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Task force to locate assets of Kotelawala

Apr 6 (DM) The Supreme Court has ordered that a special task force be set up to ascertain the assets of the Golden Key Credit Card Company’s former Board of Directors including its Chairman Lalith Kotelawala. The Supreme Court Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, Justices P.A. Ratnayake and Priyasath Dept made this order sequent to accepting a plan submitted by the Central Bank to repay the Golden Key Credit Card Company depositors on behalf of the Monetary Board more..

There has been no political interference: AG

Apr 6 (DM) Dismissing allegations of political interference in granting bail and releasing suspects in high profile cases, Attorney General Palitha Fernando said there had not been a single instance of political interference and that the AG’s department was only acting on “the evidence, not on suspicion or assumption”. With reference to the recent court decisions based on the advice of the AG regarding the suspects in the Kahawatha more..

SL shines at International Tourism Fair

Apr 6 (GDI) Sri Lanka wins the third best exhibitor award at the International Tourism Fair (ITB) in Berlin, Germany. With the phrase 'Smiling people and traditional manners' welcoming the visitors, the Sri Lankan pavilion at the International Tourism Fair won the third place for the best exhibitor award. Sri Lanka beat a number of countries in the Asia, Australia and Oceania region to attain this elevated position in one of the best known tourism fairs in the world. The prestigious travel fair was held more..

UNHRC resolution should not be seen like blind people seeing an elephant!

Apr 6 (CT) Well and good, another successful UN resolution on Sri Lanka has been passed with a huge majority in the UNHRC. We appreciate and thank the United States of America – Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, for initiating this resolution and the other 25 states for voting in favor of the same. We take this opportunity to thank India for their courageous decision, the Indian ambassador’s astonishing open speech on Sri Lanka after more than two decades and more..

Govt. vows to go ahead with private universities

Apr 6 (DM) Minister S.B Dissanayake addressing the opening of the first phase of the Malabe private medical college teaching hospital said despite whatever criticism the govt might face from the medical fraternity, it would continue its efforts to take private medical education to greater heights in Sri Lanka. Minister Dissanayake who was a guest of honour at the opening of the Dr. Neville Fernando Sri Lanka-Russia Friendship Teaching more..

Don't fall prey to sinister elements

Apr 7 (SO) Certain individuals and organisations seem to be acting in a manner which could harm the peace and harmony among all communities in Sri Lanka, especially after terrorism was eradicated four years ago. These elements, either knowingly or unwittingly, are behaving in a manner which could create divisions among people of different ethnicities and religious beliefs. Some organisations are inciting racism and extremism that could provide 'ammunition' for certain Western countries to more..

A cowardly attack on a heroic newspaper

Apr 7 (SL) The attack on the Uthayan newspaper’s regional office at Kilinochchi at dawn on Wednesday will not only be a matter of grave concern for that gutsy newspaper which has been in circulation through 25 years of the 30-year-old horrendous war but is also ominous to peace and stability of the Northern Province on which the Sri Lankan and international political focus is on right now. The attack on this regional office by a masked gang is quite likely to have political objectives more..

'IT literacy will reach 75% by 2016'

Apr 7 (SO) A Bill has been presented in Parliament by Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya to enable tax reductions for the telecommunication and information technology sector. Tax on Internet will be reduced by 100%. Plans are afoot to generate 100,000 job opportunities in the telecommunication and information technology sector, Minister said. At present, $ 400 million is earned from this sector and the Ministry is more..

How to solve a ‘problem’ like Uthayan

Apr 7 (NS) The ‘Uthayan’ newspaper was attacked a few days ago. It was not the first time. Not the second. Not the third. It was the thirty-sixth time that ‘Uthayan’ was attacked. That it still stands, still publishes and still defies testifies to admirable resilience. Uthayan, over the years, has been a newspaper that has a clearly identifiable political position and one with clearly identifiable political loyalties. As is the case in such publications, political expedience overrides journalistic ethics. more..

University of Politics: Tissa's position in the balance

Apr 7 (SO) The UNP's internal battles have aggravated with the latest being the conflict for the post of General Secretary. When Sajith Premadasa challenged the UNP leadership with the support of the then Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya and other Reformists group MPs, Ranil came out with the successful strategy to silence most of them. The first step was to oust Karu from the deputy leadership. Though Sajith became the deputy leader, there wasn't a suitable atmosphere for him to more..

