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'Children should not be burdened with pre-school education'

Feb 11 (DM) Director General of Cultural Affairs Anusha Gokula said the best education system in the world was in Vietnam and Finland where the children would not be burdened with pre-school education at the age of four years and that they are made aesthetic and sensitive to beauty through activities at home instead. Addressing a programme based on the theme of Art of Living organised by the Cultural Unit of more..

Those who criticize, ridicule judiciary should be punished: PM

Feb 11 (DM) Those who criticize and ridicule the judiciary should be punished, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said over the weekend. PM expressed this sentiment during the opening of a new Pradeshiya Sabha in Niyangama, Galle on Saturday. “One can give his or her opinion on certain judgements but it is not fair to ridicule judges by talking of their ethnic group religion caste or creed,” he said. more..

'We seized our island back from the navy'

Feb 11 (BBC) Last year, a flotilla of 40 fishing boats set sail from northern Sri Lanka with a mission to seize back their island from navy occupation. The BBC's Ayeshea Perera reports the extraordinary story of how they did this without any bloodshed. On 23 April, a peculiar sight would have greeted a casual observer standing on the coast of northern Sri Lanka's mainland, near the village of Iranamata Nagar. more..

Drop in Dengue cases, deaths last year

Feb 11 (DN) A 7% decrease in the number of dengue cases and 90% decrease in the number of dengue deaths had been observed last year when compared with the previous year (2017), a Health Ministry spokesman said. The studies conducted so far had revealed that around 30% of the total number of dengue patients are schoolchildren. “The prevalence of Dengue can go up again with the ongoing rains and more..

Vocational training for Tuk-tuk drivers

Feb 11 (CT) If the taxi and three-wheeler industry continues in this same manner for several more years, the National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) emphasised that a number of severe social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental problems could arise in the country. NAITA pointed out that the lower-middle class and the lower-class youth without any educational background or vocational training more..

Applications called for executioner position

Feb 11 (AD) The Department of Prisons says applications are being called for the recruitment of two new executioners from today (11) onwards. Accordingly, persons aged 18-45 years, who have passed the G.C.E. O/L examination along with two credits, are eligible to send in their applications for the position, says the Media Spokesman of the Prison and Prison Commissioner Thushara Upuldeniya. more..

Video: Special HC rejects Gotabaya’s objection challenging jurisdiction

Feb 11 (AD) The objection filed by former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa challenging the jurisdiction of the Permanent High Court of Trial-at-Bar to hear the case over the D.A. Rajapaksa Museum has been rejected. This decision was issued when the case was taken up before the Special HC three-judge bench comprising Judges Sampath Abeykoon, Sampath Wijeratne, and Champa Rajaratne this morning. more..

EPF had funded Perpetual deals after avoiding auctions: Auditor General

Feb 11 (EN) Employees Provident Fund (EPF) had used its cash to finance bond purchases of a controversial primary dealer in bonds through short term loans, after bidding for smaller volumes at the primary auction, AG has revealed. EPF had then bought bonds from the secondary market at higher prices (lower yields), the AG said. Perpetual Treasuries, a primary dealer in gilts, was involved in SL's largest securities scam more..

Tallest building outside Colombo planned

Feb 11 (EN) A 35-story residential and shopping tower complex in Ja-Ela north of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo has been given the go head by the state investment promotion agency. Bellevue Residencies (Private) Limited, a joint venture between MAGA construction and Chandima Karandawala, a civil engineer resident in Nice, France will build the tower, Board of Investment said. The 15.4 million dollar tower will be the largest building outside the capital Colombo, the BOI said. more..

Dealing with notorious Makandure Madush

Feb 11 (CT) In the backdrop of attempts made to arrest and bring back former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran from his hideout abroad to Sri Lanka over his alleged involvement in CB Bonds scam remaining futile, the extradition of underworld kingpin Makandure Madush and his gang from Dubai has now thrown another challenge to the law enforcement officials of Sri Lanka. The underworld bigwig and his men are wanted in connection with not only big time drug dealings but also for more..

