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​Is searching my house good governance: MR

Jan 20 (DM) Former President Rajapaksa said for the first time since 1931, the residence of the Rajapaksa family was searched by the police and questioned whether it was a part of the present Govt’s policy of good governance. He told the media during his visit to the Asgiriya Temple today that the Rajapaksa family had been in politics since 1931, but for the first time his house was searched by the police. After paying homage to the sacred tooth relic the former president met more..

Sri Lanka's new premier promises Tamils more autonomy

Jan 20 (AFP) Sri Lanka's new govt pledged Tuesday to devolve power to the country's Tamil minority, in a step towards national reconciliation six years after a controversial military offensive crushed a separatist rebellion. PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his first address to parliament since taking office, said lawmakers needed to bring a political conclusion to the conflict between govt troops and LTTE that ended in 2009. more..

CID to probe Tiran's revelation on money deal linked to LTTE

Jan 20 (AM) The CID is to commence an investigation on MP Tiran Alles and the alleged transaction with the LTTE which led to an presidential election boycott in the North in November, 2005. Alles made a public revelation in 2010 saying Basil Rajapaksa personally handed over, at his office, Rs. 180 million to the then LTTE financial controller Emil Kanthan to ensure that the people of the north refrained from voting at the 2005 presidential election. more..

3222 firearms are missing at BMICH armory

Jan 20 (AD) Police confirmed, a short while ago, that the investigation teams found 151 firearms at the armory belonging to private security firm Rakna Arakshaka Lanka at BMICH premises, however, said they have no records what happened to some 3222 firearms stored at the arms depot. Police have records of some 3473 firearms which had been registered with the ministry; however, the teams have recovered 151 guns from the armory, following this morning’s inquiry. more..

TNA calls on new govt to share power

Jan 20 (AP) Sri Lanka's main ethnic Tamil political party called on Tuesday for the new govt to resolve the longstanding ethnic conflict that led to the country's quarter-century civil war. The leader of the TNA, R Sampanthan, told Parliament that the failure to resolve the issue has caused many of the nation's ills. It was Parliament's first session since President Sirisena was elected Jan. 8. "The Tamil question needs to be addressed so as more..

In defence of MIA

Jan 21 (CT) This is the second time I am writing to ‘defend’ MIA. The first time was in 2009. When she spoke out against the war, instead of getting a warm welcome as a major public figure using their fame to bring attention to the plight of Tamils, she received a rebuke. A Tamil ‘economist’ based in Sri Lanka decided to give her a ‘maths lesson’. Apparently she didn’t understand numbers – according to him she exaggerated the number of people being killed! That same ‘economist’ had claimed more..

Yahapalanayak Thiyenawada?

Jan 21 (CT) Citizens of Sri Lanka, especially those who worked for a change without expecting any returns nor positions such as posts of Permanent Secretaries or even Coordinating Secretaries or to be Heads of Authorities or to get a lucrative business deal and so on, are wondering now, about the definition of Yahapalanaya – good governance. Of course the manifesto did not exactly state the words Yahapalanaya. It said Maithri Palanayak, Sthavara Ratak. more..

'Creative people, Sri Lanka's resource'

Jan 21 (SO) Economic prosperity is the key figure in symbolising a country's development. Today the key to success is innovation-based economy coupled with scientific research and business development. "Clearly there are several leverage points in SL natural resources, but the biggest resource Sri Lanka has, as in NZ, is the highly educated and creative people," said Professor Mark Taylor of Auckland University, more..

Executive presidency and the SL state

Jan 21 (GV) If there was a central plank to the common opposition platform in the presidential election, it was about what to do with the executive presidential system in general and the 18th Amendment in particular, in view of the crisis of democratic governance created by the insidious authoritarianism and pervasive corruption of the Rajapaksa regime. During the campaign, except for those who blindly supported the regime come what may, it was clear that there was a wide – and more..

Reforming Higher Education

Jan 21 (Island) Sri Lankan discourse on higher education in the last decade or so has centered around three key issues. The first question has been focused on the inadequacy of higher educational opportunities that the state university system is capable of providing for young people who wish to continue their education after GCE A/L exam. The total yearly intake of the state universities is around 25,000—much lower than the number of students who are qualified for higher education. more..

