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Principal nabbed for soliciting bribe

Feb 7 (DM) Principal of school in Mount Lavinia was arrested by the Bribery Commission officials today for soliciting a bribe of Rs.35, 000 to admit a student to grade one. The parent who had been asked to pay the bribe lodged a complaint with the commission. SSP Sarath Lokuge said that the Principal was arrested at his school office while accepting money from the parent. Principal’s office assistant was also arrested by the officials for aiding and abating the crime. more..

Issue at Defence Services College resolved

Feb 7 (MoD) A special meeting, convened by Ministry of Defence (MoD) on Friday over an alleged incident that took place at Defence Services College (DSC), Colombo 2 a few days ago between the Director and the Principal, sorted out the differences and negotiated and amicable settlement in the presence of all the parties concerned. The meeting, chaired by Mr B.M.U.D Basnayake, Secretary to Ministry of Defence, was attended by Secretary to Ministry of Education, Chief of Defence Staff, more..

Reforms to disqualify crossovers

Feb 7 (DM) Proposed constitutional reforms if enacted will disqualify MPs who cross over from party or independent group. A discussion paper on the constitutional reforms has been distributed among leaders of political parties in represented in Parliament. According to reforms, President is the Head of State, Head of the Executive and Commander-in-Chief of armed forces. President will act on the advice of PM except more..

Floating armoury probe reports next week

Feb 7 (CT) State Minister for Defence, Ruwan Wijewardane said that all reports regarding the investigations made on Rathna Lanka and Avant Garde are due next week. A committee has been appointed commence an audit on the Operations of the Defence Ministry and Rathna Lanka. "The investigations will mainly focus on finding out where the money that has been earned by the floating armoury went to," he said. The investigations will be carried out regarding the licence and more..

Ketagoda's absence delays SF’s presence in parliament

Feb 7 (DM) Though DP leader Sarath Fonseka was to be sworn in as a MP today, he couldn't do so as MP Jayantha Ketagoda was yet to resign. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya had sought the instructions of the Attorney General on the matter and the AG had informed that Mr. Fonseka could be appointed as a MP as his civic rights were restored and cleared of allegations. However, they informed the Commissioner that MP Ketagoda has to resign if Mr. Fonseka is to be sworn in. more..

U.S. security adviser Rice pledges help for Sri Lanka 'transition'

Feb 7 (Reuters) US pledged to assist Sri Lanka's new govt in creating a more open and democratic society. In a speech laying out President Barack Obama's updated national security strategy, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice included Sri Lanka alongside Myanmar - which is also known as Burma - and Tunisia as a country "in transition." "We’ll help countries in transition - like Burma, Tunisia, and Sri Lanka - become more open, more..

From big pharma to Bibile; A health dream comes true

Feb 7 (DM) Some 36 years after the mystery-death of Professor Senaka Bibile, regarded worldwide as one of the great personalities in modern medicine, the cabinet of the new all-party National Unity Govt on Thursday approved a cabinet paper to draft a Bill to implement the National Medicinal Drugs Policy (NMDP). NMDP based largely on Prof. Bibile’s essential medicines concept, had been successfully implemented in Sri Lanka from 1971 to 1976 till transnational pharmaceutical giants more..

Maithri change: how much longer to wait?

Feb 7 (DM) There’s no doubt that every person who watched the television interview of President Maithripala Sirisena was thrilled for many reasons. Predominantly, it may not be because the interview was conducted by Upul Shantha Sannasagala who was a fellow campaigner on Maithri’s platform. In fact that factor could raise more questions than answers as how a campaign colleague who voiced the same slogans on the same political platform could raise questions from the other. more..

Playing musical chairs with the Judiciary

Feb 7 (DM) The office of the Chief Justice is a pew of reverence and dignity and not a site for a game of musical chairs where three occupants held the hot seat within a space of three judicial days. This entry will find a place in a book of records or form a smart question a quiz master will pose by asking to name from which weird judiciary such a threesome originates. The Judiciary should not be reduced to a vaporized form of laughing gas. more..

Govt invites private sector to donate USD 130 mn. for cricketers

Feb 7 (Island) The govt has decided against providing USD 130 million from the Consolidated Fund, which the earlier Sports administration had promised to pay the Sri Lankan cricketers if they won the Cricket World Cup. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the country which was heavily in debt due to the short-sighted and ad hoc policies of the Rajapaksa regime was not in a position to dole out such huge sums of money, when funds more..

