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Barbaric war or great patriotic war?

Feb 4 (CT) Independence Day 2015 had several key texts and speeches, all of which constitute a single discourse. There was President Sirisena’s written message and that of the PM. The President’s message was fine but the PM’s failed to mention the armed services even once. More important was the multilingual Peace Message, which was a good gesture. There too however, certain terms were conspicuous by their absence, the most crucial of which was separatism or secessionism. more..

'Major alliances in the offing'

Feb 4 (CT) The new political scenario points to the possibility of diverse political alliances being set up before the anticipated general election end-April. Such political circumstances lead to bitter rivalry among parties and the likelihood of large-scale manipulation of public funds, CaFFE said. The coming General Election is likely to be the most complex parliamentary election to be fought out in Sri Lankan history. more..

Mahinda dodges independence day state ceremony

Feb 4 (AM) Highly placed govt sources confirmed that the govt had sent an official invitation to President Rajapaksa to participate in the Independence Day state ceremony. The invitation had been sent by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. "Rajapaksa was sent an invitation as he was former President of SL as well as the former Defence Minister of the country," a govt spokesman said. He also added that there was no discrimination on the part of the govt when it came to invitations. more..

Rs 17M cash stashed in one of Wele Suda's 4 mansions

Feb 4 (CT) It has come to light that international drug trafficker Samankumara Alias Wele Suda had hidden Rs 17 million in a land in Colombo he purchased prior to fleeing the country in 2011. Wele Suda however has not yet confessed as to the precise location of where this money is hidden. While in Sri Lanka, Wele Suda is said to have sent one of his main associates to meet police officers who were investigating his drug operation and had attempted to bribe them with amounts more..

Ministries directed to suspend special payments during presidential election

Feb 4 (Island) The govt has directed all ministers to scrutinise expenses incurred by their institutions outside normal expenditure during the last Presidential election period and suspend payments considered unreasonable. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the directive had come amidst complaints that expenses of many ministries had ballooned during Nov-Dec last year. "All ministers have been asked to examine the financial more..

Kudahetti promoted DIG through SC intervention

Feb 4 (Island) SSP Noel Chandana Kudahetti has been promoted to the rank of DIG following a Supreme Court intervention. Kudahetti said that having been deprived of due promotion to the rank of DIG since 2010, he had moved the Supreme Court against the DIG promotion board in 2011. Subsequently, the Supreme Court promoted Kudahetti to the rank of DIG on Dec. 19, last year backdated to Aug. 2013. The official said that he hadn’t been successful in securing promotion more..

MR hints at contesting general election

Feb 4 (CT) If the parties who supported me during victory and defeat are to face some injustice at the upcoming Parliamentary election, I will come forward on behalf of them, former President Rajapaksa said whilst reiterating that he had no need or desire to enter active politics again. Rajapaksa noted thus at a press conference held at the Carlton House in Tangalle. "Even though I have no necessity or hope to come back to active politics again, I cannot let down the few parties who steadfastly stood more..

Sisira Senaratne passes away

Feb 4 (DM) Veteran vocalist and musician Sisira Senaratne passed away today, family sources said. Sisira who was 80 at the time of his demise, made his debut in the sixties and has sung a large number of hit songs including Olu Nelum Neriya Rangala, Mage Puthuta Mal, Gaya Geethayan Game Wel Eliye, Sarungale, Nuhuru Nupurudu and others. The Nalanda College old boy also directed music for a few popular movies. more..

SL frees prisoners on Independence Day

Feb 4 (Xinhua) Govt freed over 550 prisoners to mark the Independence Day, Commissioner General of Prisons Chandraratne Pallegama said. He said 557 prisoners were freed, of which 17 are females. The prisoners freed were facing jail terms for minor offenses. The prisoners were released on the instructions of President Sirisena. Those who are in prison after being unable to pay their fines will not need to pay the fine as part of the amnesty being offered for Independence Day. more..

Tissa Attyanayake in prison hospital

Feb 4 (Island) Former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake, who was remanded on Monday over charges of producing an allegedly forged document against then Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Opposition presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena until Febraury 11, is being treated in the Welikada Prison hospital. The CID would arrest five more MPs in due course who had used that forged document at the UPFA propaganda rallies during presidential more..

