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'70% of ministers, MPs favour abolishing Executive Presidency'

Apr 28 (CT) Minister Vasudewa Nanayakkara, said more than 70% of the govt ministers and MPs were in favour of abolishing the Executive Presidency. What the country requires is a major constitutional amendment which will do away with the Executive Presidency system, he said. He added if the Executive presidency is abolished by the President as well as those who exercise pivotal power, image of UPFA govt more..

Blackout blow for people in the dark

Apr 28 (DM) With the cost of living soaring beyond Mars and millions of people being burdened by tax after heavy tax -- the latest being the proposed toilet tax -- the biggest blackout blow since February last year has been the huge increase in electricity bills due to the imposition of the so-called Fuel Adjustment Surcharge (FAS). Thousands of poor or middle class families say they are forced to pay amounts ranging from about Rs.4,000 to Rs.10,000 a month and for some it is an unbearable more..

Arts and Politics ideological commitment or naked self interest?

Apr 28 (DM) The arts in their diverse forms have enriched human lives from time immemorial. While the scientific advancements have facilitated the development of productive forces leading to material development, the arts have enhanced the quality of life of human beings in numerous ways. One only has to look at the range of artistic work in traditional and modern societies and their appeal to large sections of the people to appreciate this fact. Music, drama, dance, film, literature, painting, etc more..

SF’s call for UN intervention as bad as ‘white flag’ allegation– NFF

Apr 28 (Island) The NFF spokesman Mohamed Muzammil alleged that Democratic Party (DP) leader, General Sarath Fonseka’s recent claim that he had discussed with UNP Leadership Council Chairman Karu Jayasuriya the need for UN intervention for regime change here was as equally bad as his statement in Dec 2009 that the army executed surrendering LTTE cadres and their families on the Vanni east front. more..

Claims and counter claims to Wilpattu encroachment

Apr 28 (SL) Since the Wilpattu National Park has been the topic of discussion over the past few weeks, after the BBS revealed that Muslim settlements were being built within the sanctuary, the Muslim community has been trying to prove their legitimate right to this land. Although the Muslim villages of Marichchikatti, Karadikkuli, Palakuli and Mullikulam have been under the spotlight, according to Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, more..

Military scouring schools up North

Apr 28 (CT) General Secretary of the CTU Joseph Stalin accused Army is collecting data of school children, teachers and principals in the North. Stalin said the process had been carried out by the Army throughout the recent past and it had instilled fear in the hearts of the school children, teachers, principals and parents. "The Army in several areas of the North is engaged in collecting data of school children and teachers, more..

Hard drug use grows, new committee to act

Apr 28 (ST) With at least 15 people arrested around the country in possession of illegal drugs – especially heroin – in the first three weeks of this month, the govt has appointed a special committee to act on drug trafficking and use. Trafficking and use of heroin is high, making up a third of all drug arrests in recent years. The arrests this month were made in Agulana, Wariyapola, Ella and Peliyagoda among other areas. more..

Hakeem ridicules setting up of special police unit

Apr 28 (Island) Minister Rauff Hakeem, while condemning the invasion of Ministry of Industry and Commerce coming under the purview of Minister Bathiudeen by BBS, said that there was no use in setting up special police units to handle religious related violence. He said that police already had enough powers vested in them to tackle such problems, but govt must do its utmost to control religious extremists like BBS urgently. more..

Video: Illegal route permits steer private buses to doom: PBOA

Apr 28 (DM) The Private Bus Owners Association (PBOA) alleged that illegal route permits for expressways, distributed by officials, was rapidly decreasing businesses for private buses on normal routes along the Galle Road and connecting roads. Association said a large number of passengers on the short distance bus services have reduced and the number of passengers as a whole was reducing by the day. more..

Fresh attempts to prevent lump withdrawals of Sri Lanka's EPF, ETF: report

Apr 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka is making fresh attempts to prevent private sector workers from withdrawing their retirement contributions once they reach 55 years of age. Sunday Times newspaper quoting an un-named official source said the Finance Ministry is drafting legislation to change the governing acts of the Employee's Provident Fund and Employees Trust Fund to make them into a 'pension' or annuity. more..

