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Tourism and sport road to the international

Jan 25 (CT) Two good gentlemen Navin Dissanayake and Wasantha Senanayake have been appointed by the Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena to the sports ministry as the minister and his deputy respectively. From the inception the Dissanayake humbleness and the caring Senanayake attitudes were seen in the way they spoke of non-political interference towards the federations and sports ministry, and all those now in these places and position would continue regardless. more..

Aston Martin duty waiver

Jan 25 (Island) How did an Aston Martin sports car come into the country duty free a couple of years ago, is a question now evoking official attention. It appears that a duty waiver had been granted, but for what reason nobody knows. Given the huge duties imposed on vehicles in this country, a vehicle such as that would have attracted several million by way of duty under normal circumstances. "Was this duty free import enabled by connections?" is the multi-million rupee question. more..

Two years stint for CB governor

Jan 25 (CT) The maiden Cabinet meeting of the Sirisena Administration turned into 'somewhat' a minor stormy session last week when PM Ranil Wickremesinghe proposed the name of Arjuna Mahendran as the Central Bank Governor, who is a foreign passport holder, authoritative sources disclosed. PM Wickremesinghe's proposal met with protest when Minister Rajitha Senaratne, stated that Mahendran was a foreign passport holder. more..

Ceylinco denies part in EGM brawl

Jan 25 (NS) Ceylinco Insurance PLC has denied any involvement of its directors in the brawl which erupted at the Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) held on January 20. The scuffle was reported during the EGM of the company last week. Global Rubber Industries (GRI), a shareholder of the group on Tuesday alleged that Directors of Ceylinco had assaulted some of the shareholders following disagreements on the issue of segregation of its insurance businesses as required by more..

Driving tests soon with automatic vehicles

Jan 25 (ST) The next generation of Sri Lankan drivers would soon be licensed after passing tests using automatic transmission vehicles against the standard, ages-old manual gears. Motor Traffic Department (MTD) Commissioner General S.H. Harischandra has granted permission for trial runs on vehicles with automatic transmission and the consequent issue of driving licences. Holder of an ‘automatic’ driving licence will be permitted to drive only auto vehicles and not manual vehicles more..

'Extremism led to Mahinda Rajapaksas defeat'

Jan 25 (Island) Sinhala Buddhist extremism had led to the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa at the last Presidential Election, one of his former Ministers said. Former Deputy Foreign Minister Neomal Perera said that the religious minorities feared that if  President Rajapaksa was re-elected for a third term the BBS and other extremists in the UPFA govt, whom he had failed to discipline, would have created more..

Banking consolidation comes under heavy fire

Jan 25 (CT) Bigwigs in the banking and the finance companies sector are scheduled to meet Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva and Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, claiming that they were made to agree to the previous govt's banking sector consolidation process under heavy duress. Former Board of Investment Chairman Arjuna Mahendran is tipped to take over as Central Bank Governor tomorrow. The need for the bigwigs in the banking sector more..

Sri Lanka incensed at Martin Guptill DRS let-off on LBW call

Jan 25 (Stuff) Sri Lanka's irked cricketers finally got their man after Martin Guptill survived one of the more bizarre, elongated innings in the sixth one-day international in Dunedin. The New Zealand opener looked gone twice, but was saved by a technology failure then a highly dubious third umpire's call, before he was dismissed for 28. Controversial decision review system (DRS) finally got it right third time, when Hot Spot showed Guptill had got an inside edge on a delivery from more..

Chief selector unhappy with World Cup preparations

Jan 25 (NS) Sri Lanka chief cricket selector Sanath Jayasuriya is far from happy the way the national team is preparing itself for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. “I am not very happy the way things are going out there in New Zealand,” Jayasuriya said. “There are areas to be improved and in the next few weeks I hope we can sort them out. I am not 100% happy as there are aspects to improve every day. more..

Committee will draft the RTI Act

Jan 25 (CG) A committee has been appointed to draft the Right To Information (RTI) Act, Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka said. He said this while speaking to reporters after visiting Kandy to worship and meet the chief prelates in the sacred city. He said that once the draft document is complete it will be presented to Parliament and approved as promised in the 100 day program of President Maithripala Sirisena. Minister also reiterated a call to the many SL journalists more..

