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54 countries awaiting Chamal's decision

Apr 4 (CT) 54 countries are eagerly awaiting the decision of Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa on who will lead the opposition in the Parliament, which will be announced on Tuesday. Speaker Rajapaksa is the Chairman of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). It is of much significance that this Association is being represented by Speakers of 54 countries, including the UK. It is believed that the crisis regarding who will be Opposition Leader in the Parliament has drawn the attention of the CPA. more..

Resettlements only on original lands

Apr 4 (CT) Minister D.M. Swaminathan confirmed that all resettlements of persons under the incumbent govt had thus far been made only on their land initially belonging to those resettled. UN agencies working on an immediate response plan on housing schemes that were being constructed by India, will also provide US$3 million for the Joint Needs Assessment Fund which includes grants for shelter, non-food relief items, and also more..

Five suspects, including SSP, 2 IPs remanded

Apr 4 (Island) Five suspects in the firearms incident connected to the murder of wealthy owner of Biyagama Village Hotel Bernard Jayaratne were remanded till April 9 by Pugoda Magistrate. Sergeant Nissanka of the CID told the court that the murder and the connected firearms incident involved aiding and abetting a murder, hiding of evidence, providing of misleading statements were all included in the indictment that had been filed in the High Court. more..

State Minister says SLFP already divided

Apr 4 (AM) State Minister of Fisheries Dilip Wedaarachchi stated that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party was effectively divided by now and will contest the election as two groups. Speaking at a recent meeting in Hambantota District, Wedaarachchi said that the faction led by former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and others will contest the election under the old ‘hand’ symbol. Meanwhile, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s group will contest under another symbol, he said. more..

Police disperse Kuragala protest

Apr 4 (CG) The police used water cannons to disperse a protest staged by the Sihala Ravaya at Kuragala in Balangoda today. According to the police, a large group of protesters, including some monks, had staged the protest at an archaeological site in Kuragala, violating a court order issued against the protest. The Sihala Ravaya was protesting against a Muslim mosque at the location. The police used water cannons to disperse the protest. more..

Dy. minister wants glass enclosure to protect Mirror Wall

Apr 4 (Island) Deputy Minister Ajith Perera has called for the installation of glass enclosure to protect the Sigiriya Mirror Wall, a press release said. A protective glass would help prevent incidents similar to the one where a 27-year-old woman from Batticaloa was caught while damaging the Mirror Wall using a hairpin to inscribe her name, he said. President Maithripala Sirisena granted Sinnathambi Utheni (27), who scribbled on the Mirror Wall a presidential pardon on April 1. more..

200,000 acres to be cultivated under parachute system

Apr 4 (DN) Arrangements are being made to cultivate paddy in 200,000 acres under the parachute system in Anuradhapura district, Minister Duminda Dissanayake said. He said 600 agriculture research and production assistants, 100 agriculture instructors, 50 district agriculture officers and 693 Grama Niladharis are being made aware and trained to help farmers to take to the parachute system cultivation to be adopted in the Anuradhapura district on a large scale. more..

US remembers Mullaitivu victims

Apr 4 (CG) The United States (US) commemorated the victims of the final stages of the war in Mullaitivu where the former Government had disputed the numbers on those believed to have been killed. Tom Malinowski, US Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, who concluded a visit to Sri Lanka today, said that he walked along the beach in Mullaitivu where thousands were believed to have been killed. more..

Historic places' publications not printed in Tamil: Nandhimithra

Apr 4 (DN) The publication of historic places in the country have been printed in Sinhala and English languages except Tamil. Tamil people are unable to obtain information about historic places due to this, Cultural Affairs State Minister Nandhimithra Ekanayaka said. Ekanayaka said the Tamil girl who damaged the Sigiriya Mirror Wall recently, was not aware of the historic value of that place. "If she had known, she would have never done such a crime. more..

'People need to be reminded of Rajapaksa's misdeeds'

Apr 4 (AM) The publication of historic places in the country have been printed in Sinhala and English languages except Tamil. Tamil people are unable to obtain information about historic places due to this, Cultural Affairs State Minister Nandhimithra Ekanayaka said. Ekanayaka said the Tamil girl who damaged the Sigiriya Mirror Wall recently, was not aware of the historic value of that place. "If she had known, she would have never done such a crime. more..

