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Solar Energy Power Projects vested on military

Apr 4 (MoD) Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared open the newly constructed 20Kw solar power project unveiling the plaque at a function held at the 2ESR Army camp premises in Anuradhapura today (3). Commander of Army Daya Rathnayaka, Commander of Navy Jayanath Colombage and Additional Secretary of Ministry of Defence Rohan Senevirathne were also present at the solar energy plant commissioning ceremony. more..

JVP commemorates ‘April Heroes’

Apr 4 (LT) The 43rd Commemoration of ‘April Heroes’ by the JVP commenced at Postal auditorium in Badulla today. Keynote address was made by the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. Leader of the JVP Anura Dissanayaka, former Leader Somawansa Amarasinghe, Information Secretary Vijitha Herath and a large number of leaders, activists and members of the JVP participated in the event chaired by Member of Central Committee more..

UN vote and reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Apr 4 (AJ) UNHRC at its session in Geneva passed a resolution against Sri Lanka that paves the way for an international investigation into allegations of war crimes in the final phases of the war in 2009. Both the SL govt and LTTE rebels have been accused of committing atrocities during the war, but the conduct of govt troops have been criticised due to the high level of casualties, with one UN report saying that about 40,000 civilians more..

Respect people’s mandate

Apr 6 (SO) Political parties and others have expressed divergent views on the election results of the Western and Southern PCs. Opposition political parties propounded various theories to overcome their humiliating defeats. But it is indisputable that the ruling UPFA polled over one million votes more than the main Opposition - the UNP. The UPFA secured 58.06% of the total votes polled in the Southern Province whereas its closest rival, the UNP received only 25.77%. more..

They still remain proscribed

Apr 6 (SL) The threat to Sri Lanka’s political stability, territorial integrity and sovereignty did not end with the death of Velupillai Prabhakaran on the banks of the Nandikadal lagoon on May 19, 2009. Although the LTTE ceased to be a military threat, the so-called Tamil Diaspora in the Western industrialised nations continues to oppose the Sri Lanka govt with even greater vengeance than in the days of Prabhakaran and has attempted to revive and rejuvenate the LTTE on Sri Lankan soil. more..

'Govt fares extremely well at the polls'

Apr 6 (SO) Legal Advisor to UPFA constituent, JHU, Udaya Gammanpila who was sworn in Friday in the newly-elected Western PC Minister, once again as Minister of Agriculture, Agrarian Development, Irrigation, Trade and Environment said "When I was appointed as the Chairman of the Central Environmental Authority, I introduced huge changes to the authority and its activities. more..

The Army teaches a lesson

Apr 6 (NS) As is now par for the course come Season Geneva the usual suspects in the Hang-Sri-Lanka bandwagon came up with self-labeled ‘damning’ evidence of atrocities committed by Sri Lankan security forces. Let’s not go there, for the lie is known to liar, lied to and lied about. Geneva is not about truth-falsehood, good-evil, justice-injustice or moral-immoral. It’s about power. But during that circus and among the footage duly framed as per political objectives there was one about more..

Capping interest rates of finance companies

Apr 6 (Island) A letter from a reader of this newspaper commenting on the capping of interest rates paid by finance companies to their depositors from April 1 (this capping already exists though the ceilings have been changed) commented that "if goods and services can be accessed at reasonable prices, this is more than justified. However, what is the reality?" What indeed. There is no escaping the fact that even those belonging to the reasonably well off middle class today find more..

'Development drive goes on apace'

Apr 6 (SO) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said the outcome of the recently concluded Western and Southern PC Elections has given a strong message to the UN and the world that President Rajapaksa is the most popular leader in Sri Lanka. This is also a clear testimony to the world that the majority of the people are with the President and the Govt. Minister said the Opposition cannot be happy about election results. more..

The ghosts of the LTTE

Apr 6 (ST) Decision by the Govt to list a host of organisations that largely mushroomed after the LTTE was liquidated has set a new poser. Is the ghost of the Tigers emerging? Or are we merely chasing dragons and phantoms? These organisations dared not exist when the LTTE was around. For the LTTE claimed that it was the “sole representative of the Tamil-speaking people of Sri Lanka” and brooked no other contenders. Since 2009, however, many organisations spread more..