The bond-gate cover up continues

Attack on ATMs: The use of the eyeball test involving vigilance is the best

Feb 11 (FT) It seems that the genetic code of modern Homo sapiens is not different from that of other species. The latter is guided not by thinking but by instincts. Similarly, Homo sapiens is still embedded with the gene of fear that compels it to fight or flight when faced with fear-stricken situations. That emotion is necessary for safety and survival. But in the modern world, Homo sapiens who is called man the wise does not have to resort to either course without subjecting more..

Video: Rookantha appointed UNP’s Dambadeniya organiser

Feb 11 (DM) The UNP today appointed popular singer Rookantha Gunatilleke as the organiser of the Dambadeniya electorate. Meanwhile, former SLFP deputy minister Lalith Dissanayake was appointed as organiser for the Aranayake electorate and SLFPer Tilina Bandara Tennekoon as organizer for Pahathadumbara. Former minister Amara Piyaseeli Ratnayake’s son Manjula Bandara was appointed UNP organiser for Wariyapola while Udaya Wijenayake was appointed for Hiriyala. more..

Parents file petitions in appeal court against education ministry circular

Feb 11 (CT) Parents of children attending various governmental schools in the country have filed four petitions in the Court of Appeal seeking a Writ of Certiorari, to quash a provision included in a recently issued circular by the Ministry of Education which prevents parents who are past pupils, from being elected into the Executive Committees of their respective School Development Committees. more..

UNP is facing a natural death: Pavithra

Feb 11 (AD) MP Pavithra Wanniarachchi says that the UNP does not support holding provincial council election in fear of defeat. Knowing their inevitable defeat at the elections is also UNP facing a natural death, she stated. She mentioned this attending a party event of SLPP held in Mulkirigala. She points out that there are no projects that had commenced and completed within the ruling period of the current govt. "The only economic policy of the UNP led govt is taxation of the people," she said. more..

Anti-Glyphosate campaign halted

Feb 11 (CT) The closure of Strategic Enterprise Management Agency (SEMA), which operated under the purview of Presidential Secretariat, led to the anti-Glyphosate campaign being halted. MP Ven. Aturaliye Ratana Thera charged that there isn’t a State mechanism to promote organic agriculture and to make public aware of harmful effects of Glyphosate-based herbicides and other toxic agrochemicals. Although the Government has lifted the ban on Glyphosate for tea and rubber, more..

Fake director J’Pura hospital removed: 17 million financial fraud taken before the FCID

Feb 11 (CT) One day after Voice Against Corruption lodging a complaint against the massive scale financial fraud committed by the illegally appointed fake director of Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital Dr Susitha Senaratne yesterday, he was removed from his fake appointment today via letter. Susitha Senaratne, banned from attending even the Board Meetings of the hospital by the courts due to the illegal nature of his more..

Transplant operations continuing: Health Ministry

Feb 11 (Island) The Health Ministry, yesterday, announced that the reports that heart and kidney transplants had been suspended owing to a shortage of drugs were false. The Ministry said, in a media statement, that two kidneys and a liver, obtained from a brain-dead person, had been brought, from the Ratnapura Teaching hospital, and transplanted in two patients at National Hospital, Colombo and Kandy Teaching Hospital, with the approval from the Ministry, on Friday. more..

I’ve heeded uprooting drug menace ever since I entered politics: Ravi

Feb 11 (AD) At present, the youths have been swept up into the drug menace, and the persons safeguarding such criminals destroying the future of these youths and the country as well, says Minister Ravi Karunanayake. He made this comment addressing the media today, following an official discussion held with the Governor of Western Province Azath Salley. Minister deplored the dealings that destroy the lives of the innocent youths and said that he had been heeding more..

Will lodge bribery complain against Buddhika as soon as I return: ASP

Feb 11 (DM) A.S.P. Liyanage who resigned as the SL Ambassador to Qatar said today he would lodge a complaint against Deputy Minister Buddhika Pathirana with the Bribery Commission as soon as he returned to the country after completing his diplomatic duties in Qatar. Mr. Liyanage said a complaint would be lodged with the Bribery Commission against Dy Minister Pathirana for allegedly obtaining benefits from more..

Govt to introduce a high quality helmet?

Feb 11 (NR) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga says the importation of helmets of poor quality will be halted in future. He said the number of motorbike accidents have increased as a result of the recklessness of riders and in turn results in critical injuries due to substandard helmets. Minister Ranatunga accordingly noted the Ministry will introduce helmets of acceptable quality manufactured according to technically sound standards to the market in the near future. more..

