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Badminton star takes wicket off first over in Canberra

Feb 2 (Island) It wouldn’t be an overstatement to suggest that the Karunaratne brothers own SL badminton. The men’s national championship in recent years has been dominated by the three Karunaratne brothers - Niluka, Dinuka and Chamika. Niluka is most significant of the three having gone onto qualify for the quarter-finals of London Olympics in 2012. The youngest of them Chamika was ranked number two in the island three years ago obviously behind his elder brother. more..

It’s Motown music once more

Feb 2 (ST) What’s Motown music? most young people today would ask, when hearing of the theme of the Signed, Sealed, Delivered concert. The young singers asked themselves that very same question when they heard that they would be performing Motown music. They weren’t very keen on it initially, but now after months of practice with barely a week till performance, they can’t get enough of it. Their concert Signed, Sealed, Delivered will be on Feb 1 at 7.30 p.m. at Bishop’s College auditorium. more..

Let’s fight for freedom - again

Feb 2 (Island) What has Freedom to do with having more Cabinet Ministers? I ask this because just 3 days before 71st Independence Commemoration Day, the proposal has been made to have a National Govt, which means more than 30 Cabinet Ministers. Those who brought the 19th Amendment to restrict the number of Cabinet Ministers to 30, going down from the huge numbers allowed by the JRJ 1978 Constitution, are using their own trick of more..

Skilled Labour shortage hinders manufacturing: NCCSL Head

Feb 2 (CT) The shortages of skilled labour across all industries continue to be a hindrance in manufacturing and service industries in Sri Lanka, newly-elected President of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL), Asela de Livera said on Tuesday. Addressing the NCCSL’s annual general meeting, he insisted that it is therefore vital for Sri Lanka to have policies to increase skilled labour availability directed towards export-related industries. more..

Govt to launch seven pilot projects for agriculture development

Feb 2 (DN) Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade along with the Export Development Board (EDB) will implement seven pilot projects for the development of agriculture for exports this month. The project covers agricultural bases such as flowers, cinnamon leaf oil, coir, vanilla, ornamental fish, baby bitter gourd (Thumba Karawila) for exporting. “We have to uncover new products for exporting to diversify our exports,” said Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara more..

January inflation rises to 3.7%

Feb 2 (FT) Inflation rose to 3.7% in January, up 0.91% from December when inflation was 2.8%, the Census and Statistics Department said, with prices being pushed up largely by non-food items. CCPI for all items for the month of Jan 2019 was 127.4 and it records an increase of 1.1 index points that is 0.91 percentage points compared to the month of Dec 2018 for which the index was 126.3. more..

Tobacco farmers' hopes turn into debt

Feb 2 (DN) The drought which has been ongoing for the last six years, has greatly impacted farmers in many areas of the country. It was as if demons had been sent to ravage their crops. Thus farmers have been facing grave economic difficulties with their families plunged into tragic circumstances. With farm labourers not finding enough work on the fields, many left the villages in search of other jobs. However as the farming community faced such difficulties, certain multinational companies more..

Public uproar in SL against animal cruelty

Feb 2 (Island) An online petition calling for the immediate enactment of the long overdue Animal Welfare Bill has been circulating for the past few weeks. It has been gaining tremendous support from the general public, many who are empathetic animal lovers. It was created at the outset of the unjustifiable event that happened to Charlie, the Labrador. Charlie was burnt alive in his kennel on New Year’s Eve, marking a very low point in animal welfare in Sri Lanka. more..

MR launches Centre for Int'l Relations

Feb 2 (FT) Opposition Leader and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa this week launched a Centre for International Relations to strengthen Sri Lanka’s foreign policy. MP Namal Rajapaksa tweeted that the Mahinda Rajapaksa Centre for International Relations (MRCIR) would conduct studies and research on how best Sri Lanka could strengthen its international relations. Janaka Nimalachandra has been appointed as more..

Muslim organisations of Sri Lanka issue joint statement over recent incidents

Feb 2 (FT) The plurality of religions is a reality of the human experience. All religions acknowledge this fact undeniably. No religion encourages blasphemous or humiliating acts towards other religions. Islam strongly condemns blasphemy against other religions and offending the feelings of followers of other religions. The Holy Quran guides using very clear terms: Do not revile those whom they invoke other than Allah. [6:108] It is evident that the religion of Islam, more..

