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H1N1 is doing the rounds: What you need to know

Mar 27 (Roar) The H1N1 influenza virus has reared its head again, with 400 patients reported from the North alone earlier this month. In January, two deaths were reported from Kandy. Moreover, authorities have been on alert since the number of patients tested positive for the H1N1 influenza virus in the Maldives rose to 176; the BIA quarantine division has stepped up surveillance for passengers from the Maldives. more..

Closing in on the givers of orders to silence through killing

Mar 27 (SO) It was heartening reading the headlines in a daily on Tuesday 21 March: CID informs Magistrate’s court: special military intelligence team killed Lasantha. We, the public of free Sri Lanka, are not blood thirsty seekers of revenge; nor do we ghoulishly take delight in the smell of blood. We are in reality full of the milk of human kindness sloshing around in our veins and we possess metta. But we like it when verminous rats we abhor are caught. And there were and are plenty of these sorts more..

A review of Razeen Sally’s Sri Lanka: Three scenarios for the future

Mar 27 (CT) A scenario analysis undoubtedly can be used effectively to visualize the future under different possible conditions and make recommendations for policy decisions. In that sense, it is a planning tool. One of the main exponents of this method, Peter Schwartz, called it The Art of the Long View (1991). However, the scientific or the objective aspects of such an exercise also should not be denied. The practice shows that this method is more effective in planning business or other organizations, more..


Burger King opens 14th outlet

Mar 27 (SO) Kiribathgoda has received its own Burger King restaurant, following the opening of the 14th such outlet in Sri Lanka at a prime location in this bustling suburb, by master franchisee Softlogic Restaurants (Pvt) Ltd., a fully-owned subsidiary of Softlogic Holdings. “Kiribathgoda is a bustling community full of activity, with an affluent and cosmopolitan populace. It is therefore the perfect new addition in Burger King’s expansion strategy for SL,” said a spokesperson for the company. more..

Ajit Doval’s unfolding debacle in Sri Lanka

Mar 27 (Island) Indian press carried anxious commentaries about the recent visit of Chinese Defence Minister General Chang Wanquan to SL. India Today observed that this visit took place amidst warnings issued by the Chinese media to the effect that Beijing will fight back if New Delhi tries to interfere in China’s relations with other South Asian countries. New Indian Express speculated that the purpose of Chinese Defence Minister’s visit could be to re-establish military ties with Colombo. more..

'Foreign Judges can hear cases'

Mar 27 (CT) Co-Founder of South Asian Centre for Legal Studies Niran Anketell who has litigated human rights, constitutional law, and civil cases in Sri Lankan Courts for over seven years speaks to Ceylon Today on the govt co sponsoring the UNHRC's resolution 30/1. Anketell who also pursued a LL.M in International Legal Studies at New York University and worked at the International Co-Prosecutor's Office at more..

Editorial: Vroom! Yahapalana in top gear

Mar 27 (Island) The yahapalana government has drawn heavy flak from its detractors, who say it is inefficient. But, this, we believe, is a claim reeking of prejudice and jealousy. What some frustrated politicians, suffering from political cold turkey, say about their rivals who are enjoying power and living off the fat of the land, are to be taken with a pinch of salt—cum grano salis! The incumbent administration has proved, beyond doubt, that it is as efficient as its predecessor in some respects. more..

Entrancing entrapment and a continuingly worrying CTA

Mar 27 (ST) Despite Govt of Sri Lanka’s proud boast to the contrary during requests to renew the EU GSP Plus trade facility and at numerous United Nations briefings, revisions made to the draft Counter-Terror Act (CTA) fail to address major Rule of Law concerns in substance. Dangerously vague and overbroad definitions of what constitutes terrorism and terrorism-related offences are left intact. Indisputably this remains a law drafted for the protection of a Govt in power, more..

