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Wimal Declares its independence from UPFA

National Freedom Front leader Wimal Weerawansa requested from Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday in parliament to accept five NFF MPs including him as an independent group since they have severed all their connections with the UPFA.

Speaker Jayasuriya said that he would refer the matter to the party leaders’ meeting scheduled for today and will inform the outcome to the House.

Australia beat Sri Lanka by 41 runs

Australia beat Sri Lanka by 41 runs in their final Twenty20 game today, avoiding a whitewash in the three-match series and salvaging some pride.

Australia got off to a flier courtesy of captain and opening batsman Aaron Finch's 53 runs off 32 balls. His partner Michael Klinger scored a controlled 62 runs off 43 balls to help take the hosts to a total of 187.

MG Danushka ordered to pay Rs 300,000

Singer MG Dhanushka was ordered to pay Rs.300,000 to the sons of well-known singer, the late MS Fernando on agreeing to settle the matter amicably.

The order was given by Colombo Chief Magistrate Lal Ranasinghe Bandara in the case in which it was alleged that Dhanushka had violated the Intellectual Property Act by singing the late Mr. Fernando’s songs.

Child labour declining in Lanka

The Department of Census and Statistics yesterday said Sri Lanka is fast headed in the direction of being a nation free of child labour.

The Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs along with the Department of Census and Statistics unveiled the 2016 report on Child Activity Survey (CAS) at the Water's Edge Hotel. Director General of the Department Amara Satharasinghe said according to the data collected by the survey the percentage of children engaged in employment or work in 2016 has decreased to 2.3% of the entire child population.

Sri Lanka nationwide inflation increases

Inflation has increased to 6.5% in January 2017 from 4.2% in December 2016 due to rising food prices, Director General of Census and Statistics, Amara Satharasinghe said. "The reason for the increase in inflation was due to the comparatively lower price levels which prevailed in January 2016. In January 2016 the contribution to inflation from the food group was -1.9% and non-food group was 1.2%.

Nevertheless, in January 2017, the contribution to inflation from the food group and non-food group were 2.9% and 3.6% respectively," a communiqué issued by the Department of Census and Statistics said.

Gunaratnam leaves for Australia

Department of Immigration and Emigration sources said yesterday, General Secretary of the FSP Kumar Gunaratnam had flown to Australia on 19 February.

The FSP frontliner was given Sri Lankan citizenship on 1 February while he has to officially inform the Department of Immigration and Emigration that he has relinquished his Australian citizenship within three months.

Speaker says no to Wimal

Leader of the National Freedom Front, MP Wimal Weerawansa, who is currently in remand, would only be allowed to take part in committee meetings such as the Committee on Public Accounts and sectoral oversight committees, only during days when Parliament is in session, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya informed the House yesterday.

The Speaker was responding to MP Weerawansa, who himself raised the question in Parliament yesterday.

Prez Probe on CBSL scam

Indrajit Coomaraswamy arriving at the Commission. Picture by Wimal Karunatilaka
Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said yesterday that he was surprised by the ad hoc manner in which the Central Bank Treasury Bonds have been issued in the past.

The CBSL Governor was testifying before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry to Investigate and Inquire into the Issuance of Treasury Bonds.

Rathana Thera’s plan to join UNP

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) said today the Ven. Athureliya Rathana Thera had reportedly met the United National Party (UNP) leader and discussed about joining the party in violation of the MoU signed between the JHU and the UNP in 2015.

JHU Co-Chairman Ven. Hedigalle Wimalasara Thera said the Ven. Rathana thera had no right to join the UNP on the basis that he entered Parliament through the single slot allocated to the JHU in the national list as one of the conditions of the MoU.

Dickwella suspended by ICC

Niroshan Dickwella has been suspended for two limited-over matches after his accumulated demerit points reached five within a 24-month period following his latest breach of the ICC Code of Conduct for which he received a 30 per cent fine and two demerit points.

During the second Twenty20 International against Australia in Geelong on Sunday, Dickwella was found guilty of breaching article 2.1.5 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Player and Player Support Personnel, which relates to “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match”.

Adolf Hitler’s phone sells for $240,000 at auction

Adolf Hitler’s personal telephone, which the Fuehrer used to dictate many of his deadly World War II commands, sold at auction on Sunday for $243,000, the US house selling it announced.

Bidding for the phone started at $100,000 (94,000 euros) and the successful bidder paid $243,000, the Maryland-based auctioneer added.

Five Army personnel suspended

The five Army personnel arrested and remanded over the 2008 abduction, assault and false imprisonment of senior journalist Keith Noyahr have been suspended from duties, the Military Spokesman said. 

Noyahr had been abducted on May 11, 2008 by unknown persons. Releasing a statement following the incident, the publishing company where Noyahr worked claimed the abduction followed a series of threats against Noyahr. He was known for his critical analyses of Sri Lanka’s security situation during the war in his column which he wrote under a pseudonym.