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Sri Lanka’s new govt hopes to revisit past on its own terms

Feb 5 (NYT) Sri Lanka’s new govt, which swept into power in January on a platform of national reconciliation, is lobbying to quash — or at least defer for a few months — a landmark UN inquiry into war crimes set to be released in March. That presents a delicate problem for UN officials and the Western powers that pushed for the investigation: After nearly 30 years of war and recrimination in Sri Lanka, is its promise of a new beginning enough to ease up on an international push more..

Minister Maddumabandara sees a rudderless UPFA

Feb 5 (Island) Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara said that the UPFA govt did not have either a contestant for the premiership or a leader. The SLFP leader was President Maithripala Sirisena, who had defeated the previous President. The previous government had been ruling the country for nearly 10 years. That regime had been notorious for family bandyism, nepotism, abuse of power and interference with the law enforcement officers, he said at the distribution ceremony more..

Rupavahini to get official franchise to telecast Cricket World Cup

Feb 5 (AM) The official franchise for telecasting the Cricket World Cup 2015 in Sri Lanka will be brought back to state run Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation today. When contacted, Acting Director (Sports) of Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Palitha Yapa said the final decision was likely to be announced this evening. The franchise was previously owned by CSN sports channels, owned by the sons of former President Rajapaksa. more..

Plea of an anxious mother

Feb 5 (CT) A large number of kith and kin of persons who had gone missing gathered at the Vavuniya Urban Council grounds to protest against the failure of the authorities to trace their loved ones. The protest was organized by the Vavuniya Citizens Committee. Mother of a girl, who went missing, said her daughter was arrested by security personnel during the latter stages of the war, but a photograph of her was seen on President Sirisena's election propaganda leaflets. more..

K.N. Choksy no more

Feb 5 (AM) Former Minister of Finance and prominent constitutional lawyer K.N. Choksy in Colombo died at the age of 82. He also served as Cabinet Minister of Constitutional & State Affairs from 1993 to 1994 under President D.B. Wijetunga. Born in 1933, Choksy received his primary education at S. Thomas' Preparatory School, Kollupitiya, being one of the first students to be admitted to the school at its founding in 1938. He then continued his secondary education at more..

Party leaders to decide on probe Rathupaswala incident

Feb 5 (CG) Party leaders will meet tomorrow to discuss and decide on the investigations over the August 2013 Rathupaswala, Weliweriya incident. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament that party leaders can meet tomorrow and decide if a special commission should be appointed to probe the incident or if a Parliament Select Committee should look into it. He was responding to concerns raised by JVP leader Anura Kumara more..

Delay in MP code of conduct - Anura Kumara explains

Feb 5 (AM) JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said he was not in a position to disclose the ‘timelines’ of the Code of Conduct of MPs. JVP Leader Dissanayake who is also a member of the National Advisory Committee has been assigned with the task of drafting the Code of Conduct for MPs – a promise that was made under the 100 day programme of President Maithripala Sirisena. According to the original plan, the Code of Conduct was supposed to be introduced on Jan 22. more..

Allocation for health inadequate: GMOA

Feb 5 (CT) GMOA said the interim budget allocation for health was not adequate. Assistant Secretary of the GMOA, Dr. Nalinda Herath said proper policies were needed in order to utilize the monies allocated, adding also the Ministry of Health required strategies and action plans in order to maximize the benefits to be reaped by the interim budgetary allocation. He mentioned that although the prevention of the chronic kidney disease of unknown aetiology (CKDu) was of primary importance, more..

National Drug Policy gets cabinet approval

Feb 5 (AD) The Cabinet approval has been granted for the proposed new National Medicinal Drug, Devises and Cosmetic Authority draft bill and it will be presented to the Parliament within next few days, Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said. The decision to table this legislation was taken at the Executive Committee meeting of the political party leaders which held at the Presidential Secretariat on 22 January. more..

SL offers $1 mn bonus to lift World Cup

Feb 5 (AFP) Sri Lanka's govt announced a million dollar bonus to the national cricket team if they win this month's cricket World Cup being played in NZ and Australia. "We have decided to offer this money to be shared among the team as an incentive for them to bring the World Cup," Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996 under the leadership of Arjuna Ranatunga who has since entered politics and is the current minister of ports, shipping and aviation. more..