Transport fares slow to follow fuel price cuts

Jan 25 (ST) Consumers are enjoying the drop in fuel prices but transport providers are being either slow or recalcitrant in passing on the benefits to the public. Despite claims that private buses have already reduced charges commuters are yet to gain the benefits while state-run buses are awaiting instructions from the Transport Ministry on a price reduction. Fuel prices were reduced from midnight on Wednesday. The President of the Private Bus Owners’ Association, Gemunu Wijeratne, more..

Justice besieged

Jan 25 (NS) Sri Lanka is now experiencing the unprecedented situation where the country’s sitting Chief Justice is being questioned by the CID over his involvement in an alleged coup even as the govt is negotiating a deal where he gets a dipomatic posting in return for stepping down. One would imagine that the interrogation of the Chief Justice could be followed by Attorney General instituting legal proceedings against the CJ, more..

SLFP moves to save local councils

Jan 25 (ST) SLFP members of local councils controlled by the party have been warned disciplinary action would be taken against them if they supported the opposition to take control of the councils. SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said that the warning was issued at the Central Committee meeting presided over by President Maithripala Sirisena at the party headquarters on Friday. He said moves to help the opposition to gain control of any council more..

Beleaguered Access, whose share price has been falling, to meet shareholders, media

Jan 25 (ST) Access Engineering (AEL), with major exposure in highways and building construction, has decided to hold an investor forum to explain a back-up plan after its share price crashed owing to uncertainty over public infrastructure projects that it has been involved in, company officials said. AEL is expected to meet stockbrokers and the media in the next two weeks. Access, which handled several high value highway and public infrastructure during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s reign, more..

Appointments to top govt posts create ripples!

Jan 25 (SL) People, needless to say, expect a lot from President Sirisena’s govt. During his short but emphatic election campaign, the President, who was then the Common Candidate of the opposition, made repeated promises on ending family rule, eradicating nepotism, establishing rule of law and ensuring good governance. Now, President Sirisena has arrived at a place where he has to walk the talk and start living up to the expectations more..

Govt to ask Godahewa to resign

Jan 25 (NS) Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva said the govt has decided that it will in the next few days, request the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC), Dr. Nalaka Godahewa to step down from his position. Sources close to the SEC Chairman said that Dr. Godahewa, who had previously been defiant to stay on, had now made up his mind to step down and sent an email to the SEC staff thanking them for their support during his tenure. more..

All eyes on govt’s revenue proposals

Jan 25 (NS) Sri Lanka’s economists and tax consultants last week said that focus will now be on how the new govt would undertake measures to muster at least Rs.150 billion in incremental revenue for this year as it needs to deliver on the host of populist promises whilst at the same time ensuring that the fiscal deficit target is not affected. New revenue proposals are expected to be unveiled by the new Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake who would present a four-month temporary more..

Expropriation Bill of 2011: Govt to look afresh at acquired companies

Jan 25 (CT) The govt will take a fresh look at all the companies which were acquired by the previous regime under the Expropriation Bill of 2011, claiming that the entire process was fraudulent. We will be doing a full in depth investigation of all the companies which were acquired by the previous govt under the Expropriation Bill of 2011, the circumstances which led to it, and legality of those acquisitions, Harsha de Silva said. more..

Apples imported from US linked to listeria outbreak

Jan 25 (AD) Ministry of Health says that a harmful bacterium has been discovered in certain stocks of apples imported from US. Therefore consumers are requested to be cautious when purchasing apples from markets, Secretary to the Health Ministry D.M.R.B. Dissanayake said. The bacterium has been identified as Listeria monocytogenes, which causes the serious infection Listeriosis – through the consumption of food contaminated with the bacterium. more..

19 gunny sacks filled with documents found inside abandoned well

Jan 25 (AD) Police today recovered 19 gunny sacks filled with various documents hidden inside an abandoned well at a residence in Watinapaha, Minuwangoda occupied by an individual, who is allegedly a Coordinating Secretary of former PM D.M. Jayaratne. SSP Ajith Rohana stated that the gunny sacks contained file covers, documents and other papers. The suspect, Dharmasena, had been living at the residence which is owned by an individual known as Ivan George. more..

