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PS transport director banned from leaving country: 246 vehicles missing

Jan 26 (AM) Colombo Fort Magistrate today banned the Transport Director of the Presidential Secretariat Keerthi Dissanayake from leaving the country. Colombo Magistrate banned the official from leaving the country on the grounds that 246 vehicles belonging to the Presidential Secretariat have not been returned and the transport log book has been missing. Last week, 53 vehicles belonging to the Presidential Secretariat were found by Police, abandoned at a yard in Colombo. more..

Eastern University split over VC

Jan 26 (CG) The Eastern University has split on the future of its Vice Chancellor with a group pf teachers saying they want him to continue while another group has petitioned for him to be removed. In a statement to the media, Eastern University Teachers Association for Democracy and Development (EUTADD) and the Eastern University Employees Union (EUEU) have claimed that a handful of member of academics from the Eastern University are misleading the public by more..

EU blacklists Sri Lanka over illegal fishing

Jan 26 (AP) European Union has blacklisted Sri Lanka for failing to combat illegal fishing, officially banning imports of fisheries products from Sri Lanka-flagged vessels into the EU. Officials said that the decision to put Sri Lanka on the list was taken by EU fisheries ministers at their regular talks in Brussels. Sri Lanka is the second biggest exporter of swordfish and tuna into the EU. Bloc said it only accepts stocks caught at sustainable levels. more..

Champika gets telephone call from MR

Jan 26 (AM) Minister Champika Ranawaka was taken by surprise when he heard a familiar voice from the other end of a telephone call which he got recently – nearly two weeks after the presidential election. It was none other than the voice of the former President against whom the leaders of the Common Opposition, including Ranawaka, waged a relentless battle over the past two months. However, there was no sign of anger or any other bitter feeling in the former President’s voice. more..

Thewarapperuma to remain in remand

Jan 26 (AM) Colombo Chief Magistrate today rejected UNP MP Palitha Thewarapperuma’s motion requesting bail. The UNP MP was earlier remanded until February 2 over charges of making opposition PS Member Murugan Pushpakumara kneel in public and attacking a political meeting of the opposition. Thewarapperuma's unruly behavior was captured on a video footage which was released to media by the SLFP. Police complaints were lodged with regard to the incident by former Minister more..

FUTA wants action taken against UGC head

Jan 26 (CT) The FUTA will write to the Cabinet Minister of Higher Education, Kabir Hashim and State Minister for Higher Education, Rajiva Wijesinha requesting them to take action against Chairperson of the UGC, Kshanika Hirimburegama for her actions during the previous govt. "We have sent the UGC Chairperson a letter on 18 January requesting her to resign with dignity because of how she abused her position. more..

'Presidential term only five years'

Jan 26 (CG) The committee involved in drafting constitutional changes is to propose a five year term for the President in future, President Maithripala Sirisena said. Speaking at an event in Polonnaruwa today, the President said that the committee met this week to discuss the constitutional changes, which includes abolishing the Executive Presidential system. Sirisena said that he had proposed at the meeting that the Presidential term be reduced to four years and not six years. more..

Sri Lanka’s media needs reform — can new President Sirisena deliver?

Jan 26 (XI) Any nation’s media would be hard pressed keeping track of a landslide of political change, environmental crises, imminent constitutional reform and a general election, all while keeping safe from a generation of assassins used to impunity. When the media itself needs reform too, the problems might seem overwhelming. This is why SL needs a constitutionally recognised national commission to oversee that reform and ensure freedom of expression is properly defended. more..

'Unlawful military deployment is military coup'

Jan 26 (DM) DP Leader General Sarath Fonseka in a candid interview spoke on his role in the new govt, the security situation of the country, the LTTE and on their plans to proceed at the upcoming General Elections. Q: What is your role in the new govt? A: I cannot be directly involved in the processes since I am not an MP but am a member of the National Executive Committee, which is headed by the President and the PM and more..

JFE Engineering lands order for sewage treatment plant in Sri Lanka

Jan 26 (AS) JFE Engineering Corp. announced that it has received an order for the design and construction of a wastewater treatment plant and treated effluent disposal system in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The order from the Sri Lankan National Water Supply and Drainage Board is the first project for construction of a sewage treatment plant funded by the Japanese govt’s Official Development Assistance program. Facility will treat sewage from approximately 70,000 city residents, more..

