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Fourth SAARC Public Procurement Conference commenced in Colombo

Feb 20 (PSL) Fourth South Asia Region Public Procurement Conference commenced under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena in Colombo today. Conference will continue until Feb 23 in Colombo and Kandy. The Conference is an annual learning, knowledge and experience sharing, and networking event for the Heads of Public Procurement Agency or Authority of the eight member countries of the SAARC; more..

Adhere to safety regulations: Amaraweera

Feb 20 (NR) Minister Mahinda Amaraweera says strict action will be taken against those who violate rules in place pertaining to passenger transport by sea. He said there are a number of areas to look into pertaining to passenger transport. Minister issued a statement today over the boat capsize in Payagala yesterday that led to the demise of 11 persons. He said maximum capacity on board a vessel, sea conditions and safety equipment all contribute to maintaining the steadiness of a vessel. more..

MR on Mohan Peiris removal ON

Feb 20 (CT) Former President Rajapaksa said that the incumbent govt had disregarded standard procedure when it decided to sack the former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris. Rajapaksa made this remark yesterday while commenting on the controversial removal of Peiris, an incident which has resurfaced following President Maithripala Sirisena's public criticism of the former CJ. President Maithripala Sirisena stated at a public gathering, that Peiris was removed due to his dubious ethics. more..

Govt turns down all JO proposals on new Constitution: Vidura

Feb 20 (DM) Govt had turned down all proposals made to the Subcommittee on Centre-Peripheral Relations by Joint Opposition (JO), depriving the opportunity to establish the unitary nature of the State in the process of making the country’s new Constitution, JO claimed. JO’s subcommittee representative MP Vidura Wickramanayake said that on behalf of the group he produced 14 suggestions with the support of MP Sanath Nishantha, more..

Sri Lanka drought seen hitting consumer goods, finance firms

Feb 20 (EN) Severe drought in Sri Lanka that has curtailed production of rice and other crops and deprived almost a million people of drinking water will affect consumer goods and finance companies, according to a new report. The drought, believed to be the worst in 40 years, will have a significant impact on first quarter economic growth and some impact on second quarter performance. Household incomes in agriculture dependent areas would be affected, according to the more..

Video: 15 Peradeniya uni students arrested for ragging their juniors

Feb 20 (AD) The police have nabbed fifteen university students in the wee hours of this morning after they caught ragging a group of junior students inside a house in Galaha, Peradeniya. The undergraduates, all second year students of the University of Peradeniya, were apprehended during a search operation carried out at around 1 am, an official said. Police launched the search after university’s proctor received a tip-off that eight junior students of the Agriculture Department were more..

Indian Foreign Secretary urges TNA to unite to fight for Tamils’ rights

Feb 20 (ENS) Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar has urged TNA to unite to fight for the Tamils’ rights, including their rights under the proposed constitution, and cooperate with India in the economic development of Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces. Meeting the TNA top brass ahead of his meetings with the SL President and PM here on Monday, Jaishankar asked Tamil leadership about their concerns more..

Ordeal ends for Lankan Seafarers

Feb 20 (CT) Nine SL Seafarers held captive for 152 days by Yemeni rebels arrived at BIA on Saturday. They are residents of Kegalle, Kotahena, Kottawa, Ragama, A'pura, Avissawella, Weliveriya and Alawwa. Vessel with 7000 metric tons of gasoline was heading for Germany from Dubai when it was grabbed by the rebels at the Hodeida Port in Yemen on Sept 14, 2016. They were released with the assistance of Indian Embassy in Yemen along with the cooperation of SL Consulate in Oman. more..

Perpetual Treasuries pettition fixed for March

Feb 20 (NR) Court of Appeal today decided to take up a petition filed by Perpetual Treasuries Company and two other affiliated primary dealers against a decision taken by the Central Bank to restrict its activities over ongoing investigations into the issuance of Treasury Bonds. Accordingly a two member bench comprising Judges Vijitha Mallagoda and S Thurairajah today decided to take up the petition on the 3rd of March. Monetary Board of the CB on the 7th of Nov 2016 decided to more..

Video: Ban big matches: Prelates

Feb 20 (DM) A group of leading Buddhist Monks today called for the ban of school big matches saying that the matches acted like a platform for promotion of alcohol among students leading deterioration of social values. Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera, the Founder of the Sri Bodhiraja Foundation, said that the big matches should be banned in the name of morality. “The Principals and authorities, including more..

Payagala boat capsize victims identified

Feb 20 (NR) The bodies of seven persons who drowned last morning when a boat capsized in Payagala have been identified by relatives. The relatives have requested for the remains to be handed over. However, Beruwala Police said the bodies cannot be released without the completion of the post- mortem examination. Police said the bodies will be handed over to relatives following the post-mortem examination and with the consent of the Judicial Medical Officer. more..

The runaway bride

Feb 20 (DN) A grand wedding reception held at a leading hotel in Aluthgama had a sad ending for the bridegroom, parents of both parties and the invitees when the bride suddenly went missing after the nuptials and other traditional ceremonies, recently. The parents of the bride had found a suitable partner for their daughter and planned to give her away in right royal style by arranging a grand reception at a leading hotel in Aluthgama. They had spent over Rs. 1.7 million for the tamasha. more..

