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Minister Champika Ranawaka

Editorial: Living with Zika

Feb 5 (Island) The whole world is now talking about the Zika virus which is fast spreading. This germ is said to have been named after an African forest where monkeys afflicted with it were first found. Etymologists have described the English word stock as a chain of borrowings. And, this country has, in her small way, made some contribution to it. Prominent among the loan words of Sri Lankan origin are beriberi, tic polonga and kitul. These, one may argue, are associated with more..

A 2500 year-old Culture that was!

Feb 5 (GV) The current wave of Sinhala-Buddhist supremacism, and attempts to establish a Sinhala-Buddhist Raj in Sri Lanka, if left unchecked will eventually lead to fragmentation of Sri Lanka into separate states of minorities. It may not happen in the immediate future, but it’s a reality staring us in the face. With the military defeat of the LTTE in 2009 Lankans as a people, were hardly afforded the chance to breathe a sigh of relief, before Sinhala-Buddhist extremists, in the form of BBS, more..

'UNP moving away from family inheritance politics'

Feb 5 (CT) UNP will once again face the public, to elect the grassroots level leadership, at LG election. Puttalam District MP, Ashoka Priyantha, spoke to CT explaining the preparations of UNP, as a politician who began his political journey on being elected at LG polls. Q: How is the UNP, at the grassroots level, preparing to face LG polls? A: UNP is well positioned to win upcoming LG polls as it was in previous general election more..

Tinkering with constitutions and ignoring need for consensus

Feb 5 (NS) The new govt came with promises of constitutional change and much fanfare for political reform to ensure a fair society. All these promised changes are meant to be for the benefit of the people, for better democracy, for empowerment of the people and for lessor politicization etc. They are grand promises and if implemented honestly, should make Sri Lanka a better place to live in. The actual issue is how much of honesty has been displayed by our politicians when it comes to more..

Media depicts the animal in human

Feb 5 (NS) World today is exposed to many things, good, bad, useful, and useless. World is networked in such a way that a press of a button will show you what you want and at times what you don’t want. Today the world is dominated by information. Presence of social networking sites has just taken information sharing to a whole new level. Facebook & Twitter, two of the most popular social networking sites, have turned out to be major competitors for mainstream print and electronic media. more..

Enter, the Smart Schools

Feb 5 (SO) For a country already awash with smart phones, the development of smart schools islandwide may seem only an extension of the idea. The Minister of Education, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, is determined that it should be much more. He wants to improve conditions and facilities in State schools across the country so that a much bigger choice of schools are available for children climbing the education ladder. more..

FM Sarath Fonseka not entitled to be a MP

Feb 5 (CT) Death is often not an instance of merriment for any, unless you are one who is aspiring for a parliamentary seat. In this country of dirty politics and sagacious politicos, it is quite easy to manipulate the law to fool the people. However, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. In this particular instance, the death is of a veteran Politico, M.K.A.D.S. Gunawardana, more..

The story of a Tamil man’s confession

Feb 5 (CT) Would you believe that? Late afternoon of the 68th Independence Day of Sri Lanka an upset middle-aged man with balding head and payaasam belly sat in a bar with me and made a confession. The man is none other than my drinking partner, the Sri Lankan Tamil fellow Sivapuranam Thevaram, and we had met up in the famous pub in Bridgetown, UK, and had just sat down with our glasses of Peroni. Thrilled at my temporary ordainment, I put a hand on his shoulder and said more..

Zeid to meet victims of human rights violations in Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (CG) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein will have talks with the Chief Minister of the Northern Province C V Wigneswaran and also meet victims of alleged human rights violations. Formally announcing the visit to SL, Foreign Ministry said that accepting an invitation extended by the Govt in Feb 2015, UN High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein will undertake a four-day official visit to Sri Lanka. more..

Rear Adm Weerasekera blasts govt. for persecuting war heroes

Feb 4 (Island) Govt had no moral right to celebrate the Independence Day as it was harassing and insulting the security forces personnel who had defeated terrorism, former deputy minister Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera said. He said govt was also harassing former President Rajapaksa, who had led the security forces to victory against the LTTE in spite of international pressure. "When we celebrate independence, we cannot forget the roles played by the security forces more..

TNA welcomes anthem in Tamil

Feb 4 (EN) Sri Lanka’s main opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) welcomed the national anthem being sung at national day celebrations as a giant step towards reconciliation in a country emerging from decades of Ethnic war. TNA legislator and spokesman M. A. Sumanthiran said he hoped that same spirit will be maintained in resolving the long-standing demands of the Tamils to have a greater degree of autonomy in the regions where they are concentrated. more..

