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Audio: Lakshman Kiriella berates journalist

Mar 2 (DM) Minister Lakshman Kiriella, who is now embroiled in a controversy over the appointment of a lecturer to Kelaniya University on temporary basis, had been very abusive to a journalist of the Ada newspaper when he asked him about the matter. Mr. Kitiella had asked the journalist whether he was aware of the University Act and, if he was unaware of the powers of the minister, how he could question him about his authority. more..

Video: Seniors have not clicked: Mathews

Mar 2 (CI) Angelo Mathews looked like a man who didn't want to be at the press conference, following Sri Lanka's five-wicket defeat against India. Inside the Shere Bangla National Stadium's belly, Mathews gave one answer after another about his team's lackluster showing at the Asia Cup. Only thanks to same late blows, Sri Lanka reached 138 for 9 in 20 overs against India on Tuesday. Their first productive over came in the 11th, more..

Sri Lanka's new regime revives Rajapaksa's censorship of websites

Mar 2 (EN) Sri Lanka's new govt which came to power promising media freedom, has revived a move to censor news web sites, a popular form of dissent that significantly contributed to the downfall of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media took out an advertisement in state-run Daily News today warning websites that they must register before the end of this month or will be considered unlawful. more..

Fundamental duties of the State, Political Parties & Citizens

Mar 2 (CT) In seeking public opinions for a New Constitution, Public Representations Committee (PRC) led by senor lawyer and social activist, Lal Wijenayake, has asked what form that a chapter on directive principles of State policy should take. There is such a chapter in the present constitution, and there was one in the previous 1972 constitution. However, both constitutions said these are not justiciable, to mean legal proceedings could not be initiated, making them effectively inoperative. more..

Lankan professor claims world first in eco-friendly agriculture

Mar 2 (Island) National Institute of Fundamental Studies (NTFS) has developed world’s first Biofilm Biofertiliser and Sri Lanka’s first Rhizobium Inoculant for crop production and to minimize the application of chemical fertilisers in the country. Co-inventor of Biofilm Biofertiliser, Prof. Gamini Senerviratne said that the invention of Biofilm Biofertiliser, the use of chemical fertiliser could be minimised. Prof. Seneviratne explained that by applying Biofilm Biofertilizer, the application of more..

Pethikada Sirasa TV

Doctors’ unions make common cause to defeat ETCA

Mar 2 (Island) Govt Medical Officers Forum (GMOF) said it would extend their unconditional support to the Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) in its effort to halt the signing of a trade pact with India without a proper National Policy in place. GMOF President, Dr. Rukshan Bellana said the executive committee had met on Monday and reached an agreement to join the GMOA campaign led by its President, Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya against the proposed signing of ETCA. more..

TUI sends top team to assess Sri Lanka travel prospects

Mar 2 (EN) Tour operator TUI AG is sending a team headed by its chief executive to assess Sri Lanka as a destination at a time some of its traditional markets around the Mediterranean have been affected by terrorism. TUI’s joint venture partner Aitken Spence Travels said the team is scheduled to meet PM Ranil Wickramasinghe, Minister of Tourism John Amarathunga and top tourism industry officials Thursday. The delegation from TUI, Europe’s top tour operator, is headed by the group CEO more..

Video: Vass Gunawardena’s wife remanded

Mar 2 (DM) Former DIG Vass Gunawardena’s wife Shamali Perera, was today remanded till March 16 by Colombo additional Magistrate Nishantha Peiris over the case filed against her and six others for allegedly possessing and transporting illegal firearms from Mr. Gunawardana’s residence to a hide out at Kalagedihena, Gampaha. Earlier, she was noticed to appear before Court by the Magistrate over the incident and more..

Does the govt owe you a job?

Mar 2 (CT) Thousands of unemployed graduates were seen protesting recently demanding jobs, which ended with the Police using tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters. The unemployed graduates, however, claim that they would continue their struggle till they get jobs. The issue of unemployed graduates protesting is nothing new, but successive govts have failed to provide a long-term solution to the issue. Instead, the issue was used by politicians, those who are more..

