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FUTA protest today to demand resignation of UGC Chairperson

Jan 22 (Island) The FUTA said that it would stage a protest at the UGC today to demand the resignation of UGC Chairperson Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama. FUTA Executive Committee Member Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri said the FUTA executive committee had unanimously endorsed the resignation of not only the UGC Chairperson but also the entire Council appointed by then President Rajapaksa more..

They who own aircraft

Jan 22 (SL) A two-seater light aircraft that former President Rajapaksa’s son Yoshitha Rajapaksa owned was found in a store at the Economic Center, Narahenpita a few days ago. Now questions have been raised why Rajapaksa wanted to dismantle the aircraft in a hurry after his father’s defeat two weeks ago. Questions have also been raised as to why this dilapidated aircraft was hidden in a store at Narahenpita if the owner more..

CID records Udaya’s statement

Jan 22 (CG) The police CID today recorded a statement from WPC member Udaya Gammanpila over the alleged coup attempt a day after the Presidential elections. Gammanpila was at Temple Trees the night the new Govt claims a coup was discussed in order to ensure former President Rajapaksa remains in power. The former JHU member, however, denied claims of an attempted coup and said that what was more..

Defence Secy receives briefing from top officials representing raided security firm

Jan 22 (Island) A pro-govt anti-corruption outfit assured that it wouldn’t pursue a course inimical to national security interests. This assurance was given by JHU spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe on behalf of the grouping at a media briefing. Warnasinghe was flanked by attorney-at-law Shiral Lakthilake, newly appointed Coordinating Secretary to President Sirisena and attorney-at-law Maithree Gunaratne. more..

CID to record statement from Gota over Lasantha's murder

Jan 22 (AM) Former Minister Mervyn Silva's statement to the CID - in which he dubbed ex-Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa of conspiracy as the man behind Lasantha Wickrematunga's murder - will play a key role in the renewed investigation into the brutal assassination of the former Sunday Leader Editor, a top govt spokesperson said. Based on that statement, he said, the CID will record a statement from more..

UK report says Sri Lanka still short

Jan 22 (CG) There was no overall improvement in the human rights situation in Sri Lanka during the last three months of last year, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in an update on Sri Lanka’s human rights situation, as the island continued to remain as a country of concern. The update notes that the UNHRC examined Sri Lanka’s fifth periodic report from 7-8 Oct 2014. Committee’s observations covered a wide range of issues, more..

SL rejects allegations by former president

Jan 22 (Xinhua) The newly elected Sri Lankan govt on Thursday refuted allegations by former president Rajapaksa, saying it was not taking any political revenge on him but was instead conducting bribery and corruption investigations against the former govt. Minister Gayantha Karunathillake said that the former president's allegations were baseless and that the present govt was committed to charging all more..

Cabraal’s and Sajin’s passports seized

Jan 22 (AM) Former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivad Cabraal is under investigation for causing a colossal financial loss of Rs 9.7 billion to the govt of Sri Lanka, highly placed sources of the Bribery Commission said. In a major development in this regard, the Bribery Commission imposed an overseas travel ban on the former Central Bank Governor, seizing his passport along with that of MP Sajin Vaas Gunawardena, more..

Give teeth to NEC

Jan 22 (CT) Maithripala Sirisena Govt has appointed an upper chamber, similar to that of the now discarded Senate. The Senate was abolished after the institution of Sri Lanka's First Republican Constitution in 1972 under the auspices of the then UF Govt of late Premier Sirima Bandaranaike. The First Republican Constitution replaced the Soulbury Constitution of 1948, under which Constitution Sri Lanka was governed from Independence, until it was discarded 24 years later in 1972. more..

Power plays behind Sirisena's surprise victory in Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (AJ) In late 2014, the Sri Lanka station chief for India’s foreign intelligence service left the capital, Colombo. His departure surfaced in a short item on Dec. 28 in a local newspaper, the Sunday Times, which speculated that “links with the common opposition” — that is, getting too close to the broad coalition of parties opposing then-president Rajapaksa — led to the spy chief’s exit. The move drew little notice at the time — Sri Lanka was in the midst of intense campaigning in more..