President's brother Priyantha Sirisena still mining sand in Manampitiya illegally?

Feb 4 (AM) JVP accuses Priyantha Sirisena, a sibling of President Maithripala Sirsena, of conducting illegal sand mining in the Polonnaruwa distict. Polonnaruwa District Leader of JVP P.B. Sarath said although the President had banned sand mining in the area, his brother was secretly carrying out his "operations". He said there was a possibility that the President was not aware of this development. more..

Who is de Silva working for, President or MR? asks Gayantha

Feb 4 (DN) Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva should explain as to whether he is working for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa or for incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena, who is the leader of the SLFP, Media and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Gayantha Karunathilleke said. The minister said so in response to the Opposition Leader’s statement in Parliament on Monday over the arrest of former Health Minister and former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake. more..

4 dead, 2 critical after train collides with cab

Feb 4 (AD) Four persons of the same family were killed and 2 others critically injured after a cab collided with a train at the Batuwatta crossing on the main railway line today, police said. Police said that a family of six were traveling in the cab at the time of the accident. The father, two sons and a daughter died while another daughter and the mother are currently receiving treatment at the Ragama Hospital. The train services on the main railway line have temporarily halted due to the accident more..

Saudi-Lanka ties set to reach greater heights

Feb 4 (AN) With the dawn of 2015, Sri Lanka ushered into a new leadership under the umbrella of President Maithripala Sirisena and now country is celebrating its 67th anniversary of its independence day a month later. The island’s Ambassador Mohamed Hussein Mohammed, who was the former mayor of Colombo, hoped the new reign under President Sirisena will give a fresh impetus to the people and their govt for more..

'Grant Indian citizenship for Sri Lankan refugees if willing'

Feb 4 (PTI) Sri Lankan refugees should be sent back to the island nation only if they were willing to do so and govt should not hesitate to grant them Indian citizenship if they have opted to remain here, TNCC president E V K S Elangovan today said. "In my opinion, if they (Lankan refugees) are willing to get Indian citizenship after having spent so many years in this country, we should not hesitated to give them Indian citizenship," he told reporters. more..

Army to probe death of a soldier

Feb 4 (CG) The military has launched an investigation into the death of a soldier who reportedly drowned while having a sea bath at Arugambay this evening. Army officer Lieutenant T.A.D Bashitha of the Military Intelligence Corps (MIC) drowned while he was bathing in the Arugam Bay seas soon after his day’s training session at the Potential Course Officers Course (PCOC) was over, the army media unit said. Army officer and a group of junior officers are undergoing training more..

US may seek postponement of UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka

Feb 4 (ENS) Keeping in view the delicate political situation in Sri Lanka, the United States may ask the UNHRC to postpone the taking up of a resolution against that country at its March session, informed sources in the TNA told Express here on Wednesday. US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Nisha Biswal, had hinted at this during her interaction with TNA leaders on Tuesday, the sources said. more..

National Oil Company to oversee oil/gas exploration

Feb 4 (DM) The Power and Energy Ministry is to set up a National Oil Company (NOC) as a private–public partnership venture to oversee the offshore gas and oil exploration in Sri Lanka, Minister Champika Ranawaka said. He said that this company, once established, would function independent of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC). “Though this is a state company, it will be managed by the private sector. We do not possess technology in this sector. more..

Sri Lankan expats celebrate national day

Feb 4 (KT) The 67th National Day of Sri Lanka was celebrated with much pomp and festivity on Wednesday morning, at a brief ceremony at the Consul General of Sri Lanka. A row of Sri Lanka’s bright red-yellow national flags bearing the lion insignia were visible from a distance, fluttering outside the venue in Al Hudaiba. The event started at 9am with the lighting of the lamp, flag hoisting, national anthem, and also a 2-minute silence for the war heroes. more..

'SL's new developments shifts Geneva focus'

Feb 4 (CT) One of the significant remarks made by Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs of the US Department of State, Nisha Desai Biswal said though there may be a resolution and reports filed in Geneva to be tabled at the upcoming March session, there is still an opportunity for the govt by its action taken domestically, to shift the focus from Geneva to what happens in Colombo, more..