'Govt does not have the need to address issue of disappearances'

Apr 7 (SL) JVP MP Vijitha Herath says that disappearances and killings take place when the jungle law replaces the law of the land. He called on the govt to establish a special court to probe the findings of the Matale mass grave, adding that the JVP would assist such a mechanism. “We have already started to gather information of the comrades who went missing during the period and we are ready to give the information to a more..

Power: People pay for absolute corruption

Apr 7 (ST) The Govt’s Avurudu gift to the people is all wrapped up and only to be delivered; but it is not a welcome one. The new tariffs on electricity, insiders say, is based on IMF advice just this February on a pricing formula, and is one that is bound to give a shock to an already hard-pressed population reeling as they are from the mounting cost of living. The state-run CEB is running at massive losses. It owes the CPV amounts that it can never hope to repay. more..

A welcome gavel blow

Apr 7 (Island) Roads are more than hard surfaces constructed for vehicles as pedestrians to travel along. They also serve as indicators. They reflect the national psyche of a country and help judge how civilised it is. Nothing represents the chaotic state of affairs in Sri Lanka than its roads. The situation has obviously taken a turn for the worse since the huge, unroadworthy contraptions that are private buses with sick elements at the wheel, appeared on them. Private bus operators have, by virtue of their more..

'Addressing issue of disappearances fundamental to reconciliation'

Apr 7 (SL) TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran says the issue of enforced disappearances in the country cannot be swept under the carpet, nor can the more recent disappearances. He observed that the issue of disappearances has not been addressed at all. According to Sumanthiran, the govt could address this issue by agreeing to a credible and independent international inquiry into the disappearances that have taken place in the more..

Voices calling for change suggest political torpedo in the making

Apr 7 (NS) The Govt has already announced that the provincial council elections for the Northern Province will be held in Sept. President Rajapaksa made this announcement on June 29 (2012). The necessity to have these elections was further enhanced at the UNHRC sessions last month. Opposition parties anyhow expected the govt to conduct the provincial elections for the Central and North Western Provinces. However, the latest talk doing the rounds is that the Opposition more..

Mob rule is a dangerous trend

Apr 7 (NS) Last week’s attack on a Muslim-owned clothing warehouse on the outskirts of the city again raises the possibility of communally inspired violence in the country and the response of the authorities has been at best, lukewarm. The Police were quick to suggest that this particular incident was the result of a personal dispute. However, subsequent investigations revealed that this was not so. While several persons including Buddhist monks were later charged in court, more..

Hunting in packs and thinking out of the box

Apr 7 (ST) It was early 1996. At that time the Lankans generally were invited to a tri-series or a cup championship just to make up the numbers. At this instance, the Lankans were in fact in Australia remaining on that soil after their controversial ‘Murali’ Test series. So, then joining the two teams were the West Indies, still one of the strongest sides in the world arena – at least on paper. The three teams were pitting their wits more..

Winning battles on a political minefield

Apr 7 (ST) My Dear General, I thought of writing to you when I heard that the political party that you formed had finally been granted official recognition by the Commissioner of Elections. I suppose congratulations are in order but I’m afraid there is much more to be done. Of course, General, we remember you as one of the men who was responsible for winning the war and regardless of what you have been accused of-and found guilty of-you will remain a hero in the eyes of most more..

The politics of electricity tariffs

Apr 7 (Island) The much talked about electricity tariff increase will come next week. Basically, all the horror stories we have been hearing from politicians in recent weeks about this proposed hike are true. For the poorest category of electricity consumers, i.e. those consuming less than 60 units, the price increase could be up to 35-32%. In March last year, when there was a 36% hike in the price of diesel, the govt was able to take cover behind the resolution that the USA had brought against Sri Lanka more..

Rajapaksa govt continues to whistle past the graveyard

Apr 7 (SL) The Rajapaksa govt received a slap in its face when the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) invited the impeached CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake for its inauguration ceremony instead of incumbent CJ Mohan Peiris. Also, ignoring the warning signs sent by the international community that Sri Lanka is now in the agenda of the international community, the short sighted Rajapaksa govt is trying to find solace in the more..