Wimal Weerawansha

Sri Lanka shares recover from 1-month low

Jan 22 (Reuters) Sri Lankan shares ended slightly higher after hitting one-month lows on Thursday, but concerns over political stability weighed on sentiment as investors awaited the new govt's interim budget scheduled for next week. The main stock index fell 1.37% to a one-month low of 7,223.92 in early trade, a day after the govt reappointed Thilak Karunaratne as head of the market regulator and said he would investigate suspected deals in the stock market. more..


Jan 22 (CT) Why were the police slower than slow in acting against marauding MP Palitha Thevarapperuma? Wasn’t this tardiness due to the fact that the alleged miscreant is on the governing side? Does it not demonstrate that as far as the police are concerned nothing very much has changed? If a UNP politician attacked a UPFA politician just a month ago, the police would have arrested him in the blink of an eye. When will the police learn that their job is to move against more..

Yahapalanaya?: President's brother appointed as Telecom Chairman

Jan 22 (AM) President Maithripala Sirisena’s brother Kumarasinghe Sirisena has been appointed as the Chairman of Sri Lanka Telecom. Govt sources confirmed that Sirisena assumed duties as the Telecom Chairman this morning. Kumarasinghe Sirisena was the CEO/General Manager of the State Timber Corporation from 2006 to December, last year. He was sacked from the govt job soon after Sirisena announced more..

President Sirisena assures China of pragmatic cooperation

Jan 22 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena has assured China that his national unity govt was willing to implement the consensus reached during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Sri Lanka last September. Spokesman for the Chinese Embassy said that Sirisena’s pledge had been conveyed to the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Wu Jinaghao, when he had paid a courtesy call on the new President last week, to congratulate him on his Jan 8 election victory. more..

Sri Lanka gas production continues to present challenges: Cairn

Jan 22 (EN) Cairn India has hinted at difficulties in starting natural gas production from Sri Lanka's offshore Mannar Basin with more seismic data processing planned to further refine the block's potential. The company, releasing its results for the third quarter ended 31st Dec, 2014, has spoken of "challenges" in starting gas production, an apparent reference to long-drawn talks with SL on agreeing on a price and how to sell the gas. "Commercialization of the gas discoveries more..

Sri Lankan Muslims call on investigation into religious killings

Jan 22 (Xinhua) A Sri Lankan minority party on Thursday called upon the newly elected president to reinvestigate religious killings which had occurred in the country under the previous regime. The SLMC said that while the govt had a tight schedule under its 100-day policy program, it would request the president to reinvestigate Muslim killings and attacks led by Sinhala extremist monks last June, soon after the April general elections. more..

Nedumaran seeks a merged N-E

Jan 22 (CG) New govt in Sri Lanka should merge the Northern and Eastern provinces and accord the right to land and policing rights to the local govt, if it wanted to win the faith of Tamils, founder of Tamil Desiya Munnani P. Nedumaran, said. He said that he would take the promise of SL PM Ranil Wickramasinghe on implementing 13th Amendment with a pinch of salt. “Such a move should get SL Parliament’s ratification to make it legal or else it will face the same fate as in the past,” more..

Weerawansa blames Basil for election defeat

Jan 22 (AM) Leader of NFF Wimal Weerawansa said that former Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s conduct was a main reason for the defeat of his brother former president Rajapaksa in the recent presidential election. He made this comment to BBC when questioned about PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s comment in parliament that Wimal Weerawansa helped defeat Mahinda Rajapaksa. Weerawansa countered by stating that he actually helped increase the votes for Mahinda Rajapaksa. more..

Sri Lanka multi-party anti-graft committee to probe past scams

Jan 22 (EN) A multi-party committee headed by PM Ranil Wickramasinghe and another task force headed by JVP leader Anura Dissanayake will probe large scale corrupt deals of the last regime, a minister said. They will probe alleged corrupt deals at the EPF, Colombo Stock Exchange scams, assets of suspected 'large scale fraudsters', illegal land acquisitions and large volumes of items found in different places that were brought into the more..

