March, to express their opposition to the decision taken by the Govt to hand over the mapping of the country's lands for a four-year period to the Trimble Inc. in the United States. As a result of the token strike around 750 surveyors countrywide will be opting out of work during this period. more..

Govt to set up new institution to monitor social media: Harin

Mar 14 (DM) The govt is discussing setting up an institution to monitor social media usage, Minister Harin Fernando said. He said this measure would be aimed at preventing posts which provoke hate against any community or religion. “The govt will not block social media such as Facebook but there will be strict monitoring, which will be aimed at preventing postings which provoke hate among communities and religions. more..

Did Sri Lanka's Facebook ban help quell anti-Muslim violence?

Mar 14 (AJ) Rioters were already on the streets when authorities in Sri Lanka blocked access to the internet. The mob – angered by the death of a Sinhala Buddhist man who was beaten by a group of Muslim men – swept through neighbourhoods in the South Asian nation's central Kandy district for a third day on March 7, setting fire to and vandalising mosques and scores of Muslim homes and businesses. more..

PM in closed-door meetings with Maha Nayake Theras

Mar 14 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is reported to have held closed-door meetings with Maha Nayaka Theras of the Asgiriya and Malwathu Chapters in Kandy last morning. Sources close to Asgiriya Maha Nayake, the most Ven. Warakagoda Gnanaratana Thera and Malwathu Maha Nayake, the most Ven. Tibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera said PM had brief meetings with the two prelates before returning to Colombo. more..

Buildings can be rebuilt, but not broken hearts

Mar 14 (ST) Helpless and hopeless. These are the words used by members of the Muslim community to describe their feelings in the aftermath of this week’s wave of communal violence that swept across several areas in the Kandy District. The swiftness and the ease with which the attacks were carried out have left them in shock and disbelief. The damage caused to Muslim business establishments & houses has been extensive more..

President visits modern waste management centre in Tokyo

Mar 14 (PMD) President Maithripala Sirisena, who is on a state visit to Japan, made an observation tour of modern waste management centre in Shinagawa in Tokyo, today. The city of Tokyo over 9.3 million people produces 11,000 metric tonnes of waste daily and there are 23 centres for the purpose of waste management. The waste management centre located in Shinagawa, processes 600 metric tonnes of waste daily. more..

Govt officials not taking it seriously: BC

Mar 14 (DM) The Bribery Commission has felt the urgent need to amend the Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Act as many govt officials and their departments do not take it very seriously to facilitate such mandatory personal data annually. A top official of the CIABOC said except for a very few state departments like the three armed forces and the police, the rest do not maintain their registers of personal assets of its staff members. more..

‘Peace & unity should be in everyone’s heart’

Mar 14 (DM) Dharmasiri Bandaranayake, maverick of Sinhala cinema and theatre, has attempted to portray the reality of the state in every production. From Hansa Vilak to Bawa Duka, Bawa Karma and stage plays such as Eka Adipathi, Dhawala Beeshana and Makarakshaya have addressed issues from the 1980s riots to the dogma of Buddhism in Sri Lanka to other issues of national and political importance. more..

'Recent violence manipulated to destabilize country'

Mar 14 (DM) Eminent Buddhist monk Ven. Elle Gunawansa Thera, speaks about the current status of the country in the aftermath of violence in Kandy. The prelate said all the communities should be united to build the country. Q: How do you view violence that erupted in the Kandy district? A: I look at it from a different perspective. Sri Lanka is under a huge, cultural, social and economic invasion from international elements. more..

Love not hate: Acts of kindness and solidarity during the Kandy riots

Mar 14 (Roar) Recent spate of violence against Muslims in Kandy-Digana areas catapulted SL into a state of emergency. Country it seemed, was enveloped in fear and hate—which is when people from the Sinhala community not just condemned the violence, but also went out and actively protected their brethren. We think it is important to highlight acts of solidarity during these trying times, just as much as it is to report more..

Sarath Fonseka dreaded by Rajapaksas and feared by everyone

Mar 14 (DM) There was so much of hope, at least amongst the ordinary folks, that Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka would be appointed Minister of Law and Order. The logic behind such hope is quite legitimate and sound. Sarath Fonseka, when he was the Commander of SL Army, delivered the goods. Fighting against one of the most dreaded terrorist armies in the world-the LTTE-and its charismatic leader Prabhakaran, Sarath Fonseka not only exhibited raw gallantry and bravery, more..

Threat to food security in Sri Lanka

Mar 14 (DM) When the father of our nation D.S. Senanayake went ahead with his ambitious plans for farmers as Minister of Agriculture in the State Council of Ceylon, he was met with resistance by cynics. The naysayers attempted to discourage D.S. from promoting paddy cultivation insisting it was far cheaper to import rice than to invest on paddy here. However DS being the far wiser statesman and forward thinker went ahead with his plans renovating neglected irrigation systems and creating more..

