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Will reveal names of eight politicians’ sons who use drugs: Ranjan

Feb 21 (DM) I will reveal 8 names of sons of prominent politicians who were involved in drug smuggling and used drugs, State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake said. He said the sons of current ministers, former ministers and those who left politics were included in the list. “I hope to submit the names in writing to the Speaker in the near future. Some names are already known to the people and legal actions have also been more..

Spice imports suspended

Feb 21 (Island) Cabinet had suspended the import of several spices including pepper, nutmeg, mace, tamarind and areca in order to protect local farmers, Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara said in Parliament. Commencing the debate on two Orders under SL Export Development Act, Bandara said that spices had been re-exported by some unscrupulous elements, taking advantage of tariff relief under free trade agreements. more..

Video: Shammi Silva elected SLC President

Feb 21 (AD) Shammi Silva has been elected as the President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for the year 2019/2021. The election commenced at 10 a.m. this morning at the Ministry of Sports. Reportedly, Shammi Silva has served as a Member of the Executive Committee of SLC in 2014. The SLC election was initially scheduled to be held on Feb 2, 2019, however, it was postponed by two weeks, on the advice of the AG more..

Milk Japan

Feb 21 (CT) Japan, shunned by the Rajapaksa regime in favour of China, its arch enemy, is coming back strong by launching space programmes in the Island, previously the exclusive domain of the Chinese, thereby gaining a psychological victory over its East Asian foe. Yesterday, this newspaper reported that SL’s first nano satellite, developed by the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Modern Technologies with support from Japan, would be launched by the middle of the year. more..

JVP deserves a chance

Feb 21 (FT) However much and in whichever manner one shuffles the pack of cards in SL politics, five jokers constantly appear right at the front: an incompetent Ranil Wickremasinghe (RW), a schizophrenic Maithripala Sirisena (MS) and sanctimonious Rajapaksas – Mahinda (MR), Gota (GR) and Basil (BR). These are the ones who are desperately on the run looking for some electoral configuration to win the forthcoming election race and capture the presidency & prime ministership. more..

Prof. Liyanage Amarakeerthi

Indian HC in Colombo replies to Pakistan PM’s remarks on Pulwama terrorist attack

Feb 21 (Island) Indian High Commission in Colombo said that "India is not surprised that the PM of Pakistan refuses to acknowledge the attack on our security forces in Pulwama as an act of terrorism. PM of Pakistan has neither chosen to condemn this heinous act nor condoled with the bereaved families. Disclaiming any link between the terrorist attack and Pakistan is an oft-repeated excuse by Pakistan. The Pakistani PM has ignored claims made by the Jaish-e-Mohammad, as well as by the terrorist, more..

Cannot curb drug menace by killing drug users: Mahinda Deshapriya

Feb 21 (AD) Allowing convicted criminals to be public representatives is a more prominent issue than the drug menace, according to Chairperson of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya. He expressed these views addressing the media at a conference held in Galle. When a journalist questioned him on using a blood test to check for drug usage of parliamentarians, Deshapriya responded saying that they were all naïve arguments. more..

Shipping ministry dumps defunct Oluvil port on fisheries ministry

Feb 21 (EN) Ports and shipping ministry has decided to transfer the eastern port of Oluvil, which got silted from the time it was opened, to the fisheries ministry, Minister of Ports & Shipping Sagala Ratnayaka said. “Yesterday, we decided on Oluvil. It is difficult to be used for commercial operations and is only useful for fisheries,” he said. “We decided to hand it over to the fisheries ministry.” Oluvil port, with an eight-metre depth, more..

Management faculty of J’pura closed indefinitely

Feb 21 (NR) The Faculty of Management of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura has been closed indefinitely. Vice Chancellor of the University Professor Sampath Amaratunga said the decision was reached owing to undue pressure exerted on first year students by a group of senior students. The Vice Chancellor said three months have lapsed since first year students entered the University adding complaints have been lodged with the Administration of harassment. more..

Video: We are happy if Gotabaya contests for Presidency: Kavinda

Feb 21 (AD) An internal rift has arisen between SLFP and SLPP regarding the presidential candidate, says UNP MP Kavinga Jayawardena. According to Jayawardena, both he and the party will be happy if Gotabaya Rajapaksa enters the election. Yet there a chance of SLFP and SLPP entering a coalition allowing the president to contest at the election as well, he added. In such case, only one of either Gotabaya Rajapaksa or President Sirisena will be able to contest, MP stated. more..

