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Vision 2020 losing sight of its objectives?

Feb 16 (Island) People’s Movement for Patients Rights (PMPR) warned that donors would not continue supporting the Vision 2020 project if it was withdrawn from the purview of the Health Ministry. PMPR Spokesman, M. Chandralal said the donors had received written information that the programme would be handed over to the College of Ophthalmologists of SL and carried out under the purview of the National Eye Hospital. more..

Free City Walk in Amsterdam

Feb 16 (Island) My friend suggested we join a Free City Walk and tour Amsterdam. I never thought it would be interesting but decided to join. However, our journey was interrupted by the arrival of the Belgium king to Amsterdam. I never knew that Belgium had a king and heard even the Dutch king too had come out to greet him. I thought kings were people from the past. Anyway after the kings and kingmakers left, Amsterdam and the streets were cleared and we met the Free City Walkers more..

Mapping Sri Lanka's connection to the controversial human zoo

Feb 16 (DM) What makes a person Sri Lankan? To understand it is important to consider the impact colonialism had on our cultural notions of Lankanness. Even though this question underpins many of the political debate post-independent Sri Lanka has been grappling with, Natalie Soysa highlights how the question impacts people on an individual level – specifically to a small group of Ceylonese who were shepherded to Europe as exhibits during the era of the human zoo. more..

Wijedasa Rajapaksa

When Radio Ceylon was King of airwaves!

Feb 16 (DN) Today, Monday Feb 13 is World Radio Day. United Nations General Assembly (UNESCO) invites all radio stations and supporting organisations to join in the celebrations which it says is a chance to pay tribute to the medium and to express our gratitude as to how it helps shape our lives! World Radio Day was first celebrated in 2012, following its declaration by the UNESCO General Conference. It was subsequently adopted as an International Day by the organisation. more..

Younger the heart stronger the flame

Feb 16 (NS) A recent video of a couple of teenagers making out in a Sri Lankan public school went viral for all the wrong reasons. Not to confuse romance with sexual behaviour, but making out is nothing new to Sri Lankan public mixed schools. The only novelty here is Facebook and Youtube. School romances are as old as Dhammi and Sugath of Golu Hadawatha or Kusum and Nimal of Gehenu Lamai. “Sexual behaviour during adolescence is nothing new”, said Peradeniya Uni, Medical Faculty, more..

CTSU to protest SAITM ruling-on the streets

Feb 16 (CT) General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers' Services Union Mahinda Jayasinghe during an interview with Ceylon Today said that although the Courts have passed judgment to accept SAITM, they will take the issue to the streets rallying all genuine supporters against it. He further added that the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was merely an opportunist, and not a genuine supporter of SAITM. more..

Corrupt governance leads to destruction

Feb 16 (CT) At the time that we received our independence, the founding fathers, who were engaged in politics, had been mostly respected, wealthy, educated people par excellence. Among them were politicians of the calibre of C.W.W. Kannangara, Ponnambalam Ramanathan, and Sir Razeek Fareed. It's hence unfortunate that after the 1970s the flood-gates were opened to everyone to run for political office. Was it because there was no min. standard of educational qualification more..

Unique place to witness masterpieces of days gone by

Feb 16 (DN) After nearly two and a half years of renovations, one of the most iconic places to visit in Colombo was the Colombo National Museum which was open to the public with a modern look into the past. Colombo National Museum with its modern face lift was also known as the largest museum in Sri Lanka, re-opened to the public on Feb 6, 2017. The Museum also celebrated its 140 years on Jan 1, 2017. This 140 year old museum is surrounded by a well maintained compound of around 7 acres. more..

Environmentalists up in arms over mini-hydro plants

Feb 16 (SO) With the increasing demand for electricity and exploring new avenues of power generation, sometimes we forget what the limit is or the lines that need not be crossed. Is electricity so important that we must get it at whatever cost? For many reasons mini-hydro plants were opted for, in order to circumvent the power crisis. But, the impact it has made socially, economically and most importantly environmentally is catastrophic. more..

