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International audit firms tasked with probing Basil, Wimal

Jan 28 (Island) Minister Sajith Premadasa has engaged two internationally renowned auditing firms to probe Housing and Samurdhi portfolios previously held by former ministers Wimal Weerawansa and Basil Rajapaksa, respectively. Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers would probe Housing and Samurdhi portfolios, respectively. They had assured projects would be carried out free of charge. more..

Lawyers demand justice for inmates killed in Welikada prison riot

Jan 28 (NS) Lawyers who identified themselves as Lawyers for Good Governance holding a press conference, today demanded immediate action to be taken against the persons responsible for the Welikada prison riot. The close relatives of the inmates who were killed on the day of the riot were also present at the media briefing. Attorney-at-Law, Senaka Perera mentioned that though committees are being appointed by every govt that comes to power, justice has not yet been done. more..

Docs present their case to President

Jan 28 (Island) GMOA General Committee has decided to write to President Maithripala Sirisena about the non-implementation of the provisions of the National Wage Policy as regards the doctors. GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya stressed that their letter had brought to President’s notice that the salary increase promised by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his Budget 2015 for doctors in keeping with the National Wage Policy had not been implemented. more..

Sanga takes aim at Nishantha & SLC again

Jan 28 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara has once again taken aim at Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga, as well as the country's former sports minister, labeling their actions in the approach to the 2013 Champions League "shameful and corrupt" in an email to the board that makes fresh allegations against it. Sangakkara and Ranatunga had clashed in August that year, when the batsman accused Ranatunga of publically more..

Plot to kill Wele Suda: JHU leader

Jan 28 (CT) Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) Leader, Ven. Omalpe Sobitha Thera, said there is a plot to kill drug kingpin, Wele Suda, who has been divulging information about the drug trade in Sri Lanka. The Thera said they received information that Wele Suda has revealed a lot of information about the drug trade and those involved. In addition, he is to reveal much more information. Those who will be implicated by Wele Suda are attempting to kill him, the Thera warned. more..

Jumping JHU PS members jump again

Jan 28 (Island) Seven Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) members of JHU, who defected to Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) led by Western Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila on Dec 17, 2014 and supported Mahinda Rajapaksa in the presidential race on Jan 8, now claim that they were misled by Gammanpila. The seven members addressed the media yesterday in Colombo and they apologised to Ranpathwila Wimalaratana Thera for leaving the party due to their ignorance. more..

‘No change in Lanka’s liberal market policies’

Jan 28 (FT) There is no change in Sri Lanka’s international or domestic trade positioning due to the arrival of a new Govt, Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said. “We pledge that there is no change in the liberal market policies of Sri Lanka by the new Govt of President Maithripala Sirisena, rather our determined market economy outlook is strengthened even further by the President’s new policies,” he stressed. more..

Tea industry brews highest ever exports

Jan 28 (FT) In a major boost, the country’s tea industry has achieved an all-time high export performance both in volume and value. Ceylon Tea Brokers said that cumulative Sri Lanka tea exports for the period Jan/Dec 2014 recorded 327.87m kgs thus recording an all time high surpassing the previous highest of 327.41m kgs in 2006. Jan/Dec 2013 recorded a quantity of 319.66 m kgs. The total quantity of tea exports for December 2014 was 30.28m kgs vis-à-vis 29.00m kgs in more..

Sobhitha thera tells CJ to quit

Jan 28 (CT) The NMSJ requested Chief Justice (CJ) Mohan Peiris to step down from his post with dignity. Head of the NMSJ, Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thera said as the incumbent CJ was a political appointee and several allegations had been levelled against him, it was his duty and his responsibility to the nation to step down gracefully. The 43rd CJ, Shirani Bandaranaike was taken out, unfairly. Thera said the current CJ has also been implicated in the attempted coup by former President more..

Obama sees new hope in Lanka

Jan 28 (CG) The President of the US, Barack Obama, notes that there is new hope for democracy in SL and that India can help countries like Sri Lanka forge a better future. In a transcript posted on the White House website of a speech Obama made at the Siri Fort Auditorium in India, the US President is quoted as saying that India can help other countries with their elections by using the experience India has with its elections. more..

SLT to offer CYREN cyber security solution

Jan 28 (PRN) CYREN (NASDAQ: CYRN) today announced it signed Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) as one of its latest resellers. SLT will now offer the cloud-based CYREN Web Security solution that provides advanced cyber security and zero-hour threat protection. As the national information and communications technology provider and the leading broadband and backbone infrastructure services provider in the country, Sri Lanka Telecom serves more than six million end users and 10,000 more..

'No new technology at Trade Fair'

Jan 28 (CT) Yalpanam Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Chairman, Kularatnam Vignesh yesterday lamented that the most modern technology, which is available in Colombo was not available at the Jaffna Industrial Trade Fair exhibition which concluded on Sunday. "What we needed was the equipment and technology for packing and processing of agricultural and fisheries products; but the exhibitors gave prominence to motor vehicles, Vignesh told Ceylon FT. more..

How Wele Suda was busted!

