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Editorial: Pollsrrhoea, pollstipation, pollsphobia

Mar 29 (Island) The Rajapaksa govt held too many elections. Polls were staggered unnecessarily to exaggerate the cold streak of the then Opposition and boost the egos of the ruling politicians. Bada yanakan chanda (which roughly put into English means purging with elections) was a popular term then. One may create a new word, pollsrrhoea (by combinging polls with diarrhoea) to denote that phenomenon. In the end, the Rajapaksa regime succumbed to pollsrrhoea. more..

Truth behind the $ 6,361 loans of the present govt

Mar 29 (FT) Former President Rajapaksa has been repeating ad nauseam over the last few weeks that the present Govt has taken $ 6,361 million in foreign loans in its 15-month lifespan thus far but hadn’t even built a culvert with that money. He says that he could have built two Mattala Airports, one Hambantota Port, one Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, one Colombo-Matara Highway, one Colombo-Katunayake Highway, not one, but two more..

Dankotuwa Porcelain to enter Indian market

Mar 29 (DN) Dankotuwa Porcelain will be expanding operations into the Indian markets, Dankotuwa CEO Wasaba Jayasekera said yesterday. Speaking at the 33rd anniversary event he said that Dankotuwa Porcelain has a growing demand in India and the foundation has been laid to begin operations and are looking forward in expanding by the end of this year. Jayasekera said that currently although Dankotuwa holds advantage over its quality, building relationship and the strength of more..

AB de Villiers leads an animated team talk

Mar 29 (CI) Team huddles have become customary at the start of an innings, when the captain usually delivers his final words before the action gets underway, but this one was different. As South Africa prepared for their final appearance at this World T20, it was AB de Villiers, the ODI and Test captain, and not Faf du Plessis, the T20 captain, who did the talking. De Villiers led an animated talk in which the only words the television microphones could pick up were energy, boys, energy, more..

SL end World T20 campaign with a defeat

Mar 29 (CI) Defending champions Sri Lanka exited the World T20 with defeat in their final appearance. Instead, it was South Africa who left with a consolation win in a contest that lacked intensity as they eased past their opponents, first by restricting Sri Lanka to a small score, and then by clinically chasing it down. For the first time in this World T20, South Africa's attack had enough slow-bowling options - two specialist spinners more..

Political prisoners and SL’s sincerity crisis

Mar 29 (TD) President Maithripala Sirisena had promised progress regarding Tamil political prisoners, although we’ve seen little of that. Unfortunately, the president’s dithering project has continued — with no end in sight. More broadly, SL govt has made big commitments regarding transitional justice and those changes, if they ever happen, will come incrementally. However, we haven’t seen much in the way of incremental change since Colombo co-sponsored a UNHRC more..

Appeal Court issues Stay Order against Russian cancer drugs

Mar 29 (FT) The Court of Appeal yesterday (28) issued a Stay Order suspending the registration and license to import the purported bio-similar drug known as Herticad which is a Russian product. The court also issued orders preventing administering of the said drug to cancer patients in Sri Lanka. The Bench comprising Justices Vijith K.Malalgoda (President of CA) and Padman Surasena issued Notices on the Respondents returnable for April 8. Petitioners F.Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, more..

Raina’s Kandalama match-fixing scandal raised in Sri Lanka Parliament

Mar 29 (Island) Integrity of one of India’s most senior batsmen, Suresh Raina has once again come under the cloud of suspicion for involving in a match-fixing case having entertained a woman who had been linked to a bookie at the Hotel Kandalama during India’s visit to Sri Lanka for the 2010 Asia Cup as the issue is being now raised in Sri Lankan Parliament. UNP MP SM Marikkar asking a question from the Minister of Sports more..

NSB reports highest PBT of Rs. 13 bn up 24%

Mar 29 (Island) The Bank recorded a 26.2% rise in Profit after Tax to reach Rs. 8.7 billion for the year ended 31st Dec, 2015. The Bank reported an interest income of Rs. 78.1 billion whilst interest expenses marginally decreased by 2.8%. As a result the Net Interest Income rose to Rs. 27.0 billion. NSB's total deposit base grew by 7.5% to reach Rs. 595.8 billion while ordinary savings recorded an impressive growth of 15.4% reaching Rs. 163.4 billion. more..

