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Govt. clears legal hurdle for Casinos

Apr 29 (CT) It is no longer a secret to the country that President Rajapaksa was able to overcome a serious Constitutional crisis that arose from the impeachment of former CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake threatening the very survival of his govt, thanks to a covert understanding he had reached with opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. The govt on that occasion was able to ensure the passage of the motion impeaching the CJ without any difficulty as more..

The need for caution and space to heal

Apr 29 (CT) Earlier this month, the Sri Lankan Govt by special Gazette, listed the LTTE and 15 Tamil Diaspora groups –considered LTTE front organizations by the SL State– together with individuals. It was to be viewed as compliance with the UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1373, which calls for strategies to combat terrorism and terrorist financing. Here is a State that has rejected to comply with many a UN demand, often showing defiance, but opting to demonstrate strong more..

'NPC has not done anything constructive'

Apr 29 (CT) Former MP of EPDP S. Thavarasa has been appointed as the new Opposition Leader of the NPC. Engaging in politics at the age of eighteen, Thavarasa remained an important figure in the formation of the EPDP in the mid eighties. Once being a target of the LTTE along with his leader Douglas Devananda, Thavarasa claims that the EPDP was given weapons by the govts in the past to defend more..

View from Ritigala - by mahasona

Apr 29 (NS) The recent attack on UNP MPs in Hambantota was roundly condemned by all, except the senior party colleagues of the thug who organized and participated in the attack, who chose to maintain silence. It was not a one-off act of thuggery. Ruling party strongmen have time and again flexed muscles and more. However, to say that the attack somehow justifies the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka only demonstrates political naivete or crass exploitation of a situation for more..

Govt becoming its own enemy

Apr 29 (NS) When five UNP MPs visited development projects in Hambantota, it was meant to be another harmless antic by the Opposition. Instead, it spiraled out of control into an incident attracting international headlines, tarnishing the country’s image. Man at the center of the controversy is the Mayor of Hambantota, Eraj Fernando who is from ruling UPFA. He led a mob of ‘protestors’ who, it was claimed, were citizens from the area who were angry that the MPs more..

'I have nothing to discuss with the BBS'

Apr 29 (CT) Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara, who recently demanded that the BBS be banned, accused the powers that be of not taking action against violence spread by extremist organizations. He said, “If the responsible parties look the other side and if they don’t step in when the BBS spreads violence, then those responsible parties are giving their blessings to BBS, whoever they are. It can even be President.” more..

Editorial: Leaders and resignations

Apr 29 (Island) Sinking of the Sewol ferry with 300 passengers aboard, most of them schoolchildren and teachers, has sent a political tsunami of sorts across South Korea. Heart-rending images of lifeless bodies of victims trapped in cabins of the ill-fated vessel continue to emanate and protests are still on. PM Chung Hong-won has announced his resignation over his govt’s poor response to the disaster, which has left about 200 people dead according to official figures released so far. more..

Construction of Waterfront resort has commenced: JKH

Apr 29 (FT) John Keells Holdings (JKH) said that the construction of the ‘Waterfront’, the integrated resort project in Colombo 2 has commenced. “The project site has been handed over to the contractor and the construction has commenced,” JKH said in a filing to the CSE. It formally yesterday notified that the Integrated Resort project undertaken by Waterfront Properties Ltd., a subsidiary controlled by JKH, has received approval from the Parliament of Sri Lanka, under strategic Development Project Act more..

Former captain plays the role of Sri Lanka Cricket’s trouble shooter

Apr 29 (NS) Sanath Jayasuriya is known to play many roles as a cricketer, politician, and dancer to chief selector. Today he is the most sought after personality by Sri Lanka Cricket to sort out their problems. He has more or less assumed the role of trouble-shooter for the SLC. But Jayasuriya scoffed at the idea of being called a trouble-shooter. “It’s my passion for the game that keeps me going. I want to see SL cricket more..

Making the best of the second best solution

Apr 29 (Island) Five years after the end of the war, Sri Lanka remains a post-war society that has yet to make the transition to a post-conflict society. While the violence has ceased, the political roots of the conflict that gave rise to war remain to be addressed. There continues to be extreme political polarization between the govt and the Tamil and, more recently, the Muslim polity. The govt has in recent weeks being talking in terms of the revival of the LTTE and Tamil separatism. more..