Jan 28 (CT) Heroin extracted from the Poppy flower grown on the Afghan – Pakistan border has become a threat to the entire world. The Poppy flower is symbolic of soldiers who died in World War II. Nobody would have imagined that it would eventually turn out to be a threat to the youth of the world today. A number of drug barons handled the trade of heroin in Sri Lanka from time to time, in its history. more..

BBS on drug menace

Jan 28 (DM) BBS organisation today urged the Govt to appoint a common front comprising of all parties to expose drug dealers in the country. The General Secretary of BBS Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera said they would accept any good changes in the country and they would pledge their support for those changes. He said BBS held a meeting at Kolonnawa last year and there were about five drug dealers among those who were already engaged in politics and the Govt should now probe them. more..

CBSL continues with two-tier SDF policy

Jan 28 (CT) The bulk of Rs 36.8 billion unaccounted for excess liquidity at Monday's trading ending in the banks' own 'godowns' instead in Central Bank of Sri Lanka's (CBSL's) standing deposit facility (SDF) was not good enough for CBSL to discontinue its current two-tier SDF window and make it uniform when it made its monetary policy statement for the current month yesterday, market sources said. CBSL's two-tier SDF policy regime operates on the basis that when banks park their excess liquidity for more..

Bungling officials poke bowling wound

Jan 28 (DM) As if Sri Lanka team’s on-field problems were not enough, the bungling Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials have managed to complicate things by attempting to remove the team’s fast bowling coach Chaminda Vaas in a failed attempt to replace him with Champaka Ramanayake, but team sources in New Zealand said that the botched attempt only contributed to exacerbate the internal issues of the team more..

3D Concept Studio signs MoU with University of Moratuwa

Jan 28 (Island) 3D Concept Studio, the first rapid prototyping firm in Sri Lanka, signed a MoU with the University of Moratuwa’s Department of Electronics. The agreement will provide students of the department easy access to the company’s vast array of prototyping services. Students of the department primarily use prototyping for their final year projects and while 3D printing would be ideally suited for their needs they have yet to utilise the process. The barrier for students at the University was more..

Temple Trees ponies removed to Gonamadiththa right after elections

Jan 28 (CT) Ponies and macaws kept at Temple Trees were meant for the sake of a good 'omen'. They were bought from a businessman/supplier in Hambantota who has a virtual private zoo over there and another at Malabe. The ponies were sold off at a veritable loss after the election. Asanka Indrajith, who bought the four ponies from Temple Trees spoke to us briefly about it. Q: When were these horses brought from the Temple Trees? A: A day after the presidential election, on 09th Jan. more..

Six new Governors appointed

Jan 28 (FT) Six new Governors were sworn in before President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday. They were H.M.G.S. Palihakkara (Northern), Austin Fernando (Eastern), Marshall Perera (Sabaragamuwa), Surangani Eallawala (Central), P.B. Dissanayake (North Central) and M.P. Jayasinghe (Uva). Earlier, K.C. Yogeswaran, Amara Piyaseeli Ratnayake and Hemakumara more..

The Lanka question

Jan 28 (PT) New Delhi has lots to explain when Mahinda Rajpaksa was reelected as SL’s President for the second time. India had supplied him small arms which he liberally used to kill the Tamils, the largest minority in that country. He should have been tried for war crimes because he killed 40,000 Tamils in cold blood even after the surrender by what was then called the LTTE, the militant face of Tamils in the North. That he tried to woo both military and police chiefs to stay back even after defeat more..

Shifting sands of Lankan politics

Jan 28 (AN) The first foreign envoy to call on the new Sri Lankan President, Maithripala Sirisena, within hours of his Jan. 9 victory over Mahinda Rajpaksa, was India’s High Commissioner in Colombo Yashwant Sinha. In contrast, China’s Ambassador Wu Jinaghao had to wait until Jan. 15 for his turn to shake hands with the island nation’s new boss. Sinha pipping Jinaghao by as many as six days is being seen as proof of New Delhi suddenly gaining the upper hand in Sri Lanka more..

Hugo Swire here tomorrow

Jan 28 (CG) British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire will visit Jaffna while in Sri Lanka from 28-30 January, British High Commission said. Hugo Swire is paying a second visit to Sri Lanka which comes shortly after the formation of a new govt. As part of a broad visit Swire will call on senior ministers including PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to discuss the new govt’s reform programme and areas of potential co-operation. more..

Further monetary loosening in Sri Lanka is not necessary: HSBC

Jan 28 (EN) Sri Lanka does not need further monetary loosening since lending rates are at record lows, with higher state spending expected, though inflation is low, HSBC has said. "In our view, further monetary policy easing is not needed since market lending rates have already declined to record lows and private sector credit growth is witnessing a nascent recovery," HSBC said in a research note. "We expect the central bank to remain on hold for an extended period as additional govt spending more..

The delusion of a Rajapaksa come back and the general election stakes

Jan 28 (Island) The new govt of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has been proceeding without a major hiccup and the issue making the most news daily has been the ongoing revelations of corruption against the former Rajapaksa regime and extending up to its highest levels. The most newsworthy post election development was the collapse of the SLFP into the lap of its longtime former General Secretary, President Maithripala Sirisena. more..

