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Tigers back on the prowl?

Apr 9 (SL) The reported arrest of eight persons, all Tamils, for allegedly seeking to defame the armed forces through propaganda films, should be a cause for alarm for the nation’s security agencies and forces. Better or worse still, it should be a cause for concern for the Tamils in the country, and more so their moderate political leadership in the TNA. It will take time before the police complete their investigations, and decide whether or not to approach the courts. more..

Will Maithri contract dragon disease

Apr 9 (CT) The Hobbit is a popular Hollywood film series. The third in that series was screened very recently. The script in that series is based on the Thorin royal dynasty on how Prince Thorin battled to regain the lost Lonely Mountain belonging to the dynasty. Prince Thorin's father lost the Lonely Mountain kingdom to a dragon serving in the army of the devil's tribe. All small kingdoms around this Dragon feared the rule of this Dragon. The Hobbit is a popular Hollywood film series. more..

Waiting for mother

Apr 9 (CT) "They were discarded. They were not loved. They were not wanted. His parents were financially unstable, so they had to give him away. Her mother died giving birth to her; so her father gave her away. His parents were killed and now he is here. Her parents just did not want her." An orphan, by definition, is someone whose parents are dead. However, the term orphan is also used to describe a child who lives with other more..

Evolution of Confusion

Apr 9 (NS) “History is what our ancestors made and what they wished to do then affected what they did. What we wish to have will affect what we do now. The future we are yet to enter will be history in no time and what we plan now and allow to happen will make the future generations curse us or praise.” What the Chief Minister of the Northern Province said is his right to think the way he wishes and express himself. The question is raised not against his right, but the negative signals more..

A full-face fiasco

Apr 9 (CT) Measures taken to eradicate crime from a country should not instead end up removing the first protection against accidents. Misuse of a safety measure by someone to engage in some illicit activity has to be corrected in an appropriate way. Trying to avoid bank robberies by banning full face helmets which prevent the police from recognizing burglars' faces is not an effective measure, according to many. The law which is sensitive enough to execute the safety belt law more..

Govt’s Wi-Fi promise kicks off with 26 hotspots across the country

Apr 9 (SO) Perhaps the inventors of the first form of ‘wireless networking’, Americans Hedy Kiesler Markey and George Antheil, would not have dreamed that their innovation would take off at the level of the masses of the Third World in far away Sri Lanka. “Take off” it did with the flash of electronic tablet and smartphone signal lights in Colombo when the govt’s new free Wi-Fi hotspots network was launched on Mar 30. more..

Sri Lankan Airline, disabled passengers, medical certificates etc

Apr 9 (CT) Once again Sri Lankan Airlines is in the news, not surprisingly, for all the wrong reasons. While the lurid details of the extent of the alleged abuses by the top management of the airline have been well publicized and may have even attracted some interest from TV drama producers in Sri Lanka, it seems that the travails of its passengers have received scant attention from any quarter. I should like to put on record my recent ordeal with the airline. more..

BOI: Taste of the pudding is in the eating

Apr 9 (ST) Sri Lanka has taken more than 60 years to transit from a low income to a lower middle income economy. The country faces strategic and structural development challenges especially in fostering private sector development and private investment including foreign direct investment (FDI) in its transition to an upper middle-income country. FDI is important to bring in innovation and supplement the country’s limited domestic savings. Streamlining procedures and reducing more..

Pakistan willing to ink CEPA with Sri Lanka

Apr 9 (BR) Pakistan has expressed its intention to ink first Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Sri Lanka, keeping in view that the latter was the first country with which FTA was signed. Islamabad conveyed its intention during the recent visit of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. Well-informed sources said that Pakistan has made the same offer to Sri Lanka as it made to Turkey. more..

Death knell for canned fish industry

Apr 9 (CT) Sri Lanka's canned fish industry is facing imminent collapse after the government drastically reduced import duties on their foreign competitors. Government approved price of Rs. 140.00 per 280gms of tinned fish circumvented by importers whilst enjoying the Rs. 22.00 duty rebate of each can. The recently approved maximum retail price of Rs. 140.00 per 280-gms can for an imported can of fish has given the importers a loophole in the law. As the Gazette specifies that the price is for more..