Shocking revelations of deep security state within the State

Jan 25 (ST) Revelations of corruption, abuse of power and a multitude of other illegal acts under the reign of the previous UPFA Govt are unfolding day by day. In this midst, the role of a private security company which ran a veritable army in a controversial tie-up with a Defence Ministry sponsored security agency, is now under investigation by the Police and has raised some alarming questions. more..

Where is the ripple effect?

Jan 25 (CT) The Govt of President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as would be expected earned considerable goodwill from the public this week when they gave the nod for drastically slashing the prices of several types of fuel, including diesel, petrol, and kerosene. Delighted motorists lined up at petrol sheds all around the country to celebrate, many by pumping full tanks whereas they may have settled for half tanks earlier due to the cost. more..

People voted for good governance to ignore conventions and rewrite the constitution

Jan 25 (Island) "Lions and Foxes reconcile, the Pope becalms, and all seem well but for neo-constitutional nit pickers" –that was going to be the title of my column last week, which was interrupted by the death of my father, and the news of which was most kindly inserted by the Editor in the editorial page of last week’s Sunday Island. I thank him for that. As the title would indicate, I was going to write about two events of significance that were not included in the new President’s more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Jan 25 (ST) Police Department put out a 36-page glossy, colourful brochure, just weeks ahead of the Presidential election on Jan 8. It extolled the virtues of the UPFA Govt. A highlight was the listing of all good things offered in the then President Rajapaksa’s budget proposals last year. Former IGP and the then Law and Order Ministry Secretary Mahinda Balasuriya, who hurriedly left Sri Lanka after the polls, said in a foreword that more..

Veggie woes only till mid-Feb

Jan 25 (NS) Agriculture research experts said that the present situation of soaring vegetable prices, which has affected both vendors and consumers for the past several weeks, may not last long with a reduction expected by mid next month. Research Officer at HARTI, Duminda Priyadharshana said gain that vegetable prices were expected to go down due to commencement of fresh vegetable production. more..

No unanimity between UNP and SLFP yet

Jan 25 (NS) Neither the UNP nor the SLFP has so far made a firm decision on whether they would contest the upcoming general election separately or as part of a coalition once Parliament is dissolved, The Nation learns. Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the SLFP would contest together with the UNP for the general election at the end of the 100-day program, which is scheduled to conclude in April 2015. more..

NZ take series with 120-run win

Jan 25 (CI) A 117-run third-wicket stand between Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor was the centre-piece of New Zealand's imposing 315 for 8, which founded a 120-run victory against an ailing Sri Lanka. Williamson and Taylor hit 97 and 96 respectively, on a track not offering much beyond the first 20 overs, before Corey Anderson and Grant Elliott provided late-order acceleration to transform the total from dominant to daunting. more..

MR to return for general election?

Jan 25 (CT) Constituent parties in the UPFA have apparently decided to start afresh and are planning to contest the next general election under the leadership of former President Rajapaksa. They will contest under the betel leaf symbol sans its main ally, SLFP. A split in the UPFA was imminent during past few days, with speculations about the SLFP planning to contest the next general election under its original symbol, the hand. more..

JVP application seeking arrest of ‘KP’ to be taken up on Tuesday

Jan 25 (ST) A Writ Application filed by the JVP seeking an order to arrest and prosecute former LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan alias ‘KP’ will be taken up for hearing on Tuesday. The petition filed in the Court of Appeal on Monday demanding the arrest and trial of ex-LTTE leader who is believed to be the head of the international wing of the LTTE. Currently Mr Pathmanathan is running a NGO under military protection. more..

Irate CEB employees to complain to Bribery Commission against injustice

Jan 25 (Island) The Joint Trade Alliance of the CEB yesterday decided to take up the injustice faced by most employees to the Bribery and Corruption and the Special Committee Against Corruption headed JVP leader, Anura Kumara Dissanayake. Representatives of some 30 unions on Friday asked newly-appointed CEB Chairman, Anura Wijepala whether the Treasury has approved the 79% pay hike to the CEB engineers. more..