Age-appropriate sex education, A must in schools

Mar 27 (SO) Statistics of the National STD/AIDS Control Program Show that the cumulative HIV cases of children, reported in the country by end 2016, is 80% of which 60% of children go to school without any issues. Total number infected in SL by the end of 2016 is 2,557. In 2016, 20 youth (15-24 years) were reported with HIV (2 females & 18 males), in the previous year 91/249 (36%) were due to male to male sex. more..

The Islamic Hijab & Veil

Mar 27 (CT) A Quiet Revolution (Yale University Press, 2011) is by Leila Ahmed, an Egyptian-American; Professor of Divinity at Harvard University. Unless otherwise made explicit, what follows is from this study. The work’s focus is mainly from the 20th century onwards, with much of the reference being related to Egypt (to a lesser degree to Saudi Arabia) and the USA. The hijab and veil are emblems of Islam though, of course, there are pious Muslim women who don’t wear the hijab. more..

Trump’s grace grants reprieve for Lanka

Mar 27 (ST) Exactly four days after Prabhakaran’s body was found floating among the mangroves by the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon on May 19, 2009, the then Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon arrived in Lanka to search amongst the Tiger debris of defeat, possible clues to determine whether triumphant Lanka had played the war game according to the Queensberry Rules. After Ban Ki-moon had met the then President Rajapaksa, a joint statement by SL Govt and UN was issued more..

Horana tyre factory: Tycoon agrees to pay more

Mar 26 (ST) Controversial businessman Nandana Lokuwithana has agreed to pay a higher lease premium for the Horana land earmarked for his tyre factory, export more of his output and develop site infrastructure at his cost. Mr. Lokuwithana consented to the new terms in negotiations with the BOI. He will now deposit Rs 210 million upfront as lease premium as opposed to the Rs 170 million earlier pledged. more..

India navy ship to survey Sri Lanka's southern seas

Mar 26 (EN) An Indian navy oceanographic vessel will survey seas off Sri Lanka's southern coast in a joint exercise with the island's navy and generate data to update navigational charts. "The survey will be useful in enhancing the level of navigational safety of all ships visiting Sri Lanka," India's High Commission in Colombo said. The survey is to update all the navigational charts covering the southern Sri Lankan waters more..

Airbus contracts end up in London court

Mar 26 (ST) An international company through which SriLankan Airlines extended leases on three A330-200 aircraft has filed action in London after the national carrier attempted to overturn the contracts saying they were not legally binding. This transpires against the backdrop of a major clash within SriLankan’s board of directors, with a faction saying CEO Suren Ratwatte signed the contracts without approval–a charge that more..

Batti airport to open next month

Mar 26 (SO) The Batticaloa airport will be opened as a civil airport by the end of next month, Civil Aviation Authority, Director General of Civil Aviation and CEO H.M.C. Nimalsiri said. He said the airport has been vested with the CAA and steps are being taken to segregate civil and military operations so that the airport could be operated as a fully civil airport. It will be opened by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva. more..

Indian marketing agency claims Rs. 2.5 b : Salu Sala refuses to pay debtor

Mar 26 (SO) A decision by Lanka Salu Sala not to meet its obligation of paying a bill of nearly Rs. 2.5 billion, owed to an Indian marketing agency, has entangled the Ministry of Industries and Commerce, in a tar ball that has now gone to higher echelons of the Govt to be unravelled. Indian Marketing Agency claimed to have supplied textiles worth Rs. 2.5 billion to meet work orders issued by Salu Sala since 2015. more..

Court blocks Cabinet decision on Malwana’s mystery mansion

Mar 26 (ST) Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, who successfully moved the Cabinet of Ministers to acquire a 17-acre Malwana property that was to go under an auctioneer’s hammer was in for a rude shock this week. Himself a lawyer, Rajapakshe had wanted the state to take over the land and a partly built house allegedly belonging to former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa. more..

