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Sri Lanka manufacturing, services sectors grow in January

Feb 19 (EN) Sri Lanka's manufacturing and services sectors grew in January 2019 compared to Dec 2018 fueled by apparel and education industries, Central Bank said. The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), compiled by the Central Bank, grew to 54.4 points in January, up 0.7 points from December. An index value over 50 shows a growth over the previous month. SL's manufacturing PMI grew to 54.4 points in Jan more..

UN expert frowns on fuel price formula

Feb 19 (Island) A UN expert, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsk, who visited Sri Lanka last year, criticized the automatic market-based mechanism (pricing formula) introduced to fix fuel prices, which might also be introduced for electricity pricing, stating that such measures could have serious negative impacts on the livelihood of fishing, farming and rural communities. He also criticised the govt for carrying out IMF recommendations, more..

Top cop faces arrest over double murder

Feb 19 (EN) The senior-most police officer in the southern province is likely to be questioned and arrested over the killing of two people by a special unit directly under his command, official sources said Tuesday. Senior Deputy Inspector-General Ravi Wijegunawardena has already been transferred to police Head Quarters pending an investigation into last month’s abduction and murder of two businessmen from Ratgama. more..

Are children safe from abuse in Sri Lanka?

Feb 20 (CT) The recent much publicised, despicable event in Sri Lanka when a ruggerite from St. Peters college, possibly in his mid to late teens, was repeatedly slapped by his coach in the full glare of the public eye says so much about how our society is evolving or has already evolved. The event itself is no doubt one amongst hundreds and thousands of occurrences where helpless children are abused by their teachers while at school and by their parents when they are home. more..

Menace to Mahaveli

Feb 20 (DN) A team of journalists got onto several boats from the Kinniya bridge to take a ride along the Mahaweli River to observe the destruction caused by excessive sand mining along the main tributary of the Mahaweli, the Upparu River. As the group set off in their boats, the tension in the area was quite evident. There were several people who, on spotting the boats, rushed to the river banks and were inquisitively observing. It is a known fact that illegal sand mining is rife in this area more..

Navy abductions case: Witnesses fear for their lives

Feb 20 (SO) Right wing politicians have taken up cudgels against Navy officials testifying against senior rankers implicated in an abduction for ransom racket in 2008-2009. Investigators worry the campaign of intimidation could hamper the probe and deter key witnesses from coming forward. In 2012, Naval Intelligence officer Krishan Welagedara became one of CID’s key witnesses in an investigation into a gory abduction racket more..

Governor Indrajit: Where is promised press notice on bond scam forensic audit?

Feb 20 (CT) SL’s apex monetary, financial and banking regulator – Central Bank (CB) in recent times particularly under the Governorship of Nivard Cabraal, Arjuna Mahendran and presently Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy has demonstrated to the world at large that the CB and hence the country does not have the will to fully implement the laws already in place (however inadequate) to combat money laundering. On 11 Jan 2019 the CB in one of its rare responses on behalf of more..

Women & Microcredit: Rising indebtedness among female micro-credit clients

Feb 20 (ST) During the past few years, women’s access to credit in Sri Lanka has been accompanied by stories in the media of high levels of indebtedness noted among borrowers. Reports of the incidence of indebtedness appear to be most prevalent in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, prompting high level Central Bank officials, including the Governor, to pay visits to the affected districts. The severity of the issue is underscored by several national level proclamations targeted more..

CKDu plagues country as debate on causes rages

Feb 20 (SO) For decades Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology (CKDu) has plagued the country, spreading at an alarming rate. Statistics by the Presidential Task Force show that 400,000 are affected by the condition, but the number is considered to be higher. The debate about its causes rages on. The discussions among the scientific community has been mostly divided into two segments - one claiming more..

Pros and cons of new Constitution

Feb 20 (CT) “Is SL still a poor Nation because we do not have a suitable Constitution? Simply because everyone has a mobile phone, a Hero Honda, a Maruti obtained on some leasing programme, and a credit card from some international bank, has our Nation become an affluent Nation? Have the housing problems been solved, and critical operations at the hospitals, finding decent schools for children who would end up as future citizens, and for those bright children, are opportunities more..

