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Wimal loses two councillors in Uva

May 23 (Island) Two Uva Provincial Council members representing Minister Wimal Weerawansa’s NFF joined the UNP and SLFP. Defectors Mihimal Munasinghe and Udayakumara Wengappuli contested the 2009 Uva PC poll under the UPFA banner. They announced their decisions when the Council met yesterday. Munasinghe, who contested from the Badulla District and obtained 26,377 preferential votes more..

CAA raids soap factory

May 23 (DM) The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) today confiscated over 600,000 cakes of soap worth Rs. 2.4 million, fraudulently manufactured under the name of a popular brand of soap, in a raid carried out at a factory in Ekala, Ja-Ela, the Cooperative and Internal Trade Ministry said. “This was a large-scale soap manufacturing company. The manufacturers had printed a popular trademark on the cover of the soap. They had also altered the name and address of the manufacturer and more..

Two Magistrates' Courts to be upgraded

May 23 (CT) The circuit Magistrates' Courts in Eravur and Kaluwanchcikudy are to be upgraded as permanent Courts in consultation with the Chief Justice and the Judicial Services Commission. This was revealed by Minister of Justice Rauf Hakim during a discussion with law officials and Court registrars at the new building of the Batticaloa Magistrate's Court on Saturday. The minister said the new building of the Batticaloa Magistrate's Court will be ceremonially declared open by more..

Heated debate over 8 resolutions in P’ment

May 23 (FT) Lawmakers yesterday clashed over eight resolutions which were moved under the Appropriation Act of 2012, seeking Parliamentary approval to establish and to change the limits of the advance accounts for several Govt institutions including the Bribery Commission. The Govt said that it would seek to fast-track the rewards due to bribery and corruption informants by using the funds in these accounts. Moving the motion, more..

Overarching power and influence of the executive weakening national integrity – TI

May 23 (FT) Transparency International said that the overarching power and influence of the executive is weakening the national integrity system of Sri Lanka. In releasing the latest corruption report in South Asia, TI also said 64% of Sri Lankans believe that corruption in the country has increased over the last two years. “The centralization of power on the Executive has eroded the constitutional checks and balances, leading to abuse of power and widespread misappropriation. more..

First Lanka-Belarus Joint Economic Commission in July

May 23 (GDI) As Sri Lanka’s trade with the virgin Eurasian market Belarus clocked $ 14 Mn, the gateway to the 170 Mn strong custom union wants to renew trade and business immediately -as early as in July. “With your assistance, we want to prepare fruitful projects with Sri Lanka. We propose a Joint Economic Commission with Sri Lanka as early as July 2014 to be held in Colombo, if possible. We also can formulate the first Belarus Business delegation to Colombo during this event more..

Colombo VC ignores FUTA bigwig’s sit-in

May 23 (Island) Head of the History Department of the Colombo University Arts Faculty Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri staged a day-long sit-in opposite the office of Vice Chancellor Dr. Kumara Hirimburegama yesterday in protest against a shortage of lecturers at his department. He even threatened a hunger strike, but subsequently he agreed to suspend his protest following an assurance given by the Arts Faculty Dean more..

New prison for women prisoners

May 23 (Island) Prisons Department has decided to open a prison for women prisoners for the first time in Sri Lanka. Minister Chandrasiri Gajadheera said it would be opened in the Kalutara district. It was decided to open up a separate prison for women as the number of females sentenced to prison terms was on the increase, he said. Recruitment percentage of female prison guards to serve at the prison would be increased accordingly in comparison to predominantly male prisons, more..

Rains bring relief to tea plantations

May 23 (DN) Tea plantations in the central hills have recovered from the effects of the recent severe drought. "Tea cultivations in central hills were badly affected due to the drought experienced recently. Due to the cloudless weather condition in the country, tea plantations were exposed to direct sunlight and most of the tea bushes became leafless," sources said. They said as a result of this, tea small holdings had to face various problems and laboures engaged in tea plantations were more..

Polls Chief consults AG on SF’s civic rights

May 23 (Island) Election Department has sought a clarification from Attorney General, Palitha Fernando, PC, as regards DP leader, General Sarath Fonseka’s eligibility to be accommodated in the next electoral register. Polls Chief Mahinda Deshapriya said that he was awaiting the AG’s advice. Asked whether the former Army Commander, too, would be issued a body count form under the ongoing project to revise more..