Sicille Kotelawala arrested at BIA

Feb 4 (DM) Former Ceylinco Chairman Lalith Kothelawala’s wife Sicille Kotelawala was arrested by the Immigration and Emigration Department officials at the BIA this afternoon on her arrival from Dubai. Immigration and Emigration Controller General M.N. Ranasinghe said she was handed over to the CID. Ms. Kothelawala, a Director of the Golden Key Credit Card Company, left the country following company’s collapse. more..

Indian SC refuses to give urgent hearing on plea on Ram Sethu

Feb 4 (PTI) Supreme Court refused to accord urgent hearing on a plea of a BJP leader seeking a direction to the Centre that it should clarify its stand on mythological Ram Sethu. A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi asked BJP leader Subramanium Swamy, who has filed the plea, to come before the court if the Centre touches the mythological bridge. "There is no need for urgent hearing. If they do not touch Ram Sethu, then you need not worry," more..

'Sampanthan had tears in his eyes when National Anthem was sung in Tamil'

Feb 4 (AM) Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan had tears in his eyes when the Tamil translation of the Sri Lankan national anthem was sung during the state independence day ceremony, a Cabinet Minister who attended the event said. This was the second time the Tamil translation of the national anthem was sung during a state independence day ceremony. First occasion was the first independence clay cementation in Colombo, held under the auspices of former PM D.S. Senanayake. more..

Video: Where is genuine freedom? FSP

Feb 4 (DM) FSP today questioned whether there was genuine freedom in the country as pledged by the Good Governance and said the freedom had become a privilege limited to the accomplices of the Govt. Staging a protest in Pettah (Colombo), the FSP said the govt came into power promising to take action on the incidents such as the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda, political activists Lalith and Kugan and more..

More SLFP ministers come out against FCID

Feb 4 (Island) Former Presiden Rajapaksa and his family members should be protected, Minister Vijith Wijayamuni Zoysa said. He however stressed that although it was important to protect the former first family no one could exceed the court decisions nor comment on court proceedings. If there were any allegations against someone it should be cleared through the court itself, he noted. Politicians should not take the law into their hands as in the case of former CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, more..

690 prisoners freed in view of freedom day

Feb 4 (ITN) 690 prisoners are freed today under a general amnesty granted by the President. President has granted this amnesty in view of SL’s 68th Independence Day. The amnesty has been given to prisoners who have been imprisoned for minor offences. Accordingly he said that 690 prisoners are being released from prisons throughout the country. They included 76 inmates from then Welikada Prisons, 80 from the Mahara Prisons and 31 prisoners from the Bogambara Prisons. more..

Tax concession on bulk Mackerel not on

Feb 4 (CT) Minister Ravi Karunanayake has vetoed the cabinet decision to impose a special commodity levy on imported canned fish and Mackerel. On 28 Jan, Minister Rajitha Senaratne announced that Cabinet had made a decision to impose, "special tax concessions for the bulk import of Mackerel only for local canned fish producers and also to allow the concession for imported canned fish only if they comply with set standards". more..

GMOA to seek ban on Lanka E News

Feb 4 (AM) The GMOA recently hit out at the LankaEnews website, revealing that it had already complained against the web site to the IGP and the cyber crimes division, and was intending to request the website to be banned in Sri Lanka. GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya said that the website had accused him of being silent over the recent media reports of a kidney racket. He was attacked based on a false argument and he was not given the right of reply, Padeniya said. more..

Video: Shiranthi brings Yoshitha’s meals

Feb 4 (DM) Former First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa today visited her son Yoshitha at the Welikada Prison with his meals after he declined the meals provided by the Prison. Five suspects including Yoshitha Rajapaksa, remanded on charges of financial irregularities at the CSN, had declined to consume the meals since Monday. Prison official said they had been granted permission to obtain all three meals from home. “Declining food provided by Prisons Department and bringing them from more..

Video: Sri Lanka needs to be brave and open up, says Harsha

Feb 4 (LBO) Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Harsha de Silva said that closing boarders in fear will not help small countries like Sri Lanka to move forward. “Look at Vietnam they are opening up and signing the Trans Pacific Partnership – they brought in close to 15 billion dollars in foreign direct investments alone last year and Sri Lanka barely managed a billion,” he said. “Opening up has helped Singapore, Hong Kong and is also helping more..

Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives hold anti-terror exercises

Feb 4 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan and Maldives troops have joined Pakistan in anti-terror military exercises in the country's northwest, Pakistan military said on Thursday. The two-week long exercise was focused on counter-terrorism operations and sharing of field combat experience of the three armed forces. The Pakistan military said a large number of friendly countries have requested Pakistan Army to organize training for their troops in the state-of-the-art Counter Terrorism Training Center more..

'Tea plantation workers to get wage hike'

Feb 4 (CT) Minister Navin Dissanayake said that they are taking steps to increase the daily wages of plantation sector workers to between Rs 750 – Rs 775 from their present wage of Rs 620, to address the continuing issues regarding the manpower crisis of the tea industry. "There are some trade unions that want to increase the daily wage to Rs 1,000 but I think this might cripple the industry. But we are trying to negotiate a salary between Rs 750 – 775. But for this to work out both sides more..

