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Education Ministry to rope in Int’l Schools

Feb 7 (DM) The Ministry of Education would bring in new regulations for International Schools to bring the education of International Schools under the purview of the Education Ministry, Ministry Secretary W.M. Bandusena said. The move follows the election manifesto of Govt. “The ministry will focus on the quality of education provided by international schools and facilitate them to upgrade more..

Zika virus linked to GM-mosquito release!

Feb 7 (Island) Oliver Tickell, Editor of the respected British environmental journal The Ecologist, writing on February 2nd noted that, since August 2015, a large number of babies in Northeast Brazil have been born with very small heads, a condition known as microcephaly, and with other serious malformations. In all, 4,180 suspected cases had been reported till then. Epidemiologists had found a convincing correlation between the incidence of the natal deformities and more..

AG advice sought to arrest Uduwe thero

Feb 7 (SL) CID is yet to receive instructions from the AG to arrest the Venerable Uduwe Dhammaloka Thero for having in his possession elephants without valid documents. CID was conducting the investigations on this matter and the case has been called several times and the files have already been sent to the AG. ASP Ruwan Gunasakara also confirmed that that the files in this regard had been sent to the AG but so far the police had not received any instructions regarding the case. more..

Minister Gamini Jayawickrama Perera

Prisoners on death row to get life imprisonment

Feb 7 (SL) Following a set of recommendations made by a committee appointed to look into the death sentence issued on several convicts, it has been decided to convert the death sentence imposed on 34 of those convicts into life imprisonment. President had taken the decision after considering the reports on the 34 convicts submitted by the committee which was appointed by the former President. The committee has also finalized reports on another 60 convicts on death row more..

Hearts and Minds

Feb 7 (Island) The thing is, you can’t browbeat Sinha-le, the BBS, Sihala Ravaya or the likes of Udaya Gammanpila. In recent weeks, opposition to racism has condemned those who promote divisive, inflammatory ideas and content. The PM threatened certain journalists and media institutions, and then threatened to take action against websites that promote racism. The President scoffed at Sinha-le proponents, saying they are unworthy of his attention. more..

Hot- hot allegations over coal tenders

Feb 7 (ST) It is often labelled Sri Lanka’s most lucrative tender. It is also one of the most controversial. For half a decade, coal procurement for the power plant in Norochcholai has been dogged by allegations of corruption and bid rigging. Former Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka coined the term coal mafia to allude to lobbyists he claimed were influencing the tender process. more..

CSN case: No one will interfere, says Sagala

Feb 7 (DM) The rule of law would be upheld when perusing the case against former President’s son Yoshitha Rajapaksa and the others at the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) without any intervention by President, PM or any of the Cabinet Ministers, Minister of Law Order Sagala Ratnayake said in a statement. He said that the FCID had to seek permission from the Judiciary by producing the suspects before Courts to more..

Mixed expectations as Zeid arrives

Feb 7 (SL) The ongoing visit to Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has brought mixed expectations, particularly from international human rights groups and the Tamil Diaspora. Leading international human rights groups told The Sunday Leader they expect Zeid to raise key issues including for the government to reaffirm its commitments and to make substantial more..

Appointments on hold as proposed NMDRA changes spark intense lobbying

Feb 7 (Island) Moves to initiate top level changes at the National Medicinal Drugs Regulatory Authority (NMDRA) have triggered intense lobbying with the powers-that-be, amidst a clamor by "connected parties" to foist aspirants of their choice to head this powerful body in the pharmaceutical industry, health officials asserted. Dr. Athula Kahandaliyanage and Dr. Kamal Jayasinghe, two respected medical more..

Two baby elephants seized from Weliweriya temple

Feb 7 (SL) Under the instructions of the Attorney General’s CID, the Department of Wildlife Conservation on Friday evening seized two baby elephants from a Temple in Naranwala, Weliweriya. Investigations revealed that the baby elephants were given by the Venerable Kolonnawa Sumanagala Thero and Nirad Roshan alias Ali Roshan, both already facing legal action over having elephants in their possession without valid documents. more..

Yoshitha in a small cell

Feb 7 (CT) It has been quite a week for the Rajapaksas. Within a span of one week three members of the Rajapaksa family were summoned for questioning either by the PRECIFAC or by the FCID. On 30 Jan, Lieutenant Yoshitha Rajapaksa, was arrested by the FCID along with four others in connection with alleged financial irregularities at the Carlton Sports Network (CSN) during the tenure o the previous govt. more..

NPC govt Palihakkara quits office

Feb 7 (CT) The Northern Provincial Council Governor, a renowned diplomat H.M.G.S. Palihakkara has quit office. A spokesman for the Presidential Secretariat said, former Chief Minister of Western Province Reginald Cooray would replace Palihakkara. Palihakkara said that he had decided to retire since the period he had agreed to, with the govt to hold the position had expired, and hence he would be retiring. more..

