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Maldivian scam artist arrested in SL released on bail

May 8 (Haveeru) Maldivian apprehended in Sri Lanka suspected of fraud was released on bail yesterday. Maldivian High Commission in Sri Lanka informed that Mohamed Azmee, who was apprehended upon suspicion of the charges, was resident in Sri Lanka. “He and a family member visited the high commission yesterday, they have appointed an attorney and is proceeding with the case” He said. Azmee was apprehended upon suspicion that he took money from people by more..

‘No need to issue arrest warrant on Duminda’

May 8 (SM) Colombo high court judge Sunil Rajapaksa today ruled that injured MP Duminda Silva, receiving treatment at Mt. Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, can have legal representation. Accordingly, the suspect in the Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra killing can be represented by lawyer Hemantha Warnakulasuriya in the case. Colombo additional magistrate Prasanna Alwis earlier decided that no legal representation could be had for the suspect, more..

Is there a future for the Sinhalese and the Buddhists in Sri Lanka

May 9 (SHN) Tamil politicians can speak for the welfare and rights of the Tamils, Muslims can demand rights and privileges for Muslims, Hindus, Christians and Catholics can demand their rights but why is it considered taboo for Sinhalese to speak about the future of the Sinhalese or for Sinhalese Buddhists to exercise their rights in a land where Buddhism is enshrined in its constitution? It has always been accepted for everyone to speak on their rights, more..

Religious harmony and the unity of the Sri Lankan nation

May 9 (SL) Lanka-e-News-reported last week that the Minister for Land and Land Development Janaka Bandara Tennekoon had said that a situation has arisen now where the Muslim mosque situated in the Dambulla ‘sacred area’ cannot be shifted from there. Addressing a special media briefing, the Minister made this revelation. If peaceful discussions had been held preliminarily, this religious place of worship could have been moved out from there, more..

Mrichchakateeham: The Sinhala / Tamil collaboration on a Sanskrit play

May 9 (CT) When a young Parakrama Niriella and Sinniah Mounaguru, giants in their respective fields of Sinhala and Tamil theatres first interacted with each other in the 1970s, the atmosphere was cordial and conducive for Sinhala and Tamil theater collaborations. Having shared the same stage on several occasions, though in different plays, they might have thought that it was only a matter of time before they collaborated. more..

A logical next step: A cabinet shuffle

May 9 (SL) It seems that, periodically, Our Beloved Leader (OBL) just to keep his minions off-balance and perhaps to send them a message that he, and only he, determines the extent of their REAL incomes, threatens them with shuffling their portfolios in a manner that could adversely affect their futures as bread-winners for their families and the future financial well-being of entire clans of sycophants. This has nothing to do with the competence displayed in the matter of more..

UNP May Day rally in Jaffna was a small but useful step towards building up confidence of Tamil people

May 9 (TC) The UNPs decision to hold its May Day rally in Jaffna was the subject of a number of taunts from its critics. The SLFP rightly claimed that this was made possible by the Govt’s achievement in defeating the LTTE. The UNP dissidents, in a ‘cutting-the-nose-to-spite-the-face’ type of exercise, attempted to undermine the event by efforts to elevate the Premadasa commemoration into a rival event which coincidentally falls on May Day, through distributing handbills more..

Order the Armed Forces to stop their atrocious activities against the people

May 9 (DBS) Text of a letter sent by TULF Secretary-General V Anandasangaree to Pressident Mahind Rajapaksa over the recent mass arrests in Trincomalee district. Your Excellency, I refer to the recent incident in Trincomalee in which youth, young girls and elders were arbitrarily and unjustly arrested and a good number of them detained. Such arrests have been taking place on a smaller scale in other areas as well. Unfortunately, more..

Is Sri Lanka’s road to Rio +20 paved with lies?

May 9 (GV) March 12 1997 was a dark day when personal power was used to subjugate not only national laws but also to subvert the international environmental obligations of this nation. On this day, the President of Sri Lanka Mrs. Chandrika Kumaranatunge issued a directive under emergency regulations which stated that neither the national Environmental act no.47 of 1990, the Urban Development Authority law no.41 of 1973, the Nuisance Ordinance (chapter 230), nor more..

Reflections on the Vadukoddai War: Who’s guilty?