Drug shortage will be ended by next month

Feb 11 (GDI) The drug shortage will be ended by March end, Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. According to Minister Senaratne, the drug shortage commenced with the 53 days of political crisis and all possible steps were taken to address the issue. The Govt Medical Officers Association is also responsible for the drug shortage because they had close connections with then Health Minister and they were always moved here and there inside the Health Ministry during that time. more..

Behind every underworld leader, there’s a politician: Gammanpila

Feb 11 (DM) Similar to the saying there is a strong woman behind every successful man, there is a political leader behind every underworld leader, MP Udaya Gammanpila said. He said regardless of the status or the political party they belonged to, politicians must be brought to books if they back underworld figures or activities. “No underworld can sustain without the backing and support of politician and the protection of the police. more..

Date of producing Madush before court uncertain: Udul

Feb 11 (DM) The date to produce in courts the suspects including Makadure Madush, who were arrested in Dubai, was uncertain, Attorney-at-law Udul Premaratne, who went to Dubai to appear on behalf of Amal Perera and Nadimal Perera, said. He said the suspects were still under police custody and that they were yet to be produced in court. “False news is being reported that they were produced in court. I got the opportunity to speak to Amal Perera and his son,” Premaratne said. more..

Govt to issue permits for chainsaws

Feb 11 (NR) Prez Sirisena says a new circular will be issued in the near future making it mandatory to obtain permits for chainsaws used for felling. He said accordingly those who own chainsaws should take necessary methods to obtain permits from the 15th of Feb to the 1st of March by visiting the nearest Police Station. Meanwhile all Police Stations will be required to maintain a register of those who own chainsaws. Prez noted those who fail to obtain permit to use such machines will be arrested. more..

National Govt proposal likely to be dropped

Feb 11 (CT) Due to opposition by various parties, the proposal to form a National Govt is unlikely to be presented to Parliament, informed sources said. The proposal was scheduled to be submitted to Parliament at the next sitting. It is also reported that the President has informed several senior UNP members that he would not support a National Govt which is illegal and will never increase the number of Ministers above 30. more..

Foreign reserves hit 21-month low

Feb 11 (CT) The country’s foreign reserves fell to a 21-month low last month, scarred by the dual ill effects of the political uncertainty three months ago that led to foreign exits from the financial markets, coupled with having to honour a US$ one billion maturing sovereign bond taken during the Rajapaksa era. As a result, the country’s foreign reserves, last month over December fell by US$ 777.57 million (11.24%) to $ 6,141.65 million. Meanwhile, the dubious distinction of more..

'Prez changed tracks for country’s sake'

Feb 11 (AD) A govt jointly formed by Prez Sirisena and Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa would be established in the future, says SLFP General Secretary MP Dayasiri Jayasekara. The MP stated this addressing a public meeting held in Katugampola, Kurunegala. Stating that the GDP growth rate of the country for the past five years had been 3.1%, MP Jayasekara questioned if the govt can function with the UNP at a situation as such. Prez formed a govt with Mahinda Rajapaksa, more..

Sale of EAP Companies: Lycamobile made purchases under disguise: Weerawansa

Feb 11 (CT) Governor of the CB, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, is responsible for facilitating the purchase of the companies belonging to the EAP Edirisinghe Group at a very low rate, by an internationally blacklisted company named Lycamobile, alleged NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa. Founder of Lycamobile, which is disgracefully known as the world’s largest cheap telephone call provider, is Subaskaran more..

Norwegian envoy briefed on challenges in the North

Feb 11 (CG) The Ambassador of Norway to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther, has been briefed on the challenges faced in the North when he visited the area last week, the Norwegian Embassy in Colombo said today. Ambassador Gaustadsæther visited Jaffna to attend the International Conference on Advanced Materials for Clean Energy and Health Applications (AMCEHA), jointly organized by Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and University of Jaffna. more..

Sumanthiran next TNA leader?