No elections this year: Minister Abeywardena

Mar 2 (AM) There will be no elections this year, State Minister of Finance Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said today, indicating that the local govt elections will also not be held this year. He said that the Delimitation Commission has to complete its work since there are a large number of complaints on the delimitation that has already been done. Most of the local councils are currently under the supervision of a special commissioner since their terms have expired. more..

Sri Lanka aims to implement FTA with China

Mar 2 (Xinhua) Sri Lanka aims to implement a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China in order to have preferential access to a market of 1.3 billion people, the country's state investment agency said here on Wednesday. Both countries had recognized the benefits that can be leveraged through the positive relationship between trade and investment, BoI said. The island nation already has preferential trade agreements more..

SL fisherman recounts attacks by their Indian counterparts

Mar 2 (Island) A Sri Lankan fisherman Shanaka Sellahewa yesterday narrated the harrowing experience he and his mates had undergone at the hands of Indian fishermen poaching in the seas off Trincomalee. Sellahewa said: "They came in two boats and one rammed ours and the Indian fishers numbering 12 armed with knives and clubs pounced on us." One of them slashed my arm with a knife, Sellahewa said. We understood what they said though they spoke a different language. more..

Sri Lanka Telecom downgraded; acquisition to could threaten rating: Fitch

Mar 2 (EN) Fitch Ratings has downgraded the credit of Sri Lanka Telecom to 'B+' from 'BB-' following a downgrade of the country's sovereign rating earlier this week, and warned that its rating could be threatened if it takes more loans to by a rival operator at a high price. Sri Lanka Telecom is known to be in talks to buy Hutch, a loss-making operator and concerns have been raised about the purchase price. "SLT's National Rating could be threatened if it were to do a debt-funded acquisition more..

Video: MR faction holds meeting over dismissals

Mar 2 (DM) Several Joint Opposition MPs and Provincial Councillors of the SLFP held a special meeting with ex-president and Kurunegala MP Mahinda Rajapaksa at his public coordinating office in Battaramulla last night. MPs Rohitha Abeygunawardane and Gamini Lokuge and several other party representatives were among those who took part in the meeting. After the meeting, MP Lokuge told the media that more..

Decision on exhuming body of Embilipitiya man tomorrow

Mar 2 (DM) Embilipitiya Magistrate said today he would give a ruling tomorrow whether to exhume the body of the man who died during a clash with the police in Embilipitiya to carry out a new postmortem examination. State counsel Sudarshana Herath appearing for the Attorney General’s Department made a request seeking approval for a new postmortem examination to be carried out by a panel of Judicial Medical Officers. He informed court that the report submitted by more..

Youth run over by Champika's jeep is serious

Mar 2 (LT) Two youths riding a motorbike run over by the jeep Minister Champika Ranawaka had driven have been admitted to Intensive Care Unit of Colombo National Hospital say reports. Blood has seeped into the brain of one of the youths and the other has a fractured hand say reports. The accident had occurred opposite Janadhipathy Vidyalaya at Rajagiriya on Sunday at about 10 p.m. and the Minister had tried to flee the place without attending to the injured. more..

Eight monks disrobing daily: Speaker

Mar 2 (DM) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that Buddhist Monks disrobing had become a challenge and that eight monks disrobe each day, thereby affecting the functioning of many temples throughout the country including those in Colombo and the suburbs. Speaker was explaining the present malady facing the Buddha Sasana at a Damma Discussion held recently at the Kandegoda Maha Cheithiya Pirivena Temple in Balapitiya more..

North - Central farmers encircle Minister's residence demanding fertilizer

Mar 2 (LT) All Ceylon Farmers' Federation engaged in an agitation In Anuradhapura town today demanding restoration of the previous fertiliser subsidy scheme, a new certified price for paddy and take measures not to inconvenience farmers when opening new bank accounts and taking photographs as the govt has requested. The agitation was lead by JVP Member for North Central Provincial Council and National Organizer for All Ceylon Farmers' Federation Namal Karunaratna, more..

ETCA: Indian technocrats here to educate Lankan businessmen on their requirements

Mar 2 (Island) A team of Indian technocrats will address a workshop on ‘non-tariff measures and increasing awareness of Indian standards and regulations under Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA)’ on 4th March 2016 at the Grand Crystal Ballroom in Taj Samudra Hotel from 9 am. to 5 p.m. Department of Commerce, under the patronage of the Ministry of development strategies and International Trade and in collaboration with the Indian High Commission is organizing more..

