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Despite wide showers over one million gripped by drought

Jan 24 (Island) Recent showers across the country have eased the severe drought experienced in 18 districts, but experts say it wasn’t enough to make up for months extreme dry condition. 1,072,392 people of 260,055 families in Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Gampaha, Kalutara, Hambantota, Matara, Monaragala, Badulla, Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Mulitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya, Kandy, Kilinochchi, Ratnapura, Kurunegala more..

Towards a Just, Harmonious and Sustainable Social Order

Jan 24 (DM) It is common knowledge that today we are not living in a contented, just and conflict free world. Globalization and related processes have integrated countries across the world closer together. Economic, social, cultural and political relations today are as much global as local. Millions of people are on the move, traveling across countries and continents for work, business, education and leisure. Social networks are formed more and more in the cyber world, more..

President assures help to needy villages

Jan 24 (DM) President Maithripala Sirisena told a public meeting in Nuwara Eliya about an incident he encountered on his way to the event, that a student of a school in Kotagala had requested a toilet for his school. The student had made this request in response to an inquiry by the President about the problems faced by the people in the area. The President had promised the student to send a team of officials to the latter’s school next week to do the needful and also assured them he would more..

COPE report on CB Bond scam: House debate not sure

Jan 24 (Island) President Sirisena has instructed the Attorney General to take immediate steps to appoint a Special Presidential Commission to inquire into the allegations of malpractices in the bond issue of the CB and take required legal action, PMD said in a release. It said: A gazette notification to appoint a Commission comprising a judge of the Supreme Court, a judge of the High Court and an expert in auditing will be issued this week. more..

Report on outstanding Rs. 35 b from former govt’s projects to be handed to Cabinet

Jan 24 (FT) The final report of the Rs. 35 billion in outstanding payments for 500 public projects started by the previous regime covering 53 ministries will be presented to the Cabinet today, a top official confirmed. Digging through the morass of public projects from 2011, a three-member Cabinet committee has cleared Rs. 3 billion by August 2016 from a whopping Rs. 35 billion in outstanding payments on 500 projects started by the previous Govt.  more..

Davos trip a resounding success: Harin

Jan 24 (FT) Govt said PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos was a resounding success, helping to boost investor confidence and opening up opportunity for a high profile event in Colombo by the Switzerland-based global entity. Minister Harin Fernando said a request by the PM to hold an event of the World Economic Forum in Sri Lanka in 2018 to coincide with the 70th Independence Day celebrations in the country was received positively. more..

Punish bond thieves, recover stolen funds

Jan 24 (Island) Police and security officers are on high alert to prevent robbers, wearing full-face helmets from staging bank heists. But, those who robbed the bank of the banks came in, donning three-piece suits and walked away with billions of rupees richer. They made a killing for themselves as well as their political masters through several bond scams. They are currently seen in the exalted company of yahapalana leaders advocating more..

AI hosts Memory and Justice – day of activities and poetry book launch

Jan 24 (AI) Amnesty International will be hosting a day of activities around the theme of Memory and Justice in Colombo on 24 January, at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute. The day of activities will be a platform for a series of workshops and art exhibits. Amnesty International will also be launching Silenced Shadows, the published collection of winning entries from the human rights organization’s October 2015 poetry competition on the theme of enforced disappearances. more..

PM to attend Ministerial consultation of Abu Dhabi Dialogue

Jan 24 (NR) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is scheduled to attend the 4th Ministerial consultation of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue today as Chief Guest. The conference commenced yesterday in Colombo. Accordingly, senior officer level discussions also commenced yesterday. Along with the Premiers participation, Minister Mangala Samaraweera is also due to attend the summit. ADD formed in 2008, brings together Asian labour sending and receiving countries, seeking to boost protection and more..

