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CBEU for absorbing contract workers to permanent staff

Feb 6 (Island) All Ceylon Bank Employees Union (ACBEU) urged the new govt to recruit the contract basis workers provided by manpower companies to four state banks into their permanent staff immediately. ACBEU President Wasantha Samarasinghe said that there were around 2000 bank employees at the National Savings Bank (NSB), People’s Bank, Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and Regional Development Bank (RDB) working under contract basis. more..

'Mafia will be prosecuted if evidence is produced'

Feb 6 (Island) Describing the medical profession as a Mafia, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that if evidence was furnished with regard to the allegation that tobacco companies had paid the Rajapaksa regime Rs. 3 billion in an attempt to downsize the pictorial health warnings on cigarette packets, legal action would be instituted. Unless the persons who had paid the gratification or those having inside information came forward more..

Opposition leader urges govt to end chaos at Homagama Rajapaksa school

Feb 6 (Island) Students, parents and teachers of the Homagama Mahinda Rajapaksa school had been compelled to suffer the consequences of political chaos and the government should take immediate action to sort out the crisis, opposition leader Nimal Siripala de Silva requested in parliament yesterday. Making a special statement, the opposition leader said that students were being assaulted at the Homagama Mahinda Rajapaksa School and a group of persons dressed in black more..

New DG for Bribery Commission

Feb 6 (CT) Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe appointed Additional Solicitor General Dilrukshi Wickremesinghe, as the new Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption with effect from yesterday. She replaces Ganesh Dharmawardena, who has been transferred to the Ministry of Justice, the minister revealed. He said, the manner in which Dharmawardena conducted himself while he was in the Commission was unsatisfactory and the action taken by more..

SLFP to support mini-budget

Feb 6 (DM) The main opposition, SLFP said it would support the interim budget presented by the new govt with a host of measures to give relief to the people. Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva said there were populist measures announced in the budget to cushion the cost-of-living burden and as such his party would support the budget. He said his party would make a constructive criticism on some of the more..

Thavisha Peiris’ killer loses his appeal over sentence

Feb 6 (TS) killer serving life for the murder of a pizza delivery driver in Sheffield has lost an appeal against his sentence. Kasim Ahmed was ordered to serve a minimum of 23 years behind bars after admitting murdering 25-year-old Thavisha Peiris. Ahmed, 18 and his 26-year-old cousin Shamraze Khan, who denied the offence but was found guilty, attacked Mr Peiris, 25, when he pulled up on Southey Crescent, Southey, in October 2013. Mr Peiris, who was originally from Sri Lanka more..

Bloemendhal-Modera areas declared dengue red zone

Feb 6 (Island) The Colombo Municipal Council Public Health Department yesterday announced that the Bloemendhal-Modera areas had been declared high risk zones under its dengue control programme. Chief of the Colombo Municipal Council Public Health Department, Dr. Ruwan Wijayamuni said the situation in the city had been brought under control to a considerable extent thought the presidential election had taken its toll on the dengue control programme. more..

Govt. seeks House nod for banning Al-Qaida

Feb 6 (CT) The govt sought the approval of the House to empower a competent authority to compile information, in consultation with foreign States, the Defence Ministry and any relevant authority in Sri Lanka, to identify and designate persons associated and aided by the Al-Qaeda or Taliban, through regulations presented to Parliament to amend the UN Act No. 45 of 1968. The amendments presented in Parliament, more..

More taxes on CSN of Rajapaksa sons

Feb 6 (DM) Carlton Sports Network (CSN), a dedicated sports channel operated by former President Rajapaksa’s sons, is among the companies to be levied under the Super Gain Tax introduced by the Govt, Parliament was informed. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, said this tax was introduced to charge a levy from some companies that prospered disproportionately during the tenure of the previous govt while making a minimum contribution to the economy. more..

Environmentalists renew cry against golf resort inside forest reserve

Feb 6 (Island) A group of Environmentalists urged the government to stop immediately the Beragala Golf Resort Project inside the Soragune Forest Reserve at Haldamulla, Badulla. Ravindra Kariyawasam of the Centre for Environmental and Nature Studies (CENS) on Monday requested President Maithripala Sirisena to intervene to protect the key forest as the project could badly affect the lives of animals and people of the area. He asked the govt to take immediate steps to halt more..