Mahason Balakaya office raided

Mar 14 (DM) TID had recovered several office equipments and propaganda materials, which were used in propagating hate speech, from a office at Naththaranpotha in Kundasale last morning following the information received during the interrogation of the head of Mahason Balakaya. SP Ruwan Gunasekara said, based on a statement made by the prime suspect Amith Weerasinghe (26), resident of Digana, more..

Measures to lift Social media ban: President

Mar 14 (DN) Measures will be taken to lift the temporary ban imposed on several social media including Viber and WhatsApp soon, President Sirisena said. Several social media were banned a few days ago following the recent incidents reported from Kandy. However, it is reported that a few days will be required for the ban to be lifted,” President said. President addressing the SL community in Japan, said that people should not misuse social media, especially Facebook. more..

Business confidence intact in February

Mar 14 (FT) LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) increased by a single basis point to 128 in February, latest edition of business magazine LMD reports. Nielsen’s Managing Director Sharang Pant notes that “businesses are probably wary of the impact on the economy stemming from the results of the LG elections”. He also points out: “Business leaders continue to highlight that consumption especially in urban Sri Lanka is still subdued on account of high inflation.” more..

What action against forgotten Mahendran?

Mar 14 (DM) The SLPP said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe should reveal the course of action which would be taken against Arjuna Mahendran who was ordered to report to the CID on March 8 but failed to do so. SLPP Chairman G.L. Peiris said former Central Bank governor Arjuna Mahendran had failed to report to the CID on two occasions though he was ordered by the Courts do so over the bond scam investigation. more..

Seeduwa Crimes OIC arrested

Mar 14 (Island) Seeduwa Crimes OIC had been arrested yesterday allegedly in the act of accepting a bribe of Rs 25,000 and a bottle of wine, from a Katunayake businessman the police station, SSP Priyantha Chandrasiri, Director of Bribery Commission’s Investigation Division said. Bribery sleuths arrested him at the Police station while he was allegedly obtaining the bribe. OIC is said to have taken the bribe to lead an investigation in favour of the businessman, more..

Sagala wants social media unblocked

Mar 14 (DM) Minister Sagala Ratnayake in a tweet said that the recent ban on social media creates a negative impact on many industries including the IT, E-commerce and tourism sectors. “Social media ban makes a negative impact on many industries. Apart from general frustration it creates, such blanket bans will take a heavy toll on the economy and hamper IT, E-comm & tourism sectors. What the govt must promote is a responsible use of social media with checks and balances,” he said. more..

Video: Regulations needed to stop misuse of cloud apps: JHU

Mar 14 (DM) Govt should introduce new regulations to regulate cloud applications like Facebook or WhatsApp to prevent their improper use, JHU General Secretary and Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He said the restrictions imposed on social media could be removed now as the tense situation was under control and the Govt had taken measures to restrict access to social media to prevent the propagation of hate speech more..

Sri Lanka says unhappy with Facebook's hate-speech response

Mar 14 (EN) Sri Lanka banned Facebook after the social media website failed to respond favourably to repeated govt complaints against the spread of anti-Muslim hate speech, telecom minister Harin Fernando said. He said Facebook was slow to take down offensive content despite repeated complaints from the Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Response Team (SLCERT) which was under his ministry. "We were not very happy about the response rate. The lack of quick action was the problem," more..

Uni Executives quit additional duties to support non-academic staff strike

Mar 14 (Island) Members of the University Executive Officers’ Association have decided to withdraw from extra duties in solidarity with striking non academic staff. Secretary of the Association, Registrar of Uva Wellassa University M. Careem said they had written to Minister of Higher Education, Kabir Hashim and the Chairman of UGC requesting them to address the grievances of non academic staff members. Non academic staff unions claim that although they have been striking for 2 weeks more..

Livelihood development for Jaffna District under reconciliation initiatives

Mar 14 (FT) The Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, under the direction of President Sirisena as the Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation, has initiated livelihood development programs to support conflict-affected communities which cover internally displaced persons, refugee returnees, women-headed households, rehabilitated ex-combatants, families of missing persons and low income families. more..

Sri Lanka’s first artificial football ground opened in Beddegana

Mar 14 (DN) Sri Lanka's first ever artificial football ground was declared open by Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara at the Beddegana National Football Centre recently. The Rs. 75 million facility has been funded by the world football governing body FIFA and has facility to play matches under any weather condition. To mark the opening of the new facility, a friendly soccer match between Sports Ministry team led by Minister Jayasekara and Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) team was played. more..

Proposed VAT on condominium sale, detrimental: Chamber

Mar 14 (DN) The proposed 15% VAT on the sale of condominium housing units with effect from April 2018 will have a severe negative impact on the industry, said Secretary General and CEO, Chamber of Constriction Industry, Nissanka Wijeratne. He said the current construction cost in Sri Lanka is the highest in the region. “If you take the cost per square foot, it’s more than that of Dubai or even Singapore,” he said. Wijeratne said that with the increase of VAT being added to the cost, more..

Japan- Sri Lanka Investment Forum under President’s patronage

Mar 14 (PMD) An Investment Forum was held at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, today (13) under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena to take Sri Lanka- Japan partnership to new heights as well as to bring more Japanese investments. Investors and entrepreneurs from both countries attended this Investment Forum and attention was drawn regarding further strengthening the economic ties between the two countries. more..

