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'Quick fixes to avoid Sri Lanka blackouts outlined by March 22'

Mar 16 (EN) A probe committee on country-wide blackouts experienced in Sri Lanka will present a report on short term solutions on March 22, Power Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said as the country was in the grip of 7 hour power cuts. "We will present a report on short term solutions to the problem to President and PM on March 22, after receiving reports from other committees on March 21," the minister said in a statement. more..

SB warns SLFP MPs they will lose their seats by defying party

Mar 16 (Island) SLFP Treasurer and Minister S. B. Dissanayake warned party MPs against attending tomorrow’s Joint Opposition’s rally at Hyde Park as it could cause them to lose their parliamentary seats. He told a media briefing that if the UPFA MPs went against the party directives, the party leadership would have to take disciplinary action against them and if they were sacked from the party they would lose their seats. more..

Govt tries to sow organic seed in farmers’ minds

Mar 16 (ST) Govt is promoting the use of organic fertilizer by increasing organically cultivated land from 15,000 to 500,000 hectares within three years, Project Director of the National Food Programme at the Presidential Secretariat, said. Project Director Wijeratna Sakalasuriya said the first step to promote use of organic fertilizer was taken last week with the three-day exhibition and sale of toxin-free food to build a Toxin-Free Nation. more..

Sri Lanka share trading halted after emergency power failure

Mar 16 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's share trading was halted briefly on Wednesday due to a power failure in the island nation's main business building, World Trade Center (WTC) that houses the bourse. Sri Lanka is facing intermittent power cuts across the country after a nationwide power failure on Sunday crippled the country's Chinese-built 900 MW coal power plant that supplies more than 40% of the country's peak power demand. more..

Chandrika lauds eradication of terrorism, but condemns failure to promote reconciliation

Mar 16 (Island) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga said that the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) was working closely with a section of the Tamil Diaspora for the betterment of those who had been affected by war. Kumaratunga heads the ONUR tasked with promoting post-war national reconciliation among communities. Former President said the Diaspora could throw their weight more..

Govt notes inaccuracies in Special Rapporteur’s report

Mar 16 (CG) The Govt has noted several inaccuracies in the report by Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, which was submitted to the UNHRC. A statement by the Govt to the Council says some references in the report are inaccurate and completely misrepresentative of reality in respect of society and societal formation or structures in Sri Lanka. Govt notes that references to caste in paragraph more..

'UNHRC work on SL has helped rights issue'

Mar 16 (CG) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the work of the UNHRC on countries like Sri Lanka has helped address the human rights issues in those countries. Ban Ki-moon said this as the as the UN’s main human rights body marked the 10th anniversary of its creation. “Ten years on, I commend the Council on making important progress towards putting the human rights pillar back at the centre of the United Nations system,” more..

Power struggle

Mar 16 (CT) Govt has decided to deploy the Army to provide security to all power stations in the country following three major countrywide power failures in the past six months. With the latest power failure which occurred last Sunday, Chairman of CEB, Anura Wijepala, while denying any sabotage with regard to the countrywide three power failures, including the latest break down on Sunday, opted to submit his resignation which was not accepted by Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya. more..

Depoliticize election process & ensure democratic transparency

Mar 16 (CT) According to the amended Local Govt Elections Ordinance, which was passed unanimously in Parliament along with the Local Authorities (Special Provisions) Bill recently, a National Delimitation Committee consisting of five persons has been appointed by the Minister of Local Govt, to delimit the electoral wards involved. The Minister derives that power from Section 3A. (1) of the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) 1 Act, No. 22 of 2012 which reads, more..

Asoka Abeygunawardana

Sri Lanka shares end at over 1-week high

Mar 16 (Reuters) Shares gained on Wednesday to end at their highest in more than a week as investors bought beaten-down stocks, but concerns over a higher budget deficit and economic growth dampened investor sentiment. Sri Lanka's share trading was halted for 17 minutes in early trade due to a power failure. Benchmark share index ended 0.85% up at 6,021.37, its highest close since March 4. Investors preferred fixed interest rate bearing assets over shares due to a rise in yields on more..

