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Embassy of Sri Lanka Washington D.C. observes Vesak

May 24 (SLE) The Embassy of Sri Lanka together with the Sri Lankan Buddhist Community in the greater Washington area observed this year’s Vesak Poya Day on May 13th, in the Embassy premises. The Buddhists around the world celebrate the birth, enlightenment and passing away of Lord Buddha on Vesak day, which is the most important religious festival for Buddhists. The Embassy of Sri Lanka celebrates the more..

Unprecedented security for Modi's swearing-in ceremony

May 24 (TOI) In what is being labeled as an extra-ordinary security set-up, more than 6000 security personnel from Delhi Police, para-military, national security guards and armed forces will stand guard on May 26 when PM-designate Narendra Modi will take the oath in presence of around 3000 dignitaries. Visiting heads of govt will be guarded as per their individual threat assessment with the highest security cover to be thrown around Nawaj Sharif, Hamid Karzai and Mahinda Rajpaksa. more..

Nipunarachchi & Prasanna clash regarding Grade 1 admissions

May 24 (LT) A heated argument developed at the sessions of the Provincial Council between JVP Member of the Western PC Laxman Nipunarachchi and its Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga when the former asked for a debate regarding Grade I admissions to schools in the Western Province in 2014. Mr. Nipunarachchi, under Rules of Procedure 31 (b) presented a motion asking for an adjournment debate regarding the issue while JVP Member Nalinda Jayatissa seconded it. more..

Sri Lanka 2013

Masses hail President Mahinda Rajapaksa

May 25 (SO) President Rajapaksa will complete 44 years in politics on Tuesday. He entered Parliament for the first time at the general elections on May 27, 1970. The dynamic Mahinda Rajapaksa not only won the Beliatta electorate but also set a new record by becoming the youngest MP at the age of 24. He won the Beliatta electorate with a convincing majority of 6,626 votes, polling 23,103 votes compared to his closest rival Dr. Ranjith Atapattu of the UNP who mustered only 16,477 votes. more..

Bumping off suspects

May 25 (Island) Writing in this space a few days ago, on May 11 to be exact, we commented on the obvious dangers of the recent incident where a policeman attempting to check a vehicle in the Kurunegala area in the dead of night had been shot dead while his fellow officer had barely escaped with his life. The point we made was unless those responsible were quickly apprehended, other criminal elements will be emboldened to believe that the best way of getting off with any kind of more..

'SriLankan and Mihin Air to be made viable ventures'

May 25 (SO) Civil Aviation Minister Piyankara Jayaratne said the UNP's No Confidence Motion had no substance. Other Opposition parties were not even signatories to the Motion as they were fully aware that former UNP Govts were responsible for such scenarios in the past. Allegations levelled against the Govt by the UNP boomeranged on them. Minister said UNP obviously knows that this is a stable Govt and more..

Challenge before Modi: Regional interests or national interests

May 25 (SL) Indian PM Narendra Modi’s first move of inviting the eight heads of state of neighbouring SAARC countries was surprising and bold. Surprising it was because this is the first time SAARC, which has hitherto been given low priority by India, has come on top of the agenda of the new PM. Bold because he has invited Nawaz Sharif, PM of Pakistan with whom India has warred thrice after Independence and with high tension still straining relations between the two countries. more..

Missing a trick and showing a slip as well

May 25 (NS) President Rajapaksa did not invite seemingly estranged leaders of coalition partners such as Champika Ranawaka and Wimal Weerawansa to accompany him to the swearing-in ceremony of newly-elected Indian PM Narendra Modi. He did not invite his PM or any other seniors in the SLFP. He didn’t even invite the Leader of the Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe. Instead, President invited the Chief Minister of the NPC C.V Wigneswaran to accompany him to Delhi. more..

'If anybody wants to resign nobody is going to stop them'

May 25 (SL) Some ministers of the govt have been criticizing the govt and threatening continuously to leave the govt over differences of opinion and on the grounds that the govt has not been able to keep its promises. Yet the govt seems more confident of its stability and certain that its allies will not disintegrate as all those ministers will be concerned about their political survival. Sunday Leader spoke with Minister Nimal Siripala more..

