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Post-war development: New direction needed for north, says new study

Feb 9 (FT) A study commissioned by the Central Bank of SL urges a fresh approach to address post-war socio-economic challenges in the north by building on its existing regional capacity and resources. Authored by an independent committee and launched yesterday at the Jaffna Public Library Auditorium, Economic Development Framework for a Northern Province Master Plan offers a forward-looking blueprint to realise the potential of the north and contribute to the national economy. more..

Sri Lanka undergoes stringent EU GSP + monitoring process

Feb 9 (ST) The European Union (EU) has voiced concern over the slowdown in the progress of the govt’s far reaching reforms and its commitments made to regain General System of Preferences (GSP+) facility. There was a significant acceleration in fulfilling major obligations under GSP+ during the early period of the good governance government which took office in 2015, but it has retarded during the recent past, more..

Only pure and pasteurized milk to MPs

Feb 9 (DM) Speaker informed parliament that pure and pasteurized milk was provided to MPs. He said some MPs inquired him about the milk provided to them in parliament as there were doubts raised with regard to imported milk powder. "Several MPs asked me about the milk provided to them. We are providing pure and fresh milk to everyone in Parliament," he said. Speaker said this after Deputy Minister Buddhika Pathirana revealed that imported milk powder contained harmful substances. more..

Govt positive of settling foreign debts in 2019

Feb 9 (DN) The govt is very confident that it could settle all the foreign debt obligations this year, said Minister of Finance and Media Mangala Samaraweera. He said that the govt has to shoulder the biggest financial obligation ever which is to settle over US$ 5 billion in 2018. “We have already paid over US$ 1,640 billion which was to settle an International Sovereign Bond (ISB) amounting to USD 1,500 million maturing during 2019 and also other obligations last month.” more..

Mohan and Ravin no balled from cricket election

Feb 9 (Island) Former SLC chief Mohan de Silva’s bid to be re-elected has been ruled out after the Election Committee upheld an appeal that he was ineligible to contest the elections. Ravin Wickramaratne, another Thilanga Sumathipala loyalist has also been ruled out by the independent election commission that looked into allegations. This means Businessman Jayantha Dharmadasa is set to win the elections uncontested. more..

Auctioning Sunil T Films properties: Court restrains Sampath Bank

Feb 9 (FT) The Colombo High Court issued an Enjoining Order against Sampath Bank, restraining it from auctioning the residential properties of sole proprietor of Sunil T Films scheduled for Monday (11). High Court Judge Prasantha de Silva fixed for 21 February the plaint filed by the plaintiff K. Sunil Thompson Fernando. S.A. Parathalingam PC with Nalin Peiris and Niranjan Arulpragasam instructed by Anoma Goonetilake appeared for the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff in his plaint states more..

At least 100,000 employment opportunities currently in Sri Lanka's hotel sector

Feb 9 (Island) Currently the Sri Lanka hotel sector has employment opportunities for 100,000 persons, past chairman, Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) Sunil Dissanayake said. Dissanayake said that the potential for career development in the hotel sector was on an upward spiral, which held out good prospects for career advancement. He said the increasing numbers of tourists to Sri Lanka are assured of good accommodation and other plus features. more..

SC halts Chinese law firm from offering legal services

Feb 9 (ST) Supreme Court has barred a Chinese law firm from working in Sri Lanka until the end of a fundamental rights case challenging the Registrar of Companies’ (RoC) decision to incorporate a limited liability company claiming to provide legal services in the country. Nayantha Wijesundara, attorney-at-law, filed a petition in the Supreme Court on January 16 naming Baqian Law Group Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, RoC and more..

Sri Lanka’s 71st Independence anniversary celebrated in Melbourne

Feb 9 (FT) The Office of the Consulate General of SL in Melbourne with the assistance of the Sri Lankan expatriate community and the State Govt of Victoria organised the celebration of the 71st anniversary of the Independence of Sri Lanka in the evening of 4 February at the Box Hill Town Hall, Box Hill, Melbourne. The official flag hoisting ceremony was held at the Office of the Consulate General in the morning. The celebration commenced with the singing of the national anthem more..

Airbus deal: Lack of exit clause cost Sri Lanka dearly: Hashim

Feb 9 (DN) Sri Lanka had to pay so much due to the mistakes in both the purchase and leasing agreements of the A350-900 aircrafts for SriLankan Airlines because there was no exit clause in any of these agreements, Minister Kabir Hashim said. Joining the COPE debate he said: “We have been caught in a trap where if we are unable to pay, we will have to somehow pay the amount together with a fine causing heavy losses to the country. The irony is that no one signs such agreements,” more..