New SLC management already on collision course with sports minister

Feb 21 (AM) Newly-elected President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Shammi Silva hit out at former SL cricketers Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena accusing them of interfering in the cricket administration. Addressing his first press briefing after being elected as the new SLC President, Silva said Sri Lanka was the only country where former cricketers would interfere with the administrative work. more..

Video: Body of missing youth recovered from Maussakelle reservoir

Feb 21 (AM) A group of divers of SL Navy have recovered the remains of a youth, who had been missing since Feb 19, from the Maussakelle reservoir. The deceased is a 30-year-old bachelor named Pathum Liyanage residing in Maskeliya area. The relatives of the youth had informed the police of this disappearance. Reportedly, the youth had left the house at around 7.30 a.m. following a telephone call he had received. The youth was captured in the footages of a CCTV camera on the roadside. more..

Former Army Chief says Fonseka on a different path

Feb 21 (Island) Retired General Daya Ratnayake acknowledged there could have been shortcomings on the part of the war-winning administration in defending the armed forces at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and handling of high profile investigations such as those into wartime disappearances. Gen. Ratnayake said that it was the responsibility of those who were in power today to address accountability issues properly if there had been shortcomings. more..

'Public cannot blame me: I have tried my best to save Cricket'

Feb 21 (AM) Former SL captain Arjuna Ranatunga said the SLC election has become a gamble. Speaking to the media after his defeat to Ravin Wickremaratne who became the new Vice Chairman of SLC, Ranatunga said he tried his best to defeat the mafia that was running the country's cricket administration. All candidates backed by former SLC Chairman Thilanga Sumathipala secured key positions more..

Northern journalists affected by conflict to receive compensation

Feb 21 (Island) Finance and Media Ministry has initiated a project to provide relief to journalists in the Northern Province affected by the war and various post-war situations. A team from Colombo comprising Jayantha Pathirana, M. Hussein and M. Thireskumar met relevant authorities in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar and Vavuniya as well as senior representatives of media organizations to explore ways and means of providing compensation. Those, affected during 2005-2015 are eligible more..

SriLankan and Cargills Bank tie up to deliver enhanced convenience for air travellers

Feb 21 (FT) SriLankan Airlines and fast expanding Cargills Bank signed an agreement to enable payments to be made at Cargills Bank branches and Cargills Food City outlets island-wide for online bookings made through, to provide even greater convenience to air travellers. SriLankan’s Book Now Pay Later is a unique solution which brings utmost convenience to air travellers through a synergy of online booking and payments through wide range of touchpoints. more..

Tourist satisfaction levels fall

Feb 21 (CT) Tourist satisfaction levels have seen a marked decrease vis-à-vis the general quality of service at bars, restaurants, laundries, spas and rooms during the course of last year. In a survey begun in the First Quarter (1Q) of last year and running through all the Four Quarters of that year, while 55% of the tourists surveyed rated the quality of service at bars, restaurants, laundries, spas and rooms as being excellent, more..

SL yet to decide on liberalising shipping

Feb 21 (EN) Govt has not yet decided on a budget proposal to liberalise the shipping sector by removing foreign ownership limits on ship agency and freight forwarding businesses, Minister of Ports & Shipping Sagala Ratnayaka said. “Liberalisation is good as it will improve competition but I have to be convinced it won’t harm local industry,” he told a news conference where a new ports new website - – was activated. “I’m responsible to ensure the people of SL get the best deal” more..

India finances IT incubator in Jaffna

Feb 21 (EN) India is giving a 250 million-rupee grant to set up an information technology incubator in Jaffna as part of US$ 560 million given in grants so far. "This project is part of Govt of India’s continued efforts to assist and cooperate with Govt of SL in people-oriented development projects," High Commission of India said. "The Business Centre would provide opportunities and enhance the enabling environment for ICT and other professional services in the Northern region." more..