Environmental groups call for the head of Wildlife DG

Jan 22 (Island) The Environmental Organisations Collective (EOC) urged the govt to remove the Wildlife Director General immediately over alleged corruption in the issuance of permits for elephant calves during the last few years. Species Conservation Centre’s Pubudu Weeraratne asked the govt to appoint an independent commission to probe corruption at the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC). He said that all the complaints made to the Commission to Investigate more..

Bring Ministry of Labour under separate entity

Jan 22 (CT) The Inter Company Workers' Union (ICWU) demanded that government reconstructs the Ministry of Labour as a separate entity. It was then that the govt could resolve the problems faced by 6.5 million employees of the private sector, the ICWU told a press conference. The govt had committed a serious error by bringing the Department of Labour under the Ministry of Justice. ICWA now has decided to take up the matter with President Maithripala Sirisena. more..

'Revenue of Rs 65bn foregone from Sri Lanka fuel price cut'

Jan 22 (EN) Sri Lanka's state will lose 65 billion rupees in potential revenues a year from tax cuts made to slash fuel prices, this week minister Champika Ranawaka said, but future revisions would be on a transparent formula. State can only give 'benefits' to people from taxes taken from the people themselves, funds borrowed from citizens or from abroad or money printed at the Central Bank which causes inflation and more..

Sri Lanka to boost trade and passenger traffic with India amid state visits

Jan 22 (EN) Sri Lanka and India will seek to boost air and sea travel between the two countries and also boost trade and investment with state visits planned by leaders of both countries, a minister said. Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi had invited Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena to visit India and he is also hoping to visit Sri Lanka, foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera had told the cabinet of minister following his first visit abroad to India. more..

Country gets more Botanical Gardens by end 2016

Jan 22 (Island) The country’s fifth botanical garden, the ‘Seethawaka Wet Zone’ would be opened to the public this year at Avissawella on 105 acres to conserve threatened wet zone flora, National Botanical Gardens Department (NBGD) said yesterday. NBGD Director General Dr. Cyril Wijesundara told The Island that the project was now nearing completion. Under the first phase, 81 acres had been developed and it would be expanded to 105 acres in the future, he said. more..

Sri Lanka to seek IMF, WB & RBI help to trace money stashed abroad

Jan 22 (PTI) The new Sri Lankan govt today said it plans to seek assistance from the Reserve Bank of India, the World Bank and the IMF to trace billions of dollars in ill-gotten wealth allegedly stashed abroad by persons close to former president Rajapaksa. The new govt is aware that people who held high positions had hidden "billions of dollars" in foreign accounts, cabinet spokesman and Minister, Rajith Senaratne said today. more..

Milne out of Dunedin double; Malinga still missing for Sri Lanka

Jan 22 (CI) From Nelson at the top of New Zealand's South Island, the teams have travelled to Dunedin on the south east coast, the southernmost venue to have hosted a men's ODI and where Sri Lanka will take on Afghanistan in a World Cup game exactly a month from now. Sri Lanka are playing a double-header in the space of three days at University Oval and need victory in both games to have a chance of winning the seven-match series against New Zealand. more..

Sajith visits Sarvodaya

Jan 22 (CT) Minister of Housing and Samurdhi, Sajith Premadasa paid a visit to the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement yesterday to pay tribute to the organization for its services done to the public. He made this visit ahead of assuming duties at his Ministry today. Premadasa, who reminisced about his late father, R Premadasa, said his father and the Sarvodaya movement had worked together on several occasions and each had benefited from the other in serving the greater community. more..

Malinga on track to play in World Cup

Jan 22 (CI) Lasith Malinga remains on track to play in the 2015 World Cup, despite having suffered a minor setback in his recovery from ankle surgery, team manager Michael de Zoysa has confirmed. Malinga had experienced pain in his left ankle after he had begun to bowl off a short run-up in December, but he has now sufficiently recovered to begin bowling in the nets again. "He's been bowling all week, and more..

Pakistan and Sri Lanka keen to enhance bilateral cooperation

Jan 22 (GDI) The High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Major Gen (Retd) Qasim Qureshi called on the SL Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, at the Ministry of External Affairs. They discussed a range of issues encompassing the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, including ways and means of sustaining and further building momentum in bilateral cooperation. The High Commissioner also delivered the message of felicitations from Advisor to the PM of Pakistan on National Security more..