Editorial: A knuckle sandwich

Apr 9 (Island) Tuesday’s defeat of a govt resolution under Local Treasury Bills Ordinance, seeking parliamentary approval to raise additional Rs. 400 bn, has sent the UNP-led administration into a tailspin. The rude shock came as no surprise; govt had taken its passage for granted and been lulled into a false sense of complacency. SLFP, still smarting from the defeat at presidential election and the resultant loss of power in Parliament, had been waiting to bring UNP administration down more..

'Cricket Interim Committee for a year'

Apr 9 (DM) Minister Navin Dissanayake said that the term of new cricket selection committee will not exceed more than a year. He gave this assurance when JVP leader Anura Kumara raised a question with regard to the interim committee in Parliament. He said the ICC had only sent an email voicing its concern on the appointment of the interim committee but had not followed it up to date. He made this point in response to a question more..

'Govt yet to reverse economic blunders'

Apr 9 (SO) Govt failed miserably to reverse the economic blunders committed by the previous Govt which is detrimental to the economy, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said. He said that the interim budget presented by the govt is not a comprehensive analysis of the economy but rather a manipulation of prices to satisfy the wishes of the people. It is not based on research on the needs of the masses and on developing the country. “Former govt was dislodged due to extreme more..

Sri Lanka won't backtrack from China FTA

Apr 9 (DN) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the govt is not back tracking from the proposed Free Trade Agreement that is being formulated with China. He said that what the previous govt did was to eliminate the West and favour a few countries and what the present govt is doing is to bring back the West which is a major economic power. "Bringing them back will definitely help the Sri Lanka exporters and also will help to get foreign direct investments which is a must for economic development," more..

BBS to make its debut in politics

Apr 9 (CT) Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) stated that they would come to the fore of national politics on behalf of the people by 14 April to question whether the promises made by President Sirisena would be kept. CEO Dilanthe Withanage and General Secretary Ven. Gnanasara Thera also called on all national forces to rally to defeat the gazetted 19th Amendment, which BBS however, acknowledged had certain salient points. more..

Clash at Panadura UC leaves three injured

Apr 9 (Island) A Panadura Urban councillor and two administrative officers were injured in a clash yesterday morning subsequent to councillors adopting a resolution to remove acting female secretary from her post. The clash had broken out between councillors and several administrative officers between 11.15 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. Two administrative officers, D. Soysa and Kapila Gamini are being treated at the Panadura hospital under police protection while the injured more..

Universities lock horns in 2-day Hackanix

Apr 9 (Island) 15 teams from top universities and ICT Institutes from across the island competed in Hackanix 2015 a grand 2 day hackathon organised by AIESEC from the University of Moratuwa in collaboration with Microsoft Sri Lanka. The event held at Trace City, Maradana had the five member teams from education institutions such as the Universities of Colombo, Moratuwa and Ruhuna, SLIIT, Esoft Metro Campus etc., working overnight on their projects which were to be presented more..

Sri Lanka alcohol tax revenues double after ethanol clampdown

Apr 9 (EN) Excise taxes from alcohol in Sri Lanka has doubled, going up by about 5 billion rupees a month after a clampdown on illegal imports of ethanol, the main ingredient of hard liquor, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. Excise revenues which were 4.2 billion rupees in November 2014 under the Rajapaksa regime rose to 7,862 billion rupees in January, 7,652 billion in February and 9,490 billion rupees in March, he said. more..

Lanka Sathosa on super active mode for New Year

Apr 9 (Island) Lanka Sathosa has been placed on a super-active-mode to enable people to buy all necessary food items at the cheapest market rate for the upcoming Sinhala New Year, Lanka Sathosa chairman Kiran Atapattu said. "About 150 lorries are deployed daily to distribute food supplies to all 308 Lanka Sathosa outlets across the country. All food provisions are topped up on a daily basis so there are plenty of stocks in all outlets, Atapattu said. "We are the ones who stabilize the prices more..

Committed to good governance: BoC boss

Apr 9 (FT) Bank of Ceylon Chairman Ronald C. Perera PC yesterday reiterated the bank’s commitment to good governance and disclosed that General Manager D.M. Gunasekara was on leave until an impartial probe was completed. On Monday Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said the BOC General Manager was suspended due to alleged misuse of power and corruption. Gunasekara was a senior and qualified banker and the removal saw financial circles raising concerns. more..