Tiger Airways, good option for Sri Lankans visiting Malaysia, Australia

Apr 7 (ST) Most passengers travelling in low-cost carriers seldom get the opportunity to enjoy first class privileges both at the airport and on-board, but the ‘tigerPLUS’ facility by Tiger Airways gives a chance to all its passengers to enjoy business/first class lounge and priority check-in boarding facilities at Singapore’s Changi Airport. Established in 2004, Tiger Airways is one of Asia’s leading low-cost carriers with over 28 million passengers booking flights on Tiger Airways. more..

Plantation wage hike: Margins under threat

Apr 7 (NS) The twenty Regional Plantation Companies in Sri Lanka are likely to witness a 10%-12% increase in cost of production with the industry players expected to bear around Rs. 5.2bn as additional wage costs following the new Plantation Workers Wage Agreement signed last week. According to Chairman, Plantation Services Group of the Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC), Sunil Poholiyadde the tea industry will feel the pinch of the wage revision compared to the rubber sector more..

Labai, labai, come to Pettah!

Apr 7 (ST) It’s that time of year again, when the call of the koha and the burst of blooms on the erabadu trees herald a new beginning for Sri Lankans. The countdown for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year has begun and the traditional ‘place of gathering’ is buzzing once again. Streams of men and women, either carrying little children or holding tightly to reluctant slightly older ones dodge other families, hand-pushed carts, trishaws, more..

Tax hike on milk powder imports on the cards

Apr 7 (ST) The government is considering a further tax increase on milk powder imports from the present 15 per cent or Rs. 92 per kilo gram to discourage milk powder imports and promote local liquid milk, officials said. Sri Lanka imports 84,000 metric tons of milk powder annually spending Rs.36 billion in foreign exchange. This drain on valuable foreign exchange has prompted the government to consider a further revision of the import duty on milk powder, they disclosed. more..

Sri Lanka rout Kazakhstan to clinch Asian Five Nations title

Apr 7 (SO) Sri Lanka who had performed impressively throughout the tournament had their final say with another highly professional performance to beat Kazakhstan with a big margin of 49 points (five goals, one try and three penalties to 18 (One goal, one try and two penalties) to win the HSBC Asian Five Nations tournament and enter the next phase of the tournament in their final match at Havelock Park yesterday. In the other two games Sri Lanka beat Chinese Taipei (39-8) and more..

'Sri Lanka deals with India with a wide diplomatic vision'

Apr 7 (SLBC) Sri Lanka is dealing with neighbouring India with a wide diplomatic vision. However it is only the govts that face inconveniences as a result of the activities of extremist elements in both countries. This was stated by Minister Dr. Rajitha Senarathne participating in the Subarathi programme of the SLBC. He said that similar to the Indian Central govt the Tamil Nadu state is also important for Sri Lanka. more..

NTC directors in Rs.1.5m bribery to be prosecuted

Apr 7 (NS) The two directors of the National Transport Commission (NTC) arrested by the police while accepting a bribe of Rs.1.5 million to issue a route permit outside tender procedures will be prosecuted in courts, the Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABC), Lakshmi Jayawickrema said yesterday. “We have conducted investigations into the bribery case involving two directors of the National Transport Commission and more..

'Not intended to ban BBS'

Apr 7 (CT) Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara, refuted claims made by the JHU, a constituent party of the govt, saying the proposed Cabinet paper targeting extremism is not aimed at banning the extremist group, Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) or any other organization. He said he is only submitting a suggestion to ban hate language, which invokes racism. "I may disagree with some organizations, but I agree they have the right to express their ideas. This is a democratic country and more..

Politicking for Colombo VC post

Apr 7 (CT) The process to appoint a Vice Chancellor to the Uni of Colombo has run into a storm with the university academics writing to President Rajapaksa, conveying concern over the apparent politicization of the appointment process. This has come in the wake of media reports that the SLFP Uni Teachers' Union has approached Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaska, to seek his blessing for the candidacy of Dr. Prathiba more..

Abandoned by mother, baby finds love among strangers

Apr 7 (ST) Several mothers voluntarily joined to breast-feed the day-old baby found abandoned in a road culvert in Hatton on Monday. In an outpouring of public sympathy, more than 5000 people have offered to take custody of the infant, who was yesterday transferred from Watawala Hospital to an orphanage in Peradeniya by order of Hatton Magistrate Amila Ariyasena. The baby is currently in the custody of the Probation Commissioner who will find a suitable guardian for her. more..