Vets up in arms over Cabinet Paper

Feb 21 (CT) Veterinary Surgeons yesterday called for the Health Ministry to withdraw the Cabinet Paper which reclaimed the Rabies Eradication Programme from the Department of Animal Production and Health (DAPH). Fielding questions, at a Media briefing held at the Organization of Professionals Associations, in a bid to safeguard the country’s anti rabies campaign, Vice President of the State Veterinary more..

Change CC composition to keep politicos aside: Jayampathi

Feb 21 (DM) The composition of the Constitutional Council (CC) should be changed in order to keep politicians out of it, Govt MP Jayampathi Wickramaratne told parliamen. Speaking during an adjournment debate in the House, he said the CC solely comprised of non-politicians during its inception in 2001 when the probation govt was formed by UPFA and the JVP. “The JVP, a party which got the opportunity to nominate a member to CC, appointed an SLFP supporter. more..

Group of Sri Lankans on pilgrimage in Israel deported

Feb 21 (AD) A group of SL Catholic devotees visiting religious sites in Israel have been deported to SL. They were deported based on a tip-off given by the Israeli intelligence service. 43 of the pilgrims were deported last evening while 10 devotees of the group were deported this morning. Israeli govt has informed that another 18 persons of these devotees are to be deported this evening. These devotees have been identified as residents of Kuliyapitiya, Vennapuwa and Mirigama areas, more..

CC goes above Legislature, Executive, Judiciary: Prez

Feb 21 (DM) President Sirisena said today the Constitutional Council (CC) had gone above all three arms of the govt; the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. He made this remark during an adjournment debate on the CC held last evening in Parliament. He said the CC had rejected 14 names of judicial officers – without any given reason – which he sent to be appointed to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. more..

Managing fiscal deficits can increase investments in health and education

Feb 21 (WB) What happens when a population pyramid no longer resembles a pyramid so much as a rectangle? Sri Lanka is confronting a profound demographic shift, due to falling fertility rates and rising life expectancy. The base of the population pyramid – consisting of young people – is shrinking, while the number of elders is growing. By 2050, it is projected that the proportion elderly (23%) will surpass that of the youth (17%). “The pyramid is losing its shape,” said Fernando more..

Criticizing CC challenges autonomy of independent commissions - PAFFREL

Feb 21 (AD) Criticisms levelled by politicians at the Constitutional Council (CC) challenges the autonomy of independent commissions, says the PAFFREL. Issuing a statement, Executive Director of PAFFREL Rohana Hettiarachchie stated that this could damage people’s trust placed on the major independent institutions of the country. The statement suggested that politicians should resolve their concerns regarding the Constitutional Council through intellectual dialogues. more..

Day 1: Sri Lanka dominate, South Africa batting woes continue

Feb 21 (CI) Incisive bursts from seamers Vishwa Fernando and Kasun Rajitha ambushed South Africa's batting line-up and raised Sri Lanka's hopes of becoming the first-ever Asian side to clinch a Test series in South Africa. After Sri Lanka were asked to bowl on a grassy St George's Park pitch, Vishwa and Rajitha claimed three wickets each to dismiss the hosts for 222 about 45 minutes into the post-tea session. more..

Telephone call judgments, whitevanning & Constitutional Council

Feb 22 (CT) If my memory serves me right, I cannot recall an occasion in SL’s recent history when the Executive and the Legislature of Sri Lanka drew as much praise and applause as they did, both from our own citizens and the int'l community, than on the occasion of the passage of the 19th Amendment. It is perhaps the single greatest achievement of this House in recent times, and it stands as Prez Sirisena’s single greatest achievement since his election to office in Jan 2015. more..

Protecting wetlands and Addressing climate change

Feb 22 (CT) Human civilizations have grown and thrived in river valleys and coastal plains with abundant wetlands for thousands of years. These wetland systems, with their rich natural resources, have been critical to the development and survival of humanity and are part of our natural wealth. Wetlands exist in every country and in every climatic zone, from the polar regions to the tropics, and from high altitudes to dry regions. They are places where the land is covered by water, either salt, more..

'Chandrika works with ulterior motives'

Feb 22 (CT) Leader of the Democratic Left Front (DLF), MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara says the bond which was created between Maithripala Sirisena and Mahinda Rajapaksa, is a decisive political achievement. Q: According to you, what took place on 26 Oct was a political game. And now that the game is lost haven’t you all fallen further? A: Political transformation which took place on 26 Oct was defeated due to two Court verdicts. more..

