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EPDP to go solo

Feb 21 (CT) EPDP leader Douglas Devananda said his Party had taken a decision to contest the forthcoming general election alone. He said that the party realized the reason for receiving less votes in the North, when discussing the issue with the public. It was said to be because the EPDP contested several elections together under an Alliance. Devananda pointed out that he cannot believe that his voter base had dropped so drastically, since he had engaged in providing great service, more..

Rajitha orders raids on substandards spas, health centres

Feb 21 (Island) Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne stressed that spas and health centres would be inspected shortly to check whether they conform to the standards prescribed by the Health Ministry. Dr. Senaratne said with the influx of tourists health tourism had been spreading throughout the country rapidly. But, successive governments had not been able to ensure the quality of the medical services provided by the health resorts and whether they maintained standards. more..

To back FIU request, Sri Lanka shares more info on Rajapaksa deals

Feb 21 (ET) Sri Lanka has shared more information with India on the billions of dollars that its new government alleges members of the previous regime headed by Mahinda Rajapaksa had stashed abroad, to support the island nation's request for New Delhi's help to set up a Financial Intelligence Unit to trace the money. During his India trip earlier this week, new Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena told the Indian leadership more..

Protesters storm Ketagoda

Feb 21 (CT) House of the MP Jayantha Ketagoda has been stormed by a group of protesters at the moment demanding the latter to step down from his Parliamentary seat. MP Vasudewa Nanayakkara just brought it to the notice of the Speaker in Parliament just while ago that a group clad in similar attires has surrounded ketagoda’s house and screaming slogans. “MP Ketagoda who is stuck inside the house telephoned MP Dinesh Gunawardena and informed this. more..

President, PM review 100-day progress

Feb 21 (FT) President Maithripala Sirisena chaired a special progress review meeting on the implementation of the Govt’s 100-day program yesterday. President’s office said that at the review meeting, held at the Presidential Secretariat this afternoon, the resource allocation for the 100-day program was discussed while feedback was also obtained from senior Govt officials. PM Ranil Wickremasinghe, Secretary to the President P.B. Abeykoon, Secretary to the PM more..

‘Heroin smugglers used diplomatic passports, VIP channel at BIA’

Feb 21 (Island) Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera alleged that some of those who had received diplomatic/official passports during the UPFA administration were believed to have exploited the facility to smuggle in narcotics through the BIA. Perera claimed that they had used the VIP channel for that purpose for years. He emphasised the responsibility on the part of the police to check with the Immigration and Emigration to establish more..

Wimal, Dinesh, Vasu, Gammanpila can't decide SLFP's PM candidate: Navinna

Feb 21 (AM) Treasurer of SLFP SB Navinna said Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya Gammanpila, Vasudewa Nanayakkara and Dinesh Gunawardena have no right to take decisions on the Prime Ministerial Candidate of the SLFP. Commenting on the rally held at Nugegoda, Navinna had further said that SLFP could make its own decision on the Prime Ministerial Candidate of the party. "We have several senior politicians who have the potential to be the Prime Ministerial Candidate of the party" more..

Move to bring MR on National List

Feb 21 (CT) Senior parliamentarians in support of the Rajapaksas have launched a sudden operation to get former President Mahinda Rajapaksa into Parliament through the National List. They have decided to meet Malani Fonseka and Janaka Priyantha, both UPFA national list MPs, to discuss this issue. Several senior MPs have come forward for this and reliable sources say that MPs who were appointed through the National List have not yet taken a final decision on this. more..

New SL gov't ends US lobbying contracts

Feb 21 (AP) In a sign of improving relations with the U.S., Sri Lanka has terminated lobbying contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars a month that the previous govt had signed to help it win friends in Washington amid war crimes allegations, the nation's ambassador says. The investment in lobbyists to foster political and economic ties had gathered steam last summer, in the dying months of the administration of more..

Major step towards restoring justice

Feb 21 (DM) The breakdown in the rule of law and the party politcisation of vital institutions including the judiciary and the police are known to have been among the main causes for the rampant corruption and abuse of power during the past five years of the Rajapaksa regime. This led to its shattering downfall on Jan 8 with the new National Unity Govt led by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe pledging it would act within 100 days to restore the Rule of Law and more..