Speaker tables criteria followed by CC

Feb 9 (DM) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday tabled the report of the Constitutional Council (CC) which depicts the criteria followed by the CC to approve persons for various posts. Speaker Jayasuriya on Thursday said that he will table the CC report so that MPs could find out the criteria followed when approving persons for posts. As per the report the criteria which the CC had looked at when approving the appointment of more..

Deputy Minister stands his ground

Feb 9 (Island) Dy Minister Buddhika Pathirana, yesterday, repeated, in Parliament, the allegation that some imported varieties of milk powder contained harmful substances. MP said so in response to Health Minister Dr. Rajitha’s denial of his original statement as regards the importation of milk powder mixed with animal fat. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya assured Parliament that a decision on a Parliamentary Select Committee to inquire into the matter would be taken up at more..

Move to free trishaw drivers from idleness trap

Feb 9 (ST) With three-wheelers accounting for more than one in 10 deaths in traffic accidents and a fresh survey revealing that trishaw drivers are idling most of the time, the govt is offering them support to take up other professions. Last year, 393 trishaw drivers and passengers died in accidents from a total of 3,093 such deaths, police said. The 2017 figures are similar: 395 of the total of 3,100 accident fatalities. In a fresh move to encourage these drivers into other professions, 100 of them have been trained more..

Dubai raids: Madush, 30 others test positive for narcotics

Feb 9 (Island) Authoritative sources said that of those arrested in two separate raids in Dubai early this week, 31 had been tested positive for cocaine. Sources said that UAE mounted the operation following exhaustive investigations undertaken by SL law enforcement authorities. Responding to a query, sources said that SL artistes who were taken into custody had been aware they were being sponsored by Makadure Madush, more..

Mattala airport earned profit only in 2016

Feb 9 (Island) SriLankan Airlines had incurred a loss of Rs.741,733,244 due to its operations at the Mattala Rajapaksa Int'l Airport, from March 2013 to December 2018, Kasun Pathirana, Financial Accounting Manager at SriLankan told the PCoI. Although the airline had been operating at Mattala since its inception, it earned profit only in 2016, when the BIA was temporarily closed. "BIA was temporary closed Jan-Mar in 2016. During that time many flights were diverted to Mattala" more..

Expose cops leaking tip-offs to drug dealers

Feb 9 (CT) Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention said that strict action would be taken against Police officers who collude with persons involved in the illegal drug trade and provide tip-offs to the latter regarding civic-minded civilian Police informants who are part of community policing. Director of the Task Force, Dr. Samantha Kumara Kithalawaarachchi told thus to Ceylon Today in reference to a query made concerning several incidents reported islandwide including more..

Chamal promises to resign if..

Feb 9 (Island) Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said that he would resign from his Parliamentary seat if it could be proved that key decisions were taken at the Sri Lankan Airlines Director Board meeting at the Speaker’s Residence in 2013. The former Speaker, raising a point of order when UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake was on his feet, said that he wanted to make a clarification as his name had been mentioned. more..

FAW largely contained: Claims Agri DG

Feb 9 (CT) Director General of Agriculture W.M.W. Weerakoon said that the threat posed to agriculture and the farming sector by the Fall Army Worm (FAW) has been contained to a large extent. In two Districts where the pest had created havoc - Anuradhapura and Ampara - the damage caused to cultivations had been contained only to a certain extent. He expressed hope that if farmers could recommence cultivations in upcoming Yala season, they could be able to obtain a rich harvest. more..

So many factions trying to take credit for Madush arrest: President

Feb 9 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena today said now there are so many people to claim credit for the arrest of notorious drug dealer and underworld leader Madush in Dubai. He also said he read in a newspaper report which quoted a a minister saying they had laid the trap for his arrest for the past few years. He made these remarks addressing a gathering after opening a regional office of the Sri Lanka Institute for vocational guidance in Polonnaruwa. more..

Decision to acquire eight Airbuses taken at Speaker’s residence: COPE Chief

Feb 9 (Island) A Sri Lankan Airlines Director Board meeting, where the final decision to acquire eight A350-900 Airbus aircraft. had been held at the then Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa’s official residence in Battaramulla on Mar 1, 2013, COPE Chairman and JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti revealed. Opening the adjournment debate on the COPE report, Handunnetti told Parliament that the Auditor General had, in his latest report, stated that more..