Official statistics updates on Twitter

Mar 29 (FT) Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) provides various socio economic and demographic statistics to data users covering a wide spectrum from students, researchers to policymakers and international agencies. DCS produce statistics on regular basis from different sources, including censuses, surveys and administrative records. Currently the Department of Census and Statistics uses printed and electronic publications, official website and more..

ADB holds unique auction to raise $ 12.5 m in $ 100 m financial boost for SMEs

Mar 29 (FT) Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday commenced its first auction of a $12.5 million tranche to channel $ 100 million of total funds to boost Lankan SMEs. “This is the first time the ADB is allocating funds through dedicated financial institutions via an auction that submits the highest bids,” ADB Senior Finance Specialist Donald Lambert said. The ADB will initially provide funds to the Govt at the six-month London Inter-bank more..

Monk dies after being knocked down on pedestrian crossing

Mar 29 (Island) A Buddhist monk died yesterday after being knocked down on a zebra crossing on the High Level road at Pannipitiya yesterday. The driver of the vehicle had been arrested and the car, too, had been taken into custody. Victim had been rushed to the Homagama hospital in the car involved in the accident. However, the monk, identified as Alupethdeniya Rohana Thera attached to Thripitaka Dharnayatanaya, Pelawatte succumbed to his injuries on admission to hospital. more..

Businessman shot dead in Ambalangoda

Mar 29 (CT) A businessman was killed after an unidentified person opened fire at the Ambalangoda Fisheries Harbour yesterday. The gunman, who was the pillion rider on a motorcycle, had fled the area soon after shooting the businessman at around 11:30 a.m. Victim succumbed to his injuries after he was admitted to the Hospital, meanwhile, the remains of the deceased have been sent to the Ambalangoda District Hospital where a post-mortem examination was conducted. more..

Rs. 1b worth substandard drugs imported

Mar 29 (DN) SL has imported substandard drugs worth Rs. 1 billion in last 5 years, investigations by the COPE revealed. State Pharmaceutical Corporation (SPC) which was under review by COPE has no mechanism to conduct quality checks and expiry dates on medicinal drugs that arrive at customs, raising serious concerns about the quality assurance aspect of drugs brought in, COPE Chairman Sunil Hadunnetti said. more..

Reconciliation process picks up pace

Mar 29 (Hindu) With President Maithripala Sirisena set to declare open a reconciliation village in Vavuniya in the Northern Province, it seems the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka is picking up pace. Last weekend, govt organised a trip of a group of journalists, mostly Sinhalese, working in Sinhala and English media, to the Province. The journalists, accompanied by Minister Gayantha Karunathilake and Deputy Minister Karunaratha Paranawithana, visited the offices of Tamil dailies more..

Sri Lanka team hit with visa delay

Mar 29 (CT) Sri Lanka team for the 94th Australian open Athletics Championship could not take wing as scheduled early morning today as they were not issued with visas till yesterday. Team comprises of South Asia's fastest man and woman, Himasha Eashan and Rumeshika Rathnayake, together with 800m SAG gold medalist and Asian Indoor Silver medalist Nimali Liyanarachchi. Athletics Championship is scheduled to start on 31 March at Sydney Olympic Park Athletics Centre. more..

JO points finger at all-knowing electrical engineers for crisis

Mar 29 (Island) Prof. Tissa Vitarana, former UPFA Minister and Joint Opposition stalwart, said that electrical engineers should take the blame for the power crisis in the country. He said the electrical engineers for reasons best known to them did not consult other experts. Prof. Vitharana said the govt had decided to purchase outright three private companies supplying electricity to the CEB, namely Heladanavi (100 MW), more..

Indicted racing driving Malagamuwa goes on trial on June 23

Mar 29 (Island) Colombo High Court Judge fixed for trial on June 23 indictment against motor racing champion, Dilantha Malagamuwa, Ghanadeepan Sivojthi and Vijitha Ranaraja. They are accused of accepting USD 600.000 from a Japanese national for constructing a housing complex and thereafter cheating the donor by not honouring the terms of the agreement reached between them. Hemantha Warnasuriya appeared with Jeewantha Weerasinghe & Janajith de Silva for accused. more..

Only Cabinet would decide on power cuts

Mar 29 (DN) The Govt emphasized that taking a decision on power cuts would only be made by the Cabinet of Ministers headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickramasinghe. "The Government would not allow the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) or the Engineers' Association of the CEB to take decisions on power cuts," sources said. The Committee Report of the Ministers on Electricity is to be handed over to the President and Prime Minister today (29). more..