The law according to Geneva Losing

Apr 6 (ST) My Dear Geneva Losing, I thought I should write to you after your ‘man of the match’ performance in Geneva last week. After hearing what you had to say both before and after the vote in Geneva, I was so proud of you and realised how fortunate we are to have you as our External Affairs Minister. There you were like the boy on the burning deck, cleverly explaining from Hambantota how we had ‘won’ in Geneva when the rest of the world was saying that we had lost by 23 votes to 12 more..

'We can’t accept terrorism in whatever form '

Apr 6 (SL) Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya stated that govt proscribed 15 organisations including Global Tamil Forum (GTF), British Tamil Forum (BTF) and Trans-national Govt of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), under a UN resolution adopted in 2001, designating persons and entities in terms of the UNSC Resolution 1373 which sets out strategies to combat terrorism and to control terrorist financing, soon after Sept 11 more..

The electoral setbacks in Colombo

Apr 6 (Island) The govt lost votes and seats in all the districts at the Western and Southern PC elections that concluded last weekend. Nowhere was the decline more pronounced than in the Colombo district where the ruling party got only 45% of the vote. At the last PC election held in 2009, the UPFA got nearly 58% of the votes in the Colombo district. One has to make provision for the fact that in 2009, the govt was riding an unusual wave of popularity with the war drawing to a close more..

Election losses and raw material for debates

Apr 6 (NS) Parliament meets this week for the first time after the govt’s victory at last week’s PC polls. The loss in the polls was expected as it had been predicted following the last UNP Parliamentary group meeting on March 19. Thus, when the House meets again this week, Opposition would have to face the jeering by the govt and become the butt end of jokes. Some of the front line members of the govt will have a field day poking fun at the opposition MPs that had been critical of more..

International or domestic inquiry?

Apr 6 (SL) With the UNHRC passing the resolution requesting the High Commissioner’s Office to launch an independent inquiry into allegations of war crimes committed by Sri Lanka during the last phase of the conflict, local political parties reacted in many different ways. While many embraced the inquiry under the High Commissioner claiming that the domestic inquiries lack credibility, the govt and several govt’s allies saw no need of more..

Doubts about Touchwood links in Sri Lanka, Thailand

Apr 6 (ST) Disillusioned Touchwood depositors, at what was probably the first depositors’ meeting on Wednesday, says there is no clear connection with Touchwood Investment (TWI) and its Thailand-based companies, according to participants. “There were nine depositors who participated and four depositors based out of Colombo were excused. We will meet again tomorrow at Deans Road, Colombo 10 at 2.30 pm,” one depositor said. He said that as the discussions progressed, more..

Just another pressure test for Dhoni's icemen

Apr 6 (CI) A legend in the opposition camp talks about the need of professional help to aid his side in dealing with the emotions and fears of playing in a world-tournament final. Another opponent spends hours practising sweeps, reverse-sweeps and whatnot on a scuffed-up pitch before the semi-final. India play football. World Cup champions, the Champions Trophy winners, with a chance to hold all three major limited-overs titles at the same time, they play football. more..

Crisis at Sri Lanka’s industrial estates

Apr 6 (ST) Inconsistent policies on taxes, labour issues, high electricity tariff, lack of export orders, and high production costs are compelling many industrialists to close down their factories at Sri Lankan industrial estates countrywide, the Regional Industriaists Association (RIA) warned. Managements have begun to shut the factories and fire thousands of workers, blaming the govt’s action to impose 15 direct and indirect taxes more..

Stats give India edge in familiar face-off

Apr 6 (CI) Since the beginning of 2008, India and Sri Lanka have played 63 international matches, which equals the highest by any two teams during this period. Australia and England have played that many times as well, but while 20 of the 63 Australia-England clashes have been in Tests, India and Sri Lanka have met only nine times in the five-day format during this period, and five times in Twenty20s, which means the overwhelming majority of matches have been ODIs (49). more..

Ranil back at school !

Apr 6 (SL) Last week, the grapevine was abuzz with the news that UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was travelling abroad to study the latest trends in politics and other related subjects while on a month’s lecturing assignment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US. He said “The MIT invited me last year for a guest-lecturing assignment but I was not keen to visit any Western Country at the time because of the US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka. more..