Central bank seen tightening by removing lower repo penalty rate

Jan 26 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's Central bank is expected to hold key interest rates steady at record lows on Tuesday for a 12th straight month, but tighten policy by scrapping the lower repo rate paid to banks that use the standing deposit facility more than three times a month, a Reuters poll showed. The repurchase, or standing deposit facility rate, is at 6.5% and reverse repurchase rate or standing lending facility is at 8%, while commercial banks' statutory reserve ratio (SRR) is at 6%. more..

Video: Vass’s wife complains against Shiranthi

Jan 26 (AD) Former DIG Vass Gunawardena’s wife, Shyamali Perera, today alleged that her husband was arrested under 'false charges' due to him spearheading an investigation into a conspiracy to sell 100kg of gold belonging to the treasury and its direct links to the former First lady. She said that her husband had received information through the army intelligence unit regarding an attempt to illegally sell 100 kgs more..

Sirisena says there was a plan to deny him Lanka presidency

Jan 26 (PTI) Sri Lanka's newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena has said that there was a 'plan' to deny him victory by his predecessor even after the results showed that he had won the January 8 Presidential election. "You are aware of a plan by (former President Mahinda) Rajapaksa to stay in power for two more years by not declaring the result," Sirisena yesterday said while addressing his home constituency of Polonnaruwa in the north central province. more..

Sajith assures Modi style management in housing, samurdhi portfolios

Jan 26 (Island) Housing and Samurdhi Minister Sajith Premadasa intends to follow Indian PM Narendra Modi in accordance with his overall strategy to receive recognition as the best minister in PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Cabinet. He said that Indian PM Modi had shown the way to use the public sector effectively to achieve desired objectives. Premadasa was addressing a meeting at the New Town Hall. Basil Rajapaksa and Wimal Weerawansa held samurdhi and housing portfolios, more..

Colombo public praise China's port city project

Jan 26 (Xinhua) People in Colombo have praised the 1.4 billion-U.S.-dollar port city project which is funded by China on the Indian Ocean island. "As the general public, we believe the port city construction project will promote our country's economy, create jobs and bring a lot of vital interests, so we support the port city project," Sunil Gunawaredena, who is working in a food company, said during a visit to construction more..

A game changer for China and India in SL?

Jan 27 (TD) On January 18, a Reuters reported claimed that Sri Lanka’s now former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, had expelled the station chief of India’s intelligence agency in Colombo after accusing him of working against his government and supporting the opposition. India denied the claim, but the report serves as an example of Rajapaksa’s thorny attitude towards New Delhi, irrespective of the face presented by public diplomacy. The docking last September of a Chinese naval submarine more..

On listing Central Bank under PM Ranil

Jan 27 (CT) The gazette notification issued by President Maithripala Sirisena allocating subjects and institutions among different ministries has placed the Central Bank of Sri Lanka under the Ministry of Policy Planning, Economic Affairs, Child, Youth and Cultural Affairs headed by PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. This is a departure from the previous practice of listing the Central Bank under the Ministry of Finance. The market has not been able to comprehend the reason behind more..

'Current political trend signals harmony among communities'

Jan 27 (SO) TNA frontliner M.A. Sumanthiran MP spelt out the TNA’s needs - their stance with regard to a lasting solution to the Tamil problem, the immediate measures that they have insisted over the livelihood and rehabilitation of the conflict-affected Tamils, the current controversy over the post of Chief Minister (CM) of the Eastern PC and the Govt’s measures to implement the 13th Amendment more..

With Maithri, Ranil & Mangala – Real change should occur for Tamils too

Jan 27 (CT) I would like to offer my congratulations to President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and External Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Co and wish them the very best towards restoring this island paradise, with a rich heritage, now known as Sri Lanka, to its original glory, where all its inhabitants, living there since pre-historic times and having their distinct traditional homelands in the island, are treated with equality, their distinct socio, political, cultural, more..

Editorial: Sad days not over!