Govt should look for missing: Ananthan

Feb 5 (CT) In many places including the North and East more than 10,000 persons have gone missing, said Vanni District MP, Sivasakthy Ananthan. During the former president's regime, parents of those who had gone missing had staged many protests and handed over petitions but to no avail, he said. He added that currently, even under the new government these parents, who are suffering over their loved ones' disappearances, have staged a non-violent protest. more..

New Sri Lanka president renews troop deployment orders

Feb 5 (AFP) Sri Lanka's new President Maithripala Sirisena has renewed orders allowing for troops to be deployed across the island, dampening hopes on Thursday of a lower-profile military presence under his rule. Sirisena's election last month had been expected to lead to a lessening of the numbers of troops in towns and cities -- particularly in former war zones -- which had been a prominent feature of his hardline nationalist more..

DMK chief M Karunanidhi affirms commitment to welfare of Lankan Tamils

Feb 5 (PTI) The war of words between M Karunanidhi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam over repatriation of SL refugees continued today with the DMK chief affirming his commitment for the welfare of Lankan Tamils. Karunanidhi said he had as early as in 1956 proposed a resolution in the DMK General Council in favour of SL Tamils and asked if Panneerselvam had 'any idea' of how many protests he (Karunanidhi) had participated on this issue. more..

TULF Leader calls on TNA to follow example set by govt.

Feb 5 (Island) Commending the new govt for issuing a trilingual statement reiterating its genuine commitment to post-war national reconciliation process at the outset of Sri Lanka's 67th national day celebrations at Sri J'pura, Kotte, TULF leader, V. Anandasangaree urged the TNA to follow the example set by the govt. He was speaking after having attended Independence Day celebrations. Anandasangaree said that the four-party TNA should publicly repent the death & destruction more..

'China Port City deal with Sri Lanka to go ahead; eco study now found'

Feb 5 (EN) A 1.4 billion US dollar sea reclamation deal with a Chinese state firm will go ahead as an environmental study has now been discovered by the new administration, a minister said. Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said PM Ranil Wickramasinghe had informed the cabinet that a committee that reviewed the project has found that an environment impact assessment (EIA) has been conducted on the reclamation. more..

Leaping without thought: A lurking danger

Feb 6 (FT) The Interim Budget presented by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, was preceded by a statement by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe that the Cabinet had decided to disallow the operation of casinos (including the rental of space to casino operators) in the three projects with gaming components, approved under the Strategic Development Act, in favour of Lake Leisure, Waterfront and Queensbury respectively. It appears that the new govt is not fully aware of more..

Law violated at Uni of Colombo: A response

Feb 6 (CT) I have read with great interest the opinion expressed by Aahithyan Ratnam in the Colombo Telegraph of January 30th, regarding the meeting of the Senate of the University of Colombo held on January 28th. Given the highly prejudiced and misleading nature of this article, I would like to make the following response, in order to set the record straight. Mr. Ratnam accuses the members of the Senate of failing to uphold the “principles for which we fight” and of voting more..

Taking radio to a new dimension

Feb 6 (SO) Nanda Muruththettuwegama, who assumed duties as Chairman of the SLBC lashed out at artistes who slavishly prostituted the profession for personal gain. He was of the view that anyone has the freedom to pursue a political view of his choice but was emphatic that no one should prostitute the profession and fall victim in the melee or do it for personal gain and vain glory. He emphasised that 'state media' meant being a more..

Sri Lanka’s political moment

Feb 6 (GV) The future of Sri Lanka’s democracy has reached a pivotal point. On the 9th of January, it awoke after decades of paralytic slumber. The nepotism, corruption and excesses of the Rajapakse regime were not unknown or unsuspected; but Mahinda himself was seen as a strong leader – especially based on his credentials as the leader of an unprecedented military success that defeated a 30-year brutal separatist movement. Their successful execution of the war effort earned more..

Of leeches, blood suckers, vavulas and opportunists

Feb 6 (CT) The common opposition government looked strong and stable when they started. Although Mr. President seems committed and sincere, the common platform appears cracked and shaky which the MR group is trying to thrive on! Firstly the different groups have different agendas! The UNP will love this victory by proxy, and try to edge out the others! Already we are not sure of the position of Gen. Fonseka and CBK, Ven Sobitha or some Muslim groups etc? more..

