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Chairman and 3 Directors quit BOC Board

Jan 27 (FT) Chairman Air Chief Marshal Harsha Abeywickrema and three other Directors have resigned from the Board of Bank of Ceylon. Move is to pave the way for new Finance Minister to make suitable appointments following the change of Govt. No replacements have been announced yet. Abeywickrema was appointed BOC Chairman in March last year. Three Directors who also resigned were lawyer Nalini Abeywardene who was reappointed in May 2013 after he first stint more..

Sri Lanka bank on Sanga-Mahela hit show

Jan 27 (AFP) Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene will join hands for the last time in their brilliant careers to plot Sri Lanka's World Cup campaign, hoping to make amends for two successive heartbreaks. The missing link in the enduring partnership between the two 37-year-olds that started at the turn of the century is the absence of a World Cup triumph despite coming so near. Mahela was captain when Sri Lanka reached more..

‘Sinharaja encroached by unruly elements’

Jan 27 (DN) The Sinharaja forest with an extent of 30,000 hectares is now reduced to 12,000 hectares according to the latest statistics of the Forest Conservation Department. The forest has been encroached to a large extent by unruly elements, a spokesman for the department said. He added that a large extent of the kitul cultivation inside the forest is a source of income for villagers. The Sinharaja forest was declared a world heritage several decades ago. Meanwhile, the stately home more..

Port City Project before Parliament in February

Jan 27 (CT) The future of the Chinese financed US$ 1.4 billion Colombo Port city project will be submitted to Parliament in February, subject to the feasibility, cost appraisals and other environmental considerations. We are for investments; but we have to see how feasible they are and also the cost and the benefits and the social impact as well, Deputy Minister Eran Wickremaratne said. The project is still at the review stage and the implementation and the going ahead will depend on these criteria, more..

'Attack me or my father but not other family members'

Jan 27 (DM) While denying allegation that his mother was involved in a gold racket, MP Namal Rajapaksa said yesterday that if anyone wanted to take revenge politically they should only attack his father or himself and not the other members of his family. “If political revenge is the main objective, attack my father and myself, and stop making false allegations against my mother and brothers,” the former president’s son tweeted. more..

Akila calls for strict standards

Jan 27 (CT) The previous govt had reduced the pass marks at competitive exams in a bid to show that there is an improvement in academic performance among students during their tenure, Minister of Education, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said. “There were occasions when the pass mark was reduced to 18. They did this to show that more students are passing exams. We want to end this kind of pretensions,” he said. Kariyawasam also said that they will not allow students to sit for more..

CJ not worried on BASL stance: Spokesman

Jan 27 (DM) The Chief Justice will not worry about the statements made by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and continue to as the Chief Justice, his media spokesman said. Attorney Wijeratne Kodippily who identified himself as Chief Justice Mohan Peiris’ media spokesman told Daily Mirror that he would continue to function as the CJ despite the statements made by the BASL. The BASL has called for the CJ’s resignation on the grounds that by his pre-dawn presence at Temple Trees more..

Attanayake says he is in the UNP

Jan 27 (CG) Former UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake says he is still a UNP member as he never resigned from his party membership, nor did he join the SLFP. Attanayake says he backed former President Rajapaksa at the last election as he was not happy in the UNP. “I took the decision (to back Rajapaksa) because of some issues in the party which I faced. In politics we take decisions like that. Some may say it was right more..

UNHCR, EU to help SL Tamils return home

Jan 27 (ENS) UNHCR and the European Union (EU) have undertaken to help the Sri Lankan govt repatriate Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu and resettle them in the Island Nation, the Lankan Ministry of Resettlement has said. Assurance of aid was given to Minister for Resettlement, D M Swaminathan, when he met local representatives Gulam Abbas and Igor Ivancic of the UNHCR, and Jaime Royo-Olid and Libuse Soukupova of the EU, here last week, a Ministry statement said. more..

Modi is very Interested in Lanka, says Ranil

Jan 27 (ENS) Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe said here on Monday, that Indian PM Narendra Modi is ‘very interested’ in Sri Lanka and the region, and that this augurs well for Sri Lanka which is in the threshold of a new era. Wickremesinghe was speaking at the Indian High Commission reception to mark the 66 th Indian Republic Day. The Lankan PM said Sri Lanka is wanting to go beyond strengthening traditional ties to strengthening economic ties to enter the modern age. more..