Tennis: Sri Lanka continues momentum in both tourneys

Mar 14 (DN) Sri Lanka continued their winning streak in the Junior Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Pre-qualifiers when they beat Tajikistan with a comfortable clean sweep win (3-0) in their Group ‘D’ tie at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts yesterday. Meanwhile the Lankan lasses followed their fellow Junior Davis Cup lads in the Junior Fed Cup Asia/Oceania pre-qualifiying Group ‘A’ opener at the same venue, thrashing Maldives in a whitewash victory (3-0). more..

Fitch local boss calls for financial services sector consolidation

Mar 14 (DM) Fitch Ratings Lanka CEO and Country Head Maninda Wickramasinghe last week said Sri Lanka has too many banks, insurance and finance companies, much more than the country needs and the proliferation of such companies has left scant scope for efficient use of the limited capital in the country. “Does Sri Lanka need 25 insurance companies, 58 finance companies and so many banks? I mean, do we really need them?” he asked a gathering of professional management more..

National schools obtain Rs. 13 mn from students

Mar 14 (Island) In 2016, 52 national schools had extracted Rs. 13 million from their students for various maintenance and school events after an Education Ministry circular legitimised such practices, teacher unions alleged. Secretary of the CTU Joseph Stalin said the 2016 AG’s report on the Ministry of Education revealed that the 52 national schools had recruited 307 non academic staff members and paid their salaries using more..

‘Ceramics blooms to 50 b rupee industry’

Mar 14 (Island) The local ceramics industry has grown to a 50 billion rupee concern and it would not be long before, given current progress which was an on – going phenomenon, the industry would soon grow to 100 billion rupees. The private sector was involved in the industry and had enabled it to progress to its current stature. Additionally, it sustains the employment of about 22,000 workers, said Minister Sarath Amunugama, at a ceramics and glass symposium last week. more..

Slow over rates is unpardonable

Mar 14 (DN) When you are appointed the captain of your country along with it come responsibilities, and one of them is to ensure the team plays the game in the right spirit and discipline is maintained at all times. If a captain gets copped for slow over rate and thereby gets suspended for one match or a number of matches he is being unfair by the team he leads and the country he represents. It is the duty as the captain to ensure his bowlers bowl the number of overs within the stipulated time limit more..

‘It was not a Sinhala-Muslim clash, it was a mob attack on Muslims’

Mar 14 (Hindu) Minister Rauff Hakeem and the leader of the SLMC, a prominent Muslim political party. A lawyer and a senior MP, he represents Kandy district, which recently witnessed violent attacks by Sinhalese mobs that claimed at least two lives and destroyed many mosques, Muslim-owned shops and homes. The episode has left the island’s Muslim minority, who make up about 10% of the population, in shock. more..

Pathfinder Foundation participates in Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue 2018

Mar 14 (FT) Indian Maritime Foundation conducted the 2018 edition of the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue recently in New Delhi, India. Admiral Dr. Jayanath Colombage, Director of the Pathfinder Foundation’s Centre for Indo-Lanka Initiatives and Center for the Law of the Sea, attended the conference and emphasised the importance of collaboration and cooperation in securing the Indian Ocean, because no single country could fully meet the challenges on its own. more..

Rambukwella back playing cricket after arrest

Mar 14 (CI) Ramith Rambukwella is back playing domestic cricket after being released on bail on Saturday, with SLC yet to make a decision on what disciplinary measures - if any - will be imposed. Arrested on Friday night for assault and drunk driving, Rambukwella has since had the assault charges dropped, having come to a settlement with the complainants. The drunk driving charge remains however; he is due in court on Tuesday. Although initially an SLC official told more..

No automatic entry to Olympic related sports in future

Mar 14 (ST) In future, there would be no automatic entry to Olympic related events. The NOCSL has been notified that affiliated sports bodies need to prove their participation criteria within the next two weeks for the forthcoming Asian Games. National Olympic Committee Secretary General Sri Lanka Maxwell de Silva said, “Hereafter there would be no automatic inclusion to any of the Olympic related events from Sri Lanka. more..

Stability achieved in yahapalana style

Mar 14 (Island) The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration, struggling for its survival in the wake of a humiliating drubbing the three-year-old coalition had suffered at the Feb. 10 LG polls, received a much needed respite, thanks to the massive ethnic violence, in the Kandy district. President Maithripala Sirisena has promised to establish a presidential commission to inquire into the circumstances leading to the violence that couldn’t be contained until the Army moved in. more..

Editorial: An unholy mess

Mar 14 (Island) One month has elapsed since the conclusion of the Feb. 10 mini polls, but the much-awaited gazette, announcing the names of members elected to local govt institutions, hasn’t yet been published. Various excuses are being trotted out for the delay. True, there were some issues such as the allocation of seats for women but they could have been sorted out within a few days if the govt and the election authorities had really cared to do so. Mind you, it took the yahapalana leaders only more..