Feb 11 (CT) It is highly likely that MP M.A. Sumanthiran will be the next Leader of TNA, since its present Leader, R. Sampanthan, is not physically fit to carry out responsibilities, reliable sources said. Meanwhile, Jaffna District TNA MP E. Sarawanapavan confirmed that the initiatives required to make Sumanthiran the next leader of the Party will be made at the next politburo meeting. However, according to the seniority, the next leader of TNA should be Mawai Senathirajah. more..

‘Sri Lanka wants Tamil refugees to return’

Feb 11 (Hindu) At 76, Austin Fernando, a veteran of the Sri Lankan bureaucracy, is perhaps the oldest to hold the post of High Commissioner to India. During his visit to Chennai to obtain first-hand knowledge of the situation pertaining to Tamil refugees, he said that Sri Lanka needs them. We want them to return. Q: What has brought you to Chennai? A: We had a team of officials come here from Colombo, including Sumith Nakandala, more..

It’s not all’s well that ends well

Feb 12 (SO) The letters ‘SLC’ spells trouble, or so it seems. This week, the poster boy of one SLC, Sri Lanka Cricket, test captain Dinesh Chandimal was sacked and the mantle was bestowed on Dimuth Karunaratne. In what is an entirely different ball game, the head of another SLC, Sri Lanka Customs, Ms. P.S.M. Charles was re-instated as Director General of Customs after attempts to remove her led to a prolonged strike by customs officers. We shall not dwell on the ills that plague more..

Regulating Pvt sector health service charges

Feb 12 (DN) The private hospitals will be regulated soon and the relevant gazette notification is now being prepared. The final draft of the regulation process was presented in mid-January, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. According him, a case has been filed in courts by private hospitals against regulation, but all private hospitals would be regulated as planned in order to provide a better health service to the public. Accordingly, charges on various surgeries, laboratory investigations more..

Committing to the ink: How Sri Lanka's tattoo artists learn their art

Feb 12 (Roar) “It’s the uniqueness of every piece you create,” Kyle Sampath-Valentine said, about why he chose to become a tattoo artist. “You’re constantly learning new things, and even if you get the same design, it’s never going to be the same tattoo.” Tattoos are a popular form of expression, and there is an ever-increasing demand for tattooists, but little standardised infrastructure to train them. more..

Economic development in a confused political environment

Feb 12 (ST) The President’s speech at the independence commemoration ceremony last Monday clearly demonstrated the divisive nature of our political leadership and the incapacity to forge a united effort to achieve economic stability and development. Apart from the inappropriateness of such criticism in an Independence Day Speech to the nation, it is incongruous as Mr. Sirisena was in the cabinets of Mr. Rajapakse and held several key cabinet positions in his govt. more..

With govt backing, Muslim men are taking over MMDA reforms once again

Feb 12 (CT) One year after the report of the 2009 MMDA Committee appointed to suggest amendments to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) was submitted to the Ministry of Justice, there appears to be some discussion at the ministerial level about next steps for MMDA reform. However, these discussions have been heading in the wrong direction. On Feb 7th, a meeting was called between Muslim MP’s and members of the 2009 Committee, instead it came to light more..

Sri Lanka produces its own Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher

Feb 12 (CT) Sri Lankan First Indigenous Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) with a 122mm Ten-Barrel Rocket Launching System was designed and developed by Centre for Research and Development (CRD), under Ministry of Defence (MOD), said Director General of the CRD Brigadier Dr. Thiran de Silva. Brigadier de Silva stated that there was a huge requirement to develop our own weapons system more..

Fine-tuning the UN programme

Feb 12 (DN) Article 3 of our Constitution declares our sovereignty: “In the Republic of Sri Lanka sovereignty is in the People and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the powers of govt, fundamental rights and the franchise.” It provides in article 103(2) for an independent EC to oversee the exercise of our franchise: “The object of the Commission shall be to conduct free and fair elections and referenda.” It adds in article 104B(2) that “It shall be the duty of the Commission to more..

Edtorial: A sober voice

Feb 12 (Island) It is heartening that not all govt MPs are intoxicated with power and impervious to reason. Some of them are responsive to public opinion and have the courage to express views that are at variance with their leaders’ on some key issues. They are the real strength of the ruling coalition. Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva has said that the sole purpose of forming a national govt should not be increasing the number of ministers. If there are MPs who are willing to join the govt more..