Sri Lanka’s footwear and leather exports double within a year

Feb 7 (FT) Sri Lanka’s footwear and leather exports have doubled within just one year and posted the highest revenues so far in recent times. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce said the sector believed the surge was due in large part to the construction of a modern tannery complex. “Today I am pleased to announce that $51 million export revenue in 2013 from this sector has more than doubled in 2014 to $110 million, more..

Political victims in Beruwala plead for housing relief

Feb 7 (SL) Within a week following the Presidential elections 29 families residing in Temple Road, Beruwela were evicted from their rented homes on unjust grounds and what is believed to be an act of political malice. On 15 January, the families – of which majority are Tamil, but include Sinhalese and Moors as well – were told by their landlord, Dayananda Silva that their rent would be increased to Rs 3500, a sharp increase from Rs 1200 more..

Sri Lanka seeks U.S.-U.N. backing for domestic probe of war crimes charges

Feb 7 (IPS) Sri Lanka’s newly-installed govt, which has pledged to set up its own domestic tribunal to investigate war crimes charges, is seeking political and moral support both from the US and the UN to stall a possible international investigation. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera is due in US next week to press the country’s case before US Secretary of State John Kerry & UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. more..

Sangakkara, Mahela aiming for a Cup title SL

Feb 7 (AP) Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara are having one last shot at winning a World Cup for Sri Lanka, desperate to go one better than they did at the last two editions. Both players have had chances to match the 1996 Sri Lankan team which won the World Cup, but twice fell one win short by losing the 2007 final to Australia in Barbados and the 2011 decider to India in Mumbai. Mahela, who scored a century in more..

FUTA declares victory

Feb 7 (Island) FUTA expressed its gratitude to the govt of President Maithripala Sirisena for increasing the education allocation to 6% of GDP as they had demanded for several years. FUTA Media Spokesman Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said that their struggle of several years had been won under the present govt. "The FUTA is very pleased that the current govt has acknowledged the need to increase state more..

Sri Lanka will engage with China

Feb 7 (CG) The Govt says it will closely engage with China and further consolidate the friendly relations between the two countries. In a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry today at the end of a visit to Sri Lanka by the Special Envoy of the Govt of China, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Liu Jianchao, the Foreign Ministry said that Sri Lanka will look to consolidate friendly relations between the two countries. more..

Sand mining mafia’s days numbered

Feb 7 (ST) President Maithripala Sirisena, who himself took on the Environment portfolio, will halt sand mining in Polonnaruwa from today (1). He has also ordered his officials to evaluate sustainable river-sand mining and look into alternatives. There has long been small-scale sand mining in the flood plains around Manampitiya Bridge in Polonnaruwa but operations rose sharply some years ago as demand for river sand more..

UPFA confirms 115 MPs have already signed no confidence motion against Amaratunga

Feb 7 (AM) Chief Opposition Whip John Seneviratne said that 115 MPs of the UPFA have signed the no confidence motion against Public Order and Disaster Management Minister John Amaratunga. Seneviratne also added that a few more UPFA MPs are yet to sign the no-confidence motion today. “The motion will be presented to the Speaker when all the signatures are finalized,” the Chief Opposition Whip said. more..

That one step by Sampanthan, one giant leap for reconciliation!

Feb 7 (CT) 'That one step for man, one giant leap for mankind' was the first comment to be made by Neil Armstrong soon after he became the first human being to land on the moon in July 1969. The legendary Armstrong's comment could be interpreted in a manner with regard to Lankan Tamil politics, with the TNA Leader R. Sampanthan attending the 67th Independence Day celebrations at J'pura Kotte, as 'that one step by Sampanthan, one giant leap for reconciliation'. more..

Misbegotten love for elephants !

Feb 7 (CT) There are lots of articles appearing these days about “illegal” elephants and the naive public is being whipped up into frenzy by insidious individuals and NGO’s into believing that all domestic elephants are tortured and starved and deprived of their mothers love and such horrendous things. Let me present another perspective. I come from a family that has had elephants living among us for generations. I am also probably one of the last people who have been involved more..