Wigneswaran is not helping the Tamil cause

Feb 16 (CT) Indian Express on Feb 10, 2017 reported thus: ‘The Chief Minister of the Tamil-majority Northern Province of Sri Lanka, C.V. Wigneswaran, has admitted that some unfortunate incidents of the past had inflicted wounds on the Muslims which are yet to heal. He said this while addressing the Ezhuga Tamil (Arise Tamil) rally at Batticaloa in the Eastern Province on Friday’. The same report says that ‘Batticaloa town and district have a substantial Muslim population. more..

What do we own ?

Feb 16 (CT) Land provokes visceral reactions. It is said that the land you are born in creates an indelible identity in a person and of course land has been the basis of innumerable wars fought by humanity. Property or individual ownership land has diluted this sense of place as defined by land. But, while the commodification of land has become a feature of development, it seems difficult to erase those links of identity. It was the loss of our right to land through the infamous more..

SAITM issue can be solved favourably: Govt

Feb 15 (NR) Minister Rajitha Senarathne says a favourable environment has been created to solve issues surrounding the SAITM. He said a proposal has been forwarded by SAITM for the govt to acquire its teaching hospital. SAITM has accepted that they will close for 6 months. He said however they had also sent a proposal to PM for govt to acquire SAITM teaching hospital adding all 1,000 beds at the hospital will then be occupied. more..

SL’s mineral resources to be developed

Feb 15 (NR) Australia’s Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Arthur Sinodinos says Australia will provide its support to conduct a survey to identify and create a map of SL’s mineral resources. He made this statement during discussions with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Australian Parliamentary Complex. Office of PM said Australian govt agreed to provide necessary scientific knowledge in relation to the innovation process, following a request made by PM. more..

Sri Lanka need to strike balance between youth and experience: Muralitharan

Feb 15 (CB) Muttiah Muralitharan has urged SL authorities to strike a balance between youth and experience after the team's disastrous tour of South Africa that ended last week. Sri Lankans suffered a 0-3 defeat in the Test series before being whitewashed 0-5 in the ODIs. Muralitharan, who retired from international cricket after the 2011 World Cup as the highest wicket taker in the world in both forms of the game, called for patience dealing with some young talents. more..

Pakistan goes all out to sell JF-17 fighter jet to Sri Lanka

Feb 15 (ANI) Pakistan is leaving no stone unturned in its attempt to somehow palm off the technically inferior fighter aircraft JF-17 to a hapless SL Air Force. Efforts have been made by Islamabad for the last one year to convince the SL govt to purchase the aircraft that is jointly developed by Pakistan and China. Sri Lanka, aware of the technical shortcomings and design flaws in the aircraft had earlier decided not to consider more..

Lady at the bar picture goes viral

Feb 15 (DM) This lady who once held very high office in the country has also been a controversial figure. While travelling past Union Place the other day, she got the driver to stop the vehicle opposite a supermarket. She got down and walked into the supermarket with her security detail at her heels. Thereafter, she made a beeline to the foreign liquor bar. She was inspecting the rare brands of quality liquor when she suddenly noticed that a youth was carefully focusing the video camera more..

Lokusuriyage takes Sri Lanka past Pakistan

Feb 15 (ICC) What’s a match in Sri Lanka without the drums and the trumpets adding to the mood? The home team had atmosphere and a good group of supporters on its side, led by Shashikala Siriwardene, the former captain who is sitting out with an injury. The spirits were as peppy as the music and pom-poms outside the boundary ropes. That attitude and an inclination to play with freedom won it the day when up against Pakistani sensibility. Nahida Khan and Javeria Khan’s more..

Zeid’s office needs $ 648,000 for work in SL

Feb 15 (CG) The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein says it needs US$ 648,000 for its work in Sri Lanka this year. UN Human Rights Office today launched its most ambitious funding appeal yet, urging States and private donors to bolster the Office’s ability to work and stand up for human rights for all people, everywhere. “Our world has entered a period of profound uncertainty. more..