Sri Lanka nixes Strauss-Kahn deal after paying $750,000

Feb 6 (AFP) SL's new govt said it was cutting ties with sex scandal plagued ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn after paying him $750,000 for being an advisor to attract foreign investment. The cabinet had decided to terminate the services of the 65-year-old economist, who is now on trial in France accused of pimping. "Central Bank had hired LSK & Partners, headed by Strauss-Khan, without the proper authority to do so," more..

CBK breaks silence with a bang

Feb 6 (DM) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who is reported to have played a major role in paving the way for the common opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena to come forward and topple the Rajapaksa regime, made some bombshell disclosures this week about what happened in the SLFP during the past 35 years. In a 75-minute television interview, Ms. Kumaratunga said she could not and dared not disclose what she was revealing now because both the more..

Ideas for good governance

Feb 6 (DM) A youthful MP, whose looks are deceiving, from the Colombo District, has allegedly engaged himself in the villainous drug business, according to the information reportedly revealed by Wele Suda, a well known international drug smuggler, who has been arrested and deported from Pakistan to Sri Lanka recently. This, no doubt, is the first time where a MP has been directly linked and named in this manner. Wele Suda has further disclosed that a former IGP who had been more..

Plot to kill the elephants?

Feb 6 (SL) Allegations have been levelled against the owners for plotting to kill the animals to get away from the legal net. In fear of possible legal action against the ‘owners’ of illegal elephant calves, lives of elephants are in danger. There are about 20-25 unregistered elephant calves in the country that are mostly ‘owned’ by powerful politicians in the previous regime and kept in several temples and devalaya’s in the country. more..

NFF says country open house for LTTE supporters

Feb 6 (Island) The NFF Spokesman Mohamed Muzammil said the check points to the north had been witdrawn and one key place was Omanthai and the govt was hell bent on implemeting the 13th amendment. He said, LTTE supporters such as Donald Gnanakoon and Callum Macrae of the infamous Channel four had started visiting the country at their will via the BIA and they were free to come and go without any problem which was more..

No preference for Special Lists children in school admissions

Feb 6 (ST) No more preference will be given to children coming on ‘special lists’ for school admissions, including Grade 1, new Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam has decided. He said that investigations had revealed that students who attended Carlton Pre-schools were given preference in school admissions. The pre school was backed by former first lady, Ms Shiranthi Rajapaksa. more..

A big flaw in mini-budget

Feb 6 (CT) Finally, Sri Lanka has the budget for the year 2015. The previously approved budget under the Rajapaksa regime was drastically amended by the new Finance Minister, Ravi Karunanayake. He presented his budget, which is popularly known as a mini-budget, to Parliament. However, his mini-budget is a 'mega-deal' for the working and low income earners. He offered extensive economic concessions for more..

‘19th Amendment seeing its final touches’

Feb 6 (Island) ‘The 19th Amendment to the constitution is being licked into shape and should be ready within the 100-day time frame set by the Maithripala Sirisena administration for the implementation of its initial programmes for the country, Presidential Advisor on Constitutional Affairs Dr. Jayampathy Wickremeratne PC said. He said that in terms of this amendment, the Executive Presidency will be abolished and more..

Mixed signals from Sri Lanka worry Delhi

Feb 6 (TI) Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena will visit India this month on his first foreign trip in office but his attempts at also assuaging Chinese concerns have sparked worries in New Delhi of a fresh tug-of-war underscored by two greetings Colombo received 45 minutes apart yesterday. Sirisena is expected to land here on Feb 16 on a three-day trip he had confirmed soon after his election victory over former President more..

Sri Lanka seeks to boost ties with US

Feb 6 (CG) The Sri Lankan Govt says Sri Lanka looks forward to strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation with the Govt and people of the United States on the basis of shared values, commitment for democracy, good governance and for international peace and security. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the US Prasad Kariyawasam, speaking at Sri Lanka’s 67th Independence Day celebrations in US, more..