'Abbott's SL comments excuse war crimes'

Mar 29 (TG) The former PM Tony Abbott has excused war crimes in comments that the SL govt’s actions in its civil war were probably unavoidable, Tamil refugee advocates have said. In an article in Quadrant magazine Abbott defended his national security record as PM: “I’m sure that SL president was pleased that Australia didn’t join the human rights lobby against the tough but probably unavoidable actions taken to end one of the more..

Woman nabbed with hashish in Hikkaduwa

Mar 29 (DM) A 45-year-old woman was arrested by Excise Department's special squad in Hikkaduwa for allegedly possessing hashish mixed 18 chocolate slabs with an estimated street value of Rs. 5 million. Woman had been arrested on information received by Excise Commissioner General L.K.G. Gunawardane, while attempting to sell hashish mixed chocolates which had been got down from Italy. Deputy Commissioner Pushpakumara has led the special squad and made the arrest. more..

CEB mulls power management strategies

Mar 29 (FT) Power and Energy Ministry held special discussions yesterday on demand management strategies to deal with increased consumption as well as reconnecting private power producer AES Kelanitissa to the grid. CEB officials acknowledged that uninterrupted power supply was additionally challenged by AES Kelanitissa, a 168 MW diesel fuel fired combined cycle power station, requiring repairs. The smaller power plant would be back on line from Friday, assured CEB spokesman. more..

PSC to enable expat Sri Lankans to vote

Mar 29 (Island) Leaders of the political parties represented in Parliament had given their nod for appointing a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to evolve a mechanism to enable hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankan expatriates to vote at future elections to be held here, parliament sources said yesterday. The party leaders had also agreed to approve a motion seeking appointment of PSC without debate on April 6, sources said. more..

Rains at last

Mar 29 (DN) Ending the dry spell in the country, rains were reported from most parts of the country yesterday. Heavy showers were reported in Trincomalee, Nuwera Eliya, Kandy and Ratmalana. Heavy showers were reported in Hambantota and from several parts of the country on Sunday. Moderate rain fall was recorded in the Batticaloa, Kurunegala and Ratnapura districts, while the North Central, Western, Uva and Central Provinces received light rains. more..

Nothing wrong in increasing allowances to MPs: Daya Gamage

Mar 29 (DM) There was nothing wrong in increasing the allowances given to Members of Parliament, Minister of Primary Industries Daya Gamage has said. Addressing a gathering in Ampara recently, the Minister said an MP currently gets an allowance of Rs. 50,000 and it was hardly sufficient to meet the expenses as an MP. “I too get an allowance, even for fuel, but I have told Parliament authorities, to credit all my allowances to the account of Daya Sarana Trust. more..

Contradictory claims by CEB, Power Ministry on power cuts

Mar 29 (DN) In a dramatic turn of events, CEB yesterday announced power cuts while Power and Energy Ministry said the announcement was a mistake. CEB announced three hour power cuts from yesterday till March 31. The three hour power cut was divided in to a 2 hour outage during the daytime and an hour in the night, in a detailed schedule published in their official website. Contrary to this information, a ministry spokesman more..

National Unity vital for a new Sri Lanka

Mar 29 (DM) In an apparent move to give the people a full and balanced report on vital issues in the country, President Sirisena on Sunday night made a rare appearance on a television talk show to answer probing questions. President reiterated that the priority issues of National Govt were to find a just, fair and lasting solution to the ethnic conflict, bring about a just society with a more equitable distribution of wealth and resources and give tens of thousands of productive jobs more..

Can Gotabaya be the unifier of SLFP?

Mar 29 (DM) Last week, there was this tantalizing proposition from an anonymous member of the Joint Opposition, who was speaking on behalf of a group of MPs wanting to unify the divided SLFP, suggested to appoint Gotabaya Rajapaksa as a MP. Gotabaya, the nameless MP beckoned, would serve as the unifier of the SLFP, now split between the loyalists of the incumbent President and his predecessor. Since April Fools’ Day is still a couple of days away, we are compelled to assume more..

Double-effect of extreme weather

Mar 29 (ST) Temperatures in the Northern, North-Central and North-Western provinces could rise 5-10C this year, sobering news following the World Meteorological Centre’s announcement that 2015 was the hottest year in recent times. There are signs this year that the country will face extreme weather events in two different regions. While the western plains will be bracing for more rains, arid dry zone in Northern, Eastern & North-Central more..