'Major parties should agree on reasonable power devolution'

Apr 4 (AM) Major political parties in the country should agree on reasonable devolution of power to the North and East, says Minister Lakshman Kiriella. He stated that never before has he seen a govt which has accomplished so much within the first 100 days since coming to power. He stated that good governance has now been established in the country and that world leaders are competing to visit Sri Lanka, which was avoided by heads of state during certain periods. more..

10 arrested in TN over attempting to burn Sirisena’s effigy

Apr 4 (Hindu) The police took into custody 10 persons belonging to the Tamilaga Vazhvurimai Katchi here on Friday who attempted to burn an effigy of SL President Maithripala Sirisena who had reportedly stated that Tamil Nadu fishermen would be targeted if they cross over into Sri Lankan waters for fishing. The protesters led by party’s Thanjavur North district secretary Selvam who tried to burn an effigy of Mr. Sirisena near the Uchi Pillayar shrine as a protest against SL President. more..

'No nterference of authorities in Sanath Jayasuriya's resignation'

Apr 4 (AM) Minister Navin Dissanayake and Sri Lanka Cricket Interim Committee Chairman Sidath Wettimuny said that they had nothing to do with the resignation of the cricket selection committee headed by MP and former cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya. The term of the selection committee was to expire on April 30. Therefore, the govt has nothing to do with it, Dissanayake said. “Recently appointed cricket interim committee will choose the next head of selection committee,” he added. more..

Pvt. workers’ agitation for Rs. 2,500 pay hike gathering momentum

Apr 4 (Island) A collective of leading trade union federations belonging to major political parties has launched a protest to obtain a Rs 2,500 pay hike for the private sector workers. Co-Secretary of the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union (FTZ&GSEU), Anton Marcus, said ten major trade unions, federations of unions had joined forces to pressure the government to legislate for the private sector employees to be given a pay hike. more..

UN’s Xu takes note of key change

Apr 4 (CG) The United Nations (UN) noted that many important changes are taking place in Sri Lanka after the new Government took office. United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, Chair, United Nations Development Group Asia-Pacific and UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director, Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific Haoliang Xu, who arrived in the island this evening on a 6 day visit, said that he will seek to strengthen the UNDP’s role in Sri Lanka. more..

Sri Lanka forex reserves at 3-year low in March 2015 at US$6.8bn

Apr 4 (EN) Sri Lanka's forex reserves dropped to US$ 6,835.7 million in March 2015 from US$ 7,420 million in Feb, the lowest since US$ 6,774 million reached in Feb 2012, official data showed. The value of gold holdings dropped to US$ 848.8 million in March from US$ 866 million in February. Sri Lanka's balance of payments turned into deficit after August 2014 when domestic credit picked up. Foreign reserves have been under pressure from repayments to the IMF - which take place outside the domestic credit system - more..

How the NIA thwarted a 26/11-like attack by ISI agents based in Sri Lanka

Apr 4 (ET) A 26/11-like attack was in the making, but this time, from the east coast. That is how National Investigation Agency (NIA) Director-General Sharad Kumar sums up the agency's exhaustive nearly two-year investigation into what it says was a massive terror plot against India by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). This time, the NIA says, it was coordinated from the Sri Lankan soil. Similarities are glaring between the events more..

37 Indian Fishermen Remanded in Custody in Sri Lanka

Apr 4 (PTI) A Sri Lankan court today remanded 37 Indian fishermen, arrested by navy for allegedly poaching in the country's waters, in judicial custody till April 17. The 37 Indian fishermen were arrested yesterday and five boats were seized off the island's northern coast in Point Pedro, Commander Indika Silva had said. They were arrested a day after President Maithripala Sirisena said he had issued instructions to seize boats that violate the country's territorial waters. more..

Muthiah Muralitharan to be hired by Sri Lanka, says Sports Minister

Apr 4 (CB) Former off-spinner Muthiah Muralitharan’s services will be hired by the new Sidath Wettimuny-led interim committee of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board. Mahela Jayawardene has already been named as as an advisor to the interim committee and Sports Minister, Navin Dissanayakeis, is keen to utilise the experience of Muralitharan, who will turn 44 on 17 April. “Murali will come in,” said Dissanayakeis. “We are yet to decide on Murali’s term, but more..