Sri Lanka opens electric car charging centre

Apr 9 (EN) Sri Lanka has opened the first electric car charging centre in Tickel Road in the island's capital Colombo as part of a strategy to make 10% of all vehicles on the road driven by electricity. Power Minister said there was a ruler target to make 10 percent of vehicles driven by electricity by 2020. At the moment Sri Lanka's rulers tax electric cars at low rates in a bid to encourage them, and taxes liquid fuel cars at high rates. more..

Malani accuses, Sujeewa denies

Apr 9 (DM) UPFA MP Malani Fonseka accused Deputy Minister of Justice Sujeewa Senasinghe of abusive remarks even involving her personal life. She, at a press conference, called by the UPFAs pressing for a change in the opposition leader post, said it was unbecoming of the Deputy Justice Minister to make such insulting remarks at a woman MP. The verbal attack took place during the tense situation erupted in the House after cross talks over the opposition leader post. more..

Replace me if you want: Nimal Siripala

Apr 9 (DM) Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva, in an emotional speech asked those agitating for his removal to do so if they wished to. He said he would respect any ruling by the Speaker in this regard. He made this remark during various points of view raised in the House over the post of opposition leader. Mr. De Silva said a group of MPs developed the argument that he as an MP from the UPFA could not cling on to the post because the party had become part of the govt. more..

Free Wi-Fi for Regional Towns launch today

Apr 9 (DN) President Sirisena will launch the Free Wi-Fi for Regional Towns programme today from the Polonnaruwa District General Hospital premises. Authorities will simultaneously unveil free Wi-Fi zones in 100 major towns and the relevant services will be made available from today. Under the free Wi-Fi programme, users will be able to access the internet up to 100 MB free of charge per month at locations where facility is available. more..

Defence HQ overshoots costs

Apr 9 (FT) The new Defence Headquarters at Akuregoda currently under construction has seen its expenditure substantially overshoot its target, forcing the Government to initiate a probe and call for fresh tenders for material supplies. State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene yesterday told an AMCHAM luncheon meeting with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that original Cabinet approval was given for Rs. 20 billion expenditure on the sprawling Defence headquarters. more..

Program to electrify rural Sri Lanka

Apr 9 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena launched a rural electrification program to provide electricity to 12,850 families in rural areas of the country. Soorya Mangallaya Aluth Avurudhu Eliya program was symbolically launched under the patronage of President Sirisena at President’s Office. Program, implemented under the Vindulamu Lanka rural electrification scheme, seeks to provide electricity to the families before the New Year. The enforcement of 758 Rural Electrification Schemes more..

No more Housemaids!

Apr 9 (CT) PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said that Sri Lanka needs to stop sending people overseas as domestics as a measure to improve the country's balance of payments. He was delivering the keynote address at the AMCHAM Luncheon Meeting themed: The Prime Minister speaks. He said that the way forward for the country was to lay emphasis on manufacturing and bring in more new skills more..

Sacred Bodhi tree is in good health

Apr 9 (TOI) Suresh Chandra, plant scientists from the Dehradun-based Forest Research Institute (FRI), examined the Bodhi tree, the sacred descendant of the Peepal tree that provided shade to Buddha and under which he attained enlightment about 2500 years back. Massive pruning of the dead branches of the tree was done under the expert's supervision to keep the tree in good health and remove the fungus that surfaced due to continued linkage between the tree and its ageing parts. more..

Remains of Mahanayake thera brought to SL

Apr 9 (DM) The remains of the Mahanayake of the Asgiriya Chapter Most Venerable Udugama Sri Buddharakkitha Thera was brought to Sri Lanka from Singapore. The Buddhist Affairs Commissioner requested the public to raise yellow flags and have national flags at govt institutions at half-mast on April 12. Meanwhile the govt has declared April 12 as a day of mourning for the late Mahanayake Thera. The Mahanayake Thera had passed away at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore more..

60 UPFA MPs announce no faith motion against govt

Apr 9 (Island) Kalutara District MP Kumara Welgama said that Opposition would topple the govt by bringing a no-faith motion in Parliament if it did not resign over the previous day’s defeat of the financial bill. He said the opposition had defeated a financial bill by a majority of 21 votes on Tuesday and now the govt had to resign respecting parliamentary traditions. "Otherwise, we will move a no-confidence motion against it," more..