The most wanted heir apparent!

Feb 22 (DN) The dynamic nature of SL’s political alliances has come into focus as the leaders of SLFP, SLPP and UNP grapple with selecting candidates for the forthcoming presidential election due in less than ten months. Arguably it is the SLFP and the SLPP that find themselves in a more delicate position. That is because the SLPP is, in essence, a breakaway faction of the SLFP, born out of the necessity of becoming a political vehicle for former Prez Rajapaksa after he was defeated more..

A milestone in cancer cure

Feb 22 (DN) Doctors and health professionals of the Apeksha Hospital National Cancer Institute, Maharagama (NCI), have successfully completed 52 bone marrow transplant (BMT) surgeries. Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne commended the dedication of all who contributed to the task. No patient died after surgery. A ceremony was held at the NCI recently to mark the achievement. According to the Consultant Oncologist attached to National Cancer Institute, Maharagama more..

Transforming State Media into Public Media

Feb 22 (SO) A fortnight ago, people belonging to various sections of the artistic society, i.e. art, drama, media, cinema, went to almost all the mainstream media institutions carrying a message of transforming the media mechanism to one that is more responsible towards the public. This is a claim that cannot be easily disregarded. While some sections of the media regarded their initiative as a joke, some media stations welcomed more..

Accountability of Govts

Feb 22 (CT) “Analytically, when the words do not mean exactly what they ought to have meant, there itself, the aspirations and the objectives get mixed up. Therefore, the sense of responsibility also becomes vague and negatively affects the specifics related to Accountability. Govts are elected periodically through a series of manipulations and deceptions aimed at the ultimate goal of coming to power by hook or crook, achieved through an honourable sounding arrangement named as more..

Vijaya’s killing and JVP

Feb 22 (CT) With the appearance of a film made on the life of late Wijeweera there were comments or rather demands on present JVP leaders to make self-criticism about their political history. One Pandit said “Absolutely true. If either the JVP or FSP makes a self-criticism it will be the first step in the long road back. Let us we see whether either will do so at the seminars and discussions on the Wijeweera movie.” Many said “don’t the artistes and musicians who get on the JVP stage and/or applaud the JVP, more..

Aluth Parlimenthuwa

Editorial: Move to scrap GFSE: Address the cause

Feb 22 (Island) Barking up the wrong tree is apparently our political leaders’ shtick. They have got it down to a fine art. They nominate the dregs of society to contest elections, and when clashes occur among those rowdies, they call for abolishing the preferential vote (manape) system. Thus, in trying to solve all other problems, they struggle to tackle the effects and not the causes. No wonder the country is beset with so many problems. President Maithripala Sirisena has endorsed a move to abolish more..

De Kock rises above South Africa's besieged batsmen

Feb 22 (CI) Across the world, batsmen are not having a happy time in Test cricket right now. If you're not being blasted out in Australia, you're being nicked off in West Indies, turned inside-out in England, ground into the dust in Bangladesh, or - and perhaps this is the worst indignity - smiled all the way back to the dressing room by nice-guy New Zealand, who will later come to a press conference and talk about how beautifully you batted for your 7 off 42 balls. more..

Crops among the concrete: Community gardening in the city

Feb 22 (Roar) I turn into a narrow, gravel lane adjoining Horana road, where I come upon a greenhouse, with light moss snaking down its otherwise pristine walls. Opposite the house, surrounded by the green wired fence lies a generous plot of land—about 5,000 square feet—populated with large vegetable patches, shrubbery, and a butterfly garden. This is not what I imagined an urban garden to look like. more..

Rather complacent view across the seas too

Feb 22 (Island) Cassandra sent up a silent prayer to herself. She adds fresh Ambewela milk to her tea and coffee and has no need to buy milk powders, which recently, after listening to that Deputy Minister from Down South – I mean Bentara gangen eha (or meha) – caused fear to people, and most unfortunately children, had imbibed pig’s fat. She is Trojan Cassandra by pseudonym and a Sinhalese by inherited name. Thus no religious abhorrence to the snorting pig, only natural disdain at more..