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Archives

SLFP-UNP talks over constitutional reforms deadlocked

Feb 27 (Island) Having briefed a parliamentary group chaired by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as regards the SLFP’s constitutional proposals on Thursday in Parliament, SLFP discussed the same with President Maithripala Sirisena later in the day. President Maithripala Sirisena chaired the Central Committee meeting of the SLFP. SLFP had stressed that the repealing of executive presidential powers should coincide with far reaching more..

Sri Lanka unhappy with World Cup scheduling

Feb 27 (Island) Sri Lankans are envying the World Cup schedule of some of the powerful cricket nations like India, Australia and England as their own schedule is hectic. Angelo Mathews’ side was in New Zealand on Sunday playing Afghanistan and flew to Australia on Monday. They trained on Tuesday and Wednesday in Melbourne before taking on Bangladesh on Thursday and again will fly back to New Zealand on Friday where England are waiting them to play on Sunday. more..

Task force for reconciliation and transitional justice at foreign ministry

Feb 27 (FT) A special Task Force on Reconciliation and Transitional Justice has been established within Foreign Ministry, Minister Mangala Samaraweera said. Task Force will liaise with other ministries and line agencies working on reconciliation and transitional justice issues. “We didn’t ask for a deferral of the UN investigation report as a delaying tactic. We will take a two-pronged approach with a Truth Commission to advance reconciliation and a domestic mechanism to more..

Champika riled by Avant Garde chief going abroad despite CID probe

Feb 27 (Island) National Executive Council (NEC) has sought an explanation from the Office of Solicitor General as regards Avant Garde chief Major Nissanka Senadhipathy’s foreign travel in spite of an on-going inquiry into alleged misuse of weapons by his company. Navy headquarters, too, threw its weight behind Avant Garde. Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera and his predecessor more..

'Parliamentary elections only after reforms'

Feb 27 (ENS) The next Sri Lankan parliamentary elections will be held only after the Maithripala Sirisena govt completes all the constitutional and electoral reforms which it had promised to carry out in the run up to the Presidential election, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said here on Thursday. "People are more interested in reforms than in any mid-term elections to parliament. At any rate, the present parliament has more than a year of life left," he pointed out. Govt had earlier said that more..

Wheeler-Dealers in govt: Rajitha

Feb 27 (CT) While acknowledging that there were members in the current govt involved in underhand deals, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said the lawyer, who was sought by the Attorney General to advice on the Avant Garde case, was also representing the owner of Avant Garde. He said, the President's Counsel in question had sought to obtain the release of the passport of the Avant Garde owner. "General Secretary of the JHU, Champika Ranawaka, too had raised the matter at the last NEC meeting" more..

Cannot confirm claim on LTTE camp: SA

Feb 27 (ENS) Almost a year after Prabhakaran’s death and the decimation of the LTTE, SL intelligence agency had requested its South African counterpart to probe whether LTTE cadres, had held a military training camp in their country in May 2010 which was suspected to have been attended by individuals from Australia, Canada and UK. Interestingly, SA intelligence had rejected it saying information could not be confirmed more..

Mahinda visits Choka Malli in Prison

Feb 27 (CT) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Premalal Jayasekara, also known as Choka Malli, at the Kuruwita Prison. Former Deputy Minister, Jayasekera, is in prison for killing a UNP supporter, who was preparing a stage in Kahawatte, for the then common opposition candidate. Jayasekara and his associates shot at UNP supporters, who were preparing a stage at Kahawatte a few days prior to Presidential Election, and one supporter succumbed to his injuries. more..

MR offered leadership of Jana Setha Peramuna

Feb 27 (AM) Leader of Janasetha Peramuna Battaramulle Seelarathana Thera offered the leadership of his party to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Speaking at a press conference today he said that Rajapaksa will not have to launch a new party if he wanted to return to politics. Seelarathana Thera said that he was ready to sacrifice the leadership of the party on behalf of the former president. Seelarathana Thera contested presidential elections in 2010 and 2015. more..