Jan 27 (Island) The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) continues to fire broadsides at Chief Justice Mohan Peiris on a regular basis obviously in a bid to see the back of him. That has apparently become its raison d’etre. A group of protesters including lawyers recently staged a protest near the Supreme Court, calling for the CJ’s resignation. Strangely, in a country where ordinary citizens are fined or even thrown behind bars for minor offences such as yakking into mobile phones or smoking within more..

'Is this good governance or vengeance?'

Jan 26 (SL) There are many allegations of corruption and misgovernance against the previous regime and many of the former officials are currently under scrutiny. However there is also speculation that certain members of the previous regime are deliberately targeted by the present govt in a bid to discredit their contribution and achievements. Former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella stated that it is not fair more..

Constitutional changes through Urgent Bill

Jan 26 (NS) On Jan 8, 2015 Sri Lankan voters voted for a President to lead the nation. The election that was to vote a President ended up with a Prime Minister being sworn in followed by close to 50 MPs majority belonging to the UNP while the rest composed of MPs that crossed over from the previous government and those that were part of the common alliance. With the next election being the general where all MPs will need to go before the people including the PM, there appears to be more..

Regime change and power sharing

Jan 26 (NS) Recent regime change in Colombo, did not take place in vacuum. There was international support and networks to depose the former regime led by Mr. Rajapaksa who provided political leadership to defeat LTTE and local political actors contributed to the scheme planned by powerful actors. One of the key developments with regard to deposing regime apparently staged in Singapore. As TamilNet correctly pointed, there was agenda and that was coined as 10 points formula. more..

'Past govts has not expelled Director Generals'

Jan 26 (SL) The Commission to Investigate Bribery or Corruption is now receiving many complaints about corruptions and briberies that the politicians, officials and others related to the former govt committed during their time of sunshine. The Sunday Leader talked to the Director General of the Commission Ganesh R Dharmawardena about the new govt’s proposal of bringing back the 17th Amendment, giving more..

Good governance vital for healthy sustained economic development

Jan 27 (ST) Good governance was the core promise of President Maithripala Sirisena. Good governance is an end in itself. It is vital for democracy, decency and dignity of human society and encompasses a whole range of social, political and economic activities. Good governance is crucial for economic efficiency and sustained healthy economic development. President Obama once said that what Africa required was not strong men but strong institutions and good governance. more..

Teamwork and measured approach to meet challenge of 100-day programme

Jan 27 (Island) The govt is proceeding with its 100 Day programme that President Maithripala Sirisena presented as part of his election manifesto. This plan promised a national govt and new cabinet with UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as its PM after presidential election. It also contained a promise to change from a presidential to a parliamentary system, to repeal the 18th Amendment, to come up with a 19th Amendment to the Constitution, restoring independent commissions, more..

‘Rajapaksa regime merely continued with infrastructure projects identified by ...’

Jan 27 (Island) Dr. Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development said the Rajapaksa govt continued with the infrastructure projects identified for implementation by the previous Ranil Wickremesinghe govt. He said that even the Greater Colombo Metropolitan Project is a component of the UNP govt’s Western Province Mega polis plan. He stressed that problem was the inflated costs that led to massive corruption more..

Is 50:50 formula still valid?

Jan 27 (Island) As I mentioned in a previous note, it is imperative to reread and revise 100 days program of President Maithripala Sirisena reflecting the aspirations and hopes as they were expressed by the people at the election. Of course, different peoples have had different expectations and hopes. At least their priorities may be different. The interests of the urban middle class might have been democracy and good governance. Almost all might have been despised bribery and corruption. more..

Gallant youth dives in and saves two of three

Jan 27 (CT) A 67-years-old woman of Vadamarachchi, Jaffna died in a most tragic manner. In a bid to save her grandson who had accidently fallen into a well in their garden, she unhesitatingly had jumped in to save the child. The boy's sister too had jumped into the well seeing her grandmother do so, she followed suit in order to save both her grandmother's and brother's lives. All three of them got into difficulty in the end, but luckily they were spotted by a brave youngster of more..

India seeking mutual benefit through strengthening of Indo-Lanka FTA

Jan 27 (Island) India says it is looking to strengthen the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement in a manner that would be mutually beneficial to both countries. The Consul General of India in Jaffna, A. Natarajan who was the Chief Guest at the opening ceremony of the  sixth edition of the Jaffna International Trade Fair (JITF) held at the Jaffna Library on Friday said that with an ever increasing number of  Indian companies doing business more..