Changes at SLC must be more than eyewash

Feb 9 (DM) On Feb 4, our cricket team playing the second test, in a match series were drubbed by the Australians, by a massive 366 runs with a day to spare. Only three of our batsmen were able to get into double figures. Our team lost the first match within three days, in what should have been a five-day match. Sadly for the team, there were no positives to take away from the series. The only positive the team captain saw was that fielders in slip cordon took catches instead of dropping more..

Election Phobia? Only one Cure; Face it PC poll will set the trend

Feb 9 (DM) Politicians’ fear of facing the constituents in an election held on the due date is not listed, explained, or discussed under common phobias by psychologists. Probably, it is so rare in the democratic world that psychologists are yet to invent a term to denote the phenomenon. A few dictionary definitions blended together, phobia, is an extreme and illogical fear reaction. It makes one experience a deep sense of anxiety or dread when thinking of the foundation of fear. more..

S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike: Sri Lanka’s pioneering proponent of federalism

Feb 9 (DM) The Constitution reform or Constitution-making process appears to be at a standstill. Apart from the TNA, all other political parties represented in the Constitutional Assembly do not seem keen on taking the process forward at this juncture. The chief reason for this lethargy seems to be real and imaginary concerns over impending elections in the near future. The presidential elections are definitely due this year. more..

Trouble brewing between otherwise- abled and training institute

Feb 9 (ST) The Vocational Training Institute for Disabled Persons (VTIDP) in Seeduwa caters to the educational needs of groups of differently-abled students who pursue a wide variety of activities. The institute caters specifically to students over 18, who have passed out from the Ratmalana School for the Deaf and Blind. According to Disabled Persons‘ Forum Chairman M.M. Nawfer, the institute -a state-run body- falls under more..

Will you still need me, will you still feed me?

Feb 9 (ST) Reports of people found abandoned on the doorsteps of other people’s homes, in parks and on the streets are growing increasingly common. Last week, a woman aged around 70 years was found on the doorstep of a residence in Nawala. The residents, who wanted to find out how she came to be there, found her confused and mentally unsound. She was cleanly dressed but had on several layers of clothes and bore tell-tale more..

UNP shouldn’t expect TNA, JVP backing now

Feb 9 (Island) The TNA and the JVP couldn’t be expected to join an UNP-led govt though they worked closely last year to defeat the constitutional coup, Senior Lecturer, Open University, Dr. Harini Amarasuriya said. She said it wouldn’t be fair to pressure the TNA and the JVP to accept portfolios in a national govt under any circumstances. The academic said so when The Island asked her as to why the TNA and more..

Deactivate Indian trawlers caught illegally fishing in Lankan waters, says experts

Feb 9 (ST) Sri Lanka should decommission the bottom trawlers it takes into custody, particularly those convicted of fishing illegally in Lankan seas and, like Maldives and Indonesia, either sink or set them alight once Legal processes are over, Fisheries experts urged this week. The call came amidst Sri Lanka continuing to liberally release large numbers of Tamil Nadu (TN) bottom trawlers back to their owners, without prosecution or penalty. more..

A Systematic approach to build a positive future for the youth, President

Feb 9 (PSL) A Systematic approach will be taken to win the challenges in building positive future for the youth, President Maithripala Sirisena said. He made these remarks at the opening of the first National Career Guidance network centre held at Polonnaruwa today (8). In order to provide permanent solution for the unemployment issue by collaborating with all the employment training centers with the intention to build trained more..

FAW destroys over 50% maize land

Feb 9 (CT) More than 50 per cent of the hectarage currently cultivated with maize this Maha season has been affected due to the Fall Army Worm (FAW), resulting in the targeted harvest in the cultivated area being slashed by more than 25%, the Agriculture Department in its latest crop bulletin said. Out of the 74,424 hectares (ha) currently cultivated as at December 2018, 41,828 ha have been affected by the FAW, it said. more..

Sinharaja road project will go on: Govt

Feb 9 (Island) A controversial road development project, which, enviornmentalists, say is in Sinharaja forest, would be carried out as scheduled, State Minister Ajith Mannapperuma told parliament. He said forest would suffer no damage. Responding to JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, the UNPer said the road leading to the Sinharaja rain forest from the Ratnapura, Kudawa, Doranegala had been in a dilapidated condition. more..