Sri Lanka to seek World Bank help in tracking down hidden assets

Feb 6 (EN) Sri Lanka is seeking World Bank help to track down assets hidden abroad, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said, with an ant-corruption watchdog due to visit Washington soon. Minister Samaraweera said J C Weliamuna an anti-corruption activist and head of the Sri Lanka chapter of Transparent International, will visit Washington for talks with World Bank. The govt has already announced it will seek help from IMF, more..

President Sirisena to occupy Keheliya's official residence

Feb 6 (AM) President Maithripala Sirisena today said that he would use the official residence of former Minister Rambukwella. “The official residence of former minister Keheliya Rambukwella is to become the official residence of President Maithripala Sirisena,” President tweeted. Former President Rajapaksa, who held the office for nearly 10 years, used both Temple Trees and President’s House for his official & personal more..

Govt expenditure slashed by Rs. 187,000 mn

Feb 6 (Island) The govt yesterday presented the amended appropriation bill for the financial year 2015 slashing the total expenditure by Rs. 187,000 million compared to the one presented by the previous regime last October. The total expenditure of the govt has been brought down from Rs. 2,168,292,718,000 to Rs 1,981,292,718,000. The limits on total borrowings, too, have been reduced from 1,780 billion to 1,593 billion. more..

Eliminate poverty to build unity

Feb 6 (CT) 'Reconciliation and wealth' go hand in hand is the message conveyed by President Maithripala Sirisena in his Independence Day speech of 4 Feb. Sirisena in his address spoke of building bridges between the 'North' and the 'South' and of eliminating poverty which he said was at 6.7%, a figure probably thrown up by the controversial State controlled Census and Statistics Department, which figures however, are disputed by the Sirisena regime on the basis that more..

Release Colombo Port City EIA for public consultation

Feb 6 (CT) At a media briefing held on Thursday, Minister Rajitha Senaratne announced the govt’s decision to proceed with the controversial Colombo Port City development project as proposed by PM Wickrrmrsinghe. He was quoted in the media as saying, “We have decided to allow the development project to proceed but without any fraud or corruption. The EIA on the project was carried out by the Moratuwa University, which is known for its assessment quality.” more..

Daily Mirror Cartoon

Sri Lanka stocks end up 1.6%

Feb 6 (EN) Sri Lankan stocks ended higher for the second day Friday recovering more of the losses suffered in a panic sell-off after last week's govt budget slammed hefty new taxes on big companies. The benchmark All Share Price Index ended 1.64% or 115.44 points up at 7,162.75 while the S&P SL20 index, which tracks the top 20 largest and most liquid stocks, closed at 3,958.93, up 105.28 points or 2.73%. Turnover was just over two billion rupees. Gains were led by John Keells, Comm Bank, more..

Irate docs threaten strike on Feb. 21

Feb 6 (Island) The GMOA disclosed that about 65 out of its 101 branch unions had passed a resolution calling for a country-wide strike commencing Feb 21 unless the salary increments announced by the 2015 budget were implemented. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Navin de Soysa said except the GMOA, all other govt top officials attached to ministries such as Justice, Higher Education, the CEB and the Sri Lanka Administrative Service had been given salary increments in accordance more..

Sri Lanka sign up sports psychologist Snape

Feb 6 (CI) Sri Lanka have enlisted the assistance of sports psychologist Jeremy Snape, for a second stint with the team, during the upcoming World Cup. Snape, a former England offspinner, had already worked with Sri Lanka during the home series against England last Nov and Dec. SLC had hired him for that first stint with a view to employing him again during the World Cup. "Jeremy Snape will be with the Sri Lankan team for 14 days, more..

Video: Hybrid buyers meet Handunneththi

Feb 6 (LT) A group of hybrid vehicle buyers who have been distressed due to the increase in tax for hybrid vehicles met JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi at the JVP party head office. They have not been able to get their vehicles released from Customs as they have to pay an extra fee due to the tax for importing hybrid vehicles has been increased from the interim budget. They have been further frustrated as they had sold the vehicles they owned to the existing prices at the time. more..

Bogus licences for illegally captured elephant calves issued by dept

Feb 6 (Island) The Legal Division of the Wildlife Department that was sealed on Wednesday would be reopened today following investigations into forged licences issued by it. Newly appointed Deputy Minister Wasantha Senanayake, said that his task was to clear all irregularities in the departments coming under his purview. The Deputy Minister said that they had declared a grace period for those keeping elephants illegally to return or register the animals. more..