Budget Taxi at loggerheads with other operators

Jan 27 (CT) Budget Taxi is adamant not to reduce the price per kilometre from the present Rs 32. All Island Trishaw Drivers Union, President, who is also the owner of Budget Taxi, Lalith Dharmasekara said that they will under no circumstance reduce their rate from the present level in spite of the govt bringing down the fuel prices recently. However, other trishaw operating companies, said that they were contemplating a revision of the price with the new fuel price in effect now. more..

Top German office products brand Durable arrives in Sri Lanka

Jan 27 (CT) Durable, the leading European office products brand and the inventor of the time-honoured Duraclip has entered the Sri Lankan market in partnership with Thef:;llstop, the country's foremost supplier of branded stationery. A heritage brand whose origins date back to 1920, Durable patented the Duraclip folder in 1959 as a solution for filing documents without punching holes in them, and has since grown into a global brand for innovative filing, mounting, storage and more..

Employers caution govt over ad-hoc, arbitrary pay hike moves

Jan 27 (FT) The Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) has cautioned the new Govt over the dangers of ad-hoc or arbitrary moves to hike pay in the private sector as well a proposal to introduce a new cost of living index value and making employees permanent. The concerns have been conveyed to President Maithripala Sirisena, PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, Justice and Labour Relations Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, more..

Air China to launch Chengdu-Colombo flight

Jan 27 (GDI) Air China, one of the China's leading carriers, is scheduled to start direct service between Chengdu, capital city of southwest China's Sichuan province, and Colombo in February. The flights will operate from Chengdu, a major air hub in southwest China linking 187 cities including 78 international routes. An Airbus A330 will fly the Chengdu-Colombo route each Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday. Journey between Chengdu and Colombo will take about five-and-a-half hours, more..

Ramanayake to replace Vaas

Jan 27 (ST) SLC fast bowling Coach Champaka Ramanayake is to replace the National fast bowling Coach Chaminda Vaas with immediate effect. The recent bowling slump in the Lankan national squad has pushed the cricket hierarchy to seek the executive nod on a priority basis and have requested Ramanayake to be packed and ready. The problem cropped even late last year when SLC Chief Executive Ashley de Silva had informed an emergency executive committee meeting that more..

'Govt has given priority to rule of law'

Jan 27 (DN) Govt has undertaken the important task of ensuring the rule of law in the country and peace and harmony among different communities by appointing Ministers for Religious Affairs who believe in their particular religion, Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said. He was addressing a ceremony marking the beginning of work of the Minister of Public Security, Christian Religious Affairs and Disaster Management John Amaratunga more..

Ministry of Commerce oversees 32 institutions, carries out 12 main duties

Jan 27 (Island) According to the Gazette extraordinary dated January 18, the Ministry of Industries and Commerce is assigned to carry out 12 main duties and functions covering a total of 32 institutions. The main duties of the ministry related to each of these institutions include; formulation of policies, programmes and projects, export promotion, international trade relations/ trade fairs, formulation of competition policy, promotion and development of industries etc. more..

Rs. 5,000 wage hike may be extended to private sector

Jan 27 (ST) A wage hike of Rs. 5,000 per month to public sector employees to be announced in interim budget may also be extended to private sector workers. Treasury officials said that the govt would most likely request the private sector to also implement the proposal when it is presented in Parliament. While the 3-month budget would represent a quarter of the Rs.1.654 trillion-worth 2015 budget presented by the last govt, a new cost is the additional sum of Rs. 60 billion for more..

What really happened on 8 January night? CaFFE observation report

Jan 27 (FT) It has been now revealed that there was an attempt by the Rajapaksa Govt to prevent the election results being announced on 9 January. Although what really transpired in these fateful hours can only be known with certainty after the relevant mandated and legitimate institutions conduct a proper investigation, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) would like to present an account of what its staff, observers and more..

UNP leader warns UNP members

Jan 27 (CG) UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe today warned that the party will reconsider giving nominations at the next election to UNP members who go against party decisions. He said that while most UNP members had respected the party decision not to take revenge on the opposition following the recent Presidential elections, there are a few who had violated that decision. He was speaking at an event held in Pollonaruwa in celebration of the victory of President more..