CBK's son to contest from Gampaha

Feb 7 (AM) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s son Vimukthi Kumaratunga is likely to contest the forthcoming parliamentary election from the district of Gampaha. “But he will not be given the district leadership as speculated by some,” a senior spokesman of the party who is supportive of former President said. Meanwhile, a Facebook page has been created by a group supporting the Kumaratungas today, more..

With love from China

Feb 7 (CT) Sri Lanka needs a balanced foreign policy to enhance itself economically and also to ensure its security. It should therefore walk the 'middle path' to get the best out of "both worlds. "The island experimented with socialism in the period 1970 – 77, where it distanced itself from the West. US leaning Japan at that time was a little known economic power, at least in this part of the world. Sri Lanka, under the premiership of Sirima Bandaranaike then, hobnobbed with more..

Yahapalanaya (un)cloaked

Feb 7 (CT) There is nothing wrong in regime-change. Nothing wrong in talking about democracy or mourning its absence. Self-righteous words however do have a limit. They run out of steam the moment those who speak them come to power. Democracy-deficits are objected to by the same people who embrace them when they are elected. Sadly. The “enemy of my enemy is my friend” argument holds sway, however. No one is a saint. There are lesser evils that need to be taken more..

JVP wants Uma Oya project reviewed by competent people

Feb 7 (Island) JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake requested the govt to review and reassess the Uma Oya Project with the assistance of scholars, academics and environmentalists and decide whether it should be continued with. He said the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project (UOMDP) had been commenced by the previous regime and the foundation stone laid on April 29, 2009 in violation of rules and regulations and more..

Sampanthan justifies participation at Independence Day celebrations

Feb 7 (DN) TNA leader R. Sampanthan justified their participation at the Independence Day celebrations as a gesture of goodwill for the positive measures taken by the govt to promote reconciliation and amity between communities. "With the change of govt, we have fresh hopes that the issues of Tamil people in the country will be solved," he said. MP said he participated in this national event with the hope that problems of Tamil people will be addressed by new administration. more..

Kantale Sugar Factory to reopen soon

Feb 7 (DN) The govt is making arrangements to reopen the Kantale Sugar Factory in collaboration with the new investors. Basic procedures in this regard are ongoing, Land Development Minister M. K.D.S. Gunawardena said. Participating in an inspection tour at the Kantale Sugar Factory premises, Minister said plans are underway to reopen the sugar factory which was shut down for 22 years. The govt intends to resume renovation work of the factory in the next few months. more..

'Chinese projects under scrutiny'

Feb 7 (CT) Govt of Sri Lanka will re-evaluate the projects that the former UPFA Govt had signed with China, Special Envoy of the Chinese Govt, Liu Jianchao, who was here on a two-day visit, said. Jianchao told the media, "The projects will continue only after being re-evaluated. We respect the decision by Colombo. Once the re-evaluation report is ready, the projects will go ahead." However, he did not mention whether more..

Train traffic optimisation system too to be added to 100-day programme of govt?

Feb 7 (Island) The transport ministry was trying to include the project of introducing the ‘Train traffic optimisation system’ in its 100-day programme so that it would help find solutions for the problem of train delays, Internal Transport Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara told Parliament. The previous govt had taken steps to introduce Android operating system programmed device in the engine room of a train to relay real-time data through GPS & GPRS to a central server at Telecom internal data more..

Sittrampalam angered by TNA presence at the Independence Day celebrations

Feb 7 (CT) ITAK Senior Vice Presidentm Prof. C.K. Sittrampalam, said the party central committee should take action against TNA Leader R. Sampanthan and MP M.A. Sumanthiran for violating norms of the ITAK as they failed to inform the party about their participation at the 67th Independence Day celebration. Prof. Sittrampalam said the ITAK should soon summon the central committee to discuss this issue and that he has forwarded a statement in this regard. more..

Northern Sri Lanka on the road to recovery

Feb 7 (Guardian) Hello! You want bananas?” The Surenthirans, on a family outing to the Hindu temple, make a colourful group on the sandy road: two bicycles, three adults, four children and one bag of bananas. Dad Harshiv is shirtless, as men must be to enter a temple, above a saffron sarong, and the rest are in shades of orange, indigo, turquoise. We’re still full from lunch, but it turns out bananas are a pretext. more..