May 9 (DM) After the end of the longest war in Asia in the 20th century, after the end of the longest war in Sri Lankan history, after the decimation of the Tamil leadership in the democratic mainstream, after the killing of India’s prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, which boomeranged on the Jaffna Tamil leadership, after the assassination of some of the leading Sinhala leaders negotiating for peace, after the massacre of babies and pregnant mothers in all communities, more..

Sri Lanka plagued by problems and malaises sourced to familial nature of Rajapaksa rule

May 9 (TC) These are hard times, globally, and Sri Lanka is not immune to the general contagion. The country is struggling with a weak rupee, a falling rate of savings, a huge debt burden, high levels of youth unemployment and bulbous inequality. None of these are signs of a healthy economy or indications of popular wellbeing. In addition, Sri Lanka is also plagued by policy problems and attitudinal malaises which are sourced in more..

Take that till out and save the NGO good-name, JC...

May 9 (LB) Readers may remember that this columnist made a promise some weeks ago to engage some of the arguments made by J.C. Weliamuna, high-profile NGO skipper, and former head of Transparency International Sri Lanka. Well, I always make good on a promise I make, and this one I will keep with the kind of lip smacking relish that I generally reserve for chicken biriyani. Weliamuna, hereinafter referred to as JCW, was recently featured in a Sinhala more..

Vesak: Of cheap plastic tat and ownership of truth

May 9 (DM) In the week leading up to Vesak many commentators used their positions to plead for the ‘true’ meaning of the festival not to become lost amid the garish kaleidoscope of light and sound. Walking down Bauddhaloka Mawatha on Saturday, I began to empathise with these pleas. I watched as the hordes hurried into line for their free cup of Nestomalt whilst simultaneously digging into their lukewarm Maggi pots. I stared as street vendors sold cheap plastic masks to more..

'Days are numbered for noise polluters'

May 9 (SO) Motor vehicles are the dominant source of noise pollution in any country. In Sri Lanka the public transport sector is the worst sound pollutant. With the news of new laws in the pipeline, bus drivers have already imposed self restraint. We don’t hear blaring horns of private buses too often now. This is a positive development. With the rapid development taking place in towns and villages, major roads have been built right across residential areas. more..

Editorial: Growth vs austerity in Europe

May 9 (Island) Francois Hollande's victory over Nicolas Sarkozy in France has come as no surprise. There is a groundswell of opinion against Europe's austerity drive which has resulted in massive spending cuts blamed for the regional economic slowdown. An anti-austerity campaign gathering momentum with 12 governments dismissed across Europe over the last three years has got a turbo boost from the recent collapse of governments in Greece and France. more..

Now is the time for the TNA to join PSC

May 9 (TC) There is a message from the Jaffna rally, both from the TNA and for the TNA. Sampanthan used the occasion once again, urging the Govt to create conducive conditions for the TNA to join the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) mooted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s leadership, for resolving the ethnic issue through a nation-wide political consensus. By waving the national flag so very openly at the ‘May Day’ rally at Jaffna alongside UNP Opposition more..

Taking the bite out of Sri Lanka's crocodiles

‘Ridiculous’ NSB-TFC deal haunts bourse

May 9 (Island) Selling pressure saw both indices close in the red on Tuesday when the Colombo Stock Exchange opened the week after a long weekend, with the National Savings Bank (NSB)–The Finance Company (TFC) deal having a negative effect on the bourse, even though the controversial deal was annulled by the president last week. "The deal was ridiculous from the very start. It was a case of directors of a finance company dumping their shares on a national bank. more..

Sri Lanka could miss 7.2% growth target

May 9 (FT) Sri Lanka may miss its 2012 growth targets due to issues in the Eurozone and other export challenges, the Central Bank Governor said yesterday. Over 60 per cent of Sri Lanka’s exports, primarily garments, are to the US and Europe, which could have a detrimental effect on projected growth of 7.2 per cent, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal admitted to media. “Our saving grace is that clothes are not something people can avoid buying,” he said, more..

NSB’s custodial role suspended, Sampath clears Friday settlements

May 9 (FT) The National Savings Bank’s (NSB) role as a custodial bank has been suspended by the Colombo Stock Exchange following its failure to honour the payment on its purchase of a 13% stake on 27 April. CSE officials refused to comment about the suspension whilst there was no official statement either. The suspension of NSB’s custodial role was anticipated by the capital market after it originally failed to reject more..