History of heartbreak between finalists

Apr 6 (CI) Romesh Kaluwitharana caught at third man. Sanath Jayasuriya caught at third man too. Asanka Gurusinha is out soon. Eden Gardens has erupted. Aravinda de Silva comes out and silences them, and the spinners bury them. Heartbreak. Mahela Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera take 54 in the last four overs. Lasith Malinga follows it up with early wickets of Sehwag and Tendulkar. more..

Ceylon Tobacco grows profits despite dip in cigarette sales

Apr 6 (Island) Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC), the monopoly manufacturer of legal cigarettes in Sri Lanka and the largest contributor to govt revenue, has seen its attributable profit grow to Rs.9.14 billion in the year ended Dec 31, 2013 from Rs.8.43 billion the previous year despite a 6% volume drop in sales. Company’s Chairman, Mr. Susantha Ratnayake, attributed this to "weaker consumer sentiment due to pricing and the twin shocks of drought and flood in various parts more..

GK in efforts to raise Rs.530 million amidst growing frustration

Apr 6 (ST) As the Golden Key Credit Card (GK) depositors frustration grew by the day, the GK Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is now in the process of raising its cash flow by around Rs.530 million by selling five major assets within the next two months, GK SPV Officials said. These assets are the property and half built structure at Kirimandala Mawatha, Narahenpita; a GK property at Puttalam; a house owned by Ms. P.K. Karunanayake, former director of company more..

'We have the winning feeling'

Apr 6 (CI) Given how the tour of Bangladesh has gone for Sri Lanka from February, a fitting end would be clinching the World T20. Their poor track record in tournament finals has been discussed at length, but this "winning feeling", as described by their captain Lasith Malinga, has the ability to alter history when they take on India in the final on Sunday. They have repeatedly said that they would do anything to win, particularly after more..

TNA to brief Zuma’s envoy

Apr 6 (SL) A delegation from the TNA will be heading to South Africa this week to have discussions with the special envoy on Sri Lanka of South African President Jacob Zuma. The meeting comes as South Africans continue dialogue with Sri Lanka on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) process. However, TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran said the TNA delegation is not going to discuss the TRC process with South Africa. “We are going not for any TRC process but to meet more..

EU-Sri Lanka trade talks after 5 years

Apr 6 (ST) The European Union (EU) has kick-started discussions with Sri Lanka five years after the former withdrew key trade concessions and now wants a “strong reconciliation process” in place. The EU Delegation head in Colombo David Daly remarked on Wednesday that the discussions between the two sides kicked off in December last year after a lapse of five years. The ambassador was speaking at the briefing held for the EU Sri Lanka Business Coucil with its visiting more..

This time for Sri Lanka?

Apr 6 (CI) If indeed it's true that third time is lucky, then Sri Lanka are due to win a World T20 final. In fact there's a good case for arguing that Sri Lanka have been the best international T20 side over the five world tournaments played so far. They have made four semi-finals, equal best with Pakistan, and this is their third final, more than any other side. However, they haven't yet won a final and India will be desperate to make sure more..

Communist Party CC appoints Weerasumana SPC Minister

Apr 6 (Island) At a meeting of its Central Committee, the Communist Party of Sri Lanka (CPSL) yesterday unanimously decided to nominate Weerasumana Weerasinghe from the Matara district for a ministerial portfolio in the Southern Provincial Council (SPC), party sources said. This nomination will be handed over to Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President, for the swearing in before President Mahinda Rajapaksa on a fresh date before the ceremonial inauguration of the SPC. more..

UNHRC resolution and the question of the social contract

Apr 6 (NS) Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe came up with a strange, important and revealing statement in the run up to the PC Elections. He said that if he is elected to power (in a presidential election, obviously, and complemented by a victory in a general election), there will be no threat to Sri Lanka from the international community. He was referring to the machinations in Geneva at the UNHRC which had the govt in what could be called its Annual March Dither. more..

Research reveals-95% Colombo residents carry dengue virus

Apr 6 (CT) Recent research has revealed that 95% of the population living within the Colombo Municipal area is inflicted with dengue virus, giving rise to doubts about the effectiveness of the dengue prevention programmes carried out by the health authorities. Chief Medical Officer of the CMC, Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, said this had been revealed after tests being conducted on a group of people living in the Wanathamulla area. more..