13 principals told to submit Grade-5 admission details

Feb 27 (DM) Supreme Court ordered the Principals of 13 national schools including Royal, Ananda and Nalanda to submit details of students admitted to Grades-1 to 6 during the past three years and those admitted to these schools in 2013 on the results of the Grade-5 scholarship exam. Other 10 colleges are: DS, Isipathana, Thurstan, Mahanama, Devi Balika, Sirimavo, Vishaka, Gothami Balika, Richmond, and Rahula. more..

Docs find MOE indifferent to their children’s needs

Feb 27 (Island) Out of a two-million student population in Sri Lanka around 60% had been admitted to schools on the basis of falsified documents, the Govt Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) said yesterday. GMOA Transfer Board Coordinator and General Committee member Dr. Kapila Mallawaarchchi told a media briefing that he had documentary evidence that most leading schools in Sri Lanka had acted in violation of the criteria stipulated by the Education Ministry. more..

Welcome for Pope: Catholic Bishops' Conference thanks all Lankans

Feb 27 (DN) Catholic Bishops' Conference in Sri Lanka expressed its gratitude to all Sri Lankans for the welcome accorded to His Holiness Pope Francis during his visit to the island from January 13 to 15. "Our heartfelt gratitude goes to President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, minister in attendance Ravi Karunanayake and heads of the Tri Services, the Police and different govt and semi-govt departments and civic bodies that joined us in facilitating various events of the visit," more..

Video: Sajin Vass jeered and hooted

Feb 27 (DM) While former monitoring MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardene was speaking at the opening of a fuel station in Kosgoda, a group of UNP supporters who arrived at the site began hooting and jeering causing him to interrupt his speech. UNP organiser Kamal De Soysa and Balapitiya PS UNP member Shantha Mendis who had arrived at the function earlier, walked out of the meeting no sooner Sajin arrived at the site. more..

Seylan’s profit surpasses Rs. 3 b mark

Feb 27 (FT) Seylan Bank said it reported a record profit after tax figure of Rs. 3,079 million for the year ended 31 December 2014. This is an impressive 33% growth in PAT compared to the Rs. 2,316 million reported in 2013, an impressive 33% growth in PAT. Net interest income increased from Rs. 9,719 million to Rs. 11,165 million, a 14.9% increase for the 12 months ended 31 December 2014. Fee and commission income increased 6.1% from Rs. 2,127 million to Rs. 2,257 million, more..

While reserves bleed, CBSL controls US$ at Rs 133.40

Feb 27 (CT) The foreign exchange (FX) market was little changed yesterday, with trades being done on one week forwards at Rs 133/40 to the US dollar in interbank trading on thin volumes, while the 'spot' continued to be locked at Rs 132.90 by Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) by moral suasion. Moral suasion is also very much there in forwards trading as well. "Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake had told the media on Wednesday that they will continue to defend the rupee at whatever the cost more..

'Govt will collect revenue from those who can afford it'

Feb 27 (DM) A budget seminar organized by the CIMA was held yesterday (25). Following are excerpts from the Q&A audience had with Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. Q: Will the super gain tax be applicable to BOI companies? A: BOI companies that have exhausted their tax holidays will fall into it. The rest of it won’t because we don’t want to in any way discourage any of them by saying we will collect an ‘x’ amount of figure. more..

HNB Group after-tax profit tops Rs. 10 b

Feb 27 (FT) Hatton National Bank (HNB) said it has recorded another year of outstanding performance, with Group Profit After Tax (PAT) increasing by 29% to Rs 10.1 b while, the bank’s PAT recorded a growth of 28% exceeding Rs. 9 b. Chairperson Dr. Ranee Jayamaha stated: “We are very pleased to announce that the bank has once again demonstrated resilience and posted an all-round exceptional performance notwithstanding the challenging global environment, more..