Accused in rape, murder cases shot opposite High Court

May 23 (Island) A 34-year-old murder accused was shot and injured opposite the Tangalle High Court yesterday by a group of assailants who arrived there in a trishaw. He had been shot at while he was smoking a cigarette opposite the court complex, sources said. The accused had been involved in 12 rape and 12 murder cases, police sources said. Police media unit said that Amila Niroshan Rajapaksa alias Army Amila had been shot at around 12.00 noon. more..

Widow of former MP Asitha Perera declines vote of condolence

May 23 (Island) Family members of former MP Asitha Perera have requested Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa not to move a vote of condolence on his death. Therefore, the party leaders have decided not to take up the vote of condolence on late Asitha Perera today. When this week’s sitting programme was decided two names of former MPs namely Berty Premalal Dissanayake and Asitha Perera were included in the list. When the Leader of the House of parliament contacted the family members of more..

NFF-JHU to discuss future stance with govt

May 23 (CT) Two major coalition partners of the govt, JHU and NFF are to have discussions today regarding the decisive political situation in the country. NFF spokesman Mohamed Musammil said, the meeting will take place in Colombo with the participation of NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa and JHU General Secretary Champika Ranawake and other high ranking officials of the two parties. more..

If EU can why cant we asks military

May 23 (CG) Ministry of Defence (MOD) says if countries like those in Europe can ban even the salute of former dictator Adolf Hitler then there is nothing wrong in Sri Lanka banning commemorating the LTTE. Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that last weekend the authorities had prevented events being staged in the north which could be seen as glorifying the LTTE. He however insisted that there were no raids on any newspaper office or any other institution as was claimed by some Tamil more..

Wigneswaran absent at TNA's LTTE remembrance day

May 23 (CT) TNA Northern Provincial Council (NPC) members yesterday held a ceremony at the NPC Complex to commemorate the LTTE members who died in the Mulliwaikkal, Mullaitivu battle during the final phase of the war. They wore black bands and lit lamps at the ceremony. TNA NPC members M.K. Sivajilingam and Ananthi Sashitharan were among those who had organized this commemoration. NPC Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran, did not participate in the lamp lighting ceremony more..

'Only God knows if 17A could help Opposition win next election'

May 23 (Island) Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya yesterday said that only the God knew whether the restoration of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution could help the Opposition win the next national level election. Speculation is rife in political circles that President Mahinda Rajapaksa will declare a presidential election early next year. Deshapriya was responding to a query by The Island at a media briefing. more..

A friend's silence more hurtful than an enemy's sword

May 23 (DM) For centuries Sri Lanka has bloomed with the hallowed culture of Buddhism, but in recent years we have been seeing a dangerous trend towards a culture of impunity. Ruling alliance politicians, especially their stooges and supporters including killers in underground crime syndicates seem to believe they could do whatever they want – from killings to corruption - and get away through political influence, party politics in the police, political interference in the judicial process and more..

Which way Modified India?

May 23 (DM) India’s prime minister-elect Narendra Modi is a conundrum. So it seems for the time being. From his alleged role in the massacre of Muslims in the 2001 Gujarat communal riots to his invitation to Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Shariff to attend his inauguration on Monday, analysts search for answers. How will he drive the economy? What will be his foreign policy? Will India’s Muslims be safe? One thing is certain. Modi will do what he thinks is right for India. more..

Murder most foul in Mullaitivu

May 23 (SL) On the 10th evening, the quiet village of Vallipuram in Mullaitivu was shaken by the killing of a mother of two, by her husband who had later hung himself. The Tamil media reported that the she was killed because she had joined the Army volunteer force. The husband Arulraj Arumainayagam, was previously a special commander of the LTTE Imran Pandian Regiment. He had been rehabilitated and was employed more..

AIDS on the rise among boys and young men

May 23 (ST) A growing problem of HIV/AIDS being reported among young boys between the ages of 15 and 29 comes as an alert of unprotected same sex acts and young boys used as sex workers. 37 boys under the age of nine, seven boys between the age of 10 and 19 and 243 young men between the ages of 20 and 29 have been confirmed as HIV/AIDS patients. At present there are 75 children below the age of 15 suffering more..