Ukrainian Capt of Avant Garde moves SC against his illegal arrest, prolonged detention

Jan 24 (Island) Ukrainian Gennadiy Gavrylov, Captain of MV Avant Garde, that had been embroiled in alleged arms smuggling controversy, has moved the SC against what the petitioner called his wrongful, unjustifiable and illegal arrest on the morning of Oct 6, 2015 and the continuing detention. There hadn’t been a previous case of a foreigner filing fundamental rights application in SL in terms of Articles 11, 12(1), 13(1), & 13(2). more..

Police to probe motive behind Dasa Sil Matha's hunger strike

Jan 24 (CT) Police are probing the motive behind the Dasa Sil Matha's fast-unto-death opposite the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy since Sunday. It is reported that the unidentified Dasa Sil Matha has launched her fast demanding that the Unity Govt resign. Police have begun an investigation into her actions as the Dasa Sil Matha has refused to reveal her identity or provide any other details pertaining to her motives. She was admitted to Hospital due to being in a critical condition. more..

Deluges to droughts

Jan 24 (ST) SL’s focus last week on an impending drought has drawn a lot of praise in that the authorities – any govt for that matter – have got its act together and are preparing ahead for the expected calamity. While we too add a wee bit of praise to these developments, one must not be too complacent about short-term measures or long-term steps, however well intentioned they are, as these need to be accompanied by an efficient state machinery, finances and the will to succeed more..

Monetary Board to probe EPF investments

Jan 24 (DN) The majority of EPF investments go into govt securities; bills or bonds and the Monetary Board is conducting a study to find out whether there have been losses in their investments between 2015 and 2016, Finance Ministry Deputy Secretary S.R. Attygalle said as the Monetary Board released a statement to the press yesterday to dispel fears over losses incurred to Employee Provident Fund (EPF). more..

Jaffna stadium should not contain political flavours

Jan 24 (CT) The President of SLC Thilanga Sumathipala visited the North and earmarked an area in Jaffna to build a cricket stadium. In fact Jaffna is one of the areas that had always produced cricketers with good potential for a long time, even before the country played the ICC World Cup in 1975. Sumathipala who started his public work slowly at regional level is now the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, which shows his liking for politics and it is no understatement. more..

Leasing Hambantota land to China: SC fixes petition to support on 2 Feb

Jan 24 (FT) Supreme Court re-fixed for support on 2 Febr the rights petition challenging the framework agreement with China to dispense 15,000 acres of land for investment in Hambantota for converting debt into equity. Petitioner Vasudeva Nanayakkara cited  PM, Minister of Ports and Shipping and Finance Minister as well as Members of the Cabinet, Members of the Cabinet Appointed Negotiating Committee, State-Owned Corporates of China - namely China Merchants Port and more..

Mahendran mayhem

Jan 24 (FT) Local corruption watchdog the Anti-Corruption Front wrote to President, urging him to ban former CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran from attending meetings at the Ministry of Finance and continuing to influence the decisions of the Monetary Board. Former Governor Mahendran, who was deprived of a service extension after an investment firm linked to his son-in-law was alleged to have illegally profited more..

Bollettieri assures success in SL tennis

Jan 24 (CT) Sri Lanka is very fortunate to obtain the services of a top notch and world famous tennis coach Nick Bollettieri to uplift the standard of SL's tennis players. He was in SL from 22 to 24 January and very eager to get going on the court from the time of his arrival. Bollettieri is a celebrity coach who lives in America and has produced many successful tennis players in the likes of Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Maria Sharapova, Venus and Serena Williams, Martina Hingis, Jim Courier more..

SL’s Blind Cricketers to participate in World Blind 20-20 Tourney

Jan 24 (ST) A contingent of 17 Sri Lanka’s Visually Handicapped Cricketers and 3 officials will leave for India on Jan 31, to take part in the 2nd 20-20 World Blind Cricket organised by the World Blind Cricket Council, to be held from February 1-12. A well balanced team of 11 seniors and 6 freshers led by Chandana Deshapriya and selected from 3 categories- B1: Totally Blind, B2: Partially Blind and B3: Slightly better vision than B2, are brimming with confidence to win the Championship, more..