Beware of the UNP, JVP: Polgampola tells Maithri

Feb 6 (DM) People’s Liberation Front’s Alternative Group Convener and former MP Anurudda Polgampola warned President Maithripala Sirisena to be careful of the UNP and the JVP claiming that they were engaged in political deals. “The advisors of the previous govt led to its downfall. This govt must also be careful when dealing with such people,” he said. Mr. Polgampola claimed that the JVP was providing a lot of humour by more..

Bandula asks Bribery Commission to expedite probe against him

Feb 6 (AD) Former Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena has requested the anti-graft commission to expedite investigations into a complaint filed against him by the Ceylon Teachers’ Services Union. CTSU Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe ylodged the complaint with the commission alleging tender fraud during the construction of Mahindodaya Technical laboratories. Gunawardena visited the Commission to Investigate Allegation of Bribery or Corruption today more..

‘There is a quack for every five qualified doctors’

Feb 6 (Island) A survey on unqualified people practising medicine illegally in five provinces namely Sabaragamuwa, Western, Uva, Northern and Southern had revealed that for every five qualified doctors in those provinces, there was a quack, the GMOA said yesterday. GMOA Assistant Secretary Dr. Navin de Soysa told The Island that a survey conducted by his association had revealed that the Western province had about 34% of the quacks in the country. more..

Complaint against Mervyn Silva to BC

Feb 6 (DM) UPFA Western Provincial Councillor Sisira Jayakody today lodged a complaint at the Bribery Commission against former Minister Mervyn Silva citing several cases frauds among other misdemeanors. Mr. Jayakody accused Mr. Silva of acquiring money through a fund called Pibidena Kelaniya Development Programme and misusing these funds from the time he was appointed Kelaniya SLFP Organiser in 2007. more..

CMs move courts to prevent their removal

Feb 6 (Island) Chief Ministers of the Western and Central Provinces Prasanna Ranatunga and Sarath Ekanayake have filed two writ applications in the Court of Appeal, requesting the Court to restrain the respective governors of the Provinces from taking steps to remove them from their posts subsequent to the Presidential Poll of January 8, 2015. Petitioners have said that their political party has more than half the number of members each in their provincial councils, therefore, they should continue to more..

'Decision making was ad-hoc, knee-jerk process under MR'

Feb 6 (AM) Minister Sajith Premadasa said that decision making was an ad-hoc, knee-jerk reaction under the former regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Delivering the keynote address at the introductory seminar of Build SL 2015 Expo, he said that family and friendships, rather than national interest were given priority under the Rajapaksa regime. Premadasa added that good governance is vital for policy making and added that rational, scientific and methodical policy making is needed. more..

Committee appointed to probe Welikada riot commence work

Feb 6 (AD) The 3-member committee appointed to conduct an investigation into the 2012 Welikada prison riot today commenced work after visiting and inspecting the scene of the incident. Committee comprises retired High Court Judge Wimal Nambuwasam (chairman), retired Senior DIG Ashoka Wijethilake and retired administrative officer S.K. Liyanage (AAL). Prisons Commissioner General Chandraratna more..

Sirisena’s words will help heal sectarian wounds

Feb 6 (GN) Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s Independence Day speech — in which he promised to reconnect hearts and minds with the island nation’s Tamil minority — was a sharp departure from the principles of his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa. National reconciliation seems to be gathering pace and reemerging into the public consciousness and Sirisena has, by his words, paved the way for a smooth healing process to begin. Words are, however, not enough. more..

11 spinners to watch out for at the ICC Cricket World Cup: Murali

Feb 6 (ICC) I do not expect spin to play a major role in this ICC Cricket World Cup as a combination of two new balls, fielding restrictions and the pitches will all count against them. But that does not mean spinners will be redundant and they will still have a part – maybe even a crucial part – to play. History shows spinners can be very effective in an ICC CWC in Australian and New Zealand conditions and the last time it was held there, in 1992, Pakistan leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed grabbed 16 wickets, more..