'There are signs of democracy and good governance'

Feb 6 (CT) Dr. Suren Raghavan an academic-political expert, who also played a key role in the peace process at govt and non–govt level during former President Chandrika Kumaratunga's regime said the 100 day programme is well spelt out in the election manifesto. Dr. Raghavan who is also an expert in Federalist ideas said, "Removing the Military Governor and Provincial Chief Secretary in the North, lifting travel ban, more..

Editorial: When crocs weep

Feb 6 (Island) Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) is shedding copious tears for the public. Its President Gemunu Wijeratne has recently called for a regulatory body for trishaws and school vehicles to prevent the public from being fleeced. Before trying to have others regulated he ought to tell the members of his outfit and their workers to stop exploiting and harassing commuters. Complaints against them are legion. One may dismiss the idea of time travel as a figment more..

An Independence Day Reflection

Feb 6 (Island) Independence Day reminds us that we are one country called to become one reconciled people. Experience teaches that when addressed, dominant national realities become paths to reconciliation. 1. Economic dignity: The real enemy is not next door but at the economic extremes. Poverty is humiliating; excessive wealth intoxicates. Since there is enough for all to live a dignified life if each takes a little; poverty can be eradicated. Inclusive economic reform is to begin at the more..

'Mohan Peiris should have resigned'

Feb 6 (CT) UPFA MP, Arundika Fernando, says it was better if Chief Justice Mohan Peiris resigned instead of getting into a conflict with the Executive of the country. Q: Are you now pruned of powers? A: We have been in the opposition. We faced lot of hardship when the govt toppled in 2001. Before that, under the 17-year UNP rule also we faced problems. Q: But, this time, there was no widespread violence despite the more..

Improving healthcare in post-tsunami SL

Feb 6 (SDN) Sri Lanka has better health outcomes than its neighbour India and the 20 million people living in this small tropical island have great trust in their public health service. As new President Maithripala Sirisena takes charge, Sri Lanka’s health service can demonstrate achievements but faces challenges. Medical care is free for all, but long waiting lists for emergency treatment remain a problem. This slideshow shows the struggle of a tsunami-stricken Sri Lanka more..

SriLankan Airlines signs new agreement with Aircraft Engineers union

Feb 6 (GDI) SriLankan Airlines and the Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers signed a new collective agreement recently for a period of three years from 2014. This agreement mutually recognises the importance of enhancing productivity and contributing to business priorities whilst addressing the needs of the aircraft engineers in keeping with industry trends and employee retention demands. SriLankan engineers represent an integral component of the Airline that makes more..

LTL Holdings in USD 2 mn deal with Nepal Electricity Authority

Feb 6 (Island) Lanka Transformers Limited (LTL) successfully completed a trade deal of more than USD 2 million with the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). LTL which has trade deals with more than 20 countries, mostly in the Middle East and Africa, stressed that they are confident of establishing billion dollar projects, if the govt continues to be stable and transparent. Company also recently completed a USD 50 million more..

Yamaha Executive GM visits Sri Lanka

Feb 6 (FT) Yamaha Executive General Manager Takeshi Yano has arrived in Sri Lanka in a move that is expected to further solidify the partnership between Yamaha Japan and local agents Associated Motorways Ltd. AMW and Yamaha’s partnership has spanned an incredible 34 illustrious years, while mobilising thousands of families thanks to Yamaha’s comprehensive line-up of motorcycles. AMW are exclusive distributors for both Yamaha motorcycles and marine & power products, more..

‘We are not socialists’

Feb 6 (DM) Despite the retrospective taxes proposed in the revised budget of the new govt, the second in command of Sri Lanka’s economy said that the govt will have minimum interference in free markets going forward while enhancing social welfare, adopting the German model of Social Market Economy. “We believe, like everyone here, that markets are the most efficient way to allocate resources. That’s our fundamental view. Don’t think we’re a bunch of socialists trying to change more..

'President and his predecessors should be together on SLFP platform'

Feb 6 (Island) The success of the SLFP at the next parliamentary election would largely depend on President Maithripala Sirisena and his predecessors, Chandrika Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa appearing on the SLFP stage, former Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said. He emphasised that they would have to shed whatever differences for the sake of the party or face the consequences. more..