Couple detained for abandoning 3-year old

Feb 27 (DM) The Athurugiriya Police today arrested a couple for allegedly abandoning their 3-year-old girl on the street in Athurugiriya. Eye witnesses said that the man and the woman were having an argument at a bus terminal in Pittugala area and then had fled by a bus abandoning the child by the street. However, three-wheel drivers and villagers have followed the parents, caught them and handed over to the Athurugiriya police officers. Mother of the girl earlier left the house due to more..

Sri Lanka: Press ahead on rights reforms

Feb 27 (HRW) Sri Lanka’s new govt should advance a reform agenda to address past and ongoing human rights problems in the country, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the newly elected president, Maithripala Sirisena. Govt has already undertaken important new initiatives, such as reviewing cases of detainees under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, lifting restrictions on media reporting, ending Internet censorship, more..

Chandra Schafter to retire

Feb 27 (DM) Insurance industry veteran Chandra Schafter is to retire from his position as the Director of Janashakthi Insurance at the company’s forthcoming AGM scheduled for March 31. Schafter, who is widely considered the ‘father of insurance’ in Sri Lanka, counts over 60 years of experience in the industry. He was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the Asia Insurance Industry Awards in 2012, Asia’s most prestigious awards spanning many countries. more..

'Sri Lanka integrated resort should tap bond markets'

Feb 27 (EN) A large 'casino-related' project has been asked to tap bond markets instead of relying on more bank financing, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said. He said a bank had requested for its single borrower limit to be lifted so that it could fund such a resort. "So I said no," Mahendran told a business forum. "It is ridiculous, we have a bond market here. "We have blue chip companies who are going to banks for their funding needs when there is a bond market more..

Ranil, Maithri share sneak preview of way forward with private sector

Feb 27 (FT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, along with President Sirisena, shared with a select and influential group of business leaders what could be described as a sneak preview of the way forward for the country in terms of politics and the economy. “President Sirisena took a great risk when he came over to be the common candidate. We had two options and we knew what 2nd option was if we didn’t win. more..

A national govt Vs A Rajapaksa comeback

Feb 27 (Island) The SLFP dominated and led UPFA met its political Waterloo, about two months back when Mahinda Rajapaksa was defeated in the presidential elections by Maithripala Sirisena from the UNP led NDF. That stark reality that they lost the presidential election has obviously been lost on Mahinda, Dinesh, Wimal, Vasu and Co. That reality was rather obvious to most of the SLFP seniors who fairly quickly realised which side their bread was buttered. more..

WC 2015: Afghanistan beat Scotland

Feb 27 (CI) The handful of Afghanistan supporters who had travelled from around NZ - a couple from Australia, too - had turned one corner of the University Oval into Kandahar. Most of them now settled in the southern hemisphere once lived around the historical city. One among them left Kandahar in 2000 and moved temporarily to Peshawar, in Pakistan, before finally establishing a base in NZ. That was before cricket had taken over as Afghanistan's No. 1 sport from boxing, more..

A walk in Colombo's Somalia

Feb 27 (CT) Weligoda slums, also known as 'Somalia' is just behind the Colombo Harbour in Mattakkuliya, walking distance from Madampitiya Cemetery, where over 3,500 families live congested, more than two families sharing a small shack. CT paid a visit to Colombo's Somalia. "These people live in abject poverty and are not disturbed by all the nefarious activities that take place here. It is a haven for drugs and similar crimes. more..

Missing T’s in Maithri’s Modi meet

Feb 27 (SL) President Maithripala Sirisena’s maiden overseas visit after assuming office to the northern Indian neighbor will be noted more for what was left unsaid in public than said. Official pronouncements and announcements on the visit did not refer to the two T-words’ the Tamil issue and the 13th Amendment. Indian grace in this regard in particular should go a long way in sending out clear signals to the stake-holders in Sri Lanka, where their own venues and avenues for more..

Editorial: Pursuing the hare

Feb 27 (Island) NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa’s wife Sashi has been further remanded over an allegedly forged birth certificate. Wimal has also been summoned to the CID and questioned over an alleged incident of unlawful assembly. If the Weerawansas have been on the wrong side of the law, let them face the consequences of their action. But, the law must apply equally to everyone if the govt is not to be accused of having it enforced selectively to achieve its political objectives more..