Nishantha Ranatunga granted bail

Mar 16 (AD) Former CEO of CSN channel Nishantha Ranatunga has been granted bail by the Kaduwela Magistrate Court a short while ago, his lawyer said. He was ordered released on a cash bail of Rs 100,000 and two perosnal bails of Rs 1 million each. Ranatunga, Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Rohan Weliwita and two others were arrested and remanded on money laundering charges. While the others were granted bail by the Colombo High Court on Monday following bail applications filed more..

Video: TNA, JVP bowling full toss for Ranil to hit: Mahinda

Mar 16 (AD) Former President Rajapaksa says that real members of the SLFP who oppose the UNP govt will take part in the Joint Opposition rally to be held in Colombo tomorrow and that no one can stop them. “Those who oppose this UNP govt are real SLFP members, they will definitely attend (public rally) nobody can stop that,” he said. He said that TNA and JVP are not the real opposition in the country as they were more..

Video: Four charred bodies found inside a house in Dehiwela

Mar 16 (DM) Four charred bodies of a family have been found inside a house in Kawdana, Dehiwela this morning. Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said the bodies were recovered from the ground floor of the three-storey building. The bodies of a 65-year-old man, his 52-year-old wife, their 13-year-old daughter and a relative’s daughter were discovered by the Police after following an alert by the neighbours. Police suspects an electrical short might have caused the fire. more..

Petition against jumbo Cabinet to be supported on May 30

Mar 16 (Island) A petition filed in the Supreme Court by attorney-at-law Unawatunage Aruna Laksiri, against the appointment of a Cabinet of Ministers, comprising more than 30 members will be supported in court on May 30, 2015. The petition has said that President Maithripala Sirisena appointed a Cabinet of Ministers comprising a large number of members without duly forming a National govt. Only a National govt can have more than 30 members in the Cabinet of Ministers. more..

Settled Afghanistan look to upset troubled Sri Lanka

Mar 16 (CI) Currently, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka find themselves on either side of a seesaw; one looks skyward, while the other has won only three of their last 16 completed international games. Yet, such has been Sri Lanka's prowess in global events that the contest is still tipped in their favour. Afghanistan came through the first round of the World T20 unscathed, overpowering their closest competitors Zimbabwe with an ease that more..

SL Treasuries auction fails 2 weeks in a row

Mar 16 (EN) Sri Lanka rejected all bids at a Treasuries auction Wednesday, where an estimated 27 billion rupees of bills were maturing, making it the second week running that auctions failed. All bids at the auction was also rejected last week where about 26 billion rupees of bills were maturing. Excess liquidity in money markets went up to 21 billion rupees last Friday turning around from a 10 billion rupee cash short after money printed to repay bills hit the market. more..

Gamesa wins solar order from Sri Lanka

Mar 16 (Hindu) Wind turbine manufacturer, Gamesa, has won an order for putting up a 20 MW solar project in Sri Lanka, the company’s first solar job in the island nation. The plant is to be put up in Barunthankanda village in the Hambantota Province. Under this contract, Gamesa will provide complete turnkey EPC solutions that include engineering & design, supply of Gamesa Electric inverters, erection and commissioning of the 20MW photovoltaic solar plants. more..

Video: Dhammika Ranatunga threatens journalists

Mar 16 (DM) Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Dhammika Ranatunga, today threatened several journalists with death at the Colombo High Court premises. Ranatunga who arrived at the premises to attend the hearing for the bail application revision for his brother Nishantha Ranatunga, threatened the journalists when they captured visuals of him entering the premises. more..

Thousands benefit from Dubai Cares’ literacy programme in Sri Lanka

Mar 16 (TN) More than 40 schools and 8,500 children have benefited from Dubai Cares’ two-year literacy programme to support underdeveloped districts in Sri Lanka. Dubai Cares, which is part of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, in partnership with Save the Children, has directly supported the learning and development of more than 8,587 children, 10,000 indirectly and 370 teachers, who received specialist literacy skills development training. more..

Video: Burglary suspect injured after being shot by police

Mar 16 (AD) A suspect who attempted to break into a shop at Depanama on the Borella-Kottawa road was wounded and hospitalised after being shot by a police officer. Incident had occurred at around 2.15am today when officers from Maharagama Police on mobile patrol had seen the individual attempting to enter the shop in a suspicious manner. When the Maharagma Police Crimes OIC, who was among the group of officers, had confronted the suspect the latter had allegedly attempted to more..