Check if your mobile phone connections are legal: TRC

Mar 2 (DM) TRC has requested subscribers to check with their service providers and disconnect if there were any connections operating under their name without stipulated documents or explicit consent. “It is necessary for the subscribers to inquire whether a mobile phone connection had been obtained by providing a copy of their NIC or any other relevant document without their consent disconnect such connections more..

The Early Childhood Development (ECD) project launched

Mar 2 (GDI) The launch of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) project implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and assisted by World Bank was held yesterday at water’s Edge in Battaramulla. The key purpose of this project, which values 50 Dollar millions is to enhance equitable access to and improve the quality of ECD centers. According to Minister Chandrani Bandara, the quality early childhood education is a mandatory factor which has a direct influence towards more..

British HC calls on Maha Nayakes

Mar 2 (Island) Steps taken by Sri Lanka for reconciliation among communities after long years of conflict were laudable. Religious leaders such as the Mahanayaka Theras were in the forefront of the reconciliation process, observed British High Commissioner James Dauris when he called on the Mahanayaka Theras of Malwatte and Asgiriya on Tuesday. Following a discussion with the Most Venerable Galagama Sri Attadassi Mahanayaka Thera of Asgiriya, High Commissioner Dauris more..

FUTA regrets Minister’s naive statement

Mar 2 (AD) The Federation of University Teachers’ Association (FUTA) says it had no intention of gaining political mileage by revealing a letter released by the Higher Education Minister of allegedly attempting to influence his way to get an individual appointed to the University of Kelaniya. “We deeply regret the Minister’s naive statement that FUTA has released the letter signed by him to the media to gain political mileage. more..

John Amaratunga new Minister of Lands

Mar 2 (AD) John Amaratunga took oath as the Minister of Lands before the President today, in addition to his portfolio as the Minister of Tourism. He will fill the ministerial portfolio left vacant by the demise of late Minister of Lands, M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardena, who passed away on January 19. Amaratunga, who is the current Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, took oath before President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s House in Colombo, more..

Enrique Iglesias concert: Live Events noticed

Mar 2 (AM) LiveEvents.LK which organized the Enrique in Sri Lanka concert in Colombo was issued notice by Colombo District Court to appear in court on April 26 over petitions filed by a lawyer and his wife. In Dec 2015, Attorney at Law Nishan Premathiratne, sent a Letter of Demand to LiveEvents.LK, demanding Rs 22 million as damages for the loss, damage, mental distress and injury caused to him and his wife during the Enrique Iglesias concert held on Dec 20, 2015. more..

Video: It is clear who really wants to split SLFP: Indika

Mar 2 (AD) Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe says that several smaller political parties within the UPFA are now attempting to control the SLFP. “Our MPs should understand this. There can never be two leaders for a party,” he said. Deputy Minister Indika Bandaranayake stated that attempting to split the SLFP will weaken the party and that only other political parties will benefit from it. He stated that even former President more..

No tsunami threat to Sri Lanka following Indonesia quake

Mar 2 (CG) The Disaster Management Centre says there is no tsunami threat to Sri Lanka following the massive quake which struck Indonesia late this evening. Indonesia issued a tsunami warning after a massive and shallow earthquake struck off the west coast of the island of Sumatra, an area hit badly by the 2004 Indian Ocean quake and tsunami. The warning was issued for West Sumatra, North Sumatra and Aceh after the quake of magnitude 7.9, the National Meteorolgical Agency said, more..

Suspect in Bharatha Lakshman murder shot at in Dematagoda

Mar 2 (AD) An alleged underworld figure known as Dematagoda Chaminda has been injured after an unidentified gunman had opened fire at the prison bus a short while ago on Wednesday. Dematagoda Chaminda and several other prisoners were returning to Welikada prison from the court when the gunman fired at the bus, according to the police. Dematagoda Chaminda is also an accused in the murder of former President’s Advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra. more..