'Tsunami houses not benefiting tsunami affected'

May 9 (DN) A large number of tsunami beneficiary houses constructed in tsunami housing complexes in the Hikkaduwa Divisional Secretariat Division are kept under lock and key since 2005 while some of these houses have even been damaged. According to the tsunami displaced persons residing in some of the houses in the complex, most of these houses were taken over by those unaffected from the tsunami through illegal ways. "Some of those residing in these houses are outsiders. more..

U’grads to protest against Mahapola Fund decision

May 9 (Island) Undergraduates will launch a protest campaign against the Mahapola Trust Fund’s decision to cancel Mahapola payments of those who do not participate in lectures and those involved in anti-disciplinary activities. Convener of the IUSF Sanjeewa Bandara said that the Mahapola Trust Fund doesn’t have right to get involved in internal matters of the universities. He said that the university education system is student based and not teacher based like school education. more..

Pasikudah Tourism Zone: Investors given ultimatum

May 9 (DN) The lands leased out to the investors in the Pasikudah Tourism Zone will be taken over by the govt, if they fail to complete construction by December 31, this year, Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said. He made this announcement at a meeting with all stakeholders in the tourism sector including the investors and the representatives of local govt bodies to review the progress of the construction in the Pasikudah tourism zone, more..

Two army deserters among three arrested for burglary

May 9 (Island) Two army deserters and a dismissed civil defence force member, allegedly involved in breaking into shops and stealing goods to the value of millions in the Matara district, were arrested yesterday and the day before by the Tangalle Divisional Crime Detective Branch and remanded till May 22. The three suspects were arrested on the information elicited from a suspect who was arrested on April 17 and remanded for a range of crimes in the Matara district. more..

Colombo city housing complex phase 1 nearing completion

May 9 (FT) The first stage of the 10,000 houses project being constructed for the low income families will be completed next year. The Urban Development Authority informed that accordingly construction work in Mayura Place, Dematagoda and Borella housing complexes will be completed. 1,720 houses will be constructed under this phase and there will be 120 houses in Mayura Place, 500 houses in Dematagoda and 1,100 houses in Borella. Each housing unit is more..

Speaker request MPs to speak correctly

May 9 (DM) Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa asks MPs not to speak in Parliament in the manner how members of death welfare societies speak at meetings. The Speaker made this remark when Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva started casting aspersions at UNP MP Ajith P. Perera during question time. At that time, Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando was answering the UNP MP who raised some questions about problems at co-operative societies. more..

'Hatton Milk shower a conspiracy'

May 9 (Island) The milk ‘shower’ incident at Hatton is a creation of an interested dairy farmer turned cat’s paw of a conspiracy to discourage local milk production, the Central Province Agriculture Minister Nimal Piyatissa told the Provincial Council meeting yesterday. The dairy farmers, engaged in the production of much wanted milk, have been made a tool by conspirators. The two principal companies purchasing milk from the farmers in the area had stopped the more..

'Milk food companies wanted Rs.15 increase, Johnston gave them Rs.61'

May 9 (Island) Milk food companies had requested an increase of Rs.15 on per 400 gram pack of milk powder, but Minister Johnston Fernando had granted them a bonus hike of Rs.61, the UNP said yesterday. General Secretary of the UNP, Tissa Attanayake told a news conference that it was only recently that Fernando had publicly pledged that he would not permit any further price increases on milk food and gas, but he had broken his promise immediately afterwards. more..

CID probes urged on COPE issues

May 9 (DN) Chairman of COPE D E W Gunasekara yesterday stated that he stressed to the Secretaries of ministries or Chief Accounting Officers of govt institutions, the need to take legal action or direct matters to the CID or Bribery Commission, wherever necessary, in relation to accountability issues in state institutions. He made this observation winding up the Adjournment Motion on the COPE report, moved by AHM Azwer, MP. more..

Six chairmen sacked on COPE report – DEW

May 9 (Island) Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) D.E.W. Gunasekera told Parliament yesterday that six chairmen of State sector corporations and statutory bodies have been sacked by the President on the basis of findings in the COPE report. Making the winding up speech in the adjournment debate on the COPE report, the senior minister said that the incumbent COPE had summoned and audited public enterprises which had never been summoned before it. more..