Sri Lanka foreign reserves at US$ 6.6bn; IMF support by mid 2016

Mar 16 (LBO) Sri Lanka’s gross official reserves were estimated at US$ 6.6 billion by today, Special Assignments Minister Sarath Amunugama said. He said it is sufficient for 4 months of imports. “It is recommended to keep at least 3 months of imports. So we are at a comfortable level now,” Amunugama said. Minister said current gross official reserves include US$ 1.1 billion support received from the Asian region. more..

UPFA determined to take efforts to keep alliance together

Mar 16 (CG) UPFA says it is determined to take efforts to keep the alliance together. UPFA General Secretary Mahinda Amaraweera said that while disciplinary action will be taken against those who work against the alliance, such action will not be based on personal grudges. Amaraweera said that he is keen to have talks with anyone looking to leave the alliance or leave the SLFP and to ensure the unity in the party is safeguarded. “My attempt is to unite all those in the UPFA,” he added. more..

Minister says power will be generated from Norchcholai tonight

Mar 16 (NF) Minister Ranjith Siyamabalapitiya says power will be generated from Generator C of the Norchcholai Power Plant tonight. Secretary of the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy, Suren Batagoda, stated that electricity will be provided from Thursday morning onwards and that by doing so, 300 mega watts will be added to the national grid. CEB also stated that there will be intermittent power cuts on Wednesday and Thursday which will last up to five and half hours more..

FR challenging political parties with racial and religious identities fixed for support

Mar 16 (DN) The Supreme Court yesterday fixed for support for June 6, a Fundamental Rights petition which challenged the existence of political parties with racial and religious identities in the country in violation of the citizens' fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution. The petitioner, President's Counsel Prasantha Lal de Alwis cited the Election Commissioner, Secretaries of 20 political parties and Attorney General as respondents. more..

Health sector volunteers of North demand permanency

Mar 16 (CT) Health sector volunteers have launched a hunger strike in front of Northern Health Department urging for permanent job appointments. These health sector volunteers stressed that the hunger protest will not be called off until they are recruited as permanent cadres. Health sector volunteers who served at the Tellipalai Hospital were suddenly demobilized from work prior to expiry of their agreement. These volunteers claimed they were betrayed by the authorities after more..

Video: Dazed Sri Lanka face an uphill battle

Mar 16 (CI) After arriving in India, Angelo Mathews had said he hadn't been prepared to take up the captaincy, but as a senior, he mused, How can [he] say no? It is a strange situation. Sri Lanka have chosen their leader for the defence of a major international trophy the same way most people would nominate a sober driver for a night out. Expectations are also suitably low. Mathews may have taken plenty of chases home safely in the past, but this time it's believed more..

Mathews hopes SL's seniors will step up

Mar 16 (CI) Angelo Mathews has said that he trusts makeshift opener Dinesh Chandimal and new addition Lahiru Thirimanne to set the tone at the top of Sri Lanka's innings. Chandimal was only elevated to the opening position in February, and Thirimanne had not originally been picked for the World Twenty20, but both batsmen come into the tournament with some form. Chandimal struck two fifties and a 37 during the Asia Cup, more..

Matara Manju arrested over Welikada shooting

Mar 16 (DM) The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) arrested another suspect, Hiran Krishantha alias Matara Manju in connection with the shooting incident where a pregnant woman was injured outside the Welikada prison on March 5. Police said the suspect was arrested near the Matara Prisons yesterday afternoon on information received to the CCD. Police identified the suspect, aged 42, as a resident of Matara. The CCD also recovered a 9MM pistol and 10 bullets from his possession. more..

Opposition to economic pact with India to grab spotlight in Rajapaksa rally

Mar 16 (ENS) Strong expressions of opposition to the proposed Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India are expected to grab the spotlight at a public rally to be held here on Thursday by Joint Opposition Group (JOG) led by former President Rajapaksa. ETCA has become critical for the JOG for two reasons: Firstly, Indian HC Y.K. Sinha had launched a frontal attack on the JOG at a public function. He had lashed out at the JOG for its baseless criticisms of the ETCA. more..