Wisden Editor criticizes ECB over Farbrace

Apr 29 (Island) Wisden’s Editor Lawrence Booth has criticized England and Wales Cricket Board for encouraging Paul Farbrace to defect to England ranks after just five months into his two year contract with Sri Lanka Cricket. Farbrace coached Sri Lanka to the World T-20 triumph three weeks ago and soon after the tournament, joined the ECB as Assistant Coach to Peter Moores, leaving SLC in a dilemma. Booth was the guest in Cricinfo’s Polite Enquiries programme hosted by George Dobell. more..

Vajira Kulatilaka, new chairman at CSE

Apr 29 (Island) Vajira Kulatilaka has been appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), with effect from June 5, 2014. Kulatilaka has served on the CSE Board of Directors since October 2009. Kulatilaka, is designated as CEO - NDB Capital Holdings and overlooks the operations of the Investment Banking Cluster of the NDB Group, which comprises of NDB Investment Bank, more..

SL stamp remembers Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh

Apr 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka issued a stamp commemorating Ho Chi Minh, a revolutionary communist leader that led the country to independence from the French who is reputed to have visited the island several times. "This is another demonstration of the time honoured relationship and friendship between Sri Lanka and Vietnam," Hanoi's ambassador to Colombo Ton Sinh Thanh said. "He has visited Sri Lanka several times during his revolutionary life. more..

SLT advocates child protection

Apr 29 (Island) Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the national telecommunication service provider in Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) organized an awareness programme on Child Protection for school principals in the Anuradhapura District recently. The full day awareness programme was conducted at the Ceybank Rest, Anuradhapura with the participation of principals from over 200 schools in the Anuradhapura district. more..

Sangakkara to play two Durham matches

Apr 29 (CI) Kumar Sangakkara will play two County Championship matches for Durham, against Yorkshire and Sussex, in preparation for Sri Lanka's tour of England. Sangakkara will miss Sri Lanka's two ODIs in Ireland, and will join the squad after completing his second Durham match on May 14, ahead of Sri Lanka's warm-up one-dayer against Kent. "I'm really looking forward to returning to county cricket with Durham more..

Amaron Raja Batteries aiming at 40% of local market

Apr 29 (Island) Amaron automotive batteries, a relatively new brand to enter the Sri Lankan market for vehicle batteries, with demand for the product said to be rising in geometric progression, is expecting to capture around 40% of the local battery market by 2015. Vice President Amara Raja Batteries (ARBL), Rajes Jindal, said Amron batteries, selling over 110 million units worldwide, has established its credibility in the automotive market place internationally. more..

Hemas Rs. 1 b debenture issue draws Rs. 4.5 b demand

Apr 29 (FT) Hemas Holdings maiden debenture issue of Rs. 1 billion had drawn heavy demand with subscriptions worth Rs. 4.5 billion received at the time of oversubscription. The company said its oversubscribed issue of 10 million Rated, Unsecured, Redeemable Debentures at Rs. 100 each, (5 million in the first tranche and an equal amount in the event of oversubscription of the original amount), received 119 applications applying for 44.8 million debentures more..

Video: Existing laws sufficient to tackle religious disputes: SF

Apr 29 (DM) Special police unit established to deal with religious violence is not necessary as there are provisions in the existing laws to deal with such incidents, DP Leader Sarath Fonseka said. He said that no special police was needed to deal with religious issues and that police could deal with these matters under the existing laws of the country. Mr. Fonseka said if the new police unit was to serve any purpose it must not be biased or more..

Tracing the Ramayana route to Sri Lanka, by air and rail

Apr 29 (Hindu) The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) has launched a pilgrimage tour to trace the journey of Lord Rama from Ayodhya to Nuwara Eliya, where Sita was held captive in Sri Lanka. This is the first time that IRCTC, South Zone has embarked on the Lord Sita-Rama temples circuit. The 2,200-km tour is divided into two parts: the visit to Sri Lanka is by flight for five days and to Ayodhya by train for 11 days. About 30 pilgrims, aged above 55 years, more..

Country's biggest challenge comes from outside: Tax expert

Apr 29 (CT) Senior tax consultant N.R. Gajendran said Sri Lanka's biggest challenge was managing external pressure. "I think the greatest challenge the country is currently facing is not really internal matters; because from an internal perspective–even from political perspective and economic and monetary perspective – there is relative stability compared to times that have gone by. "But on the external factor, definitely there are challenges coming to my mind. more..