A strategy to deal with Modi

May 25 (ST) The just-concluded general elections in India have clear significance in the entire region, including Sri Lanka — and especially when there is a new dispensation of unknown qualities at the helm of affairs in New Delhi. The theory across the board is that the election of Narendra Modi from the BJP with such an unprecedented mandate is a positive factor because his Govt has no need to rely on the support of the regional parties which often try to dictate how foreign policy more..

From intervention to invitation

May 25 (ST) My Dear Mahinda maama, I am writing to you because I heard that there are many invitations going around this week making everyone quite uncomfortable, even though you have just returned from China which too sent you an invitation to visit their country. First, there was Modi sending you an invitation from India asking you to attend his inauguration. I am sure it must have come as a surprise to you because of the bad blood between the two countries in recent times but more..

'UNP has no moral right to point fingers at the govt'

May 25 (SL) the JHU abstained from voting on the No Confidence Motion brought against the govt, not because they approved of the actions of the govt but because they had no confidence in the messenger, said Nishantha Warnasinghe. Meanwhile, the JHU though very supportive of the troops during the war, did not attend the victory day celebrations last Sunday and instead attended a separate ceremony more..

Why the Public Servants’ pension scheme should be changed

May 25 (Island) Last week I attended a `Sambhashana’ panel discussion organized by Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) at the auditorium of the Organization of Professional Associations (OPA). The theme of the discussion was ‘Pension – What Next?’ Mr. Joseph Stalin, the teachers’ trade union leader said that the govt has devised a new method of paying pension gratuities of public servants through the banks. Provincial Councillor Asantha Samarasinghe noted that more..

Modi’s first hurdle over Sri Lanka

May 25 (SL) India’s PM elect Narendra Modi faced his first political hurdle overSri Lanka. It began with his decision to inviteSri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other heads of state of the SAARC region for the Indian Prime Minister’s swearing in ceremony which will take place on Monday. As the news of the invitations broke out, Tamil Nadu political parties declared war on Narendra Modi expressing their disapproval over Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s participation. more..

'It is not a clash with the ruling party'

May 25 (SL) NFF leader and Minister Wimal Weerawansa has threatened to resign from the govt if the UPFA govt fails to accept proposals put forward by the NFF. He said that the proposals will soon be presented to President Rajapaksa and he will seek a meeting to discuss the proposals. He added that the outcome of the meeting will be made public and if the meeting proves fruitless, NFF will then resign from the govt. more..

Hales called up with Cook in doubt

May 25 (CI) Alex Hales, the Nottinghamshire batsman, has been added to the England squad for the second ODI against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street as cover for captain Alastair Cook. Hales, who played in Tuesday's T20 at the Oval, was left out of the initial ODI squad but could now make an appearance if Cook is not deemed fit to play. He is suffering with tightness in his right groin. There had been calls for Hales to be selected in the original ODI squad to provide a greater tempo at more..

Resurgent England wary of backlash

May 25 (CI) Thursday's success has earned Alaistair Cook's men respite from the cycle of defeat that had defined them for much of the past six months. It is just one win, and that in a rain-hit match, but England have proved to themselves they can topple Sri Lanka, and importantly, to dominate the visitors' bowling. The upcoming matches may determine whether the Oval victory was the first ray of sunshine in a resurgent summer, or as their last win against Sri Lanka had been: more..

Atapattu backs Sri Lanka's fighting spirit

May 25 (CI) Marvan Atapattu, Sri Lanka's interim coach, has backed his team to come out firing in the second one-day international against England as they attempt to level the series. They lost by 81 runs in a truncated match at The Oval and the forecast suggests weather may have a say on Sunday as well, but regardless of the duration of the contest Atapattu believes the early setback could bring out the best in Sri Lanka. more..

TN leaders and Sri Lanka!

May 25 (TS) During the recent general election campaign, this writer expressed astonishment over the BJP's decision to seek alliances with parties having incompatible views. Mr Narendra Modi had the declared intention of obtaining a single party majority. Where, then, I argued, was the need to seek allies at that stage? The BJP wanted to demonstrate that despite Mr Modi being the prime ministerial candidate it could win allies. It was a silly decision. more..