War against Dengue and Zika

Feb 4 (CT) On top of this, we now have a newcomer on the block, which is none other than the Zika virus carried by the same vector as dengue. Aabid Kareem soon found out that his neighbours' sewage drain was washing into the storm water drain next to his home and the stagnant and polluted water was becoming an active breeding ground for mosquitoes. When he called up the CMC, Director Drainage to complain, he was told that while his more..

Prior registration with SLBFE for overseas job seekers a must

Feb 4 (DN) Govt will not accept any responsibility for those who leave for foreign employment without prior registration at Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLBFE) from this year, Minister Thalatha Athukorale said. "President's manifesto incorporates a programme for protecting migrant workers and their families which is known as Shramika Surakuma. All migrant workers should be registered with their nearest Divisional Secretariat to get any benefits from this scheme. more..

Post Independence Sri Lanka: Key lessons and challenges

Feb 4 (DM) We celebrate the 68th anniversary of the country's political independence on the 4th of this month. The period that we have completed is as long as the average life span of a Sri Lankan citizen today. Some of us were not even born when the country gained independence but have lived during the post independence period as children, youth and adults. In other words, we have witnessed many things that happened during the period, be it political change, social and economic development, more..

Chinese leaders congratulate Sri Lanka on anniversary of founding

Feb 4 (Xinhua) Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday congratulated Sri Lanka on the 68th anniversary of the founding of country. In a message addressed to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Xi said that China-Sri Lanka relations, with a long history, have grown ever stronger and that both peoples have benefited from friendly cooperation between the two countries. Xi recalled that during President Sirisena's visit more..

Hikkaduwa Coral Reef facing imminent destruction

Feb 4 (CT) Coral reef at Hikkaduwa is facing destruction, and therefore, prompt action must be taken for its conservation and re-growth, Deputy Minister Sumedha Jayasena said when she met a group of representatives of the environment and animal rights organizations at the ministry recently. With a view to protect the Hikkaduwa Coral Reef, Hikkaduwa was proclaimed a National Park on 19 Sept 2002. The coral reef within the Hikkaduwa National Park serves as a habitat and more..

The face of despair & The black day that is Sri Lankan independence day

Feb 4 (CT) Sinhalese and some self-deprecating Tamils will be celebrating the 68th anniversary of Sri Lankan independence on Feb 4, 2016. On the other hand in stark contrast, Eelam Tamils who have their dignity, self-pride and self respect intact will be marking it as a Black Day. If independence is explained in the dictionary as self-government, self-rule, home rule, separation, self-determination, sovereignty, autonomy, freedom, liberty, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, etc., more..

68th National Independence Day

Independence of 1948 revived

Feb 4 (DM) We remember that the Independence of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was then known) was gained on Feb 4, 1948. The UNP was founded on 6 Sept 1946 by amalgamating three right-leaning pro-dominion parties from the majority Sinhalese community and minority Tamil and Muslim communities. It was founded by Don Stephen Senanayake, who was in the forefront in the struggle for independence from the United Kingdom, having resigned from Ceylon National Congress more..

Enthusiastic response from citizens: PRCCR

Feb 4 (CT) The Chairman of Public Representation Committee on Constitutional Reforms Lawyer Lal Wijenayaka said to Ceylon Today that the committee had received 191 comments from Kandy District alone. He said that the people of Kandy District had shown interest similar to the enthusiasm the people of Colombo regarding constitutional reforms. The sessions of public consultation on the constitutional reforms were held in Kandy and Gampaha Districts on 1 and 2 February respectively. more..

Chainless haven for elephants

Feb 4 (CT) Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) has constructed an elephant hoarding ground close to the Udawalawe Elephant Transit home to keep the elephants illegally captured from the wild. The illegal capturing of elephants from the wild, allegedly by some tame-elephant owners in the past, created headlines in the media after investigations revealed that the animals were illegally registered and licences more..

Mystery killing of elderly woman

Feb 4 (Island) A mysterious killing took place at Sivallawa, Ethanawatta in the Wariyapola police area on Tuesday night. A 66-year-old mother of two sons was found dead with her neck severed. She had been sleeping on a mat inside the living room of a small house. "They are a poor family and their house is without doors and windows," the Police Media Uni (PMU) said. The victim identified as Podi Manika had gone to sleep around 11.00 pm, ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said yesterday. more..

Are we independent?

Feb 4 (CT) Today Sri Lanka celebrates its 68th Independence Day. It supposed to celebrate achieving political independence from the British rule which governed the country over a century. The word independence reflects many aspects of a society. It is not merely being a sovereign State and not being ruled by another country. Independence also reflects the economic independence, liberty, political independence and many others. The question we should ask ourselves is that more..