Pope Francis personally responds to Sri Lankan Francis Bennett Peiris’ letter

Apr 6 (Island) His Holiness Pope Francis has personally responded to a letter sent by a Sri Lankan, Francis Bennett Peiris of Sindhthrimatha Church, Waikkal Parish in the Diocese of Chilaw. On Sept 15, 2013, an article was published in the weekly Catholic Messenger that the Pope was informed of Anna Romero a 35-year-old woman from Central Italy who had become pregnant from an irresponsible runaway man. In her distress and frustration, she had phoned the Pope and more..

‘Constitutional hiccup’ stalls annual transfer to three key positions

Apr 6 (Island) The annual transfers to three top government health sector positions remain stalled for the past two months following what, senior medical officials described, as a "Constitutional hiccup" relating to provincial administrative appointments. In terms of the transfers listed on Feb 1, 2014 with immediate effect, Dr. Hemantha Beneragama, Director, Cosmetics, Devices and Drugs Regulatory Authority (CDDRA) was moved to head the Family Health Bureau (FHB), more..

Minister obtains direct donation from Pakistan

Apr 6 (ST) The Govt of Pakistan has responded to a direct call for funding from Minister Rishard Bathiudeen by pledging to give him US$ 1 million or Rs. 130 million outside of established rules and procedures. The contribution was made bypassing the Ministry of Finance and sets a precedent for ministers to independently canvass foreign govts and other entities for international aid. Political observers pointed out that, more..

Top diplomatic posts to be filled soon

Apr 6 (ST) Several new appointments of high commissioners and ambassadors are due to be considered by the Parliamentary Committee on High Posts this month. They include senior career service diplomats Prasad Kariyawasam as ambassador designate to the US and Karunathilaka Amunugama as ambassador designate to Germany. Among the others are Sarath Kongahage to South Africa and Sudharshan Seneviratne to India. Mr. Kariyawasam has just completed his term as more..

Over 400 banned

Apr 6 (SL) The Gazette notification printed on Friday by the Govt Printer, containing the order issued by the Govt to proscribe groups operating overseas with alleged LTTE links, has listed 424 individuals and Diaspora organisations. Govt had last week announced that 16 groups had been listed under a UNSC resolution but the Gazette notification seen by Sunday Leader shows a list of over 400 people including individuals living in countries like Denmark, Germany, Finland, etc. more..

KP excluded from banned list-424 natural persons

Apr 6 (CT) Despite the govt banning 16 Tamil Diaspora organizations including the LTTE together with 424 individuals, the person identified as the successor to the slain LTTE Leader V Prabhakaran – Kumaran Pathmanathan alias Selvarasa Pathmanathan is however excluded from the list. Hot on the heels of a UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka calling for accountability and reconciliation – Govt last week banned 16 organizations more..

There still lingers the drive to finish with one big prize

Apr 6 (Hindu) Few would have guessed, when T20 cricket made its advent, that Mahela Jayawardene would walk into his final international game in the format as his country’s heaviest run-scorer. Sri Lanka has produced flashier batsmen and stronger hitters, all seemingly better equipped to clear boundaries and thrill crowds. Expecting Jayawardene to biff his way around colourful 20-over cricket should have been like hoping for a Rolls Royce Phantom to win the Monaco GP. more..

Panel, not nations, to probe Sri Lanka?

Apr 6 (ENS) The international mechanism to investigate charges of war crimes and human rights violations in Sri Lanka during the period 2002-2009, as stipulated by the UNHRC resolution passed last month, is likely to be set up in mid-May. It will be a Committee of Experts rather than nations, an informed official source told Express here on Saturday. Things will move fast as the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) will have to present an oral update at more..

Rajapaksa govt. taken aback by PC results

Apr 6 (ST) Concerns for the UPFA Govt last week outweighed all others in its decade-long existence. Outcome of the PCelections, just after the adoption of the UNHRC resolution, reverberated in the dovecotes of power. This is the first time since the military defeat of Tiger guerrillas (in 2009) that the UPFA’s vote base has slid from 60% to just more than 50%. It lost 17 seats in both councils in the Western and Southern PCs. more..

Govt. cannot replace West with new friends

Apr 6 (CT) Latest UNHRC resolution, which was adopted in Geneva two weeks back, has put the govt in Colombo at loggerheads with the democracies in the West, that is, the EU and Northern European countries such as Norway. A bitter confrontation is looming between Colombo and the West as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) embarks on an inquiry into alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law during the last phase of the more..