Edtorial: Devolution conundrum

Feb 20 (Island) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has told the Northern politicians a few home truths. A TNA MP complained, at a recent development review committee meeting, at the Kilinochchi Divisional Secretariat, that Pradeshiya Sabhas had not received funds for housing from either the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) or the govt. Responding to him, the PM reportedly said that powers already devolved to the provinces had to be fully utilised before more was asked for. more..

Niroshan Premarathna

Sinhala nationalist critique of democracy - a mistake

Feb 20 (Island) The undeclared front runner for the Rajapaksa clan / SLPP/ JO nomination is undoubtedly former Defence Secretary. So his views and vision for Sri Lanka, which he is now periodically presenting as his undeclared presidential candidacy commences, merit serious attention. A democracy requires that there be debate and dialogue on policies and decisions affecting national life and, in that respect, the military is the last institution one wants to learn democratic norms from. more..

Wonder tree from Amazon rain forest, now flourishing in Sri Lanka’s dry zone

Feb 20 (ST) On Feb 7, something peculiar happened silently in the hamlet of Nedunkulama in Vavuniya district. In the morning Secretary to the Ministry of Plantation Industries, J.A. Ranjith handed over a tapping knife to farmer Chamath Bandara to commence the rubber harvesting in his land amidst blessing of Pirith chanting and birds’ chirping. For the first time, a rubber tree in the Northern Province was tapped to harvest latex. This was witnessed by some farmers in the area and more..

Germany calls for more transparency in SL as bilateral ties expand

Feb 20 (FT) Amidst growing bilateral ties, Germany is calling for improved efficiency and transparency in Sri Lanka to achieve a more robust and win-win partnership. “Germany’s footprint in SL and vice versa have been growing, resulting in greater bilateral cooperation,” German Ambassador Jörn Rohde said, adding that in recent years, German Foreign Minister visited SL followed by a State visit to Germany by Prez Sirisena in 2016. more..

Rowing: S. Thomas’ and Ladies emerge overall champions

Feb 20 (ST) S. Thomas’ College, Mt. Lavinia and Ladies College, Colombo won the highest number of Golds in the Junior Boys and Girls categories at the SL Junior Intermediate Rowing Championship 2019 concluded at the Diyawanna Rowing Centre yesterday. The championship was worked off for four days from Feb 13 to 16. The Thomians won four Golds while Ladies College won five Golds and received the coveted trophies while in the Intermediate categories SL Navy women more..

Cricket’s captain dilemma: The ugly patchwork nobody likes

Feb 20 (ST) It is rare–even unheard of–in the cricketing world for a team to have had five captains in two years. But Sri Lanka has not only shuffled its deck at will, it has changed captains fast and often in search of the elusive quick fix. And it has not worked. Apart from five Test skippers, SL has had six different captains in ODI cricket. If the story doing rounds is true, we will soon have a seventh taking the limited-over team to South Africa for our last assignment before World Cup in England. more..

Can SL create history in Port Elizabeth?

Feb 20 (Island) South Africa have an enviable record at home as only two teams have beaten them in Test cricket. Hard and bouncy surfaces found here have proved to be the undoing of many champion teams. Only Australia and England have won Test series in South Africa and Sri Lankans could be making history here as they need only a draw to become the third team in the history to conquer South Africa in their own soil more..

SL to launch first nano satellite in mid-2019

Feb 20 (GDI) Sri Lanka’s first nano satellite, developed by the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies with technological support from Japan, will be launched by mid-2019, Non-Cabinet Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe yesterday said. The nano satellite has been developed by two research engineers attached to the Arthur C. Clarke Institute with the facilitation of Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. The two research students are Dulani Chamika and Tharindu Dayarathne. more..

Batting star Nishan Madushka Moratu Vidyalaya’s Mr Reliable

Feb 20 (ST) With a load of experience as a Junior National cricketer and as a 5th-year coloursman, Nishan Madushka Fernando of Moratu Vidyalaya, shone with the bat during the 2018-19 schools Cricket season to guide his alma mater to the Super 8. In the process, he reached 1,000 runs for the season. This wicket-keeping, right-handed opening batsman reach the 1,000-target with five centuries and seven half-centuries. He has totalled 1,238 runs from 12 matches. more..

Spin bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge drops a bombshell

Feb 20 (DN) Spin bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge dropped a bombshell when he said that they had brought it to the notice of the national cricket selectors in 2016 that there was something wrong with the bowling action of spinner Akila Dananjaya, but was told to just let him play until the umpires reported him. “To be frank in 2016 we brought to the notice of the selectors there is something like this in his bowling action, more..