What the hell is going on?

Feb 5 (CT) In a previous column I raised the issue of what, if anything, some of the recently-appointed members brought to the Sirisena/Wickremesinghe Cabinet and its subsidiaries. While some of those appointments were obviously driven by the political compulsions of a broad coalition, many of them were inexplicable in the context of a government laying claim to any degree of democratic morality and supposedly dedicated to cleaning out the Augean stable of violence and corruption that more..

Dominion status, The lost independence

Feb 5 (CT) Nationalism, especially in its manifestation as anti-colonialism, is of universal appeal among those who have endured colonial domination. This is legitimate, but a proper understanding of this requires a closer look. Two dimensions are of particular importance. First, not all colonialisms are equal. The severity of their oppression varies according to the particular political cultures of the colonizers, which themselves have varied according to time. more..

Jaffna ground-water contamination

Feb 5 (SO) The demands for safe drinking water has risen in the Jaffna peninsula. Protests leading to hunger strikes in the area reveals the severity of the problem. School children, teachers, university academics and people from all communities have joined the protests. The ground-water in the limestone aquifer is the main source of water for the area. Aquifers are underground layers of rock that are saturated with water which more..

Will China help Mahinda to topple govt?

Feb 5 (CT) The first official statement issued by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, after his defeat, appeared in the print media last week. The statement looked to be a sad note from the former President. He regretted that the present govt was harassing him and his family members and had added China too, into that sad note. In that statement Mahinda urged the govt not to scoff or insult China. Following is the text of what Mahinda included in his statement: more..

Sri Lanka: Hope for Minorities?

Feb 5 (TD) A new president, Maithripala Sirisena, has brought a new wave of hope to SL, yet it is still a moment of somewhat tempered optimism for the minorities who constitute almost 30% of the population of this post-conflict country. Sirisena, with his election motto of compassionate governance, is walking a tightrope of balancing different political parties whilst aiming to fulfill several ambitious objectives, which include addressing war-crimes allegations through an independent domestic more..

'Election budget'

Feb 5 (CT) President of the Sri Lanka Economic Association, Prof. A.D.V. de S. Indraratne spoke about the 2015 interim budget put forward by the NDF govt. Q: Give us an overview of the budget? A: Some people called this an interim budget, while others called it a vote-on-account. It is neither. It is a revision of the last budget put forward by the govt of former President Rajapaksa, taking into account the promises made by the new more..

Overview of the 100 day program

Feb 5 (NS) Last week, this writer analyzed some of the points in the 100 day program. This analysis continues with other points in this program. 3. Graduates, who have to slave like laborers, will be given regular appointments in a systematic fashion. Opportunities for promotion will be provided in accordance with suitable criteria. 7. Pregnant mothers will be given an allowance of Rs 20,000 to supplement nourishment. 8. Excessive taxes will be lowered to reduce prices on ten food items. more..

Diyawanna’s Un-mandated Prime Minister

Feb 5 (NS) The whole political landscape of Sri Lanka shifted not only when the incumbent president as the minister of health crossed over after all the hair splitting speculations regarding a common candidate, but also because of what went on for months behind the scene. Everyone was taken aback by the sheer modus operandi of the actors that paved the way for the ‘change’. In Maithreepala Sirisena’s very first press conference, accompanied by other advisors and gurus, more..

Chandrika Kumaratunga

Sri Lanka’s travel trade veterans reminisce the halcyon days

Feb 5 (Island) Veteran Sri Lankan tour opetator and president and CEO, Gateway in Milan ,Italy, Ravi Dias Jayasinha expressed confidence that Sri Lanka’s tourism industry would do well with the introduction of professionals, with a wealth of experience, as done by the new govt. "The key is awareness and we need to market our product to the world after identifying the needs of the prospective visitors, he said. Jayasinha, a pioneer in Sri Lankas’ tourism industry said more..

Regionalism enjoying a new lease of life

Feb 5 (Island) One of the most thought-provoking features in international relations over the past few months is the increasing importance South Asia is acquiring in the eyes of powers, both regional and extra-regional. This is manifested in the main in the stepped-up interaction between India and the US and the marked improvement in Sino-Indian ties but of equal importance are Sri Lanka’s efforts to mend fences with the US and India in the aftermath of the ascension to SL’s presidency of Sirisena. more..