Shocking details of corruptions at SriLankan

Apr 4 (CG) A Board of Inquiry has found shocking details of corruption running into billions of dollars, manipulations of service contracting, recruitment of unqualified staff and major security breaches at SriLankan airlines under the former govt, the PM’s office said in a statement. The panel headed by anti-corruption advocate and senior lawyer J. C. Weliamuna found instances of gross abuse of power by former chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe whose more..

The Right to Information

Apr 5 (SO) After more than a decade of wait since it was first proposed, the 'right to information' (RTI) is to be at last recognised by law in the coming weeks. Sri Lanka will be the last country in the SAARC region to enact a law on the 'Right to Information'. All other countries in South Asia have already enacted such laws and in some countries, there is already a rich experience of the practice of the 'right to information'. In India, for example, where there is the best established structure that more..

Job security: Take advice from Ranil

Apr 5 (ST) My dear Nimal, I thought I must write to you soon to congratulate you on your appointment as the Leader of the Opposition simply because, if I don’t do so now, you may no longer be in the job and I may have to congratulate someone else! I think we had been misled for a long time in to believing that the most sought after jobs in the country are those of the President and, to a lesser extent, the Prime Minister. Now I realise that this is not correct. more..

Minority parties back Sampanthan

Apr 5 (SO) While contentions over whether TNA Leader R. Sampanthan should be appointed as Opposition Leader or not still remains unresolved and different views being put forward to the Speaker of the House, Sunday Observer contacted leaders of political parties representing the minority communities for their views on the matter. They expressed mixed views, many of them supporting the appointment of TNA leader as more..

Politics still fluid

Apr 5 (Island) When PM Ranil Wickremesinghe was asked at his recent meeting with media editors and owners whether he had a sense of when the parliamentary elections would be held, he responded that the 100 days ends on April 23. He obviously did not wish to commit himself beyond that although he did say that at some stage there must be agreement on a date of dissolution. Right now there are many confusing signals from different interested parties and the people do not know more..

Sampanthan as Opposition Leader

Apr 5 (NS) Nimal Siripala Silva is the official Leader of the Opposition. The leader of his party is the President of the country. No office is vested with even a fracture of the powers of the President. Silva’s party, moreover, has a parliamentary majority. That Silva is the Opposition Leader in these circumstances is a monumental joke. It makes a mockery of accepted democratic norms. The cry for a true opposition leader therefore makes a lot of sense. more..

'Witnesses will be protected'

Apr 5 (SL) There have been many issues pertaining to the contracts that were awarded by the previous regime that has come under scrutiny of the current govt. Among these projects are the Chinese projects and there have been many opinions expressed in this regard. The govt too has come under severe criticism for their indecision regarding these projects with various ministers expressing various differing statements more..

Young cricketers from Melbourne in Sri Lanka again

Apr 5 (Island) The Young Cricketers Development Programme is once again abroad on tour. This time, the seventh consecutive year the programme has been running, a group of Under-17’s boys from clubs in Melbourne are travelling to both Sri Lanka and Malaysia for a number of matches. In Sri Lanka, they will be playing games in Kurunegala and Colombo, as well as a special match against a rural Sri Lankan team at the Hambantota International Cricket Stadium. more..

Constitutions and Politicians can make or break each Other

Apr 5 (SL) Do politicians make constitutions or constitutions go to make politicians? It’s a tough question as tough as whether the egg or the hen came first. Sri Lanka’s constitutional evolution – whether we like it or not – stems from British colonial rule. Commencing from rule by British governors, we went on to the legislative Council, the State Council and the Soulbury Constitution under which Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) was declared a free and independent state as a dominion of the British Empire. more..

'Support for Mahinda growing'

Apr 5 (SL) Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is very much in the limelight these days following reports he may contest the next Parliament elections. MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena, who has now got support to be the new opposition leader, said that some members of the SLFP are attempting to prevent Rajapaksa’s return to politics, but those attempts have failed so far. Gunawardena also rejected the claim that more..

The fate of the SLFP

Apr 5 (NS) The conspiratorial powers–the CIA, the RAW, the British, MI 6 and their agents, the NGO bandwagon and the Tamil racist leaders had a fourfold agenda to achieve. They were firstly to oust Mahinda Rajapaksa, secondly to install a leader of their choice, thirdly to destroy the SLFP and fourthly to grant the desired Eelam. The first three objectives have been achieved. The third objective of destroying the SLFP is being worked out at the moment. more..