Sri Lanka refusal won't dampen Packer's Asia plan: Analyst

Apr 29 (FT) Analysts say Sri Lanka's refusal to allow James Packer to build a casino there won't be a major setback for his Asian expansion plans for Crown Casino. Sri Lanka's Govt has caved in to pressure from community and Buddhist groups opposed to any additional casino licences in the country. Mr Packer and two other developers had their plans for casinos knocked back. Brian Han, a senior research analyst with Fat Prophets, more..

Biswal to meet Tamil diaspora in US

Apr 29 (CG) US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal is to have talks with the Tamil Diaspora in the US today. Biswal is also scheduled to have separate talks with the Sri Lankan Ambassador in the US Jaliya Wickramasuriya, the website said adding that the meeting is expected to focus on the human rights issue in the country. The meeting comes after the UN had recently raised concerns over alleged incidents of rape said to have taken place during and after the war.

Rs. 250 mn gem heist

Apr 29 (Island) Nine gems worth Rs. 250 million were grabbed from their owner by a suspect posing as a buyer at Pahala Kadugannawa yesterday noon. SSP Ajith Rohana said that the suspect had arrived in a car with a broker at a guest house owned by the owner of the gems and fled in the same vehicle after grabbing the gems, leaving the broker behind. The broker has been arrested but the main suspect was at large, the police said. The robber was not armed, according to investigators.

France’s Coface lists Sri Lanka among 10 emerging countries

Apr 29 (FT) Sri Lanka has been identified as one of the 10 emerging countries hot on the heels of BRICS by Coface, a worldwide leader in credit insurance with presence in over 66 nations. Coface has distinguished two groups in the 'new emerging' countries. One group comprising Sri Lanka, Colombia, Indonesia, Peru, the Philippines has a sound business climate (A4 or B), similar to that of the BRIC countries today. more..

UNP reformists propose Sajith as common candidate

Apr 29 (Island) UNP MP Sajith Premadasa was the ideal common opposition candidate at the next Presidential elections as he and President Rajapaksa took a common stand on national issues, according to UNP reformist and former Southern Provincial Councillor Maithri Gunaratne. Gunaratne said that voters did not have any trust in UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leadership Council (LC) Chairman Karu Jayasuriya and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga. more..

U.S. Embassy launches photography contest to mark Press Freedom Day

Apr 29 (AT) The U.S. Embassy is conducting a photography contest from April 28-May 9 to mark World Press Freedom Day 2014. Themed ‘The Power of Media Freedom’ the contest is open to participants of all ages in Sri Lanka and Maldives to submit an original photograph depicting the theme. Embassy will also launch its official Instagram page @USEmbSL in conjunction with the contest. Participants from Sri Lanka and Maldives must submit their Instagram and Twitter entries more..

JVP threatens turmoil to block proposed casino resorts

Apr 29 (Island) The JVP yesterday threatened to block proposed luxury hotels with gaming facilities, even though relevant regulations had been approved by Parliament last week. JVP MP Vijitha Herath said that his party would mobilise people against the implementation of the casino projects. Herath said that 52 ruling party MPs had either absented themselves or voted against the govt move to set up foreign casinos. more..

PSM to stage token strike

Apr 29 (Island) Professions Supplementary to Medicine (PSM) will stage a token strike on May 06 against the government’s failure to grant their demands including the restoration of the duration of the Allied Health Sciences degree to four years. General Secretary of the Joint Council of PSM, Saman Jayasekera said that medical laboratory technologists, pharmacists, radiologists and physiotherapists would keep away from duties from 8.00am to 4.00pm next Tuesday. more..

Khuram trial: Witness denies seeing gun

Apr 29 (CT) Managress of the Nature Hotel, Tangalle, Tharanga Peries, giving evidence before the Colombo High Courts, said yesterday that she did not see a gun or a bottle in the hand of Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman, Chandra Vidanapathirana, and neither did she see him open fire at British National Khuram Shaikh. The witness said so when the defence cross examined her, in the Khuram Shaikh murder Trail which includes the gang rape of his fiancé, at a hotel in Tangalle. more..

MR awarded with Bahrain’s Khalifa Medal

Apr 29 (DM) President Rajapaksa was today awarded the prestigious Khalifa Medal, the highest honor in the Kingdom of Bahrain. During the ceremony, King of Bahrain, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa said the medal was being presented to President Rajapaksa “in appreciation of your Excellency and your friendly country, and in recognition of the efforts you are personally exerting to move with bilateral ties more..