Political promises: Sri Lanka needs annual status reports

Feb 21 (DM) When public disenchantment grows over unfulfilled promises, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg stands out as a model for all politicians. Bloomberg was confronted by a civic conscious citizen — Anthony Santa Maria — at a subway station during his 2001 campaign to become New York’s mayor. Santa Maria scoffed at the promises politicians make but the criticism did not make Bloomberg angry. Instead it inspired him to release an annual status report on more..

Wildlife hunt for missing Book No. 3: It holds key to jumbo puzzle

Feb 21 (ST) The jumbo puzzle besetting the Wildlife Department is getting more and more complicated as attempts are made by environmentalists to get to the truth regarding a missing book. Here are some basic pointers to this puzzle: There is a big book called the Elephant book. It went missing and was found. With the change of govt in January, the book was kept under lock and key as measures were taken to more..

Parliament approves 80% pictorial warnings on cigarette packets

Feb 21 (AM) Parliament yesterday passed a bill which allowed increased pictorial warnings covering 80% of cigarette packets. This amends National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Act No 27 of 2006. In the regulation it is mentioned that the pictorial should consist of warning printed on both sides of every cigarette packet, package or carton containing cigarettes, and 80% of the total area of a packet, package or a carton. more..

Exiled criminals make comeback

Feb 21 (CT) Intelligence sources have discovered that several underworld criminals, who had fled the country, have returned to the island during the past few days. They had escaped when the 'white van squad' commenced capturing underworld criminals. Members of the intelligence division, of the Security Forces, have informed their heads that these criminals who returned to the country are roaming around the homes of more..

Three threats to constitutional reform in SL

Feb 21 (SL) With just over a month after the installation of the new govt and its commencement of the 100-day reform process, the situation can best be described as mixed. For the time being at least, we have seen off both separatist and state terrorists from the public square, we have a govt whose policy is informed by common sense and moderation, and there is a real prospect of a whole raft of constitutional reforms that will more..

Champika discusses with Russian ambassador assistance in nuclear field

Feb 21 (Island) Close on the heels of Indo-Lanka bilateral agreement on civil nuclear cooperation, Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka held discussions with Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Sri Lanka Alexander Karchava to explore ways and means of improving country’s nuclear energy sector with assistance from Moscow. Ambassador Karchava agreed to provide fullest support to Sri Lanka to develop the more..

Full-strength Sri Lanka won't underestimate Afghanistan

Feb 21 (AFP) Sri Lanka will play a full-strength team when they tackle Afghanistan in the World Cup on Sunday, with skipper Angelo Mathews insisting it would be disrespectful to underestimate the tournament minnows. The 1996 champions lost their opening fixture in Pool A, as did Afghanistan, and that defeat make Sunday's clash at the University Oval all the more important to Sri Lanka's hopes of making the quarter-finals. more..

Five sub committees to assist Cabinet

Feb 21 (DM) Govt will appoint five cabinet sub-committees to make suitable recommendations pertaining to specific areas or issues to facilitate the decision-making process of the Cabinet in its endeavour to promote good governance, transparency, productivity and efficiency in the state sector. Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal submitted by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on this matter. more..

'India can't dump radioactive waste in SL'

Feb 21 (PTI) Indo-Lanka civil nuclear agreement would not permit India to dump its radioactive waste in Sri Lankan territory. "Management of radioactive waste does not authorise India to unload radioactive waste produced in Indian Nuclear Power Plants in Sri Lankan territory," Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He was commenting on the bilateral agreement signed on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. more..

Sri Lankan Embassy used as weapons sales centre

Feb 21 (CT) The govt disclosed, in Parliament, that a Sri Lankan ambassador, during last regime, had used the Sri Lankan mission, in a prominent country, to sell weapons. Minister Mangala Samaraweera also said that SL diplomatic missions abroad had been functioning as business centres during the last regime. "One such embassy in a prominent country had been used by its ambassador to sell weapons," minister said, more..

Pakistan, Sri Lanka to ink civil nuclear deal next month

Feb 21 (TN) Sri Lanka will ink civilian nuclear cooperation deal with Pakistan next month as the new president Maithripala Sirisena will visit Pakistan in the last week of March. Details would be worked out in due process before the visit takes place. Highly-placed diplomatic sources said Friday that Islamabad had received the schedule proposed by Colombo for the visit of their president to Pakistan and President Sirisena could be more..