Video: New Defence Secretary asked to explain

Jan 22 (DM) President Sirisena has called for an explanation from the newly appointed Defence Secretary on the statement he made regarding an account held by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Minister Rajitha Senaratne said. “It appears that the Defence Secretary and the Army Spokesman have commented on the controversial account so as to protect Mr. Rajapaksa. Army Spokesman is not aware about the fiscal policies of the country,” Dr. Senaratne said. more..

Change of govt likely to affect bogus Sri Lankan asylum seekers

Jan 22 (Island) Home Office closely monitored the situation in countries that generated asylum seekers to the UK, including Sri Lanka, and provided accurate, objective, sourced and up to date country information for the use of those officials involved in the asylum decision making process, a spokesperson for the British High Commission said. She was responding to a query by The Island whether the Home Office would be reviewing more..

Video: Hirunika levels corruption charges against Ports

Jan 22 (DM) Member of the WPC Hirunika Premachnadra today lodged complaint at the Commission to Investigate Bribery and Corruption on alleged frauds with regard to Hambantota Port making the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman as the respondent. Ms. Premachnadra told journalists that there had had been serious violation of procedures when awarding tenders under nine projects at the Hambantota Port. She alleged that the tenders had been awarded to more..

New military spokesman appointed

Jan 22 (SLA) Brigadier K.J Jayaweera, currently the Director, Directorate of Media at Army Headquarters has been appointed temporarily as new Military Spokesman, Director Training & Coordination and Spokesman-Media Centre, Ministry of Defence and Office of the Chief of Defence Staff (OCDS) with immediate effect, in addition to his present duties at the Army Headquarters. Former Military Spokesman, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, who was holding above appointments, more..

CID grills GL over alleged coup

Jan 22 (DM) Former Minister G.L. Peiris had been questioned by the CID officers this afternoon over an alleged attempt in the early hours of Janua 9 to thwart the electoral process and to prevent, by unlawful means, the transfer of power after the Presidential Election. “In the overall context of the current strident emphasis on good governance, I expressed deep regret that I was subjected to this harassment without more..

Political balance still precarious

Jan 23 (NS) The election victory of the common opposition candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, can be characterized as a victory for democracy in its broadest meaning of the term. However, the specificities of the future processes of democracy or good governance are still to be worked out, not to speak of reconciliation for the moment. Not that I am considering reconciliation as secondary, but it should go hand in hand with democracy and good governance. If we get the house in order, more..

Historic opportunity squandered

Jan 23 (CT) In the aftermath of the military defeat of the dreaded LTTE in May 2009, the entire country- Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and all others, expected everyone to learn lesson from the war and end racist politics. They expected former President Rajapaksa to unify communities and exploit the historic opportunity to move the country ahead to face challenges in the fast changing competitive world. After all if politicians who turned this paradise of a country into a living hell more..

'Management lavish with top brass: Plantation workers paid a pittance'

Jan 23 (SO) The Political leader of the UPF Velusamy Radhakrishnan MP who is to take over as the State Minister of Education under the new govt said that he would carry out his responsibility with focus on the educationally-lagging plantation community whom he represents. He also explained the reasons which prompted a large majority of the plantation community to vote for President Sirisena at Presidential poll more..

To new media Minister & Secretary: Priority check list for media

Jan 23 (CT) Dear Gayantha and Parane, You accepted the media as a ministerial portfolio from Keheliya Rambukwella – Charitha Herath duo after a challenging period for us in the field of journalism. All four of you are not strangers to the media but the expectations from you two are high as ever. These hopes go well beyond laptops, bank loans, foreign trips and duty free cars. These high expectations are quite natural whenever there is a change of regime but in all previous instances more..

Premadasa Impeachment, 24 years on, Did history repeat Itself…?

Jan 23 (NS) Since William Latimer, the 4th Baron and the English noble, soldier and diplomat was impeached in 1376 [the earliest recorded], several impeachments of Heads of State, CJs and highest level public servants have taken place in democratic world over the centuries. Richard Nixon President US, faced an impeachmentIn 1974, compelling him to tender his resignation. In Sri Lanka, J R Jayewardene initiated an impeachment motion against his friend Neville Samarakoon, more..