Govt pharmacists at Nawalapitiya Hospital on strike

Feb 2 (AD) The govt pharmacists of the Nawalapitiya Base Hospital have commenced a trade union action today (01). As the hospital’s pharmacy has been closed down due to the trade union action, the patients are, reportedly, severely inconvenienced. Chairman of the Society of Govt Pharmacists Priyankara Perera stated the trade union action was launched as the discussions held with the Ministry of Health on the unnecessary recruitment of govt pharmacists have failed. more..

Gnanasara Thera: Civil society opposes presidential pardon

Feb 2 (CT) Nineteen civil society organisations and 233 individuals wrote to Prez Sirisena yesterday urging that a guarantee be given that Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera will not be released on a Presidential pardon on 4 Feb. While urging the Prez not to abuse the Presidential pardon in this instance as it would be a serious blow to the rule of law, they also urged the President to direct all relevant agencies to expedite more..

Grade-1 classroom may admit up to 37 students: Akila

Feb 2 (DM) According to the 2021 policy decision, number of students in a grade-one classroom should not exceed 35, Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said. However, he said the number of students in such a classroom could accommodate up to 37 and added that the ministry had received several complaints that this policy had not been implemented in certain schools mainly because of political influence. “Ministerial decisions at national level have to be implemented and more..

Estate workers’ daily wage; PM agrees to delay gazette till Feb. 5

Feb 2 (DM) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe had agreed to delay the issuing of a gazette notification pertaining to increasing the daily wage of estate workers upto Rs. 700 to allow negotiations to continue on the issue until a solution is found. This decision was taken at a meeting Mr. Wickremesinghe had with leaders of the Tamil Progressive Front, Minister Navin Dissanayake and Trade Union Relations Minister Ravindra Samaraweera at Temple Trees this evening. more..

Sri Lanka to borrow $1 billion from China for highway project

Feb 2 (PTI) Sri Lanka, which last year handed over a strategic port to a Chinese firm for a 99-year lease as a debt swap, will soon sign a USD 1 billion concessional loan agreement with Beijing to fund a major highway project linking Colombo to the hill resort of Kandy. The construction of the first phase of the road linking Colombo with Kandy had been delayed for more than two years due to a lack of funding. more..

Sandhya E. says she should be informed

Feb 2 (CT) Wife of missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, Sandhya Eknaligoda yesterday handed over a letter to the Justice Ministry stating that according to provisions of the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act, No. 4 of 2015, she had to be informed of any move to grant a Presidential pardon to Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera. The monk was convicted over several charges including being in contempt of Court and more..

Blackouts due to sparking power lines

Feb 2 (DM) The power failures which have been reported from several areas in the country including Colombo, were due to sparks in two sub transmission lines in Kelanitissa Power Station, Power and Energy Ministry said. Ministry’s Information Officer Director, Sulakshana Jayawardena, said the two sparking power transmission lines which carry 132 Kw from Kelanitissa to Kolonnawa power stations caused the interruption. more..

UK arrest warrant for Brig. Priyanka Fernando revoked

Feb 2 (Guardian) An arrest warrant for a former SL military attache, convicted of public order offences after making cut-throat gestures at protesters, has been revoked without a court hearing following Foreign Office involvement. The private prosecution of Brig Priyanka Fernando has degenerated into extraordinary legal confusion, forcing the chief magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, to take control of the case. more..

Writ of Quo Warranto against Ranil: CA fixes for support on 12 February

Feb 2 (FT) The Court of Appeal yesterday fixed to support on 12 February at 1.30 p.m. the Writ of Quo Warranto (a writ or legal action requiring a person to show by what warrant an office is held) petition against Ranil Wickremesinghe from being a MP. The Bench comprised Justices A.L.S. Gooneratne and Priyantha Fernando. UPFA Colombo Municipal Councillor Sharmila Gonawela who is Co-President of Women for Justice cited Ranil Wickremesinghe, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and more..