Has KP been pardoned?

Feb 21 (CT) Yesterday, this newspaper, quoting JVP MP Vijitha Herath, alleged that the Attorney General's Department is a joke. Herath's basis is that top LTTEer Kumaran Padmanathan (KP) is roaming around 'free' in the country. To strengthen his argument, that this should not be so, he said that it was on the basis that there is a warrant issued by an Indian Court for his arrest. Besides, LTTE is deemed a terrorist organization beginning with SL and India as well as several other countries. more..

National reconciliation, Peace & 13A

Feb 21 (CT) Territorial integration may be achieved by the armed forces, but national unity of communities can be achieved only by the appropriate political process. Absence of war here indicates only the silence of guns and not the attainment of sustainable peace. De-communalized nation, democratized political system and demilitarized State are imperative to rightly put Sri Lankan political economy in a progressive path through which Sri Lanka can achieve more..

Sri Lanka aim to get campaign on track

Feb 21 (CI) Much talk before the opening World Cup game was of how Sri Lanka lift themselves for global tournaments. That was not evident against New Zealand where a poor all-round display led to a heavy defeat. Afghanistan were also given a harsh assessment after their opening defeat - with coach Andy Moles saying the world "had not seen them play" - which emphasises how serious they are at not just being a side-show in this tournament. more..

Nugegoda Rising: A revanchist rock concert

Feb 21 (CT) Forty days after the dismantling of the family politburo Mahinda Rajapaksa has demonstrated that his orgburo is well oiled and running. With absolute fascination this writer watched a microcosm of Sinhala society hailing the event as a turning point. ‘I am beaten but not defeated. I shall not decline the outstretched hands of affection of my compatriots. What the country was experiencing was not a defeat but the consequences of a conspiracy.’ more..

The birth & rise of the Nugegoda man

Feb 21 (CT) The message that came out – loud and clear – from the Nugegoda rally is unambiguous : a new political man has risen with a new consciousness to change the political landscape. He is also bent on changing the mistake he made in the last presidential election. Like the Balangoda Man, our prehistoric ancestor, the Nugegoda Man represents a type, a pathfinder. He can be counted as the new force of the nation. The Nugegoda Man represents the critical mass that will impact in more..

Thisara important to team balance: Mahela

Feb 21 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene has marked out allrounder Thisara Perera as a key man in Sri Lanka's World Cup campaign, labelling him a "match-winner" and a player that can bring balance to the XI. Sri Lanka have struggled to penetrate with the ball on NZ's truer, bouncier surfaces, and have also been light on batting power at the death. Thisara is capable of alleviating those concerns, but has recently been more..

Credible war crimes investigation will help regain respect: Govt

Feb 21 (Island) A credible internal investigation into the last phase of North East conflict would help regain the lost respect and dignity of the Sri Lankan security forces, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told Parliament. The minister said so responding to a series of questions raised by Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala De Silva on previous day. Opposition Leader De Silva demanded to know from the govt in parliament whether the Minister of Foreign Affairs, had, more..

Sri Lanka Air Force rescues Chinese tourist

Feb 21 (Xinhua) The Sri Lanka Air Force on Saturday carried out a rescue mission to save a Chinese tourist who fell off World's End in Nuwera Eliya, in the island's Central Province, an Air Force official said. A helicopter carrying a four member team of the Air Force Special Forces was deployed to the scene to rescue the tourist who had been hanging off a cliff. The tourist was airlifted and taken to the Diyatalawa Hospital, in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. more..

Outgoing Army Commander becomes 4-Star General

Feb 21 (AM) Former Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Daya Ratnayake has been promoted to the rank of four star General effective from today by President Maithripala Sirisena. Rathnakaye started his military career as an officer cadet in 1980 and commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1981 in the Sri Lanka Light Infantry Regiment. He was appointed as the Army Commander on Aug 2014. more..

'Projects launched by former govt will go ahead if...'