'Inflation spike in Feb not demand-driven'

Feb 20 (EN) SL's spike in 12-month inflation to 5.5% Feb 2017 was due to statistical and supply issues, and was not driven by demand, which can be corrected by higher interest rates, CB Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. He said CB watched the current account deficit of the balance of payments and inflation. There was a widening of the trade deficit due to the import of a dredger and 12-month inflation in capital rose to 5.5% in Jan more..

Video: Wimal further remanded until 6 March

Feb 20 (AD) Former minister Wimal Weerawansa, who was arrested on charges of misusing state vehicles, has been further remanded until March 06 after being produced before the Fort Magistrate’s Court on Monday.  NFF leader was arrested by the FCID on Jan 10 after he arrived to give a statement pertaining to allegations of misusing state vehicles.   Weerawansa has been accused of misusing several vehicles belonging to the Presidential Secretariat Office, during his tenure as more..

January tea output falls 15.3% y/y

Feb 20 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's tea output fell 15.3% in January due to adverse weather, poor application of fertilisers and a govt ban on pesticides. "Mainly it is the weather; in addition to that, other factors like (poor application of) fertiliser and (govt ban on) weedicide also impacted," said Sri Lanka Tea Board Director-General S.A. Siriwardena. He did not gave a forecast for 2017 and the board said needs to study the weather pattern before forecasting 2017 tea production. more..

PM and Parliament Mafia bankrupting SL

Renewed commitment required to overcome present gloom 

Feb 20 (CT) A year ago a contractor whom I spoke to rejoiced that corruption was much reduced under the new govt. He said that the minister in charge of his area of work had merely asked for a donation to be made to support a public institution. Though this donation had nothing to do with the contract, he was happy to oblige, as it was for a public cause and not for the minister’s personal pocket. When I met this same contractor last week he was a disillusioned man. He said that business was good, more..

CBK’s Observation on War Widows

Feb 20 (CT) The first woman executive President of SL, Chandrika Kumaratunga who is also the Chairperson of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, became the first high profile politician to highlight the plight of war widows in the North and the East. Being the daughter of two Prime Ministers, former President Chandrika Kumaratunga at a very young age saw her mother, the late PM Sirimavo Bandaranaike becoming a widow following the assassination of her father, more..

SL state workers grow 30% over decade

Feb 20 (EN) Sri Lanka's state and state-owned enterprise workers, excluding the military, grew 30% to 1.1 million from 2006 to 2016, a survey has found. Survey includes the central govt, provincial govt, statutory bodies and state enterprises. During the last regime, a bewildering array of companies were incorporated as subsidiaries and sub-subsidiaries of SOEs under the Companies Act, which analysts say would be difficult to track. more..

SLFP claim Prez 6-year term won’t be curtailed by 19 A contradicted

Feb 20 (Island) Constitutional affairs experts have strongly challenged the SLFP’s recent assertion that President Maithripala Sirisena is entitled for a term of six years regardless of the 19 Amendment to the Constitution. Minister Faizer Musthapa and State Minister Dilan Perera declared that the six year term secured by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Jan 2015 presidential poll wouldn’t be curtailed by 19 Amendment. more..

GMOA, Medicine Teachers make common cause

Feb 20 (Island) Senior members of the GMOA in a meeting with representatives of the Joint Committee of the Faculty of Medicine Teachers’ Association have agreed to work together to solicit the support of all trade unions and other parties in their battle against the SAITM. A press release issued by the GMOA on Saturday said: A discussion was held between the GMOA and the Joint Committee of the more..

Sumanthiran lobbying in Geneva

Feb 20 (CT) TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, who is currently in Geneva, urged the UNHRC officials not to allow Sri Lanka to make any change in the original resolution co-sponsored with the UNHRC by the country in 2015. Sumanthiran met the UNHRC officials in Geneva on Saturday (18) morning where he briefed extensively on the failures in implementing the key aspects of the UNHRC resolution of 2015 by the SL govt. more..

More questions than answers on SAITM

Feb 20 (SL) With the Court of Appeal directive on Jan 31, that there is no obstacle with the SL Medical Council to act under section 29 (2) of the Medical Ordinance to give provisionally registration to those who have completed MBBS degree from SAITM, questions have now been raised as to how many of those who have obtained the degree from the said Medical School have obtained the minimum results at more..

Delegation from US House of Representatives in Colombo

Feb 20 (USE) A bipartisan delegation from the U.S. House of Representatives arrives in Colombo today for three days of meetings as part of the House Democracy Partnership (HDP).  The HDP delegation is pleased to continue the important partnership begun with the signing of a Collaboration Agreement between the U.S. House of Representatives and the Parliament of Sri Lanka on Sept 14, 2016 in Washington D.C.  more..