‘We are mindful of rights of Tamils'

May 23 (Hindu) Facing criticism from allies, the BJP on Thursday backed the party’s decision to invite SL President Rajapaksa to the swearing-in of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister scheduled for May 26. BJP State president Pon. Radhakrishnan said the decision could not be compared with the UPA’s invites to Mr. Rajapaksa in the past. While taking the decision, the BJP was mindful of the rights of the Sri Lankan Tamils. more..

'Guarantee on pawning loans good for banks'

May 23 (LBO) A credit guarantee scheme announced by Sri Lanka for banks lending against gold is positive for banks which have been hit by defaults, Moody's, a rating agency said. Sri Lanka's which is recovering from a balance of payments crisis triggered by credit financed energy subsidies, saw non performing loans in the banking system rise to 5.6% of total by end 2013 from 3.7% a year earlier. more..

17 children abused daily in Sri Lanka

May 23 (Island) Minister Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament the number of abused Sri Lankan children averaged 17 a day. Minister, responding on behalf of Prime Minister and Minister of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs to a question raised by UNP MP Rosy Senanayake, said that the Children and Women Bureau of the Police had received a total of 20,840 complaints of child abuse during the period 2008-2012. more..

Law catches up with corrupt prison officers

May 23 (Island) The CID is probing some prison officers in league with notorious criminals controlling robber gangs from within jails. They would be taken for questioning shortly, a senior prison officer said. The top officer said that the CID sleuths had found concrete evidence that a number of prison officers were in the pay of robber gang responsible for the killing of the traffic constable attached to the Kurunegala police after more..

Vaiko meets Modi, says Rajapaksa should not be invited

May 23 (PTI) MDMK chief Vaiko, an NDA ally, today opposed the invitation extended to Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa for Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony and asked the PM-designate as well as BJP President Rajnath Singh to reconsider the decision. Tamil leader met Modi here in the presence of BJP leaders Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley. "Rajapksa is the butcher of Tamils. Mr Modi should reconsider the decision to invite him more..

Sri Lanka calls for action against terror following Afghanistan attack

May 23 (CG) The Sri Lankan Govt today underscored it’s consistent call for concerted and decisive action to combat the menace of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations following an attack on an Indian Consulate in Afghanistan. A statement by the External Affairs Ministry said that the Govt of Sri Lanka unequivocally condemns the terrorist attack today on the Indian Consulate in Herat Province, Western Afghanistan. more..

North CM to consult NPC on invite

May 23 (CG) Northern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran is to consult the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) before deciding on the invitation extended to him to accompany President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India, TNA sources said. The invite was extended by the President today, the President’s office said. The President was invited by Indian PM elect Narendra Modi to attend his swearing-in ceremony on Monday. more..

Social Media to come under watch in SL

May 23 (ENS) President Rajapaksa said that Lanka intends to take steps to prevent the use of Internet and social media to cause social and political unrest in his country. “With the spread of cyber crime causing unrest in countries, Sri Lanka wishes to take precautions against such acts,” Rajapaksa told Chinese President Xi Jinping. “We witnessed the corrupt use of social media to create domestic unrest and cyber crime. more..

Tri-forces have donated 13,200 pints of blood for hospitals in North

May 23 (Island) The security forces had donated 13,200 pints of blood to the people in Jaffna which was more than what any other organization had given, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said. He said so answering a question raised by a journalist that army had recently blocked a blood donation campaign in Jaffna. Brigadier said that the Army, Navy and Air Force had donated 10,000, 2000, 1200 pints of blood respectively and challenged any person or organisastion who had donated more..

The difference between the Sri Lankan state, Prabhakaran and Wijeweera

May 23 (CT) For the failure of the process of accountability, the new govt can only be partially blamed. It is unrealistic to expect politicians to carry through a seemingly thankless task while the vocal members of the public are either hostile or apathetic and the ‘independent press’ was launching tirade after tirade. In its editorial comment on Two years of the PA, which appeared as the lead item, Sunday Times of 18th Aug 1996 attacked the PA Govt in an unprecedented manner. more..