Mangala leaves for Brussels, seeks postponement of fish export ban

Jan 25 (ST) Minister Mangala Samaraweera will leave for Brussels on Monday to negotiate a postponement of the European Commission’s ban on fish exports from Sri Lanka. “We will try to see if we can get a postponement of this ban for at least for six months till we rectify whatever was not correct at ground level,” he said. Along with the minister’s visit, the new Govt has moved quickly to amend the Fisheries and more..

State banks, Stock Exchange, corporations under scrutiny: PM

Jan 25 (ST) A number of state financial institutions will be probed for corrupt activities and mismanagement, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe revealed.’ “These will include Central Bank, Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, Stock Exchange and Insurance Corporation,” he said. Premier was commenting after the National Unity Govt’s first weekly meeting of ministers discussed proposals, including one from him, to appoint Special more..

New SL govt looks to improve rights record

Jan 25 (PTI) Following new PM Ranil Wickremesinghe's assertion that his govt would get the country's human rights house in order, separate missions are to make crucial visits abroad to engage with global agencies. Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P Perera said, President Maithripala Sirisena's international affairs advisor, Jayantha Dhanapala is to travel to Geneva. "We are taking the international commitments very seriously. more..

Right to Information will empower the people

Jan 25 (Island) Be it a parent whose child is not admitted to a school or a public servant who is dissatisfied with an examination result, the aggrieved party should have a right to know on what basis such decisions were arrived at. Right to Information (RTI) is not merely a journalist’s ticket on which he/she could exercise the right to credible sources to substantiate a story but a right of society as a whole. RTI is a pillar of a viable democracy helping to assure good governance, more..

Towards a new political culture

Jan 25 (Island) I am persuaded to write this short opinion piece due to a short dialogue a shop assistant had with me last week at a suburban town. I kept a small parcel including two newspapers in a transparent cellophane bag on the shop counter and went in looking for a few items. On returning, I saw a person reading the newspaper through the cellophane bag. He smiled apologetically. I smiled back in a relaxed and empathetic way indicating non-verbally (hopefully), that more..

Story behind that floating armoury

Jan 25 (CT) The news on the discovery of a floating armoury at the Galle Port spread like lightening. Police launched investigations following information received by Deputy Inspector General of Police, Southern Range, D.J.S. Gunawardhana. The armoury belonged to a private security company by the name Avant-garde. A total of 3,154 firearms and 770,059 rounds of ammunition were recovered from seven containers on more..

Wimal among the accused

Jan 25 (SL) Among the list of names of Ministers and MPs in the former regime accused of bribery or corruption, former Minister Wimal Weerawansa’s name is in the forefront. Weerawansa whose sole income when he was a member in the JVP was the earnings he got from running a communication center at Mawaramandiya in Kadawatha. However from the time he extended his support to the Rajapaksa administration in 2008, Weerawansa became a millionaire from unknown source more..

Fonseka to contest next polls

Jan 25 (SL) Former army commander Sarath Fonseka says he will contest the next general election having been acquitted of all charges filed against him under the previous government and has been granted complete amnesty by President Maithripala Sirisena. Fonseka lost his civil rights in 2010, including the right to vote, after a military court found him guilty over allegations raised against him and in 2011 the Supreme Court upheld the decision. Fonseka was instrumental in leading the more..

TNA, SLMC fight for EPC

Jan 25 (SL) TNA expects the President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe to safeguard the democratic process with reference to the issue on taking control of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC). TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said that the TNA met President and the PM recently to seek their support in favour of TNA to obtain the chief ministerial position of the EPC and form the provincial govt. more..

Mahela's lip, Mendis' slip

Jan 25 (CI) Mahela Jayawardene has been vocal in his criticism of umpiring decisions that have disadvantaged Sri Lanka in this series, and he made his mind known to the umpires twice more on Sunday. The first occasion was in the fourth over, when Sri Lanka were prevented from reviewing a very good lbw shout because of faulty video equipment. He audibly labeled the incident "rubbish" and "crap". Then in the 48th over, he approached the umpire again to complain that the more..