Poor rubbish collection hatching more dengue menace

Feb 7 (ST) Councils’ failure to collect garbage is worsening the spread of dengue, Central Epidemiological Unit Director Dr. Paba Palihawadana said. About 4,500 dengue cases and eight deaths were reported since early this month. Colombo has the highest dengue population with major breeding spots being Maligawatta West, Cinnamon Gardens, Kirulapone, Bambalapitiya, Wellampitiya, Modera, Mattakkuliya and Punchi Borella. more..

Colombo JMO to submit report on Sicille’s health condition on Monday

Feb 7 (Island) The Colombo Judicial Medical Officer was directed by Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage to submit a report on the health condition of Mrs. Sicille Kotelawala. The Magistrate visited Durdan’s Hospital, where she was warded and ordered the report to be forwarded to court on Monday. A former deputy chairperson of the Ceylinco Group, Mrs. Kotelawala has been placed under CID custody until February 9. more..

If Sushma won’t go to Mangala he will go to her

Feb 7 (ST) Like on the previous occasion there were no lassies in rows, attired in reddai-hettai holding coconut oil lamps and gyrating to the beat of drums at the entrance to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Perhaps that ritual, invented by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, is only for VIP visitors from the US. In what seemed unusual, India’s visiting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj did not visit more..

Let’s work with PM to pulverise racism

Feb 7 (Island) One swallow does not a summer make, but then a swallow is a swallow (no pun intended). At last the PM lashed out in Parliament on 28 Jan; he should have done it long ago but one has to be thankful that he did take a stand. Will he keep it up? Indications are encouraging; Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero and Yoshitha Rajapaksa are cooling their backsides in the lock up (for a week or two at least), Wasim Thajudeen’s murders may soon be arrested. more..

Blood gets thicker in Colombo, cracked coconut waters flow in Seenigama

Feb 7 (Island) The organizing principles, social structures and superstitions, as well as the modern institutions of Sri Lankan politics have been in raw display over the last few weeks. The roles of religion, kinship, the courts and the media have been clashing and criss-crossing as political manifestations. A former president was publicly distraught over the arrest and arraignment of one of his sons. Another former president’s daughter waded into the fray defending more..

President defends FCID even though SLFP ministers call for its disbanding

Feb 7 (ST) Last Saturday’s arrest of Lieutenant Yoshitha, second son of former President Rajapaksa, continues to reverberate in many quarters. One such instance is the weekly ministerial meeting on Wednesday. Ministers representing the UNP were livid that one of their SLFP colleagues had, wanted the FCID, which made the arrest, disbanded. The previous day, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said what he more..

Mobile phone found in Yoshitha’s possession

Feb 7 (SL) A mobile phone was found in the possession of Yoshitha Rajapaksa at the Welikada Remand Prison. Mobile phone fell from his pocket when he was returning to his cell after he met his father, former President Rajapaksa at the remand prison. However, prison sources said that no action was taken by the officers who accompanied Yoshitha to his cell when the mobile phone fell out. A senior prison official however said he was not aware of such an incident taking place. more..

Eknaligoda’s disappearance: Four more arrests imminent

Feb 7 (SO) The CID investigating journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda’s disappearance, is set to arrest four more Army intelligence personnel connected to the incident in the coming days. Already six people of the Army intelligence unit have been arrested and four others will be arrested based on the analysis of mobile phone data used in the incident. CID has gathered evidence against Army intelligence personnel to charge them with illegal abduction, detention and disappearance of more..

Geneva issue: Govt earmarks 11-member Task Force

Feb 7 (ST) An eleven-member Consultation Task Force will enforce provisions of the US-backed resolution which was jointly sponsored by Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva last year. Its work will be carried out with the help of a UN expert who will arrive in Colombo next week. He is Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence. more..

Constitutional Reform Committee sittings: Where are the youth?

Feb 7 (SO) Over 1,500 proposals have been submitted to the Public Representation Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PRCCR), Chairman, Lal Wijenayake said. This was the total number submitted as far as written submissions via mail, email, fax, social media, personally handed over to Secretariat and at public sittings in four districts in 12 days. “There was a lack of youth representation at all the sittings. Committee would like to see an increased participation of youth,” more..

UK High Commission clarifies removal of Defence Attache

Feb 7 (SO) The withdrawal of the Defence Attache position from the High Commission of UK in Colombo was due to the review of the UK govt's defence adviser network in its diplomatic missions, UK High Commission in Colombo says in a statement clarifying the interview with High Commissioner James Dauris published in the Sunday Observer last week. High Commission statement says that in the interview, headlined Great expectations, High Commissioner Dauris more..

New CSN scam unveiled

Feb 7 (SO) A senior public official in the ports sector, under the previous govt is under investigation for a massive tax fraud, involving Carlton Sports Network (CSN) channel, police sources said. CSN reportedly bought television equipment worth £ 14,0000 from Arena Television in Reddhill, Surrey. The value of the state-of-the art television equipment is Rs 30 million. However, when paying Customs duty, more..