Plea for Jallikattu type world-wide struggle to promote Sri Lankan Tamil cause

Jan 24 (ENS) SL’s largest selling Tamil daily Virakesari has, in an editorial, called for a Jallikattu type non-partisan, peaceful, world-wide mass struggle in support of the SL Tamil cause. Expressing amazement at the way Tamils in TN and abroad spontaneously rose in defense of a cultural right shunning political parties and film stars in the process, paper said the Tamil Spring India saw kindles the hope that more..

H'tota back in action with Bangladesh Tour

Jan 24 (ST) With its growing international status, the Bangladesh Tour of Sri Lanka should be of special significance where the present Lankan national cricket is concerned. Lankans upon concluding their T-20 engagement against Australia in Feb will be back at home taking on the high-riding Bangladesh cricketers when they will play two tests, three ODIs and two T-20s, in March this year. It is also noteworthy in these it is very likely that the Mahinda Rajapaksa Int'l Cricket Stadium more..

Central Bank loans Rs 12.5B to govt

Jan 24 (CT) Central Bank on a net basis loaned Rs 12,495 million to the Govt by way of printed money, thereby increasing the money printing figure by 4.04% to Rs 322,030.31 million at the end of yesterday's trading. However, Govt's interest cost on account of money printing declined by Rs 215.3 million (2.39%) to Rs 8,786.66 million yesterday, probably because though there was an increase in money printing, some high cost Treasury (T)-Bill holdings in CBSL's godowns, would, more..

'If President to leave coalition govt, that will put his life in danger'

Jan 24 (AD) If President Maithripala Sirisena is to leave the coalition govt, that decision will put his life in danger, PHU leader Udaya Gammanpila said. Gammanpila also alleged the CIA and India’s RAW were behind forming Ranil- Maithri coalition govt in 2015. “They tossed them into a barrel and filled it up to the waist level with concrete. So they cannot leave each other, but still can fight,” Gammanpila said.  more..

SriLankan most punctual among OneWorld airlines

Jan 24 (AD) SriLankan Airlines has further enhanced its reputation as one of the most punctual airlines in the world, by being rated as the most on-time member airline of the oneworld global airline alliance in the fourth quarter of 2016, by the global flight data monitoring firm OAG. Oneworld has for many years been rated as the most punctual among global airline alliances. oneworld comprises 14 airlines that connect more than 1,000 cities in 160 countries – air-berlin, American Airlines, more..

A Trillion Hat-trick from Bank of Ceylon

Jan 24 (Island) Bank of Ceylon scored its third Trillion at the end of the year 2016. That is surpassing the Rs. one trillion mark in advances- another unique milestone in its 77-year journey as the Bankers to the Nation and becoming the first, and up to now the only bank to pass this milestone in Sri Lanka. Bank’s balance sheet has expanded, press release said. ‘At an impressive scale since its first Trillion target was achieved in 2012 by accumulating over Rs. one trillion assets more..

Feel the heat more as captain: Mathews

Jan 24 (WI) In 2014, a few months after he guided Sri Lanka to their maiden Test win against England, Angelo Mathews was named captain of the ICC’s Test Team of the Year. He seemed well set to rise to the upper echelons of the sport’s hierarchy. Like his predecessors Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, Mathews was blossoming into an influential leader with Sri Lanka heading towards a generational change after more..

Dubai Police help Sri Lankan man meet daughter in Switzerland

Jan 24 (GN) Dubai Police helped a Sri Lankan father, stranded in the transit area of Dubai airport due to a fake passport, visit his daughter in Switzerland. The father was travelling to Switzerland to see his daughter — a resident of that country — but was denied entry after passport control in Switzerland discovered that his passport was fake. He was sent back to Sri Lanka through Dubai where he asked for help from Dubai Police. Colonel Al Murr, Director of Human Rights more..