Royal huff and puff but Trinity prevail

May 25 (ST) Despite a brave, even audacious performance by Royal, fate decreed that the Bradby Shield should be the preserve of Trinity for another year. The winners walked away with heads held high even though they had squeezed out a victory by only one point at Pallekele yesterday. Trinity’s 19 points came from a goal and four penalties, while Royal had the statistical satisfaction of touching down twice (once for a conversion) and two successful penalties. The first half was rather desultory, more..

Mixed reactions to Modi

May 25 (SL) The victory of the BJP with an absolute majority has caused much debate both within and outside India. This victory has become an issue of special concern to Sri Lanka given our shared political interests. Several Sri Lankan politicians expressed their opinion on the Modi victory. UNP MP John Amaratunga: We are not very concerned whether the new Indian govt will react towards the Sri Lankan issue or not. more..

Sri Lanka in the new world order

May 25 (Island) Last week, we saw Sri Lanka positioning itself in the new world order as we watched. President Rajapaksa attended a summit meeting of the hitherto little heard of ‘Conference on Interaction and Confidence building measures in Asia,’ an organization with the acronym CICA. Everybody has heard of the Non-Aligned Movement, of NATO, ASEAN, EU, the African Union the Arab League and other such bodies but this is the first time that we Sri Lankans heard of CICA. more..

SEC to compel directors program?

May 25 (NS) Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa last week said the SEC is contemplating on whether to make either or both the Corporate Directors Programmes the Commission has presently endorsed, be made compulsory. This was revealed at the inauguration of the latest Corporate Directors Programme the SEC has organized in partnership with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka). more..

Peace and calm replaced by impunity, lawlessness: Poll

May 25 (ST) Most of the Sri Lankans who took part in an opinion poll this week on the 5th anniversary-end of the conflict, say that while the end of the war has ensured peace and calm a new culture of violence, lawlessness and impunity is undermining that ‘very’ peace. “People have no faith in the police, and (only) marginal faith in the judiciary,” one (email poll) respondent said. However in the street poll, several respondents praised more..

'CIESOT is an instrument for Kotelawela control of Ceylinco'

May 25 (Island) In terms of the CIESOT Trust, shares of Ceylinco Insurance owned by CIESOT cannot be transferred to the eligible employees. The shares are to be notionally allotted to the eligible employees and the difference between the market value and the cost of the notionally allotted shares were to be paid as termination benefits to such eligible employees, the company has clarified in a statement. This difference was to be funded by Ceylinco Insurance each year to more..

Touchwood depositors get tough with Maloneys

May 25 (ST) A group of Touchwood investors filed complaints with the CID on Friday, also aimed at obtaining an international warrant against the company former owners, the Maloneys. Touchwood Stakeholders Association (TSA) Co-ordinator lawyer Lakshan Dias said that they had filed 12 complaints with the CID against Roscoe and Swarna Maloney, who are both abroad. The complaint made against them was for fraud and cheating depositors of their monies invested in Touchwood. more..

Visa, MasterCard, Amex to be replaced by local card for domestic use

May 25 (CT) In an effort to reduce the outflow of foreign exchange and the transaction cost, the national cheque clearing house, Lanka Clear has planned to introduce a domestic electronic card to replace Visa, MasterCard and Amex highly used by Sri Lankans to make domestic payments. 95% of electronic card payments are domestic payments while only 5% are international which includes online payments. more..

'TNA thwarts efforts towards reconciliation'

May 25 (SO) The TNA’s decision to prevent Northern Chief Minister C.W. Wigneswaran from joining President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Indian Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony thwarts efforts towards reconciliation, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said. He told the Sunday Observer yesterday that this shows, there are extremist forces within the TNA who are not interested in working with the Govt and moving towards reconciliation.” more..

Keyhole surgery for prostrate cancer in SL

May 25 (SO) A medical team at the Sri Jayewardenepura General Hospital has successfully performed the first ever laparoscopic surgery for prostrate cancer. The surgical team of five was led by Consultant Urologist, Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital, Dr. Niroshan Seneviratne. “The operation performed recently on a 62-year-old patient was a success. We are now offering this new treatment to any patient with prostrate cancer, at the Sri Jayewardenapura Hospital”, more..