Video: Cases to be filed against 7 MPs over violence in Parliament

Feb 9 (AD) The Parliament’s Committee on Privileges has decided to file cases against 7 legislators in connection with the violent incident that occurred during several parliament sessions held last year. The decision was taken at the committee’s meeting held today (8). Although cases will not be filed against the other 52 MPs, who were also held accountable for the incident, the committee will duly decide on more..

Milk powder issue: Party leaders awaiting CAA report

Feb 9 (CT) Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday, informed Parliament that the proposal to appoint a Parliament Select Committee (PSC) to look into issues of imported milk powder will be taken up at a Party Leaders’ Meeting after obtaining a report from the CAA. The question whether imported milk powder varieties contain harmful ingredients for human consumption such as animal fat, created lengthy discussions during more..

Politics and organised crime

Feb 10 (SO) Is the Nation, at 71 years, becoming a den of thieves and druggies? Our loud boasts of civilised nationhood and, pious speeches, ring hollow amid the mounting reports of huge new hauls of illegal narcotics and exposés of organised crime. And the Sri Lankan underworld seems to have come of age with mafia dons now partying in affluent Dubai along with corrupt bureaucrats and political henchmen. Just last week, there were reports of several detections of illegal narcotics, more..

Degrees for sale

Feb 10 (CT) The demand for higher education in the country is at an all time high as more and more students seek to advance in professional and specialised fields in order to boost their careers. There is nothing wrong with institutions stepping up and trying to supply that demand as markets keep emerging and expanding in our modern economy. However, it is problematic when some institutions in question are not properly accredited, offer below-par education or lack considerable standards to more..

New Constitution: No need to get bogged down with definitions, say experts

Feb 10 (SO) Getting bogged down with language in the draft constitution should not become an insurmountable hurdle to enacting a new Constitution, one of the key pledges of the Jan 8, 2015 platform for change, legal experts said last week. Speaking at a seminar organised by civil society at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for Strategic Studies last Friday, President’s Counsel Dr Jayampathy Wickremaratne said tussle over more..

UNP backs out of National Govt bid; Prez slams CC and Human Rights Council

Feb 10 (ST) Simmering tensions between Prez Sirisena and the Constitutional Council (CC) chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya came to the fore this week, in Parliament, while the UNF abruptly put-off its controversial motion to establish a National Govt with the sole MP representing the SLMC. Ending his more than three months’ absence from Parliament, Prez, on Wednesday, made an unannounced visit to the House and made it an occasion to air his frustrations about the conduct of the CC more..

The poli-tricks of a National Govt

Feb 10 (ST) Discretion was the better part of political expediency on the part of the UNF Govt when it decided to put off the move to form a National Govt even if it has not entirely dropped the idea. Very few would buy into the argument trotted out that the UNF wanted a National Govt for the purpose of development. That is a much abused word of politicians to ram through partisan political agendas otherwise detrimental to the nation. That compares with oft-misused cliché national security cry more..

Madush meets his Waterloo in Dubai

Feb 10 (SO) Notorious criminal and Sri Lanka’s most wanted drug kingpin Samarasinghe Arachchilage Madush Lakshitha infamously known as Makandure Madush, was arrested by Dubai law enforcement officials in an extraordinary raid this week. At the time of his arrest, Madush had been on the run for over two years, evading the SL Police successfully while living a comfortable life in Dubai and carrying out his criminal activities from more..

What promises?

Feb 10 (ST) My dear Green Man, I thought I must write to you when I heard that you were planning to set up another national govt with the help of a few others who wish to prop up the Greens. Considering what happened to the last national govt you had with the Blues, I must say I was surprised. I don’t know whether you remember, Green Man, you promised at the last election to limit the number of Cabinet ministers to 30. You argued that having dozens of ministers with ridiculous sounding portfolios more..

Chamal’s discomfiture

Feb 10 (Island) Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa whose name (along with that of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa) has been mentioned as a possible Rajapaksa runner at the next presidential election faced an embarrassing revelation in parliament on Friday when COPE Chairman Sunil Handunneti said that a meeting of the debt-strapped and floundering SriLankan Airlines had been held in the speaker’s official residence some five years ago. The affable and non-abrasive former speaker is well liked more..