Controversial purchase of vehicles: Commissioner points finger at Mayor

Apr 28 (Island) Explaining a controversial decision of the current administration of CMC to negotiate with an unsuccessful bidder the purchase of 11 new pick-up trucks after the winning bid was approved by Technical Evaluation Committee, Finance Committee and the Council, Commissioner Mrs. Badrani Jayawardena said that Mayor A.J.M. Muzammil had instructed her to negotiate with the two vehicle importing companies. more..

'Packer won’t be here Without casinos'

Apr 28 (DM) UNP MP and renowned Economist Dr. Harsha De Silva discussed the implications of so called mixed hotel and shopping malls project including James Packer’s project approved in Parliament. He also highlighted the EPF issue and expressed his views regarding the recent attack on UNP MPs in Hambantota. Q: Let’s start by discussing an issue which is drawing a lot of attention – Packer’s Crown Resort project. more..

A/L question paper setters removed

Apr 28 (DM) The sudden removal of university academics who set the GCE A/L question papers in some of the subjects, have created waves within the education sector, Parliament was informed last week. It is learnt that Senior Professor D. Atapattu who had set the Economics question paper for more than ten years been removed from the task of setting the paper for the AL exam in August this year. more..

Let them dream peacefully

Apr 28 (CT) Right now Sri Lanka is facing three offensives – and all three have come from abroad with the Tamil Diaspora trying their best to embarrass the SL govt. The first is the anti-Sri Lanka resolution passed by the UNHRC at its 25th session in Geneva. This resolution insisting on an international investigation into allegations of war crimes in the final phases of the civil war in 2009 has pleased the Tamil Diaspora. They think they have scored a victory against the Govt of SL. more..

Brace yourselves for the casinos

Apr 28 (CT) Despite the President having told the media on Thursday that govt was not moving to set up casinos, Parliament on Friday passed two Gazette Notifications relating to the setting up of casinos in Colombo, cleverly camouflaged as strategic development projects. Parliament had also on Thursday, passed a similar notification that provided for the setting up of a mixed development project, which is interpreted as a 'play on words' that provided for the setting up of a casino. more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon (old)

Sri Lankan rupee flat in dull trade; seen trading steady

Apr 28 (Reuters) The rupee ended flat on Monday as an early importer demand for the greenback was superseded by dollar selling by exporters, while dealers expect the currency to remain stable in the near term in the absence of a pick-up in private sector credit. Spot rupee ended at 130.59/61 per dollar from Friday's close of 130.58/61. "There was not much of demand, this is the level it has been trading at for the last few weeks. The rupee is under appreciation pressure," more..

Wife, three soldiers remanded over killing husband

Apr 28 (Island) A woman who gave a contract to kill her husband and three soldiers who carried out the contract were produced before the Kurunegala Magistrate and remanded till May 5. Victim Janaka Priyantha (31) was a landed proprietor residing at Wellawa. He was found dead with his neck slashed in Wellawa on March 8. He was father of one. The victim had been living alone following his wife’s return from abroad. They had been quarrelling over the ownership of a coconut estate. more..

Sri Lanka police form religious hate crimes unit after attacks

Apr 28 (AFP) Police Monday announced a new unit to investigate religious hate crimes after attacks by Buddhist monks on churches and mosques last year raised concerns about religious freedom. IGP N.K. Illangakoon said the new unit would swiftly investigate any complaint relating to "religious matters" on the majority Buddhist island amid rising tensions over the attacks. "This unit will cover the entire country and deal with more..

'Cancers are as common as common cold'

Apr 28 (Island) Minister Maithripala Sirisena warns that various cancers have become as common as the common cold in Sri Lank, He attributes the situation to alcohol consumption and smoking. About 65 persons died of smoking-related diseases a day in Sri Lanka and 21,000 persons died due to smoking annually, he said. It was shocking that around 280,000 persons died due to alcohol and smoking annually in Sri Lanka, he said at a seminar, Mathin Thora Santayana, more..

Fitch affirms SL at 'BB-'; Outlook stable

Apr 28 (Reuters) Fitch Ratings has affirmed Sri Lanka's Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs at 'BB-'. The issue ratings on Sri Lanka's senior unsecured foreign and local currency bonds are also affirmed at 'BB-'. Outlooks on the Long-Term IDRs are Stable. Country Ceiling is affirmed at 'BB-' and the Short-Term Foreign Currency IDR at 'B'. Sri Lanka's 'BB-' IDRs reflect the following key rating drivers: Real GDP growth is relatively high and less volatile compared with its peers. more..