Kurunegala teacher sentenced to 2 years RI

Feb 2 (CT) Kurunegala High Court Judge Menaka Wijesundara sentenced a female school teacher charged with assaulting a student, to two years’ Rigorous Imprisonment. She also ordered the woman teacher to pay compensation of Rs 100,000 to the victim and said the failure to pay the fine will result in a further three-month prison term being imposed. Judge also imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000 on the convict and warned that failure to pay it will once again result in an additional 3-month more..

'Proposal to form national govt outrageous'

Feb 2 (DM) Proposal made by the UNP to form a national govt was not only illegal but also outrageous, SLPP alleged. Its Chairman G.L. Peiris said that the need of the hour was to address the urgent problems, such as unhealthy taxation and the issue of fall armyworm, which are piling up and not receiving the attention they deserve. “This is not the priority at all. This is for no other purpose than to enlarge the size of the cabinet more..

Ocean University of Sri Lanka Capacity building strengthened

Feb 2 (Island) Korea Int'l Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the grant aid division of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, conducted a workshop for the KOICA funded project for Establishment of the Master Plan and Capacity Building of the Ocean University of Sri Lanka earlier this week in Colombo. The participants included many government officials and representatives from other relevant organizations. The objective of the workshop was to examine the current status of marine and more..

Two murder suspects arrested while fleeing in Weerawila

Feb 2 (AD) Two suspects, in connection with murdering a man by assaulting with a sharp weapon, have been arrested in Weerawila area. Weerawila Police made the arrest while the suspects had been fleeing in a three-wheeler last night (31). The police said the suspects are relatives of the deceased and residents of Bendigama area in Weeraketiya. Based on the information uncovered through preliminary interrogations, the police have managed to seize a knife and an iron rod more..

New ministry new scam?: Change of plans after public outcry

Feb 2 (DN) Minister Ravi Karunanayake in a sudden reversal of his proposal yesterday said there is no need for emergency power purchases in the country as at now. The Minister, speaking to the media during an inspection tour at Ceylon Electricity Board’s (CEB) National Electricity Grid Control Center in Ethul Kotte, said his ministry’s previous proposal to purchase emergency power was to prepare for a power crisis. more..

DG removal an attempt to bypass Customs when handling foreign firearms: SLPP

Feb 2 (DM) SLPP said there was an attempt to bypass the Customs Department when handling foreign firearms brought down to the country and this was why Customs Director General P.S.M. Charles had been removed. MP Kanaka Herath said the govt was attempting to appoint someone outside the Customs Dept who will not hesitate to bypass the Customs Ordinance. “There are reports of an MoU with the US. There is the expectation of bypassing the Customs when transporting more..

Presidential pardon for Gnanasara Thera: No request to Justice Ministry yet: Thalatha

Feb 2 (CT) The practice with regard to granting a Presidential pardon involves going through the Ministry of Justice, but the Ministry is yet to receive any information or request regarding a recommendation for a Presidential pardon for Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera. This was revealed to Ceylon Today by Minister of Justice and Prison Reforms, Thalatha Atukorale. She added that if they receive such a request, it would be referred to the Attorney General. more..

Ministry of Finance Secy directly intervened to remove Customs DG: Unions

Feb 2 (CT) Customs Trade Union Alliance (CTUA) claimed that Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga had directly intervened in the removal of former Director General (DG) of the SL Customs, P.H.M. Charles. They alleged that Dr. Samaratunga had been livid with Charles for having failed to support businesses allegedly connected to a powerful Govt Minister and the latter’s younger brother. more..

Wetlands a natural treasure, let’s preserve them

Feb 2 (DM) On issues relating to global warming and climate change, it is essential that all people – children and adults – need to be enlightened on the catastrophic consequences if we do not take urgent steps. Ignorance is a mortal sin that aggravates this crisis. Such ignorance was heard from the highest level this week. In Chicago and other parts of the mid-west of the United States, temperatures this week plunged to historically low levels of minus 60 degrees C. more..

World Wetlands Day: Think before you leap

Feb 2 (DM) Colombo is one of the first 18 cities that have been accredited as a Ramsar Wetland City at the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention (COP13) held on October 25, 2018 in Dubai, UAE. The awarding of Wetland City Accreditation taken place in accordance to the Resolution XII.10 on Wetland City Accreditation, approved by COP12 in 2015, is an honour and reflection of hard work of the urban planners, agencies and scientists of the country. more..