SL should protect migrants from abuse: UN

Feb 5 (AA) With nearly 2 million of its citizens working abroad and their remittances providing the island's largest single source of foreign exchange, the protection of Sri Lankan migrants is an urgent issue, according to the U.N. Abuse of workers abroad and reports about the mistreatment of migrants captured by Australian authorities at sea mean there is a spotlight on the Sri Lankan govt's new action plan for dealing with migrants. more..

Editorial: Plot and plotters

Feb 5 (Island) Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, appearing in her first television interview since her retirement in 2005, revealed her role in the much-talked-about successful Opposition campaign which ousted her bête noire, President Rajapaksa at the presidential election. In what may be described as a deluge of vituperation she tore Rajapaksa to shreds and, in her choice Sinhala words replete with lunu ambul, made him out to be blacker than the devil itself. more..

BOI Chief's appointment, too little, too late

Feb 5 (CT) The govt's recent appointment of President's Counsel Upul Jayasuriya as Board of Investment Chairman after keeping this vacancy unfilled for three weeks, was a case of too little, too late, market sources said. After the election of Maithripala Sirisena as President there had been a flood of investment inquiries emanating from the West, where investors have arrived in Sri Lanka, particularly from the USA. But with the BoI headless after the resignation of its more..

Freedom: Take III

Feb 5 (FT) A few mornings a week, Independence Square receives a VIP visitor. He arrives in an unmarked, nondescript pickup truck, accompanied by two people. One is a personal trainer. The other, a bodyguard. In a glossy blue t-shirt, track bottoms and neon-laced sports shoes, President Maithripala Sirisena could be just another morning walker at the Square. But within minutes, he is flanked by an entourage. more..

Arpico opens 17th Superstore at Kottawa

Feb 5 (CT) The Arpico retail chain in Sri Lanka opened its latest Superstore in Kottawa recently, making it the 17th hypermarket in its portfolio. The new store located at No. 296, High Level Road, Makumbura, Kottawa offers 10,000 square feet of retail space. It was ceremonially declared open by Professor Lakshman Watawala, Group Director of Richard Pieris and Company. The Kottawa Superstore retails a wide variety of products such as fast moving consumer goods, more..

India to expand list of duty free items to Sri Lanka under SAFTA

Feb 5 (DN) India plans to reduce the number of sensitive items that are at present subject to import duty under the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) for Pakistan and Sri Lanka. A.M. Gondane, Joint Secretary, SAARC, India's Ministry of External Affairs told a conference on 'Enhancing India-Pakistan trade', organized by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations on Monday that India has already cut down the sensitive list of items for more..

Minister cuts wealth-flaunters down to size; breaks tradition

Feb 5 (Island) Making a paradigm shift from the past of the UNP, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told a large business gathering recently that the govt has to tax the 2% of the wealthy to provide relief to the 98% of the general public who voted the new govt in. "We must fulfill the deserving aspirations of the 98% of the people. I know that businesspeople in the upper echelons have become concerned about some of the tax proposals, more..

Stock markets' volatility to continue due to unstable rupee

Feb 5 (CT) Volatility in markets will continue today from where it left off on Monday after a brief two day interlude due to the poya and independence day holidays because of the restart of foreign funds' exit from the stock market, import pressure and the State buying of US dollars to meet its various commitments, sources said. Monday saw a net foreign outflow (NFO) of Rs 180.4 million led by JKH, the bourse's largest capitalized stock which suffered a NFO of Rs 404.1 million more..

Tea exports to key markets further aggravated

Feb 5 (CT) Tea exporters are up in arms over a 2015 interim budget proposal which specifies that Rs. 2.5 Billion, out of the Rs. 4.2 Billion which has been collected from the Tea Promotions and Marketing Levy from exporters, is to be used to bridge the budget deficit! "There is a proposal in the interim budget which was presented in Parliament that state organizations which have surplus cash have to part with a certain percentage for bridging the budget deficit. more..