'Parents shouldn't have to pay for tuition'

Jan 21 (CT) Newly appointed Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha takes over a sector that has seen a tumultuous period under former Minister of Higher Education, S.B. Dissanayake. The internal issues and politicization of the universities is at an all-time high and so are the student suspensions. Prof. Wijesinha spoke to Ceylon Today to discuss the challenges he faces and his plans for his 100-day tenure. more..

Reduction of large trade deficit third economic imperative

Jan 21 (ST) The three most important challenges facing the new govt are, in order of priorities, the containment of the fiscal deficit, reduction of the foreign debt and lessening the trade deficit. Sustained economic growth is not possible without resolving these interrelated fundamental problems. An improvement in each leads to improvements in the others. Fiscal consolidation and reduction of the foreign debt were discussed in previous two columns. more..

Donoughmore, Bundestag, Westminister or Yaha Palanaya?

Jan 21 (GV) According to President Maithripala Sirisena’s timetable for his 100-day reform programme, the Standing Orders of Parliament are to be amended on 20th January to reform the parliamentary committee system. According to the website, ““The Standing Orders will be amended and, in terms of Proposal 67/10 now tabled in Parliament, Oversight Committees will be set up comprising members of Parliament who are not in the Cabinet will be established [sic] and more..

He predicted Maithri's victory

Jan 21 (CT) Astrologer S.J. Samarakoon predicted the victory of Maithripala Sirisena. Political changes have taken place at each occasion the House chief Saturn moves into the 10th House, Sagittarius of the Sri Lanka horoscope which owns Aquarius, he says. Q: While the popular and veteran astrologers predicted Mahinda Rajapaksa would win the Presidential election, only you said to Mawbima newspaper that more..

Editorial: Winner’s party as loser

Jan 21 (Island) The SLFP finds itself in a peculiar situation. Its predicament is unprecedented. There have been attacks on its activists in the aftermath of the Jan. 08 presidential election. The latest incident has been reported from Kalutara, where UNP MP Palitha Thevarapperuma assaulted a UPFA local government member after dragging the victim in full view of the public along a road, which he seems to believe, leads to good governance and ‘compassionate rule’. more..

The Way Forward for the Energy Sector

Jan 21 (Island) The days of power blackouts are long gone. Sri Lanka’s last official ‘load shedding’ was on May 15, 2002. A few unofficial power cuts occurred in 2011, amidst a severe crisis in weather and the outage of the one and only coal-fired power plant. Finally today, the much hated coal-fired power plant, if all the three generators are up and running, is capable of providing 50% of the country’s electricity supply at a cost less than half the cost of oil-fired generation. more..

Gotabhaya responds to allegations

Jan 21 (Island) The former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa responds to some of the allegations that were made against him in the wake of President Rajapaksa’s defeat on Jan. 08. Q: There is this talk of an attempted coup in the early hours of Jan 9. What really happened? A: I went to Temple Trees early in the morning. We had received intelligence reports earlier that opposition activists would surround Temple Trees in more..

A Ministry for Food Security welcome

Jan 21 (Island) There are many criticisms on the segregation and naming of portfolios as well as the naming of the new ministers. Some ministers are really square pegs in round holes and it defies comprehension why they were appointed even to a caretaker Cabinet. This aside, for a professional working for the last 15 years in a govt/UN/NGO team trying to achieve some success in trying to accomplish this daunting task, a Ministry of Food Security came as a pleasant surprise. more..

Asitha six seals tight win for SL U-19s

Jan 21 (CI) Pace bowler Asitha Fernando took his six wickets at crucial stages as Sri Lanka Under-19s edged out Bangladesh Under-19s by four runs in the second Youth ODI in Colombo. They now have a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. Fernando took three wickets inside 5.3 overs to rock Bangladesh's pursuit of 180 runs. The visitors kept slipping, falling to 52 for 6 in the 15th over. Shahanur Rahman provided the only resistance with his 72 off 123 balls. more..

From bullets to ballots: The face of Sri Lanka’s former war zone

Jan 21 (IPS) In four months’ time, Sri Lanka will mark the sixth anniversary of the end of its bloody civil conflict. Ever since govt armed forces declared victory over the LTTE on May 19, 2009, the country has savored peace after a generation of war. Suffocating security measures have given way to a sense of normalcy in most parts of the country, while steady growth has replaced patchy economic progress – averaging above 6% since 2009. more..