Lasantha was stabbed thrice using a sharp instrument

Mar 26 (SL) It has now been revealed that the Founding Editor of The Sunday Leader Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge had been killed not by a bullet but by a sharp instrument. The latest JMO report has exposed that Wickrematunge had been stabbed thrice on the right side of his head with a sharp instrument before and after he fell on to the front passenger seat in his vehicle. CID meanwhile informed Mt. Lavinia Magistrate more..

Navy earns Rs 3 billion from Galle OBST Operations

Mar 26 (SLN) The Sri Lanka Navy, having taken over the duty of facilitating On-board Security Teams (OBST) 16 months ago, earned Rs 3 billion, only from the Galle operations centre, for the Sri Lankan Govt to-date. The duty undertaken was an extension of maritime security operations in which the Navy got actively involved in keeping our waters safe and secure for maritime commons and freedom of navigation. more..

New laws soon to replace old ones, says PM

Mar 26 (ST) The Govt will introduce a host of laws from this year to modernise the country’s legal system, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday. Speaking at the 43rd Annual Convocation of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and the induction of the BASL’s new President last evening, PM who was the Chief Guest said while Sri Lanka could be proud of having the oldest legal tradition in Asia, more..

Duminda’s father discusses his plight

Mar 26 (Island) Duminda Silva, the former MP sentenced to death over the Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra murder, remains in the prison hospital with on-and-off repercussions of the serious injuries he suffered in the Kolonnawa shootout which cost two lives and injured several more. Here his father, Lal Silva, discusses his son’s plight. Q: What is Duminda’s present condition? There are stories that his health is a matter of great concern. more..

Dignity and digital identities

Mar 26 (Island) My national identity card was issued in 1996, over 20 years ago. It’s the first and only one I’ve ever had. Photo is already of a person largely unrecognisable even to me. The information written on the card has faded. The lamination, unsurprisingly, is coming undone at the edges. And yet, this ageing slice of plastic remains a vital piece of documentation I have to carry around at all times. I also have a passport, more recently issued and the fifth I’ve had since 1997. more..

Foreign judges have not come, but gone!

Mar 26 (Island) It is not only the ides of March that is new in Sri Lanka. Remember the old example of syllogistic fallacy: "It is either raining or not raining now. But it is not raining now. Therefore, it is raining now"! We can now make a fallacy example out of the govt’s current predicament: "Either the govt agreed to foreign judges in 2015, or it did not agree. Now it is saying it did not agree. Therefore, the govt must indeed have agreed to foreign judges in 2015"! In any event, foreign judges more..

President, PM reach agreement on Cabinet reshuffle

Mar 26 (ST) One of the main tasks for President Sirisena, who returned yesterday from an official visit to the Russian Federation, will be to re-shuffle the Cabinet of Ministers. Ahead of his departure to Moscow, Sirisena had discussed the issue at length with PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on more than one occasion. The focus at these discussions has been on the portfolios allotted to ministers representing the UNP. more..

Parties barring BJP welcome Rajinikanth’s cancellation of Sri Lanka tour

Mar 26 (DC) Parties barring the BJP welcomed the cancellation of super star Rajinikanth’s Sri Lankan trip to participate in a function to inaugurate 150 houses constructed by a private firm Lyca for island Tamils. Three leaders mentioned in the statement of Rajinikanth-MDMK general secretary Vaiko, VCK leader Thol. Thirumavalavan and TVK leader T. Velmurugan- welcomed the cancellation, while state BJP state president Tamilisai Soundarrajan said actor should not have cancelled more..

Agreements with Asian giants to precede FTA with Bangladesh

Mar 26 (Island) Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are scheduled to commence talks on a free trade pact, no sooner on going negotiations  for comprehensive economic partnerships with India, China and Singapore are concluded. Agreement in this regard, was reached during a meeting between PM Ranil Wickremesinghe and Bangladesh High Commissioner to SL, Riaz Hamidullah in Colombo recently. Bangladeshi Counsellor Maleka Parveen said that HC Hamidullah had requested more..