Sri Lankan XI warm up by thrashing PM's XI

Feb 15 (CI) Adam Voges, the captain of Prime Minister's XI, struck an unbeaten 54 off 31 balls in his final match against an international team, but Sri Lankan XI crashed his farewell by chasing down 170 with five wickets and 17 balls to spare. After being inserted in Canberra, the hosts lost opener D'Arcy Short in the first over to Lasith Malinga, who was playing his first competitive match since the Asia Cup in February 2016. Joe Burns and Hilton Cartwright did not last long too more..

Commander of the Navy attends closing ceremony of AMAN-17 in Pakistan

Feb 15 (SLN) Commander of the Navy, Ravindra Wijegunaratne attended the closing ceremony of the Naval Exercise AMAN -17 in Karachi, Pakistan yesterday. AMAN exercise which is held every alternate year, conducted for the successful fifth time this year. Commander of the Navy was also invited to attend this year’s exercise as one of the Chief Guests. International Fleet Review (IFR) held as part of the closing ceremony was graced by PM of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif as Chief Guest. more..

Scholars & intellectuals should come forward to serve the country & people: President

Feb 15 (FT) President Sirisena says scholars and intellectuals should come forward to provide a better service to the country and the people by recognizing the social issues. “The scholars and intellectuals should not be isolated in the society by limiting themselves in their own fields. Most problems of the society can be solved with the voices of the scholars and intellectuals. He was speaking at the ceremony to mark 75th anniv more..

'Brexit poses many challenges to Sri Lanka'

Feb 15 (FT) Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said that Brexit posed several challenges to Sri Lanka, slashing the benefits the country was poised to receive with the granting of GSP+ concessions by the European Union (EU) as close to 40% of exports were to the UK. “For a country heavily reliant on exports the post-Brexit scenario presents several challenges. Sri Lanka’s exports to the UK will lose the benefit of the GSP+ which we are anticipating to be restored later this year. more..

Ananda and Nalanda students clash

Feb 15 (DM) At least eight students were hospitalised after a clash between students of Ananda and Nalanda Colleges in Colombo yesterday. They said five students from Ananda College and three students from Nalanda College were among the injured due to the clash that occurred in Borella and Maradana Police areas. The injured were admitted to National Hospital. Five students were arrested by the Borella Police and ten students from the Maradana Police more..

'Protecting Sri Lanka rupee more important than interest rates'

Feb 15 (Reuters) Minister Ravi Karunanayake said on Tuesday that protecting a fragile rupee was more important than controlling interest rates as the local currency tended not to rebound after a depreciation. His comments came seven weeks after the central bank chief said defending the rupee with foreign exchange reserves doesn't seem sensible as it has always been followed by a sharp depreciation. more..

Sampath Bank posts highest-ever profit of Rs. 9.1 b for 2016

Feb 15 (FT) The year 2016 was yet another successful year for Sampath Bank, wherein the bank managed to achieve its highest-ever Profit After Tax (PAT) amounting to Rs. 9.1 b. This was an impressive YoY growth of 48.8% over Rs. 6.1 b PAT recorded for the previous year.  Profit Before Tax (PBT) too grew by 38.4% to reach Rs. 12.6 b as at the year end, as opposed to Rs. 9.1 b recorded for the comparative year. The main reason for higher PAT growth compared to the PBT growth more..

Commodity Tax on coconut oil reduced

Feb 15 (NR) Cabinet today approved the amendment of the Special Commodity Tax imposed on coconut oil in order to import 40,000 metric tonnes of coconut oil. The proposal in this regard was tabled by Minister Navin Dissanayake. Accordingly the Special Commodity Tax on a kilogram of coconut oil will be reduced by 20 rupees from 150 rupees to 120 rupees. A kilogram of Palm oil has been reduced by 130 rupees to 110 rupees, while other palm oil substances have been more..