JHU asks Norway to send LTTE leader

May 23 (PTI) A Sri Lankan nationalist party has asked Norway to immediately handover an Oslo-based LTTE leader to face a criminal trial in the country. In a letter written to the Norwegian Ambassador here, the JHU accused Perinpanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyavan of conducting terrorist activities against Sri Lanka. "We urge Norway to immediately handover Nediyavan to Sri Lankan authorities so that he can be tried more..

Sri Lanka stocks close lower

May 23 (LBO) Stocks closed 0.16% lower with tobacco stocks losing ground despite foreign buying. All Share Price Index closed 9.86 points lower at 6,280.31 down 0.16%. The S&P SL20 closed 5.62 points lower at 3,459.43, down 0.16%. Turnover was 804.00 million rupees, up from 612.40 million rupees a day earlier with 103 stocks closed positive against 81 negative. John Keells closed 1.60 rupees higher at 234.00 rupees with market transactions of 289.30 million rupees contributing 36% of turnover. more..

Bogus report of killing soldier on patrol

May 23 (Island) No soldier was killed in Kilaly and the news carried in a website alleging that a soldier was killed while patrolling the area recently was false, Military Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said. At the weekly media briefing held at Media Centre of the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, he said that army captain M.S. Godage died in his sleep in a camp in the Kilaly area and the postmortem examination had revealed that he had died due to cardiac arrest. more..

Wigneswaran declines President’s invitation

May 23 (AD) Chief Minister of the NPC, C.V. Wigneswaran has informed Minister G.L. Peiris that he is unable to accept the Govt’s invitation to attend the swearing in ceremony Narendra Modi. In a letter to Peiris, Wigneswaran said he was “grateful” for the invitation and that the decision was taken after considering the request in the company of his Board of Ministers. “It is an auspicious sign that the historic election of Narendra Modi more..

5 of the Best Places to Stay In Sri Lanka

May 23 (HP) Sri Lanka may just be the most beautiful place on earth (in my humble opinion), so staying at chic boutique properties only adds to an otherwise special experience. We always seek out hotels that adopt sustainable and socially responsible practices, and if none are available in the area where we are traveling, we opt to stay at smaller properties that impose a lesser environmental impact than large hotels and mega-resorts. These boutiques offer a luxury more..

China aggressively courts Pakistan, SL

May 23 (HT) President Xi Jinping met his counterparts from Pakistan, President Mamnoon Hissain and Sri Lanka, President Rajapaksa on Thursday, extending China’s unfettered help in strengthening strategic partnerships with Islamabad and Colombo and assuring them that Beijing will be beside both with all its financial and diplomatic might. Xi told both Hussain and Rajapaksa what they wanted to hear at the end of the security summit held in Shanghai. more..

Govt, Opposition withdraw two motions

May 23 (Island) The govt and the Opposition yesterday withdrew two undated motions from the Order Book of Parliament with the consent of the House. One of the motions submitted by govt MPs sought the appointment of a select committee of parliament to inquire into and report the conduct of the late MP Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana in violation of the Constitution of Sri Lanka. The motion reads: Whereas reports have been received more..

Torture is not acceptable

May 23 (CT) Torture as an easier and faster means of extracting evidence, confessions and statements from those who have been taken into police custody has become the ugly and uncomfortable norm in Sri Lanka. In a wild atmosphere of unlawful interference into the administration of law and order by those with political might, many with more than nodding acquaintance with the local underworld, torture has become a ready and pliable tool in the hands of the unscrupulous policeman and his political more..

Woman abducted, raped

May 23 (CT) Police said a mother of two children at Siyambalanduwa, Uragoda, Pihillabedda was abducted by three persons and raped her for two consecutive nights, inside a pre-school class room. In her complaint, she said a three-wheeler driver known to her had allegedly offered her a lift home while she was returning from the police station where she had gone to make a complaint against her husband who has deserted her. Driver had then allegedly phoned two of his friends to more..

Chief suspect in Peliyagoda UC Member killing arrested

May 23 (AD) Chief suspect in the Peliyagoda Urban Council member’s murder has been arrested from Katunayaka, Police said. Police have recovered a motorbike, full face helmet, two mobile phones and attire similar to military fatigues believed to have been used during the murder plot. The suspect has been detained for further questioning. Member of the Peliyagoda UC, J. Chamila Sandaruwan was found shot dead inside more..