Action plan to cope with Climate Change

May 9 (DN) The Environment Ministry will prepare a national Climate Change adaptation action plan for Sri Lanka, based on the National Climate Change Policy and National Adaptation Strategy, Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said. Participating as the Chief Guest at the inauguration ceremony of the regional workshop on Decentralization and Climate Change, yesterday Minister Yapa said that Climate Change is not just an environment problem. more..

Failed love affair the cause of Tragedy

May 9 (CT) A naval official in the Trincomalee naval camp who had killed a female naval soldier and eventually committed suicide immediately after shooting her, was due to a failed love affair, police investigations conducted by the Trincomalee police has uncovered. The police investigations team drew this conclusion after obtaining statements from friends and family members of the two deceased sailors. more..

Sri Lanka rescues drifting Somali men

May 9 (News) Sri Lankan fishermen have rescued four Somali men who were drifting in a small boat off the island's coast -- where pirates from the African nation are known to be active -- police said on Tuesday. A Sri Lankan trawler found the men last Wednesday in international waters in the Indian Ocean, thousands of kilometres from Somalia. "The (Somali) men were handed over to us today," police spokesman Ajith Rohana said. "What we gathered from the fishermen is that more..

Chief Opposition Whip asks whether Ministers have any shame

May 9 (Island) Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga told Parliament yesterday that the govt should resign from office if it accepted the contents of the report by the Committee on Public Enterprises as being true. Participating in the adjournment debate on the COPE report, MP Amaratunga said that the report was nothing but a mirror which reflected the corruption and inefficiency of public institutions under the purview of the ministers of the government. more..

Govt seeks Rs 3.47 bn for vehicles

May 9 (Island) The Govt yesterday submitted a supplementary estimate of Rs. 347,500,000 to purchase 52 vehicles for several ministries and statutory boards. The supplementary estimate was presented by Chief Govt Whip Dinesh Gunawardena. In addition to the purchase of vehicles, the supplementary estimate seeks the approval of the House to obtain Rs 2,521,525,000 to meet the shortfall of provisions on the capitalisation of SriLankan airlines and restructuring more..

TNA stance will not change - Premachandran

May 9 (CT) The stance of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) vis-a-vis the negotiations on the ethnic issue will remain unchanged despite any mediation by anybody, TNA Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran said. Premachandran told Ceylon Today that the TNA had not shifted from its original position that there must be an understanding between the TNA and the UPFA Government first before the TNA can participate in the All Party Select Committee (APSC). more..

Colombo High Court overturns MC order

May 9 (Island) Colombo High Court Judge Sunil Rajapaksha yesterday overruled Colombo Additional Magistrate Prasanna Alwis’ order that Attorney-at-Law Hemantha Warnakulasuriya cannot appear for MP Duminda Silva in the Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra murder case. The HC Judge ruled that Counsel Warnakulasuriya or any other counsel could appear for suspect Duminda Silva in the Magistrate’s Court. High Court Judge Rajapaksha, delivering the Judgement, said "When a President’s Counsel more..

Sangha from 30 countries gather in Colombo to invoke blessings for global peace

May 9 (DN) A blessings ceremony by a world Sangha congregation for global peace to mark the 2600th anniversary of the Buddha’s Enlightenment, began at the Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) theatre in Colombo yesterday under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Over 500 members of Maha Sangha from 30 countries joined over 1,000 members of Maha Sangha from Sri Lanka at the inuagural ceremony more..

National Sports Policy presented in Parliament

May 9 (Island) Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage yesterday presented the National Sports Policy of Sri Lanka to Parliament. The 45-point policy paper has been presented with the broad objective to develop the field of sports in Sri Lanka on a systematic and scientific footing. Among the changes envisaged by the National Policy is the enactment of new legislation to ban the use of prohibited stimulants and drugs in terms of the world anti doping agency more..

Freedom of Information Bill: Sirikotha says it’s a Wickremesinghe initiative

May 9 (Island) In spite of the widening rift between the UNP and the Reformists over political strategy, both are expected to cooperate in efforts to pressure the SLFP-led UPFA to approve the Freedom of Information Bill. But, the UNP was unlikely to allow the Reformists to exploit the issue to further their cause, political sources said. In the wake of former UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya, MP, declaring his intention to take up the issue again, more..