Cabinet green-lights two elevated highways to Colombo

Mar 2 (AD) The Cabinet of Ministers today approved the proposal for the construction of two elevated highways, aimed at reducing the traffic congestion within the city of Colombo. One elevated highway, with a distance of 6.9km and consisting of 4 lanes, will be constructed from the Kelaniya Bridge to Rajagiriya while it will connect to Battaramulla, Malabe, Athurugiriya and the Outer Circular Expressway. more..

RTI act: Better late than never

Mar 3 (CT) When the campaign staff of Maithripala Sirisena started articulating the when-elected plans, neither he nor his spokespersons were taken seriously. It’s not their fault. Election-time, after all, is all about promises, never mind their doability. How many times, for example, have we heard the slogan, I will abolish the executive presidency if elected? The fact that the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe dispensation got the 19th Amendment passed, even with its flaws, was therefore more..

Casualty Figures

Mar 3 (CT) In addition to straightforward rebuttals of the allegations in the Darusman Report, government should also have taken steps to refute what was the mainspring of criticism, namely the number of civilians who it was claimed had been killed. The figure grew exponentially during 2009, with even 140,000 being alleged by the most extreme critics. When the game started, with the Times in London alleging 20,000 in May 2009, I had dealt with the reasoning they gave. more..

February 29 D-Day

Mar 3 (SO) As Colombo experienced a sudden downpour on Feb 25 with an islandwide blackout, which brought everything to a standstill, the people of Kajeemawatta, Thotalanga had a different battle to confront. When the country was groping in the dark for a considerable time, residents of Kajeemawatta had to run to protect their remaining belongings in the partially destroyed shelters, from the sudden down pour. more..

Another MR1 stooge waiting in line?

Mar 3 (SL) Recently there has been a rumour floating around and published on at least one website that one of the chief apologists of the Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR1) regime is to be appointed as a media advisor to Sri Lanka’s current President. Further investigation suggested that this was simply speculation. The very fact that such an outlandish appointment might occur is, very unfortunately, indicative of the public perception of the path that the current regime has more..

It’s back, The demand for a Muslim province

Mar 3 (SL) Whenever demands for further devolution of political power for the nation’s Tamils are flagged, similar demands for a separate Muslim Province have erupted, though not with the same success-rate. It’s back again in the news, but it’s a demand that needs to be tempered in the reality of post-war SL, tempered in a way it does not start off something that community’s political leadership may lose control over. They need only to look at Tamil brethren, to learn their hard lessons from. more..

What ails public transport?

Mar 3 (CT) Ceylon Today interviewed Prof. Amal Kumarage, who is a transport expert, senior Professor in the Department of Transport and Logistics Management, University of Moratuwa who expressed his views regarding the transport sector and traffic congestion. He stressed, the best intervention now clearly is to improve and modernize the bus system. He added, such an intervention was indicated by studies more..

Will ETCA hit RW the way '87 Accord hit JR

Mar 3 (CT) Today this column presents an analysis of agreements made between India and Sri Lanka and how Sri Lankan politicians like former President Rajapaksa and former Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris aired their views. These views contradict each other when made while in office and out of office. Therefore, it’s a clear manifestation of playing politics with those reported agreements to achieve narrow political gains. Editor of the Indian Express newspaper Shekar Gupta interviewed more..

Editorial: Gods, demons and politicians

Mar 3 (Island) People’s subservience to politicians is cringingly embarrassing in this part of the world. It was only the other day that a newly appointed SLFP organiser knelt and worshipped President Sirisena after receiving his appointment letter. During the Rajapaksa administration, too, such pathetic sights were common. Ancient kings were called deviyo or gods and worshipped by their subjects. Practice of throwing themselves at their rulers’ feet seems to have got into Sri Lankans’ genes. more..

Dayasiri Jayasekara

SLFP’s dilemma: Party unity or years in the political wilderness!

Mar 3 (CT) On 16 Jan 2015, President Maithripala Sirisena was appointed as the Chairman of the SLFP, after former President Rajapaksa voluntarily agreed to handover the leadership of the party to his successor. At the time, it had been reported in the media that the former President had made his decision to relinquish the party leadership ignoring the requests made by former provincial councilor Udaya Gammanpila, Wimal Weerawansa MP, and several other pro-Rajapaksa politicians, more..