Moves to avert SLMC split

Mar 29 (ST) Moves are underway to avert a potential split in the SLMC. Differences of opinion arose in the party after a letter was sent to party leader Rauff Hakeem urging him to change the party constitution. The letter was sent by some members of the SLMC High Command, the main decision making body of the SLMC. However Hakeem saw the move as an attempt to ignite a coup against him and replace him as the party leader. more..

Athletic Selection hit by quandary

Mar 29 (CT) The track and field team selection for the 6th Children of Asia International Sports Games to be held in Sakha Republic of Russia took another hit as the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Sri Lanka had refused to accept the team of ten athletes selected by the Athletics Association of Sri Lanka (AASL). The selection of track and field team started controversially as the Schools Athletics Association is said to have bypassed more..

Lankan Tamils in Tiruchi camp begin indefinite fast

Mar 29 (Hindu) A group of 13 Sri Lankan Tamils housed in the Special Camp here went on an indefinite fast on Monday demanding their release. Another inmate R. Mahendran is on fast from March 26 on the camp situated a few metres from the Central Prison in support of the same demand. Police sources told The Hindu that the 13 Lankan Tamils against whom cases were pending launched the indefinite fast in the morning. more..

Sri Lanka revives natural gas power, LNG deal with Qatar mooted

Mar 29 (EN) Sri Lanka is considering liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plants in Galle and Hambantota, with the country's long term generation plan to be revised, Power Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said amid a power crisis. He said building power plants which can be driven by liquefied natural gas or furnace oil (dual fuel) should be considered for Hambantota and Galle. Both locations have ports. more..

PM asserts CEB top officials should pull their socks up

Mar 29 (DN) During a crucial meeting with the top management of the CEB yesterday, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe asserted that the CEB officials should do their home work to address real issues in the power and energy sector. Before he addressed the meeting at Temple Trees, the PM had access to a report made on reasons leading to the all-island power cuts reported two weeks ago. Top CEB officials seemed crestfallen when more..

Kurunegala HC serves indictments on Johnston, two others

Mar 29 (DN) Indictments were served on former Co-operatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando and two others yesterday before the Kurunegala High Court for alleged financial misappropriation amounting to Rs.5.2 million at Lak Sathosa, during the previous North Western Provincial Council election. Fernando along with former Lak Sathosa Chairman K.M.R. Fernando and the former minister's private secretary more..

Govt to launch Post school education programme

Mar 29 (DM) The government will introduce a new change in the education system by May this year, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. Speaking during the opening of Royal MAS Arena at Royal College Colombo, PM said a new Post school education programme would be introduced under this new system of education. Accordingly he said this programme would be carried out by schools to prepare students for higher education. more..

US appreciates Lankan people’s vision for peace and

Mar 29 (USE) Admiral Aucoin, thank you very much for your kind remarks and thank you very much for bringing this ship and her crew here. It is a delight to have you all here. I’m going to be very brief. First of all, in the South Asian context, rain is always an auspicious sign, and we will certainly take it as an auspicious sign tonight. But I will be brief because of the wonderful life-giving rain that might be coming. First of all, I want to welcome you, more..

'No LG polls until new NDC submits report'

Mar 29 (Island) Nobody could hold local govt election till the report of the new National Delimitation Commission (NDC) headed by Asoka Peiris was submitted, Minister Faizer Mustapha said. He said the new NDC had been legally appointed as there were errors in the Jayalath Dissanayake Committee appointed in 2012 by the previous govt. He stressed that after he had appointed the new NDC, nobody had legal right to hold LG polls more..

Tomorrow's roads safer for everyone

Mar 29 (DN) Every day, six or seven people die in our country due to road accidents while one in 20 people involved in a road accident is maimed for life. As a result, our country bears a huge cost that is estimated to be about 2% of gross domestic product. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death among young people and are predicted to increase in the coming years. The fact that effective preventive strategies do exist makes this situation all the more unacceptable. more..

Sri Lanka shares hit 2-wk closing low ahead of cbank rate review

Mar 29 (Reuters) Shares closed at a two-week low in thin trade on Tuesday, led by blue chip shares, as concerns over economic growth and rising interest rates weighed on sentiment ahead of a decision on interest rates by the central bank. Central Bank is expected to raise key interest rates by at least 25 basis points late on Tuesday, a Reuters poll showed, as it seeks to reduce downward pressure on the fragile local currency. The benchmark share index ended 0.5%, or 30.20 points, more..