Police file report on Rakna Lanka armoury

Jan 27 (DM) Cinnamon Gardens Police filed a report describing and listing the weapons recovered from the Rakna Lanka Armoury located at BMICH. The report states that on Jan 20 the Police checked the armoury after having obtained a search warrant from Colombo Chief Magistrate. It was carried out in the presence of retired Major General Wijekoon Bandara and several journalists. Police had recovered 151 weapons which included more..

The promised RTI Bill

Jan 27 (DM) In spite of the fact that the introduction of a Right to Information (RTI) Bill is one of the main promises made by President Maithripala Sirisena and the present govt during the just-concluded presidential election campaign, the statements made by the Ministers after the election on the matter might puzzle the masses. Minister Rajitha Senarathne said last week that there will be no more spokespersons for the armed forces as the war has ended long ago. more..

Democracy without Opposition and the NUA

Jan 27 (DM) In the early hours of 3rd Dec 1998 a meeting was convened at the official residence of late Minister and Leader of SLMC, M.H.M. Ashraff. Among those present at the meeting was Prof. M.T.A. Furkhan, Dr. Rohan Edrisinghe and a few others. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the forming of National Unity Alliance (NUA). Mr. Ashraff explained the purpose of convening the meeting and unfolded his thinking to those present. The initial reaction of those who were present more..

'They attempted a coup, but failed'

Jan 27 (DM) Coming in at a time when many changes are set to take place, newly appointed Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe in an exclusive interview sheds light on some of the more sensitive and topical issues prevalent in the country. Q: What was the situation in the Justice Ministry at the time you took over? What are the main oversights that needed attention? A: Really there was no problem with Ministry of Justice. more..

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank governor says policy on looser side

Jan 27 (BN) Sri Lanka’s monetary policy has been “veering toward the looser side,” new central bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said on Tuesday as he left interest rates unchanged amid inflation that’s near a five-year low. Subdued demand pressure in the economy, lower fuel costs this year and the new government’s pledge to cut prices of key commodities will probably ease inflation further, he said in a statement. more..

MRI ready to test imported US apples for bacterial contamination

Jan 27 (Island) The Medical Research Institute (MRI) yesterday said it was ready to carry out tests to find out whether apples imported from the US were infected with bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes, should there be a request from the Health Ministry to that effect. Director MRI, Dr. Sumith Kumara said however that there had been no requests so far. The MRI did not have a collecting mechanism for testing samples. more..

President seeks consensus on national issues

Jan 27 (Xinhua) Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has extended an open invitation to all political parties to support his 100 day plan for the country. Speaking at an event held to commemorate his victory on Monday at the recent presidential elections, Sirisena said that he has no intention of taking revenge on anyone who voted against him at the election. He said that the last presidential election saw the most violations more..

Sri Lanka keeps rates unchanged amid lower inflation

Jan 27 (EN) Sri Lanka kept policy rates unchanged amid stronger as inflation remained low, the Central Bank said, despite heavy recent state borrowings from the banking system. In the 12-months to December 2014 consumer inflation was only 2.1% the Central Bank said in its monetary policy review for January and cuts in taxes of fuel this month and other planned cuts will also reduce consumer prices. more..

Rail road projects on corruption

Jan 27 (SL) One of the main areas of corruption during the former regime was the railway and road construction sectors. Currently the northern expressway project initiated by the previous regime has been put on hold until the cost effectiveness of the project is fully analysed. While the previous govt launched the project which was to be carried out under a loan agreement with China, highway was due to link Colombo with Kandy more..

'China is not the only girl on the beach'

Jan 27 (EN) Sri Lanka is not solely dependent on projects funded by China for growth and economic links with other regions can take up the slack, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. "China is not the only girl on the beach," he said. "We have very good relations with India. "We want to explore the EU area which has been blocked for the last 10 years and open up the US." Karunanayake said the new administration more..