SL’s Independence Day celebrated in London

Feb 7 (Island) Sri Lankan High Commission in London marked the country’s 68th anniversary of Independence at a solemn event attended by a large number of Sri Lankans belonging to all communities — Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers - representing the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society in Sri Lanka, along with many friends and well-wishers in the UK. The program started with the hoisting of the National Flag by Acting High Commissioner Sugeeshwara Gunaratna more..

Golden opportunity for Himasha and Rumeshika

Feb 7 (Island) Olympians Indrajith Cooray and Manjula Kumara, sprinter Himasha Eshan and men’s 4x100 metres relay team are the favourites for gold medals in the men’s category, while long jumper N.C.D. Priyadharshani, triple jumper Vidusha Lakshani and sprinter Rumeshika Ratnayake are the closest to golds when the Athletics Championship of the on going South Asian Games commences in two days time. According to reports from India, some of the leading Indian athletes had skipped more..

Gota slams British hypocricy on Julian Assange

Feb 7 (Island) Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that the UK’s outright rejection of the UN ruling that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange be allowed to go free highlighted again British double standards vis-a-vis Sri Lanka. "Obviously, the British do not practice what they preach to us here as well as other international forums regularly," Rajapaksa sarcastically said. Referring to recent statements made in more..

Basil, Namal next in line

Feb 7 (SL) Former minister Basil Rajapaksa and MP Namal Rajapaksa are next in line to be arrested from the Rajapaksa family following the recent arrest of Yoshitha Rajapaksa. Both Basil Rajapaksa and Namal Rajapaksa are expected to be arrested over the alleged misuse of public funds. The internal air travel fare of former minister Basil Rajapaksa and MP Namal Rajapaksa has reportedly cost Rs. 150 million. According to information received, there is a high probability that Basil Rajapaksa and more..

Estate workers see red over bogus rice

Feb 7 (ST) Upcountry estate workers are being enticed by traders to buy glossy polished red rice unaware that they are buying rice dyed red that is unfit for consumption. They are being cheated into paying more for this rice: normal red rice sells at Rs. 65 a kilo but they pay Rs. 70 for the so-called polished rice. “When we wash the rice at home the water turns red and our hands become stained,” Ganamoorthy Kandasamy, a Hatton resident, said. His experience is shared by several others more..

Memorable day for Abeysinghe

Feb 7 (Hindu) Under-rated Sri Lankans sprung a few surprises on their fancied Indian rivals on the opening day of the swimming competitions of 12th South Asian Games at Dr. Zakir Hussain pool here on Saturday. Of the eight gold medals decided during the final session, India finished with four. However, the confidence expressed by the home camp that it would win a lion’s share of the titles stood more..

Yoshitha’s arrest, not unfair: Duminda D.

Feb 7 (SO) Minister Duminda Dissanayake said those who had no idea about the law were saying the arrest of Yoshitha Rajapaksa was a gross injustice but the issue of Carlton Sports Network (CSN) was discussed since Jan 8 last year. ”There was a complaint that there was fraud and malpractices at CSN and we being investigated at present. Earlier, we hailed CSN as being owned by the Rajapaksa family and were happy that MP Namal Rajapaksa and his brother Yoshitha more..

Sri Lankans leave for India after T20 bluff?

Feb 7 (SO) Sri Lanka’s cricketers left yesterday for India to contest three T20 matches but questions were raised on the quality of cricket that was dished out at the so-called Super T20 Provincial tournament played in the city of Colombo where the boundary line was said to have been shortened. The tournament was won by a team called the Colombo Commandos who beat a side known as the Galle Guardians and was a preparation for the Indian series. But with a boundary that measured more..

A violation of the constitution?

Feb 7 (ST) The move to appoint Democratic Party Leader, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to Parliament to fill the vacancy created by the demise of Lands Minister M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardana, is a violation of the Constitution as deemed by legal experts. A senior lawyer explained that Article 91 of the Constitution clearly stipulates that a member of the armed forces cannot be appointed to Parliament. more..

Apparel industry to draw up 5-year plan

Feb 7 (ST) The apparel industry is currently in the process of drawing up its third five year plan that is being discussed among key stakeholders. With preparations underway to draft the next five year plan the industry is carrying out discussions on a number of issues particularly the trade concessions with the European Union (EU), a new US backed trade partnership with 12 countries, and the bilatral trade agreement with the Chinese authorities. The industry is awaiting the regaining of more..

Sending the wrong signals

Feb 7 (Island) Rising fast bowling sensation Dushmantha Chameera’s performance in the recent tour of New Zealand has got many excited. Chameera emerged as the standout performer from either side among the bowlers in the bilateral series and the 24-year-old with more experience could turn out to be a match winner. Dhammika Prasad too came up with some steady performances throughout last year and when he returns from injury the team’s new ball pair looks formidable. more..