Macroeconomic crisis in Oct-Dec quarter triggers Rs. 327 m loss at Softlogic

Feb 20 (FT) A macroeconomic crisis-filled third quarter October to December 2018 has triggered a Rs. 327 million loss at Softlogic Holdings PLC, as against a profit of Rs. 953 million a year earlier, whilst for the first nine months the Group post-tax profit managed a 29% gain to cross Rs. 2 billion mark. Softlogic Chairman Ashok Pathirage said the Group’s operating environment in the third quarter of FY19 was assailed by the sudden and steep depreciation of the rupee, particularly, more..

Japan’s Odakyu Group exclusively partners TAD Group for Rs. 4.5 billion investment

Feb 20 (Island) Being one of the largest conglomerates, operating in a multitude of mandates in Transport, Real Estate and Retail in Japan; the Odakyu Group together with its consortium partners Stacia Capital and UDS, is no stranger to grand ventures. For the first time in its illustrious 70 year history, it reaches far beyond Japan as it establishes its first offshore partnership, in SL. Enabling this historic venture is the TAD Group, a multi-faceted conglomerate in its own right, more..

Govt and IMF begin talks for new staff level agreement

Feb 20 (FT) A delegation from the IMF has been engaged in discussions with top officials this week on reaching a staff level agreement on continuing the $1.5 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF). The delegation arrived in Colombo last Thursday, and has already had meetings with officials from both the Central Bank and Finance Ministry. Minister Mangala Samaraweera and CB Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, more..

Sports Minister felicitates netball and carrom teams

Feb 20 (DN) Sports Minister Harin Fernando felicitated the national netball team, carrom team and athlete Parami Fernando at a ceremony at the Sports Ministry yesterday Speaking at the ceremony he said these three sports aren’t ones where you see a huge amount of money being invested or see big sponsorships. That is why, the Sports Ministry, wants to support these sports in every possible way” He also requested media org to support them to get more sponsorship for those three sports. more..

BASL elections to be held today

Feb 20 (NR) The elections of the Sri Lanka Bar Association will be worked off today. The election is being held to elect a Chairman and Secretary for the years 2019/2020. President’s Counsel Kalinga Indratissa and Mahinda Lokuge are contesting for the post of Chairman of the Bar Association, while Kaushalya Nanayakkara and Saman Welianga will contest for the post of Secretary. More than 16,000 attorneys are expected to cast their vote at today’s election. more..

JVP leader stresses need for rebranding SL

Feb 20 (Island) Sri Lanka, 71 years after Independence had earned several negative sobriquets and the time had come to re-brand the country, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said, yesterday. "Our country has come to be known for debt, narcotics, unskilled labour, political instability, high suicide rate, high alcohol consumption, etc. We have to shoulder the task of repairing the image of the country." more..

CIMA President to share key lessons from British public sector with SL tomorrow

Feb 20 (FT) CIMA Sri Lanka and NHRDC have jointly arranged a session titled Lessons from the UK to improve public sector performance on 21 Feb at the Galadari Hotel for public sector employees, mainly Ministry Secretaries, finance and accounting related staff as well as CIMA members in the public sector. Keynote will be by Steven Swientozielskyj, FCMA CGMA, who besides being the CIMA President in the Centenary year, is an int'l speaker and expert on world-class improvements more..

Govt to resume shipping links between Kankasanthurai and Talaimannar

Feb 20 (FT) Work has started on re-establishing transportation of goods and people from Kankasanthurai (KKS) and Talaimannar to ports in South India, the PM’s Office said yesterday. Upgrading KKS Harbour has already started with work being observed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe during a recent visit. Plans to upgrade the jetty at Talaimannar has already been made and work on it will be started soon by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), the PM’s Office said in a statement. more..

Pharmacy owners blame doctor unions

Feb 20 (CT) All Island Private Pharmacy Owners Association (AIPPOA) accused doctor trade unions of protecting doctors who promote pharmaceutical brands in their prescriptions for special remunerations. Chairman of the AIPPOA Chandika Gangoda claimed that according to the law, doctors must definitely mention the generic name of the medicine/antibiotic, but doctors never write generic name; will mention brand name, more..