19th Amendment: Damned either way

Apr 5 (Island) Doing away with the executive presidential system was the pledge that united so many different political parties and organizations behind Maithripala Sirisena. As Sri Lanka has been under prime ministerial forms of govt in the past, we should have been able to switch effortlessly from one to the other. Instead what we see is a halting, sputtering, laboured process of constitutional reform which leaves no doubt that the powers that be are being dragged reluctantly towards fulfilling more..

SLC overhaul or just a brilliant disguise?

Apr 5 (ST) Is it a typical SL administrative faux pas or a brilliant and calculated move that took flight above the king, queen, knights and bishops before ending up in a checkmate? Yet, at the same time did they use any names as pawns. These moves by this brilliant grandmaster will come to light later. A month ago, Sri Lanka Cricket was embroiled in a tug-of-war with the Ranatunga and Dharmadasa factions trying to turn the wave more..

Getting GSP+ back for what?

Apr 5 (Island) The govt has begun negotiations to get back the GSP+ trade concession offered by the EU. As of now, only four nations - Armenia, Cape Verde, Georgia, and Mongolia - have applied and obtained GSP+. None of these are exporting nations in the proper sense of the term. The question that the govt should ask itself is why none of the exporting nations of Asia have thought fit to try and gain an advantage over their competitors by applying for GSP+. more..

Chandrika gets lead role

Apr 5 (SL) Chandrika Kumaratunga has been put in charge of reconciliation issues by President Sirisena with the blessings of Ranil Wickremesinghe. Both will hope that she will get on with her new role and leave aside the current political dynamics. Wickremesinghe will be very keen to ensure that he can talk to Sirisena without Chandrika’s over powering influence although Wickremesinghe is patently aware it is a troika that is governing Sri Lanka at the moment. more..

Mahinda's Kingdom: Ceylon Today visits

Apr 5 (CT) The time was 6:30 in the morning. There were already at least 50 people gathered outside the Carlton House, Tangalle. Only two policemen stood guard near the gate but none of the staff of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was to be seen anywhere. We had no option but to stand in queue with the people till the gate was opened. One by one we were ushered into the house. It was the morning of Bak Full Moon Poya day and more..

Curious case of Athletic Selections

Apr 5 (CT) Selection of the cricket team was the most discussed topic with the sports loving public during the last World Cup. But blunders in athletic selections could be categorized as a worse situation. Neither the public nor affected athletes could make their voices heard against it, as with cricketers. Unlike cricketers, Sri Lanka does not invest much on athletes to produce national champions; they are expected to come through on their own courage and dedication, while having to more..

What a friend we have in Pakistan

Apr 5 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena embarks on his fourth official overseas voyage since assuming office in January, and that he has identified Pakistan to visit after India, Britain and China is a deserved recognition of a country that stood by Sri Lanka in its darkest hour in recent times. The scheduled trip to Islamabad was earlier put off due to logistical reasons, but it is a healthy decision not to have overlooked a country that, through the entire duration of more..

Finally 15% interest to all senior citizens

Apr 5 (ST) Eureka … that’s how one elderly customer of a Sri Lankan bank expressed his delight this week on learning that the 15% interest on deposits of senior citizens would be provided to all irrespective of how much they had in a bank. There had been utter confusion in commercial banks for several weeks over the budget proposal on the 15% special interest rate benefit to senior citizens (aged 60 years and over). more..

UNDP supports social development of plantation community

Apr 5 (Island) Ministry of Plantation Infrastructure Development is mandated with the responsibility to uplift the economic, social and living conditions of the plantation community, which comprises over 260,000 families in the plantation regions of Central, Uva, Sabaragamuwa and Southern Provinces. In order to fulfill the mandate, the Ministry considered the importance of formulating a 10-year National Plan of Action for social development of the plantation community and more..

Discoverer of carbon nanotube was here for polymer symposium

Apr 5 (Island) One of the world’s foremost experts in nanotechnology, Prof. Sumio Iijima of Japan’s Meijo University was in Colombo last week to participate as keynote speaker at the Second Biennial International Symposium 2015 on Polymer Science and Technology organized by the Department of Chemistry of the University of Sri J'pura in collaboration with industries, institutes and universities here. Symposium, ceremonially opened by Deputy Minister Sudarshani more..