Fowzie in hospital as abuse of state vehicle case is taken up

Jan 24 (Island) Colombo Chief Magistrate ordered the witnesses to be present on April 5 to testify in respect of the complaint filed by the Permanent CIABOC against the former Minister of Disaster Management A.H.M. Fowzie. The Commission had complained that the suspect Fowzie had used a state vehicle given for Disaster Management for his personal use, and thereby caused a loss to the state that amounted up to Rs. 10 million. The value of the vehicle is Rs. 20 million. more..

Let’s become Dhiriya citizens who nurture happiness & drive away sorrow

Jan 24 (LT) “The country is at a stage where people die of mosquito bites. The present administration cannot save the people even from mosquito bites. Death is the cheapest in the country. What we need is a country that nurtures life instead of death, happiness instead of sorrow and that consists of determined people who aspire for unity between Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers and Malays. The policies to build such a country more..

Partnership with three universities to boost industry: INSEE Cement enters SL market

Jan 24 (DN) SL construction industry will be strengthened with the launching of INSEE Cement. INSEE Cement was earlier known as Holcim (Lanka) and currently recognised as the country’s leading cement manufacturer. The main INSEE manufacturing plant is based in Thailand. LafargeHolcim sold Holcim Lanka operations for Siam City Cement (INSEE Cement) for US$ 400m. Siam City Cement Public Company (SCCC), is the second-largest cement maker in Thailand. more..

Poverty elimination: Rhetoric and policy imperatives

Jan 24 (ST) Govt declared 2017 as the year of poverty alleviation and President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a special committee to work for the eradication of poverty in the country. Sri Lanka is expected to be poverty free by 2020. The elimination of poverty has been a popular promise among political leaders in SL. Despite their repeated promises, resolutions and committees for eliminating poverty, poverty persists. President Premadasa moved a resolution at SAARC Summit more..

JVP press conference

Forgotten Republic Day

Jan 24 (CT) The fourth of February is celebrated as the National Day and the country is to mark the 69th Independence Anniversary on 4 Feb 2017. On Thursday (26 Jan) India celebrates its Republic Day with pomp and pageantry as India considers the Republic Day as the most important National Day. At the same time India celebrates the Independence Day (15 Aug) as the day the country gained independence, by hoisting the Indian Tricolour on the rampart of the Red Fort in Delhi. more..

CTF recommendations and hybrid court

Jan 24 (CT) In the wake of the Consultative Task Force calling for foreign Judges to hear war crime charges, Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene stated that President Sirisena categorically ruled out the participation of foreign Judges to hear or inquire into war crime allegations. He reaffirmed the President's position that only logistical and IT assistance would be obtained to expedite the judicial process, when the judicial mechanism was set up to probe the alleged crimes. more..

Docs threaten TU action if...

Jan 24 (CT) This week the trade union talk focuses on the issues faced by doctors. Ceylon Today interviewed the General Secretary of GMOA Dr. Naveen de Zoysa. He insisted that it is unfair to tax the secondary income of doctors. He noted, due to the existence of private medical services the burden on the govt health services is reduced. In that context, govt should encourage the private medical services. more..

This beggar’s opera and Malik’s frolics

Jan 24 (ST) There is an old African saying (I think it originated in the Kikuyu tribe though there are variants of it) that when elephants fight it is the grass that is trampled. It is simple enough to understand. When beasts the size of pachyderms fight it is the small animals inadvertently caught up in the tussle and the grass on which they fight that suffer the most. Those engaged in the current gladiatorial contests are not the four-legged kind that gave rise to the African proverb. more..

Sri Lanka: The shape of things to come

Jan 24 (Island) Politics is shaped by the ability to deliver. So is the future. It is all about doing and achieving, doing what you say what you say you are going to do, to paraphrase Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva. It is not about good intentions, it is about getting results. It is not about pleasing outsiders and being liked by them; ultimately it is about keeping your own people happy, satisfying their aspirations, reassuring them, protecting them and advancing their interests. more..