CCC facilitates partnership between Lankan jeweller and a Norwegian gift marketer

Jan 21 (Island) The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce recently facilitated a partnership between Sri Lanka’s Naraa Jewellery Mart and Norway’s VIVO Holdings as, a firm dealing with books, gifts and handmade articles. The two firms signed an MOU, which will pave the way for both entities to enter into a Joint Venture Agreement in the future in a bid help expand the business scope of each other. Under the new partnership, the Norwegian firm will help Naraa, which is involved in manufacturing more..

'Increase private sector wages too'

Jan 21 (CT) In light of the govt proposing an interim budget with salary increases for public servants, the Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU) said that the private sector workers, who helped bring down the Rajapaksa family rule, deserved a salary increase. The ICEU said that while an increase of Rs 5,000 has been proposed for govt servants, in President Maithripala Sirisena's 100-day plan, however, the private sector, which was larger in number than the public sector and more..

Checking waste: Ravi K walks the talk

Jan 21 (FT) Walking the talk on good governance, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake rapped several State institutions for placing press advertisements of a political nature with the Treasury asking those responsible to pay out of their own pocket rather than wasting public funds. Holding his first press conference, Karunanayake displayed some of the ads and said Finance Ministry will give a directive to more..

‘Debentures worth Rs18 bn raised on CAL advice in 2014’

Jan 21 (Island) ‘During 2014, Capital Alliance Sri Lanka advised clients on five debenture issues worth a total value of Rs. 18 billion. A total of Rs. 10 billion was raised in the month of December alone. The company’s portfolio comprises a cross-section of clients including commercial banks, leading corporates and finance companies across Sri Lanka. ‘CAL raised the entirety of the aforesaid Rs. 18 billion single digit interest rates, further showcasing the company’s ability to raise long-term funds more..

Planters renew call for alternative worker wage model

Jan 21 (DM) The Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) said t hat they will be lobbying for an alternative payment strategy such as a contract or an ownership based structure for estate workers, in face of unsustainable wage increases, during a round table discussion yesterday. “We need to move away from a wage-based payment structure,” Sunshine Holdings CEO Dr. Dan Seevaratnam said. PA Chairman Roshan Rajadurei said that future wage increases cannot be stopped and more..

Health minister vows to help kidney patients

Jan 21 (AP) Sri Lanka's new health minister said a mystery kidney disease that has ravaged farmers in part of the country for two decades will be given top priority under the newly elected govt. An estimated 70,000 to 400,000 people have been sickened in the North Central province's rice basket, and despite years of research, the cause of the chronic disease has not been determined. Thousands of patients require regular dialysis more..

Good wishes from EASL

Jan 21 (Island) Exporters’ Association of Sri Lanka (EASL) wishes to extend its good wishes to the newly elected President, Maithripala Sirisena, the new PM, Ranil Wickremesinghe, the new Cabinet of ministers, state ministers and the deputy ministers. The EASL, which is the apex body for exporters in Sri Lanka, commends the govt’s impressive plan to restore good governance in the country whilst taking steps to create economic growth and prosperity in the nation. more..

CA Sri Lanka to kick off popular cyber-crime fighting diploma

Jan 21 (Island) The popular cyber-crime fighting course, the Diploma in Information Systems Security, Control & Audit (DISSCA) conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) kicked off on Jan 19. The programme which has already completed 21 batches, is conducted in collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and is conducted by foreign expert, Mathew A Thomas, Chartered Accountant more..

Tissa wants to sit with the UNP: Irked by seating arrangement walks out

Jan 21 (Island) UNP MP Tissa Attanayake did not attend Parliament yesterday as he had not been given a seat on the govt side. Attanayake had inquired from Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake where he would be accommodated. Secretary General informed the MP that seats had been allocated in accordance with a list provided by the Leader of the House. Attanayake’s name was not in the list. more..

Special unit to investigate corrupt individuals: Champika

Jan 21 (DN) Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka said a special unit will be set up to investigate activities of corrupt individuals, including Kumaran Pathmanathan and his clique which attacked the Sri Dalada Maligawa with a lorry laden with 36 tons of explosives, who had become the pets of the previous govt, and haul them before courts. The govt will not be reluctant to punish corrupt persons by implementing the law even if they have joined the govt, he said. more..