Diaspora want UN team in Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (CG) Tamil diaspora have called on the international community to demand Sri Lanka to allow UN Investigators into the island. National Council of Canadian Tamils (Canada), Danish Federation of Tamil Associations (Denmark), Italian Council of Eelam Tamils (Italy), Maison du Tamil Eelam France (France), National council of New Zealand Tamils (New Zealand), Dutch Tamil Forum (Netherland), Norwegian Council of Eelam Tamils (Norway), Swiss Council of Eelam Tamils more..

UN rights chief invited to Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (CG) Sri Lankan Govt has invited the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein to visit Sri Lanka. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had extended the invitation through the Sri Lankan mission in Geneva. The invitation has been sent ahead of the UNHRC session which will be held in Geneva next month. A report based on the investigations conducted by a UN-led team over the war in Sri Lanka is scheduled to be submitted to the UNHRC more..

Video: Super luxury meditation center found

Feb 7 (DM) Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake along with the Police has raided a super luxury meditation center, which he alleges is worth over Rs. 1000 million and was used by the Rajapaksas. Minister Ramanayake said he accompanied a team of journalists from a private media institution who had received news of the luxury meditation center located in Imbulgoda, Kadawatha, as they had not been allowed to more..

Ruwan insists camps will remain

Feb 7 (CG) State Minister of Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene today insisted that the army camps in the north will remain and the troops will also not be withdrawn. Wijewardene was speaking to troops in the north after undertaking his first formal visit to the North and East after being appointed as a Minister. Minister Wijewardene addressed the tri-service troops of the Security Force Headquarters in Jaffna and explained to them on the sensitive nature of national security concerns as well as more..

Ravindu Vaas Gunawardena denied bail

Feb 7 (CT) A three-member bench of the Colombo High Court while denying bail for Ravindu Vaas Gunawardena, son of former DIG Vaas Gunawardena, a suspect in the abduction and murder of Bambalapitiya businessman Mohamed Shiyam, Thursday ordered him to be further remanded for three months. The bench denied the appeal made by the attorneys representing Gunawardena to release him on bail. Gunawardena has been imprisoned for nearly 2 years now. more..

Former BBC producer to make film promoting reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Feb 7 (H&H) Chris Langdon, who lives in Lambolle Road, Belsize Park, recently returned from Sri Lanka having shot a trailer for Healing The Wounds, a film exploring the relationships between the country’s different communities since the war ended in 2009. The 57-year-old, who produced the reports of BBC world affairs editor John Simpson for years, is set to make the documentary with Croatian film-maker more..

Environmentalists accuse govt of reneging on key promise

Feb 7 (Island) A group of environmentalists lashed out at the new govt for its decision to go ahead with the Colombo Port City Project (CPCP). It accused the President and the PM of reneging on their election promise even before expiry of its 100-day programme. Centre for Environmental and Nature Studies (CENS) said that though Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had previously vowed to take steps to halt the construction of the CPCP that would cause a massive environmental more..

Malinga best death bowler: England batsmen

Feb 7 (IANS) England's premier batting trio of Jos Buttler, Gary Ballance and Moeen Ali have unanimously declared Lasith Malinga of Sri Lanka as the best death bowler they have ever faced. "He (Malinga) gets it in the hole. He has a good yorker. It's so hard to play. Would I scoop him? Maybe. As a last resort," Buttler was quoted as saying by Cricinfo. Buttler said he would try a scoop shot against the lethal paceman as a last resort in dealing with the accurate yorkers of Malinga. more..

Budget passed, only one against

Feb 7 (AM) The new govt's mini budget, which was presented to Parliament by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, was passed with a majority of 163 votes. When the second reading vote was taken in Parliament 164 MPs were present in the House and 163 voted in favour of the govt. Only JVP breakaway MP Ajith Kumara voted against the budget. SLFP previously stated that they would support the interim budget presented by the more..

Mattala Rajapaksa airport fails to take off as Sri Lanka’s newest destination

Feb 7 (National) Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in Sri Lanka’s south was planned as a major economic driver and point of entry for tourists into the country. There was even talk about the airport attracting leading airlines from all over the world. But two years after it opened, things have not taken off as planned for the country’s second international airport. Following the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa – whom the airport is named after – in the presidential elections last month, more..