Sri Lanka to take final call on undersea power transmission link

Apr 9 (MC) State-owned Power Grid Corp on Wednesday said the call to implement the proposed Rs 3,000 crore undersea power transmission link has to be taken by Sri Lanka. The report on the 500 MW project, to be jointly implemented by Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd and Ceylon Electricity Board, has been already sent to the island nation. It will only be the second project of its kind, after the transnational 2,000 MW power transmission line between Britain and France. more..

Parties close to reaching consensus: NEC

Apr 9 (CT) Political parties and independent groups represented in Parliament are close to agreeing on a ratio for a new, mixed electoral system comprising 140 from the First-Past-The-Post, 80 from the district level Proportional Representation and 30 from an all island national list, a spokesperson for National Executive Council (NEC) said. While all the MPs were nearly in agreement regarding the aforementioned ratio, the question facing them now was how to divide among the districts. more..

‘Nothing wrong in President consulting PM’

Apr 9 (Island) Dismissing resistance from the JHU to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution as baseless, the UNP emphasised that the President having to consult the Premier in matters relating to the govt, other than those he/she was constitutionally empowered to act on was a strong democratic feature. UNP MP Kabir Hashim said that those who had been campaigning against the 19th Amendment had made an issue of that more..

Bizarre line-up in Parliament

Apr 9 (DM) The bizarre line-up of political parties in the Present Parliament has raised many questions that could not be answered by any text book on politics. Premiership is held by the leader of a relatively smaller party, rather than that of the largest party in the Parliament. One may argue that there is nothing wrong in it since the Constitution stipulates that “the President shall appoint as Prime Minister the MP who in his opinion is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament” more..

Legally apposite and effective in law

Apr 9 (DM) Last Thursday, the Court of Appeal dismissed a writ petition filed by northern fishermen’s leaders from Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mannar. The petition sought the court’s relief given the the government’s continuing failure to prosecute Indian fishermen arrested for fishing illegally in Sri Lankan waters. Chandaka Jayasundere representing the fishermen’s leaders drew the court’s attention to Court records of the proceedings filed against arrested Indian fishermen more..

Helmets suffer collateral damage in deadly game of cops and robbers

Apr 9 (ST) While nearly three million motorbike riders await a court ruling on the challenge to the full face helmet ban, former law enforcement figures and security firms say illicit small arms must be taken off the streets and out of the hands of criminal gangs to prevent gun-related crimes. A survey by a national commission between November 2006 and April 2007, found that 300,000 guns are in the hands of civilians. more..

DMT racket exposed

Apr 9 (SL) Adding a new twist to our continuous exposes on corruption taking place at the Department of Motor Traffic (DMT), startling revelations have come to light as to how special purpose vehicles have been registered illegally as dual purpose vehicles by the DMT. Highly reliable sources from the Department of Motor Traffic and Sri Lanka Customs who wished to remain anonymous blamed the Finance Ministry and more..

Police target Tiran in Wild West style

Apr 9 (CT) Political revenge seems to be the order of the day, with a few politicians in the govt using the police to harass rival politicians as done in the Wild West, during the past few years. On Tuesday, Police Media Spokesman issued a media release accusing MP Tiran Alles with regard to certain irregularities of a Tsunami Fund named – Radha of which Alles had only been a non-executive Chairman for just over a year. more..

Asgiriya Mahanayake Thera's funeral with full State Honours on April 12

Apr 9 (GDI) The govt has decided to hold the funeral of the Most Ven. Aggamaha Panditha Udugama Sri Buddharakkhita Mahanayake Thera of the Asgiriya Chapter with full State honours, the Acting Director General of the Govt Information Department Ms. K.W.T.N. Amaratunga said issuing a press release. Accordingly the cremation of the prelate will be held with State honours at the Police Grounds, Asgiriya on April 12 at 2 pm. more..

World Bank money in place of funds collected from schoolchildren

Apr 9 (Island) The Education Ministry will provide school based learning improvement grants to all 352 national schools this year to end collection of monetary contributions from schoolchildren. World Bank funded ‘Transforming School Education Programme (TSEP) 2012-2017 will finance this programme. Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said that based on the performance and efficiency of utilisation of the grant, more..