Alleged irregularities in H’tota port construction to be probed

Jan 21 (DN) Port and Naval Affairs Minister Arjuna Ranatunga said a special investigation will be launched into the alleged irregularities and corrupt deals involved in the construction of the Hambantota port. He said information is still being received by his ministry regarding alleged irregularities committed during port development activities undertaken by the previous regime. He was addressing the media after he called on the Malwatte and Asgiriya Prelates at their respective temples in Kandy and more..

Udaya threatens to expose Champika’s sins

Jan 21 (Island) WPC member Udaya Gammanpila said that people had donated Rs. 100 for his election campaign as the Colombo District team leader of the UPFA for the Provincial Council Election and he was still in the UPFA. He said however, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe who organised a protest opposite his old office and residence demanding the return of Rs 100 had to explain to the public why he had left the UPFA. more..

Is Maithripala afraid of Thewarapperuma?

Jan 21 (AM) It looks as if President Maithripala Sirisena is afraid to arrest Palitha Thewarapperuma - the unruly MP of the UNP who wreaked havoc in Agalawaththa, Mathugama, a few days ago. Despite clear video evidence showing how Thewarapperuma made a PS member kneel in public, President Sirisena has decided to buy more time, without arresting the Parliamentarian whose behaviour was utterly despicable. Police complaints have already been made in this regard, but no concrete more..

China will suffer losses if Sri Lanka scraps Colombo Port project

Jan 21 (PTI) China will suffer heavy losses if the new Sri Lankan government halts the $ 1.5 billion Colombo Port city, bringing to fore the need for restraint in India-China competition in economic sector in small countries, an official daily said here today. "The Chinese side will suffer heavy losses if the $ 1.5 billion project that started in September is halted. Given similar cases in Myanmar, this has triggered many concerns domestically," state-run Global Times said in its first editorial after more..

Mangala promises demilitarisation of North, domestic war crimes probe

Jan 21 (Island) Minister of External Affairs Mangala Samaraweera has outlined a series of steps President Sirisena’s Govt will undertake to achieve national reconciliation in the civil war-ravaged island-nation. Talking to a select group of journalists here on Monday, he said the new govt will demilitarise the Northern Province, order a domestic probe into the excesses reportedly committed during the last phase of the more..

Austin Fernando tipped to take over as Eastern Governor

Jan 21 (FT) Former Defence Secretary and retired civil service officer Austin Fernando is tipped to be Governor of the Eastern Province. Fernando was appointed as a presidential advisor to President Maithripala Sirisena last week. He is likely to remain an advisor while also serving a five-year term as Governor of the Eastern Province, a former conflict zone. Fernando, who retired as a senior official in the Sri Lanka Administrative Service (SLAS) was Secretary to the Ministry of Defence during more..

TISL says Rs. 140 m incurred by SLTB for presidential poll work

Jan 21 (FT) Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) said yesterday that based on credible information, Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) was facing an estimated loss of a staggering Rs. 140 million due to providing buses for the transportation of the general public to the rallies and meetings organised by the UPFA presidential candidate former President Rajapaksa during the recently-concluded presidential election. TISL has already written to the newly-appointed Minister more..

Licenses of all Duty Free shops cancelled?

Jan 21 (MR) Media reports that new govt has revoked duty free licences at the country’s international airports are inaccurate. Reports said that Minister Faizer Musthapha had ordered “the cancellation of duty free licences at BIA and Mattala International Airport". Report added that the Minister was dissatisfied with the transparency of the issuing of the licences and noted that he plans to re-tender space at the airports. more..

PM for strong relationship with Pakistan

Jan 21 (BR) PM Ranil Wickramasinghe has said that he is committed to further strengthen the already strong relationship between the two countries. He was talking to the Pakistani High Commissioner of Pakistan Major General Qasim Qureshi (Retd) who called him at Temple Trees, the Pakistani embassy said on Tuesday. The Lankan PM stated that both sides should expeditiously co-ordinate dates for President Maithripala Sirisena's visit to Pakistan in the near future. more..

Gamini Wickramasinge new Chairman at Lanka Hospitals

Jan 21 (FT) Top business leader Dr. Gamini Wickramasinghe has been appointed as the new Chairman of The Lanka Hospitals Corporation (formerly Apollo). His appointment follows the resignation of former Secretary Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as Chairman of the Company after the defeat of President Rajapaksa regime. Via SL Insurance Corporation and Bank of Ceylon subsidiary Property Development, Govt controls owns nearly 70% stake in Lanka Hospitals. more..