Shashi Weerawansa’s passport under CID probe

Jan 27 (DM) The CID has launched an inquiry into the controversial diplomatic passport alleged to have been obtained by former minister Wimal Weerawansa’s wife Shashi Weerawansa by producing false information. Police said the investigation was based on a complaint lodged about passport. The former minister’s wife had applied for a diplomatic passport in 2010 by submitting false personal information which more..

'Accountability issues: New govt won’t depend on foreign experts'

Jan 27 (Island) Deputy Foreign Minister Ajith P. Perera said that the service of a three-member international panel assigned to assist local investigation into atrocities allegedly committed by the security forces was no longer required. He was responding to a query as regards the international experts’ continuing role in domestic inquiry. Now that investigation undertaken by retired High Court Judge Maxwell Paranagama more..

'Ex-IGP got bungalow from drug lord'

Jan 27 (Island) CID investigations into the dealings of drug kingpin Wele Suda allegedly had with a former IGP have revealed that the drug baron gifted the top police officer a new palatial bungalow at Kelanimulla, Kelaniya. The ex-IGP has fled the country with his family soon after the election. A senior sleuth said the bungalow had been constructed under the supervision and direction of a Colombo district UPFA MP more..

Bring down vegetable prices

Jan 27 (CT) NDF coalition govt of SLFP leader Maithripala Sirisena will present its interim budget in another two days' time on Thursday. The interim budget's mandate may extend beyond June when general elections are to be called, to cover the totality of the current calendar year. This is due to the two fold reasons that the executive president, whichever the party is returned to power in June, will still be Sirisena and the other is the bipartisan relationship which the executive has more..

The President’s Faux Pas

Jan 27 (CT) No leader of a multi religious society, can afford the luxury of being seen practicing his religion, in the full glare of the public! President of this country is a representative of all its people; Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians. Therefore, such a President cannot be seen favoring one faith, even though it is his own. If he must, then he ought to pay equal obeisance to other religions as well. After all, he is the leader of all of us, not just the Buddhists of Sri Lanka. more..

'Sri Lanka should grow at 10 to 12% a year'

Jan 27 (EN) Sri Lanka should be looking at growing 10 to 12% after the war with private sector being given more space and foreign direct investment moving up, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said. "The economy is not growing fast enough," he said. "7%, 7.5% is not enough for Sri Lanka. We should be growing at 10-12%." He said the new administration was expected to announce a number of structural reforms more..

President: ‘No funds were released for irrigation projects when I was minister’

Jan 27 (Island) President Maithripala Sirisena visited the Moragahakanda Project for which the foundation stone had been laid in 2007 and pledged to recommence work soon. Addressing officials at the Moragahakanda Project office, Sirisena regretted that even though the former President Rajapaksa and he had laid the foundation stone for the construction of the reservoir on Jan 25, 2007 and pledged to the Rajarata people that they would very soon have an ample supply of water for more..

JSA wants CJ to preserve honour and dignity of judiciary

Jan 27 (Island) The Judicial Service Association (JSA) yesterday expressed the hope that the Chief Justice would act in such a manner so as to preserve the honour and dignity of the judiciary. Following is the full text of the JSA statement signed by the association’s secretary Ranga Dissanayake: At the Executive Committee meeting of The Judicial Service Association (JSA) held on 24th January 215, it was unanimously decided to issue the following statement: more..

Video: Bus fares to be reduced by 8 – 10%

Jan 27 (DM) The fares on private and SLTB buses will be reduced from Feb 1 with Rs.8 as the minimum fare sequent to the fuel price reduction introduced by the Power and Energy Ministry. Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara said that bus-fare reduction of 10% to 11% would be based on three segments ranging from the minimum fare of Rs.8 to the highest fare of Rs.651 for normal bus transport. more..

Herath to return to Sri Lanka

Jan 27 (CI) Rangana Herath will be unavailable for the seventh ODI against New Zealand on Thursday, as he returns home to be with an unwell family member, Sri Lanka's team manager has said. Herath will leave the squad immediately, but is scheduled to return to New Zealand on around February 3, well ahead of Sri Lanka's first World Cup warm-up match against South Africa on February 9. He has been Sri Lanka's best spinner in the series, taking four wickets at an average of 30 and more..