JHU not in favour of Special Police Unit

Apr 28 (DM) Showing its displeasure over the setting up a special police unit under the Religious Affairs Ministry to inquire into complaints on religious matters, JHU said the move would result in unnecessary consequences in the country. It states that if there was a need to create a mechanism to inquire into complaints on religious matters, it should have been done through the parliament in a much more appropriate manner. more..

Sri Lanka stocks end higher

Apr 28 (LBO) Sri Lanka's stocks end 0.07% higher amid net foreign buying on the board, brokers said. The Colombo benchmark All Share Price Index closed 4.13 points higher at 6,171.94 up 0.07%. The S&P SL20 closed 6.37 points higher at 3,394.34, up 0.19%. Turnover was 423.81 million rupees, down from 906.28 million rupees last Friday with 83 stocks close positive against 84 negative. George Steuart Finance closed 15.10 rupees lower at 65.00 rupees, trading heavily on the market. more..

Regime slings mud at JVP

Apr 28 (LT) The govt that has been enraged due to the popularity the JVP is gaining daily is engaged in a mudslinging agenda using its newspapers states the JVP adding that such vile attempts indicate the bankruptcy of the govt. This is stated in a press release issued by the Political Bureau of the JVP. Full text: “A malicious and fictitious news item regarding the JVP has been published in a certain daily newspaper today as its main news item. The headline of the news item is more..

Muslim Council challenges Gnanasara Thero

Apr 28 (AD) The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) has challenged the General Secretary of BBS Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara Thero to prove the allegations made by him that the MCSL receives financial support from the US or any other country. “The MCSL has had no engagement or receive financial support from the Embassy of US or any agency affiliated to the US or any other country as stated by you more..

PM declares open Asia Pacific Scout Leaders Summit

Apr 28 (Island) PM D.M. Jayaratne declared open the Eighth Asia Pacific Regional Scout Leaders’ International Summit at the Goldi Sands Hotel, Negombo on Saturday and it would continue till Tuesday with the participation of around 100 delegates from 26 countries, a press release issued by the Sri Lanka Scout Association states. It says: The Summit will be attended by the Secretary General of World Organisation of the Scout Movement, Scott Teare and Chairman of the more..

Sihala Ravaya complains against Thawheed Jamath

Apr 28 (CT) Akmeemana Dayarathana Thera, President of hard-line Sinhalese, 'Sihala Ravaya' Organization and several other monks have lodged complaints with four police stations against the General Secretary of the 'Thawheed Jamath' Organization (TJO), Abdul Raseek for allegedly having issued statements insulting the Buddha and Buddhism. Ven. Dayarathana, in his complaint, has requested the arrest of General Secretary, (TJO) Abdul Raseek for uttering derogatory more..

Japan says resolution not productive

Apr 28 (CG) The Japanese Govt has said it wants to engage and to encourage the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka and is opposed to Resolutions which are counterproductive. Japan’s Senior Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Norio Mitsuya had said this when he met the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Japan Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda in Japan as a follow up to the recently held UNHRC session in Geneva. more..

Gold concealed in mouth seized

Apr 28 (Hindu) Customs enforcers on Sunday seized 360 gm of gold from a Sri Lankan national who arrived at Thiruvananthapuram International Airport in a flight from Colombo. The gold, valued at Rs.11 lakh, was found concealed behind the tongue of one Mohammed Manzoor who arrived by the SriLankan Airlines flight UL 162 from Colombo. The gold was moulded into a triangle form and concealed behind the tongue by the SL national who is a frequent visitor to the country. more..

Army to probe 3 soldiers over murder

Apr 28 (CG) Commander of the Army, Daya Ratnayake has directed the Sri Lanka Corps of Military Police (SLCMP) to conduct an investigation into the alleged involvement of three soldiers in the contract murder at Wellawa and initiate a Court of Inquiry (CoI) for trial, the army media unit said. On hearing that three soldiers against a contract payment of Rs 2 million have murdered the husband of a woman on her insistence and were subsequently remanded by more..