'I will build a new Rajarata'

Jan 28 (CT) "If I lost the presidential election, my dearly beloved people of Polonnaurwa would most probably have missed seeing me from the very next day as I would have ended up in a grave somewhere, together with the members of my family," said President Maithripala Sirisena addressing a felicitation meeting held in his honour in Polonnaruwa. "Last presidential election was the most corrupt election held so far in Sri Lanka. more..

Good governance cannot be imported

Jan 28 (Island) These days, the phrase ‘good governance’ reverberates across the media reporting on Sri Lanka. It refers to a vague concept that is being used by the West and their opportunistic allies as a very effective weapon against our country to keep it destabilized for their own purposes, while trying to alienate us from the relatively more sincere friends in the region that we have had for over a thousand years. (Human rights violation charges are another weapon. more..

In Sri Lanka, elections could signal new opportunities

Jan 28 (ET) When he called an election two years ahead of schedule, Sri Lanka’s long-serving President Rajapaksa had little fear of being unseated: He had successfully crushed a bloody insurgency led by the LTTE that had ravaged the nation for decades, and held firm control over all branches of govt. But when the votes were counted, Sri Lanka had elected a new leader. The cause was a widespread and unexpected decline in support for Rajapaksa by several key constituencies. more..

'6.5 Mn private sector work force but no Mininster of Labour!'

Jan 28 (CT) Today's Trade Union talk focuses on the strongest trade union body of the country, National Trade Union Centre (NTUC) which is also the affiliated trade union body to the JVP. The views of the NTUC are very critical at this time as we are at the verge of an interim budget which is expected to address many concerns of the public. K.D. Lalkantha shared his views regarding the demands of the employees and limitations more..

Sirisena with UNP or SLFP?

Jan 28 (SL) With less than a hundred days to go for the parliamentary elections there appears to be a remarkable complacency in the UNP which is heading the govt and also in the SLFP which is the main opposition party. Just three months ahead for an island wide parliamentary election the usual practice will be to start drumming up party supporters attacking opponents and drawing up strategies. UNP supporters convey the impression that they are sitting pretty being main party more..

Editorial: Lessons to be learnt

Jan 28 (Island) There is a popular local saying which we repeat in these columns from time to time: mole thiyanakota bale ne, bale thiyanakota mole ne––roughly rendered into English it means that when you have power you have no brains and when you have brains you have no power. Nothing explains what power does to politicians, when it goes to their heads, better than this aphorism which we were reminded of when Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva spoke after visiting more..

Resettlement highest priority

Jan 28 (CT) Minister of Resettlement, Reconstruction and Hindu Culture, D.M. Swaminathan said he was working with all Tamil political parties to resettle the people of Valikamam –North during the 100 day programme. Commenting on SL refugees in India, he said "There are more than 100,000 Sri Lankan refugees in India. Earlier, when these people came to SL, they were grilled during security clearance by the previous govt. more..

Memories of Prageeth Ekneligoda

Jan 28 (GV) Prageeth Ekneligoda, one of the best political cartoonists this country has ever produced was known for his great talent and political vision. He is now remembered for his disappearance on the night of 24 Jan, just two days before the 2010 Presidential elections. It was reported that Prageeth had previously been abducted in August 2009 and was released. On that occasion when he was taken by a white van he pleaded with his abductors that he needed to take his medication. more..

The deprivation of liberty under national security laws

Jan 28 (GV) During the past fortnight there have been many calls for the immediate repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). Given the fluid and complex political context, and the upcoming parliamentary elections, it appears unlikely this will happen in the short term. However, there are a number of immediate measures the govt could implement to illustrate its bona fides, and begin the process of re-building a relationship of trust with citizens, particularly Tamil speaking more..

'Investor confidence and consistency, key to investment'

Jan 28 (SO) “If there is no corruption or bribery in the development projects undertaken by the previous Govt, these projects will be continued. We have a clear stance in this regard. All projects will be implemented on a priority basis. We have no idea to stall projects. Projects beneficial to the country and the people will be given due recognition. We have drafted a mechanism as to what kind of projects, the country needs more..

The mighty fall of Rajapaksas

Jan 28 (CT) The recently concluded presidential elections belied President Rajapaksa’s confidence as he was beaten by Maithripala Sirisena, former health minister and a long- term colleague of his. People seem to have preferred “unknown angel” Sirisena to “known devil” Rajapaksa, as he described himself in an election rally. Rajapaksa was so confident of winning the people’s mandate for a third term that he advanced the election by two years before his second term ended. more..

Chief Justice Mohan Pieris as a diplomat

Jan 28 (CT) I read in the media about CJ Mohan Pieris’s demand that if he were to resign he should be compensated with a post of a diplomat. Although I am a layman in the field of judicial matters, common sense makes me raise the question whether he has ever proved himself qualified to hold the post of a diplomat or for that matter even the post of Chief Justice. Everyone knows that a judge is duty bound to uphold the independence and the integrity of the judiciary. more..