UK's Swire meets NGOs on Sri Lanka

Apr 29 (DM) British Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Hugo Swire held discussions with representatives of several NGOs on Monday to discuss the follow-up to the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka passed in Geneva last month. “Had useful meeting with NGOs today on follow-up to #UNHRC resolution passed on human rights abuses in #SriLanka,” Swire tweeted. The UK co-sponsored a US-led resolution at the UNHRC this year which establishes an international investigation into more..

90% of those seeking abortions are married women

Apr 29 (CT) 90% of SL women, who approach gynaecologists for pregnancy termination, are married, Kandy Teaching Hospital Gynaecologist, Dr. W. Abeykoon, said. "During our day to day consultation, this has been a big problem since most of the women who want to terminate their pregnancy are married ones. However, even if they approach us for termination, we refuse to go ahead as it is illegal," he said. Reason behind such a move is that these women are simply not interested in more..

Video: Bank robbers wearing full face helmet arrested

Apr 29 (DM) Special police team of Kohuwala police station led by IP Chaminda Edirisuriya and Crime OIC, SI W.B.A. Sumathipala yesterday arrested the main suspect and two confederates alleged to have robbed three banks and attempted one at Kirulapone, wearing full-face helmets within four months. Among the suspects is a Civil Defence Force member, who harboured the other two in his house in Kandy. more..

If we don’t learn to love, our country will explode

Apr 29 (DM) With the spirit of the National New Year, the goodwill and the harmony still in the air and traditional festivities still taking place despite some party political and moral pollution, we have a duty to reflect on the urgent need to restore religious unity in diversity. Religious tension in recent years has been escalating to dangerous levels and in the aftermath of a devastating 30-year ethnic war, the religious disturbances could pose a grave threat to Sri Lanka’s image as a multi-racial and more..

A dragon which could not be controlled

Apr 29 (DM) There is this notion that once the industry is legalised, the industry and its effects could be controlled and regulated. In fact we brought in regulations in 2011 which clearly said that casinos could not be set up in different areas but have to be centralised into one single zone or area. What we had in mind was that this zone would be created in a far-off area like Kalpitiya or such place but that didn’t happen. The issue actually lies in the fact that there is no governance in this country. more..

Vinayagam: The deadly agent of the defeated LTTE

Apr 29 (SL) When Sri Lanka dismantled the LTTE killing machine in May 2009, the bulk of the LTTE leaders and members that experienced the suffering of conflict regretted and repented. In rehabilitation, when they interacted with other communities for the first time, they realized there was no real difference between the Sinhalese, Muslims and Tamils. The LTTE cadres admitted they had been indoctrinated to hate the more..

Informatics and UCSC victorious at Imagine Cup 2014

Apr 29 (Island) Three teams Firebirds and Silver Chasers from Informatics, and Fat and Thin Studios from University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC); emerged victors at the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2014 local competition, held in Peradeniya University last week. Imagine Cup, which has become SL’s premier student technology competition, had 14 teams competing in the final round this year. more..

'Maha Sangha and Public were betrayed'

Apr 29 (DM) Minister and General Secretary of JHU, Champika Ranawaka in a scathing attack on the govt’s Strategic Development Projects Act, said that the passing of the Act was a clear indication of the political clout the businessmen involved in the ‘deal’ possessed. He however, stopped short of saying that the passing of the gazette, which he opined clearly included ‘casinos’, would compel the party to leave the coalition, more..

Fear, frustration build up as holdups soar

Apr 29 (ST) Full-face helmet bandits have struck 14 times in the past four months, robbing millions of rupees and gold jewellery from banks, pawn shops and gem merchants in various parts of the country. Although video footage has been available on closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras, police have so far only been able to make a breakthrough in three of the cases because the helmets hinder identification. more..

Lankan Babus Bicker on Fishermen Talk

Apr 29 (NIE) Talks between fishermen’s associations of India and Sri Lanka on fishing rights in the Palk Bay and Palk Strait area have come under a cloud with the Lankan govt saying on Wednesday that it had not been consulted before India announced that the meeting would take place on May 12 and 13. Nimal Hettiarachchi, director general of fisheries, said that the Sri Lankan High Commissioner in New Delhi had more..