'No hand in Jaffna Twitter campaign'

May 25 (NS) Jaffna University Students’ Union has denied any knowledge or involvement in the Twitter campaign against alleged threats to students and lecturers. President, Jaffna University Students Union, P. Subhakar said that they were unaware of such an online campaign. He, however, stated that the two-day strike organized by the students ended on Friday. Recently, University officials announced that campus would be more..

We must reveal our finances – Sanga

May 25 (Island) Star batsman Kumar Sangakkara has called on his fellow international cricketers to hand over their financial records to anti-corruption investigators. The England and Wales Cricket Board earlier this week charged two players, Lou Vincent and Naved Arif, with alleged match-fixing in connection with a 40-over game between Sussex and Kent in August 2011. Vincent was also charged in relation to a Twenty20 game between Sussex and Lancashire the same year, more..

Vijayakant remains ambiguous on Rajapaksa issue

May 25 (Hindu) DMDK leader Vijayakant said othat though his party was against inviting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, it should be noted that India invited leaders of all eight member states of the SAARC. “Invitation has been extended not only to Mr. Rajapaksa but also to heads of eight countries, including Pakistan. If Mr. Rajapaksa alone had been invited, the DMDK would not have participated in the ceremony,” Mr. Vijayakant said. more..

High-powered body to act on public complaints

May 25 (ST) Govt is to introduce a law to give legal effect to new mechanisms to address public grievances. The move, ahead of a possible presidential election next year, comes after a six-member official committee, tasked by the Cabinet of Ministers, set out the guidelines. The committee has said that every ministry, provincial council, department and any other state institution should form the bulwark. It has said that they should more..

HRC to study complaint on websites

May 25 (SL) The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) is to closely study a complaint filed last week over the blocking of some websites by the Sri Lankan authorities before taking the next step. HRCSL Commissioner Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa said that the Commission had received a complaint alleging the violation of Article 14 of the 1978 Constitution by restricting freedom of publication and expression. “There are certain rights being granted under the Article 14 of the 1978 Constitution more..

Probe into IUSF to be fast-tracked

May 25 (SL) Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) is to fast-track investigations into a petition submitted by the IUSF over the manner in which the Police reacted during a protest last week. “The petition is already registered under fundamental rights violation cases and we have issued a registration number to the petitioners,” Commissioner of the HRCSL Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa said. He added that according to the petitioners the Police have used more..

Modi govt to discuss 13A with Sri Lanka

May 25 (CT) The new Indian govt is to take up the issue of power devolution according to the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, subsequent to the swearing in of Narendra Modi as India's next PM tomorrow, a Spokesperson for the BJP, said. BJP Spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, bilateral discussions with the neighbours will remain a key priority of the BJP-led Govt, and Sri Lanka – India's strategic more..

Malinda Seneviratne wins 2013 Gratiaen Prize

May 25 (NS) Nation's Editor-in-Chief Malinda Seneviratne was awarded the Gratiaen Prize 2013 for Creative Writing in English for his collection of poetry: 'Edges'. The winner of the 2013 prize was announced this evening. The Gratiaen Prize, which was instituted by Michael Ondaatje in 1992 with the money he received as joint-winner of the Booker Prize for his novel 'The English Patient', is awarded annually to the best work of literary writing in English by a resident Sri Lankan. more..

Empty seats for England’s one-day series against Sri Lanka a concern

May 25 (Guardian) England will play to a worrying number of empty seats in the remainder of the one-day series against Sri Lanka, starting in the north-east on Sunday. Durham admit they would be happy if their 15,000-capacity Emirates Riverside ground is two-thirds full for their only international of the summer. “It will be evident come the game that we haven’t sold out but I’ll be disappointed if we don’t have 10,000 there,” said their CEO, David Harker. “I don’t think anyone has raced to a sell-out.” more..

Resolution in US Congress to punish Lanka’s war criminals

May 25 (ST) A resolution received by the Congress in Washington DC last Monday calls upon the Obama administration to “place restrictions on the entry to the United States for anyone it identified as responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity” in Sri Lanka. The timing of this strongly worded resolution is significant. Firstly, it comes with barely a week to go for UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay’s more..