Navin advocates marketing Sri Lanka via film tourism

Feb 6 (FT) The new Minister for Tourism and Sports Navin Dissanayake has invited the leading French TV channel NT 1 from France to film the prime time TV program ‘Bachelor’ (French version) in Sri Lanka in line with the global trend of marketing tourist destinations via film tourism. TFI Director Production Jack Thomas Richard commended the new direction that Sri Lanka Tourism is charting given that New Zealand was able to appeal to a wider audience globally when the ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie more..

EDB Director General shows paradoxes of leather industry

Feb 6 (CT) Sri Lanka Export Development Board Director General Sujatha Weerakoon, yesterday pointed out the paradoxes of the leather industry, where the local manufacturers opted to export the locally manufactured product for better prices, while we have imports of low cost shoes that cater to the local market. The EDB Director General was speaking on the sidelines of the footwear and leather industry's annual Footwear and Leather Products Exhibition in collaboration with more..

Sri Lanka calls for direct UN engagement with industries

Feb 6 (CT) Sri Lanka has called on the UN for direct, wider engagement with its industry sector for the first time – while, UN's apex industrial body announced its 'best support and commitment' to President Sirisena's govt, and announced six new industrial projects for the country on 5 Feb in Colombo. "UNIDO is ready to move ahead with Lankan people and the new govt. Six new, strong, UNIDO projects are in the pipeline for SL," more..

Pan Asia Bank wins two awards

Feb 6 (CT) Pan Asia Bank, which has been expanding the horizons of the local banking industry with its innovative banking products and impressive growth record, has been bestowed with two awards by Global Banking & Finance Review. Pan Asia Bank has been recognized as the 'Fastest Growing Commercial Bank in Sri Lanka 2014'. In addition, Pan Asia Bank's groundbreaking product Sammana, the specialized banking product for senior citizens, has been recognized as the most innovative more..

President meets Kahawatte victim’s family

Feb 6 (GDI) President Maithripala Sirisena today (5) met family members of Mr. Shantha Dodangoda, who was shot to death at Kahawatte on January 5 while preparing the stage for a public meeting for Presidential Election. Mr. Dodangoda was setting up a stage for a propaganda meeting of Presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena. President Sirisena offered his sympathy to Mr. Dodangoda’s wife and children over the death of him. Minister Thalatha Athukprala was also present more..

Ravi K clarifies controversial taxes in moving amendment to Appropriation Act

Feb 6 (FT) Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake in Parliament moved an amendment to the Appropriation Act, No. 41 of 2014 as well as explaining some of the Budget’s controversial taxes. He said: “Our Budget was prepared to curtail unnecessary costs. We were successful in addressing the needs of 99% of the public. What we achieved within 21 days you failed to do after being in power for 11 years. more..

Dinesh blows a fuse over no live Parliament coverage

Feb 6 (FT) The delayed live telecast of parliamentary proceedings caused a stir in the House yesterday. Opposition lawmaker Dinesh Gunwardena accused the Govt of dragging its feet to launch the service, citing deliberate attempts to disregard transparency and good governance. Drawing attention to a possible disregard of a directive of the Speaker for live telecasts to be aired, he said: “The Speaker’s directive is found on page 40 of the 20th hansard report. more..

FL Technics becomes an approved spare parts provider for SL armed forces

Feb 6 (AP) FL Technics, a global provider of tailor-made aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services, is further expanding the range of its services and customers by becoming an approved spare parts and MRO provider for the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka. FL Technics will support SL Air Forces with Antonov An-32 and Lockheed C-130 Hercules MRO solutions. “Boasting a convenient geographical location, SL aims to develop a full fledge aviation hub which would service the entire region. more..

Sri Lanka to appoint Presidential Task Force on reconciliation

Feb 6 (ENS) The Sri Lankan cabinet has decided to appoint a Presidential Task Force on Reconciliation (PTFR) to inquire into issues related to ethnic reconciliation and suggest remedial measures. Cabinet spokesman, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, said that said that the PTFR will focus on the “immediate” problems faced by the ethnic minorities and suggest measures to alleviate their hardships. It will also look into the cases of those Tamils more..

'No unauthorised salary increments for CEB employees'

Feb 6 (DN) No employee attached to the CEB will receive unauthorised salary increments. Action will be taken against Voice Against Corruption (VAC) Convener Wasantha Samarasinghe for making false statements, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said. "I have still not presented a Cabinet paper or taken any steps regarding increasing CEB engineers' salaries. CEB's former General Manager had launched a procedure to increase some engineers' salaries illegally. more..