GSP+: EU advises Sri Lanka to be patient

Mar 16 (DM) The European Union (EU) delegation to Sri Lanka on Tuesday said that it was advisable for the Govt of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to be patient with the application for GSP+ until there is a strong chance of regaining the tariff facility from the EU. Paul Godfrey, the Chargé d' affaires of the EU delegation to Sri Lanka and the Maldives said the process of regaining the concession was rather condition-based instead of time-based. more..

No privatization of Sathosa: Minister Rishard

Mar 16 (GDI) State owned Lanka Sathosa will continue to remain a public enterprise and will not be privatised, according to Minister Rishad Bathiudeen. Minister, launching SL's International Consumer Rights Day in Vavuniya yesterday stressed the importance of Sathosa as a public asset. Lanka Sathosa is the single largest state owned Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) network in the country. The necessary steps will be taken by the govt to expand its 311 present network more..

Experience speaks: Govt may try to purchase power: Pavithra

Mar 16 (DM) Former Power and Energy Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi today said it was uncertain whether the island-wide power cuts were simply a result of the Govt’s inefficiency or it was mulling to purchase electricity from the power stations belonging to the private sector, for exorbitant prices making the power cuts an excuse. “Our govt amended the Power and Energy Act to make sure that electricity would be purchased from private sector only through open tenders. more..

Beware of those giving wrong advice, prelate tells President

Mar 16 (Island) Chief Incumbent of Rajapawanaramaya, Getambe Ven Keppetiyagoda Siriwimala Thera told President Maithripala Sirisena when the latter paid a courtesy call on him last Saturday, to beware of those who gave him wrong advice. The president’s predecessor had faced the predicament, prelate said. Thera discussed the burning issues in the country with the President. He said the masses had high expectations and unless they were more..

Thomian look-back at 137th Battle Of Blues

Mar 17 (CT) Stunned. The word sums up the overall sentiment at the SSC ground on the evening of the 12th day of March, 2016. It didn’t matter which camp you belonged to, whether Royal or S Thomas’. If you had been following the game from Day One, you would have been stunned by the result of the 137th Battle of the Blues. At the end of the first day the Thomians were on top. They had started off as favorites and Royal’s gamble in putting the opposition in after winning the toss had more..

Some thoughts on current orthodoxies

Mar 17 (GV) The year 2009 is important for the post-colonial history of Sri Lanka, because in that year the most serious armed challenge to the territorial integrity of the country was defeated. Using military means, the territory was consolidated. Not only that, this marked the end of almost four decades of violent challenges to the state. In the process the Sri Lankan state has developed a formidable military machinery. For the new period of capitalist transition that began in 1977, more..

No such thing as an Independent public servant

Mar 17 (CT) Even as calls for an independent public service ring from every part of the country, political appointments to public service are once again on the rise, Tissa Devendra, a retired civil servant and famed novelist said, There is no such thing as an independent govt servant. Devendra's career started in 1953 as District Land Officer and took him to the positions of District Secretary in Matara, Trinco & Jaffna. more..

Climate change impacts, agriculture & a toxin free Sri Lanka

Mar 17 (CT) On March 6, 2016, the Govt of Sri Lanka launched the Vasa Visa Nethi Ratak – a 3 year programme aimed at curbing the use of agrochemicals, and focusing instead on locally produced organic fertilizers. The govt intends to prevent produce such as rice, vegetables and fruits from being tainted by toxic agrochemicals. It has been widely reported that Sri Lanka annually imports approximately Rs 80 billion worth of agrochemicals. As Sri Lanka is a tropical country, more..

Transport travails

Mar 17 (CT) Sri Lanka's transport problem has metamorphosized into a major catastrophe with very bad symptoms. Centred round car and bus transport, the population experiences hazards in reaching venues, locations and services. Accessibility has been largely compromised which has resulted in travelling speeds being limited to as little as 8-10 kmph. This is amply evident in not only the Colombo City areas and immediate suburbs, but the entire Western Province. more..

'Govt paving the way for privatization'

Mar 17 (CI) Satyagraha movement, launched jointly by the IUSF and several other university unions, against the privatization of education, marked its 50th day this week. IUSF convener Lahiru Weerasekara said the govt policy to privatize education cannot be changed overnight by a protest or a silent walk. And that a massive uprising was needed from among the public, to keep the right to free education and to get more..