Blue whales at risk of being hit by ships

Apr 28 (DM) In the wake of five blue whales being killed after they were hit by ships, the Fisheries Ministry is consulting the relevant authorities to rearrange shipping route off Mirissa in the South. Deputy Fisheries Minister Sarath Gunaratne told Parliament that this sea area off Mirissa has been populated by blue whales, which are known to swim close to the surface of oceanic waters and risk being hit by passing ships. more..

Probe on teacher who hung slippers round student’s neck

Apr 28 (DM) An inquiry is to be held over allegations that a female teacher at a school in Serunuwara had hung a pair of slippers round the neck of a schoolgirl as punishment for not wearing shoes to school. Eastern Province Education Minister Wimalaweera Dissanayake is reported to have instructed the Serunuwara Zonal Education Director to submit a report after inquiring into the matter and that action would be taken against the teacher if she was found guilty of the offence. more..

Sri Lanka Cricket opts for Chris Adams as consultant for England tour

Apr 28 (PTI) Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announced the appointment of Chris Adams as consultant for the national team's tour of Ireland and England. The 44-year old is a former England player and captain of Sussex who coached Surrey, the county to which Sri Lanka lost its former coach Graham Ford. The team leaves end of this week and the preparations received a jolt when the English coach Paul Farbrace abruptly left the Sri Lankan head coach's job to become England's deputy coach more..

Heavy showers; landslide warning in several districts

Apr 28 (DM) The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) has asked the residents of the Kegalle, Ratnapura and the Matale District to be vigilant as continuous heavy showers in these areas could trigger landslides. Ten districts including Matale, Ratnapura and Kegalle had been identified by the NBRO as prone to landslides. Meanwhile, the Department of Meteorology warned of heavy showers in the coming days as the more..

Seven sentenced to death over ‘94 election related murder

Apr 28 (AD) The Nuwara Eliya High Court today sentenced seven persons to death over an election related killing of a person in 1994, Police spokesman said. Nine persons were charged over the murder which had taken place in the Nildandahinna area in Walapane while the legal case had dragged on for several years. Nuwara Eliya High Court Judge Lalith Ekanayake delivered the verdict in the case today and issued the death sentence on 7 suspects as the other 2 suspects have already passed away. more..

Over 200 incidents reported already

Apr 28 (CG) Over 200 incidents were reported to the new police special investigations unit established at the Religious Affairs Ministry today. Sinhala Rawaya lodged the first complaint while Muslim Tamil National Alliance leader Azath Salley later lodged 284 complaints. Sinhala Rawaya said it filed a complaint at the new unit against the Thawheed Jamad Muslim group while Salley lodged complaints over incidents mostly targeting Muslims in the country. more..

SL quicks begin training with Duke ball

Apr 28 (CI) Sri Lanka's hopes of sending up to six cricketers to England for early-season training had been upset by former coach Paul Farbrace's move to the English setup, but their fast bowlers have nonetheless begun training at home with Duke balls, in preparation for the two-Test series in June. Tests in England pose a unique challenge for foreign sides, most of whom use Kookaburra balls across all formats. more..

Korean growth experience and its relevance to Sri Lanka today

Apr 29 (CT) Professor Jin Park of the KDI School of Public Policy and Management, a reputed research and higher learning institution in South Korea, recently delivered a lecture under Global Development Learning Network or GDLN Seminar Series on Lessons from Korea’s Development to participants in a host of Asian countries including Sri Lanka. The program is delivered under its distance learning training system and its local host has been Colombo based Distance Learning Centre, more..

SLFP dissent, The executive presidency & the folly of the ’80s

Apr 29 (CT) If we are to avert a bloodbath in the coming years we must avoid the mistakes of the 1980s, but both the Govt and the Opposition are making the same mistakes once again. If we do not strive for peaceful, democratic regime change by internal electoral means, there will be external attempts at regime change. If those external attempts succeed, we shall have one or more pro-Western puppet regimes (in Colombo and/or the North and East). more..

Colombo to retain its beauty

Apr 29 (SO) As the UDA based on the observations of the present urbanisation trends suggests that around 60% of the population would be living in urban areas by 2020. Accordingly the average rate of urbanisation in the country during the period 2010 to 2020 would be in the range of 3–4% per annum. Yet, the story before 2009 was totally contradicting. Before a permanent peaceful condition prevailed in the country, more..