New govt. consumed with hate: FSP

Jan 27 (Island) A popular mandate for the so-called compassionate governance was being abused by few key elements in the new govt to take revenge from their political opponents on some flimsy pretexts, the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) said. Propaganda Secretary of FSP, Pubudu Jayagoda, addressing media opposite Fort Railway Station, during a leaflet distribution campaign said instead of taking conducive action to usher in good governance, govt was busy with witch-hunts. more..

MR says media blitz to vilify him

Jan 27 (DM) Former President Rajapaksa in a statement charged that a media blitz had been unleashed to vilify him and mislead the public instead of following a proper procedure to act on allegeations of wrongdoing against anybody. Statement: To the Venerable Maha Sangha, all Reverend Clergymen and the People of Sri Lanka, Numerous allegations have been levelled against me, my family and my govt both before and after the more..

'Sri Lanka plans sovereign bond in February'

Jan 27 (EN) Sri Lanka is planning a sovereign bond sale in February after a revised budget for 2015 is presented by a new administration, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said. "As soon as the budget has been announced on the 29th we will start talking to markets," Mahendran said. "I am hopeful that by February we will have a mandate to tap the markets for a new bond issue." Sri Lanka was earlier planning to go the markets with a 1.5 billion US dollar bond ahead of more..

President's son Daham Sirisena leaves SL

Jan 27 (AM) President Maithripala Sirisena’s son Daham Sirisena has left for the UK for six months. Family sources said Daham Sirisena left the country to pursue his higher studies. Sirisena is reading a law degree in the UK. He returned to Sri Lanka in Nov, last year, when his father announced candidature to contest the presidential election. President’s son had left Colombo this morning, around 11 am. Daham Sirisena, according to some media reports, has a chequered past more..

'SLFP will contest under Sirisena'

Jan 27 (CG) The SLFP says it will contest the next General elections under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena, who is the party chairman. Opposition SLFP leader Nimal Siripala de Silva told reporters in Kandy today that the SLFP will gather support to work with Sirisena at the polls. He said that the SLFP had already decided to support President Maithripala Sirisena’s 100 day program in Parliament. more..

Sri Lankan shares end up 0.7%

Jan 27 (EN) Sri Lankan shares rose strongly Tuesday to end up 0.7% as the central bank kept benchmark interest rates unchanged and ahead of an interim government budget that investors expect to give direction on the economy. The All Share Price Index ended at 7,367.65, up 51.57 points while the S&P SL20 index, rose even more strongly, gaining 33.69 points or 0.82% to reach 4,130.43. Turnover recovered from a three-month low of 338 million rupees to reach 1.1 billion rupees. more..

Fuel reduction to cost CPC Rs. 15 billion above what was promised

Jan 27 (Island) Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) will hold a crucial meeting today with the Treasury after a number of discussions starting from Saturday, on a cost reflective strategy, to cut down high costs and to make the institution transparent in future deals. Discussions are taking place under the guidance of Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka. Newly appointed CPC Chairman Ranjith Wickremasinghe said that they would adopt the new methodology as early as possible. more..

Probe on Gota’s alleged attempt

Jan 27 (CG) The govt has called for an investigation into an alleged attempt by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to create instability in the country over the next three months. Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that documents related to the alleged attempt were handed over to the National Executive Council (NEC). “Gotabaya Rajapaksa still has hopes to topple this govt. Therefore I informed NEC to look into this more..

NGOs applaud suspension of fish imports from Sri Lanka

Jan 27 (FIS) Fisheries Ministers of the European Union (EU) agreed in Brussels to punish Sri Lanka for not fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, imposing trade restrictions upon it. Several NGOs, among which are Environmental Justice Foundation, Oceana, The Pew Charitable Trusts and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), welcomed the decision taken by the Ministers, which temporarily suspended imports of fish from Sri Lanka. In addition, the issuance of more..

Dharmasri Ekanayake appointed President's Media Director

Jan 27 (GDI) Senior Journalist Dharmasri Bandara Ekanayake has been appointed President’s Media Director. He received his Letter of Appointment from President Maithripala Sirisena today at the Presidential Secretariat. An old boy of Ibbagamuwa Central College, Ekanayake previously served as the News Director at News1st, and as Programmes Director at Sirasa TV. Ekanayake who possesses a Diploma in Mass Communication at the Sri Jayewardenapura University more..