Boycott by Muslims of Elagu Thamil protest too much to stomach for organisers

Feb 20 (Island) Constituents of the Tamil People’s Council (TPC) are disturbed over the non-participation of ninety nine percent of Eastern Muslims at the Feb 10 Elugu Thamil programme organised in Batticaloa, and a prominent Muslim State Minister from the area lashed-out at the organisers saying Muslims cannot be fooled to support a North-East re-merger which is inimical to their interests. Informal discussions are being more..

Dispute between UDA and PCs goes to Prez

Feb 20 (ST) President Sirisena’s intervention is being sought to resolve the tussle over UDA now exercising some functions of the Provincial Councils. “This has become necessary as there is a clear dispute and a solution has to be found,” Minister Faiszer Musthapa said. “As minister in charge of the subject, I do not want to deliver verdicts. However, I do want to find a solution by consulting the President,” he said. more..

Mahaththaya: He was not a traitor’

Feb 20 (CT) With the sea of information we have received through media and books about the LTTE and the 30-year-long war, the man called Mahaththaya captured the attention of all as he was given a Sinhala name unlike the rest of the Tamil Tiger fighters. While top Eastern Commander like Karuna Amman had a narrow escape from death at the hands of Prabhakaran, Mahaththaya was the only top leader who more..

In search of the missing thousands

Feb 20 (Hindu) The small group of Tamils that met top Ministers in Colombo on February 9 conveyed one thing emphatically— their patience was wearing thin. All the members of the group that had travelled nearly six hours by bus from Sri Lanka’s Northern Province to Colombo have been searching for their missing relatives for many years. Their sons or daughters or spouses went missing during, and in some cases, more..

Focus the Red Lights; Nagarasobhanis need recognition for legalised sex trade ?

Feb 20 (DM) Gauthama Buddha not only accepted an invitation for alms by Ambapali, but acknowledged a donation of ashram by the lady sex-worker of Vaisali. On another occasion the Buddha used a corpse of a prostitute to convey a message to those who patronised her services by spending thousands of Kahavanu for a night. He first auctioned the carcass, there were no bidders—next he offered it free, yet there was no response : perhaps they gained insight over repulsive more..

It’s time to end the crisis in Palestine

Feb 20 (DM) ON Nov 29, 1947, in its collective wisdom, the UN General Assembly via Resolution 181 planned the carving up of what was originally Palestine, into two states - the state of Israel and the State of Palestine. The partition plan allocated 55% of what then constituted Palestine to Jewish settlers who constituted around 30% of the population, and 45% to Palestinians who constituted 70%. The plan specified borders for new Arab and Jewish states and an area of Jerusalem which more..

JO defends MPs’ right to accept perks and privileges

Feb 20 (Island) Joint Opposition heavyweight MP Bandula Gunawardena has strongly defended the right of lawmakers to receive massive duty exemptions as well as newly introduced Rs 100,000 special allowance though the national economy was in dire straits. An irate MP Gunawardena emphasized that lawmakers shouldn’t be deprived of legitimate perks and privileges endorsed by parliament. more..

Sexual harassment case: Lankan official deported from Hawaii

Feb 20 (CT) A Sri Lankan official with the Disaster Management Ministry, who was attending a course in Hawaii, USA, has been deported after being allegedly accused of sexual harassment involving an American woman. Secretary to the ministry, S.S. Miyanawila said that after his return the official will have to face an internal investigation. Necessary legal action will be taken if he is found guilty. The annual conference at the National Disaster Preparedness Training Centre more..

Top WTO experts in Colombo to discuss technical barriers to exporting

Feb 20 (Island) Two leading experts from Geneva are in Colombo for today’s pioneering session hosted by Department of Commerce to work on one of the most technically demanding barriers for Lankan exporters, called by global trade as Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures-in simpler terms, quarantining and technical barriers. Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen under whose direction work began on Sri Lanka’s SPS measures way back in Sept 2014 in Colombo more..

Bankrupting Sri Lanka with corruption: Samurai to the rescue: PM

Feb 20 (DM) Sri Lanka would overcome its foreign currency payment, which will reach a staggering USD 4.08 bn (About Rs.560 bn) by end of this year, USD 5.7 bn (Rs.570 bn) by end 2018, through Samurai Bonds and by swapping of debts, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said. A samurai bond is a yen-denominated bond issued in Tokyo by non-Japanese companies, and is subject to Japanese regulations. more..

Two more Army men roped in

Feb 20 (CT) Two more Army Corporals who were arrested in connection to the abduction, assault and illegal detainment of journalist Keith Noyahr in 2008, were remanded yesterday until 3rd March after being produced before the Mt. Lavinia Magistrate's Court. Police said that the suspects were arrested by a special investigations unit of the CID. Meanwhile, an Army Major and two Army soldiers arrested last Saturday in connection to the incident were remanded till the 23rd of this month. more..

India, Sri Lanka cruise to mend ties

Feb 20 (ENS) India and Sri Lanka are ready to make way for better ties by resuming a ferry service from Kochi to Colombo. “The ferry service is mooted between Kochi in Kerala to Colombo. We are finalising the modalities and working out if it would be purely a passenger service. To make it economically viable, we will include freight service,” a Ministry of External Affairs official said. More than three decades ago, the shadow of the ethnic strife in the teardrop island had adversely impacted more..