Ragging contributes nothing

Feb 27 (NS) Ragging, a social problem, which has increased the risk of suicide in universities, continues to rise. This is due to responsible authorities failing to provide a fitting solution to end this problem. Latest victim of this menace was Amali Chathurika, a 23-year-old student of Sabaragamuwa University. According to the victim’s mother, the daughter committed suicide because she couldn’t bear the inhuman and more..

Mahinda Rajapaksa hopes for comeback

Feb 27 (TD) Supporters of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa have their eyes set on the upcoming parliamentary elections, hoping to bring him back into Sri Lankan politics, a move that could pose a serious challenge to new President Maithripala Sirisena’s agenda for democratic reforms. Rajapaksa, who oversaw a military victory over Tamil Tiger guerrillas six years ago, but at the cost of the lives of more than 70,000 civilians, as the United Nations noted in a report, more..

A new era for India-Sri Lanka relations?

Feb 27 (TD) President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent visit to India was aimed at mending bilateral relations that had deteriorated under his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, on account of the latter’s close embrace of China. During Sirisena’s visit, India and Sri Lanka signed four agreements that are expected to strengthen bilateral co-operation. However, whether these can counter effectively China’s enormous presence in the island seems doubtful. India is still a long way from more..

'Projects not meeting CEA standards to be grounded'

Feb 27 (SO) The debate of over prioritising environment conservation and development is chaotic. People in Chunnakam, Jaffna are suffering from the lack of safe drinking water due to ground water contamination. Of late environmentalists are raising questions over environment assessment for Sampur power plant and Uma Oya irrigation development plan. Since the Environment Minister is President Sirisena, more..

Northern expressway draws Malaysian investors

Feb 27 (EN) Malaysian investors are bidding to build an expressway linking Colombo to the northern Jaffna peninsula, a visiting govt official said. “We are bidding for Northern Highway on BOT (build-operate-transfer) basis," declared Dato' Seri S. Samy Vellu, Malaysia’s Special Envoy of Infrastructure for India and South Asia with Ministerial rank attached to the PM’s Office. "We want to do a good job if we get it," a statement quoted him as saying on a visit to Colombo more..

Unity of the ruling political class and the national govt

Feb 27 (GV) The talks of establishing a national govt, among other things, highlight the underlying unity of the ruling class in Sri Lanka. Irrespective of party differences and occasional incidents of politico arrests and then release on bail, the ruling class in Sri Lanka has commonalities in terms of family connections, school friendships, local loyalties and the very political culture that gives sustenance to this class. By very nature, it is elitist and upper middle class. more..

Cry babies should wipe their tears and get back to class

Feb 27 (CT) It’s somewhat comical if not disgraceful to see intelligent, mature and knowledgeable people with grand academic credentials behave in the most puerile manner when lot is expected, especially at a time when the nation is impatiently seeking results in the aftermath of a major socio-economic trial that impacted most Sri Lankans in an adverse manner. It included a gargantuan heist, accomplished with more..

The draft freedom of information law

Feb 27 (CT) Presently the media obtain information by contacting the Heads of Departments or the Secretaries of the Ministries. There is a Cabinet appointed Media spokesman. There is the Establishments Code which lays down restrictions on public officers who disclose information to the media. The Code is restrictive and the question arises how the new Law will affect these provisions in the Establishment Code. There are also the restrictive provisions in Official Secrets Act. more..

New regime should not commit Hara-Kiri

Feb 27 (CT) The majority of the Sri Lankans has contributed to the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR), laying the faith on Maithripala Sirisena to usher a revolutionary change in political, social and economic cultures of Sri Lanka. The conspiracy theory of Mahinda Rajapaksa is a ludicrous explanation of his defeat. He dug his own grave by choosing the wrong path of rule while in power, choosing to appease his greed, choosing to adhere to wrong political maneuvers, choosing more..