BBS shifts to agriculture, community development

Apr 7 (SL) In an interesting development, the Bodu Bala Sena plans to expand its focus beyond religion, to encompass everything from agriculture to community development. Marking the group’s first anniversary, the Bodu Bala Sena said it would carry out social integration programmes between Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. The organization is also planning to set up a community development network across the island with the central focus for meetings more..

CAA gets tough on labeling

Apr 7 (NS) Authorities and consumer rights activists are calling for stronger labeling laws as Sri Lankan consumers are being completely kept in the dark about ingredients of the products they buy! Apart from Cigarette smoking, no other product has been subjected to rigorous labeling laws. Although most Sri Lankan consumers pay for packaging that does not make any sense as labeling laws in the country are toothless, more..

Low-end tourists dominate Lankan tourism

Apr 7 (CT) Sri Lanka's plans to attract high spending tourists is countered by its own strategy on online marketing, which promotes the country as a low-cost tourist destination, according to Sri Lanka Institute of National Tourist Guide Lecturers (SLINTGL). Although the government is promoting Sri Lanka to be niche market thriving with high spenders, the online booking is exposing it as an 'economical' destination, says Asiri Samaraweera, Secretary General of SLINTGL. more..

UNP backs probe on Matale grave

Apr 7 (SL) The UNP states that the government should conduct a comprehensive investigation regarding the mass grave in Matale and bring those responsible to justice. Forensics had recently found that the skeletal remains found at the Matale mass grave were of people either shot dead or murdered in some other way during the 1987 – 89 period. “There is a govt that is in power and if there are any suspicions then the govt should conduct an investigation to ascertain the truth about it. more..

Will SLMC leave the govt?

Apr 7 (NS) The SLMC on Friday denied reports of internal party rifts, but said members have called on the party high command to take a firm stand on the recent spate of anti-Muslim campaign and push the govt to address the issue. SLMC General Secretary Hassan Ali said members have called the high command to advance their next meeting which is scheduled to be held on April 27, before the Sinhala and Tamil New Year. more..

BBS give two-month duration to change fate of Sri Lanka

Apr 7 (LB) The Buddhist hardline organization Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Friday said that the country's fate would be changed within two months. Addressing a press briefing held in Colombo, the secretary of BBS Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero said that a conference of Buddhist monks would be held soon to decide the future action. He further said that the Buddhist monks would not allow under any circumstance the country to be converted to a state like Thailand. more..

Refugee families abandoned in mid-sea rescued

Apr 7 (Hindu) Lured by the promise of safe haven in Australia, but abandoned in the mid-sea, 120 Tamil refugees from across various Sri Lankan refugee camps in the State were rescued from a stranded fishing boat off the Velankanni coast on Saturday. The mechanised fishing trawler was abandoned by the boat’s master some 15 km east of Nagapattinam, defence sources said in Chennai. The refugees, including 20 women and 22 children, from camps in Coimbatore, Tiruchi, Vellore, more..

India delays visa for SL’s envoy to Chennai

Apr 7 (ST) Sri Lanka’s newly appointed Deputy High Commissioner to India has not been able to assume duties in Tamil Nadu state capital of Chennai for the past three months. The new Deputy High Commissioner Sabrullah Khan’s application for a diplomatic visa to take over duties at the mission was made in Dec last year. The reason, the Govt of India is yet to grant concurrence for the new Sri Lankan envoy’s appointment. more..

Govt. could assess war death toll - TNA

Apr 7 (NS) The govt seeking assistance of the Tamil Diaspora to establish a proper war death toll is ludicrous, as the statistics are well available with the Govt Agents (GA) of the North, Mullaitivu and other war-torn areas, TNA MP Suresh Premachandran told The Nation. Earlier, the govt had called for the assistance of the Tamil Diaspora to ascertain the number of people killed during the last phase of the war including deaths caused due to natural causes and accidents. more..

Golden Key depositors claim AG not issuing extradition order

Apr 7 (NS) The Golden Key Depositors Union (GKDU) claimed that the AG had failed to issue an extradition order on the second suspect Sicille Kotelawala despite a court ruling. President, GKDU, Dushyanthi Hapugoda said, “No extradition order has been issued by the Attorney General’s Department despite a High Court order dating back to one and a half years ago. This is I believe because the AG, Palitha Fernando’s wife happened to work at Golden Key at one time. more..