'SL war widows face sexual exploitation'

Feb 15 (AFP) Tamil women who survived SL’s civil war now face widespread sexual exploitation by officials in their own community as well as from the army, the head of an ethnic reconciliation body said Wednesday. Former president Chandrika Kumaratunga, chairman of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, said women who were widowed during the 37-year conflict were among the victims of abuse by officials who frequently more..

Ranil worse than Mahinda says Choka Malli

Feb 15 (Island) A former Deputy Minister of the SLFP led UPFA lashed-out at PM Ranil Wickremesinghe saying he was engaging in the same unacceptable tactics enacted by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. "The PM is worse than the former President", MP Premalal Jayasekera said pointing-out that people’s expectations about Yahapalanaya had now been irreparably shattered. The former Deputy Minister, affectionately called Choka Malli by his friends more..

'Govt should probe alleged rights violations'

Feb 15 (DN) TNA Leader R. Sampanthan has pointed out that if SL was given more time to act on the Resolution on alleged war crimes and human rights violations, UN would have to subject SL’s progress to the highest scrutiny. He made this statement to the media when asked about Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s remarks that the country would make a submission to ask for more time to act on alleged war crimes and human rights violations at the upcoming UNHRC sessions in Geneva. more..

Pension scheme for lankan migrant workers gets cabinet nod

Feb 15 (Island) A pension scheme for Sri Lankan migrant workers would be implemented this year, Foreign Employment Minister Thalatha Athukorala said. She was participating in a mobile service program held in Polonnaruwa District recently. The approval of the cabinet had already been granted to the migrant workers pension system and it had been refered to the Legal Draftsman Department and to Treasury, Minister said. more..

Sri Lanka to appoint foreign agents to sell valuable stamps

Feb 15 (Xinhua) Cabinet on Wednesday agreed to appoint foreign agents to sell valuable stamps to foreign stamp collectors in order to earn more foreign exchange. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that in Sri Lanka, the sale of stamps and associated items for local and foreign stamp collectors was done by the Philatelic Bureau established in 1967. "Sale of stamps to foreign stamp collectors helps in earning foreign exchange and in promoting the tourism industry through natural and more..

Fitch raises outlook on BOC, NSB and People's Leasing

Feb 15 (EN) Fitch Ratings had raised the outlook on state-run Bank of Ceylon, National Savings Bank and Peoples Leasing Plc, a unit of a People's Bank to 'stable' from 'negative' after the sovereign rating outlook was hiked. Sri Lanka has a 'B+' international ratings. BOC and NSB has a 'B+' rating from Fitch and PLC one level lower at 'B'. The full statement is reproduced below: Fitch Revises Outlook to Stable on Three Sri Lankan Financial Institutions: Fitch Ratings has revised the Outlook on more..

Sri Lanka beers sales plunge 40%, arrack up after tax hike: brewery

Feb 15 (EN) Sri Lanka's beer sales volumes have plunged 40% and arrack sales have risen 14% after a steep hike in beer taxes, while toddy industry which pays little taxes are also making gains. Lion Beer, which produces Lion and Carlsberg brands said beer taxes were raised 70% and taxes on arrack, a hard alcohol was raised 25%, leading to a shift in demand. The firm said beer which has an alcohol content of around 5% more..

Move to set up foreign uni in Kalutara

Feb 15 (DM) In a move to set up another non-State degree-awarding institution, Minister Lakshman Kiriella yesterday submitted a Cabinet paper seeking to set up a branch campus of India’s Manipal University in the Kalutara district. The investment involved is said to be US$75 million and would offer degrees in Information Technology, Engineering and Management. However, President Maitripala Sirisena has sought more time to study the paper and make his observations. more..

Trade, not joy visits, crucial

Feb 15 (CT) In this era of trade, when the head of a country visits a large economy, he's generally accompanied by a large trade delegation in attempts to further trade and investments. But that doesn't appear to be so in respect of Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe's current visit to Australia. The delegates comprising this visit numbered a total of eight. Of those eight, one is the Premier's wife Maithiree and, among the balance seven are two ministers and one Deputy Minister more..

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