Feb 21 (Island) Minister Joseph Michael Perera told Parliament that the Economic Development Ministry of the previous govt had launched development projects without allocating funds necessary for their implementation. Minister said this in response to a series of questions raised by Leader of the Opposition Nimal Siripala de Silva the previous day. He demanded to know from the govt whether it would settle the due payments for the projects of which part of the work had been completed more..

Aravinda stands in the way of Kapila Chandrasena's removal

Feb 21 (AM) SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias has come under pressure, not only from the government but also from his board of directors as he has so far failed to take any action against its CEO Kapila Chandrasena, who was appointed by the previous govt. Soon after Dias was appointed as the Chairman of the SriLankan Airlines various parties requested him to take action against Chandrasena who was known to be a close associate of the former first family. more..

Approval granted to probe assets of Sajin, Mahindananda and Priyath

Feb 21 (DM) Colombo Chief Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya today permitted the CID to probe the assets of UPFA MP Sajin Vass Gunawardane, former Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, former Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Priyath Bandu and eight more relatives of theirs. The approval was given to probe assets of nine persons at 81 state and commercial banks and financial institutions. more..

Heated haggling over non-distribution of tools to self-employed women

Feb 21 (Island) A heated argument ensued in Parliament when UPFA MP Shantha Bandara and Minister Joseph Michael Perera locked horns over the incumbent govt not distributing equipment and tools supplied to the Divisional Secretariats to be distributed among self-employed women. MP Bandara raising a point of order said that during the presidential election campaign the then govt had sent equipment and tools to the Divisional Secretariats countrywide to be distributed more..

Japan’s valuable assistance to health sector praised by Minister

Feb 21 (Island) Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, who met the Japanese ambassador to Sri Lanka yesterday said that Tokyo had been providing valuable resources to Sri Lanka to improve health care provision. Sri Lanka was grateful to the Japanese govt for donations such as drugs, pharmaceuticals and highly sophisticated medical equipment to Sri Lanka’s health sector to help improve the country’s medical services, the Health Minister said. more..

Sri Lanka may get relief from IMF repayments

Feb 21 (EN) IMF has favourably viewed a request from Sri Lanka to defer repayments on an earlier loan as the island attempts to rebalance its debt servicing, Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. He met IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde this week and a mission boosted by its Asia Pacific Director Changyong Rhee is visiting Sri Lanka this week. In the light of heavy debt servicing to countries like China, more..

Ravi Wettasinghe arrested

Feb 21 (DM) Controversial businessman Ravi Wettasinghe who had been on an open warrant was arrested by Immigration officials at the BIA this evening whilst attempting to leave the country for Dubai. Mr. Wettasinghe who had arrived at the airport around 5.00 pm was prevented from leaving the country as his name was in the ‘Immigration Stop List’, Immigration sources said. He was then handed over to the Katunayake Police and is to be produced in the Negombo Magistrates Courts more..

Gammanpila calls Azath Salley 'a corpse'

Feb 21 (CT) "CPC member Azath Salley should immediately quit politics. If he does not he is equivalent to a corpse," WPC member Udaya Gammanpila said. Udaya made these comments in reply to the challenge made by Azath Salley to get a crowd of 5,000 to the rally on 18 Feb at Nugegoda. Gammanpila said that Azath Salley should be made to mount the stage to count the crowd that thronged the venue. "I told Wimal Weerawansa to draw a crowd of 5,000 to his political rally. more..

Shashi on the run?

Feb 21 (DM) Former minister Wimal Weerawansa’s wife Sashi Weerawansa who is alleged to have obtained diplomatic and general passports by submitting birth certificate with forged names and dates of birth, has reportedly fled her home according to the CID team assigned to arrest her said. Special CID team which arrived at her residence in Kaduwela said they could not find her there. Team had also searched several more..

Imthiaz's son Fadhil Bakeer Markar to contest general election

Feb 21 (AM) Former Minister Imthiaz Bakeer Markar’s son, Fadhil Bakeer Markar is likely to contest the forthcoming General Election from the district of Kandy under the UNP ticket. An old boy of Ananda College, Colombo, Bakeer Markar received his tertiary education at the London School of Economic and Political Science. He is presently attached to the UNDP. Fadhil’s father, Imthiaz Bakeer Markar was the former Cabinet Minister of Media, Postal and Telecommunications from more..