Karunaratne stretchered off, taken to hospital after blow to neck

Feb 2 (CI) Dimuth Karunaratne had substantial medical attention and was stretchered off the field, after sustaining a nasty blow to the back of the head from a short delivery bowled by Pat Cummins. Attempting to duck the bouncer in the fourth delivery of the 31st over, Karunaratne turned and tucked in his head. But the ball did not rise as high as he had expected, and struck him seemingly on the top of the shoulder, before hitting more..

UNP’s proposal only a ploy to increase Cabinet: JVP

Feb 2 (DM) The JVP said the proposed resolution by the UNP to form a national govt was only a shameful ploy to increase the cabinet of ministers. JVP propaganda Secretary Vijitha Herath said that the govt was planning to form a national govt with the support of an MP who contested the SLMC ticket. “Lakshman Kiriella has said they would submit a resolution in parliament to form a national govt. more..

Australia strike late blows after Dimuth Karunaratne injury scare

Feb 2 (CI) Kurtis Patterson's maiden Test century propelled Australia to a commanding 5 for 534, before three late strikes seriously dented SL's response - the hosts ending yet another day in the series in a dominant position against a beleaguered visiting side. Having made three hundreds in their innings - the first Australian tons in the summer so far - Australia's attack then exerted tremendous pressure on a brittle more..

Rs. 30 billion mixed development project for Battaramulla

Feb 2 (FT) In the latest effort to upgrade Battaramulla as the administrative capital, the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development yesterday launched a Rs. 30 billion mixed development project in the heart of the town. The venture aims to integrate a multi-modal transport centre that plans to locate all major administrative functions in the capital with investment from Riemersma Management more..

Duminda backs Sirisena for second term

Feb 2 (FT) SLFP MP Duminda Dissanayake yesterday proposed President Maithripala Sirisena’s name as the party’s next Presidential Candidate at the inaugural party restructuring convention held in Anuradhapura. The proposal brought forth by UPFA MP Duminda Dissanayake during the convention was unanimously approved by the Anuradhapura Bala Mandala members. more..

Unofficial bar expresses concern

Feb 2 (CT) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expressing concern over the present vacancies in the Court of Appeal (CoA) including that of a permanent President, took the Constitutional Council (CC) to task for allegedly blocking appointments by heeding hearsay evidence concerning allegations against Court of Appeal Judges. The private and unofficial bar also expressed concern regarding more..

National School Principals urged to support HPV vaccine programme

Feb 2 (DM) National School Principals in Colombo do not support the programme to give the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for schoolgirls, Health Promotion Bureau Director Dr. Paba Palihawadana complained. The HPV vaccine, which gives protection from cervical cancer was introduced to the National Immunization Programme in 2017. “Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in females in Sri Lanka. more..

Govt hospitals experience drug shortage: GMOA

Feb 2 (Island) GMOA Secretary Dr. Haritha Aluthge said that in the state run hospitals there was an acute shortage of drugs. He said the GMOA had warned of the situation six months back, but Minister Rajitha Senaratne and the Health Ministry officials had not taken any action to replenish the stocks. "Today, the cat is out of the bag and the COPE report has divulged the irregularities in the purchase of drugs and more..

Rs 1.3 bn payment for grounded Airbus

Feb 2 (Island) SriLankan is paying Rs. 1.3 billion per year for a grounded A330-200 aircraft that it was compelled to acquire, the PCoI on irregularities at SriLankan Airlines, SriLankan Catering and Mihin Lanka was informed, yesterday. Senior Manager - Group Assurances and Advisory Services of SriLankan, Mahesh Nanayakkara told the PCoI that the airline was making a monthly payment of Rs. 110 million for the aircraft. more..

No wild animals but wild politicos: MS

Feb 2 (DM) There are no wild animals, wild trees or wild forests as such but only wild politicians and wild people, President Sirisena said yesterday. “I know quite well how politicians and officials become corrupt and engage in misdeeds ruining the economy, the establishments they give leadership and the country. But I can’t reveal these things now because they will say I am trying to disrupt the system. They will go on strike. more..