Lankan Test player interviewed by ICC anti-corruption unit

Mar 26 (ST) At least one Sri Lanka national cricketer was interviewed by the ICC’s Anti-Corruption officials in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s defeat to Bangladesh in the second Test at the Sara Oval last Sunday. It all began with an overseas telephone call that the player in question received. However. it has been still termed as a fan-call from someone living in the US. When inquired from Lakshman de Silva who is ICC official handling anti-corruption matters more..

6 SL migrant workers gone missing in Saudi

Mar 26 (SL) Some six Sri Lankan migrant workers have gone missing in Saudi Arabia, according to complaints made by their relatives to the SL Bureau of Foreign Employment. An investigation had been launched to locate the missing persons. Among those gone missing are M.H. Rifnaz of Akkaraipattu, A.S.M. Sujahan of Ratnapura, P.G. Kamani of Giriulla, K.P.K. Chandrawathi of Athimale, N.F. Rita of Kalladi and Mohamed Riyaz of Galenbindunuwewa and more..

Wiggie wants role in reconciliation process

Mar 26 (SL) Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran yesterday called for his inclusion or that of a member of the Northern Provincial Council in the reconciliation process. Speaking at an event in Tellipalai, Wigneswaran said that the Tamils in the North have been agitating for their participation in the processes adopted for reconciliation. “Reconciliation demands the participation of those affected freely and dignifiedly. Our participation does not mean our officials. more..

Hambantota deal: Major changes in final draft

Mar 26 (ST) China Merchant Port Holdings Company Ltd (CMPort) which has clinched majority shares of the Hambantota Port joint venture company will sell a quarter of them within the first ten years to a SL party at a fair value determined by an independent valuer, final draft of the concession agreement between the company and SL Ports Authority states. At the start, CMPort will hold 80% of shares while SLPA will have 20%. more..

BIA runway overlay completed

Mar 26 (ST) Overlay work on the runway at the BIA was completed ahead of schedule last week but re-opening for all flights would take place as planned on April 6. The airport has been closed during the day (8.30 am to 4.30 pm) since January 6, and opens only at night. When the BIA resumes full operations on April 6, the runway will be able to accommodate A380s since the width of the runway has also been increased to 75 metres from an earlier 60 metres. more..

Govt to spend Rs 4.4 b on Divi Udana

Mar 26 (SO) The Treasury has allocated Rs. 4.4 billion to implement a major loan scheme called Divi Udana aimed at developing eight different economic sectors. Some of the key segments under Divi Udana include large and small scale agriculture industries, SMEs, poultry trade, solar power, low-income housing, school transport services and media sector, Director General of the Finance Department of the Finance Ministry Priyanka Atapattu told the Business Observer. more..

Offshore websites in Sri Lanka visa scam

Mar 26 (CT) Thousands of foreign visitors arriving in the country are being ripped-off by several off-shore based websites who are handling Lankan landing visas in exchange for staggering fees, while the authorities in Colombo remain helpless, it was revealed. An unknown number of websites or even more are currently in operation and are known to be handling thousands of Sri Lankan visit visas to unsuspecting foreign clients, more..

Sports Ministry plans to dissolve SLBA elections?

Mar 26 (ST) The Sports Ministry aims to dissolve the Annual General Meeting and elections of the Sri Lanka Badminton Association (SLBA) most probably during the coming week. The reason for this is that the AGM is not in keeping with the Sports Law. According to the Sports Law, the annual audit report should have the approval of the Auditor General. This approval has not been obtained as yet. The Sunday Times inquired from a top level senior Sports Ministry official who said more..

Noose tightens around ex-JMO in Lasantha murder probe

Mar 26 (SL) Investigations being conducted by the CID into the murder of Lasantha Wickremetunge has led to more evidence being gathered which could lead to the arrest of the former Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of the Colombo South Teaching Hospital Dr. Sunil Kumara. The latest autopsy report on Wickrematunge’s assassination had revealed that he died as a result of injuries sustained from a sharp object to the right side of the head and not gun-shot wounds. more..