Norwegian Ambassador visits Jaffna

Feb 20 (FT) Ambassador of Norway Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther visited Jaffna to attend the Int'l Conference on Advanced Materials for Clean Energy and Health Applications (AMCEHA), jointly organised by Western Norway Uni of Applied Sciences and Uni of Jaffna. Opening the conference as the Chief Guest, Ambassador Gaustadsæther highlighted the importance of creating fora to provide opportunities for exchange of research ideas and form local and global partnerships. more..

ADB expanding access to credit for micro and small rural enterprises in Sri Lanka

Feb 20 (MD) Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $50 million loan to Regional Development Bank (RDB) of Sri Lanka to provide affordable and accessible credit to rural micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. “Limited access to finance is a key barrier facing entrepreneurs in SL,” said ADB Financial Sector Specialist Mr. Takuya Hoshino. “The project will not only directly fund $50 million of long-term financing to micro and small enterprises more..

Failiure to appoint of a permanent COA Prez: SC to be petitioned against President

Feb 20 (CT) A Fundamental Rights Petition will be moved in the Supreme Court against Prez Sirisena, alleging that he has advertently violated the Constitution by repeatedly evading the appointment of a permanent President to the Court of Appeal. According to President’s Counsels who are involved in drafting the petition for their client, petition will challenge the repeated appointment of Court of Appeal Judge, more..

Ladies only compartments soon

Feb 20 (DN) Transport Minister Arjuna Ranatunga has decided to have ladies only compartments in trains to thwart females from being harassed in any way. The initiative is to be launched to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8. Speaking to the media on an inspection visit to the Veyangoda station yesterday, Ranatunga said the initiative to reserve coaches for women will begin as a pilot project on five trains plying on major routes, especially during the rush hour. more..

Mass grave sample test report in court today

Feb 20 (NR) The report on Carbon Dating tests conducted on the samples of bone fragments uncovered at the Mannar mass grave will be produced in Court today. Judicial Medical Officer in charge of the Mannar mass grave Shaminda Rajapaksa said the report will accordingly be produced before the Mannar Magistrate’s Court. Rajapaksa also noted a special discussion will be held at the Mannar Magistrate’s Court premises, with all personnel engaged in excavations. more..

Imported milk powder: Rajitha says he can educate President

Feb 20 (Island) Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the media that he could have explained the situation to President Sirisena if the latter had raised the issue of contaminated milk powder products at the weekly Cabinet meeting. The officials of Health Ministry, SL Standards and Govt Analyst Department officials, present at the media briefing, assured the media that the imported milk powder was of good quality. more..

Indian Coast Guard nabs 25 Sri Lankan fishermen off Tamil Nadu coast

Feb 20 (PTI) Twenty five Sri Lankan fishermen have been arrested and five Lankan fishing boats seized for allegedly fishing illegally in Indian waters about 90 km off Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu, the Coast Guard said Tuesday. The CG was maintaining strict vigil following the recent Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. In a statement, the CG said the boats were carrying 4,200 kg of Tuna fish illegally caught from the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). more..

Rs. 7 billin gem robbery: Another accomplice of Madush arrested

Feb 20 (Island) Another accomplice of notorious underworld leader Makandure Madush was arrested yesterday. The Police said the 31-year-old suspect had been identified as Wedikande Kasun. The arrest was made in connection with the robbery of a diamond and several gems worth more than Rs. 7 billion, in Pannipitiya in November 2018. The robbers, pretending to be police personnel, entered the house of a licensed gem merchant at Araliyapura, Arawwala in Pannipitiya and more..

Research shows humans tamed Sri Lankan jungle 45,000 years ago

Feb 20 (BT) Tools left behind by ancient humans in the rainforests of SL 45,000 years ago have helped Australian scientists rewrite the history of human migration through the region. Experts from Griffith University’s Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution have been working with SL researchers who have uncovered bone and stone tools at the oldest archaeological site occupied by humans in the country. more..

Fifteen years of Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU)

Feb 20 (DM) In May 2009, when the nation was celebrating the war victory over the LTTE, the key govt ally nationalist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) had a crucial meeting. It was to discuss what the party would do next. After all the purpose of floating an all monks’ party had been achieved. The war has been won. Though Dharma Rajya had been the more pronounced goal of the party its immediate aim was to create a context that would see an all-out war against the LTTE. more..